If you ask any film buff what their favorite movie is, chances are they’ll tense up and think hard about their answer before saying, “I dunno, man, I like a lot.” I can identify with these people -- for a long time I had a hard time answering this question with less than five titles. It wasn’t until recently that I actually thought about all of my favorites and decided which one is my numero uno: Goodfellas.
True Blood Recap: Episode 1 "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
Last night, HBO premiered season 5 of True Blood, a premiere that had been much anticipated since the finale last summer. Well the finale was not at all what I expected it to be, and that's not a good thing...
What Next: Avengers 2?
“AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” A battle cry familiar with any self-respecting Marvel fan and a line many fans like myself were anxiously awaiting the “star-spangled man with a plan” to cry during this summer’s blockbuster. I think at least most of us can agree that Avengers provided many of us with great joy and satisfaction in its execution.
Completely Random Episode 2: Coffee and Idle Banter
In this episode of Completely Random, Jon, Drew, and Chad discuss the effect of dating on video game play time, The Walking Dead Game, The Avengers, guns, the idea of a Justice League movie, and much more. Take a seat and absorb your sermon for the week.
Max Payne 3: Pain as art
Rockstar Games has accomplished what few games in the industry have: they have made gaming an art form. After playing Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, and now Max Payne 3, I can say with honesty and a straight face that these three games delivered in ways many Hollywood movies can't.
Friday, May 11, 2012
I happily took part in the Melee scene in the Long Island/NYC area, along with many friends. When Brawl came out, I was a touch disappointed by the physics changes made to the system, since it entirely changed the way the game was played. I didn't raise the same complaints that many of my fellow players raised, however. I still saw it as a game you can grab three friends and play the night away with. Tournaments arose for it, but they just have not had the prevalence that the Melee scene had. The introduction of fun (but admittedly unbalanced) Final Smash moves was just one of many changes made to the game that were considered better and worse, depending on with whom you spoke.
Project: M is the fruits of the labor of a team of 50+ fans across the globe. The game itself is still technically in it's "Demo 2" stage, but there are enough completed characters and stages for the demo to stand on its own merits. The most important aspect to note in reviewing this mod is that it can be played on a perfectly vanilla, un-modified Wii. The website (http://projectm.dantarion.com/) provides quite a few options to install the files necessary to launch the game. These include choices for those of you with unmodified systems, as well as users of homebrew. All of these are simple and straight forward.
The team at work has gone through extensive analysis and trials of the physics they've employed, and the characters that you know from Melee feel like their old selves, and the Brawl new comers all fit in well. As you play, you'll discover that the dodges, ledge grabs and wavelands you remember from your Melee glory days are back in full force. That first wavedash with Luigi is the sweetest you'll feel.
The current roster includes a mix of veterans and Brawl newcomers, with the Brawl roster planned to be filled out. There are rumors of additional characters to be added later on (Mewtwo's name has been thrown around often), but they have said that they do not wish to add things just for the sake of adding them; they'll need to make sense in terms of the changes at hand. As per the Project M Dev Team: "Right now we're focused on working on the base 39 characters Brawl offers us...We'll let everyone know about our plans for this when we reach that point and hopefully, things will pan out for it as well". We'll take a look at a few characters with a bit of depth, but the Team had this to say as far as general character design for the mod.
Their approach on Brawl new-comers differs a bit, taking a "blank slate" approach:
"More often than not, we tend to not look at how they played in Brawl. Instead, we try to think of them as if they are on a clean slate. We also draw inspiration for moves from the games they came from. Wario is a great example of this, we thought about what would happen if Wario had been in Melee. If he were in Melee, he likely would have had a more Wario Land-inspired move set. So, we looked at what moves could be changed to fill the space of "canonizing" Wario more to Wario Land."We'll visit Wario shortly, as one of our character analyses. The details given won't be frame-specific break downs, so as not to bore many of you to tears, but we will have a look at new combo opportunities and the imagination that has gone into re-imagining some of your Brawl favorites.
Let's start with Lucario, who has gone through arguably one of the biggest changes in the game. In "vanilla" Brawl, Lucario has a back-end mechanic that increases his damage and knockback as his own damage increases. This allows a risk-reward style of play; if you can keep yourself alive and on the offensive, you possess a much improved chance to take out opponents. In Project:M, this mechanic is entirely reworked: Instead of taking into account Lucario's own damage, there is an invisible "super meter" akin to most mainstream fighting games.
As Lucario deals out hits, combos and damage, this meter grows. Once it reaches a certain point, Lucario's hands will glow, alerting the player that he has a 'charge' for his new Super Specials. Much like the meter, these are very much "EX" moves by comparison. With a charge, you can perform any of Lucario's special attacks in conjunction with the A button to execute the EX version. Aura Sphere becomes Aura Bomb, in the most blatant example.
You can effectively cancel a jab into a tilt, into a smash, into a special, provided you make contact. You can also skip any step therein. Want to jab and immediately grab with an EX Force Palm? Go for it, it's a great kill tool. These changes, coupled with Lucario's respectable wavedash distance (great for wavelanding platforms and continuing combos) makes him an even bigger threat than he was in the original Brawl. There are other animation changes for Lucario, but these should be discovered for yourself.
Let's take a trip back to my Melee favorite, Ganondorf for our next look. The Project:M team has done Ganondorf fans a great service in their work with him: They've left his Flame Choke in his moveset. Essentially what this gives us is Melee's deceptively quick and agile Ganondorf with an excellent spacing and approach tool added in. Ganondorf's attacks retain many of their Brawl animations, but the properties and hitboxes are more akin to this Melee incarnation. Your jab will launch enemies away, your down tilt will pop enemies up for follow up with your strong aerial game, your smashes will decimate opponents and that wonderful, wonderful forward air is just as strong as you remember.
Mixing Flame Chokes into all of these is a great mix up: On approach, opponents could often shield grab you if your spacing was less than stellar but you can now play mindgames by using a Flame Choke in place of a strike. If they predict poorly, you'll grab them and place them on the ground, and a quick Ganondorf can follow up with a down tilt or a well placed short hop down air attack, which in and of itself is capable of combos and kills. Tech chasing and spacing are your best friends with Ganondorf, so get reacquainted with the Flame Choke and your old tactics.
Wario's neutral B Bite remains, but is a bit different. The priority on this move has been toned down significantly, so it's not a catch all "take damage but guarantee reciprocation" counter any longer. A strong attack will tear right through his open mouth without getting caught. The positive change, however, is you can now throw your opponent backwards after successfully catching them in your teeth; this opens up edge guarding possibilities. Wario's down smash is now a quick punch to the ground to disrupt enemies around you; the wind down time is shorter than his previous breakdance spin down smash, so you can be a bit more liberal with it's application. Down air is entirely different - It's now a ground rushing ground pound. Miss, and you'll plummet; connect, and you'll spike your opponent and hop off their head. Risk is always exciting!
"When designing new move sets, it usually depends on the character...Most Melee veterans don't receive large move set overhauls, but some have received some move additions. Donkey Kong, for example, needed a forward-facing approach option so we looked at some of his moves and thought of ways to either improve upon them...We noticed Neutral Air would be a great approaching tool if its hitboxes were slightly better...We looked at what else we could do and then the idea of Donkey Kong's well-known Donkey Kong Country roll came into fruition. We decided to replace his dash attack which has almost always been a bad move. Now, on top of having a wonderful looking and canon attack, one of DK's main issues in competitive Melee was dealt with, making him a much more formidable opponent."
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Well another delay has come upon BioShock Infinite. It looks like the much anticipated game has now been pushed back until February 23rd 2013. According to Ken Levine creative director of Irrational Games, "Since then, we've uncovered opportunities to make Infinite into something even more extraordinary”. Whatever the reason for the holdup let's just hope this doesn’t spell trouble for BioShock Infinite and we get the game we’ve all been waiting for.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
With all kinds of craziness going on over net neutrality here in the states with the CISPAS, pippa, sipppa, or whatever, the Netherlands was all like, nah we're good. As of May 8th, 2012 the Netherlands was the first country in Europe to pass significant legislation leading to net neutrality.
There are also provisions in place that protect users from wiretapping and disconnection.
The net neutrality law prohibits Internet providers from interfering with the traffic of their users. The law allows for traffic management in case of congestion and for network security, as long as these measures serve the interests of the Internet user. A technical error in the law might still be corrected in a vote on 15 May. In addition, the law includes an anti-wiretapping provision, restricting internetproviders from using invasive wiretapping technologies, such as deep packet inspection (DPI). They may only do so under limited circumstances, or with explicit consent of the user, which the user may withdraw at any time.
So ISP's can only disconnect users under a very specific set of circumstances.This is the kind of progressive thought process should be applauded. Let's hope this trend continues, and the entire world can be treated to the same fair and open internet policy.
Via: Bits of Freedom
Our pals over at Galaxy Next Door got the goods on Insomniac Games venturing into the inexplicably popular Facebook game arena.
Courtesy of Adam Iorio, @adamshaska
After the match, The Young Bucks and Mondo start to beat up on Perkins, and The All Night Express come to his aid and to get a peice of The Young Bucks.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
WWE Monday Night Raw - May 7th, 2012
We open another Monday night with Big Johnny. He goes on a tirade about having undisputed authority and wounding John Cena's pride, but most importantly, he declares that nobody may mock his voice. He shows pictures of his time as Johnny Ace in Japan, trying to gain credibility as an opponent for Cena in two weeks. After telling us that Lauranaitis vs Cena will be bigger than Rock/Cena and Brock/Cena, CM Punk comes out to interrupt. Punk tells the boss that he's bold, but he hasn't a clue about "people power". Punk reminds Ace that the fans don't want to see him. Punk continues and tells Ace that he's just mad that he put all his chips on Lesnar and he lost. Punk digs in deeper and tells him that he only went to Japan because nobody in the US would pay to see him wrestle. Ace asks Punk if he's finished and the people tell him "No." Punk goes on to tell Ace he's ugly, stupid and has no friends. Punk asks the people if he's finished and they still say "No." Punk calls Ace a toolbox. Ace says he'd pummel Punk, but he's in training; instead, Punk will face Tensai tonight.
The opening seemed to be designed to lead to the main event instead of pushing a feud forward, which isn't a great design.
Big Show will get his rematch for the IC title tonight, even though Smackdown told us that he would get it over the weekend. Johnny walks into Big Show and yells at him; Show mocks his voice. Uh-oh. Eve walks in to the scene and has a disappointed look on her face.
Match 1 - Big Show vs Cody Rhodes (c), Intercontinental Championship
Show opens strong, like he does every match. Frying pan slap, big biel and another frying pan. Rhodes fights back and lands a Beautiful Disasater, but Show gets his hand up. Rhodes goes for a boot, but Show grabs the foot and flips him backwards. Rhodes ends up outside, grabs his belt and goes to leave, but is caught by Show, who rolls him in. Rhodes is too quick and leaves another side of the ring and splits.
Winner: Big Show via count-out
Eve enters to a shower of "Hoeski" chants and demands Big Show apologize for mocking Johnny before. She explains there's no call for a giant freak with no life skills besides wrestling, so it's in his best interested to say sorry. Show does. That's it. Some "severe consequence".
We rewind to Kofi and R-Truth winning the Tag Titles last week, so one of them must have a match next.
Match 2 - Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler
Kofi opens with an arm wrench, and Ziggler counters into his own. Kofi whiffs an attack in the corner and Ziggler rolls him up for two. Ziggler follows with a dropkick for another two. It's Ziggler's turn to airball in the corner, which leads to Kofi's clothesline, double chop, dropkick and jumping clothesline, leading to the Boomdrop. Jack Swagger hops on the apron to run interference, but Kofi shakes off the Zigzag then hits the SOS for a very close two. Behind the ref's back, Swagger trips Kofi off the second rope, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zigzag for the three.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Dirty win, but a better direction for Ziggler than the one he has been heading in lately. Swagger/Ziggler and Kofi/Truth could have good tag matches if given the time, so maybe we'll get that moving forward.
Michael Cole interviews John Cena via satellite. Cena's elbow has no permanent damage, and he will be at Over the Limit, despite his doctors' suggestion. The Board of Directors, rather than contact (and fire) Lauranaitis apparently reached out to Cena first, and that's why Ace hasn't been fired; Cena requested it. That's not good corporate structure or practice, but hey, it's wrestling. Cena shows a fire here and no goofy smirks, so this gets a pass from me.
Match 3 - Natalya and Maxine vs Layla and Kelly Kelly
Once again, no entrance for Natalya, but Kelly Kelly and Layla each make an individual one. Beth Phoenix is on commentary and doesn't say anything particularly useful; she gets her rematch at OTL. No tags are made in this match at all - Maxine starts in with Layla, they have a short back and forth and Layla hits the Layout for the win.
Winners: Layla and Kelly Kelly via pinfall
Why not just have had a singles match with Layla and Maxine, other than an excuse to parade Kelly out? Ugh. Phoenix made one point - What did Layla do to deserve a title shot? She's been gone for a year. Lawler tries to justify it, somehow, by repeating that she was gone for a year. I agree with Phoenix - You should earn a title shot.
Match 4 - Alberto del Rio and Chris Jericho vs Randy Orton and Sheamus
I don't know what it is with WWE and Randy Orton being in random tag matches. A lot of good back and forth tag action here. Michael Cole flub of the night: Orton lands a dropkick and Cole says "You don't see Randy throw many of those!" Really? Because he does it every match and has one of the best dropkicks in the business. Goof. As we progress to the end of the match, Sheamus finally gets the hot tag and runs wild on Jericho. He tries the Celtic Cross, but his still injured shoulder gives out, though he manages to land the Irish Curse with that arm seconds later. Del Rio breaks up the pin attempt here and gets an RKO for his trouble. Sheamus lines up for the Brough Kick and Jericho dodges, causing Sheamus to hit Orton by mistake. Sheamus turns around into a Codebreaker for the three.
Winners: Alberto del Rio and Chris Jericho via pinfall
Sheamus tries to help Orton up, and as he gets to his feet, he RKOs Sheamus.
A nice change of pace from the usual Sheamus and/or Orton tag matches we see on a weekly basis. It opens up rivalries and Jericho has just pinned the champion, usually meaning he's going to get a title shot soon. The number one contender, del Rio, will probably have something to say about that.
Ace and Eve are in the back and agree Big Show's apology was insincere. Jericho barges in and says he deserves the next title shot. Alberto disagrees. Orton heads in and says he should get the shot (now really, he has the least claim here). A fight breaks out and Sheamus runs in to even the odds. Orton is less than gracious and Sheamus tells him as much. Ace makes the title match at Over the Limit a Fatal Four Way. We all hate him, but Big Johnny makes way more interesting matches than Teddy Long ever did.
Match 5 - Brodus Clay vs The Miz
Well I guess it's better than no TV time at all for Miz. Miz compares Brodus to King Hippo from Punchout!, which was obviously a line fed to him. Miz gets knocked out of the ring, Brodus' ladies laugh at him, he moves toward them and Brodus gets mad. After a quick exchange and a DDT in the ring, Brodus gets back to his feet and we end up with the usual headbutt, t-bone and splash.
Winner: Brodus Clay via pinfall
Better than the recent Brodus Clay matches, as there was a bit more back and forth, and the kids seem to love the Funkasaurus, so we may as well all get used to seeing this on a weekly basis. Miz still cuts promos about being the most must see blah blah in blah, even though he hasn't been relevant all year. Miz needs new shtick as bad as Brodus.
Replay of HHH getting his arm broken by Brock Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar's music hits and out comes...Paul Heyman! I don't think anyone expected him to appear during this Lesnar run, so this is actually a legitimate and interesting surprise for once. Heyman will be representing Lesnar here tonight. He reminds us that Lesnar did what he said he would: Kick asses and hurt people.
Reading a statement from Lesnar, Heyman tells us that Brock brought legitimacy to the WWE and was rewarded with corporate BS. HHH was jealous; he lasted an hour in a cage with Undertaker and couldn't last a minute in a ring with Lesnar. Lesnar is never coming back; he quits!
And just like that, Heyman returns on the side of Lesnar, the seeds of a HHH/Lesnar fight around Summerslam are planted and the hardcore fans got to mark out for their favorite bald-ponytail. And it didn't drag on. Definition of a good segment right here.
Big Show is in the back with the stars of Common Law airing on USA soon. Or tonight. Whatever. They mock Ace's voice, Big Show laughs and Eve walks in with disappointed face again. Her being upset is going to lead to something, and the fact that Show got caught twice makes him the prime target.
CM Punk enters for the main event, followed by Ace - "This is going to be a handicap match - against Tensai and Daniel Bryan!"
Match 6 - CM Punk vs Lord Tensai and Daniel Bryan
Back from a break, with no entrances for anyone, Tensai opens up by running Punk over. Bryan and Tensai tag in and out on Punk early on. Tensai hits his stalling butterfly suplex, preceded by knees and tosses Punk out to the floor. Punk fights, but gets slammed into the ring post. Back in the ring, Tensai slaps on a nerve hold and then suffers a Tensai senton. Bryan tags back in and comes up empty on a diving headbutt. Punk slingshots Bryan into the corner, then hits a leg lariat, swinging neckbreaker and the knee/bulldog combo. Bryan escapes the GTS and tags out. Bryan gets clotheslined over the top and Tensai clotheslines Punk. Tensai misses a body attack in the corner and takes a kick to the skull. Punk gets distracted by Bryan and Sakamoto and walks into a chokebomb attempt from Tensai - he lands it, but there was a miscommunication on the timing and Punk barely leaves the ground. Tensai sprays the mist on his hand and Claws Punk's head. Tensai lands the Claw STO and pins Punk.
Winners: Lord Tensai and Daniel Bryan via pinfall
Why is that mist legal exactly? After the match or to draw a DQ is fine, but there's no logical reason why Tensai can spray green goop on his hand and rub it in a guy's eyes on a consistent basis. Regardless, Bryan follows up on the carnage and locks in the Yes!lock twice on his opponent at OTL. So both champions have hurt arms going into the PPV?
Not a bad Raw - Ziggler/Kofi played nice together, the tag and handicap matches were both entertaining, with outcomes that aren't the bog standard that we're always subjected to and Paul Heyman cut a good, succinct promo, furthering a storyline. That's all we ask, guys. Just do this on a weekly basis.
Starting next week, we may roll the Friday's Smackdown and the next Monday's Raw into a single article - let us know what you think about that!
Were you ready for the Avengers!? Was your local theater ready for the Avengers!? We were, and we got news, and reviews, and so much more!
I had to know what his take was on the Avengers movie. So many times we run into harsh critics when big title movies come out. So I asked.
Joe Kelly: “I loved it. I had a really great time with it. With the combination of what they’ve been trying to do, they did a really great job. As far as it being true to story, you have to update it. Iron Man was a perfect example - you‘re not going to put that movie in the Korean War setting. Same with the Avengers; their first time together was not in the setting that you saw in the movie. They’re necessary translations. We have so much room in a comic to have characters talk as they as we want versus what you can do in a movie. You have to just roll with it. We just want people to take the same spirit of the comics and cartoons that they love with them always.”
Heather Tinneny: “We’re all really excited about The Dark Knight rises. Any inside info you can spare?”
JK: “I know nothing. Absolutely nothing. I wish I did!”
HT: “So, Deadpool was essentially the cornerstone of your career. How did you feel about Ryan Reynolds being cast for that roll?”
JK: “He was a huge Deadpool fan for a really long time, actually. Someone had interviewed him when he was in Blade, I guess, and someone wrote to me and said ‘Ryan Reynolds is a huge Deadpool fan. He’s been lobbying to be him. I think he pulled it off for sure. I spoke to the people that did Wolverine and they know they did a huge misstep with Deadpool in that movie, so if the Deadpool movie comes to be… Ryan Reynolds would be attached to it.”
HT: “Is there a Deadpool movie in development?”
JK: “Yeah - it’s scripted.”
HT: “Do you know who’s going to be directing it?”
JK: “Not a clue, but it’s written by the guys who wrote Zombieland, so it should be really good. I really hope [the directors] do it. They also did a test for the CG animation. They know this is a really big risk. They know that this is going to be a PG-13, maybe R-rated movie, you can’t exactly make it family friendly.”
Just as a quick review, the Stan-hattan Project was a joint program between Marvel Comics and NYU (where Kelly attended) that trained potential comic book writers and gave them professional opportunities at being a big shot.
HT: “How were you recruited into the Stan-hattan Project?”
JK: “Mark Powers and James Felder were editors at Marvel at the time and they were looking for new talent, so James had gone to NYU and I was a graduate student so he wrote a letter to the dramatic writing department, and the director at the time was more of a playwrite and didn’t really have any interest in it, so the secretary had said to me ‘Hey, there’s this letter from Marvel. It’s probably gunna go in the garbage - maybe you should check it out.” So, I kinda stole it… and read it, and it told me what to do and I volunteered to run it, so they let me run it with them. After a couple of months, they liked the way I did dialogue, and once they know you can write, they kinda just pawn you off everywhere. So that‘s how I got in.”
Protip: If you’re a potential comic writer hopeful, steal mail. .. Just kidding, don’t do that. Steal letters with permission from the secretary instead.
HT: “How do you feel about the Avengers vs. X-Men story arc?”
JK: “I think it’s going to be really fun. I haven’t really kept up with it.”
HT: “DC had canceled all their upcoming work and decided to restart it and launch the new 52 line.. Do you think that was a good move on DC’s behalf?”
JK: “It was a really risky move that seemed to have paid off. People are still really into it. I’ve heard people that are really happy with it and others aren’t. I’m out of the business loop as far as that goes because I’m doing animation and independent work mostly, but it was really a decision that was made on many different levels. Some of the books that they didn’t expect to do so well, actually is and people are into it, so I guess it doesn’t matter either way really.”
HT: “What would you consider to be your favorite work?”
JK: “I Kill Giants, probably.. You know, it’s really near to my heart, really proud of it, very personal story. Deadpool is a cornerstone in my career and I love him. Spiderman too… really fun. Superman.. I mean, I love everything I did. There was never a job that I really had to take. I was lucky to have great editors that liked to shepherd ideas more than just shove them down my throat.”
HT: “How did you get from writing comics to doing animation like Ben 10 and Johnny Quest?”
JK: “The guys who created Robot Chicken, one of the guys named Matt Senreich used to work at Wizard Magazine. They were just trying to launch the show and the executive from Warner Brothers who they had met said ‘I wanna meet with some comic book guys because we want new ideas, write some super hero stuff’ and Matt said ‘Hey, well I got some guys that you’ll like to meet’ and introduced me to him. That’s how that came about. It became a worldwide phenomenon. It made Cartoon Network 3 billion dollars, and it’s really cool when you go to Comic Con and you have these fans that have been following you for a while, but then Ben 10 came out and now suddenly you have these little kids like admire you so much. It’s just really cool.”
HT: “I also hear that you’re supposed to write a story for The Amazing Spiderman sometime this year?”
JK: “No… there was talk about it because of it being the 50th anniversary. I would really like to and we keep talking about it, but I don’t know how to fit it in my schedule.”
HT: “So should we expect something in the foreseeable future?”
JK: “There will be more Bad Dog to come. Four Eyes could be out by the end of this year. Hopefully I’ll be leaking stuff out. I cant really talk about it because I don’t want to say anything and then have people with pitchforks pointing it at me if it’s not out when I say it would be. I’m really looking forward to the new work that’ll be coming out because of the artist that I’ll be working with. I mean, I’m excited about all my artists, but this one I’ve hunted for a really long time, so I’m super excited.”
So there you have it right from the source. Let’s give a recap of what we learned:
Steal mail. It could make you super friggin famous.
The Deadpool movie is written and is under way. And if you’ve seen Zombieland, then you know what to expect from this movie. A lot of debauchery.
Kelly will be releasing more work real soon, and whoever this artist is going to be is going to be someone that we all know and love and admire. The excitement in Kelly’s voice couldn’t be contained well enough to tell me that this new work is going to be awesome.
And finally, as if it hasn’t been beaten like a dead horse already, to go see Avengers. Just do it. Don’t think about it. Just go.
We here at Geek Asylum want to extend a huge thank you to the Comic Book Depot in Wantagh, New York and Joe Kelly for allowing us to have this amazing opportunity and for spreading the geek love around the world for everyone to love. Rock on.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
WWE Smackdown, May 3rd, 2012
So here we are between Extreme Rules and Over the Limit. These are the time periods where we settle into what the programs will be moving forward, who opponents will be and how rematches will get handled. John Lauranaitis has declared himself John Cena's next PPV opponent, but I think we all see this as a red herring. We start Friday night's festivities with our World Heavyweight champion.
Sheamus tells us all, a bit long-windily, that he loves to fight. Yay stereotypes! Sheamus proposes a question to himself - Will he fight Daniel Bryan, even though he almost ripped his arm out its socket? Yes! Yes! Yes! Daniel Bryan is none too pleased about Sheamus continually using his catchphrase and comes out with a grimace on his face to remind the Irishman.
Match 1 - Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion), non-title
Sheamus starts strong, mowing Bryan down with a shoulder tackle. Bryan responds with a drop toe hold into an armbar, which Sheamus powers out of. Bryan drops Sheamus with a single arm DDT and continues with kicks and boots in the corner. The fact that they're continuing to show Bryan as a credible opponent to Sheamus, able to cleanly strike him down to the ground is a big step up from how someone Bryan's size normally gets portrayed by WWE. Bryan drops Sheamus' arm over his own shoulder, then grounds him with a hammerlock and drops knees across the arm. Bryan grabs the other arm to give Sheamus a good stretch, but Sheamus powers up to his feet. Bryan lands elbows, a European uppercut and kicks. Sheamus clubs Bryan in the corner. He follows with a shoulder, a knee lift, and a clothesline over the top, leaving the champ in the ring alone. As he turns around, he's hit by a flying crossbody block from Ricardo Rodriguez as he and Alberto del Rio storm the ring. Alberto locks in the Cross Armbreaker, which the refs stop. Bryan then locks the Yes!lock onto the same arm.
Winner: Sheamus via disqualification
Bryan and del Rio argue, as ADR has cost Bryan a potential victory, which he's not too happy about. This is a great way to transition Sheamus from his Bryan program to his Alberto del Rio one, as Bryan will be facing CM Punk at Over the Limit. Del Rio is shown as having an aggression and a desire to do anything necessary to win the title, and now Sheamus gets to do what he loves: Fight.
Sheamus is shown in the back with doctors tending to his arm. Sheamus continually ignores any questions from the doctors and pounds his fist into the bed and wall. Healthy reaction, sir.
Match 2 - Hunico and Camacho vs Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (Tag Team Champions), non-title
Primo, Epico and Rosa come out on the stage with Abraham Washington and sit on stools to watch. Truth and Hunico start the match. Hunico continues the trend of slapping Little Jimmy to start a match, drawing the ire of Truth. He goes ballistic, delivering a big hip toss. Kofi tags in and delivers a flying forearm for one. Kofi gets distracted by Camacho on the apron and Hunico sends him outside. Camacho follows to the floor and levels Kofi with a clothesline. Camacho rolls him in and Hunico follows with a tope. Camacho tags in. He clubs at Kofi and delivers a belly to back suplex. Camacho lands a big jumping leg drop for two. Hunico tags back in with a slingshot corner dropkick for two. Hunico settles into a chinlock. Kofi fights out and lands an arm drag. Kofi dives for the tag and is stopped by Hunico; Kofi monkey flips Hunico back towards his corner and both men tag out. Truth lands the Lie Detector on Camacho for two. Hunico runs interference and Truth tosses Kofi overhead for a flying hurricanrana. Camacho whiffs a clothesline and turns around into Truth's Little Jimmy for three.
Winners: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth via pinfall
Match 3 - Brodus Clay vs Jack Swagger
Michael Cole says Booker T probably does "The Electric Dance" when he goes out. "The Electric Dance". Let that sink in for a moment; the man even screws up the names of popular dances. For some reason, the producer thought it pertinent to cut away from Swagger's entrance mid-taunt. Clay starts with a belly to belly suplex. Swagger goes after the leg, but runs into a clothesline. Dolph Ziggler distracts from the outside and Swagger throws his body at Clay to attack. Brodus rolls outside and Ziggler jumps off the stairs at him, taking the same insane flopping around bump from Clay's headbutt as he has the last couple weeks. Ziggler is going to kill himself for us, and he can't even get legitimate title shots; it's a damn shame. Back in the ring, Clay catches Swagger and delivers a t-bone suplex. Swagger rolls out of the ring before the big splash comes and bails.
Winner: Brodus Clay via countout
So Swagger just runs away. Which means this is going to continue. Swagger and Ziggler both deserve better than this feud and here's hoping it ends soon. Clay dances with kids in the ring again. I hope Brodus likes this act, because without any drastic changes, he's not leaving this spot any time soon.
We get a quick recap of the current Lesnar/Cena situation the fall out from Extreme Rules. We also get a recap of Johnny and Tensai going after Cena.
Eve, Alberto del Rio and Daniel Bryan are in the back. Eve has apparently taken over with Johnny not present and she tries to settle things between the two number one contenders.
Match 4 - Damien Sandow vs Derrick Bateman
Damien Sandow finally makes his Smackdown debut, coming out to Hallelujah, which is pretty damn funny. Booker T immediately takes umbrage with the smart guy, seemingly based solely on him being smart. Sandow holds the mic like a glass of fine wine; at the very least, this guy has his character down quite well. He proclaims that he has arrived to help the ignorant masses. The problem is, he cannot do so wrestling a miscreant like Bateman; he cannot and will not engage him. How does anyone benefit from Sandow defeating Bateman? What is there to learn? Sandow leaves.
No contest via smugness.
Bateman grabs a mic and declares that on NXT, he won the right to a match on Smackdown and demands it right now. Ryback's music hits. Nice knowing ya, Derrick.
Actual Match 4 - Derrick Bateman vs Ryback
Ryback faces a bevy of "Goldberg" chants. Ryback opens with a quick onslaught and a boot to the throat. Ryback pounds Bateman's head into the mat, then lifts him up. Ryback lifts Bateman into a gorilla press and catches him in a backpack chinbreaker. Ryback continues with a big lariat. He lifts him into the delayed fisherman's samoan drop muscle buster (please give his thing a name, somebody).
Winner: Ryback via pinfall
Sandow seems to have a great grasp on his character; the verbiage, the facials and the mannerisms are all there. I hope this "I won't wrestle this miscreant" bit doesn't go on for too long and we get to see what he can produce as a wrestler. That said, I did enjoy his shenanigans.
Match 5 - Kane and Cody Rhodes (Intercontinental Champion) vs Big Show and Randy Orton
This is the type of match that you really should see for yourself. It's a bit 'typical' in that two sets of rivals are split into tag teams to fight one another, but hey, that's wrestling. Everyone got to hit their signature spots, the action was solid, nobody screwed up. Most importantly: It is announced that Big Show will be getting his rematch for the Intercontinental Title at a house show during the weekend. In other words, the Show/Rhodes program may very well be done, allowing Rhodes to move on to an opponent more his size and speed, to showcase the improvements he has made in the ring.
The match ends with Kane landing his diving lariat, but suffering an RKO; Rhodes follows this by tossing Orton into the ring post. Rhodes tries to land the Beautiful Disaster on Big Show, but he swats him out of the air and then delivers the WMD punch for the win.
Winners: Big Show and Randy Orton via pinfall
If this is the last time we have to see Show punch Rhodes in the face for a while, I'm quite okay with that. I'm not quite sure who they have in mind as the next IC contender, but it can't be worse than Big Show at this point. Perhaps a strong entrance for Antonio Cesaro?
Sheamus is shown in the back with his shoulder and arm heavily taped, but says he will fight tonight.
Match 6 - Natalya vs Layla (Divas Champion), non-title
Natalya gets the jobber entrance treatment, which is a shame, considering she has a version of one of the most iconic entrance themes WWE has ever had. She has gotten this treatment for months now. Natalya opens with a take down and the ladies exchange headlocks and headscissors on the mat. Simple, straight forward, but something that the Divas rarely get to showcase in their short matches. Back on their feet, Natalya delivers a signature discus lariat for two then settles into an abdominal stretch. Layla rolls through for a quick one count, then immediately lands the Layout neckbreaker for the win.
Winner: Layla via pinfall
This is the type of match that reinvigorates the confidence of the fans in the Divas division. If WWE would just take a small risk and bring AJ to the forefront (she is being focused on a bit already, anyway) and bring up someone like Paige from FCW, we could have actual matches like this on a regular basis. The fact that they don't is what chased Gail Kim to TNA. And then there's Kharma; enough said. But hey, I'm sure it's more profitable to have Brodus Clay dance for five minutes a show.
In the back, we find Aksana, Antonio Cesaro and Eve prepping for a promotional photo shoot. Eve wants oil applied to Cesaro, and wants Teddy to do it. Long is like the new Jim Ross; he's only put on screen to emotionally abuse. Hopefully at some point Long gets to save some face or something, but who really expects that?
Kaitlyn and Alicia Fox are in the back and AJ walks into the scene. Fox splits and AJ apologizes to her friend for slapping the taste out of her mouth. She's been "lost" lately. Kaitlyn, being (in my opinion) a good friend, tells AJ to stop the pity party and get herself back on track. She suffers the wrath of AJ's palm again, this time leveling her to the floor. AJ's path to psychopathy continues, hopefully netting her some in-ring time at some point.
We get the Raw Rebound to HHH's arm being broken by Lesnar's Kimura.
Before the main event, the commentators let us know that there has been no update to Lesnar's status with WWE. Sounds like the office isn't very efficient. Alberto del Rio comes out for commentary
Match 7 - Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) vs Daniel Bryan, non-title (round two)
Sheamus opens aggressively , but walks into a drop toe hold into the corner. Bryan lays in with kicks to the shoulder. Bryan continues the kick onslaught. Bryan ties Sheamus' arm in the ropes and as the ref breaks it up, Bryan reminds him that he's got til five (I'll always smile at this bit, and I'm thrilled to see it on WWE television). Bryan drapes Sheamus' arm over his shoulder, as in the first match. Bryan then runs into a titl-a-whirl backbreaker. Sheamus whiffs a Brough Kick attempt and ends up on the apron. Bryan gets a running start and dropkicks him off, leading to a commercial break. Back, Bryan lands a knee off the apron. Back in the ring, Bryan ascends the top rope and lands a diving headbutt to the shoulder for two. Sheamus starts to take over, but Bryan hotshots him and lands a missile dropkick. Sheamus fights back after some distraction and chicanery from del Rio and Bryan tries to fly one more time, but dives right into a Brough Kick for three.
Winner: Sheamus via pinfall
That's about it for Smackdown. We find out that Cody Rhodes is moving on past Big Show as a rival and contender, which is the best news of the night. Del Rio and Sheamus are into the thick of a rivalry, freeing up Bryan to concentrate on CM Punk for the WWE Title (It's so great to be able to type that sentence). Layla and Natalya showcase that given more than 60 seconds, the Divas can put on a competent, entertaining match. Damien Sandow appears on TV and not via satellite, showcasing an early mastery of his on-air character. All in all, a pretty good show. No big complaints is enough for a good show for me at this point. Hopefully, we continue in this direction heading toward and out of the the Over the Limit pay per view.