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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 8-12-13
By Al Laiman
Aug 12, 2013 - 11:30:44 PM

credit Tom Jenner

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

1. RAW started off without that obnoxious voice-over highlight package, and Daniel Bryan remained insanely over the entire time. Wade Barrett was introduced unceremoniously and sans beard. Bryan gets the chance to demonstrate his offensive prowess while Wade Barrett gets to... be beardless and mocked by JBL. Interesting, as JBL shaved his beard to become JBL, but that does require memory beyond what they'd like us to have. I know, I know... Spoiler alert: Bradshaw is JBL.

2. Wade Barrett hasn't lost a step, despite every reason to lose motivation. He looks as aggressive as ever, and is only helping egg the crowd on for Bryan's comeback. Although I do have to say, remember when face wrestlers were allowed to do more than a dive to the outside? Nice homage to his trainer with a kip-up. Bryan, however, gets obviously screwed over by Maddox and receives a bearded-face of doom. Gee, Brad Maddox as a referee with an agenda, never saw that before.

3. Wade Barrett does finally get a win, and the continuing storyline of the upper management trying to stop his momentum. Basic storytelling at its very best, while giving a compelling reason to cheer for the guy even more, which Sacramento doesn't seem to have a problem with. The phrase "eating out of the palm of his hand" comes to mind.

4. MizTV is referred to as "controversial," which I assume is an adjective only applied to MizTV because it still exists. The rest of the show is set up, and we're getting an unadvertised, unheralded square-off between the Money in the Bank winners.

5. Damien Sandow also gets a jobber entrance, and I'm going to pretend he has some slight chance in hell against the newly (unfortunately) revitalized Randy Orton. The interesting different levels of booking between both the way Money in the Bank matches were booked and how the two names have been treated speaks to the uneasy feeling I have for Sandow going into this match. It reminds me of when Sandow and his former counterpart did nothing but take turns jobbing to Orton and Sheamus for six months.

6. Oh hey, Starbuck's in the new Riddick movie. I might see it for that reason alone. After the commercial, the commentators spend about three minutes making incredibly bad jokes about Sandow's old briefcase before he made a new one in tech ed class. The two have experience together, and it does show in their in-ring chemistry. It's interesting trying to listen to Rhodes as a face defend Randy Orton's actions while slamming Sandow for doing, essentially, the exact same thing. Consistency, what's that?

7. This crowd does seem to be hot, and I can't slight Randy Orton for getting the reactions that he does, even if I don't and have never understood it. Gee, Cody Rhodes is distracting Damien Sandow by grabbing the briefcase. I'm sure that's not going to backfire on him at all whatsoever and... Randy Orton wins via RKO. Who the hell saw that coming?

8. Oh hey, the United States championship exists now? A battle royal will be taking place later in the show, because I suppose this is a house show. The Shield cuts an interesting promo in what I can only assume is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hangout, and after the battle royal is announced for the US championship, Reigns puts out an open challenge for the tag title defense. That was a rare chance to get a glimpse at the unique personality that is Ambrose, and it was nice of them to let people remember that he did win the US title a while back.

9. I'll give the Summerslam theme credit for almost resembling something that might be construed as music. Oh well, at least it's not Nickelback. And now they're making the mistake of letting Brock Lesnar speak more. Interesting though, now Lesnar's taking shots at Punk working in high school gyms the same way John Cena did to Daniel Bryan last week. Coincidence, or a hint? All in all, not a bad promo by Lesnar, but being able to edit it heavily probably helps.

10. The Great Khali is now gracing our televisions, and as always, they're nice enough to find the five people in the crowd who give a shit. The mixed-tag match is a clear preview of the interaction scheduled to take place between Dolph/Kaitlyn and Khali/Natalya. Most of the match takes place between the women, and the finish is incredibly awkward. I think the referee botched it big time. Who would've thought that either Natalya or Great Khali were about to get a win on RAW, let alone both of them though? Langston even tries to attack afterward, but Khali gets the better of him.

11. Maester Aemon Targaryen must've dressed Vince McMahon tonight. A purple shirt with a paisley tie and a burgundy blazer? Everything about that hurts.

12. This crowd is definitely easily amused by nearly everything, as they're even cheering the heelish Vince McMahon. I just can't get over that hideous combination. He brings Brad Maddox out for an explanation, and questions Maddox's decision after telling him that being in charge of RAW, he can do whatever he wants. Interesting... It's an obvious ploy to make McMahon appear sympathetic.

13. McMahon tries the classic "Ask the WWE Universe" technique about Maddox refereeing the main event, but completely disregards their obvious response. He continues grilling Maddox on whether or not he could be impartial, and tries to appoint him so. It's some good obvious heel boss meddling to continue keeping Daniel Bryan down, as I mentioned at the top of the show. Triple H comes out and... Yeah, you could see what was coming a mile away. Triple H places himself as the guest referee in the Summerslam main event for the second time in three years. It's getting even more eerily reminiscent of the Summer of Punk, where Triple H just had to find his way into it.

14. So the Ring of Fire is not an inferno match, and Cole has to awkwardly go out of the way to explain that. That was absolutely painful, trying to listen to them justify that. Oh, it's just a deterrent. This is the same guy who once set an interviewer and his own brother on fire, not to mention participated in four inferno matches previous, right? Is the prospect of some special effects really that scary for the PG product? It also removes the potential for Bray Wyatt to dress up like Goldust and find a flamethrower to use.

15. Kane goes through the former Pancake Patterson and doesn't even approve of distractions. No surprise to see the Prime Timers wasted yet again. Titus was even nice enough to remain standing there for a chokeslam that eventually come. May I just say, the Wyatt Family has not only a badass entrance, but a great theme to go along with it. Best one of each of those to come along in a long time. Kane avoids the Sabu attack while Bray Wyatt laughs like they just released the nitrous oxide in the arena.

16. I really thought the Total Divas show was going to make the Bellas go away. Now they're using WWE RAW for Total Divas like they use Smackdown for RAW. The flagship show is now a place for airing in-show commercials for a show on the E! Network. The only good thing about this thing existing is that I can listen to Matt's review of it in detail on HAM Radio Weekly tomorrow. This promo between Natty and Brie goes on way, way, WAY too long, but at least she's getting a match at Summerslam out of it.

17. We get the Black Hole of Charisma against Kofi Kingston, who must be being punished after returning only one week ago. Michael Cole talks about seeing a new Alberto Del Rio, which is only the 28th time they've tried to polish that same turd with no results whatsoever. I will say that Kingston seems renewed, at least from a crispness standpoint. They seem to be trying to make "ruthless aggression" a thing again. After what is admittedly a good match, to no one's surprise whatsoever, Kofi is back losing to Alberto Del Rio once again.

18. Wow, it really showcased Mark Henry's flexibility to be pulling off the same pose backstage that RVD did earlier in the show. Amazing.

19. Christian gets a nice little video that ten years ago would've been aired with "My Sacrifice." Thank JBL we don't have to listen to Creed on this show. Christian's catch phrase now seems to be something that people used to chant for a retired wrestler. ADR comes from somewhere and adds absolutely nothing.

20. Cesaro is using the flag as a cape. Zeb Colter's plan for California is pulled straight out of the original 1978 Superman movie, and it's always good for someone to wish an entire state with all its people get killed. Be A Star.

21. Watching the Real Americans and the Uso's have a feud is surprisingly nice, in that they're giving four wrestlers who haven't had the time of day until recently a showcase. They're not doing much besides letting the two decide through matches who the better team is, and that's part of why I got into wrestling in the first place. It doesn't always need any more than that. Great move with the superkick through the top-roped Uso for the eventual win, and they're in line for another shot.

23. It's going to be interesting listening to The Miz trying his best to not acknowledge his long history with Daniel Bryan. Even with a crowd as easy to please as Sacramento's, Cena is still getting booed out of the building. MizTV is so bad that even Cena calls it a trainwreck, and Miz just has to sit there with a stupid grin on his face and die a little inside. Bryan can now push Miz around and he can't do anything about it. Both of them continue pushing the idea of Bryan being an underdog who's just being given a token title shot and just listen to the response it's getting. It gets tense between Cena and Bryan, and it's brilliant on both ends.

24. John Cena goes a little far in comparing his t-shirt to the American flag. He does manage to turn some of those boos into cheers by getting Super Serial Cena. Cena doesn't appreciate being called a parody, and manages to list off all the parodies he's heard in the last eight years. Of course, that doesn't mean they're actually going to change anything about it, but it's fun to throw that bone out, isn't it? This is the John Cena I like, and I really wish he would let this side of him out more often. Bryan starts to argue with Cena about not being in his list of names, and Cena burns him hard. Interesting that it boiled down to John Cena not respecting him when it started because John Cena respected him. I will say that Daniel Bryan has climbed another rung by standing as a verbal equal with John Cena, who is on his game tonight. Bryan manages to get in the final burn by saying that he won't slap him because he isn't a wrestler and doesn't deserve it. As my girlfriend just put it, "they finally let Daniel Bryan come out of the clown box."

25. A dance-off takes place between the TROOF and Fandango, and it basically turns into a brawl, I'm assuming because Fandango felt like he'd been served. And as we all know, once you've been served, IT'S ON It turns out to be a non-match, but Fandango is sure to remember how to say his name. Good way to keep them fresh for the battle royal.

26. It was nice of them to use the entrance of Tons of Funk to plug Total Divas some more. I forgot it was a thing. I also just noticed that Ryback's stage set still says "FEED ME MORE" despite him not being allowed to say that since he turned heel. At least they're nice enough to come back from commercial in time for Mark Henry's theme.

27. Ryback gets featured early by throwing around a few people we all knew had no chance of winning. He then once again attempts to make that catch phrase work, but... No. It's a typical battle royal; confusing and filled with mostly people you know have no chance. This is not a situation where you think 3MB has any chance in hell, but hey... Someone has to be there to get the elimination counts up.

28. To their credit, a battle royal is a great way to get the crowd invested, despite the chaos going on around them. Kofi gets his usual elimination save, and the Real Americans end up looking very strong, even though they lost earlier in the evening. It's really hard to tell who the crowd favorite is though, I can't make out what the crowd is chanting. It comes down to RVD and Mark Henry, with RVD getting the win and respect from Good Guy Mark Henry. The theme of urgency presents the numbers game opportunity, but how will them Duke Boys make it outta this bucket of syrup? Why, it's the Big Show making a face save, marking his 435th crowd disposition change. I'm guessing Mark Henry and Big Show will challenge for the titles, which will be... interesting.

29. Well I'll be a monkey's bare-assed Uncle, are you telling me that Paul Heyman was really pulling an Admiral Ackbar this whole time? Oh well, it's at least an excuse to hear BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROCK LLLLLLLLLLLESNAR! Heyman gets it in a second time just to give us a video package, and I'm pretty sure that's some Two Steps From Hell there, which makes me approve tenfold. The "trap" Heyman sets up is... a handicap match? Come on guys, we might miss the beginning of Summer Camp if this goes on too long!

30. CM Punk comes up from under the ring, and Brock Lesnar is nice enough to turn around for him and run right into the camera he has. Punk takes out Lesnar on the outside and continues using equalizers that were somehow ineffective as recently as last week. Heyman delivers the HAM I was hoping for, and his reaction to being left alone with Punk is even more over-the-top than his promo. Axel tries to make the save... Hey, remember he's Intercontinental champion? Punk looks like a badass to end the show, and it was a very good go-home show for what could be an amazing Summerslam. How amazing could it be, or not be? Stay tuned for a special edition of 30 Thoughts with none other than Mr. Tito himself, coming out soon.

Despite the Heyman dosage I was expecting, I gotta give it to the reigning 2012 champion of HAM, Daniel Bryan.

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
7-9-13 - Paul Heyman
7-15-13 - Brad Maddox
7-22-13 - Damien Sandow
7-29-13 - Vince McMahon
8-5-13 - Bray Wyatt
8-12-13 - Daniel Bryan

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