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The Daniel Bryan Show
June 2, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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As I sit here for the recap, I am heavily distracted for the second week in a row, this time for a fair ridiculous reason: there's a giant hole in my bathroom. I live in a fairly old building, and apparently the pipes and other inner workings of the building haven't been updated in over 50 years, other than quick installations such as satellite wires and the like.

I didn't realize how bad things were until my downstairs neighbors complained to the building manager that a leak in my pipes destroyed their ceilings; and my immediate downstairs neighbor has his own plumbing issues that have apparently completely disabled his shower and sink. The only silver lining for all this for me is that I don't have to pay for anything, but it's still annoying, especially given that the previous two landlords apparently didn't give enough of a crap to deal with the problems.

But, it's out of my hands. Instead, I'm sitting here in my own moderate stinkiness with a disabled shower. But it won't stop me from writing the recap! Let's roll...

Opening: When literally the first word and sentence of your show is “Orton,” you don't really fill me with confidence. But we'll see each member of The Shield in singles matches tonight, which might be interesting.

Segment 1 [Singles Match]: Kane (w/ Daniel Bryan) defeats Seth Rollins (w/ Roman Reigns) by pin. Solid match that told a story, and not a good start for The Shield. The heels generally kept it clean, with Rollins working on leg-targeted offense to keep Kane contained; standard power-versus-speed stuff. Reigns was there to interfere whenever Kane seemed to get going, so it didn't look good for the faces.

But then Daniel Bryan remembered that we're in an era of WWE where faces get to be bullies, and so he pulled a heel tactic knowing that, as Eddie Guerrero before him, it's okay to cheat as long as the ends justify the means. As Rollins was hitting his moves of doom, the ref turned to scream at Reigns; so when Rollins went to the top rope for a finisher, DB shoved him in the ass to make him smack into the mat. When he got up, Kane hit him with a straight chokeslam, and that was that. Reigns bitched; as JBL said, no one likes it when they lose, even if it's a tactic he himself used before.

And in a cool little transition, directly after the match, everyone got in the ring to bitch at each other for a minute... then Kane and Rollins left, and we were onto match number two without a commercial. That's, like, match pacing out of the Attitude Era, which is not a complaint.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Roman Reigns (w/ Seth Rollins) defeats Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) by disqualification. Another solid match, though slightly less so. As we all know, Reigns is the “weak link” of The Shield when it comes to pure technical ability, not that it mattered in the slightest here: using the motivation of seeing his partner screwed in the previous match, Reigns went all punchy-kicky and generally got by just by beating the crap out of DB. DB did have a hope spot, and he managed to apply the No Lock in the center of the ring.

Reigns managed to crawl over toward the ropes, and then the ref decided to yell at Kane for absolutely no reason. That gave Rollins a chance to push the bottom rope closer to Reigns so he could reach it. The ref didn't see the assist and ordered a rope break, though Rollins paid for it by eating one of Kane's big boots.

But then, Kane lost the plot. Finding himself near Reigns, Reigns threw a punch at Kane... who punched back. The ref saw the second punch and called for the bell.

After the match, DB and Kane bickered in the ring, with DB getting physical for once and poking Kane in the chest repeatedly. They actually stop bitching at each other long enough to watch the replay on the Titantron, then resume screaming. Kane leaves first as DB walks with him up the ramp, insisting he can do absolutely everything on his own. Kane tells him to get over it after he sarcastically calls him the best in the world. Heh.

Segment 3: After commercials, Damien Sandow is back in the ring and wearing another dapper suit... and wearing a lapel mic, which makes me curious. He reminds us that physical strength is never better than mental strength, which dumbfounded Sheamus and made him an idiot, much like how Edmonton (where they are) was stupid in trading away Wayne Gretzky. Heh... a little dated of a reference, but it is hockey, and that's about all Canada has going for it other than curling and moose-watching.

So, since Sandow is “The Great One” when it comes to intelligence—not entirely sure if he was mimicking Gretzky, The Rock, or both with that one—he has devised another simple challenge. It's the Shell Game, though he uses the apparently proper word, which I didn't know existed. He explains the rules of the Shell Game, overly enunciating that the red object to keep track of is a ball... and he says it in a way only he can.

Anyway, Sheamus hits the ring and talks some crap, but is sure he can totally pass Sandow's new challenge, since Sandow is out here “playing with your tiny balls.” But Sheamus wants to beat the challenge specifically so Sandow shuts the hell up.

Sandow does the whole game, albeit really slowly... but he adds some dramatic flair with the ball, which makes me assume he palmed it. Sheamus finally chooses a cup, and there's no ball.

Sandow officially renews Sheamus's idiot license for another year, but Sandow is a sport, so he gives Sheamus a chance to pick again of the two remaining cups, calling it a “50/50 shot.” Hilariously (or sadly), I actually know this isn't true: what Sandow just did is a modified version of Steve Selvin's “Monty Hall's Door Prize” puzzle, and really Sheamus has a 66% chance of being correct on his second guess if Sandow is playing fair. If you want an explanation why and don't mind your brain matter oozing out your eye sockets, check out this link. Either way, I'll just take the victory that I'm smarter than Sandow for one isolated moment.

Anyway, Sheamus picks again and is wrong. As Sandow concludes his intelligence challenges, he keeps a hand firmly on the remaining cup. Sheamus is no fool, and so he demands to see what's under the third cup. Sandow tries to talk him out of it, but Sheamus isn't having it. Then we totally go off-script as the fans start screaming “Show your balls! Show your balls!” Sheamus points out that absolutely no one wants to see that, and Sandow screams at everyone “Is there not one adult in the crowd this evening?” Freaking beautiful; that's all Sandow needs to do—play more with the crowd—to become the #3 best talker on the active roster.

But back to business, Sheamus lifts the cup, and there's no ball. Sandow tries a half-assed explanation that he's a magician too (“Is there no end to my talent?!”), but Sheamus just nails him with the cup and follows up with a Brogue Kick... and gets booed? Really? Are my ears playing me, or is he actually getting booed for kicking Sandow's ass?

Sheamus concludes by kneeling by Sandow, holding the mic like a brandy snifter because he's stealing bits, and concludes “You're welcome.” Heh.

Pre-Segment 4: As Curtis Axel comes to the ring for a match, Paul Heyman walks with him and talks hype for him, then lets Axel speak too about himself. Axel does have a nice point: between Trips and Cena, they've got 26 world championships, but against him, they're 0-and-2. And hey, Cena was so scared, he ran away; and Trips couldn't continue, which “is tantamount to a submission.” That's some revisionist history of course, but it's damn good.

Segment 4 [Singles Match]: Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) squashes Sin Cara by pin. Meh. It did what it needed to do, but looked a little sloppy. The finish was the Perfect Plex including the bridging pin, which is definitely a sweet finisher.

Segment 5 [Singles Match] Big E. Langston (w/ AJ) defeats Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) by pin. Whoa, really? Langston not only wins, but wins clean, and he straight dominated the match. It wasn't a squash, but it was so one-sided that ADR basically never got in a true hope spot. Near the end, ADR did the tarantula-like arm breaker on the ropes, which was basically his first powerful move of the match.

But it's an illegal move since it uses the ropes as leverage. ADR took the four-count, then broke it and tumbled out of the ring. As Mike Chioda checked on Langston, AJ came over and basically gave ADR's face a reach-around, which is certainly not exciting as the other kind.

It delayed ADR enough to give Langston time to recover, so he slipped out of the ring and shoved ADR face-first into the ring post. Langston tossed him back in, hit his finisher that I keep forgetting its proper name even though Rick “Ed. Noted” me twice on it, and made the pin. (Michael Cole: “It's the Big Ending!” Well, thanks for being retroactively psychic!)

After the match, we had some subtly. AJ slipped in the ring and sort of wanted to celebrate with Langston, but sort of not; she did this “nervous girl” type of touching where she sort of reached for his bicep, but didn't. Instead, AJ subtly (rather than Broadly) gestured that she was happy for him, “but, you know, I kinda helped you, but it was your win, so good job! But, I helped. Didja see? I helped! But no, you won, so good job! I'm happy for you! And I helped, if you didn't notice.”

Here's the thing: why the hell are the women really good at being subtle (Kaitlyn and Layla especially for the month leading to WrestleMania, with no payoff), and the men aren't? Is this just a professional wrestling thing where storyline advancements have to be the size of an armored tank to work, and the women get less attention and therefore have a tiny amount of freedom? Or is this a case of those three particular women being good at it on a roster full of unsubtle morons?

Regardless of why, AJ shows off everything she needs to show off related to her character's mindset with a series of simply, slight movements and expressions, and she pulls it off without saying a word. If only WWE wasn't up its own ass, I think the women's division now could at least flirt with the women's division of the Attitude Era. Not surpass it, but at least be in the same discussion.

Sigh. I really should start buying SHIMMER DVDs and be done with it.

Segment 6: RAW recap.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Ryback reverse-squashes Kofi Kingston by pin. Meh. Kofi did 99% of the offense, then made one mistake. He ate the Meathook Clothesline, followed by the Shell Shock, and we're done.

Post-Segment 7: Except we're not, because Ryback grabs a table from under the ring and sets it up inside. A message for Cena of course, since the second match of their Three Stages of Hell match is a table match. Ryback rather casually powerbombs Kofi through the table.

But Ryback isn't done as he grabs a second table and sets that up too. A second powerbomb, and then Ryback grabs a third table. At this point, even JBL takes the role of “voice of reason,” as he says that a message to Cena is one thing, but destroying Kofi (a new father and such) is another. Kofi oversells it in fact and stays as dead weight as Ryback hits the third powerbomb, even overselling it to make it look like his neck got totally snapped.

We get a little artistic shot of all the broken tables in the ring and Kofi's unmoving body, and we go to commercial. [Ed. Note: and this is how Kofi gets written out so you he can go have some shoulder surgery he's been needing.]

Segment 8: Brooke Tyler interviews Chris Jericho in the back, who quotes an idiom I've never heard before, “If you sleep with a dog, you'll get fleas.” But since Paul Heyman is a dog on another level, and because CM Punk is associated with Heyman, then Punk has fleas, ticks, mites, bites, tape worm, ring worm, blood worm, blastomycosis, Dancing Doberman Disease, Von Willebrand disease, Scotty cramps, cranial menopause, canine menopause, and mange. Somehow, he did all that without messing up (I wonder how many takes it took!), and gets Tyler to say “mange” with him, which nearly forces her to break character.

Jericho concludes that, to paraphrase his “evil nemesis Bob Barker, I'm going to spay and neuter Punk,” which I'm pretty sure means that Jericho just called Punk a hermaphrodite. He then growls at Brooke, and she tries to look shocked, but lets out a giggle instead. Adorable.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Chris Jericho defeats Cody Rhodes by submission. Decent match, pure formula, nothing special. Jericho builds momentum as we head to WWE Payback. Match ended with the Walls, naturally.

During this match, we're told that Kofi was taken to a “local medical facility” (is there a reason they never say “hospital”?) due to the three powerbombs. It's still kayfabe, but it's decent kayfabe. You can check his progress on WWE.com or the app, though you probably shouldn't give a shit.

Segment 10: Another vignette for the Wyatt Family, which includes a repackaged Husky Harris. Honestly, if Rick hadn't named them in his RAW recap, I wouldn't have even known who they were, because I don't think the commentators or anyone actually said their name.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Dean Ambrose by disqualification. Pretty lame. Pure formula, but too dry and uninteresting; it was all pretty much punchy-kicky. It didn't help that the commentators were silent for long stretches, as was the crowd. Further, the crowd seemed 66/34 cheers-to-boos for the so-called face, which was enough to make a serious difference whenever Orton tried to do anything. It seemed to me like too large of a chunk of the fans just perceived the match as heel-versus-heel, which killed the heat and the interest.

The match was interrupted by a commercial, which normally I wouldn't mention unless it broke the flow or something... but the point here is, even on the Hulu version, we came back from their ads just to hit another advertisement of 12 Rounds II: Reloaded, starring Orton. This “commercial” was actually part of the show, which means that it doesn't “count” for the total commercial time... which also logically means that WWE is adding commercials to its already commercial-heavy programming. Assholes. It's a tiny thing to be upset over, sure, but it still speaks toward the larger issue with the Modern Era of WWE, one that we've gone into a billion times here on OO.

Anyway, Orton had an aborted Five Moves of Doom when Ambrose countered the attempted Hangman's DDT into a rope-assisted Stone Cold Stunner. But it wasn't enough, and Orton hit it a minute later. And that's when the rest of Shield came down and attacked, thus drawing the DQ for no apparent reason.

Post-Segment 11: Now the crowd is awake as The Shield beats the crap out of Orton, per their usual modus operandi.

It's Team Friendship who hits the ring to make the save, but it, uh, goes down a little unusually. Orton powders out (since he just got assaulted), so it's 2-on-3. Kane and Roman Reigns trade some blows and tumble out of the ring. And then DB, who apparently drank fifteen double-shots of Death Wish Coffee, just goes nuts on both Rollins and Ambrose as he tries to prove he's not the weak link...

DB starts by punching the crap out of Rollins's face in the corner of the ring. When Ambrose dares to try to break it up, DB floors him with one punch, then does a dangerous German suplex to Rollins that actually made me cringe, even on replays. DB smoothly transitions from that to notice Ambrose, now on his feet in the opposite corner. But not for long, as DB does a running missile dropkick to put him down again... and then runs back to the other corner again to do the same thing to Rollins.

Then DB starts to run back to other corner as if he's going to do a follow-up to Ambrose again, but no: he does a running flying knee, using the ropes to stop himself from flying out of the ring, but the knees connect right to Reigns's face. DB then exits to the apron and does a for-real running flying double-knee to Reigns again.

DB goes from there to the top rope with the nearest corner, as Ambrose is the only one in the ring, since Rollins powdered out. DB comes flying off the top rope with a flying missile dropkick, which hits home so hard that Ambrose decides to give himself an extra backward somersault because tonight is the night of overselling, apparently. Ambrose exits the ring from the north ropes, where Rollins happens to be standing, so DB hits the south ropes, then floors them both with a suicide dive between the ropes.

DB starts Yes-ing the crowd, and at this point, he's so hot that the entire crowd is doing it with him. Kane and Orton manage to get in the ring, and they don't bother trying to fight it: they lift DB's arms in victory, without raising their own. This was, without a doubt, the Daniel Bryan show. Well, for the last five minutes anyway.

Final Thoughts: Who, other than indy wankers, would have thought that in a ring with Randy Orton and Kane, it would be Daniel Bryan who got 98% of the crowd cheering for him? Maybe I had my “subtlety analysis” slightly wrong from earlier: it seems DB knows the art well, even though his “subtlety” is done at maximum volume, be it arguing like an asshole with Kane or totally dominating the #1 heel stable on the current roster. Amazing.

It adds a lot of depth to his character and story, as he seems to alternate between teasing his being a weak link, and completely showing off how awesome he is. And The Shield doesn't exactly lose face here, because even though they “lose” the battle of tonight, all they have to do is one display of power (perhaps on DB himself) to get any lost momentum back. Great stuff all around, even if the main event itself was a snoozer.

I think I've analyzed the rest of the card about as well as I can. The last five minutes are a fun trip, but there is certainly nothing that is a must-watch for the rest of card. Nothing bad, just nothing that'll rivet your eyeballs either. Although Langston's current direction—or rather, his lack of a 100% obvious one—is certainly intriguing.

Episode Grade: C+


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
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PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
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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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