Blog: WWE Raw Holiday Tour
Not to be outdone by the blizzard last December which marred the attendance at the same show, a downpour of rain around the Manhattan area Tuesday night again made it a hindrance for longtime wrestling fans to easily access the city’s famed Madison Square Garden, as the superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) returned for their almost annual “Raw Holiday Tour.” The non-televised, three hour wrestling show would feature the mainstays of the USA Network’s ‘Monday Night Raw’ brand. And once again, the WWE proved that regardless of the names in their rotating cavalcade of a roster, knowing their audience and sending their fans home happy is a proficiency at which they have no equal.
It should be mentioned that the Garden was surprisingly undersold, considering that holiday shows here have historically been incredibly successful. One must question however, whether last month’s ‘Survivor Series’ pay-per-view event in the same building may have depleted the attendance Tuesday night, as much of the 300 level seating inside the Garden remained empty throughout. But far be it for us to speculate as we were just there to be entertained, and entertained we were.
“AWESOME” blared over the MSG speakers, just after the conclusion of the National Anthem, as former reality star, and main eventer on this night, The Miz, was out to the ring first to address the vociferous audience. Antagonizing with anti-Knick and anti-New York rhetoric, Miz quickly drew the ire of the Garden faithful before his former partner R-Truth jumped into the ring from the crowd, blindsiding The Miz for an impromptu brawl. Out next was the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis to remove R-Truth from the ring. The figurehead corporate stooge detested by the audience, then announced a thirteen man over-the-top battle royal, with the winner getting a title shot at champion Zack Ryder’s United States Championship later in the evening. With the fans indifferent toward many of the undercard workers on the brand and the match involving many of them, the underrated and vastly talented Dolph Ziggler managed to win outright.
The eye candy was out next as Divas champion Beth Phoenix would defend her title against the buxom Eve Torres, with the beautiful Bella Twins acting as guest referee and timekeeper for the bout. Leaning heavily toward Phoenix who would win by pinfall, the Bellas attacked Torres after the match bringing out WWE Diva and current Maxim cover girl Kelly Kelly, sporting a Carmelo Anthony Knicks Jersey to even the odds and clear the ring of the nefarious twins. Former WWE Superstar Mick Foley was out next to “host” the show, but seemingly only served to make an appearance, introduce WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and insert his hand into competitor Jack Swagger’s mouth courtesy of Mr. Socko.
After some throwaway matches featuring lesser known mid-card talents, the meat of the card shaped up around the final four contests of the evening. The Zack Ryder-Dolph Ziggler US Title match was perhaps the best of the night, with both men working hard for the Garden crowd. A reversed three count due to Ryder’s foot on the bottom rope led to the champion retaining his title a leading fans to chant his signature “Wooo, Wooo, Wooo” in unison, along with the charismatic Long Island native. The high flying duo Air Boom, featuring Evan Borne and Kofi Kingston successfully defended their WWE Tag Team Titles against the Hispanic team of Primo & Epico. The fun little match was fast paced and exciting, but showcasing valet Rosa Mendes’ signature gyrations was perhaps the bout’s most memorable moment.
The final two contests involved the WWE’s most popular assets from 2011. First, the polarizing John Cena, subject of the rousing “Let’s go Cena….Cena Sucks” chants, battled the recently returning Kane, one-on-one. The reaction to Cena’s entrance was easily the loudest of the night as clusters of adult boo-birds met packs of cheering children, creating a conflicted and deafening disharmony of volume. After briefly exchanging blows back and forth, the masked Kane’s use of a steel chair on Cena resulted in his disqualification. But after heading back into the ring to inflict more punishment on the wounded warrior, Kane was caught with Cena’s finisher- the Attitude Adjustment- sending him backstage on a high note.
After a brief intermission which allowed the ring crew to set up for the evening’s final match, it was main event time, as The Miz was back out again to take on WWE Champion CM Punk inside of a steel cage. What had been advertised as a triple threat match including superstar Alberto Del Rio was reconfigured at the last minute, due to Del Rio’s recent groin injury. With the crowd thoroughly in Punk’s corner, The Miz took control early and controlled much of the contest, utilizing his “heel” (bad guy) persona to attempt to crawl out of the cage through the door, rather than attempt to pin the champion fairly. The twenty minute bout saw the men exchange blows atop the elevated cage and was highlighted by Punk’s ode to the recently departed Randy “Macho Man” Savage, with his trademark flying elbow drop off of the top turnbuckle. Punk then threw the former reality star on his shoulders and finished The Miz off with his “Go to Sleep” finishing maneuver, retaining his title, and then climbed the cage again to acknowledge the wildly applauding fans.
If you missed out on November’s Survivor Series or on Tuesday night’s show, rest assured- the WWE announced a return to the World’s Most Famous Arena on March 18th 2012, on the “Road to Wrestlemania Tour.” It should come as no surprise that we’ve become quite fond of the WWE product, especially when the company makes its way to the northeast, historically among the company’s most successful touring outposts. And even without much of the roster appearing on last night’s show, the WWE always manages to deliver for even the most casual wrestling fan, time after time, at an affordable and unbeatable ticket value.
To check out some of our previous posts on the WWE, check out our links below:
- Things We Like That Don’t Get Enough Respect- WWE (Posted 7/8/10)
- The WWE & a Blizzard Invade Madison Square Garden (Posted 12/28/10)
- LocalBozo.com Invades the Wrestlemania 27 Press Conference (Posted 3/31/11)
- Listen to LocalBozo.com’s Interview with Mason Ryan (Posted 11/19/11)
- Jane Van Arsdale
World Wrestling Entertainment- Raw Holiday Tour
Live at Madison Square Garden
December 27, 2011
- Dolph Ziggler won a 13 Man Over the Top Rope Battle Royal
- Divas Champion, Beth Phoenix pinned Eve Torres
- Alex Riley pinned Leo Kruger
- Jerry “The King” Lawler pinned Jack Swagger
- Santino Marella pinned Michael McGillicutty
- United States Champion, Zack Ryder pinned Dolph Ziggler
- Tag Team Champions, Air Boom pinned Epico & Primo
- John Cena defeated Kane by Disqualification
- WWE Champion, CM Punk pinned The Miz in a Steel Cage Match