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WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 10/22/12

Tonight’s Raw opens pretty quickly with the finals of the tag team tournament. Almost immediately we see Rey Mysterio enter the arena, quickly followed by Sin Cara and Rhodes Scholars.

I know I’ve given Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio a lot of crap in the past, but matches like this is when they work the best. They both build off of each other, and use their high-flying moves to complement each other and create dynamism in the ring. Their style is more traditional as far tag team tactics go, with the usual Tag in/isolation/hot tag build. The one thing is, these guys CAN be good when they want to be, they’re just nowhere near as good as Rhodes Scholars. The best thing about Rhodes Scholars is they make tags often, and use their cooperation to keep either from losing their momentum. Tag Team matches are a quick and easy way to build excitement and tell compelling stories in the ring, and it seems like just until the last two months or so, that the WWE had all but forgotten this. Since I’m not the biggest fan of Sin Cara or Rey Mysterio, I was pretty delighted when Rhodes Scholars picked up the win, not only because they’re both talented, but because their enthusiasm is so darn infectious!

Just look how happy they are!

 After the match, Kane and Daniel Bryan show up on the Titan-Tron to taunt Rhodes Scholars. Kane summons his fire pyrotechnics to explode from the corners of the ring, and we’re told that it’ll be Rhodes Scholars at Hell In A Cell for the Tag Team Championship. I’m pretty glad about this, because it’s a win-win for me. I have no problems with either team winning, and only skew towards Kane and Daniel Bryan because I love Daniel Bryan just that much. This is a tag team match I’m looking forward to, and that’s something I haven’t been able to say in the WWE for a long time.

The Miz steps in to give commentary, after apparently losing his Intercontinental Championship to Kofi Kingston at last week’s Main Event. This is probably the most disheartening news there ever could have been, as I can’t imagine the IC title meaning less on any other persons waist than Kofi’s. In the interest of not making this paragraph another diatribe on why Kofi Kingston is the worst, I’ll just say I look forward to him losing it soon. Regardless, Miz says he’ll take on all comers as part of his butt-hurt boasting that he does at ringside, and complains about Kofi being champion. It’s a shame because this is The Miz I like the least. I think he’s the worst when he’s whiney and complains a lot, and conversely is THE BEST when he is arrogant, and disproportionately confident for no reason. When he goes up and taunts everyone about how he’s the best and can beat anyone, he’s the best. That’s the part of his gimmick that works really well, along with his incredulity that anyone could disagree with, or beat him. It’s why I love his catchphrase being “Really?”, because it’s so simple and delivered with a sense of humor and cynicism behind it that makes it work. Let’s lose Whiny Miz and get back THE Miz. Kofi, you’ve done this to me personally haven’t you? Why must you do this to me?

Oh and Kofi beat Michael Mcgillicutty in this match. It was incredibly forgettable and almost not worth of notice. However, I do believe Mcgillicutty is one good gimmick away from becoming really popular, because he obviously has skill. Let’s see him do something important or interesting already, like Otunga.

Unfortunately this is the part of the show where John Cena comes out to give a promo because we have to be reminded he’s here, and never gives up, and the troops. Also cancer. A redeeming moment of his entrance was the very loud chorus of boo’s that came from the audience. The audience clearly feels like I did towards him, and it was pretty funny to see him try to get cheap heat by mentioning their local sports team winning the Superbowl. (The NY giants? I don’t know, if it’s a sport that doesn’t involve half-naked men grappling each other I’m not interested).

Duurrrf.

But Cena comes out and somehow tries to tell us that CM Punk has changed, his title reign of 330+ days (!!!) isn’t that big of a deal, and that he hasn’t brought the “change” he promised to bring. He goes on to say that The Ryback is the agent of change for some reason, and goes on to try to crap all over CM Punk in ways that really don’t make any logical sense at all. As if somehow CM Punk didn’t literally make change singlehandedly with one promo that got mainstream news coverage, introduced a new focus on wrestling over theatrics, made the WWE Championship mean something by holding onto it for a considerable title reign, as opposed to it being the revolving door championship it used to be. Eventually CM Punk comes out to counter everything Cena says by telling him it’s all a load of BS, and then promises us he’ll leave HIAC champion still.

It gets worse, because CM Punk makes the 100% accurate accusation that Cena cannot beat him, to which Cena maddeningly replies that he was not “allowed” to beat him. Despite the fact that Punk HAS beaten him multiple times. Or that Cena went to pin Punk with a german suplex but forgot to bridge, meaning both their shoulders were on the mat resulting in a draw, which means Punk retains the championship. Or the fact that Cena has been straight beaten cleanly by Punk multiple times in the past. No, somehow he tries to imply that he wasn’t “allowed” to beat him because The Ryback is the one fighting Punk at HIAC. Despite Cena being the one who said The Ryback should beat him. Or basically being the guy who controls Vince McMahon, who gulps in fear every time he sees Cena, and pressured him into letting The Ryback have the match. Cena is the worst kind of character, because he’s a bully who likes to pretend he somehow isn’t. He’s the most undeservedly righteously indignant character who tries to pretend like he has a moral code that is somehow more true than anyone else’s, simply because he’s supposed to be the good guy.

This is the worst thing about the WWE right now by far, and I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again. If you’re a heel in WWE, you can do perfectly logical, normal, conventionally acceptable things, but are lambasted and hated for it simply because you’re supposed to be bad. On the flip side, if you’re a face, and you are a morally reprehensible racist, bigot, or patronizing, pompous blowhard then nothing you can do is wrong, simply because you’re supposed to be the good guy. All of your transgressions are washed away in the guise of “humor”, or “He deserved it”. It’s TERRIBLE. It’s also the main reason I hate it when people call Cena “Super-Cena”, because Superman would NEVER act the way John Cena does. Superman has a goddamned moral code that is actually applicable to real life and is a real role model for people to aspire to be. Cena is one step away from being Ozymandias, believing that the ends justify the means. I’m not saying Cena would unleash a giant psychic squid on New York, killing millions to unite humanity, but he’d definitely break a “bad guys” legs if it meant a “good guy” would win the championship from him. Because that act is “justified”.

Then Cena tries to challenge Punk to a match right then and there, but Punk wisely takes Paul Heyman’s advice and backs away, because this was probably Cena’s ploy to injure Punk so he can’t win against The Ryback this Sunday. Blah blah. Punk walks away holding up his championship, which I hope he gets to keep for the rest of the year.

Antonio Cesaro is by far the most impressive wrestler in the WWE right now. The guy uppercuts dudes 10 feet up in the air, shoot deadliest 400 pound guys like Funkasaurus, beats people endlessly, stomps on stupid snake arm-socks, and speaks five languages. Aside from being a bit anti-American, I don’t see how you can’t be at least impressed with him, even if you don’t like him. His match here against Justin Gabriel I took to be a foregone conclusion because of this. So imagine my legitimate surprise when Justin Gabriel managed to pull out a pretty conclusive, clean victory over him at the end of the match. During the middle of the match I heard some idiots chanting “BORING”, which i’ll never understand. The day when you’re bored of competent, exciting, well paced wrestling in the middle of your wrestling show, is the day you’re officially a bad fan. I used to have little to no strong feelings about Justin Gabriel, but the guy has a great move-set, and is fun to watch. He’s like the anti-Kofi, because he does the same kind of offense, but better in every single way imaginable. Let him cut a promo or two after this, and I’d be totally happy with a push for him.

Backstage we see a limo pull up, and from it exists Vince McMahon and AJ. Earlier in the show we saw AJ’s tweet about an “emergency board of directors meeting” she was being made to attend, and was confused about. We know she was confused because she used #confused in the tweet. So when Vince McMahon starts speaking about how the meeting was about AJ’s tenure as GM, I already knew it was AJ retiring as GM. The surprise was hearing that it was forced because of “allegations of fraternizing” with members of the roster. Firstly, I won’t go into detail why that’s really dumb, because EVERY GM has “fraternized” with members of the roster and played favorites. Not to mention AJ has been romantically linked with at least 3 WWE Superstars in the past, and was MADE the GM just as she was about to MARRY one. Really, it makes the “Board of Directors” sound like completely out of touch jerks, but I digress. I said I wouldn’t go into detail and I won’t, suffice to say that the “reason” AJ has been forced to resign is utter bull.

Anyhow, she goes on to give a pretty tear jerking speech about her actual real life history, including her homelessness, journey to the WWE, and working from the bottom all the way to the top. It seemed a bit confusing, because with the emotion she put out here, it almost seemed like she was being forced to resign from the WWE in its entirety, not just as GM. I’m certainly hoping this isn’t the case, because I love AJ and love seeing her on my screen, even if she is confusingly heel or face, or both at the same time, or even a terrible GM. Then just as she was about to leave, Paul Heyman enters the ring.

Heyman starts speaking about AJ and finds a way to insult/compliment her at the same time in that perfect way he does, but also suggests himself as a candidate for the new General Manager of Raw. As sad as AJ leaving makes me, the thought of her being replaced by Heyman makes it WAY better in every way. Then after the brief high of the mere suggestion of Paul Heyman as GM, we’re subjected to the most confusing development in recent WWE history, and Vince introduces the “Managing Supervisor” of Raw. Surprisingly it turns out to be Vickie Guerrero. I’m pretty torn about this, because:

#1.), Vickie was actually a pretty great GM, and I’m bummed she, or Heyman, are not the GM.

#2.) What the hell does “Managing Supervisor” even mean? It’s the kind of title that’s so vague it sounds like something David Brent would make up to give Gareth some sense of entitled importance around The Office.

Ostensibly I’m guessing it’s just an executive position that was made up to give someone the power to keep making GM’s willy nilly. A GM of GM’s, so to speak. If that doesn’t sound like the most redundant and stupid development ever to you, then we should just never talk about wrestling ever.

Well this bit goes on, and Vickie refuses to make Heyman the GM, somehow kinda sorta declares herself the GM, (what???) and insults AJ to her face, prompting AJ to attack Vickie ruthlessly. Basically, this is the turning point for the WWE, where the entire clusterf**k that is WWE’s management becomes even more needlessly complicated, and the power ladder of who is in control is muddled infinitely. The whole thing reminds me of old DC continuity, and eventually we’re gonna need some writer to come along and retcon all of this managerial history in a way that makes some semblance of sense, because at this point I just give up.

Earlier Miz said he’d take on all comers, which I suppose is code for, “I’ll fight The Ryback” now, because this is the second time this exact same thing has happened. Anyhow, I like the idea of The Miz being confident enough to take on The Ryback, and the thought of him going in there thinking he can actually beat him entertains me. Unfortunately, this example of the match is not the case, as he’s still stuck in Whiny-Miz mode, and seems to be fighting The Ryback reluctantly, rather than last time where he did it confidently. It’s no shock then, when The Ryback Ryback’s The Miz, and we’re supposed to cheer for The Ryback’s infinite hunger. I’m guessing he’s just a really tiny Galactus, and is supposed to be out there eating worlds scaled to his size, but was defeated by a micro-sized Fantastic Four from another world, who tricked him into wrestling instead.

Backstage we see Kaitlyn, (looking goddamned smoking holy hell) confront Eve. Eve is on the phone talking trash about AJ, and Kaitlyn confronts Eve with evidence that Eve planned the attack on Kaitlyn from Night Of Champions. Eve tries to attack Kaitlyn, and their fight is interrupted by Layla. Eve then insults Layla, and all 3 of these gorgeous women start rolling around fighting each other, and well… Well I found this segment enjoyable. Anytime I get to see more of Kaitlyn is good for me. Ahem. AHEM.

I’m sorry AJ, but if you really are leaving, I’ll have to adjust.

After that we cut to Josh Matthews interviewing Sheamus about his Lumberjack match tonight against CM Punk. Sheamus says some things, and I just… I don’t want to write any more about how terrible Sheamus is, so I was glad this segment was short. Big Show comes out, says he’ll beat Sheamus at HIAC, and leaves. Thankfully we didn’t have any more time spent on Sheamus because he probably would have started kicking babies and saying racist things.

Holy crap. Remember last week when I said Daniel Bryan isn’t at his best against bigger guys? Matches like this are a perfect example of why he’s AMAZING in matches against guys more his size. This is by far the best actual wrestling match I’ve seen on Raw this month, possibly all YEAR. The two of these guys giving it their all at each other seemed like something you’d normally see reserved for a PPV.

The highlights were Dolph Ziggler taking giant bumps from Daniel Bryan, along with his ASTOUNDING top rope face buster.


HOLY CRAP!

It’s one of those matches that was so good, I can’t accurately describe it, so you’ll really just have to watch it. The whole thing was the highlight of tonight’s Raw, and really put a shine on the whole show. The audience could tell as well, because a resounding chant of “THIS IS AWESOME” started going around, and it’s never been more appropriate. I could say Dolph Ziggler won the match, but really, we did.

After the match Kane and Daniel Bryan begin to argue, with Kane hilariously still not understand that Daniel Bryan doesn’t like it when people say YES to him, and that Kane’s good intentions of trying to rally up support for Daniel Bryan indadvertedly led to Daniel Bryan getting distracted and losing. Then for some reason Matt Striker comes out, and says under Vickie’s new orders as Managing Supervisor, they now have to go through some weird tag team version of the Newlywed Game, or something. Vickie wants both Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars to go through a “therapeutic gameshow”, with Matt Striker being the host. Why? I have no idea, and if this was with any tag team other than Daniel Bryan and Kane, this segment would be pure excruciating torture.

Hilariously, Rhodes Scholars come out, simply to say they refuse to participate in this foolishness, and leave. I’d like to imagine they got the script for this segment, both laughed at it, and told them writers to screw off, whereas Daniel Bryan and Kane took the idea and ran with it. Kane and Daniel Bryan then pull another very funny segment, in a moment that by all means should normally be a huge pile of dog vomit.

The best part was Daniel Bryan seemingly going off script, and calling Kane on his actual love of rainbows, and confirmed that Kane actually IS a Scorpio. After Rhodes Scholars leaves, Team Hell No takes the win by default, and Daniel Bryan starts to celebrate as if he just won the WWE Championship. Matt Striker then walks out of the ring, and smugly wishes that Team Hell No loses at HIAC, until Big Show arrives and throws him to the side violently. Smug-Jerk Matt Striker is NOT becoming, and immediately derives scorn from me for him, and not in a fun way. Let’s hope he’s dead now.

I’ve seen the two of these guys wrestle a lot in the past, and even sometimes together. I remember for a while they were Tag Team Champions, and seemed pretty dominant until Kane was injured by Mark Henry, and then returned a month or two later with 2 feet of hair, a fruit roll up mask, and a case of amnesia in regards to who his character had previously been. Until he became partners with Daniel Bryan, I was really ready to write him off as a played out character and wrestler, yet he’s proven himself to be adaptable and entertaining, using his newly found meta approach to who his character is and has been. This is a roundabout way of saying I really like Kane now more than ever. I also really like Big Show as well, and don’t really understand how he’s supposed to be a heel right now other than he hates Sheamus, but at this point that should be something any decent human being does.

As for their actual match, it was pretty entertaining. Right up until Rhodes Scholars showed up to distract Kane, I didn’t quite know who was going to win. But as we all know, if somebody comes out to distract you in a match, you’re mincemeat. Regardless of that caveat, Show KO/WMD punches Kane in the face, and wins the match. Rhodes Scholars follow it up by attacking Daniel Bryan, and securing themselves as the heels in the match between them and Team Hell No. I’m guessing Team Hell No are now firmly in tweener territory, because sometimes Daniel Bryan is a heel, despite being pretty universally loved by everyone. Time will tell, and I think this is a major step for Team Hell No becoming full-fledged faces.

Yes, Daniel Bryan. Yes.

Backstage, Santino tells AJ he thought she was a good GM, before she’s approached by John Cena. He says he’ll do anything for her, and she reveals that Vickie said AJ was “fraternizing” and had an affair with someone in the WWE. Which again is ridiculous for multiple reasons, so Cena claims he’ll go rustle up whoever it is that’s accused along with AJ, and get their side of the story to work everything out. This is when AJ reveals that the guy she was accused to having an affair with was John Cena himself. He looks incredulous (surprise, surprise), and says that the “business dinner” he had with her was for business. You know, the business dinner he asked her out on a few weeks ago, to In-N-Out Burger of all places? The business dinner that totally and definitively sounded like a romantic date? That one. First off, hahahah John Cena takes out girls to In-N-Out Burger? Dude, I’m no ladies man, but at the VERY LEAST taker her out to a movie or something first. Then I dunno, any other restaurant that isn’t fast food? Even The Olive Garden is classier than that.

Second, WHAT THE HELL JOHN CENA WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO TAKE MY WOMAN FROM ME, THAT IS MY GODDAMNED WIFE YOU SONOFAB***H I WILL MURDER YOU, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? THIS IS THE FINAL STRAW CENA. I AM YOUR RECKONING. YOUR DEATH SHALL BE MY REBIRTH.

YOUR PUNISHMENT MUST BE MORE SEVERE.

Shortly after this, Cena confronts Vince McMahon about all of this, and Vince just avoids every question John has, and says there was incriminating evidence of some sort. Then says if’s basically AJ’s fault, saying if it wasn’t this it would be something else, which he isn’t necessarily wrong about. Then he goes on to say that Vickie is “some kind of interim thing, she’s the Managing Supervisor, I don’t even know what that means myself”.  Which is probably the most frustrating thing possible he could say, because YOU’RE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE WWE VINCE, YOU SHOULD KNOW WHAT YOUR TALENT IS DOING, AND WHAT POSITIONS THEY HAVE! WHAT COMPANY IS RUN LIKE THIS?

Listen, I know it’s all part of the storyline, but let’s keep kayfabe for a moment and pretend that we’re supposed to believe “Managing Supervisor” actually means something. The Kayfabe WWE is by far the most ridiculously complex, uncoordinated, and nonsensical company in all of fiction. There’s no real sense of corporate hierarchy, and promotions and demotions are handed out like candy. In the real world, a company like this could never exist. It’d eat itself up from the ground up, because it has no foundation to which anyone or anything can rely on. I know it’s just a wrestling show, but little things like this add up to make the whole of the pie taste like crap. Some consistency in writing, is all I ask for. That’s it. So yes, not even Vince McMahon, Owner of the company, and ostensibly head of the Board of Directors (Until they’re somehow above him), knows what Managing Supervisor means. Ugh.

ADR has a feud with Randy Orton right now, because you know, they both needed a feud to have. It has no real reason to exist. Other than a desire for the #1 Contendership, which Alberto Del Rio rightfully had until Randy Orton showed up again and was just given that contendership by Booker T, because he’s Randy Orton. Booker T even actually said this nearly word for word, saying that Randy Orton will always be worthy of a #1 contendership, simply because he’s “always there”. I don’t write a column here about Smackdown, mostly because I want to save my sanity, but I can assure you if I had written up that particular Smackdown, it would have been a 6000 page essay on why Booker T is a terrible, unfair, biased, favoritist GM who does a terrible job just like every other GM in the world.

But yeah, back to the match. ADR beats Zach Ryder, by breaking his damn arm off using the cross arm breaker. I have nothing against Zach Ryder, and in fact find him quite likable, but the dude needs to find a way to learn some news moves or showcase some new ability in ring, because he’s gotten pretty boring to watch.

Backstage, John Cena argues with Vickie about AJ. They have a bizarre trade of insults, until Vickie Guerrero rightfully points out that it’s Cena’s fault AJ lost her job, by asking her out live on national television. Cena then walks away, not even taking the effort to counter Vickie’s point, because he’s just utterly defeated by her logic. I’m not that big of a fan of Vickie, but when she’s right, she’s right.

This match has been billed as the “Largest Lumberjack match in Raw history”, which is weird because I could have sworn they’ve had this many lumberjacks ringside in the past, but I could be confusing it with the many shows WWE has had in the past. I’ll take it at face value, because there certainly does seem to be quite a few lumberjacks. The main thing that struck me about this match was just how bad it was. For a match between two talented guys, it was incredibly slow, and not in a good rising build sort of way. As much as I hate Sheamus’ character, I’ll be the first to admit he’s a great wrestler, and CM Punk is CM Punk. It was doubly surprising, because minus the lumberjacks, they’ve done this match before on the first episode of Main Event, and it was really good! I don’t know if it was a case of mismatched timing, or the both of them not working together well, but the whole thing only barely was getting steam towards the end.

It was interrupted though, as right as Sheamus was about to Brogue Kick Punk, two of the lumberjacks interfered in the match, and got Brogue Kicked for it. Then Big Show jumps up and chokeslams Sheamus, letting Punk pick up the win. Of course, this ends up with The Ryback coming out, and power bombing CM Punk to death.

To DEATH.

Lame finish aside, I did enjoy seeing The Ryback power bomb the hell out of CM Punk, but that’s mostly because I just like power bombs. Come this weekend, you bet I’ll be rooting for Punk to win, and I fully expect him to be the first person to kick out of The Ryback’s impressive Finishing Move As Ryback Marches Around The Ring. I’ll never call it “shellshocked” or “Shellshocker” or whatever they want me to call it. It’s The Impressive Finishing Move As Ryback Marches Around The Ring, forever. They wouldn’t have called it that 30 times in a row for 4 months straight if they wanted us to call it something else.

That wraps up Raw for this week, I’m now going to go mourn the potential loss of AJ from the show.

I sure do.
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WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 10/15/12

Tonight’s Raw opens up with Big Show walking down into the ring, and giving a promo. He basically just comes out and says how shitty and mean Sheamus has been to him for the last few weeks or so, but shows a video from Smackdown. In the video, Sheamus goes to Brogue Kick Big Show, but because Sheamus is dumb, and Big Show is the f–king BIG SHOW, he just catches Sheamus’ stupid bicycle kick and flips him out of the ring violently. Then we cut back and Big Show goes on to let us all know how stupid it is of Sheamus to try to bully a 7′ tall, 500lb man who can knock you out with a single punch. Because that’s really all that’s happening here. Sheamus is a bully, through and through. The dude just does whatever he wants,to whoever he wants, with no sense of what’s right or wrong, and because he’s “cool” the average WWE fan just laughs off his actions, no matter how despicable, racist, or objectively terrible they are. So when It comes down to it, am I looking forward to Big Show knocking his stupid ginger head off his albino shoulders? Yes. Absolutely. I have no idea why Big Show is even supposed to be the bad guy in this, other than he hit John Cena once. I guess unless you’re a retired wrestler turned shitty movie star, hitting John Cena is an unforgivable, terrible offense that makes you worse than Hitler.

Eventually somehow Big Show’s whole spiel turned into him talking about his original WHC title run, which lasted only seconds until Daniel Bryan cashed in his MITB case to take the title from him. This in turn got spun around into a “redeeming” rematch between the two, and led to Daniel Bryan facing Big Show in a match.

I love both of these guys, but this is in my opinion, the one kind of match Daniel Bryan doesn’t excel at. Daniel Bryan does best in matches that have him going one on one with another person who can sell his more technical moves, or can match his technical prowess on the mat. His entire thing is about beating guys by wearing them down and slapping a submission on them, which generally works really well, but with bigger guys it’s not always the best. That’s not to say the match was bad, but compare it to say, CM Punk, and it’s a different story. CM Punk is always at his best when he’s up against a big, unstoppable force sort of wrestler. Your John Cenas, your Mark Henrys, or your Samoa Joes, if you were to go back into ROH territory. Daniel Bryan on the other hand, always seemed overwhelmed when taking on bigger guys, but perhaps that’s to his credit. All I’m saying is when Big Show slammed Daniel Bryan to the ground and pinned him for the win, I wasn’t shocked.

It was pretty nice to see Kane come out to defend his Tag Team partner, in a twisted show of affection between team mates. Of course, Big Show just held up his fist and screamed at Kane, which made him back off until Show left. I don’t blame him, because the dude could probably just hold up his hand and scream at a f–king grizzly bear and it would run away shitting itself in fear.

After the break we’re in the ring with Paul Heyman, who is there with the WWE title, and a poster board with a drape over it. He takes his time to announce CM Punk, and remind us he has held the title for 330 consecutive days, (a feat that merits respect, I still don’t understand how you cannot respect this, it’s ridiculous) and that he’s making his decision for his opponent at Hell In A Cell. CM Punk comes out and teases us for minutes, until finally revealing that he needs more time to make his decision. He’s really trying to milk for heel heat here, and as Vince McMahon promised last week, if Punk didn’t make up his mind, he would for him. So Vince shows up, and tells Punk that TONIGHT, that he will pick his opponent. Just, you know, not right now. It’ll be at the end of the show. For reasons.

The main and fatal flaw with this entire match, is that somehow this one is the match deemed necessary for Punk to FINALLY gain respect and be considered “one of the best”. Despite almost singlehandedly making the WWE relevant again with a single promo last year, or his laundry list of achievements in all of professional wrestling, including multiple championships and a current record holding reign. For some reason, everything he’s done to earn our respect and admiration of all last year, is wiped away because he clotheslined The Rock. It’s funny, because as much as I love The Rock, everything he does now for the WWE just hurts it. What value does he add by defeating John Cena? What value does he add by showing up randomly, promising a bunch of shit, and then disappearing again? And most importantly, what value does he add by making another attempt at becoming the WWE champion again? Sometimes you gotta know when to hang it up dude. You WERE The Great One,now let it go.

First and foremost, CM Punk is by definition of being the WWE Champion, the best in the world, so there’s that. Secondly, there’s this quote from JR tonight, that really tells it all.

“I think CM Punk has done an amazing job of being a WWE Champion. My point has always been, if wants to be considered in the same breath as the Undertakers, The Triple Hs, The Austins, The Rocks, The Shawn Michaels, then… You… you gotta do… you gotta do a Hell In A Cell in some point of your career.”

I put emphasis on the stutter in that quote, because JR is basically saying that to be considered a WWE legend, in line with some of their all time greats, unless you’ve done a Hell In A Cell match, that EVERYTHING ELSE you’ve done doesn’t count. Somehow the allure of a HIAC match brings with it magical greatness that takes you to a new echelon of superiority. How this logic works in JR’s mind baffles me, and I’m convinced it was a line he was fed through his earpiece to say, because it sounds exactly like the inane bullshit the writers come up with to justify a match, or more likely, to justify why a character who’s really never done anything that was actually wrong, as a bad guy. If you want us to hate CM Punk, I dunno, have him do mean, awful things that don’t make sense, and bully people needlessly. Oh wait, that’s Sheamus, and we’re supposed to love him. Goddammit.

They did us a favor this week, and skipped Funkasaurus’ 10 minute dance intro and got right to the match. Lately I’ve noticed Alberto Del Rio hasn’t been arriving in his cars anymore either, which could only mean one of two things. 1.) He’s been pretty drastically affected by his current pseudo rivalry with Randy Orton, and has filtered thousands and thousands of dollars into researching some kind of apparatus to predict when an RKO is coming. Because they always arrive OUT OF NOWHERE.

2.) WWE is tired of renting luxury cars.

So you know, it’s probably 2. Regardless, defeating Funkasaurus isn’t that big of a deal. You just gotta hit him in any of his major joints and the dude goes down like a gimped horse. Slap his arm into the Cross-Armbreaker, and he’ll tap almost instantly. For such a big guy he has a very small tolerance for pain. Alberto Del Rio winning is NOT surprising, to say the least.

Backstage we see CM Punk and Paul Heyman having lovers quarrels. Or arguing about Vince McMahon. I say should point out that it’s not technically a lover’s quarrel, because Punk doesn’t seem to reciprocate the unabashed, adoring love that Heyman has for Punk. Heyman is friend-zoned. Hardcore. Poor Heyman.

As much as I’m loving the newly reinvigorated tag team division, I’m still not a fan of these teams that consist of 2 previously mostly singles only wrestlers becoming a team. You can’t often hit gold like they have with Team Hell No, and Team CoBro (ugh) just doesn’t cut it. Apparently someone in creative agrees with me, because The Primetime Players pretty much put the smack down on them hard, and won within minutes. I like The Primetime Players, and I think they could use some more segments, or time to make more promos. I don’t think they get enough character exposure, as opposed to their wrestling time. I think we see the right amount of time for them in the ring, to keep them relevant. Let’s just give them a skit, or a promo here and there, and it’ll all be good.

This new 3-Man Band of Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew Mcintyre coming out to stomp on Zack Ryder’s corpse and play air guitar to their theme music was pretty hilarious. They’ve managed to take 3 guys (well 2) who deserve more air time, and successfully make them a stable that seem to exist solely to beat up dumb guys, and play air guitar. How you can not love that, I don’t understand.

Awesome.

Suddenly we’re privy to the ear-splitting screech of Vickie Guerrero, who introduces Dolph Ziggler in her typically shrewish way. A fun note, I just recently attended a taping of Smackdown, and can dutifully confirm that people HATE Vickie Guerrero more than every other heel combined. The outpour of boos for her were utterly deafening, and during her entire time speaking you could not hear a single word spoken. If they were ever gonna try to turn her face, I have no idea why, but if they were, it’d be impossible. She could go up there and promise free WWE merchandise for life for everyone in attendance if they just stayed quiet, and it’d never, ever happen.

Anyhow, Ziggler says some stuff about how hard he’s worked for his MITB contract. How he’s jealous that The Ryback gets all the talk these days when comparatively, Ziggler has worked far harder than The Ryback to get contendership recognition. David Otunga then comes out, and spouts about his mental attenuation along with physical fitness. He says he’s worthy of a title shot, and this is what leads to their fatal flaw. Their fatal flaw here is saying The Ryback’s name enough times to awaken him from his hibernation, thus unleashing his insatiable hunger. Along with The Ryback, they’ve gotten notice of AJ, who brings The Ryback in tow with her, and schedules a triple threat match between the three of them right then and there.

While watching this match, my friend Vera pointed out something I had never noticed before about The Ryback. Namely, his teeth are totally busted. For a dude who talks a lot about being fed, the guy needs dental work. Maybe that’s why he’s always hungry? Perhaps it’s hard for him to really get anything down when he’s nursing such a terrible dental issue? Maybe Tressa is right about him really just being a big baby, and he’s just teething. Like he’s literally just a giant baby transplanted into a huge man-body. It makes sense when you think about it. The marching, the tantrums, the heavy breathing, the teething, the constant crying for food… I’m just saying, there’s been weirder storylines in WWE history.

Anyhow, The Ryback Ryback’s both Ziggler and Otunga. After Ziggler ditches Otunga and runs away, The Ryback devours Otunga’s corpse messily, and we all rejoice.

Backstage, Paul Heyman is trying to butter up Vince McMahon in CM Punk’s favor, and puts for a challenge in Punk’s name. He pitches a rematch between Vince and Punk, with the stipulation being if Punk wins, he gets to choose his opponent. Vince then makes the match with Heyman, to Heyman’s disarray, and then proudly claims to love himself. No really. He does.

Afterward, we see AJ walking by, and is interviewed by Matt Stryker about something or other. Stryker makes the foolish mistake of even saying the word “crazy” around AJ, and she suddenly schedules him to be in a match as punishment. Punishment for ostensibly being a person who was alive around her at that time, I suppose. AJ, why is your character so fragmented? Why are you sometimes good, sometimes bad? It doesn’t come off as unpredictable, unstable, or edgy like your writers want us to think, it just comes off as inconsistent and shitty. For somebody who used to have the deepest, most intricate and multifaceted character in WWE, you sure have gone a long way down from those heights.

…God I still love you though.

I really can’t say enough good things about Antonio Cesaro. The dude is shoot strong enough to lift a guy as heavy as the Funkasaurus, and makes is look easy. On top of that, he’s incredibly dominant in ring, and has an excellent signature move where he just throws a guy almost 10 feet up into the air, and then just uppercuts their goddamned head off.

Just imagine Justin Gabriel in the place of Tyson Kidd there. It’s just as amazing.

 

So when Antonio Cesaro comes out, pumps his fists, and then talks about how much ass he can kick in five languages, he tends to get my respect. His win over Justin Gabriel was pretty definitive, and just adds more luster to his current prestige.

Apparently Matt Stryker found it necessary to get into his full wrestling gear, just to grab a mic and beg Kane for mercy. He emphasizes how unnecessary it is for Kane to even face him, and more or less says he’s a non-threat. He pleads with Kane, who then spreads his arms in embrace. Stryker then accepts Kane ostensible proposal to hug it out, and they proceed to hug. It lasts for a minute, then Kane ends up choke slamming him to death any way. The brilliant part was his little post-match promo, where he lays down with the dying Matt Stryker, and mocks him by putting the mic in front of his mouth, before declaring himself to be the Tag Team Champions.

Somewhere, Daniel Bryan is shouting angrily and stomping. Dr. Shelby needs to come back and help these guys one last time.

Okay, I love The Miz. Honest, I do. I think he’s a perfectly competent wrestler, and great on the mic. I love his douchebag smarminess, and his sense of self entitlement that he brings with him. I think he makes a great heel character, and an even better commentator. However, I cannot STAND Miz TV. Even more so now, because he’s feuding with Kofi Kingston, who might as well be poison for my attention span. The two of these together, honestly I had no interest in watching, and still have none. I can’t tell you what actually happened, but I’ll guess they shit talked each other, and then promoted their stupid match on Main Event for the Intercontinental title. I swear if Kofi Kingston wins that title, I’ll just… I’ll just die inside. I will.

I like Wade Barrett. I hate Sheamus. I wanted Wade Barrett to crush Sheamus in this match, but of course that didn’t happen. I have difficulty watching any matches with Sheamus in them now, because I just want to see him get beaten until all of his skin is a deep dark black and blue. When Big Show showed up with a chair, I nearly jumped for joy at the prospect of a Sheamus beat down at the hands of Big Show and Barrett. But then Big Show just sat there on the chair, watching them both from a distance. Wade Barrett batted around Sheamus for a few minutes, briefly giving me hope that we’d see Sheamus lose a shameful defeat. Those hopes were dashed when Big Show interfered in the most lame way possible, and just held down the top rope, making Sheamus fall out of the ring when he was whipped into the ropes. That resulted in a DQ win for Sheamus, and Big Show walking out of the place like he was somehow proud of that decision. Lame.

Backstage Vince McMahon is on the phone, and hangs up to have a meeting with John Cena. Cena then says some more bullshit about never giving up, and ignoring doctors orders. I’m not sure, because I really just tune him out now. It’s the only way to stay sane.

I’m not gonna lie, I spent the most of this match trying to look at Layla’s boobs. I kept imagining how big they really were, because of the nature of the wrestling bras/tank-tops they wear. I then snapped back to reality when I realized that the match itself wasn’t half bad. I mean, not half bad for WWE standards anyway. The women’s division is one place that Impact Wrestling has them beat, hands down. Why the WWE doesn’t just blatantly copy them I don’t understand. Regardless, they seem to be re-using the old Foot-On-The-Ropes, Bad-Referee-Call thing they did for CM Punk and John Cena a few weeks ago. There’s not much a difference there, except that instead of get all righteously angry like CM Punk did, Layla just sat there and cried about it. I like your boobs Layla, give me a reason to respect them. Stand up for yourself. If Eve cheated, call her on it. Until then, you’re not above ogling.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Kane are talking about their respective relationship woes. After some remarks are traded about what they both did or didn’t find funny, Daniel Bryan says that next week Kane should fight Big Show. He then declares himself the Tag Team Champions.

He then cut off his ear and declared himself the new Vincent Van Gogh.

Cut to Vince McMahon talking to The Ryback, talking him up as the toughest SOB in the biz. The Ryback just stands there breathing heavily, until Vince asks him what his response is to everything said about. The Ryback replies with 3 obvious words: “Feed. Me. Punk.”

I don’t have anything against Primo and Epico really. Their gimmick doesn’t particularly grab my attention, but they’re definitely not immediately aggravating unlike certain other WWE Superstars. When compared to the greatness that is Rhodes Scholars however, they pale in comparison. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes pretty much annihilate them, using more tags throughout this match than almost all the other tag team matches in recent memory put together. I’d dare to say they use this aspect of the tag team rules the most effectively I’ve ever seen. They work together really cohesively, and end up defeating Primo and Epico resoundly, ending with the perfect finishing taunt of the assisted cartwheel.

Perfect.

So this is a grudge match thing now? Between Miz and Kofi? And we’re supposed to believe that somehow Kofi is supposed to better than Miz? All I saw was a big pile of boring, with The Miz struggling to work with that pile he was given. I have two different kinds of hate for wrestlers in the WWE, and I’ll clarify it for you.

There’s Sheamus hate: Where a wrestler’s actual in-ring ability is overlooked or otherwise rendered obsolete or negated by how terrible a character he has. See: Tensai.

And then there’s Kofi Kingston hate: Where a wrestlers in ring ability is non-existent, yet somehow still gets face heat, and is inexplicably popular despite being unwatchably boring in the ring and on the mic. See: Randy Orton.

Which do I hate more? I honestly can’t decide. All I know is I hate them both. So when Kofi Kingston won the match, all I can say is that I’m not looking forward to ignoring the Intercontinental Champion entirely. Hopefully Miz will retain, or somebody worth half  a damn will take it from Kingston.

After that shitfest, we come back from the break to Vince McMahon preparing the contract signing to decide Punk’s opponent at HIAC. The Ryback enters, along with John Cena. They all hurf durf around for 5 or so minutes. John Cena gets especially hurfy and extra durfy, and makes sure to say something about never giving up. Punk continues his streak of saying perfectly reasonable things, and getting booed for them. Calling Vince McMahon and John Cena egomaniacs, is by NO MEANS uncalled for, and is probably the most accurate and telling thing you could call them. Cena for some reason acts like this is THE MOST OFFENSIVE THING, and even tries to talk down Punk’s achievement of the record making championship reign. Then he goes on to say how tough The Ryback is, and steps down from the ring, saying The Ryback is the man to “whip CM Punk’s ass”. The Ryback signs the contract, and then Rybacks CM Punk. Everyone chants about how hungry they are on The Ryback’s behalf, and the show ends on a close up of The Ryback’s oddly shaped head.

MORE TACOS!

 Incidentally, as of this writing, I am pretty hungry. Perhaps I should FEED ME MORE. FEED ME MORE. GRAMMAR BE DAMNED, FEED ME MORE.

WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 10/8/12

*Pictures and accompanying text by Cheesebadger!
Cheesebadger here! Sometimes I like to get different viewpoints on Raw from different people, just to make sure I’m not insane. I think it’s beneficial every once in a while to let somebody else give their opinion, so this column isn’t just “F–K SHEAMUS” every damn week. That being said, my friend Tressa is an avid Raw/WWE fan, and has plenty of great opinions about the show, so I’m happy to have her share them here. Now enough of me, you’ll get more of my inane commentary next week! Take it Tressa!

Continue reading WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 10/8/12

Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 10/1/12

*Pictures and accompanying text by Cheesebadger!

This week on Raw, the WWE Universe was treated to what was supposed to be Jim Ross Appreciation Night, but instead could easily be classified as a mediocre show. It had its promising moments, but they were few and far in between. Let’s take a brief look at what we saw on this week’s episode.

Antonio Cesaro got an impressive win over Brodus Clay, who for some reason still has a job. Even in spite of facing a lackluster opponent, Antonio Cesaro continues to blow me away with his in ring ability. The fact that the man was able to lift up Brodus Clay for The Neutralizer is mind blowing, and his persona is far from run of the mill. Antonio Cesaro’s hot streak in the WWE continued on Raw with a vulgar display of power (name that band), over the Funkasurus.

Zack Ryder on the other hand has got to be getting sick of not getting a legitimate push in the WWE. I may be alone on this, and I hope I’m not, but does anybody else see Ryder as having more worth than being a tune up match for Miz? The Miz had his push, and it fell flat on its stupid face. It’s time to let him get run over by a few wrestlers who have a little bit of potential, instead of allowing him to continue winning pointless matches. With that being said, you may have gathered that the Miz picked up a win over Ryder on Raw, and to my disgust.


The Miz is awesome.

The tag team tournament continued on Raw with a decent match between Primo and Epico vs. Sin Cara and Mysterio. To anybody who has paid even some attention to Raw over the last few months, the outcome of this match should have been about as predictable as an Undertaker match at Wrestlemania. The WWE is clearly building up the Mysterio/Sin Cara tag team, for some reason. Sin Cara did manage to make it through this match without botching anything too badly, but I saw nothing spectacular out of him either. To me, it’s fairly evident that the tag tournament is going to come down to either, The Rhodes Scholars or Mysterio/Sin Cara getting the tag title shot at the end of the month. With still a few weeks left before the PPV, this has yet to be determined.

R-Truth and Kofi seems to be fizzling out faster than pop rocks in a can of soda. Half of the time, we now see them in singles matches with the other one there at ring side for moral support or whatever. Tonight was no different as we saw Kofi in a singles match and Truth and little Jimmy doing nothing but watching. In my opinion, it’s time for Kofi to move on as a singles wrestler, and let Truth either do the same or take a hike over to TNA, brother!

Now onto the red head (Not you, Heath Slater), I’m talking about Sheamus. Sheamus pulled double duty tonight, as he was a part of a debate with the Big Show, and also a singles match with Damien Sandow. The debate was a time-filler, as expected. However, any boredom suffered with the debate was cured with what may have been the match of the night between Sandow and the Irishman. Sandow is going places for sure, but I’m slightly confused with the decision to team him with Cody Rhodes as a tag team. I personally would like to see what Sandow is capable of as a singles competitor before resorting to putting him with somebody else.

The only way Seamus could get worse.

Now onto the head honchos of the show:

The Ryback’s character is leaving fans with more questions than answers. Tonight, during an uncomfortable confrontation between CM Punk and Jim Ross, we see The Ryback come out to defend Jim Ross. This would seem like its purpose is to further build a rivalry between The Ryback and Punk, but for what reason? The WWE Universe is already fully expecting a Cena vs. Punk match at Hell in a Cell, and a The Ryback/Punk rivalry does nothing more than offer a filler rivalry for the next few weeks until Cena is back from elbow surgery. You’ve got to believe that the WWE has more in store for CM Punk and The Ryback than just a three week testosterone filled violent soap opera full of uncomfortable stare-downs. Ah the confusion of being a WWE fan!

The Ryback? Hell no. Punk only fears Slenderman.

On a side note, who else felt like the Punk/Ross segment would have been that perfect moment to hear some glass breaking? A Stone Cold Steve Austin fan can only wish the WWE writers were that interested in pleasing the crowd.

What was the main event you may be asking? A tag-team match of course, and one with no grand purpose at that. Why oh why, does the WWE’s creative team of writers feel like the fans get anything out of watching these oddly concocted tag team main events? I can just see it now:

A room full of suits at the WWE headquarters are all sitting around a big round table, and at the far end of the table is a stand with a dry erase board. On the board, there is nothing written except, “Raw 10-1-2012, main event?” A bunch of writers sit around scratching their heads until a light-bulb goes off in one’s brain, and he heroically runs to the board and writes, “Tag Team Match!” The whole room turns into an uproar of applause, and they all breathe a sigh of relief because they are all safe for one more week.

Let’s push Yoshi Tatsu! HAHAHAHAHAH. No, nobody wants that. Okay, we’ll just go with Cena again.

Okay, now back to reality and a burning question that was posed earlier. Why does anyone from the WWE’s higher ups think that these tag matches are anything more than a big waste of time? Please, if anybody has an answer to that question, hit me with it. I can’t be the only person annoyed with Raw’s main events lately.

The show concluded with team Hell No, getting a victory over CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler left halfway through the match and Punk was left to get choke slammed by Kane before losing by pinfall. Oddly enough, we didn’t see Dr. Shelby tonight which to me was a bit of a letdown. I feel like the Dr. Shelby segments have provided some of the most entertaining moments the WWE has had in quite some time.

As I said in the beginning of this article, Raw this week could easily be described as mediocre. I thought last week’s episode made great strides in the show finding its place in a three hour time slot. This week however, it seemed to take a few steps back. If I were to score Raw, I would probably give it a 5.5/10. There was nothing spectacular, but nothing that made me feel like watching the Cowboys vs. Da Bears would have been a better option.

Anytime AJ referees she has to do this, and it’s pretty spectacular

For those of you who were unaware, the WWE’s premier episode of “Main Event” is this Wednesday on the ION channel, and will be headlined with a CM Punk vs. Sheamus non-title bout. 

Wednesday October 3rd!

WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 9/25/12

Tonight’s Raw opens with as cold an opening as it could have, with Paul Heyman and CM Punk doing a classic style sit in, about the end of last weeks Raw. Heyman goes over the ridiculous call the Ref made, clearly ignoring Punk’s foot on the ropes last week, thusly giving the win to Cena. He goes on into detail about it for a while longer, and has the Ref in question appear before him, to admit his mistake, and give his resignation. After some stalling, the Ref comes into the ring, clearly nervous. He gives his explanation, saying he was nervous, and made a bad call. He apologizes, but refuses to resign. Punk and Heyman berate him, and insult AJ at the same time. AJ hears her name, and appears, skipping her way down. She says she’s not there to reverse any decisions, or fire the Ref, but is instead there to get them to leave, saying they’re holding “her” show hostage.

Punk starts to accuse AJ of having a grudge against him, citing her proposal to him months ago. She looks shaken, and he continues, citing a litany of incriminating evidence towards her bias against him, including but not limited to dressing like him, sending him hundreds of illicit texts (allegedly), and even implies that they had some sort of sexual relations, “behind closed doors”, and that his entire “best in the world” gimmick, comes from her praise of his sexual prowess. (allegedly).

He really lays into her. You could say. 

  AJ is noticeably bothered by all of this, and Paul Heyman takes the mic from Punk, and then gets down on one knee, asking her for her hand in marriage, saying they’ll be a new power couple to lead a new wave in the WWE. If that wasn’t insulting and creepy enough, he even says that he likes ’em young, which was funny, because Heyman really does seem like that kind of guy. AJ slaps him, of course, and leaves the ring.

A proposal by Paul Heyman is a fate worse than death. Apparently. 

Backstage The Ref is seen regretting his bad call, and thanks AJ for standing up for him. She threatens to fire him if a bad call like that is ever made again. She continues to lay into him, all the while staring off into the distance, doing her whole crazy girl affectation thing again, which brings her to tears, strangely enough. I’m guessing the job is getting to her, and she’s finally starting to crack.

Holy crap, gayest screen cap ever. Good job Youtube.

Vickie Guerrerro then EXCUSE ME’s her way on stage, introducing Dolph Ziggler. Michael Cole briefly mentions that Kofi Kingston and Dolph had beef on Twitter, and this is why they’re wrestling tonight, rather than the hundreds of other times they’ve wrestled each other without provocation. These guys have wrestled so many times, that seeing them wrestle turns my brain off. Not even R-Truth/Little Jimmy throwing a cup of soda on Vickie could really grab my attention. I’ll tell you what did grab my attention though, was Kofi Kingston botching a drop kick in the worst way possible, missing Ziggler by a good solid foot. Kofi is one of those workers who just pulls down everything and everyone he works with. The dude is a black hole that just sucks up talent, and everyone in his vicinity becomes less talented when around him. After a bunch of back and forth moves between the two, Ziggler finally lands the Zig Zag, and wins. It was a good enough match, and in retrospect, was one of the better ones of the night, but I just can’t stand Kingston. He’d have to set himself on fire and do the SOS on a bucket full of rattlesnakes to get me interested in anything he does. The match seemed designed to push Kingston as a singles competitor again, but I’m sorry, the man isn’t worth it, and it just made Ziggler look weak.

I’ve been vocal with my love of Ziggler on this column, but man, the dude needs to hurry up. He’s spent FAR too long dicking around with his MITB contract, and wrestling schmoes who are beneath him. What happened to the Ziggler who was all I’M BETTER THAN THIS a few months go? That was a good Ziggler I want to see more of, not this ho-hum, bide-my-time loser. If I’m sound extra critical of him this week, it’s because I hate to see what I love, not live up to its potential, and in this case, it doesn’t seem to be the fault of WWE creative, but Ziggler himself. In Kayfabe terms, anyway. I’m sure in real life, he has to wait until the writers are satisfied with letting Sheamus lose the belt, but that won’t happen anytime soon because they just LOOOOVE big white racist strong guys.

After a recap of the whole Daniel Bryan/Kane Tag Team Championship reign/argument, they present the first in a series of segments, featuring Kane and Daniel Bryan still receiving help from Dr. Shelby.

Dr. Shelby and Daniel Bryan are in a restaurant, and Dr. Shelby is explaining they need to work on interacting in non-ewe environments. Bryan asks how, and Kane appears, dressed in a chef’s apron, ready to take their orders. He gets upset, but Dr. Shelby calms him, and asks Bryan to order. Bryan uses the order to insult Kane, but Dr. Shelby insists that Kane role-play the role of “Gerald”, the water. Kane/Gerald then describes an imaginary cook, who Kane found annoying, who took credit for Kane/Gerald’s work, and describes how he took the cook’s face, dunked it in the deep fryer, ripped out his beard, and put it inside of everyone’s food. The local diners look disgusted, and Dr. Shelby asks Kane/Gerald if he’s kidding, to which Kane/Gerald replies ambiguously

It was a funny segment, but I found myself distracted, because there’s a rumor going around that Being Human‘s Sam Huntington, is playing Dr. Shelby. Despite looking vaguely similar, and our own fellow WWE fan here at GB, Godzark, insists it’s him. I don’t believe it. Not only because Sam Huntington has said he isn’t him, multiple times on his own Twitter, but because even if it was him, I just don’t believe the WWE has that talented a make up team to make Dr. Shelby look so convincingly bald, not to mention his other differing facial features, and overall head size and shape. Judge for yourself:

Here’s Sam Huntington:

And here’s Dr. Shelby:

Nope. Not the same guy.

Coming back from the break, we see The Primetime Players awaiting their match against Santino and Zack Ryder. Why Santino and Zack Ryder? I’m not sure. Zack Ryder getting airtime is good, because I like him, and I wish he’d improve his skill set. I can’t think of why he’s teamed up with Santino other than both are silly? Proud of their ignorance? I’m not sure. As for the actual match, I did enjoy Titus O’Neill just grabbing Santino’s dumb Cobra arm, slamming him in the ground to death, and beating him right then and there. The Cobra is stupid guys. Santino is stupid. I have no idea why people like him anymore. I don’t have much more to say about this one, because it was so short.

Hopefully this means The Primetime Players are getting pushed again, but if there’s anything watching TNA wrestling has taught me, is that WWE has forgotten how to make tag matches exciting. They’re doing an admirable job or rebuilding the division, and giving the belts to someone meaningful like Kane & Daniel Bryan is a step in the right direction, they just need to follow through and actually have these mid card tag matches be exciting, rather than route, and by the numbers. I hate having to say how much better Impact Wrestling’s Wrestling is each week than WWE”s, because I love the WWE, and want the best for it. Impact/TNA is entertaining as all get out, but my emotional connection, the company/brand I love, is with WWE. Call me a shill, or a loyalist, but it’s the truth. You can do better WWE, I know you can! Keep at it!

After a quick announcement that there will be a special guest arriving tonight, they cut to a commercial. After the break, we’re treated to the return of the one and only, Hardcore Legend himself, Mick Foley.

Foley comes out and shares some of his memories of CM Punk. He starts to criticize Punk and Heyman, speaking of the CM Punk that he knew, until he’s very quickly interrupted by Punk himself. Foley recants a story that actually sounds like a shoot memory, detailing how when Punk originally won his title, Foley sent him a text congratulating him, and how Punk thanked him in return, saying it meant a lot coming from Foley.  Foley continues saying how since he was one who Punk respected enough to respond to, that Punk’s behavior, and alignment with Paul Heyman, disturbed him. He accuses Heyman of only positioning himself to benefit him, rather than the people he claims to represent, and that Foley himself was a Paul Heyman guy, until he learned to make his own decisions. Foley even makes a pretty solid point, asking why Punk needs Heyman, given his massive prowess on the mic, and his lack of need for Paul Heyman to speak on his behalf. It’s something I’d actually been thinking of as well. Why does Punk need Heyman to speak for him, when he’s such a great talker himself? My guess is it’s all part of building up more heat for him, because Heyman is a heat magnet from nearly any damn audience he confronts. The difference is, with Brock Lesnar, who can’t cut a promo for shit, it made sense for Heyman to do all the talking. For Punk, we just lose a great Punk promo, but I digress.

Punk really rolls around in the new Heel heat he’s getting, and insults the audience directly, and says Foley is wrong and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Foley then reveals his intention, both Kayfabe and shoot, for being here tonight. Kayfabe, he’s here to encourage Punk to shake off the influence of Heyman, and make a name for himself at Hell In A Cell, citing his own famous HIAC experiences as career defining moments. In shoot terms, he’s there just to promote HIAC indirectly, and to really pull last grubby remnants of Face Punk down, and secure him as the #1 Heel in the company. Insulting Mick Foley is pretty much like committing Face suicide, and a surefire ticket to being hated by general audiences.

Punk then further insults the audience, and Foley’s hardcore legacy, implying that pandering to the audience, or doing any of the death-defying stunts Foley has done, are beneath him. The whole thing seems to really piss everyone off, leaving only me and a bunch of IWC smark ass Punk fans still loving him.Foley continues to goad Punk into going into the HIAC match with Cena, leaving on a pretty compelling promo, asking Punk if he’d rather be a legend, or a statistic. It was a pretty good promo, and still managed to highlight that Punk’s actions all have an internally consistent logic to them, while still showing Foley as the one goddamned person who can actually make a solid, consistent point about Punk, and not have it degenerate into  “You’re a jerk, I don’t like you anymore!. Well not too much, anyway.

A few weeks ago The Miz said he’d go the distance with The Ryback, who is still undefeated. As far as overcoming his Goldbergian stigma, he’s not doing a good job. The Miz does a good job at trying to hang in there, but for every counter, or distraction Miz utilizes, The Ryback simply out muscles him at every turn. It’s good to see The Ryback managing to still looks strong, because Miz isn’t made to look weak by this match, just absolutely dominated, which is what they should have done with The Ryback from the beginning. Seeing The Ryback Ryback jobbers for months on end just made him look like he wasn’t getting any sort of challenge, but guys like Miz, who are stable, confident mid card talent, are exactly the kind of guy The Ryback should be destroying. They’re finally starting to get The Ryback right. Hopefully, he’ll learn a few more moves, because his repertoire is getting extremely repetitive.

We see Daniel Bryan and Kane reminiscing about Smackdown last week. They recall their mutual joy of destroying 4 entire tag teams at once, each with a steel chair in hand. They continue describing, until they start yelling out loud in nearly orgasmic pleasure at the memory of causing pain to others. Eventually, the camera pans over and we see Mae Young, taking an order, and even though it’s clichéd and predictable, I still chuckled when she said “I’ll have what they’re having”. Because the thought of an old woman wanting to share in their orgasmic, sadistic ecstasy, is hilarious. Not that stupid joke from that Billy Crystal movie. Who knew Mae Young had such an angry, dark side to her, just waiting to be unleashed?

 GAH. She does look evil! 

Backstage, we see AJ talking to a bunch of Referees. She says some bullshit about the WWE not having instant replay, even though they totally do, and says it’s okay, because everyone makes mistakes. She’s approached by Alberto Del Rio, Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez, who ask her why she’s asked them there. She tells them she wants them in a 6 man tag team match against Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara. Which isn’t fair, because that’s more like a 5 man tag team match, but Ricardo is ever the positive one, proclaims them the Tres Amigos, and runs away joyfully.

Good lord. Tyson Kidd. Between Tyson Kidd being on Raw lately, and the Grizzly Bomb Drunk Review I did last week, I’ve been drinking a lot. For those confused, I take a shot every time I see Tyson Kidd on my television, and for the longest time, that shot just sat there, gathering dust and grime. Lately, I’ve had to take it one every other week, which is about 400% more than it was just a year ago.

As much as I like seeing Tyson Kidd jump around and do stuff, (Kofi, take note, this is what you want to be, and aren’t, in every way.), seeing Wade Barrett destroy people is fun too. I’m really digging his gimmick, and I get a real kick out of saying OY MOY NAYMS WAYEDD BEARETT IND MY BEAR-AGE ‘AS JUSS BEGONE, every time I see him. I just think that his finisher move, which I could have sworn was just a punch last week, was an elbow tonight. I suppose they’re trying to sell that he can hit hard from any angle, with his fists or elbows, which makes sense, but I’d prefer an affectation to sell it. Have him come out with gloves on, and remove one to ready the punch. Sort of like how The Rock took off his elbow pad for The People’s Elbow, but you know, less meaningless and superfluous.

Back from the break, Michael Cole is in the ring, describing the condition of Jerry Lawler, and some of the good news from Lawler’s Doctor. He then introduces Lawler, who gives this message, thanking his fans for all their support:

I thought it was great to see Jerry looking so good, and I love that he has a badass throne room with cardboard Elvis cutouts and knickknacks everywhere. His place totally looks like somewhere i’d totally dig hanging out. I’m very genuinely glad to see he’s doing well, and as much as I like him, I think it’s time he step down from wrestling and commentating alike, to ensure his future well being for his, and all of our sakes. Get well Jerry. Long live The King.

This match is an exercise in a bunch of wrestlers who just seem less than the sum of their parts. I’ve had my problems with Sin Cara and Mysterio in the past, and Otunga is a great backstage character, but a mediocre wrestler at best. Ricardo is obviously trained in the lucha style, but isn’t allowed to wrestle for real. Alberto Del Rio I think is great, but I’m really sick of seeing him lose to Sheamus. Aaaaand I’ve said plenty about Sheamus in this column, and I don’t think i’ll ever be able to top what I wrote about him last week, in regards to why I don’t like him, and why he’s bad for the company as a whole. It was particularly infuriating to hear JR refer to Sheamus as one of the best World Heavyweight Champions in history too. I enjoyed the minutes in this match where Alberto Del Rio got work pretty well with Rey Mysterio, as their style complement each other, but overall the match was forgettable. All the hoopla about Sheamus’ Brogue Kick is a bunch of bullshit too, because a bicycle kick to the head isn’t nearly as big a deal as they are trying to make it out to be. Add to that Sheamus viciously beating on Ricardo, and you’ve got a solid 10 minute segment that consists of me rolling my  eyes out of my head.

Oh yeah, Sheamus sucks.

This has no connection with anything, I just really wanted to share it with all of you.

After that shitgasm, we come back to a refreshing palette cleanser, where we see Dr. Shelby with Kane and Daniel Bryan, urging them to try a step in each other’s shoes. He orders them both two meals, for Kane, a salad, and for Bryan, a plate of meatballs.

It was interesting, because #1, I didn’t know Kane loved meatballs, or that it was somehow representative of him, in a culinary sense. I understand the salad for Daniel Bryan, since that falls right into his whole vegan thing, but meatballs? Kane? Are meatballs from Hell? Is this some weird commentary on meatballs, and how they’re inherently bad for you? I’m not sure.  After that, they both try the food in front of them. Kane burps uproariously, because apparently ingesting leafy greens puts his digestive system into overdrive. Bryan just says the meatballs weren’t as bad as he thought they were going to be, and promptly vomits into Dr. Shelby’s lap. I’m guessing his digestive system is just like Kane’s, but on the inverse spectrum. Watching Kane struggle with eating a tiny piece of lettuce was pretty awesome though.

As the age-old saying goes: You don’t win friends with salad.

Back to the ring, we see the Raw Active for tonight:

So yeah, I didn’t vote, because I didn’t like any of those. On twitter, I was in support of #Dragonfire, since that alludes to Bryan’s history as The American Dragon, and fire is Kane’s whole thing. Plus Dragonfire is way cooler than any of those three. After their introduction, the winner is chosen to be Team Hell No, which is ehhh.. It’s okay I guess. They’re then swiftly attacked by Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. Sandow appears to be wearing a new shirt, meaning he finally has some merch available, which I want. Unfortunately I can’t find any pictures of it, but it appeared to be a diagram of the evolution of man, from primate to man, to Sandow himself, which is just awesome.

I’m totally gonna buy that shirt one day.

After the attack, Sandow and Rhodes reveal they’re a team themselves now, and proclaim themselves RHODES SCHOLARS, which shocked the hell out of me, because any avid Withleather.com reader, will know that their head writer, Brandon Stroud, came up with that name and promoted it heavily on twitter. Hell, I thought it was brilliant and retweeted it myself a few times. Seeing them actually take that name, was pretty awesome, and that moment felt more like the connection the WWE wants us all to have with Raw Active, more than all other Raw Active’s put together.

Ugh. Another tag team match. Man I know these used to be good, but holy hell is WWE doing a good job at making me hate them all forever. Soon I’ll forget they ever used to be good. I’d hate modern, younger WWE fans to grow up thinking any and all tag team matches are inherently boring. Man that’s a saddening thought… I need something to cheer me up.

Jesus christ girl, DRESS LIKE THIS AGAIN. Take that business suit shit off!

Ahem. Well, this was a pretty typical Divas match. It had them trading moves sloppily, until Eve lands a simple neck breaker, and the win. In fact, in the time it took me to write this entire paragraph, the match ended.

The only interesting thing was when Kaitlyn came out, after having been “attacked” at Night Of Champions, which we all assumed was Eve. Kaitlyn says she reviewed the footage, and couldn’t identify her attacker, but could see her hair was blond. Eve looks totes shocked for realsies, and her and Beth Phoenix start arguing. Eventually, Eve just attacks her without any real provocation, which must mean she really has turned face again, because that’s WWE logic for ya! Now we’re just left with this pseudo-murder/leg-attack mystery thing, where some blond person is responsible for Kaitlyn’s injury. Was it Kaitlyn? Somehow? Maybe it’s just the way they’ll explain Beth Phoenix leaving WWE, which I hear she is doing soon. Whatever. That’s the Divas division in a nutshell isn’t it?

WWE DIVAS: “Whatever.”

Holy shit. I didn’t think it could get worse than Tensai vs Randy Orton last week. What can I say? Two big fat guys running into each other, whose moves are the inverse of each other, does not for a good match make. I want to like Funkasaurus as much as I did when he debuted, but the dude doesn’t do anything other than dance for 20 minutes, squash people with his fatness, and then dance for another 15 minutes. Tensai is Tensai, and isn’t worth writing about anymore. Period. Do you even care who won? Really?

The only saving grace of this match was Big Show appearing, and knocking out Tensai’s stupid hissing ugly face, and following it with a knockout punch to Funkasaurus as well. He looked a bit reluctant to knock out Funkasaurus, and his status as a face or heel is as of yet indeterminate, but regardless, seeing him come out and kill both of them was a merciful sparing of a match I, and nobody else either, should care about. Let’s go Show, continue using that IRONCLAD CONTRACT to make the show better by just punching stupid people in the face to death. Next stop: Kofi Kingston. Then, Sheamus. Go for the WHC gold. Why not? Eff Sheamus.

Not even this would make him interesting.

Listen. I hate John Cena, the wrestler. Hate him. He’s boring, his promos suck, his wrestling ability is limited to say the least, and his character is grating beyond belief. In every way he’s only popular for political reasons within the WWE, because for some reason, kids like him. I don’t understand it, but I guess I can’t, because I’m not a kid anymore. All I know is that segments like this, where John starts off by reminding me by what a good person in real life he is, fills me with mixed emotions. I have enormous respect for John Cena The Man, because his charity work, and dedication towards causes supporting breast cancer research, are objectively a good thing for him to be doing, and that fills me with some actual, genuine happiness, because screw cancer. Eff cancer up it’s stupid ass.

But then he goes on his usual, I’M GONNA WIN AND NEVER GIVE UP, I’LL MAKE IT, IT’S ALL FOR YOU, THE FANS, WITHOUT YOU WE WOULDN’T blah blah blah shit he always does. The dude has made a career out of cutting the same promo endlessly. It was awful. It feels like every other month something happens, and he comes out and says how he may be going away for a while, and with his recent shoot elbow surgery, we’re once again meant to believe he will. But we all know he’ll just be back again next goddamned week. It’s what he does. Nobody has ever gotten fired, quit, taken leave, and then just showed up again next week as many times as he has. I don’t think there’s any other job in the world you could do that at. If I got fired from the bar I work at, I couldn’t just show up next weekend and expect to work there, but this isn’t the real world, it’s the WWE Universe, where up is down, good is bad, and heels are faces and faces are heels.

Punk takes some time to insult John Cena in his own special way, while Paul Heyman molests his WWE Championship belt. At one point a CM PUNK chant starts up, but Punk pretends it’s them booing him, and insults them directly. He’s really trying to get himself over as a heel hardcore. He then threatens Cena, and dares him to run away, by saying that he’ll turn his back on Cena, and if he turns around and sees Cena still there, he’ll beat him to death. So to speak.

So Punk foolishly turns his back on Cena, who then pulls out a lead pipe from his back pocket, and hits Punk in the gut with it. Because you know, yeah, that’s what a role model does. Punk then crawls away, while Cena makes terrible “pipe bomb” puns, and says something about real men wearing Pink,(even though Punk wore pink first), officially co-opting pink as the go to heel color, and making it mean less in that particular context.

Backstage, Punk walks by a group of people, one of whom is Mick Foley. He returns to speak to Foley, and attacks him, then walks away in pain, but turns to see something, and looks terrified at what’s before him. Which is….

A heavy breathing The Ryback. Why The Ryback was there? Who knows. Why he was breathing so heavy? Maybe he’s got asthma? I’m not sure. Why Punk acted like he saw goddamned Cthulhu when it was just The Ryback? Who knows! All I know, is that this must be the beginning of The Ryback as a giant, moving force to be reckoned with in the WWE, or the beginning of a main card push for him, with a potential feud involving CM Punk. It’s all up in the air at this point.

So this episode of Raw is exactly what I’d use to describe a mediocre, middle of the road Raw. Nothing too bad, nothing that great either. The highlights were the Daniel Bryan/Kane segments, as usual, but really, it was full of boring tag team matches, because the ghost of Teddy Long is obviously possessing AJ, and really only seemed to be there to convince people that yes, Punk is a heel. He’s really a heel now guys. For realsies. Stop cheering him? Please?

WHOA.