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Truth in Advertising
March 26, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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Ever have one of those days where you just don't want to work? Wait... that's a stupid question, of course you have, because you're human with a functional brain. It sucks no matter what, but when your job is being self-employed and your only option is self-motivation, rather than an alarm clock and a routine, it kinda sucks.
I've extolled the virtues and my love for writing about videogames. It combines my two favorite hobbies into something that makes me real money, but the best and worst part is that I make my own hours. And if that means I get up at noon with a simulated hangover (not because of alcohol but because of a late night), I have trouble getting myself into my IGN work.

Oh well, that's an esoteric problem, not one easily fixed. I just know that after RAW, I'm going to need to kill the TV and Netflix (going through Season 4 of Mad Men now that it's hooked me), fire up Pandora, and just start blathering about creating virtual cities.

But RAW is first, so let's get to it. There are Bellas I need to eye-hump, here.

Segment 1: It's CM Punk hitting the ring first, followed by Paul Heyman carrying the urn. The fans don't sound too firmly against him, which I find hilarious. They toss it around a bit as they get in the ring, where Punk plops it in the center of the ring before getting a mic.

Punk's thesis this time is Undertaker's disrespect. See, he's fine with Taker's streak, and the fact that his win over Triple H last year should have been the perfect ending. He beats Trips, it's the “end of an era,” it's a nice round number, and they can “hold hands and skip off into the sunset.” But instead, Taker comes back to his show, points to his [WrestleMania] sign, and disrespects the so-called best in the world. And while we may boo Punk, we should booing Taker, because it's really all his fault.

He insists that he didn't steal the urn to disrespect Paul Bearer; he did it to piss off Taker. Punk punctuates that by just blatantly dropping the urn and letting it bounce across the canvas. Punk says that there's a big difference between them: Undertaker doesn't possess anything Punk wants, while he possesses the urn. Punk insists he is the best in the world, no one is smarter than him, no one is stronger than him, and no one will beat him at WrestleMania. He is the one in “twenty-and-one.” Punk finishes by stealing the Undertaker Salute to the urn as he says that The Streak will rest... in... peace...

Then the gong sounds, and the crowd rips the roof off the arena. Lights go out, lights go on, and Taker is magically in the ring with his wacky fade. He punches Punk's face off, but in the act, the urn goes spilling out to ringside, where Paul Heyman grabs it and sprints up the ramp like he's Adrian Peterson. Punk escapes serious harm, and he stands with Heyman on the stage laughing at Taker.

Pre-Segment 2: Fandango makes his full entrance for his first match. After the whole deal, he gets a mic and starts to say his name, but then Jericho's pyros interrupt it. Y2J hauls ass to the ring with a Lou Thesz Press, and Fandango bails quickly. He throws a tantrum as he runs away with his nameless hip-popping dance partner who I've totally not pictured in a hip-popping contest against My Rosa Mendes. (I really haven't pictured that at night while in bed, you guys!)

So Fandango leaves, but then Dolph Ziggler pops out. According to the commentators, we were supposed to see Jericho versus Dolph later, but apparently Vickie Guerrero (or someone) called an audible. Since Jericho is already out there, Dolph sent out, and it's on (sadly without AJ on commentary).

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Chris Jericho defeats Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E. Langston) by submission. Decent match, nothing special. Feeling-out exchanges to open the match, with Jericho hitting a flying cross body off the top rope. He got a two-count but no more, and it took us to commercial.

Dolph in control from there with an always-exciting chinlock, transitioned (after an exchange) to another rest hold, then Jericho's hope sequence fired up. Rapid exchange of triple-reversey spots, ending with Jericho locking in the Walls of Jericho on the second attempt. Dolph tapped. Surprisingly, Langston and AJ didn't have much of an impact during the match.

Post-Segment 2: After the match, however, Langston clotheslined Jericho from the back, then hit his finisher. Langston basically freaked the hell out and screamed at his unconscious body, then Dolph celebrated as if he had actually won.

And as those three left, Fandango and Pyro's Backup Fantasy Girl hit the ring and, uh, literally danced over him. Then Fandango again just punched the crap out of him. This brought a huge “You can't wrestle!” chant, but Johnny Curtis just didn't buy it. JC finished things off with a top rope leg drop, which I guess is indeed his finisher.

Segment 3: Matt Striker interviews Sheamus, who blathers that he and Randy Orton have totally buried the hatchet with Big Show. But he doesn't get to say much more when The Shield arrive and beat the crap out of him. Then Orton materializes, and they beat the crap out of him. Then Big Show arrives to make the save, and he helps both the others up. Everyone does low-fives of bromance, and I guess everything is copacetic.

Segment 4 [1-on-2 Handicap Tag Match]: Mark Henry defeats the Usos by pin. Whatever. It pretended to be a competitive match, but it was really a squash.

After the match, he hit the other Uso (the one he didn't pin) with the World's Strongest Slam just to be a jerk, and followed up with a running splash.

Pre-Segment 5: Alberto Del Rio is in the next match. Ricardo Rodriguez hits the stage one crutches with a metal ankle cast. He struggles with the introduction, but manages to make it through.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Antonio Cesaro defeats Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by semi-intentional countout. ADR with the early offense, then Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger popped out of the back. This distracted ADR, so Cesaro took advantage.

Then Zeb and Jack went to ringside, and Swagger attacked Ricardo, first shoving him into the steps, then dragging him injured ankle-first to the timekeeper's area, and slamming his ankle into the edge of the barricade. ADR apparently recovered by then, so he ran out of the ring, jumped onto the barricade, and leaped off with a flying lariat. He got in a few punches too, but Jack bailed through the crowd before anything else happened. Jack never touched ADR, so there was no DQ; instead, ADR was counted out.

After the match, Cesaro celebrated like an idiot, so ADR slid in the ring and beat the crap out of him too, including with the Cross Arm Breaker.

Segment 6 [Tag Match]: Team Friendship defeats the Prime Time Players by pin. Decent match, nothing special, and nothing really noteworthy. Dolph, AJ, and Langston came out halfway through to watch, but nothing came of it.

Segment 7: RAW recap of the underwhelming contract signing segment from last week.

Segment 8: Trips hits the ring and basically cuts a promo for Brock Lesnar, saying that he's a super-strong machine who can end a career even when “career is on the line” isn't a stipulation. Trips has always fought like his career is on the line, so this ain't no big deal. Instead, it's Brock who should be the one preparing for his career to end when Trips gets his hands on him.

That was a short promo. Trips starts to leave, but Wade Barrett pops out of the back. Oh, I see, he's got a match next, but both he and Trips stare each other down first. Wade makes the mistake of (Broadly) gesturing Trips to get the hell out of ringside, so Trips makes the only mature response: kicking him directly into his Windsock of Change. Heh.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: The Miz defeats Wade Barrett by submission. Decent match I guess, but the crowd wasn't into it until the end, and even then, they weren't into the final sequence, but rather the final move. Miz applied the Figure Four, Wade tapped, and the crowd cheered... perhaps because it was finally over.

I mean, I didn't find it too objectionable. Both guys did all right. But given how the the last segment ended, Miz started off with early offense in a reverse-formula deal, and maybe that had something to do with it? Miz being aggressive just doesn't work, I guess, at least not as a face. But even when Barrett started making a reverse comeback after the commercial, the fans started in with a “Boring...” chant, and it didn't do the guys any favors.

Segment 10: Team Friendship is in the locker room and trying to hype each other up for their title match against Dolph and Langston. They blame each other for possibly getting distracted by AJ, and the screaming upsets the nearby Kaitlyn. My question: why would Kaitlyn ever be in the same locker room with Daniel Bryan or Kane? Or do I not want to ask?

As Kaitlyn tries to tell the guys to get over it, AJ appears from the background and listens into their conversation. Kaitlyn eventually gets more blunt about how much of a lunatic AJ is, so she naturally attacks her. DB and Kaitlyn pull her off and stuff her back into whatever closet she came from.

Segment 11 [Six-Man Tag Match]: The Shield defeats Justin Gabriel, Khali, & Zack Ryder by pin. Decent match to a dead crowd, probably because it was a foregone conclusion. The faces managed a little offense, but once Shield got on a roll, forget it. It wasn't long before the heels had knocked both illegal faces off the corner, and then they did a pretty sick finisher. Dean Ambrose tagged Seth Rollins, then grabbed Gabriel and did a modified Mexican Surfboard. While Gabriel was trapped like that, Rollins went to the top rope and came off with a flying knee to Gabriel's neck. Pin, and surprisingly done. The crowd woke up only after the bell sounded.

Post-Segment 11: After the match, Khali tried to fight The Shield, but he ate a triple powerbomb for his efforts. The Shield did their Triple Fists of Unity, but then Sheamus, Orton, and Show arrived. Show in fact entered through the crowd, so they were able to surround the ring. The fight was on, and Team Convenience got the moral victory.

Segment 12: Jericho is seen walking out of Vickie's office, and Josh Mathews arrives to ask him what the meeting was about. Jericho—sporting a small shiner that had I hadn't noticed earlier, unless he actually got it legit during the angle—goes ahead and says that Jericho will be facing Fandango at WrestleMania. Jericho deserves better.

Pre-Segment 13: Cut from there to the stage, where Team Rhodes Scholars is hitting the ring. Sandow, naturally, wants to talk first by insulting Philadelphia's cheesesteaks and “stadium with a prison,” whatever that means... My cares are at zero.

Then Cody introduces the Bellas, who pop out. And, uh, thanks to Rick's editor's note for my SmackDown recap, I can rather easily tell which Bella got enhanced, and which one is just using Wonderbra Technology, unless my knowledge is just that shitty. Whichever Bella was on camera-right (Cody's arm), her chest is way too top-heavy and disproportional. I hope that's Nikki... Brie was always my favorite. I'm 98% that is Nikki with the new enhancement, since even the Bellas always said that it was Nikki who had the bigger ass.

Also: we went to commercial, and when we came back, Brodus Clay, Tensai, and the Funkadactyls were making their entrance post-Ass Voltron. Sad face.

Segment 13 [Tag Match]: Team Rhodes Scholars (w/ Bella Twins) defeat Brodus Clay & Tensai (w/ Funkadactyls) by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Faces had the early offense, and during that, Cody was sent to the outside. The Bellas checked on him, which for no reason caused Cameron to run around and hit one of them in the face with pom pom-related offense. Naomi followed suit on the other Bella.

So while we had a four-way mini-catfight going on outside the ring, Tensai stupidly went over to break it up, even though the Funkadactyls were winning. This also momentarily distracted the ref, allowing Sandow to guillotine Brodus on the top rope. Cody recovered, slid in the ring, and followed up Sandow's attack with the Disaster Kick. Pin, three, done.

Segment 14: Trailer for the new GI Joe movie.

Segment 15 [1-on-3 Handicap Tag Match]: Ryback defeats 3MB by pin. Extended reverse squash, which shouldn't surprise you. 3MB did well enough with quick tags and quicker action, but Ryback eventually hit his Meathook Clothesline on Heath Slater, and forget it. He dispatched Drew McIntyre, hit Slater and Jinder Mahal with the always-impressive double Shellshock.

The match wasn't really anything special, but the point (as told by the commentators) was that it was Ryback just one-upping Henry from his earlier one-on-two match. So, “whatever you can do, I can do better” type of thing.

Segment 16 [Singles Match]: AJ defeats Kaitlyn by countout. Basically an extended reverse squash, Kaitlyn beat the shit out of AJ for a minute, then the fight spilled outside. Kaitlyn followed, kicked her in the face, then went for a Spear... except AJ scouted it, grabbed her arms, and flung her face-first into the barricade, which looked incredibly violent. Kaitlyn is freaking tough... You can't really pull that at that speed. Holy shit.

Anyway, AJ went back in the ring. Kaitlyn didn't even move until 6, at which point she basically crawled around like Mike Tyson looking for his mouthpiece, except somehow woozier. Kaitlyn couldn't get off her hands and knees, and while I normally wouldn't pass on an opportunity like that to make a terribly naughty joke, the truth is I'm not sure how much of that was Kaitlyn selling and Kaitlyn actually trying to get the birds to stop singing in her ears. Either way, Kaitlyn simply couldn't answer the count, and that was that.

Segment 17: In preparation for the main event at WrestleMania, John Cena and The Rock will have... a debate! With questions from Hall of Famers! Because that's exciting!

Sigh... I'm short-handing this until/unless it gets interesting.

Jerry Lawler is in the ring to introduce the segment, Booker T hits the ring, Mick Foley hits the ring, Dusty Rhodes hits the ring, Bret Hart hits the ring, commercial break. Well, at least this will be star-studded. And suddenly, I'm craving waffles, so I'm pausing the show for a couple minutes.

Ah... that hits the spot! Okay, we're back, so... The Rock hits the ring, John Cena hits the ring, Mick asks a boring question, Cena blathers, Rock blathers, Bret asks a... well, that's actually an interesting question...

Okay, Bret says that last year, he saw a little of the Hart/Shawn Michaels “tension” between Cena and Rock, but this year, that's changed. So... what changed? Rock takes the mic first and says that what changed was last year, two guys were at each other trying to figure out who was the best without cheap shots or other BS. Rock won, and Cena took it like a man without bitching or complaining, so Cena has earned Rock's respect. Nice.

Cena then takes the floor and says that this whole feud started with an interview Cena gave years ago, wherein Cena wanted Rock to prove that he (Rock) really loved WWE instead of just talking up a big game. And Rock did, first to host WrestleMania 27, and won at WrestleMania 28. Cena figured it was a “Once in a Lifetime” because he thought Rock would take the win (in his hometown no less) and “ride off into the sunset” since he had nothing more to prove. But instead, Rock arrived the next night to declare that he wouldn't stop until he was WWE Champion, and he did that too, and is, right now. So yeah: Rock proved his love and dedication to WWE... so even though Cena and Rock never hung out after WrestleMania (or before for that matter), Rock has Cena's respect too. And he's honored that Rock said that Cena took his loss like a man... so in 13 days, we'll all get to see how Rock responds the same way. Nice burn, and while Cena has been getting fairly huge boos so far, that line nets him mostly unanimous cheers.

Booker T's turn for a question. He asks why Cena thinks he can win this time around, or better put, why Cena “knows” he's going to win this time. Cena's answer: “Because I have to.” Tons of boos.

But they're building to something. Rock calls him out: “What kind of weak-ass answer is that?” Cena responds with a fairly strong answer that just won't work writing verbatim since it's all about the delivery, but I'll summarize.

Cena says he knows that he'll win because Rock didn't beat him; he beat himself. Cena puts the blame of the loss on when he decided to hit Rock with the People's Elbow. He admits that it's the first time he's said it publicly, but the fact is, he let Rock get inside his head enough that he (Cena) broke his game plan to do something “stupid” like steal Rock's finisher.

Cena comes out every week, doesn't care how the audience responds to him, while The Rock is the only person ever to have clouded his judgment enough to cause him a bad tactical decision. He's rewatched the match a hundred times and is certain that he had Rock beaten. Rock's People's Elbow and Rock Bottom weren't enough to end Cena, and Cena responded to the attacks by laying Rock out. But rather than go for the pin, he figured at the time, “What better way to beat Rock than with the People's Elbow” in the middle of Miami? So that's when he went for it, when Rock countered and won. Cena figures if he hadn't let it get so personal, he wouldn't have lost. And he will not make the mistake again. Cena knows he's better than The Rock... and insists that Rock knows Cena is better than him too.

Rock responds with simple logic: if Cena had him beat, he would have beaten him. Rock quotes Ric Flair's catchphrase, and insists that Cena will never “be the man,” because he'll never be able to “beat the man.”

Good stuff, and I sort of wish they had ended it there, because Dusty Rhodes asks a boring question, and both guys blather, taking a little wind out of the sails. But that question-and-answer led to Cena and Rock getting in each other's faces. Cena did his “You can't see me” taunt two inches from Rock, Rock responded with a stiff slap. Cena went for an FU, but Rock slipped out and cleanly hit a Rock Bottom in the center of the ring.

Rock grabbed his title and left, jawing the whole way up the ramp and on the stage. Cena was left on his back, his head leaning against one of the podiums, looking less injured and more really disappointed with himself.

Final Thoughts: The main event promo sort of petered out, but it was solid enough. Rock (or even Cena) could probably read the phone book and make it entertaining, but that doesn't mean you'll enjoy it the whole time.

The rest of the night was subpar, not because of any individual element. The show as a whole was simply by-the-numbers and safe with no real fire being added for any feud, not to mention the non-match filler crap seemed a little heavy this week. They're coasting into WrestleMania, which isn't exactly the worst thing to do, but it just seems like they wrapped up the stories they were trying to tell a bit early, and we're waiting to get to the final chapter. I'm not sure WWE has anything super interesting planned for the next couple RAWs, but we'll see. Still, this means the main event was technically a divas match (featuring the Divas Champion no less), so that's a net positive just about no one will give a shit about.

Rick has obligations this weekend, so there won't be a proper SmackDown recap this week. And traditionally, we ignore the last SmackDown before WrestleMania since virtually nothing happens (other than half the show being storyline vignettes we'll just see again on that Sunday). If something super-crazy awesome happens, I'm sure he'll put it on the front page in the orange headline box. Otherwise, I'm taking Friday off this week, and next week's SD recap will be replaced by my WrestleMania 29 preview article, my favorite piece of writing I do every year for Online Onslaught. And man, do I need to get back to work on that thing... I'm way behind schedule!

But I'm also behind on IGN commitments, so I'm going to call it a night. Thanks for reading guys, have a good week, and I'll see you next week for RAW.

Episode Grade: C+



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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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