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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-12-14
By Al Laiman
May 13, 2014 - 5:40:04 PM

credit Tom Jenner

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Featuring several improvised Warrior rants!

30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-12-14

It's good to be back, everyone. Finals went better than expected, and now I'm here for the summer; both with 30 Thoughts and HAM Radio, returning to non-PPV Sunday evenings. If you haven't had a chance to check that out yet, give it a listen. I apparently won the HAM for my "thermonuclear" meltdown by live-riffing Total Divas with Matt. It's being requested to do it again, so go on over to the old station and give it a listen, because that's how much I like you people. I'm willing to suffer for the sake of your entertainment.

Also, I auditioned Jaded Hope, the show I always post up above here, for the talent pick-up on Channel Awesome. It's the first chance I've had to submit it for a major platform, so wishes of luck would be greatly appreciated, as would giving it a watch. For those who are fans of the Lobsterhead rants, you can hear what one would sound like if I was yelling them instead of typing them, as there are several in this week's episode.

1. Holy shit, did they step up the epic music for the RAW recap! That's Two Steps From Hell-quality epic right there! And thankfully, they've learned to not have that ridiculous voice-over guy. What a feud this Evolution/Shield has been! The Shield open up already in the ring, just being there bad-ass, thinking about how they are The Shield. Ambrose is going back to his roots a bit with some Joker-esque mannerisms. I know everyone's anticipating the break-up of this stable, but I think they're only getting better. Rollins eggs on Reigns to say something, and this could get interesting. He ends up name-dropping the next Pay-Per-View, and I'm sure that's the only time that's going to happen at all in the next few weeks.

2. Conveniently after they're done talking, the Evolution limo shows up on the Titan Tron. The Shield immediately leaves the ring as Triple H signs business manly type stuff. The ambush commences as a lot of good suits are damaged in the process. The agents immediately break it up. There's some disappoinment in there with Finlay being one to stop it, because I thought he loved to fight. You're not the Finlay I remember.

3. Looks like the next match will be RVD against Biff. Uncle Zeb is bringing back the Deportation List from last week. Even though I was on a RAW hiatus during my break, I did tune in to see the debut of Adam Rose, as my friend and former co-worker Jimmy Nutts was one of the Rosebuds. Watching Zeb trying to analyze just what the hell the Rosebuds were is amazing, and despite people saying the debut didn't work, I loved it. I also think that song is going to be the next crowd-singing fad. Speaking of which, there it is! What a catchy entrance theme! JBL even namedrops the Oddities, what a reference! There's a black guy in a cowboy hat dressed up as a cheeseburger. Yes, that's a thing that happened.

4. The distraction allows RVD to capitalize on Adam Rose screwing with his head, and he quickly gets the win. I think we're going to see Rose and Biff at Payback, and I'm quite all right with that. RVD even gets in a bit on the celebration. And, like most good things, it can lose a bit of its awesomeness by watching Michael Cole try to imitate it.

5. Paige is up next, and I'm glad to see a Diva I can watch that isn't involved in a certain show. She's facing Alicia Fox, who gets a promo for the first time in... I don't remember the last time Alicia Fox had a promo. She tells her that she doesn't fit in, so she needs to get out. Wow, that might be her "Austin 3:16" speech right there. That's up there with Brie's amazing acting skills from last week as possibly the greatest moments in the history of women's wrestling.

6. Alicia Fox is also managing to get in offense against the champion, and she hasn't had a relevant singles match since she became one-half of the iconic contest that made Cameron worthy of paparazzi (seriously?). But damn, she's getting in some vicious-looking moves and looking like a credible competitor. No wonder she's been shoved to the background in favor of reality stars! That Mexican surfboard was fantastic! Paige makes the comeback, but Alicia Fox was the star of that match. She then has a Christian-WM18-like temper tantrum and starts throwing things. Could this finally be a relevant character transformation for her? Poor JBL, another nice garment is ruined tonight.

7. Recap of Brie's Oscar-worthy performance last week, skip. Bryan comes out, mercifully by himself, and brings the crowd to life as he's been one to do. Bryan summarizes his rise and continued uphill climb, even calling the Kane mauling the worst beating of his life. Promo 101 guys, how do you put over a guy and make him look like a credible title contender even in the strangest of circumstances? Observe. Bryan announces his neck surgery, giving him another reason to unfortunately take time off. He's selling it like it might be Edge-level. Let's hope that it's nowhere close to that.

8. Another recap, skip. Cena getting himself more good PR, and we get a full Uso's entrance, of which I approve. Yes, I am an entrance mark, deal with it. Not to be outdone, we're about to see the Wyatts' too. Bray doesn't mention the city they're in, because instead of going with crowd reaction on who they like, I guess they think they'll turn people back in Cena's favor if Bray doesn't do a Foley pop? That, or they're not in a big enough city for Vince to acknowledge. Oh, you motherfuckers, cutting to commercial...

9. We come back with action already in progress. Hey, gotta make room for all those recaps somewhere! The Usos do their fast-paced action thing, complementing quite well with Rowan and Harper in their contrast. They each get their moments to shine while also being in peril, because to the surprise of no one, Cena will get the eventual hot tag. The mysterious "Sister Abigail" angle is very intriguing, as is the appeal of the leader of the disenfranchised. Adapting, changing, working to improve, developing new aspects of a character... Can't imagine why they like this guy over the one who hasn't changed his schtick in nine years.

10. There are so many little things that the Wyatts do that sell their characters even more. Harper just hanging over the ropes with a creepy look on his face while Bray's in the ring. Cena finally gets tagged in to mostly boos, and that's one of the more positive reactions he's had as of late. Our number one face, everyone. Cena finally gets taken out at the expense of Rowan by Bray. Bray sets up for Sister Abigail but gets superkicked by the Usos. Followed by a high spot completely ruined by the commentators desperately trying to sound cool by emulating catch phrases. Cena then FU's Rowan, Cena wins. I know, I know, it's the Attitude Adjustment now, but who cares, honestly?

11. Bray gets on the mic afterward, and thanks Cena for helping him realize what he must do. Vague, cryptic, brief... It's a Wyatt promo all right. Definitely interested to see where that goes. Then we get strangely taken out of it by returning to air to say things about Evolution. Kay...

12. The entrance mark in me gets to enjoy the Motorhead theme for Evolution, which is just awesome. You know Triple H is serious, because he took off his tie. We then get another recap mid-entrance. I think Orton has had enough. Do you think he's had enough? He might've had enough. I'm not sure if he's had enough. Randy says they need to put the hounds to sleep. What kind of sleep Randy? Could it be... UN... CONSCIOUS... SLEEP?!

13. Triple H is basically taking the same angle he did with Bryan with these guys, and it still works. H threatens to take them apart one-by-one. H calls Rollins "the architect of the Shield." That's a new one, I think. I was unaware of this character disposition. He gets super serial though when they talk about Roman Reigns.

14. Before H can say what I can only assume is "you will rest... in... peace," The Shield attacks from behind and knocks them out of the ring. When H tries to get back in, Cole says that he runs right into the buzzsaw. I didn't know Tajiri was there! Batista then takes the microphone to yell that he's had enough! Has he had enough? Is there enough for there to be enough to be had enough of? Is it enough? Is enough is enough and is it time for a change? Oh yeah, and Dave challenges Reigns to a rematch of the final two in the Royal Rumble. Bitchin'.

15. It's time for the portion of the show that promotes that thing that sent me into a rage on Sunday night. At least now none of you can say that I bitch about it without having seen it. Oh I saw it, and I'm not gonna get into what I thought of it. Listen to Sunday night's podcast if you really wanna know. In fact, I encourage it, because apparently at least a few of you want to be a regular thing. I will say that I think it's ridiculous that this match is based on something that took place likely months ago. Storylines are happening because of what happens on the other show, not the way around, and that has always been my biggest problem with the concept.

16. Oh yeah, and let's spend the entire match trashing someone for trying to be an artist. What a great message to send. Put yourself out there with a gesture from the heart, and be mercilessly and endlessly ridiculed for it. Be a star. The other divas are standing there with numbers because... It's clever? Whatever, it really doesn't matter. What a shock, one of the Entitlement Twins won again. Natalya can be further disgraced for daring to do something nice for someone. More public shaming. How wonderful. Natalya is the villain here because the painting was terrible? Yes, how dare you try to express yourself, Natalya! You deserve to be ridiculed and made to feel like a douchebag for a heartfelt gesture. Shame, Natalya. Shame. Maybe it's because my ex-girlfriend was an artist and I'm sensitive to it? I don't know, but sends a really shitty message, doesn't it? Dear JBL, I hate everything about this.


18. Ryback and Axel spend more time than should've ever been necessary to decide who gets to lose to Lobsterhead. I'm not a fan of either one of them, but at least they finally have some sort of direction. The sad thing about this is that I'm having more fun watching Ryback bicker with the crowd than I am watching either of these two wrestle. Sheamus ends up winning with a Cloverleaf, and Ryback attacks. Apparently that's a good enough reason to have another match, so... All right then.

19. Two guys who were challenging for the main event are now in a US title feud and a match right here, and I'm okay with that. Sheamus hardly ever loses on television. Ryback looks motivated for the first time in months. Sheamus starts hitting all the trademark moves he didn't get to hit in the first match and gains back control. We get the Blair Witch Forearm Chops of Doom, complete with the motion sickness swaying for enhancement. Ryback wastes time with taunting and sets up for the Clothesline from Skynet. To the surprise of nobody, it doesn't work.

20. This has turned into a surprisingly good match. It's been back and forth with some near falls, and the crowd has been into it. Axel distracts Lobsterhead while he sets up for the Brogue, but even with that, and even after taking the Clothesline from Skynet, and even after already having one match, Sheamus manages to win. Of course.

21. Maybe it's just me, but this show seems really long. Maybe it's because I've been on vacation and have to get re-used to the length of these shows, but who knows? Anyway, Stephanie McMahon comes out next to address the Bryan situation. Steph uses the need for neck surgery as proof that he's not an A+ player. Well damn, if a neck injury is all it takes for proof of that, I guess we better pull the plug on that Steve Austin guy too. I don't think he'll ever make anything of himself.

22. Steph calls out Bryan, but instead Kane's pyro explodes. Kane comes out dragging Bryan by the arm, and... That's just hilarious. Presumably she was going to strip him of the title, but won't get the chance based on what happens. Believe it or not, I really enjoy this dynamic with Kane doing what he wants and Stephanie riding that line between wanting it to happen and being appalled when it does. It's an interesting dynamic to play out, and everyone involved has done it well. This attack will also leave an excuse for Bryan to be out longer if he needs to. Fortunately, we don't have to listen to Brie scream, so that's a plus. The show cuts to commercial, only to come back for a second, and then cut again.

23. We come back with Steph apologizing more, and Brie shooting her the death stare. For once, she actually shows some resemblance of personality and tells her to stay away. The expression on Steph's face is some damn good acting.

24. We come back with a Dolph Ziggler jobber entrance to face Fandango. This is of course another reason to cut to a clip from Total Divas... It's also an excuse to watch him make out with two different girls. Cole actually uses the phrase "bitter Twitter war," and they read them. Am I really that out of touch? Because I'm okay with it if I am, I'm just asking. Instead of calling the match, the commentators spend the entire time talking about what's going on on Twitter. Don't get me wrong, I've come to enjoy Twitter as an interactive platform, especially for the podcasts, but this is a bit much.

25. I'm just glad to see Ziggler getting a televised match. He's been a bit MIA lately. I do wish they'd get that tag team with Miz going, as I think that could do some revival for both of them. Maybe throw Sandow in there too. I heard he did something on the pre-show. Ziggler argues with Layla, but the distraction isn't enough. Layla gets tangled int he ring apron, and that distraction is enough for a Zig Zag and the win. Definitely good to see, now if we can only give the guy some direction. This is an excuse for Fandango to talk into the mic with some heavy breathing, and more making out. Lovely.

26. HAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO there, tough guy! Hacksaw! Wasn't expecting that. I'm guessing it's a Legend's House plug thing? Yep, that's what it is. Sorry, I'm not watching a reality show, no matter who's in it. Lana cuts it off, and it looks like a new generation of USA guy vs. foreign heel is about to commence. What, was Sgt. Slaughter busy? Give Lana credit, she's cutting a pretty good promo for a rookie. Hacksaw responds by getting a "U.S.A." chant start. 'Murica. Is he just Rusev now? What is with debuting people and then shortening their names? Hacksaw holds Rusev at bay with his trusty 2x4. I love how Lana pronounces "Dugan." And notice, they never cut his name to just Dugan, did they? Big E's music cuts it off, but unfortunately for him, he doesn't fare well. Rusev is a beast, though he does seem to have a particular problem with... No, I'm not even going to go there.

27. Recap hour, skip. This is why I watch on DVR. Sandow comes out and manages to plug the pre-show while he comes out. Sandow desperately seems to be trying to cut a pipe bomb, but he gets cut off by Cody Rhodes, another guy who seems to be struggling to find his place yet again after the feud with The Authority was over. Nobody in the crowd seems to care about this at all, though that may be because we're in Greenville. When I can hear the referee's count echo, that's a really bad sign. It's also a bad sign that I stopped paying attention and had to read the results to find out who won. Sandow lost, shocker.

28. Ugh, even more recaps. Are there more than usual, or did I just get un-used to it after my vacation? Wyatt gets another dark room promo, always entertaining. The Shield comes in for their main event match pitting Roman against Batista, but I smell some major shenanigans. Also a shame they didn't save this encounter for a Pay-Per-View. They can call it "special events" they all want, they're Pay-Per-Views, dammit. Speaking of that terminology, if there are any e-fedders and aspiring writers out there, be sure to check out PCW. They're worth the look, and it avoids a lot of the childish bullshit I've seen in most of them. I don't write there anymore, but it's a good place.

29. Batista comes out to the Motorhead theme again, so Saliva doesn't get their royalties this week. All three of the Evolution guys have done a great job putting over these future main-eventers, and the Shield have also continued to step up their game each time. It reminds me of 2002 when Kane was willing to put over an up-and-coming Batista. I'm glad he returns the favor and passes the torch. It's not the technical masterpiece, but who would be expecting that with the two involved? The stable tension is also continued, and I'm looking forward to seeing these groups confront each other again.

30. The match devolves into a brawl, and the Shield take control with Evolution floored in the ring. Stephanie comes out of nowhere and sends the rest of the heels in the locker room to attack. Hey, I don't see JTG in there, this locker room-clearing brawl is invalid. Reigns has a seriously badass moment where he breaks loose and spears Triple H to hell. The Shield clean house and stand tall while hitting their finishers on lesser heels. Ryback takes another triple powerbomb, which is preceded by Reigns doing his "OUAH!" which is awesome no matter how many times it happens. Overall, this show had decent moments and set up a lot of things going into Payback, but man did it drag. The Shield/Evolution feud is in full swing though, and that'll be stepping up the main event scene with Daniel Bryan out for a while. There are too many random matches, and not enough people with any direction. That needs to be improved, especially with the influx of new talent.

Not a lot of HAM tonight, so it's hard to decide. I'm gonna give to Adam Rose, just because I enjoyed him screwing with Zeb and Biff. Not a lot of competition though. Good to be back, guys.

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
3-17-14 - Randy Orton
3-24-14 - Dean Ambrose
3-31-14 - Bray Wyatt
4-6-14 - Roddy Piper

My second short film, featuring everyone's favorite Jackie (The Wolf of Wall St) and Matt (HAM Radio Weekly.)

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