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Too Little, Too Late... but the
Effort is Appreciated.
March 28, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


[LATE NOTE: if you're reading this recap later than usual, well, blame the return of the transient Road Runner Problems I mention briefly in the pre-ramble. I've actually had to move to an Alternate Undisclosed Location to post this update. I flat-out refuse to plop down in front of my computer for however many hours it takes so I can actually be here and at the ready when I get one of my 20-30-minute windows of up-time. So annoying.]

So much for the best laid plans... 

You really were supposed to get a Sunday night/Monday OO Update, but I procrastinated on Sunday; my excuse was that I was waiting for the SD! Recap to show up before I started polishing up my tiny handful of notes and turning them into a column.

And it got to be about 1am before I remembered that

Jeff had warned me that there might not be a SD! Recap this week. D'oh. All that time, down the drain, cuz 1am is no time to be starting a column.

As for polishing the column up on Monday afternoon? Didn't happen. Blame Road Runner. By the time everything was functioning properly again, it was 5:30 or six yesterday, and again: probably too late to be dicking around just getting started on organizing a column.

On the upside, during the downtime, I got a decent head start updating the Road to WrestleMania for this year. The trOOps and I are even adding sort of another prong to it for this year. That should all hit your computer screens tomorrow or Thursday. Nothing like OO's WM Feature to get folks into the Mania Mood...

And hey, also on the upside: WWE finally presented a halfway-entertaining and effective RAW last night. Definitely a case of "too little, too late" when it comes to your WrestleMania Build-Up, but I won't complain about one of WWE's few competently-constructed and tolerably-watched 2-hour broadcasts in recent memory.

Well, I'll still find stuff to complain about, because that's what makes Recappening fun for both you and me. But the mockery won't be quite as exasperated as usual. We ride:

Cold Open: Vince McMahon is in his office, trying to set a land speed record for how many times he can shoehorn "highway to hell" into the announcement that -- in addition to Vince facing John Cena tonight -- Vince is out to ruin Shawn Michaels' day yet again. So we'll be seeing Michaels vs. Triple H later tonight. HIGHWAY TO HELL! HIGHWAY TO HELL! BAH GAWD, SHAWN MICHAELS IS ON A HIGHWAY TO HELL, AND VINCE MCMAHON WON'T TAKE HIS FOOT OFF THE GAS PEDAL! HIGHWAY TO HELL!

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live in Omaha, NE. Let me consult the charts... according to our data, this means John Cena ought not to be booed too badly tonight. Viva la backwater hicks still enamored with an obnoxious wigger! [Save it, Omahanians; Cena would get cheered here in Dayton, too. And there's not a damned thing I can do about it.] Joey, King, and Coach assure us that we've got a super-duper-mega-awesome show tonight as we head to WrestleMania. In addition to Vince's double main event, we're wasting no time as we shoot it down to the ring for...

Is Your Secret Santa Hardcore?

Mick Foley comes on out to a big pop. He's sporting two big boxes (one is left at the top of the ramp, the other goes to the ring with Mick) and a bouquet of roses. Hmmm. And also, Mick is rather moist. Not wet, but moist. Like he stepped under a shower for 0.7 seconds. If I were the kind of guy who thinks too hard about things, I'd probably wager a guess that somebody's gonna be playing with fire tonight, and he didn't want his hair burning off, or something.

Luckily for you, I *never* (EVAR~!) think too hard about things, so you don't have to be subjected to any fire-related theories, only to be disappointed when it doesn't pan out that way.

FYI: even though I got the distinct impression that Mick morphed into Cactus Jack last week, he was back to being plain old "Mick Foley" this week. I mean, in terms of the announcers and how he was referenced. Mick still brought some of the Cactus-caliber intensity, and nary a sock puppet nor a cheap pop were seen all night.

Mick starts off by admitting to hating Edge so very, very much, and reminding us of their bloodfeud. But Mick is sorry about something that happened last week. Because just because Mick hates Edge doesn't give him the right to give Lita the Mandible Claw. Thus, the flowers are for Lita, if she'd like to come down and accept them.

No dice.

Mick doesn't seem surprised, and says that if Edge doesn't want to send Lita out to the ring un-chaperoned, he understands. Which is why he got Edge a Peace Offering, too. It's the box up on the stage, if Edge wants it. 

Edge is -- understandably -- wary of any suspicious Gift Box, but he loves him any chance he can get to verbally abuse people, so he comes out onto the stage. With Lita. Edge eyeballs the Gift Box, and eventually poops the party by declaring he thinks it's a trap, and he's not accepting Mick's gift. Boo!

From there, it's more of the shoot-y-esque goodness from Edge, who says Mick should save his money. Because he's no longer a legend. Mick Foley is nothing more than an ATM machine. He shows up on RAW just so he can deposit the paycheck. And then, every beating he takes from Edge is like a withdrawal. Except it's not Foley's bank account that's dwindling as a result. It's his legacy.

Mick's Rebuttal: maybe Edge is right, maybe he isn't. But Foley's goal at WrestleMania has nothing to do with cashing a check. It has to do with creating one final WM Moment he can be proud of. The sort of memory that will bolster a legacy. And Foley's plan for that Moment? It involves some decided nastiness for Edge.

For such a well-spoken, well-mannered family man, Mick sure as hell bring the "Ewwwwww" as he talks about making Edge bleed. Talks about not being able to hear Edge's cries for mercy, because this hardcore legend lost his ear inside the ring. Talks about destroying Edge in everyway imaginable, except for Edge's own ears, which will be left perfectly intact. Why? Because, apparently Mick hasn't been able to escape the fact that "The Princess Bride" has been on TV about 37 times per week on 4 different networks over the past month. My excuse for knowing that is that I've not been well, and I've been watching unhealthy amounts of television. What's Mick's?

Actually, Mick's explanation for leaving Edge's ears intact is decidedly NOT rated-G... Edge's ears are to be left alone so that Edge can hear the sound of his own flesh being ripped from his forehead, and the sound of the blood splattering to the mat. Like I said, "Ewwww."

So finally, if Edge has any interest whatsoever in defending himself, Mick suggests Edge open the Gift Box. No trap, Mick promises. It is, in fact, something that Edge can use at WrestleMania. Something he NEEDS at WrestleMania. So open the damned box.

Dubiously, Edge does just that... and finds a baseball bat. Tries it out with a practice swing. Likes the heft. Grabs the mic, and declares that Foley's a damned arrogant fool for handing Edge a weapon. Because now: Edge no-waity till WrestleMania.

But Edge isn't as smart as we thought he was. What about the OTHER gift box Foley kept for himself, dum dum? Shoulda thought about that, since Foley opened it up and brought out a Barbed Wire Baseball Bat. After about 5 seconds of baseball-bat-swordplay, Edge realized he had been one-upped, and that he wanted no part of barbed wire. Foley's bad-ass again this week, and Edge is a chickenshit again. Which means everything is exactly as it should be.

Edge is gone through the crowd, Lita never made it to the ring to begin with, and Foley caresses the barbed wire bat with a love for an inanimate object that I thought was limited to Triple H and Sweet Lady Sledge. Or possibly to legions of teenage hornballs and Titties McSuperbowl.

Awkward Transition: with the opening angle done, they try to send it back to the announcers to intro a video-package, but instead, somebody just presses the button, and they go straight into the video package. Huh. It's a movie-trailer-style recap of Edge vs. Foley. This one is ostensibly Mick's "retaliation" for 2 weeks ago, when Edge "produced" 2 pro-Edge, anti-Mick trailers. In this one the "Rated H Superstar" (H is for Hardcore) was featured in a positive light. My opinion: the movie trailer thing suits Edge's character, but I didn't think this fit. The angle was strong enough it could have stood on its own. And if you want to do a pro-Mick video package, you could have made do without the gimmicky style and done it straight-up.


Kane vs. Carlito

A rematch from last week, because Carlito felt like his loss was nothing but a fluke. But the Production Monkeys say otherwise, Carlito: you get no ring entrance tonight, you jobber!

Kane gets no corner pyro during his ring entrance because Carlito jumpstarts things before the bell. Some pretty standard gnat-like offense for Carlito, which Kane sells with the requisite number of Zombie Sit-Ups and whatnot.

Carlito eventually tries for something more substantial and locks in a sleeperhold. Bzzzt. Kane squashes Carlito into a corner, and take command for a minute or so. Slobber, knocker, repeat. Carlito regains control by intercepting a corner-charge by Kane, and hitting a low-dropkick (to the knee) instead. A snap-DDT later, and Carlito was feeling pretty good about himself.

Good enough to try a springboard move off the top rope. But in a direct replay of last week, Kane snatched Carlito out of mid-air, and was gonna turn it into a chokeslam. But this week, Carlito has a plan: he grabs the ref by the shirt and throws him into Kane. Oddly, Carlito only seems SLIGHTLY miffed when the ref calls for the DQ.

Your Winner: Kane, via disqualification, in about 2 minutes. A nothing match. Just a very quick and basic set-up for what was to follow....

After the Match: Kane decided he was not satisfied by this outcome, and went after Carlito. Carlito -- running at the exact speed of a man who wants to be followed, but only at a safe distance -- makes his way to the back. Kane and a cameraman follow. Carlito finally seems like he's cornered (near a door) when Chris F. Masters attacks. OK, that makes sense, but can somebody please tell me why Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch materialized from Planet Heat (where I thought they broke up as a tag team?) to join in? Oh well... point is, it's four-on-one, and Kane's getting the short end of this stick. Carlito and Co. toss Kane into the nearby room, and then CFM gets a forklift and drives it in front of the door to keep Kane trapped. Big Show finally shows up at this point, and sends the heels scattering. Show can't find the keys to the forklift, but still starts assuring Kane, "Don't worry, I WILL save you" in the kind of over-actor-y, over-concerned, over-panicky tone of voice that instantly made me assume there had to be a comedic punchline coming. Perhaps after....

Chris F. Masters' Randomly Inserted Ring Entrance

CFM, accompanied by Carlito, comes on out to the ring for what we're told is the return of the Shitty Full Nelson Challenge. Against the Big Show. Problem is, Big Show is still backstage, as we can see when we cut to...

A Random Cut Back to What's Going on Backstage: Big Show is huffing and puffing and still doing the over-protective father-trying-to-console-a-three-year-old-daughter voice. Just as Show finally shoves the forklift out of the way, Kane saunters up from behind, just as fine as can be. Show is baffled; he just moved a big-ass forklift to save Kane. Turns out, though, that Kane found another door just down the hallway. But thanks for the assist, anyway, Big Fella. Show decides not to be upset, and instead jokes about what a stupid plan that was if there was another door. Heh. Hey, Carlito's part of the plan worked fine.... it was clearly CFM who was in charge or the forklift/trapping part!


The Shitty Full Nelson Challenge

We come back from the break, and Masters has got a live mic. And my sleep schedule might be massively scrambled lately, but I don't think having this tool put me to sleep at 9:30pm is the solution. So I zone out the soul-crushingly vapid rambling, which seems to focus mostly on the deadly nature of his finishing hold. No sale, moron. You've had 14 months to make us care, and we still don't. If you're not gonna stop using it, at least do me a favor and quit wasting my time by talking about it. 

Worst part about this 60-second interlude of dumb? Carlito's standing right there NOT cutting this promo. Somebody at WWE has apparently brain-farted on the Dumb Muscle Formula. The talented and charismatic guy is supposed to do all the work and all the talking, and the Stupid Goon stands around and waits till the periodic spots where his dumb-muscle-y-ness might be useful. Get it right, WWE.

Finally, Big Show comes out, and to keep the sides even, he's accompanied by Kane. And then, to keep the sides uneven, Kane chases after Carlito, who decides CFM ain't worth it and just leaves through the crowd.

Show sits his big self down in a chair, inviting Masters to apply the Shitty Full Nelson. Masters is having trouble cinching it on on Show's massive torso. So after a bunch of lame-ass stalling that might have been effective in 1976, but not so much here in 2006, Masters just gives up, and clubbers Show across the back of the noggin.

Show responds by beating the crap out of Masters, while Kane looks on in an unconcerned fashion that I found pretty funny. Finally, Show chokeslammed Masters, then Kane got into the ring, surveyed the situation, decided "Looks pretty good to me," and finally blew the corner pyro. So the story here: the tag champs are looking invincible against the incompetent nincompoopery of Chris F. Masters heading into WM22. Definitely in the "too little, too late" category when it comes to telling a WM-worthy backstory, but as a little light comic relief, these were effective back-to-back segments involving Kane/Show/Carlito/Masters.


Vaguely-Off-Topic Video Package, Part One: we get John Cena's side of things heading into his WM Main Event Showdown against Triple H. For some reason, there's almost nothing said about wrestling, and the whole thing is about Cena's dedication to working out in a gym, doing all his bicep curls and quad crunches and salad tossing in front of big mirrors, like the ludicrous, narcissistic little douchebag we all want him to be. When the issue of wrestling DOES come up, it turns out that Cena's dad and his old trainer both think he'll win at WM. How completely unexpected! Cena's own comments about wrestling -- and I'm not making this up -- can be distilled down to "I'm not very talented." But what he lacks in talent, he believes he makes up for with heart. The overall message: John Cena is no longer a wrestler-pretending-to-be-a-rapper. John Cena is ACTUALLY a bodybuilder-pretending-to-be-a-wrestler-pretending-to-be-a-rapper. And that's gotta be why he's so universally loved by all wrestling fans. Except for the ones who aren't mush-brained teenage girls. 

I don't know what WWE was going for here, but I don't think they hit the mark. Then again, I can't fucking stand ANY of these retarded "Up Close and Personal"/human-interest type vignettes that they do on other sportscasts, either, which are a gigantic waste of time, unless the goal is to convince the home viewer that just because an athlete has excelled in his/her field doesn't mean s/he is even remotely interesting/likeable/compelling in any other way. It's all just pointless filler. I watch sports to see athletes doing sports, not to "get to know them" so I can cross them off my "would be willing to be friends with" list. And I watch wrestling to see wrestling and the storylines that set up the wrestling matches, not to see the ostensible World Champion primping in a gym and admitting that he's not a very good wrestler and not once seriously addressing the issue of Triple H and what's brought them to the brink of WM Warfare. Bleh.

Hall of Fame Hype: Add Tony Atlas to the list. He'll be inducted by SD Jones. Talk about making me feel young: to me, SD Jones is the bigger star of those two. Atlas was long gone from wrestling by the time I started watching (not counting his horribly insulting comeback as "Saba Simba" in the early 90s), but SD Jones stuck around for a few years as one of the Fed's premiere jobbers. Somewhere at my mom's house is one of those big rubber SD Jones action figures. I have no Tony Atlas action figure! Who should be inducting whom, here?


Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H

These two can't not have a good match, but that said, you get the impression very early on that this isn't about star ratings. It's about taking it easy, making sure nobody gets hurt before WrestleMania, and mostly, it's about telling a story, since Vince McMahon decided to show up and watch the match from ringside.

Clean finishes? We don't need no stinking clean finishes...

Michaels jumpstarts things before his music and lighting finish up, and we go immediately to about 2 minutes of light brawling around ringside. Basically, it was "let's go over by the announce table, and you can punch me there." Then "let's go into the first row, and you can punch me there." No real big bumps or anything fancy, but if you want a lesson in how to keep the basic of punchy-kicky entertaining, HHH and HBK just showed you that one way to do it is to take a tour of ringside while you're doing it.

Back in the ring, Trips wastes little time gaining control by countering an Irish Whip into one of his patented knee-related offensive moves. Some simple backdrops and slams followed by HHH. Somehow, the "Cerebral" Assassin determined that 2 minutes of brawling followed by another 2 minutes of light-beat-down added up to Michaels being softened up enough for the Pedigree. Not so fast.

Michaels countered the attempted Pedigree with a backdrop that sent HHH tumbling out of the ring. So while Hunter's in a heap at ringside, and while an angry Vince McMahon shoots a Death Stare at a relatively-pleased-with-himself HBK, we'll break for....


Back, and HHH is magically in control. Replays from during the break seem to show Vince McMahon cheerleading, but not doing anything else particularly dastardly to swing the momentum of the match. Trips is piling on with a spinebuster and a suplex, in the ring, and you might think it's the start of a concerted lower-back attack. But you'd think wrong.

They didn't really bother doing anything that focused. Again, this was all very well-executed and all, but we know what these two can do, and they're not gonna bring the A-game to the table 6 days before WM22. So HHH's offensive was more just basic brawling tactics. Things even spilled outside where Michaels got a taste of the steel ring steps. Then Michaels countered, and HHH ate the steps.

Both men crawled into the ring, equally the worse for wear. Both men up. Irish Whip. Flying Burrito by HBK. Again, with the equally worse for wear... until the Shocking Kip UP, that is. Michaels' rally is on at this point. He manages to fend off Vince's interference long enough to hit the Inverted Atomic, and land the Macho Man Elbow on HHH. But when Shawn goes to tune up the band, Vince interjects himself again, and grabs Michaels' leg.

This time, the distraction is enough to short-circuit Michaels' rally. In fact, by the time Shawn turns back around, he walks right into a Pedigree. Match over? Not yet. Instead of going for a pinfall, HHH invites Vince into the ring, and then goes to grab his Trusty Sledge. Vince works over Michaels and then holds him up for the Sledge Shot... for the first time that I can ever recall, a babyface is in peril, and a crowd is actually chanting for "Cena, Cena" to make the save. So Cena gives 'em what they want. Well, what MOST of them want: gotta love that low undercurrent of boos that may be quieter in some weeks, but which never seems to go all the way away.

Vince drops Michaels, and decides to leave this one to HHH. HHH cockily drops the sledgehammer, and acts like he doesn't even need it to get the better of Cena (OMG, CONTINUITY~! Somebody actually remembered that promo by HHH, and it was, like, 3 weeks ago!). But in the brawl, Cena pretty quickly takes command, and HHH decides to powder out. He and Vince close ranks and head towards the back, while Cena checks on Michaels.

Your Winner: it's gotta be Michaels via DQ, if you want to apply any sort of common sense. But they never announced a winner, so I bet -- for all you tossers out there who do Fantasy WWE -- this one probably goes as a No Decision. About 12 minutes of the exact sort of quality you'd expect from these two before the anti-climactic, but necessary, non-finish.


Backstage: Vince is now getting geared up for his own match later in the night. And after what just happened, he figures he might as well not try to fight the inevitable. So when Vince faces John Cena later on, Shawn Michaels can be in Cena's corner, and Triple H will be in Vince's.


A briefcase is hanging above the ring. A ladder is standing in the ring. Must be time for somebody to cut a promo about Money in the Bank II. Let's see who gets the call....

It's Ric Flair.

Flair says this weekend he's going to WrestleMania 22. But he remembers his first WrestleMania. WrestleMania 8. That night (BZZZZT! Sorry Ric, it was "that afternoon," I remember, I was there in person) Flair lost the World Title. It was his eighth World Title. And he remembers hearing at the time how that loss marked the end for the Nature Boy.

But then Flair has another memory. One that involves him going on to win a grand total of 16 World Titles. Flair says his career isn't over till HE says it's over. And now, heading into MitB II, Flair sees the opportunity for himself to do what nobody out there believes he can do: add a 17th World title. And in fact, as of tonight, that's Flair's mission in life: to be a 17-time champ. And the quickest way Flair can see to securing that goal is to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WM22.

Shelton Benjamin has a dissenting viewpoint. He also has a Heel Makeover (not as awesome as Molly Holly's back in the fall of 2003, but effective). Any guy who wears light-colored trousers, no socks, and then loafers or sandals is obviously a douche; it's been scientifically proven. So leave "Mama" as a distant memory, Shelton, and keep on dressing like a guy who needs a punch in the face, and I think you'll be just fine with the fans.

Shelton also has a newfound heelish intensity as he gets up in Flair's face and wonders what the old geezer is smoking. Because he's deluded if he thinks he's winning MitB... not when the greatest, most dynamic athlete in all of WWE is in the same match. Shelton invites Flair to cram his 16 world titles up his ass, for all the good they're gonna do him at WM.

Which isn't really a very nice thing to say, so Flair fires up the chops. Luckily for him, Shelton completed his Douche Ensemble by not bothering to button up his dress shirt. So the chops work. For a bit. Then Shelton came back, and used the ladder as a weapon. Just as Shelton was about to jump off the ladder onto Flair, Rob Van Dam showed up and made the save. 
RVD went to town, and the big finish was hitting a Ladder-Assisted Rolling Thunder on Shelton. Then Van Dam grabbed a mic, and made sure that not just Shelton got the message, but that Flair got it, too: Rob Van Dam is winning Money in the Bank II. For a capper, Flair looked like he was gonna thank RVD for the save, but instead poked him in the eye and tossed him into the ladder to end the segment.

Play Flair's Music! And it looks like I got it right a month or so back when I said the only really logical winner for MitB2 was Flair. I wish I had faith that WWE trusted RVD or Shelton enough to give them the win, but they don't, which puts this back in Flair's hands. [No, I'm not forgetting the SD! guys; I'm just ignoring them as possible winners. They, as a group, are a bit lacking in Main Event Credibility.] At least, with this promo by Flair, they've very effectively laid the foundation to tell that story over the course of however many months it'll take to play out.


The Spirit Squad vs. Eugene, Val Venis, Viscera

The Spirit Squad has helpfully put their names on the backs of their outfits. Just like that, they one-up the Heartthrobs in the category of "Making it easier to tell apart the flamboyantly-gay members of a team."

Match is nothing but a little comic relief. Vis starts and dominates with his fatness. But when he goes for the Greco Roman Butt Rape, the Spirit Squad attacks to break it up. Huh, I would have thought that'd be right up their alley. I guess back at the Spirit Squad's Frat House, there's a sign at the front door that says "No Fatties"?

Vis is forced to tag out to Eugene, who immediately becomes our Babyface in Peril. If by "peril" you mean "being subjected to the kind of intentionally-bad dancing that idiot guys do because they think if they act like they know it's bad it somehow makes them look less ridiculous." Which it never does. Not at weddings, not at clubs, not ever. Which makes it fricking PERFECT for the Spirit Squad. It is, I believe, "Mikey" who excels at making himself look like an Assface Supreme with the dance steps interspersed between the very-basic Actual Wrestling Moves.

Also, a shout-out to "Kenny," who had a new move where he stood over Eugene, cocked his elbow, and then shouted "Ready? OKAY~!" before dropping it. It didn't go over last night, but keep it up, and fans'll eat it up. It'll rapidly get to the point where the cheap heat boos between the "Ready?" and the "OKAY!" lasts long enough that the babyface can easily recover counter the "Ready? OK!" Elbow, which is what you want with a move so ludicrous.

"Johnny" was the other member of the team, and didn't really do anything to stand out, because he was busy -- as the most polished member of the team -- doing the actual wrestling when it was necessary.

After about 2-3 minutes, Eugene finally escaped the delicious awfulness that is the Spirit Squad and hot-tagged Val Venis. Val got about 30 seconds of offense, and then went for the Money Shot... but while one Spirit Squad Guy distracted the ref, another used the Trusty Trampampoline (I TOLD you that affectation was gonna be GOLD!) to leap from the floor to the ring apron and shove Val off the top rope. He was quickly pinned.

Your Winners: the Spirit Squad, via pinfall, in about 3-4 minutes. Not unfun. The trick, however, will be making sure to KEEP this fun, which means limiting the screentime; yes, male cheerleaders are inherently ridiculous, but it's still a one-note joke that you don't want to drive into the ground. You only up the screentime as you increase the in-ring credibility of a few of the members so that they are seen more as wrestlers, and less as male cheerleaders (though they'll still have male cheerleader teammates and do male cheerleady type things during the brief segments that'll continue to be played for comedy).

After the Match: the three wrestling Spirit Squadders are joined by the two who were at ringside, and they beat down the babyfaces. The coup de grace was a top rope leg drop across Val Venis' arm, which was sold (oddly) as a major injury. I believe I heard something about Val getting time off after Mania? I guess maybe this would explain it... although, then I'd wonder why nobody ever explains to me he visits for 3 months in between RAW appearances. After that beatdown, the Spirit Squad finish with an Attempted Cheer about the McMahon/Cena match. It got garbled in the middle, but it ended with a friendly "F-U" to Cena.

Vaguely-Off-Topic Video Package, Part Two: now, it's Triple H's side of things heading into WM22. At least he talks about proving his in-ring skill by rattling off his Victims' List, and then talks about the importance of the World Title, and how he intends to hold it once again after WM22. A BIT more on-topic than Cena was... but not entirely. Because once again, we leave the wrestling behind so that we can Hit The Gym, since apparently, when I wasn't looking, the WM22 Main Event changed from a wrestling match to a Posedown. Oy. Making matters worse: HHH actually upped the Tinges of Homosexual Overtones Quotient (always a threat when delving into the realm of bodybuilding) versus Cena. Cena only liked looking at HIS OWN oiled up buffosity in a mirror while he did his work outs. Triple H actually paid some glossed up Brazilian dude to come to the gym and do the ogling for him. Very strange choices being made here in these video packages.


This Week In Failing to Comprehend Temporal Alignment: So WWE does a big fancy graphics-laden intro to "This Week in Wrestling." And then they promptly have a flashback to April 7, 1986. Which would make this "Two Weeks From Now in Wrestling" by my calendar. It's just an excuse to bust out footage of William "the Refrigerator" Perry at WM2, though, and announce that he's being inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame. By John Cena. PLONK. Where's Ditka?

WM Hype: You'll get enough free publicity out of me later this week, WWE. For now, you get me FF'ing this pointless filler.

Backstage (or Somewhere): Mickie James is in a corner, somewhere (though honestly, it looks like they just took two pieces of cardboard and set them up behind her, so I don't know what the effect they're going for was). Pictures of Trish Stratus are all over the "walls," and Mickie's also got a ton of candles going. So I guess this is Mickie's Fortress of Trishitude, or something... except things have changed. Mickie says she and Trish could have been so good together, but since Trish didn't want that, Mickie has had to find a new obsession. Instead of fantasizing about Trish, now Mickie spends her time fantasizing about Trish's "destruction." To underscore the point, Mickie rips a picture of Trish's face in half.

Elsewhere Backstage: Trish is watching this on a monitor, and is way more freaked out by it than I would have been, to the point of momentarily being scared when Torrie Wilson shows up to say it's time for their match. But what the hell? They're at least TRYING to make Mickie a bit creepy here (but it's still too little, too late). You know what thought I had last night watching this? It felt like they were setting the stage for Mickie to do something Convincingly Psycho at WM... which is about 2 months too late, in my mind. You cut out all the nonsense we had, and you make Mickie scarier about 10 weeks sooner, and then you have Trish's heroic comeback and win happen at WM. Doing it this way, there's limited compelling backstory, and I don't think it'll have the same widespread fan appeal (not to harp on something, but as long as you have Mickie getting a few cheap pops just for being a faux lesbian, you're taking some of the heat off the feud); WM should be a place for the big blow-off matches. Not for finally introducing key storyline/character elements 2 months too late. If all this sorts out to WWE telling the Trish/Mickie story right over the summer and finally getting to the blow-off at SummerSlam, though, I guess I'd eventually quit bitching about it by May or so. We'll see.


Trish Stratus/Torrie Wilson vs. Victoria/Candice Michelle

You know my problems with WWE Writers refusing to apply the same rules/standards to women's storylines as they do to men's, as witnessed by the "Some Fans Have Reason to Cheer for Mickie James" problem? Well, somebody explain this one to me: Titties is in "Playboy" and a percentage of WWE's non-discriminating chronically masturbating crowd will instinctively cheer for her. Torrie Wilson is still carrying around that fucking yap dog, which is a creature that nobody (except for the kind of vapid bimbo who'd own one) likes.

Yet, Torrie is with Trish, and Candice is with Victoria. I can't be the only one who sees something very wrong and counter-productive with this picture. Or maybe I'm the only one with the interest and attention span to utilize continuity to protect Trish's standing with fans and make sure that ALL women's storylines hold up to a basic Logic Police Shakedown.

The match? Torrie started. Luckily, it was against Victoria, who essentially applied an ass-whupping and made it look semi-convincing. Can't say the same for when Candice came in, and had an offensive arsenal that was comprised of Very Basic Stomps, the GoDaddy Dance, and The Worst Looking Bulldog Ever.

Victoria and Titties eventually miscommunicated on some attempted double-teaming -- the hilarious result was that Victoria wound up head-butting Candice directly in the vagina. This, of course, is the hottest thing Jonathan Coachman has seen in years. And it also allows Torrie to make the hot tag to Trish, who makes quick and easy work out of the heels. Damn that debilitating Vagina Headbutt!

The house-cleaning seems to be headed towards its logical climax when Trish nails Victoria with the I Refuse To Call It A Chick Kick Kick. But there's that Candice, breaking things up. So Torrie grabs Candice, the two roll out to ringside directly in front of the announcers, and for the first time in his WWE Tenure, Joey Styles gets to screech "CATFIGHT! CATFIGHT!".

Back in the ring, a quick double-reversey spot, and this time Trish hits Victoria with the Stratusfaction Bulldog. FIN.

Your Winners: Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson, via pinfall, in about 3-4 minutes. You get nothing surprising here: decent action some of the time. Hype for a Pillow Fight at WM22 the rest of the time. Meh.

Video Package: A 3-minute capsule summary of Trish and Mickie? Well, at least in this regard, they are putting as much effort into the storytelling as they would for the men.... too bad that even in summary form, this story still feels more like where we should have been 2 months ago, instead of where we should be heading into the Biggest Show of the Year.


John Cena vs. Vince McMahon

Back from the break, and Triple H is already in the ring. No entrance? What a jobber!

Then Vince enters. Christ: so at least we know that upper WWE Management is exempted from the new Drug Testing Policy, now. Vince is huge. And is also the healthy shade of Burnt Orange that makes me wonder about the psychological health of the nation's Tanning Salon Girls.... to get that color must have taken Vince at least eight cellphones full of pictures of his wang. And a couple dozen companionable gropes.

Full ring entrance for Shawn Michaels. Full ring entrance for Cena. Cuz nothing says "Kick Ass Main Event" like everybody finally getting to the ring at 10:59pm (eastern).

But wait, there's more: Vince gets a mic, and says he wants no funny business, so he's ordering both Triple H and Shawn Michaels to be handcuffed to the ring ropes in their respective corners. Except, in Patented Vince Fashion, he takes 3 minutes to do it. And then add on another minute to get HBK and HHH hand-cuffed. Because nothing says "REALLY Kick Ass Main Event" like finally ringing the damned bell at 11:03pm (eastern).

The announcers are required to be in awe of Vince's freakish physique, and postulate that he is easily John Cena's equal in terms of strength. That's just good business: make sure all your fans know that your World Champion has the physical prowess of a 60-year-old man! The announce team's fellating of Vince is, of course, the set up so that Vince and Cena can do 3 minutes of "Tests of Strength" to start the match.

After losing the first one, Cena actually won the second Test of Strength. And Vince acted shocked, like there's no way he could possibly be out-powered by a man less than half his age. So we have to do it again. This time, with extra stalling and taunting before hand, so that we make it clear this is the Test of Strength Rubber Match.

Greco-Roman Knucklelock, and after some jockeying back and forth, Cena wins, and brings Vince to his knees. Cena lets Vince go without breaking his arm. Bad idea. Because as soon as Vince got the chance, he got up and kicked Cena in the balls. Ref saw it, so it's a DQ.

Your Winner: John Cena, via DQ, in 3 minutes flat. Pretty bad. You'd have a hard time convincing me this should even count as a "wrestling match." It bore a closer resemblance to WWE's idea of an Arm Wrestling Contest (lots of stalling, huffing, and puffing, and ultimately a weak finish). But it's not here to entertain, it's here to tell a story. One which kicks in....

After the Match: the evil leer shared by Vince and HHH at this point tells the tale... this was the plan all along. Who cares about winning or losing this match, it's just a set-up to get free shots on Cena while Michaels is handcuffed and impotent. A spare set of keys goes from Vince to HHH. HHH goes to find Sweet Lady Sledge.  And Sledge is introduced to both Cena and Michaels. The show ends with Vince and HHH posing and taunting while Cena lays, bloodied, in the ring, and Michaels hangs limply by a wrist from the second rope outside the ring.

Throw in a hard sell for WrestleMania coming up on Sunday -- and the opportunities for Michaels and Cena to both get their revenge -- and we fade to black.


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
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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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