The SmarK RAW Rant – 06.17.13
Live from Grand Rapids, MI
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL
Alberto Del Rio starts us out, thankfully no longer playing the smiling babyface in anything but the most ironic way. He’s pretty upset that people cheered for Ziggler attacking an injured man to win the title in Jersey, but booed him for doing the same. Also, USA is not OK and Ziggler is a pig and a coward, JUST LIKE ALL OF YOU. Well, I’d say he’s a heel. This brings out CM Punk, who is a heel getting bigger babyface reactions than most of the babyfaces. Punk (still with Heyman) is once again offended at someone calling themselves the “best in the world”. Heyman doesn’t feel that Punk fighting for free is a good idea, but Punk blows him off and Vickie comes out to make it the main event. That felt pretty flat after Punk’s entrance blew the roof off.
Meanwhile, Punk breaks up with Heyman, but hopes they can be friends.
Intercontinental title: Curtis Axel v. Wade Barrett
Doesn’t happen, as Vickie changes it to…
Wade Barrett v. Christian
I guess it’s a phantom face turn for Christian. Christian tosses him and follows with a crazy dive off the top. Back in, Barrett catches him in the corner and wisely pounds on the injured shoulder, for two. Christian comes back with a missile dropkick and tornado DDT for two. Barrett boots him down for two, but misses a charge, allowing Christian to finish with the Killswitch at 3:05. Poor Wade got kind of screwed over there. ** Good return for Christian.
The Rhodes Scholars v. Sheamus
The heels wisely go after Sheamus, but he clubs them down until Rhodes hits the disaster kick. ELBOW OF DISDAIN gets two, and the heels slap him around until he gets his Irish up. So to speak. Rhodes gets dumped as Sheamus makes the comeback and beats on both guys. White Noise for Cody, but Sandow sneaks back in and rolls him up off the Brogue Kick for the pin at 3:30. Sheamus of course Pedigrees Brogue Kicks Cody to regain his heat afterwards. Fun stuff. **
Meanwhile, HHH isn’t terribly impressed with Vickie’s big decision making tonight.
Meanwhile, Kane wants to get the band back together, but Bryan is more concerned with Team DB, and Kane notes that he’s being a DB. OH TAG! Bryan is more concerned with becoming WWE champion, which should set up the MITB main event.
Randy Orton v. Daniel Bryan
The app (which has been WAY toned down tonight) reveals that it’s a no-DQ match. Bryan takes him down and works the leg, throwing the kicks in the corner, but Orton stomps a mudhole in retaliation. Slingshot suplex and Orton takes him down with a Thesz Press, but Bryan rolls through into a half-crab. Bryan goes nuts with kicks, so Orton pokes him in the eyes and dumps him, acting a bit heelish. Jesus, we went MONTHS with fuck all happening in this promotion and now they’re turning everyone in the company. Back in, Orton grabs a chinlock and slugs away in the corner, very heelishly not letting the crowd count to ten. Bryan comes back with a clothesline and dropkick in the corner, which gets two. Orton charges and hits the floor, but Bryan’s suicide dive misses and he wipes out. Orton grabs a kendo stick and dishes some abuse with that, for two. And we take a break. Back with Orton trying for a superplex, but Bryan hits a missile dropkick and makes the comeback. Head kick misses and Orton throws him to the apron, but Bryan escapes the draping DDT. Orton catapults Bryan to the apron and punts the ribs, putting Bryan on the floor as the crack WWE medical team wants to stop the match. Bryan keeps fighting, so Orton suplexes him onto the railing and the ref stops the match at 15:48. WEAK SAUCE. Orton shows good sportsmanship afterwards, at least. This was rolling along great before they forgot to come up with a finish that didn’t suck. ***1/4 Stopping a match when the guy isn’t covered in his own blood or getting clubbed to death with his own severed leg is STUPID. Thankfully we know where this is going and in this case they really are telling a story.
AJ joins us to reinforce that she’s still a heel, and Dolph isn’t here tonight due to his concussion. Also, she’s issuing an open challenge to anyone in the locker room, which brings out Stephanie. Oh great, that’s just what we needed. She reminds AJ that she’s the alpha female and can fire AJ any time she wants, making sure to emphasize how much taller than AJ that she is by standing right next to her, and then bitches out Kaitlyn as well on the way back to the dressing room. WHY IS SHE ON THIS SHOW AGAIN?!
US Title: Dean Ambrose v. Kane
The trilogy ends here. Hopefully. Kane gets a sideslam and goes up with the flying clothesline, but the Shield runs in for the DQ at 1:30. Really?
Meanwhile, Vickie reminds the Shield who the boss is. That’s the theme of the show: People reminding other people who the boss is. She’s about to fire them, but Vince steps in and sticks up for them, because this whole show is apparently a dick-waving contest between Vince and HHH and everything else is minor.
Antonio Cesaro v. William Regal
This is a random return for Regal. Cesaro is now a Zeb Colter Guy, which is a good fit because it makes Zeb even more of a hypocrite and he’s 100x better than Swagger. Cesaro squashes the shit out of Regal, including an awesome double chicken wing drop, and the swinging chinlock to set up the NEUTRALIZER at 2:40. Then he buries Regal under a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. How can you not love that? Now that’s a heel! He’s giant hypocritical douchebag because he and Zeb are BAD PEOPLE. I love it!
John Cena is out, and he’s feeling so good that he’s pretty sure he’s gonna beat whoever wins the briefcase this year. They’re all like “Good to see John Cena regaining his confidence after all the unpleasantness of 2012!” I bet 95% of the population would like to have as bad a year as Cena did in 2012. Anyway, this brings out Mark Henry, who has been teasing retirement. He’s rocking the Vince McMahon 1979 salmon suit jacket, so you know shit’s gonna get serious. Henry puts over Cena as one of the greatest, and Cena lets him hold the belt to take in his moment. Henry has a tearful speech for an appreciative crowd…and then turns on Cena. WIGS HAVE BEEN SPLIT. And the crowd goes even CRAZIER for him, because this was magnificent. So there’s your MITB main event.
Chris Jericho v. Heath Slater
That last one really should have ended the show, but instead we have another hour. Sigh. Jericho quickly hits the bulldog, but the Lionsault gets broken up by Drew and Slater gets two. Codebreaker finishes at 2:20, however. *1/2
Meanwhile, Matt Striker wants to know the scoop on Paul Heyman, but he just wants to talk about Axel.
Curtis Axel v. Sin Cara
The stupid yellow lights are back for Sin Cara. Axel works him over, but Cara comes back with an inverted DDT for two. He goes up and misses something that’s not clear, and Axel finishes with a DDT at 2:32. This appears to set up a feud with the Miz. Thrilling. ½*
Meanwhile, all three McMahons squabble with Vickie and each offers contradictory orders. As someone with three bosses at work, I can sympathize, but I don’t want to watch it on my wrestling show.
Alberto Del Rio v. CM Punk
ADR kicks him down and slugs away in the corner, but Punk tries the GTS early, so Del Rio escapes to the floor and Punk follows with a dive. Back in, Del Rio goes after the arm and we take a break. Back with Punk making a comeback, but he runs into a backbreaker that gets two. Punk fights back with kicks, but Del Rio takes him down with an armbar and a backstabber for two. Punk counters the superkick into a rollup for two, but Del Rio kicks him in the head for two. Punk counters the armbar into the running knee and GTS, but Del Rio falls out of the ring. ADR takes a walk at 12:24, and Dolph is here after all, beating the crap out of Del Rio to cement his turn. **3/4 And here’s Brock Lesnar, apparently unhappy about Punk’s decision to fire Heyman. He teases a promo, and then just F5s him instead. That’s our Brock! Obviously they need to save this one for Summerslam.
Holy cow there was some great stuff on this show. Storylines actually moved FORWARD, things changed and got shook up, and it didn’t feel like a three hour show outside of the filler crap in the third hour between the Cena angle and the main event. Best show since the post-Wrestlemania one, easily, and it’s actually setting up stuff that people WANT to see. Big thumbs up this week.
Tags: Brock Lesnar, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, kane, monday night raw, SmarK Rants, The Shield