Sunday, February 28, 2010

Smackdown Thoughts - February 26, 2010

Chris Jericho started Raw on Monday, main evented NXT on Tuesday and opened Smackdown on Friday, WWE, my birthday isn't until October, so what's this all about?  Although if you want to give me a Jericho-related gift then, may I suggest a Chris Jericho DVD?  Just sayin.  Jericho's promo was fairly similar to his rant from Monday, and Edge once again interrupted, but did not spear the World Champion this time, at least not at first... although he did say "spear" a lot.  Speaking of which, Edge, a new finisher wouldn't hurt.  Jericho says he'll "never get speared again," and five seconds later, spear.  Spear spear.

Why was AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" playing before the first Money in the Bank qualifying match? Wouldn't "Money Talks" have been more appropriate?

Dear Matt Striker, please stop saying that John Morrison "shed his innocence" in the Elimination Chamber, it just sounds gross. Anyway, Morrison was in action against Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth in the aforementioned MITB qualifying match. Should be worth noting that NXT Rookie David Otunga accompanied Truth to the ring for this one, I suppose he was taking notes. Very fun, extremely exciting match, might even be my pick for Match of the Week; good work from all three men and the crowd was hot for it as well, which always helps. Weird to see Dolph Ziggler come out on top, even though he definitely dominated the match, but when was the last time he even won a match, let alone a match this big? But after smashing his face on the apron near the end of the match, he certainly earned it. Curious what Truth and Morrison will wind up doing at WrestleMania, because there's no way Ziggler makes it into MITB and these guys have nothing to do.

While I usually grow tired of seeing WWE's hype videos, since they show them 400 times a month, I could watch that Undertaker/HBK Placebo video over and over again.

It got spoiled for me earlier in the week, but Michelle McCool beating Mickie James to regain the Women's Title was fucking stupid. I try not to drop the f-bomb on here too often (which is weird since I use it everywhere else almost every other word), but yeah, fucking stupid. I still don't know why the hell Vickie Guerrero is helping Michelle McCool, the same McCool that calls MICKIE JAMES fat, when she's clearly not, and the same Vickie Guerrero who was called a fat pig by WWE throughout 2009. This storyline makes me want to vomit, and not because I'm bulimic, just because it's nauseatingly stupid. Couldn't Mickie have worked with Beth Phoenix or Natalya for a bit? No, we have to go right back to McSnooze. LAME!

Our second MITB qualifying match of the night is a rematch from Elimination Chamber, Kane vs. Drew McIntyre. So there's something about Drew McIntyre's new music that really bugs me, at first I swore it sounded like a Seether song, but the First Lady of Kick-Out!! mentioned it sounds like Metallica's version of "Turn the Page," and now that's all I hear. That discussion was more entertaining than this match, and the fact that they ended McIntyre's undefeated* streak after a stomp to the face is just weird. I don't care that Kane's in MITB, the match always needs a big dude to catch guys that are flying all over the place, and maybe it means the IC Title will be defended at WrestleMania, which is rare these days, but still, weird.

And how funny does Drew McIntyre look with his hair down? He looks like he belongs on the cover of a romance novel.

Oh so "Thunderstruck" is a theme song for WrestleMania? I support AC/DC providing WM themes every year.

The way Tony Chimel says "The Miz" (like "da bears") is hilarious. Chimel said that, because Miz made a rare appearance on Smackdown, which is the beauty of the Unified Tag Titles. Miz on Smackdown... he's definitely come a long way since the days he "hosted" Smackdown! ShowMiz want to defend their titles at WrestleMania, and T-Lo said he'd take it under advisement, but came out during this segment to set up the main event for tonight, The Miz vs. Edge!

Shelton Benjamin vs. CM Punk, now that's a match I can get behind. Shelton is a free agent no more, returning to Friday nights now that ECW is no more. Before I get into the match, I have to give props to Matt Striker for coming up with the "Anti-Diva" moniker for Serena, we need more of those in WWE. Good match, nothing particularly mind-blowing or anything, but rock-solid TV wrestling. Much like our opening contest, this match had a downright shocking ending with Shelton Benjamin getting the win (thanks to a little help from Rey Mysterio), but I liked it. Shelton needed a big win, it's certainly not going to hurt Punk, and it sets up the expected Mysterio vs. Punk match at WrestleMania 26. If they do go with hair vs. mask, Punk definitely needs a haircut, but he's going to look weird with a shaved head.

WrestleMania is really shaping up to be awesome this year.

Main Event time, The Miz vs. Edge! This is why I love Smackdown, simple wrestling all across the evening, and a unique main event with a top-tier player against a soon-to-be top tier player. Good stuff, again, nothing too complicated, but it did exactly what it needed to do: Edge looked like he's just one WrestleMania away from his 10th World Title, The Miz looked like a serious contender who's almost there. And even though I gave Edge crap earlier for using the spear, Miz took it like a champ in this match.

Solid thumbs up to this show, it was a showcase of everything that's right about the Smackdown brand. I'm not even opposed to adding a little more "sports entertainment" style elements to the show, because with a roster this good, they can make almost anything work.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Hurricane, Paul Burchill & Maria released

Though they were the focus of a big feud on ECW in 2009, both Shane "Hurricane" Helms and Paul Burchill are no longer a part of World Wrestling Entertainment.  While Burchill's release isn't exactly surprising, the guy hasn't really been on television in three months, and though he was finally starting to find his niche in ECW, he never quite clicked with the audience.  I thought taking him off Tuesday nights was a huge mistake in the first place, but considering they never put him on another brand and the fact that ECW no longer exists, I guess it doesn't really matter now.  The Ripper is a good talent and I doubt we've seen the last of him, but it is pretty disappointing, I would've loved to see him mix it up on Smackdown in the Intercontinental Title scene.

But The Hurricane's release, that's just downright infuriating. The end of ECW and his nagging injuries probably didn't help matters, but it's certainly no coincidence that his release came after TMZ and the copy & paste sites turned his minor arrest into a week-long story. Of course, Hurricane could've avoided the arrest by not getting drunk and rowdy, but if everyone's job security was based on what they do in their private, off-work hours, the unemployment rate would be a hell of a lot higher than it is right now.  Obviously wrestlers are going to be held to a different standard, they're celebrities of sorts and their actions are in the public eye, but it's not like he got busted for DUI or assault, it was a minor incident that got blown out of proportion by the media.

If ever you wonder why I'm so passionate about changing the wrestling media, or why I'm so confrontational with copy & paste sites, it's because they can and do ruin careers, and Shane Helms is likely proof of that. He's been with the company for almost a decade, one of the few WCW acquisitions that survived the Invasion storyline, had been featured prominently on Tuesday nights, even main eventing ECW on the night he was arrested, but now gets dropped after an arrest that amounted to a $125 fine. WWE's got an image to protect, and I understand why they made this move, but it's something that probably could have been avoided if tabloid hacks didn't make a living off the misfortune of others.

UPDATE - February 26, 2010 2:40 pm
WWE.com has just announced that Smackdown Diva, Maria, has also been released.  That was one I certainly did not see coming, especially with her upcoming appearance on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice and the fact that she was the 2009 Diva of the Year.  I've never really had anything against Maria, but she wasn't a strong wrestler or actress, so I can see WWE's reasoning for the decision. The WWE Diva Playboy Curse continues...

TNA Impact Thoughts - February 25, 2010

Okay, so thanks to the Olympics, my DVR got a break this evening and allowed me to watch Impact, my first full episode since January 4th.  The show was dreadfully boring, so I'm not going to bother going through a step by step recap like I do with my usual reviews, instead I'm going to give you The Good, The Bad, and The NASTY!

The Good
-Mr. Anderson is amazing.  Well, backstage at least, that promo before his "match" with Rob Terry was just a "WTF is he talking about?" moment.  Anderson's promo backstage was a great reminder of why I'm such a fan of the guy and it shows that TNA can do stuff like this well, they just need to follow this formula.  Compare this to something like the Jarrett/Bischoff backstage stuff and it was like watching two different shows.  Anderson's promo was to the point, Jarrett and Bischoff were like a bad improv class whose skit went five minutes too long.

-AJ Styles has come so far on the mic in the last seven years, and maybe pairing him up with Flair wasn't entirely a horrible idea. His promo at the start of the show wasn't fantastic or anything, but this is not the AJ Styles from 2002.

-Daffney, a bajillion times Daffney. While Daff isn't the best wrestler out there, I challenge you to find me someone - male or female - who embodies their character as great as Daffney does.

-I was getting serious ECW-era Shane Douglas vibes when Robert Roode cut his promo, and yes, that is a compliment.

The Bad
-I know it's cliché to mock TNA for calling themselves "Total Non-stop Action" when the action stops frequently, but FFS, where was the wrestling?! There wasn't a single match on this show that I would even consider "average," and the only one that was watchable was Kaz vs. Kendrick, which was about three minutes long and treated as an afterthought. The rest of the matches were flat-out awful or never even got started.

-The backstage segments are still laughably bad. When WWE goes backstage, it still feels like a part of the show, you can hear the crowd and they're usually done quickly. An example of WWE not following that formula was Little People's Court, which failed miserably, and that's the vibe I get when I watch TNA go backstage. These segments are incredibly distracting, they look like they were filmed off-site, there's no emotion from the crowd, and they have the production value of one of Sean Morley's movies.

-The Nasty Boys vs. Team 3D, the battle of teams who have been doing the exact same thing since I was in junior high. Hell, I wasn't even in pre-school yet when the Nasties started their gimmick. Sure, Ric Flair's been doing pretty much the same thing for 35 years, but that's because people actually want to see Ric Flair.

-Abyss. Seriously, this has to stop. It's bad enough the focus of a TNA storyline is the WWE Hall of Fame, but turning Abyss into Evad Sullivan 2.0, the World's Biggest Hulkamaniac, is just absurd. Abyss is not a main event face, I'm sorry, he's just not. That's nothing against the guy playing the character, but the very nature of this character is not a Hulk Hogan or a John Cena, it's the character you put against people like Hulk Hogan or John Cena. Abyss can be a face, in the same way that Kane is a face, but he is not the guy who should be challenging the World Champion.

-Why is an amazing talent like Desmond Wolfe getting demolished in minutes? There's nothing wrong with putting Abyss over Wolfe, but did the match need to be two minutes long? Couldn't we have shaved a few minutes off the painfully long post-match beatdown and the painfully long Hulk Hogan promo and let these guys actually wrestle?

-Speaking of Hogan's promo, this was the official announcement of Ric Flair coming out of retirement to team up with AJ Styles to take on Abyss and Hulk Hogan on the March 8th, Monday night Impact. Two things: 1. this match will suck, a lot. 2. Ric Flair coming out of retirement is still infuriating to me. TNA better be careful that their World Champ doesn't get a back injury in this match, carrying these three dudes will be painful.

-Jeff Jarrett being forced to flip burgers, SMELL THE RATINGS! Oh, that's just the onions.

The NASTY!
-Seeing Scott Hall like this just makes me sad. The guy is in no shape to work, he moves so awkwardly, and just doesn't look like Da Bad Guy anymore... and could someone tell me what the hell Sean Waltman was wearing?

TNA wrestlers are currently on vacation, resting up for the move to Monday nights, after watching a show like this, apparently the viewers are expected to do the same.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Poll - The Streak

It's one of the most polarizing questions to ask wrestling fans - should The Streak be broken? Some say yes, it must end at some point as it would immortalize the person who did it. Some say no, The Streak has reached mythic proportions and has transcended all championships, breaking it would be a sacrilege.

This isn't whether or not you should think it should end this year, I'm asking hypothetically about any year, Should Taker's Streak ever end? Let your voice be heard, give us your vote in our latest poll to the right of your screen. And make sure you tell us why in the comments section!





Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WWE NXT: The Debut

WWE NXT debuts tonight, and considering it's the "next evolution of television" (holy hyperbole, Vinny Mac!), I figured I had to live blog for it.  Keep refreshing your page for ongoing updates.

Oh and "YOU'RE GONNA GET YOUR F'N HEAD KICKED IN!"

Starting things off with the Rookies lined up backstage, The Miz calls out Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson for those of you who can't let go) and tells him to seize the moment.  Miz sends him out with his music and lets us know that if Bryan doesn't show some personality tonight, he'll slap it into him.  I dunno if that's a good idea, Miz! 

Michael Cole & Josh Matthews are our ringside commentators, Savannah is handling ring announcing duties and Matt Striker is our "host."  Hey Matt, t-shirt tucked into dress pants?  Downgrade!  

Okay, in the ring, Daniel Bryan apologizes to his fans worldwide for getting saddled with The Miz, he'd have preferred William Regal (which garners some boos), and it doesn't take long for The Miz to interrupt.  Miz isn't happy with his "bro," apologies aren't cool!  Great exchange here, Bryan's already setting the bar here, and gave us his new catchphrase "tap or snap."  Miz wasn't impressed and slaps his rookie across the face as promised, and already it looks like they're going with the "personality vs. skill" element of the Miz/Bryan partnership.  Definitely the right way to start this show, but like I said, Bryan's going to be a tough act to follow.

Carlito out next with Michael Tarver, and while Bryan is the obvious star of the group, Tarver is my pick for #2, the dude just looks like a WWE Superstar... a WWE Superstar that will mess you up.  And it looks like this will take us into our opening contest, Carlito & Michael Tarver vs. Christian & Heath Slater.  Christian/Slater, get it?  Okay, I have to say it, Slater's a total dork.  Match is underway and at the moment, I'm more intrigued by WWE's interesting usage of different camera angles than what we usually see.  Definitely gives it more of a "reality show" feel, but it's a bit distracting.  Maybe I'll get used to it, or maybe WWE should save the more "artistic" camera work for promos?  As for the match, solid work from all four men, the match was a bit simplistic and on the short side, but it told the story it needed to tell and Christian Slater came out victorious! 

CM Punk & The Straight Edge Society out next with their rookie, the "party boy" Darren Young, who tries to hang out with the group, but just gets an awkward stare from the Second City Saint.  Priceless.  David Otunga is Young's opponent, and if you're looking for personality and charisma, Otunga might be at the top of the heap.  Fantastic hype video for the guy, playing up his Hollywood background, his relationship with Jennifer Hudson, and the fact that he hangs out with Barack Obama... definitely Joey Styles' worst nightmare.  Otunga makes quick work of Darren Young, beating him almost instantly with a Ron Simmons'-esque Spinebuster.  Sucks to be Darren Young, but David Otunga is going places. 

Main Event Time!  Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan, and that noise you heard was the sound of every smark's pants getting a little tighter.  Jericho is here with his rookie, Wade Barrett, Europe's #1 bare knuckle fighter... at least that's what I think he said.  Too many commercials between Jericho's entrance and the start of this match, but good things come to those who wait, right?  

Okay, I had to step away from the computer to give this match the proper attention it deserved.  Only gripe with this was that it was a little too short, but they could've got twenty minutes and I'd still say it was too short considering it was Chris Jericho vs. Daniel Bryan!  You have to wonder if Jericho was backstage tonight and said "yeah, give me Bryan and I'll give you a main event."  From Bryan going for his patented suicide dive and getting reversed into the announce table (NASTY!), Jericho looking like his leg was being torn off when Bryan grapevined it, or Jericho busting out the freakin' LIONTAMER to win, this was pretty much all I could ask for to be introduced to the NXT concept. I'm sold.

After the match, The Miz beat Daniel Bryan down for the perceived disrespect from earlier tonight.  I think it's safe to say that the critics have been silenced, the Bryan/Miz pairing was a brilliant move on WWE's part, it's going to make both guys look better when this is all said and done.

I really, really liked NXT.  I thought the presentation was unique and interesting, but kept the feel of World Wrestling Entertainment.  I wasn't sure about Michael Cole on commentary, but when he started heeling it up a bit, defending WWE and dogging the internet crowd, it really got across the purpose of this show: asking if the rookies are ready for the big leagues.  If the next shows are even half as good as this one, I'll be tuned in every Tuesday night.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Raw Thoughts - February 22, 2010

It's the fallout from last night's Elimination Chamber PPV and we're officially on the Road to WrestleMania!  Keep refreshing your page for updates of tonight's live blog!

Ah, now this is how you start Monday Night Raw, Chris Jericho... excuse me, NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Chris Jericho!  Been too long since Jericho showed up on Raw, but we're on the Road to WrestleMania, so the champions can pretty much do whatever they want.  Jericho's in rare form here tonight, almost a weird mixture of current Jericho and old-school Y2J, and he's going to WrestleMania!  And so is Edge, who speared Jericho and made his decision!  No dragging out the story, it's official, it's Chris Jericho vs. Edge at WrestleMania 26 in Phoenix!  Hell yeah.

But it looks like we're not done yet, John Cena is in the ring just as soon as it's cleared, and he's understandably angry about the St. Louis Screwjob.  Cena wants his rematch, but Vince McMahon is out instead of the WWE Champ.  Speaking of rare form, Vince is in it tonight as well, letting Cena know that he doesn't get his rematch tonight because Batista isn't defending the title until WrestleMania.  If Cena can beat Batista tonight, he gets the shot, but if he can't, Sheamus gets his rematch instead.  Obviously some shenanigans will be involved here, no way they're giving away what I expect to be the WrestleMania main event tonight on Raw.

Oh look, it's the match that was advertised for the $45 PPV, but now we get for free on Raw, Gail Kim vs. Maryse in the finals of the Divas Tournament.  Fairly decent contest, Gail Kim was easily at her most impressive since her return to WWE, but as expected, Maryse picked up the win and became the Divas Champion for the second time.  Yes, we had to drag out this Divas Tournament that long to get to the most obvious conclusion ever.  They could've had Maryse win a Battle Royal the night Melina vacated the belt and it would've saved us all a lot of time.

Someone please stop this Charles Barkley Taco Bell commercial.  It might be the worst thing I've ever seen on television since that a-hole who sings about free credit reports.

Yeah, no way we were going to make it through tonight without Jillian trying to sing Jewel songs.  These hands are small I know, too small to cover my ears.

Randy Orton wants to make nice with Legacy.  Well, so much for not dragging things out.  Oh but wait, Cody & Ted have a plan... and it's next!

Six-man tag action up next with Legacy vs. Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and... Yoshi Tatsu!  I'm demanding it right now, Yoshi Tatsu and Evan Bourne, Unified Tag Team Champions!  Looks like Yoshi has come to Raw as part of the ECW free agent program, and while I would've preferred him on Smackdown due to the Intercontinental Title scene, but if they team him with Bourne, I fully support this move.  Enjoyable match, that got especially interesting when Orton hit Rhodes with the rope DDT and the RKO'd DiBiase on the floor!  I'd say this is finally the end of Legacy, but you never know with this storyline.  However, the bigger story here is the fact that Evan Bourne, Yoshi Tatsu and Kofi Kingston won the match!  Not only that, Evan Bourne scored the pin!  Been awhile since that happened on Raw.

Alright, the HBK/Undertaker montage with the Placebo song was one of the best hype videos WWE's ever produced.  It might sound crazy, but between that and last night, I'm totally sold on this rematch now.

Speak of the "devil," Shawn Michaels out next to explain his actions, he wanted The Undertaker's attention, and he got it!  The Undertaker made his way to the ring, decked out in his Lord of Darkness coat (and sporting some facial burns from the pyro accident last night) and he was not happy.  After months of asking, Shawn Michaels demanded a WrestleMania rematch one more time and Taker finally accepted... on one condition: Shawn Michaels career is on the line!  Well, this is officially going to be the biggest nailbiter in WrestleMania history, perhaps wrestling history, The Streak vs. HBK's career!  I don't know if these guys can top what they did last year, but if this is the end of the streak or the end of Shawn Michaels, you can bet your ass they're going to try.

And despite Money in the Bank getting its own PPV this year, it looks like it will be taking place at WrestleMania as well.  Strange.  Our first Money in the Bank qualifying match this year is Christian vs. Carlito, and it looks like Christian on Raw, which is really, really, really bad.  At least Christian won the match and is the first man to qualify for MITB, but I'd much rather see him on Smackdown.  Maybe the Draft will fix that, and hopefully he'll have the briefcase around that time as well.  2010 has to be Christian's year, like I've been saying, if he's not WWE/World Champion by the end of it, WWE's doing something wrong.

Diva Bullriding... nuff said.

Oh good, ShowMiz is here to save the day!  Jewel had line of the night here with "my yodeling would crush you!"  Unfortunately, this thing gets even more ridiculous when Big Show rides the mechanical bull, good thing it's a mechanical bull, or else PETA would be all over this.  This should've been terrible, but with Miz on the mic and Big Show's slapstick, it actually turned out to be kinda funny, definitely better than the Springer segment last week.  Jewel & Ty Murray aren't done with ShowMiz yet, Unified Tag Team Titles are on the line next against MVP & Mark Henry.

ShowMiz vs. MVP & Mark Henry with the Unified Tag Team Titles on the line, I assume this shoots down my prediction of them going at it at WrestleMania?  Oh yeah, one Big Show punch later, I think MVP & Mark Henry's chances are all used up.  That didn't take long.  Oh well, I'd much rather see ShowMiz vs. Yoshi Tatsu & Evan Bourne now.

Wendi Richter is the next name announced for this year's Hall of Fame class, which is incredibly cool.  Roddy Piper will induct her, but surely Cyndi Lauper should go into the celebrity wing, right?

Vince McMahon has invited Bret Hart back to Raw next week... that won't end well.

Cheech & Chong host Raw next week! You know RVD hasn't signed with TNA yet because he wants to make a guest appearance on this show.  Fonzi and Sabu will buy tickets if they have to.

Main Event time! Batista vs. John Cena with Cena's last chance to headline WrestleMania.  And yeah, as I expected, total shenanigans... Batista gets himself disqualified by kicking John Cena in the crotch.  Looks like Davetista wants Cena at WrestleMania, and at least they didn't give away the Mania main event for free.  After the "match" Batista went nuts on Cena, blasting him with some NASTY! chairshots to the back. 

Okay, a few low points, but overall, a great Raw that sets up WrestleMania beautifully.  Batista came across looking like a complete ass, and now the biggest heel in the company; Chris Jericho vs. Edge is official; Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels Streak vs. Career; Legacy's explosion is in the works, and Christian is in Money in the Bank - THAT is a WrestleMania.  Not only that, we still got four Raws and five Smackdowns to build all this up, so there's plenty of time to add more matches and iron out all the details.  Once again, tonight proves that even after some horrendous shows, WWE finds their muse as soon as WrestleMania hype begins.  Not a perfect show, but it did exactly what it needed to do.

Elimination Chamber 2010 Review

It's the last PPV stop on the Road to WrestleMania, how did tonight shape the WWE on their way to the biggest event of the year?

Thankfully, the night started with the Raw Elimination Chamber, considering the Smackdown Chamber was the only match on the card that I was really excited about, if that would've went on first, it would've been a long night.  So Sheamus vs. Triple H vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Ted DiBiase with the WWE Championship on the line kicks things off, and I was pleasantly surprised with this match.  No, not just because Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase were the first guys eliminated, but that certainly didn't hurt.  Actually, I liked the progression of the Legacy split here, DiBiase continues his slow Evolution/Batista-esque turn, Orton is the leader getting one-upped and Cody Rhodes continues to look like an idiot.  Sheamus looked pretty strong here, unfortunately at the expense of Kofi Kingston (which makes me a sad panda), but I had to raise an eyebrow when it came down to John Cena and Triple H.  Not only did WWE blow it with making Sheamus look like a monster, the last two guys were the same guys who are always on top.  I like Triple H, I like Cena, but give me a break already!  It's the #1 problem facing Raw right now, WWE playing it safe.  If the goal was to put the WWE Title on Cena, why not make it Sheamus vs. Cena at the end?  

And yes, Cena won the title, only for Vince McMahon to reprise his role from New Year's Revolution 2006 and let Cena know that he wasn't done yet.  Cena had to defend his newly won championship against... DAVETISTA!  The Animal was unleashed, and after one sick spear and a Batista Bomb, we had new WWE Champion, again.  Okay, so I know folks are really pissed about this, and I can understand, Batista as WWE Champ sucks on general principle, but I've been seeing people say it doesn't make sense.  Doesn't make sense?  Have you not been watching the last few weeks?  This explains why Batista walked out on his Chamber qualifying match with CM Punk, it explains why he's been helping McMahon, he didn't need to risk his career in a Chamber match, Vince simply gave him the title.  I don't necessarily think that Cena vs. Batista at WrestleMania needs the WWE Title to be a major selling point of the card, but it is pretty much the one big match WWE has that we haven't seen on PPV multiple times.  Again, I'm not thrilled that Batista is champ, but it's logical and consistent with the biggest storyline in the company, so it works.  And don't be surprised if you hear "Vince McMahon didn't screw John Cena, John Cena screwed John Cena" tomorrow night on Raw.
Predictions: 0 for 1

Drew McIntyre vs. Kane had the unfortunate task of following a huge match and a major storyline, and the crowd just wasn't that into it.  It's a tough break for McIntyre, the crowd still isn't sold on him and they didn't give him someone to work with that the audience would've really responded to because those guys were all in the Chamber.  Kane did what he could, but this just wasn't a match to get really excited about.  McIntyre got the win though, and I'm curious about his next feud, but I doubt we'll see him face Kane on PPV again anytime soon.
Predictions: 1 for 2 

Gail Kim vs. Maryse in the finals of the Divas Tournament turned into the far less interesting Gail Kim & Maryse vs. Michelle McCool & Layla by order of Vickie Guerrero.  Uh... why?  This is the kind of stunt you pull on Raw, not on PPV, and I'd be pissed if it were a match that anyone cared about in the first place.  Still, why are we still delaying the finals of the Divas Tournament?  Melina will be healed by the time Maryse and Gail get in the ring one-on-one.  Mind-numbingly stupid decision, and forcing me to watch Michelle McCool is never good.  McCool & Layla won, I don't think Maryse ever got in the ring, but do you care either way?
Predictions: n/a

Now for a much better impromptu match, The Miz put his United States Title on the line against MVP in what might be their best match to date.  Big Show & Mark Henry were in their respective partners' corners, and I mention that because it gave us the highlight of the match, Big Show throwing Mark Henry through the barricade where the timekeeper sits, and I like to think Henry screamed "OH YEAH!!!" as he burst through.

 
 Exclusive photo from tonight's PPV

The Miz picked up the victory thanks to the old JeriShow finisher - one guy distracts the referee while Big Show punches someone in the face - but I hope this isn't the end of the ShowMiz/MVP & Henry feud, it's been a lot of fun since the Royal Rumble, hell, it's just now getting interesting!
Predictions: n/a

Main Event time!  Smackdown Elimination Chamber, World Heavyweight Title on the line, and the match I paid $45 to see.  Before we get started discussing the match, we have to discuss the insanity during The Undertaker's entrance with the pyro malfunction.  If you didn't see it, Taker's flame pillars were going off while he was on the stage, but not just the ones on the side, the ones in front of the ramp.  Taker could've walked around or waited for the malfunction to be fixed, but oh no, he walked through a pillar of fire!  That, my friends, is why you will never be as bad ass as The mother-f'n Undertaker.  Thankfully, we avoided a James Hetfield situation, Taker was okay, he just threw his jacket off and hauled ass to the ring, ya know, because he walked through fire! 

Also... was Rey Mysterio wearing the world's largest Fruit Roll-Up?

Okay, so Undertaker vs. CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth. Punk and R-Truth started things off and Punk made lightning quick work of Mr. WUSSUP and even though he didn't talk trash in a mini-chamber like I hoped, he did get to work the mic during the match, taunting all the guys still waiting and asking us to touch the screen and let Punk flow through us.  They might as well give CM Punk one of those tie-clip mics during his matches, let him clip it on his trunks, or maybe even a headset?  Either way, between tonight and the Rumble, it's no secret that WWE sees the guy as the best mic worker in the company.  Unfortunately, much like the Rumble, Punk was eliminated way too quickly, but it did help further his budding rivalry with Rey Mysterio, who was the one to take out the Straight Edge Superstar.

So we were down to Mysterio, Morrison, Jericho and Undertaker, who proceeded to tear the house down, much like I hoped.  Morrison was really the star of this match, he really stepped up his game and looked like he belonged in there when it came down to him, Taker & Jericho, I'm thrilled that they didn't use his ankle "injury" as a reason to take him out of the match early, because this may have been his breakout performance.  No shame in losing to The Undertaker after getting chokeslammed on steel either.  

With Morrison gone, it was down to Jericho & Undertaker... well, Jericho, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, who popped out of a trap door and nailed Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music, giving us a new World Champion, Chris Jericho!  One hell of a main event, definitely redeemed what was shaping up to be a below-average PPV, and it gave us the six-time World Champion, Chris Jericho.
Predictions: 2 for 3

Despite some weird decisions early on, Elimination Chamber turned out to be pretty enjoyable thanks to the final two matches.  One major issue I have to raise from tonight was Matt Striker, who went from charming to annoying in about ten seconds.  I get it, he's the teacher, he's got the facts and the cute nicknames, but his commentary tonight was simply distracting.  JR mentioned on Twitter that Lawler needed to slap him upside the head and I'm inclined to agree.  If he's ever going to be the top color commentator in the company, someone's gotta rein him in.  But that complaint aside, and whether or not you liked the show, you can't deny that WrestleMania is shaping up quite nicely, here's how I'm seeing it:

World Championship - Chris Jericho vs. Edge
WWE Championship - John Cena w/Bret Hart vs. Batista w/Vince McMahon
The Rematch - Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Legacy Explodes - Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes
Hair vs. Mask - CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
Unified Tag Team Championship - ShowMiz vs. MVP & Mark Henry
Intercontinental Championship - Drew McIntyre vs. R-Truth?

The only thing I can't figure out is where this leaves Triple H.  I know the rumored match was Sheamus defending the WWE Title against Triple H, but with the WWE Title now in the Cena/Batista feud, I'm not sure if I can see that match happening.  It would be a major downgrade for Triple H considering that he's been in a World/WWE Title match at every WrestleMania he could compete in since WM18!  Before tonight, Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H and Sheamus vs. The Undertaker would've made more sense, but there's no way they don't do the HBK/Taker rematch now, right?

But only a couple lingering questions with five weeks to go before WrestleMania isn't bad.  They've got a lot of time to iron out the details, but if that card I predicted is what we get, I can't wait until March 28.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Elimination Chamber 2010 Preview

So here we are, the first ever Elimination Chamber PPV, although really it's just No Way Out, which would've made a fine name for a PPV featuring Chamber matches, like it has over the last couple years.  Anyhoo, minor gripes aside, here are the top five things I'd like to see at tonight's event:

5. Rey Mysterio & Chris Jericho start or finish the Smackdown Chamber
Remember last year when Edge weaseled his way into the Raw Chamber, it came down to him and Rey Mysterio as the last two competitors, and they tore the house down?  Yeah, I want to see that with Jericho and Mysterio tonight.  After numerous Match of the Year candidates in 2009, there's no doubt these two have tons of chemistry, and while we've seen them lock up plenty in the last year, why not one more time?

4. Sheamus retains
WWE hasn't exactly built Sheamus up as an unstoppable force since he won the WWE Title at TLC, he's mostly been hanging in the background while John Cena does his thing and Legacy falls apart at the seams.  Sure, there was the big win over Christian and looking like a bad ass at the end of Raw last Monday, but the guy hasn't got a major win over any of Raw's top stars.  So what better way to make Sheamus look like a real champion than to have him beat John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston and Ted DiBiase?  WWE's got a real opportunity here to make Sheamus a legitimate main eventer, I hope they don't blow it.

3. Captain Charisma stops by
We don't know where Christian is going to end up after the end of ECW, but here's hoping WWE doesn't forget about him.  Only four matches are schedule for tonight, that should give them plenty of time to highlight some of the ECW guys, or at least the biggest name from the brand.  To go way out on a limb, how about Edge & Christian vs. ShowMiz in an impromptu Tag Title match?  Besides, isn't it about time for the WrestleMania #1 contender to randomly win the tag belts?!

2. CM Punk gets mic time inside a pod
Okay, so there's no debating that CM Punk was the coolest part of the Royal Rumble last month when he was talking shit between entrants, how about letting him do it while standing inside one of the Chamber pods?  Remember the Chamber match at SummerSlam 2003 where the crowd was begging for Goldberg to get in and kick everyone's ass?  Imagine this as the opposite, the crowd begging for Punk's pod to open just so Undertaker, R-Truth or Mysterio could beat the hell out of him?  It'll be the highlight of the night.

1. Chris Jericho, World Heavyweight Champion
Edge vs. Jericho is the WrestleMania main event we all want to see, and in order for that to happen, Chris Jericho needs to be World Heavyweight Champion.  The storyline has been almost a year in the making, and if you want Jericho to look like the definitive WrestleMania villain, give him a win over Undertaker, John Morrison, R-Truth, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk, and let him prove that he is the best in the world at what he does.


Here are my predictions for tonight's show, feel free to share your own in the comments:

Diva's Title Tournament Final
Maryse vs. Gail Kim
Not even going to waste my time writing out a detailed explanation, Maryse is the next Diva's Champion.

Intercontinental Title Match
Drew McIntyre © vs. Kane
Somewhat similar to the Divas match, I cannot see Kane walking out of this match as the Intercontinental Champion.  Drew McIntyre is on a roll, he's got the undefeated* streak going, a win over Kane is the next step for any future main eventer.  I've been impressed with McIntyre lately and even Kane has been more interesting than usual, so I'm hopeful that this match will give me a reason to watch the PPV when the Chamber isn't surrounding the ring.

Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship
Sheamus © vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Kofi Kingston
Tough call here, I want Sheamus to win, but really this match is wide open for anyone not named DiBiase or Kingston.  Cena is obviously going to face Batista at WrestleMania, but I don't think it's impossible that the WWE Title to get involved in this feud.  Randy Orton could win and defend the championship against Rhodes & DiBiase at WrestleMania in a match to spite me, and the triple threat match at Mania has become a fairly regular event.  Triple H could win and be in the main event at WrestleMania, which would be shocking, I know, but I honestly don't know who he'd defend against since it's becoming more apparent that he probably won't be wrestling Shawn Michaels.  So I'm just going to go with my gut and say Sheamus retains, but I also have a hard time believing that he'll be in a major title match at WrestleMania 26.  Definitely the hardest match to predict on the card.

Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship
Undertaker © vs. Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth
The wild card in this match is whether or not Shawn Michaels will get involved and cost The Undertaker the World Title.  Morrison's ankle injury could take him out of the match and give HBK an opening to get in the match, or he could just interfere, but I don't think it's going to make the ending of this match any different.  Chris Jericho will (should) walk out as World Heavyweight Champion, regardless of HBK's involvement.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Smackdown Thoughts - February 19, 2010

Did Todd Grisham just refer to the Elimination Chamber as the Chamber of Horrors?  I hope Abdullah The Butcher will make it out okay!

Starting things off with Chris Jericho, so WWE's already batting 1.000 for this show.  Jericho went down his list of accomplishments (hey, you may have forgotten that he beat The Rock and Stone Cold in the same night), and caps it off with his pinfall victory over The Undertaker last Friday night.  Jericho guarantees victory at Elimination Chamber, but before he can finish his thought, "you think you know me,"  EDGE!  Your pick for Superstar of the Decade, had another verbal spar with Chris Jericho, at the end of the segment, the lights flickered, perhaps signaling the arrival of The Phenom, but all it did was give Edge the opportunity to nail Jericho with a Spear! Pretty much guaranteed these two will be going at it at WrestleMania... at least I hope so.

Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler was our opening contest, pretty logical match considering their recent history, but I didn't like Dolphy Z's chances since Kane is the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Title.  Dolph put up a good fight (like he always does), especially after the distraction from Drew McIntyre, but came out on the losing end of this one (like he always does) thanks to Kane's chokeslam.  Not exactly a classic, I was more interested in Matt Striker's facts about the Intercontinental Title than the actual match.  I was not aware that 40% of IC Champs have gone onto the World Heavyweight or WWE Title and that 20% have gone into the Hall of Fame, thanks Matt!

Ezekiel Jackson is coming to Smackdown, which I fully support.

Cryme Tyme vs. The Dudebusters (Caylen Croft & Trent Baretta) was up next, and it appears we've gotten another answer about where the ECW Free Agents are going.  I suggested sending Croft & Baretta to Raw, since they're lighter on tag teams, but it'll be nice to see Cryme Tyme get to fight guys besides The Hart Dynasty.  Good match here and a good showing for The Dudebusters, even though they came out on the losing end against the Blingling Bros.  I've mentioned it a few times over the last few weeks that I'm still not entirely sold on Croft & Baretta, but if they keep putting on matches like this, I'll definitely be on board.

Backstage, John Morrison assured us that his ankle injury will not keep him from competing at Elimination Chamber... we'll see about that.

CM Punk cut a pre-match promo, do I even need to tell you that it was great?  The dude threw out a freakin' Darth Vader reference in a wrestling promo!  It's official, Punk is currently the best mic worker in the industry.

John Morrison & R-Truth vs. CM Punk & Luke Gallows continued this new Smackdown tradition of putting an awesome tag match at the top of the 9pm hour.  Undertaker made his presence felt again with his pyro, but it was just another mind game.  As I said, great tag action here and good hype for Elimination Chamber since half the participants were involved.  Near the end of the match, Morrison made a huge mistake, accidentally kicking the turnbuckle post, aggravating his ankle injury and CM Punk smelled blood.  Referee stopped the match, giving Punk & Gallows the win by forfeit, but they weren't done there.  Much like last week, they went with the post-match beatdown, Rey Mysterio tried to make the save, but ended up just like he did last week as well, unconscious.  Striker made the great point on commentary that Punk has already softened up three of his five opponents for Sunday.

Could someone explain to me why Vickie Guerrero, someone who spent most of 2009 being called a fat pig, is siding with Michelle McCool against Mickie James?  

Matt Hardy, The Great Khali, & Maria vs. The Hart Dynasty in six-mixed tag action (I just came up with that!) was a pretty decent match, but might as well be the battle of people WWE has nothing for at the moment.  Hart Dynasty came out on top after Natalya decapitated Maria with her discus clothesline, but the big story was Matt Hardy going back to his old ring attire... obviously there weren't many other stories in this match.

Michelle McCool & Layla are like nails on a chalkboard at this point, but I do have to admit, I laughed at them asking Maria & Matt Hardy why neither of them can make a relationship work.  Maybe those two hooking up will allow them to finally find true love... commiserating is a powerful aphrodisiac.

Main Event time!  Edge vs. Batista in Edge's first singles match since returning from injury, but Big Dave didn't want to wrestle!  Davetista tried to walk out (again), but Edge got under his skin by calling him spineless and The Animal returned to action.  Edge proved ring rust wouldn't be an issue here, wrestling like he never got injured, almost to the point where it freaked me out.  Really Edge, I'm not your doctor or anything, but do you really need to go diving off the ring apron just a few months after destroying your Achilles tendon?  Just a concerned friend looking out for ya!  Anyway, Edge had the upper hand, nailing Davetista with the Spear, but the lights went out and we finally got to see The Undertaker!  These non-finishes are becoming a bit too regular for Smackdown main events, but Edge brought this one on himself for costing The Phenom last week against -- CHRIS JERICHO!  CODEBREAKER on Edge out of nowhere to bring this show to a close!

This show was all about one thing - Elimination Chamber, and that's a good thing since it was the last show before the PPV.  The EC card is looking mighty thin, only two matches scheduled aside from the Chambers (though I suspect ShowMiz will make an appearance), but with hype like this, I'm willing to spend $45 just to see the World Heavyweight Title match.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that all six participants in this match are awesome and pretty much guarantee it's going to be a hell of a main event.

Friday, February 19, 2010

OBEY

 

WWE's New PPVs

WWE continues to renovate its PPV schedule, much to the chagrin of wrestling fans, who really don't like change.  Let's take a look at the new calendar and which changes are good and which should have been left on the drawing board:

April - Extreme Rules replaces Backlash
I'm really not that upset by this.  Even though Backlash was a great PPV name and dealt with the fallout of WrestleMania, I think Extreme Rules could accomplish that and do it better.  WWE traditionally does gimmick-heavy Mania rematches at Backlash anyway, which somewhat devalues Extreme Rules just a month or two later.  So while I'll miss the Backlash name, it's just a name and I think this is a good move. 

May - Wild Card
This is the big eyebrow raiser since no one really knows what Wild Card is.  Some people are speculating that it's Raw Roulette, with match types being decided in a "Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal" kind of way, but with it being just one month after Extreme Rules, I can't see that being the case since they'd be way too similar.  My hope is that this is the return of the Lethal Lottery concept from WCW, with tag teams being randomly paired up, put in matches, and then the winning teams go onto compete in the BattleBowl Battle Royal.  The winner could become the new #1 contender or something to that effect, perhaps a bit too similar to the Rumble, so maybe they'll drop the BattleBowl and just center it around Lethal Lottery and the Unified Tag Titles? 

June - Fatal Four Way
Hands down, the dumbest idea for a PPV that I've seen in a long time.  The concept of a Fatal Four Way is not something that makes me think "must-buy PPV," it's a match that could make a PPV interesting depending on participants, but the match itself doesn't sell PPVs like the Elimination Chamber or Hell in a Cell.  In February, WWE has the Elimination Chamber, which features six guys inside a giant birdcage of death, but they expect people to get excited about a measly Fatal Four Way just four months later?  Really?  Why not bring back the Championship Scramble, it's definitely a more interesting concept. 

July - Money in the Bank
I know a lot of folks are upset about this one since it likely means the end of MITB at WrestleMania, but I believe it's a pretty cool idea.  Money in the Bank is the best way to set up a title match since the Royal Rumble guaranteed the winner a title shot at WrestleMania, why shouldn't it get its own PPV?  I'm not fond of the idea of multiple MITBs, and I don't want the card fleshed out with qualifying matches, so as long as they avoid those pitfalls, making it a normal PPV with MITB as the main event, it'll be a great event. 

September - Night of Champions
NoC has been around for a couple years now, it's just getting moved to September, but I did want to express how much I love this PPV concept.  With Survivor Series getting dropped, Night of Champions should officially become the new fourth in the "Big Four." 

October - Hell in a Cell
On the flipside, I hate this PPV.  I hate the concept, last year's show was undoubtedly the worst PPV of 2009, and it hurts the aura of WWE's most intimidating gimmick match.  To make matters worse, this year's Hell in a Cell PPV occurs just two weeks after Night of Champions, presumably so they can squeeze another PPV in October.  WWE better have one hell of a card, but as was pointed out to me by friend of the site, TKz, last year's show looked pretty good on paper too, so even that doesn't mean much.  If WWE drops to 12 PPVs in 2011, I hope this is the one to go.

Those are all the changes listed on WWE.com, it still leaves for one more PPV in October, something to replace Survivor Series in November, and presumably the return of TLC in December.  I also assume Bragging Rights will return, but I hope that replaces Survivor Series in November and is coupled with War Games, so that just leaves one more PPV in October.  My proposal?  Halloween Havoc! 

So what do you think of the new WWE PPV schedule?  Feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, and new PPV ideas in the comments.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Linda McMahon in the cartoon world of politics

Unsurprisingly, Linda McMahon's senate campaign is being attacked by going after the easy target, professional wrestling.  As I've mentioned in the past, it's an easy target and it'll continue to happen, but now it's not just McMahon's opponents, it's political cartoonists:

 

Before I dive in, I have to preface this with the fact that I have no interest in supporting Linda McMahon's campaign.  I'm sure we disagree politically on almost every issue, but as a wrestling fan, it bugs me to be personally insulted by people who admittedly know nothing about pro wrestling besides what they see in out of context clips from five or ten years ago.  Mr. Englehart claims wrestling is "softcore porn," which is probably something people would nod their heads at, especially when examining the Attitude Era, but really, that's pretty far from the truth.  Even during the height of WWE's sleaze years, there was nothing on those programs that you couldn't see on network television (okay, except Katie Vick), and I've seen soap operas that are filthier than WWE, and those are on in the middle of the day! 

Let's run down the accusations made in this cartoon and see if they are grounded in reality, or if they're exaggerations and smears:

-Exploit the mentally handicapped
When?  Eugene?  I know the Eugene character has already been brought up by McMahon's political opponents, so I assume that's what's being referenced here.  For a company that's not known for being able to utilize nuance and subtlety, I don't see how the Eugene character could be looked at as anything but an inspirational tale.  Eugene was a wrestling savant who overcame his disability and stood toe-to-toe with some of the company's biggest names.  Stories like this have been used in movies and TV all the time, would Mr. Englehart claim that Tom Hanks "exploits the mentally handicapped" in Forrest Gump?

-Show violence against women
Okay, I can't really argue with this one, WWE's track record with presenting women often falls on the side of sexism, but a fictional show portraying violence against women isn't exclusive to professional wrestling.  Would Mr. Englehart speak out against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for the violence against women portrayed in Terminator?   Did he object to Fred Thompson's run for president, even after he appeared on several seasons of Law & Order, which often shows violence against women?  Through all of WWE's sexism, and it is one of their biggest faults, the violence against women is rarely outright celebrated, it's usually used as a tool to get the crowd against a heel, which is the same emotion directors are often looking for when it's used in TV or film. 

-Sex aimed at kids
I have no idea what this is even referring to.  The only thing I could possibly think of would be kids in the audience chanting "suck it!" along with DX, but that phrase has become such a part our cultural slang, it's not like WWE is encouraging oral sex.  Perhaps Mr. Englehart is just claiming that any sexual situation on WWE TV is aimed at kids because he believes kids are the primary audience, which simply isn't true, the vast majority of WWE viewers (67%) are between the ages of 18-49.

So once again, another irresponsible article showcasing the mainstream media's ignorance about professional wrestling.  Mr. Englehart himself even admits to not watching regularly since the days of Dick the Bruiser and Verne Gagne and uses his personal anecodte of "growing out of it" as some kind of evidence that it's entertainment for children.  Video games and comic books have also been the victim of this mentality, but many people don't grow out of them, and the industries have grown up with people who stick around.  WWE adapts with its audience, just like all forms of media do, and just because Mr. Englehart and Linda McMahon's political opponents don't understand that, it doesn't give them the right to judge others for their entertainment choices. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio's hiatus

Some fans of the podcast have been asking what the deal is with the lack of episodes lately, and in case you haven't been following my frustration on Twitter, I figured it would be best to address it here.

As you may know, Kick-Out!! Radio was hosted at GCast.com, which recently stopped accepting new uploads.  I have since set up a PodBean account, opting to pay for hosting, which will hopefully eliminate many of the problems I had with the free GCast, but getting the show back on iTunes is proving to be quite a challenge.  I'm trying to get the PodBean feed as the iTunes feed, but it's not as easy as it should be.  Short of changing the name of the podcast (which is not an option), I can't just re-submit Kick-Out!! Radio since iTunes blocks any duplicate podcasts.  I've been in contact with iTunes about getting things changed over, but they're not exactly speedy with their customer service.

So that's where we are now, waiting to hear back from iTunes.  Regardless of how that turns out, I hope to have a new episode posted next week, but there is a very good possibility that it will not be available on iTunes.  We'll get back on there eventually in some form or another, but in the meantime, the podcast may only be available here at kickoutwrestling.com.  Thank you for your patience and your continued support of Kick-Out!!, this site wouldn't exist without you!
 

ECW Free Agents, where do they go?

ECW's gone, and as we know, all ECW wrestlers become "free agents" and can go to either Raw or Smackdown, but where should they go?  I'm sure WWE's results will be completely different than mine, but I thought it would be fun to run down the roster and say which show I thought they'd fit best on.  Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Abraham Washington - TNA!
Just kidding, I don't want to see anyone lose their job, but please let this be the end of the Abraham Washington Show.  Raw is bad enough with lame comedy skits every week, could you imagine if we add the AWS to the mix?  And the thought of unleashing this on Smackdown just makes me sad.  Abraham Washington could make for a good obnoxious mouthpiece for a young Superstar, he could even lead to the revival of the manager, and if that's the case, I'd like to see him on Raw.

Byron Saxton & Josh Matthews - NXT
I assume NXT will have some matches every week, and I assume Byron Saxton & Josh Matthews will be the ones to call them.

Caylen Croft & Trent Baretta - Raw
Raw's desperate for tag teams, there's ShowMiz, DX (maybe), and occasionally Mark Henry & MVP.  Croft & Baretta probably aren't going to set the world on fire anytime soon, and could get lost in the shuffle on Raw, but I think for the sake of the tag division, this is the best move.

Christian - Smackdown 
Keep Christian as far away from Raw as possible!  He simply does not fit in with guys like Cena, Orton, Triple H, and Michaels, but on Smackdown, he's got Jericho, Edge, Punk, and Mysterio, guys who are more on his level and then there's his history with Jericho and Edge. Maybe Raw will be better for him post-draft, but right now, Christian on Raw seems like a surefire way to undo everything he's built up since returning.

Ezekiel Jackson - Smackdown
I could see Big Zeke being SD's version of Sheamus, but probably with a bit of a slower build... and not quite as white.

Goldust - Raw
I don't expect much for the Bizarre One on either brand, but Raw seems like the obvious choice.  He'll make for a solid utility player there and it gives us a chance to see Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes, which will be the first time I care about something Cody Rhodes does.

Gregory/Hurricane Helms - Smackdown
I'm just hopeful the guy gets to keep his job after the silly non-story that was his arrest.  Hurricane's a good talent and a solid hand to have around, I'd like to see him on Smackdown, teaming with Matt Hardy... sorry Khali!

Savannah - NXT
See Byron Saxton/Josh Matthews.

Shelton Benjamin - Raw
It's been awhile since the Gold Standard was on Monday nights, but the guy deserves one more shot at the big time.  Put Shelton on Raw, give him the ball and let's see if he runs with it... or if he becomes Carlito.

Tiffany - Smackdown
Not really much for Tiffany to do except go back to being Teddy Long's assistant GM, but what would that mean for Vickie Guerrero? 

Tony Atlas - Raw
Heh heh heh HEH!  HEH HEH! HEH!  Yeah that's all I got here.

Tyler Reks - Smackdown
Not to be an ass, but Reks isn't going anywhere in WWE, and I think wherever he ends up will be on paper only, I doubt we'll see him back on WWE TV any time soon.

Vance Archer - Raw
Because Raw needs their own version of Mike Knox.

Vladimir Kozlov - Raw
This is just me hoping for that Santino/Kozlov team!

William Regal - Raw
Regal on Raw in 2010 should be what Regal on Raw should've been in 2008.  Of course, we can't see him in his awesome GM role due to the guest host concept, but I think (hope) this is Regal's year to finally get the main event run he deserves. 

Yoshi Tatsu - Smackdown
While I don't really want to split up the Yoshi/Goldust team, I think Yoshi would be a good fit on Smackdown, especially in the Intercontinental Title scene.  Yoshi vs. McIntyre, Morrison, Ziggler, or even Mysterio could be a lot of fun. 

Zack Ryder & Rosa Mendes - Raw
While I thoroughly enjoy The Miz as the United States Champion, I can't help but think he'll be dropping that belt sooner than later in order to focus on his partnership with Big Show.  If Miz isn't US Champ, I can't think of a better obnoxious d-bag to take his place than the Lord of Long Island!  Woo. Woo. Woo.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ECW Thoughts - The Final Episode

It's the final episode of ECW, refresh your page for ongoing thoughts of tonight's historic show!

In our opening contest, the Unified Tag Team Titles finally get some attention on ECW, of course on the final episode of the show!  ShoMiz defend the titles against Yoshi Tatsu & Goldust, which could be a lot of fun.  I've been singing the praises of Goldust ever since his move to SyFy, even naming him one of the most underrated performers in WWE today, and Yoshi Tatsu has been one of the most exciting parts of Tuesday nights, hopefully both men get to keep it up on Raw or Smackdown and don't get lost in the shuffle.  Both shows need more teams, but I'd like to see Yoshi and Goldust end up on Smackdown, just so they can lock up with the Hart Dynasty; Yoshi Tatsu vs. Tyson Kidd?  Yes please!

As for tonight's match, about as enjoyable as I expected: crowd was on fire for Goldust, Miz made the challengers look like a threat, and Big Show - as usual - played the world's largest equalizer.  Unsurprisingly, Miz & Show successfully defended their titles, but even with the forgone conclusion, I'd like to see the Unified Tag Champions utilized in this way more often, putting the gold on the line against teams that probably wouldn't make it on a PPV.

Backstage, Zack Ryder promises to make his presence felt in the ECW Title match later tonight.

Oh great, The Abraham Washington Show, so much for giving the fans something nice for the final episode of ECW.  I'm not going to blame the death of ECW on Abe, but ECW wasn't canceled before he debuted... coincidence?  Thankfully, Shelton Benjamin saves us from Abe's lameness, but let's just hope he doesn't decide to sing more Hootie & The Blowfish songs.  But things go from bad to worse, because ECW's Ambien, Vance Archer arrives.  But before he can put the audience to sleep, Croft & Baretta interrupt, then Vladimir Kozlov, then chaos ensues.  I'm not sure what's worse, this or the Springer segment from last night.

Main Event time!  Christian vs. Ezekiel Jackson for the ECW Championship in an Extreme Rules match!  I could think of worse guys to wrestle the final match for ECW, and judging by their match at the Rumble, this could be one for the ages.  Christian enters first and cuts one hell of a promo respecting the legacy of ECW (very classy move) and if one guy deserves to be the last ECW Champion, it's Christian.

Match is underway and doesn't take long for Extreme Rules to come into play.  Have to give a patented NASTY! call to Christian smacking Zeke across the knuckles with a Singapore cane. As promised, Zack Ryder makes his presence felt by interfering and attacking Christian, but the champ quickly disposes of the Lord of Long Island.  Rosa Mendes tries to attack, but Tiffany hauls ass to the ring and if Joey Styles were here, he'd be screaming "CATFIGHT!"  Yeah, this is an ECW main event!

And after a fun Extreme Rules match, Ezekiel Jackson shocks the world (or at least me) by becoming the FINAL ECW Champion.  Does it mean anything?  Well, they can hype him on Raw or Smackdown as the final ECW Champion, and I have a sneaking suspicion we haven't seen the last of that title belt.

ECW goes out much like it did in 2001, not with a bang, but with a whimper.  At least we got a proper final episode, but for a show that was originally supposed to be an equal third brand spearheaded by guys like Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle, Sabu and Big Show, I don't think this is the finale WWE had in mind three years ago.  Don't get me wrong, I loved this ECW (well, from late 2007 onward), and I'm sad to see it go, but obviously WWE was never fully committed to the concept.  It's a shame, it could've been so much more, but that's the way wrestling goes sometimes.

Next week, we'll have NXT, but nothing will ever replace E-C-f'n-W.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Raw Thoughts - February 15, 2010

JERRY! JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!  One of the most influential figures in the shaping of the Attitude Era (seriously), and former mayor of Cincinnati, Jerry Springer will be hosting tonight!  Will we see a return of "Crash TV?"

Starting things off with a singing of the National Anthem in honor of President's Day, that was nice.  Raw is live and so is Kick-Out!!, keep refreshing the page for live blog updates!

Our opening contest this evening is Sheamus vs. Randy Orton in a preview of sorts for this Sunday's Elimination Chamber PPV, and a rematch from the Royal Rumble.  I'll tell you what, I know Sheamus wasn't really catching on as WWE Champ at first, but did you hear the boos when his music hit?  As long as they keep giving him big wins like he did last week, we may have the fastest ascension for a newcomer since Brock Lesnar.

Match is underway and the crowd is definitely way behind Orton, which has been the case throughout his entire mini-feud with Sheamus, but I hope this doesn't give WWE any ideas about turning him face.  Orton as a face is like Ricky Steamboat as a heel, it just wouldn't work, and last time they tried it, it derailed Orton's career.  Not really much of a match so far, neither man getting control, but Legacy finds their way to ringside, giving Sheamus the opening he needed.  Once again, Cody Rhodes causes a disqualification due to outside interference and let me guess, we're going to tease their split even more tonight?!  Get on with it already, WWE.  At least Cody Rhodes gets an RKO, but DiBiase gets booted in the face and Sheamus gets an RKO as well, with the crowd going wild and me getting worried.

Well this is exciting, Bret "The Hitman" Hart is here!  I know this is about the fourth time we've seen The Hitman this year, but I still can't get over the fact that I'm seeing Bret Hart in a WWE ring in 2010.  Once again, never say never when it comes to professional wrestling.  Wait a second... are the nimrods in the audience chanting "WHAT!?" during Bret Hart's promo?  And this is why wrestling fans are their own worst enemy.  Luckily it only lasted for a few seconds and Bret was allowed to get back on track and give us a heartfelt promo, even if his "goodbye" is just the beginning.  Obviously things between Bret and Vince are far from over, and backstage, John Cena seems to agree.  Things get weird though when some chick backs her car into Bret's limo and his leg gets caught in the door.  Huh?  Between this and John Morrison, it seems to be the week for weird leg injury storylines.

ShowMiz vs. MVP & Mark Henry up next, and ShowMiz already have their own mash-up theme song!  Good reason to reunite Henry and MVP as well, since I'm pretty sure MVP is still the #1 contender for the US Title and all of these guys have kinda been feuding with each other lately anyway. Decent enough match, MVP and Mark Henry pick up a much needed win, especially much needed for MVP, who's been drowning lately.  Of course, probably not ideal for new champs to lose in their first match, but at least it was presented as something of a fluke.

Jerry Springer is up next with a special edition of his show, and I'm pretty sure he is using the grotesquely, absurdly expensive JERITRON 9000!  Jerry is looking into the WWE Superstars most intimate relationships, and our first revelation is that Kelly Kelly is pregnant.  Yep, this is gonna be a trainwreck.  Kelly believes the father is Santino Marella?!  Oh come on, we're missing a grand opportunity to revive the careers of both Kane and Snitsky!  Oh but it turns out that it's not Santino, it could be Michael Cole... or Jerry Lawler!  Springer does have a good point though, Kelly Kelly is way too old for Jerry Lawler.  Cue The Bella Twins, with the shocking revelation that Brie is a man!  And out comes Chris Masters (the presumed father) and Eve to complete the Battle of the Superstars All-Stars.  And now Eve drops the bombshell that she's been cheating on Chris Masters with... The Great Khali, and maybe Ranjin Singh too!  Finally, Springer gives us the results of the DNA test, and the father is... HORNSWOGGLE!  Damn, I was hoping for The Godfather.  As it turns out, the Superstars All-Stars were just playing a prank on old Jerry Springer, but they reveal his intimate relationship, Mae Young!  This might be the most ridiculous segment ever, though it does give me a reason to share one of my favorite Weird Al songs:



Okay, back to action, Kofi Kingston vs. Ted DiBiase in another preview for this Sunday's Elimination Chamber PPV.  If Ted's willing to show some of that potential I know he has and this doesn't turn into another chapter of As The Legacy Turns, this could be a really good match.  Decent enough action, sucks to see Kofi Kingston lose again, but a good win for DiBiase, though I'm not sure he really needed it. Sick Dream Street there at the end though.  As friend of Kick-Out!! and Mr. Anderson's worst nightmare, Ayaz Hyder said: "Attention WWE audience....if you can find Kofi's push please return it back to its rightful owner."

Antonio Inoki is the next inductee in the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame!  Definitely deserved and more evidence that WWE is aiming to make their Hall more of a wrestling Hall of Fame, rather than limiting it to just WWE.

Okay, John Cena's here to finally get this show back on track with stuff actually happening, but of course we get to see another video package.  RAW IS MEMOREX!  Honestly, how many times can we see Batista powerbombing Cena on the steel stairs?  Back in the present, Cena calls out Batista, but Big Dave isn't in the arena, he's via satellite.  Oh FFS!  At least Cena calls out Davetista's absurd wardrobe choices, saying he shops at Baby Polo.  Batista promises he'll be at Raw next week, and not on a "Big Tron," somewhere, Jeff Bridges is disappointed.

Jewel and Ty Murray hosting Raw next week... and they might be the strangest guest hosts  yet.  I admittedly like Jewel, she seems like a pretty sharp person who does her own thing with her music (even if some people don't get it), but I don't think the WWE audience is going to get it either.

Main Event time!  Triple H vs. John Cena, a WrestleMania-worthy match that WWE has given away at least three times on Raw in the last year!  Match was decent enough, and at least they didn't give away a clean finish like they did the last time Cena and Triple H squared off, but they could've figured something out so that they didn't have to go with a completely out-of-the-blue Sheamus run-in!  Don't get me wrong, I like Sheamus and I'm glad to see him look like the dominant champion he should have from the moment he won the WWE Title back in December, but I feel like this was just one big WTF edition of Raw.

Which brings me to my Final Thought.  Bad Raw.  Not a terrible, I considered turning off the TV episode of Raw, like the Dennis Miller episode, but a total waste of a show considering there's a PPV this Sunday and only four matches have been announced.  The Springer segment was harmless, as in no one will even remember it come next week, but it went on way too long and nothing else of importance happened on this show.

Sheamus vs. Orton was a rerun from the Rumble, a bizarre injury angle for Bret Hart, the tag match was way too short, Kofi Kingston continues to be wasted, Batista doesn't show up as advertised, and they give away Cena vs. Triple H again.  I feel like there could've been better ways to hype the Chamber match, why not a six-man tag or a tag match and a singles match that's not John Cena vs. Triple H?  Shoulda, coulda, woulda, I suppose, and I'm not here to be the Tuesday morning booker, but just a bad show that really could've been good even with the stupid Springer segment.  And where the hell was Shawn Michaels?