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Collateral Damage
February 2, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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So the Super Bowl is in a few days, and even though I consider myself a fan of many sports (yes Rick, even Major League Soccer, although I know you’ll penalize me several dozen Man Points for that!), American football is still my favorite. [Ed. Note: You'll only be penalized a few Man Points for liking soccer. It's not like figure skating, where it's notoriously popular among women (or particularly flamboyant males). It's notoriously popular among Europeans and other stinky foreigners, however, and notoriously unpopular here, except among long-hairs and wankers. Also: calling it "American football," instead of "football," does not help your cause. Consider yourself penalized 5 Man Points and 4000 Patriot Points, you hippie.]

I may not have a dog in the race, but given that my Steelers didn’t even make the playoffs, I’m naturally rooting for the 49ers so Pittsburgh’s divisional rival doesn’t win it all. And screw Ray Lewis.

I wish I could be like most people and say that I’m going to be all about the commercials, that I’m excited about the commercials, that the commercials are so awesome and funny. I don’t know if I’ve become cynical, jaded, or the commercials really have just gotten worse over the years, but I just do not find them funny at all anymore. Last year, I watched the Super Bowl with my mom and a couple of friends, and they universally enjoyed several commercials, including Doritos’ tradition of having some jackass get blasted in the man zone by an animal and/or kid. But there wasn’t a single one that I found entertaining at all, and I had wished for a time delay.

I get it, as I “get” most things. I remember I once heard that the one reason the commercials have to be funny or edgy or whatever is an intentional calculation on the advertisers’ part: if the game is a blowout or otherwise unmemorable, then the “water cooler” moments on Monday will be focused on the commercials. Get people talking, spread your company’s name, and the advertising was a success. Hooray?

But… I just don’t care, and I’m caring less now that companies are doing commercials for their commercials. And yet I’ll still watch every second of the damn show, including the stupid commercials, just so I don’t feel left out of the conversation. I actually tried that once, one time when I couldn’t watch it and just taped it, back when us young kids had VCRs and such. I fast-forwarded through the commercials but found myself with literally nothing to talk about for a week at work. (Then again, given where I worked at the time and who with, that may not have been a bad thing.) Maybe this year will be different… if nothing else, I’ll get to watch Kate Upton jiggle in slow motion at least once (several times with the DVR), so that’s something.

But that’s Sunday, and this is Friday as I write this, which means it’s time for SmackDown! Will be a special appearance by CM Punk, The Rock, and or Brock Lesnar tonight? Let’s find out…

Pre-Segment 1: After the stupid TMZ-style intro, we see that Alberto Del Rio is in street clothes and is pacing in the parking lot while wielding a baseball bat. Big Show isn’t at the arena yet, but ADR isn’t waiting around.

Segment 1: Smash cut from that to the ring, where Booker T is standing in the ring with Teddy Long, Sheamus, Team Friendship, Randy Orton, and Khali. Booker T recaps that John Cena has chosen to go after the WWE Championship. Books is fine with that… and totally ignores John Cena’s insult against SmackDown on Monday when he said that it was totally certain he’d win the World Heavyweight Title and chose the WWE Championship for the challenge. This saddens me; that would have given some fire to SmackDown if they wanted to basically bring the whole brand against Cena for being a disrespectful twatmuffin.

Anyway, Books says that with Cena’s decision, this leaves open who is going to challenge for the World Heavyweight Title come WrestleMania. These five guys have all been champion at some point apparently, though I honestly can’t remember Khali ever being champ. I’m sure those brain cells have simply jettisoned the memory for my own good, but I honestly can’t remember.

So Books’s point here is that there are six slots open for the Elimination Chamber, and that might have some sort of impact on who gets to go to WrestleMania. But before he can finish his thought… it’s Jack Swagger of all people who interrupts. He gets booed, in spite of (or because of) his slick long hair and beard. He looks a hockey player whose name eludes me, which of course doesn’t help you at all. [Ed. Note: minus several hundred more Patriot Points for pretending like hockey's A Thing. It's the soccer of Canada. ZING~!]

So Swagger is back and says that he’s been living life as a “real American,” and he’s watched every week. He’s disappointed in how WWE is going, and so “put me in the elimination chamber, and I’ll do the rest.” That’s… cryptic.

Books says that Swagger will have to earn it, just like everyone else. And now that we have six people in the ring, and there are six spots open for the EC, it seems obvious that—

Uh, that Dolph Ziggler is going to open his mouth, since he’s been standing at ringside the whole time and wasn’t even mentioned. Dolph is as always flanked by AJ (who adorably plays with her ponytail) and Big E Langston. Dolph blathers that since he’s the Money in the Bank champion, Booker T shouldn’t even bother worrying about the EC, because he doesn’t want to be a part of it. Uh… since when he was supposed to be in it in the first place?

More blathering ensues, and it comes to the point where these six guys (seven if you count Dolph) are in matches tonight, and if they can “impress” him and T-Long, they’ll decide who’s in and who’s out concerning the Elimination Chamber.

…So, wow, that was a lot of talking for not much substance. If I didn’t type all that out, I could have just summed it up with a single sentence: “It takes 15 minutes for Booker T to say that he’s going to stock the Elimination Chamber participants based on their performance in single matches tonight.” Maybe I should revert back to the “less than you probably need to know” style of these recaps.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara defeat Team Friendship by pin. Entertaining enough I suppose, but not all that thrilling to me. We’re in front of Rey’s hometown, so clearly he was going to win, and the crowd was awfully hot for him. No complaints, just… nothing thrilling. The match ended after a series of counters and re-counters that turned into a 619 on DB followed by Dropping the Dime.

After the match, Team Friendship bitched at each other, but I doubt anything will come from that anytime soon.

Segment 3: After a replay of ADR/Show’s activities on RAW, Matt Striker goes to interview ADR, who tells him to just leave him alone since he’s just getting some fresh air. Striker smartly leaves.

Segment 4 [Singles Match]: Khali (w/ Hornswoggle & Natalya) defeats Jinder Mahal (w/ Heath Slater) by pin. Basically a squash, it—no, you know what? It was a squash, or a reverse-squash. I don’t know, it was stupid… pass. Trust me.

Segment 5: Booker T and Teddy Long are in the back and evidently playing WWE ’13 or something as they declare that Khali was, indeed, “impressive.” Blathering ensues, and Team Rhodes Scholars appear to declare that they’re… not going to be a team anymore, and will instead focus on singles matches. Huh.

Sandow says rest assured, they’re so totally super best friends. He quotes some French writer I’ve never heard of with this: “Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me, and be my friend.” He concludes that by laying a hand affectionately on Cody’s shoulder. But Cody is swept up in the bromantic moment, so he pulls Sandow into a hug as they whisper “We’re totally best friends” verbatim in each other’s ears. No, I’m not making any of that up, and now “bromantic” is added to my MS Word Online Onslaught Custom Dictionary. Thanks a lot, WWE… I feel completely ashamed of myself.

Sandow and Cody, in fact, hold the hug for so long that we get a pan back to Booker T exchanging a “What the hell?” expression with T-Long. Long says something, but you can’t hear him over the overtures of bromance going on with the other two. The hug officially transcends from “Manly Show of Affection” to “Football Players Don’t Touch Each Other This Much.” Booker T breaks it up, and actually congratulates them to focus on their singles careers, since he gets to face Sheamus!

Cody, who couldn’t get enough of Sandow’s presence literally four seconds ago, just goes “I’ll be with you in spirit!” and hauls ass out of the office. Booker T adds that “You’re not Rhodes Scholars, now you’re just Rhode Kill,” which makes zero sense given that he’s saying it to Sandow. Booker T oversells his own laugh, and T-Long sucks up by giggling along, though you can see in his eyes that he’d really just like to punch Booker T in the throat.

Either way, Sandow isn’t impressed, but simply gets angry when Booker T follows it up with “You’re welcome.” Heh.

Segment 6: Replay of the main event angle from RAW, followed by WWE.com exclusive footage (which, again, is a freaking oxymoron since they’re playing it on Syfy) of Vince McMahon doing a full stretcher job after RAW went off the air, even followed by the always-hot Stephanie McMahon.

We get word that Vince has a (assumingly kayfabe) broken hip, and he’s going to go into surgery. [Ed. Note: nope, he needed the surgery for real, the injury angle is to give him the onscreen reason for being hobbled. FYI, not a "broken hip" in real life, but just your basic degenerative condition that happens when you're pushing 70 years old. It's gotten worse in recent month, thus, finally getting surgery.] Seems every time he’s around, he breaks something… this the guy who went 20+ minutes with Triple H in one hell of a hardcore match that involved falling off a high scaffold into the bed of a pickup truck before getting beaten with the first appearance of Sweet Lady Sledge. Oh Attitude Era, where have you gone?

Segment 7: Replay of the ending of Royal Rumble, followed by a replay of part of Cena’s speech (and subsequent beatdown from The Shield) on Monday. Are they even trying this week?

Segment 8 [Singles Match]: Sheamus probably defeats Damien Sandow by disqualification. So the story here is that Sandow must have forgotten this wasn’t a return tables match, as he went balls-out aggressive to give us an early heal beatdown sequence. Sheamus tried a hope spot after Sandow’s first failed pin, and Sheamus was able to keep Sandow cornered. Sandow countered by a weird jumping battering ram to Sheamus’s arm, somehow doing so from his ass. I didn’t realize gluteus maximus could allow you to jump, but here we are. (We also get another word added to the dictionary, since “gluteus” is in it but “maximus” is not for some reason. You win at words, Microsoft.)

Still, Sandow’s random butt-launched battering ram didn’t work out longer than two seconds, and Sheamus took control after reversing an Irish Whip. From there, Sheamus wanted White Noise, but Sandow slipped out and escaped to the apron. Sheamus rolled with it, hooked Sandow from behind, and started to deliver the 10 of Clubs.

Except then The Shield’s music started, so after the 5 of Clubs, Sheamus just dropped him and let him crash to the black ringside mats. The ref just screamed and gestured nonsensically in their direction, and as they surrounded the ring, the ref just bailed. No bell.

Post-Segment 8: Sheamus did pretty well, hitting Seth Rollins with a Brogue Kick and even chucked Roman Reigns from the ring, but then Dean Ambrose held onto Sheamus’s legs. Reigns got in some shots from outside while Seth Rollins got in some weak shots from in the ring, and that was that; Sheamus was down, until they lifted him up so he could suffer the triple powerbomb.

Rollins kept selling his jaw after the Brogue Kick, but Shield reigns supreme, and no one bothered to show up to help despite the fans chanting “Feed me more.”

Commercial: I really want to take the new 5 Hour Energy guy, lock him in a room with a pissed off and starving Bengal tiger, and let nature take its course.

Cut Scene: CM Punk may not have given us the WWE Ice Cream Bars that we were so craving, but Post Cereal knows how to jump on a trend (one year after it’s relevant) and has slapped a John Cena cartoon on the front of their Fruity Pebbles boxes. WWE thinks it’s a great idea to promote this by doing a “Tale of the Tape” between Cena and Fred Flintstone. Again, I’m not making this up, and again, WWE is making me ashamed of myself. I need to go buy a Black & Decker battery-operated power drill just to make myself feel like a man again.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Wade Barrett by pin. An extended reverse-squash disguised as a competitive match, Barrett went super-aggressive punchy-kicky on Orton for a few minutes. Then Orton got a comeback spot and never lost it, hitting his Five Moves of Doom (and I mean the whole damn list), then made the pin.

I’ll give Orton this much… After the RKO, Wade landed near the south ropes slightly spread eagle. Orton shot the half, saw Wade’s position, then purposely hooked Wade’s arm closest to the ropes with his free hand, then hooked Wade’s legs with his own. That’s a smart-looking pin. Good deal.

Segment 10: After commercial, Matt Striker tries to interview Wade Barrett about his loss. Wade answers for a nanosecond, then sees Bo Dallas further down the hall chatting up some ladies. Wade is insecure, so he just cheap shots Dallas and beats the crap out of him, throwing him into a Convenient Pile of Unattached Metal Bars, then just punching him repeatedly in the face.

Well, Dallas is an instant-face after that and his performance on Monday, no doubt. I haven’t watched NXT since NXT4 (and even that, I quit about halfway through), so I don’t know how good Bo Dallas is in the ring at length, but he’s certainly got the fans on his side.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: Jack Swagger defeats Kofi Kingston by submission. Jack Swagger hasn’t lost a step in his technical wrestling (unless Rick begs to differ, since he’s better than me at detecting ring rust), but I’m still not really enthused by his style. Once the technical showcase was done and Kofi started a comeback, Swagger went all aggressive, but it just didn’t have the same impact as Sandow’s or Barrett’s efforts from tonight.

Still, it was a back-and-forth competitive match that was somewhat entertaining, just completely forgettable. The match ended with Swagger’s trademark ankle lock.

Segment 12: The Arena Security Staff are trying desperately for ADR to relinquish his “pipe,” which I mistakenly called a bat earlier because I wasn’t paying close enough attention, I guess. He speaks Spanish to them, and whatever he said, it made them collectively leave.

Camera pan, and we see a bus arriving. Thanks to watching the CM Punk: Best in the World DVD, part of me it’s hoping to be him. But no, the bus stops, and Big Show gets off as ADR hides. Show looks around, starts to go to the building, and ADR comes out of nowhere. But then he totally misses and just smashes some poor bastard’s car. This poor bastard, in fact, has been sitting in this exact position since a cut scene like around Segment 8, but again, I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see this coming despite the car obviously being a prop.

Anyway, Big Show decides to go all Saints Row on the poor bastard by carjacking him, but ADR keeps swinging away like [some famous current baseball player that I don’t know since I only watched one game last year] and even busts out the car’s driver-side front window. Show avoids most of the shots, then decides the best way to handle things is to climb onto the car.

From there, we have ten seconds of not knowing what the hell is going on since, even though they’re using a sitcom-like three-camera system for this (that completely ruins immersion), nobody had an angle that didn’t show a) Big Show’s big ass, or b) the car with ADR behind it in the center of the frame, so there was just some random flailing by Big Show which, for all we knew, was against a raccoon hopped up on methamphetamines and chicken wings. (Note to self: e-mail Vince Gilligan on one hell of an idea for a finale to Breaking Bad.)

Then we get to a spot that actually looks impressive. Big Show stands on the roof of the car, again because this is his escape plan, and ADR chop blocks him… with his hand, I must add, rather than the steel pipe he’s still holding. This causes Show to fall backwards onto the roof of the car, which buckles, which is pretty sick. It doesn’t break, thankfully.

So Show just lays there selling it for a second, and I guess his random flailing against ADR earlier put ADR down just enough that he couldn’t follow up. So Show catches his breath, rolls off the car, and tries once again to just jack it. Show however jobs cleanly to the lock and can’t wrap his fingers around the tiny little nub (that is easily accessed since there’s no freaking window in the car), so instead he just pleads for mercy.

They scramble back and forth on opposite sides of the car, then Big Show does the stupidest reverse-juke in history, which ADR falls for. Show runs to a different car, and the dude—who apparently was just chilling behind the wheel the whole time—dives out of the car. Big Show jumps in, ADR sorta-kinda jogs over there, drops the pipe, then tries to grab Show’s shirt or something through the conveniently open window. What in God’s name was his plan, there?

Whatever it was, it failed. Show floored it and sped off. ADR hit the ground, then got up and tried to hulk out, which failed completely since he couldn’t tear his shirt. So he just stood there and screamed nonsensically till we faded to black.

Okay, I’ll be honest: I absolutely enjoyed that, and it was for all the wrong reasons. It was the polar opposite of the Monday angle, where Big Show’s offense was pretty stiff, believable, mean-spirited, logical, and violent. I don’t want to bother cracking the antonyms part of my digital thesaurus, but I’ll just say this angle wasn’t any of those. At all.

It started with an interesting premise, and busting up the prop car was kinda cool, but… just… no. It would have probably played better inside the halls of the arena since they wouldn’t have had to play Ring Around the Roses with a stupid car. It’s a should-watch, but not for the reasons WWE intended.

Segment 13: Replay of Punk’s promo against Rock on Monday.

Pre-Segment 14: ADR is walking through the halls finally in his ring gear, and Ricardo Rodriguez finds him. Ricardo wants to help him out, but ADR tells him to stay back for this one. Given that Show wasn’t exactly neutralized, that’s probably not a smart call.

Segment 14 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio defeats Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E. Langston) by pin. Solid match, though it took a little while to get going. I’m not sure this would qualify as a “free-per-view” match, but it was certainly worthy of its spot as the main event on one of the weekly shows.


ADR kicked ass for about five straight minutes, other than a couple reverse hope spots. Dolph took momentum thanks to some interference behind the ref’s back. Dolph was down, so ADR went to the northeast top rope. AJ hopped up on the west apron to distract Mike Chioda, giving Langston a chance to pull ADR’s ankle behind his back. This resulted in a sick fall from ADR, who thankfully landed on his shoulder and not his neck, but that was scary close. It’s like he over-rotated on the fall… just looked scary, but it was clean and safe.

From there, Dolph took control for about two seconds. He failed a pin, then picked up ADR and threw him off the south ropes. ADR ducked a clothesline, then just did a baseball slide into Langston’s chest, sending him to the barricade. Langston hopped on the apron to bitch, which resulted in him getting tossed by Chioda.

That took us to commercial, and on the other side, Dolph basically had control. After they exchanged some kicky-kickies (another word for my dictionary), Dolph took control and put ADR down. Then he went to the top rope like an idiot, so ADR dropkicked his ankle, making him crotch himself on the metal connector pin. Blame Dolph for “overselling” all you want, but if I was in his boots, I’d probably scream and cry just as much. (I’d also be making out with AJ on a weekly basis, so… worth it.)

ADR then went to the top rope and hit a picture-perfect superplex, but it took enough out of him that he couldn’t make a pin. The double count was on, but both guys got up and exchanged punches. Dolph whiffed on a jumping forearm to the corner, making him bash his own skull into a different connector pin. ADR took control, hit a superkick, but failed the pin.

ADR then went for the Cross Arm Breaker, but Dolph countered into his Fame-Asser. Failed pin.

More back-and-forth, then ADR hit a rope-assisted Backstabber. Carlito sues for copyright infringement, but ADR fails the pin.

ADR decides to try a high risk maneuver instead, going for a double axe handle, but Dolph dropkicks him out of the air. Failed pin.

Dolph backs up, goes for the Zig Zag, but ADR ducks it and hits the Cross Arm Breaker out nowhere. Dolph tries to resist but can’t, and that’s that.

Post-Segment 15: ADR doesn’t get to celebrate with his title for long, as Big Show appears on the Titantron with Ricardo. ADR wants to go help, but Show tells him not to, else he’ll snap Ricardo in half. ADR goes ahead and accepts the threat, then goes through the ropes again.

Big Show talks some shit and makes some threats, then grasps Ricardo by his soft collar and hits him with the WMD anyway. What a surprise.

ADR hauls ass up the ramp, and when we cut back, Referee McDoucher is already on the scene. A trainer arrives, ADR arrives, McDoucher hauls ass to find a doctor, and we fade out to black.

Final Thoughts: I know professional wrestling—and all stories, by their nature—have to follow certain protocol, but the takeaway was just so bloody obvious that I can’t get behind it or be entertained by it. Not to mention the ridiculous parking lot ambush, which I’ve already said enough about.

The main event was strong and was match of the night, but if you take it away, I could have had match of the night by going in a 20-minute epic against an Angry Whopper. Well, unless you liked the opener, I guess, but I didn’t… sorry, Rey fans.

So between subpar matches and entirely too much filler, I wasn’t pleased. As I said, the ambush was a must-watch for the wrong reasons, but feel free to skip the rest of the show. Or maybe better, check out the last half-hour on heavy fast-forward, and you’ll be good.

I’m done here. Have fun this Sunday if you’re going to watch the Super Bowl, and stay safe. I’ll see you on the other side of the weekend for RAW.

Episode Grade: D (first 90 minutes), B- (last 30 minutes)


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