30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 9-9-13
By Al Laiman
Sep 10, 2013 - 5:45:48 PM
credit Tom Jenner
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30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 9-9-13
1. Well it's already been a ton of fun getting this column started. I'm on the train and was halfway through thought 2, and Word crashed. Now every time I try to open it up, I can see the recovery file, but it goes straight to "not responding." After six tries, I say screw it, I'll just try to remember what I had so far. I like how the show started directly with Edge, and his reaction was deafening. We get some of the signature Edge snark that I've missed so dearly, and his shots at Triple H are direct and cutting, like an edge, if you will. Instead of bringing out Randy Orton, his former tag partner in Rated RKO, he delights the crowd in giving us Daniel Bryan instead.
2. JBL actually says the phrase: "I don't know if it's good for business, but it's what the WWE Universe wanted." I'll just let you marinate in that for a while. Bryan's reaction is quite similar to Edge's, and the crowd is going crazy. The chants are incredible, and Bryan's determination has never been higher. It's reminiscent of the original Shield angle, where despite losing a lot of the time, he remained insanely over through the whole process. I was expecting Edge to show up for motivational purposes, and that seems to be exactly what he's doing; relating to him and his work ethic, and standing behind the guy who no one else can stand behind at the moment. All right, I'm caught up.
3. Edge gives Bryan plenty of opportunities to answer in the affirmative before Randy Orton cuts him off, and unfortunately he has a microphone. Orton makes a dig at Canada, and throws in shots at Edge's early retirement. Edge is clever and even finds a PG way to throw in an insult. Edge and Orton going back and forth is very nostalgic, and their interaction is very interesting.
4. Once Edge mentions Triple H's talent evaluation being less than desirable, we get another cut-off entrance, and Triple H demands that Edge says what wants to his face. Edge doesn't hesitate to keep throwing in the verbal jabs, and brings up some stars that H didn't think could make it, and compares it to Daniel Bryan. Triple H continues being a smug douchebag, and manages to throw in a complete product shill before responding. It's surprising that the name "John Cena" doesn't even get a response from the Toronto crowd. Triple H then says that Edge's career was a complete failure and that he never drew anything. He sets the table for the rest of the show, once again is justified in handling all his heel decisions, and the Toronto crowd brings back the "asshole" chant. Wow, how long has it been since we heard that? After setting up Ambrose vs. Bryan, Edge fires off a few jabs before Triple H becomes a collossal douchebag and brings out a Shield-beaten Christian. Absolutely brilliant work by all involved, and it sets the tone for the rest of the show perfectly.
5. Edge confronts the Regime backstage, and The Shield steps in the way. Triple H and Edge have a standoff, and engage in a heated exchange. Triple H throws Edge off the show, which I'm absolutely sure will be the end of that.
6. Meanwhile in Jobber Entranceland, Kofi Kingston is pointing at random people and pretending he hasn't already been out there for three minutes. He'll be facing Curtis Axel, for all those who didn't watch Smackdown and see the guy who is supposed to beat CM Punk lose to the perennial midcarder. Can we use the phrase "get his hands on Paul Heyman" a little more, please? It's really been underutilized. The crowd seems to anticipate seeing CM Punk more than they care about the match going on.
7. After Axel goes back on the offensive, and gets DQed for refusing to stop kneeing Kofi in the corner. Heyman is selling so well that he isn't even shaving. That's being committed to your character. Heyman convinces Axel that what happened there can't transpire at Night of Champions, and Axel gets punked again with a Trouble in Paradise. Axel is being portrayed as a big doofus, which is a far cry from their attempted push to the moon in going over Cena, Jericho, and Triple H a few months ago.
8. Bringing back Goldust for this match was a great exercise in connecting the story. While recently it was teased that the two would have a match, it makes more sense that Dustin would stand up for his younger brother. We get a recap of Goldust's character that would mostly not be allowed in this era. Unfortunately, Bookdust isn't mentioned too much, as that was some of his most enjoyable HAMmy television.
9. Meanwhile, Paul Heyman supposedly slipped on some water backstage, likely as a ruse to get out of the NOC match, because I'm sure he has such incredible confidence in Axel right now. We then go to another video package, holy hell. Now, it's time for another segment, where Booekr T is talking to Big Show. What is Booker T's job right now? I guess it's just to be the symapthetic heel motivator or something. Booker T calls him "Big Show" about 26 times, in case Big Show forgot who he was, and then licks his lip after he leaves... Pause. That transitions into... ANOTHER FUCKING VIDEO PACKAGE! Now the Wyatts have a vignette. Let's recap here: Goldust video package, backstage segment, RAW recap, backstage segment. And they say they're having a hard time filling the three-hour show.
10. Another face gets jobber entranced, and Dolph Ziggler continues paying for daring to say what everyone already knows. Lawler and JBL both call Bray Wyatt a "perverse creature" within two seconds of each other. Wyatt sits on the rocking chair, just so he can get back up again, and Ziggler is the first person to have to deal with both of the Triads of Terror within a week of each other, I believe. Wyatt dominates and does his silly gymnast taunt, but Ziggler comes back fo ra few seconds before getting flattened by a cross body going into commercial.
11. Ziggler starts summoning the power of trademark moves, and gets in a pretty good shine. He tries to fight off the two distractions and pays the price. That gets him a finisher and a clean loss going into a title match. Man, he must've really pissed off the company. I'm not sure how what he said was in any way inaccurate whatsoever. Do you now get heat for pointing out the obvious?
12. Well I asked for Bookdust, and in the second Goldust video package, I got it. Goldust deserves a lifetime Hammy Award, without question. Meanwhile, Heyman comes out on crutches, and HAMs up the water injury the whole way down. Man, I guess TROOF was really onto something in that John Morrison feud. Heyman apparently is against Canadian "Healthclare." Damn, who isn't against Healthclare? Heyman's brought along his own doctor, who looks like he's straight out of the Brian Wilson School of Beards.
13. To no one's surprise, Heyman's using this to get out of the match on Sunday. He gives a very obviously bullshit speech about not being able to compete, but Brad Maddox comes out with the company doctor. Which side are these guys on again? Maddox demands a chair in the ring for a doctor's evaluation, because that's how medical procedures work after all. Toronto starts chanting "This is awkward." Well played, Toronto. Heyman delivers more HAMMY acting by pretending everything hurts while the crowd chants for CM Punk. Heyman hints that Maddox is about to be in big trouble with him.
14. CM Punk's music hits to another huge Toronto pop, and smacks down Dr. Kevin from American Reunion witha kendo stick. Heyman hightails it out of the arena on the obviously not-injured knee, and brings the crowd back into the show. He pretends to let the doctor walk out of the ring before kendo sticking him to a level that would make Steve Blackman proud.
15. AJ Lee is seen mid-entrance while the rest of the division is already out there. What can I say, gotta make room for 19 video packages and backstage segments somehow. Your Total Divas plug portion of the evening is similar to most six-divas matches from a few years ago. AJ's commentary is golden, the Toronto crowd could give a shit less, and yet somehow that show keeps getting bigger ratings. The commentary team themselves keep talking over each other, and I'm struggling to care about the match until Nattie comes in. AJ is absolutely on fire with her remarks toward Lawler. Nattie gets the win with the Sharpshooter after teaming with a face and a heel, including the one that made her lose with a duck call. Hey, shitty reality TV shows make for strange bedfellows.
16. We get a third Goldust video package, including winning the Intercontinental title when that still meant something. He's been around for so long that I believe I heard Vince McMahon on commentary. I'll give them credit for building up Goldust to the audience that a majority of which don't know who he is.
17. TROOF is in the ring when back from commercial, and I guess that's just the theme for the show. ADR comes out as his opponent with his still face-remixed entrance theme for some reason, and RVD gets an aside promo that was clearly filmed after a few tokes and a Taco Bell binge. The crowd is so invested in this match that they chant for JBL, because that's so original. We get an awkward botch of ADR not being able to flip back over the ropes, and TROOF follows up with a high spot. Thankfully he's not facing Miz, so ADR broke the fall.
18. Lawler's heart attack is mentioned so non-chalantly that you would think it was a storyline to begin with. I don't like when they take real-life scary moments and just brush them off like a big joke. What's next, returning to Kemper Arena and making "falling star" jokes? It's good they're having this match, because we're really seeing the new, aggressive version of ADR. JBL says that "R-Truth is similar to RVD in many ways." Man, he's on a roll tonight. The crowd chants for Undertaker now, cause hey, that's cool. At least the RVD one made sense. TROOF taps to the cross-armbreaker after getting kicked right in the fuck cause, hey, we weren't expecting that.
19. A tag team turmoil match is advertised for the pre-show, and that'll be a ton of fun. I love those kind of matches, and I'm sure Big Show and a partner will find their way into the match as well. Meanwhile, Zeb Colter is out to rail on Canada while Antonio Cesaro wears the flag like a superhero cape. That's pretty awesome. Santino Marella makes his surprise return to a pretty surprising reaction, given his 2-547 record over the last few years. Someone's gotta job to ADR.
20. Cesaro dominates on offense for the first part of the match, including doing a swing for so long that it even made me dizzy. The crowd gave a pretty good ovation for the act, and how Santino isn't vomiting now, I have no idea. I get dizzy from doing somersaults. Cesaro breaks off a Cobra attempt with a European uppercut and continues being awesome. Cesaro says some things that must've been worse than calling Triple H a dick, because it gets cut out for several seconds. Santino then wins via... Judo throw? All right then.
21. Sandow is in the ring because we had to make room for Diddy talking. We get robbed of a Sandow promo by The Miz. They cut to a shot of the crowd where about three people care. You know, I'm curious... Is the Money in the Bank an IRONCLAD CONTRACT?! And hey, how long has it been since Goldust wrestled on Monday Night RAW? I should look that up. Toronto is bored again.
22. Mid-standard match, Fandango's music hits, and wow does he get a pop. Sandow rolls up Miz as a result of the distraction, and holy shit, Damien Sandow actually wins a match for once. He says the same thing he always says, and lets his music hit again while Miz does his best to appear intimidating.
23. Goldust is interviewed backstage and gets himself a very positive reaction. Rhodes acknowledges that he's the black sheep of the family, and blames Triple H. I'm sure that'll work out well for him. Goldust cuts a rare serious promo, and, permit me the pun... It's golden. Triple H interrupts to be a troll.
24. Now it's time for Randy Orton vs Goldust, and I've heard great things about this match, so i'm really looking forward to it. Randy Orton has stood tall over his opponent five straight shows, so I'm sure tonight will be entirely different. Like Edge's, I love Goldust's entrance and I missed seeing it. Has it been three years since his last match on RAW? Anyone heard yet? They talk about a Cody Rhodes tweet, because all fired employees get their tweets mentioned on television. The crowd is reacting for every single move either way, and what an atmosphere it is. Michael Cole takes the opportunity to remind us what show we're watching. Thank JBL he's here.
25. The match is tremendous by both involved. Goldust gets several near falls that have the crowd cheering to actually believe Goldust can win, and like the Rhodes match last weke, that's what wrestling is about. Rhodes' offense is believeable, Orton looks strong, the crowd is behind Goldust... Orton starts doing the "YES!" chants, but Toronto's having none of it. Great moment for Goldust when he hits Cody's finisher for a near fall. Orton follows up with an RKO though and ends up winning, to the surprise of no one, but a great match nonetheless.
26. Great, I was hoping we'd get Orton on the mic for more. That's why I watch on Monday nights. Orton stands tall over his opponent, which is new. Orton makes a terrible pun on Goldust's gimmick in his signature monotone, and reminds us all of why Triple H should speak for him more often than not. Orton raises the title belt over his head and stands over a fallen foe as it goes to commercial. At least it's not ending the show for once.
27. The team that will want to get all the chants that Sami Zayn does gets another vignette, and Stephanie does her best to pretend to be sympathetic. Dustin's doing a great job of being emotionally wrecked, and Steph is being a total twunt in the process. The commentators react like Stephanie just kicked a kitten corpse.
28. RVD will be facing his outfit doppelganger, and just because I was hoping for more of him on the show, Alberto Del Rio comes out to cut a promo. Joy. And just to prove that WWE fans will literally chant anything, ADR doing a mock RVD chant actually gets the fans chanting it for a few seconds before they remember they're supposed to use that incredibly original Goldberg chant. RVD takes Ryback's bully offense before coming back with a series of his trademark moves uninterrupted until he goes for a high spot to the outside and kisses the barrier. Major LOL moment as Ryback tries to plant RVD against the turnbuckle and you can audibly hear "too high" so he does it again. Ryback then hits Shellshock to the indifference of Toronto, because all contenders for world titles should be destroyed by someone not involved in the match who has been a main event epic fail.
29. Before the main event, Big Show runs into Stephanie, who demands that Show can't lay a finger on the Shield. They use this opportunity to let Big Show destroy a really old television. Ambrose gets the advantage, though the chants for Daniel Bryan are once again deafening. Bryan comes back while they talk endlessly about Big Show. It's a shame that his IRONCLAD CONTRACT! is so IRONCLAD that he can be fired for any reason.
30. Ambrose continues having the advantage for a majority of the match while Bryan does his best to fight back. Finally he does, and after his corner kicks, hits a top rope German suplex for a near fall. Big Show is disappointed that Ambrose kicked out. The crowd chants that it's awesome, and the last two matches definitely have been. Ambrose ends up DDTing Bryan on the floor after he tries to fight off The Shield. He pulls off the victory with a roll-up regardless, and Big Show claps in approval. Bryan starts to get one-up in The Shield, and the crowd chants like crazy. Randy Orton's music then hits, but Bryan goes right after Orton. The Shield, however, attack like usual, and it becomes a mobbing. Wow, the camera zooming and movements are terrible during this. Big Show has enough and walks toward the mob with a chair. I guess that wouldn't technically be using his hands. Bryan gets left alone with Orton, again. Stephanie didn't say anything about Show not being able to hit orton. Orton RKOs Bryan, again. Show looks on helplessly, again. Orton stands tall over an adversary, again again, since it's the second time tonight. Triple H comes out to blackmail Show into hitting the knockout punch on Bryan, again. Big Show refuses to do it, again. The crowd is begging for something different to happen while Orton yells in Show's face. Show responds with anger toward Orton, and Orton shows more emotion than he has in the last six years in yelling at him. Holy shit, Daniel Bryan FINALLY gets a kick in to end the show. I'm so glad that didn't end the exact same way for once. Overall, the first two hours of the show were pretty good, especially the stuff with Edge, but the last two matches were stellar. Heading into Night of Champions, the crowd is just begging to see someone strike back against the Corporation, and that is a very good thing. The thing they have to watch is making sure the same heel dominance doesn't go on so long that people do lose interest.
Paul Heyman takes it back this week for his over-the-top injury acting.
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