What the World Was Watching: The Action Zone – May 7, 1995

Jim Ross recaps how the Intercontinental title was held up as a result of last week’s controversial finish to the Jeff Jarrett-Bob Holly match.

Ross and Todd Pettengill are in the booth and they are doing the second week of tapings in Moline, Illinois.

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Quick RAW Observation

Someone made a neat observation on The W about the throwaway bits with Big Johnny, which was something I hadn’t thought about before.  Basically there was a pair of quick bits with Eve and then Miz coming to see the boss and getting blown off, which wasn’t mentioned again on the show.  I think this might have actually been a nicely subtle bit of storytelling, showing that Ace was blowing them off because they had already served their purpose and thus he didn’t have to continue kissing their ass to serve his goals.  It probably wasn’t intentional on the part of the writers, but if so, kudos for a nice bit of characterization.  Now if only the heel GM wasn’t so played out in general.  That’s why I initially really enjoyed the Ace character in this role, because he wasn’t evil so much as he was an ass-kissing middle management type.  Now he’s just another corrupt authority figure in a sport that’s already clogged with them.

Smackdown – April 10, 2012 (Live Tuesday Show)

Smackdown
Date: April 10, 2012
Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, Booker T

This is another special live show with a theme of Blast From The Past. That means that we have the legends coming out again for their semi-annual appearances which don’t mean much other than us getting to say “hey, I know you.” It still should be fun though as most of these shows are. Also we might even get some fallout from last week with Sheamus. Let’s get to it.

Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine is the Indians’ bullpen. How can it be this bad?

We get a quick clip of Bryan breaking up with AJ last week. Bryan is in Piper’s Pit tonight.

Here’s Mean Gene for an interview in the ring with Sheamus. Ok so by interview it means introducing him and standing in the corner. Sheamus talks about there being a code of honor as champion and he didn’t follow it last week. There was a Daniel Bryan chant as he started talking but it wasn’t a huge one. He publicly apologizes to all referees including Chad Patton. Everyone makes mistakes and he always learns the hard way from them.

Ace’s new trumpet music cuts him off. He shows us the clip of the ending of last week’s main event and the Brogue Kick after the match. Ace wants to know who Sheamus thinks he is and demands a public apology. Sheamus says he just did that and Ace says he didn’t hear it so do it again. He does it again and Ace wants an apology to all of the other referees and we get the same exchange with the same result. Now Ace wants an apology to the world which brings a smirk to Sheamus’ face.

Ace says apologize now which Sheamus does, almost laughing at the same time. That’s not good enough apparently and Sheamus is on permanent probation, meaning that if he touches a referee by accident or on purpose, he’s fired. Also he’s being fined $500,000. Also tonight it’s Del Rio/Bryan vs. Sheamus/Okerlund. As long as we don’t see him in trunks again I’m ok. This was an attempt at making us care about Sheamus and while it’s nothing new at all, it’s certainly better than nothing.

Bob Orton wishes his son good luck in his upcoming match.

Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry

Henry misses a charge and Orton pounds away with right hands. He tries to climb the corner to punch even harder but gets slammed out for two. Bob is watching in the back as we take a break, 80 seconds into the match. Back with Orton fighting out of a neck crank. We see a clip from the break of Orton avoiding a charging Henry to send him into the stairs. Back to the neck crank and then a slam sets up a splash for two. Orton gets his feet up to stop a charging Henry and hits him clotheslines which don’t work.

A low DDT like Miz uses gets two. RKO is countered with Henry throwing Orton to the floor. Orton comes back and rams him into the post twice and slides in when Kane’s pyro goes off. Kane pops up on the screen and says by beating him at Mania, he became a monster again. Last week Orton proved he can be just as evil as Kane is. Kane says it shouldn’t end now, so we pan back to see Bob Orton laid out in front of him. The match just stops at about 11:00.

Rating: C-. This was watchable but not much more. I have no idea why it was a no contest instead of the logical countout win for Henry. Henry has a world title match on Monday so you need to keep him strong, but at the same time you don’t want Orton to look weak. The perfect solution? Countout loss, but for some reason that’s not what we get because WWE has no idea what they’re doing for the most part with basic things like that anymore.

Randy runs to the back and finds his dad but Kane drills him with a pipe and says he’s a sucker for family reunions.

Back and we recap what we saw four minutes ago.

DiBiase and Atlas are watching from the back. Atlas says this is going to be a squash match.

Ryback vs. Benny Camer

Patterson and Hillbilly Jim are watching in the back as well. Ryback KILLS HIM with a clothesline right after the bell and then puts him in a torture rack position and falls backwards for the pin at 35 seconds. WAY better than both Lord Tensai matches so far as Ryback looked like a killer.

Heath Slater is trying to talk Tyson Kidd into teaming with him tonight. Slater even has a Hall of Fame manager for them that says Slater could be the next Honky Tonk Man. It’s Jimmy Hart, who looks exactly the same as he did 20 years ago. Take that for what you will.

Mick Foley comes out to do commentary.

Heath Slater/Tyson Kidd vs. Usos

Cole actually references Countdown to Lockdown (not by name) when talking about Foley’s commentary history. We get the Megaphone which never goes out of style. Jimmy starts with Tyson in this NXT special. They exchange cradles and Slater tags himself in. Off to a chinlock and Jimmy says that he’s had more tag champions than anyone in the history of the WWE. I think Captain Lou might have something to say about that. The Usos make the hot tag and clean house, hitting their toss into the Samoan Drop. Mick gets tired of Jimmy and chases him off with Socko, allowing the Superfly Splash to end this mess at 2:40.

Jimmy takes Socko post match. These legends bits aren’t working at all for the most part.

Time for the Pit with Bryan as the guest. He looks pretty good. Old but good. He’s not as big as a house if nothing else. Piper says he misses being here and says Bryan is the guest tonight, getting a somewhat mixed reaction. We see the breakup clip for the fourth time tonight and here’s Bryan. There’s a brief but solid YES chant but it dies quickly. Piper says Bryan looks happy for someone that lost the title in 18 seconds. Bryan says he’s been granted his rematch and the fans chant 18 seconds. The match is at Extreme Rules and it’s 2/3 falls. AJ will be nowhere to be found.

Piper isn’t sure about that but he does know that AJ is here tonight. He likes AJ and since this is his show, AJ, COME ON DOWN! AJ comes out and is very excited to be in the Pit. She says hi to Daniel and Piper is surprised. AJ defends Bryan and says that deep down, he’s a good person. Piper says in the Pit you don’t have to be politically correct. AJ insists it was her fault and begs forgiveness. She wants to talk to Bryan and Piper tries to talk her out of it. Bryan cuts them off and says if AJ loves him, she’ll leave right now. Piper says she doesn’t need to listen to Bryan but AJ leaves anyway, getting a reaction out of it too.

Bryan goes to leave but Piper goes into Hot Rod mode and talks about Bryan’s YES YES YES shirt. Piper says he has a lot of children including four girls, four ladies. Piper says you don’t tell a lady to shut up. That’s a No. You don’t yell at a lady. That’s a No. You don’t use a lady as a human shield, because that’s a coward, and that’s Bryan, also a No. Piper says he’s looking forward to seeing Sheamus kick Bryan’s head off twice. Bryan slaps Piper and runs away. Piper was on here and it worked well.

Drew McIntyre/Bella Twins vs. Great Khali/Natalya/Beth Phoenix

Men vs. men and women vs. women. The men start but Drew gets chopped and tags out. He says he doesn’t need this and walks out. Alicia hits a northern lights suples on Brie for the pin at 56 seconds. What was the point in this match existing?

Mae Young comes out and kisses Khali. I guess that’s why the match existed.

Damien Sandow explains how sophisticated he is. He doesn’t like social media because it furthers the moral decay of society. Preach it brother.

Another clip of Kane and the Ortons earlier.

Raw ReBound.

Gene thinks Sheamus has a plan for tonight. Sheamus says they’re probably going to lose tonight but he’s not going to let Ace have the satisfaction of seeing Sheamus sweat. If they survive, the first pint is on Sheamus. They’ll either drink to remember or drink to forget.

Jim Duggan vs. Hunico

Duggan knocks him to the floor where Camacho is waiting. Duggan calls out Sarge and I think we have a tag match on our hands. Well it is Smackdown after all. Or maybe Sarge throws Duggan the 2×4 and it’s a DQ at 1:00. Hunico takes the Cobra Clutch post match.

Here’s Cody to complain about life in general. He’s looking forward to a future where he’s the champion again and where these legends don’t hog the spotlight. This brings out Dusty for what could be interesting. Dusty says that he’d do anything for his son, but he doesn’t quite get what Cody has been doing lately. Cody has been poking a grizzly bear lately in Big Show. Dusty gets cut off as Cody says Dusty is embarrassing him and they can talk in the back.

Cody goes to leave but here’s Big Show. He does the required Dusty impression and says he’ll show the real Cody Rhodes. It’s one of the Dashing Tips videos, this one being him putting on lip gloss. Cody looks stunned and Dusty looks…..uh…….I think the right word is disappointed. Show says that was embarrassing and leaves. Dusty doesn’t say anything but does get to dance to his music. I still stand by my theory that Dusty’s kids are the biggest ribs in the history of pro wrestling.

Alberto Del Rio/Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus/Gene Okerlund

The Fink does Gene/Sheamus’ entrance, making it instantly better. Sheamus starts with Del Rio but the heels double team him down quickly. Gene is in a Sheamus t-shirt and pants thankfully. Del Rio puts on a facelock but gets backdropped quickly. Sheamus throws both of them around but the Brogue Kick misses. Bryan dropkicks him to the floor and Del Rio kicks his head off.

Gene gets in for some reason and is surrounded. Ricardo is in there too. The Legends Army comes out to distract Bryan, allowing Sheamus to kick his head off for the pin at 3:23. I’m not going to rate it as most of that was Gene getting trapped and the Legends coming in, but the match was nothing at all of note anyway.

The legends all beat up Ricardo and celebrate to end the show. We’re not done yet though as Cole gets in the ring and says he knows they have to get back to the retirement home so let’s get a quick photo. They surround him and Patterson gives him a weak right hand to knock him to the floor. Atlas has some GUNS on him.

Overall Rating: C+. This is a hard one to grade. First of all, if you’re looking for the Smackdown version of Old School Raw, you didn’t get it here. This was more like a regular episode of Smackdown with some legends thrown in rather than the other way around. Now that being said it still worked okish, with the Pit being a highlight. The Sheamus vs. Ace stuff is decent as it gives Sheamus what he needs more than anything else: something people can relate to.

Since he turned face back in August, all he’s really done is beat people up and tell the occasional funny Irish story. That’s only going to get him so far and I think we reached that back in January. This is something a little different and while it’s something we’ve seen before, I liked how Sheamus handled it. It’s something I want to see continue and that’s a really good sign. This was a good show overall, but it’s not a great one.

Results
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry went to a no contest
Ryback b. Benny Camer – Torture Rack Drop
Usos b. Tyson Kidd/Heath Slater – Superfly Splash to Slater
Great Khali/Natalya/Alicia Fox b. Bella Twins/Drew McIntyre – Northern lights suplex to Brie
Hunico b. Jim Duggan via DQ when Duggan hit Hunico with the 2×4
Sheamus/Gene Okerlund b. Alberto Del Rio/Daniel Bryan – Brogue Kick to Bryan

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Smackdown – April 6, 2012

Smackdown
Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Orlando Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews

It’s the first show of the new year on Fridays and we have a new boss. Tonight we have Sheamus vs. Del Rio where if Del Rio wins he gets a title match at some later date. It should be interesting to see where Bryan goes after this as he’ll certainly get a rematch somewhere. It’s always interesting to see where things go immediately after Mania, so let’s get to it.

We open with Otunga introducing Johnny Ace to trumpet fanfare. David is wearing what can only be described as a suit jacket over his shoulders that would be big on Viscera. Ace talks about how he’s going to bring charisma and leadership to this show as it’s never been done before. This is a new era of people power. Ace hopes Teddy will be professional during this transition. He asks Teddy to come out and is almost immediately cut off in his smug speech. Teddy says he can tell Ace what he really thinks of him now that he’s out of a job.

He was told it would be crazy to come to Smackdown tonight but he couldn’t just leave the job without thanking the fans. He’s had a great job being the GM and he’d like a holla holla holla before he leaves. Teddy goes to leave but Ace says hang on a second. He offers Teddy a job in the new administration but Teddy turns it down.

Ace reminds him of his grandchildren who need to go to college. Otunga points out that somehow Ace controls the college fund the company set up for Long’s grandchildren, so Teddy reluctantly takes the job of Ace’s lackey. Oh wait first he also have to say that Ace is better than him or it doesn’t happen. Teddy says it but Ace wants to hear it once more, with feeling. No word on what the job is yet but it likely won’t be good for him. Teddy leaves and Ace announces Kane vs. Orton in a No DQ match, but first we have this.

Mark Henry/David Otunga vs. R-Truth

Apparently Booker has to be in Connecticut for a closed door meeting next week with the WWE bosses. Otunga starts and is quickly taken down by a clothesline for two. Lie Detector gets two. Henry comes in who kicks Truth down with a big boot. Abraham Washington is watching in the back. Truth avoids a charge in the corner and hits a side kick, but the World’s Strongest Slam kills him so that Otunga can get the pin at 2:03.

With all three of them still in the ring, here’s Kane. I guess they’re just cutting down the time between matches because he doesn’t do anything to any of them.

Kane vs. Randy Orton

This is a No DQ match. Kane knocks him to the floor very quickly but Orton rams him into the barricade. Kane sees Orton’s barricade and raises him a table to take over. Orton throws him over the table and then into the steps. This is a total brawl so far. Kane punches him up the ramp and they slug it out on the stage. Orton almost knocks Kane off the stage but Kane grabs him by the throat. Randy fights out of that and tries the RKO but Kane DDTs him as we take a break.

Back with them in the ring and Kane taking off the turnbuckle pad. Clothesline gets two for Kane. Orton breaks up the top rope clothesline and dropkicks Kane down. Powerslam looks to set up the RKO but Kane bails to the floor. He pulls Randy to the floor and they slug it out even more. Kane gets dropped on the barricade and a clothesline knocks him over into the time keeper’s area.

Orton tries the elevated DDT on the floor but Kane fights out of it and big boots Orton down. Kane goes under the ring and throws five chairs into the ring. As he comes back in though Orton kicks him in the face and pops him with the chair a few times. The Elevated DDT onto the chair gets two. Kane picks up the chair and goes off on Randy with it but can only get two. Here comes the chokeslam but Orton shoves him into the exposed buckle and the RKO finishes at 10:20 shown of 13:50.

Rating: B-. I liked the match but I think the one at Mania was better. Orton evening the score here is good as he’s been jobbing a lot lately, but I’m not sure I get the idea of having this rematch five days after Mania. This wasn’t the best No DQ match on Smackdown that I’ve ever seen but it did its job well enough.

We get a package of stills from Bryan vs. Sheamus. You know, to make sure no one sees the full version of it.

We get a clip from Raw with Del Rio and Sheamus.

Jobber Barry Stevens gets to talk while the lower card watches in the back for some reason. He thinks the people in Orlando are rude.

Ryback vs. Barry Stevens

Ryback is more famous as Skip Sheffield and is acknowledged as being on the first season of NXT but his name isn’t given. I’m assuming the roster was watching for Ryback. Total squash with a kind of delayed fisherman’s brainbuster getting the pin at 1:08. It looked kind of like a MuscleBuster but more like a suplex than dropping him on the back of his head.

Here are Bryan and AJ to talk about Sunday. Bryan says he’s had a chance to think since Sunday…and he tails off. AJ takes the mic and says that Bryan is a great wrestler and a great person. She’s not the only one that thinks that, drawing a loud YES chant. She talks about the YES signs and chants at Mania and Raw, even when Bryan wasn’t in the ring, which causes a Daniel Bryan chant. Everyone is here to support him.

Bryan doesn’t think that it’s support, but rather mocking. Fans: “NO! NO! NO!” These people are sheep and they don’t make it any better, because AJ cost him the title. He screams at her about how he beat giants in the cage and how he won the Chamber but AJ just had to have her kiss and cost him the title. It was really the kiss of death.

AJ tries to defend herself but Bryan says she won’t make him the bad guy because it’s her fault. It was her clinginess and selfishness that cost Bryan everything. That’ll never happen again because they’re through. He tells her to go sit in her SUV and eat a cheeseburger. Dang those are some serious words. She begs him to talk about this but he dumps her anyway and throws her out of his ring. The fans give her the Goodbye Song.

Big Show vs. Heath Slater

Cody is on commentary. Before the match Show airs the same video from Raw with Cody getting knocked out. Show chops him a lot and throws him around as Cody says he isn’t sure what went wrong on Sunday. Show tackles him and the chokeslam ends this at 1:14.

Cody almost goes in to fight Big Show but changes his mind. Show knocks out Slater with the WMD.

We get the Punk/Jericho segment from Raw with the alcohol.

The Bellas are in the back with Ace when Sheamus comes in. This is his first appearance as champion: a backstage segment. The referee has been told to bring Alberto and Sheamus face to face tonight so Sheamus can’t kick him in the face. Sheamus says ok and only those that deserve it will get a surprise kick. He talks about his cousin who was a bully and how he was in charge until the people rebelled against him. Subtle.

Beth Phoenix vs. Nikki Bella

Kelly comes out for no apparent reason. Total dominance until Kelly comes to the apron for no apparent reason. She distracts Beth who then charges shoulder first into the post, letting Nikki hit an X Factor for the pin at 59 seconds. This enhanced the show so much for me.

Video on Chief Jay Strongbow who passed away earlier this week.

We get a video on newcomer Damien Sandow, who talks about how real entertainment is a lost art. Instead of listening to Mozart or reading Shakespeare, we now watch Jersey Shore and Real Housewives. He doesn’t blame the people for it, but he will save you from it. Sandow is Idol Stevens from OVW and went by Sandow in FCW.

We get some videos of Cena before Mania, talking about how he has to win. This is followed up by Lesnar’s return and the F5. Once again Cole screws up the return as he sounds like he’s calling a Superstars comeback.

The Three Stooges cast will be guest starring on Raw. I really hope that doesn’t hurt the hot streak WWE has been on.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus

If Alberto wins, he gets a future title shot. We have about 15 minutes of airtime left and this is the first live appearance of Sheamus. That goes a long way in telling you where he stands in the company’s eyes. There’s a break between the entrances and Tuesday will be a live Blast From The Past Smackdown. That should be fun. Josh talks about a WWE Magazine article about what Del Rio’s trunks signify. Booker: “They mean he has money. Don’t overcomplicate things.”

Del Rio tries to go after the arm but Sheamus comes back with the Finlay fireman’s carry roll which I can’t think of the name of. Josh says this is for the title and that isn’t disputed by either other commentator, but I’m pretty sure it’s not on the line here. Alberto works on the arm but the Armbreaker is broken up and Sheamus tries a Brogue Kick which is ducked. Del Rio heads to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Sheamus getting two off the slingshot shoulder. Sheamus hits the ten forearms to the chest but Del Rio escapes and a running enziguri puts Sheamus on the floor. He rams Sheamus’ shoulder into the steps and hooks an arm hold back inside. Sheamus tries a neckbreaker but Del Rio escapes and goes back to the arm.

Alberto charges into the Irish Curse and both guys are down. Sheamus destroys him with power moves and calls for the Brogue Kick but Ricardo pops up for a distraction. Del Rio brings in a chair but Sheamus takes it away. The referee sees him holding it and calls for a DQ at 7:39 shown of 11:09. Sheamus didn’t use the chair.

Rating: C. I wasn’t into this match at all and it really wasn’t a good way to start off Sheamus’ reign. At the end of the day, Del Rio is boring. There’s NOTHING to his character besides he’s rich, he’s Mexican, and he uses a cross armbreaker. That’s it. He was showing some signs of being very evil and sinister when he injured Christian and stood over him with that evil smile, but now that’s all gone. There’s nothing to him but he stays in the title picture non-stop. I don’t get it.

Sheamus kicks the referee to end the show. Nice guy.

Overall Rating: C-. I really wasn’t into this show. They did a really bad job of showcasing the new champion, as he popped up halfway through the show for a pointless backstage segment, had a weak match which he lost, and was treated like a second act. This show was about Laurinitis who is most well known for being boring. That’s not exactly something that makes me want to watch Smackdown, but hopefully things get better next week.

Results
David Otunga/Mark Henry b. R-Truth – Otunga pinned R-Truth after a World’s Strongest Slam
Randy Orton b. Kane – RKO
Ryback b. Barry Stevens – Delayed Fisherman’s Brainbuster
Big Show b. Heath Slater – Chokeslam
Nikki Bella b. Beth Phoenix – Facejam
Alberto Del Rio b. Sheamus via DQ when Sheamus was seen holding a chair

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