Tonight’s Raw was 3 hours long, which usually means we get around 30 minutes of actual wrestling, and 2 1/2 hours of video packages and skits. So I was not surprised when Raw began with John Laurinaitis entering the ring, closely followed by Vince McMahon, who is here to give Mr.Laurinaitis his performance evaluation. On TV. Like all normal chairmen do. Watching the whole segment was a series of weirdly and poorly rehearsed dialogue that was botched continually by both men involved, and many of their lines were flubbed so often it made me start looking at the abundance of misspelled crowd signs, many saying “your fired” (sic).
So the two old executive types argue for a bit about Laurinaitis’ future, with Johnny L himself claiming to have been serving the people’s wishes, (which he has, people just don’t realize what a great heel character he is), until Sheamus shows up and throws insults at Laurinaitis, making Big L schedule a match for Sheamus, because all insults and transgressions in wrestling are settled by a match. Vince then tells Laurinaitis that if the match isn’t impressive, and if every match In the show tonight isn’t up to par, then he’ll be fired. As I Thought, it’s YOU’RE FIIIIIRRRRRED Vince who is partially returning tonight. Vince then crashes Laurinaitis’ super scooter off the stage, ruining one of Laurinaitis’ better character props. I imagine that backstage he was using it to try to gain sympathy from other wrestlers, playing up the wounded lion card as hard as he could, not realizing everybody knows that it’s not even needed for kayfabe reasons, but he truly thinks he’s a mastermind duping everybody and looking totally awesome while doing it.
Sheamus’ opponent is revealed to be Lord Tensai, who I really can’t stand and is probably the only person I’d cheer for Sheamus to defeat. Between the two it’s a match where two boring invincible white guys fight each other until Sheamus manages to brogue kick Tensai and nab the win. After his defeat by Cena, Tensai is now broken, he’s lost his undefeatable power and possibly his mystical asian powers too, and is now just a normal Tensai and has lost his rights to Lordship. Or something. Either way, it was a boring match.
Backstage, Vince McMahon tells Laurinaitis that match is strike one towards Laurinaitis getting fired. To be fair it was a pretty horrible match, and Johnny starts to scramble for ideas and actually asks Teddy Long for match advice. This might as well be career suicide because Teddy has never made an interesting or creative match ever. His entire thought process is:
Wrestlers? Feud? “Lemme Hep you a minnut playa!”, Impromptu Tag team match? Feud settled? ??? Dancing!
Teddy suggests a 4 way elimination match with Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Great Khali, and Christian, which aside from being a very loosely associated group (former world champions? Khali had the belt? What a dark and horrible thought). He stipulates the winner will face Sheamus for the title at No Way Out. This isn’t too bad, because it means either Ziggler or Christian will end up at No Way Out, unless they’ve gone full retard and really decide to push Great Khali as someone who can do anything other than painfully limp around and fake chop people. Of course, Vince loves the idea and Laurinaitis sends Teddy off to get coffee. This is a new/interestkng spin for Teddy’s character, and him becoming the downtrodden matchup genius who is stymied by his superiors, and gets the credit for his booking ideas stolen, is a neat one, and I’d be into it, if it was literally anyone with a booking history other than Teddy Long. But WWE hates continuity, so we’ll have to keep pretending like Teddy is some kind of matchup genius who has been unjustly wronged. Surprisingly, we return to the ring, where Tensai is insulting and attacking his man-servant Sakamoto, because he’s a big angry baby who hates losing.
Then there’s a video package commemorating the upcoming 1000 episodes of Raw milestone, by showing a 2009 clip where Seth Green showed up and hosted/wrestled, because THAT was a defining Raw moment, somehow. Seth green, wrestling legend. You know. Because that makes sense. Anyhow, we cut to R-Truth talking up the match between Big Show and John Cena at No Way Out, until Big Show’s fist Monty Pythons its way into the screen, smashing R-Truth in the face, knocking him out cold. We barely even see Big Show, he walks away really soon and the camera just focuses on R-truth laying unconscious.
Assuming that Show plans to continue to do this to the entire roster, it makes me think that Big Show’s new contract also includes secret invisibility powers, because HOW do you miss that man coming at you fists clenched? Maybe he got detachable rocket fists with his new contract, or some kind of psychic ability to innately stay out of peripheral vision? Anything to explain R-truth and John Cena both not noticing GIANT FISTS coming at them somehow.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an inter-gender tag match, but the match itself was fairly entertaining, as Ricardo is a talented spot taker, and Santino is at the very least, good at comedy matches. Plus the inclusion of them in the match made this pseudo-divas match last longer than the usual 2 minutes in its entirety. Beth wins the match by defeating Layla, and Ricardo starts celebrating as if he’d won himself. Santino then jumps up, and rips off Ricardo’s dress shirt, revealing a purple Justin Bieber shirt underneath. And that’s a sentence I just typed. Wow.
Backstage David Otunga is talking with Vince McMahon, and is trying to snipe Laurinaitis’ job, IF he gets fired. Vince counters that he doesn’t like people who “pucker up”, backstab others, or lawyers. Which is weird, because of those three things, only Lawyer is something Vince hasn’t forced others to do or has been himself. Clearly he’s forgotten his whole reign during the Attitude era. Kofi Kingston enters demanding a match with Big show, in revenge for Show taking out R-Truth earlier, and Laurinaitis calls his incredibly stupid bluff, and puts him in a cage match with Show. So let’s look forward to Kofi Kingston hopefully getting WMD’d into oblivion, and never wrestling again, and we’ll finally be free of the suffix “Boom” being added to wrestling lexicon in any way shape or form.
Thankfully, we cut to Daniel Bryan who starts a promo about his triple threat match with himself, CM Punk and Kane at No Way Out, and proceeds to comment on the interaction between all of them and AJ. It’s a decent promo, and it furthers his character motivation for winning the match at No Way Out, and then CM Punk appears. Punk lays down a bevy of insults towards Daniel Bryan and continues his backhanded compliments towards AJ by stating again that he digs crazy chicks. They trade insults and hints towards their respective ROH past, and Punk basically explains out loud, that despite Daniel Bryan saying he’s sold out, he’s still the same guy he was last year when he made his 4th wall breaking promo. This is interesting, because a lot of fans have criticized Punk for basically acting like a heel, despite currently being face. In effect, this explains his actions, as he hasn’t actually changed his admittedly dickish, heelish behavior that much, he just has more fans now. It’s a good thing, because it makes sense, and goes a long way towards setting up his inevitable heel turn in the future, whenever that may be.
Punk continues insulting Daniel Bryan coming up with a new chant for anti-Bryan fans, by calling him goat face. The crowd chants “GOATFACE GOATFACE”, which is pretty funny any way you slice it. These two have great chemistry together, and I could watch them wrestle and/or argue all day. Then Kane has to come and ruin it all with his fire music, and walks in with a mic, and says dumb things about how eeeeeevil he is, and how he’s gonna win the championship. Then of course, AJ enters the ring, and actually starts to begin a possible LOVE TRIANGLE (wait, 4 people… Love Square? Whatever) storyline with Kane, claiming she saw that he has a heart, deep down, after looking into his eyes. Which really proves that she IS crazy, because he’s KANE. The guy who literally drags people to hell, sets them on fire, and is a goddamned rapist. So I guess that match at No Way Out isn’t just for the WWE title, but also for AJ’S LOVE. Which kinda makes me wish I was a wrestler and could be in that match, because screw the title amirite? But sadly, this is not the case. I’m imagining the worst case scenario being this whole thing turning into a situation where she seduces all three of them and they have the worlds worst 4-way, and we’re forced to see Kane, Punk and Bryan all Eiffel Tower AJ while Zack Ryder films it for his YouTube channel. Thank god we don’t live in the dark world my mind creates, because that would officially be The Worst Thing.
Regardless of that horrible image I put in your head, there was no video of this segment yet, so this picture will have to suffice.
Laurinaitis then interrupts, and borrows a page from Teddy Long’s handbook, and schedules all 4 of them to have a tag team match. It’s an hour and change into Raw, and so far we’ve had two matches of actual wrestling. I’m hoping that this isn’t the precedent that will be set for the July 23rd change, when Raw permanently becomes 3 hours long. Who am I kidding, of course it will be.
Great Khali is not a wrestler. He cannot wrestle. He is bad at his job, and is only there to appeal to Indian wrestling fans, which is a sizable demographic, so i understand why he’s necessary, but holy crap is it impossible to employ an actually talented wrestler of Indian ethnicity? Even Jinder Mahal is a lousy, boring, borderline racist jobber. Get someone talented, named him the The Bollywood Basher or something, and fire Khali. The man can barely walk, I’m sure he just wants to relax and rub some icy-hot into his probably aching joints. I’m also sure he’s a great person in real life, but holy crap I do not want to see him chop people anymore. It’s awful.
So after Khali is eliminated, the match picks up greatly, and we get a great series of setups and spots between Dolph Ziggler and Christian, that leads to Ziggler finally getting a clean win and becoming the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. It’s about time Ziggler gets his due, because he deserves to be at the top, and even if he loses his match for the title, it’ll advance him further as the best #Heel in WWE.
This scene with Vince and the Funkadactyls is notable for two reasons:
1.) It finally gives the Funkadactyls actual purpose and character, even if they’re kinda annoying.
2.) Vince McMahon summoning Brodus Clays music, disco ball, and mood lighting OUT OF NOWHERE is goddamned funny. Dude’s got swagger.
Follow it up with Zach Ryder standing there, reacting exactly the same way I did, made it even sweeter.
Ryback’s jobbers this week are named Willard Fillmore and Rutherford P.S Hayes. Anytime you get historical presidential references in WWE, it’s a guaranteed awesome moment, even if they’re doomed to be power bombed to death. If anything this needs to continue, where each week the Jobbers Ryback wrestles get more and more bizarre, until he’s literally pitted against three 4′ 8″ historically accurate wrestling versions of history’s major players. This week! Ryback vs The Founding Fathers, Benjamin “Shocker” Franklin, Thomas “Sugar” Jefferson, and John “The Cock” Hancock! Then Ryback ends the match by ripping up the Articles of Confederation and forcing them to write the Declaration of Independence.
Or maybe he’ll just keep Goldberging new local skinny guys to sate his man flesh addiction. Either way, I’m looking forward to it.
Back from the break, we see Vince McMahon getting back in touch with his illegitimate child, Hornswoggle (seriously, thats WWE canon), and then John Cena enters to convince McMahon to fire Laurinaitis, by belittling him. Vince then tells Cena to NOT interfere with Kofi Kingstons ma… his mat… Sorry, his MAHahaahahah sorry, Kofi Kingstons MATCH (pffft) against Big Show. The thought of Kofi up against New Monster Big Show in a cage match is actually laughable to me. Anyhow, then McMahon considers giving Cena some sort of involvement in tonight’s show. Otunga enters, and gets insulted by McMahon, we see William Regal looking sad, and we all die a little inside.
Surprise. Big Show wins. Kofi sadly doesn’t die in ring. Next.
Sin Cara is back on Raw again, and brings his mood lighting with him. I’m not sure why he has mood lighting for his matches, but I bet it can’t be beneficial to his vision with that mask on. Maybe its same sort of thing where he summons mood lighting via his presence alone, and it’s an ability he learned from Vince McMahon. Anyhow, Sin Cara does a bunch of flips and pins Hawkins. Sin Cara racks up another win, and maybe one day we’ll get to see him wrestle someone interesting.
Backstage, Vince approaches Daniel Bryan. This segment is for all the Smarks out there, who are aware of Vince’s propensity to not hire guys who he thinks are “Too small” to compete in the WWE. He likens Daniel Bryan to someone you would see on the street and never expect to be a wrestler, let alone a world champion. We’re then treated to a glorious moment where Bryan utterly shuts down Vince by bringing up his previous firing, his subsequent re-hiring and proving everyone who doubted him wrong, and most of all, proclaiming (correctly) that he and Vince are both self-made success stories. Vince then smugly reminds him of his 18 second Wrestlemania loss, and wanders away, because making a real point would take an effort. Daniel Bryan brushes it off, and readies himself for his upcoming match. Then we’re told that John Laurinaitis has invited a former superstar to compete in tonight’s show, in commemoration of the 1000 episodes of Raw thing again.
And the former “Main Eventer” is: VADER. Holy crap! I didn’t even know he was still alive!
Vader shows up, looking in surprisingly good shape for a dude his size and age. The crowds enthusiasm for Vader alone, begins to wear against Heath Slater’s stamina, and we all know a stiff breeze can take him out. So it’s pretty unsurprising when the fans begin chanting “Vader Bomb”, and Vader then ends it with a Vader Bomb. Cutting to AJ, we see Punk comforting her by assuring her that he’ll keep her safe in the match, and AJ responds with her continued Overly Attached Girlfriend act, and kisses him on the cheek.
This matches whole dynamic is pretty much a glorified handicap match. CM Punk literally even says so in an earlier segment. Punk accidentally bumps into AJ and the Ref for some reason considers it a tag. AJ then enters the ring and faces Kane. She stares at him for a few seconds, smiles, and then starts SKIPPING IN CIRCLES AROUND HIM, LEAPS INTO HIS ARMS, STRADDLES HIM, AND FULL ON KISSES HIM ON THE MOUTH. It was astounding. I never thought I’d EVER say this, but holy crap, Kane is getting to first base on Raw, consensually! Furthermore, I’m ODDLY JEALOUS OF HIM. Kane stands there, dumbfounded, and utterly confused, tags in Daniel Bryan, and probably tucks his boner back, when out of camera. Daniel Bryan steps in the ring with AJ, and she tags in Punk, who quickly elbow drops Bryan and wins the match. Kane walks away, still puzzled and probably horny, while AJ sits in the ring and smiles oddly at CM Punk, and generally just looks adorable. Everyone else in the world, is f*cking confused.
Returning from the break, Vince McMahon struts back out into the ring, surrounded by security guards to give John Laurinaitis his performance evaluation. Laurinaitis enters the ring to be evaluated, and Vince tells him the guards are here to escort Laurinaitis out of the ring, after he fires him. John then argues for his job using People Power as the backbone of his argument. Right before Vince can fire Laurinaitis, Big Show interrupts, and enters the ring. Big Show backs up Laurinaitis, mentions how his Ironclad Contract can let him do whatever he wants, and even if Vince fires him, he’d end up paying him millions of dollars,(MILLIONSOFDOLLASMILLIONSOFDOLLASMILLIONSOFDOLLARS!)for many years, to do nothing. Which sounds like a pretty great contract if you ask me.
Show then brings up every stupid costume, appearance, promo, backstage story and embarrassing moment in his career, blaming it on the behest of Vince McMahon. Tired of being his dancing monkey, Show declares himself a GIANT (WCW yay!), rallies against John Cena, and of course, is interrupted by Cena himself. Cena charges down, tries to blame Laurinaitis for all of his and Show’s problems, ignoring all of the completely valid reasons Show has given over the last two weeks for his actions. He then tries to say that Show is somehow selfish or greedy for being mad at having to do stupid bullshit for 14 years, and then suggests that if Show doesn’t beat him at No Way Out, somehow Show will have nobody to blame but himself for his actions, which makes as much sense as AJ falling for Kane, but I digress.
Cena then calls Show a sell out, and asks him what will happen if Show loses? Vince then says he’ll be at No Way Out, and makes a new stipulation to the match. That stipulation being if he loses, he’ll fire Laurinaitis on the spot. Show then attacks Cena, the body guards intervene, and Show starts throwing them around too. Laurinaitis and McMahon then try to stop Cena and Big Show from fighting. Big Show accidentally knocks out McMahon, and is then put on backstage time out by Laurinaitis. The show ends on a shot of Vince McMahon, unconscious.
So, this is probably what we’re gonna start getting come July 23rd. A 3 hour show, with around 40-50 minutes of wrestling at best. That’s not to say I wasn’t entertained by tonight’s Raw, I definitely was, but the pacing has been better than the first hour consisting of only 2 matches. I’m going to remain optimistic, and hope that the new format will force them to structure their shows better, and improve Raw overall.
It probably won’t though. Oh well.