30 Thoughts with Al Laiman - RAW 7-29-13
By Al Laiman
Jul 30, 2013 - 12:57:05 AM
credit Tom Jenner
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1. The Jake Taylor of this team himself, Jason Giambi, has just hit a walk-off home run, so I'm in a damn good mood heading into tonight's episode of RAW. That, and had a good long argument with a troll on a Facebook group about Daniel Bryan being boring and annoying, so that was a good time. Nothing like a little non-stop grammatical abortion to start the evening right. You know, I thought I'd give the opening video a chance, and it was going well, until that stupid voice-over cut it off by turning it downright ridiculous. I've managed to avoid almost all spoilers, save for who Del Rio is facing at Summerslam. Vince McMahon starts off the show to a huge ovation, because people apparently haven't picked up on the fact that he's a heel. Maddox is in tow with a defeated look on his face. Zoom settings are on, so That Other Thing will not be on the television in the Laiman household. Maddox apologizes for his "boneheaded" decision of allowing Cena to choose his own opponent, and Vince starts putting words in his mouth, suggesting many different definitions of what a troll is... Unfortunately leaving out my favorite kind, the Internet Wrestling fan troll. Before Maddox can respond to what he thinks of Daniel Bryan, his theme music wakes up everyone in the crowd.
2. Yeah, it's a shame this guy is so boring that he gets thunderous reactions nationwide. I can clearly see he's being shoved down everyone's throats against their will. Everyone is chanting his name before he begins to speak. Bryan accuses McMahon of dictating the words to Maddox, but McMahon points out his lack of respect. Bryan calls him out for the lack of respect McMahon's shown him, presumably because he's not impressed with his beard. This gives Daniel Bryan a chance to say that he respects John Cena as a champion and a person, which gets an obviously edited-in pop. McMahon says that Cena's lying through his teeth about him, and calls everyone a fool who believes him, adding that he can't beat John Cena. He brings back an old phrase "Ruthless Aggression" of which he says Bryan never had and Cena no longer does. He comes out and honestly says he doesn't want Cena to win, but makes it even worse if Bryan would win. It looks like McMahon is taking the Alberto Del Rio angle from 2011, looking like he might be on the side of Orton cashing in if he wants nobody to win. McMahon goes all HAM sandwich and describes Bryan and Cena spontaneously combusting.
3. For those who once said that Daniel Bryan had no personality, he's going toe-to-toe with Vince McMahon in a quite entertaining fashion. They engage in some HAM-on-HAM combat by trying to be each other's height, and Bryan summons the magical WWE Universe, and gets what I hoped is a non-edited reaction when he says the people want a new champion. This gives a great moment of "YES!" chants with McMahon looking bewildered.
4. The Shield's music, with edited reactions pretending that they're not getting cheered, comes through the arena, but McMahon unfortunately leaves before they get there. For some reason, Mark Henry and the Uso's get the jobber entrance. Henry starts off by dominating Ambrose, but he quickly tags in Rollins. I gotta say, this is what turns me off from Smackdown. Obviously pre-taped shows, edited reactions, but still finding ways to interrupt matches with commercials. There's something about the allure of watching a show live, because they can't fake the audience into reacting the way they want to. Maybe I'm harping on this too much, but it takes a lot of the authenticity and genuine feeling out of it for me. Anyway, Henry challenges Reigns to a test of strength, but heels out of it and throws him around now. He tags in Jey, and Cole points out them using the isolation technique as The Shield, and let's face it, every heel tag team in history, have used. Sweet, the first That Other Thing came up, and I can't see it at all whatsoever. RAW just got better.
5. Shield takes over with cheap heat, and Cole talks about Ambrose winning the US championship. Oh, he won that title? Gee, maybe at some point he'll end up defending it. Well that was quick, a hot tag already, and Henry's tagged back in shortly after. Henry misses a splash, and Ambrose does his best to keep him down. Henry powers out of a double team attack, sending Rollins and Ambrose out of the ring. Reigns tries, and gets the same treatment. As the Uso's hit a high spot, Michael Cole breaks down the semantics of the freaking Uso callback with the crowd. Wow, just when I think they can't treat us like we're any fucking dumber, they have to explain a callback that people have understood despite the Uso's receiving little to no TV time. Un-fucking-believable.
6. We come back, and the LAW of RAW holds true yet again with the Shield in control. Fortunately they just barely mention That Thing and are calling the match... for now... Lawler then points out what's trending, because they either edited that in, or they're just making shit up now. Jey tries to fight back against Ambrose, but doesn't quite get out of it. This seems like a perfect time to talk about Total Divas, which they plug more than the JBLdamn Pay-Per-View, and coincidentally enough, I still don't have a single fuck to give. Team Face gets an opening, but Rollins prevents the hot tag, and then hits an awesome kick sending Jimmy Uso to the outside. However, it doesn't last long, as Henry comes in to throw people around some more. Henry dominates, but ends up getting speared by Reigns. Jimmy comes off the top with a crossbody and nearly gets a fall out of it. He hits a superkick, then heads up to the top again, but Ambrose knee-blocks it. Ambrose hits his finisher and gets the win. Strong match from all involved, and a good start to RAW. Henry looked dominant, and wait... Is still now going to look dominant, because he continues throwing The Shield around after the match. Doesn't look like this feud is ending anytime soon.
7. We get a backstage segment where Ryback is bullying a couple of plain-clothed people backstage. Be a Star, everyone. Ryback slaps him with food while a... RAW logo transitions in for a second before going back. Ryback then puts the bullied kid through a table. What a charmer.
8. Cole and Lawler come back implying that they know what the troops think about the Wyatt family, and we get another highlight video instead of them actually showing up... Skip. Maddox is backstage, and is confronted by an angry Kane. Kane demands to know where the Wyatts are, and Maddox says they aren't there. Maddox instead offers Kane a chance to "send a message" by taking out his monstrous frustrations on Daniel Bryan.
9. Rob Van Dam is next, and he's the next higher-card veteran to be taking on Fandango. Looks like they took away part of Fandango's entrance set. This is a perfect time to plug the new October Pay-Per-View Battleground, which is one more time than they've verbally plugged the next Pay-Per-View, I believe. Now they're blabbing more about That Thing, tuning out. The action is solid, quick, and fluid, with RVD getting the upperhand. Fandango hits... a kickvault, I guess, and starts to get some cheap heat of his own. A nice exchange of kick attempts leads to Fandango getting a near fall. He's not there yet, but he looks like he has a bright future, at least from an in-ring standpoint. He's shown in recent weeks that he can have good matches with Orton, Christian, and now RVD. RVD goes Trademark-crazy, but Fandango powders before the Five-Star. Summer Rae blocks an RVD highspot, and then decides to help him away instead of continue the match. Decent match for what it was, but Fandango gets a mic afterward and mimics the Big Show about to hit a palm chop. Nice of him to happily remind us of who he is just after willfully losing.
10. Backstage, AJ is crazily yelling at Big E. before she goes schizo and changes emotions on a dime. AJ seems to think that Big E. might be the latest suitor on the Dating Game, and she skips away. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn's entrance is sponsored by Just For Men... How appropriate. The crowd chants for Kaitlyn, despite not actually looking like they're doing anything, and AJ demonstrates her own flexibility for a little fanservice. Kaitlyn finally starts to come back, and she either botches a roll-up or it was intentional, and AJ hits a sweet superkick on her for another near-fall. Cole and Lawler talk about Twitter, because that's the only thing that matters anymore, and Kaitlyn starts to get her shine. Cole calls her one of the best Divas of all time. Um... She's got a long way to go before even being remotely considered something along those lines. In case you didn't notice, THEY WANT YOU TO USE TWITTER! Did you get that? Just asking, if it was too subtle.
11. The women are getting a relatively lengthy time to work here, and it's paying off. AJ is looking surprisingly dominant, especially given her size disadvantage. She does a nice version of ADR's armbreaker move, and Big E strokes wise-man beard. AJ suddenly gets hit with a spear, and Kaitlyn gets a clean win over the champion. I guess they really don't have any other contenders for the title, so it looks like these two will be matched up for another championship match. That surprisingly lethargic crowd let out a pretty big pop for it though, I'm impressed. AJ summons her inner Christian circa-2002, and throws a screaming tantrum in the middle of the ring.
12. I'M HERE TO SHOW THE WORLD, I'M HERE TO SHOW THE WORLD! That music should be used more often to interrupt random moments. Dolphy Gunn comes out to taunt AJ and offers Big E's shoulder to cry on. He throws down a challenge for a match against Big E. No one comes out to confirm it, so I guess for this particular segment, wrestlers can make their own matches. Another Total Divas plug, skip.
13. We come back midmatch as Langston is alllowing the demonstrating of Ziggler's wonderful selling techniques. More yacking about That Thing, where storylines now develop instead of boring ways like on TV where people actually see them. Ziggler starts to mount a comeback, but gets caught on the Ziggler Splash and takes a huge powerslam. Big E. hits his own splash for a near fall, and if you weren't aware, AJ is ringside. That's another chance for them to blab on about That Thing. If they show the full tutorial again, I'm gonna break something. Langston is looking like an absolute beast here, but of course the commentators are too interested in talking about Twitter to do their jobs. I'm a few more minutes of this heinous shit away from watching RAW on mute. I can't be the only one.
14. Ziggler finally starts to come back after taking a lot of abuse. He wriggles out of another powerslam, and sends Langston flying. AJ ends up attacking Ziggler in the ring, which would've been a perfect opportunity for some Joey Styles commentary. AJ then starts screaming some more, and Langston is pissed at her for costing him the match. This match ends the exact same way that the last one did, save for the fact that Ziggler sneaks back in and hits a Zig Zag. Those two work pretty well together, although the angle itself is obviously taking a backseat to the Whimsical World of Crazy Lady.
15. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Daniel Bryan is backstage to confront John Cena. Bryan demands to know if what McMahon said about him was true. Bryan for some reason thinks that McMahon has always been honest with him. Cena demands to know if he's calling him a liar, which does not please the other Mr. Bella. Ooh, maybe this storyline will continue on Total Divas! Can you sense the pure fucking jubilation?
16. JBL is apparently off living out the lyrics to Matt Hardy's theme song while Christian is coming down for his match against the good old Black Hole of Charisma himself, Alberto Del Rio. I suppose ADR gets to choose his own opponent for Summerslam. I'll be damned if this doesn't sound a bit familiar. I wonder if they'll recall these two have some history post-Edge retirement. I mean, if they can get their heads out of Twitter for eight seconds. ADR stomps all over Christian while Cole and Lawler debate on the idea of picking his opponent. Christian starts to get the advantage, but ADR dodges the rope-vaulting hand chop, and takes a shot. Christian then finally sends ADR sprawling over the corner. ADR again avoids Christian and sends him into the steel steps. ADR follows it up by dropkicking Christian's arm into the steps before we get an awkward quick-cut to a commercial. You'd think they could avoid things like that with a pre-taped show.
17. We come back with That Thing serving as psychology, and it's a rare LAW of RAW breaker with ADR still in control. ADR continues just dominating the match, and he goes up top unsuccessfully. Christian finally breaks the momentum with a Tornado DDT for a near-fall. But who has time for that... WE WANT YOU TO USE TWITTER! WE CAN'T JUST SHOW IT, WE HAVE TO INSIST YOU USE IT! DID YOU GET THAT? THAT WE WANT YOU TO USE TWITTER? FOR JBL'S FUCKING SAKE, IT MAKES IT AWFULLY HARD TO IGNORE IT WHEN YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT NON-FUCKING-STOP EVEN WHEN I CAN'T SEE IT! GO FUCK YOURSELVES.
18. Anyway, end of that tangent, ADR dominates some more as Christian does a great job of selling the arm. Christian starts to get some edge back, but he goes right into a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker for another close fall. Christian again tries to get a comeback going, but gets kicked in the face for his efforts. The commentators talk about his frustration while he's clearly smiling, because that's no real substitute for a lack of personality. Christian counters his way through a finisher exchange and manages to get a surprise roll-up for the win. All of those calls for Christian back in the main event appear to have been heard.
19. Now it's Wade Barrett's turn for a jobber entrance, and given that he's facing a newly-revitalized Cody Rhodes... Yeah, I can say this match is pretty obvious. This is of course the perfect time for a long Smackdown recap. Barrett gets the advantage by sending Rhodes over the top rope, because he's apparently convinced that someone in that arena still takes him seriously. Of course, we'd rather be talking about Damien Sandow's swimming ability, so you know the mission to give a shit is falling way short. Say, you know what would really help sell this better? Plugging their own YouTube show. What the fuck am I watching?
20. Cody finally gets the comeback with the moonsault, and Cole has to point out for all of us idiots watching that it may be the turning point of the match. Thanks, we didn't figure that out on our own. The crowd is clearly enthralled with the action, based on most of the people in camera view dicking around with their phones. Well WWE, if you clearly don't give a shit, why should we? Anyway, Cody reverses a move into the Cross Rhodes and gets the win. I guess this is "Everyone do it RKO-style" tonight.
21. Sandow comes out after the match and cuts an absolutely brilliant promo. Rhodes calls him out on not picking up on what he did, and referring to his entire family as "carny folk." That was a step up in intensity from Sandow, desperately needed for his character with the recent turn of events. It wasn't Sandow's usual dose of HAM and cheese, but rather a concise, great piece of mic work on his behalf.
22. A minute and a half of recaps, skip. The long-anticipated showdown between the former members of Anger Management is finally going down here. They're mentioning the Wyatts a lot, so I expect that to come into play here. Bryan wastes little time in going after Kane, and gets punched right in the fuck for his effort. They mention that Kane winning would make him the number one contender after Summerslam... Interesting. Bryan twists into a half-Boston Crab, but quickly gets kicked out of it. Cole gets so caught up in the Twitter fellatio that he can't even call the hashtag right, and what better time than a number one contenders match, right? Many previous encounters between these two have them working really well together, but Bryan won't stop fighting back either. He's so intense that Lawler drops a rare swear word to put him over in the process. Bryan counters out of a chokeslam, and sends Kane sprawling over the top. Bryan hits his outside running knee on the outside. Gee, will this end up in a commercial?
23. LAW of RAW works true again, as Kane is in firm control after the break. Bryan starts the comeback with the high front dropkick from the top, and continues with his running ones across the ring, three in a row hit successfully. Bryan starts to get a hot streak going, but gets punched while attempting another top rope move. Kane then comes off the top for himself, and fails again to set up the chokeslam. Bryan instead tries to lock in the YES! Lock, but Kane powers out. However, Kane ends up on the receiving end of some YES! kicks. He gets caught with a goozle, but again counters out of it and gets a roll-up win. Kane however chokeslams him right after the match. Another heel turn? I guess without Big Show around, he has to keep the constant crowd disposition change going.
24. Kane starts to set up for his firesplosion, but the Wyatt's awesome entrance cuts it off instead. Kane tries to take advantage of Bray on the outside, but gets attacked again on the outside. Kane starts to fight back, but gets kicked down while Bray looks on. The Beard Clan sets up the final triad of terror to send Kane down again, and Bray grabs the mic. Bray cuts another deliciously HAMmy promo, calling Kane out on calling himself the Devil's Favorite Demon, before it cuts off instantly into a plug for Modern Family... Wow, talk about mood whiplash. Some guy in a pink shirt in the front row is so enthralled that he has his face down in his phone the whole time. That's what they apparently want by shoving Twitter into everything possible.
25. I'm so glad I can fast-forward through these commercials. There is far too much Larry the Cable Guy there for my taste. Oh wow, we're getting another Diva's match on the show. The stars of that show that I'll never waste my time watching (but Matt did for HAM Radio Weekly sake. He says: "I watched this shitbiscuit of a show, and I'm currently accepting well-wishes at GetWellMatt@LOP.net"), and even in the backstage segment they plug that shit. It's a matchup between an actual women's wrestler and one of the Entitlement Twins, so naturally the latter is going to win, because, you know... She has a show on E!, the pinnacle of goodness in this world. They're plugging it incessantly; hell, they even texted me twice to tell me about it.
26. Natalya wrestles circles around Brie Bella, so naturally she's likely in for a... Nope, Wyatt Family is trending, how convenient. Um, a duck call is apparently now a distraction in a wrestling match, and she wins to a reaction so shitty that they can't even pipe in one. Look around, absolutely nobody gave a shit. Naturally they got their own TV show out of it. Poor Natalya.
27. Curtis Axel is back, after not being anywhere around since interfering at Money in the Bank, and he's facing another jobber entranced opponent; this time it's the TROOF. Another match with an instantly-predictable ending. Heyman takes the mic and lists a resume heavy in adjectives, but at least it gets us a BRRRRRRRROCK LLLLLLLESNAR. Heyman spends a lot of time plugging the Summerslam match, while Axel stands there awkwardly. Unfortunately, they give the mic to Axel in the process after Heyman does a masterful job trying to make people give a shit about him. He says that he's already "more perfect than perfect." In the words of Robert Wuhl, "THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS MORE PERFECT. YOU'RE EITHER PERFECT OR YOU'RE NOT!" Say, didn't TROOF also get attacked by the Wyatts? Is he gonna get a chance to address that too? No? He's just here to make the Genesis of More Perfect look good? Kay. Suddenly, CM Punk hits ringside and takes out Axel. He chases Heyman, but Axel recovers in enough time to halt his progress. Axel nearly gets clotheslined head-first into a steel chair, and Punk stands tall. This quickly leads into a transition to Triple H and Stephanie backstage.
28. Backstage, McMahon claims to be using reverse psychology, but can't get through it with a straight face. I'm surprised to see McMahon wanting someone to beat John Cena so badly. He says that he wants someone like Triple H to do it, except 22, maybe 23 years younger. Snap. Stephanie suggests helping his image along by giving him a "corporate makeover." This should be... interesting, I suppose. I suppose you could make him look more like Shawn Michaels.
29. We come into the match with tables stacked everywhere, in case you weren't aware this was a tables match. John Cena gets a positive reaction despite not saving Daniel Bryan, so yeah... I'm sure WWE's loving this being a taped show. It looks like Justin Roberts and I wore the same shirt to work today. My non-wrestling fan roommate just said that Ryback's deltoids look like shoulders of their own. Ryback actually makes me laugh while dancing along with the Cena chants. That's a first... Ryback misses with a table, and destroys it out of anger. They go to a commercial... Mid-sentence! Good JBL, WWE! You had a week to put this shit together, and it looks like it wasn't even looked at before being put to air... Except, you know, to edit in Twitter feeds.
30. Ryback starts heading into the world of Card Tables upon return, and Cena counters a powerbomb attempt to a high-pitched cheer. I'll give Ryback credit for at least taking this "interacting with the crowd" thing to the televised shows. It works a helluva lot better than the stone-faced angry Big Show impersonation he was doing. Cena puts Ryback in an STF, which is perfectly logical, and then throws a table at him, which I doubt would've felt pleasant. He climbs under the ring and GORES Cena just in time for Michael Cole to remind us what fucking show we're watching. Seriously, mute button, you tempt me. The steel steps get involved, Ryback uses them for a table holder, but Cena keeps countering out of his attempts. Ryback seems to like smashing tables more than putting people through them. Ryback gets slammed on the steps and takes the Five Knuckle Shuffle on the steps, which doesn't make the move itself any less ridiculous. This match isn't bad, but like most of the show, it's just not that engaging. Ryback hits the Clothesline from Skynet, but Cena counters a few seconds later into an Attitude Adjustment through the table. Now, I know this is really going to surprise you, hold on to your seats... Cena wins. I know, I know, the surprise factor is absolutely through the roof here, but you'll have to take my word for it. Daniel Bryan comes out after the match and gets in the ring with Cena. Cena looks to be ready to fight, but Bryan extends the belt out of respect. He takes it back for a second though before saying that it'll be his, to the delight of many in attendance. Cena snatches it out of his hand, but Bryan continues to "YES!" in his face. Like I said a few minutes ago, this show just seemed a bit phoned in. Not in the sense of wrestling, that was pretty good despite most matches being incredibly predictable... Just the focus on it. Twitter, Total Divas, That Thing... That's what they cared about. The matches seemed almost secondary by priority, and that's not a good thing. Look at the Wyatts cutting a brilliant promo... A guy in the front row of a WWE show is too busy texting to notice. That said though, Summerslam is shaping up quite well, and will really be a put up or shut up show for the IWC. Nothing about tonight was particularly bad, but with it being taped, it just lacked a sense of urgency for me, I suppose.
McMahon definitely takes it for his spontaneous combustion fantasy sequence.
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