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 ‘Shawn Michaels

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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2013 – The Best and Worst of the First Half

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So, I know we’re actually a couple of weeks over the first half of the year, but last night we wrapped up the WWE’s 6th Pay Per View of the year out of 12, so this seems a more fitting place to give out awards for the Best of the First Half of 2013.

Best Pay Per View Match – Undertaker vs. CM Punk @ Wrestlemania 29.  When this match was first announced, I thought there was a decent chance that Punk could be the one hand-picked to end the Streak, but as the program advanced week to week with Punk getting the better of Undertaker at each and every turn and seeing none of Undertaker’s legendary mind games, it became painfully obvious that Punk was going to be just another victim because there was no chance that Undertaker would get punked week in and week out and then have the streak end all at once.  I think it’s pretty clear that if the Streak ends, it’ll be the last match that Undertaker ever wrestles.  It’s poetic and would follow the trend set by Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels of glorious Wrestlemania exits.  That being the case, with the program set up as it was, there was no way that was the last run we’d see from Undertaker and thus he pretty much was guaranteed the win in my mind.  However, that didn’t take away from the quality of their match at Wrestlemania one bit.  Punk was at his best psychologically, flashing humorous expressions and hitting the high spots at just the right time to make up for Undertaker’s declining mobility.  The image of Undertaker sitting up while locked in the Anaconda Vice and turning the Big Evil glare onto Punk and Punk’s reaction is one of my favorite takeaways from this year’s Wrestlemania.  That and Zeb Coulter’s hilarious reaction when Swagger tapped out to Del Rio in the World Heavyweight Championship match.

Best Free-TV Match – John Cena vs. CM Punk – Raw (February 25) – Just an all around great performance, right up there with their match at Money in the Bank two years ago.  It’s probably one of the top five matches of Cena’s career.  It’s the only time I can remember Cena ever attempting a Frankensteiner and sure, he didn’t do it very well, but the guy went for it.  That’s one of the most exciting attempts at a move done by a big guy since Big Show, as The Giant in WCW, last attempted a Moonsault or Brock Lesnar going for the Shooting Star Press at Wrestlemania 19.  I used to think Edge was the only one who could bring out the very best in Cena, but Punk does it even better.  The two of them have had at least two and perhaps three of the top 10 matches of the last two years (at Money in the Bank in 2011 and this match for sure, plus maybe Night of Champions last year despite the non-finish).

Best Rivalry – Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (and anything else in his way) –  Daniel Bryan has kicked things up to another notch this year during his “weakest link” storyline, putting on the most entertaining matches and some of the most entertaining segments night in and night out over the past 2 months since Team Hell No lost the WWE Tag Team Titles to The Shield at Extreme Rules.  And if the rumors are true, he’s managed to parlay the great showing he’s had this year into a SummerSlam WWE Championship Main Event match against John Cena.  Goat mode has been activated and there is no stopping it.

Best Performer – Daniel Bryan – (See Best Rivalry)  Honorable Mention to CM Punk for easily the 3 best matches of the year so far (vs. Cena on Raw, vs. Undertaker @ Wrestlemania and vs. Jericho @ Payback)

Most Underrated – Antonio Cesaro – In a very short time he went from a dominant United States Champion to a yodeling afterthought.  He was consistently posting great matches against The Miz, which I’ve come to expect as a very hard thing to do over the course of Miz’s career, so Cesaro deserves all the respect in the world for that.  I don’t know why they decided to stick him with Zeb Coulter now because Cessaro is also pretty darn good on the mic and doesn’t really need a mouthpiece and for that storyline they should have used another actual American to team with Swagger, even though Cesaro does have the Very European, Uber-American thing going for him.  Damien Sandow was easily my favorite to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match last night and I’m very glad he did.  His mic skills over the past year or so have surpassed even those of the CM Punk and his overhyped “pipe bombs”, of which there have been few and far between since his infamous Vegas promo.  However, if Sandow wasn’t going to be the one to win, Cesaro was easily my second choice of who I would have liked to have seen win the briefcase and become a guaranteed future World Champion.

Best Pay Per View – Payback – This event was one I had pretty much written off, but it really had a lot going for it.  The 3 Stages of Hell WWE Championship title match between Cena and Ryback exceeded my expectations and was actually probably the best Pay Per View WWE Championship Match of the year so far, but that’s not saying a whole lot unless you give a lot of credit to the Twice in a Lifetime Cena vs. Rock rematch at Wrestlemania, which just didn’t do a whole lot for me after already seeing it the previous year and knowing that for certain Cena was going to win and get his all important “redemption” when they should have just had him beat Rock last year and ended it there instead of continuing to drag it out for what is probably going to be a Wrestlemania Main Event trilogy.  On top of that, you can debate which of Punk’s matches (vs. Cena, vs. Undertaker or this one) was the best, but undoubtedly Punk vs. Jericho on that night was one of the best 3 matches of the year at the very least.  On top of that, Del Rio shockingly (to me anyway) won the World Heavyweight Championship back from Dolph Ziggler in a match that just like Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 flip-flopped the two, simultaneously turning the heel into the face and the face into the heel by showcasing the guts of the injured heel who was already getting huge reactions from the crowd long before that point.  Poor Ziggler now has 2 World Heavyweight Championship reigns, one of which went for 69 days, and he still has never successfully defended the title.  However, he put on a good show despite carrying a title for 10 weeks without defending it or even being on Television for half of his brief title run.  On top of all of that, Daniel Bryan continued to put on a great show in the WWE Tag Team Title match and for the first time in a long time WWE put a watchable women’s match on the Pay Per View, between Kaitlynn and AJ, even though the program leading up to it was like a very watered down version of Trish and Mickie.  There wasn’t really a stinker match on the card, though Dean Ambrose vs. Kane did let me down a little bit, but that’s mostly because I don’t believe disqualifications and non-finishes have any place on a Pay Per View.  If you want to put that kind of finish on Raw, go right ahead because we aren’t shelling out $50-$60 to watch it, but if you are going to charge that much for people to watch a Pay Per View, you have an obligation to deliver better than that cheap ass crap to help you promote the next Pay Per View that you’re also going to charge $50 or more for.  It’s no wonder WWE has such a problem with internet piracy.  I know that they have a lot of deserving workers who need Pay Per View revenue to help cover their salaries, but when you’re ripping off fans at $50 a pop every month, you deserve to be ripped off yourself.  It’s called karma.  Especially when I believe that you could cut Pay Per View prices down to $10-$15 and sell the show to 4-5 times as many people and make the same amount of profit.  Pay Per View buy rates and profits are down purely because, in the words of Jimmy McMillan (the guy from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party), the prices are too damn high.

Worst Match – The Rock vs. CM Punk @ Royal Rumble –  Those two just didn’t feel like they had any chemistry to me at all.  Moves seemed disjointed and poor Bret Hart was in attendance in the back after participating in the Fan Access panels that weekend and giving Del Rio a rub on his way to the ring, and Bret had to watch The Rock absolutely butcher the Sharpshooter.  At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Great Khali could apply a better Sharpshooter than The Rock.  He certainly couldn’t do any worse than The Rock.  And to top it all off, they did one of those crappy interference finishes followed by restarting the match only to have the real finish occur less than 15 seconds after restarting the match.  It was a nice moment in the career of The Rock and a niece piece of nostalgia for the fans, but it was a god awful stinker of a match.

Best Fan Reaction – Finally stopping the Goldberg chants – Next on the list of stupid crap to quit chanting is the What chant.

Worst Fan Reaction – Fandangoing – Just stop it.  The dude has a smaller move set than John Cena, of whose “5 moves of doom” you all love to bitch about so much.  Stop it now.  Shame on you New York fans for starting that junk.

Most Overrated – Fandango – (See Worst Fan Reaction) Shame on Chris Jericho for being willing to job to absolutely anybody at any given time and thus giving this bozo credibility (I’ve taken to referring to Fandango as Wiener Breath most of the time due to his level of suckitude).  Have some standards, please, for the love of all that is holy.

Worst Choice – Fandango going over on Jericho @ Wrestlemania – It’s usually a good thing for a veteran to put over the young talent and I applaud Jericho’s selflessness in being so cool about jobbing to anybody and everybody, but I reiterate for the love of all that is holy, please have some standards Chris.

Best Choice – Zack Ryder – For accidentally kicking Fandango in the head wrong and giving him a concussion, thus allowing Curtis Axel to replace him at Payback, thus saving the world from the disaster that is Fandango winning anything of importance, such as the Intercontinental Championship.

Worst Announcer – Still Michael Cole – Forever and always Michael Cole.  You know why.  Enough said.

Best Announcer – JBL – He might not have actually been a wrestling God, but he is definitely a commentary God.  Bobby Heenan is still my all time favorite commentator, but JBL is easily the runner-up.

 

Written by I Am a Real American

July 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

Posted in AJ Lee, Antonio Cessaro, Big Show, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Bret Hart, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Diva's Championship, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Edge, Extreme Rules, Fandango, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kaitlynn, Kane, Mickie James, Money in the Bank, Ric Flair, Royal Rumble, Sharpshooter, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Miz, The Rock, The Shield, Trish Stratus, Undertaker, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 29, Wrestlemania XIII, Wrestlemania XIX, Wrestlemania XXIX, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Zack Ryder, Zeb Coulter

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Real American Top 10 – Rising Stars of the WWE

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10) Heath Slater – Personally, I don’t think much of Slater’s talent, but he’s been a fixture on Monday Night Raw for several weeks now and he’s been in the ring with some of the biggest stars in the history of the WWE.  He’s picked up the rub from several WWE Legends and continued to run with it.  With the 1,000th Raw in the rear view mirror, that likely spells the end of his weekly appearances on Raw, but he could parlay that experience into a bigger on screen role than what he’s had in the past and maybe even a few wins here and there.

9) Tyson Kidd – Formerly a mainstay on WWE Pay Per Views as part of the Hart Dynasty during their reign as WWE Tag Team Champions a couple of years ago, Kidd’s spotlight has since faded, but his involvement in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match and victory over Tensai last month shows that he could be getting the opportunity to reclaim some of the limelight in the near future.

8) Brodus Clay – In 7 months, we’ve only once seen Brodus step in the ring with somebody that was allowed to be a significant threat to his size and dominance when he got dispatched rather easily by Big Show.  However, he continues to pile up wins against former World Champions like The Miz and Jack Swagger, but it appears questionable whether or not he’s going to be used for more than that.

7) Darren Young & Titus O’Neill – The Prime Time Players have staying power in my opinion and the tag team division is desperately in need of some consistency.  Through their manager / promoter A.W., they’ve already shown themselves to be underhanded and wily and should be carrying the WWE Tag Titles sometime soon.

6) Damien Sandow – The guy simply has a way with words.  He tends to greatly overstate his significance, like at Raw 1,000 when he called himself a “martyr”, but when has overstating your own significance ever been a bad thing for a heel character?  He got the rub from DX on the most historic episode of Monday Night Raw to date and not much signifies that somebody is on the rise more than that.

5) Antonio Cessaro – He stands out from the rest of the WWE locker room due to his unique look and the European Style similar to those of popular and underrated wrestlers like Fit Finlay and William Regal.  He handily defeated the United States Champion Santino Marella on Smackdown this week and his own title run could be in the near future.

4) Ryback – He’s finally getting put in the ring with enhancement talent like Jinder Mahal, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins rather than the 2-on-1 Handicap matches against the slew of unknown jobbers that had many die-hard fans exasperated.  He frequently draws Goldberg chants from the crowd due to the perceived similarity in their two gimmicks, but we could be experiencing a meteoric rise similar to the one Goldberg received in 1998.

3) Sin Cara – He still hasn’t quite gotten the necessary repertoire with the rest of the talent to pull off his style of matches without a few botches here and there, but eventually he’ll smooth all of that out.  I was concerned that WWE would give up on him after his suspension last summer due to violation of the wellness policy and then sustaining an injury at Survivor Series last year only a few months after the end of that suspension, an injury that kept him out of action until June.  With Rey Mysterio likely on his final run with the company, expect him to pass the masked luchadore torch to Sin Cara sometime in the not so distant future.

2) Wade Barrett – The Barrett Barrage has been halted temporarily due to the injury he suffered back in February, but don’t expect the winner of NXT Season One to miss a step when he makes his return.  Instead, expect him to win his first World Championship sometime in 2013.

1) Dolph Ziggler – Easily tops the list by virtue of his holding the Money in the Bank briefcase.  There is also the intense level of respect that the internet wrestling community has gained for him (from my experience anyway) over the past year and a half since his rivalry with Edge and since he started calling himself the Show Off late last year.  He was wrestling 1-2 matches on multiple Pay Per Views late last year and the last guy I can recall doing that was Chris Benoit during his tremendous reign as World Heavyweight Champion in 2004.  In my opinion, he’s frequently the best performer on the roster and his over the top antics are always entertaining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by I Am a Real American

June 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

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

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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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