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OO RAW RECAP
Bryan vs. Rollins, and a Bunch of Other Stuff
June 11, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

SPOILER ALERT: the best part of Monday night was not anything that happened on RAW. Even though Bryan vs. Rolllins was pretty good.
 
Nope, the best part of Monday night was the dinner I cooked for my mom, for her birthday. What made it so great? First, it contained two ingredients that each cost over $20 per pound, which means it's inherently good stuff. Secondly, my mastery of the kitchen grows with each passing day, so I am capable of not ruining the expensive items.
 

That combination is strong.
 
My mom asked for "Filet Oscar," citing a specific preparation of it that she remembered from a restaruant in Chicago. This involved the procurement of prime filet mignon, king crab legs, and albino asparagus. Then it involved extraction of crab meat, precision cooking of the filets, and construction of a bearnaise sauce that has a degree of difficulty of 11, and requires fancy equipment and about 15 minutes of undivided attention and skillful whisking, or else you will ruin it.
 
And then, gladly, it involves eating it. I'm proud to say I nailed it. So awesome. I mean the food. Not me. Though clearly, I am not unawesome.
 
But you didn't come here to hear me brag about how -- in addition to being almost criminally smart and funny, a known musical genius who has played in many bands, and is also, in certain lighting conditions, ruggedly handsome -- I can cook, too. You came to hear the story of RAW.
 
So here's my telling of it, with my belly still full of the most expensive combination of foods ever....

 
Standard melodramatic video package for the attention deficit crowd, and then there's no time to waste. We cut the arena, and Motorhead fires up immediately...
 
TRIPLE H vs. CURTIS AXEL (w/ Paul Heyman)
 

True to his word, HHH is the first man in the ring at the top of this week's show, and he's dressed to wrestle. Then Axel enters, and it looks like this match is actually gonna happen.
 
Irish whip, shoulder block, side headlock.... and here comes Vince McMahon, complete with entrance music. He threatens ring announcer Justin Roberts, as HHH holds the headlock. Then the bell rings, and Roberts announces that Curtis Axel is your winner, via DQ.

Vince leaves, and HHH goes to have a discussion of his own with Roberts (while Axel celebrates his "win"). Turns out, Justin Roberts will do pretty much whatever he's told by anybody higher up the WWE power structure than he is, because he announces that the match will now continue. Crowd likey! Axel and Heyman, not so much.
 
Bell rings to signal the restart. Irish whip, shoulder block, side headlock... and here comes Vince again. As a "You suck!" chant rains down, he has another discussion with Roberts. This time, it is announced that HHH has forfeited the match, and again, Axel is your winner.
 
HHH didn't even wait for Vince to leave this time. He re-re-re-threatened Roberts, and we get an announcement that the match is back on, and now, it's a 60 Minute Ironman Match. Uh, I like wrestling and all, but no, please. Not HHH vs. Axel. Anyway, HHH himself rings the bell to signal the start of the re-re-rematch, and he gets back inthe ring.
 
Vince walks back over to the timekeeper's station, grabs a mic, and himself declares this match is nullified, as Axel has already won twice. Then he tells Roberts and the timekeeper that they both need new equipment, because he's taking the mic and the ring bell, and going home.
 
Without these two things, you clearly can't officially start a match, so HHH just stands in the ring, fuming, as Vince power struts up the ramp with his new toys.
 
Your Winner: Curtis Axel, twice. Sort of. Despite zero actual matches taking place, over the course of this 4-5 minute angle. Not  all that amusing, but let's just agree that this makes up for 3 weeks ago, when HHH and Axel really did have a match, and they stupidly didn't ring the bell to render a decision. Now, Axel really does have two "official" wins over HHH. Yay?
 
Delayed Introduction:
we cut to Cole and the Gang at ringside, who marvel at how wacky the McMahon family is. Too bad "wacky" is not always a synonym for "interesting." Then they give a quick sketch of what's to come, and promise us that up next is Kane vs. Dean Ambrose...
 
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Backstage: Triple H is very upset, and is trying not to take it out on his wife, Stephanie. But Steph is repeatedly asking Hunter (or "Paul," she flip-flopped a few times) to calm down and not be mad at her dad. Which, of course, only makes HHH angrier every time she mentions the old fool. Steph even plays the "think of him the way he is around his grandkids, and plus, he's not getting any younger," and does so while begining to cry. So HHH softens just enough to say "I'm in no mood to talk to him; he wouldn't like what I say or how I say it. But if you want to, go ahead and talk to him and see if he's willing to apologize." Steph reigns in a sob and says OK, that's what she'll do.
 
DEAN AMBROSE vs. KANE (Non-Title Match)
 
There's no ring bell, so the ref just does the usual arm signal/point, then shrugs, and tells Ambrose and Kane to fight. They're more than happy to comply.
 
It's all Kane for the opening few minutes, but not exactly the most thrilling of minutes. The biggest crowd reaction is for the replacement ring bell arriving. But then, things start to speed up, even spilling outside, where Kane continues to win the brawl. Ambrose is in bad shape, Kane is standing tall, so let's break for....
 
[ads]
 
Back, and the roles have been reversed. Ambrose in command, and settling in for a couple minutes of your standard mid-match heel beatdown. There's a nominal focus on Kane's arm, it seems, though not much is made of it. Somebody could have at least mentioned that Ambrose was trying to take away the chokeslam, but alas...
 
Kane begins a rally off of a Sunset Flip attempt by Ambrose. Kane's not gonna sell that happy crappy, pal. Kane reaches down and pulls Ambrose up, and we off for an abbreviated fire up... Kane rattles of a series of moves, culminating in a top rope clothesline, and is all set to hit a chokeslam when Rollins and Reigns attack. The ref has no choice but to call for the (re-installed) bell.
 
Your Winner: Kane, via DQ, in about 10 minutes. Not terrible, but it also really never hit a crusing gear, at least, not until the final 90 seconds or so. And then, just when it finally got good, BAM, it was over. But the seeds are planted for the notion that Kane might be better than Ambrose in a one-on-one setting, and that's not without value.
 
After the Match: Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton made the save, and ran the Shield off. They eye each other, suspiciously, while the announcers wondered if they were all back on the same page, or if they just all hate the Shield so much that they're lashing out individually against them, creating the illusion of teamwork.
 
Poll Time: if you're in the Eastern Time Zone watching a live feed, utilizing no DVR time shift, and a user of the WWE App, you get to determine Daniel Bryan's opponent tonight! The other 99% of you, you don't matter! The choices are Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns. And I think we all know what we want; now, we find out if the WWE Universe shares the opinion of the Internet Wankerverse...
 
[ads]
 
Poll Results: Lawler's in the ring, and reveals that, yes indeed, there is cross-over between the Universe and Wankerverse. Seth Rollins wins in a landslide, which means we'll be treated to Former ROH Champ vs. Former ROH Champ. OO isn't even an internet wanker, but OO approves. As a side note, Roman Reign's consolation prize is a match against Randy Orton.
 
Backstage: Bryan and Orton are watching on a monitor, getting the results at the same time we do. But discussion of tonight's matches immediately gives way to an argument over Friday's antics, in which Bryan accidentally kicked Orton during their tag match, and Orton's response was to purposely RKO Bryan after the match. If that sounds like an unreasonable response, you're not the only one, but Orton just flat-out admitted it, like he didn't understand the big deal. More words are exchanged, and it comes down to Bryan thinking maybe he and Orton should have a match. Kane tries to interject some calm, but all that accomplishes is convincing Bryan that Kane is against him, too, and doesn't think he (Bryan) can beat Orton.
 
Kane's exasperation is palpable as the threesome is broken up by Vickie Guerrero (with Brad Maddox). She thinks she has a solution to the lovers' quarrel... a tag title match against the Shield at the PPV. Kane and Bryan just assume they're the team, and suddenly are a lot more friendly. But nope: Bryan and Orton will team up against Rollins and Reigns, what with how they beat them by DQ on Friday night. All three men are pissed; Orton and Bryan want nothing to do with eah other, and walk off, bickering. Then Vickie has a parting gift for Kane, who is clearly annoyed beyong all belief: Kane gets a US Title match against Dean Ambrose at the PPV, after his showing earlier tonight. Now, Kane is much happier, and begins cackling. He even engulfs Vickie with a hug as we break for...
 
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MIZ vs. CODY RHODES
 
Wade Barrett is sitting in on commentary, and thankfully so. The match is little more than a glorified squash, with Miz locking int he Figure Four out of nowhere for the win. But during the 2 minutes, a LOT was accomplished on commentary, as they disucssed how Fandango is out of the IC Title Match on Sunday, and how this meant the "championship advantage" was back with Barrett (no losing his title without being the one to get beat, as can happen in 3-way matches). Barrett was damned near insufferable with how happy he was to be back in a standard one-on-one match where he'd kick Miz's ass like he always has before.
 
Your Winner: Miz, via submission, in 2 minutes. Like I said, zero redeeming value as a display of grapplingsmanship. But very effective in terms of some storytelling on commentary.
 
After the Match: Paul Heyman hits the stage, and announces that the match WILL be a Triple Threat, afterall. Poor, poor Wade Barrett; all that hard work gloating about the one-on-one match was for naught. As you can deduce, Fandango's replacement is Curtis Axel, who once again drops a "perfect" into a very brief promise to be the next "IN-ter-CON-ti-NEN-tal" champion. Daddy would have been proud.
 
Vignette: Mark Henry returns next Monday. "Returns"? He's been gone for all of 3 weeks so far... I guess this is WWE once again trying to take advantage of the Attention Deficit crowd, who think 3 weeks is a long time, and if you bill it as Henry's big "return," then they'll forget that what happened 3 weeks ago was him getting his ass handed to him by Sheamus...
 
[ads]
 
Earlier Tonight: normally I don't note when WWE crams in an "earlier tonight" thing, because I just fast-forward it. Why should I make you read about something I'm not willing to watch? But I mention it here, because it was a particularly egregious instance of "earlier tonight." Usually, "earlier tonights" last 45-60 seconds, and are "highlight packages." In this spot, WWE went over 4 minutes with clips and narration of the HHH/Vince/Steph drama from earlier, almost replaying the whole damned thing. One gets into a certain rhythm with one's FF Finger. This one threw me for a loop. And WWE wonders why I'm in no rush to watch RAW in real time so I can use the App and Soshul Mediaz... it's not because I have a technophobia; it's because you're still putting stuff on TV that needs to be FF'd besides the commercials.
 
Backstage: Stephanie is trying to get Vince to soften his stance and see things HHH's way. Vince is not having any of it, saying that he always puts business before family, and also, HHH made his little Stephie cry earlier. Which is a completely self-contradictory thing to say, but whatever, it's Vince; logic and consistancy are not his strong suits. Steph retorts that HHH didn't make her cry, he (Vince) did by doing what he did, and putting her in that spot with HHH. Vince is all "whatever, business before family," so I guess there IS some consistancy there, so long as it is adeqautely self-serving. After giving Steph a lecture on always doing what's right for business -- and HHH risking his career, both in the ring and in the frotn office, for a throwaway match against some jobber like Curtis Axel is NOT right for business -- Vince departs, leaving Steph to look all sad and contemplative.
 
CHRIS JERICHO'S DRESSED TO WRESTLE THEATRE
 
So, enter Chris Jericho. And he's geared up, as if to compete, but with no ring announcer and no mention of an opponent/match. I wonder where this is headed, he asked knowingly.
 
For starters, it's headed towards Jericho hyping Sunday's scheduled match against CM Punk. Jericho sells it as an epic third match in their series that started at last year's WrestleMania. Jericho (wisely) fails to note that he lost both of the first two matches, so it's not exactly a rubber match, or anything. But maybe the outcomes don't matter, because what Jericho's REALLY getting at is that nobody he's ever faced -- nobody, including namedropping your Austins, Rocks, and Cenas, among others -- has gotten the best out of Chris Jericho like CM Punk has.
 
It's Jericho's theory that the reason the two feed off each other and get the best out of each other is the simple fact that each honestly believes he is the best in the world. It's not just a catchphrase or a t-shirt to them. They believe it's true, and that's why, come Sunday at Payback, some very, very special will happen, and the real winners will be the fans because he and Punk will take each other to the limit, and both will never EVER be the same....
 
And that's when Dolph Ziggler interrupts, midsentence (flanked by Big E. Langston and AJ). It seems as though he's displeased with all Jericho's self-serving talk about being the best. Because the way Dolph sees it, with all the political roadblocks and other nonsense he's faced, the fact that he's the World Heavyweight Champion proves he's so good that nobody could deny him that title. He went out night after night and stole the show until becoming the champ was inevitable. Ergo, he's the best.
 
Jericho is not impressed. But he has an ideea. Dolph claims he's 100% medically cleared, so why not have us a little match, right here, right now, to decides who's really the best. Crowd likey. So do I.
 
Dolph consults with his crew, and declares "You want a match? You got a match." Crowd really likey. I, on the other hand, am not that gullible, and await the dropping of the proverbial other shoe. Which happens thusly, "Yeah. You got a match against Big E. Langston." Dolph, Big E., and AJ all look mighty proud of themselves. Jericho looks more bemused than upset. And it seems like we've got ourselves a wrestling match. Good thing Jericho decided to wear his man panties, eh?!?
 
That match is now. By which we mean, after these...
 
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CHRIS JERICHO vs. BIG E. LANGSTON (w/ Dolph Ziggler and AJ)
 
We're joined in progress, with the match already outside the ring. The back and forth brawling continues for a bit, until Langston manages to throw Jericho into the steel ring post. This kicks off a heel beatdown that's actually pretty nicely paced; more power move cat-and-mouse-y than just rest holds. 

Jericho's hope spots are soundly squashed by Langston until about 4 minutes in, when Jericho dodged a corner charge and immediately followed up with a Steamboat Style Body Press for his first near fall. But before Jericho could stage a full-fledged rally, he fell prey to a distraction from Ziggler... Langston capitalized with a big tackle, and was just about ready to hit the Big Ending, when Alberto del Rio sprinted out and attacked Ziggler, who had started preening after his successful interference.
 
Langston was distracted by this, and when he turned back to Jericho, he walked right into a Codebreaker. Fin.
 
Your Winner: Chris Jericho, via pinfall, in 5-6 minutes. That's 5-6 minute after we got back from commercials, not counting whatever happened during the ads. Either way, not quite enough to register as anything special, but a very solid affair that continues to paint Langston as a notch above your average big man. And the finish puts the spotlight back on the Ziggler/del Rio title feud that's been invisible since Ziggler's concussion 5 weeks ago. That's a good thing.
 
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SIN CARA vs. ANTONIO CESARO
 
Zeb Colter is sitting in on commentary, spouting his usual Tea Party rhetoric. Along the way, he manages to work in the fact that Jack Swagger's injured, and that's why he's been MIA for the past couple of weeks.
 
While Cesaro and Sin Cara execute a very nice time compressed match, Colter's rambling actually takes a turn for the interesting, as he offsets his comments about Sin Cara (dirty Mexican infiltrating America) with positive comments about Cesaro (caucasian who has done all the proper paperwork to be in the country legally, and also speaks Engligh). Huh. Could this be working back to Cesaro's brief gimmick where he basically loved America, but hated Americans? Colter would be a good match for something like that. And also: if WWE can't figure out how to push Cesaro as a singles, I can think of far worse things than a Cesaro/Swagger tag team.
 
Anyway, match was pure formula, but very short. Heel beatdown, flashy Sin Cara comeback, snuffed out with the Elevation Uppercut, and then the Neutralizer.
 
Your Winner: Antonio Cesaro, via pinfall, in about 3 minutes. But your takeaway: Zeb Colter likes Antonio Cesaro. Also: I guess they're just biding their time with Sin Cara until Rey's able to return in 6 weeks or so, huh? Building on what I said above, I can think of far worse things than a Cesaro/Swagger vs. Rey/Sin Cara feud...
 
Vignette: the Wyatt Family. Nothing new. They're still coming.
 
[ads]
 
Backstage: Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox are discussing RAW's newest sponsor, Hardee's. I wonder how Sonic feels about this. Vickie, in particular, is salivating over a tray of monster burgers, and starts cramming one into her facehole in a purposely unbecoming fashion. Because that way, she can be insulted moments later when Vince walks in.
 
In addition to thinking Vickie is fat and disgusting, Vince also thinks she's stupid for setting up a special Ryback/John Cena verbal showdown for later tonight. Because with those two, you know it's gonna get physical, and what happens if something goes wrong, and all of a sudden somebody gets hurt, and Vince doesn't have a main event for Sunday?
 
Vickie blusters a few things about "thinking big" and "ratings" and sort of peters out as Maddox chimes in that they should totally keep the Ryback/Cena segment, and they'll just change it to include all the lumberjacks for Sunday's first stage of Hell. If things get out of hand, they'll be there to break it up. And that way, you get to keep the segment for tonight, and you're previewing the PPV, too! Vince likes it! He compliments Maddox, and walks out.
 
Brad tries to reward himself with one of the burgers, but Vickie's upset that he upstaged her, so she slaps him away. And presumably: she's also a fat cow who wants all 4 cheeseburgers for herself. Sometimes you can't tell what subtext WWE is going for, especially in a skit that involved Vince "Mean Girl" McMahon.
 
RANDY ORTON (w/ Daniel Bryan) vs.
 
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RANDY ORTON (w/ Daniel Bryan) vs. ROMAN REIGNS (w/ Seth Rollins)
 
Good guys enter, ad break, bad guys enter. You know, if you're trying to set the precedent that stuff keeps happening during the ads on the App, why'd you wait till after the break to have the Shield do a full entrance? [/rhetorical]
 
Strong start for Orton, as he dominated the opening 2-3 minutes, including a brief brawl outside the ring, where Rollins tried to interfere, but Orton had eyes in the back of his head, and put an end to that.
 
Back in the ring, Orton decides to get on the second rope for something-or-other, and Reigns makes a desperation lunge and connects with a forearm smash. Orton goes tumbling to the floor, Reigns is still shaking out some cobwebs, so here are some...
 
[ads]
 
Back, and Reigns is in control, and paying homage to his opponent by using chinlocks whenever possible. Whee. For amusement, you can turn to the announcers, who point out that Daniel Bryan doesn't really care about Randy Orotn, and he's just standing there out of obligation, not to be a cheerleader or anything.
 
Cole said this about 30 seconds after Bryan had been leading cheers. And 30 seconds after Cole said it, Bryan did it again. Methinks the voice in the headset was trying to get Cole to convey one particular narrative, and it bore no relation to reality. Either that, or Bryan was out there slamming the apron and trying to rally the fans behind Orton in direct violation of orders. I suspect it's the former.
 
Anyway, 3-4 minutes of methodical action gives way to Orton's comeback. Flurry of moves leads to the Hangman DDT, and Orton setting up for an RKO. That's when Rollins decides to get involved. Simultaneously, Bryan also hops in the ring (because he's a shitty partner who clearly has it in for Orton), and all hell breaks loose. Orton and Bryan eventually get the better of it, thanks to Bryan hitting a huge plancha onto both guys, but the ref has long since called for the bell.
 
Your Winner: No one, a No Decision after about 11-12 minutes. Kind of clunky for the middle portion, but not too hateful. I do admit to getting kind of annoyed by the notion that somebody, somewhere, apparently thinks Bryan is (or can be) the heel in the current Bryan/Orton interactions, but that's neither here nor there.
 
After the Match: both teams sort of regroup as the ref sorted things out, and the announcement was made, Orton/Bryan in the ring and Rollins/Reigns at ringside. Then the ref started herding Orton out of the ring, and luring Rollins into it, so it looks like we're just going to segue directly into...
 
DANIEL BRYAN vs. SETH ROLLINS
 
Rollins was hesitant, as Bryan was seething and ready to go, but when the bell rings, you gotta answer it... and right away, Bryan went on the attack with rapid fire kicks to deafening "YES!" chants. He also launched Rollins into the ropes for various running attacks and leapfrogs/duck-unders and such so that the announcers could marvel at the sheer speed of these two. 
 
Bryan also supplied the counterpoint to all the speed by taking it to the mat, and duplicating that awesome mount-and-elbow-smash thingie he did last Monday. Rollins was able to escape, and roll to the outside... but Bryan followed him, and hit him with a running knee smash off the apron. Rollins down, but Reigns is lurking. Bryan looked him off and held him at bay with a death stare.
 
True quote at this point, from Michael Cole: "Roman Reigns being held at bay by Randy Orton."
 
True reality of the situation, as seen with your own eyeballs: Randy Orton turns the corner and gets to that side of the ring about 2 seconds after Cole gave him credit for the save. Oy. Again, you have to wonder if this isn't a concerted attempt to spin the narrative, or just a series of coincidences.... or am I just being paranoid?
 
Anyway, at this point, they do the stanard role-reversal spot where Bryan tossed Rollins back into the ring, paused just for a second (to look off Reigns, again), and when he tried to follow, Rollins was  ready to stomp him down. This led to a fun spot in which Rollins tried to use Bryan's own Surfboard against him; he actually got it locked on briefly, but Bryan's claim that he knows the counter for every submission move he uses was borne out... he was able to pick Rollins' ankle and turn it into  a leg submission. But Rollins immediately got a rope break.
 
More rapidfire "YES!" kicks, and then Bryan decided to show Rollins how the Surfboard is done. He locks it in as the crowd goes nuts, and then, just for extra pain, he stretches Rollins back, and turns it into an atomic Dragon Sleeper. I mean, the torque was incredible. Rollins starts flailing his arms backwards in a last ditch effort to escape, and one of his blows finally lands; Bryan releases the hold after a punch to the face. Bryan's dazed, Rollins is still in much pain, a perfect spot for...
 
[ads]
 
Back, and the pace has slowed considerably, and Rollins is working a chinlock of his own. Things stay on the mat for a minute or two before Bryan fires up a bit. Not his full-on Super Hulk Up, but also more than a stndard hope spot. He gets a convincing near submission with a Boston Crab, and a convincing near fall after a Dropkick of Woe. But Rollins puts an end to that by reversing a suplex attempt into a powerbomb into the turnbuckles.
 
Much better pace as the heel beatdown resumed, including a trip or two outside the ring and a decent amount of gloating by Rollins (including imitating Bryan's mannerisms) that both kept the crowd vested, and served to leave just enough of an opening for more standard (and quickly quashed) hope spots.  The best of the bunch, with both men on the top rope, Bryan seemed to gain control for a superplex, but Rollins shifted and came down on top of Bryan for a near fall.
 
But Bryan kicked out, and we got a quick End Game of counters, reversals, and near falls. When Bryan's finally starting to tilt things in his favor, Reigns got up on the apron to create a brief distraction, and was almost as quickly yanked off the apron by Orton. Thus, when Bryan turned back around, he still had plenty of time to duck under a charge by Rollins, and turned it into a schoolboy roll-up. And that's that.
 
Your WInner: Daniel Bryan, via pinfall, in about 15 minutes. Really good, as you'd expect out of the ROH Wonder Boys. But you could kinda tell then never really kicked it into high gear, and the ending did seem to come kinda out of nowhere (though it did establish that Orton's a nice guy who helped Bryan win, I guess). So I can't, in good conscience, award full marks.
 
After the Match: Rollins and Reigns briefly contemplate a sneak attack, but Orton and Bryan cicle the wagons, sharing plenty of suspicious eye contact as they do.
 
[ads]
 
Earlier Tonight: HHH/Vince/Steph again. So it's not just too long, it's also too many times. My DVR time shift is aleardy 75 minutes every Monday, WWE. Are you daring me to make it 90?
 
KAITLYN'S SECRET ADMIRER IS A GIRL (But it ain't as hot as you'd think)
 
Kaitlyn's standing in the ring, and she sees no reason to waste anyone's time, "OK, Secret Admirer, you said you'd reveal yourself toniight. So here I am. Let's do this." And there's a pregnant pause. And then Big E. Langston's music starts. And there's Big E. himself, nicely attired and with a bouquet of flowers.
 
We pretty quickly hear the announcers go from surprise to "AJ won't like this" to "Unless AJ's behind it." And Kaitlyn's already reached that 3rd notion, too, as she is highly suspicious of Langston once he gets in the ring, going so far as to no-sell the flowers at first.
 
But Big E. is being honest here. He says people just see him as a giant brute who works for Dolph and AJ, but deep down, he's just like anybody else. He has feelings. And when he first saw Kaitlyn and got to spend some time watching her from afar, that stirred up some good feelings. Kaitlyn is clearly softening on the big guy, and to his credit, Langston is playing "nervous schoolboy" to a T. So please, Kaitlyn, won't you accept my flowers, because I really care about you?
 
Kaitlyn does, and Big E. thinks he might even be able to get him some sugar, as he moves in for a kiss. A kiss that Kaitlyn is in no hurry to deny. And that's when AJ's music hits, and Langston drops Kaitlyn and steps away laughing.
 
AJ skips to the ring, and excuses Big E. Then she grabs a mic to address Kaitlyn. She wonders if Kaitlyn's feeling all broken and alone after getting her hopes up over the last month. And then AJ ties it all back to Kaitlyn abandoning her (AJ) a year ago, whe she needed her best friend the most. Instead of standing by AJ, Kaitlyn just called her "crazy" and left her alone. Now, the tables are turned, and Kaitlyn put all her eggs in a Secret Admirer basket, and now, the truth is out: AJ was behind the whole thing, and Kaitlyn's got nothing left worth living for.
 
Well, ALMOST nothing. Because she's still got the women's title, and that's something that AJ wants. So she's cashing in her title shot on Sunday at the Payback PPV. And when she wins the title, THAT'S when Kaitlyn will know what it feels like to have nothing to live for, and she'll just go back to whatever trailer park she came from and live out her life as the worthless unlovable cow that she is.
 
Kaitlyn's finally had enough, and slaps AJ in the face, and then tackles her, and starts flailing away. It's an intense flurry, but not exactly excellently-executed, so AJ's easily able to worm out and get to ringisde, where she starts laughing and skipping like the psycho she is. Meantime, Kaitlyn stays down on the mat, lightly sobbing now that's she's fully grasped the embarassment of the whole situation.
 
And so with this, we've got the first women's match in ages that it seems like WWE wants you to care about, and it oughta be a good one... fingers crossed that everything clicks so that WWE decides it's OK to do more of the same. No pressure, Kaitlyn and AJ; only the fate of televised women's wrestling matches is at stake.
 
[ads]
 
R-TRUTH vs. DAMIEN SANDOW
 
This match is sponsored by Hardee's. Yes, this was officially announced, and there was a graphic and everything. The announcers even pause during Sandow's entrance to promote a cheeseburger. Lawler, in deference to his heart condition, does not try to eat the be-bunned death trap.
 
Then R-Truth enters, and we have a match. Just not much of one. Sandow wins with a new move ("The Silencer"), which is either good (because it's another signature for him, and Truth just wasn't worthy of his real finisher) or bad (because it means the much cooler looking and sounding "Terminus" is gone).
 
Your Winner: Damien Sandow, via pinfall, in 2 minutes. So I guess file this under "building Sandow up before tearing him down," since he's facing Sheamus on the PPV pre-show on Sunday, where he'll not only to the job, but have to do it in an ignomious 2-3 minute match not unlike this one.
 
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Zero Value Added Segment: so they show more "earlier tonight" bits while Cole promises a final face-to-face between Vince and HHH before they go off the air. Then they talk about Ryback, showing a video package, and reminding us that Kofi's out for 6-8 weeks thanks to Ryback. Then they introduced Vickie, who in turn introduces the lumberjacks for Sunday. As the 'jacks filter out, we have officially accomplished nothing in this whole 7 minute segment, and break for our final...
 
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Backstage: HHH, Vince, and Steph are all eyeing one another. HHH and Vince are all "Hey, you told me you had to talk to me, what's HE doing here?" and Steph is all "Hey, now that you're here, why not work this out." So HHH and Vince start arguing over which one should be apologizing, and it gets more heated until Steph shouts them both down and tells them to grow up already.
 
Vince immediately adopts a contrite (if pretty phony) tone, and says, OK, if it's what HHH wants, he'll OK a match against Curtis Axel for next Monday's RAW. In fact, he thinks it's great idea. HHH, at this point, is as suspicious as I am (or maybe just being difficult), and says maybe he doesn't want that match, afterall.
 
Before it can get heated, again, Steph cuts in and says, Look you two just got on the same page, so quit looking for reasons to disagree, and let's have a family hug. HHH and Vince are creeped out over the prospect of man-hugging, but Steph gets them to go for it. HHH and Vince overcompensate with a lot of back-slapping. The hug breaks, Vince leaves, HHH shares a moment of "what the hell?" eye contact with Steph, and that's that. 
 
Not especially funny, and not particularly interesting. There seemed to be an over-arching "Hey, look, the McMahons are being wacky" narrative tonight. And like I said above, "wacky" is not synonymous with "compelling." Sometimes, "wacky" is just lame and patience trying.
 
RYBACK, CENA, AND 30 OTHER A-HOLES
 
The lumberjacks are already out, surrounding the ring. Cena enters. Then Ryback shows up in the ambulance, and makes it about halfway down the ramp before reversing course and standing up on the top of the stage.
 
Cena immediately points out that they just spent 3 hours hyping a "face to face" showdown, and even went to the trouble of sending lumberjacks out here to maintain control... so now Ryback decides to keep 100 yards distance? Does Ryback not know what words mean? Is he stupid?
 
Or is he just a coward?
 
Ryback, of course, claims to be neither. But he offers no evidence, as he stays up on the ramp, and starts talking about all the other times he's had a shot at the title, and gotten screwed, sometimes even by Cena. He starts running the list of times, and when he gets to February's Elimination Chamber, Cena cuts him off: "Wait, how is that my fault? I took myself out of that match. I gave you my spot."
 
And that sets Ryback off on another riff, because Cena's so full of himself that he thinks he's in control of everything, and everything's about him, and he gets to go around deciding the fates of everybody else. But no more. Ryback knows what's going on, and the fact is that Cena's best days are behind him and he's been trying to protect himself by placating Ryback, keeping him at bay, all while secretly fearing him. So now, Ryback doesn't care about what spot John deigns to GIVE him.
 
On Sunday, Ryback TAKES Cena's spot as WWE Champion.
 
All of a sudden, Cena doesn't want to wait till Sunday, and tries to charge up the ramp.... but the conveniently place heel lumberjacks prevent this. Ryback see a chance to join a 15-on-1 beatdown, and finally comes down to the ring. But that's when the inconveniently placed babyface lumberjacks intervene.
 
Ryback and Cena try to get at each other, but in the end, the 'jacks decide to do their job, and keep them apart. The show fades out with Ryback and Cena being held back and shouting at each other from across the ring.
 
And so ends the show. The easy high spots of the night were all things Shield/Bryan/Kane/Orton, and specifically the Bryan/Rollins match. But the twist in the story, with Bryan/Orton forced to team, is a good one, too. One that extends the tale, but without overstaying its welcome.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, all the McMahon family stuff was pretty awful, unless you're into melodrama where nobody behaves reasonably. Vince is being advertised for most upcoming RAWs, however, so this is presumably the start of a power struggle/retirement story that will play out over time. Let's hope it gets better.
 
I think the women's title match got a decent boost tonight, so that's something. And I've got reserved optimism that good things may be in the offing for Antonio Cesaro in the near future, too.
 
But everything else was just sort of there: we were reminded of the Ziggler/del Rio feud, but not in any spectacular fashion... the main event pull apart didn't add to Ryback/Cena, but it didn't take away, either... Jericho/Punk wasn't really addressed in any way to change the vibe that we should be bracing for a bait-and-switch on Sunday, even while hoping the two really do fight as advertised and steal the show... Axel replacing Fandango is probably an upgrade, but it happened so suddenly that it's hard to get excited (also, the fact that Axel is now back on the clock for a match against HHH on Monday clouds the issue, and almost puts you back at Barrett vs. Miz being the only part of the match that matters).
 
Add it all up, and I'm not sure I could go much higher than a C grade, were I to channel my Inner Pyro.


  
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RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
 
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
 
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RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
 
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

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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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