The SmarK RAW Rant – 09.03.12
I bought a new Asus laptop as a birthday present to myself, because the case on my Toshiba was literally splitting in two and I figured that was as good a signal as any that it was time to upgrade. So in the First World Problems file, my wife and I now have three laptops, a netbook, and a desktop computer between the two of us. Not like the baby needs to go to college anyway.
Live from Chicago, IL
Your host is Michael Cole, flying solo because of that terrible CM Punk, who attacked Lawler before the show.
Sheamus starts us out, promising that there won’t be any more parties for Alberto Del Rio, but Punk quickly interrupts. Beating up beloved announcer Jerry Lawler still can’t make Chicago do anything but cheer wildly for him. Punk explains that Cena stuck his nose where it didn’t belong last week, and Lawler attacked him from behind before the show to boot. So using some CHICAGO LOGIC, Punk equates Cena’s stance as agreeing with Lawler and thus disrespecting Punk. And that’s not gonna stand. Sheamus breaks into his diatribe and challenges him to a fight, so Punk points out that holding the World title makes him at best the second-best in the world. All this jabbering brings out AJ, who makes Cena v. ADR and Sheamus v. Punk tonight. Gosh, that’s almost as daring and controversial as if she had made Punk & ADR v. Cena & Sheamus. I guess there’s always next week for that. I really hate they’re doing the first ever Punk-Sheamus match, with both guys as champion no less, on free TV.
Dolph Ziggler v. Randy Orton
Apparently Twitter is BLOWING UP because of Lawler’s injury. I think it’s more likely that Meltzer joining this morning is what killed it. Orton with a dropkick for two and he stomps on the knee, then adds a slingshot suplex for two. I approve of him expanding his moveset like that! Ziggler pounds away in the corner, but Orton tosses him and they brawl on the floor, with Ziggler getting his ass kicked as we take a break. Back with Orton continuing the beating, but Ziggler finally goes to the knee to take over and hits a neckbreaker. Back to the floor for some revenge from Ziggler, and back in he gets two. Elbow gets two. Long chinlock follows, but Orton fights back with a superplex for two. Orton mounts the official comeback with the clotheslines and powerslam, but Ziggler necksnaps him to block the DDT. Orton gets the backbreaker for two. Ziggler DDTs him for two with nice variation, leaping into the DDT. Dude’s taking bumps off his OWN moves. Orton hooks him in the draping DDT, however, and tries the RKO, but Ziggler blocks it and rolls him up with a handful of tights in the ropes for the pin at 13:00. Good and inoffensive, but how much more of a goof can they make Ziggler into before putting the belt on him? ***1/4
The Miz joins us as the new color commentator, which is actually a big improvement over Lawler these days.
Meanwhile, it’s more ANGER MANAGEMENT, as Daniel and Kane share their anger collages with the group. Daniel has issues with Yes and No, but Kane has a blank sheet of paper, which represents the emptiness inside him. He throws it in the garbage and uses his magic powers to ignite it.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara v. Cody Rhodes & Tensai
Well this is quite the team. Can’t they just fire Tensai already and get it over with? Plant some synthetic weed in his bag three times if they need justification? We immediately take a break for some reason and return with Tensai beating on Sin Cara in the corner. Cody gets two off that. Tensai adds the VULCAN NERVE PINCH OF DOOM, but Cara fights them off and makes the hot tag to Rey. Rey is looking SIGNIFICANTLY smaller here. Rey with the flying senton for two on Cody. Low dropkick gets two. Tensai comes in and quickly takes the 619, but Cody hits Rey with a gourdbuster for two. Rey comes back with the 619 and Cara gets a swanton for the pin at 8:21. Why the hell does Cody do the job in every match? Tensai was RIGHT THERE. Anyway, I’m really glad that Rey is deflating a bit, chemically speaking, because it’ll hopefully extend his career a bit. **
Meanwhile, it’s trust exercise time for Daniel and Kane. Their first attempt goes so well that they get to work together to catch Harold, and they work together by letting him hit the floor. That was great.
Sheamus v. CM Punk
Punk isn’t even dressed to wrestle tonight, and he complains that it’s too early in the evening for him to be wrestling tonight because he’s a MAIN EVENTER and thus he’s taking the day off. This once again fails to make people hate him. AJ certainly has the bait-and-switch skills to be GM. Punk takes a personal day and leaves the arena. Yeah, screw the fans over, that’ll make people boo him. So instead we get…
Sheamus v. Jack Swagger
Sheamus powers him down for two and goes up with a flying shoulder for two. Swagger clips the knee for two. This crowd is DEAD silent. Swagger can’t get a gutwrench, but he does manage to escape the White Noise and hit a Swaggerbomb for two. And now the crowd just totally turns on the match, as Sheamus hooks the Texas Cloverleaf and Swagger taps like a geek at 2:34. Man, they got out of Dodge just in time there. DUD Sheamus kicks Del Rio’s ass afterwards. It’s been three months, this feud is a dead issue.
Kaitlyn v. Eve
Kaitlyn with an ugly bodypress for two and she works the headlock as Miz buries the women’s division. Layla, on commentary, defends them because Eve can manipulate men with her looks. This is just priceless. The women do some hairpulling on the mat and Eve takes her down with a drop toehold while Layla and Miz have an obnoxious argument on commentary, totally killing the match. The women collide on a butt-ugly kneelift spot and Eve finishes her with a neckbreaker at 3:11. This was fucking terrible. -** And why is the supposed #1 contender doing a clean job before the PPV? Kaitlyn looked ridiculous out there, like an indy geek doing TV for the first time for something.
Meanwhile, Jack Swagger is LEAVING, but AJ begs him to stay because Brock and Jericho and Punk all left and she’s apparently taking it personally. Yeah, I wouldn’t really put Swagger’s departure in the same league as the other three.
Meanwhile, Daniel offers Kane a rematch whenever he wants, and they both promise to make nice before getting into an argument. Poor Harold gets the worst of it, as usual.
Tonight’s Twitter poll: Do we want Bryan and Kane to have a match, compete as a tag team, or hug it out? I will say that this is actually a more interesting approach, because the feud can really go either way at this point and I’m curious what the fanbase thinks.
Meanwhile, Del Rio introduces his new legal rep, David Otunga. For a minute I thought it was AW, but then the coffee mug was a giveaway.
Ryback v. Jinder Mahal
The super-smark crowd is of course all over Ryback right away. Jinder tries working on the arm and gets nowhere, as Ryback pounds him down. Jinder gets a shoulderblock for two, but Ryback comes back with a slam and a powerbomb that was pretty contrived. Like Mahal literally fed him his legs from the mat. Ryback finishes with the usual at 2:06. *
Meanwhile, AJ makes the Cena-Del Rio match into a Falls Count Anywhere match for some reason.
Daniel Bryan v. Kane
Due to the Twitter poll, they have to HUG IT OUT. That’s pretty great. Even more interesting is that the tag team option finished second. The crowd reaction for Bryan’s entrance is insane, as usual. Only in wrestling can two people be forced to hug by the results of a binding Twitter poll. After some awkwardness, Bryan goes in first, but Kane doesn’t reciprocate and the crowd is offended. So they try again, and this time Bryan won’t complete the hug, as Miz explains the technicalities of the hug-off on commentary. Finally it goes off as needed, and they exchange some friendly camaraderie which quickly turns ugly as it often does. See, sportsmanship JUST DOESN’T WORK. As I’ve noted before, my 2 year old daughter often commandeers my UFC figures to play with them, and as much as I try to steer her towards having Randy Couture hug it out with Anderson Silva, she just has them beat up on each other, so it’s truly a case of life imitating art imitating life in this case. Or whatever. Anyway, this was tremendous and they need to be tag team champions by next week at the very latest. The great thing is that this was DIFFERENT, a totally fresh way to have guys do the same trope, and Bryan completely threw himself into the gag.
US title: Antonio Cesaro v. Santino Marella
Cesaro gets no reaction, which is weird considering the smarky-smark Chicago crowd who you’d think would love him. Santino quickly goes for the sock, but Aksana seduces it, so he leaves it off and does the Cobra without it. Cesaro no-sells it (because why not?) and hits a gutwrench while the cobra sock is left alone and scared in the ring. Cesaro with a pair of clotheslines, but Santino gets his sock back, only to get Neutralized at 2:05. Miz: “You know, Jake the Snake never ran around with a sock puppet, he just punched people in the mouth and DDT’d them.” Amen! This puppet storyline is DOA. ½*
Zack Ryder v. Heath Slater
Neither geek gets an entrance. Ryder gets a flapjack, but Slater stomps him down. Ryder comes back, but Slater gets the neckbreaker for two. Kneedrop gets two. Ryder comes back with a missile dropkick and the Broski boot, but Slater escapes the Roughrider. Another try finishes at 3:00. So Slater’s losing streak gimmick continues. * This brings out Vickie for some unrelated reason, wanting to yell at AJ. Ryder and Slater meekly leave while Vickie stages a sit-in. RATINGS GOLD.
Back from break and Vickie is still here, and she cuts a promo on the chair, pretending it’s AJ. This finally brings out the real AJ, and she says that the board has decreed that AJ is no longer allowed to touch any wrestlers or managers ever again, and she must apologize to Vickie. She does, so Vickie slaps her a couple of good ones, and AJ presumably can’t do anything about it. She does go crazy for another few minutes, though. I’m assuming this is the escape clause on the disaster that is the AJ as GM storyline, but I wish they’d just get to where they’re going already.
John Cena v. Alberto Del Rio
We take a break before the match starts, and return with Del Rio attacking for two. They slug it out and clothesline each other, but Del Rio gets a backstabber for two. He goes up and lands on a Cena dropkick, and it’s FIVE MOVES OF DOOM time already. ADR escapes the FU and they fight to the floor, where Del Rio gets a double stomp and works him over. Cena comes back with a shoulderblock off the stairs for two. Cena preps the table, but walks into an enzuigiri that gets two. Del Rio is unable to use a chair properly, so Cena tosses him into the crowd and puts the stairs up against the table. FU is foiled and both guys go through the table off a suplex instead. Del Rio gets two off that. Back in, Del Rio cuts a promo on him and threatens to break his arm, but that’s kind of telegraphing the move, so Cena reverses into the STF until Del Rio hits him with the microphone to break. ADR misses a charge and hits the floor again, but manages to suplex Cena onto the railing anyway. That gets two. They fight over to the Ferrari and Cena decides to throw a speaker at it for some reason, but Del Rio stops that and they fight into the back now. Cena gives him the FU onto some boxes, but CM Punk returns and lays Cena out, putting Del Rio on top for the pin at 13:08. ***1/2 Uh oh, Cena doing a job here doesn’t bode well for Punk keeping his title at the PPV. And then the big reveal, as Paul Heyman is now with Punk just to really hammer home the point. God, they are just determined to make Punk a heel by any means necessary instead of just turning Cena like 99% of the audience actually wants.
Terrible stuff aside, I liked most of the show this week, thanks mostly to the Daniel Bryan segments doing the heavy lifting and the strong main event. Next week I’ve got tickets to Roxette, so much like Punk, I’m taking a personal day.