IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... 4-1-13
By Al Laiman
Apr 1, 2013 - 12:59:46 AM
credit Tom Jenner
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It is six days until WrestleMania, and regrettably I will not be attending, so I apologize to anyone who wanted to meet up that weekend. My trip plans fell through, and some things had to take precedence. Not to mention, it's a busy schedule these coming two weeks. April 5th, I'll be attending a concert for my favorite local band, Nate Myers and the Aces. April 10th, I'll be in Philadelphia to interview at the University of Pennsylvania, and afterward I'll be attending the filmed standup special for Aziz Ansari. If anyone in Philly wants to say hi, I'll have a break for a few hours in between those activities. The very next night, the better half's favorite band, Anberlin, is in Lancaster, so I'll be traveling down for that too. I've just scheduled 27 credits between summer and fall in order to graduate with my associate's by the end of this year, if things don't go well with getting into Penn. So it's been a little hectic in the Laiman household. Not to mention, my first short film is about ready for release, and I'll be posting that in the usual Jaded Hope spot for a few weeks. So that's what's going on in Laiman's world. It's 9:41, so I've got a lot of time to skip through the movie trailers, replays, Touts, and other pointless bullshit to hopefully find a similar show to the RAW before WrestleMania 27. Check out my 1 Thought column on attending Smackdown live, but just because I know you'd want to see it...
Chillin' in Wade Barrett's skybox with a sign that few understood, but many will here. Let's get to the show.
IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 4-1-13
1. We're in DC, so I expect a few political jabs to be thrown, as we all know how HILARIOUS those can be. John Cena and his caution sign shirt hit the arena to thunderous... boos. The cheers seem to pick up as he actually gets to the ring, but it sounds like a rather harsh reaction. Lawler says that the crowd and John Cena are so special and... JBL'S ON COMMENTARY! I APPROVE! The camera tries very hard to find some pro-Cena signs amidst the heat. Well, we're starting off the political references already, as Cena makes some punnery about affiliations with the main event.
2. Cena explains that it's no secret that they don't like each other, though he seems to like him a lot more than his adversary does, but that's neither here nor there. He references last year's promos on both sides again, but that the childish games are over. Cena does his best to make this match bigger than last year's, but then says he won't be mentioning Dwayne... anymore than he already has, I guess. He says he's stepping in the ring with the greatest WWE Champion of all time? Um, maybe one of the greatest superstars of all time, but he never really did a whole lot as champion to earn that accolade. Cena goes a little Triple H and says that it's HIS TIME WHILE TURNING UP THE HAM! Finally, the good Cena promo skills are returning, as addressing how he's felt since losing last year is a lot better than most of what we've seen lately, all to say that the "mighty Rock" will experience failure... all the way back to the eight movies he's filming right now. The crowd starts chanting "BORING!" at him, which I'm assuming is not a Lance Storm circa 2003 reference, and Cena pretends that it doesn't bother him a little bit. Cena almost goes a little heelish at the end there, and it was damn good. He then ruins the moment of intensity by putting back on that same sheepish Cena smirk before leaving, so overall, still very good.
3. They're already inviting Touts about who's going to win the main event, but they take it one step further. They pull out a phone, have Lawler film a Tout, then show people how to Tout it. Really guys? Really? We didn't get the point that you want us to do that? You had to take up more airtime by explaining it? And we wonder why nobody in the crowd has an attention span longer than Matt Stone in BASEketball...
4. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! NOBODY'S GOT MORE POWER IN WESTEROS THAN HE WHO HOLDS THE DRAGONS, HOAK HOGAN! IF IT TAKES AUCTIONING OFF MY SISTER TO THE GUY WHO PLAYED THE NEW CONAN SO HE CAN HAVE HIS WAY WITH A GIRL WHO IS MUCH YOUNGER IN THE BOOKS, JUST SO ONE DAY SHE CAN RISE TO COMMAND A SLAVE ARMY, YOU BETTER BELIEVE BY THE POWER OF THE TERRAIN OF TESTAMENT I INTEND TO DO SO! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO SUMMON YOUR RED-HAIRED DEMON LADY COMPLETE WITH CREEPY SMOKE BABIES TO KILL OFF YOUR GREATEST ENEMY! I INTEND TO TAKE OUT KING'S LANDING WITH THE POWER OF DESTRUCITY, HOAK HOGAN! NOT EVEN HORNSWOGGLE AND HIS KING'S HAND BADGE CAN STOP ME NOW! BRACE YOURSELVES, WRESTLEMANIA IS COMING, MOTHERFUCKERS!
5. Team Justice League is taking on the 3 Jobber Band, complete with their usual jobber entrance. The Justice League shows how unified they are by still having separate entrances, but walking down together. We get a replay of the show I was attending in Hershey, where you can vaguely see where I was sitting at a few points, and we see how everyone wonders if The Shield can be stopped, despite the fact that the Justice League has stopped them successfully about five times in a row. Cole does his best to make us interested in the stable that has been nothing but fodder to all the faces since they formed. Interesting that the heel team they faced on Smackdown has more credibility than the one they're feeding them on the A-Show.
6. Drew McIntyre hits a sweet low dropkick from the ropes, and Cole once again tries really hard to make us believe that 3MB is a credible opponent because they've been together longer. JBL says they're good, which is true if you compare it to Caltech basketball. After some offense, a series of finishers takes out the poor guys, and the match is over. It was at least somewhat entertaining, but just as the match ends, The Shield's music hits.
7. They walk halfway down the aisle, and stop and let Heath Ambrose threaten the Justice League in the way only he can. Seth Rollins and his beard remind me a lot of CM Punk when he first debuted. This might seem more intimidating to the face team if they'd had any success whatsoever against this group since they formed. The group of fans around the Shield seem to be enjoying them, so DC must really love the heels. I really hope to see them keep their momentum going. With that, Shawn Michaels is announced for later, as well as Biff and Chester heading to the Capitol. Gee, I wonder if they'll talk about Real 'Muricans or something...
8. They now announce that Chester A. Arthur will take on ADR. Switching to the two of them standing in the middle of the street, they hail Biff Swagger as the new JBL of 'Murica. Where will this gimmick go when he's not facing an immigrant of some kind? Biff tries his best to get through the promo with some measure of credibility instead of letting the guy with mic skills speak. We change to Stryker interviewing ADR for an immediate response. Count so far... Four promos, one match. I imagine this will be even more tilted by the end of the show.
9. Daniel Bryan's music hits, and the crowd goes insane. Good to hear that again after the silence of his Smackdown appearance when everyone was too busy playing Words With Friends after The Rock left. He'll be facing Dolph Ziggler, six days short of the last chance to cash in the briefcase. Ziggles gets the jobber entrance overshadowed by Vince McMahon on Twitter, so we know how seriously they're taking this feud. Ziggler gets catapulted hard into the corner, and takes some Danielson kicks on top of it. Watching these two work is always a good deal of fun. Bryan hits a clothesline that looks like it hits Ziggles square in the nose. More Twitter bullshit scrolls along the screen, and it's even more than usual, so naturally it's more obnoxious. It's always good to have people focusing more on trying to Tweet shit to get on TV than the actual product, but what the hell do I know?
10. Ziggler emphasizes every strike he makes with authority, and shows why he should possibly have been the torch-bearer for Ric Flair's blessing (RIP Reid) and Bryan comes face-to-face with Arsenio Langston. He gets back in the ring and walks right into Dolphy Gunn's Fameasser, and since we had a commercial between entrances, naturally we need another already. We come back to yet another Twitter trending logo as Bryan tries to fight out of the cheap heat. Is it just me or is someone dressed as a gorilla in the crowd? Bryan counters a roll-up attempt with a devastating kick, yet somehow Ziggler got out of the way from Bryan's headbutt.
11. In case you didn't know though, they think AJ's crazy. Just thought I'd remind you, since the commentary team hasn't mentioned it once. The two trade Sleepers, and Ziggler's counter looks brutal. Bryan goes for the NO! LOCK, we get some good chain-wrestling, and they collide mid-ring to a sick-sounding thud. AJ trollops around Kane, Arsenio takes out Kane, and Ziggler scores with the roll-up win. Arsenio then goes after Bryan in the ring and hits him with his finisher. Kane comes back in the ring, makes a comeback, but Arsenio counters the chokeslam with brute strength, and Arsenio hits his finisher on the big man as well. Great match, great buildup for the tag title match, no complaints at all. Coming up, they advertise that Undertaker will "eviscerate" CM Punk. Spoiler alert!
12. Oh man, I never realize how much I miss HBK until his music hits and reminds me. Granted, seeing him in a Mossy Oak vest wasn't what I was expecting, but he is a wildlife show star now, so it makes sense. We get three replays in one from August, all of them Kimura Locks, as Michaels looks on concerned. The response for him is deafening, as it damn well should be. Michaels reviews the WrestleMania card for us, before going into the reason he's there. He reviews the past buildup until mentioning that he got concerned about H putting his career on the line. That's when Triple H cuts off his best friend with his entrance music. By the way, Shawn Michaels had his career ended at WrestleMania. Just thought I'd mention it.
13. Triple H says that he knows what he's doing, but HBK doesn't believe him. HBK argues that their situations couldn't be more different, because Michaels knew they respected each other. He says that Taker never bragged about ending HBK's career, although I think he did in the buildup for the H/Taker matches at both WrestleManias. The difference is, in Michaels' eyes, that Lesnar respects nobody, and and that he didn't care as much about the job that Triple H does, so he put his life on the line, not just his career. H starts to think that HBK doesn't think he could do it, but HBK disagrees, knows he'll kick Lesnar's ass, and says that he'll be in his corner to watch him do what he know he can.
14. Lesnar's music hits, and HBK subtly pulls off his jacket with a smirk on his face. Heyman mocks the DX slogan with two words for him, but doesn't say what they are. Heyman then puts over Lesnar's chances, and takes a page out of Cena's book by explaining how much disappointment it's going to cause. Heyman throws in a well-crafted jab at H's wife, among the list of disappointments. Heyman laughs at HBK wanting to be close to Triple H when he gets beaten down again and threatens to have his arm broken again. HBK removes another layer of clothing in response. He calls it professional suicide for Triple H, and thankfully Lesnar doesn't speak. HBK got down to his wifebeater for nothing! Good interaction between the two, as it's been a lot better than the Summerslam hype, and not nearly as overdone. They remind you to Tout, because that's what's really important about the show tonight.
15. Replay, skip. Another replay, skip. Miz comes down to be on commentary, just like he was on Smackdown. Looks like they've been bumped to the pre-show. Yep, the only variable to the last three main events of WrestleMania has been dropped down to the pre-show. Wade Barrett, the man nice enough to loan me his skybox last Tuesday, is facing the ill-fated Zack Ryder, who I'm guessing will get an offensive advantage, hit the Broski boot, and then eat a finisher. More Twitter ticker, Miz talks a lot, and Barrett not surprisingly dominates a majority of the offense.
16. Zack Ryder hits one move, and Lawler calls that taking control. Ryder hits a few moves, then goes for the Broski Boot, so let's see if he gets Santino'd here. Ryder pulls Barrett up, and gets tossed into the corner. He gets pulled out nastily, and Barrett sets up for his finisher. I'll be damned, who saw that coming? Zero crowd reaction, given that the last 14 months, Ryder has done nothing but be crushed by everyone. Barrett does at least look like a badass in the process. The pre-show starting at 6 does mean 5 hours of wrestling, and that's a lot. Meanwhile, Santino gets his epic return by talking to Vickie and Maddox backstage, and tells him that Vince was yelling about them. Gee, could this be an April Fool's joke? Wow. I wonder if he'll get destroyed by a heel for this.
17. Oh joy, Sean Puff Piff Daddy Father Combie Comb Comb the Third Esquire is performing at WrestleMania. Now I'm convinced to buy the show! Can I order the replay so I can fast forward through that atrocious, untalented heap of a pathetic excuse of a performance artist? Santino's welcomed back to his JOB Squad duties by facing... Mark Henry. Well, Zack Ryder did his job, so naturally Santino comes back just in time, not to be outdone.
18. Mark Henry wins in about twenty seconds. Is that what he does? I suppose that's what he does. Maybe he should say that's what he does. I'm not sure if that's what he does. Ryback heads for the ring for vengeance, and Mark grabs a mic to call him off. He says that being upset about the bench press incident gives him no right to so-called threaten him... Before he said a word, I guess? Henry smiles Sexual Chocolate-style in mockery, and Ryback uses Santino to attack Henry twice. What a clever usage of a pawn in their brutal chess match. I have to admit, that was pretty funny, but Santino's back to his usual place of doing nothing.
19. We again get told that Vince is on Twitter, in case we haven't realized that from having it shoved down our throats for the last year, and Stryker is backstage with CM Punk and Urn Anderson. Punk goes on describe Taker's distraction, and throws a nasty line about Paul Bearer's streak of waking up every morning breaking... Ouch. That dastardly devil! Punk will do whatever he has to do to beat the Streak. In other words...
20. Biff comes out to do his beatdowns before breakfast, and is nice enough to give me more replays to fast forward through. Ricardo's ankle must be feeling better, because his voice is strong again. As ADR sets up to face Chester A. Arthur in the land where he once resided as President, they say they have a situation developing, without saying what it is.
21. Swagger attacks Ricardo at ringside, but ADR makes the save. Arthur gets himself disqualified, and then Swagger attacks ADR from behind. It's a crutch party. The heels are dominating tonight, so I really hope we're not in for another all-face winning PPV like the last two have mostly been. We get a replay of what just happened, in case you forgot already, and then we go to another replay of Cena's promo. Skip.
22. Time for the Great One, who is thankfully not opening the show this time, and he looks cranked. The man is in tremendous shape for his age and the life he's lived. HEY, IF YOU WERE WONDERING, WWE WANTS YOU TO TOUT WHO YOU THINK WILL WIN AT WRESTLEMANIA! DID YOU GET THAT? Rock takes enough time posing to challenge The Undertaker for longest entrance, and the crowd is definitely alive for the Brahma Bull. He says that connection is the only reason he's standing in the ring. Cena's name alone gets a measure of heat from the DC crowd. He explains that Sunday will be about the will of the people, as opposed to the We The People, and the schtick ensues. Rock makes, is that a political aspiration? Now that's a Presidential debate I'd tune in to see! That's the way he builds up to the Finally line, and now we can move on.
23. Rock finally gets a bit serious on Cena, and even says that it's not about passing the torch. He says the only way he'll get the title is by creating the largest fireball seen during a WrestleMania buildup since Triple H dressed up like Goldust (yes younger viewers, that happened), and Rock works this crowd like only he can do. Rock goes on to say that he lives for the connection with the people, and because of that, Cena won't beat him. The crowd is eating out of his hand as usual, and he tries to beat ADR's hold time on a vowel for his closing catch phrase. The People's Eyebrow, which we haven't seen in a long time, gets a huge pop of its own. Great mic work by both in the main event, and in order to protect my own sanity, I'll be skipping the Touts about it to keep that opinion.
24. Jericho's lightup coat fails to work on one arm at first, and he comes out for his match against the jobber-entranced Antonio Cesaro. Respect for the champions, as always. This is a great time to reference whatever Diddy is saying on Twitter, and the fact that he has 9 million followers makes me not want to live on this planet anymore. Good to know a guy who once said "Vote or Die" is leading an anti-bullying campaign. Jericho and Cesaro, much like Bryan and Ziggler earlier, put on a wrestling clinic to capstone the jobber matches in between. JBL makes a great Stacy Keibler joke in there, and Cesaro gets tripped up going to the top rope. Jericho gets the ten-punch and does a Frankensteiner before a certain familiar entrance theme hits. Fandango takes us into the commercial break by getting into an ocular debate about who has more body oil.
25. We get exclusive footage from the WWE App, because they don't know what the word "exclusive" means, and we come back just in time for Cesaro to Ghetto Stomp Jericho. Lawler snorts at one of his own stupid jokes, and Cesaro gets a near-fall. Jericho tries to hit Cesaro in the corner, and somehow goes over the top rope in the process. Fandango has number cards, grading his performance. Okay, that's funny as hell. Cesaro throws Jericho into someone in the crowd, sending a drink flying everywhere, and uses his buddy Ohno's cravat to work the neck. Jericho tries to come back, but Cesaro hits an awesome sitout powerslam. Cesro is apparently now working yodeling into every match, and I have no problem with this constant display of hamminess.
26. Fandango grades Jericho's axe-handle from the top a 4, and the Lionsault gets a 3. Cesaro counters the Walls into a Gutwrench, which was pretty damn awesome. Cesaro then falls before he gets chopped down, and takes a crossbody for another near fall. Jericho slide-kicks Fandango, sending the numbers flying everywhere like a stack of office papers. Jericho gets another win over a midcard champion, and Fandango attacks immediately after. Cole claims that he blindsided him, despite attacking him from the front, and he hits his legdrop finisher. Fandango again tells another man to say his name, before going up to hit another legdrop finisher. It's a good night to be a heel, so again I say I really hope this doesn't mean another streak of all faces winning like the Royal Rumble. It's good to see two rookies getting their first match at WrestleMania, and hopefully Arsenio and Fandango deliver to earn that spot.
27. We come back to more Twitter stuff, with Trish asking Stephanie McMahon to induct her into the Hall of Fame. Considering how their feud in kayfabe went back around WrestleMania 17, that's interesting to think about. Thank JBL I'm watching on DVR, because I can skip these Touts and go straight to my sister's favorite tag team. And... We're already going to another commercial. Let's summarize what happened in that segment. Twitter, Touts, entrance. Glad they're using the three hours to their full potential. This feud is big, fun, silly, and ridiculous, and I'm glad of it. The girls are facing off, though I could swear I just saw this match filmed for Saturday Morning Slam. I'm guessing the bookers just assumed that nobody saw that match, because until being there on Saturday, I'd forgotten that was a thing too. This lacks a Sandow promo, so I protest. JBL takes the opportunity to make some awesome jokes, and I have to say that I would pay money to hear JBL and CM Punk do commentary on a season of NXT. This is a half-decent women's tag match, though I will note that it's getting more time than some of the other matches on the show, interestingly enough. One of the Funkateers hits a damn nice DDT for a near-fall. Team Rhodes Scholars' side wins, something I haven't been able to say much in the last few months, and the heels prevail again.
28. The familiar gong hits, and everyone's cell phone illuminates the blueness of the arena. Taker finally talks, and compares the length of Punk's reign to the pain awaiting him. Taker says he will suffer for making it personal, and that it's no longer good enough to just defeat him, but that he'll have to pay the ultimate price. He admits that the Streak may come to an end, but he'll never live to talk about it. Nice work on Taker's part of putting over even how emotional he is.
29. The music of the Druids hits, and I have a feeling shenanigans are about to ensue. This is of course a great time to remind us that we are, in fact, in the nation's capital. They hold on the Druids doing nothing for a good while. Okay, either Punk did a damn good Paul Bearer impression, or they played a clip of it. Someone dressed up like Paul Bearer is on top of the stage, and the resemblance is pretty stunning. Punk is one of the Druids, and he attacks Taker with vigor. He grabs the urn from not-Paul Bearer, and calls Taker "Hocus Pocus." The chants between the crowd are surprisingly evenly divided. Not-Paul Bearer continues standing up on the stage like Chris Hansen is about to walk in, and Punk opens the urn. He pours the ashes inside all over Taker, and some guy in the crowd gets really creative by yelling "You suck!" Evisceration, indeed.
30. Very good show, very good crowd, and all the matches got some buildup, which is what they should've done in the first place. The heels came out successfully in just about all the show, and I know I've already mentioned this, but the predictability of the last few months cannot handle an all-face card. That's not interesting, and I'm hoping that's not what we're in for. However, once again, this was a very good show for the last one before WrestleMania. Although, my perception may be improved due to being able to skip a lot of the aside and unnecessary bullshit.
DID SOMEONE ORDER A LARGE HAM?
Ryback takes it tonight, for using someone to attack someone else. Not an especially promo-hammy night, considering all the promos there were.
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
IN CASE YOU MISSED JADED HOPE #106