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Royal Rumble

I think it is pretty obvious that WWE has screwed the pooch with this year’s Royal Rumble. What’s the main attraction of the Royal Rumble? Anyone can see that it is the Royal Rumble match!

Yet here we sit, a week from the event and I’m not sure they’ve announced even half the people in it. Who have they announced? Dave Batista, a man I’ve never been impressed with, who has finally decided to come back because, apparently, it’s not so easy to become a movie star. And beyond him? Alberto Del Rio, a man who has fallen so low down the card he jobbed to Sin Cara about a month ago. Then you throw in Kofi Kingston, a man who nobody thinks has a shot, yet they muddy the waters by giving him a win over the champion. Who does that help? Is Kingston going to become number one contender? Not with “Captain Ego”, Brock Lesnar in line first even after Superman Cena.  Right now there is not one credible person in the Rumble other than Batista, and if you go into the match knowing who is going to win then what’s the point? Other entries include CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, and Roman Reigns.

What else does the Rumble have? Well, we’ve got John Cena versus Randy Orton in a rematch of one of the most historic matches in fifty years, the unification of the WWE and the World Heavyweight championships. And there is Big Show versus Brock Lesnar. With the launch of the WWE Network just about a month away, WWE needs to be bring their A+ game more than ever. They unified the titles a month early. They’ve paid barely any attention to the Royal Rumble match and they’ve let Brock Lesnar just crown himself the next #1 contender. The Royal Rumble is going to decide one half of the main event at Wrestlemania. There’s only one champion left for the winner to challenge. Turning it into a throwaway match is just like throwing away money.

I was watching NXT about a month ago, if my research is right it was the 200th episode. The NXT Tag Team champions, a title I hold in slightly higher prestige than the TNA Knockouts Tag Titles, known as The Ascension, had issues an open challenge to any tag team in the world. They were answered by The American… Pitbulls? Here are some highlights.

The Wolves

Now any Ring of Honor fan, or fan of indie or Japanese wrestling knows The American Wolves. Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards have been as famous as you can get without working for TNA or WWE for years now. Which means, of course, once they come to WWE they must be “repackaged.” I’ve never understood why WWE has come to believe every wrestler they hire needs a new name, a new gimmick and near whitewash of their history. I can understand WWE not wanting to acknowledge TNA. TNA at least passes for a vague shadowy ghost of a spectra of a wisp of a challenge to them. But Ring of Honor?

WWE uses RoH as much as a development territory as they do NXT. Where do you think CM Punk came from? Why was CM Punk the last guy they let keep his name? Punk got over in WWE by being the same guy he got over as in the indies and RoH. Bryan Danielson and Daniel Bryan are all but the same and Bryan became Superstar of the Year as voted by the fans. Even worse the pair became Derek Billington (Richards) and John Cahill (Edwards). WWE changed their names and, of course, came up with what my Irish friend Conor could only describe as “shite names.” However that is not the worst news of this story. WWE let the Wolves go. Rather than signing one of the best teams of the modern day, they let them go to TNA. It’s maddening for me to learn this. What’s even more upsetting is I may have to start watching TNA again just to see them.

Chris Morgado over at Inside Pulse had this to say about last week’s RAW.

“But it’s pretty clear that [the] problem … is epidemic of the WWE booking mindset itself. Look at Evan Bourne, a young guy with John Cena apparently in his corner, who has had Chris Jericho put him over like a rock star, and instead of being made to look like he can hang with the main eventers, gets to eat an RKO after his most recent match. That sort of rug yank booking is just part of the backwards way they do things these days.”

To clue you in on the backstage stuff, the dirtsheets have all reported that John Cena went to the powers that be and told them they were wasting an amazing talent in Evan Bourne. Ring of Honor fans may remember Bourne as Matt Sydal. Sydal was huge in Ring of Honor. But Ring of Honor is not WWE. Still, Bourne has suddenly seen a lot more TV time and faced much more popular opponents. As mentioned above, he now owns a win over Chris Jericho in singles competition and he’s been on the winning side of tag matches as well.

Wrestler Evan Boone

Anyway, I disagree that it’s the RKO that was the problem with how Bourne was treated last week. While Evan Bourne is not getting a superstar push like Sheamus or Brock Lesnar in his day, he is now hanging with the upper midcard and the main event and being treated just like everybody else there. Yes Orton RKOed him. Orton would have done the same if it was Cena or HHH who had been his partner but was soon to be his opponent.

My problem with how Bourne was treated last week was that he wasn’t given one second of microphone time. He’s got to get experience on the mic sometime if that’s his weakness. We can let NXT rookies talk for 30 seconds about mustaches but a guy we’re supposed to buy as credible never gets to speak?

Wade Barrett, who can speak and wrestle ok, is getting way more over than Bourne who is an exceptional wrestler. This is sports entertainment after all. If WWE wants us to believe in Bourne they are either going to have to let him learn to talk on the job or, here’s an old school thought, give him a manager! Who says faces can’t have managers? Find a Diva who can talk if need be. Just don’t treat Bourne like he’s not good enough to speak on camera.

Posted on July 11th, 2010 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
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Ring of Honor

I caught the iPPV (that means internet only Pay Per View) show live in Toronto last night with a couple of buddies. We didn’t have the best seats but they weren’t horrible, we just had to watch the show through Plexiglas.

Now I’m an outsider to RoH as was one of the two guys with me. We spent a lot of time asking the third guy “Who’s that?” My general impressions follow:

The in-ring action of Ring of Honor is the best I’ve ever seen. Lots of exciting action, high impact moves, intensity and workrate that blows the big two out of the water. But, after a while, that starts to wear on you. Counting pre-show and intermission (during which action broke out) the show was almost 4 hours long. With no investment in the characters or storylines I was burned out by the main event as was my other non-fan friend. The crowd was incredibly hot but the second the bell rang to end the main event they flooded out. The arena was not air conditioned (oddly the snack bar was) and it got hot. Plus it was 11:30 at night.

There is very little in the way of angles or mic work. Cornette did a bit, there was a little set-up before the big El Generico Kevin Steen match but mostly it’s match after match after match. Fact is, I’m a sports entertainment fan. I like some angles. I like a little comedy mixed in. Ring of Honor is very good at what it does but I’m not sure what it does will ever have a wide appeal. Still, it makes a great training ground for young guys to learn how to really wrestle before they get a WWE try-out and get neutered.

Guys I saw:

  • Kevin Steen / El Generico – This was the best built match of the night based on the promotion I saw from RoH. I was a little upset it went on first but that was not the end of things
  • Davey Richards – Good athlete, likely never going to make it big
  • Tyler Black – I could see one of the big two coming calling but I don’t see him as a world champion anywhere else
  • Daniels – Awesome as always he put on a match with Kenny Omega after the intermission that got the crowd right back into it
  • The Briscoes / The Kings of Wrestling – I did not expect a No-DQ match in RoH and this was a good, bloody, hardcore brawl. A fan had brought a hubcap in and damn if the Briscoes didn’t end up using it as a weapon. I miss Fans Bring Weapons matches. The burnout for the main event had a lot to do with how good this match was.
  • Daivari was there, Colt Cabana (the former Scotty Goldman) looking better than he ever did in WWE, Steve Corino and Tyson Dux wrestled, as he does whenever RoH comes to Ontario. I knew him from Total Extreme Wrestling where my fed (Tyson Wrestling Alliance, and yes that’s Mike Tyson) has never been able to steal him from MaxPro.

In the end, I’m not going to run out and buy 50 RoH DVDs. If their TV show was available in my area I would watch it, even if it meant adding a special channel, and if my roommate can make my TV synch up with my desktop I might even watch the next iPPV. Maybe stories become clearer when you watch the TV show. I don’t know. I certainly feel my $20 was well spent and I’m glad I got a last minute call to go.

Posted on June 20th, 2010 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment