Friday, April 30, 2010

Poll: 2010 WWE Draft

First, the results of our previous poll:

John Cena vs. Batista - 30%
Edge vs. Chris Jericho - 16%
Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton - 10%
Sheamus vs. Triple H - 5%
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio - 22%
ShowMiz Gauntlet Match - 1%
JTG vs. Shad Gaspard - 5%
Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool - 8%

A decisive win for the main event with CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio and Edge vs. Chris Jericho rounding out the top three, not too shocking.  My pick was Cena vs. Batista.

Now for our New Poll!  What do you think was the best move of the 2010 WWE Draft?

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 35

This week, Razor discusses the WWE Draft, Smackdown’s move to Syfy, Extreme Rules, TNA’s all-time ratings low, and an open invitation to Eric Bischoff.

MP3 Version - Right click on the Audio MP3 image and "save link as."

iTunes - clicking this link will open your iTunes.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

More fun with copy & paste: The Syfy Edition

It's been awhile since I did one of these, but I've been seeing this story pop up on different dirtsheets, "reported by" different people.  Funny, they all have similar writing styles.

First, Wrestling Inc. "reported" by Ryan Clark
The decision to move SmackDown! to SyFy was described as a source as neither the best or worst decision, but the only decision as no other TV network was interested in carrying the show. USA Network didn't want another prime-time wrestling show and SmackDown's future came down to SyFy or Bravo.

Force of Wrestling "reported" by Wayne Daly
The decision to move SmackDown! to SyFy was described as a source as neither the best or worst decision, but the only decision as no other TV network was interested in carrying the show. USA Network didn't want another prime-time wrestling show and SmackDown's future came down to SyFy or Bravo.

RingScoops "reported" by Mr. CC
The decision to move SmackDown! to SyFy was described as a source as neither the best or worst decision, but the only decision as no other TV network was interested in carrying the show. USA Network didn't want another prime-time wrestling show and SmackDown's future came down to SyFy or Bravo.

Wrestling Audio "written" (lol) by Mo Lightning
The decision to move SmackDown! to SyFy was described as a source as neither the best or worst decision, but the only decision as no other TV network was interested in carrying the show. USA Network didn't want another prime-time wrestling show and SmackDown's future came down to SyFy or Bravo.

PXPIX.NET (aka the worst wrestling site on the internet, I refuse to link to it) "reported"by Marc Middleton
The decision to move SmackDown! to SyFy was described as a source as neither the best or worst decision, but the only decision as no other TV network was interested in carrying the show. USA Network didn't want another prime-time wrestling show and SmackDown's future came down to SyFy or Bravo.

Demand a better wrestling media!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 WWE Supplemental Draft

I was reserving judgment on the main Draft until I saw what they did on today, and honestly, I could've saved myself three hours.  Here are the moves:

To Smackdown

The final move of the Supplemental Draft was one of only a few major moves today.  MVP has been on Raw for the last year, and despite coming in red hot, it damn near killed his career.  Heading back to Friday nights has to be an improvement, but will he still be ballin?

Cody Rhodes
Another big(ish) pick-up for the Blue Brand, and even though I'm not a fan, SD needed an established mid-level heel and Rhodes could fill that role nicely.  Wouldn't be too surprised if we see him, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre team up in a six-man tag someday.

Hornswoggle's run his course on Raw, so with this move, please just team him back up with Finlay.  And while I'm thinking about it, please put Finlay back on television!

Chavo Guererro, Chris Masters, Rosa Mendes
I guess they needed a fresh set of Superstars opponents?  I'm honestly a fan of these people, but is it really going to change anything if they're on Smackdown instead of Raw?

To Raw

The Hart Dynasty
All three members were drafted, although WWE tried to swerve us by drafting Natalya before Smith and Kidd.  Raw has very few established teams, but if WWE's intent on revitalizing tag team wrestling, it's a good move to have the champs make the A-Show their home.

Ezekiel Jackson
Not a fan of this, Big Zeke was hitting his stride at the end of ECW and I thought Smackdown would've been a good home for him, but now he's got a very crowded Raw roster to deal with.  This could all change though, he's still got at least six months before he'll be back in action after a torn quad, so the rosters could get shuffled again or they could just bring him back on Smackdown if they wanted.  I'll wait and see.

His ECW run was fun and I loved his match with Jericho awhile back, but Goldust has always been a Raw guy.  Weird they keep splitting him from Cody Rhodes though, surely they have to mix it up in the ring someday, right?

The Great Khali & Ranjin Singh
Does this even matter?  I thought Khali was taking a long hiatus?

Here's the quick rundown of all the Draftees:

Chris Jericho
John Morrison
The Hart Dynasty
Ezekiel Jackson
Great Khali

Kofi Kingston
Big Show
Kelly Kelly
Cody Rhodes
Chris Masters
Chavo Guerrero
Rosa Mendes

I don't really know how else to look at it, Raw is just absolutely overloaded with top talent, and I have no idea how they're going to find time for anyone below the upper level.  Smackdown is looking... really interesting.  The Undertaker is a special attraction at this point, Rey Mysterio takes time off on an almost yearly basis, and that leaves a very wide open main event scene.  There's CM Punk, who could fit into a main event feud at any point, and maybe Big Show and Kane, though neither of those guys have been near the WWE or World Championships in years.  Smackdown's definitely the future of WWE, but they have a lot of star-building to do.  I called it an experiment last night, and I think that definitely still applies; WWE's about to find out what happens when you put literally all your A-listers on one show, and a good majority of the young up and comers on the other.  Hope it works!

Monday, April 26, 2010

2010 WWE Draft! Raw Thoughts - April 26, 2010

It's the 2010 WWE Draft, and we're live bloggin!  Keep refreshing your page for ongoing updates for tonight's huge three-hour Raw!

And before we get into the Draft, it looks like we'll be kicking things off with the Unified Tag Team Title match!  ShowMiz are in the ring and The Miz is in rare form, just verbally destroying The Hart Dynasty here and demanding that Bret Hart come to ringside to fulfill his end of their deal.  Doesn't take long for the WWE Hall of Famer, Bret "The Hitman" Hart, to make his way onto the stage and he's a man of his word, admitting that ShowMiz is the greatest tag team of all-time... and that David Arquette was the greatest World Champion of all-time!  Talk is cheap, it's all about what you do in the ring, and The Hart Dynasty is here to do what they do best inside the squared circle.

ShowMiz vs. The Hart Dynasty is our opening contest, and I'm thrilled to see Tyson Kidd and The Miz start things off here.  I really can't heap enough praise onto Tyson Kidd here, who truly lives up to the "Excellence of Execution" name, I hope there are big things in his future, starting with the Unified Tag Team Titles.  The Richmond, Virginia crowd is red hot for this match, and definitely are not fans of The Miz, which is just making this one even more fun.  Tyson Kidd tagged in, Hart Attack! SHARPSHOOTER!  Miz taps out and we've got NEW Tag Team Champions!  Awesome match and the perfect way to kick off the big night!

During the break, Big Show hit The Miz with that malignant fist! Looks like that's going to do it for the greatest tag team of all-time.

Video recap of Sheamus destroying Triple H last night at Extreme Rules.  I've actually read smarks complaining that it makes Sheamus look bad because he had to cheat to win... yeah, Sheamus looks really weak here with his foot on Triple H's chest and the Game being stretchered out of the arena.  That's how you make a monster, my friends.

According to Jack Swagger, if he was in charge of Wall Street, the economy wouldn't be in the toilet.  Jack, for the good of your country, maybe you should take some time off from wrestling and help us out?  Hey, you're the All-American American, it's your civic duty!

Michelle McCool & Layla vs. Eve & Maryse is our first Draft match, the winning team getting a draft pick for their brand, and in this one, only the Divas are up for the lottery.  The Richmond, VA crowd is already starting a "WE WANT MICKIE!" chant, and I'm inclined to agree.  The Raw Divas can't get along, which is no surprise considering Eve just beat Maryse for the Diva's Championship, so it would appear like it's going to be an easy win for Smackdown.  One boot to Maryse's face later, and that is indeed the case.  Smackdown gets the first Draft pick of the night and the newest member of the Blue Brand is...

Kelly Kelly!  Without Mickie James, it makes sense, Smackdown is short on face Divas, but it doesn't exactly "shake things up."

Okay, I might need a paper bag to breathe into so I don't hyperventilate, but our next Raw vs. Smackdown match is Evan Bourne vs. CM Punk!  This is a match that I've wanted to see for years, please, please, PLEASE give this one enough time.  I had to step away from the laptop for a moment so I could devote the proper attention to this match, and even though it was a bit short for my liking (I would've given them 45 minutes), it was a fine length for a TV match.  That mysterious hooded attacker made his presence felt again here, knocking Evan Bourne off the top rope when he was going for Air Bourne, allowing CM Punk to hit the GTS for the win and another Draft pick for Smackdown.  That pick is...

The Big Show!  Not too surprising, much like Kane, he's legally required to change brands every year.

The Celtic Warrior, Sheamus is out to start the 9pm hour, and tells us that Triple H won't be drafted to Smackdown, because he'll never wrestle again!  Sheamus is closing the book on Triple H and is now setting his sights on John Cena and the WWE Championship, but Randy Orton has something to say about that.  Hey Sheamus, while you throwing out multiple kicks to the face... just sayin!  Much like last night and the last few weeks, the crowd is bonkers for The Viper, undoubtedly the hottest name in the company right now, much to my chagrin.  Orton tells Sheamus that he doesn't deserve a shot at the WWE Title, but Sheamus brings up the very valid point that Orton certainly doesn't deserve one, he lost his title match last night.  I love the idea that Randy Orton is suddenly an honorable wrestler, after physically assaulting Triple H's wife last year and then licking her face while unconscious... yeah, he's a real class act.  Oh and speaking of the crowd going bonkers, let's have John Cena weigh in on this little debate.  Crowd goes nuts, then realizes they're supposed to be cool and boo him.  Oh smarks, you're so cute.  Cena's in goofy mode tonight, the champ's got jokes, but he's also the only one who can name the next number one contender!  Sheamus vs. Randy Orton is set up tonight to determine Cena's next opponent!  Both men went for their finishers after the announcement, but both managed to escape.

Up next, a 10-Man Dual Brand Battle Royal with three draft picks on the line!  Usually they only do two picks in the Battle Royal, so this is pretty huge.  On the Smackdown side, we have Rey Mysterio, Kane, R-Truth, Drew McIntyre & Shad Gaspard vs. MVP, Mark Henry, Yoshi Tatsu, Santino Marella & Ted DiBiase on the Raw side.  Wow, the Raw team looks slightly ridiculous here, but surely they have to win since they're down by two picks already?  Rey Mysterio put up a valiant effort for the Blue Brand, but Ted DiBiase (and Santino?!) were just too much for him and Raw's suddenly ahead by one!  Great drama here though, the back and forth with Rey and Ted was really fun.  So who does Raw get?!

John Morrison!  I believe that's my first predicted Superstar to get drafted, and I'm glad I got this one right. Morrison's needed a fresh set of opponents and I think 2010 will be his year.

But he's not alone, he's also joined by his tag team partner, R-Truth!  I'm not opposed to this, but for some reason it Truth on Raw just seems odd.

And Raw's third draft pick...

EDGE!!!  Another prediction of mine, and Michael Cole called it here, "Raw just hit the jackpot!"  Edge is a huge pick-up for Raw, and it's his first time on this roster since 2007.  Curious to see what he'll do on Monday nights, but here's hoping they can hold off on Edge vs. Cena for awhile.

Chris Jericho vs. Christian is up next!  These two tore the house down on ECW back in October, and while I don't expect them to get nearly as much time tonight, I have no doubt it'll be one hell of a match.  But before Christian can make his entrance, Jericho has a mic and demands that Heath Slater come to the ring to apologize for beating him on last week's NXT.  Hilarious.  I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I feel so bad for Heath Slater, he's entertaining in the ring, but he's such a dorkus, it's hard to care.  Anyway, Christian finally makes his way to ringside and this match is underway!  During the commercial, Christian took a NASTY! spill to the outside, being backdropped face first right onto the floor.  And speaking of NASTY! Jericho gets the win after nailing Christian with a mid-air Codebreaker!  Smackdown gets another draft pick and Heath Slater gets a kick to the face... and a Codebreaker!  Who's the next Draftee?


Another prediction of mine (and a pick of my cat's), but this move was desperately needed.  Kofi's been floundering on Raw since his feud with Randy Orton ended, but he hit the ring and hit Jericho with Trouble In Paradise, so maybe he's going to get back on track.  You'll never hear me complain about a Kofi/Jericho feud.

A rematch from Friday Night Smackdown, one of Raw's new acquistions, John Morrison is taking on the World Heavyweight Champion, Jack Swagger, for the next Draft pick.  Pretty weird, a guy who's only been a Raw wrestler for less than an hour against a guy that's been on Smackdown for only a couple weeks.  I enjoyed their match on Friday, and it's been a hell of a night for in-ring action, so my expectations are high for this one.  These guys really have tremendous chemistry with one another and it's a shame they're on separate brands now, I think they could have a hell of a feud for the World Title.  Swagger picked up the win for Smackdown, Morrison goes down in his first match as a Raw Superstar, but surely they couldn't have Swagger lose two in a row to Morrison, especially when they can't feud now?  Hell of a match though, perhaps their best yet, now let's find out Smackdown's latest pick.

CHRISTIAN!  HELL YEAH!  Finally, Captain Charisma is on Friday Nights!

Is Wayne Brady gonna have to chokeslam a bitch?

Ted DiBiase looking for ethnic man servants is uncomfortable.  Good for R-Truth for slapping him in the face, but honestly, it probably would've got Carlito more TV time. I'm just sayin.

Our final Draft match of the night is Dolph Ziggler vs. ...Hornswoggle?  Seriously?  And Dolph Ziggler gets counted out?  SERIOUSLY?!  Well that's a blemish on an almost perfect evening.  But anyway, Raw's got themselves a Draft pick and...


Not sure how I feel about this one, I liked Jericho on Friday nights, but Raw is light on top heels now that Orton has turned, so I guess it makes sense.  Still, big loss for the Blue Brand, but that just opens the main event scene for guys like Punk, Kofi and Christian (hopefully).

Batista is ANGRY!  Sheamus is ANGRY!  Randy Orton is ANGRY!  They all want a shot at the WWE Title, so John Cena has turned our main event into a Triple Threat match!  Very exciting Triple Threat match, and pretty damn long too, looked like Orton had it wrapped up, but was nailed with a Spear from Edge, allowing Batista to pick up the win?!  What?!  Rated RKO explodes!  Oh and "LOL" to the "Batista's leaving after Extreme Rules" dirtsheet reporting.

AWESOME RAW!  One hell of a show, damn near three hours of perfection, with the exception of the Ziggler/Hornswoggle silliness and the Divas match.  Hell, take out the commercials and you've got a PPV-caliber show, this was just great wrestling, on Monday Night Raw, no less!  It's a bit jarring to see the drastic changes to Smackdown and Edge's apparent heel turn, but I'm very excited to see where they go with this experiment.  Christian vs. Jack Swagger for the World Title... make it happen!

Poll: Extreme Rules 2010

First, the results from our previous poll:

Awesome! TNA is brilliant - 21%
With no hype, it's Goldberg vs. Hogan all over again - 26%
What about The Pope? - 26%
RVD won the TNA Title? - 26%

Well, that's a first for a Kick-Out!! poll; not only was there no clearly defined winner, it was easily our most divided poll yet.  People loved the move, people thought it was an out of nowhere ratings grab, Pope fans felt robbed, and some people apparently don't watch.  I didn't dig it just because it seemed like a desperate ploy for ratings when Raw wrestlers were stuck overseas, but if they handle it right, RVD as the top name of any wrestling company will get my attention. 

Now for our new poll, pretty simple stuff: what was your favorite match from the Extreme Rules PPV?  Poll's open until Friday.

WWE Extreme Rules 2010 Review

The PPV went the full three hours?!  Hey, if they're going to jack up the price to $44.95, I would appreciate it if this became a monthly occurrence.

Sheamus vs. Triple H in a Street Fight was our "scheduled" opener, but was delayed when Sheamus attacked Triple H backstage before his entrance.  I figured something was up, when was the last time Triple H opened a PPV?  Has Triple H ever opened a PPV since dropping the Blue Blood gimmick?  Any wrestling statisticians want to look that one up?

ShowMiz made their way to ringside to talk trash, and at this point I figured Triple H must be seriously injured and his match was off the table.  The Tag Champs reminded us that tomorrow night, Bret Hart must declare them the greatest tag team in history, but Teddy Long wasn't having any of it tonight, setting up a #1 contenders match.  Miz ran his mouth, so Teddy turned it into a Gauntlet Match, so Miz ran his mouth some more and Teddy added another team!  Very funny bit.

ShowMiz vs. R-Truth & John Morrison was part one of the Gauntlet Match, with the rules being if any team beat the champs, they'd get a title match tomorrow on Raw.  Morrison & Truth put up a more valiant effort than they did at WrestleMania, but got themselves disqualified when Morrison wouldn't release a submission hold while Big Show was in the ropes.  MVP & Mark Henry were out next to challenge the champs (apparently they're still a team), and while the crowd was red hot for them, they fell short to the old JeriShow finisher - Big Show punching you in the face while standing outside the ring.  The third and final team was The Hart Dynasty w/ Bret Hart, and they capitalized on the damage that had already been done, nailed the Hart Attack and picked up the victory!  The meat and potatoes of the match came from Morrison & Truth's portion, but it was a great way to get the Hart Dynasty in line for a shot, without giving too much away for the impending match.  Can't wait to see these teams square off tomorrow, here's hoping the Harts pick up the gold!

CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio was just fantastic and the match they deserved to get at WrestleMania.  The match had it all: great action, great story, the drama of Punk's hair on the line, the feel-good moment of the Straight Edge Society getting ejected from ringside, and the mystery of the masked attacker that cost Rey Rey the match.  Who was that masked man?  And Michael Cole repeatedly calling him a "stranger" had me rolling on the floor, like he was driving a creepy van and offering Rey Mysterio some candy.  I haven't checked yet, but here's hoping the headline for that match is "STRANGER DANGER!"  Punk was on fire here, Rey continued the incredible roll he's been on in terms of delivering terrific work inside the ring, and I was genuinely surprised by the ending.  I love watching these guys work together.
Predictions: 0 for 1

JTG vs. Shad Gaspard wasn't anything special, but it did what it needed to do.  Strap matches are tough to pull off, most of the time they all feel the same with a few rare exceptions, but this match wasn't one of them.  I think my disappointment in Cryme Tyme's split doesn't really help either, but I am glad JTG came out victorious.
Predictions: 1 for 2

Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton didn't drift too far from standard Orton match territory, but I have to admit that I enjoyed it.  The crowd was bonkers for The Viper, but the real star of this match was the World Champion, Jack Swagger.   As I mentioned in my predictions, if Swagger picked up the win, a star would be born, and after dropping Orton over an open steel chair and nailing him with the Gutwrench Powerbomb, I think it's safe to say that was the case.  Orton's red hot right now, so I understand giving him some heat back after the match by nailing the RKO, but it doesn't change the fact that Jack Swagger won the match clean.  Suddenly that loss to Orton a couple weeks ago doesn't mean as much, does it?
Predictions: 2 for 3

Triple H vs. Sheamus did wind up happening after all, but Triple H was selling "nerve damage" throughout the entire Street Fight.  It didn't just make Sheamus look like an a-hole, it made him look absolutely vicious, especially after nailing Triple H with four bicycle kicks for the win.  I really enjoyed this match, it went way longer than I thought it would and speaking of previous losses being erased, that WrestleMania loss may have actually helped evolve Sheamus' character; after sending Triple H out on a stretcher, he looks like the most sadistic Superstar in WWE today.
Predictions: 3 for 4

Beth Phoenix vs. Michelle McCool was the sexist nonsense I expected it to be.  An "Extreme Makeover Match?"  Just an excuse to have women fight with ironing boards, brooms, mops and buckets.  What's next, the Barefoot & Pregnant Battle Royal?  The Make Me a Sandwich Smackdown?  40% of WWE's audience is female, let's please stop insulting them and my intelligence.  Thankfully, The Glamazon did come out of this one victorious, which leaves me with some hope for women's wrestling in WWE, but that's really the only positive thing I have to say about this match.
Predictions: 4 for 5

Edge vs. Chris Jericho inside the steel cage was another very good match that told a hell of a story, but I have to admit, I did not like the ending.  I understood the idea of Edge injuring Jericho's ankle and taking advantage, but it crossed the line from poetic justice to torture, and it didn't make me want to cheer for Edge. Chris Jericho was rolling on the ground weeping, I don't want to see him get his ankle twisted, and it's not like he's some purely evil villain that deserved it, he's just a jerk who can be beaten fair and square.  I know he's the Rated-R Superstar, but Edge's actions weren't very face-like.  I still really liked the match though, both men put on a great show and looked like a million bucks, but once Jericho's ankle got slammed in the door, I wasn't digging it so much.
Predictions: 5 for 6

John Cena vs. Batista in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship was our main event, and without question, was the Match of the Night.  I know it'll raise some eyebrows, especially thanks to the polarizing ending of Cena duct taping Batista's feet to the turnbuckle post, but I flat-out loved this match.  Cena and Batista both looked like unstoppable beasts, when Cena got up after being thrown through the barricade, then Batista got up after taking an Attitude Adjustment off the steel stairs through the announce table, then Cena got up after the spinebuster through the table in the ring, I wasn't sure if the match was ever going to end.  Perhaps the duct tape was a bit hokey, but it was so damn amusing and really got over the idea that Cena and Batista are equals in terms of toughness and can't keep each other down.  For what may turn out to be Batista's final match (we'll see), this could be his best yet.
Predictions: 6 for 7

I liked this PPV, and it turned out to be almost exactly what I expected: nothing earth-shattering in terms of drama, but a very strong series of wrestling matches.  The focus of the WWE will quickly shift to the Draft and its aftermath, but this was a show loaded with good wrestling and logical storytelling.  If you didn't see it, you won't be totally lost when returning to WWE programming, but you missed out on several really good matches. Overall, I'd say Extreme Rules 2010 was a very fun show that stands on its own.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Extreme Rules 2010 Predictions

Despite now being the WrestleMania fallout PPV, Extreme Rules was a bit hastily thrown together.  They put themselves in a tough spot by having the Draft the following night, and the volcanic ash cloud of doom didn't help either, but the card still looks pretty solid on paper.  Here are my picks, let me know yours in the comments section.

By the way, the Extreme Rules poster with Sheamus might be the most frightening thing I've ever seen.

Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship
John Cena © vs. Batista
The obvious main event of the evening, a rematch from WrestleMania 26 where John Cena recaptured the WWE Title.  Rumors are all over the place that Batista is going on hiatus or possibly even retiring after this match to focus on his acting career, which would make John Cena the obvious winner, if he wasn't already the obvious winner.  I know they've been playing hot potato with the belt lately, but I can't see Cena losing it already.  If the Batista reports are true, it'll be a bit of a bummer because he's been so awesome since turning heel.  Batista leaving now will be like The Rock in 2003, just not getting enough of something that was long overdue; we've only just scratched the surface of the spotlight-hogging Animal.

Extreme Rules Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Jack Swagger © vs. Randy Orton
Jackie Swags has been a bit of a controversial figure since winning the World Title thanks to losses to The Undertaker, John Morrison and his opponent tonight, Randy Orton.  If Swagger wins tonight, all that controversy will be quickly forgotten and a star will be born, but beating Orton is a tall order.  Orton is on fire these days, arguably the most over person in the company aside from The Undertaker, and a very likely candidate for this year's Draft.  Smackdown's light on top faces right now and Orton showing up with the World Championship would be a big boost for that brand heading into their move to Syfy this October, but does it need to be done tonight?  They could build up a lot of steam by having Orton chase the title throughout the summer months into the network shift, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say Jack Swagger retains this time.

Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. Edge
Jericho won at WrestleMania and I figured this month would be when Edge got his win back and the World Heavyweight Championship, but with Swagger cashing in MITB, I think it opens this match up a bit.  Jericho and Edge have attacked each other on what seems like a weekly basis since the Royal Rumble and right now there's no clearly defined favorite.  My money is still on Edge, but it's a toss-up and I think it depends a lot on who wins the World Title match.  If Swagger wins, Edge could feud with him, if Orton wins, Jericho could feud with him, and I wouldn't be shocked if these four guys wind up in the ring together at the Fatal Four Way PPV in June.  This match is also a Match of the Night candidate, but they'll face stiff competition from CM Punk and Rey Mysterio.

Street Fight
Triple H vs. Sheamus
Though the loss at WrestleMania didn't hurt him, Sheamus should've won last month, but I think tonight is his night.  Triple H is hurt and appears to be taking on a reduced schedule, so I'm going to say Sheamus wins tonight and gives Triple H a couple weeks off.  I enjoyed their match at WrestleMania aside from the ending, and tonight should be the time to fix it.

CM Punk's hair is on the line
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
Wasn't this match originally supposed to be Hair vs. Rey joining the Straight-Edge Society?  Seems like it's all about Punk's hair at this point, and that's why I expect Rey Mysterio to win, but the more I think about it, the less sure I am.  You can't tease a head shaving and not deliver, and Punk is in desperate need of a cut and shave, but I do remember rumors of Mysterio taking time off after WrestleMania.  If Rey needs more surgery on his knee, then a loss here doesn't hurt him and Punk becomes an even bigger a-hole for putting Mysterio on the shelf and robbing the fans of seeing him get his head shaved.  Even with that in mind, I'm not going to let internet rumors from February influence my predictions, so I'm sticking with Rey Rey.

Strap Match
JTG vs. Shad Gaspard
Could go either way depending on who they're pushing, but that has to be JTG, right?  As opposed as I am to Cryme Tyme splitting up, if they got to do it, my personal preference is JTG, sorry Shad Beast.

Extreme Makeover Match for the WWE Women's Championship
Michelle McCool © vs. Beth Phoenix 
Anyone have any idea what the hell an Extreme Makeover Match is?  My guess is it's something incredibly sexist, and judging by the makeup and ironing board being used on Smackdown, I'm sure that's what it'll be.  As long as The Glamazon destroys everyone and wins the Women's Title, I'll be happy.

Again, feel free to share your predictions, and don't forget to check Kick-Out!! after the PPV for my full review of Extreme Rules!

Smackdown Thoughts - April 23, 2010

Busy day today at Kick-Out!!, Extreme Rules tonight, keep your eyes peeled for my predictions before the show and of course, my review after it.  Before the PPV though, we need to talk about Friday Night Smackdown.

The World Heavyweight Champion, Jack Swagger, started things off for us, talking about his accomplishments of the past week, beating both Edge and Chris Jericho and going toe-to-toe with The Undertaker.  Swagger quickly turned his attention to Randy Orton, playing up on "The Viper" nickname and claiming he's the "antidote" to Orton's venom.  Loved this, quite possibly the best promo I've ever heard from Swagger.

John Morrison vs. Jack Swagger was our opening contest in a rematch from two weeks ago; Swagger came out on top in that contest, which I really enjoyed aside from the ridiculous referee stoppage when Swagger was cut open.  Oddly enough, Swagger was busted open again, this time after reversing Morrison's wheelbarrow into an almost-German Suplex.  What was particularly gross about it, I'm pretty sure Morrison's studded belt sliced Swagger's lip or gums on the way down.  Luckily, the ref left it alone since he wasn't bleeding profusely, so it didn't kill the momentum of this incredibly enjoyable match.  Fantastic back and forth contest, but I was a little shocked by Morrison picking up the win with Starship Pain.  Now, I haven't been one to complain about Swagger losing to Orton or The Undertaker in recent weeks, but a loss to John Morrison?  A guy that doesn't even have a match on the PPV?  My only guess is that Morrison is heading to Monday Night Raw in the Draft and needed some momentum after floundering around as a singles competitor since losing the IC Title.

Glad to see R-Truth is doing well after exploding last Monday on Raw.  He teamed up with Matt Hardy to square off with Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler in tag team action, and that's a team that I've wanted to see for months now.  They're both from North Carolina, it makes more sense than teaming them up with Great Khali or John Morrison, and they were one of my tag teams in my Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 Create-a-Story!  Not a lot going on in this match until McIntyre stomped Matt Hardy's head on the steel stairs!  NASTY!  I was seriously uncomfortable watching McIntyre beat the hell out of Hardy, and if they want to get Hardy some sympathy heading into a feud for the IC Title, they succeeded here.

Chris Jericho is going to end Edge's career at Extreme Rules, at least that's what he tells me.  He also told me "No more spears," which is actually the brand of shampoo that I use.  Jericho's promo inside the steel cage was your typical Jericho awesomeness, but Edge had to weigh in as well.  The Rated-R Superstar had the crazy eyes on and told Jericho that after all the injuries, he has nothing left to lose.  And of course, it wouldn't be a Jericho/Edge promo if they didn't get violent!  Barrett got an Edge-O-Matic and Jericho... dodged the spear!  Gotta wait till tonight, folks!  Jericho did lock Barrett in the cage though, feeding him to Edge, so that was pretty amusing.  SPEAR!

JTG vs. Mike Knox up next to hype the Cryme Tyme strap match at Extreme Rules, and it's also Mike Knox's last match in WWE.  Short match with JTG (obviously) picking up the win and Shad Gaspard attacking after the match.  Pretty standard stuff.

Speaking of last matches in WWE, Mickie James teamed up with Beth Phoenix to take on Michelle McCool & Layla.  Lalyla pinned Mickie for the win, and then went with the post-match beatdown on The Glamazon, hitting her with an ironing board and covering her in lipstick.  Hopefully all this means is that Phoenix kicks the shit out of all of them tonight and regains the Women's Championship she never should've lost.

Main Event time! CM Punk & Luke Gallows vs. Rey Mysterio & Kane.  Ah wrestling, where you can beat a guy within an inch of his life in a parking lot and become tag team partners just a year or two later. Fun tag team main event, of all the matches at Extreme Rules, I'd argue that none of them have been as well-built, nor am I anticipating any of them as much as CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio.  The hair stipulation is a nice little bonus, but as long as these guys get at least double the time they got at WrestleMania, we're looking at the show-stealer.

Good Smackdown and did what it needed to do to get in some last minute hype for the PPV.  I have to wonder why McIntyre vs. Hardy didn't get added to the card, but that could be one of those situations where they'll add it during the show or they're just holding off until after the Draft.  But aside from that minor gripe, good wrestling, good story building, great promos; I still feel like Extreme Rules just crept up on us, but this go-home show did as good of a job as it could to get me excited for tonight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mickie James, Shelton Benjamin, others released

Well, this was unexpected. From

WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Divas Mickie James and Katie Lea Burchill as well as Superstars Shelton Benjamin, Kung Fu Naki, Slam Master J and Jimmy Wang Yang as of today, April 22, 2010. We wish them the best in all future endeavors.

Wow. Well, let's go down the list:

Mickie James
Definitely the biggest shocker out of all the names. Rumors are already swirling about some issues on the European tour, but I'd be willing to bet that this release was more mutual than the others. I hate to see her go and her treatment since the Piggie James angle was flat-out inexcusable, but I don't think Mickie will have any trouble finding something to do with her newly-discovered free time. Still, Mickie's the greatest female athlete to step foot in an American wrestling ring since Trish Stratus, she deserved better.

Shelton Benjamin
Honestly, I'm not surprised. Shelton has shown so much promise over the years, but he's also been the most inconsistent member of the roster. One minute he's hot, the next minute, no one cares. I don't know if it's WWE's presentation of him, his work, or the more likely combination of both, but the writing has been on the wall since he returned to ECW. That in mind, this is a surefire pickup for TNA, if they don't sign him in 90 days, I'll be genuinely stunned.

I'm more shocked about this one than Shelton Benjamin. Funaki's been a member of the WWE roster for twelve years straight, he's been there longer than John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Big Show and Edge. The only people that have been around longer are The Undertaker, Triple H, Kane and Mark Henry! I can't remember the last time he was even on TV, but he was like Scotty 2 Hotty and Val Venis, guys you thought would never be released... WWE's proven all of those assumptions wrong in the last few years.

Katie Lea
Not too shocking, I'm more surprised it didn't happen when Paul Burchill was let go, but it's still a bummer. Katie's proven herself to be a solid hand in the ring and she had an incredibly unique look, but sadly, WWE doesn't consider "unique look" to be a selling point for the Divas. If you don't look like a swimsuit model, you gotta go!

Jimmy Wang Yang
Now who are debuting monsters going to beat up?! Seriously though, while Yang was never going to be a major player in WWE, I always enjoyed his work. He made the new guys look good, the crowd always got excited for him when he wrestled dark matches and his gimmick, while silly, was fun. Still, it's not a loss for WWE, and I don't say that to sound cruel because I like Jimmy and it saddens me that he lost his job, but it won't have any lasting impact on programming.

Slam Master J
He's been MIA for months and his gimmick change seemed more like something to get Cryme Tyme over than anything else. Without Cryme Tyme or Festus, I'm not sure there's anything for Jesse to do. I wouldn't have been opposed to seeing him do something like what he did with the late Damien Steele in FCW, where Jesse played the stereotypical "urban" character and Steele was the preppy "white guy" stereotype. With WWE avoiding controversy lately, and considering that Cryme Tyme was supposedly "controversial" in 2006, it probably wouldn't fly today, but it would've been amusing. The least surprising name on the list, but still unfortunate.

I never like to see anyone lose their jobs, but to cut this many names on one day, including bigger names like Mickie and Shelton is especially sad. The "TNA, sign ________!" remarks are already all over the place, but the only name on the list that seems definite to me is Shelton Benjamin. The rest could wind up all over the globe, TNA, back in WWE, or out of the business entirely, you just never know in the weird world of wrestling. Regardless of where they end up, I sincerely hope they all find success.

*UPDATE* 11:00pm

According to, Mike Knox has been added to the list. Not too shocking, much like some of the other guys, he hasn't been used in months, but I thought he was just starting to hit his stride. The last time he was given a serious run, around the time of his feud with Finlay, he was producing some really entertaining matches.

Opening Bell Extra - Keep the Brand Extension!

In this week’s special edition of Kick-Out!! Radio, Razor responds to our friend Rich of’s Guest Post calling for the end of the Brand Extension.

MP3 Version - Right click on the Audio MP3 image and "save link as."

iTunes - clicking this link will open your iTunes.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

*Note: this episode was recorded before the shocking news that Shelton Benjamin, Mickie James, Jimmy Wang Yang, Funaki, and Katie Lea were released.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kick-Out's 2010 WWE Draft Predictions!

The 2010 WWE Draft is coming up this Monday, and while I gave my predictions last year, we're going to change things up a bit this year.  Instead of just my predictions, you'll also get predictions from our panel of experts: random chance and my cat, Trex!

I'm in ur WWE, draftin ur Superstarz

Razor's Predictions

From Raw to Smackdown

1. Randy Orton
Honestly, this is the only draft move that strikes me as a sure thing.  Randy Orton's in the middle of a big face turn, a blossoming feud with World Champion, Jack Swagger, and has desperately needed a change of scenery for years now.  The news of Smackdown moving to Syfy in October helps this theory as well, the Blue Brand is going to need big names and there are few bigger than Randy Orton right now.

2. Christian
More wishful thinking than anything else, but Christian on Raw has been a complete waste.  My only hope is that the post-ECW/pre-WrestleMania period just put Christian's eventual main event push on the backburner, but here's hoping he moves to Smackdown and tears it up with guys like Jericho and Punk.  I also wouldn't mind if he picked up the Money in the Bank briefcase at the upcoming July PPV.

3. Kofi Kingston
His momentum has been completely killed over the last few months in the most mind-boggling de-push that I've ever seen, but the damage is not irreversible.  Many Superstars have been saved by switching brands, and I think Kofi Kingston heading over to Friday Nights would be just what the doctor ordered.

4. William Regal
I don't really have any reason for this, but all of Regal's work as of late has been on NXT, might as well officially move him over to that traveling roster.  Plus, who wouldn't want to see Jericho and Regal team up from time to time?

5. John Cena
Okay, I know this is supposed to be my predictions, but I don't actually expect this to happen.  It's just a completely longshot guess so that if it happens, I can say "I totally called that!"  Since becoming the biggest name in the industry, Cena moving back to Smackdown seemed impossible, but the Syfy deal completely changes the game.  Remember when they moved Triple H to Smackdown before the move to MyNetwork TV?  Even if it only lasts a year, it's not impossible anymore.

From Smackdown to Raw

1. Batista
He hasn't been on Smackdown in over a month, and honestly, he could've officially moved over to Raw once he finished up with Rey Mysterio.  I suppose he could head back to Friday nights once his feud with Cena ends, but I just have a feeling he'll be feuding with Triple H sooner than later.

2. John Morrison
The Guru of Greatness has been floundering a bit on Smackdown lately and I think he's just exhausted his possibilities on the brand.  I don't think WWE's quite ready to give him a main event run, so I guess they move him to Raw to give him a fresh set of opponents.

3. Kane
Because it's Kane, and he's contractually obligated to switch brands every year.

4. Matt Hardy
I'm not sure about this one, but I'm running out of names to move.  Hardy's not doing anything on Smackdown so a move could help, but I honestly don't expect him to do anything on Raw either.

5. Edge
Another dark horse, but Edge has been on Smackdown for over three years now and if Raw loses Orton, they're going to need a major face to take his spot.  Can't think of many people on Smackdown to fill that role better than Edge.

Now let's see how I do against pulling names out of a hat.

Random Chance's Predictions

From Raw to Smackdown

1. Kofi Kingston

2. Michael Cole

3. Chris Masters

4. The Miz

5. Maryse

From Smackdown to Raw

1. Mickie James

2. The Undertaker

3. Jimmy Wang Yang

4. Edge

5. Finlay

And finally, let's see how I do against my cat.  We placed cut-outs of the WWE roster page on the floor and let him make his own choices.

Trex's Predictions

From Raw to Smackdown

1. Kofi Kingston
The only person to be picked by myself, random chance, and the cat.  With that in mind, I'm sure Kofi will wind up staying on Raw. :-/

2. Mark Henry
Trex likes Mark Henry because they have a similar body type.

3. Goldust

4. Ted DiBiase
My cat does this awesome trick, if you just mention any member of Legacy, he falls right asleep.  Okay I'm making that up... that's my trick.

5. Sheamus

From Smackdown to Raw

1. Dolph Ziggler

2.  Drew McIntyre
I'm curious how Trex plans to solve the upcoming problem of both the US and IC Titles being on the same show.  When asked, he ate Drew McIntyre's face.

3. Kane
Even a cat knows Kane has to be drafted every year.

4. Yellow Mouse Toy! 

In a huge shocker, Trex has chosen his Yellow Mouse Toy to go to Raw!  If WWE lets him run wild, he could really tear things up! YMT vs. Evan Bourne could be a true classic.  

Okay, actually it was Shelton Benjamin

5. Kung Fu Naki
Bold prediction, Funaki's been a loyal Smackdown Superstar since the Brand Extension began!

Check back here this Monday to see if the predictions came true, or if I discovered a better use of my free time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poll - RVD wins the TNA Title

First, the results from our previous poll:

YES - 20%
NO - 80%

I'm honestly a bit surprised, I thought the roster split was more unpopular than that.  I'll have my thoughts on the Brand Extension soon, but let's dive into our new poll.  Last night, Rob Van Dam was crowned the new TNA World Champion, I want to know your thoughts on this shocking turn of events.  Great move? Too soon? Let us know by voting in the poll to the right of your screen.

Raw Thoughts - April 19, 2010

Apologies for the lack of a live blog tonight, I had to work late and didn't get to start watching until around 9:30, which would defeat the purpose of a live review of the show.  We're doing this one old school style!

Triple H kicked things off since he's the only member of the Raw roster on US shores... well, the only one that would pack a punch by opening Monday Night Raw.  Yeah yeah, Triple H opening the show is cool and all, but what caught my ear was that Lilian Garcia was the one announcing The Game's entrance!  Very cool that they got Lilian on board for tonight's episode since I assume Justin Roberts is stuck in Europe with everyone else.  Anyhoo, it was open mic night for Triple H, cracking jokes and then getting serious about putting the hurt on Sheamus this Sunday.  These two have a street fight at Extreme Rules, and while their match was a bit overshadowed at WrestleMania, I think they could steal the show on Sunday, though they have some stiff competition with Jericho vs. Edge in a cage.  I have high hopes for this one though.

CM Punk had high hopes for Triple H tonight as well, believing he would join the Straight Edge Society, but the Cerebral Assassin wasn't having any of it.  Hilarious exchange between these two, Punk was absolute gold as always, and Triple H had the crowd in the palm of his hand.  The SES tried to shave Triple H's head, but Rey Mysterio made the save and got a chunk of Punk's!  Look on the bright side Punk, at this point, there's not much that could make that hair any worse.  I'm fairly sure Punk's going to lose this Sunday, but if he doesn't, I hope he still makes a trip to the barber sooner than later.  I can't imagine Punk bald, but his hair is truly out of control.

Drew McIntyre vs. Matt Hardy was our opening contest and I couldn't get into this one.  I think the point was that McIntyre totally threw Hardy off after a nasty shove into the steel stairs, but the whole match just felt slow to me.  I hope no one takes that as me giving Hardy and McIntyre advice on how to work a wrestling match, I just didn't dig it.  I'd like to see these guys get into a proper feud, but they just seem more interested in throwing them in the ring together.

I liked the stuff with Vladimir Kozlov and MacGruber.  It wasn't as funny as The Hoff was last week, but it was still pretty amusing.  Will Forte is extremely funny and obviously accustomed to live television, so he worked well in his role, though I do have to say that I wish Kristen Wiig would've gotten more to do.  She was hysterical just with the very limited amount of stuff she had to do, which speaks volumes about her talents as a comedian, but I'd like to see her host Raw as herself, by herself sometime. MacGruber accidentally murdering R-Truth with his faulty explosives was ridiculous and would've made me roll my eyes, had it not been for Truth's smoldering shoes at the top of the ramp.  If R-Truth just shows up on NXT tomorrow like nothing ever happened, I'll laugh my ass off.

Jack Swagger coming out to issue an open challenge was a great way to use the World Heavyweight Champion, although I doubt he was expecting... THE UNDERTAKER!  Undertaker vs. Swagger was an awesome 10pm main event, made Swagger look like a beast for going toe-to-toe with The Phenom, even though he came out on the losing end.  I'm sure some people won't be happy about Swagger losing clean again, but it's the freaking Undertaker!  Though since it was the first time we've seen Taker since WrestleMania, I would've liked to hear him on the mic, but I'm curious if this is just a one-off appearance before he takes another hiatus.  Very good match though, wouldn't mind seeing these two go at it again somewhere down the road.

MacGruber vs. Vladimir Kozlov, which eventually became MacGruber & "Khaluber" vs. Vladimir Kozlov wasn't exactly a technical masterpiece, but The Great Khali's entrance video was friggin amazing. KHALUBER!

Triple H, Rey Mysterio & Edge vs. CM Punk, Chris Jericho & Luke Gallows was a very fun, albeit your typical WWE fan service TV main event.  You know what I'm talking about, occasionally WWE will pair up a bunch of guys in a six, eight, or ten-man tag team main event on Raw, the good guys win and everyone goes home happy.  And it's not unusual for it to happen on a "special" edition of Raw, like the 5-on-5 Lakers vs. Nuggets match on last year's "Denver Debacle" episode.  Still an enjoyable match, probably the best thing WWE could've done considering the circumstances, and you'll never hear me complain when these guys are in the ring together.

I didn't really dig tonight's show.  It wasn't bad or anything and they had to work with an obviously difficult situation, but aside from the two main events, there wasn't a lot going on.  The via satellite stuff with Cena, Orton and Sheamus helped hype Extreme Rules, but this PPV just seems to have crept up on WWE and they had to put something together quickly, and it has to compete with next Monday's big Draft show.  It's going to be a busy week for WWE and having half the company stuck halfway around the world doesn't help.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Smackdown Thoughts - April 16, 2010

And we're back with the 400th post here at Kick-Out!!  Sorry for the delay, I've had a really busy week at work, but it sounds like WWE has a big problem with delays right now as well.  In case you haven't heard, the Raw roster is still stuck in Europe due to the huge cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland (I'd make a Bjork joke here, but SNL beat me to it).  Should make for an interesting Raw tomorrow night, but that's tomorrow, let's talk about two days ago!

Smackdown started like every WWE show should, with Chris Jericho!  The former World Heavyweight Champion was not pleased that Randy Orton has been named the #1 contender (that makes two of us) and called Teddy Long an incompetent general manager.  Cue Edge to talk about spearing people, then Teddy Long to blame both men for getting themselves disqualified last week and handing over the opportunity to Randy Orton.  T-Lo set up a triple threat match for the World Championship - Jack Swagger vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho!  Huge main event.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kane was our opening contest and it was about exciting as it sounds.  We've seen these two square off in the past and while it's never outright bad, it's not going to be making it on anyone's best of DVD.  McIntyre tried to get himself counted out, but Matt Hardy rushed to the ring and tossed him back into the ring, causing a disqualification.  A Hardy/McIntyre feud makes sense considering the last few weeks, but Kane wiped them both out after the match, which seems a little self-defeating in terms of story building.

Dolph Ziggler was ordered to issue a public apology for putting Josh Matthews in a sleeper hold last week, but the only apology he should have to issue is that it was on Smackdown instead of NXT and he took out Josh Matthews instead of Michael Cole.  R-Truth was Ziggler's opponent for the night, and I dug this match. It was too short, but it did what it needed to do, which is reestablish Dolph Ziggler as a threat and get his sleeper over as a devastating finisher.  Huge win for Ziggy, he's needed that for months.

Michelle McCool vs. Mickie James was up next... yeah, I was hoping to never type that ever again.  I have to say though, this match was not your typical WWE Divas romp, this wasn't a Divas match, this was a wrestling match between two competitors that happen to be female.  While I never enjoy being forced to watch a Michelle McCool match, this was a solid outing.  Loved The Glamazon appearance after the match as well, it's been too long since she's had gold around her waist, let's make that happen, WWE!

CM Punk, Luke Gallows & Darren Young vs. Rey Mysterio & The Hart Dynasty in six-man tag team action?  I don't know how much I've made my love of the six-man tag known, but I was very excited for this match, especially considering five of the six participants (sorry Darren).  The Miz was at ringside for commentary as well, just making this match even better before the bell even rang.  I'll tell you what, I hope one day that we have The Miz and Chris Jericho on commentary together, these guys kill it every time they're on guest commentary.  I'm sitting here writing about commentary though when the true source of entertainment was this very fun six-man tag.  The Harts and Rey Rey worked well together, I'd like to see them team up more often, maybe even something like The Harts, Mysterio and Matt Hardy vs. ShowMiz, Punk and Drew McIntyre in an eight-man tag next week?  Lots of stories being told here, lots of fun back and forth action, and DH Smith picking up a huge win for his team, pinning CM Punk after a 619 and a running powerslam.  Good stuff.

JTG vs. Caylen Croft was up next and what was up with JTG's Katt Williams' hairdo?  Weird.  Shad made his presence felt during and after the match, but JTG finally got the upperhand. If we're intent on splitting up Cryme Tyme, I can't wait until we get through this so JTG can really dive into his singles run.

So, I had no idea that Chris Jericho, Kane, MVP, Mark Henry, Big Show and The Great Khali were in MacGruber, how did that news pass me by?

Main Event time! Jack Swagger vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line!  This was one hell of a main event and much like Raw, showed that WWE likes to pull out all the stops when they go overseas.  The action was fast-paced and engaging, the crowd was into it, and Swagger got that high-profile win he needed, beating both Edge and Jericho.  I thought for sure we'd be due for some shenanigans, perhaps even setting up a Fatal Four Way at Extreme Rules, but it looks like Orton vs. Swagger is on and Jericho vs. Edge will have another WrestleMania rematch.  And upon further inspection to, that is the case, the two will be squaring off in a Steel Cage match.

Good Smackdown, though I don't feel like there's a lot going on with the Blue Brand right now, especially related to Extreme Rules.  They do have 2.5 matches scheduled for the PPV, and I'm sure they'll get increased attention since they'll likely be the only roster available for tomorrow night's Raw, but aside from the World Title situation and Punk/Mysterio, what else is going on?  The budding feud between McIntyre and Hardy took a backseat to Kane this week, JTG vs. Shad isn't a PPV-caliber match and The Hart Dynasty vs. ShowMiz has been playing out more on Raw than Smackdown.  I'm sure this will all get adjusted after the Draft, and it didn't hurt the quality of this individual show, but it is noticeable in the big picture.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Raw Thoughts - April 12, 2010

Raw is on tape delay since WWE is in London, England, but Kick-Out!! is live! Keep refreshing your page for ongoing coverage of tonight's show, hosted by David Hasselhoff! One thing's for sure about this show... Germans love David Hasselhoff!

And things start off with KNIGHT RIDER!?  The Hoff arrives in KITT and this is already the greatest Raw of all-time.  The Hoff is Hawffsome and totally has this crowd in the palm of his hand, and announces that neither Chris Jericho or Edge are the #1 contender for the World Title, and places Randy Orton in the main event of Extreme Rules!  What?!  He has a point, neither Jericho or Edge won on Friday and Orton has two wins over Swagger, but this has to turn into a Fatal Four Way, right?  Please?  Pretty please?

And Hoff wastes no time getting the in-ring action started, the Divas Title is on the line in our opening contest, Maryse vs. Eve.  I caught some flack on Twitter last week after saying this match could be "watchable," which is hardly a compliment, but apparently some people thought I was being too kind.  Pretty unfair if you ask me, Maryse is serviceable, as long as she's kept off guest commentary and Eve has steadily improved over the last few months.  And just as I finish typing that, Eve blocks Maryse's French Kiss DDT and becomes the new Divas Champion!  Pretty short match, but hardly the trainwreck that the Raw Divas division has been the last few months, and we've filled our quota of at least one title change every time WWE travels to England.

ShowMiz are out next and have an earth-shattering announcement: that they are the greatest tag team in WWE history!  The crowd disagrees, and so does Bret "The Hitman" Hart!  Bret's on Raw!  Bret can name a few teams that were better than ShowMiz, like the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs, but Miz isn't phased, and tells Bret that David Hasselhoff isn't the only delusional 90s icon in the building tonight.  Hilarious.  Cue The Hart Dynasty, who are obviously next in line for a shot at the Unified Tag Team Titles, and David Hart Smith lays out the challenge: Smith vs. Miz, and if Smith wins The Hart Dynasty gets the shot at Extreme Rules.  Big Show doesn't like the idea, but Miz has a fun little shtick going on lately of his mouth writing checks that his ass might not be able to cash and accepts, but if Miz wins, Bret Hart has to declare ShowMiz as the greatest tag team of all-time.  Ridiculous. Match is next!

David Hart Smith vs. The Miz is already underway and this one should be enjoyable, but I'd love to see Miz mix it up with Tyson Kidd in the future.  Decent enough match, got a bit hectic at the end, but due to some interference from Big Show, Miz wins!  Next week on Raw, Bret Hart must declare ShowMiz as the greatest tag team in WWE history.  I wouldn't get too worried though, judging by Bret Hart's recent actions, I'm sure this is all part of a very elaborate plan.

Big news just coming in from the LA Times, it looks like Friday Night Smackdown will be moving to SyFy this October.  I'll have more on the story as it develops, but with news like that, I thought you should know immediately.

Batista & David Otunga are backstage and The Animal tells The A-Lister to go get him a cup of coffee.  Ouch.  C'mon Batista, you're smarter than that, make him take your place in your match with Orton!  Ah, but apparently Otunga is there for another reason, The Hoff has put him in a match with John Cena!  And KITT thinks it'll only take the WWE Champion 22 seconds to win this one.  Yeah, this is the best Raw ever.

And Evan Bourne gets to wrestle?!  And he's against Carlito, which means he might actually win!?  This show just keeps getting better and better!  Fantastic TV match, with Carlito reminding us that he can wrestle and Evan Bourne reminding us that he's freaking awesome!  A beautiful Shooting Star Press later and Evan Bourne wins a match! On Monday Night Raw! I can't believe it either!  Get this man some gold already!

John Cena vs. David Otunga is next, but Otunga isn't alone, Davetista is here and is wearing a sweater vest with a dress shirt and shiny dress pants... I couldn't make that up if I tried.  Speaking of fashion, I need to get some of those jeans that David Otunga wears, I'm tired of dealing with zippers, I'm just going to tear my pants off from now on.  You're welcome for that visual.

Oh yeah, there's a wrestling match!  Cena's starting out with mat-based wrestling, which in terms of story is to insult David Otunga, but I like to think he's wrestling this match like Otunga is every smark that's ever worn one of those stupid "WE HATE CENA" shirts.  Cena makes easy work of Otunga, forcing him to tap out to the STF and invites Batista to the ring.  Batista gets fired up and rips off the sweater vest, but decides against accepting Cena's invitation.  Well, he does have a match with Orton later tonight, and he definitely doesn't want to mess up those shiny pants, but if he had on the leather vest, it would've been ON!

Okay, whoever's responsible for the creation of the KFC Double Down should be arrested for possession of weapons of mass destruction.  My arteries clog just looking at that thing, but it's still not as sad as the Famous Bowl.

Sheamus is here and lets us know that at Extreme Rules, he's got Triple H in a street fight.  And that's really about all he has to say, but Kofi Kingston has a few things on his mind!  Kofi is not happy after being mugged by Sheamus and his lead pipe last week and they're going to have a rematch right now!  Kofi already looks better than he did last week, but Sheamus has turned the tide rather quickly.  Kofi gets his momentum back and nails Trouble in Paradise, but Sheamus is too close to the ropes.  Sheamus rolls outside the ring and blasts Kofi with a monitor to cause the disqualification.  Hey, at this point, a win's a win for Kofi.  The Celtic Warrior demolishes Kofi after the match, and once again, Triple H does not make the save.  Jerk!

Two weeks away from the WWE Draft, but still no guest host announced for that show.  Hmm...

Carlito is backstage looking for The Hoff, but instead gets Vladimir  Kozlov.  Carlito wants to get drafted to Smackdown to get away from the guest hosts that don't know who the hell he is.  Our guest hosts for next week are the cast of the upcoming SNL movie MacGruber!  Kristen Wiig & Will Forte on Raw?  I'm so there.  Hey, if we're working with SNL cast members, how about getting Amy Poehler and the cast of Parks & Recreation?

A Baywatch Babe Triple Threat Tag Team Match is up next, and I think the only thing WWE cares about when it comes to the Raw Divas is creating really long names for gimmick matches related to the guest hosts.  Okay, as absurd as this is, Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim running to the ring in slow-mo with the Baywatch theme playing is hysterical.  The other teams in this match are The Bella Twins and Jillian & Rosa Mendes with our special guest referee, Santino Marella!  Yes, it's an excuse to get the Divas in red swimsuits, but they're actually wearing more clothes than usual, it's almost like watching women's wrestling in the 80s.  I honestly have no idea who won this match, but Santino wound up choking on his whistle and lifeguard Hornswoggle ran to the ring and Tadpole Splashed it out of his windpipe.  This may be WWE's greatest comedy sketch in years, and as insulting as the Divas division is, this was hilarious and I literally laughed out loud.

Main Event time already?!  It's not even 10:50 yet.  Perhaps with the tape delay, they'll end at exactly 11:05 tonight?  Anyway, your main event is Randy Orton vs. Batista, and with Extreme Rules on the horizon, I'm having flashbacks of last year's PPV where Batista destroyed Orton inside a steel cage and then vacated the title the next night due to injury.  That was lame, but hopefully with their roles reversed, Orton and Batista can give us a fresh match-up here tonight.  They're not incapable of good matches, they had a really fun match against each other at Armageddon 2008, so hopefully they can recapture that vibe here tonight.

Decent enough match, Orton's still adjusting to the role of the anti-hero, but the crowd loves him across the pond just as much as they love him over here.  Solid back and forth action with Orton hitting Batista with the RKO, but before he can make the cover, Jack Swagger nails him with the Gutwrench Powerbomb!  Match is over, but John Cena attacks the World Heavyweight Champion from behind and slides into the ring to lock Batista in the STF.  That's a bit of a dick move, isn't it?  Sure, Batista attacked Cena at the end of the show last week, but Batista was totally helpless here and Cena's supposed to be the good guy!  You heard it here first, Cena heel turn on the way!  (It's not)

Awesome, awesome, awesome Raw.  I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this show and the only match that didn't really have much of a point was Carlito vs. Evan Bourne, but since we got to see Bourne actually win a match, who cares if it didn't have a point?!  Hasselhoff did a great job, the wrestling was great, and the build for Extreme Rules was rock solid.  Hell, even the comedy was funny!  I loved this show, now here's hoping that momentum carries over when they return to the United States.

Poll: Brand Extension

In light of the Guest Post written by Rich of The Superplex, I figured now would be a good time to gauge your thoughts on the Brand Extension.  First, the results of our previous poll:


Wade Barrett - 35%
Justin Gabriel - 24%
Heath Slater - 8%
David Otunga - 24%
Skip Sheffield - 4%
Michael Tarver - 2%
Darren Young - 0%

Chris Jericho's rookie with a decisive victory and Justin Gabriel & David Otunga tied for second place.  Bryan, Barrett, Gabriel and Otunga are obviously the top four in the competition, and I wouldn't be surprised if they all wind up with spots on the main roster.  I wouldn't count out Slater either, even though his look and charisma aren't quite there, he's proven himself to be a solid hand in the ring and WWE may want to keep that around.

Also, sucks to be Darren Young, maybe if he listened to CM Punk and joined the Straight Edge Society, he wouldn't be the only guy without a single vote.

Okay, New Poll time.  If you haven't checked out Rich's post calling for the end of the Brand Extension, I suggest you do, and then vote in our new poll.  Pretty simple, should WWE end the Brand Extension?  I'm not going to weigh in on the subject just yet, I think I'll save that for the Opening Bell on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio.  Poll will be open for about a week, so get those votes in quickly and feel free to explain your choice in the comments!

Guest Post - End the Brand Extension?

This is a guest post from Rich, the creator of the wrestling news site, The Superplex, Feel free to follow the site on twitter at @thesuperplex.

Being an old school wrestling fan the Brand Extension has always been a bit of a conflict for me. When it was first introduced by Vince McMahon I wasn't sure really how to think about this new concept. On the one hand, WWE had just acquired a second roster and it was clear they were still adjusting to being the only game in town. Honestly, this was the best way to handle such a large amount of talent. As the time went on the two seperate brands of the WWE started to form and it really felt like we were watching two seperate companies working under one roof. This provided for some good television and great "dream" matches. Take Goldberg vs. Lesnar as one example. Despite it's letdown it was a match all of the smart marks were salvitating to see. New wrestlers were given the time to shine... whether they ready for it or not.

That was then and this is now. We are in a world where the brand extension is merely a gimmick. No more is it a huge deal that a wrestler has shown up on Smackdown or RAW. Compare HHH's draft pick to Smackdown to today and things are far more common. HHH shows up on Smackdown and there is not the same amount of excitement. The line between RAW and Smackdown is now blurred and at times it can be tough to even know who is on what roster.

Besides this we now have championships that have no real meaning anymore. Though I will say the title scene in the WWE is much more simpler than the days when WCW first sprang up in it's own poor attempt at an invasion. This doesn't take away from the fact that having multiple World Champions lessens the credibility of both titles. You can't win the WWE title? Why not try for the World's title. It worked for Jack Swagger and I'm sure it will work for you! This carries over to many of the lesser titles such the the US/IC and Diva/Woman's title. Why should I care about one title when there is another just like it. I can now care less about who is champion on either spectrum because i can just focus on the other. Sure it adds choices but it also allows the WWE to lose focus. Gladly, the Tag Team Titles have been merged into one set.

This brings up the dwindling Tag Team divison. I yearn for the days when Tag Teams had value and were featured on a prominent spot in the card. Today, we would be lucky to be able to count the number of real tag teams on one hand. It's sad to see teams in such a sad shape when we've had such successful tag teams in the past. We are now in an age where tag teams are formed within a split second and then are broken just as fast. What do you when you have two singles competitors with no storyline? Put them in a team and hope the idea sticks.

After these points I just don't see the value in keeping the split rosters. There is no full potential being reached today. Would we really lose focus on some superstars? No. Just because John Cena and HHH can appear twice a week it doesn't mean they have to be given 90% of the spotlight all week. I know it's hard to remember a time when the WWE actually worked under a full large roster but it can be done again. All it takes is smart booking and creative use of it's superstars.

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