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NO~! No! Oh, god, no....
May 12, 2014

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OOWrestling.com


I think I've mentioned it before that I'm one hell of a cook. I'm not much to look at, and enjoy being a bit of an asshole... so if I ever meet that one woman who makes me truly weak in the knees, I know full well that there's pretty much one thing I better showcase the hell out of, if I want to sell her on my worth as a mate, and it's the fact that I can't wait to stuff her mouth full of the most incredibly awesome stuff on a nightly basis.
And also: with the food that I know how to cook. [/halfentendre]

Anyhow, till that day, I get to practice my culinary skills on another woman at least once per year: my mom. Mother's Day dinner last night was something called "Steak Diane." I'd never heard of it, but my internetting suggests it was a dish that was popular in the Long Ago, when my parents would have been dating and hitting all kinds of swanky restaurants where Tableside Preparation was briefly A Thing. It's what Mom requested this year.
It's (thin, pan-seared) filets mignon with mushrooms that, for a brief period, are set on fire (thanks to the inclusion of brandy). Awesome! I got to combine my cooking skill with my more Beavis-y love of fire, and man alive was it ever a show! For whatever reason, I've never had reason to combine the two before (outside of the much smaller scale of setting a cocktail on fire), but the whole iron skillet was shooting up blue flames a good 3 feet high. Pretty sweet.

I know the fire itself adds nothing to the dish (other than the flair), so in the end, you can only really grade it on how it tasted. Still, as far as that goes, I give myself no less than a 17 out of 10, because filets and creamy mushroom yumyum will always be good, but I somehow made it even better than I was expecting.
Sometimes, I even impress myself. Last night was one of those times. [And yeah, I also got all reflective and shit, and remembered that for the first 3-and-a-half months of 2014 I had a feeding tube in me as I dealt with The Medical Unpleasantness, and wouldn't have been able to eat anything this rich and awesome. So I might have been enjoying and appreciating it a little something extra, but I assure you, it was just really, really good. I rule.]
It's not the thing you're here for, though, is it? [If it is, I'll provide the preparation -- which combined several online sources into a "Best Practices" version -- if you drop me an email.] No, the thing at which I rule, and that you're all jonsing for, is my mastery of the wrestling genre. So dig in, you hungry bastards:

Video Package for the Benefit of Those With ADD, and then we slam cut to the ring, where the Shield are already assembled.


Ambrose has the mic. He says last week, they got the crap kicked out of them, Yep, that happened. But it's a sight we shouldn't get used to. It's not something that has happened often in the past, and it's not gonna happen again any time soon.

Hand off to Rollins. The Shield is not running from Evolution, they are running towards them. They want more. They can't wait until Evolution arrives, because they (the Shield) will Hunt. Them. Down. Then there's awkwardness, and apparently Rollins forgot some of his lines, because after a pause and some muttering among the group, he backtracks, and does a spiel about how Evolution WERE the measuring stick for greatness. Past tense. But the present day has seen the Shield evolve (winkwink) into greatness. Honestly, the "hunt you down" thing was the real punchline, but then he just kept talking for whatever reason.

Now, it's time to hand off to Reigns, who says that after being beaten and bloodied, there was only one thing going through his mind: "That all you got?" He's back on his feet, and he's ready for more. "And you better believe that. You better believe..... IN ME."

Three months ago, we would have seen that as a surefire sign of dissension in the ranks. But today, Rollins and Ambrose both clap Reigns on the back, supporting his intensity and confidence, and the crowd cheers for it, too.

Then, the scene cuts to backstage, where a limo arrives. The scene plays out on the Titantron, as the Shield watch. When Evolution steps out, and start chatting with a production assistant, the Shield sprint up the ramp...

And arrive backstage, where Evolution is caught completely unaware. The Shield dominate a quick brawl, and then retreat. The announcers assure us that the "hunt" is, indeed, on.

And also, that RVD vs. Swagger is up next. By which they mean, after these....


ROB VAN DAM vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/ Zeb Colter)

Before the match, Zeb riles up the crowd with a rant about his Deportation List, and how the list was interrupted last Monday by an ingrate with a band of hippies. Zeb declares that a man who hangs out with a full-sized bunny has nothing to add to society, and better mind his own business. Or else.

Then, as soon as the bell rings, a trippy intro hits, and the Menagerie of Hipster Wangnozzles appears on the stage. When the main song hits, Adam Rose himself comes out and prances to the ring, where he does his stage dive/faith drop, makes a circle of the ring, and basically causes Swagger to be distracted.

When Swagger finally turns around to face RVD, he eats a spinkick and gets pinned.

Your Winner: Rob Van Dam, via pinfall, in about 60 seconds (5 seconds of actual action). After the match, Zeb and Swagger are furious, and RVD doesn't even mind when they play Rose's music, instead of his. Because, presumably, a guy who enjoys The Pot as much as Rob sees nothing alarming about anthropomorphic cheeseburgers and Tugboat impersonators materializing, uninvited, out of thin air.

Video Package: Paige overcame the odds and is the new Women's Champ. She has a message for us all: yeah, she's only 21, but we better not judge her based on her age, because she's been preparing for this moment for longer than she can even remember, and is ready to handle it. Ummmm, OK, so does this mean she's also insisting that I not focus on the fact that she isn't even old enough to have graduated  college (my usual cut-off-point for non-creepy lecherous appreciation) and has the outward appearance of a confused 16-year-old emo girl to boot, and just make peace with the fact that she still makes me happy in my dirty-old-man nether regions?


Coming Soon: Bo Dallas. How soon? We still don't know. I had heard it might be this Friday, but if so, they didn't include it in this hype package. If it's not, then it's Memorial Day at the soonest, since WWE never blows major debuts on half-assed pre-taped RAWs from Europe (well, Santino excepted, but that was for obvious reasons).

PAIGE vs. ALICIA FOX (Non-Title)

Hasn't this already happened? Like, twice, even?

To try to make it matter this time around, Alicia prefaces the match with a bitchy declaration that Paige doesn't fit in, none of the divas like her, and she should just leave.

Then Alicia launches a sneak attack before the bell rings, and we're off. Extended heel beatdown by Alicia, with an admittedly noticeable uptick in intensity by Fox... then, out of nowhere, Paige reversed a chinlock with a wicked pendulum slamplex thingy. Just like that, it's over.

Your Winner: Paige, via pinfall, in about 4 minutes. Nominally more interesting than I'd have guessed for what was a do-over, but Alicia was definitely bringing a little something extra, and Paige busted out a killer new hold as a flash finish, to boot. So I'll take it. Don't know what to make of it, but after the match, Alicia pitched one hell of a tantrum, ripping apart the announce table and spilling drinks and everything, and it almost seemed to have the effect of making the fans cheer for her, after she was such a nasty jerkface all match long. Huh.

Last Week: stuff happened with Kane and Daniel Bryan, and we all wish we could forget it, because it was awful, and for so many reasons other than Brie being a bad actress, even though that seemed to be the over-riding consensus in my in-box last week. Well, not "other than," I guess. She wasn't very good. But definitely "in addition to."



Daniel Bryan, in street clothes, hits the ring, and we're told it's "to address the WWE Universe," which is odd wording. I begin to fear that there's something to those rumors that he's dealing with a neck injury that's bad enough that WWE's gonna have to acknowledge it on TV....

When Bryan opens his comments by mentioning that going back to SummerSlam when he held the WWE Title for 30 seconds before he got cashed in upon, he knew this was gonna be an uphill battle. But he had no idea how tall the hill would be.

The crowd starts to sense the oddness, too (and probably have heard the same rumors), so they start chanting "NO! NO! NO!" Bryan ad libs: "Ah, so that's what it feels like to be John Cena."

But then he gets back to his prepared comments, which include him talking about how he thought the climbed that hill by winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania... but he was wrong.

He reveals that he needs neck surgery, and he'll be going under the knife on Thursday. As yet, he doesn't know how bad things are, and how long he'll be out. He could be back pretty quickly, or he might be gone for a long time. And he doesn't know what it all means, but he DOES know that there are already people backstage who are happy about it, including Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.


But he swears that their happiness won't last forever. Because he may not know the answer to the question "When will I be back?" But he thinks we ALL know the answer to the question "Will I be back?"


Bryan enjoys the moment of raucous cheers and support, but the announcers are already wondering if this might be the last time Bryan hoists those belts above his head like that. So I guess we're at least entertaining the possibility that WWE would strip Bryan if he's gonna be gone for more than one PPV (the rumor, as I heard it, was that this is actually something that only requires a minor procedure, and Bryan's recovery time would only be a matter of weeks if all went well).

Also, WWE has already begun the narrative that Kane's Night of Three Tombstones on Bryan -- which were actually done mostly to give Bryan the rest of the night off to deal with his dad's passing -- are the cause of the neck injuries, and Bryan only kept working afterwards out of sheer hardheadedness. Which is almost such a perfect little package -- and such a FABULOUS way to shove last week's awfulness to the background and focus the story on a part of the Kane/Bryan feud that was actually very compelling -- that I can already hear the smarks declaring IT'S ALL A WORK.

Which sure as hell would make me happy, because it means Bryan's not cursed with a real injury and we're erasing a sucky chapter of horrible storytelling.... but then there's this, smarks: WWE is launching a European tour tomorrow, and WWE usually stocks foreign tours with EXTRA stars, not fewer, because they only go twice per year and they have to maximize revenue. Bryan is an advertised headliner for every show of that tour, and if he's not gonna be there, that means fewer tickets sold AND the possibility that WWE would have to refund some of the tickets already sold. They wouldn't screw an entire continent of fans (and their own revenue stream) like that for the benefit of a TV storyline.

I don't think.

Video Package: Cena vs. Wyatt is a thing that's happening. Last Friday, it included the Usos, too, when one of the tag champs got pinned by Harper in a six-man. Apparently, a rematch is happening next. But first....


So for some reason, we come back, the Usos and Cena make their ring entrances, and then we go directly to another set of....



We pick up where Friday left off, with Harper vs. an Uso. [It's Jey tonight, but I thought Jimmy got pinned. I might be wrong about that, though. And frankly, it doesn't even matter.] And also: with Harper kicking some ass. Harper even hits a massive dropkick for some oohhhhs and ahhhhhs.

One cycle of tags through the rotation, and the Wyatts are back to Harper. Jey finally gets a split second of separation, and tags to Jimmy, who goes on a tear with kicks and a Samoan Drop on Harper before missing on a criss-cross and then running into a Big Boot.

It appears this is now our genuine Heel Beatdown, with frequent tags and the ring cut in half. Bray and Harper actually trade tags a few times, leaving Rowan to do a bit less than one-third of the work. Which is fine by me.

It's actually Bray who is in the ring when Ricky Uso ducks a clothesline and hits a leg lariat. Dive to the corner, and Cena tags in. Rowan tags in on the corresponding move.

Cena only gets a couple shots in before things break down into a massive Pier Sixer. Crowd immediately forgets the insubordinate "Let's Go Cena"/"Cena Sucks" shtick to just go ape-poopy due to the chaos.

Things settle down to Cena and Rowan, with Cena cinching in the SSTF... Rowan's about to tap, but Bray comes out of nowhere to hit a senton across Cena's ribs. He's about to  add a Sister Abigail, but the Usos materialize and plant him with a double superkick.

Harper tries to attack, but they catch him, too, and then the Usos toss both guys out of the ring, and take them out with Stereo Planchas.

It's back to Cena and Rowan for a second time, and this time, Cena just immediately hits an F-U, and scores the pin.

Your Winners: John Cena and the Usos, via pinfall, in 12 minutes. Very good stuff, as you'd expect. Maybe just a half-notch below Friday's very good match, mostly due to the more predictable outcome and reduction of layers (mostly the "Usos vs. Harper/Rowan" layer, which I definitely think has been established, and should be explored). FYI: the weird extra ad break between the entrances was apparently so they could bridge the top of the hour with this match being uninterrupted. Which I'm sure is something they've figured out to game the system or trap a few more viewers from switching to some show that started at 9pm. [cough] Ahem, "24." [cough]

Then again, I don't know that "24" is that much of a ratings monster, no matter how awesome this revival seems to be. I thought it was the best Opening Night since Season 4, a/k/a "the last season where Cerrano was President, they had a steady cast before everybody wound up dying and/or turning out to be a mole, and Jack was still a government agent instead of some zany fake-death-at-the-end-of-every-season vigilante who somehow retains the resources to save the day." In retrospect, that's the last season that really made a whole hell of a lot of sense.
But I'm still REALLY digging the new one, so far.

After the Match: Bray gets a mic and cuts Cena's celebration short by making the ominous comment, "Thank you, John. Thank you for showing me what I must do. [evil laugh]" Hmmmmmm.....



Evolution hits the ring. Hunter is in a suit, but Batista and Orton are both sporting the t-shirt-over-trunks look that (a) telegraphs the fact that they'll be wrestling even if HHH isn't, and (b) always leaves me terrified that somebody just plain forgot to put on pants.

Orton, out of character, confidently grabs a mic in order to speak. He says he knows the Shield used to be "your boys" (to HHH), but they've outlived their usefulness, and he hopes Hunter is ready to end them, starting tonight.

Batista just paces and shouts random bits of hate.

Then Trips speaks. He assures Randall that he's had enough of the Shield, too. And to that end, he agrees to a 6-man rematch at Payback. And in that match, Ambrose will learn humility. Rollins will be taught a lesson about just who is the "present day" of excellence. (Oh, for crap's sake, is THAT why Rollins had to backtrack and keep talking earlier? Because it was in the script that HHH was gonna call back to it? Fricking terrible.) And as for YOU, Roman Reigns....

Oh, Roman Reigns has a little something special waiting for him. Evolution doesn't believe in Roman Reigns. Triple H, in fact, doesn't even believe Roman Reigns will walk out of Payback. The other two, maybe they'll be allowed to crawl away, but Payback will be the end of Roman Reigns....

And after that punchline, HHH suddenly falls forward, and we cut to another camera, where we see that Seth Rollins has tackled him from behind, and the other two members of the Shield aren't far behind.

Evolution quick chickenshits out of the ring to regroup, and it seems the Shield has won another moral victory. But Batista is still in angry shouty mode. Somebody finds him a mic, and he channels that rage into a challenge. He's had enough, and he wants to do something about it. So if Reigns fashions himself the "big dog," Batista wants a piece of him tonight.

Reigns gestures (Broadly) that he accepts, and the announcers declare that we've just scored ourselves one hell of a main event.



The rest of the cast of That Which OO Does Not Acknowledge As Valid Entertainment is at ringside, because this apparently has something to do with that. Clearly, there's nothing to do about some ham-handedly scripted horseshit that you performed than to wait until three months after it was taped and then have a match on live TV, as if you still care.


Since I don't follow TWOODNAAVE, and don't know the "story" behind this, I also can't tell the story of the match. So I won't bother. Blame WWE for crossing the streams.

Your Winner: Nikki Bella, via pinfall, in 3 minutes. Whatever.

After the Match: the assembled cast of TWOODNAAVE seem happy for Nikki, which pisses off Nattie something awful. So she starts yelling and slapping until they all scatter. If this amounts to them using this stultifying stupidity to turn Nattie heel (even if I don't really understand why), and then uncross the streams so that we can use her as Paige's next challenger here on our wrestling show (she still needs one more until AJ is scheduled to return), then fine, I can dig that.

If not? Screw you, WWE.


SHEAMUS vs. CURTIS AXEL (w/ Ryback) (Non-Title)

At first, it's unclear which of Rybaxel is competing. They try the old Outlaws trick of Rock/Paper/Scissor'ing for it, but keep tying. So it comes down to a coin flip. Axel wins. "Big Guy, OUT!" [I don't want to tell Ryback his business, but as far as I'm concerned, Yup Yup Yup That's a Valid Catchprase!]

I suspect nobody takes Axel seriously in this scenario. Which leads me to suspect that this exists for the sole purpose of somehow setting up Ryback to get a shot in the near future. Because very few people would take HIM seriously. And "very few" is, you have to admit, still more than "nobody."

Unconvincing heel beatdown ends with Sheamus escaping a rest hold, dodging a charge, and wrapping Axel up with the Cloverleaf.

Your Winner: Sheamus, via submission, in 3 minutes flat. Yup yup yup, that's it. Or is it?

After the Match: Ryback attacks before Sheamus can even get his hand raised. He peppers Sheamus with a few more cheapshots before the ref asserts his authority and shoves him away. Sheamus gets his wits about him, and immediately starts shouting about how if Ryback wants a match, he's got it....

Huh, so 10 out of 10 to me for correctly guessing that this exists for Ryback to get a shot. Minus several million for me thinking it would happen next week, instead of right after these....


SHEAMUS vs. RYBACK (w/ Curtis Axel) (Non-TItle)

We join the match in progress, and Ryback's already settled in to his beatdown sequence. In fact, he's so settled into it that he's confidently toying with Sheamus, instead of beating him down. But after a series of paintbrushes and taunts, Sheamus counters a splash, and stages a rally.

Mount and punch, Irish Hammer, kneelift. Leads up to a Ten of Clubs, which was exceptionally well-mic'd tonight. Axel creates just a momentary distraction as Sheamus tries to step back into the ring, and it's all Ryback needs to recover and hit a powerslam. But Sheamus kicks out at two.

Ryback steps back and sets up for a Meathook, but Sheamus catches him and turns it into White Noise, instead. Two, again. Cloverleaf, but Ryback kicks him off. Sheamus charges with a Brogue Kick attempt, but Ryback ducks and turns it into a spinebuster.

A little back-and-forthy, then Ryback hits the Meathook, and tries for the Shellshock. But Sheamus sneaks out the backdoor, bounces off the ropes, and hits the Brogue Kick.

Your Winner: Sheamus, via pinfall, in about 5 minutes of televised action (plus whatever happened during the ad break). Not bad, but also not anything to write home about. I mean, in the end, it IS a Ryback match. But in this case, the purpose was less as a stand-alone match, but more as a story in which Sheamus beat two men in one night. To that end: mission accomplished.


Tomorrow: as if you weren't already impressed by Sheamus, he's just agreed to face Cesaro on "Main Event." Exclusively on the WWE Network! It's the match I've been campaigning for since last month! So yeah, I'll be watching. No, not live; I have a life. But before I go to bed. The WWE Network is awesome that way. You should really look into it (unless you want to watch it via HDMI on your TV, in which case, see my last two pissy PPV recaps and lay off until WWE fixes that happy crappy).


Stephanie McMahon heads to the ring, and she's looking all shiny and happy, presumably because she's a bitch and is glad that Daniel Bryan is hurt.

Sure enough, she starts speaking, and says that for all Daniel Bryan's raging against the machine, now he's got to have neck surgery. And that proves what she's been saying all along: that's he nothing more than a B-plus player. His heart is undeniable, but at the end of the day, his body just couldn't back that up.

And now, because her family is always about "what's best for business," she's got something she has to say, and she wants to say it to Bryan's face. So come on out, Daniel.

After a pregnant pause, it's Kane's music that hits, instead. And Kane comes out on the stage, dragging Bryan's limp body behind him, by the wrist. He leaves Bryan there, and walks away, as Steph once again acts like she has no idea what's going on.

Refs and medics swarm, and Brie is right behind them. They check on Bryan, and eventually get him up on a stretcher, so they can wheel him out, while the announcers are stage whispering (you know, among themselves, and totally not for our benefit) about how Bryan was already scheduled for surgery, and now THIS.
On the upside, they once again dangled the possibility of Bryan being stripped of the belt, but then stopped short of actually doing it, which is telling. Let's try to stay optimistic here, people! We're thinking of you, Bryan.


Backstage: they're getting Bryan hoisted into an ambulance, and both Brie and Steph are looking on. As the ambulance leaves, Steph is still acting totally traumatized, and turns to Brie to say something comforting. But Brie just cuts her off and tells her to stay away from them. Brie leaves, and the camera lingers on Steph long enough to convey the message that she is NOT traumatized at all. She stops short of a cackle, but definitely has a glint of evil in her eyes.


Before the match, they spend a suspiciously long segment recapping Fandango's past relationship with Summer Rae. BREAKING NEWS: Did you know Summer finished filming "The Marine 4" last week and could be back on TV anytime now?

Well, she did and she could. Hint hint.

Meantime, here are Dolph and Fandango coming out of the gate with some fast-paced back and forth. No real flow or throughline, but plenty of action. Leads up to Dolph hitting the Fameasser for a near fall, then setting up for something else. Layla gets up on the apron to create a distraction. Fandango tries to strike from behind, but Dolph gets out of the way, and Fandango runs into Layla.

Dolph hits the Zig Zag, and it's over.

Your Winner: Dolph Ziggler, via pinfall, in 4 minutes. They did what they could in the time. But it felt like it existed more for the story than for the match....

After the Match: Fandango gets a mic, and calls Layla into the ring. The subtext here is that she just cost him the match, so he's totally gonna dump her. [Especially convincing if you're in the way of knowing Summer's on her way back.] But nope: Fandango says he may have lost a match, but Layla's won something more valuable: his heart. He says the three magic words, "I love you," and then plants a sloppy kiss on her. Even JBL is grossed out.


RUSEV SMASHES... (... another Black Guy)

For no readily apparent reason, here's Hacksaw Jim Duggan! The fans give him a big ovation. He just barely manages to sneak in a plug for "Legends' House" when Lana interrupts him.

She says Hacksaw is a perfect microcosm of America: the last miserable vestige of England's pathetic crumbled empire, and a laughingstock back in Mother Russia. Hey, she just killed two birds with one stone, because RAW will be in England next week. Way to multi-task, honeybuns!

Hacksaw's only concerned about the part that insulted America, however, and leads a "USA USA USA" chant. Lana says perhaps Hacksaw needs more evidence of Russian superiority, and brings out Rusev. The two head to the ring.

There, Lana says, "Mr. DOO-gan [sic], I give you one chance. Beg. For. Mercy." Hacksaw declines. Fine, "Rusev: CRUSH!" Rusev first snatches away Hacksaw's 2x4, and breaks it over his knee. Then, he's preparing to break Hacksaw in half.

Big E to the rescue!

But not for long. After preventing Rusev from charging Duggan, Big E engages Rusev in fisticuffs, and winds up on the losing end. Big E crumbles and rolls out of the ring after a Running Turnbuckle Butt Splash. Hacksaw has also gotten out of the ring.

Russia wins! (For now.)

Also: apparently Rusev is being booked by Michael Hayes. YOU'RE WELCOME, THREE PEOPLE! [/craigferguson]



Before the match, Sandow vaguely references something that happened on the preshow (it's apparently such a big deal that nobody's mentioned it till now, and I STILL don't know what it is), and how WWE officials might be scared of what he has to say, now...

But whatever it was, it'll have to wait, because they hit the music, and Cody hits the ring for the match.

At that point, whatever Sandow's story is gets ignored, so the announcers can tell the Rhodes' story. In short, they've had troubles, lately, losing a bunch of tag matches. Goldust ended his singles losing streak last week  (if it happens on "Main Event," does it really count? Apparently,yes), and now, Cody's trying to do the same.

He has little success to start, with Sandow kicking his ass. And doing a bit of his own narration, reminding us that they used to be best friends. Cody seems to start his comeback by avoiding the Elbow of Disdain, but he only delayed it. Sandow actually repositioned, and hit a variation of it on the apron. Nice.

To be honest, it's all surprisingly intense and competitive from this point on, but the crowd still doesn't seem to care. D'oh.

Basically, Sandow has an answer for every tack Cody takes. Until Cody gets frustrated and misdirects the ref. Then, he bltantly rakes Sandow's eyes, hits the Disaster Kick, and takes the tainted victory. Hmmmmm.

Your Winner: Cody Rhodes, via pinfall, in about 6 minutes. Not much love from the crowd, but I really thought this was pretty decent. Then again, I look for reasons to care about Sandow, while all WWE does is give fans reasons not to. Told a nice little story of frustration, too. For the record, Goldust didn't seem to have a problem with Cody's methods. Then again, the way they were positioned, he may have missed it, just like the ref....


Sheep Mask Freeze Frame: the Wyatts are in their lair, and Bray has a few words for us. Per his usual, he questions John Cena's rhetoric and his true motives. It leads up to him talking about how Cena's hustle, loyalty, and respect won't matter at Payback. When this happens, Bray will be the one still standing. When that happens, Bray will be the one still standing. And furthermore, when the other happens, Bray will. Still. Be. Standing.

It is not clearly stated, but it's pretty obvious that this amounts to Bray deciding that "what he must do" is face Cena in a Last Man Standing Match. 


ROMAN REIGNS (w/ Rollins and Ambrose) vs. BATISTA (w/ HHH and Orton)

Bell rings, and Reigns immediately dominates. Despite Friday's (well-told) story that Reigns was mortally injured and only beat Mark Henry by the skin of his teeth, there are no signs of following up on that, here.

When the tide does turn (after an ill-advised trip to the outside), Batista doesn't even make an effort to attack the tender ribs. But then again, it's only 3 minutes in, and it's also already 11pm, so we don't really have time for a whole lot of story or psychology, I guess.

When Reigns stages a comeback, HHH and Orton start to stalk him. But all of a sudden, Ambrose and Rollins fly in with stereo planchas. Just like that, it's a Pier Six Brawl, and the ref just gives up.

Your Winner: None, when the ref declares a Double Disqualification after 5 minutes. Yep, like I said: no time to make the match mean anything, cuz it's just pretext for the bigger angle.

After the Match: the Shield gets the better of the 3-on-3, but Stephanie shows up on the stage, calling for the cavalry. The dozen or so Hired Goons Used Against The Shield Last Month (maybe slightly fewer, since I was looking and didn't see del Rio contributing substantially) hit the ring, and swing things the other way.

But when Evolution calls off the goons so they can fnish things, Reigns perks up and cuts HHH in half with a lightning quick spear. That gives Ambrose and Rollins time to arm themselves with chairs, and start swinging them.

Evolution opts to powder out, with Batista and Orton helping HHH up the ramp to safety. The Shield destroys the goons, building up to a Triple Powerbomb on Ryback. We fade to black on Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns celebrating, while Evolution seethes.
And so ends the show. With the Bryan Development, you gotta assume this was another show where WWE had to scramble on the day of RAW to re-jigger things (much like the night they wrote Bryan out so he could get home to his family after his father died), and as such, they vaguely obvious/underwhelming ending may have been something originally scheduled for mid-show, and you just can't really rate things the same way as you could if you knew WWE really just booked a lame 5-minute no decision as the freaking main event.

Unless you are a major jerkass, anyway.

So yeah, it was a show with some hits and some misses, but on the whole, I figure it was actually a pretty solid effort given what they had to work with. Bryan's status -- based on what few rumors were going around over the weekend -- is just as ambiguous as WWE said tonight... it's entirely possible he'll be back rather soon and able to pick up with Kane. In which case, they did a wise thing by adding in the little something extra where -- without actually exposing Bryan to actual violence and the risk for additional injury -- they made it seem like Kane beat the ever loving crap out of the guy, giving Bryan all the reason in the world to want revenge sooner than later. [And also, giving him a much better reason for it than that load of monkey feces that WWE dropped on us last week.]

And if it's more the worst case scenario? Well, let's not cross that bridge till we come to it.

Underwhleming "main event" aside, it still amounted to a solid "get well" night for the Shield. Acceptable maintenance work on Cena/Wyatt (even if I'd like to have seen more continued emphasis on Harper/Rowan vs. Usos). Another great "highlight the positives, mask the deficiencies" showing for Adam Rose. For however much disregard I have for TWOODNAAVE, I'll shut up if this leads to Paige vs. Nattie. Rusev vs. Big E is the right kind of step up for Rusev, even if it makes him seem like a racist (but not really; that's a big word, and me using it jokingly kind of makes it less appalling when fucktards like Don Sterling and Clive Bundy actually ARE one). And I guess we have our answer about Sheamus: he's staying a babyface, at least for a while. We'll see if that holds once Batista takes his little vacation and Evolution still needs a third.
So yeah, hard to get a solid grasp on a show that's probably not entirely what WWE designed, but I still thought the attention given to the undercard was more good than bad (which is always the foundation of good, sustainable 3-hour TV shows, rather than shows with 45 minutes of good stuff and the rest which drives you to change channels or FF), and the major stories didn't completely tank or anything.

So fanboy angst over one of my favorites possibly getting injured kinda seriously, I'll still play fair and give tonight's show a solid C-plus.

See you kids again next Monday night, where I'll have to resist the urge to let my Inner Hocking loose, if you cautch my driuft.

SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
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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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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
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RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
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RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
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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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