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RAW: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Insurance, or Incidental?
November 27, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Today represents my first day in over two months that I’ve been on break from both IGN assignments and my day job, and I’m enjoying the hell out of it. I would have enjoyed yesterday too had a certain team not coughed up eight turnovers to the freaking Browns, but that’s another story. 
 

Many moons ago—two months, by my count—I mentioned that for my birthday, all I wanted was a day to myself without any interference or work, and that I’d likely spend the entire day watching all three Godfather movies back-to-back-to-back in a cinematic masterpiece marathon. Sadly, it never happened, what with bronchitis and personal tragedies and stupid, stupid work. Hey, customers may pay my paycheck, but that doesn’t mean their insanity for the Christmas shopping season is always appreciated.

 

Anyway, my point is that I’m off tomorrow as well, and I still don’t have my next IGN assignment for some reason. I’ll write them an e-mail about that, but I think in the mean time I’m going to sit back, watch my movies tomorrow, and try to find a small measure of peace before getting back to work on Wednesday. God, do I need some peace right now…

But before we get to peace, we’re going to war! RAW is war! Or something! …Oh boy, this is going to be one of those recaps where I tell jokes or write simple lines that are 100 times funnier in my head but spew them all over my word processor anyway, isn’t it? Well, let’s get to it…

Opening: Okay, I really hate this new crap they’re doing before the opening montage, whether they’re basically doing a story recap in the style of a soap opera. It’s already difficult to take professional wrestling seriously, and this doesn’t help at all. [Ed. Note: plus, they stole the idea from TNA. Please, somebody please tell Vince TNA was doing this first. That, alone, should shame him into ordering it to stop now.]

Segment 1: Ryback hits the ring to open the show… wait, this is a match? Huh, okay.

Segment 1 For Real [Singles Match]: Ryback defeats Titus O’Neil (w/ Darren Young) by pin. Basically an extended squash, it was nevertheless Ryback’s most competitive match they’ve shown on free TV. Still, it was a foregone conclusion—O’Neil didn’t even get an entrance—so its entertainment value was limited.

Post-Segment 1: Ryback grabs a mic and says he’s going to hang out in the ring all night until he gets Punk, his three NXT cronies, or all four together. But first… a commercial!

Segment 2: Back from commercial, and Ryback is still blathering “Feed me more!” in the ring. But then five dudes in “Security” polos arrive and hit the ring, standing between Ryback and the ramp. One dude steps up, and Ryback throws the first punch… in the form of grabbing him by the neck and flinging him out of the ring.

The other security guys take a step back, but don’t leave. Then Vickie Guerrero pops out, extends her sympathy for his plight, but declares she has no choice but—

Ryback cuts her off that she has “no choice but” to sign a match between Punk and him at TLC. Vickie is fine with that, but continues to ask him to leave the ring.

He tells her to shut up (a gentleman, that guy) because he’s not done speaking. See, he wants Punk at TLC… in a TLC match as well! And if she doesn’t give him that—

Vickie starts to answer, and he tells her to shut up again. Nice guy. He makes a general threat that he’s totally going to destroy everything if he doesn’t get it. Vickie again gives it to him, then politely asks him to leave the ring again. He thinks about it, takes a stutter step toward the other security guys, and they bail. Well done, gentlemen.

Segment 3: RRRRRROOOSSSAAA!!! is upset that she was “swoggled,” which in this case means sprayed in the face (right here, in Dayton, Ohio!) by a midget, so she tweeted her unhappiness. My immediate question: why the hell am I not following her on Twitter? Everyone knows that that’s how you get into the heart of your stalking target favorite celebrity!

So we cut to an “earlier today” segment where My Rosa, wearing a smashing shimmering silver dress that shows off tons of cleavage and would look infinitely better on my kitchen floor, is bitching out Hornswoggle in the back. She does the “angry girlfriend head shake” as she demands to know just why he would be such a jerk. Horny replies that it was just a joke, and besides, “who in their right mind would want to kiss you and give you flowers?,” proving once and for all that Hornswoggle doesn’t read Online Onslaught. My Rosa responds in Spanglish that everyone wants to give her kisses and flowers… I’d make a joke about that line, but my poor emotions wouldn’t be able to take it.

Anyway, that’s when Alberto Del Rio wanders up and tells Horny to shut the hell up, and placates My Rosa. Oh, and Horny will never be taken seriously by a real woman. But if My Rosa wishes it, he’ll totally beat up the midget.

My Rosa is game, but then Khali appears and tells ADR to leave him alone. ADR surrenders and leaves, and Rosa sort of disappears as well. Horny gives his thanks, and we smash cut to the live arena to Alberto Del Rio’s ring entrance. And commercials.

Commercial: USA Network is putting all their episodes of “Suits” online. I was curious about the show but haven’t seen it yet, and it’s not on Netflix. I wish more networks would do this… they may as well, honestly, if they want to take a dent out of illegal downloading. Which reminds me, now that I’m totally caught up on the first four seasons of “Breaking Bad,” I need to find where I can watch the first half of the latest season.

My point? Uh… that it’s neat when TV production companies slap their series online for free (with ads). More need to do that.

Segment 4 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeats Khali (w/ Hornswoggle) by submission. Decent match for what it was, nothing special. Fairly short with minimal back-and-forth, the end game was set up when Khali found himself in the corner, and ADR did his signature running step up enziguri. The cool part was that ADR hit Khali’s shoulder, rather than his face… At first, I thought that was just because of Khali’s height, but they used it as a setup move for the Cross Arm Breaker. Good stuff.

After the enziguri, Khali got a hope spot, but his momentum was cut off by Ricardo appearing on the apron. Horny helped out here by literally biting Ricardo’s ass, which I think is about seventeen times more humiliating than being sprayed in the face with water from some stupid plastic bouquet. Still, it was enough of a distraction for ADR to hit the falling arm breaker thing he does (dropping the arm across his knees as he falls to the mat), then mounted Khali’s arm. He didn’t do the flip thing he does with lighter opponents, but that was indeed the Cross Arm Breaker in the center of the ring. Tap-tap, and it’s done.

Smash cut to the back, where My Rosa was watching on a monitor, and celebrates by jumping a few times. Naturally, this was the best possible way they could have ended the segment for me. Although I can’t help but wonder if this is setting up an absolutely retarded tag team match with the four of them, because WWE loves carting out Hornswoggle for matches, while none of the rest of us can stand it.

Segment 5: Vickie is reading WWE Magazine in her office for some reason, and then CM Punk comes in with Paul Heyman on his heels. Punk is naturally upset that she made this match for him against Ryback at TLC, which is also apparently for the title, a stipulation I didn’t catch the first time around.

Thus starts a ridiculous bit of dialogue where Heyman, ever the conspiracy theorist when the plot dictates, alleges that Vickie is biased against John Cena, but so as not to appear so, is also biased against Punk. Oh, and she’s just confused because all this stuff with “The AJ Scandal,” as it’s referred to by exactly zero people. Vickie counters all that by saying she made the match after the Brad Maddox incident at Hell in a Cell combined with the NXT Trio incidents at Survivor Series and last week’s RAW.

Punk again declares he has nothing to do with either of those things; in addition, given that the Indy Trio is going to be blathering about it later tonight, he is just as interested as everyone else to know what exactly is going on.

Vickie, in stretch of a segue, then declares that Punk isn’t just going to be listening to some interview tonight. He’s going to have to face the winner of some Twitter poll, either Daniel Bryan or Kane… and she must have seen the cameraman make a weird face, because as she’s saying the names, she looks past Punk and suddenly scoffs out a single giggle. Adorable.

Punk makes general protests, but Heyman pulls him away as fade out to the bump, then another commercial.

Segment 6: Now we’ve got the interview of the NXT Trio, conducted “earlier today” by Michael Cole in some backstage area. Dean Ambrose seems to be half-drunk during this, assuming he’s a fun drunk rather than an angry drunk. [Ed. Note: I didn't really catch that... but he IS a disciple of Jake "the Snake" Roberts when it comes to his promo style. Dun dun DUHHHHHHHHH!!!!]

Blathering ensues, but their point is that they aren’t directly working for Punk. They’re doing things to “right wrongs” (which apparently includes pissing on the WWE fans’ opinions), and Punk is just happening to benefit from it. And this “wrong” they’re supposedly righting is the legacy of the WWE Title, which is a thing that should be celebrated (especially given the 365-day streak).

After Ambrose kicks a few explanations around how they fight for honor, he says they’re the “shield from injustice… shield from injustice… We are The Shield.” And now we have a name for the stable.

Roman Reigns, who has spent the interview saying nothing, finally has something to say: “This interview is over.” Clearly, he is the muscle in the group. He rips off the mic, as do the others, and leads them away.

So… okay, interesting enough for a premise. And I’m sucker for military gear, so I like the whole all-black SWAT team-like flak jackets that make no logical sense at all (who needs a half-dozen vest pouches when near a wrestling ring?). I’m biased, but in all my stupid childish fantasy booking I did, I was always intrigued by a character who was obsessed with “honor” and restoring the old days of pro wrestling, being the ultimate tweeners who beat up everyone on the roster who cheated regardless of why or how. I also see how such a gimmick could get boring really fast, so we’ll have to see where they go and how they do it. (I figure they’re going to be full-heel regardless of their blathering here, unlike my childhood variation of the gimmick.)

Segment 7: Another Fandango vignette, where he applies the absolutely retarded line “Follow my lead… and watch you step.” That damn well better not be a catchphrase.

Pre-Segment 8: Time for a divas’ match, but we get a pre-taped to-camera monologue where Tamina says that she can’t stand “a woman who doesn’t know her place,” which is why she kicked AJ’s ass. Weird, and vaguely sexist.

Oh, and it’s “Tamina Snuka” now. I mean, it has been for a while, but the last time she was relevant, she didn’t have the surname.

Segment 8 [Singles Match]: Tamina Snuka squashes Alicia Fox by pin. Easy momentum-gainer. Match ended with the “Snuka Superfly Splash,” which is verbatim what Cole called it. Seems backwards to me, but whatever.

Segment 9: Here comes John Cena. I’ve noticed they do a neat little camera trick when he hits the ring. When the arena is actually full, they show the reverse side of the arena (the “south” side) as Cena does his little slide sweep as he enters the ring under the bottom rope. However, when the arena is only like 60% full like it was in the Nutter Center (right here, in Dayton, Ohio!), they put the camera on the southeast corner, so you don’t even see the south side (and therefore all the empty seats). Cute trick.

Anyway, Cena is here to blather about AJ, but is quickly cut off by Vickie, thankfully. Vickie hits the ring and says everyone “I told you show” after their “disgusting love scene” last week as they both tried to lick each other’s stomach acid. So she has a gift for them to celebrate their love: matching bathrobes! It’s so they can “celebrate their honeymoon phase,” which means she’s apparently under the impression that they’ve already married. Either that, or we’re still living in the 50s when everyone on TV pretends that no one massages each other’s naughty parts until vows are exchanged.

Vickie goes on that she’s actually encouraging them to get together… just so she can be happy when it all falls apart. After all, we’re talking about AJ, who cost DB the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania in only 18 seconds, then proposed to Punk without going out on any dates with him. Vickie earns two OO Gold Stars for continuity, and an additional two OO Gold Stars for a little in-character revisionist history with said continuity. (OO Gold Stars are redeemable at any Steak ‘n Shake within 30 miles of my apartment.) [Ed. Note: I think I nuked the conversion rate when I gave Kaitlyn one million OO Gold Stars at Survivor Series. Then again, as a result, we can fairly say that Kaitlyn is a leading cause of rampant inflation.... and not just in my pants.]

Before Vickie can go on, AJ hits the ring. AJ admits that she’s had… “issues” with men in the past, but she’s learning from her mistakes. Besides, this whole issue is predicated on inappropriate relations she may have had with Cena while she was GM (really? When did that become a plot point?), but now that she’s not a GM anymore, she can ruck Cena’s fules anytime she wants. So she proceeds to flirt with Cena by touch, then by seductive eyes, then by an ass smack on Cena. The latter of which makes Cena drop his mic, which he quickly picks up and proceeds to place directly over his crotch, evidently hiding a boner since he’s 14 years old.

AJ then moves in for a kiss since she totally can, so Vickie stops that crap. Vickie says she “gets it,” and AJ says that’s good, because Vickie will never get a man, because being the boss was the only way she was ever able to. Uh… Eddie Guerrero, anyone? I mean, yeah, in-character, Vickie has only been with Edge and Dolph Ziggler while she was a GM, but for the love of god, “Guerrero” is in her name and isn’t her maiden name, you know?

AJ then calls Vickie a bitch indirectly, and that’s when Dolph comes out to the stage. He’s as bored as the rest of us with this mess, and proceeds to say this verbatim: “You’re all losing fact of the real story here… John Cena can’t deal with the fact that last week, I tackled him through a bathroom wall, and he just laid there and took it.” Yaoi fangirls, if that sentence isn’t taken out of context and used as a meme of some sort within thirty seconds of being spoken, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. (Hint to everyone else in the OO fan base: do not Google “yaoi.”)

Vickie laughs, probably for the wrong reasons, but Dolph continues that Cena totally cheap-shotted him for no reason on SmackDown last Friday. Why would Cena resort to such cowardly tactics? Well, Dolph has figured it out: when AJ was Frenching Cena last week, it was just that she was thinking about Dolph the whole time!

Cena maturely responds that he’s going to kick Dolph’s ass right now, and he starts to leave the ring. But Vickie stops that mess and just makes an official match. They’re both cool with it and continue to jaw at each other from across the distance.

Pre-Segment 10: Wade Barrett joins the commentary team for the next match.

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Kofi Kingston defeats Tensai by pin. Decent match but nothing special. Tensai didn’t get an entrance, which just meant the winner was a foregone conclusion as it does 99% of the time. It was competitive and standard power-versus-speed, with Kofi winning with a vaulting springboard crossbody from the apron. Never seen him use that as a finisher, but I’ve got no complaints.

Barrett did a solid job on commentary, as usual. After the match, he angrily jumped up from the commentary table, angrily snatched the Intercontinental Title, angrily got in the ring… then pleasantly handed it to Kofi with a smile. Barrett left the ring without incident, and Kofi looked appropriately confused. Mind games, baby.

Segment 11: Daniel Bryan is arguing with Kane in the back, and DB has “empirical polling data” that says that the fans love him, not Kane. He throws up a map of the United States to show which states voted for him in the Twitter poll, and every single of them was in favor of DB. He says that, luckily for Kane, voting is global, so maybe Kane has a chance! So let’s look at it… and every country is blue! DB says it’s too bad they don’t have polling data in Hell, so maybe he’s winning there.

And some director hits the wrong button because we get one note of the RAW song, but we’re not done. Kane grabs DB the throat and says that if they don’t have polling data in Hell, how about Kane just chokeslams him down there so he can find out personally?

Josh Mathews then appears and reveals the results of the poll… with Kane winning 59% of the vote. Kane says “your data is skewed” with the inflection of a threat, then screams “Red rules!” to the delight of Republicans everywhere. [Ed. Note: I choose to read it as Bryan playing the role of FOX News, completely disconnected from objective reality. Of course, in this scenario, Kane's not exactly playing Nate Silver, so who knows?]

Mathews says that since DB lost the poll, he gets a consolation prize: a match against Rey Mysterio, right the hell now!

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Rey Mysterio defeats Daniel Bryan by pin. Solid match, good wrestling start to finish. No unusual high spot until the end, when Rey set up DB for the 619 near the northwest ring post. It was a little too tight for Rey to make his usual run, so he just said “screw it” and went to the north apron, ran along than, then used the metal bar linking the turnbuckle to the ring post as his pivot point to hit the 619 around the ring post. Sweet move… not sure if I’ve seen that before. Either way, Rey made the pin from there after dropping the dime and took the win.

Solid 15 minute match or so (including commercials), no unusual complaints. Rey ordinarily bores me, as we all know by now, but this match was fun to watch.

Segment 13: ADR and Ricardo are talking in the back, and then My Rosa appears and speaks some Spanglish to give her thanks for sticking up for her earlier. ADR is all, “I’ll give you anything you need,” and I’m all, “Me first, jerk.” Add in a sleazy wink (from ADR, not from me), and… well, that was pointless. [Ed. Note: del Rio's been feuding with Orton for an estimated 7 and a half years, on the losing end of the stick. Adding Rosa to his act -- and maybe the Colons, too -- would certainly freshent hings up for a mini-reboot.]

Segment 14: Dolph is working out in the locker room to get loose for his match. Mathews arrives and asks if the personal issues between him and Cena are giving the match extra incentive. Dolph dodges the question in order to pimp his resume, for he is Mr. Monkey in the Bank, and we damn well better not forget it. He can’t wait to see AJ’s heart broken after beats the hell out of Cena tonight!

Segment 15: RAW recap and SmackDown recap of last week’s Cena/Dolph activities.

Segment 16 [Singles Match]: John Cena defeats Dolph Ziggler by pin. Solid match, though it took a little while to get going. No significant spots until the end game, where we saw a credible moment when Dolph could have pulled off an upset. Dolph had momentum, then did a high angle crossbody off the top rope. Cena caught him and rolled through, then lifted Dolph up to his shoulders for an FU. Dolph took an extra push so he could land on his feet instead, then immediately turned it into a Zig Zag. Pin (even with two handfuls of shorts), but only a two-count.

Punches were exchanged, then Dolph went for a quick roll up. Again he had a handful of Cena’s shorts, and again he only got a two-count.

Cena on offense from there, first with a simple side slam, then a start up to the Five Knuckle Shuffle. However, that knee gave out on him, especially as Dolph targeted it early in the match. Cena faceplanted the canvas on his own, then rolled out. The ref and EMT were there to check on him.

With everyone distracted on that, Dolph recovered, then started to undo the padding on a turnbuckle. AJ then sprinted down to the ring and got on the apron just to yell at Dolph, which was enough to make him back off. Vickie came running down as well to get into AJ’s face, so a screaming match erupted at ringside.

By then, the ref was back in the ring, but he stuck his head out through the ropes to yell at the ladies to knock off the noise. Dolph, never one to let a chance to cheat go, grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase nearby. Cena got in the ring, and Dolph went for the attack, but Cena ducked it. Cena then followed up with an awkward FU, then made the pin. The ref turned around, counted three, and it was done.

After the match, AJ got in the center of the ring behind Cena as Cena celebrated in the corner. He turned and basically ran into her as she was doing Cutsie Eyes in his direction. They shared a moment, and Cena wanted a handshake. AJ replied by doing some standing CPR. Cena had this weird look that was halfway between pleasure and regret… I wonder if that was significant, or just stupid acting. Either way, Cena allowed her to hold his arm up in victory, and they left together.

Segment 17 [Singles Match]: Sheamus defeats Antonio Cesaro by countout. Damn fine match, unexpectedly good to me. It was power-versus-power, which is usually uninteresting, but both guys mixed up their attacks to make things entertaining. There were few restholds, though the guys caught their breaths after heavy attacks (which all looked legit). The first time Cesaro had a credible chance to win was late in the match, when Sheamus went for a simple punch. Cesaro ducked it but hooked the arm, then lifted Sheamus up so he was sort of in the Torture Rack position. From there, Cesaro hit a front slam of sorts, which looks sick, but is hard to describe… didn’t some wrestlers in the past use that as a finisher before?

Easily the most out-of-nowhere impressive was when Sheamus went to the top rope for his signature Battering Ram, and Cesaro hit him with a stiff European Uppercut in midair. Given that Sheamus’s face was soaked with sweat at that point, it made a fantastic visual as the blow connected and a spray of sweat flew through the air.

Cesaro couldn’t close the deal there, so he got to his feet and picked Sheamus up. He wanted to do the Neutralizer, but Sheamus countered that into a back body drop. As he stood, Sheamus hit an out-of-nowhere Brogue Kick, sending Cesaro through the ropes and out of the ring.

Then Big Show’s music started up. Show started down the ramp with a chair, but then the bell rang. Cesaro was unmoving at ringside, so he lost by countout. Seeing this, Show just turned around and started heading back to gorilla.

Post-Segment 17: Sheamus grabs a mic and says that if Show is going to pop up with a chair, he may as well get his arse in the ring and use it. And if Show is insistent on being champion “until he retires,” then Sheamus will make that retirement dream come true at the TLC pay-per-view, even if it takes a hundred chair shots this time. Sheamus goes on that Show may have called him “barbaric,” but if he gets that chair in his hands, he’ll show Show exactly what “barbaric” means.

Show responds by beating the shit out of the chair. Seriously, he just rips it apart, smacks its frame against the ramp, then flings it against the stage backdrop lights. Show then just turns and leaves as Sheamus looks on with 95% anger, 5% impressed.

Pre-Segment 18: Here comes Damien Sandow to the stage, and he wants to talk. He’s here to remind us that the real reason he’s in WWE is to “rescue us from the doldrums of our own ignorance,” a phrase I really want to use on half my Walmart customers. He’s going to prove his intellectual superiority by beating the “mouth-breathing miscreant of an opponent” tonight. We’re welcome.

Segment 18 [Singles Match]: Damien Sandow defeats Zack Ryder by pin. Decent match but nothing special. Someone must have started a gas leak under the commentating table because Lawler and Cole stopped taking the match seriously before it even started, as they shot the shit and argued with each other over the phrase “Cubito Aequet,” which I’ve discussed ad nauseam before (see what I did there?) after insulting Justin Roberts’s lack of timing when it comes to ring announcing. I’m sure someone out there found it annoying, but I’ll tell you what: after Lawler’s heart attack and Cole’s somewhat necessary “turn” following it, I like this new commentary style where the guys basically sound like they’re discussing the match while having a beer, rather than the ultra-serious (and Cole’s hateful) commentary style from before. I mean, your mileage may vary, but it’s clear Cole knows when to get serious (a main event match for example) and when to just goof around, so I find it entertaining more than obnoxious or distracting.

Anyway, there wasn’t much to this match. Ryder made a go of it, but he just doesn’t have the stuff, and Sandow dispatched him rather easily, first with the Cubito Aequet, then with the Terminus. During Sandow’s usual post-match cartwheel, Cole said he has a name for that too: the “Rotation of Illumination.” Nice. Lawler responded that it looked more like a “Corny Cartwheel.” And self-aware Cole replied: “You just don’t appreciate the Latin of Damien Sandow… that made no sense, but you knew what I was trying to say!” Heh.

Segment 19: Heyman is standing outside of Punk’s locker room, and Mathews comes up to ask how Heyman himself feels about Punk having to face Kane tonight. Heyman answers the question by posing additional questions, basically indirect ways of putting over Punk while ignoring Kane entirely. It was stupid, and a waste of my time.

Segment 20: A full replay of Segment 6 (The Shield’s interview with Cole).

Segment 21 [Singles Match]: CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) defeats Kane by pin. I’ve got to be honest, I missed probably half this match due to a satellite signal glitch. It was back-and-forth before the commercial, with Punk generally getting the better of it, as he sent Kane flying out of the ring, then followed up with a suicide dive. Punk sold the wrapped knee, and Kane somewhat targeted it, but couldn’t get much offense going.

After the commercial, Punk was firmly in control for 30 seconds… then my DVR freaked out, and Kane jumped off the top rope while simultaneously being down in the dead center of the ring. Thank you, DVR, for making me wonder if I had the gas leak the whole time. Anyway, Kane came off with a flying lariat. No idea if anything significant happened in that span of time (I’m not even sure how long the signal was out for), so I’ll have to lean on Rick for the assist if anything interesting happened. [Ed. Note: Nope.]

From the lariat, my signal was clear. Kane wanted to chokeslam Punk, but Punk reversed it to a swinging neckbreaker and made a failed pin. Punk wanted a vaulting springboard something-or-other, but Kane reversed that and got his chokeslam after all. However, as he went for the pin, Heyman pulled Punk over to the ropes. Not sure if the ref even saw that, but if he did, he didn’t care.

Still, Punk was down, so Kane pulled him back to the center of the ring and readied a Tombstone Piledriver. Punk slipped out, and while he and Kane danced around each other, we saw shots that showed The Shield arriving at the front row of the barricade. In the ring, Punk and Kane lethargically circled each other, then Punk was able to pull out a GTS from nowhere. Pin, three, done.

Post-Segment 21: The Shield collectively hopped over the barricade, then surrounded the ring, then hopped on the apron. Punk looked like he was ready to fight. The Shield collectively entered the ring… then ignored Punk entirely as they all beat the shit out of Kane.

Punk bailed, and DB came running down to make the save. But The Shield saw him coming, and collectively beat the crap out of him too. The fans I thought started chanting “E-C-Dub!,” but on reflection, I think it was “Feed me more!”

And sure enough, here comes Ryback, who rather effortlessly beats the shit out of all three members of The Shield. But he didn’t consider Punk, who slides in the ring and hits him with a cheap shot. Ryback no-sells it, turns around, and sets Punk up for a powerbomb. As Punk sits on Ryback’s shoulders, Roman Reigns hits Ryback with a Spear (causing Punk to dangerously fall on Reigns, with their heads coming this close to colliding).

With Ryback down, Punk bails, and The Shield continues to beat the hell out of Ryback, concluding with a three-man powerbomb (just not through a table this time). Punk looks on at The Shield from outside, sizing them up.

We get replays of what instantly happened, then Punk gets back in the ring. As he does so, The Shield leaves the ring. Punk poses with his belt above Ryback’s body, and The Shield turns and leaves through the crowd. Hm…

Final Thoughts: For a stable interested in “righting wrongs,” beating the hell out of Kane makes no sense. Actually, given that premise, nothing they’re doing really makes sense, so I don’t exactly know what to make of them. I’m torn: is that genuinely intriguing, or just lazy writing? Either way, it’s interesting enough that I barely consider it sustainable episodic TV, though not particularly good. [Ed. Note: isn't it obvious?!? The injustice committed by Kane was rigging the voting of the RAW Active Poll! No way was Daniel Bryan's data wrong!!! Or maybe not... more realistically, my read is that you're supposed to suspect them of being in the tank for Punk. But they'll have just enough lame justification that you can't prove it, and that makes you hate them even more. In this case, the justification is easy: Vickie making the TLC Match at Ryback's demand really was quite pathetic and unfair to Punk. So they're just making sure he's at least at 100% before he goes into said unfair match.]

Still, the night taken as a whole was pretty solid. If we eliminate the logical loopholes of The Shield’s motivations, the whole night was entertaining. Nothing was particularly awesome, nothing is going to get people talking, but all the matches were solid for what they were. On heavy fast-forward, you won’t waste your time if you watch it.

I don’t have anything more, so I’ll call it here. Have a good week guys, and I’ll see you on the weekend for SmackDown.

Episode Grade: B-

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON

BROWSE THE BYTE THIS RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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