Real American Wrestleblog

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).

 

 

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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Real American Top Ten: Wrestler Performances in Television and Movies Every Wrestling Fan Should See

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First of all, I’m not recommending any of these TV appearances or Movies because they are cinematic masterpieces.  I am not attempting to say these are award worthy performances.  I’m just saying that as a wrestling fan, I really enjoyed these performances and I think if you’re a wrestling fan, you will as well.  And while it pains me to leave Ready to Rumble off the list, I don’t think any of the WCW guys had all that great of a performance, even though the movie itself is a must own for any fan of professional wrestling.  If Oliver Platt were an actual wrestler, his performance as Jimmy King would certainly be at the top of any list of must see performances for a wrestling fan.

#10 – Family Guy (The Rock) – Just a flat out hilarious bit part in the January 2010 episode “Big Man on Hippocampus.”  In the episode, during a steamy Peter and Lois sex scene, they claim the scene is too steamy for the FCC to allow them to show and instead cut to a simulation of the scene performed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Rock is seen holding a Peter Griffin action figure with a Lois action figure laying on the table and he deadpans perfectly as he slams the Peter doll up and down on top of Lois, looking very much like a little kid playing with his dolls and sliding her very quickly toward the edge of the table and she falls off, leaving Rock holding the Peter figure and looking confused.  Rock then rolls his eyes and looks embarrassed before we cut back to the conclusion of the sex scene.

#9 – Psych (Mickie James) –   From the September 2008 episode “Talk Derby to Me” in which Juliet goes undercover on a women’s roller derby team, of which the captain is Mickie’s character Rita “Lethal Weapon” Westwood.  The police suspect the team of being responsible for a series of burglaries and turns out they are right and when bodies start dropping, things take a turn and put Juliet’s life at risk, but when Shawn comes to the rescue, Juliet ends up saving him with a vicious Clothesline.  It was a very solid episode and it was nice to see Mickie play a bad girl for the first time since her Trish Stratus stalker gimmick.

#8 – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Roddy Piper) – Piper plays the Da’ Maniac in the 2009 episode “The Gang Wrestles for the Troops”, in which the guys at the bar recruit Piper to participate in a wrestling match to benefit troops returning home as a response to Dee chatting online with a soldier and then hanging out with him upon his return home.  Unfortunately, Piper’s character turns out to be a bit too crazy for them and gets himself arrested, so he doesn’t make an appearance for the match itself.  Piper is still great as always and the match the guys put on is incredibly stupid, but absolutely hilarious.  Even without Piper’s appearance, it would have been a great episode for wrestling fans and with him, it’s a definite must see.

#7 – Spider-Man (Randy Savage) –  Who can ever forget Bonesaw vs. The Amazing Spider-Man?  I sure can’t as Macho Man chases a freaked out Peter Parker around a steel cage in one of Spider-Man’s first ever fights as he looks to use his newfound powers to win a $3,000 prize for the wrestling match to help pay for a sports car.  The fight and Spider-Man’s victory plays a pivotal role in his origin story for the 2002-2007 Spider-Man film trilogy as Spider-Man is stiffed by the promoter and given only $100 despite defeating Bonesaw, leading Spidey to allow a thief to escape with the promoters money and the thief ends up shooting Peter’s father figure, his uncle Ben, leading Peter to take on a greater responsibility as Spider-Man.

#6 – Psych (Stacy Keibler) – From the episode “Thrill Seekers and Hell-Raisers” in February 2010.  Stacy joins Shawn and Gus on a river-rafting trip and it quickly becomes evident that her character is not shy about putting the moves on Shawn and is more than happy to initiate things.  Things quickly become complicated as one of the river-rafting party goes missing an Stacy becomes one of Shawn’s suspects as well as Gus’ new girlfriend Ruby (played by the very attractive Sarah Shahi).  Turns out neither of them is guilty, but here’s to hoping Stacy makes a return to the show at some point.  Also, be sure to check out her appearances on How I Met Your Mother and Chuck.

#5 – The Punisher (Kevin Nash) –  Epic fight scene as Nash shows up dressed in a ridiculous red and white striped t-shirt, looking like an overgrown beach boy with classical music blaring in the background as Nash punches a hole through the door to the Punisher’s apartment and commences delivering punishment of his own.  The Punisher throws everything he can at Nash and Nash classically no-sells pretty much all of it (kind of like in WCW) and levels Punisher with an entire toilet that he uprooted from the floor.  At one point, The Punisher even hurls a grenade at Nash, which Nash nonchalantly bats back at him, forcing Punisher to dive for cover and the explosion puts an end to the classical music, but only temporarily as Nash and Punisher continue to bash each other through walls and with anything they can pick up while the other characters comically fail to notice any of this is going on until Nash and Punisher finally come crashing through their front door.  The fight finally culminates with Nash taking a pot of boiling pasta sauce to the face and being tackled down a flight of stairs to his demise.  Definitely a must see.

#4 – Boy Meets World (Vader) – One of my favorite shows growing up and I still watch the reruns occasionally in the rare instance I can find them on.  Vader appeared in three episodes as pretty much himself as it is revealed Vader is the father of Cory and Shawn’s bully turned friend, Frankie Stechino (played by Ethan Suplee).  In multiple instances, Frankie, Cory and Shawn show up to Vader’s matches to help Vader out and give him advice such as to waste less time before delivering the Vader Bomb.  I don’t recommend this for Vader’s acting chops, but because its a great show with great characters that saw fit to include professional wrestling as a story arc on the show.

#3 – The Longest Yard (Kevin Nash) – Kevin Nash cracks the top five, not once, but twice.  This is an all around good remake of a classic that actually showcases the acting talents of several wrestlers including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg and The Great Khali, but Nash definitely steals the show with his estrogen-pill popping performance.  He had me damn near rolling in the aisles and busting my gut, I was laughing so hard, especially the scene on the sidelines where Stone Cold tells him to “Stop acting like a damn cheerleader” and Nash responds with “Sportsmanship triumphs” and then makes a sour face at Stone Cold.  He also experiences several other uncharacteristic non-manly moments as a result of the other team replacing his steroids with estrogen, all of which are hilarious.  Nash rarely got a chance to show off his comedic chops and have it be legitimately funny, so enjoy it where you can.

#2 – They Live (Roddy Piper) – One of the all time greatest lines in cinema – “I am here to kick ass and chew bubble gum… And I am all out of bubble gum.” comes from this movie.  Roddy Piper can be seen kicking ass from back in his heyday.  I know Piper hasn’t lost any of his charisma, but he doesn’t really look like much of an ass-kicker these days and watching They Live is a great way to remember him from his prime. For an 80s sci-fi flick starring a wrestler in the lead, you really can’t ask for more than what They Live delivers in my opinion.

#1 – Walking Tall (The Rock) – One of my all-time favorite action flicks and easily my favorite of Rock’s movies.  If you only watch one of Rock’s movies, I highly recommend this one.  For other solid movies before he became way less entertaining in my view, check out The Rundown and The Scorpion King.  Gridiron Gang is a good, touching movie, but it isn’t the type of movie that I think anyone could watch again and again.  Walking Tall, on the other hand, I have seen at least a dozen times and I even coupled it with the work of Marshall McLuhan (a communication theorist) to get an A on a Mass Communication project my freshman year of college.  It’s a great story about taking back a community from corruption and teaching the members of that community to “Walk Tall” once again.  Plus, you have The Rock beating the bejesus out of dozens of bad guys all by himself.  Throw in Johnny Knoxville to add to the comedy and it makes a pretty great flick.  Not the stuff that classics are made of, but it is very entertaining and you can see what The Rock was like before he starting churning out Disney flicks.