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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-26-14
By Al Laiman
May 28, 2014 - 10:32:39 PM

credit Tom Jenner

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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-26-14

1. A Joseph Campbell quote to start off the show, I'm already impressed. A special shout-out to all my military readers and their families. The Authority starts off the show again, and Stephanie continues to step up her smarmy bitch levels. She sets up the request of Bryan surrendering the championship, using the crowd chants to play into everything like a true heel. H then takes the mic and compares a flash in the pan to a legend, unsurprisingly pointing out Bryan specifically. He levels out a bunch of evolution metaphors against the Shield, setting up the likely main event confrontation in the contract signing.

2. Steph and H then call out Brad Maddox for... some reason, I must've missed it. H accuses Maddox of making the choice to allow the Shield to come out to spoil the Evolution party last week, so all right, that makes sense. This is probably not going to end well for him.

3. Kane's pyro explodes after Steph explains that "we don't have a choice." Because, you know, no control over what he does and all. Why they ever bothered to have Kane become a Corporate character in the first place instead of just keeping him like this, I'll never know. Steph demands that Kane teach him a lesson. I don't mind Kane in this mercenary henchman role. It works for him. Kane chokeslams and then tombstones Maddox for good measure, and the pyro team is a bit late to the party. At least it wasn't like... Was it Royal Rumble 1998, I think... When the pyro didn't go off at all? Then Steph follows up by "future endeavoring" Maddox, which I'm sure will make a tremendous amount of difference in the running of the show, because Maddox has been so impactful in his role.

4. These Bo-Lieve vignettes are freaking HAMtacular. As long as the guy isn't as awkward in the ring as he was the first time he came around, I'll give him a chance.

5. Cesaro gets the jobber entrance for his match with Mr. 420. Fortunately for all of us, Bad News Barrett comes out with a live mic, and he's afraid he's got some bad news... He's not going to give a shout-out to the guys renting his Skybox. Cesaro and RVD put on a pretty physical beginning of the match, as the two of these superstars continue to work well together. Conveniently RVD is thrown to the outside just in time for the commercial break.

6. Unfortunately, the counter to RVD's moonsault was left to a replay, because... reasons. Be sure to whore Twitter trends more, though. Where would we be without knowing every single time people talk about things just after they happen? RVD starts to come back, and manages to thrust kick Barrett while he still has his headset on, only made lame by Cole trying to twist it into a subversion of his catch phrase. Cesaro ends up getting the win via German suplex following a distraction for the second week in a row, when suddenly...


8. So it looks like we're still going to base storylines happening in the present on a reality show that was filmed months ago, that's special. Oh dear JBL please tell me we do not have to see Eva Marie wrestle. I do not have enough liquor in the fridge to see this. It's been bad enough live-riffing her on television alone, but I do not have the patience to watch someone outsuck That Jackie Gayda match, I just don't.

9. JBL actually just said the phrase "showing great skills in the ring" about Eva Marie. What kind of wrestling god are you, dammit?! Fandango's music interrupts this atrocity to give us some making out that would make Edge and Lita raise an eyebrow, and Eva Marie gets a win on live television. They gave a wrestler who openly didn't train for her matches on that abomination of a show I had to watch a win on the flagship show. So much for paying your dues, huh?

10. The Brotherhood has a confrontation with Evolution where they recall the last time the two Rhodes did anything relevant. Rhodes calls out Batista for his skinny jeans. He might just automatically win the HAM for that, well done. I'm not optimistic about their chances, but at least they're doing something besides floundering with other tag teams who aren't going anywhere either.

11. Oh come on, RAW, I just had to sit through Eva Marie wrestling, now I have to watch an El Torito match next? And he's probably going to go over a talent being wasted in Drew McIntyre? Why is this a thing? It was nice of Jim Johnston to make the entrance theme sound like the crowd was singing along with the "Ole!" giving everyone the impression that someone might give a shit. McIntyre throws him around for a while, but then El Torito knocks him off the ropes and that manages to score him a pinfall. Wow.

12. After the match, they try to take his mask off, but he kicks away. Then, Hornswoggle pulls off his fake tail, and the commentators react like Brian Kendrick re-debuted in his original gimmick. I seriously want the last few minutes of my life back.

13. Well at least the Wyatt Family can come out and hopefully improve this. All the cell phones in the arena are lit, imitating the crowd from last week. Man, I miss when everyone had lighters. Glowing cell phones just aren't the same. I love the gimmick, but the song does get old sometimes. Wyatt does what he does best, with his single spotlight raving against The Man. Wyatt calls him an enemy to us all, and Cena actually gets more of a positive reaction than he usually does.

14. Wyatt transitions into talking about Jerry Lawler, because... Well, Tennessee. He asks him to come to the ring, but when Lawler refuses, he sends the lackeys after him. Did I miss something again? Holy shit, JBL actually gets up, but gets nailed for it. JBL eats the newer version of his badass move. That actually intrigues me into seeing JBL fight with these guys. He almost got to be badass again for a minute, where's the APA when you need it?

15. Wyatt HAMs it up by encouraging Lawler to take a seat. Unlike Hulk Hogan in Suburban Commando, he doesn't take it literally. Wyatt gives him credit for helping make Cena what he is today. Maybe this is a thing, but I never thought of Lawler as a huge Cena supporter. It could be my memory. Before Lawler can eat the Sister Abigail, Cena comes out to a mixed reaction. Wow, when you get a mixed reaction for saving Lawler in Tennessee, you're in bad shape. It doesn't go well for him though, as Harper keeps playing with Cena's face to make him look silly. Wyatt sets up a Sister Abigail, but then the Usos come out to make the save. At least that connection makes sense, as Cena and the Usos have had a makeshift alliance as of late. Cena takes the mic and runs down Wyatt for his supposed hyperbole, and it's some of his better work in recent memory. Interesting though, Cena criticizes Wyatt for attempting to take out the innocent man (Lawler), but makes no mention of the innocent man he DID take out. Still bitter about him blowing up your spinner belt, Cena?

16. We come back with only two commentators, and to take the edge off, we get Zack Ryder carrying an American flag on Memorial Day in the American South to almost zero reaction. Oh, you're about to be eviscerated by Rusev, aren't you? Ryder gets in one sentence on the mic before the lovely Lana cuts him off. Yep, your time is up, Zack. Rusev comes to the ring, and I gotta be honest, I know this is gonna surprise you... But I really don't like Zack Ryder's chances here. I know he's been on a roll lately, but this young upstart just might kill his momentum with an upset win. Oh wow, the match is over? Who saw that one coming? Big E comes in to make the save again, and kinda sucks at it. But for once, somebody gets the upper hand. Big E gets to raise the American flag after that.

17. Backstage, Stephanie is talking to Alberto Del Rio, hopefully not overwhelmed by the irresistible force of the black hole. If she goes back to 2003-style promos, I'll have to blame him for that.

18. We've got the Brotherhood against the Evolution flunkies next, and while I'm glad to see both the Rhodes doing something again, it's hard to take them seriously after seeing them messing around with Rybaxel and Fandango as of late. Goldust gets a tag and actually looks strong against Batista for a minute or two. It doesn't last very long, but it doesn't last too long. We go into commercial looking at an RKO pose, so... All right.

19. We come back with Evolution still in command, and we know it's bad because Dustin has lost a tremendous amount of face paint. Cody finally gets the hot tag, and damn does this crowd just suck or what? Cody has a strong run until he eats an RKO out of nowhere to counter the Disaster Kick, and then hits another one for good measure to get the win. Pretty strong match for what it was.

20. Oh wait, what a twist! Suddenly it's an elimination no-holds barred match, and Goldust is outnumbered. It pretty much becomes the mauling you would expect it to be. Goldust almost manages to get in an offensive move at one point, but gets speared for his troubles. An RKO follows, and for some reason, the Shield aren't rushing to the defense of the team who bragged about beating them earlier. Who'da thought? We then have to get a recap of what we just saw before what we just saw, and then a recap of what we just saw. Serious business.

21. JBL comes back and sells Harper's clothesline by comparing it to Stan Hansen and the Undertaker. Wow, Harper just got put over huge with that comment. Speaking of someone related to a Wyatt, Bo Dallas comes out with his big goofy grin, and Michael Cole says that he made his WWE DEBUT last Friday on Smackdown. Wow, they really do think we're that stupid. They didn't even change the guy's name! He yells into the mic, and sounds just like his brother without the accent. Dallas hits one move, and then celebrates around the ring like the giant HAM he's apparently become. I'm having Simon Dean flashbacks.

22. Thankfully, the power of Bolieving at least has trumped Sin Cara mood lighting. Dallas does empty shoulder rolls before hitting some weird rock-star style knee drop. JBL is also putting over this gimmick in a way that almost sounds sarcastic. Bo wins with Sliced Bread No. 2 while the Bo puns run rampant. He takes the mic after the match and HAMs it up some more and continues to be a pseudo-motivational personality. Man has he improved since his atrocious aside promo that he read before beating Wade Barrett that apparently never happened. He gives Sin Cara a hug after the promo, and JBL continues to kiss his ass.

23. Recaps, skip. Time for more Stephanie McMahon, and we're going to see if we will resume having an active WWE World Heavyweight champion. Bryan comes out and wakes the crowd up. Someone has a "Say 'Yes' to Jesus!" sign, because if there's anything that could convince someone to dedicate their life to a religion, it's a sign at a wrestling event. Steph refuses to strip him of the title because it would make him a martyr. How clever. She's almost better than her husband at this point. Bryan mentions that the injury was worse than he thought, which hopefully is kayfabe. Bryan turns the tide and refuses to hand over the title under the premise of negation.

24. Bryan starts turning up the emotion and gets the crowd behind him. His reasoning is quite rational, and even gets to set up his other catch phrase, which is the opposite of his first one. Steph turns ultra-condescending, bringing up the Brie incident. Steph lays it on the line by saying that if he doesn't give up the title, she'll fire Brie. One less Bella I have to watch on television? I'm good with that. We know that won't happen, because we have to keep her on RAW because of that reality show, but a man can dream.

25. Alicia Fox comes out to a round of silence that would make an Eve Torres pop sound deafening, and she's facing Emma! Oh wow, we haven't seen her in a while. That's the curse of getting stuck with Santino Marella. This makes for two hashtag potentials that end in "lution." Get on that, trend whores! Alicia Fox decides to bail, but when Emma chases after her, she gets kicked right in the fuck. Emma gets a win out of nowhere with the Ultimate Divas Superfinisher, making it a two-for-two evening on that front, and Alicia has another meltdown.

26. She smacks a drink out of some dude's hand, likely costing him a good five bucks on a non-refill soda. Alicia then hits an absolutely horrible-looking backbreaker, then side-tosses Emma out of the ring, and it looked like she hit her head on the mat on her way down. Maybe you guys are right about her. Interesting that the one she's having the feud with is nowhere to be found during this. Alicia does her best impression of an oncoming train by banging on the ring bell repeatedly screaming about not being a loser. In the last three weeks, I think she's gotten more TV time on her meltdowns alone than she's had in the lats three years. Holy shit, this is still going on. She gives a random ringside worker a wedgie, and finds some conveniently placed sodas under the ring, because... Yeah, that's a great place to store tasty beverages. What the hell was that?

27. Oh goodie, another Hornswoggle vs. El Torito match to kick off a Pay-Per-View. At least I know I can tune in later. Then, Davy Crockett? Holy flying vagina squirrels, what the hell is this? Is Damien Sandow... What? And speaking of gloriously HAMtacular weirdness, he's facing Adam Rose! One of the Rosebuds looks like Eugene. One of those girls is doing her best Melina impression and can't stop her high-pitched screaming. If this isn't HAM-to-HAM combat,I don't know what is. Oh good JBL, Biff Swagger and Zeb have some short guy dressed up in a lemon costume?! Where'd I go just now? Rose still wins the match, and for some reason turns his back to the guy he knows is coming, and I guess the lemon just got shoved out of the way. Rose comes back with a pretty damn impressive spinebuster, and he starts getting pretty vicious. I don't even know how to respond to this. It's like Matt pitching the twist to Twilight being that Edward is a turnip (HAM Radio Plug), I've got no words for it.

28. So Lobsterhead is going to face ADR now? Because... That's what Steph told him to do earlier? Why? This match might have some excitement to it if 2012 didn't drill it into the ground. Oh, I guess Del Rio takes control, because RAW is gonna "roll on" again. The commercial break will bridge the gap between Sheamus trademark moves. Sheamus literally hulks up during the match at one point. I think my give-a-fuck-ometer is in the negatives here. Someone please tell me what this had to do with Steph talking to him earlier? Anyway, Lobsterhead hits a Brogue Kick out of nowhere and wins. At least it's over.

29. Paul Heyman comes out of nowhere to announce Sheamus as the winner, and trolls the crowd yet again. Heyman taunts Sheamus until Cesaro jumps him from behind and gives him some "payback" if you will. One dude chants "EC-Dub!" The feud has been well-constructed, and it should be a smashmouth match, so at least there's that.

30. It's a contract-signing, so I'm sure absolutely no shenanigans will take place whatsoever. They're teasing this thing by saying it's the "last time ever" that they'll be in the ring together, because at some point without announcing it, it became a "Loser Leaves Town" match, I guess. Roman Reigns does his job of intensity in ten cities by throwing the chairs out of the ring, and Rollins trivializes the idea of a contract signing, because... Well, it's trivial. Evolution follows up next by warning everyone that it's the last time we'll see the Shield on RAW. Dear JBL is that phrase being overused enough in this segment? H is gold in this segment, asking if they're sure they want to sign that. It does make me wonder though, do other matches get contract signings and we just don't see them? Do non-main event contract signings just go down without incident? Why would Zack Ryder sign up to face Rusev if that were the case? Or does it only happen for Pay-Per-View matches? Reigns cuts off H and throws down the punk card. Finally, mayhem breaks loose, and a brawl unfolds. Big moves get exchanged, and the camera angle was awful on a Superman punch from Reigns, who then gets the sledgehammer. The Shield falls apart quickly, and Evolution finally starts getting the better of them. This is a 2004 nostalgia trip in one of those prolonged Evolution beatdowns at the end of RAW, except at least now it's not happening every week. Reigns ends up getting the triple powerbomb through the announce table, and Batista does his best imitation of the OOOUAAHHHHHH! Overall, the show had some mildly decent set-up for Payback, but for the most part, this episode was a snorefest. The main event segment was good, the Rose/Crockett match was full of a big helping of "What the Fuck?" but we also had Eva Marie and El Torito winning consecutive matches.

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Cody Rhodes would've had it with the skinny jeans comment, but for once, I have to give it to an entire segment, because seriously... What the hell was that?

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
5-12-14 - Adam Rose
5-19-14 - Paul Heyman
5-26-14 - Adam Rose/"Davy Crockett"/A Giant Lemon with Biff

Featuring several improvised Warrior rants!

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