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

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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).

 

 

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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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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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Raw Response – 05/14/12

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After two weeks of waiting to see what was really going to be next for Triple H and Brock Lesnar after Lesnar “broke Triple H’s arm” two weeks ago on Raw, Triple H his return at the top of the show with his arm in a sling to sell his arm injury.

Triple H essentially ran down Brock Lesnar for being a flake and not living up to his potential and said that Brock Lesnar and John Laurinaitis thought the WWE needs to be “legitimized” was an insult to all of the greats who made this business what it is today – such as himself, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and Ric Flair.  This provoked a response from Paul Heyman, who came out with law suit papers and served them to Triple H, claiming that Brock Lesnar would sue the WWE to get the money that was promised him in the deal he forced John Laurinaitis into three weeks ago.  Heyman would go on to say that Triple H was just saying bad things about Brock Lesnar because that’s what every team or company does when they lose their franchise player.  Triple H then angrily threw the papers at Heyman and left, claiming Brock Lesnar would get everything he deserves.  The question is, how soon are we going to see Triple H and Brock Lesnar face off in the ring.  Recent speculation on Wrestlezone.com has it that the match could take place sooner than expected.  There are still three more Pay Per Views to go through before SummerSlam.  Perhaps Triple H vs. Lesnar will be highlighting one of them.

First match of the night was tag team action featuring three of WWE’s singles champions with WWE Champion CM Punk teaming with United States Champion Santino Marella to take on Punk’s challenger at Over the Limit, Daniel Bryan, and the Intercontinental Champion, Cody Rhodes.  The match would take up over a full segment with Santino humorously trying for a Suicide Dive, but bouncing off the ropes back into the ring instead leading into the commercial break.  Santino woud go on to make a few more miscues on purpose throughout the match before Punk got a hot tag.  Bryan then retreated to the back, and Punk beat Rhodes with the GTS.  Punk then stared daggers at Bryan while Bryan backed away up the rampway with a smirk on his face.  Unless Punk makes his way to Friday Night Smackdown this week, this will be their final encounter before meeting in the WWE Championship match at Over the Limit on Sunday.  Punk would later be seen talking with Alex Riley, linking them together once again with Punk having used Riley a few weeks ago to dupe Chris Jericho into thinking Punk was drunk on the final Raw before their Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules.   Something kind of partnership could be in the future for Punk and Riley.  Daniel Bryan’s former girlfriend AJ then approached Punk, but he wanted nothing to do with her.  I don’t really see Daniel Bryan leaving Over the Limit with the WWE Championship and Punk has been nearly unbeatable since capturing the title from Alberto Del Rio back at Survivor Series last year.  He’s had a very long run as champion in this era of constant title changes, so he’s ripe for the picking, but I’m still going to predict that Punk retains the title over Daniel Bryan on Sunday.

Beth Phoenix would then face Alicia Fox one-on-one in a match with no doubt that Beth Phoenix would emerge victorious to go over in the final Raw before she faces Layla for the Diva’s Championship at Over the Limit on Sunday.  The Diva’s Champion Layla came out on the rampway to watch as Phoenix overpowered Fox and beat her soundly in a matter of minutes with the Glam Slam.  Phoenix then tried to take advantage of Fox with another Glam Slam, but Layla intervened and ran into the ring and took Phoenix down and Phoenix retreated to the back as Layla go in the last laugh, but while leaving Beth promised that Layla would never beat her.  I disagree as I feel Layla will emerge from Over the Limit still the champion and continuing to ride the wave of momentum she’s been on since her return last month at Extreme Rules.

Big Show would be placed in a match with Kane by way of punishment for making fun of John Laurinaitis last week on Raw, which he was forced to apologize for, but then got caught again joking about it with the stars of the new USA show Common Law.  Going into the match, Big Show had it looming over his head that he would have to apologize to John Laurinaitis or he would be fired.  After a slow and methodical match typical of two big men facing each other, Laurinaitis would distract Big Show by demanding an apology in the middle of the match, causing Big Show to suffer a Chokeslam from Kane and be defeated.  Laurinaitis then mocked Big Show and berated him and Big Show made a very passionate apology and talked about how he loved his job.  But that wouldn’t be good enough for Laurinaitis, who demanded that Big Show get on his knees and beg to keep his job.  Big Show would beg for his job, but refused to get down on his knees and pleaded with Laurinaitis not to make him do that.  Laurinaitis then promised to reconsider and started to walk away, but when he reached the top of the ramp, he said he’d already reconsidered and started to fire Big Show, but Big Show stopped him and reluctantly gave Laurinaitis what he wanted on got down on his knees to apologize.  However, Laurinaitis fired him anyway.  It was a pretty heart-wrenching segment, but I doubt it will last.  We have not seen the last of the Big Show in the WWE.

In the next match, the WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth teamed up with Brodus Clay to take on The Miz and their challengers for the tag titles at Over the Limit, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.  The face team rolled over the bad guys at the beginning of the match, forcing the heels to regroup out on the floor during a commercial break.  Return from the break and as usual in such situations, the heels have taken the advantage and isolated one of the faces, in this instance R-Truth.  Pretty much a cookie cutter tag match, complete with some of Kofi’s usual high spots when he finally got the hot tag from Truth.  Kofi then hit Miz with the S.O.S., but Ziggler and Swagger broke it up, leading to Truth and Clay dispatching of Ziggler and Swagger, allowing Kingston to knock Miz out with Trouble in Paradise after Clay tagged himself in and Clay then finished Miz with a big splash for the win.

Sheamus joined the announce team for the next match between Randy Orton and Chris Jericho with Orton and Jericho preparing to challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship at Over the Limit in a Fatal 4-Way Match along with Alberto Del Rio.  Michael Cole gave Sheamus crap the entire match, but Sheamus gave it right back, repeatedly calling Cole worthless, which is an opinion I tend to agree with.  I’ve not seen a play-by-play announcer for WWE be that consistently wrong with the facts he spews during matches since Bobby Heenan, but when Heenan did it, it was on purpose.  It was part of his schtick.  When Cole does it, it’s just because he’s an idiot and has a terrible memory for what has actually taken place in WWE history.  Jericho would go over and provoke Sheamus and when he got back into the ring, Orton hit him with his signature DDT off the ropes.  However, when Orton went for the RKO, Sheamus very predictably pulled Jericho out to the floor, leading to a disqualification.  Orton took exception and challenged Sheamus to a match on the spot and they got in the ring and got ready to fight, but were overrun by officials, who kept them separate.  Meanwhile, Del Rio was nowhere to be seen after suffering the Codebreaker, the RKO and the Brogue Kick in succession on Smackdown last week.  Del Rio is seemingly the low man on the totem pole in the lead-up to Over the Limit, but I’m picking Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time at Over the Limit, adding to the two WWE Championship wins already on his resume from last year.

In the final segment, we were promised a face to face confrontation between John Cena and John Laurinaitis.  Being that this is the final segment on the final Raw before Over the Limit, it would appear that Cena vs. Lauinaitis is going to be the Main Event of Over the Limit, which feels like a small tragedy.  Laurinaitis would come out first and apologize to all of John Cena’s fans for the fact that they’re losers.  Cena then came out and shook his arm a couple of times before pronouncing that he was a little dinged up, but good to go after Laurinaitis along with Lord Tensai and Sakamoto attacked his injured arm two weeks ago on Raw.  Cena then made fun of Laurinaitis’ voice and called him a scumbag for firing big show.  Cena then proclaimed Laurinaitis the Undisputed King of Douche Bags.  Cena then went over Johnny’s track record, calling him a loser after going 1-for-4 in his agenda since taking over as GM and then comically made funny noises any time Johnny tried to speak.  His antics were very childish, but funny.  Cena’s promo made me actually care about this match now, which I previously didn’t at all, so very good work for Cena tonight in my opinion.  However, the segment quickly went downhill though as Cena dragged on a bit too long.  Eve Torres then came out, carrying a slip of paper from the Board of Directors, which Cena stole from Johnny and read.  The notice essentially stated that the match would be one-on-one and Laurinaitis would not be allowed to add a Guest Referee or change the stipulation in any other kind of way.  The notice also stated that no superstars would be allowed at ringside and any superstars who interfered in the match would be terminated.  There will also be no disqualifications and no countouts and if John Laurinaitis does not beat John Cena, he will be fired.  I only have one thing to say about how all of this has turned out.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes!

I’m very hopeful that  this is the end of John Laurinaitis reign of  constant verbal assault on my eardrums and brain.  However, I’m prepared to be disappointed and expect Johnny to find a loophole somewhere, potentially through a run in from Brock Lesnar, who wouldn’t fear being fired because he already “quit” and still has a score to settle with Cena after his loss at Extreme Rules.  Anything can happen in the WWE, but I will be eternally thankful if this is the end of John Laurinaitis’ on-screen career with the WWE.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Posted in A-Train, Albert, Alex Riley, Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Big Show Fired, Brock Lesnar, Brock Lesnar Return, Brodus Clay, Chicago Street Fight, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Common Law, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Handicap Match, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Lord Tensai, Macho Man Randy Savage, Michael Cole, Monday Night Raw, Over the Limit, Paul Heyman, Paul Heyman Return, Pro Wrestling, Punk vs. Jericho, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, S.O.S., Sakamoto, Sheamus, SummerSlam, Tag Team, The Miz, Triple H, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, Trouble in Paradise, United States Championship, Vickie Guerrero, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship

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Raw Response – 05/07/12

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After last week’s surprise ending with John Laurinaitis getting his own hands dirty by attacking an injured John Cena with the help of Lord Tensai and Sakamoto, a lot of buzz was created about just what the encore would be this week on Raw.  Couple that with the anticipated fallout from Brock Lesnar’s attack on the Chief Operating Officer Triple H and Monday Night Raw this week was assured to reveal much about the near future of the WWE.  However, John Cena was not in the arena and appeared via satellite.  Neither Tripe H or Lesnar would make an appearance either, but Lesnar did send his “legal representation” in the form of Paul Heyman, which was a very pleasant surprise, but we’ll get to that later.

We started the night with John Laurinaitis explaining his actions, describing how upset he was when John Cena made fun of his voice and otherwise insulted him.  The Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown then proceeded to put the rest of the locker room on notice that anybody insulting or making fun of him would receive similar treatment to what Cena got the week before.  So, of course, WWE Champion CM Punk immediately comes out to the ring and starts insulting Laurinaitis, prompting the General Manager to place him in a match against Lord Tensai for later in the night.

In the first match of the night, Big Show would get a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship after Rhodes was able to recapture the title under dubious circumstances in their Table Match at Extreme Rules on April 29.  Shortly into the match, Rhodes would decide discretion is the better part of valor as he bailed out of the ring and grabbed his title and headed to the back.  Big Show was able to block his exit once, but after he threw him back into the ring, Cody ran right back out the other side and made good on his escape, purposefully getting himself counted out.  Eve Torres would then come out and chastise Big Show after Big Show had a brief altercation with John Laurinaitis before the match and made fun of his voice.  Eve then forced Big Show to apologize and reminded him that outside of the professional wrestling business, there isn’t much use for a 40-year old giant and she called him a freak.  This segment went a long way toward establishing Eve’s authority in her position as Laurinaitis’ Executive Assistant, publicly humbling Big Show in the process.

After winning the WWE Tag Team Championships last week along with R-Truth, Kofi Kingston would take on Dolph Ziggler.  And after these two men spend the previous two summers fighting with each over the Intercontinental and United States Championships, one could easily expect these two to put on a very entertaining contest.  And although it was too short, the match was well done, ending with Ziggler getting some outside help from Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger to pick up the victory, taking a huge step back in the right direction after spending previous weeks giving lackluster performances while being matched up against Brodus Clay.

Throughout the match, we were shown clips of A.W. (formerly Abraham Washington) back stage with his new clients Primo, Epico and Rosa and they were also joined by Mason Ryan, hinting at a possible relationship between A.W. and the big Welshman in the future.  A.W. appears to be making a move toward being a big-name manager like Vickie.  In an era where ringside managers are now few and far between, Vickie has enjoyed a good amount of success, which seems to have opened the doors for somebody like A.W. to give it a shot, but in this era, far removed from the time when legends like Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart accompanied their men to the ring, we’ll have to wait and see just how much of a chance he really gets.

John Cena appeared via satellite for an interview with Michael Cole and Cena made it abundantly clear that even against doctor’s advice to not compete for the next couple of months, he would be at Over the Limit to kick John Laurinaitis’ ass.  Surely, Laurinaitis at least thinks he has some aces hidden up his sleeve because going into a match, even against a one-armed John Cena, it’s clear that Laurinaitis wouldn’t have a chance.  Expect heavy outside  interference from Tensai or a last second change of rules for the match to put things in the General Manager’s favor.  My guess would be that this ends up being some kind of Handicap Match with Laurinaitis teamming with Tensai and probably still falling short against Cena, who almost certainly will be overcoming the odds once again.  Cena is currently 2-0 at Over the Limit with victories over Batista and The Miz in “I Quit” Matches for the WWE Championship.

The new Diva’s Champion Layla teammed with Kelly Kelly to take on Natalya and Maxine and it was a foregone conclusion that Layla and Kelly would be winning this one in short order.  And sure enough, Layla finished Maxine off with her Neckbreaker, which she calls the Lay Out, in only a matter of minutes with Kelly’s only purpose in this tag match being to knock Natalya off the apron and thus prevent her from stopping Layla from finishing off Maxine.  It was announced earlier today on wwe.com that Layla will defend the Diva’s Championship against Beth Phoenix at Over the Limit on May 20.

We started off the second hour with a tag team contest, featuring Chris Jericho teaming with Alberto Del Rio to take on Randy Orton and the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.  Sheamus and Orton beat on their opponents for much of the match until Jericho and Del Rio would take advantage of Sheamus’ weakened shoulder, which was injured by multiple attacks from Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown last week.  The momentum would swing back and forth several more times before Del Rio would taste the RKO.  Sheamus then inadvertently hit his own partner Orton with the Brogue Kick and Jericho beat Sheamus with the Codebreaker.  This was easily the biggest win Jericho has had in quite some time, pinning the World Heavyweight Champion in a tough tag team match.  In the aftermath, Sheamus helped Orton back up only to feel the Viper’s wrath as he was hit with the RKO.  This match shows how much the title picture on both Raw and Smackdown is fluctuating.  There has been no mention of a Draft to shake up the rosters as of yet, so it appears that superstars are going to just be able to jump back and forth to challenge champions from either shows at any given moment.  Daniel Bryan is already representing Smackdown to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Over the Limit and now the World Heavyweight Title match at Over the Limit has been changed to a Fatal 4-Way with Sheamus defending against Randy Orton and Chris Jericho in addition to Alberto Del Rio.  This tag teammatch was also easily the best of the night, but when you’re given over 20 minutes to work with while others are fortunate if they have 5 minutes of air time for their matches, it’s easy to have the best match of the night.

The Miz continued his downward slide as he was matched-up with Brodus Clay.  It wasn’t all bad for Miz as he delivered a decent promo on his way to the ring, telling Clay that if he wanted to see King Hippo dance, he’d play Mike Tyson’s Punchout.  Miz even looked very impressive in the early going. beating down the Funkasaurus numerous times and staying on the attack, but it wouldn’t last as Clay was able to finally overpower Miz and drive him into the mat and then follow up with his Running Headbutt.  Miz then got caught coming off the ropes with a T-Bone Suplex and Brodus finished Miz with his Big Splash for the victory.

Paul Heyman delivered a statement from Brock Lesnar, stating that he did not regret any of his actions, that he did exactly what he promised he would do by kicking ass and hurting people and he felt betrayed by the WWE Universe and as a result of the broken agreement he made with the company on the final Raw before Extreme Rules.  He claimed that Triple H was always jealous of him and that while Triple H was able to last nearly an hour in a Cell with the Undertaker, he could not last one minute in a fight with Lesnar.  The statement culminated with the revelation that Brock Lesnar had quit.

On his way to the ring for the final match of the night, CM Punk found out that his match with Lord Tensai would be changed to a Handicap Match and his opponents would be Lord Tensai as well as his challenger for the WWE Championship at Over the Limit, Daniel Bryan.  Punk would make a valiant effort throughout the match, but Tensai and Bryan pulled many pages out of the 2-on-1 advantage playbook and Tensai was eventually able to blind punk with the Green Mist Claw Slam combination and pin him for the victory.  After the match, Bryan applied the Yes Lock on Punk, getting his own jabs in and adding fuel to the fire for their title match at Over the Limit.  Tensai continues to be put over as he has now gained victories over both John Cena and CM Punk, albeit with help in both instances.  However, this certainly is not going to be enough to put a stop to Punk’s rebellious antics.  We are supposed to take away from this that making John Laurinaitis angry is a bad idea, but Laurinaitis continues to be a joke.  His delivery is horrible, he frequently mixes up his words and the only reason anybody cares to boo him is because they know he’s bad at his job.  There is a definite difference between getting booed because you are good at your job and getting booed because you are bad at your job and after all these years, that’s a distinction that WWE still needs to learn.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Posted in A-Train, A.W., Abraham Washington, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Batista, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes, Bobby Heenan, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, Chief Operating Officer, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Dolph Ziggler, Epico, Eve Torres, Extreme Rules, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Green Mist, Handicap Match, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, Jimmy Hart, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kelly Kelly, King Hippo, Kofi Kingston, Layla El, Lord Tensai, Mason Ryan, Maxine, Michael Cole, Mike Tyson, Monday Night Raw, Mr. Fuji, Natalya Neidhart, Over the Limit, Paul Heyman, Paul Heyman Return, Primo, Pro Wrestling, Punchout, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Rosa Mendes, Sakamoto, Sheamus, Tables Match, Tag Team, The Claw, The Miz, Triple H, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Vickie Guerrero, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Yes Lock

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Raw Response – 04/23/12

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Start off the night with a surprise appearance by Edge and a great promo from the new Hall of Famer about how Cena getting punked by Brock Lesnar every week is a slap to the face off all of the greats who got into the business and stayed in the business because they love it – guys like Edge, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker.  Edge’s statement that he’s not asking Cena to beat Lesnar, but he’s telling him to makes me believe that Lesnar will beat Cena on Sunday at Extreme Rules and as a result Cena is going to have to face the wrath of Edge in the near future and something big is going to change this summer for Cena.

Edge telling Cena repeatedly that he needs to “Wake up” echoes the sentiments the fans have been throwing at Cena for the past five years that something needs to change in his character and his attitude.  The general consensus among the adult male fans is that John Cena’s character is stale, that they are tired of seeing him be the same every week, but now that greats like Roddy Piper, Mick Foley and Edge have come out on the air and called him out on his attitude in regards to how the fans feel about him and Kane fought Cena leading up to Wrestlemania over Cena’s inability to “Embrace the hate” make it more plausible to me that we might actually see Cena’s character undergo some changes.  Cena could be about to suffer an Attitude Adjustment of his own.  It is still entirely possible that the only change Cena will undergo is that he will shake off the hangover of losing to Rock at Wrestlemania and Hulk Up to destroy Lesnar at Extreme Rules, like he has done against every other heel that’s come along and dominated him on Raw for weeks only to have Cena “overcome the odds” yet again and if so, I think many would join me in the opinion that for Cena to overcome Brock Lesnar in the same way he has every other opposing heel opponent from The Great Khali in 2007 to Kane earlier this year would be a complete and utter waste of the storyline that they have spun around Cena for the past 4 months.  The time is ripe for a change.  The fans have been thirsting for it.  And a significant change in Cena’s character could launch the WWE into a new direction and lead the WWE out of the doldrums that some would say it has been in for the past few years.

The opening contest of the night held no real surprises as Chris Jericho fought Kofi Kingston, the only man Jericho has beaten one-on-one on television since his return.  So, of courseJerichowas going to beat him again.  However, the two still put on a great match with a solid finish.  Then, after the matchJerichopoints to his beatingKingstonas proof that he will win the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules.  Never mind that he beatKingstona couple of times before Wrestlemania and still ended up tapping out to the Anaconda Vice.  Never mind that this match withKingstonis the only televised matchJerichohas had since Wrestlemania.  In another segment, CM Punk received a liquor basket fromJericho, that he regifted to Josh Matthews.  However, Punk kept one bottle of Jack Daniels, which he promised to hand deliver back toJerichoat Extreme Rules this Sunday in his home town ofChicagoduring their Chicago Street Fight.  Later in the night, Jericho and Alex Riley would spy on CM Punk, who was apparently drinking the Jack Daniels himself, but it felt like there was definitely a possibility that it was a ruse when Jericho went to John Laurinaitis and had the General Manager force CM Punk to undergo a field sobriety test at the risk of being stripped of the title should he fail.  Punk did a masterful job of playacting, but as he was on the verge of surrendering the title toJericho, Punk dropped the ruse and pummelsJerichoand chased him off to the back.  As always, anything can happen in the WWE, but CM Punk still has the edge in my mind and while evidence would suggest thatJerichohas to turn the tables in their rivalry at some point, I’m still predicting that Punk once again retains his title and defeatsJerichoat Extreme Rules.

Lord Tensai would go on in the second match against R-Truth and everybody expected a squash match and that’s exactly what we got.  After Tensai was barely touched in his first few matches and then went on to beat John Cena in an Extreme Rules match last week inEngland, what chance did R-Truth have?  Tensai continues to look dominant, but this time he actually pins his opponent instead of the referee having to stop the match.  I love the use of the green mist, something we haven’t seen in the WWE since Tajiri left the company several years ago and it’s unique to see the mist used in a package with the Claw.  The Claw in and of itself has been retooled by Tensai to include a Slam, which is something I’d never seen done before.  Tensai is bringing a lot of unique combinations into his new character and is much more imposing and intimidating than he ever was as Albert or A-Train.  He also brings about a sense of mystery for an imposing heel character which is something WWE is going to need in the next few years with characters like Kane and the Undertaker inching closer to retirement.

And speaking of Kane, the Big Red Machine is as good now as he ever was.  His masked character has seemed to me like it had a cult following among the fans ever since he was forced to unmask almost ten years ago.  Once again donning the mask has helped breathe new life into a character that had lost a lot of the qualities that made him so imposing during his early feuds with the Undertaker and Stone Cold and his intense and destructive rivalry with Shane McMahon shortly after he lost his mask.  And Kane made it clear tonight that he has distanced himself from things he once cared about by refusing to rescue his “father” Paul Bearer from Randy Orton.  It appears that nothing will stand in the way of Kane’s path of destruction this time around.  However, I believe Orton is going to find some way to overcome the Big Red Machine in their Falls Count Anywhere match at Extreme Rules on Sunday.

I don’t see Big Show holding the Intercontinental title for long.  This is the second straight week that Big Show has teammed with The Great Khali and I can see them becoming a regular tag team like that Big Show has formed with Kane in the past.  It wouldn’t be a lasting union by any means, but Big Show has teammed with other big men in the past to form dominant tag teams in periods when the division has been in a lull, which it is definitely still in.  I see Cody Rhodes winning the Intercontinental Title back from Big Show either at Extreme Rules or in the near future and Big Show moving into regular tag team action along with Khali.  Doing so would allow both big men to compete and remain dominant every week without having to spend too much time moving around in the ring because they would be splitting ring time.  In the meantime, Big Show continues to dominate Cody asDel Rioruns out on Cody during their tag team match against the two giants tonight andRhodesfalls victim to Big Show’s Chokeslam.

A NEW Diva’s Champion was crowned tonight in Nikki Bella, giving both of the Bella Twins one title reign apiece.  They made a point of Beth approaching the record for the longest reign in the short history of the title, which tipped me off that she was probably going to drop the title either tonight or at the Pay Per View on Sunday.  With the title back on one of the Bellas, it opens the door for Kharma to make her return to the Diva’s division and get even with the Bellas for their remarks when she left last summer for her pregnancy, which she tragically miscarried.  It appears that Beth may not see in-ring action in the near future, so we could see Kelly Kelly beat another Bella and get another run with the Diva’s title or somebody like Natalya or Alicia Fox could step back into whatever dim spotlight the Diva’s division has to offer in the current era.

From Smackdown, Sheamus faced off against Mark Henry and we were surprised when Daniel Bryan was announced as the Special Guest Referee.  Bryan attempted multiple times to get Sheamus to attack him, which would have resulted in Sheamus being fired as a result of John Laurinaitis’ declaration that Sheamus was on permanent probation after he purposefully kicked referee Chad Patton a few weeks ago on Smackdown, but Sheamus held his temper in check tonight, but a distraction from Bryan allowed Henry to steamroll Sheamus and pin him and Bryan delivered a quick count. Bryanthen taunted Sheamus and threw his referee shirt at him and once that shirt was off,Bryanwas no longer serving as a referee and Sheamus charged him like an enraged bull, beat him down and threw him back in the ring where Henry was waiting.  Sheamus then kicked his way through Henry, butBryanwas then able to put Sheamus in the Yes Lock, getting in his licks before Extreme Rules, but we don’t yet know if Bryan or Sheamus will get the final edge going into Extreme Rules until after Smackdown this Friday night.  Either way it goes, I’m predicting that Sheamus retains the title at Extreme Rules.  It had been a long time since an individual won the Royal Rumble then went on to Wrestlemania and won the title before Sheamus pulled it off and I see him having a long term reign as champion before finally losing the title, perhaps to the winner of the Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match sometime in the fall.

Zack Ryder and Santino Marella teammed up to take on the Tag Team Champions, Primo and Epico, and the champions continued to show how weak the division is by losing to another random pairing of singles wrestlers for the second week in a row with Primo falling victim to the Cobra and going down for the three count.  It was forgivable for them to lose to two giants like Big Show and The Great Khali, but if they are going to show any promise as tag team champions, they need to win matches like this against random pairings of mid-card singles talent.  The Usos and Primo and Epico are the only seemingly legitimate tag teams right now in the company and doing jobs to Santino & Ryder isn’t going to help bring any credibility back to the division or to the titles.

In the final match of the night, Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle took on Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger and the match itself was specifically sponsored by Taco Bell and Doritos’ loco tacos.  Apparently each individual match is open for advertising sponsorships now.  It’s good for Brodus to be in the ring with individuals like Swagger and Ziggler, but their match once again ended without a legitimate finish as Vickie Guerrero got into the ring and slapped Brodus in the face, causing a disqualification.  Vickie then got surrounded by Brodus, Hornswoggle and their back-up dancers and tried to joke her way out of it, only to be bitten on the backside by Hornswoggle, providing some laughless comedy.  It feels like a shameless waste of talent for Ziggler to only be on screen for a few minutes and to not even have a legitimate match when he has become such a great performer over the past two years.

And we closed the night with the official contract signing between Brock Lesnar and John Cena for what is obviously the Main Event of Extreme Rules.  After Edge’s confrontation of Cena at the beginning of the night and Lesnar flipping out on Josh Matthews earlier in the night, it was unclear of what would happen in the contract signing, but the intensity was definitely palpable for the last time these two would come face to face before Extreme Rules.  So when Cena’s music hit and Cena didn’t show up, I was looking for him to come through the crowd and attack Brock, but that didn’t happen.  Brock and Laurenaitis start looking around in confusion and then Brock grabs the mic and starts taunting Cena, and I start think Cena’s going to show up with a new look, maybe a new gimmick or something.  Brock then starts talking about making some changes to the match and about how unhappy he is about the way things have been going and suggests Laurenaitis make some business changes before he will sign the contract for the match at Extreme Rules.  Brock then starts talking about how he’s an “enterprise” and no longer a “naive little farm boy” and how the company needs him, but he doesn’t need them.  Brock then tells Laurenaitis that all decisions regarding him and the WWE have to be run by him first and he demands the use of Vince McMahon’s private jet to chauffer him to and from Monday Night Raw every week and I’m wondering where all of this is going and why Cena isn’t out there yet and Brock just keeps talking down about the company and Laurenaitis and how he’s going to do what he wants and how he doesn’t care what any of the people think or say about him.  Laurenaitis agreed to Brock’s terms and Brock signs the contract and now Cena finally shows up, but there is no smile on his face, no words for the camera, no salute.  Cena just goes into the ring without saying a word and he’s got a steel chain in his hand, like the one he used to carry around when he was calling himself the Doctor of Thuganomics, giving us another indication that changes may be in the works for Cena.  Cena stands around and doesn’t sign the contract, so Brock pics up the mic and taunts him some more and tells Cena that he’s scared of Brock.  Cena then signs the contract and throws it at Brock, but the punches don’t start flying.  Brock then tips the table over, but still no punches are thrown.  Brock then leaves without any physical confrontation, which was unexpected.  The intensity was definitely there, but I think the contract segment wore on for too long and didn’t really add anything of value to their match at Extreme Rules.  I guess what we’re supposed to take away from tonight is a feeling that Cena might actually be scared of Brock, but I’m not buying it.  An otherwise very good episode of Raw ended with a big of a letdown in my opinion.

Written by I Am a Real American

April 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Posted in 2-out-of-3 Falls, A-Train, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Alex Riley, Bella Twins, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, Cena needs to wake up, Chicago Street Fight, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Contract Signing, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Doctor of Thuganomics, Dolph Ziggler, Edge, Extreme Rules, Falls Count Anywhere, Green Mist, Guest Referee, Hall of Fame, Hornswoggle, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kane vs. Orton, Kelly Kelly, Kharma, Kofi Kingston, Lesnar vs. Cena, Lord Tensai, Mark Henry, Mick Foley, Monday Night Raw, Nikki Bella, Primo & Epico, Pro Wrestling, Punk vs. Jericho, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, Roddy Piper, Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, Special Referee, Tag Team, Tajiri, The Claw, The Great Khali, Undertaker, Vince McMahon, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Yes Lock, Zack Ryder

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