This weekend I had the honor of spending a great deal of time at the Austin, Texas stop of the Wizard World Comic Con tour. The comic con covered a wide range of media including: comic books, horror movies, pro wrestling, manga, and Star Trek. The convention also presented a slew of celebrity guests and comic artists/writers that kept the crowds coming all weekend long.
One of the guests there, and undoubtedly the one I was most excited for, was WWE champion CM Punk. Punk was at the convention on Saturday to take pictures with fans, sign autographs, and give a Q&A panel, which went 40 minutes past the allotted time because Punk was unwilling to leave before all fan questions were answered. His down to earth persona was captivating to everybody in the intimate atmosphere, and fans were able to hear one of their favorite WWE superstars respond to their personal questions. With a great sense of humor, and a great deal of patience with a couple idiotic questions, Punk covered a wide range of topics including: his input for others on getting into the wrestling business, his favorite comic books (because he is actually quite the comic fan), his feelings on Brock Lesnar, and much more.
One of the most surprising aspects of his Q&A was that he name dropped Shawn Michaels multiple times as somebody he would like to compete with in a one on one match. Fans have been beating a dead horse with begging for a Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. CM Punk match at Wrestlemania. So seeing Punk have an obviously greater interest in a match with Michaels was quite surprising.
When asked about Brock Lesnar, Punk said that he would be more than willing to have a partnership with Brock. This was another moment that I found interesting because a bit earlier in the panel Punk said he was done with groups and cliques. He stated that he feels like too much of a “control freak,” to be a part of them anymore. This most certainly left any fan in the room putting the final nail in the coffin of hope for Punk to bring back the NWO. At the same time however, I think everybody is now wondering what type of relationship Punk and Heyman will have with Lesnar once Brock returns.
When asked if Punk has past injuries that still haunt him in the ring, he openly admitted to having a few. While answering this question, he seemingly hinted a couple different times that he may not be wrestling for much longer. This would align with a recent interview that he did where he stated that he thought that he would be done wrestling by 2015.
Outside of the WWE, CM Punk has recently been working on another project, this one in the comic book world. Punk was asked to write the intro for the Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover, which is due out this November. As a lifelong comic book fan, this offer was a no-brainer. During his Q&A, Punk was asked to name his all-time favorite comic series, to which he quickly replied with the Garth Ennis series, Preacher.Punk also stated that if he were to watch a dream wrestling match between two superheroes that he would of course choose Superman vs. Batman.
The panel gave fans a great opportunity to hang out in a room with their favorite WWE wrestler and hit him with their own personal questions. Punk, who celebrated his birthday just the day before, was treated to everybody singing him Happy Birthday. He also passed out cupcakes to those who he deemed had asked ‘intelligent’ questions. As a huge wrestling fan, I have to say, the experience was about as good as being at a live show.
Sometimes things happen in live events, and at the end of October 8th’s Monday Night Raw, one of those things happened. Visible even on the live broadcast, a fan can be seen to be assaulted by CM Punk, right as Vince McMahon was speaking to him in the audience. For those unaware, the scene took place at the end of a match between McMahon and Punk. Punk had run into the crowd, as many wrestlers often do to escape for one reason or another, and was apparently being shoved by fans. Punk than lashed out and struck a fan twice in the face, on live television, as seen here:
The fan in question who was hit, unfortunately does NOT seem to be the one who provoked, and looks to be an unfortunate victim who took the blame for the guilty party behind him. If you look closely, this video shows a fan in white behind the guy who got hit, clearly giving Punk the middle finger before slapping him on the back of the head.
With what was already a literally touchy crowd, Punk seemed already riled up by the teenaged fan in the black Brock Lesnar shirt to his left, who can be seen shoving Punk very hard just before punk lashes out on the guy behind him. The actual fan who was attacked has released a few comments and pictures on twitter, saying he did NOT hit Punk. After watching the videos I have to agree, he’s just a victim of his unfortunately proximity to Punk at the time.
2 things I gotta say first off. #1.) That guy has every right to be upset. Punk should NOT have lost his temper in this fashion, and if there was anything that would actually make me lose respect for him, it’s this. Knowing Punk though, I’m sure he’ll make a statement of some sort, or an apology to make things right. My faith in him doing this is a big factor in me keeping my respect for him on a personal level, rather than a professional one, which he’ll always have.
#2.) I don’t believe this is a work. Something like this seems too spontaneous and real to be faked for publicity. Incidentally, if it WAS a plant, it does the WWE no favors. Sacrificing the integrity of the safety that’s supposed to be upheld by security at live events is never good, no matter how badly you want your main heel to get hated by fans.
One last thing, as a security guard myself, I do have to point out that the security who is seen walking into the video’s frame towards the end, is responding relatively quickly. I’ve been in the middle of a lots of fights, and having someone respond to your situation can take many long seconds, that can lead to many different kinds of injuries. The guy who got there in my estimation, seems to be the only one who made it within what I would call an acceptable amount of time. Which is unfortunate because the situation Punk was in shouldn’t have happened. The kid in the black Brock Lesnar shirt clearly agitated Punk in the video, along with the rest of the audience being a bit too close in general. That’s not to excuse Punk’s behavior, but it’s something to be expected realistically. There’s a reason they make an announcement to NOT TOUCH the talent in any live sporting event, and it’s probably this one. In my opinion, they should have had security much closer, tailing Punk from the beginning. However the response time is about as good as could be realistically expected from security. I’ve personally seen response times go on seconds longer, and that’s in a room with a few thousand fewer people in it.
So will the guy be pursuing legal action? Probably, I wouldn’t blame him. He did seem to get accidentally shoved into Punk, but that’s not worth getting punched in the face. It’s the fault of the asshole Guy In The White Shirt behind him, and black Brock Lesnar Shirt Guy for forgetting that Punk is a real dude, who can get hot-headed, and will probably knock you out if you f–k with him. How Vince McMahon and the WWE will respond, is another thing entirely.
:EDIT: WWE and CM Punk have officially issued a statement:
“WWE security was unfortunately not in the appropriate place at the time. Given CM Punk’s persona as a ‘bad guy’ fans were naturally heckling him, but unfortunately a few fans began shoving him and one struck him in the kidney and on the back.”
The rep adds, “WWE regrets that proper security measures were not in place, and CM Punk apologizes for reacting in the heat of the moment.”
After reflecting on this further, I’ve changed my stance a little bit on how I felt. Personally I feel it’s incredibly rude and disrespectful of any fan to ever lay their hands on these performers who give their all 300+ days a year for our entertainment. The fan(s) who incited this reaction from Punk are jerks who can’t separate fiction from reality, and need to realize that it’s all just a show. I can’t say I blame Punk for reacting the way he did, and it’s a shame he hit the wrong guy. Sure Punk shouldn’t have done it, but I cannot say he overreacted.
Tonight’s Raw opens with a brief recap from last week, showing CM Punk issuing a challenge to John Cena, on the condition that Cena admit Punk is the best in the world. Cena refuses, because he thinks he’s the best, and made some lame ass pseudo inspirational rant about “always believing in yourself” and all that hokum he always spouts. After Cena abruptly left, Punk turned his attention towards Jerry Lawler, and demanded he apologize for his remark at Raw 1000, where he claimed that Punk had “turned his back” on the WWE universe, for attacking The Rock. Lawler apologized, but then “couldn’t say” that Punk was the best in the world, when asked to, despite having said and agreed with that notion dozens of times pre-Raw 1000. It’s ridiculously transparent how Lawler is insanely pro-face, in spite of any and all reason. Michael Cole may be his heel opposite, but he’ll occasionally provide logical reasoning behind why he likes the heels of the company. Anyhow, after refusing to admit CM Punk was the best in the world, he rudely bumped into Punk while exiting the ring, and Punk, in a fit of anger for the sign of enormous disrespect, kicked Lawler in the head. Let it be understood, that Jerry Lawler, (kayfabe) deserves this. He’s a terrible commentator. He says idiotic things all the time, makes no insightful remarks, and constantly promotes the faces, regardless of what their terrible, terrible actions may or may not be. Punk feuding with Lawler is supposed to make us think he’s turned heel, but all it’s done is endear him to me more.
I plan to use a couple more of these throughout this article, because goddamn. It’s true.
Following that recap, Jerry Lawler enters the ring, leaving his commentary table, and begins to speak about the events of the last few weeks, tell his side of the story, and then asks for an apology from Punk. Punk shows up, (sporting a new buzz cut, indicating a change of character. Seriously, his hair is almost always indicative of his character. It’s weird), and refuses to apologize to Lawler, defending his justifiable beat down of The Rock, and points out he never “turned his back” on anyone, and that the only person who did, was Lawler, who turned his back on Punk. He continues to explain this to Lawler, and gives the most backhanded apology in the world, slamming Lawler’s entire wrestling career, mentioning his feud with Andy Kaufman, the fact that Lawler has never been champion, and his loss to Michael Cole at Wrestlemania. It was pretty damn entertaining to see Punk rail into Lawler, and watching him stand there, stone faced, trying not to cry and/or attack Punk was pretty awesome.
Punk continues destroying Lawler, and ends up in a roundabout way challenging him to a fight, after seeing Lawler’s sad/angry face. Lawler regurgitates what he said earlier, about looking for an apology, and not a fight. Punk continues to call him a pussy, in so many words. He then says Lawler will leave embarrassed tonight one way to the other, either embarrassed from the beating he’d receive in the match between him and Punk, or embarrassed that he wouldn’t compete at all. Punk leaves, and Lawler says that “He’ll think about it.”
After that, we return right to a wrestling match between Jack Swagger and The Ryback. Swagger has been jobbing pretty consistently for a while now, and Michael Cole even mentions this fact, in a kayfabe manner by referring to his “losing streak”. They’ve been working on making The Ryback a bit more touchable lately, by having whoever he fights gain momentum in the middle of the match, which Swagger achieves, almost getting the Ankle Lock on him for a moment. The Ryback then gets the upper hand quickly, and amidst the cheers of his fans, who alternatively chant “GOLDBERG”, and The Ryback’s catchphrase, “FEED ME MORE”, he lands his falling suplex finisher. Which I don’t think has an actual name yet. It’s just a move he does that Michael Cole or whoever is watching him just comment on how “impressive” it is. So perhaps his finisher is called “The Impressive Finisher”, which is what I shall refer to it from now on. Seriously, I watch Raw and Smackdown every week, and unless I missed something, I have no idea what it’s called. So, The Ryback pins Swagger, and leaves the ring pumping his arms. Swagger sits outside the ring, grimacing in pain, probably thinking about quitting and joining TNA where he’ll have a chance to actually get utilized properly, and Jerry Lawler continues to say how he’s thinking about having the match with Punk or not.
Back from another break we go right into a Divas match. Natalya and Layla are actually two of the more talented female wrestlers from their small collection, and seeing them wrestle is something I actually would like to see more. Vickie Guerrero interrupts, and says she has an announcement to make, and that the match better end quickly so she could say it. The match starts, and we’re treated to a really decent match between the two. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see Natalya wrestle for a change, instead of relegated to being The Farting Girl on backstage skits on Smackdown. She’s the damned daughter of Jim Neidhart, the founder of the Hart foundation, and niece to Bret GODDAMNED Hart, so along with Punk, she deserves some respect. Seeing her attempt the Sharpshooter was a great moment, and if Layla wasn’t as talented and as likable as she is, I would have been really bummed to see her counter out of it. Thankfully, Layla picks up the win without using a roll up or small package pin, because that’s what they ALWAYS use to end Divas matches. She hits Natalya with a roundhouse kick, and pins her, and Vickie enters the ring.
Vickie says that AJ Lee has been abusing her power, by citing the example of last week’s Raw, where Jericho and Ziggler had a match, with the stipulation being that if Jericho won, he’d get Ziggler’s MITB contract, and if Ziggler won, Jericho would lose his CAREER contract. Vickie argues this is an unfair stipulation to the match for her to make, which it totally is. Only Vickie says that the MITB contract part is the unfair bit. If you ask me, a career contract, and a championship contract are not equal at all, and regardless of the side you take, Vickie has a solid point, that it is an abuse of power. She then publicly begs the WWE Board of Directors to put her back in the GM seat, and sack AJ, which prompts AJ to arrive.
AJ skips out, doing her usual cutesy-crazy affectations, hops into the ring, then slaps, and beats Vickie down to the floor. Pretty much solidifying Vickie’s argument about AJ being out of control and power-hungry. Vickie then runs out of the arena crying while… god… AJ bites her finger all sexily and…
Ahem. She then composes herself and walks out. Basically, as much as I want to love and support AJ, she’s been a very middle of the road, typical GM that has done nothing interesting or new, and I’d rather see her wrestle, because she’s pretty damn good, and that suit she wears doesn’t flatter her at all.
Then we get subjected to a DX/Triple H video package. I’ve got nothing against DX per se, I’m just sick of video packages, and Triple H. The thought of having to see him address the events of Summerslam are so boring to me, I couldn’t care less. For those who didn’t see Summerslam, in a nutshell, Brock Lesnar beat the shit out of Triple H, and made him tap out. The crowd then shouted “YOU TAPPED OUT”, and “NA NA NA NA HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE”‘d him out of the arena, rather than the whole appreciative last stand thing, that he was clearly going for, or expecting. People are sick of him, and his stupidity. At least, the Summerslam audience was. Then of course, Brock Lesnar quit the WWE AGAIN, because that’s what he does, he’s a goddamn quitter.
After that, we see that AJ has ordered Daniel Bryan to take Anger Management classes, and we see a brief skit where Daniel Bryan attends Anger Management. What transpires, is one of the strangest, but funniest skit’s I’ve seen in a while. Daniel Bryan sits in the Anger Management circle, and states that he has no anger issues, and couldn’t be calmer. In walks a young boy, wearing a goat mask. Bryan walks up to the child, and begins NO NO NOing him, upon seeing the goat mask. He then asks who set the whole thing up, and demands the boy take off the goat mask, by screaming at him. The Anger Management counselor says that the boy is his son, and plays a goat in his school play. The boy takes off the mask, and we see he’s crying. Daniel Bryan then looks genuinely sad and confused, and takes a seat. At the very least, he’s working through his issues right? I love the idea that Daniel Bryan now has this pavlovian reaction to all goats now, and that all you’d need to do to distract him is hold up a picture of a goat. I keep thinking about him trying to watch TV and accidentally turning on Animal Planet, and catching a show about goats, and then raging out and destroying his whole living room, and slapping the YES-Lock on his dog.
Back to the ring, we see Jerry Lawler step back in, and speak. He defends his wrestling past, by pointing out the legends of wrestling he’s fought, and while he agrees with the other assertions Punk made, that Lawler is immature, never been champion, and feuded with a comedian, he tries to use those things inexplicably, to defend himself. After that, he accepts CM Punk’s challenge, and says he’ll fight Punk tonight. The crowd cheers, ostensibly in support of Lawler, but I’d like to think they want to see Punk destroy him.
After another commercial break, John Cena appears. Which was kinda shocking, because John Cena showing up, without being called out, or having something to get off his chest, simply to wrestle in a non-main event match, is pretty uncommon now. The biggest bummer was simply that the match up between him and Miz is so disparate, it might as well not even happen. The Miz has only just started to become a great mid card, IC champion, but having him up against Robo-Cena seems like a foregone conclusion. However, Miz does give Cena a serious run for his money. If anything, the whole match built up Miz to get him over, since he dominated the whole thing, only with Cena doing his usual infinite Robo-Cena kick out, to the same as usual, goddamned shift into the 5 Moves of Doom, and his usual last-minute wrap up win. This match, despite Miz’s efforts to make it interesting, is a perfect example of what is wrong with John Cena. Every single match of his is like this. He gets his ass kicked, never sells anything, miraculously kicks out over and over, does 5 moves at the end, and wins. He’s boring. I can’t stand seeing him on my tv any more. It’s sickening that he’s the face of this company. Sickening.
Back to Daniel Bryan, we see him sitting through the Anger Management session. He sits there listening to some guy gripe about his boss, and his asked his opinion. He then expresses his, pretty solid feelings on how he’s been unfairly treated by his boss, who is his former girlfriend/ex-fiancee, who left his at the alter on live tv, puts him in a match with her demonic, pyrokinetic, psychopath pseudo-boyfriend, which he still won, and she forced him into Anger Management regardless. If anything, I’d say he has a right to be mad. The Counselor says he just got a text from the last patient who had yet to show up at the session, and of course, in walks Kane, in full wrestling gear, fire mask and all. Considering that the rest of the people there were normal, everyday folks, in plain clothes, Daniel Bryan included, it was especially surreal to see Kane walk in, in his full garb. Then again, the idea of Kane showing up in civilian clothes would be even stranger. Does this mean that Kane has a cell phone? That he texts people? What’s his data plan? Can you think of him dealing with AT&T customer service? Like if he gets put on hold too many times he just makes fire shoot out of the speaker on their side of the phone? Or worse, does he drunkenly sext AJ? I bet they’d have really weird booty calls.
I’m liking Heath Slater more and more each week. I’m hating Santino more and more every time I see him. Their match was pretty incidental. The crowd even chanted BORING at one point. The only highlight, if you could call it that, was seeing The Cobra react to Aksana showing up, with random “sexy” saxophone music to accompany her. The Cobra then attacks Heath Slater, and Santino pins Slater for the win, with the Cobra keeping its “eyes” on Aksana.
The entire concept of the Cobra being “horny” for Aksana, is just TOO over the top weird for me, because it just makes me think that Santino is either A.) possessed ala Idle Hands by cobra demons, and his limbs really are independent of his own free will, or B.) he’s got the strangest form of Dr. Strangelove Hand Syndrome, or C.) He’s just an insane person, and really needs help. No matter what way you put it, the Cobra is stupid. It always is stupid. It always has been. It always will be. It’s the Bret Hart of stupid gimmicks. Take it away Punk!
After Funkasaurus and Sin Cara’s lengthy intros, Damien Sandow comes out, and announces that he has finally found a colleague of his that he can have an intelligent conversation with, and of course it’s Cody Rhodes. The two of them make their way down the ramp, making an excellent job of showcasing their chemistry together as a team, and their insults towards Funkasaurus and Sin Cara all worked really well, and for the first time in a long time, I was excited to see the dynamic between two former single competitors, as a tag team.
Unfortunately, the match wasn’t really long enough to see them do anything together, or give them a chance to show us if their obvious and immediate character chemistry, worked in ring, but they’re definitely a team I’d look forward to seeing work together again, which is more than I can say for most of the singles-to-tag team teams. Basically, Funkasaurus managed to stomp down Cody Rhodes, while Sin Cara isolated Damien Sandow from hitting Funkasaurus’ magical weak spot (aka the knee), and Funkasaurus picked up the win after a huge splash. Funkasaurus and Sin Cara are an interesting duo together, in that they’re the exact opposite end of the spectrum, from Sandow and Rhodes, in terms of my interest in them working together. While I love Sandow and always appreciate more and more Cody Rhodes, I find myself increasingly disliking Funkasaurus and Sin Cara each time I see them. They’re the bizarro world opposites of each other in that way for me.
Back again to the third and final Anger Management video package, we see Kane being asked to share his feelings with the group. He is asked to take off his mask, and complies. When asked to share, he goes on to give the most hilarious, and frigging epic recall of his entire characters history, which when compiled altogether that way, is so absurd, it’s comedy genius. He even at one point gets meta and references how his motives for inexplicably torturing Pete Rose are entirely unexplained. The whole thing had me dying with laughter, simply that everything he said actually happened, and seeing the WWE reference continuity in this way, was so brilliant and funny. If the WWE wants to become more continuity conscious, I have no problem with them doing it this way. Refer to it, admit it’s kinda silly, but hold onto it, rather than ignore it. Plus, seeing Kane talk about his past relationships will never not be a laugh riot.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out, and Kofi heads over to take commentary for the duration of the match. Why? Because I guess R-Truth and him are super-duper best friends now, and can never have matches without the other being present. I know they’re trying hard to get them over as an actual tag team, but when they’re STILL both referred to by their full names, and you know they had relatively long singles careers, it’s hard to accept them, because man, they STILL don’t have any chemistry. What was great though, was seeing Daniel Bryan enter the ring, making his entrance, trying to control himself, and only silently saying “no, no, no”, to himself, rather than his angry, defiant NO’s to the crowd. Not only that, he fist bumped R-Truth to begin the match! After a few minutes in, he even attempted to fist bump Little Jimmy, signifying either his true descent into madness, or his ability to overcome hardship and control himself. Or both.
After a minute or so of wrestling, their match spills to the outside of the ring, where R-Truth picks up a mic, and starts speaking to Little Jimmy. He answers Little Jimmy’s questions by saying YES over and over, which awakens the (American) dragon inside Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan starts losing it, and scream NO at the audience until he is counted out. He then realizes to his horror, he’s lost the match, when he sees Kofi congratulate Truth on his win. Bryan then violently starts kicking the steps to the ring, and parades around screaming NO. Try as he might, he just can’t escape his catchphr- I mean anger. Hey, if this whole Anger Management angle gets us the calm, cool, collected Daniel Bryan back, or god willing, the amazing WWE version of Heel Bryan Danielson, like he was for a few months post MITB 2011 and Pre-YES YES YES, I’m all for it.
Triple H finally comes out to talk about his Summerslam match and whether or not he’ll be quitting/retiring/whatever. I’m so sick of talking about Triple H, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. Triple H comes, fake cast on and everything, to a pretty big cheer from the crowd (ugh), and says, in a nutshell, that he’ll be retiring. He says it in the most longwinded fashion possible.
Dude, you let your own hubris ruin yourself by challenging a stupid human wrecking ball with a flat top. You’re the one who demanded the referee ignore the rules, and you’re the one who goaded him into even having the match in the first place, when Brock and Paul Heyman both warned you repeatedly for your stupid actions, saying that you”d get destroyed, and you did. You have nobody to blame but yourself. Just retire forever. Work behind the scenes. Hire more sucky mediocre talent like Sin Cara. Whatever. Just get your stupid wrinkled brow and ponytail off my television, and stay off. Please. Accept this dumb crowds applause and goodbye pop, which you were hoping for, but didn’t get, at Summerslam. Goodbye forever Triple H.
After that horribly long pill to swallow, we’re treated to Dolph Ziggler tricking the audience by coming out to Jericho’s music. He then says Jericho is gone forever, and walks to the ring. ADR makes his usual entrance. Between these two guys, I always love to them see in the ring, and whichever of them become the new WHC champion, I’m fine with. ADR is the #1 Contender, but Ziggler still has his MITB contract, so this is potentially setting up a future feud between them. Of course, Randy Orton still exists, so blaeaaeeegghhh. Also, Sheamus.
This is another example of the singles competitors being forced into tag teams, that just doesn’t work again. Tag Team matches can BE amazing, when your teams actually have chemistry, a move set that complements each other, and maybe even a good gimmick or team name. But watching these guys, all struggle to make their spots work, comes off as rushed, forced, and worst of all, boring. Actually, the worst thing was Sheamus and Orton, who both supposed to be faces, cheating to win. Blatantly, openly, cheating. The way HEELS are supposed to. Why they’re considered faces boggles my mind, and I hate it. I hate them both.
Hey, any time I can see Zack Ryder on Raw, I’m happy. Same with David Otunga, and frankly, they’re two talents who could use more time in ring, period. Also, seeing Kane come out, simply to sit down at the announcer’s table, only to stay silent, despite Michael Cole badgering him with questions the entire time. After Zack Ryder lands his finisher, he wins the match. Kane then stands up, immediately goes to attack Ryder, and even clasps his hand around his neck, but relents, and instead chokeslams Otunga. Ryder leaves holding his throat, and Michael Cole starts saying that perhaps this is progress for Kane, since he’d normally attack both of them. I think he’s just trying to get at AJ again, and this is his way of showing commitment? Maybe that makes sense to crazy people. *shudder*
The match between Lawler and Punk is announced as a Steel Cage match, which made me happy, since that’s what I voted for on twitter. Shortly after, AJ comes out to announce that Punk will be defending his title at Night Of Champions against John Cena. Seriously? Goddammit AJ, Y U DO THIS TO ME?
So this whole match was one big exercise in making Jerry Lawler look like he’s still a viable wrestler. From the opening “first shot” that Punk let Lawler have, to Punk getting bloodied by Lawler mid match. After letting us all pretend that Lawler can still wrestle for a few minutes, Punk busts out the Anaconda Vice, and wins. After the match, he grabs a chain from under the ring, and chains himself in the cage with Lawler, puts him in a headlock, and demands he admit that Punk is the best in the world. Lawler refuses, and Punk starts beating on him relentlessly. That being his cue, Cena runs out to save Lawler. He’s unable to open the chained door, and demands they raise the cage. He stands outside, demanding Punk stop, utterly helpless to defend Lawler, all the while Punk batters Lawler with multiple knees to the head, while screaming he is the best wrestler over and over. The cage raises, and Cena jumps in the ring, and runs to Lawler’s aid. Punk walks out, championship belt on his shoulders, triumphant in his victory, while Cena and referee officials stand by Lawler’s side, who is now apparently mortally wounded. Or dead. I hope.
In all, this is a finish to the show that indicates two things. #1, this really IS the final heel turn for Punk, because all the signs are there. Haircut? Check. Constantly shouting he’s the best, regardless of whether he is or not. (Bryan Danielson is, but in WWE, Punk is, so sure.) Check. And of course, attacking a “defenseless” announcer is always a bad thing, unless you’re John Cena and the announcer is Michael Cole. So because of weird double standards, and the general idiocy of the WWE Universe, you’ve got a crowd of people jeering CM Punk for attacking a guy in a match he asked for, for disrespecting him repeatedly, unfairly, and with no provocation. I don’t see how Punk isn’t deserving of respect, or isn’t the WWE Best In The World, because if we’re to presume for a moment, that the WWE Championship is supposed to mean anything, it’s that you’re the BEST WRESTLER in the company. And if WWE is the LEADING Wrestling promotion IN THE WORLD, then logically, this has to mean that you are the BEST IN THE WORLD. You could debate if Punk really is, in shoot terms and ability, but kayfabe, of COURSE he is. He has to be, by definition. John Cena showing up and saying that Punk’s actions are way over the line, are at the best, stupid, and at worst, hypocritical AND stupid.
But, also, this is probably the last time I can realistically, and logically say that Punk is no longer a tweener, when he’s so clearly being portrayed as the villain now. I’m not saying his actions are indefensible, far from it. He’s not on the level of, oh let’s say, Sheamus, because everything Punk does is consistent with what a tweener or heel would do, and that’s fine, because he’s supposed to be. Heel Punk is good Punk. Anything Sheamus is bad Sheamus, same thing with Cena. If there’s one big thing that WWE needs to fix, it’s having their heels and faces act consistently, with what heels and faces are supposed to do, instead of this weird reverse bullshit where faces act like heels and are cheered for it, and heels act realistically and are booed for it forever. It makes me want to rip my eyeballs out and dunk them in sulfuric acid.
Anyhow, hopefully Jerry Lawler is dead, because he’s a bad announcer. I’m sick of his dumb propagandistic mark ass bullshit.
From a purely wrestling standpoint, I am very much looking forward to the 25th anniversary of what is arguably the WWE’s second biggest PPV of the year, “Summerslam.” I believe that the WWE has truly matched some of their best wrestlers stylistically and at the end of the night those who paid for the event should be happy.
Sharing the main event slot in this Sundays event, but selfishly not the poster for the event itself, is Brock Lesnar. This is his second match since returning in April and he will face Triple H in a singles match. In April, we saw Lesnar take on John Cena in what could have been considered more of a bar brawl then a wrestling match. He ended up losing the bout but while this outcome seemed to serve Cena a lot of good in terms of his fan base, it did this match at Summerslam no favors because naturally the WWE universe is now expecting, and rightfully so, a Lesnar victory.
I understand that Lesnar is under a contract with very limited appearances per month, but I still feel like this storyline and match buildup could have been written better by an enthusiastic 9-year-old. At the end of April, we start with Triple H having his arm broken by Lesnar. This was followed by a couple of months of Heyman buildup, a lame brawl at Raw’s 1,000 episode and another broken arm by Lesnar on Shawn Michaels. After all of that, this is supposed to have me all fired up for this match to see Hunter get “retribution?” Sorry all mighty creative WWE writers but this just didn’t get the job done for me as far as the storyline goes.
However, lucky for the WWE, their lackluster buildup for the match won’t affect most fans excitement for the match itself due to how aggressive of a fight it will be despite the lack of buildup. If Triple H’s last match with the Undertaker was any indication of how he will fight at Summerslam, and Lesnar’s match at backlash was any indication of how he will fight, the fans who are looking forward to a brawl will be thrilled with the match.
Although I don’t see the Lesnar/Hunter storyline continuing after Sunday, it won’t be necessary after watching all the events unravel. Overall, I see the 25th anniversary of Summerslam being well worth every penny that fans will pay for it and I am very much looking forward to seeing how the results of the event will impact the storyline going into the Night of Champions PPV in September.
Tonight’s Raw opened up pretty uniquely, in that it was a wrestling match, immediately. Not 20 minutes of talking, or backstage skits, or video packages, and for that, I was thankful.
So while I was looking forward to seeing a straight up match between Show and Punk, it obviously was interrupted, At first, Daniel Bryan comes out, demanding a title match at Summerslam, allowing Punk to gain momentum against Show, until Bryan interferes and slaps Punk in the Yes (No?) Lock, resulting in a DQ. The moment Show stands up however, John Cena arrives, to ostensibly take down Show. Why there’s this weird power play between who is or isn’t better at knocking down Big Show between Cena and Punk, I don’t quite understand. It’s like they’re ignoring the fact that Show is a person too, and not just an obstacle in between them and the title, although I suppose that’s the point. To that end, as much as I like Punk, it really makes Big Show out to be the underdog in a way here, despite being the proverbial “mountain” that has to be climbed for either Punk or Cena to be champion. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it, but despite my lack of enthusiasm for Summer-Slam, I will be very pleasantly surprised if Big Show ends up victorious. But he won’t. Anyhow, after the match AJ comes skipping out, and announces that all 4 of them will be in a tag team match later in the show, with Big Show and Daniel Bryan being paired up, and Cena and Punk on the opposing team. I can’t decide If I like AJ as a GM or not, but she is following the Teddy Long school of GM-ing, which is tag team match ad infinitum. Somehow though, she’s not as grating. It must be because she’s so beautiful. Perhaps if I was attracted to elderly, bespectacled, balding black men I’d be missing Teddy something fierce.
On second thought, no I wouldn’t.
Cutting backstage, JTG and uh… Krystal? I think her name is? I’m not sure because she’s one of the Divas who we never ever, EEEEEEVER see. Well they’re both there, complaining about not getting matches, because frankly they never do, until AJ shows up. She listens to their plight, cocks her head the way she does, and gives JTG a match. He walks away happy, ignorant of his dire fate to come later. AJ then asks Kailtlyn? God I don’t know her name. She asks Kristen if she thinks that she’s unstable, to which Kristina answers no. AJ seems pleased with this answer, despite Katalinn’s answer being a blatant lie. Seriously, I have no idea what her name is.
Google said her name is… Kaitlyn. So I got it right the second time. Too bad I’m literally already forgetting about her as I type this sent- wha? What was I talking about? Why I am I typing this? Who is this woman whose picture I’m writing under? Why am I wearing an evil lizard mask?
The Ryback is unleashed on JTG, and unsurprisingly, he Ryback’s him pretty hard. JTG becomes yet another in a long line of delicious man meat to be fed to The Ryback, who continually begs us to feed him more. I know I’ve given him crap before about his catchphrase, but it’s almost like they’re daring me to not make jokes about how subtly homo-erotic a giant super muscley man with a very phallic bald head, constantly demands to be fed more men to sate an unstated appetite that is insatiable, and can only be staved off by multiple men “taking him on”. If that doesn’t sound a like a cock-thirsty young upstart ready and willing to prove himself in The Biz, well I guess you just don’t think about gay stuff as much as I do. Ahem.
Backstage, we see Rowdy Roddy Piper and Shaun Michaels talk to each other for a moment about Brock Lesnar, to set up the chekov’s gun for when Brock, “gets” Shaun Michaels, as he alluded he would on last week’s Raw. Shaun then gets on the phone with Triple H, although that’s who I inferred it was, because they were trying to keep it ostensibly a secret. They did this a lot back in the Attitude Era, where the audience was guessing who it was that was “on the phone”, and it was always Vince McMahon or whoever “The Commissioner” was. Whatever happened to the Commissioner? Is that still a fake/real job? Or was it superseded by the General Manager? I don’t know, I should probably just do what all the WWE writers do and ignore it.
I’ve grown to love Heath Slater. There was a time when I saw him on my screen and tuned out, but his incredibly delivery of “ONE MAAAAAANNNN BAAAAANNNNDDD BABAAAAYYYY”, as well as his pretty great ability to sell, has warmed him up to me. Even though he lost to R-Truth, seeing the both of them trade spots was entertaining, and despite Truth’s gimmick getting a bit stale, and Slater’s only just coming into blossom, the match itself worked well. After the match ended, The Primetime Players showed up to ruin Truth’s celebratory victory dance with Lil’ Jimmy, and demolish him pretty swiftly. I should note, they showed up without AW, because AW was fired. While I personally didn’t even notice the “offensive” joke he made in last week’s Raw, I’m not really missing him that much, because his God-Voice was irritating, and he didn’t bring much to the Primetime Players that they didn’t already have on their own. I’m worried this will mean their presence will be buried, since they’re good heels, but I’m optimistic that it won’t.
So long AW, your voice was impossibly loud.
I didn’t write this article as I watch the show live like I usually do, so when it came back to reviewing the show again, I had entirely and completely forgotten about this match, because it was so boring and pointless. I’ve repeated enough times why I don’t like Tensai, and his match here is another carbon copy of all his other matches, up until the end. While I want to like Sin Cara, I actually watch other wrestling promotions, as well as, you know, actual Luchador wrestling, like the CMLL, and Sin Cara would be fired in one night from any half-decent Luchador promotion because the dude is sloppy. There’s a meme online that calls him “Botch-Cara”, which while exaggerated, isn’t wrong. Mostly, he’s a mediocre at best wrestler of his style, and the fact that the WWE seems so poised to push him as such a “revolutionary and innovative” Luchador style wrestler really irks me, when there are actual, truly revolutionary, truly innovative Luchadors out there, that they could be recruiting RIGHT NOW. Luchador style wrestling is AWESOME, and very hard to screw up, but somehow, Sin Cara manages to make it boring every time I see him. Botched moves or not, that is his main problem. Period.
Oh yeah. Sin Cara wins, and Tensai beats his asian manservant while we pretend that’s not really racist. Boring. Next.
Backstage Shawn Michaels keeps asking people if they’ve seen Triple H, and we’re supposed to keep pretending to not know it’s Triple H.
So it’s the Piper’s Pit! And the WWE Universe voted who’d be in it! And thankfully, they picked a good choice of Jericho, who is now in full Y2J mode. While I like Y2J Jericho, I prefer his heel, “f*** all this” Jericho that he had been up until recently. The main problem with this promo, is that despite ostensibly being a comedic bit, that would build momentum and re-establish roles in the Ziggler/Jericho feud, it mostly made me sad at how much Roddy Piper has lost his knack for cutting a good promo. The guy seemed really confused, and openly admitted to not remembering things, and it didn’t seem kayfabe at all. At one point he just starts to ramble like your weird old drunk uncle, and even starts to say random things to Jericho, like “I know how you feel, I KNOW YOUR DAD.” Read that through a drunken sad Uncle filter and you’ll know where I’m coming from. Eventually Vickie Guerrero thankfully interrupts Roddy from flailing about like an old drunk fish out of water, and EXCUSE ME’s her way to the ring, with Dolph Ziggler in tow.
Ziggler comes out and berates Roddy Piper for being an old, out of touch weirdo, and rightfully points out how sad it is. Roddy tries to insult him about his pink shirt, but Jericho hilariously comes to Ziggler’s defense by saying “They’re summer colors”. All of them continue arguing about this and that, until The Miz enters. He points out how Ziggler and He both can actually win matches, and backs up Ziggler’s point that Jericho has lost his touch. He then attempts to take over Piper’s Pit, telling Roddy and Jericho to get out of “his” ring, and Roddy starts NO NO NO-ing, which I thought was gonna cue up Daniel Bryan, which confused the hell out of me. But they both attack Miz and Ziggler instead, and throw them both out of the ring, thus winning?… Piper’s Pit? Can that happen? What is Piper’s Pit for again? Save us Ziggler, save us from weird sad segments like this where we’re forced to watch legends slowly crumble away before our eyes.
AJ then makes a pretty smart decision, and schedules a match between Ziggler, Miz and Jericho, that was by far the highlight of the actual wrestling on tonight’s show. All three of them worked amazingly together, and i’d have loved to seen the actual match go on another 15-20 minutes. If this is part 1 of a potential PPV feud, where we get an awesome part 2, I’m all in. The highlight by far was this AMAZING Superplex-Powerbomb that involved all three of them. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t find a GIF of this move to show you either, but rest assured, it was goddamn awesome.
Well despite all three of them being excellent, and putting on an incredible match, there had to be one winner, and after a trio of finishers, near falls, and chain counters into other finishers, Ziggler got the Zig Zag on Jericho and pinned him successfully. I’m really hoping they’ll build this 3-way feud up more, because it’s one of the few 3 way feuds I’ve seen in a long time that totally works.
Backstage, CM Punk is stretching, and Eve comes over to talk to him, looking all sexy and shit. She thanks him for his “new” attitude, basically trying to confirm his Heel status. He rebuffs her, reiterates that he deserves respect, and that’s all he’s fighting for. She says he better go tell that to Cena. I say “F*** JOHN CENA’S OPINION PUNK, YOU GOTTA BEAT HIM, NOT MAKE HIM LOVE YOU!”. Then I go back to looking at Eve’s cleavage.
We then cut to Shaun Michaels dicking around backstage more, asking about Triple-H. Why he doesn’t, I don’t know, wait for Triple H in the green room, is beyond me, but whatever. Punk then approaches Cena and gives him the usual, ” We’re working together, and we don’t like each other” speech, and then makes some solid points explaining himself and his actions to Cena/The Audience, despite his actions being self-evident and justified. I’m guessing the writers feel it necessary to have Punk try to ride his whole “Tweener” thing right now right down the line, despite him being clearly in the right if you just put any thought into the status quo at all. But asking the WWE Universe to think is like asking for Wade Barret to not be british. Oh snap! Segue!
I know they showed this promo last week, and you may be wondering why I’d be talking about it again, but goddamnit if I’m not totally stoked for Guy Ritchie’s™ Wade Barrett to debut, and make his BEAR-AGE known to all who stand in his way. I’m hoping he shows up, speaking in that weird Pikey language from Snatch, asks John Cena if he likes dags, and then just one hit KO’s him. When Big Show comes out complaining about Barrett stealing his finisher, Barrett caves his face in while screaming OI GUVNA as loud as possible. Either that or have him come back and literally beat down Randy Orton with face punches until Orton is blind, deaf and dumb.
Hey! Another Divas match! And Krissy or whatever is even in it! Good for them! Despite the amount of botched pins, (I seriously don’t understand why these women cannot handle any kind of roll up pin whatsoever), the match was a pretty average Divas match. Layla hit her moves, stopped to dance for a little bit, everyone looked adorable, and Karoline actually even got a roll up pin on Beth Phoenix for the win! Good for her! Whoever she is!
So this match was functionally the main event of the show. 2 hours and some change in, and the match began, and while the match ended in 15 or so minutes, it was pretty standard tag team fare between the four of these guys, who we’ve all seen interact with each other one way or another for the last month at least. The highlight by far though, was when Punk, after seeing Cena wanting to be tagged in, copies Cena’s trademark 5 Moves of Doom sequence, and is interrupted right after pulling off the “YOU CAN’T SEE ME” taunt part right before the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Cena interrupts it, by tagging himself in, and copies Punk’s corner turnbuckle flying knee/running bulldog combo. Punk then obstinately walks out of the ring, leaving Cena to finish the match alone. While some would say it’s a tit for tat sign of mutual disrespect, I’m on Punk’s side because… well because he’s just cooler dammit. F***. Sometimes that’s all the reason you need.
Look how cool he is!
Anyhow, Cena wins because he’s Cena, and fails to notice Big Show about to brutally sneak attack him. Punk then runs up and conks Show in the head with his belt, thus saving Cena. Punk then becomes the bigger man, and offers his hand in respectful reconciliation, and Cena refuses to shake it, officially being the biggest weeaboo paranoid crybaby pussy ever. Punk rightfully walks away angry, and I and everyone else with a brain who isn’t under 10 years old, finds yet another reason to hate Cena.
After the match, Josh Matthews catches up with Punk to ask him “what happened” at the end of that match, and Punk sums it up perfectly. Cena is out here to make Cena look good. He doesn’t care about winning as a team, or anyone other than himself. He then rightfully points out Cena’s incredibly rude sign of disrespect by not shaking Punk’s hand, and vows to “teach him, and everybody, respect.” You know, just watch the end of the video above, because he says it a lot better than I can paraphrase it here. My point is, that CM Punk is and has been unfairly treated, despite being the goddamned champion for nearly a year now, which in WWE is quite a feat, that legitimately and truly does deserve respect. Why would anybody boo him for this? Why?
Now, while the Daniel Bryan/Cena/Big Show/CM Punk match was supposed to the main event of the night, common knowledge dictates that the last match in a wrestling show is traditionally the main event. So with much glee, I can now say that DAMIEN SANDOW, THE INTELLECTUAL SAVIOR OF THE UNWASHED MASSES, IS NOW THE MAIN EVENT OF MONDAY NIGHT RAW!
Thank you Damien. Thank you for annihilating Funkasaurus. Thank you for crushing Christian in the ring. Thank you for ignoring Funkasaurus’ attempted interruption-causing-you-to-get-distracted-and-lose-to-a-roll-up thing. Thank you for doing a cartwheel to celebrate your victories. Most of all, thank you for wearing pink wrestling briefs, the most sophisticated color of wrestling briefs you could wear.
Thank you Damien. Thank you.
So the last half hour of tonight’s Raw was all dedicated to this impossibly stupid Triple H/Brock Lesnar feud, where we get the EXCITING PLEASURE of watching them SIGN A CONTRACT. The tension had me on the edge of my seat! Either the tension, or the shit I needed to take, that I took while this segment dragged on and on. We get it. Brock bad. Triple H good. Things personal. Paul Heyman talky because Brock is a effing moron who can’t string 2 sentences together. Shaun Michaels stand there confused for reasons! Important reasons! And the beat goes on. Then a few minutes of some more Touts, (which I’ve started doing, because I’m weak and IT’S STILL REAL TO ME DAMMIT) and then cut to a parking lot. Any knowledgeable longtime WWE fan knows that NOTHING good ever happens in a parking lot in the WWE.
So Shaun Michaels is trying to leave, and gets boxed in by Paul Heyman, who sits there screaming ‘I’LL MOVE IT I SWEAR REAL SOON MAN SORRY I’M SORRY”, until Brock Lesnar shows up, and kidnaps Shaun Michaels by dragging him out of the car. He also knocks down the camera guy, making the camera cut to black, while we hear loud thuds, and HBK screaming or something. In my mind’s eye, Brock Lesnar was just ripping his skin off in large chunks and eating it like huge strips of man-jerky, but that’s almost definitely not what was happening.
Coming back from a commercial break, we see Triple H overlooking the damage done to HBK’s car. Apparently Brock Lesnar smashed HBK through the window shield, and broke all his windows for good measure, as well as denting the sides of the doors. Basically, Brock Lesnar pulled an old-fashioned Street Fighter Car Smash Bonus Level on HBK’s car. Triple H runs in horror, desperate to find HBK, and we cut back to the main arena. Lesnar shows up with HBK on his shoulders, being carried like a freshly killed deer. I actually can picture Brock Lesnar doing this exact same thing to a deer, only he snatches it from the woods, suplexes it into a random car nearby 8 or 9 times, and then just punches it to death to end its suffering.
So Lesnar takes the now ragged HBK into the ring, and F5’s him, because an F5 in the ring is WAY more brutal than, I don’t know, smashing a dude into a car or something. Triple H then shows up to defend his gay frenemy, and Brock Lesnar puts HBK into a fake Kimura. Now, while this is an indirect nod to this UFC career, in which he NEVER put dudes in Kimura’s, the hold itself is actually dangerous, if only anybody like Triple H or HBK knew how what bone the damn hold actually broke. When Lesnar “broke” Triple H’s arm 3 months ago, he clutched his elbow like an asshole, because the move looks like it breaks your elbow, when in fact it snaps you upper arm/shoulder bone area.
Well Paul Heyman tries to warn Triple H to not save HBK, or else Lesnar will break his arm. Triple H stalls, because they need to pad out their airtime. 8 minutes of show left with 2 minutes of material does that. Lesnar then kayfabe snaps HBK’s arm, and Triple H chases Brock out of the ring, while Paul Heyman screams OH MY GOD YOU BROKE HIS ARM. YOU BROKE HIS ARMMM. YOUUU BRRROOOKE HIS AAAAAARRRRRMMMM!!! I’m guessing Heyman was fearing the legal repercussions, or is super squeamish. Either way, the show ended with HBK writhing around in pain, actually selling the Kimura arm break better than Triple H, despite rolling multiple times onto his “broken” upper arm. Lesnar and Triple H point at each other, and Triple H takes his shirt off for some reason while pointing. End.
Then Lesnar continued his transformation into a living Cabbage Patch Doll.
In conclusion, tonight’s Raw had a good amount of wrestling in it. I can’t stand the Triple H/Lesnar feud and will be so happy when Brock Lesnar shoot quits to go… well I presume suplex and punch deer to death or whatever the hell he does in his free time. I’ll be glad to see it all come to an end at Summer-Slam. As far as Raw goes, the 3 hour time expansion so far seems to be beneficial, and not too much time is wasted. Or maybe it is, and the mind controlling waves are starting to sink in, and soon I’ll be a member of the Cenation. A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH.