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Wrestling Recap, The Undertaker

Kane actually beat The Undertaker at Night of Champions. He opens Smackdown facing Chris Masters. Even the announcers don’t give Masters much of a chance, but Masters gets to use the once unbreakable Master Lock only to have Kane escape. Masters gets a lot of offense, maybe too much. Kane used Taker’s cutting the throat pose and finishes with the Tombstone, which apparently is Undertaker’s move despite Kane using it throughout his career. Aren’t half of Kane’s moves copies of the Undertaker already? Kane cuts a promo in the expensive seats enjoying the fear he is causing. He has a proposal he won’t let his brother refuse.

The new tag champs have to defend their titles. The challengers are supposed to be a surprise which barely excuses the champions entering first… And it’s just the Hart Dynasty anyway. It’s a decent enough match and the champions need an exposed turnbuckle to win so the Harts aren’t totally buried.

Oh no, Taker is wracked with self-doubt. He’s brooding. Come and see the brooding inherent in the system.

Alberto Del Rio attacked Christian, off camera. Alberto Del Rio lets us know Rey Mysterio will be back next week and they have a match. Christian tries to get revenge but Del Rio savages his arm just like he did to Mysterio. The Straight Edge Society is done but when CM Punk tries to rub it in to Luke Gallows’ face the big man finally turns on him. Punk dominates which does nothing for either man. Kaval gets a second match, this one against Chavo Guererro. Chavo wins. Chavo never wins. So where is the faith in NXT season 2 winner Kaval? Nowhere to be found.

Big Show faces the often forgotten tag team of Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins. When you have the man advantage and you still lose your career is not where it should be. There’s a Dolph Ziggler / MVP match where far too much attention is on Vickie and her NXT rookie. Ziggler again takes a count out to retain his championship (a tactic that gets old fast).

Kane is out to, predictably, challenge Taker to Hell in a Cell, but the rarely seen druids make a return with a coffin. When Kane opens the coffin it reveals Paul Bearer! Taker’s old manager is back, along with the urn, and then so is Taker. It’s like the old days except everyone involved has aged severely. Taker’s newfound strength lets him drive off Kane, then Undertaker and Bearer do their old school pose. It was a nice bit of fan service and it allows Undertaker a storyline reason to suddenly return to full strength. Let’s hope the feud ends at Hell in a Cell.

American viewers, Smackdown moves to SyFy next week. They sure remind you enough. It will actually be a live show, rare for Smackdown. That means next week they should pull out all the stops as the network debut and the go home show for the PPV. We’ll see if they blow it.

Over at TNA Rob Van Dam is back! The Pope is turning heel. Generation Me just do not have the look to be great heels no matter who they beat up. The Knockout Tag Team titles may be the most useless titles in a major wrestling company anywhere in the world. Lacey Von Erich has had plenty of chances. She’s not good. It’s nice to see Sabu can still do the things that made him famous but ladder matches need to focus on the competitors not a host of outside interferers. I’ve soured on Abyss for a while now. He doesn’t quite have the build to get by on it and his performance skills aren’t quite good enough either. He doesn’t cut it as a main eventer, even in TNA.

So Bound for Glory is already going to feature Lethal Lockdown with EV 2.0 vs. Fortune, the Triple Threat for the title and Rob Van Dam versus Abyss. Since bound for Glory is TNA’s version of Wrestlemania it’s not surprising they’re building a decent card. What is surprising is the shows are watchable lately. They aren’t perfect, or even outstanding but the show has positive momentum for a change. I’m not sure who is currently in charge, but they seem to have half a brain in their head. I’d rather watch TNA than NXT season 3.

WWE SmackdownWhat does Smackdown have in store as the Kane/Undertaker feud plods along? They taped in Baltimore last Tuesday. Undertaker is actually wrestling on TV this week as he faces CM Punk. He’s also out to start the show. He cuts a lacklustre promo about being the dominant brother and announces the PPV match will be No Holds Barred, or at least that’s his challenge. CM Punk is the one to interrupt. How is CM Punk facing Big Show at Night of Champions? Neither of them hold a title. Punk rightly points out the Undertaker looks beaten down and tired and isn’t as menacing as he used to be, but Taker can still bust out a catchphrase and it’s time for a commercial anyway.

Let’s see if Jack Swagger can have the success John Morrison had on RAW. He’s facing MVP so even a win won’t really elevate him. They have a pretty typical match before Swagger Dropkicks the ring steps into MVP’s knee, he slams his leg into the ring post, finishing with the ankle lock. MVP taps right away so maybe Swagger is getting rebuilt.

Kaval is on Smackdown and looks to be breaking free of LaCool. I have come to love every moment Alberto Del Rio is on screen. Apparently he really did break Rey Mysterio’s wrist. Del Rio is getting decent competition as he faces a limping Matt Hardy. Stryker makes a Sub-mariner joke in the match. Hee hee. Del Rio drops out of a potential Superplex and yanks Matt Hardy’s arm down into the top rope as he drops. That’s all it takes to set up Del Rio’s finisher and we have another submission tonight. Christian saves Matt Hardy from a beat down but Del Rio vows to make him pay.

Kaval draws Drew McIntyre as his debut opponent. Anyone who thinks Kaval is going to get the same push as Wade Barrett or even Daniel Bryan is in for a shock as McIntyre beats Kaval clean. Dolph Ziggler drags Chavo Guererro out to be his partner. Poor Chavo, he’s always deserved better than he’s got. Remember Kerwin White? The death of that gimmick was the only truly good thing to come out of Eddie’s death. Kofi Kingston has found a scrub from Superstars as his partner as well, Chris Masters. The match only gets really interesting when Dolph and Kofi are in the ring. There’s an odd finish where the ref misses a tag by the heels, which usually happens to the good guys, and Kofi takes down Dolph with Trouble in Paradise. At Night of Champions the title can change hands on a countout or DQ so Dolph is actually going to have to win to keep his title. I’d bet on him.

Big Show pretends to be Josh Matthews and interviews himself. So we’re back to goofy Big Show now? Show gets in one funny comment as he discusses taking out Gallows, Mercury and “that other bald guy they had in their organization.”

That leaves the main event. It’s a pretty plodding match at first. Taker does miss Old School (deliberately) and crotches himself on the top rope. That’s kind of cool. The real problem here, and with Taker overall lately, is once you introduce even a hint of weakness to the Deadman he loses most of his mystique. CM Punk managing a Go To Sleep on Taker looks pretty cool but Taker shrugs it off and goes straight into Hell’s Gate. That leads to a quick tap out. What is it? Submission night? Undertaker’s celebration is cut off by Kane’s pyro and him laughing from the TitanTron. But no answer yet to Undertaker’s challenge…

As for TNA. Well my Digital Video Recorder decided it wasn’t going to record the show so I have no idea what happened. And you know something? I don’t really care.

Posted on September 12th, 2010 by David Creighton | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

Wrestling Recap

Read about last week’s WWE Monday Night Raw in part 1!

Not much to talk about with WWE NXT. I have no idea why they did a double elimination on NXT last week when we have none this week. The rookies compete in a trivia contest, but the bulk of the show is a Cody Rhodes/M.V.P. match to pad things out. It’s not much of a show and simple to skip since nothing happens that actually matters.

Over on Smackdown we’re promised Kane vs. Mysterio (again, but no DQ) and Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston (again, for the title). Mysterio and Kane actually open the show. Rey is actually selling injuries from his match with Alberto Del Rio. It’s not that different from all their past matches. Sure a kendo stick and a steel chair come into play, but it’s still nothing special. Kane wins, not surprisingly, but The Undertaker will appear later tonight. What does that mean for the champion?

Alberto shows up after Kane leaves, he feigns concern for Rey then decides Rey is a sick dog that needs to be put down. He slams him into the barricade then uses his Armbar again. Then catches the arm in a chair. It really gets Del Rio over as a heel but a lot of it is just standing around between the various attacks while Del Rio pretends he’s done for the benefit of the referees.

CM Punk faces JTG just to bring back the Anaconda Vice submission move for a quick win. With Punk unable to GTS Big Show he needs another credible way to potentially beat him. I don’t need to see Teddy Long and Hornswoggle play charades. The Ziggler/Kingston match has a stipulation. The title can change hands on a DQ. I don’t know if this will be the blowoff match, but they are going for bigger moves than their usual matches so it’s a step up from some of there past matches. A lot of near falls and false finishes help too. Vickie stops Dolph from re-entering the ring and he gets counted out. There was no rule that the title would change hands on a countout so Ziggler remains champion and I guess this isn’t the blowoff. Ziggler runs right after the match with Kofi in hot pursuit.

Why did Jack Swagger plunge down the card to where he is feuding with MVP and having crappy amateur matches with him? I skipped over the Drew McIntyre/Christian match last week because just throwing Mcintyre, Rhodes, Christian and Matt Hardy at each other with no real story has already become boring. Alberto Del Rio squashes a local jobber, who gets an entrance for no apparent reason. Del Rio drives a Jaguar into the arena. I am really impressed by this guy so far. They’re calling his finisher a Cross Arm Breaker. They can do better.

Kelly Kelly should stop hanging around Big Show. He may get peckish and mistake her for a corn dog. Show faces Luke Gallows. CM Punk watches from backstage as the rest of the SES, including Serena who has already been released, are at ringside. Show wins, of course.

The show ends with an Undertaker and Kane segment. The Undertaker may not be able to cut it any more. He looks old, he’s limping and I don’t buy it’s from Kane’s attack. Mark Calaway may simply be well past his shelf life. And the promo is uninspired. I think the audience hat just sat through a 4+ hour show so there’s some excuse for them being dead at this point, but this is a weak blowoff to the night.

Over on the TNA side of things I do not need to see Dixie Carter on screen this much. She’s no more talented than I am, why is she on national TV and not me? Oh yeah, rich spouse. Oh great, he’s on camera too. The show also has waaaaaay too much Hulk Hogan. Remember when he signed on and claimed this wasn’t going to be about him? Samoa Joe returns to squash Orlando Jordan then, sadly, get pulled into the vortex of suck that is the Jarrett/Sting/Nash feud. Double J asked Joe for help and Joe refused. So we know they’ll end up allies.

Beer Money crush the F.B.I. (Little Guido and, I think, Tony Mamluke). The Motor City Machineguns ride a growing wave of crowd momentum to a win over Generation Me. There’s some knockout interaction between the reunited Angelina Love and Velvet Sky and Madison Rain and her bodyguard. Sting and Nash remind Flair they haven’t forgotten about Fortune’s beat down.

Stevie Richards makes the mistake of trying to take down Abyss by himself. He puts up with a fight but the only reason he doesn’t get the Janice treatment (Janice being Abyss’s board full of nails) is Abyss tells him to send a message to the others. What happened to RVD will happen to them. Do they all have limited dates on their contract? Then Rhyno calls out Abyss and actually takes him down with a Gore.

So the main event is Fortune (Styles, Kazarian, Morgan and Wolfe) versus Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, The Pope D’angelo Dinero and Mister Anderson. It’s not much of a match until it breaks down into one guy hitting a big move on somebody else then the next guy hitting a big move on the first. Repeat until the Pope steals Angle’s pin. That leads to arguments and Fortune, including Beer Money, beat down the face team. Tommy Dreamer and EV 2.0 make the save. Doug Williams goes through a table.

Fortune is coming together but too many of the show’s storylines are mashing together into one jumbled mess. Not everything needs to involve Hogan, Dixie, Flair and the old ECW guys. And where is Jay Lethal? Where’s Eric Young. Yes some young guys are getting pushes but not nearly enough. As for Reactions, hey TNA please give up trying to make it look like the show is live after Impact and we should stay tuned for live developments. Nobody is buying it. The show should be news and interviews, like the old WWE Confidential.

Not a great week for either federation. WWE is not building Night of Champions well. The RAW main event is a jumble of guys with no focus. Nexus has lost their shine and losing Skip Sheffield will only make it worse. Kane and Undertaker are not hitting the heights a Smackdown main event needs to, especially since Taker should be red hot after just coming back from an injury. TNA keeps saying they’re pushing new guys but they do it by making them secondary characters in the storyline of the old guys. Fortune is now more about Ric Flair than anyone else in the group. And Rhyno taking out Abyss? A big mistake. It’s enough to make a guy want to turn off for a week or and hopes things get better. I’m sure I’ll be back next week with another recap, and that way you aren’t forced to.

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…

DANIEL BRYAN!!!

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.

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