What was it I said back when AJ was simply known as “Daniel Bryan’s manager”? Oh yeah: “She’s cute, but I can’t say what I really want to because she CAN’T be legal.” Yes, she was a bubbly thing of freshman innocence and barely legal physique, but there was something undeniable about her appeal as well. Maybe it was her smile. Maybe it was her obsessive traits. Maybe it was because the chick was crazy, and as we all know because of this saying that I paraphrase from a Mr. Peter Ian Staker: “Crazy chicks do it better.”
I guess that’s true, whatever “it” is. I have theories. Maybe “it” is sports. AJ is a rather athletic little imp. Maybe “it” is collecting nerd things. AJ is something of a video game nerd, a real geek as it were. God bless the population of gamers that look that good and act that crazy. Gives this heavy gaming geek hope he hasn’t had since Zoe Saldana broke it off with Keith Britton. Sure, she’s with Bradley Cooper now but I have hope. Let’s start this hashtag and get something started: #BoycottBradleyCooper.
Then, at the end of the day, maybe it’s just that she has a magnetic appeal that draws people in. Maybe that “it” is sheer appeal. Or straight sex, I don’t know. But when her power pop music hits and her brightly colored Titantron intro begins, the crowd cheers. When she skips out from backstage, with her usually tight midriff shirt, impossibly short short-shorts and Converse sneakers, we get that warm feeling along the lines of what Leopold Bloom had in The Producers. Max Bialystock called it an erection… or Malaria… not that it matters: there’s a shot for everything these days.
And in complete transparency, I have to say that I love the character of AJ Lee. I love how she rose from being Daniel Bryan’s latest conquest to being the leading woman in the company (arguably sports entertainment (that’s a post for another day)). I love seeing her come out week after week, from the position of manager to the position of lunatic to the position of power to the position she is in now. And much like our friend Bryan Danielson, her story is a curious one. It literally is a story that extends as far back as NXT, Season 3, where she was the rookie to Primo, of all people. This is my confession: I did NOT watch NXT Season 3 that much at all.
I know it doesn’t really help my “Women’s wrestling is valid!” argument (another post for another day) but I just didn’t care. My feelings towards NXT were lacking because it wasn’t what it is now. This lends to the issue of expectation, but I appreciated what it was even then, just didn’t care to watch it. Season one of the program had Wade Barrett win and shortly after the Nexus came into existence, as well as the rise of Daniel Bryan (funny how these things connect). Season two featured Kaval, aka Low Ki, aka that guy whose racial makeup is harder to read than Vin Diesel’s, win and, subsequently, get let go. That guy Alex Riley was there too. Great how that worked out. It’s really something when your greatest claim to WWE fame is getting thrown into a wall by the Big Show.
By the time Season three came along I was really “meh” about NXT. I watched two episodes, saw Naomi kicking serious buttocks, and just assumed everything would end up copasetic. End of the day, Kaitlyn won – to my surprise – and outside of Jaime the women all had futures in the WWE. Just to jog your memory, these women are: Kaitlyn, Naomi, A.J., Aksana and Maxine. You may be wondering to yourself what they’re all doing now. Well here’s the short form:
Kaitlyn is wrestling at the top of the Divas division right now, a stark contrast to most of the Divas in that she doesn’t come out as a sex object so much as a violent tank of a woman (I like that). Naomi is paired with Cameron as a Funkadactyl, dancing for Brodus Clay and touching her cohort’s behind with her own (I like that too). Aksana went through a bout as Teddy Long’s love interest, which was bizarre and unnecessary, but mostly bizarre and mildly amusing as old sexual innuendos are smile worthy, not guffaw worthy. Maxine was paired with Johnny Curtis, and that’s all that needs to be said about that. She was released and she most definitely will NOT be Fandango’s dance partner, if you catch my meaning.
And then there’s A.J. She was paired with Kaitlyn and they were thrown into the tag team fray, one representing power, one representing speed (I’m assuming). Prior to all of this she was FCW, had the title but gave it up to Rosa Mendes. That should have been mentioned earlier but I don’t do traditional rules of literary form. Anyway, paired with Kaitlyn, the team known as the Chickbusters tried to do damage to the tag team division, but kept getting damaged in return by the Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya), a team that was unfair in every conceivable way. After getting repeatedly beaten up, A.J. focused on a new prize: the then-James Bond of WWE Superstars, former World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. Like I said, funny how these things interrelate, eh?
So as some of us pondered on what Jay Lethal was thinking as A.J. was slobbing down his old tag team partner, we saw the dark fall of Daniel Bryan, and A.J.’s degradation as a result. With Wrestlemania and the 19.3 second loss Bryan suffered, the degradation began to affect A.J. parallel to Bryan. As he went through his denial of losing the title and began to long process of growing his beard to Bunyan proportions, A.J. was going through the denial of being dumped and, you could argue, was feeding off of the cruelty that was Daniel Bryan’s entertaining anger. Superstars and Divas alike attempted to calm her. Her reactions to that comfort ranged from mild to extreme, and the further we went down the line the harsher she was. She noticeably smacked NXT Season 3 winner Kaitlyn, twice, but the second time came much later.
This was around the time of the turning point, where A.J. advanced from sympathetic jilted sidepiece to sexy violent jilted sidepiece. Before Wrestlemania the Big Show served as the catalyst to Bryan’s true “feelings” towards A.J. and it became clearer and clearer before TRULY culminating in A.J.’s straight demolition of Kaitlyn. An amused Daniel Bryan went to the ring following A.J.’s furious assault and further berated the woman who claimed to still hold a torch for him. Introducing Crazy A.J., who went from cute and bubbly to “Oh my, it appears I’ve been struck with a rigor mortis in my….” Well, you get the idea.
With this new crazy (as well as sexy (not necessarily cool)) A.J.’s affections turned to the WWE Champion CM Punk. I remember the first words I said when she cried around him and stopped as suddenly as she began….
Because, of course, I had grown invested in the character at this point, and like an
underwhelming episode episode of Days of Our Lives. I looked at CM Punk the way I would Chad DiMera, confused and questioning the world at large following a major revelation when here comes that bitch Abby Deveraux ready to screw up everything with her… uh…
She seduced CM Punk who famously “digs crazy chicks”, and shortly after Kane was brought into the fray. Remember this, reader, because it comes back later. Daniel Bryan began to show signs of jealousy and he and Punk feuded, and then Kane feuded, and as the WWE Championship was being pursued by two new upstarts there was a curious thing going on: A.J. She was the center of everything, with Punk’s growing attraction to her at one point, Bryan’s confused feelings for her at another, and Kane’s recovering memory of what lust for a living
teenager woman feels like at another. Who was the point of that triangulation though?
She locked lips with the whole of them, Bryan before, Punk later, Kane most humorously as it led him to tag himself out of a match and probably go to the back for a date with Pamela Handerson. Then everything became about A.J. first and that belt second. This was when Punk was still an underappreciated face, Bryan was slowly coming around to face territory and Kane was… well, Kane was, as he always is: Kane. After a while, A.J.’s popularity reached skyrocketing status, and prior to the 1000th episode of RAW, Bryan had made a full turnout to sympathetic face territory. Punk was slowly going towards heel territory and Kane was, as he always is: Kane. This, of course, led to the proposal and, subsequently, the wedding on that aforementioned episode. This was the proposal of Bryan to A.J. mind you, not the one from A.J. to Punk before. Lunacy was running rampant. Anyway Reverend Slick, in all his greatness, led us to the most light hearted wedding we’ve seen in the WWE since Kane made a habit out of a assaulting religious figures. It was nice, it featured the sexy nymph in her Converses even as she skipped out in a wedding dress and…
She said no. Forget the fact that Daniel Bryan was about to make that word as great as it is now following his successful campaign to make “Yes” Webster’s word of the decade, the fact was that A.J. was about to do what no Diva had done and take over a show. McMahon came out and introduced the new general manager of RAW: A.J. Lee. As she left the ring, doing the infamous “Yes!” chant her now ex-fiancé popularized (this was the birth of Daniel Bryan’s equally awesome “No!” chant and tantrum) we could see that a new era had begun. And only so soon after Johnny Ace introduced People Power too. At least the new unnamed era of A.J. Lee was easy on the eyes. She has the touch.
A.J. began to run RAW with a cute, iron fist. Bryan was reprimanded for his cruel behavior to her and committed (remember how we all wondered about the orderlies on episode 1000?) and Kane was sent to help. Punk gained a new enemy following a heel turn and began to taunt A.J. with expanded definitions of “best in the world”, if you catch my meaning. Sure, it was funny. We all miss the segments with Dr. Shelby and the oh-so-awesome Harold, but it was still all about A.J. As she ruled backstage and the like, we saw her begin to break down little by little in her finest corporate attire, a look she managed to pull off better than Eve in my opinion. Eventually it became a little uninteresting to follow, and eventually it turned to Vickie Guerrero to challenge A.J. and constantly refer to her as “little girl”. By this point I had put aside my underage jokes too so I didn’t find it to be amusing. And, because I’ve skipped a few minor elements to get to this point, eventually Vickie began a campaign of her own to remove A.J. from power and become the new GM in the same way she wanted to run Smackdown. This brings us up to her firing from the position of general manager, Vickie’s rise as an emperor to the WWE shogunate.
Oh, and John Cena is involved too. That’s nice, I guess.
Now back in the Diva role, A.J. is still doing something spectacular, and that’s pushing along what has the potential to be a truly compelling story. Ultimately what she’s pushing forward is the rise of Dolph Ziggler, which began as a proxy from Vickie’s ambitions and Cena’s unnecessary (at least I think so) inclusion. Short form: A.J. lost her position because of an alleged affair with John Cena, and now Ziggler is involved because Vickie wouldn’t let up. The latest real culmination was a backstage brawl that featured Ziggler nearly murder Cena by putting him into and thus through bathroom stalls. To quote that school therapist from ‘Til Death: “It’s pretty awesome.”
But despite that, let’s look at what’s really interesting here: A.J. is once again leading something of a triangle. The original was Punk, Bryan and Kane, all fighting for her attention and prepubescent body, NO! Bad DiZ, no more jokes like that, stop it! What I mean to say is that they were all attracted to her completely legal persona. This time we have Cena, Ziggler and, surprisingly enough, Guerrero. Walk with me as I get into this.
Point one. It started with Vickie Guerrero. She’s on a standard power trip but her consistent use of the term “little girl” when referring to A.J. spells blatant jealousy as well. The necklace she wears, “Cougar”, would normally imply a kind of acceptance or admiration of her age and personal sex appeal but the constant booing from the audience, booing that drowns out everything and sounds louder than almost ANYTHING that the WWE can generate right now, is a definite deterrent to that confidence that she exudes when she comes out. A.J., on the other hand, is almost on the completely opposite end of the scale, from her physical appearance to her personality. Whereas Vickie is thick (in a good way, mind you), A.J. is VERY slender, if athletic. Vickie is in her mid forties whereas A.J. is a spry twentysomething.
At the same time, Vickie could and likely DOES see similar elements of herself in A.J. The most obvious thing might be the vengeful attitude they both share. It comes across differently, with Vickie being a bit of a deceptive sort and A.J. being the type to preserve her anger until it explodes, but they share the same kind of mean streak that manifests in SOMEBODY getting messed up royally. You could also say their desire for men is similar, with both of them going above and beyond their stations as managers to achieve their goals and help their Y chromosomed companions win or maintain their championships or chances thereof. For Vickie the clear reference is Dolph Ziggler, her longtime “client” whom she has a physical attraction to and has made clear implications to being attracted to, arguably under the guise of maintaining his Money in the Bank briefcase (kind of like the second female voice in Saints Row the Third, who wants to do things to Pierce that I highly doubt are legal outside of Bangkok or Mongolia). A.J., on the other hand, had Daniel Bryan before, the World Heavyweight Champion, who went further and further down the path of villainy. A.J. stuck by him before it, during it and after he dumped her, and made any effort she could to maintain that championship run in her man, past, present and future. Did it not continue with her relationship with CM Punk?
Finally, they are both of Hispanic origins. I’d make a comment about how they’re both dangerously hot headed, but that would be racist. And I’m not racist: I drive a Prius. Wait… no, I mean… damn that The New Adventures of Old Christine logic. Damn that Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her fine ass…
Point two. The second person to be introduced into the arc was technically John Cena. At this point John Cena doesn’t need an introduction or a rationale: he’s John Cena. He comes out and cuts a promo and there is guaranteed money. What his inclusion into this story means is likely (A) a result of his aging, (B) utilizing him to put other stars over, or (C) just because. An affair with John Cena seems to have some element of validity with the sports entertainment world, I don’t know, look at the whole Cena-Ryder-Eve mess from way back (which I CALLED!). Cena was accused of having an affair with A.J. He seems to play second fiddle to everyone else involved right now though. He’s the straight man, the one who wonders aloud what he’s doing and tries to play the good guy despite the temptations around him. Despite Vickie’s accusations he tries to merely deny them. Despite A.J.’s advances now he tries to merely remain professional. His focus, as usual, is on the man standing opposite him in the ring in all his sweaty goodness. Before you think it: yes, I do think John Cena is a major gay icon. You know, in the same vein as Madonna, who isn’t gay herself, but has a TREMENDOUS gay following. Just saying: you got a kid six, seven years old, watches John Cena every week, don’t be surprised if he’s bringing home a male cheerleader for dinner ten years later. Yeah, I said it.
John Cena also plays the role of the knight in shining armor, the man who protects the damsel in distress (A.J.) and fights the dragon (Ziggler) and the evil witch (Guerrero) for the sake of it being the right thing to do, not anything else. But despite all this he’s human, and on one hand he attempts to appease the dark forces by actually indulging in the very thing he’s criticized for. Does he look like he enjoys it? Not when he initiates it. Why? Because he was just making a point. But when the other side of that fence initiates it, well, it’s a different story. With a healthy dose of plausible deniability towards beginning a PDA with a co-worker, he indulges, so long as he didn’t start it. It’s similar to how he was with Eve so long ago. Remember: he didn’t kiss Eve. Eve kissed him. Otherwise his focus was on protecting Eve and Zack from the villainous Dark Lord of the Sith Kane. But he was kissed, and as a result, when Zack went to the ring to confront him, who came across as the innocent one, even as he stepped to his sidekick as if he was the enemy? That’s right…
Point three. The real focus, the man of the hour, Mr. Money in the Bank himself, Dolph Ziggler. You could make a case that his inclusion into the storyline revolves, in the beginning, around his protection of his manager. Soon after it becomes an attack on A.J.’s life and personality, even accusations about her motives and intentions. That’s part of what made the culmination of his and Cena’s brief backstage brawl so compelling. Recall how it began. Ziggler made an assumption that A.J. was thinking about him when she was kissing Cena (because it’s PG we can’t say when they’re doodling each other’s no-no regions (remember: it’s the Attitude Adjustment in the ring, the FU in the boudoir)) and Cena, being the boy scout that he was, went to defend the lady’s honor, or get revenge for his “girlfriend” with a Forrest Gump type of focus. Either way, he ended up messed up.
But Ziggler’s role in this triangle is the most interesting of them all. When A.J. burst into the men’s locker room and confronted Ziggler, I found it almost divine that he went off on her the way he did. It wasn’t loud, it wasn’t extra, it was straight up and, in a way, empowering. April Mendez’s circumstances in life were bad, this is true, and implanting them into a WWE storyline is a questionable tactic, but we watch for the character versus the person behind them, even though oftentimes they blend, something we’ve seen with CM Punk’s family being utilized in his feud with Chris Jericho, or Jerry Lawler’s recently deceased mother when he was feuding with Michael Cole.
We also have to look at what Ziggler he said on both sides of his argument about A.J., berating her in one instance and almost joyously claiming to be the object of her desires in another. A solid heel tactic, it also shows us Dolph’s confusion towards the woman, likely being just as disgusted by her as he is attracted to her. What began as a two-sided conflict between Cena and Ziggler over the attack and defense of Vickie’s accusations, respectively, turned into a three-pronged assault for A.J.’s eye following Ziggler’s grand standing statement of “She’s thinking about ME!” Like I said, normally this would just be a common heel tactic. When A.J. is involved it becomes a question along the same vein of Lupe Fiasco as Michael Young History: “‘Do I love her?’ Said, ‘I don’t know…’”
Ziggler’s character is that of a big time chauvinist and ego maniac. What he said to and about A.J. was harsh, enough to spawn a rough silence even in the audience, but behind what seemed like a damning serious of accusations (which, again, were translated into PG territory) was a scary subliminal message of “Do better!”. As a person, mind you, a character. When I watched Ziggler and A.J. in that segment, I didn’t get the sense that I was watching a man with an inflated ego talk down to a woman trying to get answers for her friend. I got the sense that I was watching a concerned elder brother deliver tough love to a troubled younger sister unable to see – or acknowledge – her faults.
It’s weird. Of course saying brother and sister is a bit of a stretch, but it does paint Ziggler as a more well rounded figure as opposed to just being an asshole (sidenote: Bully Ray is more of an asshole than Mr. Anderson according to Aaron James, Ph.D). He represents the stark reality of who A.J. just may be. He’s on the rise to greatness in this company, and it’s great to see his character is more than just a heel with an overactive ego.
But who is at the center? A.J. Again. To make it even stronger, she’s in the center of a storyline with John Cena being a part of it. That’s like having a Wrestlemania match with the Undertaker* in terms of prestige. Seeing the two in the ring together, sharing a kiss, I couldn’t help but think about that Cena-Ryder-Kane-Eve storyline that took place so long ago. As great as that storyline could have been it was ruined by the payoff that was Eve’s “revelation” of using Ryder and Cena for prestige, grandeur, greatness and possibly physical pleasure. If anything you could argue that SHE was Kane’s protégé the entire time, or the Amanda to Kane’s John Kramer, if you will. It makes me wonder about A.J.
That’s the second major point of the curious case of April Mendez. If the first is that she forms triangles around her, the second is a question of her ultimate intentions. While the kiss with Cena physically resembled the infamous Suddenly (as sung by Billy Ocean) moment with Eve, the cold-blooded words from Ziggler got the cogs in my head turning. “What does A.J. Lee really want?” She went from tag team Diva, to Bryan’s latest conquest (maybe it was SHE who invented “Yes! Yes! Yes!”, if you know what I mean), to main event symbol of attraction, to general manager, to sharing the spotlight with John Cena. That’s arguably a step up in power each time.
What does this have to do with Eve? Eve lusted after power, and she went from top Diva to Ryder’s reason for plunking his twanger to Cena’s fleeting but significant snake charmer, to being Johnny Ace’s head administrator, and yes, I have to admit that it sounds really sexualized but that last part was her official title. She rose in strength, and last I checked she was Divas’s Champion, again, after a bit as Teddy Long’s assistant.
I say they ruined that storyline with Eve the second they had her reveal her intentions; Cena overhearing was just icing on the nasty cake. If A.J. is supposed to have some kind of dark element or egomaniacal intentions to her, it can work because she’s believable as a long-term planner. Eve seemed to use, of all people, Zack Ryder, and John Cena was thrown in later as some kind of twisted “big brother” to the man who made wheelchair violence seem funny. A.J. can come across as vindictive and sympathetic, and all the while everything can seem organic with her. If she does turn out to be doing all she’s doing, forming these triangles and such for her own advancement, would it seem wrong? Would she not have motive and proper motivation? What if she was really just crazy? What if she really did just jump from guy to guy because she liked the attention?
This is what makes A.J. Lee such a curious case. She’s the girl next door but she’s so impossibly believable too. How can you not love her bubbly personality and, if I am to paraphrase Rich Boy: “Dat ass”? April Mendez, in all her wonder, is at the top of her game right now, and this is completely unrelated, but she’s not too too bad in the ring either. All that in mind, I look forward to what’s next for April Mendez, aka A.J. Lee. She’s the queen of the crazy in the WWE. The queen of sanity.
Oh, and just because I’m feeling nice, here’s a John Laurinaitis promo:
* denotes hyperbole, exaggeration or drunken assertions
I’ve got to be honest with you guys…I really wasn’t into Monday night’s episode of RAW. In fact I was so not into the episode that in order to do this review properly, I watched the show again on YouTube. I actually watched it while typing this review.
In the past few months, pro wrestling fans have flexed their critically cynical muscles by lambasting the WWE for producing subpar programming, particularly with respect to the product offered by other companies. But this is a RAW review, and we’re not here to compare oranges to crab apples; if we’re going to rake RAW over the coals, we can do it without mentioning who does what better.
My feelings from last week haven’t changed; pro wrestling/sports entertainment seems to be in a dormancy period that is in turn making everything seem boring. This is unfortunate for the WWE because there are a lot of great things going on for the company right now, most noteworthy being the revitalization of the tag team division.
But everything else is just blah to me. Fact is that if you missed this show, you could get the gist of it by watching the 40 billion RAW Rewinds that will air on the 900 hours of WWE programming airing between now and Friday.
I’m not one for ultimatums, but I can say that Monday’s RAW left me anxious for this week’s episode of NXT. Terrible thing when the flagship show makes you appreciate the show that doesn’t even air in this country.
Those feelings aside, here are three things that stuck out to me:
- Live from Oklahoma City, it’s Monday Night RAWWWWW!
- MinoriTEAMS featuring Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
- Newfound Respect: Cesaro and Sandow
I was initially amazed at the talent in the ring at the beginning of the show…and those feelings quickly dissipated once the segment reached its climax.
When conversations begin about the next generation of WWE Superstars (something I’ll hit on in a future post), it’s amazing to consider the abilities and skills of the superstars and divas surging down the pipeline. As Paul Heyman mentioned during the segment, the “here-and-now” of the WWE was gathered in the ring at once and it was a beautiful sight. To see CM Punk with Heyman, Dolph Ziggler with Vickie Guerrero, Kane and Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee all in the ring at once…it was quite the sexy sight.
It was when Daniel Bryan interrupted the segment to talk about his looks, his beard, and his reign as the tag team champions that the whole thing just got silly. What was an interesting back and forth between Team Best In the World and Team Money In the Bank turned into an opening monologue for Saturday Night Live. It depressed me.
This isn’t to say that all opening segments have to be as serious as a soteriological debate between Lance Storm and Dean Malenko, but the reality of a sports entertainment doctrine was very evident during that opening segment. I understand and agree with the idea that pro wrestling has to be entertaining, and the segment was entertaining before the introduction of shtick.
It was entertaining for me mostly because of Paul Heyman. Watching the man work a crowd and turn a phrase is like witnessing Michelangelo craft a masterpiece. His mannerisms, facial expressions, and poignant comments made the whole thing pop, and to see him verbally spar with the equally abrasive Vickie Guerrero was near perfect.
The whole purpose for AJ, Kane and Daniel Bryan was to set up the main event and that’s fine; but I just really feel like it took the entire segment in a different direction, a direction that really had to do with AJ more than it did the superstars and managers in the ring.
If that truly is the case then we can understand why (kayfabe) CM Punk feels disrespected. Even with John Cena missing from television, the show is still not about the WWE Champion. A fan can only hope a payoff to all this is coming in the near future.
WWE has done wonders to revitalize its dying tag team division. From having a single-elimination tournament to decide the number one contenders, to having the tag teammates dress alike, these minor improvements have gone a long way to show fans that WWE truly “cares” about tag team wrestling…well, at least Triple H does.
Did anyone else notice how the teams made up of minorities were facing each other in the tournament? Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara faced Epico and Primo Monday night, and on Friday The Prime Time Players will face R-Truth and Kofi Kingston on Smackdown.
That type of wrestling brings back memories…
And people said they wanted the Attitude Era back.
Occasionally there are moments in a given company where superstars will go above and beyond what is expected of them. We can only assume that these superstars have, at some point, become aware of an opportunity for career advancement. In other words, no John Cena equals prime opportunity to run with the ball.
Both Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow showed their asses Monday night by doing some impressive things in the ring. Cesaro’s moment arrived when he leveled the massive Brodus Clay with his finisher, The Neutralizer.
Damien Sandow’s spot in the sunshine came during his entire match with Sheamus, where he literally went toe-to-toe with the brutish son of Ireland and held his own for the majority of a very lengthy match.
I won’t sit and predict that either man will hold a major championship before the sun sets on the year, but I can say that both men performed as if they had something to prove to someone watching the show. Creatively speaking Sandow and Cesaro’s characters have been stuck in neutral for quite some time; their performances injected some much needed life into the two stock, generic characters.
For example: up until Monday Cesaro dominated his competition with relative ease. While he did not give Clay a sound thrashing, he did manage to lift the behemoth off of his feet for his finisher. Keep in mind that there are only a select few individuals that put Brodus Clay on his duff.
Meanwhile Damien Sandow shed his typically foppishly dandy demeanor to prove that he could be just as ruthless and relentless as Mankind. I still think the character is a tool, but kudos to the man and his work by showing that he can hold his own against opponents of substance.
Those are just my thoughts on the show; what do YOU think???
The month of May appears to be the most uneventful set of days for pro wrestling fans. With two wrestling Pay Per Views coming up in the next two weeks (TNA’s aptly named Sacrifice on Mother’s Day, May 13, and the WWE’s Over the Limit on May 20, the feast of St. Bernadine of Siena…), I have the sensation to yawn every time I see a show leading up to either event.
If it’s one thing that I know and espouse ever chance I get it’s that the “business” is cyclical, meaning that there will be just as many valleys as there are peaks. There will always be highs and lows, and last night’s RAW was definitely nothing to bring back down to the Israelites (the Rt. Rev. and Mr. Gammon will catch that reference).
The show lacked sizzle; it felt about as regular as tighty-whities. Nothing extraordinary happened and there’s really not much to go on about. John Cena did his best impersonation of The Rock…via satellite…and CM Punk lost a handicap match against Lord Tensai and Daniel Bryan.
Other than that, you could’ve easily mistaken the entire show as a two-hour listening session of John Laurinaitis reading The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Nevertheless, here are a few of the noteworthy things from the episode that stuck out to me:
- Johnny Ace…HILARIOUS…??? Whut da hayl?!?!
- Stable Warfare in the WWE, now with MORE Mason Ryan!
- Mr. Ashley Morris wins the Divas IMPACT MOMENT of the Night Trophy
- Oh Yeah, Paul Heyman came back.
The opening segment of the show featured John Laurinaitis going into a tirade against all the injustices that have been flung at him in the past few weeks. I honestly laughed the entire time he was on the mic.
I especially guffawed when the man referred to himself as being “skillful and dangerous” (hence the title of this review). The laugh riot ensued when CM Punk joined the fracas and added his two cents, at one point highlighting the fact that the Ace Crusher “has no friends.” I don’t know why I found that one statement particularly funny, but it was.
THEN the Funkster had the audacity, the unmitigated gall to threaten CM Punk, telling the WWE Champion that if he were not careful, he would “pummel” him.
I’m not sure about other fans, but this was the most entertaining John Laurinaitis has ever been on WWE television. The sad thing is that I’m very sure that all parties involved were being very serious…
Whatever the case may be, check out DiZ’s last piece on Johnny Ace’s character development; it’s definitely worth the read.
Tag team wrestling is making a comeback in 2012, and while it’s easy to get into debates on which promotion has the “best” tag team division, it can not be denied that at least some importance is being given back to what was a dying institution within pro wrestling.
For weeks Abraham Washington (a.k.a. A Double-Ewe) has been vying for the attention of the former tag team champions The Colons and their dame de la noche, Rosa Mendes. It’s funny how they didn’t need the man until after they lost the titles.
Now with Kofi and Truth on the rise as a team, the Colons and friend have opted to utilize AW’s services, which includes forcing them to watch tag team matches as opposed to placing them in actual tag matches. At least now they’re actually featured on television.
An interesting turn of events occurred last night, however, when Mason Ryan appeared and stood with the unlikely cadre of individuals backstage. To quote Greg Helms, “wassupwitdat??!?!”
While I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect of seeing Batista 7 toss more hapless victims into the crowd, I am intrigued by what appears to be the formation of a stable. Vickie Guerrero, for the past few years, has excelled at creating groups of stars intent on dominating the WWE. As of late, however, Swagger and Ziggler have not proven themselves to be worthy long term investments.
AW could spell trouble for Eddie’s widow in this sense, and it would be cool to see what would happen if and when these two forces collide…especially if the WWE decides to keep Bragging Rights now that the brand split is…non-existent.
Last night I was engaged in an in-depth Skype conversation with the Rt. Rev. Showtime and Mr. Quinn Gammon during RAW. When it was announced that the Divas would be in tag team action, we all took bets on how long the match would actually last.
Mr. Quinn Gammon – 4:00 tops; Rt. Rev. Showtime – Mere seconds. Mr. Ashley Morris – 1:15 tops.
Our official L.E.W.D. time…1:05. #ASHWINS
Unfortunately that’s the highlight of the entire one minute, five second match. That and the fact that Maxine was once again on my television screen.
When CM Punk tweeted a picture of Paul Heyman last night prior to his triumphant return to RAW, I was sure that the WWE Universe would rise up and collectively squeem all over the place.
When Heyman entered the arena, stood in the middle of the ring and introduced himself, three people clapped and started up the weakest ECW chant imaginable. That made me sad.
Most fans who were kids/teens during the Attitude Era can’t deny the fact that Heyman’s reception last night was a tad bit disappointing, but it shows us all just how much today’s product has changed or evolved. There’s nothing wrong with this, however, and we can take these lemons and make them into lemonade if we choose to.
Some believe that Lesnar could prosper with a mouthpiece, as his mic skills were never exceptional. Two weeks later, Paul Heyman shows up as Lesnar’s legal representative, and our prayers have been seemingly answered.
But unfortunately all signs point to an epic battle between Lesnar and Triple H, who is apparently this generation’s Hulk Hogan in regards to his ability to create glory for himself; either that or he’s the new Jeff Jarrett.
Whatever the case may be, Heyman’s appearance, reception and segment all fell just as flat as the rest of the episode. So there you have it…
But those are just my thoughts…what do YOU think?!?!?!