Thursday, July 30, 2009

WWE Superstars Thoughts - July 30, 2009

Well this was quite an interesting episode of Superstars.

Tyson Kidd vs. John Morrison start the show and they had themselves quite the barn-burner, as JR might call it. Started off a bit slow, but once they got going - I'd say around the time Kidd hit that nasty apron neckbreaker - they didn't stop. These two guys are terrific athletes and I wouldn't be surprised if we see them lock horns over a major singles title in the next few years. Also, the referee ejected Natalya & DH Smith, which is one of my favorite spots in any match that involves people at ringside.

William Regal vs. Yoshi Tatsu was even better than their encounter on last week's ECW, mainly because this time Regal won! Yeah that's right, Regal won a singles match... clean, no less! Regal tossed Yoshi around like a Frisbee in this one, hitting some of those patented suplexes, before finishing him off with that BRUTAL knee to the temple. Every time he does that move, I wonder how he doesn't kill someone with it, it just looks that devastating.

Hey a hype video for MVP? Maybe there's still hope for that push.

Randy Orton vs. Primo is your main event, and it's weird just typing that. I have a couple questions about this match:
1. When's the last time Orton had a singles match not involving Triple H or John Cena?
2. When's the last time Orton won a match without interference from Rhodes or DiBiase?
3. When's the last time Orton hit the RKO after doing all the theatrics, punching the mat, stalking his opponent, etc?
Oddly enough, I enjoyed this main event as it played to Orton's strengths. It made sense for him to work that slow, methodical style because it seemed like he was toying with Primo the majority of the time. Primo got a couple shots in and hit some beautiful armdrags, but obviously the WWE Champion came out on top after hitting the RKO. I'd like to see more matches like this, major Superstars taking on midcard talent, reminds me of the days when Triple H would tangle with guys like Maven or TAKA Michinoku when he was WWE Champion.

The Brian Kendrick Released

Read this very unfortunate news today on WWE.com:

"World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms on the release of Raw Superstar Brian Kendrick as of today, July 30, 2009. WWE wishes Brian the best in all future endeavors."

Unfortunate, but not very surprising, I'd say the writing's been on the wall for Kendrick since his quest for a new tag partner angle was unceremoniously dropped. Probably even before that, things weren't looking too good for him on Smackdown, he hadn't done much of anything for months. I really wouldn't be so upset about this news had they not teased putting him in the main event scene after he worked the WWE Championship Scramble at last year's Unforgiven. It looked like they were getting ready to actually give him a big push, but then that was unceremoniously dropped as well.

A lot of internet rumors began floating around after that and they have continued up until his release today. As you know, it is Kick-Out!! Wrestling policy to not discuss rumors about the personal lives of wrestlers, but please don't take everything you read as fact regarding this situation. Regardless of the reason behind the release, Brian Kendrick is a phenomenal athlete and was possibly the most under-utilized performer in WWE over the last few years. A missed opportunity, but I know he'll have no trouble finding work... hopefully we'll be seeing him on HDNet in 90 days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 9



Night of Champions, JBL rumors, CM Punk's thoughts on TNA, Ric Flair vs. Bret Hart and a response to Paul Heyman's blog on WWE's recruitment process (or lack thereof) are all discussed in this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio.

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 - July 28, 2009

Tyler Reks vs. Paul Burchill in a rematch from last week, starts things off on SyFy. I'm seeing slow improvements as Reks continues to get more comfortable in the ring, but as I was watching this match, I kept wondering why Burchill isn't getting the push instead? With Kozlov, Zeke, Regal, Shelton Benjamin and Zack Ryder, ECW is admittedly heavy on heels, but Burchill has really stepped up his game in the last few months, I think WWE should take a chance on him. Match was fine, but as cool as it is to see a guy that's 6'3", 250 lbs. do springboard missile dropkicks, Reks really needs a new finisher.

Vladimir Kozlov demolishes Local Competitor (again), but at least they keep it interesting by having Ezekiel Jackson give The Moscow Mauler his receipt for last week. Seriously, pair these two up, WWE needs tag teams and these two would be the scariest damn team I've seen in a long time. Zeke and Vlad would make The Powers of Pain shake in their boots!

Really? Abraham Washington has the audacity to say that Shelton Benjamin isn't entertaining? Next week on ECW, Sheamus tells William Regal to get a tan.

Speaking of The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus vs. Goldust was a fun little match, not as good as Goldy's outing with Shelton Benjamin last week, but I don't think it was supposed to be. Sheamus pretty much dominated this one and finished Goldust off with that brutal Rock Bottom into a backbreaker he uses as a finisher. I was worried the move wasn't going to look as impressive on bigger guys... I was wrong! Needs a name though and since I like to take it upon myself to name all the unnamed finishers, it is now known as "Beyond The Pale!" Okay... maybe not. Got a better suggestion? Leave it for me in a comment.

Christian's out next to cut a promo, but doesn't get very far before Tommy Dreamer interrupts. Dreamer invokes his rematch clause next week and the match will be EXTREME RULES! Yes, it needs to be in all caps. Definitely looking forward to that, although I would've been fine waiting till SummerSlam for that, perhaps bigger things are in store? Zack Ryder chimes in and tells Christian he needs to worry about tonight.

Christian vs. Zack Ryder is your main event and it is hands-down the most impressive that Ryder has ever been. Christian continues to play the role of WWE's star-maker (© 2009 treyirby inc.), making Ryder look like a force to be reckoned with on ECW and Mattews & Striker did a great job putting him over on commentary as well. Let this match serve as the most recent piece of evidence that you can get over despite losing. It's safe to say that you, the Kick-Out!! readers, were absolutely right when you voted Christian as the most underrated Superstar in WWE today.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think the brand might be back on track since the big adjustment of the 15-Superstar trade from a few weeks back. Christian's champ again, new faces continuing to impress and most importantly, solid in-ring action. Huge thumbs up for this week's ECW.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Raw Thoughts - July 27, 2009

Tonight's episode of Raw is powered by SHAQ DIESEL!

The man of the hour (or two hours plus overrun), Shaquille O'Neal kicks things off and the crowd is red hot! If you listened to last week's Kick-Out!! Radio, you'll know why I'm laughing... I thought he was supposed to get booed out of the building? Those DC fans don't seem too insulted to me! Shaq announces a Beat the Clock Challenge to determine the new #1 contender for the WWE Title, but is then interrupted by Chris Jericho! The confrontation with these two was perfect, Shaq bending over and kissing Jericho on the forehead was flat-out hilarious and both of them had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Jericho gets insulted and tells Shaq they have a "big" problem and WWE wastes no time giving us the moment we were all waiting for, Big Show and Shaq face-to-face! How often do you think Shaq or Big Show get to look someone directly in the eye like that? A special appearance from Cryme Tyme sets up our non-title main event; I can't remember the last time an opening segment got me that fired up. Only one word for it: awesome!

Mark Henry vs. Carlito kicks off the Beat the Clock Challenge and I was honestly fairly impressed by this one. Carlito got in a lot more offense than I thought he would and that springboard missile dropkick had me rolling because it looked like Carlito was walking on the World's Strongest Man. Henry gets the win and sets a time to beat of 6:49.

Mickie James, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim vs. Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes & Alicia Fox was your typical six-Diva tag match, but I was just happy to see The Glamazon back in action. Honestly, did she even need Rosa and Fox on her team? I think she would've done just as well on her own. Weird ending there with Gail Kim tagging herself in and stealing the win, the look on Mickie's face makes me wonder if something's up there, but then Beth had an interesting look after the match as well. I'm all for Mickie vs. Gail vs. Glamazon at SummerSlam, make it happen, WWE!

MVP vs. ...CHRIS MASTERS?! Yes, Masters made his shocking return to Monday Night Raw tonight and even though I was never a fan of the guy, I think he looked rather impressive by forcing MVP out of the Beat the Clock Challenge. One thing I will say, if he's back permanently, he needs a new Masterlock. You're back from a two-year hiatus, you need something new, badder and better! All that said, I'm glad to see that Masters has put his past behind him, so welcome back to The Masterpiece. I still would've liked to see MVP win this one and get that shot at Randy Orton that he's deserved for two months now.

Hey guys, there's The Brian Kendrick! And there's Kofi Kingston! And the time it took you to read this sentence was longer than their match tonight! So much wasted potential.

Triple H is walking backstage and Ted DiBiase strikes him in the leg with a baton, Nancy Kerrigan style! But instead of beating The Game some more, DiBiase runs away? Oh come on! You guys suck that much you can't even properly ambush somebody?! One hit to the leg is all you got? Pansy!

Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes is the third match in the Beat the Clock Challenge. This match is special because it features the dumbest thing I've seen on WWE television in quite some time. Ted DiBiase interferes in the match, gets on the apron, but Triple H doesn't hit him because he might get disqualified. Huh? DiBiase is interfering! If anyone's going to get DQ'ed it's Cody Rhodes! I was literally sitting on my couch trying to figure out how in the world it could be construed in any way as a loss for Triple H, but unless DiBiase came in and attacked Rhodes, HHH should win! But due to The Game's inaction, the clock expires and he will not be in the match at SummerSlam, so at least we're spared Orton vs. HHH pt. 285.

Okay, it was cute a few weeks ago on Superstars, but Chavo Guerrero vs. Hornswoggle has got to stop. This time it was a blindfold match (only Chavo had to be blindfolded), and of course, Hornswoggle wins. What is the point to any of this? I'm not going to whine about Chavo "deserving better" or anything like that, but this has gone from silly fun to annoying really quick. At the very least, the revelation that Hornswoggle and Shaq went to high school together was pretty funny.

Okay, second completely illogical thing tonight was Jack Swagger confronting Randy Orton backstage and telling him he was gunning for the WWE Title in the Beat the Clock. Wait, didn't Swagger just forfeit a match "out of respect" for Orton a couple weeks ago? Now he's telling the champ to watch out? Huh?

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne is up next and thankfully doesn't make me have to think about that stupid previous segment because BOURNE WINS! Bourne's also got some sweet new theme music with a high-pitched scream that would make Rob Halford of Judas Priest jealous. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come for Evan "Air" Bourne, like that US Title match that he's owed?

Jeremy Piven aka "Ari Gold" hosts Raw next week... cannot wait! Lloyd!!!

The final match in the Beat the Clock Challenge is John Cena vs. The Miz. Miz starts us off with some mic work, running down all the Washington sports teams, the crowd is fine with the Wizards insults,
I'm sure they wouldn't have minded a couple jabs at the Nationals either, but they're not having it when he goes after the Redskins! And then to top it off, he attacks Barack Obama in the nation's capital?! I'm sure Joey Styles got a little tingly for that one. And keep it up Miz, I'm sure Fox News will at least take a look at your resumé if this wrestling thing doesn't pan out. John Cena's not having any of it though, makes quick work of the Chick Magnet and crushes Mark Henry's time; Cena's the new number one contender! It's been awhile since we've seen Cena vs. Orton one-on-one, so I'll take it.

Main Event this evening: JeriShow vs. Cryme Tyme with Shaq as the special guest enforcer... where did they find a referee shirt that big!? Match isn't exactly a show-stealer, but I'm all for seeing more of Jericho vs. JTG and Shaq added a fun dynamic at ringside. Big Show gets himself DQ'ed by clearing house when he's not the legal man and then invites Shaq into the ring! The two behemoths lock horns, both trying to choke the other out, but Cryme Tyme gives the assist and Shaq Diesel hits THE POOOOOOOUNCE! You know he's got skillz! I think Shaq vs. Show at WrestleMania just became a huge possibility.

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but despite not being the most technically sound Raw, it was a lot of fun, so I have to give it a thumbs up. The Beat the Clock challenge usually hinders quality ring action, plus we got nonsense like Kofi/Kendrick and Chavo/Hornswoggle, but thanks to Shaq doing a great job as guest host, I can forget about the negative. Much like Stone Cold overshadowing all the garbage in the Attitude Era, the guest host gimmick has really made Raw something that I can just sit back and enjoy.

I'm especially excited about next week since I'm a huge Jeremy Piven fan and we're getting Triple H vs. Legacy. Wait, Razor's excited about a handicap match? Yeah, because I think a certain someone may just make it to Mohegan Sun next week to even the odds and set up a tag match at SummerSlam. I'm ready for next week - are... you... ready?

Poll - ooh shiny!

Night of Champions got me thinking about the titles in WWE and I want your opinion, which of the active titles do you think looks the coolest? My personal opinion, I really like the current ECW Championship, it's a pretty slick design and the white gold really sets it apart from the rest of the titles in the company. But let me know what you think, make your choice, leave comments, have fun! Poll closes Saturday afternoon, so get those votes in!

Cue the hatred of the "spinner belt" in 3... 2... 1...

The Five Count - July 27, 2009

5. Old school interviews
WWE bringing back the 1980s/early 90s interview platform last Monday Night on Raw for the Mickie James/Miz/Maryse segment was one of those little things that shouldn't make any sort of difference, but it did. It gave the interview a whole different vibe, and Maryse "The Model" Ouellet spraying Mickie in the eyes was one of the best pieces of nostalgia I've seen from WWE in quite some time. Personally, I'd be all for WWE retiring the backstage interview altogether and doing everything on the platform near the entrance ramp. Now, if only we can get the return of wrestlers cutting promos with their logo in the background on a green screen.

4. Kozlov & Zeke
Not sure where they're going with this bizarre relationship, but whether it's a partnership or a feud, I am all about watching these guys one-up each other by tearing Local Competitor apart.

3. Evan Bourne vs. Jamie Noble
Such a simple match that proves why WWE Superstars is a good idea. If this match were on Raw or a PPV, the crowd would be dead, but thanks to Superstars, the crowd was red hot the entire time and both guys looked great throughout the contest. I doubt he'll get much out of it, but Noble proved in this one that he's definitely one of the most under-utilized talents on the roster. Evan Bourne? Awesome as always.

2. CM Punk - Jerkface Extraordinaire
A few weeks back, I put Punk on The Five Count for being a jerkface, but now he's the king of all jerkfaces. His promos the last few weeks have been absolutely infuriating and it all boiled over last night during the PPV. CM Punk blaming single parents for letting their kids cheer for Jeff Hardy? What an ass! And when he said Jack Daniel's is a gateway drug to marijuana, the crowd couldn't decide whether or not to boo him or cheer marijuana, once again proving his point.

1. Twitter hosts a Hardy Party
Okay, it's one of those things that doesn't seem like a big deal, but actually it is. Last night, "Jeff Hardy" was the first thing WWE-related to ever be on Twitter's "trending topics," he even peaked at #2 out of the top ten! It's a testament to just how popular the new World Heavyweight Champion is, he may even be eclipsing John Cena right now. Look for WWE to put this on one of their "Did You Know?" segments, and they should because it's a really cool moment for WWE and Jeff Hardy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

WWE Night of Champions 2009 Review

I was worried right off the bat when Chris Jericho & ??? vs. Legacy kicked off the event. In this week's podcast, I was hoping for Christian to go heel on Tommy Dreamer and come out later as Jericho's partner, so that idea was shot down immediately. Turns out, Big Show is Jericho's partner and my immediate reaction was "wow, what a letdown." After having a few hours to think about it, I think there's a lot of potential to make this a really good angle. The world's largest athlete combined with the best pro wrestler alive? Yeah, I'm digging it. Big Show's makeover is a welcome change as well, he's needed new ring attire since... always. This works, even if it does make him look like Earthquake. As for the actual match, it featured Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase, so I hope you weren't expecting much. Best part about this match was the fact that Big Show's handprint stayed on Cody's chest in the form of a disgusting welt for two hours. Thankfully JeriShow retained, because if Legacy won the belts here, it would've been the worst PPV of 2009 by default.
Predictions: 1-1

CM Punk's "blame the single parents" promo was sheer genius. If Punk keeps it up with stuff like this, he might just get to a 9 on the 10-point scale of infuriating a crowd. Why just a 9? Because the Dudley Boyz in ECW are at 10, and no one's ever going to top them.

Christian vs. Tommy Dreamer was highly enjoyable, but the dead crowd dragged it down. Come on, it's Tommy Dreamer defending the ECW Championship in Philly, make some damn noise, people. The Tommy Dreamer Appreciation Tour was fun while it lasted, but if they're not going to team Christian with Jericho, then WWE definitely made the right call by putting the belt back on Captain Charisma. Probably my second favorite match of the night, and I'm excited about what lies in Christian's path on Tuesday nights. William Regal feud, please!
Predictions: 1-2

Six-Pack Challenge was fun, but there were way too much downtime throughout the match. Also, I have to give it a big "LAME!" for putting Primo in instead of Evan Bourne when Big Show dropped out. Bourne has a victory over the US Champion and he's yet to receive his title match, what gives?! Definitely some innovative spots like Carlito's double springboard dive outside the ring and the double-superplex-powerbomb-o-doom. I was obviously pulling for The Miz to win, but I'm glad Kofi Kingston retained because it really solidifies him as the guy who can win any multi-man match, no matter how much you stack the odds against him. Triple Threat, Fatal Four-Way, Six-Pack Challenge? No problem, mon! Next stop? Put the title on the line in a 15-man Battle Royal! I believe in you, Kofi!
Predictions: 2-3

Okay, so Michelle McCool vs. Melina was way better than it had any right to be. I'm still not sold on McCool the entertainer, but she got the job done in the ring tonight and put on the best women's match I've seen in WWE since Melina took on The Glamazon earlier this year at The Rumble. From the minute McCool hit Melina with the baseball slide when she was doing her splits entrance, I was into this one. It wasn't a great match or anything, but it blew away expectations, and gave me a shred of hope for the Women's Title division.
Predictions: 3-4

As soon as I saw that John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton was the fifth match on the card, I knew we were in store for all sorts of shenanigans. All I wanted was for this match to show us that these three are on top of WWE for a reason, but all it did was infuriate me. I'm totally over the "boo!/yay!" punch trade-off, it's hokey at this point and they had to do it twice? And can someone explain to me why people are Randy Orton fans? If anything came out of this match, WWE definitely solidified him as the top heel as there's literally no reason to like the guy. He taps out to a double submission hold, but that doesn't end the match? Then needs Legacy has to come interfere, hits the RKO and wins? What the hell is that?! All this means is we're going to get subjected to more Cena/Orton/Triple H in Raw's stale main event scene... lovely. I know WWE likes to get cute with match finishes, but I'd love to see the precedent where if you submit, the match doesn't end. If anything, the title should be vacated like it was back when Triple H, Chris Benoit and Edge had that Triple Threat where Edge pinned Benoit, but was tapping out at the same time. Hell, HHH wasn't even involved in that decision and lost the title, Randy Orton tapped out, he should not get to walk out as WWE Champ. I'm struggling to think of a lamer finish to a main event match than this one.
Predictions: 3-5 (should've known better than to pick anyone but Orton)

Mickie James vs. Maryse was the women's match I was actually excited about, and man it was painful to watch. Dead crowd, slow pace, just didn't click at all. Their matches on Raw a couple months back were better than this one, so I'm not sure what happened. At the very least, Mickie is champ and I hope that means a feud with The Glamazon is in her future.
Predictions: 4-6

I enjoyed Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler stepped up and showcased his abilities tonight. I'm not surprised by the loss, but I don't think it will do anything to hurt him; he hung in there on a high-profile PPV match, didn't let the pressure get to him, hit some really cool moves and sold like a champ, so I think this is only just the beginning for ol' Ziggles. The big question I have is, when is Rey Mysterio going to get another shot at the World Heavyweight Championship? This guy's been on fire in 2009, putting on some matches that are nothing short of perfection, he deserves a main event match!
Predictions: 5-7

CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy was good, but a bummer, I didn't want Punk to lose! How awesome was Punk throughout the entire contest? Those little facial expressions, especially the one when he hit his running knee in the corner, were even making me hate him. The match itself was great, but the outcome raises a lot of questions... is Jeff Hardy actually taking time off or was it all a big ruse? Or, as I fear, is this the beginning of the Jeff Hardy gets fired storyline? Although, as I was joking when I was watching the match, it would be amusing if CM Punk accused Jeff Hardy of using performance enhancers in order to kick-out(!!) of the Go To Sleep. Tacky, but funny. If Jeff is sticking around, I'm all for him getting an actual run with the World Championship, he's arguably the most popular wrestler in the country right now, he certainly deserves it. But if Jeff does take time off, I hope this win is simply so he can go out putting someone over and drop the belt back to CM Punk at SummerSlam. Still, my personal disappointment aside, I am a huge Jeff Hardy fan and him winning the World Title in the main event is never a bad way to end a show.
Predictions: 5-8

Overall, I hate to admit it, but I was disappointed with Night of Champions. The WWE Title match especially left a bad taste in my mouth, almost making my disappointment turn into outright hatred. I've been cutting Raw a lot of slack lately with the fun guest host idea, but if they don't do something about the main event scene, I'm going to come unglued. I'm so over Randy Orton, the sooner they get the belt off him and give him a break from the title hunt, I'll be much more interested. As for the rest of the PPV, I enjoyed the matches, but nothing really stood out aside from Hardy's big title win, which finally got the crowd on their feet. At least the bigger and (hopefully) better SummerSlam is next month.

UPDATE - 1:30 am
Okay, so the reaction on Twitter has been nothing short of amazing and it definitely brings a smile to my face on a night where I expected to be annoyed. If you're not familiar with Twitter, "Jeff Hardy" is the first ever WWE topic to "trend" on the social networking site, it's one of the top ten phrases being mentioned by its users. For all my gripes I have with this PPV, at the very least I have to admit that WWE gave the fans what they wanted in the main event and it's awesome to see Jeff Hardy get this kind of response.

Five Things I want to see at Night of Champions

On weeks where there's a PPV, The Five Count is delayed in favor of "Five Things." Not necessarily predictions, just what I want to see (and what you want to see if you'd like to leave a comment).

5. Jericho shocks the world
Mystery partners have a tendency to not really be all that mysterious. While I'm personally pulling for Christian to turn heel and join Jericho, I wouldn't be opposed to something even more shocking than that. I don't know if there are a lot of guys out there that could feasibly come in, take the role as Jericho's partner, and legitimately shock us, but I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

4. Michelle McCool to lose
Not going to happen, but I'm really not interested in watching McSnooze hold onto the Women's Title. Smackdown's women's division is bad enough as it is, but a heel McCool leading it is even worse.

3. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy given 20 minutes
I asked for this last month at The Bash and didn't get it, which is understandable considering the feud needed to continue. Just give this one enough time, a definitive ending and let them go all out and we could have ourselves a real Match of the Year candidate.

2. Dolph Ziggler steps up
Dolph Ziggler has everything working in his favor tonight. He's in the Intercontinental Title picture, he's got loads of heat on him, all the momentum and an opponent who is notorious for being the easiest wrestler in the business to work with, this match (win or lose) should be his defining moment. Ziggler has way more potential than I gave him credit for when he debuted the gimmick last year, but this is his chance to prove himself once and for all. If Ziggler & Mysterio steal the show, he might not even need to worry about the IC Title.

1. John Cena, Triple H & Randy Orton get their groove back
I don't hide the fact that I'm a huge John Cena fan, but he hasn't exactly had much to work with since returning from his neck injury. He's had some good matches with Jericho and Edge, but who hasn't had good matches with those guys? Triple H is one of WWE's franchise players, he's had good matches with almost everyone who's come through the main event scene in the last ten years. Randy Orton, despite all the crap I give him, is more than capable of putting on a good match, he just hasn't done it in awhile.

So here we go, three of WWE's top guys in what is sure to be the main event of the evening (it's a WrestleMania 24 rematch!), but they haven't been at their best the last few months and that has to change tonight. Yes, they've had never-ending feuds and tough acts to follow at previous PPVs, but it could all be forgotten if these three tear the house down like I know they can.
These three are the torchbearers for WWE right now and they need to prove why tonight.

Poll Results - Night of Champions Matches

I'll have a new poll available tomorrow, but just wanted to focus on the results of this one since the PPV is tonight.

WHICH NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS MATCH ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
Orton vs. Cena vs. HHH - 9%
CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy - 45%
Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler - 4%
US Title Six-Pack Challenge - 4%
Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian - 5%
Chris Jericho & ??? vs. Legacy - 26%
Maryse vs. Mickie James - 4%

I'm surprised by the lack of love for the IC/US/ECW Title matches, as I think they all have sleeper-hit potential, but it's hard to compete against something like Punk vs. Hardy. A superbly built feud, tremendous mic work from CM Punk and a sympathetic challenger like Jeff Hardy who the crowd is just begging to see as World Champ.

And then of course, people are very excited about the mystery of Chris Jericho's tag team partner. My money's still on Christian, but it could really be anyone. WWE's shown that if necessary, guys will work double-duty, so anyone already on the card is fair game, but then there's the possibility that it's someone not even on the active roster right now. Just please don't let it be Kane.

Make sure to check back later tonight to find out if Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk is indeed the best match on the card, in my full Night of Champions review!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Smackdown Thoughts - July 24, 2009

It's the final show before Night of Champions!

Jeff Hardy kicks things off and the crowd pops HUGE for the number one contender. Jeff cuts a pretty fun promo, gets the crowd fired up and makes his case for why he'll be leaving NoC as the new World Heavyweight Champion. But first, he has to get through Chris Jericho.

Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy
was what you should expect from these two, awesome. Actually, this match was so good, I made a list of things in this match that could honestly make up this week's entire Five Count. Let's take a look:
5. Old school Jericho - Jericho pulled out some classic heel moves from his archives in this one, including some weak, insulting kicks to the face and literally walking over Jeff Hardy. I was waiting for the one-foot "C'MON BABY!" pin.
4. Hardy's corner-dropkick reversed into the Walls of Jericho.
3. Jericho actually connecting with the Lionsault - when's the last time that happened?
2. Twist of Fate into a Codebreaker - and Hardy went flying out of the ring for good measure.
1. Big-time Swanton Bomb - if you ever talk to someone who says the Swanton is a weak finisher, just show them the ending to this match.

Nice little hype video for John Morrison, I have a feeling his big push is right around the corner.

Melina throwing make-up in Michelle McCool's face was the most I've ever cared about this feud, or anything McCool's ever done, ever. I find the segment amusing since almost all the make-up actually went in McCool's mouth, hopefully it keeps her from talking.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Finlay wasn't anything special, but did what it needed to do. I like Ziggy's finisher, this apron-assisted version was especially nasty, but he really needs to come up with a name for it. Since Zack Ryder came up with "The Zack Attack" a week after I suggested a different name, I figure I'll do the same favor for Dolph. I'm hereby dubbing his move "The Formal Introduction" until it's given an official name.

The Great Khali vs. Mike Knox?! Haven't seen him in awhile. Khali gets an easy win despite an attempted distraction from Kane, which continues this feud revolving entirely around random interference without any other reason. Oh and I think I'd rather actually see more Khali vs. Knox matches before I see one Khali vs. Kane match. I experienced it once at WrestleMania 23 and I'm still trying to forget it ever happened.

Loved this week's Word Up! Slam-masta J. is quickly becoming one of the highlights of my week. I'm with ya J-Dizzle, don't be lettin' dem clowns from Canadia serve you dat Haterade. Werd.

CM Punk's "challenge" to the WWE Universe was amazing. He plays the straight-edge elitist gimmick so well, I'm beginning to wonder if that's what he's really like. This condescending, preachy, annoyingly calm promo is a refreshing change of pace from the typical in-your-face, yelling that you usually get from wrestling promos. And "just saying no" to Jeff Hardy? Priceless.

Eve vs. Natalya was lame. You can't have Natalya just beat the holy hell out of this girl and then let her get a fluke win after hitting one move! Natalya was working the kind of match that most male wrestlers should strive for and then takes a BS loss like that? But with that said, I do think Eve has promise, she's probably the most promising out of the newest batch of Divas. As long as she keeps working with someone as great as Natalya, she may just realize that potential.

R-Truth vs. Charlie Haas up next... if you traversed the sad, shallow waters of wrestling message boards in the last two weeks, you may have seen people freaking out about WWE "ruining" R-Truth by turning him into Pretty Ricky. Lots of people assumed that was going to be his new gimmick, now let's all point and laugh at them. Pretty Ricky seems to be an alter-ego, something for comedy bits while R-Truth does all the wrestling. The bit is lame, but just another reason to not pay any attention to the overreacting portions of the Internet Wrestling Community. As for the actual match, pretty good... Truth looked like he legitimately tweaked his knee, if that's the case, Haas did a good job improvising and working it the entire match. Good to see R-Truth winning again.

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk was a good main event, but obviously hampered by the DQ ending with Dolph Ziggler interfering. Ziggler hitting the Formal Introduction twice on Mysterio makes me feel more confident about my prediction that Mysterio will retain. Mysterio's gotten beat up way too much in this feud, so I can't see him dropping the belt already. Jeff Hardy running attempting to make the save only to get a GTS for his troubles serves him right. How dare he assault the World Heavyweight Champion like that on the way to the ring? Hardy could've easily broken Punk's wrist and left him unable to compete this Sunday and deprive us of a World Title match!

All in all, pretty good, but slightly uneventful Smackdown. That would usually create some reservations about the PPV in two days, but SD's so good right now, I know they'll deliver Sunday night. Actually, I'm fairly confident all three brands will bring the goods, this is one of the most well-balanced PPVs in awhile, most likely due to the fact that all the titles are being defended. If there weren't a PPV on Sunday, I'd immediately say Jericho/Hardy is Match of the Week, but I'm pretty sure a few Night of Champions matches will give it some serious competition.

Friday, July 24, 2009

WWE Superstars Thoughts - July 23, 2009

Dare I say... best Superstars ever?

If I'm going to make a bold claim like that, the night better start off with something good, right? How about Christian vs. William Regal? Been waiting for this one since the Trump Trade took Regal to the Land of Extreme and the match did not disappoint. Regal may not have come out on top, but Christian was bumping like a pinball for him the entire match and made him look like more of a legit threat than he has since dropping the IC Title. After seeing this match and how fired up Regal was, I'm starting to hope I'm wrong about Christian being Jericho's partner at the PPV. At this point, I'm pulling for Christian to beat Tommy Dreamer just so I can watch him feud with Regal over the ECW Championship.

Evan Bourne is up next and really, do I even need to say more? Okay, it's Bourne taking on the criminally underrated Jamie Noble in a match that took me back to the glory days of Velocity. Remember back around 2004 when Paul London was tearing it up on Velocity on a weekly basis? That's what this match reminded me of, just two guys going out there putting on a match that you don't usually see on WWE television, but the crowd was red hot for it the entire way through. Noble got in more offense than he has in the last two years combined and Bourne continued to impress. Whoever thought it was a good idea to not put Bourne in the US Title match on Sunday, I hope you're kicking yourself in the ass right now.

John Morrison vs. Kane in your main event and I was worried that this would derail an otherwise good show since, ya know, Kane was involved, but it actually turned out to be a very enjoyable match. I know, I'm just as shocked as you. I think if this match proved anything, it's that Morrison is definitely ready to move up to the next level, if he can make a Kane match interesting, then there's no limit to this guy's abilities. Lots of innovative spots, clever finish that kept both men looking strong and a nasty welt under Kane's eye that makes Morrison's running knee strike look even more badass.

By the way, I know I rag on Kane a lot, but let me be clear that it has nothing to do with Kane the performer, he's proven himself to be one of the most reliable talents in WWE history. My problem with Kane comes from the fact that he has one of the most stale characters in WWE history and they've done nothing new with him in seven years. You might be able to get away with that when dealing with a guy like Triple H, who can always add depth to his character, but Kane's gimmick is just so one-dimensional. Kane's a holdover from a dead era where shallow characters were acceptable, and despite all the convoluted backstory they've tried to give him over the years, he's pretty much exactly the same as he was twelve years ago.

So yeah, best Superstars ever? I'll let you be the judge of that, but in the show's brief history, I think this definitely ranks near the top. If WWE keeps putting on a show like this every week, then WGN America is definitely the place to be on Thursday nights. If you missed this one, you owe it to yourself to catch the replay on Sunday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Night of Champions 2009 Predictions

So I gave my mini predictions on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, but as I look back at them, I realize I only have one title changing hands. Should I make some alterations? Let's find out.

Women's Championship
Michelle McCool © vs. ???
I assume this is going to be Melina in this match, but WWE has not officially confirmed. Regardless of who it is, Michelle McCool will (unfortunately) retain. The one (and only) interesting thing about this match is that I don't remember the last time there were two women's matches on a WWE PPV. Has it ever happened?

Diva's Championship
Maryse © vs. Mickie James
Maryse has done well as the evil Diva, she's definitely the easiest woman in the company to hate, but that's why Night of Tramp-ions it's the perfect time for her to drop the belt to Mickie James. WWE's always hot and cold with Mickie, one minute she's their #1 Diva, then you won't see her for a month. Regardless of that, she's still unquestionably the most popular female in the business today and deserves another run with a title. She should've been the first to hold both the Women's & Diva's Championships, but Michelle McZzzzzzzzzzz had to ruin that.

United States Championship
Kofi Kingston
© vs. Big Show vs. The Miz vs. Jack Swagger vs. MVP vs. Carlito
The Six-Pack Challenge is a hard match to predict and with these competitors, it makes it all the more difficult. Any of these guys could walk out of the PPV as champion and have plenty of guys to work with. They could put the belt on Swagger or MVP and raise the stakes of their feud. Carlito could regain the title that he won in his WWE debut and go onto feud with his brother. Kofi could retain and feud with any of these guys. The one thing I am fairly confident about, Big Show will not win since he's been treated as the dominant monster and is presented as the odds on favorite, making it too obvious. That's the monster consolation prize, usually given to Kane whenever Money in the Bank or the Royal Rumble roll around. I'm admittedly pulling for The Miz in this one since he deserves a title (I'd take him as WWE Champ over Randy Orton any day!), but I'm sticking with my gut and saying Kofi Kingston retains. When you look back, he won the match in a Triple Threat, then defended it in a Fatal Four-Way, the next logical step is for him to win the Six-Pack Challenge.

Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio
© vs. Dolph Ziggler
Another tough match to call; Ziggy's on a huge roll, but Rey-Rey has really been raising the prestige of the IC Title and I don't know if it's time for him to drop it. In my estimation, the outcome of this match has a lot to do with Jeff Hardy's status and who's going to feud with CM Punk for the World Heavyweight Title. I know John Morrison is in line for a shot, but I'm not so sure they're ready to stick him in the main event of SummerSlam, but Mysterio is always a viable option. If a solid SummerSlam main event is in place, then I think Rey will retain and give Dolph a rematch next month at that PPV. I'll play it safe and go with Rey Mysterio hanging onto the gold, but don't be surprised if this feud ends with Ziggler becoming the next Intercontinental Champion.

ECW Championship
Tommy Dreamer © vs. Christian

I'm fairly confident that Tommy Dreamer will retain here, but not 100% sure. With all these new guys popping up on ECW, they could really use Christian to guide them along and what better way for him to do that than as ECW Champion? That said, I think Christian has bigger fish to fry at this point and Tommy's no slouch in the mentor role.

Unified Tag Team Championship
Chris Jericho & ???
© vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
If you've been keeping up with the Mystery Partner thread, you'll see there are a lot of theories about who will be taking Edge's place this Sunday. There's everything from The Brian Kendrick to a returning Chris Masters to Cody Rhodes or DiBiase turning on the other in a similar fashion to last year's Night of Champions. I really hope we don't go with a Legacy break-up, because that would just be lame, Chris Jericho doesn't need either of those guys weighing him down, they're busy enough weighing Orton down! Personally, I'm hoping for Christian to turn heel after losing the ECW Title match and then come back out later to team with his good friend, Chris Jericho. Christian's been great as a face since coming back to WWE, but we all know that his true skills on the mic come from being one of the most infuriating heels of the last decade. I just want this to be the case so I can watch crowds come unglued when these two are in the ring together. But regardless of who the partner is, I'm almost 100% sure that Jericho & [insert name here] are walking out as champs.

World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk © vs. Jeff Hardy
I have to say, I'm really worried about this match. With it becoming more and more clear that Jeff Hardy is taking time off, I'm afraid they'll have him win here and then run an angle where he gets his "third strike" and is "released" from WWE, causing him to vacate the World Championship. Then when Jeff comes back, they'll do a big reveal that CM Punk framed him or something and reignite the feud. Would be incredibly tacky, but also something that's never been done before. I hope they don't go that route and I hope we just get a straight up CM Punk win to solidify his championship reign. Whatever the aftermath may be, I'm thrilled about this match and it is definitely my prediction for Match of the Night.

WWE Championship
Randy Orton © vs. Triple H vs. John Cena

I'm honestly clueless about where this one is going, all I know is Raw's main event scene desperately needs some shaking up. A couple weeks back, I would've suggested that since Raw is so light on heels, Orton should retain and move onto a feud with MVP, but MVP's dropped so far off the radar in the last month, I'm not so sure. Barring the return of Shawn Michaels, I don't see there being a big enough opponent for Randy Orton to defend the title against at SummerSlam unless they're really going to make us sit through Orton vs. HHH Part 37. Orton vs. Cena would work, but then what's Triple H going to do at the second biggest show of the year? I'm probably over-thinking this one too much, the logical choice is probably to stick with Orton, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say John Cena captures the gold.

I'm fully expecting to do terrible this month, but I doubt I can do much worse than with my WrestleMania predictions (which was also the weekend the site launched, haha). I'm only predicting two titles changing hands, so I think that immediately doesn't bode well for me. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a DQ on this card as well to give a challenger a win, but let the champ keep his or her title (IC and ECW Title matches seem like prime contenders for that). Regardless of my performance, I'm just pleased to see a relatively unpredictable PPV from WWE.


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 Night of Champions!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 8



In this episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, Razor angers more bad wrestling websites for exposing them as plagiarists. Shaq, Jeremy Piven, the TNA/Jeff Jarrett/Kurt Angle saga, Chris Jericho's mystery partner and Night of Champions are discussed as well. Also... Razor's Santino impression. Seriously.

*UPDATE* July 23, 11:25 pm
Good news! GCast finally fixed their issues and we're back on iTunes!

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

Poll - Night of Champions

First, the results from our previous poll:

WHO'S THE MOST UNDERRATED WWE SUPERSTAR?
Christian - 38%
The Brian Kendrick - 27%
Kofi Kingston - 6%
William Regal - 16%
R-Truth - 4%
Other - 6%

No surprise there, Christian has quietly become one of the best (if not the best) wrestlers in WWE since his return earlier this year. Also nice to see The Brian Kendrick coming in second place, as I mention every chance I get, he is the most under-utilized star in WWE today.

New Poll relates to this Sunday's PPV. Which Night of Champions match are you most excited for? Poll closes Sunday morning, so vote early!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ECW Thoughts - July 21, 2009

ECW's been a roller coaster in terms of quality since the big 15 Superstar Trade, how's the show looking four weeks into its extreme makeover?

Yoshi Tatsu vs. William Regal start the night off with a really good match. Regal was in ultra heel mode, throwing some extra stiff "welcome to the big leagues" forearms, and Yoshi responded in kind with a flurry of chops. Regal losing bums me out, because I think it's now safe to assume he will not be Chris Jericho's partner, as I had predicted earlier today. No shame in Regal's loss though, he dominated most of the match and Striker did a good job selling it as a huge upset.

ECW's next big thing, Ezekiel Jackson dominated Local Competitor, but things got weird when Vladimir Kozlov's music hit and he made his way to the ring. I have to admit, I got really excited about these two just beating the hell out of each other, but Kozlov instead attacked Local Competitor! I don't know if this is leading to a feud or a partnership between these two, but either way I am highly intrigued.

"The Gold Standard" Shelton Benjamin vs. Goldust was surprisingly good; this is what I meant a few weeks back when I said you can't count out Goldust, who still has a trick or two up his sleeve. I can't think of a better match involving Goldust since 2002 during his run with Booker T, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the Bizarre One.

Sheamus is awesome. Fun, old-school style backstage vignette where he says the days of Irishmen dancing around with Leprechauns on "E-C-Dobel Yah" are over!

The Paul Burchill/Goldust backstage confrontation was a nice way to set-up Burchill for his match, and Goldy bringing up his electrocution is always amusing.

Paul Burchill vs. Tyler Reks was another rock solid bout and definitely more impressive than Reks' previous encounters with Zack Ryder. Back and forth action, Reks looked a lot more comfortable, took a lot more risks and picked up his first win. Burchill's also really won me over since coming to ECW, he was doing nothing for me on Raw, but he's really upped his game since moving to SyFy. Since he attacked Reks after the match, I hope this means there's more in store for "The Ripper" and these last couple weeks of losing aren't indicative of him sliding even further down the card.

Okay, I've given it three chances, the Abraham Washington Show has to go. Tommy Dreamer & Christian could've easily done that segment by themselves, they didn't need Abe out there chiming in with his painfully lame jokes. Wrestling talk shows have worked in the past because the host has traditionally been the one to stir the pot, but Tommy and Christian were doing all that while Washington was nothing but a distraction. It's lame, unfunny and has no place in the main event slot of ECW, it's time to cut bait on this experiment.

Okay, Abraham Washington Show aside, I think this episode proved that ECW still has all the tools to be the best little wrestling show on television, despite the big trade taking many of the brand's stars. All of the actual matches (the Zeke squash doesn't count) were enjoyable, new stars are being showcased and they seem to be showing us more depth as they continue working on the big stage. I have a strong feeling that someone on ECW is about to explode as WWE's next big thing, but it's up to them to grab the proverbial brass ring.

Who is Chris Jericho's partner?

This is an open thread for you to share your thoughts on who Chris Jericho's partner will be. I would create a poll for it, but there's just too many possibilities to do it justice. So here's all you have to do, just leave a comment below saying who you think will take Edge's place at Night of Champions.

For the record, my money is currently on William Regal.

You do not have to be a member of blogger to leave a comment, so there's no annoying sign-up process to go through, just share your thoughts!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Raw Thoughts - July 20, 2009

I'm beginning to suspect someone in WWE may be a Kick-Out!! fan. I totally called Billy Gibbons hosting a few weeks back and it just gets weirder as the night progresses. But more on that in a bit, let's get to the ZZ Top edition of Monday Night Raw!

John Cena starts the show and he's in what I like to call "Preacher Mode," he's very excited and he's going to yell at us about it! Someone get this man an "amen!" Of course, "The Fun Killer" Randy Orton has to come out and suck the energy out of the room with one of his patented "I'm going to win, you're going to lose" promos. Cena wants to fight, Legacy surrounds the ring (of course) and then Triple H evens the odds. And shockingly, the main event becomes a 3-on-2 handicap match between these five guys. In all honesty, the stuff with Triple H and John Cena cracking jokes was pretty funny, so it made the segment great, but seriously WWE, please: NO... MORE... HANDICAP MATCHES! Especially with Legacy.

Okay, Part 1 of my suspicions that WWE is reading my blog, they announce a Six-Pack Challenge at Night of Champions for the US Title featuring: Kofi Kingston, Big Show, MVP, Jack Swagger, The Miz and Carlito. Sound familiar? It should since I suggested this in my Superstars review last week:

"Personally, I'd like to see them get crazy and have a big six-man clusterfudge (I'm still edgy!) and throw in MVP, Swagger and The Miz. Wouldn't count on that though."

I was expecting Bourne instead of Carlito... but still pretty creepy, right? Oh, it gets weirder later on.

Kofi Kingston, MVP & Primo vs. Big Show, Jack Swagger & Carlito was a really fun six-man tag. Poor Primo, not only did he get betrayed by his brother, then forced to put on those hideous tights, he doesn't even get to be in the US Title match at Night of Champions. Tough break, but at least he got the win in this match, right? This was the best I've ever seen Primo, he was on fire the whole match and his springboard headbutt was nasty! Good showing for all six guys, but I'm totally pulling for The Miz on Sunday!

Santino Marella & ZZ Top? Hilarious... wonder if WWE dug their Santa Claus beard out of wardrobe for Santino? These segments were fairly harmless, but also somewhat surreal at the same time. I dunno, something about seeing ZZ Top goofing off backstage with various WWE Superstars while pretending to play their songs just made me feel like I was on some kind of drug. I would've preferred cutting a couple of these segments and giving ZZ Top a live performance in front of the crowd, but oh well.

Part 2 of me suspecting a WWE staffer reading Kick-Out!! The Brian Kendrick campaigning to be Chris Jericho's partner at Night of Champions. Last week in my Raw review, I said this:

"I'm a sucker for mystery partners, hopefully this one doesn't disappoint. My heart is rooting for a guy like The Brian Kendrick, who would make sense since he was looking for a partner months ago, but my brain suggests it won't be that shocking. "

Obviously after Kendrick took a clean loss to Jerry Lawler of all people, I wouldn't count on him showing up on Sunday, but it was nice of WWE to at least throw me a bone on that one. Seriously though WWE, you're just flushing money down the toilet by not doing more with Kendrick, yeah he's small, but he's just so damn good.

And Part 3 of my suspicions, Mickie James being interviewed on a platform near the entrance ramp, old school World Wrestling Federation style. I mentioned this a month ago in the June 21 edition of The Five Count:

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

Oh come on! Three explanations here: 1. WWE likes my blog (hey, I am trying to create a legit wrestling media for them!) 2. Strange coincidence. 3. A solar eclipse is coming and will soon awaken my psychic powers.

Anyway, the Mickie James/Miz/Maryse bit on the old school interview platform was awesome. Maybe even the highlight of the night. Mickie James using the phrase "Night of Tramp-ions" might be the WWE Quote of the Year, but it has some stiff competition from JR calling Big Show's fist "malignant" and the dozens of times Chris has cracked open the Jerichopedia. Maryse as the modern day Rick Martel also makes me smile... even though she's evil.

Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry was okay, mainly thanks to Jericho always being amazing. The novelty of Mark Henry as a face is starting to wear off for me and unless something changes (like him destroying Randy Orton again), I don't know if I'm going to dig it. Anyway, Jericho's above wrestling bulbous, recalcitrant manatees on a brand he shouldn't even have to compete on, so he clocks Henry with a chair and takes the DQ loss. It's okay Chris, the parasitic tapeworms are much more interested in what you have in store for us at the PPV.

Has there been a Tuxedo Match in WWE since Harvey Wippleman vs. Howard Finkel in the early 90s? The Sharp Dressed Man Tuxedo Match between Chavo Guerrero and Hornswoggle was stupid, but at least more enjoyable than last week's encounter. And hey, Michael Cole actually said something legitimately funny when he referenced "March of the Penguins" due to Chavo's pant legs being sewn together. Hornswoggle's "no no no" beg-off, then Chavo screaming "do you think this is funny?!" and Horny replying "yeah" was rather awesome as well.

Jericho telling Legacy that his partner could be Randy Orton was genius. Can't wait to see him and whoever his partner is destroy these two on Sunday.

Oh wow, Alicia Fox & Rosa Mendes vs. Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly was bad. Really, really bad. I'd be willing to bet money that this will go down as the worst Divas match of 2009. Fox, Mendes and Kelly are all capable when in the ring with wrestlers like Mickie, Maryse, Jillian or The Glamazon, but really this match was entirely on the shoulders of Gail Kim and that's just plain unfair. I hate sounding like a negative smark here, but there's no other way to put it, this was awful.

Okay, I'm not kidding, earlier today, I suggested to the First Lady of Kick-Out!! that they should try to get Shaq to guest host since he's a big WWE fan. I even wondered aloud why I didn't put him on last week's poll. Since I have no written proof of this, I'm not going to suggest that WWE is reading my blog, but it does lend credibility to the psychic theory...

Triple H & John Cena vs. Legacy was your standard Raw main event handicap match. Can I get away with not writing about this one since I've recapped this match at least half a dozen times this year? The ending was cool with Orton missing The Punt and Cena getting the roll-up, but everything else was by the numbers.

As soon as I got on my computer, someone told me on Twitter that this was "one of the worst Raws in history." I didn't have the ability to reply since I was too busy rolling my eyes. This wasn't a great Raw, not even a good Raw, but still better than what we were getting post-Backlash. Also saw people whining about ZZ Top "selling out" to Vince McMahon... uh, what? ZZ Top are huge WWE fans and promoted their tour and new DVD on the show, but that's considered "selling out?" Puh-lease. Do these people not watch any other sport on television? It is nothing but advertising!

Anyway, no not the best Raw ever, but they also used the majority of the roster in the six-man tag and the main event. Night of Champions is shaping up nicely (my predictions will be up later this week) and since the show got me excited for the PPV, I'm not going to complain too much. As I mentioned last week, since this guest host idea has been implemented, Raw's got its mojo back. Even when the show isn't that great, it still has a fun, unique vibe to it and that helps me forget about the bad and focus on the good. Hell, it worked for Raw for a lot of shows in the late 90s, so I'm glad they've captured that magic once again.

More fun with copy & paste

Haven't done one of these in awhile, but saw a particular story (that I originally read last week) pop up all over the dirtsheets today. Which no-talent, plagiarizing hacks are in the crosshairs today? Just Google the phrase "Backstage News on Shelton Benjamin's WWE Status" and we'll find out together!

sescoops.com
Shelton Benjamin’s recent move to ECW was not done as a demotion, but rather in hopes that he’ll once again emerge as a big fish in a small pond. The PWTorch Newsletter reports that the company feels if he heats up on ECW, they can always move him back to RAW or SmackDown. Shelton’s reputation for years was that he’s a great athlete but lacks the motivation to live up to WWE’s expectations of him, and this caused his SmackDown push to be scaled back. The feeling of several sources is that he became complacent once he made some money, but has shed that reputation in recent months.

wrestlinginc.com
Shelton Benjamin’s recent move to ECW was not done as a demotion, but rather in hopes that he’ll once again emerge as a big fish in a small pond. The PWTorch Newsletter reports that the company feels if he heats up on ECW, they can always move him back to RAW or SmackDown. Shelton’s reputation for years was that he’s a great athlete but lacks the motivation to live up to WWE’s expectations of him, and this caused his SmackDown push to be scaled back. The feeling of several sources is that he became complacent once he made some money, but has shed that reputation in recent months.

pwrshow.com
Shelton Benjamin’s recent move to ECW was not done as a demotion, but rather in hopes that he’ll once again emerge as a big fish in a small pond. The PWTorch Newsletter reports that the company feels if he heats up on ECW, they can always move him back to RAW or SmackDown. Shelton’s reputation for years was that he’s a great athlete but lacks the motivation to live up to WWE’s expectations of him, and this caused his SmackDown push to be scaled back. The feeling of several sources is that he became complacent once he made some money, but has shed that reputation in recent months.

TWNPNews.com
Shelton Benjamin’s recent move to ECW was not done as a demotion, but rather in hopes that he’ll once again emerge as a big fish in a small pond. The PWTorch Newsletter reports that the company feels if he heats up on ECW, they can always move him back to RAW or SmackDown. Shelton’s reputation for years was that he’s a great athlete but lacks the motivation to live up to WWE’s expectations of him, and this caused his SmackDown push to be scaled back. The feeling of several sources is that he became complacent once he made some money, but has shed that reputation in recent months.

PWMania
Shelton Benjamin’s recent move to ECW was not done as a demotion, but rather in hopes that he’ll once again emerge as a big fish in a small pond. The PWTorch Newsletter reports that the company feels if he heats up on ECW, they can always move him back to RAW or SmackDown. Shelton’s reputation for years was that he’s a great athlete but lacks the motivation to live up to WWE’s expectations of him, and this caused his SmackDown push to be scaled back. The feeling of several sources is that he became complacent once he made some money, but has shed that reputation in recent months.

xtremewrestlingscoops.com - (doesn't bother to source PWTorch)
Shelton Benjamin's recent move to ECW was not done as a demotion, but rather in hopes that he'll once again emerge as a big fish in a small pond. The company feels if he heats up on ECW, they can always move him back to RAW or SmackDown. Shelton's reputation for years was that he's a great athlete but lacks the motivation to live up to WWE's expectations of him, and this caused his SmackDown push to be scaled back. The feeling of several sources is that he became complacent once he made some money, but has shed that reputation in recent months.

Just a few examples, there are literally dozens more, but I get bored after shooting so many fish in the barrel.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Five Count - July 19, 2009

Here we go, the five biggest wrestling tidbits of the week in convenient list form.

5. Rey Rey gets Ziggy wit' it. (sorry)
Not sure why I found this segment so interesting on Superstars (and for whatever reason forgot to mention it in my review), but Mysterio and Ziggler dueling on the mics got me really pumped for their match at Night of Champions. Perhaps it was because we usually don't see storylines progress like that on Superstars, but regardless of the reason, I'm looking forward to seeing what else they have in store for us.

4. SummerSlam expands
It was announced earlier this week that WWE is going to put more of an emphasis into the SummerSlam PPV, making it the biggest show of the year aside from WrestleMania, and like I mentioned on Kick-Out!! Radio, it should've been like that the whole time. I don't know when SummerSlam became just another PPV, but making it a bigger spectacle and holding a fan Axxess convention beforehand will definitely help fix that perception.

3. Natalya wins... Fatality!
Seriously, if you didn't see Natalya decapitating Eve with that sickening clothesline on Smackdown, go to YouTube as soon as you finish reading The Five Count. Natalya is not your average Diva, and the minute they turn her loose on the women's division, some of those Barbie dolls are in for a rude awakening.

2. CM Punk vs. John Morrison
In 2007, they were putting on really good ECW Title matches; in 2009, I'm ready for them to headline SummerSlam.
These two have had plenty of good matches over the years, but to see how much they've grown as performers over the last two years is amazing. With Edge on the shelf and Jeff Hardy's contract status in question, I think it's time to really roll the dice on Smackdown and let Morrison and Punk evolve into the franchise players that they are destined to be.

1. The Red Brand goes Green.
Seth Green kicked ass Monday night and I think he really sold the guest host idea as something that can make Raw fun again. Whether it's Seth Green, ZZ Top, Dusty Rhodes or maybe even Adam Sandler, it's got people buzzing about a show that was nearly unwatchable just one month ago. The flagship brand still has its share of problems, but if they keep putting on enjoyable shows like the Seth Green edition of Raw, then I'll be glued to my television every Monday night instead of making myself watch for the sake of this website.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Poll - Most Underrated?

First, the results from our previous poll:

WHICH CELEBRITY SHOULD GUEST HOST RAW NEXT?
Dennis Rodman - 8%
Billy Corgan - 12%
Mike Tyson - 30%
Drew Carey - 12%
Adam Sandler - 36%

"Iron" Mike had this one until Adam Sandler snuck up on him at the last minute and stole the win. Oddly enough, out of these celebrity fans, Sandler's had the least involvement with wrestling.

Alright, time for a new poll: Who's the most underrated Superstar in WWE today? If you choose "Other," please specify who it is in the comments section. Poll closes Wednesday, so get those votes in!

Smackdown Thoughts - July 17, 2009

So it's about 2:30 am as I write this, I usually don't review Smackdown on Friday night (Saturday morning, whatever) and I usually don't even watch SD until Saturday afternoon, but I had such an awesome day I figured I'd give something back. No huge good news or anything today, but a lot of little things, including my local MyNetworkTV affiliate finally presenting tonight's Smackdown in HD. So let's take a look at the Blue Brand in glorious High Definition.

Jeff Hardy starts things off and gets into some pretty personal details about his personal life and his WWE career. All fairly well known stuff: suspensions, drugs, etc. but it's pretty crazy to see them get that in-depth about it. CM Punk interrupts and continues to make me wonder why he's the heel in this situation. He made a great point about living a clean and sober life, yet kids in the audience look up to Jeff Hardy as their hero and he wonders what kind of message that sends. Without getting into my devil's advocate character, I admit that I'm wondering the same thing, but Jim Ross does a great job of selling it as Punk being obnoxious and preachy.

CM Punk vs. John Morrison is up next. This match was just as good as their last and probably going to wind up as Match of the Week, but it's no surprise considering the participants. Morrison shockingly picks up another win over the World Champ, this time thanks to an awesome counter to Punk's attempt at a la magistral cradle. Well, I think it's pretty much safe to assume it's going to be Punk vs. Morrison as the next big World Title feud if Jeff Hardy does indeed take time off. Can't wait to see what these two are capable of if given twenty minutes and a big stage like SummerSlam. Looks like the people who voted in the Kick-Out!! poll about future World Champs may be onto something.

Layla dancing... okay, point to this? I know they're in Miami and she used to be a dancer for the Heat, but really? Of all people to save a segment, Ricky Ortiz arrives with a bag full of rally washcloths for the audience. He gives one to Layla and she drops it in the ring, he acts like it's some huge insult. Is the Ricky Ortiz rally towel like the American flag, you're not supposed to let it touch the ground?

Funny Word Up! segment this week. Did Jesse really refer to Eve as his "boo"? Hilarious.

Kane vs. R-Truth and of course Kane wins because Kane isn't allowed to lose even though his character never goes anywhere. We also get more of Kane's riveting feud with The Great Khali, why are they fighting? I dunno and apparently neither does WWE, but when Kane wrestles, Khali is required to come down after the match; when Khali wrestles, Kane is required to interfere during the match. Really, I'm one of the easiest fans to please, but this "feud" is just terrible... at least R-Truth got to hit the missile dropkick after the fact.

The Hart Dynasty vs. Cryme Tyme & Eve this is what I've been waiting months for, Natalya wrestling! And she didn't disappoint either, she folded Eve up like an accordion with that discus clothesline! Wow... and damn! This is the kind of match I've been wanting to see in the Harts/Cryme Tyme feud, mixing it up a bit, not just straight-up tag matches every week. Now seriously, JTG vs. Tyson Kidd. Next week. Pretty please. With sugar on top. [/HarveyKeitel]

And so the Edge face turn begins. A few weeks ago, after the uncomfortable verbal destruction of Vickie Guerrero, I said Edge wouldn't be able to turn face any time soon. Naturally, Edge has to go and prove me wrong by getting one of the worst injuries in sports. Ultimate Opportunist, indeed! Edge is definitely going to get a monstrous reaction upon his return, my only hope is he can be back in time to take on Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 26.

Main Event time! Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler vs. Jeff Hardy & Rey Mysterio is classic WWE booking, take two of your big feuds and pair the guys up for a tag match. As I type this, I realize I did not mention the Dolph Ziggler/Rey Mysterio segment in my Superstars review and I'm not sure what made it slip my mind since it was easily the highlight of that show. If I hadn't forgotten, I would've said that Night of Champions is Dolphy Z's big chance to prove himself worthy of moving up the card. Mysterio is notorious for being one of the easiest men in the business to work with, so if Ziggler goes out there and tears the house down next Sunday, I think the vacant spot in the main event scene due to Edge's injury is his to take.

This match was a rock solid - if a bit formulaic - Smackdown main event. I did love the ending with Hardy trying to toss Jericho into CM Punk at the commentary table, only for Punk to throw Jericho into Jeff and causing him to hit the steel stairs at a really nasty angle. Jericho's face after tossing Hardy back into the ring and hitting him a Codebreaker was absolutely priceless, so proud of himself, like he just won the WWE Title or something. And Jeff, as you were laying their on the mat, I hope you realized you had no one to blame but yourself for that one. You tried to assault a man who was simply doing commentary at ringside, maybe next time you'll think twice before attempting such a cowardly act!

Good Smackdown aside from the baffling Layla segment and the painfully stale Kane. SD easily continues to dominate the professional wrestling landscape with smart, yet simple storylines and strong in-ring action. Can't wait to see what they have in store for the go-home show next week before Night of Champions.

WWE Superstars Thoughts - July 17, 2009

Gonna keep this one short, I actually watched Smackdown tonight (usually don't until Saturday afternoon) and don't want to fall behind on the reviews.

Cryme Tyme vs. The Hart Dynasty is developing into a rather enjoyable little feud. But really, too much of the teams wrestling, I know I've been harping on this for two weeks now, but would it kill WWE to give us a singles match in this rivalry? That used to be a staple of the tag feud, having the members of the team square off in singles competition, but now we're just getting the teams wrestling every week! I'm begging you WWE, next week on Superstars or Smackdown, give us JTG vs. Tyson Kidd, I really feel like those guys could put on a really unique match.

Alright, I'm gonna level with you here, I fast-forwarded through Brie Bella vs. Katie Lea Burchill. Really, it's nothing against these particular Divas, I think Katie Lea is criminally underused and the Bellas are improving, but I don't see the point in this. There's no women's division on ECW, so I'm not seeing the point of these recent matches. Give me a reason to care about this and I'll watch. Give me a reason to cheer for the Bellas even though they're cheaters, and I will, but right now the whole thing is completely illogical.

Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston was a lot better than I thought it would be. These David vs. Goliath matches usually don't work when Big Show is involved because he's just so damn huge, it's hard to really get immersed. When I see Show, I just feel like all it would take is one punch and his opponent would be in a coma, but this match felt relatively believable. Kofi's a tremendous talent, perhaps the most underrated star on Raw, and it was a pleasant surprise to see him create a fun match with Big Show. But I guess this means Triple Threat at Night of Champions with Evan Bourne in the mix? Personally, I'd like to see them get crazy and have a big six-man clusterfudge (I'm still edgy!) and throw in MVP, Swagger and The Miz. Wouldn't count on that though.

Friday, July 17, 2009

T-N-MMA

If you haven't checked out this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio yet, there's a segment on the show about WWE rubbing off on UFC, much to the dismay of MMA purists around the world. But what about the other way around, MMA influencing professional wrestling? Last week, I got into a debate on the one wrestling message board I frequent about TNA and what they need to make it to that next plateau and become legitimate competition to WWE. This conversation stemmed out of remarks made by Hulk Hogan, some people took it as Hogan dropping hints that he wanted to go to TNA, and that brought on the discussion of whether or not Hogan could do for TNA what he did for WCW. Short answer: no, he couldn't. Hogan's knees are shot, he hasn't wrestled a match on television in three years and while I'm sure he'd be a valuable asset to TNA, he's nothing more than a special attraction at this point, you couldn't build a promotion around him.

But as message board topics usually go, the conversation broadened and the question was, "well if not Hogan, who?" Who's the one guy who could put TNA on equal ground with WWE? Someone mentioned The Rock, but the chances of Dwayne Johnson ever stepping foot in a wrestling ring again are slim to none and even if he did, there's no way he'd be going anywhere but WWE... he owes them his entire career. I'm not one to buy into the idea of one man alone making a difference for a wrestling promotion, you certainly need a top star, but you also need to really define your promotion; a branding effort. Hogan was definitely the centerpiece of the WWF in the 1980s, but he was part of a larger vision for the company - Rock 'n' Wrestling. Same idea applied to Stone Cold in the 90s and the Attitude Era. If TNA really wants to compete with WWE, they need to get in that kind of mindset. What we need is something to really change the industry and put it back in the mainstream, and I think the only man to use as the centerpiece for that is Brock Lesnar.

A little over a year ago, TNA had what I'm pretty sure was the most successful PPV in their history, Lockdown 2008. That show was headlined by Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe in a MMA-inspired cage match and I think that's the direction TNA needs to move in if they ever want to compete with WWE, and that's where Lesnar comes in. TNA needs to further explore the idea of presenting their product as more of a legit MMA-esque sport, it nearly doubled the buyrate of every other PPV last year when they did it with Lockdown, so obviously there's an audience for it. Over the next few years, they could transition the product from WWE-lite to UFC with storylines, fights with predetermined outcomes, etc. Hell, Brock Lesnar's promo after his win last Saturday night practically laid the groundwork for them! As the product slowly changes, that pesky no-compete clause that Lesnar signed when he quit WWE will be expiring and then that's when TNA could pull the trigger and put the exclamation point on this new business model and bring in the one guy to bridge the gap between MMA and pro-wrestling.

The idea of a wrestling/MMA hybrid may sound crazy at first, but I just see this as the natural evolution of the wrestling business. Today's wrestling is certainly a far cry from what the sport was before the advent of television. Vince McMahon took wrestling from territories to worldwide global phenomenon, it's those who dare to challenge the structure of the business who go down in history.
TNA's never going to be able to compete when they're playing by Vince McMahon's rules; you can't out-WWE the WWE, it only worked one time and that was during the Monday Night War. I always hear rumblings that TNA should try going head-to-head with Raw in the future to recreate that era... really? Ask WCW how that worked out in the end. Too many people in the wrestling industry are stuck in the past and they keep looking backwards, we don't need another Monday Night War, we already had one. But we've never seen someone take the idea of UFC and blend it with the character-driven nature of modern sports entertainment. MMA is the fastest growing sport on the planet for a reason, it could revolutionize the professional wrestling industry, spark the next boom period, and put TNA on the map. They're always talking about "crossing the line" and being an alternative to WWE, here's their chance... as long as they're willing to take the risk.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 7




In this episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, Razor travels to a wrestling message board (the horror!), discusses RAW, ECW, SummerSlam becoming the second biggest event of the year and why WWE was the big winner after Saturday night's UFC PPV.


Subscribe to Kick-Out!! Radio via iTunes! (This link will open your iTunes)
*Note: Part one of my recent problems with GCast seems to be solved, I was able to upload audio today, but there are now some issues with it working on iTunes. Please bear with me (well, bear with GCast), I'm sure things will be fixed soon.

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




Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ECW Thoughts - July 14, 2009

Starting things off with Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian? That's awfully nice of WWE. Good match, as I would expect a match between these two to be. I have to say though, I'm getting a little tired of music starting mid-match so a guy can come down and provide a distraction. We've seen it at least four times this week, why can't the guy just walk to ringside without a theme song? Oh well. As I said, the match was enjoyable, Christian showing once again why he's the most underrated Superstar in the business today, Kozlov was amusing on commentary and I have to admit I'm downright shocked that Shelton picked up the win. Here's hoping for a Shelton vs. Christian ECW Title match on PPV by the end of 2009.

Loved the interview with Ezekiel Jackson, his whole persona just works for me; hard-hitting, intimidating, but not the typical in your face roaring behemoth type. He comes across like a monster with a brain, which is definitely more depth than they usually give to the "hoss" types. Like I said last week, as long as Zeke can hang in the ring against actual members of the roster, he has "future champion" written all over him.

Yoshi Tatsu vs. Paul Burchill was a decent match, good to see The Ripper back in action after unfortunate events took him off the road. That back suplex that Burchill hit was gross and so was the knee that Yoshi hit to pick up the win, I almost though Paul was legitimately knocked out from that one. Also, have to agree with Matt Striker, it's pretty surprising to see how fast the audience has latched onto Yoshi, he was getting bigger cheers than some guys who have been around for years.

Striker & Matthews hype ZZ Top on next week's Raw and suggest "Legs" may have been written about Tiffany. Well, here's another fun ZZ Top fact: the song "Legs" is actually older than the ECW General Manager.

Zack Ryder vs. Goldust wasn't anything special, but Goldust was looking pretty good out there, definitely more into his work than I've seen him in years. I always have a soft spot for Goldust, he's one of the pioneers of the Attitude Era and one of the most unique characters to ever step foot in a ring. Obviously he's never going to be WWE Champ, but he's always a solid hand to have around and I like having him on ECW to work with young talent like Ryder.

SHEAMUS! Kick-Out's favorite new wrestler returns after taking a week off and crushes another Local Competitor. That bicycle kick was rough and his finisher is absolutely BRUTAL! I don't know why it makes me cringe, it's really not that different from a typical backbreaker, but the Rock Bottom aspect of it just makes it look so much more painful. Sheamus is definitely a welcome addition to the roster and I can't wait to see what he has in store for "E C Dobel Yeh."

Tommy Dreamer vs. Vladimir Kozlov was about as good as match between Vladimir Kozlov and Tommy Dreamer should be. Not to take anything away from either guy, but they're probably not ideal opponents and it's probably why Kozlov won't be competing for the ECW Title on PPV. Vlad is slowly getting on the path to becoming the most improved wrestler of 2009, but I think he needs to be working with someone like Christian to really realize his potential. That's why I'm thinking Christian gets the title back at Night of Champions and takes on Kozlov at SummerSlam.

Pretty good show, perhaps a bit too much going on? Five matches on ECW is a lot and I much prefer three long matches to five short ones. But it's understandable, lots of new faces in the Land of Extreme and they all need to be introduced, so this works for now. I do have one big gripe... where the hell is William Regal?!