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1. It's one night removed from a very good Pay-Per-View in Extreme Rules. I caught the show, but quite honestly, I didn't want to write about it. Four great matches, and a lot of intrigue leading into tonight's Monday Night RAW. During the vignette before the show, the fiddle really made Cena's moment that more heartfelt. It sure seems that Cena earned a lot of respect around here last night, because as a comment moderator, I've never seen so many people reporting comments for being anti-Cena. Truly a day I never saw coming, that's for sure.
2. Justin Roberts introduces Monday Night RAW, as "Monday Night RAW: Starring Brock Lesnar." That sounds about right for him. Johnny L makes his way out to the ring, and Michael Cole swears his love for him on the life of his pink shirt (name the reference, win a ham.) In his first sentence, Johnny is already hamming it up so much that it makes his striped purple tie look subtle.
3. Laryngitis says the beating that Lesnar left on Cena proved him to be a mere mortal, I guess a direct shot at the "Super Cena" mythos. Lesnar is introduced to a lot of heat, but a noticeable cheer breaking through. Lesnar was an absolute beast last night, and made even this commentator cringe at some of the shots in the main event of Extreme Rules, AKA Stiff-Fest 3000. Granted, that sounds a bit like a gay porn, but bear with me. Wait, I didn't mean bear either... Dammit.
4. Brock has not lost any credibility through this, as he lost his first WWE match back much the same way he gained respect in his first UFC loss to Frank Mir. Thankfully, Lesnar on the microphone is cut short by Motorhead, and the King of Suits is ready to counterbalance the heels in the ring with a face presence. The two are introduced by Johnny, as I'm sure they remember when Brock took the Undisputed title, leading to Triple H being handed the RAW title in 2002. I don't think they ever fought, did they?
5. Triple H starts taking away all of Brock Lesnar's perks, which a year ago would leave CM Punk Not Impressed. Hunter quickly quells the short-lived "Monday Night RAW: Starring Brock Lesnar", so that makes total sense, I suppose. H is not thrilled that Laurinaitis dealt with contract issues without his approval. This segment is getting surprisingly good reactions for starting a wrestling show based on who approves contract negotiations.
6. Triple H assures Lesnar that the WWE Universe wants him here, and is still getting a lot of heel heat. It's a good thing that he managed to, much like Chris Jericho earlier this year, turn the initial face reaction into heat in a rather short amount of time. He continues by giving him the "take your ball and go home" speech once reserved for Austin once upon a time. The contract issues are repeating to the point where it's kinda getting old, though him telling Johnny to shut up gets a huge pop. Triple H turns his back on him and predictably gets attacked. H fights back a lot quicker than Cena did, but gets locked in Brock's new submission maneuver.
7. Several faces hit to clear Brock of the ring, because I guess they couldn't have done that when he first attacked, and he seems to have broken H's arm. We hold on the post-attack way too long, I guess to sell the seriousness of it, but seeing R-Truth carefully cradle Triple H's damaged arm really didn't add anything to it.
8. I'll give them credit; making a portrayed badass like Triple H get his ass kicked like that definitely adds even more heat and dominance to Lesnar's resume. As the officials check on him in the back, they're selling the seriousness of it really well. I like the "short fuse" idea that they're giving him, as paired with a BAMF like Brock makes for interesting television. Also, does anyone see the strange irony of Sheamus being so concerned about Triple H being hurt?
9. Eve Torres does her best Miss Hancock impression, save for the fact that even on a stage, she sounds like she's reading from cue cards that are too small. We're in for a Beat the Clock challenge, and the first match is a rematch from the pre-show last night. Miz appears to have a really badass ring coat. Maybe he's had this before and I never noticed it, but I dig it regardless. With Santino being the US champion, getting him in a world title match at the moment doesn't make as much sense as it does for The Miz, but I don't see either of them winning the challenge anyway.
10. Miz has the upper edge in the first two minutes in the match, and I swear he just hit a Side Effect. If he wanted to be ironic, he could call it the DUI. Santino hits a hope spot around three minutes in, which means we're likely in for a finish in the next minute or so. A nice combination of reversals takes place, culminating in the Skull-Crushing Finale and netting The Miz a win at 4:18. Guess we're in for some short televised matches this evening, but at least we know there will be at least five!
11. The Bella Twins get the jobber entrance for their rematch against Layla. Not that I have anything against Layla, but we were all hoping for Kharma's return, and it would've been the perfect opportunity to do so. I'm not sure I see Layla as a face, but it's too soon to tell. She's facing whichever interchangeable Bella is in the match tonight, so I'm not very inclined to care. And just as I type that sentence, she's already won the match, because I guess they needed a sequel to Sheamus's 18 Seconds shirt that was a smaller number. Personally, I wouldn't wear that shirt. What if someone thought you were advertising your average time for lasting in bed?
12. While the Lesnar events are recounted, the previous match was so unbelievably short that Jericho's old=school-Kane-esque entrance interrupts it for the next Beat the Clock challenge. While a commercial break comes on, I can't help but be amused every time a commercial I've done on my show plays. A shorter version of the Axe Chaos commercial shows, which I believe I did in episode 53 or so, so I got a good laugh out of that.
13. As we return from commercials, Jericho continues to do his best impression of a Fire Island bartender. We're shown stills of the awesome match with CM Punk from last night. Every time they mention CM Punk's sister, I flash back to that promo where Jericho worked the crowd and then came back with, "But your sister..." That may have been my favorite Jericho moment of all time.
14. Jericho is facing the Big Show, his former tag team partner who is still reeling from the most awkward tables match loss of all time and is likely a very angry guy. Show dominates early, but Jericho uses good strategy to take out Show's leg with a low dropkick. Jericho goes for the cover, and I always mark out for the bench press kickout. Y2J comes off the top rope and gets hand-chopped, which I can't imagine feels very pleasant. The suspension of disbelief is rather difficult while trying to believe that a Lionsault even affects Big Show in the slightest.
15. Michael Cole: "When was the last time you saw Big Show utilize a small package?" Um...
16. Jericho continues to get solid offense, but is cut off by Big Show's body lunge spear. Jericho kicks out; a bit strange considering that move pinned Mark Henry in a one-move match a few weeks ago. Y2J utilizes the Lord Voldemort Royal Rumble 2004 method of taking Big Show over the top rope, and the seconds are counting down. Big Show fails to take out Jericho on the outside. The clock goes off just before the ref reaches the ten count when Jericho climbs back in the ring, but Jericho is declared the victor.
17. As the local advertisement for the live Smackdown taping in Hershey on May 15th airs, I take awesomeness in knowing that I'll be watching it from an office suite, thanks to my longtime buddy and co-Jaded Hope contributor Brian. So for all those who've wanted to see a 30 Thoughts on Smackdown, in a few weeks you will get your wish!
18. As we come back, it does appear that Miz retained the record, so Jericho does not advance in the competition. But oh look who it is! FUNK IS ON A ROLL! FUNK IS ON A ROLL! Time for me to mark out at my lovely Becky's expense! Apparently last week as I was too fargone to know what reality was, I sung this song to her on the phone. Somebody call my Mama! I will so have this played at your wedding!
19. It seems we are back to Brodus Clay squash matches, as JTG appears to be the only one surprised that he's still employed with the company. JTG surprisingly gets more offense in than anyone on Ryback so far, but it's quickly cut off by the Funky headbutt of doom, AKA the "Glad You're Not a Unicornasaurus." This really does nothing to help Brodus out, but what does is bringing kids in the ring and letting them dance with him. Maybe it's just because I'm a proud father of young children, but that's absolutely adorable.
20. We're shown the Lesnar attack on Triple H... again, in case you didn't know it happened the other few times. It's complete with Brock Lesnar being really mad at the steel steps while TROOF yells for the Doctah!
21. As we cut back to Johnny L's office, I laughed my ass off with Teddy's over-sized name tag last night, and it was still funny tonight. Eve gives Johnny her best attempt at a Braveheart motivational speech, complete with a forced "My eyes are up here" moment. Apparently John Cena is wrestling and won't like his opponent. The plot thickens.
22. Randy Orton is out for his Beat the Clock match, and it's announced before commercial that he's facing Biff Swagger, who should be able to consult his special almanac to know that's a terrible idea. Vicki Guerrero is finally wearing a shirt that's louder than her voice, and Biff is about to confront Marvin Berry's band in a potsmoke-filled car, and its name is Randy Orton. Swagger's hitting his trademark moves a minute in, so that can't mean good news for the Tannen Warrior. Orton counters a gutwrench into his inverted neckbreaker, which was a pretty sweet move. A back and forth contest continues. Swagger goes for his Vader-esque rope move, and Orton counters with a kick to the gut, yet another awesome spot. I'm no Orton mark as we all know, but I have high praise for his work in the Kane feud lately. Swagger counters the RKO into the ankle lock, but Orton recovers in enough time to win with two seconds to spare. Miz does his best impression of a parent who wants to swear at his five-year-old but can't, and Orton holds the new time to beat.
23. The recap of the tag champ's loss with a sweet dropkick counter into the Cobra is still pretty damn awesome. The tag team champions appear to still be innovators of silence, because they've held the titles for months and still managed to give me absolutely zero reasons to give a damn about them. Multi-ham winner the TROOF and fellow Triple H face avenger Kofi Kingston are their opponents, because it's either them or the Uso's again, I guess.
24. Primo kicks Little Jimmy, which is a Last Action Hero-BIG-MISTAKE moment for him. TROOF is now doing the "WHAT'S UP!" call to the crowd again, unfortunately. Dammit WWE, don't you ruin the guy who basically started the Large Ham award and return him to a bad rapping face! DO NOT WANT! You will not take my TROOF homeless crazy guy promos away from me! We get back from the commercial just in time for the cheap heat, which I assume means the commercial break involved R-Truth debating Little Jimmy on the semantics of quantum physics. Epico's boots make him look like he's wearing a pair of blue chick slip-on shoes. That's how little I give a damn about Primo and Epico. Even with a proverbial large ham in the ring, I still don't care. Kofi gets the hot tag, and despite distraction attempts, Kofi has returned to his permanent role of being a tag team champion. The best thing about this is at least I have a reason to give a shit about the tag titles.
25. Abraham Washington continues to do his best to make someone care about the now-former tag team champions, but it doesn't work. Kane and Great Khali are going to have a Beat the Clock match? Dear God I hope it's over quicker than Sheamus beat Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 28, because even a huge Kane mark like myself can't excuse how bad that's going to be. Khali tries to search for the appropriate facial reaction to Kane's pyro, but he didn't get that Longest Yard role for his acting talent. Kane uses the same move that Jericho did earlier to get Big Show off his feet and goes on the offensive. Kane does his best to make a DDT look good, but this is just painful. Kane hits his flying clothesline, which Khali sells like Owen Hart pretending to be a falling tree, sans the funny. Both try to chokeslam each other, but the buzzer sounds. That was the longest 4:16 of my life. Kane thankfully follows it up with a chokeslam, leaving whoever will be in the last match as Orton's last competition for the title shot.
26. DANIEL BRYAN!
27. Bryan easily gets the biggest reaction of the night, as even the signs appear to be chanting along with him during his entrance. And he's facing... Jerry Lawler? Even Danielson is pretty confused as to why Lawler is in line for a shot at the title. At least it sort of made sense when it was The Miz. I'll give Cole credit; at least he's not the overzealous asshat he would've been at this point last year with Lawler wrestling. These "YES!" chants are brilliant; anything that gets the crowd to participate this much is a great thing for business. Bryan nearly kicks Lawler's head into the twelfth row and makes Lawler submit with two minutes to spare!
28. Dear JBL, we're getting CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan?! Why on earth was this not in front of a Chicago crowd?! Punk's Jericho feud is officially over as "Cult of Personality" indicates a taunt-off; title vs. YES! Ham ensues.
29. Hey, did you realize that Brock Lesnar beat up Triple H earlier tonight? I was not aware of this. If only they had a recap or something from the beginning of the show on, I would be able to follow the goings on of this crazy show! Without replaying it at least five times, I just can't remember that it happened, dammit!
30. John Cena receives a relatively decent face pop all things considered, and his arm isn't broken or torn. Cena continues to take the angle of loving to be there, but is interrupted by Johhny L's Royal Princess theme. My DVR skips a bit on the overrun, but comes back in enough time for Cena to suggest that he'll be facing Zeus. If Liam Neeson shows up to face John Cena, that will be the greatest thing in the history of anything. Laurinaitis tries to cover up his motives by saying he was trying to motivate Cena, of which Cena is buying none. Cena really starts to ham it up with the "WHAT!" responses, but Johnny L suggests that he should be building a relationship with him... Pause. Cena's promo fire is lit again, and Johnny L introduces his surprise opponent for Over the Limit, and it's Albert Tensai Train. Maybe this would've been a bigger surprise if they hadn't already scheduled this match once before? AT&T and his Samurai apprentice prepare to fight a one-armed John Cena, and Johnny L clocks him in the back of the head and says that he will be facing John Cena at The Over Limit, which I guess is like Over the Limit but the Over! The assault is on as they triple-team his arm. Somehow all of this isn't enough to break Cena's arm, but a moment in Lesnar's submission was enough to break Triple H's? Kay... Laurinaitis hams it up physically, and is really getting Cena even more sympathy heat. A lot of people were expecting Cena to take some time off, but... He's not, I guess? Not that I didn't love his promo last night, but doesn't that make it completely irrelevant? Well, good show with lots of wrestling, but a rather confusing ending.
The hammiest thing at Extreme Rules was Teddy's hilarious name tag. Both of the Johns were equally hammy, but since Johnny L did it twice, he's gonna take it this week.
1-9-12 – R-Truth
1-16-12 - John Laurinaitis
1-23-12 - William Regal
1-29-12 - Ricardo Rodriguez
1-30-12 - R-Truth
2-6-12 - Triple H
2-13-12 - Shawn Michaels
2-19-12 – Santino Marella
2-20-12 - John Cena
2-27-12 – Al Laiman, for thinking no one read this
3-5-12 – John Laurinaitis
3-12-12 - James Roday
3-19-12 - Theodore Long
3-26-12 - Booker T
4-1-12 - Santino Marella
4-2-12 - Dolph Ziggler
4-9-12 - Will Sasso
4-16-12 - Daniel Bryan
4-23-12 – CM Punk
4-29-12 - Teddy Long's name tag
4-30-12 - John Laurinaitis
Here's your riddle for the evening.
Broken bonds caused the need for many Drafts to be poured
A blue-chipper saw his alliance split
When Heyman made his selection to the blue brand
Fear not, there were Reigns in his future