Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The Non-Fan Review // Alberto Del Rio runs over Santa Claus (RAW 1022)


Two blokes who've had little time for professional wrestling...watch professional wrestling...then write about professional wrestling. That's pretty much the premise that we're building this series around. Our two non-fans will be given iconic moments from the history of wrestling and this month they'll be looking at that time Alberto Del Rio ran over Santa Claus on a Christmas Eve edition of Monday Night RAW in 2012, as well as ADR's subsequent Miracle on 34th Street Fight with John Cena. IT'S FREAKING CHRISTMAS! What will our intrepid graps newbies make of this one? 

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Nick is a 5'11" homo sapiens who never watched wrestling before in his life before embarking on the project.

Born at an early age, he is currently finishing off a PhD in linguistics and has never referred to himself in the third person. He doesn't intend to start now.


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Who doesn't love a good Christmas special?

They can absolutely make or break your Christmas experience for a whole year - whether it's chortling along with Del Boy or watching the Queen's Speech or trying to work out when Doctor Who started being so difficult to watch, there's nothing that brings us all together like yuletide-flavoured telly!

They understand this as well as we do in the faraway land of WWE, but surely nobody could have seen this coming: the 2012 WWE Christmas special begins with a Jingle Bells parody being "sung" (using the term as loosely as I possibly can) in an impossibly wholesome living room by scores of what I presume are WWE all-stars. Personally, I find that this item brings enormous joy to my heart.

It proves there are people with less musical talent than I have.

But that was just the starter in our holiday feast, the Brussell sprouts if you will - the show begins in proper as we cut to the wrestling arena. The commentator announces the "special guest referee" - it's only Father bloody Christmas!! (Or as Americans insist on calling him, the far less endearing Santa Claus. Sigh.) Why the man has yellow ribbons up the middle of his outfit and around his waist is unclear, maybe he's disguised as a birthday present. But he can't be more confused than the commentator, who can't remember his lyrics: "you better not shout, you better not... shout?" Maybe being utterly hopeless at anything to do with singing is a prerequisite for this company. As our favourite red-clad housebreaker hands out hats and dolls -- ahem, sorry, ACTION FIGURES -- to the children in the audience, the music suddenly goes weird and then a man in a tux appears smugly. Hmm.



But then it happens. The toy-distributing chap falls over an enormous white BWM that was right behind him, after which a Christmas tree immediately falls onto his face! Although why the man is holding the tree so close to his face is beyond me. Whatever the case, the man behind the wheel of the car exits the vehicle - he is wearing only a white scarf, golden boots (just like Batgirl) and a nappy, so clearly being caught injuring someone with his car is the SECOND most embarrassing thing to happen to him today. With that said, he looks understandably rattled. As the audience boos, smug tux man comes over and bursts into tears, before starting to play with the driver's scarf. He's a bit of an odd duck.

As the audience stars chanting "YOU KILLED SANTA", we get a replay to show what happened - a loudly honking BMW VERY SLOWLY entered the arena, although somehow the Lapland resident didn't realise it was there.. and stagily fell over it. Huh. So is the driver really completely at fault in this case? If anyone at InjuryLawyers4U can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate it immensely.

The beardy-weirdy is taken away by medics on a stretcher, giving us a thumbs-up so we know it's all fine. I admire such determination in a man who breaks into my house once a year to eat my mince pies and leave Nintendo 3DS games in my stocking.

After what is presumably an advert break, we learn from the commentary that the driver of the vehicle is one Alberto Del Rio, who drove in honking like a madman because he "entered the arena as he usually does". This raises a lot more questions than it answers. The tux man who is traumatised by the whole affair is called Ricardo Rodriguez; he's clearly mid-panic attack. To be honest, at this stage I can happily believe that this was all just one big accident with nobody to blame.

Cut to outside the "Trainer's Room"; if only this meant the room where they keep all the Pokémon. A man with glasses steps outside the room to address the scores of people waiting outside. He says - with a COMPLETELY STRAIGHT FACE - “Guys, I’m not going to sugarcoat this: Santa’s down”.

Enter Alberto, whom everyone hates, especially an overacting man in a hat who marches over and starts mugging to the camera: "MESSAGE FROM THE NORTH POLE, WHADDYA DOING MAAAN? TODAY’S CHRISTMAS EVE AND YOU RAN OVER SANTA!” Alberto's excuse that everyone knows where he drives his car so technically it's not his fault goes down less well than he expects: the throng yells their disapproval, culminating in overacting hat man shouting "ST NICHOLAS IS A SAINT!" No flies on this chap, clearly.



Mr Glasses lets us know the last thing Father Christmas said before losing consciousness: “Alberto Del Rio is going to be in a fight tonight, a Miracle of 34th Streetl Fight vs. John Cena". A man with his priorities in order, clearly. From context, I gather that overacting hat man IS John Cena. What is John's reaction to this request? "FOR SANTAAAAAAAAA!" It's on, bitches.

* * *

One hour and 45 minutes later - I counted - and they've put police tape around the BMW and the old chap's ECG monitor is playing Jingle Bells. The crowd reacts as if this is good news rather than a horrifying case of arrhythmia, so I'll follow suit and join the melee as it unfolds: 

From West Newbury, Massachusetts and weighing 251 pounds, John Cena bursts into the arena and looks thoroughly confused about it; he sprints to the ring starts pointing at random people. As one does.

One ad break later he has lost his t-shirt, now wearing only three-quarter shorts and fetching blue trainers. He mentions that he is running out of material to someone offscreen - maybe that's why his shirt had to go? In the meantime, Ricardo is still sobbing (seriously, THAT man needs medical attention more than anyone by this point, he's dehydrating at a rate of knots) and out slinks a very guilty-looking Alberto, still in the nappy and Flash Gordon boots. Alberto skulks to the ring, clearly knowing he's in the bad books.

DING-DING-DING! I'm impressed that they don't immediately start hitting each other and begin by trying to explain their points sensibly. Eighteen whole seconds without any physical contact go by until Alberto needlessly pushes John: "It was just an accident!" Well, that's opened the floodgates: Mr Cena shoves Mr del Rio into a corner, stands on his thighs and starts hitting his head. He then throws Alberto out of the ring, the commentator claiming that John is "fighting for Santa Claus and for Christmas". Well, that escalated quickly.

John follows his opponent out of the ring, only to be thrown into the metal stairs and receive a couple of kicks while he's down. As they roll back in, Alberto hugs John's leg - ONE, TWO... Nope, not out yet. Weirdly, Alberto asks for and gets a microphone from Ricardo - this the kind of thing I wish we'd see more often, running commentary from participants!

"It was just an accident!" pleads Alberto, before hitting a supine John.

"I was not trying to hurt Santa, okay!" he adds, then hits John with the mike as he tries to get up.
“A mí me gusta la navidad, John Cena," Alberto explains bizarrely as he attempts another whack with the mike... But John dramatically pulls it down, yells "SANTAAAAAAA" into it and then kicks the loquacious dangerous driver away. This could be a great PIF for safe driving with very little editing.



One of life's showmen, John allows the fans to pick whichever present he should open of the half dozen scattered around the ring. Opening the white paper around the box, he finds a black folding chair! Leaping back into the ring, he sets about his opponent with it, then grabs his leg: one, two... HANG ON! Ricardo just pulled the ref away before he could count to three! WHY would he even do that, I thought he liked Father Christmas?? John chases Ricardo around like Benny Hill, only for the latter to give him the slip and for Alberto to knock him down. Now it's time for Alberto to open a present - Ricardo (who, I'm increasingly realising, is just Alberto's bitch) brings a small red present containing... A custard pie. One comedy routine later, John ducks so Alberto gets Ricardo in the face with it. Well, now we know what a wrestling match choreographed by Sooty and Sweep looks like.

A few more blows exchanged and John drags Alberto up the aisle to the giant Christmas tree; unwrapping a green box, John discovers a mini-TV monitor with infectious childlike glee. Seriously, he's stroking it like a baby Triceratops. Straight into Alberto's mush it goes, the cad being on the verge of losing consciousness, then... Another advert break?

We come back and WHAT THE MERRY HECK HAS HAPPENED WHILE WE WERE AWAY? Now it's John rolling around on the floor in agony, while Ricardo offers his dungeon-master-- sorry, I mean his FRIEND Alberto a giant, white present. After a quick replay to show what we missed (not a lot to be honest), Alberto opens the present and looks up to heaven as if to say "WHAT IN THE NAME OF CAROLE ANN DUFFY IS THIS???"

Ricardo desperately tries to guess what it is there: "It's a bazooka! It's a tank! It's a bazooka, I swear!" Alberto reaches in and pulls out a teddy bear.

The crowd and commentators wet themselves laughing while John looks even more baffled than earlier. Alberto roars mightily and throws the toy into John, who simple says "Is this seriously happening?" He might well ask.

Alberto grabs Ricardo by the collar - he's clearly the sadist in their relationship - only for John to pull him off (AHEM!) and slam him into the nearby screen. Putting Ricardo out of the way by putting a wreath around him and a present on his head, John knocks Alberto to the ground, then nips back to looks at more presents. "USE THE TREE! USE THE TREE!" chant the fans; John obliges and whacks his foe with the metal-painted-green decorative arboreal, only to nip back and find a bowling ball! After a moment's calculation, he rolls the orange sphere into Alberto's orange spheres, causing him to double over in AGONY.



John's in a playful mood, he goes back to the other side of the ring and unwraps a fire extinguisher, to the delight of the commentators. As the two brawlers reenter the ring, John covers Alberto with carbon dioxide, which the commentator say is like snow. How they reached this conclusion is beyond me, but it seems to be doing the trick.

But zounds! Ricardo has leapt onto John's back like a koala in what the commentary calls a "sleeper hold"; the magnificent ham is starting to sink groggily...

But no. Jingle Bells plays. He's back.

Ricardo's face suggests he's on the verge of orgasm, he's so happy to see him - he lets go of John and dashes towards Father Christmas, arms outstretched for a hug... Only to be knocked unconscious from one swing of his big, red sack. (AHEM!!)

But he doesn't stop there, St Nicholas. No sir, he puts a stocking on his hand and does what the commentators call a "Santa Socko", which is a lot less rude than it sounds. This creates the opening for John to flip his foe, grab his leg, one two three - AND THAT'S IT!

So, there we have it - a TV special wherein the personification of Christmas was run over by a nearly naked beefcake, teddies were used as weapons and it all worked because it was played so straight.

Once a year is too infrequent for this level of madness.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10
Father Christmas, do not touch me...

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Andrew suspects he may be an alien from another planet, frequently finding human rituals baffling. Wrestling is one of the many things that continues to baffle him, but no doubt his findings will be subjected to rigorous study back on his home planet (wherever that is).


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It's Christmas at WWE, and we start with a singalong. Well, I call it that. Suffice to say that most wrestlers should stick to what they're good at. And then... Santa! He strolls in and throws random gifts to the crowd, while an instrumental "Jingle Bells" plays. There are a surprising number of children in the audience for this very occasion.

Then OH NO! A car drives in and v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y runs Santa down! It even takes out the tree! Who is this careless hit and run hooligan, and why is he only in a scarf and his underwear? The crowd boos: "You killed Santa!" The driver's tuxedo-wearing companion (what the hell was going on in that car?) dry heaves into a handkerchief a few times.



I think Santa will pull through. The paramedics have got him, and he's still moving, though I see a neck brace. There's not even any blood. And yes - there's a thumbs up from Santa, and a strained and muffled "ho ho ho".

Oh lord. Now it's a crime scene. They've got police tape and everything.

The wrestlers gather backstage. There's a pep talk and a lot of bad acting. In essence, they decide that the show must go on. The driver - I gather this is Alberto Del Rio - states that this was just an accident, but the others aren't happy. "Saint Nicholas is a saint!" says John Cena. Thanks for that.

We then hear that Santa's last words before he lost consciousness was that there should be a street fight. This seems unlikely, but none of this has been at all likely so far, so what the hell. And it's going to be with Cena. He doesn't look keen at first, but he'll "do it for Santa!"

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We start with a Santa Claus Update. Apparently, he's taken a turn for the worse. But things can't be that bad - his heart monitor has started beeping "Jingle Bells".

Meanwhile, John Cena runs into the ring while Del Rio's friend (chauffer? I have no idea who this guy is) sobs on the sidelines. Del Rio himself seems fairly settled - he hasn't even changed, but then, he seems to wear trunks and kneepads as his usual wardrobe. The only addition in deference to the cold weather is that scarf.

The two men face off in the ring. Del Rio seems reluctant to fight, while Cena apparently blames him for ruining Christmas. Del Rio slaps back, and Cena goes nuts - pummelling the other guy into the ropes. He pins him into the corner, climbs the ropes and punches him repeatedly on the top of his head. The referee - no-one special today - breaks them up. One rule I've seen universally enforced in WWE seems to be "variety". You can't have two wrestlers get stuck doing the same thing for too long. I think this is a rule against boredom rather than anything fighting-related.

Cena slings Del Rio out of the ring. He follows after, ready to sling him about a bit more, but the second attempt backfires and Del Rio sends Cena flying into those metal steps. You'd think, after the number of times this has happened, they'd replace them with something softer.

Del Rio kicks Cena in the head a couple of times, then helps him back into the ring. An attempt to pin him down fails. A yell and a flying kick onto Cena's head seems more effective. "It was just an accident!" Del Rio yells into the microphone. Then he plants another kick on Cena, which rather undermines his innocence.



Now this is the scene of the "alleged crime", according to the commentators. Hmm. Perhaps justice in WWE is based on who wins their fights more than evidence. Del Rio is angry now. Cena is fighting back, apparently wrestling for... the microphone? Is this a battle of words? But Cena has just one word - "SANTAAA!" - before he kicks Del Rio in the tummy and sends him crashing down. The microphone is tossed aside.

John Cena steps out of the ring. He seems more interested in opening a present under one of the trees (one at each corner of the ring - how festive). A bit early, but it's not like Santa can complain. The size and shape of this box make me wonder - could it be...?

IT IS! IT'S A METAL FOLDING CHAIR!

Cena quickly puts it to use, jabbing Del Rio in the stomach and then whacking him on the back with it. He puts it to one side as he goes for a pin, but Del Rio isn't ready to quit just yet. Del Rio's tuxedoed weird friend argues with the referee - I'm not sure whether this is about using a chair or opening his presents early, but either way, Cena gets mad and comes charging out of the ring.

Weird Tuxedo Dude (WTD) runs for his life. He takes a shortcut through the ring itself, and as Cena follows he is intercepted by WTD's mate. Del Rio is not happy. Cena receives a hell of a kicking.

WTD returns with a present of his own, for Del Rio. It's... a pie? I'd prefer the chair myself. Cena avoids a face full of food, however, by ducking at the last moment. WTD gets a pie in the face instead. Well, that was pointless.

Battle rejoins, with Del Rio thrown face first into a post and then out of the ring. Cena decides to entertain the audience by taking Del Rio out for a walk and bashing his head on random things. Like his fist. He pauses to open another present. This one has a portable TV monitor in it with a convenient carry handle (ahh, 2012 technology). It clobbers Del Rio back into a pile of display boxes.

We pause for a commercial break. In this brief period, WTD returns to distract John Cena while Del Rio regains his wits. The latter sneaks up behind Cena and whacks him on the back of the head with something. We return in time for WTD to give Del Rio another present. The last one was a pie - despite his promises of a tank or a bazooka (I suspect even WWE would balk at using these in a match) Del Rio finds...



...a teddy bear?

Cena just stands there and watches. He doesn't react even when said teddy bear is hurled at his chest. With battle rejoined, Cena charges in with a punch and then hurls Del Rio into the display boxes again - via the wall. He then ensures WTD can't cause any more mischief with the restraining powers of a holly wreath around the chest and a large box on his head.

Back to Del Rio, who likes to kick. This time a low kick to the shin/calf area distracts Cena long enough for a punch to the head and another large box to follow. The punch to the groin was a low blow in every sense, however. The two men drag, punch and headbutt each other back to the ring, Cena gaining the upper hand and slamming Del Rio into the commentary desk.

Cena goes hunting for more presents, finding nothing of interest. The crowd offer their own suggestion - "USE THE TREE! USE THE TREE!" And that's just what he does - charging down Del Rio as he struggles to his feet with a fully decorated Christmas tree. Careful, Cena - you might get Tinsellitis.

Cena goes back for another present, this time finding a box he likes. Inside is... a bowling ball?? He lines up for a strike... right into Del Rio's, um, pin. The look of horror on Del Rio's face is matched by every adult male in the audience.

Cena's not done. There's a present left by the tree near the ring, and this one has what must be the final straw - a fire extinguisher. Del Rio struggles upright, crawling back into the ring. Cena follows. Del Rio begs for mercy - "it's Christmas! It's Christmas!" - but Cena is unmoved. He fires a continuous blast over his opponent. Del Rio bounces helplessly from floor to ropes, unable to see or do anything in the spray.

Then a small blur leaps in from nowhere - it's WTD! He leaps onto Cena's back, trying to grab him in some sort of headlock. Cena somehow falls to the ground under this unlikely attack.

And then we hear Jingle Bells. Suddenly, Santa is back! Perhaps we'll get some sanity restored to the proceedings... wait, what am I saying??

Cena and Del Rio are both prostrate, but WTD is thrilled at this turn of events. He runs out to greet the jolly old red suited weirdo - who clobbers him with his sack.

Santa then puts on a red glove, and shoves it into Del Rio's mouth. I have no idea what's going on any more, but Del Rio is roused in a hurry. Cena is up again behind him, grabs him, flips him over his head and slams him into the mat. Pinned, Del Rio is counted out very swiftly and the match is over.



Santa seems mystified by his own red glove. Cena seems happy, however, basking in the cheers of the crowd, then sharing a hug with Santa.


Verdict: Very, very silly. And Santa is surprisingly bloodthirsty.

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Next time // We mix up the format as Andrew watches Sasha Banks vs. Bayley from NXT Takeover: Brooklyn...



 whilst Nicholas views Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Stacy Kiebler & Torrie Wilson in a Bra and Panties Match from WWF Invasion! 



Article by Nicholas Peat and Andrew Williams




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