30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 7-22-13
By Al Laiman
Jul 23, 2013 - 1:09:39 AM
credit Tom Jenner
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS Facebook Page
Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1
1. I know I have several fans in the Twin Cities. Just wanted to let them know that I'm headed up to visit in September, so if anyone wants to meet up for a beer, let me know! With that, let's head into another edition of Monday Night RAW. With the "reset button" episode last week, I'm strangely optimistic. The earth-shattering pop for Daniel Bryan has not lost its luster. The drumroll brings us to Brad Maddox HAMming it up for the Texas crowd, as he puts over his own greatness despite his incredible oblivion. Tonight we're getting a contract signing, which I guess has to happen every time there is a WWE title match now. When was the last time the World Heavyweight Title had one of those? At least it's not going to be the main event, as it starts right away with the first positive John Cena reaction I've heard in months. The chants have started already, and Cena is letting it ride. Maddox questions why Cena picked Daniel Bryan, and Cena simply says that Maddox let him. Cena does his best to be a good guy in the eyes of the WWE Universe, but Maddox accuses Cena of picking him because he knows he can beat him. Um... This is how you're going to put the guy over? By listing all of his faults? Kay...
2. Daniel Bryan's music cuts off the list of reasons, and Daniel Bryan to no surprise receives an amazing reaction. Listen to these chants... Absolutely unreal. As Bryan tries to speak, they chant his name even louder. Maddox and Bryan get at each other about why Cena chose him, and Cena says if he wants to know why, he should be man enough to ask him. Um... I thought he already did? Cena stands up for the opponent standing next to him. This is one of the better Cena promos in recent memory, challenging the notion that size makes a champion. Someone has a Stannis 3:16 sign, haha I get it! This is the John Cena I enjoy, because he's genuine in what he's saying. He concludes by saying that Cena chose him because he earned it and he deserved it. Well done, THAT'S how you put over a challenger. Very impressive work by John Cena here, putting over Bryan while at the same time saying that he intends to win this match.
3. Daniel Bryan starts to respond, but Maddox cuts him off to announce the title match. Bryan uses one of his trademark exclamations to protest this moment. Maddox again challenges if he deserves it, to the point of calling the portion of the audience chanting for him "the vocal minority." Okay, that was pretty damn funny. Maddox says that he's going to give Bryan a chance to prove he deserves it, and it sounds like we're going to get multiple matches with Daniel Bryan to do so. Maddox gets into a "NO-YES" dueling chant with the crowd. Maddox is being a dipshit in his own unique way, Cena is acknowledging that Bryan is popular, deserving, and overlooked, and Bryan gets a big chance for a major showcase of determination throughout tonight's show. I remember when Triple H had to fight all five of his six-pack challenge opponents on an episode of Smackdown, except this is a face trying to prove his worth, not the result of a face general manager trying to stick it to him. I like this, and I'm definitely intrigued for the rest of the show.
4. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! FEE FI FO FUM, MIRROR MIRROR, WHEN DOES THE NIGHT FALL ON THE SHADOWS OF THE BLESSED REALM, HOAK HOGAN! THE SOULFORGED DOTH COME FORCE IN THE FACE OF TRUE EVIL, ESCAPING WHILE THERE IS TIME TO REGROUP BEHIND THE DARK FOREST OF THE MIRKWOOD. MY GRASP OF THESE EVENTS HAS AS MUCH CHANCE OF MAKING SENSE AS JAY AND SILENT BOB HAVE OF SELLING WEED IN FRONT OF THE MOOBY'S! SNOOCHY BOOCHIES, HOAK HOGAN! SNOOCHY BOOCHIES!
5. Lobsterhead's bruise looks brutal, and he'll be bringing his thigh-challenged complexion to the ring against my favoritest World Heavyweight Champion ever! ADR and Sheamus in an acknowledged re-start of their rivalry from last year, which I'm sure was voted the IWC's favorite feud. Some people in the crowd are trying to get announcer chants going, but as they are barely in the show, it's not quite working. It seems like crowds are now trying to be like the New York/Philly area crowds, which may or may not be a good thing. A pretty cool spot happens where ADR tries to lock up Sheamus' arm Tarantula-style, but Sheamus does not approve of his bullshit and punches him right in the fuck... and into commercial.
6. As we come back with ADR in control, furthering what I like to call the LAW of RAW. JBL namedrops the Brookyln Brawler as a comparison note because... Well, he exists. We get a shot of Damien Sandow, and Michael Cole reminds us that he's Mr. Money in the Bank, because I suppose none of us have the powers of observation. Sheamus begins his comeback while still selling his bruised leg, and it does put him over in the process by fighting through the pain. Del Rio slips through a counter and hits the Backstabber for a close fall, and hey, we're already getting the second Twitter Ticker of the match. Joy. Again I say, who told the cameraman it was a good idea to use the motion of the Chops of Doom? It's obnoxious and makes me look away, rather than sell the move. Sheamus goes up top and gets enziguiried off the top for another close fall. Sheamus counters and rolls through with number three of the 112 trademark moves to hit in a match when you're all alone. Sheamus is unable to post for the Brogue Kick or White Noise, and ADR follows through with a bad-leg hook pinfall for the win. Good opening match with psychology being the forefront of the story. These two can definitely work a match.
7. We come back with recapping Teddy Long being thrown out of the building, and Vickie taking over Smackdown GM. Good thing we gave her the rightful break from duty we all deserved. Booker T tries to say that he respects McMahon's decision, and Teddy Long comes by to say that he does not approve, in his own unique way. We need more Teddy Long. Booker threatens to throw him out of the building too, and Long verbally bitchslaps the shit out of him.
8. Christian is out next for a match, doing his absolute best to remain somewhat relevant despite confusing booking since his return. After a commercial break where I assume Christian was just kinda hanging out, a Half Millions a Dolla will be his opponent, amid many social media plugs within 15 seconds. Titus is wrestling instead of Pancake Patterson, which unfortunately was a great segment that never went anywhere, like this entire tag team after good ol' AW and his lack of restraint. Titus gets an awesome spot where he carries Christian up to the ring and tosses him in. I'm not sure how they haven't found anything better to do for this guy yet. Titus even busts out the whistle for some mudhole stomps, which gives Christian an opportuntiy for the hope spot.
9. Christian starts to gain momentum, and is obviously the wily veteran to Titus' relative inexperience. They use the word "overachiever" about 28 times, which is an interesting take on the situation, but whatever works. Christian tries for the Unprettier, but gets knocked into the apron, sending Darren Young sprawling, and having Christian eat a big boot for a close fall. Christian hits the Unprettier successfully on the second try and gets another victory. Christian finally seems to be on a roll after a few months of stagnation, and hopefully Titus' recent showing will propel him to doing something more than... Well, nothing.
10. After getting a clip of seeing Ryback take out Chris Jericho
so he could go on tour, and Matthews asks Ryback if he enjoys intimidating others. This gives Ryback a chance to make a painful joke of a promo. He makes references to taking lunch money on the playground, cause hey, Be a Star. Intimidate people smaller than you on a program that endorses anti-bullying. Well done. But hey, if you're going to go with that angle, at least give it to a guy who can talk his way out of a paper bag. That sounded more forced than a Rodney Mack push.
11. Mark Henry and his surprising face push are out next, and we'll see if his angle with the Uso's and the Shield continues here. Henry throws in a cheap pop, but gets pretty direct about the point. He challenges The Shield, which is not always a wise decision. The Shield also gets a face pop, as the level of badass awesome just seems to transcend crowd disposition. Henry, however, does seem to have made a flawless transition into a badass face himself. He tries taking on all three Shield members himself, but it doesn't take long for the numbers to get the advantage. This time, the Uso's get to make the save to return the favor from Henry on Smackdown. It takes all three of them to get an advantage on Reigns. Rollins takes an incredibly awkward fall, and The Shield bails to regroup. Looks like we're getting this six-man tag combo at Summerslam.
12. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan is backstage with John Cena. Cena remarks about how nervous Maddox was, and he seems to be feeling a bit C-O-N-spiracy like. Bryan wants to do it on his own, and Cena just wants to make sure he makes it to Summerslam. Bryan wants to make sure that Cena doesn't interfere in any proceedings, which I'm sure won't come back to bite him in the ass whatsoever.
13. Now it's time for a dose of Dolph Ziggler, and the recap of AJ's latest Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs moments follow. Darren Young is taking his turn to be irrelevant against an opponent he has no chance to beat. I've decided to change the zoom level on the TV so it cuts out the Dumbass Ticker. Ziggler's face momentum does seem to still be going strong, which is a good sign. The unfortunate part of this is the hint that they may be going back to matches that have good wrestling but ridiculously predictable outcomes. Darren, like Titus earlier, does put on a pretty good performance, but to the surprise of... no one... Ziggler gets the win.
14. Big E. jumps Dolph after the match, but ends up getting tossed to the outside afterward. Dolph gets a pretty good reaction after that while AJ does her best Melina impression with unintelligible shrieks. Ziggler looks elusive and has the one-up on the speed, so that makes it interesting going into their match.
15. Of course the important information is given via Twitter, and they go into another explanation of how to download That Thing, as if anyone didn't figure that the fuck out yet. Thank JBL for DVR so I can skip this incredibly stupid shit. Not to mention, how many times are they gonna show the damn replay of Lesnar attacking Punk? We get it, it happened. This show is reminding me way too much of earlier shows that would make me not give a shit by the end.
16. Oh joy, we're going to take an entire segment to put over Total Divas. Hustle's favorite wrestler, The Miz, is not only hosting the segment, but Summerslam as well. Oh Miz, how far have you fallen that you're playing second fiddle to the Divas. They start to show a preview, but my Giveafuckometer is in the negatives, and I'm not covering this shit. Lawler gets in the ring, because this isn't annoying enough yet. Some chick slaps him, and I still don't care. It's on E! so it's virtually guaranteed I'll never place my eyes on it at any time whatsoever. I'm so glad this is taking up television time.
17. We come back with Maddox's phone call being interrupted by Triple H. H throws back all the insults on Maddox that he listed earlier in the evening, and he implies that Vince McMahon may have put words in his mouth. Triple H mentions... on live TV... that Daniel Bryan may be the future of the WWE. Okay, think about that for a second. Triple H... As in THE Triple H just said on live broadcast that Bryan Danielson is the future of WWE. Put that very high on the list of things I never thought I'd see. As that moment ends, Stephanie takes her turn to put in her two cents, because... well, I guess he just didn't see his own wife coming three seconds earlier. Awkward levels rising. Replays of what we've already seen from the Wyatt Family, skip.
18. Two dudes in Nexus shirts are rocking out to Fandango, but unfortunately only about eight other people in the entire arena are. Nobody in Texas seems to give any more of a fuck than I did about Total Divas, so I guess the guy is an East Coast thing. The recently-turned Cody Rhodes is his opponent while Damien Sandow is at ringside. Oh gloriousness, there is a JBL in the sky. Anytime Sandow is on commentary, it's gold. Sandow claims to be the uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion, because I guess he's not aware that that statement is no longer saying a whole helluva lot. Let's see if Rhodes can keep his post-MITB momentum going, because his inconsistency lies in getting people to care about him. It's pretty much all or nothing as far as he goes.
19. The zoomed-in TV may be cutting off part of Danfango's head, but at least I don't have to read the stupid Twitter ticker. Sandow says he was going to offer Rhodes a chance to be his butler. Gold. It looks like Fandango is out of place for a moonsault, and looks to run back in place to catch him. Rhodes lands awkwardly, Fandango rolls out of the ring. Sandow tries to get involved, both of them get kicked, and Rhodes gets a strong win on RAW. I think Fandango fucked up big time there, because why else would someone scamper to go INTO a moonsault?
20. Wow, did you know Lesnar attacked CM Punk last week? I wish they'd show me a replay so I could recall it. My stupid wrestling fan memory just can't handle anything that didn't happen within the last eight sec... Oh hey, Lesnar attacked CM Punk last week! Also, the Bella Twins are going to be on The Today Show? Good, now I know to make sure to avoid NBC that day. JBL knows they're bad enough on commentary, I don't want to see the atrocity that is them being interviewed. Oh hey, as CM Punk is coming out, we get... I shit you not... ANOTHER FUCKING REPLAY OF LESNAR ATTACKING CM PUNK! Nevermind that you've shown it before every commercial, we needed to see it again! I'm sorry, I'm really not trying to harp on this, but it's getting ridiculous.
21. The crowd cheers for CM Punk as much out of relief as anything, and Punk recaps what happened last week because, let's face it, none of us remember. Punk quotes a little Jeff Hardy circa 2002 and says that he's still standing. Punk still takes the time to put over Brock's accomplishments, including major props toward his UFC championship. Punk says that Lesnar's biggest weapon has always been fear, but proclaims that he does not fear the man. I hope they don't hotshot this angle to Summerslam, because I'd like to see it slowly burn, culminating in that match instead of an instant gratification. Punk starts to get really fired up, and they're chanting his name while he speaks. The fire in his voice is really impressive, and it shows how personally he's taking the Heyman betrayal.
22. Nevermind, it looks like Punk just challenged him to Summerslam. He makes the challenge of "The Best vs. The Beast." Heyman appears via sattelite, for his own safety, and Punk keeps the fire going. Heyman makes great disdain for Texans, getting him some major heat within the live audience and putting over CM Punk even more in the process. It seems that the biggest insult to CM Punk is that he's via satellite, which is fantastically hilarious. These two going back and forth is always good though. Heyman eventually accepts the challenge, which I admit will be a very interesting match. At least we get to hear Heyman's HAMMY delivery of BRRRRRRRROCK LLLLLLLESNAR! The angle is good, and the storylines are perfectly executed, although I feel it's being rushed a bit. I hope this isn't a one-and-done. Punk needs to be torn down even further before he can build himself back up again.
23. It seems like RVD is being given a reunion tour by facing all the different opponents he can. This week he's facing a jobber-entranced Wade Barrett, so yet again we have what will probably be a decent match, but with an opponent that we know in our heart of hearts has no chance whatsoever of winning. Am I watching RAW or an old episode of Jakked? Barrett dares to attack during the trademark taunt, which doesn't pay off well for him. Barrett gets a decent advantage, but you know what we haven't seen enough of yet? The Twitter ticker. I feel bad for those of you who can actually see it. I think eventually, it's just going to be on there all the time. That's it, I'm not taking about it anymore. We have That Thing, and the ticker shall now be That Other Thing. I refuse to acknowledge it.
24. RVD gets a few close falls with some trademark moves. Barrett comes back with a stiff kick, but that goes nowhere. RVD soon comes back with the Five Star Frog Splash, and I know you're going to be surprised by this, but RVD won. It was all right at best, because once again, you knew who was going to win the second the match was presented. However, it is still impressive that RVD can still go the way he does. He's still incredibly fluid and smooth, and can work with just about any opponent. RVD makes the roster more interesting, and we'll see how the continuation of the RVD Reunion Tour goes.
25. Bryan gets his chance to remind everyone of Apocalypse Now with his entrance theme, but unfortunately he doesn't get a helicopter. First out are the not-Colter's Militia with President Chester A. Arthur and his usual ramblings. Colter just feeds into getting people to chant "YES!" more, which I guess is un-American now. He accuses Daniel Bryan of taking a handout, which is interesting because he himself asked for one on the same night, before getting everyone to chant along with a bunch of heels. This is just proving once again that crowds just want to sing along with anything, no matter what it is.
26. Biff Swagger is up first, and given his recent status of conviction, I don't like his chances. He does the "We The People" taunt a few more times, giving the crowd more chances to sing along with someone they're booing, and he gains the early advantage. The crowd makes some anti-OU chants, acknowledging that they do remember that Swagger went there, and Bryan begins a comeback. He tries to the outside, but gets knocked back for his efforts. Swagger hits his springboard move, and does the taunt for a third time before Bryan counters with the YES! Lock. Bryan wins the first match. The crowd still goes nuts with the chants for him, and let's see who is up next.
27. A little ROH flavor is coming his way, as the former Claudio Castagnoli will be mid-match with him after the commercial break. We come back with Bryan already trying to fight his way out of a hold, and That Thing shows us what the match actually could have if they cut short maybe that Divas segment. Bryan gets tossed hard into the corner for a near-fall, and That Other Thing is on again. Bryan comes back with some Dragon Screws, and is about to mount an offensive when Cesaro comes back with brute strength and suplexes him. Cesaro continues pushing him down with holds. Bryan finally comes back with his rope flip and starts to get the momentum. Here come the kicks, and the crowd sings along with every one. Cesaro gets out before the last one, but it does him no good. The dropkicks follow for another close fall.
28. Cesaro comes back with his vicious European uppercut and gets a near-fall, and that sends us into the second commercial of this match. Good, I was hoping we'd get a chance to see another preview of Suits. Cesaro still has control, but Bryan starts to come back again. The crowd is just having so much fun cheering along with him. Cesaro cuts him off again, and Bryan is back down. Cesaro's looking damn good here, which is a nice change. Bryan hits a Voldemort Suplex and a vicious kick, but again Cesaro gets out. The crowd chants that it is awesome, and I must agree. Despite once again not believing for a second that Cesaro has a chance in hell, it's a damn good wrestling clinic. Cesaro counters a high spot for a cross body, but he gets out again. The crowd chants for Bryan and both men are down. They then get into a European Uppercut-off, which is seriously awesome. The only thing missing is a good 'EYYYYYY. Cesaro turns him ass over tea-kettle, but Bryan kicks out yet again. The crowd again chants that this is awesome. What a tremendous match. Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer, but Bryan counters. More European Uppercuts follow, and Bryan does a leg-hook Punch-Fuck combo. Bryan dives to the outside to take out both the non-Militias. After a counter to a top-rope attack, Bryan finally wins with a roll-up counter to an uppercut, and Bryan wins again. Amazing match that I did not expect to last this long. We go into commercial with Maddox saying that there will be another match. Dun dun DUNNNNN!
29. When we come back, we find out that Bryan's third opponent is Ryback. Good, I was wondering when he was gonna be in the main event again... This'll be interesting, with Bryan having not only wrestled two straight matches, but a lengthy, albeit awesome match with Cesaro. Bryan won't be pushed over though, as he goes on the attack immediately. That Other Thing goes by, and Ryback dominates Daniel Bryan in a way that heel Big Show would be proud of. Ryback mocks the YES! chants while he stomps Bryan in the corner, and he gets thrown into the corner hard again. The crowd chants that he can't wrestle. Ryback goes for a Lou Thesz, but Bryan counters it into a half-Boston crab on the Cryback leg. He gets out, and Ryback continues to dominate. Bryan comes back again with his dropkicks. He goes for a third, which you know spells doom, and he gets clotheslined out of the corner. Cole reminds us that that RAW is live... Well thank JBL you're here, Monte. That broadcast school has really paid off.
30. Ryback pulls out a table to continue that angle that started over that match he didn't even win against Cena, and Bryan comes over the top rope, sending Ryback hard into the announce table. Bryan looked like he landed hard on his knee, but he manages more YES kicks. It doesn't pan out well though, as he gets slammed into the steel steps. The crowd chants "holy shit" because... They've never seen that before? Kay. Easily amazed people here in Austin, I suppose. Bryan gets back in the ring and continues to hit more kicks, putting up the kind of performance he needed to to be taken seriously in the eyes of the Universe. Bryan goes for the YES Lock, but can't quite get it locked in. Ryback counters with a hair toss, an homage to the Diva's Division, I assume, and Bryan comes right back. Bryan comes off the top with a dropkick for a nearfall, and this match is going better than I thought it would. Bryan gets in the YES Lock, but the guy who forfeit his own match recently gets to the ropes. Ryback gets pissed off at this turn of events, and powerbombs him through the table to lose the match via DQ. Ryback starts to go for more attacks, but Cena makes the save and gets probably the first unanimously good reaction since... well, last time he saved Daniel Bryan. He challenges Ryback to a tables match next week. Vince is in with Maddox and it looks like we're finally getting that payoff match with Kane that everyone's been waiting for. Overall, the last group of matches really saved this show. Everything with Cena and Bryan was good, the Punk/Heyman exchange was to be expected. Del Rio/Sheamus was pretty decent, but the matches in between were way too predictable, the social media stuff is back up to 11, and the Divas segment... Do I even need to bother? Not to mention, the overkill of replays with the Lesnar attack was nauseating. It was a decent, not great show. Disappointing after the amazing show last week.
2012 - Daniel Bryan
1-7-13 - John Cena
1-14-13 - Dr. Shelby
1-21-13 - Anger Management
1-27-13 - Kofi Kingston
1-28-13 - Tensai
2-4-13 - Brad Maddox
2-11-13 - The Shield
2-18-13 - Damien Sandow
2-25-13 - Daniel Bryan
3-4-13 - Fandango
3-11-13 - Rhodes Scholars
3-18-13 - Rufus "Pancake" Patterson
3-25-13 - Mark Henry
3-26-13 - Antonio Cesaro
4-1-13 - Ryback
4-7-13 - Paul Heyman
4-8-13 - The Izod Center crowd
5-20-13 - Paul Heyman
5-27-13 - Chris Jericho
6-3-13 - Damien Sandow
6-17-13 - Mark Henry
6-24-13 - Big E. Langston
7-8-13 - Vickie Guerrero
7-9-13 - Paul Heyman
7-15-13 - Brad Maddox
7-22-13 - Damien Sandow