30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 6-24-13
By Al Laiman
Jun 25, 2013 - 12:49:56 AM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 6-24-13
Before we get started tonight, I have an announcement to make. I am currently working on my first feature-length film. Relevant news to most of you, the female lead will be played by none other than Miss Jackie. Also so far signed for the movie are the very talented Trinity and Jenny, as well as HAM Radio Weekly's Matt.
So there's a dose of Jackie, with two bonus doses. Anyway, you might be asking why I'm talking about this here. Well, I will need a small film budget for this project, and I've initiated a Kickstarter to help. Some of you have already been generous and pledged some for this (Thank you, Robert Daniels), so now I'm asking anyone who has supported my work to help me take the next step. It's a miniscule budget as far as films go, but I really believe in this, the cast, and the idea. I've already raised 9 percent, so I've got a ways to go, but you can help!
Thank you to anyone who can help, even if it's a five dollar contribution, it's greatly appreciated. Now let's get to tonight's edition of Monday Night RAW. With four straight successive good Monday nights, I'm eager to see what they have in store.
1. We're in Charleston, the basis of every Nicholas Sparks book ever written, and we start off with Daniel Bryan. What, not John Cena, Triple H, or a McMahon? Already a great decision! Bryan takes the mic and finally gets a moment to take in one of the consistently-amazing reactions he gets. He addresses the complex people say that he has, and shows off that developed sense of humor, assuring everyone that he was not an extra in The Hobbit. Fighting back against that statement brings more support to his character, and taking the time to address it like this is a good idea. Randy Orton's music cuts off his "YES!" chants, and a huge batch of body oil accompanied by Randy Orton comes out and grabs the mic out of Daniel Bryan's hand.
2. Orton uses his lack of personality to tell Bryan to shut up and fight, and Bryan jumps all over it. A "Ran-dy" chant breaks out at first, for some reason. Orton tosses Bryan out of the ring and doesn't even stop as he powers through to gain the advantage. It spills into the announcer's desk as the ref tries to separate them... for some reason... and it's unsuccessful. The ref rings the bell, and they continue to beat the hell out of each other. You don't often see two faces fight like this, and it's pretty damn awesome. It looks like the pay-off for this is going to be at Money in the Bank, with the rumored title shot going to Mark Henry as of last week. They're building this feud really well, and it could be a really good chance to elevate Bryan to the next level, finally.
3. Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero are backstage, and Bryan demands a rematch immediately. Unlike the All-American Rejects, Maddox says that it does not end tonight. Bryan demands either a rematch with Orton or one with Maddox, and Vickie trolls him before giving Bryan the rematch. Vince McMahon then comes in to talk shit on Bryan, because we can't let him get a shine too long without a McMahon shitting on it, and I can't even hear his muttering.
4. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! I WROTE YOU EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR, HOAK HOGAN! 365 LETTERS GONE UNRETURNED AS I HEADED OFF TO DEFEND THE COUNTRY AGAINST THE SAND JAWA TERRAIN OF TESTAMENT NAZIS. I COME HOME TO FIND YOU COZIED UP WITH SOME GHOST ON THE SHORE OF NORTH CAROLINA INSTEAD OF COMING TO WRESTLEMANIA LIKE I IMPLORED YOU TO DO, AND THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! SOME CRAZY DRUNK IS GONNA SHOW UP AND DESTROY MY DESCRUCITY SAFE HAVEN BEFORE YOU HAVE THE FORTITUDE TO ACCEPT MY REMATCH CHALLENGE, HOAK HOGAN! IF ONLY I KNEW SIMPLE EXCLAMATIONS COULD ACHIEVE THIS PROCESS!
5. Rhodes Scholars get the jobber entrance before Sheamus comes out, and he'll be teaming with Christian, so... At least they got a new tag team partner for Sheamus to go over Rhodes Scholars with. Not sure when they became allies, but whatever. Christian comes in with a big shine, but gets his formerly-injured shoulder sent into the ring steps. Rhodes stays on the attack as the crowd attempts to take them seriously. Sandow tags in and despite having a record of 2-1153 in the last year, looks as aggressive as ever. Michael Cole is still nice enough to give us both translations of Sandow's elbow, as Christian continues playing the face in peril. Rhodes shows a little Hardcore Holly influence with a few of his moves, but Christian finally cuts it off, giving Sheamus a chance to tag in and go to Trademark Land. Sheamus hits the Blair Witch chops of doom, which thankfully for those with motion sickness is only on for half of the ten, and Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick and pins Cody Rhodes... Big fucking surprise. Sheamus goes over Rhodes and Sandow... again. Apparently the only way these two can beat this guy is to go two-on-one and be sneaky bastards about it. But don't worry, I'm sure the street fight on Smackdown will be different. It was at least a decent-enough match, but with an ending that predictable, it's hard to get into it. When you have two guys lose to one guy on such a consistent basis, it really does no good for anybody.
6. CM Punk is backstage, and Vickie interrupts his Dre headphones plug to inform him that he'll be in a match tonight. Punk is seriously not impressed, and yells Vickie's catch phrase back in her face. This transitions into a double Diva jobber entrance with Kaitlyn and... Aksana? She's been around since the Goldust angle? Oh, I guess on Smackdown, she called Kaitlyn trash, which is how most legendary feuds start. A few seconds into the match, Kaitlyn's own music hits? AJ comes out in her best Giant Gonzalez impression for the distraction, but like most of her interference attempts on Dolph's behalf, it fails. Kaitlyn comes back to win with the spear.
7. AJ gets on the mic and goes Sheila Keefe on Kaitlyn again by going first-person. To add salt to the wound, Big E comes out and re-enacts the Secret Admirer reveal. Big E summons his best Charles Dance-style HAM. Kaitlyn is frantically trying to get up to the stage, but Layla keeps holding her back. Big E carries her off the stage. Another brilliant piece of promo work from AJ Lee with some excellent porcine added by Arsenio Langston. It's a shame a lot of feuds don't get this chance to develop like this, because it's some damn good heel psychology and does make you sympathize with the face, which means they're both doing their job well.
8. We get the Mark Henry recap, in case you missed the opening of RAW too, so I'm just gonna skip that because I saw it the first time. Chris Jericho ends the little one-week nostalgia trip, and they mention Jericho being on that thing, because JBL forbid we build matches around the televised product. Now it's already another commercial. So, that segment of television was devoted to recapping something we've already seen, and part of an entrance. Great use of maximizing the TV product right there.
9. Ricardo comes out next and does a hokey Gomer accent. (Get it, they're in the South!) Despite being insulted and Del Rio being a heel, the crowd still sings along with it because... Why the fuck not? Singing names is fun! Del Rio and Kennedy could headline WrestleMania with a name-off and then get into a Black Hole of Charisma duel to the snore. It's nice being able to tune out that stupid ticker, and Jericho smacks Del Rio around the ring while trying not to blind anyone with his trunks. Del Rio switches it up and goes on the aggressive offensive for a few seconds, but receives a kick to the face for his trouble. There's somebody in the crowd with chain mail on, presumably because they too thought Ryback's ambulance entrance was really the return of Scott Steiner, and now that I see it, a lot of old WCW favorites are there at ringside. Del Rio sends Jericho into the barrier as we go into a mid-match commercial.
10. We come back to Jericho trying to get a quick win, but gets a near-fall. Jericho hits a sweet enziguiri for another close fall, and they talk about all the abuse he took from Del Rio. You know what might be better than talking about that? Actually showing it, but what the hell do I know? While it looks like Jericho could keep his momentum going, Del Rio kicks Jericho off the top rope, and the ref begins the count. That was an awesome move and looked devastating. Jericho just makes it back in, but ADR stays aggressive. Jericho starts to come back, but gets cut off again. ADR hits what looks like a reverse Ghetto Stomp for a near-fall, and Ricardo again denies to a fan at ringside that he's doing a horrible Mexican Dr. Who cosplay. They continue to mention That Thing, cause JBL forbid they call the match, and ADR sends Jericho into the turnbuckle, and puts him up top. Jericho fights him off, coming off the top rope for a huge cross body and another close fall.
11. Jericho hits a Northern Lights suplex out of nowhere and almost gets the win. He sends a charging ADR into the ring-post and goes for the Codebreaker. ADR catches him mid-air, which was impressive, but then Jericho tries for the Walls and fails. ADR follows up with a kick to the face, and Jericho kicks out again. I'm definitely no fan of ADR's gimmick or personality, but these two are putting on a tremendous match. ADR tries for the cross arm-breaker, but Jericho comes back with the bulldog. He tries for the Lionsault, but eats a pair of knees instead, and Del Rio locks in the cross armbreaker. Jericho makes the ropes, uses them to kicks himself over, and once again goes for the Walls, this time successfully. Ricardo breaks it up, ruining a great match, and Jericho sells a freaking bucket like a kendo stick. Ziggles immediately hits the ring and gets in a few shots at Del Rio while Jericho hits a Codebreaker. Jericho stares down the newly-bearded Ziggler and starts to walk away, but Ziggler hits the Zig Zag as payback for the shot on Smackdown. Another face-on-face feud in the works here? Overall though, the only bad thing about this segment was watching Jericho sell a tin bucket like he's Dolph Ziggler selling... anything.
12. Vickie and Maddox are backstage, because there hasn't been enough Vickie yet, and now it's Triple H's turn to have an awkward segment with Vickie. H addresses the threat of cancelling the match, and now it's Triple H to give her different advice. H invokes the WWE Universe clause, saying that's what they want to see, and challenges her to over-deliver. H says the choice of what kind of match it should be should be up to the WWE Universe... Why does this sound familiar? Let the McMahon dick-measuring continue.
13. After a really terrible AJ WWEShop commercial, which was preceded by that Sheamus commercial, Lawler is in the ring with Vickie and Brad Maddox. Oh joy, they haven't had enough TV time yet. Lawler announces a contest to design the cover for the video game, kay... Vickie cuts him off, but not, but then again... They again announce that there'll be three stipulations to choose from while the crowd continues giving Vickie heat anytime she speaks. She continues to say that she designed her own cover for the video game. It has the McMahons and Triple H on it, but Maddox interrupts to say that he has his own cover. This is freaking painful. Maddox shows one with Cena, Punk, and Maddox in the middle. Lawler counters by saying it's time for the real cover. Lawler asks for a drum-roll to reveal... The Rock on the cover. A picture of the guy alone gets a huge pop, and it proves that wrestling three matches in a year can get you on the cover of a wrestling video game. Fortunately, I don't even play video games, so it hardly matters to me anyway. That segment was just awful. Did we really need to take up an entire block of television for that? All the wrestlers on that roster, and we needed to see those three struggle to stutter through what should've been just a video game cover reveal?
14. Ryback and his struggle to return to relevancy, aided by his invisible pyro, are up next. We get more still images from Payback, because that was after all the only match on the entire card. Coming out as his opponent... The Great Khali. Oh, Lords of Kobol, what the hell have we done to deserve this frakking mess? Lawler says that everything Great Khali does hurts his opponent. What a coincidence, because everything Great Khali does hurts everyone who watches it, albeit not for the same reason. We get reminded that Khali is a former world champion, which is good because I think we all blocked that out of our memories a long time ago, and Khali gets a surprising amount of offense in here. Ryback counters out of a choke, and immediately lifts him up for the Shellshock, because suddenly the huge Khali who dominated that entire match is just chillin' on his shoulders. That's some great psychology right there. A counter-offer though, if I may... An RKO or a Stunner is a move you can hit out of nowhere because the impact is immediate. Lifting someone up for a good ten seconds in a fireman's carry before a drop like that just looked stupid. If you just read this in the results, yes it was everything you expected. I didn't expect Khali to pull out a 630 for a one-count, but Ryback totally botched the Sin Cara-like headscissors. Serves him right for stealing a move from someone notorious for botching.
15. John Cena is finally out to respond to Mark Henry's awesome segment last week, and they show a picture of the entire roster from the newest WWE Magazine. That roster is massive; it's a shame we only see about a quarter of it on a regular basis. Cena makes it a point to point out that everyone knows who he is and what the belt is, and then explains exactly what they are. Thanks for that. Cena goes on a history lesson of what the belt is, transitioning into an explanation of doing crazy things to get ahold of it. It's barely getting any response whatsoever, and that's pretty sad. He finally remarks on how low a man must sink to get to it... Nevermind the fact that they chanted his name for it. Are you listening, WWE Brass? He's getting almost no response in a non-Smark dominated city. Do you not think this is a problem? Cena makes a great point about disgracing those who've had to give that speech for real, and has to mention other names just to get a response, and claims that Henry mocked all of them. Yes, he did, and that's why it worked.
16. He adds that Henry will not have a legacy unless he holds on to that title. Well that's a bold statement I think several Hall-of-Famers would disagree with. Cena then introduces himself... for the benefit of those just tuning in right now for the first time, I guess. Cena implies that Henry didn't know it was the middle of Whoop-Ass season... Which I guess nobody else did either, but Cena used a swear word so you know he's edgy. Honestly overall, it wasn't that bad, but if there's any indicator that Cena needs something to freshen up, it's the fact that he was addressing someone who FAKED A RETIREMENT SPEECH TO JACK HIM UP, and nobody gave a shit.
17. After the RVD vignette, a fan has an RVD sign that looks like he just drew it two seconds ago with a pen. Next for the triple threat tag team number one contenders match, a lucky fan gets to join Tons of Funk for their entrance. I have to admit, that must be an awesome experience. Good for him, despite moving in opposite motion to the other people dancing, who gives a shit? We'd all look awkward being in front of thousands of people like that on the spot.
18. After the commercial, the Uso's make their entrance. Remember how they were suddenly getting a push? Well, they won one match on TV a few weeks ago, so yeah... It's continuing. More mention of That Thing, which seriously, fuck you. With two guys who haven't had the TV time to get themselves noticed, that would've been a great use of it to do so, as opposed to some of the other bullshit we've seen tonight. 3MB is in this match, because well, losing 2134 matches in a row should naturally earn you a number one contenders match. A bunch of chaos takes place on the outside, with Brodus diving to the outside. The Artist Formerly Known as Tensai gets a close fall, but soon falls prey to a Uso double team to get the win.
19. Just as quickly, The Shield's music hits, and you can definitely feel the tension there. On one side, three guys who have dominated world champions for months running and lost once. On the other, a little-known tag team that beat the Prime Time Players a few weeks ago and took out some of the biggest tag teams in the business to get that shot. 3MB and Tons of Funk? Hell, the Bulldogs and the New Age Outlaws ain't got nothin' on that!
20. Now it's time for some Paul Heyman, and we get a recap of the Lesnar attack from last week. Heyman admits that he's ignored Punk's attempts at contacts because he wants to air his grievances in public, as most people with that much of a personal vendetta do. I'll also add that I'm glad Punk didn't change his theme. Living Colour still kicks ass. Punk decides to be exposition fairy to catch us all up on everything. Punk talks about getting sent to OVW by Johnny Ace. He explains how Heyman received a lot of emails about how Punk wasn't what they looked for, and should never consider bringing him to TV. However, Heyman refused to fire him and had his back. That brings us to ECW, and is then sure to not bore anyone with the dirty laundry. Skip to the present, and he makes it known that he's coming for Brock.
21. That brings us to asking Heyman if he "sic"ed Lesnar on him for severing their managerial relationship. Punk demands that he be the exception to the rule of Heyman's lies, and Punk gets that fire that he can summon when he's on his best. Heyman decides that Punk can in fact handle the truth, while using that word about five times in one sentence. Heyman swears on his children that he didn't know Lesnar was going to be there, and turns it around on him by saying that all the management would have the same response to Heyman calling for Punk to be the next big thing.
22. Heyman insists that Punk picked a fight with Lesnar himself. Heyman responds with some great promo work of his own, talking about the professional jealousy between the two. This is amazing stuff right here. It comes around to Heyman declaring his love for Punk... pause. Heyman claims that he'll never represent anyone against CM Punk and is truly a master manipulator in the process. Heyman puts Punk's fate in his hands, and leaves it open to soak in the moment. A few moments of silence here really allows the crowd to let their voice be heard, and Punk's facial expressions really sell the emotions of the moment. Punk then claims that he's sorry he doubted Heyman, and that gets him some serious heat. Cole interrupts the conclusion of that segment to announce that in a poll we didn't even know about, 77 percent of fans thought otherwise. Thanks for that. That, however, was a brilliant piece of promo work on both accounts, and I'm now really intrigued to see where this is going. That, my friends, is how you tell a story.
23. The Prime Time Players are out after that segment, and Punk's old NXT protege Darren Young will be his opponent. Ol' Pancake is at ringside, unfortunately not on commentary, and it looks like Darren Young will be playing enhancement talent this evening. The crowd is rather dead for it, because I'm pretty sure they don't know if Punk has turned back heel or not. It's good though; they're saving that inevitable GTS for a long, sweet, slow-burn buildup, which is Wrestling 101. Young gets in a fair amount of offense on his former apathetic Pro, and they speculate that Punk is out of sorts. Despite the dead crowd, Punk is pulling a fairly decent match out of Darren Young, and gets a near-fall after the running knee-bulldog combo.
24. Punk tries to go up top, but Young counters and nearly sends him off the ring. Punk comes back with a springboard clothesline, unfortunately not accompanied by an "I'm FLYING!" and the crowd continues to "WOO!" despite Ric Flair nor the Figure Four being anywhere near this segment. Darren Young comes back around and hits his finisher! Punk just barely kicked out! Wow, that would've been a huge upset! Punk however comes back and barely locks in the Vice before Young taps. The Prime Time Players double team Punk, but then... Curtis Axel makes the save, apparently showing Heyman solidarity. Speaking of former NXTers, there's not-McGillicutty. Heyman insists that they'll talk about it later, and the mystery is left open to continue. Interesting addition to this storyline, I love it.
25. Vickie is backstage, and gee, I wonder if Stephanie is going to be involved here... Wow, what a shock. Steph mentions that she hasn't announced the participants in the Money in the Bank match yet, before saying that she'll do it herself. After the commercial, the Bellas are ringside for another cheap plug of the WWE Magazine. They're faces now, I guess. Cole pretends to be excited about that Total Divas show until Stephanie's music hits. She recaps what Money in the Bank is before introducing the participants in the WWE Championship ladder match. Punk is announced first, followed by Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Randy Orton (more chance of rivalry payoff there), Christian, Kane, and Rob Van Dam. Interesting choices, although if I may make a particular note... They're all faces. That's different, I suppose. Meanwhile backstage, Ryback visits more appearances from Maddox and Vickie, because he pinned Cena and Khali easily. Now coming in is Jericho, recapping the night he had and saying he deserves to be in the Money in the Bank match. Jericho is finally the one to make the cannibal joke about Ryback's strange interest in eating people. Vickie yells her catch phrase for the 842nd time tonight, and announces that Ryback vs. Jericho is added to the card. I suppose Jericho could've just spilled coffee on him, but that would just be the silly way to start a feud.
26. Paul Heyman is backstage with CM Punk, explaining that he was just protecting his best friend. Curtis Axel gets another sarcastic remark in a segment, although this time not from Vince McMahon. Heyman explains that he went to Vickie's office, thankfully this one not being on television, and says that he got the PTP vs. Axel and Punk booked, much to Punk's dismay. Punk then goes on to say he'll win the all-face ladder match, and Heyman looks on like a creeper afterward.
27. Now it's time for Mark Henry's explanation of his actions last week, and makes fun of everyone for the support they gave him last week. I guess he missed the fact that they were still doing that after he planted Cena. Henry brags some more about working the entire crowd and claims to have been nominated for an Academy Award. Riiiiiight. Henry then name-drops a few people to be recognized, but doesn't want that. Right, because that's the rational decision. Charleston brings back the "WHAT?!" chants, which I mistakenly thought were dead and gone finally, but nope, we have to keep that repulsive chant alive. Henry does some funny imitations of people in his life long before this, and goes on Jericho's former list of adjectives for Stephanie McMahon to describe himself showing up for the title match. Strong work from Mark Henry, continuing on his late-career surge of good work. By the way, that new movie Pacific Rim should just be called Testosterone CGI Mindless Smashy Things.
28. The next Bryan/Orton match is announced as a Street Fight, as opposed to a Falls Count Anywhere match. I guess the difference is in a Street Fight, you're supposed to wear jeans, although Bryan defies convention and does not. Orton doesn't either, so it's a street fight without a street or the designated street fight jeans. The brawl picks up right where it left off before Orton throws Bryan back in the ring, only to get kicked to the floor. Bryan starts to go for his dive to the outside, and charges right into a chair. OH NOEZ! Head chairshot, that's a fine! Hide the children, I don't think we'll make it through the rapture! Sick-looking move, though, although it sends us into another mid-match commercial.
29. Domino's must spend a helluva lot on advertising space. Orton is still on the offensive, and drops Bryan right on the ropes. He grabs a table, and Lawler mentions that every time he's messed with that table, it's cost him. If only we'd been so lucky to actually see this match psychology take place. Bryan comes back with his high energy offensive attack, and starts his corner YES! kicks, but Orton counters with a Sabu-style chair toss. A freeze frame of Bryan almost makes him look like a lion, almost enough to be a Lannister. Just watch out for "Rains of Castamere" if AJ ever gets married on TV again. Bryan repeatedly tries to kick Orton off the apron onto a table. After it fails, Bryan slides through his legs and powerbombs him through the table, and Cole takes that chance to recap the entire match and setting. Thanks for that, I do often forget what I'm watching from time to time. Like most fights on the street, the ending does have to take place inside the ring, so Bryan gets him back inside for a near-fall. Bryan then goes outside and brings in a kendo stick. He proceeds to do a kick-kendo combo attack, and somehow Orton counters out of it and vaguely suplexes Bryan in the general direction of that corner table.
30. A Boo-YES! exchange takes place, concluding with an Orton dropkick. Excellent main event taking place right here. JBL remarks that it's a matter of pride, because I guess most matches aren't. Bryan comes off the top rope and Orton counters with a devastating powerbomb that somehow doesn't end the match. Almost thought it'd be the mid-air RKO counter there, but the match continues. Bryan comes back and tries to get in the NO! Lock, and does successfully. Orton reaches for what looks like the ropes, but turns out to be the kendo stick. Bryan somehow doesn't see that coming right in front of his face, and it breaks up the submission attempt. Orton keeps hitting him repeatedly, although Steve Blackman is not impressed with his technique. Orton follows it up with the ropes DDT. Orton goes for the RKO, but Bryan counters and nearly steals the match. Bryan's turn with the kendo stick, and it leads to Orton being trapped in the NO! Lock again. Orton again grabs the kendo stick, but this time it backfires! Bryan uses the kendo stick for leverage on the submission, and wins the match! Great main event, and Bryan celebrates accordingly. Orton stalks Bryan slowly, and they come face-to-neck. Orton shakes Bryan's hand and leaves the ring, allowing Bryan to celebrate his huge victory appropriately with YES! chants. Bryan needed that win in the spotlight and finally got it. Perhaps a Money in the Bank win is on its way. Overall, a good, not great episode. The difference being what was good was really good, i.e. Jericho/Del Rio, Orton/Bryan, Punk/Heyman, Henry, AJ... And what was bad was really bad... i.e. the cover reveal, Ryback/Khali, far too copious amounts of Vickie, the continuing awkward McMahon segments. Though we've likely been spoiled with great television for the last month, this was far from bad.
I know someone on Twitter wanted the "Cena Has Clap" signholding fans to win it, but I gotta give it to Big E's clear example of overacting tonight. Brian Blessed and William Shattner would be proud.
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
6-3-13 - Damien Sandow
6-17-13 - Mark Henry
6-24-13 - Big E. Langston
IN CASE YOU MISSED EPISODE #112