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OO RAW RECAP
Salty Rickus'
A Series of Unrelated Events 
February 15, 2005

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com

 

I know there's still six RAWs before WrestleMania 21, and that I said yesterday that gives WWE a lot of freedom in terms of trying out a few new things, just noodling around...
 
But I didn't quite envision something like last night's show, where other than the on Main Story (HHH and Batista), there was absolutely no sense of long-range storylines. No real flow or anything. I mean, it wasn't really a huge problem, since the individual segments were still mostly entertaining, but there was just a sense that what we saw tonight wasn't 

necessarily the logical outcome of stuff that had preceded, or the logical set-up for a continuing story in the future.

Well, I guess the Orton/Christian thing flows logically from last week, but it also flows to nowhere after being settled last night. I'm talking more about the complete resets with regards to Kane/Snitsky/Trish that seemed to come out of nowhere, and the inclusion of Simon Dean and Useless Divas in spots that, if WWE were a bit more contientious about it, could have been spent on planting seeds for something that felt like the start of a WM21 storyline. I mean, Trish/Spaz and Shelton/Snitsky are nice little mini-arcs to eat some time up for a week or two (like Orton/Christian), but there's no real teeth there...

And don't get me started on Chris Benoit's total absence. The guy goes from winning a big match last week to invisibility this week? And yet, Simon Dean gets TV time, and WWE thought it necessary to waste 5 minutes on a Super Bowl commercial and the affiliated useless diva? Kind of annoying.

But still, there was also good amidst this series of unrelated events. Randy Orton, no joke, had his most entertaining singles match since he faced Mick Foley about 9 months ago. And the show closed on a very strong note with regards to the Batista/HHH storyline that, unlike the rest of the show, leaves you tantalized for what comes next (in this case, "what comes next" is Batista crashing SD! on Thursday night!).

So let's cut the theoretical overview, and just get you to the detailed results and insightful on-the-fly analysis of last night's RAW...

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we are LIVE in the Queen City, the home of This Weekend's Nationally Televised (2pm, ESPN) Bitches of the Mighty University of Dayton Flyers: Cincinnati, OH. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcome us and lay out a couple of feature matches: Randy Orton vs. Christian, and Batista vs. Edge. Hmmmm. But we got no time to waste, since it's time for....

Chris Jericho presents: WKR(a)P in Cincinnati

Jericho comes out to an absolutely MASSIVE pop and "Y2J" chant for the Highlight Reel. But he knows how to put an end to that... by introducing his guest for tonight: a "media darling," to hear Jericho tell it.

Useless Diva Candice Michelle. PLONK, says I!

And PLONK, says Cincinnati! I'm not lying, the once-red-hot crowd is dead silent as Candice sashays to the ring to some awful throbbing club beat. Jericho tries to set the table by talking about how she's been all over TV and radio the last week for her role in a Super Bowl commercial. We've all seen it, but just because if there's one thing I like MORE than Useless Divas sucking up screentime that could go to more worthy personalities on a wrestling show, it's getting EXTRA COMMERCIALS on my wrestling show, Jericho shoots it to the JeriTron 5000 to show the ad. And yes, it's funny, but no, there's no real controversy (just a manufactured controversy, since apparently some puritanical idiots have nothing better to do with their time, and since the company advertised in the commercial has been not-to-secretly FOMENTING the controversy, because they know you are all idiots who will get sucked into the nontroversy, and THEY get free publicity; all the while, anybody with half a brain in his/her skull sits back and doesn't give a shit).

Jericho and Candice basically do an extended riff on the concept that people are over-reacting. Candice does some alleged mic work (in such a fashion that I once again have no choice but to consider her the intellectual equal of Randall Orton) and then an alleged dance. Jericho, for his part, does "mock outrage" when one of the straps on Candice's dress snaps and we can see her shoulder. OK, WWE: plus 10 for making fun of the idiots who think there's anything controversial about that ad. But minus several million for doing it in about the most bludgeoningly unclever way imaginable. At least the Monday Night Football/Desperate Trish skit had some thought put into it and strong enough performers to pull it off. Here: I'll be honest, Candice is a singularly uninteresting on-screen presence if you're not looking at her boobs, and Jericho seemed to match that by bringing his C-level material for this entire segment.

And then: sweet, sweet interruption. But honestly: anytime I'm HAPPY to see Mohammed fricking Hassan in the middle of a Jericho promo, there's something seriously, SERIOUSLY wrong. But he's the guy who cuts the unsexy flailing and unfunny C-material short...

Hassan briefly gets on my good side by saying that this controversy is evidence of the "dumbing down of America" (GO, you magnificent Ay-Rab!), before immediately retreating to less-incisive comments about how Candice is a slut who disgraces herself for the enjoyment a jaded American populace. Whee! From making sense to contradicting himself by becoming a PART of the very controversy he'd mocked in one easy step: nice work, idiot writers!

Jericho continues to bring the lazy comedy when he point-blank asks if Hassan "has a penis." Because if he does, he shouldn't have a problem with spending some time on Candice's bOObies. D'oh, there goes *my* penis, I guess. But I'm guessing you can see where this is headed: from there, Jericho degenerates into a lengthy riff that concludes with his belief that Hassan and Daivari are "valentines." Oy; it's painful to watch Jericho half-ass it when he knows he's been given quarter-assed material to work with. At this point, my cable hiccupped for about 60 seconds, but I made an inquiry and was assured I missed nothing of substance. When I picked the narrative up again, Jericho was in the middle of challenging Hassan to a match, right here, right now. Hassan seems to think this is a Jim Dandy of an idea and heads to the ring, while we decide to break for....

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Chris Jericho vs. Mohammed Hassan

We come back, and the match is already in progress, and Jericho is firmly dominating Hassan (who Jim Ross notes is "undefeated," and even if you didn't know the result of this match as it's been going around the house shows, that should pretty much get your spidey sense tingling as to what's in store tonight).

Jericho continues to hold the advantage with some pretty high-energy offense, but after about 2 minutes, that ends: Daivari tries to trip Jericho up as he runs the ropes, but Jericho avoids that, and instead, stomps Daivari's fingers. However, the distraction was enough that when Jericho turned back to the match, Hassan was able to take control. Basic babyface beatdown for a few minutes (giving Lawler enough time to opine, like an idiot, that Hassan had interrupted the Greatest Highlight Reel Ever, and that Candice Michelle is clearly the bestest, most boner-inducing babe in the universe). Hassan settled in with a Cobra Clutch (so now he's stealing from the Iron Sheik AND Sgt. Slaughter?), and Jericho fired up out of that hold.

Jericho rallied to pretty good crowd heat, hitting a lot of his usual spots, and even trying to lock in the Walls of Jericho. When Jericho went for a pinfall after a bulldog, Daivari distracted the ref and kept him from counting (huh? like Jericho was gonna win with a fricking BULLDOG?!?), so Jericho got up and did his Double Jump Dropkick to get Daivari off the apron. But when he turned back to face Hassan, he'd magically recovered from being unable to kick out from the bulldog, and he IMMEDIATELY applied that Flatliner-like move to Jericho and got the pinfall win. About 5 minutes or so, and probably Hassan's best TV match to date, but nothing special by any stretch... 

Backstage: Ric Flair is hyperactively muttering about what he'll be getting up to on Valentine's Day, when he walks in on Triple H, who is in ring-gear and is taping up. Flair wants to know what's up, why he's not in his suit. ANd that's when HHH reveals that he's getting ready for a fight tonight. A fight? Yep, a fight. Because HHH has found out that JBL is coming to RAW tonight, and that's like "spitting in the face of all of Evolution." HHH promises to take care of JBL, and wants Flair to go tell Batista to not worry, and to focus on his match against Edge.  Hmmm, JBL on RAW? Who'd ever have thought of that? Well, anybody who read my RAW Preview yesterday shouldn't have been all that surprised, that's for sure....

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New Addition to the Hall of Fame Class of 2005: Roddy Piper will now be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. And that, kids, is a no-brainer: Piper deserves it. With Orton and Orndorff going in this year, that's the entire heel side of the WM1 main event... as I noted last year, if you want a Celebrity Inductee, Mr. T would be a no-brainer (especially for a "going Hollywood" edition of WrestleMania), and rumors continue to swirl that Hulk Hogan might be involved, too. It'd be nice to see those five get inducted together (Snuka was the corner man for the faces, and has already been inducted). Even if things don't work out with Hogan, I'd pity any fool who wouldn't want to see T get in. If Pete Rose is in, Mr. T is a LOCK on the celeb side.

Backstage: Randy Orton and Stacy Keibler are chatting in that Special Way They Have. Somehow, with no TV in sight, and even though the announcers had spent the entire opening portion of the show talking about what a well-kept secret the new HoF inductee was, Orton magically knows about Piper being inducted, and uses that information to launch into a fumbling discussion of how his dad and Piper used to be running buddies. He eventually remembers that he has a line he has to hit, and announces, in a circuitous, stilted fashion, that Bob Orton and Roddy Piper together were "trouble." And Stacy's eyes light up as she realizes that's her cue, "Just like YER trouble, mister." Randy hits the annoying smirk/twitch, clearly loving that he's SUCH an edgy bad boy. Then Stacy Gets Very Nervous For Some Reason... because um, you know, maybe after your match, if you're not doing anything, maybe we could, like, go get some dinner or something, Randy? Christ, what the hell have you two kids been doing for the last fricking month? Orton, because he's the lord of the toolboxes, actually hits the "My, my Stacy, are you asking me out on a date?" line, complete with another smirk/twitch. Stacy convincingly conveys the idea of being Stumped For An Answer, and then Orton shifts gears from Pompous Toolbox to Slimy Douchebag as he tries to smile winningly as he says, "Oh, don't worry, Stace. It's Valentine's Day, and you're my sweetie, so when I get done with my match, we are so ON." The chemistry between these two: it defies words. Even MY words, and you know how I'm a master of the language...

Elsewhere Backstage: Batista (sporting a new "Animal" t-shirt that might actually be wearable-in-public assuming there's not anything lame on the back) is chatting up Maria the Mic Stand? C'mon Big Man, I thought you were SMRT! And c'mon, WWE, you realize that just putting some vapid diva proximate to a wrestler will not instantly make him more popular. In fact, remember what happened when WWE tried to shoehorn Randy Orton into Batista's storyline? Didn't really work out so well... then again, I doubt THIS Batista/Maria thing is really gonna go anywhere; Mic Stand was probably just a one-off prop (we've finally found something she excels at!), cuz as soon as Ric Flair shows up and wants to talk business, Batista tells Maria to take off; he's got more important stuff to deal with. That stuff: talking about JBL coming to RAW. First, Batista makes it clear that he has NOT decided officially that he's jumping to SD!, and that he'll only make that decision NEXT Monday after the No Way Out PPV. And second, Batista tells Flair to tell HHH that if JBL does show up on RAW, *he* (Batista) will deal with it, and HHH should stay out of it.

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Shelton Benjamin vs. Gene Snitsky (IC TItle Match)

Shelton hit the ring first, and JR talked about Shelton becoming a truly great IC Champ, in part because of his "open contract" policy. For whatever it's worth, I think we're supposed to believe that Shelton just comes to the ring every week, and doesn't even know who he's gonna face, since he gave us "surprise" when Snitsky's music hit. Huh. If that's really the vibe they're going for (Shelton going to the ring, not even knowing or caring who he faces), that opens up some interesting possibilities...

The dynamic early was Shelton hitting all manner of little flurries, but Snitsky's power putting an end to them (even including a Super Kick Out after a Stinger Splash). This continued for a minute or two, but then Snitsky took control for good, including the ever-popular chinlock for a bit. But he also started in with some bludgeoning, methodical, slobberknocker offense, and also started going for pinfalls. When Shelton would kick out at 2, Snitsky got increasingly pissy about it, and was REALLY going all out in selling his arguments with ref Earl Hebner about perceived slow counts. Shelton started getting some hope spots, and the dynamic reverted to what it was in the opening minute (Shelton offense, Snitsky's power puts a stop to that)... Snitsky eventually charged at Shelton, but Shelton managed to backdrop him over the top rope. Snitsky snapped at that point, apparently frustrated at being unable to pin Benjamin, and grabbed a chair. As soon as Shelton started to exit the ring to come after Snitsky, Snitsky just blatantly pasted him with a stiff-ass chairshot. Ouch. The ref, of course, DQ'ed Snitsky right there. Decent little 4 minute match, I guess, but one has to wonder where this finish goes... is Kane/Snitsky really done? Snitsky was STILL pissed about the officiating even after the blatant chairshot, and if somebody'd been thinking, he'd have been shouting, "It's not my fault." Instead, Snitsky just did some random convulsing as he muttered Shelton's name, indicating he's gonna want himself some more of Benjamin....

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#1 in a Series: the Eugene Gump WM21 ad. We're in reruns already?

Tajiri/William Regal vs. La Resistance (Tag Team Title Match)

This is La Resistance's contractually obligated rematch, and Lawler seems to think they'll win, since Tajiri and Regal are "one hit wonders" who had "home field advantage" the week before in Japan. You wouldn't know it by the way we start here, which is Regal taking the heels to school for a bit, and then tagging Tajiri in, who follows up with a nice series of stiff kicks. In fact, Tajiri gets a near fall on Conway, and when Grenier has to come in to break up the fall, Regal comes into the ring, too, to even the odds, but per Tag Team Officiating Bylaw #87738, the ref had to focus on getting REGAL out of the ring, instead of the extra heel, leaving La Resistance to take over the advantage by briefly double-teaming Tajiri. So just like that, Tajiri is your babyface in peril for a few minutes. But a VERY few minutes, since we're in Ultra Time Compression Mode here... finally the hot tag to William Regal, and Regal is a rather unorthodox House Afire, as he decimates La Resistance. Not more than 30 seconds into the chaos, Tajiri intercepts Grenier with a kick, while Regal just nails Conway with a rude knee to the head. Didn't look spectacular, but it DID look like it hurt. And for whatever reason, that's our finish for tonight: a knee to the head. Regal pins Conway, and the champs retain in a solid, but abbreviated, 4 minute match. The tone of the announcers after the win was one of closure, like now Tajiri and Regal will be moving on to something new after "establishing" themselves; I can't recall any exact quote, but just a vague sense that JR was putting a nail in La Resistance's coffin.

In the Parking Lot: nothing is happening, but apparently, we're keeping an eye out for JBL's arrival.

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Randy Orton vs. Christian

From the outset, they were really down-playing the concussion thing... JR was keeping it simple, but he was firmly inserting comments about Orton being healthy and ready to wrestle. One can only assume that WWE has decided to change gears for some combination of the reasons I outlined in the last two weeks about how the "concussed idiot savant" gimmick is a bad idea if you want fans to like Orton, or want Orton to be capable of having good matches that don't limp home to half-speed climaxes. Bravo to WWE! But hey, Titan Tower, wouldn't you rather have a guy IN HOUSE who can point out your missteps as you're making them, rather than needing to take 2 extra weeks to figure this shit out on your own?

Ah, but a self-promotional digression is no way to recap a match... so instead, I change gears and point out that the clear-eyed Orton was at his mixed reaction best (probably 70/30 cheers to boos, but as always, with a distinctively girlish squeal quality to the cheers) as he came out of the gates strong against Christian. Orton had an intensity that he doesn't always display (or at least, an intensity that seemed more genuine than the "intense faces" Orton sometimes makes when he's trying to be intense), and was really dominating Christian for the first 3 minutes or so. Then Christian took control for a bit after an illegal rope break, and starting Bringing the Dickhead, which pretty much put a cap on Orton's boos at the 30% level, since any teetering fans weren't gonna cheer for him. Randall should say "thank you." In fact, more fans might have moved over into the Orton camp after Christian's first offensive flurry... because when Randy rallied (by circumventing some attempting Tomko interference), the crowd was way into it. They even gave him the thundering "count-along to 10" thing when Orton mounted Christian and punched away in a turnbuckle. Simple, old school, well within Orton's abilities, and SO much better than a chinlock... Orton's offense continued for a bit, but when he charged Christian, Christian pulled a page out of Shelton's book, and backdropped Orton out over the top rope. And then, Christian kept the ref occupied long enough for Tomko to come over and shoot Orton, shoulder-first, into the steel ring steps. As I began to fear that we were about to enter Half-Speed Theatre, the ref confronts Tomko, Christian takes a breather in the ring, and we get us some....

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Back, and Christian is firmly dominating Orton (who, thank god, is NOT doing the Concussed Idiot thing, and is still moving at full speed). We also find out that Tomko has been ejected, on the grounds that the ref HEARD the impact, even if he didn't see it. The Dickhead that Christian brought earlier was merely an appetizer for what he brought here for his extended beatdown on Orton. We also get a good look at Christian's head, and he's got a SICK looking knot on his temple, and I guess my vague notion that Orton was displaying more intensity than usual has just been borne out: although I'm not so sure that raising a lump that disgusting looking on your opponent is THAT good a thing. Even though Christian's offense is a varied attack utilizing the usual punchy-kicky, along with neckbreakers and slams that are pretty high impact, we never ONCE mention the words "concussion" or "far away look," and the match is better for it. Orton regains the advantage by reversing an Irish Whip into a turnbuckle, after Christian had taken too long posing and remind the crowd what a prick he is.

Orton's rally included a textbook dropkick, and then Orton did this thing where he started pounding away with forearms across Christian's chest, and I think the lad actually felt a connection with an audience for once, because they actually started counting along with him, and he got WAY into it by pounding away for a full TWENTY blows. Big pop for that. But then, oh poor Randy, he was feeling it a little too much: he broke and did his Douchebag Pose, and IMMEDIATELY, the huge pop becomes half boos. Taking notes, WWE? [Funny aside: at some point during Orton's rally, Jim Ross attempts to fellate Young Randall by stating, "This is what Orton was born and bred to do. There's nothing else in the world that he could do." Which is a nice notion on the surface, but is also a kind of a "shoot comment that's not supposed to be a shoot comment" once you think about it, which is hilarious to me.]

The pace is really picking up, and Orton's getting convincing near falls left and right, and Christian is kicking out, making him look pretty strong. But Christian's not done yet: he dodges a charge, and Orton winds up going into the steel ring post, giving Christian a quick flurry. When Orton kicks out after another big move, Christian acts like he's gotten frustrated, and goes to a turnbuckle and starts acting like he's gonna untie the turnbuckle pad (but mostly, he's just vaguely tugging at the pad and keeping the ref occupied). Behind the ref's back, Tomko returns to the ring and levels Orton with a boot to the head. Christian goes for the pin, but Orton kicks out after a long 2, and the crowd is REALLY eating this up now.  Christian pitched a hissy fit, giving Orton enough time to recover. Which he did, and he regained the advantage for a bit, leading Jim Ross to declare that the RKO would be forthcoming soon. And sure enough, after a few moments, Orton put Christian down with that weird back-breaker thingie he does, and then he hit his stalker pose, waiting for Christian to get to his feet...  but when Christian did, they instead did a very cool triple-reverse-y sequence in which Christian (for the third time in the match) blocked the RKO, and sent Orton into the ropes, and caught him on the rebound to set up for the Unprettier. But Orton found a unique way to reverse that: he powered out and then leap-frogged over Christian... when Christian just blind-charged at Orton's back, THAT is when he hit the RKO out of nowhere. Except: not really out of nowhere. It was part of a complex finishing sequence. Some of Orton's RKOs out of nowhere piss me off. This one? Did not, not even a little.

I'll be honest: an excellent TV match, and I'm not hyperbolizing at all when I say it's the most fun I've had with an Orton singles match since the Foley match. No match against Benoit, no match against Flair, no match against HHH... I don't remember any of those other matches clearly enough to say for sure that they weren't as technically "good" in a "workrate" perspective. I just know that the fact that I really don't remember jackshit about any Orton match since the Foley one is quite telling, and is Randy's one singular problem. But tonight, it might not have been OMG WORKRATE~!, but it was ENTERTAINING: Christian was a great foil for Orton (I'll stop short of saying the match was all his doing, but he really did contribute a lot, and more than that, was booked in such a way that he looked strong and might have "won" by losing, if that makes sense). And even though Orton didn't do anything different than he does in any other match (he stuck to just his basic moveset), the match was just put together in such a way to be a perfect showcase for Randy. No 3 minute chinlocks, no concussed idiot crap slowing things down and taking Orton from "mediocre" to "unwatchable," just non-stop action, a lot more intensity than we usually see out of Orton, and a very good 16-18 minute match that actually trumps anything RAW did last week in Japan. D'oh: I doubt I've said enough to get the Orton lovers off my back, but now I've probably really pissed off the Benoit lovers.... I am truly a man without a country.

Backstage: Eric Bischoff is talking to Teddy Long on the phone about what a cheap ploy it is to send JBL to RAW, but that he doesn't care, because if JBL shows up, Batista is gonna destroy "SD!'s best" and prove once and for all that RAW is the better brand. As Bischoff concludes the phone call, Edge walks in and says, "Surprise, surprise, everybody's talking about Batista." Edge says that Batista cost him the World Title last week in Japan, but nobody's talking about that, they're just talking about Batista, and it's like they're encouraging him, instead of punishing him for his interference. Bischoff says no, he's not encouraging Batista, and in fact, the reason he made the match tonight is so Edge could take out his frustrations in the ring. And that's when Edge says something interesting: he promises to do just that, and when the night is over, if Batista does decide to go over to SD!, then RAW will need a #1 contender for WM21, and Edge will prove that HE deserves that spot. Nice work here, since Edge just continues to bring it as a heel, but also because bits like this make you believe that the actual character think it's a possibility that Batista might jump ship, lending it a certain gravity that it wouldn't otherwise have. I mean *I'm* still not buying it, but that's only because I'm a dick, but I still think it's cool to put little bits of realism like this in....

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Flashback: RAW was in Japan a week ago, and it was a very unique experience for everybody involved. But I don't recap recaps.

If I Got to Choose My Own Valentine, Trish Stratus Would Certainly Be In My Top Three Theatre

Trish hits the ring for a promo (sans neck brace, continuing the trend of making it feel like we're kind of moving on to new things for Trish, Kane, and Snitsky). And wastes no time giving me the ol' Raging Erection of the Brain by declaring "Between crap like Candice Michelle's silly little Super Bowl commercial" [punctuated with an hilarious and dead-on imitation of Candice's flailing from earlier] "and last week's All American Diva Fashion Show, the RAW Divas are trying to steal the spotlight that should be mine. And starting tonight, NOBODY is gonna steal my spotlight." You know she's right, people. If you didn't want to believe me on these issues, then believe Trish!

But then Trish announces she has specific business with Noted Red Headed Spaz and 2004 Diva Search Winner Christy Hemme. She calls Spaz to the ring, but Spaz doesn't come out immediately, leaving Trish to riff about how she KNOWS that Christy's not exactly shy, so come on out, bitch, because YOUR Women's Champ has something to say to you. And finally, out comes Spaz, prancing out to WWE's Greatest And Most Appropriate Entrance Theme. Trish herself appreciates Spaz's prancing, and again does an hilarious imitation.

Trish DOES have business, though, above and beyond hilarious impersonations of useless divas. She just wants the fans to know that although there is a word they used to chant at her (fans: "SLUUUTTTTTT"), but now, Trish wants the fans to know that Christy has agreed to pose naked in Playboy magazine, and that means that there's only one slut around here... and that is Christy.

Christy takes the mic, and makes it clear that Trish's antics won't work, because she's PROUD to be in Playboy, and nothing Trish says will change that. And, in fact, Spaz believes that "Posing in Playboy doesn't make you a slut. But sleeping around with half the locker room does." OOOOHHHHHH!

So Trish just pauses to think, realizes "Dammit, I have been miserably, depressingly, and CRIMINALLY celibate since Christian left me for the comforting embrace of the Lovely Miss Tomko, so what's this bitch talking about?"... so she hauls off and gives Spaz a rather well-deserved slap to the face. Play Trish's music! Trish leaves with that fetching evil smirk of hers while Spaz slowly recovers, and JR opines that Trish is jealous of Christy. And so this is the answer to WWE's women's division problems?  Well, it's not what I'd do, but if it means Trish can keep cutting absolutely sweet promos like this one in which she rants against the useless RAW divas stealing the spotlight of their Significantly More Talented Champion, well, then Trish will keep on scoring major points with The Me.

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#3 in a Series: The Stacy/Basic Instinct WM21 spoof ad (which I, quite presciently, predicted in this spot last week). It's exactly 15 seconds too long, if you catch my drift. Why is WWE intent on doing the same Moolah/Mae Young joke at least twice a year despite the fact that it wasn't even funny the first time? Oh, and my next prediction on spoof ads that you can look forward to: I've decided if WWE does do a "Godfather" ad, it will, quite self-servingly, feature the McMahons as the Corleone Family. I'm also kind of bored and ahead of schedule today, so I'll also mention that my "Silence of the Lambs" spoof idea involved Agent Lita interviewing Hannibal Kane... but that was an idea I'd drunkenly developed the night of the Rumble PPV, and it was before I realized the tone WWE was actually going for with these things.... and mostly, I came up with that idea because I wanted to hit the punchline where Snitsky and Heidenreich are prancing around in Lady Suits telling each other how sexy they are. Which is funny. But which you'll never, in one billion years, see.

Kane vs. Simon Dean

Simon's already in the ring as we return from break, and Kane almost immediately makes his entrance. Simon cowers to ringside, where he demands a microphone, and admits that he's scared to death, but somehow goes from that to making fun of "Cincifatti." Oh good christ. Finally Kane has heard enough, and comes up behind Simon while he's railing the fans, and drags him into the ring to start the match. Pretty much a squash, with only one brief interlude when Simon tried to use his gym bag as a weapon (instead, the ref got distracted trying to put all the stuff back into the bag, and Kane had a chance to use Simon's weightbelt as a weapon). After the thorough beating, Kane briefly mocked Simon by doing some push-ups (kinda funny, actually), and then chokeslammed him for the win. No more than 2 minutes. And moderately pointless, but again -- for the third time tonight -- makes me think that Kane/Snitsky is a dead issue, which makes me naively optimistic that Kane might have something interesting to do by WM21.

Flashback: two weeks ago, JBL interrupted RAW and said naughty things about Batista. And he might be coming here tonight to do more than talk.

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Backstage: Shawn Michaels is fixing himself a nice hot cup o' joe when The Coach interrupts. Coach has got a Japanese wrestling magazine, which apparently has Royal Rumble coverage, including the part where Kurt Angle eliminated Michaels from the Rumble, and then made him bleed, and then made him tap. Coach just wants to know if Shawn's aware of what's being said in the press about the confrontation. Shawn sidesteps briefly, saying that what Angle needs to be focusing on right now is a match at No Way Out in which he can punch his own ticket to WM21's WWE Title Match. [Hey, ANOTHER nice effective little plug for SD!'s PPV; this one also plants the seed that if Shawn knows what's on the line for Angle in that match, it might not be out of the question for him to show up to take it away.] But Shawn says he guesses he knows why Angle's more worried about HBK than about his own business on SD!: because HBK is the man with "talent on loan from god." Very funny, Shawn. But Michaels closes on a serious note: "But to answer your question, Coach, yes, I am aware. I am VERY aware."  Ominous. And very good stuff.

Elsewhere Backstage: Batista is warming up for his match, and HHH comes up to talk to him. Trips is all "So what's this about you wanting to take care of JBL by yourself?". And Batista says that's just how he wants to handle it. But Trips has some bug up his ass, and can't accept that. He says that JBL has been "spitting in the face of Evolution," so Evolution should handle the problem as a unit. Batista says no, JBL has been calling HIM out, not calling Evolution out, so if JBL shows up, there's only one guy who's gonna deal with it, and that's Batista.  Batista leaves for his match, and Trips just says (to no one in particular), "Don't worry, Big Man, I got your back." Ominous. But in this case, I think we got the picture earlier, and this was bordering on overkill. 

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Mediocrity, Thy Name is Masters: the same Chris Masters vignette airs one more time. With a new tag: apparently, the "unveiling" is next week. Wheee! Unless you are a gay male in need of material, prepare to be underwhelmed. Well, actually, as weak as this vignette is, perhaps your expectations are already pretty low... so I guess just Prepare To Be Whelmed.

Also Next Week: come for the "unveiling" of Chris Masters, but STAY for the Official Contract Signing of Batista's WM21 Match. Will be stay on RAW or go to SD!?

Batista vs. Edge

During Batista's ring entrance, JR is hyping next week's RAW in University Park, PA, and makes the rather odd proclamation that "Batista could easily suit up for Penn State's football team." Which left me with two options for snarky comebacks; the "safe" one was just wondering where JR thought Batista was gonna come up with a few years of eligibility at his age. And then the real asshole one is the one Lawler shocked me by actually busting it out! "Of course he could suit up. Anybody could suit up. Because Penn State sucks." OUCH. It's true, but you just don't dis Joe Paterno out loud... also during Batista's entrance, there's something NOT pointless I'd like to point out: Triple H wound up following at a safe distance, and when Batista spotted him, he briefly got a look of annoyance on his face, but didn't make a big deal out of it.

So then Edge hits the ring, and the match commences (after the top of the hour, I note; afterall, Batista don't get paid by the hour). Batista uses his power to control the first 2 minutes or so of the match with bludgeoning offense, but the tide turns after he tosses Edge out of the ring, and then follows. In some ringside brawling, Edge manages to reverse his way into hitting an Edge-o-Matic on Batista on the floor. Ouch.  From there, Edge takes control, and pounds away for a bit, seeming to focus a bit on the neck, concluding in a neck vice of sorts. Crowd isn't really WAY into it, but does offer up a tepid "Edge Sucks" chant, and then a bit of a "Ba-Tis-Ta" chant....

Batista powers out of the neck vice, but it's not the real comeback. Then Batista catches Edge coming off the top rope (nailing him in the gut with a shoulderblock in a unique spot that I don't think I've seen before), but THAT's not the real comeback, either. Edge manages to retain control through all of that... but when Edge hits a big DDT, and thinks he's gonna follow up with a Spear, Batista just stands up and picks Edge off and nails him with a Spinebuster. Then he follows up with the sit-out Powerbomb... and then....

And then Triple H gets in the ring and slams the ref to the mat? Yup yup. Because up on the TitanTron, we see footage of JBL's limo pulling into the parking lot, and Trips thinks THAT is more important than the match. The look on Batista's face says, "What the fuck did you do that for?" at first, but then he kind of resigns himself to the fact that they need to take care of JBL. Flair shows up on the stage and starts gesturing to them to come on... and as Batista and HHH leave the ring, we get the bell, and find out that Batista has been disqualified for HHH's attack (so Edge wins, which plays into the idea that if Batista jumps, Edge really COULD make the case for being the #1 Contender, and is also an ingenious way to just protect Edge for when Batista doesn't jump and give him something new to bitch about: he BEAT the #1 contender, dammit!). Match was less than 5 minutes, and it didn't feel like these two ever really clicked, but it also didn't suck or anything: it was just there, and you could tell it was just an excuse to tell the post-match story. Speaking of which....

After the Match: we pick up Evolution storming down a hallway, with Batista in the lead. But even though Batista is, visually, the leader of the pack, it's HHH who is running his mouth about how "JBL has been spitting in the face of Evolution and tonight WE take him out." The whole time, Batista's shooting these quick glances back, but not saying anything. But HHH keeps on yammering away. Finally, they get to the exit door to the parking lot, and Batista DOES turn to address HHH and Flair; he says that this is HIS business, and that HHH and Flair should stand back.

So Batista descends a flight of stairs to get down to street level, and starts calling out for JBL. But there's no JBL here. There *is* however, an odd pile of garbage in the middle of nowhere, and suddenly I know exactly what's coming. Because, folks, let me assure you that we do NOT just put random piles of trash in the middle of the street here in Southwest Ohio, OK?  Sure enough, as Batista strolls near the trash pile, still shouting for JBL, an engine revs and a pair of headlights flicks on and a set of tires squeal... JBL's limo charges towards Batista, and at the last second, HHH flies in and tackles Batista into the garbage pile. JBL's limo makes a quick escape down Mehring Way, as Batista and HHH get to their feet.

Batista is seething as he hits his punchline: "Looks like I'm going to SmackDown!.".... and then, he keeps on talking after the punchline with a superfluous and stilted, "By myself." 

Nice. The closing match/segment accomplished a bunch (from "protecting" Edge to giving Batista more reasons to want to jump to SD! while still planting plenty of seeds of HHH actually being the one behind all this.... which is exactly what the Rick ordered).  Strong finish to a spotty show.

E-MAIL RICK
BROWSE THE RAW RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
 
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
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RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
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RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
 
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 

 

 


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