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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.

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.

Lucians Wrestling Recap

With Money in the Bank out of the way it’s time to start thinking about Summerslam. Will WWE try to milk one more match out of Cena and Sheamus? Will The Undertaker return? Will Triple H? And when will The Miz cash in his Money in the Bank title opportunity?

Raw starts announcing Wade Barrett is going to have a real match against Mark Henry tonight. Eventually these guys have to wrestle real matches. The we move right into a Triple Threat Match to determine the #1 contender at Summerslam. Cena isn’t even in the match. It’s Edge, Jericho and Orton which makes it pretty likely Orton is going to win. As is usually when two heels are in a Triple Threat match they spend some time in an alliance taking on Orton. These guys would have to work to have a bad match so it turns out to be great action for the first match of the show. When Randy Orton finally manages to RKO both his opponents he earn his #1 contendership. This match could have been on a Pay Per View, even Wrestlemania.

Edge refuses to leave the ring. He wants Jericho to come back and Jericho obliges him. Edge complains they have been going back and forth for eleven years and it has to end. Jericho thinks he has Nexus in his corner and he wants them to help him take Edge out for good. Nexus do come out, and decide to take down Edge, but only so they can focus on Jericho next.

Sheamus comes to the ring to announce he has forged a truce with Nexus. So there’s nothing to stop him from having a long title reign. That draws out Mr. Money in the Bank, The Miz. Wow, that’s tortured grammar. The Miz reminds us what having a Money in the Bank briefcase means: he can demand a title shot at any time. No notice, no warning, all he needs is to get the champ in the ring and bring a referee. Sheamus is not impressed by GM-o-matic tells Miz to stand by and watch as Sheamus faces Evan Bourne.

It turns out to be another decent match and The Miz watching on adds drama. Bourne is quite athletic and willing to take risks. More importantly he’s given the freedom to cut loose with some risky moves. That makes him exciting in the WWE landscape. Bourne gives Sheamus some trouble but, of course, Sheamus wins. But The Miz attacks Sheamus and Miz looks to cash in. But when R-Truth interrupts The Miz rethinks his strategy hits R-Truth with the briefcase and runs off with it.

Santino and Koslov have no established tag teams to take on so William Regal and Zack Ryder are thrown together to give the wacky ethnic pairing another win.

Wade Barrett has to stand on his own in the main event against Mark Henry. The other Nexus members are banned from ringside. Barrett manages to heft Henry for his finisher, a Fireman’s Carry then a forward flip to slam to the mat. It’s not exactly pretty but it’s impressive nonetheless. The rest of Nexus are on the scene quickly so Cena can have his discussion with them. Cena comes out and actually offers a truce, but Barrett will have none of it. He wants more. He wants Cena to join the Nexus, but Cena never wanted a truce, he just wanted to reveal the team he has out together to face Nexus at Summerslam. First, there’s Edge, fresh off his earlier beatdown. John Morrison is no surprise. R-Truth joins the party, then comes The Great Khali, who has no reason to dislike Nexus yet. Jericho has also changed his tune and joined Cena. That’s six. Will it be even numbers? Yes it will as Cena brings out his seventh member: Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The Nexus run from a fair fight and the home team is standing tall as the lights go out.

The last five hours of WWE programming have been awesome. Expect NXT to break the streak. The show features an MVP Lounge, a pros with their rookies tag match and an obstacle course for immunity in next week’s elimination poll. Michael McGuillicudy wins this one. He probably didn’t need immunity anyway. Not bad by NXT standards, which is still not good.

Smackdown opens with the new champion and hey, I can get behind Kane right now. Maybe not for a long reign, but his last reign only lasted one day so this is already an improvement. Kane is on fire on the microphone lately and this is no exception. At first it almost looks like they’re turning him heel but no, he’s still out for vengeance. There’s no automatic rematch when MitB is cashed in so tonight Rey Mysterio faces Jack Swagger in a rare 2 out of 3 falls match to determine the #1 contender. Jack Swagger goes for serious heel heat by bad mouthing Eddie Guerrero.

Four of the Money in The Bank losers meet in a decent tag match, Christian and Matt Hardy take on “Dashing” Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre. Matt accidentally hits Christian, or was it an accident? That lets the heels pick up the win. LayCool continues to be fun as Teddy Long informs Layla she’ll defend her title, which Michele keeps claiming they share, against Tiffany.

Dolph Ziggler gets another shot at Kofi Kingston, non-title. It takes a fair amount of help from the annoying Vickie Guerrero but Ziggler eventually chokes out Kingston. Big Show faces the mystery man in the Straight Edge Society and, once again giving away too much too soon, unmasks him to reveal Joey Mercury. Does anyone remember Joey Mercury? Does anyone care?

They are really shoving Albert Del Rios down our throats.

The main event is certainly long for a TV match. Swagger gets DQed for refusing to break the ankle lock for the first fall. Rey then taps to the ankle lock. Rey scores a surprise win on a rollup and we’ll see Rey versus Kane at Summerslam. My gut tells me Swagger will find his way into the match anyway and make it a triple threat. It’s not a bad match but Rey’s injury, real or imagined, makes it less exciting. Swagger attacks Rey post-match only for Kane to make the save. Kane seems ready to attack Rey, but raises his hand instead. Then attacks him only for Rey to come back. I don’t know if Rey is really injured so he has to take it easy, but if he can’t cut loose he might as well be on the shelf. If he needs surgery then get surgery.

TNA barely rates mentioning these days. Their Pay Per Views are now coming in below 10,000 buys in North America. They were pulling numbers like that when their TV show was on Saturday night at 11 p.m. They are the joke of pro wrestling. Now they are beating the dead horse that is ECW? Mick Foley and Tommy Dreamer can still do fine mic work but if these guys could still go in the ring TNA would have already been using them. This smacks of utter desperation. I barely want to watch TNA for free. Why would I ever pay for it? The actual wrestling can be quite decent at times, like this week’s match between Kurt Angle and Hernandez, but the packaging around it is usually pathetic. WWE makes me care about almost every match. TNA give Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe a ten-minute time limit, which telegraphs the draw ending. The tag match between the Motor City Machineguns and Beer Money is also decent. But it’s a best of five series and Beer Money went up 2-0 on referee screw-ups both times. It’s repetitive and means the Guns will win the next two. Even AJ Styles winning the Global Championship is a yawn since that title is such an afterthought. In the end, TNA is just treading water now. They’re forgoing their storylines for an ECW tribute. It’s a nice sentiment and they have very little to lose, but I don’t see it helping them improve. And they desperately need to.

No Pay Per Views this weekend, at least not from the big three US companies. So why not spend time with family or go outside?

wwe money in the bank

It’s another WWE Pay Per View they’ve reinvented. I like Pay Per Views with an actual theme but jettisoning all your history at once seems a bit much. At least they back-pedalled on cancelling Survivor Series. Normally I praise the opening videos WWE puts together for their Pay Per View openings, but this time out it’s a pedestrian affair.

This is sponsored by Criss Angel? Please don’t let him perform on the show. We’re in the heartland, Kansas City. The Pay Per View announce team is the standard Matt Stryker, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. The Spanish team are here as well. I’m told they are very talented performers. We open with the Smackdown Money in the Bank match and I’m predicting right now the winner cashes the shot in tonight. Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, Matt Hardy, Drew McIntyre, Kane and The Big Show enter in that order.

As is typical of these big matches most of the time the majority of the competitors are down while the action focuses on a few people. People also tend to gang up on Kane and The Big Show. Kofi Kingston does a great drop off a ladder into Drew McIntyre on the Spanish announce desk. There’s a lot of big moves in general, more risk than the WWE normally allows, but the match is what we call a spot-fest. There’s just strings of random moves, no real story being told in the match. We get to see Big Show’s giant ladder in the match. The ladder is so big, Show has legit trouble getting it into the ring. It’s the focus of the action for a long time. Drew McIntyre comes back from going through the table and it looks like he’s going to win, but in a surprise, it’s Kane who Chokeslams’s McIntyre from the top of the ladder then unhooks the briefcase and wins the contract. This makes it far less likely my prediction about the Smackdown winner cashing in will come true.

Sheamus interview is next. He’s wised up about Nexus. He doesn’t want them interfering so John Cena has no excuse. He has never received the respect he deserves as a two-time champion and if he has to destroy Cena to get it he’s only too happy.

A Women’s Match is next, or maybe a Diva’s match since it’s for the Diva’s title. Eve gets another rematch against Alicia Fox. I know people who have real faith in Fox so maybe she’s more than she seems. It’s a short match but Fox gets a clean win and a chance to establish herself as a real competitor. More titles up next, the tag titles. The Harts and the Usos have been having a simmering feud for a while now and it’s nice to get a title match out of it. The Harts get the win with a Sharpshooter. That raises the question of what’s next for these teams? There are a couple of new tag teams on Smackdown and maybe Koslov and Santino are forming a team but, overall, tag team wrestling in the WWE is in pretty poor shape.

It seems awfully early for Mysterio/Swagger but that’s what comes next. The fake ankle injury on Mysterio threatens to make this a less exciting match than it could be. The ankle is the story for the whole match, but it doesn’t stop Mysterio from winning. Swagger attacks Mysterio post match, but Kane shows up and chases Swagger off from beating down Mysterio. Then Kane returns and cashes in his contract! I was right in the first place. It’s a non-match beatdown before Kane finally wins his second world title in a long career.

Next comes our second lady’s match of the night as Kelly Kelly takes on Layla. Michelle McCool will certainly have a role to play in the match since she is still claiming to share the Women’s Title. Kelly looks to be in better shape than she’s ever been but this is hardly a wrestling clinic of a match. The ending is particularly weak as it’s just a reversal of a pin attempt that lets Layla (and LayCool as a unit) retain the title.

The ring is once again surrounded by ladders as the RAW Money in the Bank match is next. Randy Orton, The Miz, Mark Henry, Ted Dibiase, John Morrison, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne and Edge are your 8 competitors. Mark Henry acts as a bargain basement Big Show with the early attacks focused on him. This match has been built better than the Smackdown one, with more intersecting storylines among the competitors. The action is also superior since there’s only one big plodding guy. Evan Bourne gets a few chances to win and some support from the crowd, but it’s Orton who the crowd is behind the most. The ending is not what I expected as it’s The Miz who captures the briefcase. Already the United States champion if he can win the WWE Championship as well that will be a first. But my feeling is Miz will wait a while to cash this in and, when he does, he’ll be the first MitB winner to fail in their title match.

The video promo for the main event is the best of the night and ties this match to the Nexus storyline perfectly. The match itself is a decent brawl but it’s hurt by knowing that, until Nexus shows up, it’s all just time filler. You can see John’s underwear. Sheamus is so pale when he sweats he looks like a Twilight vampire in sunlight. Nexus does show up. Tarver has bolt cutters but a very brave ref grabs them and runs. Then they try to intimidate the next ref into giving them the key. He throws it away. The refs are rocking. Back in the ring Sheamus taps out to the STF but there are no refs left to call for the bell. Cena tries to escape but Nexus tangle him up. On the other side Sheamus gets past Heath Slater to escape just as the ref is coming to. So Sheamus retains but it’s entirely because of Nexus. Nexus runs but leave some of their own behind, this time Justin Gabriel and Michael Tarver, for Cena to take his frustrations out on.

The Summerslam ad included a shot of The Undertaker. At this point, and this is not a new theory, it seems more and more likely it was actually Kane who attacked The Undertaker and SummerSlam will feature the brothers mixing it up again with a title on the line. On RAW we need to get Cena out of the title picture and focused on Nexus. Which means we need a new #1 contender. But who? Orton? Bourne? Morrison? It should be somebody willing to lose so now might be time to give someone their first title shot in WWE.

Wrestling Recap WWE

On RAW, John Cena is set to face the whole Nexus faction in a seven on one handicap match, but we learn right away that Darren Young is still out after last week’s beat down so it’s six on one. Cena has to balance his feud with Nexus with his feud with Sheamus and, with the help of WWE Creative, he manages it quite well.

I finally figured out how you spell the Usos. That’s how you spell it. And we finally get the 3-on-3 mixed tag match we were promised a while back. It’s not a long match but all of these people have raw talent and the potential for more. Guest hosts aren’t on the show every week at this point, but tonight it’s Florence Henderson and at least they have some fun with it. The eight-man tag match she’s mixed up in marks the return of Doink the Clown. I wonder who it is this time? The Santino Bunch takes on and defeats The Regal Bunch when the clown eats the pin.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Money in the Bank matches, but I haven’t given any thought to who I actually want to win. On the Raw side I think I’d like to see Edge capture it yet again. Edge and Orton have a match but the aftermath is far more impressive. Orton and Bourne pull off an incredible spot that is marred by bad camera work until the replay. This is the moment to see from this show.

R-Truth’s replacement is Mark Henry. I’ve made it clear before I’ve never been impressed with him. He and The Miz have a match. It’s awful. The highpoint is Mix dumping garbage on Henry and maybe Henry is hurt too and will also be replaced. They continue to treat Evan Bourne as a mute, which I already addressed in a recent column.

Nexus get plenty of camera time as they beat down several of the faces who confronted them last week, one by one. They even tease going after Sheamus, which becomes important later. The big main event is well booked. The rookies make frequent tags, which covers the fact most of them are mediocre wrestlers, and Cena actually loses after a 450 Splash by Justin Gabriel. I always thought Gabriel was cute but his new haircut upgrades him to hot. The surprise of the night is, when Nexus is predictably beating down Cena, it’s Sheamus who comes to his rescue. It seems Shaemus has decided Nexus is a threat to him as well. What will happen Sunday when Cena faces Sheamus? Will even a steel cage be enough to keep Nexus from interfering?

Over on NXT the season one graduates NEXUS have been invited and apparently they are there to… sit in chairs? The Miz and his rookie Alex Reilly take on Mark Henry and his rookie Lucky Cannon. Mark Henry pins Alex Reilly. LayCool fans will be sad to learn they are not on NXT this week. Perhaps Mrs Undertaker is on her honeymoon trying to consummate the marriage with a deadman with a broken orbital bone.

Last week “Showtime” Percy Watson won the right to host a talk show. He has MVP as his guest. He brings out all the rookies, looking for trouble. The rest of the pros back MVP up. So Matt Striker proposes a Battle Royal. That draws the interest of Nexus who decide to join in. So it’s a 20-man Battle Royal with, in theory, every man for himself.

Nexus bail from the ring and start beating people up when they get eliminated. The problem is the season 2 rookies are all eliminated before a single Nexus member. This whole show is less about the new rookies and more about current RAW storylines. Miz tries to suck up to Nexus and when that fails he eliminates himself and runs. And, despite them saying this is every man for himself, once Nexus eliminates everyone else all six are declared the winner? Sigh. Is making sense too much to ask?

Smackdown promises us a confrontation between Jack Swagger and Kane. Kane is being menacing and all but he never seems to wrestle any more. The events of NXT are not ignored as Kofi Kingston is still showing signs of damage when he faces “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. Kane interrupts before we have a finish and Chokeslams both guys. Other MitB competitors meet when Christian takes on Drew McIntyre. Later Matt Hardy and Dolph Ziggler lock up.

Now something big happens tonight that should not. CM Punk and his minions end up in a confrontation with Big Show as Big Show unveils a custom built 300 pound ladder that will allow even Big Show to get the MitB briefcase. But the segment ends with Cm Punk being unmasked revealing his still shaved head. This storyline dates back months and this could have been a hugely built up reveal at an actual PPV and instead it’s a throwaway on Smackdown. Disappointing to say the least.

Jack Swagger brings his father out and provides picture evidence he was at a picnic winning stuff on Memorial Day. The problem with doctoring photos to be used as evidence is they look doctored even if they are supposed to be real. Swagger gets the jump on Kane at first, but Mysterio appearing is enough for Kane to turn it around. Swagger eventually leaves his own father to get Chokeslammed and Tombstoned rather than face Kane. It’s another case of a non-wrestler taking a bump when WWE makes such a big deal about how only trained professionals should attempt these moves. I learn later that it’s not his real father it’s a former WCW worker. So I guess it’s ok.

After their Pay Per View last Sunday, TNA announces a new top ten contender’s list and Abyss is the new #1 contender. He has a board full of nails. He calls it Janice. That’s not a joke. There’s a ladder match between the Motor City Machineguns and Beer Money that’s really good. Worth watching the episode for, with a great finish. In the main event non-match, RVD and Abyss face off then fight in the ring. Mick Foley suddenly appears on the entrance ramp. Abyss looks shocked. Then the other four ex-ECW guys, Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards and Rhyno attack Abyss. The locker room and security slowly come out to stop them, but never enough at once to even the odds. Then the road agents, D-Lo Brown, Terry Taylor, Al Snow and Pat Kenny come out to join the fight. But Snow and another guy side with the ECW guys! Devon shows up on the ECW guys side too. They even bring in police. That is until Dixie Carter makes the surprise announcement that she invited them. As everyone reacts in shock we go off the air…

WWE is doing an outside invasion angle too. But with young guys instead of past their prime vets. And WWE is doing it much better. I don’t know if it’s just dumb luck, but TNA seems to be following in WWE’s footsteps with everything they do. WWE puts on a PPV of Fatal Fourways, TNA puts on a PPV with a main event Fatal Fourway. Now this. TNA needs to find things to do that WWE won’t do, possibly because of their PG rating, and do something that seems original. Or put Paul Heyman in charge.

Overall a decent week in wrestling with even NXT being interesting. I’ve benefited from a major overpayment on my cable/cell bill and will soon receive a $700 credit on my bill. So I can splurge on WWE’s next Pay Per View and catch the two Money in the Bank matches, the cage match and the Mysterio match. That may not be good if Mysterio is hampered by a fake injury. There are a few other matches on the card, including both the women’s titles being defended, but those four matches are the main attractions. Let’s see if they can deliver on the hype.

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