30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - 3-10-14
By Al Laiman
Mar 11, 2014 - 9:26:01 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 3-10-14
I finished my second short film this weekend, starring everyone's favorite Jackie, and it should be out in a month or so. It got me to thinking, and as I posted on my Facebook page, I'm considering writing a feature length screenplay about a kid who wants to be a wrestler and starts out in the Indies. It seemed to get a good reaction on the Facebook page, so I thought I'd mention it here. Going to school where I go has presented me with much more opportunity to work with things like that. Anyway, now on to the real work.
1. Shout-out to Squared Circle Entertainment and Robert Somma, Jr. for sharing this column with the great fans in that group. The support is appreciated! Anyway, WrestleMania season is in full swing now, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate not having the cheesy, voiced-over preview videos. "Real American" opens the show, and I don't know, having a lengthy introduction sHort of takes away from the impact of that theme song, but oh well. And hey, it only took them a minute and a half to plug something! Also, did you know Hulk Hogan headlined nine WrestleManias? Man, why don't they mention little factoids like that more often? Hogan starts cutting a promo, and he's already plugging the WWE Network. Subtle. He explains that watching his match with Andre the Giant gets him pumped up all over again, and that somehow gave him an idea for something at WrestleMania. I guess hosts can book matches now. He announces the Royal Rumble... Er, Andre the Giant Memorial over-the-top battle royal, which hey, I have no problem with. Money in the Bank got 6-8 people involved on the WrestleMania card, that's a great way to get a good portion of the roster on one of the biggest shows in years. The timing is interesting though, isn't it? Why now? Why Andre the Giant now? I have no idea, but I'm not complaining about it. Just curious.
2. John Cena's music hits to the usual high-decibel mixed reactions. Cena comes out to do the token top-face Hogan appreciation promo while HAMming it up in his own patented way. Cena then does his impression of Hogan to a mild boo, and then he requests to enter the battle royal. I guess winning two Rumbles wasn't enough. Will this be in addition to facing Bray Wyatt?
3. Speaking of the Wyatts, their awesome entrance gets a positive reaction to cutting off the Hogan lovefest. They talk about Cena's serious leg injury, and you know it's serious when he's wrestling a match two weeks later. Bray turns it up to 11 himself while cutting a promo inspired by a combination of Seven and... I don't know, Suburban Commando? Seeing Bray speak just reminds me of how glad I am we have an actual character again. Every time I see the Undertaker's entrance, it makes me yearn for the days when we had characters instead of just mostly guys with names.
4. Cena uses his rebuttal to sing a Jimmy Buffett song to play to Memphis. Cena then rescinds his entrance in the battle royal to challenge Bray Wyatt. Then... Why ask to be in the battle royal in the first place? I don't know, at least this match is official.
5. The Wyatts then surround the ring, but an awkward commercial transition bridges us to... Already mid-match with Hogan in Cena's corner? When you put arguably the biggest name in the history of the business in the corner of arguably the biggest name on the current roster, don't you think that deserves... I don't know, at least a mention? Something? Not just an, "Oh, this match is happening, and ohai Hulk Hogan, how nice of you to stay down here!" Cena, for the most part, takes a good deal of safe offense from Rowan while Hogan does his best to get claps started. Cena then... suddenly wins with a roll-up? Okay then. That came out of nowhere. The Wyatts tease charging back in, then don't, and Hogan's music plays them out. This surely must be a great experience for Cena, posing in the ring with the man he grew up watching. Did what it needed to do, so it worked.
6. Hey, That Thing is back, and now it's being used to determine the next match type between Sheamus and Christian. Hopefully one of them will manage to make someone care that it's going on. They also brought back The Punisher music for the Undertaker, so I approve of that. But the WrestleMania opponents are teaming up against Big Show and Daniel Bryan as well? Dear JBL, I really hope they add something to that main event.
7. The Authority come out to address the Daniel Bryan situation. They say that instead of terminating him, they offer an apology while continuing to be condescending toward the crowd and Bryan using high school grading scales. They demand an apology in return, and they're setting this up quite well.
8. The New Age Outlaws follow their old friends out, albeit a bit awkwardly, to be on commentary while the Usos have a match. They're facing Goofus and RyVD. Wow, Ryback had time to cut a promo to air during his jobber entrance for the battle royal already? Damn, he's efficient! Did the Usos entrance get drastically reduced pyro, or was that my imagination? I love the old-school excuses from the Outlaws. Imagine that Triple H's friends know how to be heels without completely destroying the credibility of their opponents? Hmm. Jimmy takes a really nasty-looking dive to the outside to give Goofus and Son control. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Goofus ends up taking most of the trademark moves and the pinfall. Good strong win for the Usos, and great build-up commentary work by the Outlaws.
9. Citizen Kane and his purple tie giving The Shield a lecture. Ambrose and Rollins both antagonize Kane, shows remarkable fortitude on their part. They seem to be cohesive in their sarcasm, and Reigns ends with a threat to Kane as well. Is Kane's job now just to look like an idiot whenever anyone else does anything?
10. We come back ready to see Big E not-Langston and Biff square off again. Hey, Big E got to cut an side promo, and this one airs during his match. That really adds a feeling of importance to the match, when what he's saying before the match is more important than the match he's having now. After Big E dominates most of the match, Biff takes control for a few minutes, only to be defeated the same way Erick Rowan was earlier tonight, with a roll-up. Is this to promote the new season of Total Divas?
11. After the match, Biff confronts Cesaro for... Standing there, and he gets pretty close to bad touch territory. Zeb summons the greatness of HAM and throws his vest on the ground to get them to... shake hands. Kay. Cesaro starts using some torque on the handshake to further tease the break-up of the team and the break-out of Cesaro. It worked, and at least it wasn't as forcefully rushed as it was last week.
12. It's amazing how a simple ring of a bell can create such a huge pop, but it does. While there have been a lot of bad characters in wrestling history, this speaks to one of the greatest of all time, and one that I fear will not ever have its presence replaced. They talk about Brock Lesnar not being given any chance in the WrestleMania match, which has to be an unusual position for him, at least in a wrestling context.
13. Before Undertaker can say anything, Paul Heyman appears to interrupt him. Heyman delivers roughly the same ideas that are brought up every time the Undertaker has a WrestleMania match, but he does it better because... He's Paul freaking Heyman. It comes around to Heyman asking Taker not to step in the ring with Lesnar because he knows everyone worships the streak. Brilliant.
14. It's amazing how the aura surrounding the Undertaker communicates more than just his simple words. He's got a great voice, but just the way he says it, coming with that blue light, it just works so much better. Taker's never been a master of promos, but he doesn't have to be. It's kept concise, intimidating, and to the point. Great build-up without having Lesnar there.
15. Man, it feels like we haven't seen the Brotherhood in a while, doesn't it? They reference Kane reading the Shield the riot act earlier, but I think as Carlin once said, they would've preferred The Gentlemen's Guide to the Golden Age of Blowjobs, because they didn't seem to care a whole lot. How many people do you think that Kane telling the Shield to exorcise their demons means that they just need to have their inner demons make a trip to Planet Fitness?
16. The action is solid, and everyone in the match gets featured quite well. The Rhodes Brothers can definitely go, and it seems a crime they've been ignored since losing the titles. Rollins gets tossed out of the ring and overshoots Reigns. That couldn't have been a fun fall, but it does lead to a nice double spot. Goldust throwing a senton to the outside, even at his age. Damn impressive. There just doesn't feel like there's any sense of urgency to go along with this match, much unlike their previous feud. Cody gets the hot tag and even gives Rollins some of his own medicine with agile maneuvers. He then breaks out... The Musclebuster? That's different. Goldust then eats a gore out of nowhere, and Rollins counters the Disaster Kick to get the win. Very good match, no doubt, and it has the illusion that the Shield has reconciled.
17. The Total Divas-plugging portion of our show has commenced. I love how they not only keep plugging Main Event, but have to keep mentioning "8pm, 5 Pacific." Such natural conversation. Hey, AJ's finally wrestling. Imagine that, a champion wrestling on the show. They're facing the Entitlement Twins, and Total Divas comes back on Sunday, so I don't like her chances. That, and the CM Punk situation can't be good for AJ.
18. Natalya quotes the late Owen Hart on commentary to build up her title match tomorrow. Good JBL, Nikki Bella's stutter steps are driving me insane. Brie then gets kicked right in the fuck by AJ, but Nikki counters AJ's finisher into her own to get the win. Big flippin' surprise. So right after Natalya spent the entire match being the Bella cheerleader, she gets upset when they pose with the title? Kay. Thank JBL I don't care.
19. Plug, skip. Interview at ringside with celebrities, skip. Recaps, skip. Ohai Daniel Bryan! Bryan addresses the faux-apology, and works the crowd into chanting frenzies as usual. For a moment, I thought Bryan was gonna say he should've done something a long time ago, kicked Triple H in the fuck. Close, it was a four-letter f-word. Bryan says they're all tired of Triple H, and that he'll force them to listen by Occupying RAW. Cutting edge references, indeed! He reiterates his challenge for Triple H at WrestleMania, and says he's not alone in staying in the ring until he gets what he wants.
20. Bryan calls down members of the Yes Movement that he talked to earlier today. A wide variety of fans start running into the ring, and it... cuts to commercial. Timing. When we come back, the ringside area is flooded with people doing the YES! chant everywhere. They all look like they're having a freaking blast, and it's awesome. This is HAMMY GREATNESS!
21. The Authority finally come out to address the YeSea of Troubles. Triple H returns to the condescending douchebag address that he usually does, but I admit it is pretty funny this time. H eggs them on, which is a good measure to make them respond. Bryan threatens to have his own RAW outside the arena, further pissing off Triple H. All TWO of Triple H's security, one looking like a taller Jim Norton, walk down to the ring and then immediately turn around. Steph turns up the rasp while getting angry. Bryan is really bringing everything he has to this moment, and what a visual it is.
22. Instead of finally accepting, Triple H calls out the next match. Damien Sandow, wow haven't seen you in a while. Bryan calls on Sandow to join the Yes Movement. Instead Sandow walks away. Thanks for coming. Triple H comes back out to argue with Sandow. The massive "NO!"s remind me of the climactic scene of Lean On Me. Now all we need is Joe Clark with a baseball bat to tell the Authority to go to hell.
23. Stephanie gets incredibly 2000-esque HAMmy while doing her best impression of a seagull in Finding Nemo. Bryan lays out his own ultimatum while simultaneously showing Chicago how a show could really be hijacked. Triple H then claims that he actually likes Bryan and tried to protect him. Interesting, do tell. So he was protecting Daniel Bryan from... Himself? Triple H finally accepts, and what a massive pop for it. H tries to leave, but Bryan says that wasn't all he wanted. Now he throws down a challenge for him to fight for the WWE championship. Are we getting this? Why yes, yes we are! The theory proposed that I've heard for a while has the stipulation that if Bryan wins, he's in the main event. Perfect! Triple H gets pushed off by his own security because... Reasons.
24. Unlike last week's segment, it didn't drag, and it finally gave us a conclusive match at WrestleMania. It also puts Bryan in the position that he has to win in order to save us from possibly one of the worst-responded-to main events in WrestleMania history. Have they finally called the necessary audible?
25. THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR IS BEING SUMMONED BY THAT THING TO DELIVER THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE: IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! TAP TAP TAP ON THE APP APP APP, HOAK HOGAN! OUR FATES HAVE NOW BEEN CHANGED FROM BEING THE CHOSEN ONE TO PEOPLE TAPPING ON A SCREEN! LOAD THE RINGSIDE WITH THE DRUMSETS! LOAD IT WITH THE STICKS! NOTHING CAN UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE DESTRUCITY MOVEMENT ON THE MASSES, HOAK HOGAN! YOU MAY BE THE HOST OF WRESTLEMANIA, BUT I AM THE OVERLORD! MY WARRIOR MOVEMENT WILL MAKE EVERYONE SNORT THE SKRONK, AND IT WILL BE DEAFENING! DEAFENING! NOT LIKE DEF LEPPARD, BUT A DEAF LEPPARD! NOT LIKE DEF JAM, BUT THE DEAF JAM! THE LIMITLESS POWERS THAT CAN BE BROUGHT BY TAKING OVER SANTA CLAUS FOR PERSONAL GAIN CANNOT BE MATCHED!
26. Is having musical instruments at ringside enough to make us care about this feud? Well, we can at least be grateful that this isn't the feud Bryan is in. Surprised to see no Honky Tonk Man cameo given the circumstances. Sheamus again demonstrates the ability to make hardcore matches look brutal by his skin showing every strike with anything he takes. Casper has a suntan compared to this guy.
27. Lobsterhead goes HAM Sandwich with the Blair Witch Forearm Chops of Doom. Cole just told us what the real name is, but fuck it, I've been calling it the Blair Witch Forearm Chops of Doom longer. He then does the Irish Curse Backbreaker on... I mean off the steps, and more things start getting thrown in the ring. Sheamus ends up winning... Again... With a BASS TO THE HEAD! Maybe this won't end up being a WrestleMania match, because why would it be? Maybe they'll just be in the battle royal, because Christian keeps losing all these matches.
28. Demo video of how to both use That Thing and the Network for free? My head might explode if I don't skip this. At least there's only one of them... So far. Batista is staring daggers at Brad Maddox, and then Orton gets in on it. Rusev gets another promo, Cole calls it "Hulkamana," and we get more recaps. Bray gets another promo, accepting the challenge from Cena.
29. Big Show comes out for the main event tag match, and before anyone else, we find out Big Show is fighting Kane for the 2349234856456th time. Damn does that preview picture of Kane look weird. The match gets to go on for a tiny bit before it already goes into a commercial. Even after the heel turn, Batista continues getting tremendous heat. Glad they finally decided to use that instead of trying to make the guy cut local promos to get anything other than a terrible reaction.
30. Isn't it nice when the commentators make arguments by using the exact words from the promos earlier in the night? Big Show tags in to almost no reaction. Weird. Did something happen? Or was it because Batista tagged in? Big Show ends up getting double-teamed by the former Evolution members. Bryan then gets tagged in to not much of a reaction, but they do start chanting and cheering when he starts hitting moves. Maybe I'm just not hearing it well, I don't know, but it's strange that faces tagging in don't get the usual pop they do. Bryan misses the headbutt from the top. Orton tries to roll him up, but it ends up getting him caught in the YES! Lock. Dave breaks it up, gets kicked by Big Show, and then Show gets RKO'd. Lawler is having way too much fun saying "Bootista." Bryan ducks a Big Dave spear, and Orton eats it. Bryan almost gets a sneak win with the backbridge, but he comes back with his running knee and pins Orton. Good build-up show for WrestleMania no doubt, and I finally felt like the entire show was working toward that. The shameless plugging wasn't as bad and overbearing, and everyone seemed to be on their game.
Steph gets the surprise victory by going HAM Sandwich on the Occupy RAW Movement. I haven't heard that shrill since the Factgime.
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
Super Bowl Commercials!