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 recap on the road:
PRO: Daniel Bryan Makes Some Good Points
Similar to last week, Triple H and Randy Orton come out to dress down Daniel Bryan. First, by talking about how much he gets beat up, then saying they should bring back the Cruiserweight or European Title (YES!) for him to compete for, and compares him to Doink the Clown. But Bryan responds with digs at HHH’s new corporate position, Orton’s masculinity, Stephanie McMahon’s masculinity, etc.
But the one thing that gets me when Daniel Bryan talks, is when he reminds the audience that he came from high school gymnasiums, bingo halls, armories and everywhere else they can put up a ring and 25 chairs. From college, I watched Daniel Bryan rise from Ring of Honor and I got to speak to him at the Montgomery County (OH) Fairgrounds right when he signed with WWE. I always enjoy seeing Daniel Bryan at the top of WWE, because I’ve gotten to see him work for it. He can bring out an amazing match in anyone (see below), because he makes it look easy. I’d give back last week’s car spray paint segment in a heartbeat to get 10 more minutes of Daniel Bryan wrestling on TV. Is that too much to ask?
CON: People Who Can’t Do Submission Moves, Shouldn’t
It’s almost been eight months since Ric Flair gave the Miz his blessing on using the figure four leg lock, and since then, The Miz has been making one of the most famous wrestling submissions look awful. There are two things that bother me more than anything in the WWE:
1) Announcers not knowing the names of wrestling moves, or selling an average move and calling it by the wrestler’s finisher name.
2) Wrestlers who have finishing moves that they have no idea how to do. These are usually submission moves, and look terrible and don’t help the stigma wrestling already has.
The Miz has no business doing the figure four. The fact, that in eight months, he hasn’t figured out how to do the move correctly is troubling. Let him have the “Skull-Crushing Finale” (terrible name), which at least looks like it could have hurt. Anyway, Ric Flair’s legacy doesn’t need to be any more tarnished than it already has from the last 5-8 years.
PRO: Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
Anytime that WWE can justify a match with reason, I’ll take it. The idea of Dolph Ziggler having a reason to fight Dean Ambrose because he talked about the shadiness of HHH on a WWE YouTube video, is great. It makes sense, it gets two guys I really like in the ring together. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the US Title is something I’d like to see. Oh what’s that?
CON: Dolph Ziggler vs Ryback
Big Bully Ryback doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. He’s been tormenting random independent wrestlers, for the last couple of weeks. It seems like he’s going to pick on the wrong “independent wrestler,” possibly someone from NXT (Ohno, Zayn), and then get it handed to him. But his awful strut down to the ring reminds me that I just can’t stand Ryback anymore. The Feed Me More gimmick was great, he never said a word other than “Feed Me More” and “Finish it!” But, now that he’s being a walking billboard for what not to do in the BeAStar campaign, he’s not any fun to watch anymore. He’s the WWE’s version of O’Doyle. Well Ryback, I’ve got a feeling your whole family is going down, but right now, I gotta study.
CON: Wait, The Big Show’s Broke?
Remember that thing I said about justifying things with reason? Stephanie McMahon parades out, brings down the Big Show to talk about him doing what’s right for business because he’s broke. Do the USA Network shows they put him in every year not pay him any money for his roles? Then, Stephanie goes below the belt to say that giants don’t live very long. Anyone else find this ominous after Dean Ambrose’s comment about a US Title #1 Contender match saying “Not even Andre The Giant’s ghost could beat me for this title.” You know what the best justification for Big Show not liking HHH’s decisions lately? If Big Show just came out and said, “HHH, you’re kind of being a jerk.” Yeah, that would make more sense…
PRO: Where’s Kane?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t care where Kane is. Maybe he’s finally running for office as a Libertarian. My real question is, where’s the Wyatt Family. Last week, I said that the Wyatt Family is the best thing going in the WWE Today. Over the last week, they’ve been relegated to Friday Night Smackdown, but not brought in live at Monday Night Raw over the last two weeks. Hey Triple H, you know what would be best for business? Bringing in the Wyatt Family every week. I’m not sure if the WWE is trying to make sure that the Wyatt Family looks like heels, but the more promo videos that are played, the more the fans love Bray Wyatt. I don’t know that there’s much they can do to make the Wyatt Family not a fan favorite.
PRO: Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton
Remember when Chandler was afraid that when he had his “nubbin” removed, he wouldn’t be funny anymore? That’s what’s happened to Cody Rhodes now that he’s shaved his mustache. If he still had his “cookie duster” he could have walked by HHH and Randy Orton in that backstage segment and never gotten in this mess in the first place. If he had his “soup strainer,” he could have distracted Orton long enough in this match to pin him and keep his job. But Nooooo, he had to go and shave his “push broom,” say the wrong thing to HHH, and lose his job after losing to Orton? Why is this a pro, you might ask? Well, first, the match was pretty good. As much as I dislike Randy Orton, when paired with someone pretty good, they put on an entertaining match. Second, I got to use my list of Ned Flanders mustache nicknames.
I like where this is going. I like the idea of McMahon vs. Rhodes. Give Cody a little time off TV, let people forget about him, then bring back “The Son of a Plummer” and “The Bizarre One.” Maybe bring them back for a Survivor Series match, that could be pretty interesting.
(Not everyone is torn up about Cody Rhodes leaving…)
— Kevin Jones M.D (@HumanKevinJones) September 3, 2013
CON: “No Wrestling, No Talking”
Look, I’m as big a C.M. Punk fan as anyone around. But, this was not his best promo. It did it’s job, he hit all of the talking points he needed to, but c’mon man… this wasn’t his best material. Punker benefited from a really hot crowd tonight, buying into everything he was saying. It’s also really easy to have someone want to beat up Paul Heyman. But, it just seemed like the writers said, “Oh we’re 10 minutes short on time? Let’s give Punk a microphone and have him stand in the ring for 10 minutes.” Usually, this is brilliant, but it just seemed out of place, along with the two video montages they played before and after this segment. I just want to see Punk wrestle someone, night in and night out – OR – put someone in front of him and let Punk do a promo on them. That evokes a little more realism and emotion, but when Punk is just talking in open air, it loses some of the magic.
MEH: This Happened
“A Couple of Cool Dudes” came to the ring to take on Money in the Bank winner, Damien Sandow. Sandow, your current Money in the Bank winner, hasn’t had a legitimate victory in, I don’t know how long. I realize that all of this sets up for Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio at Night of Champions (DirecTV please don’t charge me for this one either…). I’m hoping that the same outcome from SummerSlam happens to Rob Van Dam. He wins the title from Del Rio, then out comes the “Savior of the Masses” and cashes in the briefcase on him and takes the title. Rob Van Dam can go back to his airbrushed panel van, and no one will say anything. Sandow can lead the WWE into an intellectual period, where story lines make sense and have a thought behind them. Ok, maybe no one is that good.
PRO: Daniel Bryan Can Get a Good Match Out of Anyone
Remember what I said at the top of the post? Daniel Bryan has the ability to get a good match out of anyone. The Big Show, who is obviously not the most mobile person on the roster, still looked really good against D-Bry. First, let Bryan do some high flying moves where either Show can catch him or hit him with a spear out of the air (check). Let Bryan dropkick the Big Show’s leg so he can tumble over and fall down (check). While those things sound very simple, if you watch the clip above, you can see that Big Show looks like a million bucks (as well as Deep Sea Adventure G.I. Joe).
The last bit isn’t that bad either. It ends the same way that the show ended last week, with Randy Orton standing atop a fallen Bryan. I’m starting to enjoy the HHH/Orton dynamic in that HHH has everyone on the roster on edge, but no one can do anything about it. Daniel Bryan is in a position where it looks like he’s never going to overcome the opposition, and that’s where some of the best WWE story lines come from. Make it look so daunting for the underdog to topple the corporate regime, that when he actually does it, the fans will go CRAZY. It’s the months after that happens that I’m not looking forward to, because WWE usually loses all momentum at that point, and has to start over from square one. But the ride to get there is going to be awesome!
That’s it for Raw is Funkhouser. I’ll leave you with this though. Just a few weeks ago, the best televised wresting match of the year was on NXT (it’s on Hulu Plus, well worth the $). But Antonio Cesaro vs. Sammy Zayn, Two out of Three Falls match is the best thing you’ll see in a long, long time. Check it out:
Adam Lefkoe does Wrestlecast on WHAS, working wrestler names into his sportscast.