Because of writing the Live Smackdown Great American Bash Results, this is a bit further behind than I would like it to be. I have to say that I've really enjoyed wrestling this past week. Not saying just WWE, but the past seven days. Yes, I'm including Impact in this. Those six hours have been prime viewing. Not Road To WrestleMania prime, but quite a bit better than wrestling normally is in early July!
I have to say the biggest shocked for me in all this has been AJ. When she first showed up on NXT I liked her, but I figured she didn't have a chance because she's not a buxom blonde bikini model. Actually, AJ is almost as far opposite of that cookie cutter as Kharma is! AJ is so tiny, not traditionally beautiful, and a self-professed gamer geek (still not sure if she's a table top gamer, or only a video gamer). Add in her cute ring gear and bouncy disposition, I was hooked. I will admit that I never though AJ would get past cute, adorable, even pretty. I didn't think she'd be though of as sexy, or even beautiful, but then she got into that 'relationship' with Daniel Bryan and her personality started coming out. I keep saying that I don't like ADR because he's a flat character; one note without any layers to who he is. AJ quickly grew and developed fascinating layers. The fans were hurting for her because of the way she pined for Bryan, but he treated her like crap.
But it was when she pulled in both Punk and Kane that things started getting intriguing. Not only did she have layers, she became very visually expressive. She can say more without saying a word than almost anyone else on that roster. She spiraled into 'crazy chick' and had the fans drooling! Everyone could relate to her in some way. Even the guys who have been burnt by crazy chicks, love her. The women who have watched their friends turned inside out by crazy chicks, love her. Even I, who has to deal with Stacy's ex-wife who is quite crazy, love her. AJ has also taken that step I never thought I'd see, she's become beautiful and sexy. I think it was when she jumped on Kane and about sucked his face off that the change really occurred. I've never seen so many of the IWC state that they wanted to be a specific wrestler before. And then the cat calls when AJ bent over to pull that table out from under the ring this past RAW, that was impressive!
I love it when someone breaks a mold, such as how AJ has recently. It feels that much better that she's a gamer geek who loves comic books, high tops, and cute skulls on her clothes. She's a girl after my own heart! Now, how do I con her into coming over and playing D&D?
Video > B
I know I complain about opening with a recap video, but I understand why they did this. It helped set up for not only RAW, but for the MITB PPV.
In Ring Segment > A-
If I could have watched Jericho, Bryan and Punk, but only them, I would have given this an A+. I actually rewound Jericho spilling his catchphrase so I could replay it without stopping. I wanted to watch it through and Stacy didn't watch Jericho's glory days on mic. That was just a small helping, but I would love it if THAT Jericho came back for a bit. I think the WWE needs an over-the-top character like that. Back in the day there was Rock and Austin, so Jericho was just another great talker, but now Jericho could really school these guys on how to get over. I know there's some who don't need Jericho's help, but there's so many who could learn so much! Also, there's a bit of spice that the WWE has been missing, I think Jericho could help fill that in a big way if he went back to THAT Jericho.
Did You Know? > F
1993? Yes, I know it's big for RAW, but why do I care how old any of these people were when RAW started? I was 20, not that they care about that! This was a terrible waste of time and one of the dumbest things to do with the 1000th RAW I've seen so far!
8 Man Tag Match > C+
Other than seeing Otunga getting his, I wasn't at all thrilled by this. Yes, I'm glad to see R-Truth back, but I wasn't thrilled about AW being on mic. I understand that they want to make him into something, but I hold nothing for the man. I don't hate him, I'm indifferent. He's more useless that Laurinaitis, and that's saying something. He did do a service in keeping Young and O'Neil from actually having to work the ring and make asses of themselves and possibly injuring themselves or others, but that's all he did that was of any worth, at all. That was the better part of ten minutes I will never get back.
Winners – R-Truth & Kofi & Christian & Santino (8:51)
Backstage Segment > D
I'm so disgusted with ADR, the one note wonder. His destiny and his cross arm breaker seems to be all he has going for him. Wait, no, he also has Ricardo, that he's nothing of ADR's making. I know I've said it before, but it's time to cut bait with ADR! He's done nothing positive for the company and only continues to look pathetic.
Video > B+
I have to say that I don't remember Shane training VKM for his Royal Rumble match with Austin, but it was funny. It was also great to see Steph. I would love for her to return to TV. Maybe as GM? Wait, no, that might look like she's working for Trip. I don't know, I just miss seeing Steph regularly.
ADR vs Sin Cara > C-
Yes, I'm cranky about ADR. His matches are boring, but I will say this attack was better than he usually is. I don't know what Sin Cara has done to be taken down by such a nobody as ADR, but he could be in deep poo with the WWE. So much for Sin Cara being Trip's pet project? I will give ADR props for the heat he was getting at RAW in Laredo, Texas, but on the Live Smackdown in Corpus Christi, Texas, there was no reaction for him. It must have only been Laredo that hates ADR as it seems everyone else is indifferent. I will admit that I'm kind of surprised that he got such different reactions two nights in a row in the same state.
Backstage Segment > A-
Biting the head off the rose was quite unexpected from AJ. Actually, she handled this segment quite well, but Bryan felt the tiniest bit off. Can't quite put my finger on why, but he didn't fit perfectly in this for me.
Video > C+
I understand why they had to recap Trip wanting to fight Brock, and the issues with Heyman, because it's not the focal point of each RAW, so it's a nice little reminder that didn't take too long.
Backstage Segment > B+
Heyman, as per usual, was great! That man can come off so sleazy and slimy! I can't get over the way he can turn a phrase! And then the reasoning behind why he thinks Trip wants to face Brock at SummerSlam, interesting.
Slam of The Week > B
I have to say I loved that moment between Ziggler and Vickie. They're getting spicier and more exciting. I'm actually wondering where they will be going with these two.
Mixed Tag Match > B+
As per usual, Ziggler and Sheamus were great in the ring. Ziggler has really stepped things and is proving that he should be a top star in the WWE. I hope TPTB are seeing what we're seeing from Ziggler and don't fault him for stepping up and asking for the push. While this match was short, and good that it was mostly Sheamus and Ziggler, AJ was a huge part of what made this match fun. The way Sheamus had to catch her physically and make her stay on the apron, but then the way she wasn't afraid to hit an actual move on Vickie and take the win. That girl is going places, and taking Bryan's catchphrase with her!
Winners – AJ & (3:29)
Backstage Segment > B
Punk played this segment well with AJ. I was actually waiting for Punk to say he was talking to Lita! Now that would be a storyline swerve. Hey, he might have been covering by saying his sister, as she's been used before. Punk was actually a bit of a jerk with AJ, but I don't blame him the way she'd been acting to him. Again, both building layers to their characters, making them more and more real.
Slater vs Doink > B-
I will say it was very nice to see Slater get the win over someone, anyone, at this point! Okay, so it was Doink, but it was someone. Not much of a match, but continued the storyline. I will admit that I was bummed that DDP didn't come out to face Slater, but I did notice that Slater won the match with a cutter. That is one thing that the WWE has done a wonderful thing with, having Slater set up for the legend to come out by saying or doing something that was key to the legend's character.
Winner – Slater (1:24)
In Ring Segment > A-
It's me, it's me, it's DDP! DDP hit that segment hard and did a beautiful job of it without having to say a word! I can't see DDP without thinking of him wrapped in plastic wrap and covered in chocolate chip cookies. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go read Foley's Have A Nice Day. Even better, listen to it on audio. It's read by Foley and he adds so much to it as he's reading.
Video > A+
I love it when the Superstars go to Walter Reed. It can be a terribly depressing place, and it always means so much when the Superstars make an appearance.
No DQ Match > B
While this match would have been laughed out of ECW for its lack of weapons, blood and gore, I thought it was a solid little match between these two big men. It wasn't anything overly thrilling, but it held me tight to the screen through it all. I figured Big Show would win, but I didn't know how it would happen. Both of these guys are big, and not as young as they used to be, but they did a solid job in the ring.
Winner – Big Show (3:48)
Backstage Segment > A-
While Long pissing off Eve was fun, the way AJ handled her was great! It was gripping to watch the two of them volley and having AJ spiking Eve so easily. I knew something big was coming after AJ said she'd show them all.
Video > B+
I was a bit shocked that it was ADR talking about the DX invasion video. I loved watching DX trying to crash WCW. It's always something that makes me smile. It was one of my favorite times in wrestling, one of my favorite storylines.
Kidd vs Tensai > B-
I only gave this the poor grade because of Tensai. I'm thrilled that Kidd is finally getting noticed and moving his way up the ranks, he really deserves it. I can't wait to see how far Kidd will go with his potential and his training. It has to hurt Tensai that he lost so quickly to Kidd. I know my timing of the matches are not at all perfect, but I found it interesting that I clocked this at 18 seconds.
Winner – Kidd (0:18)
In Ring Segment > D-
I guess I understand why Tensai keeps beating up Sakamoto, but right now, after how badly Tensai has been doing in the WWE, it's not even worth the time to watch it. It means nothing to me as we still don't know much about the Tensai character, and even less about Sakamoto. If they want us to care, they should be putting more info out there.
Backstage Segment > A-
I loved the catchphrase fight between Jericho and Bryan! I know that Punk and Bryan will be facing off at MITB, but I want to see more between Jericho and Bryan! I think they could be great together, or feuding. There's so much they could do with those two. The dueling catchphrases was hysterical! I was actually laughing aloud at the two of them.
Backstage Segment > D+
I wasn't really impressed with this segment coming off the previous one. Punk was asserting himself, he is the Champ, and Cena was being a jerk. I didn't really care, even though I adore Punk.
Backstage Segment > D-
Please, please tell me they're not starting a feud between Tensai and Kidd! That could be the kiss of death for Kidd before he gets his second win on RAW in so long! Not liking this.
Jericho & Bryan vs Cena & Punk > B+
These four worked it hard! This was a long match with a lot going on. The show went off at 18:44, and only the last couple minutes of that was AJ. That means the four of these guys worked the ring for a good fifteen minutes and did it hard. There was an interesting moment between Cena and Jericho that might have looked to be a bit of a botch, but I really think they were just trying to muscle each other and reversed things in the process. I'd rather see moments like that than have everything work so perfectly that it looks improbable.
They all left it in the ring, and while there were few moments that were beautiful or shocking, nothing major really jumps out at me now. Just that it was a good, solid match. I will say I wasn't shocked to see Jericho and Cena fighting to the back. Obviously something was going to happen with AJ, but we didn't know what.
In Ring Segment > A+
I didn't want to grade this with the match, so I broke it up into two segments. AJ played this segment so wonderfully! Between her skipping around and that not working, and the way she set up the tables and got all those cat calls from the fans, it was obviously going to be something big. The way the two guys were begging AJ not to jump off the ring into a table was a bit much for me, but it did set up for the fall perfectly. And then there's AJ and her kissing! Okay, it was fun that she planted one on Punk, then sent him flying. Even funnier was the way Bryan and Punk laid there stacked up, not moving the way they did. But the best was AJ's "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" She has completely hijacked Bryan's catchphrase, and the fans are loving it.
I have to say that AJ is playing tonsil hockey all over the place! What I find interesting through all this is how well the guys are reacting to AJ's kiss. None of them seem to be able to say no to her. Okay, Kane did, but I'm still not sure that's completely over. But the way the guys fall to putty after a kiss from AJ makes me wonder what direction they will be going with this. She just seems to be stealing the shows and leaving smiles on everyone's faces.