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The Shield Divide and Conquer
April 26, 2014

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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That feeling when you hear a song or band that just totally pleasures your ear... I had never heard of New World Revolution before playing a game called Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken. The title of the game is silly, but the game itself and New World Revolution's soundtrack to it are obscenely good. Like, fucking AMAZING good. They only have two albums, which kinda sucks, especially since it seems they no longer exist; their website still links to a MySpace page, so you know we're dealing with an ancient site here. Then again, their second album came out on iTunes only five months ago, so maybe they just haven't yet discovered what this “Twitter” thing is all about.

I'm tearing myself away from listening to “Illuminate Me” on repeat to write the recap, while also thinking how awesome “Illuminate Me” would be as a wrestling entrance theme. Maybe once WWE decides to have me on as a RAW guest host so I can harass Rosa Mendes in person (and get punched in the face, also in person), I'll use it as my entrance theme.

Let's get to the recap!

Segment 1: Cold-open to Vickie Guerrero, who's looking pretty good wearing red and highlighting her hair a little differently. Vickie is in the ring with a mic as she announces that The Authority has taken the night off. But on behalf of them, we've got an 11-on-3 handicap tag match featuring The Shield. World Wrestling Entertainment: running good ideas into the ground since 2002!

But before that, “it's time for the great debate,” whatever that means. The camera zooms out and... oh, we've got two podiums flanking Vickie: one manned by Paul Heyman with Cesaro, and one manned by Zeb Colter with Jack Swagger. I wanted to make a joke here that the three men's presence mean so little that we didn't notice them, but I didn't get the joke to work. Ah well.

Since this is a “debate” (i.e., stupid), I'm going to short-hand it. Zeb bitches (for more than his allotted 90 seconds of time) that Cesaro is only as awesome as he is because of Zeb himself, so Cesaro shouldn't have left the Real Americans. Heyman counters that Brock Lesnar broke The Streak, which he repeats a million times.

Zeb doesn't give a shit about Lesnar, and tries to convince Cesaro that Heyman is an ass; regardless, he wants to know for sure why Heyman “stole” Cesaro from him. Heyman answers in a roundabout way, then starts screaming “My client, Cesaro, won the Andre the Giant battle royal!” fifty times.

Zeb pretty much shrugs it off; he knows that the debate was going to be bullshit. So he knocks over the podium and gets in Heyman's face, which leads to a shoving match and Mike Chioda beaming down from the mothership to get between them. Seriously: I have no fucking clue where Chioda was prior to him just appearing to separate them. As a referee, he is therefore literally doing his job.

Then we go to ads without preamble.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Cesaro (w/ Paul Heyman) defeats Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) by pin. Solid match, but nothing special to me. Good workrate and everything, but no high spots, other than Cesaro doing his flying spinning uppercut about a hundred different ways in the match. It ended with a Neutralizer.

Post-Segment 2: As Cesaro celebrated, his awful music was replaced with the NATO phonetic alphabet. The fans tore the roof off the building as The Shield hit the ring and beat the shit out of Jack Swagger for no reason. Well, maybe not no reason: Ambrose suggests that, to paraphrase Triple H, if it's “adapt or perish,” Swagger clearly didn't adapt.

Reigns adds “We're just getting started” before The Shield leaves. These must be preemptive strikes to some of the heels in that 11-on-3 match to try to help even the odds.

Segment 3: The commentators tell us that Daniel Bryan suffered a something-or-other in the neck due to Kane's assault on Monday. He's “undergoing therapy” for it, but will be on RAW on Monday. And so will Stephanie McMahon, who so totally wants to apologize to him.

Segment 4: Paige montage. I am not against this. Nor would I be against it being twice as long. [Ed. Note: Paige is really pretty. But with the aggressively emo/goth/fetish-y look, she's also the first WWE chick who seems entirely age-inappropriate for The Me. I can't be the only one who sees Paige and thinks "that's what confused 16-year-old girls look like, and they grow out of it by the time they graduate, if not sooner." Not that girls-just-out-of-college are any more age-appropriate for The Me than Paige is (unless I want to extend by 10-year rule to a 15-year rule), but you know what I mean... I'll have to stick to enjoying her ability, moreso than her hotness.]

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Tamina defeats Natalya by pin. Solid match, and another full-length divas match! I am secretly watching SHIMMER, aren't I?

Takedown by Natalya to start with some early offense. Once they're standing again, Natalya goes for a gut kick. Tamina catches her foot; Natalya counters by breaking physics while spinning around in place then tumbling forward, turning it into an armbar applied with the legs, which she then transitions to a basic leg lock. Jesus.

Tamina fights out of it, but Natalya puts on a clinic with a side headlock takedown and other basic moves, which isn't a complaint. She's still showing more depth than some of the men, here.

Tamina manages to get momentum as they tumble out of the ring, and Tamina chucks her jacket into Natalya's stomach. Again, I'm still not sure how that's a legal move, but whatever. It's the Tamina show from there as she goes kicky-punchy and hits a Samoan Drop. The crowd is deader than I feel it should be, but whatever.

Tamina tries to follow up with the Superfly Splash but whiffs, and Natalya has a prayer. She hits a sunset flip and goes for a Sharpshooter, but Tamina powers out... still, Natalya hits her spinning clothesline, which Tamina (properly) oversells. The crowd still gives no shit, but fuck 'em.

Intentionally awkward exchange there as the women jockey for position. Tamina holds onto the ropes as Natalya tries to take her back. Natalya takes the knock backwards, then stops in mid-somersault and flips back forward. The crowd gives a collective “Ooo!,” followed by a collective groan as Tamina superkicks Natalya's jaw off her face.

Segment 6: 3MB is having a meeting in the back of the arena as they fire each other up... they're in the main event again! So awesome!

...Except then The Shield arrives. They arrive one at a time, so Heath Slater talks shit, since he so totally knows 3MB can take them out. But as the others arrive, Reigns and Slater stare each other down in the foreground as Ambrose and Rollins beat the piss out of Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal in the background. Slater is all, “Okay, maybe we can wait until the match, then?” Which The Shield responds to by rearranging Slater's face.

Looks like that 11-on-3 is down to 7-on-3...

Segment 7: Vickie is on the phone with Triple H. We only hear her half of the conversation, but there is an implication that Brad Maddox will have... something to do with tonight... oh, apparently she's being replaced tonight by Brad Maddox. That's different. [Ed. Note: Just prior to WM, Vickie informed WWE that she wanted to finish up to tend to other pursuits. Her replacement, Double GM Brad Maddox, provides her with the out. But rest assured, the parting-of-ways is very cordial, the door is always open.]

Maddox sleazily arrives and basically says that Vickie is useless, and that he will call out The Shield and they'll actually accept his authority, because it's real authority. Vickie isn't having that, so she just storms out without a word.

Segment 8 [Singles Match]: Curtis Axel (w/ Ryback) defeats Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso) by pin. Decent match I guess, but Axel bores me, and it was basically punchy-kicky the whole time.

Of note, something weird happened toward the end of the match. During the “behind the ref's back” shenanigans, Jimmy and Ryback got into for a moment before being separated. They went to opposite sides of ringside, though the camera stayed toward the west, which was Jimmy's side. Just then, a significant amount of the crowd starting laughing, and many looked toward the east side of ringside. I have a feeling Ryback tripped and fell on his ass or something... my curiosity is piqued.

Segment 9: The Wyatt Family hits the ring, and they're inside a steel cage for this promo. Bray, in his batshit insane way, states that if he can just get the fans to love him, they'll do anything for him. But the thing is, Cena has had that love before, but now he's lost it. Want proof? We voted to see him get his ass kicked on Monday.

It proves that Bray is not “just a man”: he's “the nagging conscience of a world that has thrown itself away to mortal monsters.” Also, Bray's “words are not just words; they're razor blades that cut deep. And they're working!” Ain't that the truth, as he talks for a few more minutes before singing, which gets the whole damn arena singing along.

Segment 10 [Tag Match]: The Wyatt Family (w/ Bray Wyatt) defeat Cody Rhodes & Goldust by pin. The heels use roughneck offense beat the shit out of Cody Rhodes, which they do so as Bray decides to do his own color commentary on an arena mic, because if you're good at talking crazy, you may as well do it during matches too.

Cody eventually manages a hot tag, and Goldust goes house of fire, even hitting a flying cross body off the top rope to take out both heels at once. Rowan, who was illegal, bailed from the ring; Cody decided to help out by climbing a turnbuckle and aiming to do a top rope something-or-other to the outside against Rowan. But as he did so, Harper reversed an Irish Whip attempt and threw Goldust into Cody, who was sent flying off the rope and ate the edge of the barricade. Ouch.

Goldust wasn't worse for wear, but the event did cause him to be distracted. He turned around into a solid clothesline, which was enough to keep him down.

Segment 11: Maddox is talking to someone on a phone in the back and... oh, it's Triple H probably. The Shield arrive in mid-sentence and surround Maddox as he tries to talk his way out of a beating. That, uh, doesn't work.

Segment 12: Cool, a mixed tag match! Been a while since we had one of those. It's cute seeing Emma and Santino Marella race with dual power-walks down the ramp. Adorable.

Layla is now apparently a “rumored love interest” of Fandango, so I'm going to pretend to give a shit about that as I watch Layla spin and do a modified split on the stage. Then Fanny comes out and does his thing, which includes that one move where the girl puts her leg against the guy's hip, and the guy gets to grab free hamstring and thigh.

Oddly, the fans go absolutely nuts for this. Look, I'd love to feel up Layla's thigh as much as the next guy or lesbian would, but why the cheers? Layla, in fact, looks oddly horrified.

...Oh. She runs off, the camera zooms out, and we see that The Shield is now on the stage to dance along with Fandango. And by “dance along with,” I mean “triple powerbombed off the stage through a table by.” Good lord. Fandango comes up (or more accurately, stays down) bleeding from the elbow. [Ed. Note: I read the spoilers, and sort of knew the Shield's big night was coming... but by the time this one finally happened? Let's just say THATwasAWEsome clap clap clapclapclap."]

Segment 13: Replay of the opening of RAW, in highlight form.

Pre-Segment 14: Apparently Curtis Axel got the crap beaten out of him by The Shield, but we only know this because Michael Cole told us so. I guess Axel decided that getting the win was enough for one night and didn't want to sully that by getting his head slammed through a concrete wall.

There are still five men standing, though: Alberto Del Rio, Ryback, Titus O'Neil, Damien Sandow, and Bad News Barrett. Still a handicap match, but a bit more even.

Segment 14 [Handicap 5-on-3 Tag Match]: The Shield defeat Damien Sandow et al by pin. Ryback starts with Rollins, and Ryback takes early control with power offense. Rollins makes a tag to Reigns, and then the faces get a breath as they cut the ring in half. Rapid tags and punchy-punchy offense keep Ryback contained... until Rollins tags back in, tries a top rope cross body, gets caught, and eats a scoop slam.

Ryback tags out to Titus, who continues the offense... for a minute, until Rollins gets him in the corner and tags out to Ambrose. Once again they keep the heel contained, and rapid tags keep him on the defensive. Titus gets a break as he tags out to Barrett, who just eats a double suplex. Then The Shield knocks all the illegal heels off the apron and hold together back-to-back-to-back in the ring. The heels throw a temper tantrum (which includes Sandow kicking the steps like a child) before we go to break.

But when we're back, Barrett has Ambrose completely contained with a head lock. Ambrose gets out of it but immediately eats a big boot, and the heels remain on offense.

Quick tags, cut the ring in half, heel beatdown, you know the drill. The heels knock Rollins off the apron but make a mistake with Ambrose, allowing him to hot tag Reigns into the match, who beats the shit out of basically everyone. After inevitable failed pin, this turns into a Pier Eight Brawl, which sees the demise of half the heel team.

Reigns wants to nail Sandow (legal) with a Superman Punch, but Barrett and ADR decide to intervene. Thus begins a bizarre as hell sequence that either featured a strange edit, or Reigns pulling a Nightcrawler and teleporting halfway across the arena. We'll get there in a moment.

So Barrett and ADR intervene by standing on the apron. Ambrose and Rollins stand on their side of the apron, where they're supposed to be, as they stare down Barrett and ADR. Barrett and ADR decide that they've had enough fun for the night, so they just leave.

We see Reigns tag in Rollins, who then tags in Ambrose immediately. Rollins hits the west ropes and does a suicide vaulting senton over the east ropes, landing clean on his feet because inertia is Rollins's bitch. Rollins slid in the ring, did a Spirit Squad-worthy motion with Ambrose. They both hit the east ropes, then did twin suicide dives through the west ropes to bowl over Sandow and O'Neil, respectively.

Meanwhile, ADR and Barrett have managed to get to the top of the ramp, whereupon ADR does a hip check to Barrett for no fucking reason that I can see, which Barrett sells by essentially falling off the ramp. As the camera swings back left to see what ADR is doing, Reigns flies in from Bumfuck Nowhere to Superman Punch ADR in the back of the head, thus more properly doing a Superdonkey Punch.

The Shield then stands arm in arm as they march back to the ring. The crowd starts chanting for tables, but they don't need it: dropkick from Ambrose, Spear from Reigns, and Reigns makes the pin even though I don't recall him actually being the legal man.

That was a hell of a fun match.

Post-Segment 14: ...And the fun isn't over yet, as Ambrose and Rollins collect Ryback and O'Neil, then throw them in the ring so Reigns and Spear them. They top it off with a triple powerbomb to Ryback in the center of the ring.

Final Thoughts: Although the middle lagged, the main event was good fun, and the divas match was solid. Probably a good show on the balance, but good lord, there was a lot of “meh” in it. Nothing bad, though.

I really, really like what they did with The Shield here. It shows their dominance without sacrificing any of the faces (except Drew McIntyre, who will always be a face in my book), and gives them a solid moral victory despite impossible odds. And now the heels are going to have to find a way to one-up them. Good times.

Okay, I'm done for the night. Have a good one guys, and I'll see you next week again as usual.

Episode Grade: C+


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