30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 12-2-13
By Al Laiman
Dec 3, 2013 - 4:20:15 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 12-2-13
1. Monday Night RAW comes to me today as hopefully the sense of escapism I need it to be. Forgive me if I'm not my usual snarky self, but I want to try to get something out for those of you who were gracious enough to send your kind words among the comments and social media posts. And hey, it only took about twenty seconds for our first recap, so we're off to a great start. Punk opens up the show to get to the bottom of Lost in Cleveland 2: Buddha's Revenge. Punk however is in a snarky mood and remarks sarcastically about the Shield attack last week. He sets up his reluctant involvement by being deliberately anti-authority, although saying "douchebags" is apparently too intense for the PG era.
2. Stephanie McMahon interrupts with her increasingly passive aggressive tones, and I find myself enjoying her more as a heel than ever. It's so much more intelligent than the raving, screaming lunatic she used to be. She pretends to be appalled at the idea of Punk being attacked, and then manages to plug the contract signing main event in the process. She then points him toward the Big Red Complaint Department, Citizen Kane.
3. Kane delivers a standard corporate letter response, showing his range as a character, and confusing everyone including Punk. Punk and Kane argue back and forth while Kane remains collected and in customer service mode. Punk challenges him to come down, but Citizen Kane isn't about to get by Stephanie McMahon. Instead, the Shield's music hits, and Punk grabs a steel chair before they can get in from the Center for JBL's Conspiracy Theories. Kane then books him at TLC against all three members of the Shield. Effective opening segment for all involved, and I have a feeling that's just the beginning of involvement with all three. I wonder if the words from Punk's Pipebomb will be brought into play.
4. Sandow and Ziggles are up next with a shot at the Intercontinental title on the line, and given the crowd disposition, I'm guessing Sandow is about to be Big E's next contender. Big E does his best to make the Intercontinental title sound prestigious while Sandow and Ziggler compete. Ziggler takes a nasty fall into the steel steps courtesy of the new age of Descartes. This match seems to be moving through into Trademark Land rather quickly. I think it's three minutes in, and there's already been two turning points, according to Cole.
5. I love how JBL refers to Ziggler's reigns as a "cup of coffee." Sandow takes advantage of the moment he gets, and wins with the Search for Moppy. Langston's next contender for the amazingly super-important Intercontinental title will be the former Idol Stevens. Definitely an interesting contrast of styles.
6. I see tonight's prevailing theme is going to be the run-sheet of just how awesome John Cena and Randy Orton both are, and trying to pretend like we've never seen them face each other before. I'm guessing most transitions of the night are going to involve building them up even more. It's not terrible, but it would be nice if some of the stars who actually needed a bit of building up like this got it. Those two already pretty much go without saying.
7. Tonight's Total Diva's portion of the show will be brought to you by replaying the match from last week. Naturally, since Big E made a reference to a game with Dolph Ziggler, everything's going to bring that back up as an attempt to be humorous. Works for plugs and replays, might as well beat everything else into the ground too. The crowd is chanting something, but I can't really make it out.
8. The New York Knicks dance team member known as Summer Rae does the worst roll-up I've ever seen, but I'll give her credit for trying. Natalya gets the hot tag, and at least she's getting a pop out of this E! Network stuff. AJ continues frolicking like Faunterloy, but AJ herself gets a pretty good reaction. The Total Divas team wins yet again with the Ultimate Diva Finisher. It wasn't terrible, but... Well, you know how I feel about the reality stars. AJ doesn't seem to care a whole lot.
9. Daniel Bryan gets his chance for revenge from abduction with little explanation in a singles match against one of them? I guess that makes sense. Next, "Bad News" is introduced at the old Anonymous RAW GM podium. The bad news is that it's not Walter Matthau as a drunken Little League coach. The name even has a hashtag attached to it, how lovely. Meanwhile, Randy Orton is thrusting all the weight of his monotone onto the stoic Brad Maddox. I guess he's demanding Maddox to beef up his resume verbally, because... That'll help his self-confidence?
10. Despite everything, Bryan still gets a massive pop. The Wyatts get a Sabu entrance, because we have to save time for more download pleas and recaps. Bray mentions something about entering the Lion's Den, so I'm guessing they recruited Ken Shamrock for a motivational speaker. I also have to say that's the first time I've heard the phrase "abandoned parking lot." How exactly would you know a parking lot is abandoned? Where exactly is there such a lack of parking that they don't even bother anymore? Given that I've had to park in Philadelphia, I'd relish an abandoned parking lot, just so I didn't have to pay 20 bucks to go watch a game in the Palestra.
11. Rowan and Bryan are meshing their vastly different styles well. That's one of the things I love about Daniel Bryan; that no matter who he is wrestling, he can adapt to look effective. John Cena is someone else who is really good at that; playing both the stronger man and the smaller one. Hey look at that, I complimented John Cena's wrestling ability and the Internet didn't explode... yet.
12. After the break, JBL is convinced that the Wyatt Family comes straight out of the Matt Foley SNL bit, and repeatedly yammers on about Bryan needing to join them. I will say that whether Bray is writing the words he says or someone else is, they are really well-crafted and clever. I can hear Brodie Lee doing his weird Flying Monkey chant thing at ringside. I personally think he's trying to sing Muhammad Hassan's entrance theme. The Slammys are apparently coming up, thank JBL they reminded me. Bryan finally gets a glimmer of hope after being thrown around most of the match and gets the crowd back in it. OK City definitely has a live one tonight. Bryan ends up winning the second straight match with an Ultimate Diva Finisher.
13. A few seconds later, the lights go down and Bray commands the lackeys to stand down. From the Titan Tron, Bray delivers more of his prophecy, and manages to put Bryan over in the process. It's an interesting perspective that could lead to either Bryan overcoming it or being completely justified in being unleashed. Very compelling, I really like it. Backstage, Team Hell No is reunited, sort of. Citizen Kane delivers the same corporate motivation, including a mini-whispered YES! chant in booking another three-on-one handicap match. Okay, that was fantastic, as usual when those two are in the same place at the same time.
14. Brodus Clay is apparently finally getting a heel turn, although hearing him call himself a main event player is laughable at best. I guess Brodus's motivation is that he gave Xavier Woods permission to use the music and entrance and... he did what he let him? This is the first time I've seen either of Tons of Funk in a while, and I'm sure my sister is delighted. This is nice though, even the lower card is having somewhat of a feud on the flagship show. Different faces taking up time on the program with a rookie who can benefit from working with three veterans.
15. Xavier Woods gets a mild muffle when he tags in, but he's got time to make a name for himself. Carl Weathers himself approves of this message. And... are you kidding me? The third straight match that ends with... Well, I suppose it was a school boy as opposed to a roll-up, but still... Really guys? Three straight matches? All of them have been decent at worst, although Woods really struggled to get Clay over, and it showed.
16. Sin Cara is out next, I think. I don't remember that shoulder tattoo, nor does his entrance video show it. Well regardless, it looks like he's once again trying to improve his standing in the Del Rio JOB Squad standings. The Black Hole of Charisma apparently got his lines mixed up with Zeb Colter's promo script, but at least it was brief. Sin Cara continues to get his own lighting, which still mystifies me. Cara gets in his token fast-paced moves at the beginning before ADR takes over to show off his more aggressive style.
17. There's a dueling chant going on, but it fades out pretty quickly. JBL notes that Sin Cara is looking better than ever, but I'm still not sure it's actually him. He seems thicker too, I don't know. The moves aren't as fluid, but they're better executed nonetheless. Del Rio nearly gets the win with a Voldemort Suplex. Sin Cara counters the cross-armbreaker, which I guess happens when you face someone that many times. Sin Cara hits a Senton Bomb and... What in the... Sin Cara wins? I can safely say I didn't see that coming. It was a good match, but I'm still convinced that isn't actually Sin Cara. At least it didn't end with a roll-up.
18. John Cena gets a chance to explain how important the undisputed unified title is, and makes a Ric Flair and Hogan reference. I'm curious if he remembers that they were unified before, but forget it, he's rolling. Nonetheless, it's good, quick, and well-delivered. Meanwhile, the Shield is hanging out in Undertaker lighting, throwing down a punk card for Punk.
19. Looks like Big Show isn't out indefinitely a week later, so... Kay. Big Show returns to throwing the Shield around, as he's been one to do a few times this year. Reigns is getting face pops just tagging in, although that could be due to the face off with the giant. The crowd keeps getting louder as Reigns gets pan-slapped. The Shield have really had one helluva debut year, consistently having great matches. I think Seth Rollins yelled "pull on his beard!" Last resort, I suppose.
20. Cole summarizes Goldust's career resurgence, and that's definitely an understatement. I've always liked the character, and I'm glad to see him still doing so well. It seems like this is just tempering Cody Rhodes until he's finally ready to break into the main event for good. He does have a damn fine moonsault, which reminds me of how great it'd be to see someone like him benefit from a Kurt Angle feud. I miss that guy's matches, not to mention that entrance theme.
21. I've restrained myself from mentioning a certain thing all night, despite how often they've mentioned it, and I'm going to hold strong. Cody Rhodes manages to get punched right in the fuck from Roman Reigns, who seemingly is getting built up as the next Batista, or at least is getting the slow burn push while still being in a heel stable. Rollins manages to HBK sell a shot into the turnbuckle to give Cody the break. Cody manages to double dropkick Ambrose and Rollins non-chalantly, something I didn't think was possible.
22. Big Show gets the hot tag and starts cleaning house again. He dominates Reigns, but gets dropped over the top rope by Ambrose, and I'm guessing this is where the not-concussion effects return. Punk keeps watching on, because I guess he's involved with this storyline or something, and even Rollins is getting in his shots. Cole comments about how it's expert tag team wrestling. Surprised he didn't call it "vintage" because for once, it would've actually been appropriate. Big Show finally powers out, leading to both he and Ambrose being down. Show is having a rare face in peril moment, but gets out of it with a chokeslam on Reigns.
23. Goldust comes in house of fire, and is keeping up with the much younger Rollins. And... Holy flying vagina squirrel, Goldust pulled off a hurricanrana! Wow! While Goldust is fighting back again, Reigns hits a massive spear on Big Show. Rhodes jumps up to take them out, and Goldust and Ambrose are left. Goldust suplexes Ambrose, but misses Rollins, and Rollins wins with... Hey, what a shock tonight, another Ultimate Diva Finisher! Number four tonight! Oh well though, what an amazing match, especially noteworthy for the performance by Goldust.
24. Punk returns to the microphone, backstage this time. Punk feigns seriousness until he goes into HAM mode. He even starts singing "I Feel Pretty" because I guess he's been listening to Dr. Buddy Rydell. Instead, he just admits he's going down, but is going to take the Shield with him. Nice. Meanwhile, Hashtag Bad News is back to talk trash on the Thanksgiving diet. Then, Kofi and Miz shake hands backstage, because Miz is face again?
25. The Former Paul Heyman Guys are taking on the re-unified Kofi and not-heel Miz. It reminds me of when Miz sort of technically turned face, when he proved to be a good tag partner to Kane to spite Daniel Bryan, and he seemed to be on fire. Too bad nothing ever came of it, even after Flair sort of passed the torch to him. I guess this is something for Goofus to do until they figure out something better, though Ryback is definitely well on the decline as far as status though. Talk about a push derailed. He was over as hell with the "Feed Me More!" chants, even if his in-ring work was mediocre at best. That bombed just as badly as Miz's face turn.
26. Kofi gets the hot tag, and Miz gets knocked off the ring apron. Kofi ends up eating a Shellshock, so Ryback and Goofus win. After the match, Miz helps him up, and then slaps Kofi. So, he's heel again, but not, but kinda? Was the Christmas movie really that important?
27. Los Genericos are backstage to do the same plug for WWE Shop that everyone else does, "to prove they're the best salesmen in WWE..." skip. Fandango misses most of his entrance while Summer Rae changed out of her Knicks costume. She looks surprised when her opponent Mark Henry comes out, because I suppose she wasn't aware of the not-surprise opponent. Needless to say, i don't like Fandango's chances much here. Mark Henry dances a bit, and that doesn't sit well with Summer Rae because... Reasons. They mention that earlier on That Thing that he didn't want to lose to someone who dances, so naturally he's dancing. Fandango manages to get a near fall with a cross body. Henry ends up hitting an emotionless World's Strongest Slam for the win that nobody saw coming, and continues mocking Summer Rae by dancing. They keep yelling that he's twerking, because hey, that's a thing. Thankfully I have managed to avoid knowing what the hell that is.
28. Zeb and the Real Americans come out after I skip the Smackdown recap, and he HAMs it up again. He asks who likes to puke on other men, because he's unfamiliar with Darren Drozdov, and vomit is un-American. I'm not making this up. They keep talking about how Titus might get sick again... Please for the love of JBL tell me this isn't about to be a thing. Did they do a survey and the number one answer to "What do you want to see more of on RAW" was: "Some Dude Who Pukes?" A "We, the People" chant breaks out while the Americans dominate. If it means Cesaro keeps getting ringtime, I'm all for it. Darren Young gets the house of fire, but gets a huge uppercut that is strong enough to pin anyone but Cena. Who cares, it was awesome! I love that move, all that's missing is the Fonzie response. A lot of matches on this show, I do approve. Oh no, Titus really is gonna do a puking gimmick. I never thought I'd be so happy to see a plug for That Thing, even if it is the 487th time they've plugged that vote. Still better than Puke.
29. Capping off the show is the "epic" contract signing. No. The vote for what to call a title is finally unveiled, and it'll be the "Unified" champion. Kay. King already is calling it the greatest match in history, because he hasn't yet looked up the word "hyperbole" in the dictionary. Triple H and Stephanie are now out to conduct the greatest thing in the history of anything before it even happens, and signing the contract for the epicness will be an epicly epic epicitude-ness. The two are introduced, and the titleholders are listed, eliciting everything from minimal oblivion to token cheers. Stephanie's job in this prologue is just to remind us that Triple H is a thing.
30. Cena's definitely making me like him more with his promo. Wow, this is the Cena I like. He's great when he can turn it up like this and not be ridiculous. I just hope this feud isnt' going through WrestleMania, that's all. I'll be happy if the Unified title remains as such though, because with no brand split, it only makes sense. For the first time ever in a contract signing, a brawl happens. It turns into chaos, and seeing Orton getting thrown around and beaten with things never fails to put me in a good mood. Orton then takes control in the melee, and in case you hadn't heard, it's an epic match. Cena finally comes back and tosses Orton into a corner table. Cena then makes a reference back to when Evolution turned on him with a thumbs down! Nice! All right then, fitting ending to a pretty good show.
Framed on my wall now. I won't ever forget her. Thank you, sincerely, to everyone who said such nice things. It really did help.
Do you really have to ask?
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
7-29-13 - Vince McMahon
8-5-13 - Bray Wyatt
8-12-13 - Daniel Bryan
8-19-13 - CM Punk
8-26-13 - Triple H
9-2-13 - JBL
9-9-13 - Paul Heyman
9-16-13 - Big Show
9-30-13 - Paul Heyman
10-7-13 - Bob Backlund
10-14-13 - Triple H
10-21-13 - Paul Heyman (TROOF honorable mention)
11-4-13 - Zeb Colter
11-11-13 - Paul Heyman
11-18-13 - Vickie Guerrero (Won over Twitter, I wasn't watching that Country show.)
11-25-13 - Titus O'Neil
12-2-13 - CM Punk