Real American Wrestleblog

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

Posts Tagged ‘John Larinitis

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.

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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 – 05/14/12

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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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Alberto Del Rio: Future Fan Favorite?

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The fact that chants of “Si” for Alberto Del Rio are as prevalent in many cities as are chants of “Yes” for Daniel Bryan is hard to ignore.  These guys are both heels, but Daniel Bryan is possibly just as popular with the internet wrestling community as any other wrestler can ever claim to have been and Del Rio apparently has his fair share of followers as well.  There should be a great old-school wrestling crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, this coming Sunday at Over the Limit and it will be interesting to test how over they are when matched up against universally popular stars like CM Punk and Chris Jericho in the World Title matches.

Del Rio is a great heel character and has remained a heel since his debut almost 2 years ago, so it is somewhat hard to imagine him becoming a face and it certainly wouldn’t happen in the near future with Sheamus and Orton established as the clear top faces on Smackdown, barring injury.  However, in the latest issue of WWE magazine, he is listed as the WWE’s version of Tony Stark and he seems to be growing in popularity.

And let’s face it, the best asset a heel can have in the wrestling business is solid skills on the microphone, which Alberto is decidedly lacking.  You can usually trust CM Punk to have his finger on the pulse of what the internet wrestling community thinks of what superstars have to say and do in the ring and all throughout their WWE Championship feud last year, Punk was constantly burying Alberto’s mic work.

At times, it does feel like Alberto’s accent is getting in the way of his delivery and he does have a higher than average number of verbal miscues, but that seems par for the course at times when we’re constantly flooded with Vickie Guerrero and John Laurinaitis flub job promos.  In this current era, the WWE seems more than able to forgive frequent verbal miscues if a heel is able to draw heat, which Del Rio can, but if the “Si” chants become a more frequent installment, someone might just take notice and decide to try Del Rio out as a face.

And make no mistake about it, Del Rio has all of the tools to make it as a top face in today’s WWE.  As a face, there would be less pressure on Del Rio to carry the mic work for a storyline.  All a face has to worry about most of the time is getting over with his ring work and Del Rio possesses a significant advantage in classical wrestling skills over most of the WWE locker room.  I don’t think a lot of people give him the credit he deserves for his ring work, but it seems like a decent portion of the crowd is starting to come around.

Just a few years ago, it would have seemed absurd that CM Punk, Sheamus and Randy Orton would be the top three faces outside of John Cena as they were all among the top heels at the start of 2010.  Perhaps in another year or two, Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio could find themselves in those spots.  Anything can and quite often does happen in World Wrestling Entertainment.

How Far Can The Miz Fall?

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It wasn’t all that long ago that The Miz was in the prime spots on Monday Night Raw every week proclaiming himself the most must see champion in the history of the WWE and turning the logo on his microphone upside down.  Now, I was never really a fan of The Miz’s work or thought he carried any credibility as a champion, but even people who lived under a rock knew that he had made leaps and bounds in 2010 and was on the rise.  Everything I read on the Miz proclaimed him to be such a dedicated worker and praised him for making appearances all over the place promoting the company.

But just as quickly as his star rose in 2010, it has fallen twice as quickly in 2012.

At Wrestlemania XXVII, he carried the WWE Championship into his match with John Cena and he still walked out the champion, grouping him with Randy Orton as the only two men to beat John Cena in a title match at Wrestlemania.  That’s something that none of the following men could accomplish – Big Show, JBL, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Edge or Batista.  But then Wrestlemania XXVIII rolls around and Miz nearly misses out on the show altogether and earns a spot on Team Johnny less than a week before the show.

Sure, Miz helped Team Johnny win their match at Wrestlemania XXVIII, but what else has he done this year?  He’s gotten blamed for the Survivor Series buy rates being low back in November.  He’s gotten himself in the doghouse after a botched spot where he dropped R-Truth on his head outside the ring shortly before the Elimination Chamber.  And he’s lost a LOT of matches.

And tonight, on the first Pay Per View after his victory at Wrestlemania, he isn’t even on the card.  He’s in the free preview match on YouTube where he is wrestling Santino Marella for the United States Championship.

If the first three Pay Per Views of the year hadn’t included pretty much everybody on the roster, I don’t know that Miz would have been included on those shows.  He’s gone from being allowed to call himself the most must see champion in the history of the WWE without being called out on it by his opponents expect in the rarest of circumstances to being somebody that nobody really feels bad about not even seeing on Raw every week any more. The Three Stooges have seen significantly more air time on Raw this month than The Miz has.

Despite the fact that he is responsible for John Laurinaitis being the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown, he isn’t in Johnny’s good graces enough to even be written into the show every week.  And we see that he has fallen completely out of the WWE Championship title hunt and been dropped back into United States title challenger mediocrity.  And truth be told, that’s where I feel he probably belongs.  Back when Miz won Money in the Bank, I was lobbying for him to be the first superstar to cash in his briefcase and fail to win the title.  Miz would have been far more entertaining if he had been made to be the Chicago Cubs of the WWE and constantly have a chip on his shoulder.  But that chip was removed when he won the title and held it for several months.  Taking that chip off his shoulder has essentially neutered The Miz and maybe that’s one of the reasons that he has fallen so far in the past year.

And as far as he’s fallen, he needs to find some form of redemption soon or we could be wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavors before 2012 is through.

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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