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The Orton Era Begins
(a/k/a "The Dumbening of RAW")
August 17, 2004

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


I got a little bored and antsy last night; there wasn't anything else on TV even remotely interesting, so I just fired up RAW around 9:25 or so...
Which meant I wound up getting stuck watching more of the diva search stuff than I'd have wanted, but it also meant I was left to sit through pretty much the entirety of the final two or three ad breaks. And somebody, somewhere, has to explain to me something: HOW IN THE BLUE HELL DID THE IDIOTS IN HOLLYWOOD DECIDE 

THAT "ANACONDA" DESERVED A SEQUEL?  I'm serious: I might have joked about the pointlessness of "The Whole Ten Yards" earlier this year, but this is three orders of magnitude more baffling.

I vividly remember sitting through that movie with a few housemates back right at the start of our "free-per-view" era, and laughing our asses off. Even though it wasn't a comedy. I'm not sure what mind-altering substances might have been involved, but trust me, inside the first 30 seconds of "Crapaconda," you got the Worldwide Coming Out Party for J-Lo's butt, and then you had 90 minutes of one of the most embarrassingly bad Hollywood Motion Pictures of the mid-90s. And somehow, it rates a sequel?

Almost makes me wonder what other soul-crushingly dumb Goods and Services are being advertised to the idiots who WWE apparently thinks are stupid enough to accept Randy Orton, Babyface WWE Champion, while I'm fast-forwarding every week...  ALMOST.

Here's what happened on RAW last night:

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc.: and we've got no time for pleasantries, because, instead, one pretty line-mangler introduces another!  That's right: Lillian Garcia asks us to please welcome Randy Orton!

Homoerotic Factual Incorrectness Theatre

Randy Orton is out to what sounds like about a 75/25 boos/cheers split. At least, that's my read based on how easily the pro-Orton chants get drowned out as soon as they start: Randy's fans may be vocal, but that makes me think they are in the minority. So Orton acknowledges the impotent cheers, and says "You weren't with me last night, last night you didn't think I could do it."  But last night, last night Orton did exactly what he set out to do.

He became the youngest WWE Champion in history.

[Admit it you were watching RAW last night, you heard him say this, and if you Know The Rick, the you Knew This Was Coming. So as not to disappoint, here it is: CHRIST, Randy, that's exactly what you DIDN'T become!!! Unless you and JBL got together after the show last night, perhaps invited Jon Heidenreich along, and had the single least compelling wrestling match in the history of time and space. Do I love pointing out Young Randall's fuck-ups? In a perverse way, yes. Do I love that he makes them? Hell, no; I'd rather a guy with so much of the promotional machine behind him to be about 300% more competent than this.  Anyway, JR and King remained silent and let Randy have his little delusion about winning the WWE Title; I merely lowered my head and wondered why he feels the need to make it so easy....]

So from here, Orton goes on another one of his Youngest Ever rants, inviting all the 24 year old males to stand up and compare their lives to his. And then (apparently because Randy's decided that drinking beer with fruit in it isn't already womanly enough), he asks all the men to take off their shirts.  Repeatedly.  Until he has at least a half dozen takers out of a crowd of 5000.  I don't know whether to mock Randy for the latest manifestation of his less-than-manliness or the dudes what actually took their shirts off for their dumbness. 

[And again I must ponder whether Orton or his handlers realize how easy they make it for Guys Like Me to continue making the kind of dismissive jokes I make when they do things like have Orton advocating Male Toplessness. Unless this is headed towards Randy Orton cutting promos from poolside, with a full phalanx of body-waxed Asian Pool Boys bringing him his Corona Light with Lime In It while Jimmy Buffet strums a guitar and caterwauls off to one side, as the first openly gay World Champion (or, if you're Randy, "WWE Champion"), they have to realize that it's probably time for Orton to start displaying SOME kind of qualities that wrestling's predominantly male audience might find interesting or likeable.  Unless I really am overestimating the intelligence or good taste or "guy-ness" of said males.  Which I guess is possible if they are actually big enough tools to buy Bod Brand Bodyspray or Maxim Hair Color or go see the sequel to "Anaconda"....]

Anyway, that last paragraph of tangential ranting is because after becoming aroused by all the manboobs, Orton needed to cool down. So he shot it to A Very Special Music Video. About himself. It was a nice enough collection of clips, I guess, pretty much telling the story from the time Orton joined Evolution to his title win the night before.  Sadly, they couldn't have picked a much shittier song to set them to, and you won't be seeing this on any compilations alongside "Lonely Road of Faith."  Why is WWE convinced that any piece of over-produced, under-creative, god-awful faux metal will be useful to them? Effective enough montage, but only if you had the sound turned down.

We come out of the video tribute, and Orton talks some more, and a lot of it is that kind of "say something, then pause, then repeat it slower and louder for Extra Intensity and Emphasis, but also with one or two words slightly different so it sounds more awkward than intense" way that only Randall has mastered.  He closes out by saying that we'd better get used to his fancy suits and Pretty Pretty Face and so forth, because the Orton Era Has Only Just Begun.

And then, Enter Benoit. To be fair: Orton's promo was not bad (merely exhibiting the annoying traits that all Orton promos do, which I love to riff on, but which I guess the fans at large have decided to ignore/forgive; and also probably a bit slow and overlong right at the end), and he did effectively erase the 25 percent cheers over the course of the promo, or at least get the other 75 percent of fans to get more vocal themselves.  So Benoit came out to a nice big pop, and was the clear fan favorite over Orton when he grabbed a mic.

Benoit announces that Orton's first title defense will come against the Wolverine.  And Randy, in a reactive moment, conveys a very convincing bit of yellow-bellied-ness when he goes all, "Oh, hey, sure, I know all about your rematch clause. So, uh, take two or three weeks to get healthy, and uh, once you're ready, I'd love to give you a shot at my title."  But Benoit's not talking about 2 or 3 weeks. He's not talking about next week.  He's not even talking about tomorrow.  He's talking about right here, tonight, in this very ring. And he's just come from GM Bischoff's office, and it's a done deal.  Later on tonight: Orton vs. Benoit for the World Heavyweight Title.  Hey, at least Benoit knows which title it is he's fighting for! Play Benoit's Music as he leaves the ring!

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler can't believe it, but it's confirmed. In hyping tonight's new main event, they do a severe over-sell of how good Orton/Benoit at SummerSlam was, making it sound like a Match of the Decade when I doubt it'll even end up as WWE's Match of August.  I'd bitch more, but at least it wasn't as comical/criminal as the way they tried to convinces us that Orton's July PPV match (against Edge) was Awesome when it was barely mediocre....  


Helpful Plug: Jerry Lawler tells us that Randy Orton would like to than whatever band it is that did the music for his video. And fuck me in the ass and call me Sally, I've already forgotten their name, which is too bad, because I would really have liked to mock them some more, and to do it Personally and Specifically.  Mercy Something, I want to say.  Maybe "Mercy Way"?  I'll say this: their record company apparently put more effort into their fancy logo than the band put into learning how to write rock 'n' roll songs!  HA!

Rhyno vs. Sylvain Grenier (All Or Nothing Match)

Lillian Garcia says the stipulation is this: if Rhyno wins, he and Tajiri get a Tag Title shot at Unforgiven, but if he loses, he and Tajiri will NEVER get a tag title match for the rest of eternity.  Almost immediately, I kind of wanted Rhyno to get screwed here again (and remember, I'm the biggest Rhyno/Tajiri fan you know), because then it could have set up something kind of fun where Tajiri is not eliminated from getting a new partner and going after La Resistance, so before Vengeance he a new Mysterious Masked Partner ("Ceros"? Just stop and think about it for a second, you will laugh eventually...)....  but again, this is probably a case of me thinking too hard.

Rhyno's out fast, but then after an exchange on the outside in which Robert Conway eliminated Tajiri with a DDT, La Resistance had the numbers, allowing Grenier to get the advantage over Rhyno.  He held it for a good 3 minutes or so until Tajiri finally recovered, and while the ref got distracted by Conway, Grenier was gonna grab the Quebec flag to use as a weapon, but Tajiri stopped him, hit him with the Blinding Green Mist, and then dropped back down off the apron.  Rhyno hit the Gore, then made the cover (in a nice touch, he laid down over Grenier's face so the ref couldn't see the mist), and got the in.  Maybe 5 minutes, tops.  Decent action, good way to advance the story, too.

Recapping The Crap: JR and King go over the Kane/Lita storyline to date. This is a set up to a Very Special Announcement from Kane....  with a graphic of a wedding invitation on the screen and with soft, gentle music playing in the background, Kane invites us all to his wedding, LIVE next week on RAW.  We come back to the announce desk, and Lawler is REALLY excited about this (and was, in fact, in quasi-obnoxious mode almost all night, starting with wondering where all the girls were at during Orton's celebratory promo -- failing to realize that Orton doesn't swing that way, he wants naked DUDES, duh -- and continuing on here with rambling so annoying that even Jim Ross had to silence him with a snarky retort) because he's an idiot.


More Recapping of Crap: Thinking that we haven't had enough of Kane and Lita, JR and King now take us through some still frame highlights of Kane/Matt at SummerSlam. The upshot of it all is that Kane won and will now wed Lita. Next week on RAW. Lawler keeps it in his pants this time, since we've got something useful to cut to...

Backstage: Lita is walking, and is caught up to by Coach, who wants to ask her a few prickish questions about having to marry Kane. Lita basically gives him the silent treatment, and brushes him off to enter the women's locker room... a camera follows her as she turns on the lights to reveal....

Diva Bridal Shower Theatre

Trish, Molly (wig-less, and I hope you'd all agree with my suggestion from last week that the results are quite pleasantly surprising), Gail, and Jazz have assembled, and all shout "Surprise" as Lita enters the room. There's decorations and a big "Congratulations Kane and Lita" banner and everything, and Trish says that she thought it'd be nice if she got the girls together and threw Lita a big party before she got hitched. So she organized it. And they've got presents and everything.

Molly is first, and again endears herself to me by intimating that Lita is not only vaguely slutty, but also quite stupid, as she gives the gift of Various Birth Control Measures.  Ah, timely, as if ripped directly from the pages of OO about 2 months ago!  Included in the gift box are Magnum Brand Condoms, which inspires the divas to serenade Lita with the "Trojan Man" jingle.  Which for some reason inspires me to laugh quite heartily.

Gail is next, and apparently is the group's photo bug, as she first presents Lita with a lovely framed photo of her First Kiss with Kane. Of course, it's a freeze frame with Lita looking particularly terrified as Kane moves in for a big, juicy smooch.  Pretty funny.  And I guess Gail is not just a photo bug, she's also a fan of Conan O'Brien's "If They Mated..." because she said the girls got together and made up a picture of what Kane and Lita's baby would look like. Except it kinda looked like it was only Kane's face on a pudgy baby body, really, which isn't THAT great a use of the photoshop...  they really should have Late Nighted it up with some red hair and a shoulder tat, as well...

Finally, Jazz presents her gift: knowing that Kane's a wrestler and on the road alot, she got Lita something to keep her company on those lonely nights.  As Jazz hands over a vibrating box, she says it's a "big red machine" of Lita's very own. HA!  Of course, even though I found this to be REALLY amusing, Lita doesn't quite see the humor, and picks this moment to stormed out.  Trish wasn't gonna let the rib die that easily, though, and followed her out doing a "Aw, c'mon, Lita, we've got a whole party for you, we worked really hard" sort of thing....

Kubrick Segue: So the camera follows Trish out, but instead of finding Lita, she finds Victoria in the hallway. And Trish is more than happy to switch gears from mocking Lita to mocking Victoria.  I believe the line was "Nice work at dodgeball last night. Who'd you train with, Stevie Wonder?"  HA! again!  Victoria, like Lita, appears to lack a sense of humor, and smacks Trish in the face and storms off before the proper retribution can be handed out...


Coming Soon: a "Shawn Michaels Returns" vignette airs, with no precise return date stated.  After it concludes, Jim Ross says his understanding is that Shawn Michaels is targeting a return at the Unforgiven PPV.  [Score one for me and my "Michaels/Kane won't happen till the October PPV" rumors and one against all who tried to convince me it'd take place in September...  at least, score it for me for now...]

Victoria vs. Gail Kim

Victoria starts quick, even hits the shimmy-shake moonsault all of 90 seconds into the match. Problem is, she hit the shimmy-shake moonsault to Gail's knees (even when she was setting it up, she was lined up so bad that I assumed it was supposed to be a miss where Gail brough up the knees, but nope...).  Gail eventually came back, using her cool head-scissors/arm-breaker submission move, and then also getting some oohs and aahhhs for reversing a Death Valley Driver attempt into a rana.  But Victoria also had a comeback in her, surprising Gail on an Irish Whip by leaping onto the second turnbuckle and coming back with.... well, I guess it'd be a "high cross body." But really, it was more a low cross body that once again took Gail out at the knees.  Hey, at least Victoria's consistant tonight!  Coming off that move, it wasn't long before Victoria managed to hit the Widow's Peak for the clean win.  Maybe 3-4 minutes, and I actually thought Gail looked the stronger of the two, but what do I know?

After the match: Trish Stratus was out to get her revenge for Victoria's backstage insubordination... and just when it looked like Victoria might escape, here's Trish's loyal valet, the Lovely Miss Tomko, to lend a hand.  Trish get a quick shot or two in Victoria, but then, when she orders Tomko to destroy Victoria with a press slam or something, the Mysterious Woman From Heat That None Of Us Who Only Watch RAW Know About runs in and attacks Tomko.  Then (s)he quickly checks on Victoria.  Then (s)he beats a hasty retreat.  JR and King have no idea who the woman is (and to "her" credit, (s)he kept "her" wig over her face at all times so there were no blatant tells), but the crowd is clearly chanting "Stevie," which kind of makes King and JR look stupid for not putting it together quicker than the Bod-buying, Anaconda-sequel-watching, Randy-Orton-IQ-equaling, short-bus-riding idiots in the audience.


Edge vs. Kane (InterContinental Title Match)

This is called "Eric Bischoff's Wedding Present" to Kane... crowd starts off pretty pro-Edge, but by match's end, I think it'd be fair to say that we had a pretty even 50/50 split.  Huh.  Fast start for Edge, who goes after Kane's legs, including doing a variation of the old Bret Hart ringpost-assisted Figure Four.  Edge was going for a top rope move when Kane finally managed to shove Edge off to regain the advantage...  or to at least level the playing field, since he wasn't feeling too peachy after 4 minutes of getting his ass kicked.  So with both guys logy, here comes Lita for Purposes Indefinite in time for us to watch some...


Back, and Kane's in control, and Lita is just standing at ringside, where Lawler goes off on an idiotic riff about how awesomely entertaining it is to him that "Lita is showing."  JR shows why he's the best Lawler Wrangler in the business today by immediately coming back with, "Yeah, and Edge is showing us a lot of heart here against the monster Kane."  And in fact, Edge does begin his comeback not long there after, hitting an Edge-o-matic, and then really taking control after sending Kane crashing from the apron to the ringside barrier with that spear-to-the-back type move he's been using lately.  Follows up with a missile dropkick for a near fall, and pretty soon there after, Kane shoved Edge into the ref.  He's down.

Kane's gonna follow up with a chokeslam on Edge, but Lita stops him. The distraction is enough for Edge to line-up the spear, but Kane's got that scouted, and instead, he turns around and gives Edge a Big Boot.  Again, he's gonna hit the chokeslam, but this time, Matt Hardy is out: he nails Kane with the Twist of Fate, and then hightails it outta there.  Lita is cheering this latest change in momentum...  Edge, Kane, and the ref all get up at about the same time... and that's when Edge surprises Kane with a spear, and the ref is there to count three.  Edge retains the IC Title in an OK little 12 minute match.

After the match: Kane drags Lita into the ring, and announces that she might think he's upset with what happened in this match. But he's not. Because he's starting to see how this relationship is gonna work out, and he likes it.  Next week, they will be wed.  And then they will consummate the marriage, as is the style of the times. At this innuendo, Lita decides to slap Kane.  And Kane just chuckles and announces, "OH YEAH, BABY!  That's how I like it!  It's gonna be one hot honeymoon."  Lita tries to give us "Ewwwww," but the crowd is pretty much chuckling along with Kane at this point.  Much like the original "Anaconda," it's not supposed to be funny, but it's cracking our shit up!


Another Official Theme Song: "Unforgiven" has a theme by Saliva, which I was getting already to mock as Yet Another Shitty Choice by WWE, except that then they played it in the background, and GODDAMMIT, I didn't hate that song.  When did Saliva decide to start taking lessons from AC/DC (is kind of what it sounded like, anyway)?  So as a "make good," I'll show ass and let you all know not even *I* could bring myself to make the intended asshole observation here.  I've been one-upped by fucking SALIVA. At least until I hear a second song of that record and it blows chunks in true Saliva form....

Diva Search Week 4, Segment 1, the Consolidationing: Hey, somebody finally decided that they need to just condense this shit down into as few segments per week as possible! So instead of one for eliminating and another for a "talent contest" or whatever, it's all rolled into one. This week's event: cutting a promo on whichever other contestant you would Vote Off The Island, if you had the power to do so.  Every single girl that wasn't the Playmate picked the Playmate, and gave varying levels of justification why (but all related to how she was just in it for the contract and didn't really want to make a career out of it, and that's why she wasn't at Diva Dodgeball, and so forth).  The Playmate picked a girl who was married and had kids and so clearly she couldn't really be expected to put her heart and soul into WWE.  It would have been intriguing if maybe 2 or 3 girls picked the Playmate, since it might have felt genuine and made me like them for DISLIKING the vapid waste of space that is Carmella.  But when ALL of them do it, AND they have the Playmate ripping on a woman for being married with kids, it reeks of Set-Up.  This is just as real as any other Reality TV, folks.  Not very.  Also adding to the suck factor: this week, it's My Michelle McCool who is eliminated.  Even though, as King is quick to note, she was the star of Diva Dodgeball.  Which though a nice resume item, is kind of stupid, since voting had been concluded for 5 days by the time she was eliminating Divas left and right....


Chris Jericho vs. Batista

Power, power, and more power from Batista, as he got the better of Jericho pretty quickly.  That lasted for maybe 2 minutes, as we must have been running tight... Jericho started the Time Compressed Comeback, including nailing Flair with a surprise dropkick when Flair tried to get involved.  Then Jericho lined up Batista with a bulldog and was gonna hit the Lionsault, but as Jericho leapt up onto the second rope, Flair grabbed him. And the ref saw it.  Jericho gets the DQ win, at around the 3-4 minute mark.

After the match: Flair and Batista continue beating on Jericho... until Edge runs out!  Edge tries diving into the ring on each of the four sides, makes a big show of it.  Then he's made his way back to the entrance ramp, and he just kind of gives Jericho an "Eh, screw this" face, and walks away.  Flair and Batista took this as Permission To Continue The Beating, culminating in a powerbomb on Jericho. Edge watched the whole thing with a smirk on his face from the stage.  Hmmmm...


Diva Search Week 4, Segment 2, the Alleged Titillationing: Bikinis and phone numbers, you know the drill.  I was running low on my Time Shift, but I expended almost the last of my supply of FF minutes here, folks.  I try not to watch crap, I try not to recap crap.

Backstage: Randy Orton is making final preparations for his First World ("WWE"?) Title Defense. And in walks Triple H.  Orton seems strangely quiet and reserved, and HHH launches into a "Hey, I know what you're going through" speech.  Showing no signs of dissent or jealousy or anything (to the point where it actually seemed REALLY obvious that Randy should be worried), HHH talked about how Orton just needs to believe in himself, and do the same things tonight that he did last night when he did what no one else (unstated truth: what not even HHH) could do, and he beat Chris Benoit for the World Title. If Randy just goes out there and does what he is capable of, everything will fall into place, because there's always Randy's ace in the hole: Evolution.  They are all for one and one for all, "Evolution is Your Solution," and once they take care of Benoit tonight, Evolution will be right there with Randy for a celebration the likes of which only Evolution can throw.  Randy smiles and seems bolstered by the pep talk. 

[Again, Randy lapping this up with a spoon only makes him a dumb-ass in my book, because if he had even a lick of sense or the cockiness that made him who he was, he would have realized "I didn't need you last night," and further, "You didn't celebrate with me last night, so I should probably be suspicious if you want to celebrate with me tonight."  Randall realized none of these things.  He was exactly the kind of annoying naive, over-eager young pup that made me think of the old Luke Skywalker/Han Solo comparison that you're probably all getting sick of by now.  Oh, by the way: Message received, folks... Batista is Chewbacca.  What I was too lazy to come up with myself was apparently self-evident to over a dozen of you.  I am an idiot.]


Randy Orton vs. Chris Benoit (World Title Match)

All Benoit to start, and at a MUCH faster pace than what they started with last night. Lawler makes an idiot statement about it not being fair that Orton has to defend the title so soon after a grueling match, failing to realize if it was grueling, it must have been even MORE SO for Benoit, who lost it.  But then Lawler tries to save it by riffing on the concept that Orton would have been out till 5am celebrating (he fails to surprise me by mentioning the phalanx of waxed Asian Pool Boys, though), which is OK.  I'd rather just have them put Benoit over as super-bad-ass for out-wrestling Orton, instead of having Lawler and his man-lust for Orton necessitating all manner of excuses and glossing over Benoit's goodness, but at least here there was some logic to it...  Orton: celebrating till dawn, and thus, not at 100% out of the gate here.

Orton tries to escape to the outside about 5 minutes in, and Benoit's happy to follow.  In fact, he widens his advantage with a dropkick from the ring to the floor, and then he throws Orton into the ringsteps (knee first).  Orton is an absolute wreck; Benoit's in the ring to break the count; let's us get some....


We're back, and JUST IN TIME to see Benoit locking in a Sharpshooter.  Orton, who has studied his HHH tapes, tries biting his thumb to mask the pain, and is eventually able to endure long enough to make the ropes.  But the damage is done, and Orton's leg is in bad shape.  Still, he manages to reverse a move near the ropes, and send Benoit crashing out to the floor.  This is about the 11-12 minute mark, and as I was happy to hear JR note: this was Orton's first real offensive move of the match.  [Unstated truth: because Benoit is much awesomer than "Young Master Orton." Which is actually the name JR used for Randall once or twice, effectively scratching me where I itch in so doing.]  Orton's offense was again more neck-related stuff, and chinlock-centric, which MIGHT have been a bit tepid to some, but if you saw the PPV match, it made perfect sense and was a nice little progression.  Orton had a hard time putting anything more dynamic together because he was also remembering to keep selling the bad leg. So good for him there, too.  The series of chinlocks eventually results in the Power Up spot for Benoit, where the ref raised the hand twice, and it fell, but on the third, it stayed up to begin the comeback. 

Benoit fires up big time, including with plenty of Germans, and it's looking like we might have ourselves a New (Old) Champion when he locks in the Crippler Crossface.  Orton goes for the ropes one way.  Benoit does that sweet-ass roll-back-to-the-middle-of-the-ring thing.  Orton goes for the ropes another way, Benoit repeats.  Orton is JUST ABOUT to tap, when here comes Evolution.  En masse, they attempt to enter the ring, but Benoit goes from Flair to Batista to HHH and fights them off.  But while this is going on, apparently all of Orton's remembering to sell big moves was forgotten cuz suddenly he was just fine and on his feet (after a minute-plus in the Crossface, and less than 30 seconds of distraction time) and able to sneak up behind Benoit with an RKO.  Cover, 1, 2, 3, and Orton has once again pinned Chris Benoit.  This time, it wasn't clean.  A good 20 minute match that seemed only the smallest of notches less intense or entertaining than the PPV one.  Again: I'm not a fan of the Left Field RKO Finish after Orton had just spent 90 seconds in the Crossface, but whatever... it doesn't undo the action to that point.

After the match: Benoit apparently just evaporated into thin air. Evolution got in the ring to celebrate with Orton, each of them coming up to hug him and congratulate him. And then, Batista decided to hoist Orton up on his shoulders... HHH led them around the ring, and the posed for all four sides of the arena.  Then HHH looked up to Orton, and gave a Thumbs Up.  And then he glanced down and made eye contact with Batista, and turned it into a Thumbs Down.  Uh oh (but honestly, if he did see this coming down Main Street, you shouldn't be reading this website, anyway).  Orton doesn't even have time to register his surprise, as Batista just turns the celebratory pose into an Electric Chair type move, and then Evolution pounces.  I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the moment of the turn and a lot of the first part of the beat down came to noticeable cheers (or at least, a mixed reaction).  As the Evolution beat down on Orton continued, it morphed into more boos than cheers, though, so... well, in my face, I guess.  HHH narrated for us, saying "You're nothing without us" and also making it clear that the World Title is HIS domain.  Orton was bloodied when HHH whacked him with the title belt.  Then Batista followed up with a powerbomb.  And finally, HHH punctuated things with a PEDIGREE TO ORTON~!

With the announcers "too shocked" to talk for most of the final minutes of the show, we faded out with HHH holding onto the World Title belt, standing over Randy Orton's carcass.

Final Analysis

Well, they did it. Which is what I expected. And I kind of even feared it would be this soon (why else would I have used the deliciously-vague headline blurb and photo that I did yesterday?)... and I also think it's gonna end up being wrong to cast Orton as the babyface in this equation.

But I've explained all that before, and I'm sure I'll rage about it again now that they're rushing forward with it, in direct opposition to simple common sense. I know that Evolution seemed to erase most of the cheers by the time they finished their beat-down on Orton, but I honestly suspect that if fans (US or Canadian) were finding it so easy to cheer for HHH against the more likeable Eugene and William Regal, they'll absolutely Eat Orton Alive once he has to attempt to be a true babyface.

Other than that: misgivings about the future aside, the main event was actually very good, and the finish felt big, so that's cool...  I don't know what it says about me, but the Diva Bridal Shower was not just the funniest and best thing to come out of the entire Kane/Lita crap, but was also the most amusing promo/vignette of the night (including the HHH/Orton showdown, that just had the stink of laziness, obviousness, and inevitability to it, even though it was about a billion times "more important")...  Kane/Edge and Jericho/Batista were OK matches, at best, but what I liked was more how they fit together to inch us towards a continued and more-intesne Jericho/Edge feud, so those were a win...  and Rhyno/Grenier was a good match and an even better story, so that was fun, too.

Nothing else really stank out loud.  Orton's opening promo was pedantic and predictable and continues to give me no reason to see why I should be as excited about Young Randall as WWE apparently is, but it also hit enough of its marks and DID set up a killer main event, so I'm not gonna bitch too loudly...  Victoria/Gail didn't quite get on track, but as a canvas upon which to paint the return of the Victoria/Stevie vs. Trish/Tomko feud, it served a purpose... and the Diva Search Crap at least tried to be a different kind of Crap this week (heavily fake and scripted feeling, instead of so ill-prepared and sucky).

Not a super-duper-awesome show, but enough good to keep me glued for a couple hours, and again, even if I'm not sanguine about the booking decision itself, that ending was Huge And Important, and that always makes a night of wrestling seem a bit more enjoyable.

More thoughts and 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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