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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #256 - Thoughts on RAW - 1-2-17
By Al Laiman
Jan 2, 2017 - 11:30:39 PM

Gonna try something different. Normally I invite Patreon donors to follow along live on the Google Doc I share, but tonight, I'm gonna live-update as much as possible like results do sometimes. Thanks for your support, and hope for another HAMmy year for everyone!





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IN LAIMAN’S TERMS #256 - Thoughts on RAW - 1-2-17

Happy 2017, LOP! I’ve revised Patreon and changed it to a monthly support system rather than a weekly, so hopefully a few of you can support my work over there. It includes t-shirts, shout-outs, Skype calls, and you can follow along as I write the column on Google Docs live. I know most of you haven’t seen it, but it’s available to help me out for as little as a dollar a month. Thank you to those who already have. Patreon.com/AlLaiman

1. Goldberg is back tonight, and after watching his episode of the Monday Night War last night, it gives me an entirely new perspective.

2. I hear the crash re-starting, so I assume that Foley’s already in the ring. Oh goodness, Mick cut his hair for the first time since I saw him in Hershey in 2000. Apparently the classic first line of 2017 hasn’t changed either, and the RAW shirt he’s wearing is nearly taking over the resolution of my television. Foley’s now using the Sarah Palin method to remember where he is, and he can laugh about it all he wants, but it makes me very sad.

3. Roman Reigns is still getting booed at the mention of his name. Better put him in the main event again. They’re gonna push their way to the other side.

4. Ohai KO, I’m sorry you’re disappointed at only being second-runner up to Ambrose and Jericho for the yearly HAM. Jericho’s dressed like Rick Vaughn decided to attend a drag show on the strip. Wow, that makes Wild Thing have a new connotation, doesn’t it?

5. Oh these two, making emphasis on the second letter. Love it! Starting off the new HAM early!

6. Jericho sounds like he’s quoting Dream Theater lyrics to express his fear of being in the shark cage. “Crawling to my shark prison, a place where no one knows, my secret HAMmy world begins!”

7. Goodie, Steph is here, and she’s cosplaying as herself in 2003 when she was Smackdown GM. Hopefully no angles involving pregnancy were on the horizon. KO turns up the HAM again by demanding attention as the mediocre Nicolas Cage movies. What about him? What about Owens?!

8. Steph rants about Smackdown Live beating RAW in the ratings. Gee, maybe it’s because their show isn’t agonizing to get through and puts out quality content? Nah… Ooh, a new Monday Night War, except it’s Tuesdays and the same company. At least it’s the illusion of competition?

9. Crossfit Jesus and Kevin Owens are in yet another match. It’s fine, I mean they’re both good and all, but we’ve seen this… A lot. Outside of the top four, the main event scene is getting stale. Not the wrestlers themselves, or at least ¾ of them, but the matches between them.

10. KO gets disqualified, so Jericho has no Super Best Friend at ringside. That must’ve really made the List, because it was blacked out for several seconds. KO, that’s not the way to be a champion!

11. Remember the Rumble, the theme for the San Antonio Royal Rumble. Co-opting a motto used to evoke the memory of a massacre. They had the St. Valentine’s one back in the 90s, so sure, why not?

12. Somehow, despite losing nearly all the time, Club Sandwich are now in a feud with the tag team champions. Is the state of the RAW tag division beyond New Day that sad, or did I time warp back to 2003 again? Bring back La Resistance!

13. While Lobsterhead discusses who he and Cesaro would be in Game of Thrones, we get another mid-match commercial. 2/2 so far, but at least we’ve had minimal filler… So far. I dread the dead time of RAW more than seeing certain relatives.

14. Karl gets a lot more of these “tag-team singles” matches than Doc does. I wonder if Karl just works singles matches better or something? Cesaro gets to do his cruiserweight impression, but there’s no purple so I’m unable to distinguish.

15. A guy in a Hogan costume got to be in the front row. They’ve also spent a good portion of the time so far standing up. That’s nice, since nobody is behind them at all, and it’s so easy to see from those seats when they stand. Cheers, dudes. Then again, it may not be a costume at all, not even a goatee? Interestingly enough though, I remember another guy right in that front row wearing sunglasses the whole show a few weeks ago, so maybe that’s a thing? I guess?

16. Looks like two levels of the building mostly tarped off. That’s not good. Florida should be able to draw better than that. Then again, this is the place where the Rays play, and they’re the only baseball team that makes our stadium look like a full house in the regular season. Anyway, Lobsterhead messes up and Karl gets the win. Decent enough match, but the Club are damaged goods at best after months of continuously losing every feud they’ve been in.

17. Recap of Strowman feud. Skip. They’re doing that match already? That can’t be good for Sami’s match. Oh no wait, we’re getting another recap. Thankfully I haven’t seen any of the Goldberg/Lesnar feud or match… More filler, I jinxed it. Skip.

18. Now it’s time for the Mountain That Wrestles to yell at me some more… about coffee-flavored coffee, whatever the hell that is. Then he’s gonna call me a Haiku-writing motherfucker! Name the reference.

19. We’ve got a kendo stick. Steve Blackman would be proud. It’s a big wrestler, so it’s only a matter of time before he catches and breaks it, and yep, there it is. He also counters a moonsault into a Fridge Largemeat Throwzayn or something. He gets to throw Skippy Ska Happy Man around some more, but man did those kendo shots leave some welts.

20. The ring post takes some abuse it doesn’t deserve. That can’t be pleasant. He then tries to dive through the ropes for a DDT, but gets punched right in the fuck for his efforts. They count it like a count-out. Sort of. I haven’t enjoyed this run at all. Lasting for ten minutes only made this longer, and made Sami look worse instead of better. If lasting ten minutes against a guy is the standard against which people are being held, why is he not fighting for the world title? I know the champion is heel also, but it makes no sense. Unless Sami somehow gets elevated out of constantly getting the Mikey Whipwreck treatment, it’s only more time of the Strowman/Corbin smash-and-win every week special. We go to a commercial mid-Michael-Cole-sentence, so they’re not all bad.

21. We come back with more Lump Beefbroth smash, and now they’re near the discount stage announce table. They start heading toward the backstage, minus the fun of the Attitude Era hardcore division, and Zayn gets thrown into a curtain like that was supposed to be devastating.

22. Smash Lampjaw gets hit with a pipe, but somehow even that can be caught and thrown away. Slab Squatthrust then starts throwing storage crates, because only throwing Sami gets old after a while. Now he’s got a chair, so let’s see how he catches this one eventually. They go back through the curtain, because we can’t have any silly backstage antics like finding Foley in the boiler room doing his taxes or something, and Sami… Yep, Strowman catches the chair, but Buff Plankchest shakes his head a little bit, so that’s the same as selling weapons, right?

23. Smoke Manmuscle takes more chairshots, teeters on the edge, and Sami crossbodies through a table off the stage! Nice! How quick will Thick McRunfast get up? Barely a three count. The crowd likes it though, so there’s that at least. Sami then gets thrown again by Stump Chunkman, and we’re back to the ring.

24. Powerslam on the outside by Bolt Vanderhuge, and let’s see if that keeps the young whippersnapper in flannel tights down. Nope, more throwing shall commence! I’m pretty sure at least four minutes of Sami laying at ringside for counting have passed. And Penn State lost the Rose Bowl. I wouldn’t be so happy about that if State College fans hadn’t treated me like shit last year and been talking shit since the playoff game, but them’s be the downfalls of living where I do and being where I’m from, I guess.

25. Oh, Sami lost and now is being stretchered off? What was the fucking point? This wasn’t enough, so Foley watches Buff Drinklots hit him some more. Fantastic, if only you had some authority or something, Foley. Now he’ll probably be rewarded with a title shot or something.

26. Fridge Largemeat isn’t even up the stage yet before Michael Cole talks about something else. The lights then go out except for the commentators, and they’re talking about 205. Recaps and cruiserweight preparation? Okay, it’s of Jack Gallagher with something in between William Regal and the Vaudevillains invading the editing department, so I might actually watch this.

27. Jack Gallagher must be a big fan of Kingsmen. He rules with that umbrella. Okay, this is fun. Is it possible to win a HAM when you’re only in recaps?

28. Nevermind, he’s teaching the New Day umbrella dueling. Mr. Gallagher is not impressed with Kofi’s intentional misunderstanding. Most unorthodox!

29. New Day’s out next to announce their resolutions. I hope some of it involves updating their schtick a little bit. They’re in the Rumble, though I’m pretty sure they use AKA wrong.

30. Now someone interrupts them doing their schtick… Titus? Yep. Oh good, I was hoping someone could come out who could silence the entire arena. He offers to be a new member of the New Day, and that’s the first time anything he’s done has had a reaction in months. Maybe the Innovators of Silence will join him next and check off the list for one segment. Titus is HAMming it up to the best of his ability. I like the guy, he’s fun and goofy, but it’s just never worked.

31. Xavier is not impressed with Titus touching the Francesca. He uses the whistle and twerks, so at least he’s trying, I guess? It’s getting cheers. The turn comes with the burn. Is he still being punished for grabbing Vince’s arm that one time? Xavier challenges him for calling him a weak link. I’ve seen matches start for dumber reasons. Titus punches him and gets out of the ring, so he can get back in again for the match.

32. The former Consequences Creed is rarely in a match, so this is rather refreshing. Even wrestling one of the New Day, the arena is dead silent. Corey Graves doesn’t even give a shit. If you don’t care, why should we?

33. Titus pats himself on the back, presumably because no one else has in a very long time. This is the guy who lost a match to Mark Henry one move shorter than Goldberg’s last match. Suddenly Xavier wins, but he had a commercial break match, sort of, so improvement in the new year?

34. Meanwhile, in 2003, Bayley comes to talk to Steph. She refers to two weeks ago by calling it last week, and Steph tries to be condescending, but with that eyeshadow, it doesn’t work that well. Steph is a heel for this segment, so she never wanted Bayley on RAW. She goes into a shill for Charlotte while Bayley curls her lip. I’m pretty sure I can hear Izzy screaming from the crowd about not approving of this bullshit.

35. I know they think this works, but this is the same crap they pulled on Daniel Bryan. Degrading someone like this and not allowing them any retribution doesn’t work for the benefit of the so-called ordinary B-plus player. Bayley gets a number one contender’s match, I’m assuming against Nia Jax. Wow, who saw that coming? It’ll be the first time they’ve ever fac… Nah.

36. Meanwhile, in the hall of BLUE, Noam Dar and Cedric Alexander speak backstage. Midshow doldrums… Sweet cheeks, how dare he! That son of a bitch won’t get away with that kind of language around here! I have no idea why Smackdown’s beating RAW in the ratings, none whatsoever!

37. Just when you think anti-smoking commercials can’t get any dumber (I caught up the DVR already), the Big Bad Wolf can’t huff and puff anymore cause smoking stunted his lungs or something. Wow, trying to paint the villain as sympathetic. Nothing like infantilizing and condescending while trying to also make us feel bad for the Big Bad Wolf. At least play some Green fucking Jelly if shameless pandering is what you’re going for, JBLdammit!

38. Drew Gulak gets the jobber entrance while Austin Aries joins us on commentary, leaving Corey to make fun of him some more. Who can blame him, sometimes the obvious target still needs pointing out. Did discount Hulk Hogan switch seats or something? Do they rotate spots on the floor seats sometimes?

39. Gulak is also a member of Too Cool for Kneepads club, and I do not envy his post-match ice-packing. I love that slingshot body slam, but that was dangerously close to him landing on his head from the recoil. That always makes me nervous. Tony Nese at ringside is slowly becoming dangerously close to Damien Sandow himself, though Handel’s “Messiah” has not yet graced our ears.

40. Gulak gets the win due to Tony Nese backrolling in a suit. Credit for unique? Dead silence in the ring. Poor cruiserweights, they really got the shaft in treatment, didn’t they?

41. Jericho and Reigns is next? Oh of course, Goldberg’s main event, my bad. Shit, I can’t skip the commercials.

42. That reminds me, a reader invited me to RAW on the 23rd, so… First of all, thanks Adam! Second, column won’t be posted live that week, obviously.

43. Paige? They’re promoting Paige on Total Divas? Did I miss something?

44. Listen to that round of applause for Roman Reigns. Makes some Vickie Guerrero heat look tame. At least he can’t win the Rumble again. Even mushroom clouds have silver linings.

45. Jericho’s fear of the shark cage shows more emotion than Roman Reigns did in 2016. This is another match, like the first one, that we’ve already seen so many times that it’s hard to give a shit. Plus, if Jericho won, I’d be very shocked. Though to be fair, they did say he’d lose the title if he got disqualified? What a twist? I don’t know, I’m just sick of Jericho losing all the time while being easily the best part of RAW for the last six months.

46. Meanwhile, after another mid-match commercial break, Roman’s about to get out of another sleeper to prevent Roman from sucking wind visibly on a close-up. Reigns won’t even fulfill the counting last punch crowd reaction thing.

47. The match picks up with a countered Superman punch. He even cocked it, so it counted! Wow. Jericho using the less inverted Walls means Roman’s going to get out of it, and he does. Jericho gets out of the Superman Punch, so did that cocking of the wrist count for the first attempt or is it one of those things where he has to reload like a shotgun?

48. Counter of the Spear to another attempted Walls, and another missed spear into the corner. Second half of this match hasn’t been half bad. Jericho unties the the turnbuckle, and is Jericho gonna pull an Eddie Guerrero? Oh please, do that! Cost him the title with the Eddie! Dammit, Roman kicks out of the Codebreaker, and the Eddie move didn’t get him disqualified.

49. Jericho hits the Turnbuckle, Roman hits the Spear and wins… Again. Good second half of the match at least, but a tired ending that we’ve seen far too often. Even the Eddie didn’t work, I’m so disappointed in that.

50. Cole teases the Goldberg appearance by saying it like the fan chant. No.

51. Neville’s turn is one of the best things in recent memory. The cruiserweight division needed more than Kendrick being a dick. Kendrick offers Mega Man Jr. a handshake, but someone didn’t learn from Ring of Honor. Gallagher would be appalled at such manners. Kendrick’s pants look like something found on Def Leppard’s pants after a paintball fight.

52. Mega Man Jr. wins with a submission, and I continue to feel bad for how that division continues to be presented outside of its own show.

53. This UK championship thing is damn cool, and the next series of matches fills the void that the CWC left once it was over. So bizarre to see Nigel again.

54. Oh goodie, is Emma not going to show up yet again? Fantastic, maybe she’ll have a Darren Young-like run this year.

55. Rusev and Jinder get the jobber entrance? Really? Enzo comes out in his souped-up scooter so that Edge-on-Stilts can smash in a much more fun way than the WWE trio of smashwins. I love how Enzo still does his schtick in the chair. They cut to someone just filming it with their phone. Invigorating, I’m so glad I saw that.

56. A handicap match? An Attitude Era staple, but one that I haven’t seen in a while. Edge-on-Stilts does his spelling test, and Corey Graves wins the other reference HAM by comparing Enzo and Cass to Krang.

57. You think we’ll see a Cass/Strowman stand-off early in the Rumble? Oh, Rusev wins yet again. How dare you guys have people like you? Please continue losing to Rusev repeatedly. Speaking of Strowman, yay, more recaps of that too. Then Charlotte comes out, and we go to commercial. Mid-RAW doldrums got me spacing out like whoa…

58. I’ll be all over in the next few months. I’ll be in Chicago from the 12th-14th, Cleveland from the 22nd-23rd, and Minnesota in early March. If anyone wants to grab a drink or something, let me know. I’ll also be at RAW, like I mentioned, so if you’re also going, let me know!

59. Tajiri! Hey, now that Charlotte Flair has her last name, can we give Neville his Adrian back?

60. It’s time for Bayley, and one girl in particular is really excited. Except the one with a “We Want Paige!” sign. Tell me about it…

61. Who is Nia looking at when they do that super close-up of her eyes during her discount Lita entrance? Her eyes are darting back and forth like she’s the original Wolfenstein 3D avatar. And that’s about the extent of my video game references, so there you go!

62. Nia Jax gives us the Strowman smash we were missing from earlier in the show. Feels like so long ago right now… Nia ups the ante by trying to re-enact the best of the Masterlock Challenge, but we don’t have a Bobby Lindsay to break it up unceremoniously, so it’s a no-go. Someone said a bad word again! RAW has some potty-mouths tonight, don’t they?

63. Sasha distracts Nia with her entrance, Bayley hits a huge Bayley-to-Belly, and she wins! Yay! Corey drops a little Regal by using the word “besmirch” and at least there was a little fun happy time tonight.

64. Another post-show show? It looks like they took my idea for a Pardon the Interruption-type show too. If three hours of RAW didn’t exhaust me so much, I might check it out. I cannot imagine who has time for all the shows, pre-shows, and post-shows, then another hour for 205, NXT, and a PPV, plus everything else that I assume is on the other days. I admire anyone’s patience who can do it, for sure.

65. The Kevin Owens Show apparently decided to go “1990s MTV animations” for their set inspiration. Kevin wins the HAM for that buildup psych switch by announcing Jericho instead. Double-meaning on that, given their history together too. And is that going to make The List? Tampa Bay makes The List! Good, long overdue! Evan Longoria should get a special spot too.

66. Was the MTV Kevin Owens Show sign afraid of Goldberg? And do they pay people to show up just to stand by as Goldberg walks to a place? I want that job. “Here’s 500 dollars, stand right here as the large baldy mustache man breathes sparks as he walks by. Look somber and uninterested.”

67. Goldberg getting a lawn chair just ices the HAM for Kevin Owens. Goldberg talks some smack on Jericho being in the Rumble, and Jericho sneers at him knowing full well what could happen. Someone has a Goldberg sign and I’m pretty sure that they have a widescreen aspect ratio on it for some reason. Goldberg yells in response to List threats with the two moves he knows, and somehow it’s still cool. Owens plays along with it with his signature snark, then throws tables and chairs all over the place.

68. KO and Goldberg are yelling things like they’re a Braun Strowman entrance theme before Paul Heyman interrupts them to say that Lesnar isn’t here. Damn, must not have had enough dates on his contract left to show up and not give a shit. Goldberg cuts off Heyman perfectly as well. I can’t get over how much his intensity makes up for the basic things he’s saying. I love it.

69. Because we haven’t seen him enough yet, Roman Reigns comes out to show Goldberg how a lesser spear looks, I imagine. Brian just commented about how much testosterone there is in the ring right now, though to be fair, Goldberg’s trap muscles make up half of it. He challenges Reigns with something, and Goldberg must’ve really been not impressed because they bleeped it out again.

70. Fuck, more yelling, we’ve got a clusterfuck brewing here, except it’s not at the beginning of the show. We’re gonna see a mini-Rumble preview here, aren’t we? Paul diving and covering from Braun would be enough to win a HAM on any other night. Brick Hardmeat steps in the ring at the right spot to be speared by both of them, and that’s what happens. All right, even I’ll admit that was cool. The Rumble is my favorite event of the year, though the winners of recent years have spoiled the fun of it for me. Goldberg then poses with a fan before leaving.

71. Overall, the show was well-paced for the first hour, the doldrums took over, but the end segment was damn awesome. That was the 2016 formula for most shows though, so very little has changed. It also adds some badly-needed different names to the main event segments, because there’s only so many times we can see Jericho/Rollins/Reigns/Owens before we’re just tired of all of them facing each other. Tonight was living proof of that. Some fun moments, way too much filler and boring middle parts, but capped off with an awesome ending. RAW needs to build up the middle of their show with more than recaps, because right now, I’m really considering Smackdown the better show and I’d be SD-exclusive if the ratings could keep steady for Tuesday nights as well. Right now though, doing both is the only economical way to go until Patreon gets to a certain point at least. Thank you to all my Patreon donors, and all of you readers who participated in my live Patreon Google Doc as well as my LOP-update-post.

HAM OF THE NIGHT

Kevin Owens comes back with a vengeance, desperate to be HAM of the Year for 2017.
2012 - Daniel Bryan
2013 - Paul Heyman
2016 - Chris Jericho
1-2-17 - Kevin Owens

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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