Saturday, October 30, 2010

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - October 29, 2010

It was the final WWE show before Halloween, so naturally we'd start things off with a funeral for The Undertaker. Just curious, how many times over the last twenty years have we had a funeral for The Undertaker? It's like a creepy version of Groundhog Day. But yeah, Kane told us that The Undertaker is gone forever, for reals this time, he's for serious! Good stuff from Kane though, and fresh off three wins over The Undertaker, he has to be one of the most dominant World Champions in recent WWE history.

But this is wrestling, any event where you'd expect class and tact, like a funeral or wedding, you won't find it here. As Kane was asking for a moment of silence, he was interrupted by Alberto Del Rio?! Del Rio said the only tragedy was that he hasn't had a shot at the World Championship, which infuriates Kane, but the crafty newcomer got the upper hand until Rey Mysterio interfered, then Edge made his presence felt. Naturally, this set up a triple threat between Del Rio, Edge and Rey Mysterio to determine a new #1 contender.

Dolph Ziggler w/ Cheetara Guerrero vs. Daniel Bryan was their third match this week, but at least it made sense. Both their matches have had "controversial" officiating, so they were once again looking for a definitive victory. Not gonna get it here though, Ziggler had the match won after a ref bump, but Vickie got in the ring causing Ziggler to lose his focus and caught a NASTY! kick to give Bryan his third victory... yes my friends, Dolph Ziggler got his f'n head kicked in. These two have fantastic chemistry though, and I'm loving this mini feud, let's put them in a cage!

Jack Swagger vs. Kaval was next, and these guys had a hell of a match. Both haven't had much to do on Smackdown as of late, so I would love to see them lock it up more. Kaval put up a valiant effort, but succumbed to the Ankle Lock, which I'm sure will upset some folks, but at least we didn't have to see Tyler Reks this time.

Divas Costume Contest... who cares?

I was glad to see McIntyre & Rhodes didn't split up after losing the belts to Nexus, they make for a good team, and even have a name now "The Dashing Ones." I like a good odd couple, and both these guys have been growing on me lately, so I wouldn't mind seeing the tag division built around them.

The Dashing Ones vs. Big Show & Kofi Kingston might cast some doubt on that idea though with McIntyre leaving Cody to get chokeslammed by the World's Largest Athlete. Fun match though and the crowd was ON FIRE for this one. Maybe Kofi & Big Show should be the next challengers for the Nexus? What? Like I said, I like a good odd couple!

And sure enough, backstage, Rhodes & McIntyre broke up. Seriously, WWE's penchant for splitting up tag teams too soon, too often is reaching self-parody levels. Ridiculous.

Main Event time! Rey Mysterio vs. Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio in a triple threat match to determine the #1 contender for Kane's World Heavyweight Championship. Friends, if you missed this match, do yourself a favor and make sure you see it, because this is easily a candidate for TV Match of the Year. Three awesome athletes went out there and had a very un-WWE triple threat match, where all three guys worked against each other instead of one guy laying on the floor for twenty minutes, and it was one of the most exciting contests I've seen on Smackdown in 2010. I could tell you the specific spots or the dramatic near falls, but it would take away from the enjoyment if you haven't seen it yet. Instead, I'm just going to offer a three word review: WATCH. THIS. MATCH.

Edge picked up the huge win and will face Kane at Survivor Series, and considering how great he's been since his organic face turn and trade to Smackdown, I am absolutely all for this one. I don't know if Kane vs. Edge will be as exciting as this main event was, but both men have been riding a huge wave of momentum lately, so I'm eager to see what they'll do in three weeks.

Great episode of Smackdown, doing what Smackdown does best, rock solid wrestling matches. I'm aggravated by the stupid Diva stuff, Michael Cole and WWE continuing to split up perfectly good tag teams, but it's hard to stay mad when you have matches like the main event, Kaval vs. Swagger and Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan, that all get plenty of time. The main event is definitely the most important match to watch this week, but if you're not regularly watching Smackdown on Syfy, can you really call yourself a wrestling fan?

WWE Royal Rumble 2010 Edge FigureSmackdown: The Best of 2009-2010WWE Superstar Match-Ups Rey Mysterio

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 47

It’s our spooktacular Halloween episode! Three special Halloween Five Counts, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, and how wrestling and horror movies are more similar than you might think.





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

iTunes - clicking this link will open your iTunes.

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Five Count: HalloWWEen Costumes

Halloween is this Sunday, and if you've waited to the last minute to come up with a costume, or you're broke, never fear, Kick-Out!! is here to help you! Here are the top five wrestling costumes for the budget-conscious fan:

5. John Morrison
Materials needed: Ridiculously tight pants, Bedazzler, Sharpie marker
Head to your local Hot Topic, or just borrow a pair of your little sister's jeans and you're already halfway there! While you're in your sister's room, she might also have a Bedazzling kit so you can apply the rhinestones; if a Bedazzler is too expensive, just go to your local craft store and buy some shiny beads and fabric glue. You can complete the outfit with a trip to Goodwill for a hideous (and fake) fur coat, and a cheap pair of sunglasses, which will also need some Bedazzling. Use the Sharpie marker to draw abs on yourself, I don't think you'll have enough time before Sunday to get that in shape.

4. Tommy Dreamer
Materials needed: black pants, any wrestling shirt you've ever owned, boombox
This one's easy, especially if you've ever owned an ECW t-shirt or a t-shirt from a specific PPV event. Just wear those clothes, carry a boombox around with "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains on a constant loop (it's only $0.99 on iTunes!) and you're all set. Oh and if you can't grow facial hair, just draw a goatee on yourself... the Sharpie might take a bit to wash off, but don't be a pansy, you're the Innovator of Violence!

3. Ric Flair
Materials needed: bathrobe, matching underwear, two feather boas, stapler
WOOOOOOOOO! is what you'll be saying if you're trick-or-treating in this one, it's gonna be a little cold, but Ric Flair's wrestled on six continents, I think you can handle a stiff breeze. First, staple one feather boa to the collar/opening of the robe, then cut the other into smaller pieces and staple them around the opening of the sleeves. If you still have that Bedazzler from the John Morrison costume, feel free to go nuts, there's literally no limit to how gaudy this thing can look. Also, you're the dirtiest player in the game, feel free to use a low blow or have Tully Blanchard help you get more candy.

2. Zack Ryder
Materials needed: pants, stickers, spray-on tan, lots and lots of hair gel
If you need a few ideas on how exactly to style your hair, watch a few episodes of Jersey Shore and you'll get the picture. If you're wondering how much is too much with the spray on tan, there is no such thing as too much! Next, cut one leg off the chosen pair of pants (ever noticed how Ryder's career nosedived when he lost that one pant leg?), and just put an assortment of stickers on said pants. What stickers? Well, Zack Ryder has a boombox and a license plate on his tights, so clearly it's whatever springs to mind. I suggest a unicorn and a Dole/Kemp 96 bumper sticker.

1. Naked Mideon
Materials needed: fanny pack, complete lack of shame
Trick-Or-OH GOD MY EYES!!!




And I suppose if you lack a gag reflex and have an old school alarm clock in your possession, you could borrow my costume:



















HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Monday, October 25, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - October 25, 2010

Bragging Rights fallout this evening, keep up with Raw (and attempts at witty commentary) in tonight's live blog!

The Nexus kicks things off, and oddly enough, John Cena enters with the group, which may be the first time he hasn't come out to his own music. Now all we need to do is get him in a Nexus shirt and he'll be a full-fledged member! Wade Barrett's first order of business is to explain why they attacked The Undertaker tonight, and the reason behind it is none of your business! Man, that guy is a jerk... and why do I get the feeling this will be the "Hummer angle" of The Nexus, something that happens, and never really gets explained, but if it does, no one will care at that point?

Barrett turns his attention to Cena, who he isn't exactly thrilled with following his DQ win over Randy Orton, but Cena did exactly what he was told, resulting in the worst ending to a PPV this year. The G?M makes his or her presence felt and announces that Wade Barrett deserves a rematch for the title since he won last night, and this time there will be a special guest referee, determined by the winner of John Cena vs. Randy Orton later tonight.

But we still have more unfinished business, David Otunga can't coexist with John Cena as a WWE Tag Team Champion, so Wade Barrett sets up a title match with the new champions defending against Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel. Barrett refuses to let the two teams fight though, and orders David Otunga to lay down, and we crown new Tag Champs... again. Well, that was stupid; remember this time last year when the Tag Titles were a major force with JeriShow headlining PPVs? Those were the days. Why not just let Nexus defend the Tag Titles under the Freebird Rule?

Let's shake the stupid off and get to the in-ring action, which is thankfully a rematch from last night's Match of the Year contender, Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan! And hey, let's make things even more awesome and have CM Punk join us on commentary; oh please, please tell me this means that he's about to enter a US Title feud with Daniel Bryan. Only bad thing about this match is that it's on TV instead of PPV, so we have to deal with commercial breaks that keep us from all the action. These two have put on another clinic though, and despite Vickie's best efforts to cheat, Daniel Bryan forced the IC Champion to tap out to the LeBell Lock once again while CM Punk gave him a slow clap. Am I gonna have to beg for these two to feud? Seriously, the minute Punk showed up on Raw, my mind immediately went to him working with Daniel Bryan.

Toby Keith is tonight's guest star (ugh) to promote his new album, "Bullets in the Gun." I'll be on Raw next week to promote "Water in the Ocean." Santino is dressed up like a cowboy, and somehow manages to look less ridiculous than Toby Keith usually does. Sheamus isn't happy with Santino though, considering he practically made it a handicap match last night at Bragging Rights, and they're going to have match tonight.

Backstage, John Cena threatens to quit, but Wade Barrett promises to make him an offer he can't refuse if he beats Randy Orton.

LayCool vs. Melina & Gail Kim is next, and oh yeah, there are other Divas in WWE, I almost forgot. LayCool pick up an easy win thanks to a boot the face, and that's literally it. Once again, why should I care about the Divas when WWE clearly doesn't? Yawn.

Thankfully, The Miz is here to save us from slumber, and explain that he's not a freaking miracle worker, and if Team Raw would've had seven Mizzes, Raw would have the Bragging Rights trophy right now. Gotta admit, I'd buy that all-Miz cover of Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, shame it doesn't really exist. By the way, the game is out tomorrow, and I'll have a review posted once I get some time with it.

Oddly enough, Eve comes out to trash talk The Miz, which is telling because all the men in the locker room are scared of Captain Awesome. Eve was pretty entertaining here though, have they been hiding a gem? Naturally, this is all to set up The Miz vs. R-Truth, which isn't exactly anything new, but they mesh well. As goofy as Truth's shtick is, I always enjoy watching him between bells though, always a rock solid performer, and tonight was no exception in a very fun back and forth match with Miz. Crowd was hot for the ending, and Miz vindicated himself after losing last night with a big win, thanks to the Skullcrushing Finale and a little bit of help from Alex Riley.

Toby Keith is in the ring next, and he's wasted. If I wanted to listen to a drunken redneck ramble on about whatever's on his mind in a wrestling ring, I'd watch The Legacy of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Toby Keith is the worst thing to happen to country music since country music, and while I usually enjoy watching stupid people make asses of themselves, I don't need it to interrupt my wrestling. Luckily, he's just out here to be the ring announcer for Sheamus vs. Santino, which will hopefully be the end of the Santino character, which ran its course when Glamarella ended...

...WTF SANTINO JUST WON?! WHAT?! ...WHAT!!!??? W.H.A.T?! I know Sheamus is modeling his career after Triple H and all, but he didn't have to emulate that time he lost to the Brooklyn Brawler! Hopefully this means more Sheamus vs. Morrison, who was at ringside, for some unknown reason, but that was the least bizarre point of this segment.

Okay, I'm not exactly the biggest fan of Stand Up for WWE, but the vignette of the wrestlers talking about how much they love doing what they do was pretty cool.

Backstage, David Otunga threatens to tell everyone why they attacked The Undertaker, but Wade Barrett introduces him to the newest members of The Nexus, Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty. Bout damn time they pulled the trigger on that.

Pee-Wee Herman guest stars on Raw next week, and that might be the greatest sentence I've ever typed.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton is our main event tonight and I doubt this will be as good as their table match last month, but I don't think there are two wrestlers on Raw more familiar with each other than these guys, so you never know. After last night though, I have to wonder why Wade Barrett doesn't just rush the ring and attack John Cena? If Cena wins, he gets to pick the referee for his rematch, so just get Orton disqualified! And hey, wouldn't ya know, that's exactly what happened! Bad PPV finish, but it makes perfect sense for a Raw ending, and it's the kind of logic and continuity that's missing in wrestling.

Wade Barrett doesn't waste any time announcing his referee either, it's - brace yourself - John Cena! But if Wade Barrett doesn't win the title at Survivor Series, John Cena will be fired on the spot, but if Wade Barrett does win the title, then John Cena will be relieved from his duties to Nexus. And it just so happens to all be going down at Survivor Series, the PPV notorious for screwjobs and swerves, my shenanigans sense is on fire. Could this be the PPV where the "much bigger purpose" is revealed?

Weird Raw tonight where the in-ring action was better than the storytelling. Bryan vs. Ziggler, Miz vs. Truth and the main event were all really good wrestling matches, while stuff with the tag titles and Santino actually winning a match fell flat. I continue to be captivated by the Cena/Nexus business, which just took a really unexpected turn, but all I can think of coming out of this episode of Raw is how much I want to see CM Punk and Daniel Bryan lock up.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011Smackdown: The Best of 2009-2010Wrestling's Highest Flyers

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.

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - October 22, 2010

Bragging Rights is tonight, and in the final Smackdown before the PPV, WWE advertised a big champion vs. champion match: Randy Orton vs. Kane in the main event!

Team Raw & Team Smackdown were already in the ring with Teddy Long, who allowed the Superstars to pick their matches for this show. The Miz had first pick, and he set up a six-man tag match with himself, Ezekiel Jackson and Sheamus going against Big Show's team with Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio. Edge wanted to be in action as well and challenged CM Punk to a one-on-one match; John Morrison wanted Alberto Del Rio; Jackie Swaggs wanted Santino Marella; and that just left Tyler Reks without an opponent since R-Truth can't work in Canada, but no one seemed to mind.

Six-Man Tag action to start things off on Smackdown, Big Show, Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz, Sheamus & Ezekiel Jackson. I love six-man tag matches, plus there were some fun style clashes in this one, and it was full of guys that rarely interact with each other. Very fun match with a hot crowd, only brought down by annoying commentary from both Matt Striker and Michael Cole, but Team Smackdown picked up a big victory with Mysterio hitting the big splash of Big Show's shoulders onto The Miz. Another win for Team Smackdown, leading me to believe they really don't have a chance at the PPV tonight.

Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella was our next Bragging Rights preview, and this one was bowling shoe ugly, as JR would call it. Swagger picked up a win with the Ankle Lock, and everything else between the bells is probably better left unsaid.

DASHING! Cody Rhodes' vignettes keep getting creepier. Goldust is now the normal brother.

Alberto Del Rio vs. John Morrison was next and definitely made up for the previous match. A straight-up wrestling match, and I'd love to see these guys mix it up more, but Smackdown picked up another big win when Alberto Del Rio applied that devastating Cross Armbreaker.

The match I was most excited for, CM Punk vs. Edge certainly did not disappoint. These two are no strangers to each other and put on a hell of a back and forth match with the crowd getting increasingly excited with each move. The Miz interfered though, causing a disqualification and giving Team Smackdown another win, then all hell broke loose and members of both teams came out and traded finishers with each other. When it was all said and done, Edge stood tall as the last remaining man, once again proving that Team Smackdown doesn't stand a chance tonight.

LayCool (dressed as the original Hart Foundation) vs. Natalya & Kelly Kelly was next and I was amazed that someone found a pair of jeans that fit Michelle McCool. Natalya picked up the win for her team, and, yeah, that's all I got.

Main Event time! Randy Orton vs. Kane WWE Champion vs. World Heavyweight Champion, and if you thought you'd get through this match without some sort of shenanigans, I have some volcano insurance you might be interested in. I'm surprised this match went as long as it did though, and that there was a winner at all, but the lights went out when Kane was going for a chokeslam, but instead of getting The Undertaker when they came back on, Kane got an RKO! Orton picked up Raw's only win tonight, and he's not even on the Bragging Rights team.

After the match, we got to see one of my favorite old-school Undertaker moves, ripping up through the apron and dragging Kane down to the abyss of steel chairs, ladders, toolboxes, Hornswoggles, and various ring equipment!

Fun Smackdown with plenty of ring action, even if they did have to hammer home the point that Smackdown is still really good, even if they lose on Sunday, we promise! Nothing earth-shattering, but good wrestling and good build for tonight's PPV has got me sufficiently hyped.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009

Friday, October 22, 2010

WWE shirts banned from Connecticut polls?

Today, the Connecticut Secretary of State warned voters to not wear WWE apparel when they vote, because it could be considered campaigning for Linda McMahon at a polling place, which is banned. WWE responded with this statement:

STAMFORD, Conn. – The right for World Wrestling Entertainment fans to vote was threatened Friday by Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, who gave the authority to local poll workers to determine that if anyone shows up to the polls on November 2 wearing any WWE merchandise, whether it is a John Cena T-shirt or a Randy Orton wristband, they may be forced to go home and change, cover it up, or take it off in order to vote.

“Denying our fans the right to vote, denying them their First Amendment rights, regardless if they are Democrat, Republican or Independent, is un-American, unconstitutional and blatantly discriminatory,” said Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO of WWE.

A bit over the top, no one is threatening a WWE fan's right to vote, they just may not be allowed to wear a WWE t-shirt at a polling place. There's certainly an argument to be made about whether or not WWE and Linda McMahon's campaign are one in the same, but I can certainly see where the state of Connecticut is coming from. This was a major issue in the 2008 election with voters being asked to change when showing up to polling stations with Barack Obama t-shirts on.

But while WWE's reaction was a tad dramatic, it pales in comparison to the dirtsheet reaction. The Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly, which ya know, is supposed to be the "good" dirtsheet, gave us this gem:

Vince is losing it bad

WWE.com put up a release today claiming that Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz was denying wrestling fans of their first amendment rights when she stated that people at polls had the right to tell people showing up wearing WWE merchandise that they could be asked to change their clothes.

Bysiewicz said earlier today that people in charge of polling locales would have the authority to make that call because WWE was so heavily associated with Linda McMahon's candidacy.

Vince McMahon claimed that she was attempting to deny WWE fans the right to vote, which is not what was said, and that they are in violation of their first amendment rights.

This is laughable for a company that confiscates signs at its arenas and would has a policy of not allowing fans visible on camera to wear T-shirts from other promotions.

Sensationalist headline? Check. Inaccurate information? Check. Ridiculous amounts of editorializing? Check, check, check. I'm not sure if Bryan Alvarez or Dave Meltzer wrote this excuse for "journalism," but whoever did might want to take a basic civics class so they can have some grasp on how the First Amendment actually works.

WWE confiscating a sign or not allowing a rival promotion's shirt to be visible is not a violation of anyone's First Amendment rights, nor is it comparable. WWE literally cannot violate your right to free speech because WWE is not the government; the First Amendment protects speech from being censored by the government, not private enterprise. WWE is a private business, when you purchase a ticket and go to their show, you agree to their rules, which are explained to you before the show begins.

An election however, is the government, and while we can debate whether or not a WWE t-shirt is campaigning for Linda McMahon, it is the government restricting someone's clothing, which is arguably a restriction of free speech. I would say The Observer/F4W is "losing it bad," but that would imply that they ever had something to begin with.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kip-Up for Kick-Out!!

Naturally, since WWE created its "Stand Up for WWE" campaign, the parodies came out of the woodwork. No surprise, it's ripe for parody, but one in particular is so ridiculous that it has to be addressed.

The folks over at Jason Powell's prowrestling.net have encouraged their readers to "Stand Up for Dot Net," and while it's obviously tongue in cheek, it's an excuse for the smarks to come out of the woodwork and crack jokes about wrestlers doing drugs and for prowrestling.net to autofellate themselves, which is what dirtsheets do best.

Just a quick reminder, last year, Jason Powell won Lance Storm's "Internet Stooge Dirt Sheet Writers Award for lack of integrity in writing for knowingly writing false negative reports, that can be damaging to people’s careers, simply to drive web-traffic and to satisfy the source who fed him the falsehood."

Ouch. If someone within the business said that about me, I'd need someone to fluff my ego a bit as well. Anyway, this absurdity from prowrestling.net did give me a good idea though, and that's the Kip-Up for Kick-Out Campaign!

Sick of outright lies "reported" by tabloid hacks? Tired of dirtsheet writers who think they're bigger than the business they write about? Fed up with people who claim to be fans but do nothing but whine about how awful wrestling is? Then I'm asking you to Kip-Up for Kick-Out!! and help create a better wrestling media!

Here are ten ways you can Kip-Up for Kick-Out!!:

1. Use social networking to expose false, inaccurate, or laughably vague "reports" from dirtsheets.

2. Start your own website, blog or podcast to help create a better wrestling media.

3. Visit better wrestling websites like Ring Posts, The UK Sun (don't laugh, their wrestling coverage is good!), and JR's blog.

4. Find better fan pages like WrestleSpective and WRESTLEGASM.

5. Follow professional wrestlers on Twitter, who often set the record straight on inaccurate dirtsheet reports.

6. Follow Kick-Out!! on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, because we like to make new friends!

7. Point out when multiple websites have the same story verbatim, but different "reporters"

8. Always be polite, even when you really piss off a dirtsheet "reporter" for exposing their lies... a little sarcasm never hurt anyone though!

9. Delete dirtsheets from your bookmarks. How can you be sure if you should delete a particular site? If it sends your pop-up blocker or AdBlock into a frenzy, it's probably safe to delete.

10. Continue to support professional wrestling, someday we may live in a world where actual, credentialed journalists will report on it!

Thank you for helping in our quest for a better wrestling media and please continue to Kip-Up for Kick-Out!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 46

This week, we "Stand Up for WWE," then sit down to talk about the rumored return of Tough Enough, Kaval, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, WWE Bragging Rights, and MVP is in the Superstar Spotlight.






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

Monday, October 18, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - October 18, 2010

Tonight, Vince McMahon is expected to make an appearance to promote the Stand Up for WWE campaign, and I think we should turn it into a drinking game, Throw Up For WWE!

Every time Michael Cole references Stand Up for WWE - take a drink
Every time Vince McMahon references Stand Up for WWE - take a shot
Every time WWE pats itself on the back tonight - CHUG... and enjoy your hospital stay.*

*Kick-Out!! does not condone over-consumption of alcohol or underage drinking. CM Punk would be very disappointed in you.

Okay, live blogging Raw tonight, the show's been on a hell of a roll lately, but this "Stand Up" business could be a huge distraction for the final Raw before Bragging Rights. WWE is their own worst enemy sometimes, it's why "Stand Up" exists in the first place, but let's hope it doesn't get in the way of good storytelling this evening.

Monday Night Raw starts off the way every wrestling show should, with Teddy Long, playa! T-Lo claims he's taking over Raw tonight and The G?M quickly interrupts the Longest of Theodores and rudely tells him to get out of the ring. Teddy Long brings out the Bragging Rights trophy from last year,which totally isn't the same trophy and disconnects the G?M! C'mon, they don't have wifi in Canada?! T-Lo brings out Team Smackdown, and the crowd goes mild for Tyler Reks.

Doesn't take long for Team Raw, led by The Miz to rain on Smackdown's parade, but let's be honest, even with the awesomeness of The Miz and Punk, and the lameness of Tyler Reks, Team Raw doesn't hold a candle to Team Smackdown... okay, maybe I'm wrong, because the mystery seventh member of Team Raw is Ezekiel Jackson! Big Zeke is officially back! Team Raw and Team Smackdown brawl a little bit, but Miz wisely rounds up his troops and retreats. Big Show says they'll leave the ring if The Miz will take him on tonight in a Captain vs. Captain match. Very fun opening segment... but what happened to R-Truth, wasn't he on Team Raw?

Update: I forgot that R-Truth cannot legally work in Canada.

Opening match time, Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre vs. Calgary's own Hart Dynasty in tag team action. Title's are not on the line, but here's hoping WWE doesn't decide to split up the Harts here just to rile up the crowd. Match was too short for my liking, but the Hart storyline continues with a miscommunication that allows Drew & Cody to pick up the win. Looks like we need Bret to heal these... broken Harts. Where are my sunglasses?

Backstage, John Cena threatens to break off Randy Orton's leg if he tries to punt him tonight. That will make it very hard for him to Stand Up For WWE.

R-Truth video package next to make up for the fact he can't be on Raw tonight. It was a video for his new song, complete with lyrics, but I wish they would've done it like those old Disney Sing-a-Long videos with a bouncing R-Truth head. Someone make that YouTube video, PLEASE!

Goldust vs. Zack Ryder next and I was still typing about R-Truth by the time this one ended. Zack Ryder quickly falls victim to the Final Cut, then so does Ted DiBiase, who was trying to steal back the Million Dollar Championship... and failed hysterically.

Backstage, Wade Barrett made John Cena get him a glass of water and subsequently threw it in his face. Also, The Miz assaulted PSP Kid, watch your back Kevin Butler!

John Cena & Randy Orton vs. Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty is our 10pm main event, and Cena has been ordered to throw everything he has at the former NXT Rookies to see if they have what it takes to be in Nexus. Speaking of, Nexus has made their way to ringside to observe, and judging by the fact there's only four of them left (five counting Cena), they could use the extra help. Match is going on pretty early for the first hour main event, so hopefully this one will get plenty of time and we can get a chance to see what the NXT guys can do without having to dance or carry a keg.

Match isn't anything particularly spectacular, but what do you expect, there's a lot of pressure when your "debut" match is against the two biggest stars in the industry, it's not like they were working with Lucky Cannon. I'm still not sold on McGillicutty, but I really like Husky Harris, he's got a unique look, awesome facial expressions, and looks like he will legitimately kill you. Cena & Orton pick up the win, but Nexus demolishes Orton after the match, which might be my favorite WWE moment of all the times while Cena was forced to watch. I wish Barrett would've made Cena follow through with the Attitude Adjustment though... and an STF. Then another 450. And then Slater and Otunga slow dance over his prone body.

An hour and ten minutes in and no mention of Stand Up for WWE, I'm impressed.

Vickie Guerrero is out next in a zipperlicious ensemble to introduce the Intercontinental Champion, Dolph Ziggler, who rambles on about something, but who cares because Daniel Bryan is here! Bryan asks if he "could be serious for a minute" (yay Lance Storm!) and challenges Dolph Ziggler to a US Champion vs. IC Champion match at Bragging Rights, much like we had last year. Dolph slaps Bryan in the face and Vickie tries to step in his way, but Bryan offers the most logical counter ever - walking around her! Bryan applies the LeBell Lock, and for some reason the Divas come out to throw glitter on Vickie and dance with Daniel Bryan. The Lance Storm references continue! Bizarre ending to an otherwise enjoyable segment, can't wait to see Bryan and Dolph lock up on Sunday.

Natalya vs. Alicia Fox next and Natalya picks up an easy win with the Sharpshooter. LayCool is out next to mock Canada for their watered-down beer, and Michelle tried to put Natalya in the Sharpshooter itself, but Natalya managed to reverse it. The more they portray LayCool as clueless morons, the more tolerable they come, but I still can't stand listening to Michelle McCool talk. The Undertaker's already so tired of it, he's going to cover himself with dirt on Sunday just to get some peace and quiet.

Looks like the Bragging Rights match has been turned into an elimination style match, which I fully support. I hate big multi-man matches that are only one fall to a finish... except Canadian Stampede.

Big Show w/ Smackdown vs. The Miz w/ Raw has barely begun and Teddy Long has turned it into a Raw vs. Smackdown Battle Royal! Hornswoggle has kicked Michael Cole off commentary too, and instantly made it a better show, but unfortunately someone found Cole another headset. Bummer. Oh but then Michael Cole has to redeem himself by saying Hornswoggle is better than Matt Striker; I don't like being in the unfortunate position of agreeing with Michael Cole!

Battle Royals are hard to review, but I'm sure you know that a bunch of dudes brawled, it was a giant mess, and really hard to keep track of. Big Zeke looked like a beast though, but it was Big Show and Edge who managed to survive thanks to Edge hiding outside the ring and sneaking back in like the Ultimate Opportunist that he is. Team Smackdown wins, but all that says to me is they're not going to make it two in a row.

Not a bad Raw, but not nearly as good as the show has been for the last few weeks thanks to a lack of wrestling. Still, they had a hot crowd to work with and made good use of them with the Raw vs. Smackdown stuff. I really liked Bragging Rights last year, but the concept, while fun, doesn't really have any lasting consequences, so will the hot Canadian crowd turn into big business on Sunday? But hey, buyrates don't have anything to do with the fun factor, and if they can keep up the excitement that surrounded the 7-on-7 match tonight, we could have quite the enjoyable show on our hands.

But hey... where was Vince!?

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011WWE: Bragging Rights 2009WWE: The Best of RAW 15th AnniversaryWWE: The Best of Smackdown - 10th Anniversary 1999-2009

Stand Up for WWE

Today, WWE unveiled a new ad campaign, spearheaded by Vince McMahon himself, called "Stand Up for WWE," to clear up some of the "attacks" on the company in the wake of Linda McMahon's Senate campaign.



Is it PR for WWE after they've taken a beating in the media in the last few months or is it PR for Linda McMahon, who is in an extremely tight race in Connecticut? Is it a long overdue campaign or is it a plea for help out of a mess WWE got itself into? I'll have my thoughts on the situation in this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, but I'd love to hear your initial reaction to McMahon's comments.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - October 15, 2010

The Undertaker on top of the Rose Garden was a creepy visual, wonder how long they've been waiting to do that?

Teddy Long announced the obvious plan for the evening, more qualifying matches for the Bragging Rights team. Totally fine with that, it made sense and it let Smackdown do what Smackdown does best, wrestling.

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes was our opening contest, and a match I was excited to see because I think these two could mesh well in the ring. Thought it was a bit strange to put Cody in a singles match though, would've made more sense to have the Tag Champs qualify together, and they would've made a logical addition to the team. Obviously wasn't the direction they were going with though since Mysterio picked up a hard fought win. Good match too, crowd was hot for it as well and Cody Rhodes really stepped up his game, and dare I say... I'm becoming a Cody Rhodes fan?

Backstage, Kaval & Big Show had a fun interaction with Kaval wanting on Team Smackdown and World's Largest Athlete wanting someone with more experience. Big Show told Kaval that he wouldn't last five minutes in the ring with him, so Kaval took him up on that offer, and if he could last, he'd be on Team Smackdown. I really liked this segment, little stuff like this could instantly make Kaval a bigger deal.

In a vignette, Paul Bearer challenged The Undertaker to one last match with Kane - a Buried Alive Match!

MVP vs. Jack Swagger in their eight billionth match was our next Bragging Rights qualifier, but at least the Swagger Soaring Eagle was there! Seriously, the mascot idea is so beyond brilliant, I have no idea why they've never thought of this before. Swagger picked up an easy win with the Ankle Lock, and definitely makes a good addition to Team Smackdown. Three former World Champions is a hell of a way to start forming a team.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Chris Masters was next, and well, not exactly hard to predict this one. Considering Santino is on Team Raw, I guess anything was possible, but Alberto Del Rio picked up the win here. I really can't say enough good things about Masters this year though, he's been absolutely fantastic this year and one of the most underrated Superstars in WWE right now. After the match, he refused to shake Big Show's hand and just winked at him with that infuriating smile on his face. Brilliant.

Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler was yet another Bragging Rights qualifier, and Edge rocking his 90s-era shades lately is a minor touch, but pretty cool nonetheless. Would like to see him wear some of those ridiculously huge sunglasses that Edge & Christian used to have. Edge vs. Dolph made sense considering their history with Vickie Guerrero... do you think Eric Escobar is sitting at home just shaking his head? Hell of a match between these two, highlighted by Ziggler hitting the Zig-Zag on Edge outside the ring and flinging the Rated-R Superstar into the steel stairs, but they weren't done there, Edge picked up an insanely hard-fought win with a Spear as Ziggler was diving off the top rope! Match of the Week, by far.

Kaval vs. Big Show in the five-minute challenge was next and it was pretty much Big Show just toying with the NXT Season 2 winner. Show did a great job telling the story as the reluctant monster, but still impressed with Kaval's tenacity. Kaval lasted the five minutes and has earned himself a spot on Team Smackdown, and made a much bigger splash than he would have just by beating Chavo Guerrero a couple weeks ago...

...And then they shit all over it. After commercial, Tyler Reks, yes, Tyler Reks came in and challenged Kaval for his spot and won. Yes, Tyler friggin' Reks is going to be in the main event of a PPV, despite not being on WWE TV since ECW ended. What a boneheaded decision... seriously, one of the dumbest things I've seen WWE do this year. You have an awesome moment with Kaval looking like a big deal and finally getting to do something big since winning NXT, and then you just completely negate it by having him lose to a complete jobber that hasn't been on TV in months, and wasn't even entertaining in the first place? Wow WWE, just wow.

Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre was the final qualifying match, but my brain was still melting from the absolutely idiotic decision to put TYLER REKS on Team Smackdown, that I didn't really see the match. Kofi picked up a quick win, and is an obvious addition to the team, but seriously, TYLER REKS?!

Kane & The Undertaker closed things out with The Phenom accepting the challenge for Buried Alive, setting off Kane's pyro and then striking the stage with lightning... this was all more believable than Tyler Reks in the main event of a WWE PPV.

Aside from that one mind-numbingly stupid decision, I liked this episode of Smackdown, especially the awesome Edge/Ziggler match. But yeah, the Tyler Reks decision really took me out of the rest of this show. I don't care about "omg low-ki been buriedz so hard," but they completely neutered an effective segment that did more for Kaval in just five minutes than three months of NXT and a month of Smackdown did for him. The bit with Big Show could've been an effective tool to let Kaval make a splash in WWE, and instead they use it as an opportunity to bring back a jobber that hasn't been on TV since ECW was canceled? A guy that couldn't get over in ECW 2009, where everyone was treated like a threat to the ECW Title and putting on fantastic matches left and right? That Tyler Reks? Really?

I hope WWE gets the "wait, what the hell are we thinking?" feeling they got before Bragging Rights last year and makes some last minute fixes, like giving Kaval a rematch. Otherwise, I guess they have someone in there to take the fall, but c'mon, pinning Tyler Reks doesn't seem like something to brag about when Zack Ryder's done it on multiple occasions.

EDGE - MATTEL ELITE 1 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGUREDOLPH ZIGGLER - MATTEL WWE SERIES 4 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGUREBIG SHOW - MATTEL ELITE 4 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGUREMVP - MATTEL WWE SERIES 4 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGURE

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Five Count: Wrestling's Greatest Managers

With Paul Bearer back in WWE, the subject of managers has been weighing on my brain lately. It's a lost art, something you don't see much anymore, but the response to Bearer's return can't be denied. WWE's treating it like a big deal as well, which makes it a big deal, so could we see a return of the manager? If we do, these are the people they should study.

5. Sunny
Sunny was way ahead of her time, a WWE Diva before the term was even coined, she had a quality about her that made anyone she associated with more interesting. Hell, she got people to care about The Godwinns and the Body Donnas, that's a pretty impressive feat. Though she wound up becoming a bigger star than the people she managed, you can't deny her ability to catch an eye.

4. "The Doctor of Style" Slick
This might be more of a personal bias, but I love Slick. Oh sure, his theme song, accompanying music video, and character in general, are absurdly racist, but Slick somehow made the character work. Hilarious, ridiculous, and easy to hate, he had all the makings of a great 80s manager, and the addition of Akeem just sent it into head-shakingly awful/awesome territory. Oh wrestling, sometimes being decades behind the cultural progress of the nation can at least be entertaining.

3. "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart
Pure annoyance. Take a guy with the most obnoxious clothing you can find at the airbrush booth at the flea market, then give him a megaphone to yell into. It's cheap heat, sure, but a crowd reaction is a crowd reaction and the crowd loathed Jimmy Hart. His legacy lived on with Bill Alfonso: let's see what happens when we take the ugliest man on the planet, who talks like a crazed meth head, then give him a whistle, daddy!

2. Jim Cornette
Say whatever you want about Cornette's opinions on wrestling or his loud, confrontational style, but it fit perfectly as a wrestling manager. There's nothing particularly special about Cornette, he looks like an eight grade science teacher, but he knows how to get under your skin and he can scream with the best of them. Cornette is old school to the core, but when he's working as a manager, it gets results.

1. Bobby "The Brain" Heenan
I didn't let you vote for Brain in the greatest managers poll because the results would've been a forgone conclusion. The funniest man to ever work in wrestling was also a master of getting the crowd in the palm of his hand. The only question about Heenan is whether or not he's wrestling's greatest manager or wrestling's greatest commentator. Anyone getting into the wrestling business, whether you're a wrestler, manager, commentator, even a friggin' referee should study Bobby Heenan.


Now let's take a look at the top five as voted by Kick-Out!! readers:

5. Paul E. Dangerously
4. Miss Elizabeth
3. Jimmy Hart
2. Jim Cornette
1. Paul Bearer

Paul Bearer edged Cornette out by just one vote, but when Bobby Heenan's not in the picture, Paul Bearer is your all-time favorite manager... OHHH YESSSS!!!!

Bobby the Brain: Wrestling's Bad Boy Tells AllThe Mouth of the South: The Jimmy Hart StoryJ. R.'s Cookbook: True Ringside Tales, BBQ, and Down-Home Recipies (WWE)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WWE Raw thoughts - October 11, 2010

Coming off a phenomenal week of storytelling last week, did WWE continue Raw's hot streak with John Cena as a member of Nexus? Let's find out in tonight's un-live blog!

Speaking of the newest member of Nexus, John Cena kicked things off, trying to be his usual happy-go-lucky self, but obviously the recent turn of events wasn't helping. Cena explained the situation for those that may have missed the last couple weeks (or for those of you whose brains were melted by TNA's PPV last night) and admitted that if he wanted to keep living his dream of being a WWE Superstar, he might have to do some things that we don't want to see him do... like 13 Rounds.

Cue Captain Awesome: THE MIZ who doesn't really care about the John Cena pity party, but as the self-professed captain of Team Raw at Bragging Rights, he's looking to recruit. Hey, The Miz isn't dumb, he knows Cena would be a hell of an addition to the group, but Cena took issue with Miz declaring himself the captain, because he'd rather lead the team himself. Naturally, this brought out Cena's leader Wade Barrett who wants Cena's primary focus to be getting the WWE Title on the Nexus leader. The G?M was the voice of reason here, saying that while Cena answers to Barrett, all Raw superstars answer to him/her and Cena and Miz would do battle tonight in a match to determine who will captain Team Raw. Also, a whole series of matches was announced, with the winner of each match joining the team at Bragging Rights. These kind of nights can be tricky for WWE, because you're usually guaranteed a night full of in-ring action, but often that means Raw's two minute matches of doom.

Barrett and Miz got in each other's face after all the trash talking, with Barrett nailing Miz with a gross headbutt, but Riley and Miz got the upper hand until John Cena eventually helped out his boss. Barrett was not happy about Cena's delayed response, but he only has to follow orders, and it's hard to issue commands when you have The Miz's Bruno Magli in your face.

Our first qualifying match for Bragging Rights and opening contest for the evening was Ted DiBiase vs. R-Truth pt. 248. This match wasn't anything spectacular, but the big story here was Goldust stealing the Million Dollar Title. ALLEGEDLY stealing, Michael Cole tried to say that him carrying it around on NXT last week was proof that he stole it, but c'mon, if a tree falls in the middle of the forest, etc. Goldust provided the distraction to give R-Truth the win and become the first member of Team Raw at Bragging Rights.

Silly smark complaint of the week: WWE is promoting The Undertaker's "return" to Smackdown this week after Paul Bearer's betrayal, but come on, it's his Syfy debut, they gotta make it sound special. Don't get your underoos in a bunch, kiddos.

John Morrison vs. Tyson Kidd was our next Bragging Rights qualifier and this was supposed to be a triple threat with David Hart Smith, but he was "nowhere to be found." That's okay, I'm fine with Morrison and Kidd wrestling whenever you want to throw them out there, WWE! Not a fan of this teased Hart Dynasty split, but I was a fan of this match, little too short for my taste, but for a stacked Raw like this, it was a perfectly acceptable TV match. Here's hoping Kidd does get a solid run as a singles wrestler if the Harts do split though, could you imagine him getting 10+ minutes against guys like Morrison, Daniel Bryan and Evan Bourne? Morrison picks up the win here though with the physics-defying C4 (backflip Rock Bottom), and joins R-Truth on Team Raw.

Backstage, David Otunga volunteered to take on Randy Orton to soften him up for Wade Barrett... but insisted Justin Gabriel would be a better choice. Clever.

Santino Marella vs. Zack Ryder was our next qualifying match for Braggi... wait, what? One of these guys is going to be on Team Raw? Yep, Santino, after he won with the Cobra Strike, which might unseat The Worm as the least believable finishing move in the history of professional wrestling. John Morrison, R-Truth and Santino? Is this for Bragging Rights or Superstars?

Randy Orton vs. Justin Gabriel was our 10pm main event and the only non-Bragging Rights qualifier of the night. Pretty strong match, Gabriel might be the sleeper Superstar of the year, the guy has consistently stepped up and delivered against top talent. There was an unfortunate incident at the end of the match where Gabriel delivered the 450 onto Orton's bad shoulder, but surely that had to be Orton's fault for not rolling far enough out of the way? Liked the match though, Orton obviously picked up the win, but Gabriel's exciting style made him the star of this one.

Knucklehead trailer looks... bad. I love the cast: Mark Feuerstein from Royal Pains, Melora Hardin from The Office and Big Show from WWE all have great comedic chops, but poop jokes? C'mon. The premise is solid though and at least it's a WWE film that's supposed to be funny, so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. But much like Legendary, it's only in theaters for a "limited engagement," so please spare us the "LOL THAT DIDN'T LAST LONG!" when it's on DVD two weeks later. That's the point.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus was the next qualifier, the match of the night, and quite possibly, a candidate for TV match of the year. One week after getting caught off guard by Sheamus, Daniel Bryan came out swinging and returned the favor to the Celtic Warrior. Bryan was a house of fire here, and could've benefited even more if he had someone like JR or even Matt Striker on commentary, rather than Michael Cole's aggravating commentary. Seriously, we're entering Don West territory here. Jackassery aside, Bryan took the former WWE Champion to the limit, and even though he fell to the Brogue Kick, the look on Sheamus' face after the match told the whole story. That is how you make someone look good with a loss.

R-Truth getting confrontational backstage with John Cena was a cool little segment. It's nice to see an ultimate good guy like Truth get in Cena's face, because when you think about it, Cena is being selfish here. If Barrett orders Cena to take out a guy like R-Truth and he does it, he's selling out his friends for his own benefit. Any of us in the same situation would do the same, but we wouldn't make friends in the process.

Evan Bourne was out next for his Bragging Rights qualifier, against the man who was traded to Raw for Edge... CM PUNK! And hey, Punk shaved his beard! Punk destroyed Evan Bourne during and after the match, effectively writing him out so he can go have shoulder surgery. Bummer for Bourne, but hopefully he can come back strong and finally find his footing in WWE. Punk back on Raw is a-okay with me, the show was a little crowded, but they just lost Edge and Jericho's out for the time being, so he could make a great top heel on Monday nights. Oh and Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, let's make that happen sooner than later.

Natalya cut a promo on LayCool, and when's the last time a Diva got to do that on Raw instead of just going out and having a six-woman tag match? Michelle McCool still makes my ears bleed, but Layla just keeps getting better. The Raw Divas forced Layla back into the ring, allowing Natalya to lock in the Sharpshooter... in heels. Try that, Uncle Bret!

Main Event time! The Miz vs. John Cena in a no-disqualification match! The no-DQ stip being added last minute obviously set off my shenanigans sense, and Miz had plenty of help in this one from Alex Riley, and eventually Mike McGillicutty & Husky Harris! Miz finally got his win on John Cena and is officially the captain of Team Raw at Bragging Rights. Fun match too.

After the match, The G?M announced that Mr. Imperfect and Husky Harris would officially debut on Raw next week in tag action against John Cena and Randy Orton! Wade Barrett, who made his way to ringside to pry Cena off Husky and Mike, announced that if the lackeys win, they'll officially be inducted into the Nexus. Cena took issue with Barrett implying that he should "do the right thing," but this just fueled Barrett's fire, verbally berating Cena in what has to be the best performance he's ever had on the mic. Barrett was brilliant here, all but guaranteeing the fact that he's a future WWE Champion, and undoubtedly the 2010 WWE Rookie of the Year.

Another fantastic Raw. The CeNexus story continues to be the most intriguing part of the show, but this week we got great in-ring action as well thanks to the Bragging Rights qualifiers. Sheamus and Bryan put on a show-stealing performance, CM Punk debuted and Wade Barrett killed on the mic, and aside from the throwaway Truth/DiBiase match, everything else was rock solid. Keep it up, WWE, Raw's got its groove back!

CM PUNK - MATTEL ELITE 1 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGUREWWE Survivor Series The Miz FigureJOHN CENA - MATTEL ELITE 3 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGURERANDY ORTON - MATTEL ELITE BEST OF 2010 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGURE

Monday, October 11, 2010

TNA makes my brain hurt

I'm often criticized as a WWE fanboy that never gives TNA a fair shake. Well, if you watched Bound for Glory last night, now you know why. Admittedly, I don't follow TNA that closely anymore, I try to keep up on spoiler reports and PPV results, but I rarely watch the shows because they're just so damn frustrating. This promotion has every tool at their disposal to put on an entertaining wrestling program, and while there are some lingering issues (like the fact that they don't tour), they could be good, they just choose not to be.

But last night, things just took a turn for the completely absurd. After months of hype, the group known simply as "THEY" were revealed: Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss, and a newly heel Jeff Hardy. Yes, they turned Jeff Hardy heel. Why? Apparently because he was the least expected to win the title at Bound For Glory and no one would see him turning heel and winning the belt coming. Welcome to TNA, where if it's not a swerve, do not serve.

First off, turning Hardy heel and putting the World Championship on him seems like quite the gamble. I don't know Hardy's personal business, but I do know his 2009 arrest is still a lingering issue that has yet to go to trial. But let's assume that nothing's going to come of it, they still put the belt on him while putting most of the focus and hype for the match on Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson. Reminds me of Chris Jericho winning the Undisputed Championship in 2001 when everyone expected it to be about Steve Austin and The Rock. Jericho's run as Champion isn't generally looked at as anything special, but at least he has the "first Undisputed Champion" thing, Jeff Hardy won't have that luxury.

And Jeff Hardy doesn't exactly scream "top heel" to me. Obviously it's too early to judge, but the guy has never really been a heel before, and it seems very dangerous to throw a title on a guy and turn him heel when he's completely untested in that role. Hardy as the ultimate babyface works, he's a guy you sympathize with like Ricky Steamboat and his presence and ring work captivates the audience like Rey Mysterio. He's never gotten far on his mic work, but it's okay because you loved him anyway, but a top heel needs to be strong on the mic.

A Hardy heel turn is the least of TNA's problems though, because this overhyped THEY storyline wound up being nWo rehash #499 and TNA power struggle angle #716. I get the logic behind it, Bischoff and Hogan are just doing what they always do, Jeff Jarrett's bitter about being stripped of his power last year, Abyss is the muscle and Hardy is the guy to get the job done in the ring, but what makes this any different than any of TNA's many other past evil stables hellbent on conquering the company stories? And who's on the opposite side? Dixie Carter and her band of heroes? Hardly inspiring. TNA is still desperately stuck in this 1990s nWo vs. WCW mentality, whether it's THEY, the Main Event Mafia, Planet Jarrett, S.E.X., or any others.

Contrast this with Nexus, which is a similar idea, but put together in an entirely different way. Barrett and his gang came into WWE together, and they made their splash in a debut that no one saw coming, but not because it was the least likely scenario, because it was genuinely surprising. If TNA were booking Nexus, John Cena would've just joined the group one day he felt like turning heel, not because he was forced to. Oh and Teddy Long, William Regal, Jonathan Coachman, and any other WWE authority figure, past or present, would be a part of the group too.

I don't understand why TNA wants to bark up this tree again, it's never worked for them before, and instead of trying to come up with something new, they just go to the latest swerve for swerve's sake. They have a truly talented roster, but eight years and several shake-ups later, still no idea what to do with them. Instead? Let's just do the stuff that worked 15 years ago with new guys!

I don't know, maybe this is finally "the one" for TNA, perhaps they finally found that story that will get them out of their perpetual creative rut, but we've been down this road so many times before that it's hard to be optimistic. Finishing up their equivalent of WrestleMania with an overbooked, unnecessarily complicated clusterfuck is an all too accurate summation of everything wrong with TNA.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - October 8, 2010

I really dig the Green Day tune for WWE.

T-Lo started things off to introduce Smackdown's newest Superstar, Edge! Edge was in action in our opening match against Jack Swagger (w/ the Swagger Soaring Eagle), and I really hope the eagle sticks around, a wrestler with a sports mascot is brilliant. What a difference a few days makes though, these two had a great match at HIAC and it was yawned out of the arena, but in the opening match of a Smackdown taping, the crowd was red hot. Good match here as well with Edge picking up the win for his first night on Smackdown and he certainly needed this trade. He floundered on Raw, Smackdown is his show, this should be much better for him.

Layla vs. Kelly Kelly was our second match, and we even got an Extreme Exposé reference from Matt Striker. That was pretty much the most noteworthy event in this match; Layla continues to shine, but she's overshadowed by McCool and rarely given much time to work.

Big Show ran to the ring Ultimate Warrior style, that's something you don't see everyday! Big Show referenced his movie Knucklehead that comes out later this month, and as I watched Show here, all I could think is how much I want to see him do a comedy movie with Jason Segel of How I Met Your Mother & Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Anyway, Big Show is the team captain of Team Smackdown at Bragging Rights, which makes sense considering he won the match for them last year when he betrayed Team Raw. Big Show's first order of business was to announce Hornswoggle as the team mascot, and he looked like a bearded Smurfette with a viking helmet. The Dudebusters interrupted and threatened to join The Miz on Team Raw if Show didn't put them on Team Smackdown, so he double chokeslammed them. Fun little segment.

The November issue of WWE Magazine celebrates The Undertaker's 20th year in WWE, which is crazy to think about.

"DASHING" Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre vs. Kaval & Kofi Kingston was a non-title match, and while I like the team of Kofi & Kaval, I hope they actually do something with them, rather than just using them as canon fodder. Before we talk about the match, I have to talk about how much I hate Michael Cole on commentary and putting him in the booth for Smackdown is just even more aggravating. He trash talks Kaval, making fun of his "gyrations," yet we are talking about the same Michael Cole that commentates Randy Orton matches, right? You want to talk about stupid gyrations, look no further than the WWE Champ. Anyhoo, Kaval & Kofi fell quickly, and I don't know which is sadder at this point, WWE practically ignoring Kaval or WWE forgetting that Kofi Kingston could've been entering the main event scene this time last year. Such a waste.

Paul Bearer was already in the ring and introduced his son, the World Heavyweight Champion, Kane Kane's promos have been the best of his career this year, but that goofy background music has to stop... I did like the flame projection on the ring canvas though.

Intercontinental Title on the line was next with Dolph Ziggler taking on MVP, and MVP got his sleeves back. The story in this match was Vickie Guerrero leaving Dolph Ziggler since he cheated on her with Kaitlyn from NXT, who helped Ziggler win here, but really, who cares about NXT at this point? I applaud WWE for at least trying to do something with it, but now that it's off TV, it's going to be watched by a fraction of the audience, that's just the harsh reality. Kind of a slow match here, Ziggler is overshadowed by this love triangle business and MVP is beyond stale. If anyone in WWE is in need of a massive character overhaul, if Matt Hardy isn't coming back, then MVP is at the top of that list.

Honestly, has there been a smarter decision in wrestling this year than to take the mask off Dos Caras Jr. and give us Alberto Del Rio instead? Dare I say, the best face in wrestling since The Rock?

Main Event time! Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio in Rey's Syfy debut! Crowd was electric for this one, Rey showed more of an aggressive side (watch out when he wears black, it's your ass!) and Del Rio continued to show that he's a future main eventer, his climbing enzuigiri when Rey went to the top was NASTY!, by the way. Great match between these two, they have fantastic chemistry, and much like when he works with Jericho, Mysterio brings out new stuff when he works with Del Rio. Rey Mysterio doing a sunset flip powerbomb off the top rope? Okay! Seriously, watch this match if you haven't yet, you'll be more than impressed, even if you're not a Rey Mysterio fan. Rey Rey picked up the win, giving Del Rio his first loss, but no one can stay undefeated forever.

An amazing main event carries a solid, but not spectacular episode of Smackdown. This definitely felt more like the SD I know and love than last week's show, but aside from Edge vs. Swagger and the main event, there wasn't a whole lot of wrestling on this show. Couple that fact with Michael Cole's infuriating commentary, and the show wasn't quite up to par, but still not bad at all.

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