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Pay No Attention to the Feed Behind the Curtain~!
May 24, 2014

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


Today, ladies and gentlemen, we're going to be doing something just a little different.

If you're not like me and actually go to other websites for wrestling news –certainly not to replace Online Onslaught and its awesomeness, but merely to augment it—you may have heard that, for whatever reason, the semi-raw footage of the May 23, 2014 edition SmackDown (taped overseas) was leaked online. It includes the preshow stuff, open microphones on the commentators' headsets when they're supposed to be off, and (perhaps most importantly) unsweetened crowd noise. And good god is the sound sweetening more obvious when you compare the two.


You can find a link to a bunch of mirrors of the show here, as well as the Deadspin article here. And because OO is home to the most talented analysis online who isn't a goddamn wanker, you get a much-more-higher-than-average number of Editor's Notes throughout my recap! Yay! Of note, I wasn't really paying attention to the crowd in most spots, so I'm sure a missed a lot there... Rick always has a better ear for the crowd anyway.


This should be fascinating to those of you who want to pull back the curtain a little bit. When it comes to movies, personally I don't want to know about the magic behind the camera usually. But when it comes to professional wrestling, I do, and I'm rather excited about this one. Regardless, note that this may not perfectly reflect the “normal” edition of the broadcast (including stuff that may have been cut, however important or unimportant it is), but it's not like anyone reads my recaps for pure canonical knowledge. (And if you do, you're really at the wrong site.)

So, sit back, relax, and let Rick and I tell you the real story of tonight's episode. Let's roll...

Pre-Show: So we're starting out with Michael Cole's and JBL's respective entrances. Cole basically gets a non-reaction, and JBL is cheered like crazy, which is pretty much the exact opposite that I would expect... especially given that we're still in the UK. Weird. JBL even gives us the stupidest Irish Dance in the history of stupid Irish Dances, then poses on the steps long enough for the cameraman to shove him off. Cole then comes on the mic and says that he totally can't wait for JBL to bust his ass on the ramp. Already, I'm having a good time.

Tony Chimel gives us our 30-second countdown as Cole banters about why people are leaving the stadium already. JBL is pretty damn quiet here... probably a volume problem.

Then Tony announces that Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart is hitting the ring. Cole points out that this is happening in the pre-show, and wonders if that means Chimel is going to announce him again after the opening theme song for the taped audience. Heh.

Then we go all-black and silent for a few seconds while the Truck Monkeys cue up the “Then. Now. Forever.” montage, and then we're up and running.

Segment 1: ...And indeed Chimel introduces Hart again. Double heh.

It's Jimmy Hart who introduces Hulk Hogan, who comes out... to a lukewarm crowd? Whoa. I'm pretty sure JBL got a better reaction than Hogan. Either I'm going nuts, or that's really telling. I suppose there is something to a British crowd reacting (or not reacting) to “I'm a real American” blasting through the speakers. They perk up quite a bit when Hogan does his directional appeals, but whatever.

Once his music cuts, you hear that the crowd is more behind him and chanting. Fair enough... maybe his theme song was just pretty loud.

Hogan blathers and cheap pops, then puts over WWE Legends House, which I refuse to do. Hogan blathers that Legends House is a look at the legends, but tonight isn't about the past: it's about the future! WWE is bigger than it's ever been, and now the UK is getting the WWE Network. So they can avoid watching Legends House too! Hooray!

Hogan wraps up, and... uh, that's it. So his appearance was completely predicated on putting over Legends House and the WWE Network in the UK? Ugh... well, at least they kept it short. [Ed. Note: No, they kept it pointless. If I'm in charge, I at least use Hogan on RAW and use him to "force" Harper to face Cena or whatever. The way they used Hogan tonight was just lame.]

First Commercial: Yep, first commercial. During ad breaks, the cameras continue doing their thing (even on top of Hogan's music, which is still playing for now), as they grab images of the crowd. Then they smash-cut to a shot of the Thames to be the bump as we come back from break. Also, apparently the crowd got board waiting, because I heard a few “Woos!”

Also: Tony Chimel re-recorded his introduction for Jimmy Hart a couple times so they could get the best take for the actual broadcast. It makes sense because the first time he did it, the crowd was a little quiet. However, after they shut off Hogan's music, the crowd was still chanting and being a little loud, so he gave a couple more introductions that weren't broadcast into the arena so it might sound better (and cleaner) when they remixed the audio. I know when I've produced my videos on YouTube, I sometimes do that very thing so I can be sure the fans hear the cleanest, clearest take of certain lines or certain thoughts.

Segment 2 [No-Disqualification Singles Match]: Batista defeats Dolph Ziggler by pin. Early offense by Ziggler. When Bats had two seconds of breathing room, he ran out to get a chair. Ziggler stole it, but Bats still pulled him out and bashed his face into the table.

Then the commentators had nothing to say, so you could clearly hear Batista giving Dolph instructions on what moves where coming. We all know that that's how wrestlers communicate during a match, but it never occurred to me that the editors would sweeten the sound over those discussions to help mask it. Cool to know.

Anyway, Bats continued by bashing Dolph's spine into the apron edge, then snake eyes'ed him into the barricade. But when Bats wanted to follow up with a clothesline, Dolph slipped it and shoved Bats into the barricade instead. The fans fired up a pro-Dolph as Dolph did a running clothesline to send both guys into the timekeeper's area.

Good place for ads, so we go all-black and quiet. We're back after a few seconds, and what we're seeing now is “exclusive action” on the WWE App. Dolph can't maintain momentum and gets Irish Whipped into the barricade behind the commentators, but counters a head slam into the table. This makes JBL's hat go flying, so he puts himself in no man's land to retrieve it. Heh.

More back-and-forth from there outside the ring with Dolph getting the worst of it with a major clothesline. Only then do we break away from the “exclusive footage,” although we see a full-screen scrub as the Truck Monkeys are looking for the spot to give us a replay.

Once we're totally back, Dolph won himself the chair, and he's beating the shit out of Bats with it. Dolph somehow manages to shove Bats into the ring, who then rolls himself right back out. Dolph doesn't care; he just charges Bats from behind and continues the attack at ringside, even throwing him shoulder-first into the steps.

Finally they get back in the ring again, and Dolph maintains offense. Fourteen punches in the corner, neckbreaker, spike DDT, pin, kick out.

As they get up, Dolph tries a Famous-Er. Bats catches him and tries for a powerbomb, but Dolph fights out of that into a victory roll. Bats slips out before he's pinned, but that's when Dolph does hit the Famous-Er. Pin, but only two.

Bats rolls out of the ring again to get his breath, but Dolph baseball slides him. Bats oversells and falls into the laps of the commentators. JBL got out of the way, but Cole didn't manage to, and Dolph attacked Bats while Bats was lying on Cole. Heh. JBL tells Cole to get up (which I assume was broadcast, since JBL was screaming it in-character), but Cole has no audio, so JBL takes over play-by-play for a minute. Once they reorganize, JBL continues to (in-character) berate Cole for being a wuss, and then we get this exchange:

JBL: “Why didn't you get up? You're such a pansy... Weren't you a war correspondent?”

Cole: “I had five hundred pounds of man on me.”  [Ed. Note: [meh heh heh heh] [/beavis]]

I'm not sure if that line made the broadcast, but I'm so totally sure that it will never be taken out of context.

Back to the match. Bats was going to Batista Bomb Dolph onto the steps, but Dolph just dick-punched him. It's all legal, baby. With Bats trying to catch his breath near the step (that have been split apart), Dolph goes to the apron and decides to do a suicide running Famous-Er to nail Bats on the steps. It would be impressive, except Dolph was only accurate with the “suicide” part: he jumped, Bats moved, and Dolph caught his back foot on the steps while his front foot shot forward and slipped on the mats. That's one hell of a way to twist your ankle or even break your leg... Jesus. Referee John “McDoucher” Cone ran over immediately. We get way too long of a pregnant pause, but finally we get a Single Fist of Health.

Bats throws Dolph back into the ring, follows in, then Spears Dolph in half. Pin, three, done. Very good match for a weekly event, balanced offense, dramatic and logical ending. Good stuff all around.

After the match, Bats hits Dolph with a Batista Bomb just to be a jerk.

Segment 3: Bo Dallas arrives tonight.

Second Commercial: As we're in black, Cole, demonstrating he's a real person after all, starts talking to JBL about the “Five hundred pounds of man on me” line, then breaks into an Anderson Cooper giggle. It's impossible to be in a bad mood when you hear that.

Pre-Segment 4: Nikki Bella and Eva Marie hit the ring. Between Eva Marie's stretch and Nikki's exaggerated hip-and-butt wiggles, I'm pretty sure my testicles would have dropped had I seen it 17 years ago. Even now, it's basically having a similar effect.

It's so goddamn hot that Tony Chimel's language center stops functioning, and he completely blows Eva's name. JBL and Cole harass him about it (with JBL getting a backhanded Lilian Garcia insult in the process). I'm again curious if we're going to hear Chimel rerecord those lines between breaks.

Hold on a second, I'm going to watch that entrance a couple more times before continuing with the match.

Oh wait, Summer Rae is the guest ref? And that is the tiniest referee top in the history of referee tops. If My Melina was somehow involved in this match, I'm not entirely sure I could go on with the recap.

Segment 4 [Tag Match, Summer Rae is the special referee]: The Funkadactyls defeat Eva Marie & Nikki Bella by flash pin and quick count. Fireman's carry to an armbar from Nikki to Naomi. Naomi counters by kipping up out of it, which got approximately 0% of the respect from anyone (the crowd and commentators alike) that it deserved. That was insanely athletic.

Then we get a spot where Naomi does an “attack” that boils down to twerking with Nikki's face against her ass. Ugh... stupid.

But it's enough for Naomi to on offense for a half-second, but Nikki counters by smashing Naomi's face into her knee. Nikki goes for the cover, and Summer... skips. Not, like, AJ skipping, but just sort of takes a little half-step while flourishing her hair. Well that's a little blatant. Nikki bitches out Summer, but Naomi quickly rolls her up. Now Summer decides that counting the fall is in order, but Nikki rolls through and gets up before Summer even drops to her knees.

Naomi maintains the offense and tags in Cameron. They double-team Nikki, specifically with twin hip twirls followed by twin Johnny Cage Split Leg Drops of Doom, a thing that I didn't know was possible, but now I want to see every day for the rest of my life. This is my favorite match of all time.

Sadly, the crowd disagrees and couldn't give a shit, even when Cameron tries to bait them. The crowd does perk up when Nikki tags out, as they boo the shit out of Eva Marie. Eva in fact goes for a pin after a moment, but Summer is too busy to check her nails. Eva gets up to bitch, and Camera rolls her up in a schoolgirl pin. Summer counts to three in the same time it took her to blink, and that's the match. It seemed random, until Cole says Summer is making life difficult on her Total Divas costars. So very, very lame.

Also not falling for it: the crowd, who collectively gives no shit. The winners bail immediately, and then so does Summer, who taunts her way up the ramp. Even Cole and JBL have basically nothing to say about the match, which makes the crowd's silence that much more pervasive.

Ugh. I hate it when the divas are booked like this.

Third Commercial: Cole and JBL are discussing something with the producers, something that was apparently a “wow line” or “wild line.” Apparently Cole said the phrase “making out” in reference to something, and apparently someone in his ear doesn't want that phrase; I guess a “wow/wild line” refers to a line that is too extreme for the audience or something? Cole doesn't even remember when he said it, so he asks for a suggestion, possibly just “kissing.” We get no further information on this.

However, we do get to hear Tony Chimel rerecord his introductions for... wait, for Jimmy Hart? Still? Jesus, how many times are they making him do that? But they're going to keep his flub against Nikki? Weird.

Ah, and here comes Cole again who says: “And here we see Fandango and Layla who were, well, kissing in the ring!” Because apparently “making out” is too PG-13 for WWE? Cole also adds, “Hopefully that matches...” as he fades out. I backed it up to hear the original line: “Fandango and his new flame Layla were, well, making out in the ring” as we saw a video clip of why Summer is angry. Seriously, is “making out” such a bad phrase, or am I thinking about this too much from an adult's perspective?

This is also interesting to me just how careful WWE (or at least its producers and Vince McMahon) are about what exactly is said. I just see them huddled over a notebook, faces tense with anticipation, waiting to hear something that just slightly damages their idea of what a demographic should hear as they scribble a time stamp and order the commentators to rerecord a line.

Also, can I just point out that someone, somewhere is concerned about the fact that Cole used the phrase “making out,” but that same someone thinks it's totally fine to waste five divas on a useless gimmick match that lasted under two minutes? I hate WWE's priorities sometimes.
[Ed Note: Yes, yes, you can point that out. Half of the reason why I made Pyro recap THIS version of SD was so that I could rant and rave like a loon about how this "leak" proved Vince is an out-of-touch control freak, who lacks the ability to prioritize correctly. Which he is, and (even if he doesn't know it) the vast majority of his employees think so, too. Cuz you can only pay Kevin Dunn one paycheck. Ahem.  But  Pyro pretty much hit the highlights for me. Points~!]

Pre-Segment 5: So here comes Bo Dallas, who gets the most epic and “inspirational” music in the history of WWE. Bo isn't wearing anything special, though he does make his entrance with the biggest shit-eating grin of all time as well. He does “The Thinker” pose in the center of the ring, which makes me think of Chris Masters. I'm sure the dude wasn't going for that comparison.

Bo grabs a mic and immediately gets booed. He starts in with every athletic post-Super Bowl cliché ever. His tone however is slightly tongue-in-cheek, which I think ruins it a bit. It's like Bo Dallas (the character) doesn't fully believe himself. Or even bolieve himself. [Ed. Note: that's actually his character. He's a giant choade. The best example I can think of is Kurt Angle, and his debut, where he was presented as INSANELY heroic and babyfacish, and we all hated him, anyway. You know what's problematic about that? Bo Dalls is NOT Kurt Angle... he's just IRS' son and Bray Wyatt's brother, and neither of those two carries a whole lot of credibility.]

Segment 5 [Singles Match]: Bo Dallas defeats Sin Cara by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Bo's first move was a simple side headlock takedown, then jumped up and started jumping and spinning with his oh-so-amazing move. Heh. That'll get old fast, but it was droll for a one-shot thing.

Bo gets most of the offense and channels Chris Jericho as he screams “Yeah, baby!” after basically every offensive move. He even has a trademark move already, as he took down Sin Cara, then proceeded to do three running knee drops. On the third one, just before he actually dropped the knee, he gave Sin Cara (who was flat on his back and basically unconscious) a thumbs up. Heh. That's more obnoxious than Damien Sandow's Elbow of Disdain theatrics, and I mean that as a compliment.

Sin Cara gets his hope offense, but it's not enough. Bo finally turns it around when he slips a top rope splash and counters with a bit clothesline. Bo's finisher is a running bulldog off the ropes, which you may know as a... eh... isn't that a Stratusfaction? Or was that something else? I just remember that Trish Stratus and Spike Dudley did it all the time. [Ed. Note: the OO Forums only remembered the Stratusfaction half of that, and were wrong. But it really is Spike's old move... more "walk-up" than "springboard." I'm getting old, cuz I don't remember Spike's actual name for it, but I sort of think it was probably the "DudleyDog." I don't know that for a fact, but pot-odds-wise? I'll make that bet.]

Anyway, after the match, Bo does a victory lap around the ring, then gets back in to shake Sin Cara's hand. Bo tells him that he so totally tried hard and can eventually win if he just starts bolieving. ROH is now suing for copyright infringement.

I kid, although the fans actually cheered this, as they do most post-match handshakes. I wonder if those tepid cheers will continue once the fans hear Bo's condescending post-match words though.

Segment 6: The Wyatt Family cut through the post-commercial bumper. They're again in the ring surrounded by the “stars” of cellphone flashlights in the darkness, which really is an amazing (and frankly copacetic) effect.

Bray Wyatt cuts one of his usual batshit promo, this time basically saying how we all live in a bubble of safety and false security... which is exactly what the dreaded “they” want. And guys like John Cena are there to keep the bubble intact. (Of note, at Cena's name, the crowd boos him out of the building even though he's not, you know, there at the moment.)

Bray pauses his rhetoric to kick it to a replay of the end of RAW, and we don't recap recaps around here. After that, Bray says he knows that Cena is scared, which is why he recruited the Usos to help him. But Bray knows that Cena is just throwing the Usos to the front lines while Cena continues riding a horse so he doesn't muddy his crown, which is an amazing statement. Bray one-ups himself as he says he “was there” when the streets burned, and he was there when the plague swept through, and he will be there when Cena falls as well.

Then Bray starts speaking... uh... I thought it was Italian for a moment, but it could have been French or even just gibberish (i.e., “speaking tongues,” I guess?). The spasm seems to drain Bray's energy completely as he falls forward. The fans are so taken by this that they're almost silent... well, I suppose they could be silently apathetic, but I'd bet all of my paychecks that that silence isn't actually apathy.

When Bray finally breaks his silence, it's only to sing “He's Got the Whole World,” and the fans are slow to pick up on it. Seriously: awesome performance by Bray. I never in a million years while watching NXT would think that Husky Freaking Harris had that kind of ability.

Fourth Commercial: Cole says that Vince apparently told him that he (Cole) didn't mention Cena, or perhaps didn't mention Cena enough, during the previous clip. So the producer, “Kevin” (I'm sure Rick knows who that is, but fuck if I do) [Ed. Note: yeah, as previously mentioned: Kevin Dunn. The vestigial tailbone of WWE. He did a lot of good stuff, but not since 1997. Now, most agree he's part of the problem, kind of like how everybody decided it was time to "out" Johnny Ace 3 years ago.], goes to check, I guess. So Cole records it again just to make sure.

Then we hear Cesaro's music and catch a couple frames of his entrance music before going all-black again. After a few seconds, we get back to the arena. Cesaro is making his entrance with Paul Heyman as they go to the commentating table while Cole is checking on a couple things with Kevin. While Cesaro, Heyman, and JBL do Broad Gesturing for the purposes of the crowd, Cole is pointing out that “there are two guys here and only one headset.” Heh.

Cole is also taking notes about what video is coming, and as the heels take their seats, they test out their mics so everyone hears everyone. Cesaro even includes the cute line, “I can still speak English, can you hear me?”

Pre-Segment 7: We're back, and Cesaro doesn't speak English as Cole introduces them. Heyman is silent for who knows what reason, but they all go quiet as Alberto Del Rio makes his entrance. But then they all discuss Heyman's assistance in helping Cesaro defeating Sheamus on RAW.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Sheamus defeats Alberto Del Rio by disqualification. Good match both in the ring and for the Sheamus/Cesaro feud storyline.

It's all Del Rio at the beginning thanks to Cesaro being a jerk and distracting Sheamus, allowing ADR to get the early advantage. It's punchy-kicky-slammy from there, with Sheamus getting a couple hope spots, including a rolling senton followed by a clothesline to dump him out of the ring. ADR gets a breath out there as Sheamus leans against the apron; ADR follows up with his step-up enziguri using the apron, a move that's as beautiful as always.

Then we go to ads, but it's WWE App exclusive footage. The match goes back to the ring, where ADR continues the offense with rest holds. When Sheamus gets a breather, he charges Sheamus but just Spears the ring post instead, sending him out to ringside. The ringside doctor checks on Sheamus, who then waves him away and runs to the opposite corner of ringside. But ADR isn't having that, and instead beheads him with a clothesline.

The match goes back in the ring where ADR gets a little roughneck with chokes and headlocks with Sheamus against the ropes. Then we get a weird smash cut as Sheamus gets a hope spot, the crowd dies, and no one on the booth is saying anything... except Cole, who quietly and rather humbly says “Yes sir” twice. I wonder what that was about. [Ed. Note: this is the great mystery of this "leaked" SD to me, too... if I had to lodge a vote, it MIGHT be that it had something to do with Cesaro, just because of how screwy Cesaro's character is... he's a heel-de-facto, but clealry a face-in-waiting... so maybe too few mentions of "Swiss Superman"? Something like that? Cuz, given the context, it's either that, or to do with Sheamus -- in which case, the only reason to get worked up is if Cole didn't advance the slow-burn-narrative of Sheamus turning heel. Either way, it's another case of Vince giving-a-shit-about-stuff-that-is-secondary, instead of paying-attention-to-major-quality-control-issues.]

As we “officially” come back, Sheamus back body drops ADR over the top rope, though he lands on the apron and guillotines Sheamus on a charge. ADR goes on rapid offense from there, including a backstabber, though he can't close the deal with it. Sheamus starts a rally after that, including an Irish Curse Backbreaker, but he can't close the deal either.

More back and forth from there, Sheamus whiffs a Brogue Kick and crotches himself on the rope. He's able to push away ADR to defend himself, but as Sheamus tries to get back in the ring, ADR side kicks him. It sounds stiff, a pin is attempted, but he only gets a two count.

Another exchange, ADR gets set up for (and takes) the 10 of Clubs. Sheamus then pulls ADR away, but ADR holds onto the ropes and slips off Sheamus's shoulders. ADR then slaps on the Cross Arm Breaker practically out of nowhere, then adds some extra torque, which looks pretty impressive. Sheamus manages to crawl to the ropes and use his legs to break the count via the bottom rope.

ADR breaks the hold as the ref gets to four. Cesaro then charges Sheamus, but Sheamus punches him in the face to knock him away. In the ring, ADR whiff a charge and Sheamus counters with a clothesline. Sheamus then signals a Brogue Kick, but Cesaro pulls him out of the ring on the east side, drawing the DQ. Cesaro rams Sheamus's spine into the steps, then follows up with a Neutralizer on the mats. Ouch.

Segment 8 (that we don't see): The commentators are on-camera to talk about how Daniel Bryan is recovering and how Stephanie is going address the title issue. This is where we would normally kick it to the Titantron for a RAW recap, but not with this version of the broadcast.

I'm not sure what exactly happened from here, so Rick will need to translate, but Vince is apparently criticizing the commentators for something... for not doing something, and I'm not sure what, exactly. Cole asks if they should redo some lines, but apparently aren't going to bother.

From context clues, I gather that one of the commentators (JBL?) should have “looked over the commentating table to see how [Sheamus?] was feeling” after getting the crap beaten out of him by Cesaro. Instead, the commentators just threw it to the Titantron, but were concentrating on the camera, thus (I guess?) showing that they don't give two craps about Sheamus getting his ass kicked directly in front of them. Cole laughingly says that was his fault since he's the one who suggested (during the fourth commercial) that the commentators should be on-camera for that transition.

Once again, I'm genuinely surprised at the little things that make up a broadcast. I would have never noticed that the commentators always check on someone who got assaulted directly in front of them, even though it makes all the sense in the world for them to do so. At least, I wouldn't have noticed the commentators always do that, nor would I have noticed when it doesn't happen, because I wouldn't have thought about it. For all the bullshit Vince McMahon may get, the guy must have a really sharp eye for detail, at least when it comes to professional wrestling.

Cut Scene: We fade to black long enough for the RAW recap to finish. Cole hypes the Daniel Bryan drama, then we see Vickie Guerrero heading to the ring, and then we're out to ads.

Segment 9: Vickie is in the ring as we come back from break. The hate isn't that strong for her until she hits her “Excuse me!” a couple times, but even then, it's not nearly as loud of a unanimous booing. They do start in with the “What?,” and I have a feeling that won't need to be sweetened.

Anyway, Vickie says that she's a hot cougar, and she's so down with the hip scene that she's into partying! And she demonstrates this by summoning Adam Rose, who makes his whole entrance to the delight of everyone.

She turns over the mic to Rose, then starts to leave. Rose stops her, but talks to the crowd first. The crowd is completely on board with his catchphrases, completing “It's party time/All the time” and “Don't be a lemon/Be a rosebud” without prompting. That's not insignificant.

Rose then asks Vickie the so totally serious question about whether she's a lemon or a rosebud. Now the fans are chanting “Lemon” and “Rosebud” about 50/50, which is an interesting reaction, although Vickie is selling this like it's a unanimous “Lemon” chant. Vickie assures them (in a shitty British accent to add to the heelishness) that she's not a lemon, but does demand that Rose leaves.

The fans start singing Rose's theme song as Vickie continues to scream at him from the west side of the ring. Rose scares her by trying to thrust his lollipop in her mouth; Vickie falls into the crowd of rosebuds, who then crowd surf around ringside as Rose's music plays.

Okay, not really a value-add here in terms of overness, but it was very entertaining, and it shows that Rose has a pretty big following. Good stuff. [Ed. Note: yeah, he's getting the old ECW/"9-1-1" treatment, and it's pretty awesome. Showcase the positives, sweep the negatives under the rug. Brilliant~!]

Segment 10: Renee Young interviews the Usos in the back, who lose their shit at how awesome Adam Rose is, then cut a solid promo. They respect the Wyatt Family since they know about family, but one thing that the Wyatt Family doesn't have is the Tag Team Championship.

Then they introduce Cena, who is a self-aware cartoon of himself, as he rattles off some nonsense and assures us that now that he's in the house, “it's time to put dinner to bed and go hunting for babies.” Jimmy deadpans, “You have no idea what you're talking about, man.” If you don't watch anything else on this episode, catch that exchange, because Jimmy is apparently a kickass straight man in a comedy duo.

But then Cena gets overly serious as he says that he was intentionally being facetious. See, talk is pointless and cheap. And the Usos are the champs, and will totally beat the Wyatt Family, which we'll see next. Then they do that weird humming and chest beating again as they leave the camera.

Pre-Segment 11: The Uso's entrance sounded really muted for some reason. The Siva Tau drum beats were really super-quiet, and I have no idea why.

Also, neither the commentators nor the ring announcer talked during the entrances until Cena got out there. That was awkward silence. I wonder if there was a timing issue, or just because there was nothing to say and they didn't want to talk over the Usos' chanting.

Also, as the Wyatts hit the ring, we see that the fans are on board with shining their cell phone flashlights in the darkness, and the cameras are all too happy to play along. I really, really hope that catches on and isn't just a happy accident in London. Personally, I also think it's cool seeing basically everyone “extinguish” their lights as their entrance finish.

Segment 11 [Tag Match]: The Usos (w/ John Cena) defeat the Wyatt Family (w/ Bray Wyatt) by disqualification. Solid match, but mostly story rather than workrate.

Harper against Jey first, with back-and-forth punchy and roughneck offense. The “Let's go Cena/Cena sucks” dueling chants are loud even though Cena isn't even involved in the match. Wacky.

When Jey tags out to Jimmy, the faces lose control. Rowan tags in as well and starts in on the offense. Jimmy is able to deliver a few kicks, then we get some quick tags as they isolate Rowan. After a running body splash that sent Rowan out of the ring, the Usos held strong in the ring, and we go to ads.

Back on App-exclusive footage, with the Wyatts taking forever to reengage (and the Cena dueling chants louder than ever). The heels get the offense as they double-team Jimmy with roughneck offense, though once again their tags keep them alive. Jey takes over and is able to take Harper's back, but Harper hits him with a back elbow to get room.

Back for real, and the faces are strongly on offense. However, Rowan tags out after getting separation thanks to punching Jey in the face. Harper also takes a few knocks, but when Jey tries one too many rebound attacks, Harper grabs him and just straight throws him face-first into the middle rope. That... can't feel good.

From there, the heel beatdown sequence commences. The heels cut the ring in half and go roughneck. The fans start singing “He's Got the Whole World” for no reason, so Bray starts conducting from his rocking chair.

The song must be giving the heels strength because they maintain the offense. Jey tries to rally the crowd and even does a “heel” tactic of breaking a pin attempt and trying to pull him to their corner to help out, but the referee won't let that go on.

Jimmy does manage a breath when Harper puts him on the top rope for something. Jimmy fights him off, then hits his trademark corkscrew moonsault, putting both guys down. Double hot tags, Jey goes house of fire, Harper interferes. Pier Four Brawl, and Jimmy winds up putting Harper down with a suicide dive through the ropes.

Jey tosses Rowan over the rope, then does a suicide dive over the top rope, taking down Rowan and, oddly enough, his own brother. Jey then flings Rowan back in the ring, then readies a top rope splash. Bray shoves him off for a blatant DQ, and Cena responds in kind by hitting Rowan with an FU while staring daggers at Bray.

Post-Segment 11: Bray teases that he's going to engage Cena in the ring, but then backs off to boos, and Cena's music plays us out.

Post-Show: They didn't show the copyright bug for this version of the broadcast, but the show is clearly over since Cole starts talking to Vince. Interestingly, Cole kinda sharply asks, “Do you want me to say that every time? Because I've said that a shitload of times tonight.” No idea what he's referring to (though I would hazard a guess as to the Legends House reality TV crap). After a delay, Cole then say “Right... yes sir.” Huh. Cole promises to hit whatever line he's supposed to say, then thanks Vince.

Cena then takes a mic and starts to address the crowd, but then we get a fade, and we're done.

Final Thoughts: This recap took me over four hours to write. I enjoy these detailed exercises now and then (especially since I don't have to show up to work at my usual time tomorrow), but man has this one exhausted me. I have literally nothing to add that I haven't already, other than to reiterate that I love these types of things.

I haven't been interested enough in professional wrestling to want to know the ins and outs of being a performer (mostly since I don't have the body or, probably, the pain tolerance for it), but I am intrigued by the way TV shows and everything “work.” I actually totally get the concept of editing and multiple takes thanks to my own light experience on YouTube, but that obviously grossly pales in comparison to something as large-scale as a WWE broadcast. I'm intrigued and curious as to the division of labor behind the scenes... what do the producers look for? What does Vince look for? What line did he want Cole to repeatedly use? Who watches the matches themselves? And how in the world does the “main” producer or director keep track of all those cameras and sounds?

I would absolutely love a job in that environment, no matter how high-stress. [Ed. Note: I used to think that, too. But then, I learned how it really worked. The best example I can give is: Mick Foley is really, really smart, and I like to think we're tempermentally similar, but he went to TNA after a short stint as SD's color commentator, because Vince is pretty horrible to work for, commetary-wise, because all he does is imagine what HE would ay, and then coach YOU to say it for him. No sale.] It'd be adrenaline-filled as I tried to help make everything tick. I mentioned before (maybe?) that if I could do college over again, I'd get into sound engineering, and I'd love to help produce a show just for the experience. Hell, I'd give up OO and IGN in a flash if I could do those jobs. And I really envy the people who do them... even when they screw up. Because really, we only notice mistakes when they exist; they're good enough that, all kidding aside, 99% of the broadcasts are perfect, and they know exactly what they need to do to make it exciting and so no one misses their cues. It's really, really cool.

So, I'll leave on that. Have a good Memorial Day weekend, everyone. Eat an extra burger for me.

Episode Grade: C+ (episode itself), A (the fact that we got the pre-production version) 


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