Monday, October 31, 2011

WWE Raw - October 31, 2011

WWE has been dreadful the last few weeks. But it's Halloween, there are Muppets and The Rock is returning to the ring. They absolutely have to hit this one out of the park. Oh and check the Twitter feed too.

And we begin with the man himself, The Rock... via satellite. The Rock has an answer for John Cena's request for a tag team partner: "hell no." Well, that's that then.

LULZ JUST KIDDIN!

The Rock thought about it for a whole week and decided he will team with John Cena because he really hates The Miz and R-Truth. I get The Miz, but what'd R-Truth ever do to you, Rocky? Just because "What's Up" is a way better song than "Pie," it's no reason to threaten bodily harm. But it's gonna happen, Madison Square Garden, 15th anniversary of The Rock's debut at Survivor Series, fun little rhyme, smell what he's cookin, etc. Hey, it's The Rock wrestling, even if the promo is typical Rock, I can't complain.

CM Punk vs. Mark Henry is our opening contest and if CM Punk can stay out of the Hall of Pain, he'll get his title shot against Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series. Not much of a match before Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez make their way to ringside and Rodriguez "assaults" Mark Henry, causing a disqualification. Definitely a dick move, but certainly makes sense and I don't know why bad guys don't pull stunts like that more often. And kudos to Punk for just throwing Rodriguez to Henry and doing the John Cena "you wronged me, so I must punch you" bit.

Miss Piggy and Kermit T. Frog arrive on a specially-crafted stage and do an awesome Brood rise-from-the-stage entrance. Jack Swagger & Vickie Guerrero interrupt and Kermit gets in a great one liner about how he didn't mean to offend Jack or his mom. HAH! Santino's out next and announces he has a match with Swagger later and Dolph Ziggler has to contend with Zack Ryder. Kermit saying "WOO! WOO! WOO!" was cute as well, but not as cute as Swagger clamping his mouth shut.

Diva Costume Contest Battle Royal up next to determine the #1 contender for the Divas Championship. Typical Diva nonsense, but AJ dressed as Kitana from Mortal Kombat and trying the fan lift is fucking hysterical. Eve wins, which isn't surprising considering the "Kelly or Eve" Divas division, but I have a hard time taking this whole exchange seriously when the Divas of Doom are facing off with Robin, a sailor and a sexy pirate.

Bunsen & Beaker! And poor Beaker gets bullied by Christian, but luckily Beaker's big brother Sheamus saves the day!

Air Boom vs. Cody Rhodes & Wade Barrett and as far as thrown together tag teams go, you could do worse than Rhodes and Barrett. Fantastic match too, especially with Barrett reversing a Bourne hurricanrana into Wasteland, only to have Bourne reverse Wasteland into a nasty DDT. Still doesn't work out so well for Bourne anyway, an assist from Cody allows Barrett to hit Wasteland and get a win over the tag champs. Christian interferes after the match (for some reason) attacking Cody and Kofi and Sheamus makes the save. I assume we're setting up something for Survivor Series?

Backstage, CM Punk complains to Johnny Ace about Del Rio's actions. The Dynamic Dude tells Punk he'll get his WWE Title match if Del Rio agrees to it. Uh... he just went out of his way to keep Punk from getting the match, why would he agree to it?

Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show is our 10pm main event and wow, this match is loooooooong. Really long for a Raw match, but pretty fun and solid back and forth action. Del Rio runs face first into that CARCINOGENIC FIST and Big Show picks up a clean 1-2-3 victory over the WWE Champion. Interesting, you'd think Punk would at least factor into the finish...

But here's CM Punk now, sitting next to a comatose Del Rio and wakes him up the good ol' fashioned way, water to the face. Punk locks Del Rio in the Anaconda Vice until he agrees to a WWE Title match at Survivor Series. Okay, I can live with the way that worked out.

Backstage, Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger rough up Gonzo, who was just minding his own business with Fozzie Bear. Assaulting Gonzo is NOT cool, guys. Not cool at all!

Jack Swagger vs. Santino up next with ANIMAL! as our special guest timekeeper! ANIMAL!!!! The match is pretty much what you'd expect a Santino vs. Swagger match to be, but Beaker provides the assist, giving Santino an energy drink, that Santino just spits in Swagger's face. Roll-up, win! The cuteness continues.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder should be a fantastic match, but I'm dreading the inevitable arrival of Huge Jackedman. More enjoyable, multi-segment, back and forth action. Ryder pins Ziggler, but the US Champ has his foot on the rope and the match continues. Vickie tries to get involved, but Ryder outsmarts Ziggler and nails the Rough Ryder for a big win. Crowd EXPLODED for the non-title victory, WWE should really consider putting the US Title on him. All the singles titles are held by bad guys right now, why not give the guy a run?

And hey, no sign of Huge. Yay!

No JR vs. Michael Cole tonight since they're definitely running short on time. I'm not going to lose any sleep over that one.

Main Event time! The Miz vs. John Cena in a WrestleMania rematch and just like WrestleMania, this should end with Cena beaten and humiliated. This is not going the way I want it to though, especially with Cena turning Miz inside-out with a NASTY~! clothesline. But Miz responds with that NASTY~~!! kick-start DDT and Cena lands square on his dome. Gross.

Outside the ring, John Cena gets attacked by Ghostface from Scream, but Cena battles him off, locks Miz in the STF, wins... then hits Ghostface with an AA. Surprise, it was R-Truth the whole time. Damn, I was hoping Matthew Lillard was coming to Raw.

Well, Raw was good until that ending, which was incredibly stupid. Why does John Cena need The Rock if he can beat Miz and Truth that easily? Argh. Still, good wrestling from beginning to end and the Muppets were really cute. Wasn't the home run I hoped for, but a decent start.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

WWE Raw - October 17, 2011

Despite my incredibly negative feelings towards wrestling lately, I am in fact going to sit down, watch and live blog Raw tonight. Even if the advertised main event is John Cena & Jim Ross vs. Alberto Del Rio & Michael Cole (seriously). Even with all that in mind, I think it's really cool that WWE is doing a week of tapings in Mexico and I'm a sucker for historic moments.

So naturally, the first thing WWE is giving Mexican fans for their first live Raw in history, is Johnny Ace. Great. The dude is anything but dynamic, so instead of listening to him talk, I'm looking around the arena for interesting things. Is that an actual Spanish announce table I spot at ringside? If that survives the night, I will be displeased. Although, since we're in Mexico, maybe this should be the night that the Spanish announce table survives and the English table gets shattered?

Blah, blah, blah Dauber from Coach continues to blather on and on and finally we get someone I actually like, Jim Ross. Of course, it's all to set up Cena & JR vs. Del Rio & Cole, which is crap, but at least JR hasn't actually been sent home again. But yeah, crap.

On a related note, Randy Orton! Hey-O!

Randy Orton, Sheamus & John Morrison vs. Mark Henry, Christian & Cody Rhodes is our opening contest in a six-man tag. Wait, it's Mexico, it should be a TRIOS MATCH! Sadly, that is not to be, in fact Orton and Rhodes remove themselves from the equation early on, taking us down to a standard tag match. A lot of fun action here and the crowd is red hot for it, so I'm not complaining about the absence of Orton.

Christian and Sheamus eventually remove themselves as well, brawling throughout the arena, which gives Mark Henry the opportunity to throw John Morrison into the air and catch him in a World's Strongest Slam on the way down. Hell. Yes. For all the bad things I can say about WWE right now, and believe me, there's a lot, I can't say a bad thing about Mark Henry. He's WWE's best built character in ages, period.

Eve vs. Natalya is our Diva portion of the evening. Quick, fairly useless match between two Divas that are better than the matches they are given. Eve wins, but if a tree falls in the middle of the forest, etc.

CM Punk vs. The Miz up next, but not before a verbal barrage from Miz and R-Truth. CM Punk from two months ago would've delivered a retort of epic proportions. It would've been like Friday the 13th Part VII when Jason slammed that chick in the sleeping bag against a tree... but with words. Instead, the CM Punk of October says nothing and gets back-up from Triple H. Great.

Two months ago, I would've eagerly thrown down $60 to watch CM Punk vs. The Miz on PPV. While I am interested Punk & HHH vs. TruMiz, I just can't help but think how amazing it would've been to see these two lock up one-on-one with the WWE Title on the line. There's a lot of potential in Punk, Truth and Miz working together, but the addition of Triple H kinda annoys me. It's gonna be a good match, but eh, this whole thing just doesn't sit right with me, for reasons I detailed extensively last week.

So while Punk and Miz are having a fun match with good usage of the guys on the outside, Johnny Dauber simply stops it because Triple H, a guy who isn't actually involved in the match, has an issue with immigration. I'm going to repeat that, since there's an issue with Triple H's passport, the match between CM Punk and The Miz has to be stopped. I get it, they want us to boo Lauranaitis, but this is just stupid. They might as well put "HEY, WONDER WHAT YOU'RE MISSING ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL?" on the ticker.

We return from commercial and the match is back on, not before showing us what's going on with Triple H backstage. Rhythm of the match has been completely killed and Punk gets a school boy roll-up for the win. Truth runs in and the double team is on and who's going to save CM Punk? Four referees! WOO! EXCITEMENT! Man, I don't know how they're doing it, but somehow WWE is getting me to not care about a segment featuring CM Punk, The Miz and R-Truth.

Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and most importantly, Vickie Guerrero, looking smoking hot, come to the ring and are actually the highlight of the night so far. Just an awesome, old school heel promo with Jack Swagger singing the the Star Spangled Banner to get the Mexican crowd riled up. That is awesome, and I honestly don't know if it's been done before, except maybe when the Hart Foundation was doing their thing in 1997. But even then, the American audience watching on TV was supposed to cheer for the Americans, not in this case.

Zack Ryder interrupts the singing, making him the good guy (!!) and proceeds to beat Swagger in no time flat. The Cougar's Cubs try to do the double-team, but Huge Jackedman saves the day and he's got Ziggler next.

Mason Ryan vs. Dolph Ziggler is pretty much what you'd expect it to be... and then Huge gets disqualified for repeatedly clotheslining Ziggler in the corner. Seriously thrilling stuff. Edge of my seat, really. Ziggler and Ryder could be having a fun little feud for the US Title, instead we're desperately trying to get people to care about Beefy Leopold.

Main Event time! Alberto Del Rio & Michael Cole vs. John Cena & Jim Ross and the winner gets to pick the stipulation for the WWE Title match at Vengeance. One of these days, I'd love for the bad guy to win and make it an "Only I Can Win Match."

Hats off to Mexico though for being genuinely into this match. I suppose that's the beauty of getting a televised show for the first time, you'll cheer for anything, even a match that's at best, deliberately slow so they don't give away too much before the PPV, and at worst, a match featuring Michael Cole and Jim Ross as wrestlers.

JR and Cena pick up the win in a painfully long match and Cena gets to pick the stipulation for Sunday. $5 says it's an I Quit Match. Or not... it's a Last Man Standing. Lucky for me, I don't have $5 anyway! I guess that's cool? Although it kinda gives it away, they can keep the belt off Cena in a LMS match, but he never loses I Quit matches.

That's the best they got on the first ever Raw in Mexico. Admittedly, there were some fun moments, but it was mostly boring and we're officially right back to the status quo. It's like July-September never happened and this Raw could've fit right into any ho-hum week of the last five years. It's just depressing at this point.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Fair to Flair podcast

Good news, there's a new podcast!

Click here to listen to the new Fair to Flair Show

I know podcasts have been few and far between lately, but WWE hasn't exactly done much to talk about lately... plenty to yell angrily about, but not much to talk about. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WWE Raw - October 10, 2011

In case you missed my thoughts on the opening segment of Raw, or as I like to call it, the most counter-productive 20 minutes in the history of television, read my extended editorial here. Here are my thoughts on the rest of the show.

Despite the intelligence-insulting nonsense from Triple H and Co., I did like the idea of a small group of guys trying to put on a show with just the four of them. Obviously you can't fill a show with that, but I thought they were onto something with John Cena vs. Sheamus with Triple H as the referee and CM Punk back on commentary (and timekeeper duty). Had the preceding 20 minutes not pissed me off so bad, I would've found it rather sweet and it would've helped me get on their side of the Walk Out a lot more realistically than hammering me over the head with "those guys in the parking lot have vaginas, the four of us have giant cocks!"

The crowd was hot for the match, Cena and Sheamus play off each other well, Punk was glorious to hear back on commentary, so of course it had to come to a screeching halt. Granted, a returning Vince McMahon could've been a big deal, but this story is already such a mess, it only further complicated things. Vince is still chairman of the board, but he's not in charge of day-to-day operations, and he can relieve Triple H of his duties now, and now Johnny Ace is the GM of Raw. Oh come on. Why is this guy on TV? He's completely void of charisma, has no name value and has had no connection to WWE programming prior to a couple months ago. Hell, David Otunga would've made a better choice for GM, he at least has previous experience in the job. And what the hell happened to The G?M? Are we really going to G-TV that whole thing?

The only good guy that was prominently featured returning from the Walk Out was John Morrison, who then got his ass handed to him by Christian and his crew. So not only is Triple H calling guys like Morrison total pansies, they're proving it in the ring too. Am I really not supposed to be cheering for anyone other than HHH, Cena, Sheamus and Punk?

Mark Henry continued his trend of being the only thing in the company worth watching, but then they had to ruin that too by putting him up against Randy Orton. Match was fine, albeit brief, but I did enjoy the interference from Cody Rhodes and I'm never going to argue with Orton getting a paper bag over his stupid head. Cody should've punted the bag for good measure. Okay, I take it back, Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes are the only things worth watching in the entire company right now.

Eve & Kelly Kelly vs. Tamina & Rosa Mendes was as pointless as it sounds.

Johnny Ace announced Del Rio vs. Cena for the next PPV, which makes sense, but hopefully they don't need Cena to win the belt again. Oh and Jim Ross got fired because it's that time of year.

Mason Ryan & Air Boom vs. David Otunga & Cougar's Cubs was what it was, it's hard to get me to hate a six-man tag, but not much else to say. Ryan just isn't clicking for me though, he's a WWE cliché at this point and needs to find something to stand out.

CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio was off to a good start as our main event, and eventually turned into CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz & R-Truth, who were rehired by Johnny Ace. Miz & Truth were victorious over their weakened opponents, but of course, that didn't stop Triple H & Punk from kicking their asses after the match. I suppose it sets up the Vengeance tag match well, but Punk and HHH being all buddy-buddy all the sudden really bugs me. I know, it's wrestling, but for as much attention to detail they've given to Punk's character lately, it's upsetting to see that abandoned.

Just a terrible Raw. Not terrible like Dennis Miller is hosting and we're just going to throw out a bunch of two-minute matches terrible, no this was worse. This was so terrible that it really makes me question why I still watch wrestling. A bad episode is one thing, every show has those, but this seemed like a show that had deliberate disgust for its audience. One that set a tone that says, "you don't like this? Good, we don't want you anyway." It was incredibly frustrating and didn't leave me with much hope for the rest of the year. Things can always be turned around, but if this is the direction WWE is taking, I honestly don't know if I want to be a part of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WWe are the 1%

WWE has a really bizarre outlook on the world.

All across the nation, Americans are standing up against corporate greed, rampant corruption and a system that has been rigged in the favor of a very, very, very, very, very small group of people. While many of us are struggling to make ends meet, desperately searching for work, taking jobs that we are vastly overqualified for, going bankrupt to pay medical bills, losing our houses, etc., 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 100 million. No, not 400,000... just 400. And guess who props up those 400 when their house of cards collapses? The other 299,999,600 of us.

Those in the upper 1% cry about taxes while a bus driver gives a larger percentage of their income to the government than a hedge fund manager. GE paid $0 in taxes last year, but it's the teachers union that gets vilified as greedy and power-hungry.

So it was only a matter of time before some Americans rose up and got pissed off. The message is unfocused, but passionate anger. It didn't have to get to this point, and surely there is a more practical way to enact change besides "occupying" various business districts, but the system has failed these people for so long, they feel they have no other option. So protesters are going to do what protesters do, they scream loudly until that 1% begins to listen.

WWE thinks you want a pair of earplugs over a megaphone.

A recent study when Linda McMahon was running for Senate, showed that while sports fans generally skew to the right, a solid majority of professional wrestling fans are left-leaning, blue collar folks. We're also the least likely to vote, but I think that plays into being so frustrated at a system that has failed, we just do our jobs and try to make it to the next paycheck. You wouldn't know that by watching last night's Raw though.

In the opening segment, Triple H addressed the WWE Universe saying that he will not bow to pressure from the 99% of WWE employees, in fact, they're just a bunch of whiny bitches. "Oh it's too hard" he mockingly said as the vast majority of the company was protesting in the parking lot. They never showed them, presumably so the crowd wouldn't boo the likes of Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston when they were featured later in the evening. I mentioned it last week, hoping it was just poor execution or a pro-HHH crowd, but WWE literally set up a story where Triple H was the only hero and the entire roster were pansies who wouldn't be able to cut it in Triple H's heyday, which by the way, is the last time WWE was cool.

Okay, so he wasn't the only hero for long, he did get some support from John Cena, which makes sense. Cena literally never quits, I've seen him tortured Jack Bauer style, but he takes it and powers through because that's who he is. I thought it was weird for him to say a lot of the guys in the parking lot are just overreacting because Triple H is their "first boss," when I can't think of a single Superstar that has debuted in the very short period that Triple H has been in charge. Maybe Sin Cara Dos? But that's splitting hairs, I suppose.

Sheamus also stopped by to lend his support. Fine, whatever, he's a newly-turned good guy and they don't want to mess with that before the biggest push of his career. Of course, it is proof that WWE had no intention of making the protesters sympathetic in this situation, they are, in fact, whiny bitches.

But the worst came when CM Punk came to the ring to also join the boy scouts and speak out against the Walk Out. Yes, that CM Punk, you know, the guy who two months ago was doing the biggest anti-authority character since Stone Cold Steve Austin. Yeah, he apparently wants to settle his differences in the ring and address people he has issues with "personally." So much for the CM Punk who spoke up for all the guys in the back who aren't getting a fair shake and all the guys in the unemployment line who never will. RIP Voice of the Voiceless, 2011-2011.

And I think that's my #1 issue with this whole segment, Punk could've been the guy to come out and add some shades of grey and essentially saved the story. He could've been the guy to say that those people in the parking lot didn't walk out because they couldn't hack it, they're just tired of the bullshit and Triple H's poor leadership isn't helping. I mean c'mon, Punk just tried to get Triple H to resign three weeks ago!

In many ways, wrestling has always reflected the cultural attitude of the era that surrounds it, and I think this segment (sadly) summed up America in 2011 quite perfectly. In 1997, it was cool to want to punch your boss in the face. We were so fed up with downsizing, outsourcing and "going corporate," while the government was too worried about blowjobs, so Stone Cold took matters into his own hands and gave his boss a Stunner for trying to make him put on a tie. But in 2011, you're just lucky to have a job, so shut your mouth and get to work, drone.

You think you're going to unionize? You want a better working environment? A raise? Or else you'll leave? Well, there's the door! The fact that WWE is the only professional wrestling company that matters just makes it even more depressingly reminiscent of the real world. There's honestly a great story to tell there, but again, WWE thinks you want the earplugs, not the megaphone.


I realize I've already gone way too long for this to be a traditional Raw review, so stay tuned, more thoughts on the show coming later today.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

WWE Smackdown - October 7, 2011

As always, this week's Smackdown review will be brought to you in Fair to Flair's "WOO!/BOO!" format... also, by the letter "J" and the number "13."

WOO!

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara Azul was a hell of an opening match, but FFS, that German Suplex Del Rio hit was NASTY!!!! I believe I screamed "HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!" and then pressed rewind on the DVR so my wife could see. Her reaction, "why would you show me that?" Little too short for my tastes and perhaps a bit too decisive, but Del Rio is the WWE Champion after all. Sin Cara Negro attack after the match was a bit formulaic, something I'd expect in a WWE video game, but it did what it needed to do.

YAY! The Big Show is back! And there's logical storyline progression, to boot! We didn't see a lot of that on this show (more on that in the BOO!) and I'm genuinely stoked to see Show vs. Mark Henry. If you would've told me a year ago that the thing I'd be most excited for in late 2011 would be a World Heavyweight Title feud between Mark Henry and Big Show, I would've fallen out of my chair like Annie on last week's episode of Community.

Mark Henry was great here as well, asking Show what he's done to deserve a World Title match when all he's done is sit at home on a vacation that Henry gave him. Henry taking it under advisement and promising a response on "Mark Henry time" got a legitimate LOL out of me, and Big Show's promising to induct Henry in the Hall of Pain if he didn't get a response by the end of the night was great as well.

Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. Christian & Cody Rhodes was a fun, Raw-style main event tag match. Of course, that means Orton & Sheamus won, but the match was rock solid (if predictable) and it's nice to see Cody continue to mix it up with the big boys.

Mark Henry tried to decline Big Show's challenge and yeah... he got inducted into his own Hall of Pain. Big Show is one of the few guys who can legitimately overpower Mark Henry, so it all worked when Show started swatting security guards like flies, spearing Henry and of course, chokeslamming the World Champion through the announce table. Glorious and honestly, the only really good thing on this entire show.

BOO!

A huge BOO! to WWE conveniently working around The Walking Out (Sundays on AMC) without having to do major storyline advancement. Teddy Long told Zack Ryder at the start of the show that Triple H wasn't going to be on Smackdown to avoid another walk out. Granted, David Otunga explained that handing over control to Teddy Long for a night brought them to Smackdown, but they'll walk out if Triple H doesn't resign on Monday, and that would be fine if it was just Christian, Otunga, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero and Alberto Del Rio. But the entire company walked out on Monday, you can't do something that dramatic and just push pause. I knew they would, but it's still a bummer... how fun would an anarchist Smackdown have been?

WWE, this is YOUR storyline, you're writing it, Triple H isn't just the GM of Raw, he's the COO of the entire company. What makes Smackdown any different? Other than the fact it's the show you don't want to do any major storyline advancement on?

Case in point, Air Boom being wishy-washy and saying Raw's just too chaotic, but they'll be on Smackdown every week... then they get attacked from behind during their entrance by Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler. It's fine that Ziggler & Swagger are hypocrites, they're bad guys, they're supposed to be disingenuous and selfish, but the rest of the story is just confused at best and lazy at worst.

I still have no idea why Alicia Fox is a face.

Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson? Really? Poor Big Zeke.

A Hornswoggle filler segment? Really²?

Overall

Just a bad show. The Walk Out lost its oomph, there was tons of meaningless filler, loads of contradictions and the only time Teddy Long gained some semblance of control was during Big Show's assault on Henry, and that story is completely separate from the Walk Out. Obviously the Walk Out is all building to something, most likely Survivor Series, but it's become such a mess early on that I'm mighty skeptical. But once WWE dangles that shiny object named Dwayne in front of us, we're all gonna melt like butter and call our cable or satellite provider to order anyway.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

WWE Raw - October 3, 2011

Hey, it's a Raw live blog and I don't even have time to type an intro for it, Raw goes live straight to the Cajun Dome, commentary announces a massive 12-man tag main event and we're starting off with a match!

And blah, it's a Randy Orton match and he's taking on Drew McIntyre. Poor Drew McIntyre. Randy is running roughshod through the man who was once referred to as the "Sinister Scot," beating him from pillar to post and then throwing him into the barricade for good measure. To his credit, McIntyre is taking this beating like a man, landing square on his neck each time; hey, if your only chance to break out is to get your ass kicked like a champ, get your ass kicked like a champ. Drew got a good boot to the face in there, which I always appreciate when Orton is on the receiving end, but you know the story here: rope-DDT, RKO, Rev Theory plays, then Randy hits another RKO because he's such a hero, the end.

But COMMENCE THE WIG SPLITTAGE, the World Heavyweight Champion has arrived! Mark Henry flaunts his title belt (fantastic dick move) and we got ourselves a brawl! Vintage "let them fight!" kind of brawl with security trying to keep the irresistible force from meeting the immovable object, but Orton gets the advantage and dumps the champ over the barricade. Whatever, you can't get the job done when it counts, Randall.

And Orton can't keep the big man down, he's so badass, he's going to wrestle a match! Mark Henry vs. John Morrison is our second match of the evening and Booker T describes the match perfectly, "I call it a buffet, Mark Henry's about to eat." Indeed he is, Book, indeed he is. Morrison gets a nice flurry of offense, even hits a picture perfect Starship Pain, but Henry throws him off like a blanket. Today's John Morrison's birthday (hey, two days before mine!), and Mizark has a very special present for him: the World's Strongest Slam! And another World's Strongest Slam! He should've hit Morrison with 32 slams for his birthday.

After the match, Henry tells Orton he's done with him (good) and turns his attention to the Big Show, who is returning this Friday night on Smackdown. That should be fun.

Now, David Otunga, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Vickie Guerrero, Cody Rhodes and Alberto Del Rio are in the ring to express their legitimate grievances with Triple H. David Otunga is considerably less awesome without his bow tie, but Cody's classic IC Title more than makes up for it. These Superstars are claiming that Triple H has created an unsafe working environment... which isn't that part of the deal? You're grown men fighting other grown men, it's kinda unsafe by definition. Just sayin, guys. But you're right, Triple H is a huge asshole.

Triple H makes his way to the stage and brushes off these legitimate concerns, telling them to "shut up and fight." See, he just proved me right, huge asshole!

Kelly Kelly & Eve vs. Divas of Doom is our Diva portion of the evening and while we're redesigning titles, how about a new belt for Beth Phoenix? Let's replace the butterfly with, ya know, a phoenix? And hey, the match is over. Kelly viciously assaults The Glamazon, slamming her head repeatedly into the announce table and gets herself disqualified. Not bad, but let's be honest, it's hard to take a savage beating seriously when Kelly's theme music starts playing.

Backstage, Triple H tells Johnny Ace to get the roster to the ring for a staff meeting. Hope he sent someone to get bagels and coffee from Panera.

Jinder Mahal is in the ring, for some reason, and is thankfully interrupted by the returning Santino Marella! One COBRAAAAAAAAAAA! later, Santino is 1-0 since his return!

A Brodus Clay vignette? Odd, but I'm not opposed. I still don't know why they removed him as Alberto Del Rio's muscle, they worked well together.

Footage from after the Hell in a Cell main event is shown with The Miz & R-Truth looking like the most badass badasses that ever badassed. Their voluntary surrender once the door was opened was glorious. Pure, organic dickishness with no added fillers.

12 Man Tag Match is your 10pm main event with *deep breath* CM Punk, John Cena, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne & Mason Ryan (really, Mason Ryan?) vs. Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Christian, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler & David Otunga. *exhale*

These matches are never easy to write about without devolving into "A BUNCH OF SHIT IS HAPPENING!" so please bear with me. Right now, Dolph Ziggler just slapped Huge Jackedman in the face, and he got military pressed over the top rope (REAL STEEL STYLE!) for his troubles.

Sheamus & Swagger have a fun little exchange, which leads to JR shouting "HE'S CLUBBERIN!" Then Cody & Punk going at it and JR mentions Rhodes being forced to wrestle "IN GUCCIS!" Who needs all the main event talent (and David Otunga) in this match when JR has been the star?

Evan Bourne gets the hot tag (in a match with Cena, Sheamus and Punk!) and nails Swagger with the Shooting Star Press! Vickie saves the day by putting Swaggie's foot on the rope, but the ref sees it and ejects her! It's almost like WWE is plotting this clusterfuck just for me, I love a good ref ejection!

And another commercial break, I have a feeling this match will just go to the main event staff meeting, half the roster is already out there.

Bad guys have grounded Bourne during the break, he makes a game-saving tag to John Cena, but even Cena is no match for the pure evil in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Booker T credits Christian, the tag team specialist, for their good fortune and I LOVE little touches like that on commentary, adds to the match and the participants.

Sheamus with yet another hot tag and he's a house of fire, dominating Dolph Ziggler, but Christian interferes and we've got PANDEMONIUM! Spear on Sheamus, Cross Rhodes on Evan Bourne, Cross Body from Kofi on Swagger & Rhodes, German Suplex from Del Rio onto Kofi, Go To Sleep on Del Rio, Neckbreaker (lol) from Otunga to Punk, Attitude Adjustment on Otunga, Zig Zag on Cena, I lost track of what's happening, BROGUE KICK ON ZIGGLER! GOOD GUYS WIN! TOO MANY LIMES!

WOW! That was exhausting, but tons of fun, and almost 40 minutes of action.

And that 40 minute match should help ease the sting that our main event tonight is a WWE staff meeting. Come experience the thrilling excitement of shit you deal with everyday at work! I hope there's a PowerPoint presentation!

The entire WWE Roster (refs included) surrounds the ring as Triple H awaits his vote of confidence. Wade Barrett says his piece, Mike Chioda even chimes in, and Beth Phoenix speaks on behalf of the Divas, but it seems like the returning Jerry Lawler is on Triple H's side. But King says someone is working behind the scenes to sabotage Triple H's job and it's causing problems and The Game can't control it. The baddies, referees and Divas vote no confidence and Lawler leads a walk-out! The entire locker room walks out, even Booker T, the only person staying behind is JR... who I suppose is now the default WWE Champion. Nope, he walked out too. WWE has seriously set up a situation where everyone except Triple H gets booed... and you thought 2002 was bad!

A ridiculous (but still intriguing) ending to an otherwise fantastic show. I don't know where they're going with the entire company walking out on Triple H, but the show was really good. That 40-minute tag match was a real highlight and I'd love to see the whole match without commercial interruption somehow. Put that on WWE.com!

Still, the show is just shy of perfection because it ended with everyone getting booed except Triple H. Triple H gives this impassioned speech about how he's "old school" and people need to just "shut up and fight," but he's not the good guy in this situation. He HAS let things get out of control and even if he's being sabotaged, he totally overreacted to the Miz/Truth situation. Hell, Triple H did worse than that during his last heel run! So I'm a little weary of where this is going, but I love a good mystery and if the payoff is good (i.e. not Johnny Ace), it should be a fun ride. But yeah, ridiculous.

Way Too Early

I haven't seen Hell in a Cell yet, but Cody Rhodes bringing back the classic Intercontinental Championship, complete with white strap? AWESOME! It's the little things like this that I appreciate.

(WWE.com doesn't allow embedding, but here's a great interview with Cody about the change)

Cody talks IC Title and who tarnished its legacy

Sunday, October 2, 2011

WWE Smackdown - September 30, 2011

As always, this week's Smackdown review comes to you in Fair to Flair's patented WOO!/BOO! format.

WOO!

Mark Henry has become the best thing in WWE, period. He's the best he's ever been in the ring, his promos are simple but effective, not unlike the classic monsters of the 80s and 90s, and he just has this presence that's always been missing from his character. Anytime I naively say that someone's "ship has sailed," I just need to look at Mark Henry and see that that's never the case. I loved the old school in-ring interview with Booker T and the subsequent destruction of The Great Khali was nice as well. Henry adding Khali's head to his Hall of Pain was a nice touch, they haven't done enough of that stuff since he entered the feud with Orton, so I was glad to see it make a comeback.

Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger was a really, really fun match. The crowd was hot, the outside players did their job perfectly without detracting from the match and the feud got hotter. I'm sure some folks are bummed that Evan Bourne lost in his hometown, but that's what WWE always does. The city is going to cheer for their hometown hero no matter what, so having him lose is going to get the opponent instant heat, which Swagger and Ziggler had. Loving the Cougar's Cubs team as well, hoping Vickie continues to expand her clientele.

I might be alone on this one, but I like the Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara storyline, especially with the Dark Sin Cara mask being revealed during this segment. I expect most fans aren't aware of who or what a "Mistico" is, but context clues should've gotten the point across. Here's hoping both guys are on point for their match tonight, it's a great opportunity for them to shake off the negativity that has surrounded them.

David Otunga: Ace Attorney has massive potential and the Alliance to End Triple H is something they should've been doing for years with John Cena. I love the idea of guys who have separate stories and goals coming together for a huge agenda, so I can't wait to see where this goes.

Wonky ending aside, Cody Rhodes vs. Sheamus was my favorite wrestling match this week. Cody has just been absolutely fantastic as of late and deserves mad respect yo for those staples in his head. Great back and forth action with an ending that's become far too typical for Sheamus matches lately, Christian interfering, but it was fun nonetheless. Still, you'd think with the talents of Sheamus and Christian, they could come up with some better spice for this feud than "you interfere in my match then I'll interfere in your match."

Zack Ryder gets to be in a glorified squash match and he's not the squashee? Sucks for JTG, but that's a nice little endorsement for Ryder. Fingers crossed that he's in line for an IC Title shot when it's time to move Cody Rhodes up to the World Title scene.

BOO!

Kelly Kelly: Queen of the Victory Roll is getting old, and I've enjoyed where they've been going with Kelly.

I still don't get why Johnny Ace is on TV.

Where does Christian vs. Randy Orton fit into the WOO!/BOO! dynamic? It's tough to say since they always deliver a good match, but I honestly can't remember the last time when two people wrestled this much in three months, hell, Chris Benoit and Booker T didn't wrestle this much during a Best of Seven series! The match was enjoyable, despite another silly ending, but c'mon. Things did veer into WOO! territory with Christian and Cody Rhodes ganging up on Orton, but slid back to BOO!land when Orton overcame the odds and managed to get one over on ol' Mark Henry. Psh, celebrate now Randall, but tonight, it's all about wig splittage.

Good Smackdown. Obviously Hell in a Cell came quickly, so there was nothing they could've done on this show to give the PPV a "proper" build, but the stories have come together quite nicely. This is always an odd time for WWE, the SummerSlam to Survivor Series limbo, sometimes also known as the SummerSlam to Royal Rumble limbo, but as long as Smackdown continues strong wrestling matches and simple storytelling, I'm not too fussed.