Monday, January 31, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - January 31, 2011

And we are officially on the Road to WrestleMania! We've got PPV fallout to deal with, new feuds on the horizon and surely an appearance from the Rumble winner himself, Alberto Del Rio! This is WWE's strongest period every year and after a strong show like last night, I'm incredibly excited for tonight's Raw. Refresh your page for ongoing coverage!

And naturally, we're starting things off with Ricardo Rodriguez, a Mariachi band, and YOUR 2011 Royal Rumble winner, Alberto Del Rio! His name... his name is ALBERTO DEL RIO! He told the peasants that it was his destiny, but you just didn't listen! Hilarious line with Del Rio saying his band only plays for him and Mexican president Felipe Calderon, and if he wins the big one at WrestleMania, Mexico just might put him in charge. Want to put a stop to those drug cartels once and for all? They all get Cross Armbreakers! Del Rio teases announcing the title he's going after at WrestleMania, but things get AWESOME!

The Miz & Alex Riley arrive to tell ADR that they heard Edge talking all sorts of trash about the Rumble winner, claiming his cars are rentals and that he's a JBL/Tito Santana knock-off. Del Rio doesn't trust The Miz, which is a shame since he's such an honest, upstanding individual, unlike that cowardly Randy Orton that just assaults people for no reason. But of course, talk about Edge and you shall receive Edge. The World Champ insists that he'd beat Del Rio, and it looks like the Rumble winner is going to take that bet, because Alberto Del Rio will be challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 27! Edge clocks his challenger, but Del Rio gets the upper hand, EL KABONGS with a mariachi guitar and locks in the Cross Armbreaker. Superb opening, anyone who still doubted Del Rio's main event qualities have been instantly silenced.

COLE'S GOT MAIL! The G?M announces the "Raw Rumble" tonight featuring seven guys: Randy Orton, CM Punk, John Morrison, R-Truth, Sheamus, Jerry Lawler (??), and John Cena. The winner faces The Miz at Elimination Chamber and the other six are in the actual Chamber match; I like it, I hate the champ being forced to defend the belt in the Chamber before Mania, it makes much more sense when at least one Chamber is a #1 contender's match.

Santino Marella (so close!) & Vladimir Kozlov vs. Husky Harris & Mike McGillicutty is up next and the WWE Tag Team Titles are on the line! The "most dangerous group in WWE history" falls victim to the COBRA~! and the champs retain in a much better match than their previous encounter. Afterward, Randy Orton storms the ring (look at the excitement on my face) and RKOs Husky and McGillicutty, and then threatens to punt poor old Husky, who is still reeling from the effects of the Cobra. CM Punk and the rest of Nexus try to warn Orton against punting Husky, Punk even says please, but of course Orton does it anyway because he's an awful person, and then he ran away like a coward!

And things just go from bad to worse with the arrival of Ted DiBiase, who is demanding that Jerry "The King" Lawler hand over his spot in the Raw Rumble. Michael Cole says Lawler is too selfish to just give up his spot, and Jerry tells them both off, insisting that this is going to be his year to FINALLY compete in a match at WrestleMania. DiBiase gets in a cheap shot, then tries to use Maryse as a human shield, she slaps him and Lawler tags him with a stiff right hand. FALCON PUUUUUUNCH! Good for Lawler, he deserves to get a match at WrestleMania after all he's done!

A dark, shadowy figure in a trench coat is shown walking into a creepy house in the rain... all we get is a 2.21.11 at the end of the vignette, which is three weeks from tonight. LOVE THIS! WWE hasn't done anything mysterious like this since Chris Jericho's "Code." Is it The Undertaker... someone new... something we once thought impossible? Hmmm...

And while I'm trying to decipher that vignette, Daniel Bryan makes Tyson Kidd tap out. C'mon WWE, give Bryan some time to work with, the Bellas/Gail Kim stuff should've ended last week.

10pm Main Event is a rematch from last week, The Miz vs. Edge and there must be a winner, so expect loads of shenanigans. Their match isn't nearly as fun as last week's and guess what? There were some shenanigans! John Cena is in the press box, heckling The Miz, just enough to cause a distraction for Edge to hit the spear and pick up the win. It's okay Miz, Edge used an illegal move and there was outside interference, it doesn't count as a loss!

Seriously though, what is up with the "good guys" constantly cheating or attacking people unprovoked? What kind of message are we sending the youth of America?!

Finally some good news, WWE TV confirms that Stone Cold is returning to host Tough Enough. Now there's a good guy that is allowed to cheat, because he's usually been drinking!

Vickie Guerrero promises history will be made on Friday Night Smackdown when Edge has to defend the World Title in a way it's never been defended before. Color me intrigued.

Diva tag action next with Natalya & Eve vs. LayCool. Still have no idea why Eve is the Diva's Champion, and also #WeWantKong. Seeing a lot of folks complaining about Natalya and Eve teaming up since Eve won the title last night, but why is that so bad? Natalya isn't a crybaby, she lost the match last night fair and square, who would dissolve a friendship after something like that? A jerkface! Speaking of faces, Eve's got broken off by Layla's NASTY~! Diamond Dust, and LayCool picks up the win. Better than what we usually get on Raw for the Divas, so I'll give this match a thumbs up.

The Great Khali & Mark Henry vs. The Usos up next; I see Mark Henry's continuing his quest to team with every person on the Raw roster. But instead of a match, The G?M chimes in to turn this into a Dance Off. Because remember, fat and awkward people dancing is funny. Sigh. Oh well, at least wigs were sufficiently split in the end.

2.2.11 again.

RAW Rumble is up next and I assume it is our main event! John Morrison & Sheamus start it off, and yeah we've seen these guys lock up a lot, but there's a reason for it, they have excellent chemistry. Morrison's fresh off an MVP performance at the Royal Rumble with his Spider-Man save on the barricade, could he win tonight and face his old tag partner at Elimination Chamber? I gotta admit, even though I was pulling for him in last night's Rumble, I don't want him to win here, I'd rather see the crazy stuff he'll do in the Chamber match.

John Cena in at #3 in the Raw Rumble and comes in hot, but his momentum quickly stalls when Morrison beautifully counters the Attitude Adjustment.

CM Punk is in at #4 and he is the proverbial "house of fire," nailing Cena with his running knee in the corner, but quickly turns his attention to Morrison. I guess we're just officially moving on from Punk & Nexus vs. Cena with no payoff?

R-Truth is #5, but c'mon, he lasted mere seconds in the Rumble last night. Shouldn't this spot go to Santino, the runner-up? According to the bottle of Jack Daniel's the WWE Rulebook, if Alberto Del Rio can't make it to WrestleMania, Santino would take his place!

Jerry Lawler is in at #6, and does The King have a new singlet?! That's his first new singlet since 1983!

That cowardly cheat, Randy Orton, is the final entrant, but I have no idea what he's done to earn a spot in this match. He's failed to beat The Miz at two consecutive PPVs, he somehow got a spot in the Rumble last night and failed again, and then tonight, he brutally assaulted Husky Harris, who never laid a finger on him. Orton should be suspended, not rewarded, and instead he comes in and has the audacity to eliminate CM Punk?

But hey, R-Truth sneaks up behind Orton and chucks his ass out! Thanks for playing Orton, you had the best number and STILL blew it!

R-Truth eliminated by Cena, John Morrison's athleticism defies all logic and the laws of physics, but unfortunately for him, the Brogue Kick defies his face. See ya in the Chamber, buddy!

Sheamus gets Cena on the apron and King inadvertantly eliminates him! But despite the last few weeks, Cena's still the boy scout and helps Lawler eliminate Sheamus to give the win to the King! It's Miz vs. Lawler at Elimination Chamber! These two had one of the best TV matches in 2010, let's see if they can step it up on PPV.

Okay, let's be honest, there was a lot of crap on Raw tonight from Dance-offs to glorified squash matches to good guys acting like a-holes; but with all the Elimination Chamber/WrestleMania build, a cool main event, Alberto Del Rio being awesome and Randy Orton getting humiliated by R-Truth of all people, I had fun. When you look at the big picture, I gotta give this show the thumbs up.

It's Good to Be the King...SometimesUndisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy StepsCross Rhodes: Goldust, Out of the Darkness (WWE)

WWE Royal Rumble 2011

Didn't see that coming!

Let's take it from the top though, Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship kicked off the 2011 Royal Rumble, which was a little strange, but that's the way it goes sometimes. No doubt this was Match of the Night though and definitely a contender for Match of the Month. Ziggler has an uncanny knack for always being a bridesmaid and never the bride, but he does it better than anyone. I was sure he had this one in the bag after all the shenanigans from Vickie, but he just couldn't quite hang with Edge's bag of tricks, he even busted out the Edgeucator! One ref bump, Spear and KILLSWITCH~! later, Edge retained, but this isn't the end of Dolph Ziggler challenging for the World Title.
Predictions: 1 for 1

Even more strange, Randy Orton vs. The Miz for the WWE Championship went on before the Divas Title match. Really, you need a cooldown match before the Rumble? It's the Rumble, the crowd's going to be hot for it. Anyhoo, Miz and Orton had a good match, not as good as the Smackdown main event, but above the Orton average. It also helps when Orton loses, especially when it's thanks to CM Punk! Oh I think we've got a WrestleMania match confirmed, but what does that mean for Punk vs. Cena? More on that later, but let's talk about how AWESOME it is that The Miz is still WWE Champion. And can we finally just admit that Randy Orton sucks as a face? Even when his matches are above average, he's still the worst part of any match he's involved in, which is still true when he's a heel, but it's especially bad when they expect me to cheer for him. I know I'm the self-parodying Orton hater, but c'mon, let's just be honest here, he's a yawn-inducer.

But hey, Alex Riley gets a thumbs up from me for flying over the top rope onto Nexus like that. NASTY!
Predictions: 2 for 2

Natalya vs. LayCool for the Divas Championship had me excited because I was ready for the debut of Awesome Kong, and then The G?M turned it into a Fatal Four Way! Natalya vs. Michelle McCool vs. Layla vs. Aweso... Eve? Oh come on! Even worse, Eve wins the title?! This better end tomorrow with Kong coming in and eating her lunch.
Predictions: n/a

Royal Rumble time! Okay, the Rumble is really hard to review, there's so much going on and with 40 men, it's even more difficult, so here's a stream of consciousness review:
-The opening Corre vs. Nexus stuff was fun, but they need to turn one of these groups faces if they expect us to care about them feuding.

-Totally called Daniel Bryan coming it and #1 or #2, but didn't see CM Punk coming in at #1.

-Daniel Bryan was a beast too. Sick kicks all around, wish he would've lasted longer though.

-John Morrison clinging to the barricade and jumping onto the steel stairs was jaw-dropping. The dude deserved to win the whole damn thing after that, and it's a crying shame he was eliminated so early.

-I'm seeing a lot of mixed reviews to Nexus dominating the first half of the Rumble, but I liked it. Not terribly different than what Punk did last year, but his facial expressions and being the guy every new entrant tried to get at, only to fall victim to numbers, was brilliant.

-Speaking of Nexus, what was up with Tyler Reks getting all ballsy against them? He should've asked them for a job application.

-BOOKER T! Booker f'n T!!! Did you hear that pop!? Booker got in his greatest hits, side kick, spin kick, Bookend, Spin-a-Roonie! Not happy to see him go that fast, but hopefully he's sticking around, SUCKA!

-Hated John Cena coming in and clearing house though. Throwing out all the lackeys is one thing, but Punk shoulda hung around to the end, especially if he's going to be feuding with Orton into Mania, but what about Punk vs. Cena? Is that just done? Or are they going to wrap it on Raw or at Elimination Chamber? Either way, that's might anticlimactic considering Cena vs. Nexus has been THE storyline since June.

-The Cena & Hornswoggle stuff was mildly amusing, though I'm sure it made some smark heads explode... which makes it incredibly amusing.

-Kofi, Mysterio, Sheamus and Wade Barrett really should've had more to do. Sheamus should've kicked ass and eliminated half the Rumble participants... and where the hell was Triple H!?

-DIESEL! Okay, I had Nash and Booker spoiled for me yesterday, but I didn't know Nash was going to come back as freakin' BIG DADDY COOL DIESEL! Complete with black glove and Just for Men hair dye?! That was awesome, he looked like he stepped out of a 1995 time capsule. Now all he needs is a Skullcrushing Finale from The Miz for all that trash talk!

-Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, hated, HATED the fact that Dolph Ziggler & Randy Orton were in the Royal Rumble. Sorry, you guys lost title matches, you don't get to be in the Rumble, that's the whole point. You get a title shot, you don't have to beat 39 other guys and you might still get to go to WrestleMania. If you can't get the job done earlier in the night, you're out! It'd be one thing if Vickie pulled some strings or if Ziggler mugged someone during their entrance, but Orton getting in was awful.

-What was up with that stare down between Diesel and Big Show? Oh no, please don't let Nash hit him with the Jackknife again, my gag reflex can't take it.

-Kane coming in at #40 might be the most underwhelming final entrant in years. Really? If that's it, why not have Nash come in at #40? I was all ready for Triple H's triumphant return and instead I get Kane? ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

-When it came down to Orton, Cena, Del Rio and Barrett, I was 100% sure I'd be writing a scathing Rumble review about how much Orton sucks or how John Cena totally didn't need it, but then The Miz, who was on commentary, eliminated Cena and things got interesting. Cena telling Cole "your boy's done" was a nice touch and if we have to get another Cena title win at WrestleMania, I'm glad it will be in a main event match with The Miz, who has earned a match of this caliber.

-But I was still worried Orton was going to win... until Alberto Del Rio threw him the hell out! Hell yes, Del Rio saves the day and wins the Rumble!

-Wait... Santino Marella was never technically eliminated, he was just booted by Sheamus and rolled under the bottom rope! COBRA! COBRA! COBRA! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Yes, I am kidding you, Del Rio reversed his attempted elimination and officially won the 2011 Royal Rumble! C'mon, admit it, WWE had you there for a second, I thought Santino was going to turn the wrestling world upside down. Del Rio winning was pretty shocking though, even without the Santino twist.

I know he's had all the hype and momentum, but I thought it was just a red herring and we'd get someone like Punk or Cena. And even though this doesn't help WWE solve their problem of not building any new good guys, Del Rio has just been absolutely phenomenal since his debut and I'm eagerly awaiting his title match at WrestleMania. I assume we'll be looking at Del Rio vs. Edge, but ya know, he did injure Christian a few months back... maybe Captain Charisma could return and win the World Championship at Elimination Chamber? Hey, a boy can dream. But kudos to WWE for the surprise win and using the Rumble to get behind a new Superstar.
Predictions: 2 for 3

Fantastic show. The Rumble match fell into the same pitfall as last year, it was too compartmentalized, telling blocks of stories, rather than an overarching story throughout the entire match. First it was all about Nexus, then the ring was cleared and it was all about Cena, then the last batch of big names came in and Del Rio won. Why couldn't guys like Bryan, Morrison, Mysterio, Sheamus, and Barrett be in the ring for an extended period of time and have stuff to do the whole time? Too many rapid-fire eliminations again, and the addition of Orton and Ziggler instead of two more surprises like Jim Duggan or Roddy Piper was really annoying. Or how about Triple H and Awesome Kong!?

Still, those gripes aside, I really enjoyed the Royal Rumble match and the undercard as well. WrestleMania is shaping up quite nicely with:
John Cena vs. The Miz
Alberto Del Rio vs. Edge
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
and maybe even Diesel vs. Big Show? Something with Booker T?

And we've still got Elimination Chamber to get through! I'm happy to finally be on the Road To Wrestlemania and I think WWE got us off to a great start with this show. Now let's all raise a glass for ALBERrRrRrRrRrRrTOOOOOOOO DEL RrRrRrRrRrRIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOO!!

*And a big congratulations to Eddie Ruckus, who picked #38 in the Kick-Out Rumble, he'll be joining me on an upcoming episode of Kick-Out!! Radio for his own Opening Bell segment!

WWE Royal Rumble - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1WWE Royal Rumble - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2 (1993-1997)WWE Royal Rumble - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3WWE Royal Rumble - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 4

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Whatever happens at the Rumble tonight...

Remember, I called Sting and the Macho Man first!


TONS of rumors going around about the Royal Rumble, and I wouldn't be surprised if WWE themselves leaked some of the big spoilers in order to increase the buyrate. But if they did that, the big question is, did they leak two names in order to distract from another even bigger name?

I'm telling ya, with that WWE All-Stars video he did for THQ, I'm starting to think Savage's chances of coming back to WWE for a proper farewell and Hall of Fame induction are getting better. Does that mean he'll be in the Rumble? I'd say there's a 0.00000000000000000000000000000001% chance of that happening, but it's fun to stir the pot.

But hey, at least Darren Young's been confirmed!


Where ya going?

WWE: Macho Madness - The Randy Savage Ultimate CollectionWWE: The Rise And Fall of WCWTNA Wrestling: Sting - Return of an Icon

Saturday, January 29, 2011

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - January 28, 2011

Hey, I was there!

Smackdown opened with a really cool opening package, detailing the times that The Corre wreaked havoc last week... of course this was incredibly bizarre since they did next to nothing on this show, but more on that later.

Vickie Guerrero started things off to MONSTER heat... and hey, who's that guy with that big "KICK-OUT!!" sign?! I bet he's awesome. Randy Orton interrupted the acting General Manager of Smackdown and actually had a pretty fun little promo, playing off of Vickie's trademark "excuse me." That's right, I complimented Orton, don't get used to it or anything. Dolph Ziggler came to the ring to defend his lady's honor, unfortunately, that jerkface Randy Orton hit him with a completely unprovoked RKO. Just when he was starting to win my favor, he proves exactly why he's a very bad person.

LayCool vs. Kelly Kelly & Kaitlyn might be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. The good guys attack the bad guys from behind? That might make sense if it were people like Natalya & Beth, who have a long history with LayCool, but what has LayCool ever done to Kaitlyn? And they've never really done much to Kelly Kelly either, so it really just confused the crowd and killed any chance the good gals had of getting the crowd behind them. Kelly Kelly's entrance usually gets a pretty big pop too, so not playing her music just struck me as even more bizarre, especially when LayCool won in less than a minute anyway. Horrible.

It really just seemed like an excuse to get Kelly Kelly at ringside for Drew McIntyre vs. JTG, but they never did anything with that either! Huh?! At least Drew and JTG had a decent little match, but McIntyre simply walking off while Kelly Kelly just stood around made even less sense than the previous match. WWE really needs to do more with JTG too, he's incredibly underrated.

DASHING Cody Rhodes' backstage promo was hilarious. Here's hoping this whole "can't show my face in public" bit ends with Cody wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask to the ring. It's a little weird that he's saying he's not going to be in the Rumble though, is he really injured?

The Alberto Del Rumble was hilarious, and I'm not gonna lie, I legitimately jumped out of my seat when Kane broke up the jobber brigade. His pyro is scary! I'm hesitant to root for Del Rio on Sunday because WWE doesn't need yet another young heel succeeding way too quickly, but no one has been built better than him either.

The Rumble Exhibition led to Alberto Del Rio & Kane vs. Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston, which turned out to be my pick for Match of the Night and one of my favorite matches of January so far. Just an extremely fun TV tag match that had the crowd on their feet the entire time. Despite the goofy start to the show, this match got everything back and track and hyped the Rumble incredibly well. If you missed Smackdown, at least check out this match.

I liked Big Show's promo, but I did not like Big Show vs. Heath Slater, for multiple reasons, not just because it was a Heath Slater match. After dominating last week's show and all that hype at the start of this week's, I have no idea why they didn't do more with The Corre. A quick squash for Big Show and then a run-in save from Chris Masters the Raw roster? Huh? Thumbs down, but at least my "FEARRRR THE CORRRRE" sign was all over the place during this segment!

Main Event time! The Miz & Dolph Ziggler vs. Rated RKO was a fun main event, but fell a bit short of the Kofi/Mysterio tag match earlier in the evening. Still a good match and set up the Rumble title matches very well, and hey, at least Orton didn't get the pin! I like the added stipulation after the match with Vickie banning the Spear and warning Edge he'll lose the title on Sunday if he uses it. It's an old-school stipulation and since the Rumble itself is the main event, they can get away with a screwy finish if they want. Edge's spears on the floor were particularly brutal as well, and as much as I love The Miz, I'm now way more excited for the World Title match tomorrow night.

A couple screwy decisions, like the Divas match and The Corre doing next to nothing, but the Rumble was hyped well and the two tag matches were awesome, so I gotta give this show a thumbs up. Two thumbs up since I was there and on TV all throughout the evening. Yay!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Poll: Rumble winners

Well this one is pretty easy. To the right of your screen, you'll see a list of everyone that has won the Royal Rumble match... who's your favorite? Vote in the poll and tell us why in the comments section.

Now, the results from our previous poll:

CM Punk - 23%
Alberto Del Rio - 21%
John Morrison - 18%
John Cena - 14%
Triple H - 13%
Other - 5%
Rey Mysterio - 1%
Sheamus - 1%

CM Punk is your favorite heading into the Rumble, we'll see if that prediction comes true this Sunday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 52

This week, it's our big Royal Rumble show including predictions, hopeful surprise entrants and our pick for who should win. In the Opening Bell, Razor calls for the end of the five-star rating system.

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, January 26, 2011

Five Count: Matches at the Rumble

It's Royal Rumble week, which is usually my favorite PPV of the year besides WrestleMania and my favorite non-traditional match in WWE's arsenal. I LOVE the Royal Rumble and we'll be talking about actual Rumble matches in the coming days and on this week's episode of Kick-Out!! Radio, but today I wanted to focus on the best matches on Royal Rumble PPVs that weren't actual Royal Rumble matches. Here are the top five:

5. The Rockers vs. The Orient Express - 1991
WWE just doesn't do matches like this anymore, especially not on PPV. The opening match of the 1991 Royal Rumble featured two established tag teams going out there and putting on a hell of a match with no title on the line. When's the last time WWE had a no gimmicks, non-title tag team match on PPV that didn't involve DX? Excellent match from a bygone era, check it out if you've never seen it.

4. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit - 2001
I hesitate putting this match on the list for obvious reasons, but it is one of the best ladder matches in WWE history. One of the best Intercontinental Title matches in recent years as well. Hell of a match, and I know a lot of people always complain that they'll never get to see it on DVD for the aforementioned obvious reasons, but it is on WWE's Ladder Match collection in its entirety. Oh, and even though it's just a straight-up ladder match, not a TLC match, it does feature one of the NASTIEST chair shots I've ever seen.

3. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz - 2000
The winners of this match got rights to the letter "Z." Oh my bad, Vince Russo was already in WCW by this point. Anyway, this was a tables match at one of my all-time favorite WWE PPVs, and while everyone credits the ladder match with Edge & Christian a few months prior as the match that put them on the map, I think this was the match that solidified not only The Hardyz, but the Dudleyz as well. It often gets forgotten since these teams had so many more-publicized matches, but I honestly enjoyed it more than some of the TLC matches. It was innovative, brutal and the red hot Madison Square Garden crowd pushed it into the upper echelon.

2. John Cena vs. Umaga - 2007
Easily the best match of the late, great Umaga's career and I daresay, it's in John Cena's top three. This match kicked off what I believe was John Cena's best year of his career and was kind of the end of an era for WWE. While they've had "extreme" matches since, nothing comes close to this brutal Last Man Standing match. It was done incredibly well too, while violent, it never felt gratuitous like many of the matches in that style, and was just a brilliantly told story.

1. Cactus Jack vs. Triple H - 2000
Attitude Era personified. If someone ever asked me to sum up the Attitude Era in one match, this would be the one I would pick and depending on the day you ask me, it might be my favorite match of all-time. The highlight of the 2000 Rumble PPV, which is one of my favorite shows ever, even if the Rumble match itself was disappointing, Foley and HHH gave it their all and perhaps the best performances of their careers. There was a lot of doubt about Triple H as a top-tier player before this match and his WWE Title reigns hadn't quite clicked with the audience... until this match. Mick Foley made Triple H the guy in this match and love him or hate him, it was a defining moment for the next decade. If I subscribed to the ridiculous "five star" ratings scale, this one would get six.

WWE - The Ladder MatchWWE Royal Rumble - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 3WWE - Mick Foley's Greatest Hits & Misses: A Life in Wrestling

Back from Smackdown!

Just got back from Smackdown tonight and seriously, there are fewer things more fun than going to WWE live. A few notes (don't worry, no spoilers):

Percy Watson beat Chavo Guerrero in the dark match.

The NXT "Out-think the Fink" segment was embarrassing. I know I'm a WWE dork and all, but these guys work for the company, there's no reason they should be this terrible at WWE trivia. Judging from that segment alone, I'm more qualified to be WWE's next breakout star!

This was the first I've seen of NXT Season 4, I liked Brodus, but his finisher is terrible. Points for incorporating the Tongan Death Grip though.

Daniel Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase was almost the best match of the night (more on that in my Smackdown review on Friday), I'd say it was their best encounter yet. Even if you don't normally watch NXT, go out of your way to see that one.

As for Smackdown, I won't say much other than you haven't experienced a crowd reaction until you experience a Vickie Guerrero segment. I've seen her in person a few times now and the crowd reaction for her is absolutely insane.

My seats were amazing, perhaps the best I've ever had at a WWE event besides the time I scored front row behind JR & King. You should be able to see me several times on Friday with my signs:

"KICK-OUT!!" (in blue and red letters)
"FEARRRRE THE CORRRRE" (red and purple letters)
"HELLO, I'M AWESOME!" (just like The Miz's shirt)

And I should have pictures posted on Kick-Out's Facebook page tomorrow.

Monday, January 24, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - January 24, 2011

It's the first Raw since the arrival of BEARDTISTA~!, how will the WWE Universe respond to the new member of New Nexus? New. Also, it's Champion vs. Champion tonight with World Champion Edge taking on the most must-see WWE Champion in history, THE MIZ! Refresh your page for ongoing coverage of the final Raw before the Royal Rumble!

And it looks like we're starting off with the World Heavyweight Champion, Edge has arrived! Edge doesn't want to wait for the Champion vs. Champion match, but his nemesis, The G?M chimes in and clarifies that the match will occur later in the evening. Since he (or she) isn't happy about Edge and his crazy eyes, he's arranged a mini Rumble for the coveted #40 spot with Edge taking on Drew McIntyre, Tyson Kidd and Jack Swagger, and hey, none of them win! McIntyre did hit a NASTY! kick to Edge's face though.

After the "match," Edge goes to destroy Michael Cole's laptop again, but is interrupted by Nexus ft. BEARDTISTA! Edge inexplicably disappears and CM Punk talks about evolving and officially introduces Mason Ryan to the audience, who merely says "faith." Well, ya gotta have faith. CM Punk promises to make Nexus the most dominant group in WWE history, and then my fears come true, The Corre is here. No one wants to see two groups of a-holes square off, WWE, keep these groups as far apart as possible! Of course, that means they're gonna fight, The G?M announces CM Punk vs. Wade Barrett and the loser's entire team is out of the Royal Rumble... and John Cena is going to be special referee. Shenanigans, ahoy!

Our first official match of the evening is tag team action with John Morrison & Mark Henry vs. King Sheamus & Alberto Del Rio, which might be the greatest tag team ever. These guys need to team up permanently - your mission tonight is to come up with an awesome name for Sheamus & Del Rio.

We're back from commercial and I realize I haven't written a word about this match yet: it's good. Now let's talk about the fact that MICHAEL FREAKING TARVER is backstage. Of course, they're only filming him from the waist up because we can't show the pile of soulless bodies at his feet. Back in the ring, the crowd is on fire, Sheamus flies to the outside, Morrison hits a big corkscrew plancha, but it looked like he tweaked his knee. Del Rio locked in the Cross Armbreaker on Henry and picked up the win for Lucky Charms. Fun match. Seriously hope Morrison isn't injured though, he was currently my favorite to win the Rumble.

Melina vs. Natalya for the Divas Championship. How do I sum up this match? I believe NASTY would be the word? Melina's submission, Natalya's near neck-breaking hiptoss, and then of course, the ACCORDION SHARPSHOOTER! Weird Al Yankovic would be proud, Nattie. After the match, LayCool announce they're invoking their rematch clause at the Rumble. Of course they are. Call me when Kong gets here.

Backstage, yeah yeah "Faith," I got it.

And hey, John Cena and The Miz are trading words. Cena walks off before Miz can destroy him, very wise of him. Miz is above that anyway, he's got champions to beat!

The Miz vs. Edge is next, and hey, we get the added bonus of Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero on commentary. Excited for this match, it's relatively fresh and both guys do well in situations like this, I'm kinda upset they're just giving it away on free TV!

But even though they're "giving it away," we're missing most of it since WWE can't stop going to commercial! C'mon! Still, these guys have gotten damn near 20 minutes so far and are tearing it up. Of course, it can't end clean, we got a PPV to sell, so Dolph Ziggler attacks and causes the DQ, but this brings out Randy Orton with RKOs for all... except The Miz, who blasts him in the knee with the briefcase! Beautiful. Sets up Smackdown's main event well, Rated RKO vs. Miz & Ziggler, and I'll be in the arena for that one!

Six-person mixed tag action next with Daniel Bryan & The Bella Twins (blurg) vs. Ted DiBiase, Maryse & Alicia Fox (triple blurg). Maryse picks up an almost instant win when one Bella tries making out with Bryan while the other gets rolled up. Embarrassingly bad stuff here, even letting this on television is insulting to me as a fan.

Backstage, it turns out Daniel Bryan's been with Gail Kim the whole time and just hung out with The Bellas because he felt sorry for them. A stunning level of honesty spills out when Kim tells the Bellas without guest stars, they have nothing to do, the Bellas call her an afterthought, and then we have a catfight. Can we be done now? Please?

Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty vs. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov in a non-title match in the infamous 10:40 spot is next. Nexus picks up the win in a... what's the nice way of saying it... bad match and get a title shot at the Rumble. No thank you.

Main Event time! CM Punk vs. Wade Barrett in an ill-advised match with an ill-advised stipulation with John Cena as the special guest referee. I'm expecting serious shenanigans here, because just letting this go as is seems like a horrible idea. John Cena's drunk with authority (or just drunk) and ejects both Corre and Nexus from ringside, then shoves CM Punk and slaps Wade Barrett. Cena then disqualifies both men for "excessive profanity" and claims claims they're both out of the Royal Rumble, but luckily The G?M puts a stop to this mind-numbing stupidity. The decision is reversed and Cena is forced to apologize or he'll be out of the Rumble instead.

Cena mouths "I'm sorry," punches both guys in the face, Nexus and Corre storm the ring, then Big Show and Various Royal Rumble Participants join the fray and we get the big clusterfuck before the Rumble to end the show.

I'm pretty sure watching that final segment was the closest you can get to being lobotomized by your television. I like to think of myself as a pretty easy to entertain guy, and a lot of stuff WWE does that pisses off the smarks just makes me laugh, but c'mon, this was stupid. The entire storyline for the evening turned out to be a big pile of nothing and an excuse for Cena to do his "HUR HUR, I'M FUNNY!" shtick and then cause the big brawl. Once again, WWE promises a stipulation and doesn't follow through, which I think they've done more in the last 12 months than in the last 25 years I've been watching. Please stop doing that, it's aggravating.

Overall, Raw itself wasn't bad, especially everything between the opening match and the end of the Miz/Edge match. But Nexus vs. Corre seems like a terrible idea, putting them on the same page seems like a retread of the Alliance, and John Cena is becoming increasingly insufferable. I like John Cena, but I like preachy Reverend Cena, the guy who is fun until you piss him off and then gets serious business. But lately, Cena's just been an a-hole, like The Rock at his absolute worst, with even less charm. Who am I supposed to be cheering here?! Agh, my brain! Smackdown, please help us set the proper tone for Sunday.

WWE RAW: The Best of 2010Raw "The Beginning": The Best of Seasons 1 & 2RAW: The Best of 2009

Sunday, January 23, 2011

WWE Smackdown Thoughts - January 21, 2011

We began with Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater, and their bizarre new theme music. "We Are One" it is not. Wade Barrett admitted some mistakes with Nexus, making the group all about him, but he won't make that mistake with The Core... which for some reason is spelled, The Corre. Each member got some time to talk, even Heath Slater, much to our chagrin, but I'm quickly coming around on the idea of the group. The Core is a pretty good name too, The Corrrrrrrrrrrre, not so much, but whatever, I'm definitely more optimistic about this group than I was when it started... just please don't let this be leading to Nexus vs. The Corre at WrestleMania.

T-Lo ain't having any part of Nexus 2: Ezekiel Barrettloo and said the minute they try any of those old tactics on Smackdown, it'll be the last. It was a pretty friendly exchange of words, which pretty much guarantees Teddy Long getting his ass kicked at some point in the near future. Bizarrely, Alberto Del Rio interrupted the guys to tell them that he was going to win the Royal Rumble, but it was just some forward momentum for the opening match.

Alberto Del Rio vs. R-Truth (again) was our opening match of the evening, and hey, during the match they cut to the back to show Teddy Long unconscious in his office. That didn't take long. The match itself was pretty good, much better than their shorter encounters on Raw, Truth even busted out a top rope hurricanrana, but the cutaways to backstage and commentary practically ignoring the match, hurt it a bit. Del Rio picked up another win though, continuing to give him momentum as the guy to beat in this year's Royal Rumble.

Backstage, The Ccoorree insisted they had nothing to do with the attack on Teddy Long and asked Vickie Guerrero if there was anything they could do to help her out in the transition of power. Vickie put any member of the group in match with Edge later in the evening.

Layla vs. Beth Phoenix was next, but if you were just listening to the show, you'd think they were just showing footage of Teddy Long's ambulance ride. Good match though, Beth had some awesome displays of power, Layla bumped like a pinball for her, it was exactly what I'd like to see more Divas matches on TV.

Rey Mysterio (dressed as a Fruit Roll-Up) vs. "DASHING" Cody Rhodes was a match I was very excited about, but turned out to be way too short. Didn't these two have a similar situation a couple weeks ago? Mysterio picked up the win, but I'd really like to see these two get 15 minutes sometime, I think they'd gel very well together.

Backstage, The Miz arrived, because he's awesome and can do whatever he wants.

Jack Swagger challenged Kofi Kingston to an Amateur Wrestling Challenge, and it's getting hard to say Swagger isn't doing Kurt Angle's shtick when he's now doing the Angle Invitational. I think WWE showed here why professional wrestling isn't more like amateur wrestling because the crowd wasn't into this at all. Swagger picked up the win, but Kofi got vengeance after the match by attacking the guy who won fair and square. Sigh.

Trent Baretta and Drew McIntyre squared off again and these two had the best match the night up to this point. I have a feeling Baretta's going to become one of WWE's most underutilized talents, he looked great in there despite taking a definitive loss to the "Sinister Scot." My interest went out the window when Kelly Kelly scolded McIntyre for attacking Baretta after the match. Do not care. Not even a little bit.

Up next was the Most Must-See WWE Champion in history, The Miz! Miz showed the awesome destruction of Randy Orton from Monday night (I could really just watch that on replay for two hours), but then things got less than awesome when Edge rudely interrupted our WWE Champion. Edge ordered The Miz out of his ring, and the WWE Champion obliged, not wanting to spoil the main event for Monday Night Raw, but Alex Riley decided to stick around and got a Spear for his efforts.

Edge vs. Justin Gabriel was our main event, but The CoRrRrRrRe was at ringside and Dolph Ziggler was on commentary, so things didn't bode well for the World Heavyweight Champion. I really liked this match, Justin Gabriel really steps up his game when he's in there with an established veteran like Cena, or in this case, Edge. A little help from Core gave Gabriel a shocking win over the World Champ and then the wild pack of dogs jackals struck. It was like one of those Oprah giveaways, only with violence and Edge was the only recipient: "EDGE GETS A WASTELAND! EDGE GETS A BOOK OF EZEKIEL! EDGE GETS A 450 SPLASH! EDGE GETS WHATEVER THE HELL HEATH SLATERS MOVE IS CALLED!" Dolph Ziggler could've picked the scraps, but merely rested his foot on Edge's chest. Awesome ending visual.

I liked Smackdown, the wrestling was solid and Corre was established as something a little more than just a Nexus retread. I'm still not 100% convinced, but if they keep putting guys like Gabriel in matches where his chance of winning is just as good as Barrett's, then I think they're onto something. Not the best show ever, but I give it the thumbs up.

WWE: Top 50 Superstars of All TimeWrestling's Highest FlyersWWE: The History of the World Heavyweight Championship

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Poll: The Rumble

First, I wanted to give a HUGE thanks to the 40 lovely folks that entered the Kick-Out!! Rumble, when I came up with the idea, I really thought we would struggle to even get 20 entrants and I'd have to double up the numbers, but sure enough, you guys were awesome and filled every spot in a little over 24 hours. Can't wait to see who will take over the Opening Bell on a future episode of Kick-Out!! Radio.

And that brings us to this week's poll, it's very simple: who do you think will win the 2011 Royal Rumble match? Vote in the poll to the right of your screen and feel free to discuss the topic in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Post - Making an Entrance

This guest post is written by friend of the site Bobfoc, who is taking a look at one of the most important part of a wrestling character, their entrance.

Whenever we sit down to watch one of the ever-increasing items of WWE programming these days, it’s easy for us to take some of the subtle nuances that help craft its often stunning production values for granted. In this day and age, we’re treated to pyrotechnic displays, state-of-the-art high definition picture quality and, arguably, some of the finest video packages seen in any field of popular entertainment.

Just as the aesthetic image of the product has evolved over the last couple of decades, so, too, have the wrestlers’ ring entrances. Once a privilege reserved for only those on the highest rungs of the professional wrestling ladder, entrance music is now an established staple of sports entertainment, with almost every wrestler walking down to the ring to a distinctively recognisable tune. What’s more, as the years have rolled on, we’ve seen a plethora of popular rock bands, including the likes of Motorhead, Killswitch Engage and Alter Bridge, provide licensed tracks that have become synonymous with some of the wrestlers themselves.

Naturally, the growth of new conventions in the wrestling world has bred a host of new debates over what makes a good or bad ring entrance. Diving head-first into such a topic of discussion would open up several potentially volatile cans of worms, so I that won’t be the road I’m planning to go down in this piece. Instead, I’ve decided to rank what I consider to be the five best superstar entrances in WWE today.

Just to be clear, I’ve only included the entrances of the current members of the WWE roster in my rankings. So, without further ado, here are what I consider to be the five greatest entrances in WWE at this moment in time.

5: ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes

After his runs with Hardcore Holly and Legacy had petered out to a stand-still, Cody was in desperate need of a gimmick overhaul. Thankfully, WWE’s creative team appears to have struck gold with Rhodes’ obsessively narcissistic character, and this entrance complements that character brilliantly. From the splendidly cringeworthy theme to the genuinely innovative titantron mirror, this is an example of a cheesy entrance done well enough to effectively put across a gimmick to both the television viewer and the live audience.

4: R-Truth

Regardless of what you might think of R-Truth as an in-ring performer or as a rap artist, there’s no denying that his entrance is one of the most crowd-pleasing spectacles in WWE today. To me, “What’s Up?” represents something that has been sadly missing in WWE entrances lately: crowd interaction. Many fans remember the enthusiasm with which live audiences would chant along with the entrance themes of such stars as Al Snow and The New Age Outlaws during the Attitude Era, and it seems to me that R-Truth’s self-performed track is one of the few reminders of why giving the fans the opportunity to participate in an entrance can really liven up the atmosphere in a WWE arena.

3: John Cena

Ah, John Cena. Undoubtedly the most divisive wrestler on the planet today, he can never enter an arena without drawing one of the biggest reactions of the night. And it all starts when the opening seconds of “My Time is Now” kick in. As soon as those first notes ring out, you know the roof’s going to be raised, whether he’s being cheered or booed. While I’ll readily admit that I’m not a great fan of the song itself, I know that my attention will be drawn by the resounding pop that only this entrance can evoke.

2: Alberto Del Rio

Smackdown’s fastest rising star is also the subject of the newest theme on this list. I know that many will agree with me when I say that my expectations for Del Rio weren’t exactly high after several weeks of soulless vignettes before his debut, but that all changed as soon as he entered the ring for his first bout against Rey Mysterio. Complete with a personal ring announcer and a range of vintage cars that will surely provide us with a hardcore spot or two in the future, Del Rio’s entrance is one of the most unique and effective examples of how a heel can draw serious heat on the way to the ring as well as inside it. And that’s without mentioning the role played by Del Rio himself, whose facial expression convey a sense of smugness, arrogance and self-obsession that no promo ever could.

1: The Undertaker

Yes, it’s a clich├ęd choice. Yes, it’s been used for nearly two decades now. Yes, we’ve all seen it a million times. But it doesn’t matter. This is still the finest entrance in wrestling today, and it holds serious weight as a contender for the greatest entrance of all time.

As The Undertaker walks slowly and methodically down the ramp with the divine presence that only he can generate, we could almost forget about the fantastic job that WWE’s production team plays in bringing it all together. With a harrowing blend of dry ice, lightning bolts and plain, simple darkness, all of the finest qualities of the WWE production machine come together seamlessly to create the most enduring, spine-chilling entrance seen in any wrestling promotion. Add that to the druids seemingly every year at Wrestlemania and you’ve got an almighty package of audio-visual greatness.

And then there’s the music. While Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock may have made for suitable accompaniments during his biker days, nothing epitomises The Undertaker’s classic Dead Man gimmick than The Graveyard Symphony, one of the simplest, yet most atmospheric pieces ever used in a wrestling setting.

Simply put, this is an entrance done right in every conceivable way. As anyone fortunate enough to have seen him wrestle live can attest, ‘Taker’s ring walk is almost worth the admission price alone.

And so concludes the list. Of course, everything stated in this article is purely my own personal opinion, and I welcome any disagreements or comments. There’s no doubt in my mind that anyone even remotely interested in wrestling will have their own opinions as to what separates the good from the bad in terms of ring entrances, so feel free to chime in with yours.

If you would like to write a Guest Post for Kick-Out!!, please e-mail or contact me via Twitter or Facebook

Monday, January 17, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - January 17, 2011

Hey, it's tonight's Raw live blog! Stick around, join the discussion in the comments section and follow the extra absurdity on Twitter. And while you're here, please enter the Kick-Out!! Rumble, your chance to have your own Opening Bell segment on a future episode of Kick-Out!! Radio. As for Raw, remember to refresh your page for ongoing coverage of tonight's show!

And we're starting things off with John Cena, who apparently heals faster than Wolverine. Cena's got three resolutions for 2011: 1. take out CM Punk, 2. win the Royal Rumble, and 3. win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Well, instead of getting CM Punk, that's the cue for the Most Must-See WWE Champion in History, The Miz, and his title isn't going anywhere! Could we perhaps be sowing the seeds for Miz vs. Cena at WrestleMania 27 with the WWE Title on the line? Cena's gotta get through 39 other guys to get there though, because it is the first-ever 40-man Royal Rumble. Cena goes into Open Mic Night Mode (boo, I prefer the Reverend Cena), and thankfully Miz calls him out for being corny. Miz mentions that he's going to destroy Orton at the Rumble (fingers crossed), but that leads Cena to say that Orton vs. Cena sounds like a good WrestleMania main event. Really? I'm pretty sure that sounds like a Raw that I attended three months ago.

CM Punk & the no-longer-new-Nexus arrive to tell Cena that he has no chance of winning the Royal Rumble this year. Nexus Black & White storm the ring to take out Cena and are quickly dispatched with a little bit of help from Santino & Kozlov... seriously. Maybe you guys should call up Virgil, Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton, they wouldn't go down that fast. CM Punk attempts to enter the fray, but The G?M chimes in and announces that during the CM Punk vs. John Cena match tonight, Nexus will be banned from ringside, which has a negligible impact on the odds.

Our opening match tonight is a Tag Team Title match with Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov defending against The Uso Bros. Essentially a cool down match after the red hot opening segment, but Santino picks up an easy win with the Cobra. Poor Usos, they just can't catch a break, or interest from the crowd.

CM Punk seems mighty confident despite Nexus being banned from ringside. I smell shenanigans!!!

John Morrison vs. Daniel Bryan is next? Oh hell yes. Gross Bella storyline aside, I'm eager to see what these two are going to do together, and the fact that there's a commercial during the match has me hopeful that they'll get enough time. Unfortunately, it was a good match that could've been a great match even with even just five minutes more, but Morrison keeps up his momentum with a non-title win over the US Champion.

King Sheamus makes his presence felt after the match, telling Bryan and Morrison that neither of them are in his league and that he will win the Royal Rumble. I don't know if he's gonna win, but I hope Sheamus gets to be the ass-kicker of the year and breaks Kane's elimination record in the process.

Backstage, the Bellas imply that Daniel Bryan is a virgin and they have a bet to determine who will be his "first." Oh you gotta be friggin kidding me. It's like the Chris Jericho/Christian bet, only really stupid and completely counter-productive for all parties involved. It makes Bryan look like a doofus and the Bellas like evil skanks. Thumbs down, WWE. Thumbs way down.

But hey, a nice treat for Raw, Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero are here! Dolph's in action against some guy named Randy Orton, and there goes one of my predicted WrestleMania matches. This is actually the most interested I've been in an Orton match in years, but of course he has to go and ruin it by winning. Dolph Ziggler made one fatal flaw, going for the sleeper hold, when after years of watching his own matches, Orton's become immune to the move. Still, I guess it was a pretty good match, though I honestly would've liked to see it go a little longer. It was no Cena vs. Ziggler, but it the crowd was into it and it could've used a few more minutes. At least we got to see The Miz kick Orton's ass after the match though. RKOH NO, I JUST GOT THROWN THROUGH THE BARRICADE!

Now would be a good time to remind you about The Kick-Out!! Rumble! Enter soon, the numbers are going fast!

Natalya vs. Maryse is next and this match is hurt by commentary from Eve, who is doing her Delicious Dish impression. Natalya picks up an easy win with the Sharpshooter and that's about it. Oh and Eve shoved Maryse after the match. Just when I thought things were getting better for the Divas division. Maryse also yells at Ted DiBiase, who shows up for some reason to issue an over-the-top rope challenge. Spoiler: it's gonna be Mark Henry or The Great Khali.

Yep, Mark Henry, bet you're glad you waited a whole commercial break for that. Even more surprising, Mark Henry easily wins, then Yoshi Tatsu, William Regal, Tyson Kidd, Primo, David Hart Smith, Darren Young, Zack Ryder, and R-Truth have started an impromptu battle royal? Okay? The Superstars Squad eventually get a bit of a challenge from Sheamus, but then even he's eliminated by Mark Henry. Why?

Oh yay, Alberto Del Rio is here! And Jerry Lawler even gets in a funny line about him getting the "microphone option" on his car. Seriously, with all this hype, there's no reason Del Rio shouldn't win the Rumble! Mark Henry lets Del Rio trash talk and just walks away... c'mon World's Strongest Man, go flip his car!

Derrick Bateman (I have no idea who that is), who looks like the lovechild of Andy Samberg and Sean O'Haire just did a vignette about "World's Strongest Man" cologne. Meanwhile, Bryan and Morrison couldn't get enough time.

I love the Royal Rumble facts vignette.

The Miz vs. Edge next week? That's cool. Hopefully they'll do Miz & Ziggler vs. Edge & Orton on next week's Smackdown.

Main Event time! CM Punk vs. John Cena, and expect serious shenanigans here. It's been so long since we've seen Punk in the ring, I forgot about his chest piece (/random thought). I hope they don't give away the farm here, surely this can't be the end of this rivalry? Watching Cena, injured hip and all, stand up off the mat with Punk sitting on his shoulders is absolutely insane though. The dude is freakishly strong, I know Punk's not the biggest guy in the world, but I can't even get off the floor if I'm wearing a backpack.

Punk's pretty much dominating this match, awesome counter to the GTS from Cena into the STF though. Punk's doing a great job at looking prepared for Cena, I'm sure Michael Cole has used the word "wherewithal" multiple times by now. Confirming my fears, WWE's giving way too much away here, I'm sure the shenanigans-laden ending is inching nearer, but these guys are putting on a hell of a show when they certainly don't have to. Cena catching Punk outside the ring mid-plancha is just absurd, dude, you just injured your hip and it's not WrestleMania, you don't have to work this hard! Same goes for you, Punk, you're fresh off injury!

Oh hey, there are the shenanigans! Batista's bearded Mini Me has hopped the rail and entered the ring, Punk offers himself and sacrifice and takes a nasty big boot, giving Punk the win by DQ! Great work by BEARDTISTA, the newest member of New-but-not-as-new-as-the-one-on-Smackdown Nexus!

It has come to my attention that the new guy is Mason Ryan from FCW, but screw that, he's BEARDTISTA! I like it, Punk's Nexus definitely needed something more than the line-up they were left with after Gabriel & Slater split, and this guy definitely looks the part, so why not? And after the hell of a match Punk and Cena put on, there may just be life in this storyline just yet.

Interesting Raw. And that's my nice way of saying it wasn't that great, but I was at least intrigued by what was going on. Bryan and Morrison had a fun, but short match, even if the stuff with the Bellas was infuriatingly stupid. Dolph vs. Orton was good, the stuff with Miz after was even better and the main event was flat-out awesome. Say what you will about Cena, and I'm sure it will be "Punk carried him," but no one tops John Cena in a big match situation. The guy works his ass off, and putting him in there with Punk was golden, I really hope these two are going to carry this feud to WrestleMania, because I know they'll tear the house down. Overall, Raw still needs work, but this show made me feel a hell of a lot better about the future than last week's.

Big Show: A Giants WorldThe Best of CM PunkWWE: Top 50 Superstars of All TimeThe John Cena Experience