30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-27-2013 - IN LAIMAN'S TERMS
By Al Laiman
May 28, 2013 - 12:58:22 AM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 5-27-13 - IN LAIMAN'S TERMS
I want to extend my gratitude to all of my military fans on this day, especially the ones who have contacted me personally. You know who you are, and I'm grateful that these words reach you and are somehow a pleasant distraction from your time away from here, whatever it is you may be doing. No amount of hatemail can touch what it is hearing from you does for me.
1. Despite working all day with normal hours, I'm in a pretty good mood, and I'm hoping that will carry over into enjoying RAW. It would help if the show wasn't one long commercial for the WWE App with a few matches sprinkled in between, but I won't get my hopes up too high. However, that is the last time I'll mention that JBL-forsaken piece of overkill, as I will simply ignore it or fast forward through any mention of it from here on out. That goes for replays, Twitter feeds, Touts, and any of the other distractions. To the surprise of absolutely no one, John Cena opens up this Memorial Day edition of RAW. You know, Wade Barrett has had 14 themes in less time than Cena's had that remixed-Cosby Show anthem. You think we could get him a new one by now? Cena comments on the unrest and anxiety in the building tonight, as he tries to serious-face his way through another anti-Cena crowd. Cena plays Exposition Fairy to catch us all up on what the replays just caught us all up on. Cena catches on the "We Want Bret" chants and acknowledges both the crowd and the hometown of the aforementioned. Cena draws a legitimate laugh out of me with his Ryback internal monologue with ADD, and we've of course gotta work in the name of the Pay-Per-View about eight times before saying that the title should be defended in a three stages of hell match. Um, holy shit? I approve of this! Stage One will be a Lumberjack match. Stage Two will be a tables match, and Calgary forgets they hate Cena and chants along with his cue. Stage Three will be the challenged ambulance match, and Cena promises to send him away in an ambulance after he wins the first two falls regardless.
2. Ryback's "Feedmemore-less" theme hits, and he mentions the Pay-Per-View name three times in his first sentence. Hey, is there a Payback show coming anytime soon or something? Ryback compares himself to Satan, because he's dragging Cena to hell. I imagine the master of hellfire and brimstone might have something to say about that.
3. While that response was rather short, Paul Heyman brings his presence to the show, and gives Curtis Axel another Second Coming of JBL introduction. They must really have some faith in Hennig. How many guys fail miserably in getting out of the lower card, and then get repackaged and rewarded by coming out against Triple H and John Cena in successive weeks? Heyman challenges Cena to take on Curtis Axel for the first time, which is likely only true because of the name change and duration. Cena puts over Axel before advising him to stay away from Heyman. The Master of Genesis smart-asses his way into a second straight RAW main event, and I suppose the Beard-off challenge with Daniel Bryan is imminent. Strong opening segment. The Highlight Reel with Paul Heyman is previewed, and that oughta be an interesting case of Ham-on-Ham combat, and ADR is heading to the ring. Wow, they got through an entire part of the show without mentioning any of those things I won't be talking about tonight. This is already looking better.
4. Ricardo introduces Del Rio to a decent reaction as Cole mentions that Big E. managed to get some "payback" last week with his win. LeBron Langston comes out for his payback to the payback that he already got last week when he got payback. HYPNOTOAD COMMANDS THAT YOU BUY PAYBACK ON PAY-PER-VIEW! ADR gets the early advantage with a high spot to the outside. It looks like ADR's head went a little low and right into Langston's chin, which I don't imagine felt too pleasant. Langston wastes no time in getting the momentum back while we listen to... Nope, not gonna do it. After getting a few near falls, ADR sends Langston into the ringpost and starts to come back. That was quick. ADR hits a backstabber and sets up in the corner for the superkick. He gets a near-fall, and starts to work the arm. AJ jumps up on the apron and takes off the turnbuckle cover. This gives the ref a chance to be distracted while... ADR locks in the armbreaker? Langston powers out, but ADR sends Langston into the exposed turnbuckle and gets the win. Well I guess those shenanigans backfired! If only ADR matches had instant replay... AJ yells at the big man while he leaves in front of her. Face turn in the near future, perhaps?
5. We come back to a close-up on the Big Red Machine while he gives a pacing Daniel Bryan a motivational speech. Bryan accuses Kane of thinking he's going to screw it up, and they end up in a HAM-off before the man himself, Bret Hart, steps in to coach them a bit. Bret repeats everything Kane just said, while Kane gets indignant about the fact that Bryan listened to Hart and not Kane. The commentators announce that the entire Bret Hart appreciation night will take place on... that thing.
6. The Shield's music hits as the new US champion makes his way to the ring to a rather positive reaction. Kofi comes out for what seems like his perpetual career description... Either defending or chasing the midcard title. They mention that this night may be the toughest night for the Shield yet. Um... What makes this any different than the Extreme Rules night with the exact same matches? Kofi and Ambrose are already working incredibly well together. Some very quick work between the two sends Ambrose out of the ring to Kofi heat... something not often said on this show. Kofi fakes a high spot to the outside, as we go to the second commercial in about a minute.
7. We come back just in time for a Kofi hope spot, and he starts his comeback sequence. Ambrose sends him into the corner, and Kofi comes back with a high cross body for a near-fall. Ambrose avoids the the leg drop, and after a quick back-and-forth, Kofi hits the SOS for another close call. Kofi comes out of the ring, but back in with a high clothesline. Ambrose brings Kofi to the outside and trips Kofi into a sick-looking face fall. He follows it up by selling Ambrose's awesome finishing move to perfection, and Ambrose gets the clean win in a good match.
8. Kane's pyro interrupts the celebration, and The Shield prepares for the fight to begin. I suppose that little melee is a perfect transition into the tag title match as we go into commercial. Emphasis on wrestling matches? What is this sorcery? Forgive the lack of detail for a minute there, but I was... distracted.
9. We come back in the middle of the match with Rollins in control of Danielson, just in time for him to break the heat. Danielson throws his YES! Kicks, pushing him into the corner with Kane. Kane tags himself in because he wants Bryan to calm down, which is... un-Kane-like, to say the least. Kane hits a few power moves on Rollins, tags Bryan back in, and they hit a double team for a pinfall attempt. Calgary loves them some Danielson, as they chant for him, not just the YES! trend. Kane tags in again, tries for a chokeslam, but Rollins hits an awesome high kick. Reigns and Rollins begin the cheap heat double team on Kane, as Reigns looks monstrous controlling the big man. Shield has most of the advantage, but Kane clotheslines Rollins out of his damn boots.
10. Daniel Bryan comes in to a HUGE pop, and goes house of fire all over Shield. Rollins takes more YES! kicks and Bryan draws very loud chants for his close falls. Rollins cuts it off by straddling Bryan on the top rope. Bryan feels that turn about is fair play and sets Rollins up in the tree of woe for MORE kicks. Rollins is going to be feeling this tomorrow! Bryan goes to the top rope and hits a back suplex from the top rope! And... it goes into another commercial! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
11. This Daniel Bryan needs to be pushed huge. Do you hear this audience?! The under-sized face combined with this ROH-like intensity that he used to have? Please WWE, more of this. The crowd chants that it is awesome, and I'm inclined to agree. Rollins is back in control of Bryan, likely hitting some stiff shots of his own, and tries to lock in Bryan's version of the Mexican Surfboard. Reigns comes in and lands a vicious kick on Bryan's chest. When was the last time we had a lengthy tag team title match like this on television? Along with the more of this Daniel Bryan, more of this tag team wrestling, more of this match quality, more of this match length, and more of this match emphasis. I haven't enjoyed RAW this much (so far) since last year. Rollins yells at Bryan and catches himself before he makes a television show reference, and Bryan tries to come back, but takes a downward spiral-ish move into the turnbuckle.
12. Bryan finally comes back and knocks Reigns down long enough to get another hot tag to the big man. Kane throws Rollins all over the ring, but the pinfall attempt is broken up by Reigns. Danielson comes off the top rope with a high front dropkick, and then hits a dive on the outside. Rollins takes a big boot and goes to the turnbuckle, but Kane calls for Bryan to stop kicking Reigns on the outside. Kane tries to set up for the chokeslam, but they again get into it. Bryan ignores him and comes off the apron, and takes a vicious spear on the outside. Rollins then hits a high kick from the top, and somehow that move alone was enough to pin him? Okay, despite that questionable break in logic, what a great televised match we got to see here.
13. The cast of Rescue Me is doing really well at getting themselves TV shows on this network.
14. The Miz is out with another new t-shirt, and thankfully he got rid of that 16-year-old's attempt at a beard. The voting is now taking place for the match between Wade Barrett and Fandango for what Miz will be in the match. They're talking about subtle advertising, moving on.
15. And in another voting poll with an incredibly obvious answer, The Miz will be the guest referee in this match with two heels. Surprisingly, Wade Barrett does not have a new theme this week. Miz... licks his lips while Wade Barrett talks to him... Ummmm....
16. Fandango decides to come out before his set is the whole way down, and Calgary is definitely into Fandangoing. The set designers don't appear to be, however, as Fandango has lost his candle stencil. Fandango gets the early advantage, hitting a quite audible chop on Barrett. The crowd is trying to sing Fandango's theme, but it isn't catching on like Jersey. Fandango gets caught on the outside, and Barrett throws him out of the way. Miz responds with a Skull-Crushing Finale, and Fandango gets the win over the IC champion. Miz then kicks him in the head and counts the pinfall as his dancer "pins" him. Okay, I haven't said this about anything The Miz has done in a long time, but that was pretty funny. Overall, the match wasn't much, but it had an entertaining conclusion.
17. Meanwhile, John Cena is backstage with... A bearded Shawn Michaels. He gets a pop... Surprisingly, considering where we are... And I guess that wore off immediately, because the "You Screwed Bret" chants break out shortly after. I mean, it was only 16 years ago, so I suppose the wound is still fresh.
18. We come back to GreenwoodRosie's favorite entrance, and Great Khali is demonstrating what the phrase "lack of rhythm" means. Khali is teaming with Tons of Funk against 3MB, so I don't imagine this will be lasting very long. Oh well, Slaters Gonna Slate. Khali dominates before tagging in the Artist Formerly Known as Tensai, who hits a sweet corner move before 3MB goes on the offensive. I'm already impressed, as I wasn't expecting that to happen at all. Before long though, AFKAT punches Slater right in the fuck, tags Brodus in, and the big man hits some power moves before a vague attempt at a brawl breaks out. The match is quickly over with Brodus getting the win for his team.
19. Brodus takes the mic and announces that it's Natalya's birthday, and that the Great Khali is going to sing. Oh dear JBL... He seems to be singing directly to several feet over her head, and it's so bad, it's funny. That's a contender for the HAM, easily.
20. A fellow Canadian brings the crowd to its feet, as a healthy dose of Chris Jericho is on the way. Did that jacket get... louder?! A girl who looks strikingly similar to Lita takes a picture of him during his entrance. My girlfriend didn't realize it was a Highlight Reel segment and glanced over to ask, "Why is he wearing pants?" In no other sport would that question be a reasonable one. He introduces Paul Heyman to a laundry list of adjectives, which are rather toned down in comparison to the ones Heyman used for Curtis Axel. Special crowd HAM for the Bork Laser sign! Heyman takes credit for discovering and developing Chris Jericho, as he gave him his first big break. Jericho throws a shot back at him for owing him money, and Heyman jokes that he waived his fee. Okay, this is what happens when you give two mic geniuses the floor. That line was clearly improvised, and we need more of that.
21. The segment turns more intense as Chris Jericho mildly suggests that he refrain from speaking any more at this particular moment. Jericho then brings up Punk, and the monkeys play the clip of the last time he was on the show. I missed this, as I was on vacation. Calgary is chanting for CM Punk, and Jericho indicates that Heyman didn't know it was coming. Looks like the seeds are being planted for Heyman to turn on Punk. Heyman kisses up to Jericho, asking for the same level of respect that he's shown. Heyman gets exasperated, mocks Bret Hart to remind them that he's a heel, and Jericho resorts to responding in some ridiculous blahs.
22. Jericho wants to know where CM Punk is, and my girlfriend demands to know where her favorite asshole is. I knew I loved this girl. The HAM between the two is upped, and Jericho says hello to Punk watching at home. Jericho calls him a spoiled, petulant se-child, and tries to say that he's the best in the world before Heyman cuts him off because it gets him emotional. This is glorious. Jericho finally suggests that he comes back to prove that he's the best in the world by facing him at Payback in Chicago. YES! Three Stages of Hell AND Punk vs. Jericho? This match was of course brought about because... He went home for a month, something Jericho never does, and Heyman accuses him of pulling his "Punk" card. Oh Paul Heyman, you magnificent bastard, I read your BOOK! Heyman accepts the match and whispers something in his ear. Well after Miz licking his lips when seeing Wade Barrett, I suppose that's not as bad as it looks...
23. Hey, is anyone aware that it's Natalya's birthday? Just wondering. They should let someone know if it is. Anyway, Natalya is back out, and she's with the Diva's Champion in another thing that I won't mention. They're facing the Entitled Twins, and it's taken so seriously that it gets an in-show promo for Graceland. When was the last time Natalya had a match on television? An honorable mention crowd HAM for the sign "Jericho Invented YOU." The match goes to the outside, then back in again in order to... Shove her ass into the back of Kaitlyn's head. I'm sure the fact that it pushed her propped-up chest into the camera had nothing to do with that. Looks like Natalya's gonna get the hot tag in her hometown. Natalya gets the Sharpshooter, gets slapped out of it, but Kaitlyn spears one of the Twins out of the ring. She then gets tossed herself, and then Kaitlyn accidentally spears Natalya. Kaitlyn gets knocked out of the ring, and one of them lets loose a banshee scream that didn't sound intentional, and these two detriments to anything get the win and taunt her with singing the birthday song again. This makes her cry, and thankfully it's over.
24. Curtis Axel is backstage, and Bret Hart shows up to also advise him to get Paul Heyman away. Axel says that nobody but Heyman would give him the time of day, and that he's going to go beat the WWE champion. Meanwhile, the Least Interesting Man in the World is headed to the ring, and it looks like Rhodes Scholars are going to job to them for the 856th time, but at least that means we get a Damien Sandow appearance on the show. For the sake of giving them that entrance that I won't mention, the opposing team comes out in between the faces.
25. The faces take turn dominating their familiar foes, in between mustache references, before Sandow tags in and goes to town on Lobsterhead. That doesn't last very long, as the faces go back to the double team on Shiny Glittertrunks. Orton hits the ten punch in the corner and follows it up with a dropkick. Sandow comes back a bit and tags in Rhodes, and he hits about two moves before Orton takes control back again. Lobsterhead tags in and does the Forearm Chops of Doom center ring. Has Cody Rhodes been tanning, or is Sheamus really just that white? Sandow comes back and he's allowed to hit about three moves before the faces take control back this time. Sandow drags Sheamus off the top rope and into a commercial.
26. We come back to Rhodes in control. This'll probably last a good thirty seconds. Maybe forty, depending on the length of this resthold. JBL remarks that we've seen a very successful side of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow in the last few months... Um, where has this been? Sheamus breaks out, giving Orton time to tag in and go trademark moving. Rhodes and Sandow come back with some aggression of the ruthless nature and deliver some consistent heat to Orton. Orton finally starts to come back, and hits what I'll admit is a pretty sweet T-Bone suplex.
27. Both men are down, and Lobsterhead awaits the hot tag. He rolls over Rhodes Scholars, but eats a Disaster Kick, but Sheamus kicks out. Sandow goes for his finisher, fails, and here's a shocker... Sheamus and/or Randy Orton go over Cody Rhodes and/or Sandow... again. Good match though, but I was hoping to finally see Sandow and Rhodes get a significant win.
28. Cena is out for his match against the new main eventer, Curtis Axel. The dueling chants take a while to get coordinated, and even then, they sound apathetic at best. After a hip toss, Heyman consoles Axel while holding his wrist and... We're already at a commercial break.
29. We come back to Cena on the outside being counted out. Cena barely beats the count back in, and Axel goes back on the offensive. You know, they're talking about Heyman being the first person to ever notice the guy. At least in the other cases, they started at the bottom and worked their way up. It's hard to get behind the idea that he was the forgotten man when he debuts against Triple H and gets a match with John Cena already. Something is going on in the crowd because everyone is turned away. Axel obviously has the audience incredibly captivated. They're very intentionally not showing the hard cam while whatever is going on, and it doesn't work particularly well while in a resthold. In the background I see an "Aksel" sign. Sigh... After some kicks, Cena hits two shoulder blocks, so let's see if Axel has learned the lesson to not try for a clothesline after that... Nope. Five Knuckle Shuffle hits, but Axel breaks the F-U... Er... AA attempt with a damn fine dropkick. He comes off the top rope with an axe handle. Axel goes for it again, but fails on the second attempt and nearly loses the match out of it. Cena throws Axel against the ropes and is nice enough to hold his head down for him to kick, and Axel gets another close fall. Cena twists Axel into the STF, but Axel reverses and nearly steals one. Axel comes up empty in the corner and eats a clothesline.
30. A siren goes off, and I admit, I really thought it was Scott Steiner at first. What a twist! The ambulance races into the arena, and Cena goes up to investigate, which gets him counted out. Hm, two straight main events of RAW ending in a countout win for Curtis Axel. The doors are empty, and Ryback attacks from behind, which does make you wonder who was driving. Ryback tosses Cena up on the stage and looks to send him through the set again. It doesn't work, and Ryback shoves Cena off the stage as Curtis Axel is announced the winner. At least it's announced this time. Overall, besides certain things I won't mention and too many match commercial interruptions, this was a damn good episode of RAW, possibly the best of the year in my opinion. The show seemed focused on developing feuds and ::gasp:: actual wrestling matches! Payback is drawing some anticipation, and that's something I didn't think I'd say, even as recently as last week. Surprisingly fun night here.
DID SOMEONE ORDER A LARGE HAM?
Chris Jericho narrowly edges his HAM combatant Paul Heyman and the Great Khali.
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
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