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OO RAW RECAP
Briefcase? We Don't Need No Stinking Briefcase!
July 16, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

I know I promised a whole treatise about the George Zimmerman verdict, here in the PreRamble spot. But then RAW went and had to be awesome, and I don't know if I really want to put myself in an ornery mood by doing 2000 words worth of reflecting on that whole steaming pile of awfulness, before turning my attention to an excellent show.
 
Perhaps just a Cliff's Notes version, in which I wag my finger at four players in the case, who collectively are making me lose faith in society:

 

(1) Anybody involved in FLorida's criminal justice system. First, they took the better part of a month to charge Zimmerman with anything. Then, they charged him with 2nd Degree Murder, which they had zero chance of proving. Because it wasn't the crime he committed.
 
(2) The jury. Zimmerman didn't commit 2nd Degree Murder, and I was scared he'd get off scot-free. Then they announced the jury could convict on the lesser charge of Manslaughter, which IS the crime Zimmerman committed. And somehow, the jury whiffed, anyway. Between this and Casey Anthony, Florida might want to change its motto to "Come for the beaches, Stay for the incompetent juries!"
 
(3) The media and anyone fanning the flames of racism. George Zimmerman didn't do this because he was a racist. He did it because he is a shithead. I'm not taking the "Hey, we fixed racism, so quick talking about it" stance that some idiots give as a reason why we should be repealing laws that prevent racism. It still exists, and it's still a problem. But it's not the deciding factor in this case. I mean, if Zimmerman had even one racist outburst in his past, somebody would have stepped up and made a ton of money selling him out in an exclusive interview with MSNBC or whoever. That didn't happen, ergo, I have to assume Zimmerman is less racist than your grandmother after two gin and tonics at Christmas dinner.
 
(4) George Zimmerman and anybody who takes his side. Not a racist, but still a shithead. A huge one. He doesn't seem all that bright, and also clearly has a massively distorted grasp on reality and his place in it, as witnessed by the 50 or so 9-1-1 calls he made over the course of 8 years (most of which were utterly indefensible). Add a gun to the mix, and he was an accident waiting to happen. And now, a kid is dead because of him. Yet, some are actually holding him up as some kind of model American citizen. Congratulations, jackwads, you've successfully confused "model American citizen" with "massive shithead who behaved in an unacceptable manner and is now the beneficiary of a broken system of laws and justice."
 
Done and done. Let's get onto what happened on RAW...

 
Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live in Brooklyn, NY. But as soon as all the opening festivities are done, the lights go dark, and we get a drumroll. Something big to start the show? Nope, it's only Brad Maddox...
 
FROM MADDOX TO FANDANGO IN THREE STEPS
 
Maddox hits the ring, and puts himself over as the sure-fire best GM ever in the history of RAW. The crowd goes mild. Then he announces his first decision: a rematch between Alberto del Rio and Dolph Ziggler for the World Title. Right here. Tonight. Now THAT the crowd can dig.
 
Apropos of nothing, John Cena sudden heads out to the ring to interrupt. He makes the joke "Hey, Brad, this is probably the only time you'll ever be in a ring with someone more hated than yourself" (in reference to the chorus of boos that greeted him). But then he gets a bit more serious, and says he doesn't know what the Maddox Era holds, and he'll give Brad a chance to impress him.
 
Which is good, because Maddox has something in mind that Cena should REALLY like... Maddox doesn't want anything hampering their professional relationship, so to prove he's a good guy, Maddox is gonna let Cena pick his own opponent for SummerSlam.
 
Cena is incredulous, and tosses a few joke names out there (including "a Bella Twin"; what, John, you can't even remember which of the two is the one you're boning?), and says Maddox is giving him carte blanche to ruin SummerSlam by picking an easy opponent.
 
Before Maddox can offer any sort of justification for his decision, Randy Orton -- red briefcase inhand -- comes down to the ring to point out that John Cena may not even be WWE Champ at SummerSlam. Because Orton's gonna have his eye on Cena at all times, and the moment he senses an opportunity, he'll pounce and cash-in his MitB. Cena will never see it coming.
 
Intense staredown is suddenly broken up by.... Fandango? Yes, Fandango. The hell?
 
Fandango grabs a mic, and dismissively shoves Orton aside to address Cena. Fandango wants Cena to pick him as his SummerSlam opponent, claiming it's what the fans want. When he tries to punctuate his request with a FAAAHHHHN DAAHHHHHN GOOOO, however, Orton just clobbers him in the back of the head. What a swell guy.
 
Surprisingly, however, Fandango wins the ensuing brawl and Orton gets chucked out of the ring. As Orton tries to get back in, Maddox starts yelling for everybody to settle down, because he's got an idea: why not make this an official match? Orton vs. Fandango, RIGHT NOW.
 
By which we mean, after these....
 
[ads]
 
RANDY ORTON vs. FANDANGO (w/ Summer Rae)

Match is joined in progress. And as much as I was already mentally prepared to bust out my standard "We're all adults here, so let's not pretend this was something it wasn't" line, this actually did turn into something it shouldn't have been. Which is to say, despite there being zero question of who was gonna win, it still turned out to be a damned good match.
 
It's the same exact thing that happened on the PPV Pre-Show the night before with the Usos having a hell of a match against the Shield. For this to happen, it's definitely mostly due to the effort of the wrestlers, but there's also maybe 25% of the atmosphere that's the result of a hot crowd. We definitely had  a hot crowd in Brookly tonight.
 
Anyway, Fandango's surprisingly competitive in the opening few moments, but once Orton starts to warm up, he powders out of the ring, and tries hiding behind Summer. This backfires, and Orton starts laying a whupping on Fandango, utlizing various ringside features.
 
As the coup de grace, Orton backdrops Fandango onto the top of the ringside barricade. That looked painful. But the effect was kind of diminished by the fact that Orton seemed less interested in his handiwork than he was in chatting up a ringside MILF. I'm guessing his patter was something like "Hey baby, I just got divorced, and could use some consoling," since he doesn't seem like much of a smooth cat. But also: it didn't matter, since the MILF in question seemed fairly intrigued, anyway.

I digress. Orton tossed Fandango back into the ring and continued to beat him down for a bit, until he went for the mount-and-punch in the corner... Fandango shoved him off, and Orton tumbled from the second rope to the floor. So with Orton down and Fandango still hurting, let's watch some....
 
[ads]
 
Back, and Fandango's still in control. A certain element of the crowd is definitely into Fandango. Or, at least, his over-the-top mannerisms and taunts. And Orton's got plenty of fans, too. So even during this extended heel beatdown segment, there was no shortage of sizzle.
 
But as tends to happen, Orton made his comeback, starting with a T-bone suplex out of nowhere. Then, his superplex. Both men down. Double count. Both men up, and Orton's in control. He hits his secondary moves, like the pendulum power slam, but for now, Fandango's able to counter the bigger moves, like the Hangman DDT.
 
The back and forth swings back to Fandango, who eventually decides it's time to finish things off with his top rope legdrop... but Orton knocks one of his legs out, crotching Fandango on the top turnbuckle. From there, Orton does hit the Hangman DDT (with Fandango hanging off thte top, rather than middle, rope), and then hits the RKO the second Fandango stands up. No stalking, no coiling, just an RKO.
 
Your WInner: Randy Orton, via pinfall, in about 12 minutes. That 12 minute estimate is from the "joined in progress" till the end, even though the real match was probably closer to 15. Regardless, it was surprisingly good and competitive. Maybe just shy of getting The Rick's Ringing Youtube-It Endorsement, but it's close.
 
Backstage: Dolph Ziggler and AJ are WALKING~! And talking. AJ's still apologizing for what she did the night before when Dolph says, "That's enough. Stop apologizing. What's done is done, and I think it's time to move on." AJ thinks this is the greatest idea ever. But she didn't understand: Dolph meant it's time for HIM to move on. From AJ. That's right. "We're finished, babe." Ziggler walks away, and AJ is clearly not happy. I sense ugliness ahead....
 
Also, I thought I was imagining things when I sensed Lita in the background (just walking through the frame), but I guess not. The Masked Man has even posted photographic proof in the Forums. That's either some kind of wacky foreshadowing, or some kind of lazy production values...
 
[ads]
 
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, WE HAVE A FACE TURN
 
Mark Henry is in the ring, and making no excuses for what happened the night before. But despite his loss, he knows he took John Cena to the limit like no one before, so he wants to throw his hat in the ring, and asks that Cena give him the SummerSlam Title Shot.
 
Crowd: "You tapped out! You tapped out! You tapped out!"
Henry: "Yeah, and he'd tap all y'all out in a heartbeat, too."
Crowd: "D'oh. You're right."
 
Then, just as Henry was starting to meander, rather than keeping to his basic "I want a title shot" message, the Shield's music hits.
 
And then the Shield enter through the crowd, and surround the ring. It looks bad for Henry, but he's a tough hombre, so instead of retreating, he takes off his jacket and throws it to the ground in the International Sign for Come Get Some.
 
So the Shield obliges. After one early flurry, Henry falls prey to the numbers game, and the attack ends, impressively enough, with a Triple Powerbomb.
 
The segment ends with the Shield celebrating, and me wondering whether this means Henry vs. Ambrose for the US Title (my preference) or Henry and Partner TBD vs. Rollins and Reigns for the tag titles... either way, it's now OK to cheer for Mark Henry. He's a babyface.
 
[ads]
 
Backstage: Maddox is in his office, talking on the phone to his mom, when Chris Jericho pops in. Jericho opens with a joke about Maddox's ill-fitting wardrobe (including use of the phrase "Extra Medium," which clearly indicates he's a fan of The Rick's song-writing work from 10 years ago, when part of The National Drink). Maddox laughs it off, and says he's just here to help, and to that end, he wants to give Jericho a chance to impress John Cena, thereby enhancing Jericho's chances of getting picked to face Cena at SummerSlam. Jericho is intrigued. Maddox's idea: Y2J vs. RVD in a battle for former WWE Champ. Right here. Tonight! Jericho likey.
 
And so do I. Maddox has the physical appearance and general mannerisms of a young Eric Bischoff (honestly, he's more Bischoff's son than Bischoff's actual son is), but he's putting on a hell of a show here on his first night in charge. [/kayfabe]
 
ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
 
Fast start for Ziggler, underscoring that he's not about to allow for a repeat of last night (and also, taking advantage of a red hot crowd). He even goes for covers after the 10 Elbow Drops and again after a Stinger Splash, really selling the idea that he knows he almost beat Alberto the night before and is close to finishing the job here tonight.
 
Alas, after a red hot opening 3-4 minutes, all it takes is one misstep to bring all that to an end. Ziggler charges del Rio near the ropes, and Alberto tunrs it into a MASSIVE back body drop. Ziggler must have gotten a good 20 feet in the air before crashing to the floor outside the ring. Ouch. Needless to say, Ziggler is toast (and Alberto's not in great shape, himself), so it's a good spot for...
 
[ads]
 
Back, and del Rio is firmly in control. We get about 15 seconds of a headlock before the pace picks up again, including various enzuigiris and kicks to the head. Also: that sweet-ass inverted superplex (a bump that only Ziggler can take).
 
Del Rio's streak ends when Ziggler counters a back drop attempt with a wrap-around DDT. Both men down, both men up, so let's call it End Game.
 
Ziggler hits a few big moves for near falls, including a spinning neckbreaker and a second-rope Fameasser. Del Rio's highlights included a Backstabber and his run-up enzuigiri. We ramp up to del Rio targeting Ziggler's arm (for the cross armbreaker) and Ziggler tryng and whiffing on a Zig Zag. Things are really starting to get good.
 
Then, all of a sudden, the bell rings, and everybody's confused. The ref gestures (Broadly) that he didn't call for it, so the match should continue. Unfortunately, AJ Lee has removed a hoodie and revealed herself as the bell-ringer, distracting Dolph. Alberto immediately took advantage with a chop block, followed by his short enzuigiri and a quick cover. That got the job done.
 
Your Winner: Alberto del Rio, via pinfall, in 15 minutes. Really, really good match. Better than the one that they had at the PPV. Which isn't necessarily how it should be, but hey, I'll take it. I can't wait for the WWE Network to get here, so I can quit trying to decide if I'm pissed or happy when free matches are better than the ones I just paid $55 for. [The WWE Network will carry all non-WrestleMania PPVs as part of the $15 montly fee.]
 
After the Match: del Rio got out of dodge, leaving Ziggler to vent his frustrations at AJ. In return, AJ vented back, clearly not happy about getting dumped. In fact, she started slapped away at Dolph, who had no choice but to retreat (he's not about to hit a woman on TV-PG television!). Bad idea. Because he retreats directly into the arms of Big E. Langston. Big E. wastes him with a clothesline, then the Big Ending. AJ approves. So I guess she won custody of Big E. in the divorce, then?
 
[ads]
 
R-TRUTH vs. HOPELESSNESS
 
R-Truth made a standard ring entrance, but we don't know whether it's for a scheduled match, or what, because as soon as he's inthe ring, the lights go out, and the lantern comes on, and the Wyatts appear.
 
Bray takes his spot in the rocking chair, blows out the lantern, and watches as Harper and Rowan (finally so-called by the announcers after not calling them by any names last week) take out Truth.
 
Then Bray hops in the ring with a microphone to offer a few Deep Thoughts. He craps on the entire concept of heroes, and makes fun of all the sheep for believing there is somebody out there who will always come to their rescue. Bray says he alone speaks the truth, and even if the truth hurts, it will make you stronger, so he implores everyone to forget their heroes and believe in him, instead, cuz he will never lie to you and never let you down.
 
It's at this point that the other truth, R-Truth, has regained his feet outside the ring, and clearly wants him a piece of Bray. And Bray's only too happy to oblige. He removes his hat and Hawaiian shirt, and tells Harper and Rowan to get out of the ring. Truth can't believe it's that easy, so he grabs a chair, and moves veeerrrrrrryyyyyy slllllloooooowwwwwwlllyyy towards Bray, who is getting increasingly agitated. "C'mon, you asked for it, here I am," and so forth. But Truth drags his feet, and so Bray just bum rushes him. The second Truth gets any traction with a comeback, Harper and Rowan jump in and put an end to it.
 
Bray then finishes things off by picking Truth up, kissing him gently on the forehead, and hitting a bulldog-y/facebuster-y move.
 
The Wyatts are standing tall as the screen fades to black. And then flashes a single frame of the sheep mask. And then goes back to black....
 
[ads]
 
THE USO TWINS vs. ANTONIO CESARO & JACK SWAGGER (w/ Zeb Colter)
 
Here's one where I would have wished for a longer, competitive match... but instead, Colter's pre-match rambling took longer than the match. About a minute of dominance by Cesaro/Swagger, hot tag, over.
 
Your Winners: The Usos, via pinfall, in 90 seconds. I'm happy for the Usos getting a deserved push. But this match had zero redeeming wrestling qualities.
 
[ads]
 
CHRISTIAN vs. DAMIEN SANDOW
 
Sandow's got some fans in Brooklyn, even after his betrayal of Cody the night before... that's good to see.
 
But they're definitely in the minority. Christian is selling myriad injuries from the night before, amplying his Sympathy Factor, too. It's basically all Sandow for a couple minutes, causing him to get cocky, and take extra long to set up the Elbow of Distain.
 
In that extra spare moment, Christian spins around and hooks Sandow with a schoolboy roll-up.
 
Your Winner: Christian, via pinfall, in 3 minutes. Too short to be much of anything, but definitely a nice little set-up for a future, longer match, Plus, it helps Christian gain some legitimacy, without hurting Sandow (since he's still got the briefcase).
 
After the Match: Sandow sees it the same way I do, since he rips themic out of Justin Roberts hands before he can announce the winner. Instead, Sandow announces, "And STILL the holder of the Money in the Bank Briefcase, DAMIEN SANDOW!" That rankles the fans. It also rankles Cody Rhodes, who runs out and attacks Sandow with the fury of 10,000 suns.
 
Sandow is able to roll out of the ring fairly quickly, though, and retreats (with his briefcase), while glancing backwards at the seething Cody. So much for any sort of slow burn between these two, eh?
 
[ads]
 
1-800-FELLA: a guy has hiccups. His friend tries to help. Nothing works. They call 1-800-FELLA, and Sheamus Brogue Kicks him. The hiccups are gone. But so is the guy's consciousness. Again, I'm not sure what the point is. These aren't really funny. But somehow, Sheamus is funny in them, so it's not a total loss. [Assuming you want people thinking of Sheamus as a lovable goof, instead of taking him seriously.]
 
NAOMI (w/ Cameron) vs. BRIE BELLA (w/ Nikki)
 
Nikki's got a leg injury that requires she basically stand in one place outside the ring, which kind of limits Brie's chances of winning via shannanigans. But hey, 90% of the fans don't know that...
 
Brie controls early with a combination of offensive moves and general bitchiness. Then Cameron hits the "Rear View" (a buttbutt), a few other moves, and then a high cross body for the win.
 
Your Winner: Naomi, via pinfall, in 2-3 minutes. Match wasn't anything particularly memorable. I'm pretty sure they sent them out there just to have an excuse for the commentary crew to shill for the new E! Network show for 3 minutes without it, technically, counting as advertising. Shifty bastards.
 
[ads]
 
MASTERPIECE THEATRE
 
CM Punk hits the ring, limping and generally looking beat up from the night before. But even moreso than the physical injuries he sustained in the ladder match, he got his feelings hurt when Paul Heyman turned onhim and cost him said match.
 
Punk wants to know what the hell was up with that. He knows Paul's here. So come out here and explain yourself, already.
 
So Paul comes out and stands on the stage. He milks the moment and soaks in the boos. Then he says, "I really shouldn't have come out here. Because I look up into that ring, and I don't see anybody. Why should I respond to a figment of my own imagination?" Confused? Paul explains that in 2005, CM Punk was an invisible man, a man with no future in WWE, because nobody saw him as a star. Paul Heyman's the one who MADE HIM into a star. And Heyman even claims he sacrificed his own professional goals, and got fired from WWE because of his vision for CM Punk. A vision only he had. But it's a vision that no longer exists. Punk is back to the rudderless ship he was in 2005.
 
In short, Heyman didn't just give Punk his all professionally, he mentored, he championed, he FATHERED Punk into the man Punk is today. And Paul thought that created a personal bond that would never be broken.
 
But jump ahead to 2013, and Punk seemed to lose sight of that. He pushed Heyman to the fringes. He refused to acknowledge Heyman's importance to his career. Heyman viewed all of Punk's accomplishments in terms of "we," but Punk increasingly claimed sole responsibility for them. That makes Punk just as terrible a friend as he is a client. What Heyman did at MitB was illustrate to the ingrate just how worthless and unsuccessful Punk will be in life without Paul Heyman.
 
And Heyman means it, because wrestling is Punk's life. He estranged from his parents. He isn't married. No kids. All he has is "this" (gesturing to the ring and around the arena). He's a lonely, poor excuse for a man, and Heyman figures it'll be easy to take away the only thing in life that Punk cares about.
 
What makes him so confident? Simple. He's got a friend -- a real friend -- named Brock Lesnar. And CM Punk doesn't hold a candle to Brock Lesnar. Paul rests his case.
 
Punk takes a moment to collect himself, and then goes Pure Sociopath on Paul: "I tried to keep personal separate from professional, Paul. But you've just made this very personal between us. So let me make this perfectly clear: I may not have family, but you do. And I'm gonna come for them. I'm gonna come for your friends, or anyone you call an 'associate.' Anyone who conspired with you against me, I'll come for them, and I will hurt them. And I'll leave you alone to watch it all, and then, when I'm done, I'll hurt you." Hokay.
 
"You know me better than anybody in the world, Paul. So you know when I'm lying. Well, Paul, what do you think, you son of a bitch? Am I coming for you? Am I telling the truth right now?"
 
Paul is adequately freaked out by this turn for the crazy by Punk, but he admits, "Yes, yes, I think you are telling the truth. Or at least,  you think you are." He digs deep and finds some reserves of confidence. "But I know something you don't know." Then Heyman drops to a knee, checks his watch, and declares, "It's clobbering time."
 
Enter Brock Lesnar.
 
Lesnar circles the ring, and Punk eyeballs him all the way. That's how Heyman was able to sneak in behind Punk and tackle him from behind. The attack didn't necessarily hurt Punk, but it did knock him within reach of Lesnar, who immediately pulled him oustide the ring and began beating him down.
 
Punk countered when Lesnar set up for an F-5 through the announce table, and started laying in with some solid punches and kicks of his own. But Punk was still hurting from last night, Lesar was fresh. So that didn't last long. After a shot to the steel ring post, Lesnar landed his F-5 through the desk, and posed victoriously over Punk's caracass while Heyman shouted insults.
 
That was over 15 minutes of two guys talking, with another minute or so of brawling. Normally, that's a recipe for disaster. Tonight, it ruled. Just great intensity and believability by Heyman and Punk. Heyman, especially, told a compelling story, which is often hard to do well when you're the bad guy. But think about it: in any movie or TV show, isn't it always the bad guy with just a bit of redeeming or relatable qualities that is the best bad guy? Punk's the one who did the one-dimensional psycho role tonight, but you bought that, too, since he was wronged the night before. Everything just fit, and it turned into one of the better verbal segments in recent memory.
 
With a quick, effective brawl tagged on at the end. Nice. If you weren't already in for Punk/Lesnar at SummerSlam, you should be know, otherwise, I question your tastes.
 
[ads]
 
Backstage: John Cena is approached by the [redacted] Khali, who apparently is petitioning for the SummerSLam title shot. If nothing else, he definitely says "SummerSlam" a couple of times, despite everything else being in Punjabi. Cena pauses, we assume because he's confused. But nope: Cena responds to Khali in Punjabi. It must be "I'll think about it, big man." Because Khali is satisfied, but not necessarily overwhelmed. [NOTE: on the recent tour of Asia, Cena also addressed the fans in Tapei in Mandarin, which made those fans go ape-poopy. It gets harder every day to hate Cena.]
 
Elsewhere Backstage: Brad Maddox is chilling in his office when Stephanie McMahon walks in. Brad goes in for a hug, because -- like Tracey Jordan -- he likes having boobies pressed up against him. Steph -- like Liz Lemon -- angles away to deflect the attempt. 

Brad says he thinks he's doing a pretty good job so far, and looks for affirmation. Steph gives it to him, saying she's surprised, but yeah, it's going well so far. Brad takes this and gets way too excited by it, causing Steph to remind him that she's but one of his bosses. She points over Brad's shoulder, and Maddox turns around to see Triple H standing there.
 
But hey, relax, kid, cuz HHH thinks he's doing a good job, too. Brad has no reason to worry about HHH. But.... and this is just HHH thinking out loud, but there's still one other boss Maddox needs to keep in mind. Because that whole "let Cena pick his own opponent thing" could go horribly wrong.

Hunter thinks he knows who Cena will pick. Steph thinks the same thing. And they both think it'd be great. But they know their dad would HATE it. The implication: HHH and Steph, like most WWE fans, want to see Cena pick Daniel Bryan. But Vince hates Bryan, and would be furious if he was headlining the second biggest PPV of the year.
 
Anyway, HHH and Steph wish Maddox the best of luck in his future endeavors ("oh, I mean for the rest of the night, not.... oh, you silly goose, you thought I meant it the other way!") and leave Maddox looking mildly concerned that he'd made a huge mistake.
 
[ads]
 
ROB VAN DAM vs. CHRIS JERICHO

Match starts promptly at 10:30pm (eastern), so even with a Cena "main event promo," this is shaping up to be a good ol' good one.
 
In fact, it was so good I'm too intimidated to try a standard play by play for it. It was two good guys busting out all the stops, so none of my standard shorthand for how matches are laid out fits. You kind of have to see it for yourself. I mean it. It'll be a little bit shy of "Match of the Year" discussion, but it sure as hell is Match of the Week, and better than anything on the PPV last night.
 
youtube it, or find it otherwise, and enjoy. And, if you're like me, you'll probably add it to your collection of video keepers.

The match spanned two commercial breaks, and was so intense that the 13 staples in RVD's head (from the ladder match) came apart, andhe was bleeding. Finish came after RVD escaped the Walls of Jericho, then caught a charging Jericho with a kick to the head. Jericho fell to the mat in the middle of the ring, and Van Dam went up top, basked in the cheers and a huge "ARE VEE DEE" as he did the Points To Self move, and nailed the Five Star Frog Splash. Cole: "Nobody gets higher than RVD!" King: "On a frog splash you mean, right?" Cole: "Yes. Yes, of course." Ha.
 
Your Winner: Rob Van Dam, via pinfall, in about 24 minutes. Just awesome. Not saying RVD didn't do some good stuff in TNA. But it certainly wasn't his most recent stuff. So whether you last saw RVD in 2007 or earlier this year, you probably were pleasantly surprised by who incredible this was. All the more impressive: this was RVD in a straight forward, non-stip match, which were never his forte. But on this night, with the killer atmosphere and the right opponent. everything fell into place perfectly. Great match.
 
[ads]
 
JOHN CENA PICKS HIS POISON
 
As we return from break, about 2/3rds of the WWE roster are standing out on the stage. There are some notable absences, like Mark Henry (probably selling the Shield's attack), the Shield themselves, the Wyatts, Big Show, and Daniel Bryan. Ahem.
 
Cena's music hits, and the guys part like the Red Sea so he can head to the ring. Once there, Cena is greeted by "YES!" chants, which he kinda sorta acknowledges. I think even he is surprised by how many steps ahead of him the audience is. But he's got a plan, and he sticks to it.
 
Cena jokes about picking Heath Slater (it's his birthday), and asks the audience what they think of that. Boo. He goes on to run through a few other possibilities, none of them really that serious. Then, he suggests Jericho. All of a sudden, shit just got real. Fans are OK with that. Cena ponders. But hey, if Jericho, why not the man who just beat him? The crowd is DEFINITELY down with RVD. Cena ponders some more.
 
In fact, he ponders long enough that he thinks he has an answer. But before he reveals it, he asks if there's anyone he's forgetting? Anyone else who should be under consideration? [You mean, like somebody not even out on the stage, JonJon?] The crowd is more than happy to help out with a huge "DAN YILL BRY YAN" chant.
 
Cena again looks surprised at how unanimously the crowd is already skipped ahead to the end, and sort of says, "Hmmm, alright. I see. Just... ummm, hold on, everybody. Just let me handle this. I think you'll like it." So the crowd simmers down a couple notches.
 
Then Cena says, "At SummerSlam, I choose to face..... Daniel Bryan!" And the crowd goes back up eleveteen notches. Bryan's music hits, and he "YES!es" his way down the ramp. He "YES!es" right in Cena's face. He "YES!es" along with 16,000 fans, all "YES!ing" along with him.
 
It's quite the sight to behold. Even Cena is impressed. The entire arena is "YES!ing" in sheer ecstacy as we fade to black...
 
And so ends the show. A show that probably goes down as one of the best top to bottom RAWs over the past several years. Even better than the post-WrestleMania one from earlier this year in terms of 2013's best efforts, mainly thanks to the utter lack of any valleys to offset all the peaks.
 
The Jericho/RVD main event is just a must-see affair, and a video keeper. The Heyman/Punk verbal segment is close to being the same (promos tend to have less rewatch value, but trust me, this one will be on a future DVD, and was only a notch or so below Punk's seminal "shoot" promo). Any other show, and the effort Ziggler and del Rio gave would have been an easy call for "Match of the Night," and here, it's only the 3rd best thing of the night. And let's not forget the sneaky-good opener, either.
 
I'm honestly at a loss for anything negative to say. I mean, the show ended, and I had over 20 minutes of DVR timeshift left over. That NEVER happens. This was a show where stuff happened. And it was good.
 
My Inner Pyro grades it an A.


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.


 

 


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