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Streak vs. Imaginary Streak
March 5, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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I'm in a pretty low mood tonight for reasons I don't want to get into publicly, so I'm really looking forward to tonight's RAW. It's old school RAW, hopefully that means the red-white-blue ropes, and I look forward to relaxing.
I haven't talked about it but I wound up watching the DVD about CM Punk (on Netflix), and I actually have been trying to be “straightedge,” for better or worse. I've noticed when I'm in low moods, alcohol tends to make things only temporarily better, but overall worse... especially given how much alcohol costs, and the fact that my financial state is the primary reason why my mood is really low.

But... tonight, fuck it. It's Jack & Pepsi all the way. I'm tired, I'm stressed, and if I get three hours of calm before the side effects kick in, then so be it. Let's get to RAW!

Opening: UNDERTAKER!!! Okay, this is how to kick off an episode!

...and we get the opening signature? During his entrance? You're so mean sometimes, WWE!

Signature, and... YES! Old-school folding commentators table, mustard yellow suit for Michael Cole, red outfit and crown for Jerry Lawler, and... wait for it... red-white-blue ropes! I love Old School RAW.

Segment 1: I have no idea where Undertaker went [Ed. Note: his only purpose was to come out and stand under a giant WrestleMania logo. I think the message was pretty clear.], but it's CM Punk who hits the ring first (with Paul Heyman in tow) to properly open the show. He's here to come, as usual, to complain about being off the WrestleMania main event, and how he totally shouldn't even bother showing up since he's not in the main event.

“But... what I just saw...”


I had to rewind because I missed his words since I literally cheered out loud (hooray whiskey making me less embarrassed to be an idiot!). He points out our hypocrisy in that we dismissed his 434 days as champion, but yet we all get boners for the 20-0 Streak of the dead man. So Punk throws down the gauntlet: he's going to snap The Streak just to spite us jerks.

The new number we'll need to know is “20-and-1... and that 'one' is alcohol-free, drug-free, and straightedge! That one is the best in the world, and his name is CM Punk!” Awesome.

And, uh... here comes Randy Orton to ruin the opening. Orton says that he beat Punk at WrestleMania, and hell, he's never faced Taker at 'Mania. Orton tried to snap The Streak when he was a rookie, and came close. But now, he's not a rookie... he's the most dangerous man in the roster! So who does the fans want to see actually go for The Streak: Punk, or him? Fans, stupidly, cheer for Orton.

Punk isn't impressed, but here comes Big Show to add his two cents. It's nothing noteworthy (thought it is good), and then Sheamus arrives to also pitch himself to snap The Streak. Sheamus brings up the point that he's never even faced Taker yet... so he's the only one who's never lost to him. Sheamus assures us that the Brogue Kick is better than the GTS, WMD, and RKO and can do it. Wow, that's a lot of acronyms.

Then Vickie Guerrero arrives and books a Fatal Four-Way match to figure out who's actually going to do it. That's logical, but Punk better win, or I'll stage a one-man riot in my living room. I may even flip a table... once I take everything off it and make sure the living room floor is clear.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Ryback defeats Antonio Cesaro by pin. Decent match I guess, but it was fairly uninteresting to me. They click all right, and the moves were all crisp, but... I dunno. I just didn't feel it. The match ended when Cesaro went for the Neutralizer, but Ryback countered out and lifted him up to hit the Shellshock.

Post-Segment 2: As Ryback headed up the ramp in victory, Mark Henry's music fired up. They passed each other on the ramp and cave each other a cold stare, but nothing came about from it.

From there, they bridged into the next match immediately, with Zack Ryder making his entrance as well. Poor Zack... this isn't going to turn out well.

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: Mark Henry squashes Zack Ryder by pin. Yep.

Segment 4: AFV.

Pre-Segment 5: As we come back from commercial, The Miz is in the ring with Dolph Ziggler and company. Even the mic doesn't want to hear Babyface Miz at first, as it refuses to work, but Miz finally is able to announce Ric Flair as being the guy in his corner tonight.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: The Miz (w/ Ric Flair) defeats Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E. Langston) by submission. Above-average match, but still nothing major that's noteworthy. The final sequence was a bit of an intentional clusterfuck, with AJ distracting the ref so Langston could cheaply hit Miz. But then Flair went after Langston, who no-sold absolutely everything, then stood menacingly in Flair's face. Miz then came to the rescue with a baseball slide, which Langston oversold. A little back-and-forth later, Miz slapped on the Figure Four, and Dolph tapped.

Segment 6: If ya smell...! Here comes The Rock with the Bedazzled Belt in tow. Rock tells a fun, entertaining story that I'm not going to bother repeating about awesome it is to be here. Also: apparently, he has icicles on “The People's Nipples.” Just sayin'.

So here comes John Cena to boos. Cena says that he couldn't wait for Rock to show up, because Rock is awesome at everything and totally succeeds at everything, too. And it stinks for Cena, because he spent all of 2011 saying that he needs to win against Rock last WrestleMania. And he lost... and it totally shattered Cena. Losing sent his life “into a tailspin”; he couldn't get over his obsession with his own failure, and it led to all the losses.

Rock was responsible for his collapse... but now Rock is responsible for his turnaround. It's not coincidence that when Rock won the title, Cena won the Royal Rumble. (Let's ignore the order of events there.) It's also not coincidence that the next week, after Rock solidified his legacy with the new title, that Cena finally beat Punk! (Again, let's ignore the fact that it actually happened within a span of a few weeks there.) Cena declares he will not throw this second chance away.

Rock respects that “fire and desire” in Cena, since it means a good match at WrestleMania, and he's happy about it because it was Cena who he wanted to face. Rock knows what the company and title means to him. No one has that fire and drive! ...Except The Rock, and it matters even more to him. So Cena won't be getting “redemption” at WrestleMania... he's “getting his ass kicked!”

Cena quotes Mike Tyson: “In order to be the greatest that ever lived, you have to beat everyone living.” Cena knows he's accomplished a lot in WWE, every goal in his career and jumped every roadblock in his career... except for Rock. So at WrestleMania 29, Rock's time is up, and his time is now.

Well Rock can quote right back: “Winning is about heart; you've just got to have it in the right place.” The speaker there... is Lance Armstrong, “who is full of crap, and so are you.” Nice.

Cena is all smiles. He compliments the confidence shining in Rock's eyes. But Cena says he had that same confidence a year ago, and history will not repeat itself. He will be the WWE Champion at WrestleMania!

Rock counters that while Cena “thinks” he can beat Rock, last year proves that Rock knows he can beat Cena. If you know. What The Rock. Is cooking.

Play out Rock's music with a nice artistic shot of a Rock/Cena staredown with the WrestleMania logo in the background between them. Very good. [Ed. Note: Yep, very good. But the whole premise of "Cena's Redemption" would work a whole lot better if the damned title wasn't involved. There's nothing gained by having these two fighting over the belt; all the title does is telegraph the fact that Rock has to lose. He's not going back to Hollywood as WWE Champ. And thus -- no matter how well-chosen or well-delivered the words are -- the whole vibe of Cena trying to play the plucky underdog seems phoney and disengenuous.]

Segment 7: This was supposed to be a match between Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter) and Jim Duggan (with Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes). It doesn't take much of a wrestling historian to see the whole patriotic vibe here.

But the patriotic “match” went less like D-Day, and more like the Trail of Tears. Swagger stole Duggan's 2x4 and just beat the crap out of everyone with it, then slapped on the Patriot Act on Duggan for a good thirty seconds. Tons of boos as he left, with both commentators going super-indignant to his actions.

Segment 8: After the commercial, Josh Mathews catches up to Swagger in the back and asks why he can be such a disrespectful twatmuffin. Swagger responds that it's his America, but before he can elaborate, Alberto Del Rio arrives to punch him in the head. They sort of grapple a bit, but nothing really results.

Segment 9 [Tag Match]: Team Friendship defeats The Prime Time Players (w/ The Million Dollar Man) by pin. So, this match exists because the PTP split two matches with Team Friendship last week, and now they think Ted DiBiase can put them over the top and help them win the rubber match. As added incentive, DiBiase apparently said he might consider managing them full-time if they win!

Except they, uh, didn't. Pretty standard match except the heels' offense didn't last very long. The faces actually operated as a unit and canned the bickering, and they pretty much dominated. Kane ended things with a firm chokeslam onto Darren Young.

After the match, DiBiase, as he is wont to do, stuffed a Benjamin down Young's throat. But as the faces walked away, Daniel Bryan decided he had earned himself a little bonus, so he went back to Young's carcass, pulled the spit-covered bill out of his mouth, and stuffed it down the front of his own trunks. I'd say “gross,” but I'd totally do that if I could add an extra hundred to my checking account right now.

Pre-Segment 10: Tensai gets is officially Brodus Clay's teammate, since Tensai now gets his own matching jumpsuit with tear-away pants! At least Brodus and Tensai don't do their own version of the Ass Voltron, and you're very welcome for that mental image.

Also, Honky Tonk Man hits the ring, and Heath Slater (who is already in the ring) tells him to get the hell out, since it's 3MB who is the premier music act in WWE! So Heath verbally ejects him from the ring, though he doesn't leave ringside.

Segment 10 [Tag Match]: Tensai & Brodus Clay (w/ Funkadactyls & Honky Tonk Man) reverse-squash 3MB (w/ Jinder Mahal) by pin. The match took less time than this header took to be typed. Drew McIntyre kicked Tensai's ass (now apparently known as “Sweet T” to Brodus), but he whiffed on a running splash to the corner. Tensai dodged, did a quick roll-up, and took the win.

Post-Segment 10: The faces danced, and Honky Tonk Man's music fired up so they could do the shake-rattle-n'-roll. Cameron doing that particular move is way hotter than it has any right to be. If she had just done that dance for the cop, she wouldn't have been arrested two months ago.

Anyway, Slater is allergic to dancing, so he gets in the ring to be a jerk. HTM is just a jerk right back by smacking him in the face with the guitar. Cameron resumes making my pants tighter.

Segment 11: AFV.

Segment 12: Dead Man Down hype video. You know, that movie that Wade Barrett is in.

Segment 13: They cut Kofi Kingston's entrance short so they could have that last segment. Instead, we get Fandango... or rather, his chick, whoever she is. (On Pyro's hotness scale, she's a soft 7. Her face is really angular.) Then Fandango pops out and refuses to debut since Justin Roberts didn't “breathe his A's” hard enough, or something. Ugh.

Segment 14: RAW recap of last week's opening segment.

Segment 15: Here comes Triple H to talk about that very thing right now! He takes us back in time, as the last time he had a mic was after SummerSlam. He reminds us that back then, he had just lost to Brock Lesnar for the second time, and had had his arm broken for the second time thanks to that kimura as well. He reminds us that he had been emotional, and had thought his career was done.

The second the cast came off, he was in the gym and working out. He still did his day job and cut his hair, but he still trained every day despite not having a clear goal. It wasn't long before he was in great shape, and he just... waited... for a reason. Next thing he knows, he's sitting beside Vince McMahon after hip surgery from (kayfabe) Brock's F5. And then Trips realized he had his reason.

So then Trips just needed the opportunity, he got it in the form of Lesnar coming out during the opening segment last week. Trips declares that if Brock needs an additional reminder that the feud is “just getting started,” all Brock needs to do is touch the twelve staples in his head. Nice line.

So Trips officially calls out Brock for WrestleMania. “So what are you going to do, Brock? Are you going to show up for WrestleMania to fight... or are you just going to sit there and bleed?” Gross, but a solid line. Good stuff... for Trips, anyway.

Segment 16: The Shield has another handicam-recorded self-interview concerning the ending segment of SmackDown. Except, uh... it seems they recorded it tonight, since they address the Fatal Four-Way match. Heh. Anyway, remind us that The Shield has never been beaten, and even though they ran off like pussies at the end of SmackDown, they'll totally get revenge. So they sardonically wish everyone good luck in the main event, and tell us to believe in The Shield. Amazingly, Roman Reigns doesn't freak the hell out when he says it.

Segment 17 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeats Wade Barrett by submission. Solid match, but no super-noteworthy spots. Swagger and Colter came out to watch from the stage but didn't do anything. Match ended with a Cross Arm Breaker.

Segment 18: Another backyard video from Zeb Colter and Swagger. This one is about political correctness, or more specifically, how stupid it is. Zeb's opening is: “I remember a time when someone broke into your house and stole something, and you called them a 'thief,' you wouldn't be insulted for using that word!” Uh... okay?

I like this. I hate political correctness too—if you're a fan of my blog or these recaps, you know I avoid it when possible—but Zeb is so ridiculous in his examples that he comes off as a frickin' moron, which of course is exactly the point. Anyway, apparently real Americans always say what they mean and mean what they say.

Even better, Zeb's entire spiel makes sense... until he says that political correctness sucks because “these people don't deserve it.” Jack's follow-up is “You don't!” I swear, Swagger's Mystery Science Theater 3000-style commentary during the rants—and the fact we're supposed to take Swagger seriously—is the best part of the video series, and I have no clue how he does it without laughing. I really should look this up on YouTube.

Zeb concludes that he's totally going to call out jerks, and in Jack Swagger's America, there will always be a group who will hunt them down. We, the people!

Pre-Segment 19: Hi there, New Age Outlaws! Road Dogg's ridiculous intro is always great, and he even gives a little time-saving ad-lib: “Are you ready? [cheers everywhere] I said, are you r—Ah, just ribbing, I know you're ready.” Boom, right into the “Ladies and gentlemen” part. The fans are pretty much universally tittering.

That's right, I said “tittering.”

Also: Damn, Billy Gunn's hairline is grossly receding. He's going to be Paul Heyman soon if genetics are mean.

Double also: RRRRRROOOSSSAAA!!! Apparently, even My Rosa Mendes's hip-popping entrance isn't as awesome as the New Age Outlaws' entrance, and for once I'm actually inclined to agree.

Segment 19 [Tag Match]: New Age Outlaws defeat Primo & Epico (w/ My Rosa Mendes) by pin. Solid match, if formulaic. As the fans chanted, they still got it, and it was a good match, though nothing noteworthy. (Unless, of course, you count the close-ups of My Rosa doing some hip-popping to make me happy when the Colons hit their one offensive flurry.) The match ended with the Fame-Asser. [Ed. Note: FWIW, WWE has already announced that the NAO will be back on RAW again next week. Hell, as weak as the tag division is, the Outlaws could come back on a permanent basis, and contribute handily. They looked good here. Or at least: they looked about as good as they ever did, with Road Dogg's charisma being the main -- and still undiminished -- selling point.]

Segment 20: Annoying fans Tout. This includes some asshole who says Orton is better than everyone, and he hits an Ultimate Pose of Douchebaggery.

Segment 21: Half the roster is on the stage with a giant cake. They introduce Mean Gene Okerlund, who in turn introduces Mae Young, since today is her 90th birthday. Pretty cool. [Ed. Note: WWE lies! Mae doesn't turn 90 until Sunday! I will not stand for this! OK, maybe I will...]

Also: RRRRRROOOSSSAAA!!! is back too, just to help Mae Young celebrate and to keep her from falling over.

Everyone starts to sing the world's most annoying song, and then CM Punk arrives, parts the mass of superstars like Moses and the Red Sea, and just disdainfully looks at the cake, then just slow-walks his way to the ring. Some chick flips him off in the front row, to which he screams at her “What are you going to do about it, woman?!” Heh, sexism.

Segment 22 [Fatal Four-Way Match, winner faces Undertaker at WrestleMania]: Damn fine match, so you're getting a proper recap for this one.

Punk begins by bailing... except then Sheamus and Orton do too, so Punk is a bit surrounded. So he slides back in... directly into Big Show, who kicks his ass. Dumbass.

Punk is taken down fast, and Show tosses out Sheamus, so it's Orton and Show who starts the exchange. Orton bails, but Show chases him. Orton shoves Show face-first into the ring post, and Show stays down for a bit.

Now it's Orton and Sheamus squaring off in the ring. Equal offense, with Orton taking the win with his signature backbreaker. But as Orton caught his breath from that, Punk slid in and went for the pin. He only got a two, and Orton turned around to see what was going on, so Punk slid back out and just had a weird “hand in the cookie jar” expression. Heh.

Orton continues the offense on Sheamus and generally does the damage. It isn't long before it's Sheamus's turn with his signature (Irish Curse) backbreaker, and again Punk slides in. He only gets a two on Orton, and he tries to bail again. But Sheamus takes notes, and he grabbed Punk's ankle. Then, with Orton's help, they fling the best in the world over the top rope to the delight of everyone.

But then Show has recovered and is in the ring, and nails Orton and Sheamus with heavy gut punches. Why he didn't do the WMD is illogical since he totally could have won, but whatever. With everyone but Show down, it's a good time for ads.

Back, and it's Punk of all people who is in control, as he's beating up Orton. We see that Orton hit Show with the Hangman's DDT during the commercial, and “Sheamus was taken out as well,” hence why it's these two. It's not long before Orton gets his hope spot and hits most of his Five Moves of Doom, but he can't put Punk away.

Soon, Orton goes for the Hangman's DDT on Punk, but Punk reverses it by back body dropping Orton over the ropes. Punk decides that's a good time to bow to the crowd, giving Sheamus a chance to sneak up from behind and hit Punk with his signature vaulting flying shoulder block. Sheamus tries a pin, but can't close the deal.

Sheamus doesn't squander his momentum. He hits the 10 of Clubs on Sheamus, but then Sheamus hits a solid reverse DDT on Sheamus. No pin there, and Punk is quick to hit a half-dozen knees to Show's face. Again, Punk distracts himself by taunting... and eats the WMD as a result.

Show can't pin since Sheamus gets involved, and Paul Heyman pulls Punk's carcass out of the ring. Meanwhile, Sheamus and Show have a good exchange, with Sheamus getting the most of it. Sheamus can't capitalize though, and Show cuts off the hope spot. Show tries a Vader Bomb to follow up, but Sheamus dodges. Sheamus hits White Noise on Show as well, which, as always, looks pretty much impossible. Sheamus goes for a pin, but only gets two.

Sheamus hulks up, then beats his chest. But then Orton comes in, hits the power slam, and goes for a pin. Only a two-count, and Big Show hits him with a chokeslam. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick while Show is distracted, but he's not distracted enough, so Show chokeslams him too. He tries a pin on Sheamus, but only gets two.

Show is done messing around, so he readies the WMD. Sheamus dodges it however and hits the Brogue Kick, but then eats the RKO. But then Orton hits the roundhouse kick, follows up with the GTS, and makes the pin.

Your winner, CM Punk! And now I don't have to flip my table! [Ed. Note: By I may have to eat a bug. I was THAT sure that the Shield would interfere to help Punk win, setting up a 3-on-3 match where the internal dissension on the babyface side would help Shield win. But nope... although, I gather the Shield did attack after RAW went off the air, so that might still be in the cards.]

Post-Segment 22: And here comes the Undertaker. Punk stares him down as he makes his full entrance, and I only just now notice that he must have borrowed his spiky cloak from Kevin Nash when he played Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. Taker doesn't do anything, and just does a long-distance Staredown of Intense Rivalry with Punk from the stage.

Final Thoughts: The main event left a good taste in my mouth, but the rest of the card was a little underwhelming. Nothing was bad, and the nods to the previous eras were fun. Rock/Cena's promo was solid but lacked a little something, and the undercard matches weren't memorable. Still a good night, but nothing you're going to remember forever. (Except My Rosa's ass wiggle, since I tend to remember those in vivid detail.)

No post-show notes here, though I do need to get started on my WrestleMania preview column, which I keep blowing off for some stupid reason. Probably I'll do that tomorrow... when I'm not playing the holy hell out of SimCity. Have a good week, guys!

Episode Grade: A- (main event), C+ (everything else)



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