1. It's a good night to be in Cleveland on the Road to WrestleMania. I've got my "Cleveland Mafia' indy wrestling t-shirt to match the two Cleveland tattoos on my arm, so it's almost like being home. The Gund must be rockin' tonight.
2. Okay, I instantly marked out like a little kid for Cena in the old school Mark Price Cavs jersey. As well I did for the old school theme music; I like it so much better than the Cosby Show entrance he has now. I don't care, Cena has turned me into a fan during this feud. It's a good thing he didn't go two numbers lower, or he'd have been booed louder than the guy who wore that number.
3. Cena is once again turning a rather hostile crowd into face heat. This has been one of the most incredible turns of heat I've ever seen. This is the first rap he's done in a year, and he hasn't lost a beat. I get why he doesn't get this edgy all the time, but if there ever was a time to do it, it was now. He's on the roll of his career right now.
4. Michael Cole just quoted Kurt Angle, saying "It's true, it's true!" about Dolph Ziggler. That sandbaggin' son of a bitch! It does make me nostalgic for old school Kurt Angle heel promos though. He got serious levels of heat during that run.
5. Dolph and Sheamus put on a pretty good contest, as the dropkick on the outside was really nice old-school heel. Meanwhile, some fruitcup in a sweater is more concerned with talking on the phone and being seen on TV than the match going on.
6. Hey, Daniel Bryan is in a skybox! It's almost like that time that Wade Barrett was in a skybox! Are we going to refer to it constantly, just in case we don't forget that Daniel Bryan is in a skybox? Because he's there, in that skybox, Daniel Bryan is.
7. I'm really becoming a fan of Sheamus's trademark moves. He's finally found an arsenal that fits not only his combination of size and agility, but that just looks brutal and gets big face pops for huge impact. A power wrestler needs those "WOW!" moves to be truly over, and Sheamus has slowly grown into that, as well as having the speed and agility on top of it.
8. Speaking of heavy impact, holy shit was that Brogue Kick the biggest boot this side of Andrew Martin! Wow! What a great match to open the show. Dolph still looks rather strong despite not yet being booked for WrestleMania, but it could've been a lot worse, knowing that he didn't have a chance in hell to go over the Rumble winner and number one contender.
9. People know of my unfavorable opinion of Randy Orton, but I sure hope Kane gets something in on this feud, unlike Orton's feud last year with Punk where he was over almost every week and the match afterward as well. I know he's a super over face and everything, but that was three RKOs in two days.
10. Listening to Michael Cole talk about David Otunga is actually kinda creepy, because I'm not sure if he's an overzealous fan or a creepy internet secret admirer. He keeps this up and Chris Hansen's gonna tell him to have a seat, right over there.
11. This game of oneupsmanship between the GMs is a really fun midcard angle. At least Mark Henry finally looks like a winning competitor again, and Santino isn't buried for losing in a two-on-one situation. Henry continues to strong in the continued beatdown of the Long supporters, which is something he really needed to be credible in this feud. After some quick losses in recent weeks, Mark Henry is quickly back as the beast of the match.
12. I'm participating in a movie riddle game while I watch RAW this week, and it really makes me miss Skitz's riddles from way back. Maybe the ham should come with a side of trivia. It would have to be riddles though, because people can Google anything else. Any thoughts?
13. Zack Ryder isn't doing a very good job of endearing himself to the fans by turning from a standfast man of conviction into a dumbass with a goofy stupid smile. I really hope this is going somewhere. I already don't get the gimmick, but this isn't really helping anything.
14. The star of Psych shows up in a life preserver, which should mean he'll get into a conflict with Jack Swagger and send him sprawling into a pile of manure. If that doesn't happen, then Biff is not living up to his haircut.
15. The Funkasaurus is advertised as appearing next, with no explanation to where the hell he has been whatsoever. It's a fun hammy gimmick, and there's been a lack of hamminess so far tonight. Do not let me down, WWE! People are demanding a ham sandwich!
16. Clay doesn't appear to have lost any face heat from the absence, but he's also in the ring with Hustle's favorite all-time wrestler EVER, Jinder Mahal! It doesn't make a lot of sense though. He went on a roll with squash matches against heel jobbers, goes away for like six weeks, then comes back for another heel jobber! Oh well, he's clearly making the best of what could've been an embarrassing situation, and I still love the theme.
17. Just food for thought... Once upon one of the times that Shawn Michaels was a special guest referee, he superkicked The Rock in the face and aligned with Triple H, although they never bothered to actually do anything about it, for some odd reason. His involvement in the match adds a lot of intrigue and unpredictability in the match that HBK and Taker began. This full circle involvement is what the sequel to last year's match needed.
18. HBK is in super serious mode, which he also does just as well as being silly and goofy. I do love the ambiance that the blue light keeps with the Undertaker's presence, and it's something that the modern day characters just can't carry. They're adding a different level to the match with Undertaker playing the foil between HBK/HHH, while they all have issues of respect and gossip going around.
19. Just as I'm about to think that at least the segment involving this match didn't go on for twenty minutes for once, Triple H comes out to the stage and implies that it may continue. I get that it's one of the biggest matches on the card, but the more they say, the more redundant it's going to get. We get it, it's the end of an era, you can only say that so many times. Fortunately, it's just a crotch chop.
20. The announcers must've been asleep from the talking, because they showed the marquee for the next match and went to commercial without saying a word. Granted, that's not necessarily a bad thing, because I'd rather listen to a Nazgul get into a singing contest with a Banshee than hear Michael Cole say anything.
21. Okay, the guy from Psych is definitely a contender for the Large Ham. He's doing a strange combination of Michael Buffer, The Rock, and Road Dogg. And he used the phrase "immaculate manscape". Wow. This is so over-the-top enjoyable that he should ham it up once a month or so, Tazz-style. Remember when he took over ring announcing for a six-man tag match? "Two Fools!" and "Six thousand pounds, from the waist down, Rikiski!"
22. Remember in 2004 when the good guys won a Survivor Series match and each of them got to be GM for the week? They need to do gimmicks like that more often, add a little air of unpredictability. It was fun seeing the heels have to kiss up to someone to whom they just lost, and to see what each star would do with a night of power. Much better than the guest hosting gimmick where they were in charge. Or the anonymous GM who, well... Never got identified. Don't worry, if I do riddles with clues, mine will eventually actually have an answer.
23. Oh yeah, there's a match going on... One we've seen quite a lot recently, but still is pretty good, considering the circumstances. I was off in nostalgia land there for a few minutes. Punk gets the win before Jericho does a Titan Tron promo.
24. Jericho is doing something very few have attempted to do, and that's slime his way into almost peer pressuring Punk into alcoholism. It's rather conniving, which adds yet another interesting element to this matchup. It's not just about the wrestling anymore, and that was what this match needed. Now it's getting personal for Punk, with Jericho claiming he'll make him drink from the result of Jericho's imminent victory. That definitely is a first.
25. The faux-lawyer commercial was the first time I've ever laughed at something promoting David Otunga. That's rather impressive, although all he did was stand there and not talk... Maybe that's why I liked it.
26. "What are you lookin' at, Butthead?" Jack Swagger gets the jobber entrance against Randy Orton, which is a great sign for his career at this point in time. Despite not caring much for either of these competitors, it has been surprisingly good.
27. Remember when the ankle lock was actually a legitimate finisher? Swagger has basically taken it from that to a transition rest hold. It's true, it's damn true. After Orton wins a rather good match between the two, Kane's pyro goes off and... nothing happens. All right then.
28. The Rock came out at 10:57, which either means it'll be a short concert, or like the other ones I remember, it may go really late on broadcast. I'm sincerely hoping for the latter, cause Rock really needs to get some heat back in this feud. Cena may be the first person ever to get this far ahead of Rock on the mic. It's been amazing to see.
29. Rock flashes that million dollar smile, and Rock concert is getting just as over as the Cena rap, if not moreso, which is what I believe they wanted to do. Unfortunately, he's keeping the same tune, but it's been pretty damn funny. He's got the crowd back in the palm of his hand, and that's when he's at his best. Rock makes a few more fourth wall jokes, which has been a mutual enjoyable part of this feud. As long as they don't overdo it, it could work for a viable occasional method of storytelling. As the concert goes on, the face heat gets even louder, and that's impressive for a long promo. Not something many people can do.
30. The show goes off with Rock using different words to Queen. Maybe he'll use the "News of the World" album to make Cena scared of the scary robot next week. Hey, it worked on a Fat Guy Strangler. It was a fun show for the most part and another good build to WrestleMania. If you're not excited for this card, I don't know how you can call yourself a fan.
DID SOMEONE ORDER A LARGE HAM?
No one came even close to Roday, and the phrase "immaculate manscape" made sure no one had a chance.
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