Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween Kick-Outers!! Was this week's Smackdown a delightful wrestling treat, or did it suffer from ringor mortis? Okay, that will be my one and only Crypt Keeper joke of the evening.

Matt Striker is filling in for JR indefinitely, and considering the great chemistry him and Todd Grisham have, maybe this should be made permanent? When JR returns, maybe put him on Raw with both King and Cole?

T-Lo is in the ring, talking about how awesome Smackdown is (you don't need to tell us, Teddy... if we're watching, we know) and confirms that Big Show will get a World Title match at Survivor Series after helping Team Smackdown. This cues, Chris Jericho, who believes he should be the #1 contender since he "single-handedly" won the match. And naturally, this brings out Team Smackdown's co-captain, Kane, who doesn't take kindly to phrases like "single-handedly," but hey, Jericho did score the deciding pinfall! Teddy Long has a solution, since Raw is having a Triple Threat match for the WWE Title, Smackdown will have one for the World Heavyweight Championship - Big Show vs. Undertaker vs. the winner of tonight's main event, Chris Jericho vs. Kane!

John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler starts the in-ring action for the evening, and I have to say, I liked this match much more than their encounter at Hell in a Cell. Striker did a great job putting over Ziggler's amateur background on commentary and made even the most basic holds seem more dangerous - that's the power of a good commentator. Morrison looked impressive as ever, but couldn't recover after getting thrown onto the announce table, resulting in a count-out loss. Been a bad week for the IC Champ, and with a rejuvenated Dolph Ziggler breathing down his neck, that bad luck may continue.

CM Punk is backstage with Vince McMahon & Teddy Long and is FURIOUS that he's not involved in the World Heavyweight Title match at Survivor Series. Vince gives the Straight-Edge Superstar what he REALLY wants - a match tonight with... Scott Armstrong?!

Here's something you don't see everyday, if ever, a Divas squash match! Beth Phoenix vs. Local Athlete was a great showcase for Beth on Smackdown, utterly decimating her opponent to the surprising cheers of the WWE Universe. The beginning of a face turn for Beth? I hope so, she's undoubtedly the greatest female competitor in WWE today, let her carry the division!

Princess Vickie Guerrero & her "Prince Charming," Eric Escobar are out next, and Escobar really owes each and every one of his boos to the greatness of Vickie. Without her, he'd be getting "time to get a beer" reactions. By the way, I love the story of these two, that they met while the former GM was vacationing in Puerto Rico - they might as well come right and call it "How Vickie Got Her Groove Back." Anyway, In a rematch from two weeks ago, Escobar is going up against Matt Hardy, who seems to be getting more and more back to normal with each passing week. A pretty good match, the crowd was going nutzo for Hardy, and he picked up the win with a modified Twist of Fate (more like a Diamond Cutter) out of nowhere! Hopefully a sign of bigger things to come for Hardy in the near future.

The confrontation between Rey Mysterio & Batista was awkward, uncomfortable and oddly intriguing. Aside from Mysterio saying "dawg" every other word, I found this to be a very entertaining segment and one of WWE's most interesting handlings of a major heel turn in awhile. It would've been easy to have Batista come out and say "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE MY FRIEND!!!" then beat the hell out of Mysterio again, but they didn't go that route. Batista's never gotten a chance to be a heel in WWE as a singles star, his past heel runs amounted to little more than "The Muscle," and it looks like WWE's been holding out on us for the last five years. Batista played his role of "guy who's just pissed off and sick of dealing with everyone else's bullshit" to perfection, and while I'm not looking forward to his eventual destruction of Rey Mysterio, I'm glad they FINALLY decided to change up his character.

Backstage, Matt Hardy confronts Batista and tells him not to throw away his friendship with Mysterio since they're like brothers. Matt wishes that he could take back some things he did to his brother (like burning down his house and murdering his dog?), and that Batista should bury the hatchet before it's too late. Batista walks off, but comes back and attacks Hardy from behind. Jerkface move of the night, for sure.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finlay was supposed to be next, but in what seems to be a pattern for McIntyre, he attacked Finlay before the match even had a chance to begin. I guess that's what "the party's over" means? Finlay seems to be the first big test that emerging Superstars have to go through, so it's no surprise that McIntyre would enter a feud with him. Plus, it's Scotland vs. Ireland... it could get really ugly.

The Cryme Tyme Diva Halloween Costume Contest was exactly what you'd expect. I'm just glad they didn't waste valuable PPV time on this like they did last year.

The true main event of the evening, CM Punk vs. Scott Armstrong is up next. I love that Armstrong's ring attire is his referee uniform and that the shirt stayed tucked in throughout the entire "match." Though not really a match, this segment was actually well-done and Armstrong got in some nice shots before taking the GTS like a man. Still, I have to be a little concerned when all they had for CM Punk after a PPV title match was a chance to beat up a referee. Smackdown's main event scene is a bit crowded at the moment: Undertaker's busy with Big Show and Jericho or Kane, Batista and Rey Mysterio are bound to lock up and it looks like John Morrison will continue to feud with Dolph Ziggler, so where does that leave Punk? Remember those bigger things I mentioned for Matt Hardy earlier? Now would be a good time for that. Well at least this month is Survivor Series and Punk could get involved in a traditional 5-on-5 match. Maybe him and Batista could take on a team captained by Mysterio and Hardy? Just a thought.

Main event time, Chris Jericho vs. Kane with the winner being inserted into the Big Show/Undertaker match at Survivor Series. I have to say, this was Kane's best match in a long, long time. Honestly, can anyone think of a better Kane match in the last year? Two years? Three years? Chris Jericho's Midas touch strikes again. Great match, decent length, and surprisingly competitive considering the massive size difference. Jericho picks up the clean win after reversing Kane's flying clothesline into the Codebreaker and he'll join his tag team partner against The Undertaker at Survivor Series!

The A-brand delivered big here with a great post-Bragging Rights Smackdown. Survivor Series is already shaping up to be a big night with two HUGE main events, but I can't help but think if WWE should dust off the Three Way Dance instead of Triple Threats? I don't think WWE's ever done an elimination-style Three Way match before, but since Survivor Series was founded on the idea of elimination matches, why not give it a shot?

And once again, Happy Halloween to everyone, I hope you have a fun and safe time this evening. I'll be celebrating the holiday in the best way I can think of, a local indy wrestling show headlined by Al Snow! I've never had a chance to talk about how big of a Snow mark that I am, but I still have my own Head that I made back in 1998 and I'll be in my Al Snow costume - complete with classic J.O.B. Squad shirt! Hopefully the venue allows pictures and I'll have some posted later in the week. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 21

Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff sign with TNA, WWE has a stellar week, Bragging Rights delivers, Smackdown vs. Raw 2010's Story Designer makes me a bigger dork than I already am and an exclusive "interview" with upcoming Raw guest host, Ozzy Osbourne!

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 - October 27, 2009

I was really excited for tonight's ECW, but starting off with The Abraham Washington Show is always a good way to get me to change my mind. Tonight's guest is ECW General Manager, Tiffany, who has some terrible new theme music. Abe has some issues with her management style, rightfully asking why ECW wasn't represented at Bragging Rights, Tiffany responds with the lame excuse of "well a lot of guys on both teams got their start on ECW," and then goes onto promise a bigger impact next year. Well I would hope so, because ECW literally can't have a lesser impact than they did at this year's Bragging Rights. Sheamus jumping ship to Raw is also brought up, but Tiffany lets us know that he'll have one final match on ECW, against his rival Shelton Benjamin! William Regal interrupts, demanding an ECW Title match and is once again shot down, sending him into an Incredible Hulk-like rage. Would've been a perfect opportunity to get rid of Abraham Washington, just one really good Knee Trembler would've made this the segment of the year!

Matt Striker is not with Josh Matthews this evening - I assume he'll be sitting in for JR on Smackdown for the foreseeable future - and we now have FCW's Byron Saxton as the newest member of the ECW broadcast team. I actually enjoyed Saxton's work tonight, his style might be a little too similar to Josh Matthews, but I think he'll fit in well on ECW.

Sheamus vs. Shelton Benjamin is the first of only two matches tonight, but quality certainly makes up for a lack of quantity. If you missed it, you need to see this match and I'll give you one reason why: Shelton's sit-out springboard moonsault to the outside! Wow. That, along with Shelton hitting a nasty German Suplex made me think he'd pull out the win and send Sheamus packing, but the Celtic Warrior picked up the win with the bicycle kick. Don't tell me he's not going to be using the cool Rock Bottom/Backbreaker combo anymore, that move ruled! Tough break for Shelton though, he needed this win and I'm a bit confused why he didn't get it here, when you leave a show, you should always lose! I guess they didn't want to kill any of Sheamus' momentum heading into Raw, but hopefully Shelton can climb the ladder soon enough. I'd love to see Shelton/Christian in the near future.

ECW Championship on the line next in our main event, Christian vs. Yoshi Tatsu, and this one was just as good as I had hoped for. Christian, aka "The Starmaker," does it again here and solidifies Yoshi Tatsu as a serious contender on ECW. You don't have to win to be put over, and Christian has shown that repeatedly this year with guys like Jack Swagger, Zack Ryder, and now Yoshi Tatsu. Christian picks up the win and retains his title, but Tatsu is a champion in his own right tonight. William Regal & The Ruthless Round Table strike after the match, destroying both champion and challenger. Regal's bound and determined to get another shot at the ECW Title, will Christian be able to refuse after this kind of provocation?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Raw Thoughts - October 26, 2009

Fresh off the heels of a fantastic PPV, can Raw ride the wave of momentum and continue its entertaining October?

Well if it's entertainment you want, no better way to start Raw than with the Unified Tag Team Champions, Chris Jericho & The Big Show! After turning on Team Raw last night, Show's got some 'splainin' to do, but not before Jericho fawns over him like a child with his new best friend. Jericho was priceless here, but Big Show had to interrupt and let his partner know that he didn't turn on Team Raw because of the Tag Titles, he actually has bigger things in mind. Big Show struck a deal with Teddy Long and he's now the number one contender for The Undertaker's World Heavyweight Championship!

Jericho's not happy, and while they argue, tonight's guest hosts - Kyle Busch & Joey Logano - drive into the arena! This was actually a pretty cool visual, but that was about the only cool thing these two did. The Bella Twins escort the NASCAR drivers to the ring (do they seriously collect a paycheck for this every week?) and then everything just turns hilariously bad. It's never a good idea to let NASCAR drivers talk, unless all they're going to do is list off their sponsors, but holy crap these two butchered the art of public speaking here. I'd suggest getting them some cue cards, but I'm not even sure if they can read. Both of them were bad, but Busch was exceptionally terrible, meandering through his sentences and stringing words together, but not actually saying anything... it was kinda like listening to a Sarah Palin speech [/politics]. Busch let us know that Big Show would be going one-on-one with Triple H tonight, but Chris Jericho would be in action as well against - KOFI JOHNSON! Oh dear, well there's a smark meme that will get beaten into the ground faster than you can say "Summerfest." The Jericho/KINGSTON match starts now!

Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston was everything you could ask for in a free-TV wrestling match. Fast pace, back and forth action, impressive moves, dramatic near falls, great storytelling, and Chris Jericho, who makes every match better. And you know what, forget the "free-TV" caveat, this match would've been a great addition to any PPV; I know I would've shelled out money to see these guys lock up. Jericho thinks he has the match won after hitting the Codebreaker, but Kofi gets his foot on the rope; while Jericho argues with the official, he turns around to catch Trouble In Paradise! Kofi wins!

After the match, Kofi is celebrating his HUGE win on the ramp, when he's attacked from behind by Randy Orton?! Ugh, always gotta ruin every fun moment on Raw, don't you? Randy's upset about Kingston running off Legacy during the Iron Man Match last night, even going so far to outright blame Kofi for the loss. So you tap out with four seconds left on the clock and you think that makes it okay to throw someone off a stage? Wow, this guy does have issues.

To make matters worse, Legacy is backstage and they've bought Randy Orton a present, a customized RKO stock car. As Randy's looking at his image on the hood of the car, Jerry Lawler sums it up better than I possibly could, "this is weird."

Eve Torres is backstage with Kyle Busch & Joey Logano, talking about their upcoming race, when Jack Swagger interrupts, looking for a WWE Title match against John Cena. The Miz walks by and says what's on everybody's mind, "Really?" and suggests that he should be the next to get a shot. Too bad for Miz that this isn't WCW, since he's the US Champ, that would've automatically made him the #1 contender. The guest hosts promise to name Cena's next opponent later tonight.

Melina & Santino Marella vs. Jillian Hall & Chavo Guerrero is next, and it's a pretty entertaining mixed tag thanks to Santino's antics. Of course, since Chavo's involved, that means Hornswoggle has to make an appearance, still rocking the DX attire. HornswoggleBK provides the distraction and Melina picks up the win for her team. After the match, a man in a suit walks into the ring and hands Hornswoggle a neon green envelope, he's been served! DX has issued a cease and desist for gimmick infringement! By the way, I love that the law offices of D-Generation X have neon green envelopes.

John Cena is scheduled to come to the ring next, but Legacy steals the spotlight and talks about how they should be next in line for a WWE Title match. I actually suggested this a few weeks back seeing as they're the only credible heels on Raw, but Cena comes to the ring and tells them if they want it, earn it. And they've got a big hurdle in their way...

Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Mark Henry & MVP is Legacy's chance to prove themselves worthy of a WWE Title match... and they blow it! Raw's forgotten Superstars get a big win over the team that just went the distance with DX the last two months, it's about damn time they got some of the recognition they deserve.

Randy Orton makes his way to the ring after the match and he's not pleased (shocking). Orton doesn't care that he agreed to not face John Cena for the WWE Title after the Iron Man Match, he wants his rematch anyway. Yawn. Typical Orton promo, blah blah blah, but business picks up when Kofi Kingston appears on the TitanTron! Kofi's standing on top of Orton's new stock car, and in one of the coolest moments of the year, he keys it, bashes it with a pipe and dumps a bucket of orange paint all over it! If only he would've spraypainted "Orton is poopy," it would've been the segment of the year. Still, Kofi Kingston mixing it up with Randy Orton? Hell yes. Orton's been tied up with Cena and Triple H for the majority of the last two years, so working with someone new and someone as exciting as Kofi Kingston will do nothing but good things for the stale Legend Killer. Great stuff.

Evan Bourne vs. The Miz in a non-title match was a pleasant surprise. Fun match, and Jack Swagger, apparently not happy with Miz's comments earlier, comes to the ring to hit on Eve, the guest ring announcer for the match. Miz confronts Swagger, the two argue, Bourne hits a slingshot plancha to the outside and scores a count-out win! Hey, a win's a win and now Evan Bourne has TWO victories over a United States Champion this year. Can a brother get a title match?!

So inexplicably, Sheamus is now on Raw. Why? I have no idea, because he was in the middle of a feud with Shelton Benjamin. I'm happy to see Sheamus get a promotion like this, but isn't Raw a little crowded right now? When guys like MVP and Mark Henry are struggling for TV time, I worry where Sheamus is going to fit in. Wouldn't Smackdown have made more sense? Especially considering the fact that he has an instant feud waiting for him on the Blue Brand with Finlay? Well, I'm not a fortune teller, so I don't know what Sheamus' future holds on Raw, but he did demolish Jamie Noble tonight. Poor Jamie Noble.

Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne are next week's guest hosts! We're going to need a translator, closed captioning, and a 12-second delay!

Main event time! Big Show w/Chris Jericho vs. Triple H w/Shawn Michaels! Well, there was something the guest hosts forgot to tell Big Show, it's also a Lumberjack Match with the entire Raw roster (minus Legacy... and Carlito, where the hell is Carlito?) as the lumberjacks, and they're not happy about Bragging Rights. Chris Jericho's not happy about this either and he ducks out through the crowd (with Bragging Rights trophy firmly in hand), leaving Big Show to himself. Oh but there's one more thing, John Cena is the special guest referee! And it's no disqualification! The match is exactly what you'd expect, Raw getting their revenge, but I think all this match really accomplished is it made Big Show look like the biggest badass in the history of pro wrestling. It took a double dropkick from Chavo & Primo, Miz's corner clothesline, Jack Swagger's Vader attack, Mark Henry's corner splash, Kofi Kingston's Trouble in Paradise, Evan Bourne's Shooting Star Press, MVP's running big boot, John Cena's Attitude Adjustment, Shawn Michaels' Sweet Chin Music and Triple H's Pedigree to put the World's Largest Athlete down for a three count. Seriously.

After the match, Busch & Logano are on the ramp and have made their decision about John Cena's next opponent... Hornswoggle!? Yeah, Hornswoggle comes out for some reason, I guess because he's still wearing the DX gear, it reminded them about DX, who will face Cena in a Triple Threat match at Survivor Series! John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels? Awesome. Huge match, and if they're going to do it, they pretty much have to do it now. I don't think we'll be seeing these three go at it in a TLC Match in December, they're definitely not going to waste a title match that huge at the Royal Rumble, and then the Elimination Chamber returns in February. So unless they wanted to do this match at WrestleMania (and it could certainly headline WrestleMania), I can't think of a bigger PPV to do it at than Survivor Series.

Despite the embarrassing guest hosts, Raw was awesome tonight, maybe even better than last week's show, which I thought was one of the best of the year. Huge main event for Survivor Series, Kofi Kingston getting his much-deserved push (Royal Rumble win, please?), Randy Orton out of the WWE Title picture, MVP and Mark Henry picking up some steam, Evan Bourne getting a win (!!!), and a flat-out amazing match between Jericho and Kofi = a great show. Keep it up, Raw!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

WWE Bragging Rights 2009 Review

Coming off the worst PPV of the year, Bragging Rights didn't have much to live up to, but I was going into the event with cautious optimism... this was either going to be a great event or somehow even worse than Hell in a Cell. Which was it? Let's find out.

Intercontinental Champion John Morrison vs. United States Champion The Miz is our opening contest (good call there), and I was expecting this one to be the sleeper hit of the night. I'm not sure if the match lived up to my lofty expectations, I was expecting Morrison to get crazy out there, but the match did not disappoint. Solid action and a hot crowd mixed together to make this one a lot of fun and the shocking ending helped as well. That's right kids, in the upset of the year, The Miz defeated his former partner, and not only that, he did it without cheating! The Miz solidifies himself as officially AWESOME and not the "Marty Jannetty" of the Dirt Sheet Duo. Morrison won't be hurt by the loss, but this is huge for Miz, who has needed that one big win ever since he came to Raw and this was it.
Predictions: 1 for 1

Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim & Melina vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya & Michelle McCool was probably the best six-Diva tag I've seen in years, and that's saying something considering WWE usually puts one on Raw every other week. The Smackdown Divas were on fire here, hard-hitting, crisp execution, great work all around, they even made McCool look good! And not to take anything away from the Raw Divas either, they were rock solid, but they just didn't really stack up to their opponents here. Had I known the Bragging Rights concept revolved around which show won 2 out of the 3 interbrand matches, I would've went with the SD Divas here, who won this one decisively.
Predictions: 1 for 2

Undertaker vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk in a Fatal Four Way for the World Heavyweight Title up next, and let me just say that I LOVED this match. Four Ways are usually hit or miss with me, and I'm not usually a fan of the one fall to a finish style, I much prefer eliminations, but this match delivered big. We've got four guys, each with four VERY different styles, but somehow it all meshed here and gave us absolute brilliance. Tons of nail-biting near falls, finishers all over the place, some nasty bumps (like Rey being thrown outside the ring onto Punk), and a very vocal crowd that did not want Batista to win this one. They got their wish when The Undertaker nailed Davetista with the Tombstone to retain the World Championship!
Predictions: 2 for 3

The real story came after the match though, Josh Matthews attempted to interview Rey Mysterio, who was trying to help Batista up, but The Animal was not happy with his tag team partner for breaking up his pinfall attempt earlier in the match. "I'm gonna rip your head off" was the spark for one of the most shocking moments of the year -- Batista heel turn! After working the exact same character for almost five years now, Batista finally turns by utterly destroying his "best friend." We haven't had a good out-of-nowhere heel turn in awhile, and for Batista to go bad for the first time since his Evolution days, I think this will be what his character desperately needs to become interesting again. Great stuff.

Match for Bragging Rights up next... you ready? Take a deep breath: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger & Cody Rhodes vs. Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth, Tyson Kidd & David Hart Smith was a blast! First off, I gotta say how surprised I was at how much ring time the Hart Dynasty got, I figured they'd be background noise at best, but they got to mix it up with HBK and Triple H, which is pretty huge. I did have to roll my eyes at Jerry Lawler for badmouthing Tyson Kidd like he was out of HBK's league... really Jerry? You're going to complain about Tyson Kidd when Cody Rhodes was a glorified cabana boy when he started feuding with HBK and HHH a few months back? Oh well, Lawler can run his mouth all he wants because TEAM SMACKDOWN WINS! Thanks to the Big Show's "treasonous" ways, Chris Jericho managed to pin Kofi Kingston and bring the Bragging Rights trophy to the Blue Brand... the obviously superior brand! I hope they play this off as Jericho's plan from the beginning, teasing dissension with Show to get Team Raw to take him in, just so he can turn on them when it counts. Jericho is WWE's evil genius and now we know he's not just the best in the world, he's on the best wrestling show in the world!
Predictions: 3 for 4

Iron Man Match - John Cena vs. Randy Orton, WWE Title on the line and if John Cena loses, he must leave Raw forever. I was torn on this one because I thought Cena on Smackdown would make for a good change, but at the same time, I never want to root for Randy Orton. The match itself was pretty awesome, well it would've been if it were a 45-minute Iron Man Match, but Orton had to stall for about 25% of the time in this match. It's one thing when your entrance takes half an hour, but that's no excuse to plod through a match too. Way too much Orton just dancing around looking like a doofus, but when the action was on, it was on! Lots of nastiness in this one - Cena's head getting split open (so much for that "no blood" rule), Cena getting tossed through a set piece, Orton getting thrown through the barricade, Orton getting the Attitude Adjustment off the steel stairs through the announce table, etc. There was a lot of good stuff in this one and the one hour went by surprisingly fast, despite Orton's lulls and thanks to the Falls Count Anywhere/Anything Goes stipulations. Thankfully, with just seconds left, Cena locked in the STF and forced Orton to submit, keeping him on Raw and FINALLY ending this feud! The Champ is here... but who's next?
Predictions: 3 for 5

My only gripe with this PPV is Randy Orton putting the breaks on in the middle of the Iron Man Match, other than that, everything else was absolutely fantastic. The right people went over in every match, the matches themselves exceeded expectations and it's officially confirmed that Smackdown is better than Raw. For a show with a goofy name that had its concept changed multiple times and seemed like a glorified Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 commercial, I think Bragging Rights was one of the best PPVs of 2009. Definitely better than Hell in a Cell and certainly worth my $40. If you missed it make sure you check this one out, if you saw it, let me know your thoughts!

WWE Bragging Rights Preview

We're in the middle of WWE's latest stream of PPVs, just three weeks ago a new PPV concept was introduced with Hell in a Cell, and another new PPV will begin in just a few hours, Bragging Rights! The theme for tonight is Smackdown vs. Raw (conveniently timed with the release of the Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 video game), but there are two other huge main events surrounding each brand's top title. Here are Five Things I'm looking for in tonight's PPV:

5. Youth Movement
There are a lot of big names in the Raw vs. Smackdown tag match for Bragging Rights - Chris Jericho, Big Show, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, - and I know they'll bring the goods, but I'm much more interested in the younger Superstars in the match. Guys like Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd, and yeah, I guess Cody Rhodes too, this is their chance to shine. And while I'm thinking about it, it's unfair to limit this to just the "young" Superstars, what about guys like Matt Hardy, R-Truth and Mark Henry, who have all been in the business for well over a decade, but are just starting to get their shots at bigger things. Are all of these guys future World Champions? Not sure, but I do know getting a shot to work with JeriShow & DX in a PPV main event is good for anyone's career.

4. John Morrison & The Miz become Superstars
Earlier this month, I had this same wish regarding the Dolph Ziggler/John Morrison match at Hell in a Cell. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, I don't know if they had an off-night or the PPV pacing dragged the match down, but they just didn't really live up to my high expectations. But this is a big match for these former partners tonight, perhaps even the biggest PPV match of their respective careers and I think if they're given enough time, their chemistry will produce something really special.

3. Rey Mysterio, World Heavyweight Champion
Oh I'm sure I'm going to raise some eyebrows on this one. From a storyline standpoint, Rey hasn't done much to earn a World Title shot (but neither does Batista half the time), and from a real life standpoint, he's just coming off a suspension, so why reward him with the World Title? Simple answer, Rey Mysterio is 2009's Wrestler of the Year, he's had more memorable matches than anyone else this year. Rey's worked his ass off in recent years, is one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, moves more merchandise than just about anybody, but still isn't taken seriously as a main eventer. Rey deserves another run with the World Title - a real run this time - and I think tonight would be as good a time as any to pull the trigger. I wouldn't be thrilled about bouncing the World Title around AGAIN, but I won't complain as long as anyone except Batista walks out tonight with Big Gold.

2. Cena & Orton tear the house down
This is it, the final match, these two have to bring it here tonight and it's not going to be easy when it's a 60-minute Iron Man Match. After two major injuries, Cena hasn't had a chance to get back to his year 2007 level of awesome big match situations, and Orton is... well he's Orton, who's always been hit or miss inside the ring, but both men are capable of greatness. That greatness needs to be at the forefront tonight because these guys can't afford for their final match to be considered a disappointment. This is WWE's biggest name taking on WWE's biggest heel and if they don't deliver, it's going to be bad news for all parties involved. I always say something along the lines of "bringing the goods," but Cena and Orton need to bring more than that tonight.

1. Smackdown wins the battle, Raw wins the war
So there are three Smackdown vs. Raw matches tonight - the big 14-man tag, the Divas tag and the IC Champ vs. the US Champ - I want to see Raw win the two lesser matches and Smackdown stop them from sweeping the series in the main event. Everyone knows Raw is the show in WWE, despite its quality being laughably bad compared to Smackdown this year, so why not throw the Blue Brand a bone here? Even if it means Big Show turning on Team Raw, a win is a win, let Smackdown take the main event and have the Bragging Rights.

Finally, my quick predictions, with no changes from this week's Kick-Out!! Radio. Winners in bold, and feel free to make your own predictions in the comments.

14-Man Bragging Rights Tag Match
Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown

WWE Championship - Iron Man Match
Randy Orton © vs. John Cena

World Heavyweight Championship - Fatal Four Way
Undertaker © vs. CM Punk vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio

Intercontinental Champion vs. United States Champion
John Morrison vs. The Miz

Six-Diva Bragging Rights Tag Match
Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim & Melina vs. Natalya Neidhart, Beth Phoenix & Michelle McCool

Make sure to come back to Kick-Out!! Wrestling shortly after the show for my full thoughts on WWE Bragging Rights!

Smackdown Thoughts - October 23, 2009

I'm probably never going to complain about a show that starts off with a Chris Jericho promo, and that won't change tonight. Jericho's on fire, running down DX and Team Raw, JTG interrupts - minus Shad - which Jericho immediately notices. "Where's your partner, shouldn't he be in jail?" Shad's out sick, which doesn't surprise Jericho, he must have caught something from the "parasites and germ incubators" in the audience. Hilarious. Eric Escobar, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and Kane all make their way to the ring, and it looks like Team Smackdown is in just as bad of shape as Team Raw was at the start of Monday night. Jericho takes a page from DX's book and puts them in a 5-on-4 handicap match, but if they lose, the guy who got pinned isn't the only one replaced, the ENTIRE team will be.

Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, JTG & Eric Escobar vs. Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth & The Hart Dynasty is the opening contest and a much better match than the 5-on-5 we saw Monday night. Decent length, lots of back and forth action, and the big shocker, Hardy's team won! That's right, Smackdown's D-List is out, and they now actually look like the pose a threat to Team Raw. It makes sense, without both members of Cryme Tyme, the only member of the Smackdown team with any credibility is Dolph Ziggler. Shame that Dolphy Z has to get replaced, but he's expendable if it means getting guys like this on board. So that's the good news, Team Smackdown looks legitimate, but now for the bad. This Smackdown is the last show before the PPV, so the new team has no hype whatsoever. I suppose we'll see how it plays out tonight at Bragging Rights.

Scott Armstrong wants no part of CM Punk's dastardly plan in tonight's submission match, but just as he's storming out, he runs into Vince McMahon. The boss wants to talk, that can't be good.

John Morrison vs. Mike Knox was fairly short, but a great tune-up match for Morrison heading into Bragging Rights. Knox dealt out some nasty offense in this one, but after missing his crossbody and getting tangled up in the ropes (it looked a lot grosser than how it sounds too), Morrison capitalized and nailed Starship Pain for the win. If the Friday Night Delight and his former tag partner bring their A-games tonight, I think we're looking at a potential show-stealer.

The New Team Smackdown is backstage, they let their co-captains know that they're all on the same page. Pretty crazy that The Hart Dynasty & R-Truth will both be a part of a PPV main event.

Mae Young slapping Michelle McCool? I could watch that every week. The funny thing is, even at 86-years-old, I'm pretty sure Mae could still beat the hell out of McTwiggy.

Batista & Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho & Kane is the 9pm main event and a solid tag match all around. Definitely too much Batista & Kane and not enough Jericho & Mysterio, but I enjoyed this one, especially the ending. Kane had Batista in a bad way, but Rey attacks and takes a chokeslam for the team, allowing Batista to recover and hit a spear for the win. No shame in losing to Batista & Mysterio, and these two need to look strong heading into the Fatal Four Way, which has been criminally underhyped.

Loved the next backstage segment with Vince McMahon, Teddy Long, Scott Armstrong & CM Punk. Punk is hilariously obnoxious, bipolar Vince is trying to convince Scott Armstrong to play ball by hinting that he might induct "Bullet" Bob Armstrong into the Hall of Fame and Teddy Long just looks terrified.

Mickie James vs. Layla was pretty standard, but much better than anything we'd been seeing on Smackdown in recent months. Mickie picks up the win with the Mick Kick, and I suspect more high-profile matches on the way for her on Friday Nights.

Main event time! CM Punk vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Submission Match with Scott Armstrong as the referee and Teddy Long at ringside... now I'm out of breath. The deck is stacked against The Undertaker here, but that doesn't keep us from getting an extremely entertaining match from start to finish. Punk gets increasingly frustrated with The Phenom's resiliency and demands T-Lo to give him a chair, but the SD GM hands it to Scott Armstrong, Punk swipes the chair and gets it kicked into his face! Taker turns his attention to Armstrong - Chokeslam! Punk seizes the opportunity and clocks Taker with the chair and locks in the Anaconda Vice, T-Lo calls for another ref, put Taker reverses into Hell's Gate and Punk taps! Taker retains his title heading into Bragging Rights, but can he hold onto it when he has to face CM Punk again, as well as Batista and Rey Mysterio? We'll find out in just a few hours! Make sure you check back at Kick-Out!! throughout the day for ongoing Bragging Rights coverage!

Friday, October 23, 2009

WWE Superstars Thoughts - October 22, 2009

They'll be partners at Bragging Rights, but opponents tonight, Kelly Kelly vs. Gail Kim kicks things off on WGN America, and it was actually one of the better Raw Divas matches in quite some time. While she's certainly not at the level of a Beth Phoenix in the ring, Kelly continues to improve and Gail seemed to find some of that old spark that she's been missing in recent months. It wasn't anything to write home about, but a solid match for both women that made for a fun opening bout.

Tommy Dreamer & Goldust vs.
Ezekiel Jackson & Vladimir Kozlov is the ECW portion of Superstars, and I like this mini feud these four guys have going on. This rivalry has been mostly contained to Superstars, and the matches have been just a step above squashes for Zeke and Vlad, but the veterans pulled out a shocking win here. Celebration didn't last long with the Ruthless Round Table avenging their loss after the match, but hey, a win's a win. But as much as I'm enjoying these four ECW Superstars, I have to wonder what WWE's plans are for them. Right now, they're getting TV time, but it's kinda the same thing every week.

Once again, Smackdown headlines Superstars with a big tag match - Matt Hardy & R-Truth vs. Eric Escobar & Drew McIntyre. I've been pretty hard on Escobar and McIntyre for getting thrown into the Bragging Rights main event, even though they've done little to prove they deserve the spot over guys like Truth & Hardy, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this match. Sure, a lot of it had to do with Hardy & Truth, I'm a big fan of both those guys, but the match was really exciting and the newcomers held their own. I'm still not sold on the idea that they belong on Team Smackdown at the PPV, but at least I saw something in both guys here. McIntyre and Escobar pick up the win with the assist from Vickie Guerrero, I suppose to build up steam heading into Sunday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 20

This week, in our big 20th show: Shane McMahon's resignation, TNA's Bound For Disappointment; three steps to fixing TNA; WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 video game; WWE Bragging Rights; and more!

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Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ECW Thoughts - October 20, 2009

Show starts with ratings Kryptonite, Abraham Washington, who claims to be ECW's "host" for the evening. Before Abe can continue, someone walks in front of his camera shot... OMG it's CHRIS JERICHO! Chris Jericho is on ECW for what I believe is the first time ever!

Lauren Mayhew is in the ring and lets us know that the opening contest will determine the new #1 Contender for the ECW Championship! Zack Ryder vs. Yoshi Tatsu is the match and I'm definitely all for watching these two mix it up. Competitive match, I wouldn't have been upset if Ryder had pulled it out, but Yoshi's been riding a huge wave of momentum, he's definitely the most logical choice. Yoshi Tatsu gets the victory with a headkick from the apron followed up with a slingshot splash and he'll meet Christian in the near future! Can I tell you something that bugs me about Yoshi though? It's not even Yoshi's fault, but why does Matt Striker feel the need to come up with a new nickname for him every week? "Neon Genesis?" Okay, now you're just getting ridiculous.

Chris Jericho is apparently scouting talent on ECW for his Bragging Rights team. Uh Chris, you have a team, although when I look at it, I can understand why you're checking out ECW. Just imagine a team of Chris Jericho, Kane, William Regal, Christian, Shelton Benjamin, Zack Ryder, and Sheamus, they'd definitely be better than what we have now. Tiffany doesn't like Jericho snooping around though and tells him to watch the show or leave.

Never one to take orders, Jericho continues strolling around backstage, where he runs into William Regal & The Ruthless Round Table. Jericho says he'd have Kozlov & Zeke on his team over Cryme Tyme any day of the week, but before he can snatch them up, Tiffany's back and she is not pleased. Jericho is ordered to leave, but as one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions, he can go to any show he wants (besides, they're taping Smackdown in 30 minutes!) Tiffany sees his point and decides to put him in action... against Christian! Christian vs. Jericho on ECW?! Pardon me while I dance with glee.

Sheamus vs. Local Competitor up next. Sheamus utilizes the dastardly heel tactic of pulling a defeated opponent off the mat before the ref can count three. Shelton Benjamin takes issue with it, storming the ring and beating the holy hell out of the Celtic Warrior. Sheamus is finished off with a NASTY German Suplex and Shelton is all sorts of fired up. Can't wait to see more from these two.

It appears WWE took my friendly advice from last week, doing something more with the Paul Burchill/Hurricane feud besides just throwing them in weekly matches. Burchill gets to cut an in-ring promo (there's something you don't see everyday) and demands that The Hurricane come to the ring, unmask and end this farce for good. The "Hurricane" comes to the ring (that Green Lantern tattoo looks a little big...), and once Burchill figures it out, the real Hurricane strikes! With a Singapore cane (wrapped in green & black tape) in hand, Hurricane goes to town and sends the Burchill's running! This feud is far from over.

Main event time! Christian vs. Chris Jericho... what more do you need me to tell you? Go watch this damn match if you haven't already! If you have seen it, watch it again, it's that good. I don't know who's idea it was to have this match, but whoever made the call, they deserve a raise, even if it was Vince McMahon himself. I expected to come on here and say something to the effect of, "it's Okay Christian, there's no shame in losing to Chris Jericho, especially five days before Bragging Rights," but in a shocking twist, Captain Charisma gets the win! I was starting to get a bit concerned for ECW after being shafted from Bragging Rights, but this is a massive boost for Christian and the ECW brand, also a big win for the champ heading into his match next week with Yoshi Tatsu.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Raw Thoughts - October 19, 2009

Snoop Dogg aka The D-O-Double-Dizzle (I'm whiter than Sheamus) kicks things off for Monday Night Raw! Huge pop for the Doggfather from the Jacksonville crowd and he's coming to the ring with his brand new song as his entrance music. Personally, I was hoping for "Sensual Seduction," mainly because it's the greatest music video of the last ten years. Don't believe me?

Told ya! Snoop's got a huge Raw planned for tonight - John Cena vs. Triple H, which was announced last week, but that's not all! Also on tap: Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho! Oh hell yeah. Speaking of HBK, are you ready?

DX relieves Snoop Dogg and hypes their main event match at Bragging Rights, the 14-man Raw vs. Smackdown tag match. DX looks over the opposing team and pretty much coming to the same conclusion that I did in my Smackdown review... this team isn't in their league. Cue the smark whining about "DX burying Team Smackdown," but seriously, have you seen this team? I don't know who the hell Drew McIntyre or Eric Escobar either, and we're supposed to believe they can stand up against Team Raw? In the words of Edna Krabappel, "HAH!"

But not all is well with Team Raw, oh no... there's dissension among the ranks, mainly because Cody Rhodes has delusions of grandeur and thinks he's the real team captain. The team falls apart here, with Kofi Kingston trying to play peacemaker and Triple H stepping in to ask what's on everyone's mind, "didn't you used to be Jamaican?" Cute, and even funnier considering Kofi's wearing a t-shirt with the Jamaican flag on the back of it! Anyway, DX worries that there may be a weak link in the team, so they've arranged a five-on-five match and if anyone on Team Raw gets pinned, they're replaced by the person who did the pinning!

Kofi Kingston, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Primo, Chavo Guerrero, Evan Bourne, Chris Masters & MVP is the match in question and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with this one. Way too short and the ending was extremely anticlimactic, even with Primo getting hit with a nasty Cross Rhodes. Seriously, someone's going to get paralyzed taking that move, Cody needs something else. Back on track, I'm fine with no one getting replaced here seeing as Team Raw is pretty stacked, but it's a damn shame that MVP is riding the PPV bench once again. All that hype, all that momentum after the Draft, it's all gone at this point. I also have to give props to frequent Kick-Out!! commenter TKz for this gem: "Haha, RAW's B-Team is two Superstar's short of being equal with team SD." Truth hurts.

After the shocking events at the end of last week's Raw, Randy Orton is not too happy with Ted DiBiase. Backstage, he tells Teddy to be smart and do the right thing in their match tonight.

Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase wasn't so much of a match as it was the official beginning of DiBiase's face turn. Orton taunted Ted throughout the "match," kicking, stomping, and the ultra insulting pie-face. Ted got in a good shove that knocked Orton on his ass (which I'm always happy to see), but got control of his emotions and took the RKO like a man. Orton wins, but with the crowd red hot for DiBiase, this is obviously far from over.

Classy vignette for Captain Lou Albano, very touching. Got me thinking, why not a Captain Lou DVD? I bet a lot of old school guys would have some great stories to tell and the man's influence on merging pro wrestling and pop culture cannot be denied. WWE, make it happen!

Snoop Dogg is backstage, Chavo Guerrero wants respect, Jillian wants her rematch and Santino Marella is dressed like Charlie Brown because him and "Snoopy the Dogg" got off on the wrong foot last year. Snoop's overwhelmed and reaches for his lighter and that bag. Raw's "technical difficulties" graphic pops up (it's Michael Cole with a horribly photoshopped arm hugging Hornswoggle), and we cut back to a room of smoke... from Snoop's line of scented candles! Funny stuff, but desperately needed Rob Van Dam.

John Cena vs. Triple H up next, the crowd's on fire for Cena, who's looking noticeably nervous about this possibly being his last match on Raw. Well, if Cena's on his way out, no better way to leave Raw than with this match, because it was freaking awesome. Definite TV Match of the Year potential, and only the fourth time these two have squared off one-on-one. This match had it all, Cena kicking out of TWO Pedigrees (can anyone else make that claim? HBK at Bad Blood 2004, maybe?), Triple H kicking out an Attitude Adjustment and withstanding the STF, back and forth action, excited crowd, and the drama of this possibly being the end of an era. Cena eventually succumbed to a third Pedigree and took a shocking clean loss. That tells me that Cena's losing on Sunday, when you leave a show or a promotion, you always go out putting someone else over and Cena did just that here. Hmm...

The Miz is out next, taking on a Local Competitor, but Snoop Dogg's on the TitanTron and he's about to "flip the script" as the cool kids would say. Snoop's not pleased with Miz talking trash about Marty Jannetty last Friday on Smackdown, so guess what? He's wrestling Marty Jannetty! Jannetty was impressive here, definitely better than his last appearance in 2007 against Mr. Kennedy, but not as good as he looked in 2005 when The Rockers reunited on Raw, then he wrestled Kurt Angle on Smackdown a few days later. Miz got the easy win, maybe John Morrison can wrestle Jim Neidhart on Friday?

Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 comes out tomorrow! Here's hoping it lives up to the hype.

Jillian vs. Melina for the Divas Championship is up next. Chavo is with Jillian for reasons that remain unclear, but apparently it's just an excuse to continue the Chavo/Hornswoggle feud. Hornswoggle, in gangsta gear, comes out from under the ring, looking like we should be calling him Eazy-H, distracting Chavo, which distracts Jillian, which gives Melina the easy win. Chavo tries to attack Hornswoggle (I thought they were friends now?), which brings out Snoop Dogg, who destroys Chavo; Snoop's a big dude, I wouldn't mess with him. Snoop brings out the Divas, they all dance with Hornswoggle (who has serious moves) and all that's missing are The Boogeyman and Big Dick Johnson to officially make this the "WTF Segment of the Year."

Speaking of the Divas, Melina, Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool & Natalya has been added to Bragging Rights. If all these ladies bring their A-Game, this could be the best Divas match that we've seen in awhile. Considering how bad women's wrestling has been in WWE, both brands need desperately need this one.

NASCAR's Kyle Busch and Joey Logan are next week's guest hosts. The gossip sites were telling me David Arquette would be hosting, but apparently they were wrong... shocking!

Main event time! Oh hell yes, Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels never fails to deliver... except when WWE doesn't deliver. Classic bait & switch, the match never begins and both Bragging Rights teams make their way into the ring. Vickie Guerrero makes an appearance, putting all heels in WWE to shame with her UBER-HEAT~!, and tries to keep the inevitable from happening, but you know where this is going -- SLOBBERKNOCKER! It's absolute bedlam in the ring, perhaps even a donnybrook! Classic WCW Nitro-esque finish, all that was missing was Cole screaming, "Folks, we're outta time!"

Okay, so that was pretty much the best Raw in a loooooong time. Despite the bait & switch and the too short 5-on-5 tag, I was really happy with this show. Triple H and Cena got ample time to put on one hell of a contest, Orton & DiBiase brought the drama and Snoop Dogg did a damn fine job as guest host. Good hype for the PPV, good hype for the Raw vs. SD match, good hype for the Iron Man Match and a nice nod to the Miz/Morrison match, which has potential to be a show stealer. I'm actually getting a bit excited for this PPV, but still cautious considering the fact that Eric Escobar & Drew McIntyre are involved in a main event. But we'll see if these guys can bring the goods in six days... we'll see if WWE can as well.

TNA's WrestleMania?

TNA's biggest event of the year was tonight, but you wouldn't know about it even if you asked them. I'm sitting here at 1 am on Sunday night/Monday morning, trying to find results of TNA's PPV, Bound for Glory V. This is the TNA equivalent of WrestleMania, so for something that important, why do I have to go to Wikipedia to get the results of the show?! This is pathetic, gets Superstars results up at 9:01, right there in the middle of the main page with a big headline and photos, but two hours after their biggest show of the year and all I'm seeing at is a graphic for next month's PPV? I know they'll be up soon enough, but even then, it'll probably be some nondescript link on a sidebar or I'll have to navigate throughout the entire site to find something. Why should I care what happens in this company when they apparently don't want me to know?

What makes this even more hilarious, since this is their BIG event and all, TNA raised the price of the PPV by $10. Hey, WWE gets away with it for WrestleMania, so why can't TNA? Well because WrestleMania is four hours long, charging extra money for extra content makes sense, but Bound For Glory was just another PPV. From what I understand, the set looked like your run of the mill Impact taping and the matches weren't much different either. The event was headlined by AJ Styles vs. Sting, in what may be Sting's final match, but from all accounts, even that fell flat due to an abrupt ending. What do you expect when the promotional materials feature an awful picture of Sting, who looks like he's wearing a fleece sweater? TNA lacks the ability to make anything feel important or special, and I genuinely feel bad for Sting, having wasted the twilight of his career in a company that cannot appreciate a star of his magnitude.

It's almost cliché to bash TNA at this point, but when they're claiming "WE ARE WRESTLING" after continuous disappointment, you have to laugh at the stunning lack of self-awareness. The sooner TNA stops pretending that they're a legitimate wrestling promotion and actually works toward presenting a more professional product, they might actually find some success. Right now though, they're redefining the term "bush league."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - October 16, 2009

JR is not in the commentary booth for this episode of Smackdown, Michael Cole's filling in, leading to all the gossip girls suggesting that Jim Ross is quitting WWE. JR himself says he took his first ever personal day to celebrate his anniversary, which I think certainly warrants a night off. I'll believe JR's leaving when I see it, but based on all of WWE's shake-ups in the booth this last year or so, they're not going to risk losing the voice of professional wrestling.

Team captain of the Smackdown Bragging Rights team, Chris Jericho, opens the show and gets MASSIVE heat from the Lexington, Kentucky crowd. Jericho runs down DX and explains why he will lead Smackdown to the promised land, but the newly announced co-captain, Kane, has something to say about that. Kane and Jericho as co-captains? I dig it, but without the participants of the Fatal Four Way, I don't know how you can really call this "Team Smackdown."

Finlay vs. Mike Knox vs. Dolph Ziggler is the first Bragging Rights qualifier of the night and I just don't get the logic behind not having both Ziggler and Finlay on the team. I'm glad Ziggler won, but Finlay is one of those guys who can fit into any position on the card and it will work. Need a solid talent to get over a debuting Superstar? Finlay. Need someone to round out a big main event tag match? Finlay could work there too. The match itself was great, lots of hard-hitting action, I was worried someone was going to get hurt out there, but that's a testament to how tough these guys are. Good match and Ziggler's a great fit for the team.

Cryme Tyme vs. The Hart Dynasty is up next with the winning team joining Smackdown at Bragging Rights. Nothing new in this match, especially considering we've seen these teams wrestle almost weekly for three months now, but it still was a solid contest. Not surprised to see Cryme Tyme pick up the win, their work with JeriShow during the summer raised their stock considerably and the Bragging Rights main event should raise it even higher.

Eric Escobar vs. Matt Hardy is where things began to fall apart. Seriously, you're going to have a guy get into a PPV main event match just by winning in his debut? And you're going to do it at the expense of Matt Hardy, who is one of the most popular wrestlers on all of Smackdown? Really? REALLY?! Horrible decision and based on what I saw from Escobar in this match, I'm definitely not pleased that this guy is getting PPV time and Matt Hardy is not. Escobar's lucky he's got Vickie Guerrero at his side, because she's the only way I can see him getting any sort of reaction from the crowd right now. Huge thumbs down here, did he only win this match so Team Raw has someone to pin!?

I liked the backstage segment with Michelle McCool running into Mickie James & Beth Phoenix, with talent like this in Smackdown's Women's Division, McCool might actually be watchable.

CM Punk convinces Vince McMahon to give him his one-on-one rematch against The Undertaker next week with the same factors that allowed him to retain the World Title at Breaking Point. I don't like Punk's chances this time around.

The Miz & John Morrison resurrecting The Dirt Sheet for one night only was definitely the highlight of this week's show. Great banter between these two, they definitely haven't lost their chemistry on the mic, now I hope their in-ring chemistry holds up when they're on opposite sides of the ring at Bragging Rights.

Drew McIntyre vs. R-Truth is the final qualifying match and while it had the sickest bump I've seen in some time (R-Truth's back landing on the corner of the steel steps), I still can't find a reason to care about Drew McIntyre. Great, now Team Smackdown has two guys who have a lot of hype, but very little to back it up. Weak.

Rey Mysterio vs. Batista was a great main event, but a little too short. I don't know if these two have ever had a one-on-one match before, but they put on a good showing here. Mysterio getting the win, even with the shenanigans of the ref not seeing Batista getting his shoulder up, is pretty big news. Huge win for Mysterio, and I was even getting the vibe that we might be seeing signs of a Batista heel turn, but I think it's too early to say anything for sure. CM Punk (who's undoubtedly heel), made his presence felt after the match with a hit and run GTS on Mysterio, adding a little more fuel to the fire for the upcoming Fatal Four Way.

Overall, good wrestling, but a disappointing Smackdown due to their extremely weak Bragging Rights team. It's Raw's main eventers and the next generation of the WWE main event scene taking on Chris Jericho and Smackdown's D-list? Lame. Don't get me wrong, I like Cryme Tyme, and they would've made for a fine supporting cast, but they're two of the biggest names on the team! Kane hasn't done anything worthwhile in damn near ten years, Dolph Ziggler's a good fit for the team, but he's been losing every big match presented to him, and McIntyre & Escobar are way too new for anyone to care about. And they're up against DX, two of the biggest names in the history of the business; Jack Swagger, a main eventer in the making; Kofi Kingston, who's riding a huge wave of momentum; Cody Rhodes, who's basically one singles run away from a World Title (even if I don't like it); Mark Henry, who's basically the weak link of the team, but just finished up a huge program with the Unified Tag Titles; and Big Show, the largest athlete in the world.

The only hope Smackdown has is Big Show turning on Raw and siding with Chris Jericho, otherwise this is a glorified squash match. And really, what does it do for Raw if they win? Wow, you managed to beat a team featuring Eric Escobar & Drew McIntyre! Awesome? You can't really have a match to see which is the superior brand when only one of Smackdown's top guys is involved. You want a real match for brand superiority? Give us Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Randy Orton, John Cena, Big Show, Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, CM Punk, Undertaker, Batista & Rey Mysterio. Now THAT would be Raw vs. Smackdown.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 19

Remembering Captain Lou Albano, the worst wrestling "journalist" ever, Diva shuffling, Bragging Rights, Smackdown vs. Raw 2010, John Cena's future and more, all in Episode 19!

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Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

ECW Thoughts - October 13, 2009

For the first time in over a year, I actually missed an episode of ECW last week. Not happy about it, especially considering how great the show has been lately, but if WWE would get their shows up on Hulu within a reasonable amount of time, things like that wouldn't happen! Anyway, back on schedule this week, so let's check out the Land of Extreme.

I heard a lot of bad things about the new ECW announcer, Lauren Mayhew, but I didn't think she was THAT bad. Rough around the edges, sure, but nothing that can't improve over the next few years. If you recall, Lillian Garcia was terrible for her first few years as well and went on to become the voice of WWE's flagship show.

The opening contest on SyFy was an odd one, Goldust vs. Ezekiel Jackson, but for two guys who you'd think would be a mismatch, I think they meshed well together. Jackson definitely outweighs Goldust, but since Goldust is deceptively tall, it didn't look like a total squash and the Bizarre One presented a credible threat. Big Zeke unsurprisingly gets the win here, but not without a little help from Vladimir Kozlov, which doesn't derail the momentum Goldust has been building. I'm honestly thinking this response to Goldust on ECW was completely unexpected, the guy's getting the kind of reactions he was getting in 1999, and I wonder if it's only a matter of time before WWE can't ignore it any longer. Goldust - ECW Champion, it sounds crazy, but I think it could happen within the next year.

Deliciously old school in-ring promo from Sheamus where he talks about taking over "Dobel-yah, Dobel-yah, E!" I loved the whole bit, but of course it had to be hampered by the crowd, who still can't get over the "WHAT?!" chant. Seriously, how long has Austin been out of WWE now, six years? Let it go!

Paul Burchill vs. The Hurricane once again, but it's nice to see The Hurricane back in action after a few weeks off TV. Another solid match from these two, but the big shocker is the fact that Burchill picked up a clean win! Not something you see too often. I like this feud between these two, but there's only so much you can do with constant one-on-one matches against each other. Why not highlight it a bit more by giving it some of that main event spotlight? Maybe Christian & Hurricane vs. Regal & Burchill in the future?

But speaking of the main event scene, the ECW main event this week is Christian & Yoshi Tatsu vs. William Regal & Zack Ryder. The ongoing story throughout this match is that Regal & Ryder cannot coexist because they both want a shot at the ECW Title, while the ECW Champion believes Yoshi Tatsu is most deserving. Great action here, Yoshi Tatsu continues to improve every week and I agree with Christian, he should be the number one contender. Despite controlling most of the match, Regal & Ryder can't overcome their differences and it winds up costing them the match when Ryder turns on Regal and allows Christian to hit the Killswitch for the victory! Another strong main event showing for Yoshi and Christian continues to shine brighter than almost anybody in WWE, it's no secret why he's the longest-running singles champion in the company right now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Raw Thoughts - October 12, 2009

Show opens with Chris Jericho, never going to hear me complain about that. What I will complain about is WWE not being able to figure out what the hell they want to do with the Bragging Rights PPV. First, it was supposed to be all Smackdown vs. Raw matches; then it was standard matches, with the winners of the Raw matches going on to face the winners of the SD matches in a big main event tag match; now it's a 14-man tag match featuring seven Raw guys and seven Smackdown guys. Why isn't this happening at Survivor Series?! Gah, anyway, Jericho is captain of Team Smackdown, but Nancy O'Dell interrupts and tells him Raw doesn't start with Smackdown talent, it starts with DX!

Triple H makes his way to the ring (not exactly DX), Shawn Michaels is at home with a sick kid (if that is actually the case, that's really cool of HBK). HHH gets Shawn on the phone, I laughed at HBK's answering machine being his theme music (and the fact that his singing is terrible) and they have a fun little bit hyping the new DX book. DX are co-captains of Team Raw at Bragging Rights, which is the cue for JeriShow to make an appearance. Triple H cerebrally assassinates and turns the two against each other and Big Show wants to join Team Raw. Show has to earn his spot in a qualifying match against... Chris Jericho.

Big Show vs. Chris Jericho was short, light on actual wrestling, but amusing to watch. It was almost like watching a dad scold his bratty child, with Big Show obviously playing the role of Dad. Loved the bit were Jericho feigned a knee injury and Big Show freaking out over his partner, only to still outsmart Jericho in the end. Jericho got slapped around and eventually counted out, putting Big Show on the opposite side of the ring from his partner at Bragging Rights. Planting seeds for a breakup? I hope not. Hopefully it's just more of the "we don't have to like each other to be a good team" bit that they do so well.

Okay, Hornswoggle dressed up as Shawn Michaels might be my favorite Raw moment of the year.

Diva's Title on the line next with Mickie James vs. Jillian Hall, I was pretty excited for this one because Jillian is one of the most underrated female wrestlers on the roster... OMG SHE WON?! After a NASTY powerbomb that folded Mickie up like an accordion, Jillian captured her first title in her four years with WWE. Unfortunately, Jillian wasn't done for the evening. Nancy O'Dell makes her presence felt, explaining that she arranged for a tri-brand Divas trade over the weekend and Jillian has to defend her title against the newest Diva on Raw, Melina! Did NOT see that one coming.

Melina vs. Jillian started off ugly, with a misfire on the Primal Scream. Jillian wisely kicked out, which let Melina hit the Last Call and become the third person to ever hold the Women's and Diva's Championships.

On the subject of the Divas Trade, the full results are now online at
Melina to Raw
Beth Phoenix to Smackdown
Mickie James to Smackdown
Rosa Mendes to ECW
The Bella Twins to Raw
Eve to Raw

Pretty huge announcement if you ask me. Friday night, I had lost all hope for Smackdown's pathetic excuse for a Women's Division, but what a difference a Monday Night Raw makes! Mickie James, Beth Phoenix and Natalya Neidhart on the same show? Yes please! Now Raw... not looking so good. There's Melina and... yeah Melina's about it. There are a few Divas on Raw who have really improved in the last year or so - Kelly Kelly, Eve, Maryse - but who else? Alicia Fox is abysmal, Gail Kim's lost her groove and The Bellas are accessories for that week's guest host. So all the great in-ring Divas are on Fridays and the Divas with room for improvement are on Raw... live. Yikes. Rosa Mendes to ECW makes no sense unless they're planning on pairing her up with a male wrestler, but I liked her hanging out with Carlito... who would do well with a move to ECW. Just a suggestion.

In another Team Raw Bragging Rights qualifier, Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase vs. John Cena - okay, Cena's got an Iron Man Match to worry about so he's obviously not winning this, but a member of Legacy teaming up with DX after all that? Really? Anyway, pretty boring match here as it was essentially a handicap match, then Randy Orton had to get involved, and Cody rolled up Ted for the shock win. So Cody's on Team Raw, Legacy is butting heads, and Nancy O'Dell is on the TitanTron to set up our main event tonight: Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. John Cena & Randy Orton... WE PRETTY MUCH JUST SAW THAT MATCH! Ugh.

In another qualifying bout, Jack Swagger revisits his SummerSlam rivalry, taking on MVP. Last week, Swagger vowed to go undefeated throughout the rest of 2009 and tonight was no exception, he made quick work of MVP. Shame about MVP, the Bragging Rights main event would've been good exposure for him, but I guess it's still not his time. He might need to change the "I'M COMING!" in his theme music to "I'LL BE THERE EVENTUALLY!"

Beth Phoenix is not pleased about being traded to Smackdown and threatens Nancy O'Dell & Maria Menounos to fix it or else. Santino Marella is backstage as well and mentions Menounos dreaming of one day competing in a WWE ring and somehow, makes a match where she'll square off with Beth Phoenix. How Santino has that authority, I'm not sure, but the match is on.

And in ANOTHER qualifying match, two guys I've wanted to see lock up again since their brief match in July, Evan Bourne vs. Kofi Kingston! Still too short for these two, but definitely better than their last meeting. Michael Cole claims Bourne winning would be a "mild upset," but apparently WWE forgot that Bourne is 1-0 against Kofi and never got his damn US Title shot! Unsurprisingly, Bourne takes the loss here, I wanted to see both guys advance, but obviously Bourne's not a priority at the moment. Sucks, but at least Kofi will get a chance to shine.

Right now, Team Raw is looking bizarre: Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger & Kofi Kingston. One more spot to fill this Thursday on Superstars when Mark Henry takes on Chris Masters. Gee, wonder who's winning that one?

Maria Menounos is warming up backstage with Triple H... which causes me to think about the time he was training Trish Stratus and Stephanie McMahon walked in. Chavo Guerrero is upset with HHH for not giving him a shot to join Team Raw at the PPV and Menounos kicks him in the crotch.

Beth Phoenix, Alicia Fox & Rosa Mendes vs. Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim & Maria Menounos (seriously) up next and I have to admit, Menounos did pretty well out there. Sure, it was pretty basic stuff, but considering she managed to successfully execute more moves in this match than Alicia Fox has all month, I have to give her the thumbs up. She might just have a future in this! Rosa Mendes gets pinned by Kelly Kelly after the assist from Menounos, and she's off for ECW.

Please welcome the NEW United States Champion... The Miz! Miz is somehow rocking a tie and a hoodie at the same time, impressive. Anyway, Miz has huge news, at Bragging Rights, we'll be getting another Raw vs. Smackdown match as the United States Champion will face the Intercontinental Champion! That's right friends, The Miz vs. John Morrison! The tag team of the decade squaring off one-on-one for the first time since their split. I approve. Oh and Miz is... AWESOME!

Main event time, which is essentially what we saw an hour ago, John Cena & Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase. Thankfully, Orton's plan of not getting tagged in didn't go well with Cena tagging him in and both Rhodes and DiBiase trying to score a pinfall on the boss! Hey I can't blame them, they're bigger stars right now anyway. But just as it looks like everyone's on the same page and Orton unsurprisingly turns on Cena, DiBiase rolls up the WWE Champ and wins the match! Oh Ted, quit trying to make me like you. Orton's livid, but Legacy escapes and he runs right into John Cena and gets the Attitude Adjustment for his troubles! Always a good way to end Raw.

Next week's Raw is looking huge with guest host - SNOOP DOGG! The D-O-Double-G on Raw gets a huge thumbs up from me and he's got a big main event in store for what may be John Cena's final Raw - Cena vs. Triple H! All that does is tell me that Cena's almost guaranteed to be leaving Raw after the PPV and you know what? Good. I love John Cena, but Raw's main event scene has to change. Look at tonight's show, both the main events of the evening featuring a match between Cena, Rhodes, DiBiase, with involvement from Randy Orton. This has got to stop. Cena on Smackdown creates a ton of fresh match-ups: Cena vs. Punk, Mysterio, Undertaker, even Batista. And with Cena off Raw, that blows the doors wide open for someone to step up and fill that huge void (I'm looking at you MVP).

But aside from the stale main event scene, I actually liked tonight's Raw. Too many short matches, but the action was good and the guest hosts did a surprisingly great job. I wasn't at all interested in O'Dell or Menounos, but they oddly fit in well with the program and I wouldn't be opposed to having either of them back, they're natural TV personalities. Definitely looking forward to Snoop next week and Cena vs. Triple H pt. 4, but here's hoping to some massive shake-ups on Raw in the coming weeks.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Match of the Month - September

Little late getting this one posted, but hopefully these matches were all so good, they stuck with you. First, the runner-ups (all comments are taken from their respective show reviews):

Christian vs. William Regal - Breaking Point
Was the match we should've got last month at SummerSlam. And I said it earlier on Twitter, but I have to say it again: Regalplex = Death. How Christian didn't break his neck after taking that one, I'll never know, but I breathed a big sigh of relief when I saw him get back to his feet. Master Regal looked great in this one, but with Kozlov & Zeke being banned from ringside, he just couldn't overcome Captain Charisma. This was the one match that I changed my mind on in my predictions earlier tonight and it actually worked out for me. Usually I get in trouble when I go against my gut, but I'm glad Christian didn't let me down in this tremendous ECW Title Match.

Finlay vs. Mike Knox - Smackdown 9/11
This Belfast Brawl was surprisingly fantastic, one of Smackdown's best non-main event-caliber matches all year. Knox's chair punt and the endless barrage of trash cans was brutally beautiful... it was brutiful! Finlay got his ass beat, but pulled out an impressive win after countering Knox's crossbody with a Shillelagh shot. Honestly, this match was the most entertaining Mike Knox has ever been and I might be officially sold on the guy if he keeps up performances like this.

Tyler Black vs. Jerry Lynn - ROH 9/7
Continued to prove that you're guaranteed at least one fantastic wrestling match every week on HDNet. Great innovative work, particularly when these guys were around the ropes, both guys hit their own version of a rope-assisted legdrop and both were very cool spots. Lynn continues to show that wrestlers don't have an expiration date and Black continues to come into his own as ROH's next big thing. Prazak & Hogewood did a good job on commentary in this one as well, really putting over the fact that Black is more than just a guy "with potential," he's a legit ROH main eventer. And much like I mentioned earlier with Hero, I think Danielson and McGuinness leaving will just make Black's ascension all the more rapid. Speaking of Nigel, he made an appearance during this one and wound up costing Tyler Black the match - Lynn wins! With this victory, I hope Jerry gets a one-on-one shot at the ROH World Title, I'd love to see him and Aries lock up.

D-Generation X vs. Legacy - Breaking Point
Went on early, but that wouldn't be the last time this match surprised me. One, it surprised me by being pretty enjoyable considering DiBiase and Rhodes were involved. Lots of nasty bumps and some very innovative submissions: HHH putting Cody's legs through a steel chair and locking in the Boston Crab while HBK locked in the Camel Clutch? Ouch! Also, what about Cody's Figure-4 around the ringpost while Ted applied the Million Dollar Dream?! Which brings me to the other big shocker in this match -- Legacy winning! LAME! Bad finish to a good match,
but I guess that means this feud is going to end inside Hell in a Cell.

Zack Ryder vs. Christian - ECW 9/22
ECW Championship on the line! Lots of hype going into this one, people have been really excited to see Ryder get his opportunity, and he certainly did not disappoint. Another fantastic ECW Title match, another fantastic ECW main event, another fantastic Christian match... this brand is so awesome it's frustrating. It's hard to find new ways to heap praise onto something is every week, what else is left to say about ECW that hasn't been said this year? Christian has hoisted this brand onto his back and carried it to an endless stream of entertainment, even when there's an off-week for the brand, he's right there to make it spectacular again. Captain Charisma also continued his role of star-maker, Zack Ryder once again looks like a million bucks. After these two matches, even though both were losses, his stock has soared, that's just how good Christian is.

All these matches were great, but there can only be one Match of the Month:

John Morrison vs. Rey Mysterio - SmackDown 9/4
So I think it's pretty safe to say that John Morrison vs. Rey Mysterio will wind up being the non-PPV Match of the Year. It's got some stiff competition from Mysterio/Jericho, but this match was freakin' amazing. There were tons of really innovative spots in this one like Morrison's kangaroo kick, Mysterio going for a reverse hurricanrana, and the hurricanrana through the bottom and middle rope to the outside of the ring. The crowd was really into it, even starting a "THIS IS AWESOME!" chant, which is pretty rare for WWE, JR and Grisham did a fantastic job on commentary, and of course, Morrison and Mysterio delivered big time. I love that Morrison wound up with the IC Title, definitely beats the predictable scenario of Dolph Ziggler getting his shot bumped up. Morrison/Ziggler should be great at Breaking Point as well, I think they've only locked up once before and it was essentially a throwaway match on Superstars, so I can't wait to see what they'll do on the big stage. It's a damn shame about Rey Mysterio getting suspended, but he'll be back soon enough and after the banner year he's had in 2009, I'm sure he'll get right back in the swing of things. While CM Punk is certainly the king of WWE right now, I'd say Mysterio is the best in-ring worker of the year.

So did I get it right? You tell me in the latest Kick-Out!! Poll, what's your pick for Match of the Month? Poll closes Sunday morning, so get your votes in early! And if your choice isn't on the list, let me know what it is in the comments section.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - October 9, 2009

Tony Chimel, returning in the role of Smackdown ring announcer, opens the show by introducing Teddy Long! T-Lo is back in total face mode and congratulates The Undertaker on winning the World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. He teases John Cena coming to Smackdown if he loses at Bragging Rights, which prompts an angry CM Punk to interrupt. Punk is not happy that his boss is talking about a Raw wrestler (uh oh dirtsheets, he said "wrestler," I bet he'll end up in the doghouse for that!) when he should be talking about giving Punk his rematch. Punk demands another submission match with Scott Armstrong as the referee and Teddy Long at ringside, but before Teddy can respond, Vince McMahon decides to weigh in. When's the last time Vince was on Smackdown this much? Vince announces T-Lo's plans for Bragging Rights (which I feel like are schizophrenic Vince's plans): a Fatal Four Way for the World Title, The Undertaker vs. CM Punk vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio! I'm down with that.

Speaking of Rey Rey, Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho is our opening contest this evening... thank you! As always, I'm never going to complain when these guys are in the ring together, especially after a series of Match of the Year candidates in 2009 (which reminds me, I need to do a September Match of the Month). In all honesty, this was probably the worst match these two have had against each other this year, but that still doesn't keep it from being one of the best free TV matches of the year either, that's just how good they are. Mysterio picks up a huge win here and builds momentum heading into Bragging Rights.

Eve vs. Michelle McCool... next! Seriously Smackdown, fix the Women's Division!

Vickie Guerrero is not pleased that Eric Escobar isn't getting any in-ring action and blasts Teddy Long for his management style. Wonder if Vickie's angling to get her old job back?

Dolph Ziggler gets ANOTHER shot at the Intercontinental Title, taking on the champ, John Morrsion just five days after Hell in a Cell. What is this guy doing to get all these shots aside from constantly losing? It's time to put Mr. Ziggles' quest for the IC gold on the back burner because he obviously can't seal the deal. Plenty of other guys for Morrison to wrestle - R-Truth, Mike Knox, Finlay, let's even see what Drew McIntyre can offer - but for now, I'm tired of watching Ziggler blow opportunity after opportunity. In fairness to Dolphy Z, Maria kinda screwed this one up for him by accidentally ruining his chance to cheat, but if Maria is costing you matches, then I definitely have to question your ability to hang with the big boys.

Drew McIntyre & Kane vs. R-Truth & Matt Hardy was an odd combination, they could've called this one the Battle of Four Guys That We Might Push, But Have No Clue What To Do With Right Now. Hardy surprisingly is the one to take the clean fall here after falling victim to McIntyre's nasty double-arm DDT, but since the Scottish Superstar is the only one in this match with any momentum, I guess it makes sense.

Awesome promo from The Undertaker, it's a rare treat to hear him talk at all anymore, but an uninterrupted promo from The Phenom was a nice treat. Loved Taker's reasoning behind wanting the World Title, so that he can lure in "wayward souls" who are tempted by fame and fortune. I really hope all those rumors are bogus, I can't imagine a WWE without Undertaker, he's just too bad ass.

Big main event tonight, CM Punk vs. Batista, and a pretty good match too. I think these two have a lot of potential for great in-ring chemistry, but WWE's going to need to let them loose in a big match situation to find out. And of course, CM Punk (who's in the dog house, ya know!) is the first guy to beat Batista in singles competition since he returned from injury. Sure it was by count-out, but a win's a win! Batista doesn't take too kindly to it and powerbombs Punk after the match, but that just shows he's a bad sport!

Pretty good Smackdown, even though the focus was almost entirely on the main event scene. WWE needs to sort out what the plan is for guys like Matt Hardy, Kane, and Drew McIntyre while figuring out the next move for Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison. Right now, I just feel like a lot of guys are twiddling their thumbs, waiting for their big break. With Jeff Hardy gone, Edge injured and Chris Jericho spending more time on Raw, this should be the chance for someone to step up, but I'm just not sure who that's going to be or when (if?) it's going to happen.