For some reason SummerSlam has really thrown me off my wrestling/writing game this week. I got up today thinking it was Wednesday – though I should be at writer’s group and not home, but that never clicked – and I didn’t have any wrestling writing to do. It wasn’t until I’d watched two episodes of Days of Our Lives, and an episode of Big Brother (Frank Eudy is still holding out- have to love the DVR), that I realized I hadn’t written my RIB! Between the Predicts, the SummerSlam Live Blog, and RAW Results, I got completely lost and I apologize for that.
I also apologize for my RAW Results running long at the end. My feeling is that if I am no more than seven minutes behind at the top of every hour, then I am working up to my goals and I feel pretty good about that. I was under seven minutes behind going into the top of every hour. Normally I have troubles with segments that are heavy on the talking, especially when it’s certain people talking – Rock, Cena, Punk, and a few others, usually those who get verbose and try to throw in words that are beyond the fifth grade level, like Jericho when he’s a heel – and I also have troubles with matches that move quickly or in stilted ways – Rey, Sin Cara, Primo and Epico, and also sometimes the Divas. Heyman is actually pretty easy to write, it’s something in the flow of how he speaks that makes him easier to follow. But I was doing well, actually less than five minutes behind going into 11pm last night – then Punk and Cena decided to get all talky and threw my whole evening into a downward spiral. I’m sorry I ended up so far behind, but I find it’s more important to get the entire segment down, words and tone, than to make sure I’m perfectly on time. I’d like your opinion on this as I try very hard to provide what the readers want to read.
One last thing before I start with the show. During the SummerSlam Axxess/B.A.Star video they showed Ryan Ochoa from Pair of Kings (the show I mentioned last week that I saw Khali playing a giant) and James Durbin. I wanted to bring up Durbin because of his past history with wrestling. Not sure if you remember, but last year on American Idol there was a contestant who was an all out wrestling fan and AI got Hogan on the show to surprise Durbin. I went off about Hogan not mentioning TNA, didn’t even wear a TNA shirt. Now Durbin, a sweet young man who is a great singer, and suffers with Tourette Syndrome, is working with the WWE and the B.A.Star campaign. Read what you want into it, but I know what I’m seeing in all this.
In Ring Segment > B+
Heyman can talk like so few these days. Segments like this one should show everyone what a manager can do for wrestlers. It’s not just the wrestlers who can’t talk for themselves (watched the first DVD in the newest Savage series this weekend – he could talk, but they made a huge deal of him being a free agent, but then he went with Miss Elisabeth), but a way to make the wrestler seem more important than those around him. I know Brock and Heyman are not on the terms they once were, but Heyman is so good at what he does (on mic) that he puts Brock over better than Brock ever could on his own.
I’m not saying that Brock is bad, he was wonderful with Armstrong, but that was short and more visual. Heyman on the other hand, is great visually and verbally. He did a wonderful job of pushing Brock, the man who is 1-1 because the WWE really screwed the pooch creatively. There’s only so much they can do for Brock verbally now that they let Cena go over him at ExR. There’s only so much ‘Conqueror’ and ‘Brocktagon’ that they can toss around when the numbers show the truth. And Brocktagon? Who was smoking what for that one?
Announce Segment > B
I’m rarely thrilled with this segments that are just King and Cole, but adding Touts, such as they are, can add a lot. I loved that they showed Punk stating he was picking his next opponent. Touts work well for this, and it really set Punk’s tone for the rest of the show.
6 Man Tag Match > B
This match was actually better than I expected. I’m still not a fan of O’Neil, and I’m not overly thrilled with Young, but R-Truth, Kofi and Cody really carried this match and made it look solid. This was more than filler, but less than really good. This isn’t a match I’d go out of my way to re-watch, but I enjoyed it the first time through. I don’t think it was the best use of Cody, Kofi and R-Truth, but the WWE likes to do these combined tag matches, so they made the best of it. There were some lovely moments in this match, specifically when Kofi and R-Truth were double teaming their opponents.
I also have to say that I think Kofi’s new ring gear is cute, but still not that of a main eventer. As much as I love Kofi, he’s mired deep in the mid-card. I also am worried about Cody. Working against Sin Cara is not a step up, not what he needs. I understand them humbling him, but that’s total bull and he should be working against Orton, Sheamus, or Bryan, not Sin Cara!
Winners – Sin Cara & R-Truth & Kofi (10:28)
Backstage Segment > B+
AJ’s suits are authoritative, but she needs to lose the extra fabric. She’s getting lost under those suits and it’s doing nothing for her figure. Beyond that, I love her in this role. She’s so tiny, but sure has her trigger words. No one’s going to call her crazy and get away with it. The way she’s handling all these guys who are so much bigger than her is great. She’s very different from other GMs and I think that’s why she works so well in the role. Her short little segments work so well, and I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next. I can’t say I’m as thrilled to see Otunga back, but I’m not at all surprised. Mainstream media is always good, or so VKM seems to think.
Ryback vs Mike & Andy > C
They didn’t blank out all the ‘Goldberg’ chants, but they went back to the jobbers. Actually, I thought they did a decent job of changing things up. Mahal did a solid job of changing up Ryback’s match. I can’t say I was overly thrilled, but it was a step up, possibly even in the right direction. Hopefully they will continue to keep things interesting with Ryback and move him away from being a Goldberg clone. Oh, and what was that about Ryback reading a book or two a month? The amount of traveling he does and he only reads one or two books? I read more than that, and it’s only because I’m an insomniac! Cole might have been trying to make Ryback look better, but I thought it made Ryback look like an idiot!
Winner – Ryback via DQ 1:28)
Backstage Segment > A-
I really liked this set up to Jericho versus Ziggler for the second night in a row. Like Richard, I believe the WWE really dropped the ball with Jericho and Ziggler at SummerSlam. They had the perfect moment to pass the torch to Ziggler, yet they put Jericho over. Jericho didn’t need that win and they could have put that stip into their SummerSlam match without an issue. I know they needed a reason for Jericho to go touring with Fozzy, but putting him over at SummerSlam only to have him lose here feels old, overused, and a BS way to get out of giving Ziggler the push he most definitely deserves. They all handled this segment very well, and it was well written (I miss Jericho being Y2J and the Ayatolla of Rock and Rolla), and the premise behind it was great (if a bit obvious), but it was still just picking up the pieces from creative screwing the pooch in a big way at SummerSlam.
In Ring Segment > B-
ADR just keeps giving us the same lines over and over. He’s always mad, always cranky about the same things, and just so boring and predictable. I liked AJ’s ‘Hola Alberto!’, but that line was the best part of the whole segment. I don’t know why they continue pushing him, but I’m not the one in charge, and they must see something I don’t.
ADR vs Orton > C-
Sheamus on announce was better than what was happening in the ring. Between ADR having one direction for every match, and Orton turning into a ’5 moves of doom’ wrestler, it was not thrilling. I will say that it was somewhat entertaining, but not what matches from two main eventers should look like. I’m quite disappointed with this match and think Sheamus’ talk about his mule Pepe was much more entertaining. The oddest thing of all of this was that Orton wasn’t shown posing after he won the match. I don’t know if it was due to time constraints, or what, but it seemed odd. And the reason I graded this so low is because these guys have the potential to do so much better than this.
Winner – Orton (8:34)
Video > B
This was not Punk’s best. He’s trying so hard to be a heel, but it isn’t working! This brings me back to SCSA turning heel and hanging out with VKM. Austin’s heel turn didn’t work and everyone suffered for it. Sadly they didn’t learn from that and history is repeating itself. Punk is a very good heel, but this heel turn isn’t working for him. If they really need Punk to be heel to go to Royal Rumble and face Rock, then to WrestleMania and face Austin (a girl can dream), then they need to go about it in a different way. Maybe they can just make Punk more edgy rather than forcing him into a heel role that just isn’t working at this point.
Video > D
Cesaro needs more of a character than being multilingual. It’s not working! Why can’t TPTB in the WWE see when thinks aren’t working (Tensai, Cesaro, Punk as this type of heel), and change them up a bit. They have so much to their disposal, they can change up characters when they need to! Please, we know how good Claudio was in ROH, why can’t they find something for Cesaro in the WWE?
Video > C
Looks like the WWE had a good time in LA this past weekend. Events like that are so far removed from anything we see up here in Maine, so while it looks like fun, that’s all I can relate to it all.
Funkasaurus vs Sandow > B
I am actually enjoying this feud between these two. They’re such different guys that it works in some strange way. Hopefully through this feud Clay will grow more as a character, and Sandow will continue to get more and more insufferable. These two facing off has an 80′s feel to it, but in a good way. Both are larger than life characters, and they’re going at it in a huge way. These might be mid-card guys, but they’re actually getting a storyline, a feud. Maybe they’re seeing the wrestlers through the main eventers? Either way, I’m interested to see where they’re going to take these two, and I know it will be a blast!
Winner – Sandow (2:40)
Announce Segment > B-
While I think this overload of social media on a live show is a bit much, the showing of Tweets about Trip’s career was an interesting way to go. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about the WWE doing this, so I’m going to plant it on the back burner and let it simmer a bit.
HBK via Satellite > A
HBK, as always, was just wonderful on mic. He’s someone who can be silly and funny, but also be straight up serious with deep emotions backing it up. Not only was he wonderful in what he said, the way he choked up and had tears in his eyes was above and beyond. He’s one of the best and this segment proved that. Then after he could take off that dang sling and really chill out!
Otunga vs Big Show > B-
I liked Big Show being so focused, and driven. If he’s going to be heel, then this is how he should be acting. I enjoyed watching Otunga get pummeled and Big Show not caring after the match was over. Other than that, there really wasn’t much entertainment behind it. It was Big Show slapping Otunga down, and nothing more. I can’t say it was a great match, but it helped further both men, and sometimes that’s what you need. Also, I’m glad it was short. Much longer than this and it would have failed very quickly.
The video clip they showed after the match showed me that Big Show isn’t done with Punk, Cena or fighting for the Title. It could be very interesting going to NoC. I’m starting to get a little bummed that I’m not going to NoC, but there’s too much else going on in September, so it was the smart way of going about things for us.
Winner – Big Show (2:07)
Kane & Ryder vs Miz & Bryan > B+
Okay, I thought putting Ryder in this match was reaching. Miz and Ryder have not been feuding, so why? I know it made sense to put Ryder with Kane as Bryan and Miz have such a history, but beyond that, not much – but I’m so glad they did! I really liked this match. I’m not saying it deserves the grade I gave it, but it was so very entertaining, and everyone played their part in everything that happened. The interactions between them all worked so well. I loved how Bryan and Miz worked together, and how Kane barely put up with Ryder until he was too infuriated, then flattened him. Bryan was the shining star of this match, but Kane wasn’t far behind.
There really wasn’t an ending to this one
Video > B
So, Cena wasn’t setting up for his encounter with Punk later in the show, was he? Actually, I have to say that WWE does a solid job of foreshadowing in their shows. It’s obvious that something is going to go down, but it isn’t until it actually happens that it all comes together. I have to give creative props for this, because sometimes foreshadowing can be a difficult thing to get correct.
Backstage Segment > B
Punk is back on his respect kick. I was a bit worried at this point that they might try to push Punk as an uber heel again, but I didn’t think they’d be that daft! I was so wrong.
Divas Battle Royal > D+
What was up with this match? First off, where the heck was Beth? I know Kelly Kelly wasn’t there either, but Beth is the one missing that I am questioning. And then there’s the way the match started. The bell rang, yet all the Divas just stood there staring out at Layla and the Divas Title. They really didn’t seem to care, or want to start the match. And it didn’t even last four minutes! Beyond that, there was some good and bad moments, but it really wasn’t until it was down to Eve and Kaitlyn that things got interesting. I know the first time Kaitlyn tried to clothesline Eve over the top that it didn’t work, but I’ve seen numerous male wrestlers not hit that right, so I’m not marking her down for that. Honestly, I was bummed when Kaitlyn lost to Eve on Smackdown, but with this in her future, I’m now okay with it. I’m not sure how Kaitlyn and Layla will work the ring together, but I’m excited to see what they can do (if they’re actually allowed to do it).
Winner – Kaitlyn (3:58)
Video > D
The only reason I’m not failing all of these stills of Trip and Brock, even though they were shoved in through all of this show, they did have a big match the night before at SummerSlam, so I’m giving them a tiny bit of leeway, but that’s the only reason I’m not failing all this ugh!
Backstage Segment > B
As annoying as Vickie is, she sure does her job well. That she was freaking out about ‘them’ losing the match against Jericho, and that she needed to represent a Champ, was what made it work. Her arrogance and ego made this segment work so well and brought the energy for the coming match grow in a huge way.
Contract vs Contract Match > A
This is the match that Ziggler and Jericho should have had at SummerSlam. Yes, their match at SummerSlam was really good, but that this had so much hanging on it made it that much better. These guys worked hard for the full ten minutes, they didn’t start slowly, as they did at SummerSlam. They worked hard with their moves, and their entertaining. Ziggler standing on his head, showing off, Jericho going for the walls, even though it hasn’t been his real finisher for quite a while. They hit big moves and hit them hard. This should have been their SummerSlam match, and I’m very upset at the WWE for giving this to us for ‘free’ when we had to pay for a match that wasn’t anywhere near as good as this.
I liked that Ziggler over celebrated after it was over, and that Jericho wasn’t going to take defeat without putting in his two cents. The way Jericho reacted after the match, he could return as a heel, or a face, and could easily go after Ziggler and continue this feud. I know Jericho will be gone for a bit, he’s touring with Fozzy and his contract has been terminated, but he will be back and we will all be better for it. That he left us with such a wonderful taste in our mouths – not that crap from SummerSlam – is such a wonderful way for him to go out, and put Ziggler over in a big way – though not as big as if he’d done it at SummerSlam.
Winner – Ziggler (10:34)
Promo > C
I can’t say how the movie, The Day, will be, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the clips we saw. At this point, I’m more excited about Scooby Doo than most of the other outside of wrestling productions that the WWE is involved with.
In Ring Segment > A- & C
Please, hear me out! Punk, Cena, and even King were all really great in this segment, but it was so flipping long! Rather than banter back and forth, something that flows better and keeps the fans more enthralled, they each gave overlong speeches. While what they both said, especially Cena, was poignant and very in his character, I got a bit bored by the overall length of it.
Cena was quite on in what he said, and he really said exactly what the kids need to hear from him. Cena is for these kids what Hogan was when I was a kid. We continue to bash him for being corny, but Hogan was just as corny back in the day. At this point, as long as he’s giving speeches like this, and not being super silly, I’m not going to complain too terribly much. The best thing they can do is make Cena a bit edgier, but if they won’t do that, at least he’s being a very positive role model for young children. While my youngest adores the Rock, she still likes Cena and gets the message he’s putting out there, and that’s something I’m very glad she’s hearing. I will still complain when Cena is the main event too often, and I will still be in the Live Blog threatening to riot if Cena wins a match, but I’m going to back off from Cena a bit for a while and really watch him because he sure is putting out a positive message to the littles who are watching the shows.
Then there’s Punk. I really think that WWE creative is trying too hard to turn Punk heel in a way that just isn’t working. Punk is a wonderful heel, but the fans don’t want it this time. We all know Punk’s issues, especially about him not main eventing, and he really should be, but that doesn’t seem to be enough right now. The only solid heat Punk’s been able to get is when he clotheslined Rock, and when he attacked King. They really need to change things up and back off them trying to push him becoming a heel so much. Punk is great when he’s saying what he feels, but is still endearing to the fans. Punk needs his pipebombs back, and his smile, and I think the fans will be on board with him again. Who says he has to be a heel to drop pipebombs? He sure got over with the fans when he was doing this before, and wasn’t a heel. And why would he have to be a heel facing Rock or Austin? I don’t see two faces going into these matches a problem at all. Yes, I know I’m running on my hopes on this, but I figure I’m going to stay positive about both matches happening.
This past RAW had some high and low points that seemed further apart than they had in previous weeks. Hopefully the WWE will be able to iron out some of the issues and come back stronger next week. And, just because I’m wondering, what’s your favorite book? Wrestling book or not, what’s your favorite?
Oh, the Title? I picked up a WWE Rumblers on sale the other day. Those are those little wrestling figures. Not the tiny little Squinkies (I have some of them too), but the 2¼” figures. I found a set with Cena, a blue breakable car and a forklift. When has Cena ever used a forklift? I can only think of one time I’ve seen a forklift used with Big Show, Kane and even Trip, but not Cena. So, if anyone can come up with an answer for this one, I’d greatly appreciate it. Hey, it was an absurd title, but you have to admit that you were wondering what I was talking about!