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April 10, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
Read Pyro's Words
at Blogspot --/-- View Pyro's Videos at Youtube

Only twenty-four hours have passed since you last heard from me, and like most people, nothing really significant happens in such a short amount of time. Usually, if something does, it’s not good. Other than waking up four hours earlier than I normally do after going to sleep two hours later than I normally do, and having to counteract that with insane amounts of caffeine, I’ve got nothing going on tonight that I didn’t last night.

Well, unless you count the next episode of my Let’s Play Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce series on YouTube, finally arriving two months after the previous one. And like I’ve said a billion times, I know my Online Onslaught audience (i.e., you), and I highly doubt the majority of you care. But hey, if you ever wanted to match the sexy voice to these sexy words, go ahead and give it a click.


Also: funny story… See, despite my Final Thoughts notes last night, while I remembered that SmackDown was airing tonight, I sorta kinda forgot to set the DVR, and I came in three minutes late. Let’s hope I didn’t miss much…

Segment 1: Oh, I guess I didn’t. Sheamus is getting into the ring and shakes Gene Okerlund’s hand as I tune in, so probably all I missed were any opening pyros and Sheamus’s entrance. The ropes are the standard SmackDown blue, rather than the red, white, and blue that I love so much; it’s not a deal breaker, but I’m a little disappointed. For that matter, it’s the standard SmackDown set. I guess this isn’t 80s-themed so much as just carting out the legends.

Anyway, Sheamus actually opens by apologizing for kicking off referee Chad Patton’s head last week. He says there’s a “code of honor” a champion is supposed to follow (and I get a quick flashback to Ring of Honor, which I’ve been watching religiously for the past two months, and am interested just enough to consider recapping it here on a weekly basis if Rick is game), and he didn’t follow it.

He wants us to forgive him, and it seems most fans (the ones who care) want to, but before we can hear much in the way of cheers, Johnny Ace hits the ring and gives us a replay of last week. Ace bitches Sheamus out, then demands that Sheamus apologizes to Patton right now.

Sheamus complains that he already did it, but I guess Ace had David Otunga’s baby oil in his ears because he didn’t hear it. He makes Sheamus apologize to everyone a second time, but it’s still not enough for Ace. Ace says that Sheamus is on “permanent probation,” which of course doesn’t make sense. Ace stipulates that if Sheamus touches another ref, accidentally or not, Sheamus will be fined 500 large and be terminated.

Oh, and Sheamus’s match tonight? It’s a tag match, with Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio against him, and Gene Okerlund as his tag partner. Mean Gene wonders what exactly he did to piss off Ace, but Ace leaves before anything more is said.

Cut Scene: Oh good, Randy Orton is on-screen. Bob Orton comes in to wish him luck in his match (which is coming after the commercials), but nothing much is made of it.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Mark Henry defeats Randy Orton by countout, probably, though you could argue it was a double countout or no contest. Decent match I suppose. I mean, it was worked all right, but you’ll have either have to give me a good buildup or pay me to care about either of these two in the ring. Henry did 95% of the offense, with Orton getting the usual hope spots. Both guys did well, and I won’t take that away from them—as Rick as said, Orton has at least become watchable in the last year or so—but there wasn’t much flash. It was a very “workman’s” type match, pure formula, except without much workrate: just mostly punchy-kicky-slammy stuff.

Orton’s final hope spot came when both guys were out of the ring. Henry tried to lawn dart Orton’s face into the ring post twice. The first time, Orton barely escaped, but the second time, he slipped down Henry’s back and shoved Henry face-first into it, leaving the big man down. Orton then slid in the ring, and Kane’s pyros went off.

Kane appeared on the Titantron to taunt Orton, specifically how beating the crap out of him had become “the kind of fun the whole family can enjoy.” The camera pans out, and we see Bob Orton’s corpse on the ground in almost a Family Guy position. Randy freaks out (logically and correctly, so that’s a compliment), then hauls ass out of the ring and to the back. We get a wide shot of the ring, and the ref has totally disappeared, so we have no idea about the ending of the match, not that it really matters.

Post-Segment 2: After a few seconds and camera cuts (and Randy nearly busting his ass twice on the way up the ramp), we get to the back, where Randy is as diligently searching for his dad as many of the rest of us do for our car keys, a worried note to his voice. Randy finally finds him, but Kane was hiding around the corner and assaults him with a steel pipe, first to the ribs, then the shoulders. Powerful stuff, well done, awesome angle, and I actually gain sympathy for Randy.

Then Kane crouches down and says, “I’m a sucker for… family reunions.”

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: Ryback squashes Some Guy by pin. Only two moves here, but the opening clothesline was sick. Some Guy did the super sell job where the victim does that backwards flip, but he landed directly on the back of his head and neck full force; if the dude doesn’t have a concussion, I’d be surprised. It was so violent that Justin King stopped being angry for the rest of the match and just looked straight up worried. I guess it was fine since we never saw a Crossed Arms of Doom or a Single Fist of Health, but all that happened after that was Ryback hitting his finisher.

Segment 4: Heath Slater is in the back and trying to convince Tyson Kidd to team up with him against the Usos. Kidd is not impressed, until Slater introduces their team manager: Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart! Heath and Hart dash out of the locker room, and Kidd still doesn’t look too sure of himself, but it seems he’s going to give it a shot.

Which to me means one thing: Siva Tau! Woo hoo!

Pre-Segment 5: Mick Foley is coming out for commentary for the next match. Yay!

And the Siva Tau! Double yay! With new audience participation that Lilian Garcia almost ruined! Triple yay! King needs to join them next time.

Segment 5 [Tag Match]: The Usos defeat Heath Slater & Tyson Kidd (w/ Jimmy Hart) by pin. Good match, very time-compressed but solidly worked. Kidd with the early offense, but then Slater tagged himself in and proceeded to fuck up his team’s chances.

Slater was destroyed, but Kidd broke up the late pin. The Usos dealt with Kidd, but Slater started remembering how to actually do credible wrestling moves and started a comeback. Now, while all this was going on, Foley was trying to do commentary, but Hart and his bloody megaphone kept ruining it. Foley wasn’t having that shit, so he pulled out Mr. Socko and started to chase Hart.

Hart’s plan to escape was to actually crawl through the ring, distracting everyone, especially Slater. That gave the legal Uso time to recover and hit his finisher, a military press drop to Samoan drop. Then he tagged out and let his brother hit a splash off the top rope and make the pin. Yay, Usos back on a winning streak!

After that, Foley caught up to Hart and applied the Mandible Claw. He stole his megaphone and tried to sardonically say something about it being an accident, but no one in the audience could hear it and just reacted with apathy. Whoops.

Segment 6: Rowdy Roddy Piper hits the ring for a very special Piper’s Pit. (According to Michael Cole, the last time we had one on SmackDown was back when Boogeyman biting off Jillian Hall’s mole was news. I think that happened just before I started watching again.) And Piper’s guest… is Daniel Bryan.

DB hits the ring presently and actually has a smile on his face. Piper calls him on this since he, you know, lost the title in only 18 seconds at WrestleMania. But apparently he just got granted a return match by Ace, which is what’s making him happy. (When did they start regularly calling it a “return match” instead of “rematch” anyway?) The fans start chanting something, but I can’t understand it; it’s like they couldn’t chant whatever it was together, so it comes out a verbal mess. Maybe Rick heard it better? Editor’s note please? [Ed. Note: OK, but only because you asked. I'm pretty sure it was a sloppy attempt at "EIGHT TEEN SECK KONDS" that was taking place at two different tempos.]

DB expresses confidence about the match though because it’ll be a 2 of 3 Falls match at Extreme Rules, so Sheamus won’t be able to fluke his way to a win. And besides, AJ won’t be around to mess things up, so there.

Well, Piper doesn’t know about that mess, but he does know that AJ is in the back. And as she comes down, good god is she smoking tonight. That hair, those jeans… yummy.

AJ hits the ring and takes the mic, and first says how awesome it is to be part of Piper’s Pit, and I’d bet the rest of my paychecks that that came from the heart, given how much she loves WWE. But she strangely decides to defend DB, saying that he’s ultimately a good person despite how he may have come off last week.

Piper isn’t having that. She can’t really mean that, can she?

Huh, apparently, she can. She actually does admit that it’s her fault that DB lost the match. She made the mistake, she apologizes a thousand times, and she just wants to talk the problem out because she knows she can make it up to him!

DB gives us a smile ordinarily reserved for conmen, and Piper tries a different tactic. He says that he’s been watching AJ since she debuted: she got back up from being shoulder-checked by Big Show, so she’s strong; and she’s existing in WWE, an awfully misogynistic environment (no, those weren’t Piper’s exact words), so she’s smart too.

He continues to try to talk her out of it, but DB isn’t having it. He says that if AJ truly loves him, she’ll leave the ring now. Piper tells her to stay, since she doesn’t have to listen to him.

The fans chant for AJ, but she does eventually leave while flashing those puppy dog eyes. DB smiles like an idiot the whole way, and then starts to leave the ring…

Ah, but Piper isn’t done with him. Piper says that DB may have “Yes! Yes!” on his shirt, so he’s going to inform him of some no’s: You don’t tell a lady to shut up, or to yell at a lady, or to use a lady as a human shield. I tend to rebel against my overly conservative upbringing, but for those three points, I’m totally in agreement.

Piper says all those, especially the last, make DB a coward. And really, Piper is happy about hearing the rematch will be a 2 of 3 Falls match so he can watch Sheamus hit not one Blarney Boot, but two!

DB says that he’s not concerned, and after Extreme Rules, he’ll slap everyone across the face, including Piper… which he does so now, then runs away before Piper can respond. Dick.

Wait… does this mean Piper himself will actually be at Extreme Rules? Cool.

Segment 7 [Mixed 6-Person Tag Match]: Alicia Fox, Natalya, & Khali squash The Bella Twins & Drew McIntyre by pin. It took me longer to type that header than the match actually lasted. Khali and Drew started, and Khali kicked Drew’s ass for 15 seconds. Drew tagged out to one of the Bellas, then just up and left, saying he’s “too good for this.”

The Bellas are confused, but whichever is the legal one opens by slamming Fox’s face into the mat. But when the Bella picks up Fox and tries to follow up, Fox reverses it into a slick Bridging German Suplex for the win. Fox’s skills to get that move were stilted and ugly, but the bridge was gorgeous: Fox stayed on her toes to execute and hold the bridge. Damn.

Poor Natalya and one of the Bellas didn’t get any ring time. Clearly Natalya is a face again, thankfully, and someone finally ended the fucking retarded farting gimmick. Also: she needs to do her jiggly dance to Khali’s music more. So fun. [Ed. Note: the Bellas just told WWE that they are leaving when their contracts expire next month. This is all you'll be seeing them do on TV till then.]

Post-Segment 7: As the faces get to the stage, Mae Young of all people comes out from the back without any assistance. She gets in front of Khali, kicks him in the kneecap (which he sells like a chair shot), and she Frenches him while… well, not really dancing, but at least swaying next to Natalya and Fox.

Good to see Mae as always. If I have half her energy and drive at her age, I’ll be happy. Shit, if I have half Mae’s energy and drive next week, I’ll be happy.

Segment 8: We get another patronizing to-camera promo from Damien Sandow (my apologies for misspelling that as “Standow” last week), where he once again says that he’s going to “save us” from the mediocrity of our culture. Specifically: “Fear not; for it is not only my duty, but my destiny, to be your beacon of light in your harbor of inequity.” What a fucking gorgeous turn of phrase. The only possible way it could be better is if he had a British accent.

My only issue with his promo is that he insults the idea of social media, especially the fact that we can’t seem to express ourselves in more than 140 characters. That statement alone is awesome and adds to his character, but the problem is that his nameplate in the corner also displays his Twitter account handle, making him a hypocrite even in-character. I mean, who advertises their Twitter account in the middle of a well-informed opinionated argument?

(By the way, you can follow me on Twitter at @PyroFalkon. Linked to here!)

I think to really cement his character, he should be granted an exception and not have to Tweet. Hell, let him do a 2000-word weekly column about some pop culture reference on SmackDown and slap it on the front page. He could always get a Twitter account later to justify being annoyed at us not listening to his so totally infallible advice and needing more avenues with which to “save us,” you know? Just an idea…

Cut Scene: Josh Mathews reports that after Kane’s assault earlier in the night, Bob Orton “has suffered abdominal injuries. We can only assume that Bob Orton was hit in the stomach.” Step over, Stephen Colbert: that’s some Peabody-caliber journalism right there.

Segment 9: Mean Gene and Sheamus are in the locker room in the back, and Mean Gene is nervous about their match. Sheamus admits that, sure, maybe they won’t win tonight… but he’s still smiling, because he’s not going to give Ace the satisfaction of seeing him be nervous. Besides, he’s teaming with Mean Gene Okerlund, damnit! It’s a dream come true!

Sheamus even offers to buy them each a pint if they survive tonight. Mean Gene: “If we survive?” Sheamus has infallible logic: either they’ll drink to remember, or drink to forget!

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Hunico (w/ Camacho) reverse-squashes “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan by disqualification. So the match opens with Duggan landing about eight straight shitty attacks, but Hunico sold them like a champ and tumbled from the ring. Camacho then defended Hunico when Duggan exited the ring to chase.

Well, Duggan isn’t falling for that, so he gets back in the ring and calls in some backup. The familiar snare drum hits, and Sgt. Slaughter lumbers his way down to the ring to a solid pop. Hunico decides his best move is to get back in the ring as well, where Duggan then smacks him with his 2x4. Uh… DQ loss.

Not that anyone cares, since Duggan just beats the shit out of Hunico with his 2x4 while Slaughter slaps on the Cobra Clutch to Camacho. Sarge’s music plays, the over-20 fans cheer and chant “USA! USA!,” and everyone other than the bored-as-fuck kids are happy.

Segment 11: As we come back from commercial, Cody is already almost in the ring to talk. He says that tonight’s theme has been a total waste of time: we shouldn’t be celebrating about the past, but looking to the future! It’s a future where he’s the Intercontinental Champion again, a future where the legends don’t hog his spotlight!

And here comes Dusty Rhodes to respond to that. Dusty says that Cody is the most naturally talented WWE wrestler since Shawn Michaels, but he’s used that potential to “poke a grizzly bear,” specifically the Big Show. Cody says that Dusty’s mere appearance is embarrassing him, and they should talk about this in the back away from cameras and live microphones.

Cody actually leaves the ring at that point, but he’s not halfway down the ring steps when Big Show hits the stage. Show puts over Dusty, then shows another Cody Rhodes moment… this time an angle back when he was “Dashing” and being a lady-boy with his moisturizing lip gloss for the camera.

Show leaves, and Cody looks around, still all embarrassed. But Cody has no words, so he just gingerly gets off the stairs and starts to head up the ramp… as Dusty’s music plays and starts to dance. Or whatever those horrifying gyrations are called.

Segment 12 [Tag Match]: Sheamus & “Mean Gene” Okerlund reverse-squash Daniel Bryan & Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin. Sheamus tried his best but quickly was destroyed by numbers, and obviously Mean Gene couldn’t really help even it up. It came to a head when Sheamus was dropkicked out of the ring by DB, and ADR followed up by stealing one of John Morrison’s Stiff-As-Fuck Running Knees.

With Sheamus down, ADR ran to the other side of the ring and “encouraged” Mean Gene into the ring. There, he was quickly surrounded by both heels, but then Ricardo decided to slide in the ring and put up his dukes too. The ref warned RR not to throw a punch since the heels would be disqualified, but all three just readied their stances and messed with poor Mean Gene.

Then came Piper’s music… but it wasn’t just Piper who came out. Piper, Jimmy Hart, Slaughter, Dusty, Duggan, Million Dollar Man, Howard Finkel, even Pat Patterson (plus some dude with a ponytail and goatee that I don’t even recognize) all came marching down together. ADR saw that one episode of South Park and decided his best play was to get out of the arena before the parking lot became a death trap, leaving Daniel Bryan all alone.

The legends surrounded the ring, other than Piper, who got up on the apron and bitched out DB. DB decided to actually verbally respond, giving Sheamus time to recover and get in the ring. Once DB turned around, Sheamus nailed him with a Blarney Boot and made the pin.

Post-Segment 12: One of the legends tossed in Ricardo, and everyone decided to beat the shit out of him one at a time, finishing with Sheamus’s Blarney Boot. Everyone high-fived and hugged and held up each other’s arms in victory. Yay team!

…Except then Michael Cole grabbed a mic and gathered everyone’s attention as he got in the ring. He cracked some jokes about them needing to get back to the retirement home, but he was stupid enough to do it in the ring. So they quickly gathered him up, and Pat Patterson gave him a nice (shitty) right cross. Cole sold it like a chair shot, and Sheamus pushed his carcass out of the ring with his foot as they resumed their celebration.

Final Thoughts: It was a fun night, and I think I’ve said everything I needed to say… I don’t know whether I’ve been particularly verbose lately, or that there simply hasn’t been that much depth in WWE, but I’ve noticed my Final Thoughts sections are getting shorter. I may have to start heading these parts as “Post-Show Notes” or something for accuracy.

The legends didn’t really impact any stories significantly, but hey, did we really expect them to? Actually, the legends’ participation was actually more relevant than I thought it would be. I wouldn’t necessarily call it sustainable episodic TV—this episode in a vacuum isn’t making me any more pumped up to watch next week—but WWE has done a lot worse. Normally, these legend shows are designed to be one-off feel-good nights with little-to-no story told at all, but this time it felt a little more organic (other than Duggan’s match). Good stuff… nothing you need to plan an evening around, but it was a smidge above WWE’s usual smattering.

No notes for anything next week for either RAW or SmackDown that I haven’t already mentioned, so I’m going to call it a night, and by extension, a week. Thanks for reading guys, and we’ll see you again next Tuesday for the RAW recap.

Episode Grade: B-


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