Real American Wrestleblog

This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

Archive for the ‘Monday Night Raw’ Category

Real American Top 5 – Things to look forward to tonight on Monday Night Raw

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Fresh off the heels of Extreme Rules last night, WWE will be back at it tonight and with a short schedule to promote the next Pay Per View, we can probably expect some big things in the works for tonight.

5) With Daniel Bryan out of action, I expect some kind of announcement about the future of the Intercontinental Championship.  If not tonight, then sometime soon I expect the title to be vacated and a new champion crowned.

4) Potential face turn for Cesaro & Tyson Kidd.  Despite being just thrown together, the two have been phenomenal together and both guys are incredibly over and with New Day stealing the titles from them at Extreme Rules last night, it makes sense for them to turn face and seek revenge against the inferior heel team that robbed them.  And with the Usos out of commission for months to come, the spot of top face tag team is up for grabs.

3) Return of King of the Ring.  WWE has announced that the finals of a 2015 King of the Ring Tournament would take place Tuesday night, exclusively on the WWE Network.  That would mean that there will be some qualifiers / preliminary round matchups taking place tonight on Raw.  Winning King of the Ring generally doesn’t mean much and any time somebody uses it to undergo a gimmick shift and start calling them King whatever after winning annoys me, but it usually generates some very good and unique matchups.  I’m predicting Bad News Barrett wins the crown and scepter.  Check out the brackets here.

2) What is next for Bray Wyatt?  – After more cryptic promos in coming weeks, expect Wyatt’s next opponent to be revealed.  I’ve read a lot of speculation that it’s either Ryback or Roman Reigns.  As you’ll read in my explanation for #1, I’m expecting it to be Ryback, which intrigues me.  It wouldn’t be my first choice.  I think Wyatt is too over and would force the crowd to be behind him rather than Ryback and might set back Ryback’s character development if the crowd turns against him again.  As we saw in 2013, Ryback as a heel is not a good choice.

1) Announcement of Seth Rollins next challenger for the WWE Championship.  All of the speculation that I’ve seen has pointed toward a rematch between Rollins and Orton at Payback or perhaps a Triple Threat between Rollins, Orton and Kane.  However, the trailer that aired last night at Extreme Rules featured Roman Reigns talking about getting revenge for somebody stealing his moment, which to me can only mean Reigns taking on Seth Rollins.  Rumors abound that it could be Reigns vs. Wyatt up next while Rollins takes on Orton again or both Orton and Kane, but I’m leaning more towards thinking it could be Rollins defending against Reigns and Orton one-on-one against Kane.

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The Raw Review – 08/11/2014

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Start off the night with a mound of presents at the top of the rampway as tonight is Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration – AKA just an excuse to boost ratings on what fans know full well is likely to be a crummy take home show where nothing real happens and the entire point is to plug SummerSlam and the WWE Network as much as possible.  #$9.99, in case you didn’t know.  And if you by any chance didn’t know that, then let me inform you that Paul Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania.  I think HHH and Heyman must have a personal bet backstage over who can say their phrase the most without the audience rioting.

And speaking of Heyman and Lesnar, they started off the show with a very solid promo in which Paul Heyman relives the highlights of Brock Lesnar since his return to the WWE for probably the 10-billionth time in the past 4 months, lest anybody somehow forget that Lesnar is still around because he really only shows up for maybe a dozen shows a year, yet somehow he’s going to win the WWE Championship in 6 days.  First, The Rock comes back for a grand total of two matches before he gets to win the title off of Punk and now Lesnar, who has wrestled seven matches in the past two and a half years, is going to be our next World Heavyweight Champion for a near certainty.  I personally have a problem with the spotlight being taken away from the guys that are there each and every week, night in and night out.  It’s not a big problem, but it’s like that annoying itch you get right in the middle of your back that you have to really stretch to rid yourself of.  Anyways, Heyman caps the promo by announcing that the WWE ring is now Brock’s house and he and the man of the house are going out for dinner, but not to let the party (Hulk Hogan’s birthday party) get too out of hand because after he eats, the man of the house is coming back home (back to the ring).  Pretty solid foreshadowing without boring everybody at the top of the show.  I am however, a little disappointed that Lesnar didn’t destroy the “birthday packages”, but there was still another 2 hours and 40 minutes for that to happen at that point.

In the first match of the night, Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring and then Kane’s music hits, which was good news to me as I feared after last week where he once again relinquished his mask that perhaps Kane was retiring.  Kane announces that since Reigns beat Kane last week, which was almost like beating two men, the authority would like to see how Reigns fairs actually fighting against two men this week and Reigns is placed in a Handicap match against Rybaxle.  It winds up being a typical Reigns match in which he doesn’t do a whole lot other than his usual punch, kick, Spear, Superman Punch set-up (and people give Cena a hard time over his supposed Five Moves of Death).  Reigns ends up winning by DQ, apparently meant to save Rybaxle the embarrassment of losing a handicap match in their favor.  After the match, Reigns cuts one of his best promos to date in which he points out that Randy Orton thinks Reigns stole something from him, but he hasn’t taken anything from Orton yet.  However, he says that at SummerSlam, he’s going to take everything away from Orton.  He also points out that once you punch the teeth out of a Viper, it’s really just a big worm.

Next up was Seth Rollins against Rob Van Dam in the match we were promised last week on Raw before the bait and switch that led to Seth Rollins losing to Heath Slater due to easily one of the most entertaining in-match distraction segments in the history of Monday Night Raw.  But Rollins redeems himself this week after a physical match with RVD and Rollins wins with the Curb Stomp, which for the record, is a pretty crummy finisher in my book because there are so many situations in which it doesn’t make any sense for his opponent to roll over and get into position for it.  After the match, Rollins takes a close look at Hogan’s presents at the top of the rampway, as though expecting Dean Ambrose to be hiding in one.  And predictably, just when he gives up on the idea and starts to leave, Ambrose of course comes bursting out of the biggest present and attacks Seth from him behind, rolling him all the way down the rampway and back to the ring and Seth before Seth manages to escape.  Nothing to complain about with the match, but the bit with Ambrose popping out of the box could have been done better.

Next up is some B.S. segment with Stephanie and Daniel Bryan’s supposed therapist in which Stephanie coaxes the young lady into claiming to have had an affair with Daniel Bryan and it’s obviously just a crummy ploy to pump up the hype for Stephanie and Brie, which for some reason seems to be the second Main Event on SummerSlam.  Really, after TNA did that incredibly shitty AJ Styles fake affair storyline a couple of years ago, WWE decides to do the same thing?  Thankfully, at this point in the storyline, it seems like this won’t be nearly as overly drawn out as that atrocity was and it’ll be quashed by the time Brie and Stephanie have their one and only match at SummerSlam, except for perhaps an eventual mixed tag with Brie & Daniel against Stephanie & HHH sometime in the future.  I pretty much tuned out this whole segment and if you didn’t do the same thing, then I’m sorry for your loss.  Apparently, Stephanie promised that they’re going to get it done and out of the way later on tonight instead of at SummerSlam, but I somehow doubt we could get that lucky.

Jack Swagger takes on Cesaro in our next match, and obviously Swagger has to come out looking strong in this one to promote his match with Rusev at SummerSlam.  It’s a shame that Cesaro apparently isn’t working the show and if he is, it’ll be one of those matches with no build-up where he jobs to somebody that they want to push but couldn’t decide what to do with until the last minute.  Like every Cesaro match, this one delivered plenty of excitement and unique spots before Swagger ultimately made Cesaro tap out to the Ankle Lock.  WWE, you’re pushing the wrong guy here.  However, once Swagger vs. Rusev is done, that will probably be rectified.  After the match, Rusev interrupts and proceeds to kick off another round of what I like to call the worst flag waving competition ever.  Thankfully, this round of flag twirling didn’t last very long.

Next up is pretaped footage between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho talking face-to-face in an interview segment.  This is really not the best setting for Wyatt, whose character is better served sticking to the shadows or working a crowd from a pulpit.  It was kind of like watching Batman walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the day in plain daylight.  I think the segment took away some of Wyatt’s mojo.  Both guys were brilliant, but Wyatt’s character just seemed out of place.

AJ Lee is in action in the next match against Eve Marie.  And you know when you see Eve Marie in the ring, you are about to see a terrible match.  From what I’ve seen from Eve in the past, she has no hustle in the ring.  She lollygags along at less than half speed and does nothing exciting or entertaining.  She only has a job because she has a slim waist and a boob job.  Paige comes out and causes a very boring distracting by skipping around the ring.  As much as I like Paige, that was a snoozer and Eve Marie for some reason gets handed a win over the Diva’s Champion in a match that lasted all of about 30 seconds before the distraction and Eve rolling up AJ for the win.  Paige wraps up with a poem and that part was pretty brilliant.  Diva’s promos usually suck balls, but that one was pretty decent.  Eve for no apparent reason is then down on one knee rubbing her neck outside the ring, so AJ goes out after her and beats the crap out of her while wailing and screeching.

John Cena’s then comes out to respond to Lesnar and Heyman’s comments from the start of the night.  I really like Cena when he gets ready to go into the ring with somebody that he legitimately doesn’t like, like he was with The Rock and now with Lesnar.  The dude is very underrated as a talker.  He almost had me convinced that he was actually going to beat Lesnar at SummerSlam.  Almost, but not quite.  Very solid promo.  Cena can occasionally bring it and when he does, he’s on par with any of the internet darlings out there.

Then it’s back to Brie and Stephanie and it was obvious that this match wasn’t actually going to happen tonight instead of at SummerSlam.  Instead, Stephanie turns the tables on Brie from a few weeks ago and gets Brie arrested for slapping her husband’s physical therapist earlier in that crummy segment.  Another waste of time here.  Stephanie was at least mildly entertaining as she flopped around with her tongue hanging out of her mouth while Brie put her in a horribly executed version of the Yes Lock.  The second time for the night, she was as boring as it gets, sticking hard to her overbearing bitch boss character hardcore.

Next up is Dolph Ziggler against Heath Slater with The Miz once again joining the commentary team.  I don’t know who convinced WWE that The Miz was a good talker, but that person should be shot.  I find it hilarious that even Michael Cole, the guy that was the biggest Miz mark back in 2011, has turned on the Miz and makes fun of him all the time.  Miz is a joke and a bad one at that.  Anyway, he stands on the announce table for the entire match in yet another suit that exhibits his poor taste.  Meanwhile, Ziggler puts in a decent appearance against Slater until it looks like Ziggler is about to get the W, so Miz starts to interfere, only to have Ziggler cut him off at the pass and beat the crap out of him and throw him around outside the ring.  This causes Ziggler to get counted out.  After the match, Ziggler offers to shake Slater’s hand and Slater goes to kick him instead, so Ziggler KOs him and heads into SummerSlam looking strong.  This current edition of Ziggler vs. Miz reminds me a lot of Booker T vs. Christian from 2003 and it should ring some bells for you because it’s pretty much the exact same scenario.  A PPV battle royal for a vacant Intercontinental Championship gets won by the heel who people thought was already eliminated and then the face comes back and beats the crap out of him for a month and beats him for the title at the next PPV.  Here’s hoping that history repeats itself in this instance.

Sheamus made his return after sitting out the last two weeks due to severe flu symptoms, which I believe is the reason why we have another AJ / Paige title match at SummerSlam.  After their Battleground match was so terrible, I thought they would continue building the program between them and skip over SummerSlam to give them time to work together some more at house shows and build some better in-ring chemistry and then have their next title match at Night of Champions next month.  Instead, we are saddled with both AJ vs. Paige and Stephanie vs. Brie at SummerSlam instead of them potentially building a Sheamus US Title defense against somebody like Cesaro or Rusev.  Sheamus has turned into a really solid in-ring performer.  You can’t dispute that the guy gives a max effort every time he’s in the ring and like Cena, he blows other big musclebound wrestlers out of the water in terms of athleticism and willingness to experiment with new maneuvers that you don’t see coming from a big guy, so I support Sheamus and Cena where a lot of people don’t.  I’m not going to mark out for either of them, but I have no problem with either of them carrying championships and I give them a lot of respect.  In tonight’s final match, Sheamus takes on Randy Orton and these two put on a very solid match together as they’ve done many times in the past.  It wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was very solid and for a Main Event on a take home show that didn’t feature anybody from the Main Event of the upcoming Pay Per View, it was more than adequate and it ended with another phenomenal RKO.  Randy Orton is among the best at finding exciting ways to hit his finishing maneuver when we as a viewer aren’t expecting it.  He may be the best at hitting his finishing move as a surprise since Shawn Michaels. 

Finally, we cap the night with Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration, which was the ratings grab they’ve been promoting all week to try to bring in viewers.  I’m kind of surprised that they saved it for the end of the show instead of leading off the second or third hour with it to reach the largest audience as the segments at the top and end of each hour easily get the best ratings of any given wrestling show.  Anyways, typical token appearances by legends and then Brock Lesnar comes back to try to spoil the party, but then Cena comes out and cuts him off and Lesnar disappointingly backs off and exits without the two having any real contact at all in the only show where they both appeared before their title match Main Event at SummerSlam.  This isn’t going to be a match on Sunday, it’s going to be two guys taking turns beating on each other and resting with numerous wear down holds and it’s probably going to suck, but because it doesn’t end with Cena winning and keeping the title, people are going to probably love it anyway.

Overall, not that great of an episode of Raw, but pretty good for a final episode of Raw before a PPV (Aka a take-home show).

 

 

Written by I Am a Real American

August 12, 2014 at 3:29 am

Posted in AJ Lee, AJ Styles, Antonio Cessaro, Battleground, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Christian, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Eve Marie, Heath Slater, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kane, Lesnar vs. Cena, Michael Cole, Monday Night Raw, Paige, Paul Heyman, Pro Wrestling, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Rybaxle, Seth Rollins, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, SummerSlam, The Miz, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE Championship, WWE Network, Yes Lock, Zeb Colter

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Five Things to Look Forward to in June 2013

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1) Money in the Bank Ladder Match announcements.  Really, the sooner that Payback has been and gone the better and we can get to the Money in the Bank Pay Per View on July 14 in Philadelphia.  Shortly after Payback, we should start finding out what the ladder matches are going to look like.  As for Payback, I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that Ryback is just another monster heel that they built up just to feed him to John Cena.  It’s just another instance of Cena getting his ass kicked by the same guy in a month’s worth of attacks and then overcoming some injury or stipulation or both to win anyway on the Pay Per View, only this time he’s going to beat Ryback twice in the same night.  As for CM Punk and Chris Jericho, it should be one of the best matches of the year, but unless Punk turns face or they pull a switcharoo and Punk doesn’t show up and gets replaced by Brock Lesnar or Curtis Axel, I don’t see anything surprising coming from it.  They’ll put on a great show, but nothing with be gained or lost by either man.  95% chance that Punk shows up, teases being a face and cheats to beat Jericho, changing nothing and doing nothing we haven’t already seen Punk do to death all last year.  He was entertaining at times, even while beating the heel champion’s dead horse all the way up until he wasn’t the champion any more.  I’m expecting more of that, so if you are one of the sheep that thought what Punk was doing in the last half of 2012 was somehow cutting edge – well, then Payback should be all kinds of good news for you.

2) The Usos getting a push again in the tag team division.  I don’t expect them to unseat The Shield, but it’s nice to see them adding new bits and pieces to the gimmick and picking up wins because like the Prime Time Players, neither one of them is likely to ever have a shot as a singles wrestler in anything other than a job squad capacity.  I greatly enjoyed the Team Hell No storylines and still am as Daniel Bryan goes nuts on everybody trying to prove that he’s not the weak link, but I’m excited to potential see more traditional tag teams and tag team specialists getting more air time and doing something other than jobbing to pairs of singles wrestlers.

3) Dolph Ziggler coming back on TV.  I imagine if WWE knew he still wouldn’t be cleared to compete this far into the future, they would have stripped him of the title and put it on Del Rio or Swagger at Extreme Rules and allowed Ziggler to win it again when he came back.  A few days before Extreme Rules, he was still being advertised to appear in the Main Event of Monday Night Raw the night after Extreme Rules in a tag match with Ryback against Cena and Del Rio.  As we know, that didn’t happen and Ziggler has still not wrestled since Swagger screwed the pooch by kicking the champion in the head wrong and causing a concussion.  However, he will surely be back in time to defend the title against Del Rio at Payback and once he retains the belt, we can get a fresh program for him against somebody like Daniel Bryan or the Ziggler-Orton rivalry that was rumored to be happening leading into Wrestlemania 29, but never happened.  With the Daniel Bryan and AJ stuff to still draw on and still be entertaining, I’m thinking that’s the direction they end up going as soon as Ziggler finishes with Del Rio and Bryan gives up on trying to beat the Shield as a tag team.

4) This is actually something NOT to look forward to, but something that is going to happen anyway and that’s Fandango winning the Intercontinental Championship.  Brace yourselves now because the most mis-interpreted fan reaction we’ve seen in a while is going to culminate with Fandango winning the title in a Triple Threat Match against The Miz and Wade Barrett at Payback.  If you were one of the people that ragged on John Cena for only using five basic moves and you’re one of the idiots at the arenas “Fandangoing”, go ahead and pull out your hypocrite stamp and slam it into your forehead because other than his spin kick (which Kofi Kingston and Cody Rhodes both employ more exciting variations of), everything that Johnny Curtis has shown us thus far as Fandango has been incredibly basic.  And it doesn’t even take much talent since he has the ring apron to steady himself with before delivering it.  On top of that, Jericho is lucky he didn’t end up on the shelf next to Dolph Ziggler after all the times Fandango landed on the back of his head with his leg drop.

5) More Curtis Axel.  I’ve been down on the spawn of Mr. Perfect a bit because he just seems to fall flat charisma wise when you see him come up against Triple H and John Cena.  It doesn’t feel to me like he’s able to make the crowd care about him, which is probably why they put him with Paul Heyman to see if he could get over that way in the first place.  And others have agreed with me over in the I Love the WWE Facebook group (http://facebook.com/groups/ILoveDoubleDoubleE) that he just feels like he’s falling flat.  And getting wins over Cena by countout doesn’t seem to be helping and I don’t see how anybody could have thought that it would.  However, the kid can wrestle and I’ve compared him a few times stylistically to the late great “Ravashing” Rick Rude.  He just needs to find some of the Hennig family charisma that made his dad great and he really could be exciting to watch for years to come.

What is going on with the Intercontinental Championship?

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Over the past several months we have slowly witnessed the Intercontinental Championship once again descend into mediocrity.  Currently held by Wade Barrett, which in and of itself in no way diminishes the title, it has not been defended on WWE Pay Per View since December. I know what you’re thinking – The Miz beat Wade Barrett for the championship at Wrestlemania XXIX last month.  But that’s not all together true since that match was only on the Wrestlemania pre-show.

Barrett, while holding the championship, in succession was eliminated by NXT rookie Bo Dallas in the Royal Rumble, did not appear on the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View at all, and then lost the championship to The Miz during the Wrestlemania pre-show.  And now, after regaining the title the night after Wrestlemania, he is not even scheduled to wrestle at Extreme Rules this Sunday in St. Louis.  Instead, the former champion Miz is scheduled to compete one-on-one against Cody Rhodes on the Extreme Rules pre-show instead of having a title rematch against Barrett.

Furthermore, Barrett has been showcased less and less on Raw and Smackdown.  His only appearance on Raw this week was to do an interview on the WWE App (which I don’t get by the way – one screen is more than enough and I don’t have an iPad or iPhone or any of the tablets that the WWE App is even available on).  Then, he got a rare in-ring appearance of late on Main Event last night and he wasn’t even in the featured match on the company’s third tier show.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, he jobbed to Sin Cara on that show.

I remember a time when winning the Intercontinental Championship almost guaranteed somebody a WWE (WWF at the time) Championship run within a year or two.  Nowadays, the Intercontinental Championship seems to be a place holder for former World Champions who were disappointments at the top level.  The last time somebody went from Intercontinental Champion to WWE Champion in less than a year was Jeff Hardy in 2008 (not including the World Heavyweight Championship, which we all know is not on the same tier as the WWE Championship any more and hasn’t been since Triple H and Evolution’s hold on the title and Raw was broken when the group split up in 2005).  It hasn’t been done in the last five years.

The last three up and comers to hold the championship have been Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett, of which Wade Barrett is the only one who has competed in a one-on-one WWE Championship title match (vs. Randy Orton at Survivor Series in 2010).  Barrett is also seemingly the only one of the three with the potential to take the next step any time soon, but even while holding the championship, he’s being treated like a lower-tier mid-carder right now.

Conclusion, the Intercontinental Championship is currently in the pits and assuming Wade Barrett gets on Raw or Smackdown any time soon, it’ll probably be to drop the belt.

Real American Top 10 – Potential Choices to replace John Laurinaitis as General Manager of Raw and / or Smackdown

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With the Era of “People Power” thankfully over at long last thanks to John Cena’s victory over Big Show at No Way Out and the subsequent firing of John Laurinaitis by Vince McMahon himself, there exists a power vacuum at the top of the WWE.  Will one individual be put in charge of both Raw and Smackdown or will we go back to having a separate General Manager for each show?  Could Teddy Long get his job back as Smackdown GM?  Could we see Vickie Guerrero returned to power?  Could one of GM Johnny’s former lackeys (David Otunga or Eve Torres) be promoted?  Will Vince or Triple H step up to retake responsibility for the shows?  Tonight, I assume we’re going to find out just how that power vacuum will be filled, but until then, here are some suggestions and possibilities courtesy of the Real American Top 10.

10) William Regal – Formerly the Commissioner of the Alliance during the Invasion storyline and also formerly the General Manager of Raw, Regal plays the part of authority figure pretty well and he also never fails to entertain when that authority is stripped away with him, usually taking his dignity with it.  During his last stint running Raw, he would attempt to manipulate the crowd by turning out to the power in the arena until they gave him the respect he felt he deserved.  Other than his one backstage segment on Raw last week where we were reminded of him being inducted into the dreaded “Kiss My Ass” club, he hasn’t been on Raw or Smackdown in a very long time and the last time I recall seeing him compete was in the “People Power” Battle Royal at Over the Limit.  Since his in-ring career may be winding down or finished as far as WWE is concerned, we could perhaps see him return to a position of authority.

9) Kevin Nash – He tweeted earlier today that he would be running Raw tonight, but I don’t really buy it.  He could be a solid option because he’d add another veteran presence and he is obviously still on good terms with the company after returning at the Royal Rumble last year and also being involved in a program with Triple H all the way from SummerSlam to TLC.

8) Ric Flair – Having recently ended his association with TNA, Flair is back on the market and I’ve heard rumors that Flair could be returning to WWE as a manager and his name has been linked with that of Dolph Ziggler.  However, he’s another solid choice to run a show and the young stars in WWE have always been able to benefit from having Naitch’s veteran presence in the locker room to go to for advice.  He also has been an authority figure in the past as a “Co-Owner” of the WWE following the end of the WCW / ECW Invasion storyline.

7) Mick Foley – Formerly the commissioner before the era of the brand extension and one of the best management personas in the history of the WWE.  Foley still makes regular appearances.

6) Stone Cold Steve Austin – He’s been Co-General Manager of Raw and easily the #1 ass-kicker in WWE history.  Nobody gets a louder ovation than when that glass shatters and Stone Cold appears.  We missed out on Austin this Wrestlemania season and I doubt we could be seeing him back on Raw on a regular basis in the near future with his time being taken up by his new show Ledneck Island and he’s still in demand for several B-movies a year.

5) Shane McMahon – Easily the most beloved on the McMahon family.  He has been a part of some of the most death defying stunts in the history of the WWE, from falling off the TitanTron at SummerSlam to putting Kane in a limo and sending him into a speeding crash into a tractor trailer.  It’s questionable whether or not Shane would ever come back to being a regular on screen talent, but I think we’d all love to have him back.

4) Shawn Michaels – The Heartbreak Kid shows up around Wrestlemania season every year, but surely that can’t be enough.  Like Foley, he’s been the commissioner before with some terrific results in the late 1990s when we all thought his career was over.  Since he returned in 2002, he’s firmly entrenched himself in the hearts and minds of fans forever, but he isn’t about to go back on his word and come out of retirement as a wrestler.  However, he would gladly be welcomed back with open arms to run the show.

3) John Bradshaw Layfield – The man knows money.  The man knows business.  The man knows wrestling.  If we can’t have him back at the announce desk, maybe a new job in management would be great.   However, I don’t think it’s very likely.

2) Paul Heyman – We’ve seen Heyman back recently as Brock Lesnar’s representative and he hasn’t lost a step on the mic, and as the former General Manager of Smackdown and with his experience innovating the business in ECW, he’s a very solid choice to lead Raw and / or Smackdown forward.

1) Edge – His surprise appearance to pump John Cena up for his match against Brock Lesnar before Extreme Rules was amazing.  The guy genuinely loves the business and he’s universally loved by the fans.  Since he suffered a career ending injury, running the show would be a great way for him to stay close to the business and continue to entertain, especially since he doesn’t seem to be swamped with acting jobs.

Raw Response – 06/11/12 – The End of People Power?

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After nearly being fired by Triple H the night after the Royal Rumble and then having his job dangled over the abyss during the Main Event of Over the Limit, John Laurinaitis faced a job performance review from Vince McMahon himself and I for one have dared to get my hopes up that the bumbling buffoon I call GM Johnny is finally removed from any on-air duties.

To begin the show, Johnny came out to make his case, but was immediately interrupted by Vince McMahon.  The opening segment was full of Fire Johnny chants and Johnny bumbles along through his delivery as always and then Sheamus comes out to sarcastically make a case for Johnny to keep his job.  Johnny then goes to the back to pick out Sheamus’ opponent and Vince informs Johnny that he’d better pick a very good opponent for Sheamus and the entire show had better be impressive or at the end of the night, he would be fired.  Vince then added insult to injury as on top of the stress he put Johnny under, the Chairman drove Johnny’s “People Power” scooter over the edge of the entrance ramp.

After the commercial break, Johnny comes out and announces that Sheamus’ opponent would be Lord Tensai and Tensai stormed out to the ring and knocked his manager Sakamoto flat.  Tensai wasn’t wearing his komono or helmet and he didn’t waddle slowly out to the ring like usual, so that might be a good sign that he’s going to last somehow because the scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing has indicated that Tensai (formerly Prince Albert and A-Train) would once again be repackaged just 2 months after the debut of his Tensai character.  Regardless of what Tensai’s future might hold, this was a match I suggested was one that needed to happen at some point this year (which you can read about in my Real American Top 10 posts).  The two men put on a very physical match, leaving marks all over each other, which shouldn’t really be that hard considering both of them look like they have spent most of the year avoiding sunlight.  I very much enjoyed this first match of the night and Sheamus ultimately won via the Brogue Kick.  After the match, Tensai beat down his own manager, which got zero reaction from the crowd.

After news broke this weekend that Alberto Del Rio would not be able to challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday at No Way Out as was advertised and on the air they explained it as a concussion that Del Rio suffered at the hands of The Great Khali on last week’s Smackdown.  Backstage, Vince asked Johnny what he planned to do to determine a new challenger for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out.  Johnny then asked Teddy for an idea and Teddy suggested Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. The Great Khali in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match and Johnny crappily tried to pass off the idea as his own.  Johnny then tried to fist bump Vince, but Vince would have none of it, responding simply “You’ve got small hands,” which of course implies that Johnny has a small penis.

In other backstage action, one-half of the Tag Team Champions R-Truth commented about being okay after Big Show physically dominated the champions and Brodus Clay two weeks ago on Raw and Big Show interrupted by knocking R-Truth out with the WMD.

For the second match of the night, United States Champion Santino Marella teamed with Diva’s Champion Layla against Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez and I assumed that Santino was obviously going to beat Ricardo with the Cobra and some other sort of hijinks, but Santino ended up juking Ricardo into running head first into the ring post and while the men were outside, Beth beat Layla with the Glam Slam. After the match, Santino tore Ricardo’s dress shirt off, revealing a Justin Bieber T-Shirt that looked like it was a women’s medium crammed over Ricardo’s men’s XL torso.

Kofi Kingston then stormed in on GM Johnny’s office where David Otunga is taking the opportunity to suck up to Mr. McMahon.  GM Johnny then returns from checking on R-Truth, who “isn’t doing well” after being knocked out by Big Show’s WMD.  Kofi then demands a match with Big Show, which Johnny agrees to, but then Johnny gives another horrible delivery of his line (but at least he got the words right) as he makes it a Steel Cage match.  Johnny cannot sell drama worth a damn.  He’s a terrible public speaker and his verbal delivery is as dull and flat as they come and he does not deserve to have an on-screen job.  He never did.  You could go to the Special Olympics and find that 90% of the kids there have better public speaking chops than GM Johnny.  His existence as an on-air talent just goes to show you that WWE fails to recognize the difference between legitimate heat on a character and people booing them simply because they are not good at their job.  GM Johnny wouldn’t be a good enough actor to be cast in the movie Thankskilling (go look it up on Netflix, it’s possibly the worst acted movie of all time).

Daniel Bryan comes out at the top of the second hour and he cuts a promo about his former girlfriend AJ and her flirting with his opponents in the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship at No Way Out.  CM Punk then interrupts as he makes his way to the ring for the match and cuts a promo on Daniel Bryan and tells him that AJ is out of his league, just like Daniel Bryan is nowhere close to being in Punk’s league in the ring.  Punk went on to insult “goat faced moron” Daniel Bryan for another few minutes, prompting chants of “Goat Face” directed at Bryan.  Kane then finally interrupts and gives his take on things and reminds everybody of some of his past antics including lighting Jim Ross on fire, electrocuting Shane McMahon’s testicles and Piledriving a priest and Kane says that his “pipe bombs” unlike Punk’s actually do damage.  AJ then comes out and this love rectangle continues as she claims she saw that Kane has a heart when she looked into his eyes last week.  The bottom line is, AJ says she knows the best man will win at No Way Out, but leaves it hanging as to who she thinks the best man is.  GM Johnny then appears on the Tron to announce that CM Punk will have to team with AJ to take on Kane and Daniel Bryan, but that match won’t be until later.

Next up was the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to determine the challenger for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out this Sunday.  My pick going in was Dolph Ziggler with Jack Swagger as a dark horse pick depending on how they wanted to work around the current growing rift storyline involving Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and their manager Vickie Guerrero.  Going into the match, I in no way saw The Great Khali potentially winning, mostly because his time in the World Title picture was never popular and Khali’s lack of athleticism is always criticized.  All four of these men were former World Heavyweight Champions, including Ziggler even though his World Championship reign lasted for less than an entire episode of Smackdown a year and a half ago.  Khali would be the first one eliminated after a Frog Splash from Christian and all three men pinning him at the same time.  Christian then overcame the numbers disadvantage and hit Swagger with the Killswitch and Ziggler covered Swagger and eliminated him, much to Vickie’s dismay.  Ziggler would go on to survive pretty much everything in Christian’s arsenal save for the Killswitch and then Ziggler hit the ZigZag, but Christian surprisingly kicked out.  Christian then countered a second ZigZag and hit a Reverse DDT, but Ziggler again survived.  Ziggler then avoiding some top rope offense from Christian and finally hit another ZigZag, this time for the win and Ziggler advanced to face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday.

The Goldberg chants came next as Ryback (formerly Skip Sheffield) faced two more jobbers in yet another 2-on-1 Handicap Match, who called themselves the “Commanders in Chief”, named Willard Fillmore and Rutherford “P.S.” Hayes.  Apparently, these dinks didn’t know that President Fillmore’s name was Millard and not Willard.  Either way, Ryback destroyed them as per usual.

John Cena made his first appearance of the night, making a case for GM Johnny to be fired.  Vince responded by bringing up Cena’s loss to The Rock at Wrestlemania.  Cena then brought up Vince’s Wrestlemania losses against Shane McMahon (Wrestlemania XVII), Hulk Hogan (Wrestlamania XIX), Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 22) and Bret Hart (Wrestlemania XXVI) and even joked “and didn’t you lose to Snooki too, or was that somebody else.”  In the end, Vince simply warned John Cena not to go out to save Kofi Kingston in his Steel Cage Match against Big Show.

Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston in a Steel Cage Match was next and of course Big Show was going to dominate this match due to his ginormous monster heel push and the fact that his Steel Cage Match with John Cena is obviously being promoted as the Main Event at No Way Out this Sunday.  Kingston was surprisingly able to land Trouble in Paradise, but Big Show put himself way over by launching Kofi clear across the ring to kick out of the pinfall seconds later.  Big Show then knocked Kofi out and spent a couple of minutes walking around the ring and taunting the crowd before finally leaving the cage and winning the match.

Sin Cara continued his return from injury tour with another victory over the job squad, which this time was represented by Curt Hawkins.  Guys like Sin Cara, Ryback and Brodus Clay are long overdue for some actual plot lines instead of the meaningless put over matches they’ve been having.  Admittedly it has only been two weeks since Sin Cara came back and he has had actual programs in the past before his injury.  Brodus and Ryback do not have that same track record and people are soon going to get bored with them (if they aren’t already) if they don’t start doing something meaningful soon.

Vader returned on special invitation from GM Johnny in honor of Raw’s upcoming 1000th Episode.  This could definitely be a trend that continues leading up to July 23.  Vader looked incredibly out of shape for this match and had to use all fours to climb the ring steps and get into the ring.  The crowd chanted “you’ve still got it,” which doesn’t say much for them because he obviously didn’t still have “it”.  However, he did beat Heath Slater.  Slater, much like GM Johnny should just keep his mouth closed.  When he picks up a mic, it makes me want to stab out my eardrums until I can find the remote control and mute his red-headed squeaky-scratchy-voice having ass.

CM Punk & AJ against Kane and Daniel Bryan would be the Main Event of the night in what basically amounts to a Handicap Match against Punk with a useless partner, who if the match holds true to form will get tagged into that match at some random juncture in which the action will stop and something screwy, silly, stupid or weird will happen leading to the finish.  And indeed, something silly happened when AJ got in the ring and skipped around Kane.  She then jumped onto Kane, wrapped her legs around him and commenced to make out with the Big Red Machine until Punk could regroup.  Kane then tagged out to Daniel Bryan and left and AJ tagged Punk back in and Punk beat Bryan with the Macho Man Elbow Drop while Kane looked on in confusion.

Then it was finally time for the real Main Event of the night – the potential firing of John Laurinaitis to end this three hour edition of Monday Night Raw.  Vince comes out and has security around the ring and when Johnny arrives, Vince informs him that the security is there to escort a certain somebody out of the ring, out of the building and out of the business.  Johnny then stumbles through some kind of dialogue where he asks to be left in charge of the Era of People Power.  Vince then prepares to fire Johnny, but is interrupted by the arrival of Big Show.  Big Show then hypes his “Ironclad contract” and shoots on Vince for all of the embarrassing stuff he had to do over the years like going down against Shaquille O’Neal, Floyd Mayweather and Ben Roethlisberger to get the WWE on SportsCenter.  Cena then came out to the ring to join in on the festivities.  Vince then promises to fire GM Johnny if Big Show loses at No Way Out and Big Show and Cena try to get at each other and security gets involved and Big Show throws them out of the ring.  Cena then jumps on Big Show and Vince tries to break it up and catches a WMD from Big Show by mistake.  Johnny then coaxes Big Show to the back and Cena stands in the ring shocked with Vince laid out to end the show.

Written by I Am a Real American

June 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Posted in A-Train, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Brodus Clay, Cena vs. Laurinaitis, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Dolph Ziggler, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Handicap Match, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Layla El, Lord Tensai, Macho Man, Monday Night Raw, No Way Out, Over the Limit, Pro Wrestling, R-Truth, Raw Response, Real American Top Ten, Sakamoto, Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Steel Cage Match, Tag Team, The Great Khali, United States Championship, Vader, Vader Bomb, Vickie Guerrero, Vince McMahon, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 28, Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE, WWE Tag Team Championship

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Raw Response – 05/28/12

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Big Show knocked out John Cena once again last week and while Cena vs. Big Show is by no means anything new, it comes with Cena in one of the most trying times of his career after losing to The Rock at Wrestlemania, getting dominated by Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules and then losing to John Laurinaitis of all people at Over the Limit (albeit not legitimately).  That is if you buy into the idea that Wrestlemania XXVIII and his match with The Rock really meant everything to him.  I don’t really buy into that, but he said it so many times, so you can’t really buy into his assertions since that his loss to The Rock isn’t going to change his on-screen persona in some way.  Something that big, to say that many times how much it supposedly means, the WWE can’t allow everything that Cena said prior to Wrestlemania to be all hype and still maintain any credibility as a story teller.  Cena’s loss to The Rock has to change him in some way or every part of the story they told for the biggest match they’ve ever promoted becomes worthless.  Just brushing it off won’t hurt the WWE in ratings, in Pay Per View buy rates or in merchandise sales, but for me if Cena remains unchanged after that, it takes WWE one more notch down as a story teller.  And they’ve fallen many notches in the past couple of years and if such a trend continues, we’re never going to see another boom period like the Attitude Era.  If wrestling is ever going to be cool again, the WWE has to be better at telling stories and quit staying safe with the status quo.

But I digress.  Monday Night Raw comes on and Big Show heads to the ring in the opening segment and delivers a very good heel promo.  However, we’ve seen Big Show’s “unstoppable giant” heel persona get stopped many many times in the past.  I don’t see how anybody can buy into what he had to say tonight about nobody in the locker room being in his league.  In the past year alone, we’ve seen Daniel Bryan beat him over and over.  Mark Henry dominated him and put him on the shelf.  He won the Intercontinental Championship, but quickly lost it in his only title match.  And in the past we’ve seen Cena beat him over and over and over, including twice at Wrestlemania (Wrestlemania XX and Wrestlemania XXV).  However, the monster heel is the only character Big Show should ever play.  The problem isn’t that they’re pushing him that way.  The problem is that they’ve let his character become a joke so many times in the past.  At No Way Out, Cena is going to beat Big Show once again and he’s probably going to do it with the STF. However, I do think this is going to end up being my favorite of all the Big Show monster pushes.

The first match of the night would feature the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship Alberto Del Rio facing the United States Champion Santino Marella.  This match has been set up with Santino poking fun at Ricardo Rodriguez over the past week.  These two have fought several times in the past and I don’t think Santino has ever beaten Del Rio.  He certainly didn’t tonight and Del Rio made short work of the US champion, beating him with the Cross Armbreaker.  Del Rio then took the cobra and shoved it into Santino’s mouth.

In the back, Big Show interrupted Alex Riley as he was hitting on Eve and Eve informs Big Show that he gets to pick his opponent for tonight, which I was thinking is likely to be Brodus Clay after he showed the clip of Brodus dancing just minutes after he was fired and humiliated by GM Johnny two weeks ago on Raw.  Brodus is unbeaten and he’s a big monster character himself, so Big Show knocking him out and beating him in the ring is a good way to put Big Show back over.  Big Show used Riley to send a message to the locker room by throwing him into the wall and stepping over him.

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth squared off with Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger with the WWE Tag Team Championship on the line.  Ziggler and Swagger failed to win the titles for about the 100th time in the past year, which leads to Ziggler finally showing his frustration.  The end could be near for Vickie’s tag team, leading me to think that Ziggler and Vickie will probably drop Swagger, who would then turn face.  I’d rather see Ziggler give being a face a try, but he definitely excels at being a heel and Swagger really doesn’t.

Backstage, Big Show is busy intimidating Santino Marella, but Brodus Clay comes to the rescue and gets into Big Show’s face and we end up with Big Show choosing to face Brodus Clay later on tonight.

GM Johnny then wastes air time as he takes longer than the Del Rio / Santino match to get to the ring along with David Otunga and Eve.  He then opens his mouth and further wastes our time as he butchers the delivery of his lines and tells us that he’s making the Cena / Big Show match at No Way Out a Steel Cage Match.  He then unveils a cover for the new WWE ’13 video game cover that gets released in October with his face on it.  However, I severely doubt that GM Johnny ends up being the cover boy for the video game.  I believe it should be and ultimately will be CM Punk on the cover.  And sure enough, CM Punk comes out to put an end to GM Johnny wasting our time.  Punk then one-ups Johnny as a much bigger photo of the real WWE ’13 cover featuring CM Punk rolls down from the rafters.  Punk then tells GM Johnny to take the “hoeski and Carlton”, meaning Eve and Otung and get out of his ring and he gets ready to go one-on-one with Daniel Bryan.

By the way, Sin Cara returns on Smackdown this week, which we found out last Friday on Smackdown in case you missed it.  Can he last more than a couple of months without getting suspended or injured again?

Punk and Bryan put on a good show as always and then AJ comes out to the ring wearing a CM Punk shirt, continuing this love triangle ordeal they have going with AJ supposedly developing some sort of feelings for Punk, possibly just because Punk is locked in a program with Daniel Bryan, her ex.  Bryan ends up beating Punk as a result of an exposed ring post.  Kane then comes out to attack Bryan, continuing their bi-weekly tradition of beating the hell out of each other with chairs.  Kane then turns his attention to Punk, but AJ throws a chair in to Punk and Punk uses it to fight off Kane and the Big Red Machine retreats.

Intercontinental Champion Christian then faces off against Miz and Christian continues his winning streak since returning from injury and turning face.  Miz of course continues to be jobbed out.  How long is he going to stay in the dog house over the botched spot with R-Truth 3 months ago and supposedly being blamed for the low Survivor Series buy rate?  Christian overcame the distraction of Cody Rhodes, who was at commentary for part of the match and beats Miz with the Killswitch and a Frog Splash.  Miz then stays in the ring and complains about a lot of different things and then Randy Orton comes out and Miz starts threatening him, but Orton just goes straight to Miz and shuts him up with an RKO.

Earlier in the night, David Otunga asked for a match with Sheamus and he got it.  Unfortunately for him, it ended with him getting his head kicked off via a Brogue Kick.  Nothing unexpected there, although it was somewhat surprising that Del Rio didn’t make any kind of appearance and Johnny didn’t do anything to give Otunga any kind of help.

Brodus and Big Show then make their way to the ring for the Main Event and there is only about 5 minutes left until the show goes over time, so you know this match isn’t going to last more than a couple of minutes and they’d still have to leave time after for Cena to make some kind of appearance.  Big Show uses some more time taunting Brodus before the match and then Brodus comes out to face him on the floor and Big Show barrels his way down the rampway and Spears Brodus.  The two then fight outside the ring and of course Big Show gets the upper hand since he’s the one facing Cena in what projects as the Main Event of the next Pay Per View, No Way Out.  Kofi Kingston and R-Truth then come out to help Brodus, but he knocks them both flat and breaks apart the announce table and smashes Brodus with a piece of it.  He then continues to beat up Kingston and R-Truth and surprisingly Cena doesn’t make an appearance.  I think they chickened out by not having the match start and put Big Show over cleanly.  It was still an impressive showing to put over Big Show, beating up an undefeated monster and the Tag Team Champions and I think Brodus may have even suffered a legitimate back injury as a result of the second shot he took from the table.  His back spasmed in an awkward way after that shot and they had to censor him cursing as a result.  I still think Cena goes over Big Show at No Way Out, but of course WWE is going to put Big Show over everybody in a dominant fashion up until No Way Out so that Cena is once again the “underdog” and so he can “overcome the odds” on Pay Per View for the billionth time.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Attitude Era, Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Extreme Rules, Friday Night Smackdown, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Monday Night Raw, No Way Out, Over the Limit, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Steel Cage Match, The Rock, The Rock vs. John Cena, United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 28, Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE, WWE '13, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship

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