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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-19-14
By Al Laiman
May 21, 2014 - 9:52:24 PM

credit Tom Jenner

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Featuring several improvised Warrior rants!

30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-19-14

Sorry about the lateness everyone. Ended up having to stay late at work two nights in a row unexpectedly. Better late than never, I hope.

1. Happy Belated Kane Day, let's get rolling with a taped episode here. Immediately, cutting off the beginning signature with the Wyatt stinger was awesome. A bunch of lit-up cell phones (taking the place of lighters before only heathens and terrorists smoked), and the whole crowd is singing along with Wyatt. It seems like Wyatt gets closer to a Baptist minister every day, especially in his speech pattern. Wyatt turns up the HAM (more than usual) talking about everything that's wrong, and his former dissenting teacher. Note to WWE: Mood lighting for creepy Wyatt promos: Good. Mood lighting for low-card wrestler who rarely appears on RAW: bad. Did Wyatt just pull a Steve Austin "Uh-uh?"

2. I fear for Wyatt. Like we talked about on LOPR, WWE may go into panic mode with the huge stock downturn, and we all know what happens when WWE goes into panic mode. Wyatt calls himself the "Man of 1000 Truths," so I assume he's going to ask Cena how he will kill that which has no life. Wyatt gets so into it that he slips out of his accent, before announcing that we'll see Harper vs. Cena... again.

3. Cena's music hits to a Chicago-like reaction, and Harper and Rowan immediately jump out of the ring. Gee, I wonder if Cena's coming from the other side... Oh wow, John Cena came in from the other side. The crowd sings "John Cena sucks" along with his theme music. Our number one face, everyone.

4. Time for another recap, and dammit, my remote isn't working. I might seriously have to try to fix this before sitting through these commercials.

5. Cesaro is out with Heyman delivering his usual glazed slices of HAMmy goodness, and Cesaro definitely seems to be full-fledged heel. Although it's not working to turn the English crowd so well, and even mocking their Queen dying can't stop them from singing along with Heyman screaming about Lesnar ending the streak. That is supremely awesome.


7. In a match we're supposed to not remember was a midcard squash match a few years ago, Cesaro now is doing something he didn't do then... Eat all of Sheamus's trademark moves, including their weekly attempt to give me motion sickness. The crowd starts chanting for JBL, because that of course has to be a thing that all crowds do now. Cesaro has about thirty seconds of offense before Lobsterhead gets to hit more trademark moves. Finally, Sheamus gets sent to the outside. I wonder if there will be a commercial break here. Oh hey, there's a commercial break here, and dammit I can't skip it!

8. Finally, a crowd is doing the Claudio "eyyyyy!" chants. I've been waiting for that almost as long as I've been waiting for Danielson to just once say: "I've got til five, ref!" Cesaro pulls out his awesome over the ropes superplex, if that's what it's called, I think? Who cares, it's awesome! Sheamus skins the cat to get to the top turnbuckle, which was pretty cool in his own right, and Lobsterhead kicks out of a punch right to the fuck for his trouble. I disapprove. Cesaro ends up winning wth a German suplex after a Heyman distraction, bringing us a rare Lobsterhead televised loss. But, let's wait and see if he can get out of it without getting his heat back as well. He offers the handshake to Cesaro, who breezes past it Flair-style, and I'll be damned.

9. The Shield vs. Evolution at Payback is now no-holds barred? As opposed to Extreme Rules, I guess. Who cares, this feud has been top notch.

10. We're doing a "Beat the Clock" challenge? Fuck, I hate these. Big E starts off facing Ryback, so yeah, Big E wins. Did Ryback just do a Scott Hall rip-off in his aside promo? The crowd starts chanting for 3MB, because they are also things. JBL spends a lot of this time making excuses for the end of his career, which is more entertaining than what's going on so far. Ryback bangs his chest like he just blew up Big E with an exploding banana, and does so for a good ten seconds. Big E tried to roll through a move into a landing counter, but instead belly-flopped. He comes back and hits his finisher to get the ever-surprising win while the crowd waits to blow the roof off the building when Barrett comes out.

11. The TROOF is with the not-Funkadactyls, and they get to say "What's Up!" now. Joy. He's facing Fandango, who gets to temporarily return to a place where people still sing along with his theme. So why are the Funkateers with TROOF now? Did I miss something? Is it because Cameron is putting out something that vaguely resembles music and she needed help?

12. Summer Rae comes out before the match starts and lays a full-on kiss on Fandango. A Joey Styles-ish CATfight breaks out, and the crowd loves it. So, um... Was the match canceled because of this? Did TROOF and the Funkers just go "well, the two valets got into a fight, guess we can go home? I'm so glad I came the whole way to London for this."

13. Daniel Bryan's music hits, and I have a feeling it's a giant troll. Of course it is, Stephanie comes out doing the YES! chant. That's the lamest use of someone else's taunt since she did RVD's last year. She manages to plug Total Divas within 30 seconds, and I'm trying hard not to have flashbacks. Speaking of making things lame, but getting some good heat for doing it, she does a Wade Barrett impression. She threatens to strip Bryan of the title with a variety of scenarios. Okay, now she just went awesome by making the crowd pop just by pretending to award the title to Barrett. Brilliant work, Steph.

14. In what would be the second time Triple H was awarded the title, Stephanie says he should again. Steph demands that Bryan show up to surrender the title instead of her stripping it. I don't see that happening, but I do sense some shenanigans going down there.

15. 3MB brings back their Union Jacks gimmick, which unfortunately did not stay like some triad hybrid of Charlie Haas' gimmick-a-week thing. I wonder if they'll be losing to El Torito again. They get cut off almost immediately by Lana, which is always a welcome sight, even if her entrance music sounds like the interlude background of a cut scene from a PS1 RPG. Enjoy that, it's about the only video game joke I can make. She shows some photoshopped images for some cheap heat before Rusev hits the building.

16. Bulgarian Samoa Joe starts walking to the ring while the team that's lost to El Torito surely has a fighting chance, right? Rusev throws Slater in the ring, and the match starts. Slater does at least try to fight back at first, and gets an impressive pop for it. That doesn't last long, as Rusev finally beats up a white dude and gets a quick win. Rusev continues to be dominant, and 3MB gets a few minutes of TV time. Not a bad segment.

17. The Shield gets another chance to keep being badass while taking advantage of the awesome photo-op with showing off Reigns' eye wounds. Rollins manages to come off as tough, even though he'll be staring down a much larger Batista. Gotta give him credit for how much he's grown since the Shield's debut.

18. RVD against ADR is next, and we're back with the Beat the Clock challenge, at least further giving importance to the Intercontinental championship. The heel once again gets an aside promo before the match, so yeah I don't like his odds. The Black Hole of Charisma kicks RVD out of the ring and is surrounded by his familiar reaction: silence. I don't blame the English crowd though, I often find myself distracted when Alberto Del Rio is involved.

19. You know what I've appreciated about this show? Minimal That Thing bullshit, minimal begging Network subscriptions, minimal recaps... I'm captivated by these things, even if some of the show has been mediocre. ADR gets a near-fall after a missed Five-Star Frog Splash, and I can only assume he slipped out due to the small puddle of Pomade on the mat. RVD suddenly gets a roll-up and ADR falls again with :47 left on the Beaten Clock.

20. We get the usual beginning of third hour recaps, followed by a Cena/Usos segment, as well as an Evolution response and preview of the likely main event. This has been a rather solid show so far, even without something that really stands out on an individual basis.

21. Oh, so I guess we're getting Rollins/Batista already. Oh wait, what a twist, Triple H comes out to be the special guest ring announcer. I sense some shenanigans coming on! I wonder if Randy Orton is gonna get some special thing too. Yep, special guest time keeper. I have a bad feeling about this for Rollins' sake. Rollins then gets on the mic and introduces guest commentators, because... That's not ringside. This is probably going to break down rather soon, and good on it. We need some high action breakdown. Ambrose HAMs it up messing with the commentators there, and attempts to outdo his stablemate's moment of HAM on the mic. At least there's more than last week.

22. We come back with Batista using the power of his Just For Men-aided beard to keep control of Rollins. Forgive me on the lack of detail, my roommate was talking about Ice and Fire stuff, and my pause button doesn't work. Michael Cole Cliche #546 when he "creates separation" from Batista.

23. For once, I lost the column but had been constantly saving it. Drafts in Gmail is a wonderful thing, otherwise there would be no 30 Thoughts this week. Somehow I accidentally clicked the X. Excuse me while I just breathe here for a few minutes. I love the sound effects that the crowd is giving Rollins' high risk moves, and I also love Ambrose HAMming it up on commentary. He's in contention with Heyman, and that's saying something. Reigns gets up from the commentators' desk, so mayhem is coming. It's good to hear a face getting a solid face chant.

24. Rollins gets pushed off from Triple H, and the breakdown comes. Things start going crazy at ringside, but Orton takes out Reigns with a chair. Orton gets himself confused setting up too long for Orton, and it looks like he was chasing his invisible tail... Or at least I hope it's invisible. Rollins gets the win after H hits him right in front of the ref, and he eats a spear from Batista. Ambrose reverses a Pedigree, distracts Batista, allowing Reigns to hit another spear. We get that awesome Reigns scream, but an H distraction allows Batista to get away. I think Evolution is going to come away with this one at Payback, as the Shield has gotten the upper hand for most of this feud.

25. At this rate, I should've just watched it live. We get a recap of Alicia Fox's random meltdown, making it the second-most memorable thing she's ever done, next to giving WWE an embarrassing reason why Cameron is employed. Paige gets a homecoming moment, and I'm digging her theme more now. I'm surprised we haven't seen Barrett or Adam Rose just yet, but then again, because I can't check the DVR, I have no idea how long this show's been on. Alicia suffers from ADR-commentary syndrome, where she's suddenly being more aggressive by being slightly more of a dick than usual.

26. On Sunday, Matt said that Alicia Fox looked like a dangerous wrestler, and not in a good way. Does anyone else feel that way? Out of nowhere, Alicia Fox gets the win, which shouldn't be big news. WWE loves to make superstars lose in their hometown. Alicia then has a reverse HAMtacular meltdown (a melt-up?), even pulling a TROOF by taking a drink after her match. The commentary team seems as confused as everyone else, right before Cole Cliche #764 "switching gears." We get yet another recap of what we got a recap of at the top of the hour, which was the Cena/Wyatt segment at the top of the first hour.

27. Mark Henry is out, and he's facing Dolph Ziggler, who still gets a great reaction. Ziggler gets the aside promo, so odds are he's screwed. Henry barely looks like he's giving a shit when missing his strikes, but then again, his facial expression hasn't changed since 1999. They're both faces here, so we can't really say the heel has to win to balance this one out. Ziggler's aside promo said he likes to show... off. For a minute I thought he was going to say he would take Mark Henry's face... off. Ziggler's doing a great job showing a sense of urgency, which may end up backfiring... and it does. Ziggler kicks out of the World's Strongest Slam?! Wait, what? That's a thing now, just randomly? Is the crowd singing Adam Rose's song? Ziggler hits the Zig Zag, but he can't make the cover in time, but... Ziggler kicked out of the World's Strongest Slam, a short time after people started kicking out of the Meathook Clothesline casually? Does the Intercontinental title make finishers weaker or something?

28. Bad News Barrett finally makes an appearance, attacking Rob Van Dam after he comes out to celebrate his number one contendership. The crowd sings along with the catch phrase, which he is just freaking owning. Barrett gets to play a face and enjoys every second of it, and even namedrops the next PPV. Barrett gets a huge pop to conclude things, and I wonder if we're not going to get an Adam Rose appearance. Does Barrett have another new entrance theme this week, or was he just using that for home country sake?

29. More recaps that I can't skip, dammit. Renee Young is in the ring, and introduces Adam Rose, finally bringing wrestling's Russell Brand (or so I'm told) to the screen. Damn this catchy earworm of a song. The crowd keeps singing with the song, as I'm damn sure this is going to be a thing from here on out. The crowd singing even drowns out Renee speaking, and JBL encouraging it to not be contagious only helps ensure that it will. This is some good contending from the defending HAM of the Week, although to be fair when Biff and Zeb come out, the crowd sings their song too. The theme song singing manages to almost tune out Colter as well. Zeb running down the crowd and the Rosebuds is freaking hysterical. He challenges Adam to settle it himself. Biff attacks, and the ENTIRE CROWD OF ROSEBUDS backs up. Come on, even a bunch of helpless hipsters could take one guy with those numbers. Rose comes back and sends Biff sprawling again. I want to see this guy wrestle though, to see if he can back up this awesome theme song crowd interaction schtick. This show seems really long, though again that could be my inability to skip things.

30. Cena comes out to the adoring fans who sing along with his theme as they have several others tonight. The Usos join him as the evening-the-odds faces, but given that Cena's been almost easily able to overcome them by himself, why exactly does he need two others? It's also good to see that London is a big enough city for Bray Wyatt to be allowed to mention. This match might have some tension for it if we hadn't already seen it multiple times in this feud. The crowd is still singing Rose's song, which is awesome. Harper is owning this here, and is getting an organic pop for the process. He's gonna be something once he's out of this gimmick. I can't get over how agile he is. He reminds me of young Kane, minus the whole "killing his heat every chance they get with stupid angles." Things break down, and the Usos and the Wyatt allies start brawling. Bray ends up hitting the Sister Abigail on both Usos. Cena sends him sprawling, Harper hits a Michinoku Driver, but gets a two-count out of it. The Wyatts get the blatant DQ and control, but Cena fights back, only to be taken out by Sister Abigail to the massive delight of the crowd. Cena keeps getting destroyed while being stalked by the Wyatts. A Sister Abigail at the top of the stage seals it, and the crowd emphatically chants "YES!" Singing and singing along ends the show the same way it started, so yeah, Cena's going to win. Panic mode. The Wyatt stinger ends the show, and while this show did seem like it took forever, it was pretty good. There also wasn't anything terrible on it, which is a big step up from a lot of episodes of RAW. Payback is set up well, and like I said, my big fear is the stock drop is going to mean returning the status quo from which they finally switched at WrestleMania 30. That could be even more damaging to a fanbase that seems to be coming around again.

Zeb, Ambrose, and Heyman were all finalists, and Stephanie would've had a shot on a lesser night. We all know who took it though, Paul Heyman for going to making a dead queen reference to say his client conquered the streak. Try again next time, the reigning King has returned!

2012 - Daniel Bryan
2013 - Paul Heyman
1-6-14 - Dean Ambrose
1-13-14 - Big Show
1-20-14 - Big Show
2-3-14 - Bray Wyatt
2-17-14 - Titus O'Neil
2-24-14 - The Undertaker
3-3-14 - Paul Heyman
3-10-14 - Stephanie
3-17-14 - Randy Orton
3-24-14 - Dean Ambrose
3-31-14 - Bray Wyatt
4-6-14 - Roddy Piper
5-12-14 - Adam Rose
5-19-14 - Paul Heyman

My second short film, featuring everyone's favorite Jackie (The Wolf of Wall St) and Matt (HAM Radio Weekly.)

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