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Foley [hearts] Tradition
October 30, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


I hate to cop-out again on these precaps, but hey: I’ve got too much to do and not enough time to do it. So I’m going to turn the precap over to The Rick (if he so desires), who likely has something to say about the World Series, since I had a major case of apathy about baseball this year. Besides, if I start blathering, it’s going to be about the Steelers’ horrendous choice of uniforms last night, and I’m trying to scrub that from my brain. Just remember: I’ll trust you read Rick’s recap of Hell in a Cell, and no complaining about spoilers.

Segment 1: CM Punk hits the ring after a slide show recap of the main event finish. Punk hobbles out to the ring taped ribs, because it was Hell in a Cell, and he got his ass kicked. Jim Ross calls it “The most controversial decision ever in WWE history.” I don’t mean to be flippant or to bring up the incident a million times, but… Montreal, anyone?

Anyway, Punk (gingerly) gets in the ring and insults the fans for thinking that Ryback would totally have stayed undefeated. Punk tells random people in the front row that they were wrong about Punk’s chances, I see that the Spanish announce table is out there this week. Hmm…

Punk says that he’s been proving everyone wrong since Day One… he’s beaten all our heroes: Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, John Cena, and now Ryback. Well, except that Ryback isn’t really “in the conversation,” though Punk will only tangentially mention him due to his super-awesome victory last night, which we should all applaud. Boos.

But while everyone thinks it’s “controversy,” Punk testifies that he had nothing to do with Brad Maddox’s decision to play handball with Ryback’s testicles. He verbally craps on Maddox’s refereeing abilities, and posits that maybe Maddox was just trying to “even the score” after Maddox screwed him over last time (the one loss to Cena when Punk’s foot was on the ropes months ago). Either way, even though everyone has been screwing him over for nearly a year, and a conspiracy to toss him, he is still our champion! And he will not give Ryback a rematch!

And he will not be interrupted, even though Mick Foley’s music is playing! Mick gets solid cheers, and Punk figures that Mick is here to embarrass him since the last time they saw each other, Mick was on the ground. Mick replies that he doesn’t need to embarrass Punk; Punk embarrassed himself last night. He says that he gave Punk the chance a month ago for Punk to be a legend, rather than a statistic, but Punk blew the chance.

Punk calls bullshit. He shows a legit injury he got, a deep cut on his arm, and calls Foley a hypocrite. After all, Mick would be the one to “throw himself into barbed wire” just to win a match, so he doesn’t have a right to judge him. Then a single fan screams that Punk sucks, and Punk retorts, “I don’t suck, because I’m not from Charlotte!,” which is of course where they are. All this does is get the entire building chanting “You suck!” at him, which is just plain awesome.

Anyway, so if Mick is going to blather about tradition, just look at his title: that’s the tradition he needs. But if Mick wants to blather about “tradition,” let’s have a “traditional Survivor Series match” at the next pay-per-view. It’ll be Team Foley vs. Team Punk. It takes Mick a nanosecond to accept, and they’ll totally work out their teams by the end of tonight.

Punk has something more to say, but then Ryback’s music hits, and Punk looks legitimately concerned. Punk bails, and Ryback charges into the ring but doesn’t pursue. Punk escapes through the crowd with Heyman anyway… here’s hoping security is better this time.

And… that’s the end of the first segment. That seemed sudden.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Ryback squashes JTG by pin. During the commercial, Vickie Guerrero sent JTG out to appease Ryback, I guess. It didn’t end well for the former member of Cryme Tyme.

Post-Segment 2: Josh Mathews decides to get in the ring and try to interview Ryback. Ryback says “revenge is a confession of pain.” Uh… what? Ryback says he’s not hurting, he’s hungry, and will totally eat CM Punk. He changes his chant to “Feed! Me! Punk!,” and the crowd totally gets into it.

I still don’t “get” why Ryback is so hot. But I didn’t like Goldberg back in WCW either, so… maybe I just have this thing against monster faces or something. [Ed. Note: I "get" it. I totally get it. I just can't bring myself to join in with the easily-amused masses. It's sort of the same way I feel about "Game of Thrones."]

Pre-Segment 3: I didn’t mention it because I didn’t think it was overly relevant, but when Foley first hit the ring in the first segment, Punk opened by saying “You look like a homeless guy who’s been displaced by the storms in the northeast!” Foley replied with something like, “Stay classy, Punk.”

Well, as Orton hit the ring for the next match, Michael Cole seemed to go out of his way for thanking the fans in the northeast for watching, and he gave his well wishes that they would stay safe and secure with everything going on. I’m curious if that was an “emergency half-apology” as a reaction to what Punk said.

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Wade Barrett by pin. Isn’t this the fourth time these guys have fought in the last few months? It was a dumb match, with Orton hitting the early offense (including the always-exciting Garvin Stomp), but then Wade went on a tear for 10 minutes by doing nothing but arm-targeted offense.

And then Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere for a win. Yawn.

Segment 4: Vickie finds AJ Lee in the back… AJ wearing a super-tight white tank top with what I call peek-a-boo cleavage, which makes me quite… distracted.

Vickie is here to be catty, and basically asks if AJ is just going to admit her “affair” with Cena. AJ gives her some static, so Vickie says that she’s here to evaluate AJ to make sure she’s actually mentally well enough to keep working for WWE. AJ submits and apologizes, so Vickie begins the mental interview.

So the first question: What’s her biggest weakness? AJ figures it’s her overly emotional state… which Vickie interprets as “crazy.” Vickie leaves, but tells AJ that she needs to meet her in her office, then give her one good reason to issue her a contract.

I have an idea… Vickie should send AJ to anger management too. She can join Team Friendship with Dr. Shelby, because adding AJ to the already tepid relationship between Kane and Daniel Bryan (especially given all three’s history together) would be comedy gold. [Ed. Note: I'm The Rick, and I approve this idea. Also, I approved of AJ's tank top. I would have approved of it more if she'd eschewed the bra.]

Segment 5 [Tag Match]: Team Friendship defeats the Prime Time Players by submission. Pure formula, nothing new, but the magic was—as always—in the relationship among Kane and DB. Good stuff, plenty of tagging oneself end, and it ended with Kane hitting the chokeslam on Darren Young… followed by DB tagging himself in and slapping on the No Lock. DY tapped, and Kane was pissed. But DB is the tag team champions!

Segment 6: It’s been an hour, so of course we have to watch replays of the opening. Michael Cole and Jim Ross run down Brad Maddox’s referee career, and Cole says the guy should probably be fired for clicking Ryback’s castanets.

After all that, Vickie Guerrero hits the ring to blather about the “inappropriate relationship,” and she’s going to show us the evidence. It’s so riveting!

But first, she calls down John Cena himself. He this the ring presently, mostly to cheers, but most of the cheers are female. He has no problem starting off by saying that Vickie is batshit insane for these accusations and is wasting the fans’ time here. So he’s out here playing along just to clear his name, so he wants to just get on with the evidence.

So Vickie shows us three weeks ago, when Cena asked AJ out on a date… but that he was so totally joking, like when he refers to himself as a Fruity Pebble. Vickie says that’s all well and good, but last week, saw Cena and AJ hug… in ridiculously slow motion. Cena excuses it: the hug was because AJ had just lost her super-cool job, which was in fact Vickie’s fault. Cena was just being a good friend.

Oh really, says Vickie. Do “good friends” meet for romantic dinners? We throw it to the Titantron again, where we get a still shot of AJ and Cena having a “romantic” candlelit dinner, with wallpaper that suggests it took place in a Denny’s bathroom. Cena insists that was just a friendly, business dinner, which is exactly what he was talking about last week.

Except, Vickie shows more footage of a hotel, or something, where Cena is in an elevator, and AJ joins him. For some stupid as hell reason, the fans react like it’s scandalous, and Cena even looks a little angry. If having multiple people in an elevator constitutes an inappropriate relationship, then apparently when I went to Los Angeles for E3 2005, I was involved in a 13-person orgy with at least two minors. (I’m sure that line will in no way be taken out of context. Thanks, Internet!) The fans set a new low for a chant with “You are busted!” Idiots.

Cena defends himself, basically along the same logic I said: it was just two people into an elevator, that’s it. But he’s going to keep going to be honest: he walked AJ to her hotel door, and that was it. Vickie thinks AJ used the Googly Eyes power on Cena to invite him through the door, but Cena just rolls his eyes and shakes her head.

Vickie proceeds to call AJ all sorts of names, but Cena sticks up for AJ and cuts Vickie off: “She’s more resilient and attractive than you’ll ever be!” Vickie throws those words back in Cena’s face, and Cena blathers as he tries to put what he said into context.

But he doesn’t get a chance, because here comes Dolph Ziggler… with shorter hair? Oh, no, he just has it slicked differently. Dolph blathers as he hits the ring, but Cena grabs his lapel to cut him off. Cena says that it’s fine that Dolph likes to talk, but never mention AJ and his name in the same sentence again.

Cena shoves Dolph on his ass, tosses the mic, and leaves. Cena’s music fires up, and Vickie looks awfully proud of herself with a big smile. Dolph looks offended, but I wonder why he came out here in the first place.

Pre-Segment 7: We’re going to have a champion vs. champion match, Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston. The Miz is on commentary, but he’s silent at first because Cesaro wants to talk.

And… wow… this was actually a pretty funny promo! Cesaro complains that, as he’s traveled the country as our United States champion, he’s noticed that America has the fattest children ever. (This is news?) And making it worse, it’s Halloween, “that silly American holiday where obese kids go door to door, begging for more sweets, from irresponsible, idiotic adults, who don’t see a crisis even if it’s standing right in front of them dressed as a fat Power Ranger.” That… that was a great line! That’s something Damien Sandow would say! When the hell did Antonio Cesaro learn to cut a promo?

His point? It’s now, more than ever, that America needs him as the US Champion, presumably to set an example for kids with his Hypno-nipples.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Kofi Kingston defeats Antonio Cesaro by disqualification. Very good match, with Cesaro doing most of the offense. I confess that I don’t know why I haven’t been as behind Cesaro as the wankers, and I don’t know whether it’s because of Cesaro’s promo tonight, but I’m finally starting to come around.

Still no high spots, at least nothing “high” for Kofi. The guy was still a flier and did great, but didn’t do anything super-crazy or anything. It was a fast-paced match start to finish though, even as the fight spilled outside. Miz started insulting Kofi rather loudly… so Kofi flung Cesaro into him. Cesaro was the first to pick himself up, and Kofi flung him back into the ring. Kofi went to follow, but then Miz popped up and started kicking his ass.

Post-Segment 7: Cesaro didn’t care about the loss, so he and Miz started kicking Kofi’s ass for a bit. That’s when R-Truth hit the ring and cleaned house, making the heels bail. Tag match anyone?

Fun Fact: A political ad was running as I typed that last post-segment, and I was distracted, so I just originally typed “Cesaro and Obama started kicking Kofi’s ass.” Forget face/heel alignments, that would be a sweet segment, and it would certainly revive RAW’s ratings. Now we just need to add some Bill Clinton interactions with Vickie Guerrero and George W. Bush interactions with Damien Sandow, and I would pay all of the money to watch RAW.

Segment 8: Speaking of Vickie, here she is after commercials. She rejoins AJ in the office, and gooses AJ to admit she likes Cena. AJ says that she likes Cena, but only as a friend, damnit! Vickie rhetorically asks if Cena kisses well and whispers sweet nothings at night.

AJ doesn’t dignify that with a response, and Vickie ups her ante: she says that if AJ would only admit her feelings, then Vickie will totally put her on the roster as a diva. AJ considers it for a nanosecond, then says no. She won’t do that, because nothing is going on! She refuses to confess to something fake, and she doesn’t care who gave her the videos and pictures. She will not lie for Vickie, as much as she loves WWE. So this interview is over, and exit stage left! [Ed. Note: Canadian Bulldog shout-out!]

Vickie stops her… and hires her. Under a single condition: if AJ ever touches her again, she’s totally fired forever. So now, her next match is against Beth Phoenix. (Wait, Beth is still there? I knew she was leaving in October, I just thought it happened already. Guess this is her last night. Sad face!)

AJ looks like she’s going to chest-lunge at Vickie, but just turns it into her scarily saccharine “Thank you!,” then merrily skips away. Vickie looks much less certain of herself.

Segment 9: In just one image, I suddenly have a very good feeling for the group formerly known as “The Encore.” Cole throws us to a pre-taped segment that’s a “Behind the Music” parody/homage for “3MB.”

And with the smash cut, our first image on the far right is Drew McIntyre, sitting on a chair in tight jeans, legs spread open, white silk shirt unbuttoned with a cross on a silver chain, wearing a white bandana and a black cowboy hat while looking like he’s coming off an opium binge. Drew is fucking killing this gimmick without saying a word, and dear god is it making me laugh for all the right reasons.

Making it better is Jinder Mahal, who is still wearing his turban or whatever, sitting on the far left, also in skinny jeans and a shirt he clearly borrowed from Chris Jericho. Heath Slater is in the middle in a black vest and black shirt, one of those short-brimmed fedoras, and looking every bit like a hipster who has an identity crisis. And that’s all in the first nanosecond of the bit.

So the off-camera interviewer asks what 3MB is all about. All of them begin by philosophically rambling about absolute nonsense while doing vague, slow arm gestures in the camera’s direction. Then come the individual interviews, with Jinder Mahal declaring “I am the fun one” while giving a look to the interviewer like he’s going to peel his skin to serve as his shower curtain.

Drew answers that rock stars are usually “pathetic, skinny toothpicks.” “Take Bono. If his life was on the line, I guarantee you he could not do one single thing.” Slater just deadpans and slurs: “That was beautiful, man.”

I am literally pausing this as I type, because I’m laughing so hard I’ve got tears in my eyes. I had a rough week last week, and man, this is just the shit I needed.

Slater says life is awesome for 3MB. The interviewer asks if that means we’re going to hear them perform any time soon. The guys get a little pissed about that, asking why the interviewer would want to rush them. Jinder: “We’re not Lenscrafters! We can’t churn out smash hits in one hour or less!” Drew: “Do you think people walked up to Michelangelo and said, ‘Hey Mike! Aren’t you done with that naked statue by now?’ ” Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Slater: “I don’t think they did! And this interview is over!” [Ed. Note: OMG Canadian Bulldog Shout-out #2 in less than 5 minutes!]

Except it’s not, because they have to form their collective hand signals, with Jinder doing the 3, Slater doing the M, and Drew doing the B but having to use both hands, and widening his eyes like he just saw Mae Young in the shower… or like he’s about to smash a guitar in the interviewer’s eye socket, I’m not sure which.

The whole thing was absolutely fantastic. I want to link it here, but as I’m writing, the show is still going on, so there are no YouTube clips yet. But seriously: find it, watch it, enjoy it. 3MB, baby. [Ed. Note: I get that the joke is you're not supposed to believe they're really a musically-capable band. But even then, Mahal is just too jarringly incongruous playing the rocker role. (See what I did there?) You know what 3MB needs? Less turbans, and more John Morrison. I'm serious, somebody get him on the phone and see if he's ready to come back. Especially if WWE's gonna keep taking the tag division seriously, cuz McIntrye and Morrison would put on awesome matches while Slater and the 3MB gimmick kept people entertained.]

Segment 10 [Tag Match]: 3MB (w/ Drew McIntyre) defeats Santino Marella & Zack Ryder by pin. I’m not sure if Jinder has always been that good, but he was pretty solid in the match and certainly held up his team. Heath Slater… not so much. Slater isn’t useless, but his offense is boring and too punchy-kicky for taste. It’s a pity to me that it was Drew who was out of the rotation… like he was last time.

Pure formula match, just that the heel beatdown segment was subpar. Seriously, not enough Jinder, who did a pretty sweet move to kick off the heel beatdown sequence. It wasn’t anything to go crazy about, but it started with Zack near the northeast corner. Jinder dove for his leg, then intentionally fell to his back while dragging him to the heels’ corner. Once on his back, he put Zack in a leg lock and tagged “up” to Slater, who jumped in with a diving elbow to Zack’s collarbone while still in the leg lock. Solid transition.

Santino eventually rallied, but Drew apparently got on the apron to distract him. This was off-camera; not sure who screwed up there. Santino eventually refocused on Slater, but then Drew tried again. Now he was on-camera, and ate a Cobra for his effort. Still, it was enough to give Slater a chance to recover and hit his finisher, that Fameasser-to-neckbreaker thing. Pin, done. No celebratory air guitar from Drew, as he was still selling the Cobra.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: AJ Lee defeats Beth Phoenix by pin. Above-average match, which is no surprise given it was one ring-capable woman versus one almost-as-good woman. Solid back-and-forth action, no complaints other than short length of the match. Beth basically dominated aside from one psycho flurry from AJ… until AJ scored an inside cradle pin out of absolutely nowhere.

Post-Segment 11: And here comes Vickie to the stage? She says that she expects—no, demands better from her divas. So as Beth clubs AJ in the back of the head, Vickie orders the match restarted so AJ can try to do better this time. Huh.

Segment 11 Again [Singles Match]: Beth Phoenix squashes AJ Lee by pin. Glam Slam, pin, done. Vickie has never been happier.

Aside: I’m asking this seriously: has AJ received a boob job since NXT 3? Because she looks… more endowed than she used to. Maybe it’s just the outfits. [Ed. Note: I don't see it. And I consider myself an expert in these matters. I think you're just falling prey to the very brassiere I was cursing earlier.]

Segment 12: Sheamus hits the ring, and he does so without looking too worse for wear. The commentators recap last night’s match against Big Show, then we get to Sheamus addressing the crowd. Sheamus says he’s smiling, despite the loss of his title. He admits he’s disappointed in the loss; nobody likes to lose! But hey, it was a great match, a great challenge, and Big Show was simply the better man last night. It may have taken two of the WMD punches, but he did knock Sheamus out.

Sheamus admits that he didn’t come to WWE to “always win,” but to fight. And it was a fight last night, the best fight ever! Sheamus then proceeds to cut a very Cena-like promo as he overhypes the match and over-intensifies his words. [Ed. Note: I don't think he overhyped anything. The match was as he described, and it's actually within his character to be more proud of the fight than he is ashamed of the loss. The problem is he's asking for a rematch, and I have serious doubts he and Show can equal or surpass what they delivered at HiaC.] But Sheamus wants to do it again, and it’s going to be so big, it won’t just be a fight or a battle: it’s going to be a war! And when it’s done, he’ll still be smiling, and he’ll have his title back.

And here comes Big Show to make the counterpoint. Except Show is smiling too, though he’s doing so because he’s real happy the belt is on his shoulder. Show calls bullshit on Sheamus’s happiness: he says that Sheamus is just smiling to hide the truth of his disappointment of not finishing the job last night. Show does affirm that Sheamus took him to levels he didn’t realize he had. But hey: he realized at that moment that he has no limits! So if Sheamus wants to bring a war, it’ll just be Custer’s last stand! And Show should have stopped at that line, because he followed it up with “It’s like bringing a glass of water to a burning building, and this building is on fire!” Rick needs to take away some of Big Show’s OO Gold Stars for that one.

Show says that Sheamus can smile all he wants, because Show will just enjoy punching that smile off his face. Sheamus can’t ever beat him, and will never take the title from him! So there, you red-haired ginger snap!

Sheamus deadpans his compliments on the speech… then asks Show “have you ever seen a ginger snap?” and proceeds to smoothly hit Big Show with the White Noise. Holy shit… I read about that on Rick’s recap, but actually seeing it is just ridiculous.

Sheamus celebrates his moral victory up the ramp. Show recovers somewhat quickly, and is sure to make Angry Eyes in Sheamus’s direction.

Segment 13: Cena and AJ aren’t making things better, because in the back, Cena congratulates AJ on her win and puts an arm around her. They go their separate ways, and we see Vickie watching from the background.

Vickie comes forward and smiles. Then Beth comes up and thanks her for restarting the match. Vickie replies that if she had done her job in the first place, then she wouldn’t have had to do so… so Beth is totally fired.

Beth is on the verge of tears as she asks for an explanation, but Vickie runs off. Beth makes Sad Face, and we fade out. Well, thanks for playing Beth… I really do hope you come back some day, if WWE ever pulls its head out of its ass in regards to your division. At least you technically go out with a win.

Seriously, if I get some money together, I need to just start watching SHIMMER.

Segment 14 [Tag Match]: Team Rhodes Scholars defeat Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara by pin. Damn fine match. Nothing super-crazy awesome, but this was as close to a free-per-view match as I think we’re going to get. (Maybe even PPV-worthy?) Solid action start to finish, and it probably deserves a legit recap, especially the last five minutes when we had a good half-dozen convincing near-falls. But this isn’t a good week for me to bring out my 1000 words of match awesomeness, you’ll just have to trust me (or YouTube it).

But I’ll recap the final sequence. We broke down in a Pier Four Brawl, with Cara setting up Cody for the 619. Sandow saved Cody’s ass, but Rey chased them… and ate the steel steps for his efforts. Cara then went flying over the top rope to hit Sandow. Things reset in the ring, with Cara setting up Sandow (both legal) for a Swanton Bomb. Cody recovered enough to pull Sandow to safety, making Cara crash and burn. Sandow quickly got him up and hit what I’ve been calling the Chains of Mediocrity Neckbreaker, but apparently it’s now called the “Terminus” (pronounced ter-min-OOS) which is WWE’s way of calling it “The End” in Latin. Whatever works for you, writers. Pin and done.

Good timing for all the guys. Both teams worked well with their partners, though the commentators were strongly selling the heels’ teamwork above the faces’.

Segment 15: Mick Foley is watching some game footage from the new WWE ’13 game coming out tomorrow, where Mankind is kicking Punk’s ass. He’s selling the shit out of the game with Kaitlyn. I’m totally buying it, but only once I get clear of IGN assignments, which this year will not include WWE. (Maybe that’s for the best, as I can just play the game, instead of trying to reverse-engineer it.)

Anyway, Mick delivers the line, “You can kick Punk’s ass with any of the three faces of Foley!” To which Paul Heyman, who was just slightly out of frame, asks which face of Foley is actually getting around to figuring out who Team Foley will be instead of talking about videogames. Foley says he’s totally not shirking his duties. Hell, superstars had been lining up to join Team Foley!

“Don’t you mean ‘backing up’?” asks Heyman, since that’s what they’ll have to do: back Foley up. Because Punk is so totally targeting Mick as of now, and will remind Mick why he is the best in the world. Face!

Pre-Segment 16: Hooray boobs, boo cancer!


…Is standing on the stage with Vince McMahon and just about every non-main eventer with a pulse. This is the last day in October that WWE will air, so Vince is here to pimp the Susan G. Komen Foundation and how great it would all be if cancer would cease to exist.

I mostly kid… it’s a good message, regardless of the silliness of the way they’re going about all this. Cena meanwhile is in the ring with two of the Susan G. Komen Foundation representatives. He makes a little speech about how great the fans are for buying the shit out of the pink merch, and he reveals a novelty check to the Foundation for a million bucks to help cancer research. Everyone is happy, except AJ for some reason, who looks like the entire thing is a waste of her time. Somehow, AJ and Orton are doing the exact same expression, which also resembles the “CM Punk is not impressed” expression that seems to be all the rage in Memeland.

Dorothy Jones, the woman in the ring, makes a speech too as she accepts the check. She’s on the verge of tears as she talks about how happy she is for WWE. Good stuff, it’s wonderful PR, but once again I wonder how necessary all this is for the airwaves. I suppose it’ll be less ignored than a press conference, but… I dunno.

No real complaints, though. The fans are happy, the wrestlers are basically out of character, and it doesn’t really diminish my enjoyment of the show, so I won’t be casting stones.

Pre-Segment 17: Oh Gabriel, did you have to headbutt a lawnmower again?

Segment 17 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeats Justin Gabriel by submission. Better match than I thought it would be, and certainly more competitive, but still nothing special. I’m glad Gabriel is getting more face time, and he held his own… he matches up with Del Rio. Del Rio did his standard stuff, arm-targeted offense and such, and he ended it with the Cross Arm Breaker. My only complaint here, as what often annoys me, is when Gabriel tapped out instantly rather than trying to fight it. I know it’s supposed to make the attacker look stronger, but it’s still a pet peeve. Fight for at least a few seconds, you know?

Segment 18: So technically Justin Gabriel was in the main event tonight, because here comes our main event promo between Punk and Foley.

Heyman is already in the ring as we come back from commercial and gives Punk a glowing introduction. Punk hits the ring, and we get a Big Reveal for a giant poster for the cover art of the WWE ’13 game above the ring for some reason. Heyman then names off all the members of Team Punk, who hit the ring in turn: The Miz, Team Rhodes Scholars, and Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo). Good five-man team there.

Punk then takes the mic to deliver a speech… which opens with “Aw shut up” to the general populace of Charlotte, which was just hilarious the way he delivered it. He is clearly sick of their shit. “Why don’t you listen to somebody who knows what he’s talking about.” He is sure that Survivor Series will be a celebration! “And what better way to celebrate than to taking a delusional, completely out of his mind, disrespectful, so-called legend called Mick Foley and put him out of his misery?” See, Punk has something that Mick wants: not the title, but the spotlight. And Mick will not take it away from him, because it’s Punk’s time now, bitches. And at Survivor Series, he’ll teach Foley how to survive by knocking out Mick’s two remaining teeth.

Mick’s music starts, and Mick just beelines to the ring. He starts by saying that Punk didn’t “survive” last night, he “weaseled.” He weaseled out of his match against Cena, then he weaseled away from Ryback after the match (or tried to). And Mick is all for calling him the champ, since he’s had the belt for 344 days, which is “quite a statistic.” But Mick won’t refer to Punk as a “man.” A man doesn’t disrespect HiaC’s tradition by hiring the ref to be in his pocket.

Punk wants Foley to turn his good ear toward him (which he does) so he hears, for sure, that he had nothing to do with Brad Maddox’s turn. So, are you going to announce your damn team, or not?

Yes, says Mick, here they come: Kofi Kingston, Team Friendship (who enter together to Kane’s music), and… Randy Orton. Ugh. Is it me, or did that team just totally lack sizzle? Even the fans didn’t flip out for Orton like they usually do (or did earlier).

So all ten men stare each other down as Punk says he actually is impressed, given that they’re all champions. But Punk is going to say their plans anyway: the goal is to eliminate Foley’s team so Punk personally will get to beat the shit out of Mick.

But wait, Mick is not going to be competing. He’ll just be the captain, and the fifth man will instead be… Ryback. Yay?

Punk acts appropriately pissed off, and he gets on his guard as Heyman and Ricardo bail. Not that they have much of a chance, because the faces throw the first punch. We get into a Pier Nine Brawl, as Punk immediately bails and Ryback hasn’t hit the ring yet.

Once Ryback finally gets there, Punk leaves, and he and Ryback just stare at each other over the distance. Meanwhile, the faces have absolutely decimated the heels, and all the faces gather to stare down Punk. Punk holds up his belt as the fans chant “Feed me more!” Ryback clotheslines Cody’s head off for good measure, then hits the Shellshock as some wankers chant “Goldberg” a few times. Staredown of Intense Rivalry to end the show.

Final Thoughts: I think the “viewer fatigue” is starting to set in, because the show was solid, but I found myself not caring as we got closer to the end. Too many members in the Survivor Series match don’t interest me, and I know that’s more my problem that the superstars’ or writers’, but it is what it is. I’m not exactly jazzed for next week’s show. [Ed. Note: as far as the teams go, I agree that they "understocked" them, if this is really to be the main event of the PPV. Given the apparent direction with Cena and Ziggler, I'd rather put them into the 10-man -- replacing Kofi and Miz -- then keep them as a 1-on-1 match for the PPV. THEN you get into all kinds of criss-crossy goodness at the main event level, which would be a big help in easing both Ryback and Dolph up to Cena and Punk's level without it jarring the fans.]

I mean, Survivor Series teams are unique that, when executed correctly, teams can cross each other’s feuds. And a promo throwdown between Team Friendship and Punk would probably be pretty amusing. But it’s not exactly something I’m going to be on the edge of my seat for. Is it unreasonable to say that I’m more looking forward to more 3MB promos (if not matches) than Team Foley v. Team Punk interactions?

Also: I know WWE has propensity to drop storylines at random, but after this mess about Brad Maddox, they pretty much said “He’s disappeared and no one can find him,” which isn’t an unreasonable reaction, but it seems… anti-climactic.

I don’t know… just mixed feelings about tonight. No match sucked (some were pretty damn good), storylines advanced, the divas actually got face time… No massive complaints.

I have IGN work to get back to, and it’s midnight, so I’m going to call it here. Have a good week folks, and hopefully my Internet connection remains stable so I can do SmackDown this weekend too. Later on!

Episode Grade: C+



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