8:00: The annual MLK acknowledgement plays, although I notice Vince no longer dubs over the tribute. Geez, the election left some people bitter.
8:02: Heyman and Vickie are here to make sure the crowd is nice and agitated for when Punk comes out, in their continuing goal to ensure the fans can’t cheer for who they like. If Vince ran a convenience store, he’d make sure the highest selling items remained in storage until they went stale.
8:05: Vickie’s against showing the fans a recap video. For once, Vickie, I’d have to say I agree.
8:08: For those of us who miss the Attitude Era, we have the evil boss using the police to keep the bald main eventer from entering the arena. Here comes that 4.6 rating they’ve been missing since about 2002.
8:09: Pretty sure that one cop is Jay Glazer on stilts.
8:12: Vickie should never scream any of Rock’s catchphrases. Or talk. In any form.
8:14: So it’s a Beat the Clock Challenge featuring Orton, Cesaro, and a host of others. The winner gets to enter the Rumble at the number of their choosing. Which means one of two possible outcomes.
-Someone other than Cena wins, and they choose #30.
-Cena wins, gets #1 to prove his valiance, and goes the distance to win. Valiantly.
8:16: Continuing a recent trend, Antonio Cesaro’s entrance is condensed. He’s not the only one, as they’ve been slashing entrances on all the shows, probably for TV limitations. When you have to whittle down entrances on a 3-hour show, chances are you’re airing lotsa crap. Anyway, he gets Orton in the first Beat the Clock challenge.
8:19: Know what would be great? If the ref mistakenly counted 3 about 10 seconds into this match. What would WWE do for the rest of the show? Watching them try to work in the quickest squashes possible would be great.
8:20: Cole’s lost his mind. He said “the last 25 years of this event”. Doesn’t he know that LAST YEAR was the 25th anniversary? He spent all of January last year telling us that.
8:22: Random thought: The Divas Beat-the-Clock clock probably maxes out at 90 seconds.
8:25: Coming out of commercial. Hey, wouldn’t it be great if the match ended DURING commercial? Anyone remember Raw 20 years ago when Mr. Perfect vs. Rick Martel ended during commercial? Anyone? No? Fine.
8:27: Lawer: “Hashtag Beat the Clock is trending worldwide!” C’mon, Jerry, don’t steal Cole’s bit. He doesn’t steal your little fistdrop, does he?
8:30: Orton pins Cesaro with the RKO at 11:36. I hope Orton wins the challenge, so he can say “I want #30″, and then Cena can bitch at him for being a coward and turning on the WWE Universe or something equally cockamamie, and then they can feud for a year, and leave the people I enjoy watching alone.
8:33: After the Foley HOF package, Lawler declares that he can’t think of anyone more deserving of going into the Hall. That isn’t kept out for political reasons, anyway.
8:35: For unemployed rogues, The Shield sure have great production values on their video packages. You’d think Vickie would try to using Jay Glazer and the other rent-a-cops to keep them out of the arena, but you’d be thinking too hard.
8:37: If the Shield are fighting for justice, I’ll believe in their abilities when I hear the words “Hall of Famer Randy Savage.”
8:40: Big Show and Zack Ryder are next, with the outcome very much in doubt if this is your first time watching. If you think about it, if WWE didn’t have a Wellness Policy, Alberto Del Rio would still be a heel.
8:41: Highlight of the year so far: Brad Maddox commandeering the announce table, and Lawler briefly giving Cole a “Who’s he, again?” look.
8:42: In the time it took me to write that anecdote, Show wins with the WMD. That will teach Ryder to work hard, get over and his own, and market himself wisely! In your FACE, Zack!
8:47: The Allstate ads were the people are dubbed over by Dennis Haysbert will always suck until one of them features an old lady saying, “Cerrano no hurt living thing!”
8:48: Ryback vs. Heath Slater in what will be the second squash match in a row. And here I was hoping LAST week’s Raw would give me 1995 flashbacks. But can this really be a squash? These 2 headlined Summerslam 2010, which I’m sure WWE remembers.
8:50: It’s over already? What an upset!
8:52: After listening to Ryback cut his short promos, I’m wishing he would become the new Ultimate Warrior and cut crazed, incoherent, rip-snorting, flying-out-of-the-bowels-of-hell life-affirming promos. Of course, in order to do that, he’d probably commit two Wellness Violations for one piss.
8:55: Vickie to Rock: ”Inside that ring, CM Punk will be inside that ring”. She’s well on her way to conquering Hop on Pop with that type of linguistic logic.
8:57: Older Asian gentleman in the Allstate ad: “F–k you, Jobu!”
8:59: Punk is here, and he’s still getting a great pop, in spite of WWE’s best efforts. Seriously, if WWE wants the crowd to boo the hell out of him, just have him come out to Cena’s music.
9:07: Punk wraps up an 8-minute standup on Rock and the Royal Rumble and the WWE Championship, and I find myself amazed. Not just by the promo (one of his better ones in a long time), but by the way in which WWE allows their heels to be so honest, without needing goofy insults or petty jokes. Guys like Punk, Sandow, Cesaro, and others speak plainly from the heart, earning even grudging respect from true believers, while the alternative are heroes who make dick and fart jokes. It’s like creative doesn’t realize that the fans cheer for honesty, because they watch the shows, and they appreciate honesty.
In other words, Punk being a heel is still perplexing to this day.
9:12: Did you know WWE beat ESPN in the ratings last Monday? Of they did, football wasn’t on.
9:14: Ziggler and Miz are next in the Beat the Clock challenge, and AJ is extra ass-tastic in her gray jeggings. I appreciate that WWE edited the Miz “figure four” from last week, chopping it up so that it looks like he applied it in one motion. The editing staff is to The Miz what Howard K Stern was to Anna Nicole Smith, minus the “writing themself in the will” part.
9:16: “Let’s go Ziggler!” A) a few smarks, B) a vocal minority, C) half the crowd? Hint: Miz’s face turn hasn’t exactly taken.
9:23: San Jose was so busy following NHL lockout news over the past 4 months, nobody told them that the Miz turned face. Dolph’s face turn, per their cheers, surprises me, though.
9:25: ALLEGED FIGURE FOUR. Ziggler is so disgusted by Miz’s lack of coordination that he spikes Miz with the Zig Zag to win with 40 seconds left. 10:56 is the time to beat, giving Cena ample time to OVERCOME THE ODDS.
9:27: Kane and Daniel Bryan apparently now have Randy Savage’s entrance music.
9:33: So it’s an actual anger management graduation for Kane and D-Bry. Dr. Shelby, for some reason, eschewed the traditional mortarboard for a La Resistance beret.
9:36: Given the use of Pomp and Circumstance, the beard, and the awesomeness, maybe Bryan IS the new Savage. He just needs a vegan Slim Jim.
9:37: So it’s sight gags, and the same jokes we’ve had for the past 4 months. To heighten the ill feeling I’m having, the crowd chants for Dr. Shelby. Hugging ensues.
9:41: Remember when they said Bryan losing in 18 seconds to Sheamus was only going to lead to bigger, greater things? I hope “they” all have IBS now.
9:46: Eve’s not the first non-wrestling fan Diva to say “I don’t need WWE!” eventually. Also, I just realized Kaitlyn’s the only 100% Caucasian-American diva on a roster of 10 other women….and she’s the champion. DIVERSITY.
9:49: Kaitlyn beats Alicia with a spear while Tamina looks on. Hoping for a Jimmy/Tamina Snuka training vid, where they practice bashing a dummy’s head on a radiator, set to “No Easy Way Out”.
9:53: Heyman interprets Punk’s promo from an hour ago for the fans. Is the replay machine broken? Is he going to do interpretive dance? Oh, I get it. because Punk got cheered earlier, Heyman’s giving the HEEL version of it, that fans can’t HELP but boo. Bell rings, dog comes. I get it.
9:56: The Rock finally gets into the arena, after buying the police officer’s ticket. And here I thought he would NEVER get in, and be forced to leave! This is a totally unexpected development! I just wonder why I don’t get theme music when I scalp a ticket. Err, buy. Buy a ticket.
9:58: Rock, 8:10 PM: “Punk is a fake champion.” Rock now: “Punk has earned the right to be called champion.” F–k, he’s Cena in reverse!
10:01: Rock: “I’ve worked my ass off for 10 years to get this shot!” I know, I was lobbying for him to get a shot after The Tooth Fairy. The only highlight here is Punk’s disgust at Rock invoking MLK into this. And lookie here, the Shield has jumped Rock. How great can Rock be as a person if his own cousin will powerbomb the s–t out of him in the name of justice?
10:11: Sheamus and Wade Barrett is the final Beat the Clock challenge. If Barrett loses, is this the first time both secondary champions have jobbed clean on the same free TV show? Other than last week. And the week before. And the week….
10:14: Social media observation: Anyone who still refers to Ambrose as ‘Moxley’ doesn’t refer to Dolph as ‘Nicky’. Must be a smark thing.
10:18: We return from break with 5 minutes left. Hard to maintain a sense of drama and urgency with a Little Caesar’s ad halfway through.
10:21: Cole declares it to be “Gut Check” time, as I’m hoping Taz and Snow vote no on Sheamus’ face persona. White Noise connects, and Sheamus stares at the clock like any good idiot babyface would. The Dolphtourage distracts, and Barrett gets the Winds of Change for 2.
10:24: Sheamus lands the Brogue, but can’t cover in time, and Dolph gets his choice of number. I think Dolph will choose #30, in honor of the max. number of hours it takes for WWE Creative to forget that’s being pushed.
10:30: Vickie informs Dolph, after he kisses AJ in front of her, that the numbers he can choose from are 1 and 2. C’mon, Vickie, you weren’t half as disgusted when Eddie was banging Chyna!
10:32: Hey, they dusted Vince off! He informs Punk that if the Shield interferes at the Rumble, Punk gets stripped of the title. Apparently, the boss doesn’t like Punk insulting the audience’s intelligence. Guess Vince copyrighted that concept.
10:38: Boos for Miz, cheers for Punk, lukewarm reaction for Del Rio. It’s like the audience was sequestered for 2 months, and are basing their reactions accordingly. Or WWE just sucks at doing turns today, who knows. Well, actually, I do know.
10:41: Crowd’s rallying behind Del Rio, since his opponent is Tensai. The “Si si si” kick is a big thing. In 3 months, he’ll be going “no no no”, while attending anger management sessions. Or not.
10:43: Del Rio wins with a moonsault that doesn’t connect. Had he hit it, Tensai would be F–KING DEAD, BRO.
10:45: BOB BACKLUND’S GOING TO THE HALL OF FAME! I’m going just to enjoy 45 minutes of him talking in crazed fashion. Sheik needs to induct him. I’m not kidding.
10:50: John Cena’s here to talk about the Rumble, or something that will get a lower rating than the suits at Titan can comprehend. He gets all jokey with the fans, and actually comes off a bit wittier than usual. Of course, that’s like saying, “Lindsay Lohan is slightly more coherent today than she usually is” while she’s unable to chew gum without straining her neck.
10:56: Cena’s channeled his “1991 Roddy Piper” for this promo. He’s only at about a 4.5 on the John Cena Scale of Douchiness. I’m fine with this level.
10:57: Cena wraps up promising to win, and Sheamus cuts him off. I’m having horrid 2009 flashbacks, but no worries, as it leads to many proclamations from many competitors, as to their aspirations of victory. Prime Time Players, Randy Orton, The Miz, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Antonio Cesaro, The Three Man Band, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Epico, Primo, Brodus Clay, JTG, Great Khali, The Usos, Michael McGillicutty, Justin Gabriel, Ryback, and a few others I didn’t catch.
Bottom Line: They hyped the hell out of the 2 big matches (Punk/Rock, Rumble), and there was a minimum of garbage, so it’s a win. Show still needs to be 2 hours, though.
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