Monday Night Raw – December 26, 2011 – GET THAT MASKED MAN A HUG!

Monday Night Raw
Date: December 26, 2011
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

After last week’s solid show, we close out the year with this one. There are still five weeks before the Rumble so they could easily burn another show here and things would still be fine. It should be interesting to see where they go here because there really aren’t any matches set up for the PPV, other than maybe Ziggler vs. Ryder II. Other than that there isn’t anything really clear. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Punk….and never mind as it’s Ace coming out to his music and in a Punk shirt. He says it’s a microcosm of the unpredictability that you’ve gotten under his leadership. The future begins tonight and here’s Punk. After a loud chant for him, he says that if he didn’t know any better, Ace is trying to antagonize him. Why shouldn’t Punk just kick him in the face right now? Ace says he can’t because he’ll get fired.

Tonight, Punk has the night off. Oh and he’s kidding again. Tonight Punk is wrestling up to three times in a gauntlet match. If any of them beats him, that person gets a title shot next week. Punk wants to know what happens if he wins all three matches. Ace doesn’t know, so Punk suggests he gets a shot at Ace if he does. Ace eventually agrees. Punk’s posing is cut off by the latest video. It says he is coming and that he’ll reclaim what is his. The words this time are The End Begins Next Monday.

Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes

Non-title here. Cole and Jerry has an actual lighthearted argument over who sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Hiptoss gives Booker an early advantage and a slam gets two. Snap suplex gets one. Axe kick misses though and Rhodes takes over with a neckbreaker. Out to the floor goes Booker and we take a break. Back with Booker taking over. He spins into the corner though and an elbow takes him down. Off to a crossface chickenwing

Clothesline gets two for Cody. The fans of course chant for Booker and Cody is getting frustrated. Booker fights back and it’s boo/yay tonight. Cody dropkicks him down and works the arm. Camel clutch goes on and Booker gets sent into the corner. He gets his feet up though and looks like he needs oxygen. Side slam gets two. The Jack Brisco sunset flip doesn’t look that good as it gets two. Rollup gets two for Cody. The Beautiful Disaster looks to have been short and it gets two. Cross Rhodes is countered but the side kick misses. The axe kick hits though and it gets the clean pin at 12:06.

Rating: C. The sloppiness hurt it and I’m not sure I like the idea of Cody losing clean. Booker looked kind of old here, but it’s what, his fourth match this year? Not bad and I guess the rematch is coming at the Rumble? Also the booking isn’t bad as he lost when he got beaten down before the match but wins when it’s even. That’s not as bad.

Ryder tells Cena that he owes Cena for everything. Cena says no, you don’t. Everything was Ryder getting here on his own. Cena is going a-Kane hunting though.

Jerry got a note saying that we’ll learn the three opponents for Ace soon. Oh ok he’s going to announce them. The three opponents are Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry.

Kelly has some weird flirting moment with Show when a referee says he’s needed elsewhere.

Ace says Brodus is debuting next week on Raw. Show comes in and Ace talks about Otunga jumping him last week. Otunga says that’s a lawsuit and Show says he can beat Otunga with an arm behind his back.

Swagger and Ziggler trade insults when Vickie comes in and says it doesn’t matter who gets the show. Henry comes in and says excuse me. Ok then.

Eve Torres/Zack Ryder vs. Tyson Kidd/Natalya

….seriously? This is kind of a step down for Ryder isn’t it? Eh well he was getting over and he wasn’t in the original WWE plans so you know they’re not going to be happy with it. Cole says that July 23rd will be the 1000th episode of Raw. Oh my that could be BAD. The guys start and nothing happens so it’s off to the chicks. Eve does her dancing moonsault and it’s back to the guys. We get stereo Broski Boots and the Rough Ryder ends this at 3:00. No idea why Ryder was in this.

Here’s Cena who isn’t well received by the fans. He acknowledges that the fans aren’t happy with him and there’s a Cena Sucks chant. Cena talks about how there’s magic in this building in the form of three Wrestlemanias. Chicago inducted Eddie Guerrero into the Hall of Fame, which draws an Eddie chant. Also, right here in this building, CM Punk beat him for the WWE Championship.

New York is considered the capital of the WWE, but after seeing another show like this here in Chicago, he’s not sure about that. Cena has somehow gotten the Chicago crowd on his side. Right now though, he’s going to call out Kane. Cue Miz instead. Miz wants to face him right now because the win at Mania was tainted. Miz wants Rock to beat Cena and tonight he wants the last image of 2011 to be him standing tall over Cena. Cena wants Miz to shut up and wash the tan off his body. Get a referee out here right now and let’s do it.

John Cena vs. The Miz

The fan that catches Cena’s shirt won’t throw it back. Good, he’d be stupid to do so. Cena controls early with a headlock and the fans are split on him. That’s a step up for him in Chicago. Miz heads to the floor and grabs a mic. The fans are chanting for the wrong person so he’s out of here. It’s a countout at 2:30, most of which happened during Miz ranting against Chicago.

Miz sets for his catchphrase and here’s R-Truth for the on the floor brawl. So I guess Truth is face again. He destroys Miz and says he could finish Miz right now, but there’s no fun in that. It’s like Christmas: once you open the presents, it’s all over. Every Monday Night should be like Christmas, so he’s going to take his time getting to Miz, because Little Jimmy says it’s ok. Truth hits him with a water bottle to end this.

Kane is officially here.

Big Show vs. David Otunga

Show must have an arm tied behind his back. It’s the right arm too so there’s no knockout punch or chokeslam. He’ll be at the relentless mercy of the offense of DAVID OTUNGA. Otunga gets sent to the floor and here’s Mark Henry. The match is officially thrown out at 2:00 despite Henry not touching him.

Henry clotheslines him down and here’s Bryan to distract show. He runs and Henry gets the arm loose. Otunga breaks up a chokeslam and takes it himself. Show officially wins by DQ. HENRY NEVER TOUCHED HIM!!!!

Here’s Del Rio but in a wheelchair. Ricardo, in a neckbrace, does the intro anyway. Jerry makes me laugh by giving us the information of the wheelchair, which is valued at about $200! Del Rio confirms the true rumor that he tore his groin last week. He says he’ll be back and here are the Bellas to berate the crowd. One of them says they’ll throw a party in his honor. It’s Nikki apparently. They get in an argument over who gets to throw the party so Alberto yells at them. He throws them out and blast it as they were looking good tonight. His New Year’s Resolution is that he’ll be champion again.

CM Punk vs. Jack Swagger/Dolph Ziggler/Mark Henry

It’s a gauntlet match and if someone beats Punk, they get a title shot next week. If Punk sweeps it, he gets a match with Ace, presumably tonight. The opponents are in the order listed so Swagger is up first. Swagger hooks a test of strength but Punk stays on his head to keep from going down. Here come the kicks but Jack comes back with a gutbuster to take over.

Punk tries a cross body off the top but Swagger (almost) catches him in another gutbuster for two. At least he has a strategy. He sets for the Vader Bomb but Punk jumps up and catches him in the GTS position. That doesn’t work so Punk kicks him in the head for the pin at 3:27. Here’s Ziggler next but Swagger takes out the knee almost immediately before the bell.

Punk says he can go and we take a break. Back with Ziggler working on the knee. Sweet dropkick gets two for Dolph. Punk fights back with a slingshot and tries a neckbreaker but Dolph goes back to the leg. Off to a half crab which lasts awhile. Punk fights back and the knee isn’t hurting so much now.

Using the good leg he fires off some kicks to the back and a big kick to the head for two. Fameasser is blocked and there’s the running knee in the corner. Vickie breaks up the GTS and the Fameasser hits this time for two. Cue Johnny Ace who ejects Vickie and Swagger. This is happening while Punk has Ziggler covered. The distraction lets the Zig Zag end Punk at 13:27.

Rating: C+. This was the ending I expected actually. It seemed too easy to go the way it was looking. Ziggler vs. Punk could be awesome if they give it enough time, which they probably won’t. Decent stuff here though and it’s good to see Dolph getting a chance to headline a Raw as he’s earned so far.

Here’s Kane to end the show. He talks about how the mask is his real face and everyone else is hiding. Cue Cena but Kane throws up a wall of fire to stop him. Kane says Cena is his target because Cena preaches to rise above hate. This world is a dark place and people should hate. Everyone hates, so why rise above it? He says that there’s hatred in Cena but he’s hiding from it. There’s a Cena chant. In Chicago. Man that’s scary.

Kane talks about how Cena will be free once he embraces the hate. Now the chant is dueling so the world is more correct. The people are going to help Cena embrace his hate. The last thing Cena will hear is them chanting Cena sucks. Kane needs some lessons from the Spirit Squad because they don’t go along with Kane’s idea. There’s a mild dueling chant and Cena has to overact and make it seem like it was deafining. He hangs his head to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. I wasn’t so huge on this show. There’s some ok stuff in here but the show felt like other than the beginning, there was a lot of stuff just thrown in there with no real thinking behind it. I liked the ending as we got a reasonable (by Kane’s standards) explanation of why he’s going after Cena. Dolph vs. Punk should be good and that’s what they’re shooting for here, which is ok. Not a terrible show but kind of weak.

Booker T b. Cody Rhodes – Axe Kick
Zack Ryder/Eve Torres b. Tyson Kidd/Natalya – Rough Ryder to Kidd
John Cena b. The Miz via countout
Big Show b. David Otunga via DQ when Mark Henry interfered
Dolph Ziggler b. CM Punk – Zig Zag

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