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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #253 - Thoughts on RAW - 12-19-16
By Al Laiman
Dec 19, 2016 - 11:10:45 PM


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IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #253 - Thoughts on RAW - 12-19-16

1. That voiceover guy must’ve done a really terrible job to only last one week, and thank merciful fuck. Let’s see how long the video game shaking during a replay of a finishing move continues. What’s up, Buckeye Nation! We’re in Columbus, and I’m guessing someone up front likes to wear sunglasses at night so he can, so he can. Is “taking a Codebreaker for my new best friend” a new euphemism? KO starts off the HAM right by screaming “MONKEYS!” Either he’s going for the last slice of the year, or he’s auditioning for Dennis Hopper’s role in the Super Mario remake. Slideshow recap of the main event, you’re the first to make my list.

2. A red championship belt being raised in Columbus… I dig it. The League of Super Best Friends is doing the best they can to subtly mock the Two Man Power Trip, and who can blame Jericho? That has to be some painful recollection. KO continues endearing himself to the fans by making fun of Michael Cole. Not gonna get too much heat for that.

3. Did Jericho select Santa for The List? Oh dear, Mick Foley won’t be happy about this. At least he only put him on the List instead of booing and throwing snowballs at him. Foley taunts us with the threat of the worst thing imaginable… More slideshow recaps! Yay! Can Ace Ventura’s shadow at least come up to shadow-twist some nipples or something?

4. Kevin screams that he’s Nicolas Cage, and Foley shows off what I can only describe as a Ryback t-shirt Christmas sweater airbrush Da Vinci Code HAM sandwich. Foley forgets what city he’s in, and that doesn’t go over very well. And of all cities, it had to be Pittsburgh. Columbus shouldn’t be too upset though, Pittsburgh drafts half the defense every year.

5. A shark cage? Are they turning Jericho into a stripper? He’s doing the 2016 equivalent of a Judy Bagwell on a Pole match, and at least it allows for HAM opportunities. Jericho desperately tries not to get cheered by insulting the home state. Foley locks him in the cage, and Jericho screams for him to strengthen the cage door. This is fantastic.

6. Foley starts pulling random things out of his Mary Poppins fanny pack, including a Dude Love wallet and a New Day shirt. I think they gave these three twenty minutes and said “vamp!” It’s that glorious time after the December PPV and before the Royal Rumble hype truly starts where everything’s either meaningless or ridiculously goofy. Jericho gets raised above the ring like a Vince Russo wet dream, and starts coming up on a different mic. Please keep him there the whole time.

7. We come back to nearly an entire replay of what it is we just saw, and Jericho goes ridiculous HAM by taking in oxygen and trying to breathe like a bar patron in a smoking lounge.

8. Apparently Enzo’s hair is now not only more ridiculous… No wait, it’s another Shopzone shill. I think they’re also on their 48th shirt this year, behind only the New Day, and they didn’t even have the full year on the roster for Enzo and Cass. Because this is Monday Night Interruptions, they get their spelling test cut off to find out what way Rusev will add to his facial hair by embarrassing Enzo again.

9. The match gets thrown out because Cass throws down some clubs like a Hearts opener. Wow, I think their entrance lasted longer than the rest of the segment, but it at least was somewhat satisfying to see Cass finally get a little bit of payback.

10. The title seesaw angle continues with the Iron Woman coming up next. At least they finally have to face someone else.

11. Sasha comes out on a crutch, and whether gimmicked or not, she gets a standing ovation from the commentary table. Oh dear, some guy’s wearing a Michigan sweatshirt on the aisle. I pity that poor soul. More PPV slideshow recaps, and I don’t imagine any of them will be of the bust-open. That was nasty, and strange to see that much blood in a flair match that wasn’t from Ric. All these still shots are really making me want to watch End of the Line Roadblock Now It’s Totes Done Yo again. What’s next? Royal Rumble: King of the Ring?

12. Sasha gives the promo about losing her smile again or something, and recaps the angle for us as well. She puts over her opponent’s performance after winning the best of seven series, and asks her to come out there for congratulations. I’m sure nothing shenanigan-like will happen. Some dude being the only one who is standing up does a little dance in the background right beside her while we wait.

13. Oh snap, a different wrestler came out? We’ve got discount Lita entrance herself, Nia Jax! Jeez, she’s appeared so much since Survivor Series, you’d think she’d have more of an impactful entrance. Nia walks around Sasha like the guy at the gay club who doesn’t get that the lesbians don’t want to dance with him, and says you’re not the boss of me, I know you are but what am I, and something about rubber and glue I think. Nia then shows the Buckeyes kicker how to kick a field goal, since he apparently forgot last time they played, and I guess Bayley and the rest of the faces aren’t paying attention right now? Injury angle to give Sasha some time off again?

14. Well, better not hold on that too long, we’ve got Alicia Fox with crazy eyes to cut to! I guess she’s over that Bayley bear thing. Let’s see where the angle goes with Cedric.

15. Meanwhile in Whoville, Lobsterhead and Cesaro get congratulated by Foley, though he’s more interested in putting over his own idea of pairing them together in the first place. This leads them to replacing the copper penny tag belts with… circular versions of the Universal title? Guess they’re gonna keep up the Team Hell No bicker dynamic.

16. Discount Matt Stryker shows up and tells Mick it’s an emergency, and Braun Strowman is destroying everything like Tommy Wiseau finding out that Lisa’s been with Mark this whole time. He asks for another match with Sami, because the squash matches were so much fun that we did need to see another extended version. Strowman says or else. Or else what? Exactly. Nevermind that Sami used that same threat a few weeks ago. It’s the Or Else feud.

17. Dar gets the jobber treatment, and they bring out Austin Aries again for commentary. Thankfully I can hear him this time, and I expect nothing short of gold with both Graves and Aries on there. I haven’t kept up with NXT, is he not wrestling anymore? We review Dar showing us how Cedric’s girlfriend’s name sounds in Brogue, and we’ve got a feud over that disrespect. In recent times we’ve had “your daddy likes me more than you” and now “you dedicated your win to my girlfriend.” They hit about three moves before we go straight to commercial. I’ll give tonight’s show credit though, at least it’s better paced. It’s moving right along… so far.

18. Cedric Alexander ends up winning because, well… He is the one who mattered in the presentation, and this was a nice little commercial for 205. I wish I knew where I could see it though. Dar gets another promo, breathing heavily like he’s Roman Reigns in the middle of a main event, and gives us some more of that Brogue Foooooooxxxx. Okay, Dar just called her “Foxy Baby!” Where’s the Hendrix guitar licks to accompany that?

19. I’m currently having a discussion with the group about the questions I asked in thought 34 in the last column. Smackdown columns don’t tend to get many comments, so I’ll ask again, quoting it, since it’s the New Day entrance and we all know what to expect by now.

From #252: 34. Watching the commercials and the way they promote things, I know I’ve ranted about it a lot, but it really does make me think that this is working with someone. Like there’s someone out there who has been on the edge of buying the Network, thinking “if they just ask me 49 more times, I’ll finally give in.” Or someone’s thinking of turning the channel off, but only after the in-show promotion in between all the commercial spots do they decide to check out Shooter. Or they like having commercial breaks in the middle of matches because they can get snacks or check their Twitter. I’d like to think that it’s working and that I don’t understand most things, but given the reports Tito gives of the declining ratings, I think it’s more the desperation that I’ve gotten the vibe of. I’m a weird, eccentric person with eclectic taste and all over the map as far as media enjoyment goes, so I don’t really expect to be in the target demographic. How does it come across to you, regardless of whether or not you agree with me? I genuinely want to know other perspectives on this. Has it worked on you? Do you get annoyed with it? What do you think they should do different?
Read more at http://www.lordsofpain.net/columns/laimansterms/IN_LAIMAN_S_TERMS_252_-_Thoughts_on_Smackdown_Live_-_12-13-16.html#78V4fhkHI2EbsJAC.99

20. Great jab at the women’s title booking with the Charlotte joke. Well done. With the way they’ve been wrestling like heels, especially last night, I’m anxious to see how this will twist their presentation, which many I’ve read have called stale for a while. I was about to say it was fun to see Cesaro and Lobsterhead in sync, but he, like Will McAvoy, has problems with his pants. And they’ve got mics.

21. Sheamus starts to do his Big E impression, but Cesaro apparently doesn’t want him to have the HAM this week. It’s apparently “Day Run” of their tag title reign, and at this point they should just say “I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!” The New Day are not fans of them getting new title belts after one day, and who can blame them?

22. New Day’s playing into the heel/face split dynamic of congratulating only Cesaro while giving Sheamus the Cersei walk of shame. People start chanting “shame!” at Sheamus like he’s Jim Harbaugh talking shit on Twitter, and that guy in the front row with the title belt is still standing with his title belt and sunglasses on. He’s so over, you guys.

23. I reiterate my point from last night as well… New Day is dressed like a Trix box hooked up with Starburst on a drunken bender, and even they’re aware of the cheap shill marketing potential of such an unholy alliance (No Taker/Big Show.)

24. Next on Monday Night Interruptions, the Club are still around too. Maybe we’ll get to see another triple threat between these three teams. Gallows calls everyone “nerds!” like it’s 1984 and someone in a space mask just banged his girlfriend. And now… The Innovators of Silence are out to make the Club Sandwich pop seem huge. A brawl breaks out because of… brochures being torn? And New Day and the champions end up on the same side, so… tag team match, playa?

25. Tag team match already in progress? With Xavier Woods again not being the one in? Wow, anything can happen on Monday Night RAW! I mean, it is what it is, we’ve seen most of this pretty consistently. We end up with another commercial mid-match to find that Tyler Perry and Larry the Cable Guy are in the same holiday movie. At least it’s not Christmas Shoes?

26. Big E gets the hot tag to wake the crowd back up from the long slow build. I’m sure that’s what it was… New Day’s been out for a while, which is weird only because Xavier has been there watching the match the whole time trying to look invested and concerned. Cesaro ends up getting the submission win so fast that I think he may have tapped out before the submission was locked in, and there we go.

27. Mid-show recap… Then Enzo and Cass… What are they plugging this time? It’s a letter for mandatory sensitivity training? Oh dear.

28. So Neville comes out to explain with EMPHASIS why he is the ONE DESERVING of the ATTENTION! Rich Swann comes out and confronts him about it, which causes Kendrick to piggyback on Neville’s success. They say that he needs to “know his place.” Um… I’m uncomfortable now. TJ Perkins makes the face save only to get kicked right in the fuck, and Kendrick HAMs it up with taunts that would embarrass Rene Dupree. At least the cruiserweights are given some kind of angle and storyline, even if it was really, really uncomfortable.

29. Meanwhile, at Anger Management without Dr. Shelby, Enzo tries to do his schtick at a meeting with other people wondering why they haven’t had anything to do on the show. Shut up, Harold! He then steals jokes from Suburban Commando and Rodney Dangerfield within five seconds of each other. Enzo’s schtick doesn’t work in this environment, at least yet.

30. Bob Backlund would make more sense in anger management. And, with two jobber entrances and all, Sin Cara and Titus O’Neill? Titus’s match goes twice as long as his last one against Mark Henry, and Braun Strowman comes out to interrupt. Titus at least stands a fighting chance for his size. He fares about as well. Thanks guys, your check is in the mail. He carries Sin Cara out like he’s Kane rescuing X-Pac in 1999, and Foley confronts him at the top of the stage. Can this angle please go somewhere now? Sin Cara gets thrown through a Christmas tree into a bunch of boxes, that must’ve hurt. Strowman then suplexes a giant Christmas tree… A sentence I never thought I’d write in my life, and if there is a HAMmiest suplex ever, I’d say it’s that. Ooh, after replays, we get super slow motion replays for emphaSIS! Something happen with this guy, please.

31. Then, Jericho wakes us up from the slow death that is the second hour of RAW, and he reminds us of how the show started. We have him confuse a fear of heights with spiders, and unfortunately we don’t have TROOF around to ramble about SPIDERS! Jericho being afraid and KO being the big helpful savior is adorable.

32. Charlotte’s out next to gloat, I assume. Can Bayley follow up from the victory at Survivor Series now? Now that Charlotte has her last name back, can we give Cesaro Antonio, Neville Adrian, and anyone else who’s been a victim of one-named condensing? Charlotte quotes Triple H’s alternate theme while also telling us with her outfit that it can’t rain all the time. She starts talking smack on all the generations, including Trish and Moolah… Them’s be fightin’ words. I think Charlotte unintentionally gives away what they want the WWE Network subscribers to do. By implying that they subscribe every month, maybe that’s what they expect? Resubscribe every month, get the numbers up! She then botches the cheap heat attempt to talk some OSU shit, and Bayley comes out. Thank you!

33. Charlotte summons her inner DMX to ask if she thinks this is a fucking game?! She then describes the show notes by noting the ending of one rivalry and the beginning of another. Charlotte gives herself some crazy eyes after Bayley remembers her scoreboard line, and says the victories over her don’t count. Charlotte starts Shatnering because even she doesn’t know what the fuck is going on anymore. Charlotte calls for a ref to start… right now? That’s a surprise.

34. The match starts when we come back, and hopefully the show keeps trending upward. I admit this malaise may have to do with still being sick. Feeling better than I did last week, but I wear out from the day pretty quickly. No joke, as a few people have said, I look forward to being able to leave the house again.

35. Bayley must be a fan of the blues, cause she was rollin’ and tumblin’ around. That was… interesting. I do love Graves’ righteous indignation about mockery of Flair though. Charlotte ends up doing a Big Show before a moonsault, and Bayley kicks out. Impressive. The way my daughter looks at Bayley makes me pull for her to succeed. I wonder if parents my age were thinking the same thing ten years ago about the way their kids saw Cena. Changes how you view the past, doesn’t it? Bayley gets the pin, sort of… There was a shoulder up, but it was on the blind side, so… There’s that. The champ loses clean on TV again though, because that’s the only way to establish contendership on this show anymore, but the match was fine. It was good to see a different one, especially.

36. The replays notice the shoulder getting up, but we still don’t have replay in 2016, so… Not as clean of a win? Fine, feud progresses. Rumble match?

37. Meanwhile, at Mastershlock Theatre, Bo reminds us that he too is employed. Then Bob and Darren give us a Flashback Monday to their vignettes that lasted longer than his push. Enzo then makes… A Tinder joke? Enzo needs a foil for this to work. Jinder is not his Kane. That’s what made the Kane/Bryan segments such a hit. Jinder does what he does best… Stare menacingly.

38. The main event is announced for next. It’s 10:30 now, so we’ll go to commercial, come back with segments and more Mastershlock Theatre, entrances, commercial, then announcing, and the match will finally start… Around 10:47. I like three of the four guys in the main event, but, much like the women’s feud… Something needs to give and change things up.

39. Emma pulls a Curt Hawkins and doesn’t debut again, but we do get a Tweet so…. Yay?

40. Bob gives me some bad flashbacks by mentioning Hindu Squats. Then… Rusev comes in because… He’s hitting on the Sensitivity Lady? And then Jinder helps him beat the fuck out of Enzo… again… Rusev was paying more attention than Cass? Then Lana comes in for the Stephanie McMahon Smackdown 2 finishing move, and Enzo goes through a table. So the point of all that was…? Take this, Enzo! How dare you keep getting great reactions? We’ll Zack Ryder the shit out of you!

41. Crossfit Jesus comes out at 10:39, and Roman gets booed out of another arena. It’s good that he’s in a tag match though, protect that lack of endurance a little better. I hope someone takes the US title and hits him with it until he holds it right. We go to commercial again, so that means the League of Super Best Friends will be coming out after the break.

42. 10:47 and Jericho’s just getting in the ring. Not bad, and I didn’t edit that in to make it more accurate afterward. Graves tells Saxton not to wear the shirt of the band he’s going to see, and he’s got a point. Don’t be that guy, Gutter. I don’t know if you were aware of this, but there was music recorded before 1987. Nice reference, SJK.

43. I’m not really sure what to say about this tag match. The wrestling’s fine, as per usual with these guys, but what’s there to add at this point? I mean, the shark cage yeah, but anything else? Is there anyone else on RAW even in position to step up? Hell, ⅘ of Team RAW is in the ring now and have been the focal points of the feuds, and the other guy is still doing the smash things yelly stuff, so what is there? Balor returning at the Rumble? Trade with the smaller-yet-better-maintained roster in Smackdown? I mean, Triple H returning to face Crossfit Jesus will take care of one of those, but are they going to invest in another WrestleMania with Roman in the main event?

44. We come back in time for Roman Reigns to tag in, and Cole to get excited about a preview for the Rumble main event. Sad when the most exciting part of that rematch is held up in the air like a dangling prize of HAM. Reigns in KO’s sleeper hold resembles me two nights in a row during his match, and at least Kevin Owens’ commentary makes for some amusement. One of ‘em must’ve said a bad word though.

45. Another bad word either got yelled during the suicide dive, or the sound guy isn’t having a good night. Dammit Full Sail! Jericho gets the knees up on the frog splash, and that cannot feel good no matter how protected it is. Fortunately it didn’t affect him enough to not reach the ropes quickly. Reigns hits a Superman punch and then does his best Ultimate ropes shake and… Braun Strowman attacks Reigns? Now he’s getting in the ring, KO and Jericho bail, and Rollins gets to get thrown around too. He’s making 1998 Kane proud with these run-ins. Jericho and Owens throw Reigns in, I’m assuming in an attempt to gain him some sympathy. At least Strowman is finally doing something, and I did ask for another name to be involved finally. That Braun sure can yell though.

46. This show was fine. Minimal filler, surprisingly, but the problematic formula of the last six months. Good first half hour, decent-to-good last hour, and just rapid declining in between. At least Neville yelled some to break it up. I kept looking at the clock for a good part of the night and finding disbelief in how much time had not passed. I hope RAW gets better in the New Year, at least for the WM season. It should be the best time to watch for a wrestling fan, but RAW needs to catch up to Smackdown in terms of watchability.


Can’t say there’s any doubt for tonight, and with this, we have to determine who will be the HAM of 2016, and what was the HAMmiest moment of the Year? Daniel Bryan won in 2012, and Paul Heyman in 2013. Vote in the comments, and we’ll figure out by the year-end review who takes home the glorious golden spiral slices.

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
8-9-16 - Becky Lynch
8-15-16 - Heath Slater
8-29-16 - Kevin Owens
8-30-16 - AJ Styles
9-5-16 - Fake Xavier Woods
9-6-16 - AJ Styles
9-12-16 - Mick Foley
9-19-16 - Chris Jericho
9-20-16 - Rhyno
9-26-16 - Chris Jericho
9-27-16 - Curt Hawkins
10-3-16 - Chris Jericho
10-4-16 - The Spirit Squad
10-11-16 - AJ Styles/Dean Ambrose
10-17-16 - Stephanie McMahon
10-18-16 - This is Dean. We like Dean.
10-24-16 - Chris Jericho
10-31-16 - Big Cass
11-7-16 - New Day
11-8-16 - Luke Harper
11-14-16 - Paul Heyman
11-15-16 - Tony Chimmel
11-21-16 - Kevin Owens
11-22-16 - This is Dean. We like the Mountie.
11-28-16 - Corey Graves
11-29-16 - Carmella
12-5-16 - Kevin Owens
12-6-16 - Dean Ambrose
12-12-16 - Jack Gallagher
12-13-16 - The Miz
12-19-16 - Chris Jericho

Al Laiman, In Laiman’s Terms, and Inciting Incident are owned by It’s a Shameful Thing, Lobsterhead, LLC. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. For media or inquiries, please contact patorrez@patorrez.com.

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