Archive for Author David Creighton

Lucians Wrestling Recap

Summerslam is in the books. Where do we go from here?

RAW opens with the Nexus trying to make themselves seem impressive again. Barrett is trying his best when Cena comes out to verbally destroy the entire group. Way to rebuild them. The E-GM weighs in and we finally get Nexus guys in singles matches with no outside interference from the rest of Nexus allowed. Barrett tells them win or you’re out. E-GM tells them they can pick their own opponents from last night’s WWE team, except Wade Barrett who must face Chris Jericho after the commercial.

Barrett wrestles ok, hits a Big Boot then reverses a Code Breaker into his own finisher to pick up the first win of the night. Can we just let the guest host concept die yet? The Unified Tag Team Championships get officially unified into the WWE Tag Team Championships. The dual belts are replaced by spiffy new ones. Bret presents the titles, then learns Justin Gabriel is his opponent tonight.

But that match isn’t next. Next, Tarver takes on Daniel Bryan. Nexus could lose Tarver and not be finished. Bryan is looking good until The Miz and his NXT rookie distract Bryan and cost him the match. Bryan goes after The Miz but Tarver and Reilly ally to stop him. That lets Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale on the Money in the Bank briefcase. Miz really is upset about this.

So how can Justin Gabriel beat Bret Hart without risking killing him? Simple, the E-GM doesn’t like Bret Hart and doesn’t want to see him compete again. So Gabriel gets really screwed and has to face Randy Orton. Orton utterly dominates until Sheamus shows up and Orton leaves the ring to battle him and gets counted out. Orton saves an RKO for Gabriel. So we’re making Nexus look bad despite winning? Orton takes a chair to Sheamus to inch him closer and closer to Austin clone level.

If these are supposed to be individual matches why are Sheffield and Otunga teaming against John “Marty Jannetty” Morrison and R “Get a new song” Truth? Slater and Gabriel seem like a more natural tag team out of Nexus. Sheffield looks like the best guy in this short match as he gets the pin over Morrison with a simple Clothesline.

I guess they had to combine two Nexus matches to make room for a six-diva tag. But, then again, did I want to see David Otunga win a singles match? Tonight they have Jon Lovitz in the crowd who is at least somewhat of a celebrity. His reactions are more interesting than the match itself. You would expect the new champion’s team to pick up the win but Jillian Hall actually pins Eve and the bad girls take home the win.

Heath Slater sucks up to Edge to see if Edge will give the match a miss. But Edge is feeling his oats and won’t forfeit to the Wendy’s girl. Some guy from True Blood is here tonight too. Slater just isn’t intimidating in the ring. Justin Gabriel makes a better heel and I wouldn’t have expected that. It’s another count out victory and again Nexus looks bad in winning.

It’s not that Legendary looks bad. I’m just sick of having the trailers shoved down my throat. And The Great Khali should be a comedy foil for the guest hosts. He can pull that off.

Darren Young is the last Nexus member to risk being eliminated. He’s facing John Cena. He is the worst guy in Nexus. What do you think is going to happen? Nexus decides to come out and watch this match. Why just this one? The tease yet another countout but Cena makes it back and it’s five knuckle shuffle and STF in short order. Young lasts all of five seconds before tapping out. Nexus closes in but let Cena leave so they can beat down Young.

Look, I’m not going to miss Darren Young but this show was supposed to rebuild Nexus and it failed miserably. Kicking out and beating down Young is just treading water not advancing. Gabriel sells the damage his 450 Splash does to himself very well. WWE worked really hard on Nexus and now they seem to be in dire danger of becoming irrelevant. Oh well, Daniel Bryan is back!

Oddly, this episode broke the record for viewers on Canadian network The Score. I once again managed to avoid spoilers for NXT until it aired in Canada. There’s one elimination early, and it’s “Showtime” Percy Watson, the one guy left who really deserves to go. Michael McGuillicuddy comes up short against Zack Ryder while Kaval beats Husky Harris. Even at elimination two they don’t show rankings; they just show who is eliminated. To me, this is the ideal top 4. At this point I don’t want anybody to go but someone has to and it turns out to be Husky Harris. Cody Rhodes, his pro, flips out and he and Husky start a donnybrook. But Kaval again takes down Husky so they are finally letting him win.

Normally I would say nothing else about this episode. But some odd things happen. They gave each rookie a minute to speak. Kaval did a rap. It wasn’t very good. But he ended the rap by saying he was the guy for Total Non-stop Action. Later, Cole and Josh Matthews went on at length about rookies making, or not making, an Impact. Why is WWE all of the sudden making sly references to the competition? The policy, up until now, has been to ignore that TNA even exists. Something strange was certainly going on that night. And aren’t these terms trademarked? Is this payback for them trying to use ECW?

Speaking of TNA here’s some real life news. Rob Van Dam had limited appearances on his TNA contract. They ran out. While he was champion. For unclear reasons no new dates were negotiated. So, in storyline, Abyss beat RVD within an inch of his life and now the title is vacant and they are holding an eight-man tournament to crown a replacement. And, as if this didn’t make them look like amateurs, there’s a long segment early in the show where the announcer’s monitors are not on and all we can hear is them talking to the backstage crew. The eight-men in the tournament are the top 8 contenders.

Rob Terry is, sadly, one of the top 8. Look, Terry is improving and he’s probably at least as skilled as Skip Sheffield now. But aside from muscles I have no reason to care for him. He’s out in short order as he loses to Jeff Hardy. Next up is Mr. Anderson…Anderson versus Jay Lethal. Face versus face matches are nice once in a while but this is two in a row. Anderson wins and also advances to round 2. Doug Williams is the top 8 but AJ Styles isn’t? Williams faces Kurt Angle in a forgone conclusions match. The last match in round one is Matt Morgan versus The Pope. You would think Morgan would win to advance at least one heel into round 2 but it’s Dinero who picks up the win. He’ll face Anderson next while Angle faces Hardy. But that won’t be until September 5th and the next Pay Per View. The finals won’t be until the Pay Per View after that!

Hulk Hogan teases that he will quit while Eric Bishoff promises Abyss and Ric Flair will pay. Remember when people thought these guys would take TNA to a true #2 spot in wrestling. Fortune has swelled to Flair plus six as Doug Williams and Matt Morgan. Flair calls out EV 2.0 for being garbage wrestlers and points out he’s so hard core he survived a plane crash. Dixie Carter brings out the members of the EV 2.0 guys who just got contracts (Dreamer, Foley, Richards, Nunzio, Rhyno and Sabu). There’s a confrontation but it’s not physical and is mired in personal crap between Foley and Flair. We see Raven later, being the wild card in EV 2.0.

Kevin Nash and Sting, which might be starting a TNA seniors division, trot out the same old lines about fighting to keep their spot. So Jeff Jarrett and Hulk Hogan interrupt to argue this show is about the young guys. The epitome of chutzpah is killing your parents then begging for mercy because you are an orphan. But the lights go out and Fortune is back to beat up all four of them. I instantly like them more.

Your main event? Tommy Dreamer vs. AJ Styles. The heart and soul of ECW (both versions) versus the one true homegrown TNA star. If Tommy is going to wrestle then I demand he face Samoa Joe once his suspension is up. The match isn’t awful, but when Tommy hits a big move out comes Fortune. The EC EV 2.0 ambush them. Abyss emerges from under the ring and hits a Black Hole Slam on Tommy so AJ can pick up the win. Abyss takes off leaving the rest to brawl. Man The Sandman looks old.

You need to be a diehard fan to find Reaction interesting beyond the first few minutes where they basically continue Impact. Impact is also running over lately so if you have a DVR it’s safer to record Reactions just in case. But it spoils any illusions we had that Impact itself was live. This is clearly a pre-recorded show yet “live” footage is being shown.

On to Smackdown. Kane’s explanation could be a laugh. But it’s little Rey Rey who opens the show. Kane is guilty; Rey is vindicated. Look, it’s Alberto Del Rio, only live! Well, live without a mask. Del Rio is descended from Ferdinand and Isabella, Rey Mysterio is street trash. Rey think Del Rio’s cufflinks came from a swap meet. Rey offers him a match in his debut and Del Rio can’t wait to squash Rey like a bug. But Rey kicks him around a bit then bails. Del Rio’s accent is worse live.

Remember how Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler’s match was interrupted by Nexus? Well they try again tonight. The match is pretty typical for the pairing and ends early when Vickie Guererro shoves Kofi off the top turnbuckle right in front of the ref. Champion’s advantage means Ziggler keeps the title. Ziggler bails leaving Kofi to face down Vickie. She realizes he won’t hit a girl and laughs long enough for Ziggler to sneak back, attack Kofi and eventually Zig Zag him in the ring. He follows up with a Sleeper on an already out man. And the feud refuses to die. They’re just trying to make Ziggler look just as aggressive as they’ve built Kofi up to be.

Can it be true? Serena is going to wrestle? Awesome! She tags with Gallows to face Kelly Kelly and the Big Show. Punk tells them: lose and you’re out. But, when Show is distracted beating Gallows on the outside, Serena wins her first match with a Gutbuster.

Kane promo time. Weird sound effects are not helping. Pride is the Undertaker’s weakness. And they want us to believe Kane has been planning this for 15 years. And now the phenom is no more and Kane is the devil’s favorite demon. Kane isn’t even phased to learn Taker is back next week.

Alberto Del Rio has a personal ring announcer. He also enters in a car. A Rolls Royce, not a Lowrider. His announcer speaks Spanish, For a guy’s debut neither Del Rio nor Mysterio seem to be cutting loose or going all out. Del Rio gets an interesting flip into a seated Armbar and Rey taps out almost immediately! This is quite a surprise for them to put the new guy over Rey, by submission no less, in his TV debut. Where will he go from here?

Bad news on the RAW front, Skip Sheffield suffered a broken ankle at a house show and will need surgery. So will Nexus shrink even more? That’s it for this week. The week after PPVs tend to be loaded with filler and recaps and ads and that’s exactly what we had from WWE this week. Nexus and Alberto Del Rio continue to be fresh but it’s Del Rio who looks strong.

summerslam wwe

It’s the day after Summerslam and I’m about to watch it a second time. It goes without saying there are major spoilers coming and if there is any way you can still see this show before reading this I suggest you do. Trust me, it’s worth it.

We open with a well-produced promo that makes Nexus look great without a hint of what is to come. I watched most of this show with my pal Hugh and he commented a few times that the three-man announce team of Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Matt Stryker is overkill. They often talk over each other and can be confusing when their job should be to add clarity.

Our first match is the Intercontinental Title match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. Dolph, the champion, comes out first, which flies in the face of tradition. And it’s just so Vickie Guererro can get in a few “Excuse Me!”s to draw her usual X-Pac heat. Kofi Kingston is more aggressive lately, which probably means he’ll be moving past the Intercontinental belt and entering the main event picture. Cole is repeatedly saying Kofi cant; risk being disqualified because the title can’t change hands on a DQ. But if Kofi loses he doesn’t get the title anyway, no matter how he loses. Shut up Cole. The match is solid, building in pace as it goes. But just when you think you’re entering the really exciting part, as Dolph dodges Trouble in Paradise and locks on a Sleeper Hold, Nexus shows up and beats down both guys for a no-contest. This makes little sense. Nexus hasn’t even gone near Smackdown since their debut. Why start now? Why not focus on taking out more potential RAW superstars who could join Cena’s team?

Backstage, Jericho and Edge suck up to The Miz to try to get him to join Team WWE. Edge is eating a Slim Jim. Miz tells them he still has to think about it then steals Edge’s Slim Jim.

Diva’s Championship is next and, again, the champion enters first. Now they’re just trying to piss me off. I have some friends who are high on Alicia Fox but I don’t see it. She’s not especially attractive, she’s nothing special on the mic, her character is bland and if she’s a great athlete she’s not being allowed to show it. Maybe she would work better as a face. Melina’s outfit is just…weird. She looks like an Aztec princess crossed with a chicken. The announcers consider Melina one of the all time great divas. That’s overselling it. I’m glad to see her back because she has at least some wrestling skill but she’s no Trish Stratus. She’s no Lita. She’s no Fabulous Moolah. And again Cole is saying Melina can’t risk a DQ. She can’t risk a pin either. Shut up Cole. Even by Diva standards this isn’t much of a match. Melina fakes a leg injury then Fox attacks her shoulder. Of course Melina forgets about the injury a minute later anyway. That’s what’s known as a lack of selling. Melina is too dominant before she picks up the win. It makes Fox look Bush league.

For those who don’t look ahead, the next PPV is Night of Champions. Where every belt is defended and/or champions fight champions. So LayCool come out put down Melina. But Melina makes it physical instead. She gets in early offence before, as they say, the numbers game catches up with her. Alicia Fox even joins the beat down but McCool dumps her from the ring as well. This was more entertaining than the match.

When you are proud of the fact Marlon Wayans is attending your show you may just want to stop mentioning celebrities at all. Up next is Big Show versus the Straight Edge Society. Big Show begins the match by removing the protective tape on his right hand to show that he has already healed a broken bone and two severed tendons in about three weeks. The announcers don’t even know that it’s Tornado rules (no need to tag in and out) even though that was announced last week. The Big Show is a giant and Punk et al target Show’s right hand. That’s the story of the match until CM Punk gets fed up and leaves his minions to Show’s mercies. With Punk out of the equation Show destroys the remaining two for an easy win but no closure. I doubt the SES will be together much longer.

Kane talks to his coffin. Sheamus shows up ask to borrow it for Randy Orton. Kane says no. I like the odd heel/heel faceoff. I remember a great HHH/JBL faceoff back in the Evolution/Wrestling God days. This one makes both guys look good.

Here comes The Miz. This is a great promo. Miz says all the members of Team WWE begged him to join. Cena said Miz was the only one who could see him. Bret called him the best there is, was and will be. Morrison admitted The Miz was the Shawn Michaels and Morrison was the Marty Janetty of their tag team. R-Truth wrote him a crappy rap. So yes, Miz will be on the team! And yet, the crowd still hates this guy. Miz has to be one of the best natural heels in the business today.

summerslam wwe Orton faces Sheamus now and again the champion comes out first. The crowd is really into this match. Who knew Orton had a shot at being the next Steve Austin? There’s a blown spot where Sheamus is supposed to counter the RKO but, from the camera’s perspective at least, it looks like Orton actually hits the move. And the announcers stumble over each other trying to explain it. This match improved on the second viewing, While most of the offense is pretty basic both guys are very intense and Sheamus really knows how to sell. He has a really expressive face and he knows how to use it. The look on his face when Orton kicks out of the Brogue Kick is awesome. He snaps and gets a chair then shoves the ref off and gets himself disqualified. Sheamus doesn’t even manage to hit Orton with a chair after the bell and Orton kicks him in the junk first. Orton then RKOs Sheamus onto the announce desk. So answer this question, has one feud actually resolved tonight at what is supposed to be the biggest Pay Per View of the summer?

Remember what I said before about pumping up minor celebrities? Now they want us to be impressed by Devon Graves. Sigh. The official Summerslam theme is “Rip It Up” by Jet.

Could they possibly mention The Undertaker more in the promo for Kane versus Rey Mysterio? Now I was under the impression this was a Casket Match. But no. It’s a regular match but Kane promises to put Mysterio in the casket after the match. At last, the champion comes out second. The problem with this match is, in Vince McMahon’s world of fetishized big men, none of us buy that Rey will be allowed to beat Kane. They do a decent job of keeping the crowd entertained. Both guys manage a lot of counters. Kane gets Mysterio in the casket before he wins the match. Kane finally manages to hit a Choke Slam and that’s enough to put Mysterio away. Kane hits two more Choke Slams and a Tombstone Piledriver on Mysterio, but when he again opens the casket for Mysterio, The Undertaker is inside!

Needless to say the fans are overjoyed. But nobody is really surprised. Taker confronts Mysterio, asking him why he did it. So does Taker even know who attacked him? Rey maintains his innocence and Taker believes him. So Taker turns on Kane. Kane reveals it really was him who attacked his brother, but The Undertaker is not back to 100% and Kane takes him out before leaving with his title belt. I’m still not sure we need a Kane versus Taker feud unless Kane is about to retire.

Time for the much hyped main event. Nexus enter first. It’s individual entrances for the faces. Cena comes out first. Edge is number two. R-Truth bounces out third. Wow, Matt Stryker just mentioned R-Truth used to be K-Kwik. Jericho makes four. Morrison may be the least over guy on this team. I’m sorry for him. Bret “Nostalgia” Hart comes out. That leaves The Miz. But, in a shocking twist, Cena doesn’t want him. He couldn’t wait until the day of Summerslam and he found someone else who hates Nexus as much as they do. And that some is…


This just became worth the money. I can’t believe it. Stryker calls him the American Dragon. Cole is instantly offended as he still hates Daniel Bryan and loves The Miz. Nexus are not happy to see Bryan back. A wrestler can be eliminated by pinfall, submission, DQ or countout. Bryan starts against Darren Young. Daniel Bryan almost immediately takes Young out with a Crossface… Wait a second, they fired him for choking someone then they give him Benoit’s finisher?!

Team WWE starts tagging and Justin Gabriel takes a beating for a while. King accidentally uses Daniel Bryan’s real name. John Morrison takes out Michael Tarver with Starship Pain giving WWE a seven on five advantage. The worst wrestlers seem to be going early, which is a wise strategy.

Skip Sheffield has improved in the ring to the point he can handle generic big man offense. Sheffield manages to take out Morrison then R-Truth shortly thereafter. Bret Hart enters the ring and I’m not expecting much. He goes after Heath Slater. I’m surprised he is willing to climb up to the second rope to pound on Slater. Then he hits an elbow drop which I never thought would be safe for him. Then he Scoop Slams Slater! Inverted Atomic Drop! Sharpshooter but Slater is able to tag out while in the move. Someone from Nexus throws a chair into the ring but it’s Bret who uses it on Sheffield and gets disqualified. Nexus now has the advantage. Edge and Cena have not been in the match yet. Edge gets in soon and immediately takes out Sheffield with a Spear.

Justin Gabriel is one of the best wrestlers in Nexus. Barrett might be better, it’s tough to say. But Barrett is the more complete package. Otunga barely spends any time in the ring before tapping out to the Walls of Jericho. The Y2J chants are as loud as when he was a face. But Jericho collides with Edge and Heath Slater attacks him from behind and gets a pin. Edge and Cena argue as to who enters the match and Cena gives in only to have Slater again strike from behind and pin Edge. Edge and Jericho take their frustrations out of Cena before they leave. That means only Cena and Bryan are left on the WWE side. Slater, Barrett and Gabriel now hold the advantage. Cole continues to argue they needed The Miz. He calls Bryan a goofball.

Even as the champion of RAW Cena gets dueling “Let’s Go Cena!” “Cena Sucks!” chants. Cena takes all kinds of punishment before he makes the hot tag to Bryan. Bryan is Rey Mysterio crossed with Kurt Angle. He takes Slater out, again with the Crossface. But The Miz shows himself again and clobbers Bryan with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Nexus easily take out Bryan and it’s down to two-on-one.

If I’m making this match seem long, rest assured, it is. Cena takes a ton more punishment before he dodges Gabriel’s 450 Splash then pins him. Barrett comes in, only to immediately get caught in an STF and tap out in short order. So Team WWE wins. Where does that leave Nexus? They just lost a lot of heat. Can they rebuild? Or will the focus shift to making Daniel Bryan a star?

So there we have it. The outcast returns. Thanks to everyone who chanted Daniel Bryan’s name. Thanks to everyone who sent emails. Thanks to John Cena and the other superstars who went to bat for Bryan. The Undertaker returns, one title changes hands and the Intercontinental title is made to look secondary. Not a perfect show but a really great main event makes this Pay Per View worth the money.


Not that long ago Hollywood realized that the young film-goers they desperately wanted to draw to their movies had grown up playing video games. The aesthetic and pace of video games began to influence film, much to the annoyance of older moviegoers who simply were not used to the pace. Now, some years later, we’ve reached the point where the movie makers themselves have grown up playing video games. And, with that, we now see movies that are designed to actually look like video games themselves.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World launched with midnight screenings last night. I attended a showing in downtown Toronto. The film itself is unabashedly set in Toronto so the affect was something like going to the Superbowl with the home team playing. Based on a seven part series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley this film is a masterpiece of style but isn’t lacking in content as a result.

Michael Cera plays the title character. He’s a 22-year old slacker with no job who shares an apartment, and bed, with a gay roommate. He’s between jobs and trying to make it work as a bass player in a struggling band. Still reeling from a bad break-up his current girlfriend is a seventeen-year-old high school student, a point that draws him no end of ridicule from friends, his sister and his own bandmates. But all that changes when he meets Ramona Flowers, who may literally be the girl of his dreams. Pilgrim begins dating Ramona, without first breaking up with his girlfriend, only to learn that Ramona’s love life is governed by the League of Evil Exes, Ramona’s seven former romantic partners who engage any potential suitor in a series of duels to the death to prevent anyone from having her.

scottpilgrimMichael Cera is not exactly what you would expect from an action hero but there’s no realism to be expected in this movie. The fights, and there are plenty, are over-the-top style pieces where literally anything can happen. The League includes mystics, a movie star, a vegan musician (who happens to also be dating the ex that tore Pilgrim’s heart out), a kickboxing lesbian and a smarmy record executive. Cera fights with not just his body but also his brain. But, as each ex is dispatched and turns into a pile of coins, Ramona and Scott’s growing relationship is placed under ever growing stress. Can Scott overcome his own insecurities as well as the evil exes and have a hope of a happy ending? If you’ve read the comics you already know. If not, you’re in for a nice surprise.

And that describes the whole film, a nice surprise. With sound effects appearing as words like in the 60s Batman TV-series, and other video game touches like the “pee bar” this could have easily dissolved into the stinkiest cheese in the world. But director Edgar Wright maintains a laser precise vision for the entire 1h 53m of the film’s runtime. Completely internally consistent, but backed by an actually touching romance and a generous dose of laughs this is a film that is going to satisfy its target audience. For those who haven’t played a video game since Pong it will probably all seem silly and far too bust to appreciate.

Casting was perfect. Scott Pilgrim is firmly in Michael Cera’s comfort zone and he steps into the role like a skin-tight pair of jeans. Mary Elizabeth Winestead as Ramona manages to make her seem like a real character while maintaining an air of unobtainable mystery. Jason Swartztman, Chris Evans and Brandon Routh all take turns as exes and deliver solid performances in what could have been one-note characters.

So is this movie for you? The opening seconds of the film are the Universal logo rendered as an 8-bit video game image complete with low quality music. If you find this idea hilarious then you need to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. If that image confuses you, or you consider it silly, then the multiplex is playing The Expendables and Eat, Pray, Love this week too. You might want to check them out instead. For myself, this was just as epic as advertised.


tna special

TNA’s special TV episode, The Whole Effin’ Show, seems worthy of devoting full attention to. Expect a lot of wrestling here and, if TNA isn’t lying, Pay Per View quality matches. And we’re opening with Kurt Angle versus AJ Styles so I’m feeling pretty good from the start. Did AJ get a huge new tattoo? It’s distracting. Both guys are getting support from the typically wacky Impact Zone crowd. Styles busts out the Pele, Angle hits a Moonsault Bodypress. AJ kicks out of an Angle Slam as they tease a lot of finishes. But the real finish comes when AJ goes for a mule kick low blow only to be caught and reversed into the Ankle Lock. AJ doesn’t last long in the hold and the forgone conclusion of Angle winning is realized.

Straight into another match, well after the commercial, as Angelina Love challenges again for the Knockouts title. These two are not the best female wrestlers in the world but they keep the crowd into it. The motorcycle mystery woman shows up again, only to be attacked by Velvet Sky. Velvet rips the helmet off but the mystery woman is wearing a mask under that. What a tease. Madison Rayne tries to win with a belt shot but Angelina gets the last laugh and captures the title once again.

Another commercial then a custom intro by Ken Anderson but we’re going straight into another match, a Triple Threat Match between Anderson, Matt Morgan and The Pope D’Angelo Dinero. The crowd chants “You Still Suck” and I’m not even sure who they are aiming that at. Oddly, the two faces are double teaming Morgan at first. But that only lasts until the first attempt at a cover. It’s not a very long match and the ending is boring as Anderson takes down the Pope, only to be ambushed by Matt Morgan who steals the pin.

Jeff Hardy made an open challenge. Let’s see if anyone interesting responds. Shannon Moore? Really? That’s it? It’s certainly a fast paced match as these two friends go at it. And the announcers have no issue repeatedly telling us these two are friends. There’s no doubt Hardy is going to win but he goes out of his way to make his buddy look good out there.

Now a match that’s been building for weeks, the finals of the best of 5 series between Beer Money and The Motor City Machineguns. It’s a two out of three falls match. No rest period between falls though. The crowd is totally into this match as both teams show their stuff. Beer Money grab the first fall but the Guns even it up very quickly and we’re into sudden death. But the third fall is worthy of being a match by itself and it could go either way several times. There’s far too much double teaming, a problem with TNA and its treatment of officials, but when the Guns finally do pick up the win their celebration is well earned. TNA is trying to make tag team wrestling matter again and they’re doing a better job than WWE lately.

We’ve been “promised” Hulk Hogan is going to speak tonight. So why is the main event starting now? A Stairway to Janice match may be the stupidest name of all time. Abyss goes for the weapon before RVD even gets to the ring but a flying kick takes the ladder down. After the match Van Dam went through against Sabu at Hardcore Justice I’m surprised at how physical they make this match. Lots of fun with ladders. Tacks, barbed wire and glass also make appearances. A Rolling Thunder onto a board covered in barbed wire is a very nice visual spot. Abyss’s hardcore tactics keep backfiring on him but it’s he who climbs the ladder and claims Janice. Van Dam does some nice high flying moves that end up getting him the win. I suppose you’d expect him to win when the show is named after him.

After a whole night of action-packed matches it’s time for Hulk Hogan to send us home on a low note. More Hardcore Justice talk? Is he actually trying to justify that show as helping the brand. They drag out all the EC- I mean EV 2.0 people out. Sabu, Guido, Mamluke and even Bill Alphonso are still around collecting paychecks that could go to stolen Ring of Honor talent. No Raven in this lovefest. The lights go out, and we’re expecting Sandman but instead it’s Fortune, Matt Morgan and I’m not sure who else who attack the EV 2.0 guys. Raven and Sandman even try to come to the rescue. Abyss join the party to get some revenge on RVD and, sadly, this storyline is not going to die. When your storyline is talented wrestlers people care about beating up has-beens why would any self-respecting fan cheer for the has-beens?

A really solid episode of Impact. Some long running storylines were continued with the matches but we were heavy on the action until the unfortunate final scene. For TNA’s sake let’s hope a lot of people tuned out before Hogan arrived.

Wrestling Recap WWE

It could be a great week in pro wrestling. WWE build to Summerslam. TNA put on a loaded TV card and Ring of Honor, lost their champ to WWE. Not all the news can be good. TNA gets its own column this week so this column will be focused on WWE. Let’s saddle up.

Bret “The Museum Piece” Hart opens RAW. He wants to put Humpty Dumpty back together by calling out Jericho and Edge. Why is Hart wearing a t-shirt with an old school Batsignal on it instead of WWE merchandise? Only Jericho answers. Bret tries shaming Jericho into rejoining the team but Jericho still says no. He thinks Bret is more scared of him and Edge than he is of Nexus. That draws Edge to feign respect for Hart. Once again Bret can’t take a bump so the brief scuffle that follows is just a sad joke. Why is Bret Hart wrestling not managing? We all know what shape he is in. Meanwhile, Nexus is taking down The Hart Dynasty backstage.

Evan Bourne’s star seems to be no longer rising as he gets squashed by an increasingly aggressive and intense Miz. Melina is back, which means she does the great entrance again. She gets a non-title win over Alicia Fox. So will Summerslam feature Melina vs. Fox or Layla versus McCool? Or both? E-GM makes the Fox/Melina match during a commercial. Way to make the women seem important.

Mark Henry wants on Team WWE but Nexus don’t even let him get to the ring to face Ted Dibiase. And Sheamus doesn’t even wait for them to help Henry to the back. Sheamus is getting repetitive as he calls out Randy Orton. Yes Sheamus has never beaten Orton. We got it the first time you said it. Physicality is averted by the E-GM announcing anyone who interferes in their Summerslam match will be suspended. Sheamus does get his wish though, no rematch if Orton loses. Sheamus tries to weasel away but Orton jumps him, only to have Sheamus fight back and it turn into a brawl after all. But the mighty Sheamus is left looking scared to death of Orton.

The NXT rookies are wrestling on RAW? Was there another ash cloud and half the roster is missing? Oh, they’re just here for Sheamus to snap on. Zach Ryder never seems to get pushed, tonight he and William Regal do the job to R-Truth and John Morrison to make that pair look strong going into Summerslam. I wrote the previous sentence before the match actually started and didn’t have to change one word.

Let’s ignore the diva crap. So Nexus finally go after Khali backstage and injure his knee. The Miz makes Cena and Hart each ask him if he’ll join the team and even then says he won’t tell them until Sunday. That leaves the main event, John Cena and Bret Hart verses Edge and Jericho with Nexus as lumberjacks. Edge and Jericho throw Cena to Nexus all they can until Nexus turns on them. Nexus face off against Cena and Hart, out come Morrison and R-Truth and, yes Virginia, Edge and Jericho return to the fold. Six drive off seven leaving only one uncertain spot for Sunday. And therein lies the problem with RAW. They have been spinning their wheels since Cena announced his team, only to end up right back where they started. If the Nexus members could have actually wrestled real singles matches during the past month we could have gone somewhere. But the Sacremento crowd was red-hot so RAW does its job and WWE looks good going into Summerslam.

There’s an elimination on NXT and Mark Henry is off selling the beatdown from RAW. They do a silly boxing machine contest where the winner gets to appear on the next RAW without having to share the spotlight with the other rookies. What if the winner gets eliminated? Way to give away that this is fixed. It’s not entertaining and Alex Reilly wins.

They do a 3 on 3 match so, before the half hour mark, all the rookies have wrestled and the challenge is over. We have elimination and a Miz/John Morrison match left to fill this out. The Miz/Morrison match is actually half decent. Of the same calibre are your average RAW match. Kaval takes number one, McGuillicuddy second, then Percy Watson, Husky Harris moves up to fourth. So Alex Reilly is on the block, which is a surprise, so is Lucky Cannon, not a surprise. Since Reilly is on RAW next week it’s obviously Cannon who goes home. But the big news is that we’re going to have a double elimination next week.

That bring us to Smackdown. We open with Vickie Guererro and Dolph Ziggler, who looks ridiculous in a Hawaiian shirt and lei. Our new and more aggressive Kofi Kingston jumps Ziggler and that draws Teddy Long. Long sets a rematch between Kingston and Ziggler for Summerslam and Ziggler versus Rey Mysterio too. Vickie says Kingston should have to face Kane tonight. Long tries to assert his authority and block it but Kingston wants the match, right now.

The match is decent with Kofi doing a great flip on the outside, only to strike the ring post with his leg. That gives Kane an opening and once he takes Kofi apart he hits the Tombstone Piledriver for the win. Kane recaps why he hates Mysterio and claims he is the Devil’s favorite demon. That draws Mysterio to claim to be God’s humble servant. Really? Religion? Is that the road we want to go down now? Nothing new here, just last minute plugging for Sunday.

Christian is back despite his the injuries two weeks ago that meant “his arm would never be the same.” Drew McIntyre wants Cody Rhodes to take out Christian and finish the job he started. Cody is “dashing” so he’s not worried. Christian’s shoulder is the story of the match and plays into Rhodes eventual victory. Big Show crushes three jobbers. CM Punk points out, they’re just jobbers.

Matt Hardy and Drew McIntyre face off for what seems like the twentieth time. It gets the 9 p.m. timeslot which means they have more faith in it than I’d expect. A lot of the action takes place outside the ring, with very inconsistent ten-counts by the ref, until McIntyre traps Hardy’s ankle between the levels of the ring steps and stomps on them. Hardy manages to fight back to the ring but McIntyre takes him out with his finisher DDT variant.

Swagger comes out to complain. MVP comes out to remind him a year ago MVP actually still mattered. Swagger clobbers MVP with a microphone and that devolves into a match. And, long story short, it’s an incredible upset as MVP actually picks up the win. Albert Del Rio will finally debut next week. How come I’m already sick of him?

Mysterio vs. Ziggler is the main event. Kane shows up with a casket part way through. It’s a decent match with Mysterio picking up the win then fighting off Kane. It’s a match that’s decent and given some time but none of WWE’s matches this week were as good as the best of the matches on the TNA special. They managed to push the PPV Sunday but it didn’t feel like they were building to something big. Summerslam is supposed to be something big but I’m not feeling the “wow factor” from the Smackdown side. Still, I will be getting the show and you’ll hear my thoughts afterward. Nexus is the big story and we have to see what happens next.

Lucians Wrestling Recap

A trip out of town means this column is late and won’t be as detailed as usual. But let’s make do, shall we?

Remember last week? When Cena’s team was falling apart and Nexus was united? They certainly remind us enough. There’s even sad violin music in the opening video. Expect more of the same tonight. Plus we get to see a new movie trailer for Cena’s latest. Great, more ads.

Edge starts the show. His team is falling apart. So Edge is taking matters in his own hands. He wants Wade Barrett one-on-one with nobody else involved. R-Truth isn’t listening to Edge so he comes out to chew the fat. E-GM is fine with Edge facing Barrett and the match is after the commercial. The match lasts a little while and Edge looks to be winning when Barrett bails from the ring and summons the rest of Nexus. Edge gets while the getting is good to avoid a beat down.

Edge then seeks out Cena to ask him why he did what Edge asked and left him alone, but Edge is petulant and quits the team. That brings in Jericho to challenge Cena with the loser also leaving the team. Morrison kills time with The Great Khali so a few Nexus guys can show up later and try to get Khali to switch sides.

There’s a six-diva tag match that isn’t that very interesting but Melina Perez returns from injury afterward to attack Alicia Fox. Sheamus has a match against Goldust. They actually remember ECW for a change and talk about how a year ago and brand new rookie Sheamus was feuding with Goldust in ECW. And if you think Goldust is even going to put up a fight you must think this is an actual sport.

Cena and Jericho put on a good match at the mid-point of the show but, when Cena first applies the STF, Jericho taps out before the move is even fully locked in. It’s odd and I still don’t know why he did it. Cena tries a heartfelt speech to convince Jericho to stay, and the crowd is happy to chant for him when it looks like he will, but no, Jericho walks off stage.

Edge is waiting for Jericho in the locker room so a mutual lovefest. These two actually agree to let their bygones be bygones and it could be a new alliance. E-GM decides, next week, Jericho and Edge can team up to face John Cena and… Bret Hart? With Nexus as lumberjacks? Do they get chimp sidekicks?

The main event tonight is Randy Orton versus The Miz, but it’s been an afterthought until Orton gets interviewed. But, even then, he spends most of his time concentrating on Sheamus. Orton has a lot of charisma, but his speaking skills don’t match up, or at least not under his current gimmick. So maybe he should stay silent more often.

Oh joy, a trailer. WTF is Danny Glover doing in a film with John Cena?

It’s weird to see The Great Khali getting a push but he actually beats Ted Dibiase after Nexus causes a distraction. The best part of the show is a vignette with Will Farrell, Mark Wahlberg and the Bella Twins. Find it on Youtube.

As for the main event, The Miz’s style is plodding and methodical. He often picks a body part and takes it apart. That’s fine. That’s typical WWE heel style, but put him up against someone who also isn’t working a flashy style, like tonight’s match against Orton or his recent PPV match with R-Truth, and the match ends up dull. Sheamus watches most of the match. Orton eventually gets the win but we’re denied a final confrontation between him and Sheamus.

NXT was nothing special, no elimination.

Mysterio opens Smackdown and we’re expected to believe the water he was thrown into last week was fifteen feet deep and he almost drowned. Rey actually mentions God in this promo. Rey claims he knows who really attacked the Undertaker, but the interruption of the opener belongs to Drew McIntyre. It’s so cheap to pick on Rey because he wears a mask. It’s been done to death and I’m tired of it. I think I recognize some of these lines as recycled from an old Paul Burchill/Hurricane feud. This is actually a really good promo by both guys. We’re in Laredo, Texas so Rey is playing hard to impress La Rasa and these two end up agreeing to a match. Will it be just as good?

Is it really that big a deal that “Dashing” Cody Rhodes doesn’t wear knee pads? He picks up a win over Matt Hardy. Dolph Ziggler gets his Intercontinental Title shot and, with his cougar’s help, becomes the new champion. Kingston again snaps and beats down Ziggler after the match. Expect the rematch at Summerslam. Ziggler looks better every time I see him wrestle.

Why is CM Punk back in the sling? He’s really proud of his gang for taking down The Big Show last week. They face Show in a 3-on-1 match at Summerslam. Punk claims to have broken a bone and torn at least two tendons in Show’s right hand. Will he even make it to Summerslam?

They’re also claiming Drew McIntyre hurt Christian’s arm so bad “it will never be the same” as the main event pits Mysterio versus McIntyre. It’s a perfectly fine main event match with McIntyre working a lot of submissions. That makes it time to plug Mysterio and Kane who will face in a casket match at Summerslam. Mysterio is afraid of caskets now. Rey is the first person to figure out that Kane could have taken down The Undertaker and accuses him right back. Once again we risk building to another Taker/Kane feud. We shall see.

TNA was the victim of split focus this week as they were hyping the Hardcore Justice PPV while also trying to push their own brand for building to a big night the week after the PPV. By the time you are reading this the PPV is over so I recommend you check a wrestling news site like Inside Pulse to find out what happened. Hopefully we can now let ECW rest in peace with the little dignity it still has. If you want to try to capture ECW then you may as well hire Paul Heyman.

With Summerslam looming WWE is not doing a good enough job to promote itself while TNA is looking backwards, not forwards. This is a big week for both companies, WWE has to sell one of the top 3 Pay Per Views of the year while TNA has to put on a TV show that makes up for giving up a PPV to ECW nostalgia. Hopefully my column will be more timely next… later this week.

Wrestling Recap

It’s another week in WWE (and maybe TNA) as we move closer to Summerslam. Cena has his team. How will Nexus react? RAW begins with Cena making lame Super Friends jokes until Jericho comes out to make it clear he’s not a good guy despite joining Cena’s team. Cue the anonymous e-GM to force Jericho and Cena to tag together tonight. Nexus will face 7 WWE Superstars in an elimination match as well.

The Uso start being used as singles jobbers as Jay provides Randy Orton with little competition. Orton takes down Jimmy Uso, Sheamus and even The Miz when he tries to cash in Money in the Bank. The GM decides to make Miz and Cena the ones to face Cena and Jericho. Edge isn’t a fan of The Great Khali, which leads to a match where, if Edge wins, Khali is off Team Cena. But Nexus doesn’t let them finish the match so Edge bails on Khali. Weirdly, Nexus lets Khali leave without attacking him. The 7 WWE “stars” are Goldust, Mark Henry, The Hart Foundation, Yoshitatsu, Evan Bourne and… Jerry Lawler? Nexus is being so heavily protected they win this without losing a single member. And after looking so good lately Evan Bourne is left to be Nexus’s whipping boy.

The tag match is the main event. Neither side get along. They can’t even agree who will start, a classic way of demonstrating tension between partners. There have been “Y2J” chants on and off all night. People seem willing to get behind him as a face; but he makes such a great heel I’d rather he stay that way. In the end it’s Jericho who betrays Cena and allows The Miz to get the win. Yes, The Miz just pinned Cena. I’m sure some fans heads exploded upon seeing that. Then again, K-Fed owns a win over Cena, with the footnote that it was due to an attack by the late Umaga. Cena attacks Jericho and locks on the STF. That draws Khali to break it up, then get Speared by Edge. Morrison and R-Truth join the party and the message is hammer to the skull obvious. The Nexus are a untied force acting as a perfect unit. Cena’s team is falling apart. But, since I can’t see any way Bret Hart is actually going to take a bump big enough to remove him from the match, I’m still sure Cena’s team will win.

On NXT the focus is back on the rookies, not storylines going on elsewhere. There’s an elimination tonight, but not before some half-decent matches. They treat Eli Cottonwood like a bit of a joke this week so it’s no surprise he’s the one going home. Michael McGuilicuddy, who improved to 5-0 tonight, moves up to first place. Kaval, who is still doing a good job without having a winning streak handed to him, holds on to second.

Smackdown starts with Kane telling us his brother regained consciousness long enough to speak the words “Rey Mysterio” which Kane assumes means Rey was responsible for the attack on The Undertaker. There’s a good Christian/Drew McIntyre match with a weak finish that sees Christian win on a roll-up. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes’ grooming tip vignettes are actually pretty effective at making me dislike him. And I’m just sick of Alberto Del Rios.

CM Punk’s feud with Big Show continues as Show faces Luke Gallows. It’s a DQ when the SES jump Show and try to break his arm. The good news though is that Punk pulls off the sling so presumably he’s either ready to go again or close to it. So expect Punk/Show or a handicap match at Summerslam. Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston have yet another non-title match. This time, if Dolph wins, he gets a title shot. Kingston goes a little nuts and pounds on Ziggler until he’s disqualified then continues until he is pulled off. It makes Kofi look more aggressive than he usually has but it’s pretty foolish to hand a guy a title shot with a DQ. The problem with Kofi/Dolph and Christian/McIntyre getting long matches is there isn’t enough talent in them to be really good. So a lot of this show is acceptable, but not great, wrestling.

Tiffany has a title shot, but Vickie Guerrero officially recognizes LayCool as co-Women’s Champions and allows McCool to defend the title. Tiffany’s ring gear is not conducive to taking her seriously as a competitor. Tiffany never had a chance here, but Teddy Long intervenes and says only one of them can be champion. They have to decide who that is or Long will make a ruling next week.

Our main event is Jack Swagger facing Rey Mysterio yet again, but this time it’s no disqualifications. Since they are in Corpus Christie Swager vows to throw Mysterio into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the most exciting match of the night, but since when does no-DQ also mean falls count anywhere? Swagger does, indeed, take Mysterio out of the building before the match is through. They fight outside for quite a while, but it’s Swagger who goes in the ocean and apparently the All-American American can’t swim. Mysterio opts to leave him to drown. Kind of cold there Rey, but it’s Kane who has the last laugh as he shows up and puts Rey in the drink as well.

An okay show but nothing outside the main event was special. Still, Summerslam is shaping up nicely and Nexus continues to seem new and fresh. So they’re doing something right.

As for TNA this week… look I realize ECW rarely announced many PPV matches in advance, but I have no clue what is going to take place at Hardcore Justice outside the leaks from the dirt sheets. Word is the main event will be RVD versus Jerry Lynn. Who is clamoring to see that?

Eric Young is back to being a goofy comedy wrestler but they are still keeping him a heel, for now. It’s not working well. Ric Flair invites Beer Money to fill out Fortune. So after dragging this out for this long and constantly teasing they would have somebody new to join it’s the same four people we expected from the beginning? AJ at least renames the Global Championship the Television Title. It’s not original, but it is an improvement. AJ is next in line for Kurt Angle (who is rumored to be trying to crawl back to WWE on a limited schedule) in his climb up the rankings.

Match three in the Beer Money / Motor City Machineguns best of five is a cage match. With Beer Money already up by two the Guns win, of course, since they plan to drag this all the way out to two Pay Per Views from now. At least it’s a really good match and Roode bleeds a bucket.

Word is nobody likes Eric Bischoff at TNA. He’s said to be totally out of touch, but he’s back on TV plugging something big for the August 12 Impact. Because TNA doesn’t actually want to succeed, Abyss interrupts before Eric can finish. Abyss wants to book the main event for the August 12th show. He wants a Janice on a Pole match with RVD, and yes, Janice is a board with nails in it. Useful for driving off Kang and Kodos. We finally see the champ on the show as he saves Bischoff from the wrath of Janice, but Abyss turns the tables and Al Snow has to show up to steal Janice and keep Abyss from using her on RVD. That draws Tommy Dreamer for his main event Hardcore Match against Abyss. Both these guys know how to put on a Hardcore Match, but neither are at their peak of performance. It’s a nice brawl, but the tag Cage Match was better.

I put more effort into TNA this week to give people a better sense of where it’s at right now. It is not in great shape. Sure there are some good matches, but they are throwing away time on an ECW (sorry make that EV 2.0) reunion that won’t build their brand at all. At least, outside the reunion storyline, the focus is shifting to current and rising talent rather than wasting airtime on The Nasty Boys and Scott Hall, but what matters is people being willing to spend money on your brand, and this brand is as weak as the global economy.

Until next week, when the PPV build should be in high gear on both shows, remember, wrestling is more real than most reality shows.

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