Tuesday, May 31, 2011

WWE '12 revealed

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw is dead. Finally. Not because I'm fundamentally opposed to the series or anything, I'm just tired of typing the absurdly long titles like "WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 Featuring ECW It's Your World Now While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood." If your game needs a semicolon on the box art, it's too long.

Along with long overdue rebranding, it looks like the game mechanics are getting some significant tweaks, but will they be enough to freshen up the stale gameplay? Perhaps more concerning, will they overreach and change way too much? IGN (unfortunately) has the full preview, I figured I'd offer my thoughts on the little we know so far:

There's a new animation system, new blending methods, something called "Predator Technology"

Translation: "Blast Processing." Marketing word salad at its finest.

When John Cena's suplexing an opponent, a third Superstar can punch Cena and break up the move. You can do that for any move -- even Finishers

If you thought winning a triple threat match was impossible before! This is going to get old really quick, especially if you're one of the misguided souls that plays WWE games online.

When you're slammed to the mat at the beginning of a bout, you're going to sell the move and get up at the same time so that the match keeps a fast-paced feel.

I hope this was just worded poorly and it doesn't mean you instantly get up from any move that's done to you. That's how Smackdown 1 played 12 years ago... and it was terrible.

Cena immediately started his 5-Knuckle Shuffle routine on the downed man, and as Cena was coming down, Randy Orton launched himself from the apron to land a splash.

You know how Randy Orton loves his slingshot splashes!

it looked like a spot from ECW of old.

This quote doesn't have anything to do with the game, I just wanted to make fun of IGN's laughably bad writing.

People don't warp to the center of the ring for a 5-Knuckle Shuffle and similar moves anymore; the move happens where it happens.

Good, as long as the animations are as improved as they say. The canned animations are ancient game design, but they did allow the player to see the move performed as intended. As they've stripped these out of recent games, it's given us awkward animations in return. The canned Lionsault always looked better than the springboard moonsault you could do yourself.

The game, according to THQ, has been taken apart and put back together

We're still dealing with a foundation that's almost 12 years old. Maybe instead of taking it apart and putting it back together, they should just build something new?

The days of analog stick grapples are over. Now, everything's going back to the face buttons of your favorite controller.

Doesn't bother me either way, I didn't mind analog grapples though.

There are no strong and weak grapples -- the moves you're pulling off are dependent on how worn down the opponent is.

This is either going to be really good or so bad it ruins the entire game. On one hand, it sounds kinda like Fire Pro, where your success of landing a strong grapple depended primarily on your opponent's damage and that's probably the best grapple system in any wrestling game to date. However, Fire Pro allows you to at least attempt strong grapple moves at any point, you can even try your finisher as the first move of the match. It also allows you to do weak moves when your opponent is fairly worn down, which doesn't sound like an option the way it's described here. I have a bad feeling your typical match could be: "bodyslam, bodyslam, bodyslam, suplex, suplex, suplex, powerbomb, powerbomb, powerbomb, finisher, pin, done."

there's limb targeting in WWE '12... If you're up against a lightning quick high flier, you can work the legs so the opponent can't get around as quickly and can't zip up the turnbuckles. Work the head, and the opponent is going to be a groggy mess.

Sounds good. Not exactly a new idea, but it's never really been properly implemented before. Hopefully they pull it off here.

All this plays into how easy it'll be to get an opponent to tap in the new "Breaking Point" submission system where players tap buttons in a tug of war mini-game.

Just because you slap a fancy name on it, it doesn't make it new. Again, perhaps IGN's poor writing is coming into play here, but this sounds like button mashing, which has been standard for submission holds in wrestling games for over a decade. Smackdown has moved away from it in recent games, but I'm pretty sure I was button mashing on submission holds on NES wrestling games.

As of now, WWE '12 features a big meter with a name on it at the bottom of the screen showing how close you are to building a Signature or Finisher

Ugh, hopefully this is just for an early build of the game. Health meters, stamina bars, even "halos" need to go. We're in the HD era and this isn't a fighting game, we don't need giant bars on the top of the screen. Damage should be conveyed by a slow-moving limp or a dangling, weakened arm. Even someone clutching their head, we had this stuff in WCW/nWo World Tour and that was what, fourteen years ago? With N64's ugly graphics? C'mon.

WWE '12 also adds Dynamic Comebacks... If you reach a certain amount of damage, you'll be able to have a shot to use this one-time combo. Pull it off, and you get two Finishers.

Not ecstatic about stored finishers coming back, I like the idea of making a big comeback and getting to pull off your finisher out of nowhere though. You shouldn't only be able to do your big move when you're firmly in control, so perhaps this is the happy medium.

The AI learns this time around. If you spam run attacks like I do (I'm infamous on the Internet for my floatover DDT), the computer opponent is supposed to recognize that and be ready to counter it.

IGN's Greg Miller: admitted fun-hating asshole. As for the AI, I'll believe it when I see some gameplay videos. Smackdown's AI has been embarrassing for two console generations now, I really hope they've made significant improvements. Though honestly, they need more than just "significant."

Unless your opponent is really hurting, expect to get just one ground grapple in.

Eases some concerns from earlier, but what about top rope moves? Those have always been tricky to pull off in previous games.

Animations change based on weight classes

Good... although hopefully that doesn't lead to ridiculousness like Rey Mysterio not being able to punch Matt Hardy in SvR 2006.

There are new "attach points" for moves so that hands and legs lock to certain points in certain moves and don't clip through bodies.

Good... although sad it's 2011 and that's considered a new feature.

King and Cole are confirmed

Hopefully with completely reworked commentary.

Some promising things in there and it's certainly early, but it sounds like there's a lot of work to do. The franchise has needed some serious changes for years now, I've never been particularly fond of it (with SD2, HCTP, SvR2006 and SvR2010 standing out as exceptions), but I'm not sure if they're actually addressing the problems. There's quite a difference between fixing something that's not working and just dumbing it down, and I'm seeing a lot of dumbing down here. Button mashing, the game automatically deciding what kind of grapple you do, and stamina bars, don't exactly sound like groundbreaking ideas. This is stuff Smackdown 1 did... in 2000.

Again, this is just one preview from one (bad) gaming website, so a lot of stuff could've been lost in translation. I'm sure a lot of clarifications and new information will pour out in the coming months that will get me more excited for the game. As always, I'm interested, but it remains to be seen if the game is going to be the revolution that this license desperately needs.

WWE All StarsWWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011Fire Pro Wrestling Returns

Monday, May 30, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day, wrestling fans! I have to admit, I'm kinda dreading tonight's Raw. I know I've made my "wrestling blahs" no secret this month, but with Kharma promising to address the WWE Universe tonight, coupled with all the rumors about her being out for the rest of 2011, I have a really bad feeling about tonight. This could be incredibly cringe-worthy. But we'll just have to wait and see and even if it's really bad, hopefully we'll be able to laugh about it on Twitter... between the internet poutrage, of course. Let's have fun tonight, refresh the page for ongoing live bloggin.

And after a nice Memorial Day video package, Raw begins to... technical difficulties. R-Truth is in the concession stand screaming a hollering, but we have no sound. Apparently he's cutting a promo on a bucket of popcorn? Cole & Lawler do they best they can to cover, even blaming Truth for "messing around by the wires earlier."

Things seem to be fixed when Truth makes it into the crowd, but there it goes again. Now we hear R-Truth yelling at people about 15 seconds before he actually yells at them. It's unfortunate and perhaps a bad omen for the evening, but it's kinda fun. C'mon, it's live TV, anything can happen!

John Cena heads to the ring in the middle of this and hey, things are fixed now! You know that's going to make the internet irate, John Cena saved WWE yet again! The two trade insults, Truth being as awesome as ever, and The G?M chimes in to make the match official. Tonight, it's R-Truth vs. John Cena... I expect serious shenanigans.

Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler is our opening contest and I'm pretty sure this is a non-title match. Ziggler's blonde again and after going from bleach blonde to dark brown to bleach blonde in a two week span, he's lucky he still has any hair at all. These two guys are certainly no strangers to each other, they feuded basically all summer long on Smackdown last year, so I expect at least a solid match if they're given enough time.

Apparently not. I hate to use words like "sloppy" when describing a match, but these guys are not gelling at all tonight. They just stalled out in the middle of the ring, looking completely lost about what to do next. They work through it here at the end and Ziggler picks up a non-title win when Kofi fails to hit the SOS, but yikes, that wasn't pretty.

Alberto Del Rio is on his way to the ring in a beautiful Audi, presumably to address the situation from last week when Ricardo Rodriguez ran over the Big Show. And instead of letting a fantastic talker like Del Rio tell the story, we get an absurdly long video package that recaps not just the car hitting Big Show, but pretty much the entire Show/Kane vs. Nexus tag match that preceded it. Yawn. At least Del Rio gets a funny line in afterward, saying they're going to send Big Show a bill for the damage done to the car.

The Bella Twins vs. Kelly Kelly & Eve is our Diva portion of the evening and I'm bracing myself for Kharma. I even have my tray table up and my seat back in the full, upright position. No Kharma sighting in this match though, instead Kelly Kelly uses the Stink Face (siiiiiiiiiiiigh) and picks up the win for her team.

Investigative journalist, Michael Cole (he's covered wars, ya know) is in the ring to look into the Alex Riley/Miz situation. First revelation, Alex Riley has be re-signed by the Raw G?M, even though he was Drafted to Smackdown last month. A-Ri comes to ringside with some decent theme music, at least on such short notice, and gets quite a lecture from Cole. Cole tells Riley that he was like a son and a brother to The Miz... well, we are in Omaha.

Crowd solidly behind A-Ri here, when's the last time you saw that from a newly good guy character? A-Ri calls Cole a bigmouth, just like Miz, Cole calls Riley a bastard, and Cole gets knocked on his ass! Riley screams at Cole in the corner, gets blindsided by The Miz, but Riley fights back and the crowd is going bonkers once again! Of course, all the cheers in the world don't change the fact that A-Ri is a turncoat and ripped Miz's nice pink dress shirt. What a jerk.

Old rivalries continue this evening tonight with CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio. Look at WWE, trying to be all sweet to me with a Rey/Punk match before they break my heart with Kharma. Still, not going to look a gift horse in the mouth here, it's Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk on free TV, and it is glorious. I seriously don't get how people hate Rey Mysterio, he's so damn good. Everything he does is so fluid, so crisp and he always makes his opponent look incredibly dangerous.

Rey reverses the GTS into a rana and sets up the 619, Mason Ryan provides a small distraction, but Rey skins the cat back into the ring... right onto Punk shoulders! GTS coming, NO! Rey shoves off, but catches a NASTY kick to the skull and Punk wins! Rey's body is prone in the ring, but his head is in one of those buckets of popcorns R-Truth was yelling at earlier.

Kharma is in the ring and my stomach already hurts. This might be the first time I've ever heard Kong/Kharma speak. She says she's only had two dreams in life: to be a WWE Superstar (not Diva) and to be a mother... which she will be. So the rumors are true, which is shocking, but what shocks me more is they just let her go out there and be honest about it. So way to handle it with class and dignity, WWE. Bravo.

And that cues The Bellas and the fat jokes. Ah, of course. Kharma simply steps forward and sends the Bellas running though, and tells them she hops they're still here in one year. That turned out way better than I ever thought it would.

I'm sorry, the fake Obama press conferences are funny. I don't know why they insist on making it a "dream sequence," perhaps they think we're so stupid that we'll think it's real? Still, it's a fun homage to Weird Al Yankovic's "ALTV" bit and as a huge nerd and a political junkie, I welcome those things coming together.

Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger in a rematch from last week. The two take a NASTY~! spill to the outside, but luckily both guys are able to continue. Jack Swagger does some push-ups on Evan Bourne's ass (seriously), but Bourne isn't having any of Swagger's cockiness and rolls him up for a big upset win! Time for fake Evan Bourne push #6!

Main Event time! John Cena vs. R-Truth! Bell sounds at 11pm, no doubt there will be some serious shenanigans. Truth goads Cena outside the ring and tricks him into getting counted out! Hate to say I told ya so, but...

Obviously they weren't going to give this match away for free, I assume it'll be the Capitol Punishment main event. Though I don't know why Raw ended with this, would've been much better suited for the 10pm main event. R-Truth throwing a drink in a fan's face doesn't strike me as real cliffhanger, but that's the way things go sometimes, really a minor gripe.

I enjoyed Raw tonight. The wrestling was solid and pretty damn impressive for a Monday night, Alex Riley looked like a star, Punk and Mysterio tore the house down and R-Truth showed us he's crazy, not stupid. Most importantly of all, the Kharma situation was handled delicately and even though they put a small storyline spin on it, at least they didn't write her out with something hokey and insulting. Good show!

WWE Zach Ryder Figure Series #10WWE Defining Moments Randy Savage - Wrestlemania 7 Collector Figure Series #1WWE Legends Macho Man Randy Savage Collector Figure Series #5CM PUNK - MATTEL ELITE 6 WWE TOY WRESTLING ACTION FIGURE

Friday, May 27, 2011

Macho Madness

We heard the heartbreaking news a week ago. But let's remember the awesomeness that was the Macho Man:

Monday, May 23, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - May 23, 2011

I've been talking about the "wrestling blahs" for the last few weeks, since WrestleMania really, but a surprisingly fun PPV last night has shaken things up a bit for me. I'm not sure that feeling will stick around and a lot of that hinges on tonight's Raw. If WWE's ready to start their summer arcs, that'll definitely be exciting, but with another round of Superman Cena last night, I'm concerned we may be in store for more wheel spinning. We'll have to see tonight! Refresh your page for ongoing coverage and follow me on Twitter for the lighter side of things.

In memory of "Macho Man" Randy Savage graphic before the start of the show. Hope we get some clips of Mach' throughout the night.

Jerry Lawler kicks things off, who is here to celebrate his de-feet (get it?!) of Michael Cole and introduce Bret Hart! Yeah, I'm never going to complain about a Raw that starts off with The Hitman! Bret explains he too was tired of listening to Michael Cole, but right now, he has to listen to R-Truth. Truth calls Bret a "90-time champion" and reminds us that he's never gotten a shot at the WWE Championship. Truth thinks it's because he never gave the "lil Jimmies" anything, and borrows Bret's sunglasses to put on a kid in the front row... then he took them back. Nice subtle tribute to Owen there.

Bret says Truth isn't getting championship matches because he's a "lunatic," and just when it looks like Truth is going to storm off (or perhaps get violent), the champ himself hits the ring. John Cena's ears were burning! Cena admits his hands have been full with The Miz, so he missed Truth going crazy, but Truth is happy to give him more batshit insanity. Seriously, how good is R-Truth right now? Calling Cena and Bret nothing more than propaganda tools, puppets for big business? Brilliant stuff. I've always felt the best bad guys speak the "truth," even if it is covered in insanity.

Cena seems happy to give Truth a title match though if it'll shut him up, but The G?M needs to see more. So in tonight's main event, it'll be R-Truth & CM Punk vs. John Cena & Rey Mysterio! Oh and Bret Hart will be the special guest referee!

Tag Team Championship on the line in our opening contest with Kane & Big Show vs. David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty. Hey, those two do actually have a non-title win over the champs, so this makes sense... even if it does mean we have to watch Otunga and McGillicutty wrestle. At least CM Punk is on commentary though, can't argue with that. I'm pretty sure you could imagine how this match played out... if you could force yourself. JR would call it "bowling shoe ugly," but the crowd was at least into it. Lil Naitch goes down, Punk and Ryan interfere and guess what, we've got new Tag Team Champions. For those of you keeping score: David Otunga - 2 title reigns, Daniel Bryan - 1.

Backstage, Kane & Big Show are really angry about losing the Tag Titles, so Alberto Del Rio runs by and slaps Show in the face, just for shits and giggles. Big Show chases Del Rio backstage and gets hit by Ricardo Rodriguez, who was driving Del Rio's car! Someone really should put up a SHOW XING sign.

Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger up next? I am totally cool with that. Well, would've been if it was more than 30 seconds long. Swagger picks up the win after a HUGE Gutwrench Powerbomb, but at least Bourne got a little retribution during Jack's excessive celebration. Maybe they're going somewhere with this? How about we get Kofi Kingston and the US Title involved too?

Michael Cole comes to ringside and is greeted with a "YOU SUCK TOE!" chant, which is pretty funny. Unfortunately, the "WHUT?!" chants aren't far behind. Cole is offering apologies to everyone, from Lawler to the timekeeper. Lawler kinda accepts his apology, but makes fun of him some more and offers him a can of ALTOIDS. That's ALTOIDS! Available at a grocery store checkout line near you!

AAAAWWWWEEEEESSSSSOOOOOOMMMMMEEEEE!!!!!!!! The Miz has arrived! There is only one reason he lost last night and only one reason he's been losing all of his title matches lately, Alex Riley. Well, c'mon Miz, A-Ri is a bit of a buffoon, but it's really Mike Chioda's fault. The Miz demands one more title shot, this time with Riley banned from ringside and he won't leave until The G?M hears his request. But that incompetent GLaDOS wannabe chimes in and has the audacity to refuse?! He or she should be removed from power immediately!

Miz continues blaming Riley and unleashes a verbal assault unlike anything I've seen in quite sometime. Miz caps this off with a "YOU'RE FIRED!" that would make even Vince proud, but Riley goes ballistic and destroys The Miz. Psh, whatever, you're just another Virgil, enjoy your moment while it lasts, you'll be in candy cane tights in no time!

Eight-Diva Tag Match? Oh dear, WWE just set the table for a Diva Genocide! Sure enough, mere seconds into the match, here comes KHARMA! And instead of murdering the Divas... she sits down and cries? Well, that was weird. I swear if Kharma just wants to fit in with all the pretty girls, I will kick someone in the shin.

Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre is next and hey, Drew has loud pyro now. Decent little match, but the crowd is still dead from the bizarre twist the Kharma storyline just took and, ya know, Drew McIntyre has always had an iffy relationship with the crowd. Kofi picks up the win with the SOS and Dolph Ziggler is watching backstage with his recently re-bleached hair. Rejoice Vidal Sassoon fans, the hair is blonde again!

Well, I held it together all weekend until that Randy Savage tribute video. Gah, my heart is in my throat.

Main Event time! R-Truth & CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio & John Cena with Bret Hart as special guest referee! Punk is wearing a Randy Savage tribute outfit, Rey's wearing all black, and my heart is breaking once again. Honestly, how awesome is CM Punk for that outfit?!

Very typical main event tag match, but as those always go, the good guys have to win. Nothing wrong with that, it's all about having fun. Perhaps a little anticlimactic and predictable, but c'mon, the finish was Bret Hart locking CM Punk in a Sharpshooter while Rey Rey dropped the leg on him. That's how you send a crowd home happy. Oh and: "BRET SCREWED PUNK! BRET SCREWED PUNK! BRET SCREWED PUNK!"

Pretty good Raw. VERY nervous about this Kharma angle, but everything else was pretty fun. Truth is fantastic, A-Ri turning on The Miz could be interesting and a star making moment for Riley and it looks like they may do something with Evan Bourne! Wrestling blahs cured? Well, let's see where they go with Kharma, but two nights in a row of enjoying WWE programming? That's a good start.

The Life and Times of Mr. PerfectWWE: Macho Madness - The Randy Savage Ultimate CollectionBrian Pillman: Loose Cannon

Sunday, May 22, 2011

WWE Over the Limit 2011 review

So I did wind up watching Over the Limit tonight and am pleased that I did. Let's take a look at this surprisingly enjoyable show:

R-Truth vs. Rey Mysterio kicked things off. R-Truth actually started the evening with another bizarre, but passionate speech about how there's a conspiracy against him. No conspiracy in this match though, Truth won handily. When's the last time Mysterio got demolished like that and lost a match so decisively? Good stuff between these two though, they gelled exactly as well as I expected and R-Truth's new mean streak came into play quite well. Very good way to kick off the show.
Predictions: 1 for 1

Ezekiel Jackson vs. Wade Barrett with the Intercontinental Championship on the line was next. I didn't expect much from this one, even though I'm a fan of both guys, I didn't see their styles blending very well. I was wrong. Nothing spectacular or anything and the crowd getting really behind Big Zeke was a huge help, but I enjoyed the match regardless. And despite Zeke's adjustment to the face role and Wade Barrett's stock dropping dramatically in the last six months, they managed to work well together. The DQ finish with Corre interference was utterly predictable, but the story's just getting started, so I'm not surprised it played out this way.
Predictions: 2 for 2

Sin Cara vs. Chavo Guerrero was good, but I feel like you can see Sin Cara's frustration with himself in each of his matches and you can't even see his face. The guy is obviously having trouble adjusting to the WWE ring and WWE style, no doubt that's why he was paired with Chavo for this match, but he still seems to be getting in his own head. He's overly cautious every time he prepares to springboard off the ropes, he slipped up at the finish, was shaking his head after his win. I don't like to comment on "botches" or other bullshit internet fans obsess over, but you can clearly see Sin Cara is becoming his own worst enemy. He'll get there, I'm sure, but the pressure has to be increasing. Match was perfectly acceptable though, even if the whole special lighting is distracting.
Predictions: 3 for 3

Alberto Del Rio came to the ring to remind us that the WWE Title is still his number one priority, but was quickly interrupted by Big Show & Kane, the latter of whom was quite upset about the Rapture no-showing yesterday.

Big Show & Kane vs. CM Punk & Mason Ryan was okay. The crowd chanting "BATISTA!" at Ryan was hilarious and Punk working the Randy Savage Memorial Match was incredibly sweet, but at the end of the day, there's only so much you can do in a tag match with Big Show & Kane. Champs retained after a double chokeslam on Ryan and I suspect this will spell the end of the New Nexus.
Predictions: 3 for 4

Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly wound up being better than I expected, but it was still Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly. Not quite up there with the fantastic Layla vs. Michelle McCool match at last month's PPV, but better than your standard Diva fare. Diva's Championship escaped Kelly's grasp once again though after she fell victim to Twin Magic. No Kharma though? The hell?!
Predictions: 3 for 5

Randy Orton vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship is perhaps the most bittersweet match I've ever watched. On one hand, we have a new leading contender for 2011 Match of the Year. On the other hand, I have to compliment Randy Orton on a fantastic match and of course, I watched him beat Christian. My least favorite wrestler defeats my favorite wrestler. Again. With the World Title on the line. Argh. Christian made Orton look like a million bucks and I assume after working with CM Punk, Orton will now request a program with Daniel Bryan to keep looking good?

Seriously though, just an absolutely fantastic match and I can't think of a single bad thing to say about it other than the fact that the O-hole won once again, which I'm sure some people are inexplicably happy about. If you didn't order this show, you must see this match. That's not a request, it's a demand. You MUST see this match, it was perfection. Back and forth action, big drama, and an absolutely electric crowd, it should've closed the show. For those of you who care about things like star ratings, tell me how this wouldn't be considered a five-star match?
Predictions: 4 for 6

Michael Cole vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler in a Kiss My Foot match was the match they should've had at WrestleMania. It didn't drag on for far too long, Cole got some cheap offense in, but Lawler kicked the hell out of him, threw him through the Cole Mine, hit the fist drop and pinned him. Simple, effective, cathartic.

But things got even better after the match. First, Eve came out and got some hits in for all the Divas match interruptions. Then we were joined by Good Ol' JR, who squirted a bottle of BBQ sauce all over Cole's face. Then, just as Cole thought he had escaped kissing Lawler's foot, BRET "THE HITMAN" HART threw him back in the ring, locked in the Sharpshooter and Lawler stuffed his foot right in Cole's mouth. A wonderful homage to the 1995 Kiss My Foot match (Isaac Yankem's return becoming an increasing possibility!) and finally puts an end to this silliness. I was completely done with this story weeks ago, but tonight saved it and gave it the happy ending it needed.
Predictions: 5 for 7

Main Event Time! John Cena vs. The Miz in an I Quit Match. You know those signs that say "WE'VE CENA NUFF"? Well after tonight, we need one that says "WE'VE CENA SNUFF." The Miz explained his diabolical plan at the start of the match, saying that whatever he can do in this type of match, Alex Riley could do as well. Team Awesome went onto basically torture John Cena for 20+ minutes in one of the most brutal beatings I've ever seen. Orton handcuffing Cena and going to town with the Singapore Cane at Breaking Point 2009 was bad, but Miz took it to a whole new level. They dropped the stairs on Cena's ribs, beat him with the cane, whipped him with a leather belt, and wailed on him with a steel chair. What made it even better, Miz had a live mic the entire time, telling Cena exactly what was coming to him and even taunting some Cena fans in the front row. Finally, after blasting Cena in the skull with a chair, the champ finally said "I QUIT!"

Well, not really. Did you know there's an app for that? Miz tried the old Rock/Mankind Royal Rumble 99 trick by playing a recording of Cena saying "I QUIT!" and that bastard Mike Chioda reversed the decision, AGAIN! Seriously, what does Chioda have against Captain Awesome? Naturally, this gave Cena the breather he needed, Hulked up, quick burst of whoop-ass, STF, Miz quits, Cena retains. Naturally, the internet imploded on itself (as usual), because John Cena winning an I Quit match is such a shocking development that we must seethe with rage!!!

Yeah, it's tired, but it is what it is, I'm over it and Miz came out of it looking like a sadistic son of a bitch. Miz wasn't "buried" (and we really need to remove that word from our vocabulary) and Cena's body will tell the tale tomorrow night when he's covered with welts and bruises. Wish Miz would've won, wish he would've grabbed one of those kids out of the crowd and threatened to hit them with a Skullcrushing Finale, forcing Cena to quit in order to save them, but perhaps that's just a bit too over the top? Great storytelling, though I think Orton and Christian would've been a more fitting conclusion to the show.

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Not a jaw-dropping amazing PPV of the decade or anything, but good nonetheless. Worth your time just to see Orton vs. Christian and no match was outright bad. Overall, not a bad way to spend a Sunday night.

WWE: Macho Madness - The Randy Savage Ultimate CollectionOver the Limit 2010WWE: WrestleMania 27 (Collector's Edition)

Fair to Flair Show 4 - OOOOH YEEAAAH!!

Jason Mann, Razor, and K Sawyer Paul talk about the life and legacy of Macho Man Randy Savage, suckas who don’t like Booker T, what Impact Wrestling really means, ROH’s new TV deal, R-Truth, whether WWE is in more of a spring funk than usual, and how wrestling media is failing us.
Click here to listen to the episode (right click to download).

WWE Over the Limit 2011 Predictions

Hey, there is a PPV tonight, who knew? Fun fact about Over the Limit, last year's was the first WWE PPV I didn't purchase since 2007. I plan on continuing that tradition tonight, I gotta save money and I just can't justify $60 on a PPV like this when the current product has me yawning. I may watch it at a friend's or go to a bar and catch it, but $60? Sorry WWE, not this month. Let's take a look at the card though and make some predictions (that's still free):

Diva's Championship
Brie Bella © vs. Kelly Kelly

If you count the Bellas as co-champions (which I'm sure WWE will do), Kelly Kelly and Rosa Mendes are the only active Divas that have never held the Diva's or Women's Titles. I'm surprised Kelly's never won the belt, she's capable enough for what WWE presents and the crowd loves her. I'm going to go out on a limb and say tonight is her night, Kelly Kelly wins... and then has to deal with Kharma. Enjoy it while it lasts K2!

Sin Cara vs. Chavo Guerrero
Do I even need to bother writing a paragraph about this? Sin Cara wins, Chavo gets his first PPV match since, what? WrestleMania 24?

Kiss My Foot Match
Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Michael Cole

This is the feud that never ends. What started off as one of the hottest stories in the company heading into WrestleMania, has completely lost all its steam. There could be some fun stuff here, maybe Cole will top the Bubble Wrap suit of armor, maybe we'll see Jack Swagger become a good guy, or maybe JR will show up for commentary. Regardless, it's not going to help this match, which will certainly be a mess. At WrestleMania, they had the benefit of the crowd dying to see Cole get his ass kicked, at Extreme Rules, had begun to fade and now? People just want Cole off their screen. They may get their wish after Jerry Lawler shoves Cole's own foot in his mouth, but will the King be ready for the return of Isaac Yankem DDS?

Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth
Despite the feud being hastily thrown together due to John Morrison's neck injury, this is probably the match I'm most excited for on this show. Mysterio brings out the best and everyone and he should be the ideal opponent for Truth's first big match as a bad guy. Truth has the momentum, but Rey always seems to find a way to win, so this one's tough to pick. I'm going to go with R-Truth just because it seems like the logical choice, but a loss really wouldn't hurt him here and arguably would be better for his conspiracy victim shtick. I expect a great match though and I wouldn't mind seeing Truth set his sights on John Cena afterward.

Intercontinental Championship
Wade Barrett © vs. Ezekiel Jackson

I smell shenanigans in this one. Big Zeke has all the tools to be a major good guy on Smackdown, but I don't think they're quite ready to pull the plug on The Corre just yet, especially after shaking things up by kicking Jackson out. Big Zeke picks up the win, but it'll be by DQ, so he won't leave Seattle as Intercontinental Champion.

WWE Tag Team Championship
Big Show & Kane © vs. CM Punk & Mason Ryan

No idea. The Tag Titles could change hands every show and I don't think the average WWE fan would notice. I have no idea where they're going with Nexus, are they trying to build them back up or are they just trying to drum up interest in them for this match so they could get CM Punk on PPV? As an optimist, I'll go with Nexus to win, but I really don't see where they take the group from here.

World Heavyweight Championship
Randy Orton © vs. Christian

I really, really hate you Randy Orton. Christian will give Orton one of his five best matches though, and just when it looks like WWE is going to make me smile, Captain Charisma will eat an RKO.

WWE Championship - I Quit Match
John Cena © vs. The Miz

While the I Quit Match is John Cena's specialty, I really think The Miz has something truly dastardly up his sleeve. John Cena got cocky, picked a match he'd surely win, so if we're looking for the best possible story, The Miz has to win. Obviously he won't make Cena tap out to his vast repertoire of submission moves, but he will put Cena in a position where he has no other choice. Of course, there's always the possibility that the superhero will find a way to thwart The Miz's evil plan, but where's the fun in that? Miz becomes a two-time WWE Champion and the world becomes a better place.

What do you think? Leave your predictions in the comments thread!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Macho Man" Randy Savage dead at 58

From WWE.com:
WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, a.k.a. Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans.

I got a text at work from my fiancé, "Randy Savage died" and my heart sank into my feet. I ran to the nearest computer and saw the story from TMZ, heart attack while driving. Though he's been largely out of the spotlight for the last decade, the wrestling world just lost one of its most influential, talented and all-around awesome performers.

Ask anyone, regardless of whether or not they've watched a single minute of professional wrestling, to name five wrestlers and they'll probably tell you: Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock, Andre the Giant and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Though Hogan cast a huge shadow in the 1980s, Savage managed to emerge as one of the biggest names in the industry. For those of you too young to remember, Savage was the Rock to Hogan's Stone Cold... except Savage was unquestionably better in the ring.

Savage has a laundry list of fantastic matches, but perhaps more importantly, he also has a long list of matches that were his opponent's best. Hogan vs. Savage at WrestleMania 5? I'd say it's Hogan's best match ever. Warrior vs. Savage at WrestleMania 7? Easily Warrior's best match ever. Jake Roberts vs. Savage on Saturday Night's Main Event in 1986? Jake the Snake's best match ever and perhaps the greatest bad guy vs. bad guy match in history. Ted DiBiase vs. Savage, take your pick of the event, but for my money, I'd say MSG 1988 is DiBiase's best match ever. We could also probably have a hearty debate about whether or not Ricky Steamboat's best match was against the Macho Man or the Nature Boy. Regardless of style, Savage quietly gave several very different performers the first match on their highlight reels.

And of course, his talent wasn't limited to what went on from bell to bell, Savage was one of the greatest talkers the industry had ever seen. Whether he was talking about his opponent, proposing to Miss Elizabeth or selling Slim Jims, when Savage talked, we listened. Prior to WrestleMania 27, I listed my top five WrestleMania feuds and voted for Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair as my all-time favorite. Perhaps one of the greatest stories ever told in professional wrestling and it should come as no surprise considering the ridiculous levels of talent involved. We sympathized with Savage because he told a story any of us could relate to, something we've probably all live through at some point and we got to experience the cathartic moment when he not only silenced the loudmouth Flair, he took he WWE Championship.

That's my favorite Randy Savage moment and he gave us many more great WrestleMania moments, he gave us numerous wrestling moments, period. It speaks volumes about his legacy that even after being out of the spotlight for so long, they all remain so memorable. Regardless of which was your favorite, we all have one, because it was impossible to watch the Macho Man and not care. There aren't a lot of wrestlers that had a career as long as Savage's that you could say that about.

There has not, nor will there ever be, another Macho Man. Farewell, Randy Savage.

Monday, May 16, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - May 16, 2011

Live blog time. Still got the wrestling blahs, but refresh your page for ongoing coverage tonight and check out the Twitter feed for ongoing absurdity. Even if Raw continues to run in place, let's at least make Monday night fun!

And we're kicking things off with WWE Champion, John Cena! And more importantly, an Alex Riley interruption! The arrival of Riley can only mean one thing, The Miz's arrival is imminent! After an awesome video package showcasing the viciousness that will allow him to regain the WWE Championship, THE MIZ. IS. HERE! A-Ri is killing it on the mic here, Miz doesn't even have to talk, Riley's got the crowd in the palm of his hand for him! Cena responds by saying he picked an I Quit Match for Over the Limit because Miz can't win. Way to stack the deck John, if you were a true competitor, you'd pick The Miz's specialty match and prove you could win it!

The G?M chimes in and announces that it's only fair that Miz should get to stack the deck a bit himself, so he'll be picking Cena's opponent and stipulation for a match tonight! Put him in a cage with Kharma, Miz!

CM Punk vs. Kofi Kingston is our opening contest this evening. Former tag team champions going at it here and obviously could be a hell of a match. Crowd is pretty split on this one, which goes well with the back and forth nature of the match. Kofi gets himself hung up on the ropes though and eats a GTS to give CM Punk a much needed victory. After the match, Punk vows to get Nexus back on track and make them the most dominant group in WWE history. Punk is a miracle worker and all, but even Jesus had his limits!

Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella is our Diva portion of the evening. This is a non-title match, in case you forgot Brie Bella was the Divas Champion. Kelly Kelly picks up an anticlimactic victory, but you know why you're reading this portion of the live blog, KHARMA! Kharma interrupts the Bellas post-match beat down (much to the crowd's delight), but has her sights set on Kelly. The Bellas stupidly try to attack Kharma from behind and you know how that ends. One of the Bellas (I'm not sure which) ran off and the other got an Implant Buster. Kharma corners the recovered Kelly Kelly... and flicks her on the forehead. Brilliant. Kharma is the best thing going in WWE right now, period.

Rey Mysterio is in the ring to address the R-Truth situation. Rey Rey calls him out but Truth is SUCH a heel, he's going to make him wait through an entire commercial break.

Back from commercial, R-Truth still isn't here, but Alberto Del Rio is! Del Rio continues the creepy racial vibe from last week, essentially calling the San Antonio crowd a bunch of half-breeds. Yep, I'm uncomfortable. Mysterio stands up for "mi raza," don't let Fox News hear you say that, Rey! And it looks like we've got an impromptu match here.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio is our 10pm main event and... another commercial break. Oh come on! Okay, back from break and we've got ourselves a wrasslin' match. People seem annoyed that these two are wrestling yet again, but it's not like they're asking you to spend money on it. Perfectly acceptable TV match and they're not giving away anything we haven't seen before, so no arguments from me.

R-Truth does make an appearance, yelling at Rey from WAY up in a press box, calling him a thief for stealing his title shot. Not enough to put Rey away though, he manages to get the upper hand on Del Rio and wins by DQ when Ricardo Rodriguez blocks the 619. Del Rio doesn't care though and beats Rey down after the match anyway. And wow, Truth got downstairs pretty quick, because he's here to pick Mysterio's bones. Of all the feuds heading into Sunday, Truth vs. Mysterio is the one I'm most excited about, I'm eager to see what these two can do in the ring together.

Jerry Lawler & Michael Cole have their contract signing and we really are taking this feud all the way back to 1995, the match is officially a Kiss My Foot Match. I hope this means the return of Isaac Yankem DDS. Cole (figuratively) sticks his foot in his mouth and pisses off Jack Swagger by saying no one remembers him as World Champion. Oops. Swagger walks off, Cole tries to make amends with King, saying the last year and a half has been a joke, but he gets slammed on the table and hopefully it all comes to an end this Sunday.

Kane & Big Show will defend the Tag Titles Sunday against CM Punk and Mason Ryan on Sunday, but first they have to contend with the fearsome duo of David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty! Tremble in fear, champs! This match is pretty much what you'd expect it to be, except for the fact that Nexus actually won?! Give the assist to Punk at ringside, but I did not expect that result at all.

Main Event time! The Miz announces tonight's match will be No Holds Barred with John Cena taking on Jack Swagger, who blindsides the champ during his entrance. Really? I thought Swagger was on the cusp of turning face? Still could and this match would increase exposure for him, but just seems odd. Swagger and Cena had an absolutely fantastic match on Raw about two years ago though, I'd love to see them do it again here tonight.

Not quite up to par with their match back then, but a hell of a contest nonetheless. Swagger looked like a BEAST for the first time in quite a while and it took running into a steel chair head first to take him out of the match. Cena obviously picked up the win, but I think Swagger was the real star of the night.

Okay, until The Miz started talking again. Miz proceeded to tell Cena all the violent ways he could beat him on Sunday, but Miz is smarter than that and he's smarter than John Cena. We all know you can't beat Cena into submission, we saw Orton tee off on him with a Singapore cane a few years back and the dude just kept fighting. Cena's Wolverine, he got neck surgery on a Tuesday morning and had brunch with the Smackdown crew a few hours later. But The Miz is a diabolical evil genius, there are other ways to make a guy quit, if you can't break his body, you can break his spirit. Oh yeah, Miz is totally winning Sunday, and however he does it, it's going to be awesome.

Raw wasn't bad tonight, but it wasn't particularly great either. The show was technically good, but nothing really stuck out and I'm not particularly stoked for for Over the Limit either. Truth vs. Mysterio should be fun and I definitely want to see what Miz is up to, but everything else? Meh. C'mon WWE, it's almost Summer, do something crazy like you did last year with Nexus, get people talking!

The Very Best of WCW Monday NitroWWE: WrestleMania 27 (Collector's Edition)WWE All Stars

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kick-Out!! Radio - Episode 59

This week, Kick-Out!! Radio reflects on the tragedy of 5/6/11. Where were you when dreams were crushed and hope was lost? Also, the wrestling "blahs," is the internet WWE's friend or foe, TNA's name change, and #WrestlingRevolution.

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

iTunes - clicking this link will open your iTunes. Don't worry, it's free!

Theme song: "Believe" by Grasp Infinity

Monday, May 9, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - May 9, 2011

Well, last week sucked. The Miz lost the WWE Title and got screwed in his rematch, Christian lost the World Heavyweight Title in what will surely be the most controversial move in wrestling this year and somehow, WWE managed to make The Rock uninteresting. Sure, it was a nice gesture from WWE, but it wasn't Raw and the show suffered because of it. Shockingly, a guy that hasn't wrestled in seven years can't carry a wrestling show for two hours!

But that was last week. The Smackdown Blackout remains in effect, but I have hope that Raw will be fun tonight. If not, let's make it fun with the live blog. Refresh your page for ongoing coverage of the show and follow me on Twitter for ongoing absurdity. Let the healing begin!

Cold opening this week with Alberto Del Rio coming to the ring without the Nickelback intro. Well, that's certainly a good start. Del Rio explains his destiny has been delayed but not for long, insisting he should be the next #1 contender for John Cena's WWE Championship. Rey Mysterio interrupts, claiming he is just as deserving. Get in line you two, The Miz still deserves his shot after getting screwed by that jerkface Mike Chioda last week. Del Rio tells Miz he had his chance and didn't get the job done, which is hilarious considering Del Rio won the Royal Rumble and lost two matches for the World Title.

R-Truth interrupts next to talk about "hospital food." Seriously. Truth is getting the credit for putting John Morrison on the shelf, who needed neck surgery today, which is expected to sideline him for several weeks. Ah, I see, John Morrison is eating hospital food... because he's in the hospital... where they serve hospital food. Truth is kinda scaring me, I have no idea what the hell he's talking about and it's getting awfully racial. "Fence jumper," "angry black man," "lily white John Cena," uh... awkward!

The G?M chimes in and says they all make compelling arguments, except perhaps R-Truth, who gets left out of a Triple Threat match later tonight to determine a new #1 contender. Yeah, "hospital food" and flagrant racism isn't exactly a compelling argument. Truth is understandably unhappy about the situation though, despite his ranting and raving tonight, he should've never lost his title shot at Extreme Rules to begin with! Sure, he's not exactly eloquent or a skilled debater, but it's wrestling, he deserves a shot just as much as Del Rio or Mysterio!

The Miz continues the racial comments against Mexicans and I continue to wonder if WWE realizes how important Mexico is to their longterm strategy. I don't think you should call one of your biggest markets "fence jumpers" and "day laborers," just a suggestion though. The three brawl a little and Mysterio comes out looking the best after diving onto Del Rio outside, but I have a feeling the Truth is going to set his title hopes free in the main event.

The Bellas vs. Eve & Kelly Kelly is our opening contest this evening and I think Kharma's about to bite someone in the ass, so to speak. Kelly pins one of the Bellas in your typical 90-second Diva nonsense, but HERE COMES KHARMA! The Bellas hauled ass, Kelly left Eve to fend for herself, and Eve's attempt at a preemptive strike was met with a simple clothesline. Hah! Kharma lets Kelly run, she'll be her ultimate prize after all, and hits Eve with the Implant Buster. Loving this, she never even needs to wrestle, just have her destroy the Barbie dolls every week.

And because it was so awesome last week, we're getting Kane vs. Mason Ryan II: The Masoning tonight! Woo! You'll never believe this, but Mason Ryan is big and strong and he can pick up Kane. We've NEVER seen the Big Red Monster manhandled like this before! CM Punk tries to give Ryan an advantage, Big Show knocks him out, New Nexus causes the DQ, Kane & Show destroy them. Most dangerous group in WWE history!

Santino Marella vs. Former World Champion, Dolph Ziggler is our next match and I think this one could actually be enjoyable if given some time. Or at the very least, it'll be a fun old school squash. Yep, just like an episode of Wrestling Challenge, this one is over. Dolph mean mugs his way out of the ring while the Khaki-dile Hunter, Vickie Guerrero, cheers him on. Crikey!

WWE, there's a reason why the United States isn't releasing the Osama bin Laden photographs, it's the same reason you don't need to show the Christian vs. Randy Orton footage. You don't need to spike the football, you beat the internet, we get it.

R-Truth is crazy. R-Truth is awesome. R-Truth is crazy awesome.

Zack Ryder & some silly white guy in a red shirt were fist pumping backstage. Crowd went bonkers for Cena Ryder.

Backstage, The Miz tears A-Ri a new a-hole. Riley is determined to make good on his massive screw-up last week though and marches to the ring to challenge John Cena to a one-on-one match! Oh dear. Two Attitude Adjustments and an STF and Cena wins easily. Really John, was that really necessary? Just to prove a point to The Miz, you had to destroy a man who is clearly out of your league? Who are you, Bill Bellchick?

Michael Cole is in the ring now for his huge announcement, that he's retiring from in-ring competition. Perhaps WWE is realizing this has run its course? Probably not, Jerry Lawler gets in the ring to replay The Rock attacking Cole last week and challenges Cole to one more match. If Cole wins, Jerry Lawler will give Cole his ring and induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame. Really? I don't think that's how the Hall of Fame works. Cole makes some more jokes about Lawler's dead mom and while it's still fun to watch smarks get upset over it like it's not Lawler's idea, this just isn't working anymore. It hasn't just jumped the shark, it has pole-vaulted the shark. Jack Swagger got involved too, but honestly, I can't bring myself to care about this at all.

At least he gets to wrestle though, Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston is next and the United States Title is on the line. Oh man, in a week of transition, I wouldn't want to be Kofi Kingston right now. I thought for sure Kofi would lose here since random title matches rarely happen anymore without a switch, but thanks to the distraction from Jerry Lawler, Kofi retains! And then Lawler bashes Cole's face repeatedly into the Cole Mine wall by pulling his tie through the air hole. Okay, THAT'S funny. And hey, Lawler never touched Cole, he just grabbed his tie! Wrestling loophole! Swagger accepts Lawler's challenge on Cole's behalf and surely Over the Limit will be the end of this nonsense.

Main Event time! The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio to determine a new #1 contender and it's up to The Miz to save the night for me. Admittedly, I was kinda drifting in and out at the start of this was since this show has really sucked, but as things have picked up, this match has gotten really good. Lots of drama, near falls and The Miz being awesome, which is always something I enjoy.

Loving this match and all three guys look like they could win it, Rey hits the 619 and surely has it won... have we ever seen Cena vs. Rey before? But Alex Riley makes the save, allowing The Miz to steal it valiantly win! Finally something good!

John Cena hits the stage and tells Miz their match at Over the Limit will have no pinfalls or submissions, it's an I QUIT MATCH. Uh... John, I think we need to have a discussion about what the word "submission" means. Anyhoo, it should be a slam dunk for Cena, his whole shtick is never giving up, but The Miz could pull it off. Maybe Miz could grab a young Cena fan and threaten to throw him off the stage if the Champ doesn't surrender? Now THAT is how you win a championship!

Oh and R-Truth attacked Rey Mysterio to end the show.

Main event aside, tonight's Raw was awful. Utterly predictable: Mysterio taking Morrison's place against Truth, Kharma killing the Divas (not that I mind), Nexus looking like chumps, Riley getting stomped by Cena, Cole vs. King dragging on, you could see it all coming a mile away. I'm excited about Cena and Miz locking up again, even if I'm sure it'll end in Miz's defeat, but there's really not much to get excited about on this show. WWE's still just playing it way too safe and the audience is clearly getting bored. C'mon WWE, it's almost summer, do something crazy. Have the NXT Season 3 Divas show up and take over Raw!

WWE Elite Collection Rey Mysterio Figure Best of 2010 SeriesWWE Survivor Series The Miz FigureWWE R-TRUTH OVER THE LIMIT WRESTLING FIGURE

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Smackdown Blackout

This article contains spoilers for this Friday's Smackdown. If you are avoiding spoilers, turn back now.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at the Smackdown tapings in Orlando, FL, Randy Orton defeated Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship. The show will air this Friday on Syfy, I heard about the title change tonight on Twitter as the IWC exploded with furious rage, but the only emotion I feel is disappointment. No anger, not even surprise, it is what it is. Randy Orton was moved to Smackdown to be the top guy, I just didn't think they'd immediately strip Christian of the title after a true happy ending and throw it onto Randy Orton.

Captain Charisma was defeated by Captain Snoozefest in his first title defense. It's like WWE booked it specifically to kick me in the crotch. I'm not a Randy Orton fan, if you've read this blog at least one time before tonight, I'm sure you knew that. He's honestly my least favorite performer in WWE to watch; I get why people dig him, he just doesn't click for me at all. I have no interest in watching him beat my favorite wrestler, so I won't watch Friday night. And I will not watch until he loses the World Championship, this is the start of the Smackdown Blackout.

I'll still watch and live blog Raw & PPVs, keep up with the Blue Brand through spoilers, and I'll return to Smackdown the minute Orton loses, but you have to vote with your wallet. I'm tired of seeing this guy hog up the show and my viewership is the only voice I have in the matter.

Some might call it overdramatic, but this is me putting my money where my mouth is. When I started Kick-Out!!, I frequently called out wrestling "journalists" who did nothing but bitch and moan about the shows. Why do you watch if you hate everything you see? I don't watch TNA for that exact reason, it simply doesn't entertain me, to keep in line with Kick-Out's mission statement, I simply don't want to watch Smackdown right now.

This blog is about having fun and talking wrestling and there's no fun in me sitting down every Sunday, firing up my DVR and writing up a whine-ridden rant about how much Randy Orton bores me to tears. Instead, look for some weekly column or retro-review every Sunday to replace the missing SD Thoughts.

Hence, the Smackdown Blackout. Feel free to join in.

Monday, May 2, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - May 2, 2011

Due to the events of the last 24 hours, it's a "patriotic" Raw tonight. Hope you brought your gear, Sarge! Good things happened on Smackdown with Christian picking up first World Championship, but I'm less than thrilled about The Miz no longer being WWE Champion. He is invoking his rematch clause tonight though, so maybe The Rock will celebrate his birthday by costing John Cena the title? Hey, a boy can dream. Refresh your page for ongoing coverage of tonight's show, and of course, check out Twitter for the ongoing absurdity.

And we open tonight with a video package showing footage of 9/11 and WWE's live Smackdown just two days later. And hey, Lilian Garcia is here to sing the National Anthem! Say what you will about WWE, but there's something about it that has always struck me as fundamentally American. It's not perfect, even quite silly at times but dammit, it sure is entertaining and I love being a part of it.


And we're kicking things off with the birthday boy himself, The Rock! Although tonight, he probably should've arrived as his alter-ego, THEROCK OBAMA! He is Miami, Florida's very own, the man who will face John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 28 in this very city, so I expect this crowd to SPLODE~! tonight. The Rock starts off with a simple "WE GOT HIM" and the crowd goes absolutely insane. Rock proceeds to lead the crowd in recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, like he's a first grade teacher and then seamlessly transitions into a joke about how big his penis is. That's gotta be a first for television.

Rock tells us about his Miami cred, the crowd chants "U!!!!" for the University of Miami, they weren't booing higher education. Or maybe they were saying "boo-urns." The G?M chimes in here and Michael Cole tries to read, but The Rock doesn't take kindly to being interrupted on his birthday. Little war of words between The Rock and The Pebble here and Cole goes the cheap heat route by unveiling his Kevin Garnett jersey. I don't think Cole has any Boston cred though. Pebble has grown a set though and steps into the ring, claiming the G?M is demanding an apology for being disrespected at WrestleMania and so is Michael Cole. Rock extends his hand with a sincere apology and I think we all know where this is going...



The Rock just gave us all a birthday present there. The Rock continues his celebration by bringing out Pitbull, who I only know because he has a song on Dance Central and then the Miami Heat cheerleaders. Okay then. I think I just experienced sensory overload. That performance was like one of those Japanese cartoons that causes seizures.

JR is on commentary!

R-Truth vs. John Morrison was scheduled to be our opening contest, but Truth returned the favor from last week and attacked Morrison from behind during his entrance. I wonder if that's because they're saving it for the next PPV or because they haven't figured out what to do for Truth's entrance now that he can't rap on his way to the ring? The referees helped Morrison up the ramp, then Truth attacked him again! Evil Truth is great.

Kelly Kelly vs. Maryse is our for realz opening contest of the evening... okay, not really, because KHARMA has arrived! The referee was smart enough to get the hell out of the ring, but the Divas are doomed. Kharma hits Maryse with the Implant Buster while Kelly cowers in the corner, and K2 winds up getting spared... for now. That's how vicious Kharma is, she could've taken them both out, but instead, she is making Kelly think about the horror that is to come. There's nothing worse than a countdown clock to your doom.

Fun bit backstage with The Rock celebrating his birthday with Santino dressed as Rock's character from Fast Five, Hornswoggle as the Scorpion King and Great Khali as, you guessed it, The Tooth Fairy. A Ron Simmons cameo was the only way to get out of this one. DAMN!

Our 10pm main event and first real match of the evening (hopefully) is The Miz vs. John Cena and the WWE Championship is on the line! Hope you enjoyed your cup of coffee, Johnny because that title is going back where it belongs with Team Awesome! Enjoy this live blog while it lasts, because tonight I am putting my crusade against smarkitude aside and joining the fight against John Cena! LET'S GO MIZ/CENA SUCKS!

High drama here with lots of back and forth action and dare I say, it's way better and way more fun than their Mania encounter thanks to the red hot Miami crowd. Miz escapes the STF, ref bump, Cena kicks out of the Skullcrushing finale, Miz kicks out of the AA(!!), but A-Ri provides the distraction, Miz blasts Cena with the title: 1-2-3! WE'VE GOT A NEW WWE CHAMPION! YES! YES! YES!

But no... no no no, Chioda sees the belt and reverses his decision!? CHIODA YOU SON OF A BITCH! How dare you?! The Miz was only 14 championships away from tying The Nature Boy! I refuse to accept this, John Cena is a paper champion!

Ellen Degeneres has a pretty funny birthday wish for The Rock, but after that last match, I'm dead inside and unable to laugh.

Tag team action next with Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger & Drew McIntyre and Alberto Del Rio is on commentary. All these guys were just drafted from Smackdown, but I like the idea of both teams becoming semi-regular, especially Jack and Drew. "JackIntyre," already my new favorite tag team!

Very fun tag match that's getting a decent amount of time, which is nice since there wasn't a full match in the first hour. Of course, since it's a "Welcome To Raw" match, there's no chance the good guys are losing this one. Trouble In Paradise -> 619 -> Big Splash -> YAY! They tease rekindling the Rey/Del Rio feud, which I'm not particularly thrilled about, it hasn't been that long since they last battled, but it's not like these two are going to have a bad match.

The Rock loves 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510

John Cena's gift to The Rock? A WWE Title match at WrestleMania 28. Puhlease, only if The Miz gets added to the match, he'll have his Championship back by then!

Kane vs. Mason Ryan up next and if I'm not mistaken, this is going to be our final match of the evening. I haven't been this emotionally invested in a main event since Melina vs. Alicia Fox. CM Punk causes the DQ, New Nexus rushes the ring, but Kane fights them all off... most dangerous group ever! Ryan manages to get the upper hand though, but Big Show makes the save. Or not, Ryan takes him down too. Alright then, I guess they're going to get serious about this guy? Or they're just setting up Nexus to get Corre'd... which is funny because The Corre got Nexus'd.

The Rock's birthday is our proper main event of the evening and a special guest is here to say thanks, Vince McMahon! Pretty sweet and touching speech from Vince, even with the numbnuts in the audience chanting "WHAT!?" and we get a pretty cool video package for the People's Champ as well. Then Mya, yeah, that Mya sings Happy Birthday to The Rock. "IF YA SMELL" next and that's pretty much it.

Weird Raw. No actual matches until an hour in, but that match with Cena and Miz was freaking awesome. Tag match was fun too, and the crowd was red hot all night, but the show just wasn't that good. I bet the live crowd had a blast and the party atmosphere actually came across rather well, but outside of the two real matches we had, there wasn't much going on. A very nice thing to do for The Rock, no doubt about it, but that's about it. Oh, and Mike Chioda is a dick.

WWE: The Very Best Of WCW Monday NitroThe Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports EntertainmentThe John Cena Experience

Sunday, May 1, 2011

WWE Extreme Rules 2011 Review

As I'm typing this review, major news is coming down in the real world that Osama bin Laden has been killed and is in United States custody. This is perhaps the biggest news to hit the world since the tragic events that were carried out under bin Laden's orders and it obviously means so much more than having fun with a wrestling PPV, so I wouldn't feel comfortable writing without acknowledging this historic moment. I don't really have a way to transition out of this, I'm still going to do my review, but I felt compelled to say something. Thank you.

Alright, WWE Extreme Rules 2011 is over and it definitely wasn't a PPV to make you shrug your shoulders and move on, let's take a look.

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk in a Last Man Standing match kicked things off. Surprised to see this one start the show, but I'm glad it did, it was definitely the best match to start the show. These guys put on a hell of a wrestling match at WrestleMania 27 and tonight, they put on a hell of a fight. I really don't know how else to say this, I'm pretty rattled at the moment, so forgive me for not being eloquent, but these two beat the shit out of each other. Singapore cane shots, the infamous "chair collar," top rope Super RKOs, it was brutal.

I know everyone's pissed that Orton won again, but at this point, I'm immune to it. I've gone into every Randy Orton match expecting Randy Orton to win for the last two years now, the guy just doesn't lose. Sucks for Punk, but he's on that special plateau of guys where wins and losses don't matter, he's always going to be a big name and yet can fit in anywhere. As a fan, I want to see him win, but watching him get two very good and very different matches out of Randy Orton is just as good. He's so fantastic that he gets me excited about Randy Orton matches, I think that speaks volumes.
Predictions: 1 for 1

Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus in an impromptu US Title match was next. Funny little bit before the match with Sheamus ironically asking for Kofi Kingston's birth certificate since he didn't want to defend the US Title against someone not born in the US. Ah WWE, always topical. The match was a tables match, which was Sheamus' specialty, it's how he won his first WWE Championship, but the luck of the Irish was not here tonight. Kofi got his ass beat, but managed to put Sheamus through the table with a diving Boom Drop off the top rope through a table on the outside... oh yeah, and Sheamus was standing up when that happened. Crazy visual and a great end to the match. Kofi goes to Raw with the United States Championship, which hopefully gets him back on track and hopefully Sheamus gets back on track and moves onto bigger things. More on that later.
Predictions: 2 for 2

Michael Cole & Jack Swagger vs. Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross in a Country Whipping Match was as JR would say, "bowling shoe ugly." Considering the fact that Swagger was the only active wrestler in the match, he did the best he could, but look what he was working with. That said, the crowd was hot for it most of the way through and it had some funny moments, like Michael Cole wearing bubble wrap armor, but the ending sucked the fun right out of it. Cole winning via a reversed decision at WrestleMania worked, it was a nice tip of the hat to Jerry Lawler, but Cole pinning JR and this story seemingly continuing? Ugh.

It was all set up to perfectly end here. They've been teasing a Swagger face turn, Swagger's moving to Raw, Raw needs faces. JR has been appearing more frequently, they could've booted Cole out of the booth and transitioned him to manager. Instead, we get more of Michael "HEY LOOK AT ME!" Cole, which has worn out its welcome.
Predictions: 2 for 3

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere was a really, really fun match. Their bout at WrestleMania sadly fell a little flat for me, but this match was their Mania moment. It was a great, old school Attitude Era-esque FCA match with the guys brawling up into the concourse and they got to do some cool stuff up there. I've seen plenty of matches break out into the concession stand and usually it's just punches and rolling around, but Cody did his springboard kick off a soda counter and Rey got to do a dive off it as well. I love little things like that, stuff you're just not used to seeing.

The match was just as good back in the ring as well, and Mysterio busted out GREEN MIST to pick up the victory. Had I known Mutasterio was going to make an appearance tonight, I definitely would've picked him to win. I'd like to see Rey do that in very rare circumstances, especially in blood feuds. Lots of weird references to Tajiri tonight, WWE should bring him back.
Predictions: 2 for 4

Layla vs. Michelle McCool in a Loser Leaves Town match was the best Divas match I've seen in WWE in YEARS. It's a shame the Tampa crowd didn't wake up until the main events because it was a really good match worthy of attention. I've never been a big fan of McCool, but she is a wrestler. Layla is incredibly underrated in the ring and she is a wrestler, it's nice to see two women get a chance to wrestle on WWE TV and given more than 30 seconds. Layla picked up a huge win and sent McCool home to Death Valley.

Oh but wait, there's more! KHARMA made her WWE debut after the match and let's just say, it was AMAZING. Her music was bad ass, she slowly made her way down to ringside and then proceeded to nail McCool with the Implant Buster! I suspect the name of that move will be changed very soon. Kharma then laughed maniacally and then snapped right back into a serious, evil glare. Again, this is how men debut, if ever there was a time to be excited about women's wrestling, this is it.
Predictions: 3 for 5

Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio was our first main event of the evening, a Ladder Match for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. The match started off... oh I can't even pretend to hold back my excitement anymore -- CHRISTIAN IS THE WORLD CHAMPION! Not only did Captain Charisma finally - FINALLY - win the big one, he did it in one of the best matches of the year so far. Easily Match of the Night and just an awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome moment. When Christian held the World Title above his head on the top of the ladder, you could see him trembling with excitement and I'm sure a billion other emotions.

Edge was at ringside as well, having provided the distraction after Brodus Clay interfered and you could see the genuine emotion on his face as well. It was a really sweet moment, as sad as Edge's retirement is, there was something really cool about seeing him there being able to cheer on his best friend as he finally - FINALLY - got the World Title. You can't create that kind of emotion, it's one of those things that just happens and it's one of those moments that I will always remember. Matches like this, moments like this, that's why I watch WWE. You can't get entertainment like this anywhere else.

It doesn't matter if it's a day, a month or a year, Christian finally - FINALLY - is the World Heavyweight Champion. His name is forever on the record books and he earned every bit of it. Congratulations to Captain Charisma, the NEW Heavyweight Champion of the World!
Predictions: 4 for 6

Kane & Big Show vs. Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson in another impromptu match, this time a lumberjack match for the WWE Tag Team Titles. I have to admit, I didn't recognize half the Lumberjacks since I don't watch NXT, but this match was the very definition of "cool down match." Kane & Show retain, Corre continues to implode and that's really all there is to say about it.
Predictions: n/a

The Miz vs. John Morrison vs. John Cena was our final match of the evening, a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship. I liked the match a lot, I thought Morrison looked like he belonged in there along with two top stars like Miz and Cena. The confines of the cage helped a lot too, it kept them from going the usual WWE Triple Threat route where one guy lays outside the ring while two guys brawl inside. They did some cool stuff, like Miz taking a NASTY double brainbuster off the top of the cage(!!!) and Morrison hit both guys with Starship Pain off the top of the cage(?!?!!?!). It was a really cool match and I got really excited when R-Truth interfered to get his revenge on John Morrison and then took his aggression out on John Cena too for good measure.

Unfortunately, the match did not end there. Just as The Miz had the match in the palm of his hand, John Cena sprang to life and hit the Attitude Adjustment off the top rope to score his tenth WWE Championship. Sigh. Even I, a big Cena fan, have to roll my eyes at this one. I guess it makes sense, there are a lot more bad guys for Cena to work with throughout the year than there are good guys for The Miz, but I don't care about what makes sense, I'm a fan. I want my guy to win. My guy did not win tonight, but at 160 days, The Miz has the longest WWE Title reign since Triple H in 2008. The longest reign for a first-time champion since John Cena in 2005. This is a mere setback for the leader of Team Awesome, The Miz will get his title back! Even if he has to win Money in the Bank again and do it all over again, The Miz will have his revenge!!!

Seriously though, I'm looking forward to Cena vs. Del Rio and The Miz vs. Mysterio, can we make that happen this summer?
Predictions: 4 for 7

Very good PPV. No outright bad matches, except for the match that was supposed to be bad, but everything else came together quite well and the two main events were fantastic... even if the ending to the show made me die a little inside. Even if the show wasn't that great, it's still worth the money because Christian is World Champion! WOOOO! Well worth the cost of admission and if you're a fan of Captain Charisma, you must see this PPV!

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