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SmackDown! Stands Tall on RAW 
November 22, 2005

(mostly) by The Broad, but also (partly) by The Rick
Both Undisputedly Annoyed with The Broad's Cable System


It's kind of nice to be back, if only for a week. I have less than a month left in the semester, which is a good thing, because I think my schedule is trying to kill me. School is technically in on Tuesday, but fortunately for me, all of my professors are as lazy as I am and aren't even bothering to hold class this Thanksgiving week. So for you, this means a break from the Rick's recaps.
In the meantime, just a quick recommendation for everybody: if either the Nine Inch Nails or U2 tour is coming your way, GO. I don't care if they're sold out. Lie, cheat, or steal to get tickets, and you won't be disappointed. I've seen them both in the past month (that's a hell of a concert two-fer, eh?) and they were more than worth the cash

I plunked down. And on that note, who do I have to kill to hear "Running to Stand Still" live?

And now, on to the recappage....

Opening Video Package: A lengthy recap of the RAW v. Smackdown! saga from two weeks ago, which was a smart thing to do, since we've all still recovering from the news about Eddie rather than thinking about storylines. Very well-done video.

Opening Theme/Pyro

(Not Quite) Live from Sheffield, UK

It's Just Like West Side Story, Except for the Singing and Dancing

Holy crap, Survivor Series is this weekend? Damn. Anyway, the show opens with the members of Team RAW -- Shawn Michaels, Carlito, Big Show, Kane, and (sigh) Chris Masters. Bischoff is with them, and as the team lines up in the ring, he takes the mic. He introduces the team and is all, "My brand can beat up Teddy Long's brand." I think he says something about rumors flying around on the internet and wwe.com about the Smackdown! team showing up tonight, but I'm distracted by falling anvils and can't be positive.

But Bischoff thinks that's a bunch of crap because he hasn't seen any SD stars all day long, and he's got Todd "Tood" Grisham reporting from the parking lot, just in case. Todd shows up on the Titan Tron and reports no suspicious activity, and Bischoff quickly cuts him off to gloat about Batista getting the crap beat out of him at the hands of RAW. "And that, as they say here on RAW, is cool," Bischoff smarms to Carlito, who gets a pretty good reaction from the crowd.

But then his head gets just a little too big, and he starts ranting about HIS army and HIS soldiers, and Big Show's had about enough of that. He snatches the mic from Bischoff and sets him straight: he and Kane went to Smackdown! only because they wanted to. "And if Batista got hurt somehow, that's too bad." The crowd really isn't behind Big Show on this, but he's quickly cut off by Todd Grisham on the Titan Tron: Smackdown! is here!

Cut to the parking lot, where JBL's limo arrives. Batista climbs out looking rather pissed, and is followed by Teddy Long, Rey Mysterio, Bob Lashley, JBL, and Randy Orton. Best dressed of the night: Batista, who's rocking a black trench coat and scarf and generally looks like he owns the place. And I haven't watched Smackdown! recently, but I'm guessing that Bob Lashley is the guy my brother keeps referring to as "Black Lesnar." Christ, he's huge.

Todd asks them what they're doing here, and Batista duhs a, "Get your asses to the parking lot" to the RAW team. They all think about it for maybe half a second before HBK takes the mic and is all, "Bring it on, beeyotch." They all leave the ring while Bischoff wisely protests that this is a setup and orders them to stay where they are, but they're not listening as they head up the ramp. And now would be a (not very good) time for some...


We're back, with the Smackdown! crew still waiting in the parking lot, rolling up their sleeves and such. Cut back to the hallways where Michaels and the rest of the team is doing the same. Carlito, not being a moron, stops HBK and asks, "What if it's a trap?" THANK YOU! God bless him and Bischoff for bringing up the obvious, and I really appreciate the effort they made to show that the RAW guys are at least allowing for that fact before blindly going backstage to attack someone. Nice of them to acknowledge all the fans at home sitting there and thinking the same thing. Anyway, HBK just says, "Do I think it's a trap? I'm COUNTING on it!" Big Show and Kane vow to take out Batista, and they all head outside and line up to face the Smackdown! crew.

I've really enjoyed this segment so far, but I'm getting flashbacks to The Outsiders here, and it's making me giggle. Hell, they probably could have gotten at least C. Thomas Howell and maybe Patrick Swayze to participate in this. It's not like those guys are working much nowadays. Anyway, it is ON. Orton and Carlito brawl, Big Show gets his head put through a car window by Batista (first off, OUCH. Second, nice spot), HBK takes on JBL in a Battle of the Acronyms, and Rey fights with Chris Masters. Bodies fly over cars, trash cans are thrown, and Masters has Rey in a full nelson. Masters hears a big crash off-screen and lets out a "Whoa," but doesn't release the hold. The camera pans back to a car, and we see that Batista has been presumably choke-slammed through the windshield by Show and Kane. Officials rush out to check on Batista and separate the two groups. Teddy Long screams for a medic, Batista is hurting, and I worry about the broken glass ruining his pretty, pretty outfit. And stop looking at me like that. I like the way the guy dresses, okay? Shut up.


Very Special Advertisement: The Bret Hart DVD is finally coming out. Sweet. I only caught a glimpse of some of the older footage they show, but Bret appears to have rocked an afro at some point in his career.

Still in the Parking Lot: Todd Grisham can't believe his eyes, and reports that Batista refused a stretcher, but was thrown into JBL's limo by the rest of the team, and they all sped off. Bischoff interrupts this: "You want a news flash? Let me give you a news flash: you don't mess with RAW, and you never mess with Eric Bischoff!"

Ric Flair v. Larry the Cable Guy

I love that the ref holds the ropes for Flair when he gets into the ring. I'm guessing this is non-title. And since I haven't recapped RAW in a long time and haven't had a chance to comment on Cade and Murdoch, I must say that Murdoch's facial expressions are hi-fucking-larious. I also don't think he has anything to worry about with WWE's new, stricter steroid-testing policy.

Flair showboats to start. Does that count as offense? Tie-up and shoulder block on Flair, who responds by back-body dropping Murdoch. Of course, "drop" implies that there was elevation involved in the move, but there wasn't much of it. Punchy-choppy for a minute, and Flair goes up top, eye-poking Murdoch to keep from getting slammed off. Hee. He manages to jump off without any further incident, but gets caught with a fist to the gut and a neckbreaker. Murdoch goes on the offense for a few minutes, working Flair's back and getting a few two-counts. I like the resthold he chooses to use: more or less a sitting abdominal stretch, but it looked painful. More work on the back, but he misses a second-rope knee drop, and Flair pounces with a chop-block.

He goes for the Figure Four, but is countered. Flair counters a body-slam and rolls Murdoch up with a handful of tights for the three. #1 on the list of things I never want to see again: Trevor Murdoch's ass.

Winner: Ric Flair

Post-match: Flair celebrates while Murdoch limps to the back and accosts the referee, but he's interrupted by Triple H on the Titan Tron. "Very impressive, Ric. I know what you're thinking: with another big win, the Nature Boy is back!" Flair's non-verbal reaction: "Uh, yeah." Trips says that all he's done is buy some time, because this Sunday, it won't be about winning or losing: it'll be about surviving. "I'll show you that later tonight." Hmmmm. Trips notes that about a month ago, Flair said that he would beat Triple H if it was the last thing he ever did. "Congratulations, Ric. You beat me. Now this Sunday, I'm gonna make sure that it's the last thing you ever do." Good, intense, and to the point. That's the Triple H I want to see. More of that every Monday, please.


JBL and the Definition of Awesomeness

We join Tajiri v. Rob Conway in progress, but it's on the air for approximately three seconds before JBL storms the ring and beats the crap out of both guys. Crowd goes apeshit for this, and I have to admit that it's kind of cool. He grabs a mic and paces wildly around the ring. "You want a fight?! Do you want a fight?!" The crowd gives an enthusiastic "Yeah!" JBL says that Batista is going to the hospital because of a bunch of cowards from RAW, and the crowd immediately shifts from cheers to boos.

"I am standing here in this ring with the two feet that God gave me because I'm not a coward, and I'm calling RAW out!" Crowd is back on board, and this is where things really start kicking ass: "I demand that right now, in this very ring, one of the guys who started this -- that knuckle-dragging hare-lipped orangutan Chris Masters -- comes down and gets his ass kicked by the Wrestling God!" HA! Rock on, JBL. Rock on.

But Bischoff has other ideas, and shows up at the entrance ramp to a huge "Asshole!" chant. He asks JBL who the hell he thinks he is, interrupting a match in Bischoff's ring, and Bradshaw shoots back with a, "I'm JBL and that's damn enough!" Bischoff plays the "You don't show up on my show and demand a match with one of my superstars" card, and then... he gives JBL a match with one of his superstars. More specifically, Shawn Michaels. Whoa. JBL just grins and nods rather than acting spooked, and that is awesome. He exits the ring with a, "See you in the main event, Eric." That should have been the punchline, but Bischoff hits some stupid line telling JBL to hit the concession stand for some fish and chips, because the match is coming up later and he can't wait. Does that make ANY sense at all?

Final clunker of a line aside, this ruled. I love this RAW v. Smackdown! storyline. The shows are unpredictable because you don't know who's going to show up, you have faces and heels working together on the same team because they have to, and pretty much everyone is acting like a badass. Most importantly, it's believable. You know that HBK is willing to work with guys like Bischoff and Masters because of his pride in RAW. You cheer faces and boo heels. There is no "right" side to cheer for, because you understand where they're both coming from. There are shades of gray all over the place, and it's awesome.

Up Next: A rematch of Shelton Benjamin v. Kurt Angle. Hell. Yes.


Video Package: John Cena on the set of MADtv. Whatever.

Kurt Angle v. Shelton Benjamin

The bleeping of the "You Suck!" chants is one of the stupidest things I've seen or heard in wrestling. Just sayin'. Kurt gets a pretty good reaction otherwise. Shelton comes out, but there's no referee... at least until Khosrow Daivari's music cues up, and he shows up wearing the black-and-white. Either Daivari's bulked up, or the too-tight shirt he's wearing makes him look bigger. He makes some "I'm going to call this straight down the middle" gestures on the way, and searches Shelton but not Kurt before the match starts.

Back-and-forth chain-wrestling goodness to start, which ends up with Shelton on the winning side of an armbar. Kurt fights out with fingers to the eyes. They trade punches, and Kurt hits an overhead suplex to a pretty even mix of cheers and boos. Dueling "Let's go Angle!/Let's go Shelton!" chants fire up. Heh. Backbreaker for a one-count on Shelton. Kurt stomps away on the back and chokes Shelton with help from the ring ropes. Daivari is very slow to start a five-count, not surprisingly. Overhead suplex gets two. Kurt hits the resthold for the night, a waistlock without his usual body scissors. Daivari hilariously keeps asking Shelton if he wants to give up, and looks like he's about to ring the bell.

Shelton fights out and hits a flying forearm. Both men are down, and Daivari starts a ten count, frantically gesturing for Angle to get up between numbers. Hee. Angle gets up first, and runs into a pair of clothelines and a Samoan drop. Shelton goes for the T-bone suplex, but Angle counters with an overhead suplex, which Shelton re-counters with a neckbreaker. Awesome. Punches on Angle in the corner, and Angle fights out. Shelton tries the corkscrew superkick, but Angle ducks and counters with a German suplex. But Shelton backflips out of it and lands on his feet, and goes for the corkscrew kick again, this time connecting. ANOTHER awesome sequence.

Kurt bails, but Shelton follows with a baseball slide and attacks on the outside. They fight it out on the ring apron, and Kurt teases a German suplex off of it. One of these days he's going to actually do that spot, and my heart will stop when it happens. Shelton fights out and hits that oh-so-amazing DDT on the ring apron that we've seen from Benoit and Cena in the past.

Back in, Shelton tries the T-bone again, but Kurt counters with the Anklelock. Shelton fights valiantly to get to the ring ropes, but is pulled away. He tries it again, to no avail. And again, and the crowd is really going nuts here for him to grab the ropes. Nice bit of storytelling there, and Shelton has been in the Anklelock for a long time at this point. Shelton finally does grab the bottom rope, but Daivari doesn't force a break, and Angle just yanks Shelton away and continues to cinch in the hold. Shelton finally manages a counter, rolling Kurt up, but Daivari ain't counting. He instead rolls the two men over so Angle is on top, and counts a very quick three.

Winner: Kurt Angle, via nefarious means.

Post-match: Kurt grabs a mic, and says that the announcement he's about to make is about to change the face of his match for the WWE Title at Survivor Series.


Post-match, continued: Kurt says that people have been asking him why he's associated himself with Daivari. But they've got a lot in common: they've been abused by the people. Um, is the UK really the best place to be doing this promo? He says that Daivari is a proud American, just like Kurt, but has been abused by the people just because he's Arab-American. Yet the people will cheer "A misogynist, foul-mouthed, hooligan rap star like John Cena?" You forgot to add "homophobic" to that list, Kurt. But the people will still deny Daivari his right to expression as a proud American, just because he's of Arab descent? I'll say it again: wrong crowd, dude. From what I understand, the rest of the world kinda hates us, and I think the UK is included. Anyway, it makes Kurt sick.

But he's about to change all that. Thanks to Eric Bischoff, Daivari is now Kurt Angle's own personal referee for all of his matches, including the title match at Survivor Series. He says that he's a worldwide hero, baby, and John Cena is nothing. Daivari takes the mic and rants in Farsi (I think) for a minute, but is interrupted when John Cena's mug pops up on the Titan Tron.

"Kurt, Kurt. Stop it, man! Pipe down; you're acting like a friggin' ham sandwich!" Um, John? Pot, kettle, black? He says that he's heard Kurt's whining and knows how he feels, so Cena is on a mission backstage: he's going to find out what the other superstars think of Angle. He invites the camera along and barges into the first door he comes across, which just happens to be the women's locker room. Sigh. Cena quickly turns around, all, "I didn't see anything! I'm just here to find out what you think about Kurt Angle." Maria leans over Cena's shoulder and ditzes, "You're not Kurt Angle, you're John Cena!" Stupid line, but props for the spot-on delivery.

Candace Michelle shows up on his other side, wearing nothing but a towel. She steps in front of Cena and drops the towel, asking if he thinks that she sucks.

Time-out, here: GOD. WOMEN DO NOT ACT LIKE THIS. Arrrrrggggggg.

Cena is delighted and asks if there's any way he can make that happen, but Victoria, being awesome, shoves him out of the room. Cena gets in a "call me" to Candace, and kind of swears to himself when the door shuts behind him. "I'm sure everyone right now is wondering if the divas suck or if they don't, but Kurt, this is about you." Well, I'm pretty sure that Candace is a whore, at least. Cena continues down the hall and opens the next door he comes across, finding Snitsky and Tomko inside. And Snitsky is massaging Tomko's right shoulder. I'm rolling my eyes already, because I know what's coming.

Cena acts flabbergasted, and Snitsky just drops a, "Yeah? What?" like it's no big deal. Snitsky matter-of-factly says that Tomko has a kink in his neck, and Tomko slaps his hand away, because GOD FORBID that someone might think that this makes them gay, as if there's anything wrong with that in the first place. Cena obviously thinks so and hits a few un-funny lines about how nobody's judging anybody, but he's obviously disgusted by the whole thing and makes a quick exit. Snitsky, as the door closes: "It's not my fault! It's a kink!" Okay, fine: hee.

Cena tries not to vomit, and heads off to the next door: behind it, we find the Boogeyman, holding what appears to be a human heart in one hand and a clock in the other. He sings a few bars of "London Bridge is Falling Down," and thinks he's the spookiest thing this side of the Undertaker, and I collapse into giggling fits over it. What a perfect way to handle a crap character. For his part, Cena does a double take with a perfect "What the Fuck?" look on his face, shuts the door, and moves on.

He acknowledges that maybe this is a bad idea, but says that there are 12,000 screaming fans out there who all have a voice. Cena makes his way through the crowd, randomly asking fans what they think of Kurt Angle. The unanimous response: he sucks. Cena concludes, as an unbiased reporter, that Kurt Angle sucks. Brilliant, Holmes. Cena charges the ring and attacks Angle, looking really on his game tonight. He always seems to switch into a higher gear when he's wrestling Kurt. He dumps Angle and Daivari bails, leaving Cena to celebrate in the ring with his belt.


RAW Rewind: Two weeks ago, Triple H beat the crap out of Viscera.

Triple H v. Val Venis (Brutal Chairshot Theatre)

Trips gets a massive face pop for his entrance. Val Venis? Not so lucky. Punchy-kicky to start, with Val easily getting the better of Trips and clotheslining him to the outside. Val follows him, and walks straight into a really stiff chairshot. Headfirst, no hands up or anything. OUCH.

Winner (via DQ): Val Venis

Post-match: Trips tosses Val into the ring and beats his lifeless body several times with a few more chairshots. He shakes off the ref and follows with a Pedigree, screaming for Flair but getting no response. As far as the crowd is concerned, Trips is the babyface here. Huh.

Backstage: Bischoff is on the phone, but is interrupted by a lackey who informs him that Teddy Long is outside, demanding to speak with him. Bischoff finds this hilarious, but tells the lackey to let Teddy in.

[ads, during which my cable goes out, I scramble for options, and the following AIM conversation took place with Our Humble Webmaster....]

Erin: Uhhhh.... Rick? You around? 
[wait for 10 minutes because apparently some people don't watch TV while sitting in front of their computers]

: Hey, E... what the hell's up? Shouldn't you be "working."
: My cable just went out.
: And I know I said I'd do the recap.... but I think I'm kinda screwed here.
Rick: God-fucking-dammit. I won't waste your time with a "Godfather III" homage, but can I assume you're about to pull me back in to work on some part of tomorrow's Recap?
Erin: Well, it's either that, or I could read a recap by your hero, Wade Keller, and try to fake it. But I'd feel dirty trying to pull that shit.
Rick: Way to press the right button, E.... you will not be consorting with Keller's ass-hatted recaps on my watch!
Erin: Would a "muwahaha" be appropriate here?
Rick: If by "Muwahahahahaha" you mean, "I just saved myself from recapping the last 40 minutes of RAW," then yes, by all means.
Erin: Sweet! I mean... Fuck you, Comcast. Fuck you right in the eye.
Rick: Time Warner's no friend o' mine on this day, either, so let's just fuck the entire Cable TV Industry right in their eyeholes, OK?
Erin: Or a collective cornholing. I'm all for it.
Rick: So what's the deal, exactly? HHH just destroyed Val Venis? Teddy Long is in the parking lot? And your cable's out and the The Rick must come to the rescue? Is that a good read on the situation?
Erin: Don't go getting a hero complex on me, here. But... well, yes.
Rick: Alrighty, then.... till your cable comes back on, Erin, I guess I can re-locate to sit in here and flip on the software that lets me watch TV on my PC and sorta give you a live, real-time version of my running commentary. I'll try to make it as close to what I'd put in a Recap as possible, and you can do with it as you please.... sound OK?
: Go for it. Funny thing is, I doubt most people could tell the difference between my recaps and yours, save for a few catchphrases that we haven't yet stolen from each other.
Rick: Heh. I am MUCH longer-winded than you, E... anybody who can't tell the difference is a retard.
Erin: ...Except the people who think we're the same person.
Erin: Actually, those people ARE retards, so I take that back.
Rick: Indeed. Especially after our respective TV appearances in the last couple years .... and I know Ric Flair has never groped MY rack!
Erin: Liar. You know he did, and you loved it.
Rick: I got doused in a thrown beer intended for Brian Pillman (he ducked). That remains as close as I've ever been to being molested by a Wrestling Heel.
Erin: Is it sad that Flair's rack-grabbage was one of the high points of my life?
Rick: Ummmm, it made for a sweet avatar, but uhhhh.... hmmm... if you're gonna be saving this Grade A Banter for use in your recap, I really wish I could bail you out here, but I can't really figure out how to get you out of that shameful admission....
Erin: Aaaaaand the subtext here is, "You're pathetic." I get it. So let's just move on.

Rick: OK..... here goes....

Announce Table Visit: Apparently, during the break, GM Eric Bischoff and GM Teddy Long met in a parking lot, and it was filmed. But only for the losers who actually check out "Unlimited" on WWE.com. Their meeting did have a noteworthy outcome, though: tonight, the JBL/HBK main event will be a lumberjack match, with members of Team RAW and Team SD! surrounding the ring. Coach is quick to note that due to Batista being injured earlier in the show, that means a 4-on-3 advantage for Team RAW. I am quick to note that if Joey Styles is the new full-time play-by-play man on RAW, you should get him a chair that gives him the extra 6 inches of height that he needs. I mean: god bless Joey, but he's a tiny, tiny man. But you don't have to make him look that way on TV.

Erin: Joey can be as tiny as he wants if it means that Lawler isn't on play-by-play.
Rick: Ugh. Coach is the weak link here, E. At least with King, it is possible to have "chemistry," as JR proved.
Erin: Any man that makes me want to sac-punch Lawler less than I normally do deserves a medal, and I don't care if he's a midget. JR proved nothing, other than him being about as disgusted with King as I normally am. King dragged him down, if anything.


Mickie James vs. Boobies McTitsalot

A note about ring entrances..... Boobies is still Trying Too Hard in terms of ring attire. Stockings and garter belts aren't even hot in everyday life, but she's bringing them to the ring and trying that GoDaddy dance. No sale. Same thing when Boobies and Victoria share an Unsexy Kiss during the re-worked ring-entrance.... King says, "I like girls who like girls." Rick says, "Well, at least King has giving up on girls ever liking him." 

And while Victoria is in Boobies' corner, Trish is in Mickie's. Given the mixed company, E, I'll pass on the Extended DVD Commentary about Trish's ensemble, and just make a joke about Mickie's spastic bouncing..... girl's a bundle of energy, it nothing else.

Erin: Heh. Sounds like she's prancing like Gavin Rossdale.
Rick: You mean Mr. Stefani?
Erin: Yep. His crappy new band opened for U2 this weekend, and at the end of their set he decided to venture out onto the oval stage thingy in the crowd and try to be Bono. It failed miserably, and the man PRANCED.
Erin: No sexy moves or cool interaction with the audience. Just prancing.
Rick: Wow. I'm not saying I didn't hate that tosser already dating back to 1997, but are you sure that he pranced? I mean, fronting a shitty band is one thing, but Prancing?
Erin: I know prancing when I see it. And that man pranced like there was no tomorrow.
Rick: Back to the match, E.....

Mickie's displays of energetic enthusiasm are for naught once the bell rings.. She clearly has Boobies out-matched, one-on-one, but Boobies keeps breaking for curiously unsexy GoDaddy dances and stuff like that. Mickie doesn't quite know what to do in response, so she lays back, and that's her undoing. While Boobies provides a distraction to the (undiscerning) referee, Victoria clocks Mickie in the head, and launches us into what passes for the story of this match.

Erin: "Story?" Two whores, one talented and one not? This ain't exactly Thunderdome.
Rick: Heh. And "Thunderdome"? Let me say this, if Mel Gibson and Lord Humongous are the answer to the question "The Story?," I'm pretty sure I'm out. Screw Thunderdome!
Rick: And Tina Turner. She was in "Beyond Thunderdome," right? Screw her, too.
Rick: Or did she just do a music video?
Erin: Hey, don't be hatin' on Tina.
Erin: I have no idea. That was slightly before my time. *coughgeezercough*
Rick: Dammit, E, I'm slightly more-worldly than you, but I don't think the fact that I can remember Hot Tina Turner from my elementary school years QUITE makes me a geezer.
Erin: Shit, she's still hot. I hope I can rock a miniskirt like that when I'm 60.
Rick: I'd register some disbelief that Tina Turner's really more than twice my age at this point, but I think I already kinda knew it in some dark recess of my brain.... and by the way: the match still has Boobies dominating Mickie, all while still mysteriously not performing a single crisply-executed offensive move.
Erin: "Mysteriously"? You give her too much credit.
Rick: Or give Victoria too little credit.

The match is not exactly laid out to be an epic to begin with, but about 2 minutes into Candice faking her way through dominating Mickie, we do (mercifully) head for home....I'm not shitting when I say that Candice's "offense" was mostly comprised of her doing that GoDaddy dance and lounging on the ring ropes in an allegedly sexy fashion. There wasn't even really a standard rest-hold/fire-up or anything, Mickie just said "Fuck this noise," and starting punching at Candice.... end result, a big time rally where Mickie was hitting the basic punchy-kicky moves on Candice, and seemed to take over.

But before Mickie could hit a finisher or anything, two men in black sweat suits, wearing black ski masks hit the ring.... and abducted Trish Stratus out through the crowd. This had the effect of distracting me, since Trish was attired in a dandy pair of jeans, but had the more pressing effect of distracting Mickie James, who also has a thing for Trish, and started paying more attention to the Distraction than to her opponent.

Erin: Wipe your chin, Rick.


Boobies snuck up from behind, hit a quick Schoolgirl Roll-up, and got the Double-U.

Your Winner: Boobies McTitsalot, via pinfall, in about 2-3 minutes.
Not a pretty match at all, but I think it existed more to further storylines than anything else. The Rick didn't even plan on recapping tonight, but will still make the wager that if that wasn't M and N doing the abducting of Trish (on behalf of the other M), I'll eat a bug. As Victoria and Candice celebrate their ill-gotten victory, we break for more.....


Backstage: We come back to find Trish Stratus duct-taped to a chair, and her two abductors have been revealed. Turns out it was M and N. But more pressing: the other M, Melina, has a handful of Trish's hair and is doing some talking.... she thinks it's unfair that she's the Most Dominate (sic) Diva, but doesn't even get a chance to fight for the Women's Title. But after beating Trish in a Battle Royale last week, Melina's appetite has been whetted.... she's issuing a challenge to Trish for the Women's Title in a match at Survivor Series. And what's Trish think about that? The duct tape comes off and Trish declares -- because she's awesome -- that, "I think you're gonna get yer ass kicked on Sunday." Melina no likey the sass mouth and slams the duct tape back on. Melina says she's not surprised Trish thinks that, but in this case, Trish is 100% wrong, because at Survivor Series, the announcement will be made: "Your NEW Women's Champion, MELLLLLL-LEEEEEEEEENNNNAAAA." And, rhetorically, Melina asks, "Wouldn't that be a kick in the head?". Whoops, not so rhetorically, since -- unlike Wayne Newton -- she actually does boot Trish in the noggin before leaving.....

Erin: Oh lord. Is this like the time Kane "kidnapped" RVD and tied him up in a basement somewhere, and breathed in his face a lot and generally just acted really homoerotic?
Rick: Actually, E: Melina did display a remarkable lack of grasp on the concept of cameras and network television.... I didn't even really think of it just now, since I try to repress that part of my predictable bitching whenever possible. But Melina actually did say something like "You think anybody knows where you are, Trish? You think anyone's looking for you? Well, they aren't." Despite the fact that this was being broadcast worldwide. You didn't even see it, and you have correctly arrived at the proper analysis that I was repressing....
Erin: Always glad to help. Seriously, Mickie: just follow the camera crews, and you're the hero.
Erin: Actually, how awesome would that be? You know, if someone showed up to save Trish, and she would be all, "How did you know I was here?" And her savior could just point to the camera guy and say, "Duh."


Announce Table Visit: somehow, that backstage, unseen-by-anybody Trish/Melina Confrontation was still grounds for officially signing a PPV match-up, as evidenced by the fact that Joey/King/Coach announce it as part of the Survivor Series line-up as part of a lengthy Lo-Content Segment of PPV Hype. And then, at the end of the PPV hype, King just annoys the hell out of me by doing some total non-sequitur about Trish being hurt and wanting to go comfort her, so he leaves the announce desk.... umm, Old Man, either go save her when she's actually in trouble, or honor the "This isn't on TV, and nobody can see this" aspect of the skit that Melina introduced. But don't try to have it both ways on the grounds that you apparently wanted to use this as material for losers to watch on the "WWE Unlimited" webcast thingie....

Backstage: Maria the Mic Stand has a copy of Shawn Michaels brand-new biography.... she pretends like she read it, and tries to pimp the book, but then Shawn hits the screen. And he pioneered the technology of Interviewing Himself (for the benefit of Maria) back about 11 months ago.... he does the same thing here. After passing on all the easy jokes about how Maria probably hasn't read a book that is (a) released in hardcover, and (b) has more than 35 pages, Michaels talks about his match tonight against JBL.... he says that that which flies on Friday nights does not impress anybody on Mondays. And therefore: tonight, JBL had best be fixing to find out what it means to get RAAAAWWWWWWWW. Somehow, I saw Shawn Michaels' lips moving on that last line, but heard Vince McMahon's voice....


Erin: Good god. Don't they trust Shawn fucking Michaels to come up with something memorable on his own for a promo? Stop feeding him lines, Writer Monkeys!
Rick: Preaching to the choir, E. I think we both know what goes into a Good Michaels Promo. This thing tonight contained None Of That.


Shawn Michaels vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (Lumberjack Match)

Shawn enters first, and his entire team joins him to his music. JBL enters second, and his team emerges from the JBL Limo (stupid Big Brain Question: was the steering wheel on the wrong side of that limo, since this *was* the UK?), but minus Batista. The announcers sell it as Batista being written out, and JBL being the new Team Captain of SD!, because nobody could fill Batista's shoes..... does it make me a Giant Jack-off if I admit that as I listened to Joey and King go off on this tangent, I began fantasizing (in a manly fashion) about Benoit showing up at a climactic point to make himself the new Team Captain and Difference Maker for SD!?

Erin: Oh, please make it so. Is Benoit even in a match at Survivor Series yet?
Rick: Yeah, Benoit/Booker for the US Title, I think. But 3 days ago, it was supposed to be Orton/Taker in a Buried Alive match (and that's off now, so that Orton can be in the 5-on-5 match, and PROBABLY be the new SD! Champ).... let's just say I would have done things differently....
Erin: I want to like Smackdown!, I really do. But Orton As Champ? Again?
Rick: I know, I know.... if they do it, it oughta be short this time. I mean: just as short as last time, except THIS time, the shortness will be on purpose, instead of because of Blatant Fumblery.
Erin: I just can't support a potential date rapist with gold around his waist.
Rick: My guess: Orton wins the title on SD! on Friday (because of injuries suffered on RAW tonight), and then Taker beats him for the title at some later date.... just my read on it. If Benoit's contract situation was better-defined, I could propose about a billion better options, but.... I mean, I don't hate Taker like most do. He's a great guy to have in your back pocket for situations like this.
Erin: You don't have to sell me on the Value of Taker, believe me. I'm one of his few defenders.
Rick: Cool.... back to the match in progress, then, E?
Erin: Go on.


As it turns out, JBL is all big and strong and stuff... and HBK is somewhat miniscule. They go into an exchange that I would call "punchy-choppy".... humorously, Joey Styles announces that "This match has opened with punches and chops." That's verbatim. And as you might expect, in a brawling motif, JBL gets the better of HBK.

It only gets worse once Shawn is tossed to the outside, and has to deal with SD!'s lumberjacks. And RAW's 'jacks are slow to respond so that's essentially your story for the opening 7 minutes or so.... I'm sad to report that it's not that thrilling, E.... JBL kind of had control, but had no real focus to his attack at this point. The 'jacks attacking was more the thing, since that got heel heat on JBL, and some babyface sympathy for Michaels..... I would not be misleading you if I said that Carlito (at ringside) was about my favorite part about this portion of the match. He was engaging the crowd *and* engaging the opposition. He and Orton actually got into it a bit at ringside, but the chants say it all: while HBK/JBL were wrestling, there was actually a "Carlito Sucks" chant going on with fans. That dude is cOOl.

Erin: It's hard not to like Carlito. And anyone who picks a fight with Randy Orton just because is all right by me. And I'm kind of surprised that HBK/JBL wasn't very compelling. Michaels is EXACTLY the type of opponent that Bradshaw needs to look good.
Rick: 'Twas so slow, at least in the early going.... but it's about to hit a cool spot...

Finally, Michaels manages to duck some Random Attack by JBL and turns it into an excuse to clothesline JBL over the top rope. Michaels skins-the-cat, but then slingshot planchas his self onto Team SmackDown!..... Team SD! has a cool spot where they "rescue" JBL by recovering fast and then tossing JBL into the ring, sp they can focus their attack on Michaels.... but then Team RAW shows up and evicts Team SD!. In a cool spot, Big Show consults with HBK, and the Press Slams HBK (from the floor, over the top rope) onto the still-dead carcass of JBL (who hasn't moved since his men shoved him into the ring for "safety").... JBL kicks out at 2.

But after that big spot, both men are kinda spent, so it's probably a good spot for our last....


Erin: Whoa. Sweet. If anything, this show is really making a case for the end of the brand split.
Rick: I vote for the end of the Brand Split six days a week, and twice on Sundays.... but 'tain't happening. Too much overhead and stuff in terms of how it'd fuck up WWE's business practices. Still, wouldn't it be sweet if we could, betwixt the two of us, Fantasy Book a WM 22 that culminated in Angle vs. Benoit in a Champion vs. Champion Match to crown the one and only "The Man"?
Erin: I'd fly my ass to Chicago and pay ridiculous scalper prices to see that, my Visa bill be damned.


Back, and JBL is in control of the match.... the announcers tell us that something happened on "WWE Unlimited," but unless you lack a life of your own, you probably didn't see it.. Thrust of it is that after Michaels hit the bit Plancha, JBL and Team SD! went to town on Michaels' lower back. The SURGICALLY RECONSTRUCTED lower back. Which suddenly became JBL's focus at some point during that commercial break....

Erin: Wait a second. HBK's back is surgically reconstructed? Shit, I never would have known. GOD. Dispense with the anvils, Joey.
Rick: Nobody ever accused the announce team of subtlety. Back to narrative:

JBL's rather un-exciting offensive starts to focus on Michaels' lower back.... he can't even muster up one of Carlito's innovative back-breakers. But he can just clubber away with fore-arms and stuff. For JBL, this builds up to a "high spot" in which JBL hits a Fall Away Slam on Michaels.... when Michaels kicks out after a long two, it's the beginning of End Game.

JBL argues the two-call,. and that gave Michaels a chance to regroup after the Fall Away Slam. JBL came back, and shot HBK into the ropes, but was met with the Flying Burrito (Joey: "Forearm Shot." Dammit, JR, where are you!?!?!). Nip up. And then a bit of back and forth, but Michaels put JBL down with a Body Slam, and also hit the Macho Man Elbow.... it seemed to be All Over.

Erin: Seemed to be? Just a wild guess, but I'm saying Batista shows up.
Erin: Oh, and what exactly is the origin of "nip up," anyway? In gymnastics terms, "kip up" would be the correct usage.
Rick: *I* always thought I remembered "kip" from my gym class days, too.... but "nip" was the preferred term once I started watching wrestling. JR said "nip," but I do think Joey says "kip." My confusion knows no bounds.
Erin: Well, JR had it wrong.
Rick: Huh. Well, if I can help make the world a better place, I will -- from here on out -- only use "kip." And once again, OO will be able to lay claim to being every bit as educational as it is entertaining! Speaking of which: this match is still on-going, and I gotta get back to the recappening....

As fate would have it, everybody's favorite Toolbox and Tosser, Randy Orton was at ringside, the newest member of Team SD!, after Eddie's death.... Michaels actually tuned up the band and did hit the Sweet Chin Music on JBL, but after doing so, Young Randall just blatantly hopped into the ring (hilariously, he was kind of hanging out on the apron before the Big Spot, gawking, slack-jawed, at the action, before leaping into the fray once he finally got his cue).... as Michaels went for the cover, Orton ran in and attacked. Before the ref could decide anything, all of Team RAW and Team SD! were in the ring brawling. I'm assuming it's....

Your Winner: Shawn Michaels, via disqualification, in about 20-22 minutes. Either that, or they might just call it a "No Decision" for the benefit of the people who play Fantasy League WWE. Too long to be good. Or not good enough to be this long. Still relatively serviceable, though, and a sufficient excuse to get us to the post-match shenanigans.....

After the Match:
Team RAW had the 5-on-4 edge, and I was STILL (rube that I am) cheering for Benoit to make the big save.... but nah.... Batista came out, bandaged up, and put the kibosh on SD!'s beatdown. Kane and Show had gone through Team SD! with no trouble, but Batista showed up (injured and all) and put an end to that. Final image: Batista standing tall in a RAW Ring.

Erin: Okay, whoever booked this has obviously never been in a hospital waiting room. Batista could have shown up bleeding out via his carotid, and he'd still be stuck in triage at this point. I can see the nurses now, assuring him that it's "just a flesh wound." 
Erin: Anyway, are we done here?
Rick: I think so. I'm done telling you what happened on RAW, anyway. So this is also where you can stop cutting-and-pasting.
: Good, because it's taken us two hours to get through 40 minutes of RAW. Guess you weren't expecting to have to deal with that shit when you sat down to watch the show, were you?
Rick: Don't get me started.
Erin: Fuck you, Comcast.
Rick: Right in the eye.


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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