IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 3-4-13
By Al Laiman
Mar 5, 2013 - 12:41:19 AM
credit Tom Jenner
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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 3-4-2013
Here's your HAM! button!
1. We get the opening of what looks like an original Nintendo game, and we're wasting no time in going straight into the Undertaker's entrance. Why would they, though? They had him return at a House Show, and had a text sent out that said "I have risen." Unless the son of Shawn Michaels' tag partner at Backlash 2005 is debuting, I'm pretty sure it couldn't be mistaken for anyone else. A giant WrestleMania logo appears behind him, and... that's it. We go into a highlight video with Mean Gene voicing it over. In case you didn't know, this is the Old School episode of RAW. Take a shot every time they say that phrase. I'd be drunker than the 40 Thoughts debacle if I did that for the first hour alone.
2. That being said, I do like the vintage logo and setup. Cole and Lawler mention old school a few more times just to drive home the point, and CM Punk's music is next. Let's see how they're going to fix the corner into which they've booked themselves by having CM Punk lose three straight big matches. Punk already has the HAM turned up even more than normal while voicing his displeasure of not main-eventing WrestleMania. To the surprise of... let's be honest, no one... Punk decides, out of nowhere, to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania. That was a quick change of focus, wasn't it?
3. Randy Orton's music hits, well, because someone was being interesting on the microphone, so might as well balance that out with pure boring. Orton claims to be the most dangerous man in the locker room, because I guess we've given up on Mark Henry holding that moniker already. Orton asks the WWE Universe who they'd rather see face the Undertaker at WrestleMania... Because what would WrestleMania be without another rematch?! Oh hey, speaking of people who've faced 'Taker at WrestleMania, Big Show comes out to add to the rematch potential. He says that back then, he didn't have... a fist? What? I know he means his finisher, but... I'm pretty sure he had a fist. Show proclaims why HE'S going to beat the streak.
4. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! YOU GET A SHOT AGAINST THE UNDERTAKER AT WRESTLEMANIA! YOU GET A SHOT AGAINST THE UNDERTAKER AT WRESTLEMANIA! EVERYONE HERE GETS A SHOT AT WRESTLEMANIA, HOAK HOGAN! WHAT WOULD WWE'S OLD SCHOOL EPISODE BE WITHOUT AN OLD SCHOOL HUSTLE-TMED CLUSTERFUCK OLD SCHOOL STYLE ON OLD SCHOOL RAW? IT'S OPRAH NIGHT UP IN THIS HIZOUSE, HOAK HOGAN! OH NO, THERE'S A BANSHEE IN MY EARS, SOMEONE FIND THE NEAREST SHARP OBJECT! MINE EARS, THEY HATH HEARD THE HUMAN VOICE INCARNATION OF A DOG WHISTLE!
5. If you didn't pick up on it, Vickie Guerrero came out, and instead of Teddy Longing it, she made it a four-way, because no one saw that coming. What could make this episode of RAW even more interesting? The contestants of the two rematches nobody wanted to see... TALKING! Hooray, it's old school RAW with some old-school verbal debates! As we come back, why not advertise more people sending in Touts, because who needs developing WrestleMania storylines when we can air bad Touts? Meanwhile, Antonio Cesaro gets the jobber entrance, but gets a cutaway video full of HAM making fun of Ryback. He didn't even mention the Invisible Pyro!
6. We hear that Old School RAW is trending on Twitter, because they had Twitter in the 80s. About thirty seconds into the match, Cesaro gets knocked to the outside, and wow it didn't lead to a commercial! Bringing him back in the ring, he does what is honestly a very impressive stalling suplex. Afterward, Cesaro gets a few offensive moves in before getting a military press and a clothesline to the outside. Are we gonna get two powders without a commercial break? I'll be damned, at least something about this is old school. Cesaro gets back in and hits a nice running boot, knocking Ryback off the apron into the barrier. We do finally go into the commercial break with Cesaro in control. We come back just in time for Ryback to get the cutoff. Cesaro counters the Clothesline From Skynet with a European Uppercut, but Ryback counters it into his finisher, and the US champion loses again.
7. Mark Henry's music hits, and holy JBL, shit just picked up! Mark Henry and Ryback have a face-off, and unfortunately it does not end in Mark Henry punching Ryback right in the fuck. The entrance theme of the biggest face jobber this side of Santino hits, and Zack Ryder's going to eat a World's Strongest Slam pretty quickly. In the time it took me to write that information, Henry does exactly that, and the match is already. Del Rio's former J.O.B. Squad lives on.
8. Dolph Ziggler is seen walking to the ring with his ineffective management crew, and he's facing The Miz, which means for once, one of them isn't going to lose. Both of them get the jobber entrance, because we have to make room for the Touts, and Miz has a microphone, which doesn't work at first because even the sound crew doesn't want to hear him speak. He announces Ric Flair as his friend and mentor, because Flair has really lowered his standards in his old age. Ziggles looks like the personification of a Flair mentor, personally. Dolph tries to get some offense going, but Miz comes back with a pretty sweet kick, conveniently hitting him outside of the ring just in time for... you guessed it, another commercial break!
9. Ziggler is on the cheap heat for the time being, but Miz starts to come back and has to be pulled away from the ref. Miz goes old-school himself with his vintage finisher for a near-fall. We get plenty of shots of the old man once again but very few of AJ so, whatever she did to piss off management, please forgive her. Dolph comes back and nearly pulls off an upset with a small-package. He locks in a sleeper hold, but Miz gets out and comes off the rope with an axe handle. AJ and Big E. do the double team, and Flair tries to go after Arsenio. Bad decision. Miz dropkicks Arsenio away, Miz locks in the Figure Four, and Dolph Ziggler fucking loses again, despite double interference. Decent match, another predictable ending. We get more Tout bullshit before plugs take us into the commercial break.
10. The Rock's music hits, and oh how nice that he decided to come back for Old School RAW! We're reminded once again that Old School RAW is trending, because SOCIAL MEDIA! PLEASE LOVE US! IF WE DON'T TALK MORE ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA THE ADD GENERATION WILL TURN TO SOMETHING ELSE! TOUT! TWITTER! OLD SCHOOL! TRENDING! FUCK YOU! Someone has a baby in the crowd, and before I can say anything, my girlfriend says "You brought your baby to RAW, what the fuck is wrong with you?" Point. Rock does the Hogan, and is ready to once again to retell his travel itinerary, because miniscule personal details are interesting. Admittedly, even with that, turning up the HAM is entertaining regardless. Rock mentions Harlem Shake and Honey Boo Boo, two things that I've heard of but haven't seen and will never see. I don't want to know what Harlem Shake is, and I don't give a shit.
11. John Cena's music interrupts, and Michael Cole somehow is surprised by this notion, despite the fact that they advertised the confrontation. Cena puts over Rock's accomplishments while trying to turn up the HAM half as interestingly as Rocky did. Cena says he failed to win the match that he needed, and the crowd either chants "Cena sucks!" or "CM Punk." Cena continues to say why he failed, telling Rocky doesn't know what it's like, which is incredibly inaccurate. Cena goes on about how it's no coincidence that all the stars lined up to give us the rematch that no one demanded, and he says it's a chance to right the biggest wrong in his life. Oh good, I was hoping he'd destroy all the copies of his rap album!
12. I already miss the CM Punk/Rock interactions, and Rock wanted to face Cena at WrestleMania because he knows what it means to him. Rock does a better job of putting Cena over than Cena does, and says no one has what Cena has... except The Rock. Rock goes into great detail of telling Cena why he's getting his ass kicked, and Cena rebuts with "strong words." Cena starts talking about Mike Tyson, and quotes his own theme song only eight years after it came out. Rock comes back with a quote from Lance Armstrong, and completely owns Cena in that moment. I feel like if Kevin Smith was on commentary right now, he'd be yelling: "Would you two just suck each other's dicks already?" They get a close-up for the promo poster, and Rock's music hits to close off a really, really long segment. Who needs time for matches?
13. We get a recap of The Undertaker's cameo, and Jack Swagger gets a jobber entrance against... Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Accompanied by Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes. Let me just re-emphasize that. The guy in one of the main events in WrestleMania got the jobber entrance, and Hacksaw didn't. Hacksaw gets the USA chant started against a "We, The People" wrestler, and Swagger bails and takes the 2x4. and Hacksaw demands that he put the 2x4 down. Swagger hits everyone with the 2x4 and puts Hacksaw in the Patriot Act. We had to get that out of the way to get time for more talking.
14. We go to a commercial for Miz's movie, Team Hell No heads to the ring, and we go to another commercial. We come back with Chester A. Arthur rambling until Swagger yells for a few seconds. ADR attacks him heel-style, and a brawl ensues. Then, yes... Ted DiBiase gets a jobber entrance. On Old School RAW, DiBiase gets a jobber entrance. Something about the WWE App, who gives a shit. Hell No and the PTO get the jobber entrances too. They seem to be working well together, and the quick offense has even my non-wrestling fan roommate interested for the first time tonight. Titus barks at the crowd, and Buffalo actually barks back. That's special. Why is Ted DiBiase here again? I'm sure I missed it. Bryan takes the cheap heat until Kane tags in and cleans house. Bryan takes Titus out on the outside, and Darren Young jumps right into a chokeslam, and Team Hell No wins with ease. Ted DiBiase shoves 100 dollars down Darren Young's mouth.
15. We come back mid-Brodus/Hip Hop Hippo entrance, right after seeing Honky Tonk Man before the break. I haven't seen him since I was working on a show with him main-eventing. Oh, look who else is here, the THREE MAN BAAAAAAAND, BABAY! I guess it's time for more matches with predictable endings. They tell Honky Tonk to leave, so... thanks for coming, I guess. Hey, guess what? Old School RAW is trending, WERE YOU AWARE?! Team Funk wins in less than a minute, and they dance, but Honky stops them. They dance to Honky's music, and Heath Slater comes back again to get hit with the guitar. I'm so glad I didn't tune into wrestling to see actual wrestling matches. I tuned in for Touts and Tweets.
16. It's Kofi Kingston's turn to get the jobber entrance against a wrestler who's never appeared before, so that can't be good news for him. A lady in a dress dances out first, and Fandango... Good JBL he HAMs it up by telling the ring announcer that he won't debut until he pronounces his name right. And... that's it. More wasted time.
17. The latest Did You Know has 10 of the top 10 selling sports DVDs in America. Um... Couldn't you have just said all of them? Highlight video, skip. Lesnar looked like Harvey freaking Dent after all of that blood. Does Triple H get a jobber entrance? Oh hell no, this is a talking segment. Now I see why we had to cut all of those matches short; we had Triple H, The Rock, and the Undertaker making full entrances.
18. Triple H references post-Summerslam about saying he might've been done, but then pulls a Rocky and tells us details of his training. He says he was waiting for a reason, and then he was in the hospital next to Vince. H says that Stephanie and his kids sat next to the bed ringside, but he was smiling inside. Wow, that's a horrible thing to say! You're glad your father-in-law got brutalized because you have a reason to hate the guy you should already have a reason to hate? Do you listen to the words coming out of your mouth?
19. In a move that surprises absolutely nobody, H starts mentioning WrestleMania and challenging Lesnar, because all of his nicknames are back. At least this one was kept a lot more brief, and he was really PUNCTUATING! FOR! EMPHASIS! I realize I'm not writing nearly as much as I usually do but... Are you watching this shit?
20. More replays and highlights, skip. All of the midcard champions have officially been jobber-entranced tonight to make room for Touts and talking. He's facing Alberto Del Rio, so... You guessed it again... Another match with another predictable ending. Not only are we getting an unadvertised champion vs. champion match on television, but since it's before WrestleMania, we know for a 100 percent fact that he's going to win. Isn't WrestleMania season supposed to be their BEST FUCKING EFFORT TO SELL THE BIGGEST SHOW OF THE FUCKING YEAR?!
21. ADR gets the quick advantage right before Biff and Chester A. Arthur come out to demand that Wade Barrett forge his homework in the diner. I saw a sign that says "Cena eats Brocolli." Thanks, I'm so glad I know that now. Barrett hits a Black Hole Slam and is likely about to get two minutes of cheap heat. ADR works the arm over the ropes, but Barrett comes back and kicks ADR off the apron.
22. A short bit later, ADR starts to come back and takes advantage of being the World Champion during WrestleMania season, and gets a near-fall with a kick to the face. Now I know this is going to surprise you, but ADR comes back and hits the Cross-Armbreaker and gets the submission victory. Thank JBL they're saving all their shocking television for five weeks before WrestleMania. Oh who cares, both of them are trending! That's the important thing! PRIORITIES! And ADR is facing Ziggler on Smackdown? The guy who can't even win a match when both of his managers interfere? Damn, I wonder who's going to win that one? The only thing for which we can wish is that they really throw a curve-ball and have Ziggler cash in, but after losing so often in the last few months, it would have no credibility whatsoever.
23. More Chester A. Arthur rambling, skip. Ohai, New Age Outlaws! Road Dogg is nice enough to censor himself, because only The Rock can swear on television. Road Dogg throws a little Triple H reference in there before going into his schtick. At least Dolph Ziggler got double booked and is doing a great Billy Gunn impression. And in the latest round of jobber-entranced predictable matches, they're facing Primo and Epico cause... Why the fuck not? It's not like you actually have to sell me on the Pay-Per-View coming up or anything.
24. Road Dogg goes through his little shimmy. It drives the women here in Cleveland crazy. Rosa dances at ringside, because she's under the impression that someone gives a shit. Primo and Epico remind everyone that they are pretty decent wrestlers, but they've just never given anyone a reason to care. After some cheap heat, Gunn gets the hot tag and the Fame-asser for the win. At least a little bit better than most of the others, but still... Predictable match with a predictable ending.
25. In case you weren't aware, WWE WANTS YOU TO TWEET THINGS! GUESS WHAT?! NEW AGE OUTLAWS ARE TRENDING! LIKE US! LIKE US! Touts? Fuck that shit. Skip. Everyone's out for Mae Young's enormous birthday cake, and Bryan Danielson has already changed into street clothes. Oh no, Titus and Darren Young have the WAR in the RAW is WAR logo! Someone might be offended! CM Punk interrupts Mae Young with the entire roster there. We go into commercial with that. I wonder how many commercial breaks this match will have.
26. Big Show and Orton come out, rushed. This match desperately needs to be good to save this flaming bag of shit they've called the Old School episode of RAW. Everyone slips out of the ring, and then come back in one at a time to get beaten up by Big Show. Orton of course gets the advantage first, because if there are two people I want to see face each other, it's Bland and Blander. Orton and Sheamus then go at it while Punk watches on. Sheamus throws Orton into the ropes and leaves his head down, and even non-fans ask why he does that. Punk breaks up an attempted fall, and Orton and Sheamus throw Punk out of the ring. Big Show then comes in, so at least go to commercial during something I wouldn't be paying attention to anyway.
27. Punk has the advantage on Orton as Sheamus is favoring the knee on the outside. Conveniently, Orton gets the advantage just as we come back on the air, and he throws a few flail clotheslines, but Sheamus comes through with a battering ram. We get the Blair Witch camerawork for the Forearm Chops of Doom, before Punk breaks up the fall. Big Show comes back in and tries to take advantage, but Sheamus stays on offense with kicks and knees.
28. Sheamus lifts Big Show up for White Noise, and no matter how many times he does it, it's JBLdamn impressive. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick, but runs into an Orton powerslam. Show comes back and chokeslams both Orton and Sheamus. A minute later, Sheamus Brogue Kicks Big Show, Orton RKO's Big Show, and CM Punk hits the GTS on Orton to get the win. Wow, that was a rushed ending if I've ever seen one.
29. The show's not over yet, CM Punk is for whom the bell tolls, and it's ShredderTaker. Fire rises up behind him, and that's where the show ends. So, Undertaker showed up to walk halfway down the entrance ramp twice, and... that's it. Wow, it'd be nice to get the paycheck for that workload. So, the last match was fairly decent, but other than that, this show was awful. When they advertised it as a throwaway show, they sure meant it. The only entertainment I got out of this show was listening to my roommates try to get into it, and then have it ruined by the cavalcade of shit they gave us tonight. Jackie, save us!
30. Thought number 30, I'm reserving for a response to my last column "Don't Wait" from my friend and former manager, Paul. I also have to say, there were many wonderful emails that I received, and if I didn't respond to yours, I apologize. Thank you, sincerely. I hope this one helps anyone in this situation.
This weekend, I have felt like quitting. A good bit. You see, I’m that special kind of asshole who doesn’t enjoy losing. Feeling accomplished, being resourceful, and not losing by any means I can are just a few of my traits that make me unique. Sure, they make me sound a little diabolical and a tad screwy, but these are my defense mechanisms against the insanity of this world. Without them, I would submit myself to monotony and would end up waiting. Like my friend Al suggests, I don’t wait. I can’t wait. I won’t wait! There is too much life out there to be found, to just wait for it to arrive! Man, I’ve felt like quitting on it, though.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paul, otherwise known as PIV. I am the unnamed manager you may have read about in Al’s recollection of his wrestling career, and we continue to talk from time to time. I’m a 28-year-old man from the Pittsburgh region, and I still dabble in pro wrestling. For the same company and no other. Just one day out of the month, I come by and I shoot out 3 hours of commentary and a couple promos, depending on angles of course. PIV has gone from idiot heel manager to idealistic babyface manager to authoritative babyface commissioner of the company. So why do I feel that it’s all for nothing?
Perhaps it’s the documented fact that the stable that included myself and Al were booked to do nothing. Yeah, we had a tag title shot here and there, but we weren’t taken seriously. Then, I was transitioned into managing a babyface tag team. Wanna know how many times we won a match? Hint: You can’t divide by it. Finally, I do the commissioner deal and pretty much have to make up my own angle that exists outside of the parameters set by the booker…since it’s very obvious that despite my near-perfect attendance and endless devotion to the company, that my character is not considered important and thus “creative has nothing for you”. That’s a load of bullshit.
My home life seems to be even worse. My partner recently lost his job…or has stopped working, due to mental illness. The income has been sliced in half, and my own anxiety is starting to spike because of it. We’re making sacrifices and they are not going to stop. I feel like I must support the both of us now. Even with him home constantly, the depression limits him from performing even casual household chores. It’s all up to me. Of course, if I try getting him to do something about it, I’m suddenly a bastard. We have applied for everything under the sun to cut down our bills and give him an income again…so I’m forced into a state of waiting. For a person who doesn’t do that, it’s not easy. I feel like my world is coming apart.
Last November, I lost the most important person in my life. Cancer took my mother from me, and my world hasn’t been the same since. She’s not there to discuss the horseshit and help me vent my frustrations. She’s no longer able to smell said shit and make me more aware of it stinking up my life and time. Her smile will no longer welcome me when I do go visit my parents’ home As much I am grieving over this event, I know she’s looking down on me. I pray that she sees my plight and blesses me with good fortune. Again, though, I can’t wait for that to come my way. As much as I know I shouldn’t, I feel like quitting.
I don’t even know what quitting is anymore. I guess for me, it would be dropping my partner and moving in with my even-more-grieving father. It could be cutting short my once-proud history in pro wrestling and just staying home for that one Saturday per month. It would be giving up altogether on any contact with friends, which my grief has already halfway succeeded in doing. It could even be a knife in the shower and letting it all flow down. That last one isn’t serious, but it has danced across my cerebrum these past few weeks. I just feel like quitting, that’s all. But I don’t. So why don’t I just quit?
My partner has told me that I make life sound too happy and positive. He should read this column then, haha. No no, life is not that glorious. By itself, life is full of awful people, backwards philosophy, and hypocritical viewpoints. A congressman can agree that spending should be cut in welfare, but they’ll back out if it hurts their district too badly. Someone can give money to charity but then embezzle more money back from a 3rd party. A priest will smile to you and say they love homosexuals and then refuse to marry them, even if the system deems it as legal. Also, for all of the work that we do and for all the strife we push through, the money doesn’t seem to be enough. There will eventually be that collection letter or that eviction notice. There’s too many reasons to lose hope….to quit.
But I refuse to. For all of my desperation, depression, anxiety, and grief, I refuse to lose hope. I don’t quit. So why do I not quit?
I believe in hope. You can laugh at that and call me ideal, but there is always hope. There is always a feeling that stress will resolve itself in the very end. For 5 years, I went to college, and there were many nights I didn’t eat in order to get by. After having a 4.0 GPA in high school, my first semester yielded me a 2.9. That’s a good bit of losing. Through it all, though, I created an organization on campus, traveled to over a dozen conventions, and earned….earned two Bachelor’s degrees at the same time. For 4 years now, I go to that monthly wrestling show, and I don’t quit doing it. Why? Because I’m damn proud to be a part of the wrestling business, even if it only amounts to a 30-second promo or taking a bump once a year. Wrestling is one of those outlets that’s been there for me, to process my emotions through. I didn’t lose, and I haven’t quit. No one can take that from me, ever! Finally, I’ve been with my lover for the past 3 years. I know his condition.. I have lived with this condition, through both him and myself. Our emotions clash like goats in heat; we may have our arguments heard throughout the patch. I don’t give a damn, though. I love him, and I am not going to leave him. I hate to wait, but he’s worth it. As for my mother, there will not be a day I won’t miss her. She’ll be on my head one way or another. I may break down and cry, because the loss will not stop coming. It won’t wait, but I can’t succumb to the pain. I won’t quit.
In just 4-5 weeks, Kyle and I are going to Wrestlemania 29. Not only is it my first Wrestlemania and first Madison Square Garden show (the Hall of Fame), but it’s also our first full vacation together. I may be poor and just have some credit left to run up, but I plan to make it a weekend he’ll never forget.
I know this guest article may have not been the most wrestling-oriented but Al struck a chord in me, as I’m sure a lot other people. I just felt that I represent those people who don’t wait for life to kick in, but rather feels as though they should back down when life decides to kick them anyway. Don’t back down. Life is what you make it. It can have no sympathy, but that just means you should fight back. This world will threaten to swallow you. Hell, I’m standing on the tongue right now, but I won’t dive.
Neither should you. Don’t quit.
DID SOMEONE ORDER A LARGE HAM?
I think Fandango's ridiculous debut takes it tonight.
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
IN CASE YOU MISSED JADED HOPE #102