Tag Archives: Bryan Danielson

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. 

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Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 8/13/12

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.

Take it away, Rodney!

Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/30/12

Tonight’s Raw opens up with a quick bit on how the set quickly caught fire, in some kind of pyrotechnics test before the show actually started, or the audience was let in. It had no actual effect on the televised show, other than delaying the crowd into the arena for half an hour. I’m uncertain why they even bothered to tell us, other than to address the possible potential issue of viewers at home wondering why a small part of the Titan-Tron was a little black and smokey. This was followed up with a quick video package re-capping last weeks show, playing up all the important parts and excluding any and all mention of Charlie Sheen. They would then go on to repeat this news about the fire, 5 more times over the course of the show. Seriously.

After the end of last weeks show, people have been wondering what CM Punk’s exact motivations were for his attack on The Rock, even if they’re obvious and awesome. A recently shorn CM punk walks into the ring, grabs a mic, and lays down the law. He says that he takes issue with how Jerry Lawler said “CM Punk has turned his back on the WWE Universe”, at the end of Raw last week, and exits the ring, approaching Lawler directly, who sits there silently shitting his pants. Punk slams his championship on the Announcer’s Table, and just really starts giving Lawler shit for what a terrible commentator he is, continues to make great points about The Rock’s arrogance and generally explains all of his actions last week perfectly. The Rock is a washed up blowhard who shows up, says he’s the greatest when he isn’t, disrespects everyone without backing up his words like he used to, and makes the WWE play second fiddle to his Hollywood career, until he decides to randomly take back the championship as if it’s a foregone conclusion. Not to mention all of the inane baby talk he spouts and everyone pretends like it’s even 1/4 of the quality of promos or insults he used to throw out 12 years ago. Frankly, he’s been phoning it in the last year, and If I didn’t hate Cena so much, I would have been rooting against him at Wrestlemania 28. So seeing Punk once again, FINALLY actually speak up and become the Voice of The Voiceless, was excellent, and a return to form from the wise cracking, Jim-Halpert shrugmeister he had become for the past few months. Of course, all the Bandwagoners quickly jump ship and start boo-ing Punk for making his opinions well-known, despite cheering him for claiming to always do this in previous months.

“YEAH CM PUNK BEST IN THE WORLD WOOO HE ALWAYS SPEAKS HIS MIND I RESPECT HIM SO MUCH FOR THAT until he doesn’t say things I agree with! What the hell Punk I trusted you.”- All Ship Jumping Former CM Punk fans.

Screw the honey badger, CM Punk don’t care!

After leaving Jerry Lawler sitting there, with shit in his pants slowly collecting, Big Show’s music starts up, and he enters the ring. At first I thought he was gonna come out, and reiterate his point he made a few weeks ago about how it’d take just one thing to make the WWE Universe turn against CM Punk, and how they didn’t really respect him, but he goes on his usual heel schtick where he promotes himself as the true focal point of the end of Raw 1000. He then takes credit for being the reason Punk is still champion, and vows that he’ll be the next WWE Champion. Then John Cena runs in because his name was mentioned, and chases Big Show out of the ring, while Punk stands aside annoyed as hell. At this point, AJ walks out, clad in a suit as the new Raw GM. She quickly announces tonight’s main event, between Big Show and Cena, with the stipulation that the winner will face Punk at Summerslam for the championship. Punk stands aside not giving a crap, while Cena looks on in his dumb starbucks shirt.

Back from the break and we see a quick scene of Daniel Bryan walking past the office of the new GM, looking distraught.

After that quick Daniel Bryan bit, we get this match between Santino and Alberto Del Rio. Why? If this is an example of AJ’s booking, then she’s picking poor match ups, because really, how else can this go? They try to make some sort of sense of tension between commercial breaks, by having ADR take a bump from Santino that throws him outside the ring, but when back from the break it’s the normal case of ADR destroying his opponent in the ring.  I’m guessing they’re trying to build up Santino as an actual contender or something, because for a bunch of brief shining moments he’d gain some momentum before ADR quickly shut him down again. Santino even tries to pull out the Cobra, which ADR just sidekicks before trapping his arm in the cross armbreaker, because holy crap is the Cobra stupid, and how great would it be if ADR kayfabe broke Santino’s arm? He’d basically be stripping Santino of all his power forever.

Then Del Rio makes a great promo, saying how he just destroyed Santino, that Santino is beneath him, Sheamus is beneath him, and so is everyone else, so he will not compete any further until Summerslam, to get his WHC shot, which is the only thing that he finds worth his time. I really can’t disagree with him either. Why should he be wrestling idiots like Santino? Why isn’t he being put up against anyone who is actually of his caliber of talent? His whole “Eff this noise” attitude is something that makes sense to me, even if I will be missing him destroying all of the even remotely ethnic wrestlers on WWE’s roster. Summerslam better be the fulfillment of his destiny to become a champion, because holy hell, the dude deserves it. Also, I’ll save my obligatory weekly insult of Sheamus for later on in this article, if he shows up.

Returning from a break, Funkasaurus is already in the middle of his dance intro, which is a good thing, because that damn intro is so long. It’s then interrupted by Vickie Guerrero’s banshee shriek of EXCUSE ME, and she mocks the Funkadactyls for their dance moves, and starts dancing herself. She then busts out the patented Elaine-From-Seinfeld-Little-Kicks dance, thumbs up and all, until she herself is interrupted by Damien Sandow.

Our Intellectual Savior then shows the clip from last week, of DX attacking him, proclaiming himself once again as a martyr, and starts beating down Funkasaurus, and leaves triumphantly, in the name of non-irritating wrestling gimmicks all around.

I really love Damien Sandow. 1.) He’s a good wrestler, and 2.) his gimmick is hilarious, and necessary.

It also helps that’s he’s fancy AND classy to boot.

We need a wrestler like him, a guy who can come out, point out how stupid everything is, beat the crap out of them/it, and cartwheel his way out of there, all the while in pink and purple briefs and knee pads. Not to mention his totally luscious ascot/bathrobe combo he enters the ring in, because if anything, I am a man of comfort who appreciates the finer things in life. I think Sandow and I would get along well. We’d both lounge in our armchairs together, drinking different blends of exotic herbal tea, while watching Criterion blu-rays. Plus he’d probably be a really awesome Dungeon Master.

My fantasies of being best friends with Damien Sandow aside, we cut to a recap of the Jericho/Ziggler storyline. It’s storyline that could have a great build up, as I said last week, where Ziggler should destroy Jericho, and be the man to finally BREAK THE WALLS DOOOOWWWWN and break Jericho. If Jericho is gonna be leaving WWE, have him go out with a warriors death. Make him go down fighting, and leave it all out in the ring, defeated once and for all. But tonight anyway, we’re getting a tag team match, because GM’s just LOVE tag team matches and oh no… AJ. Don’t do this to me baby. We had something special. Don’t be this way. Don’t be Teddy 2.0. I’m begging you. SAVE ME JOHN LAURINAITIS!

Aww but you look so good in that suit there baby… Alright, I’ll let it slide this time.

After spending the last 48 minutes mustering his courage outside her office door, Daniel Bryan finally confronts AJ about last week. She immediately asserts herself by telling him to shut up. She then brings up the quick plot point from last week, where we saw what looked like a bunch of mental asylum orderlies being spoken to by Daniel Bryan, that I assumed was a red herring. He says they were his groomsmen pretty defensively, and she says he’ll have to deal with a match later tonight, that’ll pit him against Sheamus (ugh). He asks her if it’s for the title, and she NO NO NO’s him out of the room.

A video package starts to play, showcasing the retarded Triple H/Brock Lesnar storyline from last week. Seriously? How many recaps from Raw 1000 are we going to have? Is the “extra” hour in all of these new episodes of Raw just going to be an entire hour recapping the previous Raw? I guess they have to, to keep Brock Lesnar in the story without him actually being there, because his stupid quitter-contract doesn’t require him to actually wrestle any more than a set amount of dates this year, and they’re being saved for PPV’s almost exclusively. They also must think we’re amnesic Alzheimer goldfish, because they played this promo at least 5 more times after this.

There was a time when I would have really liked to have seen this match. That was about 6 months ago at Wrestlemania, because the “Quick-Strong” wrestler against the “Methodical-Technical” wrestler pairing of Sheamus/Bryan was in theory, a great idea. We all know how horribly they screwed that up, but it led to Daniel Bryan really getting over, so in hindsight it was a necessary evil. Daniel Bryan comes out YES-ing as usual, but then flips out in ring, saying that the fans have “No right” to chant YES anymore, and that is his thing alone. The crowd then taunts him by chanting it, and he responds by losing his mind and shouting NO over and over, like a broken man after being left at the alter by his bride. Oh wait…

Well, Sheamus enters, with a clearly healing black eye, because presumably, people can’t not punch him in the face upon seeing him. They then announce that the match will be a “Street fight”, which in WWE terms just means “You guys can wrestle outside of the ring if you want.” Bryan and Sheamus open up the match by keeping things in the ring. After a few minutes of trading moves, they slowly battle up the ramp, with Sheamus throwing Daniel Bryan around, until they reach the top of the entrance ramp. Bryan gets the upper hand by kicking Sheamus off of the ramp, all 4 feet onto the concrete below. Sheamus then writhes around in pain like his knee is hurt, and Bryan lays a flying knee into Sheamus’ face, and the fight cuts to commercial. After returning from the break, they’re both back in the ring, and Daniel Bryan has Sheamus in an arm lock.

They go back to trading blows, and the momentum between the two of them continues to shift back and forth, now with Sheamus gaining the advantage. He brings out a chair and a kendo stick, which Daniel Bryan wisely removes from the ring before they can be used on him. Sheamus kicks Bryan out of the ring, while the crowd chants audibly for tables. Daniel Bryan then uses the kendo stick on Sheamus, wacking him multiple times, letting out all of rage on Sheamus with each swing. Eventually Sheamus gets kicked by Bryan into a steel chair he set up in a turnbuckle. Sheamus grabs a hold of the steel steps, and sets them up, trying to slam Bryan into it, until Bryan counters Sheamus’ grab and throws him into the ring post.

At this point, even though I hate Sheamus, i’m just glad to see a match last a considerable amount of time on Raw. My joy was quickly shattered however, when Sheamus brogue kicked Daniel Bryan into the steel steps that had been set up in the ring. However, I gotta say, the match itself was quite refreshing, mostly because it was good, and long by modern WWE standards. Let’s get this kind of thing happening more often, cut out all the recapping, and Raw can really become something truly great once again.

After a recap of the CM Punk promo from an hour ago, ostensibly in case you’ve got some kind of Leonard Shelby Memento disease, and can’t make new memories longer than an hour or so. They cut back to Daniel Bryan being helped up by referees, claiming he’s hurt his neck and needs a doctor. So while a popular, important, talented wrestler writhes around in pain in the middle of the ring, complaining of a neck injury and needing a doctor, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler ignore him in place of showing ANOTHER recap of the events from an hour ago, showcasing the Punk/Cena/Big Show thing, and the impromptu main event made by AJ. After a while, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out, claiming that Daniel Bryan is faking, and tell him to leave, saying there’s no place for him here.

Truth then mentions how Little Jimmy is in the ring with them, and Daniel Bryan asks where Little Jimmy is, and begins speaking to him directly. In what was the highlight of tonight’s show by far, he then violently kicks Little Jimmy CLEAR OUT OF THE RING, and R-Truth rushes out to console him, while Daniel Bryan goes on about how dumb the entire concept of Little Jimmy has become. He then goes on a huge tirade about how Little Jimmy doesn’t exist, and points out how stupid Kofi Kingston and R-Truth are, and the orderlies that Daniel Bryan had last week come out to take R-Truth, until AJ interrupts. She starts to say that Daniel Bryan is “mentally unstable”, and has the orderlies escort him out. He then comes face to face with AJ, makes a mean face at her, and leaves. This entire segment was hilarious, and I’m liking the concept of the mentally unstable Daniel Bryan, who is the foil to AJ. Or AJ is his foil. Either way, his character is evolving beyond “Just say YES or NO” all the time, so I’m digging it.

After some Tout nonsense, AW introduces The Primetime Players. They walk out and do their weird little Barking-Dog-Butt-Buddy, while AW’s voice continues to BOOM throughout the arena. I still don’t understand entirely why he, different from any other ringside manager, gets the loudest mic in the world to make ringside comments. Kofi gets dominated by Titus O’Neil for a while, until Kofi manages to get in his stupid BOOM jump thing, but AW provides a distraction by throwing his shoe into the ring at Kofi, which lets Titus land his powerbomb finisher, and win the match.

This whole match is a classic exercise in one half of a respective tag team, both being less than the half their whole as tag team competitors, and generally both being boring to watch the entire time. Kofi Kingston is boring period, and Titus O’Neil only really works with his partner as a lousy/funny heel team. I kept getting distracted during this match because I just didn’t care about it at all. In the immortal words of Jay-Z, on the next one.

We then cut to CM Punk and John Cena bro-ing it out together backstage, where Punk seems to express some terms of respect and agreement between the two of them to have each other’s backs, and the whole thing was just a weird step backward for Punk in my opinion, because John Cena sure as hell doesn’t give a shit about Punk, and his silence and condescending look as Punk walks away says about the same.

Back from the break, Heath Slater is once again in the ring, and we get another recap from last week, (oh god please make it stop, it hurts us, IT HURTS USSSS), where I assumed the whole “WWE Legends feud” thing came to an end, but here we are. Well it seems that now we’re gonna see Heath Slater used to bring back anybody who has been missing for a while, and Randy Orton shows up, having been thankfully missing for a few months now. I can’t stand Randy Orton. He’s boring. His gimmick is non-existent, and he has no imminent charisma to speak of. He’s like somebody took the default create-a-wrestler from a WWE video game, gave him tattoos that they thought were “totally sick bro”, and transported him into real life. The dude’s whole thing is being a “viper”, which I guess is supposed to reflect the “rattlesnake” thing Stone Cold Steve Austin had? I really don’t know actually, all I know is that he bores me to death, and his RKO is an insanely shittier version of the Diamond Cutter.

Oh yeah, he beats Heath Slater. Shocking, I know. Ugh.

Backstage, we see Daniel Bryan speaking to a doctor about his mental health. He goes through a series of questions, that are all yes or no answers. He of course continues to berate the doctor by LOSING HIS MIND at him, and screaming YES over and over. Crazy Daniel Bryan is already pretty goddamned awesome.

Now, tag team stupidness aside, this is a match that has real potential to work really well. Everybody involved is really talented, and Christian has always worked better in a tag team environment to start with.  After all four of these guys come out, taking a really long time to make their entrances, the match finally starts.

The thing about all 4 of these guys is, with the exception of Christian, they tend to work better individually. Their strengths are better accustomed to the one on one back and forth flow of a singles match. A good example was Jericho’s Wrestlemania match with CM Punk, where it was one big chain wrestling fest, or Dolph ‘s matches with Sheamus, where he actually managed to make Sheamus look really good, while still losing the match himself each time. Then you’ve got The Miz, who is in full Post-Crisis mode, and with his newly found Non-Stupid Haircut powers, has re-established himself as an actual contender to be reckoned with. The problem is now with Christian, who I’ve seen referred to constantly by the IWC as the “Little Brother” of wrestling, and i’d be hard pressed to disagree.

Let me explain. Everything Christian does, is basically just an homage or a borrowed move from other, better wrestlers he’s purposely or not comparing himself to. A main example is his spear, which is an obvious nod to Edge, the only problem being that Edge’s spear wasn’t even that good to begin with, and Christian’s spear is even lamer. He’s like the “Little Brother” of wrestling, who is constantly imitating his bigger brothers as inspiration, but never shakes off the trappings of being someone who is, well, imitating. Add to that, that his Killswitch finisher, when he does rarely manage to pull off, looks like crap, and you’ve got a guy who I WANT to like, but just can’t. He should have stopped way back when, because he’s basically stuck in sidekick hell, and should go quietly into that good night already.

All that being said, the match was pretty good, in spite of Christian, because Ziggler and Miz kept controlling him, keeping Jericho out of the match pretty effectively.That is until Christian gets the hot tag to Jericho, who quickly jumps in and makes a huge comeback, gaining momentum, until Christian jumps up and lands an unseen-by-the-Ref eye poke on The Miz, letting Jericho land the Codebreaker on Miz, winning the match. For Christian, who is supposed to be a face, that move wasn’t very… Christian. Eh? Eh? Get it? Right? What’s that? Oh This gun? Yeah I bought it.  Oh I’m just holding it here. Don’t worry about it. I’ll… use it later.  Oh dear sweet lord how I’ll use it later…

Anyhow, all suicidal threats aside, the match was fine. I just would rather see these guys compete in singles matches. Excuse me while I read about how to aim a gun directly into my brain stem for instant death.

Cutting back to Daniel Bryan again, he’s still answering questions from the doctor. Now he’s taking a series of rorschach tests. On the second test, the inkblot is obviously a goat face, and Bryan starts to freak out, and accuse the doctor of being put up to this by Charlie Sheen of all people. Then he starts speaking openly and aloud to Charlie Sheen, as if he is watching him at all times. I’m not looking forward to the inevitable Charlie Sheen/Daniel Bryan feud, but if we get totally insane Daniel Bryan being awesome because of it, I’m all for it forever.

It does really look like a goat’s face though, I mean c’mon!

Back from another commercial break (jesus), we get more Touts about something, I’m not sure because my eyes roll back in my head in boredom every time they do that.

Tyson Kidd is on Raw! Take a shot!

I remember hearing about how Tensai was going to leave the WWE soon, because he’s been extremely shoot unpopular WWE crowds, and frankly, i can’t wait. I’ve never liked him, even back when he was Albert, or A-Train, or whatever the hell you want to call him, he’s shitty no matter what gimmick he has. Plus his constant hissing is by far the most annoying affectation a wrestler could possibly have. His whole gimmick is offensive, (I don’t care if they stated he’s not asian, it’s still confusing and dumb), he’s awful to even look at, and his move set is boring. He doesn’t look good winning, nor does he make anyone else look good losing. Not to mention his constant abuse of his asian sidekick, the whole thing comes off as really offensive towards asians, and wrestling fans in general.

But yeah, he takes down Tyson Kidd and wins. Then after continually attacking him, the Ref reverses the decision, because reasons. Why? I don’t know. Let’s see Tyson Kidd wrestle someone who isn’t literally horrible to watch in the ring.

Back to Daniel Bryan and the doctor, the doc proclaims Daniel Bryan is officially sane. Then the lighting goes red, and Bryan is attacked by Kane, who claims he is Daniel Bryan’s anger managment counselor, in the most un-subtle reference to Charlie Sheen’s show, called  Anger Management.

After the 5th (?) Summerslam promo, which I’ve been neglecting to mention each time they show it in this article, as a kindness to you, because I’m not joking when I say an entire hour of this 3 hour show has been recaps and promos for Summerslam. Anyhow, after all of that yet again, we finally get to the main event.

CM Punk came out to join Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole  at the announcer’s table for the match, and hearing him give Jerry a constant stream of shit for being a really limp dick announcer with lame opinions that always fall into a predictably boring point of view that idolizes faces like Cena and Rock in spite of all logic and reason pointing to them be lackluster in many ways. It’s the same kind of person who promotes a needlessly Mark-ey kind of view regardless of character motivation, or continuity, or story development. Lawler is supposed to be what the worst WWE writers want all of us to be, a mindless, blind Cena lover who is entertained endlessly by Santino dicking around with a sock, or literally anything involving Hornswoggle, who thinks that parlor tricks and stupid skits are the focal point of a wrestling show.

Throughout the match Punk was making excellent commentary, and making solid, legitimate criticisms of Lawler the entire time. I’d really love to see Punk become a full-time announcer, who also wrestles, because he’s miles better than nearly every current commentator they have on any of WWE’s shows.

But anyway, the match itself was ‘old hat’. Lots of motifs we’ve seen from all of Cena and Big Show’s matches in the past. Big Show gets a sleeper put on him. Cena starts his 5 moves of doom, and is countered. Big Show taunts Punk at ringside, Cena gains the upper hand after kicking out miraculously like a robot. Big Show takes a big bump. Cena takes a big bump. The only thing that broke it up was the end, where Show threw Cena into Punk at the announcer’s table. After nearly being counted out, Cena managed to barely jump back into the ring, and pulls out the attitude adjustment, but it’s interrupted by Punk. Then Punk knocks out Big Show with a kick to the head, resulting in the match becoming a DQ, but for whom it’s unclear. Punk then grabs the mic, and says the winner is: Nobody. And that they’re both losers, to loud boo’s from the crowd.

Then AJ comes out says they’re actually both winners, and makes them both #1 Contenders, and makes the title match a triple threat at Summerslam. Punk comes back, and says AJ is a bad GM, calls her crazy, and demands she show him respect. The show ends on him screaming at her for respect, while AJ smiles away gleefully.

Knowing her, it’s probably turning her on.

So there’s the end of the 1001th Raw. Frankly, I’m glad Punk is going back to being a Tweener, because arrogant asshole CM Punk is far superior to any other version of his character. For every awesome Crazy-Daniel-Bryan promo we’ll get, we’re still gonna get terrible things like that Tyson Kidd/Tensai match that I can’t stand watching, or the entire hours of worth of repeated promos for a match between two guys who don’t wrestle full time, or god forbid more inane “Touts” from insipid, mouth breathing fans. This Raw wasn’t the worst in the world, but it wasn’t really that good either. I had a hard time trying to focus on it the entire time, and mostly found it boring, which is a bad sign for the future of Raw.  I can only hope that next week’s show will pick up in entertainment value. That’s really all I ask from WWE any more, and man, they should at least deliver that. I want to be entertained, not reminded about how IMPORTANT this match between TRIPLE H AND BROCK LESNAR is on SUMMERSLAM over and over and over again. If you’re gonna do stupid shit, have more guys kicking invisible children in the face, and less promo/recap filler of things we’ve already seen, especially if they’re from the same show we’re still currently watching.

Man. Here’s some pictures of AJ to cheer you up, because I’m just really bummed now.

There. Now I feel better.

Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/9/12

Raw starts right off the bat with a recap of the Punk/AJ/Bryan storyline, because that is so clearly the best storyline they have going right now between the main 3 right now. Triple H vs Brock Lesnar is a big pile of who gives a shit, and Cena VS Big Show has been milquetoast at best. AJ enters the ring, skipping as usual, and starts to talk about her behavior, and how it will affect the match she’ll be refereeing at Money In The Bank. She introduces CM Punk, and they talk about the events that transpired on Smackdown. To briefly summarize it, she kissed both Daniel Bryan and CM Punk,  after Punk told her she needed professional help. She addresses his sentiments, by saying that she is in full control of her faculties, and doesn’t need any kind of professional help. I’m inclined to believe her, because I’ve been thinking that secretly, all along, she’s been playing all the men around her for her own end game, but like any long con, when fake feelings and real feelings get mixed, it can nix the whole operation, and jeopardize the con entirely. AJ knows what she’s doing, but it’s gone wrong, and now she’s trying to find an exit plan. Despite being a little too soap opera-ey, this promo was at least a good example of AJ actually being a pretty good actor. For a wrestler, I mean.

Eventually, after AJ continues her explanation of her feelings, how CM Punk made her feel cared about, and generally just breaks my heart with her plight and need to be loved, she full on admits CM Punk gets her hot. She then kneels down on one knee, and goddamn PROPOSES to CM Punk.  He shakes his head, just as flabbergasted as we all are, and Daniel Bryan comes in shouting NO emphatically. He begs her to not make the biggest mistake in her life. He goes on to try to convince her that he has never truly lost his feelings for her, and decries CM Punk as a liar and manipulator. CM Punk rebuffs Bryan, and Bryan counters by daring Punk to say “I do”. Punk hesitates, and Bryan continues his deft/cruel/funny manipulation of AJ’s feelings. Then HE gets on one knee, and proposes to her. Then CM Punk interrupts and calls him on his BS, and they start arguing about who will be whose fiancee and whatnot, until the text noise for the Anonymous General Manager of Raw sounds. Remember him/her/it? I guess they weren’t dead after all. Michael Cole then reveals the official laptop that the Anon-GM uses to communicate. I should have called this, but the days of the Anonymous Raw General Manager seem so long ago, that I’d all but forgotten about it. I guess all the past GM’s really do get to return to duty. Michael Cole communicates that the Anon-GM believes that CM Punk and AJ makes a great couple and then announces an inter-gender Tag Team Match, (god is it Teddy? Ugh.), between AJ and Punk, and Daniel Bryan and Eve. Which is a weird pairing, but whatever. It’d seem that the winner of this match will determine who AJ will end up with/married to, along with who she’ll favor in MITB this Sunday. She then says she’ll be walking out tonight with her “Future Husband”, and CM Punk drops his mic in shock.  For a very soap opera-ey promo, it wasn’t too bad, although I can see some people being absolutely bored by the first 20 minutes of their wrestling show being 3 people talking about their romantic feelings for each other, and then proposing marriage. I found it entertaining, simply because it was so absurd, if a bit stupidly melodramatic. Also, throughout this segment several fan’s signs were just KILLING ME. I had to take pictures of them to share, because they’re pure comedy gold.

CM Punk. You know, Second City Saint? Voice of the Voiceless? Best in the Wold? 

 

There are no words for this.

He’s not wrong. 

Seriously? This could be a good match, but with how much they’ve been obviously burying Jack Swagger, and how hard they’ve been pushing Sheamus on us, why even have this match? Sheamus gets his two finishers in, in 58 goddamn seconds. Big surprise. Alberto Del Rio then shows up on the Titan-Tron to taunt Sheamus, and drives away in his awesome car like a boss. Then Sheamus brogue kicks Jack Swagger again, who was just trying to stand up, and somehow we’re supposed to cheer him for doing this. I don’t get how Sheamus is a face, when all he does is act like a complete bastard heel all the time. What did Jack Swagger do to piss off Vince McMahon so badly? He’s clearly being punished because Diva’s matches are longer than this.

Then we cut to Zack Ryder and Santino backstage, discussing how Zack Ryder won the privilege to be the GM of Smackdown, and the identity of the Anon-GM. Santino then pulls out a Sherlock Holmes hat, and a magnifying glass, and starts literally searching for the Anon-GM in plastic buckets of cable wiring. Because he’s freaking retarded. Maybe that’s been his character gimmick all along? He’s literally retarded, and some WWE writer forgot to tell everyone else, and he’s just been laying it on extra thick to communicate that to us, because he contractually can’t break kayfabe and just tell us.

Returning from the break, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announce that The Rock will elaborate on his intention to reclaim the WWE Championship, at the 1000th show in 2 weeks. They’ve been doing this for a lot of goddamn things, and it seems like this 1000th show will be nothing but guest stars, announcements made by wrestlers about future matches and their feuds, and generally everything but actual wrestling.

Shot time! Tyson Kidd is on Raw! Take a shot!  I’m not exactly sure why these 4 guys are fighting in a tag team match, other than to build up to their MITB ladder match,  because there’s no organic character build up for them at all. I know not every match has to be based around a feud, but having these guys in a tag team together for no reason other than “It’s for the PPV”, seems really disingenuous to me in its intention to build hype for the PPV match. Just have them make promos insulting each other or something, rather than this uselessly short tag team match.  The match ends with Tensai pinning Christian and winning for himself and Dolph, then he throws his typical after match tantrum where he beats on somebody, this time it’s Tyson Kidd. We cut to Michael Cole and Jerry, and they start discussing who should be GM for Raw and Smackdown, and Jerry’s admittedly stupid opinion makes Cole throws a cup of water on Lawler, and immediately he apologizes in fear. Like Lawler could even do anything to him anyway, but whatever. Cole runs away to attend to the Anon-GM’s messages, and then refuses to announce the Anon-GM’s new messages. Lawler stands up, and reads that Cole and Lawler will have a match tonight. Cole is furious and demands that the Anon-GM change the match. The GM then lets the WWE Universe vote online to determine if the match will take place or not. I then barf.

45 minutes into Raw, and all we’re getting are squashes and Tag Team matches again? I swear to god, the Anonymous Raw GM MUST be Teddy Long, because this is exactly his MO.  Does anyone watch this and really think Drew McIntyre is going to beat The Funkasaurus? Really? REALLY? Aw hell, take it away Miz.

I miss you Miz. 

Guess what? Funkasaurus wins! I don’t even think Drew Mcintyre even got to do anything during this match. Then Funkasaurus starts dancing with a bunch of kids. Even I’m starting to get tired of The Funkasaurus’ shtick now. Please make him do something interesting. Have him fight big people who present a challenge. Stop handicapping him with a “hurt knee” so he can lose and still come off as a powerhouse later. Give him purpose. Please. I’m begging you WWE.  For me?

Backstage, Santino has gotten into the dressing room of Jericho, and accuses him of being the Anon-GM. Jericho then accuses him back, and Santino walks away after having some kind of idiot thought in his head. Then Big Show appears, and Jericho tries to reunite Jerishow, but Big Show tells him by no means is this a reunion, and that he wants him to stay out-of-the-way. Man, who hurt you Big Show? Jericho is ALL ABOUT kicking ass and taking names, he’d be the perfect complement to your budding war machine. I hope Show has some kind of endgame in mind, because even if he wants to be a self-sufficient Unstoppable GIANT, he could stand to network with his fellow heels. I dunno, make a stable of heels even? Man, remember stables? What happened to that? God I miss the NWO and DX.

Jericho, Big Show, and Alberto Del Rio would make the best heel stable they could have right now. I even got a name planned, the WMD’s, because they’d be the worlds most dangerous group of heels in the WWE today. Show would even be the leader with that name! They could go around and systematically destroy stupid inferior people like Santino, or just break Sheamus’ arms and legs and take the WHC back from his waste.  I know if you read this column with any consistency, you’ll realize I flip-flop a lot on my opinion of Sheamus, but goddamn does he need to figure out what his deal is. I can’t keep kinda liking, then mostly hating him forever.

Stephanie McMahon’s favorite Raw memory is Triple H calling her a lying bitch on live television for faking a pregnancy? The McMahon family is screwed up.

Then John Cena enters, grabs a mic, and starts to give a promo. It’s exactly the same promo he always gives. I’m not going to summarize it, because there are only so many ways to type “John Cena says he’ll never give up, and he’ll win”, and blah blah blah oh my god kill me. Or more accurately, kill Cena. Well don’t kill him, but lordy give him something to say that he already hasn’t! His whole thing this time is just one big commercial for MITB, himself, and his merchandise in effect. Every time he speaks, all I hear is “BUY WWE JOHN CENA SHIRTS. BUY JOHN CENA CUPS. BUY JOHN CENA TOYS.” and it’s so goddamn awful. It’s blatant, and belittles what little credibility the WWE actually has every time he does it.

An hour into Raw, and we get our first actual wrestling match of significant length and importance. These guys, for better or for worse, have actual reasons to dislike each other, and have actual history and meaning for why they’re wrestling each other, even if the main reason is Money In The Bank. The match started off slow, with Cena and Jericho trading blows until each tagged in their partners, and then Kane starts to actually give Show some competition. Show gets a some big stomps in, and Jerishow gets the upper hand early on. After a series of tags,  and a commercial break, Big Show faces Cena and locks him into a big bear hug. Cena counters and gets the hot tag to Kane,  and gains some momentum against Big Show. They actually start to get some good moves against each other, and make some good spots on each other. Jericho gets tagged in, and we cut to another commercial break.

That’s two commercial breaks during one match. What must happen in between the moments they don’t show on tv? I’d like to think they just stop wrestling and stand around,  making snack a little bit, and the live audience just loses their minds in frustration until the show goes back on air. Anyhow, after the break, during which Jericho has been beating on Kane, Kane regains his composure and lands a big sidewalk slam on Jericho. Cena then starts the process for the 5 Moves Of Doom, but his pin on Jericho is interrupted by Big Show, and causes a DQ. Which makes no sense, because I’m pretty sure tag teams matches are based around the partner interrupting pins, ALL THE TIME.  Show then pulls out two ladders, and uses them on Jericho and Kane. By “uses” I mean, he baby taps them very lightly on the chest with them, and slams them very gingerly on the chest with them on the ground. Then John Cena baby taps Show with a ladder, and his music starts playing, thus indicating the “end” of the match. Learn how to use a ladder guys. Jesus. That MITB match is gonna be terrible.

Backstage we see CM Punk warming up for his match, and Eve wishes him luck, and takes time to insult AJ and warn Punk of her unreliability. She also tries to get into his head by comparing him to prior champions and reminding him of the length of his title reign. Punk seems stressed, and we cut again to Santino. This time he thinks he’s found the cell phone of the Anon-GM, but it’s actually The Great Khali’s phone. Santino tries to question Khali if he is the Anon-GM, but the both of them are goddamned retarded and watching them communicate was horrifically boring and led to no new information.

I guess they’re still having qualifying matches for MITB, and while this match is a given, it was still fun to watch Sin Cara and Heath Slater actually do things in the ring. After Sin Cara gets his squash win on Slater, Slater then angrily demands any former champion to come out, claiming he’ll win no matter who. Then Bob Backlund shows up. You read that right, Bob Frikkin’ Backlund shows up, and apparently NOBODY in the crowd recognizes who he is, which was sad. He parades around in the ring, to the utter indifference of everyone in the arena. Heath Slater then kicks him around for a minute, and Bob Backlund puts him into a Cross Chicken Wing submission and wins. Weird.

We get the results of the WWE Universe’s decision to have Michael Cole wrestle Jerry Lawler, which of course was 75% in favor of them wrestling tonight.  Michael Cole starts to complain, and is interrupted mid sentence by a commercial break. When we return Booker T and Josh Matthews are doing commentary. Cole tries to coward his way out of the ring, but is thrown back in by Booker T. Lawler feigns a handshake between the two of them, and then hoists him into a fireman’s carry, and spins him around. Being dizzy is apparently enough for him to pin Cole, and the match ends. Then the Anon-GM sends a message, claiming that due to Booker T’s “interference” he’s reversing the decision, and Michael Cole’s undefeated reign continues.

Then Santino enters the ring, claiming he’s searched every inch of the WWE Stadium, looking for the Anon-GM. He deduces that the GM must be under the ring, and the GM sends messages saying there is nobody under the ring, in a ploy to dissuade Santino from searching under the ring. He does, of course, and begins to be pulled under, but is helped out by Lawler, and clinging to Santino’s legs is Hornswoggle. This whole time, the Anonymous Raw General Manager was Hornswoggle. Seriously. Hornswoggle. He then kicks Lawler, and bites Santino’s butt. I’m… I have no words for how stupid this segment was. Moments like this make me ashamed to be a WWE fan, and I’m going to have to take like 10 more Tyson Kidd shots to forget this crap.

I totally forgot about this match. The previous example of extreme stupidity wiped it from my mind, which is quite a feat. Stupidity induced amnesia is quite rare you know. Well the match begins,  and we get the good-as-usual-but-not-AMAZING Punk/Bryan interplay that they have on Raw. AJ gets tagged in, and her and Eve trade a decent set of blows against each other, and then start doing the usual Diva style roll around fighting. AJ gets the upperhand, and Eve attempts to tag in Daniel Bryan, who then refuses to be tagged. AJ quickly rolls up Eve for the win.

Bryan then claims this is him proving his true love for AJ, and says they should leave and get married right then and there. AJ ponders, and CM Punk makes the same argument he did earlier, pointing out that Bryan is using her, and doesn’t have any real feelings for her. He then truthfully admits he will not marry AJ, but admits he cares enough about her to be honest. AJ cries, and then smiles, and then slaps CM Punk. and then tearfully slaps Daniel Bryan. The show ends as she starts laughing, and “Yes-ing” her way up the ramp. Lending credence to my theory that she is the mastermind player, using these two men to her own end. She knows exactly what she’s doing.

Yeah, she knows what she’s doing.

Sometimes, WWE will try an episode out like this, which is comedy-promo heavy, and very light on wrestling. Sometimes, it works out, and you get hilarious and memorable promos and segments, like nearly the entire McMahon/Austin feud. Some nights, like tonight, it’s nearly unwatchable and cartoonishly bad. The whole Punk/AJ/Bryan thing only works when the stakes are directly tied and centered around a match, and as much as I like that storyline, 20+ minutes of wrestlers standing around and talking about their feelings, is tiring. I love me some ridiculous WWE action but take overwrought melodrama, and add it to pure retard fuel like Santino Ace Detective, and Hornswoggle the Secret Mastermind Anonymous General Manager, and you’ve got a recipe for bad television, and atrocious wrestling. I understand they call it sports entertainment, but holy hell guys, don’t forget the SPORT your show is based on. Meanwhile, i’ll be sitting over here, rocking in my chair, trying to remind myself I’m not really stupid for enjoying WWE.

It’s a funny thing that the signs in the crowd tonight were so on point. They pretty much sum up my feelings for tonight’s show.

I feel for you CM Punk. I do. You, AJ and Daniel Bryan all deserve better than this. Well, when an episode of Raw is this bad, I can really only think one thought at the end. And that’s really? Really? REALLY?

Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/2/12


Tonight’s Raw opens with the announcement that Teddy Long will be the GM. Which doesn’t bode well for tonight’s show, but I accepted that it was inevitable. John Cena enters the ring while promos for Money In The Bank are mentioned. Cena then starts talking about the ending of last weeks show, where he got beaten by Jericho and then attacked by Big Show. He goes on to talk again about how that loss has only motivated him to Try Harder™ and to Never Give Up™ and all the usual boring Cena rhetoric that he spouts. Thankfully, he is interrupted by Daniel Bryan, who comes out and reminds us of his MITB match with CM Punk.  CM Punk comes out, and they all make points about the potential outcomes of MITB, with John Cena essentially being the winner as a given, because he’s John Cena. This really hurts the value of that PPV since they’re already talking about Cena as the winner, and undermines the whole point of that match. Why have a match if everyone involved basically admits that John Cena is going to win? What’s the point other than showing us yet again that the scales are tipped in his favor at all times?

Thankfully, the promo got better with CM Punk and Bryan playing off of each other and involving the crowd. If this storyline develops to include Cena, it could potentially make every single fan in the audience go hoarse between “Yes”, “No” and “Let’s go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants. Not one to be out of the spotlight, Jericho then enters, and puts in his 2 cents. He comes out, and reminds us all that between the four of them, Jericho is one of the best catchphrase makers of all time. He then runs through all of his catchphrases that he’s had over the years, and says that he plans to win the match, and not let Cena cruise his way to a title shot. Then Kane and Big Show enter one after another, both to re-enforce the idea that they plan to win the match. They then get into a big brawl, and Show comes out on top, ostensibly as the victor. It’s an attempt to rectify the foregone conclusion that Cena will win, but really, the damage is done. They’re clearly trying to set up the many possible storylines that could develop between Punk/Bryan/Show/Cena/Jericho/Kane, but WWE is anything if predictable, and it’ll probably end up being a Punk/Cena match we’ll get in the future.

This is a strange match up. I don’t quite get the pairings other than the Tag Team champions against the #1 contenders The Primetime Players. They’ve developed all of the feuds in previous shows, specifically Smackdown, but as for the actual reasons they’re booked against each other, I’m drawing a blank. Why are Otunga and Cody Rhodes a team? No clue. Why are Santino and Christian buddies? Does holding a championship title make you instant best friends? It’s not clear, but it’s building for their respective matches at MITB.  8 man tag-team matches are never something I’ve been too big a fan of. Most of the time it’s unbalanced, and everyone involved is just used sparingly until the lot of them find some way to get hurt and then the good/bad guys win.

I had a hard time paying attention to the match because A, It was kinda boring, and B, AW’s voice was incredibly, ridiculously loud. I don’t know if he had a direct mic hooked up, but the dude was louder than Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and the audience combined. The guys voice boomed like he was Odin, and was announcing Ragnarok to all the peoples of Earth. Or maybe he temporarily siphoned the powers of Blackbolt, and his whispers don’t move mountains but his words can be heard clearly no matter where you are in the world. Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but the dude was crazy loud.  Eventually, AW leads the Primetime Players away, because them leaving matches seems to be their thing now. Then Cody Rhodes exits too,  leaving David Otunga alone with the rest of the other team. Brodus Clay then enters, and throws Otunga back into the ring to be Cobra’d by Santino. After Santino wins the match, they all take turns needlessly beating on Otunga. After ruthlessly destroying him, they all start dancing to Funkasaurus’ music, as little kids enter the ring. Meanwhile, Otunga writhes in agony. Funk is on a roll!

We then cut to Teddy Long dancing alone inside his dressing room, watching the match, which is exactly what I always thought he did, and it was hilarious to see my suspicions confirmed. Alberto Del Rio walks in, and begs for a title match, destiny, et all. Teddy informs him that the Board of Directors have made him the #1 contender, and given him a match at MITB, but that Teddy has given Del Rio a match tonight, and it’ll be a Teddy Long surprise, which I hope to god isn’t a sexual euphemism. Knowing Teddy Long, the Teddy Surprise is the same damn thing he always does, and is just a tag team match. Man, I really want Vickie back as GM, at least she was creative.

I remember watching this training montage between Vince McMahon and Shane. It was a fairly funny parody of Rocky and all the boxing movie/training montages you’ve ever seen. I loved seeing Vince becoming motivated to bulk up by his pure hatred of Stone Cold alone. I know a thing or two about hating things, and it’s inspiring to think that if you just hate someone or something enough, you can accomplish your goals, no matter how ridiculous, improbable, and pointless. Vince McMahon was a probably the best villainous character in the history of WWE, and boy, I sure do miss him. On a side note, Stephanie McMahon has aged REALLY well. She looks 10x hotter than I remember her being in the Attitude era. Lordy.

Teddy’s surprise turns out to not be a tag team match, but actually Del Rio matched up against Sin Cara. I’m actually surprised these guys haven’t wrestled before, because they’re both of luchador backgrounds. Del Rio actually makes quick work of Sin Cara, interrupting his ostentatious and stupid intro sequence, and then puts him in a cross armbreaker, ending the match before it starts. I like Alberto Del Rio crushing people. I like him winning cleanly, and I like him straight up being BETTER than other wrestlers who are forced on us. His talent is relatively underutilized, and dammit, he needs to have more promos, and we need to see more Ricardo Rodriguez actually wrestling. #Rudo forever.

After that match, we cut backstage to AJ and Daniel Bryan, who shows up with a rose in hand, trying to apologize to her for how he treated her in the past, saying he always cared about her. She calls him on his BS, says she sees through his transparent attempt to curry her favor for his match at MITB, and then bites off the head of the rose he gave her. No really, she bites off the head of the rose. Every week I keep wondering how they’re going to build on AJ’s “crazy chick” character angle, and every week she keeps doing something to up the ante, or at the very least, continue it in a believable fashion. What’s next? Does she start tearing up turnbuckles and eating chunks of the foam inside? Whatever they do, i’m enjoying it. Her character is fascinating right now, and she’s bringing a sliver of hope and legitimacy to the Diva’s division. Hopefully her becoming popular will continue this, and make it a trend. I know I want to see more scantily clad, attractive women actually wrestling competently, don’t you?

Then we return to the old recap of the HHH/Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar storyline, where we see HHH fail over and over at mind games or understanding basic assault charges. Tonight we were told we’d get a response to HHH’s proposition of a match to settle things at Summerslam. Paul Heyman shows up VIA satellite, and tells us that the decision will actually be made, face to face, at the 1000th episode of Raw. He continues to sum up his impressions of HHH’s intentions for the match between Lesnar and HHH. He basically says that this match will provide a reason for HHH to throw in the towel and become a CEO/COO/Whatever full-time, and cap off his career as being the “last of his kind”, or the “end of an era”, as he’s put it before. I think Heyman is mostly right, but I also think HHH is just kind of dumb, and doesn’t think things through in terms other than “I’m gonna beat you up and then that’ll be that”. Which I guess makes sense, since as a wrestler turned corporate executive, that’s about the only logic he’d apply to any transgression or disagreement he’d ever have, professional or otherwise. I’m guessing if a plumber overcharges HHH for 3 hours work, HHH pedigrees him into his bathroom tile and demands a price reduction, or sliding scale  payment plan. If his cook makes him undercooked pasta, he scalds him with the boiling pasta water and demands perfectly al dente ravioli. HHH is that guy who went to the club and thought it was cool to give the bouncers shit, tried to fight them, and was confused when he wasn’t let back in next week.

I can’t think of the last time I saw an inter-gender Tag Team match, but holy crap how much does Raw reek of Teddy Long as GM so far? One hour in, and the only two real matches (ADR vs Sin Cara doesn’t count) are both Tag Team matches. Dude, seriously? We get it. You love tag teams. Please bring back John Laurinaitis, WWE Board of Directors, I’m begging you. We’ve seen Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus a few times now, and these guys are definitely learning to make each others moves look pretty good. They work together well,  Sheamus’ moves look good on Ziggler, and Ziggler is pretty great at getting tweener heat from audiences. Eventually Dolph dodges a brogue kick and tags in Vickie.  AJ quickly pins her, then grabs a mic and  YES YES YES’s her way out of the ring. She’s then seen backstage looking for CM Punk, and catches him on the phone. After Punk doesn’t answer her immediately about who he’s talking to, she starts to go Overly-Possesive Girlfriend on him again, asking if he saw her match. He rebuffs her saying he was on the phone the whole time with his sister, and she starts to LOSE IT, and somehow manages to be crazy, creepy, and pitiful at the same time. Punk just shrugs and stands there, I laugh well through the entire commercial break, and the beat goes on.

Back from the break, Heath Slater is back, about to be jobbed to some former WWE Legend. They show a quick recap of all his previous losses, with bonus Three Stooges noises for every injury he took. He protests it, and starts saying how he’s not a clown. Yeah you guessed it,  Doink The Clown then enters the ring, looking just as terrifying as I remember.  Actually, he’s sort of dressed like a creepy clown version of Benjamin Franklin, and that thought alone will make my dreams really scary for a week at least. So they trade moves back and forth for a while, until shocker of shockers, Slater beats Doink! Then we’re treated to a really great surprise, and Diamond Dallas Frickin’ Page shows up, to the cheers of the crowd and me at home. He then drops a Diamond Cutter on Slater, and everyone loses their damn minds.  I miss DDP, he should come back and put the Diamond Cutter on some chump every week, until he gets to Randy Orton. Then we’d get 10 minutes of them just countering each others identical finishers until one of them decides to give up. They’d be the unstoppable force and immovable object of wrestlers whose finishers come “out of NOWHERE”.

So let’s forget that these two were tag team champions and best friends as recently as a year ago, and focus on the particulars of this match. It’s a No-DQ match between them, essentially to build up the tension for their match at MITB. The both of them are considered “Monsters” now, and the both of them are relatively big men, whose main thing is being strong and feared. So their match is just an exercise in big slow dudes moving slowly and attempting moves that seem a bit too much for both of them. Big Show does a good job of making short work of Kane, further establishing him as a dominant force in the WWE. The match itself wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. Aside from the use of a chair though, I don’t get why it was No-DQ. I guess they needed to sell the idea that Kane was only barely beaten by Big Show, but to be honest, it didn’t do Kane any kind of favor with his portrayal as an effective wrestler. Unless he has someone quick to complement his move set, he seems really slow and relatively weak.

Then we cut to Teddy Long and Eve, who I had forgotten about entirely, but good lord does she look great in red, white and blue. Even though Eve is pretty, she’s still better as a backstage character than wrestler. Her character is one of the WWE female staples, that being: The Bitch. I’m not sure what her absence in the WWE was for, kayfabe or otherwise, but her return post-Laurinaitis is a bit superfluous. Is she still in a position of power? It’s something I’ll just have to guess at in continuing weeks. I’m guessing right now, her purpose is for us to just remember her, which seems apt, as that’s all Teddy seems to think, as he slaps a name tag on her. That’s his idea of a revenge for being made to wear a name tag and maids dress by the way.

Like dude, if you’re the GM, and somebody ridiculed you for weeks on end, FIRE THEM. But I digress, as we see Eve approach AJ. Eve makes fun of AJ, calling her a little girl and all those typical insults an older, jealous woman makes of a younger, hotter, more talented woman than themselves. AJ then goes 2-0 tonight, and calls Eve on all of her BS, and rightly accuses Eve of being a brown noser with nobody to brown nose, and no attention to gain from anyone. AJ then says she’ll show her and everyone else,  just how to get attention. I’m presuming she means she’ll win another match, or challenge Eve to a fight, but maybe it’ll mean she’ll actually wrestle women of equal wrestling ability and create a viable women’s division? Either that or she’ll look directly into the camera and profess her love for me. Both would blow my mind equally at this point.

So every time I see Tyson Kidd on Raw, I make a game with myself, where I take a shot. Of course, this has never happened until last week, and usually my shot of alcohol gets all full of lint,  excess cat hair and dead bugs from sitting so damn long. But this last month I’ve taken that shot, and tonight will be the second time. I also have a secondary rule, where if I see Tyson Kidd win a match, I finish the bottle of booze right then and there. The third rule I have, is if Tyson Kidd wins that match in under a minute, I drink all of the booze in the house. So tonight, after seeing Kidd defeat Tensai in under a minute, I drank every last drop of Jameson, Jager and Vodka I had. Strangely, it hasn’t kicked in yet ohwaitthereitgoes ohsfsnj dk lorfd tenzai ish fat urnd gonba habe wressle AJ I LOVE YOIIII ohhbbbb

Ahem.

Backstage, we see Jericho preparing for his match, and Daniel Bryan walks in wearing his jacket. They then argue about whose jacket is better (no really), and then decide that they must embarrass John Cena tonight. Daniel Bryan agrees with his catchphrase, which Jericho detests. Bryan continues Yes-ing, while Jericho continues his catchphrase, “Never EEEEEVER a-gain”,  in a catchphrase-off that I can only describe as being as funny as it is weird. I know in reality they both stop the camera cuts away, but man how great would it be if they only communicated to each other in catch phrases? Just have the both of them come out and represent the apotheosis of wrestling heels, who say their catchphrase, destroy people, and then leave. Jericho already did the opposite of this when he returned, and didn’t say a damn word for 3 weeks straight, gaining heat off of everybody who wanted him to come back face. Daniel Bryan has pretty much built up his whole heel turn around his catchphrase, and already pretty much communicates solely in catchphrases, so why not try it out for a month? Make them a tag team called The Catchphrase Kings, and I’ll love you forever WWE. Returning from the break, Tyson Kidd gets attacked by Tensai in the locker room, because Tensai is a big fat whiny loser baby man. Then, we finally get to the main event of the night.

So yeah, our main event is, surprise, a tag team match. Teddy Long, you are the worst. Seriously.

The name tag is a photoshop, but it’s what you deserved Teddy.

Along with nearly every single match tonight being a tag team match, this Raw suffers from pre-PPV syndrome hard. Sometimes a PPV is the culmination of storylines and matches that occur naturally, and provide either an endpoint or a bullet point in a feud between wrestlers, but sometimes the case is like tonight, where the story and its booking are all there to serve the PPV, rather than the PPV  serve the story and the booking. I had a hard time thinking why everyone was wrestling tonight, other than “Well, they will be at the PPV”. Not that I mind seeing Jericho, Bryan and Punk in a match together, but the reason for them being in a match with Cena is tenuous at best, and it only serves to undermine the previous feud that Punk and Cena had last year, as we saw them earlier just throw away all their history literally in a handshake. You could argue that it’s a noble thing to do between two faces, but it’s boring for me, and doesn’t adhere to Punk’s devil-may-care attitude, and comes off as fake to me, in a really wrong way.

All that being said, when you have so much good talent in the ring, it’s hard to have a boring match. Jericho and Daniel Bryan actually make a surprisingly good team, and do a great job of isolating Cena from his partner. But tonight, Robo-Cena is in full effect, and despite Jericho and Bryan really hitting him hard, he continues to kick out, and slowly build momentum, until he gets the tag to Punk. Punk jumps in and turns the momentum of the match,  and Jericho and Cena battle outside the ring,  disappearing up stage. Bryan gets a huge kick on Punk, and it looks like he was about to win cleanly for the second week in a row against Punk, until Punk counters and gets a huge superplex off the top rope. AJ then shows up, (duh), and Bryan starts to get a lead on Punk. AJ then paces around the ring, looking for something under the ring, until she pulls out a table. She carefully sets it up, and spends a long amount of time considering the table, slowly climbing the to the top of the turn buckle. It looks like she’s about to jump onto the table, although I’m clueless as to why, when suddenly Daniel Bryan jumps out of the ring, and pleads with her to not jump. CM Punk then comes up, to also convince her to not jump, and she kisses Punk. He stands there confused for a moment, and she shoves him into Daniel Bryan, and they both crash through the table. AJ starts Yes-ing, and we end on a shot of Bryan and Punk writhing in mutual confusion and agony.

It seems AJ has picked CM Punk as her object of affection, but is quick to jump to anger if ignored. Pushing Punk through that table is her way of putting you in the dog house, so to speak. The real thing to ponder is, why they both acted as if her jumping 4 feet onto a folding table was tantamount to a suicide attempt. Guys, she’s a trained wrestler remember? If she wants to jump through a table, let her jump. I’m sure she knows how to take a bump. The better ending would have been she jumps through the table, goes all Mick Foley and starts rolling around in the smashed bits of table, smiling in pleasure/pain, and we end as both Punk and Bryan stare in horror.

Also, what the hell happened to Cena and Jericho? Are they still fighting backstage? Do they just get out of camera shot and then go hit the showers and play grab ass? Maybe they’re secretly working together and the second they get backstage they high-five and go bro it out in the green room, eating chips and making fun of Kane. Or just maybe, they’re still  back there, fighting each other during every moment they’re not on camera, and they’re waiting for AW to summon Odin with his God-Voice, and they shall be the Valkyries that bring about Ragnarok. That’d be better than the non-ending we got on Raw tonight. Even my Mom was asking if that was it, and she usually doesn’t even pay even half-attention to Raw at all.

So let me point some things out to you. If the WWE Universe ever gets to pick who the new GM of Raw and Smackdown is, for the love of god, please don’t pick Teddy. On a 2 hour show that had 7 matches, four of them were singles matches that ended in quick squashes in under 2 minutes, and everything else was long, boring tag team matches, with a main event that didn’t even have a real ending. The dude is TERRIBLE at his job, and literally anyone else is better than him. So please, don’t support Teddy. He is a bad GM.  Vote for Vickie, she may be annoying, but she can at least book an entertaining show.

Stick to what you know Teddy. RIP People Power.