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RAW: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Ryback's Revenge
December 4, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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on Twitter --/-- View Pyro's Videos on Youtube
 

Apparently I really like Linkin Park. Not to sound gay, but when it comes to music, I find myself enjoying men’s voices better than women’s, and even then I prefer hearing deeper voices. The lead singer of Linkin Park—whoever he is, since I know very little about music and haven’t researched them yet—has one of my favorite pitches for my ears. I’ve been listening to “Somewhere I Belong” and “In the End” a lot lately… it’s good for my stupid emo crap that seems to be going through my head lately. (One of these days, I’m sure I’ll stop being an angst-ridden teenager, especially given that I’m thirty.) Add in that Linkin Park is a weird cross between rock and rap, and I’m intrigued by the group.
 

I find Linkin Park easy to listen to while writing, which should be weird, because rap doesn’t normally give me that luxury. I usually tend to prefer foreign music because I’ve noticed over the years that if I’m listening to English lyrics, I want to actively listen or even sing along (terribly). When I listen to foreign music, my brain just interprets the voice as another instrument, so it all blends together into a background song that helps me focus on ideas and, depending on what I’m writing about, dick jokes.
 
 

Yet, there’s just something about Linkin Park that I can’t describe. I really need to just buy their albums, because I’m sure iTunes will find me less teenager-y that way if I can stop myself from buying Red Jumpsuit Apparatus albums. Whatever it takes for iTunes to stop recommending Justin Bieber to me, damnit.

Okay, let’s get to RAW, where none of the wrestlers use Linkin Park as entrance themes. Note to self: I need to created a dude in WWE ’13 to use it just to make myself happy… after the recap.

Pre-Segment 1: It’s Kane to open the show this week… wait, this is a tag match? Huh, it’s so unusual for WWE in the modern era to open with a match. Maybe that’s what they’re doing after the retarded-as-hell new opening?

Oh wait, never mind, they need to talk first. See, after Team Friendship makes their full entrance, they notice that The Shield is standing and watching from the top row. Kane offers them to come on down and give them a reason to fight, to which The Shield does… nothing. Which, honestly, is exactly what their characters dictate what they should be doing. (Aside: is it me, or does Roman Reigns somewhat resemble Rob Van Dam in the face?)

As the Prime Time Players hit the ring, Michael Cole announces that Vince McMahon is in the area for tonight, but no one knows why. Hmm…

Segment 1 [Tag Match]: Team Friendship defeats the Prime Time Players by pin. Decent match, but the match wasn’t the draw. The Shield’s activities were the main draw here, as the crowd (and Cole) reacted to their every movement more than what was going on in the ring. The match finish was a double-reversey move that ended with DB doing a sitting small package on Darren Young, but again, the match (for story purposes) was totally unimportant. At one point, the crowd chanted “Cena! Cena!,” so I thought Superwigger had somehow arrived and readied himself to make some sort of save, but no dice.

Post-Segment 1: As soon as the bell rang to end the match, Seth Rollins hit the ring and beat the crap out of DB, while Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose beat the crap out of Kane. In a neat, sick spot, they trapped Kane’s arm between the steps and the ring post, and then Ambrose just kicked the shit out of the stairs while Reigns kicked the shit out of Kane himself.

DB got a bit of a comeback against Rollins, but Ambrose noticed it. Realizing that Kane was finished, Reigns and Ambrose slid in the ring and beat the hell out of DB, then finished him with their signature three-man powerbomb.

With DB down, The Shield just up and left, heading back through the crowd through the south side. Kane freed himself and rolled in the ring to check on DB, but Kane’s arm was totally lame.

Segment 2: Cena and Sheamus talk… and it’s totally nonsensical, which is the point. The general idea is, Sheamus is amped in Irish, and Cena is confused, but ultimately says that it doesn’t matter what he’s saying, because beating the crap out of bad guys is a universal language, or something.

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: AJ extended-reverse-squashes Tamina Snuka by pin. Tamina recently added her surname, as I previously mentioned, but it seems AJ has lost hers now that she’s no longer GM. Interesting.

Very good match for the divas; shocking what happens when you put two ring-capable women between the ropes, isn’t it? Tamina totally dominated, and AJ Dolph Zigglered her way to being a ragdoll. (Is this the first time I’ve used “Ziggler” as a verb? I totally should have done it before now.) A Tamina-delivered headbutt was oversold to the point where AJ took what can only be described a “Family Guy fall,” where I’m pretty sure her shoulder joint ended up somewhere behind her rib cage. I haven’t seen flexibility like that since Beth Phoenix forced My Melina to kick herself in the back of her own head.

So after Tamina got through using AJ as a punching bag, she dragged her over to the corner, then irritatingly looked at the corner like, “I don’t really want to do the splash, but I guess I have to, since we can’t properly finish the match otherwise.” Except AJ read that part of the script too, so as Tamina started to climb the ropes, AJ quickly grabbed her thigh from behind and rolled her up into a schoolgirl pin. One, two, three, and AJ bailed before Tamina could exact revenge.

Seems a little soon to give AJ a win over Tamina given that their feud just started, but whatever. It gives Tamina an excuse to continue being a bitch and ask for a thousand rematches.

Segment 4: Here comes CM Punk before Tamina has even properly left the area. Paul Heyman is right behind him.

And… commercial? Huh, okay.

Segment 4 for real: After commercial, Heyman introduces himself pointlessly, then reverse-pimps the WWE Encyclopedia (with Benoit!) by saying it sucks because there wasn’t enough coverage of Punk in it. Especially because after tomorrow night, Punk will surpass John Cena and become the longest-reigning champion ever… of the Modern Era. And so it’s totally not fair that he’s not at the front and center of the cover.

Punk then blathers, and it’s… well, it’s nothing new or interesting. I’m not saying it’s bad, because Punk talking vanilla is still better than most of the roster talking Shakespeare. He puts over himself and his resume, then insults the fans. After all, most of the fans can’t keep jobs or marriages for longer than he’s kept the WWE Championship!

Punk is tired of hearing who supposedly “made” him champion, from Heyman, to Brad Maddox, to The Shield. But no, Punk says that’s crap: if it wasn’t for him, no one would be here. Punk is the reason we bought tickets and actually watch the show. Specifically, without him, we’d have nothing to look forward to “on these dismal three-hour RAWs.” Ha! Punk says that if he’s wrong, he dares us to change the channel or walk out of the arena, right now!

Before the fans decide to actually call his bluff, The Miz hits the stage to cheers. Miz says the fans need to just chill out and enjoy the show, thus cementing his face status.

Miz calls Punk a liar for this insinuation that he has nothing to do with The Shield. Miz says that he’s not a hypocrite: sure, he was a jerk and cheated like crazy when he was WWE Champion, but he admitted it! So Punk needs to just man up and admit that he’s got Maddox in his back pocket, and that if The Shield hadn’t bailed Punk out last week, “Ryback would have fed him some Punk,” a phrase that caused the language centers of my brain to temporarily short-circuit.

Punk casually tells “Mike” that if he wants to challenge Punk’s credibility, he should walk his Gucci shoes down to the ring instead of blathering from the stage.

Miz isn’t falling for that, and corrects him that his shoes are Louis Vuitton, which I’m proud to say I had to look up to spell correctly since my knowledge of men’s fashion begins and ends with Men’s Warehouse, for better or worse. Miz says that he’s not here to challenge Punk to a match since they can do that any time. Instead, Miz challenges Punk to come on Miz TV and take a polygraph test to prove he wasn’t in cahoots with either The Shield or Maddox.

My question: what makes Miz think Punk couldn’t pass a polygraph test? The dude could probably murder his mother in front of witnesses and still come out of a polygraph test looking more holy than the Pope.

Miz’s word alone apparently swayed the local sheriffs’ station to loan them their technician and equipment, because apparently the cops have nothing better to do.

Heyman wonders if it’s such a good idea for Miz if Punk is “three inches away from you with a live microphone knowing how Punk feels about you ‘behind the scenes,’ ” and interesting phrase that makes me wonder if there’s some fourth-wall breaking there or they’re double-swerving us. Either way, Miz attempts to mimic Heyman’s voice but sounds instead like a cross between Drew McIntyre and Jamie Hyneman as he tells them both that that’s exactly what he wants.

Miz calls Heyman a “human walrus,” which somehow causes the fans to chant “Walrus!” at him. After their aside, Miz repeats the word “live” about 600 times and says, yes, that’s what he wants, and bring the biggest pipe bomb that he can. But hell, Miz says that Punk should be jumping at this chance since this would be proof that he wasn’t manipulating anything! Unless, that is, Punk is afraid of the truth and will show that his title reign will have a little asterisk after it.

Well, that does it: Punk agrees with the test, and says that he will prove he is the best in the world, whether it’s in the ring or with a stupid polygraph, and everyone will then have to eat their stupid words. Play Punk’s music, and we’re out.

Damn good segment. Miz shows that he’s good at working with the crowd (something the best talkers can do), and the fans clearly are ready to cheer for him. Good stuff, intense segment without being ridiculous, and it really becomes a “stayed tuned to watch what’s coming” moment!

Segment 5 [Tag Match]: John Cena & Sheamus defeat Dolph Ziggler & Big Show by pin. Above-average match until the very end. Pure formula, with Cena being the false face in peril to tag out to Sheamus, who took over the true face in peril role. Tons of action, but no high spots until the end. That’s not really a complaint, because the guys kept the action incredibly fast, and the fans were absolutely into it.

So, I said “until the end” twice up there. The final sequence saw Cena getting the hot tag, beating the crap out of Dolph, and setting him up for the FU. Show illegally got in the ring and kicked Cena in the INJURED~! knee, sending them crashing to the canvas.

Sheamus wasn’t going to let that stand, so he jumped in the ring and immediately went for a Brogue Kick. Show caught his foot and went for a chokeslam, but Sheamus slipped out. Rather than go for a Brogue Kick again, he just kinda stood there. Show was a litter confused, but he’s a big angry giant, so he charged in for a Spear. Sheamus expected it, grabbed Show, and put Show on his shoulders for White Noise.

By then, Cena recovered and had Dolph up on his shoulders for an FU. The faces looked at each other, nodded, then delivered their respective finishers perfectly simultaneously! Like, you heard one sound as both Show and Dolph were slammed to the canvas. Fantastic timing, and a true “Holy shit!” moment. Cena made the pin, Show didn’t know what time zone he was in, and “My Time Is Now” played us out. Definitely worth a watch, at least for the ending sequence! Hell, Cena was so amped that he wound up photo-bombing the commentators as they tried to take us to the next scene.

Segment 6: Here comes OO favorite Damien Sandow! He introduces himself (a habit I’m honestly sick and tired of seeing from basically every bloody wrestler). He repeats his statement from SmackDown that he cannot and will not abandon us, hence why he’s going to try to pick another apprentice from the crowd.

So he picks some douche wearing an R-Truth shirt, and encourages all of us to try his test as well since we might be picked next in our home towns! The guy takes long enough that Sandow declares he’s “losing points already” just trying to get past the security barricade, but the guy does finally manage to get in the ring without a map.

After correcting the dude’s posture, he begins the quiz: “What is H2O?” Water! Correct! The fans cheer, and Sandow tells them that he did not require or desire their approval. Ha!

Question two: “Who was the first president of the US!” George Washington! Correct! Yay! The dude throws around a finger as he gestures (Broadly) that he only needs one more question to graduate! Sandow improvises a quick “Are you done?” with maximum disdain.

Question three: “What famed English poet wrote ‘Much have I traveled in the land of gold’?” The dude asks if he’s serious, to which Sandow replies he couldn’t be more serious. The dude just gives up, so Sandow gives a celebratory “Ha! Ignoramus! Of course the answer is John Keats!,” a name that I’m sad to say I had to look up. (Then again, over the course of looking up his name, apparently Sandow misquoted the line, since it’s “realm of gold,” not “land of gold.” You’re welcome, Damien.)

Sandow isn’t done: “Congratulations, you win the Idiot of the Day Award!,” a line I swear to God I’m going to start using around work just to piss people off. “Your consolation gift is a quote from me, Damien Sandow! Ignorance is curable, but stupid is forever, now forever leave my presence!” Sandow insists that the guy needs to be deported for his horrendous lack of intellect.

Sandow then proves he reads OO by shaking the mic like a brandy snifter before telling us we’re welcome, complete with the Eyebrow Shuffle I whole heartedly endorsed last week. Sandow, you are awesome, and this totally makes up for misquoting Keats, as if I could have done any better.

It seems Santino Marella doesn’t think Sandow is so great, so his music fires up, and Sandow gives us the exact same face expression as a teenager banging his girlfriend in the living room at the moment he hears his mom pull into the driveway. Santino hits the ring and decides to give his own quiz, to see if Sandow is really just as smart as he thinks he is.

Santino attempts twice to say “How many shells does she sell by the sea shore?” Sandow once again maintains Ultimate Disdain Face throughout, and answers Santino’s question thusly: “I am on an Arthurian quest for an apprentice, and you want to come down here and start a conversation about crustaceans? To answer your question, the most common type of sea shell would be a bivalve, so tell everyone I’m right, and please leave.”

Santino sounds the buzzer and corrects him that the correct answer is the conch shell, though he pronounces it as “conk.” Sandow isn’t amused, so he conks Santino with the mic… see what I did there?

Sandow doesn’t follow up, and instead just leaves to the apron. Santino pulls his shirt off and Referee McDoucher materializes out of nowhere, so I guess we’re about to have a match. After commercials!

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Damien Sandow defeats Santino Marella by pin. Decent match, nothing special, though strangely competitive. Sandow ended the match with the Terminus.

Fun fact: throughout the last two segments, I kept wanting to type “Santino Marella” as “Santonio Holmes” for reasons I can’t begin to guess at. The dude hasn’t been a Steeler for like three years, and I haven’t thought about him in at least that long, so why is his name on the tip of my tongue?

Segment 8: It’s back to serious business, as Dolph Ziggler finds Vickie Guerrero in the back. Dolph complains that Show is the worst tag team partner ever, and he shouldn’t be in tag matches anyway because he’s a star!

Vickie isn’t so sure; she’s losing faith in him. But Dolph isn’t losing faith. He wants a rematch against Cena at TLC and will “steal the show like no one’s ever seen.” Vickie responds “Go show them, baby!”

Dolph is so happy that he goes for a hug, and Vickie has to stop them… then looks around paranoid that someone will see despite the fucking cameraman being two inches away. Do I really need to repeat that rant for the hundredth time?

Dolph runs off after telling Vickie that there’s someone in her office, so she heads inside… which creates a magic smash-cut as if we’re watching a three-camera sitcom, indicating that for this exact snapshot in time, WWE is telling us that the camera is not part of the show. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Anyway, Vickie reacts with irritation that this person is in her office… surprise, it’s Brad Maddox! This time, he’s accessorizing his sweater vest and lady slacks with cherry lip balm, because that’s what manly men do nowadays. A different camera is in his face, and he says he’s only here because he’s taping another episode of the Brad Maddox Experience.

So, just in case you’re keeping score at home, this means WWE can’t be consistent whether the camera is part of the show in the same moment of the same goddamn scene. The mind-bending reality of that snapshot of a WWE director’s mentality has, I think, broken all my logical senses in regards to this genre of entertainment.

But wait… then my friend here pointed out that if the Brad Maddox Experience is a kayfabe show, then the other cameraman is part of the show, but a different part of the show, which proves that the two-camera smash cut can exist in the same parallel universe as CameraDouche and keep consistency. Or something.

God, my head hurts.

Anyway, Maddox assuages Vickie’s irritation. He says he’s here only to remind people of who he is, evidently with cherry lip balm.

Segment 9: Commercials, and then we’re dealing with Maddox and Vickie talking still in her office. Maddox is trying to convince her to give him a WWE contract by sucking up to her so hard that he somehow blows her simultaneously. It works well enough that she promises him a match and if he wins, he’s got the contract, but his opponent is secret.

Now, I’m sort of downplaying the awesomeness of this segment, because Maddox is a friggin’ pro at being a narcissistic douchebag who is entirely puffed up on his own ego. He’s such a smarmy, oily jerk that he’s just too amusing and entertaining to boo. It’s like that jock on your high school football team that you just want to beat the piss out of, but he never doesn’t anything overtly hostile and seems to make friends with everyone, so you can’t justify doing so. Good stuff, and Maddox is becoming a must-watch. [Ed. Note: he did some good stuff with Richie Steamboat as he worked up the ladder, but I never viewed him as a serious can't-miss prospect. Maybe he'll prove me wrong. For the most part, I watch him and wonder if Bischoff has more than one son in the business.]

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeats Sin Cara by submission. Damn fine match without any massive high spots, but incredibly competitive. This one had a strange reverse formula thing going, as Cara had the majority offense and basically served as the “heel” for the general feel and pace of the match. Pretty cool, and it was sort of refreshing to see ADR be the victim in the exchange for once.

The only extreme high spot of note was a sick move Cara did. He sat on the top rope in the corner as he pulled ADR up to standing, then did a jumping tornado spike DDT that just looked painful. It wasn’t anything that’s going to be splattered across IWC headlines tomorrow, but it looked vicious and was credible despite being a “little guy attacks the bigger guy” move.

It wasn’t enough to put ADR away, who managed to finish the match shortly after with his Cross Arm Breaker after some back-and-forth. I’m not a fan of the fact that Cara tapped out immediately, but it is what it is. The fans gave the guys a good ovation, but not nearly enough of one in my opinion.

During the match, Cole mentioned that My Rosa decided to wear special perfume for ADR tonight (despite her not making an appearance) that smells like “cherry blossom vanilla.” She even knows what smell is my favorite, so clearly, she’s meant to be mine.

Cut Scene: Vince McMahon is walking the halls, and he tells some stage hand to go fetch Vickie Guerrero so they can have a discussion in the ring right now (after commercials).

Segment 11: Vickie hits the ring, then announces Vince, who hits the ring presently with his full entrance. Stupidity ensues, as Vince basically becomes a jerk who patronizes and backhandedly compliments Vickie. I’m not saying it’s bad; it’s totally within both of their characters to have this exchange, and we’ve seen it once before the last time these two had a “discussion” like this. But it’s stupid to try to recap it verbatim, because the context of their statements is lost without their delivery.

Anyway… so let’s break this down. Vince eggs Vickie on to add a stipulation to the Cena/Dolph match, turning it into a ladder match (which she isn’t happy about). [Ed. Note: "Eggs," or "bullies"? Be a star, Vince, be a star!] She tries to worm out of it by saying that they can’t have a ladder match since neither one is a champion, and ergo there’s nothing to hang above the center of the ring. Vince says hey: we’ve already got the Money in the Bank briefcase, so let’s hang that above the ring!

Vickie doesn’t like that either, since it’s a no-lose situation for Cena (he doesn’t lose anything if he loses the match) and a no-win situation for Dolph (since he doesn’t win anything even if he wins the match). It’s just not fair!

Well, says Vince, it’s also not fair for Vickie and Dolph to “perpetuate this crap,” such as the AJ scandal. She owes us fans more than apology for that mess; she owes that match! So she goes ahead and announces it for sure, so Vince is happy. He turns to leave…

“Thanks for being here, Mr. McMahon! You can be dismissed now!”

No, Vickie. Just… just no. This is not going to end well for you.

Vince stops and wonders, what if Punk is found to be actually lying this whole time? After all, no one likes a liar, so Punk should be punished! So what should be the punishment be if Punk is found to be lying?

Vickie says that if that happens, they must destroy the man behind it, i.e. Paul Heyman. So if Punk is found to be lying, the next week, we’re going to see Heyman take on Ryback in a match! Vince is happy for that, so he tells everyone to cheer for her, so obviously they all boo.

Vince’s music plays as he does an overly dramatic microphone flip, and Vickie looks like she knows she stepped it in. Hopefully she’s wearing galoshes.

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton squashes Brad Maddox by pin. I have no choice but to conclude that this fight was over Orton wanting a piece of that cherry lip balm.

Post-Segment 12: Holy shit, here’s The Shield to just completely fuck up Orton’s day. Orton had no answer and simply took the beatdown like a man, getting planted with the three-man powerbomb. Hm… as Lawler says, what “injustice” has Orton committed to draw The Shield’s ire? [Ed. Note: Fruit. In. Beer. It's just taken me 8 years to craft my ultimate revenge.]

Segment 13: After commercials, Dolph appears in Vickie’s office to bitch about the match she booked at Vince’s insistence. He reminds us that he had to defend his MitB briefcase once before already against Chris Jericho, and totally doesn’t want to risk it again. Vickie sensibly replies that she had no choice, given that Vince was breathing down her neck. (Metaphorically of course… literally would be creepy as hell.)

Dolph angrily insists that he thought they were on the same page. They had, at one point, agreed that AJ was a “ungrateful power-hungry amateur,” and now Vickie is becoming just like her.

Poor Vickie. But as if her day couldn’t get worse, in comes Heyman. They say nothing, but give each other a Staredown of Intense Rivalry (as the fans start chanting “Boring… Boring…”). She finally says “For your sake, you better hope Punk is telling the truth.” Heyman merely smiles and walks away.

Now a third guest, and it’s Cena with a shit-eating grin. He’s totally stoked about the match at TLC, and he actually thanks her. Cena is sure he’s going to get the briefcase, and will totally become champion. He thanks her again leaves.

Or rather, starts to. Vickie holds him up and says that the stagehands found some hair bows in AJ’s locker… hair bows with pictures of Cena on them. She reminds him that AJ is so totally crazy and will be overly obsessed with Cena. Cena calls bullshit since the bows are the wrong shades of black and yellow, and that they’re clearly just a hack job by Vickie to continue driving this wedge between them in a transparent attempt to have something to talk about.

Vickie counters that if one doesn’t learn from the past, history repeats itself. Cena looks mildly concerned, but leaves without another word.

Segment 14: Kofi hits the ring for some sort of tag team match… Oh, I see, it’s him and R-Truth vs. Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett. Then Teddy Long arrives for some reason… Long says that since Vickie is indisposed, Booker T isn’t here, and Vince wants some unpredictability in WWE, he’s going to call an audible here. Rather than a tag team match, it’s going to be a championship Fatal Four-Way Match. Huh.

But, uh… we’ve got two champions in the ring. So we’re just doing a Twitter vote over the commercial break, and either Cesaro’s US Title or Kofi’s IC title will be on the line. Weird. Why would they do this vote over essentially three minutes? Seems a little lame.

Segment 15 [Fatal Four-Way for the United States Title]: Antonio Cesaro defeats Kofi Kingston by pin, outlasting Wade Barrett and R-Truth, and retains. Damn fine match, and a high should-watch. Bell-to-bell action with several high spots, including one of those sick combination powerbomb/superplexes that always gets a rise out of the fans.

The final sequence saw everyone hitting their finishers, with Cesaro going last and once again dead-lifting Kofi to hit the Neutralizer which, as Rick pointed out before, can’t be good for the dude’s back. Still, it was a hell of a spot: Kofi hit Wade with the Trouble in Paradise, then went for the pin. To break it up, Cesaro just straight dead-lifted Kofi out of the pin attempt. Kofi resisted (which I always appreciate seeing), but couldn’t get out of it.

YouTube this one, people.

Segment 16: Recap of Maddox and The Shield helping out Punk (directly or indirectly) as a lead-in to Miz TV, which we’ll see after commercials.

Segment 17: Miz is already in the ring with Some Guy who will administer the test. Punk hits the ring with Heyman, who proceeds to cut a nice promo to insult Miz and the fans as he gets fitted for the polygraph. Punk is sure that Miz is just doing this because he’s jealous of Punk’s success, just like all the fans are. [Ed. Note: I really like this exchange, even if it was a bit long. Everything had a tinge of almost being "too real," like these guys genuinely hate each other, and wanted to score points, even if those points went over the heads of most normal fans.]

Miz stretches this out a little long, but we get to the point eventually… did Punk work with Maddox or The Shield?

We don’t get an answer, as The Shield hits the ring and beats the shit out Miz, finishing him with the triple powerbomb. But Team Friendship wants some payback, and they’re organized. Still, they’re not 100% and they’re outnumbered, so they quickly get beaten down. Which just means…

Yup, here’s Ryback, making his first appearance of the night. The Shield can’t handle him, and he flings Dean Ambrose out of the ring. Once he’s isolated, Team Friendship gets back on the same page and starts winning, with DB taking out Seth Rollins and Kane taking out Roman Reigns. All three separately fight out to the crowd.

Meanwhile, Punk gets back in the ring, which is still occupied by Miz’s body. Punk asks if Miz wants to keep asking questions, and stomps him when he doesn’t answer. He shoves Miz out of the ring with his foot, and his music plays him to victory! Let’s celebrate on the top rope!

Except Ryback has come back, and Punk walks right into him. One Shell Shock later, Ryback leaves the ring… but only to fetch a ladder and a chair out from under the ring. Ryback does a decent ladder shot, but then does a chair shot to Punk’s back that isn’t pulled at all.

While Punk reels from those, Ryback grabs a table from under the ring, sets it up, and powerbombs Punk through it. Ryback has a bloody lip for some reason, but he stands tall in the center of the ring with his moral victory.

Final Thoughts: I hate to say it, but I confess that I marked out a bit for Ryback here. His absolutely retarded catchphrase aside, that was one hell of a finish. Ryback’s appearance wasn’t shocking, but the finality of the spot was solid. Good stuff. If I wanted to be a cynical asshole, I’d point out that the quality of the spot would have been unchanged if it had been filled with literally anyone else who could have credibly taken Punk out… Cena, Orton, Sheamus, etc. But Ryback was the one in the moment, and it certainly, definitely was A Moment.

It was also timed pretty well. WWE has a habit of busting stuff out like that in the final RAW or SmackDown before the pay-per-view. By timing it as they did, it gives Punk a chance to recover, so we don’t have a storyline stipulation that he goes into TLC at less than 100%... [Ed. Note: See Main Page Newsflash. Say, "D'oh."] or at least, he can get revenge next week, and then they’ll both be less than 100%. They probably won’t be able to top themselves next week, but they don’t have to. Ryback and Team Friendship sent a message that furthers their feud with The Shield (do I smell a six-man tag match next week?), though those feuds cross with Ryback/Punk, Miz/Punk, and Miz/Shield as well. Good stuff all around.

The undercard was pretty damn solid too. Good matches, no stupidity, feuds were fueled, stories advanced, and I’m looking forward to next week for multiple reasons. Can’t complain, baby.

It’s nearly 1 in the morning, and I’m still suffering from some sort of cold or flu or something, so I’m going to call it a night. Have a good week, YouTube this episode (at least the parts you’re interested in), and I’ll see you this weekend for SmackDown.

Episode Grade: B+

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON

BROWSE THE BYTE THIS RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 

 

 


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