Welcome to RAW IS DVR'D, a review with a simple format: I-- WAIT A MINUTE THIS RAW REVIEW IS BEING HIJACKEDDDDD~~~~!
Are you ready to HIJACK THIS SHOW REVIEW?!? All you need to do is follow these RULES! AND LOOKOUT because we are co-ordinated and NOTHING CAN STOP US!!!
AND REMEMBER: CHEER CM PUNK, BOO BATISTA, BOO TRIPLE H, CHEER BRYAN, CHEER YES, BOO SHEAMUS I THINK(?), CHEER NEW AGE OUTLAWS (WAIT, NOT SURE), BOO BRYAN (I THOUGHT WE WERE CHEERING HIM) NO JUST FOR THE HHH MATCH (OH) CHEER CENA (WAIT WHAT) HE RESPECTS CHICAGO (OH OK) BOO "THIS BUSINESS" (I THOUGHT WE LOVED "THIS BUSINESS") WE DO BUT CENA SAID IT (BUT WE JUST CHEERED HIM) I KNOW, THIS IS HARD (UM, WE'RE NOT GONNA CHANT "WHAT!" THOUGH, RIGHT) YEAH WE ARE (JESUS CHRIST…)
…BUT WHO CARES WE'RE HIJACKING THIS SHOW AND CHANGING THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA BEEP BEEP HERE WE GOOOO
RAW IS DVR'D--HIJACKED!!!
MARCH 3RD, 2014
CM PUNK RETURNS PAUL HEYMAN PROMO: WATCH
HEY RAW YA BEEN HIJAAAACCKED-oh wait let's hear what he has to say.
I don't want to be the guy applauding WWE for a decision that affects me so little (like the fans who worry about WWE's sponsors or stocks or merch sales instead of the stuff that actually matters), but sending Paul Heyman out for crowd control was perfect. The crowd expected to be ignored and was prepared to shit on everybody (not literally, of course!). Addressing it head on with Paul Heyman caught them off guard, and suddenly there's less to rebel against.
But, as a fan watching, if Punk's not coming back on that show, this was the best way it could've gone. We got the crazy HOLY SHIT HE'S HERE *shits on floor in the third row* moment when his music hit. Any number of people could be coming out next, ranging from CM Punk to Wade Barrett to Batista to Corey Graves to Johnny Ace depending on whose fantasy booking you follow. Heyman was a name I read a little less, and seemed to be the right choice.He got to side with the crowd and echo their feelings on Punk before turning on a dime and getting heat for Lesnar.
All in all, Paul Heyman certainly saved the WWE having to endure a crowd that would've booed Ricky Steamboat out of the building for not being CM Punk or Daniel Bryan. After Heyman, suddenly that crowd couldn't hijack a car that's having it's tire replaced by Zack Ryder.
Hopefully this is the end of Cringe Manifestos that plan their chants out weeks in advance on Twitter, and we can go back to crowds that watch and react (and still get pissed off, don't get me wrong) to the show naturally, because I'm pretty sure (and correct me if I'm wrong, honestly) that the IZOD crowd or the MITB 2011 crowd or the ECW ONS crowd didn't need this shit to make a show feel INSANE.
Fortunately for me, I don't have to explain it anymore, because Botched Spot nailed it on the head.
Somewhere in between all of the CM Punk chants, Brock Lesnar came out and did some Brock Lesnar things, such as:
- scream his own name
- turn Mark Henry into The Black Knight, who can't stop getting obliterated by Arthur, King of the Britains
- (seriously how many times has Mark Henry come out to fight Lesnar, pretending as if he wasn't just demolished the previous week)
- claimed that everyone should be scared to DEATH of him (true)
- THREW STUFF:
- POTENTIALLY KILLED AN INNOCENT BYSTANDER WITH A TV MONITOR:
UP NEXT - NEW AGE OUTLAWS V. THE USOS: FF
If they don't win this one, we're hijacking Memphis next week, right?!?
DID YOU KNOW? WWE NETWORK: FF
When you subscribe to the WWE Network, you'll be able to watch the entire 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Live!
Future headline: fans confused at Tyler Breeze being inducted into WWE Hall of Fame.
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP - NEW AGE OUTLAWS V. THE USOS: WATCH
And now a thing I don't have to write twelve paragraphs about!
This match was fun, short, and everything I've wanted it to be since the first time they met. Having them lose to the Outlaws a couple times was a bummer, but that helped set up a crazy crowd for the Usos' first tag title win. Billy Gunn got his face kicked all the way back to where his hairline begins. It was great.
I do wish they could do the flying suck-it splash for the remainder of their careers, though.
RAW GUEST STAR - AARON PAUL: FF
I made a bunch of unfunny Breaking Bad jokes on Twitter, if that sort of thing interests you days later.
NEED FOR SPEED SNEAK PEAK: WATCH
You have to watch this for the bizarre reaction from the Divas. Natalya, apparently, has never seen a movie trailer before, as her reaction is priceless: "that was AMaaaAAAaaaZING". There is also some kind of allusion to Nikki Bella's speed habit, but maybe that's just me reading into things too far.
They also mention that Aaron Paul is giving Dolph Ziggler a ride later, which they think is cool, and I wonder aloud how needing a ride somewhere is cool, and why I don't feel cool for needing a ride places all the time.
BIG E V. CESARO: WATCH
And as the show progresses, we're starting to see why a hijacking of a show that includes Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Brock Lesnar, Shield/Wyatts II and Jesse Pinkman is increasingly stupid. I mean, I get the outrage, but we are spoiled shitless, aren't we? We might be in the best in-ring wrestling era that the WWF/E has ever seen (top to bottom, everybody can go) (well, almost everybody) but if things aren't going the EXACT WAY we saw them in our dumb brains, we RIOT/HIJACK/JOINTHECONVERSATIONONTWITTER.
I'm including myself in this by the way. I'm equally as ridiculous and will scream for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk until Paul Heyman silences me, but it is hilarious to take a step back for a second.
Anyway, this match was fun for how NUTS the crowd was for Cesaro. It wasn't quite as deadly as their past few singles/tag encounters, but it did include a spot right off the top where Cesaro may have crapped his butthole inside-out cafter atching every pound of Big E in a tilt-a-whirl. My GOD.
Another unfortunate side effect of the hijack, Jack, is a crowd booing Big E because he opposes Cesaro. Cesaro fucking RULES and takes up four spots in my FAVE FIVE but Big E is wicked, and came out of tonight looking kinda like a chump (which I'll get to later on).
One last thing - has Zeb Coulter slapped Swagger or Cesaro since that one time a month ago? Because Jerry Lawler is hanging onto that gimmick as hard as I am, saying he'll get SLAP HAPPY on the Real Americans or whatever. I appreciate that someone, even if it's Jerry Stupid Lawler, wants more out of that slap heard round my living room. I want it to get weird. Real weird.
RAW TONIGHT - BRYAN V. BATISTA: FF
Or, YAAAAAAY V. BOOOOOOOOO
THE SHIELD V. THE WYATT FAMILY II: WATCH
Welcome to the part of the review where I have nothing to say, because instead of writing notes down during the match, I wrote what I screamed, which largely included move names and gibberish.
Who would've picked Seth Rollins to come out as the star of The Shield this deep into their run? I mean, the truth is, they're all stars coming out of the best booked stable since Evolution.
Rollins, since the Chamber, has gone full Tyler Black in breaking out his boner-inducing moveset. He spent this match with his controller's run button stuck down. And I love that even though the crowd, somewhat ironically (given the hype), isn't as rabid as they were at Elimination Chamber, they're still going for it. Even though they know they can't capture lightning in a bottle twice in a row, they're still going a billion miles an hour. And the match benefitted from it hugely.
It goes without saying that everybody else brought it too. Luke Harper's sell of the Superman Punch being a huge highlight:
I even liked the screwy ending with Rollins being fed up with Reigns and Ambrose, and deciding to watch them lose without him instead. It was The Architect of The Shield watching the Shield Headquarters skyscraper that he built, or designed the lobby for, or whatever, burn to the ground, or get pinned in a wrestling match or… something. I don't know. I lost it.
RENEE & BATISTA BACKSTAGE: FF
Batista really using an understated delivery here, because he's been in movies, I guess.
WRESTLEMANIA COUNTDOWN FT. KID ROCK 'MANIA THEME: FF
When Kid Rock performed at WrestleMania 25 it was about ten years too late, why are we STILL DOING THIS
EARLIER TONIGHT - USOS WIN TAG TITLES: FF
*dusts hands off* There, no more Road Dogg.
MAIN EVENT LIVE - TAG TITLE REMATCH: FF
FANDANGO & SUMMER RAE V. SANTINO & EMMA: FF
I like all of these people, but it's tough to watch them wrestle a kind of match that requires you to laugh at it to enjoy it, rather than be hysterically miserable at wrestling itself. You can't really pull off comedy bits (confusing high fives and tagging in, which was actually funny to me) (don't judge me) with a crowd ready to "hijack" anything that isn't the best wrestlers in the world.
SMACKDOWN LAST FRIDAY - SHEAMUS/CHRISTIAN: FF
It's a little late, but necessary. Both guys are in need of something more than "hello i'm here for work".
WWE NETWORK PLUG - STEPHANIE MCMAHON: FF
"Without the WWE Network, I, Stephanie McMahon, would never have access to all this WWE footage!"
SHEAMUS V. CHRISTIAN: WATCH
This match was pretty good if you muted your TV and called the match yourself and made your own sound effects with your mouth.
I get that we're supposed to boo things we don't like, but booing Christian and Sheamus for having a match, which is way better than the alternative (an unfunny promo from Sheamus or an I'M MAD promo from Christian), I don't know what to tell you.
Does anyone remember when crowds would boo or chant "you can't wrestle" or "this is awful" at matches that were ACTUALLY TERRIBLE? Like, say, Big Show vs. Batista? I guess wrestling has been so good lately that Sheamus/Christian is as bad as Show/Batista now? It's like nobody remembers Vladimir Kozlov or Great Khali main eventing PPVs. How could I ever call anything BUT that The Darkest Timeline?! (Although, I don't blame anybody for not remembering something so depressing).
I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting soft after spending a lifetime watching wrestling and having my brain dulled down until it became a deflated tennis ball. But Sheamus/Christian sure seemed like a normal midcard match between two not shitty guys. At the very most I could see a Randy Savage or JBL chant (which translates to Fuck This Match anyway), but I guess because this crowd was #HIJACKEDUUUUP it had to fill its Arbitrary Boo Quota.
RAW TONIGHT - BRYAN V. BATISTA: FF
(but keep the Batista boos coming, arbitrary or not)
RAW TONIGHT - CENA ADDRESSES THE WYATT FAMILY: FF
And, coming up, I address John Cena's injury that is definitely not real, which I knew the whole time and didn't squeal on my couch when I saw it happen I swear.
RENEE & SHEAMUS BACKSTAGE: WATCH
Sheamus: "I feel great, I finally feel like I'm getting back to 100%, and--"
[Christian attacks Sheamus, leaves him for dead]
It's a shameful thing. He just had one day left 'til retirement.
BELLA TWINS V. ALICIA FOX & AKSANA: FF
The WWE YouTube channel cut Nikki Bella's handspring.. move? out of the match video, so I was unable to GIF it. It was funny but not funny enough for you (or me) to search it out. So, uh, yeah. That was that match.
LA FEMME NIKITA SIRENS PREVIEW: FF
Sorry, my 11 year old brain still thinks that's USA's only show.
DANIEL BRYAN / AUTHORITY PROMO: WATCH
I was 100% in the camp that wanted Bryan fighting for the title at WrestleMania. I wanted him to win the Rumble, beat whoever at WMXXX and end WrestleMania finally with the title, finally getting a clean win and finally celebrating after six months (three years, if you go back to the 18 Seconds WrestleMania moment) of getting screwed.
But, I finally exhaled after all that time holding my breath, and suddenly I can get on board with Triple H v. Bryan, with Bryan beating the ever-loving piss out of Hunter being a big Mania moment.
[cut to Triple H pinning Bryan at WrestleMania XXX]
I'd always wanted to see Triple H "get his" or whatever, but never as much as wanting to see Bryan win the title and be cemented as The Guy, or whatever. But he already is The Guy, basically, and we're kinda just deciding for ourselves what REEAAALLY makes him The Guy, though. Like John Cena saying you're not champion until you beat him twelve times.
And while that's kinda not the best storytelling I guess, and Triple H will be "taking a spot" from younger guys, I guess we have to come to terms with the fact that not every show can be NXT Arrival. I'm into this story, because of the nuclear heat from the crowd and because of Triple H and Stephanie's ability to be enormous douchebags in any given situation.
This was great, but it's leading to a thing that we didn't fantasy book in our heads. Hopefully don't ruin Daniel Bryan for ourselves by only cheering specific storylines that we want him in. I think it's INCREDIBLE that they have a guy that is loved SO MUCH that we will only accept him in main event storylines that we decide ahead of time. How CRAZY is that?!
A nice point-counterpoint from Bryan and Stephanie in this promo:
Stephanie: We MADE you
Triple H: Get out of my ring
Bryan: Why don't you MAKE me
Thought that was neat, even if most likely unintentional.
RAW TONIGHT - BRYAN V. BATISTA: FF
As long as Batista isn't gassed from changing into his gear.
RAW TONIGHT - CENA ADDRESSES THE WYATT FAMILY: FF
I love that Cena is coming out to address the Wyatt Family for the time they attacked him during the last time he came out to address the Wyatt Family.
EARLIER TONIGHT - LESNAR/HENRY: FF
I love that Lesnar got revenge on that TV monitor for tripping him last month by hurling one into orbit.
RAW PRE-SHOW DURING-SHOW: FF
Josh Mathews is here with Permanent Panelist For Everything Now, Booker T. Also here is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who I'm sure will contribute positively, and Alex Riley who might actually make less of a contribution than Hacksaw.
ALBERTO DEL RIO V. DOLPH ZIGGLER W/ AARON PAUL: WATCH
I was more nervous for this than CM Punk showing or not-showing up.
Like the rest of the world, I'm a big Breaking Bad fan and have an unhealthy obsession with its characters/actors. And while I'm disappointed he didn't come out to Badfinger's "Baby Blue", or turn into a wrestler that stuffs blue meth in his victims' mouths like a fucked up Million Dollar Man, I'm happy it wasn't too weird and embarrassing for him or anyone involved. He basically just said "this is great" over and over again, which qualifies for being second best guest host ever.
UP NEXT - 2014 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: FF
IF IT'S NOT CM PUNK WE RIOT RIGHT GUYS WHO'S WITH MEEE ARRRGG-- oh, sorry, thought that was in the hijack rules.
2014 WWE HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE - PAUL BEARER: WATCH
This is a pretty big no brainer. Maybe Undertaker can induct him and shed the same tears I shed when Bearer clunked him in the head with the urn to help Mankind win the Boiler Room Brawl.
BIG E V. JACK SWAGGER: WATCH
wait why couldn't this just wait 'til next week
[Cesaro attacks Big E at the bell]
ah, I see.
Zeb Coulter takes another step in becoming the Real Americans' abusive dad by referring to Cesaro and Swagger as brothers, and saying things like "help your brother up" and "stay outta daddy's office unless ya wanna catch heck". He only said the last one in my mind.
I'm weirdly loving whatever this is turning into, potentially with one Real American emerging as Zeb's favourite son who lovehates America as much as he does, which leaves the other unloved with a complex. Kind of like Fred Claus. … you guys seen fred claus?
So, to summarize Big E's night - he wins two matches by DQ, gets booed by Cesaro fans, sneaks in to hit his finisher after the match (and gets booed for it) and is generally a prop in the Cesaro/Swagger storyline. As wicked as the Real Americans thing is, Big E had a bummer night.
UP NEXT - CENA ADDRESSES THE WYATT FAMILY: FF
Last time he was to address the Wyatt Family, he talked about the WWE Network and got his leg injured out of his leg. Let's hope he can stay on topic this time OR ELSE.
MAIN EVENT LIVE - TAG TITLE REMATCH: FF
Daniel Bryan v. Kane added to the show (which has now already happened). Can these things still feel like a semi-big deal (not actually big but you know, big for a sad man like me) when Canada gets the Network? Or is it gonna be old and busted and I'll be stuck watching the history of wrestling and cheap PPVs instead (okay, well, it'll still be good either way, so whatever).
JOHN CENA ADDRESSES THE WYATT FAMILY: WATCH
After Stone Cold told Cena to snug up his STF, did he also pass down his healing factor? Y'know, 'cause Austin damn near broke his neck (BUT I STILL GOT UP) and John Cena definitely tore all of his tendons last week, but is somehow walking this week. Oh, what's that? It was a work? ... oh, yeah, I knew that. Yeah, I was just, uh... messing around. Fuck.
John Cena's injury angle last week was the realest thing Cena's done since he last raised his voice and called someone Jack. Okay realer than that. But if you thought, or "knew", that Cena's injury was a work when it was happening, you are either incredibly cynical or some kind of kayfabe wizard genius.
It had every element of a real injury: the leg wasn't targeted by the Wyatts, wasn't hit with the steel steps, Pillmanized with a chair, it was awkward as hell, it seemed accidental, the heels backed off and it seemed like if they were going to do an injury angle, it'd involve Sister Abigail and not a "whoops hey dropped ya there on yer leg kinda, sarry".
They nailed it. I wish they never acknowledged it on the dirtsheets. I, and most everybody else, bought it. To be fair though, with the way his limp grew increasingly more hilarious as this segment went on, the jig would be up by now either way.
As for this week, hey, Bray Wyatt delivered another awesome promo. With that said, Bray Wyatt promos are becoming Shield six-man tag matches. We see them both constantly and they're always wicked and you don't need me to tell you about them. That makes them both sound unremarkable (because, y'know, I'm not really, uh, remarking on them), but it's so much so the opposite.
Sometimes I think about how much unfunny Triple H DX segments or ungood Triple H main events we had to deal with in the past however many years, so having these six guys taking up significant portions of the show decreases the amount of throw up in my mouth considerably.
I'm also excited at the prospect of Brandon Stroud's "young guy taking the John Cena horse out to pasture" angle potentially coming to fruition with Bray Wyatt. Unfortunately this angle will probably have to last fifteen years since John Cena is a mutant cyborg psychopathic freak who will only start truly slowing down when he hits fifty-whatever. But still, a paranoid Cena, doing whatever it takes to keep his spot atop Vince McMahon's penis the mountain is a story I am very much into.
BATISTA & ORTON BACKSTAGE: FF
I legitimately forgot Orton existed until he showed up here.
ALEXANDER RUSEV & LANA: FF
I'm so torn on this. If Rusev debuted in the 80s: awesome. Chikara today: hilarious. WWE now: weird and out of place. His theme music and Lana are both awesome. His big dumb face, not so much.
Can someone who likes him fill me in here? Better than Vladimir Kozlov? Or is this pre-debut stuff entertaining like I LOVE DOUBLE DOUBLE E was, but then the rest was hot garbage?
HULK HOGAN RECAP: FF
Hogan's polite daytime talk show voice is unsettling.
MAIN EVENT - DANIEL BRYAN V. BATISTA: WATCH
This match had two things going against it, the first being Batista's ability to get blown up before the smoke from his pyro clears. The other, was CM PUNK how it was hard CM PUNK to focus on the actual match CM PUNK when something CM PUNK else was CM PUNK on everybody's CM PUNK mind.
The beatdown afterwards and the show closing on Bryan laying dead in the ring to close the show has some redditors on a mission to create a montage of similar moments set to Enya's "Only Time". There'll certainly be a lot of footage to pull from. And while I was definitely of the opinion that the best way for Bryan to overcome those months of screwy finishes and beatdowns was to win the Rumble, win the title at Mania and kick Triple H's head in somewhere in between - I'm sheepishly okay with them skipping the title for now.
But I do feel like it's all happening this way because Batista's contract states he wins the Rumble and the title at Mania, otherwise I think they would've done more to alter things than "just do Orton and Batista anyway because shrug".
Either way, we just have to deal with it.