Kids are going back to school, the weather is getting cooler (this is a lie), and pumpkin spice everything is back on the shelves. This means only one thing, fall TV is just around the corner. It’s time to check in with our favorite DCTV shows – first up, Constantine and Arrow!
Tonight’s Raw opens up with a stroll down memory lane, since it’s the 20th Anniversary of Raw being on TV.
Seeing a montage of all the opening credits sequences over the years was a fun moment of nostalgia, particularly the pre-attitude era theme which I haven’t heard since I was watching Bret Hart wrestle Shawn Michaels with my Grandpa. It was a great kick off to a show that would soon rapidly descend into a mostly boring, often receptive slump of stuff we’ve already seen. Especially since we’ve already seen the majority of the content revisited at Raw 1000, which until now served as the de-facto anniversary show.
Seeing Vince McMahon follow that segment up by opening was the best they could do to kill my good will however. No matter what you think of Vince McMahon in real life or not, it’s still pretty aggravating to watch a rich guy talk to us about how great he is, and how much of a genius he is, and get cheered for doing so. Even though it’s pretty solidly true, it doesn’t change the fact that opening with him fellating himself verbally is tiring. It’s the same sort of promo we’ve seen him make before, with the “It’s all because of You’s”, and whatnot, that CM Punk got done saying were so meaningless and empty last week. Perhaps all of it is purposeful, and is meant to further establish the disconnect between Punk as an outsider, and The Rock and Vince McMahon’s beliefs representing the ideological opposite of Punk’s promo last week, and is thusly a worked speech meant to illustrate that concordantly to further that thematic storyline that’s been presented as the background for the build up to Punk and Rock’s match at Royal Rumble.
Either that or Vince is just an egomaniac. You decide.
This is one of those great cases of someone I really like winning against all odds against someone I really don’t like. That’s not to say that Wade Barrett wasn’t directly holding his own in the match against Randy Orton, but you’ve gotta understand where I come from while watching every match with Orton/Sheamus/Cena or any of the other invincible white guys. Basically every matched is viewed as an automatic given to any of the IWG’s (that’s what I’ll call them from now on), unless there’s some sort of X-Factor in the match to indicate otherwise. In this case Wade Barrett is the IC champion, and thusly is being pushed as a top mid-carder. It serves poorly to have the IC champion lose non-title matches as it weakens the meaning of the title, so you can’t have Orton beat Barrett, but at the same time, Orton is lowering himself to the mid-card scene to fight Barrett in a match. In order to preserve Orton’s Top-Card status and keep the title meaningful, Orton had to lose, but since he’s an IWG, I still didn’t expect him to. Which is why I was surprised and delighted to see Wade beat him cleanly. It was something I didn’t expect from Randy Orton, and boded well for both of their character’s development in the future.
It’s called getting someone over, Cena. Let some folks beat you cleanly occasionally, and you’ll be surprised what good it can do for the show.
Even though I don’t like the story development of Kane and Daniel Bryan regressing back into anger management lessons again, holy crap was this segment great. This is how comedy segments should be managed in WWE. Have some character based comedy using your wrestlers who have natural comedic timing, and highlight the inherent absurdity of your own character’s actions. Daniel Bryan’s joke about Kane’s bizarre pyrokinesis? Genuinely funny. On top of that, how talented is Damien Sandow? That guy needs to be in more backstage comedy bits like these, because the guy clearly has the chops for comedy. People often ask me what I like when I say I like comedy in my wrestling, and this is a good example of a funny, well done, non-offensive and clever comedic skit. What I don’t like is Santino pulling socks out of his ass, or Hornswoggle biting peoples butts, or people being racist for no reason. More absurdity, and less “edginess” or whatever it’s called when John Cena or The Rock decide to cut homophobic and misogynistic promos to insult whoever they’re feuding with.
The other great thing is that the last comedy skit had a reason and built into this match organically, in a way that makes sense. If there are at LEAST two ways to book your matches, the first is to just announce your card, or have matches happen because you own a wrestling company and you’ve just picked people to wrestle each other. The other way would be to have all of your feuds and skits tie into the booking, flow from one into the other, and have the whole show be cohesive and wrap up at the end by tying it back into the first promo/skit of the evening where the main event was announced. The WWE doesn’t do either of course, they just have matches happen randomly. Also occasionally because someone demanded one, which creates the idea that there is no actual booker and everything is chaos each night as they try to fill the card with 3 hours of content. Either that or a handful of pre-planned matches are pushed off the schedule every time John Cena comes out and demands a match RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, TONIGHT!
Right? Oh what? Oh Right. Kayfabe bro. Got it. Nevermind.
Firstly, let me say I have nothing but immense respect for Mick Foley and everything he’s done for the sport of wrestling. The dude totally deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, and I’m glad he got it. I’m getting used to him being used as a generic stand in as a Revered-Elder-To-Be-Disrespected-By-The-Up-And-Coming-Arrogant-Youth wrestlers. He’s more of a symbol than a man in that way now. Accordingly attacking him is tantamount to kicking a puppy, or tying a woman to railroad tracks in terms of PURE EVIL in the WWE, so of course The Shield show up to give him crap. I like The Shield, I like what they’re doing, but I think they’re a bit above this. I want them to attack and destroy the IWG’s, not come out and bother poor old Mick Foley who should be sitting at home with his kids. It doesn’t make me mad at their characters, it makes me mad at who booked this in real life, thus demonstrating the eternal internal conflict I have whenever watching wrestling. What may make me like a character in real life, may make me dislike the actual wrestler himself, and vice versa. It’s hard being me while watching wrestling because I can’t NOT think about the multiple levels every single aspect the show works on, and analyze them all critically while thinking about what that means for the story lines that are presented on a face value, metaphorically, intrinsically, thematically, and ultimately realistically. It’s a maddening meta-textual expression conducted through showmanship, theater and violence realized through so many contextual realities it makes my head spin.
Jesus god. I need a drink.
First things first. I really hope Eve isn’t actually quitting the WWE. Apparently after losing this match and her title, she “quit” and left the company in a WWE Active video posted online. It’s this sort of thing that further blurs the lines between reality and fiction in the WWE, and makes me sad because this match was exactly the kind of match we need more of in the WWE. Beautiful, strong women actually wrestling each other, showing off their skills in a way that tells a story in the ring. Eve is the resentful champion who despises her fans, and only really values her title but fakes a smile and puts on a front of being content with her fandom. Kaitlyn is an underdog who has been denied an actual match for the championship for months now, and finally gets a one up via the no-DQ/No-Count Out clause being lifted for the title to change hands. Eve quitting makes sense for her character, but for two women who I both like watching wrestle, I wish we had gotten more matches out of them. Hopefully it’s a work, and Eve returns hell bent on getting her title back, and we get an actual, proper women’s feud that has some weight and meaning to it.
This match is a continuing escalation of the fallout from CM Punk’s promo last week. He basically made a real point saying how stupid it is that Brodus Clay has to dance and whatnot to get over with the dumb masses, (while simultaneously telling us he didn’t care about any of it and was manipulating us because it’s easy), and now is fighting him because that made Brodus Clay mad. Or it made Funkasaurus mad. I’m not sure which is the character or which is the man anymore because, wrestling. Regardless it was good to see Punk wrestling again, and beating people cleanly. Even though Funkasaurus kind of sucks, it’s just good to see Punk back on the horse.
Hey look! It’s The Rock! And Mick Foley! And they’re hugging! LOVE HIM. LOVE HIM PEOPLE. DON’T THINK ABOUT HOW WASHED UP HE IS, OR HOW LAME HIS OLD SCHTICK IS THAT HE’S STILL DOING. HE’S RESPECTING MICK FOLEY! HE’S THE GOOD GUY1 CHEER FOR HIM! BUY HIS T-SHIRTS! BUY TICKETS TO GI JOE 2! BUY BOOTS 2 ASSES SHIRTS! DO IT! OBEY. OBEY. OBEY. OBEY. OBEY. OBEY. OBEY.
Hey look! Sheamus is still invincible! Watch him beat up three guys way smaller than him with next to no chance to win! Don’t cheer their ability to overcome impossible odds and defeat him! Here, watch this footage of Godzilla crushing Bambi! Don’t forget to buy your Sheamus Brogue Kick shirts and cheer for Godzilla’s match tomorrow night where he faces a family of voles! Will the voles win? Probably not, but pretend like it’s a contest anyway! Root for the people who you’re supposed to root for! Forget all cohesive, meaningful introspection or thought! Accept what you’re given! DO IT! DO IT NOW! OBEY.
Sorry about that, those last two parts of the show I really didn’t like and well that just kind of happened. What I did like was this segment of Miz TV, but not because it was particularly good in and of itself. In fact it was quite awful, but it was good because of what it was. Let me explain by stating that I watched this with a friend of mine, who has no context for wrestling or the WWE whatsoever. None. He had some vague idea of who The Rock was, and that CM Punk is someone who does things now. Other than this, he had NO CLUE or rhyme or reason as to any of the context for any of the things that happened in this segment. He’s a very smart, very knowledgable lit-crit type who is quick to understand things thematically, and can usually dissect and process most major films/books/tv show’s messages and intent ridiculously quickly, and has made a modicum of a living doing so.
So imagine my joy and pure thrill at trying to explain to him why an impossibly old man with hot dog skin was sitting in a wrestling ring on leather furniture, talking to an Ex-MTV reject while they both strutted a rooster walk and alternated turns going WOO really loudly at each other, before attacking a man who hates America yet dresses in American colors ironically while waving an American flag and holding the United States Championship. That he hates. His look of utter confusion and lack of any context for the admittedly entirely absurd goings-on was priceless, and was a good kick to the system to remind me just how WEIRD wrestling and the WWE is, and how much we accept based on past contextualization. Ric Flair saying “WOO” is goddamned weird if you don’t know why he’s doing it, but that doesn’t make it any less absurdly hilarious.
This match had some great wrestling in it, and that’s mostly due to the fact that beyond their facial hair related gimmicks, Cody Rhodes and Daniel Bryan are goddamned great wrestlers. They know how to pull off a match, and they work well with each other. It was great to see Daniel Bryan winning on his own again, and gives me hope that whenever his Tag Team run with Kane ends, he’ll still be able to hold onto his top card spot in singles competition. I’d like to see him return to the submission/grappling master he was again, and really get to show off his chops while tearing people apart with hold after hold. I’d also like a million dollars while I’m wishing for things here anyway.
This kind of s*** is infuriating to me. At least Randy Orton has the sense to let Barrett lose to him so he can get over as a champion. If Cena always wins, even with 3 people working against him every damn week, how are we supposed to ever suspend our disbelief to think he’s accomplishing anything? It’s like going to a Casino and rooting for the House to win. How can people root for Cena’s character when he’s just the absolute worst when it comes to this? It’s maddening! How is it at all fair if he just kicks out of every single thing you do to him, no matter what? There’s no drama there. It makes me see AJ raging out at the end their and empathize with her even more, because that IS pretty goddamned frustrating. It’s even more frustrating because I fully expect Cena to win the Royal Rumble, and waste a perfectly valid spot for some other deserving talent to get a title shot. If the rule is Cena gets as many title shots as he wants, when he wants, why have him do things like win Money In The Bank, or poise him to win the RR? It’s either pandering, or politics, and either way I hate it.
Apparently WWEYoutube deleted Part 1 of this video and I don’t care, because I didn’t watch it anyway. I remember last year when The Rock came out to sing songs that were anti-Cena and it was pretty awful back then. Now in a post-Pipebomb WWE they’re utterly insufferable, and had me shutting off Raw early. I didn’t care what Rock had to say, or how he’d insult CM Punk or Paul Heyman by saying they’re women, (because being a woman is bad to The Rock) or any of those things. I turned it off because that’s what I do when I see something on my tv I don’t like.
Alternatively, I sometimes bitch about it on the internet. Like right here. Right now.
Sometimes things happen in live events, and at the end of October 8th’s Monday Night Raw, one of those things happened. Visible even on the live broadcast, a fan can be seen to be assaulted by CM Punk, right as Vince McMahon was speaking to him in the audience. For those unaware, the scene took place at the end of a match between McMahon and Punk. Punk had run into the crowd, as many wrestlers often do to escape for one reason or another, and was apparently being shoved by fans. Punk than lashed out and struck a fan twice in the face, on live television, as seen here:
The fan in question who was hit, unfortunately does NOT seem to be the one who provoked, and looks to be an unfortunate victim who took the blame for the guilty party behind him. If you look closely, this video shows a fan in white behind the guy who got hit, clearly giving Punk the middle finger before slapping him on the back of the head.
With what was already a literally touchy crowd, Punk seemed already riled up by the teenaged fan in the black Brock Lesnar shirt to his left, who can be seen shoving Punk very hard just before punk lashes out on the guy behind him. The actual fan who was attacked has released a few comments and pictures on twitter, saying he did NOT hit Punk. After watching the videos I have to agree, he’s just a victim of his unfortunately proximity to Punk at the time.
Laura Cole (@Colereporting) October 09, 2012
2 things I gotta say first off. #1.) That guy has every right to be upset. Punk should NOT have lost his temper in this fashion, and if there was anything that would actually make me lose respect for him, it’s this. Knowing Punk though, I’m sure he’ll make a statement of some sort, or an apology to make things right. My faith in him doing this is a big factor in me keeping my respect for him on a personal level, rather than a professional one, which he’ll always have.
#2.) I don’t believe this is a work. Something like this seems too spontaneous and real to be faked for publicity. Incidentally, if it WAS a plant, it does the WWE no favors. Sacrificing the integrity of the safety that’s supposed to be upheld by security at live events is never good, no matter how badly you want your main heel to get hated by fans.
One last thing, as a security guard myself, I do have to point out that the security who is seen walking into the video’s frame towards the end, is responding relatively quickly. I’ve been in the middle of a lots of fights, and having someone respond to your situation can take many long seconds, that can lead to many different kinds of injuries. The guy who got there in my estimation, seems to be the only one who made it within what I would call an acceptable amount of time. Which is unfortunate because the situation Punk was in shouldn’t have happened. The kid in the black Brock Lesnar shirt clearly agitated Punk in the video, along with the rest of the audience being a bit too close in general. That’s not to excuse Punk’s behavior, but it’s something to be expected realistically. There’s a reason they make an announcement to NOT TOUCH the talent in any live sporting event, and it’s probably this one. In my opinion, they should have had security much closer, tailing Punk from the beginning. However the response time is about as good as could be realistically expected from security. I’ve personally seen response times go on seconds longer, and that’s in a room with a few thousand fewer people in it.
So will the guy be pursuing legal action? Probably, I wouldn’t blame him. He did seem to get accidentally shoved into Punk, but that’s not worth getting punched in the face. It’s the fault of the asshole Guy In The White Shirt behind him, and black Brock Lesnar Shirt Guy for forgetting that Punk is a real dude, who can get hot-headed, and will probably knock you out if you f–k with him. How Vince McMahon and the WWE will respond, is another thing entirely.
:EDIT: WWE and CM Punk have officially issued a statement:
“WWE security was unfortunately not in the appropriate place at the time. Given CM Punk’s persona as a ‘bad guy’ fans were naturally heckling him, but unfortunately a few fans began shoving him and one struck him in the kidney and on the back.”
The rep adds, “WWE regrets that proper security measures were not in place, and CM Punk apologizes for reacting in the heat of the moment.”
After reflecting on this further, I’ve changed my stance a little bit on how I felt. Personally I feel it’s incredibly rude and disrespectful of any fan to ever lay their hands on these performers who give their all 300+ days a year for our entertainment. The fan(s) who incited this reaction from Punk are jerks who can’t separate fiction from reality, and need to realize that it’s all just a show. I can’t say I blame Punk for reacting the way he did, and it’s a shame he hit the wrong guy. Sure Punk shouldn’t have done it, but I cannot say he overreacted.
A lot of WWE fans have been wary of the attempt on a third show to complement the 1-2 punch of Raw/Smackdown. Previous attempts like NXT, Superstars, and even nu-ECW have led to them mostly being relegated to an online audience, rather than being canceled right out. When they announced a new show called Main Event was going to debut, a lot of fans were a bit apprehensive about its real potential, necessity, or for that matter longevity. Frankly, most expect it to end up with that same online only fate as all the other shows. Now while I’m not hedging my bets on this show having the staying power of Smackdown, I do think it’s here for a while, for a few main reasons.
The first is that it was promoted and executed in much the same way Smackdown was. That is to say, almost like a little mini-PPV. I remember when Smackdown debuted on the UPN network 12 years ago, and it felt like we were getting a free 2 hour PPV with how important and different it was from Raw at the time. Main Event gave me that same feeling, by the promotion of the big fight in it between CM Punk and Sheamus. The whole thing has a good hook, being a champion vs champion match and all, and with CM Punk and Sheamus’ in ring skill, it was hard to accurately call who’d win. As much as I hate Sheamus, I can’t deny he’s a great wrestler who should just never say anything ever.
The second main reason, is that it has a pretty self-sustaining, built-in purpose. At first I thought that “Main Event” was just a place holding, whatever-lets-just-name-it title, but the show does seem to be literally a Main Event worthy spectacle. With how crappy the main events from Raw are these days, a whole show dedicated to making sure there’s one solid, well done match in its runtime is refreshing. At an hour-long, it’s also a refreshing change of pace from the long 3 hours of Raw, and the sometimes just right, sometimes too long length of Smackdown. The actual show itself opened up with both Michael Cole and The Miz announcing themselves as commentators for the show, and introducing the show itself, which is fine and dandy for the debut episode. They followed it up with some actually pretty decent video packages for both CM Punk & Sheamus. Punk’s in particular was AMAZING, and told a good story in 3 minutes.
The actual match between Punk and Sheamus was a good 20 minutes long, and did a good job of making Sheamus look strong, while making Punk appear to be more of a Heel, without actually sacrificing any of his internal logic of character framework. Whoever is responsible for the direction that CM Punk’s character is going, is a genius and I have a strong feeling it’s Punk himself. The show ended with a brief tag team match between Santino & Zack Ryder, and Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd. Making that match the connection between it and Raw was smart as well, since this whole Tag Team Tournament is probably the best thing that’s happened to the Tag Team Division since I’ve been watching WWE.
I’m loving this whole tournament concept.
The strength of this show is that it doesn’t NEED to follow on the heels of any of the Raw/Smackdown story lines, they can just announce a Main Event (see? That’s brilliant), and then just go with it. Next week’s show is between Big Show and Randy Orton for the #1 contender spot for the World Heavyweight Championship. Something like that immediately gives us great purpose for the show, as it could have great longevity as the Go-To show for settling feuds, contender spots, angled matches, special gimmick matches, and the list goes on. If they just cut out the promos and give us two 20 minute matches, I could see it doing the WWE a lot of good. Fans who have an issue with the WWE not having enough actual wrestling could tune into this, and enjoy seeing 2 solid and fairly long matches a week. Currently it seems like its gonna be one big longer match and another shorter one, but it could change.
Again, the most surprising thing by far was the quality of the video packages. Each was actually captivating and informative, rather than an unnecessary recap of previous events. It sets it apart from Raw & Smackdown pretty definitively. I’m looking forward to the show’s future, and hope it lasts. Hopefully the average fan will get past the fact that there’s “just one or two matches”, and dig it for what it is. It’s not a perfect show yet, but I could see it getting there. All in all, it was a well done hour-long show, that I’ll definitely be looking forward to in the future.
Tonight’s Raw opens with a brief recap from last week, showing CM Punk issuing a challenge to John Cena, on the condition that Cena admit Punk is the best in the world. Cena refuses, because he thinks he’s the best, and made some lame ass pseudo inspirational rant about “always believing in yourself” and all that hokum he always spouts. After Cena abruptly left, Punk turned his attention towards Jerry Lawler, and demanded he apologize for his remark at Raw 1000, where he claimed that Punk had “turned his back” on the WWE universe, for attacking The Rock. Lawler apologized, but then “couldn’t say” that Punk was the best in the world, when asked to, despite having said and agreed with that notion dozens of times pre-Raw 1000. It’s ridiculously transparent how Lawler is insanely pro-face, in spite of any and all reason. Michael Cole may be his heel opposite, but he’ll occasionally provide logical reasoning behind why he likes the heels of the company. Anyhow, after refusing to admit CM Punk was the best in the world, he rudely bumped into Punk while exiting the ring, and Punk, in a fit of anger for the sign of enormous disrespect, kicked Lawler in the head. Let it be understood, that Jerry Lawler, (kayfabe) deserves this. He’s a terrible commentator. He says idiotic things all the time, makes no insightful remarks, and constantly promotes the faces, regardless of what their terrible, terrible actions may or may not be. Punk feuding with Lawler is supposed to make us think he’s turned heel, but all it’s done is endear him to me more.
I plan to use a couple more of these throughout this article, because goddamn. It’s true.
Following that recap, Jerry Lawler enters the ring, leaving his commentary table, and begins to speak about the events of the last few weeks, tell his side of the story, and then asks for an apology from Punk. Punk shows up, (sporting a new buzz cut, indicating a change of character. Seriously, his hair is almost always indicative of his character. It’s weird), and refuses to apologize to Lawler, defending his justifiable beat down of The Rock, and points out he never “turned his back” on anyone, and that the only person who did, was Lawler, who turned his back on Punk. He continues to explain this to Lawler, and gives the most backhanded apology in the world, slamming Lawler’s entire wrestling career, mentioning his feud with Andy Kaufman, the fact that Lawler has never been champion, and his loss to Michael Cole at Wrestlemania. It was pretty damn entertaining to see Punk rail into Lawler, and watching him stand there, stone faced, trying not to cry and/or attack Punk was pretty awesome.
Punk continues destroying Lawler, and ends up in a roundabout way challenging him to a fight, after seeing Lawler’s sad/angry face. Lawler regurgitates what he said earlier, about looking for an apology, and not a fight. Punk continues to call him a pussy, in so many words. He then says Lawler will leave embarrassed tonight one way to the other, either embarrassed from the beating he’d receive in the match between him and Punk, or embarrassed that he wouldn’t compete at all. Punk leaves, and Lawler says that “He’ll think about it.”
After that, we return right to a wrestling match between Jack Swagger and The Ryback. Swagger has been jobbing pretty consistently for a while now, and Michael Cole even mentions this fact, in a kayfabe manner by referring to his “losing streak”. They’ve been working on making The Ryback a bit more touchable lately, by having whoever he fights gain momentum in the middle of the match, which Swagger achieves, almost getting the Ankle Lock on him for a moment. The Ryback then gets the upper hand quickly, and amidst the cheers of his fans, who alternatively chant “GOLDBERG”, and The Ryback’s catchphrase, “FEED ME MORE”, he lands his falling suplex finisher. Which I don’t think has an actual name yet. It’s just a move he does that Michael Cole or whoever is watching him just comment on how “impressive” it is. So perhaps his finisher is called “The Impressive Finisher”, which is what I shall refer to it from now on. Seriously, I watch Raw and Smackdown every week, and unless I missed something, I have no idea what it’s called. So, The Ryback pins Swagger, and leaves the ring pumping his arms. Swagger sits outside the ring, grimacing in pain, probably thinking about quitting and joining TNA where he’ll have a chance to actually get utilized properly, and Jerry Lawler continues to say how he’s thinking about having the match with Punk or not.
Back from another break we go right into a Divas match. Natalya and Layla are actually two of the more talented female wrestlers from their small collection, and seeing them wrestle is something I actually would like to see more. Vickie Guerrero interrupts, and says she has an announcement to make, and that the match better end quickly so she could say it. The match starts, and we’re treated to a really decent match between the two. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see Natalya wrestle for a change, instead of relegated to being The Farting Girl on backstage skits on Smackdown. She’s the damned daughter of Jim Neidhart, the founder of the Hart foundation, and niece to Bret GODDAMNED Hart, so along with Punk, she deserves some respect. Seeing her attempt the Sharpshooter was a great moment, and if Layla wasn’t as talented and as likable as she is, I would have been really bummed to see her counter out of it. Thankfully, Layla picks up the win without using a roll up or small package pin, because that’s what they ALWAYS use to end Divas matches. She hits Natalya with a roundhouse kick, and pins her, and Vickie enters the ring.
Vickie says that AJ Lee has been abusing her power, by citing the example of last week’s Raw, where Jericho and Ziggler had a match, with the stipulation being that if Jericho won, he’d get Ziggler’s MITB contract, and if Ziggler won, Jericho would lose his CAREER contract. Vickie argues this is an unfair stipulation to the match for her to make, which it totally is. Only Vickie says that the MITB contract part is the unfair bit. If you ask me, a career contract, and a championship contract are not equal at all, and regardless of the side you take, Vickie has a solid point, that it is an abuse of power. She then publicly begs the WWE Board of Directors to put her back in the GM seat, and sack AJ, which prompts AJ to arrive.
AJ skips out, doing her usual cutesy-crazy affectations, hops into the ring, then slaps, and beats Vickie down to the floor. Pretty much solidifying Vickie’s argument about AJ being out of control and power-hungry. Vickie then runs out of the arena crying while… god… AJ bites her finger all sexily and…
Ahem. She then composes herself and walks out. Basically, as much as I want to love and support AJ, she’s been a very middle of the road, typical GM that has done nothing interesting or new, and I’d rather see her wrestle, because she’s pretty damn good, and that suit she wears doesn’t flatter her at all.
Then we get subjected to a DX/Triple H video package. I’ve got nothing against DX per se, I’m just sick of video packages, and Triple H. The thought of having to see him address the events of Summerslam are so boring to me, I couldn’t care less. For those who didn’t see Summerslam, in a nutshell, Brock Lesnar beat the shit out of Triple H, and made him tap out. The crowd then shouted “YOU TAPPED OUT”, and “NA NA NA NA HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE”‘d him out of the arena, rather than the whole appreciative last stand thing, that he was clearly going for, or expecting. People are sick of him, and his stupidity. At least, the Summerslam audience was. Then of course, Brock Lesnar quit the WWE AGAIN, because that’s what he does, he’s a goddamn quitter.
After that, we see that AJ has ordered Daniel Bryan to take Anger Management classes, and we see a brief skit where Daniel Bryan attends Anger Management. What transpires, is one of the strangest, but funniest skit’s I’ve seen in a while. Daniel Bryan sits in the Anger Management circle, and states that he has no anger issues, and couldn’t be calmer. In walks a young boy, wearing a goat mask. Bryan walks up to the child, and begins NO NO NOing him, upon seeing the goat mask. He then asks who set the whole thing up, and demands the boy take off the goat mask, by screaming at him. The Anger Management counselor says that the boy is his son, and plays a goat in his school play. The boy takes off the mask, and we see he’s crying. Daniel Bryan then looks genuinely sad and confused, and takes a seat. At the very least, he’s working through his issues right? I love the idea that Daniel Bryan now has this pavlovian reaction to all goats now, and that all you’d need to do to distract him is hold up a picture of a goat. I keep thinking about him trying to watch TV and accidentally turning on Animal Planet, and catching a show about goats, and then raging out and destroying his whole living room, and slapping the YES-Lock on his dog.
Back to the ring, we see Jerry Lawler step back in, and speak. He defends his wrestling past, by pointing out the legends of wrestling he’s fought, and while he agrees with the other assertions Punk made, that Lawler is immature, never been champion, and feuded with a comedian, he tries to use those things inexplicably, to defend himself. After that, he accepts CM Punk’s challenge, and says he’ll fight Punk tonight. The crowd cheers, ostensibly in support of Lawler, but I’d like to think they want to see Punk destroy him.
After another commercial break, John Cena appears. Which was kinda shocking, because John Cena showing up, without being called out, or having something to get off his chest, simply to wrestle in a non-main event match, is pretty uncommon now. The biggest bummer was simply that the match up between him and Miz is so disparate, it might as well not even happen. The Miz has only just started to become a great mid card, IC champion, but having him up against Robo-Cena seems like a foregone conclusion. However, Miz does give Cena a serious run for his money. If anything, the whole match built up Miz to get him over, since he dominated the whole thing, only with Cena doing his usual infinite Robo-Cena kick out, to the same as usual, goddamned shift into the 5 Moves of Doom, and his usual last-minute wrap up win. This match, despite Miz’s efforts to make it interesting, is a perfect example of what is wrong with John Cena. Every single match of his is like this. He gets his ass kicked, never sells anything, miraculously kicks out over and over, does 5 moves at the end, and wins. He’s boring. I can’t stand seeing him on my tv any more. It’s sickening that he’s the face of this company. Sickening.
Back to Daniel Bryan, we see him sitting through the Anger Management session. He sits there listening to some guy gripe about his boss, and his asked his opinion. He then expresses his, pretty solid feelings on how he’s been unfairly treated by his boss, who is his former girlfriend/ex-fiancee, who left his at the alter on live tv, puts him in a match with her demonic, pyrokinetic, psychopath pseudo-boyfriend, which he still won, and she forced him into Anger Management regardless. If anything, I’d say he has a right to be mad. The Counselor says he just got a text from the last patient who had yet to show up at the session, and of course, in walks Kane, in full wrestling gear, fire mask and all. Considering that the rest of the people there were normal, everyday folks, in plain clothes, Daniel Bryan included, it was especially surreal to see Kane walk in, in his full garb. Then again, the idea of Kane showing up in civilian clothes would be even stranger. Does this mean that Kane has a cell phone? That he texts people? What’s his data plan? Can you think of him dealing with AT&T customer service? Like if he gets put on hold too many times he just makes fire shoot out of the speaker on their side of the phone? Or worse, does he drunkenly sext AJ? I bet they’d have really weird booty calls.
I’m liking Heath Slater more and more each week. I’m hating Santino more and more every time I see him. Their match was pretty incidental. The crowd even chanted BORING at one point. The only highlight, if you could call it that, was seeing The Cobra react to Aksana showing up, with random “sexy” saxophone music to accompany her. The Cobra then attacks Heath Slater, and Santino pins Slater for the win, with the Cobra keeping its “eyes” on Aksana.
The entire concept of the Cobra being “horny” for Aksana, is just TOO over the top weird for me, because it just makes me think that Santino is either A.) possessed ala Idle Hands by cobra demons, and his limbs really are independent of his own free will, or B.) he’s got the strangest form of Dr. Strangelove Hand Syndrome, or C.) He’s just an insane person, and really needs help. No matter what way you put it, the Cobra is stupid. It always is stupid. It always has been. It always will be. It’s the Bret Hart of stupid gimmicks. Take it away Punk!
After Funkasaurus and Sin Cara’s lengthy intros, Damien Sandow comes out, and announces that he has finally found a colleague of his that he can have an intelligent conversation with, and of course it’s Cody Rhodes. The two of them make their way down the ramp, making an excellent job of showcasing their chemistry together as a team, and their insults towards Funkasaurus and Sin Cara all worked really well, and for the first time in a long time, I was excited to see the dynamic between two former single competitors, as a tag team.
Unfortunately, the match wasn’t really long enough to see them do anything together, or give them a chance to show us if their obvious and immediate character chemistry, worked in ring, but they’re definitely a team I’d look forward to seeing work together again, which is more than I can say for most of the singles-to-tag team teams. Basically, Funkasaurus managed to stomp down Cody Rhodes, while Sin Cara isolated Damien Sandow from hitting Funkasaurus’ magical weak spot (aka the knee), and Funkasaurus picked up the win after a huge splash. Funkasaurus and Sin Cara are an interesting duo together, in that they’re the exact opposite end of the spectrum, from Sandow and Rhodes, in terms of my interest in them working together. While I love Sandow and always appreciate more and more Cody Rhodes, I find myself increasingly disliking Funkasaurus and Sin Cara each time I see them. They’re the bizarro world opposites of each other in that way for me.
Back again to the third and final Anger Management video package, we see Kane being asked to share his feelings with the group. He is asked to take off his mask, and complies. When asked to share, he goes on to give the most hilarious, and frigging epic recall of his entire characters history, which when compiled altogether that way, is so absurd, it’s comedy genius. He even at one point gets meta and references how his motives for inexplicably torturing Pete Rose are entirely unexplained. The whole thing had me dying with laughter, simply that everything he said actually happened, and seeing the WWE reference continuity in this way, was so brilliant and funny. If the WWE wants to become more continuity conscious, I have no problem with them doing it this way. Refer to it, admit it’s kinda silly, but hold onto it, rather than ignore it. Plus, seeing Kane talk about his past relationships will never not be a laugh riot.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out, and Kofi heads over to take commentary for the duration of the match. Why? Because I guess R-Truth and him are super-duper best friends now, and can never have matches without the other being present. I know they’re trying hard to get them over as an actual tag team, but when they’re STILL both referred to by their full names, and you know they had relatively long singles careers, it’s hard to accept them, because man, they STILL don’t have any chemistry. What was great though, was seeing Daniel Bryan enter the ring, making his entrance, trying to control himself, and only silently saying “no, no, no”, to himself, rather than his angry, defiant NO’s to the crowd. Not only that, he fist bumped R-Truth to begin the match! After a few minutes in, he even attempted to fist bump Little Jimmy, signifying either his true descent into madness, or his ability to overcome hardship and control himself. Or both.
After a minute or so of wrestling, their match spills to the outside of the ring, where R-Truth picks up a mic, and starts speaking to Little Jimmy. He answers Little Jimmy’s questions by saying YES over and over, which awakens the (American) dragon inside Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan starts losing it, and scream NO at the audience until he is counted out. He then realizes to his horror, he’s lost the match, when he sees Kofi congratulate Truth on his win. Bryan then violently starts kicking the steps to the ring, and parades around screaming NO. Try as he might, he just can’t escape his catchphr- I mean anger. Hey, if this whole Anger Management angle gets us the calm, cool, collected Daniel Bryan back, or god willing, the amazing WWE version of Heel Bryan Danielson, like he was for a few months post MITB 2011 and Pre-YES YES YES, I’m all for it.
Triple H finally comes out to talk about his Summerslam match and whether or not he’ll be quitting/retiring/whatever. I’m so sick of talking about Triple H, so I’ll keep this as brief as possible. Triple H comes, fake cast on and everything, to a pretty big cheer from the crowd (ugh), and says, in a nutshell, that he’ll be retiring. He says it in the most longwinded fashion possible.
Dude, you let your own hubris ruin yourself by challenging a stupid human wrecking ball with a flat top. You’re the one who demanded the referee ignore the rules, and you’re the one who goaded him into even having the match in the first place, when Brock and Paul Heyman both warned you repeatedly for your stupid actions, saying that you”d get destroyed, and you did. You have nobody to blame but yourself. Just retire forever. Work behind the scenes. Hire more sucky mediocre talent like Sin Cara. Whatever. Just get your stupid wrinkled brow and ponytail off my television, and stay off. Please. Accept this dumb crowds applause and goodbye pop, which you were hoping for, but didn’t get, at Summerslam. Goodbye forever Triple H.
After that horribly long pill to swallow, we’re treated to Dolph Ziggler tricking the audience by coming out to Jericho’s music. He then says Jericho is gone forever, and walks to the ring. ADR makes his usual entrance. Between these two guys, I always love to them see in the ring, and whichever of them become the new WHC champion, I’m fine with. ADR is the #1 Contender, but Ziggler still has his MITB contract, so this is potentially setting up a future feud between them. Of course, Randy Orton still exists, so blaeaaeeegghhh. Also, Sheamus.
This is another example of the singles competitors being forced into tag teams, that just doesn’t work again. Tag Team matches can BE amazing, when your teams actually have chemistry, a move set that complements each other, and maybe even a good gimmick or team name. But watching these guys, all struggle to make their spots work, comes off as rushed, forced, and worst of all, boring. Actually, the worst thing was Sheamus and Orton, who both supposed to be faces, cheating to win. Blatantly, openly, cheating. The way HEELS are supposed to. Why they’re considered faces boggles my mind, and I hate it. I hate them both.
Hey, any time I can see Zack Ryder on Raw, I’m happy. Same with David Otunga, and frankly, they’re two talents who could use more time in ring, period. Also, seeing Kane come out, simply to sit down at the announcer’s table, only to stay silent, despite Michael Cole badgering him with questions the entire time. After Zack Ryder lands his finisher, he wins the match. Kane then stands up, immediately goes to attack Ryder, and even clasps his hand around his neck, but relents, and instead chokeslams Otunga. Ryder leaves holding his throat, and Michael Cole starts saying that perhaps this is progress for Kane, since he’d normally attack both of them. I think he’s just trying to get at AJ again, and this is his way of showing commitment? Maybe that makes sense to crazy people. *shudder*
The match between Lawler and Punk is announced as a Steel Cage match, which made me happy, since that’s what I voted for on twitter. Shortly after, AJ comes out to announce that Punk will be defending his title at Night Of Champions against John Cena. Seriously? Goddammit AJ, Y U DO THIS TO ME?
So this whole match was one big exercise in making Jerry Lawler look like he’s still a viable wrestler. From the opening “first shot” that Punk let Lawler have, to Punk getting bloodied by Lawler mid match. After letting us all pretend that Lawler can still wrestle for a few minutes, Punk busts out the Anaconda Vice, and wins. After the match, he grabs a chain from under the ring, and chains himself in the cage with Lawler, puts him in a headlock, and demands he admit that Punk is the best in the world. Lawler refuses, and Punk starts beating on him relentlessly. That being his cue, Cena runs out to save Lawler. He’s unable to open the chained door, and demands they raise the cage. He stands outside, demanding Punk stop, utterly helpless to defend Lawler, all the while Punk batters Lawler with multiple knees to the head, while screaming he is the best wrestler over and over. The cage raises, and Cena jumps in the ring, and runs to Lawler’s aid. Punk walks out, championship belt on his shoulders, triumphant in his victory, while Cena and referee officials stand by Lawler’s side, who is now apparently mortally wounded. Or dead. I hope.
In all, this is a finish to the show that indicates two things. #1, this really IS the final heel turn for Punk, because all the signs are there. Haircut? Check. Constantly shouting he’s the best, regardless of whether he is or not. (Bryan Danielson is, but in WWE, Punk is, so sure.) Check. And of course, attacking a “defenseless” announcer is always a bad thing, unless you’re John Cena and the announcer is Michael Cole. So because of weird double standards, and the general idiocy of the WWE Universe, you’ve got a crowd of people jeering CM Punk for attacking a guy in a match he asked for, for disrespecting him repeatedly, unfairly, and with no provocation. I don’t see how Punk isn’t deserving of respect, or isn’t the WWE Best In The World, because if we’re to presume for a moment, that the WWE Championship is supposed to mean anything, it’s that you’re the BEST WRESTLER in the company. And if WWE is the LEADING Wrestling promotion IN THE WORLD, then logically, this has to mean that you are the BEST IN THE WORLD. You could debate if Punk really is, in shoot terms and ability, but kayfabe, of COURSE he is. He has to be, by definition. John Cena showing up and saying that Punk’s actions are way over the line, are at the best, stupid, and at worst, hypocritical AND stupid.
But, also, this is probably the last time I can realistically, and logically say that Punk is no longer a tweener, when he’s so clearly being portrayed as the villain now. I’m not saying his actions are indefensible, far from it. He’s not on the level of, oh let’s say, Sheamus, because everything Punk does is consistent with what a tweener or heel would do, and that’s fine, because he’s supposed to be. Heel Punk is good Punk. Anything Sheamus is bad Sheamus, same thing with Cena. If there’s one big thing that WWE needs to fix, it’s having their heels and faces act consistently, with what heels and faces are supposed to do, instead of this weird reverse bullshit where faces act like heels and are cheered for it, and heels act realistically and are booed for it forever. It makes me want to rip my eyeballs out and dunk them in sulfuric acid.
Anyhow, hopefully Jerry Lawler is dead, because he’s a bad announcer. I’m sick of his dumb propagandistic mark ass bullshit.