IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 1-21-13
By Al Laiman
Jan 21, 2013 - 11:58:52 PM
credit Tom Jenner @imageblownout
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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW #1026
1. One time I had someone ask me how RAW always ended up happening on Martin Luther King Day. With that in mind, let's kick off my 101st column on the Lords of Pain main page, last week having been my 100th. I didn't realize my 100th column came on the 20th Anniversary of RAW, so I suppose I'm not as dedicated to sentiment as they can be. The show opens up with someone doing a Bjork impression... Oh wait, it's Vickie Guerrero, walking arm-in-arm with Paul Heyman, because you know... Only weeks ago they were at each other's throats and are now friends for some reason, so that makes sense. Paul E. gets a surprisingly good reaction for a few seconds, and he says he's out there for a show of solidarity. I guess because The Rock made some lame jokes in their direction, they've gotta stand up for themselves, happily split by an upside down "Happy Birthday Momma" sign. The crowd at least appears to be alive tonight, so that could be a very positive upsign for tonight's show. I suppose I should be focusing on what Paul is saying, but some guy in a bright blue blazer and giant headphones is sliding his way down the front row. I guess someone had an inappropriate sign? I guess it's more replays of The Rock concert, which I'm sure is delighting the Internet to no end. You know, all this time they spend showing things that already happened, they could possibly use to not rush things that are happening tonight, just saying.
2. These signs are really freaking weird. Someone has a sign that just says "Men." Thanks, that explains everything. I guess you're a fan of the Weather Girls? Vickie announces that The Rock is banned from the building, which gets some good heat, but he just found out that he can't enter the arena, which draws out more of that horrifying laugh. The Rock summons his inner M. Bison to yell at some San Jose-area Indy wrestlers dressed as cops. Rock responds to the arrest threat by suggesting other people who should also be arrested for trying to show up to work. The Indy wrestlers politely nod while he continues on his promo, because that's what cops do I guess, and Vickie concludes the segment by Axl Rose'ing The Rock's closing catch phrase. Michael Cole announces a Beat The Clock challenge, which increases the likelihood that those matches will have some rather predictable results, and the opening match will be Randy Orton against Antonio Cesaro.
3. The US Champion gets the jobber entrance for his match against Orton. The match starts out surprisingly quick with Orton throwing a nice close fall early in the match. These two are pretty evenly matched, and are trading offensive blows back and forth before three minutes into the Beat the Clock challenge, it goes into a freaking commercials. Wow, that really adds to the suspense, doesn't it?
4. Four minutes of the match lost, Orton and Claudio are duking it out on the top rope, and Claudio knocks him off the top to gain back the advantage. Cesaro goes for the fall but Orton gets out of it. Claudio throws an awesome gutwrench suplex trying to close out the match, and now we're just anticipating Orton's trademark comeback. Orton gets a hope spot, but Claudio hits another nice counter before pulling out the Low-ki and Ghetto stomping him. The two Orton flail clotheslines set up the powerslam before Claudio is nice enough to step over the ropes for Orton's DDT, but then he counters and nearly gets the surprise victory. Claudio comes back with the super uppercut, but Orton again kicks out of it. Claudio continues to dominate past the eleven minute mark as the match goes out of the ring, but as Claudio comes back in, Orton hits the surprise RKO to get the win. Pretty damn good match, though it would've been nice to actually see all of it. Silly notion, I know.
5. The Mick Foley Hall-of-Fame video just makes me anticipate the Hall of Fame ceremony, which I will be seeing live. If I haven't said it enough, Foley is one of my all-time favorites, both as a wrestler and a witty, creative writer. The video is very heartwarming, highlighting the brutal asskickings and the hilarious moments later in his career. It really says something about Foley that he could be both an incredibly intimidating badass and a loveable teddy bear. Meanwhile, a pre-recorded Shield promo highlights their top moments in their short but awesome tenure in WWE so far.
6. After more self-fellatio about how many Facebook followers they have, we're treated to a reminder that they transitioned the World Heavyweight Championship randomly from the Vapid Wasteland of Personality to the Black Hole of Charisma. It's announced that the title rematch is going to take place at the Royal Rumble... In the exact same match in which the title was won. Zack Ryder is facing the Big Show, because I suppose they traded the title for the JOB Squad, and Brad Maddox comes out for commentary. They emphasize that Maddox doesn't work for the company, which explains why security is doing absolutely nothing about him jumping the guard rail. Big Show wins in a few seconds, which was a wonderful usage of television time. Big Show demonstrates his wonderful ability to count to ten... No, the WHAT? chants offend him so R-Truthishly that he only makes it to five. I'm not even a Ryder fan and I feel bad for the guy.
7. Maddox shows up backstage with Paul Heyman, who is seriously not impressed with his ridiculous shirt. After telling him to go away for several weeks, Heyman now has decided he not only likes Vickie Guerrero, but Brad Maddox as well. Continuity, what's that?
8. Will someone just get Ryback some damn pyro already? It seems he's hungry for ham, because he's facing Heath Slater. Ryback even misses the timing for his pyro sound effect, which doesn't matter because there isn't any pyro, and I'm sure Heath Slater is going to build on that win against Sheamus last week with another upset victory against a top contender for the world championship. RyVD throws the Clothesline from Skynet, and Heath sells it like gold. Strangely enough, the last two matches were not Beat the Clock matches and the two of them combined didn't last as long as the first BTC match before its first commercial break. Ryback grabs a mic again to celebrate his first Royal Rumble match, a match for which he was made. He then reiterates his desire to consume every living organism within his immediate path in order to continue his unquenched desire for sustenance.
9. The Rock continues cutting promos to the cops, who again are nodding politely in enjoyment. Rocky demonstrates his ability to make the crowd chant, and one of the cops has a wife and kid in the crowd. Think about this though, the show is what, forty minutes in. What was going on in between the times that the Rock wasn't on screen? Were they just standing there, continuing to nod even though Rocky wasn't saying anything? Did they shoot the shit and discuss Tooth Fairy 2's casting lead? Rock continues bashing Vickie's appearance before they start discussing an idea. I imagine this may be very similar to DX using Cryme Tyme to get into the arena a few years back.
10. Tom Carvel's new favorite son walks out, as the crowd signs demonstrate that they in no way whatsoever get the reference. Punk continues getting pretty good reactions, and cuts a promo about the WWE title being his life's work. Punk explains the difference between Rock's entertainment and Punk's desire to hurt people and be champion. People hated that when Triple H said it to Booker T a few years ago, but I'm sure because Punk said it, it'll be okay. Punk continues to show that he understands better than anyone the most important thing about being a heel in the wrestling business: Justifying everything he does. It makes him so damn effective, despite how malicious his intent is. Punk starts turning up the HAM by emphasizing the drama and his over-the-top articulation. Punk uses the word "undisputed" about his championship reign, which raises the question of why there's another world title in the company, and Punk closes out another effective promo.
11. Oh, there was a Beat the Clock challenge tonight, wasn't there? Dolph Ziggler, joined by AJ being forced to moderately skip due to a slower theme song, and Arsenio Langston. The Miz will be his opponent, which at least means that he won't be speaking... I hope... And of all the people onto which the Figure Four has been bestowed, I'm rather surprised it's the Miz. I don't dislike the Miz by any means, although I prefer him as a heel much more so far. Miz tries going for the quick win, which is good psychology for this kind of match, and Ziggler does so himself with some quick roll-ups and nearfalls. Arsenio Langston shows off his managerial chops by transitioning from crossing his arms to folding his hands.
12. Dolph locks in his version of the sleeper hold to take some time off the clock while AJ stares off into space with her thumb near her lips. Arsenio gets involved for some face heat, and once again the suspense increases by the presence of a promo for Necessary Roughness. We come back with less than four minutes remaining, and Miz hits a pretty nice kick for a nearfall. It's a shame they haven't reminded me what these matches are for though. Why are they trying to Beat the Clock again? For JBL's sake, some clarity is needed in this commentary. Miz starts to get his face shine with an axe-handle for another very close fall. To Miz's credit, despite the silliness of his recent character, he is getting really good reactions against a guy who has been getting more and more face response.
13. Because we didn't see enough Ziggler ass last week, we get another full show with a roll-up this week before Ziggler almost wins with a sweet Tornado DDT. Ziggler gets close before Miz locks in his newly-acquired Figure Four. AJ runs the distraction while Arsenio pulls Ziggles to the ropes. Miz gets out of the ring, sees Arsenio standing there and wisely decides to change his direction. After they get back in the ring, Langston gets another distraction by... standing there... and Ziggler FINALLY gets a clean win on television, just short of the time necessary to win. Cole seems to have amnesia, because he's railing against Ziggler's methods of winning a match. Well gee willickers, Mitchell, it's amazing how a friend's heart attack has changed how you feel about such things!
14. Macho Man's theme is nice enough to accompany Dr. Shelby's HAM sandwich graduation outfit. He introduces them as the first ever graduates of his course. Wait, what? Harold didn't graduate? None of those other students graduated? Damn, he's kind of got a shitty graduation rate, doesn't he? Hell No comes out and... Oh dear JBL, they're in graduation robes. They've got the HAM, who is going to touch that? That must be what everyone was Tweeting me about! I love my followers. I hope someday they can get #Ham to trend. Daniel Bryan really looks like he's trying to become a blonde Damien Sandow.
15. Dr. Shelby describes Kane, who can't help but cheesily smile. As he describes DB, he tries very hard not to tweak out. Bryan fakes a smile the best he can in order to display his qualifications, and Kane puts on a graduation hat. Wow, this is ridiculous. They continue to get "YES!" chants and applause. Shelby says that the top student will be valedictorian, and gives them the opportunity to decide who should be that person. They get into an exclamation duel about who is the valedictorian, and Shelby makes a strong effort to retain his HAM of the week, which actually gets a "Dr. Shelby!" chant going. He asks if a hug would help him feel better, and Kane really says "I guess."
16. This turns into the new Care Bears plotline, and they announce that everyone around the world is going to hug, staring with Cole and Lawler. Next comes Justin Roberts and the Doctor at ringside. Kane then calls on three guys, who happily do so. Some guy in a handlebar mustache and his friend get to hug next, and Kane really turns it up to 11... Wow. Dr. Shelby has become Oprah. They're gonna hug! You're gonna hug! EVERYONE GETS A HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUG! Oh dear JBL, how is that going to be topped for HAM of the Year, please tell me. You Tweeters were indeed correct.
17. Since that last segment was so invariably entertaining, I suppose we should balance it out with the Divas. We repeat the tale of Eve throwing the best "I quit" since Thad Jarvis... Extra bonus ham if you get that reference... And Alicia Fox gets a jobber entrance for her match against the champion. Don't look away, everyone. This could possibly be the favorite match of the next Tough Enough contestant. Tamina looks on, because since her match with AJ we haven't seen her, so I guess she's in contention.
18. Kaitlyn is described as a non-traditional Diva. How? I don't know, I guess their thought process didn't get that far. The Tweet ticker rolls on, as the cheap heat even gets some lukewarm claps, which does say a lot about how hot this crowd is. Out of nowhere, Kaitlyn again throws her sick-looking GORE! GORE! GORE! and gets the win. Cole says that you can see her confidence growing as Diva's champion... Which I guess that is something you can really gauge... in a week.
19. Meanwhile backstage, Paul Heyman lets CM Punk know that he's rented out... THE SKYBOX! Wade Barrett is renting out his skybox again! I suppose he feels confident after beating Randy Orton last week, but damn man... Own that shit! By the way, when did Montel Jordan's one hit get so popular again? I've heard it in more than one movie in the last year, and now Jackson Hewitt is using it too. Did everyone just get nostalgic for 1994 all of the sudden? Damn, if only I knew someone who reviewed commercials...
20. Paul Heyman drops his Paul Bomb by acting as his interpreter as he looks on from Wade's Skybox. Paul tries HAMming it up a bit by being a cocky dick, but after the Care Bears Anger Management segment, nothing's gonna touch it without a few slices of bacon on top of it. He says that The Rock is STUUUUUUUUUUUUUPID! before some entrance music cuts him off.
21. The Rock walks out with a ticket in hand, which really does entitle him to entrance music and getting on the stage, and he gets in the ring with his favorite walrus. CM Punk checks his watch during Rocky's entrance, which makes me wonder what he'll do if he has to sit through the Undertaker's... The Rock calls Paul Heyman one of Carlin's Seven Dirty Words and doesn't get censored on a family show, so... that's something. Wade Barrett's skybox is conveniently lit with purple, and Rock continues putting over his accomplishments before reminding him that it's his very last RAW as champion.
22. Rock goes into serious attack mode, and I sure like this a helluva lot better than the Rock Concert from last week. This is what he needed to do after all the silliness was done. Rock says that he's waited for ten long years for this shot, and I guess in the four or so matches he's had in that time, that does make some sense. You don't get too many title shots when you are non-existent on WWE television. Rocky plays in appropriate MLK references before his closing catch phrase, and that was easily his best work so far this year... And the lights go out. It's a Shield ambush. Rock starts to come back, but the numbers game gets the best of him. Wow, there are no faces conveniently around to make the save this time when there were three for Mick Foley? What does that say about the locker room? It looks like Rock spits a little blood, which is a bit dramatic, but effective. Punk closes it off, not exactly denying responsibility for the attack, and the match is quite well set up.
23. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! SOMETHING HAS GOT TO BE DONE ABOUT THE CLOCK, HOAK HOGAN! IT GOES TICKETY TOCK, TICKETY TOCK, TICKETY TOCK LIKE THE LIFE FORCE IN THE TASSELS ON MY BICEPS, HOAK HOGAN! TALKING TO ME, FEELING ME, EXUDING THE LIFE FORCE FROM WHICH I GATHER MY MUSE... NOT THE BAND BUT THE INSPIRATION... AND I FIGHT OFF THE RESISTANCE OF THE SALAD FORK IN A TUNA CAN, HOAK HOGAN! SHUN THE EMOTIONS OF MARTY CASEY'S PLEA FOR MORE EVERGREENS IN THE FOREST, AND BILBO BAGGINS WON'T BE ABLE TO STEAL MY PRECIOUS AND THROW IT INTO THE FIRE! I ALREADY AM INVISIBLE AND YET WATCHING YOU EVERY SINGLE SECOND! JUST CALL ME STING, HOAK HOGAN! NOT THAT STING, THE ONE WITH THE CREEPY STALKER SONG, ALTHOUGH I SUPPOSE WATCHING EVERYONE FROM THE RAFTERS IS ON THE SAME LEVEL OF STRANGE! SKKKKKKKKKKKROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK! I'LL BE WATCHING YOU, I'LL BE WATCHING YOU... WOOOOOO! I'LL BE WATCHING YOU, HOAK HOGAN!
24. It's Lobsterhead against Wade Barrett, and are described as two guys who love to fight, implying to me that Finlay agented this match. Interesting that earlier we talked about the DX/Cryme Tyme entrance, and those two were security who broke up the brawl that ensued from that moment, and here they are five years later facing each other. We get about a minute into the match before it goes into a commercial. Joy. Have to make room for the twenty-eight promos on this show tonight, I suppose.
25. We've missed almost half the match by the time we come back mid-rest hold, just in time for Sheamus to get the face comeback and hit the Forearms of Doom. Cole says that Sheamus is looking for the victory, which to me is usually the point of a match, and he gets a nearfall. Lobsterhead misses the BOOT TO THE HEAD, and Barrett hits two really nice ones of his own for a very close fall. Two minutes, get your shit together! Sheamus hits the Michael Keaton Hears Voices in Static, while WASTING TIME with a minute left! Psychology FTW! Team Ziggles hits the ring and distracts Lobsterhead, allowing Barrett to hit the Black Hole Slam, but it can't put him away. Barrett goes for the elbow, but Lobsterhead counters with a HUGE BOOT TO THE HEAD!, but too much time has expired. Ziggler winning the Royal Rumble would give him two title shots, and normally the guy who gets to pick his spot does not win, so I suppose that's a way to keep him looking good. A return win over Cena would be nice, but that might be asking too much.
26. Vickie Guerrero is vaguely trying to look annoyed as Dolph taunts her with the win, and he and AJ make out in front of her. Dolph demonstrates his ability to go even more off key than Rocky, before Vickie reveals that he doesn't get to choose any number, but #1 or #2. Nothing like false advertising, I suppose. Meanwhile, we get almost a full replay of the Rock attack... Again... Before Punk and Heyman are backstage and confronted by Mr. McMahon. CM Punk gives him crazy eyes like Gil Hodges, and McMahon says that the Shield getting involved in his match will result in severe consequences. Heyman pleas for cooler heads to prevail, and lists everyone who Shield has attacked. McMahon clarifies that anyone interfering will lead to the stripping of the championship.
27. Ricardo and his bow-tie of HAM realize the only reason that Kennedy ever got a response, and that was yelling someone's name into a microphone. Tensai is in line for another jobber entrance as his opponent. What happened to Sakamoto? This is of course a perfect time to hold up your "Aksana for Divas Champ" sign. Wow boy, your momma must be damn proud of you! Del Rio runs the entire way across the ring to sell an Irish whip, and Albert Tensai Train hits his trademark moves early, so he's in for a quick loss. Del Rio comes back with a really nice flying headscissors, and follows it up with a sweet suplex. Del Rio goes a bit too Shawn Michaels for me with his taunt before hitting an enziguiri and going a bit too far on a moonsault for the win. Poor Albert. Pushed to the moon, and depushed just as quickly. Del Rio grabs the mic and cleverly says... Nuh uh, I can count teh better en Espanol. Well, at least he's trying, even if his beckon call is just a modified version of a popular one created by someone else. He's getting a reaction, so I suppose that's what matters.
28. Next in the Hall of Fame this year is... Bob Backlund. No shit, how the hell is he not already in there? A great wrestler, and definitely one of the strangest individuals I've ever seen. His reign was the second-longest of all time. I notice that none of his later-career crazy batshit moments are even referenced in his highlight video, which I suppose is just as well.
29. I guess John Cena's promo is the main event. It's a shame, since there's been so few of them tonight... Cena also seems to notice the hot crowd in San Jose tonight, and again I see that "Men" sign. As Steve Martin might say... "Here's a good idea... HAVE A POINT!" Cena describes Sundays as a day to do whatever you want... You know, if you don't have a job, but fair enough. Cena makes a Black Ops 2 reference, which despite the fact that I don't play video games, I legitimately laughed out loud at. Cena's been consistently full of HAM lately. He then talks about reliving Saturday night with a nice blonde, and 12 dollar coffee... Damn, and I thought my five dollar mocha was expensive... This is pretty funny, but get to the point, Cena.
30. Finally getting around to this Sunday being the Royal Rumble. Maybe he got a postcard from that sick ffffffffreak Goldust, saying he's going to win the Royal Rumble! Transitioning to serious Cena being an all-out WAR! Before going back to comical Cena and crossbreeding it. It's a pretty good set-up for his spot in it, that's for sure. I'd rather not see someone who doesn't need the Rumble win for their career win it again. Last year's winner, Lobsterhead, interrupts him to start the inevitable brawl that will close out the show mid-fight. The PTP, whistle and all, try to talk, but Orton cuts them off, and here we go. Entrance music galore... JBL, I hope it's not Orton winning. Miz is next on the entrance music mix-tape with some REALLYs. Kane's pyro cuts off Miz's catch phrase, and the Anger Management graduates are also in it in addition to their tag title match, predictably getting into an exclamation-off, before... Cesaro, you are next, sir. Three Man Band is next, and they will be the Mean Street Posse of the Rumble I'm sure. The locker room starts to empty, and I'm pretty sure there are more than 30 people, and definitely some I hope that don't take away from surprise guest spots that could make it infinitely more entertaining than pretending for a minute that Primo has a chance. Good, not great, show with a few good matches that set up the Pay-Per-View well, and being my favorite show of the year, it definitely needed it. Very promo-heavy though, and that almost took away from it.
Here is your weekly dose of Jackie.
DID SOMEONE ORDER A LARGE HAM?
Do you really need to ask? Not even close.
2012 - Daniel Bryan
1-7-13 - John Cena
1-14-13 - Dr. Shelby
1-21-13 - Anger Management
IN CASE YOU MISSED JADED HOPE #96