Triple H To Referee Bryan/Cena, Big Show Returns On Raw

RAW_1055_Photo_083We’ve reached the Raw before Summerslam and there still seems to be some work to do on the card. First off, why isn’t Rob Van Dam on it? There is word that he’ll face Cesaro in the pre-show but is that why they brought him back? Considering the World Heavyweight Championship match has Alberto Del Rio (yawn) against Christian (double yawn), I feel like there is a missed opportunity here. It doesn’t help that Christian already beat ADR clean in a 20 minute match last week on Smackdown so what is the point of doing it at all now? Aside from that we can also expect the Big Show, who returned over the weekend in a house show, to join Mark Henry against the Shield. He will need to pick up the slack for Sheamus, who will be out 4-6 months after suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder at Money in the Bank, an injury that has nothing to do with his disgusting thigh bruise. Finally, we need to take notice of the fact that Randy Orton is not scheduled to have a match, which means that he is extremely likely to at least attempt to cash in his MITB briefcase after the Cena/Bryan match.

Speaking of Bryan, he comes out first waving a YES towel that was handed out to the crowd (and will likely also be present at Summerslam) for his match against Wade Barrett, with Raw GM Brad Maddox as guest referee. Last week, Barrett was supposed to shave Bryan’s beard at the request of Vince McMahon, but Bryan shaved Wade’s beard instead (I’m still not sure why). Between these two and Cody and Sandow, there is a lot of facial hair discussion in the WWE right now. Daniel controls things early with drop kicks and low kicks and other foot related moves. Outside the ring, Barrett ducks under a running knee off the apron and hit a big boot to steal some momentum. Bryan does his backflip into a jumping clothesline to regain control, hitting the dive through the ropes on the outside and a missal dropkick. Daniel misses a roundhouse kick however, which Barrett turned into a rollup pin for a victory after Brad Maddox clearly quick counted (can’t say I didn’t see that coming). So Barrett celebrates his win while Bryan threatens to go after Maddox who eventually makes a quick exit. Solid match that is a better open than almost any monologue open ever.

A guest referee blows a call? Shocking

A guest referee blows a call? Shocking

This is followed by another match as the two MITB winners, Damien Sandow and Randy Orton, square off with Cody Rhodes at the announce table. Sandow handcuffs his new brown briefcase to the ring post so that Cody can’t steal it again. Orton is still a face at the moment, but that heel turn seems to be just days away from going full force. They exchange moves as Rhodes talks about the briefcase looking like it is made of chocolate while having no real defense for being a sore loser for attacking Sandow after Damien won fair and square at Money in the Bank. He even said he would probably have done the same thing if he was in the same position. WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE BESTIES AGAIN! The match meanwhile is whatever. One move at a time with no pacing, and no energy from the crowd. At least there is a guy holding up a giant print of his high school photo to look at. Sandow hits the elbow of disdain and is furious when he doesn’t get a 3 count, which he has never gotten ever. Cole gives him the Del Rio treatment, talking about how much more aggressive Damien is. Orton powers out of a chin lock with a back body drop and goes for a power slam, only Sandow sees it coming and counters with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Damien then runs at Randy from the corner and does get power slammed and eventually DDT’d from the second rope. Orton goes for the RKO but Sandow slips out of the ring. Orton pursues and gets tosses into the ringpost. Sandow brings him back in the ring, but not before he taunts Rhodes. So Cody then tries to take the handcuffed briefcase from the ringpost, distracting Sandow long enough for Orton to hit an RKO to win the match. Nothing special from Randy and Damien, while opposite momentum theory says Rhodes now has zero chance to beat Sandow.

Backstage the Shield are talking about all the older wrestlers being has-beens while the Shield is the new generation that is taking over. Reigns and Rollins make an open challenge to any two men who think they can take their tag team titles, while Ambrose says that CM Punk is just saying a catchphrase because he is the “best in the world” and Cena’s belt is just a trophy because his belt is the one people run from. He wraps it up by saying that unless Andre the Giant’s ghost is in tonight’s 20 man battle royal to determine his opponent, then Ambrose will not lose at Summerslam. Awesome promo despite looking like it was shot in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ sewer lair.

After a prerecorded (and pretty good) promo from Brock Lesnar about how he is bigger and better than Punk, CM Punk (sporting some rough stitches on his chin) is interviewed about his match tonight against Paul Heyman. He says Heyman is playing a big chess game by challenging Punk at Raw, and he expects Brock to show up at some point.

Ugh boy. Khali and Natalya are out with Hornswaggle for a mixed tag match against Big E Langston and AJ. I guess we’ll see if AJ and Langston, who will face Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn at Summerslam, are good enough to make a Khali match interesting. It sucks that Dolph isn’t even in the title picture right now. Especially after he was robbed of his title run by the concussion. Langston and Khali were supposed to start but thankfully, AJ asked to be tagged in, forcing Khali out. Khali looks completely dumbfounded as AJ walks up to him and slaps him in the face. Natalya then grabs her from behind and goes on the attack. AJ slides out of snake eyes to hit a round house kick and take control. After working Natalya for a while, she goes over to Hornswaggle and tries to kick him. Natalya uses the distraction to apply the sharpshooter for about 3 seconds, getting up for no reason right before AJ taps. Since nothing was actually happening the ref doesn’t end the match, leaving Natalya walking around the ring like a dope. She even grabs the refs hand so that he can raise it, only to have to go back to AJ, apply the hold again and get a legit tap out to end the match for real. What a train wreck. This is why people can’t stand the Divas division. At least we didn’t have to Khali wrestle. After the match, Langston attack Khali from behind and tosses Hornswaggle aside. Big E then goes after the Pujabi again, who meets him with a big chop to send Langston out of the ring. I wish I could have those five minutes back. I could have spent time with my son!

Take 2

Take 2

Vince McMahon out to the ring wearing a bad ass maroon blazer and hopping around like it was ten years ago. He addresses the finish of the Bryan/Barrett match and brings out Brad Maddox. Vince first asks why Maddox appointed himself as ref, which Brad replied was because Bryan’s match tend to get out of hand and he wanted to make sure there was someone out there with the guts to make the right decision. McMahon brings up the fast count, which Maddox credits being due to rust, as he had not refereed in a while and did the best he could. Vince said there is no need to apologize if he did his best. Brad responds by asking to referee the Bryan/Cena Summerslam match as a way to redeem himself (a lot of similar “r” words in that sentence). McMahon asks Maddox if he would officiate the match down the middle, he says he would (even crossing his heart), and that’s enough for Vince as he is set to name Maddox as the referee. Before he can get the words out however, Triple H comes out to stop him. Triple H agrees with Vince that you need somebody to take charge of the match and play it down the middle without being intimidated, however he disagrees that Maddox is that guy and names himself as the special guest referee. He punctuates the decision by dropping Maddox with a Pedigree as Vince storms off. Last time Trips was a ref he unknowingly cost Cena his match against CM Punk two Summerslams ago. I doubt the finish to Cena/Bryan will be clean.

Kane out to the ring next to take on Titus O’Neil. Kane will face Bray Wyatt in a ring of fire match, in which the ring will be surrounded by fire (duh) just to keep the rest of the family out of the ring. So I guess that means no rope work? Kane is scheduled to get some time off to film a movie and whatever republican stuff he wants to do so setting him on fire would be an appropriate way to write him off for a while and build up the Wyatts. Meanwhile this match is all Kane, as he stares down Darren Young while hitting a chokeslam to secure the victory. That doesn’t matter much as it’s all about the Wyatt’s, who comes out right after the decision. When the light come back on, the family is in the ring ready to attack, but Kane is behind them on the ramp instead. He sets the ring on fire as Bray laughs like a maniac. This ought to be an interesting match. Don’t know if it will be good, but it will be interesting.

Backstage, a Total Divas match was set up as Natalya challenged Brie Bella to a match at Summerslam. Nikki and Eva Marie will be in Brie’s corner while the Funkadactyls are in Natalya’s. Brie slapped Natalya to return the favor from last week and end the segment, as I am left to wonder how likely the match will get cut from the show.

In the ring, Kofi Kingston and his pants are facing World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Kofi has all the momentum early until Alberto pushes Kingston down on the corner, puts him in the tree of woe and attacks his midsection with some kicks. He follows up with a reverse suplerplex for a two count, and Cole is back in his habit of saying that this is a new, aggressive Alberto Del Rio. I think he is required to say that going into every pay per view. Kofi dodges Del Rio running at him and gets going with a Boom Drop. He misses Trouble in Paradise however and Del Rio connects with a tilt-a-wirl back breaker. ADR then goes for a sidekick but Kofi pulls out an SOS for a two count. Del Rio then plays possum, gets his knees up to block a cross body splash to lead into a cross arm breaker and win via submission. Quick but entertaining match.

Backstage, Christian talks about overcoming injuries to get to where he is now and that after beating Del Rio at Smackdown he proved that he only needs “one more match” to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the third time. Alberto then walks in and says, in spanish, that there will be no more matches for him after Summerslam. I’m happy to say that I figured that out on my own before Cole translated for us. Either way I still hate that this match is happening.

We return to the ring with the Usos taking on the Real Americans for the third time in four weeks, with this being the rubber match. Cesaro and Swagger work Jay(?) in the early portion of the match, with a Swaggerbomb followed up by Cesaro leapfrogging Swags to stomp on Jay. Outside the ring, Zeb Colter is seen getting flipped off by a fan as Swagger drops Jay into a Cesaro uppercut in the closest thing you’ll see to a 3D in wrestling these days. Jay hits a Cesaro with a knee to allow Jimmy to come in on a hot tag and drop Swagger with a couple of leaping chops and a Samoan drop, as Cesaro pulled out Swagger to avoid a pinfall. The Usos then leaped over the top rope to splash into them, setting up a really good finish. Jimmy set up Swagger in the ring for a top rope splash but Colter was distracted the ref. Cesaro then tried to push Jimmy off the top rope but Jay landed a superkick on Antonio from in between Jimmy’s legs. Swagger then got up and tried to attack Jimmy, who tagged Jay before jumping over Swags, and Jay rolled up the unsuspecting Jack for the win. Very good tag team match.

Just a trophy according to Ambrose

Just a trophy says Ambrose

Miz TV starts the third hour with John Cena and Daniel Bryan as his guests. Bryan is happy that Triple H stood up to Vince so that he and Cena can have the match they deserve. Cena told Miz this segment is usually a train wreck before agreeing with Daniel. Cena says there is no underlying issue between himself and Bryan, saying the only issues between them is that he has the belt and Bryan wants it, saying Daniel will put up a hell of a fight. Miz takes that as code for telling Bryan he’s going to lose, and turns it into Cena saying he chose Bryan to get cheers from the crowd and pick up an easy win. Daniel wants to know why people like Cena think all he can do is put up a hell of a fight. Bryan says Cena is out to grab the spotlight and that is why he doesn’t watch TV. He says Cena is in it for the fame and not for the wrestling. Bryan explains that his “The Beard Is Here” shirt is a parody of Cena’s “The Champ Is Here” shirt because Bryan thinks Cena is a parody of wrestling, and he wants to be the champion so that everyone knows that there is nobody better than Danel Bryan. Bryan is on right now. For some reason, Cena responds by taking his shirt off before stopping himself, saying Bryan almost got him (got him how?). Cena says he is out there for the same reason as Bryan, for the fans. Cena said something about the fans believing in wrestlers and causing the wrestlers to give their all or something that gives him another excuse to talk about how loyal he is to his fans and how he shows up every day despite all the people who don’t like him. He adds that he has been “wrestling” for 12 years now and unlike Bryan he has done so with the WWE Championship while beating the best in the business including Triple H, The Rock, Batista, Orton, Michaels and Punk. Bryan cuts him off saying he mentions all of those names like they are so much better than him. Cena responds by saying Bryan isn’t in their class, which pisses off Bryan and gets the biggest reaction from the crowd. Cena says Bryan will only have his respect if he can beat him. Bryan then said that statement proves that Cena doesn’t respect him or treat this like his matches against those other men. Bryan says since Cena has won the title 11 times that he can’t understand Bryan’s hunger to win it just once, and that while to Cena this is just another Summerslam, this is the biggest match of Bryan’s life. Daniel then explains a custom he learned in Japan where one wrestler would slap another as hard as possible to fire up his opponent to get the most out of him. Bryan then says he wishes he could do that to Cena now, but he is not a wrestler and doesn’t deserve it (OH SNAP). Cena then begs Daniel to slap him, even slapping Bryan in the face. Daniel has a big smile on his face as he refuses to slap him back and that was really good. Triple H comes out to basically pose between them, and Randy Orton comes to the stage to show that he has the MITB briefcase. This easily could have ended the show, but it looks like it will be Punk versus Heyman. As much as I loved the slapping part, I’m left wondering how appropriate it is for a guy known for only having five moves also seems to only have one point when cutting a promo. John Cena is loyal to his fans, loves the WWE and will fight everyday because of them. Got it.

Fandango out next for a match against R-Truth, and after Truth danced in the ring, ‘Dango had his music come back on so that he can prove he’s the better dancer. Truth then danced to his music again only Fandango to attack him from behind. Truth fights back, beats ‘Dango out of the ring and the match never starts. At least it was quick.

Backstage, Paul Heyman is taping up his wrists (while still in a suit) for his match against Punk. He then tells Axel that he thinks he’s having second thoughts. The tape job looks pretty good at least.

Time for the 20 man over the top rope battle royal for the United States title shot. Among the competitors are RVD, Tensai, Brodus Clay, 3MB, Mark Henry and Ryback. There are 12 more guys of course but these are the only ones that had their entrances televised. Justin Gabriel was the first to be eliminated as he was gorilla pressed out by Ryback, who then clotheslined Darren Young and Tensai out. It’s really hard to watch as it’s just chaos starting with all 20 men in at once. 3MB tosses out Jimmy(?) Uso. It’s really boring and the crowd is dead. Truth tossed out Fandango, but Fandango got pissed and ran back in to toss out Truth (which shouldn’t count but it does). Van Dam then eliminated Fandango for the second time, but Fandango wasn’t as mad at RVD so he didn’t go back in. Khali eliminated all of 3MB during the break, but he was shoved out by Ryback. Brodus was also thrown over somehow. Cesaro and Swagger took out the other Uso and RVD took out Titus O’Neill with a superkick and a clothesline. Kofi pulled off maybe his best floor is lava move yet as Swagger tossed him over the top rope, but Kingston lept over Cesaro who was on the apron, in what looked like a sunset flip. Kofi held on to Cesaro’s legs while Cesaro held on the rope, with Kofi’s feet just barely avoiding the floor so that he can slide back in. Kingston took on both Swagger and Cesaro for a minute before finally getting eliminated but that was great.

It's the big shirt. Yes it's a big big shirt tonight

It’s the big shirt. Yes it’s a big big shirt tonight

RVD then started taking out the Real Americans with kicks, but when he went for Rolling Thunder, Ryback met him with a meathook clothesline. Ryback and Wade Barrett then worked on RVD while Cesaro and Swagger briefly had Henry up. Mark powered out of it however and eliminated them both, and followed up by eliminating Barrett too. Ryback then grabs Henry by the throat but Mark lifts him over the top rope, putting him on the apron. RVD stuns him with a spinning kick and Henry knocks him to the floor, leaving Mark Henry and Rob Van Dam as the last two men. RVD hits a roundhouse kick and goes to the top rope, but Henry shakes the rope to drop him to the apron. Van Dam then lowers the top rope as Henry is running at him to send Mark to the floor, giving RVD the title shot. Really rough match to watch until the last five minutes or so. After the match, Henry went back in and gave RVD a fist bump, then stayed in as the Shield came out and surrounded the ring. They were just about to attack when the Big Show (wearing the world’s largest jeans) comes out to join the faces in the ring, causing the Shield to retreat. The segment ended rather abruptly but all signs still point to Show and Henry challenging Rollins and Reigns for the tag titles.

Main event time as Paul Heyman takes on CM Punk. Heyman has no music and walks out in his suit minus a jacket and tie. Paul gets in the ring and blames the fans for chanting Punk’s name and causing Punk to feel like he doesn’t need Heyman’s admiration anymore. Since the fans took Punk from Heyman, Heyman is going to take Punk away from the fans. Paul admits what everybody already knew, saying that this match is a trap for Punk. He says put this plan together with Brock Lesnar, who he calls out to the ring. The trap works in its simplicity, as Heyman will fight Punk with Brock on his side, and Punk won’t be smart enough to not show up because he is the hero and needs the approval of the fans. Heyman calls out for Punk, asking if he is the smart coward or the stupid hero. Sure enough, Punk’s music hits. But while Heyman and Lesnar watch the stage, Punk sneaks up from crowd and attacks Brock with a TV camera. After laying him out he bashes him some more with a chair, finally going after Heyman. Punk chases Paul up the ramp, taking out Curtis Axel who tries to stop him. Heyman escapes as Punk hits Axel with a GTS, and poses from the stage as Lesnar is still down by the ring to end the show. On paper it made more sense to end things with this segment, but Bryan and Cena really should have ended the show. Especially with the way it ended.

Opposite momentum theory doesn't look good for Punk all of a sudden

Opposite momentum theory doesn’t look good for Punk all of a sudden

Overall Summerslam was pretty well set up. Everything that had to happen happened, and Triple H’s addition threw some last minute (albeit unnecessary) juice to the main event. There is a lot to like about the PPV, I just hope they don’t sacrifice too much time from the undercard for the two main events.

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Tales Of An Expectant Dad: Week 39

IMG_20121105_165314_254On November 5th 2012, my wife gave birth to our first child. During the pregnancy I decided that I would write about the experience. Every week since I have documented all of the events that took place throughout this time, along with my thoughts on them. Now that I can confirm that our baby is happy and healthy, I will share those thoughts with you.

Week 39 – Nothing Comes Easy

The thirty-ninth week started as simply as any other. Following the hurricane we had scheduled an appointment to see our doctor Monday morning. They were originally booked and wanted us to go on Friday instead, but since our last appointment was Monday two weeks ago we didn’t want to go almost three weeks without an appointment. Jess pushed us into that Monday appointment with some stern motherly nagging.

We show up about as early as we ever have. I had to work so we didn’t want to have to spend as much time as we normally do in the waiting room. If they had to squeeze us in for Monday, who knows how packed it would be. We essentially showed up at the same time as our doctor. To our surprise, the waiting room would be virtually empty when we arrived. I may even get a nap in before work.

Before long we are having our appointment. Jess is examined and informed that while she is getting closer she is not dilated and there will be “no baby today.” Maybe this weekend. We are told everything looks fine. Heartbeat, fluids, all good. We are essentially ready to leave before Jessica mentions that she did not feel the baby moving much since the night before. Our doctor decides to put her on a monitor for 20 minutes just in case. They hook her up and after the 20 minutes, there is not nearly enough movement from the baby. They give Jessica some juice to see if the sugar wakes him up. Nothing. Jess moves on her left side, then on her right side. Nothing. Now I’m getting concerned. After over an hour of monitoring our doctor decides that we need to go to the hospital for further monitoring with better equipment. That must be the issue, the equipment.

The hospital is under ten minutes away so we decide to get Jessica a meal to help get Alexander going. We stop at a pizza place where I get one soda and two slices of pizza. One for her and one for me. She devours the first slice so fast that I offer her my piece as well. She begrudgingly accepts and eats it faster than the first slice. Now at the hospital we head to the labor ward. We never had a tour of the facility so we are at least getting a first hand look. My wife gets hooked up to another monitoring device and despite the food and enhanced machinery, we still get little from our son. After an hour we get moved down to get a sonogram for an even closer look. At this point our early exit and nap before work is completely out the window. I’m now calling work to inform them that I will be late. After the sonogram did not reveal anything we went back up for more monitoring. The entire time we are never told what would happen if they didn’t get movement from him. Well now we know. At 3:30pm we were told that he would be coming out in the next 24 hours (BOOM!). They weren’t sure if it would be a c-section or if they would induce labor. With things being so vague Jess and I each called our folks to let them know what was going on. I left the room, briefly spoke to my mom, left a message with my dad, and told work not to expect me in for the next week or so. By the time I got back into the room Jess was with a small medical team and I was about to find out what Jess just learned herself. She was going to have a c-section, and she was going to have it now.

After quickly leaving another pair of messages updating the parents I was changing into scrubs and getting back in there to be with my wife (I was told later that the site of me in scrubs shook her to the core). Minutes later our doctor arrived, roughly six hours after telling us there would be no baby today, to deliver our baby. What seemed like seconds later I was telling Jessica that I loved her as they were taking her into the operating room to give her the initial spinal shot to numb her and start the procedure. For the next ten minutes or so I was alone. I caught my reflection in the window. Seeing myself in the scrubs and knowing what is coming is awfully sobering. I send a couple of text messages to give updates and notice my doctor talking to another doctor about how good her niece is at the piano. This is just another day at work for her. It’s one of the scariest and most exciting days of my life. I’m kind of glad she isn’t at my level of anxiety. Soon I am summoned into the operating room to be with Jessica, who is numbed but still conscious. I sit next to her, hold her hand, and look around her to see what’s going on. I see EVERYTHING. I thought I knew my wife, but now I know what the inside of her stomach looks like. I’m not grossed out. I’m just interested. I watch as they move her insides around to make their way to him. Jess is calm, which is expected considering she is drugged out of her mind. I tell her there are pieces of her everywhere. This mostly consists of gauss soaked in her blood and other bits, although I did catch some part of her being dropped and picked up again faster than a ball boy at Wimbledon. Then at 4:40pm he was pulled out. He was blue, he was relatively limp, and he wasn’t really breathing. Finally after a few more attempts to kickstart him he started crying and my heart crept back into my chest. For a brief moment I was able to see him. Alexander Anthony. 18 inches, 6 pounds 5 ounces, lots of dark hair. We saw him for about two minutes before he was whisked away to the intensive care ward to be examined. The whole operation took about 30 minutes. With preheating the oven, that is about the same time it takes to make a digiorno pizza. Speaking of which, I am really regretting giving up my pizza. I am running on nothing but one banana and a sip of soda for the entire day.

Next for Jessica was recovery from surgery. She saw less of Alexander than I did and now she is stuck in a room freezing cold as she slowly gets feeling in her body. At the same time our families are showing up. So now I am running out to them to greet them and let them know everything is okay. Then I am running back to the recovery room to make sure Jess is alright. Rinse and repeat. Finally I am allowed to see him in the NICU. He has a CPAP is his nose, an IV in his arm and all other types of tubes to terrify me. Through all that though he’s still the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Jess comes out of the recovery room and briefly sees him as well before being taken to our room to continue healing. The new grandparents and my brother got to see him as well (I can only pick 4 people to go into the NICU) before visiting hours ended and everyone went home. It is now 10:00pm and I am exhausted and absolutely starving. My mother in law takes me back home to grab our overnight bags, extra supplies, and some McDonalds to get something in my stomach. After taking a little moment to digest what just happened we head back, she leaves, and I’m left alone with my wife. At 3:30pm I was told I would soon have a son. At 4:40pm as was looking at his face. We are brand spanking new parents, but we are currently unable to hold our son. Not how I wanted things to start.

Orton Finally Turns Heel, Kane Teases Ring Of Fire Match On Raw

RAW_1054_Photo_270Back from their international road trip, Raw is live again this week with a Daniel Bryan corporate make-over being the main thing hyped. Lesnar, Vince and Trips also scheduled to appear but who cares! Daniel Bryan is getting groomed.

But before moving forward, we have to look back at Randy Orton getting punched in the balls during a show in Brazil. It was a classic low-blow too. I loved it…

…until it was discovered that the guy was a local wrestler and very well may have been staged to get publicity for the promotion. Where have our heroes gone?

I also got around to watching Total Divas and I didn’t hate it. I actually found some of it interesting. Sure some of it is definitely rehearsed and the new girls are just the worst, but I had no idea how different the Bellas were (aside from cup size) and how good Bryan and Cena were at stirring up relationship drama for each other (when they aren’t chopping wood topless together). Seriously, how can the twins be left out of their match?

Stephanie McMahon kicks off the show by showing the previously mentioned makeover of Daniel Bryan, featuring him working out, getting a spa treatment, being fitted for a suit and eating meat (he isn’t a vegan anymore so it’s no big deal). After the montage, Daniel comes out looking like a tiny Damien Sandow. Basically his hair is slicked back to a ponytail and his beard is brushed down. Stephanie loves it, but naturally, the crowd isn’t feeling it. Bryan says that while he appreciates the effort, he thinks the company really wants a ripped dude in cargo shorts who can sell merch (see where he’s going with this?). Daniel then cuts a promo where he talks about how big Cena is and how unassuming he is. He then says the reason he will beat Cena is because John is an entertainer while he is a wrestler. Bryan says Cena has been performing for sold out arenas every night and can’t imagine the holes in the wall Bryan had to climb out of to get to where he is. He then refers to last night’s Total Divas episode (can’t believe I’m saying that), where he adds that if Cena got fired tomorrow he would just go back to his huge mansion and you’d never see him again, while Bryan would immediately hit all the gyms and dirt boxes available to him because of how much he loves wrestling. He uses the word “wrestling” a lot and plays off the crowd. It’s a very similar theme to the Punk/Cena feuds. Bryan wraps up by saying that he’ll dress nice and look presentable for now, until he makes Cena tap out at Summerslam. I was convinced they were going to have the makeover run through the whole show but they spared us of that.

Maybe Vince has a point

Maybe Vince has a point

When Bryan finished up he was met in the ring by Vince McMahon. Vince tears apart Bryan’s attempt at dressing up before saying he wants Bryan to be champion even less than he wants John Cena as champion. I still don’t get that part. Vince then continues to make fun of Bryan’s lack of size and good looks, until he says he is starting to warm up to the idea of him as champion. To fully gain his support though, Vince says that his makeover needs one more thing, and that is to shave his beard. McMahon then calls out for a barber chair (which needs 8 men to bring out for some reason) so that they can shave the beard right now. Bryan refuses, but Vince threatens to fire him if he doesn’t “go all the way.” Bryan then sits in the chair as Vince calls Wade Barrett out to shave his beard. I get the feeling this is leading to a match between them later on. Apparently Wade’s grandfather used to be a barber. Daniel stops him just before he begins, then attacks Barrett and buzzes off half of his beard. So now Barrett is pissed and Bryan tosses him over the barrier and storms off. Barrett was just doing what he was asked. Why did he have to get humiliated like that? Anyway from the stage, Bryan says that he won’t be changed, takes off his dress shirt to unveil a new “The Beard Is Here” shirt to go against Cena’s “The Champ Is Here” shirt. Clever folks over there at the WWE.

The Miz (who is hosting Summerslam whatever that means) is at the announce table for the first match of the night, putting Rob Van Dam against Alberto Del Rio. RVD lost to ADR two weeks ago on Smackdown after Del Rio played possum, then along with Randy Orton lost in a triple threat match to give Christian a World Heavyweight title shot. Couldn’t be less excited for that match. Meanwhile, Ricardo Rodriguez made his return from a wellness suspension to announce Del Rio. Van Dam starts the match in control with a monkey flip and a spring board side kick. Del Rio stole the momentum by rolling away from rolling thunder and landing a side kick. RVD dodged an enziguri however and hit rolling thunder for a two count. Del Rio got a knee up to block a split leg moonsault and tried to whip RVD head first into a bucket that Ricardo wedged in between the turnbuckles (it took two tries for Rodriguez as the bucket fell the first time). Van Dam reversed it however, sending Del Rio into the bucket, allowing RVD to roll him up for the victory. Nice, brisk match. Afterwards, Alberto kicked Ricardo in the head for “costing” him the match, the beat him with his own bucket and then wedged his head between the steel steps in the apron, where Del Rio would hit him with a missal dropkick. Looks like that relationship is done.

A suited up Cody Rhodes is in the ring now with a gift (presumably the MITB briefcase) in a wet box. Cody had thrown Sandow’s case into the Gulf of Mexico after Damien screwed him to win it in the first place. Rhodes then reveals the briefcase, which is now covered in seaweed and algae. Damien comes out and makes Cody drop the cast in the ring and leave so that he doesn’t get trick. Rhodes leaves the ring as asked, but then runs back in as Sandow does and beats him out of the ring. Cody then opens the case, removes the now soaking wet title contract and throws the case at Sandow. Like the previous match, this segment worked for being short and to the point.

I was fascinated to know that there really was a contract in there

I was fascinated to know that there really was a contract in there

Ryback out next for a WrestleMania rematch against Mark Henry with a heel/face switcheroo in effect. Ryback is treated like Punk or any other smaller wrestler against Henry, chipping away at Mark only to be dropped with single hits. After being taked down twice, Ryback ducks away from a chop and leaves the ring, decided he has had enough and takes the loss via count out. Waste of Henry.

Backstage, the Bellas talking about how great they are on Total Divas, when Eva Marie comes out to congratulate them on beating Natalya, who then comes out to slap Brie (I know because of the boobs). The segment ends without a peep from the announcers. That was nothing but a commercial for the show, although I can’t act surprised considering how they advertise Sonic and their own app, so promoting a WWE reality show should be the most blatant thing ever.

John Cena now in the ring to cut his Summerslam promo. He says he’s used to being a target, but this is different as a lot of the fans prefer Daniel Bryan to him (same can be said for Punk, Ziggler, Henry and the Rock). Cena then goes into the same old schtick about how he won’t change for anybody and he is who he is right down to the t-shirts and cereal (yes, somehow he IS Fruity Pebbles). He explains that Bryan glorifies wrestling in gyms and auditoriums because that’s where he’d rather be there then in the spotlight while Cena keeps coming back after all of his injuries. Cena agreed that if he was fired tomorrow he would never wrestle again, but that is only because he loves the WWE so much that he wouldn’t tarnish the WWE Championship. I’m not sure he knows he wouldn’t get to take that with him. He compares Bryan glorifying his ROH past over the WWE to a football player glorifying Arena League success to the NFL, saying the the WWE is only real game in town (that part is true). He calls Bryan unoriginal for saying he can’t wrestle, yet is an eleven-time champion and dares Daniel to underestimate him as the crowd chants “boring,” adding that Bryan doesn’t realize that if he loses he has to admit that he just isn’t that good. Cena wraps it up by saying that everyone can cheer for who they want to but Cena has been rolling for six months.

At this point, Randy Orton comes out with his MITB briefcase even though there is absolutely no chance of him cashing in right now. He tells Cena that he doesn’t care who wins at Summeslam because either way he can cash in his contract whenever he wants, and it is only a matter of time before he becomes WWE Champion. After he finishes, the Shield makes their way ringside, surrounding Orton and Cena, using the briefcase and title respectively as weapons. Daniel Bryan then runs in (still with his hair tied back) to even the odds and send the Shield away. Raw GM Brad Maddox then makes his way out to announce that due to all the drama, Orton, Bryan and Cena will face the Shield in a tag match for the main event. You mean he didn’t have a main event until the middle of the show? The whole segment just had way too many run ins.

Tons of Funk (I hated writing that but its shorter than Brodus and Tensai) out for a match against somebody that we’ll never know because here come the Wyatt Family. This may be the best character work the WWE has done in a while. I really enjoy their entrance and look. I’m just curious how they look in a regular match. Wait a minute. They were supposed to come out and Luke and Erick are Brodus and Tensai’s opponents. I know it had to happen at some point but I just didn’t expect it. They make short work of the fat dancers, as Erick steam rolls Clay to stop a splash in the corner, allowing Luke to clothesline Tensai and hold down Brodus so that Erick can hit a splash on Tensai to take the match. These are some big dudes. Bray then came in to hit Brodus with his finisher (front facing Cross Rhodes?) before cutting a promo about Kane, saying that the Devil’s favorite demon is a lie while he is the truth. He tells Kane to follow the buzzard and is freaky as all hell. Kane then responds by blowing up the ring and (through the big screen) telling Bray that he sees through his words and likes how Wyatt wants to maim everyone in his path. The difference is that Kane isn’t trying to spread a message, he just does it to amuse himself. This gets a nice pop from the crowd and Kane announces that he will be facing Bray at Summerslam (woo!). He adds that no one will be able to save him because the ring will be on fire (WOO HOO!). So does a “ring of fire” mean an inferno match? Is it something else? Either way I’m ready for seriously yet not as rapey Kane to be back and he makes a great first real opponent for Bray Wyatt. I really liked this segment.

How do you make Bray Wyatt creepier? Add fire

How do you make Bray Wyatt creepier? Add fire

For some reason there is now a Divas match without AJ, as Kaitlyn faces Layla. Layla turned on Kaitlyn to help AJ beat her on Smackdown (brining the return of the ass slap tap out) because she wants attention. Yup. Just attention. Layla is a solid worker but she is way over the top as a heel. It’s distracting. Kaitlyn was setting up for a spear when AJ came out (thank god) to distract her so that Layla can lay her out with a round house kick and steal the victory. Layla and AJ then skip around the ring and head out. This match was a hot mess.

The crap fest continues as Christian squares of against Heath Slater. Slater gets some offense in thanks to the rest of 3MB providing a distraction, but Christian comes back with a top rope dropkick and spears him (after Slater was to busy playing air guitar to pay attention) to pick up the win. This match certainly existed.

CM Punk out next to take on Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel as part of his mission to beat all the Heyman guys on the way to Paul himself. As soon as Axel and Heyman comes out, Punk heads up the ramp to fight Paul, who then runs away with Curtis fighting CM. Then eventually get back in the ring and start the match. Punk applies a standing leg lock and is in full control as he dives through the ropes into Axel on the outside. Curtis took control during the commercial and works him over, yelling that he and not Punk is the best in the world. At this time, Heyman decides to come back to the ringside. Punk, staring at Heyman, gets out of a chin lock to hit a back body drop and immediately crawls toward Paul. Curtis then attacks the distracted CM to regain control. Punk then hits a cross body splash and instead of going for the cover he again goes after Paul, only for Axel to blindside him with a clothesline. Punk then dodges a top rope attack to again take momentum, hitting the swinging neckbreaker and running high knee, but his knocked off the rop rope by Axel before he can attempt a flying elbow. Curtis hits the running neck breaker for a two count and the crowd is into it. CM clocks Curtis with a roundhouse kick to send him toward the apron where Heyman is giving him advice. Punk then dives over and starts choking Paul like Homer Simpson chokes Bart.

Before he can do anymore damage, Brock Lesnar comes out and heads toward the ring. Punk tosses Heyman aside and gets ready for Brock but Axel pulls him out of the ring from behind and attacks him. CM quickly hits Axel with a GTS and grabs a chair for Lesnar, only Brock tosses the chair aside and they start going at it. Punk slips out of an F-5, sending Lesnar into the ring post and dropping him with a clothesline off the announce table. Brock comes back with a belly to belly suplex however, and brings him into the ring where Punk (now with a bloody chin) evades another F-5 to take Brock down with a chair. Punk was about to go after Heyman with the chair when Lesnar grabbed it from behind and finally hit Punk with an F-5. Lesnar then follows Paul’s orders and beats Punk down with the chair before heading out. Very entertaining series of events. The match was good, and the aftermath was even better. Really looking forward to the payoff at Summerslam.

This picture tells you everything you need to know about this stroy

This picture tells you everything you need to know about this stroy

Backstage Heyman, Lesnar and Axel cut a promo for Punk. Lesnar says that he took the best from the best in the world, and that he is the best and the beast. He then tells Heyman to say something stupid. Paul obliges and tells Punk that he may not make it to Summerslam because next week Paul wants to fight Punk one on one, thinking that CM will be too injured due to the beating he just suffered to take him on.

Back in the ring, Fandango (over with tonight’s crowd) is out to face Kofi Kingston, who is making his return after a couple of months due to injury, and ditched his usual gear for long tights. Kingston starts fast with a dropkick but ‘Dango controls the pace with a very boring series of moves (chin lock, irish whip, clothesline). You’d think he would have more acrobatic moves. After dodging a second rope knee, Kofi hits his runnings chop and dropkick, followed by the Boom Drop. Fandango rolls away to avoid Trouble in Paradise but Kofi avoids another leaping attack to finally land Trouble in Paradise to cap off an impressive finish to take the match. Solid return for Kingston.

Backstage, Stephanie came crying to Triple H because Vince chewed her head off after the Daniel Bryan makeover segment. That was the last straw for Trips, who calls out Vince for being completely out of his mind, running around doing whatever he wants and Triple H has had enough. He said he’s not going to watch this ship go down because of Vince, and he is going to stop whatever Vince is planning on doing at Summerslam. Could they have shown is Vince chewing out Steph? That would have been fun. Either way they have my attention.

The Real American’s are draped with “We the People” flags while Zeb Colter calls the Packers overrated and tells the Wisconsin crowd that they eat too much cheese. Without the immigrant thing on the table, I’m a little unclear as to what Colter wants anymore. Anyway Swagger and Cesaro are out to face the Usos. Jimmy start strong against Jack until Swags pulls him up to drop Jimmy into a Cesaro uppercut to give the heels control. I really like how Swagger and Cesaro work as a team. Cesaro runs in after a Swaggerbomb to leapfrog over Jack and land feet first onto Jimmy. Nice move. After Jimmy hits a spinning kick, Jay gets in on a hot tag and cleans house. Swagger breaks up a pin but Jimmy tosses him out of the ring and follows up with a splash over the top rope. Cesaro then jumps off the top rope but Jay hits him with a superkick to the stomach (was supposed to be the face) for a two count. Meanwhile, Jack whipped Jimmy into the post outside and hit Jay from the apron into Antonio who his a Neutralizer to secure the win. Pretty good match from these guys.

Big E gets a chance to make up for his DQ loss to DOLPH ZIGGLER last week on Raw due to AJ interfering. Dolph uses is speed to avoid Langston, hitting a dropkick but finally getting tagged with a clothesline on the apron to send him to the outside. Big E throws him back in and we get more of the same, as Ziggler does a good job evading Big E only to occasionally get flattened with a power move. Dolph rolled away from a splash to hit a fame-asser (more like a fame-half-asser) for two count as Kaitlyn come down the ramp to start a brawl with AJ. Somehow they end up in the ring, distracting Ziggler long enough for Langston to lay him out with a clothesline. Big E stares down Kaitlyn, who leaves the ring after realizing what she did, and Langston finishes the match with a Big Ending as AJ gets the last laugh again.

Main event time as Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and John Cena takes on the Shield. Orton starts by controlling the pace on Rollins with some punches in the corner and a suplex leading into Daniel Bryan hitting a missel dropkick. That knocks Seth into the Shield’s corner where Ambrose is tagged in and runs at Bryan. Daniel ducks under him however and dropkicks Reigns off the apron before back flipping over Dean to hit him with a running clothesline and a dive to the outside through the ropes. Bryan then tosses Rollins into the post and is about the follow with a running knee off the apron when Ambrose dropkicks him from inside the ring down to the floor. From here the Shield takes control while working over Bryan. After escaping a back body drop with back flip, Bryan hits Roman with a roundhouse kick and tags in Cena, only the ref was distracted by Ambrose so he didn’t see the tag. Ambrose then knocks Cena out of the ring, only to be attacked by Orton, knocking Dean to the outside just in time for Rollins to whip Bryan into Randy, knocking him off the apron to the outside as well. Back in the ring, Daniel reverses a roll up cover to apply the YES Lock onto Seth Rollins. It is only broken up by the rest of Shield, who break up the hold as the bell rings (I guess the faces win by DQ even though there wasn’t really outside interference?).

Welcome to the big time

Welcome to the big time

Cena runs in to help Bryan clear the Shield from the ring. Bryan gets a YES chant going but Orton runs in, thinking Daniel hit him on purpose, and drops him with an RKO. Now Cena and Orton are staring each other down as the Shield run in again. Orton and Cena clear out the Shield, forcing them to retreat, but Randy turns on Cena and hits him with an RKO, and now he’s thinking about his MITB briefcase. With both Bryan and Cena down, Orton grabs the ref but the Shield go back in the ring, causing Randy to hold up. Reigns hits Cena with a spear and Bryan gets triple powerbombed as Orton watches from the stage to end the show. If CM Punk taught us anything, it’s that standing idle while a face gets beaten up is the first sign of a heel turn, and it certainly seems that the long long long awaited Randy Orton heel turn is upon us. That’s good since it isn’t as much fun having a face hold the briefcase, and we know Orton has been bitching about going heel for months now. An average Raw finished strong and kept me in suspense for Summerslam. Well done.

Tales Of An Expectant Dad: Week 38

hurricane-sandy2On November 5th 2012, my wife gave birth to our first child. During the pregnancy I decided that I would write about the experience. Every week since I have documented all of the events that took place throughout this time, along with my thoughts on them. Now that I can confirm that our baby is happy and healthy, I will share those thoughts with you.

Week 38 – Rock You Like A Hurricane

I had to work the day after our Halloween party, which was on the eve of Hurricane Sandy. As I left it was incredibly cloudy and ominous. From 4pm until midnight I kept an eye outside, expecting the rain and wind to take over my office. At the same time, I was keeping my other eye on my phone, waiting for the call from the Mrs. To put it mildly, I didn’t get a whole lot of work done.

Finally it was time to leave and to my surprise there was still no rain on the ground. I hurried home to find all is well with Jess. My night had not nearly ended though.

The hurricane was certainly on it’s way and Jess wanted to be as prepared for the worst as possible. We were stocked on food, water and supplies so that wasn’t the problem. First, was laundry. I did load after load, a lot of which wasn’t even to be worn until after we moved. We took clothes that didn’t fit Jess right now and packed them away (more than she’d want to admit). We cleaned up, we organized, and before I knew it, it was 8am and I had been awake for roughly 22 hours straight. At this point, with still no rain, I needed to go to UPS to send back a projector that we rented for the party (because we went “low key”). It was windy, but things still looked pretty normal. I went to UPS, then picked up some bagels and came home. It was very underwhelming. I didn’t have to go to work as bridges and public transportation was preemptively closed, so I went to sleep. When I woke up it was the middle of the day, and the hurricane finally showed up.

Somehow, among all of the power outages, floods and property damage, we never lost electricity. We watch as our house literally shook, seeing kiddie pools fly by our window, waiting for the moment when our apartment went dark. But that never came. Our block was known for losing power at a strong gust of wind. Yet now, it was among the only ones in the area that had power the whole time. Another thing that did not come was Alex. Jess stayed on the couch or the bed and basically relaxed for the duration of the hurricane. She was plenty sore, and her stomach is getting much tighter, but the baby is still not ready to meet us.

Such was the entire week. I couldn’t get to work, so we essentially just stayed in all week. I got a lot done. All of the laundry, we reorganized the bedroom. I even took a defensive driving course. By the end of it though, I was definitely getting stir crazy. I’m pretty sure we were both getting on each other’s nerves by the end of the week. I’m happy that we didn’t have to drive to the hospital in a hurricane, but now that it’s over it’s about time this kid came out.

Everything Maintains Status Quo On Pre-Recorded Raw

RAW_1053_Photo_244Since Raw was pre-taped last week and all of the results are already out, this week’s recap is going to be a little thin. To make up for the lack my babbling writing style this week, here is Daniel Bryan chokeslamming Seth Rollins during the current Australian tour:

The man is taking off in the WWE in the same way that his “YES” chant took off after last year’s WrestleMania. It’s pretty amazing, and it takes me back to when I first started writing about wrestling here and was down on Bryan for not stepping up in big moments. He turned me into a big Bryan fan and seems to get better every night. Now he is main eventing one of the WWE’s main PPV’s with John Cena of all people in a true David vs. Goliath story. So far they are also avoiding throwing the Bella twins into the mix and cross promoting it with the Diva’s reality show. There is still plenty of time for that to happen, but if they can avoid the cheap plug (I know that’s asking a lot) it can be something pretty special. I don’t even want to think about how great it would be for Bryan to actually win. I just couldn’t take the disappointment if I did manage to talk myself into Bryan winning.

Also, happy 33rd birthday to Dolph Ziggler!

Anyway, on to the show which immediately begins with Vince McMahon walking down the ramp with Brad Maddox. Maddox apologizes to the crowd for allowing Cena to select his Summerslam opponent. Vince continues to call Bryan out as undersized and not championship material until Daniel comes out to defend himself. I like how they are using the real rumors about Vince thinking Bryan isn’t a main event caliber guy. McMahon and Bryan argue about respect, and who is give who less of it. Vince asks Bryan if he respects John Cena, which Daniel of course says he does. McMahon then says that Cena is lying about thinking Bryan deserves a title shot, and was only selected because Cena knows Bryan can’t beat him. He throws in that Bryan can’t even beat Kane, who he’ll face later. Vince then says that Bryan doesn’t have the “ruthless aggression” that Cena had in the beginning, but then adds that he is sick of Cena thinking he runs the place (when of course Vince does). McMahon doesn’t want Cena to win, but doesn’t want Bryan as champion. The only way Vince says he wins is if both Cena and Bryan spontaneously combust at Summerslam. Bryan responds by saying Cena is making a mistake if he underestimates him, and that it doesn’t matter what Vince thinks of him, only what the fans want. The fans of course go nuts for Bryan, and Daniel says the crowd wants a new champion. Solid opening segment that did just enough to prep Bryan/Kane.

Mark Henry leads off with his first match as a face, joining the Usos against the Shield. Henry crushes Ambrose and Rollins one on one, then does the same to Reigns after kicking him in the middle of a test of strength. Love the heel attack from the face. Shield bounces back on the Usos, and I just realized how cool it is for Roman to be in all these matches with his cousins (at least i think that’s how they are related in the whole Rock/Rikishi family) the Usos. The match is basically Henry dominating, the Shield gaining momentum on the Usos, then Henry coming in to dominate again. Cole pointed out that Jay is the Uso with a tattoo on his chest. So that’s something. Henry gets one last hot tag and cleans up until Reigns jumps in and spears him. Mark makes it to his corner to tag Jimmy Uso, who has his top rope splash blocked by Ambrose putting up his knees. Ambrose hits his finisher and wins the match for the Shield, but Mark Henry attacks the Shield immediately after the decision, tossing them out of the ring. Basic match that pushes along Henry as a monster face.

Doing what he does

Doing what he does

Backstage, Ryback slapped a guy in the face with peanut butter and put him through the craft services tables because he thinks he said something to him. He sure is a heel.

Meanwhile, Kane is asking Brad Maddox where the Wyatt family is since they beat him up last week. Maddox says they aren’t in the building, but he can send a message to them by beating his friend Daniel Bryan.

Rob Van Dam taking on Fandango next. ‘Dango had the lights missing from his entrance, which is already a bad sign for him. Fandango cartwheels over RVD to avoid a monkey flip, but gets tagged with a superkick instead. After being hit outside the ring with an RVD moonsault off the apron, Fandango drops Van Dam’s throat onto the top rope and takes control with the best spot having Fandango dodge a roundhouse kick to deliver one of his own. Rob eventually does hit a roundhouse to go into his signature set. After rolling thunder and the monkey flip, RVD sets up for the frog splash when Fandango rolls out of the ring and heads up the ramp. RVD wins via pinfall and that match was a little took quick. ‘Dango poses and says he name on the stage before leaving with his music playing. How does that work? Why would Fandango’s music play after he loses?

Backstage again, AJ is bitching about Big E allowing Kaitlyn to spear her all the time, making her freak out about her upcoming match with her. AJ tells us that every time she is speared a baby cries and thinks Langston doesn’t stop the spears because he likes to watch her or something confusing. Big E even looks confused over the whole thing.

The Divas match is next and has AJ controlling the pace with various arm locks. Kaitlyn tries to roll her up for a sneaky pin, but Lee slides out and knees her in the face instead. Eventually Kaitlyn gets going after an elbow in the corner, hitting a back breaker and going for the spear. AJ blocks it with a knee to the face and regains control. Big E looks bored out of his mind the entire time, even rolling his eyes a lot. Out of nowhere, AJ bounces off the rope to set up an attack, but is laid out with a spear instead and Kaitlyn pins the Divas Champion to win. AJ loses her mind in the ring and screams like a freak, which is the perfect time for DOLPH ZIGGLER to come out and congratulate her on another loss. Ziggler then challenges Langston to a match right now and he agrees! Sweet!

They start off by playing cat and mouse as Ziggler avoids Langston, hitting a flurry of punches until Big E finally catches him with a chest to the face or something. He keeps yelling “your time is up! it’s my time!” in the voice of Cookie Monster. He hits a belly to belly suplex and follows with a running splash for a two count. This is as good as Langston has ever looked (of course it’s with Ziggler). Dolph escapes a bear hug but falls into a back breaker instead. Langston hits a handful of shoulders in the corner before Dolph finally dodges one, sending Big E into the post to start the momentum swing. Ziggler hits a dropkick and escapes a Big Ending, then lowering the top rope to send Langston out of the ring. While he’s on the outside, AJ runs in and attacks Ziggler, giving Dolph the win via DQ. Ziggler loosens AJ’s grip on his hair (Dolph: “Are you kidding me?”) and heads up the ramp while Big E runs in to yell at AJ for costing him the match. Ziggler then rushes back in and hits Langston with a Zig Zag to wrap things up. Well done.

"Are you kidding me?"

“Are you kidding me?”

Backstage again, Bryan is asking Cena if what Vince said about Cena’s opinion of Bryan is true. John says all McMahon does is lie in order to promote and sell tickets, while Bryan repeats that Vince McMahon has always been honest with him. Pointless segment.

World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio takes on Christian (who will challenge ADR for the WHC at Summerslam). If there was ever a major title match that I couldn’t care less about, it’s this one. They immediately go into an extended chin lock and Christian botches a takedown before getting into another chin lock that draws boos from the pro Del Rio crowd of Laredo, Texas. Del Rio slips away from a baseball slide, then dodges Christen running at him, causing Captain Charisma to go into the steel steps. Del Rio follows that with a running dropkick pinning Christian’s arm against the steps and that was far and away the best part of this match. Christian avoids an inverted suplerplex to land a tornado DDT for a two count and Christian is on the comeback trail. He hits a dropkick from the top rope for two, but Del Rio stops it by pulling Christian’s face into the turnbuckle. Del Rio can’t help but smile as the crowd keeps chanting “Mexico” for the whole match, and Alberto hits a tilt-a-wirl back breaker for another two count. After taking a kick to the head, Christian ducks under an enziguri, tries to apply the Kill Switch but Del Rio escapes it, then Christian rolls out of the cross arm-breaker right into a roll up pin to win the match. The crowd made this watchable but these two guys just don’t do much for me anymore.

Hey remember Wade Barrett? He’s out to job to newly faced Cody Rhodes who recently threw Damien Sandow’s Money in the Bank briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico. Apparently Sandow can’t swim. Sandow started strong by clotheslining Rhodes out of the ring and keeping the momentum on the outside. Wade continues to dominate for the bulk of the match until Cody hits a vertical moonsault to turn things around. Cody then evades a pump-handle slam, turning it into Cross Rhodes to win the match. Nice and quick. Sandow then comes out to yell at Cody for throwing away his MITB briefcase, and says he filed a complaint with the WWE. Damien blames Cody’s family background for the way he is, and says he should send him back to the circus where his family belongs. Good segment.

Goodnight sweet prince

Goodnight sweet prince

Time for the first of the two main event matches as Daniel Bryan faces his former tag team partner Kane. Part of me wants them to just hug it out again. After a short stare down, Bryan makes the first move and attacks Kane with a jumping knee. Kane powers him away. Bryan chips away, Kane powers him back, rinse and repeat. Apparently, winning this match would make Kane the #1 contender after Summerslam. Kane stops the usual backflip into jumping clothesline spot with a boot to the face and is in control of the match. Bryan escapes a chokeslam and hits a running knee off the apron to even the field. Kane is back in control after the break however, causing Bryan to toe drag him into the turnbuckle and follow up with a missel dropkick off the top rope and three more running in the corner. Kane avoids a second top rope attack to hit a sidewalk slam and hit his leaping clothesline off the top rope. Kane then goes for the chokeslam but Bryan grabs his arm to attempt the YES Lock. Kane avoids again goes for the chokeslam, but Bryan grabs Kane’s head and applies a small package to get the win. It was very similar to how Cesaro lost to Bryan, but it still worked as a strong finish to a solid match. Kane chokeslammed Bryan after the match in frustration, but then after Daniel headed out the Wyatt’s shows up to attack Kane! Kane initially escapes the ring and grabs Bray, but the other Wyatt’s stop him and eventually take him out. Bray finishes him off and tells him to be careful who he says all that “devil’s favorite demon” stuff. Wyatt’s are making a strong impression on me.

Crowd killer time as Natalya takes on Brie Bella. This is basically the AJ/Kaitlyn match if AJ was more bitchy. The match goes on for a while so that Cole and Lawler can talk about Total Divas. Eventually, Natalya comes back with a power slam and a tornado punch for a two count. She then tries to apply the Sharpshooter when Nikki Bella walks out and distracts Natalya with duck calls, allowing Brie to sneak up and get the roll up pin victory. The crowd hates it and even for a Bellas match, that was a lame finish. Do I need to watch Total Divas to get the duck call thing?

R-Truth now in the ring to face Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel. Paul Heyman grabs the mic before the match to talk about how he is the best manager ever, leading into how Brock Lesnar will destroy CM Punk at Summerslam. He then gets to Axel, stating that just being associated with Heyman puts Curtis over the top. Aside from one short burst from Truth, Axel controls the match. After Axel takes down Truth, CM Punk comes out, takes down Axel and goes after Heyman. Punk gets his hands on Paul briefly but Curtis breaks them up. Punk drops Axel again but Heyman escapes up the ramp. This match only existed to give Punk some screen time.

Prepare your anus

Prepare your anus

Backstage, Triple H is yelling at Vince for being so hard on Daniel Bryan. Vince says he just wants someone to beat John Cena and he doesn’t think Bryan can do it. Instead, he wants someone like Triple H, just 20 years younger (burn!). Steph then butts in and says that all Daniel needs is a corporate makeover (huh?). Vince says “good luck” and walks out. So that’s what Bryan will be up to next week I guess.

It’s finally time for the match that has been closing out Raw after the cameras go off for weeks now, as WWE Champion John Cena squares off against Ryback in a tables match. I had been hearing about it for weeks, then I saw it myself two weeks ago. It was fine. Never any doubt who would win. In classic Cena fashion, he was dominated for a good portion only to pull an AA out of nowhere through the table to win the match. That’s pretty much what happens here, including Ryback breaking a few tables on his own. The only weird spot had each man holding a set of steps and throwing them into each other. Finish was about the same though, as Cena avoided a meathook clothesline, allowing him to pull out an AA out of nowhere to win the match. I might have thought more of it if I hadn’t seen it two weeks ago.

After the match, Daniel Bryan ran out and grabbed the WWE Championship. He started to hand it to Cena before pulling it back and saying it is going to be his. Cena didn’t like that too much, as he yanked it back to say he’d have to earn the title. Daniel then started a YES chant and the show abruptly ended.

Considering it was a taped show, all they really had to do here was keep everything status quo and put on a couple of matches for the sake of having something to air. They did exactly that. No more. No less. Here’s hoping they step things up next week when they are back live.

The Wolverine The Review

the-wolverine-wallpaperWhen first watching “The Wolverine,” all I could do was compare it to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” It just had to be better than that mess. That wasn’t too difficult to do. However, once I started to let the second Wolverine movie stand on its own, I realized it didn’t little more past that initial goal.

The film has Logan going to Japan so that a dying man whom Logan saved in World War II can say a proper good bye before passing. As a thank you for saving him all those year’s ago, the man offers Logan, who does not age thanks to his healing ability, a chance to be mortal. Of course nothing can ever be that simple, and throughout the movie we see everyone’s true intentions and how they all collide with each other.

Here is the main way this movie surpasses Origins. Where Wolverine’s first solo effort was heavily tied to the other X-Men movies, this one essentially stands on its own. Jean Grey does have a significant role, but she mostly acts as a vehicle for Wolvie’s inner thoughts and you are brought up to speed easily enough. Through Jean, we see how Logan has had enough of the life he has led killing and watching his loved ones die while he doesn’t age. It’s the killing part however that is my first gripe with the film, and all the movies Wolverine has been in the more I think about it.

Wolverine is most notable for being a ferocious killing machine who goes into berserker rage. While that behavior is certainly referenced, we never actually see it. At no point does he ever lose control of his actions and really let loose. Instead he just fights everyone in a controlled fashion. He should be acting like an animal on the loose. He doesn’t even really take advantage of the fact that he has razor sharp claws coming out of his hands. Sure there are some stabs, but he fights more like Batman than a wild animal. Overall, the fight scenes are just a bit tame. Yes, the bullet train scene was cool, but there just weren’t many moments that got a big reaction from the audience.

My other gripe is the way they handled Logan losing his healing ability. I had a small issue with how it was taken instead of him choosing to have it removed, but the effects of it are what really bothered me. It could have been played as a big dramatic moment for him. Sustaining real pain that doesn’t go away for the first time. Just popping out his claws the first time without a healing factor could have made him scream. Instead he just gets a little dizzy from wounds and has a limp for a while. Then when he does have his healing factor, it is basically just seen healing cuts that he gets on his face so that enemies can look freaked out when they realize they can’t hurt him. It all just comes off as playing it too safe.

Just once during the movie I would have liked to see Wolverine get his face blown off and see a gruesome shot of his skull or guts exposed, or seeing any other character bleed or lose a limb. It doesn’t have to be an entire movie and blood and guts, but to at least introduce how far Wolverine and his abilities can go would go a long way toward giving us Logan we know and love. Instead, the worst that happens to Wolverine is losing his hair in an explosion, and a guy gets stabbed in the neck with no blood in sight. Would it have really been so horrible to have an explosion take some of the skin of his face to regenerate, and for a couple of guys to have their legs chopped off in battle?

The rest of the positives all come with negatives of their own. Thankfully, The Wolverine does not try to throw a ton of X-Men characters at you like Origins did, however by the end of the movie all of those characters get exposed for their character flaws. Viper is initially believable as a biochemist to go with her powers, but then she also knows ninjitsu? The other supporting characters seem to swap sides on a dime, and seriously does everyone have to be a trained ninja? I also liked having the bulk of the movie take place in Japan to separate it from the other X-films and provide a fresh setting true to the comics, but despite being on location, it was a very Americanized interpretation. More Rush Hour than Kill Bill. The more I think about it, that could some up my entire opinion of the movie.

Hugh Jackman is of course great as Wolverine. He could probably do this in his sleep by now but he keeps bringing the attitude and look you want from Logan. He just isn’t required to do enough with it here. The rest of the cast is fine, excluding Rila Fukushima who stands out as Yukio, Logan’s sidekick.

I didn’t hate The Wolverine by any means. I just didn’t like it very much. It existed. It was better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It just wasn’t more than that.

Stay for the post credit scene though. It makes the whole movie worth going to.

Tales Of An Expectant Dad: Week 37

381194_10150528381458902_1457799743_nOn November 5th 2012, my wife gave birth to our first child. During the pregnancy I decided that I would write about the experience. Every week since I have documented all of the events that took place throughout this time, along with my thoughts on them. Now that I can confirm that our baby is happy and healthy, I will share those thoughts with you.

Week 37 – Partying Her Way to Full Term

Jessica informed me of something this week that made me do a double take. She is now full term in the pregnancy. That means that if our son came out now he would essentially be fine. I know I’ve said it before, but this really means that he can come out at any time. He wouldn’t even be considered a premie. All that due date nonsense is just an educated guess. I was three weeks early when I was born. That’s now. Time to get our stuff together.

In addition to that little bit of information, Halloween is here and Jessica will be damned if she doesn’t  organize and decorate a Halloween party despite the fact that she could go into labor as I’m typing this sentence. She’s mentioned starting her maternity leave early because she’s having a harder time getting through each day. Any extended amount of activity causes her to swell up like Violet in Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory. Nothing however will stop her from having this party.

Throwing even more fuel on the fire, Hurricane Sandy is approaching. The storm is expected to hit us sometime Sunday or Monday, and last a couple of days. This is very similar to how my cousin’s daughter was born. It was Hurricane Irene in August of 2011. My cousin was at the same point in her pregnancy that Jessica is now. There is something about the change in barometric pressure that just pushes babies out of their homes. I’m now convinced that he will be showing up by Halloween, which is the day my Aunt predicted it would be several weeks ago.

The only way that Jess convinced me to let her have the party is to promise me that she would make it more low key than any of the other ones. Somehow I believed her (although it’s not like she would have not had a party anyway). By the day of the party I looked around and realized that she decorated every bit as much as she had every other year, if not more. The only difference is that she didn’t have as many bigger decoration ideas that she did not have time to accomplish. The one concession that did pay off was having the party catered instead of cooking everything herself. This kept her seated while I took care of all the decorating on the ceiling (changing lights, putting up bats etc). Her lack of mobility also put me in the role of maintaining the party. Keeping the cooler filled, stocking the snacks, all of the things she used to do while I was busy being the life of the party. Not a role reversal I was thrilled with. She would later say that she had more fun at this party than almost any of the other. So at least that is something good to take out of this.

Punk Vs. Brock Offical, Bryan Goes Through The Gauntlet On Raw

RAW_1052_Photo_183-1If things keep happening on Smackdown I might just have to start recapping that as well.

Last week, Vickie Guerrero was hired by Vince McMahon to be the permanent GM of Smackdown, just two weeks after being fired from her position on Raw. The whole thing is just a way to further evolve the power struggle between Triple H and Vince, but I’m just done with the whole GM thing. It loses even more steam when anyone in the back can make a match. Before Vickie took over on Friday (Tuesday, I know), Booker T, Teddy Long and Raw GM Brad Maddox all booked matches. It’s all just one big plot device that doesn’t require actual wrestling to push stories. It also appears that we’ve seen the last of Chris Jericho for a while as he’s on tour with Fozzy. We could see him back in time for the Royal Rumble, but either way I’d pencil him in for WrestleMania. More importantly, Big E almost did the impossible by breaking out of the friend zone and kissing AJ. Langston put on the brakes however and the awkwardness can continue would him and Kaitlyn.

As for the present, with the WWE going on tour to China, Australia and South Africa, tonight’s show will be the last live program until August 5th. So if anything big is on the horizon, I’d expect it to happen now so that it isn’t spoiled by those in attendance at the pre-recorded shows.

We kickoff tonight with Brad Maddox congratulating himself for letting Cena pick his opponent for Summerslam, and now we get Cena and Daniel Bryan signing their contracts. General Managers, paperwork being signed, the excitement just doesn’t stop. Cena comes out first and Maddox suggests that John only picked Bryan because he is so much smaller and therefore easier to defeat. Before Cena can retort, Bryan himself comes out to the ring. Maddox asks Bryan why he thinks John chose him, but Cena butts in to say Brad and the rest of the front office don’t look over Bryan because of his size, and if that is all that matters than Khali should be champion (already happened once). Cena mentions all the smaller guys like Michaels and Guerrero, before saying that he thinks Daniel earned his shot and deserves it, but warns that he won’t just hand it over. Cena signs the contract and says that Bryan is the best the WWE has to offer, but at Summerslam he’ll prove that the best isn’t good enough. Bryan signs the contract too and starts to talk when Maddox cuts him off and tries to end the segment. Bryan has none of it and starts talking about how he deserves this title shot. Maddox interjects, saying that there are still people in the WWE that don’t think he has earned it, but will put him in multiple matches to prove his worth. So the story so far seems to be all about Bryan being the underdog no matter how hard he tries (just a continuation of the weak link thing). Meanwhile I’m just waiting to see how the Bella’s get thrown in to this. With the Divas reality show and Bryan and Cena each dating a Bella they can’t miss this opportunity right?

EEEEEW!

EEEEEW!

The lead match tonight puts World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio against Sheamus, in a battle that just refused to end last year. I’m curious who Del Rio ends up facing at Summerslam, and had thought of Sheamus just because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else available. Del Rio focuses on a big bruise on Sheamus’ leg that he suffered at Money in the Bank. It looks like a giant ink blot. After Sheamus fights back however, ADR ignores it and focuses on the head for a while as Sheamus stops selling the leg injury. So that angle got wasted fast. Del Rio tries to apply the armlock hanging over the top rope, but Sheamus pulls him back up and punches him off the apron to the floor. Back from break, Sheamus is in control until Alberto hits a german suplex for a two count. Sheamus then dodges a kick to the head to hit a powerslam, with JBL noting that it would have been a back breaker if it wasn’t for the bad leg. The two start trading blows as Damien Sandow is shown watching from the back. Sheamus hits a kneelift and a jumping elbow, but Del Rio dodges a second power slam to hit a back stabber for two. Alberto then misses a dive into the ropes and gets his chest battered, followed by an Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus goes to the top rope but Del Rio runs up to hit him off with an enziguri for another two count. Sheamus then lands a rolling fireman’s carry but misses on the Brogue Kick and tweaks his leg injury. Sheamus further injuries himself attempting White Noise, buckling under the weight as Del Rio rolls him up by the bad leg for a victory via pinfall.

Backstage, Booker T and Teddy Long are being interviewed about Vickie taking over as GM of Smackdown. Booker said he was shocked, while Teddy takes offense to Booker abandoning him while Long held down Smackdown by himself, and took all of the abuse. Booker threatens to beat him up if he doesn’t shut his mouth, with Teddy criticizing Booker for resorting to violence first, saying that if he wasn’t going to remain Smackdown GM, then Vince made the right choice by not picking Booker either. Sounds like a Divas storyline,

Christian versus Titus O’Neil is next on the card in a match that is better suited for Superstars. I will give the Prime Time Players credit for having a cool shirt combining the whistle and the afro pick into one logo. Titus mocks Christian by clapping at the crowd as he overpowers Captain Charisma. After kicking him out of the ring, Titus carries Christian up the steps on his shoulder, then heaving him back into the ring over the top rope. O’Neil is dominating the match, even blowing the whistle while stomping him in the corner. Christian then comes back with a dropkick off the top rope. He goes for the Kill Switch but lets go to take out Darren Young. Young then goes for his finisher, only for Christian to escape, hit the Kill Switch, and win the match.

Backstage, Josh Matthews is interviewing Ryback about how he likes intimidating others. Ryback says he does, because he hates average and believes in the biggest animals getting to eat over the smaller ones. He then threatens Matthews until he pees his pants and runs off.

Mark Henry, fresh off his new three year contract and in his ring gear instead of a suit like last week, is out to the ring to talk about getting beat up by the Shield last week. He plays to the crowd by saying how he’s proud to be a Texan and proud of his effort against Cena, but not proud about how the Shield got the better of him. He says he’s not going to stand there and lull the crowd to sleep (someone finally said it) and challenges the Shield to come out and try it again. Sure enough, they show up and surround the ring. Henry barks at them to bring it and they attack him. Henry starts to get taken down when the Usos come out to assist. There is a very small pop and the Shield is cleared from the ring. Part of it could be Seth Rollins needing a second clothesline to get over the top rope, but I think it’s more about the Usos just not being over enough to generate a reaction from a run-in. It looks like Henry and the Usos will team up against the Shield at Summerslam. Meh.

Backstage, Cena is talking to Bryan about his multiple matches tonight, with Daniel telling John not to come out and help him, as he sees this as a chance to prove himself. Bryan says that if Cena comes out at any point to help him, it will prove that all the things Cena said about how tough and good Bryan is are full of crap. I’m not sure I like a face Bryan that is all calm and logical. Give me crazy Bryan back please.

Not to be out jobbed by his partner, Darren Young is now in singles action against DOLPH ZIGGLER! Dolph uses his speed to evade Young and couple times before hitting a standing dropkick. Young bounces back with a back body drop onto the top turnbuckle and takes control for a while. A lot of chin locks later and Ziggler starts his comeback by dodging Young running at him in the corner. Dolph starts hitting Darren from the top of the turnbuckle but Young counters with a reverse electric chair drop for a two count. After arguing with the ref, Young starts playing to the crowd when Dolph sneaks up from behind to hit the Zig Zag and win the match. Shortly after the pinfall, Big E and AJ run out to attack Ziggler, who ducks under the big clothesline and lowers the rope to send Langston out of the ring. Big E runs back in and Dolph runs out on the other side, heading up the ramp as Big E and AJ watch him leave while being all pissy in the ring. I’m curious how Big E does in a one on one feature match. So far he’s mostly just been good for run ins and a couple of tag matches. He’s have to carry his weight in a PPV singles match against Ziggler. I’m sure Dolph will manage most of the match though.

If you look close you can actually see the friend zone between them

If you look close you can actually see the friend zone between them

If you’ve been watching any WWE programming at all then you know about the Divas reality show debuting this week. They’ve been shoving the damn thing down our throats. To even further promote it, Miz TV has the whole cast, and the crowd can’t stop booing it. This blows. The one bit of information I took from it was Miz announcing that he’ll be the host of Summerslam this year. At least that means he doesn’t have a match, right? Miz decides to call Jerry Lawler to the ring to conduct the interviews. Lawler introduces himself to Eva Marie, who immediately takes the mic, says she wants to make a name for herself and slaps Lawler. So she’s a heel I guess. That’s how it ended. What a waste of time.

Backstage, Triple H is calling out Maddox, for letting Vince McMahon puts words in his mouth by saying he is too small to be champion. HHH says the only reason he didn’t come out and reverse his decision for Bryan’s matches is because he thinks Bryan is the future and will overcome this. He adds that there are two trains leaving the station (Triple H and Vince) and only one of them is going anywhere so he better make sure he’s on the right one. Steph then talks to him about how she has an idea to help him out, and will tell him about it once it is all worked out. My time is further wasted.

Damien Sandow at the announce table as Fandango faces Cody Rhodes, who still has beef with Damien for screwing him out of his MITB victory. Cody and ‘Dango exchange moves until Rhodes is dropped with a clothesline from the apron. The in ring action is average, but Sandow talking about how he was the better man and was thinking of allowing Cody to be his butler (but is taking that back because of how he is losing to Fandango) is great. Cody bounces back with a big moonsault that Fandango needs to run under so that Cody doesn’t break his neck. ‘Dango rolls out of the ring and Sandow goes to the apron to try distracting Cody. Fandango tries to attack to distracted Cody, but Rhodes steps aside, sending ‘Dango into Damien, taking them both out with a Disaster Kick and finishing off Fandango with Cross Rhodes to win the match while eyeing down Sandow, who is going up the ramp. Pretty blah match.

Via satellite

Via satellite

CM Punk out to the ring now to address the crowd following the attack he suffered last week from Brock Lesnar. He says that Lesnar hit him with his best shot until Punk was a broken heap ringside. Punk says that no matter how hard Lesnar hit him, he kept getting back up, and is still standing now. He says Brock can beat him down but he can not keep him down. CM talks up Lesnar by mentioning all of his accolades and accomplishments over WWE and UFC, saying that his biggest weapon was always putting fear into his opponents. Punk then says that he is not afraid of Brock Lesnar. Punk then says that Paul Heyman made the wrong decision by turning his back on him, and CM will make him pay for it and prove that the ring is his yard. He says he would have proved is against Lesnar last week if Heyman had not attacked him from behind for a second time. Punk promises that there will not be a third time and demands that he faces Lesnar at Summerslam, naming the match “The Best versus the Beast.” Paul Heyman then pops up via satellite, saying that heroes are either cowards that run out of options or fools that don’t know when to stay down. Heyman adds that Lesnar is in peak condition while Punk has several injuries. Paul then accepts Punk’s challenge for Summerslam, adding that the best is the beast, and that is Heyman’s best friend, Brock Lesnar. I hope he didn’t hurt Punk’s feelings. I’ve heard some people say that a stipulation is needed to make things a little more fair. I’d love to see this take a more MMA feel to it, although Punk’s words tonight suggest a last man standing match could be in order.

Rob Van Dam out next against Wade Barrett, who uses a sneak attack to try taking control early. After RVD kicked him out of the ring, Wade again takes advantage of Rob’s pandering to the crowd by pulling him down and taking back the momentum. After a series of big kicks, RVD hits a high kick in the corner, nails rolling thunder and a front flip off the top rope for two. Rob then reverses an irish whip to hit a spinning kick in the corner, leading to a five star frog splash that wins the match for Rob Van Dam. Quick match, as the others seem to be. The whole show so far seems to just be getting the marquee guys out there just to say they were there, leading to Daniel Bryan getting to close things out.

On to the aforementioned main event. Jack Swagger is the first one out, with Zeb Colter working a Maury “You are not the father” joke about Texas and Steve Austin (the historical figure, not the wrestler or the Six Million Dollar Man) before saying that Cena giving Bryan a  title shot was a handout to someone less fortunate. Anyway Swagger starts off strong, overpowering Bryan with boots and shoulders as the crowd shouts “O-U Sucks” (Swags went to Oklahoma). Swagger then blocks a diving attack from Bryan with an elbow, mocks the crowd with an upside down Longhorn sign and hits a Swaggerbomb. Jack then tries to pull Bryan up, but Daniel applies the YES Lock (it’s YES Lock now right?) and gets Swagger to tap out to win the first match.

So close to the rope

So close to the rope

Setting up the finish

Setting up the finish

The second match is against Antonio Cesaro, who fortunately is already ringside. Once again, Bryan is getting worked over, taking an upper cut out of mid air and getting shoved hard into the turnbuckle. Bryan then taking Antonio down and teases the mexican surfboard, instead jumping up and stomping on both legs. Cesaro then came back with a suplex and locked in a chin lock. Bryan gets out, back flips over Cesaro and hits the jumping clothesline, following up with a flurry of kicks. Daniel misses the roundhouse and gets put into another chin lock. Bryan gets out of that and hits a pair of running dropkicks in the corner for a two count. Bryan goes to the top rope, but Swagger knocks him down into a Cesaro uppercut for another two count. Antonio continues the pressure with a jumping stomp and starts taunting Bryan with slaps to the head, and Daniel starts his comeback with a boot up on Cesaro running at him in the corner. Bryan hits a roundhouse kick to the head for two, and goes to the top rope where Antonio knocks him down. Cesaro stuns him with a jumping uppercut and goes for a suplerplex. Bryan fights him off  twice, putting Cesaro in the tree of woe to lands a running dropkick. Bryan then lifts him back up to attempt a back body drop from the top rope. Cesaro countered however by shifting his weight onto Bryan, and got a two count. It’s a nice surprise essentially giving Cesaro the main event match on Raw. The two trade uppercuts until Cesaro hits a huge flury of them in a row, culminating in one final blow that garners yet another two count. What looked like a sidestep of a match is turning out to be really good. Bryan escapes the Neutralizer and starts pummeling him with elbows, throwing Antonio out of the ring and taking both Swagger and Antonio out with a dive through the ropes. Bryan brings Cesaro into the ring but misses on a top rope move. Cesaro then throws Daniel into the air to attempt another big uppercut, but Bryan turns it into a small package out of nowhere to win the match. That was really good. Bryan was great of course, but Cesaro really showed how good he can be.

Literally putting Bryan over

Literally putting Bryan over

Next for Daniel Bryan? Ryback. Bryan attacks quickly with kicks and knees, but gets taken down with one big punch. Daniel tries to fight back but is taken down each time with one big hit. Ryback puts a foot on Bryan and chants YES! to the crowd. He then taunts the crowd more as they chant “you can’t wrestle at him.” Bryan escapes a reverses a Lou Thesz press into a half crab that is broken when Ryback reaches the ropes. Ryback continues to dominate with a splash and a spine buster, setting up for the Meathook Clothesline. Bryan counters with a running knee however, following by a couple of running dropkicks in the corner. Ryback avoids a third with a falling clothesline for a two count. Ryback then pulls out a table, setting it up on the outside when Bryan knocks him into the announce table with a dive through the ropes. They both make it into the ring and Bryan hits a flurry of kicks to the chest. Ryback ducks under the roundhouse and goes for a powerbomb that Bryan turns into a victory roll for a two count. Ryback then avoids the YES Lock, only to get toe dragged into the corner and hit with a flying missal dropkick for a two count. Daniel quickly follows up by applying the YES Lock in the middle of the ring. Ryback drags himself to the rope to break the hold and rolls out of the ring. Daniel tries to pursue with a running knee off the apron but Ryback catches him and power bombs him into the floor. Ryback then powerbombs him through the table, giving Bryan the victory via DQ. It looked like Ryback was going to do more damage when Cena comes out to beat Ryback away. As Ryback is escaping, Cena challenges him to a Tables match that Ryback accepts. So that will happen next week (even though it has been happening as a dark match for over a month now after Raw). Quick cut to backstage where Vince McMahon has Maddox book Bryan in a match against his best buddy Kane, and the show closes with Bryan celebrating with the crowd.

This weeks Raw was just kind of going through the motions until the Cesaro/Bryan match. Everything else was breezed over up to that point. Quick matches, quick interviews. This week, Raw really felt like it wanted to only be two hours long. Maybe I was spoiled by last week’s incredible Raw, but this on was pretty disappointing. I expect more of the same on next week’s pre-recorded show.

Tales Of An Expectant Dad: Week 36

47a3dc06b3127cce98548cbf068000000035108AaMnDFm1YudOn November 5th 2012, my wife gave birth to our first child. During the pregnancy I decided that I would write about the experience. Every week since I have documented all of the events that took place throughout this time, along with my thoughts on them. Now that I can confirm that our baby is happy and healthy, I will share those thoughts with you.

Week 36 – Going Solo At A Wedding

This week was very much about nesting. Jess wanted the apartment cleaned up and organized. This also had to do with her wanting to have people over for a Halloween party next week but still, this had been coming for a long time now. The most important part of this was rearranging the bedroom to order to have somewhere to put the pack n’ play so that when Alex decides to show up he has somewhere to sleep.

There was also of course another doctors appointment (they are weekly now) where she was tested for strep b. She doesn’t have it, which is good. Jess made sure to ask about added swelling she is experiencing, specifically in her feet. Whenever she undergoes any physical activity at all, her feet blow up like balloons. They tend to go back down if she puts them up for a while, even more so if she uses ice. The doctor said that it is okay for now. Just like everything else she has felt so far. Somehow everything is normal. Except seizures of course.

The biggest drawback of all this swelling is that I am a groomsman in a wedding this weekend, and sadly she can’t go. It’s one thing to find a dress that fits and to not be able to actually be next to me during the ceremony. However it also means that she would have to get up at 7am in order to get her hair and nails done and then get dressed to be ready to leave at noon. That just isn’t going to happen in the 9th month of pregnancy.

So I’m off to the wedding by myself. It’s an hour away, which makes me a little uneasy when my wife can go into labor any second. We nearly had a scare the other day when she had a very intense Braxton Hicks contraction. For a second we thought we might have to go to the hospital but it ended up being nothing. Anyway now I’m an hour away with the dreaded George Washington Bridge between us and I’m a bit anxious. Before I left I spoke into my wife’s stomach, telling Alex to behave and not come out today. To make absolutely sure that I can get back as soon as possible if something happens, I opt not to go in the limo with the rest of the bridal party. Instead I follow them in my car to the church, then to the park for pictures, and finally to the reception.

Jess had me text her when I got to the church just to assure her than I got in okay. I comply, but she doesn’t reply back to me. She’s probably just sleeping. After the pictures I call her just to check in. She doesn’t answer. I’m still sure she’s sleeping but I really want to make sure. She mentioned she might see her mother so I called her to check if maybe she spoke to Jess. This was my mistake. She knew I was going to the wedding and that Jess was nervous about something happening while I wasn’t around. So now I am calling her and she immediately thinks that Jessica went into labor and I need her to pick her up. Completely freaked her out. She hadn’t spoken to her either but sent a text message as well. Eventually Jess did respond to both of us but my mother-in-law got a pretty good scare.

Fortunately, Jess was not in labor, I had a great time at the wedding, and my son listened to me.

Raw Live Results And Reactions From Brooklyn

20121210_EP_LIGHT_brooklyn-brawler_C-homepageThe last time Raw was in my neck of the woods it was the night after WrestleMania. I had the chance to get tickets and passed since I was going to ‘Mania and didn’t think it would be as good. Man was I wrong. I ended up passing on one of the most memorable editions of Raw ever, with a crowd that is still making an impact today.

So now Raw is in Brooklyn, the night after a PPV (and a pretty good one in MITB), and I am not making the same mistake twice. I’ll be at the Barclays Center for RVD’s return to free TV, Punk’s reaction to being stabbed in the back by Paul E Dangerously, and Dolph Ziggler’s romantic squabbles with AJ Lee. I’m also expecting the Brooklyn Brawler to show up because it’s the place he’s named after for crying out loud.

Along with live Raw updates I’ll also throw in whatever I catch before and after the show is on the air, so BEWARE OF SPOILERS FOR SUPERSTARS (if you are really going to watch Superstars and care about spoilers).

 

733 big boom makes everyone wet their pants. Still trying to get in (apparently the boom was tons of funks entrance)
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745 ryback beat the brawler in record time on superstars. So that’s that.

753 over in mediocreland, Miz beat Slater with a figure four. He’s the Miz, and he…is…average.

800 Sometime! With Brad Maddox kicking things off
image

Ziggler gets a rematch! I’m in!
802 Cena spoils the party. Makes some chatter and Bryan let’s him pick his Summerslam opponent. (We all know it’ll be Bryan).
807 Orton out with the briefcase to talk trash. He’ll take his time to cash in…
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809 but here comes Fandango! He makes Cena say his name and cuts Orton off. Randy doesn’t like that and we have our first match.

812 WAITING THROUGH COMMERCIALS

819 Back and forth affair. More offense from ‘Dango then I expected. Crowd is trying very hard to be outrageous. Not quite there yet.

828 A bloody handed Orton hits a superplex while the crowd does the wave, and wins with an RKO. Good match.

831 Backstage, Dolph Ziggler just dumped AJ! No way that’ll bite him in the ass later.

835 A suited up Mark Henry gave Cena credit for beating him and makes his case for Cena to pick him for Summerslam.
838 The Shield interrupts and surrounds the ring and brings him down (despite a good fight) with a triple powerbomb. I thought Henry was going to go through the ring. Nice pop.

445 Jericho booked to face RVD to try and impress Cena. Also because Hell Yeah!

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850 Ziggler and Del Rio now? We’re not even in the second hour. Damn good match but what did you expect?

902 Ziggler hits a fameasser off the top rope, but AJ comes out and rings the bell to distract him before he can cover. Del Rio blind sides Dolph with a kick to the head to win, and AJ runs in to slap the bejesus out of Ziggler until Big E dropped him with a Big Ending. Great match and well done finish.

913 R-Truth out (boo) but the Wyatt’s come out to beat him down (yay!).
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915 Bray cuts a promo about us being lied to, and that he’s the answer. Truth then comes in with a chair. Bray is left alone in the ring, begging Truth to attack. Instead, Bray psyches him out and attacks, with the other two Wyatt’s adding to the damage. Bray kisses Truth on the head and finishes him off. Crowd loved it and so did I.

924 The Real Americans come out, but somehow don’t use “I am a real American” as entrance music. Zeb wants Cens to choose one of his guys. The fans voted for the Usos to face them.
930 Usos sneak a win with a roll up in a bathroom break match.

937 Damien Sandow one on one against Christian. Sandow has an extra pep in his step as the crowd chants “you screwed Cody”
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941 Christan escapes the elbow of disdain to roll up Sandow and get the surprise win. Rhodes then runs out and beats up on Damien, forcing him out. Big pop for Cody.

942 They keep calling Cena’s decision just “The Decision.” I wonder who he’ll bring his talents to.

954 The non-injured Bella (Brie) takes on Naomi, who can actually wrestle. Naomi looked decent in victory and got more ring time than the Usos and Real Americans. No justice.

1000 Hour three starts with CM Punk calling out Lesnar and Heyman. Only Paul comes out though, and he says Punk doesn’t exist to him anymore. He says he made CM Punk, and turned on him because of how he abandoned him after ‘Mania. Ultimately, he screwed Punk because he “can’t beat Brock Lesnar.” Punk responds by saying he swears on Heyman’s children that he’ll get him and anyone associated to him. Epic promos by both.
1015 After some more jabber, Bock Lesnar comes out and brawls with Punk outside the ring. After some back and forth, Lesnar F-5s Punk onto the announce table. It doesn’t break because Punk has the worst luck with tables.

1030 Time for RVD versus Y2J and I’m damn pumped for it. Big pop for Van Dam of course
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1044 Excellent match. Everything you’d expect from both.
1054 RVD wins a hell of a match on a frog splash and that was worth the price if admission alone.

1108 Cena milks it for ages but finally does pick Daniel Bryan and the crowd goes nuts to close the show.
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1120 Cena put Ryback through a table to win the dark match and we’re out.

Overall a very good show and the commercial breaks didn’t kill me like I feared they would. Now I’m just jacked up for Bryan/Cena and Punk/Lesnar at Summerslam.