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A Night of Many Happenings (plus One Awesome Match)
November 18, 2013

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


A few weeks ago, I heartily recommended a new show called @midnight, and then quickly regretted it. The two shows after my recommendation kinda sucked balls.
Looks like I'll wind up on the right side of history here, anyway. After it's 4 week test run, the show crushed all other cable late night show in the slot (like Chelsea Lately and the Guy After Conan), and got a full one-year order.


Oh, and after the two sucky episodes, they were back to being pretty much hilarious. The lesson: avoid panels with 2 or more not-that-funny people. Otherwise, the show's gold.
@midnight, returning to Comedy Central in January, weeknights at (duh) midnight. I'M DOUBLING DOWN~!
Here's what happened on RAW.

Video recap for the ADD crowd, and we're live in Nashville, TN, for a special country music theme night, complete with some replacement theme song by some band I've never heard of. I enjoy me some old school country, or even a twang of country in some genuine rock 'n' roll, but for the love of god, kill me if this shittily produced pop music performed by people with heavy southern autotuned drawls is what I'll have to sit through all night...

I digress. Triple H and Stephanie are headed to the ring, so let's get to it.


HHH opens by registering disappointment in what happened last week on RAW, and further pointing out that it's all the proof anybody ever needs how vital they are to a successful episode of RAW. Steph agrees, and says she's all rested after a great vacation, and can't wait to get back to business.

HHH starts talking about chastising the Brad Maddoxes and Vickies of the world, when Randy Orton interrupts.

Orton is in super-angry mode, as he declares, "You can pass the blame on to whoever you want, but just to be clear: I blame YOU." He says they left ingrates in charge, and the WWE champion doesn't deserve to be put in such a dangerous environment.  He deserves to be protected.

Things actually get a little heated between HHH and Orton, leading to this classic exchange:
HHH: "Just who do you think you are talking to?"
Orton: "The WWE Champion and Face of this company."
So Orton thinks HHH is the WWE Champ? And some of you get mad at me for calling him a Mantard.... actually, before we go any further, I actually figure HHH is the one who flubbed this line. If he'd said "Just who do you think you are?" It makes perfect sense, and I bet that's who it was written. In today's ham-handed, over-scripted WWE, Orton wasn't coming up with his own comeback, there. It was written for him; HHH just screwed the set-up. I think. Either way, it's another cautionary tale about how all this scripting sucks, and it'd be better if you had guys talking, listening, and actually interacting spontaneously, instead of just reading lines. Even if said lines make them look like a dumdum head. Well, moreso than usual.
I digress. Before anything really interesting can come of HHH/Orton's staredown, they are interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox.

Remaining at the top of the ramp, Vickie says she's really sorry, but she thought she was giving the fans a great match last week. Then she passes the mic to Maddox, who says, "This is tough, but I gotta man up and tell you...... itsallvickiesfault." Laughs, and eventually a huge 'YES!" chant from the crowd.

HHH lets them get it out of their system, and then declares that he's going to put each of them into a match tonight. Vickie will face AJ later on... and right now, Maddox -- dressed as-is -- can come on down to the ring and face his opponent, Randy Orton. Oh, and it's No-DQ.
Maddox tries to slink off, but "Director of Operations" Kane starts dragging him to the ring. Before we start that match, let's break for....


BRAD MADDOX vs. RANDY ORTON (Non-Title, No-DQ Match)

Orton's the cat, Maddox is the mouse. Maddox gets about 30 seconds of surprise offense when Orton chases him into the timekeeper's pod, and Maddox whaps him with a microphone.

Then Orton resumed control, and mindlessly beat the crap out of Maddox until the ref stopped the match. Whee.

Your Winner: Randy Orton, via ref stoppage, in 3 minutes. Not exactly thrilling, but after last week, it serves the purpose of putting Orton in a setting where he can dominate and remind us that he's the poster boy for mental health issues.


Backstage: Brad Maddox is being stretchered into an ambulance. Vickie watches from a distance, and is clearly scared for her own well-being.


Full boxing style ring intros to lend this a Big Match Feel.  Well, as big as a Curtis Axel match can feel.

Langston wins the early exchanges with power, and Axel starts begging off. Langston just keeps tracking him down and administering more beatings until Axel lures Langston towards the ropes, and manages to pull him -- throat-first -- across the top rope.

Axel pounces with a few more stomps and kicks. Langston's down, and Axel's pausing to admire his handiwork, so we pause for....


Back, and Axel's working a chinlock. For about 10 seconds. Then Big E. powers out... but it's not a full-fledging comeback, and Axel catches him with a nice dropkick, and resumes the offensive. After a few moves, Axel settles in with a front facelock for a bit.
Langston powers out of that, and now it IS a comeback... flurry of moves, leading up to the running Warrior-style Splash. But Axel kicks out. Quick double reverse-y as Axel escapes the Big Ending, and Langston escapes the neckbreaker... but then Langston hits that big Engulfening Tackle of his. Straps down. This time, the Big Ending hits.
Your Winner, and NEW InterContinental Champion: Big E. Langston, via pinfall, in 8 minutes. Not exactly a thrilling match, but once it got to the end, and you felt the title change coming, it definitely morphed into a fun, big moment.

Backstage: Orton and the Shield are watching Langston celebrate on a monitor, and Orton says that won't repeat on Sunday, because the WWE Champ is going to retain his title. Because he knows he can count on the Shield to have his back. The nonchalant assumption is countered by Ambrose, who says, "If that's what the Authority want, then that's what they'll get." For the second week in a row, Orton is struck hard with the realization that he holds zero sway over the Shield...



All the divas on the roster are in the ring, and Lawler sets the stage for a game of musical chairs. The song for the game is going to be the same as the Temporary Theme Song from earlier, which Lawler claims is on pace to become the most downloaded song of all time. Which proves conclusively that society should just go pop off and shoot itself in the head.

Nattie got eliminated. JBL called this the stupidest thing ever. The crowd started losing interest. Alicia Fox got eliminated. It broke down into a  12 diva brawl next time the music stopped, which officials had to break up. Dumb to the nth degree, and now I fear a 6-on-6 Survivor Series Elimination Match.

Awful on every level. Well, except the "Kaitlyn in cut-off jean shorts" level.



Ryback actually wins the first tie-up. But Show wins the second, and he follows up, instead of gloating. Show backs Ryback into a corner, and starts a series of the ShhhhhhhhhH! Chops.

Ryback finally turns the tables with a chop block. WIth Show down, Ryback peppers him with stomps and punches, and does whatever he can to prevent show from getting to his feet again. This requires many headlocks and chinlocks, apparently.

Show powers out of one of these, and gets a few moves in before Ryback hits him with a spinebuster out of nowhere. A few more moves, and Ryback hoists Show up for Shellshock... and he hits it!!!???!!

But Show kicks out.

Ryback ponders what he needs to do, and settles on a vertical suplex. BUt Show shoves him off into the ropes, and when Ryback bounces back. Show catches him with the WMD.
Your Winner: Big Show, via pinfall, in 8 minutes. No real flow or anything like that. But a few big spots, to be sure. Watching Ryback Shellshock Show is obviously not something you'll see every day.

After the Match: Orton tries to sneak attack Show, but instead gets his ass handed to him.

Backstage: the band who did the theme song for tonight's RAW is hanging out when 3MB show up, in yet another persona ("the Rhinestone Cowboys"). "Hilarity" ensues.


Backstage: Orton is icing his ribs, all while randomly shouting about they did it again. He wants to know where the Shield were, and he wants to know what the Authority are gonna do about it. So, ummmmm, because you ran in on Big Show and it backfired, this is all the Shield's fault? Even by Orton's low standards, that's pretty poorly thought through.


Straight formula: Miz settles in as face in peril, hot tag to Kofi, very nice house o' fire bit.

Then, deviation: Swagger snuffs out the rally, and Kofi looks for the tag... but Miz gives him the ol' short-arm, before finally just jumping back off the apron. As Miz shows off a shit eating grin, Kofi gets locked in the Patriot Act.

Your Winners: the Real Americans, via submission, in 4 minutes. Not much of a match, really, but hey, the story here is that Miz is a heel again. WHich is just what the doctor ordered.

Backstage:  Vickie Guerrero is scheming.... she starts screaming in fear, then slumps down onto the floor. When officials and trainers swarm, she keeps feigning unconsciousness, clearly trying to get out of her match against AJ.


Backstage: Vickie's about to be stretchered to an ambulance, when Stephanie intercepts, and says that they can take Vickie to the hospital... right after they take her to the ring, because she's such a faker!


Vickie is still strapped to the gurney as she's rolled to the ring. Then, once she's unstrapped, she fake "feints" again. She gets a bottle of water, and recovers well enough to try escaping, but Tamina puts an end to that.

As soon as Vickie's back in the ring, AJ fake-pals-up to her, and Vickie buys it... then AJ cinches in the Black Widow. Not pals.

Your Winner: AJ, via submission, in 2 minutes flat. Yeah, so that happened. Why? I dunno. But it did.

Backstage: HHH has called Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler to his office, and he has a proposal for them... they each keep asking for more opportunity, so why not face each other tonight? And why not pull out all the stops? HHH suggests it should be called a "Broadway Brawl," and he just KNOWS Sandow and Ziggler will make beautiful music together.



So, HHH's vision for the match involves filling the ring with musical instruments, including several guitars, a drum kit, and even a big fancy stand-up bass.

Sandow's the first to try a weapon, usiing an electric guitar as a weapon... but he whiffs, and the guitar splinters. Sandow goes for a second guitar, but lost it when Ziggler caugt him with a dropkick. Sandow finally had success when he used a keyboard as a weapon against Ziggler.

Ziggler in a heap, Sandow proud of himself. So we break for....


Back, and Sandow has brought an aura of legitimacy to this farce, as he's using a steel chair as a weapon. As he turns his back to prop it into a turnbuckle, Ziggler's able to strike.... after rattling off a few moves, Ziggler grabs a fiddle, and whaps Sandow with it. Only a two. Fameasser for good measure. Still only a two.

Only the drum kit and the bass are still available. Dolph decides he's got dibs on the drums. First, he uses the snare. Then, one of the floor toms. Then, with the tom still wrapped around Sandow's head, Dolph grabbed a guitar and el kabong'd Sandow.

Your Winner: Dolph Ziggler, via pinfall, in 8 minutes. Not a style of match that really maximizes your return out of these two, but whatever.... they still worked with it, and in the end, the final spot with an ensnared Sandow getting hit with a guitar was amusing enough.

Backstage: HHH and Steph are talking when Orton walks in, and once again voices his displeasure at the state of affairs. He says he just has to know: are they gonna man up and do their job on Sunday, and protect the WWE Champion? Steph says, "You know what? We're gonna have to think about that." Not the answer Randall was looking for. So he storms off in a huff.



So this is being billed as a revelation about Cena's battle-worthiness after the events of last Friday on SmackDown... he's got his arm in a sling, and everything, so it must be serious, right?

Sounds like one of the stronger pro-Cena crowds in recent memory. And Cena says he appreciates them. It's fans like this who drove his desire to get back to work as soon as he could... but now, with his arm in a sling, he wonders if he didn't rush things.

But nope, upon even further review -- with the angry shouty dial turned up to 17 -- Cena realizes this is the only place for him and it's home and he loves it and it's going to be an honor to wrestle on Sunday in front of all his friends and family (it's in Boston), and the biggest honor of all will be crushing ADR once and for all. THE CHAAAAAAAMMMMMMPPPPP IIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSS HHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

Del Rio's music hits, and he saunters out. Staying in the aisle, he and Cena trade opposing views, until del Rio gets all cocky and decides that if Cena's one-armed tonight, maybe he'll take advantage....

So Alberto gets into the ring, and tries to intimidate Cena into either leaving, or into facing him one-armed. Cena's not interested in either, so Alberto bum-rushes him... Cena immediately pulls off the sling (boy who cried wolf much, JonJon?), and fends off Alberto with ease.

Alberto decides chickenshittery is the better part of valor, so he retreats.

Next Week: Michael Strahan is coming to RAW. Pretend to care!


3MB are still in "Rhinestone Cowboy" gear, and based on Slater's more elaborate outfit, he's not wrestling. He'll play manager while McIntyre/Mahal do the heavy lifting.

They keep it basic, with Eggsavier getting a few flashy moves to start, before settling in as the Face in Peril. Hot tag to Truth, who cleans house, and then is nice enough to re-tag-in the rookie, so he can pick up the win with his signature moves, including the Honor Roll and Lost in the Woods.

Your WInners: Eggsavier Woods and R-Truth, via pinfall, in 3 minutes. Exciting match? Meh, not so much. Effective debut for Eggsavier Woods? Damned straight.

Backstage: HHH and Steph approach Orton, and say they've got his answers for him.... and their answer is that they really respect Orton and think he's a great champ, and that's exactly why there will be no Shield on Sunday. They want Orton to wow the fans and win them over by beating the Big Show all on his own. You can tell Orton's not pleased, but he also knows he can't make a big stink out of it without admitting that he thinks he'll lose Sunday.


Nothing Happens: yep, another one of those.... first a lengthy WM ticket launch package, then the house band playing tonight's theme song live and in person. Sort of. There were telltale signs that they just might be karaok'ing it, or at least playing to a backing track. What pros.



During entrances, we're informed that 7 of these 10 men will be involved in a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match on Sunday: the Shield and Real Americans will face Goldust/Cody/The Usos and a Mystery Partner. I'll take that.

Quick cycling through to start Uso vs. Ambrose, Uso vs. Reigns, Goldust vs. Reigns, Goldust vs. Rollins, Other Uso vs. Rollins.... but as soon as Harper decides to break the Shield-centrism by tagging himself in, things break down.

The Shield and Wyatts start bickering at ringside, so during this little break, we get some....


Back, and Goldust is working over Rollins with a modified mount-and-punch. We also get a shot of the Wyatts and Shield still not-quite-getting-along (Bray sort of seems to enjoy watching Rollins get his ass kicked).

But, as tends to happen, the bad guys do take over for a mid-match beatdown. In this case, Cody becomes the face in peril, and the Shield keep the tags among themselves for several minutes.

Harper again can't contain himself, and blind tags himself in. The immediate argument among the heels gives Cody all the time he needs to make the hot tag to Daniel Bryan.

Bryan's fire-up is mighty, but when the Shield start sending guys into the ring to help Harper, the interference finally adds up, and Bryan gets a RUDE powerbomb from Harper for his troubles.

Bryan is now a second face in peril, initially at the hands of the Wyatts. But then Bray makes a big display of graciously tagging Rollins into the match. A few moments later, it's repaid, as Ambrose elects to tag Rowan rather than one of his own guys. So YAY TEAMWORK~!

In fact, the teamwork is on full display when Bryan hits a quick dropkick and gets separation from Ambrose.... he's inching towards his corner, and the United Forces of Heeldom agree to swarm and take out the other corner.

WIth the good guys all dumped to the floor, and the ref corralling the bad guys, it's gonna take a few moments to restore order.... so we break for our final....


Back, and Bryan's back in the wrong corner, getting worked over by Rollins and Rowan. Then, Reigns tags in, and gets a few shots in.... but Bryan counters it into a DDT.

Hot tag to Punk, who is immediately en fuego, cleaning house on the entire heel team, leading up to a Macho Man Elbow on Ambrose (the legal man). Goes for the GTS, Bray with the save. Punk KO's Bray with a kick. Punk locks the Anaconda Vice on Ambrose. Rowan and Harper with the save. Usos with the counter, and it basic turns into a Pier 12 brawl that ends with the Usos hitting the stereo planchas onto just about everybody who isn't Punk or Ambrose.

The legal men jockey for position, and Punk's set for the GTS again, but Rollins makes the save. Bryan takes out Rollins, then coordinates with Punk.... and they hit a Hart Attack on Ambrose. Bryan takes a powder, the third time's the charm on the GTS, and we have a wiener!

Your WInners: Punk/Bryan/Goldust/Cody/Usos, via pinfall, in 26 minutes or so. Just tremendous on every level. But at this point, what else are we to expect from the guys involved? The extra interplay with the Shield and Wyatts added a nice subtext, and the End Game was as red hot as any in recent memory. Excellent, and yes, very youtube-worthy!

After the Match: the good guys were celebrating, when the Real Americans ran out to turn it into an 8-on-6 brawl... things looked bleak, until...


It's Rey Mysterio to the rescue, with all kinds of wacky make-em-ups, culminating in a double (619) on Harper and Swagger. Punk and Bryan clean up a few loose ends with a GTS and a Running Knee, respectively, and the good guys are standing tall again as we fade to black.
And so ends the show. Certainly another case of ending on an ultra-high note... a killer main event, and a red-hot post-match angle that brings back Rey Mysterio (presumably as the mystery partner for the 5-on-5). That was the whole final 30 minutes of the show, and it was just non-stop awesome sauce.
The rest of the show didn't have anything that scored points from a wrestling perspective, but damned if a New IC Champ was a rather pleasant little surprise. Not to mention the much-needed Miz heel turn. Even Eggsavier Woods' debut. [And yes, I'ma gonna keep spelling it that way. Even if you don't know why, THEY know why, and that's all that matters to me.]

Kudos to WWE for not forcing matters, too.... we all know that Orton/Show and all the McMelodrama will be the main event on Sunday. Hell, we even know that Cena's match is positioned as the semi-main event. But they knew that the material they had for those two stories tonight just could not match up with what the 12 guys in the main event could deliver.... so two mid-card PPV matches (Punk/Bryan vs. Wyatts and the new 5-on-5) headlined RAW, while the PPV headliners bided their time on the RAW undercard.
Made for a MUCH better show than if WWE had tried to put things in their "proper" spots tonight.
The whole country music deal (including a dozen or so different music video bumpers heading into ad breaks, plus the live band) was a bit much and got under my skin.... I think the best my Inner Pyro can do tonight is a B+. An A+ for the last 30 minutes. A plain ol' B for the other 2 and a half hours.
See you Sunday night for the Survivor Series Recap, kids!

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



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



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