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Rookie Ref Blows the Big One
September 18, 2012

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

My poor DVR has been able to take off most of the last month with the Olympics and Burn Notice over, but it’s about to start hating me again as we enter the fall season of television. The final season of The Office starts on Thursday, and I’m glad they’re finally putting an end to it. I didn’t think it jumped the shark as badly as 24, which I thought lost its edge after its third season. (Rick and I have indirectly chatted about 24, him saying that “24 may not have gotten dumber, but you have gotten smarter and notice its flaws more,” but that still equates to non-improvement.) The Office hasn’t suffered quite that bad, but I thought it was losing its edge after Steve Carell left, and maybe even a season or two before that. [Ed. Note: The Office hasn't been consistently good since the 3rd or 4th season. Too much dramady and characters starting to act like giant loads, instead of people you could like and relate to. The worst thing 24 did was keep using the same tricks, expecting them to work as well as they did the first time. The Office started trying new tricks, and they mostly sucked. And yet, I'll keep watching till the end, just because of the 1 episode in 4 that still rules.]

I already passed on NCIS last year and won’t go back until it has its final season (or unless Cote De Pablo calls it quits, as I’ll totally watch it if her character gets to take center stage), so I was looking for something else to waste my time with every week. I was going to finally start recording Monday Night Football again, but no dice: I’m actually intrigued by Revolution, made by JJ Abrams of Lost fame.

I never got into Lost because the premise didn’t thrill me, and once I started giving even a partial shit, it deep in the second or third season… with a show like Lost, you either have to watch it from the beginning or just not watch it at all. So I passed on Lost, but I’m going to give Revolution a shot tonight. Its recording interferes with The Daily Show, but hell, Comedy Central shows it like 14 times a day, so I think I’ll be fine.

While the premise of Revolution is interesting, seeing the lead girl run around with a bow raises a red flag. Katniss of The Hunger Games is one of the worst protagonists of all the fiction I’ve consumed (and yes, I read the book, but haven’t seen the movie), and I’m hoping Revolution isn’t giving the girl a bow just to ride Katniss’s coattails. I could be worrying about nothing, and their weapon of choice isn’t indicative of their personalities, but… well, we know Hollywood is pretty much out of ideas at this point, don’t we? If frickin’ Battleship and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots get movies, it means the writers don’t seem eager to get their ideas outside of a Walmart toy department. (With all due respect to Rick’s Hollywood Brother.) [Ed. Note: my Hollywood Brother doesn't slum it quite that bad. He's more into ripping off 1950s TV shows and comic books. By which I mean, he's already got a script in for a Zorro remake, and is currently working on something called "Y: The Last Man."]
But either way, I’ll be giving
Revolution a chance tonight.

And so ends my exciting Monday night plans, because you all so desperately wanted to know! Hey, it’s either this, or burn up my processor as I start Google Image searching Rosa Mendes again. And none of us want that. Especially not My Rosa.

Without further ado, let’s get to RAW, where… uh… where stuff is going to happen. As with all post-PPV episodes, I trust you either watched it or read Rick’s recap of the event, so don’t e-mail me with complaints of spoilers. Let’s roll…

Segment 1: CM Punk hits the ring to start the show, and he enters to nearly unanimous cheers… Oh wait, it’s just CM Punk’s music; it’s actually Paul Heyman who hits the ring. He talks about the main event last night, and the fans boo the result. Heyman agrees with them: the draw result was crap, so he’s asked Chad Patton to come to the ring right now to defend his call.

Patton hits the ring to boos—sadly without music, and I’d love to hear a ref get some entrance tunes—and we get a still photo of the final pinning combination. According to Heyman, Cena was apparently all in Patton’s grill about it, but Heyman says Patton totally called it perfectly. Hell, even Punk (on behalf of Heyman) calls it a totally legit call.

Heyman also says that some fan in the front row recorded the match (illegally?) on his camera phone, then posted it to YouTube. The video has magically disappeared—and Heyman calls it a conspiracy with Cena making the video disappear, which makes no sense legally speaking, but whatever—but WWE got it anyway and shows it on the Titantron. Again, Heyman says the draw is clear and legit… but that means Punk is still the champ, so there.

Well, here comes Cena to add his two cents. By the way, not only is Cena wearing the black-and-pink, but his entire video has been overhauled to show only his punk clothes (or color-neutral clothes, like shirtless with the jean shorts). Weird… I guess WWE really is going full-on with the whole breast cancer awareness, especially given that the pink ribbon logo is emblazoned on the entrance ramp.

[Aside: I don’t know if you give a shit, but I read an enlightening article that said breast cancer isn’t as big of a deal as, say, heart-related conditions among women. Breast cancer is important, but heart-related problems kill far more women per year, and doesn’t see that much in the way of donations or a zillion corporate gimmicks. The author posited that one reason we talk so much about breast cancer is because it “allows us to talk about sex without talking about sex.”] [Ed. Aside: I said my piece about my reservations about all this Pink Stuff in the PPV Recap. But even I suspect this author is a jackass just trying to stir the pot. Baseless equivocation, thy name is that theory.]

So Cena hits the ring, tells Heyman to shut up, and then agrees with Chad Patton. He pauses to absorb “Cena sucks!,” then clarifies that his post-match conversation with Patton wasn’t about the decision itself; it was about the finality of the decision. See, the match was so awesome that a non-finish was like ending the Super Bowl in a tie, and no one wants that. The fans cheer, or at least verbally agree.

Cena concludes that Punk’s whole shtick is respect, but does retaining the title in a draw really earn him that respect? Heyman answers with a single word: “Yes.” Which hilariously makes the crowd chant “No! No!”

Cena says that he agrees with the fans, and that Heyman’s and Punk’s idea of respect is different than his own. Respect is earned by leaving no doubt about the conclusion, beating anyone on any given night, and standing in the ring and scream “Best in the world!” Just in case we’re stupid, Cena just declares again that Patton was right last night, but he thinks we should have a rematch tonight to get a sure winner!

Heyman says that Punk will likely totally answer… once he arrives. So instead, Heyman calls himself “the voice of the voice of the voiceless,” and can answer for him…

But he won’t yet, because here’s Alberto Del Rio for some reason. ADR complains that at least Cena had his fair shot against Punk last night; he didn’t get his fair shot, since Booker T reinstated the Brogue Kick at the 11th hour. So if anyone deserves a rematch against anyone, it’s “the man who never lies,” Alberto Del Rio. That was an odd thing to say.

So, uh, here comes AJ Lee to straighten things out, including my pants. AJ thinks that maybe they both deserve second chances… so we’re going to be “combining both main events into a super main event!” And she makes a tag match split along alignments, and her delivery is adorably self-aware. She concludes cryptically that maybe whoever wins will wind up determining which rematch actually happens.

Segment 2: We get a to-camera from Michael Cole, who is wearing a cool T-shirt with “Long Live the King” on it. He recaps Jerry Lawler’s heart attack, gives a shoutout by name to the doctor and EMT who saved Lawler’s life. We see the Tout he sent out a mere three days after the heart attack… and Lawler is back in Memphis now.

Cole ecstatically tells Lawler (who is presumably watching from home) that he can’t wait to see Lawler later in person. Tonight we’re going to have footage of Lawler touching down in Memphis, and next week we’ll have a satellite interview between Lawler and Cole.

Cole seems genuine, and I’m sure the majority of it is… but the wrestling fan part of me, especially knowing Lawler’s love of the business, is making me think that they may make this into an angle. I’m not trying to downplay the situation here… Jerry didn’t just beat Death: he ripped Death’s balls off, sautéed them in a delicate white wine sauce, shoved them down Death’s throat, then forced Death to thank him for the opportunity. It’s as close to a friggin’ miracle as we can get in modern society.

And yet… Like I said last week when it happened, we know Lawler was game enough to let The Miz and Cole use his then-recently deceased mother in promos, and Lawler is one of those old-school wrestlers who remembers when kayfabe wasn’t just an idea, but your lifestyle. And Punk is a big enough dick to run with that particular ball to further entrench himself as WWE’s #1 heel (and possibly convert a few of us holdouts who are still cheering for him anyway). As a fan, and as someone who probably writes better than half the WWE “Creative” Team does, as long as Lawler is cool with it, this almost screams to be used in promos, especially since Lawler seems to be on his way to making an insanely fast and complete recovery.

Man, I’m being awfully verbose tonight…

After Cole’s update (including shit-eating grin, which again is making me wonder just how much of this is kayfabe), JBL hits ringside to do commentary just like last night. Wait… so is Jim Ross’s evil twin? Wow, Cole even respectful to JR! It’s sort of like a face turn!

As JR settles into his seat, he lightly congratulates on how Cole did last week. Hell, he does deserve some congratulations for that… I could barely handle it when my friend’s aunt passed away. If I had to do my job while my actual friend was in a life-threatening condition… well, I’m not sure I’d be able to do it, period.

Segment 3 [Tag Match]: Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio defeat Primo & Epico (w/ My Rosa Mendes) by pin. Damnit, why doesn’t My Rosa’s entrance get televised anymore? I’m missing the hip popping!

Solid match, but pure formula. Still, this combination works very well, and every move was executed perfectly… well, other than one minor botch at the very end. Rey set up Epico for the 619, and then Cara tried setting up Primo for the 619 as well right beside him. However, they started the spot a little too far away, so Primo had to take an extra step to string himself on the middle rope correctly. It looked a little weird.

Not that it really mattered. Rey predictably hit the 1238 without a problem, then tagged in Cara, who delivered a Senton Bomb to Primo. Pin, done, and I immediately want to go comfort My Rosa in her hour of need. Or two hours, if need be.

The only really weird part is, right before commercials, JR said “I wonder if Rosa does the guys’ taxes, too???” That was either the setup or the punch line to a joke that was never finished. Hell, for that matter, JR was basically doing color commentary, and he is not built for that. Let Cole do color, and let JR do the play-by-play, and everyone wins! Or… maybe it’s just the unnecessary three-man booth?

Post-Segment 3: Speaking of unnecessary, the Prime Time Players hit the ring and beat the shit out of Rey and Cara. Titus O’Neil gets a mic and declares war on the tag division, especially given their unceremonious ejection from #1 contendership by Team Friendship. They’re totally going to take everything from here on out, and there apparently will no longer be any silly dances. Too bad.

Cut Scene: Breast cancer is bad! Go to websites to help fix it!

Pre-Segment 4: Make that a four-person booth, because Layla joins them for the next match. JR gives us an update of Kaitlyn’s (kayfabe) injury from last night, that she tore “some tendons” in her ankle. Uh oh.

Segment 4 [Singles Match]: Eve defeats Beth Phoenix by pin. Solid match, nothing special. Too short to tell much of a story, but both women went balls-out with their speed and pacing. Layla basically told her side of the story during the match, agreeing with JBL that she shouldn’t have “taken her eyes off the prize” during the title match last night, but still says that Eve is a manipulative shrew.

After the match, Eve got in Layla’s face and posed with the belt. The live fans didn’t really care, but I did. I really need to just shut up and buy SHIMMER DVDs one of these days.

Pre-Segment 5: I’ve never been much of an “ass man,” but Naomi doing the dance and shaking her booty… Pyro is happy.

Though, Pyro isn’t happy that we’ve got another four-person booth here, this time with Antonio Cesaro.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Brodus Clay (w/ Naomi & Cameron) defeats Heath Slater by pin. They actually made this one competitive for reasons I can’t possibly fathom. I’m doing you a favor by not recapping it further… well, other than to say that Cesaro tried to interfere by distraction, and it totally didn’t work.

Segment 6: We’re debuting a brand new talk show segment, this one hosted by The Miz! It’s going to be called Miz TV, and the first guest of this new segment is Booker T.

But first, Miz pops out of the back onto the stage to pimp himself first. “What do you give an Intercontinental Champion who has everything, and who defied the odds last night to retain? You give him a talk show!” Heh.

Miz is in the ring by this point, then proceeds to crap on the Piper’s Pit, the Highlight Reel, and the Cutting Edge. Miz says he’s totally more charismatic and controversial than Roddy Piper, Chris Jericho, and Edge ever were. And he’s so awesome that everyone wants to try to cheat him out of victory, so he calls down Booker T, since Booker T “tried to beat him” last night.

Despite the three director’s chairs, plush living chair, and leather love seat in the ring, both guys remain standing during the “interview.” Miz just insults Booker T’s resume for a couple minutes, and doesn’t allow him to respond. Miz rhetorically asks why exactly Booker T is against him, and why he would ban the Brogue Kick just to unban it nine days later? Miz thinks it’s because Booker T just misses the spotlight.

Miz finally allows Books to answer, but Books just gives Miz a cold look. Miz posits it’s because Books knows his time is over. The fans answer with a “Boring!” chant, and Booker T rips the mic out of his hands. (JBL opines that was good timing on Booker’s part due to the “Boring” chant.)

Books answers the question by… not answering the question. Instead, he just says that Miz needs a new guest for his show, and then Ryback hits the ring. Uh… what? [Ed. Note: the connection was that Miz was bragging about beating multiple men the night before. So Booker introduced "another guy who has experience beating multiple opponents." I'm not saying I want a Miz/Ryback feud any more than anyone else, but Booker's decision had its own bit of internal logic.]

Miz bails, and Ryback just starts chucking all the furniture at him. Ah, that explains why there was so much stuff. And when I say “chucking,” I don’t mean Ryback just daintily tips the chair over the top rope. He tries to throw some Aroldis Chapman fastballs at him with the love seat and plush chair, which is no small feat. I’ve said before that I respect Ryback’s strength, just that his character sucks.

But hey, he’s apparently declaring a feud against Miz, and if nothing else, Miz can basically cut promos for both of them.

Segment 7: We’re entering our second hour, so Cole once again flings Jerry Lawler’s Tout up on the Titantron, as well as giving us the update again.

Segment 8: Punk is in the building, and we see him talking to Heyman in the back. Josh Mathews arrives to ask him about his thoughts on the tag match tonight. Punk isn’t happy with the match at all, as he thinks it’s just another sign of the disrespect around WWE, making the WWE Champion tag up with anyone. So what does Punk have to do to get respect?

Punk walks off, and we’re not sure whether that was a rhetorical question.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) defeats Santino Marella by pin. This was a dumb match. I’m all for wackiness in comedy matches, but…

Well, let’s start with the good. Both guys did all right, and they did a cute spot early where Dolph did an Irish Whip, and when Santino hit the ropes, he rebounded with his power walk. He rebounded (power walking the whole way) several times, and when Dolph asked what the hell he was doing, Santino went for a quick double leg take down and bridging pin.

From there, it was basically all Dolph. He was on such a roll that he paused his assault and pulled the Cobra sock from Santino’s singlet, and… that’s where things got stupid. Dolph continued the assault, but Santino kept going for the dumb sock, even once Vickie controlled it. Santino even got his Five Moves of Doom going, but rather than actually finish Dolph off, he swiped at Vickie to try to get the sock back. Apparently, Santino’s memory doesn’t stretch back beyond a half-year when he was using the Cobra strike without a damn sock.

So Santino’s tomfoolery led to Dolph recovering, hitting both the Zig Zag and something else that I don’t remember, and scoring the win. Dumb… so very, very dumb.

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Wade Barrett defeats Justin Gabriel by pin. For all of Barrett’s talk of “open for business” this and “sample product” that, this match didn’t really show anything different. I’m not saying it was bad; Barrett seemed more fired up than usual. Solid match all around, ended with a Big Fucking Punch to Gabriel’s eye. Good stuff. [Ed. Note: I think it's supposed to be an elbow, along the lines of Masato Tanaka's Roaring Elbow. It kinda looked like an elbow to me, and it was DEFINITELY an elbow in his return match on SD. Of course, this didn't stop both JBL and JR from calling it a punch last night...]

The wanker chants were out in force for this one, with two instances of loud “We want Nexus!” chants. The commentators ignored the first one, but just gave up and acknowledged the second.

Segment 11: R-Truth is in the back with a party hat on, and is trying to fit one on Little Jimmy. Kofi Kingston arrives and wants to know what the hell is going on, and Truth says he’s celebrating a birthday! Kofi is confused, since it’s not his or Truth’s birthday. Camera pans, and… oh god, Jared from Subway? Really? I know product placement is retarded but I haven’t seen product placement anvils this bad since the Days of Our Lives stupidity made the rounds on the Colbert Report. Kofi, Truth, and LJ run off after they get free subs, which probably isn’t the best meal to have right before a wrestling match.

And just when I was about to abandon the segment altogether, Damien Sandow is indeed OO’s savior as he confronts Jared. It could be argued that Sandow becomes a hypocrite for actually participating in the stupidity here rather than insulting it… but it could also be argued that Sandow is a goddamn comic genius:

“Allow me to present my own [sub]: THE Damien Sandow: a magnificent amalgamation of Cornish game hen, gouda cheese, and zucchini reduction, served on lightly toasted fresh bread, sure to satiate even the most intractable appetite!”

It’s not just the words, but Sandow’s “this is the best idea I’ve ever had” delivery, and how I think he’s actually hungry for his own sandwich creation. Add in the fact that he used a word I had to look up, and suddenly I want a bite of it, even if it sounds gross as hell. (Then again, I’ve never had two of the four ingredients he listed, so what do I know?) Jared considers it, then offers Sandow a meatball marinara instead. Sandow sniffs it, nods approvingly, and tells Jared “You’re welcome!” before running off. That’s way funnier than it should be.

Then Zack Ryder appears and wants a “Woo Woo Woo You Know It Sub,” whatever the fuck that would be composed off. Sandow throws him an Italian BMT, and Ryder runs off. That… wasn’t funny. Or interesting.

Then Jared gets nervous, turns around… and it’s Ryback. He demands to be fed more, so Jared hands him a sub. Ryback looks pissed, steals a second one, then leaves. Jared looks like he voids his bowels, and we move on to the next segment.

Okay, so I quick to judge; it was retarded, but at least it was entertainingly retarded. That’s the best I could have hoped for given the circumstances, I suppose.

Segment 12: The silliness is concluded, so we go to the back, where Sheamus is chatting with Cena. Sheamus relives his win last night against ADR, but Cena is just staring off into space. Sheamus tells him to buck up, since he can’t be down on himself just because he didn’t win.

Cena retorts that he’s not being down on himself; he’s being a realist. He reminds Sheamus that AJ “said” (though really she “implied”) that the winner of the tag match gets the real title rematch, and Cena has to win it to justify one more shot at the title. So Cena doesn’t just want to win; he wants to make a statement.

Sheamus is fine with all that, so they’re totally going to win, then hit up a pub and toast everything from Brogue Kicks and Jerry Lawler’s recovery to Mexican Independence Day and other stuff. Cena’s confused, but he’s down.

Cut Scene: Daniel Bryan and Kane are running down separate hallways screaming “I am tag team champions!” Subject-verb agreement for the lose… but hilarity for the win.

Segment 13: We see the footage of Lawler stepping off the WWE private jet in Memphis, and… well, shit. If I hadn’t watched last week, I wouldn’t have known he was sick at all. No need for wheelchairs or anything: the guy looks 100%. Hell, his face was a little long, but I would have just called that jet lag rather than anything else if I didn’t know. Awesome news… even if that’s an understatement.

Segment 14 [Tag Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles]: Team Friendship defeats R-Truth & Kofi Kingston by submission. Solid match with a good three false finish sequences. No high spots, but the end game was pretty fun. Kane tagged himself in at one point and went on a tear, so DB wanted to the same thing. However, Kane caught him in the act. DB tried to beg off, but Kane instead slapped his hand around DB’s throat. My inner wanker says that should count as a tag, but the rest of me tells the inner wanker to shut the hell up and eat a graham cracker.

DB didn’t feel the need to be chokeslammed by his own partner (again), so he countered by grabbing Kane’s arm and jumping off the apron, causing Kane to guillotine himself on the top rope. As he staggered back from that, Truth hit the Lie Detector. It took DB a second to realize that he just about cost the team their titles, so he quickly slid in and broke up the pin. Cole says he doesn’t think he’s ever seen that before, and I’m inclined to agree: usually if a team member smacks another, it always directly leads to the match finish. There’s a first time for everything!

So DB makes the save (after putting Kane in that position in the first place), then is immediately taken out by Kofi. However, Kofi basically eliminates himself in the process, and DB scrambles back to the apron. Kane hits Truth with a chokeslam, then DB finally gets to tag himself in. He slaps on the No Lock, and Truth fights it but has to tap. And with that, there goes Kofi and Truth’s rematch clause.

After the match, DB collects both title belts and continues with his “I am the tag team champions!” stuff. He does it right in Kane’s face, so Kane steals the belts and says it himself. Thus begins a “Yes! No!” argument until DB gets his temper under control. The fans are absolutely screaming at this point with a “Hug it out! Hug it out!” chant. DB isn’t deaf, and Broadly Gestures to the fans as he says to Kane, “Hear them? Let’s do it!” And they do, and the peasants rejoice.

But as they break away, they look like they’re about to punch each other. Then they both start their “I am the tag team champions!” with their respective belts. They’re being so loud and they’re so close to the camera mic that they’re actually drowning out the commentators!

Segment 15 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Tensai (w/ Sakamoto) by pin. Who wanted this rematch, exactly? Subpar… it started looking like it would be another “decent but nothing special,” but it quickly got boring when Tensai decided 80% of his offense needed to be rest holds. Match ended with an RKO out of nowhere, as if you couldn’t guess. The wankers were doing “Albert” chants again for this one.

Segment 16: Heyman and Punk are talking again in the back about AJ is being a power-abusing bitch, and then David Otunga arrives with ADR. Otunga arrogantly says that ADR expects Punk to follow him. Punk is all smiles as Heyman replies that ADR will follow his lead since, you know, he’s been the champ for over 300 days.

ADR and Punk then “converse” using their respective lawyers as buffers. It’s lightly amusing, but not really worth repeating. Finally, Punk has enough of that crap; Punk says he “looks forward” to teaming with him tonight, though his voice drips with insincerity. ADR counters that “it’ll be an honor” in the exact same tone.

Segment 17: We’re definitely in the home of the wankers, as Damien Sandow gets cheered as he pops out of the back. Sandow is glad the unwashed masses are going back to school finally, and he’s going to give us a vocabulary lesson since “slobberknocker” isn’t a real word.

Sandow runs down temerity, ignoramus, and miscreant with example sentences. The fans aren’t happy about the lesson, and start to "What?" him. So he insists they remain silent because he has a lot of words to get through. [Ed. Note: Damien Sandow, the character, is clearly the smartest and most sage man to step into a WWE ring in the entire history of the multiverse. But the man behind the character isn't as adapt at thinking on his feet as he could be. Once he started using vocabulary words in a sentence, and the idiots were "What?"-ing him, I knew instantly that he MUST make an ad-lib... he needed to use miscreant in a sentence, thusly: "A miscreant says what." And when they do, Sandow wins. But he didn't say it. He stuck to the script. Dammit.]

Well, Zack Ryder is bored and hates education, so he pops out and tells Sandow that he has some bro words of his own: “Number one is ‘shut,’ and the second one is ‘up.’ ” Ha! Zack also says that AJ booked a match between these two RIGHT NOW!!!

…After commercials.

Segment 18 [Singles Match]: Damien Sandow defeats Zack Ryder by pin. Solid match, nothing overly special, but there were some false finishes where you thought Ryder might actually pull off the upset. Still, the commentary was a bit distracting, as Cole called “temerity” a “big word,” and JBL absolutely lost his shit about it for some reason. JBL’s awesome phrase was “syllables do not make a word ‘big,’ ” which is true, and ever so pretentious.

Segment 19: All four entrances for the main event tag match. Punk, just to be a jerk, stood in the center of the ring and held the title over his head… for about two solid minutes. And then we went to commercials again.

Segment 20 [Tag Match]: John Cena & Sheamus defeat CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio (w/ Paul Heyman & Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin. An exceptionally hot match by crowd reaction, no one was asleep for this one. Solid technical work all around, even from Cena; no one bothered with a “You can’t wrestle!” chant since it just wouldn’t have played.

No high spots, nothing exceptionally noteworthy, but that’s undermining the quality of the match. These guys had fewer rest holds in the entire match than Orton/Tensai had in their five minutes earlier tonight. Fast action from bell to bell too, and not much in the way of “sequences” like standard formula, just back-and-forth action. Good stuff, and definitely worth a watch.

The end-game was a mess, which I mean as a compliment. Sheamus was basically acting as the face in peril (though, again, he really wasn’t, he was just suffering the heels’ momentum at that moment) when he got the hot tag to Cena. Cena cleaned house, then went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Punk. During the taunt, Punk went for a quick kick whilst lying on his back. Cena blocked the kick and slapped on the STF, but ADR came in to break it up… then instantly ate a Brogue Kick.

Sheamus decided to taunt a little rather than get out of the ring, so Punk got up and took him out with a clothesline. But as Punk came back from that, he walked right into an FU, and Cena made the quick pin. One… two… three!

…Except Punk’s foot was on the bottom rope.

Post-Segment 21: Cena and Sheamus celebrate but make for a quick exit. Paul Heyman flips out on the ref, and Punk decides to milk by arguing while still having his foot on the bottom rope.

Even as Cena’s music fades, Punk gets to his feet and starts jawing at the ref. The ref, by the way, isn’t a dude I recognize… who is he? He’s pretty young, and I think he’s been there a couple weeks (didn’t he do the divas matches?), but I don’t know his name. Looking at him, he’s built like he could be a lightweight wrestler… is that significant? [Ed. Note: Yes. A rookie ref in a main event would be suspicious on its own. But in this case, the rookie ref is an FCW wrestler. If I gave a shit about football, I'd theorize that this is WWE's take on whatever it is the replacement refs are doing in the NFL... but since my shit-giving about football doesn't start until (or if) the Giant are in the play-offs, I'll theorize that this could be setting up Danny Davis 2K12. Because even though Danny Davis happened 25 years ago, more people still remember him as a referee who became a wrestler than they remember Sylvain Grenier.]

Anyway, I actually feel a tinge of sympathy here, because I’ve been there before, where you know (or at least suspect) that you blew a call, and you’re getting chewed out, but you can’t really call a mulligan. Punk is somehow angry and consolatory at the same time: among the things he screams is, “I know there isn’t instant replay, I know you didn’t see it at the time, but my foot was on the ropes! My foot was on the ropes!” This followed by the ref just saying “Okay,” and trying to walk away. Definitely been there, buddy…

So Punk and Heyman argue with him all the way to the back as the commentators back Heyman, and then… uh… stop talking. Everyone just sort of makes their way to the back, and that’s the show.

Final Thoughts: Strong match finish, solid wrestling for the entire night, and a pretty damn entertaining episode. After the last couple weeks, I’m glad to see WWE back on track for sustainable episodic TV.

I’ve said everything I needed to say in the body of the recap… once again, not sure why I was so verbose tonight, but there it is. Pretty good episode, worth watching in semi-heavy fast-forward, and you’ll be pleased.

I’ll see you this weekend for SmackDown.

Episode Grade: B


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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