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The Raw Librarian, Page 2

MAMBINO’s Wrestlemania 29 Preview, Part 2

credit: whatculture.com


 
Welcome to part 2 of this year’s Wrestlemania preview. In yesterday’s column KOBEsh and I broke down the undercard. Today, we tackle the main events. Some complaints have been made that the outcomes seem far too determined. We’ll continue to address the predicted outcomes as well as what might be a better direction to take. Without further adieu, let’s get at this thing.

 

 
Alberto Del Rio vs. Swagger (World Heavyweight Championship)
 
Why does Del Rio retain?
 
The Raw Librarian: Finally, what we’ve all been waiting to see. A millionaire Mexican aristocrat cheerleading for America against a Kurt Angle rip-off and his Uncle who holds Tea Party meetings in his basement. In all honesty I am the more excited about this match than any of the others if only for the fact that there is some unpredictability in the outcome.
 
Depending on where this match gets placed on the card will determine the finish as well. Another factor in this match is Jack Swagger’s real life DUI and possession of marijuana arrest that has seemingly gone unpunished. That’s a slightly different reaction than when the SAME EXACT thing happened to Rob Van Dam in 2007 and he was forced to abandon two titles and was suspended for 30 days. If it wasn’t for Swagger’s DUI, I’d say there was a pretty decent chance he would have won the title. But I think that would send the wrong message to the locker room, therefore I don’t see it happening.
 
Why does Swagger go over?
 
KOBEsh: MAMBINO’s resident librarian and Philadelphia’s own is obviously still seething because ECW alumni Rob Van Dam was thrown deep, deep into the doghouse for a pot bust (and never recovered), while Swagger has gone largely unpunished.
 
That being said, Swagger’s ascent has been so strong and rapid that I find it hard to believe that the WWE would simply Heisman his progress when it feels the natural ending point would be a title win at Wrestlemania. I’ve never been a fan of Jack’s, but he’s always been a decent ring technician (but not necessarily a great pro wrestling storyteller, ya dig?) and that lisp simply kills any momentum his physicality gives him. However, with Zeb Coulter and an extremely controversial anti-immigration gimmick, Swagger’s character has been stronger than I’ve ever thought possible. He’s riding such a hot button issue right now and to the chagrin of the non-believers, has been getting insane heat. The WWE has bet big on Swagger thus far–I don’t see any reason why they don’t just go all-in.
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MAMBINO’s Wrestlemania 29 Preview, Part 1

credit: Bleacher Report


 
It’s time! It’s time! It’s Wrestlemania time!
 
Welcome to the two-part, all encompassing Wrestlemania preview. I am your host The RAW Librarian and I will be joined by KOBEshigawa in breaking down the twenty-ninth annual, Granddaddy of em all. We are going to run down the final card, giving our thoughts on the presumed winners and losers as well as providing some analysis on which direction Vinny Mac would be wisest to pursue. Tomorrow, we’ll get to the man events, but in today’s post, we’ll touch on the still very important undercard.… Read more...

Philadelphia Phillies 2013 season preview

 
Phillies’ fans would like to forget about last season, to say the least. In 2012 we saw Philadelphia’s five year reign as NL East division champions and perennial World Series contenders come to a screeching halt, as they failed to live up to the lofty expectations of a team coming off a franchise best 102 win season and a $170 million dollar payroll. Knowing they wouldn’t make the playoffs, the Phillies jettisoned Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome and Joe Blanton off in separate trades throughout the summer, cutting payroll and doing an adequate job in restoring their barren minor league system with talents that may contribute in the future (Tommy Joseph, Kyle Simon, Ethan Martin).
 
Jonah Keri from Grantland.com has made the argument to General Manager Ruben Amaro to blow up the team and start all over. Instead, the Phillies have opted to retool with an old, beat-up roster and give it one last go around.… Read more...

The Preview to the Preview of Wrestlemania 29

credit: Withleather.com


 
With just a little over a month to go, we now have a few Wrestlemania matches set in stone. As Damien Sandow would say, “OH, YOU WERE NOT AWARE OF THIS?” The bulk of the card has been booked, but we’re still waiting to find out what kind of role some marquee wrestlers will have at the Granddaddy of them all.
 
Our main event features a “Twice in  a Lifetime” Wrestlemania rematch with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson defending his WWE Super Bowl ring title against the “Doctor of Thuganomics” John Cena. HHH has valiantly returned to defend the honor of his father-in-law, Vincent Kennedy McMahon against “The Current Big Thing” and former UFC champion, Brock Lesnar. Alberto Del Rio is set to defend the World Heavyweight championship against Jack Swagger, who will no doubt be accompanied to the ring by everyone’s favorite racist uncle, Zeb Coulter. And after winning the Fatal Four-way match two weeks ago on RAW, CM Punk has earned the distinguished honor of losing to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
 
Is anyone else feeling a little underwhelmed?… Read more...

WWE Elimination Chamber PPV Review

Credit: WWE.com


 
Let’s start off with the good news. We now have 48 days remaining until the granddaddy of them all, the Mecca of sports entertainment, Wrestlemania. The bad news is, currently only two matches are booked….and one of them involves Jack Swagger.
 
I was trying to get a pulse of what fans thought of the Elimination Chamber last night and I came across a lot of negativity. I don’t happen to share that sentiment. Elimination Chamber wasn’t all that bad, but on the other hand, it wasn’t all that good either. My main problem with the show was the ample amount of opportunity for something memorable to happen and the WWE just didn’t capitalize.
 
Most significantly, the absence of “big names” from last nights event was noticeable. No Lesnar, no HHH, no Undertaker, and the biggest name, no Brad Maddox. It’s as if Vince only wanted to do the bare minimum to have a passable show. To quote a great man, “Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to wear more and we encourage that, okay?”
 
Highlights include Mark Henry’s chamber performance, The Shield’s victory and our main event. Low lights include….well too many to list. On to the review of last night’s Elimination Chamber.… Read more...

WWE Elimination Chamber PPV Preview

credit: WWE.com


 
We have reached our last stop before Wrestlemania and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this Elimination Chamber card. I mean, I don’t even have to fake enthusiasm about writing this column. Except for the obligatory match over the Butterfly belt, there are no bathroom breaks scheduled for this show.
 
Also, unpredictability reigns supreme. You have to assume that the Rock will go over clean in the main event as to not impede his impending date with John Cena at Wrestlemania (hopefully not with a single elbow this time) but the rest of the card offers pure speculation. There are a lot of wildcards as well. Will Brock Lesnar, HHH, or the Undertaker make their presence felt? Will Paul Heyman turn on CM Punk? Is this this finally the PPV where Dolph Ziggler cashes in his Money Bank contract? Will we ever find out who raised the briefcase at the 1999 King of the Ring? All this and more, this Sunday at Elimination Chamber!… Read more...

Wrestlemania XXIX Prospective Main Events – Who Will It Be? Part 1

I love the NBA Finals. No matter who’s playing or how lopsided the matchup, I watch with full attention as a new titlist etches their name into an exclusive fraternity. It’s the sport I pay most attention to and the title history most meaningful to me as a lifelong fan of YOUR…16-time champion Los Angeles Lakers. 

I love the Stanley Cup Finals. As a novice to hockey, I’m consistently amazed at how enveloping the NHL playoffs can be for any sports fan, regardless of whether they understand off-sides or that “power play” isn’t just a business term. Arguably, it’s the most exciting postseason in all of the major professional sports.

I love the NFL playoffs. One loss and you’re out? In a professional league? My God. Not growing up with a local football franchise, I’ve come to appreciate the fanaticism tied into these four weeks in January after living in New York for two years. I’ve completely bought in, watching every game, even though I have no rooting interest, except the ever-present burning desire I have for Tom Brady to fatally collide with a well-placed flying cleat to the throat. 

I love the World Series. I grew up playing baseball, understanding the incredible difficulties of the sport even as men who could be my father still dominate the game. I find the unpredictability of the playoffs completely fascinating, with matchups and momentum being more integral to baseball than to any other postseason.

But today….we’re talking about the Road to Wrestlemania. This my friends–not the NFL Playoffs, not the Stanley Cup round, not the Fall Classic–represents the best time of the year. The three month build to professional wrestling’s crown jewel event is some of the best drama anyone could possibly manufacture.

The question, as it is every time in early January, is who will own the right to main event Wrestlemania? Unlike the other sports, the matchups in sports entertainment are predetermined by World Wrestling Entertainment grandmaster Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Simply owning a headlining spot, regardless if the wrestler is slated to win or lose that night, is tantamount to winning the Superbowl or hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. 

As of today, we’ve got several revolving pieces hurtling towards Wrestlemania 29. The Rock. John Cena. CM Punk. Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker. Triple H. Ryback. Sheamus. Even, perhaps…Stone Cold Steve Austin

With all these names tumbling around in Vince McMahon’s menagerie of gladiators, there’s a million possibilities heading into Metlife Stadium on April 7th. The Raw Librarian and I have been tossing around e-mails for weeks, trying to speculate who will make it through the rocky Road to Wrestlemania and emerge as the top dogs. As MAMBINO often does, we’re going to break down the possibilities piece by piece, one wrestler at a time. Here….we….go!

DANIEL BRYAN

Most Likely Matchup

The RAW Librarian: Team Hell No Friendship vs Rhodes Scholars

You have to give credit where credit is due; HHH has to some extent revitalized the tag team division. However, it’s still no where near the Hardyz/Dudleys/Edge and Christian era of the early 2000’s. After all, that was tag team wrestling at its apex. I also have to give Kane major credit for improving every facet of his game in 2012. He dramatically revamped his character and added a great deal of credibility to tag team wrestling.  His backstage segments with Daniel Bryan (and Read more...

"The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE History" Review, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of “The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE History.” You can find part 1 with my analysis of numbers 50-25 located here.. We pick up this column at number 24 on the list and it’s one of my personal favorites. The man representing this finisher has spent time in Mexico, Germany, Japan, ECW, WCW and the WWE. Here to Save Us All is the Ayotolla of Rock and Rolla. He is “Lionheart” Chris Jericho.

24. Chris Jericho “Lion Tamer/Walls of Jericho”

Basically what Chris Jericho does when he puts you in that move is he bends your body in a way that is never supposed to bend.” – Kofi Kingston


This submission move is probably my favorite of all time.

I’m not sure if a difference between the two finisher names was ever clarified or not. For me personally, I always considered the move to be “the Liontamer” when Jericho intensified the pressure by putting his knee on the back of his opponent, whereas “the Walls of Jericho” was more of a straight Boston Crab applied to bigger wrestlers. Again, that is just how I personally distinguished the two. The only knock I really have about this move, is that you absolutely need your opponents cooperation to apply it. Seriously, try putting this move on a person that doesn’t want it. It’s not going to happen…believe me, I’ve tried.



23. Edge “Spear”

He was his own greatest cheerleader, he made the build up to that move, part of the move.” – Mick Foley

I like Edge a lot so I am going to try and be kind here. The Spear, at least Edge’s version, is no where near as good as the Rhyno’s Gore! Gore! Gore! (imagine Paul Heyman screaming in Jim Ross’ ear at the top of his lungs).

The only Spear by Edge that deserves recognition is the one he performed on Jeff Hardy at Wrestlemania 17. I still remember watching that TLC Triple Threat Tag-team championship match with my mouth open the entire time. It’s a miracle that no one was seriously hurt or dead after that match. Other than Edge’s spear to Hardy off the ladder, Goldberg’s spear was far superior. I don’t want to take anything away from Edge. He had a phenomenal career. I just happen to think that his spear is vastly overrated.

22. Iron Sheik “Camel Clutch”

Iron Sheik’s Camel Clutch probably holds the distinction of being one of the most brutal yet simple holds that I’ve ever seen.” – CM Punk

I never had the pleasure of watching the WWE’s favorite racial caricature perform in the ring. The good news is, the Iron Sheik has a Twitter account that is just fantastic. Seriously, follow him on Twitter @the_ironsheik. Every tweet comes off like a drunken rant. As for the move itself….eh. I’ve seen better. It’s a cool transitional move. I would like it if it was meant to weaken the neck in anticipation of a stronger submission. I don’t think this move should have made the list. If it had to be included, it would be better placed in the 40’s.

21. John Cena “Attitude Adjustment”





20. Scott Hall “Razor’s Edge”

I’m gonna show you, just how bad, the Bad Guy can be!” – Scott Hall


HEY YO! Let’s all just take a minute and marvel at how Scott Hall is still alive. If you’re in the mood to be significantly depressed, take a minute and check out this ESPN 360 documentary on Scott Hall. Truly scary stuff.

Now that you are all in hig… Read more...

"The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE history" Review – Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, so needless to say, I’ve been getting the itch. I’m still far too busy finishing up my last semester of grad school to write consistent RAW reviews, but hopefully this will suffice for the time being. A couple things upfront, I will only be reviewing disc one. Discs two and three are filled with old matches from the likes of Sergeant Slaughter, Bob Backlund and the Wolfpac. I skimmed through that content, even finding an RVD vs Too Cold Scorpio match that I’ve never seen before (and really was not worth watching), but this review will primarily be focused on the 50 best finishers discussed on disc one.

One more thing, I will be listing the finishers in reverse order here and briefly discussing what merits their placement on the list. If you want to be surprised at what is included, stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert: John Cena’s “Attitude Adjustment” makes an appearance. Thankfully this glorified fireman’s carry was not in the top 10. Here we go.

50. JBL’s “Clothesline from Hell” 

A strong start. In my opinion, this may be the most devastating maneuver on the entire list. There’s ways to prepare for a top rope splash or a submission move, but there is no avoiding getting absolutely destroyed by the “Clothesline from Hell.” Listed at number 50, this may be the one finishing move on the entire list that I would least want to take. I mean, it would be an honor to get Stone Cold stunned and sell it like The Rock. Taking Hulk Hogan’s immortal leg drop would be a crowning achievement in my life. However, I would never in a million years volunteer to take JBL’s Clothesline from Hell. Bradshaw already had a reputation for being stiff in the ring, and this finisher did nothing to dissuade that way of thinking. JBL took a routine clothesline every wrestler performed and turned it into one of the most fearsome moves in wrestling history. 
49. Vader “Vader Bomb”

“The Vader Bomb was a pretty unique move because it showed the athleticism of a 400 lb guy” -Jim Ross
I could not agree with JR more. Even though he’s only dropping from the 2nd rope, it’s 400 lbs directly on your chest. I would imagine breathing properly after that one would be a challenge. Unfortunately for me, Vader was at the very beginning of my wrestling watching career. I recognize him more as Frankie’s dad on “Boy Meets World” than as the agile big man for the WWF and WCW. I loved seeing him come out and destroy Heath Slater during his last appearance on television.

As big and tough as Vader was, my money is on Mr. Feeny. His Vader Bomb was a cool move, made even more impressive by Vader’s size.

48. Dusty Rhodes “Bionic Elbow”

Dusty Rhodes is well before my time. The only time I’ve seen the American Dream on screen was well after his in-ring days were over. My only real memory of Dusty was during his brief time in ECW when he feuded with Steve Corino. Rhodes had that ravenous audience’s respect, so I knew he must have been a big deal back in his day. He certainly did not look like the prototypical wrestler, with his physique definitely left something to be desired. As for the finisher itself, not my favorite, but it certainly deserves a place on the top 50. It could look good if sold correctly, and it may have inspired Wade Barrett’s new elbow finish. Properly placed near the bottom of the list.
47. Million Dollar Man “The Mill
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Monday Night RAW recap: Long Live the King…Or Not


Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Announcers: King and Cole

Opening Segment

Leading up to RAW, we were lead to believe that HHH was going to start off show, and address his status with the company. You would think I would be thrilled when that did not happen. 

Unfortunately, we had to continue the CM Punk vs 62 year old commentator Jerry Lawler instead. 


CM Punk came out sporting a fresh cut, hearkening back to his new Nexus days. Or rather maybe he was trying to channel his inner Walter White. Punk went on to a faux apology, which was amazing. He ripped into King quite effectively:

“I’m sorry that to get into the WWE Hall of Fame all it takes is to beat a bunch of no bodies from Memphis.”


I hate this feud, but damn, that was a great opening promo (really though, how hard is it to get into the WWE Hall of Fame? Pete Rose and Drew Carey each have been inducted). The close was one of the best displays of unintentional comedy I’ve ever seen. After Punk challenged King to a fight later on RAW, Lawler’s rebuttal was just fantastic. 

Camera close up on Jerry Lawler

Cue Lawler dramatic face

Lawler: Hey Punk……I’ll think about it!

(As stale and repetitive as King has gotten, Michael Cole has been no better. Every week he seems to flip between being a heel or face announcer. One minute he’ll play it straight, the next he’s going off on how Sheamus is the Great White Cheater. All I want is consistency…and for Lawler and Cole to both get fired.)

Ryback vs Jack Swagger


Swagger got in one or two offensive maneuvers but it was mostly the Ryback show. The catch-22 creative has with Ryback is that they want to get him over with the crowd (which he has to a degree) but they don’t want the crowd to chant “Goldberg” at him. They tried keeping him on Smackdown in order to edit out the Goldberg chants/pipe in the “feed more more” chants. This was effective but keeping him on Smackdown limits his opponents to local jobber and Jinder Mahal (some might argue they are one in the same).

Bringing him back to RAW has re-opened the crowds ability to chant on live television. At least his opponents are gradually starting to get more respective. However he still has yet to beat anyone of substance, unless you count Stan Stansky and Arthur Rosenberg….which I do. The win tonight gives Ryback 26 consecutive wins on television. Wake me up when he wrestles someone the WWE actually cares about like Randy Orton or Sheamus.

Natayla vs Layla

Layla’s got some new entrance music. The lyrics consist of “I’m insatiable, I can’t get enough, I need to find a boy.” Combine this with “Holla, holla, holla” and “Let’s light it up” (which would be better suited for X-Pac…ZING) and you have some of the worst music by artists not named Chad Kroeger. Who is in charge of assigning theme music to the wrestlers nowadays? It can’t still be Jim Johnston, the man who gave us the greatest theme song in history.

As for the match, Layla wins with a kick to the back of the head. I like Layla, but I would like to see her title run come to an end soon. She’s not really adding much to the show by going out and having three minute matches. It would be nice to see Natayla Neidhart get a run with the Butterfly belt. 

After the match Vickie Guerrero entered the ring.  She talked about replacing AJ Lee because  she’s been acting in a manner unbefitting of an authority figure. So logically AJ Lee came out and double arm tackleRead more...