Tonight’s Raw opens up with Paul Heyman taking the center stage, as he begins to make a promo, addressing the audience plainly, asking for mercy from the cacophony of boos, in order to get to say what he has to say. While I understand he’s supposed to be booed, it doesn’t change the fact that his promo, ostensibly to announce his “retirement”, was worthy of being listened to, and even cheered for. It was a moment of Heyman weaving in and out of his character masterfully as he brought up all of his talking points including Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, and of course ECW. The crowd seemed particularly schizophrenic as they booed Heyman, cheered ECW, booed Lesnar, then cheer/booed CM Punk. Which is even more puzzling because last time Lesnar showed up people cheered for him like crazy, so I’m guessing depending on which region of the country you’re from changes your opinion of who or whatever Paul Heyman involves himself with. Heyman tendering his resignation was almost a really sad moment, but it was interrupted by Punk himself. Seeing Punk finally comfort Paul Heyman personally, and accept him directly as his friend, keeping him from quitting was actually pretty moving. Or at least it would have been, if CM Punk didn’t have the cold, dead eyes of a serial killer while hugging Heyman.
Seriously? Mark Henry is a 400 pound insane behemoth with MURDER EYES and Great Khali is a 7 foot tall Indian guy who can barely walk. Did you expect this to be anything other than a horrific squash match? I don’t know why they keep trying to push Khali off on us, but all I can say is I’m glad Mark Henry is back. The guy should show up, slam the hell out of all the stupid wrestlers that suck, and then leave. That’s what he’s been doing so far, and If it leads to him becoming champion along the way that’s just a bonus.
This is a match that when it was made, got me really excited. Daniel Bryan always excels when he has somebody in the ring to match his skills, and Jericho, surprisingly has still got it. I’m still not quite sure how this was an Elimination Chamber qualifying match, when both participants ended up qualifying.To my understanding the winner was supposed to be the one who goes to the match, which is why when Jericho won I was initially disappointed, since I still hold onto the hope that Daniel Bryan will get back into the major title running again. I know it’s not likely to happen, since both Kane and Daniel Bryan will be in the Elimination Chamber, which virtually guarantee’s they’re interfere with each other, and neither will win. It’s disheartening, but I can accept it. The real loss here is that Jericho is back as a face again, which isn’t nearly as fun as heel Jericho. I’m guessing he’ll leave again after Elimination Chamber to go play more butt rock worldwide, which is a real shame when you think about it.
This is probably the worst example of booking I could possibly think of. This is the kind of match you’d make as a joke in a video game, and laugh at with your friends. Why they decided to actually make Cena, The Ryback and Sheamus an actual team of Invincible White Men is beyond me, but then to have them face off against the poor, barely struggling to get by, 3MB? It’s like watching a child smashing an ant hill for fun. Scratch that, it’s like watching a roiled out muscle man smash an anthill for fun, then pound his chest screaming “F*** ANT HILLS FEELLLLLAAAA”, marching around to his own music and cheering himself on for having decimated the miniature ecosystem of a bunch of ants. Worst is that in this terrible analogy onlookers seeing the man stomp the ant hill are cheering him, WILDLY to do so, and holding up signs that say “DOWN WITH ANTS”, or “U CANT C ME”, and enthusiastically cheer as the man pours water down into the neighboring ant hill, drowning them all and killing the colony.
I guess what I’m saying here is I’d really like The Colony from Chikara to show up and beat the hell out of these guys, but I know that’d never happen because well, they’re ants.
This wasn’t an actual match but holy crap this segment had me dying. Yoshi Tatsu’s incredibly stilted, yet somehow still remarkably enthusiastic response to everything Alexy Riley says had me in stitches. He’s just kinda nodding along and saying “Yeah!” in agreement, and I’m convinced he didn’t entirely understand what Alex Riley was saying at all. It’s also notable this is the first time I’ve seen Alex Riley in MONTHS, so I guess it’s good he’s not dead? I’m not sure if he still has his stupid haircut because of his hat, but I’d be willing to bet he does. The best part of this clearly, was Big Show showing up to clock both of them for just talking about him poorly. It’s like I said months ago in this column, if you talk trash about the Big Show, he WILL just stealthily ninja his way out of nowhere and punch you with his giant rocket fists.
Also holy crap, thank you Big Show for finally, FINALLY just punching Matt Stryker in his stupid little worm face. Thank you.
Oh man this segment. So there was a lot of speculation as to what Jack Swagger’s new returning gimmick would be, and in his absence there was some hilarious guesses and hyperbole put out there by the IWC, and one of the more popular ones was an astronaut. In that he left abruptly to “Go to his home planet”, ala Poochie from The Simpsons, and was returning from Mars. Because he was Jack Swagger of Mars. Get it?
Well that didn’t happen, and he just showed up as himself with a little bit of a beard and his hair not combed to the side any more. He looked a bit gruffer, and renamed his ankle lock submission The Patriot Act, and that was the first clue that things were going terribly wrong. When he first showed up tonight I was happy to see him wrestle again, because I think he’s actually pretty impressive, and I like his All American American gimmick. I didn’t know what to expect from the weird, mustachioed little man who was following Swagger until he started to speak after the match. I’m not familiar with Zeb Coulter, but I understand and know his character. I then watched in a mixture of stunned horror and disbelief as he started to make the most xenophobic, jingoistic, racist and white paranoia filled promo I’ve seen in a while. Short of blabbering out any slurs, he pretty much said everything he could let it be known that he was a big fat evil racist character, and had Swagger follow him along with that message by echoing a remnant from the Constitution, by saying “We The People” over and over.
I’m guessing this is to accomplish a couple of things. The first is to have a character who reflects The Tea Party in some kind of retarded, cartoonish version of what the WWE thinks is parody or cultural satire. The second and hopefully much more noble, is to firmly and rightly establish a HEEL character who is racist, that we can boo and hate, because RACISM IS BAD. The problem there is that a lot of the faces in WWE still say racist things, and generally act racist all the time, but never as blatantly as this. Ever since Alberto Del Rio became a face and a champion, Sheamus has significantly toned down on his awful racism, and there’s been a slight trend towards actually making some concretely bad heels, and concretely good faces. It’s slow pickin’s but progress is progress I guess. My main problem here is I feel this is supposed to make Jack Swagger a bad guy, but I’m afraid he’ll somehow get cheered and treated like a good guy anyway, because this is the WWE.
Ultimately, I’m disappointed because it’s not that interesting of a character, and ultimately is a bit damaging and backwards for a character to behave. It also immediately made me kind of hate Jack Swagger’s character for going along with this racist buffoon, but I suppose that’s the point? I hope? If this all turns out really bad in a month or so, let’s just pretend it never happened and go back to happy fun time All American American American Jack Swagger! Okay? Please?
Ok yeah yeah, Miz and Cody Rhodes, that match was fine. Sure. Whatever. Ignore that part, and go to 2:23 of that video, and watch Antonio Cesaro LITERALLY manhandle The Miz, as he picks him up by the legs like a rag doll and BASHES HIS SKULL INTO THE WALL OVER AND OVER AGAIN LIKE A BEAST.
If you’re somehow still not convinced that Antonio Cesaro is the shoot strongest there is, then I don’t know what to tell you. The guy dead lifts dinosaurs, throws people 10 feet up in the air to uppercut their heads off, and now picks people up by their feet to smash them into walls. I don’t have much else to say about this match because any and all memories of it were annihilated by Antonio Cesaro, yet again being the best and brightest in and around the ring.
So Tensai has failed miserably to get over with the audience as anything and it seems like they’ve finally gone and pulled out the last-ditch effort to keep him relevant, by teaming him up with Funkasaurus and having him dance. On one hand, gross. On the other, I actually almost kinda enjoyed it? I suppose it’s actually because Primo and Epico are so fantastically boring to me that I don’t mind watching them get squashed by fat guys who can barely move. That’s Funkasaurus anyway, Tensai can move but nobody wants to watch him do so. In a way I almost feel bad for Tensai, because nobody has ever really liked him, no matter the gimmick. People hated him back when he was Prince Albert, (and can you blame them? Go google Prince Albert WWF if you don’t believe me. And DO NOT forget the WWF part or you’ll be sorry.), he didn’t get over as “A-Train”, and now he’s back as Tensai and still being mostly ignored if not hated.
While I do enjoy the lighthearted approach to Tensai’s character as a comedic foil, it still doesn’t work for me. Sure I enjoyed watching him dance after winning this match, but we all know that can get very old very fast. I have a feeling this is the best it’s going to be for Tensai, and that this is his shining moment in the sun. He better enjoy it now, because people will just start booing him again unless he does something radical to get over quick.
I really wish Dean Ambrose did all the talking for this group. Seth Rollins has a great look, but his voice is a bit high-pitched and whiny. Roman Reigns on the other hand sounds like he wakes up every morning and gargles piss and asphalt. Ambrose is clearly the most accomplished talker amongst the three of them, so he should carry the lions share of that task. I like the look of Roman Reigns as well, but only when he stands perfectly still and doesn’t say anything. At first that’s how he was, and it totally worked. He was the silent, stoic, totally scary guy who just F-d thing ups when he did move. I like The Shield too, but even I had a hard time following this promo and what their meaning was in the long run. It seemed to drag on and repeat itself, while basically saying what we already knew. We know they’re going to stand together, and they don’t fear Cena, Sheamus or The Ryback, that’s what makes them awesome and why I liked them in the first place, but it’s been weeks now and they’ve still yet to divulge any actual character motivation, or any kind of explanation for why they’re dressed the way they are.
I’m guessing it’s because they’re meant to be mercenaries? Like wrestling mercenaries? When they first showed up I thought they were dressed in black to be disguised as the camera crew and event staffing so as to fool everybody while they hid in plain sight. It was pretty smarty and devious and totally worked. Then they started showing up looking like Big Bossman inexplicably, but they were cool and captivating and it worked for me. Each time I see them now though it’s all I can think about is WHY do they have those mercenary outfits, and WHY are they all so greasy? I know the baby oil is generally used by wrestlers to look nice and shiny for camera, and to ease friction for grappling holds and all, but Roman Reigns must seriously use about 4 bottles a day to keep his hair like that. It’s a little disgusting because every time I look at him all I can think about is feeling his hair, it being sticky to the touch and being really hard to wash off my hands. I think if there’s any unknown benefactor behind the advent of The Shield then it’s gotta be the baby oil companies.
Look, I’m just glad Alberto Del Rio is winning with the Cross Armbreaker. He’s building it up, he’s pulling it off, and the guys he’s beating are tapping excruciatingly, and immediately. It works so well that it’s finally making the move look really deadly, just the way I said it should. Along with that, ADR is basically the hero of all Mexico now, so it’d be great if he utterly beat Zeb Coulter’s brains in, along with Swagger. Let’s have that feud please? Pretty please?
As previously stated in this column, I shall no longer comment on any Kofi Kingston match. In place of commentary about Kofi Kingston, I shall simply type the following words:
BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS BUTTS
That is all.
Yet another example of how the rules in WWE sometimes never make sense, is that Kane won this match and is going to Elimination Chamber, but somehow Dolph Ziggler doesn’t. Even though in Daniel Bryan’s match he got to go to along with Jericho, for reasons I don’t understand. I like Ziggler, and I love his weird little trio he has currently with Big E Langston and AJ. I just want Big E to do more. Anyone who’s watched NXT knows he has that great 5 count gimmick he’s borrowing from King Kong Bundy, and he makes hilariously weird promos. Plus he has this weight lifters chalk gimmick that he sometimes uses to make a cloud of dust in people’s faces. It’s amazing. Use him as something more than “intimidating black man” please.
Ugh. This was the lowlight of the night. I’ve already gone into detail about why The Rock is a pale shadow of his former self, and the feud between him and Punk has been debated to death, but it’s thing like this that give the Punk fans more fuel to the fire. Why do we need to waste 10 minutes at the end of the show to hear some lame story about The Rock buying a stolen car from a crackhead? What did it have to do with ANYTHING? I thought he was going to tie it into calling Punk a crackhead from last week or whatever, but not even that happened. Eventually he rambled long enough to have Punk come out, smash Rock’s stupid face into his knee, and TAKE THE DAMN CHAMPIONSHIP BELT RIGHT FROM HIM.
It was awesome, and finally provided an ending to Raw that I liked, which hasn’t happened in a damn while.