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Dolph Ziggler's "Strike Two"
June 23, 2012

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

It’s so balls-exploding hot outside that I’ve been keeping my computer off at night. I usually just run it all the time, putting it in sleep mode when I go to bed. But not only does this waste power, but it makes the poor thing run extremely hot. I’ve publicly said before where I work, and I simply don’t have the funds to be buying new computer components every couple of years just because I’m too stupid to flip the power switch when I’m not using the thing.
But it’s Friday night, which means Brick is powered on and ready to receive the delicate touch of my fingers as I peck away on the SmackDown recap! A winner is you! And this sausage I put next to Brick’s vent, since it’ll probably cook in 30 seconds. Let’s roll…

Segment 1: Teddy Long dances his way on stage to open the show because Johnny Ace is totally fired! But Long isn’t the GM for tonight; if you remember from Monday, Mick Foley is in the house to run things.

Long is about to say something more, but then Big Show arrives and angrily looks at everyone as he heads to the ring. Also: someone in the crowd has a sign that reads “K-Mart of Wrestlers.” I don’t know if they’re referring to WWE or something else, but here’s my question: if it is referring to WWE, why the hell would you support them by paying them money and showing up to the show? It would be like Rick buying every Randy Orton T-shirt.

Show hits the ring and says that he doesn’t care that Ace is fired; for that matter, he doesn’t care about us either. He only cares about himself, the real self. Show goes ahead and congratulates Cena anyway for his win against Show on Sunday, but points out that it was because five other wrestlers helped him. Show assures us that he would totally kick Cena’s ass in a straight one-on-one fight; when the crowd boos, he plays off that and says that we boo him only because we know he’s speaking the truth.

But Show is done with Cena, and is… Well, and is drowned out as the crowd fires up a “Cena! Cena!” chant. Show again plays off that, saying that we have had a hard time listening, since he’s totally over the Cena situation. Instead, he’s going to be part of Money in the Bank because he knows he can’t be stopped from winning it, and he can’t be stopped once he cashes it in and wins a title. Once he gets it, he won’t lose it; the championship is all his!

And, uh, here comes Brodus Clay? I guess he’s getting a more solid push. He’s looking pretty angry as he hits the ring, and though he’s flanked by his hotties, even they don’t look all that pleased.

No words: he gets in the ring… uh… sort of waddling in. Then Show immediately hits him awkwardly with a few knees to the face. It didn’t look that good. But then, Brodus fought up to his feet, flung Show to the ropes, and headbutted him, putting Show on his back.

Brodus continued his offense, but then David Otunga came down from the back to chop block Brodus’s INJURED~! knee. Otunga bailed, and Show just went around kicking Brodus’s knee… then waiting… then kicking his knee… then waiting… and so on. After about six of those, the fans fired up a huge “You can’t wrestle!” chant. Show seemed pretty pissed off at that, so he kicked Brodus’s knee one more time, then nailed him with a WMD.

Show ripped his shirt off at that point and just talked shit to pretty much everyone in the crowd while Otunga giggled like a schoolgirl who got finger blasted by Justin Bieber. With that done, Show just left.

After replays, Show was all the way gone, and then Otunga got in the ring to talk shit. He unsuccessfully invites the girls into the ring—man, Naomi used way too much mascara tonight—then proceeded to order the Truck Monkeys to play Brodus’s music again. Otunga then proceeds to do a white boy dance over Brodus’s body, meaning I’m probably going to have to start calling him Carlton now.

Show’s promos are pretty solid. He interacts with the crowd every time, which really helps sell his bullshit. I hope he continues it; we don’t normally see heels do that unless they just roll their eyes during chants or whatever.

Pre-Segment 2: Stupid shit, which means…

Segment 2 [1-on-2 Handicap Match, Tornado Rules]: Ryback squashes Some Guy & Some Other Guy by pin. Still boring to me, but I can’t deny that the fans love him.

Segment 3: Mick Foley is here and chatting to Yoshi Tatsu. Then Vickie Guerrero comes up, dismisses Yoshi, then announces that next week on RAW and SmackDown, she will be the GM. She says that Mick better behave or he’ll have to be her assistant! Foley is cool with this, but—

Ugh. But stupidity ensues. I’m not recapping the rest of the segment. You got what you needed.

Segment 4: Daniel Bryan gets to give us a RAW memory, specifically when Mary Jannetty beat Shawn Michaels in 1993 after the split of The Rockers.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeats Christian by submission. Decent start to a solid finish, the match was technically good with a fairly hot crowd. Unexpected finish too after a quadruple-reversey spot that saw Christian charge for a Spear but eat a Shawn Michaels-like superkick to stop it. The back-and-forth ended with ADR locking in the cross-legged armbreaker, and though Christian tried to fight it, he had no escape and was forced to tap. [Ed. Note: I thought this was pretty outstanding. A notch or three better than Christian/Rhodes was at the PPV, even.]

Post-Segment 5: After the match, Cody Rhodes hit the ring and beat the shit out Christian, doing an arm lock of his own on Christian and sending him shoulder-first into the ring post. Does a triple threat match for the IC Title loom in the future?

Special PyroFalkon Observation: The finish to the match saw ADR lock the move on Christian’s right arm, which as all we smarks know is the Mexican style of wrestling (and, apparently, the main reason Sin Cara hasn’t yet adjusted to WWE). But when Cody did his assault, he focused on Christian’s left arm. Now, when ADR did his finisher, he was standing on the left side of Christian’s body and made it a point to hop over him to lock it on Christian’s right arm.

So, here’s my question: what the hell? Was that ADR having a brain fart and we’re not supposed to notice, or is this some meta-story where we’re going to see Christian having two weak arms for the next match? Or maybe Christian fell on the wrong side at the end of the match and ADR had to lock it on that side so the cameras picked it up correctly? Or am I totally over-thinking everything?

Pre-Segment 6: Kane is in the ring as he expects Daniel Bryan for their singles match tonight, but AJ hits ringside to watch as the guest timekeeper. She skips her way down the ramp and never makes eye contact, though Kane continues to watch her with confusion. AJ merrily takes a seat in a comfy chair near the ring bell. Weird… why the timekeeper instead of just an outside observer? Guess we’ll find out…

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Kane defeats Daniel Bryan by pin. Decent match, nothing special until the finish. Kane did all right, but it wasn’t nearly as good as any of his matches with CM Punk.

Minor blown spot as DB got on a roll. He went to the top rope for his signature diving missile dropkick, but his feet apparently slipped off the top rope. The camera didn’t have his feet in-frame, so we had to go by the commentators. DB was okay, but rather than get his feet up to make a kick, he just kept his feet down so he’d land on them… which he kinda did as he awkwardly gave Kane a gentle face massage with one hand. They had a little back-and-forth, went to the opposite corner, tried again, and this time DB hit it perfectly. Good audible to cover up the botch.

The finish shows just how diabolical AJ can be. After back-and-forth, DB locks Kane in the Yes! Lock. Kane fights it and crawls toward the ropes, reaching, but just coming short… and then the bell sounds. DB breaks the hold since he totally won! Except he didn’t, and the ref has to tell DB that the match is still on. By the time he realizes it, Kane has recovered. Kane dodges a dropkick, hits the chokeslam, and makes the pin.

AJ looks rings the bell like seven times, then hits a perfect “Oh, look what happened by accident, so totally!” look as she and Kane make eyes at each other. I’d say AJ was hot with that “little innocent me” look, except you could rather clearly see her ribs trying to rip through her skin, which is just gross. In any event, with that done, she skips away without looking back.

Pre-Segment 7: Mick Foley hits the ring to address the crowd. After his cheap pop, Heath Slater immediately hits the ring before anything more can be said. I guess Slater is getting his own push too; I feel weird about not noticing it earlier.

Slater hits the ring just to “launch a protest” about what Cyndi Lauper and Rowdy Roddy Piper did to him, which was so totally embarrassing. Mick says that it’s not embarrassing to job to Lauper since she’s so totally a hardcore elite opponent. But he better win against his next opponent, or else that’ll be really embarrassing!

Woo woo woo, you know it. Yay!

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Zack Ryder reverse-squashes Heath Slater by pin. Ryder is so hot that you could barely hear his music over the crowd’s reaction. Foley gets in the ring to join Ryder for a fist bump as we transition to commercials.

Segment 8: Mick and Zack are walking through the backstage when they bump into Damien Sandow, who looks good in a suit… or would, if the TV rating bug in the top-left corner hadn’t blocked his face. I had no idea who they were talking to until he started talking, but when you hear “Deplorable, contemptible, and abhorrent,” you know only one man on the current roster is speaking. (Well, one of two, but the other one is running around with Fozzy at the moment.)

Mick tries to take it in stride with some self-deprecating humor that he so totally forgot to put on deodorant this morning. Sandow clarifies that he’s talking about that retarded segment that purports to be “entertainment,” then proceeds to call Zack Ryder the “world’s leading miscreant.” He blames Zack’s blathering for forcing all of us into our doldrums of ignorance, “but no more.” Sandow leaves.

…Only to come back and tell Zack, “You’re welcome” with a fantastic eyebrow twitch that manages, on its own, to convey superiority, then to leave again. Mick Foley follows that with “Have a nice day!” as Zack hits a perfect “Who the hell was that douchebag?” face expression.

A Sandow/Ryder feud makes me tingly in places that… well… that shouldn’t be tingly. It’s not going to be a technical marvel, but given how insanely over both guys are, this could only end in awesomeness.

Pre-Segment 9: Siva Tau fuck yeah!

And then, holy crap, AW’s intro for the Prime Time Players is fantastic. AW is going to make a great manager.

Segment 9 [Tag Match]: Prime Time Players (w/ AW) defeat The Usos by pin. Decent match but a little short to be impressive. The match ended thanks to a distraction from AW, and Titus O’Neil hit his sit-down powerbomb finisher to end it.

Segment 10: So apparently the old movie called No Holds Barred, which starred Hulk Hogan, is getting rereleased on DVD thanks to WWE. They showed a full trailer, and I honestly wasn’t sure if I was supposed to take it seriously, but Michael Cole sort of answered that for me: “It was funny when it wasn’t supposed to be funny!” So, I guess it’s a “good bad movie,” then? I’ve never seen it. [Ed. Note: Pretty much. It's an extremely shitty movie, and yet, it will make you laugh uproariously if you watch in the right frame of mind.]

Segment 11: After commercials, the Prime Time Players are walking with AW in the back. Primo and Epico arrive just to punch AW in the face, then we get a brawl while RRRRRROOOSSSAAA!!! looks on.

Segment 12: Santino hits the ring for no apparent reason. He… uh… tells the cameramen to start pointing at the best signs in the audience. Apparently, one of these signs is “CM Punk.” Thrilling.

It concludes with a woman holding a “I [Heart] Santino” sign, and she’s dressed in his shirt and even with a Cobra sock. Must be a plant.

She hits the ring and is so totally super thrilled to be meeting him in person. And it’s all fun and games until she applies the Lip Lock of Womanly Charms to him, spreading his face with makeup. It makes Santino faint without blinking, and apparently with rigor mortis setting in on his left leg. Why did we waste time with this, exactly? [Ed. Note: I have no idea. When I talked to my Spoiler Guy, we both agreed that it sounded too lame to be included on the actual broadcast, and it was more likely an Easter Egg for the live fans, or something that would show up on Santino's youtube show... and yet, there it was. If I had to guess, Santino might continue to do this, and in the end, it serves to introduce us to a new character who's been planted in the audience. The audience plant method hasn't been used since Serena, and -- if you dig coincidences -- it's also the method used to introduce Santino.]

Segment 13 [Singles Match]: Sheamus defeats Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) by pin. A “nothing special” match that turned into a damn fine one after the commercial, this was a rematch from No Way Out for no stated reason. The crowd was split along lines similar to Cena matches, with higher-pitched voices chanting “Let’s go Sheamus!” and deeper voices chanting “Let’s go Ziggler!” Good stuff.

Sweet spot about halfway through the match. Up till then, Sheamus had most of the offense in deference to the standard “heel beatdown” sequence. The match spilled outside, and Sheamus continued his attack by slamming Dolph’s face into the stairs. Sheamus wanted to follow up, but Vickie distracted him, causing him to turn his back. Dolph recovered, then waited until Sheamus turned back around. When he did, Dolph jumped to the top of the stairs, then immediately jumped off to hit the Fame-asser on the mats. Dolph immediately grimaced and grabbed his left arm, which I’m hoping is just selling the intensity of the move and not a legit injury.

Dolph was back on the offense from there, even doing Damien Sandow’s finisher without realizing it (the cross-armed neckbreaker). That couldn’t close the deal, so Dolph reverted to just stomping the shit out of him. When that didn’t work, Dolph continued the assault, which eventually saw Sheamus on his knees and leaning on the bottom rope with his chin resting on the middle rope, facing outside the ring. Dolph exited the ring to the apron, then did a dropkick to Sheamus’s temple. It worked, but caused Dolph to hi the floor. Dolph recovered instantly and went for the pin, but failed.

Dolph continued the offense, but Sheamus started to rally. This was cut short when Ziggler wiggled out of the White Noise and hit a jumping spike DDT, but that wasn’t enough to do it either.

Sheamus started to start his true rally then, and we entered our end-game. Sheamus with a flying shoulder block off the top rope, but only a two-count on the pin. Sheamus with the ten chest clubs, but Dolph countered the follow-up. However, when he went to charge Sheamus for his own follow-up, Sheamus hit the Blarney Boot. No getting up from that.

Final Thoughts: And that’s it. Not a whole lot got done, I don’t think. We have the birth of Sandow’s first feud, the next chapter of Ziggler’s and the Prime Time Players’ pushes, AJ continuing to show being two pistons short of an engine, and Big Show being a jerk. Nominal story advancements, but nothing you need to set aside a couple hours unless you’re a huge Ziggler fan. [Ed. Note: I'd be a bit more generous towards Alberto/Christian and the Sheamus/Ziggler rematch... really good matches that were both actually BETTER than their corresponding IC and WHC matches at the PPV. Worth a look on youtube? Maybe, maybe not, depending on your personal level of fandom for those 4 guys. But I think this underscores my opinion from the PPV: that matches of this caliber seem flat on a $55 Sunday, but can really pop and seem like a big time highlight on a free Friday. That perception has more to do with sizzle/hype/gravitas being a required element to make a match seem pay-worthy, I think; here on Friday, you can just enjoy the quality, and in both these cases, quality was delivered in spades by four guys who can bring it.]

Episode Grade: C+


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