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OO RAW RECAP
Punk, Feelin' Lucky
August 12, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

Greetings, Constant Reader... I know our usual relationship is I talk (well, type), and you listen (read), on the grounds that I am not only an incredibly witty and clever man, in general, but I am also, specifically, one of the greatest pro wrestling minds in the known multiverse.
 
Alas, my formidible intelligence includes knowing that the truly wise man is fully aware of where his knowledge is lacking. So today, I ask you to help me out. You type, I'll listen.

 

Because I tend to be behind the curve on most tech-y things. I don't care what new gadgets are out there. I only go looking for gadgets when I actually need one to do a specific thing that I want to do. At which point I realize the marketing of such things is entirely predicated on inventing new features people don't even know they want, and then tricking them into thinking they needed them all along, which has the net effect of driving me into even deeper levels of technodouche hatred. Thus, I am also a bit technotarded, which has nearly as many drawbacks as being a technodouche.
 
Or, to put it another, more polite way, I prefer actual hands-on experiences from real people over ad copy and marketing campaigns. Specifically, I request any experiences you might have with these new-fangled wireless external hard drives.
 
I presently have a 3TB wired external, that I ferry back and forth between the computer in my room and the media player hooked up to the TV (and requiring two cables, one for data, and one for plugging into the wall; a minor pain in the ass). And sometimes I take it to a friends' house or on road trips, but for that, I usually load up a much more portable thumb drive (64GB) or memory card for my tablet (32GB), and just accept that I can only have access to a fraction of my media.
 
I've been thinking about buying/building an actual home media server, but if I can avoid any, you know?, actual effort, a wireless hard drive seems like it might be a viable alternative. From the specs, it seems like most models allow for multiple connections, which would be sweet. But what's less clear is whether there's sufficient range to cover the whole house. The latest generation of USB wireless stuff seem to boast 100-120 foot ranges. At the very least, we're talking 30-40 feet, like most RF and bluetooth devices, right?
 
To be clear: I'm talking about real-world experiences, here, not the theoretical capabilities claimed by the manufacturer.
 
If wireless hard drives only work with range of a few feet (with the selling point being the elimination of cord clutter, and portability), that's not what I'm looking for. But if a centrally located drive could be accessible in most of my house, that's a whole other story.
 
Real-life (not theoretical) battery life would also be an area of interest/concern for me.
 
Alternatively, there are external drives that have "personal cloud storage" capabilities, and they are priced about the same as drives with wireless capability. Might this be more what I'm looking for?
 
Keep in mind, I am old fashioned, and will never use somebody else's cloud. I am not paying a monthly fee to have somebody invading my privacy by having access to my data and personal information. But I think I'm OK with paying $150 one time and having a personal cloud in perpetuity.
 
Advise me, OO Nation; features I should look for, brands you recommend, what suits my overall needs best, whatever.... and in return, I do my duty for you:

 
No opening theme/pyro/etc., and instead, the show opens (in Sacramento, CA) with Daniel Bryan already on his way down to the ring...
 
DANIEL BRYAN vs. WADE BARRETT
 
Wade's already in the ring, so you'd think we'd be instantly off to the races. But not so fast, junior!
 
Before the bell can be rung, things are interrupted by a special announcement: we have a guest referee for this match... and it's RAW General Manager Brad Maddox.
 
Now the bell rings, and Bryan's off to a fast start, targeting Barrett's left leg with tons of stiff kicks and other moves. But when the match spills outside, Bryan goes for the flying knee off the apron, and Wade dodges it.
 
Commence 2 minute heel beatdown. Then Bryan's comeback kicks in. YES! kicks, suicide dive, and then bac k in the ring, he hits the missile dropkick... then -- in honor of his trainer, HBK -- he kips up and poses for just a microsecond too long. When he turns around, Barrett is able to roll him up, and Maddox applies a lightning fast three count.
 
Your Winner: Wade Barrett, via pinfall, in 4-5 minutes. Maybe a notch better than their first facial-hair-related match on Friday (won by Bryan), but that also just might be the extra storyline sizzle, with Maddox screwing Bryan with the fast count. You knew Maddox would be up to no good, but I didn't really expect them to take it so far as giving Barrett the win...
 
After the Match: Wade decides discretion is the better part of valor, and does some quick celebrating on his way up the ramp. Then Bryan turns his attention to Maddox, and the music cuts out. The crowd very much wants Bryan to beat the crap out of Maddox, but Maddox points to the all powerful WWE Logo on his ref shirt (the International Sign of "You Better Not Punch Me, or You'll Be Punished"). Bryan is clearly conflicted, and in his moment of doubt and pain, Maddox is able to scurry past Bryan to safety. The announcers sell this as the best possible outcome for Bryan, and for fans, because we would have lost our SummerSlam main event right there if Bryan had struck Maddox. Ummmmm, I think even most 8 year-olds out there have seen enough wrestling to know that's not how it works...
 
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RANDY ORTON vs. DAMIEN SANDOW (Mr. MitB vs. Mr. MitB)
 
As Sandow makes his ring entrance, it's revealed that Cody Rhodes is sitting in on guest commentary. As such, Damien must take precautions: he handcuffs his new classy leather briefcase to the top turnbuckle to prevent that miscreant from stealing it again.
 
Then Orton enters, and we begin.
 
Slow back and forth feeling out process to start, as if they were pacing this as a PPV-length match... the dearth of action leads one to pay more attention to the announcers than usual, which leads me to point out that Cody's trying REALLY hard to justify his actions over the past several weeks, in a way that doesn't make him the bad guy. For starters, that means he's no longer upset that Sandow upended him in an every man for himself match; he's just upset that Sandow goes around acting all superior (Cody is the son of a son of a plumber, afterall).
 
And also: the reason why he interrupted Sandow's cash-in on Friday is because he's declared that he will win the World Title before Damien, forcing Sandow to cash in on HIM (Cody) if he ever wants to hold the title. REMEMBER THIS!!!
 
Meantime, back in the ring, something happens, and Sandow's in a heap outside the ring, and Orton's posing, so let's pause for...
 
[ads]
 
Back, and Sandow apparently regained control during the break, because he's working a chinlock! Hoisted by his own patard (or however that phrase goes)! Orton's own hold, used against him! Oh, the ironing!
 
Meantime, on commentary, the announcers mention that one or both of these men could cash in their briefcases on Sunday. Cody says, "It won't be Damien. After I'm done with him, he won't be cashing in anything." Nice menacing quote.

But then JBL and Cole point out that we don't know the order of the matches, and Sandow could cash in BEFORE the match with Cody, and wouldn't that be awesome, because then Cody vs. Sandow would be for the World Title.
 
Cody then says, "Yeah, I'd love to have our match be for the World Heavyweight Title."
 
Oy vey. Then why did you interrupt the cash-in on Friday, dum dum? Because you want to win the title BEFORE Sandow, right? Excxept now you'd love to have Sandow cash in at SummerSlam so your match IS for the title?  Which is it? Ten out of ten for trying to sneak in a reason why you did what you did on Friday (even if it seemed a dunderheaded move), Cody, but minus several million for forgetting said reason about 5 minutes later.
 
Back to the match, Randall starts firing up at about the 10 minute mark, and this brings an end to the festival of rest holds. Pace picks up, with rapid fire counters and near falls. Slick spot where Orton goes for his pendulum powerslam, but Sandow stops dead in his tracks and turns it into a flying neckbreaker. When Orton re-recovers, he worms out of a Terminus and hits said powerslam out of nowhere, and follows up with the Hangman DDT.
 
Sandow kicks out at 2, so Orton "coils" and sets up for the RKO. But he wasted too much time posing, and Sandow is able to shove Orton out of the way, and escape to the floor. Sandow starts "getting distracted" by Cody, but it's all a ruse... Orton follows outside the ring and tries to attack Sandow, but Damien's ready for him, and slams him into the steel ring post. Sandow tosses Orton back in the ring, and is getting ready to finish him off when Cody gets up on the apron and starts fiddling with the leather briefcase...
 
You guessed it: this time, Sandow gets distracted again, only it's for real. He waits until Rhodes finally unhands the briefcase, and then turns around... and walks right into an RKO.
 
Your Winner: Randy Orton, via pinfall, in 15 minutes or so. First two-thirds or so of the match were very slow moving, but once they got to full speed, it was really good. Sandow didn't seem out of place at all up against a main eventer. Sadly, Rhodes didn't really do himself any favors on commentary; even take out the one instance of self-contradiction, and he still sounded mroe like a spin doctor than a man of conviction.
 
Backstage: Rob Van Dam is getting stretched out, and it is revealed he is one of 20 participants in a Battle Royale happening later tonight. The winner will face Dean Ambrose for the US Title on the SummerSlam Pre-Show... and as soon as we establish that, we slam cut to...
 
Elsewhere Backstage: The Shield are loitering in a hallway, and are not scared of RVD or the other 19 guys. You see, RVD is just one of many old, washed up has-beens who are standing in the way of younger, hungrier wrestlers. Both Ambrose and Rollins bad mouth their elders, and then Reigns tags it with an open challenge to any tag team, since he and Rollins are getting bored with the lack of competition for their titles. Oh, and then back to Ambrose, who says he's the "unbeatable champion" and as long as he holds the US Title, that makes the US Title the most prestigious in all of WWE. Believe that. And believe in the Shield.
 
Good stuff. It's been a while since the Shield did one of these shakycam promos, and I don't know why... they always seem to kill it. Although I will say the attacks on "old" guys was a little bit shoehorned in, and made my spidey sense tingle.
 
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Hype: they replay the Lesnar video package from Friday, and though I don't recap reruns, I will underscore that this was one of the best video packages WWE has done this year. Rather than just stringing together clips of stuff that's happened, it's actually got value-add content, courtesy of Brock Lesnar soundbites. If you need any more reason to be fired up for Lesnar/Punk, track down this video; it's got "big fight feel" in spades.
 
Backstage: Josh Mathews interviews CM Punk about facing Paul Heyman tonight just 6 days before facign Brock Lesnar. Punk -- who is wearing a Macho Man Randy Savage t-shirt for some reason that is never explored -- says that no able bodied man should fear Paul Heyman in a fight. And he knows it probably won't be one-on-one, but even if it's a trap, he figures he can survive. In fact, he fully expects to see Brock Lesnar tonight. And he's going to be ready.
 
NATALYA & THE [REDACTED] KHALI vs.
 
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NATALYA & THE [REDACTED] KHALI (w/ Hornswoggle) vs. AJ & E
 
I guess filming is done on the "Leprechaun" reboot. Lucky us.
 
Khali and Big E. were set to start things off, then AJ blind tagged herself in. Langston gave way (with a perfect look of resigned frustration on his face), and AJ started taunting Khali. She even managed to jump up and slap Khali in the face. AJ with the vertical leap!
 
But this is a mixed tag (as opposed to "intergender") match, which means girls can only fight girls. So the ref shepherds Khali out of the ring, and Nattie steps in to face AJ. About 90 seconds of clunky back and forth without any real flow, then Nattie locks in the Sharpshooter. Then it gets ugly.
 
Hornswoggle, who has been pounding the apron  all match long (to lead the crowd in rhythmic clapping), starts doing so again. Nattie hears this, and apparently thinks it's AJ tapping out. But it's not. Just as AJ DOES begin tapping, Nattie releases the hold, and the ref is now completely flummoxed. He opts to stand there and not ring the bell, and eventually conveys this message to Nattie.
 
So, Natalya just yanks AJ back to the center of the ring and reapplies the Sharpshooter. AJ taps (again), and this time, Nattie keeps the hold applied until she hears the bell ring.
 
Your Winners: Natalya and Khali, via submission, in 3 minutes. On one hand, I really like Nattie, and should be happy about anything that leads to her getting more TV time. On the other, christ was that ending a mess...
 
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DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN...
 
Vince McMahon's music hits, and he struts to the ring in an outfit straight out of the Craig Sager Collection. This is not a compliment.
 
Vince says events from earlier tonight upset him, so he wants answers and he wants them now. After replaying footage of Barrett beating Bryan in screwy fashion, Vince demands Brad Maddox come out here and explain himself.
 
Maddox says the count might have been a little fast, but he was just so excited to be a special ref, and honestly, he did the best he could. Simple mistake. Won't ever happen again. Just give him a second chance, and he'll prove it.
 
"A second chance? What second chance might you be speaking of, Brad?"
 
"Sir, I'd like to be the special referee for John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam."
 
Vince is intrigued, but he wants certain assurances that Maddox will call the match right down the middle. Vince then rattles off a bunch of anti-Bryan biases -- projecting them to Maddox, although it's patently obvious that they are the biases that Vince himself feels -- and Maddox denies any of them would possibly influence his performance at SummerSlam.
 
Vince takes him at his word, and is about to name the special ref... and that's when Motorhead kicks in, and Triple H makes his way to the ring.
 
HHH says that he and Vince haven't been agreeing on much lately, but they DO agree on the fact that Cena/Bryan is a big match, and they (as well as the fans) deserve to have a fairly called match, with no shenanigans. So yeah, HHH thinks a special ref is in order. Someone who'll call it right down the middle... but that person isn't Brad Maddox. That person is.... wait for it... wait for it... pregnant pause... ANVIL~!
 
Or for those of you with the critical thinking skills of a squirrel with serious head trauma: all that build up was for HHH to make himself the special ref. Duh.
 
Despite the stultifying obviousness of HHH's announcement, the crowd still pops. Then, they pop even louder when HHH kicks Maddox in the gut and nails him with a Pedigree, all while keeps his eyes locked on Vince. Vince is smart enough to take the hint, and leaves. HHH removes his tie, to prove that he's not some stuffy corporate douchebg, and poses over Maddox's corpse.
 
So.... flashbacks to 2011, anyone? WWE caught off-guard by red-hot grassroots babyface, plugs said babyface into match against Cena at SummerSlam, things are going great, and then HHH swoops in and inserts himself as special ref. It's happened before, kids... let's just hope that this time around, the unnecessary extra McMahon/HHH drama doesn't suck.
 
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KANE vs. TITUS O'NEILL
 
No sale.
 
Your Winner: Kane, via pinfall, in 90 seconds flat. Nothing to see here, although I guess it was perversely funny to hear Cole equivocate about the "Ring of Fire" Match rules. It's meant to instill the same sense of danger and spectacle as the Inferno Matches of the past, but he still had to go out of his way to say that nobody will be set on fire (the flames are just there to deter interference), because lord knows, with a PG-rating, we need to Beavis-proof this broadcast.
 
After the Match: the lights go out, and the Wyatts hit the scene. But when Bray blows out his lantern, Harper and Rowan are alone in the ring, and Kane is standing behind Bray. TRICKY~! Bray sprints into the ring to stand along side his sheeples. Kane blows his corner pyro. Harper and Rowan are a bit spooked, but Bray just laughs. He likes it, he really likes it!
 
[ads]
 
Backstage: a segment takes place that is apparently related to some hypothetical "reality" show on E! "Network." But such a show can't really exist, can it? I refuse to believe it does. And I don't recap figments of my imagination.
 
Distressingly, if this figment IS to be believed, it means there is also going to be a figment of my imagination at SummerSlam: Natalya (w/ the Funkadactyls) vs. Brie Bella (w/ Nicki and other random chick). How does that work? How is WWE allowed to charge me for access to my own fevered visions of imaginary crap?
 
ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. KOFI KINGSTON (Non-Title Match)
 
Flash and sizzle from Kofi in the opening minute or two... but then del Rio takes command following a sweet combo: after crotching Kofi on the top rope, he hangs him from the top turnbuckle and hits what I can only describe as a Flying Wizard of Woe. Nice. Then, he props Kofi's limp body back up on the top turnbuckle, climbs up top himself, and hits that awesome inverted superplex.
 
So much for Ziggler being the only one willing and able to take that bump... just damned impressive, regardless.
 
Alberto maintained the offense for a few minutes, putting a little extra stank on everything, so the announcers could talk about his newfound mean streak. But, as tends to happen, the good guy started to make a comeback.
 
Boom Drop and an SOS for a two count. Then del Rio strung together a few moves, and went for the armbreaker. Kofi escapes, and goes for the Trouble in Paradise. Alberto avoids it. Del Rio then misses on a corner charge, and Kofi decides to hit him with a springboard move while he's stunned.
 
Instead, del Rio snatches him out of mid-air and hits a flying Codebreaker. Yes, Codebreaker (to the front), and not Alberto's standard Backstabber (the double knees to the back). Odd, but probably nothing worth reading into, other than there's no easy way to do a flying Backstabber.
 
Alberto follows that up with the Cross Armbreaker, and we're done here.
 
Your WInner: Alberto del Rio, via submission, in 6-7 minutes. Pretty enjoyable, with a fast pace, intensity, and just enough time to develop into something that you could sink your teeth into. Plus, just some really sweet highspots in both the opening minute or so and again in the closing minute or so.
 
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Hype: Christian's 15 year career, in a nutshell. Just highlight clips. No narrative. In other words, not nearly as effective as the Lesnar one from earlier.
 
Backstage: Christian is in a suit, and is interviewed by Renee Young. Renee: "It's fun for me to watch all those great moments from the past, but I'm sure you're 100% focused on the future." Hey, that's a great way to start off a conversation like a real person, rather than just being a pleasantry-spewing mic stand! Christian says of course he's gearing up for Sunday, but he doesn't mind looking back, either; it reminds him of just how hard he worked to get to this spot, and makes him all the more determined to take advantage of his One More Match.
 
Then Alberto del Rio pops into frame. He basically just laughs Christian off as a serious threat, and closes with a bit of Spanglish that I think amounted to "Your one more match is going to be your last match."
 
THE REAL AMERICANS (w/ Zeb Colter) vs. CALIFORNIA
 
As Cesaro and Swagger make their way to the ring for a match, Colter cuts a quick promo, regarding all the ways in which California sucks. He's back to the quasi-racist stuff, harping on the 2.5 million illegals in California. Zeb's solution: just wait it out, because before too long, there's gonna be a huge earthquake, and California's gonna float out into the ocean and take 2.5 million problems with it. Zeb Colter: Tea Party Jackwagon, or Heir Apparent to Lex Luthor? YOU Make the Call!
 
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THE USOS vs. THE REAL AMERICANS (w/ Zeb Colter)
 
Basically a shorter/not-as-good re-do of the match they had last Monday. Cesaro and Swagger still busted out some solid tandem offense, but the flow wasn't as good, and the crowd wasn't really into it. To amuse themselves, they started chanting "DEE YOU EYE! DEE YOU EYE!" at one point. I'm sure they meant it for Swagger, but my guess is it hurt Jimmy's feelings, too. You jerks.
 
Anyway, Ricky Uso tagged Robert Uso, and this week, instead of Zeb interfering to steal a win for his team, the hot tag and Pier Four Brawl went according to plan. After Stereo Suicide Dives, Robert Uso tossed Swagger (the other legal man) back into the ring, and scored the pinfall after Zebterference Gone Awry.
 
Your Winners: the Usos, via pinfall, in about 4 minutes. The announcers presented this as both a rubber match between these two teams AND a positioning match in terms of the tag team contender rankings. Well, if my spidey sense from earlier is right, that second part's just a flat out lie, now isn't it?
 
[ads]
 
MIZ TV (or, Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth Theatre)
 
Miz is in the ring with his swanky furniture and upside down W. He brings out Bryan (all cheers). He brings out Cena (70/30 boos). First order of business, what do they think about Triple H as special ref. For the most part, both Bryan and Cena agree that this is a good thing, and it'll give them the best chance to have the match that the fans deserve.
 
But Miz fancies himself a pot-stirring controversy magnet, so he doesn't like the agreeableness. He puts words in Cena's mouth by saying "Daniel, you know when Cena just said 'have a helluva match,' that's just secret code for him saying you will lose, right?" And sho' 'nuff, that sets Bryan off. After quickly telling Miz to shut up before he (Bryan) punches him in the throat (big YES! chant), hegoes  on a rant about how he's sick of people just expecting him to have great matches, but never win them. He wants to be taken seriously, and if Cena doesn't respect him now, he'll have no choice after Sunday.
 
Cena responds by saying respect is a two way street, and he's not feeling any from Bryan. Bryan says he's damn right, reiterating that Cena is an entertainer, not a wrestler. Worse, he's a PARODY of a wrestler. Cena is to wrestling, Bryan says, what Bryan's new "The Beard is HERE" t-shirt is to Cena's t-shirt. Cena immediately cuts him off and COMPLETELY owns it with a lengthy rant about exactly what he is and what he isn't.
 
I am a lazy man, so I shan't transcribe it. But I will suggest you youtube it, as it's a rare case of Cena using his Angry Intense Voice, but using it for the powers of good. He acknowledges the perception of him as a non-wrestler, but says that 12 years of competing in main events and holding the WWE Title prove he's doing something right. He talks about his schedule, his dedication, and how much he loves what he does. And more: how much he gets to give back to the fans (pointing out a Make a Wish kid in the front row, and name-dropping another he met over the weekend). None of that is an act, none of that is him being an entertainer. It's just who he is, and he's damned proud of it, so seriously Daniel Bryan, are you gonna bad-mouth me? If you are, you're bad-mouthing the children. THE CHILDREN~!
 
Except he did it in a bit less snarky way, so you felt his sincerity. Bryan doesn't really have a ready-made response, so Cena continues...
 
It's a bit more like last week's thesis, in which Cena downplays Bryan's 12 year career wrestling in gyms as a Good Start. The foundation for superstardom. Meantime, Cena's 12-year career has been here on this stage, from Beijing to Brussels, from Moscow to Mumbai, from New York to Sacramento (CHEAP POP~!), and he's spent much of that time with the WWE Title, and THAT'S the fundamental difference between himself and Bryan.
 
Bryan doesn't take the belittling of his entire career to this point kindly... but he also sort of takes Cena's thesis and turns it on its ear. Bryan admits the 12 years of WWE Title reigns IS a big difference between the two. And it's a difference that works in his (Bryan's) favor. Because this Sunday is "just another SummerSlam" for Cena, but it's the biggest match of Bryan's life. Who do you think is gonna be hungrier?
 
Don't answer that... it was a rhetorical question. But it does give Bryan a moment to reflect and remember a custom he learned in Japan: before a big match, wrestlers would stand still, and allow themselves to be slapped in the face. Hard. As hard as the slapper could manage. All just to angry up the blood andmake sure the wrestlers were motivated to give it their all.
 
Bryan mused that he'd love to have a reason to just slap the shit out of Cena's stupid face.... but guess what? Bryan won't. He can't. Because Cena's not a wrestler. And he doesn't deserve the honor of this fine poruresu tradition. OH, BURN~!
 
This actuall gets under Cena's skin, and he wants to be slapped. He dares Bryan to do it. Bryan keeps saying "No,  you don't deserve it." Then Cena loses it, and slaps Bryan. NOW Bryan seems to be considering a physical response...
 
But there's Motorhead again, and Triple H heads to the ring and steps between the two for absolutely no reason I can discern, other than to create the visual/photo op moment of him standing between the two SummerSlam headliners. Which, goddammit, is something you can photoshop. You didn't need to ruin a stellar, intense promo with this nonsensical "Big Poochie" moment.
 
Making matters worse (or, at least, not helping any), once the photo op moment has passed, Randy Orton's music hits, and he just stands on the stage for a minute or so while the announcers marvel at just how many "moving parts" there are for the SummerSlam main event: Cena vs. Bryan for the title, with HHH/McMahon drama, and a viper lurking in the shadows.
 
Meantime, I marvel at how such an incredible verbal showdown limped to a silent and floptastic anticlimax due to two miscalculated "run-ins." Bryan walking away, even after Cena's slap, would have been infinitely more compelling than what we got. And if you HAD to have the superfluous cameos, why not have Bryan engage Cena in the brawl, have Miz eat an F-U or some YES!! kicks along the way, until HHH has to come out and separate them. No Orton necessary; I think we all grasp the concept of the MitB briefcase at this point.
 
Anyway, like I said: excellent stuff till the end. I do suggest youtubing it. It wasn't just Bryan this time, either; Cena really held up his end, to the point that the crowd was more mixed by the end of the promo than they were at the start. Cena ended with an even 50/50 split (or maybe even slightly in favor of cheers), while Bryan's unanimous support eroded just slightly, so that the standard YES! and NO! moments turned into NES! and YO!. Good times, good times...
 
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R-TRUTH vs. FANDANGO
 
Fandango enters first, and is appaled by R-Truth's "dancing" during his ring entrance. So there's some (Broad) gesturing, and it appears the two want to have a Dance-Off. Fandango goes first with some rudimentary ballroom moves. Then R-Truth has a seizure of some kind, that ends with shaking his butt at Fandango.
 
So Fandango gets insulted and tries to attack R-Truth. But R-Truth gets the better of it, and Fandango gets tossed out of the ring. Play R-Truth's music!
 
Your Winner: None, as there was no match. Fandango just retreated after getting chucked.
 
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20 MAN BATTLE ROYALE (For a shot at the US Title)
 
Based on the graphics and ring entrances, there are essentially three possible winners here: Rob Van Dam, Mark Henry, and Ryback. The rest are a few guys who already worked earlier in the show (including Khali, the Real Americans, the Usos, and Fandango/Truth), and fodder (3MB, Tensai/Brodus, et al).
 
There's about 3-4 minutes of messy, hard-to-keep-track-of action, then a break for...
 
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Back, and there's still about 15 dudes in the ring. Basic story that I picked up on was that Swagger and Cesaro managed to work together constantly, both eliminating a goodly number of other guys while saving each other from elimination. There were also a few hoss-on-hoss slobberknocker moments, generally favoring Henry.
 
Then, we got to what I'll just call The Craziest Damned Thing I've Seen In A While: the Real Americans tried to eliminate Kofi, with Swagger whipping Kofi into Cesaro, who backdropped Kofi over the top rope... EXCEPT KOFI LATCHED ONTO CESARO, in a sort of sunset flip position, and kept his feet from touching the floor. Kofi then "skinned the cat" (except using Cesario, instead of the ropes, which is all the more amazing on Cesaro's end, if you think too hard about it and work out the physics). But even after Kofi got back to his feet on the apron, there was a bit of triple-reverse-y, and Swagger and Cesaro knocked him to the mat.
 
Embiggened by their success, Swagger and Cesaro turned their attention to Mark Henry. Bad idea. Henry was able to dump both over the top in one fell swoop. Wade Barrett tried to sneak up behind Henry while he was admiring his handiwork, but that backfired, too. Bye bye, Barrett.
 
And just like that, we're down to the Final Three: RVD, Mark Henry, and Ryback. Told you so.
 
While Henry was busy, RVD and Ryback traded moves, and Ryback got the better of it. So when Henry turned back to the center of the ring, RVD was slouched in a corner, and it was time for one final bit of Slobberknockery. Henry got the better of it, and powered Ryback over the top rope. But Ryback held on, and landed on the apron.
 
Out of nowhere, RVD with a springboard kick to Ryback's face. Ryback's now hanging by a thread... a shoulder tackle from Henry sends Ryback to the floor. Now it's speed vs. power for the Final Two. Surprisingly, speed gets the advantage, and RVD decides to go u p to the top rope... but power catches him, and shoves him off.
 
RVD lands in a heap on the apron. Henry charges, trying to replicate how he finished Ryback... but RVD drops down and pulls the top rope down with him. Henry essentially eliminates himself, as his shoulder tackle turns into him hurtling out over the top rope.
 
Your Winner: Rob Van Dam, in 15 minutes or so. The first part, up through the commercial break, was just your standard nothing-happening mess of a Battle Royale. But pretty much as soon as they came back, this picked up speed, and was a REALLY fun affair. Kofi's amazing spot pretty much launched as good a Battle Royale End Game as you'll see. Crowd went apeshit for RVD winning, too... given that the SummerSlam preshow is a whole hour (as was the case for WrestleMania), I have no doubts that RVD vs. Ambrose is going to be a tremendous addition to the Sunday night card.
 
After the Match: Henry got back in the ring, and gave RVD a Fist Bump of Congratulations (after a brief moment of tension). Then, not entirely unexpectedly, US Champ Dean Ambrose led the Shield to the ring. Henry and RVD circled the wagons, as the Shield surrounded them. On three sides. When will they ever learn?
 
Suddenly, Big Show's music hits, and he gets a big pop as he makes the save. Well, not so much of a save as a "pre-save," since Ambrose immediately went all googly-eyed, and recalled the troops. He no wanty Big Show. Which is fine, since he's got RVD.
 
Meantime, my spidey sense was right all along. The Shield went out of their way to mock old guys and demand fresh tag title challengers? Well, Big Show is back, and you won't get any older and broken down a tag team than him and Mark Henry! Plus, RVD's old, too, so you can do 6-man tags along the way!
 
[ads]
 
CM PUNK vs. PAUL HEYMAN DOES NOT HAPPEN, BUT THAT'S OK
 
Paul Heyman makes his entrance, but before Punk can be announced, he borrows the mic, and cuts a promo.
 
The gist: Punk used to "get it." He used to make his decisions based on Heyman's advice. In short, he lived for Paul's acceptance and approval. ANd as a result, he experienced great success. But then something happened, and now Punk lives for "your" (the fans') approval. In his quest for their love, respect, and admiration, Punk has started fashioning himself as a hero.
 
Recalling a promo from last month, Heyman states that there's nothing noble about being a hero. Most heroes are stupid, and do stupid things in their need to be lauded by the masses. Heyman wants to help Punk avoid a stupid move, so he just flat out admits it:
 
"It's a trap. This is a trap. You can't win."
 
He sarcastically "congratulates" all the fans who spent the last week saying it was a trap. Duh, of course it was, Heyman's not stupid, he had no intent on facing Punk in a one-on-one fight. So let's just cut to the chase...
 
Heyman brings out Brock Lesnar, and declares that  Punk can still have his match against him (Heyman), but  only if he's willing to make it a 1-on-2 Handicap Match, with Lesnar included. Heyman wraps up his goading of Punk by saying he has a choice: be a stupid hero, Punk, or be a wise coward. Your choice.
 
Punk's music plays, and Lesnar starts bouncing and licking his chops, as Heyman wears a shit-eating grin.... but after 30 seconds, still no Punk.
 
That's because IT'S A TRAP~! Punk's behind them, having come in through the crowd, and grabbed a camera from a cameraman on his way into the ring. Wielding the camera as a weapon, Punk easily chops Lesnar down, lands a few kicks, and tosses Lesnar out of the ring.
 
Now, Punk's alone in the ring with Heyman. Heyman turns the Chickenshit Dial up to 11: begging, pleading, and then eventually diving out of the ring mere nanoseconds before Punk was able to grab him. Heyman scoots up the ramp, all while screaming for Brock. But Brock's still groggy after being pummeled with the camera.
 
On the stage, Punk is once agan inches away from getting his hands on Heyman when Curtis Axel strikes. Sprinting out with a chair, Axel gets about one solid shot in... then Punk decides he's having none of that Happy Crappy. Heyman retreats to Lesnar's side, while Punk goes to town on Axel, culminating in a GTS.
 
Punk decides he's sent enough of a message for tonight. While Heyman nervously kneels besides a fuming Brock Lesnar, Punk holds his hands high and celebrates with the red-hot crowd as we fade to black...
 
And so ends the show. Some decent wrestling, to be sure, but none of it really special (save for Kofi's spot in the Battle Royale)... we knew the main event would be a messy non-match schmozz, and it was (but it was still pretty well-done and satisfying, thanks to Heyman's preramble getting nuclear heat)... and you did have that mid-show Cena/Bryan promo that was just outstanding (and  youtube worthy), even if it petered out due to a misguided ending.
 
If the job of the last RAW before a PPV is to increase your interest, though, I think that makes tonight an unqualified success. The matches I already wanted to see got maginally more interesting, and the additions of RVD/Ambrose and (I'm assuming) Show/Henry vs. Rollins/Reigns are both definite value-adds.
 
Granted, the less said about Bellas/Nattie, the better. But that's one minor gripe on a 3-hour show. There was certinly a bit of pee-break/filler in there, but on the whole everything else avoided suckage.
 
Consulting with my Inner Pyro, we're going to grade tonight's show as a B.


  
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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
 
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
 
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RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
 
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
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
 
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RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: You're Welcome
 
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
 
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RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Lady Power
 
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?
 
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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