(The following piece is contributed by new Funkhouser writer Richmond Bramblet)
Welcome to “Raw is Funkhouser.” Each week, I’ll sit through (and usually enjoy) three straight hours of Sports Entertainment on Monday night for your benefit. I’ll recap some of the action, while highlighting the pros and the cons of the episode.
Also, I want this to be as interactive as possible, so during the upcoming weeks, feel free to live tweet with me (@rbramblet) using the hashtag #KSRWrassleTalk. I’ll take the best and funniest comments and put them into the “Raw is Funkhouser” recap for the week.
So let’s get this first recap on the road:
Pro: SummerSlam Recaps
There are two things that are exciting about showing a recap of SummerSlam at the top of the show.
1) Reliving Daniel Bryan winning the WWE Championship and realizing we get more D-Bry over the next couple of months, possibly through WrestleMania
2) Remembering that I got my DirecTV bill yesterday, and seeing that they didn’t charge me for ordering SummerSlam.
Con: Doesn’t Triple H Know to Not Give Randy Orton a Car
HHH opens up the show to talk about how what he did to Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam was just business. He then proceeds to bring out the WWE Champion and the new “face of WWE”, Randy Orton. Now personally, I liked it better when Randy Orton was just dropping people with RKO’s like they were Diamond Cutters from Diamond Dallas Page, and then promptly going away. Anyway, for being so proud of Randy, HHH goes all Oprah’s Favorite Things and gives Orton a brand new Cadillac Escalade.
Hunter… I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the WWE product before. On more than one occasion, when Randy’s whips (a tour bus can be a whip right?) have been paraded out on television, they’re going to be destroyed… plain and simple.
I’d like to turn your attention to Exhibit A:
And Exhibit B:
I’m pretty sure you know how this is going to end…
Con: Did Teddy Long Turn Into Brad Maddox?
As a fan of professional wrestling, I prefer 15-20 minute matches with a little substance that tells the story in the match (along with some actual wrestling). What I do not favor, are one-minute matches that only has the purpose of setting up a tag team match. Cody Rhodes (sans mustache) and Fandango were set for a 1-on-1 match, with Cody’s ex-partner, Damien Sandow on commentary (which is usually gold). Just moments into the match, Fandango’s music hits, and The Miz comes out in Fandango’s tights. I feel like there should be some sort of unwritten rule that you don’t wear another man’s spandex, especially if it results in the Miz being on my TV screen.
Anyway, my immediate thought is “Here comes Teddy Long in 3… 2… 1…” because, you know, that thing Teddy Long does:
Brad Maddox just doesn’t have that authority in his persona to just make us feel like a good tag match should happen, not like Teddy does. In fact, I don’t think the four wrestlers in the ring were inspired by his effort either, as the match was kind of lackluster.
Also, if Cody had not shaved his mustache, and he was paired in a tag team with The Miz, their only choice for a tag team name would be, “MizStache,” right? Hello? Is this thing on? Testing…
Con: This WWE App
In the world of Monday Night Raw, there are two purposes for the WWE iPhone App:
1) To find a way to connect to the audience, known as the WWE Universe
2) To annoy everyone watching, by telling them 48 times in an episode to download the app.
I understand that you have to have a smartphone app in today’s world to be able to connect your brand to everyone at all times. WWE uses the app for fans to vote on match stipulations, as well as a second screen during commercials. WWE must know that no one is using the second screen portion of the App. When Raw comes back from commercial, Michael Cole repeats word for word the same material he said on the App’s second screen experience over the break. I’m assuming the WWE App second screen experience is like what Shannon the Dude felt when he muted Dale on the radio this week, but could still hear him in his headphones.
Pro: Heyman/Punk Continues
I had a fear that, after SummerSlam, the Paul Heyman/CM Punk program would be finished, capping off an amazing run that the two have had over the past year and a half. With Brock Lesnar limited on the number of dates that he can compete, WWE has paired CM Punk with Heyman’s other “client,” Curtis Axel. I’ve been known to say before that I want Curtis Axel to succeed, being the son of “Mr. Perfect: Curt Hennig. There is no better way for Curtis Axel to get off the ground than being combined in an angle with C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman.
It’s been noted on WWE television, as well as Punk’s box set that Paul Heyman really took Punk under his wing and has been a bit of a father figure to him. This segment played directly into those emotions as, after a lengthy match (for Axel), Heyman was forced to get in the ring with Punker. After a beatdown by Axel, Punk was handcuffed and left open for “punishment” by Heyman. Heyman shouts, “I loved you,” “I fathered you,” “You meant everything to me,” as he beats him unmercifully. A father figure, punishing his son for betraying him, when the father is ultimately to blame. There are moments in Monday Night Raw, where you kind of stop and just take in the story, and it worked here. Unfortunately, Axel was mostly an afterthought in the entire segment.
Pro: AJ Lee Drops a Pipe Bomb
Man, it almost brings you back to the Summer of 2011, with CM Punk sitting all Criss Cross Applesauce (thanks Beck Bennett) at the top of the ramp, spilling his guts about what’s wrong with the business. AJ Lee gets some good shots at the cast of Total Divas (The Bella’s daddy issues, Tyson Kidd being an idiot, and those other two non-divas just existing). She dressed down the seven women in the ring, while at the same time, the cast of Total Divas proved her point by bickering like they would on E!
AJ Lee has yet to reach the status of someone like Trish Stratus or Lita, arguably the two most highly touted Divas in the last decade (for their wrestling… I haven’t forgotten about you, Stacy Keibler). However, AJ is nearing the level of a WrestleMania 22 Mickie James, a woman who is strong enough in the ring, and has enough charisma that doesn’t seem fake or like she’s trying too hard. You know… like the cast of Total Divas.
Con: A Couple of Cool Guys
I’m pretty open to the fact that I’m not a fan of RVD since he went to Impact Wresting a few years back. He seemed to really age there, as things over in TNA seemed a little more open than in WWE. It’s almost the same way I feel about Christian, in that he was really good, then left for TNA and got complacent, then came to WWE and started only doing his TNA moves. I digress… So you want to put RVD in the title hunt, against Alberto Del Rio. I have no major problem with that. I have a problem with giving Rob Van Dam, the guy who can make the fans scream his name by just pointing at his shoulders, his own ring announcer. Oh, but not only giving him his own ring announcer, but Ricardo Rodriguez. Ricardo Rodriguez who was recently suspended for a wellness violation. I’m trying to connect the dots slowly, but I’m sure you can see that Rob Van Dam, well known for his extra-curricular activities, being paired with someone just suspended for a wellness violation, is not going to end well. How do you make Cheech and Chong or Harold and Kumar suitable for a PG program? I dunno, beats me. Just make sure you get one of your commentators to call them a “couple of cool guys.” That’ll get the point across.
Pro: You Kind of Redeemed Yourself, Christian
While not being the biggest fan of Christian, he redeemed himself a little in my eyes with his match against Randy Orton. People harp on Cena all the time for his Five Moves of Doom (Shoulder Block, Shoulder Block, Side Slam, Five Knuckle Shuffle, Attitude Adjustment), but Randy Orton has the same issue. I like to call it his Four Moves of Fury (Clothesline, Clothesline, Duck Opponents Clothesline, Powerslam). These combos are like a black hole that you get sucked into and once it starts you can never get out of it, or like a DVD that has the warnings on the beginning of them, and you can’t skip ahead, even though you know what’s coming. But I enjoyed that no matter how many times Randy Orton tried to go for his combos, the veteran Christian would find a way to counter it. It’s the little things that make a match I normally wouldn’t enjoy, entertaining.
Pro: Sister Abigail – “Her Touch Could Save the World, But Her Kiss Would Burn It To the Ground”
The Wyatt Family is the best thing going in WWE right now. Bray Wyatt is a character that is similar to DeNiro’s in Cape Fear, truly terrifying. WWE is pushing the boundaries in what is acceptable under the PG era with the Wyatt Family. One of the things I think about is that if I was a younger viewer, staying up past my bedtime trying to sneak and watch WWE and Bray Wyatt came on, I’d have nightmares. The “Sister Abigail” vignette just shows the depth of this character and why I hope that the Wyatt Family is here to stay for a long long time. On a side note, my dog’s name is Abigail, and she did not know how to take a strange man on the TV talking about her.
Pro: Exhibit C
Pro: Drew Franklin is WWE Creative Humor on Twitter?
Con: Oh Please Miz, Speak Up
I guess it’s not my luck when, in a segment where if wrestlers speak up against Triple H they get fired, that this is the one time Miz has nothing to say? Really? Really?
Pro: Seth Rollins Takes Flight
At the top of the show, when Triple H informed Daniel Bryan that he’d be in a gauntlet match against the Shield, I was pretty pumped. I was a big fan of Ring of Honor Wrestling when I was in college, and a match I always wanted to see was Seth Rollins (at that time Tyler Black) take on Daniel Bryan (at that time Bryan Danielson). So knowing that Rollins was going to be the first member up in the gauntlet match was exciting. They didn’t disappoint either. It was a solid 12-minute match, which built up to a super overhead release suplex from the top rope, turning Rollins inside out. Be sure to watch the video above to see how ridiculous it is.
Pro?: That Thing I Said Earlier About Randy Orton
I guess I can’t be too mad at the end of the show when Randy Orton shows up at the very end, gives Daniel Bryan an RKO and then just leaves. I mean, that is what I said I liked about him. It’s just not as enjoyable when it’s to Daniel Bryan, rather than almost anyone else on the roster.
That’s it for this week’s “Funkhouser Recaps Monday Night Raw”. Remember to follow me on Twitter (@rbramblet) and live tweet next week’s show with me using the hashtag, #KSRWrassleTalk. The best/funniest tweets will be included at the end of each week’s recap. Also, let me know what you thought of the show in the comments below.