Quick Hits – 7/14/10

Posted in NXT, PPV, Raw, Smackdown, TNA, Wrestling, WWE on July 14, 2010 by David

Not a lot of time to write over the past couple of days, so I just wanted to give my impressions of the last few days of wrestling shows.

Smackdown: Thought it was a good show. I loved Swagger putting the ankle lock on Rey again and dragging him from the back into the arena. I’m almost wondering if they’re building toward a scenario where Big Show wins MITB, and cashes in the shot that night against Swagger after he’s demolished Rey. At least that’s what I was thinking until Swagger ended up in Kane’s red light room. Now I’m not sure at all of what’s going on. I thought the Straight Edge Society segment was well done, although I’m not sure what’s gained by turning Luke Gallows against CM Punk and Serena. I loved the Teddy Long stuff with Drew McIntyre. I love Teddy Long. I’m not sure where they’re going with the Christian/Matt Hardy feud, but I’m sure it’s just the WWE’s way of continuing to punish Christian for his dalliance with TNA. I couldn’t care less about Dolph Ziggler, Chavo or Vickie.

Victory Road: I predicted the winners correctly in 6 of the matches, although my additional predictions for how the finishes would happen were mostly off. In retrospect, I suppose it doesn’t make sense to take the title off RVD, but I really thought they would. I felt like the main event was too short, and that some of the undercard matches *cough*women’smatch*cough* were unnecessarily long. I really didn’t care for the X-Division title match, as I thought it was pretty ugly. The mystery tag team (which turned out to be Samoa Joe and Rob Terry) wasn’t nearly the pay off I was hoping for, even though I love watching Samoa Joe. I did like the hug/awkward look/handshake from AJ and Kazarian at the end of the match, though. Hernandez vs Morgan was okay, and Supermex’s dive from the top of the cage was awesome, but I felt like the match dragged in spots. Oh…and TNA, when every single member of the roster can snap a pair of handcuffs, it ceases being interesting. Stop. Now. Angle and Pope was a good match. Lethal vs Flair was a good match, and I was shocked that Flair tapped to the Figure Four. Those two seemed to work really well together. That match and the tag team championship match were the two best matches of the night. Speaking of which, Motor City Machine Guns vs Beer Money, Inc was a great match. The false finish was weird, but the match as a whole was awesome. Overall, I thought it was a good PPV, that had a couple of low spots. MCMG vs Beer Money was the match of the night.

Raw: Let’s get this out of the way: WWE, please stop getting crappy guest hosts for your flagship show. Florence Henderson was terrible, and didn’t bring anything to the show. Santino’s bunch vs Regal’s bunch was ridiculous. Doink? Doink? Really? Other than that, I thought Raw was pretty good this week. I’m tired of the Hart Dynasty/Usos drama, but what else are they supposed to do, since there aren’t any other tag teams for the Hart Dynasty to wrestle? Mark Henry vs the Miz was an okay segment that was made better by what happened on NXT. Edge vs Randy Orton was a good match, but the real treat came after the match, when Chris Jericho gave Edge a Code Breaker, and Evan Bourne tried to get payback on Orton from last week. Randy delivered an RKO to Bourne as he was coming down in the Airbourne maneuver, and it was, to quote my friend Dave on twitter, “13 different kinds of awesome.” It needs to be seen. I liked that the Nexus was stalking people backstage and beating them up prior to their match with Cena. That match was about as good as a match featuring Cena vs 6 guys could be, and I liked Sheamus coming down to help Cena, although I think it would’ve been better if it had happened with one more Raw to go before the PPV. I’m sure that they’ll interview Sheamus before the match, and he’ll try to explain it, I just think it’s going to end up not as effective as it could’ve been. I should also mention that I could watch Justin Gabriel’s 450 somersault splash over and over, it’s right up there with Airbourne as my favorite finishing maneuver in the WWE right now. Anonymous GM Wrestling Quote of the Week: “Just when you think you’ve got the answers, I change the questions” made famous by Rowdy Roddy Piper

NXT: The battle royal was great. Although, I want to find out what happened to Alex Riley, as it looked like he had blood running down the back of his head when he got eliminated. I liked the way it worked out…even if they didn’t explicitly state that it was a team battle royal. I was fine with that decision, because I think it’s too early for there to be any kind of split in the Nexus’ wall. However, I need to point out that Wade Barret’s “If you’re not Nexus, you’re against us” is a terrible catchphrase. Just terrible.

TNA Impact 7/8/10

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2010 by David

This was the final Impact! broadcast before the Victory Road pay per view, and as such they (obviously) had to do some things to lead into the big event, and I thought they did a pretty good job. There were a few good matches, and they built some of the undercard angles pretty well.

TNA gave us some really good matches on this show, with RVD vs Samoa Joe falling just short of being an instant classic. That may have been the best free tv match of the year so far. Rob and Joe really went out there and gave us a barn burner, and the ending, with Joe giving a Muscle Buster to the ref, seemed like a good way to get some heel heat back on Joe. AJ Styles vs Kazarian was a good match, even though the ending was horrible…but it did set up an interesting match with AJ and Kaz teaming together against a mystery tag team. And, I’ll be honest, this is one of those times when I’m completely mystified as to who they could be facing. I haven’t read any Victory Road spoilers yet, so I really don’t know. This could end up being a great addition to Victory Road, or it could end up being a yawn-fest. We’ll see. What can I say about the ladder match? The wrestling in it was great. However, Douglas Williams, who is a great wrestler, can’t act his way out of a paper bag. His “fear of heights” was ridiculous to the point where it was just annoying instead of being amusing or setting up his fear of the Ultimate X portion of the X Division title match at the PPV. We had a 6 man tag match that was pretty great. I love watching the Motor City Machine Guns wrestle, and think that they work really well with Beer Money. The addition of the Morgan and Hernandez was a great way to throw some fire on that feud heading toward their steel cage match. It was a really good match, which you would expect from the Guns. Oh, and the vignette they did about Sabin being a recovering “Beer Money” addict was really funny. That brings us to our main event: Jeffrey Nero Hardy against Mr. Anderson. The match could’ve been better if they hadn’t had so much stuff post-match shenanigans to get through. I think that these guys work really well together, and I love what TNA is doing with Anderson. His “kinda face, but we’re not quite sure if he’s really a face” turn has been really good, and I think the Victory Road main event should be really good.

As far as the other angles/PPV matches, I liked the Team 3D spot, with the signing of a 3-way dance between Brother Ray/Devon/Jesse Neal. I smell a setup here, and I think we’re going to see Devon turn on Jesse. They’ve been teasing a Team 3D split/feud, but I just don’t think it works very well, and TNA would be smarter to go the other way. Pope and Angle really got short shrift this week. All they did was a couple of little backstage promos…not really the way to build a PPV match. Seems like a throwaway, which could also be said for the Kevin Nash portion of your Impact program. I’m really not sure what they’re doing with Big Kev, and I have no idea what he’s going to be doing at the PPV. He and Eric Young could be the mystery tag team, but I’ll be disappointed if that’s the case. I’m really looking forward to the Flair/Lethal match at the PPV, but after the great Flair vs. Flair promo from a few weeks ago, this week’s segment fell a little flat for me. I loved Flair interrupting Jay when he was talking about his mother, but after that I felt like Flair was kinda rambling and didn’t really have much to say. I still am really happy for Jay Lethal that he’s getting this push, and that Flair is giving him some shine. I’m really hoping for a great one out of these two at Victory Road, and I’m hoping that TNA continues to give Lethal the push that he deserves.

Over all, I thought this was a great “go-home” show leading into Victory Road. I feel like they’ve done a good job elevating most of the storylines that they have, and the PPV looks to be pretty good. I’m excited to see what TNA has in store.

Predictions for Victory Road:

I promise that I have not looked at any spoilers, and as such am going off my head for what matches are going to be on the card.

Beer Money vs Motor City Machine Guns – MMG win in a really fast paced, great match. I think that James Storm will spit beer in Roode’s face.

Matt Morgan vs Hernandez – This one gets bloody in the cage, and Hernandez comes out on top.

AJ Styles and Kazarian vs Flair’s Mystery Team – I have no idea what is going to happen in this match…none.

Kurt Angle vs Pope Deangelo Dinero – I think that Angle’s going to win this match. He has recently talked about considering retirement, but I don’t think he’s quite there yet. I think this match continues to see him inch his way up the TNA Top Ten.

Angelina Love vs Madison Rayne – I really don’t care about this match, but for what it’s worth I think that Velvet and Lacey are going to turn on Madison and make her lose the title. I’m not sure if the BPs break up, or if Velvet and Lacey reform the BPs with Angelina…really don’t care.

Lethal vs Flair – I’m expecting/hoping for a great match out of these two. In the end, Lethal wins. At some point, I think he’ll put the figure four on Flair, but Flair will get out of it, and Lethal will win with his finishing maneuvers, not Flair’s.

Douglas Williams vs Brian Kendrick – This will be an interesting match, as it will be contested with both Ultimate X and submission match rules. I think that even though it seems like they’ve been setting us up to think that Williams is losing his title, I think he’s actually going to win the match and keep the title. In fact, I think they’re going to try and swerve us and he’s actually going to win it Ultimate X style.

Brother Ray vs Devon vs Jesse Neal – As I said in the Impact review, I think that Devon turns on Jesse Neal, and they beat the snot out of Jesse.

Main Event: Jeff Hardy vs Abyss vs Mr. Anderson vs Rob Van Dam – I really think that they’ve been pushing Mr. Anderson toward the title. Personally, I would love to see a heel turn from Hardy in this match, and have him try and take Mr. Anderson out with the chair, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I do think we’re going to see a great match, and my prediction is that Anderson pins Abyss to win the TNA Heavyweight title.

TNA’s problems: Is Paul Heyman the answer?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2010 by David

Yesterday, Wrestleview.com reported that many within TNA believe that Paul Heyman will be a part of the company in the near future, with some stating that they believe he will be at this weekend’s Victory Road pay per view in Orlando. Up to this point, I have resisted giving my opinion on this matter, mainly because I didn’t really believe that there was a matter to give an opinion on. I really thought it was talk, and that they (“they” primarily being Dixie Carter) would never give in to Heyman’s “demands.” He wants complete creative control of the entire product, and what we would be seeing is essentially a re-boot of TNA.

First things first: I love Paul Heyman. I loved the Paul E. Dangerously character in AWA and WCW. I loved what he did with limited financial resources while running the original ECW (I was one of the 12 people who actually watched ECW on TNN). I loved the way he pushed boundaries. I love that he is (mostly) willing to realistically assess what his products’ strengths and weaknesses are. I love that he stuck to his guns and sprinted out of the WWE when it seemed pretty clear that Vince was trying to kill the ECW name. I love the guy, and I agree with Mick Foley’s assessment from the “Rise and Fall of ECW” DVD that Heyman is wrestling’s “evil genius.”

That being said, I’m not sure that he’s exactly what TNA needs right now, especially since it appears that he is completely behind the adding of original ECW talent, and wants to be the on-screen leader of the ECW faction that TNA has been teasing for the last month. I’m a huge mark for a lot of the original ECW guys, especially Tommy Dreamer and Stevie Richards, but I can’t help feeling that another “invasion” angle isn’t going to help TNA. My question for Heyman is this: are you going to be loyal to the guys who have made TNA what it is to this point, the AJ Styles, the Jay Lethals, the Samoa Joes, or are you going to use TNA as a platform to just push guys who you’ve been loyal to for the past 16 years? I loved ECW, and I love the ECW originals, but how is the “Paul E’s Boys Club” school of booking any better than the “Hulkster’s Boys Club” school of booking? If he can put aside his love for the ECW Originals, then it could be a good move…I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Maybe I’ll write up what I’d do if I were booking TNA in a separate post tomorrow, or over the weekend.

Indy Wrestling

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2010 by David

For those of you who don’t know, there’s a small pro wrestling promotion that mainly runs Pennsylvania and Ohio called Chikara Pro.  Recently they promoted a show in Cleveland that featured former NXT wrestler, Bryan Danielson (aka Daniel Bryan).  My friend John recently blogged about going to the show, and I was struck by the following description:

“It was pretty much like most venues indy feds run – a Knights of Columbus hall that wasn’t that well lit, was bordering on sweltering thanks to a packed house and shaky air conditioning and was about as far from a venue that WWE would run as you can get. Yet I was in heaven.”

As a fan of pro wrestling in general, I love indy wrestling.  The guys work really hard for little money, and you can always tell how much they love the business, which is not always evident at a WWE or TNA show.  I’ve been to a few indy shows in my life, and it’s always a good time.  I even got to sing the national anthem at a show that was promoted in my high school gym.*  I guess the real point of this post is to put over indy wrestling as a whole, and if you can go to a show, do it.  You’ll have a good time, I promise.

For the rest of John’s post, go here:  http://bit.ly/bMJ5p6

*That 1993 show contains one of my great professional wrestling memories.  I was in a singing group that was invited to sing the anthem, and we sang it inside the ring.  During our warm up, a few of us ran the ropes, which was fun (although more painful than you might realize).  Terry Funk was on that show, and before we went out to sing, we were standing by the locker rooms, and he came out and saw us and threw some insults at us, since he was a heel at that show.  I couldn’t believe I was being insulted by Terry Funk, and I think that was pretty obvious by the look on my face.  He glanced over at me and said in that raspy southern drawl, “What are you gawkin’ at?”  I had just been insulted by a legend…how cool!

Raw – July 5, 2010

Posted in Raw, Wrestling, WWE on July 7, 2010 by David

Well, what can I say about this week’s Raw?  It was close to great, based on the sliding scale that we have to judge current wrestling programs on.  We saw angles advanced, some pretty good wrestling, and there was even a whiff of rattlesnake.

I loved what they did this week with Nexus.  Having them come out and stand in the ring to open the show was great.  Barret is pretty good on the stick, and getting better all the time.   I feel like his accent gives him a  command, and causes him to come off as a fairly credible leader.   I liked the idea of the Raw “faces” coming out and attacking Nexus, and then getting attacked from behind by the Raw “heels.”  It was a good setup, and is a pretty good example of something that I would like to see more often on all wrestling shows.  I love that the first segment set up a thread that essentially ran through the whole show, with all of the matches pretty much being based on what happened at the beginning.   I also liked the idea of John Cena being told to call a truce with the Nexus.  It was a great idea, and I felt like it was executed pretty well…although, I will say that Cena’s transformation to a cross between the Incredible Hulk and Skip Sheffield at the end of the show was a little over the top.  I’m not sure where they’re going with this, but it should be interesting to see.  I think Cena could use a little darker edge to his character…but I think it’s doubtful that he’ll make a full heel turn.  Oh…and that promo that Arn Anderson cut on Sheamus…brilliant.  Just brilliant.

As far as matches go, I thought the Morrison/Dibiase match was okay.  Not great, but okay.   The tag team match featuring Orton, Bourne, Jericho and Edge was great.  I loved the ending, including the reminder that Randy Orton still isn’t a “good guy.”  He’s on his own, and that means that he could do just about anything to anyone at anytime.  I loved that match, and the St. Louisan in me loved seeing Orton and Bourne, two of the Gateway City’s own, team together.  I’m probably in the minority here, but I hate the Santino/Kozlov storyline.  I just think it’s stupid, and while I know some people find Santino funny, I’m not one of them.  And I couldn’t care less about Khali.  I almost feel bad for Regal that he’s tied up with these morons.  However, someone I’m turning the corner on is The Miz.  The rapping was terrible, but the thought behind it, and the cheap shot with the microphone was a perfect heel move.  Plus, I have to admit that I liked seeing R-Truth get beat up.  As a hip hop fan, he offends me every week with his terrible sense of timing and lack of anything remotely resembling mic skill.

Now, to the “whiff of rattlesnake” I mentioned earlier.  That’s right.  Stone Cold Steve Austin is back…or is he?  Everything that was done tonight was to make us believe that Stone Cold Steve Austin is the new GM.  But not so fast…they wouldn’t telegraph something like that would they?  Doesn’t it seem too obvious?  Yes, it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.  I think that over the next couple of weeks they will probably have the GM use a lot of different wrestlers’ catch phrases.  Personally, I’m not sure that the creative team knows who the GM is yet.  However, I could see us finding out at SummerSlam on August 15 that the new GM is none other than one of the starts of The Expendables (which opens that same weekend), and former WWE Superstar, Stone Cold.  Am I predicting that?  No, I’m not.  I’m just mentioning it as a possibility.  After all, how can you predict what someone is going to do if they don’t even know themselves?

Thoughts on the show, or thoughts on my thoughts?  Leave me a comment below.

Smackdown – 7/2/10

Posted in Smackdown, Wrestling, WWE on July 6, 2010 by David

Okay…to begin with, I’m not a huge Smackdown fan, as I think that show tends to have lesser talent.  However, I’ve been paying more attention since the draft, due to the presence of Christian and the Big Show.  And I’ll have to say that both of them paid off on this show.  The opening segment with Swagger and Big Show was great.  I’ve not been a huge fan of Jack Swagger, occasionally referring to him on Twitter as “Jack Thwagger.”  However, I’ll say that I’ve come around.  I don’t hate him as a person anymore.   I just hate his character, which is good for a heel.   I also liked the way they furthered both the Big Show/Swagger feud and the Mysterio/Swagger feud with the main event.

I also really enjoyed the “Peep Show” segment with Christian and Matt Hardy.  I thought they both came off as passionate and ready for the Money in the Bank match.  I’m hoping that this match will be  the end of Christian’s punishment for going to TNA, and that he’ll start to get the push he deserves.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’ll discuss that in a little bit.

As for the rest of the show, I thought it was pretty lame.  Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler was a pretty good match, but I’m kinda tired of the Dolph/Vickie storyline, and I’m not sure that the WWE’s writers are even sure where they’re going with that.   The Kane vs. Luke Gallows match wasn’t anything special, and the segment afterwards with Serena “proving” Punk’s innocence was okay, but I think I took the wrong thing away from it.  What I took away from that segment was that Punk doesn’t have to wear his mask in public, but Johnny Mercury…oops…I meant the Masked Man, does.  Odd.  The MVP vs Chavo match wasn’t even worth talking about.  I’m sorry, but that was a waste of three minutes of my life.  MVP’s ring performance is terrible, and Chavo’s act has gotten stale.  Where’s good old Pepe the hobby horse when you need him?

The big question is, where are the two main aspects of Smackdown going, with two weeks left until the PPV?  Well, I think that Smackdown’s ladder match is going to be great.  As Christian and Matt Hardy pointed out, two of the guys who put ladder matches on the map will be involved.  Kofi Kingston, who has the potential to amaze with his innovative offense adds something to the proceedings.  You’ve got two behemoths in Kane and Big Show, which will be interesting, and then you’ve got a wild card in Cody Rhodes…sorry…”Dashing” Cody Rhodes.  Plus, we’ll have two additional men.  My prediction is that the two will be Drew Macintyre and Dolph Ziggler, but we’ll see.  As of right now, my prediction is for Cody Rhodes to climb to the top and grab the briefcase.  My logic being that with this new gimmick, and the fact that he was in the main event on this Smackdown, he seems to be getting something of a push.  Plus, the winner of the match always seems to be someone who doesn’t have a real feud going at the time, and tends to be someone who needs a push.  In my mind, that rules out Big Show, because he doesn’t need the push, and even without the MITB contract, he’ll continue to be in the title picture.  I feel like Kane is going to be drawn out of the ring at some point during the match due to something regarding the Undertaker, so Kane is out.  Kofi will probably end up distracted by Drew Macintyre, and Matt and Christian will end up worrying about each other, leaving both sets of guys unable to get the briefcase.  As for Dolph Ziggler, I think he’s at the point where he warrants inclusion in the match, but doesn’t have a prayer of being booked to win it.

So, where does that leave the World Heavyweight title?  Honestly, I have no idea.  I like the road they’ve taken with Jack Swagger’s character, although it does seem like a bit of a retread of Kurt Angle circa early 2001.  The only question is: where does it go?  Is it pointing toward a disqualification at MITB?  That  seems like a cheap way to end it.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how they’re going to resolve this situation, hopefully things will be a little clearer after next week’s Smackdown.

My review of last night’s Raw should be up later today or early tomorrow.  Hope everyone had a good fourth of July.

-David

Welcome

Posted in Impact, TNA, Wrestling on July 2, 2010 by David

Welcome to “Wrestling with Wrestling.”  My blog where I discuss my favorite things, least favorite things and predictions for what is to come in professional wrestling.

I’m going to put up a critique of last night’s Impact later today.  Look for it!