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John Cena Has His Dignity
August 21, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
Read Pyro's Words
at Blogspot --/-- View Pyro's Videos at Youtube

Segment 1: As always, no complaints about spoilers tonight. If you haven’t already, check out our recap of SummerSlam to know what happened last night.

Brock Lesnar pops out with Paul Heyman to start the show tonight. Michael Cole is really trying to up-sell the main event last night, that apparently Triple H losing has somehow “broken the spirit of the whole WWE.” That’s a bit optimistic (or pessimistic, depending on your view), isn’t it?

Heyman blathers and puts Lesnar over, then recaps the match for us… then gives a little revisionist history, as apparently Trips’s tapping out means he quit on the match, the fans, his family, his friends, his pride, his mom, his goldfish, and America. Heyman segues that he wanted the whole match to be “to the finish,” which it totally was, and he credits the refereeing abilities of Scott Armstrong to make that happen. So Heyman calls, on behalf of Lesnar, for Armstrong to come to the ring.

Armstrong does so after a short pause and already looks like he’s selling injuries; I guess when you’re as squishy as a WWE ref, even glares cause pain, or maybe he’s doing a damn good Kevin Nash impression. Armstrong eventually gets in the ring, and Heyman confirms that Trips had ordered Armstrong to make it a “fight to the finish,” then says that last night, Heyman’s “two words” to Trips were “Tap out.” Tonight, Brock has his own two words to Armstrong. Brock sorta creeps up to Armstrong, but he finally pats Armstrong on the arm and says “Good job.”

Brock backs away, and I guess Armstrong leaves. Either way, Heyman says that Brock is now the “Master of the Brock-tagon,” and the “Conqueror of WWE,” and we’re all subjects to the “Lord and Master of WWE.” Lesnar dances around like an idiot as he absorbs the boos, which I’m sure in his head are cheers.

And… that’s it. The bump says that we’re going to get Shawn Michaels via satellite later.

Segment 2: CM Punk gives us a Tout. Apparently, Punk is going to “pick his own opponent” for the next #1 contender, or something. Why is this a Tout, exactly?

Pre-Segment 3: Apparently R-Truth dumped Gatorade on Little Jimmy last night after the tag champs retained. That bit was funnier than it had any right to be.

Segment 3 [Six-Man Tag Match]: Sin Cara, R-Truth, & Kofi Kingston defeat Cody Rhodes, the Prime Time Players by pin. Decent match, nothing special, but technically executed very well. [Ed. Note: Sin Cara pinned Cody, furthering their whatever-it-is-they're-doing.]

Segment 4: Matt Striker tries to interview AJ Lee, but then a newly shaved David Otunga arrives for the first time in a month or two just to pimp his upcoming movie. Otunga also totally pimps himself to be a lawyer. AJ basically pays him no mind… until he says he’d totally fire a lawsuit at anyone if “they call you crazy.” AJ does crazy eyes, then says Otunga needs to “offer his services” by taking on an opponent of her choosing.

Otunga leaves, and Striker gets back to business: what does AJ think about Punk wanting to pick his own opponent. AJ is cool with it (“pending my approval”), then skips away with a smile.

Segment 5 [1-on-2 Handicap Match]: Ryback squashes Some Guy & Some Other Guy by disqualification. Standard Ryback match until the end, when Jinder Mahal came in to attack him to interrupt his finisher.

Post-Segment 5: Jinder tried his extreme Camel Clutch, but Ryback dead-lifts him up as a counter and hits him with a jawbreaker. Jinder bails, and Ryback does his finisher to the two jobbers anyway.

Segment 6: Chris Jericho is in the locker room when Dolph Ziggler arrives. Dolph says that Y2J still ain’t nothing, because one win doesn’t mean anything. Dolph can totally beat him! Jericho counters that he’s Y2J, and he knows how to win the big one… does Dolph?

Then AJ arrives by skipping around the two of them, then says that she totally knows what WWE fans want, so she’s booking a rematch… with a twist! If Jericho loses, he’s fired; if Dolph loses, his Money in the Bank contract goes to Jericho. That’d be exciting, if we didn’t all know that Jericho is going on tour with Fozzy soon.

Pre-Segment 7: Alberto Del Rio hits the ring, rips the mic out of Ricardo Rodriguez’s hand, then blathers that he totally deserves a rematch after the shitty officiating from last night. AJ pops out just to say that ADR is an ass, so she announces ADR’s opponent to be Randy Orton. Yay?

We get a commercial break despite just having one before the pre-segment. As we come back, Sheamus hits ringside to join the commentators and watch the match.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin. Overly long and not all that entertaining. [Ed. Note: Seconded. I literally fell asleep while attempting to watch this. Granted, I'd been up since 5am navigating my way back home after a week of not really dedicating much time to sleep, but still... this was the antithesis of gripping TV.] The match ended when ADR did a Backstabber (first time I’ve seen him do that), then made the pin. Orton got his foot up on the bottom rope, but the ref didn’t see it, just like ADR’s loss last night. But this time, Sheamus grabbed the ref’s shirt and showed him.

The ref broke the count, and ADR stood up to bitch out Sheamus. When ADR turned around, he ate an RKO and took the pin. ADR is even less happy now, and clearly the feud is far from complete.

Segment 8: Another “WWE.com exclusive” that shows CM Punk basically saying that he was super-awesome for winning the restarted match. But he also subtly blames AJ’s order to have it restarted, that he deserves respect. And since he’s got the title now, he totally deserves respect.

Segment 9: Antonio Cesaro did a Tout after beating Santino last night.

Segment 10: WWE again recaps their extra-curriculars from last night and their visit in Los Angeles.

Pre-Segment 11: Damien Sandow cuts another nifty short promo, this one a pre-taped to-camera thing. It’s not a super-awesome promo, but it’s still better than what half the roster can do. He promises to put the Funkasaurus into extinction. We’re welcome.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: Damien Sandow reverse-squashes Brodus Clay (w/ Funkadactyls) by pin. Clay beat the shit out of Sandow, then whiffed on a corner charge, so Sandow did a quick roll up with a handful of tights.

After the match, and even after Sandow’s cartwheel, Brodus kicked his ass anyway and hit his splash, then danced around with the kids. So… moral victory for Brodus, I guess.

Segment 12: Cole interviews Shawn (with a cast) via satellite. Shawn’s monologue is introspective and somewhat interesting as he tries to describe Triple H’s mindset. The point is that Trips’s spirit is totally broken, and how shitty it is when that feeling strikes someone publicly in front thousands or millions of people. We’ve totally seen the last of Triple H’s career, and blah blah blah.

Shawn blathers for entirely too long, then basically thanks Trips for his awesome career on behalf of the fans. So it’s like a retirement speech, delivered by someone else… but I doubt Trips is done just yet.

Segment 13 [Singles Match]: Big Show squashes David Otunga by pin. Whatever.

Segment 14 [Tag Match]: Kane & Zack Ryder defeat Daniel Bryan & The Miz by countout, I guess? Match was all right, nothing really special. The match ended after Miz and DB crashed into each other, so when DB wanted a tag during the faces’ comeback, Miz just left. DB responded by straight up running the hell away, running through the crowd. With no one left to fight, Kane flipped out, beat the shit out of Zack Ryder and the timekeeper, and destroyed the commentating table.

That whole thing was… weird. And confusing. Is this supposed to be another heel turn?

Segment 15: John Cena has a WWE.com exclusive interview from post-SummerSlam last night. It’s nothing… I should stop recapping these.

Segment 16: Matt Striker interviews CM Punk in the back, who says that AJ is awesome for letting him pick his own opponent. So Punk wanted someone big, strong, and can take punishment… It’s John Cena!

…But only on one condition, and we’ll find out whatever that is later tonight. Whatever it is, the condition “is all about respect.”

Segment 17 [7-Diva Battle Royal, winner is #1 contender to the Divas Title]: Kaitlyn eliminates Eve, outlasting Tamina et al. Huh, okay. I happened to be watching this with a couple people, and just about everyone is surprised… I was, my friends were, Layla was, Cole was, and probably most of the crowd was too. Interesting. [Ed. Note: I was more appalled by the shittily performed "match" than surprised. We haven't seen a pair of JR's bowling shoes this ugly in some time. And I say this as a man who approves mightily of anything that puts more Kaitlyn on my TV.]

Segment 18: Recap of the opening segment.

Segment 19: Brock gave a pointless Tout.

Segment 20: Vickie Guerrero is in the back and freaking out about the Y2J/Dolph match. She says that Dolph must win the match “for her,” so he flips out back and says that he must win or he may never have a title match ever in his life! This leads to them screaming at each other like idiots before we head out to commercials.

Segment 21 [Singles Match, with implications]: Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) defeats Chris Jericho by pin. Y2J hasn’t lost a step, and these two click very well. Solid back-and-forth for the match, no super-high spots other than a damn perfect top rope huracanrana from Jericho to Ziggler. It wasn’t enough to put him away though, and Ziggler stopped Jericho’s Five Moves of Doom with a well-timed counter to the Lionsault. A follow-up Zig Zag ended things, and Jericho is off to play with Fozzy.

Post-Segment 22: Dolph oversells his celebration. Vickie sort of celebrates behind him, so when Y2J gets his brain back in order, he steals the briefcase from Vickie, then beats the crap out of Dolph with it. The crowd cheers, and Jericho leaves without much fanfare.

Segment 23: CM Punk hits the ring and thinks about talking, but as he looks around, he notices Jerry Lawler. Punk hops out of the ring, brings up the whole “Punk turned his back on the fans” comment, and insists on an apology.

Lawler doesn’t have time to do, as John Cena then pops out without his usual fire. Punk allows him the entrance, but then rhetorically asks why Cena couldn’t have waited two seconds to come out since Punk was still dealing with Lawler. Punk says it’s further proof that Cena is here to steal the spotlight, but it’s just indicative of WWE’s new policy. Since WrestleMania, Punk has been behind Cena, and Trips, and The Rock, and even respect itself. Punk reminds us that he’s the WWE Champion for over nine months, damnit!

Punk says that fans see him in the airport and say “Hey, champ!” followed by “Why didn’t you main event WrestleMania?” And Punk is fine with that because he respects Cena… and for that, he gets a massive “CM Punk!” chant. But, Punk says, taking a backseat to Cena doesn’t make sense anymore.

Punk tries some cheap heat that “These people can’t respect the fact that I have to take a backseat to respect,” but he gets cheered anyway. Punk goes on that it doesn’t matter how many times he beats Cena, there’s still a “sea of green” John Cena merchandise everywhere. It causes the crowd to fire up a “Cena!” chant.

Punk concludes that that’s why he wants this condition… He gets the title shot at Night of Champions if Cena stands in the middle of the ring, right now, and admits that CM Punk is truly the best in the world.

That draws some boos, but Punk just can’t be unanimously hated at this point. Cena gets a mic and responds with general agreement… but he answers why there are still fans for him. It’s because the fans and Cena don’t have a relationship through not “Championship,” but “respect.”

Cena gives an example: he cheap-pops the crowd for their proximity to Fresno and Fresno State, then says that Fresno State fans won’t just abandon the team just because they don’t win the national championship. The fans are all about Fresno State and what it represents, just like Cena and the fans, and all they represent.

Ultimately, Cena says that Punk has some good points, but he will not say that Punk is the best in the world, because for him to do his best, he thinks he’s the best in the world. It’s not out of arrogance, but confidence; he must believe it, or else he can’t succeed. He spent a year telling the world that he could and would beat The Rock at WrestleMania, and even during the match he was sure with every second that passed that he could and would; and now, even though he lost, if he had a chance at a rematch (hint hint?), he would feel again that he could and would beat Rock. “Because if the day comes when you don’t believe in yourself, there’s the door, get the hell out!” Fantastic line.

Cena calms down, congratulates Punk for holding the title for nine months, then reminds him that he once held the title for 380 days. But never once did Cena come down and demand respect. Punk may have had the title for 274 days, and all anyone remembers from it is when he blew Vince McMahon a kiss and left WWE.

So Cena isn’t here to play kissy-face with Punk; he’s confident he’ll get a shot at some point. So Punk can pick anyone he damn well pleases; Cena won’t call him the best in the world. But if Punk really wants respect, he’ll take on Cena at Night of Champions, which is going to be in Cena’s hometown of Boston. And if Punk walks into the arena and wins, it will define Punk’s legacy. So if Punk doesn’t do the right thing and pick him then he won’t have the respect of anyone.

Cena leaves… like, completely, before Punk responds. Punk squats like he’s going to poo in the middle of the ring, but then gathers himself and turns to Lawler, demanding that they finish it. Punk says it’s a fine segue from Cena’s comments, especially since Cena is implying that somehow, Punk wouldn’t have the respect for the fans, and Lawler thinks Punk turned his back on them.

Lawler gets in the ring, repeats over the live mic (the fans didn’t hear it before) that Lawler thinks the whole comment was just a misunderstanding. But if that’s what Punk wants, fine: Lawler apologizes.

Lawler turns to leave, but Punk gently lays a hand on his shoulder to stop him. Punk isn’t done: if Cena won’t say it, he wants Lawler (the “minister of propaganda”) to say that Punk is the best in the world.

Lawler says that he’s spent a lot of years behind the desk, and he’s built up a rapport with the fans—

Punk interrupts him and says that if he says it, then we’ll forget about this whole back-turning comment. But Lawler says he can’t say it. Lawler asks him to head back to the desk so he can do his job.

Lawler starts to leave again, so Punk gives him a roundhouse kick to the back of the head. Now Punk is getting the majority of the boos as he shoulders the title and looks… uh… slightly aggravated toward the hard camera. Punk squats beside Lawler’s inert body and considers him for a moment, then stares off around the arena at various fans as we fade out.

Final Thoughts: The night was pretty bland overall, but holy shit was the main event promo worth it. This is one of those situations that shows how awesome Cena can be on the mic, when he drops the retarded over-intensity and just settles into speaking his mind without turning into a cartoon of himself. Punk meanwhile continues his thing with trying to be a heel but being unable to completely turn due to the fact that he says what many of us think. As Rick said a week or so ago, Punk’s strength lies in his ability to be a dick when he’s talking about his awesomeness; it’s not just arrogance, it’s earned arrogance, and that’s an important difference.

We notice that Punk didn’t actually name Cena as the #1 contender, but after the promo, everyone in the world will be disappointed if it doesn’t happen. It’s going to be a hell of a fun trip to get there though, and Punk is bringing promo brilliance that I’m not entirely sure we’ve ever seen before. It’s not “best promo on RAW” or any other stupid label that Punk dislikes, but just a general incredible showing of speech and action that truly does make him a complete wrestler. And complete wrestlers aren’t something we’ve seen in entirely too many years.

In fact, the main event promo was so fucking awesome that it really deserved my infrequent “verbatim” treatment. I’m just too distracted and kinda rushed to give it the treatment it deserved, but trust me, you need to watch it, DVR or YouTube or whatever.

The matches tonight served there purposes but nothing truly stood out, aside from Y2J/Dolph. I think given that we all knew this would be Jericho’s last match for a while, knowing the predictable outcome kinda took some wind out of it. The guys did well, everything was technically executed fine, but knowing the inevitable sort of pulls me out of it a bit. [Ed. Note: the addition of the Jericho "heel turn" pulled me back in. In fact, combine Jericho's Sunday win with a Monday heel turn, and he did WAY more than I expected to in his swan song. I like it. Two very good match, I expected; two surprise swerves, I did not. And now: to see if Jericho acting like a dick makes anyone sympathetic towards Ziggler... my guess is "no," unless his next move is ditching Vickie.]

I’m rambling… I think I said everything else I wanted to say in the body of the recap, so I’m going to call it a night after this…

Episode Grade: C+ (95% of the show), A (main event promo)

A personal note from PyroFalkon: As I said last night, there’s no good transition to this, but I need some help. One of my best friends lost a family member close to him (aunt by blood, mother by circumstance). I’ve tried to help his as much as I can, but my bank account is limited, and I’m asking for a little assistance. Don’t worry, this isn’t a trend; this is the last time I’ll mention it here on Online Onslaught, I promise.

I won’t hold it against you if you don’t donate; I’m not going to stop writing for OO or guilt trip anyone or anything like that. But if you can donate anything, even a couple dollars, I would appreciate it. The donation button below leads to PayPal where you can donate through credit cards (though you can send the money from PayPal directly to pyrofalkon@hotmail.com). The account is my personal PayPal account, but every single cent will go to my friend to help offset funeral and travel costs.

A few of you have already donated, and one of you (not sure if you want me to use your name, so I’ll just call you “A.B.”) donated far more than I anticipated. I absolutely cannot thank you enough, and I promise you that my friend will appreciate it.

You may have noticed the brevity of the recap, and in truth my friend is here now, and we watched RAW together. I thought I’d be able to do the recaps for this week, but it’s just not going to happen… I wanted to make a joke at some point with Rick “owing me one” for covering him for Canada, but it’s just not appropriate, and I’m not feeling particularly funny. The point is, I’m going to need to take the next two recaps off, so you’re not going to see me again until next Saturday for the August 31st recap. Rick’ll probably have the recaps instead, so hey: it’s a treat for you!

So… thanks everyone, I apologize for the rambling. Have a good couple of weeks, and I should be “back to business” as normal at the end of the month.


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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