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Finding Loopholes
December 8, 2012

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

It’s the end of an era for me on IGN Entertainment. I’m still employed and still a trusted freelancer, but my new boss has informed me that they will no longer pay me to write strategy guides for The Sims 3 expansions. This affects exactly zero people reading my recaps here on Online Onslaught, but for me, it’s a bit sad.
Of all the game franchises I’ve played, The Sims is easily in my top-five of all time, and the top-three most influential for my professional life. It sounds weird out of context, but realize that The Sims (specifically, The Sims 2) was my first foray into professional writing over eight years ago. I technically started writing for Online Onslaught first, but that was only a one-shot SmackDown spoiler, not my long-dead Byte This! recaps. [Ed. Note: EIGHT years?!? Jesus, time flies...]

Before OO and IGN, I was writing for free on GameFAQs.com, and the first long-form strategy guide I ever wrote was for The Sims. I learned how to write for an audience, how to pace my sentences and paragraphs, and the balance between entertainment and information. Even better, I learned (the hard way) how to take criticism from the public, and it was my first lesson on filtering what kinds of feedback to take seriously from what kinds of feedback to outright dismiss. Those are battles I still fight since I tend to be over-sensitive about such things, but I wouldn’t be where I am today (professionally or mentally) without those first text-only FAQs about the original Sims.

So far though, Rick still trusts me to write SmackDown and RAW recaps, so that’s what I’m gonna do! Let’s get to SmackDown, where… things… will happen. Hopefully.

Opening: As reported by Rick on the front page, CM Punk suffered a knee injury which, according to storyline, was caused by Ryback’s powerbomb through the table. They just outright state that the new main event of TLC will be a six-man tag match: all three members of The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) versus Ryback and Team Friendship. The six-man tag match will be conducted under TLC rules, and it will be no-DQ and no-countout… a sentence which I’m 67% sure was redundant to type, but there you are. [Ed. Note: what's stupid is that, with nothing to hang over the ring, Vince's decree included the stip that this TLC Match will only end via pinfall or submission, which is NOT THE F'N POINT OF A TLC MATCH. Why this wasn't made to be the Tables Match of the show is beyond me (with Cena/Ziggler promoted to TLC rules), since tables are kinda, you know?, the Shield's thing, and this might create the impression they might actually win. And frankly, if the fallout of the changes is Kofi/Barrett becoming a Ladder Match, I think we all win. But nope, WWE went and dun did it the dumdum way.]

Segment 1: Here comes Booker T to open the show proper. And… uh… it’s a contract signing. Sigh. Well, that means we’re doing my “Less Than You Need To Know” shorthand blathering style!

Booker is in the ring, Booker blathers, recap of Sheamus and Big Show brawling in a parking lot a few weeks ago, Booker blathers some more and enacts a no-touchy rule between Sheamus and Show, Show hits the ring, Sheamus hits the ring, Booker repeats his no-touchy rule (and threatens to strip Show of the belt if he ignores it). Sheamus sits at the table, blathers, then signs the contract; Show sits at the table, blathers, Sheamus blathers in response, Show stats to sign the contract…

Then Show shoves the table onto Sheamus, then signs the contract. This, somehow, doesn’t violate the no-touchy rule (because furniture was involved? Or because Show hadn’t signed the contract yet?). Sheamus is pissed, so Booker makes two matches: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio, and Show vs. Daniel Bryan.

So there you go. I just summarized 15 minutes of crap into a handful of sentences. You’re welcome… and I miss Punk’s version of contract signing segments.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Big Show defeats Daniel Bryan by pin. Absolutely nothing to talk about with this one. Pure formula, no high spots, whatever. The Shield wandered down toward the end of the match, but didn’t interfere.

Post-Segment 2: But after the bell, they swarmed and beat the crap out of DB. Kane hit the ring to make the save, but he too got beaten down at ringside. They tore the announcers’ table apart, then triple powerbombed Kane through it.

Cut Scene: Apparently Flo Rida and the Muppets are going to join WWE with the Tribute to the Troops this year. Excited? Me neither!

Segment 3: Back from commercial, and Damien Sandow is in the ring. He bemoans his efforts to “raise the cerebral bar” among the WWE fans but it’s totally fruitless. So he repeats he wants to try for another apprentice, though when the fans positively react to that, he mentions that his potential apprentices “get worse every week.” Heh.

Sandow—after telling the dude to back up because he apparently offends the senses—asks his three questions. 5+5… is ten! “Congratulations, you passed math.” Question two, who’s the current President? “Barack Obama!” Very good, says Sandow, even as the crowd boos the shit out of the name… must be a red state. The dude wants to high-five Sandow after getting that one right, but Sandow informs him that that’s really bad form, and he needs to keep his arms at his sides, especially given his stench. Heh.

Third question: “What 17th-century genre of art, emanating from the Netherlands, focused on still-life paintings depicting mortality and transience?” I didn’t even know what the fuck “transience” meant, so I had to look that up, which means Sandow is indeed making me smarter just by talking. The guy doesn’t get smarter however and taps out to the question, though my friend Rachel here correctly answers it’s “Thanatos,” another word I had to look up. I’d heard it before, and I always thought it was just a name, not some sort of genre of art.

Sandow is so unhappy at the guy’s lack of intelligence that he calls his beard “a disgrace to faces everywhere,” which is yet another line I need to use on some people at work. We’re welcome, and eyebrows flutter. Seriously, that’s the new People’s Eyebrow… I think I’ll call it the “Supercilia Cerebella.” If WWE can put minimal effort into Latinizing stupidity, we at OO can too!

Anyway, now The Miz hits the ring with a mic to, uh… contribute? It’s his turn to ask Sandow a question: “What 21st-century WWE Superstar wears his daddy’s bathrobe and buys his pink trunks from Victoria’s Secret?” Nice burn. Sandow isn’t amused, but Miz stupidly says “Damien Sandow!” as if the anvil wasn’t heavy enough. But he had to say it, just so Miz could say “You’re welcome!” Now that’s a burn, and enough for him to leave on. Sandow just looks angry, but says and does nothing.

Segment 4: RAW recap.

Pre-Segment 5: Apparently WWE took my advice: The Usos are involved in the next tag match, and they simply combined their entrance with Brodus Clay’s. No Siva Tau at all. It’s a little sad, but it’s infinitely less retarded than what they did last time.

Also, for the first time ever, I’m happy they put up the Twitter accounts on the name plates. I’m now following 3MB (@wwe3mb), because that needed to happen.

Segment 5 [Six-Man Tag Match]: 3MB defeats The Usos & Brodus Clay (w/ Funkadactyls) by pin. Meh. The match was basically a clusterfuck, like the match started with the hot tag sequence. I’m glad Drew McIntyre actually got some ring time, but he basically (a) sold until (b) hitting the Scot Drop or whatever he’s calling it now. By then, everyone else had powdered out, so he pinned one of the Usos and called it a day. Pretty lame.

After the match, Jinder Mahal decided to try to out-McIntyre McIntyre by laying on his back while doing air guitar. Good effort, but Drew is definitely the one killing the gimmick still.

Segment 6: Matt Striker—sans his impossibly retarded caterpillar handlebar mustache—interviews Wade Barrett. [Ed. Note: National Moustache Month is over. It had to go.] See, Barrett and Randy Orton have a match tonight, and Striker posits that The Shield may pop out to interfere. Barrett declares that Orton totally doesn’t need to worry about The Shield, and instead just needs to worry about the Bull Hammer Elbow. And… that’s it. Good contribution there, Wade.

Pre-Segment 7: Kofi Kingston joins commentary for the next match.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Wade Barrett by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Pure formula, with standard sequences… nothing surprising here. Orton got his late-game hope spot but his momentum was cut short after the ring humps. He went for the RKO, but Wade… uh… basically just stood there. I guess we’re supposed to buy that Wade pushed Orton away, but it didn’t seem that definitive.

Anyway, as Orton oversold landing on his head from being shoved off, Wade started undoing the turnbuckle pad behind the ref’s back. Kofi fired off an “Oh hell no” worthy of an angry girlfriend on an episode of Maury Povich, then left commentary to jump on the apron. He didn’t touch Barrett but screamed enough at him to cause a distraction. By the time Barrett turned around, Orton had recovered and hit an RKO. Fin.

Pre-Segment 8: RRRRRROOOSSSAAA!!! will be the only good thing about this match…

Segment 8 [Tag Match]: Hornswoggle & Khali (w/ Natalya) defeat Epico & Primo (w/ My Rosa Mendes) by pin. The match was so retarded that they didn’t bother showing the first part of it, instead focusing on Rosa being Rosa on the apron and hip-popping for my pleasure. Then Horny tripped her, and when she chased him, Natalya clotheslined her head off.

Only then did they care about what was going on in the ring, where Khali was dominating thanks to the Colons overselling the Shh Chops. But then, Khali whiffed on a big boot and oversold himself, going over the top rope and crashing to the floor. At this point, the heels tossed Horny in the ring for no reason and started messing with him, but not actually attacking him.

This, of course, gave Khali enough time to recover, get back in the ring, and take them both down with shitty overhead punches. Then a tag to Horny, who busted out the Tadpole Splash, then pinned Epico. Good to see the Colons being taken seriously.

Segment 9: RAW Recap of the main event promo.

Segment 10: The Shield offered a video to WWE that apparently was shot with a cell phone from 2005. They say they attacked Miz on Monday for “embarrassing Punk with the lie detector test,” and attacked Orton for “taking advantage of a young, defenseless Brad Maddox.” They’re also not happy that Ryback has just been handed his success, rather than earning it.

They reintroduce themselves (with name plates), and Ambrose summarizes their upcoming match: “Bring your tables, your chairs, your ladders… The Shield will bring the sword.” It’s a little nonsensical, but it’s poetic.

Segment 11: Coming back from commercial and recaps, we’ve got Antonio Cesaro in civvies while standing in the ring. He proceeds to insult the United States, because America is weak, and because not everyone can achieve anything. That is, the American Dream is a lie, and most of the people here will totally fail to do anything with their lives. We simply look like the American Dream… kick it to a stupid picture of Dusty Rhodes on the Titantron.

Cesaro says that he loses all hope when he thinks about America, and he’s sad that our children and grandchildren will be more pathetic than us. And that’s the truth!

And here comes R-Truth, because his name was spoken! Truth tells Cesaro doesn’t need a new purse, or a Ricolla, but a dose of truth, because that’ll set him free. What a weird cadence to his promo. Anyway, Truth gives a flag-waving speech that sounds like Truth is campaigning several months too late. He concludes that Cesaro is picking a fight with America, and America always fights back.

The fans fire up a “USA!” chant, and Cesaro says that Truth is like America: he can’t back up what he says, and he’s going to miserably fail in trying to take his US Title. Or something. This train wreck derailed pretty much from the start.

Truth gets to the ring and throws a punch, and a brawl ensues. It’s even, but Cesaro bails and runs away… though he left his title in the ring. Truth arranges it so it looks good on camera, and then they exchange off-microphone words. The fans seem happy, but I’m bored as hell.

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Sheamus defeats Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by submission. Above-average match, but still nothing to write home about. No high spots, nothing unusual, pure formula. Match ended with the Irish Cloverleaf.

Post-Segment 12: Halfway through the match, Big Show came out onto the stage to watch. Nothing happened, but once the match was over, Show did a golf clap as he went down to the ring. Show dared Sheamus to break the no-touchy rule, and Sheamus looked like he was going to do it. Then, Ricardo was nonsensically in the ring, so Sheamus grabbed him and threw him face-first into Show’s testicles. Show had his eyes closed and didn’t see it coming, so… yay for not breaking the no-touchy rule?

Final Thoughts: Meh. Less than “meh,” really. I’ve unconsciously reflected Rick’s policy that a “nothing sucked” night should be worth no worse than a C in this stupid rating scheme I’ve invented, but I’m pretty sure that god-awful Truth promo lets me go below the basement.

And really, nothing else helped the ratings. Shit happened, nothing interesting, and we moved on. I can’t even pinpoint anything by the Sandow/Miz thing as being remotely entertaining, and even then I’m being biased. So… skip this one. Hopefully next week will be better.

Episode Grade: D


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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