30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 9-16-13
By Al Laiman
Sep 17, 2013 - 4:17:20 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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Twitter: @AlLaimanLOP, @JadedHope1
30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 9-16-13
1. Daniel Bryan opens up the show as WWE Champion, and I'm quite sure absolutely nothing whatsoever is going to go wrong with that. My hometown is going crazy, despite the depression once again surfacing from a few blocks away on Sunday afternoon. Looks like they've filled the place too. Bryan works in his cheap pop perfectly before, sure enough, Triple H comes out to be Captain Buzzkill. He brings up the fast count that transpired in order to cheapen Bryan's win, because naturally they have to de-legitimize Orton being defeated. Triple H is of course familiar with reviewing fast counts, and I'm sure he had Chris Jericho and Earl Hebner on standby. Triple H demands an explanation and repeats everything Armstrong says in order to further troll the segment.
2. Scott Armstrong looks like he's setting up Daniel Bryan, or Triple H made him do it or something. This is a dangerous move though. Triple H predictably strips him of the WWE championship, and we are left with a vacant title. H demands Bryan turn over the belt, and finally mentions that Shawn Michaels trained him. This reminds me a lot of the first time Austin stunned McMahon, as it's a stand-off with the crowd firmly behind the face.
3. What good would an opening segment be without Randy Orton? Orton makes haste to the ring, and Triple H pretends to be objective by holding him back. Bryan is very sympathetic from the audience, having the WWE title taken from him twice just after winning it. Bryan finally refuses, and we see something we haven't seen before... Randy Orton RKOing Bryan in the ring. H walks off with the belt, Orton stands tall, you know the drill. The crowd chants feverishly against him, which is a step up from the mixed reaction in the last month. It's impressive that it only took the 87th RKO to finally turn them against him.
4. Orton is angry and jumps all over Triple H. Stephanie summons her inner Melina and unleashes the banshee all over Orton, tearing him apart and demanding the sick Orton that DDT'd her. There's something you don't see everyday. "Remember how you beat the shit out of me that one time? Yeah, bring him back. You know who I want as the face of my company? A creepy stalker who assaults women." #BestForBusiness
5. Dean Ambrose is already in the ring, and Dolph Ziggler gets a huge pop for his entrance. Let's see if he's going to continue being punished for having the gall to state the incredibly obvious. JBL and Lawler mostly argue about what's going on, and Dolph and Ambrose take a really big clothesline flip over the ropes. Props to JBL for a "Shoeless Joe" reference. This match, in the three or so minutes it's been on, has had mentions of That Thing, Twitter, and Tout. The Ultimate T Bingo Game. That's all I'm gonna say about any of those things as we go into commercial.
6. Ambrose and Ziggler are showing off their chain-wrestling chops. This show is setting a record for using the word "cahoots." JBL continues to troll on commentary while Ambrose... Scratches Ziggler's back. Kay. The crowd keeps chanting something, but I can't quite make it out. At least it's not random retired or late superstar names... yet. Wow, Ziggler's moves, even the basic ones, are getting huge responses. This crowd is impressive. Cleveland rocks... And we're desperate to cheer for something. Ambrose hits a spinebuster that Faarooq would find impressive. After a repeated exchange and comeback, Ziggler gets yanked off the turnbuckle with authority, but Ziggler comes back with a Zig Zag, and finally wins one. Finally, a win for the Rebel Alliance Union guys.
7. Big Show is backstage looking for his teddy bear, and Brad Maddox is holding him at bay, awaiting the Factgime. They set up Bryan vs. Reigns while Stephanie stares up at Show and is alerted that Dusty Rhodes is there. Stephanie sends Show to his room to think about what he's done.
8. Fandango's music comes out for a huge pop, while the other two are mostly incidental. We're also treated to an entire pre-waterbottle TROOF entrance, and JBL has to take his one segment a show to be a fan of the face. Looks like Smackdown had a small Awesome Truth reunion. The commentary devolves into a debate over the semantics of dance contests. I'm enthralled. Fandango gets a rather anti-climactic win, but at least he finally gets a match he doesn't walk out of. Dusty Rhodes is backstage with a few faces... and Booker T... and I'm sure nothing will happen to him tonight.
9. Dusty Rhodes gets a respectful pop. Generously. I really do like how they're playing up this family rivalry on top of everything else, and I'm at least intrigued to see where it goes. Virgil Runnels goes shoot with his name, and addresses it from the perspective of an angry father. He utilizes his unique and charismatic promo skill to capture the imagination of the half of the crowd that's never heard him speak before. Dusty is not thrilled with Ranny Ahtan, and he puts over the effort of both of his sons, although I didn't realize he was a four-time world champion by 22. Did I mishear that? He then finally demands to know what Stephanie of Many Faces has to say.
10. Now it's time for Stephanie to be a condescending bitch again. She does it so well when she's not screaming. She gets a legitimate laugh out of me by giving Dusty a Bed, Bath, & Beyond gift card. That was freaking funny. They continue to build up the tension between the families. Stephanie offers Dusty the choice of giving Cody his job back, or an alternate option of Goldust taking that "one" open spot. Dusty gets awfully fiesty with Steph, and she paints Goldust as the abandoned son. Wow, this is great stuff, and it's obviously mostly improvised because they keep talking over each other. It seems more natural that way though.
11. Stephanie gets even harsher on Dusty, and he yells right in her face. Unfortunately for ol' Dusty, the Shield's music hits, and this likely doesn't mean good things for Papa Rhodes. It does however set up both Rhodes sons in nearly as justified of a face position as Daniel Bryan. Stephanie then summons the grounded Big Show out to "even the odds" which probably means he'll be blackmailed into punching out Dusty Rhodes.
12. Stephanie tells Dusty that because he couldn't make a decision, he then gets to choose between a Shield and Big Show beatdown. Lawler somehow thought that she brought him out there to help the person that she was setting up in the first place, because well, that's what people do I guess. Show refuses, and when The Shield gets in, he must've said something really not PG. Show gives Dusty the HBK/Flair "I'm sorry" and then hugs him afterward. This is the strongest a heel faction has looked in a decade, at least. Don't worry Big Show, if nothing else, I'm sure you could be cast as Gregor Clegane #4.
13. We then get a replay, and a recap before moving on to a Diva's tag match. AJ's on commentary as the retaining champion, and that gives her another opportunity to be awesome. Nattie yells without a headset working, which of course AJ is blamed for. She must be a master technician. The best part of that is that Lawler gives her his headset. Silver linings, right? Team Total Divas gets the win again, and of course the entire thing is because she's supposed to be jealous of... does it really matter? I don't care.
14. Miz is backstage talking to Brad Maddox, and since we're in his hometown, this likely won't end well for him. What is WWE's fetish with making people get beat down in front of their family and friends? But you know what we really need right now? Another replay of the Big Show punch-out of Dusty Rhodes. Thank JBL for fast-forward.
15. Damien Sandow is out for his match, and Ricardo gets introduced, so... Yeah, Sandow's losing to RVD. They talk about how Sandow missed an opportunity to cash in after RVD hit the Van Terminator post-match, which yes, is a really good point. I just assume Sandow didn't want to lose there too. Sandow gets most of his moves in quickly, making time for RVD to have a comeback, a shine, and an unintruded win. I take that back, he countered the Rolling Thunder. That was more than I was expecting. Outside of that though, by the books. Sin Cara must've been working the sound system though, because Sandow's music hits. Dammit Sin Cara, you had one job!
16. Aaaaand, the Miz is facing Randy Orton, the guy against whom he once won the world title. I'm sure that'll come into play. Triple H is backstage with Scott Armstrong, and he lectures him about integrity, but it sounds like he's getting the talk. Yep, add Scott Armstrong to the Best for Business Unemployment Line.
17. Michael Cole points out the "angry" Randy Orton, which coincidentally looks like the every other Randy Orton. I'm just glad that one time in Miz's career, he gets to come out in Cleveland as the hometown face, because let's face it... He has the one hometown world championship we've known in a long time. Miz sees his parents, and yeah... Naturally he's going to get destroyed in front of them. Dammit Akbar, where were you when we needed you?
18. Miz I guess is trying to come back after being led out, so at least he has courage and looks good for that. It's appropriate though, we're used to getting destroyed at home. Miz shows an intensity I haven't seen from him in years, and maybe that's the glimmer he needs to get back on track. The match gets thrown out, and Ranny Ahtan doesn't notice much. Miz gets the crowd sympathy for his mother's agonizing look of concern.
19. Finally Miz fights back a little, but gets beaten down again and gets the ropes DDT on the barricade. The guy next to Miz's parents are clapping. Nice. Ahtan isn't done though, and he throws Miz in the ring. Now he wraps Miz's head in a chair and drops a knee on it. Finally the referees and crew decide that's enough, and the legacy of hometown faces continues.
20. Heyman is out in a wheelchair and rags on our city a little more while Ryback stands there. I'm so glad they're re-pushing him... Though at least with Heyman, that means he won't be talking as much, I hope. Heyman HAMS it up like he's been one to do, gloating about it like we'd expect him to do. Throw in a little hyperbole there, calling the beating he got the worst in WWE history, but kids pay attention... He's putting over his enemy despite gloating about beating him. Heel 101, folks.
21. Heyman calls Ryback a "big, beautiful man." Pause. This angle hasn't been homoerotic enough? Ryback seems to be slightly re-invigorated on the mic, though I guess his gimmick is being the bully who calls others a bully and he's out to be a star to stop bullies while being a bully himself. Get it? Got it? Good. I don't get it. Ryback says that Heyman is safe from now on and Heyman kisses him on the cheek. Ryback looks like he's a tiger with a secret. That was... different.
22. Recap of cheek kiss, three tag teams in the ring. One helluva transition. Oh sweet, it's tag-anyone rules, I love these. The three teams who didn't get a shot at the titles last night are out for their chance. Wait, T-Rich is there, and he's married to an Uso cousin? I did not know that. Get T-Rich's Biceps on TV. Cole remarks about the power of Sweet T, which in any other context would just be silly. I unfortunately looked down at That Other Thing just in time to see someone misspell "cheek." Way to keep those standards high. Anyway, the Real Americans eliminate Captain Brodus and the Funkateers as we go into commercial while people sing along with their catch phrase.
23. Cesaro gets a "That was awesome!" chant, so naturally we didn't get to see it. JBL makes another old reference, and now the crowd is chanting for him. Yeah, we know that was coming. The Real Americans pull off a double-team Ghetto Stomp, and at least Jerry in Cleveland getting a chant makes sense. Now we're onto the Randy Savage chant. Dammit, every city on every RAW doesn't have to do this now, do they?
24. Biff Swagger gets the tag right in time for the hot tag, and he's good at looking big and dumb, so it works. Usos get a big pop for a double high spot. Biff tells them to make like a tree and get out of here, and then doesn't notice the legal tag and gets pinned. The Usos get another shot at The Shield with a much different context since July.
25. Do you think Miz and Dusty have the same hospital room? Just wondering where a damaged thorax gets you.
26. Not that I'm against reading, but I heard Walmart, so I'm out. Meanwhile, the Wyatts get another House of 1000 Corpses promo talking about scary things. I'm not sure who Abigail is, but I like it. Though they've had more vignettes than appearances, it works. Hey, more recaps... Fast forward.
27. Daniel Bryan is backstage with the faces cheering him on, and nice touch with his Bella girlfriend giving him a hug. I like that the faces are finally standing behind him, even if they can't interfere. A little but of unity is good to see.
28. Despite the heels' best efforts, the crowd still goes crazy for Bryan, and there were definitely shenanigans in order. They're only getting more behind him, which no matter how much people yell about it, is the point. Because this show hasn't had enough Randy Orton, his music hits and he joins the fun. It's one-on-one with three heels at ringside. Gee, are they in "cahoots?" Bryan's intensity in ten cities is still going strong, and he outmaneuvers Reigns at first for a good, strong face shine. Cahoots counter plus two.
29. Reigns finally takes control back after taking a good solid few minutes of B+ offense. Reigns takes over and dominates for a while, though Bryan does get his shots in. Reigns yells a lot, and they trade momentum. Orton watches on, and he'll go to the papers if he has to. They review more count recaps, in case we missed the opening segment with Triple H doing it several times, and Orton starts to rise. Reigns catches Bryan on a high spot, kinda... And that takes us into the final commercial break.
30. Cole points out what we all already knew, and that gives JBL a chance to mock it in a way that only he can. The lamb face watches on from the end of the row and is not impressed with anything. Bryan comes up empty on a Voldemort Headbutt, but kicks out of the fall. Reigns' heel match banter reminds me that we need more Mark Henry. Bryan finally makes his comeback, the crowd gets into it even more, and YES! kicks commence. It doesn't go for long, as Reigns counters with a Samoan Drop for another near fall, and everyone's just so goshdarn frustrated. Reigns lets loose with an OOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRAAAAAAH, which takes on a different context when you consider what happened to Miz earlier, and gets a close fall. Bryan dropkicks Rollins out of nowhere, and it looks like his head hits that table hard with the back of his head. Ambrose gets kicked off as well, but Bryan gets taken out. Bryan counters with the YES! Lock, and cue the Randy Orton interference. He manages to get in a YES! Lock on Ahtan before the numbers game catches up. The crowd chants for CM Punk, and they're setting up for another Miz ending. But finally, the entire locker room of faces have had enough and they rush the ring! Kingston gets speared to hell, but other than that, the faces get in the best trademark moves they can. Zack Ryder even appears, but JTG does not. Bryan hits his running knee on Rollins, and the crowd is going absolutely crazy. RVD and Ziggler are the big names, but the Usos, Prime Time Players, and a few others who will suffer dire consequences for it are in there too, but for the time being, it's a pretty cool way to go out.
Despite Heyman's kiss on the cheek, I gotta give it to Big Show this week for his increasingly dramatic regretful actions.
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
9-2-13 - JBL
9-9-13 - Paul Heyman
9-16-13 - Big Show