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November 10, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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There is a problem with the new Online Onslaught schedule, the whole “I don't recap SmackDown until Saturday” thing. It's when I feel like an absolute bag of dicks, and I can't really “call off” from work at a moment's notice since then Rick is two days behind schedule, and may or may not remember what happened on SmackDown depending on how deeply he dove into the whiskey that weekend. [Ed. Note: Oh, I'll remember everything I see. Thing is, my FF Finger gets awfuly itchy when I watch SD at some point in the wee small hours.]
Had I known ahead of time that I would have felt like a bag of dicks today, I would have begged off the recap yesterday, as much as I hate doing so. But I'm here, and I'm not actively vomiting, so I'm all set to deal with Randy Orton and friends. Just no more of a precap for you... and hopefully, not too short of a recap for everyone.

Opening: After the initial “WWE Now, Then, Forever” screen, we get the one-frame goat mask, then Bray Wyatt being creepy and the Wyatt Family kicking everyone's asses. Very cool, very disturbing (in the intentional way), and a sign that the Wyatt Family is definitely here to stay.

Segment 1: And it's CM Punk to start the show proper. He gets a massive pop as he hits the ring to, probably, address the Wyatt Family situation. Punk says that “Best in the World” means different things to different people, and apparently, according to the Wyatts, that means that he's just their target. He doesn't know why they've attacked him, nor does he care, because he's here to fight. He may be outnumbered by the Family, but he's not outgunned, so why don't they show their stupid faces and let's get to throwing down!

And instead it's, uh, Curtis Axel. He's unhappy that Punk put down Paul Heyman, and he wants a little revenge. So he asked Vickie Guerrero for the match, she granted it, and it's right the hell now, even without commercial breaks! Charles Robinson materializes, Punk disrobes, and it's on.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: CM Punk defeats Curtis Axel by pin. Solid match, not just for an opener. Nothing special though, with no wrestling spots that are worthy of extra attention, but you wouldn't be wasting your time by watching it.

During the end game, Punk looked like he was going to hit the Macho Man Elbow during his rally, but the lights went out, and we got the single frame of the goat mask again. Punk hopped down and was on his guard, waiting to attack, but the Wyatt Family never came. Axel tried to take advantage and managed to cold-cock Punk, but Punk remembered he was an A-lister and kicked out of the attempted flash pin.

Axel managed to keep up a little pressure for a few more seconds, but Punk wasn't having it. He hit a GTS pretty much out of nowhere and made the pin, a flash end to an otherwise fast-paced match as well.

Post-Segment 2: But Punk doesn't get to celebrate long as Bray's laughter fills the arena. Goat mask, lights go out, etc. Punk readies his guard.

Then Bray appears on the Titantron, and the ring gets covered in a deep, dull light (unlike, say, a typical spotlight). Bray just... stares at Punk, then blows out his lantern, which shuts off the Titantron.

And, uh, that's it. Punk looks angrily at the Titantron's direction, and we fade out to commercial. Weird... in a good way.

Pre-Segment 3: Siva Tau fuck yeah!

...Uh, followed immediately by R-Truth's full entrance after the Usos' pyro? Hell yes, that was an awesome combination! I always thought Truth's entrance theme catchy (if not goofy), and it has more adrenaline-rushing power after the Siva Tau. If only all that had been followed up with Too Cool's entrance, I could have officially called it the greatest wrestling entrance of all time, and it would have rendered all other entrances for everyone else ever irrelevant.

Segment 3 [Six-Man Tag Match]: R-Truth & The Usos defeat 3MB by pin. So, this happened. And apparently, it happened because R-Truth is from Charlotte, where they were. That's nice and all, and I'm glad all three guys got some momentum... but let's not pretend this match was a paragon of workrate. Still, it was pretty decent for what it was, and no one bothered to stop to catch their breath, so the action was incredibly fast-paced and fun.

Pre-Segment 4: Prior to the match, we had one of those classic picture-in-picture to-camera monologues by AJ, as she derided the return of “that reality show which Rick refuses to acknowledge,” then switched gears and encouraged us to focus on what really matters: the Divas Champion. Cue adorable smile, and I continue to wonder how the hell WWE can bother keeping her a heel.

Segment 4 [Tag Match]: AJ & Tamina defeat the Funkadactyls by submission. Holy shit, a full-length divas match with an actual story being told in the ring? And it wasn't degrading??? The laws of professional wrestling apparently no longer apply. Up is down, black is white, Orton can cut a promo, and John Cena is a rational human being!

Standard collar-and-elbow tie-up between Tamina and Cameron to start... and Tamina instantly throws her hard into the corner. Ouch. Apparently the heel beatdown sequence started after 0.2 seconds.

Cameron manages to combat it with a rebound snapmare, but Tamina held on and resisted too well for Cameron to gain leverage. They grappled to the faces' corner, where Naomi tagged herself in and assisted Cameron with a double dropkick. Then they did a cross between a teabag and a twerk, allegedly a “dance,” which upset Tamina and good taste, causing both to charge them but sending both crashing to the floor. Hooray!

Naomi teased a suicide dive, then tried to just dropkick her. Tamina caught her feet and beheaded her with a clothesline before throwing her back in the ring, then attempted a pin. It failed, but the true heel beatdown sequence commenced.

Tamina tagged in AJ, who slapped on the standing scissored front sleeper. Naomi faded, but managed to fight out of it. She went for a back body drop, but AJ countered into a sunset flip. Naomi refused to fully get pinned, and wanted to counter by dropping on AJ. AJ rolled out of the way but held on to an ankle. She doesn't know the ankle lock however, and Naomi is flexible, so Naomi was able to get to her good foot and hit a bitching enziguri that AJ slightly oversold. Awesome.

Naomi did the hot tag, and Cameron flattened AJ a couple times with clotheslines and half-shitty dropkicks (or awesome jumping side kicks, in case you're a glass-half-full kind of person). Cameron managed a pin attempt off an Irish Whip rebound, but failed at two.

AJ then dodged a charge and tagged in Tamina, who ate a facebreaker almost immediately and suffered a near-fall herself. Tamina hopped up and chucked Cameron to the corner, then charged. Cameron kicked her in the face, hopped up to sit on the top rope, then... uh... slightly mistimed her next move as she needed to get her balance, causing her and Tamina to just stare at each other awkwardly for a split-second too long. But fuck it, no points deducted; Cameron jumped off and wrapped her legs around Tamina's neck.

Except Tamina wasn't having that, so Cameron just busted out an Anna Kornikova scream as she tried to decide what to do. Cameron attempted a huracanrana or head scissor, but Tamina wasn't having that either, so she hauled Cameron and slammed her down with a power bomb. Tamina folded her up for a pin that would be sexy if Tamina wasn't so awesome in the ring.

But Tamina only got two, surprisingly, when Naomi appeared out of nowhere to break it up. AJ came in, but Naomi instantly flattened her with a stiff forearm. Tamina ended that nonsense with a big boot to Naomi, and AJ sat stunned on the apron was all, “Wow!” with an angry face. Adorable.

But Tamina had decided to stop screwing around, so she nailed Cameron with several headbutts. AJ smiled and asked for a pin. Tamina obliged by dragging Cameron over, then tagging out. Cameron was on all fours, giving AJ a perfect position to apply the Black Widow. Cameron resisted, but slapped AJ's ass a half-dozen times, easily fulfilling another of my fantasies and calling an end to the match. I'd like to point out that her first tap was at AJ's lower back, but then she adjusted her aim to get AJ's rear, which I therefore must conclude was intentional.

Cameron has really come along with her training. Of the four in the ring, she's still the most green, but she absolutely held her own in the match and was credible. Zero complaints, baby. YouTube it if you enjoy any of the women involved.

Man... this is the kind of thing I was hoping for when RAW went to three hours. Yes, I know, this is SmackDown, but my point is that I want this kind of variety and solid workrate for the women weekly, rather than monthly at best.

Segment 5: Oh good, Alberto Del Rio is here. He bitches about the title being “stolen” by John Cena, and delivers some boring cheap heat. Then he makes the excuse that he only lost because he was sick that day, and we lazy Americans would have “called off work” if we were that sick, but he continued on because he's a proud Mexican. Whatever.

And here comes Cena to about 80% cheers. Cena gets sarcastic, they bicker, and Cena offers to give him his championship rematch tonight. And ADR, uh, is down with it? Huh, okay. Even Cena seems confused and surprised, but he's game.

And then Vickie Guerrero appears and puts the nix on that, at least for tonight. It'll happen at Survivor Series instead, because that's best for business. Cena counters that what's really best for business is when Vickie shuts up. ADR confesses he actually agrees.

Vickie isn't happy. Instead, both guys have singles matches tonight, since those plans are in motion. Cena gets to face Ryback, and ADR faces... Khali? That doesn't seem fair.

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Alberto Del Rio defeats Khali by submission. A foregone conclusion, but Khali tried to make a go of it, basically powering out of everything ADR tried. But everything ADR did was arm-targeted, so it didn't take long before he was able to apply the Cross Arm Breaker and earn a tap.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Daniel Bryan defeats Luke Harper (w/ Wyatt Family) by disqualification. Pretty much an overly extended reverse squash, at which point it really stops being a squash and is just boring. Story-wise, it made sense here: DB is beaten up, Harper beats the shit out of him. But Harper doesn't quite have the move set to go ten full minutes without tags, so this just felt overly long for what it was.

When DB finally got some semblance of a rally going, Eric Rowan slid in the ring to kick his ass. DQ called, no one cares.

Post-Segment 7: The 2-on-1 beatdown continued. They held him for Bray, who teased coming to the ring, but then CM Punk arrived. The heels were quickly contained, and Bray... just laughed about it? Bray decided against trading blows though, so he backed away while talking shit. Follow the buzzards!

Segment 8: RAW recap of the shenanigans with Big Show. I have to give props to WWE: I just noticed this was the first “RAW recap” or other extremely stupid bullshit, and we're 80% done with the evening. I can tolerate that kind of ratio.

Segment 9: The Bellas compete to be the best saleswomen ever for WWE Shop. They both fail. Where's My Rosa Mendes?

Segment 10: WWE.com (non-) exclusive again for the weekly Cole/Trips sit-down. Apparently, Kane is the “Director of Operations,” which seems like the position Johnny Ace held. The “interview” centered on Kane and his new gimmick (read: “role in the company”). Blah blah blah... I sort of get the point of these segments, but goddamn, it's such a momentum-stopper on the weekly shows. Leave it the hell on the website where it belongs.

Pre-Segment 11: That is a lot more boos for Cena. But apparently they weren't loud enough, because he just went back to gorilla for a moment to pop back out to goose the crowd into a louder reaction. It worked. Heh, cute.

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: John Cena defeats Ryback by pin. Solid match, but nothing overly special. If I may borrow Rick's parlance, this was four minutes of action in a 15-minute bag, commercials included. But those four minutes at the end were pretty damn good.

Feeling out to start, back and forth, you know how it goes. Ryback generally gets the advantage (and provides the world with the least sexy nip slip) as he goes for head locks and shoves, until Cena starts head locking in response. Nothing exciting here. Ryback eventually overpowers Cena, sending him to the canvas, and then just goes for punchy-kicky. He finally mixes things up with a delayed military press drop, but whiffs on a charge as we go to break.

When we're back, apparently Ryback had Cena in a Boston Crab for like four hours, and powered out just as we come back... what are the odds, I say sardonically. But Ryback quickly puts an end to that, then continues punchy-kicky roughneck stuff. Nothing interesting.

Cena eventually gets a false rally and hits four of his Moves of Doom, but is caught when he tries the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Ryback answers with an attempted Shell Shock, but Cena counters that into a DDT. Both men down, but since when do we end on a double ten-count? Cena tries an FU, Ryback counters with a suplex, pin attempt, only a two.

Ryback goes for the Meathook Clothesline, but Cena counters with a drop toe hold into the STF. Ryback however crawled toward the bottom rope. Ryback followed up with a Spear and a pin, but only two again. The fans seemed a little too into that pin attempt, making me wonder if there was sound sweetening or something else going on.

Anyway, Ryback tries a powerbomb, Cena counters out into a nifty full nelson slam to neckbreaker, which was pretty cool. I hope Cena keeps that one in his move set. Pin attempt, only two.

Cena felt the momentum though, so he went to the top rope. He hit a cross body, but landed awkwardly (intentionally). It took a moment to set his feet, but that was just enough time for Ryback to get his bearings. Cena tried an FU, but Ryback slipped out and hit a running power slam instead. Pin attempt, two.

Then things devolved to punchy-punchy from both guys, until Ryback hit a running Meathook basically out of nowhere. Ryback dropped the straps, tried a Shell Shock, Cena slipped out and hit an FU out of nowhere. Pin, three, done.

Post-Segment 11: As soon as the match was over, Del Rio tore ass down to the ring to beat the shit out of Cena and target that SURGICALLY REPAIRED~! arm. But Cena was able to recover and fight back, and ADR just straight retreated.

Final Thoughts: Well that was fun. That commercial-to-commercial bit toward the end almost erased whatever goodwill the show had given me, but the main event was strong and washed away any bad taste in my mouth. And the divas got a full-length match, which gave me all sorts of happy feelings. I've long since accepted that I love the divas, and I want them to have more exposure, and neither of those phrases was intended to be perverted. Any time they actually get a chance to be in the ring generally adds bonus points from me.

There were a couple missteps and none of the stories really made any sort of meaningful advancement, but this definitely defined Sustainable Episodic TV, and I can't really ask for more from the weekly shows. No complaints.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go head to bed early so I can shake this flu or whatever the hell I've got going on. If anyone wants to give my number to My Rosa Mendes so she can nurse me back to health, I'd appreciate it.

Episode Grade: B


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