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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.) WWE is tired of renting luxury cars.

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

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

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

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

Awesome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

…God I still love you though.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

MORE TACOS!

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

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

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

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

Review: “WWE: Main Event” Did not Disappoint…


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.

4/5 Grizzly’s

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 8/3/12

After the typical last week recap, tonight’s Raw opens up with CM Punk and Jerry Lawler fighting backstage, in plain clothes. I should say, it opens up with Jerry Lawler attacking Punk, and Punk then knocking him to the ground and being carried away by referees, and faded away into the credits on a sprawled, unconscious Lawler.

Immediately after this, Sheamus enters the arena, ostensibly to get cheap Face heat by mentioning how great Chicago is, to a Chicago audience, and to talk about how baaaaaddd he’s gonna beat up Alberto Del Rio at the next PPV. Then of course, CM Punk interrupts him, to a pretty damn loud cheer from the crowd, who are clearly psyched to see CM Punk, and a very clear, very LOUD CM Punk chant starts. It was refreshing to actually see Punk get some damn respect for once. What proceeds is CM Punk utterly destroying Sheamus on the mic, with every single one of Sheamus’ very obviously rehearsed pop-inducing face comments, being utterly ignored or booed by the Punk loving audience. In a situation where the script obviously called for Sheamus to be the guy the crowd rallied behind, the whole thing failed miserably for him, simply because the writers forgot to factor in the fact that Chicago frigging LOVES Punk, and were hanging on his every word. A highlight was seeing Punk toss back the word “Fella” at Sheamus derisively. Another was Sheamus desperately trying to remind an audience that clearly hates him, that he’s the World Heavyweight Champion. It was glorious watching him go all,  “Hey Punk fella, I’m the WHC, that sure does matter doesn’t it? Right guys? Hey… is this thing on? Oh god…”

Love me? Please? 

Punk makes a solid, long promo, defying anyone to say he’s turned their back on the WWE Universe, to uproarious applause from the audience, and continues his “disrespect” rhetoric, until AJ comes out to make a match between the two, saying it’s a Champion VS Champion match, and just leaves.

After the break, we get a quickly set up match between Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler. The thing as a whole was more or less pretty good, despite the fact that I just can’t stand Randy Orton. I love Ziggler but the fact that I found this match forgettable, is a testament to just how boring I find Randy Orton. The man is the King Midas of boring matches. In fact, I’m having a really hard time remembering ANY Randy Orton match I’ve ever found interesting, or at the very least, not forgettable. This is the case of a stellar performer like Ziggler, being dragged down by a mediocre worker, who for reasons I’ll never understand is popular. I can’t help but think if the match was Ziggler and anyone else, this would have been a highlight for me, but it’s just not the case. Regardless of what I think, the match had a few interesting bits, because seeing a superplex will always be cool, and the fact that Ziggler managed to pin and beat Orton clean, was a goddamned saving grace. If Orton had won, it would have been possibly the most forgettable match of the night, and another amongst the plethora of reasons to hate Orton.

At the end of the match, The Miz walks out, and joins Michael Cole at the commentary table, to replace Jerry Lawler, who they previously announced is all hurt and injured, for realsies. FOR REALSIES GUYS. I presume Lawler wanted his Labor Day off, probably to go hit on 16-year-old girls, so having him replaced was pretty great. Unfortunately, The Miz wasn’t nearly as awesome on the commentators mic as I hoped he’d be, which was really disappointing. I had high hopes for him, and he really kinda let me down the whole night.

Next, we cut to Daniel Bryan and Kane in Anger Management Therapy again, and this time, they’re presenting their anger collages. Bryan presents his, which is a paper with the words YES and NO scrawled over and over, and he expresses the fact that he feels everyone is mocking him by continuing to say YES at him, which is at least consistent with his character, since months ago he DID say he felt the people were mocking him. It was a cheap way to deflect how over he was with everyone after hie Wrestlemania debacle, but they ultimately made the right choice by deciding to keep him Heel rather than use that heat to quickly turn him Face again. In the long run, it’s only benefitted him more anyway. So next we see Kane’s anger collage, which is a blank piece of paper. The counselor asks him if that blank piece of paper represents what Kane feels inside, and Kane stands up, throws the paper into the trash can, and then summons a burst of flame from the can, presumably incinerating the paper. He sits back down, and Daniel Bryan calls him a teacher’s pet.


I love the idea of Kane using his pyrokinetic abilities in real life situations. He’d be great guy to call to help set up bonfires, or if you needed to get your BBQ lit, because those coals were being extra stubborn. I think they even did that once, at the Great American Bash. So in fact, there is someone out there like me, writing ridiculous, retarded ways for Kane to be relevant outside of the wrestling ring. I’m glad there is, because I see the only way to make his character new and exciting again, is to just go full meta like they seem to be doing, and just have him become the Deadpool of the WWE. Having him apologize to Josh Matthews while choke slamming him because HE CAN’T HELP IT AUUURGHHH, is great. Having him reference his insane litany of history that’s canon in WWE is another way, and following it up by having him continue to be willfully absurd is a pretty great thing. It works, in an insane way, and is the kind of comedy wrestler I actually can enjoy.

Ugh. Man. Tensai.  I honestly had half a mind to just write “TENSAI IS STUPID.”  a couple dozen times instead of this paragraph, but I’ve probably said that enough times in this column. The match itself wasn’t actually half bad, and seeing Cody Rhodes against Rey Mysterio, made both of their move sets work better, since they’re lighter performers, and their whole dynamic worked well, since it made all of their moves make more sense. I can buy the fact that the 619 is a damaging move for a guy like Rhodes, because it makes sense.

When you do what amounts to a running spin-around drop kick through the ropes, I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that you running and kicking someone like, oh let’s say Big Show, Cena, Kane, or even Randy Orton, is at all damaging. It doesn’t look good no matter how well they try to sell it. When someone like Rhodes does his Crossroads finisher, which is just a spinning face plant neck breaker thing, when it’s one someone bigger than him, it looks lousy. When it’s on someone his size or smaller, he effin’ slams their whole body into the mat by rapidly twisting their neck, and it looks painful as hell. I guess what I’m saying is, they need to create some kind of cruiserweight division again, where guys their size can fight other guys whose moves will complement each other, and we can get more faster paced, athletic matches from them, while still keeping the heavy hitting, methodical, grapple-fests from the bigger guys. You don’t even have to call it a cruiserweight division, just have those guys wrestle each other.

What? Right. The match. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara win. Shocker, I know.

Back to Anger Management, we see the group Daniel Bryan and Kane are in, demonstrating trust falls. Daniel Bryan is hesitant, but lets Kane catch him, executing a successful trust fall. Kane catches him, and everyone applauds. The Counselor asks Bryan and Kane to work together, to catch their peer Harold. They extend their arms out ready to catch him, and both let Harold fall to the ground. Bryan asks Kane if he knew that he was not going to catch him, and Kane asks him back the same. Bryan says he feels like they are finally beginning to understand each other. Then we find out Harold may need medical attention, as he apparently took a pretty nasty fall.

Sheamus enters the arena again, ready to begin his match with CM Punk. Initially, this pissed me off, a lot. The fact that this CHAMPION VS CHAMPION match was what, the first of the second hour? It just seemed SO insanely disrespectful to BOTH of them (eff Sheamus), and the titles they hold. I got so upset I even TOUTED it to WWE, and in my mind’s eye, Michael Cole saw that Tout later that night, and thought, “This is true. Something must be done about this. Thank you Adam Popovich, your insight is invaluable. By the way, AJ says she totally wants to go out with you. Here’s her number.”

So when Punk comes out, he’s still dressed in plain clothes, and has a mic. He makes the perfectly reasonable point that a CHAMPION VS CHAMPION match is a Wrestlemania worthy main event, and uses the goodwill of the crowd to take the day off of work. He then leaves the arena, to mixed cheers and some boos from the crowd. On one hand, good on him. It’s Labor Day. If Lawler gets the day off, why shouldn’t he? On the other hand, I’m positive Chicago really did wanna see their Second City Saint wrestle that night. Sheamus tries to make some half-baked point about him “turning his back” on the fans, as well do Michael Cole and The Miz. Really though, the dude’s just taking a day off. I guess in the WWE Universe taking a day off might as well be up there with kicking puppies or loving Hitler, because they continually try to sell it as cowardly, or treacherous to his fan base.

Every single moment Punk was on stage/screen, that crowd loved him, and the only reason they booed him was because they wanted to see more of him. To try to spin that as anything else, makes you no better than Lawler. Besides, this whole angle is counterintuitive, because the goddamned WWE belt is SUPPOSED to mean you’re the best, and for them to try to say he somehow isn’t, doesn’t undermine Punk, it undermines the value of the BELT. Punk may not be the TRUE Best In The World, but goddamnit, right now, by definition, HE IS. Respect him for that. Let him, I dunno, compete in the MAIN EVENT of your PPV’s. Let’s see someone beat Punk clean, and then you can start trashing him about how he’s not the best, he never was, etc, etc.

On his way out, AJ tries to stop Punk from leaving. Punk reminds her of his contract (Is it Ironclad!?), that guarantees personal days. Not Josh Matthews comes to ask AJ what she’s gonna do for the match, and AJ says she’ll find Sheamus an opponent.

Back from a commercial break, Alberto Del Rio enters, and holy god, I was about to shit bricks with how uncreative a choice that was, but instead he takes seat ringside and starts giving commentary. Then Jack Swagger walks in, the sacrificial lamb in Punk’s place, because c’mon, there’s no way Sheamus is gonna lose to Swagger, and thus, no stakes in this match, or meaning. This is when you pull someone out like Tensai, or Big Show, and have it seem like some semblance of a challenge to Sheamus, who is riding so high on his Invincible White Guy gimmick right now they literally call him The Great White. A couple of times during the match, the crowd even begins to chant “BORING”, right up until Sheamus puts Swagger in a texas cloverleaf, which causes Michael Cole to freak out with excitement at seeing Sheamus use a submission for the first time ever. To give Sheamus credit, a man of his size, twisting your legs that way and place pressure on your back does seem pretty painful, so I can’t fault Swagger for tapping out, thus not making the whole ordeal look like a TOTAL cheap win.

Of course, then Del Rio jumps in to attack Sheamus, because screw it, it’s what Sheamus would do anyway right? Isn’t ADR supposed to be the Heel anyway? So it’s consistent with his character?  Right. Anyhow, Sheamus gets the upper hand, because reasons, and Ricardo Rodriguez, who is an announcer, and Alberto Del Rio’s friend, jumps in to break up the fight, or at least hold back Sheamus from continuing his beating on ADR, gets brutally Brogue kicked. I mean, sure, you could argue that Sheamus was “aiming” for Del Rio, but Ricardo very clearly jumps in to push him out-of-the-way, and Sheamus had plenty of time to stop his kick, but does it anyway. He then continues to taunt in front of Ricardo’s broken body, while Alberto Del Rio screams in worry and shock for his friends health, who now appears to be in a minor coma. I’m having a hard time trying to rationalize more and more how Sheamus is the good guy in this feud at all, and at this point, his entire reason for disliking ADR is that ADR is kind of a cocky jerk who flaunts his wealth, and is mexican. Everything ADR has done has been in retaliation for the scores of terrible things Sheamus has done to him. So despite the fact that these two guys have literally been fighting each other for the last 5 PPV’s in a row, I’m really rooting for ADR to just break his damn arm, and slap him with a restraining order, because it’s ridiculous how terrible Sheamus’ character is at being a good guy.

So after all of that noise, we get a divas match. Layla enters, and sits at ringside, giving commentary. Why they’re using this exact same trope again, beats me, and I’m guessing they’re hoping we won’t notice. Layla starts up some petty argument with The Miz about Eve’s character, who lately has attempted to try to turn Face again by acting, guess what? Honorable, Kind, and showing Good Sportsmanship! She insists that Eve is “phony”, and doing all of it as a ruse, and while she may end up being right, and I’d have to end up eating my words, the way things are in the WWE at this point I literally do expect the Heels to act far more honorable, kind and sportsmanly than any of the Faces.

As for the match itself, despite Kaitlyn’s weird man arms, they actually wrestled pretty well together. Eve even manages to win cleanly, and pins Kaitlyn, but still somehow, Layla manages to try to spin it as deceitful. Eve then checks on Kaitlyn to make sure she’s ok, congratulates her, and then exits the ring to shake Layla’s hand, in a show of good sportsmanship all around. I don’t understand how she’s supposed to be a bad guy anymore, but screw it. I mean, AM I IN GODDAMNED BIZARRO WORLD? Is there some universe where the WWE has its moral properties straight, and guys like Sheamus are vilified for being the goddamn hooligan assholes they are, and perfectly reasonable guys who are just kind of douchey aren’t seen as inherently bad?

The downside of that alternate universe would be that in real life, stealing, insulting, and beating people would be considered virtues, and sure Sheamus-2 would be a Heel, but Adam-2 would be complaining about why he isn’t a Face, when he’s clearly a good guy, based on all the lying, cheating, stealing and unprovoked attacks he does. Basically, no matter what universe I’m in, Sheamus pisses me off.

After that, we see Jack Swagger leaving the arena, with AJ following him. She asks him what he’s doing, and he says he’s leaving because he’s better than this. She acts like this is a big surprise, which is confusing for a multitude of reasons. Isn’t his match over? Why shouldn’t he leave? But really, he states that’s he’s LEAVING leaving, for a few months, probably because he’s goddamn sick of being buried so hard. AJ begs him not to leave, because Brock Lesnar, Jericho, and Punk have left, and now he is too. He tells her to get bent, and leaves back to his home planet. A planet called TNA Wrestling. Maybe. Hopefully.

And Jesus. AJ. You’re killing me. YOU were the one who made Jericho leave. You can’t have a “Loser Leaves WWE” match, and act like the guy abandoned you when he loses that match. I know, in real life Jericho left to focus on his band, but c’mon girl, kayfabe. Sometimes, I’d just rather attribute character inconsistencies or illogical choices due to breaking kayfabe, rather than just shitty memory/writing. Sometimes, I give the WWE too much credit. Ugh. Ok, sexy AJ pic time.

That’s better.

Back to Anger Management, we see Daniel Bryan expressing how his anger problem is cured, and is happy to give Kane a rematch for their match at Summerslam. Kane accepts it, while politely threatening him. They start to get in each other’s faces, with Bryan saying he’d make Kane tap out, and Kane threatening to destroy him in this very room. Harold pipes up, apparently recovering from his cranial trauma, and is quickly and angrily silenced by Daniel Bryan and Kane, who both yell at him to shut up. They continue taunting each other, and The Counselor tries to break up their fight, until he totally snaps, screams at them both, and storms off in a huff.

“Don’t let him hurt me Kane!”

Back to Michael Cole, who announces the WWE Interactive feature of the night, where he gives the WWE Universe the choice to choose what kind of match they’ll see. Tonight’s choices were:

You’re not misreading that. In a brilliant creative decision, someone decided to finally let the Raw Active thing do something useful, by putting up a hilarious “joke” choice as one of the selections, and you better believe I tweeted that #WWEhug like a mofo. In fact, ALL of twitter was lighting up with #WWEhug, singlehandedly justifying the use of Twitter, and Raw Active in one fell swoop. Some people complained about the overwhelming choice of @WWEhug, but goddamnit, why would you not want to see that? Why?

Backstage, Not Josh Matthews is asking a tearful Alberto Del Rio about Ricardo Rodriguez’s condition, and David Otunga shows up, saying that his “client”, will not be answering any questions at this time. I love Lawyer/Wrestler David Otunga, and think this kind of role is the perfect choice for him. I’m looking forward to the fake lawsuit ADR and Otunga will file against Sheamus.

So this was a match that happened. The Ryback Ryback’s Jinder Mahal. Is this supposed to be a feud? Are we supposed to suspend our disbelief to think that Jinder Mahal has a chance against The Ryback? The most interesting thing was The Miz saying he would go the distance in a match against The Ryback, which I’d actually like to see. This match was exactly like every The Ryback match ever, right down to the obligatory GOLDBERG chants. The Ryback wins. Also, the sky is blue.

Backstage again, we see Not Josh Matthews asking AJ what her plans are for tonight, since things are somehow falling apart, in his words. She tells him to tell Alberto Del Rio and John Cena, that their match will be a Falls Count Anywhere match.

Daniel Bryan makes his entrance into the ring, trying to calmly no… no… no… his way into the ring, followed by Kane. They stand in the ring, awaiting the results of the WWE Universe’s Raw Active choice. It’s announced that the winning match type is #WWEhug, meaning they have to “Hug it out”. What transpires, is probably one of the funniest damn things I’ve seen in WWE history. The two of them, both awkwardly trying to accept hugging each other, Daniel Bryan complaining that Kane didn’t hug him back, and the both of them finally, tenderly embracing, was priceless.

And EVERYONE cheered.

They then start to do the uncomfortable Bro-slap on each other, which escalates into them fighting each other, but holy hell, #WWEhug was a goddamn success. The whole thing as a de facto “match” being refereed, and The Miz spouting the “rules” of the match, was amazing. Of course, once they started fighting, Kane gets the upper hand and tries to put Daniel Bryan’s head inside a chair, and jump on it from the top rope, but he’s distracted by a group of Ref’s, and Daniel Bryan hits him with the chair and gets away.

I take it back. The official most forgettable match of tonight was between these two. Listen, I love Claudio Castignole. I do. But give him someone real to wrestle against. He’s goddamn great. Let him give the title some meaning. On the most part, this whole match consisted of Cesaro destroying Santino, and retaining his title pretty definitively. The best part of the match was Cesaro stomping on the stupid Cobra sock angrily. I honestly think the entire match was about two minutes long at best, so really, have Cesaro show his skills against someone real already.

This was probably the most underrated match of the night. The fact is, Zack Ryder, gimmicks and stuff aside, is a competent worker, who should be utilized more. So is Heath Slater. They’re both pretty much on the same caliber right now. Heath Slater may be playing resident jobber right now, but dammit if he’s not innately watchable. Zack Ryder’s enthusiasm is also very infectious, so really, the both of them ought keep doing what they’re doing, and we can get totally decent mid card matches like this. The only thing that would make them better is if they were longer. Zack Ryder gets the pin on Slater, and celebrates his official second win on Raw. I think. He’s never won more than twice? Damn. I didn’t notice. Anyhow, as harsh as that is, hopefully it’s changing.

Right after the match ends, Vickie Guererro walks into the arena, demanding a chair, to have a sit in, saying she needs to be heard. We cut to a commercial, and all I can imagine is that for 4 whole minutes, that poor Chicago crowd had to deal with Vickie just sitting there, boringly, while the live show they’re taping waits for the break to end, so they can continue the show. Perhaps something in timing was screwed up, because I’m feeling like the match should have gone on longer, and her coming out, and asking for a chair should have happened during the break, and we just come back to her in the ring with the chair.

And the whole thing is a setup for Vickie to reiterate her point last week, that AJ is abusing her power and “making things personal”, (GOSH A GM HAS NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE), but also, she demands a personal apology from AJ. She then starts to make the most retarded, already dated, shitty parody of the stupid Clint Eastwood/Chair thing that happened this last weekend. Thankfully it’s cut short, and never discussed again, as AJ comes out, and admits that the WWE Board of Directors have said she cannot place her hands on any of the WWE Talent, Staff, or Referees.

Vickie then embarrasses and humiliates AJ by demanding she apologize again after she already had. Then uses the whole “Board of Directors Mandate” thing, to insult AJ to her face, condescend to her, and then ends up actually slapping her in the face TWICE, knowing AJ can’t do anything about it in retaliation. It actually was pretty goddamned horrible, and made me feel for AJ again. I kept expecting AJ to announce her sudden resigning, and to kick the crap out of her, but instead she just takes it, accepting defeat.The crowd went insane the entire time, chanting SLAP HER, and USE THE CHAIR, right up until Vickie does her insane witch laugh out of the arena. AJ then grabs the chair, and smashes it against the ring floor in frustration. Really, I can’t blame her, and this segment went a long way towards endearing her to me again, whilst simultaneously making her appear somehow even more unhinged.

The main problem though, is that AJ has GM powers. Can’t she just fire Vickie? Or reprimand her for some reason? Or write her up for you know, assaulting the GM? C’mon girl, that Board of Directors thing goes both ways right? Right?

It’ll be okay girl. You smash that chair.

Despite Cena, this whole match was actually fairly long, and pretty damn decent. They opened up in ring like usual, and things proceed to spill to the outside of the ring, where surprisingly, Alberto Del Rio started to really dominate Cena, which was actually pretty surprising. At one point a LETS GO CENA/CENA SUCKS chant started up, and the interesting thing to note, is literally every single time that chant starts up, the LETS GO part is very high-pitched, and the CENA SUCKS part is significantly lower pitched. This is because only stupid kids are John Cena fans. Everyone else hates him.  Eventually, Cena tries to slam Del Rio through the announcer’s table, and tries dragging the steel steps over the table for a platform to suplex off of, but Del Rio counters it, and suplexes him through it instead. After a while, they end up heading backstage, and right as it looks like Cena is about to win, CM Punk shows up. Punk kicks Cena in the head, and rolls ADR on top of him, and surprise, surprise, Alberto Del Rio wins!

Punk then lifts up Cena, and slams his face into the hood of his a car. Punk kneels next to Cena, says the word “Respect”, hoists his belt in to the air, and Raw ends as we see that Paul Heyman is driving the car.

Which was supposed to be surprising, but it shouldn’t be SHOCKING to anyone who actually knows anything about wrestling, or pays attention to continuity, or you know, remembers anything that happened longer than a week ago. Last year, when Punk made his infamous “pipe bomb” shoot speech, he flat-out said he was Paul Heyman guy. In fact, that’s probably what got Paul Heyman back into the WWE scene. That and Brock Lesnar’s inability to talk on the mic, at all. Anyone who is surprised to see Mr. Paul E. Dangerously, and CM Punk, a wwECW alum, working together, is clearly just not paying attention, or is ignorant. I’m totally psyched for the whole damn thing, and even if WWE will keep straddling the line of Punk being a kinda sorta heel/tweener, if you have smark crowds like Chicago, you’re gonna have to change your storyline to reflect that. Period.

One funny side note, is that a fan had a sign saying “We Want Ambrose”, which made me laugh pretty hard. Keep waiting buddy.

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 7/16/12

Hot off the heels of Money In The Bank is tonight’s Raw, opening with a quick recap of the events from the PPV. Obviously, John Cena won the main event at MITB, and managed to grab the suitcase and guarantee himself a title match against CM Punk in the foreseeable future. Hopefully this doesn’t mean we’ll get a weird repeat of last years “Summer of Punk-WWE Style”, with the roles reversed and now somehow John Cena is the underdog again.  CM Punk enters at the top of the show and starts a promo declaring himself once again, as the Best In The World, and echoes his famous pipe bomb promo nearly a year ago. Not in the way where he was sick of the hypocrisy and the inability of the WWE to utilize its talent effectively, but in the general “I’m the best” sense, which is a bummer, because last year the people were really clamoring for the heart of Punk’s message. Some said that it was even the dawn of a new age of wrestling, called the “reality era”, but that’s pretty much gone down the drain in the last year. As much as I like Punk, he’s really over promised and under delivered when it comes to being an “Agent of Change”, as he claimed to be. Granted the focus has shifted for the better from the All-Cena-All-The-Time-Fest it used to be,but the fact remains that things haven’t changed dramatically as he claimed they would or should. I can’t blame him though, because he’s not the one in charge of the company, nor is he the biggest WWE monetary draw (Cena still is, unfortunately), who could have enough clout to order some legitimate creative changes. But I digress, after going on a bit about how he’s overcome all the odds he’s faced in his title reign,(echoes of Cena? A smart booker would play up this thematically if they were going to re-ignite the Punk/Cena feud.) Big Show enters the stage, and steps into the ring, mic in hand.

He’s pretty mad about losing MITB, and very politely, and eloquently says that if he had won, he’d cash in the contract, and take the belt immediately from Punk right then and there. Punk counters by pointing out that no matter how much destruction Show leaves in his wake, he loses, and lost again last night. They then argue about the fans, Punk claiming the fans respect him for winning, and Show mentions how fickle and forgetful the WWE fandom can be, and says that they don’t really respect Punk at all. While he does make an excellent point, Punk then tells Show off, and reminds us that Show, despite being very logical and consistent with his character motivation, is also ultimately a bitter man, who chokes when it comes to the literal main event. Show tells Punk that in their forthcoming match tonight, he will knock him out, and Punk could lose the title tonight to John Cena, who could cash in his contract.

I’m pretty sure I’ve made it known I’m not a fan of Kofi Kingston and R-Truth as champions, and I’m dying to see somebody with actual tag team presence and chemistry get the titles and give them actual meaning again. The Primetime Players have a simple gimmick, and their in ring ability is competent, and with time I’m sure they could build up to become a great team. My main problem with them, is that they totally don’t need AW. They made a point recently to tell us that he wears a mic at ringside, although I must have missed the reason why. I don’t know why we need to hear AW shout his Odin-Voice over the sound of everything else, because his comments are useless and inane. He’s loud, obnoxious, and not in an entertaining, good heel heat sort of way. Tag Team matches can be goddamned amazing, and while the presence of the titles being back and cared about is refreshing, they need to follow through and make us care about the division as a whole.

The match itself was a pretty by-the-numbers Kofi Kingston/R-Truth match, that was pretty boring to watch and mostly was there to only establish the Primetime Players as a force, and to develop AW’s douchey character further.

Backstage, we see AJ and Daniel Bryan talking about last nights MITB championship match. AJ says she called it down the middle, (which is more or less true), but then surprisingly, Daniel Bryan expressed seemingly genuine regret for how he’s treated AJ in the past, and admits he used AJ as a scapegoat, because he was so wrapped up in beating CM Punk. He comes close to confessing something to AJ, until Eve interrupts them, says that there will be a tag match between her, a partner of her choice, and Daniel Bryan & AJ. She then insults AJ, and leaves. AJ asks Bryan what he was going to confess, and he says it can wait until after their match.

A part of me wants him to admit he truly does love her, and wants her back, and then they’ll get married and live happily together forever, but then I remind myself this is goddamned wrestling, and hope he’ll just apologize, agree to be friends, and he encourages AJ to go take the Diva’s championship, re-christen it the WOMAN’S Championship, and retire the whole stupid “Diva” division forever. Let’s get some actually talented women in the ring, and have them wrestle for longer than 2 minutes at a time. Let’s keep the skimpy Diva outfits though, let’s not go crazy.

Alberto Del Rio lost his championship match last night, because Sheamus is riding hard on his current push, which still seems divisive between fans, and I’m sure I’ve hated on Sheamus enough in this column so I’ll just stop now and say BOO. Anyhow, ADR makes quick work of Zack Ryder, and submits him with the rolling cross armbreaker. He starts to go into his usual post match attack, until Rey Mysterio’s music comes on, and he runs into the ring. ADR starts stomping on him wildly, which made me giggle gleefully, because the thought of Mysterio returning to that big of a pop from the audience, only to get his ass kicked would have made my week. But my dreams often never come true, and Mysterio lands the 619 on ADR. ADR then quickly gets up from it, because the 619 is stupid, and he and Ricardo leave, walking together backwards up the ramp, shouting rebuttals to Mysterio. In a perfect world, ADR would be the World Heavyweight Champion, and we’d see him and Mysterio feud, with Sin Cara stuck somewhere in the middle. Luchador wrestling is awesome, and there needs to be more of it in the WWE.

Why they didn’t combine these into one, slightly longer youtube video, I’ll never understand.

Heath Slater’s favorite Raw moments are the last few weeks, which is appropriate, because those are pretty much his ONLY notable Raw moments. His fights with all the past WWE legends have been great moments of nostalgia, and have consistently been a bright spot.  When we return to the actual ring, Slater talks about how he knows someone is going to come out, and sure enough, Rikishi walks out. Which surprised the hell out of me, since, I genuinely thought he was dead. Seriously. I was shocked to see him walk out. Rikishi then superkicks Heath Slater, stink faces him, and then pins him with his ass. After a quick celebration, the lights go out, and when they come back up, the Uso’s, who are Rikishi’s kids, are standing in the ring with Rikishi. They then begin dancing, just like Too Cool and Rikishi did years ago. It was a fun moment, but I’m not sure you’d call Rikishi a WWE Legend just yet, nor was Too Cool such a long time ago that I would  wax nostalgia about it, but regardless it was entertaining.

Eve’s partner turns out to be the The Miz! I was surprised by this because I expected her to choose some typical “strong guy” like Kane or something. I’m so happy to have The Miz back it’s ridiculous you guys. Of course, as much as I love The Miz, he’s small fry compared to the True Best In The World Daniel Bryan. Miz gets the upper hand though, and tags in Eve. Eve puts AJ through a couple strong moves, wearing her down, until she turns things around on Eve, and goes for a pin, that Miz distracts the Ref from. After that, AJ kicks The Miz off the apron, and Eve attempts a roll up on AJ, but once again, the Ref is distracted by Miz, who tries to run into the ring illegally. While the Ref is distracted, Daniel Bryan rolls Eve and AJ over, reversing the roll up pin, and the Ref counts the pin before Miz can interrupt.

I actually really liked this match, despite it’s length, because seeing Daniel Bryan and AJ work together, in a smart, resourceful way, was awesome. After the match, Daniel Bryan grabs a mic, and begins to make his confession to AJ. He builds it up big, and confesses his love for her. AJ looks surprised, and troubled, but Daniel Bryan goes the full nine, and even presents her with a ring, and proposes again. AJ stands there, looking perplexed and worried, and Daniel Bryan slips the ring on her finger. AJ looks tearful, begins to nod, and accepts, saying yes, and they then kiss. The crowd seemed to hate this, which I don’t understand. I guess seeing a couple overcome their obstacles and problems to unite in the name of love is unappealing to them, but I found the whole thing really adorable. I’m kind of big softie when it comes to relationships and happy couples, so seeing both Bryan and AJ YES-ing together, joyfully, was refreshing and cute. Plus it was relatively short, unlike last week’s 20 minute plus Soap-Opera-Fest, so it was a good example of a romantic storyline getting wrapped up in a satisfying way. The part of me that wanted to see this, got exactly what it wanted.

Now, I’m hoping this isn’t the WWE’s way of putting the Bryan/Punk feud to bed, but if it is, let’s please see Bryan/AJ doing lots more together, but in the ring. They made a great intergender tag team, and them working together, to, I don’t know, let’s say: Win the Tag Titles and give women wrestlers something else to aspire to gain other than a purple and pink bedazzled belt with a butterfly on it, would be awesome. All in all, seeing AJ and Daniel Bryan overcome their past differences and working together, and potentially getting (kayfabe) married, was great. Let’s seem them satisfy that other part of me, that wants a legitimate Women’s division. I could make a gross joke about AJ satisfying any other parts of me, but she’s an engaged woman now, and I AM A MAN OF HONOR. I respect their fake love.

Ryback is now finally done working through nameless, faceless jobbers and is taking on more in-house jobbers. So of course why not have him take on the WWE’s resident in-house jobber, Jack Swagger? Swagger at first gets a good lead on Ryback, and nearly puts him in the ankle lock, but Ryback counters and then triple powerbombs him. The entire time however, the bell never rang, so the match never officially happened, so after Jack Swagger got Ryback’d, Ryback just started saying his catchphrase, demanding more succulent man flesh via the cry of “FEED ME MORE.”

In my mind, Ryback says everything this way. He’s like The Hulk:

“RYBACK WANT MORE MATCHES. RYBACK’S BICEPS NOT VASCULAR ENOUGH. RYBACK MUST PUMP FOR MORE TONE. RYBACK NEEDS PROTEIN SHAKE. RYBACK WATCH GLEE NOW.”

Yeah, In my mind, Ryback is a proud and out Gleek. He agrees that the first season was the best though, and it’s not nearly as good as it used to be. My mind-Ryback is weird. And a little gay.

Vickie Guerrero then announces Dolph Ziggler’s entrance, and he walks in, MITB suitcase in hand. He gets in the ring, and says that he’ll be the next World Heavyweight Champion, and starts saying how he’s better than Bret Hart, Stone Cold, and The Rock. The entire time, Vickie parrots key words from his promo, until he is interrupted by Jericho. Which makes sense, because Jericho HATES it when you start saying you’re better than anyone, because that’s HIS THING DAMMIT. Before Jericho can speak, Ziggler starts breaking down Jericho, saying he hasn’t won anything in a long time. He lays the insults on thick, and challenges Jericho’s assertion that he is the Best In The World At What He Does, saying all Jericho does is lose. All salient points by Ziggler, that really seem to get under Jericho’s skin. He continues taunting Jericho, until Jericho busts out a brutal Codebreaker on the Zig Zag Man. He then leaves without saying a word. He’s probably not returning to the silent, Troll-ey Jericho that he was when he first debuted, but it’s nice to see Jericho as a face again.

I forgot JTG was still employed by the WWE. Not to sound like a total smarky jerk, but how the hell is JTG getting Raw airtime, and Dean Ambrose is still in developmental territory? But whatever, this match is another in the line of Funkasaurus matches where we see a smaller wrestler hit Funkasaurus’ weak spot, which we all know is his knees. JTG spends a minute or two working on the knee, and Funkasaurus’ knee hurts him SO BAD until it suddenly doesn’t. Then he slams him, and lands a cross body splash, wins the match and starts dancing with a bunch of children they invited up into the ring, his knee having miraculously healed in mere seconds.

Earlier, Big Show said that after he defeats CM Punk in this match, John Cena could cash in his MITB contract and take the title from him, and then implied the fans would turn on Punk at this point. Now while I wouldn’t put it past Cena to cash in the contract this way, and try to play it off as him overcoming adversity and Never Giving Up™ somehow, I just think if that happened, people would be pretty pissed. I know I would be.

This was the only match of any significant length, and thusly the only one deserving of an actual description beyond “This guys wins”, because reading about it would take as long as watching it. So the match begins, and Punk approaches the match carefully, clearly picking his moves out thoughtfully, trying to find a way to gain the edge on Big Show. Show uses his size though, and tackles Punk repeatedly, stands on him, and generally makes Punk miserable. Punk fights back valiantly, and gets a breather after shoving Show into the ring post. He throws a series of hard kicks, but they’re ineffective against Show, who once again slams CM Punk to the ground, whips Punk around the ring, and slams him into the mat again and again. Punk, ever resilient, jumps on Show’s back, and slaps on a sleeper hold. Show counters it into a huge sidewalk slam, and attempts a huge splash, that Punk dodges. Punk starts to gain momentum by using the ropes, but Show counters again with another huge slam. He cocks up the WMD, but Punk ducks and throws 3 huge kicks at the back Show’s neck, and then follows it up with 3 more high knees to the head. A huge irish whip is countered by Punk, and Show goes down, Punk then climbs to the top rope, and lands his Macho Man elbow drop. Show kicks out, and then chokeslams him violently. Punk manages to get a foot on the ropes, and Show starts beating Punk in the corner. Show then assaults the Referee, resulting in a disqualification. Punk wins, but Show continues beating Punk. John Cena then runs in, with his MITB suitcase in tow. Show leaves the ring, and Cena grabs a mic.

Cena starts to mention that he’s got an announcement to make regarding his MITB contract. Show interrupts him, and taunts him. He starts talking about how the belt is Cena’s, encouraging him to cash it in now. Cena, being ever-predictable, says he’ll cash in the contract at the 1000th Raw. He goes on to say that his “huge announcement” was actually him hitting Big Show in the face with the suitcase. I mean, he doesn’t say that, he just does it. I don’t know how an announcement can be an impromptu attack, but whatever. It makes no sense, but seeing Cena and Punk hold up their respective trophies (belt and suitcase), was neat. The show ends on them agreeing to have their match next week, and fades into a promo for the 1000th episode of Raw.

So all achievements aside, this 1000th episode of Raw thing is going to be terrible. So far they’ve announced that it will have everything in it BUT wrestling.The only two confirmed matches are some vague IC title defense by Christian, and the WWE title match between Punk and Cena. Amongst that though, will be the return of DX, The Rock, Brock Lesnar’s stupid announcement, The Daniel Bryan/AJ wedding (that was fast), Charlie Sheen for some reason, and probably loads of other stupid, boring video packages and special guests. I predict 10 minutes of wrestling for that show. The rest will be 2 hours and 50 minutes of filler and uselessness. But hey, I could be wrong. At the very least, I’m looking forward to the Daniel Bryan/AJ wedding, because I’m a big baby. Other than that though… Well. I’ll try to remain positive.

I’ll try.

Monday Night Raw Recap & Review 7/9/12

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

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

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

 

There are no words for this.

He’s not wrong. 

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

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

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

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

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

I miss you Miz. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, she knows what she’s doing.

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

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

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

WWE Announces New Show to Weekly Lineup!


In an age where keeping business plans secret is nearly impossible, and where released dirt sheets spoil myriad wrestling story lines on a weekly basis, this week WWE actually managed to surprise most of the Internet Wrestling community by announcing a brand new, Prime Time original series to complement its current programming schedule. The show will be called WWE Main Event, and will be broadcast on ION Television, starting October 3, 2012.

Speaking on the decision to add a new show to the current weekly lineup, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has said:

WWE looks forward to this new partnership with ION Television,..We are excited about producing this new television show, WWE Main Event, and bringing our fans to ION Television every Wednesday.”

Vince also announced that all WWE Live events will now have free candy! Yay!

It appears the current plan is for this to become another show to continue and expand upon the main story lines in WWE, ala their previous shows such as Sunday Night Heat, or Shotgun Saturday Night. With their flagship show Raw heading towards its 1000th episode milestone, and their secondary division roster Smackdown on Fridays, it looks like this show will be a bridge to the gap between the two shows, and will hopefully provide further cohesion between the two rosters, and improve both shows overall.

Personally, as a WWE fan I’m always excited to get more wrestling, however I am carefully optimistic about the whole plan. It does sound very suspiciously similar to their early ideas for WWE Superstars or NXT, which quickly became online only shows, that only showcased mid to lower card performers, and lost their appeal with the core WWE audience. The Internet Wrestling Community is buzzing about this show quite a bit, although mostly with negative anticipation, mixed with hopeful regret. I suppose you can only have so many shows put out and then taken away from you, before your hardcore fan base starts to get tired. I think the whole thing is a great opportunity for WWE to expand story lines, give us more per minute wrestling each week, and a great chance to provide a new venue for under appreciated talent, rather than another venue to bury unwanted talent. *cough* Zack Ryder *cough*

Woo Woo Woo. You Know it.

Anyhow, the show will at the very least give the average wrestling fan nearly a full week of wrestling to watch between trips to the bar and time spent on Poker Blog. Monday Night Raw, Wednesday’s Main Event, Thursdays TNA Impact Wrestling, and Friday Night Smackdown, and then on weeks where there’s a Sunday Pay Per View, it could end up being a lot to watch, but for fans like me who can’t get enough of the sports entertainment they love, it’s a good thing.