I know I've said over and over how much I love wrestling and love writing about wrestling, but the fact that I'm sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office writing this really showed me how dedicated I am to both wrestling and WNW. I know I have managed Live Blogs and written live results (January 4, 2010 live TNA when Hogan and Bisch first appeared), but it's been almost a year since I've been in the hospital overnight, so sitting here really brings back to me just how much I love writing about wrestling and that I will write about it no matter where I need to be at a given time.
There's two little things I want to hit upon before I get into the meat of the show. The first is a bit negative, the other is very positive. I was called on being so negative in my pre-show openings, so I'm trying to even things out, but I can't guarantee it will be as easy for the Blog Zone.
First off, I'm totally bummed that RAW wasn't really 'HBK Appreciation Night' as I was hoping for so much more. I have yet to watch the video of what went down after RAW went off the air, but I think they needed to do that for the televised show. HBK deserves all the love he can get, and I will watch Taker any time I can. (I still need to pick up Taker's Streak DVD, is it as good as it should be?) The segment that happened after RAW went off the air would have had me yelling at my TV. Y'all know that it takes something big to get me yelling, and sometimes cussing, at my TV, but that would have done it. There is a positive part about HBK's time on RAW. When I learned that Brock was going to be there live, I figured that HBK was going to be left in a bloody heap on the mat. I really thought Brock was going to pummel HBK. That he didn't, that creative went against the expected was just wonderful! I'll admit that I never want to see HBK hurt, and I really don't trust Brock, but it's more than that. They set up for something to happen to HBK within the next couple weeks before SummerSlam. The unexpected of what Brock might do has really added a lot to a storyline that was greatly lacking.
The other thing I want to talk about it Jericho. While I don't like it when he leaves, it's so much better when he returns! While he's not Taker, Rock, Austin, or even Trip, Jericho has something that none of them do – other than being the very first Undisputed Champion – he can leave and return for more than a couple of matches, and really blend well with the rest of the roster. I don't know if it's because he's of a smaller build than the others I mentioned, but he's been very lucky to avoid major injury (knock on wood). It's the way Jericho works with the younger guys on the roster, and his willingness to put them over that make Jericho even more of a Superstar in my book. I think it says a lot that he's working with Ziggler right now. Jericho could be the perfect person to help Ziggler get to that next level. He can pretty much tell VKM who he wants to work with, and has a big hand in his scripting. Knowing these things I really wonder if what Jericho said on announce about Ziggler came from Jericho, or if it was VKM in his ear telling him what to say. Either way, Jericho was putting Ziggler over in a HUGE way last night. I'm a bit blown away and see the sky as the limit for Ziggler at this point. The only thing that could hold Ziggler back right now is Ziggler, and he's so driven that I don't see that happening.
Video > B
They pretty much needed to start RAW with a recap of the end of last week's show. I can't see as they could start any other way. It was kept short, and was edited together well.
In Ring Segment > B+
The first commenter to the RAW Results last night said he was getting sick of AJ's three facial expressions, but I have to completely disagree. While she hasn't given much of her 'crazy chick' expressions when she's been in the arena, she is very varied in her expressions. I will agree that a few of them we see a lot, but if she wasn't so visually expressive, I doubt anyone would pick up on that. Most people have a basic range of expressions that they use everyday, I think we're just watching her more closely to see more of that 'crazy chick' side. I also have to say that her white suit looked amazing on her, but she needs to show a little more skin. A skirt would be nice, and it wouldn't even have to be as short a the ones Debra used to wear!
Punk sure has a way with turning a phrase and making you think he's going in one direction before completely swerving in the other direction. He was just great here on mic. Talking about humiliating AJ when she was on her knees was a creative was to be a little less goody-goody PG, but still keep it within bounds for the kids watching. I didn't even bat an eye at it and Sam was watching with me – though under the condition that she wasn't allowed to talk or distract me from my writing.
Cena, though, was as goody-goody as ever. Punk has no one to blame but himself, take responsibility for his own actions, blah, blah, blah. It's the right thing to be saying, and something kids need to learn, and we all need to remember, but Cena is so cliché about it! This is the reason so many people want Cena to turn heel. But I will say I like how Cena's embracing the dueling chants. Yes, it's showing kids to turn the other cheek, and 'sticks and stones' but he does it in such a casual and delightful way that I can't help but like it. Cena really needs to learn to be a bit edgier. Honestly, he doesn't have to change much, and I think even the kids will love him more for it.
I love how AJ took control of the situation after Big Show got out there. While I know it's all scripted, seeing her so tiny in the ring gain control over these three huge guys, especially the one who ran through her less than a year ago. I will say that I wish there was more time for the fans to vote on Twitter for Punk's match. That it was less than five minutes really didn't give the fans enough of a chance. And I was surprised that Punk didn't pitch a fit because he demanded to be in the main event, instead he was in the first match of the night. The opening match has turned into a bit of a prestige thing, as has the top of the hour during RAW (being used as the hook to keep the fans interested is a nice spot to be in, even if you are not a main eventer), but Punk had made such a big thing about being in the main event, but just rolled over when AJ told him his match was next.
Video > D-
And here it started. Last night I didn't count how many times the WWE played these little video clips of Brock and Trip, but I will be today. I will give them credit for keeping most of these videos really short, but they played so many of them! I understand that Brock is a hot commodity, and many fans love Trip – as do I – but I think the power has gone to his head a bit. Every time another one of these videos started I told Stacy something along the lines of how I was going to rip into the WWE for every one of these videos because there were just too many of them, even for a three hour show.
After ADR called AJ crazy, they actually showed this whole video, including Heyman and Steph attacking him. So, this was number two of the night.
The third bit of video from this storyline came in right after the end of Orton vs Big Show. Again it was short, but to have this thrown at us so many times was just jarring. It took us away from the great live show we were watching. I understand that this match is important to Trip and Brock, and to some fans, but I would much rather watch Punk, Bryan, Kidd and a lot of other younger wrestlers show their wares.
The fourth time the Trip and Brock video was played just after Sheamus stealing ADR's car was recapped. So they showed us two videos in a row, right after a three minute Divas match. Guess the WWE thought of that as a throwaway segment of the show?
Wow, there was only four of these! I would have said at least six. Now, I could have missed one, but I don't think so. I will give the WWE a little leeway for keeping most of these videos short, but it felt like there was too many of them when I was actually watching the show. Hopefully after SummerSlam there will be less of this type of thing. Keeping my toes crossed.
Punk vs Rey > A
I have to admit I'm a bit surprised that Rey was the one chosen to face Punk. I figured that the fans would want Punk to get as much of a beating as possible, so they'd go with Kane. What do I know? Rey does make sense as he's just returned to WWE TV, but you'd have to think that Rey wouldn't have too much of a chance at beating Punk due to the size difference, even though Rey really is that good.
I thought that Rey looked solid in this match, and worked wonderfully with Punk, but honestly neither of those things surprise me. Both of these men are consummate professionals. They worked that match hard and fast, so fast at times that I had troubles keeping up with them. This was ten solid minutes of really good wrestling and great entertainment. If I didn't know better, I would have thought I was watching TNA as their wrestling is usually better – sorry, it is what it is! I'm very impressed and hope that the WWE keeps going in this vein as the wrestling on RAW is usually more bluster and bounce than meat and potato.
Winner – Punk (10:10)
Backstage Segment > C+
I don't like how ADR treats Ricardo, it goes back to the bullying that the WWE is trying to fight against while showing so blatantly on their shows. Unlike most people, I can separate what the WWE as fiction and what they do as a company to help children, but ADR's treatment of Ricardo rankles me. I guess it's my dislike of the man behind the character that feeds to my annoyance of seeing ADR on the TV screen at any time.
As soon as I saw the car backstage, I knew there would be something big happening with it. The big question was, what would happen?
Video > C-
I might get lambasted for this, but I really did not like Wade Barrett's promo. The whole bare knuckles fighting thing is exactly what the WWE isn't, and I don't know why they would want to be pushing Wade that way. Further, they put him in this gritty warehouse scene, but when they put his name at the end, the font felt really feminine to me. Other people might not agree, but for me it really didn't work. Wait, one thing actually did work for me. I liked hearing him speak. I won't say that I even remember what he said, but the sound of his voice and the flow of his words sounded better than I remember him sounding in the past, and he's always been good on mic.
Backstage Segment > B
I loved seeing AJ's Chucks on her desk, and that she was decorating in a very girl geek way. It's nice to see her outside personality coming through a bit, but even better to see her snap at ADR when he accidentally called her crazy. It was a fun little segment.
ADR vs Christian > B-
While I'm not thrilled with Christian losing, I thought that creative was on the mark with ADR using his boot as a weapon since he didn't have time to get ready for this match. I loved it when Eddie did it to Angle, and nothing will top that, but this made absolute sense, so it worked wonderfully. I still think ADR is rather boring in the ring in that he doesn't go after whatever body part might be having issues, he always goes after the left arm as that's about the only finisher he's willing to use – other than little odd things like the use of his boot.
Winner – ADR (3:06)
Backstage Segment > A
I loved how Sheamus talked about classing up his act with the car he drives. He sold this segment wonderfully, as did ADR and Ricardo.
Orton vs Big Show > B+
I have to agree with Richard's Blog, they did a great job booking this match in that the ref counted them out of the ring each time they were out. I've seen too many matches end in double count out where the ref had been too lax about counting out the wrestlers for being out of the ring earlier in the match. This was wonderfully executed and sold by all three men in the ring. Yes, the ref deserves props here as well.
If the first match hadn't shown us some solid wrestling as well as great entertainment, this match would have earned an A- for how entertaining it was.
Double Count Out (5:38)
Reks & Hawkins vs Ryback > C+
I still think Ryback looks sloppy to the point of possibly being dangerous, but maybe more work on TV will help. He seems to have calmed down some since debuting at Ryback, and that's helped how he works the ring and how he comes across on TV. While not the best on mic, or overly charismatic, he is engaging in an odd sort of way. I know VKM wants to push him like Goldberg, but I think he should be allowed to develop his own personality and way of doing things. That he's finally facing more than local jobbers absolutely helps, and that he's had this mini-feud with Reks and Hawkins has helped get them TV time, something I think they very much deserve. I'm not quite ready to root for Ryback to have a long tenure in the WWE, I'm not as ready for them to send him back to FCW to recreate himself.
Winner – Ryback (3:02)
Primo & Epico vs Young & O'Neil w/ AW > D+
I'm sorry if you do not agree with this one, but hear me out. First off, the wrestling wasn't very good. Both Primo and Epico are solid in the ring, but O'Neil, and sometimes Young, are having some serious issues in the ring. At one time O'Neil had a hold of Primo's left arm with a foot on his neck, then he really awkwardly picked up Primo and dropped him to the mat while still holding that arm. O'Neil is a very tall man, whereas Primo isn't, and that move could really have injured Primo. O'Neil doesn't seem to have a clue about his size, strength and lack of ability. I'm glad that Primo and Epico just survived this match!
Then there's AW. That man is VERY lucky to still be employed. I don't know who went to bat for AW, but AW should be very grateful! For much of the match he played director and cheerleader, something that I have no trouble with, for me that's what the manager should be doing – on or off mic. It's when he said, "Young is like Mother Theresa, he can do no wrong!" that pissed me off. While AW's comment last week really stepped over the line, I don't see as this comment is any better. I'm completely disgusted and feel that AW will finally seen as more of a liability than anything, but it will take a little time and more of his off color comments.
Winners – Primo & Epico (4:52)
Backstage Segment > A-
Sandow is a man to watch! I haven't said a lot about him, basically giving him time to prove himself or fall on his face. He's more than proved himself to me, and obviously to TPTB as he was the man to take the DX beating a few weeks ago. He is so wonderful at being better than all of us, in word, deed and look. He has an interesting look, is mean and vindictive, seems to be able to work the ring well, and the man can talk! I can't wait to see how far he can take this, as this is a character that can go to the top if the person portraying it has what I takes, and I believe that Sandow is the total package. The cartwheel is just icing on the top of his egotistical and all knowing head!
Stage Segment > B+
Sandow took all the traits I just spoke about and put them to work. I wasn't sure about a feud between these two last week, but they sealed it up for me with this segment. Sandow was so vindictive and ruthless, comparing that to Funkasaurus silly sweetness – this is going to be FUN!
Backstage Segment > B+
The segments between Bryan and AJ have always been interesting, but now that the tides have turned and AJ is the one in control of the situation, it's getting even more interesting. Who would have thought that two simple words could become such beloved and resounding chants. Then again there was Austin and, "What?" so we know almost anything can happen, it all depends on the fans.
Kelly Kelly vs Eve > C-
I understand the WWE wanting to get their golden girl back on TV now that Cena's divorce is final, but I have so little use for her. She's blonde and pretty, but she's not interesting. Also, this is the first Divas match we've seen in how long, and the Divas Champ was nowhere to be seen? Just not that impressed with Divas in the ring these days and this match did nothing to help that feeling.
Winner – Kelly Kelly (3:03)
Video > C
I can see why they wanted to refresh our memory about Sheamus stealing (borrowing) ADR's car as it's an ongoing storyline that ran through the show, I'm honestly fine with that, even if it wasn't anything exciting.
In Ring Segment > A
HBK, as always, was a lovely goober. While he wasn't wearing them last night (it was at least eight years ago), HBK is the only guy I could ever cheer for while he was in the ring wearing 'mom jeans' and no, I'm not kidding. He has such a lightness about him. He's always almost glowing with life, spirit, happiness, that I can't help myself from smiling every time I see him. Even when he's mad, or ready to rip someone a new one, he virtually vibrates with life. When he came to the ring like that I was all smiles, but I was also waiting, I knew Brock would be out to the ring.
I was impressed at HBK when Brock and Heyman came down to the ring. He was out numbered and out sized in a big way, but he threw his attitude and stood tall. I actually have to say I was more impressed with Brock here than I wanted to be. He handled the mic well, and really made it look like he was going to flatten HBK in his hometown, as I and so many expected. Hometown boy rarely makes it through a show without having his bum handed to him.
Trip was the good friend, but actually didn't overshadow HBK as much as I expected. All of those videos we've seen, I really thought he was going to make HBK look small and inconsequential, but he didn't. The thing that I really liked about how Brock reacted, telling HBK he'd see him before SummerSlam, really set up for something big to happen, but it didn't happen in HBK's hometown.
My only sadness for this segment was that it wasn't more love for HBK as I had expected. I hope to see the video from after the show, because I'm sure it was wonderful.
Tout > A-
Sheamus singing Deep In The Heart of Texas made this segment all I needed. I knew he would be putting out some videos while out with the car, but this was more than I could have expected!
Riley vs Ziggler w/ Vickie > B+
I have to comment again, even though I did during the RAW Results – something I try hard not to do – but I'm so glad Ziggler finally fixed his hair! I will fully admit that I'm bad about keeping up with my roots, especially when I feel terribly, and my hair has been that bad – but I'm not on TV! The funniest thing is that just before RAW started I had just fixed my own roots. (Sitting here with foil on my head toreturn my pink and blue streaks to their original spots from before I was so sick for so long.) I have to say that Ziggler looked so much better with his hair done, even though King and Jericho were laughing about Ziggler using Quaker State or Penzoil in his hair.
The grade for this match is more for Ziggler and Jericho than for Riley. Nothing against Riley, but this match was more between Jericho on announce and Ziggler in the ring than it was Ziggler and Riley. As Richard said in his 'Ask WNW' posting today, this match was more about Ziggler losing because of Jericho than Riley getting the win. Jericho was so great taunting Ziggler, but the way he talked down Cole almost had me cheering. Though I have to say I giggled when Jericho said that he's still Chris Jericho, still Y2J, even though it wasn't that long ago that he was yelling that he wasn't Y2J and stop calling him that! I know Richard doesn't like Jericho as a face as much because he's so great as a heel, but I think to get Ziggler over, as I think Jericho will, I like that he turned face. Jericho has more control over his character than most, and he knows it's easier to be a heel, and he can so easily get the heat, but that he willingly went face to work with Ziggler means a lot! I really think they had to go by the fan reaction when Jericho and Ziggler were face to face in the ring recently, and Jericho was the one getting the pop.
The biggest questions I was left with when this was over were – Were those comments about Ziggler being the future, and being World Champ, coming from Jericho, VKM, both, or more? Is Jericho going to put Ziggler over in a big way? Will this get Ziggler over that hump and into main eventer status? Oh, and why did Jericho bring up Alex Wright the way he did? (How many of you know who Alex Wright is – without looking him up?)
Winner – Riley (4:30)
Tout > B-
Sheamus eating food and spilling it all over the car wasn't as good as his first Tout. They did set up for him trashing the car, but it wasn't as real and organic as Sheamus singing in that wonderful accent of his. Though I do have to say that I love how Sheamus always calls him Berty.
Miz vs Kane > B
This was nothing special other than to show how ruthless he has become. I think Miz is on the first steps to rebuilding himself into a main eventer to be reckoned with. I'm a bit surprised that they had Kane go over here, other than setting up for his match with Bryan at SummerSlam. Miz needs this push more than Kane in my opinion. Yes, Kane is great, he's been a favorite of mine for a very long time, but Miz is the one who really needs the wins right now, especially since he's carrying the IC Title. Then again, it could be argued that almost anyone can lose to Kane without it looking bad because it's Kane and he's both a workhorse and an institution (pun intended) in the WWE.
Winner – Kane (3:49)
Backstage Segments > C+
I'm putting Sheamus' return of the car, and ADR out to see it together here because it makes sense in my mind. I thought the car was wonderfully trashed and Sheamus did a lovely job in how and who he handed the keys over to, but the car was too trashed for the time since he spilled the food to when he returned it. They needed to space out Sheamus' Touts better so he had more time to really trash that car and make it believable. It was honestly a bit of a let down after some of the car trashings we've seen over the years. I am willing to bet that given another five minutes Sheamus could have brought this to an organic and believable ending.
Of course ADR was so upset and had to blame Ricardo for leaving the keys in the car. It was Ricardo who made this segment work. His reactions and facial expressions are just wonderful. He says so much without saying a word, but after all this abuse, I'm waiting for him to turn on ADR and just flatten him. From what I've heard his ring work is more than solid and he could really do well in there if given the chance. In my opinion, Ricardo deserves a chance and the best chance would be for him to really let ADR have it.
In Ring Segment > A
This was actually between Sheamus returning the car and ADR finding it, but Bryan in the ring yelling "NO!" with the fans yelling "YES!" went on through all of ADR's segment and through the commercials. That Bryan yelled full out through all that time, then wrestled in a match. That man has amazing cardio! Actually, beyond his physical conditioning, his character has grown and changed so much recently, and he's done a great job with it. The mad looks he got through the end of this show were very impressive, and something that might not have worked if he was clean shaven. I always thought he looked like a bit of an accountant when he was clean shaven, so this beard and this new mad (both upset and a bit crazy) look is something that I find very impressive.
Bryan vs Cena > A-
While a little bit of the mat work was a bit sloppy – something I have to blame on Cena as I've watched Bryan for so long and he's so good on the mat – the rest of this match was off the hizzle. (I know, I can't pull that off, but give me my moments.) It was mentioned a number of times that this was the first time Bryan and Cena had faced off one on one on RAW. Looking back at Bryan's wrestling history, I can only see one match that Cena and Bryan ever faced off one on one (other than possible house show matches). That was in 2003 on a taped episode of Velocity! I don't know what it says about either of them, but I think Bryan brought Cena's skills up in this match. It wasn't the regular five moves of doom and it was over. Yes, Super Cena made his appearance, but that's just how Cena works and I've learned that there's nothing to be done about it.
I really liked watching these two work together, and it was better than I expected from Cena. The reversed moves added a lot of tension to this match, and Bryan's "NO!" "NO!" "NO!" added another layer of entertainment on top of the actual ring work. This was the unexpected lovely main event that I wasn't really looking forward to, but was thrilled to watch. Some might say that if these two were in a feud it wouldn't show Bryan's ring work in the best light, but after this match, I disagree. I think I want a little feud between these two, just to see what they're capable of together. I think Bryan could really help push Cena's ring work and make him more interesting to watch in the ring.
Winner – Cena (13:52)
In Ring Segment > B+
I love how Punk made such a big deal about how RAW was going to end for the third week in a row with the WWE Champ standing tall, then Big Show was the one standing tall with the strap. It was obvious that something was going to happen when Punk said that.
The way Cena pushed Punk out of the way when Big Show got in the ring was very odd, then again Cena is the consummate goody-goody, so he had to get Punk out of the way and handle the situation. The thing I'm most waiting for is the fight between Punk and King. They've been obviously setting up the issues between these two, and they have to come to a head at some point soon, the question being is will it happen before or after SummerSlam?
I can't end this without saying something about Big Show. While he looked really great here, I will be shocked if he actually walks out of SummerSlam as the winner, but he sure did look like a Champ standing over the other two with that belt in his hands.
I want to mention one last thing before signing off. While I don't know the whole story about what went down with Rosa Mendez, I hope she is okay and gets the help she needs.