-It’s the thirtieth anniversary of John Belushi’s death, so I’m writing tonight’s review in my Samurai Futaba robe. Sadly, Yamaguchi-San never returned my sword. Eh well. RIP to a comedy legend.
–Cheap plug: I’ve launched my own wrestling writing/news blog, The Blue Bar Cage, just to see how I like it. You can be a real sweetheart and visit it. Hell, you can also follow it on Facebook if you’re so inclined. http://www.facebook.com/BlueBarCage And Eric, this doesn’t count as a free plug, since I’ll be linking whatever I write for you through this page. I’m onto your tricks [:-P]
-WWE RAW is lve from Chowdahville
Ahh, shooting for a 4.5 rating off the bat, I see. Getting Shawn over Nickelback is like getting money over a Cleveland Steamer. And thankfully, Shawn hit the make-up a little heavier after looking like Pete Townshend a few weeks back. But to the matter at hand: Shawn’s convincing Triple H to go after the streak once again. Michaels is quite gleeful that Hunter accepted the challenge, and Shawn is anxious to hear what the mind-changer was. Sure enough, we get The Armani Game. Hatchets seem to be buried at the onset of the summit. “He’s an oak. An oak, I tell ya.” Michaels’ tone turns slightly, insinuating that Hunter’s conviction and integrity kept him from falling for Shawn’s bait. But SOMETHING….made Hunter change his mind. Or rather….SOMEONE, and Shawn wants to know who. Crowd’s already figured it out. Oh, Shawn already knows, he’s just taunting Hunter, because he’s a playful fellow: Undertaker’s line, “you always knew Shawn was better than you,” is what set Hunter off, and made him accept. Hunter goes through a series of empty, blank, mournful expressions while Michaels stares him down. Apparently, Michaels doesn’t like the implication that Hunter is offended at Shawn being better than him. Hunter tries to somehow twist this into people, Undertaker included, burying Shawn behind his back. Hunter: “It pains me to look at you as a loser.” Hunter promises to end the streak to avenge Shawn’s supposed shattered image. Shawn doesn’t buy it, because he didn’t think Hunter could do it a year ago. “You beat him nearly within an inch of his life. And then you lost. And I was right.” Oh, and Shawn drops a bomb: he’s the guest referee. End scene.
Segment Rating: 7/10. I get that you wanna make the match different than last year, but isn’t Hell in a Cell enough? I’d rather see a straight up brawl than have a “conflicted ref.” Eh, maybe I’ll end up liking the idea. Segment was okay, nothing blow away.
Match 1: Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella (WWE US Championship)
Expect this segment to lose 525,000 viewers, and Vince to bury both men on Superstars as a result. Swagger’s MacCauley Culkin haircut is a nice touch. He should set traps in case Joe Pesci shows up. Ace and Otunga arrive as Marella takes control with a hip toss and falling headbutt. The Cobra comes out, but a distraction from Dolph Ziggler leads to a Swagger Bomb…..but Santino’s out on 2! Teddy Long, Kofi Kingston, and Aksana (the weirdest trio EVER) make their way out. Long and Laurinaitis have a ringside argument as we go to commercial. We return to Santino countering the Pump Splash with boots to the face, as Laurinaitis and Long get into it again. Ziggler attacks Santino, but the Cobra counters. Vickie comes to the apron, as she and Santino recreate their classic(ally awful) feud from 2009. Vickie and Aksana get into it, Swagger applies an ankle lock, but Marella powers out and gets a roll up to win to a HUGE pop! But WAIT, Laurinaitis has the music cut. Long has him and Otunga ejected before he can raise another protest. The heels swear revenge as they’re forcibly removed. Marella cries comical tears of joy.
WINNER: Santino Marella via roll-up (New WWE United States Champion)
Rating: 6/10. Not much of a match, but the hot crowd and the inspired shenanigans otherwise made it fun. Hopefully, they focus on Marella more and give the belt a chance to shine *stifles laughter*
-The Rock was at Boston Harbor earlier today, and MAN does the crowd boo the mere sight of him! Anyway, he gives a Dwayne-like history lesson to a rather mixed response. Things pick up when Rock recreates the Boston Tea Party by tossing Cena’s merch into the harbor. I’d have marked out if Rock’s IC title floated past from when Austin threw it in the water in 1997. It was a better promo than his “Tweet THIS” garbage from last week. Tonight, the “revolution” begins.
Match 2: Alicia Fox vs. Eve Torres
Kelly Kelly is on commentary. Poor us. Of COURSE Lawler wants to talk about the Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards. He must have sent Kelly on a scouting mission. Is it me, or is Eve 400% hotter as a heel? Eve pins her for an awkward four count after about thirty seconds. Well, duh.
WINNER: Eve via Leg Sweep
RATING: 1/10. Didn’t suck too bad.
-Zack Ryder is HERE! And he gets quite the pop for his return! He’s glad he and Eve never hooked up, delivers a WWWYKI (which Cole buries, at Vince’s behest I’m sure).
-After the break, Eve tries to make amends with Zack with some tongue play, which Ryder stupidly thinks is legit. Ryder surely thinks, “Wow….THAT’S what Johnny Ace tastes like!”
-Cena cuts an intense empty arena promo earlier today. He sucks up to Boston, as the “City of Champions”, but brings up the Patriots falling short four years back as a reminder that “nobody remembers second place,” a point he reiterates. That was certainly better than Rock’s attempt at living in 1999 with catchphrases. If they shot that Cena promo on a shaky handheld camera, that would fit into any ECW Hardcore TV show from 1995-99. Great stuff.
Match 3: CM Punk/Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho/Daniel Bryan
Give it twenty minutes, give it twenty minutes, give it twenty minutes. Boston fans are really cheering Sheamus, mostly due to his resemblance to 2008 NBA Champion Brian Scalabrine. AJ is, of course, cute as usual. Punk and Jericho start off with a mat sequence, leading to a Punk kick flurry. Jericho gets dominated, so he tags Bryan out of exhaustion and humility. Punk tags Sheamus, who clubs and pounds Bryan, backdrops him to the apron, and traps him with the Dublin Clubs. Clothesline gets 2, and Punk comes back in to take over, but eats a hard kick from Jericho on the apron. Jericho gets tagged back in as we hit the commercial. We return with Jericho with a pseudo-chicken wing on Punk. Punk manages to turn the tide with a leg lariat. Sheamus gets a somewhat hot tag, powerslamming Jericho, and then shoulder blocks Bryan. Irish Curse on Jericho gets 2. A distraction from Bryan leads to Jericho springboard dropkicking Sheamus off the apron. Bryan compounds the barrage with a basement dropkick outside. Jericho peppers Sheamus inside with MMA strikes, and prevents Sheamus from tagging. Jericho works a sleeper (complete with “ASK HIM”), and Jericho appears to have hurt his knee on a counter, as Sheamus sent him extra hard into the buckles. The champs tag in. Corner knee from Punk, who sells his bad back, followed by the Macho Elbow for 2. Jericho’s walking with a slight limp, but at least he can put weight on it. Jericho makes the save on a pin attempt, so he appears to be ok. Jericho saves Bryan from a High Cross, and tries the Walls on Punk. Punk counters with a cradle, but Jericho rolls him over and…..gets the clean pin! Wow, surprising.
WINNERS: Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan via inside cradle
RATING: 8/10. Damn good match, with a purposeful clean finish. Now Jericho has more bragging rights until Punk shuts him up in four weeks.
-Another Rock history lesson, this time involving Paul Revere. Alrighty then.
Match 4: The Miz vs. The Big Show
Much like watching Shawn and Marty face off, it’s hard watching a legendary tag team collide. Cody Rhodes interrupts with another humiliation, this time, Show eating at WWE New York at WrestleMania X8! Ha, I had a feeling they were going to do that one! Show looked like Brooklyn Brawler hit with a gamma ray at that point. Miz attacks, since the bell rang over a minute ago, but Show runs through him with a spear. WMD finishes quickly.
WINNER: Big Show via WMD
Rating: 2/10. The still shot of Show with the “whooooo” from the video was the best part.
-Rock History Lesson #3: The State House. Rock: “We didn’t stop fighting…until the fighting was done! I was away at the time, but I sent a tape telling the patriots how much I loved them!”
-Michaels returns next week to confront Undertaker. Ratings, above 3.4, they must stay!
Truth’s insert promo is as cracked out as you’d expect. Big boot lays out Truth. I just realized that Long’s the GM tonight, and Kane’s wrestling. We really needed a segment where Truth disrespects Kane, so Long books Truth in a match “AGAINST KANE, PLAYA!” Split and flurry of kicks stun Kane, but the Chokeslam is delivered to end it.
WINNER: Kane via Chokeslam
Rating: 3/10. Serviceable squash with a restless crowd.
-Afterward, Orton hits the ring and RKOs the deadly, immortal monster Kane to lay him out. Yeah, I really wanna see this at WrestleMania now. Hey, remember when Kane was a monster?
Main Event Interview: John Cena and The Rock
Cena puts over Rock being back, albeit in a backhanded fashion, by noting how packed the crowd is for this segment. Crowd chants for Rock, Cena half-heartedly pumps them up, but he questions Rock’s message in those history lessons. After all, dude talks about his junk and sex life a lot. Cena thinks Rock’s having a midlife crisis. Then we get to Cena punking Rock out in less than two minutes a week ago, which Cena fluidly buries him over. Cena wants to know which Rock he’s getting April 1: the rambling catch phrase generator, or the greatest superstar of all time? Cena calls out Rock right damn now…..and IF YA SMELLLLLLLLLL. Rock storms the ring with a serious glare, and Cena gives him his space, smart-ass expression on his kisser. Rock hits the “FINALLY”, and walks in on Cena, claiming he sees fear. The “CENA” chants are louder than the “ROCKY” chants, a sound I NEVER thought I’d EVER hear. Rock tries to play head games with Cena, claiming that Cena will lose everything he’s worked for on April 1, and Cena just smiles it all away. Crowd chants “TOOTH FAIRY” at Rock, which Cena gaily points out. Cena mumbles words under Rock’s loud threats, and Cena won’t stop smirking. Rock walks off, after a barrage of insults, and doesn’t turn his head back to the ring. Cena mocks Rock by reading notes off his own forearm, but then turns serious, saying he is not afraid of Rock. Cena says he will make history by whipping The Rock’s ass at Wrestlemania. Cena ends the segment by jumping into the front row, where his brothers and sisters are, and then he acknowledges his dad and wife at ringside as well.
Segment Rating: 8/10. It was good, simply because Cena played his role to perfection. The confident, smiling Superman who isn’t intimidated by Attitude-era bravado is actually working.
OVERALL: Kind of a sluggish show for the most part, but it had a good opening and closing segment. The middle match was great, so it’s a thumbs up. Just seems like a lot of down time heading into the biggest show of the year is all.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.