Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 11/20/14

We open with a Martin Luther King tribute video. Nothing snarky to say about that.

The people in the front row are weird looking, even for a wrestling audience.

Mick Foley is here for reasons to be determined.

Punk and Bryan are going to face Ziggler and Henry later.  In addition Ryder vs. Swagger is promoted, but Cole doesn’t think Ryder is going to make it, what with his death last week.

Mick is here because he wanted to go to Disneyland. I doubt the people of Anaheim is all that proud of Disneyland, but then the closest thing I have to proud of like that is Six Flags over Mid-America, so maybe I’m wrong. When Mick came back he understood he was their for nostalgia purposes, and he’s fine with that. Mentions “This is Your Life John Cena” which gets LOUD more or less unprompted boos. That made me laugh. Foley wants to wrestle another match for his two smaller children. He’s entering the Royal Rumble (referencing the 30 man number, which hopefully means they’re going back to that number of dudes in the match). Vickie out with Dolph. Dolph looking dapper in a Miami Vice sorta way. Dolph is about to kill Foley I’m guessing. Ziggler thinks it’s totally unfair of Foley to get a shot in the Rumble when a more deserving actually active wrestler should get that spot. Hard to argue with that. Dolph references going to one of Foley’s stand up comedy shows, noting that Foley “tries.” Then Dolph does his impression of Foley’s kids watching Mick quickly getting eliminated from the Rumble, ending with a nice line about them “hoping daddy didn’t eat our lunches again.” Foley thinks he could be eliminated quickly, which would make entering the biggest mistake of his life. I’d wager having a camera crew film your family watching you take 15 or twenty unprotected chairshots would still rank higher. Foley thinks that there could be some magic that day, the same magic that led to his three title reigns, so maybe he could win. Which is his goal, is the point. Dolph works all year for his dreams. DOLPH MAKES FUN OF HOW JOHN CENA RUNS. This is the best show in months already. Dolph says Cena ran from him last week and then says that he beat Punk two weeks in a row before that. Dolph is positively pissed off at the idea that he could win the title at the Rumble and then have to defend it against the corpse of Mick Foley at Mania. Dolph selling anger awesomely here. They have a staredown for a bit, and then Dolph says that Foley came here to make one point, not two, that point being to make a fool out of himself, which he succeeded admirably at. Tell’s Foley “It’s over, Go Home, eat a salad, buy a new shirt, go away.” Harsh, harsh this man is.

Punk out, presumably to say nice things about Foley.

Punk does the cheap pop deal, and then Ziggler interuppts to point out they steal their clothes from the same homeless man. Punk says that he and Foley are the same because they’re unconventional, and because they don’t need to hide behind a woman. “Not much of a woman.” This is an oddly personal opening segment. Punk and Foley earned their achievements, unlike Ziggler and Laurinaitis. His examples of their lack of hard work aren’t so great. Punk is going to be champion after the Rumble, because he’s the best wrestler in the world. He thinks it would be cool to wrestle Foley at Mania for the title. Sorta sad they can’t even claim to headline that deal, because, well, you know. Vickie then pipes in with “Somewhere between anorexia and grossly obese there is a wrestler out here name Dolph Ziggler…” but she gets cut off by Punk, who insinuated she has an eating disorder. Which would make sense after the years she spent on national television being called a fat pig by Jerry Lawler. Laurinaitis out in turn to cut off Punk. He confirms his title, his plans to be unbiased reffing at the Rumble, and the fact that he’ll think about letting Foley enter. Nash and Booker were smart not to announce their plans to enter last year before the match, because apparently they’d have gotten shot down. Oh, Johnny already thought about it, and says no. Then Vickie cackles in Foley’s face for a really uncomfortably long time. And… Kofi and Zach are walking in back. Cole acknowledges them losing the tag titles on a house show to Primo Z & Epico yesterday, so apparently that actually happened in canon. We’re getting a rematch for the titles next.

A movie with the Rock and Luis Guzman? I’ve already bought a ticket.

We come back with everybody already in the ring. Rosa is very pleased. Then we get a video recap of the title win last night. They won more or less cleanly. I did not appreciate Rosa before, but goddamn, I was mistaken.

WWE Tag Champions Primo & Epico vs. Air Boom
This gets maybe three minutes. Bourne hurracanrana’s one Puerto Rican into the other in a nice spot. Kofi gets Trouble in Paradise on Epico but instead of pinning him Kofi tags Bourne, who goes up. Kofi gets attacked by Primo outside, who kills Kofi on a post. This distracts Evan long enough for Epico to get up, knock him off the top, and get the backstabber (which Bourne hilariously oversells) for the pin. Well then. Rosa is happy, and I’m happy for her.

John is in back texting. Otunga wanders up and gives him a mysterious envelope, then informs him that “you know who” is on the other side of the door. Otunga lets the man in, who is then informed while off camera that he and Otunga have been added to the previously mentioned main event, making it a six man. Camera turns to reveal Jericho, who smiles at this information. He then turns off the lights and turns on his jacket. Well, that’s awesome.  Crowd is gonna keep cheering Jericho it seems.

Smackdown is gonna be “Sin City Smackdown” this week. I cannot even fathom why this would influence anyone to watch, or not watch, Smackdown on Friday.

Ah. Apparently that thing Otunga gave Laurinaitis was Ryder’s medicals. Ryder is in back with his rips taped up, arguing with Eve. After last week if I was either one of them I’d resign from the company and be looking for alternative lines of work. Josh Matthews is here to find out if Zach has been medically cleared to compete. He has not. Eve thinks he should be at home. See? She’s mothering him again. Zach is so in. Zach is going to the ring, and if anyone thinks he’s going to forfeit his title they’re full of crap. Eve is gonna come to the ring as well, she guesses. They’re a lovely  couple. We get a video recap of last weeks’ Kane related unpleasantness. They basically show the entire Zach asks Eve out segment within this, now with poignant music. Music gets sadder when Kane ruins the fun of these crazy kids.

Swagger out for his US Title match. Swagger is getting this title shot as a do over for the whole botched count deal from last week. That probably shouldn’t be shown on television ever again, but they do anyway. Now we break.

Now we come back. Zach out. What is his character’s interest in radio, exactly? Eve gives a very half-hearted fist pump at the end of woo woo woo, which accurately conveys my feelings about it.

US Champion Zach Ryder vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger goes right to work on the back, getting two Doctorbombs in like two minutes, with Zach kicking out both times. Swagger, rather than looking around in disbelief or arguing with the ref, drops five God I Hate You elbows on Zach’s back, picks him up, hits his finish again, and pins him. I heartily approve of this. Swagger is your new United States Champion. Eve is sad and Vickie is happy.

Main Event promoed, now with more Jericho and Otunga.

Video recap of Swagger winning leads to Eve and a trainer dealing with poor dead Zach Ryder. Laurinaitis comes in to apologize for letting Ryder wrestle when he wasn’t medically cleared (Laurinaitis “just found this out” it seems, which is a nice subtle heel touch). Eve is all “No you didn’t” on Johnny but Johnny reminds her he deserves respect and leaves.

Perez Hilton is here. That sucks. Perez has lost a lot of weight and isn’t dying his hair stupid colors anymore, so good for him I guess. He’s the ring announcer for our diva’s match, so at least all the suck can be in one segment. Perez is here because of something to do with fitness, his blog, and the face divas. So yes, Perez Hilton is a face in the WWE Universe. **** you Vince McMahon.

Bellas vs. Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox
King keeps calling Perez “Paris,” so at least there’s that. Match last forty seconds. Bellas attempt a switch, so Perez grabs the one in the ring and violently yanks her out so she goes splat. That looked painful. When she gets up to protest he calmly informs her “don’t cheat.” The other Bella in the ring is upset she’s just seen this man injure her sister so she is distracted enough to get rolled up by Kelly to lose the match. This roll up goes alongside last weeks super embarrassing small package in level of failure. Its like the divas are having a competition to see who can **** up simple pin attempts more.

Kelly hugs Perez a lot. Bella’s in to confront Perez, who makes fists but is then pushed down. The face wimmens tell them to leave and Perez acts tough some more. This sucked.

Recap of Big Show accidentally murdering AJ last week on Smackdown. Poor AJ. Later Bryan is going to update us on his poor girlfriend’s condition.

Video recap of the “Fair for Flair” Rumble. Dear god was that a great day in the sport.

Truth is here. Crowd doesn’t seem to fully get the face turn. Before he can drop some knowledge on us Barrett interrupts with “Pardon the interruption R-Truth, if that is your real name.” I’m easy, that made me laugh. Wade is gonna win the Rumble and Truth is crazy. I would contend no one would be well served by wrestling in a straightjacket. Truth doesn’t understand why Wade talks like that or why Wade is so angry. Disneyland is clearly the writers only reference point for Anaheim, which to be fair is about where I stand. Truth misses Wade’s smile.  Truth has worked What into his gimmick as a face, which is sort of brilliant, and could theoretically end that abomination once and for all. We get pictures of Truth at Disneyland with Mickey, Minnie, and Donald. Wade demands Truth stop this foolishness. So Wade gets to see a picture of Truth with Pinochio, who Truth informs us told him that Wade was going to win the Rumble. Then Pinochio’s nose somehow grows on a Poloroid. While I was busy hating this Truth saves it somewhat with “I don’t even know if that’s PG.” Truth believes a mouse can talk and an elephant can fly, but he doesn’t believe for one second that Wade can win the Rumble. At this point Miz jumps Truth (sure was weird Truth had pretaped comedy pictures for a feud with Barrett he didn’t know he was having), Wade joins in, and then Sheamus runs out to make the save. Teddy Long coems out to make the obvious match. Or not. He makes on over the top rope challenge with these four dudes instead because of the Rumble and all. Then it seems like Teddy is about to give the winner a prize of some sort, but instead he just confirms that the winner of an over the tope rope challenge will be the dude who throws people over the top rope.

R-Truth vs. Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett vs. Miz Over the Top Rope Challenge
They have a slow, punchy kicky battle Royal for a minute, and then Miz helps Truth and Sheamus eliminate Barrett. Truth attacks Sheamus while Sheamus is beating on Miz. They’re teaching us how battle royals work, is the point. Miz thinks he’s eliminated Truth, who lays on the apron forever while Miz and Sheamus fight. Truth finally comes back and throws both guys out while they’re attempting to eliminate each other. Truth is our winner, being that he’s the man standing in the ring. Miz does some arguing with Truth in the ring so Sheamus hits him with the Brogue Kick on the floor.

In back Cena confronts Laurinaitis about the further injury to his special best friend Zach Ryder. Johnny explains to Cena that humans make mistakes. He makes Kane vs. Cena for the Rumble and Swagger vs. Cena… next. What did Swagger do other than win the title match he was given?!

Swagger is airplaning in the ring, not put off at all about the unfairness of his circumstance. Swagger would like to know what his name is. Cena is here to Rise Above Hate by beating the **** out of Jack Swagger (which to be fair I think is the actual point). He jumps him before the bell and with serious face just destroys poor Swagger. Swagger didn’t want to hurt Ruder earlier King, he wanted to win a wrestling match. John Cena is just being a dick. He throws Swagger into the steps, and then repeatedly slams him head first into them. Finally Cena stands over Swagger while he’s dead on the steps, picks up the other half of the steps with the seeming intent to crush Poor Swagger’s head, and finally out comes Kane (on a video screen) to confirm the message of the segment for the veiwer at home. Cena is sad to learn he’s embraced hate in the ring, and we go to break.

We return with a lot of words about the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Funkettes get to announce Brodus Clay now. They do not do that very well. They come and dance and such. Brodus now does Tyranosaurus Rex hands in his dance, which I approve of. JTG is on the outside, disgusted that this is where his career has come to.

Brodus Clay vs. JTG
Brodus is indeed calling all his spots in the ring loudly as part of the gimmick, which is amusing. More amusing is when he randomly yells “Should I get him?” Brodus wins with the avalanche/cross body combo he used last week. I’m not gonna lie to you. I sorta liked this.

Afterwards Brodus has each Funkette drop it like it is a high temperature.

We get another recap of Show killing AJ last week. This one is longer. Really like this angle.

Daniel Bryan is out, presumably to call Show more names. He looks sad that his little pixie girlfriend is dead. Bryan calls Show a “cruel, inhospitable freak.” Bryan confirms AJ weighs 95 pounds. He also confirms AJ has been traumatized and will never be the same. Bryan thinks Show did it on purpose just to hurt Bryan and get the title off him. Bryan is further angered by the lack of an apology, and of course all the crying. Bryan thinks Show should stop showing up on Smackdown, and then threatens him if he does. Announces he’s wrestling Henry on Smackdown, and dedicates that match to AJ. Crowd is properly turning against Bryan. “Last week she told me she loved me… and I appreciate that.” I also love you Daniel Bryan. Six man is starting now with twenty minutes left in the show. It could be argued that all three guys on the face side of this are actually heels, at least if you subscribe to the theory that Punk is still a manipulative dick who just chooses to act facelike for the fun of it at them moment.

Jericho makes sure to go say hi to Mr. Belding in the crowd. Of course he does.

We come back from break, and all of the heels are in the ring but Jericho’s music is still playing and he’s still walking around the ring shaking hands. That’s just fantastic. Punk out and we get things going.

CM Punk, Chris Jericho, and Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, and David Otunga
So the crowd really wanted to see Chris Jericho, loudly chanting for him on several occasons. Finally Punk tags him in, he looks happy, gets the crowd to cheer some more, then tags Bryan and leaves still happy and crowd pleasing. They for the most part, still won’t boo him. Bryan looks properly perplexed. I should point out that Jericho is wearing short tights when he wrestles still, which displeases me. We get a commercial off that. We come back with Bryan getting his ass kicked. Eventually he and Henry brawl to the back, leaving poor Punk all alone aganst Ziggler and Otunga. Well, Bryan is more beaten slowly to the back, but you get the idea. So now Foley comes out, says that Laurinaitis said he could join the match, and eventually beats Otunga with his usual array of stuff, ending with Mr. Socko.

Laurinaitis out. He would like us “to hold on a minute, please.” He’s a polite man. Laurinaitis says he didn’t give Foley permission to be in the match and reverses the decision. Punk is so very annoyed right now. He takes the microphone from Johnny and is just an absolute dick, dressing down Laurinaitis for his career path. Punk wants crowd to chant boring at poor Johnny. The point is that Johnny is jealous of Punk for the career Punk has had, and this will lead to Laurinaitis screwing Punk at the Rumble. Punk assures Johnny that if he screws him he’s going to beat him just so dead you won’t even beleive it. If he wasn’t planning on screwing Punk at the Rumble before he sure as hell should now after taking all that. Punk finishes by calling Laurinaitis pathetic and shoving the microphone back in his hands. Then he leaves. Laurinaitis has had his feelings significantly hurt by this turn of events. He and Foley are still in the ring. John confirms who he is and what he does, and then says he is not pathetic, and that he will not be intimidated by CM Punk. Foley butts in and wants Laurinaitis to admit he is going to screw Punk. He then calls Laurinaitis names too. All the faces on this show are assholes. Laurinaitis wants to know who the hell Foley thinks he is. He confirms to Foley that “damn right” he’s going to screw Punk. He does his job and he does it damn well. As such he’s sick and tired of being pushed around and disrespected. He doesn’t like being bullied either. How is this man not the face in this situation? He just wants to be appreciated, and he’s not going to take it anymore. Then he hits Foley in the face with the mic. I loved this segment.

This was the best RAW in ages, with nothing actively offensive outside of the divas, which is pretty much all you can ask for.





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