Monday , 1 September 2014

Rubbed RAW – March 10th, 2014

 

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Hey bozo, Justin Houston here with the newest edition of “Rubbed RAW”. I give-a you the RAW Recap. I make-a it juuuust the way-a you like. Then, I wrote a piece about balls and Triple H and lots of other stuff that has been on my mind. It’s not breaking new territory or anything but it’s what my brain regurgitated so you have to read it now. You HAVE to, okay? I think it might be incomprehensible at this point, but whatever. DO IT. I had to remove some stuff too because*SPOILER ALERT* Triple H realized what a wet dump his Mania event was. Also, I wrote two sentences that didn’t really fit anywhere in the piece but I really wanted to post them: “The head trainer of the WWE’s developmental system, the place where all of their supposed “future superstars” will have to come through, is run by a deranged, narcissistic, homophobic, brain-damaged sniveling dick cheese named Bill DeMott. He is a fucking idiot and he is guiding their future.” Ahhhh, that was cathartic. Anyway, read my shit please and thanks and I will always love you forever and ever.

 

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 Raw Recap

- Tonight’s RAW from Memphis, Tennessee is once again kicked off by “The Unkillable Fuck Machine” Hulk Hogan! Lots of Hogan chants, but a ton of chants for hometown “king” Jerry Lawler, who is wearing the most batshit insane shirt I have ever seen. He puts over the WWE Network and, well…himself. He says he got jacked up watching himself and Andre the Giant go at it, and he had an idea: The Andre the Giant Memorial 30-Man Battle Royal! I’m not even joking. They slo-mo a video unveiling the ridiculous trophy depicting Andre on it. This is either the greatest or stupidest thing ever devised. It’s happening at Mania, of course. John Cena comes out and so do the boos. Cena talks for a while about nothing of consequence. My girlfriend asks if he’s basically sucking Hogan’s dick. I nod. Cena says he’s in the AGM30MDR! Weeee! He also challenges Bray Wyatt to a match at WrestleMania 30. The Wyatts show up to a loud pop. Bray runs them both down, saying hope is dead. Bray calls himself a god. Cena casually crushes Bray’s entire gimmick in a single promo. Good lord. Not quite Rock-esque but the best thing Cena’s said or done in ages. Bray disappears or something and Cena’s match with Erick Rowan begins.

1. John Cena d. Bray Wyatt via school boy. Fine. Short. Afterwards, The Wyatts threaten to charge but somehow Hogan and Cena scare them off. Hogan and Cena pose together for, like, fifteen straight minutes.

- We’re getting ANOTHER Christian versus Sheamus match, Batista & Orton versus Bryan & Big Show, and The Undertaker will show up at some point. Also: AUTHORITY. WALKING.

- Trips and Wife are in the house. Stephanie stands at the entranceway and apologizes to Daniel Bryan. Sort of. It’s mostly sarcastic. She says Bryan has to apologize to them as well or there will be severe consequences. HHH never speaks. They leave. Jesus, the fucking Outlaws are out here now, too. They’re on commentary for Usos/RybAxel, which is next.

2. The Usos d. Ryback & Curtis Axel via flying splash. Ryback’s in Andre Royale. I don’t know which Uso is which but Hot Tag Uso is the superior Uso. Standard Uso match, which is always pretty exciting. They taunt the Outlaws afterwards.

- Backstage, Kane runs down The Shield. He calls them an invaluable asset, and he’s taken it upon himself to figure out whether they can be repaired or whether they’re disposable. He books Rollins & Reigns versus Rhodes & Goldust for later. Rollins agrees to it. Each guy takes turns making fun of Kane’s recent losing streak to Daniel Bryan. Reigns blatantly threatens Kane before reminding him to “believe in The Shield”. Great segment.

3. Big E d. Jack Swagger via school boy. Big E is also in Andre Royale. During the match, Zeb and Jack try to get Cesaro to cheat and help Swagger, but he refuses. This distraction allows E to roll up Swagger for the win. Afterwards, both Real Americans argue and Zeb gets HOT. He forces them to shake hands and Cesaro locks a death grip on Swagger’s mitt. He finally lets go, blowing on his palm and sheathing his hand like it’s a loaded weapon afterwards. ALL HAIL CESARO.

- The Undertaker literally sprints to the ring just kidding. He gets there eventually though. I’m assuming. I wrote this before he actually got there. Wait, okay…wait. WAIT. HEY! He made it! He goes to speak and Paul Heyman is standing—and shaking—at the entranceway. Heyman puts over The Streak big time and ask Taker NOT to step in the ring with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30. Taker gives Heyman a message for Brock. I…it was complex. He also said Brock would rest in peace if he showed up at Mania.

4. Cody Rhodes & Goldust d. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns via pinfall. Really, really good match. Rollins gets the win over Rhodes after a buckle bomb and the Blackout. Boy, Rollins is suddenly get the focus in The Shield. It IS his turn after all.

5. The Bella Twins d. AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka via pinfall. Natalya Neidhart is on commentary and holy shit she’s just awful. She comes off like a complete tool to boot and I’m fairly certain we’re supposed to like her. It’s actually a pretty good match and Nikki pins the champ via Rack Attack. Nattie says some other stupid shit and stares down Nikki for some reason.

- Daniel Bryan is out now. He says he’s fine with Triple H being a COO. What he’s not fine with is when Triple H attacks him, sends people to attack him or just mess with his matches. He says “NO!” he won’t give an apology. He says he’s not leaving the ring until he gets his match with Triple H…and that he’s occupying Raw. Oh geez. He calls “fans” into the ring, all wearing Bryan shirts and Daniel says he’s not leaving until he gets what he wants. It cuts to a commercial and when we come back THE ENTIRE RING AND RINGSIDE IS FULL OF FANS IN BRYAN SHIRTS. After lots of “Yes!” chants, The Authority finally shows up so a chorus of boos. Triple H says they’ve had their fun but he tells them they have thirty seconds before he calls security. After thirty seconds, he sends “security”: it’s two guys! They’re like, “We can’t get rid of EVERYONE here.” Stephanie screams at Bryan to stop this and Daniel tells her that she and Triple H don’t own the WWE. He says the people do. They are furious and Trips yells for the next match to start! What?! How?! Damien Sandow comes out and is not sure what to do. Bryan invites him into join The Movement but he balks. The Authority comes out again and Stephanie LOSES IT. Triple H speaks again, saying he was doing Daniel Bryan a favor sparing him being at the top. He says the people will turn on him when he’s at the top. He finally agrees to Bryan’s stipulation…but Bryan says he wasn’t done making demands. He wants one more stipulation: if he wins, he’s added to the WrestleMania 30 main event! Triple H goes ballistic, being held back by security. He agrees to all of it and says The Yes! Movement dies at Mania. WOW. Guess they finally realized that Batista/Orton alone in the ring in the main event was disaster waiting to happen.

6. Memphis Street Fight: Sheamus d. Christian via Brogue Kick. Fantastic match between these two. They set up a drum kit and some guitars at ringside for this. Sheamus beat the ever-loving shit out of Christian. Christian hit a nice tornado DDT from the stage onto the floor putting Sheamus down for a while. Many chair and kendo stick shots. In the end, Christian charged at Sheamus with a base drum and Sheamus hit him with the Brogue Kick through the drum. It was fucking obvious and still fucking awesome.

- Randy Orton and Batista are backstage complaining about The Authority’s decision about Bryan to Brad Maddox…who is alive, apparently. Batista doesn’t actually say anything. He just sort of stands there. I think he grunted at some point. Guardians of the Galaxy, coming to theaters August 1st!

- Alexander Rusev comes out for the second straight week. It’s literally the exact same thing he did last RAW. It gave me déjà vu.

- Another Wyatt promo. More double-talk nonsense. He accepts Cena’s WrestleMania challenge.

7. Daniel Bryan & The Big Show d. Randy Orton & Batista via pinfall. Another really good match. Batista speared Orton by accident at one point. In the end, Bryan ducked an Orton clothesline and drilled him with the busaiku knee for the victory. Really strong RAW overall.

 

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Running With Balls

The Ball™ is a metaphorical object a person striving to reach the top of any industry without aid or guidance perceives they must possess to be considered the very best at what they do. The Ball™ is rarely given; it can usually only be taken. Oh, and you can’t JUST take the damn thing. You are supposed to run like hell when you get it, otherwise it doesn’t work…or something. Look, The Ball™ is not fucking real. It is an excuse people with power give to people beneath them for why they decided to butt fuck them. “You had the ball, Jim. You just didn’t run with it. Your services are no longer required.” No one is saying people shouldn’t be fired. But this idea that you can fail someone on a test that doesn’t exist is dishonest and cowardly. It puts the onus on the worker and leaves the any responsibility the superior might have out of the equation. Occasionally, this works in favor of the worker. If he “takes the ball” and does a kick ass job, that superior might see the value in The Ball™ delusion and play along. “The Ball was there the whole time!” he’ll tell people. It wasn’t. That guy made it up and did SUCH a tremendous job that everyone just went along with it. But this only ever works if everyone subconsciously knows that The Ball™ isn’t real; that they understand the implications of the metaphor. The guy worked hard despite not being given the time and opportunity to do so. He “ran” with a fake thing that implies power and ended up with some actual power after everyone validated the fantasy, even if they all knew it was just a silly phrase: to take The Ball™ and run with it. This is a story about what happens when a man not only thinks The Ball™ is real, but sleeps with it tucked under his arm every night.

 

A lot of people think that Hulkamania was this well-planned, perfectly executed marketing gimmick that Vince McMahon hatched back in the early 1980’s. That he handpicked some guy to be the leather-skinned, muscled up, all-American hero that would steer a new generation of fans to the sport. Vince could have chosen anyone. We could’ve ended up with Hacksaw Fever or the Honky Tonk Revolution or even Santanamania. “Whatcha gonna do, hermano?” Tito would scream, “When Santanamania runs salvaje on YOU!” Actually, that sounds amazing. But this idea that Vince McMahon plucked Hogan from obscurity and made him into a superstar is complete bullshit. Vince McMahon did not make Hulkamania. Hulkamania was part Hulk, part Vince, a marriage of money and momentum. While he’d been using “The Hulk” moniker for quite some time, it was Vince’s father, still running the WWF at the time, that supplied the last name Hogan, supposedly because he wanted an Irish wrestler. Hulk’s first run with the WWF ended quickly as he joined New Japan Pro Wrestling. He became a superstar overseas and made a memorable appearance in “Rocky 3”. He joined the AWA and became the biggest star in professional wrestling. He finally rejoined the WWF again after Vince bought the WWF outright from his ill father. Vince put the WWF Championship on him, like, two months later and Gorilla Monsoon declared Hulkamania had risen. Except, as you just read, it was ALREADY there. Hulkamania had been “running wild” for years prior to the victory, throughout Japan, in movie theaters and eventually in the United States with the AWA . Hulk Hogan was the biggest wrestling act on the planet. Vince, being not an idiot, bought him and stuck him on his already ballooning mountain. There was no pretense of The Ball™ or anyone running with it. Hogan made the WWF mainstream. WWF gave Hulk even more exposure to masses. It was a marriage. That’s how mainstream wrestling superstars used to be created: momentum meets money. But that’s not what guys like Triple H, Jim Ross or even Vince himself would tell you now. Now, apparently, the rules have changed. The WWE does not screw up-and-coming superstars, so I’m told. It’s up-and-coming superstars that screw up-and-coming superstars.

 

I’ve gone into great deal in the past on numerous podcasts explaining why Triple H is the way he is, burying guys with momentum in his prime, propping up every friend he has in the business now that he’s running everything and generally acting like a smug, self-aggrandizing jackass. Long story short: he’s insecure. He knew he was never as good as any of the top guys during the Attitude Era. He needed a six man army and a sledgehammer just to make him winning seem plausible. He’s been wrestling the exact same match for fifteen years. He was the first hated man to walk out of WrestleMania with the title in the main event. He was never exciting, never very interesting. He’s always just been the guy who fucked the boss’s daughter, was besties with an actual goddamn legend, occasionally suffered from Exploding Knee Syndrome and constantly acted like an asshole. Because of this, he HAD to politic. Had to make buddies with better wrestlers. Had to put himself next to the upstart new guys and bury them before they had a chance to get too big. Even now, he ALWAYS books himself next to whatever the next big act is. CM Punk explodes, Triple H starts to feud him. Lesnar comes back, Trips is there. Bryan? HHH. Wanna make a bet who Roman Reigns will be feuding with after he leaves The Shield? I didn’t think so. So it’s laughable that this guy, of all guys, is the one saying that The Ball™ is simply waiting for someone to come along and run with it. Even Jim Ross has said something to that effect, claiming that the locker room isn’t as “edgy” as it was in the Attitude Era, whatever that means. What Ross fails to realize is that, in the early part of that era, the WWF couldn’t afford a personal luxury like blatant favoritism. They were a sinking ship and they needed superstars. There was no money in holding guys down. Trips still tried, mind you. This is the guy who took one look at The Rock and thought, “I gotta step on this guy’s throat.” Now? That same ‘roided-up, insecure little boy in charge. And he still loves stepping on throats.

 

Dolph Ziggler has said in numerous interviews that he wants to be THE guy, going so far as to insinuate being unafraid of facing a guy like Orton in a real back alley brawl. You know, incendiary, borderline crazy stuff. But that’s not what Jim Ross and Triple H mean by “wanting it”. They mean backstabbing. They mean politicking and brown-nosing and all manner of despicable nonsense they participated in to get to where they are. What they complain about is a lack of slit-throat attitude. They want to validate their own conniving bullshit by telling people, “Well das just whut it takes to be a duperstar in Dubba Dubba Eee.” It’s that same frustrated feeling I get when I hear some TMZ camera-toting fuckhead ask some celebrity if they’re tired of being gossiped about, as if completely oblivious to their own role in the process. Triple H cannot be that ignorant. “I mean, that guy just doesn’t WANT it enough. If he wanted it more, he’d be a superstar. What? Oh I’m just the guy that decides who gets a superstar push. I CONTROL NOTHING.” The truth is, there are certain guys that have proven to get a reaction one way or another–Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, even CM Punk–that have had their pushes just stop or even never materialize. They have something in common: they got where they are WITHOUT Triple H. Nay, in spite of. Ziggler is constantly reaching for the The Ball™ but that same “edge” JR mentioned earned him the label of a mouth-runner. He can be seen jobbing weekly to guys with WrestleMania spots assured. He wasn’t even on Raw this week. Neither was The Miz, who was allowed to beat exactly ONE person clean as WWE Champion. Suddenly, the title is removed and he never sees the top again. If not for Punk’s scathing verbal pipe bomb, one of the most talked-about wrestling moments ever, he’d still be waiting for someone to give him the mother fucking BALL. That’s why Ross gets this really wrong. Punk reached for years and was basically left to his own devices. Ziggler started speaking up for himself and his name coming up on a firing list at some point would not surprise me in the slightest. Del Rio (NOT ON RAW) is probably gone after his contract runs out. People are reaching for it…but there’s nothing there. It’s an empty case where The Ball™ used to sit. The guy with The Ball™ is Triple H. And he’s never letting it go.

 

Triple H is looking for the next HIM, and since he’s still here, HE will just keep on being HIM. Now, I know what the Triple H apologists will say. “He can’t have ALL that power” and “It’s just excuses for other superstars’ shortcomings”. First off…yeah, he does. He has a say in every single thing you see on TV, and final say on most of it. Don’t kid yourself. The WWE is his now. Secondly, the truth is a pretty perfect “excuse” for a person being held back. You know why The Wyatts and The Shield have gone over so well. It’s the marriage, just the like the one that brought us Hulkamania: both groups were pushed, protected, booked with purpose and all six did what they do: kick ass. Unlike other who are thrown to the wolves, these six guys were designed and set up to succeed. And low and behold, it worked. NO ONE has been given more opportunities to bust out in the past five years than The Shield were. They were put in with main eventers, treated like main eventers and BEAT main eventers. They were written as a FORCE. There was never any Ball™ here. They knew EXACTLY what they were supposed to do and they did it. It turns out it’s a lot easier to pull off when people aren’t treating a fake thing like it was real. So many superstars are given a loose gimmick and told to reach for…something. That’s The Ball™; shapeless, indescribable and, again, complete fiction. It’s a trap thrown but uncreative people to motivate underlings in vague, sometimes impossible ways. “Chase this thing I can’t describe.” But when someone actual thinks they have this thing, what they are really saying is, “Chase nothing, forever”. They HAVE it already. They could define it for you if they wanted to. They just don’t. Fandango was given a silly gimmick, told he would beat Jericho at WrestleMania and…WHAT THE FUCK ELSE?! NOTHING! No momentum was EVER given to him post-Mania! No title runs, no promo time, no feuds, no web shows, no PPV matches. Nothing. Zero. “Chase nothing, forever.”

 

Daniel Bryan is not the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. After weeks of basically begging, he finally has his match at WrestleMania 30 with a chance to slide into the main event, too. He is the most popular superstar in the WWE today, and it is not always acknowledged as a fact of truth on television. Michael Cole may scream it every week, but guys like JBL, Batista, Orton, Triple H, Kane, Stephanie, etc. all expend energy every single week ripping the guy with little recourse or believable refutation. But it’s not JUST that they’re ripping him. They stand in the ring as “YES!” chants pour down and pretend it some sort of fringe minority. Do you know how long it took for them to even acknowledge on-screen the waves of cheers the guy gets? At least half a year. Months and months of deafening cheers before they decided to allow Michael Cole to mention on-air that he MAY be more popular than Cena. May. MAAAAAY. Like it’s still a big ass question mark. Fuck t-shirt sales. NOBODY gets more cheers than Daniel Bryan. Don’t delude yourself, either: this is not a genius storyline, belittling Bryan to somehow gain him MORE popularity. They just demean because they CAN. It’s a big fucking joke to current creative. They can ignore reality all they want because the WWE has redefined their own success. Things like lousy TV ratings, overall fan frustration and stale, uninspired storylines no longer matter. You can’t call them unsuccessful because they’ll just redefine the meaning. TV ratings plummeting? Stock prices are soaring! Stock prices down? Check out the WWE Network! One of a kind! WWE Network issues?! TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS! There’s no drive to change or to better themselves because EVERYTHING is a success. It’s a grand delusion meant to line pockets. It doesn’t MATTER who the next It Guy is, they’ll consider themselves a success no matter what. That’s why Bryan still fights for his spot and Triple H’s geriatric buddies were tag champions again and why his old stable mates are definitely main eventing the biggest wrestling pay-per-view of the year. Because if it doesn’t matter who’s at the top, it might as well be friends of the man in charge. They get the spotlight. He gets to brag about PPV numbers. Everybody wins…except everybody who is not them.

 

Above, I said that a superstar used to be created when momentum meets money. This is no longer true. Momentum is not a necessary or even valued part of the process anymore. Like the WWE making up their own definition of accomplishment, it’s all a matter of perception. CM Punk’s pipe bomb briefly changed the industry because his words became main stream opinion. Punk represented the fan’s frustrated feelings about the product. So, they pushed him. Not because of momentum and fan response…but because the world would see them differently for doing so. “Hey! Punk’s got the belt! They’re finally getting it right!” And true, those were amazing times for CM Punk fans. Perceptions, however short, changed. But it didn’t last. As soon as they could get away with it, he was back to treading water. He wasn’t important because they realized there would be no outcry for it and, again, because it doesn’t matter who is on top, even today. They’ll try and do the same to Bryan. He’ll beat Triple H, probably win in the main event of WrestleMania and he’ll be The Guy…until he isn’t. He still not what Triple H wants. So, the first chance they have to get the belt away from him, they’ll take it. Whatever reality is, they will spin it, twist it, regurgitate what comes out and call it an achievement. Now, however, Triple H is overseeing NXT, the developmental arm of the WWE. Theoretically, this is good news. Triple H may run out of pissing contests. EVERYONE will be a Triple H guy. You won’t be able to get to the main show without his DIRECT approval. No more starting and stopping. Trips has had some baaaaad ideas (Kharma, Sin Cara) but The Shield and The Wyatts have all come up under his watch to great success. And the big secret why? No, JR, not because they WANTED it more. No, Vince, not because they could be movie stars. It’s because Triple H wasn’t there to step on their throats.

 

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Disagree with anything or everything I’ve written? Have something to say? Comment below! Also, apologies for any spelling, tense or punctuations errors. I am no a best grammar. Thanks for taking your time to read the column. You are a good person.

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About Justin Houston

Justin Houston, born in a place many years ago, had parents who did stuff. He was raised in a house with a dog. He went to school and had friends probably. Then he moved because of a bridge or something. The boardwalk had a nice pier and a cockatoo that said "pretty bird!". Then he moved. All the water in the lake dried up and the fishes learned to dance. Then they forgot how. He ate lots of fish. Then he moved. Now he lives near Atlanta, GA, where he has been featured in the Atlanta Film Festival and recently did a tasteful spread for Maxim. He discovered puroresu in late 2005 and began a prolonged physical relationship with it. He then found out about Chikara Pro in early 2006 and fell in a smelly, brown puddle of love. He writes Pushing Puroresu, CHIKARMY Insider, and does Chikara DVD reviews because he enjoys the creative freedom, the melodic, ego-fueling sound of his own words, and because he was very politely asked to write them. He hopes this will lead to a full-time gig as one of the Fly Girls, but seeing as In Living Color has been off the air for over a decade, he's not sure how well that'll work. He'll probably be moving soon.

2 comments

  1. Uh, didn’t Sheamus win?

  2. Hahaha, he sure did! I always try to predict who will win a match beforehand so I can go ahead and format the result with proper bolding, underlines, etc. I had it right in the details, but I forgot to change the result. I thought, “Surely a Street Fight will give Christian a way to get a cheap win and keep Sheamus strong.” I forgot that Sheamus rarely loses Street Fights. I’ve fixed it in the post. Thanks for the catch!

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