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Captain Contender
August 3, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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Two bad days in a row at the office... ugh. I'm glad to be home.
I've got a thousand feelings and irritations I want to talk about, but although I'm an open book, I've done my best not to get too personal around here. Not only do the majority of you not care (which isn't flippant, just an acknowledgment that for many of you, I'm simply “a writer,” not “a human”), but I just don't want to get into overly depressing stuff in a goddamn professional wrestling recap. There are other outlets if I feel that down.

Yesterday was bad enough that I just had a liquid dinner... I drank Bailey's Irish Cream with Caramel, which wasn't nearly as horrible as I had been expecting, until I ran. Then I switched to Bailey's Irish Cream with Mint, which was just as surprisingly not as good. But still tasty. It seems I finally found a liquor that I can drink straight.

I'm tempted to the same thing today, especially since between Walmart and OO, my Saturdays are basically in the crapper and give me no free time. I enjoy OO, which is why I do it, but my dinner choices are either alcohol or Hot Pockets if I still want to have enough free time to get other stuff done. Although I have also been eating Golden Grahams lately, because cereal is one of those foods that you don't eat for a year and then binge on for a month straight. Given that I never drink milk otherwise, hopefully it's helping my bones a bit. My old, old, old bones.

Well. I can visit General Mills in a bit. Right now, I'm loading up Hulu to see if WWE at least brought its B-game to its B-show, given the overseas tours. Outlook: not optimistic.

Opening: At what point did we start calling rematches “return matches”? I don't recall it being common lexicon until the past year or so. Did the term bleed in from another sport, like UFC or something?

Also weird: JBL isn't around, so he's replaced by Alex Riley of all people, who I didn't realize was the WWE Superstars commentator until Michael Cole just told me. Interesting... does he even still wrestle? I sorta hope he does because I liked him, and his music was freaking awesome, but I know after his feud with The Miz petered out, so did his television appearances. [Ed. Note: yeah, he still shows up on some house shows. He went away due to an injury, then nobody was in a hurry to bring him back to TV on the grounds of some kind of petty backstage political/frat house justice deal. On the upside, he's really quite good on commentary.]

Segment 1: ADR pops out to open the show, since it's been a week and he needs to choose his opponent for SummerSlam. He literally opens with: “I just want to start by saying thank you... thank you for nothing!” Ugh... It's going to be one of those episodes.

He blathers with some cheap heat, then sucks up to Vickie Guerrero, then says that John Cena only chose Daniel Bryan as his opponent for SummerSlam because “Cena is afraid of Alberto Del Rio.” So ADR is implying that Cena should have faced him for title-versus-title match? If I fantasy book, and that match resulting in unifying the freaking titles, then I'd be down. Instead, it just makes ADR look confused.

Anyway, after more blathering, ADR explains that he chooses Ricardo Rodriguez as his opponent. Not overly surprising, though RR only appears as a picture on the Titantron. The fans boo, which is a little surprising, or maybe they're not just buying his stupid plan regardless of any residual cheers Ricardo may face.

Vickie then hits the ring and argues in Spanglish that ADR is a moron, though at one point I swore she called him “hot” (or “calienté”), but he looked irritated, so I must have misheard her.

Anyway, ADR thinks that a better alternative is the Brooklyn Brawler. Vickie says that she sort of knew he was going to do that bullshit, so instead, she set up a triple threat match tonight for the #1 contendership. First man in that match is RVD, who pops out as she announces his name. Second is Captain Charisma himself, who also pops out. They just stand on the stage while glaring at ADR. Finally, she announces the third opponent to be Randy Orton, which kinda makes no sense since he's holding the RAW Money in the Bank briefcase. Weird.

All three guys stand on the stage, ADR taunts them with the title belt, and then we fade out. The guys' appearance seemed pointless, since Vickie could have just given the names and been done with it.

Segment 2: SmackDown recap from last week concerning Damien Sandow's and Cody Rhodes's shenanigans. A recap as the second segment doesn't bode well.

Pre-Segment 3: After entrances, Zeb Colter tries to talk some shit about how the fans aren't real Americans, but Cody Rhodes isn't having that and punches Jack Swagger in the face. Good way to stop the rhetoric!

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: Cody Rhodes defeats Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) by pin. Pretty much a reverse squash.

Not much feeling out before we start the heel beatdown, with Jack of course playing heel. I normally remember to say something like “Ladies and gentlemen: a face turn!,” but Cody just sorta went anti-heel rather than face. I'll reserve calling him a full face until he does something face-like or embrace the fans or something.

So anyway, as Swagger kicks his ass, he goes for his Enhanced Powerbomb Techniques. But Cody added some oomph to the gutwrench so he could apply a sunset flip. Jack took the three, and both heels bitched and moaned as a result.

Segment 4: After commercials, Josh Mathews interviews Cody, who says he didn't turn against Sandow for stopping him from winning the Money in the Bank match... in fact, Cody said, he probably would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed. But Cody betrayed his former best friend because he didn't like being talked down to, and he “doesn't like it when anyone talks down to anyone else!” All right, I'll say it now: ladies and gentlemen, we have a face turn. One that is very, very stupid.

Look, I'm all for freshening up Cody, and I know turns sort of necessitate retcons, but that's just patently false unless we ignore Cody's half of all promos the team gave since they formed. I have a split-second of hope when Cody says: “Hey, apologies are in order.” Oh, you're going to apologize (in-character) for being a douchebag?

“Throwing Sandow's briefcase into the Gulf is the pollution equivalent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill!”

Uh... no. No it's not. Cody follows up with “It's a joke, you can laugh,” but I'm not laughing. Not that I'm offended, but that was one of the stupidest things I've ever heard him say. The fans didn't seem to buy it either, since they either groaned or booed him.

Anyway, Cody says he was the best part of the team, and Josh wants to ask a follow-up, but then Sandow attacks Cody from behind. He slams the back of Cody's head into a box nearby before road agents arrive to pull him off.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Big E Langston defeats Sin Cara by pin. Pretty much an extended squash. Early power offense from Langston, but Cara got an improbable enziguri and actually went for an early pin attempt. Langston kicked out pretty much instantly though, then went for power and roughneck offense. Cara had a hope spot as he kicked the crap out of Langston's legs, but then got caught (literally) trying a springboard moonsault. Langston hit the Big Ending, and that was that.

SummerSlam Ad: I swear this is the first time WWE has used reggae for a pay-per-view theme. Maybe I'm easy to please, but it's not awful. It's forgettable, sure, but it's not awful.

Segment 6: Promo for the Wyatt Family, including a montage of their recent shenanigans. Bray Wyatt is way too good at doing a creepy voice. If you had told me years ago that Husky Harris would be legitimately entertaining and enthralling, I would have called you a liar and set your car on fire, then probably peed in your mom's bed for good measure. And now it's my bed that has pee in it. Wait, what?

Follow the buzzards, baby.

Segment 7: Renee Young interviews Kaitlyn (who has Layla standing next to her for “support”). Kaitlyn pulls a George Bush by saying “Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice... uh... you get a Spear.” Heh, cute.

Anyway, Kaitlyn is the hometown girl, and she was in this city when she won her first Divas Title. History will totally repeat itself.

Layla then sucks up to Kaitlyn big time, saying that she (Kaitlyn) totally has more ambition, drive, and dedication than any diva ever, and she'll totally be the best of all time. Kaitlyn isn't happy, more confused, but thanks her anyway. Layla pulls her into a huge bear hug as she wishes her luck (and calls her sweetie).

Huh. I'm sensing either they're going to have a fun little lesbian angle that'll make everyone happy, or (with 99.999% more probability) they're actually restarting the feud between Layla and Kaitlyn with subtle storytelling. That'd be awesome, since I still argue that WWE should have done that back at WrestleMania. Maybe waiting was for the better, but I hated to see that awesomeness be dropped.

Segment 8: ADR is pacing in Vickie's office. They bicker about ADR's initial choices for an opponent, then Vickie says that ADR is probably just afraid of a little competition. Then Brad Maddox appears for no reason to give congrats to Vickie. That was random.

Pre-Segment 9: I'm pretty sure Fandango managed to get a handful of Summer Rae boob during their entrance. If not a handful, he at least copped a feel on her underboob, and I frankly can't blame him. Lucky bastard.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: CM Punk defeats Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) by submission. A surprisingly solid match. Maybe all the dirt sheets about Johnny Curtis are true, and the dude is actually a pretty damn good wrestler.

Punk isn't here to dick about, so he goes right after Fandango with kicks and chops. There's a cute chain wrestling spot of dodges and counters, which shows of Fandango's athleticism. Punk wins the exchange though and then gets back on offense. Punk tries a GTS, but Fanny slips out and bails from the ring to take us to ads.

Back, and Punk is out of the ring as Fanny lies prone. Punk stalks him and starts to move as he gets up, but Summer gets in the way. Punk is classy and doesn't hit women, so he hesitates, allowing Fanny to punch Punk in the face from over Summer's shoulder. Fanny follows up by flinging Punk into the steps, then he slides back in the ring. Punk gets counted since he's slightly overselling, while Summer twirls away with a happy smile. She may be playing a heel, but that smile could manipulate me into doing almost anything for her.

Punk slides back in the ring at eight, but then Fandango does some mounted punches to take control. As Alex Riley continues to blather on commentary, he mentions that Fandango was in NXT 4, thus proving that WWE isn't quite far gone when it comes to breaking the fourth wall. I wouldn't argue if we we're supposed to think that Bray Wyatt and Husky Harris are two different people, but in the Fandango/Johnny Curtis situation (as we've seen with Skip Sheffield/Ryback), I'm sort of glad they go ahead and acknowledge it.

Anyway, Fanny continues his offense with a variety of moves, including rest holds, though he changes it up with a side half-scissored sleeper. Punk gets a mini-rally but eats a corner kick and takes a two-count for a pin. Punk gets another rally but can't close the deal, though he's able to hit his signature high running knee in the corner followed by a short arm clothesline.

Punk reads the crowd, then heads to the top rope for a Macho Man Elbow Drop, but Fanny bails from the ring, at least to the apron. As Punk looks to follow up, Fanny nails him with that ridiculous athletic kick that he's able to somehow start while lying on his back, which is not easy. Still only gets a two.

Fanny quickly goes to the top rope and wants his leg drop, but Punk catches him before he jump off. Punk hits a huge superplex after blowing the crowd a kiss for no damn reason, then rolls through himself to apply the Anaconda Vise. Fanny has nowhere to go, and he taps out.
[Ed. Note: "Fanny"? Welp, we're OOfficially banned in England.]

Segment 10: Replay of Segment 1, at least the highlights, since we all apparently have the memories of goldfish. Also, they replay segment 1, at least the highlights, since we all apparently have the memories of goldfish.

Segment 11: Renee Young interviews Rob Van Dam, who says that he's so totally prepared for Christian and Randy Orton. But hey, they're not him, Rob... Van...

“Damn, it's good to see you!,” says Christian, who materializes. Christian gives RVD his props but tells him things have changed since he's been gone, and part of that change is that Christian deserves one... more...

“Loss!” screams Orton as he materializes. Orton then openly wonders how awesome it would be if he was both WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion, an idea that makes me wonder how Rick (and Dominator from the OO Forums) reacted, and if they fantasy booked it in their minds. Orton says that he's going to give RVD a give tonight, and it'll be an R... K...

“Bro!,” says RVD, blah blah blah, Rob... Van... Dam. Then they bicker as the mic is removed.

So... yeah, that happened. Overwritten and a little weird, along with not much value-add. Still entertaining though, and it could have been a lot worse.

Segment 12 [Singles Match for the Divas Title]: AJ defeats Kaitlyn (w/ Layla) by submission, and retains. Way too short to be considered good workrate, but a good match for what it needed to be.

AJ goes right for the hair-pulling, but Kaitlyn doesn't fall for it twice, and she goes for wrestling moves (including a clothesline that caused AJ to land a little awkwardly). But then AJ hits a drop toe hold to make Kaitlyn smack her face into the bottom rope, and then AJ goes for a read naked choke with leg scissors. Seems a little early for a rest hold, but okay... it works.

Kaitlyn is able to fight out, but AJ follows up with a clothesline of her own and takes her down. AJ manages a couple more shots, but a dropkick and military press-to-gutbuster puts a stop to that. AJ rolls out of the ring to avoid getting pinned (since that's technically one of Kaitlyn's finishers). Kaitlyn follows, throws AJ into the barricade, then readies a Spear.

...Except Layla stands between them and barks “No!” to Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn is confused, but doens't have time to think much as AJ recovers and tackles her, shoving her into the barricade. Layla then just leans back with a sultry, bitchy smile as she watches Kaitlyn getting destroyed. Huh, okay, no subtlety there, and we've got a heel turn.

AJ flings Kaitlyn back in the ring, then slaps on the ever-hot (and ever-painful) Black Widow. Kaitlyn falls to her knees and spanks AJ's upper inner thigh to end the match.

After the match, AJ and Kaitlyn hold hands as they both skip away. On the stage, Layla hugs AJ and does a sarcastic wave to Kaitlyn as the latter looks on in shock and anger, or something. Poor Kaitlyn... although poor Layla too, because that could have and should have been handled way better.

Segment 13: RAW recap of the main event.

Pre-Segment 14: After Orton, Christian, and RVD make their entrances, ADR pops out just to say that he's totally going to be watching them from the back. Oh, and Ricardo could so totally beat any of them, so there. Whoever wins this match will simply wind up tapping out to him at SummerSlam, so there.

Segment 14 [Triple Threat Match, winner is #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Title]: Christian defeats Randy Orton by pin, and outlasts Rob Van Dam. Damn fine match, people. YouTube this! [Ed. Note: seconded.]

I always have trouble doing recaps of triple threat matches since so much goes on, but I'll give it a shot. After early punchy-punchy exchanges, Orton is tossed, and RVD gets Christian down. RVD wants Rolling Thunder already, but Orton pulls him out of the ring. RVD contains him, then drapes Orton onto the barricade. Then, from the apron, he does a flying twirling kick to Orton's back, because RVD hates gravity. RVD sells his leg, but he eventually gets up and starts to do his taunt... and eats a stiff Spear. No countouts, baby, but we're going to ads.

Back, and RVD has the general offense for two seconds until Christian gets a tornado DDT. Pin for two, and RVD rolls out as Orton beats the shit out of Christian for a few minutes, capping with his superplex. RVD then reintroduces himself and does his kick-catch spinny reverse enziguri and corner monkey flip, as he puts on a clinic. Christian winds up bailing out, but RVD is able to hit the split leg moonsault on Orton. Only a two on the pin.

RVD maintains offense for a bit but is stopped by Orton, who then catches Christian and tries for a Hangman's DDT. Christian counters by back body dropping him over the ropes, then does the same to RVD. He nails Orton with a baseball slide and a scoop slam outside the ring, but RVD scoop slams Christian after a moment. RVD gets back in the ring, then remembers who the hell he is and does a two-hand plancha over the top rope to take out the other two. More ads.

Back, and Christian and Orton are exchanging blows as RVD sells the back outside, apparently after being thrown into the steps by someone. Orton does a flip-over pin to Christian, which I've never seen from him before. Then Christian hits a forward falling DDT on Orton which looks suspiciously like an RKO, but since it's Christian's move and professional wrestling is made up of physics controlled by magical unicorns, it doesn't damage Christian at all. He fails a pin but signals that for the Killswitch.

As Orton resists, RVD gets on the top rope and tries for a flying kick. Christian sees it, lets go of Orton and bails, so RVD kicks Orton in the face and tries the pin. RVD fails, and Christian immediately rolls him up in a schoolboy. That fails too.

Christian takes RVD's head and intends to smack it into the upper turnbuckle, but RVD counters with a kick from absolutely fucking nowhere that I had to watch three times to see how it was done. And Alex Riley delivers the line of the night: “With this guy, you never know when you're going to get kicked in the face.” I really want to use that as a signature for a message board.

So RVD vaults up to the top rope and hits a clean Five-Star Frog Splash on Christian, but Orton breaks up the pin attempt at the last moment. Orton beats the shit out of RVD for a minute, but whiffs on his power slam. RVD goes for Rolling Thunder, but Orton gets to his feet too quick and reverses Rolling Thunder into a power slam. That qualifies as a “holy shit” out-of-nowhere counter. From there, Orton wants a Hangman's DDT, but RVD fights out. From the apron, RVD goes for a vaulting springboard something, but Orton dropkicks him in midair, sending him crashing to the mat. That whole sequence was freaking awesome.

Meanwhile, Christian has recovered and wants the Killswitch, but Orton shoves him to the apron and hits the Hangman's DDT finally after three attempts. Orton feels the crowd then starts humping the ring, but RVD slides in the ring. Orton catches his gut kick, then hits the RKO. Orton tries an RKO on Christian as well, but Christian blocks it and turns into a backslide pin... and gets it! Holy crap! I had my money on Orton, and even if I had known that Christian would win, I wouldn't have guessed it would have been in that way.

Post-Segment 14: RVD maintains his selling, but Christian and Orton eye each other as Christian's music plays. They struggle to their feet, and Orton shakes Christian's hand. Christian shakes it, and I'd swear Orton actually says “Thank you.” No bullshit here, and Orton leaves as Christian's music replays. Good stuff... I like face/face matches sometimes for that reason.

After replays, RVD finally gets up to his feet. Christian watches him, and RVD approaches. Those two shake hands too... and again no bullshit. They didn't even bother to slow-sell it or pause Christian's music that time, just a shake and RVD moves on. Very cool.

More replays, and then Josh Mathews decides to interview Christian. Christian got about three words out before ADR materialized and beat the crap out of him, then stood over his body. He didn't hit a Cross Arm Breaker or anything, but it was still a solid shot, and the message was sent.

Final Thoughts. A tale of two hours, this. The first hour gave me no optimism at all, but the second hour, even sober, was surprisingly good. And not just “good for the B-show before an overseas tour,” but good. The main event and Punk/Fandango were very, very good and definitely worth your time to track down. The rest? Meh, not so much.

I've said everything I want to say, more or less. I still want to do some recording for my YouTube channel tonight, but SmackDown put me in a better mood than I thought I'd be in after a day like this. I regret nothing... not even the Hot Pockets.

Have a good weekend guys, and I'll see you again next week as usual.

Episode Grade: B-


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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