Tag Archives: David Otunga

WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 10/15/12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.) WWE is tired of renting luxury cars.

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

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

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

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

Awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

…God I still love you though.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

MORE TACOS!

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

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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. 

WWE Monday Night Raw Recap & Review: 9/17/12

Tonight’s Raw opens up with CM Punk’s music, but instead of ol’ Punk walking out, we get Paul Heyman, strutting his way down the ramp. He begins talking about last night’s PPV, Night Of Champions. Last night, we saw a bunch of surprises, but mostly we saw another great match with Punk and Cena. As much as I dislike Cena, his whole invincible schtick works well with a guy like Punk. Punk has always done well in his career, when he’s fighting against impossible to defeat super-wrestlers, who kick out of everything and might as well be God. It creates a dramatic tension that works really well, and it worked well, right up until the end of the match. Paul Heyman touches on this, by describing how the Referee made the right call, by calling the match a draw.

For those who didn’t see Night Of Champions, the match was a roller coaster. Towards the end, Cena tried a german suplex from the top rope, and pinned CM Punk for the 3 count. However, he forgot to bridge, and lift his shoulders off of the mat, thus making Punk, technically pinning Cena, for the 3 count as well. The match ended with the Referee reversing his decision to call Cena as the winner, and re-called it a draw, which in a championship match, means the champion retains the title. Cena, of course, found this infuriating, and was seen demanding the match continue. This is relevant for one main reason, one i’ll touch on later.

Heyman brings out the Referee from that match. He applauds the Ref’s judgment and shows some video a fan shot on their camera phone, clearly showing Cena’s shoulders on the mat. He starts saying how CM Punk is worthy of our respect, and a moment after he says the word “respect”, Cena interrupts, and runs down to the ring. He gets interrupted by a few strong CENA SUCKS chants, and then agrees with Heyman about the Ref’s call. He tries to make some ham-fisted point about the ending being disappointing, because the Superbowl shouldn’t end in a tie, and that it should have gone on, and all that noise. This is where I have to admit that Cena is correct, yes, I did want to see that match end definitively. I definitively wanted to see it end with Punk remaining champion, and seeing that that happened, I’m 100% fine with it. He asks if that victory entitles Punk to respect, and Heyman says Yes. Personally, I think you can’t earn what you already should have, and do have, by the sound of the still very loud pops Punk gets from the crowd, but I digress. Eventually Cena challenges Punk to a rematch, because, duh. Heyman says Cena will hear it straight from Punk, the moment he arrives. He proclaims himself the Voice of the Voice Of The Voiceless, which is goddamned hilarious.

Suddenly Alberto Del Rio arrives, and that’s a shame. Not because I dislike ADR, I love him, but because the second his music sounded, I already knew this was turning into a tag team match at the end of the show, with ADR and Punk, and Cena and Sheamus. Because shitty GM’s always do this, and as much as I want to like AJ The GM, she’s a terrible one. She’s as bad as Teddy Long, and holy crap, her hotness only goes so far towards making me not hate her. She’s uncreative, her “crazy” affectations are getting forced, and worst of all, she used to be the most developed, nuanced and interesting female character they had in the WWE. Now she’s just another boring, shitty GM. It’s a shameful thing. Lobster head.

Just like I thought, Alberto whines about his loss to Sheamus, and AJ appears. She makes the tag team match, and I start barfing uncontrollably, and wonder why the hell I watch this crap, goddamnit everyone else stopped 12 years ago, what am I doing with my life?

What? Sorry. Ahem.

Back from the break Michael Cole gives us all amazing news about Jerry Lawler, and gives a wonderful, pleasing greeting to him live on air, knowing he’s watching at home. He even shows this heartwarming Tout from Lawler, thanking his fans for their support.

It was really nice to see Michael Cole giving good news, and acting like himself, rather than the sometimes shitheel announcer guy he can act like. Suddenly, we’re introduced to Lawler’s replacement(s!): JBL, aka John Bradshaw Layfield, Aka Bradshaw, who is a goddamned great commentator. He’s followed by goddamned Jim Mothereffing Ross, and hearing Michael Cole and Jim Ross side by side, brought back pleasant memories. Even more interesting, was hearing  JBL take on the “heel” commentator role throughout the night, and Michael Cole, kinda-sorta adapting to becoming the “face” commentator, which was surpassingly refreshing. JBL works as an amazing heel commentator, and Cole worked well as himself/a face commentator, and JR was good ol’ JR.

Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio take Primo and Epico through the cleaners, which isn’t a surprise to anyone. They jump and flop around all over the ring, right up until they beat Primo and Epico. After winning, The Primetime Players show up, and beat down Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, and proclaim themselves truly worthy of the #1 Tag Team contendership, which was stolen from them. In a way, it was kinda unfairly taken from them, so I get their point. The problem with them, is they took to damn long being at the #1 spot. Shit or get off the pot, as my mom says. So now that there’s new tag team champs, the #1 contenders spot for it is heating up, and potentially, we’ll see Sin Cara and Mysterio getting that spot soon.

The main problem I have with Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, is that separately, their style can adapt and work with other wrestlers, who help make the match feel improvised, fluid, and real. Sure, Mysterio always manages to make his opponents magically land in such a way that they’re resting their head on the middle rope, but generally he works well. Sin Cara, all botched moves aside, is a guy who really has a hard time masking (sorry) the overtly rehearsed nature of his move set. The both of them together, the thing seems less like a tag team match, and more of a rehearsed series of spots, that just happen to involve Primo and Epico. They’re being built up as a team right now, and hopefully they’ll learn to complement each other better in the future.

Last night Eve won the match against Layla for the Diva’s championship. Now, Kaitlyn was supposed to be the one getting the title shot, but she was apparently attacked before the match, and couldn’t compete. The moment I saw Kaitlyn attacked, I already knew this entire storyline and exactly how it’d play out. We’ve seen Eve being super friendly, nice, and exuding great sportsmanship in general. Of course, everyone suspects she’s up to something, because in the WWE being a good sport, or nice, or using logic are somehow bad traits to be looked upon with suspicion. So what I imagine happened is this: Eve gets herself in the good graces of Booker T, secretly attacks Kaitlyn, counts on being her replacement, becomes said replacement, wins championship, Kaitlyn shows up at some point, accuses Eve, Eve denies it for a few weeks, then reveals her master plan eventually, becoming a heel again.

It’s mostly stupid, but it also undermines the idea that good sportsmanship is something to be encouraged, and instead is a sign of behavior to not be trusted. What’s the difference then between any heel who turns face, when all good behavior is inherently shady, by the virtue of casting doubt on everyone for no reason other than “I don’t buy it”? How do you encourage positive character development? It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of mistrust, poorly implemented moral values, and at worst, a bad message to promote to children. It creates an environment where an immature, racist, criminal character like Sheamus is lauded and loved by millions of fans, despite his behavior being entirely inappropriate in any sort of real life setting. Who the hell encourages this, especially for their children? I find this sort of thing far more damaging for kids to watch, rather than any of the “mature” content that they had in the Attitude Era. Sure there may have been blood, and boobs, and chauvinism, (okay so that’s pretty bad), but it carried a TV-14 rating, and it was repeatedly stressed that parents should consider discretion when it came to letting kids view the show. Now, it’s TV-PG, and while there’s less blood or violence, and the misogyny is downplayed (a little), there’s a far worse moral message, that’s incredibly backwards, and counter intuitive to basic societal norms, where people acting like shitheel racist thieves are you know, demonized for their actions, rather than celebrated.

Shit, I went and turned a whole segment about Eve into how much I hate Sheamus again. goddamnit. Anyhow, Eve wins. Layla yells at her about being a phony or something, I dunno, I need a drink dammit. Screw Sheamus.

So as much as I love the One Man Band, there’s no way he’s beating Funkasaurus. Claudio Castignole Antonia Cesaro is at ringside, commentating on the whole thing, but he doesn’t really do anything. For a brief, shining moment, Heath Slater actually starts to beat down Funkasaurus, and in that moment, my heart swelled three sizes, anticipating a tremendous upset to the match, where Heath Slater pins Funkasaurus, stands up, and starts singing his ONE MAAAANNNN BAAAAA AAAAAA AAAAANNNND song, and all the children run up and dance with him, the Funkadactyls embrace him, and he looks down at the beaten Funkasaurus, who slinks away defeated.

Kinda like this.

But no, Funkasaurus squashes him with his fat, and pins Slater for the win. Then he dances, because duh, what else is he gonna do?

Slaters gonna slate.

There’s been a long tradition of wrestlers coming out and pretending to be talk show hosts for a minute or two. Rowdy Roddy Piper had Piper’s Pit, Jericho had his Highlight reel, and Edge had The Cutting Edge. Now we’re adding MizTv to that list. You know, I’m not against it entirely. The idea of it anyway, seems fine to me. The Miz has always been better on the mic than in the ring, and while he’s definitely improved in the latter department, he’s still a better talker, and I think he knows it. Unfortunately this segment was trash. Booker T is invited out, and Miz taunts him about being unfairly punished by a 4 way match for his title, which he believes was unfair. He refuses to let Booker T speak, until Booker grabs the mic from him forcibly, when Miz starts saying how Booker T’s time is over, and he’s washed up and whatnot.

While he’s not wrong, the audience chants BORING, which I, and JBL agree with, because JBL is awesome and we’re buddies. Booker then makes some weird transition into announcing The Ryback’s entrance, who chases Miz out of the ring, and then starts chucking all of the MizTV furniture out of the ring. I half expected him to start ripping up the furniture pillows, and eating the stuffing inside, while yelling FEED ME MORE. He didn’t but he did start saying his catchphrase, and the audience loved it. The Ryback is massively over, it would seem.

Backstage, we see CM Punk and Paul Heyman apparently talking about how AJ is abusing her power, until they’re interrupted by Josh Matthews. He asks Punk if he’s looking forward to teaming up with ADR, and Punk says he isn’t, and questions what he has to do to get some respect. I’ve gone in detail about this before, so i’ll just reiterate it simply; Punk deserves respect. Heel or Face, he deserves it. Period. How does he not? There’s no way he hasn’t earned it, and people who say otherwise must have a terrible memory that prevents them from remembering his currently 300+ day reign, or nearly all of last summer. That’s just in WWE, by the way, if you include his ROH career, then you’d be retarded not to respect him.

This was a great match for 3 main reasons.

1.) Ziggler destroys Santino, as he should. I was fearing for a second they’d job Dolph out to Santino, thusly weakening Ziggler, rather than strengthening Santino like I’m sure they wish.

2.) Ziggler steals that stupid cobra sock from Santino, thus disabling him of his Cobra Powers. He then taunts him with it, calls him an idiot, and a joke. All things I’ve personally wanted to do to Santino for months now.

3.) JBL points out how stupid the Cobra and Santino are, and how great a coach and manager Vickie is.

So Ziggler beats Santino, by taking away his stupid arm sock. Something nobody else has thought to do, ever since Santino started putting that stupid thing on. Finally.

We cut to a clip of Wade Barrett from Smackdown, issuing a promo about how tough he is, and shortly, we see him enter Raw. It was a surprise to see former Nexus members against each other, and the audience even commented on that fact, by chanting WE WANT NEXUS repeatedly through the entire match. Wade Barrett controlled Gabriel throughout the whole match, but the entire time Gabriel never came off as a shitty jobber, just a guy who was outmatched by the more dominant Barrett. In that sense, it was one of the better matches I’ve seen, when it comes to building a wrestler for a comeback. I almost called Barrett new talent, because his entire demeanor, character, and style has changed, and all for the better. The guy’s finisher is a punch, which more or less is the same as Big Show’s WMD, but from him, I can buy it, what with the Bareknuckle Boxer gimmick as his background. I think they just need to add some kind of build up to it, like him taking off his gloves/tape, to sell it, and it’d get over just fine. Barrett won, but the whole match made me look forward to more of him, and more of Justin Gabriel, which is something I never thought I’d type. Good job guys!

The imaginary person he just punched is now dead.

Backstage we cut to R-Truth, trying to put a party hat on Little Jimmy. We never actually see what happens to the party hat, but presumably it falls to the floor. It could be argued it was just floating in mid-air, and that was just off-screen, proving Little Jimmy is real once and for all, but I may be looking too deep into justifying Little Jimmy’s existence. The reason Truth is putting a hat on Little Jimmy, is it’s Subway’s birthday, and for some reason a sandwich company’s birthday is being celebrated by him and Kofi Kingston.

Suddenly, Jared from Subway shows up, and offers sandwiches for R-Truth, Kofi, and even Little Jimmy. Soon after they leave, Damien Sandow shows up, and suggests a sandwich made of Cornish game hen, Gouda, and Zucchini reduction, which sounds… actually kind of good. Jared offers him a meatball sub instead, and Sandow takes it, because not even the most stuffy pretentious guy can hate on a meatball sub. That shit’s delicious. Zack Ryder shows up, pitching a sub named after his catchphrase, but is given an italian BMT instead. Jared looks concerned, and the camera pans to reveal The Ryback standing there. Obviously, he says FEED ME MORE, and takes two sandwiches and leaves. It was a funny enough segment, but without The Ryback making it worth it, would have been a pretty terrible attempt at blatant product placement. Not that that’s something the WWE isn’t uncomfortable with, because entire segments that revolve around product placement are pretty much their advertising lifeblood. Mostly, it made me want a meatball sub, so I guess it’s mission accomplished in that regard.

“Dine wholesomely!”

We then see Sheamus and John Cena talking about how awesome they both are, and how they’re gonna win, and never give up, and all of that crap. Also racism. Goddammit, I hate this shit. Where’s my whiskey? AND WHY ARE THOSE KIDS ON MY LAWN AGAIN?!?

Thankfully after this,we cut to Daniel Bryan and Kane both intermittently yelling I’M THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS at people’s faces, as they ready for their rematch against R-Truth & Kofi Kingston. Last night, at NOC, they beat them both for the Tag Team Championship, but couldn’t come to a resolution as to which of them won the match, and are actually the champions. So they started yelling “I’M THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS” at each other, both proclaiming to be the “champions” themselves, purposely referring to themselves as the plural of champion.

You’re both the champions guys, C’mon. Hug it out already.

The match itself was a good example of how to highlight the difference between a successful “paired” tag team can be, versus an unsuccessful one. Kofi and Truth both have their jumpy, flashy move thing going on, but absolutely no chemistry. R-Truth is a charismatic, interesting insane person, who is dragged down by a boring, unlikable, lousy wrestler like Kofi. Conversely, Kane and Daniel Bryan bring the best out of each other, and their move sets fill in each of their weak spots. Bryan’s not a heavy hitter, but he’s got technical prowess and tenacity. Kane’s not that agile, but what he lacks in agility and stamina he has in pure raw strength.

On top of that, they’re both hilarious in backstage segments and angles, and their whole anger management gimmick has been working in spades. The match just demonstrated this over and over again, as we saw Truth and Kingston both try to isolate Daniel Bryan from Kane, but Daniel Bryan is good enough on his own to take on either of them easily, and despite Kane and Bryan working against each other, when it came down to it, Bryan ran in their to secure their championships. Sure, his motivations may have been selfish, but the fact is, their gimmick works. All Kingston and Truth ever had were matching clothes, with a ripoff of the Superman logo, with Kofi’s weird Rastafarian/spider head logo thing in the middle. Kane and Bryan beating them, was no surprise, but because of their chemistry, it wasn’t boring either. Plus Daniel Bryan using the Hug It Out tactic to reclaim his title from Kane’s clutches? Brilliant.

It’s hard to imagine they hugged shortly after this.

Wow. The two least charismatic wrestlers in the WWE today. I hate both of these guys, and not in a passionate way like I do Sheamus. I don’t even want to write about them anymore. Randy Orton wins, because he’s Randy Orton. There. Done. Ugh.

After that shiftiest of a boring match, we cut backstage to Heyman and CM Punk talking again. They interact with David Otunga, who insults Punk on Alberto Del Rio’s behalf, and CM Punk has Heyman remind him of Punk’s defeat of ADR last year for the title. They trade faux platitudes of respect, and we’re finally treated to a breath of fresh air from the stinky fart cloud of awful that was that Orton-Tensai match. (I really hated it).

Damien Sandow appears, denouncing Summer as a terrible season (Yeah! Eff Summer), and begins educating all of us, by going through a series of vocabulary words. What’s great about this, is the entire audience seems to HATE a wrestler trying to educate them, or make them smarter in any fashion. Sure, Sandow’s picking a strange setting to give us that lesson, but hell, why not? Why not educate the unwashed masses on the meaning of a few big words? What do you hate learning? WHY DO YOU HATE LEARNING WWE UNIVERSE? KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, REMEMBER?

Anyhow, Zack Ryder comes out, pulling off his best ignorant-and-proud-of-it Bro routine, and slams Sandow. Quickly, he announces that they have a match that’s suddenly been approved by AJ, and they begin wrestling. The match itself was actually pretty good. Zack Ryder’s ability seems directly proportionate to the skill level of whoever he’s working with, and sometimes I think he’s great, and other times I wonder why I ever thought he was great. It’s really weird, and makes me wonder why that happens. However, Sandow clearly is talented, and their ability to work together made for a pretty great match, which actually made Ryder look like he was going to cleanly beat Sandow, up until Sandow got the upper hand and ended it with his finisher, getting the pin, cartwheeling, posing, and then conducting his own music out of the ring.

You know, the best thing about this match was that they’re polar opposites in terms of character, and rightfully should be natural enemies. Zack Ryder is the quintessential “unwashed mass” that Sandow is always speaking of, and the uncultured, unrefined anti-intellectual that Sandow has always been saying he’s going to save us from. They should fight more, and make the whole thing into a wrestling battle of wits, with Ryder representing the ignorant proletariat layman, and Sandow the cultured bourgeoisie dandy. Why not?

This whole match, aside from being yet another Tag Team match shoehorned in as a main event of a Raw, was another example of how John Cena, despite being the go-to honest, tough guy, is always as hypocritical as any heel. Be it his constant bullying of people who can’t fight back, (announcers like Michael Cole), or pulling stunts like he did at the end of this match. Along with the fact that we’ve seen Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus fight, probably a million times now, always with Sheamus winning in lame, unsatisfying, or dishonest ways, the match seemed very by the numbers. After the thrill ride that was last night’s match between Punk and Cena, this whole thing seemed very by the numbers.

After a few minutes of all of them wrestling, and myriad LETS GO CENA/CENA SUCKS chants, the match came to a head with Cena landing an AA on Punk, and pinning him. However, the Referee did not see Punk getting a foot on the rope, thus effectively negating the 3 count. Unfortunately, the lamebrain Ref doesn’t see this, despite totally obviously seeing it, and counts 3 anyway. This is particularly infuriating, because even after being shown his fault on the titantron, the Ref refuses to reverse his decision, or restart the match. Cena takes the win, and as quickly as possible, leaves the arena, apparently accepting the Ref’s decision as final, despite evidence that he clearly shouldn’t have won the match.

This is when JBL makes the exact point I was thinking, and says how hypocritical Cena is for not demanding the match to go on when HE WINS, despite the Ref’s call being terrible. Apparently it’s okay when a Ref makes a shitty call resulting in his win, but when a Ref makes a good call, that results in a draw, all of a sudden that’s NOT RIGHT AND SHOULDN’T HAVE ENDED THAT WAY. Sickening.

CM Punk follows the shitheel Referee out of the ring, and up behind the titantron, screaming at him the entire way, until the show ends. Rightfully screaming, I might add, because I was just as furious as he was. Who does this? Who watches blatant video of themselves making a mistake, knowing full well they can right it, and then refuses to? If you ask me, the whole thing was terrible, and Punk is lucky Heyman was there to hold him back, and calm him down, lest Punk get punished for attacking a WWE official.

Although if he did, it would have been justified, because that Ref clearly didn’t respect him.

Also, still:

Monday Night Raw Recap & Review: 8/27/12

Tonight’s Raw opens with a brief recap from last week, showing CM Punk issuing a challenge to John Cena, on the condition that Cena admit Punk is the best in the world. Cena refuses, because he thinks he’s the best, and made some lame ass pseudo inspirational rant about “always believing in yourself” and all that hokum he always spouts. After Cena abruptly left, Punk turned his attention towards Jerry Lawler, and demanded he apologize for his remark at Raw 1000, where he claimed that Punk had “turned his back” on the WWE universe, for attacking The Rock. Lawler apologized, but then “couldn’t say” that Punk was the best in the world, when asked to, despite having said and agreed with that notion dozens of times pre-Raw 1000. It’s ridiculously transparent how Lawler is insanely pro-face, in spite of any and all reason. Michael Cole may be his heel opposite, but he’ll occasionally provide logical reasoning behind why he likes the heels of the company. Anyhow, after refusing to admit CM Punk was the best in the world, he rudely bumped into Punk while exiting the ring, and Punk, in a fit of anger for the sign of enormous disrespect, kicked Lawler in the head. Let it be understood, that Jerry Lawler, (kayfabe) deserves this. He’s a terrible commentator. He says idiotic things all the time, makes no insightful remarks, and constantly promotes the faces, regardless of what their terrible, terrible actions may or may not be. Punk feuding with Lawler is supposed to make us think he’s turned heel, but all it’s done is endear him to me more.

I plan to use a couple more of these throughout this article, because goddamn. It’s true.

Following that recap, Jerry Lawler enters the ring, leaving his commentary table, and begins to speak about the events of the last few weeks, tell his side of the story, and then asks for an apology from Punk. Punk shows up, (sporting a new buzz cut, indicating a change of character. Seriously, his hair is almost always indicative of his character. It’s weird), and refuses to apologize to Lawler, defending his justifiable beat down of The Rock, and points out he never “turned his back” on anyone, and that the only person who did, was Lawler, who turned his back on Punk. He continues to explain this to Lawler, and gives the most backhanded apology in the world, slamming Lawler’s entire wrestling career, mentioning his feud with Andy Kaufman, the fact that Lawler has never been champion, and his loss to Michael Cole at Wrestlemania. It was pretty damn entertaining to see Punk rail into Lawler, and watching him stand there, stone faced, trying not to cry and/or attack Punk was pretty awesome.

It was a great moment that also featured this fan’s weird/awesome giant head sign.

Punk continues destroying Lawler, and ends up in a roundabout way challenging him to a fight, after seeing Lawler’s sad/angry face. Lawler regurgitates what he said earlier, about looking for an apology, and not a fight. Punk continues to call him a pussy, in so many words. He then says Lawler will leave embarrassed tonight one way to the other, either embarrassed from the beating he’d receive in the match between him and Punk, or embarrassed that he wouldn’t compete at all. Punk leaves, and Lawler says that “He’ll think about it.”

After that, we return right to a wrestling match between Jack Swagger and The Ryback. Swagger has been jobbing pretty consistently for a while now, and Michael Cole even mentions this fact, in a kayfabe manner by referring to his “losing streak”. They’ve been working on making The Ryback a bit more touchable lately, by having whoever he fights gain momentum in the middle of the match, which Swagger achieves, almost getting the Ankle Lock on him for a moment. The Ryback then gets the upper hand quickly, and amidst the cheers of his fans, who alternatively chant “GOLDBERG”, and The Ryback’s catchphrase, “FEED ME MORE”, he lands his falling suplex finisher. Which I don’t think has an actual name yet. It’s just a move he does that Michael Cole or whoever is watching him just comment on how “impressive” it is. So perhaps his finisher is called “The Impressive Finisher”, which is what I shall refer to it from now on. Seriously, I watch Raw and Smackdown every week, and unless I missed something, I have no idea what it’s called. So, The Ryback pins Swagger, and leaves the ring pumping his arms. Swagger sits outside the ring, grimacing in pain, probably thinking about quitting and joining TNA where he’ll have a chance to actually get utilized properly, and Jerry Lawler continues to say how he’s thinking about having the match with Punk or not.

Back from another break we go right into a Divas match. Natalya and Layla are actually two of the more talented female wrestlers from their small collection, and seeing them wrestle is something I actually would like to see more. Vickie Guerrero interrupts, and says she has an announcement to make, and that the match better end quickly so she could say it. The match starts, and we’re treated to a really decent match between the two. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see Natalya wrestle for a change, instead of relegated to being The Farting Girl on backstage skits on Smackdown. She’s the damned daughter of Jim Neidhart, the founder of the Hart foundation, and niece to Bret GODDAMNED Hart, so along with Punk, she deserves some respect. Seeing her attempt the Sharpshooter was a great moment, and if Layla wasn’t as talented and as likable as she is, I would have been really bummed to see her counter out of it. Thankfully, Layla picks up the win without using a roll up or small package pin, because that’s what they ALWAYS use to end Divas matches. She hits Natalya with a roundhouse kick, and pins her, and Vickie enters the ring.

Vickie says that AJ Lee has been abusing her power, by citing the example of last week’s Raw, where Jericho and Ziggler had a match, with the stipulation being that if Jericho won, he’d get Ziggler’s MITB contract, and if Ziggler won, Jericho would lose his CAREER contract. Vickie argues this is an unfair stipulation to the match for her to make, which it totally is. Only Vickie says that the MITB contract part is the unfair bit. If you ask me, a career contract, and a championship contract are not equal at all, and regardless of the side you take, Vickie has a solid point, that it is an abuse of power. She then publicly begs the WWE Board of Directors to put her back in the GM seat, and sack AJ, which prompts AJ to arrive.

AJ skips out, doing her usual cutesy-crazy affectations, hops into the ring, then slaps, and beats Vickie down to the floor. Pretty much solidifying Vickie’s argument about AJ being out of control and power-hungry. Vickie then runs out of the arena crying while… god… AJ bites her finger all sexily and…

 Oh god. 

 Ahem. She then composes herself and walks out. Basically, as much as I want to love and support AJ, she’s been a very middle of the road, typical GM that has done nothing interesting or new, and I’d rather see her wrestle, because she’s pretty damn good, and that suit she wears doesn’t flatter her at all.

Then we get subjected to a DX/Triple H video package. I’ve got nothing against DX per se, I’m just sick of video packages, and Triple H. The thought of having to see him address the events of Summerslam are so boring to me, I couldn’t care less. For those who didn’t see Summerslam, in a nutshell, Brock Lesnar beat the shit out of Triple H, and made him tap out. The crowd then shouted “YOU TAPPED OUT”, and “NA NA NA NA HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE”‘d him out of the arena, rather than the whole appreciative last stand thing, that he was clearly going for, or expecting. People are sick of him, and his stupidity. At least, the Summerslam audience was. Then of course, Brock Lesnar quit the WWE AGAIN, because that’s what he does, he’s a goddamn quitter.

After that, we see that AJ has ordered Daniel Bryan to take Anger Management classes, and we see a brief skit where Daniel Bryan attends Anger Management. What transpires, is one of the strangest,  but funniest skit’s I’ve seen in a while. Daniel Bryan sits in the Anger Management circle, and states that he has no anger issues, and couldn’t be calmer. In walks a young boy, wearing a goat mask. Bryan walks up to the child, and begins NO NO NOing him, upon seeing the goat mask. He then asks who set the whole thing up, and demands the boy take off the goat mask, by screaming at him. The Anger Management counselor says that the boy is his son, and plays a goat in his school play. The boy takes off the mask, and we see he’s crying. Daniel Bryan then looks genuinely sad and confused, and takes a seat. At the very least, he’s working through his issues right?  I love the idea that Daniel Bryan now has this pavlovian reaction to all goats now, and that all you’d need to do to distract him is hold up a picture of a goat. I keep thinking about him trying to watch TV and accidentally turning on Animal Planet, and catching a show about goats, and then raging out and destroying his whole living room, and slapping the YES-Lock on his dog.

Back to the ring, we see Jerry Lawler step back in, and speak. He defends his wrestling past, by pointing out the legends of wrestling he’s fought, and while he agrees with the other assertions Punk made, that Lawler is immature, never been champion, and feuded with a comedian, he tries to use those things inexplicably, to defend himself. After that, he accepts CM Punk’s challenge, and says he’ll fight Punk tonight. The crowd cheers, ostensibly in support of Lawler, but I’d like to think they want to see Punk destroy him.

After another commercial break, John Cena appears. Which was kinda shocking, because John Cena showing up, without being called out, or having something to get off his chest, simply to wrestle in a non-main event match, is pretty uncommon now. The biggest bummer was simply that the match up between him and Miz is so disparate, it might as well not even happen. The Miz has only just started to become a great mid card, IC champion, but having him up against Robo-Cena seems like a foregone conclusion.  However, Miz does give Cena a serious run for his money. If anything, the whole match built up Miz to get him over, since he dominated the whole thing, only with Cena doing his usual infinite Robo-Cena kick out, to the same as usual, goddamned shift into the 5 Moves of Doom, and his usual last-minute wrap up win. This match, despite Miz’s efforts to make it interesting, is a perfect example of what is wrong with John Cena. Every single match of his is like this. He gets his ass kicked, never sells anything, miraculously kicks out over and over, does 5 moves at the end, and wins. He’s boring. I can’t stand seeing him on my tv any more. It’s sickening that he’s the face of this company. Sickening.

Back to Daniel Bryan, we see him sitting through the Anger Management session. He sits there listening to some guy gripe about his boss, and his asked his opinion. He then expresses his, pretty solid feelings on how he’s been unfairly treated by his boss, who is his former girlfriend/ex-fiancee, who left his at the alter on live tv, puts him in a match with her demonic, pyrokinetic, psychopath pseudo-boyfriend, which he still won, and she forced him into Anger Management regardless. If anything, I’d say he has a right to be mad. The Counselor says he just got a text from the last patient who had yet to show up at the session, and of course, in walks Kane, in full wrestling gear, fire mask and all. Considering that the rest of the people there were normal, everyday folks, in plain clothes, Daniel Bryan included, it was especially surreal to see Kane walk in, in his full garb. Then again, the idea of Kane showing up in civilian clothes would be even stranger. Does this mean that Kane has a cell phone? That he texts people? What’s his data plan? Can you think of him dealing with AT&T customer service? Like if he gets put on hold too many times he just makes fire shoot out of the speaker on their side of the phone? Or worse, does he drunkenly sext AJ? I bet they’d have really weird booty calls.

I’m liking Heath Slater more and more each week. I’m hating Santino more and more every time I see him. Their match was pretty incidental. The crowd even chanted BORING at one point. The only highlight, if you could call it that, was seeing The Cobra react to Aksana showing up, with random “sexy” saxophone music to accompany her. The Cobra then attacks Heath Slater, and Santino pins Slater for the win, with the Cobra keeping its “eyes” on Aksana.

The entire concept of the Cobra being “horny” for Aksana, is just TOO over the top weird for me, because it just makes me think that Santino is either A.) possessed ala Idle Hands by cobra demons, and his limbs really are independent of his own free will, or B.) he’s got the strangest form of Dr. Strangelove Hand Syndrome, or C.) He’s just an insane person, and really needs help. No matter what way you put it, the Cobra is stupid. It always is stupid. It always has been. It always will be. It’s the Bret Hart of stupid gimmicks. Take it away Punk!

After Funkasaurus and Sin Cara’s lengthy intros, Damien Sandow comes out, and announces that he has finally found a colleague of his that he can have an intelligent conversation with, and of course it’s Cody Rhodes. The two of them make their way down the ramp, making an excellent job of showcasing their chemistry together as a team, and their insults towards Funkasaurus and Sin Cara all worked really well, and for the first time in a long time, I was excited to see the dynamic between two former single competitors, as a tag team.

Unfortunately, the match wasn’t really long enough to see them do anything together, or give them a chance to show us if their obvious and immediate character chemistry, worked in ring, but they’re definitely a team I’d look forward to seeing work together again, which is more than I can say for most of the singles-to-tag team teams. Basically, Funkasaurus managed to stomp down Cody Rhodes, while Sin Cara isolated Damien Sandow from hitting Funkasaurus’ magical weak spot (aka the knee), and Funkasaurus picked up the win after a huge splash. Funkasaurus and Sin Cara are an interesting duo together, in that they’re the exact opposite end of the spectrum, from Sandow and Rhodes, in terms of my interest in them working together. While I love Sandow and always appreciate more and more Cody Rhodes, I find myself increasingly disliking Funkasaurus and Sin Cara each time I see them. They’re the bizarro world opposites of each other in that way for me.

Back again to the third and final Anger Management video package, we see Kane being asked to share his feelings with the group. He is asked to take off his mask, and complies. When asked to share, he goes on to give the most hilarious, and frigging epic recall of his entire characters history, which when compiled altogether that way, is so absurd, it’s comedy genius. He even at one point gets meta and references how his motives for inexplicably torturing Pete Rose are entirely unexplained. The whole thing had me dying with laughter, simply that everything he said actually happened, and seeing the WWE reference continuity in this way, was so brilliant and funny. If the WWE wants to become more continuity conscious, I have no problem with them doing it this way. Refer to it, admit it’s kinda silly, but hold onto it, rather than ignore it. Plus, seeing Kane talk about his past relationships will never not be a laugh riot.

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out, and Kofi heads over to take commentary for the duration of the match. Why? Because I guess R-Truth and him are super-duper best friends now, and can never have matches without the other being present. I know they’re trying hard to get them over as an actual tag team, but when they’re STILL both referred to by their full names, and you know they had relatively long singles careers, it’s hard to accept them, because man, they STILL don’t have any chemistry. What was great though, was seeing Daniel Bryan enter the ring, making his entrance, trying to control himself, and only silently saying “no, no, no”, to himself, rather than his angry, defiant NO’s to the crowd. Not only that, he fist bumped R-Truth to begin the match! After a few minutes in, he even attempted to fist bump Little Jimmy, signifying either his true descent into madness, or his ability to overcome hardship and control himself. Or both.

After a minute or so of wrestling, their match spills to the outside of the ring, where R-Truth picks up a mic, and starts speaking to Little Jimmy. He answers Little Jimmy’s questions by saying YES over and over, which awakens the (American) dragon inside Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan starts losing it, and scream NO at the audience until he is counted out. He then realizes to his horror, he’s lost the match, when he sees Kofi congratulate Truth on his win. Bryan then violently starts kicking the steps to the ring, and parades around screaming NO. Try as he might, he just can’t escape his catchphr- I mean anger. Hey, if this whole Anger Management angle gets us the calm, cool, collected Daniel Bryan back, or god willing, the amazing WWE version of Heel Bryan Danielson, like he was for a few months post MITB 2011 and Pre-YES YES YES, I’m all for it.

Like these guys!

Triple H finally comes out to talk about his Summerslam match and whether or not he’ll be quitting/retiring/whatever. I’m so sick of talking about Triple H, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. Triple H comes, fake cast on and everything, to a pretty big cheer from the crowd (ugh), and says, in a nutshell, that he’ll be retiring. He says it in the most longwinded fashion possible.

Dude, you let your own hubris ruin yourself by challenging a stupid human wrecking ball with a flat top. You’re the one who demanded the referee ignore the rules, and you’re the one who goaded him into even having the match in the first place, when Brock and Paul Heyman both warned you repeatedly for your stupid actions, saying that you”d get destroyed, and you did. You have nobody to blame but yourself. Just retire forever. Work behind the scenes. Hire more sucky mediocre talent like Sin Cara. Whatever. Just get your stupid wrinkled brow and ponytail off my television, and stay off. Please. Accept this dumb crowds applause and goodbye pop, which you were hoping for, but didn’t get, at Summerslam. Goodbye forever Triple H.

After that horribly long pill to swallow, we’re treated to Dolph Ziggler tricking the audience by coming out to Jericho’s music. He then says Jericho is gone forever, and walks to the ring. ADR makes his usual entrance. Between these two guys, I always love to them see in the ring, and whichever of them become the new WHC champion, I’m fine with. ADR is the #1 Contender, but Ziggler still has his MITB contract, so this is potentially setting up a future feud between them. Of course, Randy Orton still exists, so blaeaaeeegghhh. Also, Sheamus.

This is another example of the singles competitors being forced into tag teams, that just doesn’t work again. Tag Team matches can BE amazing, when your teams actually have chemistry, a move set that complements each other, and maybe even a good gimmick or team name. But watching these guys, all struggle to make their spots work, comes off as rushed, forced, and worst of all, boring. Actually, the worst thing was Sheamus and Orton, who both supposed to be faces, cheating to win. Blatantly, openly, cheating. The way HEELS are supposed to. Why they’re considered faces boggles my mind, and I hate it. I hate them both.

Hey, any time I can see Zack Ryder on Raw, I’m happy. Same with David Otunga, and frankly, they’re two talents who could use more time in ring, period. Also, seeing Kane come out, simply to sit down at the announcer’s table, only to stay silent, despite Michael Cole badgering him with questions the entire time. After Zack Ryder lands his finisher, he wins the match. Kane then stands up, immediately goes to attack Ryder, and even clasps his hand around his neck, but relents, and instead chokeslams Otunga. Ryder leaves holding his throat, and Michael Cole starts saying that perhaps this is progress for Kane, since he’d normally attack both of them. I think he’s just trying to get at AJ again, and this is his way of showing commitment? Maybe that makes sense to crazy people. *shudder*

The match between Lawler and Punk is announced as a Steel Cage match, which made me happy, since that’s what I voted for on twitter. Shortly after, AJ comes out to announce that Punk will be defending his title at Night Of Champions against John Cena. Seriously? Goddammit AJ, Y U DO THIS TO ME?

So this whole match was one big exercise in making Jerry Lawler look like he’s still a viable wrestler. From the opening “first shot” that Punk let Lawler have, to Punk getting bloodied by Lawler mid match. After letting us all pretend that Lawler can still wrestle for a few minutes, Punk busts out the Anaconda Vice, and wins. After the match, he grabs a chain from under the ring, and chains himself in the cage with Lawler, puts him in a headlock, and demands he admit that Punk is the best in the world. Lawler refuses, and Punk starts beating on him relentlessly. That being his cue, Cena runs out to save Lawler. He’s unable to open the chained door, and demands they raise the cage. He stands outside, demanding Punk stop, utterly helpless to defend Lawler, all the while Punk batters Lawler with multiple knees to the head, while screaming he is the best wrestler over and over. The cage raises, and Cena jumps in the ring, and runs to Lawler’s aid. Punk walks out, championship belt on his shoulders, triumphant in his victory, while Cena and referee officials stand by Lawler’s side, who is now apparently mortally wounded. Or dead. I hope.

In all, this is a finish to the show that indicates two things. #1, this really IS the final heel turn for Punk, because all the signs are there. Haircut? Check. Constantly shouting he’s the best, regardless of whether he is or not. (Bryan Danielson is, but in WWE, Punk is, so sure.) Check. And of course, attacking a “defenseless” announcer is always a bad thing, unless you’re John Cena and the announcer is Michael Cole. So because of weird double standards, and the general idiocy of the WWE Universe, you’ve got a crowd of people jeering CM Punk for attacking a guy in a match he asked for, for disrespecting him repeatedly, unfairly, and with no provocation. I don’t see how Punk isn’t deserving of respect, or isn’t the WWE Best In The World, because if we’re to presume for a moment, that the WWE Championship is supposed to mean anything, it’s that you’re the BEST WRESTLER in the company. And if WWE is the LEADING Wrestling promotion IN THE WORLD, then logically, this has to mean that you are the BEST IN THE WORLD. You could debate if Punk really is, in shoot terms and ability, but kayfabe, of COURSE he is. He has to be, by definition. John Cena showing up and saying that Punk’s actions are way over the line, are at the best, stupid, and at worst, hypocritical AND stupid.

Screw this. I’m outta here, biotches.

But, also, this is probably the last time I can realistically, and logically say that Punk is no longer a tweener, when he’s so clearly being portrayed as the villain now. I’m not saying his actions are indefensible, far from it. He’s not on the level of, oh let’s say, Sheamus, because everything Punk does is consistent with what a tweener or heel would do, and that’s fine, because he’s supposed to be. Heel Punk is good Punk. Anything Sheamus is bad Sheamus, same thing with Cena. If there’s one big thing that WWE needs to fix, it’s having their heels and faces act consistently, with what heels and faces are supposed to do, instead of this weird reverse bullshit where faces act like heels and are cheered for it, and heels act realistically and are booed for it forever. It makes me want to rip my eyeballs out and dunk them in sulfuric acid.

Anyhow, hopefully Jerry Lawler is dead, because he’s a bad announcer. I’m sick of his dumb propagandistic mark ass bullshit.

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.