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Posted in: In Laiman's Terms
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #288 - Thoughts on RAW - 4-17-17
By Marissa Laiman
Apr 17, 2017 - 11:54:37 PM



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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS #288 - Thoughts on RAW - 4-17-17

I'm going to be in North Carolina this coming weekend, so if anyone wants to come say hi, be sure to let me know!

1. Let's attempt to make Roman Reigns sympathetic again. Maybe then the guy who retired the Undertaker will stop getting "Thank you, Braun!" chants when he beats the fuck out of him.

2. Listen to these pops he's getting. Braun's becoming a star before our very eyes at the expense of the guy they're trying to make him the villain against. Reigns not being here gets a huge pop all on its own, and even a "YES!" chant with it.

3. Kurt! He books a match against Roman Reigns for Payback, and gets smart with him in his Kurty Kurt way. He tell him he's done enough damage, so I don't imagine he'll go 1998 Kane on anyone. That definitely won't happen.

4. We've got a match involving Alexa and Mickie, an episode of MizTV, and Jericho/Joe. I am good with this.

5. Crossfit Jesus is next, and I wonder if he'll sell himself some knee injuries but continue to do moves that exacerbate the issue. Oh wait, he's on commentary because Joe/Y2J is next, and many a 2005 internet fan must be salivating right now.

6. Papa Roach is still a thing? Wow, you learn something everyday.

7. Michael Cole, award-winning journalist: "They had a relationship based on their relationship."

8. Joe has the best death stare in the business, bar none. My favorite is still the bloody rise behind Kurt Angle during Kurt's debut in TNA. It's been years since I've watched that show. I wonder how it's doing.

9. Chris Jericho comes out dressed like a Christmas tree in a hipster village, and Joe attacks him immediately. I can't cease to be impressed by how Jericho manages to constantly evolve and remain relevant by changing and adapting every few months. If only certain other wrestlers learned that skill...

10. CFJ officially gets acknowledged as Kingslayer, so time to get him a Paul Burchill gimmick and a golden hand.

11. Booker T mercifully replaces David Otunga on commentary. Let's hope it stays permanent.

12. Here's a thing though... What effective finisher does Jericho have? I can't remember the last time the Walls tapped someone out. Has the Codebreaker worked recently? Speaking of the Walls though, great counter into an attempted one. I really miss the Lion Tamer version though. This weak Boston Crab has us randomly looking at a confused fan in red... The Crab People, I assume?

13. Jericho ends up getting caught in the Clutch. Good opening match with the tension of CFJ's imminent confrontation built up well.

14. Joe then gets on the mic and does his best Braun Strowman impression, or at least what Braun would sound like on old Aqua Teen episodes. SETH ROLLINS, BEHOLD!

15. It's weird hearing Joe call someone out with self-righteousness, especially in defense of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. I'm confused.

16. The two former ROH stars stare each other down as CFJ responds, dropping the title line in there too. How many times will that be worked in in the next few weeks?

17. The Club Sandwich passes by that guy from the Punisher, and they're facing... oh JBLdammit. Goldust and TROOF are still employed. I'll be damned. And now, Strowman's going 1998 Kane, who saw that coming? He said everyone. Everyone?



18. How in the everloving fuck did Jinder Mahal get in a number one contender's match to the WWE title? He hasn't won a match since he beat Heath Slater during his "run up the best losing streak since MVP" challenge.

19. Some ref with a death wish comes by to inform Braun that he has the night off again. This results in Braun standing up, and then sitting back down. Thanks, that helped.

20. The Club Sandwich make a United Airlines joke. It's funny because it's topical.

21. Enzo and Cass just so happened to be standing by, so we're getting the continuation of this feud. I'm assuming because the champions are faces so they have to continue to occupy their time somehow. Funny anecdote, during their new age New Age Outlaws schtick, they managed to appear in two cheap commercial shills simultaneously.

22. Cass had about as much enthusiasm as a librarian at an anti-reading convention. Think he's getting tired of this shit too?

23. Here's an interesting question, from a kayfabe point of view. If you're trying to get people interested in the upcoming match, why on earth would you have booked Golden TROOF, a tag team we haven't seen on RAW in weeks, instead of one of your premiere stars in the first place?

24. I'm doing my best to get excited about this match, but much like the RAW women's division prior to the shakeup, we've been seeing this for a while now. I wonder how the Cavs are doing...

25. Karl's tailbone buster on Enzo looked more like an unimpressive spinebuster attempt, but the barely-failed hot tag was pretty sweet. Corey makes an Ohio State joke because local.

26. What the hell just happened? I mean, the Karl turnbuckle move was amazing, but the ref made a close-fall two count, but called it three. Botched finish? Did someone get hurt? What?

27. Are they going to advertise WrestleMania the whole fucking year? It's not even May yet!

28. They're really banking on that Nia Jax being "one of the most dominant superstars in WWE history" thing, aren't they?

29. MizTV comes out next dressed like he's about to star in the remake of Eddie Murphy's Delirious, and unfortunately he's not interviewing Delirious on MizTV.

30. I continue to be impressed with how much better Miz gets on the mic every week.

31. Someone's already learned the skill of Monday Night Interruptions, and his name is Dean. We like Dean. He's following up on his HAMtastic performance last week, and gets a cheap pop mentioning the only three cities in Ohio most people know, and goes for the Super Foleytastic football team chants. Apparently he isn't too good at colors though.

32. This is a great interaction between someone who looks the part and wants to fit the mold, and someone who gives absolutely no fucks. It's like Corporate Rock and Stone Cold before the title runs. Miz gives him a pretty thorough lashing at how much things got derailed after his WWE title run. He calls him "lazy" and "complacent," which I assume directly quoted the things he called Lesnar after their WrestleMania match.

33. Dean then turns it up a notch himself. Freaking brilliant, these two going back and forth, constructing a promo segment the way it's meant to be done. But then Maryse confuses him for Aladdin. That, or the black wig made her think she was a Disney Princess.

34. Dean asks her to hold the microphone while he empties his pockets and carefully removes his leather jacket, folding it luggage-style. Maryse tries for the save, Miz still gets embarrassed but escapes. Great segment, great revitalization of this feud, and then Dean throws a chair, trying to outdo Braun's Reigns toss from last week.

35. Speaking of pissing people off, Aiden's opinion of Braun Strowman changed after he threw Kalisto into a trash can. Big Show charges Braun, who looks like he's about to cry, and tells him to pick on someone his own size. Braun v. Big Show II?

36. Poor Kalisto, he finally got away from getting barraged by Corbin and Zigglesworth every week, and now Strowman helps him make his debut by being dragged across a floor. At least let the guy be in the cruiserweight division so he can stop being a punching bag!

37. Yep, we've got Show/Braun II. I wonder if Roman Reigns makes a comeback...

38. TJ's looking a little Neville-esque in those colors. He's reminding me of a pre-TNA Shiima Xion, and that's certainly not a bad thing.

39. I guess they've given up on the whole Jack Gallagher thing after having him appear in the Rumble. Shame, I think he's my favorite character. But I suppose the division can only rotate from someone winning a few matches to losing to the next guy who does for a while, and then disappear to the void that is 205Live.

40. Neville Baratheon comes out to make a "special appearance" by yelling and staring down Jack Gallagher. I'm not the only one who gets the Baratheon comparison, because Corey calls TJ the chosen "Hand of the King." Don't take it, TJ! That never works out without an ugly death! Then Aries's music decides to announce the arrival of his purple pants. He actually uses the phrase "more specialer." Amazing.

41. This match is really fun. And using the umbrella as Jack's berserk button is a great bit of character development too few of the cruiserweights have gotten.

42. Jack ends up getting shoved into Austin after having his fun. Austin takes enough time to take off his jacket before he gets in the ring. I wonder if that'll come back to bite him in the ass. The distraction gives TJ a chance to get the dirty win. One of the best shows of the Cruiserweight division on RAW in a long time, even if Jack lost again. That was fun.

43. Does anyone ever get bothered by the order of the words in the phrase "former 2-time champion?" To me, aren't you a 2-time former champion? Or just a 2-time champion? Former 2-time champion, grammatically, always seems to me like they're saying that they once were a 2-time champion, but are no longer. These are the thoughts I usually have when I'm hanging out in the studio before the show.

44. All right, Cavs up with two minutes to go. Normally that'd be a good thing, but I trust the WWE to push Kalisto as the one to defeat Braun before I trust the Cavs with a lead this year. Also, Marv Albert calling a basketball game is like JR calling a wrestling match; still great sentiment attached to hearing him on commentary.

45. Meanwhile, Titos O'Neil scares away Apollo's friend to welcome him to RAW. Gee, will this end up in a match with Titus embarrassing himself again? The Titus Brand? What is he, a parody of a Life Coach now? He also used the phrase "get jiggy" which I haven't heard since about 1999.

46. Then we get the Hardyz in their first on-air interview. Unfortunately, it's not the Matt and Jeff that I had to review a while back for the ridiculous levels of HAM. Cesaro and Lobsterhead approach, and welcome them back, claiming they're the first to do it. Man, that's some shitty locker room etiquette. It took that long to say hi to the veterans? Get Undertaker back to Wrestler's Court! These two marking out and then turning it into an assurance they'll win. That was pretty damn good!

47. Finally, holy hell, the time these entrances took made it seem like they were stalling for the main event an hour later. Alexa gets a nice hometown pop, but then they orgasm over Nia Jax by implying that she's X-Pac, Justin Credible, AND Albert rolled into one in this match! Is this gonna be a rehash of the WrestleMania match but with different wrestlers? So far, it looks to be so.

48. Alexa Bliss getting herself in trouble with Nia is unbelievably adorable. Heel or face, and not just the home-state homerism, she's really grown on me.

49. A Mickie-ranna? Can we start coming up with move names that aren't merely the wrestler's name worked into the name of it?

50. The ref nearly gets run over by Sasha getting tossed around by Nia. It's a shame; this match has been incrementally better than the WrestleMania match, but to be fair... I was so sick of those four facing each other that I didn't pay as close of attention as I could have, so who knows?

51. Alexa continues her awesome "ultimate opportunist"-like performance by choosing her spots and taking advantage of them. Everyone, however, is getting their chance to shine in this match. Alexa gets a fantastic, opportunistic win by kicking Jax out of the ring at the right time and becomes the number one contender. Bayley and Alexa? I'm down with that.

52. After Big Show stares into space longer than he speaks, we get another Network shill, so I'm gonna check on the Tribe game taking place in the Twin Cities, my new home as of June 1st! Well, St. Paul to be specific, but I'm finally moving (back) to the first place that ever felt like home to me.

53. Oh great, who is Curt Hawkins losing to this week? And how bad are things going for you when you mispronounce your own name?

54. Looks like we've got Finn Balor taking his turn... So yeah, Balor wins. I'm gonna watch the game. Thanks for coming, Curt. Your check's in the mail.

55. Now we've gotta get on that cheap shill train again for the new movie and stuff.

56. Meanwhile, new interviewer with cool 90s up-in-the-front hair gets to interview a now-saddened Christmas tree hipster-scarved Y2J, and he still manages to get the catch phrases in there. Brilliant. Holy shit, a Velocity namedrop! That takes me back! A HAM-worthy performance, backstage indeed, and we get Damien Sandow's Seattle grunge era split personality ending up making the List.

57. Now, Bray Wyatt also gets a segment. Great long bathroom break for those in love attendance. I really hope he finds a way to get taken seriously again after that super weird feud with Orton. Oh wait, that's still going, but is sort of hinting toward Balor too? Whatever. The Silent Hill-esque visuals are pretty cool at least.

58. Bray threatens murder by arson in response to Orton's corpse arson. I suppose that's one way to raise the stakes. I've said it before and I'll say it again: wrestling is weird.

59. Now, in another backstage segment, apparently Alicia Fox is still on the roster. Is a match going to happen over a replay from a show nobody watches? Do I really have to watch Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke wrestle again? I'm pretty sure Alicia Fox quoted Clueless or something. it was bad enough seeing them in the dark match when I was at RAW live a few months ago. There isn't enough weed in Seattle to make me watch that shit.

60. There aren't enough adverts yet, so now a match is presented by an owl allergy mascot. The first thing they reference is one of my favorite matches of all time, Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker in 2002. At least Jeff Hardy has been around long enough to actually have something that's "vintage" for Cole to be accurate.

61. Cole again with that lightning-quick analysis: "Well he (Cesaro) wants to beat Jeff..." Are you serious? That's why they're doing the wrestle-wrestle? Fuck, I've been wrong about this all along. I'm still trying to figure out why an owl is sponsoring a Jeff Hardy match.

62. Okay, Cole saying "what impact" about hitting a former TNA star can't be a coincidence, can it?

63. Pretty damn good match all the same, Jeff Hardy wins clean with the Swanton. We get a handshake moment between the four. Nice. I'm still waiting for Matt to lose his mind, and Cole gets another vintage in because he gets five bucks every time he says it.

64. Now it's time for... RECAPS! Yay! Fortunately they haven't replayed any of these already, because if they had, this would be completely fucking tedious.

65. Ohai Rhyno and Heath Slater, I swear I already saw one of you lose to Finn Balor earlier. Rhyno's got CRACKERS! And instead of crumbling them in an intimidating fashion, he throws them in fear. Then Braun and Big Show get the same angle on their beard contest, and there we are.

66. Again, how in the flying vagina squirreling everloving fucktits did Jinder Mahal get in a WWE title contendership match? Who's next? Konnor? Aiden English? Harvey Wippleman? Mantaur? The 2016 Cleveland Browns? That guy who only played one game in Field of Dreams? A dead Lois? Who? (There's the owl placement for you!)

67. Braun yells again, and Corey Graves says that this match is pure super-heavyweight. Hardcore and Crash would beg to differ.

68. Now this is more of the brawl I was expecting from their first encounter. Was that reserved because Show didn't want to get hurt before his big Shaq match? Is that how it worked?

69. Did Booker T just get called "booger?" I didn't realize they were remaking Revenge of the Nerds too.

70. These two have to have spent a lot of time working with each other. This match looks not only better, but more refined. Just tell me they aren't gonna go for the "ring collapsing" thing, please. Crowd is eating this up with a spoon though, so it's working.

71. Remember when the Chokeslam actually won matches sometimes? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

72. They're really teasing that top rope spot. It better pay off this time. Last match between these two, it really didn't.

73. Strowman kicked out of a Leaping Reverse Fuckpunch Credenza Jawbreaker! What a moment!

74. Big Show goes to the top rope, but Strowman nearly trips over himself trying to climb the ropes. And yep, they did the breaking the ring ending. Michael Cole says for the 234234856th time "you gotta be kidding me!" First Lesnar, then Henry, now Strowman. It's a Rite of Passage to be a super-heavyweight and break a ring with Show. We get several dozen angles of the ring breaking, mixed in with slow-motion replays of fans reacting, which really added to the experience for me. Strowman ends the show by hulking up.

75. This was a fantastic episode of RAW, all things considered. The sad thing is, the show is so long that even a good episode feels like it takes forever. But compared to some of the shit we've had in the last year, this was Summerslam 2002. I think the noticeably small percentage of time spent with the authority figure is a good indicator as well.

HAM OF THE NIGHT

It'd be easy to give it to Jericho again, and I don't think anyone would blame me, buuuuut I think Cesaro and Joe both turned it up a little more than usual tonight. In the end, I'll give it to Joe, simply because the level he seemed to care about Triple H and Stephanie was impressive for a man who freezes water with his stare.

2012 - Daniel Bryan
2013 - Paul Heyman
2016 - Chris Jericho
1-2-17 - Kevin Owens
1-3-17 - Jack Gallagher
1-9-17 - Shawn Michaels
1-10-17 - Dean Ambrose
1-16-17 - Sami Zayn
1-17-17 - John Cena
1-23-17 - Xavier Woods
1-24-17 - James Ellsworth
1-30-17 - Mick Foley
1-31-17 - Daniel Bryan
2-6-17 - Goldberg
2-7-17 - Daniel Bryan
2-13-17 - Chris Jericho
2-14-17 - Alexa Bliss
2-20-17 - Lana
2-21-17 - Maryse
2-27-17 - Mick Foley
2-28-17 - Bray Wyatt
3-13-17 - Paul Heyman
3-14-17 - AJ Styles
3-20-17 - Austin Aries
3-21-17 - Mizcena
3-27-17 - Big Cass
3-28-17 - Mizcena/Mizbryan/John Cena
4-1-17 - Bobby Roode's dueling pianists
4-2-17 - The Undertaker
4-3-17 - Chris Jericho
4-4-17 - Shinsuke Nakamura
4-10-17 - Braun Strowman
4-11-17 - Shinsuke Nakamura
4-17-17 - Samoa Joe

Marissa 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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