WWE Raw Immediate Reactions and Analysis for Nov. 12, 2012
Welcome to Bleacher Report's immediate analysis of the Nov. 12, 2012, edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, where we break down every angle of the three-hour block of sports entertainment.
We'll be analyzing the action in the ring, the promos on the microphone and the broadcast itself as we recap the show.
Tonight is the go-home show for Survivor Series, where Team Foley is set to take on Team Ziggler and more importantly, CM Punk will defend his WWE Championship in a Triple Threat match against John Cena and Ryback.
Brad Maddox is getting his chance at a million dollar WWE contract when he steps into the ring to face Ryback, who will be looking for revenge after Maddox cost him the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell.
Tonight also marks the return of Jerry "The King" Lawler after a successful recovery from his heart attack on Raw weeks ago.
Browse the following slides to see what we thought of the show and sound off in the comment section to share your opinion on Raw with the B/R WWE Community!
Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio
Raw opened with one of my favorite matches in the WWE today, Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton. That's how to get the show off to a good start.
Except, this match only lasted for a few minutes before Alberto Del Rio interfered. Ziggler and Del Rio were dishing out a beating to Orton, but Kofi Kingston came out to make the save.
Teddy Long came out and did what he does best by scheduling a tag team match which started immediately.
The crowd was absolutely bonkers for the match, which concluded when Alberto Del Rio firmly planted his foot on the cheek of Kofi Kingston. Of course, Kofi was open thanks to a distraction from Ricardo Rodriguez.
Great start to the show which focused on the build for the Survivor Series match between Team Foley and Team Ziggler.
Vickie Guerrero Presents Further Evidence of a Cena/AJ Relationship
Dolph Ziggler was on the mic alongside Vickie Guerrero, joining his former manager to discuss the AJ Lee scandal. The show-off recapped the evidence of an intimate relationship between AJ and John Cena, and Vickie Guerrero told the crowd and AJ that she needed to come out for this latest piece of evidence.
The crowd responded with a deafening amount of boos.
AJ came out and asked what else Vickie wanted from her. Vickie merely pressed her harder for "the truth" but got nothing but an admittance that AJ is nothing more than friends with Cena.
AJ turned the tables, telling Vickie to admit that this was all about how she was shown up by AJ in the past.
Vickie then began to play a series of voicemails that were definitely in AJ's voice and were sent to someone that she felt as though she had to stop seeing. AJ seem confused and shocked.
John Cena came out and AJ slapped Ziggler, then Cena floored him with a punch. Vickie and Ziggler scattered, and that was a wrap for this segment.
Never Say Never...
Backstage, John Cena consoled AJ over what had just taken place. The consolation was cut short when AJ caught that Cena had mentioned that they would never get together and she questioned his use of the word "never."
Cena reluctantly left that door open, leaving AJ looking rather giddy.
The plot thickens...
Big Show vs. William Regal
Big Show did just what you'd expect, battering Regal around the ring.
The crowd put forth a "Let's Go Regal" chant, and you'll never hear me complain about the veteran getting a spot on WWE television.
After getting the win, Big Show looked to continue beating Regal, but Sheamus came out and make the save. Surprised this didn't get drawn out longer.
Kaitlyn vs. Laylay in a No. 1 Contender's Match
The match was incredibly short, with Divas Champion Eve Torres at ringside on commentary.
Kaitlyn scored the upset, and will challenge for the title at Survivor Series.
The highlight of this match was the chant. In honor of Jerry Lawler's return (and well, other obvious reasons) the crowd chanted "We Want Puppies."
Return of the King
Jerry Lawler's heartwarming return to the WWE was cut short by WWE Champion CM Punk, who drew major heat for the bold move.
Punk trashed Lawler for attempting to wrestle him in the first place, and Paul Heyman even mocked Lawler's heart attack by faking one of his own.
Mick Foley came out and proceeded to cut a heated promo on Punk, and announced that he'd be the special guest enforcer in Punk's match with John Cena tonight.
This was a great segment, and considering that it was green-lit by Lawler, I don't see anything wrong with it.
After the commercial break, we saw CM Punk backstage with Paul Heyman, the champion telling his manager to deal with both Foley and the "Brad Maddox situation."
8-Man Tag Team Match
This eight-man tag team match featured the Prime Time Players, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kid, and Primo and Epico.
This match was just as good in action as it looked on paper. The pace was fast and all over the place, but a real treat to watch.
The finish came after Rey Mysterio hit the 619, then let Justin Gabriel follow up with the 450 Splash and get the pin on Darren Young.
The Miz Wants on Team Foley
After a talk between Dolph Ziggler and the Miz went south backstage, Mick Foley stepped in.
Ziggler was out of the picture soon enough, and Miz turned to Foley. After acknowledging that they didn't like each other, Miz asked to be on Team Foley because beating Ziggler would be oh so sweet.
Foley put Miz on the ballot to be one of the candidates to be the last member of Team Foley, other options being Santino Marella and Zack Ryder.
R-Truth vs. Tensai
Antonio Cesaro cut a promo before the match, focusing on R-Truth, who would be challenging for Cesaro's United States Championship at Survivor Series.
Tensai lost to Truth handily, and Truth snatched the mic from Cesaro after the match to let him know that he'd be the two-time United States champion after Sunday.
Brad Maddox vs. Ryback
With an ambulance and stretcher at ringside, Brad Maddox got his wish to step into the WWE ring as a wrestler against the monstrous Ryback.
It went as anyone could have predicted. It was a massacre that saw Maddox hit with Shell Shock and follow up with the pin.
Afterwards, the beating continued, and Ryback loaded Maddox into the ambulance himself.
No swerve to be found, but perhaps that was for the best?
Sheamus vs. David Otunga
Sheamus destroyed David Otunga in a throwaway match. Total squash.
Really, there's nothing else to say other than Sheamus's pale skin really shows off those welts he gets when wrestling.
After the match, Sheamus cut a promo on Big Show, asserting that he'd be walking out of Survivor Series with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Big Show came on screen with a beaten William Regal and hit Regal with the KO Punch, claiming that's what would happen at Survivor Series.
Daniel Bryan, the Jealous Type
Daniel Bryan and Kane were walking backstage, and Bryan wasn't pleased about Kane having to team with whoever the WWE Universe voted to have serve as the final member of Team Foley at Survivor Series.
Daniel Bryan looked away, stating that he could go with Kane to speak with Foley and say they won't team with anyone else.
When Bryan turned around, Kane was gone, leaving him in a fit of rage.
Kane and the Miz vs. Rhodes Scholars
"You can do it! You can do it Miz!" - Daniel Bryan, with the most forced chant of support I've heard in a while.
The match was solid, but the show was stolen by Daniel Bryan's overbearing presence at ringside.
Bryan went after Miz while Kane was distracted, but Miz shrugged him off and sent Cody Rhodes into the ring to be finished off by Kane. Bryan celebrated alongside Kane and Miz as if he didn't try anything, leaving Kane and Miz looking baffled and frustrated.
CM Punk vs. John Cena, Mick Foley as Special Enforcer
It always stuns me how CM Punk can take John Cena, a man whose matches don't always look too different from each other, and put on a great show.
The match was great, the crowd was hot and it was just a quality main event.
When CM Punk called in Paul Heyman to save him from an STF, Mick Foley dragged Heyman out and played his role as Special Enforcer.
Punk tried to escape from Cena, only to be pushed back into the ring by the approach of Ryback. When Punk made it to the ring, he was hit with the Attitude Adjustment and Cena got the win.
The show went off the air with Cena and Ryback gripping Punk's WWE title, and Punk looking hopeless.
Grading the Broadcast
It is a rare occasion for Raw to go off the air and the fans not to have any gripes about the show, but tonight was one of those nights.
Every promo hit hard, whether it was serious like Mick Foley's promo with Punk or humorous like Daniel Bryan's talk with Kane.
The matches were on point. Most were exciting, and if they were filler, they were off the air in no time. The main event of CM Punk vs. John Cena stole the show, no doubt about it.
This was how a go-home show should be done.
Raw's Grade: A