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OO RAW RECAP
This One Goes to 11
September 24, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

Alright, I got it: the next PPV is called "Battleground," and is not Hell in a Cell. You can stop emailing in to inform me (in varying tones of civility). I will not be repeating that mistake, I swear.
 
It's not like I didn't know about the change; I heard about it months ago. But I kept talking about HiaC as the next PPV last week, anyway. I'm pretty sure I was forcibly repressing/ignoring/forgetting the change, on purpose... I likey Cell matches, and selfishly, I've gotten used to getting (at least) one of them every October.

 

Bryan/Orton in a Cell struck me as an exceptionally promising combination, too. But 'tis not to be. I suspect they'll be on opposing teams at Survivor Series (at least, that's how I'd do it), but maybe they can keep milking the feud until a big one-on-one gimmicky brawl at the TLC PPV? That would scratch me where I itch, too.
 
Regardless, you have my heartfelt apologies if I offended your delicate sensibilities by saying HiaC was the next PPV. It was a mistake made with the best of intentions, and I assure you that I remain the greatest and most clever wrestling mind any of you has ever known!
 
To wit:

 
In memorium: Angelo Savoldi passed away last week. Since he was 99, my guess is he was retired before I was born, and that explains why I've never heard of the guy. But I instantly like him; we need more wrestlers living to be 99 years old, dammit. This dead-by-50 crap is for the birds.
 
Following a lengthy video recap of last week's events, we're live in Chicago, IL, and all of last week's Monday Mutineers (RVD, Ziggler, Kofi, Usos, PTPs, Ryder, Gabriel, Truth) are up on the stage. Then Motorhead hits, and Triple H and Steph part them like the Red Sea, and head to the ring (which is once again guarded by The Shield)...
 
THEY'RE NOT SO BAD, NOW, ARE THEY?
 
HHH and Steph start off by throwing a little curveball. They use their Stern Voices, and build up to the revelation that they have just One Thing to say to the 10 superstars up on the stage.... pregnant pause...
 
"Thank you."
 
Sure, those 10 foiled HHH's plot to teach Daniel Bryan a lesson last Monday, but still "Thank you for standing up. Thank you for being MEN. Finally." HHH and Steph can respect that. Their issue is with Bryan, and they kept over-reaching and involving these other guys, and that wasn't fair. So last Monday, they stood up for themselves. It has nothing to do with Bryan, they don't care about him, they're just looking out for #1.
 
I'm not quite sure I followed that logic/non sequitur by HHH, but it doesn't matter, because RVD immediately steps up and says that Yes, they WERE fighting for Daniel Bryan, and that what HHH is doing to Bryan is BS. So whatever HHH's spiel lacked in narrative flow is offset by RVD getting cheap heat by invoking the name of Daniel Bryan, I guess? Whatever...
 
HHH is pissy about this revelation by RVD, and refuses to believe that anyone else up there was fighting for Daniel Bryan... but they all confirm that, yeah, pretty much they were. HHH can't believe so many able-bodied supertars would decide to fight FOR a guy who should be WWE Champ, instead of fighting to BE WWE Champ themselves.
 
So HHH start thinking out loud. There must be something he's missing... some reason why these 10 guys are all twisted and turned around. And finally he gets it: they're all simply misplacing their frustration. They aren't actually upset with HHH for his handling on the Daniel Bryan situation... they're upset because they've all been on the receiving end of beatdowns by the Shield, lately.

[Ummm, once again, the logic and narrative flow are lacking here, since HHH has been the one pushing the Shield's buttons lately. Unless we're SUPPOSED to notice that anyone upset at the Shield would necessarily be just as upset as their master, and register HHH's comments as extra-smarmy and condescending...]
 
Anyway, HHH and Steph huddle, and realize there's only one fair thing to do: let the 10 Mutineers get their revenge on the Shield. In fact, they'll go them one better, and let them have Daniel Bryan as their partner for an 11-on-3 Handicap Elimination Match.
 
The Shield are not exactly sure what to make of this sudden about face. But neither are the 10 guys on the stage. The former think they're being thrown under the bus; the latter assume there is some other shoe to drop. But nope: for the time being, HHH and Steph say they're just trying to do what the fans want, because what the fans want is what's best for business.
 
Tag Ending: oh, by the way... since we're doing what the fans want, the fans get to vote for Randy Orton's opponent tonight. The choices are Rob Van Dam, Not Rob Van Dam, and Also Not Rob Van Dam. Ahem.
 
Play HHH's music as he and his wife leave, walking past a confused Shield and an equally confused 10 babyfaces.
 
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ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. KOFI KINGSTON (Non-Title)
 
Nice fast and flashy start for Kofi. About 2 minutes in, he hit a sweet no-hands senton flip from the ring to the floor, and it seemed like it was going to be an ad break (they even removed the USA logo), but then they changed their minds, I guess...
 
Match continued another 90 seconds or so, with more of Kofi on offense. They built up to another spot where Kofi was going to dive out of the ring onto Alberto, but Alberto scurried away to the safety of the timekeeper's station, and Kofi was able to hit the abort button.
 
So with del Rio cowering and Kofi on the second turnbuckle taunting him, he finally do break for...
 
[ads]
 
Back, and there's been a reversal of fortunes: Alberto is in control, and working an armbar. During the break, it seems that Kofi followed Alberto out of the ring, and wound up getting thrown, shoulder-first, into the ring steps, and now del Rio is continuing to soften up that arm, as prelude to the cross armbreaker.
 
During the admittedly-less-than-thrilling armbars, the wankery crowd in Chicago decided to show off by doing the Yankee Stadium Roll Call thingie, with a Chicago twist, as they chanted "COLT CUH BAN UH" (presumably, he was at ringside). Whee. If it's not the night after WrestleMania, and half the crowd hasn't flown in from thousands of miles away, this thing really needs to die. Soon.
 
Kofi starts a one-armed fire-up at about the 10 minute mark, and it culminates in an SOS and a Boom Drop, but only for a 2 count. Del Rio fires back with a rude German Suplex and a double boot stomp. But when he goes for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Kofi counters it into a modified facebuster-y thingie (Cole gave up and just called it a DDT).
 
Kofi tried to follow that up with a springboard move, but del Rio dodged. Kofi landed hard on the mat. Del Rio followed up with the simplest of simple move: a kick to the injured shoulder. Then, eh tossed Kofi, shoulder-first, into the ring post. Then, he applied the cross armbreaker. Fin.
 
Your Winner: Alberto del Rio, via submission, in 15 minutes. A pretty good match, in and of itself (and regardless of wanker chanting). But Alberto keeps the armbreaker on for a few extra seconds after the match, driving home an additional plot point: Kofi's one of the 11 guys in the handicap main event, and now, he's injured... which is a neat little way of driving a BIT of momentum back the Shield's way, even if they are drastically outnumbered.
 
[ads]
 
Backstage: Renee Young (who is apparently going to get a shot as the full-time play-by-play announcer on NXT, after a test run at the last tapings went very well; I approve) is interviewing Miz about the beating he took from Randy Orton last week. In a nutshell, Miz is not pleased. Then HHH shows up and declares that he can't let Miz wrestle tonight, given his injuries, so he'll give him a MizTV segment instead. HHH has even lined up a guest for him: The Big Show. Man alive, is HHH the king of randomness, non sequiturs, and deus ex machina tonight, or what?
 
Let's Review: the entire Rhodes family has been dicked over in the past month. But you knew that already.
 
THE WYATT FAMILY vs.
 
[ads]
 
PRIME TIME PLAYERS vs. HARPER/ROWAN (w/ Bray Wyatt)
 
When we return from ads, the PTPs have already joined the Wyatts in the ring, and we're off.
 
Simple by-the-numbers affair, with Darren Young immediately falling into the Face in Peril role. Hot tag to Titus breaks down into a Pier Four Brawl, with Young and Rowan finally powdering out. Harper hits a wicked clothesline -- it got a special shriek of glee out of JBL, the master of the Clothesline From Hell -- on Titus to finish things off.
 
Your Winners: the Wyatt Family, by pinfall, in 3-4 minutes. Nothing  of note here. After the match, Young was checking on Titus, and Bray leapt into the ring and pummelled him for a bit before hitting Sister Abigail's Kiss, just because. Well, and also because the PTPs are two more of the guys in the 11-on-3 match, so this continues to unstack the deck, just a little bit.
 
[ads]
 
AN ASSIGNMENT THAT BIG SHOW DOESN'T MIND SO MUCH
 
It's MizTV time, and Miz is in quite the ill-tempered mood. He's not sure what HHH's game is, but he'll play it... he introduces the Big Show. Show enters, and is handed a mic. Then, he just stands there, mute, as Miz talks.
 
Miz demands to know why Show did what he did last week, KO'ing a legend like Dusty Rhodes. Miz says the rest of the lockerroom is finally standing up to HHH and Steph, adn Show went and continued to be their pawn. Miz knows Show's situation is a tough one, what with his being-broke, but he also thinks Show is one of the wealthiest man on the roster in another currency: the currency of Respect.
 
Miz demands that Big Show take advantage of that by becoming a leader in the lockerroom, and standing up to that "conniving, castrating witch." Which is when Stephanie's music hits. Ahhh, speak of the devil, and so forth...
 
Steph walks up to Show and demands his mic, which he sheepishly surrenders. She tells Miz to cool his jets, because he's skating on thin ice. She won't stand for being slandered, and she won't stand for Miz berating Big Show, when Big Show was a model employee last week.
 
Further, she suggests that Miz is expressing disappointment in Big Show because he's ACTUALLY disappointed in himself. The one time former WWE Champ who's now nothing more than a marketing tool anytime WWE needs someone to appear on an early morning radio show, or at a supermarket grand opening. To make it extra bitchy, she tags it with the line "It's really a shame when a superstar peaks too early," which is presumably the PG-way of calling Miz a premature ejaculator, given the way the Chicago crowd oooohhhhh'd at the line.
 
Miz was clearly getting angry, and was set to retort when Steph cut him off, and reminded him of last week, when he was beaten within an inch of his life in front of his parents... and when the look on his mom's face went from one of pride to one of disappointment. That's all Miz is: a big disappointment. And maybe Miz needs to be reminded of that...
 
So Steph orders Big Show to deliver the WMD to Miz. And this week? Big Show doesn't hesitate a second; he just whips Miz around and KOs him. HA! That'll learn Miz to lecture a giant. Show leaves without shedding a single tear, and Steph lingers to taunt Miz's carcass.
 
A bit windy and stilted, but I gotta admit: it's good -- in a general sort of way -- to have Big Show not acting like a whiny bitch. And in a very specific way, it's satisfying to have him lash out against Miz, who just has not been an effective babyface, if you ask me.
 
[ads]
 
Poll Results: Rob Van Dam wins in a landslide over Not Rob Van Dam and Also Not Rob Van Dam. Shocking~!
 
ROB VAN DAM vs. RANDY ORTON
 
A quick start by RVD eventually motivates Orton to powder out, like any good little chickenshit should. But when RVD follows him out of the ring, Orton springs the trap, and drives him into the ring apron. RVD is writhing on the floor, and Orton is admiring his handiwork, so we pause for...
 
[ads]
 
Back, and nothing's changed. Orton in control for a few more minutes, including -- you guessed it -- a chinlock or two. Then a fire-up from RVD, including Rolling Thunder. But Orton mvoes out of the way of a split-legged moonsault, and RVD crashes hard, doing more damage to the ribs and lower back area that had been previously injured before the break.
 
Orton regains control, including the Hangman DDT, and eventually sets up for the RKO. But RVD sees it coming, and counters with a spin kick. A few more big kicks, and Orton is down in the center of the ring. RVD goes up top, thinking Five Star... but Orton stands up, and Van Dam switches to the Molly Go Round Senton. Orton's down AGAIN, so RVD goes up top again. This time, Orton gets up and knocks RVD's leg out from under him. RVD is crotched on the top rope.
 
Orton stepped back and booted RVD in the head, causing him to tumble out of the ring. Orton followed, and basically kept on beating the crap out of Van Dam while the ref counted to 10.
 
Your Winner: None, via double count-out, in 8-9 minutes. Doesn't really compare favorably to their previous couple free TV matches, but then again, this wasn't so much about the match, in and of itself, as it was about The Bigger Picture. Said picture continued to take shape...
 
After the Match: Orton just kept on keeping on. RVD was sent flying into ringside furniture, including the announce table. Orton even disassembled the ringside barricade, and dropped RVD back-first across the steel skeleton. All this was capped off by Orton hanging RVD across the TOP rope, and hitting a super-mega-Hangman-DDT.
 
So, after a middlin' match, we get another convincing ass-kicking that illustrates the re-evil'ing of Randy Orton. And also: still another of the 11-on-3 guys is injured, making the main event less of a foregone conclusion.
 
[ads]
 
WWE App EXCLUSIVE~!: Except, it's not exclusive, since they showed it on the TV... anyway, during the commercials, Alberto del Rio ran out and attacked RVD. Which isn't just a dick move related to ADR having to defend the World Title against RVD... it almost means RVD is even MORE injured heading into the 11-on-3.
 
Backstage: the Bellas are standing around, when Randy Orton walks up and asks if they saw what he just did. It turns out, they didn't, and Brie makes it clear they also don't really care. Randall responds to this by telling her she SHOULD care, because it's a preview of what he's going to do to her boyfriend, Daniel Bryan. And then, after that, maybe he'll show her what it's like to be with a REAL man....  ahhhh, Randall: single for all of two months, and it's almost like he never stopped being a sleazy date rapist!
 
Elsewhere Backstage: Stephanie is watching a clip from HHH's new DVD. Conveniently enough, it's of their marriage. And in walks AJ, who is immediately the butt of several bitchy jokes from Steph about how AJ is such a failure at relationships, so maybe she should have a copy of the DVD so she can see how married bliss is done. Steph does this while getting right down in AJ face (Be a Star, Steph!), causing AJ to hold her ground and say, "Hey, bosslady, you're kinda invading my personal space." Steph responds by calling all of RAW HER personal space, and maybe AJs the one doing the invading. AJ switches gears to complain about her tag match tonight, with partners who don't like her, against Total Divas who don't even belong here. Steph defends the honor of "reality" TV, and says that if AJ's so great, she wouldn't complain, she'd just go out there and win. And then Steph closes with a veiled threat that AJ could be stripped of the women's title if she keeps on upsetting Steph. [Or maybe that Steph herself would don the spandex one more time to take the title? It does seem like they've done too many Steph-picks-on-AJ skits for it to be pure coincidence.]
 
FANDANGO vs.
 
[ads]
 
SANTINO MARELLA vs. FANDANGO (w/ Summer Rae)
 
Even with Santino's mini-winning streak since returning, let's just all be adults here, and not pretend this was something it wasn't.
 
Your Winner: Fandango, via pinfall, in 3 minutes. Part of the problem here might have been that Fandango's heel beatdown was exceptionally crappy. He even threw in an Abominable Stretch. The crowd responded by chanting "SOME MER RAY," making her the most over person in the match.
 
[ads]
 
CM PUNK ACCEPTS, EMBRACES THE INEVITABLE
 
CM Punk receives a hero's welcome from his hometown crowd, and immediately declares, "Dammit you guys, you just ruined a perfectly good bad mood." He's been in a rotten mood for 8 days, but that reception finally made him smile. But he wants to go back to that dark place, and reminds us that it's true that he was pinned by Paul Heyman 8 nights ago.
 
And ever since, he's been doing some thinking, and they weren't happy thoughts. They were thoughts in which he questioned his ability to keep doing this. The crowd begins grumbling, as Punk is clearly referencing a possible retirement.
 
But fret not! [At least, not yet. Punk's contract really is up next summer, and I wouldn't put a whole lot of money on him renewing as a full-time performer.]
 
You see, Punk's wearing a Blackhawks hockey jersey, and proceeds to do an extended metaphor about how he's like the Blackhawks: he's fron Chicago, and he'll never stop fighting until he gets what he wants. This probably resonated with about 7% of the populace, as hockey is just one notch above soccer in terms of sports Americans care about. ZING~!
 
The gist is that the Blackhawks were down 3 games to 1, and wound up winning the Stanley Cup in overtime of Game 7... and while Heyman may now be 1-0 against Punk, Punk will do whatever it takes to comeback and finish Heyman, and he doesn't care if he has to go through Ryback or Axel to do it.
 
As if on cue, Heyman rolls out onto the stage on a rascal scooter, singing a modified version of Sinatra's "New York" in which "top of the heap" becomes "best in the world." That's actually quite clever, so I assume the crowd is booing because Heyman's a shitty singer, not due to Civic Pride. And they would be right, in that case.
 
Heyman tries to milk some sympathy be pointing out his horrible injures that have confined him to "this contraption." No sale. OK, so he'll just jump straight to the part where he's a dick.
 
Paul brags about beating Punk, at some length, and resorting to some cheap heat tactics related to Chicago's "Second City" label, and how everything from Chicago is second class.
 
Punk is unamused, but he also a realist. He says "I'm pretty sure I know how this ends. But I don't think you've thought about what might happen before it does, Paul." When someone shouts "Go get him," Punk improvs "Don't worry, that's the plan." Then he turns back to Heyman and says he's sure Ryback and Axel are somewhere, just waiting to pounce. But can they get to Paul before Punk gets to him? All Punk needs is two seconds, and Punk's willing to bet Paul didn't bank of Punk putting himself at risk for a mere two seconds of revenge.
 
And imagine what Punk would do with those two seconds. Imagine, Paul.
 
Suddenly, Paul is a bit unnerved. He puts on his best Brave Voice, and declares, "I, ummm, I'll just remind you that I didn't just beat you, CM Punk. I beat you with both hands tied behind my back. I'm not afraid of you. But I have said all I needed to say here tonight, so yeah, I bid you all a fond adieu." And then he tries to motor away... but the scooter has stalled. Uh oh.
 
Punk pauses just long enough to flash a shit-eating grin, and lick his lips. Then he sprints at Paul.... but he doesn't even get his two seconds, because Ryback and Axel are laying in wait, and tackle Punk before he can get his hands on Heyman.
 
Thus commences a lengthy brawl in which Punk uses a Divide And Conquer strategy to hold his own for WAAAAYYYYYY longer than you'd expect. And thanks to the red hot hometown crowd, it's totally compelling and believable. Punk manages to isolate on Axel, beating him down. Then Ryback attacks. But with Axel out, Punk gets the better of it. Until Axel recovers and attacks. But with Ryback out, Punk gets the better of it. Until Ryback recovers and attacks. And so on and so forth for a good 4-5 minutes.
 
But that's when the cumulative effect catches up to Punk, and finally Ryback is the one who gets the better of it. Ryback hauls Punk up on top of some speakers (or other gear), and then gets him up in position for a Shellshock... but instead, it's more of an F-U type move, and Punk is thrown down through a table on the floor. Except he only half caught the table. Ouch.
 
Adding insult to injury: Heyman now stands up and makes a big show of jumping off the stage (clearly uninjured). He walks over to Punk, and joins Ryback in standing over his body. Ryback tells Paul, "THat's what happens to bullies." And Paul, much like last week, is grateful, and responds with a heartfelt "Thank you."
 
Another strong showing in the Punk/Heyman feud, this time bringing Ryback along for the ride. It's a perfect role for him, and the perfect add-on to the story of Punk's perpetually foiled attempts to get his hands on Paul.
 
[ads]
 
AJ/TAMINA/AKSANA/ALICIA/LAYLA vs. NATALYA/BELLAS/FUNKADACTYLS
 
So.... 10 girls get all of 90 seconds. Do you really think there's anything I can do to make this sound interesting?
 
Your Winners: Team Reality Show, via pinfall, in 90 seconds. Brie pinned AJ. So much for that Nattie/AJ feud, eh? Oy.
 
Backstage: the Shield deliver one of their shaky-cam interviews. The short version: some may suggest they're getting thrown to the wolves tonight. But they're wrong, because these hounds will hunt the wolves. And in the end, the Shield will do what the Shield has done since the day they arrived. They will win. Believe it.
 
[ads]
 
DANIEL BRYAN, PROFESSIONAL DEBUNKER
 
Bryan hits the ring and grabs a mic. And then he has to wait for about 12 minutes while the crowd gets the cheering, YES!ing, and "DAN YIL BRY YAN'ing" out of its system.
 
He recaps how he was stripped of the WWE Title because HHH accuses him of conspiring with referee Scott Armstrong to get a fast count, and then recaps just how stupid that would be. As he said on SD, Bryan notes that he delivered the knee to the head, and Orton was KO'd. He didn't need a fast count. The ref could have counted to 20.
 
In short: why in the blue hell would Bryan and his croney ref do a fast count there, when none was needed? The fast count is the opposite of what Bryan would have wanted in that particular spot.
 
Which leads Bryan to point out that HHH's behavior with referee Scott Armstrong is rather suspicious, what with the generous severance package. Generosity isn't in HHH's nature, unless he's paying for Scott Armstrong's silence.... hmmmmm....
 
But in the end, Bryan doesn't care about conspiracies, because he's got what he wants. He's got all he needs. Another match against Orton at Battleground, with the WWE Title on the line. And whether HHH likes it or not, the little B+ troll is going to beat Orton again, and be the WWE Champion again. And if you're not down with that, Daniel Bryan has one word for ya:
 
YES!
 
The chorus of YES!ing is, however, interrupted by the Shield's theme music... they're on their way to the ring, to jumpstart tonight's 3-on-11 match before Bryan's partners can join him.
 
But who's jumping who?
 
As soon as the Shield get to ringside, two men in hoodies attack from out of the crowd... one of the men is clearly wearing gold face paint, and we have no choice but to assume he's Goldust. The identity of the second man isn't as obvious, but it's safe to guess it's Cody Rhodes.
 
By jumping Ambrose and Rollins first, then moving on to Reigns, the two Rhodesses get the better of the 3 members of the Shield before security guards swarm and restrain them. The hoods finally come down, and Cody and Dustin seem very proud of themselves, while the crowd fires up a "CO DEE" chant. What, no love for Goldust?
 
Good, simple promo from Bryan, who can simply do no wrong in the eyes of fans at this point. And nice angle with Dustin and Cody, which I'm betting sets up a 6-man tag between the Rhodes Family and the Shield. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm kinda excited for a Dusty Rhodes match here in the Year of our Lord 2013...
 
As officials try to restor order, we break for...
 
[ads]
 
DANIEL BRYAN, ROB VAN DAM, DOLPH ZIGGLER, KOFI KINGSTON, THE USOS, THE PRIME TIME PLAYERS, ZACK RYDER, JUSTIN GABRIEL, and R-TRUTH vs. THE SHIELD
 
Ziggler volunteered to start, and after a brief flurry, found himself as an early Face in Peril. A tag to RVD perked the crowd up, but RVD just wasn't up to snuff. Still with serious rib/lower back injuries, thanks to Orton (and del Rio), RVD whiffed on a Rolling Thunder, causing himself major pain. Ambrose was able to follow up quickly with his hybrid bulldog/STO thingie.
 
RVD eliminated. It's 10-on-3, and the announcers are spazzing that RVD's a future hall of famer, so if the Shield can eliminate him, they can eliminate anyone. But will they? We'll find out after these....
 
[ads]
 
Back, and Kofi's in the ring with Rollins. Kofi's also suffering injuries from earlier (at the hands of del Rio), and the Shield basically keep him isolated in their corner, weather one brief flurry by Kofi, then Ambrose finishes him off with his thingie.
 
Kofi eliminated. Now it's 9-on-3. But the remaining 9 are all healthy, instead of the walking wounded.
 
Luckily for the Shield, several of the remaining 9 are pretty much jobbers.
 
Justin Gabriel in. Justin Gabriel out about 60 seconds later, after a Spear from Reigns.
 
Zack Ryder in. Zack Ryder out about 30 seconds later, after a Spear from Reigns.
 
Titus O'Niel in. Titus vs. Reigns seems like a slobberknocker waiting to happen, and the two do a few power exchanges. Then Titus is out after all of 90 seconds and a Spear from Reigns.
 
Definite Diesel '95 vibe there for Reigns tear of eliminations. It's down to 6-on-3, thanks to him.
 
Bryan decides it's time to take it upon himself to end said tear, however. And with his standard Goat o' Fire attack, he levels Reigns with stiff YES! kicks, eliminates Rollins and Ambrose with a 7-10 Split Dropkick, delivers more kicks with Reigns in the corner. Then, one of the Usos tags into the match, and catches Reigns with a stiff superkick and Samoan Drop. The other Uso tags in and immediately adds a Superfly Splash.

Reigns is eliminated, so now it's 6-on-2. Ambrose and Rollins huddle for strategy, as the babyfaces are licking their chops. It's a good spot for our final...

[ads]
 
Back, and Darren Young is our Face in Peril for a few minutes. When he rallies, he catches Ambrose with a nice Northern Lights, but doesn't realize that Rollins blind tagged himself into the match. Young gets up and eats a knee to the face, and gets pinned.
 
Young gone. Now it's 5-on-2.
 
Ziggler in for the good guys, and seems to fall prey to the Shield's isolation tactics. But as soon as he escapes their corner and isolates on Ambrose, he hits a Zig Zag out of nowhere.
 
Ambrose is eliminated. Make it 5-on-1.
 
Rollins wastes no time blind-siding Ziggler, but then becomes very careful and methodical, eyeballing the 4 men on the apron, and clearly wary of his disadvantage. Really nice work by Rollins selling the story with his facial expressions, and his near-frantic efforts to keep Ziggler on the complete other side of the ring.
 
Of note: Bryan and the Usos are clapping and cheerleading like mad, but R-Truth is reaching out, strenuously, to make a tag. Poor sap. He's the only one left on the team who is disposable, and he's TRYING to get into the match? That's like a red shirt guy volunteering for an Away Team on Star Trek.
 
Sure enough, Ziggler breaks free from Rollins long enough to make a tag. To Truth. Who lands a grand total of one or two moves before Rollins ducked a Lie Detector and hit the curb stomp.
 
See ya, Truth. Now it's 4-on-1.
 
Bryan huddles the troops, then begins gesturing (Broadly). The Usos and Ziggler fan out, and they've got Rollins surrounded on all four sides of the ring. It's the Shield's own tactic being using against them! Well, against him.
 
Bryan gives the high sign, and all four jump in and swarm on Rollins with stomps and kicks.
 
Ambrose runs out to attempt a save; Ziggler chucks him back out of the ring. Reigns tries the same, but eats a sweet stereo superkick from the Usos. Then the Usos get a running start and take out both Ambrose and Reigns with no-hands planchas. Ziggler follows up by diving out onto all four guys.
 
That leaves Bryan alone in the ring with Rollins. While the good guys fended off the run-in Rollins recovered and managed to get Bryan set up for a superplex. But Bryan fought out of that, and sent Rollins flying back to the mat. Flying headbutt puts Bryan firmly back in command, and then he steps back, waits for Rollins to get to his feet, and delivers the running knee to the head. That's all, folks.
 
Your Winners/Survivors: Bryan, Ziggler, and the Usos, in 25 minutes. A tremendous main event. Well plotted and laid out, with the injuries/early eliminations adding a bit of realism, and with all three members of the Shield getting moments to shine, even in a match where they were destined to lose. Reigns, in particular, got an effective Spotlight Moment.
 
But the bigger spotlight is on the winners, with Bryan once again leading the charge for the forces of good. A feel good finish with a red hot crowd lent this the feel of a tremendously inspiring victory despite the fact that the good guys were, this time, prohibitive favorites with the deck stacked in their favor. That's a credit to all involved.
 
Fade to black on the Bryan-led celebration.
 
And so ends the show. And in a damned satisfying fashion. The last half hour of the show was one really good match, paired with a happy ending. That works for me.

There were some issues on the undercard, but they took the form of waste-of-space 3 minute matches. A couple of the promos were a little long-winded or off-the-mark, but only by a smidge. The RVD/Orton and Punk/Heyman angles (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Kofi/ADR's match) were all very good, though, so the net effect is easily a positive one.

Consulting the Inner Pyro, I think we're once again gonna give RAW a Daniel-Bryan-esque B+ this week.


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 
 
E-MAIL RICK SCAIA

BROWSE THE OO ARCHIVES

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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