Raw: Slammys and Four-Ways and masks, oh my!
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
I don't get paid extra to recap an extra hour of Raw. So I'm doing this one for the love, as we've got three hours in front of us due to the inclusion of the awards that will smoke the Emmys, Grammys and Oscars on Twitter, the Slammy Awards. Raw is live and long from Norfolk, Virginia, so let's get to it.
If ever there was an excuse to add another 60 minutes to Raw, the Slammy Awards show is probably it. We're wasting no time getting to the awards, as Booker T and Hornswoggle come out to present the "Tell Me I Did Not Just See That Moment of the Year." The nominees are Jim Ross dancing, Santino nearly winning the Royal Rumble, R-Truth getting a drink in the face from little Jimmy and The Miz impersonating The Rock. And the winner is... good ol' J.R. for breaking out his moves like Jagger. Ross says he never thought he'd win a Slammy for getting jiggy with it, and Michael Cole gets up from the announce table to object. He says we're just one award in and the show is already a sham. For some reason, Booker wants J.R. to respond to Cole's insults by defeating him in a rap off. Yes, this is actually happening. Cole goes first, and Booker correctly tells him it's the worst rap he's ever heard. Ross' rhymes are even worse, to be honest -- he seems like he actually forgot his verse -- but the fans still give him some love. We also get treated, if that's the right word, to a JR-roonie, which is exactly what you think it is. Dancing, rapping, who knew Ross had so many hidden talents?
Mick Foley and Ted DiBiase Sr. come out to award the next statue for "Holy Moment of the Year." Mick gets the quick cheap pop and admits that he's a natural to give out this award because he's been in so many of these moments. After a quick joke at Foley's expense, we get to the nominees: Sheamus powerbombing Sin Cara through a ladder, Randy Orton hitting Christian with an RKO onto the steel steps, Big Show and Mark Henry destroying the ring at Vengeance and Evan Bourne somersaulting off a ladder onto multiple opponents. And the winner is... er, winners are... Big Show and Mark Henry. Show comes out solo to accept the award, saying he'd like to add the World Heavyweight Championship to that statue. He'd also like to wrestle instead of just talk, so it looks like we're actually going to have a match.
Match 1 – The Big Show vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett thinks the award may have been a bit premature because he plans to do something even worse to Orton at TLC. Perhaps we're getting a sneak preview of sorts, as Barrett attempts to use a chair to win this one. That may be legal on Sunday, but not today, and Barrett is disqualified before Show tosses him out of the ring.
Oh, you didn't know? The Road Dogg is back to introduce the nominees for "Pipe Bomb of the Year." Apparently there are a ton of them. But the little statue ends up going to the WWE Champion, CM Punk. Instead of the usual arm candy, Punk comes out escorted by a mannequin. It's a prop to use for his joke, comparing it to John Laurinaitis in areas like blandness and anatomical correctness. To the blaring sounds of "The Touch" from the Transformers animated movie, we get some video highlights of Johnny Ace's career. Nice.
A night of returns continues as Lita arrives to present the award for "Divalicious Moment of the Year." Kelly Kelly, Kharma and Beth Phoenix are among the nominees. I would have given it to Phoenix for nailing Eve Torres with the Glam Slam off the top rope, but the award goes to Kelly. Pin Up Strong tries to interrupt her moment, but Kelly smacks Phoenix to send her off licking her wounds.
Next up is Santino Marella and the Bella Twins, out to present the award for "OMG Moment of the Year." The nominees are HHH giving a tombstone to The Undertaker, The Rock hitting a Rock Bottom on John Cena, the superstars walking out on Triple H and Punk winning the WWE Championship in Chicago. Triple H is the winner, and he's actually back to accept the statue, sledgehammer in hand. Trips gets in the ring to inform us that the real "OMG" moment was when Undertaker could not leave the ring under his own power after their match at WrestleMania. He also wants to talk about Kevin Nash and asks to see the video of Big Sexy's attack on him a few months ago. Triple H wonders if his entire 16-year relationship with Nash was based on lies and promises to end his former friend's career on Sunday.
David Otunga and Tony Atlas are paired up to present the award for "#trending Star of the Year." Atlas can't stop laughing as Otunga attempts to explain this one. The nominees are Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder. It looks like they are going to compete in a Fatal Four-Way Match, and the winner will be announced when the bout is complete. #overcomplicated
Match 2 – Zack Ryder vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ryder flies out to the floor right away and Bryan menaces Cole over by the announce table. After a commercial break, Rhodes tries to take advantage of Ryder and Bryan after they soften each other up. The heels agree to cooperate for a bit, but Ziggler breaks that truce by trying to roll up Rhodes. For some reason, we need to go to a second set of commercials. Hopefully the fans in the arena are enjoying this one. We return to see all four men down after suplexes from opposite corners. Ziggler and Rhodes slug it out until a crazy sequence of finishers end with Ziggler putting Bryan away with the Zig Zag. Jerry Lawler enters the ring to announce Ryder as the winner of the Slammy, but all that gets him is his own Zig Zag. Naturally, Cole thinks it's well deserved.
Despite being on crutches, Christian makes his way to the podium. He gives himself the "Courageous Moment of the Year" (an imaginary award, but aren't they all?) for showing up even though he is recovering from numerous injuries. He's also a little irritated about not getting nominated for some of the other awards, and he blames the WWE Universe. Anyway, the nominees for "Game Changer of the Year" are HHH firing Vince McMahon, Edge retiring, Kevin Nash still being around and The Rock and John Cena agreeing to face off at next year's WrestleMania. And the winner is (crap, winners are!)... Rock and Cena, giving you know who a chance to see how the fans are treating him today. Cena sends the crowd into a frenzy by saying he can't take all the credit for this award and introducing The Rock. Sarcastically acting surprised that Rocky isn't there, Cena says he hopes that his opponent will be at his very best in April. The heel turn is right there, ever so close, but it seems the WWE is going to keep us guessing.
Match 3 – Alberto Del Rio and The Miz vs. Randy Orton and CM Punk
All four men get to work in the first few minutes, but the heels gradually take the advantage by doing what heels do. Give yourself a point if you predicted a commercial break in here too. Miz has Punk in some trouble when we return. The champ ends up isolated for some time as Orton seethes from the apron. Punk finally escapes from a Skull-Crushing Finale, but Barrett drops Orton off the apron so Punk has nobody to tag. Punk struggles valiantly but ends up getting pinned after the SCF. Miz and Del Rio pile on the punishment after the bell, aided by a ladder.
Here's an interesting pair of presenters: Vickie Guerrero and Goldust. Not sure what the award is officially called, but the nominees are the top guest stars from 2011. Cee-Lo Green should get this just for having the cojones to wear that bedazzled choir robe when he performed. Instead, the Slammy goes to Snooki. She's not there to pick it up, but she does give a shout out to Ryder during her pre-recorded message.
Mark Henry wastes a minute of our time by delivering a message to Cena (via Josh Mathews) about getting inducted into the Hall of Pain. Wait, is that a real place?
Match 4 – Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
Ah, maybe we won't be having this match after all. Mahal taunts Sheamus on his way down to the ring, but the Great White greets him with a Brogue Kick as soon as he steps through the ropes. Yep, no match. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
I'll admit that I'm looking forward to the 2012 launch of the WWE Network. I'm just not sure that having Cole and Lawler jam every possible cool tech buzzword into their plug for it is making me want to see it more. Guys, we get it. It's going to be interactive. And we know the WWE is definitely out in front of many organizations when it comes to social media awareness. You just don't need to jam it down our throat all the time.
We're finally getting to the big one, the award for "Superstar of the Year." Come to think of it, that may be the only Slammy that is consistent from year to year. Oft-injured but much beloved Rey Mysterio makes an appearance to present it. The nominees are Orton, Miz, Punk, Del Rio, Henry and Cena. Punk is the winner, but Laurinaitis comes out instead of the champ. He humbly accepts the award since Punk "is currently in no condition" to do it himself.
Time for another spooky video for the second day of 2012. Today's hint is "Control."
Main Event – Mark Henry vs. John Cena
One more set of ads before we really get into this? Sure, why not? In any case, when people are booing you while you are beating up Henry, things really are bad. Henry escapes an Attitude Adjustment with his sheer bulk, getting a two count in the process. He puts the boots to Cena in the corner and grabs him in a huge bear hug in the center of the ring. Henry hits the World's Strongest Slam only to be interrupted by some familiar pyro. It's Kane, making his return with a bigger mask and a choke slam for Cena. He removes the big mask to reveal the familiar one beneath it, standing over Cena as we fade out. See you in seven.
Nick Tylwalk has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since the late '90s, a dark time when Mark Zuckerberg was just entering high school and Biz Stone had yet to meet Evan Williams. Discuss how pro wrestling was able to survive, even thrive in such a barbaric age by following Nick's Twitter feed (yes, he appreciates the irony and hypocrisy) @Nick_Tylwalk or writing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.