Sunday, January 31, 2010

Royal Rumble 2010 Preview

It's that time of year, my favorite annual PPV, the Royal Rumble! Last year's Royal Rumble was a crushing disappointment (and no, not just because Orton won), so I'm crossing my fingers that this year will get the event back on track. On top of the traditional 30-man Royal Rumble match, there are four other matches, all for a title, scheduled to take place tonight. Earlier in the week, I asked you which one you were most excited about in our latest Kick-Out!! poll:


Sheamus vs. Randy Orton - 23%
Rey Mysterio vs. The Undertaker - 34%
Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson - 31%
Mickie James vs. Michelle McCool - 10%

It was neck and neck all week between the World and ECW Title matches, but Mysterio/Undertaker won thanks to one vote! Sheamus/Orton was a fairly close third, and the Women's Title match rounds things out at the bottom. My vote went to the ECW Title match, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mysterio vs. Undertaker winds up being a damn good match.

I made my predictions on this week's Kick-Out!! Radio, let's see if my mind has changed on any of the matches:

Women's Championship
Michelle McCool © vs. Mickie James

As I said in this week's podcast, if Mickie James doesn't win this match, doesn't beat the living hell out of McCool, and then kicks Layla in the face for good measure, then this whole storyline is one of the dumbest and most insulting that WWE's ever run... and that's saying something. Mickie James is my prediction, not just because I think she'll win, but because she has to win.

ECW Championship
Christian © vs. Ezekiel Jackson
Tough call here, could definitely see this one going either way. I'm sticking to my prediction though, I think Christian will retain tonight, but wouldn't be shocked if he winds up losing to Zeke in the future.

WWE Championship
Sheamus © vs. Randy Orton

Aside from the Rumble itself, this is the hardest match to predict. Sheamus, let's be honest, has done nothing as WWE Champ. I like the guy, but his title reign has been completely forgettable, and that's entirely WWE's fault for barely using him since he won the belt. I could easily see them moving the title to Orton to start building his WrestleMania feud, but at the same time, I don't know if they'll pull the plug on Sheamus already. I could see him making it to Elimination Chamber, but I highly doubt he'll be WWE Champ at Mania, so I'm not sure who to pick. As much as I'd like to see it, I don't think this match will end with Orton falling victim to the Celtic Cross, so expect some sort of shenanigans, regardless of the finish. My guess is Sheamus retains, but whether or not he wins, I'm not so sure about.

World Heavyweight Championship
The Undertaker © vs. Rey Mysterio

Sorry Rey, Undertaker isn't losing tonight. Just the way it is.

Royal Rumble Match
On Kick-Out!! Radio, I predicted Triple H to win, but it's really a shot in the dark. I don't see any concrete WrestleMania plans (aside from something with Vince McMahon and Bret Hart), so really, the Rumble is anybody's ballgame. For month's I've been hyping Kofi Kingston as the king of the multi-man match, and it looked like he was on track to win the Rumble, but all that seemed to unravel around the time of Randy Orton's in-ring hissy fit. So as much as I still think WWE should take a risk and have Kofi win, I think this year could be something anticlimactic. At the same time, they've almost made it a little too obvious that a DX member could win, so what about someone like Chris Jericho? Or what about a shock return like John Cena in 2008? It's really wide open, WWE could go with a lot of guys, but I'm worried they'll play it safe, and that's why my gut is telling me to stick with Triple H.

Still three hours before the show, so let me know your predictions in the comments section, and make sure you check back at Kick-Out!! later tonight for my full review of the 2010 Royal Rumble!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Smackdown Thoughts - January 29, 2010

I knew something was up when the show opened with D-Generation X, but it was definitely the easiest way to get the crowd on their feet. Cincinnati's kinda stuck in the past anyway, so for us, seeing DX in 2010 is just as cool as it was in 1998. I figured they wouldn't get through their whole shtick (much like at Cyber Sunday 2006 when the crowd wouldn't stop cheering to let them do it), but I didn't expect Rey Mysterio to be the one to interrupt. Great stuff here, I have to give big props to Rey Rey for holding his own on the mic and standing up to the easy joke Triple H made, comparing him to Hornswoggle. I especially loved HBK's "maybe you won't make it to the Rumble," followed by Rey's "maybe YOU won't make it to the Rumble!"

Of course, the whole point of DX on Smackdown was so they could defend the tag titles against the Straight Edge Society, who weren't pleased with Rey getting involved, which lead to even more awesome mic work from all parties involved. Teddy Long however, was intrigued and decided to change things up; instead of CM Punk & Luke Gallows vs. Triple H & Shawn Michaels, it would now be Rey Mysterio vs. Shawn Michaels and Triple H vs. CM Punk! Okay, so the bait and switch was lame, especially for a match that was so heavily advertised, but I think WWE was concerned for the Rumble hype (or lack thereof) on Raw and decided to hold off on the tag title match. Still not an excuse, and I hope SES gets their shot sooner than later, but considering the matches we got instead, I can't really complain.

Triple H vs. CM Punk was one hell of an opening contest. I was worried for Punk, sure, I like Triple H, but he's not exactly known for losing in singles competition. Surprisingly, Punk looked like a beast in there, pretty much dominating the entire match until Triple H finally made a comeback near the end. Yeah, it looked like Triple H may have had it won, but the interference from Serena caused the DQ and honestly, gave us the best ending possible. Speaking of Serena, can we talk about how freaking awesome she is? Admittedly, this is the first I've seen of her in action, but holy hell, she's a natural. Those facial expressions when Punk used her as a human shield? Priceless, almost Regal-esque in terms of believability; she also pulls off the shaved head look well, almost looks like Demi Moore in GI Jane. I know it's pretty soon, but I'll make another of my patented way-too-early predictions and say Serena is going to be a major player in the Divas division in the coming years.

Chris Jericho vs. R-Truth was up next and another rock solid match, with really the only possible gripe about this one being that it was a little too short. And allow me to clarify, that's Smackdown-short, not Raw-short. I'm sure some fanboys were pissed that Jericho lost, but as a huge Jericho fan, what harm does it do to him? R-Truth is on the cusp of greatness and a clean win over Chris Jericho is big. Jericho will be fine, he's one of the biggest names in the industry today (who cares what Eric Bischoff thinks?) and he should be applauded for making others look so good.

Okay, I can't be the only one who thinks Batista looked like a huge dork this week, right? And while I'm commenting on Batista's fashion sense, Dave... pick a look! I swear, every time DAVETISTA~! is in street clothes, it's something different. Sometimes it's a suit, sometimes it's business casual, sometimes it's a polo and jeans, sometimes it's a wifebeater and timberland boots, now he's dressing like Turtle from Entourage? Dave, you're either the badass bouncer type or a d-bag from the Jersey Shore, you can't be both!

Intercontinental Title on the line with Drew McIntyre vs. John Morrison in a no-disqualification match! Morrison was over big in Cincy, but unfortunately that was not enough to stop the chosen one. McIntyre picks up the win in a match I honestly thought could've gone either way, and I was hopeful Morrison would regain his championship, but it was not to be. Great match though, any time guys are willing to tear their flesh apart with Singapore canes, I have to applaud the dedication. This is why these guys deserve our respect, they're willing to out there and put their bodies on the line in insane situations - and this match had quite a few - all for our entertainment. Kudos to both men, and this match may just be what McIntyre needed to sell himself to the WWE Universe.

Yeah yeah, Michelle McCool interview, offensive nonsense, calling Mickie James fat even though she's clearly not, who cares? Wait a sec, what's that Michelle's looking at?

Ah yes, something much more interesting. As for the segment, the crowd chanted "THIS IS BORING!" and that about sums up my feelings on it as well. I would have also accepted "THIS IS STUPID!" or "THIS IS INSULTING MY INTELLIGENCE AND IT'S WHY PEOPLE DON'T TAKE WRESTLING SERIOUSLY!" but that probably wouldn't have fit with the "clap, clap, clap-clap-clap" chant.

Main Event time! Shawn Michaels vs. Rey Mysterio, and yes, that was one hell of a main event. Not the first time HBK and Rey Rey have squared off, but I do believe it was only their second one-on-one encounter, please correct me if I'm wrong though. Obviously they don't get to meet up often since HBK's has only been on the Raw brand since his 2002 return and Rey Mysterio has always been a part of Smackdown, with the exception of that brief run in 2008 that we've all forgotten about already. Anyway, awesome match, not that you would expect anything less from these two, who despite a laundry list of injuries between them, still perform at a level that most wrestlers wish they could. And that's not a knock on other wrestlers, that's just how good Mysterio and HBK are. Oh, and even though we've seen the "guy does a springboard, only to get Sweet Chin Music" spot quite a few times over the years, it's still awesome and looks brutal every single time. Another non-finish with Batista causing a double-DQ, then Triple H coming to make the save, but all hell breaks loose when the lights go out and it's THE UNDERTAKER! Taker chokeslams Rey and HBK at the same time and Smackdown ends with its franchise player standing tall. And just in case you were wondering, The Undertaker's crowd reaction was far and away the biggest of the night, even eclipsing DX, who the crowd went nuts for too.

Absolutely fantastic episode of Smackdown, and I'm not just saying that because I was there. Aside from the stupid McCool segment, this Smackdown was awesome from top-to-bottom. Pretty much non-stop action, and the opening promos with DX, Rey and Punk were awesome. Great matches, fun talking, good hype for the Rumble, definitely the best Smackdown of January, may even go down as one of the best of 2010.

WWE Superstars Thoughts - January 28, 2010

The Bella Twins vs. Katie Lea & Jillian Hall kicked things off on WGN America, and be honest with me, did anyone watching care about this match at all? I know it seems like I'm always ragging on Raw's Diva division, but this is why. Outside of Maryse and maybe Eve, there isn't a reason to care about any of the Divas on Raw. Katie Lea has loads of potential, Jillian is a fine wrestler, but even getting a match like this is more exposure than they usually get. And the Bellas? They're usually only used to hang out with the guest host, so that should tell you what WWE thinks their talents are. I get it, it's Superstars, we don't exactly need high-caliber stars out there, but I really can't think of a less interesting match that could've opened this show.

Raw gets two matches this week (yet ECW gets none?), the second being a triple threat match featuring Chris Masters, Chavo Guerrero & Primo. Okay, this match was a dramatic improvement over the opener and not only that, it was a damn good match. The story was a spot in the Royal Rumble was on the line, but they way these guys were working, you'd think their jobs were on the line instead. Hands down, the best thing any of these guys have done in the last few months, and I know it's weird to think about these guys putting on a must-see match on Superstars, but if you missed this one, watch it. Catch the replay, go on Hulu, it might even be on, just make sure you see this match, because these guys deserve it. Masters gets the win, but after this kind of performance, they all should get a spot in the Rumble.

Oddly enough, the R-Truth/Chris Jericho segment was taped at Raw rather than Smackdown. I assume the logic behind that was so the audience would only see both guys once and keep the reaction strong. Regardless of the reason, a fun little segment, and R-Truth continues to show why he deserves to hang with the top guys. He's got everything you need in a main eventer: good in the ring, solid on the mic, unique look, and something fun for the crowd to get involved with. Not asking for the guy to win the Rumble and headline WrestleMania or anything, but there's no reason that Truth couldn't challenge the World Champion at a PPV like The Bash.

Main Event time! Matt Hardy w/ The Great Khali & Ranjin Singh vs. David Hart Smith w/ Tyson Kidd & Natalya! This match was taped on Tuesday at the event I was at and I haven't heard this mentioned yet, but Matt Hardy was insanely over in Cincinnati. I remember mentioning back in May that Jeff Hardy had one of the loudest sustained reactions I've ever been a part of, and while Matt didn't quite get that kind of reaction, he was probably in the top five fan favorites of the night. Either it's just a Cincinnati/Hardy love or WWE is really missing out on him, and I'm inclined to believe the latter. Good match here, even though I probably would've preferred Hardy vs. Tyson Kidd, but I'd also prefer Tyson Kidd as IC Champion and I wouldn't mind a pony for my birthday, but I don't expect any of those things to happen. Hardy picks up the win, only to be tossed out of the ring by The Great Khali! Hey, it's every man for himself at the Royal Rumble, even if you have the most random tag team partner in WWE history. I hear Matt was pretty upset about the betrayal though and went for a run after the show to clear his thoughts...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 30

Stand back, there's a Hurricane coming through! This week, TNA Impact moves to Monday nights? Kick-Out!! attends Smackdown/ECW (but unfortunately missed the after party), and we make our Royal Rumble predictions!

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

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

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Note: I've recently learned that my host for Kick-Out!! Radio, GCast, will be shutting down in February, which will likely cause some troubles with the iTunes feed. Once I get everything sorted out, I'll let you know on here and on Kick-Out!! Radio. Thanks for bearing with me and for your continued support of Kick-Out!! Wrestling!

Poll - Royal Rumble undercard

First, the results from our previous poll:

Kofi Kingston - 48%
Shawn Michaels - 14%
Triple H - 4%
John Cena - 6%
Big Show - 0%
CM Punk - 10%
Chris Jericho - 12%
Other - 4%

This is a nice surprise. I know I've been pushing for Kofi to win the Rumble for months, but no one really seemed as excited about the idea as I was. Apparently I was wrong, because a whopping 48% of you agree that Kofi Kingston should be "the one." Let's hope WWE takes us into consideration this Sunday.

New poll now, which undercard match are you most excited for this Sunday? Voting is open until right before the Rumble, so get your votes in quickly!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ECW Thoughts - January 26, 2010

As you may know, I was in Cincinnati for the ECW/Smackdown taping last night, and it may have been one of the best WWE events I've ever been to. Definitely the best Smackdown I've seen since an October 2001 show that featured Stone Cold vs. The Undertaker and Kane vs. Kurt Angle, in a match that I still say is Kane's best ever. Smackdown was a blast, but I'll save my thoughts on that for after the show airs, so let's turn our attention to last night's ECW!

Really dug the opening promos with Ezekiel Jackson and Christian. As I've been saying for months, Jackson has a unique way with the mic, he doesn't need to do the "I'M A BIG SCARY MONSTER, ROAR!!!" stuff, but he also doesn't come across as boring and monotone. Christian, as always, delivered the goods and his line "I like Biblical quotes too, after all, I am Christian" had me laughing out loud. As had been advertised, Christian enlisted the help of Kane, but I found it a bit odd that they decided to go with this match first.

Kane & Christian vs. William Regal & Ezekiel Jackson was a lot of fun and got me excited about Zeke again after that horrible match he had against Vladimir Kozlov a few weeks back. Big Zeke has the proverbial "it factor," and barring a total trainwreck this Sunday (and I don't think Christian's had a bad match since his return), I think Jackson is on the road to a major World Championship. Perhaps a bit early to make such a bold claim, but the guy has all the tools and if he can deliver in his first match on a big stage, he's going places.

But that's the future, let's talk about this match, which I really enjoyed, especially thanks to the red hot Cincinnati crowd, we were really into this one, and I think a lot of credit has to be given to Kane for that. Cincinnati LOVES Kane, regardless of whether he's a face or heel, and I honestly think it's because of the "Big Red Machine" nickname. If Cincinnati Reds fans could time travel back to 1975 to see the original Big Red Machine again, they would. Hot crowd, good action, great hype for the ECW Title match at the Rumble, you can't really ask for much more when it comes to televised wrestling.

I found it strange that there were only two matches on ECW (again), but when you get stuff as fun as our opening tag match and then Yoshi Tatsu, Goldust & The Hurricane vs. Trent Baretta, Caylen Croft & Zack Ryder, I can't really complain. Again, I thought it was strange that these two matches weren't reversed in terms of card position, but it's nice to see the other guys on ECW get some main event exposure. That's the beauty of this brand, everyone can be a top guy on any given week. You couldn't have a Raw main event featuring Jack Swagger, Carlito and The Miz against MVP, Evan Bourne and Chris Masters, but these six guys can main event ECW and it works.

I really like the idea of teaming Ryder with Croft & Baretta, they're the best d-bags on TV (take that, cast of Jersey Shore!), and since ECW doesn't have much of a tag division, using them as Ryder's boys might be the best course of action for them. As for the match, they did a good job keeping control and wearing down The Hurricane, getting the crowd psyched for the eventual hot tag and the comeback win for the good guys. A great ending to the most fun hour of wrestling television every week. If they are still planning on changing ECW, I hope the only thing that changes is the name and the action stays as exciting as it currently is.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Raw Thoughts - January 25, 2010

Great promo from Triple H to start things off. Shawn Michaels was mostly reserved here, but it was a nice reminder that Triple H can still be awesome when he wants to be. I miss serious business Triple H, almost as much as I miss heel Triple H. Still, while this was another great start to Raw, I don't see any point in having Triple H or HBK win the Rumble this year.

Opening match time, D-Generation X vs. Legacy, which is definitely a solid start and I'm not going to complain because these two teams do have great chemistry and they've been kept apart since Hell in a Cell, so it's not like this is something we see all the time. Definitely some dissension within DX here tonight, but it's not enough to get them to lose to Legacy (haha). Could be good news for CM Punk & Luke Gallows though, and could be good news for my predicted WrestleMania card - Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels, perhaps? Good match tonight though, and yes, I'm aware I just complimented a Legacy match, and I just complimented something on Raw beyond the first 15 minutes.

Bummer that James Roday couldn't make it due to an emergency appendectomy. Psych is a great show and I think Roday would've been a great host for the show, but hopefully Dule Hill can show that he's more than just a sidekick here tonight.

More verbal sparring with MVP & The Miz and it was all fun and games until MVP started busting out the gay jokes. Really? That's what we got? Lame. MVP was much more entertaining a couple weeks ago, but Miz - as always - was still AWESOME!

Big Show vs. MVP next... and as I come back to type up my thoughts on the start of the match, it's already over. Big Show makes quick work of MVP, and wow, I really can't get over how far MVP has fallen since coming to Raw, and he started off so well.

Fun stuff backstage with John Cena & Dule Hill, but things just get even better when The Miz gets involved. Miz claims he should've been on Psych instead of Cena, even though he's supposedly a bigger star than Hill or Roday, and I can't imagine why that might offend the guest host. Miz is in action against a mystery opponent later tonight!

And wait a minute... did John Cena just say "downright skullduggery?"

CAUTION: RAW DIVAS WRESTLING! Maryse vs. Eve is the first semifinal match in the Divas Tournament, but Dule Hill interrupts before the match can begin, he's having fun with the pyrotechnics. Completely pointless, but amusing nonetheless. As for the match, it's better than your average Raw Diva bout, and while Eve isn't the greatest wrestler ever, she's improved dramatically and her hard work shows when she gets in the ring. Maryse unsurprisingly picks up the win with a NASTY! DDT. Not Alicia Fox levels of nasty, but still pretty rough. Obviously the tournament ends with Maryse vs. Gail Kim, which anyone could've told you the minute they saw the brackets, but I'm hoping for something a little less predictable than Maryse walking away with the belt. If that's the plan, why go through all the pageantry of this tournament, we knew Maryse was going to win the belt the minute she returned.

Somewhere in 1976, a pimp is really upset about Vince McMahon stealing his suit. Much like last week, Vince is in rare form here, even going into the crowd to poll the audience about a a Bret Hart return; his reaction to the guy with the "DAMN" shirt might be one of Vince's funniest moments. Vince says "no" once again to the Hart return, but now John Cena has something to say about the subject. Alright, I haven't had much to say about him lately since he hasn't done much lately, but this is why Cena is the most important commodity in wrestling today. This wasn't preachy Reverend Cena, this wasn't goofy let's crack jokes John Cena, this was John Cena being awesome. Awesome promo, and actually got me a little excited about the possibility of Cena vs. McMahon somewhere down the road. On top of this, Vince announced he will invite Bret Hart to Raw next week and confront him face-to-face. The Hitman's back! Again!

Looks like Dule Hill's opponent for The Miz tonight is Kofi Kingston! Should be a good one, these two had some fun matches in 2009 and both guys have really upped their game since then. Unfortunately, the match is cut short due to one of my most hated finishes - the nemesis theme music distraction. MVP's music hits, Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and picks up the win. Too short, but a slight improvement from your average Raw encounter.

Dule Hill & Carlito are in the production truck and Dule punches in a random code on the graphic generator to decide Carlito's opponent for tonight, and it's Kelly Kelly?! After commercial, it looks like this is going to happen, but Santino Marella is here to save the day! But before Santino can face Carlito, Jack Swagger blindsides our favorite Italian stereotype (besides the Mario Bros.)... it's cute that they're actually working a Royal Rumble storyline around two guys that have absolutely no chance in hell of coming close to winning. Honestly, I'm surprised they're even in the Rumble.

Royal Rumble statistics are always fun.

Dule Hill & John Cena are backstage with James Roday on the phone, and even after an emergency appendectomy, Roday is awesome. A Berserker reference!? I think I love this Raw. HUSS!

CAUTION: Raw Divas wrestling pt. 2 - our last semifinal match, Alicia Fox vs. Gail Kim, and it's just as bad as it sounds. For the life of me, I do not know what the hell happened to Gail Kim, who just cannot seem to find her footing since returning to WWE. Alicia Fox, I understand, but two years ago, Gail Kim was arguably the greatest female wrestler in the world. I know she doesn't have much to work with on Raw, but she hasn't even had any memorable matches with capable WWE Divas, it's just plain sad. Gail does advance to the finals to face Maryse, and with the Divas Title on the line, maybe she'll up her game.

Main Event time! John Cena vs. Sheamus, the man that beat Cena for the WWE Championship last month. We're starting before 11pm, so that's a good sign at least, but I highly doubt we'll make it through this without some involvement from Randy Orton, which is never good. Luckily, before we get to that point, we have a flat-out great match, and this is the match Sheamus has needed since winning the WWE Title. He looked fantastic out there, having an answer for all of Cena's offense and definitely lived up to that "wise beyond his ring years" description that Matt Striker gave him on ECW. Of course, once Sheamus looks like he has the match won, Randy Orton runs in and hits the champ with the RKO. Lame. Luckily, Cena counters Orton's attempt at the rope DDT and nails the Attitude Adjustment on the #1 contender. At least it's a happy ending for me!

Okay, are you ready for it, this is something I haven't said in a long time: Great Raw! Some pointless segments - notably Show vs. MVP, some bad matches - Gail vs. Fox, and still the problem with matches being too short, but the good far outweighed the bad. Eve vs. Maryse, DX vs. Legacy, and Cena vs. Sheamus, ranged from surprisingly good to downright great. The mic work was great all around, especially with Cena and Vince, and Dule Hill was absolutely fantastic. Seriously, let's just make this guy the permanent GM.

My only big gripe with this show is it wasn't a strong final Raw heading into the Royal Rumble; it wasn't like there was a lack of hype or anything, and the Rumble usually sells itself, but maybe that's a good thing. Without a clear-cut winner, this could be one of the least predictable Rumbles in history, which could make it a lot of fun. The Rumble is my favorite non-Mania PPV of the year and last year's was a crushing disappointment (obviously not at all related to Orton's win at all...), so here's hoping the 2010 Royal Rumble can fix that. Hey, if Raw can rebound after its string of horrible shows, anything is possible.

Smackdown Thoughts - January 22, 2010

Smackdown's certainly not as inconsistent as Raw has been the last few months, but it's also not as exciting as it was throughout the majority of 2009. Let's find out if the latest episode of Smackdown can get some of that momentum back... I certainly hope so, especially since I'll be attending the Smackdown/ECW taping tomorrow night.

Batista vs. Finlay was our opening contest; nice to see Finlay, who's been MIA the last few weeks. Actually a pretty enjoyable match, which I was somewhat surprised by considering Batista hasn't been very entertaining lately and like I said, Finlay's barely been used. The big problems here were that the match was way too short - barely longer than your average Raw match - and ended in a DQ, with Batista raking Finlay's eyes. With that said, those problems worked in the greater context of the story, and Batista's post-match beatdown and promo were done well. Would like to see more between these two in the future since their styles mesh, so hopefully a rematch is in order and it'll be given more time.

Even as someone who doesn't read spoilers, it was impossible for me to get through last week without hearing about Serena, the newest member of CM Punk's Straight Edge Society. Serena is Serena Deeb, FCW call-up, who's competed in OVW and Shimmer as well. Pretty gutsy of Deeb to be willing to shave all that hair off, you have to appreciate her dedication. The segment was l-o-n-g, but Punk & Serena made it work, in fact they may have made it work a little too well because I was genuinely creeped out. Punk's definitely got a Manson vibe going on now, and it's only going to get more disturbing as his "family" grows.

Chris Jericho & Drew McIntyre vs. John Morrison & R-Truth was originally scheduled by Vickie Guerrero to be McIntyre & Jericho vs. Morrison in a handicap match, but Teddy Long wasn't having any part of that. Teddy apparently put this show together just for me, saving me from the horrors of the handicap match. Match was awesome, definitely the Match of the Week, and did you hear that pop for R-Truth when he got that hot tag? Wow. Morrison gets another shot at the IC Title next week, but I think the big story here is R-Truth and how they should probably be doing a lot more with him.

Alright, this Piggy James bullshit has got to stop, it's insulting. Michelle McCool & Layla are so terrible, they have me excited for Maria's acting. Seriously. And the fact that McCool called Maria "underfed" again? Are you kidding me? Skeletor, you have no business calling anyone underfed, I can see the outline of your internal organs! Segment ends with Mickie James getting humiliated (again), and if this feud doesn't get some kind of proper payoff soon, it'll just show all the little girls in the crowd that shallowness, bullying and cruelty are the path to victory.

Cryme Tyme vs. Charlie Haas & Mike Knox almost got started, but was quickly interrupted by Kane, who cleared the ring. Oh yeah, the Royal Rumble is coming up, that means it's time for the annual "make Kane look like an unstoppable monster even though no one actually thinks he has a chance in hell at winning the Royal Rumble." Yawn.

Matt Hardy & The Great Khali vs. The Hart Dynasty was up next, and can someone please explain to me why Matt Hardy and Khali are a team? And why the hell they beat The Hart Dynasty? Not really a bad match, though another one that was way too short, but I just didn't get it.

Our "main event" of the evening was Rey Mysterio calling out The Undertaker, which was fine, they're the two biggest names on the brand and if you're not going to put them in a match, nothing wrong with a verbal battle. Strong promos from both guys, and then of course Batista had to get involved, taking out Mysterio and running away from Taker; I know I suggested it a few weeks ago, but please don't make this a Triple Threat at the Rumble. Rewarding Batista with a World Title match even though he's done nothing to earn it and has been breaking rules left and right is the same kind of stupid wrestling logic that's being used in that unbearable Piggy James storyline. I'm sure Batista will get involved in the match, which could work, but please, no Triple Threat.

Terrible Smackdown, the worst in at least a year. I'd be a bit more forgiving had there been more than one actual match on the show! Finlay/Batista and the Hardy/Khali/Harts matches were extremely short and the Cryme Tyme match never even got started. Thanks to Jericho & McIntyre vs. Truth & Morrison and CM Punk, this show was saved from being as bad as some of those December Raws, but still, pretty damn bad. Very disappointing, and I hope they get back on track by tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 29

TNA lights a fire under a group of dedicated exaggerators, Genesis fails to recapture the momentum of January 4th, WWE plays it safe again on Raw and Razor gives his Way Too Early WrestleMania Predictions!

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

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

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Note: I've recently learned that my host for Kick-Out!! Radio, GCast, will be shutting down in February, which will likely cause some troubles with the iTunes feed. Once I get everything sorted out, I'll let you know on here and on Kick-Out!! Radio. Thanks for bearing with me and for your continued support of Kick-Out!! Wrestling!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poll: Royal Rumble winner

The Royal Rumble is less than two weeks away and at this point, I think the match is pretty wide open. Of the options presented in our new poll to the right of your screen, who would you like to see win and go on to face the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 26? If you've read the site before, you know my vote, but I want to know who you're pulling for. If your favorite isn't listed, feel free to leave a comment on this post and let me know!

ECW Thoughts - January 19, 2010

Never a good sign when ECW starts off with The Abraham Washington Show, but this was a very special Abraham Washington Show, because Abraham Washington wasn't there! Filling in for Abe was Santino Marella and his guest was Vladimir Kozlov. Unfortunately for Santino, the Abraham Washington Show is a black hole of entertainment, and this segment bombed. I dunno if it was the fact that you couldn't understand anything anyone was saying (you know it's bad when Santino is the most intelligible), the fact that the jokes were awful, or the saddest part of all, Santino's just not that funny anymore. And really, trying to turn Kozlov face? I can't see this ending well, but hopefully for Vlad, it ends a little better than it did for Eric Escobar.

Our opening contest was Yoshi Tatsu & Goldust vs. Caylen Croft & Trent Baretta, which was definitely a good way to showcase the new tag team, but I go back to the point I made on last week's Kick-Out!! Radio, what reason do I have to care about a traditional tag team that competes on ECW? That's nothing against Croft & Baretta, they play their roles well and have shown themselves to be serviceable in the ring, so the upside is there, but again, they're on ECW, which has no tag division. Match was good and I love the bizarre partnership with Gold Yoshi (isn't that the one that ground pounds in Super Mario World?), it kinda takes me back to the awesomeness of Booker T & Goldust. Croft & Baretta pick up the win with some shenanigans, but the match itself was solid. Issues with the lack of tag teams aside, I'll always take wrestling like this every Tuesday night.

Zack Ryder wants to known as the "Heart & Soul Superhero of ECW" now that he's retired Tommy Dreamer and took out The Hurricane. Well... The Hurricane didn't agree with that so much and attacked the Lord of Long Island during his promo. These two should provide some fun matches, but let's hope it doesn't drag on as long as Hurricane/Burchill.

And it's already time for the main event? Christian vs. William Regal again, and it's also a rematch from last week's episode of Superstars. Weird there were only two matches on this week's show, and quite frankly, it's unforgivable considering how much time was given to that embarrassing segment with Santino & Kozlov. At least this match got enough time, and it was a match between Christian & Regal, so that's a plus. Unfortunately, this match also had a lame DQ ending, but it makes sense in the context of the Christian/Ezekiel Jackson feud, and it didn't keep the rest of the match from being awesome.

So decent enough wrestling, but it's still not enough to get ECW out of this rut. Much like the rest of WWE, I feel like we're just spinning our wheels here. We're getting on the entrance ramp to the Road to WrestleMania, there's no excuse for resting comfortably.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raw Thoughts - January 18, 2010

Always love the Martin Luther King tribute at the start of Raw on MLK Day, very classy.

And then we follow it up with Nickelback, which is just sad.

Alright, it's Monday Night Raw and we're live blogging! Keep refreshing your page for updates. Cole & King announce John Cena & Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase for later on tonight, but we're kicking things off with the boss, it's Vince McMahon! Some members of the crowd are already trying a "WHAT?!" chant, but luckily it doesn't seem to be catching on. Say what you will about Vince, but he's on fire here tonight, this is a classic Vince promo, talking about how he has to be the one to "put guys down" when they're passed their prime. Vince equates Bret to a piece of gum that's lost its flavor and has to be spit out, and he did it for us. Classic Vince...


THE UNDERTAKER is on Raw and has interrupted the chairman! Crowd's red hot for the Deadman and he has something to say to Vince about Bret Hart. Speaking of people being on fire this evening, Taker's got the crowd in the palm of his hand and is showing us a side of him we don't get to see too often anymore. Taker runs Vince off and switches his focus to Shawn Michaels, who makes his way to ringside! Folks, I believe we have ourselves a stare-down! Undertaker tells Shawn he has nothing left to prove to him and gives him a simple answer regarding WrestleMania - "No." Taker offers Shawn a match tonight, which the crowd goes ballistic for, but HBK turns it down because he only wants the match at WrestleMania. Shawn sets his sights on the Royal Rumble, and says when he wins, there will be no doubt which champion he goes for. That my friends, is how you start Monday Night Raw. Wow.

Time for some wrestling, and our opening contest is a rematch between Evan Bourne and the WWE Champion, Sheamus! Poor Evan. And poor me, because guess who's at ringside? Randy Orton, the new #1 contender. And yeah, that's pretty much it, over before it begins with Evan falling victim to the Celtic Cross, which is the perfect name for Sheamus' finisher, but Finlay's gonna be pissed! Sheamus and Orton have a stare-down of their own, culminating with Sheamus putting the WWE Title in Randy's face, I would've preferred if Sheamus kicked him in the face, but I guess that works too.

Don Johnson is backstage with DX looking for Jon Heder and finds Carlito dressed as Napoleon Dynamite. Topical WWE, real topical.

Jack Swagger is in the ring, and if ever there was someone that needed to go back to ECW, it's this guy. Swagger wants a rematch from last week against Santino Marella, who is dressed as Crockett from Miami Vice. Still more relevant than the Napoleon Dynamite joke. Santino will not be in action tonight, Mark Henry will be filling in for him, and if JR was here, he'd say this one could get "bowling shoe ugly." And yeah, just like our last match, this one's over before it even gets a chance to begin. C'mon Raw, that awesome intro is only going to get you so far, you've got to stop with these two minute matches.

Guest Hosts, Don Johnson & Jon Heder, finally make their way to ringside. The two are here to plug When In Rome, which also stars Kristin Bell, Dax Shepard, Will Arnett, and Josh Duhamel, who all would've been cooler guest hosts, just sayin. Actually now that I think about it, Will Arnett needs to host Raw as soon as possible. Anyhoo, Jon Heder is apparently close personal friends with, The Miz, and this segment just improved. "Don, 20 years ago, you were what I am now, the hottest thing on television," awesome. MVP joins the party after Miz & Heder run him down and let's us know he's in the Royal Rumble and his main goal is to throw out the US Champ. Way to keep the expectations low, MVP. Now for whatever reason, Big Show's out here and takes out MVP, apparently he has the same agent as Heder. Heder sets up the main event tonight, DX vs. Miz & Big Show, maybe Jericho will be spared the embarrassment this week.

John Cena & Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase is our 10pm main event, and hopefully the good guys will get some retribution for last week... though nothing will truly save us from the pain of Randy Orton being the new #1 contender. Digging the match so far, crowd's really into it, which helps, and WWE is kind enough to go to commercial when Legacy gains control, so that's appreciated. Kofi gets the hot tag to Cena and the crowd explodes, definitely a much more fun environment than last week. Few back and forth sequences between Cena & Rhodes, but Kofi tags himself back in and nails a flying crossbody for the win! Good match, and a much-needed win for Kofi Kingston. You know what else is a much-needed win for Kofi? The Royal Rumble!

Well, The Miz & Big Show vs. DX sounded like a fun match until it became The Miz, Big Show & Jon Heder vs. DX & Hornswoggle. Here's hoping for something more along the lines of Seth Green and less like Cedric The Entertainer.

Divas tag action up next with the semifinalists of the Divas tournament teaming up, it's Gail Kim & Eve vs. Alicia Fox & Maryse, and like I mentioned in my Smackdown review, the differences between the two Divas divisions are night and day. And by "night and day," I mean one is good and the other is abysmal. How bad was this match? I'm more interested in watching clips of Stone Cold on Chuck, which followed the match... and I don't even watch Chuck.

Triple H has something serious to talk about with Shawn Michaels, hmmm... could this be the beginning of a possible WrestleMania match if HBK doesn't face The Undertaker?

Oh hey, some actual wrestling! Randy Orton vs. Chris Masters could be a decent television match (yes, I'm serious), but only if they give it time, and since it's 10:43, I doubt that'll happen. And here comes Sheamus to repay the favor from earlier. This really isn't a bad match and Chris Masters even gets Orton in the Masterlock! TAP! Okay, that might be ridiculous, but at least Orton had the courtesy to get to the ropes, rather than break out of the hold. Orton gets out of the ropes and RKO! This one's over... but not for Sheamus, who kicks Orton in the face! Someone in Knoxville must be reading the blog!

James Roday & Dule Hill from Psych will be hosting Raw next week! Awesome, they should be a lot of fun.

Main Event time! Big Show, The Miz (MizShow?) & Jon Heder vs. Shawn Michaels, Triple H & Hornswoggle... yeah, I can't believe it either. Okay, Jon Heder in a Ric Flair robe is pretty funny and oh my God he's wearing trunks! Brb, gotta wash my eyes out with fire. If you were blinded during this match, you didn't need to see it to know it was absolutely absurd. Honestly though, it could've been a lot worse, but I'd be more forgiving if the rest of the show had been padded out with solid wrestling, but that sadly was not the case.

After the match, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, John Cena and Big Show traded words about winning the Royal Rumble, but Triple H was the one who stood tall, even going so far as to throw Shawn Michaels over the top rope. Though I don't want to see any of these guys win the Rumble, they've all done it before (well, Show's was a technicality weeks later, but work with me here), I wouldn't be surprised if HHH, HBK or Cena won. It'd be completely unnecessary, you could get any of these guys into a title match if you really wanted to, and I really think they'd be blowing an opportunity to create a new star with Kofi Kingston. That's just my $0.02 though, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the Rumble in the comments.

Overall, another weak Raw. Not as bad as it was in December, but still not good either. Heder & Johnson were fine, the Cena/Kofi tag match was good, and the opening segment was flat-out awesome, but that's about it. The biggest problem is there's still very little wrestling; I know, I know, Raw's the "entertainment" show, but that doesn't mean a happy medium can't be found. Just by cutting one pointless skit every week, they could save enough time for one more actual wrestling match! I'm not asking for much here, it's not like I expect Ring of Honor or anything, just something more than one decent match, then a bunch of two-minute matches that I can't even remember after the show goes off the air.

Smackdown Thoughts - January 15, 2010

As I mentioned on last week's Kick-Out!! Radio, I've honestly been kinda bored with Smackdown lately. It's still undoubtedly the best wrestling show on television right now, but considering its competition, that's not exactly saying much. With a steel cage match between Rey Mysterio & Batista to determine a #1 contender at the top of this show, maybe we can finally freshen up the main event scene?

Well, I should hold my tongue, because I don't think I'll be too bored with Smackdown when it opens with a match like Chris Jericho vs. John Morrison. Nice touch with Morrison adopting the Bret Hart shtick of giving his sunglasses to a fan at ringside. But before this match could even get started, Drew McIntyre made his way to ringside, why not put him on commentary? As for the actual match, it was Jericho vs. Morrison getting a decent amount of TV time, what do you think? Good stuff all around, Jericho lives up to the "best in the world" moniker, Morrison continues to impress and his feud with McIntyre continues with the IC Champion simply taunting him. Jericho takes advantage of the small distraction and nails the Codebreaker for the win. I know people want to see Jericho back on Raw, and I'm never going to complain when we get to see Jericho twice a week, but watch a match like this, then watch his matches with DX on Raw and ask yourself where do you really want to see Chris Jericho? JeriShow was a blast, but it's time for Jericho to get involved with the main event scene, and hopefully that means a strong showing at the Rumble, a strong showing at Elimination Chamber and then beginning a feud with a (hopefully) returning Edge.

CM Punk & Luke Gallows were out next to save another member of the WWE Universe by converting them to a straight-edge lifestyle. Good promo from Punk (as always), but I was surprised by Gallows, who plays his role extremely well. The head-shaving of "fans" is a good visual and a great way to get heat, but it has to end with Punk losing his hair, right? Expose him as a hypocrite for not wanting to shave his head and then force him into some kind of hair vs. hair match, that's the kind of fun storytelling that I love to see in wrestling.

CM Punk & Luke Gallows vs. The Hart Dynasty vs. Cryme Tyme vs. Matt Hardy & The Great Khali (???) in a Fatal Four Way for a shot at the Unified Tag Team Titles was our second match of the evening. What a weird match to throw together, and seeing Matt Hardy thrown into a team with Khali was just flat-out bizarre. Definitely fun to be had in this match, especially when Khali was kept out of the ring, but it was definitely a clusterfrack. Somewhat surprisingly, Punk & Gallows picked up the win (my money was on The Hart Dynasty), and will go on to face DX in the near future. Looks like integrity and sobriety goes a long way!

Just so we're clear, The Tooth Fairy is a rip-off of The Santa Clause, right? And wow, it looks awful. If The Rock keeps making movies like this, we might just see him back in a WWE ring after all.

Undertaker speaks! If you missed it, the word "darkness" was used a few times. Taker doesn't care who wins tonight (I don't think any of us really do either) and instead turned his attention to Shawn Michaels and WrestleMania. Undertaker will be at Raw tonight to give his answer, and I'm still wondering where exactly they're going with this.

Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix was our Diva contest of the evening and if this doesn't show the gap in quality between Smackdown Divas and Raw Divas, I don't know what will. These two are WWE's best female athletes and can work a match on par with their male counterparts. Meanwhile, over on Raw, we applaud Kelly Kelly for simply being watchable. With TNA making a splash and presenting the novel concept of women actually wrestling, WWE might want to take note. As for the match, The Glamazon got herself disqualified by not adhering to the ref's five count, and Michelle McCool & Layla were there to pick the bones. Pretty much the same thing we've been seeing for weeks now.

Dolph Ziggler gets mic time? Wow. Unfortunately, he had to follow it up with a match against Kane, so my piqued interest is already waning. Match wasn't awful, actually I'd go so far as to say I actually enjoyed it, but Kane winning? Really? Is it time for one of his inexplicable wins at the expense of a potentially rising star? Before this match, I had a feeling this could be the beginning of a turnaround for Dolph, but now I'm starting to wonder if he's this year's Mr. Kennedy.

Main Event time! Batista vs. Rey Mysterio inside a steel cage and the winner goes on to face The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble. As bored as I've been with this feud, I really liked this match. Classic WWE storytelling: Rey can't hit the 619, as a result, Batista gets cocky and it winds up biting the Animal in the ass. Rey escapes the cage, becoming the new #1 contender and will face The Undertaker, which is definitely a better option than Taker vs. Batista round 27. Guess this leaves Batista in the Rumble match, but here's hoping he gets nowhere near winning the thing.

A much better Smackdown than what we've been getting the last few weeks; solid wrestling all over the place, a great promo from Punk, and plenty of storyline progression. This is the Smackdown I loved in 2009, and it's nice to finally see some of that in 2010. Keep it up, WWE.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guest Post: Best & Worst Guest Hosts

Well, the title's a bit of a mouthful, but this Guest Post comes to us from our friend Big Daddy D-Bone of Night of the Living Blog, who examines the best and worst of the Raw guest host concept. Don't forget, if you'd like to participate in Guest Posts, just e-mail me:

Since the guest host program was instituted back in June we've seen some stars guest host Raw and seem to really put their all into it. Other weeks we've had guest hosts that showed up to shill their product, showing no desire to remember the names of the WWE Superstars, never mind even bothering to try and show some ability to talk in front of a live crowd. In my guest column here on Kickout! Wrestling I'll be giving you guys a glimpse of my five favorite and least favorite guest hosts. Let's start with the least favorite.

#5: Cedric The Entertainer
Usually the key ingredient to being a comedian is the ability to be funny in front of a live crowd. Instead we got a long opening segment showcasing the local football team, a couple of barnyard animals and an old granny (among many, many, MANY others) getting out of Cedric's limousine. He also allowed Santino Marella to talk him into “wrestling” Chavo Guerrero in what amounted to little more than comedy gone wrong. Cedric goes under the ring and comes out looking buffed and jacked. When Cedric was announced as being the guest host, I figured that we might have a pretty good one on our hands because it's obviously someone with a lot of experience with talking in front of people. Instead, he narrowly edges out ZZ Top for the fifth worst Raw guest host. Why didn't it go to ZZ Top? With ZZ, they didn't add anything to the show, but it was a business as usual Raw. They didn't detract. Cedric detracted from the overall show, and thus gets the #5 spot.

#4 Joey Lagano and Kyle Busch
If Kofi “Johnson” is reading this, I'm sure he's wondering why they're not number one. Sure, they were bad, there's no debating that. Neither of them looked comfortable in front of a live crowd. To add to that, both of them had accents that would have left people scratching their heads, even if they were comfortable on the microphone. But the Nascar gimmick did lead to one of my favorite WWE moments of the year. Kofi Kingston bashing up the Randy Orton indy car that was given to him as a gift by Legacy made this show worth watching. And I think it's safe to say that if Lagano and Busch weren't hosting the show, they probably wouldn't have had the indy car there. So at least it lead to something worthwhile.

#3 Sgt. Slaughter
What was the whole point of this? I mean, seriously. Why? Does Vince have an agenda against Canada or something? Everything involving Slaughter on this show seemed like it was a complete throwaway segment. Were there no D-List celebrities with valid passports? Slaughter flubbed a bunch of his lines, and only served to antagonize the audience. Nothing productive whatsoever came from him hosting Monday Night Raw.

#2 Johnny Damon
One would think that someone who makes millions and millions of dollars a year playing baseball in front of a packed house at Yankee Stadium night in and night out would be a natural fit for the guest host gig. I'm sure that was the WWE's line of thought, and by god, they couldn't have been any more wrong. He might be a pretty big personality in the baseball world, but when the spotlight was on just Johnny Damon and not his entire baseball team, he faltered. Once Damon got on the microphone he looked like he had some crippling fear of speaking in public. Damon tried yelling into the microphone to amp up the crowd, and it came out in a complete monotone. He looked like he was scared shitless. When he did speak into the microphone, he mumbled, or got so nervous that he kept repeating himself. All in all, he looked completely unprepared for this, and finds himself ranked number two behind only...

#1 Dennis Miller
Last year, the Slammy Awards was one of the most fun, entertaining episodes of WWE television all year. This year... wow. Where to begin. He practically said he had no interest in professional wrestling at all. Whenever he took the time to get off his political soapbox, he'd say that he respected everything that Vince McMahon and the WWE do for the troops. But that's about it. He seemed completely unprepared for anything other than his lame ass comedy routines that were sprinkled in throughout the show. (maybe because he showed up a couple hours late?) On top of that, he flubbed Triple H's name and even took a personal shot at Vince McMahon trying to tell him about comedic timing in the back. Dennis Miller is a very successful comedian, but maybe McMahon had a couple of useful tips for comedic timing in regards to the WWE audience. Either way, Dennis Miller did things his way, and not once did he connect with the audience. His poor comedy, inability to feign interest in wrestling, lack of being able to connect with the audience and penchant for creating awkward moments make him the worst Raw guest host since the program's inception.

And now for the top five.

#5 Seth Green
For those of you who are looking at this list and waiting to see where Bret Hart is going to rank, you can stop now. I'm considering Bret Hart to be an exception to this list, because while everyone else was clearly just a one show gig, Hart will be featured in an ongoing storyline. So, Seth Green. If I recall correctly, Seth was the first celebrity to guest host Raw. And Seth did a bang up job. He seemed like a natural in front of the WWE universe. He didn't get scared on the microphone, and had a pretty sweet verbal battle with Orton, before wrestling in the six man tag main event. Green was a pro about it all the way, getting roughed up a little by Legacy, and landing a pretty nasty punch to Cody Rhodes' grill.

#4 Roddy Piper
Roddy Piper hosted the Madison Square Garden episode of Monday Night Raw and did a terrific job of it. He was a ranting and raving mad man but he had the crowd in the palm of his hand the entire time. Piper blurred the lines of good taste in typical Piper fashion when he said that people who cross him either end up bald or end up dead. The other reason Piper makes this list is because of the starmaking performance that took place during Piper's interlude with Randy Orton. Kofi Kingston saving Piper from a further beatdown by Randy Orton, and whooping his ass before hitting the Boom Drop from the stands through the table.

#3 Shaquille O'Neal
Everybody knew Shaquille O'Neal was a personality way before the guest host program was even an idea in somebody's mind. But when he hosted Raw, he showed us all that The Diesel was a character that fit in so perfectly with the WWE. All of the interactions he had with the WWE Superstars with entertaining. His backstage segment where he was hanging out with Hornswoggle was pretty damn funny, and his confrontation at the beginning of the show with JeriShow set up the fireworks that were to come perfectly. Shaq served as the special enforcer for the main event of JeriShow vs Cryme Tyme, but the entire time you knew it was building up to a moment between Shaq and The Big Show. We finally got that SportsCenter moment when both Shaq and Show grabbed each other by the throat. Shaq won the battle, and the third spot on this list, when he got physical with Show and knocked him out of the ring.

#2 Jesse Ventura
Number two on the list is Jesse Ventura. All those years as the Governor and this guy still looks and sounds like he belongs doing color commentary on Monday Night Raw or Friday Night Smackdown. He was absolutely golden on the microphone. There were two things that I loved about Ventura's performance. The first is that he didn't play a face, or a heel. He played Jesse Ventura. He wanted to see a young guy earn a title shot, so he made the qualifying matches for the battle royal for wrestlers that had never held the title before. The fans loved it. He saw how ruthless Randy Orton was and awarded him a spot in the battle royal. The fans hated it. He put Vince McMahon in a goofy suit and got the old commentary team back together. The fans ate it up. And this ties in with the other thing I loved about his turn as the special guest host. He gave Sheamus a rub that he's still benefiting from today. Much to the fans dismay, he came out and said how Sheamus was the future of the WWE and a future WWE Champion. He assisted Sheamus in driving John Cena through that table and really jumpstarted Sheamus' push.

#1 Bob Barker
But that still wasn't enough to dethrone The Prince of Plinko,The Swami of Stack The Deck... the one and only Bob Barker. The WWE did something that they haven't quite been able to replicate since Barker took the reigns of Monday Night Raw. They created an atmosphere that worked well for both the guest host and for the WWE roster. The Price is Right format lead to some pretty entertaining segments with Chris Jericho winning the Best of Smackdown DVD. The comedy with Santino Marella and Jillian Hall worked very well, which is a rarity for Jillian. The Chicago crowd was hot as hell for Barker, and he was spot on. Barker seemed genuinely happy to be hosting Raw and raising awareness for his cause. The old dude especially looked to be having a good time in his backstage segment where he took out Chavo Guerrero. It was an awesome show from beginning to end, with everything Barker touched turning to gold. The one thing that the Slammy Awards show got right was announcing Bob Barker as the guest host of the year. Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 15, 2010

WWE Superstars Thoughts - January 14, 2010

Been awhile since I've reviewed Superstars, have I missed much?

Gail Kim & Primo vs. Jillian Hall & Chavo Guerrero was our opening contest, and considering the participants, it actually got quite a bit of time. Not a bad match either, especially when Primo and Chavo were in the ring, why they're not using these guys more, I do not know. Clever finish, excited crowd and solid wrestling, might not be the biggest names in the company, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with this match.

Raw offered up a second match this week, Carlito vs. Chris Masters, in a match-up of guys who were on the cusp of the main event in 2005, but are now in throwaway matches on Superstars. At least Masters seems to have some semblance of momentum right now thanks to his boob-bouncing face turn, but I just don't understand what the deal is with Carlito. Match didn't really do anything for me either, which is a shame since both guys have potential, but how long can we rest on the idea of untapped potential?

Up next, quite possibly the most bizarre match I've ever seen on Superstars, Jimmy Wang Yang & Slam Master J vs. Mike Knox & Charlie Haas. What makes this match so weird is the fact that all four of these guys are in the ring, and someone has to win, which is a rarity for any of them. If asked to put money on it, I'd place bets on Knox & Haas, simply because Knox is the biggest name in the match, but I would've lost! That's right, Jimmy Wang Yang & Slam Master J won a match! Honestly, when's the last time anyone's been able to write the sentence "Jimmy Wang Yang wins!"? Not a bad match either, and history was made!

Main Event time! A rare ECW main event, Christian vs. William Regal, reigniting their rivalry and hyping things up for Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson at the Royal Rumble. Even though they've been so closely associated over the last six months, there's no denying that Christian and Regal have great chemistry and almost always provide an entertaining match. This match is no exception, these guys always work like they don't care what banner is hanging from the apron - ECW, Superstars, or a PPV - they always go all-out, and it's why they're two of the best in the business. Christian's nasty bump off the top rope onto the apron was hard to watch, but that's what I'm talking about here, these guys don't hold back just because they're on the "D-show." Christian picks up the win and keeps his momentum going in his march toward the Rumble.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 28

Has TNA lost its momentum already? Can WWE find theirs? Raw, Smackdown, & ECW reviewed and Razor also discusses Randy Orton being accused of assaulting a fan.

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

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

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Note: I've recently learned that my host for Kick-Out!! Radio, GCast, will be shutting down in February, which will likely cause some troubles with the iTunes feed. Once I get everything sorted out, I'll let you know on here and on Kick-Out!! Radio. Thanks for bearing with me and for your continued support of Kick-Out!! Wrestling!

Guest Post: Anatomy of a Bad Match

Yes, the site is still alive. I apologize for the lack of updates lately, I've had a rather insane week and will discuss the issues soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a Guest Post from friend of the site, Trey Irby, who dissected last week's train wreck between Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson.

While the date of this entry makes the history of this and when this occurred completely obvious to the usual fans of this site, I feel a need to explain this for the rare chance that ten years from now, someone needed the proper context for a bad match between two hosses. One night before January 5th, 2010, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling managed to make a show much like the TNA of old and yet one that still stunned wrestling fans into believing in competition. While criticism grew beyond tired for smarks in noting the staleness of WWE's programming, they began to have a point. No match on Monday Night Raw was better than TNA Impact's main event, and Raw also took away its best performing heel and had a rising star leveled one more time.

Meanwhile, ECW, the third brand of WWE, had been criticized as highly irrelevant. Similar to how the worst criticism of wrestling could be to be considered boring, the worst type of criticism to a wrestling show is to be considered irrelevant. Even with potential stars of tomorrow like Yoshi Tatsu (time will tell, of course, if he got big or if he became the next Funaki), the show felt bogged down by luminaries like Vance Archer and Abraham Washington. And on a show that was mostly entertaining, ECW had the need to produce potentially the worst match of the decade.

The logistics of a feud between evil foreigner Vladimir Kozlov and really big black dude Ezekiel Jackson are superfluous. It is also superfluous to mention that Kozlov was the evil foreigner babyface and Jackson the heel due to siding with uber-heel William Regal, who naturally has no hand in this match, either. It is more superfluous to mention that these two met in two previous matches, one on ECW that lasted two minutes and produced the purpose to side Regal with Kozlov, at least attempting some sort of storyline purpose. The second match was surely to finish the feud. So naturally, they needed a third match.

Jackson and Kozlov is an unmitigated failure in all extents.

Being the third confrontation, no human on earth would want to see these two meet again because they had already found out the answer to“What would a match between these two big bastards look like?” Kozlov had no change in his mannerisms, essentially making the match into heel vs. heel, which no wrestling fan ever really reacts to unless it is of top stars they want to cheer. (As of note, Jackson and Kozlov were jobbers to the stars of the third brand at this point, losing to tag teams featuring Shelton Benjamin and Yoshi Tatsu.)

Zeke was green to the gills at this point, being that he'd only really wrestled for less than a year on television. Kozlov was legendarily bad to smarks, being that he became infamous for a match he had on pay-per-view with Triple H in 2008. Many a rant had been made on his apparent lack of talent in the year after, until he was shipped to ECW in 2009 and it was an afterthought that he was even on the roster. Needless to say, neither man had the ability to keep a sense of intrigue in the match.

Moreover, it failed in the extent of time and crowd reaction. A bad match usually makes minutes feel like hours. A six minute match between the two felt like days, as the silence of the crowd made all the more obvious the disappointment inside the ring. Chants like “We want Regal” echoed from the halls as brief shots showed the 41-year-old veteran yelling things like “Finish him!” A brief chant of “USA” bellowed, more hilarious because Jackson hailed from Ghana, Regal hailed from England, and Kozlov hailed from happy Russia. And also because Kozlov was the babyface.

One night after facing a show that was not entirely good, but still entirely relevant to the wrestling world, WWE responded in kind by putting on a mostly good show, and yet failing because someone booked Kozlov vs. Jackson again. The sorry taste it left this wrestling fan was a bit much. I most likely watched a lot of wrestling since this point, and I hopefully never saw such a stinky encounter again. Hopefully.

If you would like to write a Guest Post, please e-mail me:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 27

In this episode of Kick-Out!! Radio... what else? It's TNA vs. WWE! Two live wrestling shows on a Monday night for the first time in over eight years. Who was the winner and where do we go from here? Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Jeff Hardy and more!

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

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

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Note: I've just learned that my host for Kick-Out!! Radio, GCast, will be shutting down in February, which will likely cause some troubles with the iTunes feed. Once I get everything sorted out, I'll let you know on here and on Kick-Out!! Radio. Thanks for bearing with me and for your continued support of Kick-Out!! Wrestling!

ECW Thoughts - January 5, 2010

Due to the holidays, I haven't been able to review ECW over the last couple weeks, but it looks like I picked the right week to get back in the saddle, because CM Punk is returning for ECW Homecoming!

ECW Champion, Christian, started things off to hype up the Louisville crowd, but was quickly interrupted by CM PUNK. Punk's beard is out of control at this point, I think him and Mike Knox are going to have to have a beard vs. beard match somewhere down the road. Great interaction between Punk and the champ, and if it wouldn't preclude Punk from competing in the Royal Rumble match, I'd love to see him be the one to take on Christian at the PPV.

One thing I wanted to touch on was after this fun opening segment, I saw someone on Twitter, representing another wrestling website, say that "not much exciting has happened on ECW so far." Yep, ten minutes into the show, it's already been written off. Oh smarks, you're so adorable.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Chavo Guerrero was the second-to-last ECW Homecoming qualifying match, and how refreshing was it to see Chavo get to wrestle an actual match without Hornswoggle getting involved? A bit on the short side, but a rock solid TV wrestling match and proof that Chavo can still go when asked, I also hear he tore it up with Bryan Danielson in a dark match before Raw on Monday. Maybe it's time to give Chavito something else to do, perhaps a change of scenery, anywhere without Leprechauns?

I haven't had a chance to discuss Tommy Dreamer's departure from ECW, and more importantly, WWE after losing to Zack Ryder last week. Dreamer is expected to go to TNA, but his send-off from WWE was both classy and heartfelt. I'm going to miss Tommy on Tuesday nights, but I hope he finds what he's looking for in TNA. Ryder's promo, talking about stopping the heart of ECW, was short and sweet, but exactly what he needed to do. Ryder's got all the tools (and is a tool), to be a great heel on ECW, I think this is just the beginning of big things for the Lord of Long Island .

Vladimir Kozlov vs. Ezekiel Jackson was, how do I put this? Bad. Really boring, the crowd wasn't into it at all, and probably a match that should've happened two weeks ago. I also don't understand why Kozlov is the face in this situation, he's just such a natural heel, whereas Zeke strikes me as someone who could be a decent face. Zeke mercifully ends this one after a grueling few minutes, let's hope this is the end of this "feud" once and for all.

CM Punk vs. Mark Henry was the main event and really not bad for a Mark Henry match, crowd was hot, Punk was at his best and the right man went over. No gripes for this one, though not much to really say about it either. Glad Punk advances to the Homecoming Battle Royal, and I'd be happy with just about anyone winning it as long as they're not named Vance Archer or Kane.

Solid ECW, nothing spectacular, but two good matches, a fun promo between Christian and Punk, and a simple, concise storyline taking us to the Royal Rumble helped make this show an enjoyable one.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TNA Impact Thoughts - January 4th, 2010

Here we go friends, my first-ever review of TNA Impact! Admittedly, I wasn't planning on writing this review, my initial idea was to hand over the duties to a friend of the site who was willing to do a Guest Post. While his review will still be welcome and posted on the site if he wishes to write something up, I feel like this show was something I had to weigh in on. It was the first Impact that I watched from start to finish without fast-forwarding through anything (except commercials) in over two years, so I feel like on wrestling's big night, I had to finally give TNA a shot. So here we go, judging this show entirely on its own merits - I'll compare it to WWE on this week's Kick-Out!! Radio - here are my thoughts on the biggest show in TNA history.

I liked the hype video to open the show, though it confirmed my thoughts that they wouldn't be able to go 60 seconds without mentioning WWE, but it did a good job of explaining how TNA got to this point over the last seven years.

Bubba The Love Sponge is the newest member of TNA's broadcast team. You know, that guy who you've only heard of because Hulk Hogan goes on his radio show all the time? The guy that is clinging onto the era of the "shock jock," even though the radio business has long since moved on? Hulk Hogan crony count: 1

Starting things off with a Steel Asylum Match, featuring many (all?) of the X-Division competitors: Suicide, Homicide, Kiyoshi, Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal, Consequences Creed & Amazing Red all inside one giant birdcage? Alright, I can dig that, TNA wants to showcase their exciting wrestlers who would never get a fair shake in WWE. Well apparently they don't get a fair shake in TNA either because the match ends in a no contest when Homicide brandishes a weapon and knocks everyone out. Really TNA, weapons aren't legal in a match that takes place inside a giant weapon? The flashbacks to WCW have begun and the crowd rightfully chants "THIS IS BULLSHIT!"

But hey, I know that awful music anywhere, it's Jeff Hardy in TNA! I absolutely could not believe this, because the rumors I read about it yesterday read sounded like complete BS. It appears the reasons behind Hardy joining TNA in those reports was false, but yes, it does look like Jeff Hardy, the hottest free agent in wrestling, the most popular wrestler in WWE at the time of his exit, and arguably the greatest face in the industry today, is a TNA wrestler. So how do they debut Jeff Hardy? A spirited promo about why he's in TNA?
A confrontation with World Champion AJ Styles? Nope, a Twist of Fate on Homicide and then climbing on top of the Steel Asylum. This was pretty much the equivalent of WWE debuting Chris Jericho in 1999 by having him attack Steve Blackman instead of doing the Millennium Countdown. Actually no, this is even worse than that because Jeff Hardy is a bigger star now than Jericho was in 1999. Such a waste, and I have to wonder why the hell Jeff passed up a WrestleMania payday for this.

Hulk Hogan's limo, complete with a full police escort, is on its way to the Impact Zone!

Kevin Nash backstage with Christy Hemme to discuss the impending arrival of Hulk Hogan. Nash is oddly calm here, but is excited for TNA's future and assures us that Hogan isn't coming alone.

ODB vs. Tara for the Knockouts Championship was pretty bad, and I was expecting a lot more considering how good TNA's women's wrestling is. Match probably could've been something decent, but was too short, and they cut away to a crowd shot when ODB covered Tara because ODB had the tights and showing a couple inches of a woman's ass is apparently too much for Spike TV, who pretty much sells their entire network with women's asses. ODB is the new champion though, giving the former Victoria another very short reign with the title.

A limo not belonging to Hogan has arrived, and out steps "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. I get it, Ric's got bills to pay, but if he laces up the boots in a TNA ring, it will be a huge slap in the face to not just WWE, but Shawn Michaels as well. For someone that's the living embodiment of class, let's hope Naitch doesn't do that. Flair heads into AJ Styles' locker room.

Mick Foley, who last time I checked, is the "executive shareholder" for TNA, is refused entry into the Impact Zone.

Bobby & Kristal Lashley are next up, Bobby doesn't talk, but Kristal insults wrestling fans, calling them inbred and disrespectful and demands Bobby Lashley be released from his contract. I assume this will lead to Bobby's exit since he's getting into MMA full-time, correct?

The Beautiful People's strip poker game was your typical groan-inducing TNA backstage skit, that is, until Val Venis showed up! Of course, he wasn't referred to as Val Venis, but TNA's website refers to him as "a familiar face wearing a towel." No, I'm not making that up. I've always been a fan of Familiar Face Wearing a Towel, but will this actually turn into anything for him or was this just TNA cameo-fest?

Hogan's limo is still on the way!

Scott Hall & Sean Waltman were shown outside, trying to get into the Impact Zone, but they were stopped by security. Hall responded in his own special way, disorderly conduct.

Hogan's limo again (I probably left out about 4 or 5 other shots of it), but this time it's right outside the arena, next to another limo. A mysterious figure hops from that limo into Hogan's... might as well have someone driving a Hummer too.

Finally, thirteen commercial breaks later, Hulk Hogan arrives in TNA. Obviously they were trying to get it to start as close to the 9pm hour as possible so people wouldn't switch to Raw, but ODB vs. Tara could've gotten at least another five minutes in that case. Anyway, Hogan's rocking a remixed nWo theme, which sounded really cool, but you may be wondering how Hogan can use that since WWE owns the right to the nWo. My best guess is that since the nWo theme features samples of Jimi Hendrix riffs, WWE simply can't own it outright (which is why it wasn't used in certain Smackdown video games). I was personally hoping for Voodoo Child (or Voodoo Chili as Mike Tenay calls it), but this was definitely a cool way to bring out the Hulkster.

So okay, Hogan's in the ring and he's ready to make TNA the #1 company in the world. Absolutely nothing wrong with this and I expected them to have that kind of attitude, but things got a little weird once Hogan invited Scott Hall & Sean Waltman into the ring. Hall & Waltman were ready for the party, but Hogan said things are different now and it's time to grow up, which got a huge pop from the TNA crowd. I liked this too, it's something Hogan needed to say, but then Kevin Nash came down and said Hogan's just feeding them the corporate line and this isn't what Hulk is saying privately. Cue Eric Bischoff and there we have it, the principle members of the nWo! Bischoff talked about how this "band" did great things before, "taking on the 800 lbs. gorilla, putting it in a cage and spanking it," and that they can do it again. Well Eric, you're half right there, but for someone who whines about WWE's "revisionist history," you're leaving out a pretty important part of that story, ya know, like the end of it, but whatever, I understand. Bischoff and Hogan made it clear that EVERYONE has to earn their spot in TNA and that they're turning the company upside down.

After their promo, Sting is shown in the rafters. Seriously. It's 14 years later and a wrestling promotion just ran an angle with Sting sitting in the rafters looking down on Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman.

Awesome Kong & Hamada vs. Sarita & Taylor Wilde for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles was a flat-out great match. No sarcastic comments, no potshots at TNA, they simply do women's wrestling better than WWE and they're miles ahead of them at this point. Probably because WWE's more interested in women with visible ribcages than talent, but TNA showcases female athletes. And not just former gymnasts, legitimate tough women who can kick ass without placing looks above all else. Awesome Kong & Hamada got the win and the titles and provided the first actual match of the show.

The Nasty Boys have arrived. When Hogan was first signed, the joke was that Brutus Beefcake and The Nasty Boys were on the way, at least it was supposed to be a joke. Sigh.

Raven & Dr. Stevie vs. Hernandez & Matt Morgan was over before it even began, Morgan nailed Stevie with the Carbon Footprint and got the instant 1-2-3, giving them a shot at the Tag Titles at Genesis. Total waste of familiar faces like Raven & Stevie, and a complete waste of Daffney's talents, who just got to stand at ringside.

Backstage, Christy Hemme was with "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero, who might be better known to you as Elijah Burke. Listening to Pope, I honestly have no idea why WWE let this guy go, he's everything they look for in a competitor and his release was a major mistake on WWE's part. Pope cuts a fantastic promo talking about showcasing his talents for Hulk Hogan tonight, but is interrupted by... Orlando Jordan?! No, really, Orlando Jordan, who was sporting a new "Predator" haircut. You know Orlando Jordan, right? Last seen jobbing to The Ultimate Warrior in Spain, before that jobbing in 25 seconds at SummerSlam 2005, and before that being a lackey for JBL? TNA, just because you can, it doesn't mean you should.

"The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs. Desmond Wolfe up next, and much like the Knockouts tag match, I'll be turning the sarcasm off here and applauding TNA for putting on a great wrestling match; a little short for my tastes, but completely acceptable length for TV wrestling. A bit shocking to see Pope pick up the clean win since Desmond was just hanging with Kurt Angle on PPV, but I'm happy to see TNA apparently willing to do something with Dinero.

Throughout the night, various wrestlers were shown knocked out backstage, first The Motor City Machine Guns, then Rhino and finally Beer Money Inc. Oh great. Just what TNA needs, more mystery men angles.

Good promo backstage from AJ Styles, the guy has come so far on the mic since TNA started, a dramatic improvement over seven years ago. Eric Bischoff interrupted and told AJ that his title match with Kurt Angle isn't happening at Genesis, it's happening tonight!

Jeff Jarrett came to the ring next and talked about how excited he is to see TNA at this point after starting the company in 2002. The crowd loved it, thanking Jeff, chanting "TNA!" and getting really pumped up... then Hulk Hogan appears on the TNATron and basically rips Jarrett to shreds, saying he practically ran the company into the ground, no longer has any power and will have to earn his spot like everyone else. Hogan gets booed here and I'm left wondering what the hell is going on, isn't Hogan supposed to be the good guy?

Daniels was backstage to cut a promo, but apparently Jeremy Borash having Mick Foley on the phone was more important. Just in case you don't know, Daniels just headlined a TNA PPV two weeks ago and this was the only time he was shown on the "biggest show in TNA history." Wonder if that says something about the direction of the company going forward?

At the top of the show, Abyss vs. Rhino was advertised in "Barbed Wire Mayhem," but due to Rhino being attacked and Bischoff & Hogan "turning the show upside down," we instead got the first ever Samoa Joe vs. Abyss match. This would've been fine, had they not previously advertised something much cooler, if you're going to bait & switch, don't make the bait too good, ya know? Not really a good match here, not the usual awesomeness I've come to expect from Joe, but TNA's blown it with him so many times, why not keep it going here? Abyss was forced to tap out to the Coquina Clutch in a match TNA described as "physical," but in this case, I think that's a synonym for "slow." Joe did the motion for a belt around his waist after the match and said he was coming for AJ and one can only hope TNA actually follows through on that.

Backstage, Kristal Lashley confronted Eric Bischoff, who blew her off. Say what you will about Bisch, but no one plays a slimeball boss quite like him, although in this case, fiction may be mirroring reality.

Jeff Hardy & Shannon Moore leave the Impact Zone with "what they came for," contracts I presume? Maybe a couple free tickets to Universal Theme Park? While I'm thrilled for Shannon Moore and happy for Jeff to do whatever it is he wants to do, I am incredibly disappointed by his decision to go to TNA, mainly because I was really stoked about the possibility of him coming back at WrestleMania to take on CM Punk, which is infinitely cooler than him showing up to fight Homicide. I can't imagine this is a long term deal for Jeff, but I also couldn't imagine that he'd be in TNA at all, so we're just going to have to wait and see.

The Nasty Boys have made it into the arena and they trash the locker room of Team 3D, who are currently touring Japan. Yes, TNA just began a feud between the Nasty Boys and Team 3D. The fact that it's 2010 and I'm even writing "The Nasty Boys," is ridiculous enough, but there's a possibility that TNA expects me to actually watch a match between them and Team 3D? Will a simple "lol" suffice here?

Main Event Time! Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles with the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on the line! This was scheduled to be the main event for the Genesis PPV, and we got it two weeks in advance (the WCW flashbacks just keep coming), but I guess I can't complain too much when the match was as good as this one was. Good match, not "GREATEST MATCH EVAR!" that I've been hearing from some of the TNA die-hards, but definitely good. The run-in from the masked man was pretty stupid, for people just tuning in to TNA for the first time, it's just way too much "WTF?", they should've pulled the trigger here an unveiled who the guy is, would've been the perfect opportunity to do it instead of "surprising" us with things like Orlando Jordan. Ric Flair showing up to just stand on the stage was utterly pointless, I feel like Naitch would've been the best way to end the show, have him get in the ring after AJ's win and celebrate with him, giving him the Flair endorsement to those who may not be familiar with AJ, but more on the end of the show in a minute. My biggest gripe with this match was how much it started to drag towards the end, and the inability of Tenay & Taz to convey any sense of excitement. Once AJ hit his third Styles Clash and the crowd yawned, Tenay & Tazz did nothing on commentary to salvage the match for the viewers at home; a perfect example of how bad commentary can hurt a good match.

AJ scored the win though, giving him a clean victory over Kurt Angle, so what does this mean for Genesis? Expect viewers to spend $30 for the match they just saw? Spice it up with a gimmick? Change the card? Either way, TNA's replaying this episode of Impact on Thursday, giving them one show to build a card with only two matches announced, and one of those matches could (should) change. It's getting cliché to keep comparing this show to WCW, but the hits just keep on coming.

After the match, my DVR cut off, so I missed the ending, which featured Mick Foley being told he no longer has authority in TNA and then getting attacked by Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Sean Waltman while Eric Bischoff looked on. An "nWo" beatdown of a legend to finally bring Nitr... I mean Impact to a close.

Despite all the absolute nonsense, and there was a lot, I found myself oddly intrigued by this special episode of Impact. Yeah it was Hulk Hogan & Friends, yes TNA's idea of exciting is throwing out a bunch of "surprises," yes a lot of the "new faces" were people you never wanted to see in the first place, yes they debuted twelve new people over the course of three hours, and yes, TNA failed on every conceivable level at making anything on this show besides Hogan feel special, but I still sat on my couch and watched every minute of it, which I haven't done with TNA in years. There were so many things wrong with this show, mainly the bush league production, but I still watched it and here I am willingly writing about. As bad as things got and as stupid as some of the stuff was, I can't see how this show will be anything but a success for TNA. They could've put on a normal Impact with Hulk Hogan at 9pm, quality wrestling surrounding him, then shocked the world at the end by bringing out Jeff Hardy, or even Ric Flair, and had an drastically better show than this, but the fact remains, they got the wrestling world talking, simply by putting a live show on a Monday night. Despite all the crap I give TNA and as unimpressed by the majority of this show that I was, it worked. Simple as that.