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Follow the Buzzards
November 23, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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'Tis the season of Black Friday, and the horror it entails. You likely know by now that I work at Walmart, and how much I detest the bullshit that is competitive shopping. The true way to celebrate a holiday of any kind is enjoying a special meal with added social time with friends and family, not trying to elbow a grandmother in the face so you can get a four-dollar Blu-Ray of Ted.

But you can go to pretty much any news agency to read opinion columns on the out-of-control consumerism of the country. It's not like it's a new phenomena, though those opinion pieces are less likely to change anyone's mind than screaming “Socialism is the best policy!” in a Tea Party convention. Consumerism isn't going to get any less intense any time soon, but adding my rant to the chorus of voices isn't going to do anything but waste my time, and I have shit to do (mostly family-related) as I get ready for my busy season at the store.

I don't know what my state of mind will be next week—probably bashing my own my brains in for not being more forthright in my job hunt to get the fuck out of retail—but at least for now, before the storm strikes, I'm all yours for SmackDown. Good thing too, as WWE will enter Thanksgiving week on Sunday with the Survivor Series pay-per-view! Rey Mysterio returned Monday, so surely he's going to get a little screen time tonight to get some momentum heading to his big tag match, right? Let's see...

Opening: No ADHD TMZ montage? And no opening promo? And the first segment is a title match? That involves Goldust? When the hell did I walk into 1998?

Segment 1 [Tag Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles]: The Brotherhood defeats The Real Americans (w/ Zeb Colter) by pin, and retain. Goldust wants a handshake to start... except not, since he does his Goldust Inhale. Swagger isn't having that nonsense, so he goes aggressive with early offense. Goldust rallies after an exchange, fails a pin, tags out. Cody with rapid offense, Goldust tags out, Cesaro eats a forward-facing suplex. Cody drags him over to the faces' corner, Goldust tags in for a headlock, then Cody tags in for a running kick. I'm pretty breathless, and all I'm doing is typing. Good god.

Things slow down a bit as Cody concentrates on the arm, then hits a back body drop after a snuffed rally. Cody tries to work on the arm again, but Cesaro. slips out. Cody maintains offense, but after an exchange, Cody goes to the apron. Swagger distracts Cody, giving Cesaro a chance to big boot him off the apron. Goldust checks on his brother, and we go to ads... none too late, since I need to go steal a senior's oxygen tank just to get back on track.

Back, and the heel beatdown is on. Ring cut in half, frequent tags, double-team moves, the full package. Good stuff, nothing super unique, rest holds here and there... you know the drill. Cody with an attempted hot tag, but Swagger nailed Goldust so that couldn't happen. Cody in the faces' corner, Cesaro charged, Cody countered with a back body drop, Cesaro countered by holding the ropes, Cody countered by holding him and pulling him away from the ropes for an attempted Alabama Slam, Cesaro countered into a sunset flip attempt, Cody countered by sitting on his collar bone and hooking the legs. Kick out at two. Cody charged, Cesaro counters with his toss-up-to-Euro-Uppercut deal, failed pin. Holy crap, this match is rocking! And the fans are giving it its due, which makes it better, you know?

Things slow down again as Cesaro does methodical offense. Cody finally gets the hot tag and goes House of Fire against Swagger, including a pretty stiff spinebuster. Goldy tosses Swagger and Cesaro out of the ring on the east side, so Cody joins the party by flying over the top and taking them both out.

Goldust tosses Jack in the ring and wants to do something off the top rope, but Swagger cuts that out by slamming him to the mat and applying the Patriot Lock. Goldy can't reach the ropes, but Cody is there with a Disaster Kick as a save. Cesaro is then there and goes for the Giant Swing, and Cody is so light that he's practically parallel to the mat for 21-3/4 rotations. But Cody and Cesaro aren't legal though, so as soon as Cesaro is done making himself dizzy for no reason, Goldy clotheslines him over the top rope. Swagger tries a flash pin, but Goldy kicks out and hits an out-of-nowhere Final Cut, hits the pin, and we're done.

Jesus. Seriously, YouTube this. The fans gave it all the love it deserved, and all four guys kept this match in high gear except for short intervals in the middle. I would have loved to see this one live (as in, in-arena). Probably SmackDown's best opening in a long time!

Pre-Segment 2: Ryback hits the ring, and opens by announcing that he loves being a bully, and that bullying isn't always a bad thing. Despite the fact that I actually agree with that statement to a degree, it seems... uh... stupid that he spent the last year denying he's a bully, and is now (for no reason) embracing the label. Did he have a promo on RAW or something where he embraced it, or is he just randomly doing it now?

He calls the fans “Feed Me Morons,” which is cute, and threatens basically everyone since he can so totally push us all around. Good for him.

Anyway, since he so totally can beat up anyone, he issues an open challenge. And before he even finishes that sentence, Khali's music starts up. Stupidly timed... why not delay Khali's entrance by, like, five seconds so it at least kind of seemed like someone was thinking about it rather than standing in wait at gorilla?


Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Ryback defeats Khali by pin. This happened. The fans gave no shit, and I don't blame them. Ryback ended the actually competitive match with a Shell Shock, which isn't unimpressive, but the tepidity before it erased any interest it may have given me.

Segment 3: AJ and Tamina are chatting in the back, and Vickie Guerrero arrives. Vickie says it's totally cool that AJ beat the crap out of her, since she was only doing what Trips ordered her to do. So bygones are bygones, but hey, Vickie admits she's easy to beat; she instead wants AJ to focus on her 7-on-7 Divas Survivor Series match on Sunday. She wants AJ to show how awesome she is as a non-Total Divas star by facing both Funkadactyls in a handicap match.

Neither AJ nor Tamina are happy about it, especially since AJ insists she's not cleared to wrestle because of a mysterious ankle injury. Sad face... I know AJ is a heel and all, but I would have liked it more if she got pissy but didn't try making any excuses. Regardless, the doctor told Vickie that AJ is medically cleared, so there. AJ wants to call her a bitch but stops thanks to TV-PG, and Vickie insists it's just best for business. Tamina leads AJ away as she gives Vickie a cold glare.

Segment 4: Bruno Sammartino talks about his first match in WWE, many many years ago. This is part of a new DVD set which, I guess, supposedly covers all of WWE's history over its 50 years? I can't wait for that to come out on Netflix... that's one of those things that I need to reserve a day for uninterrupted viewing. [Ed. Note: I already got it, and the documentary part is only 2 hours, so definitely no whole day necessary. It was almost a bit underwhelming, compared to the 3 hour ECW, WCW, and Monday Night War docs they've done. Fifty years in 2 hours led to a sense of shallow/surface-y-ness and "I knew all that stuff already." For me, anyway.]

Pre-Segment 5: I heartily endorse the added chest-related dance moves to the Funkadactyls' entrance. The lesser-clothed Ass Voltron is also approved.

Also: there was a weird-ass lapse in the commentary for some reason. We'll never know why, but these are the kinds of things I notice. (Then again, after Michael Cole ran down ads, he said “Sometimes I wonder why this isn't a one-man booth.” Seems like he stopped talking assuming JBL would say something, but he didn't, leading to an awkward dead air of commentary.)

Segment 5 [1-on-2 Handicap Tornado Match]: The Funkadactyls defeat AJ (w/ Tamina) by pin. The match was too short to be much of anything. AJ played chickenshit and hid behind Tamina. The Funkadactyls shoved Tamina on her butt, then dragged AJ back to the ring. As AJ and Naomi dealt with each other, Tamina slapped on a Cobra Clutch to Cameron, then threw her neck-first into the barricade.

AJ was then able to take some modicum of control, but couldn't close the deal. Tamina hopped on the apron to bitch out the ref for no reason, so Cameron pulled her off. Cameron then hopped on the apron to get in the ring, but AJ shoved her off. Naomi then hit the Rear View out of nowhere, then made the pin.

So, there is an argument that Naomi managed to beat AJ by herself since Cameron didn't actually contribute. But I don't think anyone will remember or care.

Segment 6: Bray Wyatt, backed up by his “brothers,” does a to-camera rant in a darkened room lit only by the Holy Lantern of Creepiness. Bray talks a bunch of nonsense (in a good, creepy way) that basically comes down to insulting the fans for worshiping CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as heroes, even though they bleed the same as Bray. But Bray isn't sweating it, because “the meek shall inherit the earth,” and Bray is the meek one. Well, he's not meek anymore, and he'll inherit the earth come Sunday.

Cut Scene: Michael Strahan is still coming to RAW. Are they starting the RAW host bullshit again?

Pre-Segment 7: Siva Tau! Both Usos seem super-hyped for this one for some reason.

Segment 7 [Six-Man Tag Match]: Rey Mysterio & The Usos defeat The Shield by pin. Above-average match, but not YouTube-worthy. It did what it needed to do for the sake of momentum, but as usual, I'm never really a huge fan of anything Rey does in the ring. I confess my bias as always; it wasn't a bad match, but, meh.

Dean Ambrose with early offense to Jimmy. Jey gets a tag and takes momentum. Seth Rollins tags in and puts Jey down, then tags Ambrose back in. Rapid tags from there to cut the ring in half, and the heel beatdown is on. The faces get one breath when Jey tags out then back in, but he whiffs on a top rope cross body and oversold the left knee, and Rollins takes advantage as we went to ads.

Back from ads, and the heel beatdown is truly on. This lasts for a few minutes until Jey manages some separation, then hits a hot tag to Rey. Rollins tagged himself in too, and took a flying head scissors, flying seated senton, tilt-a-whirl DDT, pin. Failed because of Ambrose and Reigns. The Usos took out Ambrose, but Reigns Speared both Usos.

Reigns then wanted to powerbomb Rey, but Rey improbably managed to get out of it by punching Reigns in the face. Rollins, still legal, tried to charge Rey, but Rey gave him a low dropkick to the ankle, setting him up for the 619. Ambrose tagged himself however, then quickly got in the ring. Rey hit the opposite ropes, and then rebounded full speed... directly into Ambrose beheading him with a clothesline. Rollins then took out both Usos with a flying senton to the outside.

Ambrose talked some shit and scooped Rey up, but Rey countered out and set him up 619, drop the dime, pin, done.

Segment 8: Big Show hits the ring to talk. It's an oddly generic face promo, where he says he fought to come back to WWE not for the paycheck, but for the love of the business... and he loves it so much that he wants to “rearrange the face of the WWE.” Cute.

Show then drops a tiny hint about possible retirement that he wonders if getting the WWE Championship this Sunday “may be his last shot”... substance, or just kayfabe?

Orton then pops out and is sure that Show is done, and while he may be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he's done. The only reason Show is back is because of the lawsuit. And Orton will prove it by punishing Show this Sunday.

Show “yada yadas” that and invites him to come to the ring if he wants to do more than talking shit. Orton doesn't want to play, and that's fine with Show, because he kicks it to the Titantron. We get replays of Monday, where Orton all up in Triple H's grill (wearing what I think was a CM Punk hoodie no less). Show then cuts the standard anti-Orton promo as he says that Orton was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and has the pedigree to be awesome... but he's not, since all he does is whatever is best for him, rather than the company as a whole. Or something. The point is, no one is going to rescue Orton from Show this weekend... and he'll prove that Orton isn't the face of WWE, that Orton is just a spoiled brat.

Orton looked like he was going to cry, then insisted he's so totally not a spoiled brat. So Big Show gives us hopefully the last bullshit clip of the night, as we see that Big Show beats the ever-loving piss out of Orton whenever Orton doesn't have The Shield behind him. Excellent point... but that makes me feel that it means Show has zero chance of winning at Survivor Series.

Show concludes the promo that he's totally taking the WWE Title, and Orton gets in no more words. Which is fine, because... well, because whatever. I don't really care.

Segment 9: R-Truth wants to sell you some shit. It's kinda funny as R-Truth plays his own cousin, “Delicious Pretty Ricky.” Ridiculously random, but I shamelessly chuckled a couple times.

Segment 10 [Tag Match]: Big E. Langston & Dolph Ziggler defeat Damien Sandow & Curtis Axel by pin. Decent match I guess, nothing special. Super time-compressed, but it was the third tag match of the night, so it's totally understandable.

Dolph with early offense, quickly cut off by Sandow. Quick tag to Axel, then rapid tags cut the ring in half for the time-compressed heel beatdown (Sandow even hit the Cubito Aequet during the first beatdown sequence). But then Axel tagged in just to glare at Langston for a few seconds, then punched him in the face. It gave Dolph a chance to recover and hit one (1) move, a DDT off a counter, which Axel sold for entirely too long.

Dolph took that chance for a hot tag. The heels tagged too, so Langston just beat the hell out of Sandow (and Axel, because why not). Straps down, Big Ending attempt, Axel cut it off, Axel eats a Famous-er from Dolph, Langston hits the Big Ending on Sandow. Pin, three, done.

After the match, Axel tried to brain Langston with the IC Title belt, but Langston ducked it. Langston tried to follow up, but Axel bailed, and they just screamed and glared at each other from there.

Segment 11: Everyone is excited for WrestleMania 30, and by “everyone,” I mean “New Orleans and WWE.”

Segment 12: Renee Young interviews Alberto Del Rio, who blathers for too long and says uninteresting bullshit. Moving on.

Segment 13: Buy WWE 2K14!

Segment 14 [Singles Match]: Daniel Bryan defeats Luke Harper (w/ Bray Wyatt & Eric Rowan) by pin. No “feeling out” to start... after a hug, Bryan and Harper just exchanged punches. Harper got the advantage went with clubbing blows and other roughneck moves, but nearly fell victim to the Yes Lock after about 20 seconds. Harper bailed, and we went to ads. That was fast.

Back, and Harper is in full control. Back to roughneck offense of course, with Harper flinging Bryan into barricades and stairs in equal measure. Bryan had several hope spots, continually being put down by power, including a wicked scoop slam counter off a rebound.

Soon after that, Bryan had another rally as he hit his Yes Kicks, but Harper countered the last one into a solid powerbomb. Good stuff, and decent variety to the moves, but the pacing was a little slow. I mean, it works for him (the so-called “methodical” offense, which is code for “slow and plodding”), but it wasn't exactly something to excite the crowd. Still, Harper milked it by making Crazy Face between moves, and that helped.

Harper couldn't close the deal and was sent flying out of the ring thanks to another hope spot, so DB followed up with a successful suicide to the outside. DB allowed himself to be distracted by Bray Wyatt however, allowing Harper to shove him from the back.

And here comes Punk! Who... just stands there on the stage as DB does a flash pin. Really? That was stupid.

Post-Segment 14: The match finish may have been anti-climactic, but Harper wasn't beaten down, so he popped up from the pin with a big boot to DB's face. Meanwhile, Rowan charged Punk, but Punk just ducked his clumsy attack and exchanged punches with Bray. But that lasted for about five seconds as Rowan and Bray teamed up on him two-on-one. Rowan chucked Punk into the ring, where Harper hit him with a stiff side slam.

With the heels in control, they continued the assault on the faces in the ring. Bray concluded with the Sister Abigail on DB, which included an Undertaker-like eye roll before the hit. The Wyatt Family posed over the bodies, and no one came to challenge them. Follow the buzzards, baby.

Final Thoughts: The entire episode ended with the one-frame of the goat mask. Creepy, and unexpected for some reason. Good stuff.

As a lead-in to Survivor Series, this was pretty top-shelf stuff. The opener was an absolute free-per-view match, while everything else was... okay. Well, better than okay, but nothing that was mind-blowing. However, it was all well-paced given that it needed to sell the PPV. Other than the Khali/Ryback match anyway, which was stupid.

Storyline-wise, everything progressed for sustainable episodic TV, and even the Great Mantard played his role exactly as he needed to. Big Show's entire demeanor may be a little cliché and tired (or at least unoriginal), but the feud isn't inherently awful, and seeing Orton doubt himself is always a good way to make a heel seem like he's going to lose. (Though, I again maintain that given that Show has all the momentum right now, he's going to be the one to lose on Sunday. The only swerve would be no swerve at all.)

I actually have enough money that I might even get it myself. Going to have to see how my paycheck will play out in the middle of December based on my scheduled hours at work, but suffice to say, WWE has sufficiently piqued my interest in Survivor Series. Whether I get it or not though, I'm coming back to Online Onslaught just after 11pm Eastern for Rick's recap of the show, and you should too.

Have a good weekend, all. I'll see you next week!

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
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
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PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
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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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