Location: Laredo, Texas
Announcers: Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler
Guest General Manager: Teddy Long (Ugh this outta be good)
Cena/Bryan/Punk/Jericho/Kane/Big Show in ring segment
Welcome to the 997th episode of RAW. It kicked off like any self respecting RAW should, with John Cena coming down the ramp to cut an electrifying promo. The other day I realized that John Cena is responsible for some of my favorite WWE moments over the past few years. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.
1. Rob Van Dam vs John Cena One Night Stand 2006
2. CM Punk vs John Cena Money in the Bank 2011
3. Brock Lesnar vs John Cena Extreme Rules 2012
Say what you want about his wrestling ability, but he plays a hell of a foil.
Back to RAW action. Cena does his shtick for a while until Daniel Bryan minus ring entrance music interrupts. Everyone’s been trying to get their Daniel Bryan on recently, even Ohio representative “Mean” Jean Schmidt. Bryan gets meta with us and lets the audience know that he and John Cena have nothing in common, unless of course Bryan wins the title and Cena wins the Money in the Bank ladder match.
CM Punk interjects. Gets the crowd involved with all the Yes! chants.
Chris Jericho feels left out so he hit the ring. Classic Jericho ensued welcoming us all to “RAW is Jericho” as well as asking Bryan to kindly “shut the hell up.” Also, after tonight, none of the competitors will never eeeeeever be the same again apparently. That man knows how to sell a t-shirt.
Kane gets involved, followed by an…insightful Jerry Lawler comment? “Not a lot of catchphrases for this guy, but a lot of victories.” Congratulations King, that was the first time I haven’t wanted to strangle you on commentary since 1999.
“Welllll it’s the Big Show!” After Big Show’s music hits, all of the competitors in the ring start a full out brawl.
Quick Money in the Bank prediction: Cena wins the RAW Money in the Bank match, challenges CM Punk to a match at Summerslam, becoming the first person to use the Money in the Bank contract honorably since Rob Van Dam 6 years ago. And he will be the first person to not win the championship when cashing in the contract. It has to happen sometime and Cena’s big enough and at the point where he does not need the title to be over.
Rhodes/Otunga, Titus O’Neill, and Darren Young vs Christian, Santino Marella, R-Truth, Kofi
|RAW is NAMBLA|
This match was alright until it completely broke down and Titus and Young left the ring. I’m not a fan of the Prime Time players just leaving match ups. It’s a stupid gimmick that makes them look weak. These guys should be pushed as viable challengers to the Tag Team titles.
As I said, they leave and are soon followed by Cody Rhodes, leaving only Otunga in the ring to fight 4 guys.
To make the odds even worse Brodus Clay comes out and throws Otunga back in the ring. Why would that not result in a disqualification? Either way that leads to: sock puppet, killswitch, victory, grown men dancing with children.
Alberto Del Rio vs Sin Cara
So Sin Cara was Teddy Long’s surprise? Talk about anticlimactic. Good Lord, I hope that man never throws me a surprise party. A real surprise would have been a Rey Mysterio Jr. return, fresh off suspension.
Crowd chants “culero” at Alberto Del Rio, which is Spanish for…umm something … Read more...
Location: The worst arena in America, the Izod Center, New Jersey
Announcers: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole, Booker T
World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus (C) vs Dolph Ziggler
At first I was skeptical about leading off the PPV with the heavyweight championship match. However it ended up being a perfect decision.
Mixed reaction for Sheamus. The HOT crowd stayed active during the entire match, chanting “Let’s go Ziggler” to start. Pretty sick mid match reverse DDT by Ziggler that had the fans counting along.
Dolph looked real strong and the crowd was into accordingly, as he was on the offensive for most of the match up. In fact, he was so over that even a sleeper hold got a huge pop. I like that Sheamus’ “White Noise” was used as a transitional move tonight instead of a finisher.
Sheamus finished off Ziggler with the Brogue kick. Great choice as an opener, as Ziggler/Sheamus delievered big time; actually, it was almost as good as Sheamus/Bryan 2 out of 3 falls. Ziggler once again showed that not only can he have a strong match with any opponent, but that his time will come shortly.
Seriously? Why would you waste valuable PPV time with this garbage? Well deserved “boring” chants from the crowd. Hats off to them for not putting up with that garbage. At least this was kept somewhat short. Winner Santino if anyone cares.
CM Punk backstage
Shilling his “I dig crazy chicks” t-shirt. I like CM Punk, but right now he’s a caricature of his former self.
Cody Rhodes vs Christian (C)
Pretty sweet new “Breaking Bad” inspired t-shirt by Christian. Really good match between these two. Christian with the clean victory, but having Cody Rhodes kick out of Christian’s impaler made him look strong. These two can always be depended upon to deliver a classic match.
Huge spot-fest ends with Abraham Washington turning on the Uso’s and helping the Prime Time Players win. A great development for the tag team division. This match put the focus back on the titles and made them actually seem desirable.
[Full disclosure: I didn’t watch RAW every week during the New Nexus and CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society angles. Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, and David Otunga have gone on to have prominent roles on television after the angle, so I am familiar with them. However, I am hazy on wrestlers like: Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Skip Sheffield, Michael McGillicuty and other wrestlers that have been apart of NXT.
(Editor’s note: You didn’t miss anything dude. Justin Gabriel is a “future endeavour” waiting to happen, Michael McGillicuty couldn’t shine his dad’s boots and Heath Slater is, in my opinion, the worst overall performer on the roster)
That being said, consider me all in on Titus O’Neil and Darren Young. I love the “Prime Time” gimmick. Their theme song is great and I’m a big fan … Read more...
(For those enjoying our WWE PPV Preview posts, check out our Wrestlemania XXVIII preview post RIGHT HERE)
Unless you’re invested (financially or emotionally) in the teams remaining, the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl is awful. It’s just this long, droning saga, wracked with reporters and writers focusing on the same 4 story lines over and over again, even though none of those news items would be worthy of more than 20 minutes of coverage any other time of the year. Whatever little plot strings and morsels of interest there are in any little facet hanging from the game itself will get beaten to death, over and over again like a you shooting a defeated enemy in Goldeneye. It’s just insulting. This is supposed to be biggest sporting (actually, television) event of the entire year. Why is it that the just two weeks of build can’t be compelling? Don’t we deserve better than this?
MAMBINites. Lend me your eyes. Though the seeds were sown months ago, the final pay-per-view stop on the long and winding trip to Wrestlemania will be this Sunday night in The Good Land, Wisconsin, at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View. What happens this Sunday will directly set up Wrestlemania 28, the biggest pro wrestling event of the entire year. It’s like the Super Bowl for us wrestling fans, with the only difference being my massive erection from happiness that I don’t get while watching the big game in January.
As the wrestling audience grew more “sophisticated”, they ironically craved more and more for the brutality of matches to increase and for the danger to become much more real. Even as the WWF gave the mob the Hell in a Cell match, which has shortened the careers of a score of 90’s WWF stars, they still thirsted for the type of contest similar to War Games, but even more complex in its savagery. Enter, the Elimination Chamber.
Measuring in at 16 feet tall and over 2 tons, the ominous (perhaps more for the material it’s composed of – steel – and its distinctive black paint job than anything else; truth be told, it resembles a gigantic bird cage) structure is wrapped in steel chains and grating. In each corner, stands 4 pods made of “indestructible bullet-proof glass” – why it was necessary to have bullet-proof glass in a hand to hand combat sport was never explained – in which 4 of the 6 contestants will stand, waiting to be released into the match.
The nuclear winter. This is what so many NBA fans, writers and even personnel are referring to this lockout as.
We’ve covered our NBA lockout thoughts ad nauseam on MAMBINO. There’s really nothing left to say. Both sides think that they’re more right than the other. Each have pointed fingers, proclaiming they want a deal done, and every single ounce of their beings wishes they could be on the court right now. It doesn’t matter if I believe them or not at this point. I’ve accepted that we will not be having NBA basketball this year. Following the 2004-2005 NHL season, the 2011-2012 NBA season will be only the second full season of North American sports to ever be canceled in the 100+ year history of the 4 major professional sports. Congratulations, gentlemen. You made history.
But let’s not drink that half-full glass. Let’s look at it, and fill it up to the brim. We here at MAMBINO HQ have some ready-made alternatives for those of you hungering for another waste of time to completely invest your emotions in, despite the fact that you have no true impact on the outcome.
The answer here is the WWE. It’s the nuclear winter, after all. Why not eat those twinkies?
Being a lifelong professional wrestling fan, I know that for every offseason and All-Star break, there will always be the WWE to fill that sports void in my life. As the WWF catchphrase said about 10 years ago, “We Have No Offseason.”
Professional wrestling is not a perfect comparative to professional basketball. However, there are a lot of qualities inherent in the NBA, its game and its players that would make even the truest hoopheads apt to take up Vince McMahon’s trained traveling circus.
1) Basketball can be played one of two ways: with finesse, grace and coordination (think Magic Johnson’s passing, Ray Allen’s jumper, or Kareem’s sky hook) or through a brutally bruising and physical game (think LeBron’s moves to the rack, Shaquille’s post game or Bill Laimbeer’s elbows). The best basketball players will combine a little bit of both for what the experts would consider the perfect type of game.
Wrestling is no different. Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live, said that in order to be a true champion, you had to look like you could kick someone’s ass. Look like. A great wrestler has to have enough finesse, grace and coordination to make the moves look crisp but painful. He has to be big and tough enough to use his power to throw another man’s dead weight around the ring, and yet also have enough toughness to throw himself around the ring and make his opponent look like Andre the Giant. The professional wrestling skill set is similar to professional basketball – precision and control, matched with a certain amount of physicality.
2) Who are the most popular players in the last 10 years? Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard are amongst them. You know what all these fellows have in common? They all had characteristics that made them pop towards the audience. They each were either incredibly charismatic, freakishly proportioned or, in many of their cases, both.
The WWE is no different. Aside from the natural athletic talent it takes to succeed as a professional wrestler, there is a certain level of “freak attraction” needed to become noticed by an audience that constantly clamors to be amazed. For every Shaquille O… Read more...