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OO RAW RECAP
Thank You, Edge! 
June 27, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Simply put, this week has not been the Rick's week for getting good sleep. Last night's culprit? A power outage.

Some weak (at least, they were weak around me) storms moved past around 12:30 or 1, and were cleared out when I decided to sack out shortly following the end of Conan. So what happens? Not 30 minutes into my night's respite, the power goes out. 
 

Not a big deal for you if you're heading to bed, maybe, but a big deal for me, as I have this weird thing where I don't like silence while I'm sleeping. Even the littlest "house noise" or anything is a stark contrast to dead silence (and it's worse since I live on a Major Thoroughfare), so I like using some white noise to balance things out and make 

it harder for random noises to disturb my sleep. My weapon of choice? A fan. As an added bonus, during the months of May through August, you can point it directly at your head and chest and even in a house with no air-conditioning, there are few, if any, nights where you don't have a comfortable climate for sleeping.

But when the power goes out? I am plunged into deadly silence, with cars and trucks rumbling by outside periodically, but I figure I might as well get used to it. And as soon as I do? The power flickers back on. For about 3 minutes. Then it's off again, and I spend another half hour trying to get used to it. I do, and this time I get maybe 90 minutes of sleep before another brief power-on wakes me up, and then forces me to once again re-adjust to silence.

The power finally comes back on for good around 7am, and at that point? Well, there's maybe a couple hours to squeeze out of the night's sleep, but it's not gonna leave me in the best condition to kick Tuesday's ass.

In the name of me thinking I might take a nap before tonight's baseball/ECW/Rescue Me, I'm just gonna approach this recap with the mindset that Faster Is Better. If this results in a noticeable decline in quality or reduction in Patented Rick-Caliber Riffs and Tangents, I apologize in advance, folks.... but the part of my brain that is the most creative and clever is also the one that feels the brunt of one-good-night's-sleep-in-the-past-four-days the most.

We ride....

Nothing fancy to start, just straight to the standard Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., as Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcome us to Fayetteville, NC, which I don't think has any of the major ACC/SEC universities that sports fans would be familiar with, so that probably makes them a glorified NASCAR stop-off and little more, no? Something that will have to be classified as an "oversell" informs us that tonight's RAW will be historic and gigantic and all that, what with RVD vs. John Cena for the WWE Title, and also DX facing off against Shane and Vince McMahon. Huh, were those both to take place, that WOULD be pretty big.... and adding to the spectacle, we're kicking things off with something else pretty awesome:

Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus (Women's Title Match)

Ahhhh, Trish. 'Tis nice to have you back. But 'tis also a shame that this match was completely unhyped and unannounced, and that more wasn't made of your return. Seems kind of a waste, doesn't it?

Match is surprisingly curt: some chain wrestling to start, in which Mickie dickishly tries to target Trish's injured shoulder. But Trish deals with it, proving that at least her shoulder is fine, and comes out of the opening moments on the offensive. Just a few big spots (Thesz Press, and snapping off a nice rana), and then Mickie weaseled her way back in command.

Nothing fancy about Mickie's onslaught. Punchy-stompy, and then one final double-reversey spot in which Mickie came out on top with a sort of tilt-a-whirl/wrap-around DDT. And just like that: it's over.

Your Winner: Mickie James, via pinfall, in about 2 minutes (if that). Jim Ross gives us the story of the match, which is, "Trish has been on the shelf for two months, so she's probably a little rusty. But she also wouldn't want us making excuses for her, so I'm sure she'll be back to fight another day." Simple, honest, believable. But again: I think if you'd made a bigger deal (hell, if you'd made ANY kind of a deal) out of Trish's return, in advance, then this story of her flopping in her return match would have had more impact, and you could have built on it a bit more easily.

After the Match: Mickie leaves, victorious, just as Johnny Nitro and Melina decide to enter. Fancy ring entrance, and then Melina -- who is for some reason attired in maternity-wear -- gets a mic and declares that Trish's days as WWE's top diva are clearly over after that embarrassing display of suckitude. Melina insists that we have ourselves a "passing of the torch," in which Trish acknowledges Melina as the new Most Dominate (sic) Diva, or else Nitro might have to do something naughty. Trish being Trish, she nuts up and tackles Melina.... but Nitro plucks her off, and is setting up for Some Kind of Maneuver when Carlito runs in and makes the save. Trish slumps in a corner, while Carlito jaws at the retreating Nitro and Melina.

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Backstage: Trish catches up to Carlito and says, "Hey, I know you have your own thing with Nitro, but still: thanks for coming out and helping." Which launches Carlito into a rant about the many ways that Nitro's theft of the IC Title the night before was not cool. [Trish, brushing off chops not utilized since the Love Rhombus, is at her non-verbal best in conveying, "Yeah, totally not cool, dude" even though she didn't have to be working that hard.] Then Carlito REALLY gets worked up and starts ranting in Spanish instead, which sort of causes Trish to get spooked, so she finally put a hand on his shoulder and said, "Yeah, ummm.... I guess thanks is what I wanted to tell you. So, uhhh, yeah...." And with that, she started walking away. Finally, Carlito came to his senses, and stopped her by saying, "Hey, about that just now? No problem. Glad to help." And they should have left it at that, because the tag line was Trish suddenly going from zero-to-Lita in 7 nanoseconds by pointing at Carlito's "Spit or Swallow?" t-shirt and saying, "You know, about your t-shirt?".... and then she got on tippy-toes to whisper something in Carlito's ear before walking away. Whatever Trish said was deemed "Cool" by a shit-eating-grin-wearing Carlito.

Up till the tagline, this had the stink of the start of something wonderful.... two people, interacting normally and genuinely, with the merest hint of potential sexual tension (the fact that Carlito was so focused on his business with Nitro at first was a totally pleasant surprise, if you ask me). Then PLONK. I'm sorry that TV Trish has, according to Storyline Canon, not been laid in about two years since she and Christian drifted apart, but that's still no excuse to re-write her on-screen personality to be an aficionado of flirting at the level of the borderline retarded (where the average IQ is, oh let's say, 69, dude!). There was nothing about Trish's whorish come-on that wouldn't have been accomplished a thousand times better with a simple "Hey, interesting t-shirt" and a bit of the filthy eye contact that says "You know what I mean" and a demure smile that says "But this is still just the start of the silly dance we must do, so don't go counting your chickens just yet, Pedro. The answers to some questions, including the one on your t-shirt, are worth working a bit to uncover. Trust me on this one." A playful slight licking of the lips as she pranced off-screen would have been optional. And Carlito would still have gotten the message loud and clear, and Lawler would still have had plenty to act like a jack-ass about, and Trish wouldn't have just undone about 2 years of character building.

Video Package: DX did stuff last week. And most of it was funny. 

Backstage: Vince and Shane McMahon have called the Spirit Squad into their office.... Shane does most of the talking as he declares that the Squad let them down at Vengeance. So tonight, if you gotta get a job done, you gotta do it yourself. Which is why Vince and Shane are teaming up to take out DX once and for all. The Squad asked for one more chance, but were gently rebuffed, as their time will come.... but it won't be tonight.

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At Ringside: members of the 82nd Airborne Division, stationed at I Don't Know Because I Was Fast Forwarding Airbase. Hey, where's Cpl. Kirschner? Oh, wait, that's right....

Earlier Today: WWE cameras asked random fans who would win the RVD/Cena Title Match. You know what? These segments are a waste of time unless you get somebody who can make a cogent point that doesn't involve stealing his favorite wrestlers Catch-Gesture and doing it in front of a WWE camera like a retard. Of course, if you ever get asked to do one of these things by WWE, and you channel The Rick by turning to the camera and saying "Do you mean who SHOULD win or who I think WILL win? Because those are two different things thanks to the ass-hatted booking your company has been known for in the past 26 months," you know your promo won't ever see the light of day.

Kamala vs. Umaga (Very Special "Grudge?" Match)

Umaga enters first, and Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrada once again prefaces the match with mic work that, though flaccidly predictably, proves just which member of his team is the star. Kamala enters second, and is accompanied by the mute, masked Kim Chee, which means that Steve Lombardi is cashing an extra check for the second night in a row, just with a different costume.

Match was slightly longer and more (*cough*) "competetive" than most Umaga squashes, since Umaga had to sell that Kamala was even bigger and fatter than him. But Umaga overcame that in short order, then overcame Kim Chee's attempted interference with the butt-to-the-head move, and then finished off Kamala with the Asiatic Spike.

Your Winner: Umaga, via pinfall in maybe 90 seconds. Yep, that accomplished a whole lot.

It Begins: The finalists for the 2006 Diva Search were selected last week in Los Angeles. As if that wasn't enough to spur your fast-forward finger into action, Miz was the host of the ceremonies, and could not possibly fit in better with a bunch of effeminate, overly-made-up, obnoxious, shallow bitches who would be better served to keep their yappers shut. It's a match made in Rick's Personal Hell. No sale.

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Edge is a Jerkface. Kind of.

The segment starts out as Todd Grisham congratulating Torrie Wilson on her upcoming Magazine Cover. For whatever it's worth: the WWE/RAW/SmackDown! Magazines you may remember going back 20 years are officially dead, and in their place will be "Summer Sizzler Specials" like this, which attempt to replicate Maxim. WWE's thinking? Wrestling fans will get their "news" in "real time" by visiting WWE.com, so they have to re-brand the magazines somehow. And for some reason, their choice was to replicate a genre that is not only Completely And Totally Worthless, but which they'll only do roughly 6th best in an over-crowded marketplace. Enjoy your next flop, WWE Marketing Assclowns!

But after unveiling the giant-sized version of the magazine cover, the festivities are crashed by Edge and Lita. Edge intimidates Grisham, and Lita casts the merest Skank Eye at Torrie to send her a-running, leaving Edge to do as he pleases. Surprisingly? There's not a whole lot of heat on Edge just yet for running off Grisham and Torrie. And there's deafening silence when he destroys the giant magazine cover. Oh, wait. Did I say "surprisingly"? I mean "NOT surprisingly." At least, not to anybody who has half-a-brain and understand basic audience dynamics on a wrestling show. If anything, Edge's dismissal of pointless filler probably had some fans leaning towards cheering the guy.

But he takes care of that, post haste, by getting us back on track to business we SHOULD be tending to. Namely: listening to Edge tell us the many ways he is the greatest wrestler ever, and that any evidence to the contrary you might have seen (including him losing to RVD) is total crap so you should ignore it, and other deliciously deluded grandstanding that immediately inspires the crowd to boo him. Edge says everything that's going on around here is a joke, from RVD's win, to Cena getting a title rematch, and frankly, if the fans don't see things his way, then maybe they don't deserve to bask in Edge's warm glowing glowing warmth.

A lusty chorus of boos assures Edge he is not loved here, so he grabs Lita by the hand and declares, "Fine, we're outta here."  Outta here for tonight? Quitting RAW for good? What's all this mean? The announcers have plenty of time to prattle on about the consequences as a conveniently-placed series of cameras follow Edge all the way up to the concourse level, and eventually out the door. The only thing Edge stops for along the way? He accosts the Merchandise Guy, and demands that he hand over all Edge t-shirts, since these idiot fans are not worthy of buying them. HA~!

So Edge and Lita disappear into the night, each with an armful of stolen merch. But where precisely, are they going? I'll tell you this much: when they "left," I suddenly started feeling LOTS better about the comments/predictions I made about RAW in yesterday's column regarding the title match....

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Backstage: It's Interview Time with Schizophrenic Chump John Cena! His host is Maria the Mic Stand. So Cena starts out in his smarmy/jokey character, sleezily hitting on Maria, and then riffing on how Edge ran away scared with a slut in one arm and a bunch of t-shirts smelling of fart juice in the other. Fart juice? Really? I hope that uttering that phrase on TV won John a $20 bet or something, cuz it also lost him about 20 credibility points with all members of the audience over the age of 18. Then all of a sudden, Cena does that thing which annoys me ever so much, in which he flips a switch, and starts acting all out-of-context intense. He's a clown one minute, and the next, he's practically convulsing as he sputters his way through a stilted diatribe about sucking it up, fighting like a man, and earning respect. Like he earned the respect of Rob Van Dam (ugh, it's one thing for Cena to cut fakey promos, it's another for the writer monkeys to take RVD down with him with this whole out-of-character Mutual Respect thing). Still intense as you please, he thanks RVD for the title shot, but assures us that he's the better man, and he'll win back the only thing that matters to him in this life later on tonight. Wait: you mean the Spinner Belt means more to you than your autographed copy of Eminem's last record and the Jackass DVD Box Set and your 10-year back-catalogue of "Men's Fitness" magazine all in protective dust-covers? I'd have never guessed.....

Val Venis and Viscera vs. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch

I believe there *was* a match going on here (and with it being Val's comeback match, it did seem like he -- especially when paired against the under-rated, Barry-Windham-esque Cade -- was trying to let us know he hadn't lost a stop), but the only thing you need to know is the story of the match....

Which was Charlie Haas coming out about 30 seconds in, and kind of stalking Lilian Garcia. She appeared to be making it clear that he should go away, but Haas kept on standing nearby, talking in her general direction while making soothing "whoa, settle down" motions with his hands. Eventually, Viscera saw this, and decided to check it out. Charlie assured him he was just apologizing, and for some reason, Vis took him at his word and went back to his corner.

That's exactly when Val got the chance to tag Vis into the ring, so thus began 30 seconds of Fat Man Offense. Which is also when Charlie yanked Lilian up to her feet, shouted "Hey, Vis, watch this," and laid a smooch right on Lilian's lips. If I said it sorta looked like Lilian gave him a little something back (check that lower lip!) , would that be my booking-ahead-to-the-part-where-Lilian-screws-Vis-over-for-good (like he deserves), or would it just be my imagination?

Either way, it still distracted Vis long enough that Cade and Murdoch took him down with a double team move that involved a chopblock from Murdoch and a simultaneous lariat from Cade. In terms of net effect, think the Eliminators, but more redneck. Perhaps: Total Brokebackination? Nope, that one won't play....

Your Winners: Cade and Murdoch, via pinfall, in about 3 minutes. Nothing about the match mattered, but they seem to be going forward with the Haas/Lilian/Vis Love Triangle. Which would be the first love triangle ever in which absolutely no point of the triangle has any fondness for any other point, but don't let that stop you from doing it, anyway, Writer Monkeys!

Oh Dear Lord: After the match, Jim Ross shot us to a video recently released off of Brooke Hogan's debut album. Yes, that Brooke Hogan. The Hulkster's possibly-legal-after-three-years-of-jailbait-cock-teasing teenage daughter. In a moment that made me chuckle, JR went out of his way to preview it as an "abbreviated" clip of the video, lest anybody get it in their heads to change channels. Hee. I gave the Brookster about 30 seconds, determined that she is not particularly talented in her own right (if the effects on her voice are any indication), has seemingly not surrounded herself with other particularly talented people (if the lack of any memorable hook is any indication), and the result is a piece of tripe that ought to see its way to the bottom of the TRL barrel almost instantaneously.

Backstage: Coming out of the clip, Young Randall Orton is staring at a TV screen, mesmerized. He is stroking his chin, and looking about as contemplative as I've ever seen him look. He was no doubt asking the same age-old question that all virile men ask themselves when ogling young ladies of uncertain legality. Namely: "I wonder, if I pooped in her gym bag, would she have sex with me?". And then the spell was broken as Randy looked up, and started tending to other business. Cuz he remembered that it doesn't matter if she would or not: he'd just do what he always does and roofie her into next week.  

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Ten Minutes of Awesome in a 15 Minute Bag

We've been told that DX vs. the McMahons is coming up, and as we come back from break, Vince's themesong fires up.... but upon closer inspection, that's not Vince heading to the ring. It's Triple H with a full Vince Makeover (wig, suit, and a Silly Walk that was TRYING to be a parody, but which was so close to the original that we're left with no alternative but to admit that Vince has become a parody of himself). Between the fit of the suit, the general body language, the verbal pacing, and Trips' ability to bust out a mean Vince Voice (albeit only on a few key catchphrases), I think there's probably something to be said for Steph being one of those girls who was ultimately attracted to a guy who reminded her, in some small way, of her dad. Hey, that's not a rip or anything; that phenomenon doesn't even have a name; us guys have to deal with idiots saying the same things about us, and fucking Oedipus had to give it a label. Merely an observation.

Triple Vince gets in the ring and gets on the mic. He hits a few minor body blows on Vince (including one debilitatingly ironic one about Vince taking 10 minutes to cut 5 minutes worth of promo), before finding a riff about how he's never been more embarrassed than he has been recently by HHH and Shawn Michaels..... punchline: Triple V wasn't even this embarrassed by the XFL. "Oooooh" says the crowd. And also "Aaaaahhhhh." That's good zingery!

Further Triple V doesn't like "cocks," as intimated last week. He likes upstanding men of courage and vision. Like NBC Executive Dick Ebersol. Vice President Dick Cheney. And Ageless Wonder Dick Clark. You could say that "I love Dicks. And hell, I don't discriminate. Big ones, small ones. Fat ones, skinny ones. Black ones, white ones. Hell, I'd even try an Asian one. But just don't get between me and My Dicks!"....

Before that joke can overstay it's welcome, Shane McMahon's music hits, and we're led to believe Shane-O might be coming out to defend his dad's honor. Not quite. It's Shawn Michaels in full Shane regalia. Is there a hidden message in the fact that DX chose to find a Shane wig that had more gray in it than their Vince wig? Nah, probably not....

Shawn-O-Mac is playing the role of hyperactive/mildly-retarded second grader to a T, as he bounces off of Vince and is all "Dad, DAD~!" and dancing around, rope-a-dope-style, at random intervals where it's not called for. Shawn's anti-homage of Shane involves some heavy-handed and over-long bits about business cards, and also too many instances of busting out the Shane-O dance, and things start to bog down....

But they get back on track when Shawn-O-Mac mentions that he can't wait till Vince dies, because then the whole Empire will be his.... which causes Triple V to correct him. You see, he's not leaving the Empire to Shawn-O, he's leaving it to his little princess, Stephanie. Oh, and also that ultra-super-mega-stud who knocked her up. Whoever he is. Cuz man alive, Triple V has a high opinion of his potency, but that guy must be a hoss!

Ever the Christian-pretending-to-be-Vince's-Son, Shawn stops VVV right there, and segues into another "attention craving 2nd grader" moment as he declares that Vince better not leave all the money to Stephanie, otherwise he'll be really pissed, and when he gets pissed, there's only one thing to do about it..... DANCE~! So Shawn-O rope-a-dopes some more, and the crowd falls another notch out of love with what started out as a killer segment.

But then Triple V intercepts Shawn-O, and knocks him to the mat, saying "Son, son, you know when you go and act all crazy like that, I simply *have* to out-do you. So you wanna dance? Well, then...... [taking off jacket and unbuttoning shirt] STAND BACK~!".... and with that, footage of Vince McMahon from the 2nd Slammy Awards show (where he sang his hit song "Stand Back") appears on the TitanTron. I'll say this: it's better than Brooke's video.

But it also goes on WAAAAYYYYY too long. I'm talking a full 2 minutes, maybe, and they didn't even make sure to include the big finish. Instead: it was an unedited clip starting near the beginning, and the biggest pops were for (1) Vince's 1987 ass-shaking, and (2) the horn section comprised of Brutus Beefcake, Randy Savage, and Jake Roberts. All the while, Triple V and Shawn-O-Mac are busting moves in the ring..... and it would have been a lot better condensed down to 30 seconds of Vince's Most Shameful Moments, instead of this extended play version.

Finally: here comes the interruption, and the real Vince and Shane hit the stage. Vince says it's time to "cut the crap" because now is when we "beat the crap" out of DX. Uh oh, that's two too many "craps" in one paragraph, to be a coincidence, if you ask me. First, Vince declares that tonight's match will have the Spirit Squad as Special Observers (so the Squad come out and join Vince/Shane)... and second, Vince notices a port-o-potty which has suddenly appeared just off to his left (it hadn't been there during either HHH or Shawn's entrances). Vince has just long enough to shout "What's that?" when HHH responds that he believes that VINCE is the one who is "full of crap."

Cue the chunky brown substance from the heavens. And cue the allegedly funny rolling around and falling over in it by the McMahons and the Spirit Squad (for way longer than was actually funny). But then, just to annoy me: Trips had to go and have a killer punchline.... "Hey folks, don't worry: thanks to Shawn here, that honestly is Holy Shit." HA~! So at least as the segment overstays its welcome with more flopping-in-shit-takes of Vince and Co. there's a "Holy Shit" chant from the crowd that is, admittedly, pretty amusing even to me.

Tighten this down by one-third (one chunk of Shawn's flaccid riffing, one chunk of "Stand Back," and one chunk of the post-poop-bath camera shots and replays should add up to five minutes), and you have an hilarious segment for the ages. As is: funny in spots, but it also painfully overstayed its welcome in others. 

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Moments Ago: Poop happened. And even though it ceased to be funny 6 minutes ago, let's us take another 60 seconds worth of clips to relive the agonizing over-long-ness.

Last Night: Ric Flair beat Mick Foley, but Foley made Flair bleed buckets.

Via Satellite: Flair is stitched up and joining us from "Charlotte." He says that Foley proved last night that Flair was right... that Foley really is nothing but a glorified stuntman. Flair out wrestled him, and then Foley used barbed wire to get his vengeance. Well, Flair's had enough. It's been years since he said it's easier to fall off a ladder or go through a cage than it is to learn the basics and do a 60-minute broadway every night, and nothing's changed. Flair says with his background, he's faced every bad-ass alive, and Foley doens't even make the top 10. So once Flair's injuries heel up, he's coming back, and he hopes Foley's there to meet him, because once and for all, he's gonna prove that the Glorified Stuntman is his. All. Night. Long. WHOOOOOOOO! Good, on-topic Flair promo.... not particularly imaginative or spontaneous in its feel, but intense, and certainly within Naitch's comfort zone.

Backstage: RVD is shadow-boxing to get warmed up, when Paul Heyman comes up and pretty much says what a goodly percentage of wrestling fans are thinking, "Uhh, Rob? Whatchya doin'? Don't' you think it's a little silly and out of character for you to be going giving out title shots to petulant brats like John Cena?".... but RVD plays the Noble Babyface Card as he explains that he can't live with himself if he doens't prove that he can beat Cena on Cena's own turf, so he's gonna go out there tonight and take care of business. Huh. Not the RVD I thought I knew, but whatever. Heyman seems grudgingly-placated-but-only-partially-convinced as RVD announces, "I got it covered," and walks off with both title belts. This is so wrong on so many levels; if you MUST have RVD acting all puss-tastic and Mutual-Respect-y, then the ONLY way you can have Heyman acting is 100% ultra-confident that his man will get it done. Otherwise, you're telegraphing that ECW is not only weak, but that their boss KNOWS IT.

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More of the Same: the on-going poll of the locals continues outside the arena, from earlier in the day. Cena or RVD? The winner: Everybody who doesn't live in Fayetteville, NC.

Kane vs. Randy Orton

Not much to this one, really. Very simple, methodical action, with the story being that Kane is a new man tonight. Gone is the limp-wristed shrinking-violet who let himself get his ass kicked by Fake Kane the night before.... in his place is a re-energized Kane who isn't taking shit from anybody.

Least of all from Date Rapist And All Around Twat Randall Orton.

For two minutes, it was slobberknockery from Kane, with very few offensive moves from Orton. Then Kane seemed to head for home, by hitting the top-rope clothesline and cinching Orton in for the chokeslam. But that's when Fake Kane's 1997 Music hit.... Kane showed no signs of fear or indecision as he took the fight to Fake Kane. He left Kane lying on the ramp, and got back in the ring in plenty of time to STILL be in control over Randall.

He set Randy up for the tombstone, but now Fake Kane had gotten back on the ring apron. Kane went over and sent him flying off again, but when he turned around, the distraction had been enough this time for Orton to load up an RKO. The shittiest-looking RKO in recent memory, if I do say so, myself. Even worse than the one on Snitsky last week. But with Randall, we don't score him on his talent, we score him on his Mind-Numbing Institutional Mandate.

Your Winner: Randy Orton, via pinfall, in about 3 minutes. Again, the match itself is forgettable to the point of meaninglessness, but it serves its purpose as a prelude to what happens.....

After the Match: Orton poses for about 8 seconds, and then even a man-bimbo like him knows to get out of dodge. Because Kane zombie-sits-up, and is looking for revenge. With Orton gone, he unleashes it on Fake Kane. He hits no fewer than 3 chokeslams in the ring, but Fake Kane keeps sitting up. So Kane brawls with Fake Kane to the top of the stage, and then chokeslams him one last time on the steel. This time, Fake Kane stays down. And Kane decides to drag him backstage.... to where? Who are we to know the answer to that till after these....

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Backstage: Kane is still dragging Fake Kane's carcass. This time, down a hallway. They get to an exit, and Kane stops and lifts Fake Kane to his feet. With Fake Kane's back to the camera, Kane rips off the Fake Kane's mask and wig, saying "I think this belongs to ME~!".... then, before we can glimpse the face of Fake Kane, Kane hoists him out of the arena and starts making hot sweaty eye-love to his one-time mask. Odd. But also a likely case of foreshadowing, if you ask me.

It Continues to Begin: after the earlier Diva Search video package, now we get the red hot sequel in which they reveal the finalists. You know what? In each of the past two years, I've been able to pick out a contestant or two I immediately felt was actually a notch above the rest. You know what else? Being the Connoisseur of Fine Women that I am, all three Diva Search Contestants I ever endorsed are *still employed by WWE* (and in non-annoying roles), while one of the "winners" of the search (originally unendorsed by me) and countless other losers have come and gone from the WWE roster. Which makes it all the more sad that upon first inspection this year, there were a grand total of zero (0) break-out, Rick-likey women among the finalists. We'll see if any of that changes over time, but you know me: me and my Big Brain are the masters of Accurate First Impressions Based On Very Limited Information. So I'm not feeling too good about this year's search. But hey: at least there's only 8 of them this year, so this stupid thing is getting shorter each year!

Video Package: John Cena and RVD have a long and storied past. Going back precisely 15 days. Nee haw.

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Coming Soon: The Highlanders are still futzing about America trying to find their way to RAW. Here's hoping they get here soon, because this week's vignette was in a men's room, and involved Robbie and Rory mistaking a urinal for a sit-down toilet. And then -- based on Robbie's reaction to a flushing noise -- also involved the idiot sitcom writers mistaking a urinal for a bidet. So dumb.

Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena (WWE Title Match)

Nice touch: RVD and Cena each entered, but Lilian only did the introductions once both were in the ring. Very "ECW" of her.  Of note: from the get-go, the crowd was 60/40 against Cena, and almost entirely ambivalent towards RVD. Which created this weird atmosphere in which there were really no babyfaces in the match. Other than fangirl SQUEEEEEEEEEEs, Cena had no backing, and for whatever reason, RVD had zero fans at all.

Freak occurrence, or something the idiot Writer Monkeys should have been able to foresee and address? YOU make the call. [And you know which answer I'm leaning towards.] But whichever way you vote, the documental facts are that it led to a limp atmosphere to the first four-fifths of the match, with a shocking lack of sizzle for what should have been a huge match.

Match starts fast, with both guys wanting to establish an advantage... Cena's best shot is a Wacky Hiptoss, but RVD's there with Wacky Kicks. And JR's there with "These are the two most unorthodox competitors in sports entertainment," because he likes using the word "unorthodox" to toy with my fragile little mind.

RVD's wackiness ends up being more injury-inducing than Cena's wackiness, however, and about 30 seconds into the match, RVD got cocky and preened on the top rope..... Cena recovered and shoved RVD out of the ring, where he crashed into the ringside barricade (and appeared to take some poor fans disposable camera out with him). RVD down, Cena's now the one preening, so let's break for our final.....

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Back, and Cena's working an always-popular chinlock.... which I guess means they mapped this match out with him as the heel? I dunno.... a few moments (and a few hope spots) later, and RVD's babyface fire-up kicks in.

In fact, it is one of his failed hope spots that leads to Cena getting all cocky and going to the top rope. Which in turn leads to the fire-up, as RVD pops up and sends Cena flying off the top rope to the floor. HEY! That's not a bumps that a pussified poser would take! But it also doesn't matter as long as Cena is a tool (mheh heh heh heh, "tool") of the Writing Staff, since his moments of Lame will always outnumber his moments of Actually Doing Something Halfway Interesting. RVD follows that up by hitting a top-rope-to-the-floor senton (JR: "MOONSAULT!"... and later "Some call it a Moonsault, others a Plancha!"), and his rally is on.

Van Dam tosses Cena back into the ring and handles him for a few minutes with a basic array of kicks and stuff. But then, he "forgets where he is" and goes to grab a steel chair. While the ref is disarming him, Cena is recovering, and takes RVD down from behind, and starts his own re-rally. So much for them mapping this out with standard heel/face roles, eh?

This is also the start of End Game, and the start of where fans finally perk up and start cheering/booing a bit (and it's all for Cena, both the cheers and the boos; nobody seems to care enough about Van Dam to voice an opinion one way or the other). Cena's gets first dibs during this phase, doing more Wacky Moves, leading up to the not-well-received Five Knuckle Shuffle. But the next step is the F-U, which RVD reverses out of, and which he follows up on with his own mini-rally, ending in a split-legged moonsault. But only for a near fall. Cena's turn for a mini-rally, culminating in a Wacky Powerslam for a near fall. Then back to RVD, who did that step-through spin-kick thing, and thought he had Cena set up for the Frog Splash. But he didn't. Cena rolled away to the opposite side of the ring. So RVD just adjusted and did that cool "Extended Top Rope Rolling Thunder" that he debuted at Vengeance against Edge.... but Cena? He watched Vengeance, too, and had the move scouted, so RVD ate a pair of knees. Gotta admit: nice spot, at least, to those fans who saw the PPV and saw the whole move/counter-move develop.

RVD was doing his standard writhing-in-pain at this point, and it was time for Cena to have the night's final offensive rally. It ended with an FU, and then? Oh, honey pie, no matter how lame it is, you know he locked on that SSTFU.... Van Dam fought the good fight, and seemed to be about to give up. But that's when....

EDGE SAVES THE DAY~!

I knew he didn't really leave the building! He attacks and pummels Cena, causing a DQ.

Your Winner, but NOT the New WWE Champ: John Cena, via disqualification, in maybe 10-12 minutes.  Match seemed awful flat for the first 80%, even if the effort was there throughout. It's just that WWE's handling of RVD/ECW has really created a messy situation in which WWE fans are turning on Rob, and hardcore ECW fans are growing less and less confident in this whole "new ECW" thing. And any match that plays to silence and indifference is gonna get knocked down a few pegs. Still: nice stuff in the final 2 minutes or so, and the fans certainly started biting on the near falls and everything, so it clicked by the end. Bonus points for WWE actually doing the only sensible thing they could, here, too: Cena winning the belt back was too obvious, and I'm glad I was right that they whipped out the Edge-related swerve to keep us from suffering anvil-induced blunt head trauma.

After the Match: Edge continued beating on Cena for a bit. But then, just as RVD finally got back to his feet, Edge changed gears and speared Van Dam out of his boots. Then he stood over RVD and told him "See you tomorrow night." Huh. So was he really leaving RAW for good in favor of ECW? Or is he just an invited guest once again? And do we really have to care, cuz all that matters is that as long as Edge and Lita are the only cross-over characters from RAW, then ECW will be doing just fine? 

All fine questions, and all of which will be answered readily enough. Possibly as soon as tonight on Sci-Fi, where I'm hoping for another step up in terms of ECW's quality.... I do believe Jeff Snider has you covered on that recap for tomorrow, then I'll have a midweek dose of news and views on Thursday. See you then, kids! 

E-MAIL RICK
BROWSE THE RAW RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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