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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 6-25-12
1. Let's seriously hope that RAW this week is an improvement from the second two-thirds of last week. Then again, most tetanus shots are more enjoyable than that. The opening video highlights the best and most unpredictable thing going in wrestling: AJ. The show opens up with a shot of AJ addressing all three of her particular suitors. According to her, they should all go their separate ways. The angle turns to see that she was facing the mirror, and this of course will catch all three of them by surprise, because in no way do they have access to the show as it's airing. As the rest of the show opens, Cena announces he will make history, and we're finally getting the rematch of Brodus Clay and Big Show. I hope they let him get in an actual move this time.
2. Vicki Guerrero repeats "Excuse me!" as much as Michael Cole repeats... anything. I'm sure she's saying other things, but even on television, her voice is drowned out with heat. It's constant too, which is a true testament to her ability to work a crowd.
3. A triple threat elimination match is announced, and The Epic Beard of YES-ness is the first participant. Holy shit, are there a ton of YES! signs everywhere. His first opponent is Kane, and according to Michael Cole, AJ cost him the World WWE championship. That must've happened at Way No Out. CM Punk is the third participant, so it's basically a rematch of the WWE championship triple-threat match. Fair enough. For the second week in a row though, the WWE champion is curtain-jerking.
4. Kane starts off dominating both men with his size advantage. D-Bry uses some strategy to knock out his knee, and the two team up to keep him down. A quick roll-up almost ends the match in Bryan's favor, and they square off as Kane rolls to the outside, and this is never a bad thing. Punk gets the upper hand, and I believe he just curb-stomped his ass! Both men try to go to the outside against Kane, and it doesn't go well for either of them, but naturally we're treated to a commercial before that can build any further.
5. The match returns with no eliminations thus far. Kane goes up top for his flying clothesline, but Bryan catches him. Punk gets under him and it loos as if they're going for a Doomsday Device, but in a damn sweet move, they roll into a pinning combination as Kane swings and misses. There's a double chokeslam attempt, but it backfires. Bryan and Punk once again square off, which leads to a triple spinning counter combo that sends Bryan into Kane. Bryan gets tossed to the outside into Kane, and Punk follows to get the high spot and the big pop. The battle for supremacy continues, with a near-fall after a counter into a YES! Lock and a high kick to Bryan's head.
6. RAW is once again starting with a very strong match. There haven't been any AJ shenanigans yet, so no result is certain yet. Just as Kane hits the flying clothesline, the skipping crazy happy fun time happens. This once again distracts Kane into a Go-Relatively-Near-My-Knee and Sleep, but the King of YESamania takes advantage and pins the WWE champion to get the win. Great opening match with AJ once again screwing with Kane's head.
7. Backstage, Alberto Del Rio attempts once again to have a personality until someone with actual charisma walks into the shot in Dolph Ziggler. They bicker until Vicki books a heel-on-heel title contract on a pole match. Not bad, but not quite as Russo-riffic as a Judy Bagwell on a pole match. Oh, and Ricardo brings Vicki roses. Dolphy Gunn takes exception and goes Lonely Island on them by throwing them on the ground. Or the sofa, whatever. Maybe they're trying to take advantage of the face pops Ziggler has been getting recently, but heel-on-heel matches rarely work.
8. FUNK IS ON A ROLL! FUNK IS ON A ROLL! Captain Brodus and the Funkateers are back on RAW, although that lime green color is not very favorable for anyone. The match actually gets in the ring, so it's already progress from the last one. Brodus gets in a few shots, including headbutting Show completely off his feet. Big Show immediately takes out Brodus's injured knee, working psychology in a match with a lot of guy in the ring. Show continues getting cheap heat, although he almost slips climbing up the ropes and hitting a splash of sorts. Brodus fights back a little bit, and manages to get Big Show up, but his knee gives out and Show pins him. Well that was a really anti-climactic ending. I'm so glad they built up Brodus Clay for half a year only to finally have him pinned like that. That really helped put him over at the expense of making a twenty-year-veteran look good in his quest to not have an emotion. I'm so glad long-term booking paid off so well.
9. John Cena's 300th Make-A-Wish is highlighted, and regardless of what you may think of his supposed personal situation right now, what he's done for those kids should not be taken away from him. I've seen comments calling him a media whore and much worse, but tell that to the families of the children he's affected. If it wasn't a big deal, there would be other people with that many granted wishes.
10. The highlighted episode of Monday Night RAW this week is one of the only times the guest host concept really worked; that being Bob Barker. Chris Jericho was absolutely priceless, especially when Bob told him to be a good boy. Definitely a fun night that was.
11. Oh, just in case they didn't make Brodus look like shit enough, while he was being helped out, Big Show punched him out. I really hope they do something with the poor guy after this, or that was a lot of wasted time and effort.
12. The thrilling verbal debate between Triple H and Paul Heyman is recapped, because it was just so exciting the first time. I'm sure we won't be reminded of this any more times tonight. Though it did provide a really funny moment of bad dub-over, as after Triple H said he'd meet Brock at Summerslam, they added in a huge ovation while the entire crowd looked like they couldn't care less.
13. Kane and AJ are talking backstage, and Kane says that he's not boyfriend material. He adds that even he finds her mentally unstable, which comes across as him letting her down easy. Wow... This makes her laugh like a crazy woman, and you really have to be playing your character well to be standing in a room with masked Kane and make him look like the stable one.
14. Oh hey, look who gets the jobber entrance! It's Biff Swagger, just in time for an epic showdown with US Champion Santino Marella. And what better way to have the US champion defend his title for the first time since mid-April than to a guy who has a record rivaling MVP during the losing streak gimmick? I guess he must've really done that second coat of wax well to earn a title shot with that kind of recent performance record.
15. It's hard to take Santino as a champion seriously when they've put him in a feud with an announcer, but have him job out in a minute to Alberto Del Rio twice within a month. Although finally there is a ham sighting, as Santino chases Biff around the ring with a Cobra pose, but Biff escapes without the venom. Santino hits several basic offensive moves before pulling out the Cobra. Biff lifts him up for a powerbomb, but he drives right into a pile of manure called Santino's counter DDT. Santino gets the win via Cobra. Backstage, Zack Ryder likely gets his one appearance by joining John Cena in throwing away a People Power t-shirt. I already miss that consistent hamminess.
16. It's apparently time for John Cena to make history while Kenn Doane tries to remind everyone that he was on television at one time. Cena pisses off a ton of nerds by comparing recent WWE storylines to Star Wars, including calling himself "Cenawalker." Cena at least gets some ham in with a Show Vader impression, but I'd say his Yoda one was better. The whole monologue was actually pretty decent, all things considered.
17. However, something much more awesome cuts off the historic announcement, because Chris Jericho has returned. Apparently the Christmas lights jacket is gone, but he still managed to find one that looked like Jack Sparrow fucked Little Richard. Jericho's recent Fozzy tour is highlighted, and let's just hope there are no flags around for him to kick. The WWE Universe greets him with cheers, because I guess they have a really short-term memory. It doesn't take long to change it back as he heels it up against Cena. Cena becomes an exposition fairy and describes the Money in the Bank ladder match, apparently forgetting that the original concept was in kayfabe developed by Jericho himself. In order to stop Big Show from becoming WWE champion, Cena is going to enter the ladder match to be on the other side of cashing in the briefcase for once.
18. Jericho rightfully mocks Cena for using the word "fudgin'", and continues to verbally chastise Cena before he throws it in his face that he's won none of them. Jericho's presence on the mic was definitely missed. Some genius in the crowd has a brilliantly relevant sign: "Who Farted?" Wow dude, you're so original. Your mom must be so proud of you for getting that on television.
19. Jericho continues to remind us that it's not only a ladder match, but a Money in the Bank ladder match. Well shit, they haven't told me enough times, so I was completely unaware. Just ship me off to Wade Barrett's skybox for a repeated viewing of Triple H getting his arm broken, because it's time to color me fucking unaware! Jericho announces his participation in the match before Vicki interrupts. Her voice appears to be a lot less shrill than even earlier tonight. She announces that the WWE Money in the Bank ladder match will consist of former WWE champions, them being Kane, Big Show, Jericho, and Cena. Only four? Well that's... different. I guess if they're going to have the first person lose it, it might as well be someone who has already been a champion. Vicki finally summons back her Melina shrill, and announces Jericho vs. Cena for the main event.
20. A reference is made to the RAW concept that was supposedly abandoned, but then it wasn't, and then it was just appearances and not for matches. Or maybe it's just an appearance, as they apparently haven't been on RAW in 15 years. Hey, it can't be a lot worse than last week's Slater/Piper segment. Well, they could get Sandman to stagger out and fall asleep, but I don't think even ECW nostalgia could save that.
21. As the former RAW star is about to be announced, instead we're treated to another Heath Slater appearance, and judging from his grammar, he's still recovering from that record to the head. He claims that he rules the world, but is interrupted by some Hitchcock-sounding music. Well this is a surprise! Psycho Sid, damn. For how long it's been since I've seen him on TV, he looks like he's in pretty good shape. Just please don't let him do a big boot from the ropes, that's all I ask.
22. I guess Heath Slater is just the new token jobber, which at least gives him something to do. After a little bit of cheap heat on Slater's part, Sid wins with a powerbomb. Not a four-star classic, but served its purpose in bringing back some nostalgia for the 1000th episode, and it was someone who hasn't been around in a long time. I approve.
23. Alberto Del Rio hits the ring to a reception of indifference. Dolphy Gunn is at least here to liven things up and keep it interesting. This should at least be a decent in-ring match. Another audible "Let's Go Ziggler!" chant breaks out, those it's definitely a vocal minority. The support seems to grow throughout the match. Ziggler shows some great innovation in his moves, and appears to keep gaining crowd favor as he goes. The contract falls, and I guess they improvise a rule about maintaining it. The match gets pretty damn funny as they both can't seem to hold on to it.
24. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! NORMAL PEOPLE, THE ONES WHO WALK THE STREET EVERYDAY, WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY SOMEONE WOULD PAY FIVE DOLLARS FOR A HOT DOG! AFTER ALL, THEY OFFERED ME ONE FOR FREE, BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT KIND OF PENGUIN FUCKED IT TO GET THAT RESULT, HOAK HOGAN! TAKE IT FROM THE POLAR BEAR WEARING SUNGLASSES AND DRINKING A COKE! WHAT'S HE DOING IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER ANYWAY? HE'S JUST AN UNDERCOVER WALMART SPY TRYING TO BRING DOWN THE WORLD OF SQUID TROUSERS VIA CATACLYSMIC SUPERNOVA, HOAK HOGAN! AND THAT SUPERNOVA IS THE WWE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP, HOAK HOGAN! YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO HIT A GOLF BALL 400 YARDS TO BEHEAD THIS ALLIGATOR, HOAK HOGAN! YOU HAVE LESS OF A CHANCE THAN HEATH SLATER FACING HORNSWOGGLE ON A CHRISTMAS SHOW!
25. Sheamus interrupts the match to let them know that both of them are getting a title shot this Friday on Smackdown. So they booked a match for a number one contendership, and then interrupted the match to give them both the shot for which they were supposedly trying to compete. Congratulations, that just made this entire section of the show... That's right, entirely pointless.
26. The WWE title match for Money in the Bank has been booked, and to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Punk's superstar party, we're getting a Punk/Bryan rematch, and I'm entirely all right with this. Punk is backstage and makes a King Kong Bundy reference, and AJ continues to ham it up and be crazy, telling Punk she wants to take things to the next level. Punk still maintains his "Get me out of here!" expression, making it all the more enjoyable.
27. The ring is full of Divas, and to be honest, I don't think I even recognize most of them. Vicki Guerrero decides that she's getting involved, and takes her robe off while taunting each of the divas. All of them immediately jump her, and chaos ensues. This could be saved by Kharma destroying everyone, but I won't count on that happening. In a few short minutes, it comes down to Layla, AJ, and Vicki. With an assist, AJ eliminates Layla, and Vicki tries to throw her out as well. AJ gets a sadistic look on her face and while I wouldn't call what took place anything close to resembling technical prowess, it was at least mildly entertaining. AJ continues playing mind games by getting a YES! chant started. Fair enough.
28. Oh hey, there's the Christmas lights jacket! The innovator of the Money in the Bank contest is out for his match with John Cena, which in case you didn't know, is the first time in two years that it's happened. Just throwing that out there, in case they didn't mention it. Cena only salutes instead of smiling and talking to the camera, so it must be moderately serious. It's mentioned that Jericho has won 30 titles, which is impressive for any resume not involving the 24-7 Hardcore title being the majority of them. Cena does a headlock takeover, which causes Jericho to leave the ring and the show to go into commercial. Well good thing they started it hot before cutting it off...
29. Oh hey, we're back, and for the first time in two years, Jericho's facing Cena. It's really been the first time in two years? Shit, that sounds important, like maybe something they should've told us first. Without knowing that, I wouldn't realize that it had been the first time in two years, because without them telling me, I might've just mistaken it for a wrestling match. But this is a wrestling match that's taking place for the first time in two years. Oh yeah, there's a match going on. Unfortunately, at least at this point, it's not very exciting yet. Cena cuts off the cheap heat with a suplex. He puts down his head, which always struck me as the stupidest move in the history of wrestling when throwing someone off the ropes, and comically gets kicked in the face. As Cena finds his rhythm, I have to reiterate a comment that was posted on the column a short time ago: Why would you try to go for a clothesline after two shoulder blocks after all this time?!
30. The Big Show's music interrupts the match, which causes the Attitude Adjustment to get reversed into the Walls of Jericho. Show gets in the ring and leg drops Cena, causing Jericho to get disqualified. Show I guess scares Jericho away with his blank expression, and Show further demonstrates how he's moving on from John Cena by... attacking John Cena. Oh continuity, how I love thee. Show locks in the Colossal Clutch as he looks like he's about to cry instead of looking intimidating, and to his credit, Cena's face looks like it's legitimately turning blue... And that's how it ends. Wow. While it wasn't nearly as bad as it was last week, once again the show started off with a great match. After that, instead of being downright horrible, it was mostly just uninteresting. I mean, you would figure Cena and Jericho could at least pull something out that wouldn't be that boring to watch, but it was. A few moments scattered here and there, but mostly just a drop-off of the interest level after the first match. That makes two weeks in a row of serious letdowns after what was in most regards a pretty good Pay-Per-View.
There was a serious lack of ham on this show, but I've got to give it to Jericho for his deadpan suspension joke in Vicki's general direction. It's pretty bad when a decent one-liner is an uncontested ham winner. They spoiled me two weeks ago, I guess.
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
For followers of Jaded Hope, check out the best of Season 2 here. This week's new episode is posted at the top, as per usual: