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Dolph Ziggler = Winning?
March 16, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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on Twitter --/-- View Pyro's Videos on Youtube

While I try not to be a techno-douche, there are times when getting the shiniest and newest Thing is in my best interest. My old cell phone is a pile of crap, and my contract was coming up for Verizon, so they were offering me discount pricing. Most of the basic phones seemed even crappier, so after arguing with myself for a while, I decided to go ahead and upgrade to my first Smartphone.
Of course, I have no idea what I'm doing with it. I'm not really an app guy, so Angry Birds et al is staying the hell off my phone. But I did get the NFL app, so I can keep track of the Steelers next season while I'm supposed to be working on Sundays. (The better case scenario there is that I get a new day job by next football season and have my Sundays free so the app is pointless, but I know my luck: I'm stuck at Walmart for life.)

I can also tweet and Facebook and Myspace (which no one uses anymore) on the go if I want, but usually if I'm on the go, it means I don't want to be around that crap anyway.

So... I don't know. I like it, though, and it's waterproof. I want to text someone or make a tweet while taking a shower just to say I did. But otherwise, I'm quite happy just using my phone as, you know, a phone. [Ed. Note: I backslid over a year ago, and finally became a TechnoDouche. It did absolutely nothing to change my (lack of) interest in "social media," since I still prefer being friends with my friends, instead of internet "friends" with my friends.... or being internet friends with anybody to the extent that I ignore real people I'm with in real life in order to play with my phone. But I did end up being a pretty steady consumer of apps that provide me with private entertainment. Yes, Angry Birds (including Star Wars Angry Birds). Yes, three different kinds of soduko. Yes, an online Hold 'Em app. Yes, Need For Speed. Yes, about a dozen other games. Yes, both the Time Warner and ESPN apps so I can watch TV without a TV. Especially yes to Pandora, which is an absolute must-have upgrade to radio. And most of all, yes, yes, a million times yes to MLB At Bat. It was the best $15 I spent in 2012, and I made the mistake of declaring it "one of the few things that's worth MORE than it costs." So, of course, the jerks decided to charge $20 in 2013. I still paid it, gladly. It's only been 15 months, and I honestly don't know what I'd do without my Device. I like to think I still prioritize my usage better than 98% of the wangnozzles out there, but I've still fallen fall short of my own standards in just 15 short months.]

And that's the extent of my excitement for the week. Well, the excitement you'd care about, anyway, unless you happen to be a huge SimCity fan. Otherwise, that'll be enough blathering from me, so let's get to SmackDown.

Pre-Segment 1: SD is in Fort Wayne, Indiana tonight, a mere stone's throw away from my birth town of Angola. And... wait, we're opening with a match instead of blathering? Well that's a welcome change!

Oh wait... we've got a RAW recap of The Shield beating the crap out of Sheamus and Randy Orton.

Oh, and Brad Maddox is back on commentary, apparently as a semi-permanent guest. That's a treat.

Okay, so Sheamus and Orton hit the ring for a tag match. Then Team Rhodes Scholars comes out, and Damien Sandow has his brandy snifter microphone to bitch about their match against New Age Outlaws, then proceeded to lose to Orton and Sheamus. So they're pissy, and here's a rematch so they can get some revenge.

My final note: I no longer believe that the cameraman has just “accidentally” found the largest-breasted woman in the front row for fan-shots. I'm rather surprised I ever found it a coincidence.

Segment 1 [Tag Match]: Randy Orton & Sheamus defeat Team Rhodes Scholars by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Nice spot to send us to the break. After the early exchanges, Sheamus took advantage. He wanted White Noise, but Sandow slipped out. Sheamus shrugged and did his 10 of Clubs instead, and the fight soon spilled outside. Orton entered the ring like an idiot, and while the ref was busy with him, Cody Rhodes did a slick Disaster Kick by springboarding off the announcers' table! Well done.

It was pretty standard from there. Sheamus was the face in peril, Orton made the save, and he never lost momentum. He hit all his Moves of Doom, including the RKO on Cody. Sheamus had Sandow contained, so that was that. Harmless, but not really interesting.

Post-Segment 1: As the faces celebrated, The Shield's music started up. They didn't appear live, however, but on the Titantron. They blather about serving justice to everyone, including running down a list of everyone they've triple powerbombed.

Seth Rollins has something interesting to say though... That despite their putting down John Cena and The Rock multiple times, it's Cena and Rock who are in the main event, not Shield. For that matter, Shield doesn't even have a match! That's a super-injustice, and The Shield is all about correcting injustices.

So... They invite Orton and Sheamus to find anyone to be their partner, and we'll have a six-man tag match for WrestleMania. The faces accept the challenge to absolutely no one's surprise, but they don't name their partner yet.

Hm... Big Show, to start a face turn?

Segment 2: Replay of that amusing bit with Halle Berry to pimp The Call with the help of Kane's fun shenanigans. Still funny, but probably won't be the third time. I did notice this time that Kane jumped to the sound of his own pyros, which is kinda amusing.

Segment 3: AFV.

Segment 4: Sheamus and Orton are hanging out in the back, and Big Show arrives to pimp himself to be their third man, just as I thought. He maintains his heel status, but tries to make them realize that he's super awesome and totally invincible. Orton agrees that that's the kind of partner they need. Sheamus adds, “Which is why we've picked him!” Camera pan to Ryback. Whatever.

Ryback and Show make eyes at each other, along with heavy breathing, but nothing else comes out of it.

Pre-Segment 5: I hope to God that's Layla's new music. If that's Kaitlyn's new music, I'm going to hate her for a while.

Segment 5 [Tag Match]: Layla & Kaitlyn defeat Aksana & Tamina by pin. Naturally, I'll be the one to be looking close enough to notice that Aksana had several near-nip slips during the match. That, or she actually did have a nip slip or two, but WWE edited it out with quick camera cuts.

Anyway, the match really wasn't much to speak of technically. Layla oversold for Tamina, but did so convincingly. She basically got her ass kicked for a couple minutes, made the hot tag, and Kaitlyn totally dominated. She concluded with a sequence that sent Tamina flying off the apron and a stiff Spear to Aksana (causing one of the aforementioned near-nip slips).

And then Kaitlyn trotted around like an idiot instead of going for the pin immediately, and her trotting took her toward her corner. Layla tagged herself in, hit a rebound flying cross body from the corner, and put Aksana down (with yet another near-nip slip). So it was Layla who made the pin, not Kaitlyn, despite Kaitlyn doing all the work. Smell the drama!

After the match, Layla practically dragged Kaitlyn back into the ring to be all “We're besties!,” and Kaitlyn to be all “Was that an accident, like the other times over the last two months?”

Segment 6: Smash-cut to the back, where the Funkadactyls were watching the match on a monitor. They turn and nearly run chest-to-chest into the Bella Twins. And it's only then that I realize how short Naomi and Cameron are, because the Bellas aren't exactly tall to begin with, yet they've got a few inches on the faces.

The Bellas—who now have different hair colors, with Nikki having near-black hair and Brie having dark brown—just call them “hoochie mamas,” then beat the crap out of the faces. It almost sounds like they're upset that Naomi and Cameron are demeaning themselves by being dancers for Brodus Clay and Tensai, but WWE writers aren't that subtle or intelligent, so really it was just a flimsy excuse to throw some punches.

Segment 7: RAW recap concerning Undertaker/CM Punk.

Segment 8 [Singles Match]: Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ & Big E. Langston) defeats Kane (w/ Daniel Bryan) by pin. Solid match with tons of back-and-forth... I'm not sure when exactly these guys caught their breath other than a short rest hold in the middle, and there were no commercials to break up the flow. This one deserves a proper recap.

Kane with the early offense, and Dolph oversold credibly for him... for the most part. After a shoulder stomp, Dolph unleashed an “OW!!!” like that idiot on the infomercial about an ear vacuum. Seemed a little ridiculous.

So it was all punchy-kicky-stompy-choppy, and Dolph finally took advantage after a long time. He got in a few punches, then backed off and tried a charging move of some sort. Kane countered with a back body drop over the ropes, but it only succeeded in getting Dolph to the apron. Dolph maintained his balance, and when Kane tried to follow up, Dolph guillotined him on the top rope. Dolph scrambled up the ropes, then hit a quick flying missile dropkick off the top rope. He tried the match's first pin, but nothing doing.

Still, Dolph continued the attack and didn't let Kane get up. After more stomps and a standing elbow drop, he went for another pin, but failed that too.

Dolph wanted a DDT from there, but Kane stood and just threw Dolph across the ring. Dolph landed near the corner, and when Kane charged, Dolph hit him with a drop toe hold to make him faceplant the bottom turnbuckle. Dolph followed up with a jumping spike DDT, correctly this time, but couldn't close the deal: another two-count.

Another exchange, and this time Kane took control back after a clothesline from pretty much nowhere. Kane then delivered an 8-second delayed suplex, followed up with a running low dropkick, and went for a pin. No deal: Dolph kicked out at two.

Kane maintained offense with a couple clotheslines, then went for a side slam. Except Dolph kept moving up Kane's back and locked on the scissored sleeper. Kane charged back-first into the corner to break the hold, but Dolph pushed him away and kicked him in the face. Dolph went to the top, tried a double axe handle, and instead ate a throat uppercut. Pin, two.

Now it's Kane's turn to fly. He headed to the top rope, cleanly hit his flying lariat, then signaled for the chokeslam. That's when AJ got on the apron to distract the ref, but DB knew this strategy, so he ran around the ring and assaulted Langston. Langston fought him off, including a sick hip toss that sent DB flying into the timekeeper's area, making him land on chairs and concrete. Not fun. But then Kane was there to save his partner, giving a face-high side kick that Shawn Michaels would be proud of, and for the first time I've seen, Langston was flat on his back.

Kane then got on the apron to reenter the ring, but the whole sequence had given Dolph enough time to recover. Fame-Asser, Zig Zag, pin, three, done.

Post-Segment 8: After the match, Dolph thought it would be a good idea to hang out in the ring and talk shit to Kane. Kane was flat on his back but learned a little something from his brother, and he wrapped his hand around Dolph's throat. Kane got to his knees and teased a chokeslam, but then Langston was there and did a running body splash that Kane oversold. Langston followed up with his sit-down shoulder gutbuster, which is fairly impressive to be done against a dude of Kane's size.

Segment 9: Yet another “parody” of the Alberto Del Rio/Ricardo Rodriguez videos where they're mocking the Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter videos. Whatever.

Segment 10: Smash-cut to the back, where R-Truth and Chris Jericho think that's hilarious. Which it's not. But then Swagger and Colter come in, rhetorically ask if they think the parody is funny, then Jack says he thins it's funny that he beat Jericho and four others in the Elimination Chamber to earn the right to go to WrestleMania.

Swagger then says that Jericho is no better than ADR, since Jericho came from Canada... which is exactly what ADR/RR's parody video was about, thus proving Swagger doesn't get the joke. He accuses Jericho of not being a real American, but Jericho says he may have grown up in Canada, but was born here. If anyone in the room isn't a real American, it's Zeb, who “looks like a cross between Rush Limbaugh and Yosemite Sam.” Not the funniest reference, but it was cute.

Jericho gets serious then, says that Jack shouldn't be worrying about the state of America, but should be worrying about WrestleMania. And for that matter, he should be worrying about Jericho himself, since they're totally in a match tonight. Until then, shut the hell up, as said by Jericho in a way only he can.

Segment 11: AFV.

Segment 12: I know I've said it before, but I'm a breast man, and because I'm a breast man, I always greatly appreciate seeing Natalya in a tight dress hopping on her heels. She's already in the ring with Khali, and then Fandango's music starts. In a nice little improv (at least it seems like it was an improv), while Fandango's chick gyrates for me on the stage, Natalya and Khali start doing their own mini-ballroom dance in the ring to Fandango's music. Cute.

[Aside: Is that the same chick every time? I honestly can't tell.]

Johnny Curtis finally pops out—I just for some reason cannot consistently call him Fandango, even though I have no problem with writing “Ryback” instead of “Skip Sheffield”—and immediately chastises Khali and Natalya for a shitty dance, so maybe it wasn't an improv.

So JC wants Khali to pronounce his name right, a bit which goes on entirely too long but it kinda funny. JC finally says that Khali failed completely, so he's not having his debut tonight.

I guess I could have shortened all those sentences into one: “Fandango wastes our time... again.”

Segment 13: Montage of the Rock/Cena feud.

Segment 14: Matt Striker interviews Sheamus and Orton after he confirms that it is Shield vs. Sheamus, Orton, and Ryback. I don't know why Ryback isn't part of this interview, but whatever. Sheamus and Orton blather some generic threats, and then...

Well, damn... then Seth Rollins comes out of absolutely freaking nowhere with a Stiff As Fuck Spear to Sheamus that drives him through the interview area, collapsing the curtain and half the set. Orton stupidly stands there like he's asking what exactly happened, thus giving Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose a chance to attack him from the back. All three shove Orton into a nearby garage door (twice), sending the back of his head into the metal. Then they beat the crap out of Sheamus some more, throwing him through a conveniently placed catering table.

Man, that was violent and stiff. Good stuff.

Segment 15: After commercials, Booker T and Ryback are near the mess. Books tells him not to worry about this crap, because Ryback has to face Mark Henry right the hell now. So Books and T-Long “got this,” and tells Ryback not to lose his temper. Sure, that'll work.

Segment 16: So, they tease the match, but pretty much as soon as the bell rings, Shield's music fires up. The Shield comes on down, then attacks Ryback, but Ryback dispatches all of them. Ryback is still in Lunatic Mode though, so he screams at Mark Henry “Come on!” and still wants to fight even though the ref has long since bailed. This, naturally, gives Shield time to reorganize. They assault Ryback for good this time, hit him with a triple powerbomb, then pose over his corpse with a new hand signal... basically all three fist-bumping together.

So then Henry gets back in the ring and hits him with a World's Strongest Slam, thrice, because why not.

Good deal to add fuel to the feuds. Henry even gets on his knees and screams at him “You won't run through me like you've run through the other punks around here!,” thus negating any similarities to Goldberg.

Segment 17 [Singles Match]: Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeats Chris Jericho by pin. What an incredibly underwhelming match. Both guys are good at what they do, and I'm surprised this one was so... dry. There was absolutely nothing worth mentioning in this. It wasn't bad, just... not... exciting. At all. Am I giving it too little credit as I sometimes do around here? [Ed. Note: I think an oddly-placed/extra ad break messed with the pacing a bit, but thanks to the magic of FF, it didn't really break my concentration, and I really liked this one a lot. Per SD Regulations, it was kind of randomly generated, so the lack of backstory or drama might have taken away from the sizzle, but that was still the tastiest steak WWE served up all week, I thought.]

Anyway, Jack won clean by countering the Codebreaker and hitting an Enhanced Powerbombing Technique. Pin, done.

Final Thoughts: After a surprisingly good Kane/Dolph match, I thought the night might rise above SmackDown's usual “meh.” Although there were fewer RAW recaps and filler crap—or at least it felt like there was fewer stuff, since apparently they didn't do any of the ridiculous movie trailers—nothing about the night really grabbed me.

Well, that's understating it. Shield's activities were pretty solid and eye-grabbing, although their competition doesn't exactly inspire that much originality. And the divas did all right, certainly showing that WWE has generally turned a corner from the ridiculous divas division period of the past five years or so. But overall, nothing really happened, and I have no real excitement or intrigue heading into next week.

No post-show notes, so I'm heading out. It's nearly midnight, and I need some sleep. See you on the other side of the weekend for RAW, guys.

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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