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Raw: Returns and surprises highlight the 2012 Slammy Award show
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Raw: It's the Slammy Awards. And they're more democratic than ever, with citizens of the WWE Universe controlling all of the outcomes. It's a black tie affair with Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler and JBL, live from Philadelphia on USA.

Match 1 – Rey Mysterio vs. Damien Sandow

Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain early on. No, I don't like typing its Latin name. Both Sin Cara and Mr. Mustache, Cody Rhodes, are on hand to support their partners. They trade some quick two counts before Mysterio hits the 619 and Drops the Dime to get the win.

Booker T comes out to introduce the first award, the “Tell Me I Did Not Just See That” Moment of the Year. He stresses the fact that you must download the app to vote. Also, the Boogeyman makes a random appearance. Brad Maddox comes out to claim his statue, but his appearance is premature, since Kofi Kingston is the actual winner. His acceptance speech is short and sweet.

Match 2 – Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn

This actually gets nasty right away, with the feuding Divas brawling out to the floor and going right at each other in the ring. There's also some pulling of hair. Kaitlyn gets the pin in what the announcers are calling an upset. I guess.

Oh you didn't know? The New Age Outlaws do their slightly sanitized post-Attitude Era introduction. They're here to present the Comeback of the Year award. The nominees are Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, DX and Lawler. To no one's surprise, The King takes the trophy, and he shows he's feeling good by running up to the stage.

Match 3 – Kofi Kingston vs. Tensai

Remember earlier this year when Tensai was built up to be kind of a tough out? Yeah, me neither. Kingston ends this bout quickly with Trouble in Paradise. The intrigue comes after the bell when Wade Barrett comes out and smashes Kofi outside the ring.

Vickie Guerrero does the dubious honors of presenting the Kiss of the Year award. I think AJ is in every one of these pairings. Actually, she is. She and Cena win the voting, and AJ just laughs off Vickie's attempts to get some answers from the seemingly unhinged Diva. Dolph Ziggler comes out to intervene, and AJ shows off her kissing skills with the Show Off. Guerrero is unamused.

Match 4 – The Great Khali vs. David Otunga

Not much to say about this one. Khali wins and does a little dancing with Natalya.

Wait, is Ric Flair in the house to present the Superstar of the Year award? Sounds like him, but they haven't shown him yet. After the commercial break, it is indeed the Nature Boy who hits the stage. Cena wins the award, which gets him a lot of boos to go with his cheers. John decides to give the trophy to Flair, which spurs CM Punk to crutch his way out from the back. The WWE Champion calls this ridiculous on multiple levels, something that could be said about this show as a whole. Since Punk has held the belt all year, he naturally thinks he should have won the award. After some verbal sparring, Punk declares that he could kick Flair's ass with one leg, and the Nature Boy invites him to the ring to back up his boast. A few commercials later, the brief showdown ends with Flair locking Paul Heyman in the Figure Four. Woooooooo! Flair wants to cut more promos, but The Shield is coming to the ring through the crowd. Uh-oh.

Things explode during the next commercial break, with Kane and Daniel Bryan unsuccessful in their attempt to save Flair. The Shield clears off the announce table, but Ryback is on his way to join the party. He drops Seth Rollins on the table, though it doesn't break. Ryback, Bryan and Kane shake hands with Flair as the Shield members lick their wounds somewhere out in the stands.

Kane, Bryan and Flair get into a “Yes! No! Whooo!” chorus in the back. Ron Simmons responds as only he can: “Damn!”

Match 5 – Brodus Clay vs. JTG

It's almost like the matches are filler tonight. Okay, it's a lot like that. Brodus wraps this one up quickly, and JTG fades back into obscurity.

The odd couple of Santino Marella and Tensai are out to present the “LOL” Moment of the Year statue. The Rock, Team Hell No, Randy Orton and Vickie Guerrero are all up for it. The Rock takes it home, getting some boos from the fans in hand in the arena since he's not there to accept it. Santino shows some honesty by saying he'll accept it on The Rock's behalf and will probably keep it. Bryan runs out to protest the fact that he didn't win, and Kane has to carry him to the back.

Match 6 – Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes

Hey, Sin Cara's special lighting is back for this one. JBL runs down all of Rhodes' awards and accomplishments dating back to high school (#NoReally). Sin Cara holds his own for a bit, but the power of the mustache is just too great, and the Cross Rhodes finishes the masked man off.

Zack Ryder and Layla are up next, ready to hand out the #trending now award. Wait, is the actual hashtag going to come out and accept the trophy? How does that work? Ryback's catchphrase wins, though it does not come out to get the statue.

Big Show gets some microphone time, apparently to let us know that he is not upset about failing to win a Slammy since he is still World Heavyweight Champion. He also has the XXXXL chair he used to defeat Sheamus on Sunday night. A “boring” chant breaks out, and Sheamus decides to make his entrance as well. The Celtic Warrior calls Show the better man after their brutal match and offers a handshake. Show accepts but can't resist running him down afterward. That turns out to be a tactical miscalculation, as Sheamus lays into him with the oversized chair. That thing is huge. #ThatsWhatSheSaid

Ah, but Ziggler runs down and tries to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot. Smart move, except that Cena is there to make sure he doesn't. Cena throws Ziggler into the barricade and leaves him out cold. The bell never rang, so Dolph gets to keep the briefcase, but that's a golden opportunity that has fallen by the wayside.

Ziggler storms backstage to demand action from Vickie on Cena's interference, but Dolph has some 'splaining of his own to do concerning AJ. The Show Off ends his relationship with Vickie with some hurtful words, and the managing supervisor books him and AJ to face Cena and... Vickie herself?

Match 7 – 3MB vs. Alberto Del Rio, The Miz and Tommy Dreamer

What an appropriate tag team partner for Del Rio and Miz considering the show is in Philly. All six men get into the ring fairly quickly, and Dreamer ends up flying off the top turnbuckle to take out the whole band on the floor. After a commercial break, 3MB actually fares pretty well for a while, but the good guys eventually get the win. I mean, I guess both Miz and Del Rio are faces now.

Former Newcomer of the Year winner Sheamus is the presenter for this year's award. Some good choices here, including Sandow, but you have to figure the voters will pick Ryback. As expected, the big man claims the trophy. He quotes Owen Hart during his short speech. Not too shabby for a guy who didn't even win his season of Tough Enough a few years back.

Match 8 – Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro

Cesaro is upset that he didn't win that last statue since he is stronger, smarter and a champion. Cesaro holds his own for a few minutes, even to the point where he sets up for a Neutralizer. Ryback back body drops his way out of that, and when he looks for the Meat Hook, Cesaro decides to take a powder. Ryback's attempt to chase him down goes for naught, and he has to content himself with a count-out victory.

Mean Gene Okerlund, Ricky Steamboat and Jim Ross all make an appearance to give out the last Slammy. It's for Match of the Year, something that Steamboat knows about. The nominees are: Undertaker-Triple H at WrestleMania, Lesnar-Cena at Extreme Rules, Sheamus-Big Show at Hell in a Cell and Rock-Cena at WrestleMania. The “End of an Era” match takes the honors, and a suit-wearing, short-haired Triple H comes to the stage. A “Thank you Hunter” chant erupts, and Trips teases that we have not seen the last of the Undertaker. He couldn't possibly be a part of this coming WrestleMania, could he?

Aw crap, The Shield is stomping the heck out of Dreamer in the back. Ricardo Rodriguez(!) and some referees run the heels off, but not before some pain for Ricardo.

AJ teases revealing the reason that she turned on Cena at the PPV, but Vickie times her arrival at exactly the wrong time, preventing us from hearing it.

Main Event – AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler vs. Vickie Guerrero and John Cena

The womenfolk have a brief showdown before letting the men do most of the fighting. The match isn't long though, because NXT Champion Big E Langston shows up to decimate Cena. Langston stands silently over Cena's prone body while AJ skips happily around the ring as Raw fades out for another week. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk thinks the three-hour commercial for the WWE app was brilliant even though it was annoying at the time. Now if you'll excuse him, he has to go download something. Reach out to him on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.