Monday Night Raw Warm Up for January 23rd, 2012

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WWE Legend, Mick Foley, returned to Raw last week mixing it up with WWE Champion C.M. Punk against Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis and even teased an appearance in this Sunday's Royal Rumble.

As we head into this year’s Royal Rumble, a night when more of the WWE roster is in the spotlight than any other, it was nice to see that last week’s Raw from Anaheim, California, had just about the right amount of everything. Instead of multiple segments dedicated to John Cena, Kane, or what’s happening on Smackdown, there was a great balance across the roster throughout the night. Let’s hope that tonight’s show from Phoenix, Arizona, can find the right recipe for the last Monday Night Raw before a big pay-per-view event.

PTB: It was good to see Mick Foley on WWE television again, but as a participant in the Rumble? I’d rather not see that. I will say his bid to be included makes good use of a heel General Manager though. People will get behind this simply because John Laurinatis said “no.”

Brian: This is the time of year where WWE starts bringing back old superstars and people in pop culture to steal spots at WrestleMania.  I really don’t want to see Foley wrestle as he looks to be in the worst shape ever.

PTB: Last week’s opening segment also featured Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero. Vickie has been blissfully in the background lately and thankfully she stayed there for most of the confrontation between Dolph and Foley. They had a good thing going. Once she started talking though… good lord.

Brian: Dolph really shined in this instance.  Get rid of that horrible name and I think I’d jump on the bandwagon.

PTB: I think dropping Vickie is a better move for him at this point, especially when she was out again with Swagger as he squashed Zach Ryder for the  United States Championship. Is Ryder legitimately injured? I was surprised to see him drop the title even though his performance over the last two weeks with Kane has been painful. I was blaming it on the writing but maybe they’ve lost some confidence in him.

Brian: Not sure what’s up with that.

PTB: While we’re on the topic of Ryder, he wasn’t “medically cleared” to wrestle last week. Shouldn’t the title just revert back to him?

Brian: It would if WWE remembered that a similar situation happened a few weeks ago with Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan.  🙂

PTB: Good point. I honestly expected to see Ryder versus Kane at WrestleMania.

Brian: I’m predicting Kane vs Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania.  I think part of the reason they brought Kane back with the mask was to have some sort of gimmick match that would help them break a world record for most people wearing a mask in one place.

PTB: The tag team match between Air Boom and the newly crowned Tag Team Champions, Epico and Primo, is the kind of match that should be on (if not start) Raw every week.

Brian: It should be good considering these guys have wrestled 13 times on TV in the last 3 weeks.

PTB: Exactly, plus it’s also a high energy match. Were you worried at all that Air Boom would regain the titles after losing them at a non-televised show in Oakland?

Brian: Nope.  Why would they take the titles off them only to give them back one night later?

PTB: That happened at least once before involving Edge, Jeff Jarrett and the Intercontinental title years ago. Doesn’t mean I have any explanation for it.

Brian: It came to light on Tuesday that Evan Bourne failed another drug test and is now suspended for 60 days, thus explaining the loss.  If you go back and watch the segment where Air Boom is walking in the backstage area toward the arena entrance, you’ll notice the tension between the two. Bourne put Kofi Kingston in a bad spot.

PTB: Speaking of bad spots, Perez Hilton. Everything happening in that segment was painful. Michael Cole’s segue to the Royal Pains premiere announcement was perhaps the worst. It was even worse than what I did just there.

Brian: I wouldn’t say “everything” as the Bella’s were in this segment.  Why would Perez be involved in any way physically.  That fall was awful.

PTB: Wade Barrett and R-Truth turned out to be a good pairing in the ring last week and the Disneyland bit was fun. I’m glad to see Truth is keeping the crazy, but being pushed as a face in his feud with the Miz.

Brian: I’m more of a fan of the Ron Killings monster heel from TNA, but I enjoyed him last week.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdFtWtwqV3M]

PTB: Miz and Truth are the combination Sheamus and Barrett should be paired with in tag matches not Santino Marella and Jinder Mahal as we saw over the last few weeks.

Brian: The problem is that Mahal has a small feud going on with Sheamus now on Smackdown.

PTB: An over the top rope challenge? Teddy Long decides against an easy tag match? It must be getting close to the Rumble.

Brian: I hate them.  So pointless.

PTB: Truth getting a win is kind of huge. I guess he’s out of the dog house following his suspension. Any chance he wins the Rumble?

Brian: Zero.  I call a returning Randy Orton wins or Chris Jericho.

PTB: I’d much rather see Jericho win than Orton.

We talked about Ric Flair with the announcement of the Four Horsemen going into the Hall of Fame two weeks ago. The 1992 Royal Rumble that he won was highlighted last week. Could Flair be coming back for more than the Hall of Fame?

Also, that Rumble was stacked with big name talent. It’s amazing.

Brain: That was one of my favorite Rumbles.

With the way they’ve been showcasing Flair on TV, you have to wonder.

PTB: I really liked that we only got a small dose of John Cena and Kane this week. Cena’s assault on Swagger did more to advance his angle than the past three weeks where he was on the screen for 40 minutes each night.

Brian: I liked his intensity too.

PTB: I’m still not sure about the Daniel Bryan heel turn, but the bit with AJ from Smackdown is an interesting twist. I also liked the way his ring entrance was paired with him addressing her injury after a collision with the Big Show and his “1000% fake crocodile tears.”

Brian: LOL

PTB: Bryan found himself in a main event tag team match with C.M. Punk and Chris Jericho against Ziggler, Mark Henry and David Otunga.

Jericho’s silence is working in the ring and splitting during the six-man tag match was great, but that backstage segment was hard to take. I was really laughing at the fact that he was still running around with the ringside crowd through the whole commercial break. I’m curious to know how the entire opposing team entered while his music was still playing.

Brian: The best part is that he’s doing the thing where he pushes his back against the guardrail to be against the fans like he used to do in WCW.

PTB: Ziggler and Bryan really blew a spot during the match but they recovered really quickly. I hate to see that as a guy could get hurt, but I’m impressed with how they handled it.

Brian: Definitely a good recovery.

PTB: Otunga got a real boost being in a match with top guys and even being taken out by Mick Foley. He’s been very visible with Laurinaitis, but showcasing him in the ring like that is new.

Brian: I still think Otunga is awful. His mic work is so forced.

PTB: Foley getting in there was actually kind of fun, but fun on an episode of Raw doesn’t translate to fun in the Rumble.

Punk really let Laurinaitis have it as the show was wrapping up. This was really the first time I’ve felt their feud was going somewhere. Once again Punk brought life to an angle with the mic.

Brian: The good that he does with his mic work shows that they need to get rid of these horribly scripted promos.

PTB: I hadn’t really thought about it before but both Punk and Laurinaitis are Chicago guys.

I’m not sure how I felt about “Johnny” lashing out at Foley after. In some ways it was awful, but I did like how his “My name is John Laurinaitis…” routine is the way he resets himself like it’s his “serenity now.”

Brian: It was nice to see some emotion, but he’s still horrible.

PTB: On a similar note, is Brodus Clay entertaining you at all? He is the only living breathing Funkasaurus in captivity.

Brian: Yeah, he’s fun.  I enjoy watching my son watching the TV and dancing to him.

PTB: With the Royal Rumble coming up this Sunday, I was very happy to see it that it will feature the traditional 30 entrants and I’m wondering if we’ll get a more complete picture of who’s included tonight on Raw.

Brian: Maybe, but the real question is what will be the time interval between entrants?

Read more about World Wrestling Entertainment on MyLatestDistraction.

Keep up with all of our weekly Monday Night Raw Warm Ups:
January 16th, 2012 edition / January 30th, 2012 edition

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