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Match of the Year (so far)
February 26, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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I finished Prison Break this morning, and... well... if Prison Break was a highway, it would be one with a lot of traffic, no bathrooms, and a lot of pointless turns. I haven't seen such a series of useless twists since the last time I saw Lombard Street, and at least that was over with pretty quickly. Prison Break had less respect for dead characters than necrophiliacs, and was somehow also less respectable about it.

I may have lasted only three seasons for 24 (plus the final one), but that was more commitment than I would have given Prison Break if I had watched it when it aired last decade. Between that and The Office finally finishing up, I'm quickly running out of television shows that have captured my interest. It's honestly for the best, since Hulu really does seem like my best option at this point.

Somehow, I have nothing more to talk about. It's been a long week... This is my first day off in a while, and my legs are pretty tired, so my entire priority right now is to put my feet up and relax while watching WWE wrestlers punch each other. Let's get to it.

Segment 1: Vince McMahon is starting things off, and he hobbles down the ring on crutches for his full entrance (sans power walk). After a little blathering, he introduces Paul Heyman as well, who pops out wearing a form of ring wear. It looks more a woman's sauna suit, but whatever.

Unlike last week, Heyman seems happy about things, and is to totally ready to kick Vince's ass. He knows Vince has shut down all other wrestler promoters and once beat the United States government (in a trial), but Paul is totally going to beat him. But Paul sees that Vince is in his suit, so he just wants to say one thing...

And Heyman does a front chop block to Vince's leg. Vince goes down like a shot, and Heyman whacks him a couple more times with a crutch. But Vince recovers, steals a different crutch, and whacks Heyman a couple times.

Then Brock Lesnar's crappy generic music fires up, and Brock himself heads toward the ring. Now it's Vince's turn to be worried, but he's not bailing. Brock gets in the ring, looks likes he's ready to fight, and...

TIME TO PLAY THE GAME! Brock needs to change his pants, and Trips hits the stage. A long-distance Staredown of Intense Rivalry, then Trips slow-walks down the ramp. Brock isn't going to screw around here, so he slides out of the ring, and the brawl is on. Trips gets the advantage, smacking first the back of Brock's head into the post, which gives him a solid blood flow, then his face into the post, which also causes blood.

Trips wants to do more damage with one of the discarded crutches, but Lesnar recovers and does a modified F5 onto the commentator's table, which doesn't break. As he turns from that, we see that Lesnar is sporting what can only be described as pay-per-view blood. He throws Trips in the ring, grabs a chair, and follows. But Trips reverses the unwieldly chair shot into a spinebuster, and he delivers a chair shot of his own.

Lesnar bails and heads up the ramp as Trips's music plays. At this point, Lesnar is bleeding so heavily that they're not showing any replays (when is the last time we've not had to deal with replays?). Lesnar heads up the ramp, smiling like a jerk despite looking like a loser, and the cameraman is intentionally putting all the blood out of view. The dude has balls; looks like he nicked an artery or something for the effect, but it's so much that they're happy just keeping his right side on-frame rather than showing the cascade of blood going down his face, neck, shoulder, and right pec. Good lord.

Nice opening... intense, violent, gritty, not too ridiculous, and deepens one feud while reigniting another. Good stuff.

Pre-Segment 2: Ah, there's the replays. I guess I overreacted, there.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Ryback defeats Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E. Langston) by pin. Meh. There's absolutely nothing noteworthy with this one, though Dolph's overselling helped Ryback look particularly dangerous. Match ended with the Shellshock.

Segment 3: Trailer for WWE's new film.

Segment 4: Here comes CM Punk, who starts his entrance before the commercial and finishes it afterwards. He says that some people have blathered that tonight will be another "epic" match between him and John Cena. However, Punk says tonight is epic, but not for the match. It won't be epic for Cena, or The Rock, or even WrestleMania. Tonight is all about the future, and more importantly, it's about him, and he's more important than WrestleMania! Because he's the best in the world, and he's the most significant superstar in any era, ever!

Punk reminds us that he's pinned Rock twice in four weeks, and he's never lost to Cena. He's not just a superstar: he's an icon! He is "greatness on two feet," he's "immortal," he's the "greatest of all time"! Punk. Is. God!

...Which brings solid boos here in the religious state of Texas, and he leaves with that. So... that was pointless, but killed some time, I guess.

Segment 5: Donald Trump is entering the WWE Hall of Fame. Hooray.

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Mark Henry extend-squashes Khali by pin. Meh. Match ended with a World's Strongest Slam. Nice visual, but an uninteresting match.

Segment 7: AFV... but this time we got a bug on the screen saying that he's going to "premier" this Friday. About freaking time.

Segment 8: Time for Miz TV, and The Miz is in the ring with Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jack Swagger, and Zeb Colter. As Miz says, normally he starts things with hype, but this time he's getting to the point. Thankfully.

After he makes the introductions, he gives Zeb the floor to talk to ADR. Colter does his racist shtick, and it's entertaining, but nothing worth repeating here. (He did start off by dropping Glenn Beck's name for some reason, which somehow got him trending. Is Beck even still relevant?) [Ed. Note: Relevant? No. But he and Alex Jones both railed against WWE last week for casting a Tea Party guy as a villian, and it got quite a bit of press.] The only new line is that ADR's success represents the American Dream, which is why ADR inspires his Mexican compatriots to cross the border and continue to drain America's resources. And Zeb isn't going to be politically correct here: ADR and those of his ilk are illegal immigrants and are criminals, so there.

ADR counters with a flag-waving speech that the Texans eat up, the people own the country and such. A few idiots try a tepid "USA! USA!" chant, but it dies quickly. ADR calls them bullies who use the Constitution to aid their bullying, and he doesn't like bullies. So if they're so eager to send Jack back south, why don't they do something to make them leave?

A staredown, and then Jack takes the mic just to say that they'll see him at WrestleMania, and "We the people." Jack leaves the ring, Zeb follows, ADR's music plays, and Miz keeps grinning like a moron.

Lame segment. Zero-add, nothing new. [Ed. Note: this is a case where "nothing new" actually is something. It means that they're apparently letting Swagger keep his WM title match, which I honestly wasn't expecting.]

Pre-Segment 9: We get a "during the commercial" segment that shows Zeb and Miz jawwed at each other on the stage while making an exit, and then Jack hit Miz from behind. I assume a match is going to be booked?

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Antonio Cesaro by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Cesaro had the offense for 99% of the match, and it was pretty brawl-heavy. The match ended when Cesaro went for a flying battering ram off the second rope, and Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere.

Segment 10: Team Friendship is in the back. Daniel Bryan and Kane try to reinforce their chains of friendship, especially because they're in a tag match against the Prime Time Players. DB thinks that the best plan for them is if Kane stands in the corner and just looks pretty because he can totally beat the PTP by himself blindfolded. Kane counters that he thinks Daniel should stay in the corner because he can beat them with one arm tied behind his back.

Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox then materialize. They think that if that's what Team Friendship wants, they totally will get it. Also, Maddox calls this "duo" between between him and Vickie as "Team Bricky." Nice.

Segment 11: They replay that old vignette of the parody of A Few Good Men, with JBL doing a pretty damn good Jack Nicholson impression. That was back at WrestleMania 21... why in god's name are they showing it again? I mean, it was good, and it's still good, but... why?

Segment 12: Sheamus hits the ring wearing a tux. Why? Because he's going to give his Oscar snubs for some reason. I have to confess, I give more of a shit about Prison Break than I do the Oscars, and I didn't even know it was on last night. Ugh, this is going to be a stupid skit.

Oh, I see, it's a promo for that new movie Wade Barrett is in, and Sheamus is saying that Barrett should have totally won an Oscar for his awesome acting. It's a really stupid premise for a promo, and Sheamus takes this way too far, not just beating the dead horse but also shooting it in the face and plugging its butt with an ice cream cone.

Finally Wade comes out of the back and says that Sheamus is just so totally jealous since Wade was in a movie and he wasn't. Some near-violence happens, but there's no contact. Wade just leaves, they each laugh at each other, and I'm bored as hell. My FIFA Ultimate Team is asking me why I'm wasting my time on this crap.

Segment 13 [Singles Match]: R-Truth defeats Cody Rhodes by pin. Damien Sandow was on commentary for this and did a pretty good job. I wouldn't mind hearing him trying to be a color commentator for a full match, but his time on the headset was pretty good.

The match was decent, a little too short to be much of anything. Cody had most of the offense, but Truth finally hit the Little Jimmy out of nowhere and won. After the match, Sandow slid in the ring and tried something, but Truth dodged it all and sent him packing. Sandow was angry, and this makes the second time in as many weeks that he can't deal with Truth.

Segment 14: We've got a new clip from Zeb and Swagger's YouTube channel. This time it's Zeb complaining that the unemployment rate is as high as it is because of Mexicans. Zeb stutters through part of it, which helps sell the "unscripted rant" type of thing he's trying to do. Amusing, but not as funny as the one from last week.

Segment 15 [Tag Match]: Team Friendship defeats the Prime Time Players by pin. Even with the stipulations, Team Friendship was able to pull off the win. DB started off and tried putting the ref in the No Lock, then wound up punch Kane in the face rather stiffly. He eventually tagged out, and Kane simply couldn't be stopped even with one arm as he chokeslammed Darren Young and took the win.

Segment 16: The Shield collectively hits the ring because they have "something to say" to everyone. All three basically run down their recent successes, and how they're totally going to stay around they complete their job of finally bringing justice to WWE. Nothing realy overly noteworthy, but it's entertaining.

Seth Rollins openly challenges anyone to face them, since they've already taken out John Cena and Ryback before. But Sheamus pops out, this time without his tux, and challenges them to a fight from the stage. Roman Reigns and Deam Ambrose oblige, and they started to head up the ramp. And as they do, Orton comes from the crowd, RKOs Rollins (who sells it with a Family Guy-like fall position), then bails and hits the Ultimate Pose of Douchebaggery from halfway up the stairs.

So... moral victory, I guess? Did this actually accomplish anything? [Ed. Note: I have no idea. The main story here should be Ryback vs. Shield. And somehow, when the chips were down, it turned into Shield vs. Two Guys Who Already Worked Earlier, and Ryback was nowhere to be found. Baffling. More to the point, this is the first time Shield had the numbers -- 3 on 2 -- but got the worst of it, which is even dumber.]

Segment 17 [Singles Match]: Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeats The Miz by submission. Above-average match, but no noteworthy spots. Still solidly worked, but it's not a must-watch, or even a should-watch. It ended with the Patriot Act.

Cut Scene: WWE loves its prodcut placement, so they cut to Jerry Lawler with two servings of Sonic food, some chicken nuggets and potato tots. And he pretty much scarfs everything as Michael Cole begs for scraps. I mention it for only two reasons: first, it was actually a pretty damn funny back-and-forth exchange, and second, I really wish one of them had made a heart attack joke.

Segment 18: Idiots make some Touts about the opening segment.

Segment 19: Josh Mathews interviews John Cena, who goes ultra-hyper like he enjoys doing to hype the main event tonight. After all this stupid hype, I really have this terrible feeling it's going to end with a double-finish so we have a triple threat match. That way The Rock can lose the title without losing the match, and then he can go away for another year, or something.

Segment 20: Trailer for "Robot Wars," a new show that basically makes MechWarrior in real life. It's hosted by Chris Jericho, which is why WWE cares, but it's still not enough to make me give a crap.

Pre-Segment 21: The commentators mention that "rumors are circulating whether Undertaker will return for WrestleMania." If they're mentioning it, obviously it's going to happen... but why mention it now? Hm.

Segment 21 [Singles Match, winner is #1 contender to the WWE Title]: John Cena defeats CM Punk by pin. Absolutely fantastic match, and it completely makes up for the other 2 hours and 40 minutes of the night. This wasn't just "free-per-view"; this wound up being a pay-per-view main event-caliber match.

Feeling out and chain wrestling to start, first with Cena getting the better of the exchange, then Punk doing so. The third sequence ends with Cena doing a few of his wacky moves, including the wacky hip toss. Punk takes it, but he quickly gets out of the ring to slow Cena's momentum, and we go to commercial.

Back from that, and Cena is in control, but apparently Punk had the momentum over the commercials. It isn't long before Punk takes momentum back, and he sticks with solid technical wrestling to keep Cena down. This included a pretty neat spot: Punk locked on the scissored neck hold that he's fond of, and Cena took it and sold it... until he started to reverse it. Cena rolled over onto his stomach, forcing Punk to do the same (since his legs still scissored Cena's neck). From there, Cena actually stood up, dead-lifting Punk up so he was sitting on his shoulders. Punk tried a few sharp elbows, but it didn't take, and Cena was able to land a clean Electric Chair. Cena's strength is just scary.

From there, Cena had momentum, and he too stuck with technical wrestling (and headlocks) for a minute. Punk was able to retake momentum and... uh... went back to a sleeper hold. Suddenly, the match seems a lot less exciting. Another flurry, another exchange, and Cena took advantage. He hit the ropes and tried his wacky shoulder ram, but Punk had it scouted and ducked it. Cena sent himself flying out of the ring as a result, and Punk followed up with a suicide dive through the ropes. That sends us to our second commercial break of the match.

Back again, and Punk has Cena in an abdominal stretch, though Cena counters out with a hip toss. Another exchange, and Cena tries a belly-to-back suplex, but Punk rolled through and held on to apply the Anaconda Vise. Cena took the pain and reversed it to a pin, so Punk had to break it in order to kick out.

Punk signaled the GTS at that point, but Cena grabbed the ankle and tried for the STF. Punk got to the ropes to break it, then quickly climbed the ropes and hit a flying shoulder. Pin, but two.

Punk went for another flying shoulder, but Cena dodged it this time, and he caught Punk's ankle when Punk faceplanted. Cena applied the STF but didn't lock it, so Punk slipped out and applied the Anaconda Vise. Cena powered out of that and tranistioned to a crossface (or a No Lock) of all things. Punk powered out and reversed to a pin, so Cena had to break the hold to prevent being pinned. Fantastic sequence!

Some "Yay/Boo" punch exchanges, and Punk gets the advantage. However, when he went for a spinning chop as an exclamation point, Cena ducked it and hit a belly-to-back forward suplex. Cena signaled for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk was on his feet too quick and went for the GTS. Cena slipped out and tried a pin, but Punk reversed it in mid-roll and tried the actual pin. Cena kicked out at two.

As the guys recover, Punk is able to hit his signature jumping knee in the corner, but when he tried the running bulldog, Cena blocked it and hit another belly-to-back forward suplex. This time he hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and readied an FU when Punk stood up again. Punk slipped out, went for the GTS, Cena slipped out, then hit Punk with a clean powerbomb. Punk kicked out at 2.9999, and the crowd ripped the roof off the building.

Cena had to catch his breath, then he went to the top rope in the corner. It took him too long, and Punk caught him. They grappled on the ropes, and Cena was able to send Punk to the ground. Cena followed up with the wacky leg drop, but he couldn't get the three on the pin attempt.

Once both guys were back on their feet, Punk hit a quick roundhouse kick to Cena's head. Cena found himself in the corner, and Punk hit him with the running knee again. But again, he couldn't get the running bulldog; Cena countered it, hit an FU out of nowhere, and went for the pin, but only got a two. Again, the crowd tore the building to the foundation.

Punk rolled out of the ring, and Cena went to follow. Punk pushed him face-first into the ring post, and CEna kissed the mat. Punk got in the ring, but at 9.999, Cena magically found his legs and slid in the ring. Still, Punk has the momentum, hit the GTS, made the pin... and again only got a 2.999.

Punk wasn't having that, so he went for a second GTS immediately. However, Cena caught his leg and quickly transitioned to the STF again. Punk managed to get to the ropes, and the hold was broken. Both men got to their feet, Punk kicked Cena's knee, and he... uh... he hit a jumping piledriver. When the hell did WWE start allowing that move to happen again? Cena sold it like a champ, but Punk only got two on the pin attempt. Clearly, the handcuffs are off.

Frustration set in. Punk went for two more quick pin attempts, still no joy. Then he went to the top rope for a Macho Man Elbow Drop, but Cena dodged. Both up, Cena jumps from the floor to Punk's shoulders, then drops back and does a freaking huricanrana! Holy shit!

...Okay, he slightly botched it since he sort of flopped to the mat rather than hitting a backward somersault, but who cares. That move is just nuts from the dude, something that I wouldn't guess in thousand years was actually in his arsenal. Cena quickly hits another FU out of nowhere, pin, three, done!

Final Thoughts: I was all set to write off tonight's episode, and then the main event happened. Rick will have to compare and contrast for me since I didn't see Elimination Chamber, but from his recap of the event, I wondered if Cena/Punk was shaping up like Rock/Punk did with all those chin locks in the middle of it.

But from the second commercial on, that slow-paced crap was done, and we got an absolutely ridiculously great match between the two. I don't know or care why these two click so well together, but even though we've seen Cena/Punk in various forms in the last three years, they somehow to keep the bar ridiculously high each time they lock up.

The fans were absolutely fantastic as well. The arena was legit sold-out (unlike the half-empty "sell-outs" that happen here in Dayton), and they were absolutely into the match. It had brawling, technical, and flying aspects as well as the top two stars of the company with the heat of WrestleMania to help sell it. Clean match, clean win, no chicanery from anyone... It was damn near as good of a match you'll see from WWE in the Modern Era, especially on free TV, with or without a match gimmick to help it along. The main event is a serious must-watch. YouTube it. Like, right the hell now, if you didn't watch it on USA. WWE may have fed me some bland appetizers, but the steak was phenomenal.

The rest of the night... well... wasn't anything. I mean, Trips came back for Lesnar (so we know one more match for WrestleMania), and they hinted at Taker coming back, so there's some setup for the coming weeks. But none of the other feuds really advanced, and nothing seemed to change between ADR and Swagger, which tells me he probably got a slap on the wrist or nothing at all for his retarded DUI arrest. All my speculation for last week was for naught. Beyond that, anytime you show three freaking movie trailers in a TV show, you've got some weird-ass priorities. At least WWE ended it strong.

I've got two post-show notes here from trailers during the show. First, this Friday is going to be "Social Media SmackDown." It's going to be a rare live SmackDown that isn't on a Tuesday. SmackDown will air at its normal timeslot on its normal network, it's just that it'll be live. It's going to be all about Facebooking and Tweeting and Touting and other stupid crap, probably the modern equivalent to Cyber Sunday from a decade ago. I have a feeling I'm going to get annoyed, but I've become a bitter old man at the age of 30, apparently. [Ed. Note: just to make you more bitter, you should know that the show isn't actually gonna be live. My understanding is that it's still taped on Tuesday, and they'll just have everybody tweeting and reacting to it "live" when it airs, basically trying to recreate the RAW App/second-screen-experience from Mondays. I wasn't clear on the details, but I think they may have live announcers, overdubbing the show in Connecticut, at least in parts, and also live chyron for "trending topics," but the meat of the onscreen content is being taped tonight in Oklahoma City.]

Also, next week will be "Old School RAW," which is always a treat. Legends will undoubtably show up, and hopefully they'll bring back the red, white, and blue ropes (which they didn't do last time, to my disappointment) and stick Mike Chioda in a wig again. We'll see, but it's always fun when they do it. I might even make myself a special snack for that night or something.

So we're closing in on WrestleMania, with two matches certain, and one more probable. Punk will need something to do during WrestleMania as well, and I'll be the last one to complain if he gives The Streak a go. It would make perfect sense for his character to challenge for it, and he could credibly break it, so it would be pretty fun to watch. We'll see in the next few weeks if that's going to happen.

I'm done for the night guys. Have a good week, YouTube the main event if you get the chance, and I'll see you this weekend for SmackDown.

Episode Grade: A (main event), D+ (everything else)



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




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