Tonight’s show opens up with a new credits sequence, and new logo. Why they waited until the 1002nd episode of Raw to debut a new credits sequence, or logo, beats the hell out of me. I guess the guy who edits all of the promos went insane after the ridiculous amount of video packages he had to make for last weeks show. Well the new Raw GM AJ skips out, and announces right off the top of the show, a series of matches featuring Big Show vs Randy Orton, and Daniel Bryan vs John Cena. Before she says what her third match up will be, CM Punk interrupts her, and walks out to a kinda-sorta mixed applause from the crowd. The fans seemed to mostly be on CM Punk’s side, despite a few fans giving thumbs down here and there.
Punk begins to make a promo explaining his actions last week, with him yelling in AJ’s face, demanding respect. He does get “What-ed” by the audience while making his apology, and booed as well. He then starts to make the typical coward-heelish action of trying to butter up the GM and asking for the Triple Threat match between Punk/Cena/Show to be cancelled. AJ says her decisions stands, and Punk accuses her of getting revenge for his refusal of AJ’s marriage proposal a few weeks ago. He also points out how lame it would be if she started acting like yet another one of those Evil-GM’s for no reason, which falls in line with his “No bullshit, tell the truth” character. He’s riding a pretty thin line between actual truth teller, and tweener heel. Then John Cena comes out and says words about respect. I don’t know what the rest of what he said was past the word “respect”, because I passed out from boredom. The gist of it, was CM Punk and John Cena measuring each other’s dicks. Their insults and taunts were pretty grade-school.
” I beat you last year!” ” No you didn’t!” “Yes I did!” “Nuh uh!”
Awful. Punk, you’re better than that. Anyhow, Big Show enters because he legally has to. He doesn’t do anything, but he shows up, because that’s the law. AJ then says that CM Punk will be opening the first match of the night, with the WWE Universe picking his opponent. The selections were picked on twitter, and were: #PunkMiz, #PunkKane, and #PunkMysterio. I voted for #PunkMiz, because Kane is Kane, and I hate Rey Mysterio. Also Miz could use the push. I kinda like the idea of being able to push the stars we like, but a part of me thinks that the whole damn thing is rigged to begin with, either that or I really underestimate how much people inexplicably like Rey Mysterio. http://youtu.be/gfGuEvdoHyI So even though I dislike Rey Mysterio, I have to admit he’s a pretty good worker. Add to that that I’ve never really seen Punk have a bad match, and we had the makings of a decent match unfolding. Jerry Lawler made some idiotic comments about Punk needing to “earn respect”, which means either in the canon of WWE that ROH doesn’t exist in its entirety, or he’s just retarded and forgot all the events of last year, because if ANYBODY has “earned” respect it’s Punk. I literally cannot understand how you could think he hasn’t. Arguably you could say John Cena has “earned” it, except his whole Robo-Cena act bores me to tears, because it’s so repetitive.
I gotta say the match made both of them look pretty good. Mysterio’s acrobatics work well on a guy with the build of Punk, because he’s not a Goliath style monster for him to overcome, and thusly his moves are more believable in their effectiveness. Punk though, did manage to pick up the win by pulling up his knees when Mysterio attempted a dive off the top rope, and landed the GTS. He then (shoot?) sold a mouth injury from Mysterio’s 619 finisher, and let out his patented BEST IN THE WORLD top rope yell.
Coming back from the break, we see an actually pretty badass comeback promo for Wade Barrett. The guy’s sporting a beard now, and seems to have a new “bare knuckle boxer” gimmick, that’s reminiscent of the UK’s Charles Bronson. The guy looks leagues tougher than he used to be, and the promo was effective at communicating that he’s not to be messed with. Good Job Video Package Editor Guy!
Back to the actual show, and Alberto Del Rio shows up backstage to talk with AJ. He butters her up, and tries to push for his whole “I don’t need to wrestle these plebes” thing. She says she had nothing planned for him, and is happy to hear it. But, he makes the mistake of saying that he thought she was going to do something “Crazy”, and she takes offense. She then puts him in a match, immediately. AJ seems to be a very wrestling oriented GM, who is eager to actually make wrestlers wrestle, and not have stupid goddamned tag team matches all the time. I knew she wouldn’t let me down. Oh AJ, shine on you cra- I mean uh… sexy diamond. Yeah. Then they had, “Hey guess what, TRIPLE H/BROCK LESNAR VIDEO PACKAGE. THE SAME ONE THEY SHOWED 5 TIMES LAST WEEK. SUMMERSLAM! IT’S HAPPENING! TRIPLE H! BROCK LESNAR! CARE ABOUT IT! CAAAAAAARRRE” promo, yet again. If I ever see Brock Lesnar or Triple H in person, I’m going to be the most annoying, autograph demanding, horrible fan I can possibly be to them. Annoy them as much as these promos have annoyed me.
ADR enters the match with a boot still loose, presumably from having “just gotten ready.” I’m guessing that ADR’s whole “I don’t wanna wrestle until Summerslam” thing, was actually a meta attempt to get pushed more by whoever actually books the matches. As a heel he says he doesn’t want to do something, and falling into a cliched reverse psychology trap, the booker gives ADR match after match, where he pummels people relentlessly until he snaps their arms in half with his cross armbar. Christian this time, is the victim, and Christians around being Christian, until ADR pulls off his loose boot, and conks Christian in the head with it when the Ref isn’t looking. Because an empty boot to the head is somehow more damaging than one with a foot in it.
After ADR wins (duh), Sheamus shows up on the Titan-Tron, and steals Alberto Del Rio’s car that we previously saw him park backstage. Sheamus is the worst face in the world. I think from now on, whenever Sheamus does something really shitty or stupid or boring, I’m just gonna write “SCREW SHEAMUS”, and save myself another repetitive paragraph wherein I am trying to find a new creative way to say just that.
Hey, how cool is scheduled wrestling matches actually happening? Like, you know, an actual card being announced and followed through, and not full of tons of filler? Even though Randy Orton annoys me, I’ll support the idea of actual wrestling being the focal point of my wrestling show, any damn day of the week. So I don’t like Randy Orton. He’s dumb, his tattoos are dumb, and his “viper” gimmick is stupid and dumb. He’s a big dumb dummy who is so dumb he reverts me back to an age where I can only make infantile insults about what a doody-head he is. So I enjoyed seeing him get clobbered by Big Show, and was really fearing his typical mid-match momentum shift, where he body slams the guy from an irish whip, and then hulks out or whatever that weird ground pounding thing he does is, and RKO’s his opponent. Well, it was happening, and I was about to begin audibly groaning, when Show countered it into a choke slam. Then Orton kicked out of the choke slam, and the match continued. They then kept exchanging blows outside of the ring, resulting in a stalemate between the two of them, when the match came to a double count-out. Which I have to admit, was legitimately surprising, and somehow not a disappointing end to that match. They built up Orton without making Show look bad, and Show gets to still seem strong. Of course, after the match Show tries to hit the WMD on Orton, who finally lands the RKO on him, looking pretty ridiculous while doing so.
It seems like The Ryback shows up sometimes on Raw, and occasionally he’ll have a burst blood vessel in his left eye. Or a very bad case of pink eye. Or he’s having some kind of weird half-stoner stroke, and every time he smokes pot only half of his body gets high, thus resulting in his one bloodshot eye. I’m guessing they want us to think that he’s a hardcore fighter, and someone is always smashing him in the face hard enough to do that to him, but I’m inclined to think he’s really prone to quick fits of anger for no reason. What’s that? Big Bang Theory is eclipsing Community in the ratings again? THE RYBACK MUST RYBACK TV WITH HIS HEAD. THE RYBACK HUNGRY FOR GOOD THURSDAY NIGHT MUST SEE TV. FEED ME MORE DANNY GLOVER.
As for the match, The Ryback Ryback’s Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks again, in a match identical to his previous matches with them. While I like The Ryback, he’s starting to reach Funkasaurus levels of repetition. Blegh. Feed ME more, The Ryback. Feed me an original match.
Alright! This is how it should be! One wrestling match, immediately followed by another wrestling match! Awesome! Either this means they’re actually putting more wrestling into their 3 hour show, or the next hour after the other two previously announced matches will just be endless promos and skits that will make me eat my words about the WWE actually taking steps towards improving their product. I was about to start writing about how these guys were imprving in ring, because their match was building up in a nice fashion, until the Primetime Players, AGAIN do the whole “we had enough of this” thing, and backwards walk out of the ring. Then Kofi Kingston’s horrible music comes on, and the mere presence of the Tag Team Champions stuns the Primetime Players long enough for Primo and Epico to pull them forcefully back into the ring, where they pulled off a clean win. Yay. After a video package reminder of who Damien Sandow is for the unwashed masses, we see Josh Matthews interview him about his actions last week, where he attacked the Funkasaurus. Damien then goes on to say, more or less, that he hates dancing, and considers it foolishness that contributes to the delinquency of society. How goddamned hilarious is that? Damien Sandow hates dancing. Dancing! I can imagine him seeing the trailer for Step Up 5: Back 2 Tha Streets: Tha Reckoning 4 Tha Streets That Step Up AGAIN, and sneering derisively at it. I’d be right there with him, and then we’d play a game of chess together while sipping fine whiskey. Amazing.
Finally, FINALLY somebody comes out, and just beats the shit out of Funkasaurus during his long, ostentatious, unnecessary dance intro. He just comes out, tackles him, and just laus into his leg pretty horrifically. Then he just stands over his writhing body, and yells I TOLD YOU. YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF, over and over. Then, when off camera, presumably cartwheels his way out of there. This is why Damien Sandow is awesome.
He is the best heel.
Backstage, AJ is sitting with Daniel Bryan. She tells him she thinks he has anger issues, which may or may not be true. He does mention how it’s probably because she left him at the altar, but stipulates that if he beats John Cena tonight, she should turn the Cena/Show/Punk match, into a 4 way match. She then tells him no, and that he already has a match at Summerslam, against Kane. Bryan then stands up and starts NOing at AJ, while she YES’s back, until they do it simultaneously, which somehow makes AJ defeat him verbally. He stomps off in a huff, and I’m left feeling really bummed we won’t get another chance for Daniel Bryan to become WWE champion.
There hasn’t been a Diva’s match on Raw in a long time, and while I love women’s wrestling, what the WWE Divas do barely counts as wrestling. But they’re both so goddamn gorgeous it’s still entertaining to watch. The thing about Kelly Kelly, is she’s just a relatively athletic model, and not really a wrestler, so all of her moves are really shout-ey and simplistic. Eve, while not a great wrestler either, is a slight step up against Kelly Kelly in terms of wrestling talent. That being said, they managed to give a fairly long match, for Divas anyway. In fact, I found myself surprised that it was as long as it was, and managed to make them both look good, in more ways than one. Mostly because Eve was dressed like this: Holy crap. And Kelly Kelly was in her typical barely not lingerie garb as well.
Oh… oh my.
Ahem. So yeah. Diva matches. Of notable length relative to past Divas matches. In skimpy clothes. Let’s have them actually improve their wrestling ability, and hot damn. I’m ready. Don’t let me down WWE. Don’t let me down. Who am I kidding? They’re totally gonna let me down.
Look folks! HBK is back! He was back as recently as two weeks ago, but he’s BACK! Again! He can’t really do his entrance that well anymore, and his hips are clearly hurting him, and his voice sounds like he’s been gargling asphalt every morning for the last 10 years, but HE’S BACK! Cheer for his ineptitude!
I know, I know, HBK is awesome, but man, it’s like watching your beloved old uncle slowly wander into senility, and he doesn’t even know it’s happening, so he keeps walking around talking about how much the WWE Universe appreciates him while making comments about he can’t walk that well or do his entrance anymore. Ok, I might have gotten metaphors and commentary mixed up there, but my point stands. I think. Also I wish HBK was my uncle. So HBK continues his promo, talking about Triple H and then mentions Brock Lesnar, so of course, Brock Lesnar’s music starts up. Before they even finished thie promo, I understood the purpose of it, and how it’s been done before. For a few years in a row, they had HBK come out to basically taunt Triple H/Undertaker into fighting each other, because for some reason, HBK is Triple H’s big brother/rival/frenemy/cypher, who constantly must make all of Triple H’s affairs his. He’s like a needy friend who’s also really nosy and butts into business that isn’t his. I had a few friends like HBK Then I challenged them to a Hell In A Cell match, and tombstoned them horribly. I believe all social problems can be solved with a modified pile driver or a quick suplex. Awkward date? Elbow drop the waiter! Weird party where you don’t know anyone but have to attend? Choke slam the host through the punch bowl! Can’t get an erection during sexy time? Stone Cold Stunner your cock, and spin into a repeating ouroboros of infinite pain and humiliation! I’m really torn, because I shoot hate Brock Lesnar and shoot love Paul Heyman, so their pairing makes me all conflicted inside. I like the idea of Paul Heyman promoting his “client” as an actual wrestler hellbent on wrestling. I also really like him legitimately referring to Brock Lesnar as “The Baddest Dude” in WWE today.
But this promo was more or less just more boring fluff for that Triple H match, where HBK pulls out the “YOU MENTIONED HIS KIDS! THAT’S AWWWWFULLLL” thing, because that somehow makes the match more important or something. Blah blah blah. More wrestling please. Or alternatively, have Brock Lesnar actually quit WWE just like he has every other damn thing in his life. That’s right Brock, COME AT ME BRO.*
Then of course, Triple H comes out, and it gets all tense and shit, and points really hard at both of them, while vaguely threatening HBK. Lamesauce. After that we get to watch Sheamus’s Tout (ugh) of him with Alberto Del Rio’s car. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler argue over whether or not it’s grand theft auto (it is), and then we get another match.
Chris Jericho comes out to join Cole and Lawler ringside to give commentary on Dolph Ziggler’s match. He then explains why he’s been wearing Dolph Ziggler’s pink shirt, by saying he found it in the trash, which is somehow meant as an insult, but really it makes him sound like a dirty trash picker. As for the actual match, Dolph Ziggler was dominant against Alex Riley. Big surprise. The only thing that made the match was when Dolph Ziggler started showing off doing Jericho’s classic cocky pin, and Jericho stands up to Tout Dolph right then and there, and of course, this distracts Dolph long enough for A-Ry to get the roll up pin. Normally I hate the “distraction/roll up” ending to matches, but they haven’t done it in a while, and the us of Tout (ughh) made it novel. Another Tout from Sheamus is shown. Seriously? What we’re getting now is footage of footage being touted? I like the amount of wrestling i’m getting tonight, but little dumb moments like this add up to make the overall pie shittier in flavor. So to speak.
So I guess Kane and Miz were gonna have a match tonight no matter what, and if the people had voted like I did for #PunkMiz, we’d be seeing Rey Mysterio vs Kane right now, or some combination of the three choices we were given. Either way, the big surprise was seeing Miz hold his own against Kane. It’s fascinating how a big-boy haircut and a new attitude can improve a wrestler who people previously took only as a joke. I give Kane a shit pretty passively, but sometimes he’s able to tap into a talent reserve and make a match really work. Miz and him traded a lot of spots until Kane got the upper hand, and ended the match with a choke slam, but the effort put out by Miz was noticeable, and the match did a good job of making Kane still seem strong, while not making Miz look like he’s being squashed or jobbed into hell. Coming back from the break, we see Sheamus deliver ADR’s Ferrarri, absolutely trashed and covered in dirt, making him an impolite bastard, as well as a felon. Screw Sheamus.
I’m loving Daniel Bryan’s new “insane” character, who is obsessed with nobody but him saying “Yes”, and now is fixated on saying NO all the time at people. Plus he keeps walking around clutching his head like the brain-grubs are hatching, and they crave the YES YES YESing from the audience to grow and thrive. The match opens up with a rousing clamber of anti/pro Cena chants, that Daniel Bryan detests, and John Cena seems confused by. Throughout the whole match in fact, they seemed to bewilder him, as if he’d never heard them before. Daniel Bryan at one point does an awesome face to face with another fan, where he yells NO right in their face, while they YES him right back. I’d mark the eff out if that happened to me. Anyhow, Daniel Bryan get’s the upper hand during the commercial break, and the inevitable Robo-Cena countdown clock begins. Eventually he hits the 5 moves of doom, but just as Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment, Daniel Bryan locks him into a guillotine headlock. After a minute in the headlock, Bryan gets the advantage again, and builds up his newfound insanity powers to land a flying headbutt on Cena, but Cena still manages to kick out. After that, Daniel Bryan starts his signature kicking thing, which Cena counters in the STF, which Bryan re-counters into the YES-Lock, and for brief shining moment, I thought we were about to see Daniel Bryan beat Robo-Cena, but of course, he countered it again into the AA somehow. After he pins him, CM Punk’s music starts, and Punk enters the ring. He then raises his belt, as he has done to Cena so many times before. Suddenly, Cena throws CM Punk out-of-the-way, and Big Show enters to fight Cena. Cena raises Show into the AA, but in a repeat from last week, he knocks Show off Cena’s shoulders. He then grabs a headset and berates Jerry Lawler again, pointing out that he’s been letting people disrespect him, and that he won’t any longer. That he won’t let people say he’s “turned his back” on the WWE Universe, and even makes a comment referencing how Raw ends the same way it did the last two times. He then goes int he ring to take out Big Show, who catches Punk’s kick, and WMD’s him hard. Show follows it up with a WMD to Cena as well, and ends the show by grabbing the WWE title triumphantly, standing tall over Punk and Cena.
So wow, tonight’s Raw seemed almost like an apology for last weeks. What with the entire IWC reacting pretty goddamned negatively to the entire hour of stupid Lesnar/Triple H promos, they jam-packed this Raw with wrestling, with nearly 10 whole matches, almost all of good length, and none of the skits or promos were overly long, and the annoying ones were kept thankfully short. I’m hoping this is a portrait of things to come, because it’s a definite step in the right direction for the WWE. Except for Sheamus. Screw Sheamus.
*actually please don’t come at me, you’d friggin’ kill me.