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I'd actually watch Damien Sandow's "The Apprentice"
December 1, 2012

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


So I was trying to figure out why Rick hadn’t posted my SmackDown recap last week. “He must be having exciting, tasty Thanksgiving adventures!” says I. Then he posted my RAW recap and I thought something must be amiss. So then I checked my Hotmail history and found out that, uh, I never sent the e-mail. Whoops.

You didn’t miss anything major last week; trust me. And there wasn’t even a Thanksgiving midcard food fight! I only just got over my depression of it.

Well, okay, depression is hyperbole. What is not hyperbole is that I’m feeling pretty sick. Remember that week in September when I should have been celebrating turning 30, and instead was just happy I wasn’t puking up phlegm on a daily basis? I’m starting to feel like I have the same symptoms, which is a little scary. Don’t get me wrong, I have perspective, and bronchitis isn’t bad in the grand scheme of illnesses. But it’s still as sick as I’ve ever been, and it kept me totally down for a week.

I wanted to stay on top of it, and in my desperation to take anything that might help, I wound up getting these little packets of power from Alka-Seltzer called “Severe Cold and Flu.” It’s like Crystal Light or Kool-Aid, you just mix it up with some water and drink. And holy shit… I hate Alka-Seltzer, and I hate honey-lemon (the only flavor), but this stuff has almost completely knocked out whatever the hell I’ve had. Just some sinus drainage is left, and I’m being good: I’m still taking the stuff, and will do so until I’m out. Seriously, if you’re sick and haven’t tried it before, do so… You might be surprised.

Let’s hope there are some good surprises in for us who don’t read the SmackDown spoilers! Let’s roll…

Segment 1: John Cena is opening the show? Huh… This makes two weeks in a row that Johnny Boy has jumped brands (as if anyone cares about brands anymore). We get a replay of the Cena/Dolph match ending from Monday before Cena even picks up a mic.

Cena opens by basically saying what I just said in a different way, since he knows we’re all so totally surprised that he’s here tonight. He blathers against Ziggler in an overly intense way, then also says that Ziggler wants us all to remember he was a World Heavyweight Champion (for two minutes). That would be a cute line, except that to my knowledge, Dolph has never talked about it for a while. Hell, I totally forgot until Cena said it.

Anyway, Cena goes on that Dolph doesn’t just have a match tonight, but he’s in a “fight” with Sheamus. And we should all share Cena’s excitement, because… yay, justice, I guess? I dunno.

Then Alberto Del Rio pops out and talks some shit, says that SmackDown is his show, and Cena counters with a cheap pop that it’s really the fans’ show. ADR runs down his resume and reminds us that he totally beat Cena last time they faced each other, which again I wouldn’t have remembered if he hadn’t said anything. So ADR thinks all that is proof enough that Cena needs to take a walk.

Cena says that he can’t go… not only is he too interested in the main event, but he has a match… with ADR… right now… PUNCH!

Okay, that was a little amusing. ADR oversells it and bails as Cena disrobes. That was a bit stupid for an opening segment, but at least they kept it short.

We’re going to commercial before the match starts.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: John Cena defeats Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin. Started off as a “decent but nothing special” match, but the last 5% of it was pretty intense. No abnormal high spots, but both guys slipped out of each other’s finishers in some slick extended chain wrestling. Eventually, the fight went to the top rope, where ADR was going to try a super reverse suplex or something, but Cena fought him off. He went to the top, came down with his Wacky Back Leg Drop, and that was enough to put ADR down. Good clean win, and a crowd-pleaser, but… I don’t know, it just felt like it could have been a few minutes shorter.

Post-Segment 2: As Cena celebrates, Dolph sucker-punches him up on the stage. The fans boo, even though 1) Cena did the same thing last week, and 2) Dolph didn’t follow up with some sort of submission hold. Fickle, thy name is the WWE Universe.

Segment 3: Daniel Bryan and Kane are staring each other down in the back. Kofi Kingston arrives and pleads with them to get along at least for their six-man tag match tonight. DB says he can sure get on the same page, since Kane is so totally powerful and will eviscerate their opponents. Kane screams back that DB is a technical genius who will totally make everyone tap out. Ergo, the fans haven’t seen how powerful their team is… but they will tonight!

And just prove the point home, they start screaming “Yes! Yes!” in unison as they leave. Kofi looks scared, but it’s a good they’re on the same team.

Segment 4: After commercials, Cena is in the back and talking to Booker T. Cena insists he’s totally going to cheap-shot Dolph, but Booker T wants him to stay away from him… at least until after the match. The curious thing with this conversation is that Cena seems to be speaking more Ebonics than Booker T, which is disconcerting.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Khali (w/ Hornswoggle) squashes David Otunga by pin. Whatever.

Segment 6 [6-Man Tag Match]: Team Friendship & Kofi Kingston defeat the Prime Time Players & Wade Barrett by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Kofi and DB both played faces in peril, with Kane getting the hot tag. Despite the blustering in Segment 4, there wasn’t anything unusual here, other than the fact that there weren’t any blind tags or bickering between the champs; in fact, they got along great and did some solid double-team moves. The match ended with the No Lock.

Segment 7: Matt Striker interviews Sheamus about the main event tonight. Sheamus says the good news for Dolph is that Cena has promised to get involved; the bad news is that Dolph will still have to deal with him. Even worse, Sheamus has been visualizing all his opponents lately as Big Show, which means Sheamus is going to kick his ass worse than he ever has been. He says that Dolph refers to himself as the “show off,” and after tonight, Dolph will be able to “show off” his head, since Sheamus will kick it off his shoulders.

Pure “meh,” but it’s in Sheamus’s idiom, so it works… I guess.

Segment 8: RAW recap of The Shield’s activities with Kane and Daniel Bryan (and Ryback).

Segment 9: Damien Sandow hits the stage, but wants to talk first as he heads down the stage. He says he’s been here for months and has attempted to enlighten us, but that has clearly not worked. Now, he’s not going to abandon us… but, he’s not going to focus on us anymore. Instead, he’s going to redirect his efforts to share his awesomeness with us on an individual basis. Ergo, he’s going to choose a fan to be his apprentice.

He insults basically everyone in the front row before picking some dude, who they get manage to get into the ring (even though he’s about as skinny as the ring post). He asks the dude three simple questions… How many wheels on a tricycle? The guy is correct with the answer of three! Second question… How many years does the US hold Presidential elections? The guy is correct again with “every four years”! Sandow: “You’re smarter than you look.” Heh.

Third question… what’s the orbital velocity of Jupiter’s moon, Europa? The guy, of course, has no clue. Sandow deadpans: “You ignoramus! The correct answer is 13.74 km/s! Congratulations, you have embarrassed yourself, your family, and the whole state of Louisiana. Your public display of ignorance is surpassed only by that ridiculous haircut.” Ha! Sandow encourages him to leave the arena… and the town… and the state… and the whole damn country. We’re welcome!

Okay, seriously… this is going to be gold. His cocky little smirk and eyebrow combination as he says “You’re welcome” here needs to stay too.

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Damien Sandow defeats Tyson Kidd by pin. Decent match, nothing special, basically an extended reverse squash. No major high spots other than a suicide dive by Kidd through the ropes to ringside, and it looked a little… uh… dangerous. He almost caught his feet on the ropes, which would have ended in disaster, but he was able to get through okay. The match ended with the Terminus.

Segment 11: Video package of Cena getting to 300 wishes for Make-A-Wish, same one they showed on Monday.

Segment 12: Striker interviews Dolph in the back, who says that he didn’t “lose” to Cena on Monday. It was a handicap, since AJ so totally interfered. Dolph is sure tonight won’t be different, that Cena’s going to come down and interfere even though he promised he would. He says Cena is the biggest liar in WWE history, a title I’m sure actually goes to Vince McMahon himself probably, and that liars totally get what’s coming to them… a Money in the Bank briefcase shot to the back of the head. Huh.

Dolph puts himself way over, and does a good job of it, then turns Sheamus’s earlier words against him. “Sheamus looks at me and sees Big Show? He better look again… because when Sheamus looks at me, he’ll be looking at the next World Heavyweight Champion.” Nice.

Pre-Segment 13: WWE SUCKS ASS! I’m sorry, but when you have the Usos coming out, why the fuck would you cut off the Siva Tau, but show their trot down the ramp? It’s like they took out the good part of the entrance, and instead left the generic part! Stupid… so, so stupid. Why not just cut the whole entrance at that point?

At least 3MB’s entrance sort of makes up for it. Drew is still totally killing the gimmick. But why the hell is he still not in the damn match? Is Drew injured or something, and he’s just sort of hanging around until he heals?

Segment 13 [Tag Match]: 3MB (w/ Drew McIntyre) defeat the Usos by pin. Barely average. Time-compressed formula with Jimmy being the face in peril, and Jay being the savior. Hot tag and house of fire, but he couldn’t close the deal, and some action behind the ref’s back put Jay down. Drew didn’t get involved at all, by distraction or by action. Match ultimately ended with a reverse sit-down skull crusher (or whatever you would call an upside-down faceplant).

Segment 14: RAW recap of the Sheamus/Show interaction, and a TLC bump.

Segment 15 [Single Match]: Sheamus defeats Dolph Ziggler by disqualification. Above-average match, but not one you have to go out of your way for.

The beginning had some neat spots. First, on the outside, Sheamus did a throwing Samoan drop to fling Dolph backwards into the corner of the barricade, which Dolph sold like a gunshot. A bit later, Sheamus tried to set Dolph up for a reverse 10 Clubs; that is, Dolph was in the ring, and Sheamus wanted to do the move from the apron. It didn’t work: Dolph slipped out and turned it into a top rope-assisted Stone Cold Stunner, sending Sheamus crashing to the floor.

Things settled down from there, with both guys doing their usual move sets. Sheamus was generally on the offense, with Dolph using his stature and speed to slip out of attacks and counter into pins. Eventually, after some back-and-forth action with both guys dodging each other’s finishers, Sheamus locked in his Irish Cloverleaf. Dolph didn’t have time to tap, as that’s when Big Show came on down to the ring. Sheamus broke the hold on his own to trade blows with him.

Post-Segment 15: Sheamus and Show fought, and Dolph wanted to help out against Sheamus. That’s when Cena hit the ring and just FUed Dolph into oblivion, then went after Show. Show teased twin chokeslams on both Sheamus and Cena, but the faces reversed it into a fucking awesome double suplex. Then followed up with a double flying shoulder block that easily produced the shittiest-looking shoulder blocks ever in the history of professional wrestling. Show still told it like a champ though and fell out of the ring through the ropes.

Sheamus’s music played the show to a close as Show snarled his way around the ring. The faces were happy, the fans were happy, and even Sign Guy in the front row was happy. I wondered whether that dude was still going.

Final Thoughts: I have this feeling that Rick is going to appreciate the matches more than I did. [Ed. Note: Yep. But Sandow's Apprentice Search was still my #1 highlight of the night.]

I know I’ve been hard on WWE lately, and I’m not going apologize for it since my opinions are just that. Ultimately, I don’t know if it’s viewer fatigue, general fatigue, or other bullshit and distractions going on my in my personal life—or hell, maybe it’s just the full moon—but I’m just not enjoying WWE lately. It’s okay, it’s certainly not bad, but I’m just not finding much to get behind these days. And certainly tonight, there wasn’t anything I could get behind in the ring.

Feuds were generally fueled, stories advanced, and sustainable episodic television was achieved, I guess, but… I don’t know, something is missing. The buzz, the sizzle, I suppose. There’s nothing to get excited about here, at least not for me. Is WWE simply treading water until we get past TLC and into the Royal Rumble corridor, since that’s where we’ll get The Rock and the start of The Road to WrestleMania? Or am I just totally off-base here and things aren’t as bad as I think they are?

That’s really for you to decide, ultimately. As for me, tonight’s episode was “meh.” Not a waste of my time, but certainly nothing I’m going to bring up over the water cooler tomorrow.

I’ll see you on the other side of the weekend for RAW.

Episode Grade: C


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




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