Monday Night Raw
Monday, December 1
So last Friday I got a call from one of the night managers at my local Arby’s, a gregarious sort by the name of Russ Pruitt. He took me to task for, as he said, truth in media, reminding me that I didn’t prepare for last week’s Raw with a bacon ultimate meal from Jack in the Box but a bacon beef ‘n’ cheddar augmented by a side of eight cheese sticks (can’t hack the curly fries; terrible gastrointestinal science) from his well-kept establishment. “I take pride in our menu’s potential as sports-entertainment sustenance,” he said, sounding a little hurt. (When I asked him about it later, he chuckled and explained that he’d just run out of marinara sauce and couldn’t bear imagining all those parched gullets forced to accept the deep-fried appetizers au naturale.) “Hey, Russ, man,” I replied. “I’m sorry.” I quickly ordered from the $5.95 menu and promised to call him back later for his post-Raw analysis. As always in matters of beefy vows, I was true to my word. So here’s Russell James Pruitt, 37, night manager at Arby’s (Unit #01791), Albany, Oregon.
Hm. Well, so they pretty much establish John Cena‘s pwnage of Chis Jericho with footage from Survivor Series two weeks ago and from last Monday’s Raw, where dude just tore homeboy flat-out apart. Kinda funny when Jericho talked about Cena’s credo, “Hustle. Loyalty. Respect.,” in a company town like Washington, D.C., where all the Beltway players know plenty about the first and fuck-all about the rest, amirite? I like the angle that Jericho’s little boy is a hardcore Cena fan, which drives his pop insane with rage and causes disorder in the house of Y2J. Jericho’s always awesome in these opening things. He gets the crowd so riled up. All he’s gotta do is whip out hot-button words like “sycophant” and “fools” and they’re braying for his bleached-blonde blood.
International Championship Tournament (First Round)
Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz
Didn’t see this one coming, though I wasn’t surprised when it happened, especially after last week’s staredown — well, as much as anyone could stare down a tree — with Mike Knox. Rey didn’t even make it to the ring. This is gonna make the night interesting. I see that Layla‘s doing William Regal‘s work backstage, which makes me wonder if Regal’s carefully orchestrating a rift between tag team champions CM Punk and Kofi Kingston, since they’re each gunning for his belt too, and Regal’s made no secret of his admiration for Punk. But, yeah, I guess that other tag team, The Miz and John Morrison, is competing as well, but you can’t have two similar storylines, and Morrison’s got Finlay tonight, who he’s easily gonna trounce, which means The Miz gets the short end, whoever he faces.
Winner: N/A; Mysterio injured by Mike Knox, suffering ligament damage in his right arm and elbow
CM Punk/Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes/Manu
Well, Ted DiBiase Jr.‘s still out, so Randy Orton‘s influence becomes even more prominent on what remains of the Priceless faction. Haw — ‘ja see that reel of Punk working the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade as its grand marshal? Some homecoming, eh? Well, tonight he’s in D.C., Batista‘s hometown, where the straight-edge movement Punk loves so much was born. Wonder if Ian MacKaye‘s in the house tonight, gobbling on soy burgers and cheering him on. Based on Punk’s entrance jam, though, I don’t think bro spends his nights spinning Fugazi or Minor Threat, anyway, huh? Priceless’ strength are their quick tags; neither partner’s in the ring too long. Can’t say the same for Punk, who’s having one helluva time reaching his corner to make contact with his man. But when he does, grab your peacoat, Jasmine: we’re going to town! And Rhodes heads uptown to the roundhouse with Kingston’s boot as his guide.
Winner: CM Punk/Kofi Kingston
Yeah, Orton’s got them totally under his spell now with all that feelgood jazz about taking “the first step in realizing our collective potential.” Sounds like a CEO addressing the swallowed suckers in a business merger. My kids call him Orton Wan Kenobi. Isn’t that clever? Um, Jericho’s obviously gonna be a factor in the Kane/Cena main event; he’s up there in Kane’s red-hued solitude box, which I guess he carries with him around the world, goading the monster into plucking the champ’s arms off. “Don’t play mind games with me, Jericho!” Kane snarls in reference to his favorite John Lennon album.
Jillian vs. Melina
Oh, sorry, did you say something? All’s I wrote down is that Santino shouldn’t attempt the splits and the Glamazon has no future as a broadcaster. Other than that, Jillian‘s got an impressive set of lungs. She kinda reminds me of this exotic dancer I used to know in Medford. For fifty bucks, she’d shatter your glass. For sixty, she’d destroy your will to live.
Haw! Goldust massaging Santino’s shoulders. Drama of the comic foils!
Street Fight: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Shawn Michaels
Aha! The payoff to last week’s mysterious set-up, when JBL alluded to a “deal” he’d struck with the Heartbreak Kid. Well, the deal’s either Michaels delivers Sweet Chin Music in a clean, free shot or accepts a job offer from Layfield, who’s on heel fire tonight, boy. He invokes the economic crisis, which has apparently struck the happy home of HBK especially hard, wiping out his children’s college funds. Hey, maybe the whole stock-market meltdown’s a WWE kayfabe and we’re all just interactive participants, huh! Heh. Heh. Oh, Christ help us. Anyway, am total BFF with the JBL line “I know some things, Shawn. RICH PEOPLE ALWAYS DO.” Boo, rich people! Wotta PRICK! Looks like Shawn’s considering. Heck, I’m down! Know the rich prick’s e-mail offhand?
Winner: Shawn Michaels’ doe-eyed kidlets
Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler
Whoa! We FINALLY get to see this dude in action! He introduces himself all the way down to the ring, then in the ring, then during the match. Really commands his shtick. Took Batista by surprise — ’til Batista introduced him to a lil’ friend, the Batista Bomb.
In the postmatch patter he stuns Orton by announcing their match-up at Armageddon two weeks from now. Yup, Jericho’s gonna be a problem. There he is, working on Orton’s psyche, knowing Cena’s a sore spot.
Intercontinental Championship (First Round)
John Morrison vs. Finlay
Not much to wire Aunt Becky here: brawler vs. swagger, and brawler doesn’t stand a chance. We pretty much know the outcome before the bell even rings. Finlay’s a favorite, but he lacks the status to advance in a set-up like this. Which means that Miz is definitely an L-columner regardless of who he fights.
Winner: John Morrison
Intercontinental Championship Tournament (First Round)
The Miz vs. ????
Can’t believe they tried that old TV trick where you go to commercial to build up-in-the-air suspense. Rey Mysterio’s insisting on competing, but we’re supposed to believe he’ll either be forced to forfeit or replaced with a sudden drop-in. Come on, he’s Rey Mysterio! He feeds off the adulation of the hopeful young, gobbling their every drop of worship and love, so you know he’s coming out. And whadayaknow, there he is, drawing attention to his injured right arm, selling it, really selling it. He can’t use it to curl up a leg-hook or even high-five the tykes. Dr. Miz goes to work on the limb but it’s not too long before the patient drops in his usual flurries and reversals and wraps with a doubtful pin, i.e., Mysterio’s so unsteady that in non-Bizarro competition, Miz could’ve easily squirmed loose. ‘ray, Rey!
Winner: ? & The Mysterios
Kane vs. John Cena
Way overheated. It doesn’t even start until like 10:56 or whatever, so you know it’s going to be short, and knowing Jericho’s gonna interfere, it’s gonna be even shorter than that. Sure enough, Chris surfaces and distracts Cena into a mouthful of Kane boot, but the man recovers to counter a chokeslam and win with an FU (tell your grandma it’s a fireman’s carry), where he literally slings his opponent over his shoulder like fresh-killed caribou then flings him earthward where he is plain done finished for good, I don’t care if his name is Kane or the Washington Monument. Cena gets the pin but can’t keep his hands off Jericho. Too bad for him when Orton, Rhodes, and Manu bust out to overwhelm the champ so bad that Jericho deigns to doff his suit jacket and loose some toejam on Cena’s fetal form. The plot thickens like a senator’s brain.
Winner: John Cena
See you next week, and think Arby’s! (But not outside the bun.)