On the heels of the exciting and (mostly) action-packed TLC pay-per-view, WWE presented an episode of Raw devoid of much excitement or action. The annual Slammy Awards provided some quirky surprises — including the return of the Nature Boy — but offered little action amid all the talk and incessant reminders to download the WWE smartphone app. You can check out WrestleNewz’s full rundown of Raw here. Below is our take on the highlights, lowlights and other notable moments of the Dec. 17 Raw.
Best Match: There were matches? In between the Slammy Awards, recap videos and never-ending plugs for the WWE app, there was a scarcity of actual wrestling on the show. The main event involving Cena, Ziggler and ladies was a bit of a mess, but culminated with the main-roster debut of Big E. Langston, who was immediately given the hilarious and slightly offensive nickname of “Ryblack” on Twitter.
Unpredictable Cameo of the Night: Yes, Ric Flair made a surprise return, but if you had read the between the lines in the Nature Boy’s recent interview with WrestleNewz, you would have known he was coming back sooner or later. And it was great to see Tommy Dreamer, but considering that the show was being broadcast from Philadelphia, an appearance by an ECW stalwart wasn’t entirely shocking. So the biggest surprise cameo — and the one least likely to be repeated next week, was made by The Boogeyman.
Biggest storyline advancement: Amid the constant harassment to download the WWE smartphone app, there wasn’t much room for actual storytelling. The most important development was likely the debut of Big E. Langston at the very end of the show. An interesting cliffhanger that might add some more intrigue to Raw, if they know what to do with him.
Slammy That Actually Made Sense: Match of the Year honors went to Triple-H versus The Undertaker. Pretty tough to argue with that. Triple-H even managed to keep his acceptance speech relatively short. Wishful chants of “We Want Taker” went unfulfilled, though.
Worst Match: Kaitlyn vs. Eve Torres. Even though Kaitlyn got the upset win in this non-title match, it was still a short, clunky and inconsequential bit of filler between Slammy presentations.
Really? Really?! The middle-aged men at the commentary table repeatedly showed members of the WWE Universe (the vast majority of whom are under the age of 40 and technologically savvy) how to download apps for their smartphones.
Tearjerking Moment: Jerry Lawler jogged up the ramp to accept his Slammy Award for Comeback of the Year. Then, in typical Jerry Lawler fashion, wisecracked about how he was liable to give himself another heart attack.
Live TV Fail of the Night: Ric Flair’s “surprise” presence at Raw was prematurely revealed by a random “Wooo” played throughout the arena. So much for making fans wait through the commercial break to find out who the “special guest” was. It’s safe to assume that the soundman responsible has been sacked.
Jobber of the Night: Tensai. In his brief, losing effort against Kofi Kingston, Tensai exhibited less offense than the Brooklyn Brawler did at TLC. Then he Shockmastered his way onstage for a Slammy presentation while wearing an ice pack on his head. When you’re faring worse than the Brooklyn Brawler in the ring and tripping like the Shockmaster, it’s probably time to buy a one-way plane ticket back to Japan.
Best Tweet: @MaffewGregg (MaffewofBotchamania): ”3 Hour Raws are like those supermarket Deluxe Pizzas: Seem like a really good idea but when you finish it you never want to do it again.”
Best Chant: Amazingly, and probably for the first time in WWE history, a “CZ-DUB, CZ-DUB” chant was audible — a tribute to the violent indie Combat Zone Wrestling, in which Dean Ambrose used to wrestle/bleed.
Best Sign in the Crowd: I JUST MIZZED MY PANTS
Dumbest Slammy Category: Hashtag of the Year. WWE’s obsession with social media is really getting out of hand. The Slammy Award for Silliest Awards Show of All Time goes to the 2012 Slammy Awards.
WTF Moment: CM Punk revealed that that, although he may be the best in the world at wrestling, he is possibly the worst in the world at doing a Ric Flair “wooo” impression. It sounded more like a sea lion’s bark. Also, JTG is still employed by WWE, apparently.
Holy Sh** Moment: Poor Seth Rollins. Just 24 hours after taking the biggest bump of TLC by crashing through a stack of tables from a ladder, he got press-slammed face-first onto the announce table (which remained intact rather than collapsing — likely the more painful option). He still had plenty of spring in his step when it came time to pummel Tommy Dreamer backstage, though.
Commentary line of the night: ”This is your proverbial one-legged man in an ass kicking contest!” — John Bradshaw Layfield on the scuffle between Ric Flair and CM Punk.
Overall highlights: lots of appearances from familiar old faces (including Naitch), a new debut of an NXT monster, Paul Heyman took a figure four.
Overall lowlights: It was a 3-hour infomercial for the WWE smartphone app, which didn’t leave much time for actual wrestling.