By Alex Pawlowski
Welcome to the weekly Main Event Recap, where I watch Main Event so you won’t have to.
For those of you unaware, Main Event is taped before Smackdown every week, but the announcers blatantly REFUSE to acknowledge this. They act as if it's an entirely different show, from an entirely different taping. It’s maddening.
Half of the time, the content is crap. Usually 3 matches with bottom-feeding talent, or occasionally a slumming upper-mid-carder will come down and have a match. Sometimes, the matches are pretty great. In these cases, I’ll let you know when to seek things out.
Main Event is available on Hulu on Wednesday nights, 24 hours after it’s taped, or on the Network, on a three week delay.
Let’s see what this week’s episode holds in store:
Cesaro vs Curtis Axel
Baron Corbin vs Sin Cara
Golden Truth vs The Ascension
Rusev vs Apollo Crews (Legit excited for this one)
Cesaro is out first, in his tearaway Magic Mike suit, to a huge pop.
How do you think they settled on his new gimmick, by the way?
Was it just Vince saying,
“Hey Cesaro, you’re a man of the world, you know, you speak several different languages, you have a real international man of mystery thing going on…”
“So I’m going to be Austin Powers?”
“I don’t know who that is. What I’m thinking is you come out wearing a black suit with dark sunglasses--”
“Like a secret service agent?”
“No no no, I said a black suit and dark sunglasses. And stop interrupting. You know how Sean Connery walks out in the beginning of those spy movies and it looks like he’s in the scope of a sniper rifle? What’s the name of that character Sean Connery plays in those movies?”
“Doesn’t ring a bell, but I’ll take your word for it, kid. Well how about we do that for your entrance, like you’re … what’d you say his name was?”
“Yeah, that’s right. Anyway you come out wearing a black suit and dark sunglasses just like James Bond, and we light it so you look like you’re in a sniper scope, and then you tear off your suit and throw it on the ground.”
“Just like James Bond?”
“Now you’re getting it, kid!”
By the way, the Cesaro section is out in full force tonight:
The Social Outcasts enter, and Tom Phillips reminds us that they came out dressed as Minutemen on Monday Night Raw for the Fourth of July. David Otunga, who I know is a Harvard graduate because THEY WON’T STOP TELLING ME THAT, is confused about why the Social Outcasts were wearing Blue Coats and not Red Coats.
Because he thought they were supposed to be the British, because they’re heels, and would therefore obviously be representing the bad guys from the Revolutionary War, not the good guys.
Which, honestly, checks out.
The thing is, these guys shouldn’t be heels. They’re downright loveable. Heath Slater is a loudmouth, but he’s just a harmless dork. Curtis Axel is basically Animal from the Muppets with slightly better verbal skills. And Bo Dallas is simply DARLING. They’re rejects from the Island of Misfit Jobbers.
When babyfaces pick on them, the good guys are being bullies. And because we teach kids to always cheer for the good guys, we’re teaching kids that being a bully is cool. And I am not okay with that.
For example, during this match, which is a back and forth affair, Cesaro completely derails the Bo Train.
It would be awesome if I didn’t just see Bo Dallas hi-five Curtis Axel and turn to the crowd with a big goofy smile and yell, for all the world to hear, “HE’S MY BEST FRIEND!!!!!”
I mean, come on. How do you not love this guy? He’s a cross between your dorky kid brother and a goddamn Care Bear.
Anyway, Axel works the heavily taped, surgically repaired left shoulder for most of the second half of the match, and he almost puts away Cesaro with the Perfect-Plex. Frustrated by only getting a two-count, he goes for some kind of high risk maneuver, and Cesaro swats him out of the air with an uppercut. Nineteen revolutions of the Big Swing later, it’s Sharpshootin’ time.
But the saddest thing is this. Look at Bo’s face when his best friend is forced to tap out:
That man is DISTRAUGHT.
Tom Phillips, because he is a horrible, horrible person, makes fun of Bo Dallas, because Tom Phillips is a sociopath and has no friends and therefore wouldn’t know what it’s like to watch your best friend cry out in pain while you are powerless to help them.
I don't like Tom Phillips.
Winner: Cesaro by submission with the Sharpshooter.
Jesus just do something with this guy already.
Baron Corbin has a match with Sin Cara. Yup. That certainly happened.
I like Baron Corbin. A lot. But they appear to have no idea what they're doing with him. GIVE HIM SOMETHING TO DO, PLZ.
Whatever happens, get him off Main Event and away from singles matches with f*cking Sin Cara.
Sin Cara must have been praying for a place to hide through most of this match. But not even a #DilapidatedBoat can save him, because once Corbin hits the End of Days, it’s OVAH.
Winner: Baron Corbin by pinfall with the End of Days.
Can’t wait to see where Corbin ends up in the draft. Sin Cara, meanwhile, is as inconsequential as a WWE superstar can get at this point, and I couldn't care less if I never saw him wrestle again. I bear him no ill will, you understand, I'm just saying I wouldn't miss him if he were to just wink out of existence, like he was hit by the Diamond Ray of Disappearance.
Molten Poop vs The Descension. Hooray.
I just can’t, guys. I just can’t.
This is the third match in as many weeks featuring these two terrible tag teams, and if you read my Main Event and Superstars recaps over at CagesideSeats, you'll know that I am at a loss. I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t been said already.
Okay, fine. I’ll try.
Look, here’s R-Truth rubbing his butt on Goldust’s knee while Goldust makes a funny face.
THEY’RE HAVING FUN, YOU GUYS! LOOK HOW MUCH FUN THEY'RE HAVING!
Still no word on who Chuck is, or where he might be stuck, but the FBI has been called in and we’re taking volunteers to form a search party. We have reason to believe that Chuck’s last known whereabouts place him somewhere near Steven Avery’s junkyard.
Regarding the Ascension, do you think when these guys were NXT Tag Champs for a full goddamn calendar YEAR, they ever thought for a second that a year and a half after they debuted on the main roster, they’d be booked to lose, many times over, to the interracial comedy tag team featuring two guys in their mid-to-late forties?
I don’t think they thought that.
Hey here’s something that makes me irrationally angry:
The Descension is announced as being “A Combined Weight of 487 pounds.” We know, from his singles run while Konnor was suspended, that Viktor is listed at 219 pounds. That means, by simple arithmetic, that Konnor must weigh 268 pounds. Right? We can all agree on that, yes?
THEN HOW COME MOTHERF*CKING TOM PHILLIPS KEEPS REFERRING TO KONNOR AS A “THREE-HUNDRED POUNDER”?!?! HUH?! HOW COME!? WHY AM I YELL TYPING!?!?
Sorry everyone. I’m better now. I just really hate Tom Phillips.
Ooh, look who’s in the VIP Section for no reason whatsoever!
Seriously, Breezango just sits there through the whole match and never gets involved. At one point, R-Truth comes over to confront them, but all they do is stand up. It’s pointless.
I love Breezango. Watch them play Bad Dudes with Xavier Woods and tell me you don’t love them too.
But they have no direction right now, except to sit in lawn chairs draped with neon-colored faux fur and watch Molten Poop matches.
And this one was a barn burner, let me tell you.
It’s mostly R-Truth in peril via kicks to the gut and nerveholds.
Konnor gives the best back rubs you guys. It hurts, but that’s how you can tell it’s working.
Goldust gets the hot tag, and David Otunga says he calls it the “Gold Rush.”
My sentiments exactly, NPH.
Anyway, Konnor breaks up a pinfall attempt, then gets dumped on the outside, where one punch from R-Truth LAYS. HIM. OUT. You know. Renowned striker, R-Truth.
Truth gets back in the ring and he and Dustin do their doubleteam finisher, a powerbomb/side-effect combo called Solid Gold. It is objectively the only cool thing about this tag team.
So Goldust celebrates and R-Truth dances and pelvic thrusts in the direction of Breezango and nothing happens because none of this matters.
Golden Truth wins by pinfall with the Solid Gold.
Apollo don’t gamble.
JoJo interviews Apollo Crews backstage about being a part of the 16 man Elimination Tag Match on Raw. Apollo says, about that giant go-nowhere cluster-eff, “It doesn’t get any better than that!” Really? So if in the future you win the WWE Championship, as I assume you would like to happen one day, that wouldn’t be better than, as you put it, “representing (your) country on Independence Day.” He actually says he keeps pinching himself to make sure he’s not dreaming, because this man is so corny, he gets annual farm subsidies.
JoJo then asks him how he likes his chances against Rusev later in the show.
“Chances? Are we talking about gambling? Cuz Apollo don’t gamble. The last time I gambled, I lost my lunch money to my very own father in a game of Paper-Scissor-Rock…”
“Anyway, if Rusev wants to—“
NO NO GO BACK A SECOND.
I want more of this backstory where his father was a degenerate gambler who made a bet with his own presumably Elementary-aged son for his damn LUNCH MONEY, proceeded to beat him at Paper-Scissor-Rock (or Paper-Rock-Scissors if you prefer), and then actually KEPT the dollar-ninety-five or whatever.
Why did Apollo’s dad need the money so much? A drinking problem? Drugs? Did he borrow money from the wrong guy? Was he just looking for that sweet, sweet rush that he only gets when there’s money on the line?
Is it this experience, this traumatic childhood memory that has caused Apollo Crews to bury that disappointment, that frustration, that rage at his father, to hide it all behind the mask of a smile?
THIS IS A FANTASTIC BACKSTORY AND I WANT MORE OF IT.
He finishes the interview saying that if Rusev wants to crush an American, he can try to crush me.
But the joke’s on Rusev, because Apollo was already crushed, BY THE HEARTLESSNESS OF HIS FATHER.
(srsly plz make this a thing)
Don’t screw this up for me, Dolph.
Dolph has been on commentary for at least one match of either Main Event or Superstars for the past month. And he has been almost uniformly AWFUL. He ruined matches with his incoherent screaming and his smarmy jokes. But last week, he wasn’t awful. And this week, he wasn’t either. So I’m willing to extend him the benefit of the doubt for a while.
Except he has to stop greeting Tom Phillips (oh, lord, how I hate him) with “You wanted the best, but they couldn’t make it, so here I am!” He literally says that EVERY TIME.
Stop it. Bad Dolph. Bad.
Please give Apollo a character so I can root for him. PLEASE.
When Apollo comes out, Tom "Doo-Doo Head" Phillips asks his broadcast partner, David Otunga, “What do you make of David Otunga in this match against Rusev?” He called Apollo Crews David Otunga, while sitting next to David Otunga. Because all black men look alike to Tom Phillips because Tom Phillips is a racist.
Anyway, this is nothing less than Apollo’s best match on the Main Roster. If you watch anything from this episode of Main Event, watch this match. If you have Hulu, here is a link to the episode. The intros start at 29:45, and the match begins at around 32:30.
Apollo’s thing is that everything is too easy. He’s 250 pounds and as agile as a cruiserweight. Nothing fazes him. We all hate that he’s so happy all the time, but I get it. Wouldn’t you be happy if you looked like that and could move like that? “Boo, he smiles too much.” If I could do the things he can do, it would take three stout men and a belt sander to get the smile off my face. I want to root for him, really I do, but I don’t care about his character enough. Maybe there’s a back story you inadvertently wrote for him when trying to script a clunky joke, something about a degenerate gambler for a father?
Anyway, Otunga calls Crews “a Jacked Acrobat.” Ziggler chimes in with “A Jackrobat!”
Everything is easy when you’re a Jackrobat.
Except, against Rusev, nothing is easy. Rusev has forty pounds on Crews, and is just about as agile as any super heavyweight around. So Crews really has to work for it. And it’s compelling to watch him up against a real quality opponent.
(Not sorry Sheamus.)
Rusev mauls him from the jump, with knees to the ribs driving him into the corner. Crews shoots Rusev into the ropes and hits a couple nice dropkicks. Rusev rolls out of the ring and Crews hits a standing moonsault off the apron.
How positively jackrobatic.
He rolls Rusev back into the ring, then hits a corkscrew senton from the apron. Two count.
Rusev rolls back out of the ring. Apollo follows, but gets thrown into the steel steps and Rusev is now in control. A lot of rest holds, kicks to Crews while he’s down, but Crews never stops trying to gain the advantage. He never stops fighting back. He avoids a Rusev Stinger Splash into the corner, hits a couple of clotheslines and goes for his standing moonsault press. But Rusev gets his knees up and nails that standing roundhouse kick to the back of the head. Crews kicks out at two, though.
Rusev is non-plussed.
He can’t believe the kid won’t stay down. And he won’t stop fighting, either. It’s a valiant effort, at one point answering a kick to the ribs with a punch to Rusev’s stomach. However, Rusev catches Apollo’s fist and kicks him in the ribs again. It’s pretty cool, actually, and Ziggler puts it over nicely. Rusev gets Apollo in an abdominal stretch, but Crews fights out of it and lands a jawbreaker. He throws Rusev into the ropes and hits a diving back elbow, kips up and hits the moonsault this time. It gets a two count only, though, and Crews knows he might have missed his best shot at victory. He runs the ropes but Rusev hits the spinning back heel kick.
Crews kicks out at two AGAIN. Rusev screams in defiance. He goes for another big kick, but Crews ducks it and hits the Enzuguiri. Rusev is staggered but doesn’t go down, so Crews picks him up with the old Angle Slam.
Rusev kicks out at like 2 and seven eighths. Crews can’t believe it. He goes for his Toss Powerbomb, but Rusev reverses it into a headlock takedown, and hits that kick to the back of the head. He tries to put Crews in the accolade, but Apollo keeps trying to fight out of it.
Finally, though, Rusev is able to lean all the way back and Crews is forced to tap out.
A truly great match, the best of Apollo’s young tenure, and the best on Main Event in a really long time.
Winner: Rusev by Submission with the Accolade.
I love Rusev, I love him as US Champion, but after this match, I hope he has a program with Apollo at some point, and maybe even loses the belt to the kid. (Provided they give him a character, of course.)
For now, though, this is your United States Champion, and he is Majestic AF.
The Apollo/Rusev match was outstanding but the Molten Poop match was so awful they almost cancelled each other out. I love Cesaro, but I wish he wouldn’t pick on those poor Social Outcasts. And wow, that Baron Corbin vs Sin Cara match sure took place, didn’t it? But on the strength of what is certainly the best match on Main Event since before Wrestlemania, I’m going to have to give this episode: 7.5 out of 10.
Until next time, friends.