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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 7-9-12
1. It's good to be back. Last week, I was in the unexpected position of not having internet access during my vacation, and therefore was unable to write a column from Lexington. I appreciated those of you who left messages. Chris Jericho definitely got the ham again last week, barely beating out Daniel Bryan with working some of his former catch phrases into his promos. I loved that the crowd took time out from booing him to sing along with them. Also, despite not really knowing much about TNA anymore, congrats to the man I will always know as Shiima Xion for winning the X Division title last night. Super cool guy to hang out with and too damn talented for his own good. Thrilled to see he's having success in televised wrestling. The opening video replays last week's events where the best thing in televised wrestling has gotten even better, with AJ going off the deep end. This storyline has gotten to the next level, with all three superstars definitely receiving a benefit from working with each other.
2. The actual show opens up with the crazy chick herself skipping out to the ring, and receiving quite a pop with it to boot. Not bad for a character that put an over face through a table last week. It's interesting that the WWE championship is almost secondary, not only to a special guest referee, but to a Diva. Fortunately, it's not Kelly Kelly. The only thing to which she should place second is to Alberto Del Rio in a "Who Gives a Shit That You're Wrestling Now?" contest. AJ asks CM Punk to come out, and he also receives a pretty nice pop. Punk sports a nice smile as AJ flutters her eyes at one of her prospects.
3. AJ takes exception to Punk saying she needs mental help, because having complete nervous breakdowns and random emotional changes is entirely normal. An "AJ's Cra-Zy!" chant breaks out as she starts to switch to gushing over Punk's compassion for her. This girl is playing the game of Neck Deep in the Crazy Pool to a T, and it gets more fascinating to watch every week! I can't tell if CM Punk is impressed with what she's saying or not. I think mostly he just looks really confused. It's different for him, I like it. AJ says she knows what she has to do, and slowly steps away. She begins to kneel in front of him, a situation where a PG product does not provide more interesting possibilities, and instead proposes to him... Which creates a MASSIVE reaction! Holy shit, with all the wedding angles in WWE history, it's downright amazing to hear the possibility of another one receive such encouragement!
4. Bryan Danielson subverts his own chant to beg for AJ to change her mind. Dragon tries to convince AJ that Punk is just playing her because of the referee disposition. He proclaims that he never stopped having feelings for her, swearing it on the life of his evergrowing beard. Punk tries to step up and deny the accusations from Danielson, but D-Bry tells him to prove it by saying "I Do." Punk appears unable to do this, and Danielson goes into full hammy hopeless romantic wannabe mode. This leads to Danielson getting on his knee, by which CM Punk is DEFINITELY not impressed. Punk calls him out for not having a ring, and the two boys get into a cock contest when all of the sudden...
5. The "Your CD has now finished copying" iTunes sound indicates that there is an email from the Anonymous RAW General Manager. Ah, I'd almost forgotten about that storyline that never actually had a conclusion. Michael Cole returns to the voice of the RAW GM while sporting a haircut that looks like dirt that got fucked by a hobo. He/She/It books AJ to team with Punk against Daniel Bryan and Eve, because if there's one thing this storyline needed, it's Eve. Bryan continues hamming it off the deep end, and AJ is thrilled about the match, because everything happens for a reason, and she'll be walking out of the arena with her future husband... But who will it be? The little Diva that could skips her way out of the arena to a sea of confusion, thus continuing to be fun and unpredictable.
6. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! LOOK AT THIS, HOAK HOGAN! THE JOBBER ENTRANCED OPPONENT OF THE EVENING IS BIFF TANNEN, HOAK HOGAN! THAT MEANS YOU HAD BETTER MAKE SURE YOU END UP AT THE ENCHANTMENT UNDER THE SEA DANCE WITH YOUR CALVIN KLEIN UNDERWEAR, BUT REALIZE YOU'RE GOING TO END UP IN AN INCESTUOUS KISSING SCENE, HOAK HOGAN! AND UNLIKE PRINCESS LEIA, YOU'LL BE AWARE OF IT, HOAK HOGAN! IT'S TIME TO GET THE PROVERBIAL SKATEBOARD UP TO RAMMING CAR SPEED, BECAUSE THIS ONE'S HEADING STRAIGHT INTO THE TRUCK OF MANURE! GET BIFF STARTED ON THE SECOND COAT OF WAX, LESS YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN CON THE EIGHTH WONDER OF THE WORRRRRRRRLD!
7. So two of my favorite running jokes are together in one match, because the world feels like being kind to me after my vacation. I'd say ol' Biff has less of a chance than anyone wanting to put up with Crispin Glover in the sequels. And in the amount of time it took to type those sentences, Biff can't do his killin' before breakfast and gets a kick to the face for his troubles. The Black Hole of Charisma interrupts the victory celebration, and is so boring that he causes Sheamus to kick Biff in the face a second time out of frustration, and who can blame him for that?
8. As Santino and Zack Ryder are backstage, they discuss that the Anonymous RAW GM is in the building tonight, hopefully finally leading to a satisfying conclusion to that angle. Santino goes TROOF from the London episode and becomes Sherlock Holmes in order to track down the long-awaited revealing of the man behind the computer. Shame Edge isn't there to beat the hell out of the laptop again.
9. The Rock will be at the 1000th episode of RAW, thus giving us a bit of a reminder of: Oh yeah, he did start a story arc a few months ago, didn't he? And because I guess the opening segment took too long, an entire match gets the jobber entrance. It looks like Dolphy Gunn and Albert Tensai Train are taking on Christian and Tyson Kidd. Instead of actually calling the match, they're gabbing with Vicki Guerrero about herself. Riveting.
10. I'd love to say they were playing off the upset of Tyson Kidd, but everything happened so fast that it almost made no sense. Sakamoto I guess made the distraction. Maybe he's a masochist and enjoys getting the shit beaten out of him by a large pierced man. AT&T continues his rage and assaults Tyson Kidd by powerbombing him into the ring apron. That'll teach him for winning a televised match! That was a pretty sick bump though, and trust me... Falling on the edge of the ring never feels good.
11. Cole and Lawler get into a pissing match over who should run RAW and Smackdown, which causes iTunes to finish copying WWF: The Music Volume 3. Cole refuses to read the message, which... Oh dear JBL, they're not... Lawler comes up to read the email and... Son of a bitch, they're resurrecting this angle again. Just when I thought this shit was finally over.
12. The sound crew apparently misses their cue, because Lawler was standing back on the podium for no particular reason, and then finally the sound plays. They're letting the crowd decide if they wanna see this match, and normally I love a hot, responsive crowd like this, but... WHY?! WWE asks me if I would like to see Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole, and in the words of Franco from Rescue Me, "That would be a huge goddamn NO!"
13. But hey, there's something to cheer me up and make Greenwoodrosie hide! FUNK IS ON A ROLL! FUNK IS ON A ROLL! Orange is definitely more flattering for this trio than the previous lime green. Drew McIntyre has my favorite "not impressed" reaction out of all the jobbers so far, but I guess we're back to Brodus Clay winning matches in a minute. I'm so glad that bump against the Big Show really helped out his career so much. We've made as much progress as a snail in a saltbed with this character, thank you so much, Clever Booking!
14. Shertino Holmella is backstage confronting Chris Jericho about being the Anonymous RAW GM. Y2J is wearing a jacket that even contestants on RuPaul's Drag Show would find a bit loud. Jericho asks how we know that he isn't the GM, and they get into an MMMM off.
15. A small JeriShow reunion takes place, as Big Show once again tries to make everybody forget that he once had a sense of humor. While Jericho tries to use the opportunity to weaken their two Money in the Bank opponents, Show will have none of it. It appears they'll be facing Cena and Kane, because those two should get along wonderfully. Remember Cena embracing the hate? Yeah, me either... It was a whole five months ago, but Kane kissing AJ made him a good guy again, so who needs continuity?
16. Stephanie McMahon decides it's time to relive their kayfabe breakup, despite the fact that most of the fans know they're actually married in real life. It was interesting listening to her sort of stay in character, but I loved all the facial reactions. That was a plate full of ham right there. That was also one of the most well built up moments of that era, as people were literally begging to see Triple H finally break it off with her. Stephanie's character at the time had a great dynamic and was a heat magnet. Nice little flashback sprinkled with some irony.
17. Cena takes the microphone and cuts a promo at the briefcase above the ring. He makes a Winston Churchill reference... We hardly knew ye. With Cena in no real imminent danger, his promo is entertaining but lacking the desperation that he tends to have when facing a true threat. Maybe he's a little bitter about Ray Allen no longer matching his attire, as he rails most against the "Big Unstoppable Big Show." Whoops. He quite simply says that he will win Money in the Bank, before a loud pyro attempts to remind him that his opponent once made him smash Biff Swagger with steel steps.
18. Interesting that Kane has been in six Money in the Bank matches. Kane has made a career out of constantly being in the title picture while seldom being the champion. He's also the only former winner in the four-way match of former champions, none of whom really need the elevation that the briefcase provides. I still maintain that whoever wins this one should be the first briefcase winner to lose their shot. Ooh, and during Big Show's entrance, they replay part of the match that Big Show and Kane had last week! Oh damn, I'm sorry I missed that live! Those two have never faced each other before!
19. Cena and Jericho start out what I hope is the first match that'll last longer than The Undertaker's entrance. Jericho quickly tags out, and thanks to some cutting edge commentary, we're told that Big Show got an ironclad contract. If only they were so pertinent on a consistent basis, maybe I'd know that Wade Barrett had a skybox. It looks like Kane will be the face in peril during this match; something uncommon for the Big Red Machine, as Show goes on the assault. After some very slow but methodical heat, the hot tag is made and we return to Cena vs. Jericho. Interestingly enough, a cheap shot by Show to Cena sends us into the commercial.
20. Big Show continues beating the hell out of Cena, as well as resurrecting his continuing battle to pretend he doesn't have a personality. Cena tries a cutoff to bodyslam Show, which backfires. Lawler questions how Cena even lifted Big Show, because I guess he never saw WrestleMania XX, and a bearhug is going to lead into the comeback. Cena hits a pretty sweet looking backdrop, prompting Lawler to say, "That's impossible!" Well... Apparently not. Cena hits the hot tag and Kane comes in house of fire, no pun intended. Big Show counters an Irish whip and is nice enough to leave his head down so Kane can hit a DDT. Kane misses the Flying Clothesline and hits a Spear. Kane kicks out, which is fun because that move was apparently enough to beat Mark Henry in twenty seconds a few months ago, but who needs consistency?
21. I like the dynamic of this tag match, because while it follows the typical formulas and psychology, it continues them through multiple transitions. Kane is now back to being a face in peril as Jericho uses the ropes for leverage. After a second commercial break in this match, Kane hits a sidewalk slam, leading to the third hot tag of the contest. Cena immediately comes in with two shoulder blocks, and unfortunately Jericho is the latest in a long line of wrestlers who attempt a clothesline afterward. Cena hits an AA, but Big show pulls him out of the ring, which causes a disqualification? Whaaaaaat? Oh wait, I guess it's time for everybody to look like shit against Big Show time again...
22. Show starts filling the ring with ladders as Kane and Jericho try to get to their feet. I suppose they're both curious about what Big Show is doing with the ladder he's holding and are nice enough to walk over to see what's going on. The crowd chants something disparaging as Show punches a ladder into a Jericho sandwich. Ultimate Cena comeback, and Show is nice enough to defy physics and have a ladder to the face send him over the ropes. Cena stands tall after a really good televised tag match which did what it was supposed to do: Put everyone over involved in the Pay-Per-View match coming up, and preview it well according to face/heel disposition.
23. Backstage, Eve does something interesting for the first time since... Ever, and talks to CM Punk about being overshadowed, as well as throwing a little psychology his way about the possibility of the repercussions of not saying "I do" to AJ. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco (Ham if you get that reference), Shertino Holmella runs into... Great Khali... Who... Says... Something. Kay.
24. Sin Cara is out for a Money in the Bank qualifying match, because I guess he's gotten over being assaulted by Alberto Del Rio. I like the look of the lineup in this match as well, especially because anything Damien Sandow touches instantly turns to awesome. He'll be facing Heath Slater, fresh off defeating whoever was portraying Doink last week. Matt Borne? Nick Dinsmore? Chris Jericho? Who knows... Sin Cara's red tights really don't go with the blue and orange ambiance, but all his moves are pretty smooth. Despite never wanting to listen to the man speak, I have to say he continues to improve his in-ring work. Sin Cara wins pretty quickly, which I'm guessing will lead to more Slater whining, followed by the comeback of the week to hit his finisher for his troubles. Oh what a surprise, here it is. Ham it up Heath, who's going to make you their bitch this week? Ohai, Bob Backlund, who is in tremendous shape for his age, but I'm assuming most of the crowd has no idea who he is. That's why Michael Cole has to read off all his accomplishments for the television audience. I mean, this is a crowd that popped for a wedding angle and a Lawler/Cole match... Shame. Backlund demonstrates that even old-school wrestlers can be as crazy as AJ, and locks Slater in the crossface chicken wing. I'm assuming next week, The Shockmaster will run through a wall and crash into Heath Slater lathering himself with baby oil.
25. Oh what a surprise, here it is. Ham it up Heath, who's going to make you their bitch this week? Ohai, Bob Backlund, who is in tremendous shape for his age, but I'm assuming most of the crowd has no idea who he is. That's why Michael Cole has to read off all his accomplishments for the television audience. I mean, this is a crowd that popped for a wedding angle and a Lawler/Cole match... Shame. Backlund demonstrates that even old-school wrestlers can be as crazy as AJ, and locks Slater in the crossface chicken wing. I'm assuming next week, The Shockmaster will run through a wall and crash into Heath Slater lathering himself with baby oil.
26. The pollsters on wwe.com apparently really want to see this for some ungodly reason. Cole tries to escape the ring, but the recently-appearing Booker T throws him back inside. Lawler does an old-school airplane spin, and at least this shit was over quickly...
27. Nope, I guess we have to drag this out longer. The decision is reversed, because we needed more of that ridiculous Wrestlemania match rehashed, and Santino comes out to find the Anonymous RAW GM under the ring. In the biggest letdown since Hornswoggle was revealed to be Vince's illegitimate son, Hornswoggle is revealed to be the Anonymous RAW GM. You know, I would've preferred no conclusion to this angle rather than that one.
28. I guess all it took to get the WWE championship angle in the main event on a regular basis was a crazy hot chick. Whatever it was, I approve. Two weeks in a row, the WWE champion and number one contender will be wrestling in the main event, and that's a good thing. I just noticed that the cable guide still has John Laurinaitis running the show. I do miss my weekly dose of Laryngitis Haminaitis. Some quick action typical of Bryan and Punk starts the match off, but AJ makes a blind tag to get into the contest. AJ hits a takedown on the much taller Eve. In some fairly decent women's wrestling action, AJ manages to get the better of Eve, capstoned by a vicious looking downward front dropkick.
29. Eve goes to tag out of the match, and Daniel Bryan refuses to tag. This allows AJ to score the roll-up victory, and D-Bry shows that she means more to him than any match. You know, unless it's an 18-second match at WrestleMania, but hey, that's what a good heel does. Bryan tries to sing a little Jagged Edge to AJ, cause he just wants to get married. Meet him at the altar in your white dress, AJ?
30. Punk lays it all on the line and says that he's not going to marry AJ, because he cares enough about her to tell her the truth. This causes a "CM Punk" chant to actually break out while AJ cries, and then smacks him in the face. Bryan seals his ham of the night by holding his arms open and saying "COME HOME, AJ!" She then hauls off and smacks him too, and gets the biggest pop of the night with starting the "YES!" chants. CM Punk's confused expression is just as perfect as D-Bry's exasperated one. AJ's flawless transition from tears to cute smile was downright awesome, and the show ends with her on the stage and the confusion and intrigue intact. Overall, everything involving the AJ/Punk/Bryan angle was really good, as well as the Money in the Bank tag preview. Everything else was what everyone fears three hour RAWs will bring: A lot of WASTED time.
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
4-23-12 – CM Punk
4-29-12 - Teddy Long's name tag
4-30-12 - John Laurinaitis
5-7-12 - Paul Heyman and Jeff
5-14-12 - John Cena
5-20-12 - John Cena
5-21-12 - Santino Marella
5-28-12 - CM Punk
6-4-12 - Michael Cole
6-11-12 - Ricardo Rodriguez
6-18-12 - AJ
6-25-12 - Chris Jericho
7-2-12 - Chris Jericho
7-9-12 - Daniel Bryan
For followers of Jaded Hope, if you haven't seen it yet, check out the best of Season 2 here. This week's new episode is posted at the top, as per usual: