PUNK’S MUSIC FILLS THE ARENA AND…out comes Johnny Ace with a Best in the World shirt on top of his suit. Glorious. He calls himself EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF TALENT RELATIONS AND INTERIM GM OF MONDAY NIGHT RAW AND MR. EXCITEMENT. People say he brought about the new Golden Era. This era will continue tonight at the home of the WWE Champion. Ace says he’s a Punk believer. AND HERE COMES PUNK to the approval of the hometown crowd. Punk says Ace is antagonizing him wearing his shirt. He says there are some questions…like what’s stopping him from kicking Ace in the face. Ace says he’s Punk’s boss and has taken management classes and learned to empower his talent. Oh god, Ace is funnier when he’s trying to be serious. Since it’s the holiday season, Ace would like to give Punk a holiday gift: The night off…PSYCH! See? Ace can be unpredictable. Punk and Chicago make fun of Ace’s predictability. Ace says he listens to the fans and they want to see Punk in action. Ace books Punk in a Gauntlet (uh oh) against three opponents of his choosing. And if one of them wins against Punk, he’ll get a WWE Championship match next week on the first Raw of 2012. Punk’s up for a challenge and asks what happens if he beats all three? Ace says he hadn’t given it much though, which of course Punk predicted. Punk says Ace isn’t a forward thinker. Luckily, Punk has an idea. WHEN he beats Ace’s three guys, he wants to give Chicago a fourth match: Punk vs. Ace. Ace says “You don’t want any of this”. Oh god. First of all, it’d be totally unfair to Punk. After wrestling thrice, there won’t be much there and it won’t look good for Ace to beat the World Champ. But, Ace DID say he listens to the WWE universe, so Punk polls the fans and asks them if they want to see Punk vs. Johnny Ace and they approve. Ace accepts! OH SHIT! MY BALLS! BUT NEVERMIND THAT SHIT, END OF THE WORLD PROMO. THE POWERS THAT BE WILL BE SHAKEN. THE END BEGINS NEXT MONDAY. BUT NEXT! Booker T Vs. Cody Rhodes!
WE CAN DIG IT SUCKAAAAAA! Booker arrives and they recap his feud with Rhodes. And here comes Cody to the delight of one girl in the crowd. Booker and Cody lock up and Booker still has it. Booker gets some nice offense and gets 2 off of a scoop slam. But Cody takes over and smashes Booker in the turnbuckle. Booker counters and hits a suplex for two. Cody ducks the Scissors Kick and gets a neckbreaker. He throws Booker out. Back from break, Booker takes over after a nice cop to Cody’s chest, but eats an elbow from Cody. Kneedrop gets two. Cody wears Booker with a bodyscissors neck lock, but Booker gets out of it but Cody telegraphs it with a Goldust dropdown throat thrust followed by a clothesline for two. Boo/Yay punch sequence gets derailed by a Cody dropkick for two. Booker builds momentum and hits a slide slam for two. Booker rolls Cody up after avoiding his charge and gets two, Cody counters with a rollup of his own for two. Cody avoids another Scissors Kick and rolls Booker up for two. Cody hits BEAUTIFUL DISASTER FOR TWO! Cody tries for CrossRhodes but Booker counters with REVERSE KICK. Booker irish whips cody to the ropes but Cody avoids the kick. Cody kicks Booker in the gut, but Booker counters and HITS THE SCISSORS KICK! BOOKER GETS IT! CELEBRATION SPINAROONIE!
Backstage, Ryder thanks Cena, but Cena says it’s all Zack. Zack asks about Kane, and Cena replies he’s going out to confront him.
Lawler announces Punk’s Gauntlet Match opponents: Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry. Uh-oh.
Backstage, Scott Armstrong interrupts Show getting beauty tips from Kelly Kelly’s iPad. He says Laurinaitis wants Show in his office now.
Back from break, Otunga threatens lawsuit about Show’s punch from SD. Show says he could beat Otunga with one arm tied behind his back. Ace books Otunga vs. Show for tonight with Show’s arm tied behind his back in exchange for Otunga not filing charges.
Swagger and Ziggler bicker and Vickie says either one of them can beat Punk and win a match against Punk for the title. Mark Henry EXCUSES HIMSELF and leaves.
EVE HAS ARRIVED and I don’t care. But her partner for tonight is Zack Ryder, which makes me care. Nattie and Tyson get the jobber entrance so yeah, Zack and Eve win with ROUGH RYDER.
Cena arrives to BOOS. Cena panders to Chicagoans and then calls Kane out, but gets The Miz instead. Miz wants a match with Cena instead because he didn’t win the main event at WM because of Rocky. He wants to prove that he doesn’t need Rocky to win against Cena. Cena wants a ref and here we go.
They tie up and everyone boos everyone in the ring. It’s hilarious. LET’S GO CENA/CENA SUCKS dueling chants and Miz rolls out of the ring and grabs a mic. He says the crowd’s chanting the wrong guy’s name and says screw this match. Miz gets counted out but continues on his rant and OH SHIT HERE COMES TRUTH! Truth throws Miz to the barricade and BRAWL TIME. Truth grabs a mic and tells Miz he could finish this right now, but there’s no fun in that. That’s the problem with Christmas. You open your presents and it’s over. Truth says he’ll take his time getting to Miz. LITTLE JIMMY SAYS IT’S OKAY! You glorious, insane bastard.
Next up, Show vs. Otunga with Show’s arm tied behind his back. Yep, one-armed Squash. BUT MARK HENRY ARRIVES and decimates Show BUT HERE COMES DANIEL BRYAN who distracts Henry enough for Show to get his arm loose and Chokeslam to Otunga.
OH SHIT, HERE COMES EL PATRON…in a WHEELCHAIR (according to King, a Nova 500 Series Wheelchair worth $200). And Ricardo’s still introducing him as he pushes the wheelchair. Glorious. Alberto announces he has a groin injury. He gets disgusted at the crowd’s delight in seeing him in pain. But it doesn’t matter. Here comes the Bellas and they slut it up. Alberto’s annoyed and yells at them to stop and begs them to leave. Alberto promises that his new year’s resolution will be to be more vicious and aggressive in 2012 and he will be WWE champ again. Ricardo pushes him to the back.
Next up: THE GAUNTLET. Swagger comes out first with Vickie and Punk arrives with TIME FOR CLOBBERING. Semi-glorified squash, Punk wins with the GTS. Ziggler arrives immediately but SWAGGER ATTACKS FROM BEHIND. Ziggler zeroes in on Punk’s attacked leg. At one point, Punk gets Ziggler in the GTS position but SWAGGER DISTRACTS THE REF WHILE VICKIE GRABS PUNK’S LEG and Ziggler gets a Fameasser. ACE ARRIVES and says there’s been an injustice and PUNK KICKS ZIGGLER’S HEAD OFF and covers him, but Ace distracts the ref by telling him about Vickie and Swagger’s distraction…while Punk covers Dolph. Ace distracts Punk and ZIGGLER WITH THE ZIG ZAG! ZIGGLER HAS A MATCH NEXT WEEK THANKS TO ACE!
Kane arrives (WITH WELDING MASK) and he has something to say. Kane says what the fans see is the real him. He may wear a mask, but it’s all of them who spend every second living a lie. Cena interrupts but KANE GOT HIS PYROKINESIS BACK and stops Cena with a wall of fire! Kane says he didn’t come out to pick a fight with him. Kane says he chose Cena to attack because Cena led all the fans astray. He says Cena tells them to rise above hate, but that’s a fallacy. He says the world is a dark, dark place and it’s okay to hate. Humans are hateful by nature and that deep down, everyone hates. Why rise above it when the natural impulse is to embrace it and let it consume you? People hate their bosses and neighbors and spouses and their miserable existence. Rise above is a myth perpetuated by Cena. Hate is the seed from which we are all born. It motivates us, fuels our impulses and Kane knows Cena feels it. Once you embrace the hate, you become honest with yourself. You become free. What John fails to realize, is that with his denial, he grows weaker by the moment. And until Cena embraces the Hate, he can never be truly free. DUELING LET’S GO CENA/CENA SUCKS chants fill the arena. Kane says he’s going to help Cena embrace the hate. And everyone will help Cena with his path to enlightenment. The last thing Cena will see this year is everyone chanting the words that tear his soul apart: “CENA SUCKS”. Cena looks like he’s about to cry while the chants fill the arena. Kane smiles in the ring as this is happening.
Final Thoughts: That opening segment was hilarious. Johnny Ace has been great in his role.
Booker vs. Cody was great. Booker still has it.
Eve/Ryder vs. Nattie/Tyson was just meh. Not even Ryder can save it.
R-TRUTH RETURNS and so does Little Jimmy! HE SAYS IT’S OKAY! I love Insane Truth. Insane Face Truth? EVEN MORE AWESOME.
Otunga/Show was just to plug that plot hole from last SD.
The Gauntlet wasn’t all that great aside from Vickie shenanigans. I’m all for a good Ziggler/Punk match next week, though.
The final segment was gold, though. Kane retains his glorious promo ability and regained his pyrokinesis. And my God, is he going to push Cena to Hate, just in time for Cena/Rocky at WM? HMM. I’m intrigued.
Raw was meh, wrestling-wise. But Kane saved the entire show with that glorious promo.