Today has been a wild day! All sorts going on in wrestling, but more importantly, I was lucky enough to watch Gesus and Rikki get married this afternoon! If anything would get me on Skype it would be the marriage of two friends. Though I do have to tell you that during their vows I heard Rikki say she promised to always watch wrestling with Gesus. In other words, they're going to have a wonderful marriage as they can regularly get out their aggressions out watching men in their skivvies beat each other up! In all seriousness, they are wonderful together and have a beautiful future ahead of them.
Now to the meaty business at hand, the WWE. I have seen a lot of things said about Cena and Punk this week, but have held my tongue until now, so watch out! Many people have been going after Punk, saying that he's as bad or worse than the Kliq because of how he's 'using' Cena to get Orton fired. While I understand where these people are coming from, I see it from a different perspective. If you're working a job where everyone has to work as a team, but there's a select few who can do whatever they want, act how ever they want, not really worry about getting caught doing things they shouldn't, are arrogant jerks about the whole thing and still get the prime accounts/jobs/etc., there will always be bad blood. The people who are busting their humps day in and day out, the ones who love their jobs/industry/company, but have to deal with these schmucks will always feel that they're getting the short end of the stick by doing everything right. Cena and Punk, as well as so many other men and women, show up for work when scheduled, put in the time at the gym, with the fans, and everything else needed, then they do their promos and ring work without being total jerks to everyone around them, and without thinking they can do whatever they want and won't be fired for it.
It's those arrogant few (Orton and ADR) who spoil the locker room for so many. When a younger guy gets a big head he is quickly slapped down (Funkasaurus), but Orton keeps going on more self-important than ever. I am quite disgusted with Orton at this point. I really thought he had grown since his marriage and the birth of his daughter. He had seemed to clean up his act for a while there, but I guess it's just who he is and he won't be growing up anytime soon. Punk and Cena show up and work their arses off week in and week out. They might have a bit more pull than some others backstage, but they've worked hard to get to that point. Honestly, I don't see it as Punk is using Cena, who has the most pull backstage right now, I see two of the top guys stepping up and saying that they're sick of Orton getting coddled because the roster is thin and TNA would grab him up. Orton going right back into the main event after a second strike, and the way he's acted about it, is a slap in the face to the men and women who fly the straight and narrow, do everything they can to fulfill their dreams and continue to push the top level of the company. Personally, I'm all for Punk and Cena going to Trip, Steph and VKM over Orton after all that has gone down!
Video > B+
I understand why they started with the video they did. It set up well for the segment that followed, and bits of the show that came later. They actually did a really good job of cutting together the video and audio clips of and about AJ.
Backstage Segment > A-
I have enjoyed AJ so much since her breakup with Bryan and her growing into being quite the crazy chick. I loved how she told each of the guys specific things, but they weren't actually there. I really thought she was going to have life-sized cardboard cut outs of the men, but that was just me.
Stage Segment > B-
I'm not giving Vickie the lower grade because she was as great as ever, what I didn't like was how she stated that this week the Board of Directors decided to make her interim GM. Does that mean she's GM from now on, or still just this week? And if it's more than this week, then why did they have Foley state last week that they'd be bringing in former GMs each week to cover? But if Vickie was stating that she was interim GM for this week, then why did she say that the Board of Directors announced it would be her this week after she told us on Smackdown last week, but actually broke it online before Smackdown was even taped? The whole thing smacks of VKM's beliefs that the WWE 'Universe' doesn't have brains in our heads or memories for anything! So while Vickie is great, as always, this segment rubbed me the wrong way.
Elimination Match – Bryan vs Punk vs Kane (10:11) > A-
I hate to admit how great these three together really are because I don't want to give VKM the satisfaction of knowing he did something right when all he was doing was slapping down the IWC. The chemistry between these three is great and really lends itself well to three way matches. I'm really looking forward to seeing Punk face Bryan one on one at MITB, but this match was golden for RAW. While much of their ten minutes was taken up by commercials, these three didn't disappoint when we did see them. I especially liked how they went about the ending of this match. That Kane again lost because of AJ was fun, but then the way Bryan went over Punk without making him look weak was very cool.
Winner – Bryan
Backstage Segment > B
It was nice to see Ziggler get riled up at ADR over who deserved to go after the Title, as if he actually deserves the shot – which he does, quite a bit more than ADR! But for me Ricardo is the one who sold this segment without barely uttering a word! That man is a star, not ADR. And I'm not talking on humility alone.
Funkasaurus vs Big Show (2:36) > B
Was this the Funkasaurus' first clean loss? Whether it was or not, I really thought they handled this well. Clay didn't look weak, but Big Show went over as the unstoppable force he's recently become. They both sold this very well for a short match between two behemoths. I have really come to love how Funkasaurus comes out all silly and happy, but in the ring Clay is a fighter. The two sides of his character really makes him that much more interesting to watch.
Winner – Big Show
Video > A+
The work Cena does with Make-A-Wish will always be a wonderful thing. I've heard he hopes to grant 1000 wishes. If anyone can do it, it's John Cena.
Video > C-
While Bob Barker was a great Special Guest Host, and did a great job with both Jericho and Chavo, I can't say it was one of the best moments on RAW. There's been so many wrestlers who have put so much into RAW that having a Special Guest Host as such a big moment is a slap to so many of them in my book.
Video > A
I have to say that I really like how they booked this. Big Show didn't use his WMD until after he won the match. He didn't have to, but this was his way of further proving his power, his change to the unstoppable Big Show who doesn't want to make people smile any longer. I think it's kind of funny because Rocky doesn't complain about wearing a pink tutu in a movie, but to this Big Show character, it's as if it was the worst thing in the world. Actually, I think that's why this heel turn worked so wonderfully, he had a solid reason behind it. He was the circus act for so long, now he doesn't have to be and is guaranteed his paycheck. I know that wasn't the plan for him, but bravo to whoever came up with the idea. And bravo to Big Show for selling it so beautifully.
Backstage Segment > A!
I adore Kane, he's so good at no matter what his character is doing. I think Kane explaining to AJ that "I don't do relationships." was great, but not as funny as telling her that she's even too mentally unstable for him! This might go down as my second all time favorite backstage (not scary) Kane moment. AJ was no slouch herself going from shock to tears to laughter in moments.
Did You Know?
I normally don't write these out or comment on them, but this one jumped out at me. They said it would take over 75 days to watch all of the RAWs back to back, but that's only if they were only two hours. If they add in the extra ten minutes (rounded) that's added to each show, that brings it to over 90 days. Some might say you'd have to take off two hours a year for the holiday show that is either a Tribute To The Troops, or a Best Of RAW show, but those are still RAW, no matter how you cut it. I just think it's very interesting to look at the numbers, the hours that the WWE puts out every week, all year, to entertain us. Maybe we should think about that every time we get cranky about a storyline, or particularly sour episode.
Swagger vs Santino (2:40) > B
Who's cheerios did Swagger pee in? Dang, he's getting abused at every turn! Hopefully this is part of a storyline where Swagger rallies at the end, though if I'm feeling this way this early in him losing, then it could be long and horrible! I will say it again, I think they need to do something and put Swagger together with Brock. They have so much in common and the characters could work well together. I know Brock doesn't want to be a Superstar, just wants to fight, so why not take Swagger under his wing to keep things under control while Brock's not there? Swagger is just so wishy-washy! I think putting him with Brock and really pushing him as a bad ass would do well for him.
Winner – Santino
Backstage Segment > B+
Segments like this only prove my point about how being physically expressive goes so far. Cena and the Broski work so well together, even better when it's to abuse Johnny Ace. I have to say that it seems like Ace has taken more bumps over the past couple weeks than he's taken in over ten years. Though we're not lucky enough to see him taking this abuse each week, it warms my heart to know it's still happening. Actually, I have to give Laurinaitis some props for taking these bumps like a trooper.
In Ring Segment > B+
I might get pummeled for this, but I loved Cena's Star Wars story! He was adorable, endearing and funny. Yes, he got the giggles at one point, but it's live TV! Watch SNL any week and you will see one of them lose their composure as well.
I loved the little short banter between Cena and Jericho about the show being PG and Cena being nine years old. This tiny bit was some of the best banter between the two. I had forgotten how well these two go back and forth.
But I'm not sure about Vickie's announcement. I'm not yet sure how I feel about Kane, Big Show, Jericho and Cena being in a MITBLM together. I hope Miz and Rey are added in before, or as surprised entrants.
Slater vs Sycho Sid (1:41) > A-
While this wasn't a great match, and it was the further abuse of Slater who has been and will continue to take it until the WWE is done with him, it was a great moment for Sid. The man was virtually glowing the whole time he was in front of the camera. He both stayed in character and emanated happiness through the whole match.
I remember the night Sid was injured. I didn't watch the Sin PPV, but the next night on Nitro they started with the video of Sid breaking his leg. At that point I watched the first part of WCW, then watched WWF and taped WCW. They showed Sid breaking his leg. I immediately stopped the tape, rewound and taped over that segment of him breaking his leg, and they never showed it again. Since then I have learned that Sid was pushed to climb and fly by 'WCW management', even though he's a big guy and did not want to do it. I think it's dreadful that things came about the way they did, but if my mind serves me well (and I could be remembering incorrectly), Steiner did a great job holding Sid down. Yes, Animal nailed Sid in the head after he broke his leg, so that Steiner could get the quick win, but I remember Sid fighting Steiner as the adrenaline was pumping so fast that Sid really didn't understand how badly he was injured. Steiner is a strong man, but Sid is also strong and a lot bigger than Steiner. To me, that's a great thing that Steiner did for Sid that night.
Seeing Sid back on WWF/WWE TV warmed my heart, even at the detriment to Slater. This is the first time that feeling bad for Slater wasn't part of this segment, but I will give Slater huge props for all the 'enhancement work' he's been doing. He is working hard, taking some solid bumps (he had a little cut on his head from Lauper's hit last week) and really making the legends look that much better for what Slater's putting into it all. He's also really selling his opening promos well. Slater sets up his own version of his opponents known catchphrases and does so in such a fluid way that it feels organic for him and his character. Hopefully TPTB see that and don't just brush him to the side when this line of legends is over.
Winner – Sycho Sid
Announce Segment > F
Sorry, but Charlie Sheen as the Social Media Ambassador? Really? Really? I know he has a lot of followers, but this is a step way away from PG. Does VKM not know what Sheen's done these past couple years?
Pole Match! (5:03) > D-
After reading Premium today, I went back and rewatched this match. I asked Stacy what he saw, but didn't say anything else. Stacy said, well before the contract came down off the pole, that ADR appeared to be working rather stiffly, but he admitted that he could be seeing that because he knows how ADR is feeling about the WWE right now – the way he threatened to quit through the concussion thing, and how he's been so blasé about his time in the WWE.
We watched Ziggler's hit on the apron in slo-mo and I can see where Cena's coming from, but I'm also not sure how ADR could have helped when they started moving. Though they shouldn't have gotten to the point that Ziggler could land like that in the first place.
Between ADR's attitude, his boring ring work, boring and depth-less character, and how stiff he works in the ring, I see no reason for him to continue being pushed to the main event level. I know VKM wants a Mexican wrestler who can step in for Rey, but ADR is NOT that man! There's Sin Cara, Hunico, and Camacho, why not look at any or all of them? I'm just so disgusted with ADR right now and he's bringing Sheamus down by being in the ring with him.
After that tirade, I will not subject you to a spazz about this being a Contract On A Pole Match, because you know how I feel about them. I'm sure Russo enjoyed watching it!
Announce Segment > C
I have to say that I'm a bit shocked the fans wants AJ to be with Punk. AJ and Kane have such interesting chemistry! Though Punk and AJ have good chemistry too.
Video > C
Yeah, they recapped the opening match. They do it every week, it was average.
Backstage Segment > A
King Kong Bundy? That was perfectly timed comment. Actually, there was little about this segment that wasn't perfectly timed. These two really do work well together. Yes, I like AJ and Kane more, but only just barely. And, was the Bundy comment foreshadowing of things to come?
Video > B
While Foley's This Is Your Life segments were absolutely hideous, they sure are RAW segments to be remembered!
Divas Summertime Battle Royal (2:11) > C
At least it was short? Actually, it was nice to see some of the Divas in bikinis, I'm not afraid to admit it. I liked how some of their characters came through their outfits in such an effortless way, specifically Natalya, Beth (I have and almost identical suit as the one she wore, just wish I could look 1/10 as good as she did), and AJ. Okay, I have to admit that Vickie's suit was perfect for her too, and while some people will complain about her being out there in a bathing suit, I say more power to her. I sure as heck, even at my lighter weight (I hate certain medications), I would not willingly be shown on TV in my bathing suit. I'm so impressed with Vickie for stripping down in the ring like that.
So, AJ told Punk that she was looking forward to taking their relationship to a whole new level, came to the ring in red and black, then celebrated like Bryan after her win. She really spread the love in this match! I have to admit that I was impressed with AJ winning this. Looks like she's in line for a push as a wrestler, not just as the crazy chick in a romantic love triangle. Could be interesting!
Winner – AJ
Cena vs Jericho (8:30) > B
King said it had been about two years since Jericho and Cena faced off in the ring. From what I've found, the last time they were in the ring together was Night Of Champions 2010 in a Six Pack Challenge that Orton won, so it has been almost two years. This was a decent match, not the best, but they did an interesting job of reversing and countering each others moves. They both sold well and it set up for the impending MITBLM they'll both be in. That it ended in a DQ caused by Big Show further set up for MITB. Even better was how Jericho happily bowed out of any Big Show abuse, staying very true to his character. I like that they're starting the physicality between these guys leading to the PPV. It's nice to see that they're not afraid to fight each other and fight hard. This MITBLM might not be as bad as I had first worried!
Winner – Cena via DQ
I have to say that I thought this was a very solid RAW. There were a lot of high points and very few lows. Most of the ring work was good, the characters solid and the segments entertaining. Again AJ was the star of the show in so many ways. She continues to make every segment she's in captivating and amusing. I also have to give props to Slater for his work with the Legends. I really hope his work is appreciated and that Carlito is wrong about him being thrown aside after it's all over. Slater is proving himself every Monday night and should be allowed to do so, even after this push to the 1,000th episode of RAW is over.