30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 1-13-14
By Al Laiman
Jan 14, 2014 - 11:05:58 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 1-6-14
1. So I meant to get to this sooner, but the hour appointment I was supposed to have for my car inspection turned into over four. Some of the major things about RAW have already been spoiled for me, so I'll do my best to act surprised about certain events. Finally, an opening video that's not made to be incredibly stupid with a fake-sounding voice-over. They've done some great vignette work with the Wyatts. And wow, I've never seen RAW actually start with a jobber entrance before. Not to be outdone, we get the Sabu entrance of the Wyatt entrance. I'm sure the show is absolutely packed with backstage segments and recaps in order to make them get this off to a rush start. It says something about how over Daniel Bryan is when he's mercilessly kicking the face team repeatedly while allying himself with the heel stable, and he's still getting cheered and chanted for.
2. It's also very nice to see RAW not start off with a twenty-minute promo. Straight to the wrestling, and it's an interesting dichotomy on top of it. The Usos are getting featured well, and Bray Wyatt, much like Kane, is receiving a benefit just by teaming with Bryan. Cole talks about the new, more aggressive version of Daniel Bryan. Oh snap, did he take lessons from Alberto Del Rio on that? In the ring, seeing Bryan on the receiving end of a hot tag face shine is something new. The Usos toss both Bray and Bryan over the top, and then get a double-vaulting high spot. Surprisingly, this does not lead to a commercial. Instead, Harper and Rowan attack, ending the match via DQ. The Usos manage to sneak out with a well-placed superkick.
3. After the match, Bray calls Bryan to his feet, and the crowd is going absolutely apeshit. Wyatt whispers sweet nothings in his ear, and this causes Bryan to re-live his Team Hell No days and ask for... A hug? No, a Sister Abigail. Wyatt HAMs it up a little bit with more of his interesting cryptic exclamations, and the two lackeys carry Bryan out behind him. JBL sums it up the best: "What the hell was that?" I can't tell you how much better this was than seeing The Authority open the show, followed by Randy Orton and John Cena trying to one-up each other to start off Monday night (Tuesday evening?)
4. I could've gone to the Rumble this year, but sometimes life doesn't allow you the extra things at the appropriate time. Life has changed much in the Laiman household recently, and wrestling trips are simply not a priority. I also apologize in advance for any 30 Thoughts that are late or missing this semester. I have no idea what the workload will be like, but I'll do my best to have material out for you on Monday nights. Sandow is out for a recap of his Money in the Bank loss, and seemingly they want him to relive the misery by facing Cena again. It's Wrestlemania season, you know he's not losing anything anytime soon. I think pretty soon the list of outlets on which to follow WWE will take five minutes to mention them all, but they'll be sure to make time for that. Lawler comes to the amazing conclusion that Cena/Orton in a not-TLC match will be more of a wrestling match. Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw, what would we do without that expert analysis? We go to commercial during the middle of a bodyslam from Sandow, because even the broadcast can't take him seriously.
5. Conveniently, we come back just in time for Sandow to go for a clothesline after taking two shoulder blocks. Sometime, someday, somebody will learn. Sandow manages to break the chain of the infamous Five Moves, buying himself more time. I like Sandow's new submission maneuver, though Cena breaks it with little effort. Sandow's hanging in there regardless, and Cena's giving him a good match. I'll give Cena credit for stepping up his game in a regular TV match that everyone and their mother knows he's going to win. Whoever says Sandow is being buried here is only reading the results on LOP after they happen. Sandow continues to surpass expectations by locking in the STF, but Cena powers out of it and turns it into an AA for the win. Another very good televised match, and the announcers are putting over Sandow like mad. Great effort by both parties. Quick, nobody tell WWE that they're featuring wrestling on a wrestling show.
6. WWE Network plug, skip. I'm sure we'll see plenty. Citizen Kane is backstage with his cased mask pretending to read papers until he continues his not-feud with Brad Maddox. They commence in a game of one-upsmanship about making a cage match main event. Big Show then comes out before we go into another commercial. That was a segment of this show.
7. We get more recaps before Biff decides to be the screendoor on Big Show's battleship. I've talked about this before, but I prefer face Big Show so much. He doesn't stand around, take thirty seconds between moves, and when he's allowed to have a personality, he's moderately entertaining. Big Show wins in a match that was shorter than the recap before the match.
8. Cesaro bails from Big Show, running until he's over the security barrier, because we all know that's his one weakness. So he decides to go after Zeb instead. Cesaro tries to intervene and gets tossed like a bitch. Big Show HAMs up his wind-up for the Super Punch of Doom, but holds it there. I'd also like to mention that Big Show has had his fist clenched longer than his match was on. Show finally punches Zeb out, finally settling some feud he had with this stable that I'm probably not remembering or something.
9. Batista gets a promotional video with a shot of his eyes trying to mimic the tiger from the opening of The Last Samurai. The New Age Outlaws are next with their PGified 15-year-old opening schtick. JBL comments about how good he is... Because, he remembers his lines that he wrote in 1998? They mention during the Shield's entrance that Dean Ambrose is the longest reigning champion in WWE. That's wonderful, and it helps when you never have to defend it that somehow you end up retaining it.
10. The beginning of the six-man tag allows everyone in the match to be featured. The commentators use this time to recap last week's show, especially mentioning that Jake's snake somehow bothered Dean Ambrose... because they clearly didn't see that HAM-eating grin he had. Last week, they were playing up that Punk had the Shield's number, and this week, they're giving Punk credit for holding his own against Reigns like Roman is somehow the combination of Andre the Giant and the Terminator.
11. I love how they treat Reigns getting tagged in like a super big deal, despite the fact that Punk has faced him countless times. After we get back from commercial, Punk is taking abuse while the commentators are amused by how many things the Outlaws could get trending. I wonder if half the people trending Flash Funk even know who that is. The crowd keeps chanting something, but I'm not sure. It sounds like a combination of "NEW AGE OUTLAWS!" and "YOU CAN'T WRESTLE!" The latter would be weird, but the rhythm is the same. The dissent from within continues to be teased as Punk finally has a chance to break out.
12. Punk finally has the chance to make the hot tag, and the New Age Outlaws... Turn heel? Hardly a surprise, given that it was confusing why they were even allying with a guy in a prominent feud with their friend Triple H in the first place. The crowd sold it magnificently, and Punk does his best to fight off all three, but eats another spear from Reigns for the fall. Reigns decides that winning the match isn't enough, and they get a triple powerbomb for good measure. This feud continues, and successfully I might add.
13. We get another backstage segment with the Wyatts and Bryan, and Bray Wyatt decides to channel his inner King Aragorn of Gondor and rally up his new accomplice. By all he holds dear on this good RAW, he bids you... STAND! MEN OF THE CAGE!
14. So the Funkadactyls are still a thing, despite their lack of accompaniment. They're facing the not-Total Diva team of Tamina and AJ. Impressive that AJ has held the belt for as long as she has, but unfortunately the Bratz belt history isn't exactly that long. Emma from NXT gets a quick plug, I'm assuming because she's being called up to replace the spot Kaitlyn will be leaving. Besides about six people chanting for Tamina, nobody seems to really care. AJ gets a nice win with a sweet Shining Wizard, as her puzzling and inconsistent war with the Total Divas continues. But of course, the reality stars have to get their heat back and send them sprawling out of the ring, because in six months that's gonna be a great segment of television on the E! Network.
15. Orton is backstage, trying not to look like a creeper slinking around before the commercial. He then decides to yell at Citizen Kane after the commercial, and he cries that he needs to be protected. He gives him an opportunity to vent his frustration on... Kofi Kingston? Well all right, there's some 2009 "What Could've Been?" nostalgia for tonight.
16. Now I already know who the first inductee to the Hall-of-Fame is because people were anxious on Twitter to hear how I felt about it. But it doesn't make it any less awesome. Straight from the Terrain of Testament, the Master of DESTRUCITY is going to the Hall of Fame! YES! YES! YES! The guy who is both the one who beat Hoak Hogan in the main event of WrestleMania, and the guy I love like I love The Room for being such an entertaining trainwreck. There is no doubt whatsoever that Warrior deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and those who disagree are probably letting personal perception overrule what he accomplished. The man was insanely over and won one of the biggest matches of all time. There are people already in the Hall of Fame who can't say either of those things. Also, he's one of the all-time greatest HAMs, not just in wrestling, but in any form of media or entertainment. Not to mention, THE POWER OF THE WARRIOR IS SUMMONING THE GREAT SAND SPIRIT THAT WILL INCAPSULATE AND LAY WASTE TO THE NORTH POLE, HOAK HOGAN! THE WARRIOR WILL HAVE ONE RING TO RULE, NOT JUST THEM ALL, BUT RINGS EVERYWHERE, AND NECKLACES TOO! ESPECIALLY PEARLS! PEARLS ARE WORTH GREAT FORTUNES ON THE TERRAIN OF TESTAMENT, HOAK HOGAN! SKRRRRRRRRRRRRRRONK!
17. Paul Heyman returns, if for nothing else, to repeat the phrase on BRRRRRRRRROCK LLLLLLLLLLESNAR's t-shirt, and he does a different form of his usual take on HAM and drops all the ten-dollar words he can, and correctly for the most part. He builds up the Show/Lesnar Royal Rumble 2003 re-match in the way only he can.
18. Randy Orton is excited to be facing Kofi Kingston and the poster from a fraternity bedroom he's wearing. Cole and JBL bicker over who should be kissing Orton's ass, and the building reacts with a series of muffled conversation before they remember they're watching a wrestling match. Kofi finally starts fighting back for a few seconds, and JBL makes a Christie bridge reference because, well, it's a thing that happened. Topical! Orton starts yelling at Kofi to kick out of the superplex, so Kofi is nice enough to listen to him. I suppose Orton can be really persuasive when he wants to be.
19. Meanwhile, the Other Thing litters the ticker with misspelled and grammatical abortions about the Ultimate Warrior, and how dare they spell DESTRUCITY wrong! This must be the week they're toning down their incessant mentioning of That Thing in favor of the WWE Network. I suppose that makes sense. You have to pay for the latter. By the way, I think Michael Cole knows two commercial transition words, and they're barely different. Either the face is "rolling" or the heel is "reeling."
20. Orton continues dominating the match, given them plenty of time to be bored enough to summarize everything else going on, and Orton has trouble putting Kofi away. Cole mentions the phrase "creates separation," likely meaning he's listened to every NFL game in the last five years, and Kofi almost manages to cut Orton off. Kofi dares to try for a quick pinfall, so Orton does the same, and we get back to the Orton slow game. There's some kind of dueling chant that I can't make out, but at least it's not about Cena for once...
21. Wait, what? Kofi won? Kofi went over the champion Orton?! Didn't see that coming. That was the Hurricane beating The Rock level of surprise right there. Orton throws a Christian-like tantrum after losing, and appears bothered by the crowd response. This surprises most people watching, to learn that he is capable of conveying human emotion. He then does something completely original and attacks Cena's father. Cena chases him off, and the Miz quietly wonders backstage where his vengeance is.
22. We get two minutes of recaps before some local Indy wrestlers take Cena Sr. out on a stretcher. Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice, the Rhodes' theme hits to another great reaction. I'm still so glad to see Goldust's career resurrection. They're facing RyVD and Goofus, who is still convinced there's an actual thing as more than perfect. We are seriously missing some Goldust promo HAM though, and it needs to happen more. Ryback though has been demonstrating recently that he does in fact have a personality, and not just his career-ender tweets.
23. JBL gets an amazing HAM shoot line in by making fun of Lawler for beating Hennig because he booked the place. Wow, that one flew under the radar! Goldust continues getting the face paint beaten off him until he finally knocks down Ryback enough to get a tag in to Cody. Cody knocks around Goofus for a while, and Cole is so excited he starts recapping the rest of the show. Way to sell what's going on, Cole. Cody ends up pinning Goofus with the Cross Rhodes, and Rybaxel loses to the champs. Decent enough match, if only the people calling the match were watching it.
24. Apparently Batista is coming back. Damn, I hadn't heard until just now. Hold my calls next Monday night! Rey Mysterio comes out next, and gets a side promo in the process. He's facing his old compadre, the Black Hole of Charisma, fresh off beating Sin Cara in two minutes after losing to him twice. JBL calls ADR "Mexico's Greatest Export" for the first time ever, and Mysterio gets a shine, complete with a spot to the outside. Mysterio goes for a pinfall, and somebody must've said a bad word because the sound goes out for a few seconds.
25. Del Rio has an advantage after cutting off the face shine, or as JBL puts it, the whole match, but Mysterio makes a comeback. ADR is nice enough to run straight into the ropes after the vague idea of a headscissors, and eats a 619. ADR then gets mad at helping Mysterio out like that, and then kicks him right in the upside-down fuck and wins with a cross-armbreaker. I wonder if this is the new, more aggressive Alberto Del Rio. Well, at least give him credit for remembering that Batista had a connection with Mysterio, and he calls him out yet again. Gee, I wonder if these two will feud after this.
26. Another several minutes taken up whoring the WWE Network, but at least I'm watching on tape delay. Meanwhile, CM Punk confronts Citizen Kane about everyone ganging up on him. Kane decides to tease Punk with the opportunity to main event WrestleMania by winning the Rumble. Punk makes sure to let Kane know he has a problem with him, because he just doesn't have enough enemies yet.
27. Cole claims that they caught up with the Usos moments ago, despite being a heavily edited, pre-recorded promo. Damn, that was some great work, given that it totally only happened just a few minutes ago!
28. Good, at least this show will contain the full Wyatt entrance. Given that I was watching O Brother, Where Art Thou earlier today, I was half-expecting Bray to have some Pomade in his hair. We go to commercial, and get two more minutes of recaps while I assume the Wyatts are just standing there. JBL is now a fan of yelling the Uso callback, and then repeats the entire phrase in case we didn't understand it. Kane's entrance cuts off the Usos theme, and he comes down with a steel chain. It's nice to see him doing something other than hanging out backstage with Brad Maddox. The match itself picks up where its predecessor left off by immediately utilizing the cage as a weapon. Surprisingly, it goes relatively slow, in sharp contrast to the pace of the non-cage match. The match goes into the commercial with everyone lying in the ring.
29. We come back with more fighting on the side of the cage. Bray is on the receiving end of a corkscrew from the ropes for a near-fall. The crowd eats up the YES! kicks, even as Brodie Lee looks unimpressed. The crowd chants about the match being awesome, and it's good to hear them enjoying the show. Bray sets up for Sister Abigail, but gets a superkick for his troubles and everyone is down again. Daniel Bryan causes Bray Wyatt to be knocked into straddling the ropes, and the Usos end up vaulting out for the win and taking out the lackeys on top of it. Good for them, they're becoming major players with a win like that.
30. The crowd is begging for Daniel Bryan to do something, and Bray whispers more sweet nothings. Bray tries to once again use what he learned from CM Punk and the New Nexus, to initiate with finishing moves. Bray sets up for another Sister Abigail, but Bryan fights out of it. The crowd is on fire here. Bryan milks the crowd for as long as he can, and when he unleashes, all hell breaks loose. I suppose the destruction from within idea worked after all, though I didn't expect him to end it this quickly. Bryan gives Bray kicks like he's the Rock hitting Foley in the head in 1999. Bryan does some slow-motion YES! chants and has the entire place going insane. He caps it off with his running knee, and then climbs to the top of the cage. That was pretty damn awesome, as was the majority of this show. It's clear they're putting forth effort to entice people not only to watch the show, but buy the Network. If yet another thing for them to constantly promote at least means that they're going to step up their game instead of phoning it in like last year's WrestleMania season, I'm all for it.
Big Show wins for most over-the-top moment on this show by taking a good three minutes to punch a manager. JBL's line was awesome, but it was way too subtle to be hammy.
2012 - Daniel Bryan
2013 - Paul Heyman
1-6-14 - Dean Ambrose
1-13-14 - Big Show