30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 8-26-13
By Al Laiman
Aug 27, 2013 - 12:49:12 AM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 8-26-13
1. And so begins life without John Cena. It's a cautious optimism I feel; one that realizes the potential for these angles to be both amazing or disastrous. The Shield have officially been acknowledged as Triple H's flunkies, and they accompany the alternate-themed recently-turned H to the ring. Triple H does a great job of spinning the blame back to Daniel Bryan, and I continue to be further engrossed by Triple H becoming a helluva lot more interesting than he's been in a decade. He gives credit for booming business to Randy Orton, which is kind of like crediting the success of The Cosby Show to Malcom Jamal-Warner.
2. Triple H congratulates Randy Orton for breathing new life into the WWE. Only Triple H can take someone who has just won their tenth world title, and has been more or less on top for a decade, and call that "new life." Regardless of my disdain for the character, I almost think that Triple H is trolling everyone while simultaneously being a heinous douche, in-character of course. He's clearly having fun by being over-the-top. I also assume he's passed the torch of "The Game" theme to an Escalade. Fortunately once again, Orton's mic-time is limited, and in that aspect, it's effective of setting up the massive pop of Daniel Bryan to cut them off.
3. Hmm, a heel character getting a brand new car from a Corporate name. I predict that absolutely nothing will happen to that automobile whatsoever. Bryan gets the audience further riled up by thanking them for their support, but even mentioning John Cena gets him a heated response. Bryan turns it up a bit by pointing out Triple H's hypocrisy for what he used to be, and Randy Orton tries to sound intimidating by saying "You better not talk meanly about my friend!" Bryan brings up the volume and the HAM along with it. Triple H decides to one-up that slice of HAM with an entire spiral-glazed entree by actually singing Jiminy Cricket. He then sets up a different version of "You spoke out, here's The Shield!" by giving him a gauntlet match against them, and manages to make it sound like a gift. What a smarmy dick, it's awesome!
4. I guess they've given Fandango back his set. He gets the full entrance, despite Cody getting the jobber entrance, but fortunately Sandow is on commentary. Never a bad decision. They wrestle for about 30 seconds before a cheap excuse to replay Fandango's music is achieved. Miz comes out dressed as Fandango, along with Rosa Mendes. Oh yeah, she's still around too. I guess she won't be a matador. Sandow tries an attack, and Miz makes the save. Brad Maddox, also doing his impression of someone else, pulls a Teddy Long, playa.
5. Cole calls the previous action an "N SYNC reunion." Get it, cause it's topical. Personally, I'd rather watch Total Divas on repeat while listening to Justin Bieber sucking helium while serenading his grandmother while having an open wound soaking in garlic under seawater in a shark tank than watch the VMA's, so I don't know anything about Timberlake and any of that stupid shit that's somehow supposed to be considered music. To quote the great Lewis Black, "MTV is to music as KFC is to chicken." It seems like Fandango's new gimmick is an impression of post-Austin leaving commentary in 2002; "Taking His Ball and Going Home." This of course causes Sandow to lose... Again.
6. Christian has a backstage segment where he draws comparisons to the Attitude Era and the Factgime. He tries to avoid saying anything about the heel faction, but Randy Orton comes into the segment to gloat about how he's going to go over him, because that's never happened before. Christian makes a smart-ass remark, which is like to get him punted later in the evening. We've already heard about voting on That Thing three times, and that of course leads into another social media plug with Tout, and then back to That Thing. It was an interview shown exclusively on the App, so naturally they air it five minutes later on television. Thus making airing on That Thing like That Thing itself... Entirely pointless. Now Michael McGillicuddy is backstage with Heyman, and dear JBL, I have to listen to Orton, Axel, That Thing, and Tout in the same segment of television?
7. You know Curtis Axel is to be taken seriously with that glorified entrance of his. That, and since Money in the Bank he's been about as credible as JTG in the Royal Rumble blindfolded. He's just been a big dumb oaf that not even Heyman is fully invested in anymore, given the tone of his response to Axel in the previous segment. Like most That Thing votes, the outcome is completely obvious, even if it wasn't fixed. The tease with Punk getting to Heyman is played up, as to be expected, and is also used to give Axel the momentum.
8. Cole returns from commercial and serves as a mid-show recap shill while Punk and Axel continue to fight. I'll say this... Axel is great in the ring, no doubt. Combined with Punk being able to make anyone look good, the wrestling between the two is pretty good, all things considered. Cole, however, must've heard that we were happy that they weren't shilling That Thing like they needed it to live, because they've gone out of their way to talk about it three times just in this segment of the show alone. Oh, Punk hits the GTS out of nowhere, Axel loses and causes Heyman to have to get in the ring with Punk. I hope they're smart and screw him out of this, because this is far too soon for this payoff.
9. After being dragged back in the ring by refs, Axel hits Punk with a low blow, and Cole is somehow baffled as to whom could've possibly perpetrated the action. I guess even he forgot about Curtis Axel after five seconds, like most audiences. They handcuff Punk, and Heyman takes the opportunity to deliver some HAM of his own. Axel then follows up with his own trashtalk, and even with Punk handcuffed, he still gets... if you'll permit me the pun... Punk'd. He gets a few legshots in on Punk before a move that once caused the Big Show to lose cleanly has Axel back up in about ten seconds with a chair.
10. In what is a true Crowning Moment of Badass for Punk, Heyman is about to crack Punk with a kendo stick, and Punk just yells, "Make it count, you son of a bitch." That was absolutely awesome, and even with the ensuing beatdown, it still holds. Heyman goes into SUPERHAM mode, treating it like a broken relationship of epic proportions, and Axel continues to attempt to be taken seriously when using his words, uttering such gems as "That's a Paul Heyman!" Heyman continues quoting Revenge of the Sith until a doctor is called out, and Heyman ends up crying after what he did. That right there is fucking brilliant. When a turncoat villain cries after hurting his former friend, that right there just sold the angle even more than the beatdown did. The segment as a whole was a bit clumsy at points, but that final moment there sold the whole thing like freaking gold.
11. And now, it's time for the Total Divas whoring segment. Jojo gets ring announcing duties, because I'm quite sure she earned that privilege by being on a TV show for a few weeks. Oh well, at least Natalya is being featured, if nothing else good has come out of this travesty. As expected, they give themselves verbal self-fellatio about how wonderful the show is, plug it for a good twenty seconds with a banner, but don't acknowledge how Brie has remained in her backgammon attire while the other Bella has moved on to monochrome Twister. The heels interfere, Natalya loses. Oh well, at least it was over quickly.
12. AJ comes out to instantly improve the segment, but instead takes Matt's job of recapping Total Divas, because we haven't heard enough about it yet. She makes fun of it in about 30 seconds, and gets a chant for it. The show may be a hit (for some unJBLly reason) but trashing it verbally gets a HEEL CHAMPION A FUCKING CHANT! AJ continues ripping apart everyone involved, and it's awesome. The heel women continue yelling the entire time like freaking idiots. AJ gets the most appropriate mic drop, and should've gotten a standing ovation for it.
13. The heels sell being ripped apart by... Dancing and giggling like idiots. That's it. FUCK YOU THREE! You officially have no idea what professional wrestling is about, and are just there for the paycheck and to get on some stupid fucking reality show that got a heel champion a chant for ripping it apart. You yelled through the entire segment, thereby not being able to hear a damn word she said, and then instead of maybe selling emotion, you DANCE AROUND THE FUCKING RINGSIDE AREA LIKE A COUPLE OF TWATWAFFLES. FUCK YOU AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOU!
14. Okay, now that I've calmed down... I like the pairing of Ricardo and RVD, but his introduction is far less epic than it was for the Black Hole of Charisma. Maybe Spanish just sounds more musical, I don't know. I once again retract all the compliments I'd given WWE TV for toning it down with That Thing, because they've talked about it more than the match itself. Okay, I'm sorry, that's it. I promise not to talk about it anymore. Sorry.
15. The action is solid as ever between these two, with the new dynamic of Ricardo at ringside for RVD, who has always been good-but-not-great in the mic skills realm. ADR even shows a little HAM by doing his own version of the RVD taunt. ADR looks like his knee is hurt, but manages to break up a Froggy attempt. Rob, however, ends up sneaking out another win against ADR, similar to Christian's victories before Summerslam. I assume that means ADR wins at Night of Champions, but at least it'll be a good match.
16. Josh Matthews accuses Ryback of not being a star. This of course makes him be a star by pushing around a kid who once teamed with Booker T and donned an Al Snow wig. Meanwhile in the Legion of Doom, we have Paul Heyman and Axel backstage. Heyman's eyes are supposed to be red from crying, but I'm pretty sure he just got into RVD's stash again.
17. Lawler explains that Orton isn't the corporate champion, just the champion that Corporate wants and deliberately put in place. Well that certainly clears that up. Is Randy Orton the Face of the WWE? I haven't really picked up on it yet. The commentary team isn't very interested in the match itself, because they're talking more about surrounding circumstances than what's going on. If the narrators don't give a fuck about the match, how are we supposed to?
18. Orton and Christian have a long history, dating back to Christian's two World Heavyweight title wins. They're both veterans with above-average in-ring skills, so the action is as good as expected. They send us into commercial with Christian possibly being seriously injured. You cliffhangin' sons of bitches!
19. Lawler ironically comments that "The WWE Universe doesn't want to be force-fed anything or anybody." I'd address that statement, but most of you probably already have. Christian breaks off Orton's momentum, either because Orton missed an arm drag, or because Christian stood there instead of countering it somehow? I don't know, it was awkward. The tornado DDT Christian gives also looks like a really awkward landing.
20. They're having a good match, but it looks rough. Christian counters the RKO like a boss. Orton ends up winning with a dirty ref distraction, and that ending was well executed. Christian looked very strong coming out of it, and Orton's wrestling psychology... Remains pretty much the same, only now it makes sense.
21. Wait, you mean to tell me that something's going to happen to Orton's car. Well I'll be a monkey's bare-assed uncle (name the reference.) I guess Daniel Bryan watched some tapes of Kofi Kingston in 2009, because he pulled one straight out of that Orton feud. Orton just has bad luck with orange paint. After the break, Brad Maddox at the behest of Triple H, is going to march the roster out for the Daniel Bryan segment again, and lays down the law about getting involved. Bonus points for the Brisco reference from Cole, though.
22. Okay, holy shit, Zeb Colter just went from right-wing parody to some borderline racist shit. Bringing up Welfare with the two African-Americans in the ring while using the word "inferior?" Um... Wow. I don't even know what to say about that. I realize he's trying to avoid going the obvious Darren Young route, but that... Damn. I feel dirty after hearing that, and I can see some people getting pissed off about it, even if it is just a character. I mean, at least Swagger's finisher isn't called the Final Solution... Yet.
23. The crowd isn't really into this match, which it's hard to blame them after that shit Colter said. Biff goes for the dirty win with his feet on the ropes, but Young makes the save. Shortly after, Titus ends up getting the win, and the revitalized Prime Time Players get the win, albeit in a very uncomfortable situation preceding it. Although, Cole trying to do the Million Dollar dance is nearly as uncomfortable.
24. The Wyatt Family get a WWE.com exclusive segment, despite the fact that it's airing on TV. The music in the background reminds me of Hell on Wheels. Despite not showing much in the ring so far, I really love this character. I love the way they shoot everything they do so much differently than anything else, and it's edited amazingly. I do wonder where they're going with it, and that's a good thing.
25. The recaps are getting a little much, but fortunately I'm watching on tape delay and can skip them. Punk then gets a handicap elimination match booked against Axel and Paul Heyman. To follow that up, the roster starts to fill up the stage again. Night of Champions is shaping up to be interesting, though it may be the A Feast For Crows to Summerslam's A Storm of Swords. That remains to be seen.
26. They send Renee up to the stage during The Shield's entrance, and Show, Ziggler, and Miz sell the fear really well. Although Renee makes it seem like she went up there just for the sake of baiting someone into getting fired, so it was either a poor response, or a sign that she's allied with them. Bryan will start off the gauntlet with Rollins, and they're given the main event slot.
27. Rollins and Bryan are no strangers to each other, so it's no surprise that they continue right where they left off... Tearing it up. Their singles match a few months ago was one of the better RAW matches of the year, and Bryan is a big reason the Shield looked so good in their initial run. Rollins gets Bryan down in the corner and encourages him to follow the advice on SJK's hands. Bryan finally makes his comeback and hits an absolutely amazing top rope German suplex that would make Voldemort proud. He wins shortly after, but is immediately jumped by Ambrose.
28. Ambrose immediately gets trapped in the YES! Lock, but Reigns interferes. Bryan does his best to fight them off as the match is thrown out, and the roster is forced to just sit there and watch. Triple H's music hits and everyone stares him down, but refuse to say or do anything. Triple H nods and allows the assault to continue, and Bryan is triple-powerbombed.
29. Randy Orton's music hits... again... and he walks out into the sea of superstars. Triple H sends him into what is already a three-on-one assault, because he's a bad, bad man. The Shield pull Bryan to his feet just so Orton can RKO him again, and the crowd chants for Big Show of all people. I love the fear and control Big Brother Evolution Corporate Factgime Generation Horsemen is creating here, and everyone on stage sold it just as well as Bryan did. Understand that this heel faction has to be seen as damn near invincible with absolutely no way to stop them before they can start getting some face victories in there. Incredibly well done.
30. This show had its moments, although the return of the obnoxious was definitely apparent. The commentary felt the need to repeat themselves 38 thousand times, as anything whatsoever that Randy Orton did merited the phrase "The Face of the company." That being said, most of the wrestling action was mostly good; Diva's excepted. The overall story arc is going great though, and it will make the eventual good-guy comeback all the better.
This episode was chock full of ham, to say the least. Bryan, Punk, Heyman, Axel, Orton... they all had their moments, but dear JBL... Triple H sang Jiminy Cricket. I don't think anything was gonna top that one.
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
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
8-19-13 - CM Punk
8-26-13 - Triple H