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Free Per View, Baby! 
May 4, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Let's face it: I spent a week spouting the phrase "Free Per View" like a jack-ass.  More than a few people mailed in over that time to ask for some of what I was smoking, because they thought I was over-selling HBK/Benoit.

I kept my mouth shut because, unlike rants about Booze or Reality TV, I only had about 85% certainty on my side.  I'd have to wait until the show was done to be sure if I was right to pimp this week's RAW as a "Free Per View" after last week's maintenance episode.

Well, it's done.  And let's just say if you want to skip to the end, I'll be laughing best, cuz I'll be laughing last.  But first, here's what happened...

Misters Subliminal: I don't know if it's new or not, but this week, Johnny Nitro was in the quick-flash portrait of Eric Bischoff that starts the show.  Oy, the things I usually miss by Time Shifting!

Free Per View Package: Right out of the gate, we are going for a Pay Per View feel.  An elaborately produced video hyping Benoit vs. Michaels (with cryptic music and selected soundbites giving us a big show atmosphere that differs from the usual straight-up summary History Packages) kicks us off.

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcome you to RAW in the Desert.  Tonight's gonna be a big one, and as evidence, JR says "And now, we're gonna take you down and show you how you start of a Championship Night."

Triple H, Randy Orton, Batista vs. Edge, Shelton Benjamin, Tajiri

You want to know how my mind works?  Batista, who has already made some very metro choices in terms of facial hair and what-not, decides to debut a new habit of hitting swishy body builder poses so his male companions and the male announce team can gawk at his physique... it's off-putting in a way I can't quite put my finger on.  So I let my mind wander during Evolution's entrance to the issue of "OK, so what three guys will they face tonight?".  I came up with Edge and Shelton instantly.  Even though I am Tajiri Mark #1, his name didn't even cross my mind.  I figured he had his moment last week... and even after he hit the ring (to my pleasant surprise), I instantly assumed he was the designated job boy out of these six.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.  Match opens with all six guys cycling in and out pretty quickly.  Well, five of the six: Batista doesn't get in.  So it's all back and forthy, with the crowd CLEARLY red hot (cheers for all three faces, and they ride both Orton and HHH hard) for the opening moments.  About 4 minutes in, Batista finally tags in, and he actually takes over the match: Edge becomes your first Face In Peril.  Batista tags out, and HHH goes to work on the injured hand/arm of Edge...  but it's against HHH that Edge is able to fire up at about the 7-8 minute mark.  Hot tag to Tajiri (!), who absolutely cleans house.  He caps his flurry with a Tornado DDT on HHH, but before he can get the pinfall, Batista is back in and breaks it up with a clothesline that puts Tajiri down.  HHH is still down, too, so let's watch some...


Back from the break, and Tajiri is getting kicked around by Randy Orton.  Then Batista comes in, and Tajiri gets his ass kicked some more.  Then HHH tags in and.... shows ass?  Yeah.  Continuing a trend from the opening moments, HHH doesn't really even get a single move in on Tajiri.  He gives Tajiri the hope spot, and then tags out like a little bitch.  Don't know if that was intentional, or just a coincidence in the way they laid out the match, but...  HHH: Tajiri's Bitch.  Has a nice ring.  Anyway, after the cowardly tag out, Randy Orton regained the edge on Tajiri until it was time for the comeback.  And what a comeback: Tajiri reversed out of a pinning combination, and Orton was still on his knees when Tajiri blasted him with a wicked stiff kick to the back of his skull.  I think the neighbors heard my shout of glee on that one.  Hot tag to Edge!  He's a house afire!  He's got Orton (still legal after Stiff Kick) lined up for a Spear, but Batista comes in and intercepts with a clotheslines.  Edge down.  Benjamin is occupying HHH on the outside when Tajiri comes in to try to get rid of Batista: but Batista just hoists him up for the powerbomb.  Bad idea, Davey.  From the apex of the powerbomb attempt, Tajiri mists Batista and is released unharmed.  Orton, semi-recovered, sees this and goes over to check on Batista.  But Edge is fully recovered, lines Orton up again, and nails him with the Spear.  One.  Two.  Three.  Edge has just pinned the IC Champ!  Tajiri, rather than being designated Job Boy, was a Difference Maker!  The match was about 16-18 minutes and VERY entertaining!  This is how you open a show!  Faces celebrate, while Evolution seethes.


Backstage: Coach and Garrison Cade are chatting (general heel banter about the women in Phoenix being heinous) when up walks.... VINCE MCMAHON~!  Coach and Cade go into sniveling kiss-ass mode, and ask what Vince is doing here.  Vince is in Alleged Babyface Mode as he talks about how great Phoenix is (the weather, the women, etc.), but then states quite emphatically that the reason he's here is because of the Benoit/Michaels main event.  He says that match will be so good, it'll be more art than sport, and he wants to see it live.

SD! Rebound: I don't recap recaps.  But I will mention that they did pretty hard sells on both Taker wrestling this week and on the Eddie/RVD vs. Dudleys match.  And also: Jim Ross used his Serious Voice to tell us about an incident in El Paso, TX, where Bradshaw interrupted a Guerrero family celebration and Eddie's mom wound up having a heart attack and going to the hospital.  Footage on SD!, so tune in.  So much for me treating that like a Spoiler, yesterday...

Backstage 2: We are in Eric Bischoff's office, and Evolution is not pleased.  HHH feels like he should be facing the World Champ, not wasting his time.  Batista feels he was besmirched by Tajiri.  And Orton didn't much like being pinned by Edge.  Bischoff is taking it all in when Johnny Nitro interrupts (and is called "Johnny Oversell" by HHH) to tell Bischoff that Vince is in the building.  Bischoff puffs up at the thought of impressing the boss.  So first: he orders Nitro to prepare the Luxury Box and fetch some 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch (cheap bastard!  *I* drink the 12-year Macallan, and I'm not high on anyone's list of Asses to Kiss...  Vince should be getting AT LEAST the 18-year, and preferably something in the 20s).  And second: to impress the boss, and placate Evolution, Bischoff makes three matches for next week.  Batista vs. Tajiri.  HHH vs. Shelton Benjamin 3: The Final Blow-off.  And Randy Orton vs. Edge for the IC Title.  Whoa, and we called THIS week a Free Per View.  Nicely played.


Rob Conway vs. Hurricane

Pretty decent back-and-forth action here, as Conway and Hurricane clicked well, and Grenier and Rosey didn't really figure into things much.  But the real purpose here was just to provide a canvas to talk about next week: not only do we have the three big matches just announced by Bischoff, but we've got Eugene's in-ring debut against Conway!  So of course, this ends up being a showcase for Conway, who wins via clean pinfall with a move that was New To Me.  One-half Tully Blanchard Slingshot Suplex, one-half that "Roll of the Dice" move that probably has gotten a new name in WWE, and 100% sweet-looking.  Maybe I'll just generically call it a Slingshot Neckbreaker until they give it a brand name.  Sweet new finisher, though.  Three or four entirely competent minutes here, which set the stage well for next week.

Tale of the Tape: Benoit vs. HBK, summarized in one handy graphic.  Way to steal one of SD!'s cool ideas, RAW!


Video Package: introduced with appropriate horror by JR and King, we take a look back at all things Kane, Lita, and Matt from last week.  Kane: he's a sick bastard.

Kane vs. Stevie Richards

Kane is moving faster than normal on his way out.  Kane destroys Richards in less than 30 seconds.  Kane immediately leaves the ring while the announcers are confused: did Kane leave the iron on, or something?


The Highlight Reel

Jericho hits the ring, and wastes no time putting over tonight's World Title Match as RAW's True Highlight of The Night.  But he's got an ulterior motive: as good as HBK and Benoit are, it's just been way too long since Jericho got a World Title shot.  So he's issuing an open challenge to the winner of tonight's match (and I wouldn't be the kind of fan who operates a website like this if I didn't mention that I DEFINITELY perked up when Jericho paused awkwardly after Shawn Michaels' name, before resuming and saying "Michaels, Benoit, whichever of them wins").  Jericho says it's time for a new challenger who goes by 3 initials.  And it won't be H, H, H.  It'll be Y, 2, J.  Nice.

But anyway, now it's time for tonight's guest: Matt Hardy, Version 1.0.  Matt is out, and Jericho tries to ply him with some banter about how "wonky" his own relationship turned out the last few months and how Matt acted last time he was on the Highlight Reel talking about Lita.  But Matt cuts him off and says he'll get straight to the heart of the matter: he's made mistakes, but he wants to put things right.  So he asks Lita to come on down to the ring.  But she's not coming.  Matt says he knows she's back there, so c'mon baby, let's do this thing.  Still no Lita.

Then finally: Lita appears on the TitanTron, and good lord, if you've got half-a-brain, you can already tell where this is going (what between the very-clumsy "looking just off screen as if she's terrified" acting and the fact that Kane was In A Hurry moments ago).  Lita tells Matt "I never loved you, now just leave me alone."  And Matt is buying it, either because he's a moron or because he's a sucker for crappy acting.  Finally, the BIG SWERVE: as Lita announces "Ah! I can't do this!  Matt, you have to save me!  I'm in the boiler room!" and the camera pans back to reveal Kane standing off to one side.  He gets in real close to sniff Lita a bit, and tells her "You shouldn't have done that."  Then he turns to the camera and gives us a big shit-eating grin.  Then the signal cuts out.  In the ring, Matt just sprints to the back...  more on why this sucked later.

With no guest, that leaves Jericho with no Big Finish to his segment.  He's thinking about just wrapping it up when Christian interrupts (accompanied by Trish and Tomko).  Christian says that last week, Jericho got his hands on him (Christian) and Trish.  But he's not yet gotten to sample Tyson Tomko, Problem Solver.  Jericho's all "Bring it on," and so Tomko rushes the ring.  Of course, it was all a set-up, as Christian follows about 10 seconds later and joins in the attack.  They go three-on-one on Jericho, Tomko doing the softening up, then Trish hitting a big ol' kick to the sac, then Christian finishing off with the Unprettier.  Big heat on the three to close out the segment.  Onward Christian's Soliders!


During the Break: Matt found Lita in the boiler room, still tied to a chair.  But Kane was gone.  Matt's catchphrase of the night: "Did he touch you?" Lita was just all weepy and incoherent, but apparently was NOT touched in any of her private areas.  Lita is untied, and she and Matt embrace.  Aw.  And yet: more on why this sucked later.  Well, maybe I'm overstating it.  A bit.  But it was the only thing to complain about all night, so... later.  Later.

Gail Kim vs. Victoria (Non-Title Match)

Gail hit the ring with Molly Holly (who, herself, was with a wig, which itself was with a chinstrap again), and got The Stick.  Gail got about 15 seconds to say that "Lita got what she deserved," which was probably just so that the live crowd would boo her.  Then Victoria's out, and it's Game On.  Pretty quick start, but then we hit a snag: Victoria couldn't quite convert on an attempted Press Slam, and the crowd booed gently.  She got them part of the way back with the Shimmy-Shake Moonsault, but right after that, Molly interjected herself so Gail could take control of the match.  And Gail's offense tonight: pretty much a Dragon Sleeper.  She used it either 2 or 3 times.  And although it's a pretty cool move as restholds/submissions go, you don't need to use it for 3 minutes out of a 5 minute match, if you catch my drift.  Victoria begins her power-up, and gets a few moves in edgewise.  But before too long, she is cut off with the exact same exchange as last week: Gail tries for the head scissors, Victoria reverses into wrap-around slam, Gail re-reverses into a sweet submission hold that combined the head scissors with a wicked arm bar.  Victoria fights it, but she drops to the mat.  Lawler's only comment so far, a pained "Good grief."  Victoria is fading, and... she taps out!  Whoa.  Molly's obviously in line, but now Gail has a non-title win over Victoria, too.  Looks like it's the Fed's standby "The Champ is the only one who never wins" ploy in the women's division. I'm not gonna say the six minutes that preceded it were particularly compelling, but after last week, that finish was EXTREMELY satisfying to me, personally.  Long live the Wolverine PretzelLeaf 2004, or whatever I called that move last week.....  

[WARNING, THIS BRIEF PARAGRAPH IS A DIGRESSION: Gail used that move last week, and Lawler was a total ass, and I called him on it.  This week, she uses it again, and Lawler acts appropriately.  Namely, acting like it really hurt instead of asking to be put in the hold just because his face would be proximate to Gail's vagina.  I won't venture a guess on how this came to pass, but if for no other reason than to conserve good karma, I give credit where it is due after giving a verbal lashing where it was due last week: thank you to Lawler for his restraint, and thank you to whoever gave him the memo after last week's idiotic display.]

Eugene in Training: At the WWE's training facility in Stamford, William Regal and Dr. Tom Pritchard are talking about getting Eugene ready for his match next week.  In the background, Eugene is doing silly stuff like doing the Von Raske Claw and falling down for no good reason.  Regal privately confides in Dr. Tom that his plan is to give Eugene an old fashioned "torture session" that disabuses him of the idea of being a wrestler once and for all... and we'll see the highlights NEXT!



Back at the training facility, Regal and Eugene are in the ring, and Regal explains the concept of the tie-up and then the armdrag (Eugene, again reminding us that he might be Special, but he knows his wrestling, chimes in "Ricky Steamboat" at the mention of the arm drag).  Regal will do the move to Eugene first, then if Eugene can grasp it, Eugene can put the move on Regal.  Regal snaps Eugene over, maybe a little stiffly.  Then to console the lad, he says, "OK, your turn."  And Eugene CRISPLY arm drags Regal out of his boots.  Quick zoom on Regal's pained facial expression, which immediately melts away into a cocky look of "Oh, so THAT's how we're gonna do this."

And that's the vibe for a minute or two.  Regal increases the degree of difficulty, but each time, Eugene matches him.  Immediately before and after each move, Eugene may be stumbling around, chewing his thumb, and in general looking like a moron... but executing his moves: he is crisp.  Heh.  The montage leads to Regal getting more and more frustrated.  They take a water break.  And Eugene: the guy's got a water bottle that is HHH's head.  And yes, he ends up doing the spit take in Regal's face for added humiliation.  I don't know exactly why that was funny, but it got me in the sweet spot.

ENOUGH~!  Regal says Young Master Eugene has gotten lucky, but now, it is time for Regal's specialty.  The Chain Wrestling.  Regal's gonna stretch this kid and make him forget about ever being a wrestler.  Cue up "Flight of the Valkyries" for maximum comedic effect, and then Commence the Chain Wrestling.  And wouldn't you know it, Eugene matches Regal hold for hold and move for move.  The music was a perfect choice, and completely ridiculous quick cuts to Dr. Tom (cheering) and the HHH's Head Water Bottle (looking ominous) again get me right where I laugh.

The coup de grace: Eugene reverses his way into an STF.  Also known as The Regal Stretch.  D'oh.  Regal taps out to his own move.  Eugene celebrates in his endearingly silly way.  Regal has been humilated.  There were no shots to the balls, as I'd prescribed, but I'm not sure this wasn't an even better way to handle it: Eugene the Comedy Act was still very funny (thank you, William Regal, and thank you HHH Water Bottle!), but Eugene the Wrestler just got about a billion times more intriguing.  Well played.

Next week: JR and King chuckle over the training footage, and immediately go into Hyping Next Week.  Of course, we'll see Eugene's debut against Rob Conway.  But also: HHH/Shelton, Batista/Tajiri, and Edge/Orton!  Big show...

But Wait There's More: JR and King's hype is interrupted by Eric Bischoff, who comes out on the stage, and welcomes Vince McMahon to his skybox high above the arena.  And Eric's not just trying to impress the boss or anything (yeah, right), but he's got ANOTHER big match for next week.  Once again, it'll be Chris Jericho vs. Christian.  But this time, no interference.  Because it'll be inside a 15 foot high steel cage!  Whoa!  Next week's RAW now officially has more interesting matches lined up than SD!'s upcoming PPV.  Which is probably wrong.  But I'm not complaining.

Free Per View Package: a replay of the package that opened the show.  


Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels (World Title Match)

Both men out to pretty mixed (but both loud) reactions, though if I had to say, it seemed like Michaels was 60/40 cheers-to-boos, while Benoit was 60/40 boo-to-cheers.  Mike Chioda is your ref to start the match, and believe me, between expecting a ref bump and Earl Hebner and knowing Vince is in the building, my Smarky Sense was definitely tingling.  And it felt good, baby.  Maybe they are only teasing, but even so, I'm such a sucker for over-thinking stuff like that and I appreciate the red herrings simply cuz it puts me on the edge of my seat.

Match starts out with a very physically intense vibe.  Tight tie-ups, stiff chops, and Chioda has to insert himself between the two a couple times to break them in the ropes.  Finally, about 2-3 minutes in, there is no clean break, and the Fistifcuffs begin.  Pace picks up, both guys hit a few moves.. then they are running the ropes and both men collide.  HBK with the early Kip Up.  But Benoit's not down, yet, and he immediately counters with an attempted early Crossface.  But HBK's got that scouted and hits the ropes.  Just as they're about to resume grappling, we suddenly snap cut to....


JR apologizes for the unannounced ad break, and explains that while we were gone, HBK has been working on Benoit's back.  Michaels continues the assault with the Abominible Stretch, and Benoit emphatically sells it by doing Hart Caliber Turnbuckle Bumps.  Michaels tosses in a few suplexes, to boot.  Then he slams Benoit in the center of the ring.  AWESOME Subtle Touch: Michaels goes to the corner, then looks back, and decides to slam Benoit again, just in case.  He did it with a sneer on his face, and believe me, any crowd tendancy to favor Shawn is gone now: they are just 50/50 and loving the action.  After the second slam, Michaels goes up and hits the Macho Man Elbow.  But it's not enough.  Benoit wages his comeback, climaxing with the Hat Trick of Germans.  Benoit goes to the corner, but in ANOTHER AWESOME Subtle Touch: Benoit gets a sneer on his face and goes back and delivers a FOURTH German, just in case.  Little things, people, little things.  Then Benoit goes up for the Swandive Headbutt...  but Michaels dodges, even after the fourth German.  Now they go back and forth for a minute or two, setting up for a big high spot: Michaels is on the apron, Benoit is in the ring, and they are jockeying for position.  Finally, Michaels manages to gain control and suplexes Benoit out of the ring and to the floor!  Cool.  Then Michaels takes inventory of things and decides to go all 1994 on Benoit's ass.  Benoit slowly gets to his feet, Michaels ascends the closest turnbuckle, and busts out the Moonsault To The Floor.  High elevation, full lay-out, and it hits flush.  Holy Shit is right, Phoenix.  Both guys down, Chioda's laying the count on them, but they make it back to their feet at 8, and Michaels gets in the ring to break the count.  Then he continues the 1994 vibe by letting his ass hang out of his trunks for a minute after Benoit yanks him back outside the ring by the tights.  Brawling resumes, and in this exchange, Benoit goes flying into the ringpost.  Michaels pulls up his drawers and gets in the ring, where he is spent.  Benoit, cameras show us, is now lying in a pool of his own blood at ringside.  Probably a good time for our final...


Back, and Benoit's locked in a chinlock and wearing a Crimson Mask.  But we're after 11pm Eastern, now, and we got no time for restholds, so Benoit starts the comeback, toot sweet.  Benoit fires up, and they go into a series of near falls.  Then they fire up the chops again.  All very back-and-forthy.  Michaels goes for a Boston Crab, but Benoit gets the ropes.  Benoit comes back with the Crossface, but Michaels makes the ropes.  Crowd is REALLY into this, but the reactions are mixed for both guys: loud cheers and boos for any guy locking on a submission or getting a break, and again, sounds really close to 50/50.  Following up on the Crossface, Benoit eventually grapples his way into a Sharpshooter attempt.  But Michaels is writhing, and eventually kicks Benoit off.  Benoit falls back, and collides with ref Chioda.  Three men down, but Michaels is the first up.  Benoit up second.  And Benoit walks right into the Sweet Chin Music!  But the ref's still down.  Michaels is trying to decide what to do when Triple H runs in from out of nowhere and attacks HBK.  He nails Shawn with the Pedigree.  Then HHH hopes the barriers and blends in with the crowd.  Both the ref and Benoit are starting to come around.  Benoit sees HBK down on the mat, and groggily drapes an arm over Michaels.  Chioda sees the cover and counts.  One.  Two.  Dramatic Pause.  Three.  Benoit has pinned Shawn Michaels, but (without him knowing it) got an assist from HHH.  In the crowd, HHH gives the Sarcastic Golf Clap for Benoit's win.  Lawler says Benoit's win was cheap, JR defends him saying Benoit couldn't have known about the Pedigree, and says HHH is the villain.  Just the briefest of celebrations for Benoit before the show concludes.  Not sure where they go with the finish, but my lingering concerns there are not nearly enough to undo the enjoyment I had for this 20-plus minute masterpiece.  Awesome match.

Final Analysis

You want to doubt the Free Per View label, now?

Everything about this show SCREAMED that it was being built up as something special.  From giving us two weeks of hype (instead of one) for Benoit/HBK to just the uniquely-PPV vibe of the opening video package, I don't think you can deny that the Fed itself had bigger plans for this RAW than for a typical Monday night.  I call it "Free Per View," you can call it whatever you want, but the fact is, I don't think I oversold the show.

But of course, building something up and then delivering the goods are two different things.  And this RAW delivered, maybe even OVERdelivered, despite the high expectations.  And while they were delivering a killer opening half-hour (six man tag match) and a killer final half hour (world title match) and a generally amusing middle hour (everything else), they also managed to set things up so that NEXT week could almost have the same "Free Per View" label.

It's not quite the same, since I don't think you have that one indisputable PPV Main Event caliber match to build around.  Jericho vs. Christian in a cage will be super, but that's still not quite the same thing as Benoit vs. HBK.  But where this week's show had that one top-shelf match, next week's has FIVE very compelling selling points.  And I wasn't joking before: next week's RAW has a stronger, more marketable line-up than SD!'s upcoming PPV.  Not just more "intriguing" matches, but just plain MORE MATCHES.  How does that happen?

Anyway, I don't think there's much point discussing the opening and closing half-hours.  One was a very good match, one was an outstanding match (and best Free TV Match of the Year, so far), and if that's how you want to eat up half of RAW's broadcast time, I'm there with bells on.  Just maybe one observation:  in the opener, HHH really was Tajiri's bitch.  Orton and Batista had no trouble making Tajiri their Ricky Morton, but every time HHH was in the ring with him, Tajiri got the better of him.  Then HHH turns around and is the difference making in the Benoit/HBK main event.  I don't know how the Transitive Theory of Professional Wrestling should apply in this situation, but I think I like it.  At least, I don't dislike it.  Not until Batista squashes Tajiri next week, anyway.

That leaves us to quickly break down the middle hour.  Stuff I liked: the continuation of Jericho/Christian setting up a cage match main event for next week.  Not just because of the aforementioned reason of the match likely ruling the universe, but also because I think what we're seeing here is a very subtle repositioning of Jericho AND Christian.  Notice that BOTH guys referenced the World Title in the last two weeks.  That can't be by accident, and I like the inference I'm drawing.  Is this, essentially, developing into a #1 Contenders Feud?  I'd like to hope so....  Vince showing up (maybe it WAS just a red herring to get a certain type of fan thinking, but it's no skin off my nose... Vince ended up doing nothing... unless you count simply showing up and convincing fans that Benoit vs. HBK is something special as "something"... which I think maybe I do)...  Eugene/Regal (like I said, I had this pegged for Regal being whacked in the nuts; instead, this portrayed Eugene as an Idiot Savant of Wrestling who might be a legit competitor AND it was still funny; I'll gladly swallow my pride and admit that the Fed's play here is better than mine would have been)...  and Gail Kim's finisher being put over properly (if only because it's so personally vindicated after my rant last week, but also because it's a really sweet looking hold).

And yes, kids, we gotta hit the Stuff I Didn't Like.  Specifically, the Thing I Didn't Like:  The Kane/Lita/Matt crap.  Maybe there is some well-mapped-out conclusion to this thing, and I just gotta give it time... but in the present, it rubs me wrong on a couple different levels.  One, it's just not right for Kane, at least, it doesn't seem that way yet.  Two, the swerve/reveal during the Lita TitanTron bit was another of those overly-Hollywood-ized bits that annoy me; not only was it clear from Moment #1 what was going on, but convenient camera zooming out revealing the "surprise" of Kane tormenting Lita is just SOOOOOO cheesy, and then Kane making stupid faces at the same camera to close the bit also stuck me as lame.  And three, good lord, Lita isn't right for this part.  Maybe it's bad acting.  It's definitely partly due to the fact that we've got this idea of Lita in our heads as being the tough "X-Treme" chick, and it doesn't jibe that she's all simpering and whiny and screaming.  For reasons I can't explain, I was always a sucker for getting sympathetic for Trish getting abused, but Lita doesn't inspire the same response.  And again, I'd suggest maybe the acting has something to do with it... Matt's "Did he touch you?" stuff didn't help any, either.

Again, maybe they have A Plan, here, and all this is just a means to an end.  But that end will have to be pretty freaking sweet for me to do anything but roll my eyes in shame at the Kane/Lita/Matt stuff from RAW.

Three minutes of crap, however, does not undo two hours of goodness.  Super show.  Super set-up for next week, too.  Magnificent.

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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