Alright Cagesiders, I've commented a few times here, but I'm still a rookie. Almost all of my comments and replies wind up being FanPost length anyway, so I figure why not give this a try? At any rate, be gentle. I actually wanted to do this before I saw Jebsbeard's post last week, but I guess it just kinda worked out. His post was a very good one and I'll try to follow that as a template for mine. (Compliments Jebsbeard!)
Let's start with an introduction to my history with pro wrestling:
There was never really a time that I didn't like wrestling, I just didn't get to watch it much as a lil' cSs'r. When I'd go visit my Dad, he had a TV in my room, so I'd wake up early and watch the weekend morning WWF show. I don't remember what it was called, but it basically just broke down the recent events and feuds that were going on in the WWF. Like the Hart/HBK feud.
From there, I'd see it once in a while and root for the usual kid fan favorites like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man, etc. I was one of those kids that cheered for anyone who looked like they were carved from stone. Thankfully, that's not as much of a must for me anymore.
Then came high school, when I started actually watching Raw and Nitro. It's easier for me to gauge the time frame from WCW programming, so I'll say it was around the time Sting was starting up on his re-emergence as "The Crow" Sting. With the WWF, I was mainly just interested in Bret Hart/HBK/The Undertaker/Stone Cold. ECW was my jam as well, I dug stuff like RVD/Lance Storm/Jerry Lynn and the longer, really technical matches, more than the bloody ones.
Eventually, after the buyouts, I felt it got stale and quit. I'd catch it once in a while though, and if something caught me (Triple H's comeback from his quad injury and the return of the Undertaker, for instance), I'd come back for a while. But I'd eventually fall off and stop caring.
The last extended run I had was around the time they brought back ECW. RVD going over on Cena? With that crowd??? YES INDEED!!!
But they messed it up and I was out. Coincidentally, that's when Punk made his debut, and I was fortunate enough to see it. Awesome-sauce! But the thing that got my whole ass back in it (as opposed to just half) was seeing video of "The Pipebomb" online. Punk spouting off so much truth really spoke to me and I was all in.
Raw comes strolling back into my life. But this time LIVE!!!
Despite all these years of loving pro wrestling, Monday Night Raw (Nov. 26th), was my first live television event. I'd been to a house show or two, but that's it. Hell, this past Night of Champions was my first, and so far only, PPV. It was really a cool and also a very odd experience.
First of all, I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is about an hour away from Lafayette. The crowd seemed a little more... let's say, "rural" than my memories of the BR house shows I went to (which were from back when they were bringing back ECW and before), so it was a bit of culture shock, and I had to remember "I'm not at home".
The Cajundome isn't a large arena, and it seemed fairly sparse to me. Although, being there and then watching it again at home was weird, because it... looked... like I was watching Raw! These people are good. They made the place look full and it seemed like every other Raw I watch at home.
Myself and my two buddies arrived, we headed over to wait for the doors to open, and there's a merch trailer sitting right there. (Awesome! I'll snatch up a few shirts.)
Oh. Ohh, so yous guys only sell like eight different shirts? You've got three Cena shirts, and only the ugly yellow GTS Punk shirt? Cool. Guess I'll save that money. Sucks.
Now, I just gotta wait for the doors. (Oh Jeebus!) As soon as they open the venue doors the ENTIRE crowd lets loose with the "FEED ME MORE" chants. (Oh no, we're gonna be THAT kinda crowd.)
The show opened with two Superstars matches. The first was Santino Marella vs David Otunga. I love Santino's schtick. He's hilarious. The "power walking" down the ramp, being thrown into the ropes and upon bouncing back he just puts his hand up??? Wordlessly telling Otunga to NOT clothesline him and let him just get twoooo more sets of power walking in and then they can continue the match. Magnificent!
Overall, the match went too long, though. I know he's comic relief, but his moveset is too limited to have a match that long and not do anything different. Hip tosses are great and all, but 17? Come on, dog.
Next up, was Brodus Clay and JTG. Maybe JTG is good. IDK. His TV matches don't allow me to see anything he has to offer. This was no different. And Brodus - his novelty has worn off. Over a year of the same match over and over, but with different people? I feel like the word "boring" doesn't quite justify how I feel about it.
Although, during a commercial break they played an ad for HotPockets with Clay and Snoop... Snoop Dogg?... Snoop Lion?... (idk what you kids are calling him these days) that had me rolling.
Ugh. Feed Me More. This guy [Ryback] is awful. He almost jumped the gun on his "MOOOOOOORE" cue. Dumbass. "Wake Up"? I wasn't asleep. Are you talking to me? The audience at home? Why would they be sleeping? Let 'em rest dude, they probs had a long day and YOU'RE not gonna make their day, that's for damn sure. I'm sorry, I just don't get that line. How does that work with his whole alpha predator "I'm never not hungry" angle? That guy is silly. He's gonna squash Titus O'Neill? Why? Isn't Vince high on Titus? I guess not as high as he is on The Ryback.
The match was actually about as competitive as a squash match can be. It is what it is. I wish the camera had gotten when Darren Young DOOOOOVE for cover when The Ryback came out of the ring. They caught him throwing those upkicks at him all willy-nilly. That guy! So funny!
Lords of Kobol, they're gonna give The Ryback a mic again??? Save me, Y2J! Well, at least he wasn't so heavy-handed with the meal metaphors. I guess he heard the legion of criticism for that dumb shit. Cripes. I dunno, dude. I still don't dig it, though.
He did the same thing last week. Saying he wasn't gonna leave til he got Punk. And why was he only focused on getting Punk? He went after Maddox. Why didn't he care about NX-3? They put him through a table. Twice. #Meathead logic, #WWE logic.
The idea of this TLC match and just how much Punk is gonna have to carry him (again) is troublesome. I understand he did alright in his other matches, but I highly doubt it's gonna work here.
There's Vicki. She works when she's supporting someone and playing up her heel character, but that shrill voice whilst playing the authority figure? Doesn't work.
Props to the "security" guy with the locks for taking that bump and selling it well past when he needed to.
I swear to the Gods every time I see Khali walk (especially down the ramp) I fear that I'm gonna see a repeat of the Psycho Sid's leg SNAP. Please stop using him, WWE.
Del Rio's good and all, but that just continued the trend of him being in matches that make me give no Fs about him. Honestly, he'll have a title match, lose, squash the crap outta dudes til they give him another shot, rinse and repeat. I'm whelmed.
I don't know anything about Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, but I like 'em so far. Reigns has the look, size and physique to be a guy that WWE would want to push, but Ambrose and Rollins clearly have the mic skills to back up the vaunted in-ring skills I've been hearing about. I'm down with them. Not a fan of the name. I agree with the Cult of Personality name. But, if they have them NOT be affiliated with Heyman, then I got nothin'.
Ugh, My Time is Now. 10 years, huh? How much of that was interesting?
So, basically all that happened here was too much Vicki, Cena and AJ working WAAAY outside the "PG Era", WWE desperately asking for more flak from women's groups and Ziggler trying to save it all with an actual set up to a match. Aside from Ziggler you can keep it. Is this gonna be when they start actually building Ziggy for his eventual title run? Or is he just gonna job to SuperCena? I guess we'll see.
I dig high flying as much as the next guy, but a lot of Kofi Kingston's moves don't look like they hurt. Plus, the guy has no mic skills. Take the belt off of him.
Tensai may be languishing here, but damn if he's not a beast. A chop off the top rope? Again, it looked like it hurt about as much as a misplaced high five. Chest slaps, weird jumping pillow kick, and an off the rope jumping clothesline. Whether in person or on TV, DOESN'T look like they even sting a little. Not even the Boom Drop. I liked the countering of Kofi's big moves. Tensai sold the catches well. But the eventual "Trouble in Paradise" and splash still don't look like anything. Only time any of those looked like they hurt was when he irl kicked Miz squah in the face.
Never really been a big fan of Barrett, but at least the guy seems like a star of stature. And, if they give him the IC belt, I think it'll actually elevate the title. Hopefully, they give him some high profile opponents.
Hell No = backstage bit. Money! Absolute Money!
PS: I can see where the average fan would vote for Kane, because they want to see the heel champ go up against the bigger guy, but how is Kane that much more over on my boy D-Bry??? I call shenanigans.
Bryan vs Punk is always magic. Whatever, DB sells anything they give him. Was that really the first time DB and Rey Mysterio (jr) had a match, by the way?
Oh, and, the red goatee? Not a fan. Daniel Bryan doing mat-wrestling and submission holds is so key. For me Mysterio hasn't been impressive since WCW. Only having matches with guys that tower over him, ballooning up in weight to the point that he can't do all that he used to do, and all the injuries compounding that fact, just make his matches now pale in comparison.
By the way, yous guys didn't miss much during the commercial break. They basically just worked the crowd for reactions the whole time. I was so hoping D-Bry would pull out the Surfboard or the Bow and Arrow. That S is fantastic and nobody does that kinda stuff anymore. That kick to the head, and Bryan's face when that happened, was tremendous. The guy is just great at all the big and little things in making a match work.
The 619 (even around the ringpost), and the "Dropping the Dime", are such weak-sauce as finishers. The Hurricanrana isn't that much better, but it's better than that. Why do they gotta job-out D-Bry all the time? He's better than that.
Okay, so, two promos in one show? I really hope this is them building Ziggler and working on his skills. The match itself was actually much better than I thought it would be, with some impressive moments:
Like, Ziggler throwing Cena into the steps, and Cena selling it by really launching them. Ziggler pulling off some kinda reverse Stunner? Or a Jawbreaker of some sort? The flying DDT, which is always great. Ziggles also got some real offense in there against Cena. (I guess I should thank Cena for allowing that to happen.)
This is what we have all been talking about. Ziggler is so unselfish that he spends the entirety of his matches getting PWNT and landing almost no significant offense. Most of his offense are sleeper holds or those elbows.
Don't get me wrong, these are nice moves, but the guy needs some real moves -- power moves and such -- moves, which make it seem like he can really hurt an opponent, at least half as much as he sells their offense. Otherwise, he'll never get over. He has to be able to, believably, be in a match where he's hurting the guy.
Help me out cSs'rs. Was that move the Show Off did, "The ZigZag"? For some reason I feel like I've seen him do that AND "The Fame-Asser" and heard the announcers call them both "The ZigZag". I'm confused.
How awkward looking was AJ when she was walking Vicki down? Is she Michaela Myers? Well, at least they made the match exponentially more competitive than I expected. It doesn't have to mean they aren't building Ziggler for his title run. Since NOBODY beats Cena. I mean, it WOULD make more since to have Ziggler win smoz finishes on TV, so the eventual PPV clean finish means something, but what do I know?
Also, Can we just call Cena, "Peter Perfect" (from Wacky Races)??? The guy is just THAT 2 dimensional. The overcoming EVERYTHING thing just makes for boring TV, and bad acting. Such as, I don't get what people are saying about Cena "selling" that ankle. He COMPLETELY stopped once he rolled back in for that finisher, barely even struggled lifting Ziggles up, even walked around with him on his shoulders, climbed up the turnbuckle, jumped down and walked around without wincing.
Which foot is it? The one he used to push down the ropes for AJ? He did shake the ropes to make it seem like it hurt. QUIT DOING THAT YOU DUMB ASSHOLE!!! I thought all that crap was awful. The whole thing (since he rolled back in) seems to me just like what Geno brought up when he mentioned that he stops selling once he gets pinned. He was going for the finish, so it's time for SuperCena to make his appearance. Terrible. Good for Ziggler, but terrible acting on Cena's part.
30 chair shots? Dude, I don't know that this Sheamus/Big Show feud is gonna end at TLC, but I hope it does. I hear yous guys saying they work well together, but I never see those matches, and I can't handle more of Sheamus talking. He's Gods-awful. Big Show is great on the mic, but he can't elevate crap.
I was SO worried that the Antonio Cesaro match was gonna be a squash. Luckily, it wasn't. He's got such potential. This isn't the gimmick that'll get him to the next level, but he's got the skills to make it. Good match between the two, with some very memorable moments.
I tend to focus on Antonio's bits, because I actually like the guy.
The gut-wrench takeover is always a truly impressive move. That crazy move AC did where he lifted Sheamus into a reverse Torture Rack and then threw him over and Planted Sheamus, well done sir! Then, he hit his air European Uppercut, but this time from Sheamus jumping off the top rope, the impact on that was tremendous! It looked way better in person, as the camera was at a weird angle. Both of those moves are better than his real finisher.
Cesaro's still got those fingers taped. (Must be bad.) He head-butted him! Hah! Get it? It's cuz he's a rugby hooligan! They decided against selling the new mid-card guy short. Good for you WWE. I'm so proud of Cesaro! (And I guess I should thank Sheamus for allowing the match to go like that.) He doesn't have to sell it as competitive.
When The Big Show made his appearance, I was a little disappointed at first. He just came out, let The Wee Baby Sheamus bland it up on the mic, beat the Shit outta that chair, and then PEACED!! But, once it happened I realized, that's really all he needed to do. Dude wordlessly sold that whole segment! Odd, and sort of anticlimactic to not get much Big Show, but I guess I can't complain with how well he played that. Show understands the power of brevity. (Something I never learned.)
The crowd HAAATED Sandow! WAS RYDER WEARING GHOSTBUSTERS THEMED PADS???? Fuck that guy! FUCK!!! THAT GUY!!!
Thankfully, Sandow rid me of the miscreant! That beard is pure majesty, by the way. The Elbow of Disdain isn't really the most devastating looking move ever, but then again, neither is The People's Elbow. Or, the abysmal Five Knuckle Shuffle.
Did I hallucinate right then, or did Ryder SKIP across the ring to land an elbow? I love how Sandow is forever flipping over when he lands stuff so he can go for the cover, like when he landed his finisher.
Also, I believe he was actually doing a pseudo "Thinker" pose, with his fist under his chin, while pinning Ryder! Wonderful! This guy is such a callback to old-school character gimmicks. Yet, done in such a cool and modern way. I can't get over how perfectly this man performs the character. He is gonna be a big deal. Not even joking.
So, Heyman mentioned "the whims of the WWE Universe". Is that a callback to the interview with The Shield? They did stress the question as to them working "directly for CM Punk", while completely sidestepping that if they work for anyone, it would be Heyman.
You really have NO idea how much I marked out for Punk's entrance! That song and that guy? Just a perfect marriage!
Is it supposed to be a heel thing that Punk throws his shirt to Heyman and Heyman hands it off to ringside officials? Seems like it to me. Not sure if that came through on TV. Yeah, I felt like when Punk yelled out "Best in the World", it was cuz the crowd was dead. Maybe it sounded different to yous guys on TV, but that's what I got out of it.
Watching Heyman walk around all happy, or all anxious, was really great. But, seeing him on TV and hearing the stuff he was saying was even better. "Take the count-out!" Hah! Brilliant!
I really don't know or remember when Punk messed up his ankle. Watching on TV, Cole mentioned him being taped up beneath his pads. So, a previous injury?
Alright, why are The Shield interfering in THIS match? Maybe it's a callback to Rollins' comment about disliking the WWE Universe? Ugh, Feed Me More. Ew. Doing the Kurt Angle, Undertaker pulling the straps down thing? Adding new and interesting wrinkles to his character ALLLL the time (dismissive wank). Ambrose threw himself onto The Ryback like some kinda primate! Silliness.
I got a better question Cole: "Since Heyman was known in the WWE for managing monsters, will he at some point jump ship to The Ryback?"
All in all, I enjoyed the hell out of my first Raw live event yous guys!
I even enjoyed re-watching it in case I was on camera at any point. (I wasn't.) And, I enjoyed it WAY more when WWE did an ad during a commercial break saying they were coming back in February with an appearance from...
We left our seats and went straight to the box office. You're good, WWE. You're good.
Editor's Note: This FanPost was proofed, edited and promoted to the front page of Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders. Write up one of your own and maybe we will do the same!