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Upsets Everywhere
June 4, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


Well, the Pacers strung me along for a Game 7. Which, of course, they didn't bother showing up for. Which, in turn, is even more painful than if they'd just let things end in 5, like I prophesied last week.
On the upside, I get to go back to not giving a damn about the NBA until next May (at the earliest). I don't even have the desire to hang around long enough to root against the Heat.


But as always, I do have the desire (along with the skill) to expertly tell you the tale of What Happened on RAW. Here goes...
Previously on RAW: I don't recap recaps.
Once we're done with video packages and cut to the arena, the first thing we see is Stephanie McMahon making her way to the ring. She's getting cheers for now, but as the announcers wonder why -- with a scheduled main event of Triple H vs. Curtis Axel -- we're seeing HHH's wife, I suspect that's about to change...
Sure enough: she announces that she's taken it upon herself to cancel that match. And now the crowd boos. Steph says she had to make this decision, not just as an executive, but also as a wife and mother. She knows the doctors have cleared HHH, but at this time, so soon after the beating he took from Brock Lesnar, and against a nobody like Curtis Axel? It's just not worth it. [And yes, she really did say Axel was "beneath" HHH; that wasn't me putting words in her mouth.]
The fans are not convnced, and boo louder. So here comes Vince McMahon himself to sort things out.
Vince gets a little love from the crowd, before revealing that he's totally on Steph's side. BOO! But also: I'm glad the penciled Vince into this spot... for once, there's a purpose behind one of his random pop-ins, and in this case, it's to lend storyline credibility to Steph's proclamation. Without it, one assumes HHH's role as "COO" would equal or trump Steph's title... but HHH can't trump Vince's power.
Vince explains that HHH has given everything to the business, and he doesn't have to give any more. Now, Vince just wants HHH to be a good husband and father. When the crowd fires up a "TRIH PUHL AITCH" chant, Vince pauses, and plays off it, saying, "I know. You love him. Well, we love him even more. That's why we're not letting him wrestle tonight. Or ever again."
That last tag seems like it might be important, but it gets glossed over. Because when the crowd boos louder, Vince decides to switch it into overdrive, and goes off on them. He calls them savages, and claims they are personally responsible for what happened to poor Kofi Kingston. They chant "We want tables." They got one. So they chanted "one more time." So they got it. Then "one more time," again. Got it. And now Kofi's recovering from arm surgery.
And it's all the fans' fault. WWE is family entertainment, not a blood sport. Loudest boos yet (there is even a "Bring Back TV-14" sign in the first couple of rows). But before Vince can elaborate any further, all of a sudden, the Shield's music starts, and they begin entering through the crowd...
What do the Shield want with Vince and Steph? Apparently, we'll find out, but only after these awkwardly-placed...
Delayed Welcome: the Shield are in the ring, the McMahons are gone. So apparently there was no business among them, and it was just a cheap ploy to keep you hooked. The trio of Cole, JBL, and Lawler welcome us back to the show, promise it'll be a good one, and kick it back up to the ring for...

Full ring entrances for the good guys, with Orton strolling as slowly as ever, while Kane and Bryan have a little more spring to their step as they can't wait for another shot at the Shield.
Opening minutes are good ones, as Bryan/Kane operate as a cohesive unit... that means that not only do they retain nominal control of the match, but we don't have to suffer through any Orton! Huzzah!
Unfortunately, it doesn't last. As soon as you hear the ref audibly say "30 seconds," Kane gets greedy and goes for his top rope clothesline on Rollins (the legal man), Reigns comes over and shoves him off. As Kane lays in a heap, and Rollins recovers (to the dismay of the crowd), the silent count I was doing in my head reaches 30. And at that moment, magically, we break for...
Back, and the Shield is working Kane over pretty good. Quick tags and all that jazz. But after just a minute or so of beatdown, Ambrose and Rollins fail on a double-team suplex. Kane counters, and then makes a lunge for his corner, tagging Orton.
Orton's on fire, first taking down Reigns (who came into the ring illegally to join the brawl), and then hitting a double Hangman DDT on Ambrose and Rollins. Orton then engaged Reigns for a brief exchange. Orton won it, and decided to go for the hat trick by hitting the Hangman on Reigns. But nope: Rollins has recovered and hits a stiff running enzuigiri to the back of Orton's head. Shield = Back in command.
After using Kane as the decoy face in peril, Randy Orton falls in as our true Ricky Morton (I'm a poet, and I didn't even know it!). For the next 5-6 minutes, the Shield did what the Shield does: beat people up. Their teamwork really is a thing of beauty. Ambrose and, to a lesser extent, Rollins even narrate the beatdown, something they first really did in earnest a couple weeks back.
Orton, for his part, did a nice job of teasing the tag, but always falling just short. The crowd was into it, too, since they'd done the math, and figured out that Bryan's the freshest man, and the guy who'd be getting the tag. The "YES!" chants got stronger and stronger as the beatdown went on... and finally, around the 15 minute mark of the match, Orton hit a big ol' dropkick and made the hot tag to Bryan.
Bryan picked up where he left off on Friday: dominating the Shield 1-on-3, while the crowd went positively apeshit. Awesome. First, Bryan got a running start and shoulder blocked Reigns off the apron and into the ringside barricade. Then he clotheslined Rollins out of the ring. Then, he proceeded to kick the everloving crap out of Ambrose while the crowd punctuated each kick with a "YES!" Just as Ambrose is KO'd by a final kick, Bryan turns to notice Rollins getting up on the top rope behind him... so Bryan jumps up to the top rope with him, hits a few punches, and then hits a perfect top rope hurricanrana, in which Rollins landed square on Ambrose's chest. Double awesome. Then, noticing that Reigns has just gotten to his feet outside the ring, Bryan got his running start and nailed the big man with a suicide dive.
Whew. That ruled.
Back in the ring, Bryan tries to focus on Ambrose (the legal man), but when he cinches in the NO! Lock, Reigns jumps in to break it up, and all of a sudden, we've got us a Pier Six Brawl. Big moves by the non-legal men to cause them to powder-out, with the final sequence being Reigns spearing Kane out of the ring, followed by Orton RKO'ing Rollins... at which point Reigns tossed Orton into a groggy Bryan. Orton fell out of the ring, and Bryan walked right into that front-falling inverted-STO thingie that Ambrose does.
Your Winners: the Shield, via pinfall, in 20 minutes. Another really, really good one from these guys. Then again, at this point, maybe it's just the presence of Wrestling Midas, Daniel Bryan. Everything he touches turns to gold, even Randy Orton matches.
After the Match: Bryan is clearly upset at having taken the pinfall, not only did Orton assist in the fall, but this furthers the narrative in which Bryan is the "weak link."
Backstage: And sure enough, here are Bryan, Kane, and Orton, arguing about what just happened. Bryan's placing the blame on Orton, and Orton's all "Dude, I apologized. These things happen. What else do you want me to do?" And Bryan's all "That's easy for you to say, you didn't get pinned." And Orton's all "Hey, we went out there as a team, we lost as a team, nobody's singling you out." And Bryan's all "You call that an apology? I want a real apology." And Kane pipes in trying to calm everyone down. And Bryan decides the only reason they won't apologize properly to him is because they don't respect him. Kane and Orton both assure him this is not the case. But Bryan and his Napoleon Complex have made up their mind. If they won't give him their respect, he's going to earn it by wrestling ANOTHER match later tonight. Just you watch.
So, umm, two Daniel Bryan matches in one night, you say? Yes, please.
Elsewhere Backstage: Triple H has just arrived, raising the question: why aren't he and his wife traveling together? [A: Because then, we couldn't milk the drama for an hour regarding "OMG, how will HHH respond to Steph's edict?"] Anyway, Trips wastes no time finding Vince's office, and walking in. Stephanie is there, too, and greets him with a smooch. But HHH is not in a kissyface mood. He's angry, and wants to know what the hell is going on... he's medicallyc leared, and he wants his revenge on Curtis Axel. Vince makes a comment about how "The Cerebral Assassin" is sure acting pretty stupid, risking his health and well-being on a guy who is "beneath him" (again with the burial?). Hunter just flat-out says he's going out there tonight to wrestle, and who's gonna stop him? Vince puffs up his chest, and makes it clear that he'll give it the old college try. Steph has no choice but to step between the two... she tells her dad to leave, and she'll talk to HHH alone. Vince (and the cameraman) leave the room, leaving us to linger on a closed door.
The Usos are now sporting face paint. One has an elaborate design on the right side of his face, the other on the left side of his face. This should eliminate Twin Antics from their repertoire (unless dealing with a very stupid referee), but I approve. Wrestling may be experiencing a Beard Renaissance, but it's been a long dry spell for fans of face paint.
Cole explains that the face paint is to honor their ancestors, and is basically an attempt at a fresh start for Jimmy and Jey. In other words: it's a reboot, baby. Pretend to care.
And if it's a reboot for one team, you pretty much know how this one's gonna end. They execute the Tag Team Short Form formula nicely enough, though, ending with the crowd realtively engaged for the final babyface flurry and Superfly Splash.
Your Winners: The Usos, via pinfall, in 4 minutes. Nothing special, wrestling-wise, but certainly not offensive in any way. A reboot for the Usos is a nice idea, too, with Cole going so far as to suggest this puts them in the hunt for the tag titles. I'd like to see that, but WWE's not known for having an attention span when it comes to these lower-card projects. If the reboot is still in effect in a month, I'll start believing...
ALBERTO DEL RIO (w/ Ricardo) vs. BIG E. LANGSTON (w/ AJ Lee)
Alberto won the rubber match last Monday. But then they fought again on Friday, and Langston won. So I guess now it's best of five? Gotta do SOMEthing to cover for Ziggler's injury absence, I guess... [FYI: Ziggler returned to house shows over the weekend, and should return to TV at SmackDown tapings on Tuesday night.]

Nothing much to this one that we haven't seen before. TIme compressed heel beatdown, followed by Alberto's rally, and one attempt at the cross armbreaker, which Langston powered out of. Then Alberto cinched it in again, but this time, when Langston was set to escape, Alberto rolled it into a neat little pinning combination for the surprise pinfall win.
Your Winner: Alberto del Rio, via pinfall, in 4 minutes. Again, not enough to really grade it out as a wrestling match. But storywise, it accomplishes the goal of giving Alberto the win in the unofficial "series," while requiring him to dig deep for a never-before-seen hold to do it (thus, protecting Big E.). Works for me.
SHEAMUS vs. CODY RHODES (w/ Damien Sandow on Guest Commentary)
Commentary was fun, with Sandow managing to twist everything that's happened in the past few weeks into a story where he's the victim (including his on-going claim that he's a magician, and that's why Friday's Shell Game ended the way it did, and it sickens him that nobody appreciates the art of illusion anymore). Damien also promises us another Intellectual Feat on this coming Friday's show. I'm down.
Match is there. Hot start for Sheamus, mid-match heel beatdown, babyface comeback. And then (even as Sandow insisted Cody was just playing possum), the White Noise and the Brogue Kick for the reasonably one-sided victory.
Your WInner: Sheamus, via pinfall, in 5 minutes. Kind of an extended squash, where Cody landed some shots, but at no point did it seem like fans viewed him as a serious threat to win. That's never good.
After the Match: for no discernable reason, Sheamus decided to confront Sandow. I mean it: zero provocation. Sheamus is all, "Hey, fella, shake my hand." And Sandow is all, "No, I don't trust you. Please just leave me alone." But Sheamus won't leave him alone. Sandow continues to refuse the hand shake. So Sheamus bitchslaps him. The hell? They just barely managed to tweak things so that Sheamus' attack on Friday night was justifiable under the "he cheated first" rule of retaliatory violence... but then tonight, they're right back to Sheamus being the absolute worst role model ever. Which, in a vacuum, is fine; Stone Cold wasn't exactly a role model, either... except we're not in a vacuum, we're in a world where WWE's big into anti-bullying, and Sheamus is one of the leading spokespeople for that campaign.
Backstage: HHH and Steph are walking, and we quickly gather that HHH is leaving the building. But he's not doing it because he accepts their decision. He's doing it because he doesn't want their kids watch daddy beat up grandpa on TV. But they're gonna settle this, and next Monday, the very moment RAW comes on the air, HHH is planning to be waiting in the ring, ready to face Curtis Axel. He tosses his luggage in the turnk, gets in the limo, and drives away, while Steph gives us 80% sad and 20% angry. [This segment translated: ratings are hitting the summer doldrums, and WWE DESPERATELY wants you to tun in promptly at 8pm next Monday. Presumably, they'll then string you along so you stay tuned for the whole 3 hours.]
Last Week on SmackDown: I don't recap recaps. OK, I'll mention that this focused on Ryback putting Kofi through 3 tables. Because then I can mock Michael Cole for telling us "As a result Kofi Kinston underwent elbow surgery last Thursday." Which is no doubt true, but still rather funny after a lengthy video package of what the insist happened on FRIDAY. Ow, my temporal causation!
Elsewhere Backstage: Daniel Bryan is roaming the halls, kicking and knocking things over. He crosses paths with Ryback, who condescendingly tells the little man to simmer down. But Ryback picked the wrong night to talk down to a man feeling disrespected. Bryan says he's not afraid of the big bad monster. In fact, why don't they have a match later tonight? Ryback is nearly incredulous, but accepts.
Still Elsewhere Backstage: Vince has summoned Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel to his office. He declares that they don't have to worry: no matter what HHH claimed, they won't have to face him this week, or next, or ever. Paul and Axel are happy. But, they do have to face John Cena tonight, instead. Less happy. And it'll be a no disqualification match. Back to happy. Hmmmm.
THE [REDACTED] KHALI (w/ Nattie and Hornswoggle) vs. FANDANGO (w/ Summer Rae)
So this sucked for about 90 seconds, then Fandango decided he wanted no more of the giant oaf, and walked out. But then Miz showed up at the top of the ramp to block his exit, so Fandango started back towards the ring. But then Wade Barrett attacked Miz from behind, and Fandango was able to continue walking out...
Your Winner: None officially announced, but one assume Khali by count-out, in 2 minutes. Rather than make the announcement, the announcers were worried about Miz's condition, which gave way immediately to another awkwardly placed set of...
MIZ vs. WADE BARRETT (Non-Title Match)
Back from the break, and we are joined in progress. Predictably, Wade's picked up where he left off before the break, so we're basically just jumping ahead to the heel beatdown.
But then, just as quickly, we just to the end, when Fandango's music plays just as Barrett was poised to win. Fandango and Summer show up on the stage and dance, causing the distraction. Wade turned around, and Miz rolled him up, Wade countered into a pinning combo of his own, but then Miz recountered by hooking the ankle and locking in the Figure Four.
Your Winner: Miz, via submission, in 3 minutes. Not much of a match, but it told its story. Sound familiar? Sorry, kids, but there's only so many ways to say it...
So, this is to be a Contract Signing. In other words: the only real drama is whether or not the table will survive the segment.
Jericho and Heyman get settled, and Y2J gets some jollies jabbing fun at Heyman. Heyman eventually decides to get down to business, and signs the contract, putting the ball in Jericho's court.
But oh by the by: Paul just wants to make sure Jericho has fully thought this through, because he's signing to face CM Punk in Chicago. Where Jericho will be vilified. And Punk will have the biggest home field advantage in the history of wrestling.
Jericho acts mock-surprised by this revelation, and sort of sarcastically suggests moving the match to SummerSlam. Or maybe MSG? But Heyman declines, saying it's Chicago or bust. So Jericho says "Oh, OK, you sure do drive a hard bargain. We'll do it in Chicago. Just like I asked for in the first place, sparky."
Jericho then goes off on a bit of a rant about how he suspects that WWE fans are smart enough to know that if somebody acts like a jackass, they should get treated like a jackass. [Ummm, has he not seen a single Sheamus segment the past few weeks?] And so long as Punk is hanging around a sleaze like Heyman and claiming to be the best in the world, Punk is a jackass. Even in Chicago. I'm prepared to be surprised, but I think Jericho's off base on this one.
Then, as an oddball tag ending, Jericho suddenly asks "So, what do we do with the contract now? Where do we file it?" Heyman says he's willing to take it and give it to his lawyer, but Jericho has something else in mind. He knows EXACTLY where to file this document. He makes Paul stand up, and then makes Paul take off his jacket. And then he shoves the contract down the front of Paul's pants. Then he leaves with a big cheesy grin on his face.
I'm already sold on the idea of a Punk/Jericho match, so I don't really care.... but man alive was that.... off kilter. They managed to use up over 10 minutes of time with almost zero value-add material. And then the ending... it wasn't funny and it wsn't intimidating. It was just creepy. Made creepier by the fact that Jericho was sporting a ridiculous bedazzlered t-shirt that no man should ever be seen wearing. But like I said: as weird as it might have been, it's not going to put me off of wanting to see the actual match.
Kaitlyn's back to the tight pants! OO once again claims "Mission Accomplished" for something that it had nothing to do with!
Fast start by Cameron, Naomi becomes face in peril, hot tag to Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn goes on a tear, ending with a spot where she shoves one Bella into the other, with one crashing to the floor, and the other falling back into the ring. At this point, AJ starts cackling, which might seem out of character, since those are her partners who just collided.
But that would assume AJ is sane, and cared bout winning the match. In fact, she's everybody's favorite Crazy Chick, and she also remembers what the Bellas did to her a few weeks ago... so when the Bella in the ring tried to tag AJ, AJ just hopped off the apron and walked away, laughing. That Bellas got about 4 seconds to act upset, then turned around and got speared by Kaitlyn.
Your Winners: Kaitlyn and the Funkadactyls, via pinfall, in 4 minutes. Another one right in that basic range where it managed to do the formula, but without enough time to embelish upon it or make it remotely memorable. Then again, WWE giving the women a chance to go the whole 4 minutes to do the formula may be a victory in and of itself. Too many of these matches haved ended in 90 seconds...
Backstage: Daniel Bryan is talking to himself, getting fired up for his match against Ryback. Enter Kane. Kane expresses concern for Daniel, but Bryan insist on read it as pity or disrespect. They go back and forth a few times, with Kane's patience clearly waning. When Bryan finally tells him to stay away from the ring, because he's going to do this by himself, Kane declares "Fine. I'll do you one better. I'm leaving the building. Call me when you find your mind, cuz you've clearly lost it." Zing? In any case, the tension was that of a lover's quarrel, and let me be the first to hope that these two kids get back together. They're perfect for each other!
Vignette: more of the Wyatt Family. Nothing fresh or illuminating, just more of the same vibe from last week. If you're after fresh and/or illuminating, just wait a few weeks, or go find yourself downloads of the past several months of NXT.
Kind of a back and forth start, with them playing up the speed vs. power aspect. Surprisingly, Bryan won out and took it to the ground. Speed gave way to wicked stiff kicks. Stiff kicks gave way to a really cool move where it was sort of a grapevine with a twist on Ryback's legs, making them bend in an unnatural way, and ON TOP OF THAT, Bryan was able to lunge and rain forearm blows down on Ryback's face.
As the crowd's going nuts for Bryan's offensive, Ryback at least gets up off the mat. With both men back to their feet, power has a chance to trump speed, as Ryback catches Bryan coming off the ropes with a shoulder tackle, and then tosses him out of the ring. Bryan down, Ryback still shaking out some  cobwebs. Let's break for....
Back, and Ryback's in command with methodical offense (read: he was sucking wind, and trying to catch his breath), all made to look like a million bucks by Bryan. Another 3-4 minutes of this, with the crowd 100% behind Bryan and Ryback augmenting the slow pace by inserting plenty of heel mannerisms/taunts. It worked well enough.
Then Bryan's comeback begins after he dodges a charge, and Ryback crashes into the steel ring posts. Match shifts into overdrive, as Bryan goes crazy go nuts. Seriously, if the Shield's teamwork is a thing of beauty (which I said it was, above), then there are simply no words to describe Bryan's recent mastery of the babyface fire-up. Both his execution and the crowd's reaction. In this case, he was all over the place with stiff kicks ("YES!" says the crowd), then jumping up on turnbuckles for missile dropkicks, then running over to the next turnbuckle for a Benoit Flying Headbutt (getting big air, because Ryback was 3/4s across the ring), then another flurry of kicks before winding up for a bigger roundhouse...
Which is when Ryback was able to grab the leg as Bryan came in, and snatch him up for a lightning quick powerbomb. Impressive looking. Ryback tried to follow up with another one, but when he reaches down, Bryan hooks the arm and immediately cinches in the NO! Lock. Ryback flails away, giving the impression that he just may tap out, and the crowd is once again going apeshit.
But Ryback manages to get to the ropes, causing a break. When Bryan gives it, Ryback just slides out of the ring, wanting to gather himself... Bryan tries to put an end to that with his suicide dive. No dice. Ryback side steps, and Bryan crashes into the announce table.  Then Ryback tosses Bryan into the ring post. Then, tosses him back into the ring.
And then, he decides to bring a table into the ring. Sets it up. Powerbombs Bryan through it. Hey, it's an upset!
Your Winner: Daniel Bryan, via disqaulification, in 15 minutes. Very good match, well laid out and expertly executed. Bryan did not seem outclassed or out of his league, and did so by stepping up to Ryback's level (not by dragging Ryback down to his). I could probably say that more eloquently, but you get the idea: Ryback lost absolutely nothing by losing the match (he's still the top heel monster), but Bryan managed to gain a ton. This is not a zero sum game, people, and it's matches like this that prove it.
After the Match: nobody is chanting "one more time." They are booing. But Ryback wants to break Bryan, anyway, so he sets up another table on the outside of the ring. However, before he can use it, John Cena runs in for the save. As Cena checks on Bryan, Ryback decides to retreat through the crowd, and we break for....
JOHN CENA vs. CURTIS AXEL (w/ Paul Heyman) (No DQ Match)
As Axel makes his way to the ring, we're told that Bryan was able to leave the ring under his own power, but that he'd be more thoroughly examined at a local medical facility. Meantime, we're seguing directly into our main event.
Right out of the gate, maybe all of 20 second in, Heyman reaches in to trip up Cena, and Axel is in command. After a few minutes of kick and knees and other strike-heavy offense, Axel asks for a chair. Paul tosses one into the ring. Axel gets all of one swing before Cena steals it away. Cena lands a few shots.
Then Cena tosses Axel outside, and starts prepping the announce table for something naughty. However, he's taking his time doing it, and the ref is counting... Cena seems caught off guard by this, and rolls back into the ring to break the count. I almost thought it was a "shoot" moment where Cena might have legit forgotten the stip (which was No DQ, and NOT No Count Out), but given later events, I suspect it was more of an in-match spot planned in advance to remind the VIEWERS of the rules (in case they were confused about whether count-outs would be permitted).
Anyway, point is, Cena's attempt to use the announce table never came to fruition. Because of the interruption, when Cena went back to Axel, Axel had recovered enough to fight back. In the fray, we also notice that nobody bothered to move Ryback's secondary table from ringside: it's still sitting there against the barricade. I wonder if anybody will use it? [/rhetorical]
Axel has a nice little run, using the previously introduced steel chair. A couple of the shots are pretty solid, getting the fans to buy into the near falls. The cover after hitting his dad's running neckbreaker ONTO THE CHAIR was especially convincnig. However, when Axel went for the PerfectPlex (also onto the chair), Cena countered, and worked his way into the SSTF.
In a moment of silliness, Axel struggled to get to the ropes as Heyman urged him on. Somebody forgot there's no DQs, and thus, no rope breaks. Then Heyman remembered, and grabbed somebody's iPad and handed it to Axel. Axel used it to bash Cena in the head. Cena released the hold. You know, Paul, you could have just gotten into the ring yourself and whapped Cena with the chair, too. But whatever works...
The match spilled outside, and Cena regained control... and hey, lookie! It's Ryback's extra table! Cena decides he's going to F-U Axel through the table, but Heyman steps in and acts as the human shield just long enough for Axel to worm his way out. Then, in the blink of an eye, Heyman and Axel clear out of the way, and Ryback sprnts in from out of nowhere and spears Cena through the table. Bah gawd, Cena's broken in half!
And now we see why they planted that count-out moment earlier int he match. Because Axel gets back in the ring, while Ryback just loiters and admires his handiwork, all while the ref counts to 10.
Your Winner: Curtis Axel, via count-out, in 15 minutes or so. Really good match, and the first such match of "Axel's" 3-week career. Plenty of action, all well executed, and most importantly: the fans bought it. It's still far too early to render a verdict, but Curtis Axel's definitely headed on the right trajectory so far.
After the Match: Axel didn't exactly get a moment in the sun, as cameras lingering on Ryback posing over Cena and uttering a single "Ryback Rules" before abruptly fading to black...
And so ends the show. I gotta say, it was a good one. Anytime you get three matches that awesome on one show, something's gone terribly right. Throw in the fact that they weren't just good matches, but matches that advanced stories and elevated guys (instead of treading water or doing the same-old same-old), and you've got a fun night of wrestling.
I mean, seriously, John Cena and Ryback -- the hands-down for-certain headliners of the next PPV -- both just lost matches to Curtis Axel and Daniel Bryan, respectively. Which didn't hurt them in the least. But is huge for the other guys' chances. And the Shield stays undefeated, too.
Just an all-around perfect example of sustainable episodic TV.  Right down to the bits with HHH/Steph/Vince, which sets up the very first segment of NEXT week's show. I'll take it.

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



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.



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