Monday, November 30, 2009

Raw Thoughts - November 30, 2009

Raw's just minutes away with guest host Verne Troyer and Little People's Court featuring Hornswoggle and DX. Oh boy... keep refreshing the page for live blog updates!

WWE's hyping Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton tonight, there's no way that match is happening as advertised.

Okay, no matter how bad the little people business gets tonight, WWE knows how to start a show off right, here comes JeriShow! Supposedly Big Show's already undergone the knee surgery he needed and is already in condition to work? Seriously, freak of nature. Anyway, great promo from these two, even if it is just a recap of their many, many, MANY accomplishments. Apparently mentioning the fact that DX has never won the tag titles hits a sore spot, because here come Triple H & Shawn Michaels! Standard stuff here, but definitely getting me psyched for the match at TLC, which HAS to be the main event. Of course, we have to go and ruin it by bringing handicap matches into the mix: Jericho vs. Triple H tonight, if Jericho wins, it's HHH vs. JeriShow next week, but if HHH wins it's Jericho vs. DX next week. Thumbs down to that, but at least we get HHH vs. Jericho, which I believe is the first time they've met one-on-one since Jericho returned to WWE, correct?

Melina & Gail Kim vs. Maryse & Jillian kicking off the in-ring action this evening. Maryse's return is supposed to be a big deal, but with Raw's pitiful women's division, I just can't bring myself to care. Maryse is serviceable in the ring with a capable opponent, but look at what she has to work with on Raw. That trade pillaged the talented wrestlers from Raw and left us with nothing but Divas. This match proves my point, it's just painful to watch, Maryse picks up the win by pinning Melina, but if this is a sign of things to come, I don't want to see the one-on-one encounter.

Sheamus is letting us know that he is ready to be "dobel-yeh dobel-yeh eee champion," and has already proven that he can do it since he put Cena through a table last week. Santino Marella unwisely interrupts and mocks the Celtic Warrior for only worrying about John "Chena" and "his lucky charms." I'm pretty sure he also calls him "Lame-us" before getting clocked in the face, kicked in the head, Irish Edged, and put through a table. Good stuff, but we already know Sheamus is a badass, why not give him someone that didn't just job to The Miz in a throwaway Superstars match? He needs at least one major win (maybe someone like Mark Henry?) before wrestling Cena at TLC.

Wow, I knew Verne Troyer was tiny, but he doesn't even come up to Big Show's knee.

Out on the ramp, Verne Troyer & The Miz are having a war of words, with Mark Henry coming to our host's defense. Miz has Austin Powers jokes... really WWE? Let's just put this in perspective, when the first Austin Powers movie came out, Mark Henry was in the Nation of Domination and The Miz was in high school. These two square off later tonight.

What was that I said an hour ago? "
WWE's hyping Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton tonight, there's no way that match is happening as advertised." Yep... Kofi Kingston on his way to the ring, and of course, Cody Rhodes attacks from behind. Shocking. Isn't it funny how pre-match attacks are ten times more devastating than attacks during the match? Maybe everyone's got a little bit of that Festus illness. [/smarkjoke] But it looks like this match is going to happen, Orton's music is playing, but Ted DiBiase comes through the crowd and attacks Kofi from behind. Ugh. There's Randy Orton (double ugh) and this "match" is underway. I bet you know how this one goes: Orton takes advantage, Kofi gets a couple good licks in, RKO, pin, that'll do it. Normally I'd be pissed at this kind of bait and switch, but it was so blatantly obvious that shenanigans were in order, I have to admit that this whole bit worked. Sure, it's Orton being infuriating, but for once it's for all the right reasons and this is a great way to advance the feud. And OH. MY. GOD. That DDT off the top rope was the definition of NASTY! Seriously, will someone get in there and make sure Kofi can move his fingers and toes, because he landed right on his freaking head. Excuse me, I have to go vomit a little.

John Cena's in the ring and he is FIRED UP and he wants Sheamus with the title on the line TONIGHT! Which is the cue for... CARLITO?! You might be asking yourself, "who?" You remember that guy who teamed up with Primo a couple months back? No? The dude that spits apples? Goofy hair? Disappears every six months? Yeah, that guy! In Carlito's defense, this is probably the most interesting he's ever been, but I also feel like this is probably the last time we're going to be seeing him on WWE television. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment and throws Carlito out of the ring, which seems pretty symbolic to me.

97 minutes into this show and we've gotten one actual match, which was the awful Divas bout at the start of the show. Now we're being "treated" to Mark Henry rapping with MVP & Verne Troyer. What the hell am I watching?

100 minutes in and we get our second proper match of the evening, Mark Henry vs. The Miz, and before I can even form an opinion of what's going on, the match is over. Mark Henry hits the World's Strongest Slam for the win, and celebrates with Verne Troyer & some Divas. Seriously, words escape me at this point... and it's difficult to type with my face buried in my hands.

Hornswoggle looks like a normal size person next to Verne Troyer. I'm not being sarcastic or funny when I say this, that just makes me sad.

Alright, the only thing left that could possibly save this show is our main event, Chris Jericho vs. Triple H. If there's one thing Raw needs tonight, it's a strong closing with two of the best performers in the business today. It's not the first time these two have squared off since Jericho's return (my "HUGE MISTAKE") was corrected earlier this evening, but it's still a pretty rare treat these days. Big Show & Shawn Michaels are on commentary, but of course, they're both getting involved. Big Show pie-faces the hell out of HBK, who hits his head on the ring apron as he drops (not the night for head injuries), then he hits HHH with that malignant fist. Ref ejects Big Show, and while's he's distracted, Jericho eats Sweet Chin Music, but the ref sees that and ejects HBK! Nice little exchange between HHH and Jericho at the end, but a school boy roll-up gives HHH the win and Jericho's got DX in a handicap match next week. Just what Raw needs, more handicap matches.

As we enter December 2009, I was planning on doing a month-long feature about the best wrestling of the decade. If I were doing a worst of the decade list, this show would be on the ballot for worst Raw of the last ten years. I'm not sure if it's the absolute worst, but as someone who's missed less than five Raws since 1993, this was the first time since the Katie Vick debacle that I actually considered turning off the television. Absolutely terrible show, with the only redeeming parts being the Kofi/Orton feud continuing to heat up and a decent main event. Other than that, this show looks like something that was literally thrown together as it was going on the air. "Let's have Mark Henry dance! Let's have Mark Henry rap! Let's throw Carlito out there for the first time in months! Let's go almost two hours before we put on a match that's actually worth watching!" Seriously, I know I'm ranting like a smark here, but I don't care how you define yourself as a wrestling fan, I think we can all agree that this show sucked.

Smackdown Thoughts - November 27, 2009

This may be the longest it's taken me to watch Smackdown since I started this site. I actually feel kinda bad about it, especially when you consider how great the brand has been since the Draft in April. Holidays throw my schedule all out of whack, so thanks for bearing with me and we should be back to normal (whatever that is) beginning this week.

Speaking of Smackdown being great, they decide to prove it to me once again by kicking off the show with the best in the world, Chris Jericho. Jericho's been digging deep into the Jerichopedia for new insults this week, did he just call me a
mucilaginous troglodyte? Jericho's running down DX, reminding us that they've never won a TLC match or the Tag Team Titles. I've heard a lot of people bringing up the New Age Outlaws holding the Tag Titles while in DX many moons ago, but obviously they mean Shawn Michaels & Triple H, so calm down nitpickers. Besides, does anyone really need to be reminded about Billy Gunn? Anyhoo, Jericho is upset that there's a #1 contenders match tonight for the World Heavyweight Title and he's not involved, which brings out our general manager, Teddy Long. T-Lo doesn't quite give Jericho what he wants, but we do get my favorite Teddy Long line, "tonight playa, you goin' one-on-one with THE UNDERTAKER!" Jericho vs. Taker again? They should totally be saving this for a PPV, but I'm not going to complain when I get to see them mix it up for free.

If I were 9 years old, or could get away with still playing with toys, I would totally own that Punjabi Prison play set. We did not have cool wrestling toys like that when I was kid, we got the figures that could do one thing: body slam, headlock, spring-loaded punch, that was it! And we had to walk uphill both ways to get to the toy store!

Opening contest of the evening is Cryme Tyme vs. The Hart Dynasty. Seriously? If you don't count JeriShow, this is literally Smackdown's entire tag division and this has to be at least the 15th match between these two since the summer, and that's probably a conservative estimate. I like both of these teams and they've never put on a bad match, but these constant battles aren't doing anything for either team. Cryme Tyme had loads of momentum around SummerSlam when they were working with JeriShow, but it quickly evaporated after their loss to the tag champs because there wasn't anyone else for them to work with. The Harts pick up the win here, but I doubt they'll be going for the belts anytime soon, so will this win do anything?

Backstage, John Morrison wants a crack at any of the guys who beat him at Survivor Series, but Vickie Guerrero & Eric... ESCOBAR demand a shot at the IC Title instead. Teddy relents after Vickie threatens to call the boss, but this is Escobar's only chance. I doubt this match will do much for me, but the possibility of Morrison vs. Drew McIntyre in the near future is fairly intriguing.

CM Punk is out next and he's got quite a beast walking alongside him. Come to find out, it's Luke Gallows, formerly known as Festus; wow, I wouldn't even have recognized him without the massive tattoo. Looks like Punk got Festus off all those meds; yeah, it's a little hokey, but it's probably the best thing they could've done to repackage the Cornfed Colossus. Festus is actually a pretty underrated performer, and if he gets to work as Punk's straight-edge muscle, this may be the big break he needed. Punk cuts another fantastic promo, warning us about a dangerous new street drug, the Jeff Hardy: My Life, My Rules DVD, which hits stores this Tuesday! Just like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I don't think they'd be hyping Jeff Hardy and this DVD so much if this case against him was serious. With Punk trash-talking "the charismatic enabler," that brings out his opponent for the evening, Matt Hardy! Matt's been in a major slump lately, not doing much of anything since Jeff left, and a big wasted opportunity if you ask me, but this segment reminded me why I'm a Matt Hardy fan. Good promo from Matt and maybe we'll finally get that long overdue Hardy vs. Punk feud?

After the break, Matt Hardy vs. CM Punk is underway and a rock solid display of what these two men are capable of, but far too short to form any sort of opinion on. Luke Gallows gets involved, causing the DQ and then the mugging is on. Punk & Gallows just absolutely destroy Hardy here, and yeah, I think this definitely should set up a long term feud between these two (or three, I suppose). While it's a bummer that Punk's not on top at the moment, feuding for the World Title, it's no secret that Matt Hardy desperately needs something to get him back on track, and a feud with a 3-time World Champ could be just that.

Oh Mickie James, don't let Skeletor McCoulter get ya down!

Batista vs. Kane in a #1 contenders match is up next to determine who will face The Undertaker at TLC, and I just can't bring myself to care. Yes, Batista's got momentum, but after that ultra-lameness at Survivor Series and Kane not doing anything worthwhile in years, these are probably the last two guys that I'd want to see wrestle The Undertaker. The match is yawn-inducing, which it always is whenever these two step in the ring together. I hate to sound disrespectful, but I honestly can't think of a time when these two collided and provided anything but exactly what you'd expect out of a match between Batista & Kane. Both men are capable of good matches with the right opponent, but while The Undertaker always brings out the best in Batista, Kane seems to bring out the worst. It doesn't help that the match ends in a weak DQ finish, but now it's another match between Undertaker and Batista? Luckily it's been awhile, but still... meh.

The Intercontinental Title
is on the line with Eric Escobar (w/ Vickie Guerrero) taking on John Morrison (w/ new pyro!). Pretty decent showing here, Escobar even getting in some decent shots, but this is really just a glorified showcase for Morrison, who picks up an easy win with Starship Pain! After the match, it looks like Vickie is done with Eric Escobar! Well, that didn't take long, and I wonder what this means for their futures? Will Vickie weasel her way back into the GM role? Is Escobar heading back to developmental? Would be pretty abrupt to cut bait on the guy already, he's barely gotten a chance to work, but it's also pretty abrupt to end the relationship with Vickie, so I'm not sure if I like Escobar's chances of hanging around.

Batista's back, now doing guest commentary. Yay?

Main Event time! Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho in a rematch from just a few weeks ago, but that match was as close to WrestleMania-caliber as you can get on free TV, can lightning strike twice in one month? Answer: not quite, but through no fault of the participants. For two guys whose paths rarely crossed in the ten years since Jericho's debut, they have amazing in-ring chemistry. While I doubt this match would've been as good as their match a couple weeks ago, Batista interfering and causing the DQ guaranteed it wouldn't. Batista wails on Taker with a steel chair, obviously to set up their Chairs Match at TLC, but after seeing these guys in Last Man Standing, Cages, and Hell in a Cell, can we really get excited about a Chairs Match?

Overall, another solid Smackdown, but I can't help but think that things are about to change for the Blue Brand. I'm not quite sure where things are going, but we're extremely light on main event talent and you can't exactly build a brand around The Undertaker vs. Batista. Awesome as he is, would you be shocked if Taker takes another sabbatical after WrestleMania? Batista's Batista, but if he wins the World Title soon, there is potential for him to work with some new upcoming talent, so perhaps that's the direction WWE's going? Just gonna have to wait and see, I suppose.

And it's Monday, so don't forget about Kick-Out's Monday Night Raw coverage. I plan on continuing the live blog trend, and if I'm able to do it this evening, it'll begin at 9pm!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Poll: Undertaker vs. ???

New poll on the way, but first, the results of our previous poll. Survivor Series has come and gone, WWE's already focused on the next PPV, but I wanted to know your favorite match from the Annual Fall Classic:

FAVORITE SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH?

John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - 51%
Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho vs. Big Show - 3%
Team Kofi vs. Team Orton - 37%
Team Morrison vs. Team Miz - 3%
Batista vs. Rey Mysterio - 0%
Team Mickie vs. Team McCool - 3%

No surprise there, Cena, HHH and HBK gave us one of the most memorable matches of the year in the main event of Survivor Series. Also not surprised that the majority of the votes were split between that match and Team Kofi vs. Team Orton, which has to be one of the greatest traditional elimination matches in the history of the PPV.

Now time for our new poll, who do you want to see take on The Undertaker at WrestleMania? A lot of rumors have been swirling about who's next to challenge The Streak, but if it were up to you, who would you pick?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

WWE Superstars Thoughts - November 26, 2009

Thanks for bearing with me after taking a few days off to celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a happy and safe holiday as well. If you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, hopefully your Thursday was awesome!

Say what you will about WWE, but while other shows are repeats or lame recap episodes, WWE has all-new original programming on Thanksgiving with Superstars! Now with the holiday season in full-swing, I wouldn't be surprised if wrestling is the only new programming on at all.

Starting us off, Raw's contribution to Superstars, The Miz vs. Santino Marella in a non-title match. This has to be the longest Santino match in at least a year, wouldn't be surprised if you'd have to go back further to find a longer one. Not a bad match, but it is a Santino match, so his shtick overshadows most of the actual wrestling. Something needs to happen with Santino, I don't know if he's intentionally holding back in the ring, but there's only so much you can do with a guy who pretends his hand is a cobra. Santino has the tools that can't be learned, like natural comedic timing and loads of charisma, but I honestly feel like I've seen this match every time he's on Superstars.

You know what I'm thankful for? DVR. How many AutoZone commercials do they expect me to watch?!

Speaking of long matches, I'm surprised how much time was given to Goldust vs. Vladimir Kozlov. It's a shame about Goldust, the guy's been getting tremendous reactions every time he steps into the ECW ring, but they're not doing anything to capitalize on it. An impressive outing here, but Kozlov still comes out on top and William Regal hits The Bizarre One with the Knee Trembler just for the fun of it afterward. C'mon, why not give Goldust a shot at the ECW Title? Doesn't need to be anything too extravagant and he doesn't need to win, but I think Christian vs. Goldust would be a great main event for SyFy.

After a couple weeks with Raw in the spotlight, Smackdown is once again headlining Superstars, this week our main event is R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler! Okay, this match was awesome, and it's like these guys thought it was a PPV and not what could be the least-watched WWE program of the year. Even though Dolphy Z is in the middle of a MAJOR slump, he continues to deliver in the ring and
R-Truth's been on fire lately, so these two meshed quite well. Truth is on the verge of big things, and with Smackdown starved for top faces, I only hope this wave of momentum he's riding will take him to the top of Friday Nights. Seriously, if you missed Superstars this week because you were in a turkey coma or stuck in uncomfortable conversation with your family, make sure you catch this match.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ECW Thoughts - November 24, 2009

Ya know, I don't think Matt Hardy on the Abraham Washington Show counts as a "main event." Sorry Byron. Also, Tony Chimmel is back as ECW announcer, I suppose those rumors about Lauren Mayhew and WWE parting ways were true? Wonder who's going to announce Smackdown?

Zack Ryder vs. Shelton Benjamin #43 is our opening contest this evening, but this match actually has ECW Title implications, if Shelton wins he's the new #1 contender! Despite this being the latest in a long series of matches between these two, they never disappoint. Another good match between these two, Shelton even showing a bit more personality than usual, which is always good to see from him. Shelton picks up the win in a match that looked like it could go either way and it looks like he'll be facing Christian in the near future.

And that could be right now? The ECW Champion, Christian, is making his way to the ring! The promos for this week's show were hyping a major announcement from Christian regarding TLC, so if these two are going to mix it up at the PPV I'm all for that. Of course, what I wasn't expecting was Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian for the ECW Title... in a ladder match! Christian wants to steal the show at TLC, and with this match lined up, I think it's definitely possible. About damn time the ECW Title got some PPV love.

Vance Archer vs. Local Competitor next, yawn. Archer's just not doing it for me, his matches are boring, his gimmick is Mike Knox lite, and his transitional moves look more brutal than his finisher. I expected a lot more out of this guy.

I never expect much out of The Abraham Washington Show though, and tonight's no exception. Matt Hardy's on for no other reason than to plug his appearance on SyFy's Scare Tactics next week. Awful segment.

William Regal vs. Yoshi Tatsu is our main event and is surprisingly disappointing. Way too short, completely out of nowhere finish and just not that fun. I love both these guys, but this just wasn't the night for them, hopefully they'll get another match soon. The big story is the apparent implosion of the Ruthless Roundtable after Big Zeke took out both of his cohorts! I'm not sure how I feel about this, I'm happy to see Zeke getting something to do, but this group's awesome, why split them up so soon?

Overall, not a very good episode. If you missed it, make sure to watch from the beginning through Christian's appearance, but after that, you wouldn't be missing much. A rare off-night for ECW, but it happens occasionally and I'm sure things will get back on track next week. Definitely can't wait to see more from Shelton and Christian.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Raw Thoughts - November 23, 2009

Gonna keep up with the live blogging, but going to try doing things a little differently tonight. Hopefully you'll enjoy, just let me know what you think in the comments! Looks like we got our first match for tonight announced, John Cena vs. CM Punk - first time ever! Hell yeah.

We're expecting the arrival of Jesse "The Governor" Ventura, but instead get Randy "The City Council Member" Orton. Orton demands that Ventura prove to us that he's truly a maverick and lift his ban on facing John Cena for the WWE Championship. That's our guest host's cue, but this isn't "The Governor," this is Jesse "The Body" Ventura! I'm a little bummed to see that Jesse has his hair mostly under control, when he reemerged last summer to challenge Dick Cheney, he was sporting one hell of a skullet. Oh well. Ventura is completely on his game tonight, you'd think he never left the business in the first place... can we just put him back in the commentary booth full time? In the middle of his awesome promo, Ventura lets Orton know that he will NOT get a title shot (yay!) and in fact, no one who's ever been a World Champion will get a title shot! A series of matches will occur tonight and the winners of those will go onto compete in the Breakthrough Battle Royal to determine the new #1 contender! I like it. On top of that, CM Punk vs. John Cena and DX vs. The Hart Dynasty?! First match is up next!

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler is our first qualifying match for the Breakthrough Battle Royal, so it looks like this will be an interbrand series. Good match, Ziggler actually gets some decent offense in, which is more than he could've said last night at Survivor Series. Kofi's got all the momentum here, so it's no surprise that he picks up the win after blocking the Zig-Zag and catching Ziggler with Trouble In Paradise! I dunno, Kofi seems like the obvious choice to win this whole thing, but perhaps a little too obvious? I wouldn't be shocked if Orton costs him the Battle Royal later on, but if Kofi doesn't win, I have no idea who could become the new #1 Contender.

Nice, but simple promo from The Miz backstage. Why does he need to be thankful for anything when being awesome comes so naturally?

Sheamus vs. Finlay is our second Breakthrough Battle Royal qualifier, and this is a match I've been waiting to see since I first saw Sheamus earlier this year in a dark match before his ECW debut. Nice brawl, but way too short, hopefully we'll get to see these two Irishmen collide again in the near future, but Sheamus picks up an easy win with the Irish Edge. Oh, looks like the near future is now, The Celtic Warrior continues his attack-after-the-match gimmick and boots Finlay into the crowd. So we got Sheamus and Kofi in contention right now, hmmm...

CM Punk already? Seems like an odd placement for a match this big, hopefully they'll get to go to at least the top of the hour, because this one could be really good. Oh, and speaking of really good, Punk has a microphone! And since it's Thanksgiving, Punk is turning his attention away from the drunks and junkies and turning his preaching towards people who stuff themselves over the holidays. Alright Punk, I can handle the anti-drug message, I can even understand the no-drinking, but no one - and I mean no one - judges me for my love of gravy! Seriously though, Punk's closing line, "John Cena... through these sober eyes, I can see you," was absolute brilliance. Match is next!

First time EVER! CM Punk vs. John Cena in a non-title match! I expect the internet to implode on itself when Cena wins this one. It's funny, I'm sure some of the same people who will be furious if Cena wins, are the same people who talk about titles being "meaningless" nowadays. Seems they only want the title protected when a guy they like is champion. Awesome match between these two, both men getting in a lot of offense and it was a solid back and forth encounter even though it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Cena would win, I'm surprised Punk didn't tap to the STF. In fact, Cena had to finish Punk off with an Attitude Adjustment off the top rope! Good stuff.

Backstage, Vince McMahon meets up with Jesse Ventura and "The Body" has big plans for Vince tonight... they're going back to the old days. Vince & Jesse in the commentary booth. OH. HELL. YES.

MVP, Mark Henry & R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger, Chavo Guerrero & Chris Masters is up next, and this is a Breakthrough Battle Royal qualifying match, all three members of the winning team will advance. Sorry Chris, unless you're bouncing your pecs to 80s metal, I just can't bring myself to care. Well, especially when Chavo and Jack Swagger are on the team too, these guys don't exactly have momentum right now. Sure enough, this one's over pretty quick after R-Truth nails Masters with the Lie Detector - Truth, MVP and Mark Henry are in the battle royal!

Is it just me or does Shawn Michaels look like Toby from The Office? HBK and Triple H are backstage arguing over what happened last night, but guess what? They just got lil' served! DX is due in "Little People's Court" next week for their assault on Hornswoggle. Okay, it's probably going to be lame, but "Little People's Court" is just plain funny.

So Evan Bourne vs. Primo is set to be our next qualifying match, but Randy Orton attacks Primo and somehow gets himself inserted into the match and of course, wins it. Way to completely ruin a fun concept where no former champions could get a shot tonight. Two big thumbs down to this, and if Orton wins and we have to see Cena vs. Orton again, all of Raw's progress over the last few weeks will be completely erased.

So the Divas are dressed as pilgrims and Indians and the Gobbeldy Gooker is the special guest timekeeper? Wow, I know we've gotta fill three hours and all, but I think we could've just aired that MSG promo again and it would've been better than this. Seriously, this is the reason why the term "WrestleCrap" was coined. Wait, did the Gobbeldy Gooker just attack Melina?! It's Maryse! Well at least there was some point to all this, but we probably could've done this in 10% of the time.

Alright, hopefully our next match will wash this bad taste out of my mouth, D-Generation X vs. The Hart Dynasty, though I'm not sure if it's ever good to be a Hart against DX within a week of Survivor Series. Not much of a match here, Hart Dynasty got in most of the offense, but once HBK tagged in Triple H, it was all over. I liked the finish though, HD goes for the Hart Attack, but HBK nails Sweet Chin Music on DH Smith and Triple H hits the Pedigree as Kidd springboards off the top rope for the win.

Business picks up after the match, it's Chris Jericho! At the TLC PPV, it's gonna be Y2J & Big Show vs. HBK & HHH in a TLC Match! That's a lot of acronyms! I'm in full support of this, Jericho and Shawn Michaels with a ladder is good enough, but add HHH & Show along with ladders and chairs? I can dig that, now let's hope they don't ruin this PPV by making us watch John Cena vs. Randy Orton again. Great promo from Jericho, by the way, but I highly doubt you needed me to tell you that.

Rey Mysterio's music hits, but it's Batista instead. Oh Dave, you sneaky bastard! So I was pretty excited about Batista's heel turn when it happened, but I think that was pretty short-lived, especially when it looks like a mini-feud with Kane is on the horizon. Batista's capable of good matches, but him and Kane have never really gelled in the ring that I can recall and they certainly didn't on the mic tonight. That may have actually been the most boring segment I've seen in a long time.

Cryme Tyme vs. Legacy is our final qualifying match, gee I wonder who's going to win this one, especially since Randy Orton weaseled his way into the battle royal? In matches like these, it's the little things you need to appreciate, like Shad taking Ted DiBiase from fallaway slam position into a powerbomb! Granted, that was pretty much the only highlight of the match, especially considering Legacy won, but I'm trying to be an optimist here! While I'm talking about Ted, how ridiculous does The Marine 2 look?

Speaking of straight-to-DVD releases, looks like WWE is still putting out the Jeff Hardy DVD and promoting it pretty heavily. A bit surprising considering his case is still pending, but that just makes me wonder if there really isn't much of a case against him.

Vince McMahon & Jesse Ventura are at ringside for commentary! And Vince is using Animotion for theme music? Hahaha, this is hilariously awesome, only thing missing is that canary yellow suit. I hope Vince goes into old-school commentator mode for this one, maybe we'll even get to hear "BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK BODY DROP!"

The Breakthrough Battle Royal our Main Event! Vince and Jesse are gold on commentary, Jesse sounds like he always has and Vince keeps drifting between Mr. McMahon and 1980s Vince McMahon, which is oddly working. This battle royal is all Sheamus, eliminating everyone so far except Legacy (thanks Mark Henry!), and we're down to our final three: Kofi, Orton & Sheamus! Orton tosses Kofi over the top, but Kofi skins the cat and eliminates Orton with a rana! But wait, SHEAMUS FROM BEHIND! SHEAMUS WINS! SHEAMUS WINS!

I was honestly hoping for this, Sheamus has been such a beast from day one, and TLC is going to be overloaded with big matches anyway, so why not take a chance on someone new? I LOVE the idea of Sheamus vs. Cena, might even have potential to be the kind of brutal brawl we saw between Cena and Umaga in 2007. Definitely give the thumbs up to this one, and the show's officially back on track, which is nice since it has gone way downhill after Cena/Punk.

John Cena & Sheamus are in the ring for the official contract signing, which I don't think I've ever seen something like this immediately after a guy earned the title shot. Great promo from the Reverend John Cena here, not so much from Sheamus, but his actions speak louder than words when he boots Cena in the face! It also looks like Jesse Ventura has Sheamus' best interests in mind, he never got a shot at the title because he wasn't the posterboy like Cena, Jesse's goin' rogue! At TLC it's going to be John Cena vs. Sheamus in a Tables Match for the WWE Championship! Now that's shaking things up a bit!

Okay, so this Raw would've been fine if it would've been the 8pm hour mixed with the 10pm hour, 9pm was just embarrassing. Nowhere near as cool as last week's MSG show, but shaking things up with the Orton/Kofi feud, DX vs. JeriShow in a TLC match, and putting Sheamus of all people in a WWE Title match definitely has me excited for the next PPV. Hopefully next week's show will continue to get me hyped for the PPV, but with Verne Troyer hosting and Hornswoggle "suing" DX, I'm worried we might get way too much bad comedy skits instead of PPV build. You never know, we could get something really funny and a great night of wrestling, but we're just going to have to wait and see.

The Five Count - November 23, 2009

You read the title right, The Five Count has returned! After re-reading my Survivor Series review from last night, it seemed a bit too "recappy" for my liking, so I thought a special Survivor Series edition of the Five Count was in order. These are what I think are the five biggest stories coming out of last night's big PPV, let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments section!

5. Team Miz is Awesome!
Future of WWE? I think it's a safe bet. We've all known Miz was destined for greatness the minute he became the most entertaining part of Raw on a weekly basis, but these last two PPVs have really solidified the US Champion. First he beats the red-hot John Morrison at Bragging Rights, now this? Expect Miz to become an even bigger deal in 2010, and I wouldn't be shocked if a WWE Title feud is in his future. As for the other two survivors from Team Miz, Sheamus & Drew McIntyre were officially sold to the WWE Universe at this PPV. I know some people weren't sure what to make of Sheamus at first, but I think we all knew that with that unique look and style, he was destined for big things, I'm just surprised they seem to be coming this fast. Drew McIntyre still has a lot of hurdles in his path, like the fact that he doesn't exactly look or sound like the monster they're pushing him as, but with all the hype surrounding him, I think he'll get plenty of opportunities to prove us wrong. And yeah, that DDT of his is damn brutal. After an impressive showing like this, it's safe to say, TEAM MIZ IS AWESOME!

4. Well, not all of Team Miz

Both Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler didn't survive, and it honestly makes me wonder if the ship has sailed on both men. Swagger had his undefeated streak shtick come to an abrupt halt at the hands of Evan Bourne, who hadn't won a match in months before that, and it's got me curious if the All-American American will be waiting just a bit longer for his big push. As for Dolph Ziggler, yeah he's done. The first one eliminated in the match, losing to Evan Bourne, and losing about a dozen shots at the Intercontinental Title since July. Barring a massive overhaul, including a fresh and exciting feud with someone not named John Morrison or Rey Mysterio, I don't know if Ziggler has much ahead of him right now.

3. World Heavyweight Championship - Who's Next?
Every time The Undertaker steps in the ring, I'm a bit awestruck. We all know the guy's body is a wreck from years of wear and tear, yet somehow here he is, 19 years after his WWE debut and he's better than he's ever been. Another fantastic Smackdown main event and anytime the awesomeness of The Undertaker mixes with JeriShow's, I'm not going to complain. I'm a little worried about the outcome of this match though, Big Show looked like he had a busted knee and rumors are circulating that he needs surgery, but I'm not ready for JeriShow to end! While it could be fun to watch Chris Jericho with a revolving door of tag team partners, he just has such great chemistry with Show and it's the best the World's Largest Athlete has been in years.

On the World Heavyweight Title front, I can only assume with Undertaker successfully defending, his next opponent will be Batista, who was successful in mauling Rey Mysterio. Despite how much the Mysterio/Batista match sucked - and trust me, it sucked - Batista's got the most momentum of anyone on Smackdown and would be the logical choice for #1 contender. Taker and Davetista have always had good chemistry in the ring as well, so I suppose there could be worse matches. Hopefully they save this one for the Rumble though, I don't know if we want to see Batista vs. Undertaker in a TLC match next month.

2. John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
When people tell me things like "WWE sucks now" and "wrestling's not as good as it used to be," I have to wonder if they're actually wrestling fans. If you're into the spectacle and the craziness of the Attitude Era, that's fine, I am too, but if we're talking about excellent matches, 2009 may be one of the best years WWE's ever seen. 2009 saw one of the greatest matches ever with Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25, a feud with multiple matches that came close to being just as good between Chris Jericho & Rey Mysterio, tons of great free-TV matches, and now, this spectacular main event.

For all the heat that John Cena gets, he just keeps proving the haters wrong, which is probably why they're so angry all the time. It doesn't matter who he's in the ring with, John Cena has this uncanny ability to make every match feel like a big deal, and when they decided to throw him in the ring with two guys that pretty much define "big deal," I expected a good match, but I wasn't ready for this. Matches like this, with that kind of drama, that kind of excitement, that kind of ability on display, it's what gets me excited to be a wrestling fan, it's why I spend so much time talking about it, watching it and spending money on it. No, it wasn't quite up there with HBK vs. The Undertaker, but it was definitely the biggest match since. As I said in my review of Survivor Series, do not let this week end without seeing this match at least once.

1. Kofi Kingston
I don't even need to type anything but his name, and it's a name you're going to be seeing a lot in 2010 (hopefully with "WWE Champion" next to it). Kofi Kingston is officially THE MAN on Raw and deserves every ounce of the push that's coming his way. When I saw Kofi nail Orton with that blazing fast Trouble In Paradise, I literally had to restrain myself from shouting "OH HELL YEAH!" And that's not because I hate Orton, in fact, this feud actually has me excited to see Orton because I know Kofi will likely be involved and it's the most interesting The Viper has been in years.

And while I'm talking about Kofi, I'd be remiss to not mention the awesome Survivor Series match that surrounded his ascension to the main event. There was a lot of fun to be had in this match and it was great to see Christian get so much time in the ring, and that pop when he hit Orton with the Killswitch was insane! I really thought the ECW Champ was going to pin Orton, and it obviously made more sense to have Kofi do it, but still, how cool would that have been? And for a guy that's been "demoted," CM Punk sure kicked some ass in there, didn't he? lol, dirtsheets. If it hadn't been for the amazing main event, this would've easily been the Match of the Night, but Kofi kicking through the glass ceiling is definitely the biggest story coming out of this great PPV.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Survivor Series 2009 Review

After the success of my live blog during Raw last Monday night, we're going to try it for the first time ever for a PPV. Keep refreshing your page for constant updates throughout the night!

Team Miz - The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Drew McIntyre, & Sheamus vs. Team Morrison - John Morrison, Evan Bourne, Finlay, Matt Hardy, & Shelton Benjamin is unsurprisingly our opener for the evening, definitely looking forward to seeing these ten guys mix it up. John Morrison is also rocking the Wampa coat tonight, so I wonder if that'll be good luck for his team. Evan Bourne's getting a lot of work in early, which is nice to see, beautiful backwards leaping hurricanrana off the middle rope as well... I'm really just thrilled that he made it to PPV. Shooting Star Press on Dolph Ziggler, Bourne scores the first elimination! Yeah, Ziggler's ship has sailed.

In the time it took me to write that sentence, McIntyre nailed Bourne with the double-underhook DDT. And as I'm trying to keep up, Sheamus knocks Finlay out with the big boot to score another elimination for Team Miz. Match has slowed down with Swagger and Matt Hardy going at it, I honestly wasn't expecting this in this match. With all these high-fliers and heavy-hitters, I was expecting a breakneck pace. A bit of an ugly mix-up with all remaining competitors getting in the ring, but Morrison gets things back on track and eliminates Jack Swagger after Starship Pain!

Shelton Benjamin gets a surprising bit of offense in, I honestly wouldn't have been shocked if he was the first to go. Lots of nice moves on The Miz, but the US Champion hits the one move that counts - Skullcrushing Finale and Shelton is gone! Matt Hardy and McIntyre in the ring now, Matt misses the moonsault and another double-underhook DDT and Matt's goes out not with a bang, but with a whimper. Looks like John Morrison is all by himself. John Morrison vs. The Miz, Drew McIntyre & Sheamus, I'm not liking the IC Champions odds. Morrison puts up quite an effort, but runs into the brick wall known as Sheamus, one Irish Edge later, this one's over.
Survivors: The Miz, Sheamus & Drew McIntyre
Predictions: 0 for 1

Hilarious bit backstage with Team Kofi and playing up on the fact that Christian's the only white guy on the team.

Batista vs. Rey Mysterio up next, I'm honestly surprised this one is going on so early. Crowd's pretty split here, which makes sense considering Batista is from Washington DC, where the event is being held tonight. Both men try to end this one early with their respective finishers, but it doesn't work for either man. I like Rey hitting the two 619s to Big Dave's abdomen to set up the normal one, but he wastes too much time on the top rope "channeling" Eddie Guerrero and misses the Frog Splash. One spear later, I think this is going to be the end of Rey Rey. Spinebuster. Batista Bomb. Batista Bomb #2. Batista Bomb #3 and the ref stops the match.
Oh wait, there's more - Spinebuster on a steel chair. Well, that was lame... this match could've been so much more, hopefully Rey can get a proper match with Davetista at WrestleMania.
Predictions: 1 for 2

I could watch CM Punk mock Randy Orton on a daily basis.

Team Orton - CM Punk, William Regal, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase & Randy Orton vs. Team Kofi - Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, R-Truth & Christian is up next, and after two disappointing matches, I hope this will be the match to get this PPV on track. Did Matt Striker just call Mark Henry the "Chef of Hell's Kitchen?" Okay, as much as I love Striker, sometimes he says some really stupid stuff, like that. Mark Henry isn't from anywhere near Hell's Kitchen and I'm pretty sure he's never been a chef. Anyway, Henry's got Orton in a bearhug... RKO OUT OF NOWHERE! Henry's out in a matter of seconds! Speaking of a matter of seconds, Punk nails the Go To Sleep on R-Truth and he's out! That'll teach you to dump whiskey and cigarettes on the Straight-Edge Superstar! Team Orton's up 5 to 3.

Christian and Punk mix it up next, which makes me a very happy Razor, but then Punk has to tag in Ted DiBiase, which makes me sad. But hey, Christian hits his middle rope sunset flip and eliminates the trust fund baby! Finally get to see Kofi Kingston in this one, going toe-to-toe with William Regal (there's a match I'd like to see in the future), but Kofi tags MVP, who eliminates the ECW Superstar after a lightning-quick Player's Boot - we're all tied up at 3 vs. 3! MVP's on fire, hits Cody Rhodes with the Ballin' Elbow, but perhaps too much showboating and he's caught with Cross Rhodes for the elimination! Christian's in next, Cody tries getting cute with a leap frog and is nailed with the Killswitch!

Now we have ourselves a match! Kofi Kingston & Christian vs. Randy Orton & CM Punk, I'm definitely down with that. Orton goes for the RKO, but Christian reverses, KILLSWITCH! Agh, Punk makes the save at 2 and Orton hits the RKO to eliminate the ECW Champion. That sucks. Orton vs. Kofi up next, but Orton slides out of the ring like a coward and sends Punk in the ring. Oh well, Orton's actually doing me a favor here since I don't have to watch him wrestle and I can see Punk and Kofi, which is a feud that needs to happen somewhere down the line. Damn, Kofi's SOS is a badass move, he needs to use that more, maybe even make it a secondary finisher. These two are putting on a clinic in here, great back and forth action, each time one guy hits a big move (like Punk's Falcon Arrow), the other responds with one of his own (Kofi's crossbody). Kofi picks up a shock pin after reversing Punk's roll-up, and before I can even type "oh here comes a surprise RKO," Kofi nails Trouble in Paradise on Orton and picks up the win! Michael Cole's got the call of the night "in just six seconds, Kofi Kingston has pinned two former World Champions." A star is born, indeed! It's a rare occasion when I'm this happy to be wrong with a prediction, but Survivor Series 2009 will go down as Kofi Kingston's night!
Sole Survivor: Kofi Kingston
Predictions: 1 for 3

Looks like WWE is going back to the formula of using the Divas for the cool down match, because the World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat is up next.

The Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Big Show starts off slow, but once they take it to the outside, it's pure awesome. JeriShow mugs the World Heavyweight Champion on the outside, and as they're throwing him back in the ring, we get one of the greatest Jericho moments ever:
Fan: "Go back to Toronto!"
Jericho: "I'm from Winnipeg, you idiot!"
Brilliant.
I can't believe I'm watching Jericho dominate The Undertaker, even hitting him with a superplex?! Big Show's spending a long time outside the ring, he's got that left knee braced up, I wonder what the deal is with that? Luckily, Show's able to get back in and this is where this match really kicks into high gear. Lots of back and forth action, Jericho accidentally nails Show with the World Title, Taker eventually goes for the Tombstone, but Big Show clocks both men with the malignant fist! It looks like history could repeat itself here, Big Show's going for the Chokeslam, which won him the title at Survivor Series 99, but Undertaker drops to the mat and locks in Hell's Gate! Big Show taps! Great stuff, not the kind of match you see everyday, but a lot of fun and very unique. As I said earlier tonight, I wouldn't have been upset if Jericho walked out the Champion, but I'm glad to see Taker apparently getting a longer reign than our last few World Champions.
Predictions: 2 for 4

Team McCool - Michelle McCool, Layla, Beth Phoenix, Jillian & Alicia Fox vs. Team Mickie - Mickie James, Gail Kim, Eve, Kelly Kelly & Melina can't end fast enough and apparently WWE agrees with rapid fire eliminations. Layla's out quick, Gail's out seconds later after the Faithbreaker, Jillian's out after a flying sunset flip from Eve, then Eve's out after the Glam Slam, the another Glam Slam on Kelly Kelly, then Mickie catches Beth with a crucifix pin! All that happened while I was typing. Right now, Mickie and Alicia Fox are going at it, Mickie does a beautiful roll through on Alicia's Northern Lights Suplex and has her in position for the DDT... oh God, Alicia Fox is going to break her neck again. Thankfully, Alicia blocks, saving me from the cringe, but she doesn't save herself from elimination after Mickie's flying Thesz Press!

We're down to Mickie James & Melina vs. Michelle McCool and this fast-paced match comes to a screeching halt with McCool's yawn-inducing style. Mickie tags in Melina to save the day, and she seems to have a reversal for almost all of McCool's offense. The Ann Coulter of WWE is no match for the Divas Champion and falls victim to the sunset flip powerbomb!
Survivors: Mickie James & Melina
Predictions: 3 for 5

Cool-down match out of the way, it's time for the Main Event!

Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena is your main event of the evening and the WWE Championship is on the line!
A bit surprised and a little bummed to see DX enter together; makes sense in the context of the storyline, but I wanted to hear "Sexy Boy!" I'm with Striker on this one, I don't think two egos like HBK and HHH can coexist when the stakes are this high. This is Triple H we're talking about, there's no way I can believe that he's out for anyone but himself when that belt is on the line. This guy has shown time and time again that he will do anything and turn on anyone to win that - OMG SHAWN MICHAELS JUST SUPERKICKED TRIPLE H OUT OF THE RING! Okay, that was awesome, pure awesome, Sweet Chin Music in the first second of the match and we're starting off with HBK and Cena, which I'm always excited to see.

Great stuff in the early goings with Cena and HBK, shades of their classic main event match from WrestleMania 23. Michael Cole mentions that we're not seeing the fun-loving DX Shawn Michaels and he's absolutely right, this is The Heartbreak Kid! This is the Shawn Michaels that made Survivor Series the most controversial PPV in history. Outside, HBK is setting up the announce table, but wastes too much time and Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment through the table, but Triple H makes the save?! They say turnabouts fair play, and Triple H gets his revenge by putting HBK through the table himself with the Double A Spinebuster!


Okay, I had to take a step away from the computer to devote the proper attention to a match that had this much awesome early on, and these guys did not let up one bit. The very definition of "back and forth," everyone had control at one point and I would've been fine with anyone winning after they put on this kind of match. The finish might be the best finish to a match all year: HBK goes to piledrive Triple H, gets backdropped onto Cena's shoulders, wriggles out of the Attitude Adjustment, Triple H goes for the Pedigree on Cena, catches Sweet Chin Music, then Cena Attitude Adjusts HBK on HHH and covers The Game for the win! Beautifully insane and the perfect ending to a damn near perfect match.
Predictions: 4 for 6
*Match of the Night


The show started off a bit rocky; it wasn't that I disliked the opening bout, but it didn't live up to my lofty expectations. The result worked though, definitely does good things for Miz and the two relative newcomers, Sheamus & McIntyre. The Batista/Mysterio match was a huge disappointment, but if the rumors about Rey's knee injury are true, I suppose it makes sense, but the contest was still lackluster. The rest of the PPV was great though, Team Orton vs. Team Kofi would've been Match of the Night had it not been for the awesome main event, the World Title Triple Threat was a blast, the Divas match could've been a lot worse, and of course, we all know how the WWE Title match played out. I don't think it was the best PPV of the year, but I'd easily put it in my top 5. Make sure you catch the replay if you missed this one, definitely do not let this week end without seeing Cena vs. HBK vs. HHH and the rise of Kofi Kingston, two of the greatest wrestling moments of the year.

Survivor Series 2009 Preview

After a long stream of new concepts, it's nice to return to something familiar, WWE's second-oldest PPV, Survivor Series! I've made it abundantly clear that I'm really stoked for this event, we've got three traditional Survivor Series matches, a grudge match and two ginormous main events for the top two titles. Here are five things I want to see at tonight's show:

5. Rey Mysterio puts up a fight
I doubt anyone is expecting Mysterio to actually win this match, especially with all the momentum behind Batista since his heel turn, but can we at least avoid a glorified squash? Even Matt Hardy got a decent showing in a throwaway match on Smackdown, so I hope Rey gets in some good bursts of offense. He's arguably been the best wrestling in the company all year and he very well could have a very entertaining match with Batista, as long as they let him.

4. Evan Bourne

I'm not even looking for anything too extravagant, I just want to see Evan Bourne get a little bit of time in his match tonight. Team Morrison vs. Team Miz has loads of potential, each guy has at least one opponent on the other team that they have good chemistry with, a good blend of styles, etc. I'm hopeful that Bourne will get to play a decent role in that.

3. Chris Jericho: wrestling magician
Think back to when you thought the World Title match at Survivor Series was going to be Big Show vs. The Undertaker? How'd you feel about that? Now think of when you heard that Chris Jericho would be added to the mix, much better feeling, right? Don't get me wrong, I love Taker and enjoy Big Show, but we saw them wrestle so many times in the fall of 2008, and it's not like those matches set the world on fire. Adding Jericho gave this match the ultimate x-factor, the greatest wrestler in the world. We saw amazing chemistry between Taker and Jericho two weeks ago, and the tag match from two nights ago was an absolute blast. I went from hoping for a decent match to expecting a good match in just a couple weeks, and that's all thanks to the awesomeness of Chris Jericho. I wouldn't be upset if Jericho picked up the belt either, just sayin.

2. Kofi Kingston officially steps up

This is obviously Kofi's biggest match since this feud with Randy Orton began, and while it's "just" a Survivor Series match, a career could be made here. Kofi's team doesn't even have to win here for him to become the next big thing, he just needs to prove that he can go toe-to-toe with Orton in an actual match and look like a main event player. Monday night was the beginning, but Survivor Series should be the moment we look back to and say "that's where Kofi Kingston's quest for the WWE Title began."

1. Shawn Michaels wins the WWE Championship

I'm not expecting this to happen, but it's been so long since we've seen gold around HBK's waist, I'd be thrilled to see him get the win tonight. It was seven years ago at this event, just months after HBK's return to the ring, that he won the World Heavyweight Title in the first Elimination Chamber match. How great of a moment would it be for HBK to go for a Superkick on John Cena, but nail HHH instead for the win? It would be completely out of the blue and just one of those famous WWE moments.

Now that's what I want to happen, here's what I think will happen with my PPV predictions. Nothing changed from this week's Kick-Out!! Radio, but there are a few matches I'm still unsure of. Winners in bold:

WWE Championship
John Cena © vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels

World Heavyweight Championship
The Undertaker © vs. Chris Jericho vs. Big Show

Survivor Series Match
Team Kofi vs. Team Orton

You're Supposed To Be My Friend!!!
Batista vs. Rey Mysterio

Survivor Series Match
Team Morrison vs. Team Miz

Divas Survivor Series Match
Team Mickie vs. Team McCool

Make sure to come back to Kick-Out!! Wrestling shortly after the show for my full thoughts on the 2009 Survivor Series!

Smackdown Thoughts - November 20, 2009

It never fails, every week there's a PPV, I fall behind on updates and have to do a mad dash through the day to get back on track before the event. So let's not waste anymore time, let's talk Smackdown!

I feel like it's been awhile since Smackdown started out with a straight-up match. No GM talk, no pre-match promos, just a straight up match here with Matt Hardy vs. Batista! This is a rematch from a couple weeks ago when Matt won by disqualification, but certainly didn't look like a winner when Batista was done with him. Matt Hardy gives it a valiant effort this week, but no one's going to overcome three Spinebusters and a Batista Bomb. Ouch.

Vickie Guerrero, Eric Escobar, Teddy Long & Vince McMahon are backstage... it looks like Vickie is going to be T-Lo's consultant to help him get off probation... isn't this how she became GM in the first place?

Drew McIntyre vs. Finlay take 3 up next, Finlay wastes no time and goes nutzo on Groundskeeper Willie. McIntyre gets lucky with a thumb to the eye and hits the double-underhook DDT for a quick win. "It only takes three seconds..." yeah, this match wasn't much longer than that.

CM Punk's pre-Survivor Series Message of Survival was pretty amusing. An intervention for the entire WWE Universe? Hilarious. I love that the smarks are whining about Punk being "demoted," when he's still getting ample time to get massive heat from the audience.
Punk's mic work is nearly flawless and he somehow keeps getting better every week and there's really no better way to get a wrestling crowd to boo you than pouring a bottle of whiskey in a garbage can. R-Truth has seen enough though and shows CM Punk that DDTs can be hazardous to your health as well and dumps the garbage can full of whiskey, drugs and cigarettes on the former World Champion! Absolutely despicable!

I'm a sucker for 2 out of 3 Falls matches, so I've been very excited for Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison all week. Looks like Morrison's been excited for it as well, going absolutely crazy just minutes into the match with a springboard somersault plancha to the outside of the ring! Morrison goes for Starship Pain, Ziggler gets the knees up and goes for a pin, but Morrison gets a surprise roll-up to win the first fall! Wow, that was unexpected. Little bit of back and forth action after the commercial break, but the Zig Zag out of nowhere gives Ziggler the second fall and we're all tied up! Ziggler dominates the majority of the third fall, but a float-over DDT gives Morrison the opportunity to hit Starship Pain and retain the Intercontinental Title! Alright, Dolph Ziggler's done. No more IC Title shots, he's dominated the scene since July and can't win, he's a choke artist, it's time to let someone else step up. I recommend Paul Burchill.

Batista looks like he's wearing a jacket and nothing else at the commentary booth. Creepy.

Tyson Kidd vs. Rey Mysterio? Oh hell yeah. We haven't seen nearly enough of Tyson Kidd in recent months, giving him a one-on-one match with Rey Mysterio is very nice though. Tyson's not letting the opportunity go to waste either, showcasing his abilities and the fact that he's one of the most underrated workers in WWE today. Unfortunately, just as the match is gaining steam, Batista throws Tyson Kidd to the floor in order to get Mysterio disqualified. But hey, it's going to go down in the record books, Tyson Kidd defeated Rey Mysterio!

Chris Jericho & Big Show are backstage and discussing Survivor Series. 10 years ago at the same event, Big Show won his first WWE Title in a Triple Threat match... and then seven years ago, he defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title. It's definitely Show's good luck event, wonder if that will continue in 2009?

Main Event time! JeriShow vs. The Brothers of Destruction... awesome entrance for Undertaker & Kane, by the way. This match has got me really excited for the Triple Threat at Survivor Series, action-packed, extremely exciting, crowd's red hot, and despite the non-finish, it's the perfect last-minute hype for tonight's PPV.

Basically a two-hour advertisement for Survivor Series, but I suppose that's what the final show before a PPV should be. I've been excited for this PPV since the card began taking shape, and I hope that after all this tremendous build-up, it delivers. I'll catch you back here at Kick-Out!! Wrestling after the event for my full thoughts on the 23rd annual Survivor Series!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 24



The best Raw of 2009, the power of Madison Square Garden, Survivor Series rundown, John Cena haters, The Rock's return, why it's a great time to be a wrestling fan and will John Cena vs. The Undertaker headline WrestleMania 26?

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


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ECW Thoughts - November 17, 2009

Oh wow, CM Punk is on ECW! Regal & Punk vs. Christian & R-Truth in our main event? Sold!

Zack Ryder & Rosa Mendes kick things off, thankfully we're spared from any lame dream sequences. I'm still hopeful for this pairing, but I'm just not really seeing the chemistry yet. Shelton Benjamin interrupts and accepts Ryder's challenge for another rematch, but Z-Ryde doesn't want it right now and sneaks in a cheap shot for good measure. Would really like to see more of these guys on ECW... get them involved in the main event scene!

Here's the match we've all been waiting for, Paul Burchill vs. The Hurricane, mask vs. ECW career. Speaking of chemistry, these two have it, perhaps more than any other guys in ECW, their styles just mesh so well. That trend continues here, with Burchill and Hurricane putting on a fantastic back and forth match with a red hot crowd. For what is "just" a secondary feud on ECW, we got something that's PPV-worthy; just another reason why anyone who calls themselves a wrestling fan must be tuned into SyFy on Tuesday nights. Hurricane hits an INSANE neckbreaker off the top rope (!!!) to get the win and retain his mask! Burchill must leave ECW, but here's hoping for an Intercontinental Title feud with John Morrison on Smackdown in his near future. I've mentioned Burchill improving by leaps and bounds since coming to ECW, it's time for him to move onto bigger and better things.

Vance Archer vs. Local Competitor next... just go read any of my write-ups about Vladimir Kozlov after he came to ECW and you'll know how this one played out.

Christian & CM Punk backstage... there's a dream match waiting to happen.

Main Event time! Christian & R-Truth vs. William Regal & CM Punk, which on top of being an awesome match-up, is more hype for this Sunday's Survivor Series, which I am ridiculously stoked for at this point. Christian & R-Truth make a great team, and it's great seeing Truth get more attention as of late, this mini program with Punk will only do good things for him. And while I'm talking about good teams, I have to mention how well Punk & Regal worked together as well... man I can't wait for Team Orton vs. Team Kofi at Survivor Series, could be one of the greatest Survivor Series matches in history. Punk & regal pick up the win with an awesome Knee Trembler/Go To Sleep combo, great ECW main event.

Another great week of ECW action - WATCH THIS SHOW!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Post: Total Nonstop Negativity

I've had a lot of people ask me about the lack of Guest Post articles as of late, and my only response is "I can only post what I receive." Not many people have submitted articles lately, so if you want to see more guest columns, or write one yourself, I need some e-mails: razor@kickoutwrestling.com. Luckily, frequent commenter and overall awesome dude, GA, has decided to contribute. You can check out movie reviews from GA at Unmurdered.com, but this week he turns his attention to TNA:

It goes without saying that I love Razor’s concept for a better wrestling media. For too long, fans have been anything but fans – moaning about the smallest details as if they could write a better episode of Monday Night Raw, and complaining that Internet darling number 23 is stuck under the glass ceiling because of Triple H. Wrestling should be a positive experience. It’s just a soap opera where larger than life characters beat the s*** out of each other, after all


But the thought occurs that TNA rarely gets mentioned in this new media movement, apart from a reference here or a joke there. Why is that? After watching an entire month of TNA, from October’s Bound For Glory pay per view to last week’s Impact, I understand why. Rather than producing something innovative or entertaining, TNA dwells in dirt sheet style negativity and sensationalism.

In the fallout of the Monday Night Wars in 2001, those who still wanted to watch fighting fragmented into two sections. MMA was for those craving for ‘reality’ and ‘shooting’, while the WWE – realising wrestling can never be portrayed as a true sport – leaned heavily towards the entertainment aspect so it could be popular with kids and adults alike.

TNA has different ideas. Instead of being innovative or entertaining, it has taken a direction that can be best described as a limp and frankly embarrassing version of the WWF Attitude Era. Characters are egocentric shades of grey (ie: genuinely unlikeable) as proven by the recent AJ Styles/Daniels/Samoa Joe feud. Wrestlers are too busy brawling backstage over wives to be actual wrestlers. And, for those who love ‘reality’, Tara and Kim Couture have impromptu shoot fights, and Team 3D and Rhino talk about losing their spots, peppering it with insider lingo. Fire Russo? Fire the guy at the TNA offices for getting desk calendars ten years out of date.

The company certainly has an identity crisis. It wants to be the alternative in professional wrestling, going as far to script (then) ex-WWE wrestlers like Christian to say they came to TNA because they love wrestling itself. Yet, it not only relies on former WWE talent to give their home grown stars legitimacy - an unnecessary practice, wrestlers constantly revisit memories from the past to make their current storylines seem relevant. Team 3D was dangerous in a TLC rip-off at Bound For Glory because they’ve “wrestled in this type of match in front of 70,000 people,” and Raven attacked Mick Foley for “getting in-between me and my playmate Tommy Dreamer.”

TNA has been around for seven years now. Surely they should have a plethora of moments they can look back at, right? After all, the WWE puts out hours of great memories every year. But can you honestly name one defining moment in TNA history? One to rival Austin stunning Vince McMahon, or HBK’s spectacular entrance at Wrestlemania 12? They had the AJ/Daniels/Samoa Joe match for the X-Division title at Unbreakable 2005, and that’s it.

Recently, they had the chance to put this right with the signing of Hulk Hogan. The press was tremendous, with mentions on shows such as Larry King and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Now with Hogan’s fans coming to check out TNA – it was essential for the company to impress and do something unforgettable for the new viewers. And, as it just so happens, TNA did. For all the wrong reasons.

Dixie Carter delivered a speech to the TNA roster and fans at home with the intention of rallying up the troops. This was a bad idea anyway; the viewers want to see total non-stop action now, not a promise there will be total non-stop action in a few weeks or so. However, she took the ridiculousness up tenfold by holding a lecture, demanding everyone to get behind her (non-existent) direction, or go elsewhere. After seeing the wrestlers belittled by a small woman resembling a stern teacher, those extra Hulkamaniacs went elsewhere, as proven by how the ratings slumped back to the 1.1 level again.

I have no idea why they did this speech, clearly a work due to the several mentions of it later in the programme, but it showed that TNA is a company run by sneering, cynical smarks. The type that demands too much just because they believe it’s their right. TNA thinks it can toy with wannabe fans through stunts like that, and by teasing major ground breaking announcements that will ‘shake the core of TNA’, only to turn around and have Eric Young change the name of an insignificant title.

Until TNA and its programming become a positive experience to watch, their buyrates, merchandise, ratings and attendances will not progress. We don’t care about what you’re going to do in the future, or what your wrestlers have previously done in clearly superior wrestling outfits, or insider stuff. We want to be emotionally involved with TNA. We want to be inspired by breathtaking, memorable moments you produce. That's it! How hard is that to understand?

Maybe Dixie Carter would take notice if I tweeted this article to her…


Read more from GA here: Unmurdered.com

If you'd like to be a part of Guest Posts, please e-mail razor@kickoutwrestling.com with the topic you'd like to discuss and a link to a writing sample.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Raw Thoughts - November 16, 2009

It's a special Raw, Roddy Piper's hosting, there's a massive main event, Survivor Series is this Sunday, and we're live from Madison Square Garden, so Kick-Out!! should be live as well! I'm going to try to keep up with the show, so keep refreshing the page for live updates of tonight's historic Raw!

No better way to start the show with the Hot Rod himself! Piper's Pit returns tonight! Piper's backstage with... Luis Guzman?! And Iron Chef Bobby Flay... or Iron Sheik. Am I on drugs? Oh well, live from New York, IT'S MONDAY NIGHT RAW!

And what better way to suck the life out of an awesome intro than a Nickelback song? Blargh. Oh well, at least it was short! The much talked-about set is awesome, the kind of look they give to PPVs at MSG, but have never used for Raw. Very slick.

Kicking things off with a United States Title match! The Miz tells New York the inconvenient truth, the Yankees didn't earn a World Series Championship, they bought it! Let's see if Miz can earn a victory tonight when he defends his title against MVP! Crowd is red hot for MVP, including Sherri Shepherd, who scored front row seats, but it's not enough to overcome the awesomeness of The Miz! Skullcrushing Finale crushes MVP's hopes of becoming a three-time United States Champion and this major show is off to a solid start.

Chavo Guerrero is in the ring waiting to take on his opponent, Santino Marella. Hard to call this one a match thanks to Santino's shenanigans. Santino's stolen the YouTube T-shirt meme by wearing every New York team jersey in existence. Hilarious. Chavo's got control, but Santino keeps rolling away from the Frog Splash before Chavo can jump! Of course, Hornswoggle (still in DX gear) provides the distraction, and Santino hits his finisher - the surprise roll-up - for the win!

Speaking of D-Generation X, guess who's out next? It's Shawn Michaels & Triple H and New York officially goes bonkers! You might be surprised to hear this, but there's some shilling going on. I know, who woulda thunk it? DX shamelessly promoting their merchandise?! I can't believe it either. DX also lets us know that they will not split up this Sunday, despite the Triple Threat for the WWE Title, they will function as a unit. If this were 1997, they'd probably center the entire promo around the word "unit." Looks like DX has one more item on the agenda - Hornswoggle's gimmick infringement. It looks like DX is ready to forgive and forget, even offering Hornswoggle a spot in the group?! They're all lined up, doing the Michael Buffer bit, "LET'S GET READY TO SSSSUUUU" -- PEDIGREE ON HORNSWOGGLE!? That ain't right! I gotta say though, Hornswoggle took that Pedigree like a man.

Awesome hype video showcasing the special relationship between WWE and Madison Square Garden. If you missed tonight's Raw, make sure you check this out somewhere, I'm sure it'll be on WWE.com soon enough.

Roddy Piper is backstage, which is good enough, but we're going to add Chris Jericho to the mix?! Well this can't get any better, right? Oh well how about Chris Masters and his musical pecs? Greatest... gimmick... ever. In all fairness to Roddy, he seems to have forgotten the beating Jericho put on him at WrestleMania.

Judah Friedlander is the guest ring announcer for the Divas Championship match? That's cool. Judah gets a lot of WWE references in on 30 Rock (usually on his hats), he's apparently a big fan, why not bring him in as guest host sometime? And this won't be any normal match, all the WWE Divas are at ringside making this a Lumberjill Match between Melina & Alicia Fox. Alicia's got a lot of work to do to get me at all interested in her matches after that debacle against Mickie James a few months back. Luckily for Alicia, and the viewers, this one is short and Melina retains! All the Divas brawl after the match, getting in some last minute hype for Survivor Series, but I'm more interested in Judah Friedlander showing off his awesome martial arts moves!

Finally, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is at ringside, it's time for Piper's Pit! Piper looks great, a nice little "f-you" to whoever started those nasty rumors a few months back. Piper goes down the list of guys he's taken on over the years: Andre, Albano, Sammartino and Hogan, and claims if you mess with him, you end up either bald or dead. Wow Roddy, wow! Speaking of wows, he's challenging Vince McMahon to a match?! Before we get into this, can I just say how badass is Vince's suit tonight? If these two are really going to go at it, wouldn't WrestleMania be the venue for it? Cringe if you want, but you know it would be an overbooked masterpiece! Piper wants the match tonight, but I'm getting serious WrestleMania vibes... something's up. What a night this has already been!

And what a night it's going to be next week! A 3-hour Thanksgiving tri-branded Raw hosted by Jesse "The Body" Ventura!

Sheamus, making his Madison Square Garden debut, has something on his mind. He's already retired Jamie Noble, who's next? Looks like no one wants a piece of the Celtic Warrior, so he beats up the dude that rings the bell?! Then Jerry Lawler? Sheamus is definitely making a go at Jerkface of the Year. Luckily King gets to his feet, and I'm pretty sure some dude in the audience just yelled "F him up, Jerry!" Gotta love a New York crowd.

Finally back to the in-ring action, Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger in a rematch from last week, but I would've much rather seen a tag match featuring their Survivor Series teams. Maybe something like Bourne & Matt Hardy vs. Swagger & Drew McIntyre? Oh well, Evan Bourne's in the ring, so I'm not going to complain... even if this is likely just an excuse for Swagger to get his win back. And as I type that sentence, Gutwrench Powerbomb! This one's over.

Roddy Piper is in the ring and looking for Vince McMahon... but of course, this night had been too much fun and Randy Orton just had to come out and ruin it. Orton goes ballistic on Piper, sets up for the Punt, but Kofi Kingston makes the save! That's the only good thing about Orton these days, it's usually a guarantee that we'll get to see Kofi. Orton goes for the Punt again, but Kofi strikes! Kofi going toe-to-toe with Orton is exactly the kind of thing Monday Night Raw has needed since the Draft, a fresh face looking strong against a top star. We haven't seen a good brawl around the arena in awhile and this one gets the perfect ending, Boom Drop off a guardrail through a table! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

That makes me wonder - was Vince/Piper just an excuse to get the Kofi/Orton brawl going or the start of something bigger? Hmmm...

Fun little backstage promo from John Cena. Not his best, and definitely not the pre-PPV preaching I've come to expect from him, but I think the main event will do more to hype Survivor Series than any promo could.

Here we go, Main Event time! Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. John Cena & The Undertaker! Honestly, this has to be one of the biggest Raw main events in history, short of putting The Rock & Stone Cold in it, these are pretty much the biggest Superstars of the last 10 years. This might actually be the latest a Raw main event has ever started, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. This is the very definition of "main event," it epitomizes "big match feel" and it is exactly what WWE is all about. A flurry of finishers later, Cena pins Triple H after the Attitude Adjustment, but gets a Tombstone from his partner! This show ends exactly how it should - the embodiment of WWE, The Undertaker, standing tall!

Okay, Raw's in MSG at least once a year, right? Do you remember a Raw in MSG that was this big? Even though it was packed with commercials and a little light on the in-ring action, this was better than a lot of PPVs... I'd certainly pay $40 for this show before Hell in a Cell. This show, much like the main event, defined WWE and was just plain fun. Shows like this are what get me excited to be a wrestling fan, and excited for PPVs, like the one that happens to be on Sunday. Best Raw of the year so far, hands-down.

WWE Superstars Thoughts - November 12, 2009

I'm a little late on this one, and reviewing things out of order, but when Superstars is primarily a standalone show, I figure I can get away with it.

For the first time in weeks, Smackdown does not contribute the main event for Superstars, instead giving us a rock solid opener - Matt Hardy vs. David Hart Smith. I'm pretty amazed by David Hart Smith, it seems like every time the guy steps in the ring, he's better than he was the last, that's a rare talent. Smith dominated early, but once Matt Hardy started to build a head of steam, the numbers game came into play with The Hart Dynasty at ringside. The ref tried to eject Natalya and Kidd from ringside (love it!), but before they could even get in the aisle, Matt grabbed the win with a small package. Fantastic match, this is the kind of stuff I love to see on Superstars, matches that wouldn't normally be on the regular shows, but between two guys who can go out there and put on a hell of a performance even with little backstory.

I've been trying to avoid talking about this every week, since it's pretty lame, but who the hell is participating in Ask The Divas? Honestly, if you need relationship advice, you're going to the WWE Divas? Need I remind you that one of these women dated both Santino Marella and Dolph Ziggler? I'm just sayin.

Zack Ryder w/ Rosa Mendes vs. Shelton Benjamin was the ECW portion of the evening and as expected with these two, it did not disappoint... until the lame ending. Zack Ryder being "mesmerized" by Rosa Mendes would be funny if he didn't, ya know, come to the ring with her! He can manage that, but gets distracted when he's being counted out in the middle of a match? I'm probably being a little too harsh on this because of the painfully stupid dream sequences we've been getting on ECW, but it's just not working for me. I think there's a lot of potential in this Rosa/Ryder pairing, but with the romantic comedy clich├ęs aren't gonna realize it.

Cool little hype video for Sheamus.

Main Event time! MVP vs. Ted DiBiase
was pretty much what you'd expect from MVP vs. Ted DiBiase. I think if you're looking for a good example of the differences between the two main brands, just watch this match, then the Matt Hardy/DH Smith match from earlier. It's not that this was a bad match - far from it - it's just shows how both Raw and Smackdown each have their own unique vibe. Glad to see MVP pick up the win though, he needed it, and more solid build for Survivor Series.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 Review

I know I'm about a month late on this and you've probably moved onto Modern Warfare 2 along with 7 million other people (I seriously don't get the fanaticism that game inspires), but I don't like to review things without extensive time playing it. Since THQ didn't send me a review copy (remember me next year!), I had to get Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 on release day like everyone else. With my job, other games, and real life getting in the way, my time with SvR10 has been sporadic at best, but now I think I've played the game enough to give you the definitive review... just in time for Christmas shopping!

Let me start by saying that I have never really been a fan of the Smackdown series. If the franchise had been all we had when it first came around, then I might be a little more fond of it, but going back to the PS1 era, those early Smackdown games were fun, but couldn't hold a candle to the N64's WrestleMania 2000 and No Mercy. When the franchise made the jump to the PS2 with Just Bring It, instead of building on a fun premise, it became a complete mess that it never fully recovered from. There were some decent offerings - Here Comes the Pain & Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 - but I think both those games were incredibly overrated by fans who were starved for a good wrestling game and would take whatever they could get.

When the series jumped to this generation and went multi-platform, SvR2007 was a lot stronger of a console debut than Just Bring It, but still wasn't anything special. SvR08 was embarrassing and 09 got the series back on track, but there was still something missing. The gameplay has been solid for years, they got the presentation of WWE down to a science, but it was still lacking the magic and charm of those N64 games, which haven't aged well, but are still remembered so fondly.

Enter Smackdown vs. Raw 2010: It's Your World Now. It's not perfect, it's not even "good enough," but I feel like this is the first reinvention of the series in its history. They still have a lot of work to do over the next few years, but I feel like SvR finally has a solid foundation, and it only took them ten years! Let's take a look at the good:

Story Designer - easily the greatest addition to wrestling games since Create-a-Wrestler. It's a bit in-depth, and you might go a little overboard with it (like I did), but there is endless fun to be had here. If you want to download stories, you do have to sift through a lot of crap, but if you can find a decent story, you'll have more fun with this than the Road to WrestleMania mode!

Road to WrestleMania - but that's not to say that RTWM is bad, it was one of the big highlights of SvR09 and it returns this year with some fun storylines, that are a bit more grounded in reality than last year's. I haven't played HBK's or the CAW stories yet, but I've really enjoyed the other four, especially Brand Warfare and the quest to become Champion of Champions. The mode suffers from a bit of a "same thing every week" feel, but it's still much better than what we had been getting in terms of a story mode every year before.

Royal Rumble - a match type that has never translated well to video games, they finally created something that's not only playable, but downright fun. It needs a few tweaks, but with the way this series works, don't expect many improvements for another six or seven years.

Customization - The Superstars Threads, which allow you to edit the color of the in-game wrestler's clothes, is long overdue. It's a bit limited, and it's only colors you can edit, but it's amazing how something so little can freshen up the appearance of the game. Also, stuff like WWE Rivals, along with returning features like roster editing, championship switching, cheer/boos, movesets, etc. make this the most customizable Smackdown to date.

And now for the bad:

Needless limitations - As nice as some of the new customization features are, the series still suffers from the biggest problem that has plagued it from day one: useless restrictions. Things like only being able to use your created wrestlers a total of 10 times in one created story, not being able to edit downloaded wrestlers, not being able to customize your matches, etc. Please explain to me why I can't edit a download created wrestler? I understand that some people may not want someone to alter their creations then re-upload them as their own, but just lock any downloaded content from being re-uploaded!

And please tell me why I can't have an Elimination Chamber with First Blood rules? Or a six-man match where I can actually get out of the ring? Or even something crazy like a Royal Rumble with pins, over the top rope eliminations turned off, and falls count anywhere? We could do stuff like that in No Mercy and that was damn near ten years ago! I know stuff like this doesn't happen on WWE TV that often, but considering this series has featured zombies and men being magically turned into women, are they THAT concerned with 100% realism?

Forgetting about other match types - hey thanks for fixing the Royal Rumble, now how about we do something about Hell in a Cell, which has been crap for years? And how about fixing the Table Match, so that when tables break, it doesn't look like PS1 physics? Or fixing the cage match so that it's not over as soon as someone gets 3/4 of the way up the cage? Why do we get an Inferno Match, a match type that's happened maybe five times in WWE history, but we can't fix match types that happen more than once a year?

Move elimination - there is no excuse for taking any move out of a game, ever. Even if a guy doesn't do a certain move anymore, why take it out?

But despite those gripes, the positives far outweigh the negatives this year and we finally get an enjoyable Smackdown game that can keep you entertained for more than a week or two. It may not be the greatest wrestling game ever - I'm one of those nerds that's still partial to Japan's Fire Pro series - but this is possibly the best WWE game ever and unquestionably the greatest Smackdown game. If you're a wrestling fan and you play video games, you need Smackdown vs. Raw 2010. Even if you're like me and have lost interest in the series, this is the perfect time to come back, there's a lot of fun to be had.