Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #17: Royal Ruble 2012 Review & The First RAW on the Road to WrestleMania

 For a full Cover PDF click-here 

The Cubed Circle Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter we cover the Royal Rumble and the first Raw on the road to WrestleMania. A 6+ page issue, as always feel free to leave feedback, either in the comment section, by email or by the many social networks available.

WWE Royal Rumble 2012 Review

Overall Show Thoughts

The Royal Rumble was a disappointing show this year, the WWE title match underwhelmed, the World Championship match wasn’t able to go very long, the Kane vs. Cena match was bad and the Royal Rumble match was fun, but lacked star power and importance. As a whole this show didn’t feel like the second biggest show of the year, the show should have featured a great WWE championship match and a good Royal Rumble, but instead we got a hollow WWE championship match and a lackluster Rumble.

The commentators failed to get the big stuff over and superstars that should have been made on the show like Ziggler, walked out far worse than they came in. The Rumble was back to 30 men this year, but had way more filler than even last year’s Rumble that featured 40 men. A show like this won’t kill business or anything, but the WWE need to have long term consistent booking, without changing their plans every minute if they want to avoid the slippery slope to fan apathy and start building stars.

1. World Heavyweight Championship Steel Cage Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry vs. Big Show

Cole started off burying Bryan who is turning heel, well done. The crowd began to chant for Bryan, he was more over than he has been in the past. Bryan attempted to escape the cage, but was immediately halted by Big Show and Henry. Henry was sandwiched against the cage as Bryan began to escape the cage. Bryan attempted to escaped the cage multiple times, each time he was halted by Henry and Big Show. Bryan was man handled by the Big Show, up until the point were he punched the cage and began to sell the hand. Bryan got in some offense, landing a drop kick to the leg of the Big Show and kicking Henry and then getting Big Show to the grown. Bryan almost escaped through the door, but he was pulled back by Henry. Big Show began to pick Bryan apart, but Bryan kept firing up. Henry, who was injured, began to work on Bryan as the crowd chanted Sexual Chocolate. Big Show went for the big right hand, but Bryan hit a DDT and locked in the LeBell Lock, but it was broken up by Henry. Big Show hit the big right hand on Henry, but Bryan broke it up and started to scale the cage. Big Show went after him, once Bryan made it to the top show caught him, Show held onto Bryan who was hanging from the top of the cage. Bryan fought back and was dropped by the Big Show to retain the World Heavyweight Championship in 9:01. The last spot of the match was anticlimactic, I don’t think that anyone thought that Bryan was going to escape at that point and expected the Big Show to pull him back in. The match didn’t go long, which was probably due to Henry’s knee injury. The match didn’t do much for Bryan, as he still looks like a fluke champion. 
** ¼

We had a commercial for Elimination Chamber, Sheamus narrated it. We then had the first of two promos for the Rock and Cena match, the first was for Cena and was obviously an attempt to make Cena out to be the face. Sure it made him look like a good guy, but nothing short of having Cena rescue orphans from a burning orphanage that the Rock set fire to, will change the reaction of the crowd in Miami.

2. The Bella Twins, Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Tamina & Alicia Fox

The heels worked on Eve, Cole said that the Bellas reminded him of Harlem Heat in the day, Booker responded with a simple “no” which was pretty funny. Fox was tagged in and was worked on by Bella, seems that the only way Fox knows how to sell, is to scream. All the women in the match were on the outside which set up a big splash by Kelly onto all of them. Phoenix forcefully tagged and pinned Kelly with the Glamslam in 5:27. It was a five minute Diva’s match, it was what you would expect. After watching JoshiMania and the Bull Nakano Retirement show, this just felt like an insult. 

They showed a few clips from the Kane/ Cena/ Ryder/ Eve segments on Raw from this past week. They then cut to Ryder who was backstage in a wheelchair, who was back a week after having his back broken. He bumped into Laurinaitis who welcomed Ryder to the Rumble and informed him of his luxury dressing room and that if he needed anything all he had to do was ask. Eve came up to Laurinaitis and said that he had done enough, she also said that he was pompous and vindictive and she hopes that he will be fired on Raw. Laurinaitis then walked and said that’s gratitude for ya in an awesome nonchalant manner

3. John Cena vs. Kane

The crowd dual chanted “lets go Cena” and “Cena sucks” which had it’s place given the content of the Cena Kane feud. Kane was Irishwhipped knee first into the steps, Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Kane fell onto the back of Cena. Kane worked on the jaw and mouth of Cena, the crowd was really behind Kane and against Cena at this point. Kane worked on Cena, they exchanged strikes, but Cena is knocked down, this sequence was repeated multiple times. Kane went for the claw once again, but Cena powered out. Cena countered the claw into the STF, but Kane powered out of it and went to the top rope, were he hit the clothes line and singled for the chokeslam. But, Cena ducked and began to land shoulder blocks, he signaled for the five knuckle shuffle, but Kane grabbed the throat of Cena and hit a big boot. I wonder why no one has tried this before, while they were lying in the middle of the ring frozen waiting for Cena to hit his move. Kane had Cena up for the superplex, but Cena countered and hit the five knuckle shuffle from the top rope. Cena got Kane up for the Attitude Adjustment, Kane countered, both men then went to the outside and began to brawl. They were counted out at 10:56. They brawled backstage, Cena was hit in the back with a chair, Kane kicked open a door to expose Ryder in the wheelchair. Kane clawed Ryder in the wheelchair, he passed out in about five seconds, this felt like a really bad horror movie. Kane wheeled Ryder into the arena and rolled him into the ring, Eve came out and begged Kane to spare her boyfriend. But, Kane tombstoned Ryder in front of Eve, he then turned to Eve, who obviously can’t run through the ropes and has to cower in the ring. Out came Cena, he was chokeslammed, Eve was still in the corner, cowering, is there a force field between the ropes? Kane then stared at Eve and left. The match alone, went longer then the opening match for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, which is preposterous. To put it bluntly, this feud sucks!
* ½

We had a new B.A. Star commercial, which was really well placed, since it was shown just after Kane killed a man in a wheelchair, go WWE you are good people. They then showed the Rock promo for WrestleMania, it made him look like a huge star, he talked about his debut, tweeting and his heritage. They showed clips of him working out and him visiting his grandparents grave site which actually made him look just as good as Cena if not better.

4. Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre

I’m sorry isn’t McIntyre supposed to be gone? McIntyre shouted “he’s mocking my business!” understandable. McIntyre got some offense in, but Clay jiggled up and hit him with the What the Funk (crossbody) for the win in 1:04. I feel bad for McIntyre.
** ¼

We had a pretty nonsensical cheesy promo for Monday’s Raw, where Laurinaitis’s future as RAW GM will be decided.

5. WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. Dolf Ziggler with John Laurinaitis as special guest referee

Laurinaitis came out and said that he would officiate the match from the outside and that there would be a WWE official in the ring. Laurinaitis removed Guerrero from ringside, which got a decent pop from the crowd. Cole botched a line and asked Booker if he had a problem with Laurinaitis in WCW, because he was a better worker than booker, Lawler asked what? Cole replied “a better wrestler.”. Punk went for the anaconda vice after both men went back and forth for a few minutes, but Ziggler made it to the ropes. Punk landed a topé suicida to the outside, Punk went to the top rope, he was pulled off by Ziggler and landed on the ropes instead of in the ring. Ziggler delivered a flurry of elbow drops on the mat, Booker then said that if Laurinaitis stays  too long he might kill the business! The commentary in this company. Ziggler went for the fameasser, Punk countered into the sitout powerbomb for two. Punk hit the knee in the corner and the bulldog and signaled for the GTS, Ziggler countered it into a catapult into the turnbuckle. Punk got the cross body on Ziggler, but Ziggler rolled through, they exchanged strikes up until Punk landed a big kick on Ziggler. Punk was going to the top rope and hit a Savage elbow, there was a ref bump, Punk locked in the anaconda vice, Ziggler tapped but Laurinaitis was distracted with the injured referee. Ziggler came from behind and got a roll up on Punk, Punk countered into a rollup of his own and got the three count but Laurinaitis was still distracted with the referee. Punk got Ziggler up for the GTS, the leg of Ziggler hit Laurinaitis, the referee was still down. Punk was angry and shouted “the next one’s for you clown shoes!”. Punk got Ziggler up for the GTS once again, but Ziggler countered it into the fameasser for two. Ziggler went for a second fameasser, but Punk countered it into a catapult and hit the GTS for the win in 14:30 with Laurinaitis and the referee counting in unison. This match made Ziggler look like a complete and utter geek, he was practically beaten three times clean, he never got any near falls in and the match only went fifteen minutes, which is shorter than the whole Kane and Cena segment. Ziggler deserved better, he is as close to the whole package as they are going to get for a while, so they should be protecting him. Overall the match was very underwhelming, it felt like a teaser and we got some pure match in there, but it was mostly one big angle which is a shame, given how good the match could have been.
*** ¼

They showed a commercial for the WWE YouTube channel, which will feature exclusive content and web series, the Network light I guess. We had the first real WrestleMania 28 commercial, I can already tell that the theme is going to get on my nerves.

Miz came out and cut a promo, saying that everyone was snickering at him backstage, he said that they think that he is afraid of being number one in the Rumble, but he said that those were the same people that said he wouldn’t mainevent WrestleMania or become WWE champion. He said that he will prove them wrong and he will be the last man standing and the winner of the Royal Rumble, because he is the Miz and he’s awesome.

6. The Royal Rumble Match

This year’s Rumble was very uneventful, don’t get me wrong it was fun, but that’s about it. There was no starpower, they swerved us at the end and they didn’t manage to get much out of it going forward. The Miz lasted the longest, but was barley even acknowledged by the commentators who were to busy arguing over who lasted the longest between the three of them. There was no surprise entrant in the Rumble, sure there was the whole” anyone is eligible gimmick”, but that made no difference to the Rumble, given the fact that it was pretty much that way in past Rumbles. There were surprises, but the surprises were at the level of Road Dogg, Duggan, Ricardo and the three commentators. There was no real point in having Jericho come out even at 28 since they killed the thought of a return match, sure Sheamus eliminated him to win the Rumble, but who’s going remember that in a year or two? There were a lot of comedy spots in this year’s Rumble, some good some bad, there was a Mr. Socko vs. Cobra face off and Ricardo coming out in a broken down car. There was also the commentators who took up  three spots and a lot of time, it would have been fine if it didn’t stop them from getting a lot of important stuff over, which they outright failed to do. The problem that the WWE has at the moment in regards to lack of starpower was fully showcased here with people like Jey Uso and Hunico having to fill slots, in spite of people like Foley, Road Dogg, Jim Duggan, Ricardo Rodriguez and the commentators entering the Rumble. One person that I was happy to see return was Kharma, who will undoubtedly bring much needed aid to the Diva’s division, although her gimmick may have been killed by her emotional farewell address. The one spot that this match will be remembered for will undoubtedly be the spot were Kofi Kingston did a hand stand all the way to the steps, it may not have been as spectacular as Morrison’s spot last year, but it was still a sight to behold. Another problem I had with this year’s Rumble was the fact that not only did guys like Miz, Ziggler and Rhodes not get put over, but they actually looked worse going out especially Ziggler. Jericho came out at number 28 and the lights went out, which I thought was pretty cool during the Rumble, but the gimmick was killed, but they seem to be moving it to the next level. The big surprise at number 30 was the Big Show, which felt like an anti-climax. The final four was made up of Jericho, Big Show, Orton and Sheamus. Big Show was eliminated by Orton and Orton was eliminated by Jericho, making Jericho and Sheamus the final two. Everyone was ready for Jericho to win, he skinned the cat twice, but he was Brogue kicked out of the ring, leaving Sheamus as the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble, in an  anti-climax. I doubt that people were upset or angry, but this just seems to leave people apathetic towards the Rumble and Sheamus. This year’s Rumble had arguably more filler than last year’s Rumble, which had 40 men and that is a bad sign. Granted Mysterio, Sin Cara, Christian and Alberto Del Rio have all been put on the shelf, but even that doesn’t seem like a valid excuse. Overall the Rumble was fun to a point, but failed to deliver the big match atmosphere and sense of grandeur that some of the past Rumbles have offered, not only that but the finish, seems to leave many people apathetic towards the winner and the Rumble itself, which suffice to say is not what the Rumble is about.
*** ¼  

Royal Rumble Entrant Order

1. The Miz
2 Alex Reilly (Returning)
3. R-Truth
4. Cody Rhodes
5. Justin Gabriel
6. Primo
7. Mick Foley (Returning)
8. Ricardo Rodriguez
9. Santino Marella
10. Epico
11. Kofi Kingston
12. Jerry Lawler (Returning)
13. Ezekiel Jackson
14. Jinder Mahal
15. The Great Khali
16. Hunico
17. Booker T
18. Dolph Ziggler
19. Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Returning)
20. Michael Cole (Returning)
21. Kharma (Returning)
22. Sheamus
23. Road Dogg (Returning)
24. Jey Uso
25. Jack Swagger
26. Wade Barrett
27. David Otunga
28. Randy Orton
29. Chris Jericho
30. Big Show

Royal Rumble Eliminations

1. Alex Reilly (The Miz)
2. R-Truth (The Miz)
3. Primo (Mick Foley)
4. Justin Gabriel  (Mick Foley, Ricardo Rodriguez)
5. Ricardo Rodriguez (Santino Marella)
6. Epico (Mick Foley)
7. Santino Marella (Cody Rhodes)
8. Mick Foley (Cody Rhodes)
9. Jerry Lawler (Cody Rhodes)
10. Jinder Mahal (The Great Khali)
11. Ezekiel Jackson (The Great Khali)
12. Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Cody Rhodes)
13. Booker T (Cody Rhodes, Great Khali, Dolf Ziggler)
14. Great Khali (Cody Rhodes, Dolf Ziggler)
15. Michael Cole (Jerry Lawler, Booker T)
16. Hunico (Kharma)
17. Dolf Ziggler (Kharma)
18. Kofi Kingston (Sheamus)
19. Road Dogg (Wade Barrett)
20. Jey Uso (Randy Orton)
21. Wade Barrett (Randy Orton)
22. David Otunga (Chris Jericho)
23. Jack Swagger (Sheamus)
24. Cody Rhodes (Big Show)
25. The Miz (Big Show)
26. Dolf Ziggler (Big Show)
27. Big Show (Randy Orton)
28. Randy Orton (Chris Jericho)
29. Chris Jericho (Sheamus)

Bits & Pieces

First RAW on The Road to WrestleMania

This week’s Raw was the best in months, by far. Not only did it progress the Jericho angle nicely, but it also featured two very good television matches. Orton and Ziggler had a very good match, that probably didn’t do anything for Ziggler or Orton, but it made for good TV. The Orton Ziggler match was followed by the highlight of the show, a match between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, the match was pretty authentic to ROH with both men even shaking hands before the match. They went at it until the Jericho run in, when Jericho attacked Bryan causing Punk to be disqualified.

Of course everything wasn’t all good, the Laurinaitis firing with Triple H dragged and when the Undertaker finally arrived and confronted Triple H the crowd didn’t react to it a fraction as well as they did last year. This may be due to the way that Triple H has been portrayed on TV, his match with Punk or even the fact that Taker came in while Triple H was taking part in that wacky Laurinaitis segment, regardless this is something that they are going to have to make matter.

Another thing that I wasn’t too happy about was the fact that Sheamus was barely featured on the show, which was a bad move, given the fact that he is the 2012 Royal Rumble winner. Treating the Royal Rumble winner as a simple after thought will devalue the Rumble very quickly, so next week I would like to see Sheamus featured far more.

Overall this was the best Raw in months and the ratings showed this, with this week’s Raw receiving one of the best ratings in months, although this could just be put down to the fact that it was the post Rumble Raw. Unfortunately the viewership dropped slightly during the second half of Raw which has become a trend. Hopefully the WWE can improve on this and continue to produce good weekly TV.

Next Week’s Issue

Next week we cover the purchase of New Japan, Raw, the news of the week and more! For more information head over to


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