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SD!: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Victory at Last!
June 16, 2013

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

 
Next month marks the tenth anniversary of my employment here at Online Onslaught. Seriously: I've been writing for this website for one-third of my life. My, how time flies.
 
I continue to love this job, and still am a little annoyed that I had to give up the RAW recap due to financial issues. Rick treats me well, and the fact that he quotes his “Inner Pyro” when giving episode grades is a minor testament to the impact I've made around here.

In all my jobs, I always want to do something to leave my audience remembering me a bit, and even if it's something as small as using letter grades instead of arbitrary numbers to summarize my thoughts on a show, I'm happy for it.

It's funny because Rick has made a bit of an impact on me in my personal life, not just professionally (and certainly not just around here). I'm glad, in turn, to have had some impact on him as well, even if it's just the show ratings. Although really, I (usually) like who I am, and I'd like to think all of you have some Inner Pyro. And maybe one day, God willing, I'll experience the moment when even Rosa Mendes has a part of me inside her.

But today isn't that day, since we're pretty damn close to WWE Payback. So let's tune into Hulu and see how SmackDown will use its last episode before the pay-per-view to solidify the feuds.

Segment 1: It's Daniel Bryan of all people who hits the ring to begin the show. He looks apprehensive, and the commentators say he's got “something on his mind,” and “has been emotional all day.” I have a feeling this won't end well.

He recaps his overarching story for the last 18 months, from his loss at WrestleMania 28 to teaming with Kane, and how unlikely that was. But yet, even he knows that Team Friendship is one of the best tag teams ever. As such, he wants Kane to come out. DB covers his ears, since he doesn't really like the pyro explosion noise, as he shows in every match.

Kane pops out presently and joins him in the ring, and says that he's not overly concerned about what's on DB's mind right now, since he's focused on a six-man tag match tonight against The Shield. But DB wants to talk anyway; he reminds Kane that Kane won't be his partner on Sunday. DB is sure he'll win though, and “I will be the tag team champions with someone else.” DB concludes sadly that he'll never team with Kane anymore.

Kane asks if this is a breakup speech, since Kane is totally going to win the United States title from Dean Ambrose on Sunday too. But DB says that Kane is missing the point: that they could still team up regardless of whether Kane wins the US title, but if DB is the champion with a different partner, then that team would have to be DB's priority. And he's calling it “Team RK-No.” Heh, that's actually kind of clever.

Kane is rather offended that DB is so full-on for this that he's making up “cute” tag team names when the chances aren't in DB's favor. After all, even Team Friendship couldn't beat The Shield, and DB hates Randy Orton, so what chance do they have of working together to actually make the win?

DB, naturally, interprets this as Kane declaring once again that he (DB) is the weak link of the team. Kane denies it, but DB continues to prattle that he's totally not the weak link, especially since he and Orton were super close to beating Shield last week. And Kane's going to just be unhappy DB and Orton could do something that DB and Kane couldn't do... which means it must be Kane who is the weak link, so there.

Well Kane isn't happy about that accusation, so he grabs DB's throat. But Orton pops out before anything further happens, because he doesn't want DB unhealthy for Sunday. Kane tells him to stay out of it, thus starting a three-way argument.

The bickering ceases only when The Shield appears on the Titantron, just chuckling at the faces' inability to get on the same page. Shield taunts them and feeds into their personal egos, and then put themselves over since, you know, The Shield is totally unbeatable. Believe in The Shield!

Pre-Segment 2: Antonio Cesaro and Sheamus hit the ring for a match, but before we get started, Damien Sandow pops out to put Cesaro over and insult Sheamus. The short blathering concludes with Sandow declaring that this Sunday, “I will play host to your Irish wake,” which is one hell of an awesome line.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Sheamus defeats Antonio Cesaro by pin. Solid match, one that went against the typical formula by being more open and back-and-forth. No super high spots, though an early one set the tone. Sheamus was knocked out of the ring, and Cesaro went to the apron to set up a follow-up move. Cesaro ran along the apron and tried a cross body, but Sheamus caught him. Sheamus postured for a moment, then did a modified Samoan Drop that smashed Cesaro's back into the barricade with a loud thud. Good stuff.

The finale was out of nowhere, but unlike most finishes of that nature, this one made sense. Both guys were struggling for position, and Cesaro flung Sheamus into the corner. However, Cesaro took just a split-second too long to follow up with a charge, so Sheamus countered with a standing (rather than running) Brogue Kick. Pin, three, done.

After the match, as Sheamus was celebrating on the stage, Sandow clubbed him from behind. Sheamus oversold, and Sandow turned on his heels and left through the gorilla position. The back of Sandow's shirt read “You're welcome,” which was apropos.

Segment 3: Another replay of the main Wyatt Family vignette.

Segment 4: Montage of CM Punk in preparation for his return on Sunday.

Segment 5: Teddy Long is in the back talking to someone on a phone, then shoehorns in a Hardee's ad. The transition was more awkward than a father walking in on his son reaching a masturbatory climax, and was somehow more self-serving. Long hangs up and grabs a burger that's probably large as his face, but then AJ, Dolph Ziggler, and Big E. Langston arrive.

Dolph is here to bitch that he's being forced to compete in a tag match tonight even though we're so close to the pay-per-view. Meanwhile, the cameraman is internally bitching that the director is evidently yelling at him to keep the stupid Hardee's food and logo in-frame, which sort of makes it difficult to do dramatic close-ups of the wrestler who is, you know, talking.

Also of note, since again these are the kind of things I notice: there's a wide-screen TV in the back corner that just has Hardee's (or is that Hardee's's?) stupid logo on it, and who should be the one in front of that TV? AJ, of course, since she's short enough that 90% of the logo is actually visible, rather than having it obscured by a head and/or torso, because it's not advertising unless you see the exact same service multiple times on your television screen. The shot is artfully framed, in the same way that Keith Boadwee's works are masterpieces. (I would suggest, by the way, that you don't Google the phrase “Keith Boadwee” if you're within four miles of anyone who has a modicum of taste.)

Dolph finishes up some generic threats, and then the heels leave. And then Langston comes back just to eat like a quarter of Long's burger in one bite. And then another. And then another. Without swallowing. For thirty dead-air seconds. [Ed. Note: that wasn't dead air! That was "Big E making disconcerting noises of pleasure" air!]

Money well spent, Hardee's!

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Heath Slater (w/ 3MB) reverse-squashes Khali (w/ Natalya & Hornswoggle) by pin. You know, there have been a couple times in my OO career where I screw up the bolded match summaries, and either Rick catches them and edits them in post, or he doesn't and I look like a fucking idiot. This is not one of those times, because now, Heath “Wendy's Girl” Slater has an official win over a former World Heavyweight Champion. There is no profane word strong enough to how much this annoys me, so I'm just going to go with “omnifuck.”

Khali beats the shit out of Slater for like 30 seconds, and then the reserve faces start bitching with the reserve heels. Why? Who knows? And who the omnifuck cares? But either way, one of them slaps Hornswoggle, and Khali becomes concerned. So then Slater hits Khali with a chop block, then DDTs him, and that's that, apparently. I would like to remind you that Khali's backstory is (or was) that he was such a hardcore badass that he had to invent the Punjabi Prison match type just because he was so used to layers of fences that he wouldn't feel at home anywhere else. And he loses to Slater, who sports the most torpedo-like man-boobs the WWE roster has ever seen.

No wonder they're advertising Hardee's. With match results like this, you'll want to stuff a heart attack in your mouth every week just so you get the pain over with as quickly as possible.

Pre-Segment 7: Again filed under “Things that I notice”... during Alberto Del Rio's entrance for the next match, they tried shoehorning in a promo for Nikki Bella being a judge on Miss USA or something this weekend. They had Michael Cole try to act like it was done for no goddamn reason in the middle of the broadcast (“You know, John, Nikki Bella is blah blah blah!”), but the sound quality was completely off. It sounded like Cole recorded the bit on his smartphone from a bathroom while speaking through the end of an empty toilet paper roll. It would have been less laughable if Cole had just said “Watch Nikki Bella this Sunday!” without the supposed interaction with JBL.

Segment 7 [Tag Match]: Alberto Del Rio & Chris Jericho (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeat Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston (w/ AJ) by pin. And now, we have an example of an out-of-nowhere win that annoys me. It was an above-average match, with Dolph playing the chickenshit heel the whole time and refusing to engage with ADR. Standard formula, nothing special, no high spots.

We got to the finale where, finally, Dolph and ADR got to beat the crap out of each other. A Pier Four brawl ensued, and Dolph seemed to get the advantage. Then he taunted, then went for the pin, and ADR just did a possum pin for three. Lame ending, but it's fine for what was accomplished story-wise.

Segment 8: Highlight package of Segment 1, because if it's worth watching, it's worth watching again in summary form.

Segment 9: After ads, Renee Young interviews Jericho, who hypes the match on Sunday, and does so in a way that makes me wonder how much blood sugar he loss after the match. It reeks of an 80s-style promo that was long on fake intensity, and short on content.

And then Paul Heyman materializes, offers a handshake, and Jericho ignores it. So then Heyman hypes the same match, and Jericho basically the slaps Renee's mic into Heyman's mouth. CJ concludes, “Pipe bomb!” in a sing-song voice. Also lame.

Pre-Segment 9: Replay of Kaitlyn getting “embarrassed” by Langston and AJ on Monday.

Segment 9: 'Twas supposed to be a match against Kaitlyn and Aksana, but Kaitlyn just beat the shit out of Aksana before the bell rang. She hit Aksana with a freaking beautiful double leg takedown followed by mounted punches, making me wonder for a split-second whether Kaitlyn has actually taken MMA training. The ref tried to pull Kaitlyn off, but Kaitlyn just clubbed in the back of the head.

I figured that Kaitlyn would be all contrite and shocked, and I'm happy to report that she wasn't, because apparently Kaitlyn is allowed to have an interesting character. She just went right back to beating on Aksana, who tried to bail through the bottom rope. Kaitlyn just followed and continued the assault. The referee again tried to break them up, but Kaitlyn, showing zero respect for the stripes, slapped half the ref's teeth out of his mouth. The slap was so stiff that even I won't make some sort of “Yeah, I wish she'd do that to me!” line, since I rather value my mouth after spending over two grand on surgery a few years ago.

Once again, no contrition for her opponent. Aksana tries to bail again by diving into the ring, which is stupid, but Kaitlyn goes to follow. She dives at Aksana, who just slips out of the way, and Kaitlyn faceplants. Aksana runs off up the ramp, and Kaitlyn sort of looks like she's going to cry. But once again, thanks to Kaitlyn being awesome, she doesn't do the normal diva thing to weep, instead hitting that perfect face expression that represents the epitome of frustration.

Poor thing. I'll totally choo-choo-choose her, if that'll make her feel better. [Ed. Note: one has to assume Kaitlyn would now be highly suspicious of anyone using The Simpsons to hit on her. Lucky for me, I'm adept at many South Park and Beavis-centric techniques!]

Segment 10: Montage of the John Cena/Ryback feud.

Annoying Cut Scene: Hardee's food is sitting on the commentators' table, and we all need to know about it.

Pre-Segment 11: Wade Barrett is in the ring with Curtis Axel. But Wade grabs a mic and says that they could destroy each other right now, but wouldn't it make sense for both of them to save their energy for the triple threat match on Sunday?

Heyman seems to think that's a good idea, but then The Miz appears with his continually annoying squinty-face. He blathers like an idiot, gets the crowd to start chanting “Fight! Fight!,” and because WWE is perpetually in a fourth grade mentality, it's enough for Wade and Axel to start punching each other.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) defeats Wade Barrett by pin. Another lame out-of-nowhere finish where Axel hit Wade with a twisting neckbreak as he tried getting into the ring. [Ed. Note: it was out of nowhere. But it's also another move he's cribbed directly from his dad's playbook. This is a good thing.] Pin, three, done.

After the match, Miz slid in the ring and hit Axel with the Skull Crushing Finale without provocation just to be a jerk. Because that's how good guys act!

Segment 12: Replay of the secondary Wyatt Family vignette.

Cut Scene: Did you know that Hardee's is a WWE sponsor? Well, now you do, since their logo was splattered all over the screen during The Shield's entrance!

Oh, and that was followed by more ads.

Segment 13 [Six-Man Tag Match]: Team Friendship & Randy Orton defeat The Shield by pin. Damn fine match as always, but it wasn't just the action in the ring. The crowd was absolutely batshit for this.

The first 90% was pure formula without any super high spots, so lets just get to the ending. DB took the hot tag while Seth Rollins was in the ring, and as usual, DB went on a total house of fire that completely dominated the heels. But this time, something was different, and not just the fans vocally tearing the roof of the arena a new asshole. Seriously, it's a happy day for us wrestling fans when it's Daniel omnifucking Bryan who is getting cheered over Randy Orton by orders of magnitude.

Kane was able to control both illegal members of The Shield. He sent Roman Reigns into the timekeeper's corner, then chokeslammed Dean Ambrose on top of him, putting them both out.

In the ring, though DB had control for a bit, he lost it. Rollins got DB up in a powerbomb position, and threw him into the corner. Rollins then went to the top rope for something, but Orton slid in the ring as Kane ran up to the apron. As Rollins balanced himself, Kane shoved him in the ass, and Orton RKOed him in mid-flight. Immediately on impact, DB slapped on the No Lock, and the fans collectively ruined their vocal chords for a week with their screaming.

Rollins fought it as long as he could and teased a rope grab, but it wasn't going to happen; he was simply too far away. He had to tap, and the bell could barely be heard over the cheers. Even Lilian Garcia (or the voices in her head) knew how big of a deal with was, because she started the announcement with “For the first time ever in a six-man tag match, The Shield has been defeated! Your winners are...”

In addition to the faces celebrating together in the ring, the final spot showed that they are all indeed on the same page, and at least for tonight, they're basking in the win and not bickering over each other's petty egos and issues. Absolutely sublime.

Final Thoughts: Professional wrestling, like with most storytelling, works well when it's subtle. The win is an in-your-face, “these guys rock” gesture that shows their unity. But the final spot was a work of beauty, and Rollins didn't oversell anything, showing that the faces had to work together like to finally scrape by with a win. Absolutely awesome, and something that's been missing from WWE for a while.

Of course, if I may be a naysayer for a moment, if we go by the SmackDown Rule of PPVs, this can only mean that The Shield retains their titles on Sunday (or at least the tag titles), thus giving more story options between Team Friendship and Orton, or just Team Friendship. But hey, don't let my fantasy booking ruin an awesome conclusion to an otherwise boring show.

Well, maybe “boring” is too strong. The squash aside, the matches were all strong. I may have issues with the way a few matches ended, but the action was good, and the endings were forgivable. I suppose if I'm to crap on anything, it would be all the non-match segments, which ranged from boring to borderline crazy. Usually I tend to give the stories more credit than the matches in the Modern Era, but that's not the situation tonight. Regardless, it prompts one of my split grades for the episode.

All told, it wasn't a bad lead-in to Sunday, but the undercard wasn't done any favors. It's a three-match PPV to me: The Shield vs. Orton/DB, Cena vs. Ryback, and Jericho vs. Punk for different reasons. Even Kane vs. Ambrose feels ancillary to me, as I think it's a match to support the overall Shield storyline, rather than trying to survive on its own merits. But that's only one man's opinion, and who the omnifuck am I?

Regardless, you'll be able to navigate back to Online Onslaught just after WWE Payback concludes for one of Rick's probably award-winning recaps, and the RAW recap soon after. (If you're feeling charitable, you could probably kick him a few bucks to help offset the PPV cost, too.) And as always, I'll see you next week for another recap of SmackDown.

Episode Grade: A- (main event), C- (everything else)

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON


  
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
 
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
 
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