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RAW: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
A Week to Get Ready
July 17, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
Read Pyro's Words
at Blogspot --/-- View Pyro's Videos at Youtube
  

So I saw today that someone is making The Expendables 2, which among other things adds Chuck Norris to the cast. My question: who decided this was a good idea?
 

I know, I know, Hollywood is all about the cash-money and sticks with marketable ideas to maintain profits; this is nothing new. But ever since I researched many many years ago for Online Onslaught that someone green-lit Big Momma’s House 2 (as we were trying to find where the hell Stacy Keibler had run off to), there are some sequels that still make me shake my head.

 

I caught The Expendables on Netflix a few weeks ago, and I was pretty impressed at the depth of the cast. Seeing Steve Austin as a bad guy was a little weird too, and he did it well. But thing is, there were so many stars that they seemed to be fighting for screen time, and it seemed the only ones with any character depth at all were Stallone and Rourke… and even then, “depth” in this context means “like the shallow end of the kiddie pool.” I don’t see how adding a sequel is going to help anything.

Then again, this is summer, when “popcorn movies” hit the theaters and all the moviegoers care about are body counts and explosions. I get the logic, but maybe it’s my age again coming back to make me uninterested. Besides, I’m sure the people of Colorado would love to escape their lives by watching huge balls of fire on-screen! Surely that’ll raise morale.

Onto RAW, the 999th episode! And being a post-PPV RAW, as always, don’t complain about spoilers. Read Rick’s recap of Money in the Bank if you haven’t already, and then come back here for tonight’s goods.

Segment 1: CM Punk hits the ring to open the show to unanimous cheers. He takes us back one year ago when he detonated the pipe bomb that altered his career and WWE forever in the same city they’re having RAW tonight. He’s proven he’s the best in the world, especially last night, when he destroyed Daniel Bryan despite “a very confused guest referee” didn’t know whose side she was on.

So he’s the WWE Champion! And it’s interesting as we come to the 1000th episode next week, because on the first episode of RAW so many years ago, a guy like him—with his looks and everything—would totally have never made it. So he plans on standing in the ring next week as well, and proudly raising the title belt!

And here comes Big Show. He says Punk’s speech is so totally stirring… as he comes back to the scene of the crime. When really, everyone including Punk knows the story should be that he was “mere inches” away from winning Money in the Bank.

The crowd logically responds with “Big Show sucks!” at massive volume. Show absorbs it, then says directly to the crowd, “That was very rude, I have a point I’m trying to make.” Punk turns away from the hard camera just to hit a “Punk is not impressed” face before Show continues.

So Show had the case in his hand, but as usual, John Cena had it too when the handle broke, and there it was he who won. And if Show had won it, he so totally would have punched Punk’s face off and walked into next week with the title.

Well, as Punk says (and one of my favorite clichés), “almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. But he (Show) did last night what he always does: he came in, tore shit up, and eventually lost. That’s why it’s Punk, who may be half Show’s size, actually has the title and respect of everyone, whereas Show has a big contract and the respect of no one.

Well Show calls bullshit on the idea of the crowd respecting Punk, since we totally don’t respect ourselves. Punk Broadly gestures “Huh?,” but Show explains that if Punk left WWE tomorrow, we’d just move on to the next big thing. He points out to Punk that he’s not special, he’s just a cog in the machine. The entire company runs around one man, and Punk (and Show) ain’t him.

Punk replies with another solid pipe bomb: “I’m the WWE Champion… and you’re not. What you are is a bitter, underachieving, albeit well-paid, shell of a man who just happens to be a giant.”

Show swallows his rage and says that’s Punk’s opinion. But remember that Cena is the MitB holder… so after Show knocks Punk out and loses to Big Show in their match tonight, he could then lose the WWE Championship to Cena.

Show mouths “Pipe bomb!” and drops the mic, then leaves. Punk doesn’t look worried, but he is definitely thinking about it.

Cut Scene, aka “Why Old People Shouldn’t Get Online” Theatre: Jerry Lawler nearly sends himself into apoplectic shock as he exclaims thus: “Right now, you can go to WWE, uh, well, YouTube, dot WWE slash-slash WWE, and check out the very first Monday Night RAW episode, you can see it right now on YouTube!” Decaf, buddy.

Pre-Segment 2: Maybe it shows that I’m not the journalistic genius Rick is, but I’ve been neglecting to mention how much I too enjoy AW’s ridiculous commentary during the Prime Time Players’ matches and entrances. He somehow manages to balancing “annoying douche” with genuine entertainment, creating the best of both without the negatives of either. Truly, AW has found his niche.

Segment 2 [Tag Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles]: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston defeat Prime Time Players (w/ AW) by pin, and retain. Solid match and basically formulaic, but AW’s contributions kept things just a bit more fresh than they would have been otherwise. For example, during the pre-commercial “faces get all the offense” phase, R-Truth his signature theatrical leg drop. During the theatrics, AW was screaming “Get up, foo’!,” marking the first time in history both that a manager voiced my constant thoughts during spots like that, and that I’ve put four punctuation marks adjacent to each other in a recap.

Even as the heels took over and Darren Young started putting Kofi in peril, AW was there to make things interesting. Kofi was flat on his back with his head sticking out under the bottom rope, so Young exited the ring and started clubbing his chest... but not before pausing his assault so AW could pull out an afro pick and work on Young’s ‘do, since that’s the most important part of being a wrestler.

Back in the ring, Young still had control and was holding Kofi by the ankle, and went for a tag. He made it, but wanted to change positions so Titus O’Neil could double-team him; that split-second of position adjustment however allowed Kofi to slip out and dive to his corner, allowing Truth to go house of fire. He did well but couldn’t close the deal with a pin as Young entered the ring to break it up.

Unlike last week, apparently we were back to the normal rules of WWE where the illegal man can break up the pin without drawing a DQ, so the match continued. Kofi jumped back in the ring just to chuck Young out of it, and that’s when AW decided to jump on the apron to bitch out the ref. This worked against him; behind the ref’s back, Titus charged Kofi, but just ate the Trouble in Paradise for his efforts. He stumbled directly into Truth’s waiting arms and ate the… uh… whatever the move is called. Cole screamed “Little Jimmy!” but I’m pretty damn sure that’s not what Truth calls his one-armed reverse faceplant. And isn’t the Lie Detector the thing where he bounces off the ropes and does a spinny crossbody? Ah, whatever… Truth hit his move, made the pin, and bailed with Kofi before the heels got antsy.

Segment 3: AJ is in the back wearing a hot black outfit with stars on it, and Daniel Bryan arrives. AJ starts to say that her refereeing was so totally down the middle, so there. DB isn’t here to complain, though; he’s here to apologize for all the bad things he’s said since ‘Mania, for-realz. He admits he was just caught up in being the WWE Champion and his feud with Punk, but now that that’s all over, he can finally just tell her that—

Well, uh, here’s Eve to interrupt. She’s still got some steel wool in her vagina about DB bailing on her in their tag match last week. So she’s asked for (and been granted) another tag match this week, and she’ll get to pick her partner to beat the crap out of DB and AJ. “And you know what they say about payback? It’s… well, it’s exactly what you are, AJ.” Wow, Eve’s character is the definition of a cunt. And I have to admit, I kinda like it. Not in the same way I like My Rosa Mendes, just that I like Eve’s new direction since her heel turn.

As Eve leaves, AJ’s face goes from offended to calculating to deliriously happy in a few seconds. Then she focuses back on DB and asks him to continue. DB says that he’ll totally tell her after they win their match tonight. They awkwardly hesitate, and then DB kisses her with his goat beard before walking off. AJ looks confused and conflicted as we go to commercial.

Commercial: Seems that Larry the Cable Guy has fallen so far that he’s now shilling Prilosec. Justice.

Segment 4: We get to hear more Touts, including Cena’s first Tout. Excitement ensues.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio squashes Zack Ryder by submission. ADR was so upset that he didn’t come out to the ring in his car.

Post-Segment 5: And ADR is still pissed, so he slaps on the Cross Arm Breaker again just to be a jerk. And then the collective 619 area shits themselves as Rey Mysterio makes his triumphant return! He hits the ring, slides in, and proceeds to immediately get his ass kicked.

But then ADR backs off like an idiot, giving Rey a breather. He gets up, throws a few punches, and flings ADR with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors to send ADR into the 619 position. Rey hits it clean, and ADR defies physics by somehow repelling from that hit to fall out of the ring. Rey celebrates, the crowd is happy, and we move on.

Segment 6: …To Heath Slater giving us his RAW memory, which is his revisionist history by saying how awesome he is for hanging out with stars of the past for the last few months. (Read: getting his ass kicked by wrestlers who draw AARP memberships.)

As we come from that pre-taped stupidity, they announce that there’s another legend her tonight to face Slater… and it’s next, after commercials! I’m so excited!

Pre-Segment 7: Slater talks some shit in the ring. Then Brian Christopher’s music fires up, and I’m trying to figure out why Lawler’s son is a RAW “legend.”

And yet, here comes Rikishi! Yay! Rikishi looks, uh… okay, but just a little bigger than the last time we saw him. Crowd’s happy to see him, so that’s something.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Rikishi squashes Heath Slater by pin. Superkick, Stink Face, Banzai Drop.

After replays, Rikishi poses, then the lights go out… and when they come back, he’s in the ring with Jimmy and Jay Uso. They pull fedoras out of Hammerspace, then Rikishi shows that he’s still got his dance moves from a decade ago. That’s not unimpressive.

Cool segment if you liked Rikishi, probably stupid as hell if you didn’t. I’m in the former category, but your results may vary.

Pre-Segment 8: Eve hits the ring to a huge “Hoe-ski!” chant. She ignores that as she announces that her tag team partner for tonight is… The Miz! Did he have the Dolph Ziggler slicked back hair last night too? Between that and the coat, it’s a good look for him… Though I can’t shake the feeling that he looks a bit like a greaser, like he’s a pair of jeans away from being called in to a remake of a Happy Days episode.

Segment 8 [Mixed Tag Match]: AJ & Daniel Bryan defeat Eve & The Miz by pin. Decent little match with a hot crowd, though Eve was pretty much the only true heel if we go strictly by crowd reaction. Miz dominated DB early, so AJ tagged herself in to Miz’s dismay. Eve then kicked AJ’s ass for the most part until AJ got her hope spot. She had a rebound flying enziguri, which was pretty sweet.

AJ then went for the pin, but Miz pull the ref aside to have a conversation about something. AJ wasn’t happy about the distraction, so when Miz turned his back to yell at the crowd, AJ hit the back of his hip with a front dropkick, which I thought was DQ-worthy in Mixed Tag Matches.

No dice, the match continued. Miz was unhurt, but turned to look at AJ. AJ hit another crazy eyes expression of guilty pleasure, and then… well, she hit a look that immediately reminded me of Mickie James for reasons I can’t possibly explain. Am I alone in that and going crazy? [Ed. Note: I don't think so. There are folks out there in the wankerverse who call AJ "Pocket Mickie."]

Anyway, Miz looked back at her with a flirty little smirk, then dove in the ring. The ref immediately blocked him from doing anything untoward, and Eve got AJ in a schoolgirl roll up. But the ref was occupied with Miz, so DB quickly got in the ring and flipped the girls over, then slipped out of the ring. The ref turned, counted three, and Eve cried herself out of the ring.

Post-Segment 8: After replays, DB takes up a mic and… you know what, I was going to set it up, but who cares? DB blathers, then says “I love you” to her. She looks away as she looks even more conflicted and confused.

DB walks around her so he can face her again. He then pops The Question, admitting that he did ask it last week to be WWE Champion, but now he’s asking because he sincerely means it. DB even has a ring this time and slips it on her finger. We get a pregnant pause, then she says yes and licks his medulla oblongata.

DB and AJ then lead the crowd with stereo “Yes!” chants and fingers. So… yay? The crowd was happy, for whatever that’s worth.

That whole post-segment took longer than the match itself.

Cut Scene: As soon as we’re back from commercials, Michael Cole reads a tweet that DB and AJ have so totally just posted, because they’re going to get married next week on RAW, and we’re all invited. Yay?

Segment 9: Jack Swagger hits the ring for a match, soon followed by Ryback. And… there is no match, because Jack immediately just starts beating the living hell out of Ryback. Swagger Bomb, Swagger Splash, ankle lock!

Ryback manages to get out of the ankle lock immediately and tries to counter, but Swagger puts him down again. But Swagger taunts before going for the ankle lock again, allowing Ryback to counter out again. And then it’s all Ryback, who even does a trio of dead-lift one-armed powerbombs. Good try, Jack.

You know, I was hoping that I was seeing Jack suddenly become relevant again and Ryback getting demoted from Goldberg II, but I’m clearly wrong. Rick mentioned Ryback in his recap last night since for some reason WWE went ahead and wasted time on their pay-per-view with him, but didn’t actually voice his opinion of the guy. Are you annoyed as I am by the guy, or does he have something that I’m just not seeing? [Ed. Note: he has more than he's been required to show, given how he's been booked. I'm as underwhelmed as anybody with how he's been booked, but as for how his total character works out, I haven't voiced an opinion because we've only seen a fraction of the guy on WWE TV. Work-wise, he ain't much worse than Batista, which means he'll be a competent power wrestler when the time comes for actual matches. Also: he can talk, but so far has been playing the mute animal/Goldberg role, so that's an as-yet-unexplored dynamic.]

Segment 10: Another Tout by John Cena. He’s got some sort of huge announcement regarding his MitB briefcase tonight, and he so totally couldn’t have said that outside of a Tout clip.

Segment 11: And speaking of briefcase holders, here comes Dolph Ziggler—as I feared, looking like Miz’s twin aside from the hair color, so I’m sure Dolph will sue—with Vickie Guerrero on his arm.

Dolph gets in the ring and reminds us that every single MitB case has been cashed in successfully, so really, we’re looking at the next World Heavyweight Champion. And Dolph’s so fucking awesome, he’s going to be a better champion than Bret Hart! Than Stone Cold! Than The Rock! He’s just better!

And here comes Chris Jericho to strong cheers to argue with that. After his music fades, CJ starts to talk, but Dolph immediately cuts him off. This is his night, not Jericho’s! Dolph won, while CJ lost! Hell, CJ has never won MitB!

Jericho is all smiles until Dolph says “When’s the last time you won anything?” CJ’s eyes narrow slightly, and Dolph follows up with “What, you can’t remember either?” Heh.

Dolph says that since CJ came back, all he’s said is how he’s going to save the fans and revolutionize things, that he’s the best in the world at what he does… apparently, what CJ does is lose. No one has been given more shots than CJ, and CJ has squandered them all. See, CJ has been coasting so long that the fans are fooled; he’s just hype. When was the last time he’s actually won an important match?

Maybe CJ is losing his touch. Maybe CJ just can’t win “the big one” anymore! He turns to tell Vickie that he thinks CJ is losing his touch too… then looks back at CJ just to eat a Codebreaker. Dolph oversells it slightly, as he stays “knocked out” for several seconds before selling the chin, which means he oversold it perfectly to make CJ look powerful. Fucking A.

CJ storms away without a word, but now he’s got basically the entire arena on his side. Ladies and gentlemen: a face turn! [Ed. Note: and better yet, this means Jericho isn't wasting his time picking up the feud with Orton when Randall returns in a few weeks. Jericho/Ziggler at SummerSlam is way more appetizing to me.]

Segment 12: Back from commercial, and we hear fans’ Touts, because that’s why I watch Monday Night RAW. Lawler is shocked (shocked!) that we’re seeing Touts that were done in the past couple hour, because technology is scary.

Pre-Segment 13: I haven’t mentioned it, but there hasn’t been a GM tonight, so I have no idea who’s making the matches and decisions tonight. But I bring it up now because Brodus Clay is hitting the ring with his full entrance. You may recall that Johnny Ace banned Clay from RAW, and when the Funkadactyls whined for Vince to reverse that, he didn’t. So… who the hell let Clay come back to RAW?

Oh wait, this is WWE’s “Creative” Team, I forgot. When your big reveal to an anonymous general manager is a midget (a resolution that has multiple continuity errors if true), then I suppose you don’t really care about maintaining storyline integrity. [Ed. Note: actually, I'm pretty sure Teddy Long undid the RAW Ban during his week as GM. Or he petitioned -- and won -- the Board to undo it. Or something. But they did address it.]

Segment 14 [Singles Match]: Brodus Clay (w/ Naomi & Cameron) defeats JTG by pin. A surprisingly competitive match, JTG has apparently ditched his old gangster look and gone to something a little more generic. Maybe the change did him good, because did well enough against Clay.

Well, until he tossed wrestling psychology out of the window so firmly that Lawler had to start covering for him. JTG went for the knee to get Clay down, then… applied a front face lock. Lawler started sort of encouraging JTG to, you know, stick to the leg, which JTG eventually did… right before Clay had his comeback. Weird match, but it was technically executed fine.

I’d hope that this marked JTG’s return to relevancy, but I’m not stupid. I just like the guy, even though he’s been basically spinning his wheels since Shad stupidly turned heel and WWE stupidly released him.

Segment 15: Donald Trump’s memory of RAW is Vince McMahon hitting the ring without hair. Who cares? The only positive of that montage was seeing Lilian Garcia get her skirt ripped off her gorgeous legs. [Ed. Note: which, we should all recall, happened right here, in Dayton, OH, at the Ervin J. Nutter Center the night after WM23. Because when Lilian sensed my manly presence in the building, she was overcome by the urge to be pantsless. I have that effect on women. Those with good taste, anyway.]

Segment 16 [Singles Match]: CM Punk defeats Big Show by disqualification. Solid match with an extremely hot crowd, it had a plodding pace at first but all within context of the match of the story (in direct contrast to the previous match). Show went for heavy strikes immediately, targeting the ribs especially because that’s what DB was targeting on Punk last night.

Punk barely did anything but get destroyed for the first 95% of the match, but he started to make a comeback after locking in a sleeper by basically riding Show piggy-back style. Show managed to get out of that and, after some back-and-forth, took control and put Punk in the corner. Show charged, but Punk dodged, and Show rammed his head into the top turnbuckle. He collapsed, Punk followed up with a perfect Macho Man Elbow Drop, but couldn’t seal the deal.

Show started his comeback then. Punk wanted a top rope something-or-other, but Show countered that into a chokeslam and made the cover. He would have gotten three, but Punk was able to get his foot on the bottom rope. It’s the most convincing near-fall I’ve seen on free TV in months, and the crowd exploded when the ref stopped the count.

By now, Show was pissed. He managed to get Punk in the corner again and started punching away. The ref tried to intervene, but Show just shoved him out of the way too, drawing the DQ.

Post-Segment 16: Show stopped caring about the match long ago and just punched away, basically making a pink Slushie out of Punk’s lungs. That’s when Cena’s music hit, and Superwigger sprinted to the ring with briefcase in hand. Cena stood over Punk’s body and held the case as a weapon. Show remembered he left the iron on in his hotel room and politely left.

Cole naturally started flipping out that Cena was here to so totally cash in the case, which naturally means Cena is going to do the polar opposite and declare that he won’t cash it in at all until WrestleMania or something. Cena calls for a mic, and…

Well, and Show interrupts him with a mic of his own. He gets on the apron and says he too knows that Cena will so totally cash in the MitB case right now. He then takes a page out of Dolph Ziggler’s promo book by guilt-tripping him, reminding him that it’s been damn near forever since he’s held the WWE Championship belt… a belt that he designed, since it’s got the spinner and everything!

Hell, he has to cash it in now! He needs to do it for him since the fans are jerks and don’t respect him! So cash it in now because Punk is super-weak and will never be this vulnerable again!

But Cena says screw that, turns his back to Show, and addresses Punk directly. He gives Punk “one week to prepare himself for the toughest match of his life.” Punk may have been WWE Champion for 239 days, but at RAW #1000, with both guys at their freshest, they will see who the best man really is.

So then Cena addresses the hard camera and says everyone must be wondering what his “huge announcement was regarding the briefcase.” And his huge announcement is to bash it into Show’s face. Cheesy, but the crowd absolutely lit up.

Cena starts posing with the case, so Punk quickly calls for his belt. In the center of the ring, Punk poses with the belt in Cena’s face, and Cena poses back with the case. Cena does a You Can’t See Me taunt, Punk shakes his head because he’s not buying that crap, and we’re out.

Final Thoughts: Holy shit, next week is going to be huge. As I implied, I expected Cena to hold onto the case and not cash it in on a weakened opponent, but I didn’t think he’d cash it in so soon. It’ll sort of be nice not to have the case being an overarching storyline for a full year for the WWE Championship belt; regardless of which way the match goes, there will be different storyline options without the MitB case in play.

They announced that D-Generation X will be reuniting again at 8pm sharply, when RAW starts next week. Add that to guaranteed appearances by The Rock, the DB/AJ wedding (which will hopefully be all kinds of psychotic if our little minx gets her way), a Punk/Cena title match, Brock Lesnar responding to Triple H’s challenge, other legends sure to make cameos, and the general atmosphere of the night… RAW 1000 may be stunt booked like no other stunt booking before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be damn good. Hell, I’m so excited I almost forgot about the continuity error where still no one announced who the GM was for this week!

The other curious thing I saw was a possible spoil or foreshadow for next week. During one of the bumps for RAW 1000, they mentioned that “Superstars from the past and present will be celebrated,” and they showed a shot of the Undertaker during one of his entrances. Just after that, they announced that they’re coming out with a new DVD set called Undertaker: 20-0, which is a four-DVD set that has each of the twenty matches in their entirety.

So, not only do I know what I want for my birthday in a few months, but I strongly suspect the Dead Man might make an appearance. I’d have no problem with the idea that Undertaker is retired and done, and we’ve seen his last match, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t come out and Tombstone Heath Slater or something. I’ve made no secret that Undertaker is among my top 5, possibly top 3 wrestlers of all time, his lack of workrate be damned (clearly, I am no friend of IWC), and if he appears, that would just make my night. [Ed. Note: Undertaker headlined the 1st episode of RAW. So it actually would be fitting if they found an excuse for him to appear at #1000. Shawn Michaels (IC Champ at the time) and Yokozuna (World Champ at the time) were the other two featured performers who got wins over quasi-jobbers on that night. And Taker headlined over both of them.] [Ed. Note to the Ed. Note: And yes, I actually remembered that all on my own, without resorting to WWE's youtube channel!]

Still, that’s all speculation, and a focus on next week. This week saw a rather normal episode for the first hour, but then it suddenly became a should-watch in the second hour, capped off with one hell of a hot main event (that, objectively, still wasn’t exactly a marvelous match to behold). It’s sustainable episodic TV, even though it’s predicated on some crazy shit going down next week. The filler (especially the Tout crap) was annoying, but overall the episode was good on moderate fast-forward.

My final post-show note is that they mentioned a special Peep Show on Friday, when AJ and DB will be Christian’s guests. Tune in for that, if you care enough to. If not, just check back on Saturday here at OO for our SmackDown recap as always.

Have a good week, all.

Episode Grade: B-

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON


  
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