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Better than Last Week (or, "The Damning
Faint Praise Edition of RAW")
July 18, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


I won't bother wasting your time talking about this damned heat. It sounds like that's just about the only thing anybody, anywhere, is capable of talking about... 
But just know that till it breaks this weekend, it might means OO gets updated at wonky times you're not used to. Like late at night or early in the morning, when it'll be the most comfortable for me to be sitting here in my office typing up my lovingly-hand-crafted gOOdness for you. It's probably the safest time for my computer (which

has some ventilation issues that I'm too lazy to fix even though I think the CPU fan that's broken is like a $6 part) to be switched on, too. You people don't need The Rick blowing up due to the heat, and The Rick doesn't need his computer blowing up and taking the collected OO/WrestleLine/NFD Archives (which will one day stand as a 2-3 Gigabyte testament to my genius) with it, either.

[Tangent: in the case of this early AM Tuesday RAW Recap, this also means Satire Fans will have to make another trip back to OO later this evening to read Matt's latest. Sorry to Matt for not advising him of my schedule sooner, and sorry to those of you who suffer any inconvenience.]

Anyway, the story of tonight's RAW? Well, by sheer virtue of Having An Ending, it was more satisfying than last week's show. But I think it still made a lot of the same mistakes. The biggest one: not letting Edge put his stamp on the show in any way, shape, or form. The guy's your champion, but in the past two weeks, he's been asked to keep an extremely low profile. It seems a waste of one of the few genuinely entertaining men (hell, entertaining COUPLEs) on the roster, and it also sends something of a subconscious message that "Edge may be the champion, but he's still only the fifth or sixth most important guy on this show." Throw in the fact that WWE insists on having champions still carry around Cena's gay-ass Bling Belt, and I think most fans pick up on the vibe that "Edge may be champion, but he won't be for long." Which is *not* a constructive message to be sending out.

Edge's current title reign will -- by necessity -- be longer than his first, since SummerSlam's still over a month away. But at least his first reign had him getting pushed as the brand's top star each and every week (even the ones when he did stupid shit like the Live Sex Celebration), and the result was that when the time for Cena's rematch came, it was *really* easy to see that fans were ready to accept Edge as a champion and weren't necessarily positive Cena would regain the strap.

We need more of that. Because 2 minute run-ins and skits at a hotel are nice and all, but if you've got the "highest rated champion of all time" holding the gold again, wouldn't it make sense to actually let him have some stake in how well the show performs? Cuz two straight weeks of sub-4.0 ratings isn't good news for WWE, but it's also not Edge's fault in any way, shape, or form. 

Here's how the show went down....

Video Package: DX has been doing stuff to the McMahons for the past month or so. You seen it, I've seen it, we don't really need to see it again.

Cold Open: Those Clever Bastards

So I'm laying on the FF button to get through that damned video package, and at some point, the DX prepared package becomes DX standing in the ring, live and in person. It turns out that at 16x FF Speed, telling the difference between a DX package and the DX entrance is impossible. But if WWE thinks this is a clever way to get me to relax my fast-forwarding standards: they'd best think again. If you ever manage to convince me I actually missed something, that's why god created the "rewind" button as well.

Needless to say, I'm 99.44% sure I missed nothing rewindable, so let's just pick up the action as Hunter and Shawn both grab mics. First order of business: plug their t-shirts. Shawn is wearing the new cartoon-y one, and thinks it's swell. Hunter is wearing the old school 1998-style one, and assures us that it's now once again for sale as well. Then Shawn purposely fucks up the address of the WWE merchandise website, so he can blatantly look at his wrist before getting it right. Trips lays in with the requisite "Miz" joke at this point, but then shoots the irony meter right off the charts by inadvertently making a REAL screw-up: he called Shawn "Shane," and then had to cover it up with a witty rejoinder.

Of course, if Triple H had "Shane" on the Brain, it's because the next order of business is talking about how DX has foiled all of Vince and Shane McMahon's plots for the last month, and everybody must be getting sick and tired of DX embarrassing the McMahons at every turn. HHH says he saw Vince backstage earlier, and the guy is just going nuts. He's really "On Edge." [At which point, I realize that Jesus won't let Shawn make the joke, but I figured HHH would have made the easy leap of comedy to point out that "I don't know how he pried Lita off, but trust me, the guy's really on edge." Sadly, HHH whiffs on this, proving once again that I am much smarter and more clever than him.]

So DX thinks maybe it's time to lay off. The McMahons could use the rest, and frankly, the fans don't want to see DX kick them while they're down. In fact, HHH and Shawn were thinking about challenging the McMahons to a tag match (tonight, right here, in San Antonio, TX! Which just so happens to be Shawn's hometown), but nobody would want to see that, would they? 

The noises emanating from the crowd seem to indicate HHH has underestimated fan interest in seeing the McMahons punked out. So what the hell? Let's do this thing, tonight! DX vs. the McMahons! Shawn timidly asks "Can we make that match?" and Hunter assures him of course they can, cuz who's gonna stop them?

Which is as good a time as any for Vince and Shane to hit the top of the stage and interrupt things. Turns out that Vince is of the opinion that DX doesn't run things around here, the McMahons do. So there will be no tag match tonight. But if DX wants some action, Vince has an alternate idea: how about Shawn Michaels goes one-on-one against My Son Shane? [As always: Shane hits the perfect look of resignation as he stands just behind his dad. Sort of half-"I need to quit hanging around with Pops" and half-"Wow, what a surprise, it's not like I didn't see that one coming."]

Shawn accepts, but Shane takes the mic and does his best to act like a cocky asshole. This is effectively accomplished when he mocks HBK's Shane-O-Mac impersonation from several weeks ago. Hey: I say Shane's got a point... I mean, how good could the impersonation be if the word "Boo-yah!" wasn't used even once by HBK? Furthermore: Shane has an idea for how to make tonight's match even more interesting. Michaels can have his buddy HHH in his corner, and Shane will counter by having His Dad Vince in his. [Now it's Vince's turn to get an odd look on his face, like he hadn't intended to be any part of this, and is now getting dragged in.]

All agree to the terms, and Shane wraps things up by promising to humiliate Shawn in front of his hometown fans. So play Shane-O's music, as we quickly visit with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, who welcome us to tonight's show, assure us it'll be super-duper-mega-awesome (which is hard to believe when they're hyping John Cena vs. Umaga, but hey, sounding like hacky shills is their choice to make!), and then promise we'll get things started right after some....


Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin (IC Title #1 Contender's Match)

Todd Grisham is handling the ring announcing duties, because Lilian Garcia is still suffering the effects of Viscera's immense fatness. To pay homage to Lilian's rather shaky first year or so on the job, Todd comically refers to the "InterContinental" Title as the "Cruiserweight" Title, and is raked across the coals by JR and King for it.

Opening minute or two is all high quality mat- and chain-wrestling, with Carlito using the flashy/speedy counters and escapes to get the better of the amateur wrestling champion. This ends when Carlito tries to hit a Broadjump Moonsault, but Shelton counters, and ends up taking Carlito's head off with a boot to the skull.

Standard heel beatdown ensues, with Shelton (ugh) opting for a chinlock. Carlito tries to fire up, but ends up getting no further than one Irish Whip, which Shelton reverses and turns into a flapjack. And then it's right back to the chinlock. Christ, I know a heel can't be going around hitting non-stop awesome moves, and that Shelton has to temper his act, but can't we find some sort of happy medium or compromise between "high flying awesomeness" and "Randy Orton"?

This time when Carlito fires up, it sticks, and he goes for the standard flashy babyface comeback moves. Big DiBiase Kneelift, Jawjacker Elbow, nice drop kick, etc.... which all led up to the sweet finish in which Carlito tried for the Double Knee Back Cracker, but Shelton reversed it once and wound up shoving Carlito into the ropes, but then Carlito re-reversed by trying for the finisher again, but Shelton re-re-reversed, so Carlito re-re-re-reversed into sort of a Victory Roll thing, but Shelton re-re-re-re-reversed by dropping Carlito down into a pinning combo. Instead of focusing his weight on Carlito, though, Shelton was too busy trying to reach out and grab the ropes to cheat... which allowed Carlito to roll through the pinning combo and wrap Shelton up in a small package, instead. 

Just to be an ass (and just because they were there), Carlito casually reaches out and grabs the ropes for some wrestling-specific form of Non-Newtonian Leverage that scientists have yet to explain. It's enough to keep Shelton's shoulders pinned to the mat.

Your Winner, and #1 Contender to the IC Title: Carlito, via pinfall, in about 4-5 minutes. It's really hard to sit here and pick on two of my more favorite wrestlers for having an "underwhelming" four minute match; it's not their fault that's all the time they got. But still: if you know that's all the time you've got, there have gotta be better ways to use it than what we saw tonight. One minute of fun "feeling out" chain wrestling, two minutes of restholds that would feel a lot more plausible as a catch-your-wind-before-the-big-finish moment if they came 12 minutes into a 15 minute match, and then one minute of gOOdness at the end? I'm not gonna sign off on that as a good choice for a match template. But still: that last quintuple-reverse-y spot was fricking awesome, so kudos on that, at least.

Video Package: Cena wins the match, but Edge retains the title at SNME. Whee.


Backstage: Carlito is heading back to his dressing room when he bumps into Trish. Literally. They did the little dance of "What Level of Physical Contact Is Appropriate Between Us At This Point Of Our Courtship?"... either that, or Trish would have gladly given Carlito a hug and a peck on the cheek, but realized he was all sweaty and icky. One or the other. It still adds up to a nice touch of for-real-feeling semi-awkwardness. Carlito's all "Hey, did you see my match?" and Trish is all "Yep, congratulations. You gonna check out my match?" and Carlito's all "Hell yeah, wouldn't miss it. Are you up next?" and Trish is all "Sure am. So I'm gonna have to catch you later, OK?"... Trish heads off, and Carlito is left with no choice but to verbalize the universally held notion that Trish is pretty cool.

This Week in Wrestling: 21 years ago this week, the WWF stormed into the mainstream spotlight with an MTV Special that saw Wendi Richter (managed by then-super-famous Cyndi Lauper) win the Women's Title from the Fabulous Moolah (managed by the less-famous-but-much-more-hilarious Captain Lou Albano). Girl power~!

Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson vs. Mickie James and Victoria (Special Referee: Titties McSuperbowl)

Why is Candice being thrown in there as a ref? Beats the hell out of me. Why is this match taking place at all, since there are no more lingering issues among any of these five? Again: I haven't a clue. So let's just sit back and watch.

An odd choice to start, as Torrie Wilson begins for her team... but fortunately, the wisdom of that move pays off. After all of 2 or 3 sloppily executed offensive moves, Candice gets distracted (not that it seems like it'd take a whole lot to accomplish that task) allowing Victoria and Mickie to double team Torrie. So for the next minute or so, all Torrie has to do is be a prop for the more talented girls. 

After getting her ass kicked a bit, Torrie is finally able to hit the hot tag to Trish (when Victoria took too long to hit the Shimmy Shake Moonsault), and things pick up. Trish has tons of fun for about a minute, beating on Victoria and even fending off Mickie's attempted interference. It's almost like Trish was finally allowed to look this good because she finally told WWE to relax because she'll sign a contract extension, or something.

When Mickie tried a third attempt at interference, it ALMOST worked, but that's when Guest Ref McSuperbowl decided to enforce her authority by throwing Mickie out of the ring. Huhwhat? Then when Victoria politely inquired what the fuck was up with that, Candice shoved her, and Trish was quickly able to hit the Stratusfaction Bulldog for the pinfall.

Your Winners: Trish Stratus (and Torrie Wilson), via pinfall, in 3-4 minutes. This is the second week in a row where I gotta doff the cap to a women's match that went on in the #2 Slot, and struck me as more exciting (overall) then the men's match that went on in the #1 Slot. If nothing else, there were no chinlocks and they made use of every second of time given to them. Also: Torrie was used perfectly without being asked to exceed her skill level. Only complaint: is it just how much I hate her, her vapidity, her voice, her over-done hair/make-up, and all that, or wasn't Candice supposed to be a heel? I no comprende. Granted, the babyface side of the women's division consists solely of Trish until Beth Phoenix gets back (while the heel side has extremely capable women in Mickie, Victoria, Melina, and Lita)... but the solution is not to turn a worthless piece of inherently unlikable eye candy babyface in an attempt to even the sides. You'd get better results turning Victoria.

Backstage: Maria the Mic Stand is standing by with Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrrada and Umaga. Estrrrrrrrrrada does a bit of enthusiastic riffing about how John Cena's career is in, haha, a downward spiral, haha. Maria tries to ask a question about this being Umaga's biggest match ever, and Armando encourages her to ask it of Umaga himself. Of course, Umaga just glowers at Maria and doesn't say a word, so Armando has to step in and put the tag on things by mixing his Construction Site Metaphors: apparently, Estrrrrrrrrada's "Samoan Bulldozer" comes equipped with a very unusual Wrecking Ball Attachment, which will be used on John Cena tonight. Sadly, although I was cheering for it, Maria did not at any point, haha, bust out her Estrrrrrrrrrada Impersonation. C'mon, honey, don't you want to move from the "Useless Eye Candy" Column into the "Tough-to-Please Son of a Bitch, The Rick, Finally Sees Fit to Lavish You With Flattery" Column?


Via Satellite: Mick Foley joins us from WWE Studios in Connecticut, where he takes a moment to send shout-outs to both Katie Couric and Melina (now THERE are two broads you wouldn't ever expect to find in the same sentence) before moving on to Ric Flair. You see, Mick heard what Flair had to say last week, and has a slightly different take: Flair bragged about beating Foley in two straight falls, but Foley remembers things another way, with Flair being bludgeoned half to death in front of his family and hometown fans. Foley says his mission wasn't to win any wrestling match, it was to give Flair a beating he would never forget. So now that he's done that, Flair can take his "anytime, any place, any match" challenge and cram it, because Flair gets no rematch.

More goodness from Foley, and I'm not just saying that because he obviously cribbed some notes from last week's OO RAW Recap, in which I pointed out some logic/continuity problems that arose because Flair failed to hit the right notes before sending things up to the pre-taped Foley interview. So basically, what Mick did here was to get in all the lines that Flair failed to do last week, and then re-iterate his No Rematch stance once the table had been PROPERLY set. I've said it once, and I'm sure I'll have to say it again: Naitch is awesome at "Being Naitch" in promos, but when you have a STORY you want to tell, put it in the hands of Mick Foley and you'll NEVER be disappointed. Nice "save" by Mick, and now everything's back to making sense and adhering to Temporal Causality (except for the part where Mick was allegedly "live" last week when he "responded" to Flair, but took an extra week until he actually directly addressed the actual comments Flair decided to make; but we'll let that slide).

Video Package: Viscera and Charlie Haas are both the kinds of dicks who think that any girl who says she'd like to be "friends" with you is just a frigid bitch who won't put out, so they destroyed Lilian Garcia last week.

Backstage: Maria the Mic Stand is with self same Viscera and Haas, and wants to know why they'd do that to sweet Lilian. Haas says "We COULD explain ourselves." But then Viscera says, "But we won't. AHAHAHAHAHA!" I guess that makes them jerks....

Video Package: Diva Search crap.


The Highlanders vs. Some Guys

Duh. Two minutes of nothing worth recapping, then the "Scot Drop."

Your Winners: the Highlanders, via squash. Hey dum dums: it didn't work for Umaga, and it's not gonna work for the Highlanders. This isn't 1986, and people are just gonna zone out if you try to sneak squash matches into our Allegedly Important Monday Night TV Show. This is NOT how you convince people to care about new talent.

After the Match: a challenge is made to the Spirit Squad. Because, the Highlanders may wear kilts, but unlike those queerbait male cheerleaders, they've got something underneath. Ooohhhhh, nasty?


Backstage: DX is conferring betwixt themselves, when the Highlanders come storming down the hallway. DX decides to be the first to congratulate them on their winning streak, and says that it's great they're challenging the Spirit Squad. But if they *really* want to get that title shot, what they need to do is impress Vince McMahon. So DX directs the Highlanders down the hall to Vince's office, but not before telling them that Vince is (a) deaf in one ear so they have to shout and (b) a fan of other men hugging him and slapping him on the rear. So with that Very Special DX Scouting Report, the Highlanders head down the hall and DX snickers to itself....

John Cena Does Not Understand Math

Matt Striker is in the ring with a giant chalkboard that proclaims the scientifically proven formula "Edge > Cena." Striker asks if anybody in the audience can decipher the equation, then he remembers he's in Texas (ZING~!), and sets about explaining it.

Which is when Petulant Brat John Cena materializes and sprints to the ring. Striker asks if Cena understands the equation, because what it describes is how Edge successfully retained his WWE Title at Saturday Night's Main Event. But Cena sees it differently: Cena whines that the only reason Edge still has the title is because of his filthy whore of a girlfriend, and that what Striker betta recognize is that when Cena got angry after the match, he took Edge and F-U'ed him through a table. So the real lesson is "Don't Piss Me Off," I guess, which just so happens to be yet another way he's being booked to rip off Stone Cold. And wasn't it a Jeff Jarrett t-shirt at one point, too? So lame. So very, very lame. Until John Cena grows a personality of his own, I am just gonna continue to have real issues. I don't care if he's being Stone Cold, being a wigger, or being a marine, it all amounts to the same thing: Cena's a poser. And an immature, spoiled one at that.

At this point, Cena notes that he's started to get a little pissed, so it might be time to beat somebody up. He sets his sights on Striker, but that's when Umaga's music starts up, so Striker bails, and Cena prepares for battle like any good solider boy should: by make a big show of removing his t-shirt so the 16-and-under female demographic can blow out my TV's speakers with their SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

John Cena vs. Umaga

Umaga storms the ring and starts brawling with Cena while Jim Ross indignantly notes that this can't be happening because there's not even a ref in the ring yet! This isn't a match! Damned straight, JR: which means that when Umaga reverses and Irish Whip and sends Cena flying through the (balsa wood and cardboard) "chalkboard," it's all legal! Deal with it!

After that one spot, a ref magically appears and rings the bell to officially start the contest. Then the ref magically has to find someway to get distracted, because Umaga is continuing to use portions of the balsa wood frame to whack at Cena's spine. Finally, the ring is cleared of all foreign objects, and we settle into a very basic rhythm of Umaga pounding on Cena with a very methodical (read "three-quarters speed") pace, and Cena getting little baby hope spots. One of Cena's hope spots actually threatens to turn into more: Cena hit a DDT. And although a Samoan is obligated to no-sell all DDTs because he has a super-hard head, in this case, the DDT is being applied by Superman Cena, so Umaga has to sell it, afterall. This gives Cena a chance to try for the SSTF, but Umaga gets to the ropes.

Edge and Lita decide this would be a nice spot for them to make a brief cameo, so they come out and stand at ringside. Just as they did last week, they mind their own business, and Immature Brat Cena has to go all Drama Queen by flying out of the ring to tackle Edge. This time, though, Umaga's not far behind, and pulls Cena off and introduces him to various steel objects around ringside. 

Taking it back into the ring, it's a bit more Methodical Beatdown until Umaga gets all cruiserweight-y and thinks he can hit a top rope splash. No dice: Cena rolls out of the way, and starts his comeback in earnest. Wacky tackle, wacky suplex, you know the drill. Five Knuckle Shuffle (as always, even when WWE books Cena against guys fans don't want to cheer for, it's his gayest moves that inspire the 20-25% of omnipresent Cena Haters to make their voices heard, even if only for a few moments out of the match). 

Things are looking bad, but that's why Umaga's got Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrada in his corner. Armando gets up on the ring apron, distracting the referee. This allows Edge to get into the ring and attack Cena. But after a quick exchange: Cena gets the better of Edge, and has him hoisted up for an F-U. But Umaga has now recovered, and hits Cena with a superkick. Cena drops Edge harmless to the mat, Umaga hits the Asiatic Spike, and to hear Jim Ross tell it, we just witnessed Highway Robbery.
Your Winner: Umaga, via pinfall, in about 5-6 minutes. I guess it wasn't wholly awful, but it did suffer from a slow pace in the middle and a dearth of crowd interest throughout (just because nobody gives a shit about Umaga). That said: the finish was exactly the right one, and what I endorsed as the only logical way to pay off this pointless little match in my column yesterday. So points for that: still, I was envisioning Edge's successful interference coming as part of a busier night of action and antics for him and Lita. But instead: this is it. As Teddy KGB would no doubt say, I feel so unsyatisfied.


I will not say where the following 2 quotes came from, but I feel the need to mock them savagely:

Before Cena vs. Umaga: "They're not giving away (unless they're crazy) more than a few seconds of Cena-Umaga before it turns into an angle for the Edge feud or some other storyline. Umaga vs. anyone of main event caliber should be saved for a PPV given his strong push so far."

After Cena vs. Umaga: "That was more of Umaga in a competitive match than I would have given away without more build up and on PPV."

Umm, dum dum, a "strong push" does not equal "results." WWE's booking of Umaga is but one small piece of the puzzle. In addition to the Booking Aspect of creating a star, there is also the Performance Aspect, the Personality Aspect, and the Credibility Aspect. You can book whoever you want to get a monster push, but that doesn't instantly mean it *works*. This is right up there with people who e-mailed me to say that I under-stated the damage that Mark Henry's injury would do to SmackDown! because of "how much time and effort" went into Henry's push. Well, folks: I'm here to tell you that in the real world of Tangible Results, "Batista vs. Mystery Opponent" will be just as marketable a match as "Batista vs. Henry" would have been. Maybe even more so.

Anybody who opines otherwise is probably somebody whose idea of making a movie wouldn't involve hiring a casting director. Or some other thing where you only consider roughly one-quarter of what it takes to get fans/viewers to honestly care about and believe in characters. I'm grasping for some kind of analogy, but frankly, this discussion shouldn't need an analogy: it's an issue that should be self-evident to anybody who's been a wrestling fan for any length of time and possess normal intelligence. I know when I'm bored, I know when it sounds like 95% of the live audience is bored, and I can piece together the reasons why. Yes, it's true that Umaga couldn't possibly be a star WITHOUT the booking/push, but the push itself does not make Umaga (or Henry, or Khali) into a viable draw. That's where connecting with the fans and having credibility comes into play, and frankly, a 20-year-old anachronism like Umaga just ain't gonna fly with fans without some sort of 21st Century twist. Which I gather is what Estrrrrrrrada (who is demonstrably more marketable and "over" than Umaga) is supposed to provide, but I still ain't sure it's enough.

The notion of any supposed expert saying that Umaga's first match against a "competitive/top level" opponent needs to be carefully saved and preserved and built-up to is, to avoid mincing words, a retard. There is no mechanism by which Umaga could be a selling point or drawing card in any PPV match inside of the next six months. It'll take an updating of the gimmick and an upgrading of the in-ring presentation (yes, dum dum, that means "giving away" MORE competitive matches, not fewer, because until fans can see that Umaga is capable of not being Boring As Shit, they won't care) before WWE can even hope to get to that point. 


Backstage: Vince walked into his office to discover the Highlanders eating his food and lounging on his furniture. They try to introduce themselves to Vince by shouting, but this only enrages Vince, who says he doesn't get yelled at, he does the yelling. So he yells at the Highlanders to get the hell out of his office. So they oblige, pausing to give Vince  companionable swats on the ass on the way out. This seems to confuse (more than anger) Vince.


Eugene vs. Randy Orton

Just a squash. Eugene didn't even get a token Hulk Up. Just Orton coming out fast with his thrilling side headlock. Eugene did escape that, and managed to briefly strike his version of Orton's Pose of Ultimate Douchebaggery. But this only served to anger Young Randall, who had no choice but to punish Eugene for his insolence with the Dreaded Chinlock. When Eugene tried to fight out of it, Orton shifted his grip to turn it into his wacky backbreaker, and then when into Stalker Mode until Eugene stood up. RKO. Fin.

Your Winner: Randy Orton, via pinfall, in about 90 seconds. Eugene's a character who could have supplied a few crowd pleasing moments here, but I guess now that the decision has been made to let Orton play with Hulk Hogan, we have to make sure he comes off as a bad-ass. A chin-locking, line-mangling bad-ass.

After the Match: Orton spoke briefly about Hogan and his daughter Brooke. In deference to the fact that he might just have been distracted by the death of his grandfather over the weekend, I'll refrain from making jokes about how he got his lines out of order, and just jump ahead to the part where (after imploring Brooke to not let the issues between him and her father stand between him and her) he says Brooke's not the only one with a brand new greatest hit. So he shoots it up to the TitanTron for his own smash hit: an extended video package of SNME's events, which are ever so easy to FF! Thanks, Randall! I think Randy poses for a bit coming out of the package, but he didn't say anything, so let's just keep the finger on the button and zip through these.....


Via Satellite: Mick Foley's still in Connecticut, and he's got another little something to say. Because in addition to addressing Flair's RAW comments, Foley also wants to address Flair's involvement in ECW last week. He congratulated Flair on getting hardcore. But if Flair thought that getting hardcore would convince Mick to give him a hardcore rules rematch, he was sadly mistaken. Foley says that if Flair wants to impress him with how "hardcore" he is, then next week, Flair should show up on TV driving a used mini-van and wearing flannel, like real hardcore wrestlers do. There's still no rematch, and "You're still out of my life, you washed up piece of crap." Like I said above: more than anything else, these bits struck me as a re-do of last week to put logic and continuity back in order... nothing new was added, really, but all the ducks are now back in a row for them to move forward next week. And "nothing new" is easy to swallow when it's Mick providing it in eloquent and convincing fashion, too, so I'm fine with these bits from that perspective as well...

Flair No-Speaky the English?

So coming out of that piece by Foley, Flair hits the ring (in a suit; I guess 30 seconds wasn't long enough for him to find a flannel?), and as a first order of business, he admits he got his ass kicked last week. Like Young Randall before him, Flair helps out by shooting it to an easily-FF'ed video package of stuff we already saw last week on Sci-Fi.... coming out of the clips of Flair's match against Big Show, Flair says it wasn't his first ass-kicking, and it won't be his last, cuz bah gawd, he wants Mick Foley in this ring, and he wants it to be hardcore.

Just as I'm beginning to wonder whether Flair comprehends English or not to be continuously spouting the same request for a rematch without adding anything new in that would break through Foley's clearly-stated reasons for NOT accepting the rematch, Flair gets interrupted Nitro and Melina.
Johnny Sizetwentyfourjeans gets his on the mic and first reveals that all those Foley Shout-Outs to Melina aren't by accident: they've really become bestest buddies (I guess being a NY Times Best Selling Author makes you "A-List"?), and so on behalf of Mick (and echoing the Rick), they'd just like to know "What part of No Rematch don't you understand?"....  Nitro suggests Flair quit yammering on about Foley, because Mick's not gonna challenge Flair. But maybe Johnny Nitro will.

At this point, Melina struts her well-be-rumped self around the ring and stops in front of Flair to distract him with a half-screech/half-whooo, while Nitro attacks from behind. Flair makes the standard comeback, Melina tries to un-even the odds by getting involved, but she gets tossed out of the ring and apparently sprains her ankle. Flair throttles back, and Nitro goes to check on Melina, and it sure as hell FELT like there was another shoe to be dropped as Flair was distracted by Melina's injury status.

But nope: that was it. No Foley sneak attack or anything. Just Flair standing there watching Nitro slowly help Melina away from the ring. Kinda anticlimactic, don't you think? Or was that just me?


No Sale

The Diva Search crap happened. We're down to seven bimbos now. And apparently the deal is that SD! will be the "competition show," and RAW will be the "elimination show" (with segments like this), so this really is gonna take 2 months. Fucking reality TV, giving WWE shitty ideas for how to Double The Suck.

For whatever it's worth, my guess is the reason they aren't eliminating one bimbo on EACH of RAW and SD! is because there's at least 1 or 2 "Supershow" joint TV tapings scheduled in the near future, and that would make the process of eliminating one bimbo on each show impossible to do honestly and fairly. Ugh. I hate that there is a perfectly good logistical reason for this crap lasting twice as long as it needs to.

Backstage: Vince and Shane are pep talking each other about how it all ends tonight, and DX will never humiliate them again. But when Vince turns around to grab a snack of the vegetable platter, we see that an "I [heart] Cocks" sign has been taped to his back. Shane helpfully removes it and hands it to his dad, who crumples it up and storms out of the room. Then Shane goes for a tasty pre-match snack, and when he turns around, we see that his back is adorned with a "Me Too" sign. Ha?


Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon

Michaels and HHH enter first, and do the full Buffer-tastic "Let's Get Ready to SUCK IT!" ring introduction. Then Shane McMahon enters with his dad. And as Shane is about half-way down to the ring, we (ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!?!?) break for....


Back, and we join this match already in progress because this show apparently had severe Time Management Issues. I'd ask "where'd all the time go?" but frankly between all the video packages, replays, and Diva Search crap, I think I know where it went, and I just didn't really notice it because of the magic of my DVR Time Shift. Still: criminally short Carlito/Shelton matches, an almost total absence of your Champion, and awkwardly placed ad breaks? Is it really worth it, WWE?

Shane's working (you guessed it) a CHINLOCK when we get back. But only for about 15 seconds, because Shawn's not gonna stand for that once he knows the cameras are back on. Some quality high intensity offense from Shawn as he suplexes out of the chinlock and follows up with other goodness, including a Foley-style over-the-top clothesline and an Asai Moonsault.

Taking it back into the ring, Shawn eventually decides to go up top for some move or another (for the logistics to work out, we'll have to assume it was for a Double Sledge), but Shane catches him with a fist to the breadbasket (JR: "To the solar plexus!"). With a little assist from Vince, Shane maintains the advantage for a minute or two, leading up to a Flying Burrito! And then the kip up! Inverted atomic! After a delay (Shane went to one corner, but I'm guessing he realized that -- unlike Shawn -- he's not ambidextrous when it comes to elbow dropping, so he had to awkwardly go across the ring to the other and shoo HHH away in the process), a Macho Man Elbow lands!

But when Shane tunes up the band and tries for a superkick, Shawn easily catches him, and starts a comeback of his own. There's another Flying Burrito. Kip Up. Inverted Atomic. Macho Man Elbow. Then as soon as Michaels starts tuning up the band, Vince McMahon goes to that corner and latches onto Michaels' ankle. This brings HHH around from the other side of the ring, and HHH stalks Vince all the way to the top of the entrance aisle.

Meantime, in the ring, Michaels is all alone when the Spirit Squad materialize from under the ring and swarm all over him. Michaels goes down fast, so when HHH sprints back to help out, it's 5-on-1 again, and HHH gets sent flying out of the ring. While out there, Shane McMahon whacks him with a steel chair to incapacitate him for a while.

In the ring, Michaels actually counters out of a Fukuoko Toss (by landing on his feet and throwing fists, berzerker style), but it's still 5-on-1, and now both McMahons are in the ring helping out and directing traffic. On the second attempt, the Spirit Squad nail the Fukuoko Toss, and then begin planning something naughtier: they set up two chairs (facing each other) in the middle of the ring, creating something of a platform. I'm assuming it's going to be the Fukuoko Toss again, just this time, with Michaels' (SURGICALLY RECONSTRUCTED~!) back crashing down through the two chairs from a high elevation....

But assuming is all I'll get to do tonight, because this is when Triple H reaches under the ring, finds Sweet Lady Sledge, and crawls into the ring to make the save. The McMahons just flat-out bail, but the Spirit Squad stick around to try to fight the good fight. All they get for their troubles are a lovely choice of Steel Chair from Chef Michaels or Sledgehammer from Chef Helmsley. Once the Squad are all take care of, there's nothing left to do but vamp for 3 minutes, because apparently that thing I said about Time Management Issues was all wrong, and WWE had *plenty* of left-over time here tonight.

A few replays, but mostly, we get Vince/Shane standing on the stage staring back at Shawn/HHH. Vince and Shane seem to be conversing (possibly drawing up yet another feeble plan?), while Michaels and Trips are giving off the vibe of "Please do bring it." Finally, we've wasted enough time, and DX sends us to whatever this new show is that isn't "Law and Order" with a pair of Crotch Chops.

Your Winner: Nobody, it was a no decision in about 6-8 minutes (maybe more like 8-10 if you count what would have happened during the ad break, but let's us not bother with that). This was probably the least of the 3 televised matches Michaels and Shane have had (and it was kinda annoying that all night long, JR had to sell this like it was a first-time-ever PPV confrontation, or something, when there's so much very-recent history here), but it was still plenty fun. Shane's matches tend to be that way, as even something as simply as stealing HBK's Five Moves of Doom came off very effectively. And frankly, if you're gonna have every show ending with DX standing tall having evaded a McMahon Plan, then I like shows like this that end with Shawn and Hunter actually pulling off a lengthy and satisfying brawl. Which beats the hell out of them dodging a falling net and not saying or doing a damned thing (like last week).


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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