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Believe in the Shield
April 27, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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My vacation starts tomorrow, and I'm very excited to visit the NFL Hall of Fame. I'll get a day of cleaning and such before heading up to Canton on Sunday, but I still can't wait. I really don't have much else on my mind, aside from more Boston madness that, again, I refuse to talk about in detail here.

Of course, I'm not as much of an NFL superfan as I used to be, but perhaps that's for the best. I remember getting ready for the draft and actually watching the whole damn thing over two days fueled entirely by too much caffeine and junk food. And now I want go back in time and pimp slap my teenage and early-20s selves for a number of reasons, but especially because of the freaking draft. What a ridiculous waste of time!

I'm smarter now. Honestly, I didn't even know the draft was this weekend until people started talking to me about it at work. Now that I'm a busy guy with a day job, two side jobs, and a YouTube channel, I can't imagine sitting in front my TV to listen for a few minutes of interesting things wrapped up in an eight-hour package. There's no excitement past the first five picks, if that, and I don't know any of the college players anyway. What's the point? Hell, I'll just find the results on Monday, skip to the part about the Steelers' picks, and get on with my day less than ten minutes later.

And speaking of ten minutes, permit me ten minutes of your time as I chat about SmackDown. Savor it; you won't hear from me again for ten days! Let's roll, so Rick can have his site back for a week...

Opening: We're just opening right to a match? Sweet!

Someone in the audience had a sign that read “Swagger: Work Permit?” Is that a reference to something I'm not aware of, or is it just a London fan being factitious toward Swagger's attitude about immigrants? Or is it a meta-joke that's beyond my intellect?

Segment 1 [Singles No-Disqualification Match]: Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeats Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin. Holy shit, what a way to start off SD! It was worthy of an undercard match on a pay-per-view, mixing a spotfest with actual technical wrestling. The technical part—which was admittedly a little resthold-heavy—was in the middle mostly during commercials. Very well paced then for those of us watching at home.

Ladders and kendo sticks got involved early, and good lord were some of the shots stiff. Both guys took thrown ladders and/chairs to the face, and how no one walked away without much blood is a surprise to me. Jack did have a bloody lip afterward, but it was still pretty low-key, all things considered.

The final sequence was awesome. It started with ADR down in the corner, so Swagger did his running Swagger Bomb to him, then tried a pin and failed. Swagger tried a second, but ADR dodged it at the last second and quickly flipped Swagger over to lock in the Cross Arm Breaker on the already injured arm. But then Colter handed him a kendo stick, and Swagger was able to use his free hand to smack ADR in the face.

ADR broke the hold, and Swagger delivered a few more kendo stick shots, then spotted the ladder lying in the ring. He threw it on top of ADR—who started selling his own left arm pretty heavily—then did the Enhanced Powerbombing Technique and made the pin. Surprisingly no kickout; the fans didn't exactly expect it.

Good win for Swagger, and great job from both wrestlers. Perhaps Swagger's star is back on the rise. [Ed. Note: my guess is that the story at the PPV will be how much damage Alberto and Swagger inflicted on each other, and how those nagging injuries are exploited so Dolph can "steal" the win, along with the show. Ergo, you need parity between Alberto and Swagger.]

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Layla defeats Aksana by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Aksana had about 80% of the offense, mostly doing hand- and arm-targeted offense for some reason. More exchanges, and then Layla did a bizarre rebound counter from an Irish Whip that started with a somersault, followed by some weird twisting and bending that basically resulted in a double-underhook cradling pin. Weird, but credible, and it worked for the three.

Segment 3: RAW recap of the ending of the six-man tag match.

Segment 4: The Shield cuts one of their standard handicam promos as they put themselves over for being awesome at beating the tag team champions. They make a subtle threat about taking their titles, but then turn their attention to the regret that they didn't take Undertaker's soul. But Dean Ambrose faces him one-on-one tonight, and will so totally beat him.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Fandango (w/ Hot British Blond Ballroom Girl) [Ed. Note: that's his new full time NXT girl, previously known as Summer Rae. Did I forget to mention that on Monday? I guess so. She dances about as convincingly as he does. This is not a compliment. BRING BACK ORIGINAL FANDANGIRL~! Also: first ever bolded header Ed. Note!] defeats Justin Gabriel by pin. Decent match, nothing special. The fans may have their fun Fandangoing, but based on general crowd reaction, Johnny Curtis doesn't exactly have the fans in his hands. He isn't getting the “You can't wrestle” crap anymore, so that's certainly a step up.

The match ended with a top rope leg drop. Whatever. I was more impressed by his transitions to different move chains or into/out of the ring, which were graceful. Certainly not something Mark Henry (or probably half the roster) could do.

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Big Show defeats Sheamus by pin. Pretty boring match, I thought... or maybe just a boring match-up, since we've seen this entirely too many times in the past few months. Pretty standard power-versus-power stuff, nothing worth really paying attention to.

At the end of the match, Sheamus got on the top rope to do something. Mark Henry came down and just piddled about, and Sheamus took his eyes off Show... so Show hit him with a WMD out of nowhere. Sheamus fell to the mat and took the academic pin.

Cut Scene: The Rock tweeted about his successful surgery, and enclosed a picture. I don't care how manly you are, all the super flexing loses its effect when you have a shower cap on your head. Just sayin'.

Pre-Segment 7: It's time for another match, but Wade Barrett wants to talk first before going after William Regal. Barrett says that he's heard about London's famous grave robbings, but never believed them before. As we're trying to figure out what the hell he's talking about, he says that now he knows they're true, because he sees an old corpse standing in the middle of the ring now. Ah, I see.

Barrett concludes that he's going to beat the crap out of Regal and send him back to the place he came from, thanks to the Barrett Barrage. Okay, the mini-promo closed off nicely after a weird start. Let's get it on.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Wade Barrett reverse-squashes William Regal by pin. 99% of the offense was Regal's, then Barrett hit the Bull Hammer Elbow out of nowhere. Whatever.

For some stupid reason, this actually disappoints me a little. I always like seeing Regal win in the United Kingdom for some reason.

Segment 8: RAW recap of Triple H's interaction with Paul Heyman.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Mark Henry defeats Randy Orton by disqualification. Meh. Pretty boring, similar to Sheamus/Show earlier. For absolutely no reason [Ed. Note: by which you mean "for easily understandable reasons related to Henry's earlier run in," right?] at the end of the match, Sheamus came down and hit Henry in the face with a Brogue Kick, drawing the DQ. The ref called for the bell instantly, but that didn't stop Orton from hitting Henry with an RKO as soon as he stood up.

The commentators tried to sell it as “I don't know if Orton will like taking the loss!,” but he didn't seem to give a shit as he celebrated with Sheamus to his (Orton's) music. Just like faces usually do after taking losses!

Segment 10: Another trailer for Barrett's movie. Or some movie. I don't know anymore.

Segment 11: RAW recap of the ending to RAW, when John Cena hit Ryback with an FU. ...Wait, I just recapped a recap, didn't I? Damnit!

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Undertaker defeats Dean Ambrose (w/ The Shield) by submission. Solid match for what it was. Ambrose got in some solid offense with The Shield running distraction (but not actually interfering), and he certainly made a go of a win. But Taker kept doing his trademark out-of-nowhere recoveries, such as grabbing Ambrose's throat when he had the audacity to stand over a supine Taker to steal his taunt.

Ambrose's ace in the hole was a jumping spike DDT, which only got a two-count for the follow-up pin. Ambrose did some Broad Gesturing of shock, then approached Taker for some other move. That's when Taker applied Hell's Gate out of nowhere (and none too smoothly), and Ambrose couldn't escape.

Post-Segment 12: The instant Ambrose tapped and the bell rang, the other two members of The Shield slid in and started stomping the crap out of Taker. (Hell, it happened so fast that the Truck Monkeys barely got a single note played of Taker's song.) The assault continued, though Taker held his own, nearly flinging Seth Rollins into Lilian Garcia (and making her give an adorable little shriek).

Taker then produced a chair and smacked Ambrose to put him down, and Rollins hopped up on the barricade for a jumping something-or-other. Taker grabbed him by the throat and teased a chokeslam, but then Roman Reigns came out of nowhere and Speared him through the barricade.

With Taker down, Ambrose bashed him a couple times with the same chair and talked some shit. Then they cleared off the commentators' table, then triple powerbombed him through it. Holy shit, indeed. The fans started chanting “You tapped out!” at Ambrose, which doesn't really seem appropriate given that he was finished the night standing over Taker's corpse, but whatever.

Final Thoughts: Too much filler, but the parts that WWE actually decided to put in some effort toward were really good. You'll definitely want to check out the opening match, and the main event if you happen to be an Undertaker fan. Skip everything else for maximum viewing satisfaction.

I'm done, guys. I wish you well in the next week, and if you're interested in the NFL Hall of Fame, keep an eye on my Facebook page, as I'll be posting some pics over the weekend. Stay tuned to Online Onslaught as always, this time for Rick's recaps, and I'll see you for the May 13 edition of RAW!

Episode Grade: B-


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