The SmarK RAW Rant – 04.08.13
Live from East Rutherford, NJ
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
John Cena is out to make poopy jokes and celebrate his new title. It’s a big night, so he offers to do a little dance for the fans, including a couple of kicks and maybe a heel turn, nyuk nyuk. But regardless, tonight he’s putting the title on the line, and that brings out Mark Henry. The crowd immediately gives him a “Sexual Chocolate” chant, which mystifies Cena. Booker T comes out to overturn the matchmaking, noting that Henry has to beat Cena before he can get a title shot. Why would you screw your audience over like that?
Daniel Bryan v. Big E Langston
Big E catches Bryan with a uranage in the corner and then pounds away on him. Bryan comes back with the kicks, which has the super-smark crowd delighted, but Ziggler runs interference and allows Langston to chuck Bryan over the top and finish with the unnamed finisher at 2:18. Boy, they’ve sure got their finger on the pulse of THIS crowd. *
Intercontinental title: The Miz v. Wade Barrett
Barrett pounds on Miz in the corner, but a sunset flip gets two. Miz gets the punches in the corner, with the crowd booing the shit out of him, and hits the chinlock. Wade drops an elbow for two and now he goes to the chinlock. Miz tosses him and follows with a double axehandle, but gets caught by Barrett on the apron as we take a break. Back with Barrett hitting the bossman slam and dropping an elbow from the apron to the floor, which gets two. They slug it out and Miz makes his comeback, with the neckbreaker getting two despite a botched spot that the crowd is all over. Miz with the corner clothesline and double axehandle for two. Barrett escapes the figure-four, but Miz DDTs him for two as Barrett’s lip swells up rapidly. Miz escapes the Wasteland and gets another figure-four, but Wade makes the ropes. Miz charges and hits boot, and they fight on top, which results in Miz going down. Big elbow and Barrett is the champion again at 13:44. That is probably the biggest babyface pop Barrett is going to get in his career. Epic title reign for Miz. Just epic. ***
Meanwhile, Sheamus wants a match with Big Show TONIGHT, but then he’ll owe Vickie & Brad a favor.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton sucks up to Booker T backstage because he also wants Big Show TONIGHT. Booker is pretty sure he can overrule Vickie on that one.
Alberto Del Rio v. Jack Swagger & Dirty Uncle Dutch Zebekiah Colter
This ADR thing is just not working. And if you can’t get over as a giant star in front of this coked up Jersey smark crowd, it’s hopeless. The crowd desires something, but I can’t put my finger on it. Twizzlers? Maybe, everyone loves licorice. Del Rio puts Swagger on the floor and follows with a tope and the crowd still wants something. Dirk Diggler? Could be, Boogie Nights is one of my all-time favorite movies too. Back in, Swagger clips the leg to take over and the crowd praises the virtues of zippers. They really are a useful fastening device! Swagger with the anklelock, but Del Rio fights out as these two boring dweebs have managed to kill a molten post-WM crowd single-handedly. We take a break and return with ADR getting a backbreaker and the crowd continuing to be bored. Low kick gets two. Swagger counters the armbar into the anklelock, as Cole notes that it’s tortuous just to watch this. I agree. Del Rio counters into the armbar and Swagger taps at 11:41. Thank god. *1/2 But Del Rio’s knee is shot, and you know what that means…
MONEY IN THE BANK: Alberto Del Rio v. Dolph Ziggler
FINALLY. Ziggler goes for the leg as the crowd goes BATSHIT. Fameasser gets two. Dolph misses a charge and Del Rio comes back with the enzuigiri, drawing a HEEL reaction! That gets two. Del Rio gets the armbar, but Ziggler wrenches the bad leg to break, and the Zig Zag gives Dolph the World title at 2:00. And holy shit what a pop that got. That crowd was SO HAPPY to see Dolph cash that thing in, ou couldn’t help but cheer along with them. Thank god they can finally retire that poor briefcase now. Great moment.
The Undertaker, complete with personalized graphics, is out to talk about Wrestlemania…but the Shield interrupts. Oh my. Kane and Daniel Bryan quickly save and the crowd goes even more insane. So the Shield backs off and I would presume Taker is working Extreme Rules.
3MB v. R-Truth, Zack Ryder & Santino
AKA “six guys without a Wrestlemania payoff”. Ryder is so low down the totem pole now that even this crowd won’t cheer him anymore. Ryder quickly gets caught in the heel corner and worked over, as Drew grabs an armbar, but Ryder comes back with a neckbreaker and makes the hot (?) tag to Santino. Cobra time, but Drew blocks it, only to see it slip loose and hit Slater for the pin at 3:32. Our crack announce team gives so little of a shit about this match that they don’t even acknowledge the winners and just immediately throw to a video package about Wrestlemania weekend. ½*
Randy Orton v. Sheamus
So this is another bait-and-switch, as they ran a Twitter vote during the commercial to see which guy would face Big Show (won by Orton handily) and then the GMs came out and changed the match to this instead, with the winner facing Show at some indeterminate point. So they trade some stuff and the fickle crowd turns on the match immediately, singing the “Ole Ole” song for some reason. Big fans of Ole Anderson, I guess. The guys seem really frazzled by the reaction and exchange chinlocks while the crowd ignores the match and chants for JBL and whatever else comes to mind instead. We take a break and return with this bizarre trainwreck dragging on, as they slug it out and the fans DO THE WAVE. Sheamus gets the forearms and the crowd just jumps right to “End this match” and “Randy Savage” for fuck knows what reason. Orton’s pissed off look is great. Sheamus counters the RKO into White Noise and sets up for the big kick, but it misses and now Big Show comes out for the DQ at 16:00 and beats both guys up. “Thank you Big Show!” ***** for the crowd alone. I get the feeling New Jersey might never get another TV taping again, though. Show absolutely beats the shit out of Orton as the heel turn seems further and further away. For either guy, I guess.
Fandango v. Kofi Kingston
I was just thinking this should be Fandango squashing some geek, and who’s a bigger geek than Kofi at this point? Fandango does some dancing while the crowd sarcastically hums his theme music at him. And Jericho runs in for the DQ before this can go any further. That might be a good thing for everyone concerned. Jericho beats on him until he’s nearly out cold, but Fandango still corrects the ring announcer’s pronunciation of his name from his deathbed. That draws a legit babyface reaction.
Meanwhile, Paul Heyman feels like last night was actually a win for Brock Lesnar.
Tensai, Brodus Clay, Naomi & Cameron v. The Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins
Frankly I’m shocked they managed to get this one in without cutting it here too. We’re joined in progress with Tensai missing a charge and Sandow hitting the ELBOW OF DISDAIN for two, but Clay gets what I presume is the hot tag and suplexes him for two. The faces sandwich and double splash him for the pin at 1:00 or so. Thankfully the miscarriage of justice has been corrected. However, I’m STILL waiting for the British Bulldog v. Berzerker match advertised on the Wrestlemania VIII box.
John Cena v. Mark Henry
Cena slugs away to start, but Henry pounds him down and yells demoralizing things at him, which is awesome because I was just explaining to my wife about how he does exactly that. Splash misses while the crowd is busy humming Cena’s theme song. Cena shoulderblocks Henry to the floor, but Henry is having none of it and tries to slam Cena through the table instead. Cena escapes and runs Henry into the stairs for the countout at 3:14. This does not go over well. ½* So I’m guessing Henry doesn’t get his title shot. Henry lays him out afterwards, but now Ryback comes out to continue their feud. He chases Henry away and offers a mean look at Cena, but just helps him up instead…and then turns on him for GIGANTIC babyface pop. So there’s your first feud for Cena.
If I might channel JR for a moment, this show was a trainwreck crashing into a dynamite-filled outhouse and then getting eaten by Godzilla. But if you’re going to flame out as spectacularly as this awful show did, at least do it in front of a crowd as awesome as this one was. However, WWE is incredibly lucky that they had a super-duper-smarky crowd to save this one because otherwise this would have been one of the worst shows in recent memory. Call it a fascinating social experiment this week and hope for the best next time, I guess.
Tags: Fandango, john cena, monday night raw, SmarK Rants, undertaker, WWE