Stacy and I went to the Bangor, Maine house show on a whim on Sunday. Between my health, and Stacy's job, we were wary about buying tickets early. That's also the reason that we did not go to RAW in Boston. I did not cry about missing it, but anyone who reads my RIB regularly knows that HBK, Triple H and Rocky are on my list of wrestlers I haven't seen and don't know as I will get the chance, short of stalking HBK in Texas. HBK is the wrestler on my list I most want to see, but if I haven't stalked Stephen King (who lives in Bangor), then I don't see myself heading to Texas to hunt down HBK – pun intended.
As I said in my Bangor house show write up, I met a beautiful young woman who was at her first wrestling event. I was behind Brittney Markowski (23) and her boyfriend while we waited in line for tickets, and she did not seem thrilled to be there. At points she giggled about being out skiing that morning, but spending their evening at a wrestling show. She was shocked at the number of people her boyfriend said hello to as they entered the show. At one point she said that she better see some body slams to make this worth while. When they got up to the ticket counter she was shocked at how much money he was spending on their tickets, but I spent the same amount for the two seats next to them without batting an eye.
Early on in the show Brittney was sitting back and watching, but not really into the show. Then she started asking questions about why everyone hated Eve, and it went on from there. She was confused by Santino being Canadian, playing Italian, but learning that he also played a Russian previously, but laughed at his silliness. By the main event when Punk was playing with the fans and getting huge pop for simply kicking his leg in the air, she was screaming at him to shake his butt!
After it was all said and done I said to Brittney that she didn't seem very impressed coming in.
Brittney – "I can't say I wasn't impressed. I can say that I was definitely turned around by the end of the show."
Ken – Who impressed you the most?
Brittney – "It was ah, my goodness, the big muscly guy. The one that was freakishly muscly."
Ken – Mason Ryan?
Brittney – "Mason Ryan. Basically just because I've never seen anything like that in my entire life. He was so big it's wrong."
Ken – Who impressed you in the ring?
Brittney – "In the ring? Actually probably Jericho impressed me he had some moves. He was better than the main event."
Ken – Think your going to come to another event?
Brittney – "Probably when we have kids we'll come to another event. But probably the best moment was when I tripped on the stairs and I..."
Ken – CM Punk?
Brittney – "CM Punk stopped and asked me if I was okay."
Ken – That was pretty cool.
After the main event Punk came around to slap hands with everyone he could reach. In reaching Brittney tripped. Punk stopped dead after my hand and asked Brittney if she was okay. She did not quickly stand up, so Punk reached over and put his hand on her head. She stood and Punk checked on her again before moving on to the rest of the wonderfully rabid fans.
Brittney - "Well, I think this is definitely an event worth coming to. I never thought that I would come to anything like this, I'm laughing as I walk out the door. Leaving on a high."
Luckily Brittney didn't think I had totally lost my marbles asking her a few questions after the event. She does her own show on www.wskitv.com on Sunday and Monday mornings from 7:30-9am. That's the website for Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. If your at all interested in Maine or skiing, you should check her out.
In Ring Segment > A
It's always great to watch HBK manipulate the fans. He's darn good at what he does. From starting out all bouncy and happy to really pissed after he watched the video from last week's RAW with his best friend. The simple way Trip reacted, only moving his eyes, after the video. The tone in HBK's voice after the video, the sing-songy with a very sharp edge was wonderful. Trip was great, but for me this segment was created and made amazing by HBK. I can't wait to see what happens in HIAC at WrestleMania. Don't forget that the very first HIAC was on October 5, 1997 at Badd Blood and was between Taker and HBK. The only reason HBK won that match was because Paul Bearer showed up with Kane who broke into the cell and attacked Taker who was staring at him in shock. I think it's perfect that HBK be the Special Guest Ref for this match; brings it all full circle.
US Title Match – Swagger (C) vs Santino > B
While this match wasn't the best wrestling we've seen, but it sure had a lot of drama! Sadly it looks as though the WWE still doesn't have much faith in Swagger. He has a great look, wonderful skills, but he's just so blah and boring! He needs to be repackaged in some way, give him some character as he really is top notch in two out of the three things needed to get somewhere in this business. I like Swagger and want to see him succeed!
I know there are not a lot of Santino fans out there. Yes, he's funny, but no one feels he is anything more than silly. I, on the other hand, really like Santino, believe in his ring work and think he's an amazing guy that he can job to almost everyone and still come out smiling. That takes a big man. I don't read spoilers and don't know if Laurinaitis is going to manipulate things so Swagger, or even Otunga will win the US Title on Smackdown, but I think Santino as US Champ would add needed humor to WrestleMania. Not saying it should be a long match, but something to break up the drama as there will be a lot of that at this WrestleMania!
I'm guaranteeing that Laurinaitis will start Smackdown by telling Long he's not welcome, but then Long will show up and be thrown out. Though it would be fun to see Laurinaitis bow up and chest bump Long to show what a big man he is. I'm not sure where this feud will end up, but I hope we don't see Laurinaitis facing Long at WrestleMania. Even Kofi versus Otunga should not be on the WrestleMania card, as it seems Kofi is backing Long after he was out with Long during this match.
Winner & new US Champion – Santino
Rock History Lesson #1 > A-
Of the three history lessons Rocky gave us, this was my favorite. Dumping Cena's 'hot garbage' into the Boston Harbor was hysterical, as was how Rocky talked about Cena's merch. As it was going along Stacy and I were laughing that there had to be someone below in a boat catching the Cena gear. I was happy to hear Rocky tell someone to get out there and fish everything out of the harbor. So many kids watching and we don't want them to think they can just throw something they don't like into the harbor, or a river or anything like that. As much as I loved the AE, I also think the WWE needs to take some responsibility in this PG era. They pushing hard to be PG, so they have to take the responsibility as well.
Foxy vs Eve > F!
While the Divas' matches have been royal crap as of late, this was one of the worst I've seen in the past twelve months. Fox was off her mark and Eve wasn't much better, except Eve had facial expressions and emotions worn on her sleeve. Kelly on announce wasn't worth the time either. The only thing good about this segment was Ryder coming out and getting the pop he did. Ryder coming out is the only reason Eve got any solid heat.
Winner - Eve
Backstage Segment > D
I really didn't like that Ryder lit up after Eve planted one on him. It puts across terrible stereotypes for both men and women. There's no way my little one will be watching these segments. But on the other hand, I like that RAW is getting a little edgier. It's easy to fast forward through segments, so don't think I'm complaining in any way about it not being perfectly PG.
Video > C
I have to say I really did not enjoy this segment. It took a lot away from Cena's edgier promos. It was a sleeper without much excitement to it, even though Cena has been proving he still has edgy in him. While I understand why they did this segment the way they did – Cena doesn't need to be flashy compared to Rocky's over the top segments – but I was just bored.
Punk & Sheamus vs Jericho & D-Bry > A-
This was quite the entertaining match. It was nice to see what Punk and Jericho can do in the ring together, as well as D-Bry and Sheamus. Great way to get four Superstars in the ring and give us a teaser for WrestleMania. As always D-Bry and Punk looked great together, and Jericho added an interesting spice, but I feel Sheamus fell a bit short. I don't know if it was booked that way, or if it just wasn't his night. Also, Jericho's running bulldog that landed him strangely in the corner looked like a botch. It might not have been, but it looked like it could be. The other thing that jumped out at me during this match is that when Jericho was kneeing Sheamus in the chest, he was slapping Sheamus on the back to make the sound. I called ADR on this months ago, before his injury, so I have to call Jericho on it too. I think it's one of those things that's changed since the WWE went HD, but is the way things have been done for so long that I'm sure it's hard to break the habit.
All in all this was a solid match that was a wonderful teaser for WrestleMania. The way the pinfall went down left a lot of questions between Jericho and Punk that will only further their feud going into WrestleMania. I will have to go back and look to see if Jericho was not the legal man, as a number of people have stated.
Winners – Jericho & D-Bry
Rock's History Lesson #2 > B
I have to say that the Paul Revere segment annoyed me. I guess it's more because so many people are taught things that are wrong about Paul Revere. Not as wrong as Sarah Palin was in her comments, but he was not the big hero he's been given credit for. The poem, "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow painted Revere as a hero, even though Revere was captured while other unnamed riders were not. Revere was a local businessman and because of that became a bigger name in our history books than he possibly should be given credit for, but history is written by the winners. It's just a pet peeve of mine. Sorry to go on a tangent, but I wish they had bothered to check beyond 5th grade history when putting together these segments.
Miz vs Big Show > B-
Miz is sure getting the humbling of the company these days! If I didn't know about the R-Truth incident, I'd wonder who Miz pissed off to deserve all he's been getting. I'm a huge Big Show fan and remember that bit of video Cody showed. I think it's interesting how big of a deal Cody made of Big Show not being on that WrestleMania card. Not everyone, not even the biggest stars, are at every WrestleMania during their career. I did like how Big Show came back and easily took care of Miz, exactly what Cody didn't want.
Winner – Big Show
Rock's History Lesson #3 > B+
Rocky got a bit dirty with this one with his Han-cock thing, even though the last one talked about all his pie. I also thought that Rocky could alienate people from outside the USA for all he said about the Brits and how wonderful the USA is. I know some people think Rocky is infallible, but in this segment (as with his last) he pushed some of my buttons. It goes back to getting the history correct for me. But since Rocky is silly, I'll give you a few silly laws that are still on the books in Massachusetts. Did you know it's illegal to keep your donkey in your bathtub? It's also still illegal to walk across Boston Common without a gun. Do NOT use me as an excuse to try this! It was on the books from back in the day that the Common was more densely wooded and could have come across any sort of wildlife that might have eaten an unarmed human. Those were just a few we giggled about while in college.
R-Truth vs Kane > B+
R-Truth's little video before the match started was so cute! When in Bangor R-Truth didn't do any of the Little Jimmy thing, it was all 'What's up?' I was surprised they jumped his character back the way they did at the house show, but the fans were hot screaming 'What's up?' so it does make some sense. While this was a short match, it wasn't a squash, some thing I'm glad of. Not the best match, but pushed both characters well and then Orton coming out really set up for a feud between him and Kane. That's actually a match I'd like to see.
Winner – Kane
In Ring Segment > A
While this segment has the same grade as the opening segment, that's all that's similar between them. As boring as Cena had been earlier in the show, that how great he was on mic during this segment. His hometown fans did not want to like Cena, but he sure did everything in his power and sucked them in. I wish I had been there to hear the rumblings of the fans in person.
When Rocky came out he sure wasn't like the sparkly and smiley Superstar that we've all grown to love. Actually, Rocky's attitude reminded me of a bully in the school yard. (Wow, am I that old that 'bully in the school yard' rolled out so easily?) He was bowed up so much and in Cena's face that I thought he might chest bump Cena the way Laurinaitis did to Long earlier in the show. Rocky was out of sorts and played it up well. I loved the way Cena mocked Rocky through the rolling of the eyes and smirking. They're taking this in interesting directions. Cena is quite the underdog in all this and they're setting it beautifully. While Rocky was good good on mic – as always – Cena is the one who made that segment work so well. It's so great to see that the private school thug hasn't lost his thuganomics.
Cena with the notes on his arm about had us on the floor laughing. Not only was Cena edgy and on fire, he was fun and silly. Personally I think Cena proved himself big last night. For me it was how fast Cena took the 'tooth fairy' chant and asked about Tewksbury. Of course it's knowing the area so well, and I'd hope almost anyone on the roster could do that if given the chance, but being as I know the area, I thought it was pretty cool.
I guess I wish Rocky wasn't as Punk says he is backstage, but I'm not at all surprised. Looks as thought Rocky might have become too big for his britches. He's done pretty well in Hollywood, had some solid movies, but as much as he says the WWE is family, he loves the fans and their reactions to him, and the way VKM wants him in the ring. That the WWE is where he got his start, where his family made their livelihoods for so long, he has to say what he says to keep the fans happy. I just really wish Rocky took some time with the guys. He has so much knowledge up in that melon of his. He could do a lot of good for the young guys in the WWE while taking very little of his time as he's already there to work.
I have to thank Brittney for letting me interview her. It was really fun to watch someone who was totally new to wrestling as a whole start off being a bit cynical about the event and walking out with a huge smile on her face.