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Delicious Anticipation 
March 2, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, yesterday in my column, I went out on a limb, and practically promised y'all a really good RAW on WWE's behalf...  it was an act almost without precedent!  A internet jack-off being enthusiastic about The Product?!?  That never happens!

Well, rarely, anyway.  Periodically, I do things that put my Internet Jack-Off Membership in peril, and it just so happened that yesterday was one of those days.  But today?  Well, today I must at least make a token effort to win back credibility...  and the best way to do so is to take a look back at RAW, and decide if it delivered the goods, or if it fell short and exposed my adorably naive markish enthusiasm for the world to see.

Here' goes...

Video Package: Last week's main event segment in a nutshell.  Vince made some interpromotional matches and brawled sloppily with Bischoff.  And then Brock Lesnar F-5'ed Steve Austin.

In-Arena Cold Open: JR and the King welcome us to Atlanta, where La Resistance are in the ring, protesting SOMEthing with signs... but I couldn't care less because the IMPORTANT sign is in the front row, and reads "ORTON FEARS JEB."  OO finally puts a mole in the front row, and the ugly truth comes out in less than 8 seconds of airtime.  Now that, my friends, is taking care of business.  The Orton Expose is interrupted as JR and King kick us to....

Partial Opening Theme/No Pyro/Austin Crashing the Party

The bizarre herky-jerky open featured the RAW theme song getting to about the start of the chorus when, all of a sudden, we cut back live to the arena, where Steve Austin races to the ring on the ATV of Justice.  Apparently, La Resistance are here because they got screwed last week in a match against the tag champs, Booker T and Rob Van Dam, or so Jim Ross infers.  Steve Austin doesn't really give the pantywaists a chance to explain themselves: he just whoops some ass, busts their picket signs, and sends them scurrying, because he's got something to say.

Austin makes no bones about it: he's none too happy with either Brock Lesnar nor Bill Goldberg at this point.  All he's gotta do is wait till WrestleMania 20, though, where he'll get to address his "anger management issues" with both.  Austin says he doesn't sweat Brock, and that "I fear no Spear, just like I fear no beer."  As a guest ref, he promises to call the Lesnar/Goldberg match right down the middle like he sees it, but also makes it quite clear that if anyone steps out of line, he'll turn into, shall we say, a hands-on official... and the crowd digs it.

So at that point, enter the ultimate buzzkill, Vince McMahon.  Atlanta clearly thinks Vince is an Asshole, and tells him, en masse, about it on two or three separate occasions.  In between the tauntings, however, Vince is able to convey a few points.  First, he wants Austin to know that he (Vince) had nothing to do with Lesnar showing up last week, but DOES suggest that Eric Bischoff might know something.  And second: Vince decides to announce that Austin made for a crappy referee last week, and tells him about it.  That doesn't sit too well with Stone Cold.  Then Vince makes it worse, by making fun of Austin's cute little scooter thingy.  Austin, proving that he is one of the company's top 3 babyfaces no matter that he's a non-wrestlers at this point, actually pops the crowd by responding with nothing more than blatant advertising for the company that made the ATV of Justice (it was a Polaris Something-Something with a bunch of CCs and Horsepowers and a top speed of 68 miles per hour...  man alive, Atlanta LOVES Buggy Specs!).  

And further: based on the top speed of 68 mph and the fact that Vince (who cut this promo standing on the top of the stage) had about a 20 yard head start, Austin figured Vince should probably start running RIGHT NOW if he didn't want to get run over.  Vince called the bluff, not thinking Austin would chase him down.  But tweren't no bluff, Vince: Austin hops on the ATV and races up the ramp, with Vince dashing backstage at the last second.

JR and King distract us for about 30 seconds with graphics for some of tonight's action (Mike Foley Returns!  HBK/Benoit vs. Evolution!), all the while ATV revving noises are threatening to over-power them.  Finally, all is in readiness, and we're allowed to cut backstage for tonight's....

Unnecessarily Elaborate Vehicular Stunt

Austin has chased Vince out to the parking lot, and kind of cornered him on the exit ramp.  He gets Vince begging for mercy, actually has Vince saying he'll do anything for Austin, that he apologizes, and various other emasculating things.  Having humiliated Vince, Austin decides to charge at him, anyway.  Vince is forced to bail out over the side of the ramp, dropping the six feet or so down to the outside, where his limo is waiting.  Vince dashes to the limo and makes it inside, where (goddammit!) there just so happens to be a camera waiting.  When Austin and the ATV appear in front of the limo, we get shots of Vince telling the driver to run Austin over...  but the driver doesn't get the chance, because Austin has used a conveniently-placed ramp to drive the ATV on top of the limo.  Austin parks over the sun roof and revs the ATV, while Vince makes his over-actor-y pants-wetting face for the inside-the-limo cam.  Finally, Austin has had enough pointless revving, and he drives off the back of the limo (conveniently enough, the limo had been backed up to another ramp thingy so Austin could make it down with no trouble).  Inside the limo, Vince gathers his wits enough to order the driver to leave the arena, while Austin circles around on the ATV to watch them go....

Kinda fun in an absolutely brainless sort of way, I guess.  I hate when they have the conveniently-placed camera that really doesn't add anything to a skit, causing the whole thing to come off as elaborately staged instead of as spontaneous mayhem.  But at the end of the segment, this was just Austin being true to himself (playing with vehicles and intimidating the boss), and Vince being true to himself (over-acting the role of the sap), so as an homage to when their feud mattered, I got a perverse kick out of this.  In a word: harmless.


Victoria/Lita vs. Molly Holly/Jazz

Before the match even started, Molly copped an attitude, and told Jazz that SHE was going to start the match against Victoria because she wants revenge for losing her title last week. Jazz didn't like this.  Molly shoved her.  So Jazz and Teddy Long decide to just leave.  Before the match starts.  Then the match starts, Lita powders out, and about 30 seconds later, Victoria manages to catch Molly with a quick roll-up for the pin.  D'oh.  Molly is PISSED.

After the match: Victoria tries to leave, but Molly is having none of it.  She takes Victoria down once.  Then three refs pull her off.  But she escapes, and pounces on Victoria again.  This time, Molly gets herself a handful of Victoria's hair in the tussle.  Refs break it up.  The girls break lose again and go at it some before FINALLY the officials manage to separate them for good.  Doesn't even count as a match, really, but effective for storyline purposes, I thought...

Video Package: Shawn Michaels forced his way into the World Title picture by superkicking Chris Benoit and signing his name to a contract.


Backstage: Shawn Michaels is walking when the Coach intercepts him...  Coach wants to know if Michaels and Benoit will work together as a team or not. Michaels makes it clear that he and Benoit are NOT friends in a very brief statement.

A Bunch of People in a Crowded Room

We're backstage in Bischoff's office, watching him finish up a call on his cell phone when Some Guy walks in.  Oh, his name is John Hennigan (the no-smell, no-tell Scotch tycoon?), and he's from Tough Enough 3.  I guess I didn't recognize him without his sidekick, you know, the blonde chick that was the other winner from TE3....  HA!  I jest!  But back to business: don't call him John Hennigan anymore!  His name is Johnny Blaze, and he's perfected his craft all over the world since TE3!  He kisses Bischoff's ass, HARD, and finally Bischoff breaks down and decides having the kid around might not be a bad idea... he draws a comparison to Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" (which is vaguely off-putting... I mean, I haven't seen the show, but I kind of got the impression that all the dudes already got kicked off and it was basically just a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen), and says Blaze can stick around and learn how to take care of business the Eric Bischoff Way, if he wants.

Enter Steve Austin, who gives Blaze a dismissive eye and goes straight for Eric... but Bischoff immediately deflects Austin's accusations by saying he had NOTHING to do with Brock Lesnar last week, no matter what Vince said.

Austin and Eric are concluding their little tete e tete when Molly Holly storms in.  She is hella mad, still sporting a handful of Victoria's hair as she gestures wildly.  Molly says she'll do ANYTHING, she just wants a women's title match against Victoria at WM20.  Bischoff, repressing nearly 2 years of character development, does NOT take the bait and insist on some form of sexual payola.  He just makes the match.  Bam, that easy.

But Austin heard Molly's offer to do "anything."  And he's not letting it slide.  Stone Cold says that if Victoria has to put the title on the line, maybe Molly should put something on the line, too... and (glancing at Victoria's hair in Molly's hand) if Molly has such a hair fetish, maybe it should be a match where if Molly wins, she gets the title.  But if she loses, Molly gets shaved bald.  Whoa.  Molly gets indignant really fast, saying she's got soft, silky, beautiful hair and she could NEVER risk losing it and becoming a "bald-headed freak."

WRONG ANSWER!  Austin takes exception at Molly's anti-baldite slur (and frankly, she better issue a public apology to Steve and any of his cueball brothers who may just happen to write RAW Recaps unless she wants OO to cease being a Pro-Molly Zone), and just a raised eyebrow is enough to get Molly to bite her tongue.  She grudgingly agrees to the stipulation, and leaves.  In our Comedic Tag Ending, Johnny Blaze tries to introduce himself to Austin with a Cheeseball Handshake, but Austin just gives him the skunk eye and leaves.

Really good little segment.  Johnny Blaze is intro'd (albeit as a generic ass-kissing heel for the time being), and Molly did a really strong promo/rant leading up to a stipulation that strikes me as very intriguing for the women's title match.


Mark Jindrak/Garrison Cade vs. Hurricane/Rosey 

The stipulation is this: the winner of this match earns a berth in a four-way Tag Team Title match at WM20 (RVD/Booker T will defend, and La Resistance are already in, while the fourth spot will be determined on Sunday's Heat with a Dudleys vs. Venis/Storm match).  Sadly, the crowd couldn't care any less.  And really, it's not like they were given any good reason to.  The stip came out of nowhere, there was no other issue here, and the action wasn't anything besides the bare bones formula.  That meant Hurricane getting his ass kicked for about 5 minutes, then an allegedly "hot" tag to Rosey (which drew almost zero pop), and a minute or two of four-way brawling.  The finish was Rosey going up to the top rope, but getting shoved off by Jindrak (the illegal man, who had just finished taking out Hurricane) so Rosey could be pinned by Cade.  With not even a token effort put into making fans care about these four guys ahead of time, this was definitely over-long at 6-7 minutes; it should either have been tightened up, or set up with some kind of promo/angle that would have kept the fans from turning on it less than half-way through.

Backstage: Now it's Benoit's turn to talk to Coach about teaming with his WM20 rival...  and Benoit echoes HBK's sentiments: he doesn't trust his partner tonight, and he'll be looking out for Number One.


Video Package: Mick Foley promised to show up on this week on RAW... but nobody's seen him yet tonight.  Lawler starts his shtick of wondering of Foley's going to puss out for the second time in the last few months....

Rico's Ambiguously Gay T & A Segment

Rico grabs a mic, and the crowd doesn't know what to make of him until he announces that he's here to introduce two Hot Babes.  Out come Miss Jackie and Stacy.  They preen for a minute or two while Rico does some stilted yammering (mostly Oscar-themed) about how hot they are.  In fact, so hot are Stacy and Jackie that they just might be able to turn Rico to....  

THROUGH HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE!  It's Kane to put an end to the pointlessness... Rico Does the Right Thing by trying to protect the girls.  But it turns out all he really does is distracts Kane by getting his ass kicked for about a minute while Stacy and Jackie escape.  With the girls gone and Rico KO'ed, Kane grabs a mic...

Kane says fans expecting a resurrection at WrestleMania will be deeply disappointed, because he will prevail, and it will be the Undertaker who will "Rest in Peace."  Kane gets heat for scooping Taker's catchphrase and for also doing that rolls-the-eyeballs-up-in-his-head thing as he closes the promo... but that's when the Taker's music and purple lights hit, causing Kane to get mildly spooked.  Then a Kane-like pyro burst!  And there's two of Taker's flaming symbols up on the stage.  Kane paces nervously as the symbols flame on and a new, chant-like song kicks in...  not bad.  Good spooky here, not gay spooky.


Backstage: now it's time for Michaels and Benoit to do a face-to-face interview...  they re-assert that they don't trust each other, and definitely don't like each other.  But forced to team up, Michaels says they can either choose to get along and take care of business or just take each other apart.  That seems to set the stage for an uneasy truce as Michaels music hits, signaling that it's time for....

Shawn Michaels/Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton/Batista

The faces get to the ring, and immediately resume bickering.  But they settle in and get the match started, and actually control the opening few minutes.  Benoit takes apart Batista.  Then Michaels comes in and does more of the same.  But after a few minutes of that, Batista hit a big power move, and tagged in Orton.  Thus begins the standard heel beat down.  Michaels bumped around, made both the Evolution guys look pretty good...  then about six or seven minutes in, he finally got loose long enough to get to his corner to make the Decoy Hot Tag to Benoit.  But Atlanta didn't know it was a decoy: they were all hot expecting the big finish as Benoit hit some Germans on Batista.  Then they popped huge when Benoit locked on the Crippler Crossface.  But meantime, on the other side of the ring, Michaels was taking out Orton so he couldn't interfere.  In the scrap with Orton, Michaels fell backwards, and landed on Benoit.  In response, Benoit released the hold on Batista to argue with Michaels.  Shawn quickly took down Benoit.  Then Orton took down Shawn.  Batista was already down.  So it's a good time for:


When we resume, order has been restored, and Benoit is isolated in the ring.  The story quickly becomes the look on Non-Concern on Michaels face as he watches Benoit get dissected by both members of Evolution.  This went on for a good 4 minutes or so, with Lawler doing standard heel commentary suggesting that Michaels was purposely not trying to get tagged in because that meant Benoit would be softened up at WM20.  Finally Benoit hit a big suplex, and was able to crawl over to his corner.  Michaels stood there motionless, and the crowd finally picked up on the vibe, and got a bit antsy... but at the last second, Michaels reached out and took the Hot Tag.  And this was the real hot tag, the one signaling the start of End Game.  Four way brawling is on, total pandemonium.  At one point, Michaels had put Batista down, and Benoit was getting ready to follow up with a top rope headbutt.  But in the continued brawling, Michaels fell into the ropes, causing Benoit to crotch himself on the top.  But then, as Orton and Michaels continued to brawl, Benoit slowly recovered, and saw another chance to hit the big headbutt on Batista.  But just before Benoit leapt, Michaels snuck into make a cover, so Benoit crashed into both guys.  That was just about enough for Shawn.  As he and Benoit recovered simultaneously, Michaels got in his grill, giving him the Bible-sanctioned version of "What the fuck is up with that, bitch?"...  Benoit responded with right hands, and with that, the partners started brawling.  Just a few moments later, Randy Orton, ever the opportunist, snuck up behind Michaels, rolled him up, yanked the tights, and got the cheap win at about the 20 minute mark.  Good, but not great, tag match, but it did a nice job getting its point -- that Michaels and Benoit will never be bosom buddies -- across.

After the match: Michaels and Benoit did not care at all about losing the match, and instantly started brawling again. Benoit locked Michaels in the Crossface after a few moments, but that's when Triple H decided to strike.  The champ came out, and put a beating on both guys, getting a ton of help from the rest of Evolution.  As the four-on-two continued, the crowd was chanting for Foley, but it ain't happening.  Isn't the anticipation delicious?  HHH ends things with a pair of Pedigrees for both his WM20 challengers.  Boo!


Backstage: Evolution are congratulating themselves for being so awesome when Randy Orton is distracted by a near-by monitor...  on it, we see Mick Foley walking down a hall-way.  Evolution quickly figures out that this must be live footage, and mock Foley for showing up to get yet another beating from Evolution....

The Peep Show Returns

The ring is set up -- minus the JeriTron 5000, which should have been a dead give-away -- for the Highlight Reel.  Jericho's music starts, and...  here comes Christian to talk at us a bit?  Yep, not exactly a shocker, really.  Jim Ross is at his moralizing best as he calls Christian a Creepy Little Bastard and explains to us that Trish Stratus is not here because of what Christian did last week, and that Jericho's still at home injured, too.

Christian plays to his non-existent peeps, and says that Trish deserved everything she got.  She ruined Jericho's career, turned his head to mush.  And she ruined Christian's friendship with Jericho.  So Christian did what he had to last week.  And also: he went to Eric Bischoff, and at WM20, it'll be Christian vs. Jericho, and Christian promised to "beat some sense into" Jericho.  Christian seemed like maybe he had a few more things to say, except...

Hey, that's Chris Jericho limping down to ringside.  No entrance music, in street clothes, he's not supposed to be here, says JR!  Bad limp or no, Jericho was still not the guy Christian wanted to see... he tries to spit out a "I did it for you, Chris" sort of rationalization, but that got a big ol' "No Sale" from Jericho. He quickly shook out his bad leg, said "To hell with it," and sprinted to the ring to attack Christian.  Big pop.  Jericho put about 30 seconds of ass-whomping on Christian before Christian managed to sneak in a shot on Jericho's bad knee.  Jericho crumbled, and Christian escaped the ring.  As Christian stared back at the ring from the stage, and as Jericho got back to his feet and started shouting about Christian being a son of a bitch, we cut to some....


Low Content Segment

First, an Earlier Tonight segment, covering the Austin/Vince Vehicular Stunt.

Then, out in the parking lot, Austin's ATV of Justice has been placed on a flat-bed and is being carted away.  Who could be responsible?  Or perhaps, more importantly, Who could possibly give a rat's ass?  [But then I remember the live crowd popping for  the mighty Polaris Whatever, and I realize I'm in the minority when it comes to thinking Austin's little sheriff buggy is kinda silly.]

Then JR and King run down the entire WM20 line-up.  Including SD! matches.

And then we go back out to the parking lot, where Evolution basically does the same "We're gonna beat up Mick Foley again tonight" promo they already did.  The only difference: this time, HHH is dressed up really nice and announces that they are on their own for the rest of the night because he's hopping in his limo and heading to the strip club to get things ready for the Evolution Party.  

Cuz nothing says "We're classy guys who are hits with all the chicks" like having to send an advance scout to the titty bar to make sure the girls are already paid for!


Rob Van Dam/Booker T vs. Matt Hardy/Test (Non-Title Match)

Your formula: quick start, then Van Dam gets isolated and Booker T plays Cheerleader for a few moments, leading some Rhythmic Clapping.  Unlike the previous tag match, the crowd was willing to tolerate this one despite the lack of any discernable reason behind it...  Booker and RVD have enough appeal that fans will get into a meaningless match of theirs, I guess.  RVD does the VERY time-compressed Ricky Morton thing, and hits the hot tag about 3 minutes in.  Booker almost hits the axe kick on Test, but it was a false finish: Matt breaks it up.  But then Test and Matt have a miscommunication (Booker ducks and Matt eats the Big Boot), allowing Booker to hit the axe kick on Test, allowing RVD to follow up with the Five Star, and allowing Booker to make the pinfall for the win in a 4-5 minute match.  Quality popcorn match: enjoyable, but not particularly memorable.

Backstage: Mick Foley is wrapping up his wrists, apparently in anticipation of a fight.  Which will be NEXT!


Ummm, The Rock IS Gonna Be Here, Right? Theatre

It's already after 11pm when Foley hits the ring, so he gets about 2 sentences into his "I said I was gonna come to Atlanta" (Cheap Pop) "And so here I am" speech when Evolution interrupted him. 

Orton got on the stick as Evolution backed Mick into a corner.  Orton said they COULD do the standard Evolution Beats the Hell Out of Mick Foley thing, but Mick looks like his head still hurts, and frankly, Orton says his fist is still sore from delivering the beating two weeks ago.  So for now, Orton proposes a truce, and suggests that they go ahead and finish this once and for all the way Mick wanted to: with a one-on-one match at WM20.  At this, Mick speaks up, and says that if the last few weeks have taught him anything, it's that there's no such thing as one-on-one where Evolution is involved.  So he has a counter proposal: at WM20, it'll be Randy Orton, Batista, and Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley and One Partner of His Choice in a handicap match.

Now Atlanta senses it.  A "Rocky" chant starts.  Orton, sharp fellow he is, decides not to ignore it.  He says, "OK, Mick, I know you don't have any friends backstage, I know you'll have to go outside that locker room to find a partner, and I've even heard the same rumors that all these idiot fans have heard.  So you go ahead, you go back there and try to get Mr. Hollywood Movie Star on the phone.  And if you get through, and if you get him to come to WrestleMania, you tell him that the Legend Killer will be more than happy to take out a Hollywood Legend at the same time as the Hardcore Legend."  I'm paraphrasing.  But in truth, Orton's version didn't suck as bad as I'd probably like to pretend, so it's not like my paraphrasing is actually superior to the real thing (like it is in 80% of Orton promos), either...

Foley hopped out of the ring, and said he was going to go make that phone call right now.  Crowd's getting a bit antsy again, sensing an impending anti-climax... but then Foley stops and announces that maybe instead of  him telling Rock those things over the phone, maybe Orton would like to tell them to the Rock RIGHT TO HIS FACE.  Because Foley promised he was coming to Atlanta, but he never said anything about coming to Atlanta alone!  Hit the Rock's music!  The Old One, not the Evil Heel Remix!

Monster pop as the Rock and His New Goatee sprinted to the ring and promptly joined Mick for a decidedly one-sided brawl against Evolution.  And the side with 2 guys beat the side with 3 guys.  Flair and Batista powdered out, leaving Orton to be the poor lug who took Mr. Socko and then the People's Elbow.  Evolution yanked Orton out of the ring and regrouped on the ramp as the Rock grabbed the Stick.  He said absolutely nothing that you couldn't have predicted: talked trash about the ass kicking Evolution would get from the Reunited Rock 'n' Sock Connection at WM20, and then hit a 2 minute stream of catchphrases.  If you smellllll....

And so on and so forth.  Huge ending for RAW...  and the Road to WrestleMania just got that much more interesting.

PS: Anyone who writes in to tell me it was a Van Dyke and not a Goatee will receive a sac punch.  I don't care.  You're all just lucky I'm in a hurry and didn't feel like doing a Bearded Spock riff.  I'll just leave the jokes to Hocking, I guess...

Final Analysis

Well, OK, so this wasn't quite the grand slam I'd hoped for.  RAW seemed unwilling to do what SD! has done the past few weeks:  namely, to focus almost exclusively on a handful of key players at the expense of the mid-carders...  so there were definitely some slower spots that felt incongruous with the live/anything-can-happen vibe that RAW needs to emphasize.

But anytime my biggest complaints are that a Jindrak/Cade vs. Hurricane/Rosey tag match was pointless and boring (but competently enough worked) and that I had to completely switch the brain off to squeeze some guilty pleasure out of the cheesy Austin/Vince vehicular stunt, you've still got yourself a pretty damned fun show.

Also: I would maybe have done Christian/Jericho a little differently, maybe something with a few more fireworks, and wouldn't have felt guilty for even one second if I had to short-change the aforementioned tag match to make it work...  

But other than that: I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd complain about how the two top stories were handled...  first we got a good main event tag match (albeit in the middle of the show), which wound up doing a great job of telling the story of how Benoit and Michaels don't like each other.  And then, with the post-match attack, how HHH doens't like either of them.  Very effective combo of in-ring action and angle development.

And then, the Foley/Rock stuff... hey, my original thought was that you could have sprung the surprise earlier on the grounds that it really wasn't much of a surprise.  Then you could have had more segments with Rock and done more of that SD! thing of using only a small handful of guys throughout the night...  but RAW went to the other extreme.  They cock-teased Atlanta with the mid-show four-on-two beating, which just felt PERFECT for Foley to run out, and then for Rock to join him... but no.  Then in the last segment, they teased more, with Foley acting like he'd have to get the Rock on the phone... it was infuriating in a very satisfying kind of way by the time they hit the big finish.

That's when, finally, the Rock comes out for all of 3 minutes to close the show, and all is right with the world again.  Very crafty.

Other good stuff was all centered on making a big push towards fleshing out the WM20 undercard: the big winner there was the Women's Match, with a completely out-of-left-field hair vs. title gimmick (which neutralizes my complaints from last week about how WWE shot themselves in the foot by doing a title change prior to WM, eliminating their best chance for a meaningful women's match at Mania) that should put a little heat on a match that I'm quite confident will be well-worked, as well...  they also gave us the direction for the tag division; it's kind of a silly, half-assed, throw-four-teams-in-there-and-pray direction, but hey, it's a direction, and that's a nice first step....   we got some good spooky in the Kane/Taker feud, and I'm feeling like all we need is one big final (non-gay) push next week and that match'll go over great at the PPV, too... and Jericho vs. Christian is on, as well; it was effectively intro'd tonight, even if it came off a little flatter or throw-away than I'd have liked.

Well-put-together show tonight.  Even the spots that dragged had an internal logic and consistency that all push towards Mania matches, so they are forgivable, I guess.  And obviously, the Rock showing up gives you an ultra-rare dose of Big Show Atmosphere.

More thoughts/fall-out tomorrow in OO.... 


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
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
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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