That Being Said: The WrestleMania Expedition – Part 1 of 13 – WWE RAW 01.14.2013 (The Rock, John Cena, CM Punk)

Welcome! This is the very first out of thirteen stops on “That Being Said: The WrestleMania Expedition”. For anyone unfamiliar with my work or recaps, I have disclaimers at the bottom of the article along with the “Expedition” schedule.

The first recap of my little mini-series just happens to take place on RAW’s 20th Anniversary. At it’s inception, RAW was a cutting-edge show, the first of it’s kind seen in the world of professional wrestling. The competition from WCW propelled the WWE into the second of the only two boom period’s in it’s history, and back into the mainstream. It became something that a large percentage of the population followed or at the very least, knew about. It was something you were excited to (or at least wouldn’t be afraid to) discuss with your friends.

Since then, they have become even more profitable and run more wrestling shows today than they ever have. How did they accomplish this? Partly by cannibalizing their own product to the point where being a devoted WWE fan carries with it the very real possibility of bankrupting you or leaving you socially isolated.

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and MUCH longer since I’ve done a recap, so I’m kind of excited. Enjoy that now, because I have a feeling that by the end of my 13 stops, an hour before these shows I’ll be considering hiring a hitman out on myself.

Let’s get started!

 

That Being Said: The WrestleMania Expedition

Part 1 of 13: WWE RAW 20th Anniversary – 01.14.2013

I’m lucky enough to catch the end of NCIS before RAW starts. Apparently the “yell at someone repeatedly to tell you the truth until they do” tactic works better than I would have thought. Also, did you know that people can apparently be so obsessed and in love with John Billingsley that they’ll commit homicide? Jesus, is that the dude from Dark Angel? That guy that used to bone Jessica Alba?

Fairly cool RAW opening for the anniversary. It’s kind of a mashup of past RAW opening videos – as with most things, it went downhill as soon as Papa Roach showed up.

 

Vince McMahon is in the ring as soon as the show starts. He welcomes everyone to the anniversary show. He says more than 4 billion viewers have watched Monday Night RAW over the years, and says it’s about entertainment. Vince then says this is because he’s a genius, and because of the fans. Tonight Ziggler fights Cena in a steel cage, and we get a Rock Concert.

Big Show comes out. He’s upset that he lost the belt on Friday to Alberto Del Rio. Vince says he doesn’t like being interrupted and doesn’t like being addressed by his first name. So Big Show called him “sir”, and then Vince says Big Show lost weight. Big Show says he lost weight, Vince says he means Big Show doesn’t have the belt anymore. The crowd reacts like they just heard the results of a paternity test on Maury. Vince rolls the footage from Friday. Then they keep going with the bit where Show calls him Vince and Vince getting annoyed at Big Show using his first name. It gets old fast. We’re 10 minutes in. Nothing has happened. Vince eventually asks Show what he wants done. Show wants Del Rio stripped of the title.

Del Rio comes out… to a NICE pop. They’re in Houston, so that could be why, but it’s still nice to hear. And listen, for anyone who thinks his face turn isn’t working – you don’t always have to CLEARLY establish someone. Just have them be themselves, and no, it might not even work right away. But unless you’re a child, you shouldn’t need anyone to hit you on the head and tell you who’s good and who’s bad. Del Rio starts talking though, and the crowd dies down quickly, until he asks Big Show for a rematch tonight. Then the crowd gets behind him again and starts chanting the spanish word for “balls”. Class up the ass Houston, class up the ass. Big Show says he won’t waste his rematch clause tonight, he’ll use it when he is ready. He says he wants the match at the Royal Rumble.

Del Rio makes fun of him some more, and does what I consider to be some pretty decent mic work. I’m interested to see how other people found it. Big Show plays off it quite well, too. The crowd is chanting “si” a lot in support of Del Rio. Ricardo throws confetti on Show, and Show charges him. Del Rio saves him, gives him a hurricanrana, and does that awesome move where his opponent is in the corner and Del Rio runs up and gives him a hard kick right in the fucking head. Del Rio is awesome. I actually wasn’t thinking Del Rio would get that large a reaction, but am very pleased he did. Big Show played off it quite well too, which helped Del Rio’s support along. Overall I thought that segment (while 10 minutes too long) came off surprisingly well. So far so good.

 

Commercial.

Flashback of Bob Barker hosting RAW. That was awful.

 

CB: Wade Barrett is the victim of bad theme songs.
BD: Wade Barrett is the victim of being Wade Barrett.

Wade Barrett .vs. Randy Orton

Barrett is already in the ring and doesn’t get an entrance. Orton comes out and the crowd goes batshit. Apparently the last time this happened, The Shield came and laid out Orton. They jockey around, and Cole and JBL talk about DX. They battle outside the ring, and Orton knocks Barrett’s head off the announce table. Orton picks Barrett up and back-suplexes him off the barricade in a neat little spot. He rolls him back into the ring and gets a 2-count. Orton then stomps him a few times. Then he clotheslines him out of the ring. Not much of a match so far. This feels like one of those matches that apologists for someone like Barrett will say is good simply because it’s longer.

Why does Wade Barrett have his name on his ass again? Is it so people won’t forget who he is? It looks like he glued them on and the letters are about to fall off.

Commercial?! Ha, a TNA advert.

And we’re back. I can only imagine all the riveting action this crowd was treated to during the break that we, the viewer, had to miss from these wrestlers that are so well-known for their in-ring excitement. Oh, nevermind, they’re going to show us a highlight – Wade Barrett kicked Randy Orton in the stomach. That was the highlight. A kick in the stomach. That was literally the highlight.

Wade hits a kneelift. Then an axe-handle. Randy tries to bounce back, but Barrett hits a big boot. This match has had about 13 minutes so far, which is unreal. Nothing has happened. Barrett shows off the diversity of his offense by hitting his second big boot in 2 minutes. He hits a sleeper, because he realizes he’s run out of moves. They replay the second big boot.

WRESTLINGFACTS: Do these two have matching tattoos?

Orton powers out of the sleeper with his second back suplex. They trade punches and Orton hits two clotheslines and a powerslam. Finally the audience wakes up, but Barrett drops Orton’s neck over the top rope. I never know what to call that move. Orton hits his cool twisting backbreaker thingie, which is one of only two decent moves Orton knows (and is also 2 more moves than Wade Barrett knows at all.) Orton hits his DDT as Barrett’s feet hang off the ropes (that’s not the second cool move).

Orton gets two, and Barrett powers up and hits his lame finisher that he learned from Disney On Ice. Pin?!

Winner: Wade Barrett

Wow. Really? I’m legit surprised. That’s hilarious. I’m not crazy about Orton or anything, and he’s perpetually over anyway, but they jobbed him clean out to the scrub with the glued-on block letters on his ass? Other than punches and kicks, Barrett hit all of two moves. And one of those was a big boot.

Commercial.

 

Backstage, here comes the girl who CB tells me is Eve. Apparently this is the girl that’s leaving the WWE, according to something I read online. I don’t particularly care one way or the other, but I am pleased because my proposal from earlier this year where they just fire all the Divas is coming along nicely. Honestly. Get rid of the Divas division. They don’t matter. Having girls on the show is all well and good, nothing wrong with that, but don’t bother giving them a wrestling division if none of them can wrestle. Just have them be characters. Anyway, Booker said that Eve loses the title if she gets counted out or DQ’d. She tries to come on to Booker. Booker laughs. Teddy laughs. Eve slaps Teddy.

Bryan and Kane agree to pretend everything is fine in front of their therapist so they can get out of there faster. The therapist shows up. They have a group hug. They sit down. Anyway, Bryan says that he likes Kane because he is tall and can light things on fire by lowering his arms. Ha, not bad. He also said Kane is a great dancer. Kane says Bryan is agile in the ring, and that he has a GREAT beard (which gets a big pop). The therapist brings in Cody and Sandow to test Bryan and Kane. Cody and Sandow are going to make them angry, and Bryan and Kane are supposed to let their anger “wash away”. Sandow is correcting the therapist on terms and treatments. People are going to over-rate the shit out of this segment, I can tell already. It’s not bad, but… it’s really not all that good, either. It’s cute, I suppose, but it got old fast.

Sandow and Cody antagonize the therapist. Oh for fuck’s sake, just have the therapist sic Bryan and Kane on them already. Everybody already knows that’s what’s going to happen. Sandow and Cody compare the therapist to Dr. Phil and, surprise surprise, the therapist does just that. They run Rhodes Scholars off and Bryan, Kane and the therapist yell “YES” with the crowd. At least that was kept short.

 

Kane entrance in the arena. Bryan is with him.

Commercial.

Kane (w/ Daniel Bryan) .vs. Damien Sandow (w/ Cody Rhodes)

Not expecting a lot here, so I’m going to use this opportunity to talk about Mike Gojira. See, Gojira called it back when this Kane / Bryan thing started that this would NOT be the resurgence of the tag-team division as people claimed. Many people disagreed with him. I was not one of those people. So now, 4 or 5 months later, we got two singles wrestlers in a “wacky pairing” tag-team against two single heels that they paired together. And somewhere in there you got the two Mexican wrestlers they paired together purely to split them up so they can feud at WrestleMania. Meanwhile, the ACTUAL tag-teams are being used to job to all three of these teams. And when they split these three teams up, which they will, the division will go back to being shit on a biscuit. All they did was throw six singles wrestlers into the tag-team division and have them beat all the teams, to further those wrestlers’ singles storylines. Gojira was right. The rest of you were wrong.

This match sucked, by the way. After about 4 minutes Kane caught a top-rope move from Sandow and chokeslammed him for the pin.

Winner: Kane

Bryan covers his ears while Kane does his pyro. Okay, THAT is kind of a cute touch.

Commercial.

 

They recap the Del Rio / Big Show segment from earlier.

They officially announce Mick Foley as the 1st inductee into the Hall Of Fame 2013 class. Crowd chants Foley’s name and he makes the cheap pop. The Shield’s entrance music hits immediately, and they come in through the crowd. Between the crowd entrance and their music, I think it’s a nice touch. They get in the ring, and Ryback’s music hits and he gets a nice little pop for sure. Ryback sucks, though. He beats them all up for a minute, then the numbers game takes him down. So Orton comes out to a nice pop, and Shaemus comes out to not very much at all. The 3 of them knock Rollins and Reigns out of the ring and Ryback drops Ambrose with his finisher. Crowd chants “FEED ME MORE”.

Josh Matthews interviews Ryback. No idea where Orton and Shaemus went. Ryback talks with all the talented mic work that you’d expect from an inbred toolbox. The crowd is dead silent for this… UNTIL he starts the “FEED ME” chant again. Crowds like to chant.

Then WWE replays some of their sillier gimmicks over the years. They’re making fun of them now, but I guarantee you if they had debuted Adam Bomb today instead of Ryback, everyone basically would have reacted the same.

Commercial.

 

I enjoyed the opening segment enough I suppose, but everything else has been pretty dull. The matches in particular have been a snoozefest. Let’s see if the next match will fix that.

Nope.

WWE Divas Title Match
Eve .vs. Kaitlyn
Eve loses the Divas Title if she is disqualified or counted out.

I think Kaitlyn is the girl that has some people excited. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen either of them wrestle, and I considered just not doing this match, and then I figured I should at least give it a chance. They volleyed with a hold for a bit, and Eve escapes the ring. She gets back in and kicks Kaitlyn in the face twice and gets 2. Eve does some terrible somersault thing onto Kaitlyn for another 2. Then they… sort of… fall off the ropes a bit, and Kaitlyn hits her head. No idea what to call that move. I don’t think it was a move. Leg-sleeper thing on Kaitlyn, but Kaitlyn won’t tap out. Kaitlyn grabs the ropes. Kaitlyn punches Eve a couple times and hits a few clotheslines.

Carnivorous boredom takes hold of me. Kaitlyn hits a DDT for 2. Kaitlyn then trips and falls over her own feet, and Eve hits a neckbreaker and gets 2. She’s very upset, so I’m guessing that lame neckbreaker is her finish then?!?! Kaitlyn just picks Eve up and tosses her onto her knee. Eve rolls out of the ring. This is just one girl hitting a move, the other getting up and hitting a move, and then the other one getting back up and hitting a move again. None of the moves have any lasting effect. It’s a match made on a dare, almost.

I don’t know what else happened. I completely zoned out. At the end, Kaitlyn hit a spear for the pin.

Winner & New WWE Divas Champion: Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn starts to cry. The announcers go all Tenay over the situation. And somewhere, Joseph Hargrove looks at the strand of Kaitlyn’s hair that he has in encased in bulletproof glass, and sheds a tear.

Fin.

 

Backstage, Brodus Clay reacts to CM Punk making fun of him last week. He says “CM Punk needs ta keep mah name out his mouth.” He walks out.

Commercial.

DID YOU KNOW? RAW has aired more episodes than Survivor and American Idol combined.
DID YOU KNOW? RAW debuted about a decade before any of those other shows, and none of them are weekly like RAW. This is like me stating that I’m older than my younger sister.

They replay McMahon / Trump from 2007. Has anyone looked at what’s going on with Donald Trump lately? A couple of years ago he was totally a-political, and now he’s fit to be tied. Now that Obamacare is in place for you Yankees, someone needs to get him to a neurologist, because there is something going on there.

 

This is pretty lame for an anniversary show so far.

CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) .vs. Brodus Clay

There’s so much I could say about this match even taking place. The crowd immediately chants for CM Punk. It’s been discussed to death by others on the site, but think about it – WWE was a dialtone for at least a few years before Summer Of Punk, with nothing at all out of the ordinary. CM Punk since then is beyond surreal, and what happened drove a wedge straight through their own base of support to the point where the guy had to be made into a hero. So now, to me, their choice to make him back into the boogeyman and expect people to follow that narrative is beyond perplexing. I figured they’d give up when people cheered for him after he walked out of a match in his hometown, but, to their credit, they’ve stuck with it. Frankly, the message discipline is incredible.

Anyway, Clay beats up Punk for a bit. Punk eventually comes off the top with a clothesline to take down Clay. Punk stomps a couple times and hits a neckbreaker. He’s already used more moves than Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow combined. He makes fun of Clay’s dancing, which gets both cheers and boos, and then a fuckton more people chant for Punk. Clay eventually fights back and hits a pretty decent suplex. He then hits a RUNNING HEADBUTT, which is pretty silly, but then he runs into the post. Punk goes to the top rope and hits a nice flying elbow, then hits the Anaconda Vice for the tapout. I was under the impression he wasn’t using that move much anymore.

Winner: CM Punk

That match was pretty short and dull, and the outcome was never in doubt – and yet it was also better than any other match they’ve done tonight. Moves and everything!

Punk makes fun of Clay’s dancing some more, and people cheer. Punk grabs the mic and says that he knows Rock is doing the concert tonight. Punk states some facts about beating a 400-lb monster (…) and talks about Rock entertaining people who are “into that sort of thing” (heh). He manages to get some boos… it’s not all that successful though. He then gets the crowd fired up after his music hits. Punk has been doing the best he can to get booed, and I love Punk, but making fun of Clay’s dancing is hardly going to draw a lot of heat. Probably not the best move to get boos.

Commercial. They pimp the WWE app. Have they given up on Tout then?

 

They replay “the best vehicular moments” in RAW’s history. It’s a combination of attempted vehicular homicides, Alberto Del Rio accidentally running over Santa, Shaemus shitting in a car, and various black guys (Kofi and Cryme Time) destroying and vandalizing expensive cars.

Okay, various black guys and Stone Cold. But still.

Backstage, Foley is on the phone. Rock finds him and gives him a hug. Rock does his schtick about Foley going into the Hall Of Fame. Vickie comes in and says they’re being loud. She yells at them for a couple minutes. She leaves. Foley is weirded out that Rock didn’t yell at her.

ROCK: Trust me.
FOLEY: You Rock-Bottomed me last year.
ROCK: Nobody remembers that.

… okay, that’s pretty funny.

 

Shaemus comes out to a bigger pop than I’ve come to expect from him lately.

Commercial. A Hansel & Gretel / Vampire movie? What the fuck?! In this brittle economy?!

Royal Rumble Showdown
Shaemus .vs. 3MB

Wow, you can actually *feel* Shaemus moving down the card, can’t you? He’s still getting his WrestleMania main event that a bunch of people told me he was getting this year, right? Right? Anyway, apparently once you go over the top-rope and hit the floor, you’re out of this match. JBL says 3MB needs more people.

You know how this is going to go. They beat Shaemus down until he comes back and knocks 2 of them out. He’s in there with Slater alone. Shaemus almost eliminates himself with his retard kick, but he lands on the apron. Crowd is just dead for this. He tries to pull Slater over, but the other two pull Shaemus out first.

Winner: 3MB

Shaemus comes back in after and lays them all out. This was nothing and the crowd knew it.

Backstage, John Cena cuts a promo. This is the type of thing that if someone were to witness me watching it, I would be less embarrassed to admit I was watching hentai.

 

Fuck, there is just nothing to this show so far. I still got over an hour to go. I don’t even care what’s on next, as long as it isn’t The Miz.

Miz-TV
Special Guest Ric Flair

Fuck ME.

Miz comes out and the crowd hits the shitters. He says he has a very special guest and it’s going to be… he waits for the crowd to say “AWESOME” but they don’t, probably because due to his confusing wording, they thought he was going to announce the name of his guest, rather than attempt catchphrase participation. Or they just don’t give a shit about him, which is also likely, but whatever. So Miz says “AWESOME” himself and some of the crowd chime in halfway through. Jesus, the crowd hates this poor fucking kid. Put him out of his misery already. The worst part is that if Cena or Ryback don’t win the Royal Rumble, I bet Miz is going to win it. Bryan is the ONLY correct choice to win, but that’s not going to happen. I actually kind of want Miz to win. That’d be hilarious.

Anyway, Miz says his guest is Ric Flair.

Commercial?!?! Man, if Miz is that lame ON camera, imagine what the crowd had to endure during that commercial.

Now we’re back, and Miz introduces his talk-show AGAIN and people are even less excited this time around. This is painful. Miz introduces Ric Flair, and people are so over Miz that even THIS doesn’t get much of a reaction. Miz goes over Flair’s history on RAW, and asks Flair some fluff questions, because in addition to being a wrestler he’s also an intrigued talk-show host for reasons not well explained. Flair says his retirement ceremony on RAW was the best night of his life, and that WWE is just getting bigger and better – which is why after he retired, he left WWE even though it just gets bigger and better, un-retired, and spent a year and a half in TNA where he wrestled a bunch of times.

Miz and Flair trade “Really’s”. This gets Flair so excited that he gets up and dances around. Miz is lame for a while and then he and Flair both “Woo” a bunch. Miz says that was magical for him (?) and that over the years many people have had style. He then shows a random video package that’s full of wrestlers doing their catchphrases. O-o-o-o-o-o-kay. What the fuck does this have to do with Miz or Flair, then? This is the segment equivalent of the Orton / Barrett match from earlier. TIme has lost all meaning. I pray this is almost over. Miz tries to get Flair to say his catchphrase – this leads to some horrible comedy, with Flair insisting that his catchphrase doesn’t meet PG standards for some reason, which is fucking stupid.

He starts to say it, and Cessaro comes out.

Cessaro says he doesn’t need a catchphrase because he doesn’t need crutches. Ha, that’s awesome. He starts bashing the US, and the crowd chants “USA”. He makes fun of Miz’s current position, and goes back and forth with Flair. What’s everyone’s opinion on Cessaro’s mic work? I’m curious. I think it’s good, not great – leaves something to be desired to stand out from the standard “evil foreigner” gimmick. What IS great here is that he says that Flair has nothing left to show for his career and except some unpaid bar tabs, and that the only thing the “4” symbol stands for is Ric’s 4 ex-wives.

Miz takes exception to this so that someone, somewhere, will like him. It doesn’t work. Cessaro tries to leave, and Flair grabs him and chops him a bunch. Flair teases putting on the Figure-4 Leglock, which the crowd loves, but then he gives it to Miz to do instead. The crowd is not big on that, but Flair tries to wake them up by elbow-dropping his jacket while Miz has the hold on Cessaro. That’s pretty funny. Miz takes off his jacket and tells Flair to elbow-drop it. So Flair knee-drops his own jacket, and then elbow-drops Miz’s.

That. Was. Painful.

 

Commercial. They compliment that abortion of a segment with an abortion of a Royal Rumble ad. The ad features a bunch of people talking excitedly in a bar about who is going to win the Royal Rumble. Yeah, because that totally happens.

Okay. I’m sorry about that. Between Shaemus, Miz and Cena, that last bit of the show was especially painful and lame. Quite often the crowd will be into what I think is lame, but they knew this was bullshit too. Even before that, though, there wasn’t anything worth watching. But I’m almost done, so here’s hoping it picks up.

 

Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) .vs. Cody Rhodes

Bryan comes out to his usual huge ovation, because Bryan is more over than most people on this show, and everyone featured in the last hour. Cole tells us there’s some huge news about Eve to be told, but they’re not going to tell us now, they’re going to tell us later. Yeah, because people are so excited to hear about that. Cody starts with his usual lame offense that finishes with a front suplex. Bryan lands on his knee and sells it like someone ran him over for some reason.

Bryan doesn’t even bother getting up. He just grabs Cody from the ground and puts him in his submission finisher. Cody immediately taps.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Okay, well that’s kind of funny, because Cody sucks and Bryan is awesome, but it certainly doesn’t help with match quality tonight.

On the WWE APP, Eve quit. Apparently she has a reality show now. Somewhere, Joseph Hargrove is in an empty bathtub with a bottle of Old Harper and a handgun.

Commercial.

 

Backstage, AJ is here. Black Ryback is dead-panning the camera.

SWAYZE: It’s Bad Irene and Congo! Oh my God, she’s just had yet another abortion! She’s addicted to abortions!

AJ talks about RAW’s romantic moments and they replay Edge and Lita’s wedding. Then they replay Stephanie and Triple H renewing their vows. Then RyBlack introduces AJ and Bryan not getting married. He says it brings a tear to his eye, and goes straight back to deadpanning. Sorry, but intentional or not, that’s. Hilarious.

AJ then illustrates her acting chops by going “crazy”. So, this is that great AJ acting that you guys always talk about, right? This is her killing it and stealing the show, right?

Ziggler shows up and says he’s going to beat Cena in the cage.

SWAYZE: If Cena wins, Bad Irene has to have the baby. If Cena loses, they will abort the baby right there.

JR comes out to call Cena and Ziggler in the cage.

Commercial.

 

Steel Cage Match
John Cena .vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Black Ryback)

Dolph is already in the ring when we come back from commercial. Cena’s music hits and the crowd goes BATSHIT. More cheers than usual, for sure.

Dolph tries to get out right away, but Cena catches him and puts him in a resthold. The duelling Cena chants are starting early. Ziggler tries to escape the cage again, but Cena catches him. Cena hits a kick and a suplex for 2. Cena with a shoulder butt, but Dolph hits a dropkick for 2. Ziggler tosses Cena into the cage. Ziggler hits a Stinger Splash into the corner. AJ “emotes” at ringside while the crowd does the duelling chants. ZIggler does some lame facebuster thing for 2. ZIggler tries to escape, but Cena cathces him again. What the FUCK. Is AJ wearing on her feet? It looks like she’s going skiing after the show. Match is nothing too special so far, but not bad either. Certainly the most entertaining match so far tonight.

Commercial.

We’re back, and Ziggler is on top of the cage. He tries to escape, but Cena pulls him back in again. That spot has been used 4 or 5 times already in this match. Both guys are on the ropes, and Ziggler attempts a dropkick, but both guys just fall awkwardly. Yikes.

Okay. So they show us something that happened during the commercial now. Cena tried to escape the cage. Black Ryback grabbed Cena’s FOOT (singular) from the ground as he tried to drop. He just held him in place. Cena could have shifted his weight – dropped the 5 feet to the floor- ANYthing. He didn’t. Black Ryback grabbing his foot perplexed him so much that he didn’t know what to do until Ziggler came and dragged him back into the cage. Sorry, but that’s fucked.

Cena gets up and hits his the AA. Cena misses the 5 Knuckle Shuffle, but Ziggler reverses and hits his finish for 2. Ziggler tries to crawl out of the cage, but Cena catches him. Ryblack tries to pull him out, but Cena gets him back in. Cena gets the AA bug Ziggler reverses into his sleeper.

So… Cena eventually simply gets up and starts climbing the cage WHILE in the sleeper. He got up and walked around while in Ziggler’s signature submission. He drops down, and they both land hard. Cena gets up and tries to escape the cage, but Biggie slams the cage door in his face. They are both slow to get up. Ziggler is at the door, but Cena climbs over the top and slams the door in his face. Cena is gonna climb down the cage, bug Biggie is hitting the cage with a chair.

Ziggler hits his finisher, and I was pretty sure it was over, but Cena kicked out. Strong crowd for both guys, way more even than usual with how many people are cheering for Cena. Ziggler climbs the cage, Cena follows him. Ziggler hits a weird DDT off the cage for another near-fall. Decent near-falls in this match so far.

AJ starts screaming, hitting the cage, and destroying the announce table. Because she’s such an awesome actress.

She then starts climbing the cage. She straddles the top of the cage and starts screaming while Biggie is in the cage. Cena fights him off, and Ziggler accidentally hits Biggie with the briefcase. Cena then hits the AA on Ziggler for the pin.

Winner: John Cena

I suppose that match was pretty good aside from the lame AJ acting and that bullshit where Cena couldn’t climb down because Biggie was holding onto his ONE FOOT. I wish they hadn’t shown that from between the commercials.

OTHER than that, I thought it was pretty good. I think these Cena / Ziggler matches are pretty over-rated, but for a RAW match it was pretty good and well above the standard. The near-falls were cool, and I’m not drinking the Ziggler Kool-Aid, but I do think that there were one or two places where Cena could have lost and not have been hurt by it whatsoever. And just because Ziggler lost again, people are going to think he’s screwed – he’s not. He’s getting closer to beating Cena than anyone in recent years that isn’t named Rock or Punk.

Anyway… not bad. Easily the only match or segment worth anything so far tonight.

 

Rock Concert

These are pretty hit-or-miss for me. I don’t have the usual IWC dislike for Rock segments or Rock concerts, but… some have landed better than others.

Rock comes out and the crowd goes absolutely fucking wild. By far the biggest pop all night, as usual.

The thing about it is, though. I don’t really know what to say about it. You know how Rock’s speeches work. They’re kind of all the same, with new but similar stuff included each time.

  • He verbally blows the crowd and talks about his history on RAW for a while, as you’d expect.
  • He shows a Rocky Maivia picture and makes fun of it. Cute, I suppose.
  • Rock calls Paul Heyman a Diva and makes fun of him to “Heartbreak Hotel”. It’s lame.
  • He points out Dusty Hill from ZZ Top and they show him in the crowd.
  • He makes girls scream and strums his gee-tar. It’s lame.

JACK NEWBURY: This is fucking terrible.
JAMES SAWYER: I’m going to start heroin.

I’m going to have to go with my people on this one. Lame so far.

  • He calls out Vickie Guererro, calls her fat, says she dresses like a cheap hooker, and that she looks horrible. But remember kids, bullying is wrong. This is pretty lame too. Crowd were pretty dead for the first part after the entrance, but they seemed to like the Vickie thing, for whatever that’s worth.
  • Rock calls CM Punk out, and Punk comes out with Heyman. Rock talks about how no one’s been able to stop him… and that Paul Heyman has “twinky tits”. (But Ric Flair’s catchphrase is not okay.)
  • Rock points out that CM Punk isn’t God.
  • Rock says that he will beat Punk for the title at Royal Rumble.

At this, Punk unexpectedly charges the ring and they start brawling. That… was actually kind of a nice touch. Punk and Rock go toe-to-toe with no guy getting the upper-hand, which is a nice touch as well that Punk isn’t just the cowardly heel. Officials separate them.

Show over.

 

Well… that was exhausting. 3 hours is a long time to do a recap, ESPECIALLY when that show is RAW and not a PPV. And I haven’t done a recap at all in a while. I’m beat. This felt really long – sorry about that. Hopefully I didn’t ramble.

I won’t lie, that show was pretty painful. I don’t expect a lot from RAW as 2-hour show, let alone 3 hours, but it being an anniversary show I thought they’d do better than they did, especially this close to Rumble. The Del Rio thing at the beginning was unexpectedly cool, but it led to nothing else on the show. ALL the matches and segments after that just… were boring. There’s nothing else to say about them. They were boring as fuck. Until Cena and Ziggler, and that had issues of its own, but at least it was something decent. For me, the guys like Shaemus and Miz who they push for no reason, who the crowd so clearly don’t care about, is still the craziest thing about WWE these days for me.

And this Rock Concert fell pretty flat for me until they brawled – I’m not a Rock hater, he can be good and definitely worth what they pay him, but this I just thought was lame. The brawl was a good way to end it though, and I thought Punk charging him and not backing off was a nice switch up from the “cowardly heel” thing they do with everyone lately.

Regardless of what happens though, I think the Rock / Punk match at the Rumble will be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Well, that’s all the time we have for this week. Again, any and all comments and thoughts are always appreciated, or you can feel free to e-mail me at bdouglas@insidepulse.com. Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter @BDInsidePulse if you’re into such things.

The 2nd stop on That Being Said: The WrestleMania Expedition will take place next week, where I will review a show I’ve never seen before –  WWE Main Event. Looking forward to checking it out – I’ve heard good things.

Apparently, next week I will also be a guest on the podcast done by our own Chris Sanders and Joel Leonard – Classy Ring Attire. Make sure to check that out.

This has been “That Being Said”. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week.

I’ll be in my trailer.

 

Disclaimers:

DISCLAIMER #1: These recaps should in NO way be treated as a professional and unbiased play-by-play of whatever the show in question is. Inside Pulse has no shortage of professional and live coverage, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I refer you to Mike Gojira, Scott Keith, Justin Czerwonka, or another of their ilk. Rather than a recap per se, I look at this as an ongoing 3-month narrative from someone who doesn’t normally watch full shows beginning to do exactly that for WrestleMania season. The reason this idea sounds like fun to me is that this time period is usually when many casual or former fans will tune back in anyway. So I know that as I’m tuning back in, many others will be as well.

DISCLAIMER #2: Quite often, when myself or another writer rips on a show (justifiably so or otherwise), they will get their fair share of people believing or commenting that they believe the recapper thinks that wrestling now is worse than it’s ever been. Usually it’s something like “WHAT, SO THE ATTITUDE ERA WAS SO GREAT?!?! THOSE MATCHES SUCKED TOO!” or something like that, even when you haven’t mentioned the Attitude Era at all. In fact, that’s a popular opinion out there right now in general – that wrestling is worse now than it’s ever been. Me personally, just for the record – I definitely think 2007-2009 and 2003-2004 definitely hold up worse than the current product. Not MUCH worse, mind you – and I do believe that current shows are pretty lame. But if I’m being honest, it’s not as bad as it’s ever been, much as it may feel that way sometimes.

DISCLAIMER #3: In the spirit of Disclaimer #2… I am going to do my best to go into these shows with an uncynical and unjaded eye. I’m hoping to like what I see – there is some stuff going on that COULD be promising depending on where they go with it and who they decide to feature prominently. But I promise nothing in terms of what’s going to come out of me if I don’t like the shows. Anyone who read any of my TNA recaps or the odd WWE recap that I did knows that I have very little tolerance for stupid or boring stuff. If, an hour into a 3-hour RAW, they decide to give me Shaemus against Cody Rhodes for 20 minutes while Michael Cole tells me they’re the future of the business and that I still have Ryback against Wade Barrett to look forward to in the second hour, then I’m going to feel like putting my fucking dick through a bone decalcinator, which means that me feeling like putting my fucking dick through a bone decalcinator is something you’re probably going to hear about.

DISCLAIMER #4: The obvious one – the opinions and views I express are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Inside Pulse or it’s owners, staff, or numerous writers.

DISCLAIMER #5: Regardless of how it all turns out, weather I find the shows good, boring or bad, if nothing else, I’m going to try my best to to have fun with these recaps over this 3-month period. I’m a guy who can usually have fun with a recap even when watching a show I don’t enjoy. For me, that’s the point of this experiment – or of anything else I may write for Inside Pulse – to have fun. Worst case scenario, I lose all patience and have a rage blackout like I’ve done on on the odd recap before, and sometimes even that can be entertaining. Regardless, the point is – this is for fun – and I hope you have as much fun reading this season as I’m hoping to have writing it.

 

“That Being Said” WrestleMania Tour Schedule:

PREMIERE – Jan 14: WWE RAW (20th Anniversary)
Jan 23: WWE Main Event
Jan 27: WWE Royal Rumble

Feb 01: WWE SmackDown
Feb 14: WWE NXT
Feb 17: WWE Elimination Chamber

Mar 07: TNA Impact
Mar 10: TNA LockDown
Mar 14: TNA Impact

Mar 18: WWE RAW
Mar 29: WWE SmackDown
Apr 01: WWE RAW
FINALE – APR 07: WrestleMania

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