The SmarK RAW Rant – 08.12.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 08.12.13

I think I’m done with Impact, and I’m switching to recapping the NXT/Vintage Collection starting this week.  Just can’t take any more Aces & Eights or Bischoff/Hogan booking.

Live from Sacramento, CA

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL

Daniel Bryan v. Wade Barrett

Barrett is without beard or entrance, and Brad Maddox is the guest referee for some reason.  Michael Cole is in rare form, immediately talking about people “building momentum” and “getting into the title hunt.”  All we need is something VINTAGE for the trifecta.  Barrett tosses him, but Bryan comes back in throwing kicks and goes after the leg.  Wade bails and Bryan follows with a baseball slide, but he charges and runs into a boot.  Back in, Barrett pounds the ribs and runs him into the stairs, but Bryan makes a comeback before Barrett hits the chinlock.  Bryan clotheslines him to the floor again and follows with the suicide dive, and a missile dropkick.  Barrett gets a rollup and Maddox suddenly fast-counts him for the pin at 5:20.  **1/2  Yeah, that’ll really jumpstart Barrett’s push again, I’m sure.

Randy Orton v. Damien Sandow

I can relate to Orton’s greying beard issues.  Same reason I don’t grow mine in anymore.  Sandow works a headlock, but Orton slugs away in the corner while Cody Rhodes states on commentary what we’ve all been thinking:  The new MITB briefcase looks like a giant chocolate bar.  Orton with a suplex for two.  Clothesline out of the corner gets two.  Orton dropkicks Sandow off the apron as we take a break.  Back with Sandow working him over in the corner, and dumps him to the floor for two.  Chinlock time and the ELBOW OF DISDAIN gets two, and it’s back to the chinlock as this thing just keeps going.  Orton comes back with the usual to get the crowd into it again, and the draping DDT gives us our “vintage” from Cole.  Sandow escapes the RKO and bails, suckering him into the post.  Back in, that gets two as Cody tries to steal the briefcase again.  Sandow is distracted and eats the RKO at 14:11.  Orton’s not even at Summerslam, why bother putting him over?  **1/2

Meanwhile, the Shield gets their first promo in a while, noting that unless Andre the Giant’s ghost is in the battle royale tonight, Ambrose won’t be losing the US title to the winner.  Honestly, when they announced a battle royale for the US title shot, I had to think for a while about who the champion even was.

Meanwhile, Brock Lesnar gives a hell of a scary promo, throwing down the gauntlet to Punk.  I’m pretty torn over who I’m cheering for on Sunday.  Mailbag time!

Just a simple question for the blog. Who needs the win more at Summerslam: Brock or Punk?

 

One would assume Brock would get the first win if this is a series that goes to WM (and I’m miffed by the possibility that for the second year in a row, Brock’s WM program will be a rematch of his summer feud, although I have no evidence that this is the direction WWE is heading in other than my own suspicions). Brock is 2-2 since returning, so I’m not sure he can take a loss. Yet I wonder if Punk will maintain the explosive babyface heat he’s been getting if he fails to conquer the Beast. I know people expect Punk to lose and spend the fall tearing through an army of Heyman guys, but can Punk really afford the loss? 

 

Who needs the win more?

Good question, because it’s one of the uniquely positioned matches where either guy could win, and neither guy can afford a loss, and that’s where you always get the best stuff.  I think the loss hurts Punk the least, but you have to think the temptation to do the underdog upset is too big a fish to let off the line.  I have no idea which way they’re going, and that usually makes for the best heat.

Natalya & Great Khali v. Big E Langston & AJ Lee

AJ goes after Khali for some reason, so Nattie beats on her until AJ comes back with a spinkick for two.  AJ with a chinlock and a shining wizard for two.  Natalya comes back with the Sharpshooter and AJ appears to be tapping, but Nattie breaks for some reason.  That was really awkward.  So she does it again and AJ taps again at 4:00.  WTF happened with that finish?  And why wasn’t Big E even in the match?  What a trainwreck.  DUD

Vince McMahon joins us, and he wants explanations from Brad Maddox.  Brad is apologetic, but would like another chance, in the form of a job as referee for Summerslam.  Vince is skeptical, but Brad pledges to be impartial, SCOUT’S HONOR.  HHH interrupts and volunteers instead, then Pedigrees Maddox.  Did we REALLY need this storyline interjected into the main event?

Kane v. Titus O’Neil

Kane slugs him down, but Titus comes back with clubbing forearms before walking into a big boot.  Corner clotheslines and sideslam set up the chokeslam to finish at 1:48.  Of note, Darren Young tried to distract the ref, but Kane wisely just held the chokeslam and let the ref do his job, then finished clean.  I’ve actually never seen that as a finish before.  The Wyatts come out for the beatdown, but Kane just walks around them during their elaborate entrance and avoids a fight.  *

Meanwhile, Natalya challenges Brie Bella to a match at Summerslam.  Now there’s the money match. So they put Natalya over the Divas champion to set up a match against Brie Bella?

Alberto Del Rio v. Kofi Kingston

I feel like they should stick Kofi in a tag team with RVD because it would probably be awesome, and RVD could do the mentor thing and probably set up a good program down the line.  Kofi quickly slugs away in the corner and gets a forearm for two.  Del Rio hangs him in the tree of woe and takes over with an inverted superplex for two.  Kofi tries a comeback, but Del Rio swats him down and double-stomps him.  ADR misses a charge and Kofi comes back, but Trouble In Paradise misses and Del Rio gets a backbreaker for two.  Kofi with the SOS for two.  Del Rio bails and runs into a rollup that gets two for Kofi.  Kofi goes up and lands in the backstabber, and Del Rio finishes with the armbar at 6:08.  This was fine.  **1/4

The Usos v. The Real Americans

Yup, it’s another rematch-of-a-rematch tonight.  Or as they call them, rubber matches.  Swagger pounds on an Uso in the corner, and a Swaggerbomb gets two.  JBL sums up the importance of a win here:  It positions them to get in line to step up for a title shot.  Do they have people actually writing crap like that?  Swagger works over whichever Uso this is, and they hit a double-team into Cesaro’s forearm, but it’s hot tag to the other Uso.  Even the announcers sound bored out of their minds by this whole “feud”.  Jimmy with Cheeks of Fire on Swagger for two, and the Usos follow with a double dive onto the Americans outside.  Back in, one of the Usos rolls up Swagger for the pin at 5:00.  **

MizTV, which is apparently quite controversial according to Michael Cole, presents John Cena and Daniel Bryan.  This ends up as a really strong promo, with Bryan calling Cena a parody, but Cena counters that he’s heard all the criticisms (including “Five Moves of Doom”, which I’ll add to my tab of unpaid royalties) but kids still fight through cancer and stuff because of him, and Cena has wrestled and beaten everyone else, and he’ll beat Bryan too. Man, when Cena is motivated, he can cut a HELL of a promo.  Bryan notes that for Cena it’s just another Summerslam, but for him it’s the biggest match of his life, and he just wants ONE WWE title.  And then HHH comes out to remind us that, yes, his involvement is a thing that is happening.  That was a MONEY promo from both guys and it makes the HHH/Vince involvement look all the more ridiculous and cartoonish as a result.

Fandango v. R-Truth

Never happens, as they do a dance-off and then start fighting, which is apparently not what the ref wanted to see from them.

Meanwhile, Paul Heyman is having second thoughts about his match with CM Punk tonight.

Battle Royale:  We’ve got RVD, Brodus Clay, Tensai (thankfully without face tattoos), Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater, Ryback, Justin Gabriel, Fandango, Wade Barrett, Kofi Kingston, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, The Usos, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, R-Truth, and Great Khali.  What’s with all the double duty?  Poor Zack Ryder can’t even warrant cannon fodder in a battle royale now.  This is spectacularly dull stuff as the low-hanging fruit gets picked off and we actually take a break.  Are there gonna be a lot of people waiting through four minutes of commercials for a BATTLE ROYALE?  Back with Mark Henry, Ryback, and a few other people who are not those two and thus don’t matter.  Kofi has a great spot as he uses Cesaro to keep himself from getting tossed, but then succumbs to Swagger anyway.  This sort of thing is becoming Kofi’s specialty.  The Americans double-team Henry, but he casually dumps both over the top, giving us a final four of Henry, Barrett, Ryback and RVD.  Barrett goes quickly, and Henry teams with RVD to eliminate Ryback in a bit of a surprise.  So the last two babyfaces slug it out and the crowd is pretty into this, and then Rob fakes an injury and suckers Henry into charging, dumping him over the top to win the prestigious pre-game show title match against the lowly US champion at 15:00.  Everything before the break was a waste, but the end was pretty boss.  The Shield heads down to attack Henry and RVD, but the Big Show returns to make the save, apparently a babyface again now.

CM Punk v. Paul Heyman

Doesn’t happen, as Heyman brings out Lesnar after admitting that the match was a trap, and cuts a lengthy promo (complete with video package), before Punk pops out of the audience and lays out Brock with a camera.  Well that probably answers the question of who’s winning on Sunday.

The Pulse

Not the worst show in the world, although really the only things that were any good were the Bryan-Cena and Punk-Brock segments.  But since those are the two matches everyone is buying the PPV for, that’s fine.  This show was fine.

 

 

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