The SmarK RAW Rant – 06.03.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 06.03.13

Apparently my skipping the show last night caused a drop to the lowest rating of the year.  And for that, I apologize profusely.

Live from Hartford, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL

Stephanie McMahon starts us out, and of course she has brand new music and video.  She has decided that HHH will not be allowed to compete tonight against Curtis Axel.  This once again raises the question of who reports to who in the fake WWE hierarchy.  Could Shane McMahon theoretically make matches if he walked out there?  So this brings out Vince as well, and apparently we’re supposed to be very upset at HHH not wrestling tonight, even though he was never advertised as such.  THEY LOVE HIM EVEN MORE THAN WE DO.  I find that hard to believe.  DON’T TELL ME HOW MUCH I LOVE HHH, VINCE!  And here comes the Shield in a CLIFFHANGER before the break.  This couldn’t have been any more of a shamelessly pandering and desperate attempt for ratings, short of hiring Vince Russo.  I take great joy in knowing that it backfired spectacularly on them.

The Shield v. Randy Orton, Kane & Daniel Bryan

CLIFFHANGER RESOLVED:  The Shield’s entrance had nothing to do with the McMahons.  Bryan throws kicks on Ambrose, and Kane comes in with the low dropkick for two.  The announcers note that HHH v. Axel was a “surefire main event” that has been ROBBED from us.  Wait, what?  So is the storyline now that Axel somehow caused HHH’s injury while getting his ass kicked two weeks ago?  Because I’m confused.  Kane hits Rollins with a pair of corner clotheslines while the Funksters watch on the app.  They’re TARGETING the Shield.  That’s about as scary as the Bushwackers targeting Demolition in 1989.  And on that note, we take a break.  Back with Kane getting worked over in the corner while the most butt-awful retarded tweets from idiot fans scroll on the screen.   “Stephanie was booed!  Leave her alone!”  SOMEONE ACTUALLY WANTED TO TWEET THIS.  Orton gets a quick tag and runs wild with powerslams and a double draping DDT on the Shield and the crowd is going crazy for him.  For someone who hates being a babyface he’s pretty fucking good at it.  Another draping DDT on Reigns, but Rollins sneaks in with an enzuigiri to make Orton your reluctant babyface in peril.  Reigns with a full nelson to wear him down, and he gives him a shot to the gut off the irish whip in a weird looking spot.  Orton fights back with a backdrop suplex and it’s HOT tag Daniel Bryan.  Bryan is like the best fired up babyface ever.  Once again, poor Ambrose gets repeatedly kicked in the face, and then Bryan puts Rollins onto him with a top rope rana.  To the top with a missile dropkick that gets two. No-Lock , but the other Shielders break it up and it’s BONZO GONZO.  Reigns speras Kane, but Orton hits Rollins with the RKO…and then collides with Bryan.  Bulldog driver finishes for Ambrose at 17:30.  Dammit, why didn’t Bryan’s partners just let him kick ass and finish things his own way?  ORTON IS THE WEAK LINK.  ***1/2

Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan continues raging against the machine, pointing out that Kane and Orton don’t respect him, and so he’s gonna go beat the respect out of someone.

Meanwhile, HHH arrives and the soap opera continues, as Curtis Axel is NOT WORTH IT.  Way to make a new star!

The Usos v. The Primetime Players

CLIFFHANGER:  The Usos are wearing facepaint during their entrance, and Cole promises to explain it…AFTER THE BREAK.  Sadly we have to listen to more about HHH before he explains.  CLIFFHANGER RESOLVED:  It gives them an edge.  Whew.  One of the Usos gets worked over in the PTP corner as I ponder if the hanky code works the same for samoans as it does for Jeff Hardy.  A quick check of Wikipedia reveals that dark blue means that he may be looking for anal sex.  Well, JBL is at ringside.  The other Uso gets the hot tag after a bunch of chinlocks and the announcers are all like “Just like Rikishi!”  Yeah, Rikishi used to get a reaction when he did it.  Flying splash finishes at 4:14.  Apparently they are making a case for a tag title opportunity somewhere down the road.  Well that still puts them several notches above the Primetime Players.  *  I don’t mind the Usos but they need a repackage badly.  If “Spunky babyface sons of Rikishi” was going to get over, it would have done so three years ago.

Alberto Del Rio v. Big E Langston

This is almost becoming a running joke at this point.  Big E attacks and tosses ADR, and back in for a running shoulderblock that gets two.  A series of backbreakers gets two.  Del Rio fights back in the corner and gets the armbar, but Langston powers him to the apron to break.  Back in, a german suplex sets up another armbar, and Del Rio cradles him from that position for the pin at 4:52.  This was fine for two guys who have wrestled each other FIVE TIMES in the past two weeks.  **

Sheamus v. Cody Rhodes

JBL shatters Dave Meltzer’s illusions by pointing out that roller derby is as fake as three card monty.  Sheamus beats on Cody while Sandow reads financial literature on commentary because apparently there’s a feud buried in all this somewhere.  Like, is this supposed to be building up to Sheamus v. Sandow, a match that has already happened 10,000 times with Sheamus winning all 10,000?  Or is it building to the tag match we already got last week that was so boring and terrible?  Or, much like everything else on this show, is it just wasting airtime leading up to a PPV that no one cares about?  Sheamus comes back with a flying shoulderblock, but Cody gets a rollup for two.  Brogue misses and Cody hits a neckbreaker for two.  Sheamus escapes Crossroads, but Cody misses a moonsault and Sheamus finishes with White Noise and the kick at 5:17.   WHAT IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MAKE WANT TO SEE?  A blowoff to a “feud” where the babyfaces squash the heels in EVERY match?  *1/2

Meanwhile, HHH and Steph continue their argument, as HHH threatens to wrestle Curtis Axel NEXT WEEK.  And they wonder why this show did a 2.6?

Meanwhile, Bryan takes out his anger on helpless plywood, and gets all up in Ryback’s face.

Meanwhile, Vince McMahon books Curtis Axel against John Cena.  Again.

Fandango v. Great Khali

Khali throws chops in the corner and Fandango runs away at 1:31.  That finish is rapidly ascending to the level of “Music plays on the PA and babyface stands there like a moron before getting rolled up and pinned” on my least favorite of all time list.  Miz comes out to threaten Fandango with violence, but Wade Barrett hits Miz with the elbow as we take a break.

The Miz v. Wade Barrett

Barrett puts him down with a big boot and pounds away, then boots him down again for two.  They fight outside and Miz takes over for a bit, but walks into the bossman slam for two.  And speaking of that finish, Fandango’s music hits and Barrett stands there like a moron watching him, allowing Miz to roll him up into the figure-four for the submission at 3:36.  I swear I typed up that previous complaint before they did that finish.  This is like the greatest hits of things I hate:  Secondary champions jobbing for no reason, the music distraction finish, and Miz.  ½*

Second Hour Main Event Contract Signing:  Paul Heyman and Chris Jericho are out for their hopefully weekly segment.  Heyman once again promises that Punk will totally be there for Payback and he’ll be a huge babyface, too.  So Jericho proposes that they do the match right here, tonight.  Heyman doesn’t want that, so Jericho signs the contract and then shoves it down his pants.  I don’t even get why this is a feud, and I’ll be kinda shocked if Punk even shows up for the PPV and we don’t get something like Curtis Axel instead.

The Bellas & AJ v. Kaitlyn & The Funkadactyls

So yeah, this happened.  AJ eventually abandons a Bella after 10 years of action and Kaitlyn spears her for the pin.  Apparently this AJ v. Kaitlyn thing is something we’re supposed to care about. And once again the title match is coming “somewhere down the road”.  Kaitlyn’s been the champion for what, six months now?  Has she ever defended it?  On the bright side, I’m pretty sure they didn’t talk about HHH during this match.

The Wyatt Family is still coming, and the crowd actually applauds the vignette.  These guys are gonna be stars.

Daniel Bryan v. Ryback

Bryan is still royally pissed off and attacks with kicks.  These guys are BFFs on the road so Ryback hopefully lets Bryan carry him.  Ryback misses a splash and Bryan keeps hammering him with kicks, so Ryback pounds him down.  Thesz Press, but Bryan reverses into a half crab and forces Ryback to power out of it.  So Bryan switches to the indian deathlock and throws forearms at Ryback’s face for two.  That is so very cool.  Bryan flips out of the corner and Ryback dumps him with a clothesline, as we take a break.  Back with Ryback hitting a shoulder block in the corner for two.  Ryback tosses him by the BEARD, but charges and hits the post, and Bryan makes the comeback.  Dropkicks into the corner and a MASSIVE seated dropkick get two.  Missile dropkick and flying headbutt get two.  Bryan throws the kicks, but walks into a powerbomb.  I like Ryback’s little arrogant facials on that one.  Ryback tries another powerbomb, but this time Bryan reverses into the No-Lock and Ryback has nowhere to go.  The crowd goes crazy for Bryan, but Ryback makes the ropes.  Ryback bails and Bryan follows with a suicide dive, but Ryback sends him into the table on the way down.  Ouch.  Back in, Bryan is out, but Ryback gets a table for good measure and powerbombs him through it for the DQ at 15:32.  Hey, Bryan actually wins!  Hell of a match for Ryback, too.  ***1/4  They’re nuts if they turn Bryan heel at this point.

No-Disqualification:  Curtis Axel v. John Cena

Did I miss the DQ in the previous match that set this up?  Because honestly I wasn’t paying that close of attention, so I might have.  Heyman quickly trips up Cena and Axel takes over with the necksnap, and a backbreaker for two.  He brings a chair in, but Cena uses it and they fight to the floor.  Back in, Axel uses the chair this time, but Cena dropkicks it back at him for two.  Axel with a clothesline for two.  He chokes away on the ropes, but Cena makes the comeback with the usual before missing a charge and hitting that darn chair.  We’re teased with another Axel countout before Cena comes back in, and Axel grabs the chair again and uses it for two.  Another shot gets two.  Another one gets two.  See, now Axel beating him down with a chair and pinning him would make him a legit killer and a star.  He keeps pounding away with the chair and hits a neckbreaker onto it for two.  Cena suddenly reverses the Perfectplex into the STF.  Here’s a hint:  You need to yell NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A PERFECTPLEX because otherwise it won’t work properly.  That’s just science.  Heyman hits Cena with an Ipad to break, but they fight outside and Cena continues shrugging everything off.  He goes for Heyman, but Ryback runs down and puts Cena through a table for…wait for it…the countout at 12:35.  So yes, Axel “wins” again.  Look, I have nothing against new faces in the main event, but either push this goof or don’t.  Having Cena take a beatdown with a chair for 5 minutes and then ignore it doesn’t help anyone.  **

The Pulse: 

If WWE cares about the well-being of Daniel Bryan even half as much as we’re apparently supposed to care about HHH, he’ll become the biggest babyface in the promotion within two months.  The Bryan stuff was great enough to carry this to a pretty decent 90 minute show, but the other half of the show was among the worst.  So it’s basically a wash.


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