30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 6-23-14
By Al Laiman
Jun 24, 2014 - 9:39:18 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - 6-23-14
1. Hey everyone. Before we get started, I want to encourage you to tune into HAM Radio on July 6th. Well, I want to encourage you to tune in every week we're on, but on that episode, we'll have special guest 4-time NWA Light Heavyweight World Champion "Luscious" Rocky Reynolds, and he'll be talking about his new book. We enter tonight learning that this is episode 1100 of RAW, and it starts the same way that many of them have, with Stephanie McMahon coming out to yak. We're already into our first series of recaps 30 seconds into the show. She calls Vicki out to "face the consequences" of her coffee disaster, because you know, being thrown up on wasn't humiliating enough.
2. Steph rambles off exposition and then namedrops her late husband for cheap heat. She builds up to being about to fire her, but Vicki even says she'll beg. Wow, this is embarrassing. She has to win her match... oh for fuck's sake... against Steph. Finally Vicki shows some actual fire to fight for her job, and probably gets the biggest pop of her career. Unfortunately, it doesn't say much for the show that the biggest setup so far is for a match between two non-wrestlers.
3. Michael Cole, that sportcoat is louder than your heel turn. The tag team champions have their customary awesome entrance, but we're getting a singles match out of it. And Jimmy is facing... What the... That's the most non-threatening entrance music for a competitor that's supposed to be taken seriously I've ever heard. Cole remarks that it sounds like something out of The Phantom of the Opera. Um... No. Harper opens by demonstrating his awesome dominance before a fight breaks out on the outside. This causes Jimmy to... vault into the ropes like he's about to hit a high spot, and run into the Brodie Lee Clothesline of Doom. That was quick.
4. Jey gets on the mic and challenges Rowan using the phrase "Uso Crazy." Kay. And hey, they go to the commercial at the appropriate time: In between those wrestling match thingys. I don't know, Jey seemed awfully cool with the fact that his twin brother just got annihilated in, what, two minutes? Maybe he enjoys the old nostalgia trip from their days on Superstars.
5. We come back mid-match, with Jey about to get his hope spot, and oh... He won already. I think there was more of that match in the commercial than either of the two televised. The Wyatts then go on a dominant streak and annihilate the tag team champions at ringside while Luke Harper looks legitimately creepy. That was definitely fitting two matches in the time of one, but it was a decent preview for the tag title match on Sunday.
6. Daniel Bryan will apparently be at Money in the Bank to give thoughts on being stripped of the title. We then go into a segment with Lana and Rusev, and she runs down America for being pathetic, especially mentioning that the citizens even complain about the country. Probably, given that most of what she says is just talk radio with an accent.
7. Next we have the Diva's champion, who will get on commentary and hopefully be allowed to have a personality for the first time since NXT. As the Funkadactyls come out for a confrontation with Alicia Fox, I noticed something. Naomi is smiling and having fun, while Cameron looks about as interested as Matt would be in a World Cup game.
8. Naomi faces Fox while Cameron does her best to sound like she should be taken seriously. Cole does his best to remind us of what the storyline is, because we're not aware enough to figure it out on her own, and it only feeds the fake paparazzi troll a little more. It's a shame, because with the mute button, the wrestling is pretty good. Cameron then starts yelling at Paige while plugging That Thing, and uses the word "actually" about four times in thirty seconds. Naomi ends up winning, further showing us that all this buildup for Alicia Fox that they gave us was essentially useless. Still far better than most Diva's matches though.
9. Sheamus and Reigns have a conversation backstage, and at least Reigns isn't trying to be funny this time. Sheamus is also nice enough to remind us that this isn't the first time those two have seen each other. Meanwhile, we're given a Smackdown recap of Adam Rose beating Titus O'Neil twice. That was pretty damn funny, I have to admit.
10. Titus is jobber-entranced, and he's fighting the gimmick baby of Kurt Angle and Simon Dean. The DC crowd seems to really dig Bo Dallas, which is the first time I think I've written that sentence. How Titus has managed to do absolutely nothing since the PTP split, I'm still not sure. He's got size, decent talent, and is full of charisma. JBL goes HAM sandwich while calling the finish of the match, proving that he's either just having fun or just doesn't give a shit anymore. I think I may be starting to come around on this gimmick of being a faux-inspiration.
11. Triple H then compares the careers of politicians who do terrible jobs, which is interesting because that's quite similar to what Lana said. The Money in the Bank briefcase for the traditional match is yellow this year... Interesting. Used to the Red and Blue. Triple H announces that in addition to Seth Rollins, six others will be joining him. Personally, like Tom, I was hoping for mystery opponents. Kofi is added, which was expected. Unfortunately, Biff's in there as well. Ziggler's in, and H even makes a joke about people thinking he doesn't appreciate him. RVD is in as well, which is never a bad decision for a ladder match. Triple H busts out his Barrett impression again for the reveal of the Intercontinental champion.
12. Triple H is in full-snide mode himself tonight, even pulling a pretend vote for RVD as the guaranteed winner, before he brings out Rollins. Lawler talks about how the faction that Rollins broke up could've been the greatest in history, and since we're all fucking idiots, Cole reminds us that group was The Shield. Following that nugget of wisdom, we see the replay of the Rollins turn for the 432nd time. Rollins laughs about how the crowd hasn't moved on from what happened three weeks ago. Of course we're not, Seth; we're wrestling fans, we don't even remember that far back without being reminded of it.
13. Rollins is getting in on the HAM action too with his Dean Ambrose impression. He then throws in a jab at the emerging RVD, who does a decent job coming back at him. He even drops a "dude," reminding us that he was the true inspiration for the turtle in Finding Nemo. Van Dam challenges Seth Rollins to a match, which Triple H accepts, and this could be good. Effective segment all around, now let's hope they follow up on it well.
14. Rob Van Dam shines at first, showing that he can definitely still go when motivated. I've enjoyed his last few comebacks, because unlike other veterans trying to recapture their glory, he's just happy to be there. Rollins does some kind of neckflinger spinning bulldog that looks really awesome. Rollins' confidence has never been higher, and it shows. Doesn't hurt working with a veteran of RVD's caliber and style.
15. RVD begins his comeback and manages to throw in a good bit of his trademark moves, including a modified springboard DDT. He misses the Frog Splash while Rollins does his best Edge face. All I can hear is R. Lee Ermey demanding to see his war face now. As Rollins hits the Curb Stomp, Batshit McNutcase himself makes another attack, once again heading toward Moxleyland. Ambrose takes the mic and demands to be a part of the Money in the Bank ladder match, threatening to screw up the entire PPV. I love this. Ambrose has turned it up so much since the Shield split, and honestly looks the best of any of them at the moment.
16. Recap of what we just saw, skip. Meanwhile, Rollins is backstage saying that Ambrose needs to be in the match so he doesn't get screwed over. Strangely enough, it makes sense that he'd want to know where he is, given the booking of the last few weeks.
17. We've got Bad News Barrett, and he has a mic. Calling Ziggler's victory a "miracle," and throws in a Washington NFL jab. Well done, Wade. This match now has two of the Money in the Bank competitors going at it like the last one, and it should be good as well. Ziggler tries to make some covers early in the match, and he seems more motivated than usual as well. Damn, Money in the Bank really has replaced Summerslam. I guess since we're having a traditional MiTB Ladder match, we have to traditionally remind you how traditional the traditional MiTB ladder match is, to distinguish it from the non-traditional MiTB ladder match, which isn't a MiTB ladder match because it's for the title. Did Cole mention it's a traditional MiTB ladder match?
18. Ziggler hits a Zig Zag, but can't take advantage of it, as Barrett rolls to the outside. That of course is the perfect opportunity for a commercial break. Conveniently, we come back just in time to see Ziggler make a comeback, because who needs heat? Midmatch is of course the perfect time to explain the benefits of the WWE Network as well, though it's not nearly as distracted as old episodes of Jakked where they weren't even calling the match in the ring. The match gets a "This is awesome!" chant, which is a surprise but not a disappointing one.
19. Remember when Wasteland was a feared finishing move? Or at least a finishing move? Barrett misses the Bullhammer and eats a Fameasser, and man, do you hear that crowd pop? Talk about a guy who has overcome shitty booking and remained over as hell. Ziggler gets another near fall, but holy shit, ZIGGLER JUST GOT KNOCKED RIGHT IN THE FUCK! Wow, that's the definition of that phrase if I've ever seen it! What a fantastic televised match, even with missing part of it. DC, your chant was accurate.
20. Vicki is backstage, while Sin Cara and Santino get to hang out in the background. She says she's been humiliated more than anyone in WWE history. I don't know about that, but I honestly have had more than enough of seeing her suffer so much embarrassment. Orton comes by to be Orton, returning to the monotoned Orton that we broke free of a few months ago and then promptly lost.
21. Vicki comes out to "Viva La Raza," and damn that throwback didn't get the pop that I thought it would. Lawler even does a throwback by screeching "Latino HEEEEAT!" reminding us of a time when he wasn't nearly as irritating as he is now. Another recap mid-entrance. Steph comes out and says that their match isn't taking place in the ring, but in a mudpool. I guess the embarrassment isn't over yet. Steph tells three heel Divas to "GET 'ERRRRRR!"
22. Vicki backs out of the ring and toward Steph, and she gets trapped in between. Great strategy. She almost gets tossed before she comes back to send the all three of them in there instead. She does the "YES!" chant, but unfortunately somehow forgets that Steph is standing right behind her? Psychology 101. I'm so glad we brought up the memory of Latino Heat for this. Steph then horrendously off-key sings the "Na-na" song before Vicki turns around and ends up tossing her in to another huge pop. All that brown liquid must've been leftover from what Triple H dropped on the Spirit Squad in 2006. Afterward, Steph pushes a ref in there, because it was just so darn hilarious the first five times. Coffee and vomit last week, giant pool of ominous brown liquid this week. Where's Matt's #BetterWriterThan list again?
23. We come back to, you guessed it, more recaps. Goldust gets a backstage segment with Stardust, who I assume just got done watching Tim Curry play Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Goldust refers to himself as the normal one, which is definitely a first.
24. Zeb Colter is out with Biff, and he doesn't even get a promo, instead just gets to namedrop his three-word catch phrase. As Kofi comes out to face Biff, we're unfortunately reminded of Biff's cash-in. I wonder if he'll be distracted by the brown pool. It must remind him of driving into the back of a certain truck while failing to catch Marty McFly on a makeshift skateboard.
25. It's rather difficult to take either one of these competitors seriously after the way they've been booked, but it looks like they're putting on a fairly decent match, save for a hiccup where I'm not sure if Kofi hit an offensive move or if Biff slammed him. Kofi then does a high spot and nearly lands on the back of his head. Kofi gets caught in the ankle lock, and wow, he can't even beat Biff, who is busted open somewhere. I'm surprised they didn't pan away to save us from the horrific, scarring imagery of a single streak of blood.
26. While Cole and Lawler plug the Network, some guy behind them keeps giving kids a chance to get on TV and pose behind the announcers talking. We also get a promo from the Black Hole of Charisma, before he's confronted by Cesaro and Heyman. Heyman of course responds with a promo about the number "one." Del Rio conveys an actual emotion to taunt Cesaro, and Cesaro sadly responds with one of the lamest comebacks I've ever heard. "I speak five languages, but none of them are Loser." ... Snap?
27. Damien Sandow is out dressed like Abraham Lincoln, and actually mentions Ford's Theater. Wow. Big E's music cuts him off, so yeah, Sandow is about to get crushed after doing something entertaining. Big E gets next to no reaction, and Sandow is wrestling in a top-hat, wing-collar tux shirt, a tux coat with tails, and a freaking ascot. Sandow loses in less than two minutes... Again. What the fuck did this guy do? How do you go from Money in the Bank to this in less than a year? Big E cuts a promo about Lana and Rusev's earlier moments, and does an impression of the Reverend character in Coming to America I think. That was... strange. Lana comes out and Rusev attacks from behind. What the hell was with Big E doing the HAMMY reverend thing? Why does Sandow continue to be incredibly interesting, and smashed for the effort?
28. In yet another backstage interview, John Cena gets interviewed this time to his usual mixed reaction. It transitions straight into his entrance, and he's in silly mode, while the cameraman tries to figure out how to shoot him around the ladders. They must be running out of time, because the entrances are really being rushed. It's really convenient that they were able to line up a handicap match by allying all the faces and heels together. That worked out really well.
29. There are a lot of former title reigns in this ring right now, mixed with three almost certain future champions. Everyone gets their chance to shine, and regardless of how we fear the predictable outcome of Sunday's match, this mix of talents should no doubt put on a helluvan entertaining match. It's hard to get invested in the first part, before we get the second commercial of the main event match, because there's not much of a sense of urgency. I know they need to build to it, but still...
30. Cena is the face in peril as we return, with Del Rio hitting a nice DDT for a near fall. Cesaro tags himself in, and Del Rio does not approve. Wyatt is hilariously taunting from ringside, going halfway over the ropes to do it. Cena gets caught in a Cesaro submission, but crawls across ridiculously quick. Reigns finally gets the tag and the arena EXPLODES! Reigns goes nuts hitting anything that moves, hitting two consecutive Superman punches before getting caught in a Backstabber from Del Rio. Del Rio again gets backtagged, this time by Wyatt, and Wyatt hopes that his record in Cena matches doesn't get any more disgraceful. Reigns takes offense from the villains, taking his turn as the face in peril. Reigns suddenly blasts out of the corner with the Superman punch, and another hot tag is imminent. Cesaro accidentally shoved Reigns into Lobsterhead, who doesn't get half the reaction that Reigns did. Lobsterhead gives me motion sickness with the Blair Witch Forearm Chops. Somehow screaming "Fella!" while trying to be intimidating just doesn't work. Just makes me think of that chapter in The Disaster Artist where Sestero talks about Tommy Wiseau trying to perform A Streetcar Named Desire and screaming "STELLA!" The faces win again, but suddenly Kane's pyro explodes. Kane does his imitation of his 2000 return against the Factgime by hitting everyone in sight. Triple H then comes out to survey the destruction and announce that Kane is the eighth person in the match. All right then. Reigns comes in and hits the Spear after the flame taunt to end the show. Overall, this was one of the better shows in the last few months, and served as tremendous buildup for the Pay-Per-View on Sunday. I will say though that A LOT of time was wasted with the Vicki/Steph thing, and please never let Cameron be on commentary, or anywhere she can be heard, ever again. Money in the Bank looks like it will be another great summer show, and this buildup show was damn strong almost all around.
Sandow. Would've gone with Big E otherwise, but Sandow dressed in a freaking ascot.
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
4-7-14 - THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR, HOAK HOGAN!
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
6-23-14 - Damien Sandow