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RAW Rambling 11/19/12: We’re All Paul Heyman Guys

Then! Survivor Series happened, during which Team Ziggler narrowly defeated Team Foley to finally settle no grievances in particular. Seamus carried a 500lb man on his shoulders. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and ALL-CAPS DEAN AMBROSE pulled a three-man Nexus routine on Ryback, thus ensuring the undying loyalty of both /r/SquaredCircle and NeoGAF for years to come. Dean shot Lucifer in the head with the Colt, but it had no effect. Now!

• According to Ryback, he is the hunter, and CM Punk’s alleged triad of conspirators are the prey. That never worked out very well for the Hirogen, if memory serves.

da9 worf bashir

• If Tensai is still here for any reason, it’s to be fed to guys like Ryback the day after a big loss, to avoid making a big star appear weak. In Ryback’s case, only Tensai or maybe Brodus Clay work as such; having him squash local indies and Heath Slater wouldn’t do the trick. It’s such a situational role that it almost seems pointless. Or, it’s The Worf Effect.

• Ever noticed how many wrestlers in the WWE these days do something similar to Ryback’s shoulder-pump-thing whenever they’re waiting for an opponent to stand up? Seamus, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, and Zack Ryder all have some variation of it, and that’s just off the top of my head. I’ve started to liken this to an RPG boss switching idle animations to “charge up” a big attack for a few turns. Kill it before the timer runs out!

• The WWE is still pushing that “longest running episodic television series” line on us. Take that, Gunsmoke! Really, does anyone care about that statistic? Show of hands.

• I wonder where Wade Barrett would be on the ladder had he not been sidelined for so long with that injury. Probably not in little non-title matches with Kofi, I’d bet. And he’d probably have renamed “the souvenir” to “the bullhammer” a long time ago too, or just switched to a different finisher entirely. Maybe there’d be a magical briefcase in the picture. Alternate universes, tons of fun! By the way, there’s something on your back…

• “I’m A Paul Heyman Guy” t-shirts are now a thing that exist. I sort of want one, but I also kind of see it as something that I could just wander down to the local Dog’s Ear and make from scratch myself. And there’s no way that’s not going to be another puzzle piece in all this speculation over a new Heyman stable. Unless they’re doing it just to troll the internet, in which case I’m onboard even more.

wwe aksana kaitlyn

• For all I know Aksana could be far better in the ring than she appears, but without a little more time, who would know? The length of these matches do their participants no justice. The crowds would probably start to care more if that time was provided, and therefore the product given room to develop, otherwise the reasons are few. Time = exposure + energy. The talent is there, even with the recent exodus of skilled workers like Beth Phoenix. It just has to be booked properly.

Of course, the longer the women’s matches become, the more of Jerry Lawler being Jerry Lawler we’ll have to put up with.

• I’m perfectly fine with Brodus Clay only existing to be deadlifted by Antonio Cesaro like a boss. Fun fact: that is something Cesaro has done in two consecutive matches with Clay, while Ryback could only manage to get Tensai up once. Allegations of sandbagging or not, it’s a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed just because Cesaro is the guy you’re supposed to chant “USA!” at as if he were Nikolai Volkoff and the Cold War was still happening.

• Anyone who complains about Vickie Guerrero needs to realize that no one else, not even the guy who’s supposed to be your top heel, can attract her level of crowd heat simply by opening her mouth. I can’t even remember the last person who pulled that off night after night. Whoever is capable of that needs to be front-and-center.

wwe vickie guerrero

• I had a good laugh at the sight of Vickie’s witnesses clearing the ring when John Cena’s music hit. No doubt they’re aware of how WWE babyfaces act in 2012, via Seamus herp-derping his way through a Z-grade Han Solo routine. If you’re a civilian, you’d actually be safer with the heels. The only thing funnier was watching Cena trip over his own shoes trying to chase down Dolph Zigger.

• If any part of AJ’s former character survived her run as general manager, it finally died along with the John Cena makeout skit. The reason the “Summer of AJ” happened at all is because she carried herself with a slightly enigmatic and potentially manipulative air of puppetmastery that no female wrestler (hell, very few male ones) have ever approached. Was she really into Daniel Bryan, Kane, or CM Punk? Was she crazy, or was it all part of her act? Even when she left Bryan at the altar for career-minded reasons (more fun facts: wrestling characters are incapable of multitasking) there was at least some sense to it in context with what came before. That AJ would’ve reacted to her demotion and Vickie’s attacks with more mind games, she didn’t need John Cena or anyone else to prop her up. This AJ has instead lost the “self-rescuing” prefix on her geeky t-shirts and is now simply another princess.

• The only potential J. Michael Straczynski trap door left for AJ’s story to take would be for John Cena to unintentionally resurrect that same ambiguously insane side of her personality that had us all speculating over the summer. That should naturally lead her towards either A) Jedi Mind Tricking John Cena into killing himself with Triple H’s sledgehammer, or B) linking up with Daniel Bryan and Kane again, the possibilities there being too awesome to dare dream of.

• When Paul E. Heyman wants balloons, you’d best find the man some damn balloons.

wwe miz book

• Compare this version of Babyface Miz with the original goofhawk’d version from several years ago. It’s amazing how much he’s improved since those days, and how little I want to see him stuffed in a duffel bag and mailed to the Kaiser. Time heals all wounds, apparently.

• One little point I forgot to make on the forums about Smackdown (since generally speaking nothing worth mentioning ever happens there): Damien Sandow holds a microphone like a glass of brandy. Fantastic.

• I like Tamina Snuka as the silent bodyguard type. She could be the missing Turk.

• Not to question the internal logic of a wrestling universe where people routinely attend important meetings in their underwear, but is there a reason why almost everyone in the locker room is standing around in towels despite not competing on the show’s card? Also, take a look at how easily those shower stalls fell apart during the brawl. They weren’t double-bolted!

• The Prime Time Players with the referee whistles = Edge & Christian with the kazoos. Now that A.W. isn’t around to throw shoes at people, they need to be on those whistles approximately 110% of the time. Incidentally, those two are surprisingly great on commentary. #millionsofdollars

• Further issues of internal logic: how is it that people aren’t simply gently rolling away from Rey Mysterio’s 619 set up all the time? It’s a finisher predicament that any functioning human being should be able to escape by accident.

• CM Punk looks to the future, 2018 in particular, and sets his sights on Bruno Sammartino’s WWE Title reign record. The real joke here is the insinuation that Main Event and ION Television will even still exist in six years. For that matter, by then the bombs will have fallen, the Vancouver Canucks will have won a Stanley Cup, and Ted Mosby will have finally hit the mental breakdown that leads to him telling his invisible children how he met their nonexistent mother.

wwe paul heyman balloons

• The finish to Survivor Series is repeated with a nary a diversion. Ten currency units of your choice says that when Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose finally remove those combat jackets they’re wearing for whatever reason, they’ll have Paul Heyman Guy t-shirts on underneath. It’s been long enough since Big Show’s Team ECW swerve for that to fly, right? What is it that Jim Cornette said about the seven-year shelf life of wrestling angles?

That’s all for this week! Join me next time when two palette-swapped AJ Lees will battle to decide the fate of the multiverse. That is why the cloister bell keeps ringing, right?

RAW Rambling 11/12/12: The Scripting Is Busted

Welcome back, kids. RAW Rambling this week is brought to you through a thick mental fog, which is what happens when proper sleep eludes you for a couple days. I could wake up one day to discover that I’m suddenly a wrestling booker. Who knows?

What was I saying? Lost my train of thought there. It’s lucky for me that I already write these things in such a haphazard fashion. Get off my porch!

Last time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer WWE RAW: Team Punk became Team Ziggler as the entire setup for Survivor Series was rewritten on the spot to abruptly insert John Cena back into the title picture. There was also a romantic dinner next to a fuse box. Brad Maddox, or “WWE Evil Referee #347”, challenged Ryback for a contract opportunity. Jane Fonda and “the wizard” were the last two people out of Atlanta before it sank. And now the conclusion!

• Randy Orton bores the hell out of me, but they’ve put him against Dolph Ziggler to jerk the curtain, so that’s something. Or it would be something under better circumstances, as opposed to Round 3 (4?) of Alberto Del Rio run-in interference. Do we really have to play that same card every week? If this were one of the games I’d suspect that the random plot generator is broken, stop playing and wait for the next patch.

• Everything old is new again: Theodore Long plays GM for a moment and surprises everyone under the age of ten by making another tag team match. Never think too hard about the WWE’s fictional chain of command unless you want to lose your damn mind. Also, there’s a YouTube supercut for this!

It would also be a great drinking game rule.

• Ziggler points out the unintentional comedy in John Cena going to dinner in his ring gear. Didn’t you know, Dolph? John Cena only owns one set of clothes. He’s like Tom Hanks’ character from The Terminal, but at least he wasn’t stuck with jorts for months at a time.

• Is it too late for us to dub this AJ/John Cena storyline “the fuse box scandal”? C’mon, let’s do this.

• The only way out of this voicemail weirdness that’s been added to #fusebox is to reveal that AJ did leave those messages on John Cena’s phone, but it was “the other AJ”, y’know? The AJ with all the headless barbie dolls or whatever. The AJ who kept us all guessing during the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan/Kane storyline, the AJ who put two of those guys through a table and YES’d her way to the end credits, the AJ with a “Summer of” attributed to her. The AJ we liked.

• Two William Regal matches in as many weeks? Has someone been peeking at my Christmas list? If either the BRASS KNUCKLES~! or Tajiri show up next week I’ll jump out of my chair.

• Free idea: have William Regal (the voice of NXT, if you’ve forgotten) resurface in a few weeks leading a third Nexus faction against Big Show. May as well, right? What else of interest are they doing with that title? Nexus could even tear the place apart again, just for old time’s sake.

• If there’s another way to overdramatize the Jerry Lawler situation, the WWE hasn’t discovered it yet. Adding a CM Punk interruption to Lawler’s return speech does however accomplish three things. First: it further cements the fact that the WWE will exploit any situation up to and including near death if there’s a story in it somewhere, while still firing guys for making Kobe Bryant jokes. Two: it lends credence to the crazy moon landing-level arguments about Lawler’s heart attack, which isn’t an element of the fanbase that you want to encourage. Third: it proves that absolutely nothing will get CM Punk over all the way as a monster heel. Lose-lose-lose.

wwe paul heyman

• On the other hand, Paul Heyman is always gold.

• I can’t even remember the last time I saw an eight-man tag match with four teams on two sides. This is exactly why the tag division is the best thing the WWE has going right now: it’s moving things forward, trying different combinations of people and stories in fresh ways, and elevating everyone involved, including a lot of people who really need it. They’re even mixing in subplots from elsewhere, like the Del Rio/Rosa thing. Contrast that with the WWE Title and World Title scenes and you have to wonder sometimes where the problem is.

• Tensai and Brodus Clay should have a battle to decide which giant can sink to the bottom of the roster the fastest. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of them show up on NXT and lose to Seth Rollins at this point.

• Since the Brad Maddox thing seems to have been either a gigantic red herring or a time delay capsule to be popped at Survivor Series, maybe they can keep using the promise of a $1 million contract as a carrot-on-the-stick for Ryback’s future challengers. Or they’ll just redshirt Maddox constantly and keep bringing him back from the dead for laughs, like Dr. Forrester or Axel.

• Daniel Bryan’s jealousy of The Miz tagging with Kane, followed by his half-hearted and vaguely sarcastic cheering during the match, keeps the Hell No awesomeness going full-tilt. It’s also probably the best way to keep Miz’s face turn alive. Go ahead, try to boo anyone connected with Hell No. It just can’t be done.

• Only Michael Cole could get that excited about a Kid Rock/Flo Rida double bill.

wwe title cena ryback punk

• The end of the Punk/Cena main event could be my biggest chain of consecutive facepalms in ages, if it weren’t for the time I spent scrolling through certain Twitter hashtags after the election last week. Too much damage has already been done to Punk’s reign that having him watch feebly as Cena and Ryback play schoolyard tug-of-war with his title belt… there’s comedy in that, but only in the “what the hell are they doing” kind of way. You know those uneasy laughs and pained forehead rubs you see whenever someone drops phrases like “WCW Champion David Arquette”? We’re not there yet, but we’re inching ever closer. Your main championship and the dude holding it should never be a punchline.

That’s all today as I’m groggy enough to be well beyond the help of even the damn finest of damn fine coffee. I’ll see you all next week, by which point #fusebox will surely be trending worldwide on Twitter. So GET ON THAT!

RAW Rambling 10/29/12: The Madness Returns

Years ago on an earlier incarnation of this site, I ran a weekly column called RAW Is Madness. It was a very simple premise, and hardly a unique one: I would watch episodes of WWE RAW as they aired and when it was over, voila! A few thousand words had somehow appeared on my screen, plodding on about DX crotch chops or crappy Nickelback theme songs or insufferable celebrity guest “general managers”.

That’s not going to happen this time. I may be crazy, but I’d prefer to imagine that I’m crazy for better reasons than dudes and ladies in tights pretending to kill each other. Wrestling may have come a long way since the halcyon days of those old Madness articles, but not nearly far enough to justify writing myself into an institution.

Also, every episode of RAW is three hours long now. All of time and space cannot contain such lunacy!

So here’s what’s going to happen: I’m going to watch WWE RAW every week with this here writin’ window open, and if some words should just happen to randomly fall onto the page, then so be it. This won’t be a series of blow-by-blow recaps like you’ll find on 411 (they’re still operating in 2012? Now that’s madness!) nor will it be in the same league as Brandon Stroud’s fantastic Best & Worst of RAW column. It’ll just be whatever thoughts, erudite or mundane, that fall into my head during those three hours. Take it or leave it, kids.

So, here we go!

LAST TIME ON BATTLESTAR GALACTICA WWE RAW: Or rather, Sunday’s Hell in the Cell pay-per-view, which felt oddly named considering how only one match was in the cell and it ended in about the same time as the diva’s match preceding it, and without a clean finish. Also, John Cena was inserted into the AJ Lee storyline for some reason. Follow the t-shirt sales, I guess. AND NOW THE CONCLUSION!

wwe mick foley

• Always nice to see Mick Foley, but is it still a surprise to see him when he shows up every month? He and CM Punk set up Team Foley vs. Team Punk for Survivor Series, which is three weeks away, just in case you didn’t think there’s enough PPVs on the schedule.

• A JTG sighting! (Still employed, 5 years and 169 days!) Wild JTGs can be found in tall grass. He’s fed to Ryback who I guess already caught a JTG at some point and doesn’t need another one. A few years ago it was Sho Funaki in this spot, right? Afterwards, Ryback gets on the mic (!) and shouts something about being hungry. So… we’re going to keep getting that until the Goldberg chants stop, aren’t we.

Orton/Barret is what it is. I thought Orton was supposed to be off shooting a movie somewhere?

• WWE short-term memory loss #1: last week AJ “resigned” as GM, this week it was a “firing”.

wwe daniel bryan kane hell no

Team Hell No/Primetime Players? May as well. Anything to keep the tag division’s recovery going full tilt, and Daniel Bryan/Kane still soaking up the spotlight. The champions stealing pinfalls from each other is lots of fun, though it must suck for anyone keeping track of win-loss statistics. Mr. Layfield?

• No one gets heat quite like Vickie Guerrero. Vickie Heat is the new X-Pac Heat. Still a notch down from “John Cena Theme Song Heat” for me personally, of course. All praise to the holy mute button: conquerer of endless Garageband loops.

• Vickie’s presentation of evidence regarding the Cena/AJ connection started to remind me of the trial scene in Chrono Trigger almost immediately. Cue the music!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFtRyxrQieI

Now keep it going on a loop for the next ten minutes because this whole segment is terrible. If what we’re getting here, ostensibly a 1:1 rehash of Chris Jericho’s footage of CM Punk walking into an English pub circa-Wrestlemania, is the net result of Vince McMahon’s warpath through the writer’s room, then maybe he should’ve kept his mouth shut.

• I appreciate the continuity with Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. Keeping them aligned post-tag titles helps perpetuate the illusion that continuity even exists in this company, and there are worse people than those two to help build-up Antonio Cesaro.

• I am so onboard with the 3 Man Band if it means getting more Spinal Tap skits. “We’re transcendent.”

• Jerry Lawler returns in two weeks. Look, I don’t want to be that guy, but the commentary has been generally improved by his absence. I would rather have JR and especially JBL stick around – or Scott Stanford elevated to the big time, or William Regal brought up from NXT, or the surprising return of Uno and Dos – than see Lawler back on RAW.

wwe beth phoenix aj lee

• Having AJ back as an in-ring performer feels like a true return to form. Pitting her against Beth Phoenix is just sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik, especially considering how I thought she was already gone. I want to see AJ vs. Phoenix every week for as long as possible, which unfortunately for me and fans of decent women’s wrestling everywhere, would appear to be tonight and tonight only.

• I’m setting my watch to the inevitable Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara split. That will be a fun angle, assuming that a mouthpiece is found for Sin Cara if necessary. But man, why couldn’t they have done this years ago with Mysterio and Ultimo Dragon? It was all right there.

• Someone buy Michael Cole a Latin dictionary.

• “In WWE ’13, you can do all the things you’ve been doing in every WWE game Yukes has ever done, and with a graphics engine that hasn’t been updated since the beginning of this console cycle! All with last year’s roster and miscellaneous trappings from before the RAW 1000 refresh, so the game will look immediately dated! In stores today!”

• Don’t read too much into Susan G. Komen unless you want to become cynical. See also: learning too much about dairy production, can’t enjoy milk any more.

• Paul Heyman’s picks for Team Punk include The Miz (a funny choice if you saw Punk’s opinion of Miz in the Best in the World documentary), Team Rhodes Scholars, Alberto Del Rio. Which means the makeup of Team Foley, as always with Survivor Series matches, will be the dudes currently feuding with the aforementioned names: Kofi Kingston, Team Hell No, Randy Orton. Ryback is of course Foley’s proxy, which I suppose implies that Cena’s injuries are worse than reported. I’ll take it!

That’s all for RAW Rambling this week. It shall return, minus the lengthy preamble, and continuing to pass over entire segments which did nothing and went nowhere AKA the entirety of Smackdown. So until next time, when I shall expect a gargoyle-esque statue of Beth Phoenix perching somewhere in every arena.

wwe beth phoenix
Ah! Just so.

Team Hell No’s Unofficial Theme Song Is Awesome

The three best things I learned today are as follows.

1. There is a band out there called Shining Wizado whose sole purpose appears to be writing amusing songs about wrestling.

2. Shining Wizado did the hilarious track above in honour of Kane and Daniel Bryan, AKA Team Hell No, who are the best thing to happen to both the WWE’s tag team division and comedy wrestling in ages.

3. The Tumblr tag stream for “Leeloo Dallas Multipass” is kind of amazing, but that’s totally unrelated. Multipass.

Look, I understand that wrestling is pretty divisive by nature; you either like it or you don’t. That’s alright, there have been plenty of times when I’ve hated it too. It ain’t Shakespeare. That said, you need to hit play on that video right now. Don’t make me come over there.

Source: With Leather.