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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 7-8-13
By Al Laiman
Jul 9, 2013 - 1:46:17 AM

credit Tom Jenner

Email: al.laiman.lop@gmail.com
Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1

Due to not wanting to overplug my own projects, I've but the other ones on hiatus for the time being until I finish working on my film. Despite literally thousands of people tuning into Jaded Hope every week, I'm putting all of my non-wrestling writing time into the film. If you missed it last 30 Thoughts, here's a summary:

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.

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 15 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.

30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - 7/8/13

1. So I spent the last week in Lexington, Kentucky and Wooster, Ohio for various family reasons. I expected to be able to put out work on my vacation, but surprisingly in both places, the Internet connection really sucked, so I apologize to those who missed last week's column and the four of you who listen to the radio show. Heading into the show, it seems they are plugging the Wyatt Family debut rather heavily, so maybe that's why The Shield are suddenly losing to the Usos and Christian on Smackdown. Can only push one stable at a time, right? RAW's opening title has been changed, despite having that awful theme song with the only thing going for it being that it's not Nickelback. Vickie and the recently Miz-bearded Brad Maddox start off in the center of the ring next to a ladder. Vickie mentions several legendary faces in order to mix up the steady heat she continually gets, and then turns the ladder into a metaphor for her own career. As Brendan Kelly mentioned via email, the crowd completely hams it up as Vickie climbs the ladder and chants for her to fall. How... lovely, Baltimore. She describes what it's like for a woman to succeed in a male-dominated environment, like GE, IBM, or WWE... Because yeah, those three things are comparable.

2. She's basically pleading for her job in the evaluation that's going to take place later tonight before Jerry Lawler cuts her off because... commentators are allowed to do that I guess. Lawler of course sets it up for the opinions of the WWE Universe to be heard, and I should be taking my first shot for that thing already. It's been suggested that I do a live 30 Thoughts on LOP Radio while playing the... That Thing Drinking Game. While that might result in Fourloko-like disasters, that would be a lot of fun to do sometime. ]I tuned out for a few seconds, but she's previewing the rest of the show with a face-off, and matches involving the non-RVD members of Money in the Bank. Which ladder match, if you had to guess? The one for the title that actually matters to WWE, obviously. Daniel Bryan gets first dibs on the face pops, and as usual receives a massive one. Cole continues plugging That Thing and Lawler attempts to not sound like an asshat by agreeing with him. We get a weird little transition into RVD winning Money in the Bank, which takes us into a commercial.


4. Sheamus and Bryan go back and forth in a series of offensive, aggressive flurries. The crowd isn't quite sure for whom to cheer, a situation I find will likely occur during the Money in the Bank that matters. Bryan goes for a high spot on the outside, and gets his head slammed into the barricade in the process, which sends us into a commercial with a proverbial stalemate of two faces determined to not let anyone remember that they were pushed off the WrestleMania card a few years ago, and then given 18 seconds to work with the next one. Continuity, remembering more than eight days ago... I realize it's really hard to remember that people have fought before, but maybe mentioning that they've had some notorious battles in the past would establish a bit. Just saying...

5. We come back with Sheamus in control, and dueling chants galore. Bryan starts to come back and does his turnbuckle rope flip, but walks right into an Irish Curse for a near-fall. The experience these two have together has really paid off, as their match has quite a natural flow. Sheamus isn't given enough credit for his ability to maintain that consistency with competitors of all sizes, from Big Show to Bryan. Granted, Bryan could have a great match with a broom handle, and to prove that, if Bryan doesn't win MITB, he'll likely be in a singles feud with Moppy while Henry and Ryback continue challenging Cena. Sheamus goes for the Brogue, but gets tossed over the top. Bryan hits another suicide dive that lands damn close to the barrier, and goes up top with a high dropkick. These two are being portrayed as equals, which is hugely essential to Bryan's continuing momentum, whether or not he's slated to win Money in the Bank. Bryan starts with the YES! Kicks, but Lobsterhead rolls out of the way and traps him in the Blair Witch Chops of Doom, which unfortunately they still have that jerky camera motion with, because they really hate people with motion sickness.

6. We're getting a great opening match here though, and it's gone up top with Bryan failing to hit a Frankensteiner, and eating a Battering Ram from the top for another close fall. The King of the Excessive Lime Force can't seem to keep AmDrag down, and gets dropped in the corner and kicked some more. If only he paid enough attention to Randy Orton to know that you can act like those don't hurt after several right in the chest. Bryan misses a Voldemort headbutt off the top, and Lobsterhead nearly steals one. Bryan comes back and nearly gets the huge victory with a crucifix roll-up, but Sheamus ends up locking in a Cloverleaf. Get it, he's Irish. Bryan counters again, and gets another huge victory on RAW! Another great match that does a tremendous job putting over Bryan without taking heat away from his opponent. The crowd goes crazy for him yet again, and we see a rare Sheamus loss. Surprisingly, the two shake hands afterward without a douchebag move to make sure that Sheamus never loses a segment, even if he has to lose a match. Very impressed with the first part of this show so far. Now, with the first guest thought of the evening, Dane Baruzzini.

WHAT A MATCH! Bryan wins with an awesome exchange of counters between the two competitors. Bryan counters Sheamus’ White Noise attempt with a pinfall attempt that transitions into the YES! Lock that Sheamus counters into the Cloverleaf (Sharpshooter) that Bryan countered with a schoolboy pin. Now THAT’S an original finish! The Baltimore crowd is strongly behind Bryan as he celebrates his victory which makes me wonder if there’s any wrestler out there as over as Daniel Bryan? He’s got the momentum and the fan support going into Sunday’s MITB PPV you’ve got to think he’s going to win the red briefcase.

I've been singing his praises for quite a while, Dane. Ever since somehow losing in 18 seconds made him into an overnight phenomenon, nobody except maybe The Rock has garnered the consistent, thunderous reactions he has. It was another great match in a string of them, with his matches against Orton and Rollins also displaying the man's talents as of late. The slow burn finally seems to be coming around, but I really hope they don't hotshot it too quickly either. The slow build has been great for him, as he only continues to gain traction with it, but it does have to be handled delicately. I would love to see him join Cena and Punk in the upper echelon of full-timers. Thanks for writing in!

7. Backstage, AJ and Big E. are further debating the semantics of Kaitlyn humiliation until Dolph asks them for time alone. The seeds for the split are being planted, given that it is a triad of two heels and a recently-turned face. Dolph seems troubled while agreeing with his manipulative valet, and I like that they're taking their time with this. This leads to a highlight video for Mark Henry with a lot of Attitude Era footage before heading to recent years. Can't imagine why too much of the 2000s decade wasn't featured there... They have to blur out Henry saying "ass" a few times, because I guess it's only PG when it's said live. They follow up this very-well done vignette with a Henry quote on Twitter, which somehow just sucks all the intimidation right out of what they just showed.

8. The Shield's music hits, and with Ambrose bailing after a few seconds, it appears it'll be a tag team match. For some reason, their match with the Uso's has been downgraded to the pre-show. They're facing the jobber-entranced Tons of Funk while they mention more of that thing. That really sells the seriousness of the tag team division; giving the Vickie graphic over half the screen. Tensai and Brodus get a few seconds of shine over their much-smaller adversary in Seth Rollins. Brodus tries for his splash, and seemingly tries to hit it with Seth Rollins half-way across the ring. Either there was a miscommunication, or Brodus really moves that slow. Reigns tags in and they get the advantage on him. The match has almost zero heat until Brodus attempts to come back. At least to The Shield's credit, unless it's 3MB, almost everyone looks great against them, even in mostly defeat.

9. Brodus gets the crowd back into it as he fights back against Reigns, but again gets knocked back down. Much like Chumbawumba though, he does continue to rise against them, although not doing much of anything else. The not-Hip Hop Hippo comes in with the hot tag against Rollins and tosses him around. Rollins hits a nice counter in the corner, but Tensai comes back with a Baldo Bomb that... somehow Seth Rollins kicks out of. Rollins comes back with some great kicks, tags out, and flips to the outside while Reigns hits the spear for the win. Some great tag team work there in the end, and the match was about what you'd expect. The tag team division was given some good time to shine though, and it wasn't a quick two-minute match. It was competitive, somewhat interesting, and put the champs over well going into their not-PPV match against the Uso's.

10. Cena hits the arena next for his much-anticipated Face-off, which unfortunately does not involve the ultra-hammy pair of Travolta and Cage. This will likely be very similar to the last Face-off Cena had, just with a more interesting mic personality instead of a robotoned Bully Ray cosplayer. Cena is really selling his fear of the dangerous retirement troller by being goofy and jovial in the face of the same guy who punked him out several times. Is it weird that with the little plug for Henry's entrance theme, they have the bad, bad man with a big-ass smile on his face? Maybe he just wants to see the bad man fly! Henry claims that he has a look of fear on his face, which is interesting because I could've just sworn he seemed happy and joking. Henry claims that there's only one thing that can satisfy his seventeen-year hunger, which should be more cowbell, but Cena jokes that it's a Snickers bar, because how many of the kids would get the reference.

11. Henry announces himself to be a new man, ala Edge to say "you think you know me." Henry digs deep, saying that he knew what Cena was even before he did, which is some creepy-ass stalker shit right there. Henry has such a mature response to a shiny thing that holds up pants as to say he'd sold out his own mother. Cena argues that he's done his business with respect, which actually gets boos. Think about that. A guy who fakes retirement, lies to everyone, and admits he would sell out his own mother, and the OTHER guy gets freaking booed.

12. Henry takes it up a notch by saying that there are lines that he won't cross, and Cena even playing to the crowd's sympathy doesn't work. Cena gives fanservice by taking off his shirt and daring Henry to throw down. Gee, I bet Henry will just give into temptation and nothing else will go wrong. Henry starts to bail, but then comes back and trolls Cena again with a "sample" by faking a charge. Henry gets in a cheap shot, but Cena tries to come back, but seemingly can't hold up Henry... Which we all know is bullshit because we've seen him launch Big Show, but who's paying attention to that. Henry hits a delayed World's Strongest Slam, because that is, after all, what he does. He raises the title over the guy who is supposed to be the number one face of the company, and gets cheered for it. He gets cheered for it. He gets cheered while holding the title over the number one face of the company. What the fuck is wrong with this picture?

13. Randy Orton is being interviewed backstage, for some reason. Orton does do a good job of making past reference to his match with CM Punk at WrestleMania, and then demonstrates what a wonderful face he is by saying he'll take advantage of any chance he gets to cash in on a vulnerable Cena. Truly a great face in glorified, charismatic glory right there. We then get another full Tweet plug, because why would we bother actually developing storylines when we can show what they're blabbering on Twitter. Miz ends up on commentary while reminding people that he is, in fact, employed... While simultaneously offending anyone with eyes with that shirt-tie combination.

14. Miz talks about how he's never seen a superstar call off their own match... Because I guess he's never seen a match end in a submission before... And Chris Jericho will be facing the newest Paul Heyman guy, Curt Axel. Paul makes his best Corey Hart presence known to bask in perfection while trying to give us all a reason to give a shit about Curtis Axel. Unfortunately, they give him a microphone instead of keeping it on Heyman, and the Genesis of Genesis tries his best to have a personality. Jericho gets the early advantage, crashing into Axel on the outside and chopping him into the fans. Axel counters while he tries to get back in. The match is nearly two minutes old, so we better head into another commercial break.

15. Axel is in control when we come back, and unfortunately they've brought back flashing to That Thing during the match. I actually complimented them on not doing that for a while, so silly me for having confidence that they'll tone that shit down a bit. Because we haven't talked about enough shit that isn't the match, they even go into Cole and JBL's YouTube show, because why pay attention to what's going on? Miz does his best to make the Intercontinental title still seem like it's worth something, and Axel misses on a Stinger Splash, and takes a cross-body from Jericho for a near-fall. Axel counters the Lionsault and gets in the Swinging Neckbreaker, which I admit is an awesome-looking move, and in case you weren't aware, Paul Heyman coaches Axel from ringside.

16. On the second try, Jericho connects with the Lionsault but Axel gets out at two. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, but Axel comes back with a Perfectplex, but Jericho kicks out again. Axel decides to yell and nuzzle heads with Y2J on the mat, and Jericho does not approve of mid-match cuddling. He comes back with the Walls of Jericho, which Axel sells about as well as Tommy Callahan selling breakpads with a fiery model car, and gets to the outside. Jericho blasts him off the apron, and Miz thankfully takes off the tie. Heyman yells at Axel that he's gonna get counted out, and he walks right into a Codebreaker, and Jericho gets the win. Axel loses for the first time rather anti-climactically, and they only mention that twice in a row. Still a good match that does well to sell the Intercontinental title match while having Jericho going strong into his match with Ryback. Decent match, and replays give me a chance to fast-forward through more DVR time. Speaking of those letters, were you aware that RVD was coming back? They should plug something like that a few times. Now, with a guest thought... Xanman.

There are questions I have about Curtis Axel. Is he going to be the first Heyman guy to bomb? Will he ever be as good as his dad on the mic?Judging from tonight's promo, he's certainly learning from Heyman. What is his actual finisher? The Perfectplex? That sick DDT he used two weeks ago? Something we haven't seen yet? One question I don't have is whether he should have lost tonight. It was absolutely the right decision. He doesn't need the weight of a long undefeated streak, a loss to Chris Jericho isn't going to hurt him and gives Jericho his win back, and The Miz costing Axel his first loss under that name and with Paul Heyman adds a little heat to their I-C match on Sunday. I hope it doesn't start a string of non-title losses like Antonio Cesaro had as U.S. Champ, but a one-off loss here was the better than perfect choice. Pun absolutely included.

Quite possibly. I very much doubt it. Curt Classic was just a natural at it, and while Axel has improved some, it's still pretty forced. I'm not sure what his finisher is, unless you count the count-out as one. I have to agree though, it was nice to not have another guy with a long undefeated streak, ala Ryback, because it's not necessary to completely put someone over. Despite my apathy for Axel, I do have to agree that I hope he doesn't degrade the title by losing continuously like Cesaro did before fading into relative obscurity for a while. Thanks for contributing!

17. Rhodes Scholars get a backstage segment, and they're both asked about the effect of the Money in the Bank match on their friendship. Sandow HAMs it up a bit for a few seconds before Chester A. Arthur's Triad and the rest of the match attempt to make their Money in the Bank match relevant. Fandango comes in to cut everyone off, but they stop him several times, because everyone else is annoyed with it too. He continues trying, and gets punched right in the fuck for it. The two heel tag teams stare each other down and do their best to remember that they're totally not thrown into obscurity.

18. Sin Cara's out for a half-entrance and a light show, because the Del Rio JOB Squad mainstay is back for his spot on the show, perpetually losing to the Black Hole of Charisma once again. I suspect Zack Ryder is not far behind, if he can even get on the show anymore. Hey, JTG is still employed... /HAM Radio Weekly Reference.

19. The lights set in, because all jobbers should have their own light theme for their matches that there's no way in hell they're going to lose. Sin Cara's record against ADR vaguely resembles Sandow's against Lobsterhead. They have the Twitter ticker on while talking about what the two in the ring do on Twitter, because they're under some weird impression that it affects the match somehow. I really gotta stop giving them credit when they stop doing shit like that, because then they bring it back even worse.

20. Out of nowhere, Dolph Ziggler's music hits to a pretty good ovation, and he takes the mic while the match is still going on. Sin Cara fails twice to pin ADR on distractions, and ADR continues fighting him off. Dolph keeps talking, and finally gets out of the ring as he does a HAMMY Ricardo impression. ADR gets the advantage, but Sin Cara comes off the top with a high cross-body and takes him out. The match doesn't really end as much as it does just vaguely transition into Brad and Vickie backstage.

21. Vickie is sitting in the ring as the crowd is singing to her, because putting a heel's job on the line via vote always ends well for them. Vince's theme hits and it gets a cheer, because he's a face for the moment, and the New Power Trip walk down together. I know you're all eager to see how their main WrestleMania storyline plays out. Steph starts the evaluation, but shows she's learned about politics from her mother by pre-empting the beginning with a cheap pop. Vickie takes the mic to a sea of boos, and Steph tells her to sit down, which looks rather difficult for her to do. She pretty much repeats her promo from the beginning of the show. Brad Maddox nods a few times while Vickie can't even get pops by mentioning RVD and The Rock. Steph even calls her on the hyperbole, but gives her some shit for bringing back Lesnar. After all, that wasn't a good move for the business-first people. Steph asks if she thinks bringing him back was a good idea, and even the crowd screams "YES!" about that. Vince says that she's made bonehead decisions, but they had good intentions. That's like saying that someone was an douchebag, but meant well.

22. Triple H then chimes in, and with no subtlety whatsoever, says that she did a terrible job, and somehow blames her for the inability to communicate. Without dropping the name, he slams her for having X-Pac heat, and then continues to play to the WWE Universe. Now, the dickmeasuring will likely commence once again, and many adjectives follow. He throws in a jab at his own family before saying that Vickie should be permanent GM. They toss back and forth some arguments about Stephanie being GM while continually trying to one-up each other before Steph finally cuts it off. Naturally, as all businesspeople do, she decides to let the in-no-way-slanted That Thing poll, and she gets a 75 percent fail rate. Big... surprise. Steph takes the quote from her father and drops Vickie like a bad habit, but has nowhere near the HAM and emotion behind it that Daddy has.

23. Vickie collapses on the floor and starts screaming. It's so ridiculous that it makes Christian's tantrum at WrestleMania 18 look toned down, and the crowd chants, "NO MORE VICKIE!" Wow... She gets on the table and continues the tantrum until Vince stands up for her. The crowd cheers about breaking someone's heart, because... I don't even know how that works. Vince then names Brad Maddox the new GM, because a kid who looks scared out of his mind will naturally make a great leader. This really did nothing more than to serve for the continuing power struggle McMahon storyline.

24. After yet another RVD plug, Vince is backstage consoling Vickie, because I guess he doesn't have the power to reinstate her. Maddox approaches Vince and thanks him for the opportunity. Vince gives him an evil stare for daring to come near them. Apparently he did it to punish the Universe for firing her... which I guess is like the 2002 NWO Virus idea? Vickie then has another freakout, which may solidify her HAM status in such a ridiculous way.

25. Oh, there are wrestling matches on this show too! Kane hits the ring for his match against Christian. More mentions of that damn thing, and during Christian's entrance, they plug that Summer Camp show that looks even more ridiculous than Vickie Guerrero's meltdown. Christian does his best to mount an offensive, but the Big Red Machine overpowers him. He uses his quickness to escape some of the attacks, and hangs Kane up on the ropes twice. Christian keeps ountmaneuvering him while the commentary team cares so much that they're giving us a MITB history lesson. Cole has to point out that the Twitter ticker is on, because we're too stupid to notice it, and unfortunately I happen to look down to see the grammatical abortion of "#yourfired". ::headdesk, headdesk, headdesk.:: Commercial.

26. The crowd seems to be in Kane's comeback corner, and we're back for about five seconds before they're blabbing on about That Thing and Brad Maddox. For fuck's sake guys, CALL THE JBLDAMN MATCH IN FRONT OF YOU! Out of nowhere, Kane hits a chokeslam and wins. Well that's awesome, we came back just in time to see the last thirty seconds. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt appears on the screen and cuts a promo about leading people and the following sheep. What a great revitalization of this guy they've done. Husky Harris's natural talent was obvious, but this is something else entirely. Is Kane just standing there this whole time? Their entrance theme is pretty badass too, and they get a pretty big cheer as a lantern is the only thing illuminating their entrance. Their theme reminds me of a country twist of the old Armageddon theme, "The End is Here." When the lights come back on, the other two Wyatt members attack Kane, and they seems to be relatively sized well in comparison. The two good ol' boys attack him while the crowd chants for Daniel Bryan and Bray rocks in a chair. They do what I can only describe as a steel step concerto, and the crowd chants "HUSKY HARRIS." All right, they're in the know. It's possible Kane may be taken out of the match to sell the attack, and Kane will enter into another three-man stable feud. Damn, and he's rumored to be facing The Shield at Summerslam too. This guy just has a knack for pissing off Triads, doesn't he?

27. Meanwhile backstage, Ryback consoles Vickie and tells her that she deserves better. Interesting... Heels gotta stick together, I suppose. I hear Bella's music in the background, so the Entitlement Twins are out for commentary. Joy. AJ's music hits, and she's teaming with Alicia Fox against Kaitlyn and Layla. The Bellas try to say something, but nothing really picks up on the mic. Kaitlyn continues to sell her shattered nerves well. Cole seems more interested in talking to them, and she yawns and calls the match a trainwreck. Meh, that's why mute buttons were invented. The match breaks down into a brawl, and AJ eats a spear on the outside and goes nuts. Like the earlier ADR match, the match doesn't really end as much as it just does transition into entrance music. The Bellas sound like idiots while making another fat joke. If I never have to listen to them again, it'll be too soon. They're like an even more annoying female version of heel Michael Cole.

28. CM Punk gets a few seconds to interview before his match with Orton, and we go into another commercial before it starts. Oh damn, RVD is coming back, holy shit. Punk and Orton tie up several times, showing some serious aggression between the two. The dueling chants light up, and I'm pretty sure I heard Michael Cole quote Jackie Gleason. It sounds very similar to the Punk/Cena or Rock/Cena matches in the arena with the high-pitched chants facing the deeper-voiced ones. Punk dropkicks Orton off the ropes, and it looks like we're getting the same dive spot for the third time tonight. Down to the camera angle, sell, and everything. Mix it up a bit, guys. What a shock, it also takes us into another mid-match commercial.

29. We come back with Orton working cheap heat just in time for Punk to start fighting back. Orton hits a pretty sweet T-Bone suplex for a near-fall. The big comeback in the match is highlighted by the commentary team doing their job well by reviewing the rest of the show. I know they're just saying what they're told to, but it's like watching an episode of Jakked sometimes. When did the art of calling a match turn into this? People wonder why we miss JR... Well he could manage to get in all the shit he needed to and still put over every match like it mattered, not make the secondary stuff seem like it was more important than the match taking place. Anyway, Orton hits the ropes DDT for another near fall, and the high-pitched ones chant for the RKO. Punk counters, but gets thrown into a powerslam for another close count. Orton goes for the ten punch, but Punk counters out around 7 and comes back with the high knee. Punk tries for the GTS, Orton goes for the RKO, but Punk gets the better of this exchange with a high kick. This time Punk connects with the GTS, and Punk wins in the main event. Very good match, capstoning the show with the first match of the evening being even a bit better.

30. Daniel Bryan hits the ring afterward and kick attacks CM Punk. He sends him flying out of the ring, and grabs a ladder from underneath. Orton's getting up, and he eats a ladder shot. Bryan sets up the ladder gingerly, and climbs up to grab the briefcase. Surprisingly the show doesn't go off with more ladder shenanigans, and we leave with Bryan raising Money in the Bank. Overall, a pretty good go-home show with two fantastic matches at the beginning and end. The McMahon stuff was a bit tedious, and the Entitled Twins are a great test for the mute button, but everything else was good to great. Money in the Bank is becoming what Summerslam used to be.

Thanks, Hustle.

Is it even a contest? Vickie Guerrero and her RIDICULOUSLY over-the-top tantrums.

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
6-10-13- Kane
6-17-13 - Mark Henry
6-24-13 - Big E. Langston
7-8-13 - Vickie Guerrero

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