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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 6-16-14
By Al Laiman
Jun 17, 2014 - 8:59:18 PM

credit Tom Jenner

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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 6-16-14

1. RAW is live from my hometown, and some interesting shit usually goes down in the Q. We have one of those images familiar to post-Summerslam 2013; The roster standing at the top of the stage while the Authority comes to the ring. Naturally it's one of those faux-positivity pep talks. Steph gets huge heat for calling Triple H the greatest of all time, and they're still hammering in the B-plus bullshit. The man is still incredibly over, which is amazing. I guess it's more "Tearing Bryan down" time. Joy. I think Steph and Triple H have started about 14 dialogue exchanges with "That's right..." It basically sets up a battle royal for another spot.

2. Not surprisingly, Triple H corrects himself by saying that certain superstars who have failed to comply with authority won't get a spot. What a shock, I'm guessing it's the Shield and Cena? Oh hey, it's the Shield and Cena. Cena however gets his chance to qualify in a stretcher against Kane. Oh no! Does this mean Cena's not gonna qualify for the Money in the Bank?! It is always darkest before the dawn! Apparently Ziggler vs. Rollins is next. If you've seen any opening segment since the Authority formed, you've seen this one.

3. But wait, Kane comes out to stare at the amber lamps. So, that's next? Maybe? Nope, the Golden Flash himself, Dolph Ziggler, is out next to lose to face Seth Rollins. Rollins' new music starts off a little lame, but it hits a heavier riff that isn't too bad. Surprise surprise, we get another recap of Rollins' turn.

4. Ziggler, not surprisingly, is getting loud chants. He does that everywhere, but us Clevelanders are loyal to a fault. It's a damn curse sometimes. These two can both go, to the point that the universal spot even gets a decent reaction. Ziggles then goes straight into the turnbuckle, which looked devastating from his selling, and we're into a commercial break.

5. I hear a familiar chant in the crowd that makes me think of home, and it involves barking. They're either applying it to Ziggler, or doing it because it's Cleveland, but either way I don't care. It makes me think of home. Ziggler and Rollins trade close falls, and really turn it up. Ziggler nearly wins with a modified, hesitating Canadian Destroyer-like move. These two trading false finishes is a great way to start out RAW. Ziggles gets another one after the Fame-asser, and the reaction would've had you believing that we were at a major Pay-Per-View. Thanks for turning out tonight, Cleveland. Rollins counters a second DDT attempt into his ropes powerbomb, which likely spells the end for our hero. A second powerbomb and a Curb Stomp has Ziggler down for the count, but a huge ovation goes up as a batshit-looking Dean Ambrose crashes the party. Fantastic opening match with a continued-storyline ending.

6. Rollins is bleeding from the lip, so that attack is sold brilliantly. Ambrose lays down a punk card for Rollins, but before that happens, Triple H has to get himself back on the show via Titan Tron. He pulls out a decent Wade Barrett impression, which will indicate that this match is coming up next. So I'm guessing Rollins is keeping his gear, and Ambrose is changing his? Who cares? Ambrose is on fire right now, and this one could be good.

7. We come back mid-match while they plug That Thing sickeningly before two seconds later they plug Twitter. And here I thought the commercials ended when the match came back. I do however like that they're selling the hell out of Ambrose's psychosis. I love that the four referees sitting in the front of the lower level are sitting there like they're bored out of their minds. Ambrose and Barrett could be a worthwhile feud if they put the time into it. Their styles mesh well, and I think the promo potential between the two would be positively HAM-worthy. Holy shit, Ambrose just got clocked off the turnbuckle, and it did not look pretty! On the replay it was landed perfect, kudos to Ambrose for making that look devastating. And... we get the second commercial break of the match, joy.

8. I wonder if Ambrose realized he's in street fight gear. Ambrose finally starts to come back with a tornado DDT from the top while selling the shoulder. Lawler is more angry than usual about the "best for business" cliche, while JBL just keeps trolling him. I just saw a "KAF 4 Life" sign. Holy shit, those are my people! Rollins comes back to screw with Ambrose, but it really backfires. Ambrose ends up taking both of them out, and then hitting his finisher on Barrett afterward. Ambrose really is going nuts, and I love it.

9. Backstage, Vicki is confronted by a flirtatious Roman Reigns, who asks her to stand for something. During this cheap Starbucks plug, Reigns does something to their coffee after he distracts Vicki. That was... Relatively uncharacteristic of Reigns, but it's good to see both Ambrose and Reigns having individual personalities.

10. The Wyatt stinger appears, and instead of "we're here!" We get "Cleveland, we're next." Let Goldberg know, he'll be thrilled. At least we get the full entrance after the break, and damn, the full arena of cell phone lights is so cool. Looks like they made good attendance tonight as well. Sure beats the shit out of those annoying laser pointers from the late 90s that were everywhere during those clips.

11. Wyatt cuts a slam poetry promo about power with his evil little giggle, and the crowd forgets that they were cheering for him during their entrance. It's your typical Wyatt promo, but that by no means is a bad thing. It relates to how the titles they intend to win will buy power and influence, though they seem to be already doing all right for themselves. Wyatt sings along with the crowd to the song he's been using for the last few months before...


13. Wyatt and Sheamus's match starts off... Rather awkward. There's one point where Wyatt tries to avoid an attack by a half-Spinaroonie, I think? This match keeps going relatively slow and somewhat awkward, which is not what I was expecting from these two. Then, like every match Wyatt had against Cena, the Usos come out to even the odds to take us into commercial.

14. We come back and I'm pretty sure a loud "CM Punk" chant and Cole plugging the "exclusive" That Thing content. Sheamus starts to hulk up. You can tell because his eyes get wider. Now it must be time for Sheamus Trademark Move Theater! After the Motion Sickness forearm chops, Bray counters and nearly pulls Lobsterhead's tights off. That doesn't last long, because Sheamus still has more trademark moves to hit. However, the Family pulls Sheamus out of the ring, leading to the third straight DQ finish. The faces overcome, and decide to do their best Shelton Benjamin impressions by running up a held ladder for a high spot. For good measure, he Sabu's the hell out of them.

15. Backstage, we get the Authority being douchebags to Vicki because... reasons. But I have a feeling some shenanigans are in order! After the commercial break, Steph gets more time talking on the mic, and she's having a harder time focusing. Uh oh, I don't think there's gonna be a pleasant result from this! Meanwhile, Paul Heyman comes by to HAM it up as per usual. His new catchphrase seems to be, "It's not just a prediction, it's a spoiler." I like it.

16. Heath Slater is out for an unpleasant result, as he's facing Rusev. So Drew and Jinder get canned, and he fights heels now? Lana decides to wait until she gets to the ring and has Rusev with her to do her schpiel. We get our weekly dose of Putin, or as someone else once called him, "Pootie-Poot." She talks about monuments crumbling and society falling, which is either a vague threat designed to get cheap heat, or the latest WWE Studios movie: "The Marine 7: Electric Bugaloo."

17. Heath Slater then takes the mic to Merica-shame Rusev while quoting what I'm sure are Toby Keith lyrics. It's confirmed though, your stablemates getting released means sudden, unexplained face turn. Unfortunately for him, it lasts about as long as 3MB's push, and Cole calls the match before Rusev even locks in the move. Rusev then goes into an extended, incredibly HAMmy celebration. I think he's not realizing that everyone, even El Torito has beaten Heath Slater.

18. Vicki Guerrero continues to get degraded as apparently they decided to projectile vomit on her twice on television. Thanks, I really needed to see that. This leads to Vicki getting put in charge, and letting loose a scream that was quite appropriate for what happened. That dastardly Roman Reigns!

19. Sighting of the Jake! Go Tribe! I already know they won last night, but I still mark out when I see it on TV. Roman Reigns continues to goad Vicki into making a good decision while she still is covered in vomit. She puts him in by yelling like General Zod in the original Superman. Now where's the Phantom Zone spinning glass thing to take the image of Vicki Guerrero covered in vomit to Eternal Sunshine that shit out of my memory?

20. Kevin Hart comes by for his in-show commercial for his new movie that I won't be seeing. His stand-up is decent, but I haven't seen a movie he's starred in that remotely convinced me to see it. Meanwhile, the Rosebuds come by singing their theme song, and I think he encourages Hart to join the Exotic Express. Hart says no. Okay then.

21. Kevin Hart comes out by himself, so I guess he didn't get convinced in the meantime. Kevin Hart goes on commentary, and I suppose he's not impressed by Fandango's pants. So I guess this is Catchy Theme Song with British valet vs. Guy with a Catchy Theme Song, Frank the Bunny, and Summer Rae. God I love this character and the theme song, and I don't care who knows it. The crowd continues singing that freaking catchy song while Kevin Hart continues to wonder where the hell he is.

22. Listening to the commentary team explain the exposition to Kevin Hart is like breaking down the sport itself and explaining it on a base level. Kinda like we did on HAM Radio this week. See, I can do cheap plugs too! So Summer Rae chases Layla out of the ring, and Adam Rose wins. Suddenly Kevin Hart is really excited about being a Rosebud, despite turning it down five minutes ago. Because... I don't know. Face reasons.

23. Do you think Reigns has a chance in this battle royal? I mean he's going up against such heavy competition like Xavier Woods and Los Genericos. Sandow is wearing a LeBron jersey, which will of course endear him to the Cleveland faithful. Reigns walking out to that pop by himself is pretty badass, I have to say. I'm quite surprised he's not concerned with the goings-on of Rollins. I mean, he did get hit with that chair too.

24. Sandow gets gang-attacked immediately and thrown out, getting a huge pop for it too. Man how that guy has fallen in a year. Rusev kicks one of Los Genericos right in the fuck to eliminate them, and it's pretty much what all battle royals are... Chaos, small moves, undercarders getting eliminated first. Kofi eliminates Biff with an awesome counter before they plug That Thing again as we go into commercial.

25. Bo Dallas continues getting a shine while Reigns begins to realize that he's surrounded by mostly heels. No wait, RVD's still in there, so that almost helps. Reigns ends up doing some kind of flip leg kick thing that sends Goofus on a complete flip. That was... interesting. Also, Fandango lost in about eight seconds, but lasted this long in the battle royal? Reigns double-spears Rybaxel, Superman punches Fandango out, and the eliminations are coming fast now. Rusev is getting a big rub here by constantly getting the better of Reigns. Bo Dallas helps Barrett eliminate RVD while JBL sarcastically remarks about Bo Dallas being an inspiration. The crowd pops for Barrett as he clocks him for his trouble. It comes down to Rusev and Reigns, and the crowd goes crazy for the confrontation of these two. Rusev dominates at first, but Reigns comes back relatively easy. Yeah, we all knew who was gonna win, but it was still pretty awesome.

26. Cena is in silly mode, unfortunately. That means he's likely going to win, get the eighth spot, and his rise back to the title in panic mode will commence. Cena cuts a promo about his hand, but subverts the expected trope because he's a PG icon, and instead reveals his pointer finger. Whoa-hoah, Cena, you almost did a naughty thing there!

27. The Funkadactyls come out, and... Dear JBL, we're gonna have to watch a Cameron match? Where's her fake paparazzi? They're nice enough to find one girl by herself giving her opponent Paige a standing ovation. I feel so bad for Paige, because they've kept her as bland as possible since her improbable debut. Cameron is not impressed, so I guess she's gonna be the heel? She slapped Paige across the face earlier? I must've missed that. Maybe I heard that Cameron was coming and had bad flashbacks to covering Total Divas. So, do people just show up and have a weekly face/heel disposition for the day? Is a split coming? Am I supposed to give any amount of a shit for anything that involves the absolute least-deserving person from Tough Enough in any season and yet somehow is the only one that is on the main roster? We couldn't have Matt Cross, but we have Cameron. Life is stupid sometimes. Cameron ends up tapping out to Paige's submission move, so thankfully the Cameron title reign is not yet imminent.

28. Goldust gets a backstage spot before his next match where he uses the word "super-galactic." Damn, the Cylons already got to him, his tag team partner is going to be Six, son of a bitch. His partner is actually, Stardust... Which is what Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells us we all are, or one half of a David Bowie song, take your pick. They already have a hashtag prepared for him, so it's a good thing this was such a surprise to the commentary team as well. Oh JBL, this is gloriously HAMtastic. Four people are actually chanting for Goofus? This is amazing, I love it. I don't think anything will top that tonight.

29. I'll give them credit, the recaps haven't been as obnoxious tonight. Let's count how many times they use the word "incapacitate." I wonder if they'll give us a hashtag to use before every segment now. If you want to talk about Roman Reigns and Vicki Guerrero backstage, use the hashtag #2Stars1Cup. Okay, the dude holding up the #60 jersey every eight seconds, we've seen it already. Whoever you're trying to get seen by on TV, if they haven't seen it yet, they're not going to. Nothing really happens before the match goes into commercial.

30. We come back to Kane taking out Cena with a chair. Maybe he was incapacitatingly trying to incapacitate the subject of his desired incapacitation by trying to incapacitate the incapacitator before he could incapacitate him. Incapacitate. Cena then starts making his comeback by drop-toe-holding Kane into headbutting the steps. Dear JBL, I think Kane's head bounced into the steps! Did you get that? Is Michael Cole just on redundancy mode tonight?! I think his head might've bounced on the steps! Then, in an ironic twist, Kane hits a DDT on the steps, so CENA'S HEAD bounced on the steps! Most unorthodox! Then Kane strips the announce table, but whuh-oh, Cena reverses it and KANE GOES THROUGH THE TABLE! KANE GOES THROUGH THE TABLE! DID COLE MENTION THAT KANE GOES THROUGH THE TABLE! This is almost as annoying as when he'd repeat himself in his 2009 heel run. Cena carries Kane to the stretcher, but he falls off rather quickly. The second time stars to work, but Seth Rollins and Randy Orton hit the ring, because it's interference night in Cleveland. Ambrose hits the ring and manages to clear off Rollins and Orton, but Kane comes back for the chokeslam. Is Cena gonna overcome these odds too? Cena Sabu's Kane with the steel steps like he did with Wyatt at Payback. Kane comes back with an attempted chokeslam, but Cena nicely sets Kane down on the stretcher, which should've had the impact of lightly landing on a mattress, and that is enough to take out the "Demon." Wow, Cena won, who saw that coming? Overall, the first half of this show rocked. The second half saw the battle royal, which was fun if not predictable, but also involved a Cameron match and a main event match that was mediocre at best. So it was a mixed bag, essentially, but it was a lot better than the last few weeks I covered. I didn't want to go to sleep throughout the show.

Stardust, hands down.

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
6-2-14 - The Usos
6-9-14 - Damien Sandow
6-16-14 - Stardust

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