|Monday Night Raw|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||January 16, 2012|
|Event reference||RAW #973|
|Special event details||2 hr episode|
|Previous episode||January 9, 2012|
|Next episode||January 23, 2012|
After Mick Foley kicked off Raw SuperShow by expressing his desire to be in the 2012 Royal Rumble Match – so that his two kids could see him compete – he was quickly criticized for such a lofty dream by former United States Champion Dolph Ziggler. Foley clarified that his goal was to be in the Royal Rumble Match to win it. After more harsh words for the WWE Legend, Ziggler told Foley to “just go away.”
Next, Ziggler’s Royal Rumble opponent, WWE Champion CM Punk, came out to greet his fellow “unconventional” Superstar, pointing out that neither hide behind a woman. The WWE Champion also called Ziggler out for having the Interim Raw GM in his back pocket for their match at Royal Rumble.
As tensions grew in the ring, Interim Raw GM Laurinaitis emerged and said although he considered Foley’s request to be in the Royal Rumble Match, his answer was “no”! After the blunt answer, Vickie cackled in Foley’s face.
In their first title defense since winning the WWE Tag Team Championships yesterday at a WWE Live Event in Oakland’s Oracle Center (WATCH), Primo & Epico downed former champions Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne, when Epico blasted Bourne with a backstabber. After the match, Rosa helped the duo celebrate.
The night's main event was changed by the GM to: Chris Jericho, WWE Champion CM Punk & World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga.
Even though he was injured at the hands of Kane on last week’s Raw SuperShow, United States Champion Zack Ryder was forced to defend his title against Jack Swagger. The match was made in the interest of “fairness’’ by the GM, who felt a ref made a bad call in Swagger’s match with Punk on last week’s Raw SuperShow. After punishing and humiliating his injured opponent with three gutwrench powerbombs, Swagger dethroned Ryder. The win was especially sweet for Swagger, who has been chasing championship glory since losing the World Heavyweight Championship in 2010. After the match, Interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis apologized after revealing Ryder was not medically cleared to compete.
With celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton acting as the special guest ring announcer, Hilton thwarted twin magic by causing a distraction, allowing Kelly Kelly to capture victory for her team. Afterward, The Bellas dropped Hilton to the canvas, who promptly hid behind Kelly Kelly & Fox to escape more twin wrath.
After R-Truth revealed pictures from his trip to Disneyland, Wade Barrett quickly lost interest. Next, The Miz and Barrett attacked Truth, but Sheamus charged in to help fend them off. Before total chaos erupted, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long emerged to announce the four would do battle in an Over the Top Rope Challenge. The first to be eliminated was Wade Barrett by all three competitors. Later, when Sheamus was poised to eliminate The Miz, Truth rushed in and flipped both Superstars over the rope to seize the win. After the bout, Sheamus dropped Miz to the arena floor with a brutal Brogue Kick.
Right from the start, John Cena launched a brutal assault against the newly crowned United States Champion. After relentlessly pummeling Swagger, Cena was ready to deliver a particularly vicious blow with the steel ring steps … when The Big Red Monster Kane appeared on the arena screen to instantly command Cena’s attention. “I think you’re getting it,” Kane growled, referencing Cena appearing to embrace hate as their Royal Rumble Match looms.
After dancing his way to the ring, Brodus Clay took on JTG. Relying on an aresenal of hard-hitting moves, "The Funkasaurus" made quick work of JTG.
In a marquee main event featuring some of Raw’s biggest Superstars, the odds changed when a fired up Chris Jericho curiously tagged out and simply walked away from the match. The balance of power shifted again, when World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry’s fight took them away from the ring. To even the odds, Mick Foley joined the fray … claiming Laurinaitis gave him permission.
After a DDT, followed by Mr. Socko, Foley put away Otunga for the win … or so he thought.
After the bell, John Laurinaitis came to the ring and announced he never gave Foley permission to be the match and reversed the decision. After the controversial call, Punk berated the GM for being uncharismatic and vanilla. But Laurinaitis, snapped and declared he would soon be the permanent GM and he will not be intimated by Punk. Things came to a head when Foley forced the GM to admit he’s going to screw Punk at Royal Rumble.
"Damn right I will," Laurinaitis declared, then smashed Foley in the head with the mic!
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes) (c) defeated Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (2:15)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Vickie Guerrero) defeated Zack Ryder (w/ Eve Torres) (c) to win the WWE United States Championship (2:25)
- Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox defeated The Bella Twins (1:00)
- R-Truth defeated Wade Barrett, Sheamus and The Miz in a Four Man Battle Royal (4:15)
- Brodus Clay defeated JTG (1:10)
- Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga (w/ Vickie Guerrero) defeated Chris Jericho, CM Punk & Daniel Bryan (14:00)
- Dark Match: John Cena defeated Kane by DQ
Other on-screen talent