Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kick-Out!! Classic: Top 5 Hell in a Cell Matches

This is a repost from last year before the first Hell in a Cell PPV, my pick for the top five HIAC matches in WWE history. The list is unchanged from 2009, primarily because none of the matches at last year's PPV came close to these classics.

5. The Undertaker vs. Mankind - King of the Ring 1998
You can't have a list about the Hell in a Cell and not mention this match. For some people, this is the greatest match of all-time, others have turned on it, some even saying it's not even a "match" at all. Even Mick Foley distances himself from it, despite it being the defining moment of his career. While the actual wrestling in this match was mostly absent, you cannot deny the impact it had on professional wrestling. Undertaker throwing Foley off the top of the Cell, then thrown through the cell into the ring, then onto a pile of thumbtacks are still three of the craziest moments I've ever seen in WWE. The fact that Mick Foley even survived this match, much less continued wrestling over a decade later, is proof that the guy is one of the toughest men to ever put on a pair of boots.

4. Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H vs. The Rock vs. The Undertaker vs. Rikishi - Armageddon 2000
What do you get when you combine the five biggest Superstars of the last ten years (and Rikishi) and put them in the most popular gimmick match in recent history? You get one wild and fun main event. Really, the only problem with this match is that Rikishi was in it, which made sense at the time, but looking back you just think "how the hell did that happen?" If only Mick Foley had been an active competitor at this time, he could've made this match the only time (that I can remember) where all of the Attitude Era's biggest names were in the ring and competing against each other at the same time.

3. Undertaker vs. Edge - SummerSlam 2008
The most recent Hell in a Cell match is also one of the best. I just re-watched this match a couple days ago and it's even better than I remember. Everything was just perfect here and considering that these two could go out and put on an absolutely unforgettable match after feuding (off and on) for almost a year at that point, is a testament to how great both of these guys are. They had THE main event match at WrestleMania 24, arguably the greatest TLC match in history at One Night Stand 2008 and then just two months later, this amazing Hell in a Cell match. Brutal bumps, nasty weapons shots, and the first HIAC match in years to actually go outside the cell (with Edge hitting the running spear on the announce tables), combine to get this one at #3 on the list.

2. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H - Bad Blood 2004
47 Minutes. Let me repeat that: forty-seven minutes. Shawn Michaels and Triple H have a storied history and when they're on opposite corners of the ring, magic happens. They've had a lot of matches since HBK returned at SummerSlam 2002, but I think it's safe to say that this is their definitive contest. The story, the emotion, the brutality, the fact that it went for 47 minutes, what more can you ask for in a match? The only thing keeping this from the #1 spot is the fact that it drags a bit towards the end (and that's a very minor gripe and understandable since they wrestled for FORTY-SEVEN MINUTES!) and that there's one other match that possibly cannot be topped.

1. The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels - Bad Blood 1997
You always remember your first and the first Hell in a Cell match isn't just the best HIAC match of all-time, you could argue that it's the greatest match of all-time. Taker and Shawn had only wrestled each other once before with a no-contest finish due to mass-interference, and thus the Hell in a Cell was born. Of course, that didn't stop all interference, because on that night almost exactly 13 years ago, Kane made his WWE debut, ripping the Cell door off its hinges and Tombstoned his brother, which allowed Shawn Michaels to get the win. This match is as close as you're going to get to perfection inside a wrestling ring, and when you put two of the greatest of all-time in the ring together and everything just clicks, you know you have something special. You could also say this match is so great because both HBK and Taker were in their prime, but considering the match these two had at WrestleMania this year, it looks like they still are.

Let me know your picks for the best HIAC matches in history, and make sure to check back this weekend for my full review of Hell in a Cell 2010!

Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore JournalWWE: Hell in a CellWWE: Shawn Michaels - My JourneyTriple H: King of Kings - There is Only One

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Poll: Unifying the titles

There's a lot of talk going around the dirtsheet world that WWE will unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, and if they're to be believed, it won't happen any later than WrestleMania 27. My question to you is, should they? Vote in the poll to the right of your screen and leave your thoughts about in the comments section!

WWE - The History of the Intercontinental ChampionshipWWE - The History of the WWE ChampionshipWWE: The History of the World Heavyweight Championship

Monday, September 27, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - September 27, 2010

Live blogging tonight's taped show! Luckily, I've managed to somehow avoid spoilers all week, so it might as well be live for me. Also, when's the last time Raw was taped and Smackdown was live in the same week? First time ever?

Speaking of first time ever, Raw's opening intro video is a recap of a feud over the US Title?! Yep, instead of showing John Cena and Wade Barrett make a match for the 412th time this week, Raw starts with a recap of Miz and Alex Riley destroying Daniel Bryan. I like it.

And hey, Raw starts off with Cap'n Awesome himself, The Miz is here! Daniel Bryan has challenged Miz and Alex Riley to a tag team match tonight. Doesn't take long for "Flight of the Valkyries" to hit, Daniel Bryan is here with his tag team partner... John Morrison! Alright, I'm all for this, Morrison, Bryan and Miz are three of the best parts of Raw right now, and considering JoMo's history with The Miz, it makes perfect sense. Exciting back and forth opener with Bryan getting the hot tag, but he couldn't quite apply the LeBell Lock, and instead ate the Skullcrushing Finale! After the match, Miz tries to beat down Bryan again, but Morrison makes the save and tackles Miz to the outside, but Bryan nails both men with a suicide dive! Morrison didn't take too kindly to that, so all three men start brawling, which leads to The G?M chiming in to make a Triple Threat Submissions Count Anywhere match at Hell in a Cell, and the US Title will be on the line! Well, Miz and Morrison aren't exactly submission wrestlers, but I'm all for these three mixing it up on PPV.

Divas Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender for the Divas Championship, and Laycool is on commentary, making Michael Cole almost tolerable. And hey, NATALYA won! Could WWE be serious about putting gold on a talented female athlete? That's like seeing a white Bengal tiger in the wild! I'm not going to complain though, Natalya as the #1 contender is awesome news.

Looks like next week we'll find out who's stalking Ted DiBiase and/or Maryse. If it's not Goldust, I don't care.

Sheamus is here, fella! The Celtic Warrior tells us a tale of two princes, and one about Little Miss Can't Be Wrong, then issues an open challenge to anyone in the locker room. After a commercial break, The Great Khali takes Sheamus up on his offer... oh dear. Khali lights Sheamus up with a NASTY! chop to the chest, which instantly turned the former WWE Champion red, and much like when you step on Wiggler in Super Mario, Sheamus went nutzo! The Celtic Warrior demolished Khali here, getting himself DQed in the process, but hey, if I had Khali's hand tattooed on my chest, I'd be pissed too.

The Cutting Edge is next and Edge's guest tonight is The G?M, which is interesting. The G?M is apparently Skyping, but has his (or her) voice masked to protect his identity... or it's GLaDOS from Portal. The Spear is a lie. Edge grows increasingly frustrated and tries to storm off, but he has a match tonight... against John Cena!

John Cena vs. Edge is always a fun match. We've seen it a lot, but their rivalry has been one of the best longterm rivalries that WWE has ever done. Good match between these two, with Edge shockingly picking up the win after a spear... but Cena's foot was under the ropes, and The G?M ordered the match to continue. Cena made the comeback and locked in the STF for the win, and Edge went nutzo on the G?M's laptop. "Edge, you have the crazy eyes" literally had me laughing out loud, I so hope we haven't heard the end of the GLaDOS voice. It instantly made Edge interesting again. Good thing the G?M bought the extended protection plan.

Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater vs. Evan Bourne & Mark Henry, and all I want out of this match is for Gabriel and Bourne to get three minutes of pure high flying insanity. Please? Well, we get a little tease of it, with Gabriel missing the 450 and Bourne nailing the SSP, but stupid Heath Slater rolls Gabriel back over Bourne and Nexus wins. Nexus destroy Bourne after the match, and if you ever needed anyone to make Nexus look dangerous, Evan Bourne would be the guy to do it. Good promo from Barrett after the match too, if Cena doesn't lose on Sunday, I'm going to be really bummed.

The Hart Dynasty vs. Rhodes & McIntyre in another rematch for the WWE Tag Team Titles. I guess with Rhodes & McIntyre winning in a controversial fashion on Friday, the Harts have earned another rematch. But this is one's on Raw, which doesn't exactly have the luxury of long matches like Smackdown, so this wasn't anywhere near as enjoyable as their previous two encounters. Harts argue after the match, and they better not be splitting these two up, which would be really dumb and counter-productive.

Main Event time! Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton and even better, Chris Jericho has a microphone! Jericho was listing his accomplishments, and they're so great, they had to go to commercial. Jericho went down a long list of his victims, including Kevin Nash, Diesel AND Oz, and was rudely interrupted by stupid Randy Orton's stupid face. Great match though, as it should be considering Jericho being involved. Match descends into utter chaos though when Sheamus runs in an causes a DQ, Jericho nails Orton with a Codebreaker, but catches an RKO when he goes for a chair shot and eats a PUNT!? NOOO!!! That's not good. Maybe Jericho was punted so hard, he'll return in a few weeks as Y2J? Please?

Fairly good Raw. I kinda dig when Raw's taped, as long as I can avoid the spoilers, because they tend to put more of a focus on in-ring action than the usual goofiness on the live shows. Still, with Hell in a Cell just one Smackdown away now, WWE's got a lot of work to do if they want people to actually buy this PPV.

WWE Elite Collection Chris Jericho Alt. Outfit Figure Series #4EDGE - MATTEL ELITE 1 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGUREMattel WWE Randy Orton Figure Series #3

Sunday, September 26, 2010

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - September 24, 2010

It was the finale of Smackdown on MyNetworkTV, did the show go out with a bang?

Well, it certainly started with one, thanks to Kane's absurdly loud pyro. Kane vs. Chris Masters was our opening contest, and even though its outcome was a forgone conclusion, I'm happy to see Masters get more time on Smackdown lately. Masters is extremely underrated and at least he got some offense in, including the Masterlock, which is still a well-protected move all these years later. Match was surprisingly long, and while Masters took quite a beating, he looked tough in the process. Not a bad way to start things off.

After the match, Kane told the audience that he drained The Undertaker of any remaining powers after dumping him on his head at Night of Champions, and he had one last challenge for his big brother that he couldn't refuse.

Tag Team Titles on the line with The Hart Dynasty invoking their rematch clause against Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre. Not quite as good as their match last week, but way better than the train wreck that we got a Night of Champions. Rhodes & McIntyre are really gelling as a team, and even though I'm still bummed about the Hart's losing the belts in such an anticlimactic fashion, this match did what it needed to do to firmly establish Rhodes & McIntyre as the new champs. I'd like to see more from these two teams though, they mesh very well.

Backstage, Alberto Del Rio stood over a prone Christian, obviously writing out Captain Charisma, who was put on the shelf thanks to an unfortunate pectoral tear.

The Undertaker was shown backstage, just sitting on a staircase. It was a nice touch, Undertaker is never shown just hanging out backstage, because ya know, he's usually just hanging out in Hell, but now that he's powerless, he has to sit backstage like everyone else.

Hornswoggle, Teddy Long, Croft & Baretta goofing around backstage, packing up stuff for the move to Syfy was actually pretty amusing.

Kaval vs. Chavo Guerrero was next in a match that surely made smark's brains explode. Well, their shared brain explode. Chavo Guerrero actually won this match, which of course means "WWE SUX LOW-KI IS BURIEZ!" It was actually a pretty good match though and sold the idea that Kaval is a "rookie" when put up against the veteran Chavo. As for my opinion on Chavo winning his first match in months? Well, I have to quote a good friend of the site, Louis O'Hara, "I love how Chavo Guerrero is the most criminally underused wrestler in the WWE and deserves to be getting wins and higher up on the card... at least until he gets a win over someone people like, that is."

Alberto Del Rio came out to mock all of his opponents who wind up getting injured when they cross him. But guess what? Rey Mysterio is returning to Smackdown next week, at least according to Del Rio. Why do I get the feeling we're going to get the old midget impersonation bit?

But hey, Christian interrupted Del Rio during his promo, so it doesn't look like he's ready to go out yet! But Alberto's personal ring announcer grabbed Christian's leg and allowed Del Rio to get the upper hand and lock in the Cross Armbreaker. Okay, now he's written out.

Big Show vs. Hawkins & Archer in a handicap match? I call this one a "two birds with one stone" match. Big Show made quick work of these two, and that's really all there is to say about this one.

Next week's live Smackdown will be in Oklahoma, a homecoming for Jack Swagger!

CM Punk vs. Luke Gallows was set after The SES officially imploded. Before the match, Gallows promised he'd beat Punk, then celebrate with a beer. I guess with Serena's release and Mercury's injury, they're just going to go with CM Punk as a singles competitor again? Kind of a bummer, because the group had a fun dynamic, but Punk is good as the leader of a group or a solo act. Gallows falls to the GTS, and I wonder if this means he'll be sent back to rehab.

Dolph Ziggler vs. MVP was our final match of the evening, and this match could be used as a good relaunching for MVP... but I feel like that's the sixth time I've said that this year. With Ziggler walking out of the match though, it looks like we're at least going to have a brief IC Title feud between the two, and MVP looked impressive here, but who knows? I'll believe an MVP push when I see it.

Kane returned to the ring in the final segment of the show to issue his challenge to The Undertaker. Since the ring is now Kane's yard, he wants to prove it... inside Hell in a Cell! Not exactly shocking considering there's a PPV in nine days called HELL IN A CELL, and that's why I hate this PPV concept. It would be much more dramatic if Kane challenged Taker to HIAC out of the blue, but we knew these two were going to have the match when Undertaker returned at SummerSlam, completely kills the drama of the build up. Kane promised to make his brother burn in hell, but then *GONG!*

The infamous druids pushed a casket to ringside, but it wasn't The Undertaker inside, it was PAUL BEARER?! After a six-year hiatus from WWE, the "Father of Destruction," returned to Smackdown, and he carried the urn, which surely will restore The Undertaker's powers, right? Oh, I love wrestling. Undertaker appeared in the ring, sent Kane running and the final image for Smackdown on MyNetworkTV was The Undertaker bowing to Paul Bearer and the urn.

Smackdown wasn't as good this week as it's been lately, especially the last two weeks, but Paul Bearer's return was the big deal. Earlier in the week, I asked on Kick-Out!! Radio what WWE needs to do to make wrestling exciting again; well, if wrestling fans can get this excited over the return of a manager, I think that says something. There was a time, not that long ago, when every person on the show was important or had a story to tell, and that's just not really the case anymore. Look at this Smackdown, there are more than a handful of guys that are just there and have no other real reasons to care about them. Perhaps Paul Bearer's return could shine a light on that?

But I don't want to sound like a total negative Nancy, Bearer's return is really cool and just takes the Undertaker/Kane storyline back to its completely over-the-top roots. I will say this, I am more excited about Hell in a Cell now, thanks solely to the addition of Paul Bearer, even though he will add little to the actual match or card in general. It's just one of those nice little touches in wrestling that I really enjoy.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 45

WWE’s under investigation, Nexus could disband, John Cena turning heel, John Morrison in the Superstar Spotlight, and Matt Hardy talks about his favorite subject… Matt Hardy.

Also, we were going to interview Chris Jericho this week, but our previous interview was his last appearance on Kick-Out!! Radio.*

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

*Yes, I'm lying, but let Chris know the invite's out there!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mickie James reportedly signs with TNA

According to Diva Dirt, former WWE Women's Champion Mickie James has signed, or will sign, a deal with TNA Wrestling. After her embarrassing final year with WWE, I think this is not only good news for Mickie James, but great news for women's wrestling in the United States in general.

Mickie James left WWE after the beyond offensive Piggie James storyline, and things really haven't improved there in terms of presenting an entertaining women's division. WWE unified the Women's and Diva's Titles on Sunday at Night of Champions, which could be a step in the right direction, but there's little evidence that WWE plans to put more emphasis on talent and ability rather than eye candy. I'm a WWE fan through and through, but their presentation of women's wrestling has been my #1 complaint about the company since Lita and Trish Stratus retired, and their track record wasn't exactly stellar before that either.

TNA, on the other hand, had arguably the greatest women's division that an American wrestling company has ever seen with the Knockouts. Wrestlers like Gail Kim and Awesome Kong were tearing it up in the ring, and the women's segments were (and perhaps still are) consistently the highest rated of Impact. Things haven't exactly been as good lately with throwaway matches and confusing storylines, but it's still the one thing TNA does better than WWE. Add Mickie James into that mix, and TNA could pull even further away from the competition.

Mickie James is a big deal. No, it's not earth-shattering news that's going to change the face of TNA as we know it (for the tenth time this year), but she's exactly what TNA needs right now. She's extremely talented, has instant name recognition, and she's the kind of person they could build the division around. A stronger Knockouts Division can only mean good news for their ratings, and if more people are watching because they recognize Mickie James, they may stick around for the other names they recognize like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy, then come to find some new guys they enjoy like The Pope or the Motor City Machine Guns.

There is no magic bullet for TNA, no matter how many times they've tried with extravagant plans, it never works, but as the old adage goes, slow and steady wins the race. The Knockouts Division is their constant, and with someone like Mickie James joining the fold, she could be a very important piece to their puzzle, so long as they stay patient and quit going for the quick fix.

Whatever impact, if any, this may have on TNA's business remains to be seen, but the good news is that one of the most talented female wrestlers in the country has a steady gig. I'm a big fan of Mickie and wish her the best of luck, she deserves every bit of success that comes her way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Five Count: Favorite Championship Belts

With Night of Champions just a couple days ago, it got me thinking about my favorite championship belts throughout wrestling history. Here are my top five favorite title designs (not championships, just the design):

5. ECW Championship
ECW 2008 Version 3D Heavyweight Adult Size Replica BELT
WWE's first foray into experiencing with something other than traditional gold was with the redesign of the ECW Championship, originally made for Mark Henry in 2008. I think a lot of people were initially turned off by the design, and it admittedly was too big for most of the people who held it, but I thought it looked really cool and really set ECW apart from the more traditional sides of WWE. I miss this belt almost as much as I miss ECW every Tuesday night.

4. WWE Undisputed Championship
WWE UNDISPUTED World Heavyweight DELUXE Replica BELT

While it was originally given to Triple H by Ric Flair after WrestleMania 18, I look at this belt and think about Eddie Guerrero, and that makes me smile.  Also, it was notably the last design for the WWE Championship before everyone's favorite, the Spinner belt, came along.  I like this design though and wouldn't be opposed to WWE going back to it when they drop the current design, but that won't happen until you stop buying the spinner replica!

3. The Smoking Skull 

The only custom belt you'll see on this list, this title was created for Stone Cold during the height of the Attitude Era, and just looks bad ass.  For one, there's a skull on it, which if Affliction has taught me anything, means you're automatically tough if you're wearing something with skulls on it.  Two, the side plates are police shields, why?  Because Sheriff Austin will kick your ass, that's why.

2. Intercontinental Title
WWF Classic Intercontinental Adult Size Replica Belt with Black Strap

Not the current design, the classic design.  The title worn by the likes of Mr. Perfect, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon and briefly glanced at by Dean Douglas.  This was the design when the belt was in its prime and was very much the "workhorse" championship.  While guys like Hogan had the drama in the main event, this Intercontinental Title put the emphasis on "sports" in "sports entertainment."

1. WWF Championship: The Winged Eagle
WWE Deluxe Winged Eagle Heavyweight Championship Adult Size Replica Belt

Class. Pure class.  Never in the history of WWE, or pro wrestling in general, has there been a more gorgeous belt than this one.  Simple, elegant, and worn by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior (with colored straps!), Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels.  I was sad when they retired this design and if any classic belt should come back, it's this one.

I know I left off some favorites like Big Gold, the bizarre, but unique AWA Title and the WCW United States Championship, so leave a comment and tell me your favorite belts!

Monday, September 20, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - September 20, 2010

It's the post-Night of Champions Raw, and perhaps more importantly, the follow-up to last week's Raw, which was the best show of the last two years. We'll be live blogging here, so make sure you refresh your page for ongoing coverage of tonight's show!

And naturally, things begin with your new WWE Champion, Randy Orton! Thankfully, Sheamus is here to save us from a Randy Orton promo, and he has a very good point, he's never lost the WWE Title in a proper one-on-one match. Both times, it took five other guys to take out the Celtic Warrior, fella! Sheamus goes on to mock Orton's goofy mannerisms, officially becoming my favorite wrestler ever, but before things can get too heated, The G?M has something to say. And I quote, "Sheamus will face Randy Orton, inside Hell in a Cell," in PPV that is 13 days away. Yes, WWE expects you to pay $100+ within two weeks time, but didn't you hear, the recession ended over a year ago!!

Anyway, Sheamus wants to hold onto the Dobelyeh Dobelyeh Eee Title between now and Hell in a Cell, and if Orton wins he can have it back. Orton threatens both Sheamus' grandmother and his own (seriously, this guy is so lame), and then tosses the belt to Sheamus and hits him with an RKO. Sigh.

The Hart Dynasty is on commentary for Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre vs. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov, although they probably shouldn't be. And neither should Michael Cole, whose heel shtick is just brutal at this point. He's not even being a heel, he's basically just shitting on people, which does no one any favors and makes the entire show look bad. New champs pick up an easy win, but I was too distracted.

John Morrison is backstage warming up for his match with... Chris Jericho?! Looks like Chris didn't get the memo about last night being his final appearance with WWE. I should know better than to even consider believing PWInsider.

Backstage, Zack Ryder is being more entertaining than Edge has been all year. Edge is whining about something and Daniel Bryan asks him to keep it down while he's trying to read. That's as good a reason as any to set up a match, it's Edge vs. Bryan, tonight!

Chris Jericho vs. John Morrison next, and after Morrison's awesome showings over the last two weeks, I have high hopes for this match. Power of the Beard allows Morrison to get momentum early with an INSANE dive over the turnbuckle, not over the rope, over the actual turnbuckle. Seriously, this is why you can never count anyone out in wrestling, because the Lizard King is quickly becoming one of the highlights of Monday Night Raw. Morrison picks up another huge win and Chris Jericho continues to look really sad when he loses, which kinda bums me out. I've been beating this drum for the last few weeks, but can we just turn Jericho face already? The crowd is chanting "Y2J!" all over the place, even when he's a massive jerk, and the losing streak just makes me feel sympathetic for the guy.

John Cena vs. Wade Barrett in the main event tonight? Smells like shenanigans!

AAAWWWWWEEEEEESSSSSOOOOOOMMMMEEEE! The Miz is out next to explain that he was injured last night and had to tap out in order to avoid needing surgery, but then insists that he did not tap out. I wish I could pull stunts like that at my work, "I didn't do my work because something came up, but I swear I did my work." Miz is on commentary for Edge vs. Daniel Bryan and Michael Cole is like a 12-year-old at a Justin Bieber concert. And Daniel Bryan finally has new entrance music... RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES! That's your ass, Edge!

While Cole and Miz try to bury Bryan on commentary (seriously, it was old during the first season of NXT), we have a damn good match on our hands. Unfortunately, Miz's newly signed personal assistant, Alex Riley, provides the distraction and Miz attacks Bryan from behind, allowing Edge to hit the Spear for the win. Took three guys to beat Daniel Bryan, but this is an Edge match, and The G?M is not a fan of the Rated-R Superstar and REVERSES the decision, Bryan wins by DQ! I think I figured it out, Gangrel is the anonymous GM and we're finally going to find out what their history is with each other!

Riley and Miz demolish Bryan after the match, and considering how awesome their encounter was last night, I'm all for them having many, many rematches.

The Self Professed Co-Unified Divas Champions, LayCool make their first appearance on Raw since unifying the belts, and Layla is defending their title against Melina. Great, now we have two Unicorn Rainbow Championships. Not much here, but Layla did bust out DIAMOND DUST as her finisher! Masato Tanaka would be proud. More Layla, less Michelle, please!

Chris Jericho is backstage to plug his DVD that comes out tomorrow, which you absolutely MUST buy. And Jericho also has The G?M's IP address and will soon expose his or her identity if they don't give into his demands. Surely the GM is using a proxy or some other thing I just looked up on Wikipedia to sound smart. Anyway, Randy Orton challenges Jericho to a match next week and if Jericho wins, he'll get a title shot whenever he wants. Well, if anyone's going to get me to care about an Orton match, it's Jericho.

R-Truth (with his new music) & Eve are out next for mixed tag action against Ted DiBiase & Maryse. Hey, DiBiase has new music too, and it's atrocious. What is with DiBiase getting progressively worse theme music? Actually, you can track my interest in DiBiase along with his theme changes:
Slow, Pink Floyd "Money" version of "Priceless" - Awesome, great debut too.
Faster version of "Priceless," - Also cool, and liked his team with Rhodes
Slowed down, heavier version of "Priceless" - Bad, and they start teaming with Orton.
"New Day" Legacy theme - Gag
Still using Legacy theme after Legacy's break up - Snore.
This atrocious excuse for a theme - Snore & Gag.

Truth & Eve pick up the win, but as Maryse and Ted are arguing, a message pops up on the TitanTron that says "I will have you," accompanied by creepy Skinemax music. Looks like they're continuing the secret admirer/stalker bit with these two, and as much as I like the TitanTron tease for a mystery storyline... really? I just can't bring myself to care about either Ted or Maryse.

Main Event Time! John Cena vs. Wade Barrett, first time ever! Like I said earlier, my Shenanigans Sense is tingling, and it really didn't take long, Wade Barrett took John Cena up on his words from earlier, when he said he wanted to take Nexus out one by one, and offered a 5-on-1 Gauntlet Match, which Cena naturally, agreed to.

Heath Slater vs. John Cena up first, and the sooner Cena disposes of this doofus, the better. One Attitude Adjustment later, and I get my wish.

David Otunga vs. John Cena in round two, and it's probably not a coincidence that WWE picked this moment for Raw's final commercial break. Back from break, Cena gets a win with a surprise roll-up.

Michael Tarver vs. John Cena next, and Tarver quickly taps out. Sigh.

Justin Gabriel vs. John Cena is Cena's final obstacle before Wade Barrett, but I'm actually more interested in this one after their great match from a few weeks back. Both men take each other to the limit here, but Nexus interferes before either man can put the other away. Referee calls for the bell, which should bring in Wade Barrett for the final part of the Gauntlet, but c'mon, you know it's not going to be that easy. Cena wants the match, but Barrett has him right where he wants him, Cena will do anything to fight Barrett, and the match will happen at Hell in a Cell, but if Wade Barrett wins, John Cena joins Nexus! But hey, if we're going to make it big, we're going to make it big, if John Cena wins, Nexus must leave WWE! Very interesting.

Good Raw, not as good as last week's but still a very enjoyable show. There are still some rough spots like a complete lack of a midcard, Edge's downfall, a less than impressive women's division and Ted DiBiase's pledge to end charisma as we know it, but the good is outweighing the bad. The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan somehow got even more entertaining, John Morrison is really starting to look like the next big thing, Chris Jericho is apparently sticking around, and I'm intrigued to see where they're going to go with Barrett vs. Cena. The show's still not perfect, but keep giving me shows like this instead of shows like the 900th episode of Ra and I'll be a happy wrestling fan.

Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris JerichoWWE: John Morrison- Rock StarWWE: Best Pay-Per-View Matches of the Year 2009-2010 [Blu-ray]

WWE Night of Champions 2010 Review

Buyer's remorse, thy name is Orton!

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Title kicked things off this evening. Dolph was a pair of ass-less chaps away from being a Chippendale's dancer and Vickie Guerrero was wearing leather pants, so whatever your weird fetish may be, WWE's premiere power couple had you covered. Speaking of interesting wardrobe choices, Kofi Kingston looked like he found Shawn Michaels' underwear, circa 1995. Thus concludes the Project Runway portion of the review, now let's talk wrasslin.

I thought this match was a really good opener and the crowd was red hot for it the entire way through. Commentary drug it down a bit, especially when everyone was shocked when Kofi rolled Ziggler back into the ring when he could've had a count-out victory. Whatever happened to celebrating the sportsmanship of the good guy? Kofi wanted to win the match the right way, not on some special technicality that was put in place to make sure Dolph played fair. Seriously, if I could change one thing about WWE programming right now, it would be to put JR back in the booth with Lawler for PPVs. Minor gripes aside, the match was good and Dolph Ziggler scored a decisive pinfall victory, finally establishing himself as the true Intercontinental Champion.
Predictions: 1 for 1

CM Punk's promo on how much he loves Chicago, but hates its inhabitants was hilarious, and a good try, but there's no way you're getting Chicago to boo their Straight Edge Savior... as they drink lots and lots of beer. His match with Big Show was a fun styles clash, but something just seemed off and the match was over before it ever really began. I find Big Show's win to be strange, but Punk will be more than fine despite the loss. Maybe this will force Punk to reevaluate the way he treats The SES? Maybe he needs them more than he thought?
Predictions: 1 for 2

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz was undoubtedly Match of the Night, and perhaps even a Match of the Year contender? Bryan won the crowd over with his ability, which is always nice to see, and The Miz continued to prove why he is the most improved performer of this generation. Fantastic work here, a red hot crowd, dramatic near falls and brilliant storytelling. This match is what WWE and pro wrestling is all about, and watching Miz tap out to the LeBell Lock was just so satisfying. Miz can now move up to the main event scene, where he belongs, and Daniel Bryan is officially a WWE Superstar. I don't know if you get a bigger ringing endorsement than winning the US Title in your first singles PPV match, and forcing the next big thing to tap out. Loved this match.
Predictions: 2 for 3

I had hope for Michelle McCool vs. Melina thanks to their enjoyable match at last year's Night of Champions, and they even referenced it with McCool going for a baseball slide during Melina's entrance, but much like McCool's attempt this year, this match failed. It was better than most Divas matches, but that's like being the best tasting mustard, even if it's good, it's still terrible. Yeah, that's right, mustard is disgusting. McCool won, which wasn't surprising, but I'm surprised/disappointed that WWE has officially named the unified title the Diva's Championship. I get it, it's all branding, but the Lisa Frank Championship is the ugliest and most insulting championship belt I've ever seen. Might as well put rainbows and unicorns on it, and maybe Michelle McCool can use the back of it to write down which boys are the cutest.
Predictions: 3 for 4

Kane vs. The Undertaker was "bowling shoe ugly," as JR would say. I thought it was a good idea to have Taker go after Kane during his entrance, don't even worry about making this one a wrestling match, just have them beat the hell out of each other. We got that for quite awhile, but once the match eventually got in the ring, it lost its appeal. At least we got a definitive ending instead of a no contest or some other shenanigans, but it's safe to say they held back for the eventual blow off at Hell in a Cell. A rare pinfall loss for The Undertaker and Kane's Tombstone was pretty gross too.
Predictions: 4 for 5

The Hart Dynasty defended the Tag Titles next in a Tag Team Turmoil match, and were the first team eliminated, by The Usos no less! Awful match that really exposed how much momentum the tag belts have lost in the last few months, but at least they gave the belts to Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes, who deserved the win after their amazing match with the Harts on Friday. Like I mentioned in my Night of Champions preview, sometimes you just gotta push the reset button, and I think The Harts will be better off if they're in the position of chasing the Tag Titles, rather than defending them.
Predictions: 5 for 6

Main Event Time! Six Pack Challenge for the WWE Championship with Sheamus vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Wade Barrett and I knew things were going to get ugly when Chris Jericho was eliminated within the first two minutes after getting hit with an RKO. Also, if the rumors are true, this will be Jericho's last appearance in WWE for the foreseeable future, which is a huge bummer. The dude's becoming this generation's Roddy Piper! Edge was out next, which isn't surprising considering he's done little of note in the last nine months, but the big shock was John Cena being the third man eliminated thanks to Wade Barrett (and a little help from Nexus).

Up to this point, the match wasn't anything to write home about, typical WWE multi-man fare with two guys in the ring and everyone else laying outside the ring like they'd been bashed over the head with a shovel. Things turned around after Cena's elimination though, the pace picked up considerably, as did the crowd, but unfortunately it was because Wade Barrett got hit with an RKO, leaving us with Orton and Sheamus. Tragically, Sheamus couldn't connect with the high cross, and took the fifth RKO of the evening, allowing Randy Orton to win his *gag* seventh World Championship.

I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, and yes, it makes sense, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. For all the bitching and moaning smarks have done about Cena being Superman over the last few years, I expect each and every one of you to turn on Randy Orton any minute now. The RKO has been put over as more devastating than a gunshot wound, he beat Cena (and the entire Raw roster) on Monday, and now won a Six Pack Challenge without even breaking a sweat. WWE's certainly striking while the iron is hot, unfortunately, that iron is striking directly across my face.
Predictions: 5 for 7

A great first half, a second half that got worse as the night went on, and an ending that made Razor cry combined for a solid, but not spectacular PPV. Better than last year's Night of Champions, but I still think this PPV concept could have a much bigger feel to it. Probably doesn't help when the Hell in a Cell PPV is, for some reason, just two weeks away, and I'm sure that'll be treated like a much bigger deal, even though last year's was my pick for worst PPV of 2009. Tonight was definitely a letdown though after a stellar week of WWE programming, but thanks to the hot opener and the amazing US Title match, there was fun to be had. I don't grade shows on a number scale, but the final grade for Night of Champions 2010: United States Champion.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Commemorative BELTWWE Deluxe Winged Eagle Heavyweight Championship Adult Size Replica BeltWWF Classic Intercontinental Adult Size Replica Belt with Black Strap