30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 6-30-14
By Al Laiman
Jul 1, 2014 - 9:36:06 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - 6-30-14
1. Well, after a great first half of a show at Money in the Bank, I've been built up that this is the best RAW in a long time. I'm hoping so, after the predictable disappointment on Sunday night that we called on HAM Radio the minute the stock event happened. I have one question: Triple H, who has been known to get involved when the title is on the line, just sits there while Cena climbs the ladder? He's there at ringside, what gives? Anyway, that's all I'll say about Sunday night. I want tonight to reverse my cynicism. This RAW, like many before it, starts with Triple H and Stephanie on the mic. The Punk chants have started already. They insist on calling Seth Rollins "The Future of the WWE." I suppose that should have better luck than "The Chosen One." Man, that Drew McIntyre really took off, didn't he?
2. Triple H introduces the new champion, John Cena, to the usual mixed reaction of the number one face... pause. Triple H putting him over gets heat in and of itself. Cena even does the YES chants in an effort to get a positive reaction, and it works. Steph announces that Cena will be on the cover of the latest video game cover, and Cena looks so enthralled that he almost blinked. That follows with Cena's theme again, because... We needed to hear it again?
3. Cena's quite suspicious of how nice the Authority is being, because he's used to being sworn at and booed, so anyone saying anything nice throws him off. Cena almost goes into rap-off mode, and Triple H goes HAM mocking Cena's thug life gimmick. Holy shit, that exchange was awesome, and even got the crowd to cheer for him. That's gonna be tough to top. H announces Battleground's Fatal-Four Way match, and Steph is nice enough to explain to us what that means. It'll be Cena, Reigns, Orton, and Kane, and wouldn't you know it, he's Teddy Long'd it for the evening. Cena then repeats the same "pool of crap" joke three freaking times toward Stephanie. Did he think we didn't hear it? Is that the new "JBL is Poopy?"
4. Seth Rollins and his Batman and Robin ring gear come out to taunt Cena on his way out. Gosh, it was tough to tell Rollins was gonna win, you know... Being the only one announced before last Monday. Regardless though, that match was insane, and far superior to the one later that night. Rollins and RVD pick up where they left off, and this is something you have to respect about pro wrestlers. A brutal ladder match last night, and here they are less than 24 hours later, wrestling another match. But you know, it's fake and all and they're not really athletes, right?
5. Rollins does a nice counter into a one-legged Boston Crab before RVD counters out of it. That looked pretty similar to the Walls of Jericho counter. Foreshadowing? RVD is not impressed with how Seth Rollins is laying for Rolling Thunder, so he adjusts him accordingly. These two work really well together. RVD's counter from the Neutralizer position is freaking awesome! Seth sold it like a champ too, and that leads to a high spot on the outside. Significant air time on that jump too! Rollins comes back with a Dragon Screw on the damn ropes! Wow! I hope that's a new trademark move.
6. After the match, Rollins gets an in-ring interview. He nearly quotes a Kid Rock song explaining why it's not arrogance to be called "Mr. Money in the Bank." Ambrose cuts him off from the Titan Tron. Is it weird that he calls Triple H "Daddy" and Kane "Uncle Kane?" Ambrose promises to sabotage any chance Rollins has to cash in. That's... actually a unique way to handle it. Something new, innovative, and different? Did they mess up the script?
7. As Rusev comes out for the next segment, Cole is nice enough to repeat everything Ambrose just said, in case we were too stupid to hear it ourselves two minutes ago. Lana gets on the mic to taunt the Hartford crowd a bit more. She mocks the "USA" chants, which is surprisingly HAMmy for someone usually pretty calm. She asks who will be the next failure to compete against Rusev, before Rusev makes a cartoon of himself by saying "Rusev CRUSH!" In an interesting move, the "Real Americans" theme hits to a pretty surprising pop, and this might be an instant face turn.
8. For some reason the theme cuts off halfway to the ring. In kayfabe, this makes a helluva lot of sense. Zeb throws his own mustache in the ring for HAM of the night, and says he thinks Biff can stop the Rusev CRUSH. Easily the loudest "We, the People!" chant yet as well. Swagger might actually get to be badass for the first time in years here. A "Let's Go, Swagger!" chant breaks out, and I can't ever recall typing that sentence. Lana keeps Rusev from getting back in the ring after two arm drags, and we have ourselves a feud here. That really came out of nowhere, but I'm not complaining.
9. Lobsterhead gets himself jobber entranced, but the Usos and the Wyatts get full ones, and I'm all right with that. Maybe the Wyatt Family can actually win a match this time. Their records in matches that are relevant hasn't been too good. The Hartford crowd is hot tonight, and it's really enhanced the show. The match gets about thirty seconds before going into another commercial. How long do you think before promos have commercial breaks?
10. Sheamus gets tagged in to make sure he has time to hit his 585 trademark moves. Fortunately, the motion sickness isn't as bad as usual, because they're not moving it back and forth as much, thank you for that. Sheamus follows it up with a high spot to the outside, impressive! The Wyatts take control back with vigor, as Harper demonstrates his ability to be badass himself. Sheamus gets a brief moment of hope before Bray hits him right in the fuck. The crowd then does that thing where they think they're being funny and original by chanting "JBL!" but it's completely misplaced and was originally used to protest a boring match. This match has been good, why would you randomchant it?
11. The Usos come in and clean house, and for some reason, JBL does their callback mid-highspot. I know he's done it before, but it's still confusing and lame. Another high spot follows up a Brogue Kick, but Wyatt comes back, and then Harper hits the Clothesline from Bayou, finally getting them a damn win against these guys. Another good match with a hot crowd and an exciting finish. Why they saved this for the free show, I'm not sure, but I'm not complaining about watching entertaining wrestling.
12. We get more build-up of the Bella/Stephanie feud, because... reasons. We're told that the match is next, but upon return from commercial, Bo Dallas is out. He does a Tebow in support of Bryan and Barrett not being able to wrestle... Kay. Then it goes on for like two or three minutes. He then gives us a recap of Bryan's appearance. Two minutes of recaps, skip. The Bella theme interrupts his moment, and... Yeah, that was entirely pointless.
13. So I guess it's Total Diva vs. Total Divas, but unfortunately, it means Cameron is wrestling again. Nobody should be subjected to that. Speaking of the fake paparazzi wannabe, she now wants to be called a... some website, I didn't catch the name. Do you care? I don't. Oh, bomb.com, how clever. I'm sure that won't raise any eyebrows at the Department of Defense. It ends mercifully soon, and Cameron gets pissed off... Because Naomi got the pin? I've heard of dumber reasons for a heel turn.
14. It's weird seeing Swagger be responsible for injuring Barrett shortly after a face turn, but Barrett is a heel too. The Intercontinental title now has been vacated. Man, it's a bad time to win a championship. Speaking of that, Heyman comes to HAM it up about the title being vacant. I suppose after hearing Heyman talk about it, Cesaro would be a logical winner.
15. Cesaro's facing Kofi Kingston. It's weird that despite how often this guy loses, he always gets a spot in multi-man title matches or chances. Kofi gets the shine at first, being allowed to show off all that talent that's being wasted. Cesaro does an amazing counter, catching Kofi in midair from a springboard, and taking back control. The crowd starts chanting that they want Ziggler, but even Triple H on-screen admits that the odds aren't good for that. Cesaro then trolls the crowd, teasing the Swing, but backing off it instead. All right then. Here come the Punk chants again.
16. When we come back, Cesaro is tossing everything, including Kofi, around ringside. Wait, what? The finish took place on That Thing? Kofi actually won, and we were just seeing the after effects? They're actually ending matches on That Thing now, son of a bitch. It's bad enough we miss part of the match via commercial break, but if they start ending matches on there regularly, I'm gonna have a major problem.
17. Backstage, Santino is having a party to which nobody showed up... Because... You know, he's been on TV so much. Adam Rose comes in to join the party, and it's just a sad product placement for Twisted Tea. It's a commercial on the show. After a match ended during the commercial. That leads to Michael Cole recovering from being hurt by reading a Tweet. That was on TV, but the finish of a match wasn't, sorry I'm still on that.
18. Damien Sandow comes out impersonating Vince McMahon, though you know Triple H is saying he can do it better. That McMahon segment from 2006 is still funny as hell. Unfortunately, there's no HBK Shane dancing going on. Sandow brings back some of McMahon's old catch phrases, and calls himself "McMahondow." Wow. And I thought the beginning couldn't be matched. His Vince impression isn't bad either. His "You're Fired!" is better than Stephanie's.
19. Hey, speaking of whom, she gets really offended that someone is impersonating her father. It's not like she married someone who did that or anything. This leads to the return of the Great Khali... Joy. Sandow loses in one move. What a fucking waste. Sandow's promo was longer than the entrance and the match combined, and unfortunately, we have to look at Great Khali in the ring again. How far are they going to bury this guy? why bother giving him all these entertaining promos if he's only going to lose in seconds anyway?
20. We see a driver open an obviously empty limousine, and he leaves the door open for the cliffhanger of who the return is. Upon return, the cross-platform, multimedia superstar is... The Miz. So, is he starting that tag team with Ziggler yet? He plugs his movie, which I'm sure will be the Blockbuster hit as much as the company with the same name still is. Miz brags about how much of a movie star he is, because well, that ABC Family movie really brought in the ratings.
21. Suddenly, a pyro explodes, and out of nowhere, Chris Jericho is back! Now THAT was unexpected! What a pop! They then show a kid in the crowd in a Cena shirt who obviously has no idea who he is. Great timing. Isn't it convenient they had a hashtag ready for him and everything? Miz mocks his 2012 return where he didn't speak, which was pretty damn funny. That leads to a Codebreaker mid-sentence to another huge pop.
22. As Jericho tries to spit out his catch phrase, the Wyatts suddenly surround him. Okay, that's random. The Wyatts get the upper hand very quickly. Welcome back, Chris. The Usos came to even the odds when it was Cena for like two months, and even when it was Sheamus, but I guess they're not Jericho fans.
23. Fandango has mood lighting now? It did wonders for Sin Cara. He's facing Ziggler, who gets his usual good reaction, but better ignore that. As the match goes on, Fandango is on the apron being annoying, and that's what gives Ziggler his comeback. Listen to that crowd support, though. Shame he can't get over, right? Because the Diva feud supercedes anything, Summer Rae comes in the ring and blonde-to-blonde, plants one on Ziggler. After Fandango cries about it, Ziggler comes back with a HAMtastic return kiss. Fandango's upset about it, because... Because. That gets Ziggler the win, so I'll take it.
24. We get another recap of Steph singing off-key, and that leads to Rybaxel. They're facing the Dusterhood again. That's only, what, four shows in a row? I like the Stardust thing and all, but can they face a different team, please? Remember when Ryback was in the main event? The crowd chants "Feed me More!" along with Ryback's shoulder taunt, but that got too over, so naturally they had to get rid of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Ryback fan, but I'm still confused about that one. Anyway, Stardust pins Goofus and they win again. Now do something with it, please.
25. I really dig Paige's entrance theme. Matt said it last night: The in-house theme production has been top notch lately. She cuts a rare promo about how she deserves to be there. I agree, now let her have a personality please. Oh hello, another surprise return, AJ Lee. I guess she's not pregnant, eh Internet? Cue the speculation that Punk's back too. Yep, there are the chants.
26. Paige seems really uncomfortable here, and AJ admits that Paige was right. AJ thanks her for giving the slap of reality that she needed. Paige does not approve of this message, and calls her on it for doing the same thing that Paige did upon her debut. She then says that she doesn't think anyone in the arena wants to see her defend her championship. Weird, that's something a heel would say. AJ then calls upon the Universe for a reaction to a championship match, which is something a face would do. Double switch, suddenly? Paige then just says "Okay." Wow, she still really looked uncomfortable.
27. AJ comes in house of fire, and she has the crowd behind her for sure. Paige is taunting and wrestling like a heel, and then suddenly, AJ locks in the Ultimate Diva's Finisher, and gets the win. So... Did they just give the title to Paige to hold while AJ was on vacation or something? Hopefully, like I said, this at least brings a personality out of Paige though. She desperately needs it to back up the strong in-ring presence.
28. Triple H is at ringside for the match again, which means he should be about as effective as he was in last night's main event. Cena's nice enough to carry his product placement with him for his entrance this time. The new video game is available at the end of October, so prepare for the few months of promoting and incessant plugging. They keep calling Cena "polarizing," and by their intent it's supposed to be a good thing. Reigns gets the tag in, and Orton pussies out of it. Kane and Reigns have a stand-off, and that would've been an interesting confrontation like 15 years ago. Kane gets sent to the outside, so yeah, you know what's coming.
29. Fortunately, this match does NOT end on That Thing, and we're back with Orton in control. Orton locks in a resthold with Reigns' hair sprawled everywhere, but Reigns comes back in boss fashion. Everything pretty much alters around, giving everyone a chance to look awesome and credible, which is what a match like this is supposed to do. Cena gets tagged in to hit his trademark moves, and we get privileged to a double Five Knuckle Shuffle. Joy. Orton cuts the second AA attempt off with an RKO, but Reigns breaks it off with a Superman punch. Reigns and Orton fight into the back, and Kane causes the match to end in DQ. Kane goes for the Tombstone, and surprisingly hits it with ease. Triple H approves of this, and the crowd chants "One More Time!" Once again, your number one face, ladies and gentlemen! Triple H gets in and then calls out the medical personnel, but Seth Rollins comes out!
30. Holy shit, this may have just gotten really interesting! Before they can start the match, Ambrose lives up to his promise and attacks Rollins before they can start the match. Before Kane can attack Cena again with a chair, Reigns hits the ring and hits a spear while staring down Triple H. H/Reigns on the horizon for Summerslam as predicted? The crowd seems to like it, so there's that. The show ends with that staredown. I have to say, this was a very fun show. Surprise returns, great matches, excitement... Unfortunately, it also had a match end off-television, a ridiculous commercial within the show, and a confusing setup for the Diva's division. However, the bad parts were minor in comparison for once. Solid show to set up what was expected to be a forgettable-at-best Pay-Per-View in Battleground.
HAM OF THE NIGHT
Even with Sandow's late attempt, gotta give it to Triple H for his John Cena mockery.
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
6-30-14 - Triple H