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The SmarK RAW Rant–10.28.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 10.28.13

What is WITH the delays in getting WWE onto Hulu this week? NXT was late last week and now RAW doesn’t go up until well after it normally would. Some of us have things to do with our lives instead of watching silly wrestling shows. I mean, clearly not me of course, but SOME OF US.

Live from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & JBL.

John Cena is here to prove us all wrong about how he came back too soon and couldn’t beat Alberto Del Rio and stuff, even though no one was actually saying that. But he’s back, which he can’t emphasize enough. Luckily, Damien Sandow is here to inform us that it is not humanly possible for a triceps muscle to heal that fast, and Cena is just AFRAID of a cash-in. So Sandow blindsides him, batters the bad arm with the briefcase (“Rise above this!”), beats the crap out of him on the floor, and officially cashes in.

World title: John Cena v. Damien Sandow

Sandow takes him down with an armbar for two and gets a rollup for two. Belly to belly from Cena, but Sandow goes right back to the arm and adds a snap suplex for two. Back to the arm, but Cena backdrops out of it and we take a break. Back with them slugging it out, but Cena makes the comeback while the announcers make the point that if the doctor stops the match, Sandow wins the title. That actually comes from UFC and not anything that was traditionally in wrestling. Normally in wrestling “rules”, a blood stoppage or injury does not change a title. Sandow keeps on the arm, but Cena hits a one-armed FU to put Sandow on the floor. Back in, Cena tries the STF but can’t hook it with one arm, and Sandow gets a neckbreaker for two. Cena reverses out of the full nelson slam, but Sandow hooks him in a crossface. Cena reverses out, but Sandow hits the slam for two. To the top, but Cena misses a flying bodypress. Sandow tries a piledriver, but Cena FUs him to retain at 14:11. Cena is good at the wrestlings, but I’m astonished (not really) that WWE’s solution to a bored fanbase is to PUSH CENA EVEN HARDER. This Sandow thing sets a real, real bad precedent for the briefcase, by the way, because that was the one stip where you could count on it paying off if you got behind a guy who won it, and now that is no longer the case. And again, why did they even give it to Sandow? They clearly had no plans for him and beat him every match since July. ***1/4

Meanwhile, The Shield pledges to get back to basics and start beating people up again. Ambrose makes sure to point out that he’s the only champion they’ve got left, which earns him some bad looks from the others.

US title: Dean Ambrose v. Big E Langston

Ambrose clotheslines him out of the corner as Cole completely ruins the subtext of the Shield interview by explaining in detail what the subtext was. Big E slugs back and puts Ambrose down with clotheslines and a belly to belly, but the Shield beats him up for the DQ at 1:38. And the Usos make the save, so Brad Maddox changes this to a six-man, PLAYA. I added the PLAYA.

The Shield v. Big E Langston & The Usos

So we take a break and return with Ambrose beating up an Uso, as Rollins adds an enzuigiri for two. Ambrose with a chinlock, but it’s hot tag to the other Uso and everyone is brawling. Jey misses the flying splash, but the Usos regroup and superkick Rollins out of the ring. Reigns spears both guys at once and pins an Uso to win. Started getting good just as they went abruptly to the finish. **1/2

Shawn Michaels joins us because he owes everyone an explanation, especially Daniel Bryan. The crowd feels that he sold out, however. Shawn notes that HHH is his BFF and that will never change, except for all the times they fought each other and tried to kill each other in blood feuds. I just added that last part. So Shawn offers an apology and hearty handshake. Bryan refuses, so Shawn notes that he should at least show the respect that’s been earned and shake his hand. But don’t trust anyone from here on out. So Shawn goes on a self-righteous rant and wants the handshake one last time, so Bryan puts him the Yes-Lock and makes him tap. Somehow I doubt this is leading to a Bryan-HBK match, but good for Bryan for finally standing up for himself.

Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan gets jumped by the Wyatt Family for some reason.

AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka v. The Bella Twins

This is literally the first Divas match I can remember seeing on Hulu. Normally they cut everything related to them out. The heels throw Brie around and Snuka gets two before going to a chinlock. Brie fights back with an enzuigiri and makes the hot tag to Nikki, whom Snuka uses a club to knock her own sister out of the ring with. I approve of that usage of her. AJ quickly finishes with the Black Widow at 3:30. Michael Cole didn’t even mention Tamina’s heritage as the daughter of a Hall of Famer! WHAT THE FUCK? No idea how this made the cut. Pickings must have been particularly slim this week. DUD

Kane v. The Miz

Miz gets his corner clothesline and goes up, but lands in a chokeslam at 1:08. That’s about right. Kane calls out Stephanie, and declares that it’s best for business if he’s a heel again, then gives her his mask and wig. Stephanie seems quite proud to have it. Personally I’d have it washed first.

Street Fight: CM Punk v. Ryback

Here’s something I’m surprised no one ever brought up in the months of their feud: “Cult of Personality” is basically describing Paul Heyman and his Svengali relationship with ECW fans and his “Paul Heyman Guys”. It’s so on-the-nose that I’m shocked it was never even brought up in passing by the announcers. Ryback attacks, but Punk hits a crossbody for two. They hit the floor and Punk gets run into the post, allowing Ryback to grab a table. Back in, Ryback with a spinebuster, but Punk gets a neckbreaker for two. They head to the top and Ryback ends up on the table, allowing Punk to finish him with the flying elbow and Anaconda Vice at 4:24. Well that was pretty decisive right there. *1/2 And then the Wyatts strike again, putting a beatdown on Punk on behalf of this “devil” fella.

Main Event Championship Celebration:

Remember a few weeks ago how everyone was standing up to HHH in the name of defiance and stuff? And now they’re all just watching from the ramp like a bunch of geeks again. So Orton gives his boring speech until Big Show interrupts and punches everyon…zzzz…

Sorry, dozed off there for a minute.

The Pulse

First half was great, second half dragged like hell, so this averaged out to be pretty good. But Big Show v. Randy Orton headlining Survivor Series? Unlikely to get my $55. Well, I don’t actually have cable anymore so there’s no legal way for me to order it anyway, but still, NO BUYS.

Comments

  1. I loved how they didn't even bother making anyone else feel like a possible winner for the Rumble other than Austin. He was such an obvious choice, I definitely remember almost all focus hyping the Casket Match, instead. And what was the deal with Honkytonk Man being used? Seems as random as you could get, before nostalgiac returns were a thing for the Rumble match.

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  2. This was a very historically significant PPV with some excellent foresight in booking. However, it was still god awful. The royal rumble itself was one of the worst I have ever seen. It was literally nothing but jobbers wrestling at a snails pace until Austin came and cleaned them all out. Main event was pretty good though, but I don't think it was 4 star worthy though.

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  3. Tyson referring to Austin as "Cold Stone" and "Cold Steve" cracked me up when I watched this PPV live the first time. I haven't seen it since, but I remember being really impressed at how they pulled off the ending to the casket match. I think I already had WrestleMania XIV tickets at the time, so I was really excited to see Austin win the Rumble, even if I'm sure the Rumble itself would be pretty boring to re-watch now.

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  4. The 99 Rumble match was even worse than this one showing that Vince Russo can't book Rumble matches.

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  5. I believe the Honky Tonk Man was subbing for the injured Triple H.

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  6. These Rumbles are a testament to how the red-hot Austin era covered up for the company's deficiencies. There was literally NO ONE other than Austin who was a viable winner in the '98 and '99 Rumbles. That Vince won the '99 version doesn't hide the fact that only Austin was a legit challenger in that match

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  7. I can understand that, but when you have Los Boricuas running in with only Savio legally participating, and LOD and the Outlaws already on the card, and the Quebecers being subbed out for the 3 Faces of Foley, or hell, Terry Funk without the Chainsaw Charlie outfit, it doesn't seem sensible to have someone who was strictly a non-wrestling performer fill in.

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  8. I had a blast watching this one live back in the day. Great pay per view.

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  9. Good review. I totally agree on every point. I remember getting this PPV at my brother-in-law's house and we both thought it was awful back then for the most part.

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  10. Even though everybody saw Rumble result a thousand miles away, it was the only conclusion acceptable. If WWE were booking it now they probably would've had Rock win it then we go through a bunch of arbitrary matches that would slow the WM momentum.

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  11. Also, while the HBK back bump looks like nothing in real time, I remember seeing a slow motion replay of it on one of the many DVD releases and absolutely understanding how it could've fucked up his back so badly. The landing was really ugly.

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  12. Good call on everything here - especially the Rumble. Whilst other lesser Rumbles like 97 and 95 at least had decent portions here and there, this one was a veritable tsunami of suck. It not only highlights how limited the roster was at this point, but just how little star power there was too.


    99 is still the worst Rumble ever, though.

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  13. I watched this at my buddys house and loved it. Even though the rumble itself wasnt great, the crowd and the overwhelming "overness" of Austin just made it awesome. The Tyson appearance just made it feel lile such a big time event

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  14. Exactly. Sometimes the obvious result is absolutely fine if you've been telling a good story.

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  15. Is this the one where fucking *8-BALL* was in the ring for like thirty-five minutes? That drove me NUTS at the time- the guy was one half of a Jobber Team! And they didn't even treat it like it was a thing!

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  16. That card was pretty damn strong though at the time which I thought made up for the Rumble match itself.

    I remember the bar just being packed for this show. Everybody was reacting to almosy every big spot which doesn't always happen with a bar crowd.

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  17. They had Cena and Rock both win at the Rumble to set up their Mania rematch and everyone freaked out over it being too predictable

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  18. Agreed. I was sort of disappointed, though, that they didn't try to build Shamrock up as more of a threat heading into the Rumble based on the outcome of the previous PPV. The night after the In Your House: DX show, it seemed like they were giving top billing to Shamrock and then Austin just sort of went wild and the rest was history.

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  19. I think people freaked because nobody wanted to see the actual match as opposed to the predictability of the build for it

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  20. Ha. Forgot about that

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  21. Wasn't that a rib on him or am I thinking of another rumble where an out of shape guy had to work over 30 minutes?

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  22. The one thing this show proves is that the WWE used to know how to tell stories. They didn't have a deep roster with star power but they knew how to pay things off.

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  23. I thought they had a good story going into that rumble. Vince put a bounty on Austin's head, but of course we are talking Russo here so...................

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  24. Youre right. If someones mega over, you can just do predictable ABC booking, and have it work well. No need to over complicate things.

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  25. Yeah, it was like watching a death unfold before your eyes. You know the steps and seeing them play out how logic would dictate just makes it worse and worse.

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  26. I actually didnt mind the build for this years Rock/Cena...two legends fighting to see whos best with one guy going for a redemption win. I just didnt want to see that rematch at all.

    Simple builds work for a reason, theyre tried and true and have typically worked over time.

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  27. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryOctober 29, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    The 99 Rumble is one of the worst matches of any kind.

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  28. I heard a rumor on this blog that bookers would sometimes force guys they didn't like to work 30 minutes without making a dent on the match as a gag. I think Mo got the same "longevity push that no one mentions" thing.

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  29. Yeah, this is the one. Lots of guys really hit the 20-25 minute mark in this Rumble for no reason. Someone like Kurrgan came out and you thought "oh, well he'll toss about 4-5 guys," but he only tosses two and then Ken Shamrock comes in, but he only tosses Kurrgan with 5-6 other guys. The pacing of the match is just brutal.

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  30. That match may have worked better if they had Austin got in as #1 and then left Vince for #30 and had Vince direct traffic until everyone got eliminated and it was left with he and Austin. It would've allowed for the heat to build to a nuclear level by the end. Making Austin and Vince #1 and #2 was good for promotional purposes, but then forced lots of ridiculous booking (not to mention Kane being chased off by orderlies or Mabel getting a push out of nowhere and then abducted by the Ministry of Darkness).

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  31. People loved Austin.


    People loved Punk and Rock, not Cena.

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  32. Oh, I agree that the Bounty thing was a good idea. The problem was that there were no other credible threats that could conceivably win the Rumble.

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  33. I think they could have at least attempted to elevate someone. Maybe set someone up to feud with Austin after Mania. Or at the very least put up some obstacles between him and Vince.

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  34. I agree. At the time, I thought Vader would have made a good "monster of the week" avatar for Vince. The Boss is so desperate to get the belt off Austin, he hires himself the biggest, meanest mercenary he can find. Although, they had done a pretty thorough job of neutering Vader throughout 1997 and he wasn't quite the threat he once was.

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  35. By that point he was done. I posted a video in another thread of Vader trying to leave with The Godfather's ho's. No one took him seriously after that.

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