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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 11th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Smackdown & TNA Week Ending 12/11/10
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Tables and ladders and chairs, oh my! We start Smackdown with those exact things set up at ringside. Starting us out tonight here comes our resident masked luchador, the only masked wrestler left in WWE, Rey Mysterio. Rey’s bitter Alberto Del Rio cost him his shot at King of the Ring. Here comes Del Rio, and you’ve got to love a guy who drives to his promo interruptions. After an exchange of decent promos Rey reveals Teddy Long booked them a match at TLC. Del Rio vows it won’t happen and they face off atop a ladder. Rey pushes Del Rio off then comes out on top of a brawl.

NXT winner Kaitlyn is now on Smackdown. Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyer, who just broke up a tag team, pair up to face Kaval and MVP. All four of these men acquit themselves well in the match until Dolph is able to Zig Zag Kaval after interference from both Vickie and Drew. Then Kane shows up and beats down the faces even more while the heels run. Kane is now going to hold the show hostage. Edge again conveniently shows up on a monitor and claims Kane can come get daddy in the loading dock. But it’s another game of cat and stupid where another dummy Paul gets taken out. Will this ever end?

Kofi Kingston is out to compete for a shot at the Intercontinental title. Jack Swagger is the opponent. These two had a good match last week so let’s see if we can repeat it. I can’t see Swagger facing Ziggler so it seems like Kofi is a lock to go over. Once again we get a fine match. These guys have different styles but mesh well with each trying to control the match in their own way. It’s also a nice long match and there are some great wow moments from Kingston. Kingston finally hits Trouble in Paradise from the outside to the inside through the ropes. It looks great and it picks up Kingston his second win over Swagger in as many weeks, not to mention a shot at the Intercontinental title.

Another dummy goes down a set of stairs. Sadly, it’s not one of the writers.

Chris Masters’ fortunes don’t look good this week as he has to face “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. I enjoy Rhode far more when Jerry Lawler is not present. It’s a competitive match for a while but Rhodes hits his new move A Beautiful Disaster followed by his usual finisher the Cross Rhodes to put Masters away. Rosa Mendes still wrestles? Rosa gets to face Layla. Layla has a move called the Lay Out? It gets a quick win here. A LayCool beatdown gets interrupted, first by Hornswoggle, then by Beth Phoenix. Swagger’s Soaring Eagle shows up for the first time tonight, with a wishbone to pick with Hornswoggle. Beth gets to take down the eagle to show just how tough she is.

Our main event is a preview of the PPV. Kane takes on Edge with the winner choosing the stipulation at TLC. Considering how demented Kane is supposed to be at this point this is a rather tame match, They are certainly saving the big stuff for the Pay Per View. A desperate Bearer shows up on the monitor. Kane chooses to return to the ring rather than save his father but he walks right into a Spear and Edge wins anyway. Edge, of course, choose Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Does that mean their match will be the main event? Edge again tricks Kane, this time with a Paul Bearer look-alike, who suffers Kane’s wrath. Will this never end?

In other news, this was MVP’s last appearance. He has received the release he was looking for and will go elsewhere. Not a big loss as far as I’m concerned. There’s a PPV coming up and we’re getting matches. But this Kane/Edge storyline is just silly and awkwardly staged. I’ll be glad when we move on to another main event feud.

Posted on December 4th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Smackdown Week Ending 12/4/10
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Ah Smackdown, a crap shoot of a show each and every week. Kane is out to open so we’re not starting well. Kane loves his daddy even more than his title. Kane has woken up to the fact kidnapping is illegal. But he just wants Paul Bearer back and all will be forgiven. Kane’s not a freak, or a monster, he has feelings. He wants daddy home for the holidays. Yeah, this is just…not right. Here come Edge with the empty wheelchair. Edge makes Kane ask nicely but Edge still doesn’t buy Kane’s sincerity so he wheels off like a homeless person with a shopping cart.

King of the Ring qualifiers should dominate this show. The first pits Kofi Kingston versus Jack Swagger. Another crap shoot. It’s a good match, lots of back and forth. There’s a great series of counters late in the match but Kofi ends it all with Trouble in Paradise. How’s being a former world champion working out for you Swags? So Kofi will be one of eight in the hunt on Monday night. I don’t have high hopes for his chances.

This Edge storyline graduates to urine and feces jokes as Paul has been tied to a chair for two weeks. Edge teases Kane with his location then takes off. Alberto Del Rio has his work cut out for him as he faces the Big Show. But Del Rio is the kind of guy who should be winning KotR, Show is not. Show is dominant here. Del Rio survives, but his offence doesn’t cut it against the giant. But Show leaves the ring and Del Rio’s ring announcer is able to occupy him long enough for the big man to get counted out. By the numbers booking with Show here but the right guy goes over and that’s what matters.

Edge reappears, with his victim. He calls out Kane but is ready to push Paul down the stairs to keep him at bay. Kane calls Edge names in a deliberate case of the pot calling the kettle black. Kane finally figures out Edge probably wants a title match in exchange for his father. But Edge still plays games and won’t give back Bearer.

These days it’s hard to predict if MVP or Drew McIntyre will advance. Neither seem to be on fire lately. McIntyre targets MVP’s left arm early, using the ring environment to his advantage. McIntyre quickly takes advantage of the debilitated face and it’s the sinister Scotsman who’ll be competing Monday night. LayCool gives us some increasingly repetitive digs at Natalya before McCool faces Kelly Kelly. In a ridiculously short match double K actually wins! This is just to set up a beat down so Beth Phoenix can make the save and destroy McCool.

The final qualifier of the night is Rey Mysterio against “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. Since two heels have already won I’m expecting Rey to win here. But before we can start Del Rio returns to join commentary. Thing is, he really doesn’t say that much. Mysterio accidentally accidentally hits Del Rio with a Seated Senton when he is aiming for Rhodes. A ref bump follows and Del Rio crotches Rey on the ring post to allow Rhodes to pick up the win. Now that I think about it 3 faces qualified on Monday so three heels from Smackdown makes sense. I don’t see Cody making round 2 but this is a nice little push for him.

Kane is no longer playing nice as he threatens Teddy Long. Edge continues to magically appear on nearby monitors. Now Edge has Paul out in the parking lot. Kane arrives in time to see his dad run down by a car but it’s an obvious manikin. Edge drives off, still holding Paul, and I’m getting really tired of this storyline.

All the KotR qualifiers were fine matches so I’m happy with this show overall. The return of the King of the Ring gave the writing staff an “Easy” button for coming up with storylines this week. Monday’s show should be good, although cramming seven matches in a three hours show may force some of them to be quite short. Still, I’m looking forward to RAW more than I have in some time.

Posted on November 28th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Smackdown Week Ending 11/27/10
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Welcome to Survivor Series. The focus tonight is on a man who is not even wrestling. What will John Cena do? More importantly, what will WWE brass do? The opening video is all about Cena so it’s a bit of surprise when we open with Ted Dibiase challenging Daniel Bryan for the United States Championship. I don’t recall this even being announced in advance. Dibiase puts up a good fight and the match is a decent opener. The LaBell lock is teased constantly and, in the end, it keeps Bryan his championship. Considering this was a free add to the card you can’t help but get your money’s worth.

Miz ambushes Bryan with the Money in the Bank briefcase then he and Alex “Will a DUI get me fired?” Reilly. Miz is out before the Miami crowd to get heat by making fun of the Heat. He also runs down Nexus to keep us all wondering if Miz will cash in his title shot after the main event.

Next match is John Morrison versus Sheamus. Who wins here will be very interesting just in terms of figuring out which of these guys is trending upwards. I heard one commentator say the best way to book this is like an old Undertaker/Jeff Hardy match. They don’t really go that direction but they get a lot of mileage out of Morrison’s willingness to throw himself/be thrown around like a toy. I don’t know why WWE is having a lot more matches end without finishing moves lately but it happens again here. Morrison strings together a few moves, ending with a leaping knee strike, and that’s enough for the pin. So Morrison is moving up the card. But is Sheamus moving down?

Now it’s time to catch up with Cena backstage. R-Truth is really weird lately, now he’s offering to take down Orton so Cena can keep his job? Cena once again vows to be fair and now R-Truth doesn’t believe him? Why would he turn down Truth’s offer if he planned to rig the match?

Before we get to the Kaval vs. Dolph Ziggler title match some bad news. There will be a fourth season of NXT. It will be back to men but will that bring it back to watchable? This match features a nice mix of high impact and submission wrestling. No Kaitlyn to distract Vickie or Dolph. Dolph takes a real shot to the nose and it’s bloody from then on. It could even be broken. It’s a good match with a weak roll-up reversal finish, holding the tights to give Ziggler the win. I hope this feud continues.

We get some mic time from the Survivor Series heels. They aren’t entirely on the same page but Del Rio remains gold on the microphone. MVP is the hometown hero tonight so it’s weird to see him getting a chant over Mysterio or Big Show. Cole and Striker actually waste mic time arguing if Ricky Henderson was the best baseball player of all time. He wasn’t; he was great, but not the greatest. MVP is the hometown boy so, of course, he’s eliminated first. Chris Masters doesn’t last much longer, falling to Del Rio’s Armbar. Big Show punches out Del Rio when he is not legal and gets led out. Cody Rhodes falls to the Big Show so it’s effectively 3 on 3 now. Del Rio is technically still in the match so could return.

Kofi Kingston takes out Tyler Reks, who I’m not getting behind no matter how hard they try. This gives the faces the advantage but Kofi soon taps to a Jack Swagger Anklelock. Matt Striker sounds like an idiot when he tries to make Mysterio falling off Show’s shoulders sound impressive. He actually adds Rey’s height to the distance he supposedly fell. It doesn’t work that way. Never mind Rey was not standing on the top of Show’s head. Swagger falls to Mysterio and the lone Drew MacIntyre eats a Chokeslam and the faces win with the same survivors as Friday’s Smackdown. This seems like wrong booking. Del Rio looks like he has a glass jaw, the other heels don’t seem strong and people who don’t need to be elevated are the only winners. We’ve already had two face wins on the card the bad guys should have pulled it out here.

TLC is a weak Pay Per View but I am loving this promo made up largely of crude stick figure drawings. Orton doesn’t feel sorry for John Cena. He’s focused on Wade Barrett. Cena knows if he screws Orton then Orton will make getting fired look good by comparison.

Diva handicap match is next. I have little to say about the match. The heels have to tag in and out. The finish? I never thought I’d see the day Michelle McCool would tap out to Natalya’s Sharpshooter. The subsequent beat down is interrupted by the non-surprise return of Beth Phoenix to make the save. My buddy Hugh begged and begged for Beth to turn but instead I predict a tag match at the next PPV.

Next comes the Edge/Kane match and a long video reminds us Edge has kidnapped Kane’s father Paul Bearer. Both the guys who saw the show with me had thought he was dead in real life. Edge brings out a wheelchair, but no Paul. Kane is obsessed with his father through the match, trying to beat the information out of Edge. Edge looks like a threat throughout. But Kane still bores me, no matter who he faces, and none of us really enjoy this match. Edge reverses a Tombstone attempt into a Spear. Kane goes down, Edge falls down with an arm draped over Kane and it’s bloody obvious from the poorly chosen camera angle that both men’s shoulders are down. They tease Edge as the new champ but it’s a draw so Kane retains. I’ve seen this done before, way, way better on free TV in a HHH/HBK title match. Here, it’s just lame. Kane tries to beat down Edge but it ends up with Edge wheelchairing Kane through a ring barricade. We never see Paul Bearer. Yes, Edge still looks strong for this feud to continue but big PPVs should be above cheap crap like this.

Now it’s Barrett’s turn to talk to Cena backstage. They are in the same arena tonight where Nexus debuted by beating down Cena. It’s all come full circle. Don’t pretend you planned that. Barrett could have fired Cena after Monday’s Attitude Adjustment. But no, John will hand Barrett the title tonight and be free.

The rest of Nexus come out as Gabriel and Slater defend their tag belts against Santino Marella and Vladimir Koslov. Slater still isn’t ready for this. The other guys are merely ok tonight. Extra Nexus interference makes the difference and Nexus stands tall. We hear from the anonymous GM for the first time all show. He or she just wants to make sure the rest of Nexus are gone for the main event.

That brings us to our final contest of the evening. It’s supposed to be Orton and Barrett but Cena steals most of the focus. He calls it even, as Barrett grows more and more frustrated with him. Behind all this isn’t a great match. Orton can wrestle but he’s not at the point where he can carry a green opponent to a great match. After a long back and forth Barrett hits Wasteland and Orton barely grabs the ropes to save his title. Barrett shoves Cena, Cena hits back and Barrett stumbles straight into an RKO! Cena hesitates just for a moment before counting the three and ending his career. The rest of Nexus attack. Cena and Orton fight them off together but not before they rescue their beaten leader. Cena hands Orton his title. They even hug. Orton gets in his celebratory poses but the focus is not on him. Soon he heads to the back. Then Cena takes a ridiculously long time saying goodbyes. He ranges all over the arena. He hugs Cole but not King or Striker.

So WWE was not willing to put a title on Barrett to such a point they now have to write their way out of this mess. I haven’t heard anything about Cena actually wanting time off for any reason so this shouldn’t last long. So how was the show? Well there was some good wrestling. There was some good match storytelling. But usually you had to choose one or the other and in some cases got none. There were some big surprises and it felt like a big event. And Michael Cole was toned down from Monday or NXT, so that helped. I’m going to give this one a thumbs up, especially since I didn’t have to pay. But even then, it’s on the line.

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Survivor Series 2010
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I already feel like I’ve watched a lot of wrestling this week and I still have Smackdown and Survivor Series to come! We get to see a singles match between Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio before they captain their respective teams at Survivor Series. I was hoping it would start the show but it’s just Del Rio cutting a promo. And it’s MVP who interrupts not Rey Rey. MVP is still ticked off about Del Rio respecting the legends on Monday night. MVP wants a fight but Del Rio is saving himself for Mysterio. So he calls out Drew McIntyre to face MVP.

Here are the teams:

Rey Mysterio, Big Show, MVP, Chris Masters, Kofi Kington

Alberto Del Rio, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Tyler Reks, Jack Swagger

Isn’t it a bit odd to see Cody and Drew on the same team right after they broke up their own tag team? Doesn’t that seem like poor planning on WWE’s part? This is a pretty standard match for Smackdown midcarders, so not bad. I’m surprised MVP wins and without a finisher, just a running kick to the head.

Edge has apparently kept Paul Bearer tied up for over a week. I wonder what he smells like? Edge was on a campaign against stupidity just a little while ago and this, this is stupid. Kane thinks Teddy Long knows where Paul Bearer is and trashes his office when he doesn’t get an answer.

Another Survivor Series preview as Jack Swagger faces Chris Masters. Masters never wins so I can’t see this being the first, especially with the face going over in the prior match. And yes, Masters manages to lock on his deadly version of the (snicker) Full Nelson, the Master Lock, but Swagger gets to the ropes. Swagger gets an Ankle Lock in short order and his submission move wins.

Play dodgeball with a tied up man? Stupid.

Kaval faces Dolph Ziggler and, finally, actually picks up a win. Kaval actually cashes in the title shot he won on NXT for a shot at the Intercontinental title. Talk about aiming low. Still, something else to look forward to on Sunday.

Edge continues to use torture despite being the good guy. He’s the Jack Bauer of WWE.

More Survivor Series preludes as Cody Rhodes faces Kofi Kingston. Here, I can buy either guy as the winner. I love Cody Rhodes leaving the ring to check his reflection after being hit in the face. And getting furious about it to. Like he really believe opponents should know better than to hit him in the face. After a good match it’s Rhodes who picks up the win with Cross Rhodes after grabbing handfuls of tights and hair.

Kane misses his daddy.

There is not enough diversity in the Divas lineup if the buildup to a handicap match is a tag match with the same participants plus Kelly Kelly. It’s way too short and LayCool go over with a double team. Unless Natalya is winning the title Sunday this was terrible booking. And I don’t think Natalya is winning.

Smashing food on a gagged, hungry, fat man may violate the Geneva Convention. And I don’t want to see Kane cry. Ever.

That leaves Big Show to face Tyler Reks. Yeah, that’s not predictable at all. Especially, with the heels up 2-1. Yeah, it’s a squash. They just released Shad and Luke Gallows and they are treating Tyler Reks like he’s never going to be any better than those two were.

Edge and Bearer are at the arena and, in a show this pre-taped, Kane passed Luke Gallows on his way to the parking lot. Edge gets the jump on Kane, literally, when he leaps off a limo roof to knock him over. Then he tosses him into some equipment and takes off with Paul Bearer back in the limo. That really didn’t accomplish much for Edge, did it?

I’d actually like to be able to understand Spanish to know just what Del Rio’s personal ring announcer actually says. The match doesn’t last nearly long enough before Del Rio’s team runs in for a DQ. The face team runs in for a brawl. There’s ten minutes left so, of course, here comes Teddy Long to turn this into a team Battle Royal. Rhodes is out first, actually eliminated by Chris Masters. Masters ends up dumped next. Tyler Reks goes, lasting longer than I expected. McIntyre takes out Kingston to even it up again. Then MVP is quickly out to put the heels back ahead. Show dumps McIntyre and with Show left the faces have the advantage even when it’s even. With Del Rio going next that leaves Swagger to try to hold off Big Show and Mysterio. Swagger seems to think an Ankle Lock will help him eliminate Mysterio. It doesn’t and Show takes him out to leave two faces as winners. That should mean the heels find a way to win Sunday but they sometimes play against trend just to swerve us.

For what seemed like a throwaway addition to the card, a lot of time was spent plugging the Survivor Series match. Kane and Edge was not built that well. Too much silliness and histrionics. The Kaval/Ziggler match was a nice addition but the women didn’t build that well. I guess that makes this a so-so show so far but it got me reinvigorated for Survivor Series so it wasn’t a failure. Expect my PPV recap on Monday. If you’re seeing it I hope you enjoy it.

Posted on November 22nd, 2010 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
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Just sit right back and you’ll read a tale,
A new wrestling recap
That started on a Monday night
And could be full of crap.

The champ was a viper, cold and cruel,
Cena was on his last straw.
The oldtimers had all been called
For a three hour RAW, a three hour RAW.

The writing started getting rough,
Continuity was tossed,
If not for the mem’ry of the Attitude era
The viewers would be lost, the viewers would be lost.

The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Superfly
And Mean Gene too,
The millionaire and his son,
Roddy Piper,
The Iron Sheik and the Fink,
Here on Old Timer’s Raw.

I miss the beginning of RAW three times for various reasons so I start with Miz threatening to steal Barrett’s title shot by cashing in Money in the Bank tonight. John Cena wants no part of that so he challenges The Miz tonight, and Miz says yes. Gene Okerlund and Cowboy Bob Orton were in the scene too.

Old school titles, graphics and even the ring announcer is dressed up in clothes from the 70s or so. Since this is a three-hour show we’ll see interpromotional matches too. The first is Dolph Ziggler versus Mark Henry. They’re even doing pop-up promos before the match. Mark Henry comes out to the old “Sexual Chocolate” theme music and singlet. They have the announcers on steel chairs and Cole is already complaining about being uncomfortable. Mark Henry gets to look like he has a chance tonight, kicking out of two Zig Zags, but the Sleeper Hold is his downfall as a guy with a future goes over a never was.

A babbling Tony Atlas eventually bores the Hart Dynasty enough that they walk off. He’s still talking after commercial as Yoshi Tatsu mimes Hari Kari. Yoshi Tatsu is still on the roster? The Hart Dynasty face the tag champs (Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel in case you’ve forgotten) barely gets started before, in a surprise, Tyson Kidd is the one who turns on David Hart Smith. Why not make the guy with more potential and a highflying moveset into a face?

R-Truth continues to be a jerk and stir up crap between Orton and Cena. Orton could just take Cena out of the picture with a punt to the head… Back in the ring here’s Howard Finkel! He brings out the Brooklyn Brawler and Harvey Whippleman. He issues an open challenge to any young superstar. Out comes Ezekial Jackson. Guess who wins? That’s the best way to put an old star in a match.

Nexus finally figures out they need to do something about R-Truth. Barrett tries to fawn it off on Otunga, but the anonymous General Manager pipes up and makes it Barrett versus R-Truth instead. Die hard Otunga fans (are there any?) will be happy to learn Otunga will have a match tonight too. Cena turns down Nexus protection for his match with The Miz. If Orton wants some, he can come get some.

Miz begs off the match, since the GM never sanctioned it, and once again puts Alex Reilly in the match in his place. There’s still two hours to go and I’m already fatigued. Riley has ended up in a much better position than Kaval, who actually won season two. Here he at least looks like he’s in the same league as Cena before the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, Attitude Adjustment, STF combo polishes him off.

Here comes Orton. Down goes The Miz. Harris and McGuillicuddy try to interfere but Orton takes them out in no time. That leaves Orton face to face with Cena until Cena throws a punch. A host of old school attired officials hit the ring to prevent any real fighting. E-GM pipes up to book Cena and Orton on Piper’s Pit so they can air their differences.

More old guys are back, Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik. I haven’t heard the Soviet national anthem in a while. Santino and Koslov interrupt, but it’s only so Koslov can join the singalong. Koslov actually sings worse than you’d expect. Sheik gets to babble, but he keeps bringing up Hulkamania and they keep cutting his mic. Santino bring out Slick, who even I have never seen before, and who does nothing. At last we get to the point, The Ousos come out for a #1 contender’s match, dragging Superfly Snuka along with them. The problem with this match is I’m just not sure I can buy The Cobra actually working. I don’t have long to think about it before Sheamus hits the ring and takes out everybody, leaving Santino for last. Morrison to the rescue once again and we finally actually book the match for Survivor Series.

Half way through.

Otunga faces Kofi Kingston from Smackdown. Kingston isn’t good enough to make Otunga look good and Kingston picks up the win only after George “The Animal” Steele eats a turnbuckle and Kofi uses the steel ring to bash Otunga’s head.

The end of the Million Dollar Title storyline comes suddenly and is a mess. It features Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Dusty Rhodes in a wig pretending to be Aksana’s mother, Aksana in a net, Goldust taking the belt and giving it to Ted Dibiase Sr. Million dollar daddy and IRS offer the belt to Ted Jr, but he’s no longer interested in hand me downs. Cody is here to join the family, but he and big brother aren’t friends. Then they dance to Dusty’s theme, even Tatakna dances by. Then we get Ron Simmons to say “Damn.” (Editor’s Note: This sounds both bizarre and awesome at the same time)

They somehow remaster commentary from Lord Alfred Hayes for the product promos. That’s a nice little tribute to the departed. Why are they still letting Eve dance along side R-Truth? Even dancing is like that female SNL character who looks hot, but everything she does is the opposite of sexy. Barrett wins after a half-decent match.

Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer gets cut off by Tito Santana and his driver is Chavo Guererro Senior aka Chavo Classic. With CM Punk out of action Del Rio takes over making fun of fat Americans. He also feels the legends should respect him. That draws Sergeant Slaughter. Didn’t sarge used to have hair? I didn’t expect much of a match. Slaughter does get the Cobra Clutch on, but Del Rio makes the ropes. Del Rio doesn’t even need a finisher to win, just a big kick to the back of the head in the corner. The Armbar goes on after the match so MVP can make a save.

May Young deserves to make an appearance, but she’s not in great shape at 87. The Bellas are all but holding her on her feet. We’re reminded that Young was once really hot, but the clips package is all from RAW’s days. LayCool comes out to make fun of her, in part for never winning a championship. Mae demands a no-DQ match against both of them. The champs make it Falls Count Anywhere which allows Natalya, Melina, Eve and Gail Kim to come out and destroy the champs so May can plant her foot for the pin. And I thought Bret Hart wrestling was bad.

WOW! Jim Ross is here as a guest commentator! Jim looks fine after his battle with Bell’s Palsy. Sounds fine too. The match he’s here to call is Daniel Bryan versus Jack Swagger. Yeah, I actually want to see that. Cole being a jerk really sours this match and JR’s return. Can’t they shut Cole up once in a while? JR actually focuses on the match going on in the ring! What a change! But seriously, Cole spoils the match for me. Bryan wins, with a kick to the back of the head like Del Rio did. Ted Dibiase attacks Bryan post-match so I guess he’s looking for a belt of his own. JR at least gets to hit Cole with his hat before he leaves.

A Survivor Series match has been added to Survivor Series! Five on five, Team Mysterio versus Team Del Rio.

Piper’s Pit will serve as our main event of this show. I’ll just be glad when it’s over. It’s just plain weird to hear Lord Alfred Hayes hawking We bring all the legends for an introduction and a nod of appreciation. It’s the most sincere part of the whole show. Piper is out last and I still wouldn’t want to fight the guy. Piper calls out Cena to remind him some superstars never win the big belt, Piper among them. So he doesn’t want to see Cena hand Wade Barrett a championship. Cena finally breaks. He’s not going to throw everything he’s built away. He’s going to call the match down the middle. That draws Barrett who says down the middle is all he needs. Then Piper gets to go off on Barrett. But Barrett gets a last laugh as he forces Cena to put on a Nexus t-shirt. Cena gets to renew his vow that he’ll destroy Barrett after Survivor Series win or lose. Barrett is fine, he has Nexus to protect him.

Finally Randy Orton shows up. This show is already supposed to be over. Orton could take Cena out… but instead he goes after Barrett. He gets to lay a beatdown before Barrett can ask Cena for help. Cena tries to block but gets RKOed. Orton tries to punt Barrett but Cena, who is up way too quickly after an RKO, hits him with an Attitude Adjustment. Barrett want Cena to raise his hand – but Cena AAs him too and throws off the Nexus t-shirt. Piper is sure proud of him.

A good final segment I don’t like the way this show turned out. Three-hour RAWs are usually too much anyway but tonight the theme got in the way. I don’t want to see every legend from the past reduced to a joke yet they were mostly used for comic relief. What should have been the match of the night, Bryan/Swagger, was ruined by the commentary. Still, I’m pleased I’m going to get to see Survivor Series so the WWE did the most important part of their job. They sold the Pay Per View.

Posted on November 17th, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: Old School WWE Raw Week Ending 11/20/10
Filed Under Entertainment

Wrestling Recap WWE

It’s time to test my theory that TNA is better without Hogan, because he’s back tonight. Immortal is riding strong once again after running the table at Turning Point. They debut a new title belt, which looks like a Halloween mask. The Pope, Matt Morgan, RVD and Samoa Joe step up to oppose them. They still seem heavily outnumbered. Samoa Joe has to take on Gunnar and Scott, Matt Morgan gets three opponents: Beer Money and Doug Williams. RVD faces Kaz and if he wins he gets a title shot. AJ Styles already has a date with Stevie Richards so it’s a full card already.

Team 3D tease me with retiring but Ray turns on Devon so they’ll be around a while yet. Joe wins his match easily but Jarrett leads a beat down until Kurt Angle appears to drive him off. RVD loses when Rhino turns on him, despite supposedly no longer being under contract. The Pope gets to beat up Eric Bischoff and Matt Morgan manages to win his three-on-one match and earn a rematch versus Hardy from a cocky Bischoff. This managed to be an ok show, despite Hogan being here. But at a time when the heels are running wild over the show did we really need two more heel turns?

Time to close out the wrestling week with Smackdown. Edge is set to face David Otunga so Nexus prepares for a beat down. Vickie Guererro is in charge tonight since Teddy Long got delayed by customs. Vickie makes the Otunga/Edge match a Lumberjack Match with not only Nexus but the whole roster surrounding the ring. There’s also a Big Show versus Kane match set for tonight.

Alberto Del Rio face Kofi Kingston. This is a good match and serves as a reminder that this show busts out good wrestling with more regularity than RAW. Del Rio gets the win but his celebration is short as Rey Mysterio arrives to reignite their feud. Layla and Natalya have a pretty good match that ends with Layla tapping to the Sharpshooter. The Survivor Series match will pit Natalya against both Michelle McCool and Layla so I don’t see Natalya winning.

I figured Edge and Otunga would be last but they get the 9:00 slot, leaving Kane and Show to end the night. Nexus being at a disadvantage numbers wise is a nice change. Although they seem to be scraping to find 16 lumberjacks. Goldust is out there and he’s a RAW superstar. Even Fit Finlay is out! Yay Fit! Alberto Del Rio doesn’t play nice and messes with Edge a few times. But Otunga is on the ropes until Kane appears out of nowhere and Chokeslams Edge, giving Otunga the win. Nexus has lost enough people. As weak as Otunga’s ring skills are he can act and plays a decent role in the stable.

MVP gets his shot at Dolph Ziggler’s Intercontinental title. There are two reasons he won’t win. One, this is free TV. Two, he’s MVP. It’s not a great match but there are a lot of cover attempts to add drama. MVP should have won at one point when the ref was distracted reattaching a turnbuckle cover while MVP scored more than a three-count. In the end Ziggler wins, but only after pulling MVP’s foot off the ropes, which should force a break. Hard to say if this was a filler match or this feud will go on for a bit.

Cody Rhodes goes for cheap heat by making fun of British people’s teeth. It’s not original but it works.

Kane versus Big Show is a pretty major match for filler in someone else’s feud. This could easily have been the Survivor Series matchup instead of Kane/Edge. Paul Bearer has been missing all night and we soon see him tied up next to a convenient monitor showing the match. Props to Todd Grisham for remembering these two were once tag team champions together. Again, the wrestling here is not superb but the storytelling helps a lot. I’d rather watch this again than another Kane v. Taker match. Kane looks to finish off Show when Edge interrupts the match by wheeling out Paul Bearer and threatening to shove him off the stage. Remember, he’s the face. Big Show recovers to Chokeslam Kane and win the match. Show may be the only other person on the roster who could beat Kane at this point in time without killing Kane’s heat. Edge leaves with Paul Bearer, presumably holding him captive for a week. Man the laws that are casually broken on wrestling shows.

Not a bad match. It pushed the PPV fairly well and the wrestling was interesting if not technically stellar. Kane cost Edge his match; Edge cost Kane his match. Nexus never looks as strong without Wade Barrett and perhaps that’s the point. At this point I’d like to see the Survivor Series card settled, perhaps with a Survivor Series match? But what they are doing so far should be getting people interested in buying the show.

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