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Triple H's Last Stand?
March 19, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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It's a busy Monday that, once again, won't matter a lick to you if you're not a SimCity fan. IGN has me writing and moderating the SimCity strategy guide wiki, and this is the biggest project I've ever done for them. I'm having a blast, but it's very busy work, and I'm awfully distracted. So sadly, this is all the precap you're going to get for me, and we're going to go straight into the recap proper.
Segment 1: We're opening tonight with John Cena, who's debuting a new Fruity Pebbles color in Caution Tape Yellow. The black/yellow combination works, and I'm not saying that just as a Steelers fan, but... well... it sorta clashes with his khaki shorts. Why am I talking about this?

The crowd is heavily against him as he hits the ring and picks up a mic. He blathers and hypes up his match at WrestleMania against The Rock, and blathers more with a ridiculous retelling of his own activities since Royal Rumble.

And then... uh, the Prime Time Players come out? Titus O'Neil is rocking an absolutely ridiculous afro wig and horned rimmed glasses. He's apparently “Rufus 'Pancake' Patterson” because he “flattens fools.” Cena does some cheap pops... Oh, they're in Pittsburgh, that explains the color combination. Anyway, Cena says that he knows some famous Pittsburgh doctors who can give him some medicine to fix this sudden multiple personality thing Titus has going on. I... don't get it. What's the point here? [Ed. Note: the point is that this -- allegedly -- gives Titus a chance to be entertaining while he's injured. To be honest, I actually did think it was pretty funny.]

Cena admits that Titus's antics are making him smile, but Cena's busy tonight and maybe they'll see each other after WrestleMania. Titus/Pancake says that that's the problem: the fans and the PTP don't want to see him after 'Mania, accompanied with Titus stealing Cena's “You can't see me” taunt, which amazingly draws a solid cheer from the crowd. Heh. He adds that they want to see the Prime Time Players, and again there's a solid cheer. He adds that if Cena is the cover boy for Fruity Pebbles, and Darren Young looks like Cena, then Young should be the cover boy for Cocoa Pebbles. I think that's somehow double-reverse racism, and it broke my brain.

Anyway, Pancake says that he wants to kick Cena's ass, but his gout is acting up, and he's only three days away from his first Social Security check and one hell of a bingo night. So instead, Young will totally be the one to beat Cena. (I'll refrain from any “White Cena vs. Black Cena” jokes here; you guys make up your own.) Young then says that after the match, Cena will be sitting on the ramp and crying like he did after his WrestleMania loss last year.

Well, that comment makes Cena lose his smile. He drops the mic while doing a thousand-yard stare at Young, then... oh, I guess he didn't drop the mic after all. Cena then says that fine: he'll show Young what it means to be ready for the main event at WrestleMania if Young gets in the ring right now. Young is game, a ref materializes, and it's on.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: John Cena squashes Darren Young (w/ Titus O'Neil) by pin. I don't know why they bothered sticking a commercial in there. From what we saw (i.e., ignoring the action during the commercial), it was a simple squash that ended with an FU.

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: Ryback squashes David Otunga by pin. Another squash without any extra-curriculars? Huh, okay.

Post-Segment 3: After the match, Ryback blathered a vanilla promo against The Shield and Mark Henry. Then Mark Henry himself popped out of the back and made some threatening noises from the stage.

Before he got much farther though, Vickie Guerrero and Teddy Long arrived and stopped him. Vickie declared that she was removing Ryback from the six-man tag match against The Shield... instead, if he wants to be in WrestleMania, then that match will be against Mark Henry. Ryback long since dropped his mic, but he seemed game. Then he picked up Otunga's corpse and hit the Shellshock on him while glaring up at Henry.

Alrighty then. Looks like Team Sheamus/Orton needs another partner.

Segment 4: AFV.

Segment 5: Fandango gets his own light structure on the stage, a crap-ton of streamers, and a light rope loco that sparkles above the ring as he makes his full entrance. Also, his girl (who is apparently still nameless) does a split at the end, then has a wonderful hip-popping walk as she exits the ring. My pants are happy. What is her name, though?

As Khali makes his entrance, we get a mini-SmackDown recap that tells us this match exists because Fandango is super-pissed at how Khali pronounced his name last Friday. But, uh, if that was true, why wouldn't Fandango have fought him then?

So after Khali's entrance, he bitches that Khali failed at pronouncing his name, so he invites Natalya to try. As she smiles at him, he tells her “Don't be afraid of all this masculinity,” which is a line I need to start using on my customers.

Natalya pretends to go along with it: “Fang... dang... GO GET HIM!” Khali charges him, Fandango bails, and he declares that that's unacceptable. As he tries to give his punch line, the crowd fires up a loud “You can't wrestle!” chant. Heh. Johnny Curtis finishes off the punch line unfazed, and that's it.

He wasted our time again, but admittedly, it was actually kinda amusing this time.

Pre-Segment 6: R-Truth hits the ring for a match. Damien Sandow pops out then too, but wants to talk first, because... well, because he's Sandow. He quotes David Thoreau, and then says that the “R” in “R-Truth” stands for “repugnant,” we're welcome.

Truth says that Thoreau was a hell of a poet, so he's got a poem for him: “Your beard is weird, and you talk a lot. I got four sweet words for you: You gon' get got! You're welcome!” Heh.

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: R-Truth defeats Damien Sandow by intentional countout. Sandow with all the offense, then Truth started his comeback, and Sandow up and left. He left so fast that he was through the gorilla curtain when the referee was up to 4.

Segment 7: Cody Rhodes is in the back, and the Bella Twins are hanging off his arms and humping his legs. He looks more confused than turned on, even though they gush over his mustache (figuratively). Kaitlyn appears, and apparently she had a date with him or something, but now that she sees the Bellas, she calls it off. She concludes by wishing the Bellas a good time playing with Cody's mustache, and wishes him a good time playing with the Bellas' mustaches. Heh.

Cody, again, looks more disappointed than anything. [Ed. Note: I never thought I'd feel sorry for a dude with two hot chicks fawning over him, and I sure as hell never thought I'd sympathize with Cody Rhodes, and yet.... here we are. The Power of Kaitlyn, on full display.]

Segment 8: After a replay of CM Punk being an asshole last week, Undertaker hits the ring. He gets a special name plate on the screen, and the commentators shut the hell up during the entrance, which is always nice. (It's always nice that Taker is treated special, I mean, not that the commentators are quiet.)

Taker retains the blacklight as he grabs a mic and says that Punk has sealed his own fate after making things personal last week. “I'm going to hurt you, and I'm going to hurt you bad.” Nice: I like Taker's simple and direct promos. He says that Punk's only way to save his own soul is to return the urn. Mic drop, leave.

Except he doesn't get far. There's a high-pitched Paul Bearer-like voice. Titantron lights up, and Punk is doing the voice while using the lid of the urn as a puppet flap. Ouch. Punk drops the gimmick and says that sure, Taker is the “best in the world” at WrestleMania. But he's never faced Punk, who is the best in the world all the time.

Punk concedes that Taker has powers and answers to a higher power as he plays with the urn and tosses it around. Punk goes on that he is a higher power, and he's willing to walk through hell to break The Streak no matter how much pain it could happen. He is The One! Then he drops the urn while playing with it, so totally accidentally, and even says “Oh shit!” which is barely bleeped by the censors. He says the lid almost came off, but... you know... totally no disrespect intended.

He continues to play with the urn as it fades out. Taker in the ring just bows his head, and it smash-cuts to the title card advertising a retarded contract signing segment later. Still no words from the commentators... Good stuff, the silence is actually kind of powerful.

Pre-Segment 9: RRRRRROOOSSSAAA!!! She was camel toeing. And yes, I do look that closely. And yes, I do feel that ashamed of myself. She had a little extra pop in her hip-popping, and while I am ashamed, I'm also not sorry.

Man. If she and Johnny Curtis's chick had a hip-popping-off, Rick would have to take over the recap, and I'd likely need some hospitalization.

Segment 9 [Tag Match]: Team Friendship defeats The Colons (w/ My Rosa Mendes) by pin. Above-average match. I always forget how well the Colons work together... not because Rosa always distracts my eye when they're in the ring (although she does, and hard), but because they're on TV so infrequently. They need more screen time, damnit.

DB took all the punishment with fantastic moves and quick tags. He managed to hot tag out eventually, and Kane went house of fire. He never slowed, and seemed ready to end it. Then AJ hit the ring for absolutely no reason, and was up to her old tricks: she skipped around the ring at maximum speed, just letting her hair and boobs bounce around freely. This naturally distracted Kane, who was pulled into a quick roll-up pin.

Kane kicked out at 2 however. A short sequence later, DB dropkicked Primo through the ropes, and Kane chokeslammed Epico, then made the pin. My Rosa was sad, partly for the loss, but partly for the fact that AJ took her spotlight.

After the match, DB screamed at AJ, who seemed disappointed at first. But she quickly contained herself, then made a duck face at DB and flirted with him. She's clearly trying to get in his head... doesn't seem to be working yet though.

Segment 10: Josh Mathews interviews Chris Jericho, who hypes WrestleMania and himself. He has to cut himself off though as Johnny Curtis arrives for no reason. Interesting. CJ makes him say his name, and CJ mispronounces it like sixteen times, each time pissing off Fandango more and more. CJ is, apparently, WWE's real-life Internet troll.

Fandango isn't happy with that crap, and threatens that Jericho will learn to pronounce it right. He goes away mad, and Jericho continues to make fun of him anyway.

Segment 11: The divas went to Africa to help fight malaria. Pretty cool montage, and apparently you can donate to help fight malaria at nothingbutnets.net. (Yes, I'm oversimplifying. Shoot me, this is a wrestling recap, not a charity drive, but check out the site anyway if you're interested.)

Pre-Segment 12: Alberto Del Rio has new music! It's a slightly more upbeat and drum-heavier version of his music. I like it!

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeats Cody Rhodes by submission. Solid match, good action from start to finish. Nothing hugely noteworthy, though, but definitely a should-watch match.

Scary spot about two-thirds of the way though. With ADR standing on the middle rope facing the ring, Cody went after him. They grappled on the top rope, and ADR threw him off basically doing a front superplex. However, he sort of let go early, and I thought Cody landed directly on his forehead, which could have done serious neck damage. However on replay, we saw that Cody got his hands up in time... It couldn't have felt good, but his wrists and forearms would have taken most of the impact. Hopefully he's okay... he didn't seem to have any problems as the fight went on.

The end-game started soon after. Nothing surprising, and the match ended with the Cross Arm Breaker.

Post-Segment 12: ADR didn't get much time to celebrate, as Jack Swagger ran down. A brawl occurred, and ADR got the best of it. Then he saw Zeb Colter, and he started to intimidate him. Jack recovered and attacked ADR, throwing him over the commentators' table and putting him down.

As Jack headed up the ring, he saw Ricardo crawling around. Jack slapped on the Patriot Act, then snapped his ankle. Poor guy can't go three months without getting seriously (kayfabe) injured. Like Triple H when Brock first “broke” his arm, Ricardo let it go limp at a weird angle, and he sold it very well.

ADR finally recovered, but Jack and Zeb had retreated to the stage. ADR didn't pursue, and we went to commercial.

Segment 13: The next inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame is... Booker T. Huh, okay. We get the usual montage, and it's pretty nice. Certainly worth a watch if you're a fan of his. [Ed. Note: Sweet Fancy Moses, this HoF Class is stacked. Not a questionable inductee in the lot. Unless you're counting Trump. Which I'm not.]

Segment 14 [Handicap 2-on-3 Tag Match]: Randy Orton & Sheamus squash 3MB by pin. Offense, RKO out of nowhere, pin, done, yawn.

Post-Segment 14: After the match, The Shield's music fires up to no one's surprise. The Shield makes its usual entrance through the crowd, but Orton and Sheamus won't run, so they simply stand tall and stay facing them. The Shield surrounds the ring, ready to attack.

And then Big Show hit the ring to a solid pop. The Shield considers things, then decides to go watch the Pittsburgh Penguins continue their kickass winning streak. Orton and Sheamus face down Show afterward. Though Show glares back, he leaves in peace. Huh... start of a face turn, as I said last week?

Segment 15: A preview for the new GI Joe movie that costars The Rock.

Segment 16 [Singles Match]: Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E. Langston) defeats Kofi Kingston by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Kofi had all the offense, but at the end, Dolph spilled outside the ring. While AJ distracted the referee in the opposite corner, Kofi went flying off the apron toward Dolph... and flew right into a European Uppercut worthy of Antonio Cesaro. Dolph tossed Kofi's corpse into the ring, hit the Zig Zag, and ended it there.

Post-Segment 16: As the heels celebrated in the ring, Kane's pyros went off. Team Friendship pops out, and DB thanks Dolph for being the first and only one to get them onto the same page. Kane then takes the mic and says he's not in a good place right now, of course. And we've all seen what Langston can do while being an asshole at ringside, so how about seeing what he does in the ring? Let's see Langston and Dolph against Team Friendship!

Langston is hyped, but Dolph looks a little conflicted. AJ takes the lead, accepts on her boys' behalf, but only if the titles are on the line. It's a no-brainer for the champs, and DB gives a “Yes! Yes!” chant as Kane blows his corner pyros.

So, lemme get this straight... Langston's first official match for WWE will be at WrestleMania for a title? Wow, that's... an awful lot of confidence management is putting in the dude.

Segment 17: Montage of the Rock/Cena feud over the last year. Of note, the lead-in song to the montage is “Victory” by Puff Daddy (or “Diddy” as he goes by these days), which is so old that it was done by Notorious BIG while he was still alive, specifically in 1997. The song is my absolute favorite rap song, and there hasn't been a bad version of it, including the rather industrial and gritty Nine Inch Nails remix. I love it so much that I can actually rap to it on-beat and on-key, making it one of the extremely few times a white-looking dude can say the N-word without a tremendous amount of social stigma. For me, there is no better face-punching song when I want to work out (or attempt to punch someone in the face).

Anyway... yeah, boring montage. Let's move on.

Segment 18 [Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Title]: Wade Barrett defeats The Miz by pin and outlasts Chris Jericho, and retains. Very, very good match. I'd call it a free-per-view, though an undercard level to a pay-per-view. Definitely a must-watch.

The usual chaos to start things off before things settle down with Barrett and CJ exchanging. Miz breaks up the momentum, takes CJ out outside the ring by driving him back-first into the apron, then exchanges with Wade in the ring. Miz gets advantage, but when he goes up to the top rope, CJ distracts him. Miz fights him off, but it gives Wade a chance to recover and attack. They grapple on the top rope, and Wade goes for a superplex. Jericho recovers and gets involved, and we get into that crazy spot where Jericho essentially powerbombs Wade as Wade does a superplex to Miz. All three men down, and we go to commercials.

Back from that, Miz is nowhere to be seen, and Wade has advantage over Jericho. It doesn't last long as Jericho starts his comeback, hits a flying cross body off the top rope, and tries a pin. Only a two, but the fans were buying it. He wanted to follow up with a Lionsault, but Miz caught him while he was on the ropes, and sent Jericho flying over.

Miz then did his own Five Moves of Doom, but Wade reverses his reverse DDT into the Winds of Change. Wade tries the pin, but can't close the deal.

Wade then wanted the Wasteland (which no one in the crowd bought), but Miz fought off and floored Wade. Then Wade applied the Figure Four, which woke up the entire crowd. He locked it in, but Jericho arrived and hit the Lionsault on Miz. Pin, but two.

CJ and Wade exchanging, CJ gets the advantage and goes for the Walls of Jericho. He applies it, Wade crawls on his elbows toward the ropes, but CJ controls him. Then Miz appears, goes for a Skull Crushing Finale, but Jericho wiggles out. Miz cinches it in again, Barrett runs to break it up, Miz and Jericho sorta double back body drop Wade out of the ring, CJ wiggles out again, and reverses it to a victory roll. Very close near-fall, but only a two. They both get to their feet, Jericho hits a Codebreaker out of nowhere, and both men go down.

The crowd is finally hot. Wade gets in the ring and tosses CJ out of the ring, makes the cover. Only gets two, because CJ pulls him out from under the bottom rope. CJ throws Wade face-first into the corner barricade near the timekeeper, then goes in and goes for a pin. Again, only a two.

An exchange, Miz on top, hits a DDT, makes a pin, only gets a two.

Miz tries his signature corner clothesline. CJ dodges, hits his rebound flash dropkick on Wade (who tried to get on the apron), then walks into a Big Boot from Miz. Pin, two.

Exchange, small package from CJ to Miz, two-count.

Another exchange, Skull Crushing Finale, but Wade slides in the ring and does a quick roll up. Pin, three, done. The guys can finally catch their breaths... I can too. Thank God for DVR pausing.

Segment 19: Stupid trailer for The Call.

Segment 20: Fans tout. Whatever.

Segment 21: Contract signing segment. As usual, I'm short-handing this shit...

Triple H hits the ring, Paul Heyman and some Arena Security Staff guys hit the ring, exchange of blathering ensues, recap of Trips bloodying Brock's head three weeks ago, more blathering. Finally a good punchline when Heyman runs down some possible stipulations, finishing with “Winner gets Stephanie! But knowing Stephanie, the stipulation really should be loser gets Stephanie.”

Well, that does it. Trips goes after Heyman, and the security goes after Trips... which totally doesn't work out. Security is dispatched, so Trips pins Heyman to the table and smacks at him. There's a tiny cut on Heyman's head. Trips taunts Heyman (and Brock by proxy), slaps him a few times, signs the contract, and tells him to go “call your monster.” He tosses Heyman out of the ring then dumps a chair on him.

Finally Brock arrives with a chair. He beats the shit out of the ramp with it, then starts to the ring. Trips produces Sweet Lady Sledge, but Brock doesn't slow down... until he's at the foot of the ramp, at which point he backs off laughing.

Glares are exchanged, Brock circles the ring, Brock leaves while doing his little dancing warmup taunt. Heyman, on the stage by this point, still has a mic and announces that the stip will be... “No Holds Barred.” Uh... really? That was it? What a retarded bullshit thing...

“Oh, and your career is on the line.”

...Again, what the fuck? Trips wasn't doing anything anyway! [Ed. Note: That was such a letdown, I'm already just assuming there's another shoe to drop, and Heyman will reveal that 'career' doesn't just refer to the in-ring aspect, but to HHH's job as COO, or any other job he could evr have in wrestling. It's still a bit of a logic issue, since HHH"s wife and father-in-law are still employed and can make Paul's life a living hell, but it beats having it just be about HHH in-ring career.]

Final Thoughts: Forgive me for over-thinking it, but Heyman said that quoted part verbatim. He didn't say “If you lose, your career is done.” All he said was, “Your career is on the line.” That could mean they're saying if Trips wins, his career is done. Either way, it's retarded, since he's at Undertaker levels of on-screen attendance. Who gives a shit? Hell, if we go with “Trips retires if he wins,” then it's the exact excuse needed so he does retire. And then the match is a foregone conclusion! Again: who gives a flying monkey shit? Man, what a letdown.

Ugh... well, removing Segment 21 and all that it entails, the night was pretty good. All the matches were solid aside from the opening squashes, but even those served their purposes. Good stuff all around, and it actually feels like we're on the Road to WrestleMania for once. Also: Punk is once again being an uber-dick. If it wasn't for being a total Taker mark, I'd be cheering for him. I'm sure Paul Bearer is laughing his ass off from Heaven at the whole bit.

So... good stuff aside from the horrendous main event contract signing. Which, really, is par for the course whenever there are contract signing segments. Ignore the first half-hour and the last fifteen minutes, and you'll be happy.

Episode Grade: B



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