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Rollins Rolling
June 8, 2014

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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It's not every day that I'm excited about going to a grocery store, but today is one of those days. I'm in the middle of my vacation, so I'm actually getting the recap done in the morning (rather than the end of evening) for once. After that, I'm heading off to Jungle Jim's International Market, the first time I've ever been there. I heard they have a hot sauce wall, which already sets my loins on fire. And not in the painful way! (Until I consume the hot sauce, anyway.)
So hopefully you'll forgive the brevity of this one. I've managed to also get a lot of work done over the course of my vacation that wasn't Walmart-related, and I've got plenty more to do (including putting in applications and resumes to get out). But at least for today, I actually have plans. And usually I'd put some sort of self-deprecating comment here about “my life is sad because I'm excited about a grocery store, huh???,” but fuck it: food is awesome. And I'm going to be partaking in some good food soon.

But that's after the recap. Let's roll with the episode so I can look for some Jaffa Cakes...

Segment 1: It's Triple H who enters the arena first, no longer with his Evolution music, but his “Bow Down to the King” theme. He milks his entrance on the stage, then looks over his shoulder, and Seth Rollins pops out. Whether or not it means anything, Rollins is still wearing his Shield tactical vest and all-black clothes. Hm.

Trips takes the mic first, and... Okay, I'm going to level with you guys. Usually when I recap promos, I write about a sentence per sentence or two when the wrestlers speak. Like, I listen to the rhetoric and try to sum up what they're saying, point by point, because that's my style of recap. The performance is important (which is why I try to point out when they hit the right tones and the right cadences), but you read my stuff for brevity, so I try to keep it short when I can.

And this... this was stupid. I listened for three straight minutes, and not a single point was actually made. Trips gives an overly involved “You all have questions? We have answers!” speech... and then Rollins says, “The only one I owe any explanation to is myself,” which makes no literal sense.

Further, I can't shake the feeling that Rick may have been right on Monday. He mentioned in his final thoughts that in the moment, Rollins's betrayal of Shield felt really good and shocking, but the important thing would be how they explain it away. And right now, they're not explaining it, but by milking it, it really feels that they don't have any explanation. I seriously wonder if the WWE “Creative” Team booked the turn, executed it on Monday, then stared at each other and asked “Now what?” because they didn't think ahead. This feels like they've written themselves into a corner, and they're hoping that it will all eventually make sense when we're not paying attention.

Anyway, speaking of shit not making sense, Dolph Ziggler of all people pop out onto the stage, which confuses Rollins and amuses Trips. Dolph voices the crowd's (and other obvious) points, but still doesn't add anything to the conversation. He does conclude by saying that Rollins sold out, which prompts the crowd to start a “You sold out!” chant. And then, because are the things I (try to) notice, there is a really obvious point where WWE starts sweetening the sound. The chant doesn't “ramp up”: it starts at 80 decibels then goes to 140 decibels in the middle of a “sold.” Sigh. Maybe the blue pill is the better option sometimes.

Trips says that Rollins “sold out” all right: he'll be “selling out arenas across the world while you [Dolph] can't.” Heh, cute. Trips is so pissy about Dolph's interruption that he books a match against Rollins right now. Which means after ads.

...Which means I've been watching the show for 12 minutes and the only thing that got accomplished was the booking of one match. Goody.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Seth Rollins (w/ Triple H) defeats Dolph Ziggler by pin. Solid match, though not fun to describe.

Rollins goes roughneck offense to start , which wouldn't look good against most guys since he's not generally built for it. But Dolph oversells and is about Rollins's size, so it works. Rollins throws a little bit of flight into it with jumping knees, but he basically has the heel beatdown offense going. Dolph gets a few hope spots, but they're all punchy-kicky.

...Aaand, it basically goes on like that for the duration. That's not bad: Seth and Dolph work well together. I'm just saying that there weren't any high spots or crazy sequences, but if they ever kick it into the next gear, a Dolph/Rollins match wouldn't look out of place on a pay-per-view.

Both guys did have some eye-opening offense, but they were in single spots. Rollins took a shot when he went to the top rope for something, but Dolph countered by recovering from the canvas, leaping up to the top rope, then coming down with a super bulldog. Rollins sold it like a shot, which looked excellent.

But it wasn't enough. Dolph tried to follow it up with a Zig Zag, but Rollins held the ropes and fought him off. Dolph regained his footing and went for another, but Rollins hit his physics-breaking no-look enziguri, which Dolph sold like... er, like a shot. Forgive me; like I said, I'm on vacation, and I don't have my usual array of metaphors right now.

Anyway, Rollins followed up with a flurry of punches, a throwing powerbomb to the opposite turnbuckle, then his finishing curb stomp. Nice ending sequence!

Segment 3: Renee Young interviews Bad News Barrett, who bitches about being in a triple threat match tonight for his title, then insults his opponents, Rob Van Dam and Cesaro. It's entertaining but nothing worth repeating.

Segment 4: Trips and Rollins are walking in the back, congratulating each other. Randy Orton appears to “welcome him to the dark side,” with Rollins replying that he never left. Cute.

And then Big Show appears to chew out Rollins. Trips isn't happy, so he books Show to take on Orton tonight. You would think that Show wouldn't be worried.

Segment 5 [Tag Match]: The Usos reverse-extend-squash Rybaxel by pin. Too short to be much of anything. The heel beatdown starts pretty much immediately, with Axel beating the shit out of Jimmy. Quick tags, cut the ring in half, you know the drill. When Axel tries a top rope move, Jimmy dropkicks him out of the air, then tags out to Jey, who hits a splash. Ryback had already been dispatched off the apron, so that's all it takes, and a pin seals it.

Pre-Segment 6: After Lana's flowery introduction, Lilian Garcia gives the actual (and just as flowery) introduction for Rusev. But again, because these are things I try to notice, I can't help but hear that Lilian's introduction is clearly a different sound quality than it should be. There's no echo, there's little crowd noise, and her voice is too clear. After the eye-opening pre-polished SmackDown from two weeks ago, I'd bet a paycheck that she blew the intro, or possibly forgot a part, or that some moron decided that she needed to really accent Rusev's Russian Lifetime Achievement Award he got on Monday. Apparently, we're still supposed to care, and getting the Putin Star or whatever is supposed to make us take him more seriously.

Anyway: no sale, WWE. No sale.

Also, why we're still on the subject: is there a reason why no one is referring to Rusev as “Alexander Rusev” anymore? Is this another “Langston” and “Antonio” thing?

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Rusev squashes Xavier Woods by pin. Whatever. The only thing to note here is that, after Rusev won and as he posed in the ring, a pyro went off and a giant Russian flag unrolled behind him. Heh.

Pre-Segment 7: That dress of Lilian's is really, really fetching. Just sayin'.

Paul Heyman is out on commentary for this one.

Segment 7 [Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Title]: Bad News Barrett defeats Rob Van Dam by pin and outlasts Cesaro, and retains. Very good match, and the absolute perfect length. It wasn't as long as a normal pay-per-view match, but it didn't need to be.

Early offense showed all three guys getting in their shots with no clear advantage, although RVD managed to set up a double Rolling Thunder early. Too early, as it turns out, since both guys kicked out at two. RVD lost the advantage shortly after.

Cesaro took the offense from there as he flung RVD out of the ring, then stomped away on BNB. Barrett countered a charge with a mule kick, and then he took advantage with punchy-punchy... until RVD appeared and kicked his face off. Split leg moonsault from there, but Cesaro broke up the pin attempt. That led us to ads.

Back, and Barrett is in control with neck lock on RVD. During ads, Barrett sent Cesaro shoulder-first into the steps, which explains his temporary absence. Once RVD got to his feet, he sent Barrett flying out of the ring, but when RVD wanted a suicide dive to follow up, Cesaro nailed him with a European uppercut out of nowhere. Cesaro then flung Barrett into the barricade, then front-suplexed him into the same part of the barricade, sending Barrett into the front row. RVD recovered enough to complete his suicide dive against Cesaro. RVD put the exclamation point with a flying kick from the apron to Barrett, who was still hung on the barricade. That was very busy thirty seconds.

After all three men recovered, RVD chucked Barrett back in the ring for a pin, but Cesaro broke it up. Cesaro took the offense from there, rather easily keeping both guys contained. He even tricked RVD to aim a kick at him, but ducked so RVD kicked Barrett instead. Good stuff.

RVD bailed from there, so Cesaro continued to the offense against Barrett. Cesaro (and Heyman for that matter) teased his signature “reach over the top rope because I'm so freakishly strong” superplex, but Barrett fought him off and floored him to the canvas. RVD came out of absolutely nowhere with a Five Star Frog Splash that took his flight three-fourths of the way across the ring. Good lord. He didn't get a chance to attempt a pin though, as Barrett slid in the ring and beheaded RVD with a Bullhammer Elbow. Barrett pinned RVD, and Cesaro had nothing left to try to do anything about it.

Segment 8: During Barrett's victory celebration, we smash cut to the Wyatt static, then to Bray Wyatt himself. He rambles about something someone (Sister Abigail?) told him, something about that Bray was going to die but then be reborn and lead everyone into the light. More crazy nonsense, and more awesomeness.

The parallel, of course, is that he was defeated by Cena... but he is now “reborn.” He gets in the camera's face and tells us all to join him, which is creepy as all hell. Short and sweet, baby.

I can't help but notice that he never mentioned Cena once. I'm really, really hoping that's a sign that their feud is over. It was an excellent feud with excellent matches, and I'm not sure they can really top themselves after Payback. Best to move on rather than trying it.

Segment 9: Montage of WWE NXT Takeover, which I didn't watch, because I'm a moron. Luckily, since I'm paying my ten bucks a month to WWE, I can just watch it anyway!

Pre-Segment 9: Natalya is also really, really fetching. Just sayin'.

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Natalya defeats Alicia Fox by pin. Well... this was an athletic match, no question. I'm just not sure whether it was good.

I honestly have no idea what they're doing with Fox. If she's supposed to be a comedy character, then that would make this a comedy match, and I would almost, almost be able to call it an accomplished mission. But it was competitive enough and, given that most of Fox's recent matches have been, I think we're supposed to take her seriously. Alicia Fox is apparently the Poe's Law of professional wrestling.

Basic offense to start, but when Natalya started getting momentum (including sending Fox out of the ring on the west side), Fox started just screaming at her. I'm being literal here: Fox would scream (similar to a Paige or a My Melina primal roar, which of course I usually have a different term for), and it would “scare” (or at least “concern”) Natalya enough that she backed up a step. Then Fox got in the ring after milking this, and offered a handshake, which Natalya turned into a takedown. Apparently, all this is what defines Fox as “crazy.”

Fox had some athletic attacks from there, and Natalya had athletic counters. Natalya even did a Matrix dodge, but recovered by bending forward again... almost like a “standing kip-up,” which I know is an oxymoron, but I have no idea how else to describe it. Alicia soon countered with a bridging German Suplex, and she maintained the bridge from her toes. I wish I had that kind of balance, but I tend to trip over dust particles.

Natalya tried a Sharpshooter once she got some separation, but Alicia kicked her in the face to counter out. Alicia followed up by Irish Whipping Natalya into the ropes and trying a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but in the middle of the whirling, Natalya kicked her feet to throw Alicia off-balance, and turned it essentially into a pinning cross body. For some reason, Fox wasn't able to kick out of this. Huh.

Fox rolled around and pounded the canvas in a tantrum. Again, according to the commentators, this means she's crazy, even though we've seen legends like Flair do it too (and Zeb Colter fairly recently). So... whatever.

During her tantrum, she wandered over to Lilian Garcia, “intimidating” her against the barricade. Alicia then started climbing up the barricade as if she was trying to mount Lilian's collarbone. I'm going to totally pretend that didn't give me a single naughty thought.

Alicia then bashed the bell, crawled through the ring for no reason, and left. Okay, that sequence was a little nutter bars, I admit.

Segment 11: Recap of Payback when Brie Bella quit, and Stephanie McMahon's title ultimatum at Money in the Bank.

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Bo Dallas defeats Santino Marella (w/ Emma) by pin. So, this happened. Santino made a go of it, Bo got pissed, Santino basically got squashed. The match ended with the Running Bo-dog.

Of note, Bo lost his shit-eating grin when Santino had his flurry, and didn't get it back until after the bell. Interesting... is there a “monster” lurking in there? Or is it just more silliness?

Segment 13: Renee Young interviews Big Show, who calls Evolution and Seth Rollins a pack of bullies. Show then tells a bullying story of his own, saying that he took a kickball to the face, but the bullies were in a group and they all laughed at him. But then Show found the bully alone, “then I balled up my fist, and... well, you can imagine what happened.” That's probably a bad message to send if you take professional wrestling too seriously, but whatever.

His point? He's going to ball up his fist tonight, let it fly at Orton, and then we can see what happens. All right.

Segment 14: RAW recap of the end of RAW, which is redundant, since they showed this at the top of the show too.

Segment 15: Byron Saxton interviews Orton, who says that ordinarily he wouldn't exactly be looking forward to facing Show one-on-one. But then he sleazily implies that Show is going to get the shit beaten out of him by outside interference, possibly including Seth Rollins himself.

Segment 16 [Singles Match]: Big Show defeats Randy Orton (w/ Triple H) by disqualification. Orton plays chickenshit heel prior to the break, but after ads, he's on offense. According to app footage, Orton threw Show face-first into the ring post and took control from there. And now, of course, his offense is mostly chin lock-related.

When Show started to counter and looked for the WMD, Trips jumped on the apron to run distraction, but took a hand around his throat. Then Orton charged, and took a hand around his throat. And then Seth Rollins came out of nowhere and did a vaulting springboard flying knee to Show's face. Called it.

Post-Segment 16: Rollins grabbed a chair and set it up. With Orton's help, Rollins hit Show with a curb stomp onto the chair. Twice. So shocking.

Final Thoughts: Meh. It did what it needed to do I guess, but it was so predictable that I couldn't get into it. Is that my problem, or is that WWE's problem? Because if I put myself in the mind of a teenager, I probably dug this OMG BETRAYAL!!! since they're not used to WWE. After nigh on 20 years of the industry, they rarely surprise me anymore. Maybe that's mostly my problem.

At least we can take solace in the fact that we had two really good matches. Like, really, really good. The triple threat match can't really be repeated without additional gimmicks. But seeing Dolph and Rollins... now that is a combination that needs a sequel on a bigger stage. Here's hoping.

But, whatever. The recap is in the bag, I'm heading to Jungle Jim's. Here's hoping I find some Jaffa Cakes!

Episode Grade: C


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