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Everybody'd Rather Be at Paul E.'s
Party Instead of at RAW 
June 13, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


I guess last night's TV Viewing was a lesson in the difference between potential and execution... it's just that I can't decide which ended up disappointing me more in the end: RAW or Letterman.
I mean: Letterman had Paris Hilton on as a guest, and early in the show seemed on his assholish A-Game ("How many of you folks watched the Tonys last night, right here on CBS?" [smattering of applause] "Well, that makes you both old *and* gay.")... and then instead of subversively savaging a dimwitted worthless guest as

he's done countless times in the past, he suddenly adopts this stunningly-gentle paternal attitude while attempting to interview Paris Hilton. The only thing I can figure is that Dave decided that destroying Paris on national TV without her stupid little self even realizing what was going on would be too easy, and thus, no fun for him. But still: what a let down.

And then RAW wound up having a ton of twists and turns in store for us, but it felt like each major segment kind of ended with a whimper... like it wasn't quite well-thought-out enough to give us the right, climactic finish. And when you run three big-time angles, and each one of them ends up just about 8 degrees off target, that sensation of being disappointed and underwhelmed kind of adds up over the course of two hours.

It's sort of the opposite of how WWE has tended to be over the last two years: on this RAW, the Big Picture and the overall creative direction seemed sound and well-thought-out... it's just that once it got down to plotting out the details and executing them, things didn't quite click the way they could have. At least, it didn't feel like it to me.

Here's how it all went down....

Cold Open: Paul Heyman is standing in front of an ECW banner, and has a few minutes of self-promotion to do. First, he assures us that no matter how screwy Rob Van Dam's win over John Cena was, fans are gonna have to accept it, because under the ECW Banner, you screw the rules, and you fight to a three count. Which is what RVD got over Cena, and thus, he's the new champ. Then Heyman took a moment to remind us all that we can see the new champ on ECW's Sci-Fi Debut, Tuesday night at 10pm; he invites all of us to join them, and then extends a special invitation to both Edge and Lita to come to the show in person. Hmmmm... and finally, just as a tease, here's your only taste of the new Champ tonight: RVD shows up, points-to-self, and re-affirms his allegiance to ECW. And then, just before we fade to black, he lovingly strokes the Gay-Ass Bling Belt. Ugh: *any* person who would win that title should make his first order of business destroying it and replacing it with a respectable-looking belt, just because if you don't, you are telegraphing that you're just temporarily holding it until Homey the Clown can win it back. That necessity to destroy and replace the Bling Belt should be tripled in the case of somebody like Rob Van Dam, who is supposedly an ECW Renegade. Instead, he's playing with the spinner, and seems pleased as punch to be holding it. I repeat: Ugh.

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and we're live on the campus of Penn State University. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler tell us about our top two matches (Cena/Edge and HHH/Spirit Squad), and then waste little time shooting it down to our opening match....

Kane vs. Randall Orton

Orton enters first, and seems mighty pleased with himself for a guy who got his ass whipped the night before on PPV. Then again: if you'd gotten suspended indefinitely for being an heroically immature bungwad, and then the company came crawling back to you, asking you to return to paid action earlier than planned and with a promotion to the A-Brand, to boot, you'd probably be smiling, too.

No explanation for why this match is happening, and not even the prospect that this might be the start of some sort of Weekly Ritual Humiliation of Orton gives me any sort of pleasure. I do not derive joy from watching Orton lose or get his ass kicked; I derive pleasure from Orton not being on my TV screen. And Ritual Humiliation isn't even what's in the cards, here, anyway.

After the standard back-and-forth punches to start, Orton takes control of the match for a minute or two. Nothing fancy or memorable here until Orton impresses himself (and nobody else) with a Competent Dropkick. While he's preening like he just accomplished something special, Kane did the Zombie Sit-Up and proceeded to make his Big Comeback.

Lotsa uppercuts, big boot, flying clothesline, but when Kane went for the chokeslam, Orton grabbed the ropes and scurried out of the ring. Kane decided to follow, and the two brawled to the top of the stage while the referee counted both of them out. 

Your Winner: Nobody, via double count-out, in about 3-4 minutes. There was absolutely nothing to see here. It was just an excuse to get Kane out to the ring for the post-match angle.... and presumably an excuse to get Orton into a TV match that he, technically, didn't lose.

After the Match: Kane and Orton brawled briefly on top of the steel stage, each teasing their finisher. But when Orton tried for the RKO, Kane just sort of threw him off in kind of a modified power-bomb-y looking bump. So Orton's finished, and not a moment too soon, because "Theme From Kane, 1997" starts up, and the Imposter Kane sneaks up behind Current Kane. Credit where it's due: they finally got the Old Kane's wig and mask looking semi-decent, so he appears closer to what Kane actually looked like in 1997. After trading a few blows, Old Kane pulls a trick out of Current Kane's playbook by gouging out Current Kane's eye. Hokay. And then, Old Kane has no problem chokeslamming the blinded Current Kane off the steel stage and onto a conveniently located padded platform (or, if you're JR, "the concrete floor"). And so it continues that Old Kane is absolutely dominating Current Kane.


An Apology, Straight from the Haas' Mouth

As we return, Charlie Haas is making his way to the ring (in a much more subdued fashion than last week). This gives the announcers plenty of time to show us footage of how Charlie's carelessness resulted in him chucking Poor Lilian Garcia off the ring apron and to the floor the week before. They got spot-shadows and everything, though they assure us Lilian is alright, and only suffered a sprained wrist.

The replays were obviously also showing up on the TitanTron, because when we cut back to the ring, Haas has a mic and says, "In this life, we all make mistakes, and you all just saw the horrible mistake I made last week." But he assures us that it was just a mistake, and accident, and he wants to make it right, so he asks Lilian to please step up into the ring.

Lilian obliges, and Haas just about castrates himself with what came off as a very sincere and heartfelt apology. The crowd doesn't know quite what to make of it, since if Haas was less sincere, they could boo him, but since he is sincere, displaying the bare minimum amount of Human Decency isn't exactly enough to justify cheering for him, either. Finally, Charlie wraps up, and pleads with Lilian to PLEASE accept his apology so they can move past this...

Before Lilian can say anything, though, we are interrupted by -- you guessed it -- Viscera. He takes the mic and says that Charlie's apology was really sweet. Then he says "My girl Lilian" is also very sweet, and she'll probably accept his apology and forgive Charlie. But Vis? Doesn't forgive Haas at all. And with that, he hauls off and slugs Haas out of nowhere.

Then for another minute or so, he uses all his powers of fatness to destroy Haas, all while Lilian is asking him to stop. Once Haas is finally squashed like a bug following a splash, Vis turns to Lilian and presents the dead carcass, like he just did her a favor. But it's more like Vis is the neighborhood roving mongrel cat back when I was a kid, who would (when the weather got cold) sometimes get to spend the night in our house because my mom's a soft-touch for the kitties. And the cat would pay us back by sometimes depositing dead bird or squirrel carcasses at our front door, not realizing that we found the whole thing pretty gross. That's what Vis-destroying-Haas-in-an-attempt-to-impress-Lilian reminds me of.

Of course, complicating matters is that I have no idea what the Writer Monkeys tried to accomplish here. To me, Haas was the total babyface, and Vis the total heel, but the fans didn't seem to favor either guy, and the idiot writers seem to have this idea that everybody wants to see Viscera and Lilian storylines despite the fact that that horse got beat dead over a year ago. So who knows what the hell that was supposed to be? I just know it ended up feeling like a waste of time to me....

Video Package: "HHH didn't kiss Vince McMahon's ass, he KICKED it." You so clever, JR!

Backstage: Vince McMahon is going to deliver a "State of WWE" Address, and Coach is preparing the lighting/cameras/sound/etc., and trying to act like as big a self-important dick as possible while doing so.


Recap: Poor Eugene tried to make friends with the ECW wrestlers and fans last night at One Night Stand, but instead got his ass kicked by some cane-wielding guy who likes to smoke cigarettes and drink beer. What was his name again? I think it was something to do with the title to a Metallica song, maybe, but now it's slipping my mind.... anyway, as the footage is playing, it's giving Lawler PLENTY of time to talk about how ECW sucks, and they're all drunkards, and how "I'll NEVER watch ECW on the Sci-Fi Channel, at 10pm on Tuesdays." Best. Plug. Ever.

Backstage: And speak of Eugene, here he is, expressing concern to Hacksaw Jim Duggan that maybe Hacksaw's match against Umaga isn't a good idea tonight. But Hacksaw goes into pep talk mode, talking about all the great American Icons who never backed down from a fight, tough guy. When Duggan is done, he's all jacked up and ready to fight, but Eugene still seems less-than-convinced.

State of WWE Address: Vince is seated at a desk, Presidential-Style, and declares that the state of WWE is strong. In fact, the promotional juggernaut has never been stronger, as proven by the re-launch of the ECW brand (Sci-Fi Channel, 10pm, 9 central, Tuesday nights). But as soon as that plug is out of the way, Vince just jumps straight to personal business, leaving any pretext of the "State of WWE Address" behind, and making me wonder why they bothered with the gimmick, anyway, other than to raise expectations and then leave us all disappointed when it turned into just another lame, blustery, overlong Vince McMahon wind-a-thon. Vince takes about 4 minutes to convey the following simple notion: Triple H made Vince McMahon angry last week, so this week, HHH will face all five members of the Spirit Squad, and they will do to HHH what they did to the last man who made Vince angry, and thus tonight, HHH will be reunited with his pal Shawn Michaels. [pop of expectation from the more-retarded members of crowd] Reunited on the Highway to Hell. [mild boos of anviliciousness from the wiser members of the crowd who don't like hearing the writers' stilted voice in promos]


Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle ("Wet and Wild" Match)

The ring is filled with all manner of water-delivery-systems, but the only way to win is by pinfall or submission. Both girls opt for white, which Lawler tries to harp on as a selling point. But it's really a non-issue when -- under the white -- are sturdy brassieres that will not be rendered see-thru under any circumstances. It's also a non-issue when, if I really cared, I could hop on the internet and find both these chicks nekkid Playboy pictures in under 30 seconds.

But no: we're going to be subjected to a full 3-4 minutes of aimless rolling around and Lawler acting like this is way more wang-plumpening a display than it really is.

Only highlight of the match, as far as I was concerned: Candice Michelle proved exactly what a sharp-witted and dedicated performer she is by being unable to operate any of the squirt guns. So not only is she so stupid she couldn't work a toy that 10-year-olds play with, but she's also such a lazy hack that she couldn't find 5 minutes out of her busy day to work through the match and experiment with the various props before heading out to the ring on national television. Truly, Titties McSuperbowl is EXACTLY the kind of "WWE Diva" we need more of.

Under the best of circumstances, these two couldn't have anything resembling a wrestling match. Throw in the fact that now both are slippery, and there's no chance I'm going to even try to explain what happened. Except that Torrie won, somehow, and then wasted even more time trying to pelt JR and King with water balloons. Don't ask me why.

Your Winner: Torrie Wilson, via pinfall, in about 4 minutes. Anybody who was even remotely amused by this had better be between the ages of 12 and 15, with no older brothers and a dad who is really good about keeping his porn well-hidden. 

Hype: Trish Stratus hosted some awards show in Canada. And suddenly, my two natures go to war with each other. On one hand, it's pointless stupid fluff that has nothing to do with anything. On the other, it's Trish. But as I'm agonizing over the decision, one of the first clips shows Trish mincing around on stage with a bunch of male back-up dancers, which results in further proof of two universal truths: (1) all male back-up dancers are gay as French Trombones, and (2) even if they claim they're not, all male back-up dancers will still make me laugh for all the wrong reasons, because Men Don't Dance (except grudgingly slow-dancing at prescribed social events). Those with Male Genitalia can dance all they want, but they are less than men; Manhood connotes a certain level of grown-up maturity where you finally know enough to not seek out ways to make yourself look ridiculous in public. Anyway, I decide it's for the best if I just hit the FF button so I can maintain my fantasy that Trish is too smart to be a part of anything that looked so utterly lame on first glance. 


Video Package: Rob Van Dam beat Cena for the WWE Title at One Night Stand. They've got a fancy package displaying the many screwy things that happened along the way, and plenty of intro and outro narration (mostly from Lawler) about how this is the worst things that's ever happened in the history of time and space.

Backstage: the Spirit Squad are pepping themselves up. After a minute or so of various generic banter, they put the hands in the middle and fire up a big "Game Over" cheer.


Triple H vs. the Spirit Squad (Very Special Not-a-Match Match)

Trips enters first, but then Vince comes out onto the stage, unexpectedly. Apparently, Vince wants to enjoy this, and he doesn't want it to be like when Michaels got sent to the hospital by the Spirit Squad, he wants it to be real slow-like. So first: Vince sends the referee away. This won't be a match. It'll just be a sanctioned mugging. Then, Vince decides he'll only send out the Squad, Gauntlet Style, to extend HHH's suffering to the maximum. Huh?

I didn't quite get the logic, but come the final spot of the match, you understand why they did it. Do the ends justify the means? I don't really think so, cuz you could have come up with more logical justification for doing this gauntlet style, but whatever.... I know I think too hard, and I won't take it out on you by going to war over such a piddling detail.

Vince sends Mikey out to the ring to start. In relatively short order, Mikey is in big trouble. So Vince calls Kenny out to the ring, next, for our most-extended portion of the match. And probably also the best part, since I find Kenny and Mikey to be the best combination of in-ring chops and obnoxious male-cheerleaderiness of the five. HHH is able to fend the two off for a couple moments, but eventually the numbers catch up to him, and while HHH is dealing with Mikey, Kenny slugs him from behind to start a Heel Beatdown Sequence.

Pretty good double-team stuff here, for a minute or two, but then when they set up for a variation on the Hardy Boyz "drop shot," HHH moves, and starts firing up. The second Hunter took out Kenny with a spinebuster and then unleashed His Mighty Manroar, Vince, of course, called for more back-ups. This time, he called for both Johnny and Nicky. Again HHH had a few moments of success, but fell prey to the numbers before long.

The four pounded on HHH in the ring. Then took him outside the ring and introduced him to a few steel implements around the ringside area. Then threw him back in the ring, where they delivered the Fukuoko Toss. And then: it was time for End Game. Kenny went out to get a steel chair, and the Squad started setting up to Pillmanize HHH's leg, just like they did to Shawn Michaels. 

But Vince gets an idea: he orders them to leave the leg alone, and break HHH's neck, instead. Then, while the Squad are moving the chair so it's around HHH's neck, Vince remembers there's still one Squad member, so he calls for Mitch to come on out so he can join in the fun, too. But there's no Mitch. Vince calls for him again, and this time, Mitch is ejected out onto the stage at Warp 7. Did he just trip and stumble on his way out, or.....

Nope, he didn't trip: he was thrown out there by Shawn Michaels, who hits the stage wearing what can only be described as Jeans and a Black Halter Top. It's still nowhere near as bad as his Refereeing Biker Shorts of Overt Homosexuality, but shouldn't somebody, somewhere, have the job of making sure HBK doesn't go out on TV wearing women's clothing?

At the sight of Michaels, Vince backs off and powders out (presumably for reasons other than concern over what HBK's wardrobe choice might mean). Before heading to the ring, Michaels makes sure to serve up some Sweet Chin Music for Mitch, though. Then a sprint to the ring (JR remembers to try to sell the gimpy knee, but Michaels isn't bothering to do the same), and Michaels takes the fight right to the other four members of the Spirit Squad. They help out by attacking in Dumb Ninja Fashion at first. And by the time they start to get their shit together, HHH is back on his feet and able to join in the frey.

Fighting back-to-back, HHH and Michaels finish off the Squad, clearing them out of the ring. Then they turn to each other and go nose-to-nose for a tense second, while the crowd's "DX, DX" chant clearly indicates they're hoping for a friendly reunion. And finally, they break the staredown and give each other a double high-five. Then the two turned back to the corner of the stage where Vince was hiding, and both delivered the Triple Crotch Chop in his general direction.

And as if that didn't have Vince fuming enough, then HHH dropped his trunks and mooned Vince. So it's official: the cerebral assassin is dead, and in his place is the immature prankster. To close out the segment, they played "Bow Down to the King," which can only mean that the Motorhead cover of the DX Theme Song isn't finished yet. And fer chrissakes, they BETTER be doing one, cuz it's just what we need to kick this reunion into hyperdrive.

Your Winner: There wasn't one, dum dum, cuz it wasn't really a match, remember. But it was an effective enough non-match that lasted around 10 minutes, I guess. I still would have liked some kind of bigger finish that made the DX reunion seem more "official" or tangible. I know it's only a minor gripe, but some kind of DX t-shirts or music would have given this even more of a sense of "Momentosity," to bring back a word I made up last year.


Backstage: Vince is furious, and the Spirit Squad aren't exactly happy, either. Together, they vow to get revenge on "DX" (a name which Vince spits out with the same disgust that I might use if forced to order a "Corona with Lime")... and they're first idea for a plan: at Vengeance, it'll be 5-on-2, the Spirit Squad vs. DX. Works for me.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Umaga

Eugene is with Duggan, and of course Umaga's handler, Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrrrrada is here, too. 

Pretty basic squash, which is what you get when you combine an unimaginative re-hash of an 80s-style monster heel (with a crappy 80s style finishing move) and an actual 80s wrestler. Only moment of drama was when Eugene tried to help Duggan by throwing the 2" x 4" into the ring, but Umaga intercepted the board, and broke it over his own head. Heh, I didn't know that you could get balsa wood cut that thick...

Your Winner: Umaga, via pinfall, in less than 2 minutes. Bleh.

After the Match: Eugene tried to check on Hacksaw, but Estrrrrrrrrrrada wanted to make a point, so he had Umaga drag Eugene to his feet, and then tied Eugene in the ropes. Then, as Estrrrrrrrrrrada explained how nobody has been able to beat Umaga and how nobody has the guts to step up against Umaga, he forced Eugene to watch as Umaga used his big fat ass as a battering ram against Duggan's face. They never really laid a hand on Eugene, but Eugene was still looking just about ready to cry by the end of the segment. Awwwwwww.

Holy Shoot?

Mick Foley comes on out to the ring, wearing the exact same flannel from the night before at One Night Stand. How can you tell? Easy, it's got the two holes that were burned into the back of it when Funk hit him with the flaming barbed wire 2" x 4".

Mick started out by being all friendly and ass-kissy with his WWE fans, assuring them that the injuries and blurry vision he was suffering from as a result of vanquishing those ECW wannabes would clear up soon enough. And then he said he's glad that chapter in his life is closed, because now he can go back to being the old Mick Foley. The lovable Mick Foley. The human teddy bear. And he's so happy to start this new chapter of his career "Right here, at the University of Pennsylvania."

And at least half the crowd cheered at that point, either because they're stupid and don't even know which institution of higher learning was hosting tonight's event, or because they just assumed Mick made a simple mistake and was still trying to go for the cheap pop. But folks: trust me, that was a classic bit of attempted assholitude by Maestro Foley. You were just too dumb to catch it.

After that, Foley got about 4 words into some generic spiel that was clearly designed to be cut off before he got to anything resembling a point.... which is convenient, because he was interrupted by Ric Flair, returning to RAW for the first time in about a month after getting married and honeymooned.

Flair gets in the ring, where Mick says "I let you have your entrance because of who you are and what you've accomplished, but if you're gonna stay in this ring with me, you better have a damned good reason." And Flair says he does, indeed, have a reason. Because during his lay-off, Flair has heard people talking about the things Flair wrote about Foley in his book 3 years ago... and Flair decided if people were gonna be talking about those things out in the open, then it was time to step up and have the Nature Boy spell those things out right to Mick Foley's face.

It boils down to Flair not caring about the blood and the barbed wire and the fire and ECW, and it boils down to Flair having the expertise and the credibility to truly recognize greatness. He compares himself to Joe Paterno in terms of being able to recognize talent. And thus, from his High And Mighty Throne, Flair declares that all this talk lately of Mick Foley standing up for WWE and being one of the greatest wrestlers of all time is "Bullshit." (Which did get bleeped)

Flair goes on to say that men like himself, HHH, Steve Austin, The Rock, and others have stepped in this ring and WRESTLED their way to greatness. They honed their craft and they earned it. And still, there's some fans out there who think that Mick Foley falling off a cage and through a table is the greatest thing they ever saw. It's like Flair's said all along: Foley's just a glorified stuntman.

At this, Foley steps in and says he's realized what this is all about. It's not about Flair wanting to protect the sanctity of wrestling. It's about the fact that the fans today don't care about Flair vs. Harley Race, they're even too young to remember Flair/Steamboat, and that when it comes right down to it, Flair can wear his $10,000 suits and tell himself he's a limousine riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing son of a gun all he wants. But today's fans still like the guy in a flannel shirt who slept on a cot at the Red Roof Inn while he was the WWF Champion. Note: to WWE, I'm guessing "WWF" is every bit as naughty a thing to say as "bullshit," but Mick didn't get bleeped.

Mick says that it gnaws at Flair that this lifestyle he's created doesn't mean as much to fans as he'd like it to. And it gnaws at him even worse to know that there's nothing he can do about it, because if he dared to step up against Foley, Mick would snuff him out "Just like that" (with finger-snapping motion).

Bzzzt. Wrong ploy for Mick, as Flair suddenly goes into Apoplectic Mode, whipping off his jacket, dancing around, and elbow-dropping his microphone for some reason. "Just like that? Well, then take a shot, I'm beggin' ya, let's do this now!" But like a good chickenshit, Mick begs off, claiming he's not 100% healthy. Once he's escaped the ring and is starting to retreat, he even unleashes a tasty zinger when he says, "With the double vision I got, if I fought you tonight, Flair, I wouldn't be able to tell the old men apart, and with my luck, I'd clock Joe Paterno." BOOOO~!

Then things just got sorta ugly, as they tried to go back and forth, but this is just not Flair's forte: you get the distinct impression that when he turns the "Nature Boy" on, there's a go-to set of things that he can say and do, but once he's exhausted them, it's hard for him to be "in the moment" and able to respond logically to stimuli. Foley managed to do enough hand-holding so that they established that Mick would counter with a challenge of his own: at Vengeance, he'll face Flair, and he'll OUT-WRESTLE HIM, to boot, in a Best of 3 Falls Match, and in front of Flair's own hometown fans. Interesting.

Then Flair knew he should try to get the last word in, but he was out of material, so he just started spouted non sequiturs, and Foley just kept firing back with the simplest of heel taunts, hoping that somehow, they'd stumble across a punchline. Sadly: they didn't. And mercifully, the sound guy bailed them out by cutting Flair off about 4 words into what was gonna be another non-sequitur ramble by playing Flair's music. When that happened, Flair at least had the awareness to just clam up and hit a "Whooooo!"...

For the most part a strong promo segment, and I'm intrigued to see what they do in a Best of Three Falls match (considering how much Foley's been borrowing from the past lately, I'm sure there's a few Flair/Funk matches that'll be on heavy rotation on Mick's VCR the next few weeks)... but I do have a couple of issues with how this came off. First, obviously, was the limptastic finish where I'm not entirely sure Flair has the kind of "think on his feet" promo skills that Mick does, and it showed. When asked to leave the "Nature Boy Gimmick Comfort Zone," Flair sometimes comes off awkward in promos, and that's what happened at the very end last night. And secondly: as intrigued as I am, does it seem a bit wrong to anyone else to do this feud/match with only a two week build-up?  Especially for a storyline as "shoot-style" and subtle as this one, where there's a good chance that heel/face lines will be blurred (well, in Charlotte, they'll be clear, but everywhere else, there's no clear heel or face in this battle, no matter how much Mick tries to perfect his heelish chickenshit routine; in battles of legends, some people are always just gonna side with their personal favorite, no matter how hard he's trying to be a bad guy).


Carlito vs. Johnny Nitro

Shelton Benjamin came out first to sit in on guest commentary, and it's revealed during the other ring entrances that a 3-way IC Title Match has been signed: Shelton vs. Carlito vs. Nitro. Huhwhat?

As the match got started, Shelton was revealing that he took my advice from last time he did guest commentary: maybe he didn't exactly have a-material, but he slowed down and wasn't stumbling over his own tongue trying to force the words out. His primary point of emphasis was that the upcoming PPV match proves that WWE realizes that it takes two normal men to equal what One Shelton Benjamin can do in the ring. He also does have a fun little aside comment about his gold being just about the only gold around here, these days, which I'm guessing was an ad-lib considering how quickly they ignored that and moved on.

Carlito got off to a relatively hot start, but after a minute or so, both men tumbled outside. It's here that Melina decided to start nibbling on Carlito's apple, which caused enough of a distraction that Nitro took over the offensive. Throughout the ringside brawl, Melina kept following behind and chewing apple, but it wasn't what you might have guessed; instead, Melina was a good girl, and she just swallowed.

Nitro finally throws Carlito back into the ring to continue the beatdown. A minute or so of nothing particularly memorable, and then Carlito starts his rally following a simple reversed Irish Whip. After a few high impact moves (including the jawjacker elbow), Carlito and Nitro are brawling in the corner closest to Shelton. So Shelton declares he thinks he needs to go get a closer look. 

As Shelton gets up on the apron, the ref becomes distracted by Melina. And as Shelton got up on the ring apron, Carlito set Nitro up for the double-knee back-cracker. But Shelton grabbed Nitro's arms, so when Carlito snapped backwards, Nitro stayed upright. Stunned by the impact, Carlito was flat on his back, and Nitro immediately hit.... uhhhhh.... "a standing moonsault fistdrop" maybe? It looks lame, and will not hold up as a finisher. But for tonight? It did the job, apparently.

Your Winner: Johnny Nitro, via pinfall, in about 4 minutes. Unconvincing finisher aside, this certainly wasn't bad at all, though it was also too short to amount to much of anything memorable. And here's a thought: why the hell did they announce the 3-way PPV match before this match took place? What did Nitro do to deserve to be in the mix? It would have been WAY better continuity and logic to have Shelton there to bad-mouth Carlito for beating him the week before, and there to make Carlito look bad so that maybe Carlito won't get an IC Title shot. But in so doing, Shelton's interference gives Nitro the win, and now the matchmaker's realize "Carlito beat Shelton, but Nitro beat Carlito, so by the Transitive Theory of Pro Wrestling, now we have no choice but to make Shelton defend his title against TWO men at the PPV." Would have fit together a lot better that way, if you ask me.

Backstage: Tough Questions Todd Grisham is interviewing Mickie James, and wants to know Mickie's feelings about Beth Phoenix's injury last week. That causes Mickie to take a trip down memory lane, as she realizes that pretty much anyone who has crossed her has suffered an unfortunate fate. First, Diva Search Ashley called Mickie "psycho," and then she broke her leg and ended up on SD!. Then, Trish tried to take Mickie's Women's Title, and she ended up with a broken shoulder. And now, Mickie's old friend from grade school, Beth Phoenix, decided to get all mean and come to WWE to mess with Mickie, and now she's got a broken jaw. Looks like Trish will have ample material to work with if she wants to bring back the "Walking Kiss of Death" riffage. Then Mickie says there's only one thing in the world that truly loves her back and will never leave her: the women's title. So Mickie makes out with the belt for a moment before we are interrupted by Young Randall Orton. Mickie realizes she should probably leave, but not before she and Randy exchange a couple "Hey, how are you?"'s. Don't know if there was supposed to be an undertone of flirtatiousness there or not. Mainly because it's impossible to have "chemistry" with a vapid man-bimbo like Orton.

With Mickie gone, Orton hijacks Grisham's mic and declares his loss the night before to be a major upset. Orton proved his mettle by going to ECW to face Kurt Angle, but now Orton demands that Angle come to WWE turf for a rematch. At Vengeance. Ugh. Part of me wants to be mildly optimistic, since the first match these two had on SD! 8 weeks ago sucked, but then the second one was "slightly above average," so maybe the third time, they'll hit a home run? But most of me just doesn't see the point of muddying the ECW waters like this... we should be trying to invent this fabled "New Kurt Angle," instead of just throwing him out there in a string of never-ending WWE-style semi-main events against mediocre competition. The "New Kurt Angle" and the "New ECW" shouldn't be things we've seen hundreds of times before. At the close of his promo, Orton said it was time to spread the word that "Vengeance is my Density." Er, "Destiny." Whatever. At least that sense of entitlement-instead-of-actually-being-talented fits better with Orton as a heel than it did when he tried to use "Destiny" during his babyface run 2 years ago.


Coming Soon: the Highlanders, who this week mistook an NYC trashcan for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Ha? Like I said last week: these two are hit-and-miss, but they are not entirely without their charms.

Earlier tonight: something that I already wrote about happened.

Backstage: Maria the Mic Stand wants to interview Edge, but she is interrupted by Lita, who wants to take care of this her own self. After a flowery introduction (and Edge's tongue-jousting-related thank-you for the introduction), the two manage to get across a few main points: (1) that Edge is the mack daddy because he single handedly changed the face of pro wrestling by causing John Cena to lose the WWE Title to an ECW wrestler, (2) that Edge will change the face of wrestling again when he beats the same ECW wrestler at Vengeance, and (3) that he's not busy, so how's about he and Lita show up at ECW's Sci-Fi debut tomorrow night. Lita makes the Vulcan "Live Long and Prosper" hand sign and says it sounds like a date to her. But next: Edge gets to take care of John Cena yet again.

Ringside Commotion: there's a few odd fellows barging their way towards the ring. They are Stevie Richards, Justin Credible, and Balls Mahoney, all in their ECW finery. Huh. And they've got tickets. As they get situated in the front row, we'll break for some final....


John Cena vs. Edge

The match starts at 11:05pm (eastern). So this is sure to be an epic, eh? For his part, Cena tries to avoid wasting time by sprinting to the ring to jumpstart the match. Either that, or he was trying to avoid getting booed by just sprinting to the ring and not giving the fans the chance.

The match consisted of this: Cena tackled and mounted Edge for a few punches. Edge panicked, poke Cena in the eye, and tried to leave the ring. Cena followed him, clubbed him from behind, and dragged him back into the ring. Cena cornered Edge and was going to continue the punches, so Lita came into the ring and jumped on his back. Fin.

Your Winner: John Cena, via disqualification, in under 90 seconds. Wow, what a GREAT main event. But wait, it turns out there's more:

After the Match: Cena wants to continue pounding on Edge, but Edge and Lita get together and leave through the crowd. Oddly enough, they leave through the crowd right where the ECW guys are sitting in the front row. When Cena tries to follow, the ECW guys attack him. And that lasts for about 10 seconds before Cena lays all three of them out with chairshots. Because even by ECW standards, those three are disposable curtain jerkers.

Then Cena gets in the ring and grabs a mic. He says he learned a lesson last night at One Night Stand, and that's that anything goes, and anybody can show up, and can do whatever the hell they want. And upon further reflection, Cena says he likes it like that. Because tomorrow night, John Cena's decided he's gonna show up at ECW, and he's gonna do whatever the hell he wants, and by the end of the night he intends to have an "extremely good time." 

And then two things happen that piss me way the fuck off. (1) After announcing Cena's going to ECW, we get a cut-away to two 15-year-old girls cheering and squealing in a way that they'll both be very embarrassed about at some point in the next 5 years or so. I've been talking about this for over 2 months now: the goal with a new ECW is *not* to try to create a product that the entire RAW audience of Cena-hugging nitwits will like, it's to create a product that appeals to the more hardcore portion of the existing RAW audience and which also tries to bring back some of the 2-plus ratings points worth of fans who've disappeared in the last 5-6 years. The second you have an ECW where 15-year-old dumb girls are part of the audience you're aiming for is the second you don't have "ECW" at all. ECW at its best should alienate at least part of the RAW audience. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it's true.

And (2) Jerry Lawler uttered the line "Wow, Cena's going to ECW tomorrow night. Now I *will* watch Extremely Crappy Wrestling!"... and again, the message is "ECW on its own sucks, but if John Cena's gonna be there, then it rules!". Which is no way to create a distinctive, unique, independent new brand.

Anyway, play Cena's music so he can pose to a decidedly mixed reaction, and we fade to....

Well, not to black, but to Jack Black. As a bonus, we get a 2-minute preview of "Nacho Libre," hosted by Jack Black. I guess that's why my DVR listed RAW as running 2 minutes longer than usual this week? I may have thought RAW's ending was another misstep, but getting to see Jack Black beating up on midgets is a surefire way to put a smile back on my face!


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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