Archive for Author Lucian

No I did not see the PPV. I may have a chance later, but I read the spoilers and there were no surprises on the RAW side of things. So RAW starts with the Miz gloating over still being champion. He is interrupted by Alex Reilly playing Ghost of Christmas Past. No sign of Cole. Lawler and CM Punk are unaccompanied on the announce desk. Cole shows up, sadly, as Ghost of Christmas Present. Miz remains unrepentant. Christmas Future is a still image of the Miz-Girl on the Tron with overlaid moving lips, ala Conan O’Brien. John Morrison gets to provide the interruption. Morrison’s title shot will be “sometime soon”, so probably not being saved for Royal Rumble. Morrison goes after Miz and Reilly but Sheamus arrives to take Morrison down. Anonymous GM books a six-man tag between Miz, Reilly and Sheamus versus Morrison, Lawler and Orton. Orton ambushes the Miz to punctuate the segment.

Cole is back on commentary and Natalya has joined the gang to make it an even 4. A Triple Threat is on to determine a #1 contender to the Diva’s Championship. Eve, Alicia and Melina. No great talents here. Some good spots in the match and Melina wins, which is the lesser of three evils. Natalya tries to make nice with her challenger but gets bitch slapped for her efforts.

Nexus is not supposed to be here tonight. Daniel “Why am I stuck with the Bella Twins” Bryan faces William “I’m not retired yet” Regal. This is an excellent match. The student surpasses the master as Bryan makes Regal tap, really quickly, to the LaBell lock. He gets a kiss from both Bellas as a reward and doesn’t seem to know how to deal with it. There’s some random crap with Tamina and Maryse getting in an argument while standing on Santino’s back. And Mark Henry’s joy at no Nexus is curtailed by Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guererro being in da house.

We have a mixed tag with Santino joining with Tamina to face Ted Dibiase and Maryse. Santino’s constant attempts to use the Cobra make this comical and take away from a nice Superfly Splash by Tamina that gets her the win.

We’re at the midpoint of the show. Time to bring out John Cena. Cena wastes a lot of time being cutesy. They break with their own tradition and show some actual footage from last night’s PPV. It’s the scene where Cena brings down an avalanche of chairs on Wade Barrett. Barrett is safely under a palate so it’s not that big a deal. Hopefully he plugged his ears. Cena plans to be in the Royal Rumble. That’s when Vickie Guererro and Dolph Ziggler interrupt. But the hot Houston crowd will not let Vickie speak. Cena plays along but it gets a little silly after three minutes. Vickie wants an apology from Lawler for fat jokes. Which just leads to Cena and the King trading even more crappy fat jokes about a woman who barely looks fat any more. E-GM books Cena to face Ziggler – right now!

A surprisingly pro-Cena crowd cheers him on as he takes on the Intercontinental Champion. It’s a decent match for TV. Dolph taps to the STF, but Vickie has the ref distracted. That lets Ziggler recover and actually hit a Zig Zag, but that’s not enough for the pin. Cena’s Attitude Adjustment is enough to hold down the kid. Then CM Punk hits Cena with a chair and storms off. Is he recovered now? Sheamus and Lawler play duelling kings. Dolph wants Cena on Smackdown tomorrow, but Vickie inserts herself to make it a handicap match… Because I really want to see Vickie wrestle when she seems so unwilling to take a bump.

Miz now carries his title in a briefcase, which Reilly carries, so he’s not still lugging the old Money in the Bank briefcase around but still has a handy weapon to interfere with. We went from a two man announce team with no Cole at the start of the night to just Cole for the main event. Talk about a reversal of fortunes. Oh no, Josh Matthews just joined Cole. So we’re reuniting the announce team of NXT Season 3? Brilliant.

It’s a long match and Morrison gets beat on by the heels for most of it. Orton gets in against The Miz. It breaks down and Lawler winds up legal, but Orton sneaks in and lands The Miz with an RKO and Lawler gets a pin on the WWE Champion. Celebrations are cut off by the E-GM plugging Smackdown. He adds an Orton v. Miz match for the show. Now we Canadians don’t get to see the show early so I won’t be recapping it until next week if at all.

Tonight’s RAW didn’t advance many storylines. With the Royal Rumble not until late January we’re going to need some filler before the drive to that show can begin in earnest. Hence John Morrison and Melina getting title shots. I expect both those shots to be resolved before the Rumble itself. What does the Rumble have in store? Who knows?

After RAW I saw the PPV. It was pretty decent and exciting given how safe WWE tries to work these days. The opening ladder match was a great start. John Morrison continued to break out as a future star. Edge cemented a place in the Hall of Fame if he can just stay on Vince’s good side, or by then Hunter and Steph’s. The Miz continued as the second coming of the Honky Tonk Man with his cheap tactics. The Smackdown main event benefited from adding Rey Rey and Del Rio. The women’s table match was okay. If I had been footing the bill for the replay I might have thought differently but I had a good time overall.

That brings us to NXT, the next show to air in Canada. We get the wheelbarrow challenge again tonight. This time the Soaring Eagle gets to be the passenger. The second competition is trivia. But the trivia is actually really intelligently designed this week. Striker gives a category (former WWE champions, 2010 PPVs) and the rookies have to name something that fits. When they screw up they are gone. No stupid air horns vastly improves this. Derrick Bateman wins both challenges for a total of 3 immunity points. Even the wrestling is pretty good this week. The vignettes between rookie and pro are entertaining. Add in the decent announce team of Todd Grisham and Josh Matthews and this shows is better than its been since season one. I guess the show really only became a joke because WWE treats Women’s Wrestling as a joke.

Loyal readers I am off for the holidays and will have no wrestling access until the 28th. I’m not sure I’ll be able to cover all the shows I miss when I get back but don’t worry, the column will continue before the New Year! For those who have something to celebrate these days (what with Hanukkah being well over) I wish you happy holidays!

Posted on December 23rd, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Raw & NXT Week Ending 12/25/10
Filed Under Entertainment

Welcome back to NXT. It seems the team of Todd Grisham and Josh Matthews may be the new permanent team on this show. I am not complaining. We go straight into a challenge and it’s karaoke. See, I was in a good mood at first. Rookies choose a random entrance theme and have to sing it.

Connor O’Brien, the rat-faced guy, is first and he draws Sheamus. This guy is a terrible singer and I think he’s deliberately making it worse. The crowd sure doesn’t like it, but he’s committed and keeps up on the words. Derrick Bateman gets The Miz’s theme. He rasps more than he sings and his tempo is way off but again, at least these guys are giving it their all. Jacob Novak gets his own pro Dolph Ziggler. He sounds like a Dustbuster crossed with Neil Young as he mostly clips the words then draws out the last ones. Let’s see how Brodus Clay does. He has to sing Cody Rhodes’ theme. Brodus has a style that covers his lack of singing skills. Johnny Curtis has to sing Randy Orton’s theme. That’s a damn fine theme and I finally get to confirm I had the words right. It’s is “counsel me.” Again, not so much singing as chatting in a raspy voice. Byron Saxton is the last one and he has HBK’s old music. He at least tries to sing but he isn’t so strong on the lyrics. It’s up to the crowd to pick the winner and they go with Saxton. Saxton was heelish last week but the crowd still seems to be getting behind him. I would think Brodus Clay would have more fans.

Saxton and Masters join up to take on Clay and Dibiase in a tag team match. Brodus at least has some basic big man offence. Saxton, on the other hand, never looks like a threat.  He tags himself in and gets cocky, then eats Dream Street and gets pinned, which makes him look overconfident. What’s crazy is we actually see Daniel Bryan teaching his rookie to do a wrestling move!

I am so bored with the obstacle course. This time they make it worth two immunity points. Jacob Novak goes first and looks like he’s sandbagging the whole way. Byron Saxton has to sell just losing a match so he never has a chance. Connor O’Brien also looks like he’s been told not to win. Derrick Bateman seems to go full bore. He edges out the time to beat and I bet he’s the designated winner. Johnny Curtis falls off the beam to ensure he doesn’t win. And Brodus Clay has no shot here. He just shoves over the barriers instead of climbing over them and also gets DQed. But they give Johnny Curtis another chance. Curtis wins easily so I guess he was the chosen one.

The main event is rookie versus pro as Derrick Bateman takes on Alberto Del Rio. They are playing Bateman as a hothead and that lets Del Rio pick up the win. It’s a really poor match for a main event and the earlier tag match was far superior. Which is too bad, because this season of NXT hasn’t been bad overall. Cole is gone, they are taking the competition seriously since it’s men again and none of the rookies seem like complete wastes.

Posted on December 21st, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE NXT Week Ending 12/18/10
Filed Under Entertainment

Since last Smackdown Edge has been arrested for kidnapping, assault and reckless endangerment. No wait, that would make sense. No instead a bald monster is going to hit him with a chair. Here’s Edge now. We’re treated to a Benny Hill inspired recap of the whole silly storyline. Edge is desperately trying to steer this feud back on course by reminding us of the evil Kane has done. All he’s done is beat Kane at his own game.

Tonight we’re going to get a rematch from Monday. Rey Mysterio faces The Miz again. Teddy Long tells Edge that Kane may not even show up Sunday and it turns into a clustersnuggle as Del Rio and Mysterio show up wanting shots at the title. The end result is the Smackdown main event for TLC gets changed to a Fatal Fourway.

Kofi Kingston comes out for a tag match and his partner is Kaval. That’s good, that means he’s not really injured. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger provide the opposition. Ziggler, Kingston and Swagger will also have a Triple Threat Ladder match at TLC for the Intercontinental Championship. Kaval and Kingston get to do some flying, but Kaval spends most of the time as a punching bag. When Kofi gets the hot tag at the end he picks up the win over Ziggler.

Time gets wasted with JTG as well as Drew McIntyre hitting on Kelly Kelly. And still more filled with one of “Dashing” Cody Rhodes’ grooming tips. At least he’s in a match when we finally come back from commercial. Rhodes picks up a win over Chris Masters in a match not really worth talking about.

The Miz/Mysterio match is coming up for the show’s midpoint. This is actually a good match up. Miz doesn’t look ridiculous beating on Mysterio and Rey provides the flash that Miz lacks. As a heel Miz’s lack of flash isn’t necessarily a drawback but I still shudder remembering his awful PPV match against R-Truth. Here Miz keeps countering or cutting off Mysterio whenever he tries to string a series of moves together. Reilly interferes, to no affect, then Del Rio interferes but it’s still not conclusive. But when Mysterio Baseball Slides Del Rio in return, then tries for a Senton off the top rope, the delay allows Miz to lift his knees then pin Rey after he crashes into them. Del Rio tries to beat down Rey, Edge comes out for the save. But before a brawl breaks out Teddy Long pops out from the back to book the four of them in a tag match tonight. That was a long match to expect Rey and Miz to wrestle again later tonight. Normally in these situations they cut the first match off quickly. But this was fine and I’m not going to complain.

The women get some time as Lay-Cool protest their upcoming Tables Match. Natalya and Beth bring a gift-wrapped table, which they unwrap to reveal awesome caricatures of Lay-Cool. Natalya and Beth are not stellar on the mic but they can get a point across and let Lay-Cool provide the entertainment. This is actually enough to provoke Lay-Cool to attack but they come up short and McCool barely saves Layla from going through the special table. Chavo Guererro brings Tyler Reks as his partner to face the tag champs. The champs win. With the Cobra.

The main event is a pretty good match, not really long but fast-paced. Miz eats a 619 and a Spear so it looks like he’ll actually eat a pin. But no, Kane arrives to interfere and toss the match out. It takes the entire Smackdown locker room to separate Kane and Edge and even then they end up brawling to end the show.

This was far less stupid than past weeks. The near total lack of Kane was smart as he’s been overexposed on the mic lately, but the jarring change of main event went nowhere and feels like two feuds being thrown together and not the culmination of a storyline. I had never planned to get the PPV. I’ll probably miss a few good matches, but I doubt it’s going to be a show of major surprises.

Let’s see what TNA expects us to swallow this week. To clarify, Matt Morgan versus Ken Anderson will be at the next Pay Per View. What will Jeff Hardy be doing? Anderson is supposed to tag with Morgan tonight but it seems Anderson still isn’t cleared. They continue Matt’s campaign against the injured wrestling. Jeff Hardy tries to stir the pot. He tries to sell the TNA belt as the most important belt in wrestling. Let me clear this up. I would rather hold the WWE United States Championship than the TNA main belt.

Jay Lethal gets yet another X-Division title match against Robbie E. This time Chrissy Hemme handcuffs herself to Cookie to keep her out of the match. Robbie E really has no moveset so it’s a pleasant surprise when Lethal pins him to regain his title. Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff is still disappointed with AJ Styles. AJ takes his frustrations out on Douglas Williams. Eric Young appears to have found the old, retired, World Title belt. He’s wearing it now and calling himself a champion. And his bosses have no problem with this? Eric then confuses his tag match with a Battle Royal. Eventually we get something of a real match with Jordan and Young coming out ahead of Generation Me.

We have the knockout tag tournament continuing as Bischoff makes Mickie James team with the debuting Ms. Tessmacher to face Tara and Madison Rain. Tessmacher can do an Arm Drag and a Dropkick but spends most of the time practicing her selling. Tara never gets in the short match but her elbow brace makes the difference as it knocks Mickie out so Madison can get the pin.

Rob Terry looks to be in the picture again as he blows off Kazarian. Amazing Red, who I expected to see on milk cartons, shows up to job to Brother Ray, who now calls himself Bully Ray. Devon drives off Ray before he can beat down Red with a chair. Speaking of Rob Terry he faces another Rob, RVD. Bischoff has put Terry in Rob’s way as RBV tries to earn a title shot and revenge on Jeff Hardy. This is a well booked match with both men’s strength played to. But, even though he controls much of the match, I never buy that Terry is going to win and it’s no surprise when he doesn’t.

Jeff Jarrett continues pretending to be an MMA star. If you are thinking of going to Impact to try to make Jarrett tap out for $100,000 then you have forgotten this is pro wrestling and they, of course, use plants. That leaves the main event. Kazarian and Jeff Hardy are united. Anderson and Morgan are divided. Anderson does wrestle, and I’m sure he’s fine, but he sells every blow to the head like it’s a gunshot. It’s a pretty short match and the end result is Rob Terry interferes on Immortal’s side and that let’s Hardy pin Morgan.

I skipped over some vignettes with The Pope because I’m not sure what they are trying to do. It might be a heel turn. Overall this wasn’t a great episode. I’m glad Lethal has the belt back so maybe he can face some real contenders but this wasn’t much of a show.

Posted on December 20th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Smackdown & TNA Week Ending 12/18/10
Filed Under Entertainment

While The Slammy awards have the potential to be fun this is too soon to have a three-hour RAW on the heels of King of the Ring. Especially since I saw Survivor Series recently as well. Oh dear lord, David Arquette is here tonight. Let’s expose the business by bringing up the worst champion of all time. Now he’s trying to plug Ready to Rumble? He’s here to present Shocker of the Year.

Nominees:

  • Miz wins the title
  • Nexus debut
  • Paul Bearer turns on The Undertaker
  • Randy Orton punts Chris Jericho out of action

Winner:

  • Nexus debut

Only Barrett comes out to accept. He claims credit for Nexus even existing. He has not made up his mind yet about rehiring Cena. But he’ll be shocking. The anonymous electronic General Manager pipes up books Barrett into an immediate match against… The Big Show! Where has he been lately? Show steals Barrett’s Slammy to get him in the ring. Barrett hides in the ropes and outside for a long while before we actually see some action. We don’t see much of that before Wade grabs his award and walks off for a countout loss.

Next award is the Despicable Me moment presented by Kelly Kelly and Tyson Kidd with the new Diesel, aka Jackson Andrews.

Nominees:

  • CM Punk sings “Happy Birthday” to Rey Mysterio’s daughter
  • Drew McIntyre faces and humiliates Teddy Long
  • Kane buries The Undertaker alive
  • Mr. McMahon makes truce with Bret Hart, then kicks him in the groin

Winner:

  • CM Punk

Kind of an odd winner but I guess they want to honor Punk one last time in case his career is over. Punk uses his speech to vow revenge against an unnamed backstage adversary. Up next is a tag match. Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan form one team. I would have liked to see Kingston and R-Truth team up to put an end to the rumors they are the same person. Or is it just Vince who sees them that way? On the other side, Dolph Ziggler and Ted Dibiase. Bryan gets beaten up for most of the match, when he finally makes a tag to Kingston he comes in on fire. Kingston really looks great in brief action before picking up a quick win over Ziggler.

The Tag Champs are out to present the award for Guest Star Shining Moment of the year. Their banter is sub-par.

Nominees:

  • Wayne Brady gets RKO’d by Randy Orton
  • Pee-wee Herman vs. The Miz
  • Mike Tyson punches out Chris Jericho
  • William Shatner sings WWE Entrances

Shatner just has to win here. Nope, they gave it to Pee Wee Herman. Probably because he was the only one willing to record a promo. Punk and King agree Shatner should have won. Otunga tries to get Barrett’s decision but we’ll just have to wait.

Mark “How has my career lasted this long?” Henry heads to the ring to face Cody Rhodes. Rhodes just lost a Masterlock Challenge so he is in dire need of a win here. Rhodses’ gimmick of not wanting to be hit in the face should be more interesting than it is for some reason. But Cody actually looks decent here as he picks up the win over the world’s (long ago) strongest man.

Lawler presents the Holy @$%* moment of the year. Sadly, it’s with Vickie Guererro.

Nominees:

  • Kofi Kingston hits Drew McIntyre with a leg drop off ladder through announce table
  • John Cena sends Batista onto a car and through the stage with two Attitude Adjustments
  • Randy Orton delivers RKO to a flying Evan Bourne
  • John Morrison dives off set onto Daniel Bryan and The Miz

Winner:

  • John Cena

Orton looked better. Barrett is out again to steal Cena’s Slammy instead. Time for his decision. But he wants Cena there So here comes the banished hero. Here comes Nexus too. And Cena is rehired… on two conditions. Cena and Barrett in a Chair Match Sunday And tonight Cena faces Otunga. But Nexus is now on the same page to beat down Cena for no good reason. This is making less and less sense. What ever happened to the “much bigger picture” anyway? Cena now being rehired means we’ve basically gone in circles and made the entire idea of being fired over a match less meaningful than ever.

My cable feed goes for a bit and I miss some David Arquette as a result. So sad. He’s presenting fan reaction of the year which is too lame to even recap. Some little girl wins for being angry when Miz wins. They actually bring her out to accept only to have Miz interrupt her. Mean only Mr. Miz steals her Slammy. Miz says the moment of the year is yet to come. It will be when he beats Randy Orton. But E-GM pipes up and says both Miz and Orton will face former champions tonight. Miz is first, facing Rey Mysterio, right now.

We see little of this match as a commercial covers it. Rey looks great in what we do see but, just back from commercial, Alberto Del Rio comes out to distract Rey. But the match continues. Miz does collide with Del Rio at one point but manages a kick out. Then, with Reilly distracting the ref, Del Rio strikes Rey from behind and that lets Miz roll him up. The leads the E-GM to unveil Orton’s two opponents: Alex Reilly and former WCW champion, David Arquette.

Presenting the Oh Snap! Meltdown of the year is one of the nominees, Edge. That’s not customary. Kane is not here to co-present since he’s off having a meltdown of his own. Cue a new co-producer, Christian! His arm is in a sling but it’s great to see him.

  • Big Show destroys Jack Swagger’s trophies
  • Edge destroys the Raw GM’s computer
  • Alberto Del Rio injures Rey Mysterio’s arm with a steel chair
  • Batista quits WWE

So Edge wins this one when he’s already right there. Edge’s acceptance speech gets a little John Belushi but that’s kind of fun. Edge slags Cole who gets to flip out a little too.

Then King Leprechaun Sheamus comes to the ring for his match with John Morrison. The two roll around on the mat punching each other and shoving the ref back and giving us a double DQ after about 30 seconds. That let’s E-GM book them in a #1 contenders match at TLC in the PPV’s first Ladder Match. Morrison in a Ladder Match is something I actually want to see. But it’s Sheamus who uses a ladder to beat down Morrison here tonight.

The strange pairing of JTG and William Regal (both of whom could be gone from the roster at any moment) present Knucklehead Moment of the Year.

  • Big Show unmasks a bald CM Punk
  • Santino Marella gets out-danced by Vladimir Kozlov
  • Beth Phoenix eliminates The Great Khali from the Royal Rumble
  • Lay-Cool gets beaten by Mae Young

JTG screws up and says the winner is “Lay-Cool beating Mae Young”. Lay-Cool seem awfully happy to win this considering the category. This leads into the Battle Royal to determine Diva of the Year. Why are these awards given out in such different ways? A Battle Royal for Diva of the Year. Fan voting for Superstar of the Year. And the rest we have no freaking clue. Is this the Olympics, the Oscars or The People’s Choice Awards?

Wisely, everyone gangs up on Lay-Cool at first. But that doesn’t last long and neither do some of the lesser Divas like Rosa Mendes and Kaitlyn. The final six are Lay-Cool, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Gail Kim and Alicia Fox. Layla goes but helps Michelle take out Phoenix. Natalya eliminates Kim and Fox in one move but Michelle kicks her in the face and knocks her out to win her second Diva of the year. I guess if you stroke The Undertaker you benefit from The Undertaker’s stroke. E-GM pipes up to book Lay-Cool versus Natalya and Beth Phoenix at TLC in the first ever Diva’s Tag Team Tables Match. That is actually interesting, pity I won’t get to see it.

Edge is here so we have to be reminded of the stupidity of last week’s Smackdown ending. Seriously, Teddy Long has done nothing to Edge over this? Edge faces Jack Swagger. That means two Smackdown stars have been imported to wrestle each other on RAW. How is this special? Another weakness of the three-hour show. It’s a pretty good match, but the Spear to end it looks a little weak.

Time for WWE Moment of the Year, presented by Big Show.

  • Sheamus attacks Triple H from behind with a lead pipe
  • Edge Spears Chris Jericho through the barricade
  • The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in Michaels’ final match
  • John Cena counts 1-2-3 as Orton defeats Barrett and Cena is fired from WWE

Rumors were that HBK is here. If true we know what’s going to win. It does win but HBK is only on tape. I want to just ignore the fact I’m being forced to watch David Arquette in a wrestling match. He’s not actually doing anything of course but I do not see the point of this. Half your fanbase are too young to remember when Arquette was champion anyway. Randy wins, natch, but Miz uses the briefcase he has no good reason to still have to take Orton down. Miz and Arquette set up a table Orton recovers, but Miz escapes again and it’s Arquette who goes through the table. Well, that’s something at least. This whole “Miz tries to put Orton through a table but Orton escapes and puts a Miz ally through the table” would have been more effective if they could have started it a week or two earlier and ran with it the whole time. Miz is going to win Sunday, I’m confident in that, but I expect it to be some kind of fluke or tainted win.

Cole is presenting the “And I quote” Moment slammy. There’s no official list of nominees. Just a long string of decent quotes. See if you can find this on YouTube it’s decent. And it ends on Ron Simmons, which is always fun. Cole gives himself the award. Yeah, Cole as a heel is annoying. Teddy Long is the last presenter of the evening, Superstar of the year, as voted on by the fans.

  • Edge
  • Kane
  • Rey Mysterio
  • John Cena
  • Randy Orton
  • The Miz

I guess they couldn’t risk putting The Undertaker up since he’s in no shape to accept. I would have thought Orton was still more over than Cena, but Cena takes the prize. This assumes WWE didn’t just rig the poll, which you never know. Cena’s speech is so white bread it’s not interesting. Cena claims he has taken out every member of Nexus, but Otunga and Barrett. They all seem to be still standing to me. The show is already supposed to be over by the time Otunga finally makes his way to the ring. Barrett turns the tables on Otunga and has Nexus walk out on Otunga. Otunga gets ZERO offense in the short match before tapping to the STF. This was the definition of a squash. Then Cena adds injury to injury by beating Otunga with a chair. At least Otunga can sell.

The Slammys themselves were kind of fun but the rest of the night was nothing special. And selling the PPV wasn’t as much of the focus as it should be on the go home RAW. David Arquette was a dark time in pro wrestling history that should not have been dredged back up in 2010. Three hour shows need to be really special. This didn’t achieve that.

It’s time to see how Smackdown can treat its main face like a heel and its main heel like a face. Yep, Kane is out first to beg for his daddy. And here’s Edge, on the TitanTron, hitting Bearer with a chair. This is not working on any level at all. The crowd is just dead. Bugs Bunny couldn’t make this work.

Damn, Cole is back, but Josh Matthews has replaced Todd Grisham. If I had to choose between the two I’d go with Matthews. At least a Jack Swagger/Kaval match promises to be less stupid. Kaval picks up a kayfabe leg injury early in the match so is fighting from a disadvantage through the whole match. He still does okay but can’t climb the turnbuckle to finish it. When Swagger locks on the Ankle Lock it’s over quickly. Not sure what the point was of making Kaval unable to do a lot of his flashier moves due to a fake injury, but Kaval wasn’t embarrassed here. Swagger is upset he lost the number one contendership after being struck while in the ropes. Did you know being struck in the ropes is illegal? I’ve been watching regularly since 2002 and I’ve never heard someone bring up that rule.

Far less importantly, we have the Soaring Eagle taking on Hornswoggle. Did the creative staff never learn that comedy matches are meant to be short? This is not good and goes on way too long. There’s a place for some comedy in professional wrestling. This was not comedy. Our real main event will pit Kane and Alberto Del Rio versus Edge and Rey Mysterio.

Teddy Long is right, I’d rather see Santino and Koslov on both shows than Nexus. But Chavo Guererro promises to find a partner and make their reign a short one. Speaking of titles there’s a nice long match for the IC title between champion Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately it’s not a clean ending as Jack Swagger returns to attack Kofi Kingston and end the match without a decisive winner.

A Masterlock Challenge? Really? Cody Rhodes has to try to get out of the devastating Full Nelson. And yes, that’s sarcasm. Cody stalls and Masters slaps him in the face and squeezes his nose. This, of course, infuriates Rhodes who eventually tries to leave. Masters grabs him in the Masterlock, over the ropes, and pulls him into the ring. Rhodes actually passes out to the hold. I’ve never been a fan of Chris Masters and I am not sure why they even keep the guy employed. And Rhodes was in the ropes; didn’t we establish earlier that attacking someone in the ropes is illegal?

Remember a little while ago when Drew McIntyre turned his back on tag team wrestling? Well he joins Chavo to challenge for the tag championships. Do I have to take up Edge’s failed crusade against all things stupid? McIntyre is sullied by being brought into this. And I never thought I’d have to talk about a Cobra being badly hit, but Chavo does eat the pin and McIntyre beats him down afterward to try to rebuild his dying embers of heat.

As we continue to plug the Pay Per View we learn Mysterio and Del Rio’s match will be a Chairs Match. Natalya brings Beth Phoenix with her for her match with Layla. They are some of the most impressive Divas I have seen in a while. Natalya is being booked strong. So strong when she locks on the Sharpshooter and McCool tries to pull Layla to the ropes Natalya actually drags McCool into the ring. Phoenix takes care of McCool and Layla taps out quickly. I’m not sure if the belts are going back to LayCool or, if they don’t get them back, what creative will do with them.

The main event changes when Kane refuses to wrestle. That leaves Del Rio in a Handicap Match. A heel on the short side of a Handicap Match? Except Kane comes back and Edge runs from him. So now we just have a Mysterio/Del Rio match? Apparently. It’s not bad but you can tell they are holding back so the Chairs Match looks more impressive. We end with Kane finding two ladders set up on a catwalk with a wheelchair inside. Expecting another dummy Kane just tips it over. But now it’s the real Paul Bearer and Kane has to try to look shocked at what he just did. He looks dumb instead. This feud would be better suited to a cartoon than professional wrestling. And pushing a man over a catwalk seems less than PG.

Smackdown is turning into a show where young guys get to strut their stuff and learn at the same time but with a bunch of stupid crap thrown in. Get rid of the eagle. Don’t have Hornswoggle wrestle and come up with credible main event feud.

Some brief thoughts on TNA. At the last PPV Jeff Hardy retained, but AJ Styles lost the Television Title to Doug Williams. Hogan is off camera selling the injunction but Bischoff is here. And that’s great. See, Bischoff knows how to play a key role without putting all the focus on himself. Hogan doesn’t. Bischoff books Matt Morgan to face Ken Anderson (who is still not medically cleared) for #1 contendership. I thought it was for tonight but I guess not.

Brother Ray tries to prove he can win with anyone by having some no name student as the new “Devon.” Plan doesn’t work as they lose to Ink Inc., which is awesome, and Devon stops Ray from putting his student through a table. TNA tries to make the Women’s Tag Titles matter but, come on, the WWE Cruiserweight Title carries more prestige and it was retired when it was held by a leprechaun. I didn’t even know Daphne was even still employed.

Anderson tells Morgan he’ll get himself cleared for the match. Morgan does more of his usual pontificating on the danger of concussions. Douglas Williams defends his new title against Abyss. It’s a fluke win but it’s a win nonetheless. Jeff Jarrett actually beat Samoa Joe in a Submission Match at the PPV? Sure there was interference but that is horrible for Joe. Jeff Jarrett issues an open challenge to any fan who can make him tap out, with $100,000 on the line, and nearly causes a riot.

The main event is a Knockout Cage Match between Mickie James and Tara. They spend the whole night building to it, with Tara even lip-synching a song to show up Mickie. These two wrestle a match that would work just as well if they were both men. The problem is they are not impressive when compared to most male wrestlers. So when they wrestle like men they come across as mediocre. Even the money moment, Mickie hitting a Thesz Press off the top of the cage, isn’t as flashy as a lot of the moves I’ve seen off the top rope. Still, it gets Mickie the win.

There was nothing wrong with this episode but putting the focus back on the women at this stage isn’t helping. The booking of their matches seem boring. Like whoever is booking them is giving no thought to the fact these are women wrestling and may be able to use some different moves than the average male. Maybe if the cage had been used more viciously the main event would have stood out more. Or let one of the women bleed. You rarely see that. Do something to make it stand out. Because, overall this episode didn’t.

Posted on December 11th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Smackdown & TNA Week Ending 12/11/10
Filed Under Entertainment

It’s NXT Season 4. Let’s see if the returning to male rookies change can help us.

To recap our new pairings:

Rookie / Pro
Johnny Curtis / R-Truth
Byron Saxton / Chris Masters
Brodus Clay / Ted Dibiase
Jacob Novak / Dolph Ziggler
Derrick Bateman / Daniel Bryan
Conor O’Brien / Alberto Del Rio

No Michael Cole tonight. Instead we get the off pairing of Todd Grisham and Josh Matthews. A bit of a whitebread announce team, but they should be inoffensive.

R-Truth calls his rookie the hottest thing since grits. Brodus Clay has a Bam Bam Bigelow build. Daniel Bryan as a pro still tickles me. And Del Rio brings his personal ring announcer and a Mercedes even to a B-show like NXT. Conor O’Brien has a crazy look about him. They give the rookies 30 seconds to try to impress. Johnny Curtis fails utterly. Brodus Clay can at least sound like a heel. Byron Saxton generically kisses up to the audience as well to no avail. Jacob Novak rambles on about Monopoly and owning his competition. Derrick Bateman is in his home state and goes for the cheap pop. He’s Mantastic. Conor O’Brien admits he looks like a rat, but rats are sole survivors and he’s going to take the cheese. We get our first rookie/pro conflict as Del Rio calls his rookie boring, just like Daniel Bryan. This leads to a pro/rookie tag team main event.

Oh yeah, Bryon Saxton used to be on the ECW announce team with Josh Matthews. I wonder if he can wrestle. But the first match is Johnny Curtis versus Jacob Novak. Why is Maryse taking notes? It looks like these two have spent enough time in development to wrestle a basic match. Curtis at least manages a top rope Legdrop for the win. Bland but a big step up from most season 3 matches. Brodus Clay used to be a bodyguard for Snoop Dog. He’ll probably get less contact highs in WWE.

Rookie challenge #1, with immunity at stake once again, involves setting up a ladder to grab a flag then run back looking for the best time. Brodus is not quick. Byron doesn’t really try, just acts cocky. Jacob Novak does okay and that is enough to win.

We come to the main event, where the pros look a lot better than the rookies. Daniel Bryan does an insanely long airplane spin and shows no sign of being dizzy after it. Both Bryan and Bateman show they are willing to dive to the outside. But, in the end, Del Rio gets Bateman in the Cross Arm-breaker and the rookie taps out immediately.

So an attempt has been made to make this show credible again. The new announce team was a huge improvement. The announcers were actually willing to stay in the background and let the show be more important that their banter. Which is not to say they had no banter but I actually liked the pair. This could be the team of the future for all we know.

Posted on December 9th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE NEXT Season 4 Begins!
Filed Under Entertainment

Welcome loyal My Hollywood Dream readers. We are no longer also display at Hollywood The Game but hopefully our fans make the transition. And hopefully Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole don’t just kiss and make up with no drama. At the same time, let’s hope their interplay doesn’t take over the show. We open with a recap of the Miz/Lawler match. Cole is not out at the announce desk, but he shows up on the entrance ramp with a microphone. The crowd truly hates him but is that the right role for the lead announcer? Cole was the only one to support Miz from the beginning and Miz is like a son to him. Cole is sorry. Lawler still wants to kick his ass. Now Cole says Lawler is equally to blame. King is a journalist and is not supposed to be the headline. So, really, King owes Cole an apology. Yes, that’s logic.

The E-GM sends an e-mail and CM Punk is the only person left to read it. He will not allow violence between Cole and the King. He wants them to shake hands. King finally shakes hands, then holds on while Randy Orton makes his way out. Orton has a message for The Miz. He can’t blame The Miz for cashing in when he did. He would have done the same. But unlike The Miz, Orton has proved himself in the ring. And Orton plans to take back the title, tonight.

AWESOME!

Here comes Miz and Alex Drunky. Miz points out Orton was in the same Money in the Bank match that Miz won. Orton has an injured knee and besides, Miz defended his title last week. So he’s off until the TLC PPV. Orton runs down Reilly so the apprentice challenges him. Orton accepts. Miz’s last surprise is he gets to pick the stipulation at TLC. Orton hits an RKO on Cole to show he still can, injured knee and all.

So no Cole, but we get Josh Matthews to maintain a three man team. Our first actual match, at the 23-minute mark, is mixed tag action. Maryse and Ted Dibiase face Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella. Nikki is jealous and comes to ringside. Nikki pulls the switch, without Bryan knowing, and Nikki rolls up Maryse. The relationship between Maryse and Ted looks to be ending.

They are supposed to interview Wade Barrett but David Otunga takes his place. Nexus needs to stay united, says the lone member. Cena arrives and it turns out Husky Harris is there too. Otunga bails and Cena takes down Harris no problem. The rest of Nexus are on their way to the arena where the tag champs have a four-way elimination title match ahead.

David Hart Smith finally gets a match with Tyson Kidd, but Kidd shows up with some seven foot guy backing him up. A Superplex is usually impressive and DHS’s is good, but Kidd shrugs it off pretty easily and wins with a roll-up counter. Smith tries for revenge but Kidd’s big backup comes to the rescue and DHS gets laid out.

Barrett and the tag champs are joined by a frightened David Otunga. Barrett is fighting to keep the troops calm, but Mr. Not-So-Perfect is out hurt, now Husky is hurt and Gabriel is still feeling the effects of Cena’s attack last week. Barrett will call out Cena and take care of business. Otunga warns of a mutiny. Santino and Koslov, the Usos and the Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu get their shot at the tag titles in an elimination match. Yoshi Tatsu goes early taking the World’s Strongest Man with him. Koslov soon finishes off the Usos who did not look bad tonight. Tamita, or is it Tamena? Anyway she stays behind in Santino’s corner. Santino does a split to avoid one shot, hits a stunner and, when Cena provides a distraction, hits the Cobra and wins the title! Man all the comedy wrestlers are getting titles lately.

Tribute to the Troops this year is in Texas. Sure it’s a huge base, but that’s less impressive than Afghanistan, which would have been. It’s good to know that as soon as Sheamus becomes King of the Ring they start dressing him like an idiot. We get another Irish history lesson. Sheamus is now calling himself the High King. RVD has a better shot at that. John Morrison shows up wondering where the elves, gnomes and satyrs are. Sheamus says he’s jealous. Morrison points out they are 1-1 in matches. Sheamus wants Morrison to bow and it ends in violence. Morrison beats Sheamus with his own sceptre and he’s the one standing at the end.

Adding LayCool to the announce team, for 5 in total, is just crazy. The focus is not on Natalya facing Melina. Natalya wins, of course. Then gets a two-on-one beatdown, of course.

Orton versus Reilly isn’t considered strong enough to end the show. That will be Barrett and Cena. Orton is supposed to have a real, but minor, injury so the fact he looks okay here is all we can expect. It’s not like Reilly can carry the match. Orton is set to win when Miz ambushes him with a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz then sets up a table, but before he can put Orton through it the #1 contender recovers. Miz almost goes through the table himself before he is able to flee. That leaves Alex Reilly at Orton’s mercy and a Powerbomb through a table should send a message. The question is, why would Miz stick with a Tables Match after this went this badly?

Barrett is out to chastise Cena for not accepting being fired. He calls Cena out and there are still four members of Nexus standing to back him up. Barrett still won’t rehire Cena; Cena says it’s still not about a job. It’s about making Nexus’s life Hell. Barrett finally gets fed up and orders Nexus to attack. One by one they all bail on him. We get a tease of an Attitude Adjustment through the announce desk but Barrett recovers enough to run. The fired Cena gets to parade around ringside making nice with the fans. The Nexus storyline appears to be coming to a final resolution as Barrett confronts the troops. They have an ultimatum. Rehire Cena or they’ll kick him out of Nexus.

This show went 13 minutes past the hour. Did it need to? The wrestling wasn’t particularly good and the promos could have been shorter. They’re trying to make Miz credible while they put the tag belts on the king of comedy. Miz choosing a Tables Match is out of nowhere. In fact, after Lawler put him through a table last week, it should be the last thing on his mind. Orton has a questionable knee, wouldn’t a ladder match make more sense? And, again, Miz came out on top of Lawler by knocking him off a ladder with the belt. It’s awkward writing when the little things matter more than ever. By no means a bad RAW… but nothing special either.

Posted on December 7th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 12/11/10
Filed Under Entertainment
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