Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kick-Out's ECW Thoughts - June 30, 2009

I was hoping to get Kick-Out!! Radio up first, but GCast is having technical difficulties, so it's going to have to wait. It's amusing though, a good portion of the show is about how ECW is going to be shaken up... I think I may have been right.

Tiffany kicks off the show and announces the New Superstar Initiative is in full effect. Yeah, she ain't kidding.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Yoshi Tatsu is our first bout of the evening, but I wouldn't really call it an actual match. Shelton cuts a fairly uncomfortable promo against the Asian Superstar and threatens to unleash Godzilla. Shelton proceeds to go into the Karate Kid crane stance and bows at his opponent only to get kicked in the skull and pinned one, two, three. See kids, WWE's teaching us all a valuable lesson here, if you act like a racist, you're going to get kicked in the head. I saw a lot of people saying Shelton was "buried" here, but if anything, this was the most interesting segment he's been involved with in months. I'll need to see more from Yoshitatsu before forming any sort of opinion though. Hopefully we'll get an actual match next week.

Okay, if that's what the Abraham Washington Show is, then it needs to be canceled. Let's put it on FOX so we can expedite that process. That was abysmal, possibly the worst segment on WWE television in 2009. I hope this guy wrestles, because there's nothing that can be worse than watching him host this "show." And again, I have to ask, why even bother putting the Bella Twins on ECW?

Sheamus (finally!) debuts and demolishes Local Competitor (poor guy can't catch a break). I'm telling you right now, Sheamus is likely to be the crown jewel of this new batch of Superstars; he's huge, has possibly the most unique look in the company and he really beat the hell out of that guy tonight. Oh and that Rock Bottom into a backbreaker is one of the nastiest finishers I've seen in awhile. Really excited about the Celtic Warrior; awesome theme music too.

Admittedly, I know nothing about Tyler Reks, but I'm hearing good things. Looking forward to seeing what he can do this Thursday on Superstars against Zack Ryder.

Vladimir Kozlov & William Regal vs. Christian & Tommy Dreamer was a great main event and I really can't begin to express how thrilled I am that Regal is finally on ECW. And correct me if I'm wrong, but this was Kozlov's first non-squash since March, wasn't it? I loved the new look for the Moscow Mauler as well and he worked really well with Regal. I'm not sure if Kozlov is ready for primetime, but teaming up with Regal and working against guys like Christian certainly won't hurt.

Okay, so I was ready for some new call ups, but I wasn't expecting half the FCW roster to debut tonight. I honestly can understand why people are going to panic, it was a major jolt, but I stand by my statement that ECW will be fine. It's sink or swim for these guys and it's up to them to find out if they're a CM Punk or if they're a Braden Walker. Just please, no more Abraham Washington Show... I'm begging.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kick-Out's Raw Thoughts - June 29, 2009

Oh boy, the rumors were flying around about this show before it even got started, so I had a feeling we were going to have one of those Raws on our hands. Did it work or did Raw sink further into its slump?

Well, if you needed any further evidence that something was up tonight, Vince McMahon kicking things off should've sealed it for you. Vince announced a 15-Superstar trade and decided to stick with Donald Trump's idea for a weekly guest host and we got Batista! Vince also mentioned something about shaking up Raw "VKM style," and somewhere in Orlando, the Voodoo Kin Mafia hoped they were getting their old jobs back.

With Batista in charge, he set up a tournament featuring MVP vs. Triple H and The Miz vs. John Cena in the semifinals, the winner of the tourney is the new #1 contender for the WWE Title. Speaking of the title, Randy Orton tried interrupting, but got put in a 3-on-1 Gauntlet Match featuring three of Raw's newest Superstars. Sometimes it's best just to stay backstage, Randy.

I'm not sure how keen I am on the idea of just giving away Triple H vs. MVP, I think they wrestled a couple times last year on Smackdown, but not since MVP's recent push. Luckily, the match wasn't too long and they held back a bit, so there's definitely money in another match down the road. Triple H wins (hardly a shock) and is in the finals, which will take place next week. Good showing for MVP too, though I'm sure people will complain that he's been "buried."

Okay so Rated Y2J (no, that's not their official name) might be the greatest tag team EVER! Yeah that's right, I said ever; move over Road Warriors, Midnight Express and Head Cheese, because Chris Jericho & Edge as Unified Tag Team Champions have limitless potential. The idea that these two could possibly run roughshod over WWE because they have the titles that allow them to go onto any show is genius, I hope they really run with this angle.

Edge & Jericho vs. Primo & Carlito was a fun match and even though the Brothers Colón lost, they still looked like a million bucks after hanging with two of the top stars in the business today. I'd hate to speak too soon, but I think we may just have ourselves a tag division.

Okay, so I think The Miz vs. John Cena tonight was the match we were supposed to get at The Bash. It went much longer and shockingly, Miz totally dominated the entire contest until the end when Cena made him tap to the STF (again, hardly a shock). Don't count out The Miz just yet, he's still... AWESOME! But that means Triple H vs. John Cena next week? In the words of Michael Cole, "OH MY!!" This will be their first one-on-one encounter since last year's Night of Champions and I believe only their third singles match, ever. Usually it's hyperbole, but I think Jerry Lawler was spot-on tonight when he said this will be one of the biggest main events in the history of Raw. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we get a no contest and it winds up being a Triple Threat at NOC.

"The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase is hosting Raw next week? Oh this guest host idea is great, I really hope they keep this going.

Diva's Fatal Four Way wasn't much to write home about, but at least we're finally getting Mickie James vs. Maryse for the Diva's Title. Mickie may not be the first woman to hold both the Women's & Diva's Championships, but she's due for another run with a title. Aside from The Glamazon, she's the best Diva in WWE and is easily the most popular, she deserves it.

How about Kofi Kingston holding his own against Big Show?! Yeah, it wasn't a win, but it wasn't a loss either! Also, how crazy was it to see him leap onto Show's shoulders?! Absolutely unreal. And hey, at least Show wasn't wrestling Cena, so I'll consider this whole segment a win-win situation.

And the moment we've been waiting for, Randy Orton vs. three new Raw Superstars. First up, Evan Bourne! Honestly, I feel this move is about a year overdue, and I would've rather seen Bourne on Smackdown, but he's definitely ready to move on from ECW. Bourne gets in a lot of good offense, but falls victim to a top rope RKO, which Cole & Lawler inexplicably describe as a "bulldog." Draft pick #2 is... Jack Swagger! I'm really not surprised by this one as the guy did everything he could in ECW and really, he's tailor-made for Monday Nights. Swagger disappoints me in his debut though by getting himself counted out to show respect for Randy Orton, I say LAME! Swagger better not go anywhere near Legacy, as he's WAY too good to be floundering around with those lackeys. Draft pick #3 is... Mark Henry?! Wait a minute... Mark Henry as a face?! Wait two minutes... Mark Henry as a face with a huge crowd reaction?! Randy Orton gets his wig split and the crowd goes insane for The World's Strongest Man and I never thought I would ever type that sentence.

What a Raw... I have to admit, I loved it! Good wrestling, good promos and good surprises. This is not the Raw I've been watching over the last few months and I think this roster shake-up is exactly what the show needed. And with that said, WWE.com has just unveiled the full list of Superstars, here's what we're looking at:

To Raw: Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, Alicia Fox & Gail Kim
To Smackdown: Matt Hardy, Finlay, & all three members of The Hart Dynasty
To ECW: Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Goldust & The Bella Twins

I'll have more about this huge story on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, but let me just say right now before all the smarks freak out... ECW will be just fine. Also, it looks like they've smoothed out some rough edges from the Draft, Raw has improved and Smackdown somehow manages to look even more awesome. What a night indeed and it's only just begun for fans at Raw tonight, since WWE is touring Australia this weekend, next week's Raw is being pre-taped. I have a feeling avoiding spoilers this week is going to be next to impossible.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Bash! The Review!

The Bash looked pretty good on paper, but how was the execution?

I think the ECW Championship Scramble was a great opener, lots going on to get the crowd going and it definitely succeeded in that regard. I thought there were a couple points where it devolved into a giant clusterfudge (I'm so edgy), but I think that's kind of the point when it comes to this kind of match.
Some rough spots in here too including the Superplex/Powerbomb/Kick Tommy Dreamer in the face combo. Glad Tommy Dreamer retained, he deserves to at least make it out of the month of June!
Predictions: 0-1

Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho did the impossible, they topped all the other Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho matches we've seen in the last few months. In my estimation, this match was nothing short of perfection: fast-paced action, edge of your seat near falls (seriously, Jericho is the master of kicking out at the last possible moment), both men going deep into their catalogs and pulling out some crazy moves and a great story. Jericho's been saying for months that the mask would be Rey's downfall, yet tonight it was his savior thanks to the second mask, that is brilliant storytelling. Also loved Mysterio's double springboard moonsault and as I mentioned on Twitter, the best... Codebreaker... EVER. Back at WrestleMania, I didn't think it was possible for anyone to even come close to Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, but Rey-Rey and Jericho did it here. I'm not sure if this match was superior, but it's the first legitimate competition in terms of Match of the Year candidate. Undoubtedly Match of the Night.
Predictions: 1-2

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali isn't going to be winning any awards, but hat's off to Ziggler for showcasing some innovative offense and not looking like a guy who just got lucky with interference. That said, the interference certainly helped, Kane made his return tonight and destroyed Khali with a steel chair. So Kane vs. Khali is on deck, eh? I guess someone finally said, "you know what? Smackdown is too good right now."
Predictions: 2-3

Oh great, here comes the Tag Title Match, might as well just hand the belts over to the lackey boys... wait a minute, Teddy Long? For a Raw match? Hey, the Tag Titles are property of all WWE, not just Raw so he makes the match into a Triple Threat featuring EDGE & JERICHO?! My Canadian heroes save me from mediocrity and capture the belts! Oh that Edge, always finding a way to get his hands on gold. I feel bad for Carlito & Primo, they've had a great run and have really got people paying attention to the Tag Titles again, but I'm sorry, how can I not cheer for Rated-Y2J?
Predictions: 2-4 (but c'mon, who saw that coming?!)

And the crowd goes mild for Michelle McCool becoming the first woman to win both the Women's Title and the Diva's Title. Lame! That honor should've gone to Mickie James or The Glamazon, not McDreamy. McDreamy? Yeah, because when she's on screen, I'm asleep.
Predictions: 3-5

Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk was not the match I was hoping for, but obviously they're letting this one go on a bit longer. Can't say that I blame them, even a match full of shenanigans between these two is still pretty damn good. Once again, I have to play devil's advocate on this one and ask, why is Jeff Hardy the good guy in this situation? CM Punk's foot was under the rope, you can't pin someone when their foot is under the rope. So the match restarts, Jeff Hardy attacks Punk's eye (which is typically illegal) and then won't let the official do his job and tend to an injured competitor. A blinded CM Punk, clearly trying to defend himself from the onslaught of a crazy person, accidentally strikes an official, which is grounds for a disqualification. Then what does Jeff Hardy do? He attacks a blinded, injured man after the match and will not stop when instructed to do so by the officials! Very unsportsmanlike conduct and I believe Mr. Hardy should be heavily fined.
Predictions: 3-6

John Cena vs. The Miz... agh, what do I say about this one? Miz did get in way more offense than perhaps he should have, but still, Cena did destroy him. But maybe Cena should have destroyed him, he destroys most guys and The Miz isn't exactly a main eventer (yet), but he's also AWESOME! Sucks for Miz, I think he also may have suffered due to the PPV running long, but I honestly hope we have not seen the last of these two, the in-ring chemistry is definitely there.
Predictions: 4-7

I thought Triple H vs. Randy Orton was really good. I saw people complaining on Twitter that the second fall was only a couple seconds long... uh yeah, that was kind of the point. Triple H got himself DQed in the first fall so he could get a quick win in the second and possibly even win the third fall in quick fashion. We saw this a few years back when Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle had an Iron Man Match and Brock took a DQ so he could score some easy falls. It's smart, it's different, the real meat and potatoes of the match was supposed to be the Stretcher portion and that's where these two delivered. I didn't like Legacy getting involved because I just plain don't like Legacy, but Triple H hiding sledgehammers in the stage is just plain cool and made for a dramatic ending sequence. I thought he had it won, but then Orton had to go and steal it. I guess the only thing I didn't like about this match is that we definitely haven't seen the end of this feud. C'mon WWE, you got lucky and got two good matches out of them in the span of one week, at least let it cool off for a bit. I still can't see this ending any other way than Hell in a Cell, and with the No Mercy PPV being renamed "Hell in a Cell," I assume that's where it will happen. If that's the case, they have to put it on the backburner for a couple months, there's no way these two are going to be going at from now until October.
Predictions: 5-8 (but really more like 5 out of 7.333 when you count the tag match)

Overall, I thought The Bash was a good PPV that lived up to expectations and exceeded them in a few cases. Solid opener from ECW, an instant classic between Rey and Jericho (seriously, if you didn't see it, you missed something special), Dolph Ziggler continuing to look like a Superstar, Edge & Jericho shocking the world, more brilliant character development between Hardy & Punk, and a very good WWE Title match. The Women's match was lame and I wish we would've got more out of Cena/Miz, but the good far outweighs the bad here and I give The Bash my seal of approval. I'll have more on the PPV on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio and in the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts as well, your feedback is always welcome and appreciated whether you agree or disagree... especially if you disagree.

Five Things I want to see at The Bash

Before we get started, let's take a look at the results of our Bash poll:

CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy - 38%
The Miz vs. John Cena - 26%
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio - 21%
ECW Championship Scramble - 7%
Triple H vs. Randy Orton - 4%
Colons vs. Legacy - 2%
McCool vs. Melina - 0%
Dolph Ziggler vs. Great Khali - N/A (added after poll was posted)

The Miz vs. John Cena had the lead all week, but Hardy vs. Punk took the lead after some big hype on Smackdown. We'll see if the matches can live up to their expectations in just a bit, but first, here are the Five Things I want to see at tonight's event:

5. CM Punk and Jeff Hardy given at least 20 minutes
I'm a little worried this match is going to be cut short due to the fact that the card is pretty crowded with eight matches and one of them is likely to go three falls while another is 20-minute Scramble match. I think these two have all the potential to put on a Match of the Year candidate and it would be a damn shame to see them not get enough time to prove that they're two of the top competitors in the business today.

4. Rhodes & DiBiase lose and don't interfere in the main event
I know I'm being really tough on these two lately, but I'm sorry, they're just plain boring right now. I have no doubt they have all the abilities to be much more interesting, but the Legacy stable isn't even close to being as interesting as Evolution. I thought these two were going to get the Orton/Batista treatment from 2004-2005, but they're really just background noise. I think Bond villains often have more interesting nameless henchmen than these guys.

3. Rey Mysterio, masked.
I've made my feelings on this pretty clear over the last week, but under no circumstances should Rey Mysterio ever unmask in WWE. It makes for good drama in feuds like the one with Jericho, but Mysterio should not have unmasked in WCW and he shouldn't unmask ten years later. It worked for guys like Juvi and Psicosis, but Rey Mysterio unmasked is like La Parka unmasked, it just shouldn't happen.

2. Tommy Dreamer retains.
After all that drama and such a long storyline, I'd hate for Dreamer's ECW Title reign to end in a Scramble Match. I'd love for him to get a decent run with the belt, so it's way too early to have him drop it at all, especially in a multi-man match like tonight's.

1. The Miz - 1, Cena - 0
Make no mistake, I like John Cena. Very few men can outperform him in a big match situation in today's WWE, but I really want him to lose tonight. I don't expect anything but Cena getting his hand raised, but this is Miz's time and if he got a win over the biggest star in the industry today, it would instantly make his career. The loss wouldn't hurt Cena, but it would catapult The Miz into the upper echelon, so surprise me WWE, let The Miz be AWESOME!

Just a couple thoughts, feel free to share yours and make sure to check back at Kick-Out!! Wrestling shortly after tonight's event for my full review of The Bash!

Kick-Out's Smackdown Thoughts - June 26, 2009

Better late than never, right?

As far as I can tell, this is Vince McMahon's first appearance on Smackdown since the illegitimate son angle, so him showing up is a pretty big deal. He's in full Vince Mode, ridiculous walk, goofy promos running down the crowd, talking about being rich and threatening to fire people. Please don't remove Teddy Long as the GM of Smackdown, he's great in his role, it's nice to have a good guy in charge and it generally keeps us from having Wrestler vs. Authority Figure storyline #4,512.

Okay, R-Truth trying to get Vince to say "What's Up?!" is damn funny. Shelton Benjamin also had a good promo, but damn he was harsh. Guess you can be as harsh as you want, but your words lose meaning when you lose, which ol' Shelton did here. It was a great match between these two and I'm glad to see R-Truth get back on a roll, but Shelton really needs to be doing more.

Michelle McCool & Alicia Fox vs. Melina & Gail Kim gave me hope for tonight's PPV. Every time they're in a tag match, McCool winds up winning, so it makes me think Melina may just pull off the victory tonight. McCool can win the belt soon, just as long as Mickie James wins the Diva's Title first.

CM Punk vs. John Morrison is easily Match of the Week material, unfortunately it has a PPV to contend with, but this was a damn great match. With Morrison sneaking out the win, it makes me wonder if he's next in line for a World Heavyweight Title shot, if so, save some for the next PPV guys! These guys really put on one hell of a show and the final sequence was a nail-biter with a completely unexpected result. I loved the handshake after the match with CM Punk nailing him with the GTS then having that look on his face like "ugh, I'm a bit of a jerk for doing that." Brilliant, that's all I have left to say about this entire match/segment, absolutely brilliant.

Word Up with Cryme Tyme, Eve and Jesse was hilarious. Good to see WWE pulling off some comedy bits this week and it's really nice to see Jesse, who's been MIA since at least the Draft.

Rage in the Cage was a great main event and nice "go-home" match for the PPV. Anytime you have a match with Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy vs. Edge & Chris Jericho, you know it's going to be awesome, but add in the cage dynamic and CM Punk as the special guest referee and you're taking it to another level. I think Mysterio was really the star of this match, he was flying around all over the place and it made me wonder why we don't see Rey in more cage matches, he's perfect for them. I also liked the interaction between Punk and Hardy, once again making me wonder who I'm supposed to be rooting for in this feud. Sure, Punk's count was slow, but he just got speared! And Jeff has no one to blame but himself for losing, he took his eye off the ball and paid for it. Punk's bit on the mic after the match was a nice touch too, is he really trying to be get the crowd behind Jeff or is it all mind games?

So here we are, a two hour show with only four matches, but when three of them are this good and given plenty of time, what is there to complain about? I know I say it every week, but Smackdown truly is the best show in all of wrestling right now. If you're not watching it, you're really just doing yourself a disservice as a wrestling fan.

Check back in a couple hours, I'll have our poll results posted as well as the Five Things I want to see tonight at the PPV.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kick-Out's Superstars Thoughts - June 25, 2009

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne to start off the night? Awesome, I don't think I've seen these two in one-on-one action before. And what a match it was, the counters and moves that Bourne came up with were just insane. The springboard Asai Double Knee, flipping out of a hiptoss, landing on his freaking feet after Swagger rolled away from the Shooting Star Press?! Seriously, I'm beginning to wonder if the laws of physics apply to him or if he's just that good. Great match that could be a contender for TV match of the year, I just wish it would've went a little longer.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Jimmy Wang Yang wasn't bad either considering it was basically a squash match. Yang is highly underrated and great in his role, he made Ziggler look great. I really can't believe that a guy named Dolph Ziggler is one of the fastest rising stars in WWE, but the guy is playing his role to perfection (pun intended) and he's deserving of any success that comes his way in the future.

Kofi Kingston vs. Matt Hardy vs. MVP for the United States Championship was rock solid and a great main event for this week's show. Rumors abound that Matt Hardy tore an abdominal muscle during the match and may require surgery, but Matt's done a good job on Twitter telling people to not believe everything they read. Hope Matt's okay, since he was really the glue that held this match together. Shame these guys aren't on the PPV Sunday, but maybe that's another reason why WWE should re-think their schedule.

Overall, another great week for Superstars. We didn't exactly get any A-listers, but a Triple Threat match for the US Title, a nice showing for Dolph Ziggler and a tremendous opening bout with two of ECW's brightest young stars makes this one of the better episodes of WWE's newest program.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kick-Out's Bash Predictions

Because "Kick-Out's The Bash Predictions" just sounds silly.

Grudge Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali
I'm quite confused about this match actually making it on PPV, and I know a lot of smarks are all "THIS MATCH BUT NO [insert internet darling here]?!" But it's nice to see some undercard guys make it on PPV with no titles involved. It's not my ideal match, but it's something different. I'll say Dolph Ziggler picks up the surprise win after some heel tactics.

Women's Championship
Melina © vs. Michelle McCool
I really hope Melina wins this one because I'm rooting for Mickie James to be the first person to win both the Women's Title and the Diva's Championship. I certainly don't want to hear McCool on the mic gloating about it in her robotic monotone voice. My heart says Melina, but my brain's telling me to go with McCool.

Unified Tag Team Championship
Primo & Carlito © vs. Legacy
Speaking of people who I don't want to see as champions, can we please let Carlito & Primo retain here? They could very well be what WWE needs to revitalize the tag division, but I fully expect them to drop the belts. Legacy wins, Tag Titles become the shiny things you see in the background during Randy Orton promos.

Intercontinental Championship - Mask vs. Title
Chris Jericho © vs. Rey Mysterio
Had a bit of a detailed discussion about this one in the comments of this week's Kick-Out!! Radio, but I really cannot see Rey Mysterio unmasking in WWE under any circumstances. The mask is far too valuable for merchandise revenue and Rey without the mask just isn't as cool as Rey with the mask. Rey Mysterio wins, no question.

Put Up or Shut Up
The Miz vs. John Cena
This is my main event this Sunday, I've been excited for this one since the night after Backlash when Miz first started talking trash. However, the big question here is does WWE see The Miz as a long-term investment? I really can't see him having any chance of actually winning without some serious cheating, interference from The Big Show, and perhaps Cena tying one hand behind his back, but is he going to get squashed? John Cena wins, but the harder prediction is does Miz get to look like a credible opponent?

ECW Championship Scramble
Tommy Dreamer © vs. Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry
These kind of matches are always near impossible to predict, but one thing I can say with almost 100% certainty, Mark Henry won't win (now watch him win and everyone will come laugh at me). I'm not sure who to go with here, but I'm going to put my money on Jack Swagger, then him and Dreamer will enter a full-blown feud while Christian and Finlay go at it.

World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk © vs. Jeff Hardy
I expect serious shenanigans in this match; ref bumps, possible interference from Edge, maybe even a Matt Hardy sighting. Jeff will get distracted or attacked, CM Punk will take advantage and win, continuing to straddle the line between heel and face. I am going to go out on a limb and say despite expecting all kinds of craziness, I think this will be Match of the Night, so long as its given enough time.

WWE Championship - Three Stages of Hell
Randy Orton © vs. Triple H
Thanks to Raw, I'm actually really excited about this one and I think it's very possible that these two are going to beat the living hell out of each other. It could really go either way, but I'll say first fall goes to Orton, second fall to Triple H and then Randy Orton picks up the win in the stretcher match to retain the WWE Title. That said, I still don't see this feud ending until they get into The Cell, so if Orton wins, expect it to be tainted with help from Rhodes & DiBiase.

Don't forget to leave your predictions in the comments below and make sure to check back here at Kick-Out!! Wrestling Sunday night for my full review of The Bash!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Does WWE need brand-specific PPVs?

Reading the dirtsheets today, I keep seeing reports that Edge and CM Punk are both working injured, not badly, but they're both pretty banged up. Not sure if these reports are accurate, but it got me thinking about the injuries in WWE piling up, take a look at all the guys who are working hurt, on the shelf or taking time off right now:

RAW: Batista (bicep), Matt Hardy (hand), Shawn Michaels (time off, wear & tear)
SD: Undertaker (hip), CM Punk (rumored), Edge (rumored), Rey Mysterio (rumored) Kane (time off),
ECW: Hurricane (neck?)

Nine guys, all fairly big names on their brands and are banged up, taking time off or on the shelf, it's making me wonder if these guys could use a month off here and there? Regardless of whether or not the rumors are true about three of Smackdown's top guys, you can't deny they have to be banged up pretty bad right now. A guy like Edge is going out there and working big match style every month; whether it's two Elimination Chambers at No Way Out, a big Triple Threat at Mania, a brutal Last Man Standing at Backlash, back-to-back months with Jeff Hardy, one of those being a ladder match, he has to be hurting. It's nice that Edge is finally getting a month off from PPV, but what about all the other top guys?

That raises the question, should WWE go back to brand-specific PPVs? It would give guys a month off and it would make the few tri-branded PPVs a bigger deal. Of course, the big problem with the brand-specific PPVs was that they were often light on undercard, but the tri-branded PPVs are too heavy on main events, surely there's a compromise in there somewhere? Why not a few PPVs featuring only two brands, giving some of the guys a rest here and there and perhaps a chance for some undercard guys to shine? Here's just a rough idea of what the schedule could look like:

WrestleMania: Raw, Smackdown, ECW
Backlash: Raw/ECW
Judgment Day: Smackdown/ECW
Extreme Rules: ECW, Raw, Smackdown
The Bash: Raw/ECW
Night of Champions: Raw, Smackdown, ECW
SummerSlam: Raw, Smackdown, ECW
Breaking Point: Raw, Smackdown, ECW
No Mercy: Smackdown/ECW
Cyber Sunday: Raw/ECW
Survivor Series: Raw, Smackdown, ECW
Armageddon: Smackdown/ECW
Royal Rumble: Raw, Smackdown, ECW
No Way Out: Raw, Smackdown, ECW

Just a thought. You may notice an overabundance of ECW, but I figure on months where they're paired up with Raw or Smackdown, they could just provide a little support to flesh out what would be a thin undercard if it were just a single-brand event. Also, there's still plenty of tri-branded PPVs, so WWE wouldn't have to worry too much about losing money. If money weren't a concern, I'd suggest they go back to single-brand PPVs, make them 2.5 hours and charge $29.99 for them, but I don't think there's any chance of something like that ever happening.

It's probably not ideal, but any kind of rest for guys like Edge, Cena, Hardy, Orton, etc., who work major hard-hitting matches every month has to be a good thing. Again, it's just something I put together quickly, feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you agree and/or how you would improve the idea.

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 4

In this episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, Razor discusses WWE ratings, the commercial-free episode of Monday Night Raw, Donald Trump and the upcoming PPV - The Bash! Also, we need your advice about a potential future endeavor.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Subscribe to Kick-Out!! Radio via iTunes! (This link will open your iTunes)

Kick-Out's ECW Thoughts - June 23, 2009

Alright, gonna make this one quick because I need to post Kick-Out!! Radio.

Oh WWE, always trying to spoil me on Tuesday nights. Evan Bourne vs. Tyson Kidd? Yes please. Not as great as some of their previous encounters, but still, it's Bourne vs. Kidd, which means it's damn good. I liked Natalya and Smith being thrown out by the ref, an ejection is always a good way to get the crowd going. I'm a bit curious about Bourne winning though, after getting demolished by Henry last week, I thought this would've been the perfect opportunity for Kidd to pick up a cheap victory, but that was not the case. Bourne continues to have one of the best win percentages in all WWE.

I seriously cannot stop laughing whenever I see Zack Ryder. Decent match between him and Finlay and I think this may be one of the first times that I've ever seen someone work over someone's eye during a match. Finlay sold it brilliantly and got a lucky win after hooking the tights, but it serves Ryder right after trying to expose the turnbuckle. Good way to keep heat on Finlay heading into The Bash while not derailing Ryder's momentum.

Stand back, there's a Hurricane coming through! So great to see Helms back in the suit. I also think there's serious potential in a Hurricane/Swagger feud for the ECW Championship... I'm just sayin.

I didn't get to see most of the main event because my stupid DVR cut-off the overrun. I did catch Christian's crazy crossbody to the outside though. According to WWE.com, Mark Henry & Jack Swagger won, then Mark got the Kane treatment where he beat up everyone in the ring and stood tall heading into the PPV on Sunday. Also like Kane, he has no chance of winning at the PPV.

Solid show, nothing groundbreaking, but still good. Plus, The Hurricane's back, so the show automatically gets some extra points. Stick around at Kick-Out!! Wrestling, the latest episode of Kick-Out!! Radio is coming soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kick-Out's Raw Thoughts - June 22, 2009

The night got interesting before Raw even started when it was announced that the fans in Green Bay were getting a full ticket refund after the show to the tune of $250,000. I guess that means no Diva Search this year? Alright, the Trump Era begins, can it fix the sinking ship that is Monday Night Raw?

Raw with the Trump logo is hilarious and so is the Trump-heavy intro. The Donald kicks things off and reminds us the show is commercial-free and the Green Bay fans get a full refund, hope they brought extra merchandise tonight because I have a feeling those stands were busy.

John Cena heads to the ring in his new John Deere inspired attire, which is interesting to say the least. Cena announces he'll be taking on Big Show later in the night (really? again?), but things get interesting when he calls out The Miz. Miz comes to the ring, proceeds to be awesome and Cena lets him know that it's put up or shut up time at The Bash because they're finally going to square off one-on-one. I'm officially sold on the PPV as this is quite possibly the best built match since HBK vs. Undertaker and Miz & Cena are undoubtedly the best things going on Raw right now.

Vince McMahon trying to get a piggyback ride from his limo driver is classic.

Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio & The Great Khali vs. Edge, Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler was a lot of fun, although I wouldn't have complained if John Morrison had been in Khali's spot, but it makes sense considering Ziggler was involved. CM Punk was also great on commentary, even if he looked absolutely bizarre in street clothes... sweet Misfits belt buckle though. Good stuff in the match, especially Khali teasing a dive to the outside, but luckily Chris Jericho was there to save his life. The good guys win, CM Punk tries to congratulate Jeff Hardy, but for some reason he gets all pissy about it?! After Hardy assaulted Punk's injured leg last week on Raw, then tried to get Punk DQed for winning a match the same way he did earlier in the night on Friday, I have to once again ask - who am I supposed to be cheering here? Jeff Hardy is the one being a sore loser and lashing out at Punk, all the champ did is cash in his Money in the Bank, which he earned at WrestleMania and then won the title fair and square!

Also, Punk's reaction when King & Cole were talking about KFC was hysterical. Since Punk's straight edge, I'm pretty sure he would never touch that food, I'd even wager that smoking would be healthier than eating whatever was in that bucket.

Well, they say there's no commercials, but why am I longing for Castrol GTX ads instead of watching Cody Rhodes wrestle? I hate to sound like a jerk, but I really have no reason to care about anything involving Rhodes & DiBiase, they've been presented as Orton's errand boys for months, they're essentially two Chavo Guerreros in one! I know it's a foregone conclusion, but can we please not let them win the Tag Titles on Sunday? Carlito & Primo have been so entertaining, especially since unifying the belts, they deserve a good long run and if they're going to drop the belts, it should be to The Hart Dynasty.

Santina's fired? Finally, that angle ran its course at WrestleMania.

Festus reads the Wall Street Journal in the bathroom? Funny, I usually just use the editorial pages as toilet paper! HEY-OOOOOOOOOO!

I'm not going to lie, Last Man Standing Match was pretty damn good. Definitely the best match Triple H and Randy Orton have had against each other, ever. Loved the match, the ending sucked, but that's no surprise considering they need to keep some heat on it if they're doing Three Stages of Hell on Sunday. I'm admittedly pretty excited about that too since we haven't seen one of those since December 2002, and the Stretcher stip for the final fall is a nice touch considering the nature of their feud. If WWE accomplished anything tonight, it's getting me somewhat interested in this very stale feud.

So that's it? Trump angle's done? Vince just bought it back seven days later? After all that hype? One word: Lame. I was excited about the prospect of a celebrity host too, that would've been really cool and something different, but of course, it's not going to happen because this is Raw, the show that WWE is seemingly terrified to try something different.

Oh and dirtsheets, please stop peddling the rumor that the Trump angle was killed because of the fabled "SEC investigation" until you have some sort of proof. No, the Fox Business Network saying it "could" happen doesn't count. Yikes, Fox Business stories going through the dirtsheet filter, it's a double dose of sensationalism!

Six-Diva Tag was your typical Six-Diva Tag, but if Mickie James has adopted that Superkick as her new finisher, I am in full support of it, that was nasty.

Dear WWE, no more John Cena vs. Big Show matches! Sincerely yours, Razor. I really have nothing against Big Show and we all know that Cena is great (yeah, I said it), but I'm done watching these two. At least The Miz got involved and Big Show finally got a win and I'll let the whole thing slide since the main event of Raw ended with Miz standing tall.

Triple H slamming that trunk on Orton's back was gross.

Okay, no commercials really works for Raw, it's a shame they can't do this every week. I'm sure some whiny smarks will complain that it "wasn't commercial-free since KFC was all over the place!" showing that they've clearly never seen how these kind of broadcasts work. I for one would gladly watch Raw plastered with product placement every week if it meant no commercials, or even limited commercials. Put KFC in front of Cole & King, put the Burger King logo next to the WWE bug the entire show, have a ticker telling me to switch to AT&T, have JR come out on stage and scream "FRUITY, FRUITY DELICIOUS SKITTLES!" again, I don't care. All other sports are plastered with advertising, why not WWE? It would certainly be a lot better than sitting through the same six commercials that we see every week on Raw: Castrol, Burger King, Snickers, Taco Bell, whatever horror/action/sex comedy movie is coming out this week and whatever First Person Shooter video game is coming out next week.

Overall, I thought Raw was enjoyable this week, mainly thanks to the commercial-free gimmick and the LMS Match, but the handling of the Trump storyline is just mind-numbing. I'll have more on that during this week's Kick-Out!! Radio, but for now, let's just be happy that WWE managed to put on an interesting Raw (it's a miracle!), even if they totally blew it on this potentially huge storyline.

Poll Results - Donald Trump

Here are the results to Kick-Out's latest poll:

Donald Trump is the owner of Raw, what do you think?
Awesome, Trump Rules! - 7%
Lame, Trump is a doofus! - 15%
It's a good publicity stunt - 43%
WTF?! - 33%

I would put up a new poll today about which Bash match are you most excited about, but I have a feeling the card will get a bit of a shake-up during tonight's commercial-free Raw. So check back later for my full Raw review and a brand new poll.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Five Count - June 21, 2009

The five most noteworthy wrestling items of the week, in convenient list form!

5. The in-ring interview
As simple as it was, I loved the bit on Smackdown where Josh Matthews interviewed Jeff Hardy and CM Punk in the ring. Backstage skits have their place, but there's just something deliciously old school about an in-ring interview. Now I can only hope they'll bring back the old interview platform near the entrance that they used on syndicated shows in the 80s.

4. Candice Michelle & Sim Snuka released
While these two weren't particularly surprising, it's always a bummer to see folks lose their jobs. Candice had loads of potential a few years back, but after taking that nasty fall off the turnbuckle and breaking her collarbone, she's never been the same and as been plagued by the injury bug. Snuka hasn't been seen in months and even when he got a shot, it was only for a couple weeks, so the writing's been on the wall there. Hopefully both find success wherever life may take them.

3. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio
Whether it was in the ring on Monday or on the mic Friday, these two brought the goods and continued the most compelling feud in WWE today. Jericho easily had the feud of the year in 2008 with Shawn Michaels, if he keeps this up, he'll go back to back with Rey Mysterio. Honestly, I never get tired of watching these two work together, they somehow manage to keep it fresh and fun, and they don't even need major gimmick matches like ladders or cages... although those would likely be awesome too.

2. Donald Trump "buys" Raw
Love it or hate it, it's certainly something different. I've made my feelings on it known, it's over the top, but it's getting WWE some mainstream publicity and if you ask Vince McMahon, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Yeah, a lot of media outlets were duped by the storyline, thinking it was real (you may laugh at them here), which makes it all the more entertaining to me. And hey, we get a commercial-free Raw out of the deal, now let's hope they can get the brand out of its slump.

1. Edge vs. John Morrison
Easily Match of the Week, and I'm saying that in a week where Jericho and Mysterio stole the show on Raw. As I mentioned in my Smackdown review, it's weird to see Edge out of the title picture, but I think a feud with John Morrison is exactly the kind of thing that both superstars could use right now. Edge can take a step back and breathe some new life into his character while elevating Morrison to main event status. It's really win-win and it would be a shame if we didn't see more from these two in the next few weeks.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kick-Out's Smackdown Thoughts - June 20, 2009

With ECW nipping at its heels, can Smackdown remain the dominant brand in sports entertainment?

In-ring interview kicks things off, you don't see those a whole lot anymore. I've been reading reports that Smackdown is going to be more of an in-ring storytelling show while Raw will rely on more backstage interviews, I think it's a great idea to create more distinction between the two main brands. Jeff Hardy and CM Punk duel on the mics a bit, we even get a small hint of "straight edge vs. not-so-straight edge" when they mention how they live their lives. Josh Matthews polling the audience and Punk getting booed will only create more speculation about the possible heel turn.

Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho was a pretty good match, but definitely not giving too much away with this one. An extended Hardy/Jericho feud would be highly enjoyable once they finish up with Punk and Mysterio respectively, so hopefully we'll see more of them in the future. The ending to this match was awesome, Mysterio getting revenge for Jericho's sneak attack with one of his own was pure brilliance. I love this feud!

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali... again? Two notable things about this match though, Ziggy continues to remind me of the long lost son of Jeff Jarrett and Billy Gunn, he even tried to do the Rocker Dropper! Also, nice job stealing the match by using the old Eddie Guerrero trick. Oh and Ziggler's new music is cool, I've already heard a lot of people complaining about it, but WWE didn't own his old theme. It was stock music, which creates all sorts of problems when trying to put it on DVDs or video games.

Melina vs. Alicia Fox was too short to really say anything about, but Melina's flexibility is just insane. She's past the point of "oh wow, she's flexible" and is now in "eww gross" territory. Good finish to the match, but the Michelle McCool stuff did nothing for me.

How weird is it to think that Edge is out of the World Title picture? The last PPV that he was on where he wasn't involved in a World/WWE Title match was last year's SummerSlam, but even then he was in the main event with The Undertaker. Before that, you'd have to go all the way back to WrestleMania 23 to find a PPV that Edge competed on where he wasn't involved in the main event or a World/WWE Title match. But even then, it was the Money in the Bank, which is something like a title match. Just for fun, the last time Edge was on PPV in a non-title, non-main event, singles match, you have to go all the way to WrestleMania 22 when he took on Mick Foley. Wow.

Edge vs. John Morrison was an absolutely tremendous match and definitely my pick for Match of the Week. I feel like there's huge potential for a major rivalry here, why not give them a spot on the PPV? Would love to see what these guys could do with 20 minutes.

Cryme Tyme & R-Truth vs. Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas & Ricky Ortiz was fun, aside from Ortiz's new ring attire. Did Carlito sue for gimmick infringement on guys with big hair and vinyl pants? Anyway, the best part of this whole segment was during R-Truth's entrance, JTG popping up in front of the camera and yelling "WHAT'S UP!?" I'd like to see those three team up more often, let's call them True Crime.

The promo with Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio was one of the best verbal back and forths I've seen on WWE in some time. Mask vs. Title is always a good selling point, but I can almost guaran-damn-tee that there's no chance WWE will ever unmask Rey Mysterio. Those masks make way too much money at merchandise stands and as we learned in WCW, an unmasked Rey Mysterio is not nearly as marketable as a masked one.

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk was a solid main event, not as good as their outing at Armageddon last year, but it probably wasn't supposed to be. Jericho was great on commentary and he continues to prove his point about hypocritical fans when they boo CM Punk for winning a match in an extremely similar fashion that Jeff Hardy did earlier in the night. Hell, Hardy won by countout, Punk at least won by pinning his opponent in the center of the ring, yet he's the one that gets booed? Punk's absolutely right too, there's no rule that says you can't cash in MITB on Jeff Hardy and there's no rule that says you can beat Chris Jericho via outside interference, but you can't beat Rey Mysterio via outside interference. If CM Punk does turn heel, an alliance with Chris Jericho would be a heat machine, but I'm beginning to wonder if these are the guys I should be booing?

Smackdown slipped last week, but climbed right back up to the mountain and reclaimed its place as the best wrestling show in America. The Punk/Hardy & Jericho/Mysterio feuds molded together on this show and made for very entertaining television; plus we got an absolutely phenomenal match between Edge and John Morrison and a fun six-man tag. Raw has all the gimmicks, but it wouldn't need to go commercial free if it was as good as Smackdown. I'm worried about the build-up for The Bash since it's just a couple weeks after the last PPV and Raw's going to be busy trying to make this Monday's show a big deal, but I have no doubt that as long as Smackdown and ECW continue to be this good, it should be a PPV worth ordering regardless of what Raw contributes.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio Presents: Opening Bell Extra!

In the 100th update at Kick-Out!! Wrestling, it's the Opening Bell Extra! In this podcast minisode, Razor rants about non-wrestling fans who think the Donald Trump storyline is real and why professional wrestling is the most misunderstood form of entertainment in the world.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Subscribe to Kick-Out!! Radio via iTunes! (link will open your iTunes)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kick-Out's Superstars Thoughts - June 18, 2009

Santino Marella kicks things off on WGN America and even though he's beating a dead horse by continuing to mock Vickie Guerrero, the "wee wee wee all the way home" joke was pretty funny. Chavo Guerrero is his opponent and proceeds to take his beating "like a mans." Santino's "oh wow, I can kinda wrestle" shtick is amusing, but they really need to do something with him, his act is growing stale fast. I don't think it's a coincidence that all of Santino's best stuff has come when he has a female companion and as the old saying goes, "behind every man, there's a great woman," maybe it's time to retire Santina and find Santino a new girlfriend. Perhaps Jillian? They would be the most annoying couple in WWE history, so the possibilities are endless.

Zack Ryder defeats Local Competitor, is Vladimir Kozlov not feeling well? Poor Local Competitor, that guy just can't catch a break. One notable thing from this match, Ryder's finisher has been officially named "The Zack Attack," I hope Mark-Paul Gosselaar is getting royalties.

After fast-forwarding through their Smackdown matches, I have to admit that Eve vs. Layla was actually pretty good. It was one of the better Divas matches in recent months not involving Maryse, Natalya, Mickie James or The Glamazon, but as was pointed out to me earlier this evening by the First Lady of Kick-Out!!, that's kinda like being one of the better Nickelback songs.

Also, interesting referee attire for Maria during that Divas match. I wonder if Mike Chioda could pull off that look. Good officiating at the end though, she got both competitors to respect the Code of Honor, so you have to give her respect for that.

Jack Swagger, Tyson Kidd & David Hart Smith vs. Christian, Carlito & Primo was a solid main event, albeit a bit slow once the heels isolated Primo. Not nearly enough Christian in this match either, but other than those two gripes, it was a good finish for Superstars, and it was nice to see ECW get the main event slot this week.

Certainly not the best Superstars and while the main event was perfectly acceptable and fun to watch, it didn't pack the punch that Chris Jericho vs. John Morrison did last week. Superstars continues to be an enjoyable, quick show that doesn't have much of an impact on the grand scheme of WWE, but it's a nice change of pace to just sit down and watch straight-up wrestling for the entire show.

And this review of Superstars is the 99th update here at Kick-Out!! Wrestling, I have something special planned for tomorrow, so make sure to check back for #100!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kick-Out's ECW Thoughts - June 16, 2009

It's easy to critique a show like Raw when it's as bad as it is right now and Smackdown's keeping me guessing, but ECW is difficult. What more can I really say about this show other than the fact that it's consistently awesome? This week is no exception.

The opening bout, Christian vs. David Hart Smith, was not as good as Christian vs. Tyson Kidd, but few TV matches are. This was definitely Smith's most impressive outing since debuting in WWE, Christian certainly helped him along, but he definitely has all the tools to be the next big thing in ECW. That Uranage on the apron was one of the nastiest things I've seen in quite some time and I really don't know how Christian not only escaped serious injury, but then went onto hit his patented dive to the outside that always freaks me out. Lots of great action in this one, definitely check it out if you missed it.

Finlay attacking Christian after the match wasn't too surprising, I figured he'd be getting a bit more edge to his character after Hornswoggle got drafted to Raw. The injury he suffered after trying to break up Dreamer and Christian makes for a good reason to get that started.

I was a bit bummed that Mark Henry made such quick work of Evan Bourne, a waste of a good feud in my opinion. Bourne was still selling the rib injury, so I guess that makes it somewhat okay, but I would've liked to see Bourne get a bit more offense in, especially since he's been on such a tear since returning from injury back in April. I'm pretty sure this was only his second loss in one-on-one competition since coming back, but I guess there's only so many times that you can get lucky against a guy who outweighs you by 200 lbs.

Gregory Helms shows up late to an interview, adjusting his suit and tie? Nice touch.

Grizzly Jack Swagger is also a nice touch, everyone knows that beards = heel. Nice match with Swagger and Tommy Dreamer, I'm glad that Swagger won with an Oklahoma Roll rather than the Gutwrench Powerbomb so Tommy doesn't look easily dominated. Finlay returns and cleans house, taking out Dreamer, Swagger and Christian, who attempted to make the save. Probably not a full blown heel turn (yet), but it looks like the man who loves to fight is back. One thing though, if they're going to make Finlay a bad ass again, he needs to lose the Hornswoggle music, it's way too cheery. May I suggest this theme? It's a shame it was only used for about two weeks after Finlay turned face because it's really cool.

Finlay getting involved adds a fourth man to the Dreamer/Swagger/Christian feud and if reports are accurate, it looks like the ECW Title will be up for grabs in a Championship Scramble at The Bash: Tommy Dreamer defends against Christian, Jack Swagger, Finlay and Mark Henry. I really wish they'd have put Bourne in the match instead of Henry, would've opened the door for a lot more excitement, but Henry's been known to step it up in these types of matches, so I'm sure the match will still be enjoyable.

Great matches, smart feuds, simple booking, Smackdown needs to watch its back because ECW is quickly becoming the best brand in all of sports entertainment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 3

In this episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, Razor takes on those pesky internet "journalists," specifically Daniel Pena (the sleaze-peddler who started a disgusting rumor about Victoria). Also, the Raw 3-For-All, CM Punk's character, TNA and an exclusive "interview" with... Donald Trump!?

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Subscribe to Kick-Out!! Radio via iTunes! (This link will open your iTunes)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kick-Out's Raw Thoughts - June 15, 2009

Big Raw tonight, the three-hour 3 For All, I joked last week that the best way to get Raw out of its slump was to bring on ECW and Smackdown. Judging by tonight's show, it was funny because it was true.

Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio kicks off the in-ring action and I'm sorry, I don't think I can get tired of watching these two wrestle. Another awesome match and my personal pick for Match of the Night: great storytelling, loads of dramatic near falls and a brilliant finish with Jericho twisting around Mysterio's mask and nailing him with a nasty Codebreaker. Jericho's words continue to be 100% accurate from his promo running down Raw to saying Mysterio's mask will be his downfall. Loving this feud and loving the boost it's giving to the IC Title.

Vince McMahon has sold Monday Night Raw?!

Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian was way too short, but a fun match nonetheless. I have a feeling they'll have another rematch at the PPV, hopefully getting more time. Not a whole lot to say about this one since it was kept short and there were no Swagger run-in, but I'm sure the plot will thicken tomorrow night on ECW.

Okay, so let me get this straight. Randy Orton is the WWE Champion, despite being injured Batista demolishes Orton at Extreme Rules and becomes WWE Champion. Batista gets written out 24 hours later, WWE Title vacated, Triple H returns, Fatal Four Way set up for the vacant WWE Championship with Orton, HHH, John Cena and Big Show. We go through all that just to have Randy Orton win the title back? Seriously? Are you freaking kidding me?! Here's a thought, how about Randy Orton just remains WWE Champion at Extreme Rules and you spare me the trouble of all this? Utterly pointless.

Vince McMahon has sold Raw to... Donald Trump! What's hilarious is I jokingly mentioned Trump to my girlfriend earlier in the night, fully expecting Ric Flair to be revealed as the owner, but I never thought it would actually happen! Trump confirmed that next week's Raw will be presented commercial free and that he will be there in person. Trump's last involvement with WWE got them tons of press coverage, so I can't see how this storyline is a bad idea. I like it. Vince also announces a 10-man Battle Royal to set up a new number one contender for the WWE Title, hopefully something interesting will come out of that.

Not much to say about Mickie James vs. Rosa Mendes except that DDT at the end made me literally scream "AHHHHH" because I thought Rosa may have been seriously hurt, she landed right on the top of her head! Luckily Rosa appeared to be okay and the slow tease for Mickie vs. Maryse continues.

Once again, The Miz shines as the brightest star on Raw. Goldust deserves his props as well, an Ahmed Johnson reference is always going to make me laugh, but Miz took the Bizarre One out and then shot poor Hornswoggle with the t-shirt gun! Ouch. Shooting leprechauns aside, The Miz is still AWESOME!

CM Punk vs. Edge vs. Jeff Hardy was a great match, but it's a bit odd that JR was saying Punk went too far for driving Hardy into the stairs just a few minutes after Hardy assaulted CM Punk's injured leg. The more I think about it, it's really a brilliant way to turn Punk heel, he gets booed for doing stuff to Jeff Hardy, but cheered for doing the same thing to Edge... if there's a surefire way of getting under the crowd's skin, it's calling them hypocrites, just ask Chris Jericho. I'm psyched for Punk vs. Hardy at The Bash, should be an awesome match and perhaps the culmination of this heel turn that might be happening? Just another reason why Smackdown is the superior brand, engaging storylines with a bit of mystery that aren't too complicated.

Carlito & Primo vs. The Hart Dynasty didn't have time to get interesting because Rhodes & DiBiase ruined it. Apparently they weren't content with ruining it with their horrid commentary, they had to cause a disqualification as well.

Okay, so if Randy Orton regaining the WWE Title was utterly pointless, Triple H winning the Battle Royal was just plain stupid. Why not keep them apart for a bit, let the feud heat up a bit and finally reach its conclusion at SummerSlam? No, we go through something even more complicated to make Triple H the number one contender when he could've just as easily got on the mic and said "fight me at The Bash, Orton!" MVP should've won the Battle Royal, would've helped him get even more over and given us a fresh match at The Bash... but no, we go with something completely unsurprising.

Oh but wait, it gets better. Donald Trump appears on the TitanTron and announces that HHH vs. Orton is happening next week on Raw and it's a Last Man Standing Match! And the match is listed on WWE.com to still be happening at The Bash (seriously). So unless we get some of those WWE shenanigans (which is very possible), we get to see Orton vs. Triple H next Monday and then again six days later. Double ugh.

So this was easily the best Raw since the Draft, as long as you ignore all the Raw parts (Miz got robbed in the Battle Royal!). Trump as owner is interesting and I'll have more on that on this week's Kick-Out!! Radio, but the WWE Title situation is reaching a new level of absurdity. So much wasted potential by putting the title back on Orton and having Triple H as the #1 contender, I was bored with this feud in April.
I knew we were due for more Orton/HHH when The Game returned, but there is something to be said for the slow build. By taking the most complicated path to reach the most predictable destination, it made me go from bored to angry.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Five Count - June 14, 2009

I have to admit, this is a pretty tough week to do a Five Count. There was definitely a lot going on in the world of wrestling, but it wasn't loaded with huge moments or awe-inspiring matches. But the show must go on, so let's see what we got this week.

5. Tony Atlas
Obviously, Tony Atlas is a bit of an oddball. But if you've ever seen the MTV True Life about pro wrestling, you know the guy has had some hard times over the years, so it was pretty awesome to see him put on the Mr. USA outfit once again and go out there and have a fairly decent match with Evan Bourne. Good for Tony.

4. MVP sets his sights on the WWE Championship
While it looks like he's not getting his shot in the Fatal Four Way, it was nice to hear someone who's not an established main eventer come out and say, "I want a shot at the WWE Title." As I mentioned on the latest episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, I'd love to see MVP walk out of Raw on Monday as WWE Champ, even if it's just to test the waters with some new blood. There's still time to make it happen, everyone's assuming that Ric Flair will be the new Raw GM, have him come out tomorrow night and take Randy Orton out of the Four Way as punishment for injuring Batista and replace him with MVP. I'd dig it.

3. Umaga released
This week's big news story, also a huge bummer. WWE issued a statement later in the week clarifying that the release was related to the Wellness Policy and Umaga's refusal to enter a rehabilitation facility. It's a shame for all parties involved, Umaga's a great talent and this kind of news is never pleasant to hear. Hopefully Umaga can get through whatever the issue is and make his way back to WWE in the future.

2. Tommy Dreamer re-signs
Just when we thought it was over for Tommy Dreamer, he shocks the world and wins the ECW Championship! Also have to give huge kudos to WWE for working a storyline for six months; it'd be one thing if Dreamer was actually retiring, but apparently this was the planned result from the start. Tommy Dreamer has already given so much to the business, ECW and his fans, I can't help but smile when I know he has more.

1. Triple H returns
Finally. Raw's been struggling since The Game took some time off, hopefully his return can help make the show exciting once again. I know a lot of people (smarks) hate Triple H, but the whole "HHH buries people!" shtick is old, it's time to let it go. The man lives and breathes pro wrestling and has made more stars in the last five years than probably anyone else in the business. Triple H being back is good for in-ring action and intriguing storylines... I just hope the feud with Randy Orton doesn't drag on too long, we've already seen quite a bit of it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kick-Out's Smackdown Thoughts - June 12, 2009

CM Punk heel turn? Let's find out.

CM Punk kicks things off and is already getting heavily booed by the Biloxi crowd, but it doesn't look like he's ready to turn on his fans. Punk plays it cool and says he was just being smart and that he earned his shot at the World Heavyweight Title by winning Money in the Bank. The man has a point, but Jeff Hardy doesn't see it that way when he makes his way to the ring. Punk is polite with Jeff, but doesn't back down from what he did, I like that. Edge interrupts and provides the comic relief here, saying CM Punk wants to be the next Rated-R Superstar, since he's cashed in MITB twice and named his lifestyle Straight-"Edge" (seriously). Punk and Hardy try to brush Edge off, but T-Lo makes a number one contenders match between Edge & Hardy for later.

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali was what it was, not a whole lot to expect after seeing these guys in the ring against each other three times now. Dolphy Z is doing a damn good job of keeping this feud entertaining though, scoring the count-out victory by roughing up Runjin Singh was a nice touch. I like Khali as a face, his Punjabi Playboy gimmick is amusing, but I'd like to see more of what Ziggler can do against guys his own size.

Michelle McCool & Layla vs. Melina & Eve was your typical Diva tag, I'm seriously over this Layla/Eve feud and was over it when it started over a month ago. When is McCool going to get her title shot against Melina?

R-Truth & John Morrison vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas was a great tag bout, love to see all these guys getting air time. R-Truth got to work the mic more, which is good, I really hope big things are in store for him. I really don't see the point in throwing Morrison against Shelton in some form week after week though, he wins every time, what else is there for him to do against the Gold Standard?

Awesome that Jericho had Rey Mysterio's mask as a trophy, I was wondering why he wasn't carrying it around on Superstars.

Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk came about after Jericho demanded to be in the World Heavyweight Title picture, Teddy Long gave him a non-title match and as always, the two put on a clinic. Funny that the fans who were booing Punk earlier were now cheering him against Jericho; and he also mentioned earlier that the fans didn't seem to mind when he cashed in MITB on Edge, but it was suddenly a problem when he did it to Jeff Hardy. Hmmm... I'd talk more about the match, but even if you didn't see it, you know it was awesome, it was Punk vs. Jericho!

Jeff Hardy vs. Edge wasn't one of their greatest encounters, but it would be foolish to expect such after Sunday night, especially since Hardy is reportedly working with an unprotected broken finger. The highlight of this match was CM Punk on commentary (he was everywhere on this show), really playing both sides of the fence. On one hand, he was heeling it up and talking about how he would want to face Hardy on Monday since he's hurt, but then he was talking about how great the match would be if Jeff were 100%. Plus, Edge threw Hardy into CM Punk at the announce table, Punk attacked Edge and caused a DQ, Jeff attacked Punk, Punk retaliated and hit him with the GTS - I don't know what's going on! Quite the tangled web that CM Punk has weaved with his MITB contract.

I'm not exactly sure what WWE's doing here with CM Punk. A slow turn seems likely, but maybe they're trying the elusive "tweener" role, someone who's not quite heel or not quite face. It's a gamble, but I don't doubt Punk's abilities to pull it off. We've never quite gotten much insight into CM Punk in his WWE career, so what he does in the next few weeks/months is likely going to define his character, hopefully it will all work perfectly and cement him as a top-tier guy.

In terms of main event storyline progression, this show was great, but there didn't seem to be much else going on. Hardy/Edge and Punk/Jericho were good, but the rest of the show was just there. I love a good pure wrestling show, but there's only so many times I can watch Morrison vs. Benjamin or Ziggler vs. Khali. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with PPV fallout and the sudden release of Umaga probably changed a few plans, so I'm not concerned about one show. Smackdown's still undoubtedly the best wrestling show on television right now, I think it just needs a little more drama, but I think that's going to come with Punk in the next few weeks.

Mitsuharu Misawa dead at 46

Before getting started today, I wanted to say something about the shocking death of Japanese wrestling legend, Mitsuharu Misawa. Misawa suffered a heart attack in the ring last night and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

I was pretty heavy into Japanese wrestling (puroresu) in my teenage years and back then he was widely regarded as not just the best wrestler in Japan, but the best in the world. For those of you unfamiliar with Misawa, it's probably crude to use this comparison, but just to illustrate how big this news is for Japan, imagine if this happened to Brett Favre on the football field.

In-ring deaths are beyond tragic and something I hope never happens again, but if anything, hopefully this serves as a reminder that the business takes a toll on those who work so hard to entertain us. No matter what promotion, no matter what continent, no matter what arena, those people in the ring are in there for us, and their sacrifices should not go unappreciated.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kick-Out's Superstars Thoughts - June 11, 2009

I saw a lot of people complaining about this show on Twitter, was it that bad?

Raw kicks the night off with tag team Diva action and Michael Cole reminds us that the Divas are sexy, smart and powerful! Ah, that may be true Cole, but are they CrazySexyCool? Beth Phoenix & Rosa Mendes team up to take on The Bella Twins... OMG, they're actually doing something?! Actually, I have to apologize to Nikki & Brie, I've been pretty mean to them the last few weeks, but apparently in their downtime they've been training because they were way better in this match than I've ever seen them. They're not ring generals by any stretch of the imagination, but kudos to the Bellas for their hard work paying off. Of course, hard work will only get you so far when you run into The Glamazon! Beth & Rosa get the win - as they should - and hopefully are gearing up to move onto bigger and better things on Raw.

Nice video package for Kofi Kingston, I'd like to see more stuff like this for the new breed of superstars.

I really liked Evan Bourne vs. Zack Ryder, a bit of a slower pace for a Bourne match, but he was selling his bruised ribs from Mark Henry's assault and it gave Ryder and a chance to show off his repertoire. Bourne picks up the win and continues this crazy roll he's been on... aside from his match against Rey Mysterio on Raw a few months back, has Bourne lost a match since returning from injury? Surely this kid deserves a PPV outing against Tommy Dreamer for the ECW Title, doesn't he?

John Morrison vs. Chris Jericho was a great main event, though I'm disappointed Jericho didn't come to ringside with Mysterio's mask as a trophy. Match was good, lots of near falls - I don't think I've mentioned this on here yet, but there's no one in the business who can create more drama out of a two count than Chris Jericho. He knows how to kick-out(!!) at just the right moment and can get that extra millisecond that adds so much more suspense to the match; he doesn't just get 2 counts, he gets 2.999 counts. Jericho continues his hot streak and Morrison doesn't suffer from the loss, but where does The Guru of Greatness go from here? His feud with Shelton has to be about done and I suspect Jericho will continue feuding with Mysterio over the IC Title, so how about John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler? Just a thought.

Don't know why people were down on this show, I thought the main event was awesome, the Divas tag was watchable and Bourne/Ryder got a ton of time to do their thing. I like this format for Superstars, a big main event and two other matches featuring people who might not get as much exposure on the main shows that week. Another solid wrestling show, can't complain too much about that, can we?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gossip Girls

Timex Social Club once asked, "How do rumors get started?" That was back in 1986, it actually took work to spread a rumor, but now all you need is an internet connection and you can have something out there in a few short minutes. I like to think I've struck a nerve with the rumor sites and they feel the need to ratchet up their lies in retaliation, but in reality, the last few weeks have seen a lot of big stories and it's given us a perfect storm of internet bullshit.

What's the latest unfounded rumor? That Rey Mysterio has given his notice and is quitting WWE. What's great about this story is that even the dirtsheets are specifying that this story is "strictly a rumor" and should be "taken with a grain of salt." When you see that kind of disclaimer from these paragons of journalism, it's a safe bet that it's 100% untrue.

Another great internet rumor going around is one that seems to have popped up every other month for the last seven years, Vince McMahon is "crazier than usual!" Who's copy & pasting this one?

"by" Ryan Clark
Vince McMahon has been more on edge as of late than he has been in the past. It is being said that he is even more hyper or "insane" than usual, thus making it a rough time to be a member of the WWE staff. He has been changing his mind on issues very frequently and frantically.

Rajah.com: "by" Daniel Pena
Vince McMahon has been more on edge as of late than he has been in the past. It is being said that he is even more hyper or "insane" than usual, thus making it a rough time to be a member of the WWE staff. He has been changing his mind on issues very frequently and frantically.

twnpnews.com: "by" Brian Matthews
Vince McMahon has been more on edge as of late than he has been in the past. It is being said that he is even more hyper or "insane" than usual, thus making it a rough time to be a member of the WWE staff. He has been changing his mind on issues very frequently and frantically.

And finally, these last two are slightly different, they removed the word "McMahon" and the line about being "on edge as of late." I guess this is what constitutes for putting something in your own words for wrestling "journalists?"

NoDQ.com: "by" Chris Kaufman
Vince is said to be even more hyper or “insane” than usual and it’s a very tough time to be a member of the WWE staff. Vince is said to be more short-tempered than usual and is changing his mind on issues very frequently and frantically.

pwheadlines.com - "reported by" Patrick W. Boucher (not just by, he REPORTED it!)
Vince is said to be even more hyper or “insane” than usual and it’s a very tough time to be a member of the WWE staff. Vince is said to be more short-tempered than usual and is changing his mind on issues very frequently and frantically.

If you can stomach it, click on those links and read the rest of the story, it reads like it was written by a junior high student. This has been a favorite topic of discussion here and on Kick-Out!! Radio, but exposing these sites for what they are is really like shooting fish in a barrel. Just more tabloid hackery from people with no inside sources, no actual knowledge, just the ability to copy and paste. If these sites weren't getting hits, it would be no big deal and they could just be ignored, but between just these five, we're probably looking at thousands upon thousands of page views. I will give NoDQ a bit of a pass, they do a lot of original work on that site, but that doesn't excuse the copy and pasting in their news "reporting."

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but if you ever want the internet wrestling community to be taken seriously by those within the business, you have to demand a better wrestling media. Don't believe everything you read and keep your eyes peeled for plagiarism.

Kick-Out's ECW Thoughts - June 9, 2009

Sorry for the delay on getting this ECW review posted, but getting Episode 2 of Kick-Out!! Radio online took precedent. For whatever reason, I also forgot to do The Five Count this week, but it worked out okay since this last week was just packed with awesome moments. Yep, WWE pulled it off and we got The Perfect Week - every show from Raw to the PPV had at least one great match on it, so here's a mini Five Count for you:

5. MVP vs. Kofi Kingston
4. Christian vs. Tyson Kidd
3. Jeff Hardy & R-Truth vs. Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler
2. CM Punk vs. Umaga
1. Jeff Hardy vs. Edge

So can this week live up to last? We'll only know one show at a time, Monday's Raw was certainly memorable, how about last night's ECW?

Looks like Tommy Dreamer's here to stay! Word on the dirtsheet says he's signed a 3-5 year deal, but if I were going to bet money, I don't think he'll spend all of those 3-5 years wrestling. Then again, I remember back in 1999 when Dreamer's back was supposedly such a mess that his time was winding down, but here we are ten years later and he's ECW Champion. I was surprised by the amount of people thinking Christian had turned heel or "tweener" when he powerbombed Dreamer through the table. As he said, he was just getting revenge for the DDT Dreamer gave him last week.

Okay, I have to admit, Tony Atlas vs. Evan Bourne was actually not bad. And for a guy in his mid-fifties, Atlas looked damn good out there, he's phenomenal shape. This feud between Bourne and Henry is the most interesting thing I've seen involving Mark Henry in years, I'd love to see them escalate this just a little more.

Man in green saving some guy backstage? Gee... I wonder who that could be? Awesome idea though, I'm all for it and I can't wait to see him tear it up in the ring on ECW.

Okay, what was up with Vladimir Kozlov, he was smiling and waving to the audience? Are they trying to turn him face or did Putin drug him like he was a Russian spy? Either way... weird. Oh and he also squashed two Local Competitors, but I'm sure you knew that by the time I mentioned Kozlov in an ECW review.

Christian & Jack Swagger vs. The Hart Dynasty was pretty good, mainly because we got to see Christian and Tyson Kidd lock up once again. Tiffany punishing Christian by making him team with Swagger was a nice touch, even if it was a bit too much like a handicap match for my liking, but they made it work. Tyson Kidd looked amazing in there and David Hart Smith continues to improve, I'd just like to see a little more of this "intensity" that Matt Striker talks about.

ECW continues to be the most consistent wrestling show on television. All the storylines are simple enough to follow along if you've missed a week or two and like I mentioned last week, they're easily interwoven. I'd really enjoy seeing a big eight man tag sometime: Christian, Tommy Dreamer, Evan Bourne and Finlay vs. Jack Swagger, David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Mark Henry. They could give it most of the show too so they don't have to fill time with Kozlov vs. two jobbers and Zack Ryder vs. one jobber.

Aside from the weirdness from Kozlov, this was another fun episode of ECW. Not as good as last week's show, but this one did more in terms of storyline progression.