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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - 2-17-14
By Al Laiman
Feb 18, 2014 - 12:51:33 AM

credit Tom Jenner

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Email: al.laiman.lop@gmail.com
Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1

30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 2-17-14

1. Things have been hectic in the Laiman world recently, and I'm trying the best I can to keep up. Suffice it to say that traveling to Philly three times a week and State College nearly every weekend while maintaining my college workload, running an Internet show, a wrestling column, a blog for the PFS, writing two movies, having a job, and a relationship... Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I've managed to keep making it through. I miss a week sometimes, but I'm still here. Let's get started. It's 10pm at the start, so let's see how many That Thing tutorials, replays, and Network plugs I can skip tonight. The first thing we see is a misplaced freeze frame replay, so we're off to a good start. The next thing we get is John Cena. Well, it's not the Authority or Randy Orton, so I'll take it. Cena gives us exposition on what the Elimination Chamber is, telling us that it can end the career of a WWE Superstar, even though it's never ended the career of a WWE Superstar. Cena at least continues to have a sense of humor about his reaction, and I can't give him enough credit for that. Cena's nice enough to mention the faces who have defeated him before he's interrupted.

2. Yes, Cesaro comes out and Zeb Colter has a mic. Cesaro reminds him that he's a heel who defeated Randy Orton. We see some rare Cesaro mic HAM, and Cena challenges him to say it to his face. A face..... off between these two is unexpected, but not undesirable. Before they can continue their verbal sparring, Lobsterhead joins the fray. Gee I wonder if the other three are going to do the same. Sheamus barely makes it to the ring before Christian comes out, and JBL echoes the rumored perspective of Christian by verbally trashing him. Well, we did have an opening without Randy Orton, but notice who is conveniently lined up last.

3. Orton kisses the Authority's ass once again, as if he needs to. Orton does a surprising job of putting everyone over in the match. Orton mentions that he won every great match with Christian... Um... No. Check your history, sir. Finally, the arena erupts as modified Wagner greets us with the best reaction in the game. Bryan's the first to point to the WrestleMania sign tonight, but I'm sure it won't be the last. It is absolutely incredible the reaction Bryan continues to summon.

4. The seventh entrance theme hits, and Citizen Kane comes out to address everyone in the ring. A loud: "You sold Out!" chant breaks out, because I guess everyone's catching up with storylines of the last few months. Citizen Kane reveals that he's been left in charge, and he announces Cesaro vs. Cena, which has happened before but not since Cesaro's rise. He books Christian vs. Bryan and says he's going to catch a bird's eye view... Except a bird's eye view would be from above and not from the side. Christian jumps Bryan from behind and is suddenly acting like a heel. Interesting... Though he's always been significantly better as one. Maybe it's just because it's pretty obvious who'd be getting the cheers in this match, despite Christian's relative popularity.

5. Christian stops a Bryan hope spot by punching Bryan right in the fuck during an attempted high spot. The ominous Kane presence in the background is hard to ignore. Christian mocks the "YES!" taunt, further leading to the idea that he might be turning heel, or already has. Orton is 1-3 so far against the other Chamber members, as it keeps getting mentioned. Our champion, ladies and gentlemen. Hey, Cole's calling Christian's change in attitude the Del Rio way! The more aggressive side is coming out! Christian gets sent over the top rope before Bryan's high spot connects this time. We get the second commercial break of the match after that. Joy.

6. We come back with Bryan mounting a comeback and getting the reaction that isn't even a surprise anymore. Either this Denver crowd is hot, or Daniel Bryan is just getting the reactions he has for the last while. We'll find out as the show progresses, I suppose. It's been so great to see the unusual suspects of cities have hot crowds recently. After acting like a dick the whole match, Christian tries to get a clap going because... Why the hell not... But he nearly gets caught in the YES! Lock. A few seconds later, Bryan wins with... some kind of leg-vault roll-up. If someone knows the name of that move, please tell me, because it was pretty damn cool. Did Kane just call it a "hard-fart victory?" Kane then announces that Bryan has another match, and it's against him.

7. Kane's transition into a part-time wrestler has been an interesting one, but I definitely miss him. Another commercial break, which I guess in this place makes sense, but still... We come back with Kane in a beater, which is just... Weird. Kane is also wrestling in dress shoes, which having done it is quite impressive. Kane continues to work the shoulder quite menacingly. It's funny to hear the feud between these two summarized in saying that they were never friends, because last time I checked, that was the whole point of the tag team. The YES! kicks end up getting Bryan goozled and tossed. Kane gets disqualified for refusing to break the shoulder getting held against the ring post, but Kane doesn't let up. Looks like this might be how they end up working Bryan's WrestleMania angle without having him lose credibility by losing the Elimination Chamber. Kane takes the mic to let everyone know that he knows he's disqualified... Um... Thanks for pointing that out?

8. The Shield get a backstage interview where their imminent end continues to be teased. Reigns keeps being badass while the other two pretend they're not breaking up soon.

9. Meanwhile, the Fandango/Santino/Emma/Summer Rae thing is continuing, and hey, maybe this vignettes of her doing the NXT thing might've been better before having her do her quirky dance to an arena of silence, but what the hell do I know? Good to see that win over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania has continued to serve that rushed push that Fandango got. Also, remember when Santino nearly won the Elimination Chamber and finally seemed to be rising above being a joke? Well, he's pulling out the Cobra, so I'm guessing he's about 30 seconds from getting Santino'd. Emma finds Summer Rae at ringside and does... The motherfucking Airplane Spin! He then moves in for the least attractive attempt at a kiss I've ever seen, and to the surprise of anyone who's never seen a Zack Ryder match, loses immediately. At least they're giving this Emma premiere some good attention, letting us know that there are Divas who exist other than the Total Divas.

10. Mark Henry gets an angry promo backstage while being careful to remain in face form. The Shield entrance, which I'm enjoying while I still can, sends the future World Champion Roman Reigns to the ring for an epic collision. Speaking of badasses, we get a picture of Theodore Roosevelt, definitely one of the most awesome modern day American Badasses. I do hope we get to see a Reigns/Lesnar collision at some point before Lesnar hangs it up again. An audible chant for Reigns does get heard at the beginning of the match, but I really hope WWE continues this slow burn. Reigns lifts Henry for a Samoan Drop, which is damn impressive no matter how many times it takes place. Reigns and Henry trade blows as Reigns gets more fired up, and his reaction grows even louder. Reigns hits the Spear and wins in surprisingly easy fashion. Ambrose continues the assault while Reigns almost laughs at him for it.

11. The Wyatts Sabu the Shield in the ring while Wyatt serenades us from the Titan Tron. I don't know about anyone else, but I am really anticipating this match more than anything else on the show. After more ominous words from Bray and Harper, Reigns calls them out, and their entrance music gets a huge reaction. A six-man standoff ensues, and they don't rush it, which builds the tension. Wisely, the Wyatts bail, playing the heels in this heel vs. heel feud. Excellent final buildup for this Elimination Chamber match.

12. The Brotherhood takes part in a really bad cheap plug for the newest WWE toy. They talk back and forth while keeping the product in the center of the camera before Bad News Barrett comes in and messes it up. He says he has bad news, but never really says what it is. Goldy specifically mentions the Undertaker, albeit for the toy, but hint hint. Did you get that?

13. Oh, there's a match on. Biff and Kofi start the match a second after the weird morph transition to it. The crowd does the thing that crowds do now by chanting for JBL. A vague CM Punk chant tries to break out, but that seems to be falling by the wayside. Not a good thing if this whole thing is a work, which more and more I think it is. Hey, remember when Kofi went over Orton clean? You know, before everyone in EC not named Christian did? What was the point of that again? Kofi hits some trademark moves to convince people that he does have a chance in this match, when in actuality since Biff has a championship match and Kofi doesn't we know better, but at least they're trying. Kofi nearly wins with an SOS but it gets broken up by the ropes, so Kofi's likely finished here pretty soon. Oh hey, Swagger wins with the Ankle Lock. That really makes me nostalgic for Kurt Angle.

14. Big E does his LeBron thing, cutting off Swagger's victory parade and sending him straight into the truck of manure right after the commercial break. After the break, we see that Big E is facing two of 3MB, so yeah, Big E's getting a win here. Zeb interrupts the match to start commentating, which is awesome. Zeb drops a Super Bowl taunt, which gets a huge reaction, of which I love every second. Zeb drops some history jokes on 'em, and Big E's busted open at the mouth a bit. Big E comes back and nearly drives McIntyre into Jinder's head. That wouldn't have felt good. The highlight of the match is still easily Zeb being a giant HAM. Big E wins after two Big Endings, which might've been a surprise if he'd been facing someone who won in the last... what, year now? Big E drops a pretty lame one-liner afterward, but at least the IC title feud is getting some attention.

15. Meanwhile, Rusev gets another not-Rocky IV villain buildup. And Los Matadores are actually on RAW? Wow, after that several week push they got, they really disappeared. Besides that El Torito epic surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble anyway, right? Right?

16. Ron Simmons gets a nice tribute video before they transition that into an Elimination Chamber video package. Then Cena gets to talk more before his entrance against Cesaro. It's times during the show like this when I'm really glad I rarely watch live. DVR is a great invention.

17. Simultaneously, I see a great sign and a dumb sign. Tip of the hat for the "Finally I see champions in Denver" sign, despite it being up in a non-champion match. Wag of the finger to the "Will you RKO me?" Valentine's sign. Not because of my disdain for Orton, but because that doesn't make sense. "Oh Orton, you're so hot, I wish you'd... physically assault me?"

18. The "We, the People!" chant is so loud that it's hard over the entrance music of Cesaro. Nice. I'm so glad to see Cesaro featured as something more than upper-card enhancement talent. A good match here could help strengthen his position. I'm also glad he's not being goofy anymore and is instead being taken as a serious competitor. The yodeling thing fortunately did not last very long. Cesaro dominates after the initial shine and looks quite credible doing it. Cole then compares the mold of Cesaro and Cena as identical, and... Yeah, no. As much as I do respect Cena, and I do... Cesaro wrestled around the world for a long time, ala the Chris Jericho type, honing his craft. They may have a similar style, but their backgrounds are quite different. That's just one fellow's opinion though.

19. After talking at length for why Cesaro and Cena come from the same mold, they talk about how Cesaro is different because of the European style. Well then they're not nearly identical in style then, are they? Do the people yelling shit in your ear to say even check it before they directly dictate what that is?

20. After the commercial break, Cesaro halts a Cena comeback with an awesome fallaway slam for a near-fall. I don't think Cesaro has any chance in hell of winning here, but he's making a great show of it anyway. Oh shit, I nearly accidentally hit the X on this tab, and I hadn't saved since thought 11. That would've sucked majorly. The crowd really gets behind the awesomeness that is Cesaro, and he gets several near falls by throwing around Cena. Not that it ever doesn't, but the Five Knuckle Shuffle looks seriously lame in comparison after Cesaro's gutwrench minutes earlier. Cesaro then does his awesome Street Fighter uppercut for another near fall, but Cena keeps coming back.

21. Yes I'm saying this for the second time, but it's called for. Cena goes up top, but then Cesaro hits him right in the fuck to send him to the outside. Cesaro then SUPLEXES CENA BACK INTO THE RING! Wow, that was awesome! What a match! Cena goes for the STF, but then in an effort to pull Cesaro to the center of the ring, he counters into the epic Big Swing to a huge pop. It's another close fall, and man is the crowd really getting into this.

22. A well-deserved "This is awesome!" chant rings out in Denver. Suddenly Cena goes for the AA, and Cesaro lands on his feet! What durability and athleticism for a man his size. Cesaro then can't escape another attempt at an AA. It may seem like an anti-climactic ending, but holy shit did Cena put over Cesaro like mad tonight. Cena wins, but Cesaro stole the damn show tonight, everyone.

23. Orton is seen mid-conversation with Triple H, who despite having the night off, is there. H trolls Orton some more for some reason, and Orton says the same things he's been saying since the EC match was booked. Orton kisses more ass while Triple H remains in his snarky smug mode. Orton makes a joke about carrying Batista, and Batista comes up behind him in his for-some-reason same-colored T-shirt. Then ADR in a silly neckbrace comes up to do his best to make us think he has any chance in hell of winning against him, but... ADR's been made to look like Batista's bitch since he came back, so why stop now?

24. Another match is booked, and it's Darren Young against Titus O'Neil, revealed by backstage announcer. More replays. Titus comes by to cut a promo in his loud suit, and he has an equally HAMMY promo. Good JBL, Zeb Colter making Super Bowl jokes during a match seems subtle compared to this guy!

25. Oh hey, Los Genericos, I forgot about you. You'll be joined by Sin Cara, who went over ADR twice, and then lost in like two minutes and then went away. Man do pre-PPV shows give us lots of opportunities to remark on such things. I'm so glad they gave El Torito a spot in the Rumble. When we come back from yet another commercial, the Wyatts entrance picks up where it left off last time. Sin Cara was nice enough to wear the exact same color as his brethren, so at least it gives some feel of of a team. I would enjoy a six-man tag division, I know it's happened.

26. Harper and Rowan dominate heavily in the beginning. The camera gets awkwardly hit in the middle of a Bray close-up. They keep talking about the collision at EC, but damn... Why don't they make it the second Chamber match? It would give a feel of War Games to the match and would be pretty damn cool. You know Reigns would get the Goldberg spot where he comes in and just jacks everyone up with spears. Bray does his best Deliverance impression while Harper continues to try to be more creepy than Rowan. Genericos finally get a hope spot and tag in Sin Cara, and the face team finally gets some semblance of offense. Genericos and the bull take out Rowan at ringside, and Cara the Sequel puts on a good show with Harper. Cara ends up eating the not-Clothesline From Hell, and falls to Sister Abigail. The match really picked up once the faces were allowed to do something. I mean, we all knew the Wyatts would win, since we haven't even seen the face team on RAW in how long, but it was still entertaining toward the end.

27. They keep showing the previews for Jon Snow in the volcano movie, but we all know fire cannot kill the dragon (YMMV theory to which I believe at this point.) We get a full Uso entrance for their match against the New Age Outlaws. Weird though, the first Sin Cara must've been running the production truck, because the Outlaws video came back on after the song switch. Oh nevermind, it's a singles match with Jey and Billy Gunn. A preview of the tag team title bout at EC, which should be an interesting match. The two not in the match bicker, and Road Dogg plays a heel excuse for not knowing the match started. Jimmy makes jokes about their age, and Road Dogg keeps deflecting it well. The CM Punk chants make their first audible appearance right before Jey wins the match. A vault then takes both of them out for strong Uso momentum going into the tag title match. Honestly though, the commentary pissing contest between Road Dogg and Jimmy was better than the match.


29. Is it wrong that I don't give a shit about this match? Sheamus, and by proxy the commentators, like quoting the Rocky Balboa trailer with "blunt force trauma," something that anyone who worked at a movie store in 2006 had to deal with hearing for three months, and hey, a point to the WrestleMania sign... In case we didn't know it was coming. Randy takes some offense and goes to the outside, and then Lobsterhead points to the sign. It's WrestleMania season! Orton backs up against some guy who is trying really really hard to be Brock Lesnar. Orton does what Orton does, and takes control with a hard shove on the outside into the ring post to take us into (hopefully) the last commercial break. So far, it really looks like Cena/Cesaro should've been the main event.

30. We come back just in time to see Sheamus making a comeback. Orton keeps the momentum halted, but just when it looks like Sheamus is gonna take control, he gets put through the announce table. Nice. Well, he got placed there anyway, as the replay showed, but I'll take that over seeing it not break upon heavy impact any day. Sheamus finally starts hitting his trademark moves, including the Blair Witch Cam'd Forearm Chops of Doom. Orton comes back and takes a really long time to do his RKO setup thing where he gets really really mad at the ring mat. Sheamus comes back and goes Dolph Ziggler-elbow repetition with Irish Curse Backbreakers. Right before the BOOT TO THE HEAD! The Shield comes in because... Because. Cena then arrives, as well as Bryan. An Attitude Era-style melee might be unfolding here, and then to add more to the mix, the Wyatts do their Sabu entrance thing. The Wyatts and The Shield collide, and at some point the other chamber participants made their way out, and it goes off the air, also in that style. This show had three really strong moments, and the rest wasn't too terrible, if incredibly predictable. The beginning with Bryan/Christian, the great match with Cesaro/Cena, and the ending melee to sell the show highlighted tonight, and sent us into Elimination Chamber with some sense of anticipation. What I'm really hoping for is some risk-taking, and not the same safe-path booking from last year's WrestleMania buildup (and subsequent WrestleMania.) The Chamber match should be good, but the undercard has also been built up pretty well instead of just random, so we'll see what they bring for the last stop on the Road to WrestleMania.

Titus wins it via SCREAMING FOR NO REASON during his promo.

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

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