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This is the end, my only friend, the end…

The last Smackdown on the road to Wrestlemania and my last regular column. With just the Mania live blog and going away column after this I’m starting to get wistful. I know next to nobody reads this but I hope you’ll miss me too. The show opens with a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. Wade Barrett come to the ring alone. We get some decent wrestling. Kofi Kingston escape Barrett’s Wasteland Finisher and hits his own, Trouble in Paradise. But as he covers the champ the rest of The Corre run in and attack him for a DQ. That means Barrett keeps the title. Santino and Kozlov run in to make the save but can’t pull it off until Big Show and Kane join them. And Kofi will be in some kind of Battle Royal dark match at Wrestlemania. They usually have one to throw everyone on the card for the big show. Dark means untelevised by the way.

We recap the Cody Rhodes attack on Rey Mysterio before Matt Striker interviews Cody. Not as good as some of Cody’s recent work but he works in that he’ll have both the face mask and the knee brace for Wrestlemania. I expect he’s going to lose anyway. Todd Grisham and the Bellas are at Fan Access, probably taped well after Smackdown itself. Todd introduces the HHH/Undertaker promo video. A commercial is followed by another promo. This one is for CM Punk versus Orton. The Score reveals that Sin Cara debuts on RAW Monday. I guess they want him away from Rey Mysterio for now. Now the Road Warriors video again. Is this a clip show or something? Then they have a promo for playing the recap of The Rock, Miz and Cena from RAW coming later tonight. After another commercial we get a recap of the Jack Swagger versus Jerry Lawler match from I’d like something live to happen so I can start a new paragraph. If I were at this show live I would be demanding a refund.

Ok at least Jerry Lawler is coming out to talk. Cole has vamoosed. Boy is Lawler looking old. Lawler cuts a fine promo reminding Cole just why he’s mad at him and also that Stone Cold Steve Austin will take care of Jack Swagger at Wrestlemania. That will leave just him and Cole. And Lawler will do what the entire WWE universe wants: shut Cole’s mouth.

Wrestlemania press conference. This is a sad Smackdown to go out on. Now a long, long HHH/Undertaker recap from RAW. Now we get The Miz on Conan O’Brien. It’s cool but I’m just sour on the whole show by this point. Sin Cara video. We’re seeing more from Fan Access than a live show. Maybe there was no Smackdown taping this week and the little ring action we’ve seen was taped before or after RAW. Snooki storyline promo. Chaperone trailer.

Del Rio and Edge get a promo and, woah, we have another match! Cody Rhodes will be in action. More Rhodes recap before that. Rhodes’ opponent is Chris Masters so this shouldn’t be much of a match. And with 22 minutes left and the Miz, Cena Rock recap still to come this will be the last Smackdown match I cover. Cole is coming back, accompanied by security. Cody is in total control. He wins easily but Rey Mysterio runs in. Back and forth affair until Rhodes is in the 619 position and he reveals a knee brace of his own. But Rhodes slinks away and Mysterio is denied vengeance. Recap of Chris Jericho on Dancing With The Stars where Jericho is tied for fourth.

Fan Access trio throws us to the last video of the night. The promised Rock, Cena, Miz promo. I can stand watching this again. What exactly The Rock’s roll will be at Wrestlemania is one of the big questions left. Plus there’s Austin to watch for. And Trish is back in the ring. The Hall of Fame class will be introduced but will HBK have an even larger role? This was one the weakest Smackdowns of all time but I’m still psyched for Mania.

Wrestlemania Predictions

  • Triple H versus Undertaker – Undertaker
  • John Cena versus The Miz – John Cena
  • Edge versus Alberto Del Rio – Del Rio
  • Lay-Cool and Ziggler versus John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki – Snooki
  • Sheamus versus Daniel Bryan – Sheamus
  • The Corre versus Big Show, Kane, Santino and Kozlov – The Big Red Ukrainian Cobra
  • Cody Rhodes versus Rey Mysterio – Mysterio
  • Jerry Lawler versus Michael Cole – Lawler
  • CM Punk versus Randy Orton – CM Punk but it could easily go either way

Sunday is my last column. I hope you’ll drop by.

My last RAW recap for the foreseeable future starts with CM Punk in the middle of the ring in front of a cheering Chicago crowd. Punk toys with the crowd for a bit before making them hate him. Punk doesn’t care about the New Nexus or the Chicago crowd. Punk stole Orton’s family’s respect from him. And he will end this sick and twisted story at Wrestlemania. But Orton is here, limping at tortoise speed, with a heavily taped knee. Orton still manages to fight and hits his rope assisted DDT. Orton tries for the punt but his bad leg gives out. That leaves Orton at Punk’s mercy and he delivers the Go To Sleep to look strong going into thebig show.

Edge and Christian are teaming up again. Apparently the RAW GM has no problem with Edge laying hands on Alberto Del Rio. The opponents are the rather obvious Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay. Clay starts and Edge and Christian end up double teaming him. Then a commercial before Del Rio is even in the match. Back from commercial Edge and Del Rio have not been legal at the same time yet. Christian takes the face in peril role. When he finally does tag out Clay comes in. Christian and Del Rio mix it up on the outside which allows Edge to Spear Clay for the win. Del Rio has the Cross Armbreaker on Christian but runs when Edge nears. When Edge turns back Del Rio comes back and ambushes him. Del Rio again hit Edge with his finisher and we won’t know who comes out ahead until Friday.

Cole has an iPad, which looks more like a netbook, so he can read the GM’s emails without leaving his Cole Mine. GM wants to see if Jerry Lawler is ready so tonight he will face Jack Swagger. Yet another great HHH versus Undertaker promo that continues to ignore that HHH already lost to Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Kane and Big Show are at ringside as Justin Gabriel (accompanied by The Corre) faces Santino Marella (accompanied by Vladimir Kozlov) and they finally announce a Wrestlemania match for these people. It will be an eight-man tag with The Corre facing Big Show, Kane, Kozlov and Marella. Sucks to be Kofi Kingston right now. Also means neither the tag belts nor the IC title will be defended at the biggest show of the year. The faces keep order at ringside, Santino hits the Cobra and a very short match ends happily. Have Kozlov and Tamina been doing Santino’s trombone motion for a while? Big Show doing it is funny. Kane doing it is even funnier.

Here’s Undertaker. Here’s Trips. Taker steals HHH’s thunder this time around by interrupting his water spit with a peal of the gong and the lights going out. I have some cable problems as they stare each other down. Neither has a microphone. Then HBK shows up. HBK plays to the crowd for ages before actually getting a microphone. HBK has a ghost of a beard and he is in dire need of Just For Men. HBK recaps the whole situation before asking his best friend what makes him he think he can do what Shawn couldn’t? HHH tells him he went soft. Cared more about being the Showstopper than winning. HHH turns to Taker and rhymes off how amazing he was when Hunter started out. But now HHH has to respectfully tell him it’s time to go. He can’t do it anymore. And if he can’t accept it then it’s Hunter’s job to take him out. He even steals “Rest in Peace.” Now Taker grabs the microphone. Taker respect Hunter and if it were time to put him down he’d want Hunter to do it. But it ain’t that time. The streak will live. Ask HBK. Taker runs down Michaels until he tries a Superkick, which is caught. Hunter pushes Shawn out of the way and stares down Taker before asking Shawn to tell him why he’ll beat Taker at Mania. But Shawn has nothing to say. Oh great a “One more match” chant. Shawn retreats to the entrance ramp before admitting he thinks Hunter won’t win. Taker just tips his hat triumphantly and heads off to the sound of Johnny Cash. Top notch segment from three of the best of all time.

Swagger versus Lawler leaves only Josh Matthews to call the match as Cole is at ringside. Let’s see if Matthews can do what Joey Matthews did for years. It spills to the outside right away and Lawler just grabs a chair and wails on Swagger getting DQed. Josh Matthews sits silently. Lawler threatens Cole with the chair and Cole retreats to the Cole Mine. Lawler beats on it with the chair as Josh tries to warn him he’ll be fired. Lawler does what seems most people should have thought of and climbs over the top. But with security holding him back he can’t reach Cole who throws what looks like ginger ale in his eyes.

Vickie Guererro makes fun of John Morrison then Snooki. Dolph Ziggler joins her to wrestle a tag team match. His partner is Sheamus. Let me guess: John Morrison and Daniel Bryan will be the opponents. Yep. This close to any PPV the match-ups are fairly predictable. We get a commercial early in the match. Daniel Bryan gets a La Bell lock on Ziggler but Sheamus breaks it up. Fast forward a bit and he almost gets it on Sheamus but the Celtic King is able to escape and hit a Brogue Kick to win the match. Since Morrison is probably winning at Mania and Bryan is probably losing I would have gone with a different finish. Sheamus pinning Morrison would work better.

New interviewer guy asks Orton if he’ll make Wrestlemania. Orton has anger management issues and he despises CM Punk more than anyone else. It’s not if he will make it to Wrestlemania; it’s if CM Punk will make it out. The final Hall of Fame inductee of the year is, actually are, the Road Warriors. Snooki has been training with Trish. Not to speak proper English though. They’re live via satellite at a bar so Lay-Cool can attack them in a new and interesting location. They manage to fight them off only to have their calls of “bitches” bleeped by USA Network.

Time for a main event promo. The three-way faceoff between The Rock, John Cena and The Miz. This show is going to go way over time, I can tell. Rock is out first. He long-windedly, and catch-phrase heavily, calls out Cena. And yeah, of course he shows up. All Cena wants to say is Rock is still awesome and this is where he belongs. But Cena actually fights back by pointing out that Rock has been making fun of Cena for colors, music and appealing to kids. Who the Hell is he? And a potential fight is cut off, finally, by the arrival of The Miz. He’s sick of being overshadowed by Overhyped and Overrated. But at least Cena will go down fighting. Rock’s a movie star too scared to risk Miz hurting him. Miz has flipped the W on his microphone again. It takes Alex Riley and The Miz together to even give The Rock pause but he beats them off and delivers a People’s Elbow to The Miz. Cue John Cena to return to camera range and hit The Rock with an Attitude Adjustment, or FU if you prefer the original name. Cena gets to play his music at the end of the show and the last RAW on the road to Wrestlemania.

See you Friday for one last Smackdown!

Posted on March 31st, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw (3/28/11)
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I’m sorry one of the last RAWs I’ll be recapping starts with Michael Cole dressed up as JR. But HHH showing up improves the situation. The streak may be bigger than all HHH’s championships combined. Hunter wants Undertaker on RAW next week so he can look him in the eye and tell him the streak will end. Ted Dibiase interrupts HHH because he’s sick of being overlooked. Dibiase looks to make a name for himself at Trip’s expense but it doesn’t come close to working out that way. Dibiase gets Pedigreed through the announce desk before this is over. They’re wrecking the announce desk in the opening segment? I bet Cole is glad for his Cole Mine.

We get a rematch of the Sheamus/Evan Bourne match from a few weeks back. Don’t expect Bourne to get another win here. This is non-title. Bourne misses a 450 early then immediately eats a Brogue Kick to end the ridiculously short match. Daniel Bryan comes back to set up the Wrestlemania rematch. Sheamus throws the title at him then kicks him in the head.

Eve faces Maryse in another non-title match. Having seen Maryse be something of a face on NXT it’s clear she’s a natural heel. That’s on display tonight. Once again Cole has no patience for the Divas and runs down the match. Not liking Eve I actually feel the same way. Eve wins and security has to keep her from going after Cole.

Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov get their rematch with The Corre. It’s another match that isn’t given enough time to develop and a simple distraction by Wade Barrett gets The Corre the win. The beatdown afterward is interrupted by Kane and The Big Show. Then the proper beatdown commences as Show and Kane, with a little help from Santino just destroy The Corre. Show and Kane tandem Chokeslamming Ezekial Jackson is a high point.

John Cena is at home on satellite. The Rock will be on RAW next week, live, and Cena promises to settle any problem with The Rock then. Lawler asks if Cena has underestimated The Miz and John says a flat “yes.” He gives honest and fair praise to The Miz. But tonight The Miz wants to rewrite history. At Wrestlemania John plans to make history.

Just what I didn’t need, more Cole. He and his trainer Jack Swagger are in the ring. Lawler family photos are not entertaining. Neither is Michael Cole. When Cole calls Lawler’s whole family losers Jerry actually gets the jump on Swagger. But Cole runs away until Swagger can recover then it’s all about the ankle.

It’s good to be Dolph Ziggler as he is accompanied to the ring by two beautiful women… and Vickie Guerrero. John Morrison gets to come in with Trish Stratus so he’s not exactly in bad shape either. Let’s just hope this is a real match. It isn’t as it’s stopped and restarted as a handicap mixed tag match. I think the E-GM called it an intergender match. Were that true the men and women could fight each other. Trish looks a lot better in sensible shoes. Vickie is even in the match. Josh Matthews gets the intergender term correct. Props to Josh. He’s the future of WWE. Turns out it is an intergender match as Vickie scores the pin over John Morrison.

Sin Cara is getting awesome video promos. We also get a great video of superstars and legends reacting to the HHH and Undertaker feud. Jericho! Apparently he was middle of the pack on Dancing With The Stars. But that’s better than that singing show where he went night 1. It’s time for a Wrestlemania Rewind match as Randy Orton faces Rey Mysterio. I wonder who is going to interfere? Anyway, this finally feels like a real match. Then CM Punk shows up on the TitanTron and goes after Orton’s wife in Orton’s tour bus. Orton abandons the match, natch, but Punk ambushes him with a monkey wrench to the leg. Punk expects Orton won’t be kicking anybody in the head at Wrestlemania. Orton’s wife is hot.

Why is Alex Riley still here? Miz rehired him as Vice President of Corporate Communication. Miz’s suit must be seen to be believed yet he totally owns it. Miz once again sings his own praises. He even claims to be more physically dominant than Andre. Miz flips the W on his microphone over to make it an M. Then he reveals a custom belt with the same design. They really want us to believe he might win at Mania, don’t they? At least the title doesn’t spin.

Cena is back on video. He killed the radio star. He’s cutting his promo as guys suddenly show up and take away the props and backdrop to reveal that Cena is in the building. Clever, I like it. Miz throws a seriously heavy table over the ropes at Cena. Risky. Once Cena fights off both guys Miz throws Riley to the wolves. An STF makes him tap out but Cena just keeps going. Miz starts coming back so Cena breaks. Miz retreats, Cena puts the hold back on. Three refs can’t pull Cena off. Finally Riley is out cold and Cena

Come on guys. Give me a decent match to say nice things about. I’m sick of just praising the promos. I want to see some decent wrestling on my road to retirement.

Posted on March 22nd, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw (3/21/11)
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Wrestlemania draws ever closer. Stone Cold Steve Austin is in the house tonight. I’ll try to be nice. A HHH promo video leads off but it’s the gong of The Undertaker that kicks us off live. Taker’s heard the word on the street. Some people think HHH will be the one to beat him. But someone else thought they could do that and we get a promo of Undertaker and HBK’s battles over the past two Wrestlemanias in case we missed it. Undertaker does have a reveal though. The Wrestlemania match will be No Holds Barred.

Backstage Randy Orton tries to fight off Nexus but ends up going to sleep. Nexus drag him to the ring. They continue a mild beat down here and now the referees finally show up to end it. Otunga wants his match now and Orton manages to get to his feet only with the ropes. Otunga isn’t even entertaining fighting a man who isn’t fighting back. But Orton does his trademark RKO out of nowhere and beats Otunga. Mason Ryan tries for a beat down but yet another RKO ends his threat. Orton is able to keep Punk out of the ring. Punk tries to run to the side so Orton punts Otunga in the head.

Lawler is not on commentary tonight. Miz is boycotting the show tonight. But Christian is here. I guess the brand split is just out the window these days, eh? Christian is set to face Alberto Del Rio, who still has Brodus Clay with him. And Del Rio is demanding Christian beat Clay before he will agree to face him personally. Clay looks powerful here but loses to Christian’s Tornado DDT. But Del Rio immediately attacks and, as usual, the Cross Armbreaker does a lot of damage.

Nice Sin Cara promo, very minimalist. Sunny is going into the Hall of Fame? Awesome. Eve faces Nikki Bella tonight. At least it’s not at Mania. Eve has Gail Kim in her corner. Nice to know the best wrestler is just watching. Even Michael Cole doesn’t want to see this match; but only because he wants to introduce his referee. The ref actually catches the twin switch this time. That lets Eve hit some kind of Spinning Neckbreaker and retain her title. There was no good outcome here.

And now we have more Michael Cole. Michael Cole is not cowbell. Cole give hints to his ref and I manage to guess before they reveal it’s… JBL. For new fans, John “Bradshaw” Layfield was a long-term champion on Smackdown at a point when the cupboard was a bit bare. He spent time on color commentary as well. He’s a real life investment advisor and, last I heard, a Fox News commentator. I do not pay attention to Fox News. He is a pretty decent speaker, he has a style that he speaks sincerely and actually espouses decency. But it’s usually BS and delivered with smug superiority. And he runs down Lawler nicely.

But… as Cole put it, whoever signs the contract is the guest referee and here comes the breaking glass. Stone Cold Steve Austin has arrived. Austin hits his finisher, the Stone Cold Stunner, on JBL and steals his hat. Then he guzzles some beers. Cole is back on the announce desk complaining that his night has been ruined. He makes a big show about it but eventually he signs the contracts and takes the ref job at Mania. Man, they are really loading Mania with retired stars, aren’t they? Austin is the ref and that’s the bottom line, cuz Stone Cold said so. To cap it off he gives Cole a beer bath and wishes him luck in his match. JBL recovers enough for Austin to fake sharing a beer with him then hits a second Stunner. The problem with Austin is, to this day, he still has to put himself over everyone else. And I don’t mind Austin going over Cole, or JBL and possibly even Lawler. But if people think Jack Swagger will benefit by being Stunnered by Austin just because he shares the ring with him, I can’t say I share that opinion. Swagger tries to pep up Cole by promising to take out Austin. Yeah, right.

Lawler shows up so we can have a two-person announce team again. Does everyone remember we have a United States Champion? I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting. He’s facing Sheamus and God forbid it be for the title. It’s a non-match. Sheamus gets thrown out of the ring and lands on his ankle badly. He can’t beat the count and this went less than a minute. Here I was hoping we’d see a good match on RAW. Sheamus challenges Bryan for the title, next week, with his career on the line. Is Sheamus about to get the title or wind up back in the minors?

CM Punk has a match. We’ll see how short this is. The opponent is R-Truth who won a shot at the tag titles when his rookie won NXT. It’s short, but not offensively so, and the action is decent. Punk wins with his original finisher, the Anaconda Vice submission hold. I’m sure this will be match of the night; we may not even have another.

HBK speaks more on HHH. The video that goes with us gives us an actual shot of Shelton Benjamin, who is now in Ring of Honor. Just to annoy me more, Vickie Guererro shows up. Why are both TNA and WWE courting Jersey Shore guests? Aside from the fact that Jersey Shore beats them both in the ratings. Vickie is here to announce that Dolph Ziggler figured out there were two brands and got a job on RAW. I foresee a Ziggler/Cena feud in the near future. After Mania of course. Vickie joins color and reveals she and Dolph now have a purely business relationship. John Morrison gets fed to Ziggler in his debut. Vickie herself screws up and forget they are not together any more. This is about as good as the Punk/Truth match and a little longer. The anonymous RAW GM sends the first e-mail of the night and Lawler has to field it. The GM hired Dolph, not Vickie. Vickie has to fight for a job, next week, in a match against Trish Stratus.

We’ve gone into the overrun now and John Cena still has to deliver his “knockout blow” in response to The Rock. Maybe he should drink tiger blood. Cena’s blathering fake profanity is kind of cool. Cena accuses Rock of using a teleprompter. But his ragging on Rock for not showing up is becoming one note. Cena calls Rock a disgrace and says calling Cena out is bringing a knife to a gunfight. It’s been a very vocal crowd all night and they are quite split on Cena. Remember how Miz was boycotting? Well he smashes Cena in the face with his title belt to lay him out. Then he cuts an awesome promo about how the disrespect ends here and how he keeps laying out Cena and will do the same to The Rock if he actually has the guts to show up. He has to interrupt his catchphrase to hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Cena. Then he has the audacity to steal The Rock’s People’s Elbow maneuver before he finally finishes.

A couple of barely half-decent matches does not make for a great show. Cramming in all these legends is making the promos take over the show. After all, they can’t wrestle anymore so the focus has to be on them talking. Could we at least see Taker or HHH face somebody?

Posted on March 9th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 3/12/11
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Hugh has joined me for WWE Elimination Chamber 2011. Scattered thoughts will be shared as the night progresses.

7:35 I watch the tail end of last night’s SNL rerun with Paul Rudd and Paul McCartney. It’s rare I actually listen to the musical guest but classic Beatles songs are irresistible.

7:40 SNL ends so I switch to the WWE recap show where Edge is facing Dolph Ziggler for the championship. I predict Dolph Ziggler will find a way back into the Elimination Chamber tonight. Edge will win though. Cena takes the RAW Chamber match and Miz retains. I’m not sure if Del Rio/Kingston is official but I will pick Del Rio.

7:52 Hugh actually arrives.

7:59 I check WWE.com to find Del Rio versus Kingston is official and the tag champs face Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. No word if the titles are on the line. Expect Big Show to show up for the tag match.

8:00 Opening promo is nothing special.

8:02 Tonight’s sponsor is the National Guard. Announce team is Michael Cole, Josh Matthews and Booker T. The flat out Smackdown team.

8:03 Robert Rodriguez clues us in that Alberto Del Rio is opening the show.

8:06 Del Rio runs down people from Oakland.

8:13 Match is nothing special so far.

8:14 Kofi starts flying but Del Rio is able to hit key counters.

8:17 Rodriguez keeps Kofi from getting the pin.

8:18 Kofi fights off the Cross Armbreaker for a while but once it’s locked on Kofi is quickly forced to tap. Yeah we all saw that coming. The question is does WWE have enough faith in him to make him a champion?

8:21 Todd “Wasn’t I going to replace JR?” Grisham interviews Edge. Edge thinks the Chamber is a walk in the park compared to Vickie Guererro. Drew McIntyre interrupts to remind him about Kelly Kelly getting fired. Edge took something from Drew, Drew is going to take his most prized possession.

8:24 The Smackdown chamber is up now? I know one has to come early but why not the #1 contender match instead of the actual championship bout?

8:28 Kane enters and gets locked in first.

8:29 Drew McIntyre next.

8:31 Wade Barrett enters this heel heavy match next. My money is on Mysterio next. But Teddy Long comes out instead and we have to sort out the Dolph Ziggler situation. It’s not Ziggler, instead it’s… The Big Show.

8:35 The match is back to three faces  but we’re starting with two in the ring, Edge and Mysterio.

8:41 Wade Barrett is the next to enter.

8:45 Entrant #4 is Kane.

8:50 Second to last is McIntyre. The only other Elimination Chamber match I remember Show in he entered last too.

8:51 McIntyre puts Barrett through the Plexiglas of an empty pod.

8:53 The chaos of five competitors spikes my interest level.

8:54 Show looks like he’s falling asleep before they let him in.

8:55 Show beats on Wade Barrett. Then hits him with Knockout Punch to eliminate him way earlier than Hugh expected.

8:56 Mysterio hits a Senton off the top of a pod but it’s not enough to take out Big Show.

8:57 Beat on Big Show night ends with a Chokeslam by Kane that takes him out. Then Kane takes out McIntyre to leave just three men left. Why is Kane being pushed so hard?

8:59 Kane catches Mysterio dropping the dime but Edge Spears both men and chooses to pin Kane. We’re back down to the first two but Kane doesn’t leave until he Chokeslams both men left.

9:04 Lots of two-counts.

9:06 Not even a Spear is enough to end this.

9:07 Rey hits 619 and tries to drop the dime again only to get Speared in midair. The Spear has very little build up behind it so it’s not as impressive looking as you would hope but it gets Edge the win and, for the first time in five years, a champion retains in an Elimination Chamber. Rey looked great here, Edge was solid, Barrett came off looking the worst, Kane was booked stronger than expected, Show’s time was brief but he looked strong and McIntyre was just there. Del Rio gets in the Chamber to attack Edge post match. The Cross Armbreaker is applied but here’s a surprise. Christian returns to make the save and get a measure of revenge on Del Rio for ripping his pectoral. Christian back is a good thing.

9:15 Matt Striker grabs a moment with Jerry Lawler. Jerry looks pretty torn up still. Can’t blame him.

9:18 Booker plugs Tough Enough by revealing another trainer TRISH STRATUS!!!! Trish reminds us all mic skills were not here biggest strength.

9:23 Tag champs are here. Jackson accompanies them but no Barrett. The titles are on the line.

9:29 Cobra on the illegal Gabriel.

9:30 450 Splash on Kozlov and The Corre now control the tag team titles. I don’t want The Corre appearing on both shows.

9:33 Grisham is with The Miz. Miz at least mention The Rock and promises to get back to him. For now it’s time to end Lawler and go on to beat the Chamber winner at Mania.

9:35 Uggh. Vickie Guererro. She seems sad so there’s a silver lining. She’s pleading for Dolph’s job and could we not have had a quick match instead of this? Teddy Long arrives to try to shut her up. Long decides to hire somebody. But not Dolph. He hired back Kelly Kelly. And Long gave her free reign to “thank” Vickie. We get a taste of violence before Lay-Cool make the save. But that draws Trish Stratus to run them off. But they sucker ambush her and it turns into a real fight. Stratus is not in shape for this and she does not look well. The six-inch heels don’t help. But Trish and Kelly come out on top for a feel good moment.

9:47 Why does Miz come out first? Alex Reilly is  there. I predict Reilly costs King the match and at Wrestlemania we see Jerry Lawler in a Handicap Match against Alex Reilly and Michael Cole.

9:51 Booker T calls Lawler “in shape”.

9:58 Reilly gets ejected so there goes my c all.

10:01 Lawler throws Miz into Cole.

10:02 Flying Fist Drop but Miz gets a foot on the ropes.

10:03 Big kick  to the head, Skull Crushing Finale, foregone conclusion. It wasn’t awful but there was never any real hope Lawler would win.

10:05 The crowd still loves Lawler.

10:07 Cena is eating Fruity Pebbles. Grisham wants to talk Rock but Cena, too, is focused on tonight.

10:08 Throw to Matt Striker and CM Punk. Pun can’t see Cena beating him. Punk can’t see Cena winning. Punk can’t see anyone winning but him.

10:12 Orton is out first.

10:13 Cole thinks Orton has never made excuses for himself in his career. That’s laughable to those of us who remember Evolution, Legacy and Rated RKO.

10:14 R-Truth is #2. Four faces here but will two start?

10:15 Punk also gets to start in a chamber.

10:17 Even Cena gets locked in.

10:19 That leaves Sheamus and Morrison to start. Morrison better impress me.

10:22 Great jumps start already.

10:24 Pod #1 opens to reveal Orton.

10:25 Rope Hung DDT onto the steel grating for Sheamus.

10:28 Randy stalks Punk as the time counts down but Punk gets stuck in the pod door at Orton’s mercy.

10:29 Punk gets RKOed and pinned. Wow, that was unexpected.

10:30 An email from the RAW GM. Due to the pod malfunction the GM allows Punk back in his pod and back into the match.

10:33 Once again we let someone in, but it’s Cena not Punk.  Sheamus attacks Cena in his own pod. This is not illegal I guess. The pod worked after all.

10:36 The crowd is split on Cena.

10:36 Punk now gets to be last as R-Truth comes in. Sheamus tries another ambush but Truth turns the tables.

10:38 R-Truth doesn’t last long as he falls to a Brogue Kick  as the first elimination.

10:39 Too many people have been thrown through  the glass tonight. Why can’t people break out if the glass gives way that easily?

10:40 Punk is coming back. He closes his own door and Cena tries to AA Orton, only to get an RKO on the steel grating.

10:41 Punk is picking the scraps.

10:42 GTS on Orton and the Viper is done. Orton/Punk at Wrestlemania seems certain.

10:44 Tease of a High Cross off the top of a pod but Morrison fights Sheamus off and climbs clean to the top of the dome. He drops into Sheamus in a highly impressive spot that takes Sheamus out of the match.

10:53 Morrison catches himself in mid-air on a pod, leaps to the chains flies into Punk but misses Starship Pain and ends up in a Go To Sleep and we are down to two. But Cena comes in to Attitude Adjust Punk and, as predicted, Cena walks away the winner.

10:54 Miz has been watching and doesn’t look happy.

10:55 We’re rapping up. My picks were pretty spot on though the tag titles changing hands were a surprise. The Chamber matches had some nice stuff but weren’t as spectacular as they were in the pre-PG days. There seemed  to be a lot of filler and I would have liked one more match on the card. But a night with no surprises other than Trish Stratus doesn’t blow me away. 42 days to build to Mania, I think it will go well.

Posted on February 21st, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on WWE Elimination Chamer 2011 Live Recap
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This is Smackdown number 600 and we are being promised Dolph Ziggler’s coronation tonight. Is Teddy Long coming back? Will Vince show up? Edge comes out first and is announced as the World Heavyweight Champion. The big promised twelve-man tag match is opening the show. Edge, Randy Orton, John Morrison, R-Truth (who doesn’t rap), Rey Mysterio (huge pop from the San Diego crowd) and John Cena make up the white hats. CM Punk, King Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre, Kane and Dolph Ziggler are the Really Rottens. Edge starts with Drew. Soon Truth and Ziggler match up but Truth soon tags Orton. Ziggler lasts through several faces but gets the advantage on John Morrison. Ziggler tags in Sheamus and we go to commercial.

When we come back Sheamus is still throwing Morrison around so I doubt they left much out. The face side is heavily RAW and Smackdown dominates the heels. That means most of the match-ups are from different brands. Edge and Ziggler actually get to face off in the match. It all breaks down with everyone running in, one-by-one and hitting a finisher on the last guy. Mysterio managed to 619 both Barrett and Ziggler, the legal man, who is knocked into a Spear to end the match. That went about 25 minutes and was quite decent. But Vickie is out now. She wants the title belt from Edge. We see last week’s footage with Clay Matthews counting the pin despite Vickie seeing the Spear. And she’s again accusing him of taking out Teddy Long. So she fires Edge.

Cody Rhodes, in a plastic mask, has had successful surgery. He’s cleared for travel and will make an announcement next week. Not as good as his last promo but still solid. Beth Phoenix and Eve are going to face Lay-Cool but not before a commercial and some vintage footage. No… Layla is teaming with Maryse? McCool is on commentary. She soon distracts and the heels win. We see most of Rock’s promo form Monday, which was on NXT too, so I make pizza pockets.

The Miz showed up, with Alex Reilly in tow. He faces Kofi Kingston. I predict Del Rio costs Kingston the match and the end in a match Sunday. Well, yeah Del Rio costs him the match but no follow-up yet.

Okay Gabriel and Slater of “The Corre” face the tag champs. They come out alone but, when Santino looks to win, the others attack for the DQ. Big Show makes the save and we get a long tease of a real one-on-one between Jackson and Show but The Corre back off. I feel like we’re still going to add some matches for Sunday before this night is through.

Coronation time, with lots of show to come. And cue Teddy Long. Teddy thinks she was the one who attacked him. She sells out Dolph so Long books Dolph to face Edge. I guess Ziggler’s reign is official he just needs to defend the title. It’s a pretty short match so it’s nothing special but Edge wins with the Spear then Teddy returns to fire Dolph. Shouldn’t a replacement for him in the Chamber match be named? Edge gets on the mic to lead the “Na na, na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” chant.

This may have been nice for a 600th episode but they didn’t sell the Pay Per View very well. It feels really light and I expect some new matches to show up Sunday. They’ve been coasting on the Chamber matches yet the winners seem like foregone conclusions. Lawler is going to lose and I can’t name another booked match. They keep giving away champion versus champion matches with no build. No one has RSVPed for Sunday yet. If no one comes I’m not even sure I’ll get the show. If I do expect a live blog of the event. If not, see you for RAW.

Posted on February 19th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 2/19/11
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Just six days to Elimination Chamber then the long slow build to Wrestlemania. We still have the return of Undertaker and HHH supposedly happening before then and the four-hour show is always packed to the rafters with matches so there is plenty more to reveal. Tonight, Vince is coming back to reveal a guest host for the big show. Tonight we mix and match Elimination Chamber participants as Orton will face Sheamus, Morrison and R-Truth will mix it up and, jerking the curtain, CM Punk and John Cena mix it up again. There must be a winner and everyone you’d expect to interfere has been banned. There’s some meaningless prattle before we get started.

The good thing about CM Punk facing John Cena is both of them are utterly convincing in their clear desire to win the match. The match involves a lot of finisher attempts that get countered. But an unseen Nexus member slides both a chair and wrench out from under the ring. CM Punk slides the chair in to distract the ref then hits Cena with the wrench. That’s enough for the win.

Lawler is not here tonight. His mother passed away the night before. There are no jokes to be made there. I feel bad for anyone losing a mother, even at what must have been an advanced age.

It seems Alberto Del Rio is competing on RAW. Nope, just a promo. Yet they rang the bell before it. Edge interrupts, still holding his title belt, having remembered that Del Rio hit him with a guitar. Del Rio may have a destiny but it’s Edge’s destiny to attack him right now. Ricardo tries to save but, ultimately, Del Rio still eats a Spear, off the apron to boot. And now here’s Vickie Guererro. She’s going to strip the title here on RAW. Kind of makes me less eager to see Smackdown if all the stories are already on RAW. The coronation is Friday it turns out. Vickie is also claiming Edge was the one who took out Teddy Long and he’ll be fired for it.

Next week – Undertaker.

Natalya gets her title rematch in a Lumberjill match. Some decent athleticism early. Natalya gets thrown out and attacked by the heels and Eve confirms she’s still a face by Crossbodying the lot of them. Natalya goes for a pin but ends up with Eve laying across each other and gets pinned, presumably without noticing. So a very indecisive outcome.

Rev Theory in da house.

The Bellas stay heels by attacking Eve and Gail Kim comes to her rescue. Natalya gets involved and there may have even been others. The camera work wasn’t the best. Mark Henry is supposed to compete, but Sheamus takes him down first. Sheamus wants us to remember what he’s capable of and he’ll demonstrate tonight on Randy Orton. We also reveal that it was CM Punk who planted false rumors last week that Mark Henry had been running down Sheamus. It makes a lot more sense if it was all CM Punk’s idea. If you need a stooge to beat someone up Mark Henry is somewhat convincing.

The middle point of the show goes to a champion versus champion match (not that they are hyping it that way) between The Miz and Daniel Bryan. Alex Reilly is on commentary and Cole offers him Josh’s job. Reilly asks “Can I do both? Can I sports entertain and commentate?” Really? Really? Look WWE, like it or not sports entertainment is a sub-genre of professional wrestling. You want to call them superstars instead of wrestlers, that’s fine. But these people wrestle. They do not sports entertain in the ring. They wrestle. Do not try to erase that word. When you can get beyond the commentary running it down it’s actually a pretty good match and lasts more than one segment. A Skull Crushing Finale gives Miz a clean win. Because he needs to be built up so we can buy he’ll beat Jerry Lawler. Miz gets on the mic and gets to be sincere for a moment in offering his condolences to Lawler. But he won’t let Jerry use it as an excuse why he loses.

Otunga and Mr. Not So Perfect face John Morrison and R-Truth. It was supposed to be Morrison vs. R-Truth but the E-GM piped up during the commercial and made a change. Didn’t he, I’d say or she but this is WWE we are talking about they won’t have two female GMs, set the match in the first place? Short match, faces dominate, R-Truth even takes out Mason Ryan with a Plancha dive. They even scare Nexus off from trying a post-match beatdown.

Ariel Winter is in the ring. I like Modern Family, but I don’t plan to buy The Chaperone on DVD. She introduces the Khali Kiss-Cam. It’s even lamer than usual as it’s just the typical kiss cam they do at arenas. Santino and Tamina as well as Dolph and Vickie are also victims. Maryse faces Ted Dibiase then plants one on Yoshi Tatsu. William Regal playfully kisses Zack Ryder on the cheek. And Hornswoggle delivers a heart shaped box of chocolates to Ariel. If this were Popmudo she’d trade health for mood. Instead Hornswoggle gets a peck on the cheek of his own. If this weren’t Valentine’s Day my review of this segment would have been much shorter.

Sheamus versus Orton will be your final match of the night. The main event will be the reveal of the guest host. Normally I don’t like non-match main events but this is going to be worth it. In fact, the match is not memorable for precisely that reason. Orton does win with an RKO and then Nexus attack Orton but Truth, Morrison and Cena all invade to even the odds. Orton RKOs Otunga and Mr. Not So Perfect. He and Cena throw Ryan from the ring and Cena ends up hitting an Attitude Adjustment on Punk. I was expecting Orton to RKO Cena at the end but no such luck.

They tease a woman in heels exiting a limo. Could the guest host be a woman?

Lots of lighting and sound to play with before they actually reveal the host. If you don’t already know it’s impressive. Yep, The Rock will be hosting Wrestlemania XXVII. The crowd reaches enthusiasm levels sufficiently high enough to satisfy me when they realize just how lucky they are. The guy who wrote the “Bring back The Rock” sign gets a lot of camera time. I was in a debate today about if The Rock was the best guy on the mic of all time. Now I, personally, would put Bobby Heenan above The Rock. The one knock against The Rock is his reliance on catchphrases. And we get a lot, but we get some real talk too. E-GM tries to interrupt but Rocky doesn’t even let Michael Cole go to the computer. Given that I’m actually watching a 4 p.m. replay they bleep Rock saying ass. Didn’t Cena get “fined” for that? Rock does it at least five times. Rock apparently has an issue with John Cena and that is enough to turn him heel for the crowd. Oh man Rock runs Cena down but good. This show runs quite long. Repeat “the millions” “and millions” three times then draws out the “is cookin” for ages and yes the crowd is eating out of the palm of his hand. And the announcers have shut up for almost all of this, so all the better.

Getting Wrestlemania was never in dispute. Enjoying it was. The odds of that just dropped.

Posted on February 15th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 2/19/11
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