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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 4-16-12
1. For those of you who didn't read the spoilers, myself included, it's another Monday Night RAW as it happens; this time coming from a hopefully energetic crowd in London. While I can't expect another Miami RAW crowd, anything would be better than the deafening silence throughout most of the show last week. As well, seeing some William Regal wouldn't hurt anything!
2. The WWE championship match is opening the show, and the champion CM Punk comes out to a tremendous ovation. This is a good sign for a much better week of reactions. The "CM Punk" chant is louder than his music, and wait... Mark Henry got the jobber entrance? For a WORLD TITLE MATCH?! MizREALLY?! We saw the opening pyro and everything... Was Mark Henry just kinda standing there, hanging out that whole time? Did he try to eat the national anthem singer?
3. I was just thinking, if CM Punk and Brodus Clay teamed up, it would be the Punk and the Funk. Their tandem finisher could be "What the Funk, Punk?" and their tag team could be called the "P-Funk". Maybe George Clinton would be their manager. This random tidbit brought you to by Al Laiman not getting any sleep this weekend.
4. The crowd appears to be going with the "YES!" chants for the faces getting in offense already. If Daniel Bryan comes out tonight, this place might lose its shit! Wrestling a similar psychology to the match two weeks ago, Punk tries using innovative and high-flying offense in order to take out his opponent of superior size. Capped off with a Jeff Hardy-style railing walk into a bulldog, the difference being he didn't botch it; Punk is getting creative in order to find ways to get Mark Henry down. The crowd wind-up before the big "YES!" really seems to be Punk's downfall in these matches, as his leap from the top rope ends up with Mark Henry... Well, he took him, AND THREW HIM ON THE GROUND!
5. As the cheap heat continues before CM Punk gets a steel chair involved, I do really enjoy how Punk sells for a bigger opponent, as well as the size advantage psychology really plays out between a smaller wrestler and a veteran big-man like Mark Henry. This is something we've missed since the days of Shawn Michaels being a regular performer, and if guys like Ziggler, Punk, and Bryan can pick up on that, it will only do good for their respective careers. This match is so much less methodical and that's something wrestling needs. Psychology when used correctly can make any good match better. It's not enough to do the moves, there's got to be a reason to do them.
6. RAW needs more strong opening matches like this. One of the fundamental aspects of putting together a wrestling show on the indies is a hot opener. It's usually seen as the second-most important match next to the main event. Getting the crowd into the show with a great match is a good way to keep the crowd going hot all night, and sets the tone for the show itself. This match did exactly that. Punk wins with a steel-chaired Macho Man elbow. Mark Henry looks very strong in the loss.
7. Jericho appears on the Titan Tron in an obvious fake-set for a bar, and announces that it will be Jericho against Punk in a Chicago Street Fight, which I assume is like a regular street fight only... Chicago-ier. Jericho makes Punk promise to show up sober, because he has footage of Punk going into a pub. We would've been surprised by this, had some of us not signed up for the WrestleMania text contest and gotten the "CM DRUNK" text update. Punk manages to get a "fish and chips" chant started, as Jericho continues laying in the mind games brilliantly, though I could've sworn he said the match would take place at "Extreme New Rules." Jericho cuts off the feed before Punk can respond, and the plot thickens.
8. R-Truth is dressed up like Sherlock Holmes and talking to Jimmy Watson, with cheesy detective music dubbed over. Oh dear god, that was so hammy it was nearly bacon!
9. Speaking of a giant ham sandwich, Santino goes through about five soccer jerseys, getting silly heat reactions before finally getting it right. Though I can tell this is a taped show, because I can still pick up that one sound they've used for the piped-in pops for as long as I can remember. He's facing "The Masterpiece" David Hollaback, and the United States championship will be defended in England. David Hollaback's in-ring abilities make me yearn for the glorious days of Kenzo Suzuki.
10. In rather quick fashion, David Hollaback hits his finisher, which is like a Ron Simmons finisher without any impact or believability, and then remembers he's supposed to be on the other side so that Santino can get his foot on the ropes. Cole whines that Hollaback dominated the entire match, which really isn't all that impressive, considering it was about 90 seconds of mediocre offense.
11. Albert Tensai Train is about be interviewed, before his Japanese counterpart starts to answer, and AT&T decides he will talk. He cuts a pretty standard big evil dark guy promo, though I'm sure he appreciates being in London because he's finally getting a reaction somewhere.
12. Oh thanks, WWE. I was hoping I was finally done with hearing that JBL-awful Flo-Rida song, but yet again we have to play it while talking about WrestleMania 28. This is why we can't have nice things!
13. Brock Lesnar gets a vignette, and while it builds him up well, I'm not sure what's supposedly so controversial about it. So he's full of himself and believes he's better than everybody else? Didn't we already know this? Oh well, I'm just happy it's adding some interesting elements to the show.
14. Zack Ryder appears to be facing Kane, and we're taken back to the moment where Kane broke his back... a mere three months ago, and Ryder's completely fine. It looks like we're going to cut off the beginning of the match, as it goes to commercial during Kane's entrance. That's just as annoying as taking a commercial mid-match. Nevermind, I take that back... Apparently it took Kane the entire commercial break to get into the ring and do the pyro taunt. I know Kane's getting old and all, but wow...
15. Kane comes out firing, sending Ryder into a sick bump off the announce table. The attack-mode doesn't stop, and Kane chokeslams him to cap it off, and... It's over, apparently? All right then... It's followed up by a promo about Kane orchestrating the Orton family reunion, and I'm proud to say I actually did watch that episode of Smackdown!
16. Kofi is backstage talking to AJ, and Daniel Bryan emerges to a huge reaction. Bryan is taking full advantage of these "YES!" chants, even going so far as to rename his finisher the YES Lock, and then goes into a Hammy YES Tirade! This show is clearly not going to make giving out a Large Ham to one person very easy tonight! This is downright amusing, I love it.
17. Think Like A Man also has that ear sodomy of a Flo-Rida song in the trailer, because apparently Fate has determined I will never get away from that shit. I'd review the trailer on Jaded Hope, but that would require me hearing it at least one more time, and I just can't subject myself to that torture willingly.
18. John Cena makes his way out for an apparent promo, as the Lesnar events are recapped again. Cena's been punked the last few weeks, so he really needs to start getting some momentum back this week. Cena is adamant against John Laurinaitis using his power to end the era of John Cena, and I have to say this is quite unprecedented. An authority figure in professional wrestling going against the top name in the company by using his power against said name to attempt to keep the man down? MOST UNORTHODOX!
19. Cena adds some interesting depth to the angle with Lesnar, saying that his sole purpose is to end and replace him. Cena admits that he's afraid, but that he will fight. Cena puts him over better than any vignette that's been done so far, and finally Cena starts picking up the emotion.
20. John Laurinaitis emerges from the back, and I swear he needs to be wearing a cape along with that suit with that theme music. The crowd is hostile toward him as well, so I assume they don't know for whom to cheer, until they hear that Cena is being put in an extreme rules match against an anonymous opponent. I assume that means that Lesnar will be interfering and hitting another F-5. Next week there'll be a contract signing, yippee. Unfortunately this won't be a CM Punk 'signature snark' contract signing.
21. R-Truth, Ham Detective goes through a secret door passage, in what I assume was a cheap excuse to get Hornswoggle on the show... Kay. Now, as Kofi Kingston is coming out, the entire crowd is just waiting to lose their mind for AmDrag. I never thought I'd see the day where losing an 18 second squash match at WrestleMania could make someone's career, but I'll be damned if that hasn't happened. Bryan has the pop of the night so far without question!
22. Bryan's really playing into the gimmick in his matches now, so seeing him show this emotion, giving the crowd fan service, and throwing those stiff kicks at the same time could be a recipe for real success. I'm personally loving it so far. Bryan's still wrestling like a heel, despite being an overwhelming face in this environment, and it makes for an interesting context to the situation. Face comebacks normally aren't treated to "NO!" chants.
23. We lose a good chunk of the match again due to commercial... But we're back to more fun and devastating offense from Daniel Bryan. Bryan has a submission move in, and the crowd accordingly chants "YES! YES! YES!" just as Bryan baited them to earlier in the evening. Bryan kicks out of the quasi-Canadian Destroyer sorta move, the SOS, which is impressive. Bryan cuts off Kofi's offense and locks in the YES Lock to a huge pop as AJ smiles backstage. He locks in another YES Lock, trying and failing to get heat back, but someone comes to make the save... If you'll excuse me, thought 24 belongs to the Warrior.
24. WARRIOR: IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! I'M ON MY WAY TO SAVE A GHANAN JAMAICAN, HOAK HOGAN! THIS COMPUTATION DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE IN THE REALM OF DESTRUCITY! HE CALLS HIS NEW MOVE THE SOS SO I ASSUME IT'S NOW MEANT TO BE IRONIC, HOAK HOGAN! I SWEAR I SAW BIFF FROM BACK TO THE FUTURE AROUND HERE SOMEWHERE! PLUTONIUM! PLUTONIUM! IN ORDER TO MAKE THE WARRIOR NATION WORK, WE NEED THE PLUTONIUM! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO GET YOUR DELOREAN UP TO 88 MILES AN HOUR, HOAK HOGAN, BECAUSE I'LL BE IN MY DODGE STRATUS!!!!!
25. It appears the other half of P-Funk is coming out to a pretty sound reaction, which means my dear Becky will have to roll her eyes as I mark out for the theme song! FUNK IS ON A ROLL! He's facing Dolph Ziggler, who is out with Biff Swagger from the second movie, given his outfit. I assume he stole the 2015 edition of WWE Magazine and went back in time to inform himself. Unfortunately, he didn't convince himself to get rid of that haircut. The match quickly turns into a disqualification, as Biff tries to get involved. Vicki makes the mistake of knocking down a Funkateer and runs smack dab into Brodus. Vicki screams like Becky would if she backed into the jiggling, and unfortunately we still haven't had a normal-length match involving Brodus. Give both him and Ziggler something to do, please!
26. For the younger fans out there who may only know of Chief Jay Strongbow because of the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy... Wait, that's not really something the younger audience may even know now anymore, either. Shit, I feel old. Anyway, point being, very touching video package for the Chief. Well done.
27. I really hate taped shows. You don't need to pipe in cheers with a crowd this hot, dammit! ... In what has to be the biggest tag team in history, the Big Show is teaming up with the Great Khali. And they're facing Primo and Epico, who are finally getting their wish to be on television and... Yeah, I don't see this going very well. Abraham Washington is out to watch the match, I assume because he's looking for someone to replace his Tony Atlas laugh track. And the tag champs got their asses kicked, who saw that coming? The double chokeslam looked really damn cool though.
28. Finally, it's time for the main event. Cena's reaction seems more positive this time around, which is definitely a good thing for him. His opponent is AT&T, which makes sense because he ccut a promo earlier. I guess only two squash matches were necessary before he gets the biggest man in the company. Though, I have to say, I'm not sure if he was a former superstar who went to Japan years ago. I mean, if they would just tell me these things once in a while, I might be better at remembering them. But if they won't tell me that Wade Barrett had a skybox, ESPECIALLY in London, I don't expect them to communicate meaningless details like that. Funny timing though, as Cole talks about the Japanese tattoos as it is clear that some of them have rubbed off his face. Maybe he wasn't talking about those ones, who knows? Who cares? Why am I even listening to him?
29. AT&T continues to lay on the strong offense, as Cena takes a beating at his hands. Cena continues trying to fight back, much the same as Punk did against Mark Henry earlier in the show. One thing quite clear is that AT&T is still the screamer he always was, though his work does seem to have improved. The chop counter to the Shuffle was pretty bad-ass. Hollaback tries to interfere, gets an AA for his trouble, and it gives Tensai time to do the Tajiri/Muta mist. AT&T gets the big win in the main event on RAW.
30. The show surprisingly goes off the air without a Brock Lesnar attack, as Cena's downfall continues. However, there were some really fun moments throughout this show. The Jericho/Punk angle and Daniel Bryan's rise to popularity are two of the best things going right now.
R-Truth came in a close second, but this week it has to go to Daniel Bryan. That hammy segment in the back, plus keeping it going throughout the show, I loved it.
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
#1 - Fair Warning; they might've thought he graduated from the school in Accepted.
#2 - He walked in daylight before it was cool
And long before he was in the House
Titanic douche, Vampire Hunter
Silver never quite worked in his favor