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SD!: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Dunderhead Interrupts Intellectual Cash-in
August 10, 2013

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

 
One of the reasons I canceled by DISH Network account was because I was watching less and less TV, and what TV I did watch, I could find free online legitimately. Sure, it may come a day late or something like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but generally speaking, there wasn't much I felt I “needed” to see live other than WWE. I reasoned that if there was something I “needed” to see, I could always try to torrent it or, if I didn't want to break laws, simply wait until the show or episodes were old enough to be streamed on Netflix or Hulu. Who needs to watch a show the same day it comes out, says I?
 
And then the first part of Season 5 of Breaking Bad comes out on Netflix, which I marathoned in a day. It took me about a nanosecond to realize that the second half of the final season starts basically now, and that it was available on iTunes for same-day viewing. I had long declared that I would never spend cash on stupid iTunes when a torrent or YouTube would work just as well, but Walter White is such an awesome character that I found myself throwing money at AMC and iTunes as hard as I possibly could for the Season Pass.

So while tonight's plan is to watch and recap SmackDown, tomorrow's plan is to spend an hour watching Walter fall down the rabbit hole, and then two additional hours bitching and moaning that I can't use a time machine to jump forward a week and catch the next episode.

I love Breaking Bad, man. Fiction always works best when it's character-driven rather than narrative-driven. In case you don't know the terms, narrative-driven stories are basically when An Event must occur, and you see it occur; the characters do what they need to, maybe changing a little as they handle the conflicts that they are presented. Character-driven stories are the opposite, where the character is the story, and the events unfold around them because of them. It's more intriguing because you don't know how the character will react, especially as they evolve (or don't evolve).

Breaking Bad reminds me of my favorite movie of all time: the “protagonist” is a good person, but has to turn bad due to seemingly being in a corner with no way out. The bad is supposed to be temporary, but events or the character's own insanity start to override plans, and the transformation changes the protagonist completely. And now our “protagonist” is a de facto antagonist, and you're not sure whether to root for or against him.
 
At least in Walter White's case, he's pretty much become the most evil person in the whole damn story, and I'm actually eager for him to snuff it, just to show him what a stupid jerkface he is.
[Ed. Note: I thought Walt held onto "anti-hero" status pretty much through the first 4 seasons, with most of my annoyance being directed at Skyler and Pinkman, the former for being a nosy bitch and the latter for being a hyper-emotional fuck-up. If you accept the thesis that cooking meth is a legitimate way to fund cancer treatment, almost everything he did up until poisoning the kid could be justified. Then in Season 5, Walt pretty much turned into Heisenberg, and was a jackwagon of epic proportions (giving Skyler reasons for being a bitch, and all while Jesse has fully matured into a dude with redeeming qualities). Then he finally came to his senses and agreed to get out in the last episode... just in time for his brother-in-law to figure out his identity. Plus, the Czechs are gonna be pissed. Man, I also can't wait till Sunday night...]
 
The slow descent into madness (or, in this case, sane evilness) is by far one my favorite overall plot arcs, and I'm digging the show more than I have for almost every other piece of fiction in the mainstream as of late. (Because, seriously, fuck the atrocity that is
The Hunger Games books. I'm not even going to give the movie a chance, because I really wanted Katniss to die in a fire before the end of the fourth page.) [Ed. Note: I never read the books, on the grounds that I'm not a tween girl. But I watched the movie, and it was way more action-y mindless fun than I'd have guessed. Way closer to "Running Man" (except with a hot chick who I'm allowed to ogle, because even if the character is 16, the actress is in her mid-20s) than to "Twilight."]

So, let's get to SmackDown. Quicker it's done, quicker I can sleep, and quicker it will be Sunday, and quicker I can get to Breaking Bad. Let's roll...

Signature: Not sure how new it is (possibly this week?), but they've got The Wyatt Family in the signature now. Twice, actually, if you count that they they now show one frame of the goat mask thing they've done at the end of each of the Family's angles. I approve.

Also, tonight's opening is a match between Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam. After RVD's entrance, some douchebag thought he was Bill Alfonso apparently, and he started blowing randomly into a whistle. E-C-Dud.

Segment 1 [Singles Match]: Randy Orton defeats Rob Van Dam by pin. It started pretty boring, though watchable, but got pretty good toward the end. Solid, but nothing you need to go out of your way for.

After the first exchange, the aforementioned wannabe Alfonso douchebag stood up in front row opposite the camera (in other words, basically front-and-center for our screen). He then did more whistles with RVD thumbs, whistling each time. The other fans jumped on this and started chanting “Rob Van Dam!” along to the rhythm of the asshat's whistle. I generally have no problem with the way a given wrestling fan behaves, but goddamn that was annoying. After the next exchange, he started leading the chants again, but he lacked the whistle. I hope one of the Arena Security Staff took it away or something.

So after the second exchange, RVD took control outside the ring and draped Orton on the barricade, then did his flying spin kick off the apron onto Orton's back, always a fun spot. And then we went to ads.

Back, and it's Orton in control with his normal offense. Nothing of note until RVD had a fairly extended rally. Orton was stunned in the corner, and RVD tried a modified Rolling Thunder to splash Orton. Orton dodged, but RVD grabbed the ropes and hopped up to the middle rope to catch himself. Orton quickly hooked RVD around the neck from behind, then pulled him off as he took a step away. Orton was trying to do his signature backbreaker, but RVD resisted; Orton had to simply and quickly drop down to his knees so their spines collided. It all looked legit (rather than a blown spot), so it was a modified version of Orton's backbreaker, and one that hurt him as well due to the awkward angle. Good stuff, and both guys go down. Orton crawls into the cover eventually, but it took too long, and he only gets a two.

Orton maintains momentum and wants the Hangman's DDT, but RVD slips through and counters with a bridging belly to belly suplex. Only a two. Another exchange, Orton dropkicks RVD as he tries a vaulting something-or-other, and then delivers the Hangman's DDT. The crowd goes ballistic, and Orton starts humping the ring.

But Orton never seems to get the RKO off the bat anymore, and RVD counters with a roundhouse kick and a really weird pinning combination using only his legs. Only gets a two. Then another rolling enziguri, then a normal Rolling Thunder, but a whiff on the Five Star Frog Splash. Orton gets up a step quicker, hits the RKO, and makes the pin.

Segment 2: Oh good, Miz TV. Time to shorthand!

The Miz blathers, Miz introduces AJ and Big E. Langston, they hit the ring, Miz blathers more, AJ puts over Langston as her “best friend,” Miz blathers and calls AJ a slut, AJ insists she's the one getting her heartbroken, Miz posits that it's AJ's craziness.

AJ insists that is all the guys' faults because they “tricked her” into falling for them, then left her. And Kaitlyn should have had her back, but then even Kaitlyn left her. But you know what's never going to leave her? The WWE Divas Title. It'll totally never leave her, unlike the guys, especially Dolph Ziggler.

Ziggler then hits the ring, Ziggy blathers and says that he's just super-irresistible so it's not AJ's fault, AJ thinks Dolph has AJ-envy, Kaitlyn hits the stage and says she'll totally “touch” AJ, Kaitlyn continues to blather as she gets to the ring, Dolph blathers at both of them. All four bicker, Miz out-screams them and books a match for SummerSlam even though that makes no goddamn sense, and books the mixed tag match that we all knew was coming.

Kaitlyn calls AJ crazy, catfight ensues, Langston breaks them up, Ziggler hits him with a Zig Zag, Kaitlyn cuts AJ in half with a stiff-as-fuck Spear, Dolph's music plays them out.

Okay, so apparently The Miz is the “official host of SummerSlam,” which apparently comes with match-making powers. Whee?

...Well, at least the segment is over.

Segment 3: RAW recap of CM Punk's activities.

Segment 4: Alberto Del Rio is in Vickie Guerrero's office complaining about having to face Christian tonight, since they're facing each other for-real at SummerSlam. Vickie doesn't take his crap and explains that she's willing to take the risk of seeing ADR hurt himself after ADR beat the crap out of Christian last week. ADR storms out with some Spanish.

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) defeats Kofi Kingston by pin. Rick wrote in his RAW recap that Kofi's return seemed downplayed on Monday. It was so downplayed, in fact, that I didn't know it even happened because it was cut from the Hulu version.

I'm not sure if this was intended to be a make-good rematch, but it wasn't anything special. It was solid enough, but nothing worth watching, really. Kofi was on a roll and generally maintained offense, but Summer Rae got involved (and even did her trademark injury fakery to give Kofi an extra distraction). Fandango took over, hit his top rope high-angle leg drop, and made the pin.

Segment 6: Daniel Bryan is walking in the back when Renee Young appears. She asks why DB was a jerk to Vince McMahon, and DB answers that he is who he is, and he likes himself... also, he's totally going to change history at SummerSlam. As my friend points out: how the hell do you “change history” when you're referring to a future event, exactly? Either way, the beard is here, and we have to deal with it (and deal with shitty T-shirt non-slogans).

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Daniel Bryan defeats Wade Barrett by pin. Solid enough match, but nothing super-special. Not much feeling out, just an exchange before Wade went for his heel beatdown sequence.

It maintained for most of the match, and when it seemed DB was done, Wade left the ring to grab some electric beard trimmers he brought with him to the match. But as he tried to use them, DB blocked it and kicked Wade in the face. Wade was outside the ring, so DB rolled to the apron and nailed the flying Tiger Knee. Back in the ring, DB hit the flying headbutt off the top rope (which JBL called the “Flying Goat,” and I've heard worse). No pin here; DB slaps on the Yes Lock, and Wade taps in short order.

After the match, DB finds the trimmer, then throws it against the steps to break it and send the batteries flying. The crowd loved it, and they had spent most of the match at maximum volume for him anyway.

Segment 8: Renee Young interviews Damien Sandow in the back, who says that Cody Rhodes is a thief, and is a jerk who destroyed Damien's Money in the Bank briefcase. But hey, Damien is an intellectual beacon of enlightenment, and he's got a new briefcase, one that's brown and very dapper (though with the MITB logo on it). Oh, and he's got a new copy of the title contract in it, because apparently WWE isn't full of idiots and they keep copies of contracts, even in-universe.

So Sandow says he'll settle his differences with Cody by beating him at SummerSlam, and then he's totally going to cash in the contract to beat ADR to become the “World Heavyweight Champion of the Unwashed Masses.” We're welcome.

Pre-Segment 9: Replay montage of the Kane/Wyatt Family feud.

Segment 9 [1-on-3 Handicap Tornado Match]: Kane defeats 3MB by pin. If I may quote Rick... we're all adults, so let's not pretend this was something it wasn't.

More of note, Michael Cole gave a few more details about this “ring of fire” match that Kane was talking about last week. It's not an Inferno Match as we all assumed; instead, it sounds like it'll be a normal ring, but the area outside the ring (like the black mats, I guess?) will be fire. The point is that the rest of the Wyatt Family won't be able to interfere as Kane and Bray go after each other. [Ed. Note: from what I gather, it's the exact same set-up as past Inferno Matches, it's just that the rules have been PG-ized. You now win by pinfall or submission, not by setting your opponent on fire. The fire is just there to prevent escape and/or outside interference.]

Post-Segment 9: After the win, the lights go out, and the Wyatt Family appear on the Titantron. Bray talks some shit, and he says that he's totally down with a ring of fire match, but that Kane is actually missing the point of the Family. See, fire can't control the souls of his brothers, and they'll totally going to burn Kane with his own fire.

I'd like to mention that they used a neat little camera trick, just a little forced perspective with close-ups of Bray while he was rocking, and it made the whole thing disconcerting. Which of course was the point. But it worked to a very good effect.

Anyway, Bray concludes that the fire can't hurt him because he's “already dead.” He then whisper-repeats “Already dead” while doing crazy eyes to the camera and rocking. Which really was disconcerting, even more so than the camera work. No freaking clue what he's talking about unless he's totally insane (or unless WWE is writing some stupid-ass storylines that we're not fully grasping yet).

Either way, Kane is so not-intimidated that he blows his corner pyros.

Segment 10: Highlight montage starring Brock Lesnar as he talks shit about CM Punk.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: Christian defeats Alberto Del Rio by pin. No feeling out here, with ADR going aggressive early. He mostly does rest holds, but aggressive ones to make them not-stupid. After a clothesline, ADR taunts for no damn reason. More roughneck offense, but Christian manages to score a couple knockdowns in what was sorta-kinda chain wrestling. The crowd is so bored with the early bits that the crowd starts chanting for JBL, but it dies out quickly, and the commentators don't bite. The crowd perks up again as Christian flings ADR out of the ring and nails him with a baseball slide, but then we go to ads.

Back, and surprisingly, it's Christian who's in control. It doesn't last long though as he tries his signature corner tornado DDT, and ADR just throws him off during the tilt-a-whirl part. ADR takes control there with more roughneck offense, but Christian has more rallies than normal. Still, ADR goes kicky-kicky, and they're pretty stiff (or at least look stiff).

Also, the dumbass with the whistle earlier starts up a USA chant which does take with the whole crowd, which is incredibly moronic since the only American in the ring is the ref. Even JBL calls out the crowd on that one, and ADR finds the whole thing hilarious.

But things turn serious from there as Christian starts fighting back with another rally. Both guys climb to the top rope, both guys punch the crap out of each other, and both guys go flying off in opposite directions to crash into the black mats. And then... more ads? Huh. They don't normally make the matches so long that we deal with two ad breaks.

Back (again), and ADR is in control. He does a rope-assisted upside-down Cross Arm Breaker, but takes too long preening after narrowly avoiding the five-count. Christian is able to hit a huracanrana off the top rope, though it looked pretty shitty since ADR mistimed when he launched himself. Still, Christian tried a pin, but only got a two.

Christian went on fire from there and went kick-happy, then went for another pin following a top rope cross body. Only a two, but he then hit a corkscrew elbow off the middle rope. Christian went for the Killswitch, triple-reversey, and ADR hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Pin, two.

ADR back in control for two seconds, then an exchange, then ADR again counters the Killswitch, this time with a Backstabber. Pin, still two.

ADR pulls down his knee pad to expose his knee brace, but whiffs on a flying knee. Christian hits a Spear out of nowhere. Pin, two.

Then ADR takes control after faking out Christian as he feigns those ribs; why Christian hesitated is beyond me, but whatever. Christian goes flying shoulder-first into the ring post, ADR taunts, then ADR goes for the Cross Arm Breaker. Christian rolls through and tries a school boy, only gets a two.

ADR pops right up with a side kick, but again Christian goes for a quick pin... and gets it??? Huh, okay, cool.

Solid enough match overall, and the out-of-nowhere win was expected but well-timed. It tells the story here that Christian can beat the champ, and ADR flips the hell out as a result.

Post-Segment 11: ...So after replays, ADR gets back in the ring and tries to beat the crap out of Christian in frustration. But Christian has had time to catch his breath, so he hits the Killswitch clean, then just leaves without issue.

Wait, here comes Damien Sandow with the so-called Sandowized briefcase! And Mike Chiota!

Except Cody Rhodes came down after him apparently, flew off the top rope to take Sandow down, then hit him with the Cross Rhodes. Also, I notice that most of the lights are glitched out and off in that display directly under the Titantron, because as I've said before, those are the kinds of things that I notice.

Final Thoughts: Above-average night with above-average wrestling, but still nothing to get overly excited about. I have this feeling that Rick will be more complimentary to it, but for me, it didn't exactly scratch any of my particular itches. Didn't rub salt in them either, though. [Ed. Note: I really liked the two bookend matches. A lot. Both are borderline youtube material, I think... but in between? Eh, the only thing that stood out was that the Lesnar package was very well done, and added more "big fight"/UFC-y feel to his match with Punk, since it was Lesnar doing his own talking for pretty much the first time so far, instead of letting his pro rasslin' manager do it for him.]

I've got nothing else tonight, and my energy is basically gone. Have a good weekend folks, and I'll see you in a week.

Episode Grade: C+

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON


  
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