Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Super Smackdown - August 30, 2011

It's a Super Smackdown, so I figured I'd live blog. Raw bummed me out last night and kinda killed my anticipation for this show, but the optimist in me hopes this show will be good enough to save the wrestling week. I'll be on Twitter as usual, so please follow along there as well. Let's have some fun.

And we begin with John Cena open mic night, featuring some hilarious references to Nitro, After Burn, and the XFL. Way to be relevant there, John. Cena calls out Alberto Del Rio, but gets Ricardo Rodriguez instead since Del Rio is still stuck in his native land, Belgium.

Cena punches Ricardo in the face, because that's what heroes do, and now Wade Barrett is here to rekindle the Nexus feud and the crowd could not possibly care less. Looks like Barrett vs. Cena is next though.

Indeed, John Cena vs. Wade Barrett is our opening contest and it's a glorified squash. What a complete waste of time and I think it's safe to say Wade Barrett's ship has sailed. Bummer, this time last year, he was arguably the hottest thing in wrestling.

Sin Cara was scheduled to wrestle Alberto Del Rio tonight, but with Del Rio still in his homeland of Ireland, 2in Cara will take on Daniel Bryan instead. Uh, okay! Fun match, not as exciting as I'd hope, but a lot of the blame has to go to this abysmal crowd. What's the Matter with Kansas, indeed. Sin Cara attacks Bryan after the match, which is odd since he saved him two weeks ago, so maybe they are going to run with Sin Cara vs. Evil Sin Cara after all... should be interesting to see how that goes.

For some reason, Aksana is announcing the next match, which is The Divas of Doom vs. Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox. And for some reason, Alicia Fox is apparently a face now. Sigh, at least Glamazon's new ring attire is still awesome. The Glam Slam is awesome too, especially when it's done to Alicia Fox. Divas of Doom pick up the win and the crowd is still dead silent.

Triple H/CM Punk contract signing up next and I'm still not entirely sure why this match is happening, especially right now. I get that Nash has issues and I don't think anyone realistically expected a Kevin Nash match to actually happen, but surely there's someone else for Punk to wrestle? Oh well, at least we get to hear Punk talk, that might get this crowd to make some friggin noise.

Luckily, Triple H is on tonight and laying into Punk for being unappreciative and Punk retaliates by telling HHH he's repeating Vince's same mistakes. Punk wants to be the catalyst for change and wants wrestling to be cool again and he's the guy to do it. Triple H gets defensive and Punk just keeps going and says that he apparently has to go through another COO to be the guy to bring change. "Don't fine me, don't suspend me, when I kick your ass." Finally, something to make this show fun, CM Punk is so, so good.

Kevin Nash hits the ring, Punk gets some good shots in, but a distraction from Triple H lets Nash nail the big boot. Then HHH gets shoved down for good measure. Good segment, but once again, ruined by this embarrassing crowd.

Great Khali vs. Sheamus up next, these guys had such a fun match on Smackdown a couple weeks ago perhaps the best Khali match I've ever seen. Too bad they won't be able to do it again, at least not with this crowd. Of course, just as things are getting fun, Jinder Mahal interferes and causes the DQ. No one is going to care about Mahal, ever. This guy belongs alongside Kenzo Suzuki, Rene Dupree, Mordecai, Heidenreich and other mid-2000s Smackdown characters that no one was ever going to pay attention to.

Main Event time! Christian vs. Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship, inside a 15-FOOT HIGH STEEL CAGE! Hey, someone's gotta be excited for this show, the people who paid $45 a ticket certainly aren't.

It's hard to get excited for a match you've seen six times since May, especially one you know will end with yet another Randy Orton win, but these guys do mesh well. Christian has done wonders for Orton and has made him look more legit in three months than he has in the last three years. Still doesn't mean I have to like it, even if the RKO off the top rope looked absolutely brutal. Hate you, Randy!

But it's a cage match on Smackdown, so you know what that means... Mark Henry is coming to split some wigs! Henry annihilates Orton and becomes my new favorite wrestler human being. Smackdown comes to a close with Mark Henry holding the World Championship high above his head while Orton's intestines pollute the ring.

Despite the excellent ending and a very good main event, if this was the test run for Smackdown going live every Tuesday, here's hoping they stay on Friday. There's just too much pressure to put on a good show on a prime time Tuesday slot, but Fridays at 8? Expectations are lower and Smackdown's ratings remain incredibly strong, so they can kinda just do their own thing. Give me pressure free nights full of matches like Sheamus vs. Khali from a few weeks ago or Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett. I'll take that on Friday over Barrett getting crushed by Cena on Tuesday.

This was a really bad week for WWE and it's only Tuesday. It only takes a couple bad shows to drain the audience and it's possible they've killed the momentum they built up over the summer. I'd hate that to be the case and I certainly don't want to be Mr. Cynical, but the last 25 hours have not been promising. CM Punk talked about "fun for everyone" tonight, someone please be the catalyst for that change.

WWE: Greatest Stars of the New MilleniumWWE: The Greatest Cage Matches of All TimeShawn Michaels Vs Bret Hart [Blu-ray]

Way Too Early



OMG Lady Gaga you're so brilliant and original! Oh wait, this is Annie Lennox... 27 years ago.

Monday, August 29, 2011

WWE Raw - August 29, 2011

So yeah, I kinda forgot to review Smackdown this weekend. Forgive me, I spent the weekend in a drunken stupor, acting like a teenager for my bachelor party. I don't say this to sound cool and do the typical white guy "I drank soooooooooo much dude!" thing, I just say it to excuse my slacking. That's right, I blame my problems on alcohol.

And you know how people say that bachelor parties are a groom's last night to go out and get crazy? That's kinda true. Not in the cliché "last night of freedom" kind of way, because my fiance and I actually combined our parties. Why? Because I've worked at a strip club, and once you see how the sausage gets made, you suddenly don't want to eat there anymore. And if the goal is just to go out and get wasted, why not do it with the person you love and have a damn good time? But it is the last night to go out and get crazy, because after a night like that? Yeah, I'm pretty much good on the whole binge drinking thing.

Which brings us to Smackdown. I watched the show yesterday while I was sprawled out on my couch, unable to sit up or stand without brain matter pouring out of my tear ducts. Nothing on the show caused me to vomit, but it wasn't really anything worth staring at my criminally bright laptop screen. Thank you for your patience during this uncharacteristically personal tale, let's get RAW.

TIME TO PLAY THE GAME! MUHUHAUAHUAHUA! Triple H is kicking things off, I'm sure you're shocked by this rare event. Okay, I may be a bit snarky there, but Triple H just announced that in order to continue WWE's success, the Superstars of Smackdown will be joining Monday Night Raw. Uh... what?! Did we just end the brand split? At least on Mondays? Kind of a weird way to just drop that bombshell, but I assume we'll get some clarification later tonight. Although if there's only one brand, surely that means it's time to merge the belts?

We'll cross that bridge when we get there, I suppose. HHH turns his attention to Kevin Nash, but instead gets the much more interesting, CM Punk! Punk wants Triple H to stop lying and admit he's in cahoots with Nash, but here comes... the nWo?!

Okay, it's just the nWo music for Kevin Nash, but that's still pretty cool. It's such a badass tune and shouldn't be sitting on a shelf somewhere or in some nerds iTunes library (guilty). Nash admits to lying about the car wreck last week, but didn't lie about the mysterious text (which isn't nearly as cool as a mysterious Hummer) and announces that Johnny Dynamic Dude signed him to a lucrative WWE contract. Triple H wants Nash to leave and Kev says he's happy to sit at home and get paid (Hi Atlanta!), which HHH isn't going to agree to. Things get a little too whiny between these two, so CM Punk starts puking. Punk celebrates the return of "The Kliq," and says "click" is what remote controls do when Kevin Nash pops up on their screen. BURN! And shocking, CM Punk vs. Kevin Nash is booked for Night of Champions and then they ruin this little moment by bringing out Randy Orton.

Luckily, it's just for our opening match, Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler, but c'mon, did we need to bum me out before the first commercial break? So far, so good, Dolphy Z is totally whipping Orton's ass and hits the Zig-Zag on the floor! Orton just makes it in at 9.5, but I was counting at home and he was out there for like seven minutes!

Of course, all good things must come to an end and all Randy Orton matches come to a heartbreaking finish: a Randy Orton win. A hell of a match though with a slick back and forth finish. It's quite upsetting that Orton's matches have been so good lately, but when you only wrestle guys like Christian and Ziggler, it's difficult to suck.

And here comes John Cena to chat about Alberto Del Rio, but instead, he gets MARK HENRY! John Cena gonna get his jorts split! Big Bad Mizark promises that he'll be the next World Champion, but that's the cue for the current #1 contender, Christian! Christian trash talks, John Cena makes poop jokes, fights are about to happen, but Sheamus makes the save and it looks like we got an impromptu tag match on our hands. Or not, Christian hightails it and Mark Henry follows. Backstage, Dean Douglas's running buddy makes the match anyway, but Triple H reminds him that he makes the matches. Oh, are unnecessary power struggles the new G?M chime?

But that match is later, CM Punk vs. The Miz is next. What?! That's like WWE making me decide which child to save when they're both dangling from a cliff. The Miz treats us to a little mic work before the match and if it's a pipe bomb for CM Punk, it's a paintbrush for The Miz. I don't even want to see these guys wrestle, just have them yell at each other for 20 minutes. Hell, I'd buy that on PPV.

Excellent back and forth 10pm main event between these two, but if you thought you'd see a clean finish in this one, you must be new here. Nasty Macho Man elbow on Miz's skull, GTS time, but here comes R-Truth! CM Punk is not Lil Jimmy Proof and the numbers game becomes to much, especially when Kevin Nash "lumbers" to the ring. A good call from JR, but I'm pretty sure lumber moves faster. BURN! Nash does take advantage of TrueMiz's assault though and gets to hit Punk with another Jackknife Powerbomb. All that was missing was Miz spray painting Punk's back.

Jack Swagger vs. 2in Cara up next and despite the wonkiness with Dolph Ziggler interfering, this is a fine match. Not going to set the world on fire, but New Blue held up well on live TV. If we get an excellent match between him and Del Rio tomorrow on the live Smackdown, I doubt we'll ever see Mistico in a WWE ring ever again. Tough break, but in cases like this, replica mask sales are more important than gimmick integrity.

Tag Title rematch with Otunga & Other Guy taking on the newly-named AirBoom. I like the new name, but they need a proper tag team entrance, complete with a sweet new theme song. Champs easily defend and hopefully get to move onto interesting opponents.

Outside the ring, Ughtunga & Imperfect get in Lawler's face for trash talking them on commentary. If it weren't for Lawler's trash talk, I wouldn't even notice these two numbnuts, they should be thanking him for even bothering to talk about them.

Kelly Kelly vs. Brie Bella up next and it's awfully late for a Divas match, isn't it? Twin Switcheroo, Bellas win. We were making such good progress in the last couple weeks too, but looks like the Divas are back to status quo.

Parker Posey is in the next WWE Film, Inside Out. Okay, I was wrong... I will binge drink again.

Main Event time! Mark Henry & Christian vs. Sheamus & John Cena Match starts at 11:02 pm... that's not a good sign for a show that's dragged on longer than Inside Out. It is nice to see Cena and Christian in the ring together though, I think those two would have a really fun feud and a hell of a match if given enough time.

Decent little match, typical main event tag match though with the good guys picking up the win, but I didn't expect much more from such a prototypical episode of Raw.

Backstage, Triple H tells CM Punk that his match with Nash at Night of Champions has been canceled and instead, he'll be facing Triple H. Ugh, really? C'mon WWE, this match could've been a marquee WrestleMania match and you're going to just give it away already? I feel like something's up here, but if it goes down like this, I'm going to be incredibly disappointed.

Speaking of disappointing, this Raw. The Miz was great, as was the match with Punk and Orton's match with Ziggler was excellent, but both those things feel like eons ago after a really boring final hour with a completely dead crowd. Bringing Smackdown guys over is only going to complicate things and I felt like Raw has been in a hell of a groove lately, why mess that up? Despite some great in ring work and the usual brilliance on the mic with Punk and Miz, I gotta give this show the thumbs down.

The 50 Most Shocking, Surprising, Amazing Moments in WWE History [Blu-ray]Randy Orton: The Evolution of a PredatorWWE Summerslam 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

WWE Raw - August 22, 2011

Hey, it's wrasslin' night! I hope CM Punk finds Big Sky to help him take out Vinny Vegas! Refresh your tab, follow on Twitter, and please comment early and often.

Cold intro tonight, Raw begins with your undisputed WWE Champion, Alberto Del Rio! And did I hear Michael Cole say we're in Canada tonight? Oh we're in store for a fun crowd if that's true. Anyhoo, his name is Alberto...

OMG John Cena's music just made me pee on myself. That was loud, abrupt and startling. Hold me. Cena reintroduces himself to Del Rio, does a little trash talk and says he's gonna whoop Del Rio's ass for the WWE Title. Cena continues the sell of the Punk face turn as well, saying the "Best in the World" is the only - that's right, ONLY - man who can go toe-to-toe with him. Wow.

And speak of the devil, CM Punk is here and Canada has erupted! It's one of those under-ice volcanoes. Punk makes the obvious point that John Cena has no legitimate claim to a WWE Title match, at least not before him. Hey, Punk did beat him twice. In a row. On PPV. Punk is cashing in his rematch clause, but Cena wants his rematch "clause" too, but he has no legitimate claim to a rematch anyway. Del Rio doesn't care what either of them want, because he's not giving anyone a match in Canada of all places. I can't blame him. Those Canadians are totally prejudiced against Mexicans, not unlike their very tolerant and welcoming neighbors to the south!

Hey, Triple H waited a whole 11 minutes to show up, I'm proud! So apparently rematch clauses are not like Money in the Bank, you can't just cash them in whenever you want (nice to finally close that loophole), and Del Rio will face either Punk or Cena at Night of Champions... whoever wins tonight's main event! Oh yeah, shenanigans. Lots and lots of shenanigans. I expect a draw and a Triple Threat at NOC. Del Rio is in action next, but the opponent is a mystery.

Hey, it's John Morrison, not too surprising, but this should be a hell of a match if they get enough time. Although to be fair, I should probably stop adding "if they get enough time" to match descriptions, Raw's been on fire lately with strong, decent-length matches, especially in the opener and main event. As mentioned in my article earlier today about Rey Mysterio's injury, this could (perhaps SHOULD) be Morrison's opportunity to step up and become a top-tier guy and it looks like WWE's going to see how he performs against the WWE Champ.

Great action here, Del Rio is taking NASTY spills to the outside and throws a gorgeous German Suplex. John Morrison hits a hurricanrana that actually looked painful, when's the last time you saw one of those? Morrison in control, going for Starship Pain, but NO! Del Rio dodges, locks in the Cross Armbreaker and that's all she wrote for the Shaman of Sexy Parkour Wisdom. Excellent match, great showing for Morrison and Del Rio looks like a beast.

Kelly Kelly vs. Nikki Bella, but I'm more interested in the deliciously old school picture-in-picture promo from The Divas of Doom! Yes, more of that, please. Eve wins in a match that's more of what we're used to from the Divas, rather than the general improvement we've been seeing. Bummer.

USA's "The Walking Kev," is NEXT!

Or not. Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley in a rmeatch from that unbelievably terrible segment from last week, but Vickie Guerrero is in Swagger's corner tonight. And instead of doing something cool like have Vickie expand her stable, "The Cougar's Cubs," Dolph Ziggler distracts Swagger and Riley picks up a pointless win. Hopefully this is leading to Swagger and Ziggler putting aside their differences and eventually forming an alliance, because the idea of Vickie bringing back the Heenan Family is far too tempting. Swagger and Ziggler would make an awesome tag team too.

Triple H out next to call out Big Daddy Crazy Sexy Cool, but where's the Diesel music? And where's the fringe-laden singlet? Nash apologizes if there was a miscommunication at SummerSlam, but insists that he's not going to let Punk talk trash. Triple H says that's fine, but he doesn't work for WWE, so Kev and Punk need to settle it outside of the company. Because not working for a wrestling company has always been a hurdle for Kevin Nash, right?

And cue CM Punk! The "habitual line stepper" wants to kick Kevin Nash's ass and his Just For Men hair. HHH gets in between them, which sends Punk off the rails, claiming the COO has had it in for him since day one. Punk insults Stephanie McMahon and Triple H gets pretty heated, which only encourages Punk more. "I'd hate for you to have to fold up that suit and put it in your wife's purse, where you keep your cell phone... and obviously your balls." With that, Nash decks Punk and the Kliq hightails it out of the ring. Pussies!

Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne team up to rid the world of the nightmare that is the Ughtunga/Imperfect Tag Team Title reign. McGillicutty & Otunga stink up the joint, as usual, but Kofi and Bourne do their damnedest to make things interesting... Trouble in Paradise from the apron, SHOOTING STAR! WOO! NEW TAG CHAMPS! About damn time and if you're going to rebuild a division, do it around these guys.

Backstage, Johnny Ace tells Triple H that Kevin Nash was in a car accident. There's nothing suspicious about that at all.

Hey, Santino has a match... against the concrete floor! TrueMiz attacks Santino during his entrance and it looks like the C-O-N-SPIRACY has boiled over! HOOOOLY SHIT, these two are just DOMINATING the microphone right now. Canada wasn't ready for this level of awesomeness and we've got ourselves the next great tag team. I know some people are going to yell at me for this, but these two just out-Punked CM Punk tonight.

Main Event time! John Cena vs. CM Punk and just to make things interesting, Alberto Del Rio and the Dynamic Dude are at ringside. Well, now I just want TrueMiz to strike and "take that opportunity." Have them lay out Punk and Cena and set up that Championship Scramble I've been begging for! C'mon WWE, do it for Razor!

Anyhoo, Cena throws his shirt to the crowd, Canada throws it back. John, next time just wrap it around a beer and they'll hang onto it.

Hot damn, these two are amazing together. I usually step away from my laptop during main events, but I am especially glad I gave this match my undivided attention. I daresay, no two guys in WWE have better chemistry with each other than CM Punk and John Cena. An excellent match, arguably as good as their previous two encounters, and just as Punk is firmly in control... Kevin Nash returns. Man, he healed from that car wreck pretty quick, must be the Secret of the Ooze.

Cena takes advantage of the distraction (coward!) hits the AA and wins. Wow, I did not see that coming, I thought for sure we were getting a triple threat at Night of Champions. Alberto Del Rio kicks the ever-loving shit out of Cena after the match though, that's pretty glorious, but I'm much more interested in Punk vs. Nash.

Great Raw. Swagger vs. Riley was meh and the Divas match was typical, but the rest of the show was very enjoyable. Great opening match, amazing main event, and plenty of fun in between. Definitely worth your two hours. Not much else to add, but if you missed it, make sure you catch a replay on Universal HD or YouTube.

The Very Best of WCW Monday NitroThe 50 Most Shocking, Surprising, Amazing Moments in WWE HistoryWWE: Greatest Stars of the New Millenium

New Fair to Flair podcast

I know podcasts have been slow lately, but luckily, my cohorts at Fair to Flair and I got together yesterday for a new show. Give it a listen!


Jason Mann, Razor, K Sawyer Paul, and Thomas Holzerman talk about Punk’s rise, how Nash splits the audience, complicated characters, how hard it is to follow wrestling, Nitro parties, Michael Cole’s awful commentating, and Matt Hardy’s Legacy.
Click here to listen to the show. 

Rey Mysterio injured, out for several months

Rey Mysterio confirmed on his Twitter account today that he will require knee surgery, which should put him on the shelf for several months.

This is incredibly sad news, Rey Rey has been WWE's most consistent in-ring performer for over two years now, providing excellent match after excellent match after excellent match, but it's no secret that his knees are in bad shape. At this point, I think they're held together by Popsicle sticks, Elmer's glue and vinyl pants, but he has toughed it out over the years and continues to tear it up in the ring.

It's certainly unfortunate, but Rey's a bona fide Superstar and his spot at the top will obviously be there when he returns. Rey is arguably the #2 good guy on Raw, so who is going to step up and take that spot while he's gone? If there was any doubt that CM Punk was turning, this should erase all of it, he's obviously going to be moving up, but depending on how the crowd continues to react, he could wind up becoming the #1 star in the entire company. That's a big "could" considering the massive shadow that John Cena casts, but it's clear that the times, they are a-changin'.

So who else could step up? John Morrison seems like the most likely candidate, his style is similar to Mysterio's, the crowd enjoys his work and he can have a decent match with just about anyone. But we've been down this road numerous times with Morrison, one might wonder if this would be his last chance before getting Kofi'd.

How about Alex Riley? A month ago, I would've said yes, but after that disastrous performance last week and some recent cringe-worthy promos, I feel like WWE will take a few dollars out of the A-Ri investment.

A bit of a long shot, but how about Kofi Kingston? His stock has dropped dramatically in the last year and a half, but he's been damn good in the ring lately and is light years ahead of John Morrison on the mic, could it be his chance to pull himself out of the hole?

Whoever it is, Rey being out for the better part of a year leaves a spot right under the Raw main event scene wide open for the taking. Who's going to be the guy? Better yet, who should be the guy?

WWE: John Morrison- Rock StarWWE: Rey Mysterio - The Life of a Masked ManWrestling's Highest Flyers

Way Too Early



In honor of Conan's return to theaters this weekend.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

WWE Smackdown - August 19, 2011

This week's Smackdown review is brought to you in Fair to Flair's award-anticipating WOO!/BOO! format. You're smart enough to determine which one is good and which one is bad.

WOO!

Teddy Long announcing a Battle Royal to determine a new #1 contender? Yay! Who doesn't love a good ol' fashioned Battle Royal.

"Zackdown" could do more for Zack Ryder than "Woo Woo Woo" ever would.

Justin Gabriel vs. Tyson Kidd was just a terrific match. I hope WWE appreciates the fact that Tyson Kidd has quietly become their star-making utility player in the last few months. Gabriel's no slouch either, now that all this Nexus/Corre/Slariel business is behind him, he can finally find his groove as a good guy. If WWE's really serious about rebuilding the tag division, imagine how fun it would be if Gabriel and Evan Bourne teamed up?

Oh and that 450 from damn near half way across the ring? Gorgeous.

I liked Teddy Long & Zack Ryder arguing that the WWE Champion was invited to Smackdown, assuming it would be Punk or Cena, but it turned out to be Alberto Del Rio! It was a nice little touch to keep people from screaming "OMG ROZTER SPLUT DEAD!" and it resulted in an excellent match.

While Del Rio really had no business being out there, so was just talking for the hell of it, it opened the door for Daniel Bryan's challenge. Bryan took issue with ADR going the cliché route with his Money in the Bank cash-in and Bryan wanted to prove that he was the more legitimate competitor. Unfortunately for the Bryans and Cenas of the world, they keep trash-talking Del Rio, but then they have to deal with him in the ring and Del Rio is kind of a beast! Bryan and Del Rio continued WWE's week-long streak of excellent wrestling; make sure you watch this match if you missed it, it made Bryan look even more like a star and solidified Del Rio as a fighting WWE Champion.

That's what I love about Del Rio, despite Cena's claims on Monday, Del Rio wants to fight. He's not a cowardly heel and sure, he'll take a shortcut, but he'll still kick your ass and make you tap out.

Surprisingly, Kelly Kelly & AJ vs. Natalya & Alicia Fox was yet another decent Divas match. Call me crazy, but I've been enjoying the Divas stuff since Kelly won the title. The matches are still too short, but the actual wrestling has been rock solid. Natalya locking Fox in the Sharpshooter after failing was a nice touch too.

I really hope they go with Sin Cara Uno vs. Sin Cara Dos

The Battle Royal was fun, but as usual with Battle Royals, difficult to write about. There's no story to tell, a bunch of guys you haven't seen in months were involved, and it's all about getting to the final moments. Fun to watch, sure, but not much fun to look back and reflect on. Mark Henry picked up a well-deserved win and considering the roll he's been on, I think he should plow through Randy Orton. Still think they should've waited on that match and done a Scramble at Night of Champions though.

BOO!

Randy Orton starting a show always makes me sad. It's bad enough he's carrying Christian's World Title around. Not even Cody Rhodes could get me to care here and honestly, Cody's character needs some evolution. It's becoming a little too one-dimensional, which is a shame since it was one of WWE's best-realized characters earlier this year. I'm just spitballin' here, but how about Cody flipping back and forth between "Dashing" and "Disfigured," kinda like a serious take on the Three Faces of Foley? If he gets hit in the face, he rushes to the plastic mask under the ring and turns extremely vicious? Perhaps a little cartoonish or "attack his weak point for massive damage!" but I think it would at least be a start. I'm glad Cody's IC Champ, he's still incredibly good, I just don't want to see him stall out. If he does, I blame Ted DiBiase.

Cody Rhodes vs. Ezekiel Jackson didn't really do it for me either. Where's the Zeke from ECW 2009? He just hasn't been clicking for me much since he split from The Corre (remember that?) and I think WWE is agreeing due to how decisively Cody Rhodes beat him here. Again, I'm all for the IC Champ getting clean wins, but watching Cody beat Zeke that easily would be like Kelly Kelly squashing Beth Phoenix.

Aksana is awful.

No one cares about Jinder Mahal, period. Khali has had two really good matches lately though, maybe WWE should invest some more time in him?

Overall

Not a lot of BOO! this week, but the show wasn't exactly a must-see episode. Definitely catch the Del Rio/Bryan match and Kidd/Gabriel is worth watching, but the rest is missable. That doesn't mean it was a bad show, it certainly wasn't, but your wrestling life will not be worse if you missed this show. It's just one of those nights, everything was fine, but more of a placeholder show than anything.

Money in the Bank 2011WWE '12WWE: The Best of Saturday Night's Main Event

Way Too Early



Somebody's gonna get their ass kicked.

Monday, August 15, 2011

WWE Raw thoughts - August 15, 2011

Well, this should be interesting. Refresh, Twitter, comment, etc.

TIME TO PLAY THE GAME! MUHUHAUHAUHUA! Triple H is here to address the WWE Galaxy and his first order of business is to apologize to John Cena for missing his foot on the rope. Mmhmmm, you're going to apologize to John Cena, but not going to own up to the fact that you hired Vinny Vegas to screw CM Punk out of the WWE Title?! Triple H claims he had no knowledge of this and invited Nash to Raw via text. Really? You texted your BFF Kev?

But at the end of the day, this is just how Money in the Bank works and we do have an Undisputed WWE Champion, and that's ALBERTOOOOOOOO DEL RIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOO! He reminds us that is his name, but that's probably not a good thing when you're WWE Champion, we should already know that. Much like Triple H, Del Rio denies any involvement with Nash and even says he had no intention of cashing in last night, but just couldn't resist. Yeah right, I know a c-o-n-spiracy when I see one. This one goes all the way to the top, this plan has been in motion since the days of Jack Tunney! #Alberther.

Del Rio defends the WWE Title tonight against former champion, Rey Mysterio. You remember Rey as WWE Champion, right? Before John Cena stole it from him?

Hey, R-Truth has theme music and it's "WHAT'S UP?!" A metal remix too, maybe they got the dude from Tool to lay down a guitar track last night? Truth's in action against John Morrison here, in a Falls Count Anywhere match. I approve of that, I also approve of the old school picture-in-picture promo, but I do not approve of John Morrison talking.

Falls Count Anywhere matches are so fun, they don't do them nearly enough anymore and Truth kicking Morrison's ass all over San Diego has been a blast so far. Truth tries to introduce the devastating DESK CHAIR into the equation, but Morrison suplexes him into it and hits the running knee, which I think he has a goofy name for, but I can't remember, and hey, Morrison wins a match. Gotta start somewhere! Seriously though, fun match and a great way to start the show; Raw's opening matches have been fantastic lately.

AAAWWWEEESSSOOOMMMEEE!!! The Miz has arrived! But wait, poor Miz is out here to hawk Subway with Jared the ex fat guy? Fuck Subway, they're currently being boycott by Kick-Out!! for naming Michael Vick their athlete of the year. The Miz deserves better than this, c'mon, can't someone get him an Arby's endorsement?

Kevin Nash has arrived!

Diva tag action next with Kelly Kelly & Eve vs. The Bellas (w/ capes) and this one could be enjoyable. When Eve's the weakest link in a Diva's match, I like its odds of not sucking. Good gals pick up the win in another decent Divas match and the Divas of Doom give them a golf clap. Beth & Natalya are looking downright fancypants tonight.

Kevin Nash is out, sans Diesel music (boo), and is here to tell the truth about what happened last night. He claims he got a text from Triple H during the main event, "whatever happens, stick the winner for me," so it looks like there are some conflicting stories going around.

And here comes CM Punk! And he's wearing jeans! Punk says Triple H doesn't know what's good for business and he's always heard Nash doesn't know either and it's clearly true. Nash tells him to watch his mouth, Punk says he does and says whatever the hell he wants.

Punk then reads the text he got from his sister last night, "OMG Kevin Nash! WTF? Thought he was dead" and I LOLed. These two are having a fun little exchange with plenty of "insider" talk and do you feel that? Something seems strange here.

Nash calls Punk a short order cook at Waffle House, Punk gets tired of the snarky back and forth and heads down the ramp for a fight... only to be stopped by half a dozen security guards. Yep, that strange feeling? That's a main event face turn, my friend. Punk is officially a good guy and the crowd reacted to it organically.

Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger next with Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero on commentary. Wow, this is an absolute train wreck. Dolph and Vickie are awkward on commentary, Cole is awful as usual, Lawler's making Vickie is fat jokes again, Vickie steals JR's hat, Swagger can't hit the Gutwrench Powerbomb (or Riley sandbagged him), Riley almost dies and Swagger actually wins a match? Then Ziggler stomps on JR's hat? What the hell just happened? Most uncomfortable segment of the year.

Swagger & Vickie backstage now, reminding me of that train wreck that just happened, but Swagger has the good idea of Vickie branching out and managing multiple Superstars. Okay, I'm all for Vickie Guerrero's version of the Heenan Family. Vickie's Cubs!

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon all but admits to CM Punk that she was the one behind Kevin Nash's attack.

Poor Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston, tasked with making Otunga & McGillicutty look interesting after that previous disaster. I like the idea of Kofi and Bourne as a team though, they should win the tag titles. Commentary is dragging this match down too with JR trying his best, but Michael Cole is being his absolute worst. He is the David Otunga of commentary. But hey, Bourne & Kofi win the non-title match and hopefully they're on the path to the belts.

Main Event time! Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio with the Undisputed WWE Championship on the line in Rey's hometown of San Diego! I know people talk about WWE doing this match too much, but c'mon, have these guys ever failed to deliver a good match?

Tonight is no exception. Hot damn, Del Rio's run-up enzuigiri is the most beautiful move in wrestling. Rey hits the 619 and looks to have it in the bag, but Del Rio gets his knees up to counter the splash and steals a win, successfully defending his title.

After the match, Del Rio destroys Rey Mysterio's arm and John Cena makes the save. Cena vs. Del Rio is A-okay with me, but I'd rather see the return of the Championship Scramble at Night of Champions. Cena is PISSED and lays into Del Rio for cashing in the briefcase last night and promises he will kick his ass. Wow John, are you new to this whole MITB concept? Regardless, angry John Cena is pretty amusing.

Good Raw. Was a great Raw until that Riley/Swagger/Ziggler/Vickie/JR's hat disaster, but at least got back on track for a really good main event. Still a lot of unanswered questions though and I would've liked to see a lot more of CM Punk and Kevin Nash. Maybe next week?

WWE: Greatest Stars of the New MilleniumWWE: The Greatest Cage Matches of All TimeWWE: Rey Mysterio - The Life of a Masked Man

WWE SummerSlam 2011 review

I really like the "if you would've told me..." game. It usually goes like this: "If you would've told me two years ago that Bret Hart would return to WWE, wrestle Vince McMahon at WrestleMania, then compete in a 7-on-7 tag main event at SummerSlam against a bunch of guys you've never heard of, I would've laughed in your face."

Well, if you would've told me a year ago that this year's SummerSlam would open with the guitarist from Tool, feature Christian getting a lecture from a retired Edge about honor and integrity when defending the World Title and then end with Kevin Nash attacking CM Punk after the latter defeated John Cena two PPVs in a row, I would've laughed in your face.

Seriously, what the hell was Adam Jones doing there? When Justin Roberts started saying "here to perform the Star Spangled Banner..." I thought 'Oh cool, Lilian Garcia is here' and then they bring out the guy from Tool? What the what? Don't get me wrong, I'll take Tool over any of the WWE Cock Rock™ we're accustomed to, but that was incredibly random. I just sat there and found it incredibly cool and very Attitude Era of them, in a good way, and that would not be the last time I had that thought during the show.

Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth & The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio, John Morrison & Kofi Kingston in an unadvertised six-man tag to kick things off? Okay! Was this something we could've seen on Raw at anytime? Yes. Was it ultimately anything of consequence? No, but who says it has to be? There's absolutely nothing wrong with an awesome PPV match that amounts to little more than "just cuz." It's an old school idea and as long as the crowd is into it, which they were, then it's all good. It was a terrific way to get the crowd hyped up and the match more than delivered in terms of quality. Good guys picked up the win, as they should've with Rey Rey effectively being the #1 contender and that's just what you do in openers like this. Off to a good start!
Predictions: n/a

If you would've told me a year ago that Sheamus vs. Mark Henry would wind up being one of the best feuds of the year and put on one of the most fun matches on the entire SummerSlam card, I would've at least raised an eyebrow. If you need anymore evidence that WWE's ring work is overall the best its ever been, watch this match. If this were the 90s, it would've been written off "two big hosses in a match that'll get bowling shoe ugly," but this was just a damn good match. And it's not just these two, even Khali has had two good matches in a row! Is it possible that the "big guys" can just be "the guys" now and have fun, enjoyable matches with just about anyone? Henry's the best he's ever been, Sheamus was born to play a tough good guy and this match needs no "good for big guys" qualifiers, it was just plain awesome. Ending was brutal and while I would normally scoff at a count-out finish and the obvious attempt to keep everyone strong, I think it really worked here. Count-out or not, Henry looked like a bad motherfucker after throwing Sheamus through the barricade. That security guard going flying down the aisle was a damn good visual too. Mark Henry should be World Champion by the end of the year.
Predictions: 0 for 1

Okay, I really like Cee Lo Green, I even enjoyed The Voice (and I hate shows like that), but random musical performances just don't work on wrestling PPVs. It would work if he was performing someone's entrance theme - and judging by his bedazzled graduation gown, I was waiting for The Genius to return - but it just didn't work in the middle of the show. Every time they panned to the crowd, you could just see the "oh this is nice... but where's my wrasslin?" look on their faces. Also, stop using the Divas as goddamn Fly Girls.

Oh and it's time to officially retire "throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care." It was time several years ago, like right after the first time someone said it, but it really needs to go.

Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix was a rock solid Divas match and speaking of things that need to be retired, this idea that Kelly Kelly can't wrestle. Yes, she's a human stick figure and totally not believable in a fight against someone like Beth Phoenix, but Rey Mysterio's not believable against 90% of the roster and no one says anything about that. Granted, Kelly's not presented like Rey and I'm grading on a curve due to the overall shape of women's wrestling in WWE, but Kelly has come a long way and did a damn good job last night. Don't get me wrong, I'm Glam 4 Life and Beth deserved the win at least for her slick new ring attire (but where's her crown?!), but Kelly won me over as a performer here. Kelly may stole a win, but she hasn't heard the last from the Divas of Doom. Someone get them some spiked shoulder pads.
Predictions: 0 for 2

Wade Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan could perhaps go down as WWE's best pure wrestling match of 2011. Granted, that's only part of what goes into an engaging WWE bout and the crowd definitely hurt this one by not being as into it as perhaps they should've been. Still, awesome match and I know people are bummed that D. Bryan didn't pick up the win but Barrett surely needed this more, didn't he? Bryan is going to WrestleMania to challenge for the World Championship, Barrett has completely fallen completely by the wayside since this time last year. Granted, I don't know if a win over Bryan is going to be the turning point he needs, but matches like this are damn sure a start.
Predictions: 0 for 3

Really, Edge is going to lecture someone about sleazily winning a World Championship? Really? Really?! Oh I know he tried to say he did it with "style," but long before Christian was hiding behind lawyers, Edge was hiding behind Vickie Guerrero. Although that's still not as bad as Orton bitching about lawyers when he threatened to shut down WrestleMania.

Christian vs. Randy Orton though, wow. What a match. These guys have had what, half a dozen matches against each other? While this one might not be the technical masterpiece that their Over the Limit encounter was, it was a classic Attitude Era main event brawl. Brutal, nasty and yes, even a little bloody. The wrong man won, as is usually the case with Randy Orton matches, and I was pissed that the bit with Edge didn't turn out to be a ruse, but it's hard to be upset when the match was this good. Still wanted Edge to come back to the ring and help Christian with that con-chair-to though.

Will this result in another Smackdown Blackout? Nah. The first time was so upsetting because it felt like they were pulling the plug on Christian before he even got a chance, which was obviously reactionary (still a recovering smark), but these last few months have solidified Christian as a top guy on Friday nights. He might take a backseat in the title picture for a bit in favor of the World's Strongest Man, but does anyone really need to see another Christian vs. Orton match? The only reason I could see them having one more match is if they do it in Hell in a Cell and get even more brutal than they did here. And even that would be a stretch.
Predictions: 0 for 4 (ouch)

CM Punk vs. John Cena is my pick for Match of the Night. A bit cliché, I'm sure, but hot damn, these two define chemistry. And say what you will about the ending, I don't think anyone expected Triple H to essentially be a non-factor... or at least that's what they want you think! (C-O-N-SPIRACY!)

Again, this is one of those matches that I could give you the play-by-play for, but it doesn't really do the situation justice. If you saw the match, you know it was great and if you didn't, you need to see it. The ending was a little wonky and I knew the night wouldn't be over at that point; I expected The G?M to chime in since the podium was out there, but my guess is that was a red herring for the arrival of Kevin fucking Nash who hit CM Punk with a nasty clothesline and a Jackknife Powerbomb to set up Alberto Del Rio's poetic cash-in. You could escape once Punk, but not twice.

So was Nash part of Del Rio's plan to insure Punk couldn't escape like he did at Money in the Bank? Was it Triple H's way getting back at Punk for holding up the company? Are Triple H and Del Rio in cahoots? Or is Nash another red herring to put the blame on Triple H since they're boys? Is Punk the Bret Hart to a new Kliq? And what the hell was Stephanie McMahon up to? Please, no more episodes of "As the McMahons Turn."
Predictions: 1 for 5 (redemption!)

It's hard to give thoughts about something like this because it's definitely a "wait and see" scenario. Sometimes I think that's a bit of a cop-out, if John Cena would've won the title clean and the PPV ended with him holding the belt high, "just wait and see" would've been a lame response because we've been down that road for six years. But with this, something literally no one could've predicted, it's impossible to predict where it's going to go. But it's got us talking and it was certainly shocking, but it all hinges on where it goes from here.

I would've liked to see Punk hold onto the belt for awhile, but that's the nature of the beast sometimes. I am confident, however, that he's officially a made man in the upper echelon of WWE. I know some people are going all Chicken Little on us, as they usually do whenever a guy they like loses, and it does only take one bad story to hurt a character, but I just don't see it happening with Punk. He may not be Cena or Orton yet, but I think this summer has been the start of him getting in "the club," as my Fair to Flair cohort, Jason Mann, called it.

Damn good SummerSlam. Great wrestling, big show atmosphere, unpredictable (clearly from my disastrous picks) and no one could've said they saw that ending coming. "Oh yeah, there they go again with another Kevin Nash run-in. Geez WWE, you're so predictable!" This was not the defining show I thought it would be though, I was expecting a strong statement from WWE of "we're going in a new direction or sticking with the status quo," but that remains to be seen. Doesn't mean we're not getting to one of those two outcomes, but it looks like we've only just begun.

WWE: Summerslam 2009The Very Best of WCW Monday NitroThe 50 Most Shocking, Surprising, Amazing Moments in WWE History [Blu-ray]

Way Too Early



CM Punk's entrance in the upcoming WWE '12 video game.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

WWE SummerSlam 2011 preview

Well, it's kinda hard to predict a PPV when they've barely put a card out. "CM Punk will win, good night everybody!" is pretty much all that matters here, but let's put a little more thought into it.

Divas Championship
Kelly Kelly © vs. Beth Phoenix

I am enjoying Beth & Natalya as the Two-Woman Power Trip and surely The Glamazon will dominate the champion tonight, but where do we go from here? Do the dainty little princesses band together to take the title back or does Natalya get her shot? It wouldn't surprise me if Natalya vs. Beth is the endgame, but I hope they do it in the spirit of building a better Divas division, not just because Natalya turns on Beth.

Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
Hey guys, remember that Nexus thing? This could've been a HUGE match if the story didn't fall apart after last year's SummerSlam, but alas, I guess things worked out well enough... at least for Daniel Bryan. I suspect this match could turn some heads and hopefully it'll help put Barrett back on the map, but I can't see any other outcome besides Daniel Bryan picking up the victory and continuing the momentum he's had since winning the Smackdown MITB briefcase.

Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
This is my pick for the sleeper hit of the night. The feud's been a lot of fun, the Sheamus face turn has worked wonders and Mark Henry is the best he's ever been. One could make the argument that WWE painted themselves into a bit of a corner here since both guys have been absolutely dominant, but I'm going with Sheamus. Outside of Orton, Smackdown is in dire need of a top good guy and Sheamus seems like the perfect fit for the role right now.

World Heavyweight Championship - No Holds Barred
Christian © vs. Randy Orton

Orton's ship has sailed as a brand carrying guy. Say what you will about Cena, love him or hate him, he always produces a reaction. Orton gets a nice pop and the crowd loves the RKO, but there's just a certain X-factor missing when Orton is on top as champ. After giving him numerous great matches, more than he's probably ever had in a calendar year, Christian will retain here (through some serious shenanigans, I'm sure) and move onto bigger, better and ginger-ier things with Sheamus.

Undisputed WWE Championship - w/ guest referee Triple H
John Cena © vs. CM Punk ©

Tough to call and it all hinges on where they're going with Triple H and if WWE will readjust to the status quo or if things are really about to change. I could see Triple H and Punk aligning to screw Cena, which I wouldn't be fond of, but I could also see Triple H screwing Punk for being too much of a loose cannon. There's also rumbling of a Cena heel turn, which is a rumor the IWC starts anytime Cena is in a remotely big match, but I don't see it happening. I like the idea of CM Punk winning and continue doing what he's been doing, but I feel like the addition of Triple H into this equation makes this mighty difficult. Still, WWE's been pleasantly surprising and unpredictable lately, so I'm going to stick with my hopes and say Punk wins and heads into the remainder of the year as the next big thing.

I expect at least one more match to get added, probably Alex Riley vs. Dolph Ziggler (Ziggler will win), and I still don't know why they gave away Cody Rhodes vs. Big Zeke on Friday, but we could see the rematch tonight. Miz vs. Mysterio is also a possibility and in that case, my money's on Mysterio since he's facing the Undisputed WWE Champion tomorrow night on Raw.

Review will be up tomorrow afternoon, but feel free to use this post as an open thread of sorts to leaves your thoughts on the 24th annual SummerSlam!

WWE: Summerslam - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 1 1988-1992WWE: Summerslam - The Complete Anthology, Vol. 2 1993-1997WWE Summerslam: The Complete Anthology, Volume ThreeWWE Summerslam: The Complete Anthology, Volume Four