Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Champion of Champions - Round 2

Before we move on to the next round, let's take a look at the winners of the final batch of first round matches:

John Cena (62%) d. Mankind (38%)
Edge (51%) d. Randy Orton (49%)
Ultimate Warrior (57%) d. Billy Graham (43%)
Steve Austin (98%) d. Sid (2%)

Since we're on the internet, I'm a little surprised that Cena beat Mick Foley, but that's definitely the right decision. I love Mick Foley, but in a tournament ranking WWE Champions, I can't think of a single argument for Foley over Cena except personal preference, which is fine for the 38% that voted for him, but Cena definitely should've won. Edge vs. Orton was a nail biter with "The Viper" making up some serious ground in the final hours. Ultimate Warrior over Billy Graham is heartbreaking, but much like Jeff Hardy over Pedro Morales, I attribute that to age... 20 years too soon, indeed. Steve Austin demolishing Sid is no surprise, but seriously, 2% for Sid? I'd love to hear the argument for that.

Okay, it is now time to move onto the next round, featuring the Slammin' Sixteen! Here are the competitors:

Your next round of matches will cover the West Turnbuckle, and those two matches are now available for voting to the right of your screen. This is a star-studded bracket, and quite possibly the hardest matches to vote on in all of Round 2, so make your vote count! Polls will be open for a week at most, but if the matches are total blowouts, we will move on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - June 28, 2010

Live blogging tonight, despite being in a bad mood. I went to McDonald's tonight and got a bad Coke... McDonald's Coke is supposed to taste better all the time, what up with that?! Poor dietary choices aside, let's hope Raw doesn't add to the bad taste in my mouth.

Some good news already, I totally forgot that Rob Zombie is hosting tonight's show. Here's hoping he performs "Never Gonna Stop" for Edge, just for old time's sake. And speaking of Zombies, I've been reading the hell out of The Walking Dead in preparation for the upcoming AMC series. What does this have to do with wrestling? Absolutely nothing, but it's an awesome book and you should read it because zombies are awesome. And instead of the ridiculous comics they're putting out now, WWE should do a WWE Zombies comic ala Marvel Zombies, The Undertaker eating Randy Orton's brains? I'd totally buy that.

Cold open for Monday Night Raw with Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler recapping the Vince McMahon situation, the NXT Rookies are now officially known as Nexus and apparently Wade Barrett has been summoned to explain their actions in front of WWE officials.

But as they always say in WWE, "the show must go on," and this show kicks off with the WWE Champion, Sheamus... fella! Sheamus mocks John Cena's "the champ is here!" slogan and is getting mercilessly booed by this Philadelphia crowd. But Sheamus doesn't care, he hates Cena as much as Philly hates him, so it all kinda balances itself out. And speaking of John Cena, I bet you'll be shocked - SHOCKED - to hear this, but John Cena has just interrupted Sheamus' promo! Sheamus isn't going to give Cena another title shot, but that's not what Cena wants, he wants Sheamus' help. Wait, what? Cena points out the obvious, if Nexus came after him when he was WWE Champion, it won't be long before they come after the new WWE Champion. Cena wants to fight side-by-side with The Celtic Warrior but COLE'S GOT MAIL!

Our Anonymous GM has ordered a cease-fire between the WWE Superstars and Nexus while Wade Barrett pleads his case in front of WWE Management. Also, it should be noted that the anonymous GM is a laptop on a podium with an official RAW GM Seal. Hysterical. Cena tries to goad Sheamus into a WWE Title match, but the Celtic Warrior is already in action later against Mark Henry. Cena wants the GM to email him personally at candypants564@gmail.org (it's a nonprofit thing), but Cena will get his title match at Money in the Bank... inside a steel cage! Not sure I was sold on John Cena Open Mic Night, but a solid opening segment, if only we could lose that stupid email sound effect.

The Hart Dynasty is kicking off the in-ring action tonight... or so we thought before they were attacked from behind by The Usos & Tamina. The Usos seemed content with the quick beat down, but Tamina wanted more and hit Natalya with the Superfly Splash. Simple and effective, but weird to put something like this at a point in the show that traditionally has an actual match.

R-Truth doesn't want the Nexus fired because the WWE is a zoo and he's the zookeeper. Seriously, that was his promo in its entirety.

Vladimir Kozlov vs. Santino Marella is our actual opening contest (seriously), and it looks like it was nothing more than an excuse to get these guys to finally buddy up. William Regal tried to pick the bones after Kozlov destroyed Santino, but The Moscow Mauler wasn't having any of that and took out Master Regal... then took Santino out on his shoulders. Bromance!

Backstage, Ranjin Singh apparently abandoned The Great Khali. HUH?! Can Rob Zombie come save this show already?

Finally, Rob Zombie has arrived and the show has become Monday Night Rawb! I picked up Helbilly Deluxe 2 a couple weeks ago, if you're a Zombie fan, give it a listen, it's pretty good. Zombie's doing a hell of a job getting the crowd pumped up (put this guy on commentary instead of Cole), and announces the eight participants for the Raw Money in the Bank - Randy Orton, The Miz, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, John Morrison, R-Truth, Ted DiBiase (really?), and Edge, who interrupts our guest host. Edge claims he dropped Zombie's "Never Gonna Stop" as his theme music, Zombie says he took it back, but this all just seems to be an excuse to show a highlight reel of Edge's first MITB win and cash-in. Decent enough line-up for the Raw MITB though, and it sets up an 8-man tag for tonight's main event: Edge, Chris Jericho, Ted DiBiase & The Miz vs. Evan Bourne, Randy Orton, R-Truth and John Morrison. I love when Raw has big tag main events like this, but seriously, Ted DiBiase? I'd put Virgil in there before DiBiase!

How the hell are they going to fill out the rest of the Money in the Bank card if all the big names are in the ladder matches?

Oh dear, white guys in the crowd dancing and singing along to "Somebody gonna get dey ass kicked" might be the highlight of this show so far. Mark Henry vs. Sheamus is up next and while Henry got some impressive offense in, including a military press on big Sheamus, one Brogue Kick was all it took for the WWE Champion to make quick work of the World's Strongest Man.

Nexus is backstage, and it amuses me that even though Skip Sheffield and Michael Tarver were completely bland on NXT and wound up being two of the first three eliminations, they're somehow the best parts of the group now.

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat's DVD comes out tomorrow! Do I even need to tell you to buy it? Well, the video package they just showed to hype it featured Steamboat fighting NINJAS! If you don't buy this DVD, you're not a wrestling fan. Yeah, I said it.

And just to make it better, Ricky Steamboat is here! Arn Anderson, Dean Malenko, Mike Rotunda, and Michael PS Hayes are in the building to pay respect to the Dragon as well! Okay, finally something really cool on this week's show. Michael Hayes doing the Freebird dance might be the highlight of my month, now if only he could sing "Badstreet USA" for us. Fun and classy tribute from these WWE Legends, but you know when something in wrestling is heartwarming, bad things are around the corner, and that's the cue for The Nexus. The Legends aren't WWE Superstars, so they're fair game. The Legends have the higher ground in the ring, but Nexus uses the old divide and conquer technique to gain the advantage. Like a pack of hyenas, Nexus just topped themselves for A-hole move of the year.

Since most of the roster is in the main event tonight, WWE used an entire segment for replay of the Nexus attack. While we're waiting, let's take a trip to Badstreet, Atlanta, GA:

Alicia Fox & Maryse vs. Eve & Gail Kim up next... let's just watch Badstreet, USA again! The further down that block you went, the badder it got!

Main Event time! Excuse me... MEGA MAIN EVENT TIME!! and it's a massive eight-man tag: Edge, Chris Jericho, The Miz & Ted DiBiase (REALLY!?) vs. R-Truth, John Morrison, Evan Bourne & Randy Orton. Zack Ryder should totally be in this match instead of DiBiase, you know it! DiBiase and Morrison start things out, luckily for Morrison, Miz isn't in there or this one would be over already. And why are the good guys in the bottom corner?! My world has been shattered! Fun 8-man tag though, until the silly ending where Orton came in, RKO'd DiBiase and picked up the win. I know Ted sucks and all, but really, one move? Alright. Mayhem ensues after the match, not unlike last minute hype for the Royal Rumble, but this time, there are ladders! Randy Orton poses with the briefcase atop of the ladder, pretty much guaranteeing that he won't be winning at the PPV, which is fine, because he obviously doesn't need it at all.

Terrible Raw. The Nexus attack was the most entertaining part of the show and the main event was enjoyable, but that's about it. Useless filler, pointless replays and constant commercials dragged this show way down. Hype for MITB was solid, but putting all those guys in one match really hurt this show overall. I assume that'll only be a one week thing and hopefully things will improve next week, but I worry WWE could back themselves into that same corner at the PPV.

Five Count: Best Unlicensed Wrestling Games

Since last week's Worst Wrestling Games Five Count was such a success, I figured we'd keep the video game trend going. This week, we take a look at the best wrestling games without a license from a major promotion. No WWE, WCW, ECW or TNA games... though the latter two don't have any games worthy of any best of list anyway. These are the five best fictional wrestling games:

5. Tecmo World Wrestling (NES)
Tecmo World Wrestling was way ahead of its time: it was the first wrestling game to feature commentary, as far as I know, it's the only wrestling game where you had to train to make your moves more powerful, each wrestler had a huge moveset (often including the dreaded Northern RIGHTS Suplex), and finishing moves triggered cut-scenes. The characters in the game shared a striking resemblance to some real life wrestlers (El Tigre was obviously Tiger Mask), but didn't share some of the hilarious similar names from other series ala Fire Pro's version of Kurt Angle known as "Burt Buckle." Very fun game that was far better than any WWE or WCW game that was out around the same time.

4. Battle Royale (TurboGrafx-16)
Okay, I haven't played this game since I was about eight years old, and you've probably never even heard of it, but I remember loving it at the time. Looking back, it was probably a terrible game, but I was one of four people that had a TurboGrafx-16, so what does that tell you about my taste? But c'mon, it had a dude with an orange mohawk named Spitfire Spike who screamed "OOH YEAH! OOH YEAH!" and other dudes with mohawks that screamed "YOU DIE! YOU DIE!", what's not to love?

3. Saturday Night Slam Masters (Arcade, SNES, Sega Genesis)
Hopefully you've played this game though, if you haven't, go track down a copy, because it is awesome. A Capcom-developed wrestling game featuring Final Fight's Mike Haggar? I'm there! SNSM was different than most other wrestling games out there since it had more of a fighting game vibe, but great gameplay, cool characters, and that awesomely bad 1990s video game music combined to make the most unique wrestling game that I've ever played. There needs to be an HD update for this game on Xbox Live and Playstation Network.

2. Def Jam: Fight for New York (PS2/Xbox)
I know, I know, it's not really a wrestling game like its predecessor Def Jam: Vendetta, but it used the AKI engine and retained most of the elements from the previous game. Sure, there's no ring, but there was no ring in WCW: Backstage Assault either, and DJ:FFNY is more of a wrestling game than that will ever be. Aside from the #1 entry on this list, this game is probably my favorite wrestling game to come out since WWF No Mercy. The awesome story mode and phenomenal gameplay make you forget the ridiculousness of a wrestling/MMA-style fighting game featuring rappers and actors. Oh and Henry Rollins will kick your ass.

1. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (PS2)
Game developers, don't even try to top this game, you won't, because not only is it the greatest unlicensed wrestling game of all time, it is the greatest wrestling game of all time, period. Sure, the graphics are dated, but the gameplay, the sheer amount of moves, and the insane levels of customization (you can literally create ANY wrestler, right down to how they'd react if they threw their opponent out of the ring) and the rabidly dedicated fanbase constantly providing new updates, make this game unstoppable... unless Spike makes a sequel (pretty please?). If you're a fan of wrestling games and you've never played Fire Pro, you're only hurting yourself.

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - June 25, 2010

T-Lo and Vickie Guerrero did a cold open for this week's show, letting us know that they are evaluating the Smackdown talent pool to determine the eight athletes who will compete in the Blue Brand's Money in the Bank at upcoming MITB PPV. I'm a fan of the MITB match getting its own PPV, but I really don't like the idea of two briefcases floating around the WWE landscape. Can the Raw winner only go after the Raw title? Or will it be like it's been in the past where the MITB could be cashed in on either show and the winner could then join that brand? The only upside I see is that WWE might see the "cash in when the champ is beaten down" bit as played out and we might actually get to see MITB cashed in for an actual match. I'm willing to see how it plays out, but at first glance, I'm less than thrilled.

Our opening contest was Big Show vs. the former World Heavyweight Champion, Jack Swagger. I've seen a lot of people complaining about Swagger's title run, but I think it's safe to say that the guy is a legitimate main eventer at this point. He went from total jobber who barely appeared on Raw to winning the World Title and pinning Randy Orton clean. Might not have been the longest reign, but he got a fun feud with Show and is about to enter a feud with Mysterio, so I'd say he's sitting pretty, definitely beats losing to Santino. Oh and on this episode of Smackdown, he took Big Show out with the ANKLE LOCK! A great addition to his repertoire, and I love that smarks start complaining that he "ripped off Kurt Angle," when Angle started doing the ankle lock to rip off Ken Shamrock. Surprisingly good match here and a good way to give Swagger his, ahem, swagger back after losing the World Title.

Six-man tag team action was next with Vance Archer, Curt Hawkins & Dolph Ziggler taking on MVP, Christian, & Kofi Kingston, a match that combined many ongoing feuds. Tough match for me since it had Christian and Kofi teaming up (awesome), but Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer (a lot less awesome). Christian, Kofi and MVP did their damnedest to keep this one interesting, especially in the early goings when they were flying all over the place, but when the bad guys had control... meh. Ziggler's good, and I think this match could be a good launchpad for him setting his sights back on the Intercontinental Title, but Hawkins and Archer are just so. damn. boring. Luckily things picked back up near the end when Christian and Ziggler were carrying the workload and I'm always thrilled to see Christian pick up a win, but I'd really like to see him doing more. There's absolutely no one on Smackdown more qualified to win MITB than Captain Charisma, and this time should be the charm.

Since Vince McMahon is on the shelf, Teddy Long can now run Smackdown as he sees fit, and thus, he reinstated Matt Hardy to take on Drew McIntyre. And while I said above that there's no one on Smackdown better suited for MITB than Christian, I'm pretty much convinced that Drew McIntyre's gonna win it. As for this match, McIntyre continued to look vicious, and Matt Hardy continued to be Matt Hardy, and I'm sure that has two different meanings, depending on your feelings of V1. I have to laugh at Matt Striker calling Drew McIntyre's hip toss off the top rope a "Michinoku Driver," simply because of the way Hardy landed, and another reason why Striker is becoming increasingly annoying on commentary. Really, that moment and the goofy call were the best parts of this match, but for the most part, it's nothing you haven't seen before between these two. The crowd wasn't that into it, it dragged on, Todd Grisham even said "I bet Matt Hardy wishes this match would go all night long," but it felt even longer than that. I like Matt and McIntyre shows potential every week, but I just don't know if these two really have the chemistry. Decent ending though with McIntyre's NASTY! bump on the stairs and then hitting the Twist of Fate, but it was a long road to get there.

After the match Teddy Long appeared on the TitanTron and told us that Drew McIntyre's visa has expired, and called out security. That's right, T-Lo had arena security deport Drew McIntyre. I know Vince is hurt, but if he can pull some strings for Drew here, then I'm fully convinced that Vince McMahon can do anything. If he can keep someone from getting deported, why does Linda even need to run for senate?!

Cody Rhodes, excuse me, "Dashing" Cody Rhodes was out next to tell us that he's the most handsome man in WWE. Hey Cody, just because you kinda look like that weird looking dude from Twilight, don't let it go to your head. His promo was actually pretty amusing though and easily the most entertaining Rhodes has been since they teased him turning on Orton after he RKO'd Dusty. But seriously, someone get this guy new theme music, I don't exactly think "dashing" when I hear music that sounds like it belongs in the background of a direct-to-DVD sequel to Roadhouse.

Hey, Dolph Ziggler wants an IC Title match, which I'm all for, I just hope he doesn't lose six of them in a row again.

Kelly Kelly beat Rosa Mendes. I'm more interested in Kaval still being the property of LayCool.

A vignette was shown for Alberto Del Rio, an unmasked Dos Caras Jr., who claims to be the only honest man. Dos Caras literally translates to "two faces," so I wonder if we'll be seeing the mask, which would be a pretty funny way to get heat on Mr. Honesty. If we don't see the mask, then I'm not exactly sure what the point of this character is.

Main Event time! CM Punk vs. Kane in a no-disqualification match since Kane is apparently convinced that Punk and the SES were responsible for The Undertaker's vegetative state. Speaking of The SES, this match was pretty much Kane vs. all of them, including the masked member (although isn't CM Punk also a masked member of the SES?), and it wasn't even much of a match at all. They all brawled at ringside, Kane and Punk took the fight to the lobby where the Big Red Machine slammed Punk through a merch stand, but our Straight Edge Savior eventually escaped the arena and Smackdown literally ended with CM Punk running across the street.

Pretty good show, lots of wrestling, I really enjoyed the first two matches, and Cody Rhodes actually showed some semblance of a personality, which is definitely a newsworthy event. Still not sold on the idea of two Money in the Bank ladder matches and I feel like they're just stalling on the Kane storyline, but a much better show than last week's.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 40

Chris Jericho tells it like it is, NXT becomes “Nexus,” the mystery GM, Fatal 4-Way, Rey Mysterio in the Superstar Spotlight, and Martha Hart’s lawsuit against WWE.

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CoCT Round 1 - Southern Turnbuckle Conference

Before we take a look at the next round of voting, let's take a look at the results from the Eastern Turnbuckle:

Jeff Hardy (55%) d. Pedro Morales (45%)
Eddie Guerrero (92%) d. Diesel (8%)
Kurt Angle (88%) d. Yokozuna (12%)
Triple H (91%) d. Big Show (9%)

Mostly total blowouts in the later three matches, but I think the first match has to be considered the first upset of the tournament. Pedro Morales, who held the WWE Title for nearly three years in a single reign, lost to Jeff Hardy, who held it for 47 days, and I'm pretty sure didn't have a single successful defense, but hey, your vote is your vote! I'm going to attribute this to Pedro being a little before most readers' time (including my own, his entire reign was before I was born), but still an upset victory for Hardy. Here's the bracket so far:

Next up is the final set of matches from the first round! Here are the matches in the Southern Turnbuckle Conference, and you can vote in the polls to the right of your screen:

John Cena vs. Mankind (Mick Foley)
Randy Orton vs. Edge (timely)
"Superstar" Billy Graham vs. The Ultimate Warrior
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Sid (Vicious)

Voting will go for one week, unless it's another round of total blowouts, then I'll call it early.

Monday, June 21, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - June 21, 2010

RAW IS WAR, FELLA! I'm live blogging tonight, so keep refreshing your page for ongoing coverage of tonight's show.

Well you know it's a big show when the chairman kicks things off, Vince McMahon is here! Hearing Vince say "welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw!" takes me back to 1993 and that hideous RAW jacket he used to wear. Sigh, I miss Vince as an announcer, how much more fun would this show be if he was in Michael Cole's chair? Anyway, Vince blames Bret Hart for the events of last night involving the NXT Rookies and has "no choice" but to relieve The Hitman of his duties. That's right, Raw starts with Vince firing Bret Hart, I'm sure there's about a dozen jokes to make there, but I'm not that funny. Vince has appointed a new General Manager, who wishes to remain anonymous, and will communicate via e-mails to Michael Cole. Hopefully they don't get lost in between all the poems from Heidenreich. I like the mystery GM though, could provide some interesting moments, and he's off to an intriguing start, hiring all seven NXT Graduates. Not sure how I feel about that, I would've liked to see them raise some more hell, which I suppose they can still do as employees, but they could've taken the outsider thing further.

Oh but wait, our new WWE Champion is here!

Mee mee mee mee, fella!

Sheamus teases handing over the WWE Title since he won it in such a controversial fashion, but laughs and says he doesn't care. The Celtic Warrior has really come into his own on the mic, I'm loving his entire "f-off" persona, he plays it perfectly. John Cena comes out to do what he always does the night after he loses the WWE Title, ask for his rematch. Sheamus declines, but our Mystery GM e-mails Michael Cole to declare that the match will happen tonight and Vince McMahon will be the guest referee. Why am I getting the feeling that our mystery GM will reveal himself and say "IT WAS ME, CENA! IT WAS ME ALL ALONG!"?

Evan Bourne vs. Chris Jericho, in a rematch from last night, and if Jericho loses, he's going to leave WWE forever?! What?! I know Jericho's going to host that show for ABC, and sure he's been back for over two years, but I feel like we just got him back! Perhaps he's going to be the modern day Roddy Piper, just disappearing at random times in order to keep himself fresh? Or ya know... not, because JERICHO WINS! Another awesome match from these phenomenal athletes, Evan Bourne looked like a tough SOB for refusing to tap to the Walls, but Jericho got the knees up to block the SSP and nailed a Codebreaker for the win. I can't help but think Jericho added this stipulation to mess with the copy & paste sites that have been reporting he has "major heat" on him for taking the ABC job. Nice touch with Jericho helping Bourne up after the match, only to shove him back down. Jericho's got his groove back!

Lucky Cannon vs. Cody Rhodes is what they're using to hype tomorrow's NXT?  Thanks for freeing up my Tuesday night, WWE!

Ted DiBiase has fired Virgil and aligned with Maryse. LAME! Virgil, put on those sweet red and white tights and knock Teddy the eff out!

Alright, I'm gonna stop with the pictures before Ray & Andrew from Wrestlegasm sue for gimmick infringement.

Someone has arrived in an SUV limo... they should get the Bret Hart limo treatment just on general principle.

Natalya Neidhart vs. Tamina Snuka is our next match, and considering that they were the best part of the six-person tag from last night, I'm all for more of this. Of course, as I write this, the NXT Grads interrupt what could've been a damn good match. Wade Barrett tries to apologize, but Tyson Kidd just jumps on Heath Slater's head, doing what I've wanted to do for months. Unfortunately, Tyson and David get demolished and it looks like we're about to be addressed.

So David Otunga starts things off with his spraypainted hair, to set the tone. Heath Slater gets the mic next, meanwhile the audience gets nachos. Justin Gabriel wants to apologize to the Harts for what they did. Darren Young apologizes to John Cena, even referencing that people call him the "black John Cena," but maybe John Cena is the white Darren Young, ever think of that? Skip Sheffield continues to look like Hank from Breaking Bad, and Michael Tarver continues to surprise me as the second best talker of the group. Wade Barrett's up last to deliver the goods and explain the mentality behind this entire group, but the crowd isn't buying it. I really don't know where WWE is going with this, because while the NXT Invasion may be over, there's still strength in these numbers... here's hoping it stays that way and they don't become Spirit Squad 2.0

Marty Jannetty John Morrison and Lurch Eli Cottonwood are out next, looks like Morrison's opponent tonight is Ted DiBiase, but he's got a microphone. DiBiase doesn't feel like wrestling tonight though, and his selected Zack Ryder as his replacement, wish I could do that when I don't feel like going to work. Pretty good match, John Morrison picked up a much-needed win, but it's going to take a lot more than beating Zack Ryder to repair his damaged cred.

John Cena is not accepting NXT's apology. I kinda like the idea of the NXT guys trying to be accepted, but the WWE establishment refusing due to their actions. Lots of directions to go with something like that.

Eve & The Great Khali vs. Alicia Fox & Primo... if only I was hungry, I'd get a sandwich right now. Maybe I'll make one just for fun, it's certainly more enjoyable than watching this, and my sandwiches are Delicious and Nutritious, which would also be an awesome name if Buff Bagwell & Simon Dean formed a tag team.

Speaking of sandwiches, I HEAR VOICES IN MY BREAD, Randy Orton is here! Okay, that wasn't funny, don't even pretend to laugh at that, I don't need your pity. Randy wants Wade Barrett to win the WWE Title so he can take it from him, blah blah blah, but suddenly an Orton segment gets interesting, because The Miz is here! The Miz says what I've been saying since 2007, that Randy Orton gets too many damn WWE Title shots. Miz insists the next shot belongs to him because of a "little industry secret," and for a second there, I thought he was going to reference the old WCW rule where the US Champ is the #1 contender, but it's actually that he's The Miz, and he's... punching Orton in the face! Oh I love everything about this, hit him with the belt Miz, don't get in a fist fight with him! Orton turns the tables, but Miz escapes an RKO and Edge nails The Viper with a spear out of nowhere! Big thumbs up here.

Main Event time! John Cena vs. Sheamus for the WWE Championship with Vince McMahon as the special guest referee! If you smell that, it's definitely shenanigans... or my sandwich. We had ourselves a pretty great match going on, it had my undivided attention, and then NXT had to invade, running Sheamus off and taking out Cena, once again. Vince McMahon invites the Rooks into the ring and is apparently taking partial credit for what they've been doing over the last few weeks. Wait, what? And next week our mystery GM is going to reveal something... but before Vince can finish that thought, NXT, or "The Nexus" attack the chairman!

Okay, is the new mystery GM working with Nexus to eliminate the WWE establishment? Was Vince put out there as guest enforcer as a set-up? Now here's the big question, is this a power play for the Anonymous GM to take over WWE or is it an attempt to destroy the entire company?

I really liked this Raw, storyline heavy, but everything was entertaining, and the NXT angle got a hell of a lot more interesting. I have no idea where they're going with it, but any time someone takes out Vince, you know business is about to pick up.

Five Count: Worst Wrestling Video Games

E3 was last week and that means video games, including wrestling video games. THQ unveiling Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 comes as no surprise, but the new WWE All-Stars game was unexpected. I'm not shocked to see THQ go back to the drawing board after Legend of WrestleMania bombed, I have no doubt they'd like to milk that WWE license at least twice a year, but to see them go all the way back to the days of WrestleMania: The Arcade Game was a bit jarring.

Image property of THQ

Strange as the game looks, will it find a spot on the worst video games of all time?  It's going to take a lot of work (or lack of work, I suppose), to oust one of these five:

5. WCW/nWo Thunder (PSOne)
It was hard to choose between Thunder or Nitro, but Thunder gets the nod for being a horrible sequel to a horrible game.  At least with Nitro, you could say "well it was their first try, they'll fix this stuff in the sequel," except the sequel wound up being worse.  The only thing keeping this game from not being higher on the list is the wrestlers begging you to pick them on the character selection screen, if you want to know what the Germans are all about, pick Alex Wright!

4. WWF War Zone (PSOne/N64)
I played the hell out of this game in 1998, but that's because I was left with no other option as a WWE fan. Keep in mind, this was the first "true" WWE game in over four years, so after suffering through the aforementioned WrestleMania: The Arcade Game and the truly terrible In Your House, War Zone was better than nothing, but it certainly wasn't better than the WCW games being offered up on the N64.  A small roster, annoying control scheme, and the crushing disappointment earn this game a spot on the list.  To be fair, it was the first American wrestling game to give us Create-a-Wrestler, and its sequel (Attitude) was an improvement, but there's a reason why developer Acclaim went bankrupt.  Churning out this game four times (including the dreadful ECW games that used the same engine) probably played a big role.

3. WWF In Your House (PSOne)
Quite possibly the most obnoxious wrestling video game ever created, just watching this video irritates me:

2. WCW Backstage Assault (PSOne/N64)
It's a wrestling game without a ring.  I'm going to repeat that: a wrestling game without a ring.  For those of you who who cut your teeth on the Smackdown vs. Raw series, this may seem utterly absurd, but at the time, it kinda made sense.  For some reason, we wrestling game fans loved the backstage area, we wanted to take the fight out of the ring, through the curtain, into the parking lot, out to the street, and eventually into the Smackdown Mall.  We wanted smash heads into pool tables, throw our opponents into the back of a semi truck, and hit flying elbow drops from out of a helicopter.  So EA, who had the rights to WCW games at the time, decided to make a whole game of that... and it sucked.... a lot: ugly graphics, terrible gameplay, not a single redeeming quality.  To add insult to injury, this wound up being the final WCW video game, but at least fans didn't have to play a video game version of the Invasion.

1. The Simpsons Wrestling (PSOne)
Let's just piss everyone off: fans of wrestling games, fans of The Simpsons, fans of Simpsons video games (okay those don't exist), fans of video games in general, and fans of good taste.  Calling this a wrestling game is offensive, calling this a game is offensive, because the word "game" implies fun and there was nothing fun about this atrocity.

Awful.  You may find it odd that all of these games appeared on the PSOne, but I think that has more to do with the Playstation being the console when wrestling was at its peak.  Everyone wanted to cash in on the wrestling craze, and game developers did so on the Playstation.  And I realize there are some truly awful games that didn't make the cut, so let's discuss the dishonorable mentions:

Backyard Wrestling - while BY and its sequel were unforgivably bad, they really did a good job of capturing the essence of what Backyard Wrestling was all about - shitty wannabes trying to wrestle.  Throwing people through tables as transitional moves, poor execution, and painfully ugly?  These things could be said about both the game and actual backyard wrestling.

WWE Crush Hour - I didn't include this in the list because the only thing related to wrestling in this game is the characters.  It's probably the worst Twisted Metal knockoff ever made, but it's not a wrestling game.

The WWE Xbox Games - I've read some scathing reviews of the wrestling games that were churned out on the original Xbox, but I've honestly never played them.  If they deserve a spot on this list, let me know why.

Legends of Wrestling - While these games were bad, often riddled with bugs and almost unplayable, there were a lot of good ideas.  If this series had been placed in the hands of a competent developer (instead of Acclaim), it could've been legitimate competition to WWE's wrestling game monopoly.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

WWE Fatal 4-Way 2010

I hoped earlier that this could wind up being a PPV that looked bad on paper, but turned out great in the execution, luckily, that was the case tonight. Let's take a closer look at the first ever Fatal 4-Way.

Vince McMahon opening a PPV is always interesting. The chairman didn't have a lot to say except that Bret Hart is still hurt from the incident involving the NXT Graduates; I wonder if this means Bret as GM was just a temporary thing? Could be a great opening to get the Rookies signed if a heel GM was put in Hart's place, but honestly, I'm over the evil authority figure.

Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre for the Intercontinental Championship was a rock solid opener. Easily the best I've seen McIntyre and Kofi was on fire, whether he was in control of the match or getting the hell beat out of him, he was golden. Teddy Long & Matt Hardy getting involved after the ref bump was a bit much, and I found it strange the announcers were talking about Kofi "overcoming the odds" or whatever when McIntyre was the one who got screwed, but obviously the "Chosen One" had it coming to him.

Eve vs. Gail Kim vs. Maryse vs. Alicia Fox was better than it had any right to be, but Alicia Fox winning the Diva's Championship is laughable. Sure, the Lisa Frank Championship is a complete joke, but that's no reason to encourage that sentiment and make it an utter laughingstock. When I watch Alicia Fox, I literally worry for her safety and those in the ring with her and I can't understand why WWE would think it's a good idea to make her a champion. I wouldn't put the Hardcore Title on her for five seconds during the 24/7 era. And as decent as this match was at the time (grading on the Diva Curve), Natalya and Tamina blew it out of the water a couple hours later.

Chris Jericho was out next to call us hypocritical sycophantic parasites and announce that he's the best in the world at what he does. The New York crowd was electric for Jericho and were ready to be insulted at every turn, they were just happy to see him. Turns out, Jericho was out for an impromptu match against Evan Bourne! Absolutely fantastic match and my personal pick for Match of the Night, and it wasn't even scheduled. Obviously way better than the three minutes they got last Monday, and Evan Bourne was solidified as a WWE Superstar with a HUGE win over the self-proclaimed "best in the world." I do have to laugh at the smarks who were booing Evan, the exact same people who complain that WWE doesn't push Evan Bourne, then turn on him when he gets pushed against a smark favorite like Jericho. Which is it, fellas? Oh I see, you want Bourne to win, just not against the guys you like! Anyhoo, Evan looked great, Jericho looked great, both men made the other look great, this match was what wrestling is all about, and even the most die-hard Jericho fan has to appreciate what he did for Evan here.

The first of our main events went on next, Jack Swagger vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk vs. Big Show, and I had a feeling I'd be annoyed by this match when the hype video was centered entirely around Kane. Luckily, the Big Red Machine didn't get involved until the very end, setting his sights on CM Punk, and giving Rey Mysterio the opportunity to nail Jack Swagger with the 619 and capture his second World Heavyweight Championship!

Okay, so we have to talk about the internet backlash against Rey Mysterio, and I have to be honest, I just don't get it. I feel like a lot of it dates back to Eddie Guerrero's passing, which people that never knew Eddie Guerrero love to call "exploitation," but the people who were closest Eddie have never publicly complained about. Yeah, Rey's reign sucked, but keep in mind it was on Smackdown in 2006, and there was nothing good about Smackdown in 2006, and the handling of his reign was WWE's fault, not Mysterio's. But in that time, Mysterio has gone from "Guerrero's best friend" to one of the most popular wrestlers in the industry today. I can't think of anyone who captures the crowd, moves as much merchandise, and can work a match quite like Rey Mysterio, him winning the World Title is simply good for business. Rey has worked his ass off for the last 18 months, his matches are the best I've seen from him in any of his time in WWE, it's like he's 10 years younger all of the sudden, and there's no doubt in my mind that he's earned this.

And the stuff about him "being rewarded for injuring The Undertaker," is flat-out absurd. It ain't ballet, kids, people get hurt all the time. Rey's not some sloppy worker that recklessly hurt The Undertaker, I've seen numerous wrestlers (most notably Lance Storm) talk about how when they see their name on the card next to Rey's, they get excited because they know they have an easy night of work ahead of them. And c'mon, The Undertaker is old school and a tough SOB, I don't think he needs a bunch of angry kids in front of a computer screen sticking up for him after an injury. When Rey Mysterio breaks your nose, then you can get pissed, k?

Okay, so as for the actual match, I really enjoyed it, it's in close competition with Bourne/Jericho for Match of the Night honors and my only gripes are Kane's involvement and that it was a tad bit too short. If Kane is set to feud with Punk for the time being, I can only hope that means Swagger vs. Mysterio is on tap, I think those two could put on some awesome PPV matches.

The Miz vs. R-Truth had the unfortunate task of being a cool-down match, and as I've been saying all week, this should've been the Fatal Four Way that we saw last week on Raw. Miz's parody of "WUT'S UP" was funny, but not nearly as funny as The Miz forgetting the lyrics. Would've been a good match to open a PPV or be the 10pm main event of Raw, but to follow up a Fatal Four Way for the World Championship in front of a rowdy New York crowd? These guys didn't stand a chance.

In another match added during the card, we got six-person tag team action with The Hart Dynasty vs. The Uso Brothers & Tamina Snuka. As I mentioned earlier during the women's match, Tamina and Natalya showed the fragile Divas how it's done. I know it's a novel concept to have women actually wrestle in a WWE ring, but more stuff like this would be nice. I wouldn't be surprised if WWE intentionally keeps Natalya out of the ring to avoid the rest of the Divas roster looking like an embarrassment, but she deserves gold around her waist. Natalya is everything a wrestler should be (regardless of gender), she's got the look, she's a great talker and kicks ten tons of ass in the ring. Screw the Divas Championship, I want Natalya to win the US Championship! The Usos didn't look too shabby in here either, Tyson getting Samoan Dropped into the barricade was NASTY!, and I think these guys will make a nice addition to the tag division. The Hart boys were awesome too, but that's their par, what more can you say about them?

Main Event time! John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton in a Fatal Four Way for the WWE Championship. The match was pretty much exactly what I expected out of these four guys, and that's not a bad thing. Lots of drama, lots of near falls, and lots of stuff to encourage dueling chants from the crowd. I think my favorite moment was Orton nailing Cena with the RKO, getting a 2.99999 count, then Sheamus just shoving the referee to interrupt the count. Technically speaking, it was a win, but Orton had that coming to him after that bullshit last year where he somehow retained the WWE Title despite tapping out when Cena and HHH had him in a double submission hold.

The match took a turn for the weird when they showed R-Truth, Evan Bourne, David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd watching the match backstage. They showed them a few times throughout the match, but apparently they were the sitting ducks for the NXT Invasion. All seven guys attacked, then made their way to ringside where they mugged all the participants in the match... well, all of them except Sheamus, who scored another victory over John Cena for the WWE Title! I hope all the Cena haters out there are on board with the Celtic Warrior, because I'm pretty sure he's John Cena's Kryptonite, fella. I'm a bit behind on my Superman comics, is there clear Kryptonite? Sheamus won and hauled ass away from ringside, briefly stopping to pose with the WWE Title at the top of the ramp, only to run off again when the NXT Grads chased after him while the crowd chants "DANIEL BRYAN!" Fun fact: Sheamus' win marks the 100th reign of the WWE Championship. Cena, Edge and Orton were out cold, bringing the show to a close... at 10:35?! WTF is that?!

Okay WWE, even if I'm paying more per year than I was before the increase, I can allow another PPV price increase when you drop the number of PPVs, but expecting me to pay $45 for a show that ends at 10:35 is inexcusable. There was easily enough time for another match, even if it was something pointless involving Michelle McCool, don't end a show 25 minutes early. Yeah, I know PPVs are traditionally under three hours, but Extreme Rules ended right at 11pm, and 10:35 is just insulting. I don't know if a match ran short, because I feel like everything got a decent amount of time, but I sincerely hope this was an isolated incident.

That complaint aside, I really enjoyed this show. As I said, all the matches got enough time, and outside of the Divas match, everything was entertaining. Not sure if I like both World Titles bouncing around again, but Mysterio with the title is long overdue and I'm not going to complain about Sheamus winning the belt because he's awesome. As long as these reigns aren't cut short by a round of WWE Title hot potato, I'm cool with it. I wouldn't say it's the greatest PPV I've ever seen or anything, not even the best PPV of the last 12 months, but it far exceeded my expectations.

WWE Fatal 4-Way Preview

WWE introduces a brand new PPV concept tonight, a show headlined by two Fatal Four Way matches, and I'm having a really hard time getting excited about it. WWE has thrown hype for this PPV out the window, scheduling three of the PPV's five announced matches in the last six days, that's bad. Sure, the Four Ways are the big selling point, but then those matches have been used primarily to hype the NXT Invasion on Raw and Kane searching for The Undertaker's attacker on Smackdown. The rest of the card is filled with matches we could see any week on Raw, Smackdown, or maybe even Superstars. But you never know, sometimes the cards that look bad on paper wind up surprising, and maybe that could be the case here. Let's take a look at the announced matches:

WWE Championship
John Cena © vs. Sheamus vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton

Orton's the wildcard in this match since he shoulder injury is still a lingering issue, so there is the possibility that he could be replaced. How crazy would it be if Bret Hart caves in and Wade Barrett uses his title match? No matter what happens with Orton, or if NXT gets involved, I expect John Cena to walk out as champion to enter a feud with Wade Barrett this summer. Depending on how nuts they go with interference, this is my pick for Match of the Night

World Heavyweight Championship
Jack Swagger © vs. CM Punk vs. Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio

Internet rumors say Mysterio is the favorite to win here, but I find that to be suspect considering the fact that he was never supposed to be in this match in the first place. And despite being insanely over for the last year and a half, Mysterio always seems to be the bridesmaid, never the bride. My money is on Jack Swagger since he's the most logical choice with the most options of people to work with after the PPV, but making the logical choice isn't always WWE's favored move. Definitely the toughest match on the card to predict, but I'm sticking with Swagger retaining.

Intercontinental Championship
Kofi Kingston © vs. Drew McIntyre

Kofi just won the belt, but McIntyre has also been presented as untouchable over the last two months, so I wouldn't be stunned if he walked out of the PPV as a two-time IC Champ, but I'll stick with Kofi to retain. Could be a really enjoyable match, even if we've seen it twice since Over the Limit, but Kofi always brings the goods.

United States Championship
The Miz © vs. R-Truth

For the life of me, I don't know why they didn't do this match on Raw and then the Four Way on the PPV. I'm a huge fan of both guys, but there's no way this match will be as entertaining as the match involving Morrison and Ryder from Monday night. Miz definitely retains though, and despite the feel-good moment of Bret Hart winning the US Title, Miz should've never lost the belt in the first place.

Diva's Championship
Eve © vs. Maryse vs. Gail Kim vs. Alicia Fox

I suspect that when I wake up, Maryse will be the new Diva's Champion. But if a tree falls in the forest, and no one's around to see it, does anyone give a shit?

This PPV has a lot of things working against it: it's the summer, when all television viewership is down; it's Father's Day, so I'd guess that a lot of families won't be crowded around the TV tonight to watch wrestling; WWE has given this PPV very little build and the announced matches don't exactly scream "BUY THIS $45 SHOW!" Barring some major landscape-changing developments, Fatal 4-Way could be 2010's version of Breaking Point.

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - June 18, 2010

Final WWE show before tonight's Fatal Four Way PPV!

And there's really no better way to start things off on Smackdown than with CM Punk, which was exactly what WWE did here. Punk's ready to become a four-time World Champion, but wished that The Undertaker could be a part of the PPV, so he could make him "tap out" again. Hilarious. Punk maintained his innocence in the attack that left The Undertaker in a vegetative state, but wished he had been the one to do it. "The WWE is better without The Undertaker!" But then the lights went out and The Undertaker was standing in the ring! Except... it was Luke Gallows in disguise, which infuriated the crowd. Pretty funny that Gallows played the fake Undertaker though when he previously played the fake Kane in that absolutely abysmal storyline from a few years back. Yeah, you wish you could've forgotten that. This disrespect toward The Undertaker obviously enraged Kane, but he walked right into a trap set by Jack Swagger and the SES, including that mysterious Masked Stranger. The bad guys tried to put Kane in a vegetative state, but Big Show & Rey Mysterio made the save, only to attack Kane themselves! Hey, can't blame them there, Kane's been tough to reason with the last few weeks.

Opening contest was Christian & MVP teaming up to take on the guys that attacked them after their matches over the last two weeks, Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer. Great, first Christian is tasked with helping reestablish Dolph Ziggler, now he has to get people to care about Hawkins, Archer and MVP? C'mon WWE, there are limits to this miracle worker's power. The match was decent enough, but did Christian really have to take the fall to these charisma vacuums?

Team LayCool still annoys the hell out of me, but the continued embarrassment of Kaval is pretty damn funny.

And we go from "funny" to "horrifying" when I had to see Dolph Ziggler in daisy dukes hanging posters in Vickie Guerrero's office.

JTG vs. Chavo Guerrero was as exciting as it sounds. I like both these guys, but expecting the crowd to care about either of them when they haven't done anything in weeks (or in Chavo's case, years), just seems short-sighted. And Matt Striker just made this match even worse with his increasingly unbearable commentary.

Drew McIntyre vs. Teddy Long was supposed to be up next, but it was really just several minutes of McIntyre verbally berating the Smackdown general manager and forcing him to admit that McIntyre is the chosen one. Drew did eventually start the match and pinned Teddy with one foot, but tried to hit the Future Shock after the "match" anyway. Kofi Kingston tried to make the save, but it looks like it was a trap since he was stopped by Drew's personal security force; Matt Hardy even tried to make the save himself, but met the same fate. McIntyre stood tall over both men when it was all said and done. Man, they are hellbent on getting this guy over as the ultimate heel, aren't they?

Dolph Ziggler, along with his sugar mama Vickie Guerrero was in action next against Chris Masters, who we haven't seen on Friday nights in quite some time. Honestly, I would've liked to see this match (and its participants) get more time; Chris Masters is an underrated talent and Ziggler's been struggling for almost a year now, but there was a lot of potential here.

Main Event time! Jack Swagger & CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio & The Big Show in a big tag match heading into the Fatal Four Way PPV. Swagger & Punk kept Mysterio isolated throughout the match, but with a hot tag to Big Show, the tables turned rather quickly. Loved the finish to this one with Mysterio reversing the Gutwrench Powerbomb into something resembling a reverse Killswitch, but the match itself was way too short and they just had to give more time to Kane at the end of the show.

Did not like this episode of Smackdown, there was too much filler, way too much time devoted to Drew McIntyre, and I'm already tired of every week ending with Kane standing tall over the Fatal Four Way participants. Much like the NXT Invasion overshadowing the WWE Title match at the PPV, this Kane storyline has overshadowed the World Heavyweight Championship match. These two major matches are the only selling points of this under-hyped PPV, and they're both taking a backseat to storylines. As I said on this week's Kick-Out!! Radio, it's not that these storylines shouldn't be huge, but they shouldn't distract from a show that WWE expects us to spend $45 for.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 39

This week: Bryan Danielson’s release, the internet implosion, the NXT Invasion, Jack Swagger in the Superstar Spotlight, and Fatal Four Way is this Sunday, if WWE remembers.

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CoCT - Eastern Turnbuckle Conference

Okay, since the Western Conference was a total blowout, I'm calling this one early and moving along... why drag out the inevitable, ya know? Here are the results:

Hulk Hogan (90%) vs. Batista (10%)
Shawn Michaels (81%) vs. Ric Flair (19%)
The Rock (93%) vs. JBL (7%)
Bret Hart (94%) vs. Sheamus (6%)

And your next batch of matches to vote on are to the right of your screen, they are:

Pedro Morales vs. Jeff Hardy
Diesel vs. Eddie Guerrero
Kurt Angle vs. Yokozuna
Triple H vs. Big Show

Voting will go for a week, or unless it's another batch of total blowouts.

It appears Blogger's poll function is down at the moment, once the situation is resolved, the polls will be available. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's like looking in a mirror... only not.

So I'm doing my daily scan of the copy and paste sites and stumbled across Ringside Xcess, and apparently they have their own podcast too... funny, I feel like I've seen this logo somewhere before:

Granted, the soundwave is a stock photo (you can even now use it as a background image in Blogger), but really, the grey text on a black background with the name of your site plus "Radio" attached to it?  I know it's hard for most wrestling websites to come up with anything original, but this is just laughable.  Not as bad as back in November when someone was flat-out copy and pasting my reviews, and considering they just rip off their "news" from PWInsider and The Observer, I'm far from surprised, but come on.

Kick-Out!! vs. the weather

Spoiler: weather wins.

So my Raw review got cut off right before the main event thanks to a massive lightning storm that knocked out cable and internet service for the entire night. Internet is obviously back on, but I still don't have cable, so I haven't seen the end of Raw yet. Just wanted to give you the heads up, so you didn't think I quit mid-blog... I wouldn't even do that to Impact.

Monday, June 14, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - June 14, 2010

Oh yes, we are live blogging tonight. It's the first Raw since the NXT Invasion, and the first WWE show since the most talked about news of the year, the release of Bryan Danielson. Good or bad, expect a lot of talk surrounding this show, and I'll be talking about it as it happens! Refresh your page for ongoing coverage.

Starting things off with Wade Barrett already in the ring and he's been called to Raw to apologize for his actions from last week. The rest of the Season 1 NXT Rookies (well, not all of them) join Barrett and refuse to apologize, because they were treated like circus animals. I'm beginning to see the weak point in this otherwise brilliant storyline - letting Heath Slater talk. Barrett is an amazing talker though, I even feel like he was saving some of this, because he wasn't even this good on NXT.

Bret Hart isn't amused though, calling the Rooks a bunch of cowards for roughing up wrestlers, announcers, security, referees, etc. This leads Barrett to mention Daniel Bryan, who has been kicked out of the group for "feeling remorse" for what happened last week and that we'll "never see him again." There's the write-out, simple, effective and could make Bryan a sympathetic character if they ever decide to bring him back.

David Otunga gives Hart a list of demands: they want guaranteed contracts, their own dressing rooms and first class travel accommodations, or else we'll see more of what happened last week. Bret Hart refuses, and just to show these kids who's boss, he strips Barrett of his PPV title match, because he's fired! C'mon Bret, if you're gonna do this, do it right, "Wade Barrett... YOU'RE FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRED!" Interesting turn of events, but I assume that means the nWo-esque beat downs will continue.

Our opening contest on the final Raw before Fatal Four Way is... a Fatal Four Way! For the US Title, no less! R-Truth vs. John Morrison vs. Zack Ryder (!) vs. The Miz, which is a pretty huge match and probably could've been saved for the PPV, which only has two matches scheduled! Michael Cole announces that tonight's show is in the Time Warner Cable Arena, which I guess means tickets are overpriced, only get you into shows half the time, and the events will start between the hours of 9am and 8pm. Anyhoo, match is off to a fast paced start, with everyone going after everyone and takes us into commercial break when John Morrison hits The Miz with a sunset flip powerbomb to the outside of the ring onto Zack Ryder - NASTY!

Michael Cole announces that this, as well as the Four Ways at the PPV, are one fall to a finish, which I hate, Fatal Four Ways are supposed to be elimination style! Lots of fun action here, including R-Truth busting out a freaking Osaka Street Cutter, but John Morrison gets the upper hand on his tag partner and nails Starship Pain, but Miz tosses Jannetty out of the ring and scores the pin - MIZ IS CHAMP ONCE AGAIN! A bit of a short run for Truth, but let's be honest, the Bret Hart thing was just a hiccup, the US Title belongs to The Miz. Great opening match, hope the rest of the show can keep up with this.

What is up with Josh Matthews' hair? The interviewer is backstage with Randy Orton who might as well be wearing a big sandwich board that says "HEY NXT GUYS, COME KICK MY ASS!"

Mark Feuerstein from Royal Pains is backstage with (of course) The Bella Twins, when Ted DiBiase tries to buy him off for a spot as guest host. Unfortunately for Ted, Mark's already got a co-guest host, Big Show! Big Show sets up a tag match with him and "Main Event" Mark vs. Ted DiBiase and... Virgil! I hope Virgil rocks those red and white striped tights he used to wear!

Our next match tonight is Chris Jericho vs. Evan Bourne! Yes please! Unfortunately, the match isn't at all what it should've been, Evan Bourne kicks out of a half Codebreaker, Jericho goes nuts and gets himself DQed, but Bourne got the upper hand and nailed the Shooting Star Press. I expect to get this match on PPV to make up for the lame finish here.

John Cena is here to address the actions of the NXT Rookies from last week, and he has a much more somber tone than what we usually get from the Champ, at least until he gets fired up about the Rookies making "five million new enemies" when they took Raw away from the WWE Universe. Cena's on fire here, really making this whole thing seem unique and special as the NXT heads back to ringside. You didn't think they'd leave, did you? They're seven dudes in speedos, they can't just roam the streets of Charlotte. Cena invites them into the ring, and says that once they put the target on his back, they put it on their heads as well, and the WWE locker room empties out to chase off the Rooks! Crowd was absolutely on fire here, especially when Edge, Sheamus & Randy Orton got involved, but I don't think we've seen the last of the NXT guys tonight, Orton and Sheamus are the main event tonight, and I don't like their odds.

Divas Championship Fatal Four Way has been announced for the PPV - Eve vs. Gail Kim vs. Maryse vs. Alicia Fox, and that makes three matches for the event with six days to go. Speaking of those Divas, they're in tag action here with the good gals taking on the bad gals. Pretty standard Raw Diva stuff here, Eve & Gail win.

And now a fourth match added to Fatal Four Way, US Champion The Miz vs. former champion R-Truth.

Big Show & Mark Feuerstein vs. Ted DiBiase & Virgil is up next and Virgilmania is runnin' wild! Obviously nothing more than a comedy bit, Big Show beats up Virgil and "Main Event" Mark finishes him off with... THE WORM! Ted DiBiase stuffs a $100 bill in Virgil's mouth after the match as well, which is a nice touch, but then takes it back. Hilarious.

Really WWE, more comedy? Santino vs. William Regal w/ special guest referee, Vladimir Kozlov And that's coming after a cool down Divas match, the momentum of this show has stalled considerably. Santino gets an easy with after a handful of tights and a fast count, making this utterly pointless. But then Bret Hart comes out and asks the entire Raw roster to come out onto the stage because he "refuses to let history repeat itself" before the main event. It's a logical move, but the NXT Rookies are going to have to do something if they want to keep the momentum for this group going.

CoCT Round 1 - West Turnbuckle Conference

Here are the results from the North Turnbuckle Conference

Bruno Sammartino (64%) vs. Rob Van Dam (36%)
Randy Savage (33%) vs. Chris Jericho (67%)
Brock Lesnar (17%) vs. The Undertaker (83%)
Bob Backlund (75%) vs. Sgt. Slaughter (25%)

Total blowouts, and in my opinion, Jericho vs. Savage has to be considered a major upset. Don't get me wrong, I love Chris Jericho, but when talking about the greatest WWE Champions of all-time, few come close to the Macho Man. And oh yeah, wrestling fans still hate Brock Lesnar, but that probably doesn't surprise you that much. Let's take a look at the bracket now:

And that brings us to Round 1 of the West Turnbuckle Conference; here are the matches you'll be voting on, and make sure to vote in all four polls to the right of your screen:

Hulk Hogan vs. Batista
Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair (ouch)
The Rock vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield
Bret Hart vs. Sheamus

Polls close on Sunday, so get those votes in quickly!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - June 11, 2010

Rey Mysterio kicked things off on this week's Smackdown, and before we get into that, let's talk about this absurd talking point that I'm seeing on various social networking sites. In the wake of Bryan Danielson's release, supposedly after strangling Justin Roberts, people are somehow trying to make a parallel that Danielson was punished for a violent act while Rey Mysterio was rewarded for injuring The Undertaker. Oh smarks. Listen Smarky Smark and the Smarky Bunch, because I'm going to explain to you how wrestling works: people get injured, it happens. Rey Mysterio is not a notoriously sloppy worker, in fact, many wrestlers regard him as their favorite opponent because he's so easy to work with. Rey Mysterio injuring The Undertaker is completely irrelevant to what happened with Bryan Danielson. I'd say it's the dumbest complaint I've heard so far regarding Danielson's release, had someone on some random message board not blamed it on Triple H's children (yes, now Triple H's kids bury people, according to the internet).

Okay, that piece of ridiculousness out of the way, let's talk about Smackdown. Rey Mysterio talked about winning the World Heavyweight Championship at Fatal Four Way, Jack Swagger came out to disagree, Rey Mysterio called him Tweety Bird, and then your Straight Edge Savior, CM Punk interrupted to let us know that he's about to become the only four-time Straight Edge World Heavyweight Champion! If you guessed that Big Show would be out next, surprise, you'd be correct. Big Show claims that he pulls off bald well (which is true, Big Show with hair looks goofy) and that Punk should pull off the mask, but Punk threatens to pull off Big Show's face. That, my friends, is why CM Punk is better than you... and your face.

What I didn't expect out of this segment was Kane on the TitanTron pointing fingers at all four men in the PPV main event for taking out The Undertaker, but c'mon, we all know it was NXT.

Our opening match was Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger in what was supposedly the first one-on-one encounter between these two. I assume they'll do Big Show/Mysterio vs. Punk/Swagger next week, but I find it a little strange that they'd give away two huge matches like Punk vs. Swagger and Show vs. Punk for the first time ever on a weekly show. Rey hit the 619 and the springboard splash early in this one, and I thought Rey had just pulled off a ridiculously quick win over the World Champ, but Swagger got his foot on the bottom rope just in the nick of time and this match continued. Very exciting back and forth contest, but the finish was beautifully executed with Mysterio hitting the 619 on Swagger's midsection, then hitting a springboard dropkick to Swagger's back, hitting another 619, then a springboard legdrop for the win! Rey looks strong going into Fatal Four Way, Swagger had to be hit with two 619s and got the post-match beat down, but then Kane came down and took out both guys. Man, they're really trying with this Kane push, which you can't say about any other Kane push that's happened in the last few years.

LayCool out next along with their errand boy, Kaval! You know, these two would be really entertaining if they weren't absolutely unbearable on the mic. Speaking of unbearable, Tiffany's theme music played, because she had a one-on-one match with Layla. Tiffany has been surprisingly good in the ring and Layla seems to be improving, so the match was better than what we usually see from the Divas, but it was also only about two minutes long.

They showed the entire NXT attack from Raw again. Raw was watched by at least four million people, NXT was watched by over a million, it's been viewed over a million times on WWE.com, and now again on Smackdown... okay, I think we've all seen it now.

Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero and her Pat Benetar haircut) was our third match of the night, and these two kinda beat the hell out of each other. Christian took some rough spills to the outside, Ziggler took a nasty flying dropkick right under the chin, and I had to listen to Matt Striker on commentary! A very enjoyable match, and even though Christian got the win, I can't help but still think Captain Charisma is above this, especially when he has to suffer the post-match beat down from Curt Hawkins & Vance Archer, then the sleeper from Dolph Ziggler. Speaking of things that put you to sleep, Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer!

Drew McIntyre was in the ring demanding Teddy Long come to ringside, and he was awfully impatient about it. You just came through the curtain yourself Drew, did you think Teddy could just magically appear? Anyhoo, T-Lo did make his way to ringside and was forced to watch Matt Hardy's attack on Drew McIntyre from last week and the "match" the two had on Raw. Now, as per orders from Vince McMahon, Matt Hardy is now suspended from all WWE programming, and it seemed like he was about to announce that Teddy Long was suspended or fired, but Kofi Kingston interrupted. After Kofi trash talked McIntyre, we never heard his announcement to Teddy Long, and I'm pretty sure that's not how getting fired works. I've been fired before, if I knew someone could just interrupt the person relaying the message and my job would be safe, I would've given Kofi a call!

Oh... bummer. After commercial, Teddy Long got the bad news, he's not fired, but next week he has a match against Drew McIntyre! Okay, at this point, I'm thinking McIntyre is just making shit up. He's forging letters and orders from Vince McMahon and Vince is too busy being crazy to notice.

Main Event time! Big Show vs. CM Punk for the first time ever! Not really much to this one, mostly all Big Show until he tried to take off CM Punk's mask, but then The SES & The Masked Stranger attacked, causing the DQ. And much like our other match involving the F4W participants, Kane stormed ringside and attacked everyone. I really can't believe it's 2010 and Kane is a believable centerpiece of a professional wrestling show.

Decent show, we really only got two matches: Mysterio vs. Swagger and Christian vs. Ziggler, and the rest was all hype for Kane. Still, those two matches were pretty good and the Kane storyline is entertaining, but we could've got another match or two had they not insisted on replaying the entire NXT Invasion for the third time this week.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bryan Danielson, still released

Dear Internet,

Please let me be pissed off about this, don't ruin it for me.


So as expected, the internet has imploded. I totally get it, I'm not happy about it either, but the reaction is more distracting than the actual news. "Reports" (from the same people who 18 hours ago insisted it was a work) are suggesting that Danielson upset some "outside entity" with the way he choked Justin Roberts. Some are making parallels between it and the Benoit tragedy, if that is the case (emphasis on if), it seems like a massive overreaction, but sometimes that's the nature of the beast. Danielson's not in a position in WWE where he can dodge a controversy like this, remember back in 1999 when Al Snow's action figure was pulled from shelves because someone thought Head was a woman's severed head? Another overreaction, but Snow wasn't exactly a Rock or Stone Cold, and it wound up hurting his career.

As Sean from EWB put it:

I imagine it worked something like this:

"Wow, that was great work Bryan Danielson. Very vicious, very convincing. We are going to take you places Bryan Danielson, we are going to make you a star!"

"Uh, Mr. McMahon, the advertisers just called. They think we went way too far last night. They want to drop our show."


We could speculate all day about who (if anyone) "pressured" WWE, but please stop with the "but (Wrestler X) did (this violent act) (X amount of weeks/months/years ago), so why does Danielson get punished?!" Because he's the one that someone complained about, end of story. Complaining that JBL choked Jericho with a wire two and a half years ago is asinine.

It's a shitty situation, but this is why Vince McMahon is the chairman of WWE and we just watch, there's a business to run. Even if it wasn't Danielson's fault or he didn't know he couldn't do that, if his actions jeopardized a business deal, then WWE did what they felt they had to do. It sucks, but if you can't understand it, then you're not thinking clearly.

I wouldn't be surprised if internet outrage bleeds over into the mainstream product though, and that's understandable. Even though it'll enter the "bargaining" stage of grief, it worked for Matt Hardy back in 2005, maybe it'll work for Danielson. Or maybe WWE will bring him back when the situation cools down, or maybe he'll go back to ROH, or maybe he'll go tour Japan. No matter what, Danielson will be fine, he just left WWE by spitting in John Cena's face and telling him that he's a superior athlete, he's got all the momentum in the world. But really, let's stop calling for him to sign with TNA, the guy just lost his job, hasn't he suffered enough?

The Five Stages of Bryan Danielson's release

1. Denial - It’s a work!

2. Anger - WWE SUX!

3. Bargaining - Sign the petition to bring back Bryan Danielson!

4. Depression - WWE sucks :’(

5. Acceptance - Oh well, I guess he could go to TNA.

Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) released... "released?"

From WWE.com:

WWE has come to terms on the release of NXT first season rookie Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson) as of today June 11, 2010. We wish Daniel Bryan the best in all future endeavors.

So this was posted a few hours ago, and apparently I'm the only person on the internet that thinks it's real. Everyone is insisting that this is a fake firing, but it seems like wishful thinking to me. Danielson himself also changed his Twitter name tonight and mentioned the "winds of change," prompting people to say this "confirms" that this is an angle, but I don't really see how that works. Danielson probably changed his Twitter name because he was fired and can't go by the name Daniel Bryan anymore, and the "winds are changing" because he's leaving WWE.

This being a storyline just doesn't make any sense, unless WWE is really trying to mess with internet fans who read WWE.com at 10pm on a Friday night, but even still, it would be really stupid. Bryan is currently involved in the major NXT Invasion angle that began Monday night, in the context of that storyline, the Season 1 Rookies aren't employed by WWE, there's no contract to release him from. And when someone spits in John Cena's face, kicks him in the skull, chokes out Justin Roberts, beats up ringside attendants and tears up the ring, you don't "wish him well in all future endeavors" four days later.

I know it sucks and I hope I'm wrong, but Bryan Danielson is out of WWE, at least for now. No idea why they would let the guy go after making him the centerpiece of NXT and kicking off this red hot invasion storyline, but there's little doubt in my mind that he has been released.