So I used to write this article every week. Twice or thrice a week on some occasions (I don’t know the fancy word for four-times, but it doesn’t matter, I never covered RAW, TNA Impact, Smackdown AND a pay per view in the same week). I’ve dialed it back to focus on other parts of the site, but tonight, with all the ado about the special appearance (which most people think is Jericho), I decided to cover it.

Before the night is over, I’ll have the polls which have become somewhat notorious, so keep checking back for that.

And away… we go!

The show starts and we hear how rare it is that the WWE Championship is defended on RAW…

Oh yeah? I could probably find at least three or four examples of it from 2011.

Wanna talk about rare? Let’s talk about the WWE Tag Team Championships being defended on RAW.  Now THAT is a rare occurrence.

The opposite of rare: the Recapping of the Previous RAW.

It’s not just a thing they do every week on RAW, by the way. Smackdown has them too… and not for their own show’s recaps.

Cena shows up, and in the first three minutes since his music hits, we learn three things:

1 – it’s a new year. 2012 is here.

2 – RAW is in Memphis

3 – the crowd is split on Cena

Oh good, it’s resolutions time.

1 – Less underwear worn by John Cena this year

2 – His dad is banned from coming on camera

3 – He’s going to prove to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that he’s a man (more accurately, that he has no lady parts)

4 – “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” isn’t going away

So… no heel change? Sounds like it.

Kane sends Cena a message, and basically his money is still betting that John Cena will let the hate consume him.

Non-Title Match
Daniel Bryan (c) vs Cody Rhodes {also a champion, but not the World Champion, just the IC Champ}

Michael Cole continues to bury Daniel Bryan while they sell the fact that Bryan is facing Big Show on Smackdown, totally ignoring a really good match going on in the ring.

After they mention last week’s segment where Cody Rhodes and his brother Dustin Rhodes / Goldust had a disagreement, Jerry Lawler says that he KNOWS that Cody’s father, “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, wouldn’t approve of how Cody is acting.

Oh really? So Lawler wasn’t watching a little while ago when Dusty Rhodes visited and actually helped Cody beat someone down?

Outcome: Daniel Bryan wins with a roll-up, showing that with his technical wrestling skills, he can win a match at any time.

Backstage, The Miz talks with John Laurinitis, and The Miz is in action tonight against Sheamus. While The Miz fears for his safety with a potential run-in from R-Truth, he’s assured by the Interim General Manager (iGM for short) that there will be protection.

As The Miz walks off, R-Truth mocks a “sitting duck” comment that The Miz had made by doing a variation of the Chicken Dance.

Never heard of The Chicken Dance? You’re lucky. You’ve obviously never been at a wedding reception when it has been played. Hopefully not playing it becomes a trend.

Royal Rumble rewind, and we go back to 1988. Not entirely sure that more than half my readers were alive back then, but that’s another story.

The guy who won 1988’s Royal Rumble? Jim Duggan. Aside from Vince McMahon, it was the worst choice for a winner to a Royal Rumble I’ve ever seen.

Don’t worry, I’ll rank the Royal Rumble winners in a totally different article.

Wade Barrett hits the ring with a microphone, and he starts by bragging about how he rid WWE of Randy Orton by throwing him down a flight of stairs, with The Barrett Barrage giving him plenty of momentum going into the Royal Rumble…

…and surprise, surprise, Wade Barrett plans to win The Royal Rumble.

Santino Marella begs to differ… and while I’d like to say it’s absurd for Santino to show up… he was in the final 2.

Impromptu Match
Santino Marella vs Wade Barrett

Santino clearly hasn’t heard how Wade Barrett is advertised, because he tries to bare-knuckle box with Barrett. He gets in a few decent shots, but after that it’s all Barrett

Outcome – Barrett wins with a short-arm sidewalk slam he calls The Winds Of Change

Backstage the Bella Twins are arguing, and The Miz is there to ask if they’ve seen R-Truth. They give some little comment about having seen Little Jimmy, and The Miz walks off, and the stalking by R-Truth continues because apparently he’s not far behind yet again.

Sheamus vs The Miz

Smart move by The Miz, starting things off by watching over his shoulder so as not to get the beatdown from R-Truth. He then rushes the ring, blindsides Sheamus, ties him up in the ropes and goes to work with plenty of punches.

Sheamus breaks free, though, starts pounding the hell out of The Miz, and so The Miz decides to run out through the crowd and up the arena steps…

…and he just happens to be in the same section as R-Truth, who says he found Little Jimmy, and apparently Little Jimmy thinks The Miz needs to “get got”.

So The Miz decides that he’d rather retreat back to the ringside area than to fight in the crowd with a guy who uses a waterbottle as his weapon… and when he hops back over the rail, he gets the Brogues Kick from Sheamus… and then he gets waterbottled again anyway.

Outcome: The Miz gets got. By two guys. But not in a gay way. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Seriously, WWE, a commercial for period pain relief… followed up by a herpes cream? Isn’t this supposedly the top rated show on television which targets guys? Someone in your “find advertisers” department isn’t doing a good job.

Dolph Ziggler gets a backstage interview where he says he’s got everything except for the WWE Championship and works on his new nickname “The Walking Surplus”.

Jack Swagger finds Zack Ryder (with Eve) backstage and actually shows interest in getting The United States Championship… making this the first time that there are back-to-back feuds for the US Title involving more than two competitors since… probably in forever.

iGM shows up and fails to play the heel authority figure, as he books Swagger / Mark Henry / Kane vs Zack Ryder / John Cena / someone whom I can’t remember, but we’ll find out eventually.

World Title Match
CM Punk vs Dolph Ziggler

For some reason I’m thinking we aren’t getting al the way through this match without finding out who the 1/2/2012 video person is… and that’s just one of the reasons I’m disappointed this match is happening in the middle of the evening. I know the 10pm mid-point is an important spot for ratings, but I can’t help but feel like this should be the main event.

If Jericho doesn’t show up during this match, then my guess should switch over to being “Undertaker”, interrupting the main event, but Kane already has a feuding partner, so I don’t know how I feel about that.

And we still have Brodus Clay’s return tonight… whenever THAT’s going to happen.

This match isn’t going to get the time it deserves.

Thank God for the fans chanting for CM Punk, drowning out the skwaking of Vickie Guerrero. (Oddly enough, I forgot whether it was “VickY” or “VickIE”, similarly to how I used to forget whether it was “EddY” or “EddIE”)

Holy shit moment of the night: Dolph Ziggler throws CM Punk neck first onto the ropes… a move which is fairly common place in this business… except CM Punk hits the SECOND rope, not the TOP one.

CM Punk takes the turnbuckle cover off in one of the corners, and it makes me wonder how often, if ever, that sort of thing has occurred and a wrestler DOESN’T end up hitting the steel buckle.

iGM isn’t happy about the exposed steel buckle, so he comes to the ring to make a difference, and while the ref is distracted, Punk locks in the Anaconda Vice. The Walking Surplus taps out, and even though the bell doesn’t ring and the ref doesn’t tell him to release the hold, Punk releases the hold and starts celebrating… and then realizes what’s going on.

Outcome: Punk ends up outside the ring, can’t get back in before the count, and the match ends via countout

In the span of two minutes, two veteran WWE competitors forget the rules for how matches end. Punk thought it was over despite not hearing a bell (as I just mentioned) and then Dolph Ziggler SOMEHOW forgets that he doesn’t win the title as a result of the match ending in a countout.

He runs away with the belt anyway, which is an under-used storyline… not that I think it fits Dolph Ziggler’s character, but whatever.

What are the odds that Punk tells him to keep the worthless relic and decides to have his own belt fabricated a la Stone Cold’s Smoking Skull belt or the Brahma Bull belt that The Rock had?

Not likely, but a guy can dream.

Also, “He Is Here” assures us that WWE didn’t forget about that 1/2/2012 guy reveal that needs to happen tonight.

The Bellas are on their way to the ring, and it’s making me wonder if possibly “HE” is a “SHE” and it’s actually kHARMa making HER return.  Doubtful… and not something I’m hoping for, but I wouldn’t be shocked.

Diva Tag Match
Kelly Kelly & Eve Torres vs Bella Twins

Eve Torres doing a great job in the ring against one of the Bellas, but alas, Twin Magic turns the tables on Eve and her moonsault from the top rope is all for not.

Outcome: Bellas out-smart K2 & Eve to no one’s surprise but Eve

We cut backstage, and it’s definitely not kHARMa returning.

CM Punk isn’t happy with iGM Laurinaitis, and when iGM is ranting, he says something so lame that even David Otunga gives him a look.

Announcement: CM Punk vs Dolph Ziggler at The Rumble, with iGM as the special guest referee. Before we cut to commercial, Punk says Otunga might get to practice law if Punk gets screwed out of the title… something about “Animal Cruelty” because he’s going to beat iGM “like a bitch”.

I guess that makes sense on some level, but I still rolled my eyes.

Yet another commercial for Underworld Evolution (or whatever the title is), and I’m surprised that enough people watch those movies that they keep making them.

TIME IS NOW, HE IS HERE, and after the promo, it looks like it’s going to be Brodus Clay, with the cameras shaking and noises like something big is coming…

Lights go out…

If it’s not Jericho, they might riot.

Someone’s on the ramp with a glow in the dark jacket… and the walls break down… and it’s Jericho.

The live crowd is psyched for the return, though it’s not the greatest pop I’ve heard in a while, but it’s a big one…

And yet I’m a bit underwhelmed. I guess with everyone basically proclaiming it was Jericho, it’s not realy a surprise.

So who’s he targeting? We have to wait until he stops running around the ring, giving high fives to the crowd and posing for pictures and having his arms felt up by creepy looking guys in the front row.

Apparently the fans don’t care that Y2J left them to go dance with the stars. All seems to be forgiven, they pop for all of his corner-climbing, and this is definitely cuting into the time for the main event.

What are the odds that Brodus Clay is having trouble lacing up his boots backstage and Jericho is killing time for the beatdown?

Not likely.

Anyone else getting bored of all this?

The crowd apparently agrees with me… or at least portions of it. I guess the Double J style jacket Jericho was wearing didn’t do it for the Memphis crowd.

If you don’t understand the Double J – Jeff Jarrett reference (freebie clue. you’re welcome), then you should probably stop reading now and go do some research on Wiki and YouTube before reading any more of my articles.

And Jericho leaves, showing that he was probably LOOKING for the booing. Don’t be surprised if he does this same sort of schtick on Smackdown or at least next Monday on RAW. If we’re lucky… maybe he’ll do it at Royal Rumble, too.

Main Event Six-Man Tag Elimination Match
Swagger / Mark Henry / Kane vs Big Show / Zack Ryder / John Cena

So Brodus Clay has to show up during this match unless they’re putting it off another week. A Big Show / Brodus Clay feud could be somewhat interesting.

Kane’s music hits, the flames arise… and there’s no Kane.

David Otunga announces that Kane isn’t participating in the match, and it’s going to be a handicap match.

Has anyone else EVER heard of a handicap match where the good guys out-number the heels?

I guess once an elimination is made, it was going to be a handicap match anyway.

Big Show gets himself eliminated due to a chairshot on Mark Henry… and John Cena is upset at Show… until we realize that Mark Henry is eliminated too.

Outcome: Cena and Ryder pair up to get the win over Jack Swagger after Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment

What are the odds that Cena and Ryder were thinking “where’s Brodus Clay” when the match ended?

Kane ensures no more action will transpire in the ring tonight, as he tears a hole in the mat and comes up through the ring, first taking out Zack Ryder, then using his Glove-O-Doom on Cena to knock him out.

His attention then turns to Zack Ryder, who is apparently hobbled with an ankle problem, and I can understand why Kane would consider him to be just as culpable as Cena, and Ryder gets pulled down to hell back through the hole in the ring, straight out of a horror flick.

John Cena shows up at the last second and saves Ryder… and as they retreat to a corner, something I’ve never seen in WWE history occurs as FIrE shoots up from the hole in the ring… which is a great visual, but I can’t help but think how INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS it was to have that setup under the ring the entire night.

This article will be updated once more with the infamous polls, so keep checking back! And don’t forget to LIKE GuysNation on Facebook.com/GuysNation and Follow us on Twitter!