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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 4-2-12
1. Coming off yesterday's review of WrestleMania 28, I still maintain that I will reserve my judgment on the fallout until I see where they go with it. I haven't read any of the rumors or spoilers going into tonight's show, so if I appear to be surprised by anything you already know from seeing them, well that's why. Don't bitch if you're never surprised when you read spoilers.
2. Johnny Laurinaitis isn't wasting any time in booking matches with the faces against the odds. It's quickly cut off as CM Punk arrives to interrupt to a huge reaction. It appears this feud may be reignited, which I don't think will be a bad thing. Because of this, Johnny books Mark Henry against CM Punk for the title. Laurinaitis sums up this segment by saying what I hoped WrestleMania would; "Welcome to the beginning of a new era." We can only hope; professional wrestling needs it badly.
3. It appears that mixed reaction for The Rock is over, as his music hits and it's eerily similar to his first return, which still gives me chills. Regardless of how I feel about the outcome, that music gives me goosebumps when I hear it. I wish I could've heard the atmosphere for the main event last night, because it appears this Miami crowd is hot too, and that should help kickstart a new wrestling year. Thunderous cheers and chants break out for The Rock as he tries his best to not do the Hogan pause, but that smile appears once again. Then again, if that hot of a crowd was cheering for me, I'd probably be reacting the same way. This is why wrestlers do what they do. You have to be the right kind of crazy, but those moments make it all worth it.
4. The first mention of the name "John Cena" elicits the type of heat normally reserved for main event heels after they just ripped the hometown team. Rock puts over Cena pretty huge for a solid minute, which is what wrestlers should do, and it gets the crowd to chant "J.H.C." Wow. Rock says that the most important thing that they did was make history for the fans, setting up the potential for many different types of answers from John Cena later this evening. Rock's command of this crowd, hometown or not, is incredible. He then guarantees that he isn't leaving, to which a chant of something really loud is said, couldn't make it out.
5. How exactly does one wipe a monkey's ass with the state of being?
6. The Rock declares his intention to become WWE Champion, which brings up a whole range of possibilities. The Rock vs. CM Punk promos could easily be on the level of greatness that one would expect from just hearing those names. If he's around enough to make a good run at it, then I'm very interested to see where it will go. This can't be over for Cena's involvement though.
7. The two-time Pay-Per-View Hamminess champion Santino Marella comes out before the commercial for his US title match against Dolph Ziggler and Biff Swagger. Biff appears first and appears to be wearing the singlets that RVD rejected. As Ziggler follows and gets in the ring, I'm pretty sure a rather audible "Let's Go Ziggler!" chant breaks out. Biff must think this match is like putting a screen door on a battleship.
8. The match comes back as we appear to miss all the cheap heat, which does wonders for the storytelling ability of the show. Santino makes a hope spot and looks ready to break out the Cobra before Ziggler cuts him off. In the predictable outcome of allied heels in a singles title match, they turn on each other when one appears ready to win. Dolph Ziggler takes a page out of Shawn Michaels vs. Hulk Hogan and gives a lesson in Over-Selling 101 when he takes a catapult into the corner like he was shot from an actual catapult.
9. As Santino makes haste from the ring, the two follow and the equalizer is met in Brodus Clay, to a HUGE Funkasaurus chant! Ziggler tries to jump into Clay, again hamming it up, and Dolph looks like he may have sold it so hard that he hit his head falling back onto the stage. That's one too many close calls for Ziggler recently, and I once again hope that he didn't knock himself into a concussion. Definitely an early front runner for the ham tonight though! And fortunately for Brodus Clay, it seems that he finally has something to do other than squash random jobbers.
10. After informing me that WrestleMania was socially active or something (I still could give a shit less), the guy who is totally not A-Train comes out in full Samurai-ish gear. Alex Riley now appears to be on face-job duty, taking the old Scotty 2 Hotty/Val Venis role of making new heels look like a million bucks. What a shock, an "A-Train" chant breaks out, but I'll say that Cole covered it well by saying he was a former star that went to Japan to hone his craft. Wow, did I actually just compliment Michael Cole on something?
11. Albert Tensai Train appears to get far more face reactions than I'm sure was intended, but looks absolutely dominant, albeit against the guy who beat The Miz and then disappeared to the purgatory of Superstars. After another power move, the ref calls the match... Interesting. AT&T then does a version of the face grip submission that Kane was using against Cena a few months ago. Why? BECAUSE NOTHING CAN STOP THE CLAWWWWWW! Basically an extended squash, but did what it needed to do.
12. Now that the Flo Rida song has been played about twenty times, AND it's in the trailer for that Steve Harvey movie, I really want it to go die in a fire now.
13. The theme of the night appears to be playing back all the things that John Cena said in the buildup for his match against The Rock at WrestleMania. I'm starting to get interested in this, because it could be adding another layer of depth and motivation to his character. I'm still reserving my judgment, but I'm interested to see where it's going.
14. As CM Punk comes out, he doesn't quite get The Rock's reception, but damn, the whole crowd even sings along with "It's Clobberin' Time!" I couldn't hear the crowd at Mania due to the acoustics of the restaurant, but if it was half this awesome, I wish I could've heard it.
15. The crowd remains hot for Punk. He's doing a great psychological job of selling the back injury and trying to fight off the much larger opponent. Henry eventually swats away a dropkick, and starts with his basic, effective offense. Punk gets pushed face-first into the ropes, which I can assure you does NOT feel pleasant, as the crowd chants "Sexual Chocolate". I'm sure Henry's just trying to convince himself that it's for the back-up band in the movie that is the answer to tonight's comedy riddle! Post it in the comments below and try to steal the Large Ham away from Harv68.
16. Henry is much more vicious when he's verbal like this. It builds up the intensity of his power. I'm sure there are some that aren't impressed with his lack of ability to do several moonsaults in a match, thus forgetting that not everyone has to do flippy things to be a wrestler. I laughed out loud when he told Punk that he isn't allowed to move until he says he could. This match is turning in a pretty good performance, especially in the match psychology department. Daniel Bryan must love all the "YES!" chants, as this time they use it Balls Mahoney-style for Punk's Low-ki-ish chest kicks. That was pretty damn funny too.
17. I can't get over how awesome this crowd is. There hasn't been a RAW crowd this alive in a decade. Just as the match is getting really good, the match goes to a commercial, which is so AWESOME! Nothing sells Punk's legitimate danger like, "We'll be right back!"
18. Punk continues to build the crowd into big hope spots, but continually fails to capitalize on the big moments. He really is bringing the Low-Ki influence, throwing in the chest chops and martial arts kicks. I saw those two put on a triple threat with Christopher Daniels, and it was something to see. Punk completes the comeback into the Macho Man Elbow. However, he gets thrown out of the ring, and the match ends in a count-out. This enrages Mark Henry into a World's Strongest Slam on the floor, and the CM Punk-happy crowd is not impressed by this.
19. Laurinaitis sees some storm clouds in CM Punk's horizon. A possible F-5 reference? Chris Jericho emerges from the crowd and it looks like he's going to force CM Punk to drink alcohol, and dumps Jack Daniels all over him. Jericho then doesn't realize that liquids are slippery and slips on his own ass while on the attack. On the second bottle of alcohol he brings, he finds the only bottle of whiskey that explodes before it actually hits something, but the heat was brought on well.
20. Thought number 20 will be turned over to the Ultimate Warrior.
WARRIOR: IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! HOAK HOGAN, DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT CITRUS FLOATS IN ALL THINGS THAT ARE LIQUID? A FLOATATION DEVICE THAT BRINGS ONLY THE MOST POPULOUS OF ALL THE CITRUSY GOODNESS IN THE TERRAIN OF TESTAMENT, HOAK HOGAN! LOOK AT ALL THE LIMES, HOAK HOGAN! THEY'RE... QUESTIONING! I NEED NOT YOUR PROTECTION LIMES, I WILL NOT DROWN IN ANY DEPTH OF THE OCEAN! MY DODGE STRATUS WORKS LIKE AQUAMAN!!!!!!!!
21. Before Sheamus can get two words out of his mouth, he's interrupted by Royal Rumble Ham winner Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio. Apparently Del Rio is cutting a promo on him, but I can't tell over the heavy chants. As a match on Smackdown between Sheamus and Del Rio is announced, a heavy "Daniel Bryan" chant breaks out about the same time that Del Rio's mic is cut. This gives Del Rio enough of a distraction for Sheamus to deliver a BOOT TO THE HEAD!
22. Daniel Bryan is shown backstage and is insanely over in Miami tonight. I never knew Miami was such a smark-heavy city, but if it means crowds like this, I'm okay with that.
23. Because I haven't heard Flo Rida enough times, we get another picture montage from WrestleMania last night, making me yearn for the days where I was lambasted by Rebecca Black on a regular basis. At least they change it to Vanilla Ultraskim Latte for the returning montage, which isn't much better, but at least it's something different.
24. Cody Rhodes makes his way to the ring, as they announce it was an eight-month title reign, which is Sammartino-length, converted with title inflation. He's taking on Kofi Kingston, which ends up being a quick counter-fest before Big Show's music hits to distract him. Nice! Big Show is paying Cody Rhodes back for all the embarrassing videos! YAY CONTINUITY! This of course leads to a Trouble in Paradise, and Kofi Kingston gets the win. Rhodes' intensity was refreshing, and he should be headed into the main event very soon. Not sure what Kofi will be doing, but I'm sure he'll end up back in the tag title division.
25. Fucking Flo Rida, please disappear from the existence of my psyche! ENOUGH!
26. Mark Henry appears to have the potential for a new manager, and I'm not against this idea. He did well the last time he had one in Theodore Long, and he's easily improved leaps and bounds since that time. Goddammit, that fucking Flo Rida song is playing again for the second time in about thirty seconds! DIE IN A FUCKING FIRE, SONG! You're the musical equivalent of drinking ipecac!
27. Eve is out to cut a promo, expecting us to be surprised that she turned on Zack Ryder for a second time or something. She says that powerful people can't be manipulated. I guess that disregards the whole "power corrupts" mantra. As they return from another commercial, no... I'm not even going to rage against that goddamn song again.
28. Zack Ryder is taking on The Miz, fresh off another WrestleMania victory. Ryder is unusually intense, and understandably so with the given circumstances. The crowd is firmly behind him though, so he's still doing his job well. Ryder and The Miz have worked together recently, and appear to be developing some real in-ring charisma together. This could become a pretty good feud if given the proper time. Miz breaks the momentum, and after a quick shoulder toss into the corner, hits the SCF to get another win. The losing streak appears to be over, and hopefully he has somewhere to go now, especially for Mizfan's sake!
29. John Cena must be having flashbacks to Money in the Bank 2011 and ECW One Night Stand 2006 with that heat he's getting. Finally, after 86 times of hearing Flo Rida and mentioning Cena's last few months of build-up, we're finally gonna see where he's going with this. Cena does the opposite of the Hogan pause and instead takes in all the heat before finally starting to speak. He appears somber in tone, but doesn't make excuses, maintaining his demeanor that he swore to keep. A deafening "You're a loser!" chant tries to break Cena into lashing out at the WWE Universe, turning into the chant of the night, "YES! YES! YES!" The negative response to the question brought in some more heavy heat. Cena admits defeat and says that it's time to wipe the slate clean, and gives an unimpressed gaze toward the Lesnar chants. As they continue, I'm actually starting to feel bad for the guy. You can tell from his facial expression that he's clearly emotional. It's a little tough to watch, honestly.
30. All the chants were true, and Lesnar comes out to an INSANE pop, as Cena was asking The Rock to come out one more time. I've never been a big Lesnar fan, but hearing that music again and hearing that reaction was a moment of awesome for sure. It has to be the only time in history a simple entrance has gotten the "Holy Shit!" chant. Lesnar wastes no time hitting the finisher that Cena originally parodied back in 2003, and it appears we're headed to a feud will likely be a million times better than the aforementioned. Well, after the NFL, the UFC, and whatever else he's done in the meantime, Cena will possibly take the same angle he did with The Rock about being there while he was off doing whatever. I really hope this helps Cena build back what he's lost, because it was legitimately hard to watch him out there tonight, and I've never been much of a Cena fan until recently. Well done, WWE. Fallout RAWs usually suck, but some good matches and one of the greatest crowds in history made this a great show.
Dolph Ziggler oversold a catapult into the ropes, as I said, in a lesson of Overselling 101. Quite enjoyable, I must say.
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