Sunday, October 24, 2010

WWE Bragging Rights 2010 Review

Bragging Rights 2009 was the best PPV of last year, could WWE make it two in a row?

Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler kicked things off at the Target Center in Minneapolis, and let me just say straight up, this was a Match of the Year contender. The only bad thing about this match was the atrocious commentary from the Chuckles Brigade of Cole, Striker and Lawler. "LOL HEY GUYZ, VICKIE GUERRERO IS TEH FATTEST! LULZ!!!" That was the extent of the commentary for this match, and while the Vickie is fat jokes have always been insulting, they're especially stupid now that Vickie has lost a ton of weight and looks fantastic. But yeah, let's mock a widow who gained a few pounds after the death of her husband, that's classy.

Anyway, Bryan and Ziggler tore the friggin' house down here and gave us a classic opener that did exactly what it was supposed to do, got the crowd hotter and hotter with each passing move. Bryan is the heir to the name "Excellence of Execution," and Dolph Ziggler continues to step up his game with every big match situation he's placed in. Bryan is an absolute machine in the ring, and there is absolutely no reason why this guy shouldn't be a top Superstar within the next few years. Bryan picked up the win for the Raw brand and made it two in a row for the US Champion in an absolutely fantastic match.
Predictions: 1 for 1

In a bit of a surprise, the WWE Tag Team Champions graced us with their presence, saying that no one on Raw wanted to face them, but The G?M disagreed and presented their opponents for the evening, The Nexus! Wade Barrett himself was there to introduce the two specific members of Nexus that would be challenging the champions, David Otunga... and John Cena!

Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre vs. David Otunga & John Cena was our spontaneous addition to the PPV, and it was essentially a handicap match with Rhodes & McIntyre taking on Cena. If you follow the site, you know my feelings on handicap matches, and they certainly apply here, but Nexus picking up the win and the Tag Team Titles should make for an interesting story moving forward. Here's hoping they get to defend them under the Freebird Rule.
Predictions: n/a

In another recently added match, Goldust battled Ted DiBiase, and I think this might be the first time I ever enjoyed a Ted DiBiase singles match. I applaud Goldust for that bit of miracle working, and watching the 41-year-old Superstar in the ring tonight, you'd think he was 21. Goldust is living proof that experience is the most valuable weapon in any wrestler's arsenal and he looked absolutely fantastic in there tonight. DiBiase picked up the win, but Goldust and Aksana outsmarted him after the match and managed to escape with the Million Dollar Title once again. Very fun match and I really hope WWE keeps doing something with Goldust, he has to be the most underutilized talent in the industry today.
Predictions: 1 for 2

Layla vs. Natalya for the Diva's Championship had potential, they even did a little bit of wrestling in this one, which is rare for women's matches in WWE these days, but it fell into all the same pitfalls: no time was given to it, the crowd had little interest, and it had a wonky finish. If WWE doesn't present it as something we should really care about, then we won't, and why should we? I love Natalya, I like Layla and I'm even coming around on LayCool as a group, but the presentation of women is still a huge problem with WWE.
Predictions: 1 for 3

Kane vs. The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match once again defied expectations. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to expectations either, which none of their matches this year have. The Undertaker is the definitive WWE Superstar, make no mistake about it, and Kane has truly stepped it up this year, but through all of their storied history, we're just not getting the payoff in the ring. Fun little brawls, sure, but the "matches" have largely been the kind of brawls we'd see at the end of Smackdown, not matches we'd pay $50 to see. Kane, with a lot of help from The Nexus (what???), managed to once again defeat his brother, and this time buried him six feet deep to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. Oh Kane, haven't you watched WWE at all over the last 20 years? You don't put Undertaker in a casket or bury him alive, he's like a Jedi, when you strike him down, he becomes more powerful than you can possibly imagine!

A lot of folks seem to think this indicates more time off for The Undertaker, but I can't see that being the case, especially with Survivor Series marking his 20th year with WWE. I don't know where they're going with this, and the addition of Nexus to the storyline only makes things stranger, but perhaps these are the seeds for Undertaker vs. John Cena at WrestleMania?
Predictions: 1 for 4

Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown for Bragging Rights continued the trend of bucking the trend for the evening. I enjoyed the match, it was a fun, huge tag match, but wow, did Team Raw look like buffoons this week, or what? Even with Alberto Del Rio being an a-hole, Team Smackdown managed to survive and make it two in a row! Hey, I'm all for it, I love Smackdown, they're on the new network, they could use the hype, and we know in reality, Raw is always going to be the A-show. These matches are a little too big for my tastes though, it's really hard to get anything more than a finisher-fest going when you have fourteen guys in the ring, and it doesn't exactly make Survivor Series feel like a big deal next month with its five-on-five matches. Also, the match that won't have any lasting impact since everyone will go back to hating each other tomorrow, but it was still fun to watch.
Predictions: 1 for 5

Wade Barrett w/John Cena vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, was just plain awful. We have a PPV with The Undertaker being buried alive, Team Smackdown shocking the world winning two years in a row, but they decide to end the PPV with a friggin' DQ finish? Are you kidding me?! Orton once again proves that he has no character whatsoever besides his finisher, and he was mere background noise to the much more interesting story of Cena in The Nexus, but even that fell flat with the awful finish. Cena throwing Nexus out of the ring when they almost got caught by the ref was a great touch, but him attacking Barrett to give him a DQ win was utterly predictable, lame, and sucked all the energy out of the room. You could argue that WWE painted themselves into a corner here, but they took the absolute worst possible path out of it. Terrible finish to an otherwise solid event.
Predictions: 1.5 for 6 (I knew Orton would retain, but thought he'd just win)

As mentioned earlier, Bragging Rights 09 was the best PPV of the year, but Bragging Rights 2010 certainly was not. It wasn't a bad PPV, the amazing opener alone saved it from that, but it wasn't particularly great either and the main event left a really sour taste in my mouth. I'm eager to see why Nexus attacked The Undertaker and what's in store next for John Cena, but I have absolutely zero interest in Randy Orton as WWE Champion and as long as he's at the top of the card, RKOing everything in sight, I'll just keep yawning. Definitely a "make sure you watch Raw tomorrow!" kind of show, but when PPVs are $50, I expect a lot more than an advertisement for the show that's free.

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