20 days til WrestleMania, and I reclaim my chair from Gorilla Monsoon this week. Lord knows how he tolerated that sludge a week ago.
Feel free to tweet me with your comments and wittiest remarks. The best ones get included within the body of this review.
8:01: I think Undertaker’s lengthy absence these past couple years was just so his flashing blue eye implants would have time to settle in.
8:02: John Cena color du jour: yellow. Love the “pull the shirt down by the hem so the design on back is visible for all kids who’d beg their parents to buy it for them.” Cena sure knows how to merchandize. Cena tells us we have 20 days left to “pick a side”. The fans then chant “nuclear strike.” Okay, not really.
8:05: The Prime Time Players make their way out, with Titus dressed as Rufus “Pancake” Patterson, complete with afro and confused crowd. Brad Maddox is officially off the hook.
8:09: Okay, the Cocoa Pebbles joke was cute, but this dragging worse than 2 Cold Scorpio with osteoporosis. It’s Cena vs. Young, and ‘Pancake’ pulls Young out of the ring on an STF attempt as we hit commercial one. Oy.
8:15: Cena’s in control when we come back,. 5KS and AA hit, and….that’s the match. Yep. I never wanna see Cena/Young again, unless it’s billed as a Mortal Kombat mirror match.
8:19: Ryback is LIVID, and he’s going to kill David Otunga NEXT.
8:23: First movie plug of the night, for Otunga being in “The Call”. The tallying continues.
8:25: Otunga eats the Meat Hook and Shell Shock. You know a crowd is unenthused when they can’t even chant “GOLDBERG” like know-it-all assholes. Ryback promises to tear The Shield apart, and vows to come across Mark Henry before WrestleMania.
8:26: This draws Henry out, but Vickie prevents the confrontation, and pulls Ryback from the six man, giving him Henry at Mania. Finally, matches. Ryback beats up Otunga in effigy.
8:29: Lesnar and HHH are apparently wrestling for the right to use Jerry Lawler’s theme song as their own.
8:30: Fandango changes the pronunciation of his name. Oh, that sly devil.
8:34: Daniel Puder should go on Kurt Warner’s reality show and see if he can get back onto WWE programming again.
8:35: Fandango is going to finally wrestle, failing to break Glacier’s “wait for my debut” week by week streak. He gets Khali. Fandango refuses to wrestle, gets a match. Natalya learns to wrestle, has to pretend to be soaked at the sight of Khali.
8:38: Fandango puts the moves on Natalya, and compliments her looks. Kevin Dunn just puked all over the production truck. Fandango refuses to wrestle when Khali attacks, and walks out.
8:45: R-Truth and Damien Sandow both get ring introductions, so we must be short of content this week. Sandow invokes Henry David Thoreau, and Truth rebutts with the catchphrase. You know Michael Cole’s fake laugh is bad when you’ve used your last two dozen 11:11 wishes to hope he falls down a manhole.
8:48: Sandow overworks Truth and lands a suplex for 2. Elbow of Disdain connects for 2. Lawler acts like “Cubito Aequet” is a new phrase of Cole’s. This surprises me very little.
8:50: Truth lands an axe kick, and Lawler makes a Manti T’eo joke two months too late. Sandow takes a walk and Truth wins via count out.
8:51: Kaitlyn confronts the Bellas over Cody Rhodes, as I envy Cody’s gimmick. I need to be more selective with my shaving. More selective than usual *eyebrow raise*
8:56: Undertaker gets a minimal pop, proving this crowd to be flatter than pre-1995 Madusa. I mean, why go to a wrestling show if you’re not going to lose your mind? One more way America’s lost its edge. Look Pittsburgh, I’m sorry Mike Wallace wanted to be an overpaid goldbricker somewhere else, but geez, it’s the f–king Undertaker!
8:59: Undertaker: “Punk, I may have encased Paul Bearer in concrete during a murder attempt, BUT YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR!” Punk interrupts, imitating Paul Bearer. and then tosses the urn around in his hands to be extra douchetastic. He vows to break the streak. He drops the urn (“Oh s–t”). And…..scene?
9:03: That segment should have ended with Tony Soprano getting up from the diner table, and then a black screen.
9:04: On a serious note, 11 years ago tonight, at this very minute, Vince McMahon announced the birth of the Brand Extension.
9:06: Primo and Epico take on Team Hell No in a non title match. A miscue between the champs leads to Primo taking over. Bryan regains control quickly enough and kicks away before a distraction leads to Bryan being beaten and cornered.
9:12: Decent heat segment concludes with Bryan ducking a clothesline and tagging Kane who drops Primo with a side slam and flying clothesline. Kane steadies for the chokeslam, but AJ skips out and about ringside. The distraction fails, and Epico is chokeslammed for the pin. AJ isn’t amused.
9:15: Jericho loudly looks forward to his tenth Intercontinental title reign, but Fandango interrupts. Jericho mispronounces his name a dozen different ways. He adds a Dead Man Down mention. (Plug #2).
9:21: Alicia and Natalya visit Rwanda on a tour of good will. I’d rather hear about this than the stupid anti-bully campaign. Good work, WWE.
9:23: Alberto Del Rio gets to beat another midcarder that can’t afford a loss, namely Cody Rhodes. How many talented heels have to job before WWE realizes, “You know, maybe we should have given Alberto a better face turn?”
9:25: Del Rio gets new music with more impressive percussion. Alberto: “I’ll add heavy drums to my theme song! Bitches love heavy drums.” If those last 4 words were on a t-shirt, I’d be a bigger Del Rio fan. No joke.
9:28: Rhodes aggressively works over Del Rio, not working over the taped knee of Del Rio that Swagger injured Friday. And like that, Del Rio comes back, dropkicking Rhodes off the apron. Some people just weren’t meant to be brilliant predatorial heels, I guess.
9:33: We come back from break to Rhodes going after the injured knee. WrestleCrap and telepathy: a winning combination. Then Rhodes works the good knee. Grrrrr.
9:35: Rhodes takes a SCARY bump on his face after a layout suplex off the middle rope. Whew, hate seeing that. Del Rio does a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on his BUM KNEE. IT IS NO LONGER STILL REAL TO ME.
9:37: Rhodes avoids the Cross Armbreaker and lands a moonsault. The crowd begins chanting “USA” as Cole and Lawler pause (Vince on headset: “DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE IT”). Del Rio finishes shortly thereafter with the Cross Armbreaker and Swagger runs in. Ricardo is launched from the ring, and the title combatants fight it out at ringside.
9:39: Del Rio gets the upper hand and goes after Zeb, but Swagger saves. Crowd chants “USA” some more as Del Rio is left laying.
9:41: Swagger mauls Ricardo and applies the Patriot Lock. Serves him right for those annoying Glenn Beck tweets.
9:44: Experiment: put Del Rio against Ted Kaczynski on Raw next week, and see if the crowd chants “USA”. If they do, hoo boy. Vince may commit hara kiri with a bread knife.
9:48: BOOKER T FOR THE HALL OF FAME. I GOT ME A HALL OF FAME RING, SUCKA. But will Stevie Ray induct him? SUCKAS GOTS TA KNOW.
9:52: Orton and Sheamus square off with 3MB members Slater and McIntyre. I don’t see this one lasting.
9:59: Cole seems appalled that Swagger broke Ricardo’s ankle. I recall him trying to get Jack to do the same thing to Lawler. McIntyre takes a beating, but a Mahal distraction leads to Sheamus playing face in peril.
10:01: Sheamus bounces back with an axe handle as Cole pimps the “Celtic Predators” name. I much prefer “Powers of Plain”.
10:02: Orton gets the draping DDT on Slater, Sheamus Brogue Kicks Mahal and Drew, and Slater dies via RKO. Nitey nite.
10:03: The Shield hits the ring, and Big Show makes the save to replace Ryback. They hold The Shield at bay as we hit “Rapid WrestleMania Booking Overdrive”
10:06: GI Joe Retaliation plug (Plug 3). It’s “just for the WWE Universe”, so if you’re not a fan, DON’T WATCH IT ON YOUTUBE. YOU WILL BE EVISCERATED WITH A MATH COMPASS.
10:08: Brett Clendaniel of WrestleChat has challenged me to figure out Show’s longest run exclusively as a face or heel. Hang on.
10:11: Believe it was his heel run from April 22, 2002 through September 7, 2004. Holy s–t, that was the longest? He’s more chemically imbalanced than Andy Dick.
10:13: Kingston and Ziggler square off next, as Dolph seeks the first three-match win streak of his career. This could be a pivotal night.
10:16: Ziggler works the headstand chinlock as a match usually full of high energy isn’t connecting with me. Or I blew my own mind on the Big Show research. Either way. I’m no good for the rest of the night, methinks.
10:18: Langston takes Kingston out on the floor with a wicked clip, and Zig Zag finishes immediately after. NO ONE CAN BEAT DOLPH’S STREAK.
10:20: Team Hell No come out and challenge Ziggler and Langston for WrestleMania. Yup, rapid-fire Bookamania.
10:23: Marine 3 promo (Plug 4)
10:27: Cole tells us that no one’s had a night as emotional as Undertaker. Uhh, Ricardo’s looking at six weeks on crutches or in a walking boot. I’d say his psyche’s a little frazzled at the moment.
10:29: Rock/Cena video. Seen it.
10:33: Finally we get to the Intercontinental Title match, which should set up 2 matches for WrestleMania. WWE can either book a match one year in advance, or 3 weeks before WrestleMania. NO MIDDLE GROUND.
10:40: It’s weird seeing Jericho still take top rope dives at age 42, especially when Dynamite Kid had his last real match in his early 30s. Moderation, I suppose.
10:41: Fine, I’ll give Miz credit: his sliding sunset flip is nice. I don’t have to praise him for another 6 months. Oh, and TOWER OF DOOM~!
10:46: Barrett works over his former mentor as we return from break while Miz is laid out. Miz prevents a Lionsault and gets an axe handle on Barrett, leading to a comeback attack. Barrett responds with the Winds of Change for 2.
10:48: Lawler hints at the movies. (Plug 5). Miz gets a Figure Four on Barrett, but Jericho Lionsaults him for 2. Jericho gets the Walls on Barrett, but Miz tries to Crush a Skull, only to be cradled by Jericho for 2. Codebreaker hits, but Barrett steals the pin for 2, broken up by Barrett. Jericho finally covers for 2.
10:50: Barrett is knocked off the apron with Jericho’s triangle dropkick, but Miz gets a high kick on Y2J for 2. The near falls are making this a great match.
10:51: Miz crushes Jericho’s Skull, but Barrett rolls Miz up and wins. Whew! Wade Barrett’s best WWE match to date? That was awesome!
10:53: The moment is ruined with premiere footage of The Call (plug 6).
11:00: HHH arrives for the contract signing. Sadly, Hunter didn’t tuck his jeans into feminine white boots like Hogan did in 1988. What kind of contract signing is this?
11:02: Does anyone else think Hunter’s shaved head makes him look like Sluggo from the Nancy comic strip? Ok, it’s just me. Anyway, Heyman comes out with a security force to sign on his behalf.
11:05: Heyman says Brock has already signed his name, and only if HHH signs will he learn the stipulation. But first Heyman shows footage of the bloody brawl 3 weeks ago. Heyman keeps teasing the surprise of the stipulation before suggesting the winner get Stephanie. Then he says the loser should get Stephanie, and Hunter snaps.
11:10: So HHH mauls Heyman to little reaction, and finally gets one by ripping Heyman’s shirt to smack the pudge. That’s not PG. Hunter signs and leaves Paul laying, but Brock’s music hits. Lesnar is armed with a chair, but Hunter has a sledgehammer to head him off with.
11:14: Heyman makes the big reveal: no hold barred. Oh, and HHH’s career is on the line.
OVERALL: Man, chop off that first hour, and you got yourself a pretty good show. Much better effort from last week, thanks to a pair of good matches in Del Rio/Rhodes and the IC triple threat, as well as a fun ending angle.