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The Sleeper Hold – Episode 1

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Posted on June 12, 2012 AT 01:29pm

Something new we’ve been mulling over for some time at EGMNOW.com is to look at professional wrestling. All of us here in the office are huge fans of the WWE brand and often we get into arguments over how plotlines are developing, who should and shouldn’t be getting put over, and just how much power John Cena gets from his trademark jorts. In that vein, we hope to give you a brief overview of our thoughts on what is transpiring each week and maybe even entertain some of you in the process.

Main Plot Overview: The big overarching plot of June 11th’s Monday Night RAW, which came to us live from Hartford, CT (gives Mick Foley thumbs up), was whether or not John “Big Johnny” Laurenitis would finally be fired, as Vince McMahon would step back into the squared circle for the first time in nearly nine months and re-take the reigns of his company. Giving Laurenitis one last chance, McMahon wanted Big Johnny to put on the card of a lifetime in a special 3-hour edition of RAW (really a test run for the expanded format starting July 23rd, which I’m all for because it will allow a lot of wrestlers and the lesser belts to be put back into the spotlight on a regular basis).

Laurenitis would seemingly fail at this task though, and at the end, when he was about to be fired in classic McMahon fashion, Big Show would storm the ring to side with Big Johnny, soon followed by John Cena who would side with McMahon. This would lead to a scrum (of course) and the stipulation that Cena vs Show at No Way Out, this coming Sunday’s PPV, would have Laurenitis’ job on the line (again).

Match of the Night: A decent subplot that emerged from last night came really from the fact that Alberto Del Rio was injured once again in his last match. This left the number one contendership for the World Heavyweight Championship wide open and so an impromptu Fatal 4-Way Elimination match was signed between Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Christian, and the Great Khali.

Once Khali was quickly eliminated (his continued presence after all is only there for the obligatory Indian audience demographic bump), the match really did a great job of impressing. Swagger, Ziggler, and Christian are three of the better in-ring tacticians the WWE roster has right now and when it came down to Christian versus Ziggler, the crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

Ziggler was going to get the obvious bump when it was down to them though since Chrisitian is already the IC champ, and many more expected it would’ve been Ziggler vs Swagger in the end anyway since both are in such desperate need of a bump, but to see the Show-Off walk away as number one contender was the right move and may make the PPV Sunday actually watchable.

Promo of the Night: Vince’s return to the ring was a great moment and his banter with Laurenitis to open the show was comical and necessary, but this award goes to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in preparation for Sunday’s Triple Threat WWE Championship match. And not just because these two know how to drop pipe bombs that always push the right buttons with the crowd, but because when the third participant in that match, Kane, came to the ring, it added a nuance to the “I’m better than you” angle that Punk and Bryan have going with each other right now.

What really put this over the top was AJ though. Aside from being insanely hot (she’s a pro wrestler and a fellow geek…yes, I am in love), her crazy chick motif got the biggest rise out of the crowd during this segment and the jokes that King and Cole were cracking about her was probably their best moment of the night as well. From her gushing over Punk, to saying how D-Bryan has her first love, and that like the tin man, Kane actually has a heart, this love quadrangle train wreck kept everyone talking long after it was over.

Shocker of the Night: Although some people are still shocked that John Cena has finally won the crowd completely back over to his side by pitting him against some great heels in Big Show and Laurenitis, the shocker came in the glorified handicap match that was D-Bryan and Kane vs CM Punk and AJ, which was a result of their aforementioned promo.

Mind you, it wasn’t the match itself, but how it was won. By AJ planting a 30-second kiss on Kane that took the Big Red Machine completely out of the match. And yes, it was literally a 30-second kiss, with just Kane standing there, looking completely dumbfounded, and AJ going to town while having her legs wrapped around his waist. The crowd started cheering…and the kiss was so long that the cheers turned to leers as we all just couldn’t help but watch this unfold in the ring. Did I mention that I love AJ?

Cheap Pop of the Night: It was revealed late in the show that Vince had brought with him a classic wrestler from RAW’s past to help ring in the event in a few weeks that will be the 1000th episode, that he was to be in action that night, and that his opponent was to be Heath Slater.

And when we all found out who it was, the crowd went absolutely nuts. Because it was time. It was time. IT WAS VADER TIME! That’s right, the Mastadon himself, looking much slimmer than during his prime, so much so that his mask didn’t even fit right, came storming down to the ring and everyone threw up the V’s with their fingers in a salute to this legend.

And to his credit, even in his late 50s now, Vader put on a solid show. Part of this I think was also Slater doing a solid job of taking bumps and selling everything, including the patented Vader bomb, but Vader got around the ring very well and showed he was still in decent wrestling shape. It wasn’t a long match by any means, but the crowd went absolutely bonkers for it and admittedly, as a long time Vader fan, it was great to see him in action one last time.

Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor
Ray Carsillo has extensive roots in geek culture, as he’s written about videogames, comics, and movies for such outlets as Newsday.com, ESPNNewYork.com, Classic Game Room on YouTube, Collider.com, and Comicvine.com before finally settling into his role as EGM’s reviews editor. His main goal in life? To become king of all geek media, of course! Follow Ray’s exploits on Twitter: @RayCarsillo. Meet the rest of the crew.

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