Monday, August 31, 2009

Raw Thoughts - August 31, 2009

Monday Night Raw hothted by da 'Merican Dweam, Tony Sibonnie!

Things start off right with that awesome old-school theme, it's Dusty Rhodes! In a true case of nepotism, our guest host for the evening sets up a WWE Title match between champion Randy Orton and... Cody Rhodes! Damn, I was hoping Goldust would get a shot. Randy Orton makes his required opening segment appearance to threaten the host, but at least he has an established history with Dusty based on their brief feud in 2007. Also, it's not just the WWE Championship, all Raw titles are on the line tonight! A good start for the show, even with a Randy Orton appearance, I can't complain.

I can however, complain about the Divas Battle Royal. That was pretty terrible, but luckily Beth Phoenix got the win and will face Mickie James for the Divas Championship later in the evening. Those two have great chemistry and it certainly can't be any worse than this match or the debacle with Gail Kim a few weeks back.

They're showing Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania on ECW tomorrow night? Huh? Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic match and I can't wait to watch it again, but what does it have to do with ECW? If you wanted to screw with regularly scheduled programming, why not show it on Superstars? This is especially weird since they showed another ad later in the night featuring Christian and Regal, so I guess we're just going to have to tune in tomorrow to find out what the deal is.

MVP vs. Chris Jericho was top notch, a great match from beginning to end and exactly what MVP needed to get the crowd excited about him once again. Hopefully WWE realizes that if a guy has fallen by the wayside and lost some momentum, all you have to do to rectify the situation is stick him in the ring with Chris Jericho. I'm having a hard time finding an argument against Jericho making it two in a row for the Superstar of the Year Slammy. Look at his 2009: he resurrected the career of Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, he put on half a dozen Match of the Year candidates with Rey Mysterio, he helped restore prestige to the Intercontinental Title and now he's saving tag team wrestling in WWE, all while making guys like Cryme Tyme, MVP and Mark Henry look like a million bucks. Hell, forget about Superstar of the Year, I think we're looking at Superstar of the Decade.

Hornswoggle vs. Chavo Guerrero was the same thing we've been seeing for months now, they should've just quit while they were ahead with Macaulay Culkin. They really need to transition this into a feud between Chavo and Evan Bourne, which seems to be the direction they're taking, but this stuff with Hornswoggle has gotten old.

To borrow a phrase from JR, Mark Henry vs. Big Show was bowling shoe ugly, but I actually enjoyed it. Definitely had some serious lull periods with Mark Henry's headlock, which seemed to last for twelve minutes, but overall, the match did what it needed to do. The challengers look like legitimate threats to the champs, and Mark Henry looks like someone who can actually go head to head with Big Show and survive. Usually I'm not a fan of DQ finishes, but this was clever and got across the idea that Show felt threatened against the World's Strongest Man.

I can't heap enough praise onto the Fatal Four Way for the United States Championship. Well, really I can't heap enough praise onto Kofi Kingston, who is nothing short of astonishing in these kind of matches. I had to replay that dive over the top rope at least five times because it was such a thing of beauty; if this wrestling thing doesn't work out, perhaps he can go into the Olympics as a high jumper? You might think I was pulling for The Miz in this one, but I'm thrilled Kofi pulled out the win since it just furthers his gimmick of being unstoppable in multi-man matches. Fatal Four Ways, Triple Threats, Six-Pack Challenges? Kofi makes it look easy! Now if they really wanted to get smart with this, they'd use it to hype up Kingston as a favorite to win the Royal Rumble. Not saying he should win it, but it would be a nice side story to set him apart from the pack. Seriously though, with performances like this, Kofi should be in line for a shot at the WWE Title.

Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix was actually uncomfortable to watch. Wow, one of the most brutal Divas matches I've seen in quite some time on WWE television and also one of the best. I really thought The Glamazon was going to win this one after just dominating the champion, but Mickie somehow pulled out a win with a beautiful DDT. Good stuff.

I enjoyed the backstage comedy with DX & Dusty Rhodes. The DVD shilling, Shawn Michaels flipping out over being on top of WWE while WCW was dominating them in the ratings and then The Shockmaster bit were all absolutely hysterical. The Arn Anderson cameo just sent it completely over the top; I'm sure a lot of people watching didn't get the whole bit, but it was good fan service for old folks like me.

Saw it coming a mile away with Dusty Rhodes & Legacy setting up John Cena in the main event, but it really didn't make sense to me. Dusty said "there's nothing a father wouldn't do for his son," really? How does ambushing Cena help Cody Rhodes? I see how it helps Orton, but if I were Cody, I'd want the frigging title match! But just when it looks like it's another case of Legacy being nothing more than Orton's lackey boys, the WWE Champ hits the RKO on Dusty! Cody's conflicted between his father and his mentor and all the sudden the crowd goes BONKERS for the guy. I hate to say it because Cody Rhodes does absolutely nothing for me, but WWE should take note of that, the crowd actually cared about the guy and they were begging for him to kick Orton's ass -- even I was begging for him to kick Orton's ass! As far as I'm concerned, the sooner they end Legacy, the better, so I'm all for this implosion.

A couple minor issues here and there, but nothing that kept this from being a great episode of Monday Night Raw. Good storyline progression, great matches, fun comedy from DX, and an intriguing ending make this one of the best shows in months, if not all of 2009. Definitely interested in next week considering the guest host is BOB BARKER, but I think we'll have to wait and see how that plays out. Personally, I'm hoping for a Price is Right-themed show, where whoever bids closest to the actual retail price on some dining room furniture gets a title shot later in the night.

Poll - Jeff Hardy's Hiatus

First, the results from our previous poll:

Awesome! WWE needs a guy like him - 28%
Terrible! Huge loss for ROH - 0%
Nervous. I hope WWE handles him well - 42%
Who? - 28%

I was a bit surprised by the amount of people who claim to not know who Danielson is, check him out sometime, you won't be disappointed. Not surprised that "Nervous" was the top choice in this poll, as I discussed in the latest episode of Kick-Out!! Radio.

Alright, new poll time! How long do you think Jeff Hardy's hiatus will last? Poll closes on Friday, so get your votes in now!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - August 28, 2009

Despite being the follow-up show from SummerSlam, we all know this Smackdown was only about one thing, Jeff Hardy. More on that in a bit, but let's dive into the show:

CM Punk starts things off with another one of his spectacular promos, running down the crowd, Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker. Here's hoping somewhere down the line, Punk accuses Taker of abusing extra-strength formaldehyde. Jeff Hardy interrupts the champ, they hype up the Steel Cage main event, but Punk proposes they add a Loser Leaves Town stipulation. Not exactly surprising, but the match is on and Teddy Long sanctions it.

Matt Hardy & John Morrison vs. The Hart Dynasty is the first match of the night and it's criminally short considering the participants. I'm enjoying the Matt/Morrison team, again I have to say how awesome their Russian Leg Sweep/Leg sweep combo is. Bummer to see the Hart Dynasty lose so quickly, but there's no shame in losing to these guys. I wouldn't mind seeing Hardy & Morrison get involved in the Unified Tag Title scene, as I think it would be exactly what both guys need to raise their stock as top faces on Smackdown.

Quite an impressive debut for Drew McIntyre, who's been in development for years now, by absolutely dominating R-Truth. I honestly thought this was going to be an R-Truth vs. Local Competitor kind of match, but then McIntyre clocked him with that boot and hit that nasty double-arm DDT, I was pretty surprised. Great way to bring in a new guy and it's nice to see someone new debut somewhere other than ECW.

Michelle McCool cuts a promo and - ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Melina vs. Layla was pretty standard for these two, pretty much what you expect to see every Friday night when it comes to Divas wrestling. Did enjoy watching Melina shove down Michelle McCool though, that was the best thing that's happened in the Women's Division since Night of Champions.

Even though it was one of the best matches they've had against each other (aside from the lame ending), I had a hard time getting into Rey Mysterio vs. Kane because of all the business with Rey's suspension. An unfortunate situation, but hopefully Rey can put it behind him when he returns in October. Still, this match was good, which was a bit surprising considering how many times we've had to watch these two compete in the last year. But COME ON, do we really need to see Kane and Khali continue their feud?! Nice Singapore Cane shots though. And I suppose Dolph Ziggler's ambush after the match will cause Rey Mysterio to bump up their match from Breaking Point out of anger and then drop the title? Seems like the most likely scenario, but I hate to see Dolph have to win the title under these circumstances.

Chris Jericho vs. Shad, which became Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme, wasn't as good as their encounter at SummerSlam, but still rock solid. Jericho & Show have done wonders for Cryme Tyme, but the Blingling Bros. need more teams to work with on Smackdown. There's The Hart Dynasty, maybe Morrison/Hardy, but that's about it. Why not find something for guys that aren't being used like Charlie Haas and Curt Hawkins? Probably wouldn't make much of a splash anywhere, but it'd be something to keep Cryme Tyme from having to work with the Harts or JeriShow every week.

I don't know how it was possible considering the ending was entirely obvious and I had even had it spoiled for me, but the Cage match between Jeff Hardy & CM Punk was somehow very dramatic and very enjoyable. Despite putting their bodies through hell on Sunday, they still went out there and had an engaging, exciting contest, which was the perfect way to write out Jeff Hardy. Seriously, some of those near falls, with Punk barely kicking out, made me wonder if I had been swerved.

After this tremendous match, Jeff gave a great goodbye speech to an emotional crowd, who were all chanting "THANK YOU JEFF!" It was a great moment, spoiled by a sick belt shot on top of the ramp from CM Punk, who taunted the crowd to boo harder. I'm sure a lot of people are upset that Punk stole the moment from Jeff Hardy, but that was absolutely the right call. While Jeff essentially confirmed he'd be back somewhere down the road, Smackdown's not about him anymore, he did the right thing by making CM Punk look like the better man. I'll have more thoughts on Jeff Hardy's departure from WWE in the next few days.

Overall, another good episode of Smackdown, but things are certainly about to change on the brand. With Jeff on an indefinite hiatus and Mysterio suspension, Smackdown is without a top face. Undertaker will definitely fill the void while feuding with Punk, but as always with The Phenom, I assume we'll be on borrowed time. I wouldn't be surprised if this return will only get us through WrestleMania, and he obviously won't be working with Punk that entire time, so who's ready to step up? Matt Hardy makes the most sense, that's why I suggested him and Morrison working with Jericho and Big Show for a little bit, it'll get him back in the groove and working with Jericho is good for anyone's career. Hopefully Matt's time is coming, he's certainly earned it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

WWE Superstars Thoughts - August 27, 2009

Jack Swagger vs. Primo in our opening bout of the evening and it was actually a pretty decent match. Ever since Primo and Carlito split, the younger brother has been really stepping up his game; he's still light on personality, but he's improved leaps and bounds in the ring. I'm surprised Michael Cole didn't say this match was "vintage Swagger," since the All-American American was really showing off his style in this one. Swagger mixes his amateur style with old school pro wrestling incredibly well and while he may have dropped a few rungs since coming to Raw, it's only a matter of time before he's in the main event scene.

I like that after his win, Swagger declared that he was setting his sights on the United States Championship, even if he's honing in on The Miz's territory! Things like this are good though, and it's something I've noticed since Kofi Kingston won the belt, there's actually a United States Title division these days. One of my biggest gripes about undercard titles is it always seems to be a feud between two guys and no one else, why don't more people talk about how they want the US Title, even if they're not feuding with the champ at the time? Little things like that add to the show and make the belts seem like a bigger deal, so I'm glad they seem to be going that route right now.

Hurricane vs. Paul Burchill wasn't as good as their encounter on ECW last week, but holy crap, Burchill won a match! A singles match, no less! Anyone know the last time that happened? I like this mini feud between these two guys, but Hurricane needs a Diva to team up with to take on Paul & Katie Lea. Perhaps Titan Tiffany? What about Mega Maria? Marvelous Melina? Sigh... where's Mighty Molly when you need her?

Dolph Ziggler vs. Finlay vs. Mike Knox was pretty good, but this whole situation is a complete mess due to Rey Mysterio's suspension, the outcome of this one is pretty much pointless. I assume Ziggler will get his opportunity this coming Tuesday, since Mysterio's suspension doesn't go into effect until Wednesday and he'll pick up the title there. Question is, who will Ziggler face at Breaking Point? Mysterio will be back just in time for Hell in a Cell in October and could possibly get his rematch there, but Ziggler's calendar is clear on September 13. I nominate John Morrison and R-Truth, I think a Triple Threat between those three could be really enjoyable.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 13

this week's episode: thoughts on SummerSlam, WWE starting their own cable network, Bryan Danielson joining WWE, the biggest Superstar Spotlight yet and much more!

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

MP3 version - just scroll down to "Recent Episodes" and click the MP3 icon.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

*Note: this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio was recorded before the news of Rey Mysterio's suspension broke. We'll have more on that situation in the coming days here at Kick-Out!! Wrestling.

Rey Mysterio Suspended

Big news from that I have to pass along:

"In accordance with WWE's Wellness Program, effective Wednesday, September 2, Oscar Gutierrez (Rey Mysterio) is suspended for 30 days for a violation of the company’s policy."

Awful news for several reasons: Mysterio just successfully defended the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam, he's scheduled to defend it at Breaking Point, he's one of the few top faces on Smackdown and most saddening, he's one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, especially among young fans. Now of course, it's important to remember that one Wellness Policy violation isn't an indication that someone is being a bad role model; all it takes is one painkiller that you have an expired prescription for and you're out. We don't know the details, so it's not fair to Rey Mysterio or WWE to speculate.

What this means for Smackdown and the IC Title is unknown, but I assume whoever wins in the Dolph Ziggler vs. Finlay vs. Mike Knox match on Superstars tonight will be the next champ.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ECW Thoughts - August 25, 2009

Great opening segment from the Ruthless Round Table (seriously, great call from Striker, I hope they keep that name) and the ECW Champion, Christian. The "Bill" stuff being especially amusing, though I was hoping for a "Billiam." Even Tiffany did a good job on the mic setting things up for the main event. I really like her as ECW GM, she definitely has a different vibe than any other authority figure throughout WWE's history.

Goldust vs. Sheamus again, pretty standard stuff from these two, but things are bound to continue with the double count-out finish. These guys have good chemistry, and I'm sure the whole idea is for Goldust to get Sheamus more acclimated to WWE TV style, but why not vary it up a bit? How about Goldust & Hurricane vs. Sheamus & Burchill or something like that? The constant rematches are getting a bit exhausting.

Tyler Reks & Yoshi Tatsu vs. Shelton Benjamin & Zack Ryder wasn't very enjoyable. The crowd wasn't into it all that much, which I found a bit strange considering how much they've been into Yoshi since he debuted. I think part of it has to be the confusion over whether I'm supposed to be cheering or booing Shelton Benjamin. I thought we were getting a face turn, but he was working particularly aggressive last week against Tyler Reks and now they've got him teaming up with Ryder, but that's who he's feuding with... I don't get it. ECW is short on top level faces and Shelton is much better when he's a good guy, so why the cold feet?

Good stuff in the non-title main event, William Regal vs. Christian. This is the match we should've gotten at SummerSlam, you know... the event people paid $40 to see! Regal winning wasn't surprising, but it's certainly good news, hopefully this means some type of submission match at Breaking Point. It would certainly be a great opportunity to put over the Regal Stretch as one of the most feared holds in wrestling, like it was when he won King of the Ring last year. Speaking of devastating finishers, how nasty was Regal's Knee Trembler tonight? I got a migraine just watching it.

I think this is another week where ECW was carried by one match, but it was such a good match that it's really all that matters. More Christian vs. Regal is certainly good news, but I'd like to see things get shaken up in the undercard. Here's a question I'll pose to you, leave me a comment with your thoughts - does ECW need to resurrect the Television Title?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ring of Honor Thoughts - August 24, 2009

Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. Sami Callihan & Tony Kozina was a decent match to start things off, but I found it odd that they made it so competitive. Steen & Generico are the former tag champs and they have a long-ish match against two guys who were treated as complete jobbers last week? Callihan was merely a pin cushion for Necro Butcher last week and Kozina was the latest victim of the Dark City Fight Club, so I don't see why these two should be any match for Steen & Generico. Loved the finish though, Steen hitting the Package Piledriver and rolling him to Generico for the Brainbuster is a brutal combo.

Roderick Strong says he does his talking in the ring... yeah, judging by that promo, probably a good idea.

D'Lo Brown vs. John Kermon may as well have been D'Lo Brown vs. Local Competitor. I've never heard of Kermon and apparently, neither had D'Lo, who made quick work of the guy. I don't know if I've had a chance to really talk about it since starting Kick-Out!! but I think I should tell you that I'm a huge D'Lo Brown mark. I've loved the guy ever since he had the chest protector and did the Lo Down for the first time. I think D'Lo is one of the most underrated performers of the last decade and if he truly is setting his sights on the ROH World Title, I'll be glued to the television.

The Jerry Lynn/Tyler Black promo was okay, I don't think either one of those guys are ever going to be known for their exceptional mic work, but it did what it needed to do. Lynn's not retiring and he'll be facing Black in two weeks on HDNet in what is sure to be an excellent match. One thing I need to say, can the Ring of Honor fanbase be any more disrespectful towards Jerry Lynn? The guy has busted his ass in wrestling for decades, and when he finally started getting some respect in ECW, the company closed down. He's done some notable things here and there since, but the guy is the very definition of a journeyman and when he finally finds his place in a company like ROH, that should appreciate everything he's done and can still do, the crowd turns on him. In terms of pure wrestling ability, I'm not sure if anybody in Ring of Honor is better than Jerry Lynn, so I just don't get the boos.

Wow, what a main event between Austin Aries & Roderick Strong, these two guys blew the roof off the place. Hot crowd, big drama (even though it was non-title) and outstanding wrestling. I think Austin and Roddy really straddled the line here between indy-style wrestling and mainstream sports entertainment and put on a match that was really something special. I've never really been big on Strong, he's always been solid whenever I've seen him, but he never clicked with me until this match. Also, I'm a sucker for a good chop-fest, it's always fun to show a dude who's practically bleeding from the chest to someone who tells me every facet of wrestling is "fake." Strong & Aries (mostly Strong) tore each other up with those chops, and that's just a small portion of what made this match so good. This match is a must-see for any wrestling fan and perhaps the best I've seen since Ring of Honor's been on HDNet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Raw Thoughts - August 24, 2009

Extreme close-up! Whoooaaaaa! Raw begins with an absurdly close shot of Randy Orton's face... hey I thought it was Raw is War, not Raw is Pores! Randy babbles on about last night, admits that Ted Dibiase's brother Brett - who looks like a huge dork - was the "fan" who attacked the referee. I find it odd that Orton says Brett bought a ticket to see SummerSlam... really, Ted makes his own brother buy his tickets? What a jerk.

Wow, the Vince McMahon Birthday Bash was loooooooooong. I don't think I've seen an awkward segment drag on like this since Mick Foley played "This Is Your Life" with The Rock (still the highest rated wrestling segment of all-time, which is just weird). Anyway, there were some amusing moments in what I assume was a joke on Vince from Triple H & creative, but it really could've been contained to ten or even fifteen minutes. This went on for almost 25% of the entire show! Vince did announce Cena vs. Orton in an I Quit Match at Breaking Point and set up the main event, DX & Vinny Mac vs. Legacy.

The Miz vs. Santino Marella was short and sweet. Some fun spots from Santino, but Miz was all business and ended this one quickly. No sign of Kofi Kingston tonight, but Miz once again put him on notice. I have a feeling that United States gold will be around Miz's waist in about three weeks.

Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes & Alicia Fox vs. Mickie James, Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly up next in "Mayweather Melee," which is a match where the Divas are dressed in boxing attire. Yep, that's pretty much the premise of this whole thing. Alicia Fox (wearing Apollo Creed's shorts), inexplicably picks up the pin over Mickie James. I really hope this doesn't mean Fox is in line for a Diva's Title shot, she's still got a long way to go before she's ready for that.

Okay, the JeriShow/Mayweather segment was awesome. Obviously there's built-in history there with what went down at WM24, so everything gelled perfectly tonight. Jericho was hilarious, Mayweather's entire entrance and persona is ridiculously over the top, and the crowd was ready for whatever was going to go down. Surprisingly, MVP made an appearance and delivered what was undoubtedly his greatest promo ever, going from a dead crowd last night to getting one of the biggest reactions of the evening just 24 hours later. MVP asked if he could beat the champs tonight, could he get a shot at the titles at Breaking Point. Mayweather granted the match and asked who MVP had in mind for a partner... it's Mark Henry!

Mark Henry & MVP vs. Chris Jericho & Big Show
was easily the highlight of the night. Lots of fun here, Jericho & Show continued to demonstrate why they're the best tag team WWE has seen in years. The champs had to take the loss here tonight though and I'm stoked about the prospect of this match on a much bigger stage. Loved the tribute to Mania 24 with Mayweather giving MVP the brass knuckles, very fitting conclusion.
It's funny how quickly you can make the tag division exciting if you just give it some attention... but that's how awesome Chris Jericho is; in just two short months, he saved tag team wrestling in WWE.

Just two more quick tidbits about Jericho's greatness. One - saying Big Show is his friend in that signature delivery of his, hysterical. Two - being carried out on Show's shoulder like the guy who had too much to drink. Can we just make it a permanent thing that Jericho gets to be on every show regardless of whether or not he's a tag champ?

Hey, finally a point to the never-ending Hornswoggle/Chavo Guerrero saga - Evan Bourne! Bourne came to Horny's rescue after Chavo ended their boxing match Roddy Piper style. Mayweather should try that in his upcoming fight. Bourne/Chavo isn't exactly going to light the wrestling world on fire, but it should be a nice little feud to re-establish Bourne on Raw.

DX & Vince McMahon vs. Legacy wasn't all that great, but the crowd was into it and we finally got a John Cena appearance at the end of the show. Loved the Superkick into the Attitude Adjustment, but not as much as I loved watching Randy Orton get pinned by a 64-year-old man in the center of the ring. That's what happens when you cheat, Randy! Also, I don't know what it is, but there's just something about seeing Triple H and Shawn Michaels do the whole DX thing that always makes everything just a bit more entertaining. Probably pure nostalgia, but I can't help it, I'm a total nerd for it.

Looking back, this was actually a pretty terrible Raw, but for some reason, I still enjoyed it. Perhaps it was a "you had to be there" kinda thing. I was having fun watching it, but the only thing that I would say was great television was the whole ordeal with MVP, Mark Henry, Jericho, Big Show, Mayweather, and his entourage, which I think may have been half the population of Vegas. Dude's got a lot of dudes... just sayin. Anyhoo, found it a little odd that they didn't announce a guest host for next week, maybe it'll be a surprise! If it is going to be a mystery guest, I'm guessing it'll be someone from within the world of wrestling, they won't grab mainstream media attention anyway, so why not build some suspense? Here, I'll help next week, Monday Night Raw is in Detroit, why not call up someone who could be considered Mr. Monday Night? Perhaps he could control the whole "Dam" show?

That oughta get the dirtsheets buzzing.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SummerSlam 2009 Review

Live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, it's the 22nd edition of WWE's second biggest event of the year - SummerSlam! I enjoyed the opening bit with DX, funny stuff that was a bit different than WWE's usual sense of humor.

Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship is up first, Rey's always a good way to get the crowd pumped early. I was going into this match expecting to be entertained, but what I got was the sleeper hit of the evening. Seriously, this was the second best match all night, a tremendous opener that far and away exceeded all expectations. Mysterio continued to wrestle like he's ten years younger, as he has all throughout 2009 and Dolph Ziggler looked like a main eventer. I loved the story these two told, Ziggler's increasing frustration was great and it was what turned out to be his downfall when the veteran took advantage. Great spots from the beginning with Rey's beautiful leapfrog moonsault, all the way to the end with the top-rope gutbuster reversed into a Super Hurricanrana. That was old school Rey Mysterio Jr. on display tonight! I know a lot of people are going to be upset that Dolph didn't win, but after a performance like that, he doesn't need the title yet. Refer to the Five Things I wanted to see tonight and see why I think Mysterio retaining is what's best for the Intercontinental Championship.
Predictions: 0-1

Loved the backstage promo from MVP & Jack Swagger, mostly MVP doing all the work, but there was something about that segment that I found really cool. MVP's never been a slouch on the mic and having such an easy target like Swagger to work with makes him sound even better. Shame the awesomeness of the promo couldn't follow them into the ring...

MVP vs. Jack Swagger was a pretty big letdown, mainly because the crowd was dead for it the entire time. Now, we can debate about why the crowd was dead, it certainly didn't help that the match got very little build-up and I bet most people at the show didn't even know it had been added to the card, so WWE definitely has to shoulder some of the blame. That said, it's not like we're dealing with two complete unknowns here and they weren't putting on a bad match, so I don't really get it. No matter the reason, the crowd killed this match, but luckily it was fairly short and MVP got his first PPV win in quite some time.
Predictions: 0-2

Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme... ooh I like the new JeriShow theme, I'm gonna miss the "WEEEEELLLL IT'S THE BIG-BIG-BIG-BIG-BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!" intro, but this one was at least a real song and not just cutting back and forth between the two themes... hell, I can do that. Anyway, once I heard the new theme, it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that they were retaining, you don't go through the trouble of getting a new intro for the guys just to have them lose. Despite the loss, Cryme Tyme looked great tonight, as they should have considering they're one of the few "real" teams left in WWE. The tag gold slips away once again, but when they day comes and Shad & JTG finally get their hands on the belts, it'll be all the more sweet. For now, it's way too soon to end the reign of Jericho & Big Show, these guys are just getting started on their quest to conquer all of WWE.
Predictions: 1-3

Kane vs. The Great Khali was absurdly long considering the participants and some things that happened later that I'll get to shortly. Admittedly, I wasn't paying that close attention to this match because I didn't really care and watching Khali wrestle always makes me uncomfortable... the guy looks like he's going to crumble right there in the middle of the ring! The Punjabi Playboy stuff is amusing, Ranjin Singh is great and Kane can still put on a watchable match when he needs to, but I don't ever need to see these elements in the ring together ever again. Definitely the low point of the night.
Predictions: 2-4

Once again proving the dirtsheets have no clue what they're talking about, DX vs. Legacy did not headline this evening. But before we get into this match, let's talk about the DX entrance... holy hell, that might be the most extravagant thing I've ever seen in professional wrestling. I think they released Eugene so they could pay for all the pyro, the extras and the tank, yeah they came to the ring on a FREAKING TANK! I liked it though, nice tribute to the old DX and the WCW invasion stuff... and of course, they had to use the guns on the tank as a phallic symbol, putting them between their legs as pyro shot out. It's like being at a KISS concert!

Oh yeah, there was an actual match in there too. Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase was way more match than I thought it would be and probably way more match than it should have been. Alright, here's the deal: all the Triple H clich├ęs have to stop after tonight. It's really been over five years since he "buried" anybody, but then he goes out there tonight with Shawn Michaels and they take two guys who aren't even close to their league and they make them look like Superstars. There were points when I actually thought Legacy was going to win, and I would've been furious if that had happened, but that's just how much HHH & HBK put these guys over. Lawler & Cole did a great job on commentary, the look on HBK's face after the match, the fact that the match felt like it was damn near 30 minutes long, it all just made Rhodes & DiBiase look worthwhile. Now, as for the match itself, it wasn't fantastic. In fact, there were some parts where I was downright bored, especially when Legacy were taking a page out of Orton's book and bringing the match to a complete halt. Still, the match did what it needed to do - way more than it needed to do - and while I'm still not sold on Rhodes or DiBiase, they did come out of this one looking stronger than I thought they would.
Predictions: 3-5

Alright, what the hell was that? I spent all week going bonkers over the prospect of William Regal vs. Christian, I begged WWE for 15 minutes and the match lasts all of five seconds. Come on! Look, obviously they were running short on time, I get that sometimes things need to be shifted around, but here's an idea - use that finish for the Kane/Khali match! There's no excuse for that sorry excuse for a match getting more time than the ECW Title, especially when it's two guys as talented and underrated as Christian and William Regal. My only hope is that they get a submission match next month at Breaking Point and tear the house down. At least we got more of the awesomeness that is the Regal/Kozlov/Zeke stable, but I reiterate: COME ON!
Predictions: 4-6

And while I'm fired up, Randy Orton vs. John Cena was seven shades of stupid. Perfectly acceptable wrestling match, but the ending - excuse me, endings - were so bad, my brain started punching the back of my eyes, trying to escape. It was angry at me for watching something so mind-numbingly bad. I have to admit, WWE had me going on the "fan" jumping in the ring, had they not cut back to him being dragged out by security, I'd be sitting here thinking it was legit. But seriously, more Orton shenanigans? Who does this guy think he is, Edge? At least with Edge it made sense, but this is just getting ridiculous and I'm so beyond sick of Orton, it's a chore to even write about him. Obviously this sets up next month's PPV, there can't be any wonky finishes in a submission match, but that still doesn't excuse the nonsense that went on tonight. Talk about overdoing it. Huge thumbs down.
Predictions: 4-7

Okay, now that all the bad stuff is out of the way, let's talk about how friggin' awesome the TLC Match was. I'm just going to come right out and say it: CM Punk & Jeff Hardy are out of their damn minds. The chairshots were sick, the table bumps were rough, the falls off the ladder weren't pretty, that Superplex onto the ladder was absolutely disgusting, and Jeff Hardy doing the Swanton off a 16-foot (at least) high ladder through the ECW announce table was nothing short of terrifying. Even the final shot was brutal, it was just a simple strike, but then Jeff has to fall flat-back off the thing onto one of the least forgiving sections of the ring. These two put their bodies through hell and gave us the perfect conclusion to the best feud of 2009 so far, and I doubt anything else is going to come close. Hats off to CM Punk for becoming a three-time World Heavyweight Champion - wonder how many smarks thought they'd ever be reading that.
Predictions: 5-8

With CM Punk standing tall over Jeff Hardy's prone body, it looks like that's going to do it for this year's Summ -- did the lights just flicker? And now they're completely out. *GONG!* OMG PUNK DON'T LOOK DOWN DUDE! IT'S THE UNDERTAKER! Sorry, I get a bit carried away when The Phenom is around. Taker chokeslams Punk, walks out of the ring, throws tables, ladders and chairs all over the place and then sets the stage on fire! Now that's how you end a PPV! So... freaking... awesome.

Alright, so we get a stellar beginning, a hit & miss middle and an absolutely fantastic ending, so where does that leave us? Rey/Ziggler tore the house down, Tag Title match was good, DX/Legacy was solid and the main event was a Match of the Year contender. Considering that and the fact that most of the bad stuff was forgettable, I'm inclined to give SummerSlam '09 a solid thumbs up. Let me know your thoughts on the event in the comments section, I'd love to get a good conversation going about this one, because it was definitely one of the biggest PPVs of the year.

Five Things I want to see at SummerSlam

As you probably know, every Sunday I usually present the Five Count, it's the five biggest wrestling stories of the week in list form, and we all know how much the internet loves a good list. Anyway, on week's where there's a PPV, the Five Count is preempted for Five Things: five things I'd like to see, but don't necessarily expect will happen. Here are my five things for the 22nd installment of SummerSlam!

5. Christian vs. William Regal given at least 15 minutes
It's probably going to be tough to give these guys much more than ten minutes since the card is pretty full, and we all know Kane vs. Khali need 30 minutes to work with! Seriously though, give these two enough time and we'll have a sleeper hit of the night on our hands. Some involvement from Zeke & Kozlov wouldn't hurt either.

4. Great Khali vs. Kane given less than 5 minutes
I hate to harp on how horrible this is, but seriously, is there anyone that actually wants to watch this match? We already had to suffer through it two years ago at WrestleMania 23, and now they're forcing us to watch it again at SummerSlam? It's one thing to put this on a throwaway PPV, but when guys like Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, John Morrison, The Hart Dynasty, Evan Bourne, Miz, Mark Henry, Finlay, and R-Truth don't get to be on the second biggest show of the year, I have to question WWE's sanity. They're just lucky they're not trying to pull this with a New York crowd, who would boo it out of the building.

3. Rey Mysterio retains
I predicted Dolph Ziggler to win, but after watching Smackdown, I'm not so sure. I want Rey to win because he's making the Intercontinental Title seem like a big deal, whereas if he loses, the Intercontinental Title will be making Dolph Ziggler seem like a big deal. The IC Title's had its ups and downs over the years, but there was a time when the belt was almost as prestigious as the WWE Title. When guys like Hogan and Warrior were the torchbearers for WWE, the Intercontinental Title was the belt for the workhorses. Guys like Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Perfect, Rick Rude, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were putting on the best matches on the card when they held the title, and Mysterio's been doing a great job of restoring that prestige. I've got nothing against Dolph Ziggler, but Rey's really redefined the role of the Intercontinental Championship and I'd like for that to continue.

2. DX schools Legacy
Alright, I know I've made it pretty obvious, but let me just come right and say it - Rhodes & DiBiase suck. They bore me to tears, they haven't done a single interesting thing since aligning with Randy Orton and their sole purpose seems to be to ruin interesting matches. Hopefully that all comes to an end here tonight when they step in the ring with two bonafide legends, Triple H & Shawn Michaels. We all know this match is likely going to be a squash, but that doesn't mean Legacy can't step up their game (no pun intended). This is their chance, they are in a main event caliber match at the second biggest PPV of the year, against two of the greatest in the industry, if they can't do something to make me care about them tonight, I'm wondering if they ever will.

1. TLC headlines
A lot of rumors circulating that the DX/Legacy match could go on last, and that would be just plain lame. I know, DX is a big deal and Shawn's first match since SummerSlam is huge news, but it's a non-title tag match featuring Legacy, that's not a headliner. Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk in a TLC match? Now THAT'S a main event! I understand the logic behind wanting to send the fans home happy, and if the plan is for Punk to win, a lot of people will be bummed. But as I've mentioned in the past, WWE needs to learn their lesson from WrestleMania - some matches just can't be followed. Triple H vs. Randy Orton certainly couldn't follow Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels and DX vs. Legacy can't follow a freakin' TLC match for the World Title, the crowd will be exhausted. Luckily, this rumor is just coming from the dirtsheets, who are generally wrong about everything anyway, so I'm not too concerned.

And finally, time for you to weigh in. Here are the results from our SummerSlam poll:

DX vs. Legacy (hopefully still a non-main event) - 18%
Christian vs. William Regal - 45%
Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Cryme Tyme - 10%
Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler - 13%
Jack Swagger vs. MVP - 8%
Kane vs. The Great Khali - 2% (very funny)

Thanks for your votes, I think the right match won, but only time will tell. Make sure to check back at Kick-Out!! Wrestling after the PPV for my full review of SummerSlam 2009!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - August 21, 2009

I have a feeling we're going to be light on the in-ring action this week when there are two six-man tags scheduled. Smackdown opens with Rey Mysterio & Cryme Tyme vs. Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho & The Big Show, and it was a hell of a start. Great back and forth action, fired up crowd, helped sell two big SummerSlam matches, not much more you can ask for in a match like this, especially when you're getting more Jericho/Mysterio. Loved the match, loved the finish, but Ziggler stealing the win makes me reconsider my prediction that he'll be IC Champion come Sunday.

While it was short, I enjoyed the Matt Hardy interview. He basically said turning on Jeff was the biggest mistake of his life and that Jeff is the bigger man for forgiving him. The Hardys ride again!

Kane's evil, we get it. Great Khali is seeking to avenge Ranjin Singh, who is now inexplicably Khali's brother. I really hope this all ends after SummerSlam.

Mike Knox gets an old-school picture-in-picture promo during his entrance, and just to make this character even weirder, he's wearing glasses and has his beard in a ponytail. I love this whole push to make Knox seem "well-educated" because he talked about human anatomy last week, and now they're selling it by making him wear glasses. Straight from the Michael Bay School of Character Development, WWE is telling us that glasses = smart. Match with Finlay was okay - nothing special - and a lame DQ finish didn't help. I'm not really a fan of Knox, but I do like that he's getting a push because just about a month ago, he was supposedly in the mythical WWE "doghouse" and was on the verge of being released. Oh bad wrestling websites, you're a never-ending source of hilarious misinformation.

Liked the Jeff Hardy TLC promo, even if it was pretty similar to the Cutting Edge segment before Extreme Rules.
Jeff continues to have his own unique promo style, I know some people don't dig it and he can be a bit out there at times, but it really sets him apart from the typical WWE mic work. CM Punk got some great one-liners in there like "you're pretty high" when Jeff was on the ladder, "you're probably drunk right now," and of course, the infamous "straight-edge means I'm better than you." Don't think it's possible for me to be anymore excited about this match than I already am, but this was nice way to hype the match up one last time.

Maria & Melina vs. Layla & Natalya was what it was. I drifted off a couple times while watching it because Michelle McCool was doing commentary, but at least Natalya got to see a little (emphasis on little) in-ring action. Thumbs down on Natalya taking the loss though, way lame... I want to see her taking heads off again!

John Morrison & The Hardys vs. CM Punk & The Hart Dynasty is your main event of the evening. Nice touch with Matt & Jeff coming out to the old school Hardy theme and
loved the chemistry in this match with the Morrison/Hardys team, that legsweep/Russian legsweep combo was slick. Match was a perfect "go-home" main event before SummerSlam, and Matt Hardy pinning CM Punk foreshadows what the World Title feud on Smackdown will be, assuming Punk wins tomorrow night.

Four matches is not much for a two-hour show, especially when Superstars had four (albeit, shorter) matches just 24 hours beforehand. It's understandable considering twelve of the biggest names on the brand were in two matches and everything did its job, getting us hyped up for the PPV. They may have thrown the undercard together at the last minute, but I'm definitely excited for tomorrow. Seeing as how Punk and Hardy have put on the feud of 2009, the TLC match alone is worth $40, but I have a feeling all of WWE will bring the A-game to the Staples Center for the second biggest show of the year.

SummerSlam Predictions

Goliath vs. Goliath
Kane vs. The Great Khali
I'm really not excited about this match in the slightest. The feud made no sense when it started and it makes no sense now. As WWE continues to shift towards presenting the product as more of a legit sport, characters like Kane become more and more one-dimensional. Why is he doing all this to Khali, why's he kidnapping Ranjin Singh? I guess we're just supposed to assume it's all because he's EVIL! Anyway, I'll say Kane wins because he's due for his regularly scheduled PPV win for no apparent reason.

Grudge Match
Jack Swagger vs. MVP
Tough call on this one since the feud has barely gotten started, even though it's been going on for over a month. Swagger's a breakout star waiting to happen, but MVP desperately needs a win; after having tons of momentum in his move to Raw, he's completely stalled out. I'll say feud doesn't end here, Jack Swagger picks up the victory through some shenanigans and they have a rematch at Breaking Point.

Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio © vs. Dolph Ziggler

I could see this one going either way since Rey has been doing wonders for the Intercontinental Title, but I'm fairly confident Dolph Ziggler will walk out as champ. But honestly, as great as Ziggler's been lately, I'm actually pulling for Mysterio in this one. As I said, Rey's great as champ, he deserves to move up into the main event scene, but I think things are going to get a little crowded soon, so why not let him hang onto the belt a little longer? The last time someone held the IC Title for more than six months was Shelton Benjamin way back in 2005. Let Rey get that kind of run and have him go down as one of the greatest IC Champions in history.

Unified Tag Team Championship
Chris Jericho & Big Show © vs. Cryme Tyme
Pop quiz: when's the last time Cryme Tyme had a match on PPV? Was it last year's Survivor Series when they were on Team HBK? I don't remember anything since then. This is definitely Cryme Tyme's biggest PPV match ever, it's been built extremely well, but I don't think they're going to be walking out with the tag titles, which have eluded them for years now. Jericho & Big Show pick up the win and continue their dominance over all WWE brands... which reminds me, when are we going to get to see them make an ECW appearance?

ECW Championship
Christian © vs. William Regal

This is my pick in the latest Kick-Out!! Poll, I can't wait to see these two lock up on PPV. The addition of Vladimir Kozlov & Ezekiel Jackson as Regal's running buddies makes this one a tough one to decide. I could definitely see the odds being too stacked against the ECW Champion and Regal walks out with the gold, but I also think it's too soon for Captain Charisma to drop the belt. I think Christian manages to get his hand raised, but this feud will be far from over. A submission match between these two at Breaking Point would be a great rematch, WWE already listened to my begging and gave us this feud, so hopefully they'll do it again next month.

DX vs. Legacy
Triple H & Shawn Michaels vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
The only mystery about this match is whether or not Legacy will be stuffed into a crate that says "Mail to: FCW - Tampa, FL" when it's over. Rhodes & DiBiase got their licks in on Monday, and that's the most dominant they'll look in this whole feud. HBK & HHH wipe the floor with these two and move onto other things... perhaps the Unified Tag Titles?

WWE Championship
Randy Orton © vs. John Cena
Not sure who's going to win this one, but I really REALLY want John Cena to win, so he's my pick. These two are an interesting dichotomy in WWE: Randy Orton is much more interesting without a title and John Cena is much more interesting with one. We all know I have my issues with Randy Orton, but it's not like I think the guy is incapable of great things; and we all know I love John Cena, but he hasn't really been all that impressive as of late. I think the problem is their roles are reversed - Orton should be chasing a title and Cena should be the top dog. Cena's at his best when he's in a big match situation, as WWE Champion, he knows how to make every match feel just a little bit bigger - he even made Khali watchable! Orton is at his best when he's going after something, not when he already has it. Orton's reign can be summed up as this "I'm WWE Champion and you can't do anything about it," then he gets his ass handed to him in every match until Legacy interferes. Get the belt on Cena and I think a lot of Raw's problems can be turned around.

TLC Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Jeff Hardy © vs. CM Punk

This year, there have been two matches in WWE that have really stood out as something even bigger than Match of the Year candidates: Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania and Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio at The Bash. If all goes well, we could be adding this match to that very short list on Sunday night. This has been the greatest feud of 2009 and it all culminates in this match, which is sure to be absolutely phenomenal. I'll take CM Punk to win here and if Jeff Hardy is indeed taking a break from WWE, it will solidify Punk's status as the biggest heel in pro wrestling today. And how crazy is it that after SummerSlam, we could be referring to CM Punk as a three-time World Heavyweight Champion?

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 SummerSlam!

Friday, August 21, 2009

WWE Superstars Giveaway Trivia!

If you read the official announcement of our Giveaway*, you should be good to go. Here's the deal, all you have to do is e-mail me - - with the correct answer to the trivia question and you could receive WWE Superstars merchandise courtesy of our friends at WGN America! Here's the question:

What is the name of the move that R-Truth used to defeat Charlie Haas on the last night's episode of WWE Superstars?

*Entry rules:
-Readers will enter giveaway by e-mail and must include:
1. Answer
2. Email address
-Giveaway recipients are limited to those residing within the United States only
-Giveaway will conclude 48hrs after date of post
-Giveaway will consist of (3) WWE Superstars hard plastic water bottles with carrying case subject to availability. Product may be substituted with another giveaway item.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Poll - SummerSlam Excitement

First, the results from our previous poll:

TLC 1: 2000 - 15%
Rock vs. Angle vs. HHH: 2000 - 9%
RVD vs. Jeff Hardy: 2001 - 6%
Shawn Michaels vs. HHH: 2002 - 40%
Elimination Chamber: 2003 - 0%
Hulk Hogan vs. Shawn Michaels: 2005 - 3%
Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley: 2006 - 9%
Undertaker vs. Edge: 2008 - 9%
Other - 6% (Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin 2001)

Wow, no love for the Elimination Chamber? No surprise on HHH/HBK though, who can forget that match? HBK comes back after four years away from the ring, many thought he'd never compete again, but then he returns for "one match" (hahaha) and steals the show. Of course, "one match" turned into seven years, but we're glad to have you back, HBK!

New poll! Which non-main event match are you most excited about at this year's SummerSlam? Poll closes Sunday before the PPV, so get those votes in now!

WWE Superstars Thoughts - August 20, 2009

Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly kicks things off on WGN America and these two put on one hell of a match. It wasn't just good for a Divas match, it was a flat-out good match. Kelly's improved leaps and bounds since her debut, The Glamazon is the best female wrestler in the company and these two have great chemistry whenever they lock up in the ring. Kelly gave it her all, even looked like she had it won a couple times during the match, but no one kicks out of the Glam Slam! WWE, anytime you want to put Beth Phoenix against Mickie James, I won't complain.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Tyler Reks was a little odd, I thought Shelton turned face? You certainly wouldn't know it by watching this match, the Gold Standard was especially aggressive; he hit a big German Suplex, busted out the Dragon Whip and finished off the newcomer with Paydirt. Despite the loss, this was easily Reks' best outing since coming up to the ECW roster, he was working at a much faster pace and utilizing some hard-hitting moves, but I'm still not sold on the guy just yet. Shelton was fantastic though, face or heel, the guy deserves to be in the ECW Title division.

R-Truth vs. Charlie Haas was very short, but had some memorable moments. Weird to see Haas in long tights - that's a rare attire switch in WWE for someone to go from trunks to tights, but it worked for him. Also, that reversal out of Truth's attempted wheelbarrow bulldog was just plain BRUTAL! Nasty kick to face near the end of the match too, but you don't win the match on points and it was R-Truth who picked up the 1-2-3.

Chris Masters vs. Mark Henry wasn't exactly good, but it was better than I had anticipated until the lame finish. Makes sense, they're not going to have Masters get crushed after just coming back a couple weeks ago, but it's rare to find a match that's made more enjoyable due to a count-out. That said, they might be onto something - intentional or not - when it comes to all these guys running away from Mark Henry. Cody Rhodes, Chris Jericho and now Chris Masters have all preferred to take a count-out than deal with the World's Strongest Man, I could see potential in that continuing. What would be really cool would be to get him in a WWE Title match with someone like Orton and he runs away, then a match is made for a PPV where if Orton gets counted out, he loses the title. Or, a good ol' Lumberjack Match - a real one, not this handpicked stuff that we've seen on Raw lately. Just a thought.

Once again, Superstars is the place to be if you're looking for a no-frills wrestling show. Light on story, heavy on action, it's the perfect complement to the normal programming. Matches were a little short for my liking this week, but that's because we got four instead of the usual three. By the way, don't forget to stop by Kick-Out!! first thing tomorrow morning for your chance to be a part of our Superstars Giveaway with WGN America! The trivia question will be related to tonight's edition of Superstars, so I hope you studied.

WWE Superstars Giveaway!

As announced on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, we're teaming up with WGN America to give YOU free WWE merch!

All you have to do is watch tonight's episode of WWE Superstars on WGN America at 8pm est./8pm pst. and then come to Kick-Out!! Wrestling on Friday morning for a trivia question related to the show. Three randomly selected contestants who email me - - with the correct answer will receive the giveaway* courtesy of our friends at WGN America!

So make sure you catch tonight's WWE Superstars and visit for your chance to win!

*Entry rules:
-Readers will enter giveaway by e-mail and must include:
1. Answer
2. Email address
-Giveaway recipients are limited to those residing within the United States only
-Giveaway will conclude 48hrs after date of post
-Giveaway will consist of (3) WWE Superstars hard plastic water bottles with carrying case subject to availability. Product may be substituted with another giveaway item.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 12

In Episode 12, Razor discusses Kurt Angle's arrest, Ring of Honor's move to Monday nights, SummerSlam and Carlito is in the Superstar Spotlight! Also, a major announcement regarding WWE Superstars on WGN America and how YOU can win fabulous prizes. More details on that coming soon.

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

MP3 version - just scroll down to "Recent Episodes" and click the MP3 icon.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

ECW Thoughts - August 18, 2009

Paul Burchill vs. The Hurricane starts things off on SyFy, complete with Hurricane's new, even more over the top entrance. Solid match between these two, loved the bit with Hurricane posing and Burchill screaming "OH COME ON!" in disgust, absolutely hilarious. Great to see Helms back in the ring and I hope it isn't long before he finds himself in the ECW Championship picture. Hurricane unsurprisingly picks up the win, but Burchill continues to put on a good showing in the ring, I hope WWE notices his hard work.

New backstage interviewer, Courtney Taylor, debuts; is she the one rumored to be taking over for Lillian Garcia? Tommy Dreamer is her first guest, but the interview is cut short when William Regal & Vladimir Kozlov attack. The main event was supposed to be Kozlov & Regal vs. Dreamer & Christian, but after the assault, that's out the window.

The Abraham Washington Show is back to sucking the life out of ECW. After being tolerable for a couple weeks, tonight's episode was a complete waste of time and accomplished absolutely nothing. I love Goldust and Sheamus is one of my favorite new Superstars, but this segment went on way too long and didn't need Abe hanging around being annoying.

Zack Ryder vs. Yoshi Tatsu was alright, the lame finish certainly didn't help anything. Both these guys have been catching on in ECW, and maybe if they had a little more time to work with, this match would've been a bit more memorable.

Vladimir Kozlov & William Regal vs. Christian & ...EZEKIEL JACKSON! Oh hell yes! Finally some direction in the Kozlov/Jackson feud - OMG Jackson turned on Christian! He's teaming with Regal & Kozlov? PLEASE tell me this is going to be a proper stable, because these three guys tearing through ECW would be nothing short of heeltastic goodness... and yes I just made that word up. I have to admit, I was completely taken by surprise with Zeke turning, I figured they were going to go the route of him and Kozlov feuding and ECW would have another top face since it's usually dominated by heels. But this was one of those moments where being wrong turned out to be awesome, I cannot wait to see what WWE has in store for these three, even if they are total jerks who beat up Captain Charisma.

Light on the wrestling this week, but it's one of those times when you can just let it go because of the awesome storyline development. It was officially announced earlier today that William Regal will be taking on Christian at SummerSlam for the ECW Title, which I've been begging for, but the addition of the two monsters just makes it all the more interesting. It may seem strange, but a last-minute addition to the PPV from the ECW brand might actually be the boiling point for my SummerSlam excitement. Definitely my pick for match I'm most excited about that doesn't involve tables, ladders and chairs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ring of Honor Thoughts - August 17, 2009

This is my first ROH review on Kick-Out!! Wrestling, but with the big shift to Monday nights before Raw, it makes it a lot easier for me to watch the show and get a review posted in a timely manner. Working on Tuesday afternoon is a lot easier than the weekend, especially when I'm already so busy with Smackdown reviews, new polls, The Five Count and monthly PPVs. But now that the show is in a great timeslot, expect weekly reviews for the best-kept secret in pro wrestling, Ring of Honor on HDNet!

Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Edwards kicks things off, and these two ignore the Code of Honor and go straight at each other! Their respective partners, El Generico & Davey Richards, have been banned from ringside as well. Good old-school brawl here, lots of hard-hitting shots, specifically Edwards repeatedly tossing Steen into the barricade and Steen's devastating Pumphandle Neckbreaker. Ow. Steen pulled out the victory after hitting the Swanton Bomb and I have to give this match a big thumbs up. One of my biggest complaints with ROH on HDNet is the fact that I rarely get the feeling that it's building up to anything. Since there are no more PPVs, all of the big stuff happens at ROH live events and then you have to wait for the DVD if you want to actually see it. But with the Generico & Steen/American Wolves feud, I don't really get that vibe since most of it has played out on television. Aside from Tyler Black's quest for the ROH World Title, this is probably the best built storyline on the show.

Up In Smoke vs. Sal Rinauro & Tony Kozina was an amusing comedy match. Kozina constantly getting hit was very funny and Cheech & Cloudy are always good for a laugh, even if Cloudy does look like a 12-year-old boy. The fun came to a screeching halt when The Dark City Fight Club came in and cleared house, causing what I assume was a no-contest. Rare to see on HDNet, but really, who's going to tell those two guys what to do? Chavis & Davis are probably the most underrated performers in ROH today - they have the look, they're incredibly intimidating, and watching them demolish people never gets old.

Sami Callahan vs. The Necro Butcher probably isn't going to make it on anyone's Match of the Month ballot, but it was a Necro Butcher match and the crowd was very into it. I've never really been sold on Callahan, I don't think you get to call yourself "The New Horror" when your name is Sami, but when you're willing to put Necro Butcher's foot in your mouth, I guess I can let it slide. The post-match stuff with Colt Cabana was great, I have no idea why WWE let him go, his mic work is nothing short of superb. While I haven't exactly gotten into this feud with The Embassy, I think the elimination-style 8-man tag will be enjoyable.

Seriously, how awesome is Austin Aries? Another fantastic promo from the ROH World Champion and with personality like this, I have to wonder if WWE's ever going to try to scoop him up.

Nigel McGuinness vs. Tyler Black close things out in the main event; unsurprisingly a good match considering the participants. Like most ROH main events, this one started off slow and gradually got more and more intense, but the crowd was into it the entire time. Glad to see Nigel back on HDNet, in my opinion he is the greatest all-around performer in Ring of Honor today. Tyler Black has continued to impress on an almost weekly basis, every time I see him, he seems to be better than the last. Combine that with huge victories like this and it's no wonder why he's on the fast track toward the World Title.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Raw Thoughts - August 17, 2009

When it was first announced that Freddie Prinze Jr. would be hosting Raw, I figured he'd get booed out of the building, but surprisingly, the crowd was into him. It doesn't hurt that he's a huge fan and as a result, didn't make any flubs. Honestly, I thought the guy did a great job in the opening segment, the stuff with Santino was amusing, even if it did go on a bit long, but I nearly did a spit take when he called Prinze's wife "The Werewolf Killer." The verbal battle with Randy Orton worked well, but I had a hard time buying Prinze as a badass when he stood up to Orton. And really, what's up with un-badass guys like Freddie Prinze Jr. and Ricky Schroeder showing up on 24? No offense Freddie, but I probably would've found Sarah Michelle Gellar standing up to Orton to be more believable, but that's just because I'm a Buffy mark. Kudos to Prinze though for taking Orton's nasty backbreaker and the whole ordeal set up the evening nicely, so no complaints about anything here.

Kofi Kingston vs. Carlito was a damn good match, but I'm disappointed WWE didn't hold off until SummerSlam on this one. Yeah, they would've only gotten one show to hype it up, but I'd certainly rather see this than Kane vs. Khali, which was added earlier today. Gripes aside, glad to see these two put on a good bout and I'm thrilled that Kofi retained. He's been great in his run with the US Title and the belt's prestige continues to grow while it's around his waist. Also, what's up with Rosa Mendes being in Carlito's corner?

Of course, I'm glad Kofi retained so he can keep the belt warm for... The Miz! Miz is the latest WWE Superstar to fall victim to the trunks conversion and he looks very bizarre in the new getup. But as Miz said, "new look, same mouth" and he promised to take the United States Championship from Kofi Kingston. I'm all for that considering he's The Miz and he's AWESOME. Good match with Evan Bourne as well, nothing that's going to get everyone talking, but a rock solid TV match that puts over Miz's turnaround after being fired just two weeks ago. Not a fan of the "Skull-crushing Finale" as a name for Miz's finisher, because all I will ever think when I hear it is this song. Would like to see Bourne doing more on Raw, especially considering he holds a clean win over the US Champ, but hopefully it's just a case of him being put on the waiting list, rather than creative having nothing for him.

Loved the DX montage, surprised they showed so much from the New Age Outlaws/X-Pac days. DX's return was a lot of fun, there's just something special about experiencing that entrance live, I can't blame the St. Louis crowd for going bonkers for it. Of course, Legacy had to ruin our nostalgia trip by attacking Triple H and Shawn Michaels and leaving them down in the center of the ring. Glad to see Randy Orton's been teaching them how to ruin the fun. It puts some heat on the match at SummerSlam, but really, if you think Rhodes & DiBiase have a chance of winning this match, I'll have whatever you're drinking. These guys will be lucky if they don't leave the arena on Sunday in a crate ala the Spirit Squad.

Mickie James vs. Gail Kim for the Diva's Championship started off great, but that horrendous botched ending completely killed it. Cole and King did a good job trying to sell it as Gail blocking Mickie's DDT, but the two competitors didn't improvise as quickly and finished the match with Mickie hitting a forearm shot. I'm not the kind of person that likes to point out screw-ups in the ring, but this one was just too obvious to not mention. You could see it in Mickie's eyes that she was upset with the finish, but hopefully these two will get a second chance to make up for this one in the near future.

Blink and you missed Jack Swagger vs. MVP, which was a complete waste of time. I assume they were running short on time and that's why neither guy got an entrance and they went with the quick DQ. I have to get this one nitpicky thing off my chest, can we slow down on the whole DQing someone for attacking their opponent in the corner? I feel like it's their go-to spot lately, and while it's nice to see a ref's five count get enforced once in awhile, there's plenty of other ways to disqualify somebody.

Breaking news just in as I write this, Swagger vs. MVP has been added to SummerSlam! Glad to hear it, I've been practically campaigning for this feud to get a PPV match.

So Swagger & MVP get about 60 seconds, but we still have time for another Hornswoggle vs. Chavo Guerrero match? This time it's Falls Count Anywhere and I was ready to really lay into this one, but then Chavo gets hit with a swinging paint can backstage and it turns out MacCaulay Culkin set it up! Yes, the real MacCaulay Culkin hit Chavo Guerrero in the face with a can of paint, Home Alone style. Only in wrestling. And intentional or not, I'm taking that as WWE's tribute to John Hughes.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather is in charge next week in Las Vegas! Raw Roulette seems likely, but I'm much more interested in the inevitable Mayweather/Big Show confrontation.

Randy Orton & John Cena vs. Chris Jericho & Big Show became a Lumberjack Match when Freddie Prinze Jr. sent down his handpicked lumberjacks to take out Randy Orton. Turnabout's fair play since Orton manipulated Jeremy Piven two weeks ago, but these lumberjacks didn't exactly get revenge for Freddie. In fact, they beat up Chris Jericho and cheered Orton on when he was trying to make a tag for Cena. There was one moment when Mark Henry tossed Orton back in with a press slam through the ropes, but that was about it. Bizarre match ending with Cena picking up the victory by pinning Jericho (ugh), then getting hit with the RKO (ugh, ugh) and then getting up and tossing both Jericho and Big Show out of the ring (ugh³). You know I'm a huge Cena fan, but WWE is really going overboard with the Superman shtick as of late. I know he's awesome and unstoppable, but it's getting to the point where I'm just going to be annoyed if Orton retains on Sunday. DX will likely take care of Legacy, so without his running buddies, there's no way Orton should be walking out as champ, Cena steamrolling him is really the only believable outcome at this point.

Overall, I'd say a great first hour and an okay second made for a mostly enjoyable Raw. Still not exactly excited for Raw's portion of SummerSlam, but considering the participants and the fact that they added Swagger vs. MVP, I'm confident WWE will deliver. Next week's Raw has major potential as well,
WrestleMania 24 was one of the greatest celebrity/wrestling crossovers in history, so I can't wait to see if Mayweather can go two-for-two.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Five Count - August 16, 2009

5. The Hart Dynasty comes home
There's always something special about WWE trips to Canada, or "Bizarro World" as Jerry Lawler likes to call it. The highlight of this tour has to be the massive reactions for The Hart Dynasty. David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Natalya Neidhart have been awesome since the formation of their group, but this was their defining moment so far, they can
even claim a victory over the World Heavyweight Champion. Thanks to the awesome reaction in their home country, The Hart Dynasty has officially arrived.

4. Zack Ryder vs. Shelton Benjamin
Was a bit too short for my tastes, but in terms of TV matches, this was one of the best from ECW all year. Shelton Benjamin's face turn is long overdue and Zack Ryder is on the cusp of being the next big heel on Tuesday nights, so seeing these two lock up and exceed expectations is definitely going to earn them a spot on this week's list.

3. Because I'm The Miz and I'm... CANADIAN?
Oh Miz, are there any limits to your awesomeness? Just a week after getting utterly decimated by John Cena, despite having a dozen guys as back-up, WWE quickly erased Miz's "banning" and brought him back to Raw. Miz won his contract back by disguising himself as The Calgary Kid and defeating Eugene, who apparently took Miz's place on the unemployment line. Here's a fun recap of that turn of events: Eugene is legitimately rehired by WWE, Miz is fake fired by WWE, Eugene makes his TV debut a week later and loses a contract match to Miz, then Eugene is fired for real. Only in wrestling.

2. CM Punk vs. John Morrison
What more can I say about this match that I didn't say in my Smackdown review? In one match, CM Punk showed us why he is the top heel in the industry today. One simple elbow shot after the three count is all it really needed, but singling out that one moment would downplay the rest of Punk's brilliant performance. Morrison was no slouch in this match either, showcasing why he deserves his inevitable placement in the main event scene. Fantastic match and undoubtedly a candidate for August's Match of the Month.

1. Angle Slammer
Well, there's no question about what was the biggest story in professional wrestling this week, the arrest of TNA World Champion, Kurt Angle. I don't want to speculate on anything involving this case, but here are the facts as they've been presented to me: Angle's girlfriend had filed a restraining order, Angle violated it, police came onto the scene and realized he was driving on a suspended license and upon searching his car, they discovered Human Growth Hormone. Now, Angle claims he has a prescription for the HGH (which is entirely possible), but with the mainstream sports media picking up on the story and Kurt barely being out of jail for 24 hours, I would hope TNA would be wise enough to keep him off tonight's PPV. He is scheduled to defend the title against Sting and Matt Morgan, but I think the best course of action at this point would be to vacate the belt, have AJ Styles fill Angle's spot and crown a new champion tonight. We'll see how TNA handles the situation in just a few hours and I'm sure they realize the eyes of the wrestling world are watching very closely.

Poll - SummerSlam '00s

First, the results from our previous poll:

TLC 1: SummerSlam 2000 - 6%
TLC 2: WrestleMania 17 - 63%
TLC 3: Smackdown 2001 - 9%
TLC 4: Raw 2002 - 6%
Edge vs. Ric Flair: Raw 2006 - 4%
John Cena vs. Edge: Unforgiven 2006 - 0%
Edge vs. Undertaker: One Night Stand 2008 - 9%

Really, no votes for Cena/Edge? That was a defining moment for both of those guys, but obviously it's hard to compete with a match that garnered a whopping 63% of the final vote. There's no doubt TLC 2 at WM17 featuring Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz, is one of the most memorable matches in not just WrestleMania history, but WWE history as well. We'll see if CM Punk and Jeff Hardy can create those kind of memories in just seven days.

Since it is SummerSlam time, that brings us to our New Poll: What is your favorite SummerSlam match of this decade? Poll will close Thursday, so make sure you get your vote in! And if you select "Other," let me know in the comments section which match you're voting for.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - August 14, 2009

Well, I'm never going to complain when CM Punk opens a show, so Smackdown's already off to a great start. Punk deviates from his usual talking points and instead of telling the audience to live a clean lifestyle, he wants to show them at SummerSlam by "ending" Jeff Hardy. Sounds like foreshadowing to me. T-Lo makes an appearance to scold Punk and an injured Jeff Hardy arrives and tells Punk that he's "in his face" and that's really about it. A bit of an awkward exchange there at the end, way too abrupt.

After the break, Vince McMahon calls Teddy Long and orders him to put Jeff Hardy in action against The Hart Dynasty later tonight. Well that's not very nice at all!

Dolph Ziggler vs. Finlay was a good, hard-hitting match - that running boot Ziggler hit on the apron was the greatest thing I've seen him do since his debut when he kicked Batista in the face. Finlay was as good as he always is, looking like the toughest SOB in the business while simultaneously making his young opponent look like a million bucks. Mike Knox interferes in the contest, hitting Finlay with the
Shillelagh and allowing Ziggler to hit the Formal Introduction for the win. Seriously they've got to come up with a name for that move besides "Jumping Reverse Bulldog." After the match, Knox assaults Finlay and cuts an absolutely bizarre promo about how the slightest trauma on the cervical vertebrae can cause extreme discomfort. That's weird enough, but Knox's voice, which doesn't match his appearance at all, is just the icing on the crazy cake.

The Kane/Ranjin Singh hostage videos might be the dumbest thing WWE does all year. I hate stuff like this because even in the ridiculous world of pro wrestling, it takes it to a whole new level of absurd. It's completely unbelievable and painfully lame.

CM Punk vs. John Morrison was simply amazing. They've already had two Match of the Month contenders and then they go out and top them both with this outing. The match had everything a wrestling fan needs: two highly talented performers, a great story and even better in-ring action. The evolution of CM Punk over the last two months culminated in this bout; we've seen him snap and attack people after matches or when he's frustrated, but in this contest, we saw pure aggression. The final sequence of the match, with Morrison in the Tree of Woe position while Punk throws a series of knee strikes, lifts him up for the GTS (with that evil look on his face) and then that final elbow after the ref had counted the three was absolute heel perfection. This is it friends, you're looking at the best heel in the business right now, CM Punk.

Melina vs. Layla seemed pretty long for a Diva's match. Not too bad either, Layla's proven herself to be more than capable and Melina's always solid. Still, that does change the fact that Smackdown's Women's Division is the glaring weak point of an otherwise tremendous brand.

Good promo from Cryme Tyme, I don't think these guys get enough credit for the mic work. JTG vs. Big Show wasn't anything special, but with Jericho on commentary and the confusion at ringside, it was a fairly enjoyable segment. I'm struggling to think of a better-promoted tag team match in WWE in the last few years not involving a "mystery partner" angle, than this one. Even though it probably won't be the best match of the night and it's fairly likely that JeriShow will win, I'm legitimately excited about seeing these two teams lock up at SummerSlam.

Jeff Hardy vs. The Hart Dynasty was good for a handicap match, but I question the logic behind presenting the Champ as the sympathetic face in this equation when he's going up against The Harts... in Alberta, Canada! Much like Thursday night on Superstars, the crowd was solidly behind their hometown heroes, but thankfully they weren't booing Jeff Hardy either. It was one of those rare moments when the crowd just cheers for everything, which is pretty cool and it worked for this match. I was honestly surprised that The Harts picked up the clean win and I LOVE their new take on the Hart Attack with Tyson hitting a springboard version of the clothesline instead of simply running off the ropes.

But the show wasn't over there, CM Punk rushes the ring after the match and viciously attacks Hardy for the third week in a row. John Morrison tries to make the save, but is overwhelmed by The Hart, who he's been dealing with for the last few weeks. It's total bedlam at ringside, but just before Punk can attack Jeff with a steel chair, Matt Hardy makes the save!? Matt cleans house and helps his brother get to his feet! T-Lo and Vinny Mac are backstage, and we've got ourselves a six-man tag next week: The Hart Dynasty & CM Punk vs. The Hardyz & John Morrison... yes please!

Okay, so it would appear Matt Hardy is turning face, to that I say good. I'm sure a lot of people (myself included) will wonder why the Hardy brothers are reuniting after Matt pretty much tried to kill Jeff on multiple occasions, but to that I say, let's just forget about it. The Hardy feud was just plain bad and the sooner we can put it behind us, the better Smackdown will be for it. Plus, if Jeff is taking time off, I can't think of anyone better to take his place than his own flesh and blood. Matt Hardy vs. CM Punk for the World Title? I'm definitely okay with that.

Another terrific edition of Friday Night Smackdown, there wasn't as much in-ring action as there usually is, but CM Punk vs. John Morrison and the storyline progression picked up the slack. Can't wait for next week and can't wait for SummerSlam!

WWE Superstars Thoughts - August 13, 2009

John Morrison vs. David Hart Smith was undoubtedly Smith's best singles outing since arriving in WWE in late 2007. The Canadian crowd made this one even more enjoyable since they were red (pink?) hot for the Hart Dynasty. Morrison continues to impress with his unique blend of flashy moves and hard hitting strikes. As JR would mention the following night on Smackdown, he's got plenty of steak to match his sizzle. Unsurprisingly, Morrison gets the victory since he has the #1 contender to deal with on Smackdown, but DH Smith still came out looking great.

Goldust vs. Sheamus was loooooooong. Really, really long and I can't believe they gave these too that much time. Not that I'm complaining, it was definitely the best match of the three they've had, the crowd was solidly behind Goldust and as Matt Striker mentioned, Sheamus looked wise beyond his in-ring years. To all those people who said Goldust was useless and moving him to ECW hurt the brand, this match shows you were clearly wrong. And hey, Goldust won! I'm racking my brain trying to remember, but has Goldust won a singles match since his return to WWE? Regardless of his record, good for Goldust for going out there and showing he's still got it and good for Sheamus, showing he's ready for the big leagues.

Carlito & Rosa Mendes vs. Kofi Kingston & Mickie James was a decent main event with a few incredibly cool spots. It seems that Kofi brings something new to every match that makes me wonder if the laws of physics actually apply to him; that springboard clothesline where he dove 3/4 of the way across the ring was a jaw dropper. And then the finish with Carlito hitting the Backstabber while Kofi was on the turnbuckle was just plain nasty. Hopefully those two get added to the SummerSlam card with the US Title on the line.

Overall, much better than last week with three rock solid TV matches that all went a good length of time. This is why Superstars has the potential to be the best wrestling show on TV, you get to see all WWE competitors on one show having long wrestling matches. Can't beat that.