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OO RAW RECAP
Damien Sandow: Not So Smart?
October 29, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com

 

Before we begin today, can I ask OO Nation's help in unravelling one of the true Cosmic Mysteries of the Universe?
 
I speak, of course, of seeded watermelon. Why does it still exist? What function does it serve? Knowing full well that seedless watermelons exist, who in the blue hell would possibly have any use for one with seeds in it?

 

I ask because (a) I love watermelon; on my own, I average eating one whole one per week; but alas (b) Kroger stops stocking watermelons towards the end of September, kicking off my long sad watermelonless winter of dispair. Untill this year, when (c) I discovered the weekly farmer's market near my house had a guy who kept selling watermelons up until this very week.
 
Except: he only sells seeded ones. I asked about seedless, and he said he doesn't grown them because seeded are the "real deal" and taste so much better. And I granted him that yes, after a month of enjoying his wares, his melons were consistently delicious, where as supermarket melons are hit-and-miss, even if (like me) you know exactly what to look for. But they're still just watermelon, not some divine epihphany of produce. Put the same care and attention into growing seedless melons, and they'll have that same consistency, too. AND NO F'N SEEDS.
 
The best theory I can come up with is that the rustic/wholesome nature of a farmer's market means there's some value in presenting yourself as "old fashioned." Even if it means selling a pain in the ass product. You gotta placate your ignorant hipster weenis organ-o-freaks, who probably think seedless watermelon is a genetically engineered abomination against God created in a lab by Monsanto (in reality, it's a perfectly natural result of selective breeding). I guess.
 
Any other theories? Because honestly, there's no reason for seeded watermelon to still be A Thing, unless you're just like being difficult.
 
That said, I've been told this week is the last week for watermelon. And seeds or no, this makes me sad. It might have been a pain in the ass, but thems was still tasty. And hey, my oral dexterity hasn't been this remarkable since the last year I umpired and had a sunflower seed habit, so I guess that's something. [Swoon at the possibilities, ladies!]
 
While I prepare to make the switch over to apples, and then to grapefruits later in the season, you can take solace in knowing this PreRamble is -- much like watermelon season -- finally over. Here's what happened on RAW:

 
Freeze-frame montage of highlights from last night's PPV, to get you caught up to speed, if you didn't see it, and for some reason, didn't read the recap. And then we're live in Orlando, FL, where Cole & the Gang welcome us, and tell us what's on tap: a victory celebration for Randy Orton, an explanation from Shawn Michaels, and a CM Punk/Ryback match where the fans will pick the stip (Street Fight, Falls Count Anywhere, or Tables Match). But before we get to that, the new World Heavyweight Champ is.... wait for it... wait for it... HERE!
 
JOHN CENA IS PRETTY IN PINK (and Gold)
 
I still say Cena didn't rush back because he wanted to win WWE's B-title. He came back because he really loves boobies, and he didn't want to be left out of the Breast Cancer Month that he, himself, helped create last year. He had all the pink gear manufactured, and he didn't want it to sit and rot, dammit! He even (unlike everyone else with custom pink gear) got a new pink-tinged TitanTron video and b-roll.
 
But alas, no matter how good of a guy Cena is in real life, a lot of us still hate the superman routine, so the crowd greets him with the traditional mixed reaction. Cena plays into it, sarcastically asking if we missed him much, and letting them have their fun with the "Let's Go Cena"/"Cena Sucks" chants.
 
Then he launched into a retelling of the story of his return (already told in the series of over-the-top/too-goody-goody-to-be-true cell phone vidoes), and how all the nay-sayers and negative energy (especially from JBL) just drove him to come back faster and better than ever.
 
He's excited to bring prestige back to the WHT, he's excited to be headed back to SmackDown every week, he's excited to be headed to Europe on the tour next month.... he's just excited. And it shows, as he's using that really annoying Fake Intense Voice that is not how a real person would talk in this situation. The material calls for the dial to be set at 4, maybe 5. And Cena's got it cranked to about 17. Oh well...
 
He closes with some attempted new catchphrases, bellowed in a shouty voice. I think he's trying to make "We Run Strong" into A Thing, but doesn't that sound more like a Rocky-ism? Whatever... he hits the "punchline," and pauses...
 
And that's when Damien Sandow appears. He heads to the ring, showing off his classy leather MitB Briefcase, as the announcers wonder if this means we're getting a cash in.
 
Sandow gets a mic, and says he knows Cena is hurt far worse than he's letting on, because no one could return from triceps surgery as fast as he did. And now, Cena's putting on the loud shouty confident front for only one reason: because he's terrified of Sandow. So he's hiding his weakness in hopes that Sandow won't cash in.
 
But Sandow sees right through him, and maybe he'll cash in tonight. The crowd goes ape poopy at the thought, and Cena's like "OK, bring it on." But Damien gives a pregnant pause before dropping the other shoe: "Or maybe I'll do it any other time besides tonight, you lemmings!" Crowd groans, and Sandow tells Cena he'll use his powers of intellect to pick a spot when Cena is vulnerable, and not a moment sooner. And then he bids him Good Day. He said GOOD DAY, sir!
 
Sandow begins exiting the ring, and Cena just sort of throws his hands up in frustration and walks away...
 
Which is when Sandow whips around and blasts Cena from behind with the MitB Briefcase. Then he plasters Cena with it about a dozen times, right on his injured elbow, until the briefcase literally falls apart in his hands. Sandow hauls Cena outside the ring, and rams his arm into the ring post, then the ring steps. Then he grabs a chair and does a sort of one-man-con-chair-to, using the ring steps as the base.
 
As Cena writhes in pain, Sandow hops back in the ring and gathers up the remians of his briefcase, and declares he is, indeed, cashing in tonight, afterall. A ref appears, and we'll get the match started after these...
 
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JOHN CENA vs. DAMIEN SANDOW (World Heavyweight Title Match)
 
We come back, and they're playing up the "the cash-in can't start until the champ is on his feet" thing, so the bell rings just as we return. We're told Cena struggled to even make it into the ring, and the ringside doctor advised him against the match, but Cena refused to forfeit his title without putting up a fight.
 
Out of the gate, it's all arm offense, all the time, by Sandow. Armbars, arm wringers, hammerlocks, single-arm DDTs, simply punching or kicking Cena in the arm, you name it. But hurting Cena's arm doesn't negate his ability to kick out, so Sandow's pinfall attempts are thwarted at 2. Finally, Cena manages to catch a charging Sandow with a back drop, and Sandow's in a heap at ringside, while Cena tries to shake life back into his arm.
 
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Back, and we're once again treated to Sandow destroying Cena's left arm with anything he can think of. I hesitate to call it "the standard mid-match beatdown segment" because it's really been going on since the start. But Cena's doing a great job with his hope spots, and the crowd is definitely into it (whether cheering or booing him)...
 
Specifically, I ragged on Cena hard in the PPV recap, because the story of the match was del Rio injuring his arm, but whenever Cena hit one of his moves, he'd use the "injured" arm as if nothing was wrong, and only go back to selling it once his hope spots were over. Not so tonight! Cena started by trying to do his regular offense, but sold it like it hurt his arm even worse. So then, he was clearly trying to do offense that didn't require the bad arm.
 
Finally, when he started his for-real comeback, he was down to doing moves one-armed. So seriously: 10 out of 10 to Cena for fixing the one glaring issue with his PPV match. The fans were noticeably more vocal and involved tonight, and I think the enhanced storytelling of the bad arm is why.
 
So, where were we? Oh yeah, Cena begins his for real comeback, with a desperation one-armed F-U. He didn't quite get enough of it, and Sandow kicks outs to a loud, surprised cheer. Cena goes for the SSTF, but has to release it, because his injured arm can't stand it. Sandow gets up, and realizes Cena may be on the ropes, and after a quick double-reversey, he hits his new finisher (the "You're Welcome" full nelson slam). Only 2.
 
Sandow tries to follow with a Crippler Crossface, but Cena is able to power out, and gets separation with a sweet new move that was sort of a backflip-into-a-Rude-Awakening. Desperation is the mother of invention, and all. Cena got greedy, though, and went up top, and whiffed on a flying crossbody.
 
Sandow with his old finisher (the Terminus). Only a 2. Then Sandow's the one who appears to be getting desperate, as he hoists Cena up in Piledriver position. Didn't anyone tell him that's BANNED~!??? It's a moot point, though, as Cena shifts his weight, and counters directly into a second F-U, this time, using about 1.5 arms. And this time, it's enough to finish the job.
 
Your Winner, and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena, via pinfall, in about 15 minutes. As Damien Sandow's biggest fan, yes, I was miffed at the finish, and the fact that he's now on the shortlist of failed MitB winners. But hey, his only company on that list is Cena himself, so that bodes well, right? RIGHT?!? Yeah, I'm having a hard time convincing myself, too... but the truth is, that was a damned awesome match, and probably a net win for Sandow as long as WWE builds on it. Sandow's character is one such that his response to losing his one guaranteed shot is more interesting than if he'd won the match, and was suddenly the utterly-random WHC (especially if he'd just have to lose the title back to Cena in the obligatory rematch). So we'll see on Friday how they follow up... meantime, a really good match that told a super simple story, but told it well. As noted above, Cena deserves a lot of credit for that, as he addressed the problem from the night before in outstanding fashion.
 
Backstage: a shaky-cam address from The Shield. It seems Dean Ambrose is being forced into a US Title rematch against Big E. Langston tonight... but that's OK, he's ready. Rollins and Reigns say that Big E. talked his way into an impromptu match, and caught them by surprise, but not tonight. Then, an odd tag: Ambrose says "I'm the only member of the Shield still holding a title. That makes me the baddest man in the WWE. Believe THAT!" And Reigns gives him a "The Hell?" look, then turns back to the camera, and gives an extra emphatic "Believe. In the SHIELD." OMG, DISSENSION~!
 
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DEAN AMBROSE (w/ Rollins/Reigns) vs. BIG E. LANGSTON (US Title Match)
 
Langston just dominates from the start, and about a minute in, he's actually set up for the big running Warrior-style splash... but Reigns reaches up and pulls the top rope down, and Big E. crashes to the floor. Rollins and Reigns put the boots to Langston, as the ref calls for the bell.
 
Your Winner: Big E. Langston, via DQ, in 90 seconds. Ambrose retains, and so the world turns, with Langston having a case as rightful US Champ.
 
After the Match: the Usos came out to stop the 3-on-1 beating, and predictably, GM Brad Maddox appeared, and ordered a six-man tag match. Right now. Except, you know the deal: it's never right now. It's always after these...
 
[ads]
 
BIG E. LANGSTON & THE USOS vs. THE SHIELD
 
We join the match in progress... also in progress, Ricky Uso as the face in peril. The Shield work their magic, and keep the ring cut in half for about 3 minutes, before Uso tagged his brother.
 
House o' fire gives way to a Pier Sixer when Reigns has to come in and break up a pinfall on Rollins. Big E. and Ambrose powder out when Langston hits a hard clothesline that sends both tumbling to the floor. The Usos have Rollins in their sights, and drop him with a stereo superkick that sends him out of the ring.
 
But what they didn't realize is that Reigns had blind tagged himself in... when the Usos turn around, Reigns nails them both with a wicked double spear. He picks the legal Uso, and makes the cover.
 
Your Winners: the Shield, in about 5 minutes (after being joined in progress). The length kept it from really making an impression, but as I've said a dozen times by now: these guys (Usos and Shield) have chemistry out the yin-yang, and it's not like Big E. upset that. Very crisp and surprising final spot, too.
 
Of note: Ambrose celebrated about 10% too hard with his title belt, drawing another annoyed glance from Reigns. I hereby vote against breaking up the Shield at his point, if anyone's counting.
 
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SHAWN MICHAELS EXPLANATIONING THEATRE
 
HBK heads to the ring, to a surprisingly mixed reaction. I expected some boos, but I thought most fans would give the benefit of the doubt to a legend until he did something more pro-actively evil.
 
Anyway, Michaels starts talking, and sure enough, he's as apologetic as can be. But he wants to do this right. He wants to do it face to face, so he asks Daniel Bryan to come out. Bryan complies, with some muted YES!es, but mostly looking grumpy and suspicious.
 
Shawn says Daniel has to know that what happened at the PPV was NOT something planned. Shawn was calling the match down the middle, and then all hell broke loose. Shawn got knocked down, and the first thing he sees when he gets back up is Bryan attacking Triple H. And whether the fans like it or not, HHH is still HBK's best friend, and seeing that happen just caused instinct to kick in, and that's why he superkicked Bryan.
 
HBK says he's not asking Bryan to fully understand it, he's certain not expecting Bryan's forgiveness, but he just wanted to put his cards on the table, and at least ask Bryan to accept his apology. [Huh, to me, "forgiveness" and "accept an apology" are the same thing. But I'll let it slide.]
 
Shawn extends his hand, and Bryan ponders whether to shake it. After the crowd votes NO!, Bryan shakes his head. Shawn is miffed, and is all "C'mon, if nothing else, consider this the final step of the training I gave you 10 years ago. Here at this level, anything can happen, and you can't trust anybody. You don't have to like what happened last night, but you can learn from it, and I know you will. Shake?"
 
Bryan again determines that the crowd's NO! vote is the right choice, and Michaels suddenly flips out, screaming, "Look, I've spent the last 7 months defending you, and saying you were getting shafted by the company. They say you're a B-plus player, and I don't know if you are, and I didn't really care, because I believed in you. But let me tell you something, I am and always will be A-plus, and dammit, if nothing else, you will show me the respect I deserve. Now shake my hand!"
 
The crowd is booing like mad. Amazing. Bryan is so red hot, he can get an audience to unanimous turn against pretty much the best wrestler ever. I mean, Shawn helped by really heeling it up there, but it's usually really hard for our most beloved legends to goose a heel reaction out of us.
 
Bryan, however, has got a look in his eye. HBK might have touched a nerve there, or something. Bryan finally does slowly reach out and shake Michaels' hand... and then he pulls him down and slaps on the YES! Lock.
 
Now, the fans go wild with cheers. Michaels' tries momentarily to escape, but then just starts tapping like mad. The cheers get even louder. A phalanx of refs appears and gets Bryan to break the hold, sparking a few NO! chants.... but as Bryan retreats up the ramp, they are replaced with "You tapped out!" chants directed at Michaels. Bryan seems pretty pleased.
 
Obviously, this segment gets one salivating for a possible Michaels Unretirement for a match against Bryan... but I honestly believe HBK intends to stay retired. So I just enjoyed this for what it was: a way to keep Bryan/HHH viable for a while (while HHH is likely to be busy with Big Show), and a way to showcase Bryan in a huge way (as the clear-cut "winner" over one of the greatest of all time) after he failed to win the WWE Title. Works for me.
 
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Backstage: Renee Young is about to interview Bryan, but only gets about 4 words into her first question when she sees something unsettling off to one side, and runs away. Screen goes black, with the sheep face single frame, and then Bryan's getting his ass kicked by Harper and Rowan.
 
The 2-on-1 is brutal enough, but it becomes 3-on-1 when Bray emerges from the shadows to hit a modified Sister Abigail (into a steel gate, instead of to the floor). He turns to the camera and says, "The devil made me do it." Then he runs a crate-on-wheels into Bryan's face.
 
Interesting. Who is the Devil? And why did he pick now to have the Wyatts stop dicking around with Miz, and finally do something important?
 
LOS MATADORES (w/ El Torito) vs. 3MB (Handicap Match)
 
So the culminaton of the Matadores/3MB best of 17 death feud is this: a 3-on-2 handicap match. Whee?
 
Pure comedy, with Slater brandishing a big fish net. After about 90 seconds of something vaguely resembling a match, Slater started chasing El Torito with the net, it backfired, Slater got gored in the butt, and the distraction allowed the Matadores to hit the double backdrop suplex finisher.
 
Your Winners: Los Matadores, via pinfall, in 3 minutes, tops. I almost thought this was gonna be something when 3MB actually got their full ring entrance for the first time in forever. But nope. 
 
[ads]
 
THE BELLA TWINS vs. AJ LEE/TAMINA SNUKA
 
Story here is that Brie's mind is elsewhere, because she's worried about her fiancee, Daniel Bryan, who has been taken to the hospital. This is how she almost instantly becomes your face in peril.
 
Lady Diesel is doing all the heavy lifting, while AJ lounges in the corner and a satisfied smirk on her face. Then, after about 2 minutes, hot tag to Nikki, who is all fired up. A little TOO fired up. She charges Tamina, Tamina moves, and for the second night in a row, the Bellas collide.
 
Nikki stumbles back, and gets a Samoan Drop. AJ asks to be tagged in, and Tamina complies. One Black Widow later, and we're done here.
 
Your Winners: AJ and Tamina, via submission, in about 3 minutes. Quick and to the point... unfortunately, I'm growing more and more convinced that "the point" is going to be a feud between the Bellas because somebody thinks that'd be fun for the "reality" show.
 
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KANE vs. MIZ
 
Kane destroys Miz in 60 seconds. Seriously, Miz got nothing.
 
Your Winner: Kane, via pinfall, in less than a minute. Poor, poor Miz. No, wait... I mean: ah, Miz, that's just about right. Go away for a bit, and come back as a heel, you magnificently smarmy bastard!
 
After the Match: Kane grabs a mic, and makes an odd request... he wants to talk to Stephanie McMahon. Huh.
 
Steph finally comes out, but is definitely cautious. She says she'll just stand up on the stage, an dkeep her distance, if that's OK. Kane says sure it is. Because what he wants to say is that Steph has shown her true colors lately: she's self-centered, manipulative, ruthless, and power-mad. Steph channels her dad for a Gulp of Fear. But then Kane reveals, "But hey, in this day and age, those traits are good for business." Steph now smiles a nervous half-smile.
 
"And that's why I've decided: Stephanie, the Monster is yours to unleash." I bet that's an offer she's had made to her before. BA-ZINGA~! But coming from Kane, it's decided more creepy than naughty. As Kane starts making his way up the ramp to Steph, she's still mostly confused. But then Kane stops next to her... and removes his mask/wig, and hands it to her.
 
Kane leaves (his back to the camera, so we don't ever see his face), and Steph's face goes from confused to smugly proud. Kane just granted her SOME kind of power. We may not be sure what, but more power is always good, if you're a McMahon.
 
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WWEShop dot com Hype: same live insert as last week with R-Truth, but this week, it's the Prime Time Players. I guess this is now an on-going thing where various WWE personalities will be vying for most shopzone sales. Aaaaaaannnnnndddd, this is officially the last time I'm recapping one of these bits.
 
Legal Analysis: Hey, it's David Otunga! He's been tapped by the announcers to discuss the lawsuit Big Show has filed against WWE. Via satellite, Otunga says he's looked it over, and it's serious. Show has a strong case, and it could cost WWE millions, and might even cost the McMahons ownership of the company. And there you have Vince's reason for returning to TV to oppose HHH. I guess.
 
Poll Results: CM Punk makes his full ring entrance, and takes a moment to remind us that, last night, he finished Paul Heyman for good. And tonight, he'll do the same to Ryback. And then he stands by while Jerry Lawler gets up in the ring to reveal the stipulation for our next match... it'll be a Street Fight (in a landslide, no less). Huh, I would have put my money on Tables Match.
 
[ads]
 
CM PUNK vs. RYBACK (Street Fight)
 
Ryback, feuled by righteous rage over what Punk did to Heyman, comes out strong, overpowering Punk at every turn. About 2 minutes in, the match spills outside, and Ryback immediately goes looking under the ring. And comes up with a table.
 
So I guess I wasnt the only one who sort of assumed that'd be the stip, huh?
 
As tends to happen, the time wasted moving furniture around allows the other guy to recover, so Punk stages a comeback, and wound up setting up the table himself. After a few teases, Punk nailed Ryback with a roundhouse kick, and Reyback awkwardly fell on top of the table in a manner that was so fake and obvious that the crowd started grumbling.
 
You could sort of see it in Punk's eyes that he wanted to do an extra move to make Ryback-laid-out-on-the-table less phoney, but ultimately went straight to the finish: a Macho Man Elbow through the table. But since it's not a tables match (ahem), he then slapped on the Anaconda Vice for good measure.
 
Your Winner: CM Punk, via submission, in 4 minutes. Surprisingly quick and decisive. I guess the rumors about Ryback being in the political dog house are true, because that's 3 losses to Punk, no more Heyman, and no traction for anything moving forward. Unless they want to bring back his brief run as tender, loving Daytime Ladies TV Ryback. Which I would support.
 
After the Match: the lights went out, and the lantern went on. The Wyats are here. They made a slow stroll to the ring, while Punk armed himself with a kendo stick. But one man with a kendo stick was no match for two men. Harper and Rowan attack, and beat the crap out of Punk.
 
Bray then enters the ring, and hits the Sister Abigail. And once again, he finds the nearest camera and again says, "The devil made me do it."

So... in one night, the Wyatts take out both of WWE's biggest non-Cena stars, completely out of left field, with only the mysterious reference to the Devil. Big upgrade for them. Part of me knows WWE has a way of screwing the pooch on pay-offs to these things. The other part doesn't care, because getting Punk and Bryan suddenly crammed together into the same storyline cannot be a bad thing. Ever.
 
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CODY RHODES & GOLDUST vs. THE REAL AMERICANS (w/ Zeb Colter) (Non-Title Match)
 
Well, I guess the "Brotherhood" experiment is already over; that name was not used once on RAW to describe the Rhodesses, after being used on the PPV. Oh well.
 
But whatever you call them, they were dominant in the early moments, leading Jack Swagger to decide he'd had enough of this happy crappy. He bails out, and the heels hold a conference outside the ring, while the good guys admire their handiwork, and we use the break in the action to watch some....
 
[ads]
 
Back, and Swagger's got complete control over Cody. Swaggerbomb/Leapfrog Stomp combo brings Cesaro into the ring for various feats of manliness, including suplexing Cody, with Cody clearly playing deadweight, instead of helping. Elevation Uppercut, and the situation is so dire that Goldust comes in and breaks up the fall.
 
By which I mean: he distracted the ref, so the Real Americans could get in about 10 seconds of illegal double-teaming. Ahhhh, the classics. Everything old is new again!
 
Cody's finally able to make the hot tag to Goldust, who has the crowd whipped up into a frenzy, as he goes to town on Swagger. He punctuates a standard "mount and punch on the turnbuckle" with an inhaling nipple rub before the 10th one, to great acclaim.
 
When Goldust goes up top for his twisting crossbody, however, Swagger catches him and rolls through, ending up with an ankle lock. Cody makes the save, and Cesaro gets involved, and in the chaos Cody's taken out, Cesaro distracts Goldust, and Swagger hits a quick chopblock and locks in the Patriot Act a second time. And it's the charm.
 
Your Winners: the Real Americans, via submission, in 12 minutes. Nice little match. There's more than a bit of cognitive dissonance when you ask us to take Swagger and Cesaro seriously as contenders when they just jobbed to a midget in a bull suit at the PPV.... but a match of this quality helps the medicine go down.
 
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Hey, Don't Forget Alberto: So Alberto del Rio comes out on the stage, with a Mexican flag, and basically says that John Cena is a thief, and he'll regain the World Title when he gets his obligatory rematch. Thanks for the update, Berty.
 
[Since we talked about it in both recaps last week, I'll also report that there was no other value-add during this whole commercial-to-commercial segment. Lengthy "earlier tonight" about Cena/Sandow, hype for the videogame, hype for Cena returning to SmackDown, and that's it. And Alberto's promo was so by-the-numbers that it should barely count as a value add. Boo, WWE, boo. Another upwards-of-10 minutes, consecutively, that invite the fast-foward finger.]
 
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NATALYA (w/ Khali and Hornswoggle) vs. SUMMER RAE (w/ Fandango)
 
Nattie entered to Khali's music because I don't know why. Then, once the match started, Summer jumped out to the early advantage, proving that last night's PPV showing (and the past few months of NXT performances) are no fluke. She's really pretty halfway decent in the ring. Punctuating her moveset with plenty of prancing and dancing rounds things out with an abundence of personality, too.
 
Nattie made her comeback about 4 minutes in, and Fandango tried to intercede. But Hornswoggle pulled him off the ring apron. When Fandango started threatening the little guy, Khali came to the rescue and judo chopped Fandango into oblivion.
 
The distracted Summer, and she started shouting at Khali. WHen she turned around.... well, when she turned around, Nattie wasn't quite in position yet, so Summer had the presence of mind to go back to yelling at Khali. Veteran save by the girl in (alledgedly) her second match. Then she turned back to Nattie a second time, and immediately got a double leg takedown, and a Sharpshooter.
 
Your Winner: Natalya, via submission, in about 5 minutes. Certainly can't complain about this one. Summer's already as good as Stacey Kiebler ever was (and she even uses about half of Stacey's moveset because legs), and will only get better.
 
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CAN A FIRED MAN BE #1 CONTENDER? SIGNS POINT TO YES! YES! YES!
 
So we've got the entire roster assumbled on the stage (Curtis Axel sighting, in wrestling gear, so he can't be THAT injured), with the Shield guarding the ring... and here come Triple H and Steph.
 
They make it to the ring, and Hunter takes us on a stroll down memory lane. Ten years ago, he was pondering "Who will be the future face of WWE?" and he selected Randy Orton to join him in a little group called Evolution. And it was a rocky road, Orton had ups and downs, and he even became a thorn in HHH's side. But over time, he matured, and went from HHH's creation, a Frankenstein's Monster, if you will, and because the true A-Plus Player that he is today.
 
So HHH is proud and happy to introduce us to the NEW WWE Champion, and Face of WWE.... Randy Orton. Orton hits the ring, and milks the moment by asking for a big, cheesy group hug with HHH and Steph. Steph takes a turn on the mic, saying he's not their (hers and HHH's) champ, he's everybody's champion. He's the fans' champion (NO! NO! NO!), and he's the champion of every guy up on the stage. Randy Orton is what they should all aspire to be.
 
There appears to be a dearth of agreement on this particular issue.
 
Orton then took the mic, and did the most simplistic of boasting. He's the champion, so that means he's the best. He's better then all of you fans. And he's better then all of you superstars. Yes, "then," because he's Randy Orton, and you're not!
 
After that "burn" on the entire roster, Big Show's music hits. Steph immediately starts shrieking that the roster should keep Show from making it to the ring, but instead, they part like the Red Sea. The Shield move to intercept Show on the ramp, but Cody/Goldust and the Usos come running down to help. As the Shield gets drawn up the ramp into a 20-on-3 scrum, Show slowly enters the ring, with  s shit-eating grin on his face.
 
Orton, HHH, and Steph bail out. Show grabs a mic, and directly addresses the McMahons (Orton has disappeared from view), saying "You think you took everything from me? Well good, because now I have nothing. I have literally nothing to lose." He says he'll go to jail, he'll do whatever is mandated by the restraining order and HHH's own vindictiveness, but he's never gonna stop being a thorn in HHH's side. Including the lawsuit. He says he looks forward to bankrupting HHH.
 
And that's when Randy Orton sneaks up from behind Big Show, and hits him with the title belt. Show is stunned and stumbles back into the turnbuckles, where Orton is set to hit him again. But as soon as Orton steps into range, Orton blasts him with the WMD. The champ is down.
 
HHH got up on the apron, and teased facing off against Show, but Steph talked him down. The crowd booed HHH's lack of balls, but cheered when Show's music fired up, and he celebrated over Orton's carcass as we fade to black.
 
And so ends the show. Certainly an action-packed one, too. Cash ins, Wyatt attacks, unmaskings, not to mention a pair of good matches.
 
I'm like most of you: I really like Sandow and Bryan, and seeing the titles stay on Cena and Orton seems less than satsifying. But on this night, I still think Sandow won by losing (assuming WWE follows through), and the final segment made me feel like Orton vs. Show will work as an establishing feud for Orton's title reign. The crowd was red-hot for it, and Orton can use that to build his credibility without ever once actually beating Bryan cleanly (which is also a good thing).
 
Elevation of the Wyatts into something interesting? Another good thing, although I underscore the (reasonable) concerns that WWE has a shaky history of paying off on these mystery angles
 
At this point, I could see WWE going any number of different ways at Survivor Series. They even have enough intertwined issues that they could do TWO 5-on-5 traditional matches, if they wanted, with Show/Rhodesses/Usos vs. Orton/Shield/TBA and then Bryan/Punk vs. Wyatts forming the foundation of a second one. And you still have ADR/Cena as a third marquee match.
 
Lots of options, and I'm certainly looking forward to how things play out. That, my friends, is what happens when you deliver Sustainable Episodic Television. Let's call that RAW an A-minus.


  
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
 
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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RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
 
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: Anvil, or Red Herring?
 
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RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
 
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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
 
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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