The SmarK RAW Rant – 07.29.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 07.29.13

Much like this week’s show, my rant is also tape-delayed.

Taped from Laredo, TX.

Your hosts are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.

Mr. McMahon and new bootlick Brad Maddox (along with a bunch of annoying crowd sweetening) are out to start this week.  I think I’ve ranted before about this, but in the HD era where I watch on a nice big TV with a 5.1 sound system, it’s ridiculous that they’re using technology from the 80s to “enhance” their crowd noise.  It sounds even more fake now than it did in the heyday of syndicated TV.  Anyway, Maddox apologizes for letting Cena pick Bryan, and that brings out Mr. Brie Bella to confront Vince.  He accuses Vince of not giving him respect, but Vince counters that CENA is the one who has been giving disrespect, and furthermore Bryan winning would be the biggest embarrassment in company history. So Vince does some Jesse Baker booking and hopes that both guys spontaneously combust when the match starts.  This was some REALLY fun interaction, as they were goofing on each other to further the “Vince hates Bryan” story.

The Shield v. Mark Henry & The Usos

Henry tosses Ambrose around, so Reigns gives it a try and gets nowhere.  The Usos beat him down in the corner and Jey gets two.  He gets trapped in the Shield corner, but escapes and makes a hot tag to Jimmy.  He cleans up on Ambrose, but Henry comes in and misses an elbow, allowing the Shield to double-team him a bit, but that just makes him MAD.  Everyone gets dumped and we take a break.  Back with Jimmy getting worked over by Reigns.  Or maybe it’s Jey, Cole seems as confused as me.  Anyway, Ambrose controls one of them with an armbar until he escapes with a jawbreaker and brings Henry in for the hot tag.  Powerslam for Ambrose, but he walks into a spear from Reigns.  Ambrose finishes an Uso with the bulldog driver at 12:48.  ***  Fun stuff.  Henry v. Ambrose would be a good US title program, I think.

Meanwhile, Ryback bullies some geeks at the catering table.

Fandango v. Rob Van Dam

The dubbed boos are particularly obnoxious during Fandango’s entrance.  Rob takes him down with kicks, so Fandango bails, and Rob follows with a moonsault.  Back in with a cheapshot, Fandango drops a leg for two.  Enzuigiri gets two, but a knee from the middle rope misses and RVD makes the comeback.  Rolling Thunder and a monkey flip set up the springboard kick, and Fandango bails again and does the stupid walkout finish at 4:00. *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ unleashes the crazy on Big E, who stands there and takes it with remarkable patience.

Kaitlyn v. AJ Lee

Kaitlyn slugs her down, but AJ goes after the arm with a hammerlock on the mat.  Kaitlyn comes back with a rollup, but AJ levels her with a shining wizard for two.  Kaitlyn comes back with clotheslines and sets up for the spear, but walks into a knee and AJ gets two.  They slug it out on the mat and AJ gets two.  Kaitlyn comes back with a spear and finishes at 4:55.  And the fake crowd goes wild!  This was way better than the MITB match, actually, with a fast pace and worked like a real match instead of a Divas filler.  **1/2 AJ throws a tantrum, but that brings out Dolph Ziggler with an IMPROMPTU CHALLENGE.

Dolph Ziggler v. Big E Langston

Finally, someone coming out and challenging another guy without having to run it through three levels of fake management!  Just like a real wrestling show!  Big E pounds away to start and gets a belly to belly and ULTIMATE WARRIOR SPLASH for two.  He really needed to shake the ropes for maximum impact on that one.  Big E with the bearhug and some backbreakers for two.  Ziggler fights out of a chinlock, so Big E chokes him out in the corner before missing a blind charge.  Dolph makes the comeback with a dropkick and puts Langston on the floor, but AJ runs in for the DQ at 5:22.  This was kind of missing the whole Ziggler comeback section, but it was fine otherwise.  **

Meanwhile, John Cena has a heart-to-heart with Daniel Bryan.

Alberto Del Rio v. Christian

ADR takes him down with a headlock and gets a snap suplex for two.  Christian backdrops him to the floor, but misses a charge and hits the stairs as we take a break.  Back with ADR hitting a senton from the middle rope for two.  He hangs him in the Tree of Woe and stomps away, but Christian fights him off with elbows and gets a tornado DDT for two.  They slug it out and Christian goes up with a missile dropkick for two.  Christian with a sunset flip for two.  Del Rio clotheslines him down again and pounds away with headbutts and tosses him, but Christian hangs on.  He pulls himself back in, but walks into a backbreaker that gets two.  ADR goes up again, but misses the senton this time and Christian makes the comeback.  Del Rio dodges the spear and hits the superkick for two.  The crowd gets weirdly into ADR as he sets up for another one, but the enzuigiri misses and Christian goes for the finish.  Del Rio counters to the armbreaker, but Christian rolls him up for the pin at 14:10.  That was a pretty slick finish and a damn fine match.  ***1/4  This whole “Christian wins a bunch of matches against name guys and then goes for the title” thing is totally against everything I’ve been trained to expect from a push these days.

Wade Barrett v. Cody Rhodes

Barrett pounds away and hits the chinlock, but Cody slugs back and goes up with a moonsault press. The fake heat here is really obvious. Cody puts him down with a knee for two, but the disaster kick misses.  Barrett tries a pumphandle, but Cody counters into Crossroads to finish at 4:22.  Pretty dull stuff.  *  Damien Sandow comes out to protest the loss of his briefcase on Smackdown, but doesn’t blame Cody because he comes from a family of clowns and so it’s not his fault.  Also, Sandow travelled the world educating the masses, and Cody grew a mustache.  Touché.

Daniel Bryan v. Kane

Bryan goes after the leg to start, but Kane overpowers him and gets a suplex for two.  Kane with the neck vice and that goes on for a while, but Bryan slugs back before landing in a chokeslam.  He counters out of that and takes Kane to the floor for the running knee, and we take a break.  Back with Kane missing a charge, as Bryan gets a missile dropkick, but Kane gets a sideslam for two.  To the top for the flying clothesline, but Bryan tries to power him down for the Yes-Lock.  Kane fights out, so Bryan pounds him with kicks and counters another chokeslam into the SMALL PACKAGE OF DOOM for the pin at 12:10.  They’re so totally building that move up for him to win the belt with it.  Strange lack of chemistry from two guys who should know each other much better.  **1/4  Kane’s post-match tantrum is interrupted by the arrival of the Wyatt Family, and we get another beatdown.

Brie Bella v. Natalya

Brie works on Nattie’s back, setting up a lengthy chinlock.  Nat reverses into an abdominal stretch, but Brie slams her for two.  And back to the chinlock, but Nat comes back with a clothesline for two.  And it’s the old distraction-rollup finish at 4:18 while Nikki makes duck noises.  Because Natalya is the ugly duckling, you see.   Glad that Nikki clarified that for us.

Curtis Axel v. R-Truth

Axel uses the devastating clubbing blows to put Truth down and follows with the McGillicutter, but CM Punk comes in for the Sportz Entertainment Finish at 2:00.

Meanwhile, Vince clarifies to HHH who he wants as his champion:  Someone just like HHH, but 20 or 23 years younger.  Stephanie suggests giving Bryan a corporate makeover.

Tables match:  John Cena v. Ryback

Slugfest in the corner and they fight outside, where Ryback sends Cena into the post before shattering an innocent table.  We take a break and return with Ryback continuing the beating on the floor, whipping Cena into the stairs.  So we get a bunch of teased table spots as Ryback beats on him and beats on him and beats on him, and they have a Mexican standoff with stairs.  OK, come on, we’re already over three hours, just wrap this up and call it a night already.  They slug it out and Cena suplexes him onto the stairs, but Ryback gets his jawbreaker to come back.  He goes for the finish in the corner, but Cena puts him through the table with the FU to win at 16:36.  Way too long.  **  Daniel Bryan comes out and threatens shenanigans, but then presents Cena with his belt after all.

The Pulse

I was really entertained by the first hour or so because it was just an old-style wrestling show with wrestlers wrestling in wrestling matches and stuff, but GOD this show dragged by the third hour of that, plus the Greatest Hits Album of Shit Finishes didn’t help.  Fandango walks out for some reason!  Someone gets distracted and rolled up like an idiot for some reason!  The match just ends for some reason!  They didn’t want to book someone to lose so someone else just runs in for a DQ for some reason!  Only 99 cents each on iTunes!

There’s a reason why those sorts of shows are typically only two hours at most, and this was a perfect demonstration of it.  Plus the crowd was completely burned out and we were treated to the fakest fake reactions.  I think Vince would have just digitally erased the crowd and CGI’d a new one in if he could justify it to the investors.



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