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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #212 - 56 Thoughts on RAW - 8-8-16
By Al Laiman
Aug 8, 2016 - 11:36:49 PM





Let’s see which Jekyll and Hyde RAW performance will show up this week! Either way, this column is brought to you by our patrons. In the words of the lady from CogDiss, you fucking rock!

IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #212 - 55 Thoughts on RAW - 8-8-16

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1. I love this new “Previously On…” format of opening shows. I was relatively indifferent about both shows last week, and yet somehow these previews made them seem pretty exciting. Now we just need whoever is in charge of that department to shift to creative, and we might have something there. First sign I see on the opening is “Chick Magnet” with two arrows. Indeed, clearly anyone who is needs a sign to point out such. And talk about contrasting levels of giving a shit, Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan appearing to confront each other, and a guest star of Bo Callahan’s agent from Draft Day.

2. Starting off with the big crowd reaction, which is impressive for anyone in Anaheim not being The Rock returning for WrestleMania XXVII, the new age New Age Outlaws do their little song. It drives the women here in Anaheim crazy. Enzo looks like he raided the Godfather’s wardrobe and shrunk it in the wash. We get a mix of 90’s alternative lyrics and chem lab fantasies, capstoning with Enzo calling Chris, “Bon Jon Jericho,” which would be accurate if at any point I saw Chris Jericho I threw something at the TV. Enzo’s nice enough to even remind Jericho of a nickname he hasn’t used since 2003, and and throws in all the classic rock hits from several decades all at once.

3. I think Jericho dyed his goatee just to look like more of a douchebag than the scarf with no shirt already did. We’ve got a lyrics battle going here, though Jericho once again forgets that he had a much better list of adjectives once upon a time. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 90s, but at some point, I want to hear Jericho and Enzo get into a “Whazzup/How You Doing/What Are You Doing” HAM-off on their phones. I mean, granted that would mean they’d have to rip off the commercial of a golden liquid that occasionally resembles beer, but everything retro is hot now, right?

4. Ray, nobody wants your number, put the damn sign down.

5. Jericho describes KO having his back with all the descriptions JR used to use for Kane, and Owens adds an extra H to rhetorical. Jericho gives into fan service with a “stupid idiot” as Enzo and Cass make 2016 versions of Sesame Street Bert and Ernie jokes. This promo battle between these two pairs is a great way to open RAW; majorly contrasting styles, but all of them highly effective. Cass is the weakest of the four, but he’s surrounded by three of the best in the business right now, so it stands out. Why did Jericho suddenly sound like Pennywise when talking about it? Do they all float down here, Georgie Jericho?

6. Oh damn, that was all a promo for the opening match? What a shame, they should let that build over the show. They waited the entire commercial break to start the match? What were they doing that whole time? And if they waited that entire time just to give us a mid-match commercial break on top of that, I may be seeing Jon Bon Jovi on my screen very soon.

7. Jericho keeps asking “how are you?” especially after chops. Somehow I keep hearing Billy Crystal from “700 Sundays” saying “Hello, how ah you?” impersonating a horny 15-year-old boy. It’s a low point in the match, so naturally it’s time to scroll off the four most bland, supportive tweets they could find. Oh no, looks like Ray didn’t listen to me, and he either got his sign taken down or got ejected all together. Someone was getting annoyed, and if you’re not going to have sign etiquette, especially when it’s something completely irrelevant like that, I favor security removing them. That’s one of the things most annoying about looking back at shows from the 90s; all the stupid signs being held up 100 percent of the time. That and the laser pointers. Fuck every time 20 people were using laser pointers in the middle of the show.

8. A face-off, definitely time for another commercial break so Jericho could tell Enzo that he could eat a peach for hours. Graves has to correct himself on one of Jericho’s more recent catch phrases, and Enzo gets a hope spot with a counter-DDT that looked… Awkward, maybe that’s the word? I don’t know. I think one of these days, Big Cass is going to get a world title push, and I hope they keep Enzo around as the mouthpiece and ally. Moving someone up the card without the other does not require the proverbial “Throwing through pane of glass” moment every time.

9. Looks like we’re headed to a Summerslam match between these four, and for once we’re building up a feud that doesn’t feel forced, surrounding only fighting for a title, or spilling a coffee. Feuds that are just made out of legit rivalries between stars is a very good thing, and this match should be fun. You’ll have to let me know how it is, I’ll be too busy getting married that day. FYI, we are totally doing the Enzo and Cass promo together to end the ceremony and then walking off with title belts as the minister and Uncle Yo declare us the tag team champions.

10. Curse you Steph and your omnipotent phone, even when you’re not there, you’re somehow backstage with it! Foley offers Sasha a match with Dana Brooke… Because Santa Foley thinks we were all bad for Christmas this year.

11. Are they doing a Ben Hur cross-promotion with Summerslam? They’re doing a Ben-Hur cross-promotion with Summerslam, yep. Hopefully less people actually died in this version. Oh goodie, next we’ve got the Mountain That Wrestles, and his new entrance music is him yelling at me, and if Saxton has an interview with his opponent, it can’t be good. Wait, he’s facing Superman’s dad? Superman’s dad says nothing. And gets the second entrance as Sir Gregor’s worse-dressed second brother combines the Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior to distract from everyone asking why his pants still look like he wet himself. And with three moves to commemorate the third straight squash match, he kicks the Zack Snyder-like projected image of Superman’s Dad out of the ring while Sir Braun Clegane emotes for the first time since… That’s the first time he’s ever emoted. No one comes out to face him, so we’ve got ourselves a new Ryback string.

12. Puff Daddy greets Mick Foley backstage, a sentence I never thought I’d write, and he gets a chance to promote his family reunion tour to remember that one time they sold a ton of albums in 1997 as a result of his friend dying. Then two thirds of the New Day eat Booty O’s and lets him take some. I’m getting more pizza.

13. I know I post them on every column, but this week, we did do our 50th episode of our podcast with Eli Bosnick, so please do check it out if you haven’t before.

14. The content team really loves getting Flo Rida songs for events, don’t they? Next, Titus and Darren get jobber-entranced during the commercial break, and Titus gets introduced to an audience reaction resembling a song that Disturbed recently covered. Backlund’s HAM Sandwich reaction is still priceless, but I also have to wonder… If showing those vignettes for months is what got him any reaction at all, why haven’t they kept doing them? Now they only have Backlund accompanying him to the ring, and Darren Young is still the same wrestler, just with an insane person as his manager.

15. This week, Darren wins in the same way that Titus won last week. Graves doesn’t even let the commentary team react before calling them out on hypocrisy while Bob gives Darren the victory hold. I still think Bob is the Milton from Office Space of the roster. He’s not even really working there, he showed up a few months ago and nobody had the heart to tell him to leave.

16. I’m glad they put the Cruiserweight Division on RAW this time. It means they want someone to know it exists this time around. And it’s the top of the hour, so Crossfit Jesus is here. Rollins’ theme reminds me of a System of a Down song. I’d say which one, but I only heard them incidentally when my friends had me listening to it back when I was a teenager. Rollins compares himself to Heath Ledger and Balor to Jared Leto because topical and Hollywood,

17. I still can’t take Rollins getting indignant about being handed things, considering his entire run with the Authority consisted of exactly that. Then he makes a gold medals joke and somehow doesn’t name Kurt Angle, again because topical, and he dissects Finn Balor’s name. He keeps saying “Demon King” but I swear I heard him say “Demon Kane.” Torch-passing, I demand it! And please, give Rollins a glimpse of the demon! Best entrance in the business today! Dear JBL, he’s trying to out Triple H Triple H!

18. He declares himself “the man, the myth, the legend,” albeit not in that order, and Rollins is really going into HAM territory here, and that’s unusual for him. He says he conquered the Roman Empire, which not only gets a pop, but technically makes him a German goth, doesn’t it? And, that’s it… Not even a tease? Not even an entrance psych-out?

19. We come back with Graves making sure the camera was back, and it’s product placement time! Saxton asks what Graves’ favorite Scooby Doo character is, and you can see him fighting not to say “I don’t give a shit.”

20. IT’S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! WHY DO YOU GLOW LIKE A DEMON WITH SUPERPOWERS! DEMONS DO NOT WEAR TOP HATS AND CANES, THEY GLOW IN THE DARK LIKE A LITEBRITE, HOAK HOGAN! DO NOT BRING YOUR SHITTY PRODUCT PLACEMENT INTO MY ENTRANCE! YOU HAVE LESS OF A CHANCE THAN AN OLD MAN DRESSED AS A DEMON GHOST PIRATE! I WILL BE THE ONE TO GET THE RED SCREEN AGAINST JAMES BOND! IT WILL NOW BE GOLDENEYE WARRIOR, HOAK HOGAN! I WILL HAVE THE PRETTY GIRLS WITH PUNNERIFIC NAMES, AND YOU CAN’T TEACH THAT! WAIT, I JUST STOLE SOMETHING! NOW MY ZACK SNYDER PROJECTION IS GOING TO BE CUT! DAMN YOU HOAK HOGAN! DAMN Y…

21. They’re trying to get even more miniscule things trending with hashtags. I hate everything. And they make the 423rd Scooby Doo reference since this segment started. Yes, buy the DVD of another retread of a long-running franchise that has lost all semblance of itself! No Casey Kasem, but honestly probably still better than the live-action ones, though that’s not really saying a whole lot.

22. The crowd is more typically silent of an Anaheim show, and Sheamus doing one of his 87 trademark moves doesn’t get anything out of them either. I guess Ray took the noise with him and his phone number. I’m pretty sure Sheamus just tasted his hand to take us into commercial. How appealing…

23. They are really obsessed with these moving low-angle camera shots, aren’t they? Unfortunately, they’re still also obsessed with moving the camera back and forth for the forearm shots, because they’re determined to give me weekly motion sickness, dammit. I don’t know what they’re going to do with Sheamus. They have just had him languishing for months now, and even he looks bored with what he’s doing. I mean, he beat Zack Ryder, right?

24. Wow, this match really picked up! Lots of counters and near falls, involving several more of Sheamus’ trademark moves, including Gloomy Beard Stare #7. Now the crowd gives a shit, and I’ll be damned, they’re finally into something again. The commentary team debates Sheamus’ expressions, and holy shit, can Cesaro get some air with that dropkick. Maven would be proud.

25. Sheamus waves some air relatively near the face of the ref to distract him from the fall, and then recovers just in time to count the Cesaro fall for the pin. At least Cesaro is seemingly refreshed on his push, though what they’re planning on doing with Lobsterhead, I’m still not sure.

26. Middle of the show, time for recap hour! We’re gonna see one of their mini-Netflix series to describe the 15 years in the making feud between these two, though with two weeks of buildup, I assume it’ll be recaps of both their careers. I think I’m gonna skip this one, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be doing literally anything else. Maybe I’ll watch asdfmovie again. I like trains… Heh heh, yes you do.

27. Look Truth, I know you're trying to be trendy by using flashy screens, EDM, and cat videos, but when you're trying to push your anti-smoking agenda so hard that you're using cat videos to show how much success you've had in ending smoking totes forever yo, using the phrase "you killed it" in reference to SAVING the lives of pets is a bit counterintuitive.

28. This will be a perfect opportunity for Tito to talk about the OVW Class of 2002, since they’re literally showing it now.

29. Ohai Dudley Boyz, forgot you were still here, just in time for a commercial break too! And when we come back, it’s still the Dudley Boyz. Then coming out with a very similar pyro sound… Neville? At least he’s not getting another squash match? And their match was booked on the pre-show? Man, Bubba needs to hang out with Enzo and Cass, his New York accent is really thick again. I don’t have a problem with this booking, I only wonder who has time to watch the RAW Pre-Show in addition to three hours of RAW? And he’s teaming with… Sin Cara, retaining his Lucha Dragons entrance?

30. Sin Cara is now wearing all black again, so I can only assume this means blue Sin Cara will come out to confront him, because that really doesn’t look like the former Hunico. He looks bigger, in more ways than one. Does this show feel really slow to anyone else? Sin Cara then slides out of the ring… for some reason… and something really weird is going on with this match. I know they’re saving Neville for the hot tag, but I’m confused.

31. Michael Cole says “Classic Dudley Boyz.” Did he pass “vintage” to Smackdown Live? D’Von does the Lucha taunt, presumably because he’s happy to be on television again, and then makes a sound like a Civic trying to get out of the snow when he runs into the turnbuckle. Neville tagged in, time to wake up! Damn, I know this is stating the obvious, but he’s freaking quick.

32. We’ve had enough 80s references tonight, why not a Karate Kid? If do right, no can defend, right? D’Von accidentally takes out Bubba, so that likely means we’re about to get Bully Ray and Reverend D’Von again, right? Is Sin Cara supposed to be the Black Panther? That’s the Marvel thing from the Civil War movie, right? I only went to see it because the Russos are from Cleveland, I’m so burnt out on superhero movies that I feel like they’re the equivalent of trying to watch RAW in 2009 or summer 2014.

33. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the prettiest Rusev of them all? CRUSH! In soviet Rus… Bulgaria, mirror breaks you! Swerved is still a thing. Looking at the Network line-up, I’ve pretty much just accepted that I’m not meant to get most of these things, ever. That clapping jingle will be stuck in my head inevitably sometime this week again, likely while I’m on the 5th green about to miss another par putt.

34. Rusev comes out in wedding attire, and then we get Lana and Pachobel’s Canon? Another thing I was not expecting to write about on Monday Night RAW. But they’re having a cake reception in the ring? Nothing will go wrong here at all. She calls herself a Princess, because Disneyland I guess, and this is the second part of their “fairy tale” wedding? Rusev gets so mad at the Austin callback that he forgets he’s supposed to have an accent.

35. Lana kisses Rusev’s biceps, I’m supposing because he called himself the “Big Bad Booty Daddy” on their honeymoon. Now even Lana’s accent slips, and we get a photo montage of wedding pictures… Monday Night RAW everyone. Piano lullabies and wedding picture montages. I’m happy for them and all, but… this is what’s on the ten hour for RAW this week? By the end of the montage, even the crowd is chanting “BOR-ING!” Dammit, now Rusev will have to hire Goldust to give him techno music and dance moves. Lana tells us that we can’t afford to rent a “one room bedroom apartment.”

36. Can Kane’s creepy weird head come up from the middle of the mat right now, please? But instead, we’re going to get another Edge moment by offering a moment for the benefit of those with flash photography, so they can exchange their marriage “vowels.” I’ll take all five of them, Vanna.

37. Roman Reigns gets a pop for the second week in a row, and he then Shakas. Wow, that was close to giving a shit, Roman, be careful! We’ve got two guys with long wet hair and beards, and a table full of cake. I’m sure they’ll share cake and go on about their night in peaceful fashion. He offers… to be his best man? Rusev then decides he has an accent again, and Roman suddenly wants the US title, because facing a foreign heel will greatly increase the odds of not having Seth Rollins getting cheered over him at least.

38. I’ll be damned, Roman Reigns said something funny. Granted, it sounded like he was summoning his inner Dean, but if that’s what it takes for him to say something that doesn’t sound awkward and apathetic, I’m all for it. He then calls Rusev a “Sadsquatch.” He’s really trying to do Dean, isn’t he? He talks about not having a good time, but honestly, how would you tell the difference?

39. Oh damn, there’s a fight at a wedding in a wrestling ring, holy shit, didn’t see that coming. Lana takes the wedding facecake shit to the extreme, and acts like she got spilled into the ooze from TGRI and screams in a way that Melina would find screeching and over-the-top. She has delicious icing all over her face, what’s the problem? They then smash more cake, while Roman’s face… is funny! He’s emoting, smiling, laughing, and had a funny line. What in the actual Fourth Dimension David Ich Lizard People They Live Everloving Fucksandwich did I just watch?

40. Recap of what we just saw, and someone watching with me tells me that they cut these out of the Hulu version. No wonder Tito likes watching that one. Slow motion of Lana screaming, that really added to the drama. Meanwhile backstage, Rusev yells random things, including, “I’m the top pick, I’m the top draft, I’m the top champion!” Lana’s nice enough to stop screaming for the duration of speaking while still mimicking it. How polite of a frosting- covered bride? Personally I always thought the Edmund Fitzgerald was the top draft, but Lana and frosting at the same time? I could be persuaded.

41. Blue and purple galore, Sasha gets her entrance, and yay, more recaps! Oh, and the Network has 6000 hours worth of content. I barely have the energy for the 7-10 hours of live content! Wait, now I have to watch a Dana Brooke match. Sasha then… Tries to vault herself through the ropes at Charlotte, I think, and hoped her mermaid outfit would compensate for how awkward that looked? I don’t know, I’ve been confused all night, and now I really want frosting. And Lana. But mostly frosting.

42. Charlotte looks like she’s about to tell John Travolta that he’s all that she wants, ooh ooh ooh. At the minor league baseball game I took my kids to on Sunday, they play a Ric Flair montage every time they get a strikeout, and they were blown away when I told them that was Charlotte’s dad. Oh thank merciful JBL, I don’t have to see a Dana Brooke match at Summerslam when I watch it on replay from the far north!

43. This did sound like the perfect time for another Nia Jax video. I’d say it’s the same one from last week, but I honestly don’t know. I really, really hope this doesn’t mean we get the third squash match in a row for her too. Or maybe instead, why don’t we have… Another fucking vignette! John tapdancing Layfield, how did you guys somehow find ways to have MORE filler?!

44. In another cross-promotion with Ben Hur, we get a throwback with three mullets from 1993, and I’m pretty much good with throwback Mondays. Means people could go back and watch it after seeing something from the past. And it’s time for another vignette with the Undertaker’s old set design and fog machine. Okay, I have to admit, this one is pretty damn awesome. The visuals, narrator-style, and sound mix are all phenomenal (No AJ.) Teaser for the demon Balor too, which hopefully means the whole entrance.

45. Now we have… Club Sandwich dressed up as doctors in front of a green screen to make fun of Big E’s unfortunate encounter with a ringpost. Testicle puns galore! Wow… That was a thing. That’ll be hard to top for this week’s HAM.

46. This commercial for the CWC makes me feel the need to repeat a point I made on Twitter on Wednesday: Jack Gallagher for Third Vaudevillain. Book it, Norm!

47. Wow, it’s really weird to hear the New Day’s entrance without Big E’s HAMmy pre-amble. They look pretty happy considering they’re about to have their Doubledays threatened by doctors with labcoats from the Extenze commercials. Eight years ago, this would be Jamaican Kofi against Festus on Superstars. #NeverForgetBiscuitsandGravy

48. Damn, a Demolition reference on Monday Night RAW. I’ll be damned… Ooh, and trombones. All high spots need trombones. Suddenly Doc Gallows wins like it was Big Cass against one of Sir Braun Clegane’s opponents, and they go for the dreaded Ringpostitis sequel. Xavier Woods attacks with a chair and an expression like R. Lee Ermey just said “LET ME SEE YOUR WAR FACE!”

49. This Golden Truth Pokemon Go! Thing is now crossing over with Scooby Doo, because this show just didn’t have enough product placement and filler. They move the camera back and forth like Sheamus is using forearms… comedy?

50. So Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan confronting each other is going to be the main event? That means that glorified squash of one of the tag team champions was the match main event? It really was time for another commercial break though. With that much material jammed into segments, it’s amazing they find time at all!

51. Foley reminds us of the wedding that somehow seems like it was six hours ago at this point. Daniel Bryan’s music wakes all the kids up from naptime and reminds them of what it’s like to give a shit again. The tension growing between them would be more intense if either one of them could remotely get physically involved, but I can at least enjoy their HAMtastic verbal tension.

52. Ohai… Rusev? He’s now in wrestling gear, and even made a Mankind pun. His accent is back at least. Maybe he can only have it when he’s not wearing a silver vest and trousers. Oh, speaking of trousers, Agent Cesaro is here with a real accent. Bryan talks about Cesaro being underutilized, and that gets a huge reaction. How have they not figured out a way to push this guy? But suddenly, they book a US title match, so at least there’s a true main event… at 10:55pm… And another commercial break. This late. Did that feel random to anyone else? That’s this week’s show in a nutshell: Random and slow. My son went to bed and my daughter is playing with Shopkins. Riveting.

53. Lesnar and Demon King next week. Please be a better paced show than this one! Agent Cesaro is nice enough to wait until we come back from break to remove his tear-away accessories. For a guy who already had a match against a guy who dealt with facecake shit and an unusually expressive Roman Reigns, Cesaro is quite spry. Graves talks about what that title can do for your career because of being a former champion, but didn’t they just address that he was languishing on this show? So winning the US title makes your career stagnant and confusedly plateau’d? Why would he want to win that title?

54. More back-and-forth cam mid-match, which really adds an element of drama to the show, and Rusev maintains control in the spot where a commercial break would normally be. Now more back-and-forth camera, is it on a rig or is there a guy who has to walk back and forth at the ring apron? Must be the result of those Full Sail/DeVry ads for tech people they’ve been airing.

55. Agent Cesaro electric chair drops out of the Camel Clutch Make you HAAAMBLE, and that was damn impressive. Kudos to Rusev for the silly cartoon-like face. Suddenly, Lobsterhead interference for the near-fall. Sheamus poorly tries to get in the ring again, but the ref is down again. Oh shenanigans, that cool rush of air that fazed him briefly earlier was nothing compared to that! Rusev goes dirty heel, Lobsterhead gets another shot in, and that was somehow enough to get a pinfall. Damn, you’d think the GM would be standing by for something like that, and I’m still not sure what they’re doing with Cesaro. The crowd is dying to cheer for this guy more.

56. Reigns waits until the match is over to come down for the long-range spear. Guess it continues the Cesaro/Lobsterhead feud, but I really want to see this guy in the main event and taken seriously. That’s how the show ends, and damn, it started well with Enzo, Cass, Owens, and Jericho, and was mostly downhill from there. Excessive filler and product placement, a slow pace, a lot of slip-ups, what feels like stalling until Summerslam… It felt off, confusing, and unremarkable. Granted, part of that might be to a notoriously terrible Anaheim crowd, but I can’t exactly blame them for only reacting once in a while when they get a snoozer (for the most part) like this. I for one would be pissed if I paid to see RAW live and watched half of it on the Titan Tron.

HAM OF THE NIGHT

Club Sandwich takes their title back, though there wasn’t much competition for it.

5-30-16 - JBL
6-6-16 - Chris Jericho
6-13-16 - Enzo Amore/Xavier Woods
6-20-16 - John Laurinaitis
6-27-16 - The New Day
7-4-16 - The Club
7-11-16 - Bob Backlund/Darren Young
7-18-16 - John Cena/Enzo Amore/Big Cass/Karl Anderson/Doc Gallows/AJ Styles/Big E/Kofi Kingston/Xavier Woods
7-25-16 - Bob Backlund (Gonna Give it to Ya)
8-1-16 - Paul Heyman
8-2-16 - Dolph Ziggler
8-8-16 - Karl Anderson/Doc Gallows

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