The SmarK Rant for WWE Monday Night RAW – 12.30.19
Anyone who didn’t think I was gonna review the fuck out of this episode has a fundamental misunderstanding of how my mind works.
As always, this is the 90 minute Hulu version.
Live from Hartford, CT
Your hosts are Vic Joseph & Jerry Lawler
Kevin Owens joins us to start, and those giant LED board/entrance ramp combos are really starting to bug. It’s like a giant version of the bezel-less Samsung phones or something, all screen and no body. I keep hoping they’ll tone it down and they keep adding ugly virtual reality effects and more blinding lightshows. So KO takes us back to last week, as AOP lays out both Rey Mysterio and then Samoa Joe, all while wearing nice suits. Kevin was made SICK watching Rey getting beat up, which is kind of funny coming from a guy who’s known for powerbombing people on the apron for large portions of his career. And then we tie things together with footage from MSG of Andrade winning the US title from Rey, which I still don’t get. Unless it’s his engagement gift from Vince or something.
Seth Rollins interrupts and he’s all blah blah leader blah blah messiah and although he’s better as a heel, he’s no CM Punk. Finally Kevin gets as tired of the rhetoric as we are and just shrugs his shoulders and attacks the AOP, which goes badly for him. Finally Samoa Joe can take no more of this nonsense and comes out to beat some ass and complete his babyface turn, and finally security geeks have to rush down and break it up lest a wrestling match between wrestlers erupt in this wrestling ring on a wrestling show. GOD FORBID.
MOMENTS AGO, let’s watch this whole deal again. Odd choice for an edited show. Anyway, crazy brawls are always fun and this was a good start to the show.
Meanwhile, The Sam-Owens bond in the dressing room afterwards and decide to fortify their alliance into a tag team friendship, until security comes and throws them out of the building. Kevin, you FOOL, think about how badly your last best friend worked out for you!
Aleister Black v. Buddy Murphy
Buddy’s generic dark match jobber entrance music is bit of a buzzkill to his push, I’d say. Also, his name sucks. Just saying. So apparently this feud was started because Buddy knocked on his door.
Probably not that way. Although I’ve heard the kisses are hers and hers and his, later in the show. Buddy gets a rana to put Black on the floor to start, but then teases a dive and plays some mindgames instead. So Black plays mindgames right back and then kicks him in the face and beats on him in the corner. Knee strike gets two. Buddy goes up and Black cuts him off with another kick, but Buddy yanks him down to the floor and we take a break. Back with Black hitting the kick combos and shining wizard, and a quebrada gets two. Murphy manages to throw him out of the ring, but Black kicks him in the face from the floor and then beats on him with kicks from the apron. Black goes up and misses a double stomp, and Buddy sends him into the turnbuckle and puts his feet on the ropes for two. Black charges and hits the floor, and Buddy gets a dive that completely overshoots Black by a foot. Back in, he just shrugs off the botch and gets a meteora for two. They fight to the top and Buddy fights off a superplex attempt, then rolls into a sitout powerbomb for two. Takes me right back to a decade ago when you could kill a man with a sitout version of any move. Murphy showboats and then superkicks Black, but Black sweeps the leg. So Murphy STOMPS HIS TOES and gets a high knee, but Black counters him into a brainbuster for two. I’ve heard stomping the toes is a bootable offense where he comes from. Black sets up the finish, but Murphy reverses into a rollup for two, so Black has had enough of his Australian monkeyshines, and hits two Black Masses for the pin at 14:54. They just kicked the shit out of each other there and it was pretty rad. If I had a sister, which I do not, I would be fine with this match dating her. Maybe not going all the way on the first date, but probably some tongue. ****1/4
Meanwhile, the security geeks also escort Seth Rollins and the AOP out of the building. But they leave voluntarily.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch has agreed to a match with Asuka at Royal Rumble, which she asked for as a stipulation of her new contract negotiations. She should just post pictures of AEW-related roadsigns on Twitter. She’d probably get double what she’s making now.
Meanwhile, Liv Morgan continues her makeover, talking about how “someone” once made her feel different and then “took it away”. FORESHADOWING.
Randy Orton hobbles out on crutches as a result of his vague “left knee injury” at the house show the other night. So Randy reminds us that it ain’t ballet (although I should point out that he is fond of doing interpretive dances before his big move) and he’ll be out for a very long time. Maybe forever! So this brings out AJ Styles to make fun of Orton in his time of pain and suffering. He even offers to put his hands behind back and give up his neck, but Orton doesn’t bite. Finally AJ kicks out a crutch on the way out for the cheapest of cheap heat, but of course Orton was faking the knee injury the whole time and hits the RKO on him. Eh, it was a thing to do I guess, but the payoff was incredibly obvious and they could have stretched this out all the way to the Rumble really easily and milked it a lot more to actually put some doubt in people’s minds.
Meanwhile, at MSG, Andrade wins the US title from Rey Mysterio. Rey is looking old as FUCK in the closeup shots during his post-match interview.
Andrade v. Some Enhancement Geek
Andrade hits a pair of corner clotheslines and a dropkick and stomps away in the corner. Running knees and he tosses the guy to the floor and pulls up the mats, but Ricochet comes out and saves the guy for some reason. Really? We’re counting jobbers as people now? Next thing you know they’ll be giving referees the vote.
So Ricochet wants a fight TONIGHT, IN THIS VERY RING, and we take a break. I mean, it’s hard to care about Ricochet saving the guy when they won’t even tell us his name.
IMPROMPTU BUT STILL OFFICIAL MATCH: Andrade v. Ricochet
Ricochet controls to start but goes for a springboard and gets dropkicked in mid-air. Andrade beats on him and hooks a reverse full nelson submission, but Ricochet rolls him up for two. Andrade bails and lures Ric into the railing to take over again, then tries for the DDT on the floor, but Ricochet has no higher tier stars to save HIM and he takes a backdrop on the concrete as a result. Well, better than a DDT, I guess. We take a break and return with Andrade holding a chinlock until Ric makes the comeback with a rolling dropkick. Standing shooting star gets two. Andrade escapes the Recoil and hits a Judas Effect elbow for two. Is there a non-union Mexican equivalent of Judas? Hammerlock DDT is countered into a small package by Ricochet and he hits his own DDT, but goes up and gets shoved off by Zelina. And the hammerlock DDT finishes at 10:45. Ricochet just keeps ricocheting further down the card. But at least they didn’t job the new champion one day after winning the title, I guess. Match was OK. **1/2
And now, THE WEDDING.
Bobby Lashley has a very classy sleeveless jacket, and we take a break after Lana’s entrance. Back with the happy couple and a giant wedding cake in the ring that I’m sure is totally not hiding anything or anyone. And shit, we’ve got 20 minutes left in the show, so hopefully they’ve got some stuff planned here. The minister mentions “the pitter patter of little feet” and Lana freaks out about him going off-script because she doesn’t want a “monster baby” ripping her up and giving her stretch marks. Sadly, the crowd disrespects their love and chants for Rusev. So Lana freaks out and yells at the crowd, reminding us yet again that everything is about her. And again. And again. And then we hammer home the single joke further as Lashley reads the vows that she wrote for him, reaffirming how lucky he is. So this goes ON AND ON, until the minister finally gets to the inevitable gag where he asks who objects. So this brings out some rando guy, who turns out to be Lana’s first husband before she left him for Rusev. Lashley chokeslams him to get rid of him, and then we get the second objection, from Lashley’s first wife this time. Lana slaps her off the apron and we try it again, and this time the new improved Liv Morgan objects (although she looks nothing like herself, so people probably thought it was Dana Brooke or something). And of course the payoff is that Liv has secretly been Lana’s lover this whole time. They couldn’t even use Sonya Deville for this bit? So we get the spurned lover catfight, complete with particularly gratuitous panty shots from Lana, and this is all nowhere in the stratosphere of the trainwreck craziness that all the e-mails would led me to believe. Finally, Rusev bursts out of the cake and attacks Lashley to break up the wedding for good. Great, now they can’t even book a finish in a WEDDING.
Yeah, this SUCKED. Bottom tier wrestling wedding easily, with a boring, overly-talkie leadup and a senseless twist that’s not gonna lead to anything worthwhile. I expected a lot more of Paul Heyman given the buildup. I’ve said a few times that this feud needed some over-the-top Jerry Springer craziness, preferably with Jerry himself doing the wedding vows, and we didn’t even get a pregnancy announcement or crazy unmasking or Gene Snitsky! If I might sum up…
This was a failure of a wedding segment and this show can cram it with walnuts for wasting my time, PAL.