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Cougartown, Take 2
July 20, 2013

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

I'm not really a huge believer in fate, and only somewhat a believer in true karma, but it's damn nice when something serendipitous happens that you needed. My moment came earlier this week and, though it's not life-changing or long-term, I was happy for it all the same.
So last week, I started my SD recap by thinking out loud about Facebook in particular and social media in general as I posited why, exactly, people have this need to talk about things. Specifically, I questioned why people need to jump on digital soapboxes about hot topics like religion or sharing stupid “inspirational” memes that have lost importance with the sheer volume of them floating around everywhere.

I knew intellectually that everyone needs some form of order or release to try to stay sane in this ridiculous universe of ours, but I couldn't fathom why blathering about it on social media was such an important need for most people.

But then, John Cheese of Cracked wrote one hell of a column this week. The overall theme of the article is to try to get everyone to calm the hell down over the cavalcade of stupidity that has been going on this year, everything from Edward Snowden's NSA leak to the Boston Marathon bombing and the George Zimmerman trial. Cheese is my second-favorite writer on the site (first-favorite now that it seems Seanbaby shin-kicked reality and is on a different dimensional plane than the rest of us), and while his articles are always funny, they tend to be more insightful. And they help me out a ton, because he and I are apparently on the same wavelength, or at least he's on a wavelength that I want to be on but just haven't discovered yet.

It wouldn't be the first time one of his columns slapped me in the face with words that I needed to hear, but this time, it was his bullet point that “Everyone wants to be heard, no one wants to listen” that it finally dawned on me why social media agitates me so much. Pretty much everything he wrote in that bullet point applied to what I was asking last week, and everything makes sense.

For example, he starts off saying that nobody cares what anyone else thinks. It's not all-inclusive, but rather mainly refers to strangers. Obviously my closest friends and family want to know how I feel about certain things, but ancillary contacts don't necessarily need or want to hear every detail about everything. More than that, people simply want to be heard; they don't need or want to have a discussion about the subject, they simply have an innate desire to express their views.

I get it, and I think that's where my confusion came from for most posts, especially religious ones. Regardless of your faith, your religion is your religion. Sure, you may have one that millions of others generally agree with, but religion itself is deeply personal. People have this need to express it... maybe it makes them feel good, maybe it makes them feel superior. (Or maybe they feel good because they feel superior.) I guess that's all well and good... but for me, generally when I'm seeking advice or just trying to find out how my friends are doing, I'm looking for opinions or information, not sermons. But most people, especially not strangers, give enough of a crap about you to actually have an at-length discussion. Which is fine, because if I had to have an at-length discussion with every acquaintance, I'd never get anything done.

I wonder if I'm like that, that I need to spout all this stuff off. Maybe that's why I always try to write precaps that have some merit to them... but then why don't I make more tweets and shit about religion? Why am I not like most posters? Is it because that these OO precaps are enough for me that I don't have to talk about anything else? Or maybe there's something else going on, especially since I wouldn't dare to blather religion around here... Whatever my own reasons, John Cheese at least helped me understand others, and for that, I'm thankful.

So let's get to SmackDown tonight, which I'm pretty sure won't lead to even the slightest bit of introspection.

Segment 1: Teddy Long is already in the ring as we join the show. After normal blathering, he sucks up to Vince McMahon... probably because Vinny is in the house tonight and, oh yeah, is going to get a job evaluation tonight. Apparently the crowd is happy with Long, and even wants him to be the permanent GM of SmackDown!

...Except Booker T hits the ring, back from surgery and so totally unexpected by Long. Books thanks him for filling in, but he's back! And he gets the crowd on his side rather easily, and we can dig that, sucka.

And then Vince pops out from the back to a huge pop. He silly-walks to the ring, shakes both men's hands, gets some cheap pops for both of them, but gets to business. See, only one person can be in charge of SmackDown, which means I guess SD is unworthy of co-GMs like RAW had? Whatever.

Anyway, Vince asks what match should be their main event. Long says that we should have Curtis Axel versus Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Title! Cheers abound, and Booker T looks pissed. But then it's Books's chance to answer, and he says we should see Alberto Del Rio versus Randy Orton... though not for the title.

Vince is impressed all around, but then we hear the RAW theme song, which confuses everyone, especially when the Titantron and side panels start showing the RAW logo. We did not indeed get sucked into a Doctor Whovian time travel adventure, but instead it's Brad Maddox who pops out. He stumbles to the ring as he finishes getting dressed, because apparently vest buttons are really difficult.

Maddox knows this is the wrong show and all, but he wants to talk to Vince... because he wants the GM job of SD too! Because Maddox was so totally going to book those matches and, oh yeah, tonight will be the SmackDown return of Rob Van Dam. That puts a smile on Vince's face, especially after the crowd lights up with an “RVD” chant.

Vince is impressed, gives us a tease, and then announces that SD's permanent GM is going to be Vickie Guerrero.

Everyone in the ring looks confused as hell, and everyone out of the ring boos. Vickie pops out of the back and does her own Vickie power walk to the ring, takes Vince's mic that he offers her, and addresses the crowd... who, as usual, just boos over her every word. She blames us for being fired from RAW, and declares she totally hates us. Well, at least she's honest. Yay, honesty!

She declares she's back, and she's back with power! And there's nothing anyone can do, including the three jerks in the ring now (since Vince already left)! The SD theme plays her out, while Books and Long argue, and Maddox looks like he forgot his good vest in the back.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Dolph Ziggler defeats Jack Swagger (w/ the Real Americans) by pin. Pretty much an extended squash, the workrate was subpar, but the fans didn't care.

The match started with Dolph getting three straight “wins” from chain wrestling. Each time, Swagger huddled with his buddies for advice. On third time, Ziggy had enough of that shit, so he hopped out, punched Swagger in the face, then threw him back in. As Dolph tried to get back into the ring, Cesaro pulled him off the apron and uppercutted him. The ref didn't see it happen, but he isn't stupid this week and realized that Dolph shouldn't be unconscious after merely trying to get back into the ring. He tossed Cesaro and, when Colter chest-bumped him, threw him out too.

Ziggler got in two slippery pin attempts, but Swagger kicked out of both. Then Swagger applied the Patriot Act out of nowhere, but Ziggler rolled through, sending Swagger toward the corner. Swagger caught himself, but as he tried to get up, Dolph nailed him with the Zig Zag. Pin, three, done.

Post-Segment 2: After replays, Dolph grabs a mic and reminds us all that he totally dumped AJ on Monday... but he apologizes.

For not doing it sooner! Oh, snap! No he di-int!

We cut to the back, where AJ was watching on a monitor. She cries and freaks the hell out, beating the boiling piss out of some chairs, which all sell like champions. Big E. Langston is with her, eventually corrals her, then moves in for a kiss... but decides to just kiss her forehead. Classic move, dude: good stuff! He walks off, and AJ just looks confused.

Segment 3: Siva Tau fuck yeah!

So this was supposed to be a match between The Shield and the Usos, but poor Lilian Garcia didn't get much of a chance to give the weights of the faces as they charged the ring. Both Garcia and the ref bailed as we had a brawl, which was pretty even until Dean Ambrose materialized and helped out the heels.

The numbers game caught up to the Usos, but then Mark Henry's music fired up, and the fans went ballistic. The Shield tossed the Usos and triple-teamed Henry, but though Henry was contained, he fought hard enough to get the Usos time to recover. Once it was three-on-three again, The Shield was sent packing, and Henry was standing the tallest. The Shield bailed through the crowd, we went to more ads.

Cut Scene: JBL and Michael Cole waste two full minutes of my time telling me how to download and run an app on my phone. Fuck that shit; I don't think technological ignorance is the reason you only have a 3% participation rate for your app, WWE.

Segment 4 [Singles Match]: Daniel Bryan defeats Wade Barrett by submission. Too short to be anything noteworthy, but it adds to DB's incredible momentum, and man alive was the crowd hot for it.

Not much feeling out to start, as Barrett's power overcomes DB's speed. DB gets a short flurry, and he seems to be pretty hyped up... maybe he's feeding well off the crowd? After an exchange and DB's corner backflip counter, DB hits a bizarre move that's basically a tilt-a-whirl sideways school boy slam, or something. It doesn't do much damage, but Wade was twisted around, so DB got to his feet first. As Wade tried to figure out what the hell just happened, DB slapped on the No Lock, except now he's calling it the Yes Lock again. Barrett resisted but was going anywhere, and had to tap.

Segment 5: Vickie Guerrero is talking to Some Office Guy in the back, and then Brad Maddox arrives. Maddox wants to make friends, and Vickie totally wants to shake hands... but then slaps Maddox's eye instead. Geez, Vickie's slaps always look insanely painful.

Segment 6: Oh good, Miz TV! I get to shorthand a segment!

Miz blathers, replay of Brock Lesnar beating up CM Punk from RAW, Heyman is already in the ring at that point, way too much freaking dead air, Miz blathers more, Miz concludes by essentially saying “I have nothing to say, so why don't you do all the talking?” Apparently, Miz got the memo that we can't stand him, even on his own damn show.

Heyman blathers and puts over Lesnar, Heyman continues to blather and tells CM Punk to stay away from WWE forever, Miz blathers, Miz takes offense at how much of a liar Heyman is, Miz throws himself out of his own show (again apparently getting the OO Memo), Heyman announces Curtis Axel (who you may or may not remember beat Miz at Money in the Bank less than a week ago).

But this is a tease. Axel pops out, yells “Boom!,” and makes eyes at Miz as Miz retreats to gorilla.

Seriously, what the hell was the point of all that? The segment lasted like 10 minutes, and yet I feel 10 hours older.

Cut Scene: Replay of Segment 1, and it sounds like it was dubbed over in post by Michael Cole. That's weird... what, was this a timing issue, and the production team added the replay just to fill some time? [Ed. Note: yeah, I heard that, too. They either redid it to fit the right time slot or just to cover a slip up by Cole when he voiced it live.]

Segment 7 [Singles Match for the Intercontinental Title]: Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman) defeats Chris Jericho by pin, and retains. Solid match. Not a must-watch, but definitely a good match and so far the match of the night.

No feeling out to start, but it's the all-Jericho Show for offense. Axel is sent packing to ringside and eats a forward baseball slide, then Jericho tosses him back in. Y2J hits a flying elbow off the top rope and a near fall, but then Axel takes control with a knee to the gut, then a knee to the face. And good god, the crowd is dead for this.

It doesn't help that Axel then applies a rest hold, which somehow fires up a “Y2J!” chant from a small minority. Jericho fights out of it and hits a sequence concluding with a Northern Lights Suplex with a pin, but Axel kicks out and puts Jericho down with a clubbing punch to the back of the head. Also a two-count on that. After an exchange, Jericho goes for a Codebreaker, but Axel catches him and turns it into a powerbomb. Sweet counter, only a two on the pin attempt, and we go to ads.

Back, and it's not long before Jericho gets a hope rally. It's cut short with a solid running spinning neckbreaker out of nowhere, and that certainly woke the crowd up if they weren't already. Axel whiffed on a dropkick, and Jericho hit the Lionsault. Also a two-count, and we're officially in the end-game in case you couldn't tell.

Axel tried flinging Jericho out of the ring, but Jericho caught himself on the apron and went to the top rope. Heyman warned Axel in time, and Axel just kicked Jericho's gut in the air. He tried a Perfect Plex, but that was countered, and Jericho tried the Walls. Heyman distracted Jericho away from this however, and Axel tried to steal one with a quick schoolboy pin. Jericho kicked out, and this time applied the Walls correctly after a long tease.

The fans went ballistic, and Axel tried and clawed his way to the ropes... and grabbed it. Guess we're not in the end-game after all.

The ref broke the hold as Axel pulled himself out of the ring, but Jericho just did a vaulting body press. He got Axel back in the ring, but Heyman distracted Jericho again as he tried to get back in the ring. Axel kicked Jericho in the face, hit the neckbreaker drop, and made the pin. Boo!

Post-Segment 7: As Axel and Heyman head up the ramp, Ryback's music fires up. Heyman sells a little fear as he pulls Axel to the side on the stage, allowing Ryback to pass in peace, before they scurry through gorilla.

Ryback hits the ring, lightly Jericho in the face just to be a dick, then pulls him up. Jericho uses what's left in the tank to throw some punches, but a Meathook Clothesline stops that noise. One Shellshock later, Jericho is left laid out. [Ed. Note: "finished with @WWE for now. time 2 focus on @fozzyrock" tweeted Jericho. On Wednesday. Spoiler much, Chris?]

Segment 8: Back from ads, and after a replay of MITB, we've got Damien Sandow in the ring in another dapper suit. Sandow is here to remind us all that in MITB, it was always “every man for himself.” He did not screw Cody Rhodes, because Cody knew the risks going in, so there. So why did Cody beat him up on Monday? (And we get footage of that too.) Because these are totally different things, damnit!

Sandow isn't going to just trade punches though, unlike us “slack-jawed mouth-breathers would.” He's our intellectual savior, remember, so he's not going to spew rhetoric either. Also, he's a beacon of enlightenment, in case you didn't know that. Besides all that, Sandow asserts that he and Cody are still besties, and they're gentlemen, so he wants Cody to come down so they can discuss it.

Cody hits the ring presently, but Sandow doesn't give the mic at first; instead, he looks Cody in the eye just to forgive him. The crowd doesn't buy it, but Sandow just gives them a dirty look. Sandow continues that he's going to “bestow an honor” on Cody: he makes him the “Keeper of the Case,” so until Sandow actually cashes it in, Cody will be the one to protect it.

Sandow hands over the case as Cody looks like he's going to cry from the sheer joy. He thanks Sandow, who mutters that he's welcome... and then Cody smashed him in the face with the case. As Sandow bails, Cody talks shit, then flings the case so far it flies all the way to the freaking stage. Was Cody a shotputter in a previous life?

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Rob Van Dam defeats Darren Young (w/ Titus O'Neil) by pin. Short and nothing special, but a crowd-pleaser. RVD with all the early offense, but that was before Titus got involved with a distraction. DY had all the offense from there, but nothing noteworthy. RVD had one rally before DY got back to it. It didn't last long though, and RVD hit a Five-Star Frog Splash after a short exchange.

Segment 10: RAW recap of the Wyatt Family's shenanigans.

Segment 11: Vickie is in her office, and T-Long comes in at her request. She says that they have a long history, and they've both mistreated each other... so let's just let bygones be bygones. Long is all, “You really mean that?” Vickie stares at him for like 30 seconds of dead air... then screams “Hell no!” and calls for security to throw him out of the building. Aw.

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Alberto Del Rio by pin. Very solid match all around, well-paced and good action the whole time. It might be YouTube-worthy if you particularly like either guy, but it's nothing you should cancel a date for.

No feeling out, it's Orton with the opening moves as he goes punchy-punchy on ADR. ADR breaks the momentum when he does the Modified Cross Arm Breaker with rope assistance out of nowhere, and then it's all ADR as he goes kicky-slammy-submissiony on the wounded arm.

Orton gets a little breather outside the ring and slams ADR's back into the barricade when ADR chases. But then Orton gets greedy and tries flinging ADR into the steps, but ADR reverses it so Orton goes shoulder-first into them. The ref is up to six, but ADR doesn't want to win by countout for some reason, so he flings Orton back into the ring. ADR goes up to the top rope with something planned, but Orton is able to dropkick him out of the air.

Both guys are down, but it's Orton to his feet first. He hits three of his moves of doom but mistimes his powerslam and basically falls down with a twirl, which doesn't look even remotely serious. It's like he pretended to be a girl playing ring around the rosary or something. Either way, ADR immediately slaps on the Cross Arm Breaker, but they're so close to the ropes that Orton grabs it instantly. ADR holds out for the four-count though before breaking it.

Stompy-stompy then from ADR as he targets that shoulder, but Orton hits his signature backbreaker to slow him down. Orton then tries the Hangman's DDT, but ADR slips out and hits his step-up enziguri to send Orton to the floor. ADR continues to target that shoulder, and Orton seems contained.

But then ADR is dumb enough to talk shit and taunt (including stealing Orton's ring humping) rather than actually do damage, giving Orton time enough to recover. And then, uh, ADR goes for the RKO? What the hell? But Orton knows how to counter his own move, pushes ADR away into the ropes, then does his signature power slam on the rebound.

Orton takes a moment to catch his breath, but as he picks up ADR, ADR hits an arm DDT onto his knees. But as ADR wants to follow up, Orton is able to hit the Hangman's DDT out of nowhere, and the crowd lights up. Ring humping commences, but ADR blocks the RKO and hits the Backstabber. No dice on the pin though, but we've entered the end-game.

A very short exchange, ADR goes for the Cross Arm Breaker again, but Orton rolls through with a backward somersault. ADR whiffs with a head kick, Orton hits the RKO to counter, pin, three, done.

Final Thoughts: And so ends our show. Nothing super-awesome-major happened, but I like where SD is headed. Vickie as GM is fun because the shows are always better with heel GMs, since it gives you more of a reason to care about the faces. Orton continues momentum, as do DB, RVD, and Mark Henry. This was certainly more of a “feel-good” episode than it could be, since the faces basically won every conflict, Ryback excepted. Still not a must-watch, but you won't be wasting your time if you check it out.

I've said everything else I needed to in the body of the recap. I've noticed that I tend to be able to focus better when watching this on Hulu since the show and my word document are literally next to each other, and I don't have to constantly turn my head (or pause) to keep up. For workman-like episodes like this one, it's certainly appreciated, and easy to recap.

So... I guess I'm done for this week. Have a good one guys, and I'll see you in seven days.

Episode Grade: B


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