December 27, 2011
Thanks for joining us this week despite being a somewhat slow week in the wrestling world. The best rounded program this week was Smackdown, so let's take a look at what went on.
Smackdown started off with Big Show being boring on the mic. "Duh, I'm the Big Show, I lost my championship but I didn't want to." Then Mark Henry comes out and tells Big Show to take a week off, and then quit the business, schooling Show how to make being an idiot on the mic entertaining. Then Daniel Bryan joins the party and gives a great promo about how he's got nothing going for him except that he's a very good wrestler, and has the WHWC title. Daniel Bryan got over on Big Show in this segment as surely as if he'd pinned him all over again, with Mark Henry taking some shit from Bryan as well, but not in such a way that diminished his character. The trio of Show, Henry and Bryan is really interesting and kind of funny because the bigger guys seem like they don't know what to do with Bryan.
Later in the show, Henry and Show are in the ring for a match, and David Otunga interrupts to announce that Henry isn't cleared to compete. Pretty good opportunity for the heel Mark Henry to beat on him, right? WRONG. Henry just walks away while the babyface Big Show sucker-punches the lawyer while he isn't looking. Classy. Real classy, pro wrestling.
In addition to the great opening segment, there were two other highlights for Smackdown. The second was a backstage brawl between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton that couldn't be described in any other way but *classic*. Barrett selling the stream from a regular hose like it was a fire hose was probably my favorite part, but the rko on top of the car was pretty rad as well. Also, having Wade Barrett do almost all of the talking for this feud has been a really good idea.
The third highlight was the main event of Smackdown. Dolph Ziggler versus Daniel Bryan. Awesome! And every bit as good as I would hope. Uh oh, here comes Jack Swagger and Big Show, hold up playas! Teddy Long, as he is wont to do, makes the match a tag match. Think this slowed the action down? Negligibly, as the rest of the match unfolds to be as fun and dramatic as the beginning had been.
I didn't catch the beginning of Impact this week, I only saw the second hour. And while it's possible that the first hour could have been the best hour of pro wrestling television ever produced, I can say with certainty that the second hour was not. As a matter of fact, it featured 2 of the worst, most ill-conceived dopey ding-dong things I've ever seen on a pro wrestling show.
Ding-dong number one: Kurt Angle, dressed in an oversized cowboy Halloween costume, goes to James Storm's favorite bar, says "Hey, do you guys know James Storm?" gets the response "Yeah" and proceeds to beat everybody up. The only entertaining thing about this was thinking of jokes that could be preceded by "Kurt Angle walks into a bar..."
Ding-dong number two: The finish of the main event involved Sting setting up Bobby Roode on a table to get splashed by Jeff Hardy from the top rope, breaking the table and getting the pin. The problem with that was that Roode's shoulders were propped up by half of the broken table, making the ref's three count as inane and meaningless as a countout on a guy standing in the middle of the ring. TNA's fucked up a lot of things before, but when you fuck up THE MOST fundamental thing about wrestling, that a wrestlers shoulders must be pinned to the mat for 3 seconds, what is there left to fuck up? Something tells me they'll find something.
Raw was a pretty good show this week, with a few cool things worth mentioning and a few more worth forgetting about. The opening was excellent. Snappy dialogue not just from CM Punk but John Laurenitis as well, setting up the extended main event with interesting stipulations. I was really looking forward to the series of matches, especially since Swagger and Ziggler had been so great in the Smackdown main event, and I know Punk can put on great matches every week. I guess I was expecting Mark Henry to beat Punk and transition to Raw, which would have been disappointing to me, so I was doubly thrilled at the outcome of the match, which will guarantee Ziggler a shot at the WWE title next Monday. I have to say, though, despite the cool finish, I didn't think these matches were very strong.
As a matter of fact, I didn't think there were any strong matches on Raw this week. Cody Rhodes and Booker T was good, I might just be a little bitter about the finish. It was really exciting to see Tyson Kidd on the show, but unfortunately he didn't really do anything unique or memorable. And that's it. Three matches. Well, three finished matches-- there were two more that didn't have a proper finish. R-Truth came back to interrupt Miz's match with John Cena, and Mark Henry interrupted Big Show's match with David Otunga, which I thought was a horrible segment. Mark Henry didn't get revenge, Daniel Bryan came out but didn't do jack, and Otunga didn't get to show off any moves, he had no offense at all. Basically it was a fluff advertisement for Smackdown, but was so watered-down and sloppily put together that it came off as being slightly mocking of them.
I wish I was at my home pc so that I could include a picture of Alberto Del Rio's gaudy wheelchair, and Ricardo with his bow tied neck brace. That segment was hilarious and definitely picked the show back up again. Then the main event takes place, the crowd is going wild, and Kane comes out! The music, the fire, the new mask, whose ass is going to die? Then he gets on the mic and talks. And talks. And talks some more. By the time John Cena comes out, Chicago is almost ready to cheer him, just in the hope that they might see some action. But it's not to be. Kane stops Cena from approaching the ring by using his magic powers to make the ramp explode with fire. (There was actually a split second that I believed he'd legit blown up Cena with magic) Kane tries to make Cena sad, and Cena mopes a little bit and shuffles off. This segment will only have worked for me if Cena appears next week as Kane's disciple of hate. And now I'm really missing Photoshop.
Tune in next week for the return of the Marshall Matters Show! Who will be the mysterious 1/2/12 return? Will Brodus Clay ever make his Raw debut? How long can Daniel Bryan hold onto the WHWC title? What's up with Cole's great play-by-play announcing? How much worse can TNA get?
All will suffer,
December 15, 2011
Some of the guys to reinvent themselves have been around for a long time, as in the case of Christian and Mark Henry. Some have been in the WWE for a fewer number of years, but a while all the same, as in R Truth, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, and CM Punk. With less than three years logged in the WWE are Sheamus, Wade Barrett, and Daniel Bryan. Some of these guys have been excellent in lesser roles for as long as they've been around, and others have only just this year found their best character to date. All of them have substantially improved to the extent that the main event scene in the WWE doesn't seem too bleak any more.
Of course, the standout here is CM Punk, whose summer program with John Cena/ Vince McMahon was the hottest, most talked about series of events in pro wrestling in years, through which he became one of the most polarizing figures within the past decade. But beyond the mark-out value of CM Punk's success is the hope that his undeniable claim to be on the top of the industry could change the WWE's view on what should constitute a WWE champion. Now, this wasn't the first world championship Punk has won with the company, it was his fourth. It's also notable that his first reign as World Heavyweight champ was on the Raw brand. He isn't even the first WWE champ with deep indie roots, which is a distinction belonging to Rob Van Dam (2006). So what makes this time different? In my estimation, two things: context and money. Context because it was a recurring topic of his famous promos that the WWE almost exclusively pushes guys who've come up through their system, and have a bodybuilder's figure. His winning the title directly after pointing out these facts seemed to represent a consensual breaking of said habits. Reason two is money, which is what everything really comes down to in the end, and it's important in this scenario because CM Punk proved that he could move merch with the best of em. Sometimes it's hard to tell a genuine buzz from passing hype, but the staying power of Punk's popularity at the merchandise table sends an unmistakable message to the accounting department. Message reads: Paul Heyman was right.
Even though Punk rocked the wrestling world, and owns the top three mark-out moments of 2011, I think what may actually be this years most significant, lasting effects on pro wrestling originated from a much humbler and unlikelier source. With his popular weekly youtube show, Zack Ryder has changed the game forever. The saturation of Twitter in WWE programming, as well as two weekly streaming shows and WWE.com exclusive interviews were all going to happen anyway, so it's not so much that Ryder found success online as much as that he found success by himself. The opportunities youtube and Twitter afford to self-promoters are unprecedented, and Ryder has proved how effective they can be for generating both interest and revenue in pro wrestling. This goes back to the point I made earlier about genuine buzz versus passing hype, and the difference being defined by the bottom line. Zack Ryder is the first of a kind, and may one day be remembered as the grandfather of self-promoting Superstars.
These are the three things I feel define the past year for the WWE. The number of guys stepping up their game, the recognition of CM Punk's value (and the appropriate platform), and Zack Ryder reinventing the wheel of how to get over. Each of these elements have scads of further potential for the year to come, and beyond. If Kane's masked arrival this week is any portent, I'd say things are looking good that WWE programming may indeed soon be roundly appreciated by it's oft disgruntled fans as being "fun again."
December 13, 2011
The Marshall Matters Show will be off the air for the rest of the month, as the production supervisor and the mix artist have eloped and won't be coming back until January. In the meantime, those of us remaining in SCN Canada will be putting together S. C. Newsletters just like the good old days of October. Unfortunately, the mix artist was also our picture editor, so these posts will be drably unillustrated. Please bear with us.
...started with Cody Rhodes taking Booker T's place at the announce table after beating him up. I had to wonder if he was going to be using his normal voice or that affected shaky voice that he uses for most of his promos. Thankfully, he kept the theatrics to a minimum, but the real kudos goes to Josh Matthews who had the responsibility of keeping Cody and Cole on topic and talking about what was going on in the ring.
In the first match-up Wade Barrett took out Ezekial Jackson with a Black Hole Slam, which Cody called a Lost Man Slam, which sounds cool. Barrett used the same move again later on Randy Orton during Orton's main event match with Dolph Ziggler. The finish of this match was awesome- and who doesn't love a countdown clock on the screen during a pro wrestling match?
But stealing the show: ma man, Daniel Bryan. He delivered an incendiary promo in Michael Cole's direction, taking advantage of all of that uptapped heat that I talked about last week. This was a red-hot, awesome segment that seemed to me to once again demonstrate that DBD isn't only Mr. Match of the Night, but also The Man overall. He is on a hell of a roll both match-wise and promo-wise, and has been the best thing about pro wrestling for the past two months.
IMPACT and FINAL RESOLUTION
I might've just been in a good mood this week when I watched Impact, but I actually enjoyed it. There were some good promos and some good matches,and was a good overall show that set up Sunday's PPV pretty well. I didn't get the chance to watch the PPV start to finish, I only had time to skim through it. It looked like a solid show with a series of quality matches, even if plots and feuds were undercooked or dull. All titles were retained, and it didn't come off feeling like anything important happened, especially if this week's Impact features the same feuds being drawn out, as is usually the case. The only stipulation which will have an effect on this weeks show with certainty was the stip that if Jeff Jarrett lost to Jeff Hardy, either he or Karen would be fired from TNA. Jarrett did lose, and the decision on who will be leaving will be announced by Sting on Thursday. My guess is that Karen isn't going anywhere. If it happens that the feuds that led into this PPV are "settled", and they use this week to shuffle up the guys a bit, I think it would be a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here, and trying to be optimistic.
I'm bummed that I won't be able to watch ROH in the next few weeks as they lead up to their big iPPV Final Battle later in the month. When I get back home I'm going to go back and watch them all before I watch F.B. It's not like the show's been phenomenal, it's been decent but not outstanding, but I do feel like they've been doing a good job of building up to the PPV with a few of their key storylines. The highlight of this last show was a stellar match and promo by the Young Bucks, who are milking their business rep as being disrespectful punks.
Evan Bourne had his first match since coming off WWE probation with a loss against Epico, which makes (as-yet-unnamed-Puerto-Rican-faction) two for two in singles competition against the members of Air Boom. Epico's finisher is the Backstabber, which was Carlito's finisher; Carlito being Primo's previous tag partner. Deja vu?
I digitally taped Raw off my In-laws' TV, and watched it this morning. It missed the first few minutes, so the first thing I saw was some Slammy award being contested in the ring between Cole and JR in a "rap off". Lately I've been getting nervous when JR is out because he's been degraded so much, and he seemed to be getting set up for just such an occasion, but he seemed to be having a really good time, and didn't even seem to care that he couldn't remember the words to his rap song, or that he had a tough time getting vertical after his JR-a-roonie.
Barrett had an awesome entrance, cutting a killer promo like a pro on his way down to the ring. Road Dogg was excellent to see on TV, and clearly hasn't lost his way with words that made him one of my favorite Attitude Era personalities. The Pipebomb video package was hilarious, and CM Punk's acceptance speech with the Johnny Ace video was even funnier. Kelly Kelly, whose nomination video was the only of the Divas' which didn't feature a wrestling move, won the generic, meaningless Divas award. Incidentally, the presenter for the Divas award,Lita, was arrested for DUI last week, and she might look good on TV, but her mugshot was horrific.
I really liked the idea to have a 4-way contest to see who could trend most during a match. The match itself was kind of awkward, but it did have some great spots, including the finish. Jerry Lawler announced the winner with a sealed envelope, which took some of the credibility out of the idea that the award was decided within the last 10 minutes. I have a feeling that the Superstar of the Year award could have been a similar fix, but it's all good because the right guys got their recognition.
Christian's speech was really funny, but the Game Changer award was a bogus excuse for John Cena to come out and kinda/kinda not rip on The Rock. The big tag match set up the main event of TLC really well, as well as add fuel to the fire of Orton and Barrett's feud. Gene Okerlund is the second legend (after the Iron Sheik) to be revealed as being involved with Legends House. Jinder Mahal showed up to get kicked in the face by smilin' Sheamus.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the Royal Rumble. Who'll be favored to win by then, what the overall tone will be like, but most of all who will be making a surprise appearance/return. Rey Mysterio was at the top of my list of guys I'd have loved to see come back like that, so I was a little disappointed that he came back to deliver a Slammy award, but I wasn't so disappointed that I didn't get really happy and excited that he was presenting the biggest award of the night.
There was another one of those rad, cryptic videos touting the coming of somebody or somebodies on January 2nd. My guess that it'd be a female was wrong, as this video featured a monologue by a boy saying something along the lines that there would be a woman that would signal the coming of the man. I guess that'll mean that a duo will be coming in, the female half of which will be kind of a manager, and the guy will be the wrestler. These videos are really different for the WWE, and I love them. I wonder if it won't be a comeback, as many people are expecting, but a brand new face. Can't wait to find out.
Of course, the buildup for Kane's return came to fruition at the end of Raw! Didn't see that coming. Kane's over-the-mask mask looked like a brushed metal version of Jeff Hardy's new mask thing. If you didn't know about that, look it up. Anyway, The new Kane look is extremely cool from the neck up. The jury is still out on the tights, I've gotta see them in normal lighting. And how did he grow that much hair so quickly? When he first came out I was convinced he was somebody else because I didn't think that hair could possibly be his. Maybe it's just a really convincing wig. Speculation.
Thanks for joining me for this week's work shoot run-at-the-mouth review. Check back soon for my own recap of the pro wrestling highlights of 2011.
December 06, 2011
December 01, 2011
Today's special accompaniment to the Marshall Matters Show is a link to another website I made on blogger. This is my third. As you may know, in addition to this wrestling blog, I also have an art blog, and now I have a wrestling art blog. I remember a few shows back I mentioned that I was experimenting with drawing pictures while watching classic matches. Well, after filling two 100 page sketchbooks, I thought I'd call it a "project" and kind of formalize it. Here's the link: http://wrestlingsketchbook.blogspot.com and here's my personal favorite. It's from the Punk/Cena Money in the Bank match.
November 29, 2011
OK, on to the wrestling. And you gotta have a theme right?
So Smackdown was totally awesome. I was blown away by the whole beginning. Oh wait, lets do this first
RUSTY NICKLES FAV 5 ( IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, (why am i yelling?))
Tyson Kidd (i hardly ever see him but im always excited when he is on)
#6 goes to Ricardo Rodriguez. I love that guy
Back to Smackdown. Mark Henry opens the show with a promo that was cracking me up. He was being such a baby that i couldn't quit laughin. I never ever thought that i would end up loving Mark Henry. I liked him as a smiling low card giant and was confused when he started getting this push. But now im fully on board.
The bit with Show made me a little curious as to what might happen. In the back of my mind i was thinking about DBD and the MITB case. And when that music hit I went nuts. The most dramatic part what when DBD was trying to roll over Henry. I really thought he might not be able to flip him over at all. But he did and got the pin and i was freaking out. It was amazing, while it lasted. Teddy Long's reversal was great and i feel like this is going to boost DBD even more than if he would have actually won the belt. The audience may be behind him even more. I know that i cant wait to see more of him and his run for the belt.
The tag match with Swagger, Ziggler, Ryder and Shamus was awesome too. It felt like they actually got some time to wrestle. I had a great time watching this match. Jeez, i must have been in a good mood because i also liked the next match with Ted DiBiasi and the Wendy's girl. Howbout that?!
I don't have any extra curricular wrestling to talk about. Not even Impact. I'm in a little dip when it comes to watching wrestling. This was the first time i have even watched smackdown in weeks. Why? Im back at home and dont have as much mope out time to drown in wrestling. I suspect that i may have more to talk about next week, look for that in the revamped Rusty Report.
I really liked this episode of RAW. Again i think they gave the matches time to become interesting. It had just the right amount of backstage stuff to keep the flow going. Plus CM Punk was awesome all over the show. That never hurts.
I dunno man, Piper is a legend and a local hero but he still freaks me out. He is so wild and strange that he makes me nervous. But that loose cannon style is what makes him great on TV. I feel like they furthered the Cena transition and made it very interesting. Where will Cena go? When will he snap? I dunno. But I cant wait. I have a feeling that the Cena story is going to be awesome. I hope anyway.
MIZ vhs JOMO
See that typo above? I got VHS on the brain at all times i guess.
Anyway. I didn't really watch much of this match. After the pre match beat down i didn't really care. Plus i hate the miz now that Truth is gone and miz is back to being an lame looking "tough guy". He really is horrible.
What i didn't know while watching this match is that it was JOMO's last before leaving the WWE. I guess his contract has expired and he is moving on. What a way to go. Kinda sad. But you know, i wouldn't be surprised to see him back someday. Ill miss his slow-mo intro.
The Laurenitis, Otunga, ADR, Punk backstage segment was awesome. I gotta admit, i like Otunga and Laurenitis. They are cheesy and old school. ADR is back to being a legit, non wussy, bad guy again now that he lost the belt. And Punk just walks around and gives everyone shit. This segment was gold.
ZIGGLER vs RKO
I cant stand Randy Orton so much that i cant watch a match of his. He Fucking pisses me off. I cant take his blank stare and lame smile anymore. I think im going to stop watching his matches completely so i don't get mad. Wrestling is supposed to be fun.
Ziggler rules tho. He won. Joe and I cheered.
Zach Ryder vs Swagger.
Man, swagger sure fell off the face of the earth didn't he. He used to be great. Now he aint. I dunno what happened. Zach Ryder on the other hand, not great. To me he is just a weird bandwagon fluke that is going to burn out quick once the joke gets old. Woo Woo Woo, you know it, You cant get far on a few catch phrases. Or can you? Look at the Rock. Thats all he was, but i feel like he could talk his way thru situations. I havn't seen Ryder on the mic enough to be swayed that he can handle a actual feud.
Im not saying that he sucks at wrestling or isn't talented. Dont get me wrong. Im just not convinced yet. We will see on this guy.
Im stoked on this. Kane is always great. I cant wait to see him back, mask or not
PUNK vs ADR
Another great match by these guys. They both are great with their kicks and different subtle style. Punk grew up in the indies and ADR was a Luchador, so they both have a style that's not just WWE. I loved that spot with the chair. Thats classic wrestling stuff you dont see anymore. And i also loved ADR taking off the turnbuckle pad. For some reason that's always great.
Punk wins, still champ. wrestling rules.
IN OTHER NEWS
Im going to see DOA wrestling with my dad on december 10th. Will you be around? It would be awesome to have you come with us.
SMACKDOWN is on tonight for some unknown reason. Another report tomorrow.
-Scuzzy, fuzzy and red
November 22, 2011
As I mentioned to you in traditional e-mail form this week, I’ve been watching scads of 80s material on top of the new stuff. Since they weren’t online before, I’ve uploaded my favorite promos to youtube.
As far as the best matches go, Tito Santana would have to win the best worker award based on what I’ve watched. And “nobody likes me, and I don’t care” might be my new favorite quote from a promo, ever. Especially with the whole bumping-the-head-against-the-wall gimmick.
ZIGGLER AND MORRISON
The ziggler and morrison match is great. The "We want Ryder!" chants are really annoying. I almost wanna fast forward thru the match so i dont have to listen to those lame fans chant about someone who is not CM Punk
HIGH SPOT Dolph being Dolph
SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH
After watching the Rock's awesome promo, randy orton looks even more lame and boring.
RKO takes on all the heals alone, Sin Cara botches a move and WWE shows it over and over, All the wrestlers standing around confused, more Ryder chants, this match is a mess so far.
BARRETT WINS!!!!!! THANK GOD.
HIGH SPOT Orton getting pinned
ADR VS PUNK PROMO
Did ADR just say that Punk looks like an occupy Wall St protester? That's the best burn ever
SHOW VS HENRY
These people in the audience are horrible. I dont think you should ever chant BORING in a match
Sure, Henry and Show was a little boring. It was just slow. I like seeing these giants fight. And i liked the end of the match.
HIGH SPOT Big Show and the giant elbow
PUNK VS ADR
The beginning to the punk adr match was the most entertaining beginning that i have seen in a while. First King calls Ricardo's haircut a "Shemp haircut". Then we get the Fink AND CMPunk wearing a H2O shirt. Now, i dont know what H2O sounds like and i prolly dont like them but i do think it's cool that he is representing a band he likes.
It was a good match but i wasn't blown away. I think I kinda checked out because i was an hour and a half in and still had a lot more to go. That homework feeling was setting in.
HIGH SPOT - PUNK WINS!!! IN MSG!!! ADR LOSES and now can go back to being the badass heel he always was. He will not have to be the chickenshit wussy heel that the WWE has made him be. DOUBLE PLUS!!
ROCK/CENA vs TRUTH/MIZ
So i dont have any doubt that miz and truth will win. But that doesn't matter. I still had a good time with this match. The most interesting part for me was watching the way that Rock and Cena worked the match together. I also loved how good Rock looked.
It was a fun match, cena got his ass kicked a lot and Rock took a nasty close line outside the ring. But in the end Rock wins and they close the PPV with a pose off. I was really hoping to see Nash ruin the match or Foley interrupt. SOMETHING to make it more than a normal tag match.
Enough PPV talkin. Lets move on to RAW
I liked Punks promo in the beginning o the show. I like knowing that he always was a real wrestling fan and has made it. I also liked John Laurenitis ruining everything. Hes flat voice and persona is funny to me. Dunno why but i like it.
ADR VS Zach Ryder
Joe was over while raw was on and admitted that he loves zach ryder. I just dont get it. I want to like every wrestler but i just don't understand all the hype behind this guy. Ill admit that i never have watched his internet show so that's prolly why im not a fan. It;s just his gimmick. I don't care for it. And i dont think it can sustain any kind of compelling feud. Am I just being a stick in the mud? I really want to know what you think.
PUNK vs ZIGGLER
We had a bunch of people over last night and kinda talked thru this whole match. I have a feeling that this match was amazing and plan to go back and watch it soon. Let me know if it's worth watching.
MIZ AND TRUTH BREAK UP
im not happy about this. I liked these two and i feel like it's way early to break them up. But i guess they did it because Truth is suspended for smoking fake pot or something. They could have done this in a much better way but oh well. What ya gonna do?
What the hell happened to brodus clay? Where was the guest host? Did you catch the link to some cryptic video online? What was with that weird Kane promo? I cant wait for your show. Im relly interested in hearing your thoughts
November 15, 2011
November 08, 2011
Among the extra wrestling stuff I watched this week was a recent episode of WWE Vintage Collection which featured Rowdy Roddy Piper. He and Gene Okerlund would chat about highlights from the Hot Rod's career, in between showing various matches (spanning a few decades), which would relate to the things they were talking about. An interesting thing about watching old wrestling matches on modern WWE programming is that when there's any choking going on, the video stops rolling and it will only show still images until the choking is finished. The audio is uninterrupted. What's most interesting about this is it makes you realize how common it used to be. During this particular episode of Vintage Collection, there was choking in EVERY match!
It was very cool to see those old Piper matches and promos, and he's going to return to the show next week, but I doubt they'd ever show this gem:
October 25, 2011
I’ve already posted a bunch of FCW videos on this blog, so one more won’t hurt. This is Antonio Cesaro’s debut match for developmental, and he really knocked it out of the park. He’s been around forever (as Claudio Castagnoli) and I’ve seen him in a few tag matches, but this was the first singles match I’ve seen. Great character, but his new name sucks! Hope it can be changed before he comes up to WWE, which shouldn’t take long.
Also on the most recent episode of FCW, Howard Finkel made a special appearance to open the show, but the first wrestler he announced cut him off, insisting that he’d announce himself. It looked a little something like this:
October 22, 2011
October 18, 2011
I haven't been sleeping much lately, so bear with me if I get a little loopy.
I was uncharacteristically unenthusiastic for this week's Smackdown. I was expecting Big Show to take the program over with his sniveling complaint against Mark Henry. His weepy beef, you might say. I was feeling so lackluster about it that I put it off for Saturday, and watched NXT on Friday night instead, knowing that I'd have a better chance of seeing Daniel Bryan win a match, and would at least get to listen to Regal's funny commentary. When I put Smackdown on during my Saturday morning breakfast, I definitely felt like I just needed to get it out of the way. So imagine my surprise when one of the most radical Smackdowns in recent history unfolded before me!
Randy Dorkin wins the biggest over-the-top-rope rumble ever, but who cares-- it was the biggest rumble ever! So cool. You must have lost your beans for that one, that's right up your alley. Even with this great opening spectacle, there was plenty of time left to showcase a lot of the feuds that have been going on in the WWE. Sheamus and Christian, Orton and Cody Rhodes, Zack Ryder, Air Boom, and Vicki's Boys each got decent amounts of time to further their storylines a little bit. Surprisingly, Henry and Big Show's rivalry was (to my memory) only briefly touched upon, and mostly via video package. Big Show's been absent since his fateful return last week, even though I'm pretty sure I remember hearing him say that he'd be on Raw to support HHH. The Sin Cara(s) feud took the cake as coolest this week, with Negro ripping Azul's mask off and putting it over his own head. That was BAD ASS. Their whole name-sharing thing was supposed to have been settled at the last PPV, but I'm glad it wasn't because it's only gotten better since. I heard that this coming Smackdown will feature a battle between the Sin Caras in which the loser must take off his mask and surrender the disputed moniker. That's going to make people nuts in Mexico (where it's being filmed)! Promises to be a memorable moment. Beth Phoenix finally got a clean pin over Kelly Kelly, and seems to have settled on the handle "Sisters of Salvation" along with her BFF Natalya. I liked "Divas of Destruction" more, but hey, it's only girls wrestling, right?
One more noteworthy thing from Smackdown is that Alberto Del Rio pinned Sheamus after kicking him in the head, which I believe is the first non-submission win that ADR's ever earned in the WWE. Might be off on that, but his pins are at least extremely rare.
BOUND FOR GLORY
BFG is the biggest PPV of the year for TNA. The storylines surrounding the events that were to take place at BFG have been brewing (or festering, if you please) for many months. Let's take a look at how some of these plots have culminated, and how the show went as a whole.
Austin Aries and Brian Kendrick are my two favorite male wrestlers on the TNA roster. They've each got a distinct and quirky in-ring style, and can each cut a unique promo at the drop of a dime. They stand apart like men from boys in the newly revamped X-Division, which seems to have only 4 active competitors. Their match was great and fun to watch, but was largely a big letdown. Neither guy got time to do a TV or PPV promo to build the rivalry, which is a horrible shame considering they're two of the best promo guys in the company. They had a terrific promo segment to build their match at the last PPV, in which Aries took the X-Division title from Kendrick. The result was the same this time around, with Aries getting a clean win to retain. The result of the heel winning clean in a rematch, combined with the fact that there was no build, made this match seem pointless.
Next on the card was RVD versus Jerry Lynn in a "Full Metal Mayhem" match, which I think meant that they were allowed to use things made out of metal on each other. Chairs and ladders came into play, and boy was it brutal! It was a taut, action-packed match full of high impact stunts and gnarly bumps that harkened back to their halcyon days in ECW, which of course was what the crowd in Philly was chanting. It was a really impressive display of self-disregard from guys who are old enough ro know better. It's gonna take a lot of bong hits to get through the pain that that match inflicted on those guys.
Three way match between Crimson, Matt Morgan, and Samoa Joe. Nothing stands out to me here. Crimson keeps rollin'.
Next up is a Falls Count Anywhere match between Bully Ray and Mr. Anderson. I don't know why they didn't call this one a hardcore or street fight or no DQ match, since weapons weren't against the rules in addition to the FCA stip. Even though these guys have been feuding for a while now, they made this match seem really fresh, and it was one of the most fun matches of the night, if not the most fun.
Before the next match starts, we see a backstage segment in which the referee Jackson James is identified as Eric Bischoff's son, as they plot together to take Sting out of action later on. James has been the ref in many, if not all high profile Immortal related matches, so it was cool to finally see this plot device being implemented.
The Knockouts singles title was defended in a tag team match. The ending was awkwardly botched. It was a dumb idea, and a stupid mess. For some reason Winter looked really hot. Velvet Skye won her first singles championship. Madison Rayne is my favorite person ever.
I don't care much about Christopher Daniels or AJ Styles, but they had a terrific I Quit match. Daniels especially made great use of the microphone during the match by saying mean things and making nasty threats. AJ won of course, but Daniels got the last laugh, and their rivalry has been heated way up.
Some funny signs were held high during the next segment-- "Drinking Matters" being my favorite. Jeff Hardy and Jeff Jarrett get into it in a continuation of some beef that started on Impact. They're separated by a bunch of refs and stagehands and D-Lo Brown and Al Snow. That seems to be Snow and D-Lo's job with TNA. They're just high profile fight breaker-uppers.
Now for the penultimate match of the night, perhaps the one most anticipated, and certainly the one most dreaded-- Hulk Hogan versus Sting 2011. There seem to be a lot of mixed feelings about the outcome of this match, particularly in the fact that Hulk Hogan turned face against his ol' buddy Bisch after seeing him hit his own son with a chair, and proceeded to turn against the whole of Immortal in an effort to rescue Sting. I can't say that the drama was thrilling by any stretch, but I am happy that Hulk's a babyface again, Dixie Carter's got TNA back, and also it was nice to see Ric Flair out there even if he didn't do much. Is this Hogan's cue to bow out gracefully, with his character coming full circle? He is the man, but TNA might be better off without him.
You know who's number one on my list of guys TNA would be better off without? The winner of the main event, the TNA champion Kurt Angle. He kind of grosses me out whenever I see him. I don't know if it's the shrunken physique, the hollow grin, his growing collection of DUIs, or all of these things together that turn me off of him completely. The first two things could be attributed to kayfabe, but the latter is garbage and I guess is what does it for me. My dislike for Angle, and eagerness to see a new "face" of TNA, especially in a guy like Robert Roode, made the ending of Bound For Glory very, very disappointing. It wasn't a clean win, so Roode is sure to get a rematch with thanks to Dixie being back on top, but why this rivalry has been drawn out I have no idea. The PPV had been pretty solid up to here, and the finale should have been the icing on the cake, but instead felt anti-climactic and shitty. All together it was a really good PPV, I think the unfortunate main event outcome was the only bad thing. Oh yeah, and the Knockouts match, I guess. But that was still kind of funny.
Alright, let's get this train moving here. Raw from Mexico! The crowd was awesome, even if I couldn't understand all their chants. Can't wait to see Mexican Smackdown.
Mark Henry executed the most bad-ass looking World's Strongest Slam I've ever seen!
There was a DOPE new Brodus Clay package, probably my favorite part of the entire program!
There's going to be a WWE legends Real World style reality show!
Things get hotter between HHH and the new GM! Dolph Ziggler gets the mic and cuts a scorching promo! Michael Cole taps like Gregory Hines to JR!
As great as that was, I think I'd trade it for Michael Cole not playing his heel persona so much. If Cole and JR have issues the way Cole and Lawler had issues before, it's going to be rough. I'd prefer a table without JR to a table with him if it means that Cole will need to revert to his diaper-rash personality of months past. Man, it makes my ears buzz just thinking about it.
To end the show, John Cena lays out ADR and announces that their match at Vengeance will be a Last Man Standing match. I'm all for this, because ADR can retain the title by outsmarting Cena, since it seems unlikely that Cena would be out-wrestled. I think the last LMS match for the WWE title was when Cena beat Batista by duct taping Batista's feet together around a turnbuckle. Anyway, Cena's promo to end the show wasn't stellar, but it was better than his last few PPV send-offs. At least he put some effort into it.
The match I'm looking forward to most this Sunday will be the tag match between Awesome Truth and HHH/Punk. I like the odd couple pairing of both teams, and I think HHH/Punk have as much potential as Miz/Truth to be funny and entertaining as well as interesting and relevant. The idea of Punk and HHH being buddies worked for me instantly, and I'm looking forward to seeing how far they'll take it. With the exception of Mason Ryan being pushed(/shoved down our throats) all of the storylines going in the WWE are really good right now. There's a lack of interest in Daniel Bryan that's disconcerting, and I'd like to see more Wade Barrett, Tyson Kidd, and Heath Slater, but I can't get everything, can I?
Ta-ta from the tundra 'til next Tuesday,