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8:02: With little time to mourn over a loss three men he promised to obliterate last night, Cena’s here to talk about his title match at WrestleMania. Cena: “One title match is Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio.” Crowd: *faint sound of leaves rustling* DDP vs. Christian for the European title 11 years ago was a more star-studded title match.
8:05: Punk disrupts and, instead of blaming Heyman for not striking him last night to cause a disqualification, points out that Cena has never beaten him. Everything prior to July 2011 never happened, and that includes Alex Riley’s push. I’m aghast by the lack of reaction for Punk pointing out that Rock-Cena’s already happened.
8:08: Punk asks Cena to just leave WWE, and sadly for the Cena-haters, the crowd tonight is fairly markish, because Cena gets a bigger reaction for saying no.
8:11: Cena: “I won’t give you a golden ticket…..but I’ll let you earn it.” The eyebrow shuffle indicates lurid activity, but apparently he means a match. Punk decides to save the shot for next week, as Cena’s eyebrow shuffle wasn’t persuasive enough. Worked on Kendra Lust. Er, so I’m told.
8:17: The TV series Psych makes me ashamed to fill out “Caucasian” on any medical forms or job applications.
8:18: Presidents Day retrospective. Miss ya, Jack Tunney.
8:19: Cole exclaims “Let’s go to Josh Mathews!” as we go to Matt Striker, interviewing Sheamus. He and Ryback have a frustrated pull-apart, which Jericho separates. Jericho mentions Nexus, and sadly Ryback doesn’t go, “I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS IN NEXUS.” Anyway, it’s a rematch of last night, with Jericho in Cena’s place.
8:22: Mark Henry gets a face pop in anticipation of his forthcoming evisceration of Sin Cara. Go figure, they finally get Henry over as a monster, and they have Swagger win instead, just because “DEY TOOK OUR JERBS” may get some kneejerk PPV buys.
8:24: I like Sin Cara’s Marty Jannetty-gone-Mardi Gras attire. Mardi Jannetty, perhaps?
8:25: World’s Strongest Slam finishes, and Henry plays “GOT YER NOSE” with Cara afterward. Or he was just squeezing his face. Khali does a stagger-in, and Henry’s all “I don’t beat up the crippled.” Henry dances to mock him. “THAT’S ALL YOU GOOD FOR ANYWAY IS DANCIN'”. Well yeah, but the marks don’t realize that, dude. KAYFAB~!
8:32: Fandango. Coming to a WrestleCrap induction near you.
8:33: No entrances for Cesaro or Miz for this No DQ match, because in this 3 hour show, you can understand how they’d be pressed for time. Geez, the Mean Street Posse got entrances for Hardcore Title matches.
8:34: Kendo stick comes into play, which begs the question: why isn’t there a security force that checks for unusual objects (kendo sticks, tables, etc) under the ring prior to shows? Maybe they could do a Homeland Security sweep. (“Nope, no explosives, but there’s a bowling ball bag with ‘A. Snow’ on the label….”)
8:37: Cesaro takes two chair bumps and taps to Miz’s figure four. Between being Daniel Bryan’s trainer and making Cesaro tap, Miz should be ROH Champion, right? He’s clearly got the necessary skills.
8:38: Swagger and Coulter air an anti-immigration diatribe, complete with “Don’t Tread on Me” snake flag. I hope Raw doesn’t swing through Alabama or some other red state on the road to WrestleMania, given that he’s facing Del Rio. And just as soon as I say that, the crowd sorta applauds the video’s conclusion. Hoo boy.
8:45: Bryan and Kane demand to see other matches, and are looking for singles matches after the events of last night. Then Kane gets an insta-match via Orton questioning his manhood.
8:47: Heyman can’t be bothered to carry Vickie through a gab session, but he does admit he hates surprises. If Heyman doesn’t like surprises, how come every ECW PPV featured no less than 6 impromptu matches?
8:52: Del Rio and Ziggler is next, and I ask: why doesn’t Dolph just bash Del Rio’s head in with the briefcase, get DQed, THEN cash in? It’s like what I said about Heyman not striking Punk to cause a DQ last night. The wrestlers lack logic because the writers do.
8:54: Well, Del Rio didn’t miss the enzuigiri THAT time…..
9:00: Del Rio tries to wake up this lukewarm crowd with a Phil Lafon-esque reverse superplex. Never thought I’d see the day when Alberto would be the savior of energy.
9:01: I think Dolph and Del Rio are having a contest to see who can drag the pin attempts as close to a 3 count as possible. And Dolph concedes after Del Rio lands a backstabber (with Dolph seated on the middle rope), and Ziggler goes to the ropes just after 2.
9:03: Dolph taps, because somebody bet Vince, “I’ll bet you can’t bury Ziggler for months on end, the build him into a credible champion.” Vince loves a challenge.
9:04: Big E knocks Del Rio out, and Dolph goes to cash in, but Ricardo steals the briefcase. AJ finally gets it back, but Alberto takes Dolph out and escapes. Since when do you need the briefcase? Can’t Dolph just say, “I’m cashing in my earned privilege”? Stupid visual aids.
9:11: Barrett’s already in the ring when we come back from break. They’re gonna save a ton of money when they get rid entrance themes all together. Anywho, he’s here to run a trailer for some Colin Farrell movie he’s in. I’ll only watch another Colin Farrell movie if it’s Phone Booth 2, and the voice on the other end is Gene Snitsky
9:14: Sheamus disrupts to dead silence, and the segment ends awkwardly. Oy. This leads to an action figures promo, and I realize the Randy Orton Power Slammers figure has more moves than the real Orton.
9:15: The awkwardness continues when Brodus, Tensai, and Naomi make their entrance, and the production team disrupts with Epico and Primo’s theme when they were just halfway down the aisle. WWE welcomes TNA’s production crew with open arms.
9:17: Clay finishes Primo, but not before Naomi busts out some respectable offense. She might be the best in-ring Diva in WWE right now. That’s not even an insult.
9:19: WrestleMania XXX/New Orleans recap.
9:24: Swagger’s here to give the State of the Union, but it’s Zeb (the less wooden of the duo) to do the talking. You know, Zeb could be like Paul Bearer, except instead of carrying an urn, he can carry a Folgers cannister with Donny’s ashes. Swagger is literally fulfilling his main event abilities by standing there muted, a la Ivan Drago.
9:27: If I wanted to watch racially-charged rhetoric, I’d watch a Tarantino movie, which will at least provide less ham-fisted dialogue. That’s no reflection on Zeb, who’s a confident speaker, but Swagger bellowing “WE. THE PEOPLE” 8 times in a row doesn’t exactly scream “headliner”.
9:33: Swagger and Bryan is joined in progress, and Cole makes an Alex Jones reference in relation to Coulter and Swagger. I’m amazed he has time these days to follow Jones, since he’s on WWE Mobile, WWE’s YouTube channel, and the WWE Universe Twitter as often as he is.
9:41: Decent back and forth match ends with Swagger winning via ankle lock. It occurred to me: Swagger is a great wrestler, and he uses the ankle lock. Zeb’s known for crazed social media incidents. It’s like they split Kurt Angle in two.
9:47: So Vickie’s about to give Heyman his “surprise”, and it’s….a new assistant for her: Brad Maddox. Something tells me only 15% of the audience follows the storyline. I honestly can’t tell Maddox and that douchebag from Psych apart.
9:50: Heyman craps on the segment, and gets the biggest pop thus far, but Vince interrupts via satellite, with crutches. Huh, he didn’t have the crutches at the WM30 press conference. His surprise ties into Heyman saying he’d do “anything” for that DQ/countout waiver at Elimination Chamber. Uh oh.
9:52: So it’s Vince and Heyman next week on Raw, mano a mano. I feel bad for Lawler; he’s not allowed to wrestle anymore, and Vince is still going at 67.
9:58: Full recap of the Cena-Punk opening segment. I can see why they’ve been cutting entrances and the like; they needed to make sure they had time for this.
10:01: Six man tag time, and this crowd is dead. Maybe if WWE didn’t insult them by refusing to say “LAFAYETTE” on the air, they’d be more lively. Thankfully, the Shield doesn’t have bad matches. Man, Dean Ambrose is great. I could see “Ambrosia” being the new “Hulkamania”.
10:09: I think what’s great about the Shield is simple: they don’t fit any sort of WWE template in the least. Their matches are anti-formulaic, they don’t wrestle every single week to the point of saturation, and they’re treated like a big deal, without the face commentators needlessly ragging on them (save for Lawler mocking Ambrose for his odd demeanor, which is fine). When someone is allowed to be different, they, amazingly enough, stand out, and fans notice it. When you try to make everyone fill a “niche”, people don’t buy into it. It’s going to be sad if/when the Shield become lost in the shuffle, and I’ll be a happy man if “if” is more likely.
10:13: Ryback gets some crazy love off the hot tag. Everyone should be allowed to wrestle the Shield. They look 400% better when they do.
10:16: Even through 2 heat segments, the crowd is into this like mad. Jericho gets the hot tag, and everyone’s still jazzed up.
10:17: Rollins takes Jericho out with a diving knee to the head, and Ambrose gets the pin. 3 matches as a trio, and they’ve all been fun to watch. Behold WWE’s hottest act.
10:23: Kofi’s here to put over Damien Sandow. Sorry, that was a kneejerk response. I just saw Kofi in the ring and assumed he was jobbing. Sandow gets all preachy about Presidents, and mentions how his great grandfather, Osias Sandow, served as an adviser to FDR. Over/under on a current ROH talent coming to NXT and being renamed ‘Osias': 7 to 1.
10:27: R-Truth returns and beats up Sandow, because he can’t stand watching Kofi lose his 400th match in a row.
10:28: Side note: watching Sandow beat up Kofi while wearing a bathrobe gives me flashbacks to Dad attacking hoodlums that tried to steal the morning paper.
10:29: GI Joe promo. Because Rock drew $67M last year for WrestleMania. You people have yourselves to blame.
10:33: We get another Fandango promo! Vince can’t wait to job him as revenge for Dancing with the Stars crushing him in the ratings.
10:34: Orton vs. Kane. If you paid $55 for this at WrestleMania last year, boy, you must feel silly right now.
10:42: Kane vs. Orton = The Anti-Shield. I need Vincent Vega to plunge that adrenaline needle into my heart. I can’t really blame them though; they’ve been wrestling the same matches for years with little creative direction. Kane himself was quite rejuvenated at TLC in December against….The Shield. But there’s some correlation between lack of creative outside the ring with lack of creative in it. I just wish Vince wasn’t so content on keeping as many people under contract as possible. It needs to get fresh sometimes.
10:45: Bryan distracts Kane, and Orton wins with the RKO. Next.
10:50: Rock gets a marching band for his celebration. I’d like to point out that nobody has ever celebrated beating Cena twice. Beating Punk twice? A true honor.
10:54: To recap, spit in a man’s face: you’re a piece of garbage. Spit on your hand and them punch the guy: ELECTRIFYING. Thanks for clearing that up, champ.
10:56: Rock immediately wins my heart once again by casting aside the Spinner belt in favor of….a relatively gaudy version custom made for The Rock. Uhh….I think Rock just assassinated Hitler, but replaced him with Pol Pot. He cancelled Tyler Perry’s House of Pain, and put Taradise in its time slot.
11:02: Cena comes out, but Punk jumps him, and get a Punk-Rock staredown. End show.
OVERALL: Other than the Shield match, this was like the antithesis of last night. Dull, rife with mistakes, and mostly uninspired. There’s a metaphor in there about WWE having a chance to build on something positive (good PPV, getting rid of the spinner belt) and wasting it with a clunker (dull Raw, crappy looking new belt).
Eh well. Hopefully Cena vs. Punk is great.