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So Much Ass
June 6, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Argh. Shows like this one are just no fun to recap.
Was last night's RAW good? Nope; it was a million miles away from that. Not one single segment jumped off the screen or featured inspired/memorable performances. Thus: there's nothing that'll just be flat-out fun to talk about and recreate for you.

Was it bad? Nah, not really; if nothing else, all the pieces seemed 

to fit together logically, as if somebody had spared a few moments thought about the format of the show. Thus: there's nothing that'll just be flat-out fun to mock and tear to shreds for you.

RAW was just one of those disappointing mixes of the seemingly-random, the underwhelming, and the anticlimactic. After a string of pleasantly-surprising shows dating back to April, this was a RAW that left me not really caring about next week's episode. And hell: it might even have *diminished* my interest in this weekend's ECW PPV.

That's bad.

The name of the game in Episodic TV is always keeping forward momentum. Monday's RAW had none of that. It just sort of flopped down on our TV screens and laid there for 2 hours. It was an inoffensive guest for the most part, but it also did absolutely nothing to warrant an enthusiastic invitation to come back.

On the upside, the total lack of meaningful in-ring action (no match longer than 4 minutes, and not a one of them with any psychology/story) means that the part of recapping that I usually find the hardest will be very easy this week. No play-by-play necessary here. Then again, this really *isn't* a good thing, as I'm quite confident the lack of anything resembling wrestling is a goodly part of the reason why the show as a whole seemed so bludgeoningly one-dimensional and bland.

Anyway, let's quite the theorizing, and let's just see what I can do with this mother....

Cold Open: Triple H is ruminating in this locker room, when Shane McMahon walks in. After a brief bit of chest puffing-out and posturing, Shane and HHH relax and agree that whatever Hunter's issue with Vince is, Shane and HHH have always been "cool." Which is why Shane just wanted to quickly talk to HHH and suggest that deep down, Vince likes HHH, too, but sometimes he just gets in these moods where he demands respect. But if HHH just goes and talks to Vince, and does so politely, Shane is sure they'll work something out and they'll be no need for HHH to actually join the Kiss My Ass Club. HHH takes this under advisement as I fast-forward through the....

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live in Pittsburgh, PA. Which oughta mean a strong ECW crowd. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler run down some of tonight's line-up, and I guess I should have known from the get-go that something was wrong when they had a big, fancy chyron screen made up for the Kiss My Ass shit. When that's the big selling point of the show, the simple fact is that I'll not be buying anything that particular night. But we'll at least try to come out of the gates strong with....

John Cena is Not Very Popular Here

The ring is adorned with red carpet, an 8-foot banquet table, two chairs, one Coach, and one Heyman. This all adds up to A Contract Signing. Heyman introduces Rob Van Dam first, and RVD gets more cheers than boos. Coach introduces John Cena second, and Cena gets more boos than cheers.

After some posturing and stare-downening (during which Lawler started pounding on the one note on the piano that he knows how to play: that ECW sucks; which is a necessary notion, but it gets old when the freshest take on that notion involves Lawler stealing from himself, circa 9 years ago), RVD and Cena sit down at the table. Coach has the contract, which he assures us has been reviewed by all appropriate attorneys, and is in need of only two more signatures.

RVD has the first option, and as he's rifling through the pages of the contract, he takes his mic, and makes a few relatively obvious statements. (1) Cena has never experienced violence like he's going to experience on Sunday, and (2) Cena will be booed out of the building on Sunday were the key ones. At this, there were some boos directed at RVD, though they were nothing compared to the boos Cena got.... but those boos should still tell WWE something very important: namely that there is a segment of the RAW audience that does not and will not give a shit about ECW because they actually prefer the "entertainment" aspect of having a wigger as champion. And once WWE realizes this, they should be logically obligated to realize the flip side of that coin: that ECW at its best will appeal to a type of fan who does not and will not give a shit about the current WWE product.

The synthesis: WWE needs to quit trying to re-create ECW as a complimentary brand under the WWE banner, and let it be as unique and distinctive as it wants to be. Otherwise: your "entertainment fans" and Cena-huggers will never check it out, and the lapsed ECW fans won't bother coming back to support the new product. It's lose/lose, but it shouldn't be. All the evidence is right out there on the table, and even a sophomore year business student should have been able to figure it out starting back on the night Joey Styles antagonized the RAW audience in one of the few compelling and genuine moments of the ECW Revival to date.

Anyway, back at the ranch: RVD affixes his signature to the document after passing the mic off to Heyman, who underscores most of Rob's basic points, adding in the notion that Cena's never seen the type of "rabidly loyal fanbase" that he's going to see on Sunday.

At this, Cena starts chuckling, and a curious Paul Heyman lets him take over mic duties. What's so funny? Well, it turns out that Cena knows all about the ECW fanbase, because back in the day, there was no bigger ECW fan than John Cena. Well, that's interesting: now his core audience of fangirls and teenage brats don't know whether to cheer or boo ECW; but at least the grown-ups in the audience have been galvanized in their loathing of the patronizing wigger. 

And wiggering it up, Cena is. The dial seems like it might be turned up higher than it has in a while, as he's busting out his cartoonish accent *and* actually slips up and calls RVD "homey" once or twice (which is something you can tell he's been trying really hard NOT to do for the past 8 months or so). The overall effect renders laughable a supposedly intense speech about how Cena knows full well what to expect, but that RVD had better take a few notes, too: because Cena's a soldier and he's locked and loaded and apparently just watched "Top Gun" because none of these stupid military cliches make a lick of sense, but it's not stopping him from spewing them forth at a thousand miles per hour. It's either that, or he had a week of re-shoots on his stupid movie, which everybody says is so horrifically bad that even with desperation re-shoots, it'll make "See No Evil" look like Scorcese.

Cena finally pauses to find the spot on the contract where he's supposed to sign (in a funny bit, RVD practically falls all over himself to help Cena get to the right page, and then also holds the contract in place, since Cena's got a mic in his other hand)... in this lull, a thunderous "Cena Sucks" chant breaks out, which pretty much seals the deal in terms of the crowd being more pro-RVD than pro-Cena. But that's probably just Pittsburgh for you, which was ECW's first strong market west of Philadelphia.

After the contract is signed, Cena suddenly gets polite and demure, and offers RVD a good luck handshake, and just wants to leave the ring in peace. But Heyman -- in a move that I guess that I sure hope was designed to reinforce the notion among loyal RAW/entertainment fans that ECW is somehow heelish -- says that Cena better stick around, because his first taste of ECW isn't waiting till Sunday. It's happening right now.

As "Theme From ECW" plays, a bunch of guys start filtering out from the crowd and head towards the ring. Looks like Balls Mahoney is taking this opportunity seriously, if the 75% of his former self that was here tonight is any indication. Also: Sandman, Dreamer, and Funk are converging. Once all are in the ring, Cena says "I know how this works" (somehow, it lacked the impact of Jack Bauer busting out the same line when surrounded on the Chinese Cargo Ship) before trying (and failing) to take the fight to the ECW guys. Sabu then ran in to add an exclamation point, but he had to pass on the attempted Atomic Arabian Facebuster cuz Cena was too far across the ring, and just sort of rammed a chair into Cena's back, instead.

Before any further damage could be inflicted on their beloved wigger, the entire RAW locker room emptied, and the (chickenshit?) ECW guys all fled through the crowd. Huh. I honestly don't know what to think at this point, and I think part of the reason is that WWE itself doesn't even really know what it's doing. Things like the notion that ECW might "steal" and re-christen a WWE title and that Cena will be booed to high heaven at the PPV are things that I think are best left unsaid-but-understood. When you say them outloud (and actually harp on them), instead of a hidden selling point, they just become obnoxious anvils. Honestly: what's the point of RVD telling Cena he's going to be booed, and acting like that's somehow of any assistance to him?
I dunno... I guess if I thought this opening segment was a conscious attempt by WWE to cast ECW as punk-ass renegades, then I'd be for it. But instead of it building up ECW in a heelish way that even Cena-hugging entertainment-lovers would pay to see, it more belittled them as entitled wankers who don't even really deserve to have their own PPV anyway since the entire card is predicated on proven WWE wrestlers in each match.


Moments Ago: I was watching RAW, so I don't need to watch the replay. FF~! [For the record, 40 minutes of time shift was once again woefully inadequate this week. Thankfully, the Reds were doing amazing things over on my other tuner, giving me something to watch during commercial breaks in RAW's final half hour.]

Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito (Non-Title Match)

Standard back-and-forth punchy-kicky to start, then Shelton gains control about a minute in by making copious (and illegal) use of handfuls of Carlito's hair. Nothing fancy about Shelton's offense; I think the highlight was a Snake Eyes. Then Shelton settled in for his new crutch: the chinlock. 'Tis amazing what having to play a heel will do to a man's moveset, eh?

Carlito fired up out of that, and they did a double clothesline spot. This time, when both men got up, Carlito out-duked Shelton for an ostensible babyface rally (except that the fans didn't seem to give a shit). Finish came very shortly thereafter when Shelton tried to whip Carlito into a turnbuckle, but Carlito did a sweet-ass broad jump up to the top rope, and backflipped off, landing behind the charging Benjamin. Where he was in perfect position to snap off his Double Knee Back Cracker. Don't call it an upset!

Your Winner: Carlito, via pinfall, in about 3-4 minutes. No substance or story to the match. Just a really, really awesome final spot. It was like Carlito busted out a page from Shelton's old playbook on that last spot; meantime, Shelton's borrowing pages out of Randy Orton's. Like I said: it's amazing how the role you're playing affects the moves you use in the ring, isn't it? Six months ago, Shelton's stealing the show every week on RAW, and some idiots out there wouldn't stop writing in to tell me that Carlito had the same basic moveset as Chris F. Masters.... and today: this. Watch and learn, dum dums.

No Sale: Kane's movie will simply not go away. Unless you've mastered the fast-forward button, that is.

Backstage: Triple H swallowed hard, and entered Vince McMahon's office where he was met by The Coach. Coach says Vince has been expecting Hunter, so just make yourself comfortable and I'll go tell him you're here. The estimated wait? Precisely the length of a commercial break. How convenient. Before we cut to the ads, though, we get one of those annoying, stilted, phony moments where HHH starts staring at a handy poster-sized photo of Shawn Michaels kissing Vince's ass, and then pondering the cosmic significance of it. Oy.


At Ringside: "The Pittsburgh Steelers." And when they don't bother singling out even one of them by name, you can pretty much bank on this being a collection of Special Teamers, if you catch my drift. The 49th most-talented guys on NFL teams love WWE~!

Backstage: as promised, Vince McMahon arrives in his office (where HHH is still staring at that damned picture). Vince is all cocky as you please as he declares that "tonight's the night," and goes off on some not-funny tangent about how he's done something special for HHH that he didn't do for any other members of the Kiss My Ass Club. Vince, you see, got an "ass-ial" (pronounced "ashul," and think "facial" but with your ASS), which involves all manner of waxing and lotions to bring his ass to a here-to-fore unseen glossy sheen. HHH is clearly less than grateful for the effort, and politely says that there's just no way he's going to humiliate himself here tonight, so c'mon Vince, let's work out something else. A little too readily, Vince says, "Oh, OK, so we'll just go to Plan B." HHH doesn't quite register the oddness that Vince would be so quick with the Plan B. So much for the Assassin's Cerebellum, eh? Plan B is simply this: Triple H must face the Big Show. If HHH wins, then everything's square, and there'll be no ass-kissing. But if HHH loses, then he better swallow that pride and pucker up. Sounds simple enough to HHH, who accepts the offer. 

Then Vince declares there's only one catch: that match is NOW. And in fact, HHH's music starts playing, and HHH must leave the office in a rush....

Triple H vs. Catering

Make no mistake: HHH doesn't job to catering. So he had no trouble procuring a bottle of Aquafina somewhere between Vince's office and the arena. And then using it as he makes his big, fancy ring entrance, barely with enough time to hit his mark for the Spit Take of Doom due to Vince's jumpstartery. Quota for HHH's posing fulfilled, we break for....


Triple H vs. Big Show (Anti-Ass Kissing Match)

Show starts strong with some "SHHHHH!" Chops. But minus the "SHHHH!" because nobody is allowed to show up Triple H. Then, when HHH spots Big Show charging at him, he lowbridges Show, sending the big man out to ringside. While HHH collects himself, the Spirit Squad sprints down to ringside, and stomps on Big Show until the ref spots them, and then they sprint back up the ramp.

Your Winner: Big Show, via disqualification, in about 45 seconds. Ample close-ups and replays are used to explain the situation for us, and it amounts to "HHH is pissed because he figures he just got set up by Vince." For whatever reason, the concept that was made perfectly clear in the 45 second match needs 3 minutes of explanationing afterwards, which renders what would have been a relatively cute and clever bit of chicanery pretty limp and annoying.


Backstage: Vince is talking on his phone when HHH storms in, blustering about the "Spirit Jackoffs" and how Vince set it all up. Vince claims total ignorance, saying he was on the phone the whole time... but wait: is HHH saying that he just lost the match? Well, uh oh, then. Cuz that means HHH better pucker up. The look on HHH's face says that ain't happening. But the words coming out of Vince's mouth are "You better kiss my ass, otherwise you will never wrestle for another title again." That hits Trips where it hurts....

Eugene vs. Matt Striker

Eugene gets a full entrance. Striker was already in the ring. You know what that means. Except: does the formula still hold true if the guy who was already in the ring then gets the mic to cut a pre-match promo? We'll find out, cuz that's what Striker does.

Striker -- as his douchebaggy best, once again including an argyle sweatervest -- basically recounts his total decimation of Eugene over the past few months, and wonders what makes Eugene think things will be different this time. Which is when Eugene introduces his "tutor": Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Great. So those of us who don't watch "Heat" are now treated to the glory that is the Duggan/Eugene tandem. As Eugene is welcoming his "tutor" to ringside, Striker attacks from behind, and takes the offensive. There's one cool move in there: a sort of elevated/hanging DDT. Then Striker makes the mistake of ramming Eugene's head into the turnbuckle. Dummy. So after Eugene hulks up, it appears to be all over for Striker.... except that Striker counters the Rock Bottom into a neckbreaker. Perhaps not so dumb, afterall, eh?

Nope: he's still pretty dumb. Because at this point, Duggan starts a non sequitur "USA, USA" chant on the outside, and Striker actually starts shouting at him from the ring, declaring that he is from New York, which is technically in the US, so what the hell is the point of this chant? Well, the point of it was to distract you, because Eugene set up for Duggan's old three-point-stance shoulder tackle behind you, which you just turned around and walked directly into.

Your Winner: Eugene, via pinfall, in about 2 minutes. Bleh. On a stronger show, this segment would have struck me as crowd-pleasing fluff. But on a weak show, fluff somehow doesn't have quite the same ability to satisfy. It's like when you go out to a bar to see a band, and they get to their one crowd-pleasing cover song. If the band's been boring, it doesn't matter how spot-on their version of "Rock 'n' Roll All Night" is, you just can't bring yourself to care. But if the band's been crackling all night, you're gonna sell out to the moment and start pumping your first along with "Big Balls." Tonight's RAW is not a very good rock band, and their attempt to bust out an old chestnut just didn't do a whole lot for me.

After the Match: Striker attacked Eugene while he was celebrating with Duggan, sending Eugene into the steel ringsteps. Then, before he could get his hands on Duggan, Striker was laid out by Umaga. Huhwhat? That was random. And then Umaga crushed Duggan with a flying headbutt. And then the Asiatic Spike. Hey, if you're gonna have a crappy 80s finishing move, at least using it on an 80s wrestler SORT OF fits. And then Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrada got on a mic in the ring and briefly reminded us of Umaga's dominance and how nobody's beaten him yet. Nee haw?


Cheap Pop Theatre

Kurt Angle, recently of SD! and now of ECW, is here on RAW for some reason. Ahhh, I see: Kurt makes it clear that even though he's not a RAW star, he wasn't gonna pass up the chance to come out here in front of his hometown fans. Right here. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! [Big Pop]

And even as my Inner Monologue was making a joke about Angle ripping off Mick Foley, here comes Foley himself to lob the same accusation at Kurt! "That's totally *my* schtick," sayeth Mick. Famous wrestlers borrowing from you without giving credit? Well, now you know how I feel, Mick. Just to be extra-dickish, Foley even goes out of his way to mention Pittsburgh his own self. And gets booed lustily for his troubles. Nice.

Mick stays up on the ramp as the two engage in a bit of verbal repartee. It amounts to Mick mocking ECW for being a bunch of Foley Rip-Offs, and then Angle calling Mick nothing more than a glorified Stuntman (claiming that Ric Flair's accusations along those lines were "true, damned true," and even punctuating with a "Whooooooo!"). That line of discussion sort of peters out, though, and Angle point-blanks it with "So did you have a point coming out here or not?"...

Mick says his point was talking about Kurt's Open Challenge, and Kurt interprets this as meaning that Mick would like to accept it. "After you get done losing your tag match, how about Mrs. Foley's Big Hairy Prostitute drags himself back down to the ring, earn an extra paycheck, and get his ankle broken?" At this point, Lita walks out to join Mick (rack on full display), prompting Angle to joke "Oh, and speaking of hairy prostitutes." Which prompts Lita to hilariously start checking for unsightly armpit hair, since she's fine with being a prostitute, but the world must know that she's one damned-well-groomed prostitute!

Insuring that this segment just keeps clunking along in a seemingly random fashion, Mick listens to something Lita says, and then declares that it's time to play a little "This is Your Life, Kurt," as we have another special guest from Kurt's past. A man who holds more wins over Kurt than anybody else in WWE. The co-holder of the Hardcore Title: Edge. Alrighty, then, let's see if Edge has anything resembling a point....

Not really, as he starts out with a few jokes about how Kurt is like the Mighty Steelers against all his other opponents, but against Edge, Angle turns into the lowly Pirates. Edge also remembers to take credit for Angle's shaved noggin. 

Now sporting a 2-on-1 advantage (4-on-1 if you count Lita's bOObs), Edge and Foley head up into the ring, where Edge's taunting gets a bit more serious. He says Kurt's gone from the "penthouse to the outhouse," and that Kurt won't last more than 2 weeks in ECW. Edge reminds Kurt of how he stormed out on ECW 10 years ago, and how things won't be any different this time around. Edge even says that he knows that, deep down, Angle would change places with Edge in a heartbeat.

Angle finally speaks up, saying that Edge has got it all wrong, because today's new vision for ECW isn't like the one from 10 years ago. And Angle is proud to have a hand in creating that new vision, and doing something that many people think can't be done. But that's just how Kurt rolls: doing things that nobody else can. "Like this," says Kurt as he throws down the mic and takes Edge down to the mat. When Foley tries to attack from behind, Angle simply scoops him into an Angle slam, and goes back to trying to snap Edge's ankle. But Lita is able to drag Edge to safety. 

Then, as Edge, Foley, and Lita slowly regroup on the outside......

Ahhhhhh, FUCK~!

Randy Orton runs in from behind Angle and hits the RKO. Then he poses like a douchebag, while a few girls squeeeeee and while Lawler joins them in fellating Orton (because, you see, Orton is standing up against ECW, which makes him a hero to Lawler). Did Orton spend his vacation getting even more fagotty tattoos, or am I imagining things?

Ugh. Even without Orton, this whole segment was clunky and had no rhyme, reason, or flow. The only way you *could* tie it together would be if you reveal a secret alliance among Foley, Edge, and Orton, and frankly, such an alliance would make me cry, since Orton simply doesn't fit in. Foley already selflessly tried to drag Orton up once; there's no need to try again now that the guy has proven himself unable to capitalize on such favors.


During the Break: Todd Grisham caught up to Randy Orton for WWE.com, and asked what he was doing here. Mangling the English Language with his customary gusto, Orton attempts to convey the notion that he's getting revenge on Kurt for breaking his ankle two months ago, and that he's accepting Kurt's open challenge for One Night Stand. Fucking hell. So the lesson here? Act like as big a dickface as you can, get suspended for 60 days, but then don't sweat it cuz you'll still come back to TV on Day 55, and on the 61st Day, you'll get a big-ass bonus for wrestling on a PPV where you absolutely have no business wrestling. This is so dumb for so many reasons I can't even begin to adequately wrap my brain around them....

Kane vs. Lance Cade

Before the match, Trevor Murdoch tried to do some mic work informing us that "the band was back together" and that his partner would get revenge for what Kane did to Murdoch a few weeks ago.

And empowered by a new, manly look that does not involve bleach or hair products, Cade made good on that promise. Sort of. He got his ass positively kicked by Kane for a minute, then the lights and voices started up on the TitanTron, as Kane's old mask invited Kane to come and face his fears backstage. So Kane left the ring and got counted out.

Your Winner: Lance Cade, via count-out, in less than 2 minutes. Whatever. You know the drill, though: no matter how much boasting Murdoch did on the mic after the count-out, this wasn't about the winning and losing. This was about what happened....

Backstage: Kane is walking through a hallway backstage, calling out to whoever is playing these headgames. His demeanor is what I would call "attempted acting," and is probably why his character didn't have so many lines in his movie. The lights flicker a few times, each time, with the mysterious masked figure of Old Kane slowly catching up to Current Kane from behind. Finally, Old Kane is right behind Current Kane's shoulder, and Current Kane turns around. And Current Kane gets his ass kicked thoroughly by Old Kane, finishing up with a comically unpainful-looking trashcan shot to the torso. Current Kane has to sell it like he's dead, though, while Old Kane saunters off and the announcers hyperventilate over the unbelievable scene.


Coming Soon: the Highlanders (Robbie and Rory McAllister) are coming to RAW. We get a few clips of them interacting with people on Ellis Island (they are ostensibly freshly off the boat from Scotland), and the results are moderately amusing. These guys are wrestling-challenged, but are not without their charms. Then again: I spent a goodly part of my grade school years wondering why the Bushwhackers never got a fair shot at the WWF Tag Titles, so what do I know? Put the Highlanders together with the Spirit Squad, and my guess is you might as well rename the Tag Team Titles the "Comic Relief" Titles, since that's the niche I see their matches filling.

Charlie Haas vs. Johnny Nitro

You know everything you need to know about Nitro and Melina's ring entrance. But here's something new about Haas' ring entrance: apparently, he's trying to become the third member of the London/Spanky stable over on SD!, cuz he just full-speed sprinted to the ring.

And in so doing, he full speed sprinted right into Lilian Garcia as she was trying to exit the ring, sending her flying off the ring apron. Ummm: obviously that wasn't on purpose. But it also took such a lack of awareness of his surroundings, that I'm also hard-pressed to just call it an "accident" on Haas' part. There was negligence involved to land that square a hit on a defenseless ring announcer.

Opening minute or two of the match, the fans weren't paying a lick of attention: they were all too busy watching the trainers tend to Lilian. And when Lilian finally did get to her feet, they gave her a giant "Lil, E, N.... Lil, E, N" chant. [For whatever it's worth, Lilian appeared to have suffered a pretty bad wrist or arm injury, but did walk out under her own power, so everything else was obviously OK.]

During that opening segment, Nitro did the usual things a heel will do (including using his evil girlfriend to help him secure the offensive), but he had Haas in a chinlock when Lilian made her recovery. So the fans finally started paying attention to the match right when Haas was required to make his babyface comeback out of that chinlock. The problem is: once the fans started paying attention, they decided to boo Haas, since he was the dick what floored poor Lilian.

Haas tried all manner of high energy spots (including a killer Ultra Monkey Flip), but the crowd was giving him zero love. They even booed (instead of counting along) when Haas tried the "mount-and-punch" in the turnbuckle move. With Haas' rally tanking, they might have went to the finish a little quick, as Melina came into the ring, faked spraining her ankle in the process, and when the ref and Haas (ironically, now forced to act like a concerned gentleman after he showed absolutely no remorse over Lilian) were distracted, Nitro rolled Haas up from behind and got the three count.

Your Winner: Johnny Nitro, via pinfall, in 3-4 minutes. Like the Carlito/Shelton match, this just never had time to find a groove, and simply does not represent the best of what these two could probably do. The distraction of Lilian's tumble certainly didn't help matters either, in the early going.


Beth Phoenix vs. Victoria

Victoria is already in the ring when we come back from break. But then Mickie James (who is merely to be Victoria's corner woman) gets a full ring entrance? Did that seem wrong to anybody else? At least when Beth comes out, Trish is considerate enough to tag along in the background, instead of taking *her* own entrance.

Victoria gets off to a fast start when Beth is distracted by Mickie. Best looking part of Victoria's offensive was this sweet tied-in-the-ropes Stone Cold Stunner variant. Then again, with word after the match that Beth broke her jaw, that move could also be the one that did it, which might explain why it looked so convincingly violent.

Beth makes her comeback by reversing a suplex into one of her own, and then going mostly punchy-kicky (to dead silence) on Victoria. When Mickie starts bopping around on the apron, the crowd perks up, because when Mickie starts going up and down, so does her skirt. Trish yanks Mickie off the apron to put an end to that.

The distraction is ALMOST enough for Victoria to score the schoolgirl roll-up, but Beth kicks out, and while Victoria is incredulous that her handful of tights was not enough to score the ill-gotten win, Beth snatches her up and hits the Michinoku Driver for the fall.

Your Winner: Beth Phoenix, via pinfall, in about 2 minutes. Beth definitely needs more repetitions in terms of looking smooth in the ring, and the fans need WAY more reason to care, cuz this just died on the table. Of note: this is the only match where Lawler wasn't annoyingly beating the ECW issue into the ground. Instead, he annoyingly wouldn't shut up about his lesbian theories regarding Beth and Mickie's mysterious past together. Loser.

No Sale: More of Kane's movie, more of me FF'ing.

Backstage: Vince and Shane are confabbing. Apparently, they have some sort of plan which involves Shane going to talk to Triple H, and then calling Vince as soon as some unspoken job is done. Shane assures Vince that he'll hold up his end of the job, and is getting ready to leave when Vince asks Shane to hold up for a second. Because Vince thinks Shane might like a sneak peek at just how glorious the "ass-ial" has rendered his butt. Shane -- with that look of resigned embarrassment that he has perfected in the last few months of god-bashing and omnipotent semen talk -- declines, and says he's got business to take care of.


The King Holds Court: After dancing around the issue all night whenever JR would mention it, Lawler gets a house mic and says it's time to answer Tazz's challenge from Friday night. Lawler starts out by saying the only reason Tazz ever convinced people he was tough was because he'd choke people out, which is against the rules in wrestling. But not in Extremely Crappy Wrestling. So Lawler figures it's time for Tazz to learn that you have to have rules in life. After running a few of the more obvious ones, Lawler busts out the rules that "You must be THIS TALL to ride the rides," and cracks himself up because TAZZ IS SHORT. HA~? If only Tazz were there to remind Lawler about the rule that you don't stick your aged old man penis into girls until they are at least 18 years of age. So anyway, to wrap it up: yes, Lawler accepts, and will see Tazz at One Night Stand. Christ, between this and Angle/Orton, we've added two matches to One Night Stand that I absolutely cannot fathom why they exist. Orton doesn't belong within sniffing distance of an ECW show, and Lawler/Tazz could easily do their little thing tomorrow night in Dayton at the TV special, and be done with it.

PPV Hype: I'm not on the payroll, which I would have to be to recap this bit of attempted marketing.

Backstage: Shane caught up with Triple H in HHH's locker room. Hey, look: both are sipping identical bottles of Aquafina! That couldn't possibly be a coincidence, could it? Nope. Because as soon as he sees Shane, HHH puts down his water and starts flying off the handle with his back to Shane. So Shane slips a roofie into HHH's water, and then starts making soothing noises about how HHH should just relax, because Vince won't really go through with this. It's just one of his power plays, and if HHH goes out there and shows Vince some respect, ass-kissing will never really factor into it. So just chill out, and hey, Trips, here, have a sip of water and cool off a bit. HHH takes the water and does, in fact, take a sip. Shane sort of toasts him, and takes a sip of his own, and then puts the water down and turns his back on HHH, because he has to call his dad and let him know that HHH is cool and everything will be OK. With Shane's back turned, HHH spits out the sip of water he took, and switches bottles with Shane. When Shane finishes on the phone, he picks up "his" water, and both he and HHH take big, big gulps. Only now, Shane's the one who's been drugged. Feel the hilarity?


Vince Shows Ass

Even though it seems like nothing's really happened all night, and there were tons of short lo-content segments in between rapid-fire commercial breaks, the fact of the matter is that we come back from these final ads running short on time; it's already 11pm. Which at least means Vince won't dawdle much on the mic.

But he will put about 15% extra Silly into his Silly Walk to the ring. Once in the ring, he quickly recaps the spelndiferousness that is the Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club, making sure to be as dillhole by reminding Jim Ross that he's the charter member of the club. But we can't dwell in the past: we must look ahead to our next new member. So won't Triple H please come on out to the ring?

Sure enough, he will. But he's not looking pleased. And once in the ring, he sort of stands mutely in between Vince and Shane as Vince rambles a bit about how this is not about Vince's ego or self-aggrandizement. This is about Vince deserving respect, and wanting HHH to "lead by example," because if HHH shows he respects Vince, then that'll trickle down to everybody else in the locker room.

As Vince is talking, HHH starts looking glassy-eyed and wobbly. Vince asks if he's OK, and then accuses him of having a few drinks or popping a few pills before coming out, to reduce the anxiety of having to kiss the boss' ass. Finally: HHH flops all the way to the mat, and seems unconscious. At which point Vince stops bothering to feign concern or confusion over HHH's situation, and declares this was the only way to make sure that HHH kissed his ass tonight.

Vince drops his trousers and gives himself the requisite wedgie while making sure to share his ass cheeks with all sides of the arena. Then he orders Shane to pick HHH up and put his face where the sun don't shine. But a funny thing: Shane's gone sort of moon-faced himself, and is sporting a blank grin. Then Shane, like all good roofie victims should, became briefly enamored with rubbing his nipples in a state of ecstasy before passing out completely. When Shane thuds to the mat, Vince finally turns around and realizes something is amiss.

While Vince (pants still around his ankles) tends to Shane, Triple H pops up to his feet. Vince turns around, and wants to reason with HHH. But HHH will have none of that. Vince at least asks if he can pull his pants back up. But HHH will have none of that either. The only thing HHH will have? He'll kick Vince in the gut, and cinch him in for the Pedigree (making sure to show Vince's ass off to the camera). 

After the Pedigree, Vince lays there with his bare ass up, surely thinking to himself "See, I just proved to all those internet morons that I'm not an egomaniac, because I just humiliated myself on TV." But it doesn't quite work that way, Vinnie. Shane's still down, too, but HHH leaves him alone, opting instead to just do some random posing, including his Mighty Manroar.

And the show just sort of fizzles to an end from there. Even something as simple as a single Crotch Chop might have lent some air of finality. Instead: talk about an underwhelming anticlimax. Oh well. There's always next week, right?


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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
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PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
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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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