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Project Batista Kicks Into A New Gear:
January 11, 2005

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Even WWE seems to realize it, now.... 
They've got a chance to do something special with Batista. Without even really meaning to, they put Batista in position to be the sympathetic tool of Evolution who finally breaks off on his own to become a massive fan favorite...  you know, kind of like exactly what they never managed to accomplish with Randy Orton last  

summer. So after months of just little sidebars and mild teases, it now feels like it's time to go full speed ahead with Project Batista.

What were the results of the first night of said project? Well, I cannot tell a lie: I'm none too impressed. After one night, I almost want to joke about how it seems like finally coming to the attention of the writing team and becoming a priority for them may turn out to be Batista's Kiss of Death.  Maybe that'll change in coming weeks, but on this night? Our favorite Logical and Reasonable Monster was being mentally manipulated by Known Imbecile Randy Orton.

It's... I dunno, but it's not what I've spent the last 2 months getting excited about.  Perhaps your mileage will vary?  Check out the full details from last night's show, and form your own conclusions....

Cold Open: Doing the Right Thing the Wrongest Possible Way Theatre

Full disclosure: I had cable issues for about 15 minutes, overlapping with the beginning of RAW. Luckily, instead of being off doing something else while waiting for my timeshift to accrue, I was actually on the couch watching something else, and was able to call up a friend who'd be watching RAW and get kind of a running commentary for the first 10 minutes or so of the show. And luckily for me, it sounds like I missed absolutely nothing...  this might be spotty, but starting with Batista's entrance, I'm back to being a first-hand reporter....

Show just opens up in the arena, with Triple H making a grand entrance (Ric Flair is with him).  HHH gets to the ring, and starts yammering about how awesome he is, and how the fans just have to get used to it, because there's nobody anywhere in the world who is as good in the ring as he is. Apparently, he practically BEGGED the fans to boo him, too, which should tell you just about how much sizzle "HHH as Champ" has with the audience. It sounded like it was exactly the kind of repetitive, bludgeoning promo that I would have expected; and there's nothing wrong with the promo, but there *is* something wrong with this being the fifth or sixth time HHH has given this promo after winning a title. It presses buttons with the fans the first few times, but now, Trips needs a new trick if fans are going to HATE him holding the title, rather than them BEING SICK of him holding the title. To close out his masturbatory promo, HHH talks about his hit movie (HA! Good one, Hunter!), his best selling book, and his new title reign, and it's proof that the "Game is not over." He's just hitting his stride.  [Translation: "I think my act is just as fresh and compelling now as ever before. And because of my amazing rhetorical ability, now you do, too."] 

And once he'd adequately stroked himself, he decided to service Batista. He does a lengthy introduction, calling Batista the "ultimate team player," "the destroyer," and "the beast." When Batista finally makes his entrance, even Jerry Lawler was wondering if HHH was laying it on a little thick and kissing up to Batista....  Batista gets to the ring, and just barely has enough time to share Manly Hugs Of Celebration with HHH and Flair when the segment is interrupted...

By Young Randall Orton. Why, WWE, Why? 

And so even though this story was simmering along beautifully without Orton, he's here to throw in his entirely predictable and entirely unneeded two cents... because he says that HHH is lucky Batista had his back in the Elimination Chamber, because that the only way that HHH was able to beat Orton. But it's also too bad that HHH didn't have Batista's back when it counted.  Orton says he has the footage to prove that HHH could have saved Batista from being pinned by Orton.

OK, quick tangent for two things: (1) "Hi, I'm Randy Orton, and I'd love to show you all some footage of how I pinned Batista even though I shouldn't have.  Please enjoy basking in my entirely undeserved victory!  Man alive, do I, Randy Orton, ever enjoy being lucky instead of good!" Jesus, does anybody fucking Logic Check Randall before handing him a mic? Although that leads directly to (2) which is that Orton has no business in this storyline. Batista and HHH, all by themselves, had become one of the more interesting things on RAW the past couple months, and a huge part of that is just how cool, smart, and reasonable Batista has been. And now you have this allegedly smart and reasonable guy getting talked down to by Randy Orton? I don't know: maybe they think doing it this way will give Orton some of Batista's "rub," but instead, every second that Batista gives ANY credence to any of the noises coming out of Randy Orton's retarded little mouth instead of just FIGURING OUT HIS SITUATION FOR HIMSELF is a second that he becomes less smart, reasonable, and likeable.  

It almost feels like Batista's ascension caught people by surprise, but now that he's come to the attention of the Creative Team, they aren't gonna just leave him and HHH to do little aside skits.... instead, they're gonna REALLY WRITE THE SHIT outta Batista's storylines.  And isn't it funny that on the first night of it feeling like they're really WRITING THE SHIT out of Batista's storyline is the first night that it kinda blows? That's because this is pro wrestling, dums dums, not fucking "Melrose Place."  Your film school book learning did not prepare you for this, where a live crowd has a bunch of say in how things work; and in this case, you've got a live crowd that wants to cheer Batista, and wants to ignore Orton, and you write them together like this? With the guy nobody cares about preaching to the guy everybody already liked? Maybe it "makes sense" in a dramatic, writer-y mindset, given Orton's own dismissal from Evolution, to use him as Batista's spirit guide. But in a getting one's head out of one's ass and doing a quality wrestling story mindset, this is gonna do nothing to help Batista's cause. All it really does is remind us of the fact that the last time somebody split off from Evolution, it really sucked. And shouldn't we be trying to FORGET that, in the name of making Batista's own attempt to do the same a bit more compelling?  Of course we should.  But we won't.  And that annoys me deeply.

Back to the show, where HHH talks over Orton and says that we don't need to see any footage, because the only reason Batista was eliminated was because of a low blow by Orton, and if it wasn't for that, the Chamber would have come down to HHH vs. Batista, just like it should have.  HHH tried to gather the troops to leave, but Batista thinks Orton's speaking wisely (minus 5 "Likeability Points" right there) and wants to see the footage.  And so they show it: as noted in the PPV Recap, they had a very-carefully staged camera shot of Batista being pinned while HHH stood by in a corner and let it happen.  Batista started to huff and puff when he saw this, but HHH tried to cool him down with a very desperate ramble about how he'd been beaten and bloodied for 45 minutes (interesting, since the total match time was right around 40 minutes, I thought) and he got to his feet to make the save, but then his knees just gave out and he couldn't make it over. Batista isn't really buying it, but he's also at least going to process this information and not act rashly (OK, so maybe plus about 2 of those "Likeability Points").

And then Orton gets to what probably SHOULD have been his point all along; with a segue so masterful that only Randall could wield it (literally, it was basically, "OK, so Batista, all that stuff I just said to you, that's not important, I'm really out here to talk to HHH." Baffling.), Orton declared that he pinned HHH in a singles match a week before on RAW, and he wants a rematch right here tonight. HHH says "tough titty," since Orton agreed to a stipulation that as long as HHH was champ, he wouldn't get a title shot.

Which is Eric Bischoff's cue to enter.  He says that he's got a problem. Cuz Orton has a point: he did pin HHH a week ago, and FURTHER, this is the start of a new title reign for HHH and that stipulation has been lifted. [HHH, like an idiot, tries to dispute this saying he never lost his title, even though mere moments ago, he'd talked about the start of his TENTH Title Reign.] But then Batista also put on quite a performance in the Chamber, and it might be his turn to get a title shot.  So tonight, it'll be Orton vs. Batista in a #1 Contender's Match.  Play Bischoff's music, but let's make sure we get a look at HHH, who almost certainly can't like the prospect of facing either man.

Over 20 minutes here, probably a little long... and again, while I love the idea of inching Batista towards facedom, I cannot imagine a more idiotic way of pursuing that end than what WWE did here with Orton.


Shelton Benjamin vs. Maven (Non-Title/Royal Rumble Qualifying Match)

Maven attacked before the bell, apparently "inspired" to top his performance from the night before (when he was pinned TWICE by Shelton in less than 30 total seconds of ring time).  Maven held onto the advantage for about a minute, and had good heat on him the whole time.  Of course, instead of drawing attention to Maven, they basically spend this minute updating some injuries from the night before; and after an extra day and examinations, it turned out the news was VERY bad for both Lita and Eugene (both will need surgery; more on that tomorrow in OO, as I have to fricking eat about 3 bowls of crow).  After that interminable minute, Shelton made his comeback, hit a Stinger Splash, and then the T-Bone Powerslam... Shelton wins, and this time, it took him probably a full 90 seconds.  Shelton advances into the Royal Rumble.


Muhammad Hassan vs. Hurricane

Before the match, Hassan and Daivari stared down King and JR, and then did a lengthy spiel about how Hassan's victory over Lawler was a glorious win over the biased American media.  He promised that now he will continue to advance his own agenda here in WWE, which included exposing the hypocricy of "Truth, Justice, and the American Way."  Daivari tried to punctuate with some Farsi, but was almost immediately cut off by Hurricane's entrance music.

Even with Rosey with him at ringside, Hurricane got very little in this match. Maybe a bit of a rally about 90 seconds in, but then when Hurricane whiffed on a Shining Wizard, Hassan locked him in with his invert-y, face-plant-y finisher, which has no official name yet, but I know I've seen before... somebody want to help me out with where? Less than 2 minutes, and probably a bit more tolerable that Hassan's bloated, overlong match against Lawler the night before. The pre-match promo was honestly longer than the match, which at this point, is probably the recipe for keeping a ton of heat on Hassan...


Backstage: Batista is in the process of getting ready for his main event match, and HHH walks up. HHH just wants to talk to "Dave" (see, THAT means he's being serious!) and let him know that no matter what Orton said, Batista has HHH's full support and Evolution's full support. HHH even says that after Batista beats Orton tonight, he would consider it an honor to stand in the ring with Batista, and defend his World Title.  He says Batista "deserves it." And then (because remember: not the WRITERS are on the job) there's this really awkward, actor-y exchange in which Batista asks, "Do you really mean that, Hunter?", and then HHH responds (as if this is a General Foods International Coffee commercial) with "Yes, Dave, I really mean that," complete with a manly pat on the shoulder. The hell? From 2 months of HHH and Batista being Just A Couple Of Guys Talking to THIS?  It does, however, allow Batista to hit his alleged punchline, which is, "Well, I guess eventually, we all get what we deserve."  And then Batista leaves, convinced he delivered that ham-handed horseshit as best as he possibly could.

Elsewhere Backstage: Edge is WALKING~! Apparently towards the ring....

[ads; man alive, this is like 3 segments in a row that have been less than 5 minutes of content before we cut to 3 minutes worth of ads... maybe that opening promo was even longer than I'd thought?]

Edge vs. Rhyno (Royal Rumble Qualifying Match)

Nutty Ft. Lauderdale fans fire up an "EC-Dub" chant just to be difficult, but it doesn't really stick.  Rhyno got some early offense in, working Edge's back and ribs, but then Edge countered things, and returned the favor.  About 2 minutes in, Rhyno started his comeback, and was about to finish off Edge with the Gore...  but Edge saw it coming, dodged the Gore, and instead maneuvered things around to hit The Spear about 30 seconds later. Instead of going for the pinfall, Edge followed up with his submission move that I was told USED to be called the "Edge-u-cator" (back before Edge's neck surgery, he apparently used it a lot), but which I'm equally sure needs a new name if he's gonna be using it regularly.  Rhyno tapped out at about the 3 minute mark. Wow, but tonight's standards the 3 minute match length makes this an EPIC! 

After the Match: Edge demands that they "cut the music" (since if he's got a lick of taste, he hates his new music as much as I do)... because if people think he's happy about being in the Royal Rumble, they're wrong. Because the only thing that would have made him happy is not getting screwed over by Shawn Michaels in the Elimination Chamber, and standing here today with the World Title that is rightfully his. And tonight, he wants to air his grievances with Shawn, face-to-face...  Edge says he's not leaving the ring until Shawn comes out to talk to him.  Which is a cue for us to take yet ANOTHER look at some....


Shawn Michaels' Fatherly Advice Corner

We come back from ads, and Edge helpfully announces, "OK, and now we're back from ads," which means that maybe NOW Shawn will come out, because Edge knows Shawn wouldn't come out if the cameras weren't rolling.  Edge wants self-centered Shawn Michaels to come on down to the ring now, to get his precious TV time.... but when Michaels isn't forthcoming, Edge decides to run down the list of things he hates about HBK (starting with Taboo Tuesday, and running right up to the previous night's Elimination Chamber), and runs them down in a VERY effective rant.  Nice work: Edge manages to sound just whiny enough that you can't really like him, but there's enough intensity and truth to the stuff he says about Shawn standing in his way that you can sink your teeth into the story.

FINALLY, Shawn Michaels decides that he's ready to tell his side of the story.  He enters the ring, and tells Edge that this isn't anything personal... Shawn doesn't hate Edge, but he DOES hate the way Edge complains all the time about how the world is out to get him, like he expects everything handed to him on a silver platter.  Shawn says that he knows this is Edge's problem, because getting upset when people don't recognize your obvious awesomeness, that's something that he used to do.

[At this point, more of them nutty fans started in on a "You Screwed Bret" chant. In Florida?!?  Shawn decided to pause the promo to ham it up, actually. And in an ingenious bit of improv, he did it so he could turn to Edge and say, "Hey, looks like you got some of your Canadians in the crowd!"  But Edge, realizing that he's supposed to be the heel, was equally genius in his retort, "I don't care about those idiots, I care about YOU!"...  Shawn continued a mini-ramble at that point about how the wacky Canucks should stay in their own country, and if they think they're gonna rattle HBK, they got another thing coming, cuz NOTHING messes with HBK's TV time... funny stuff, but Shawn did kinda just confirm some of Edge's accusations about being a spotlight-loving prima donna...]

Shawn gets back on track, though, and tells Edge that he might experience a modicum of success if he keeps bitching and moaning his way into "a spot." But he also thinks that Edge is cut from the same jib as HBK, and that won't ever be enough for Edge... so he suggests that what Edge needs to do is quit talking, and just go out there and get it done. Don't complain about the past, but look to the future. And now that he's qualified for the Royal Rumble, why not do what Shawn did: suck it up, and win the damn thing and then go on to WrestleMania.  Twice.  Edge has been quiet for all this, and is kind of looking down at the mat.  Shawn's all "C'mon, is any of this getting through to you kid?"  And when Edge doesn't respond, Michaels is getting ready to leave the ring in disgust...

But that's when Edge perks up and (in a quiet, hushed tone) says that maybe Shawn's given him something to think about... Shawn goes back towards Edge...  Edge says maybe he needs to slap some sense into himself... but just as Michaels gets back within arm's length of Edge, Edge declares, "Maybe I need to slap some sense into myself....  but I like THIS idea better!"  And then he slaps Michaels in the face.  The brawl is on.  Officials need 2 or 3 minutes, but almost seem to finally get it broken up, and Edge seems like he's gonna fashion an escape...  and absolutely excellent promo, and although I realize that Edge can't play the "I'm such a victim" card if he'd won the World Title (as per my little Elimination Chamber booking), he's really bringing it strong in the promos to the point that I'm convinced that if they HAD given him the title, fans would have totally bought into it.


These Are The Professional Ranks, So We Allow Continuation: as soon as we come back from the break, a camera outside the arena reveals that Michaels and Edge haven't been broken up, afterall.  They've apparently brawled all the way through the crowd, up to the front of the arena, and are now coming back into the arena, where they crash through a souvenir stand.  Officials finally swarm again (as JR calls for police back-up), and this time, it seems that Michaels and Edge have been separated for good.

Simon Dean's Time Machine

So as fans are buzzing over the intensity of Michaels vs. Edge, what's your next play? Sending Simon Dean out to the ring to cut a promo so flaccid and cheesy that it would have rolled eyeballs in 1985, and is thus doubly frustrating here in 2005.  It amounts to "Hi Florida, you are all fat. So here, I'd like to introduce you to my new fat burning pills." But Simon has a very specific idea for who he'd like to supply with his new pills... somebody backstage who is over 300 pounds... somebody who's been known to wear a mask... somebody who is obviously NOT gonna be Rosey, since we already saw Rosey tonight, but that doesn't stop JR and Lawler from acting like they think it'll be Rosey, even though any viewer with half a brain should have had this figured out already....  and sure enough, when it turns out to be Not Rosey, Simon Dean is stunned....


No, I'm just joshing: it's Kane, just like we all knew it would be.

Kane at first feigns friendliness, but once he tries one of Simon's pills and it tastes like crap, he quickly turns, and gets a big pop for slapping Simon around. And finally, Kane decides he's gonna chokeslam Simon. Except when he stands there, holding Simon by the throat for a full 30 seconds, you AGAIN should have known exactly what was coming... because Kane was basically stalling for time so Snitsky could "shockingly" come up from behind and whack Kane with a steel chair.  Then he thrust the chair into Kane's throat, apparently re-injuring Kane's throat (per the previous Pillmanization). So, what?, not only have we not killed off Snitsky, but now we're resetting this storyline to where it was in October again?  This is almost as spirit-sapping as the Taker/Heidenreich feud not going away, and I again re-assert that my scariest nightmare these days involves a Taker/Kane vs. Snitsky/Heidenreich WM21 Match that NOBODY wants to see.

The segment ends with Snitsky grabbing Simon's weightlifting belt and thwacking Kane with it a few times for good measure. Wheee~! So it continues....


Backstage: Ric Flair tells Triple H that Batista's not happy... that Batista's not buying into HHH's words, and is thinking Randy Orton might have a point (minus more Likeability Points). Flair thinks he can feel Evolution tearing apart at the seams, and wants to get everybody back on the same page.  HHH suggests that Flair go to Batista and motivate him with a peptalk about how his record against Orton isn't so stellar, but tonight's his night to fix that. Flair is suspicious, but HHH insists that Batista is "big on negative reinforcement."  So off Flair goes.  And yet another fake-y, overwrought little skit. The way to tell this story was exactly the way you'd been telling it, WWE: with NOTHING HAPPENING.  But with the ILLUSION of stuff happening just because the characters were being fleshed out and fully revealed.  And then when Batista's split finally comes, it would have been a by-product of his character finally being fed up, and it would have been surprising and satisfying, instead of as the obligatory foregone conclusion at the end of some cheesy over-writing. I hope that makes sense to you...

Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho vs. Christian and The Lovely Miss Tomko (In a Very Special "Welcome Back to the Midcard, Canadian Chrisses" Match)

Match started out with Jericho and Christian busting out plenty of their usual goodness (hey, working together for about a year straight has benefits, I guess).  Benoit got the tag in, and got some nice spots in on both Christian and Tomko, but at about the 3 minute mark, some piece of evil chicanery put Christian and Tomko back on offense.  While the heels worked over Benoit, JR and King talked at length about the status of the Tag Titles (due to Eugene's injury, Lawler idiotically tried to make the case that Christian and Tomko could be the champs now; Ross shut him up with the simple observation that Eugene and Regal still won the match).  I wish I was joking above where I said that it kinda feels like this is all WWE can come up with for Jericho and Benoit, but if we need new tag champs, they might be forced into full time tag duty.  Which would be fine with me, if there was anybody of equal ability and standing on the heel side for them to feud with; but there isn't, which would make this into a waste of their skills.  The vibe of this middle portion of the match, FYI, is that Benoit and Jericho had spent the longest time in the Chamber the night before, so Christian was opportunistically challenging them tonight, thinking he'd steal a cheap win over two battered mega-stars...  but who's got the fi-yah? Benoit's got the fi-yah!  And at about the 8 minute mark, he finally unleashes it on Tomko with some German Suplexes... crawls over to his corner, and we've got a hot tag to Jericho!  Jericho cleans some house for a bit, but eventually the 1-on-2 numbers catch up to him, and Tomko regains control...  Benoit gets back into the action, though, going after Christian and causing some of his interference to backfire.  And then, just because it's cool to see, Benoit locked Christian into the Crossface at the exact same time that Jericho (legal man) locked Tomko (legal man) into the Walls.  We get a double tap-out (even though only one of them counts), and Jericho and Benoit are victorious in a pretty solid 10-12 minute match.

Backstage Again: Flair reports back to HHH that his pep talk to Batista didn't go so well, and that Batista came damned close to attacking Flair.  Flair says that Batista has real questions as to whether or not Evolution is supporting him tonight. But HHH assures Flair that Evolution will support Batista tonight... and before the show is over, he'll prove it.  Not showing the Flair/Batista confrontation, and referencing it this way instead... well, it strikes me as just silly and cheesy and melodramatic for no reason. The only GOOD reason to do it is if it turns out Batista and Flair are in league against HHH, and Flair was lying about the nature of the confrontation he had with Batista, but I'm not entirely sure anything good could come from that twist....

SmackDown! Rebound: I don't recap recaps.

A Preview of The Suckening: preparations are being made, and after this break, it's a Lingerie Pillow Fight.

[ads; hey, that last segment had to have been a good 16-18 minutes, all told... strange pacing to the show tonight]

Lita Update: WWE is saying Lita tore an ACL last night, which means a good six months on the shelf. So unfortunate for so many reasons. And of course, the announcement of a 25% reduction of the ring-capable roster is a PERFECT segue to....


There's a bed and some pillows in the ring, and then there's the one Useless Diva Loser Whose Name I Can Never Remember who is apparently going to officiate a Lingerie Pillow Fight.  And then there's Maria the Mic Stand, and then there's Red Headed Spaz. And holy christ, they actually try to sell this as a Key Storyline (following up on the poolside crap from the PPV the night before). Unbelievable. Ring the bell, and then Spaz and Mic Stand roll around and bounce around for a bit in their TV-PG-rated elaborate underthings. Somehow, Lilian Garcia gets involved briefly, and actually get the match's only mild pop, since she might not be able to wrestle, but at least she's put in a good 4 years tenure of being useless and we've kinda come to like her!  And then the sweet merciful conclusion: Spaz arranges some ridiculously elaborate bridging pinning combination on Mic Stand that was completely implausible and sloppy as a wrestling hold, but which I guess you're not supposed to care about if you're a straight male, since it's OMG SEXXXXY~! And I'm sure somewhere, a boner was induced in a 13-year-old loser; but on my couch, the only thing that was induced was eyeball-rolling. At least it was short. 

Coming Soon: developmental worker Chris Masters gets called up to the big leagues. And because he's a bodybuilder, his nickname is "The Masterpiece."  Somebody alert Batista that he'll have to stop his fey poses so *this* toolbox can use them, instead. An interesting choice of guys for WWE to bring up from the developmentals... let's just say I don't necessarily approve of a guy getting a spot because he LOOKS like somebody's idea of a pro wrestling, instead of WRESTLING like a pro wrestler.  Then again, this is the company that's showcasing uninteresting diva losers ahead of female wrestlers.  I guess if WWE wants to provide masturbation material for 13-year-olds, then why not supply the same for poor, lonely Pat Patterson?  Not exactly a thrilling vignette here....

Batista vs. Randy Orton (#1 Contender's Match)

HHH and Flair made an entrance, first, and sat down at ringside. Again, I call bullshit on how WWE has gone all Anvil Style on us with what HAD been a deliciously real and organic storyline. Not only were fans already RECEPTIVE to the idea of Batista splitting from HHH, they were BEGGING for it at the PPV.  So NOW you idiot writers decide we need to be bludgeoned over the head with how mistreated Batista is?  By telegraphing it, you make it LESS FUN to watch the eventual turn of Batista.  Seriously: what's wrong with having HHH and Flair enter alongside Batista, as a UNIT?

Very basic back and forth-y to start. But when Orton, Rhodes' Scholar that he is, decided to try to match power with Batista, Batista took over the match. He worked over Orton, while HHH and Flair were cheerleading at ringside (cheerleading a little too enthusiastically; and again, it felt fake and cheesy, a total changing of gears from the last 2 months, and not "fake and cheesy" in the "HHH is faking it and will turn on Batista later tonight, and so it's supposed to seem fake" way, either).  This went on for about 2 minutes, and then Orton just hit a dropkick out of nowhere.  Batista stumbled back into the ropes, and decided to duck out of the ring to collect himself.  HHH and Flair came over to join him.  A perfect spot for our final....


Back and Batista has regained control. Even though fans would rather cheer for Batista and boo Orton, the match psychology is still set up with Batista playing the dominating heel, and Orton's the plucky babyface who much make the superman comeback.  It goes without saying that this dissonance between the story being told and the story being desired by fans created a bit of a lack of sizzle to this match.  It also doesn't help that Batista didn't really do any of the cool stuff that he did against Benoit the week before.  In fact, in a spot where that cool-looking half-crab would have been perfect, Batista just went for the old stand-by: a chinlock.  Christ. [Sidebar: during this tepidness, a few fans got an audible "You Screwed Chyna" chant started and directed at HHH.  On 3 separate occasions.  Clearly, they were enthralled by this match.  Nutty, nutty Ft. Lauderdalians.]  Because the chinlock is the most devastating move in all of WWE these days, Orton nearly submitted, but FINALLY, and COURAGEOUSLY made it to the ropes for a break.

But when he attempted to build on that for his comeback, Batista cut him short. In fact, Batista seemed on the cusp of victory when he nailed the spinebuster, and was getting set to land the sit-out powerbomb.  But Orton countered out of the powerbomb with a DDT. Flair and HHH began looking worried, and apparently started hatching a plan...  Orton followed up with that back-breaker-y thing he does, and then went immediately into the Rocky Stalk, setting up the RKO. Crowd really doesn't give a shit, and instead pops bigger for when Batista just shoves Orton to the mat.  However, Flair and HHH had leapt into action at the hint of the RKO....  even though Orton is on the mat, Flair hops up and distracts the ref, while HHH is on the other side of the ring with a steel chair for Batista.  But Batista is making the greatest kind of gestures of all times (the Broad kind), indicating that he doesn't need HHH's help, he's got this all under control. And goddammit, the Once Logical And Reasonable Batista spends 30 seconds explaining how he doesn't need HHH's help, instead of just going back to the match without HHH's help.  Just retarded intra-match storytelling.  So of course while Batista is behaving in this illogical and irrational way, Orton comes up behind Batista and shoulderblocks him... sending Batista's head crashing into the chair held by HHH. Orton rolls up Batista, and apparently Flair decided NOW would be a good time to let the referee get back to the match, because Orton gets the cheap pinfall win.  Orton's the #1 Contender following a pretty standard affair; a bit shy of 15 minutes, but I guess the last few minutes were OK.  But Orton's celebration and impending title shot isn't the story: our final shots are of Batista conveying subdued anger... and it's anger that's apparently split evenly between HHH and Orton.... so tune in next week to see who has earned the greater share of Batista's ire!


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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