Hustle Is Posting Right Now - Raw Running Diary (1/7/13)
Jan 8, 2013 - 7:14:34 AM
"Brand new year.."
8:00pm: Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, ladies and gentlemen. The Raw Running Diary is back. The (technical) start of the Road To WrestleMania begins tonight, and thus begins the best part of the WWE year. That means my general lethargy towards the company's product is going away, and.. boom.. I'm back, and watching it "live" without using the fast forward on my DVR.
8:02pm: We get the show kicked off with the internet's favorite wrestler of all-time.. John Cena. Your typical mixed reaction from this crowd in Tampa, with cheers drowning out the boos for a moment, only to have the boos drown the cheers out, only to have the cheers drown the boos out again. We get a flashback to last week, where refried beans were dumped all over Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee, for some reason.
8:05pm: Cena is in his over-the-top promo mode, unfortunately, where he tries to give the hard sell on how special a night this is, but he is interrupted by Dolph, AJ and Soulberg.
8:06pm: AJ calls Dolph "Ziggy". Aww.
8:06pm: She then follows it up by calling Cena a "very small man". Oh, tag.
8:07pm: Cena gets a wave started in the arena, celebrating AJ's first "wiener joke". What the hell is going on here?
8:08pm: Sporting quite the shiner, Ziggy officially enters his name in the Royal Rumble. Not exactly huge news, but it makes the Rumble better, so.. kudos?
8:10pm: Warrick Dunn gets to cut a promo on Cena, saying that "it's on", apparently signing Dolph up for a match with Cena right here, right now. Probably not the best way to have the guy cut his first WWE promo. It came across as being somewhat awkward.
8:14pm: Back from commercial, we actually do have Cena VS Ziggler, one-on-one. Well, that's a good way to start the show.
8:15pm: Cameras cut to a weird angle, and Cena is either wearing Zubaz underwear or Brian Pillman's old tights from WCW under his cargo shorts. Not that I was looking at Cena's well-chiseled, muscular ass or anything.
8:19pm: Man, that was unfortunate. After Big E Langston interfered in the match behind the referee's eyes, he dropped down to the guardrail and leaned on it. As cameras cut to him, he was standing next to a large black woman, and for a second, I couldn't tell who was who.
8:24pm: AJ and #DatAss hop up on the ring apron to distract the referee. Even after all this time, I'm not quite sure how a girl that small and that skinny packs all that booty meat into her pants.
8:25pm: After her second attempt at interference, AJ is caught by the ref, who proceeds to throw her and Big E out of the ringside area, leading to Ziggler catching a distracted Cena with a very believable near fall.
8:26pm: ..and another one. This match has been a lot of fun so far.
8:28pm: Dolph slips out of an Attitude Adjustment, and then hits a superkick for another believable near fall.
8:30pm: Ref bump! Ref bump! Damn, this is being overbooked like a pay-per-view main event from the Attitude Era.
8:31pm: Big E runs out while the referee is down, and he hits Cena with his finishing move. A new ref comes out, but Cena kicks out at two to a nice pop from the crowd.
8:31pm: Attitude Adjustment wins the match for Cena at approximately 17 minutes. Probably not the ending that people were hoping for, but a damn good start to the year for Raw. I'll go with a match rating of 3 stars for that, but I don't think I'd argue if you went a quarter-star higher or lower than that.
8:33pm: Here comes Eve, which now means 2013 is a terrible year for Raw. We go to commercial break, and it looks like we're getting a Divas match up next.
8:38pm: Eve VS Kaitlyn for the Divas Title. Well.. it's a title match.. so.. there's that.
8:41pm: Not that anyone on the planet would be surprised by this fact, but the crowd reaction is almost zero, especially after the first match of the night.
8:43pm: Too afraid of the dominant force that is Kaitlyn, Eve grabs her title and leaves through the crowd, getting counted out. That means we get to see these two face each other again soon. Yay!
8:47pm: Next week is the 20th anniversary of Raw, which is crazy. I still remember watching the first episode, and the last two big anniversary shows for Raw seem like they were yesterday.
8:49pm: Santino is shown having a conversation with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat in the locker room, but they're interrupted by the new Intercontinental Champion, Wade Bar-ruh. Steamboat says that he's going to be in Santino's corner for his match against Bar-ruh tonight, and then makes a comment about how much weed he can smoke for some strange reason.
8:51pm: We then cut to Randy Orton, who is being interviewed by Matt Striker, but as the interview begins, Orton is interrupted by the Three.. Man.. Band.. baybayyyy. We're apparently getting Orton VS Heath Slater tonight, and Orton makes a vague threat that he's going to kill Slater in the ring. That's different.
8:53pm: The WWE Tag Team Champions make their way to the ring, and Daniel Bryan continues his streak of really good crowd reactions. We go to break again, with Cole mentioning that the champs will be in action when they return.
8:57pm: Team Hell No VS Rhodes Scholars here, in apparent non-title action.
8:59pm: lol @ Michael Cole actually mentioning Bryan's online nickname for himself. "The Dazzler" is so cheesy, but it's amazing.
9:02pm: KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE nearly slips as he goes up to the top rope, but he recovers nicely. Clearly, with this and his near-botch during his entrance at Tribute To The Troops, the man has vertigo.
9:03pm: Bryan appears to injure his knee after hitting a backflip from the top rope, but all fears of a legit injury are put to rest when Rhodes and Sandow go to work on the knee.
9:04pm: Taking advantage of the situation, Cody hits Cross Rhodes to earn the victory for the heels here. I guess this puts Rhodes Scholars right back in line for another shot at the Tag Team Titles.
9:09pm: 3MB are in the ring having an "air concert" when we return from commercial break, and here comes Orton. Let's see if he actually kills Slater here.
9:16pm: RKO. Randy Orton wins. The match was pretty much what you'd expect from a match between those two. For good measure, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal both get hit with an RKO after the match. Alright then. Thanks for being here, 3MB. Your parting gifts are waiting for you backstage. Enjoy your year's supply of Rice-A-Roni. It's the San Francisco Treat.
9:22pm: Back from another break, Bar-ruh is already in the ring, and Santino (along with Ricky Steamboat) is already at the bottom of the ramp for his own entrance.
9:23pm: Cole just said Bar-ruh referred to himself as "the cock of the world", and frankly, I'm not quite sure how to even respond to that.
9:24pm: Bar-ruh gets the win in about two minutes. Thanks for coming, Santino. Your parting gift is waiting for you backstage. Enjoy your Fushigi Magic Gravity Ball.
9:26pm: It's time for Matt Striker to interview Sheamus backstage, but he is also interrupted by 3MB, and apparently we're going to get a match later tonight between one of them and Sheamus. Those lucky bastards. They're already leaving Tampa with the year's supply of Rice-A-Roni. Now they get a chance to leave with something else.
9:31pm: Back from yet another commercial break, the United States Champion, Antonio Cesaro, is damn near at the ring already, and he's waving an American flag. Already in the ring, The Great Khali and his super-odd entourage of Natalya and Mae Young's week-old son.
9:33pm: The Miz, who is on commentary for the match, refers to Cesaro as a "rookie", which made me legit laugh out loud. I almost had to stop watching the show for a second.
9:36pm: Cesaro wins the match, basically deadlifting Khali up into the air for The Neutralizer, which is about as impressive a feat of strength as you're going to see in pro wrestling these days. That was a great visual.
9:37pm: We cut backstage, with Paul Heyman talking to someone on his cell phone, but he's interrupted by the Lords Of Podcast Roundtable's very own Kyle, who offers to referee the TLC Match tonight, for some reason. Kyle, you have to chill with always trying to get on television, man. Heyman says he wants Maddox to get out of his life already.
9:39pm: Back to the ring, Sheamus is out, and no, there will be no rant. Al Laiman has pretty much made the rant his own thing, so I'm going to keep it that way.
9:43pm: After the night's 78th commercial break, we're getting Sheamus VS Jinder Mahal.
9:47pm: Lots of filler on this show, but that isn't really a surprise, especially with Raw bring three hours these days.
9:49pm: Brogue Kick, and it's over. Sheamus wins, but the match lasted nearly two minutes longer than Orton VS Slater. Does that mean Orton is a lot better than Sheamus, Jinder is a lot better than Slater, or a bit of both? Either way.. thanks for coming, 3MB. Your parting gifts are waiting for you backstage. Enjoy your $50 iTunes gift cards. Maybe, one day, you'll be able to purchase your own albums on iTunes.
9:57pm: Former NFL Head Coach Jon Gruden is shown in the front row. Apparently, he decided to watch wrestling with his son instead of watch the NCAA National Championship Game. Probably a good choice, considering how well that game turned out.
9:59pm: It's time for TLC. CM Punk VS Ryback, with the WWE Title on the line.
10:00pm: Tonight is the 415th day of CM Punk's WWE Title reign, which, as has been mentioned before, is the longest reign that title has seen since the reign that began Hulkamania. That one lasted 1,474 days, so Punk has a bit to go before he reaches that point. Only nine men in the history of the title have held it for more total days than Punk has, and if he can make it another 79 days, he'll pass Randy Savage on that list. Another ten days after that, and he'll pass "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Another ten days after that, and he'll pass Triple H. As you can see, he's right up there with some of the biggest names in the history of the business. In case you're wondering, the names ahead of Triple H, in order, are: Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, John Cena, Pedro Morales and then Bret Hart. No, Cena won't pass Backlund, though. Cena has held the WWE Title for a total of 1,058 days. If he doubles that total, he'll still need 23 more days to pass Backlund's mark. I have talked about this topic for several sentences longer than I intended to. My bad.
10:03pm: I'll give Punk credit at this early stage in the match.. he doesn't appear to have any ring rust whatsoever. I'm sure his cardio is fine, too, but that will be something to watch for as the match goes on.
10:06pm: Ryback holds Punk up in the air for a ridiculous amount of time in a vertical suplex before dropping him directly onto a ladder. That had to hurt. Good Lord.
10:11pm: Here we are, eight minutes after I said it, and Punk's cardio seems to be just fine. There is, however, a much slower and more deliberate pace to this match than the six-man at TLC. Makes sense. Punk is already rushing back into a dangerous spot. There's no sense in having him go balls to the wall in that scenario, too.
10:13pm: Punk goes to "Pillmanize" Ryback's ankle, but Ryback moves out of the way. If you predicted that I'd mention Brian Pillman twice in this Running Diary, you probably deserve your own year's supply of Rice-A-Roni.
10:15pm: Paul Heyman is hilarious at ringside, loudly and dramatically yelling "NOOOOO" whenever Ryback hits any sort of offensive move on Punk. He's been really great in his role.
10:17pm: With the ladder tipped over onto the top rope, Ryback just drops Punk across the side of it from a pressed position. Punk is getting his ass beat in this match. As I like to point out in especially physical matches for Punk, he doesn't take pain pills or get to ease the pain with drugs and alcohol. Right as I type that out, Ryback throws Punk out of the ring, and he goes through a table at ringside, nearly drawing a "HOLY SHIT" chant from Michael Cole.
10:19pm: Ryback climbs the ladder, and the lights go out in the arena. No.. it can't be.. can it? Nope. Not The Undertaker. The lights come back on, and The Shield is in the ring, beating Ryback down.
10:20pm: Alright.. fucking OWW. The Shield hits their triple-assisted powerbomb on Ryback, through a table that was set up on top of the ring steps. Lawdamercy.
10:22pm: As The Shield leave the ringside area, Punk slowly makes his way to the top of the ladder, pulling his title down and winning the match in about 19 minutes. Another three-star match on the show. Nice little match. lol @ Heyman's sell at ringside, tears welling up in his eyes. That's great.
10:28pm: As he's interviewed by Matt Striker backstage, Punk tells the world he's going to drop another pipe bomb tonight, this time on The Rock. Uh-oh. I was actually waiting for 3MB to interrupt, given how the night has gone so far, but alas, nothing.
10:29pm: Vickie Guerrero and her ridiculously fake cackle interrupt Team Hell No to tell them Dr. Shelby will be on Raw next week to give them their follow-up evaluation.
10:31pm: Big Show VS Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match on Smackdown this week. Oh, joy. Oh, bliss.
10:32pm: Kofi Kingston makes his way to the ring, and Cole says he's going to be facing Big Show when we return from commercial break. That isn't going to go well for Kofi. My prediction of Kofi winning the WWE or World Title in 2013 isn't off to a good start, apparently. That's alright, though. There are still 51 weeks to go, and I said it wasn't going to happen in the beginning of the year, anyway. Money In The Bank, anyone?
10:35pm: Big Show wins in about 15 seconds. Jesus Christ. Poor Kofi. Thank you for coming. Your parting gift is waiting for you backstage. Enjoy your brand new 2013 edition of the Guinness Book Of World Records coffee table book, with over 3,000 brand new entries in it.
10:42pm: CM Punk and Paul Heyman are coming back to the ring. It's time for another pipe bomb. This should be fun.
10:45pm: Punk says that he meant everything he said in the initial "pipe bomb" promos. Everything except the part about the ice cream bars, that is, which makes people sad. Especially the tubby, husky and fat people.
10:48pm: The man just made history, uttering "shuck and jive" on live television, in reference to what Brodus Clay does in this "circus" called wrestling, in an attempt to entertain the fans. I can't believe that was actually said, and by a white guy. Wow.
10:50pm: "Wrestling one match a month in Madison Square Garden is easy." Well, there goes any chance of seeing Bruno Sammartino inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this year. Ouch.
10:52pm: Punk is running through names like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Edge for saying they wrestled their entire careers for the fans, calling them "weak". Punk says he has never, ever done anything for the fans, calling them all "nobodies".
10:54pm: Someone at ringside hops up on the apron and informs Punk that they need to go to break, and that they're running short on time. Punk tells "the people in the truck" that the show goes to break when he's ready, but it goes to break, anyway, in the middle of his sentence. Nice promo so far, but nothing that shakes the earth to its very core.
10:57pm: Back from break, Punk is still talking, a la Chris Jericho's "Man Of 1,004 Holds" promo from WCW. Nice.
10:59pm: The Rock's music hits, and he comes out to a nice pop, albeit slightly smaller than the ones he was receiving in 2012. I'm guessing the crowd is just tired, though, before anyone thinks I'm hinting that the crowd doesn't care about the guy anymore.
11:02pm: Rock says that Punk is delusional, and mentions that Punk has 20 hairs standing up on his "Straight Edge Scrotum". Here we go with this bullshit again.
11:03pm: Rock then says Punk couldn't produce ice cream bars if Dairy Queen and Cookie Puss drove straight up his ass. The man's obsession with other men being reamed anally continues. This is your hero, folks? Alright.
11:05pm: He then leads the crowd in a "Cookie Puss" chant. This is clearly top-notch stuff.
11:07pm: It's really no surprise that the people in the crowd who are laughing the hardest at Rock's material are clearly drunken frat idiots.
11:07pm: Rock says that he's making this return so that he can win the WWE Title again, and then says Punk looks like "Punkeye The Crackhead", before making Popeye "toot" noises. Can we induct him into the Hall Of Fame every year? In fact, just rename the Hall Of Fame into the Hall Of Rock already.
11:11pm: Punk promises to kick Rock's ass, no matter how many times he wants to come back, then mentions Rock's "tired, lame-ass schtick", which has clearly pissed Rock off. It's happening again.
11:12pm: "Your arms are just too short to box with God!" CM Punk with what may be the coolest line delivered in a wrestling promo in several years, perhaps only challenged by Punk's usage of "If you come at the king, you best not miss" a few months back when he was feuding with Jerry Lawler. Quoting The Wire and Nas? I'm impressed.
11:13pm: Rock returns fire by telling Punk to get naked and tattoo some candy bar logos on his ass cheek, and then he hits Punk with a Rock Bottom.
11:15pm: We go off the air with a stare down between Punk and Rock as Punk makes his way back up the ramp.
#ThankYouBeginningOfTheYearForGivingMeAReasonToWriteRunningDiariesAgain: John Cena VS Dolph Ziggler.. Antonio Cesaro hitting The Great Khali with a Neutralizer.. CM Punk VS Ryback in a TLC Match for the WWE Title.. Paul Heyman's post-match celebration of Punk's victory.. The fire in Punk's promo in the final segment, especially the second half of it, after The Rock got a chance to speak for a while
#FuckYouNotreDameForStinkingUpTheJointAgainstAlabamaTonight: The opening promo segment between John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston.. Wade Bar-ruh having to look afraid of a sock puppet and then not wanting to fight a retired man who is going to turn 60 next month.. Kofi Kingston losing in 15 some-odd seconds.. The Rock's "tired, lame-ass schtick".. That motherfucking Jackson Hewitt commercial playing 829 times during Raw
Grade: C+, B-. The good was really good, and most of the bad wasn't too offensive. I just wish the middle 90 minutes of the show wasn't filler. It was weird pacing, with the first match of the show being really good, and then almost nothing good until the final hour of the show. All in all, I guess I can't hate too much, and I do look forward to next week, if only to see what Punk's response to being hit with the Rock Bottom will be.
While I'm here, though, I guess I should talk a little bit more about that final segment. As I said multiple times during the build of the feud between The Rock and John Cena, I don't think The Rock is bad now, so much as I've just grown up. He's making the same jokes that he always has, but the Hustle at 30 doesn't have the same sense of humor as the Hustle at 15 did. Some of you still have the same senses of humor that you had during the Attitude Era, and that's fine. Good for you. I'm sure you're happy with that, and it's good to be happy, but I've grown up. Not much, but I've grown up.
Some of you are already thinking that I'm a hypocrite because I'm a fan of John Cena, but if you pay attention to my columns, my Running Diaries, my tweets, my Facebook posts, my appearances on the Lords Of Podcast Roundtable, etc, I don't praise the goofball promos that Cena does. Hell, in this very column, I didn't have positive things to say about Cena's promo to start the show. Do I think Cena gets way too much shit from the IWC for his mic skills? Yes, I do, but I'm referring to the more serious promos he cuts. When he has fire in his belly, he's about as good as there is in wrestling today. When he's telling JBL that he's "poopy", he can get smooth the fuck outta here with that shit. During his feud with The Rock, Cena damn sure had fire in his belly, and that's why I enjoyed the promos so much. He went out there like he had something to prove, week in and week out, and it showed in his promos. The Rock was hit-or-miss with his promos, with a lot of his work being subpar, especially in comparison to what Cena was doing. Now, with CM Punk, that seems to be what we're getting again. Punk always knows how to dip into some real emotions for his promos, and if tonight was any indication, he's going to have that fire in his belly for at least the next few weeks, and that doesn't bode well for The Rock, especially coming this soon after feuding with Cena.
Does Rock have time to bounce back? Of course he does. He's booked to appear on damn near every episode of Raw between now and the night after WrestleMania (I believe he's only scheduled to miss one episode), and he's even booked to appear on a couple episodes of Smackdown in that time, which gives him plenty of opportunities to prove to the world that he still deserves the praise that he continues to get. I do think he'll bounce back, though. Even if you hate The Rock, the law of averages alone says that he has to deliver a few good promos, right?
I want to hear from some of you on this very subject, though. If you think The Rock's promos were better than John Cena's promos during their feud, and especially if you think The Rock's promo was better than CM Punk's promo tonight, I just want to hear why. No judgement. No slander. I just want to hear why, even if it's something simple like "I hate CM Punk/John Cena". Hit me up and let me know what's on your mind.
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