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WWE Hall of Fame

On January 9th, World Wrestling Entertainment (or WWE, formerly WWF) held the Royal Rumble. This 30-man battle royal determined who will wrestle in the main event at Wrestlemania in just seven weeks. Wrestlemania is WWE’s Christmas, New Year’s and birthday all rolled into one. It’s the biggest event of the year and a spectacle it’s hard to describe unless you see it for yourself.

The night before Wrestlemania, WWE holds its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Every year, WWE inducts roughly seven or eight new entrants. This may seem like a lot, but they usually have two big names, a tag team, a female, a less popular person from an ethnic minority, a manager, a behind the scenes worker and someone going into the celebrity wing. The celebrity wing is how the likes of Drew Carey, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the current President of the United States end up in the Hall.

WWE just announced the first inductee into the class of 2017. It’s Kurt Angle. For those of you who don’t know, Kurt Angle is the only bona fide Olympic Gold Medalist to ever compete in the WWE. Now, there are plenty of good reasons why Kurt Angle should go into the Hall of Fame; but there are reasons I’m surprised he is. His WWE career was impressive; he racked up a lot of accolades and he’s one of the most entertaining performers I’ve seen. On the other hand, he’s had some legal issues. They include, DUIs, reckless driving, and accusations of stalking an ex-girlfriend that required a legal agreement for the two not to interact. Not the most heinous of crimes, and forgivable.

What I find it harder to believe they forgave, is what he’s been doing for the past ten years. Angle received early release from his WWE contract, claiming he needed time off to heal. He promptly went to work for WWE’s competitors, TNA, and worked there the next ten years. He’s already in the TNA Hall of Fame and will be the first person to be inducted into both Hall of Fames. WWE has not always been so kind to perceived slights.

80s star“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka died recently at age 73. WWE aired numerous tributes to the wrestling legend. The thing is, he had recently been charged with third degree murder. He never stood trial because he was judged unfit just 12 days before his death. WWE flirted with bad publicity in celebrating the man’s life. Luckily for them, the media did not pick up on the story.

Some things are unforgivable. On June 25, 2007 wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and his 7-year old son were found dead in his home. Learning the news, WWE called off its live show and aired a tribute show to Benoit. Sometime during that show word began to come out that the incident was being investigated as a murder suicide. WWE was left airing the show. When WWE aired its next scheduled show, Vince McMahon (who at the time was supposed to be dead in storyline) gave a heartfelt apology and vowed Benoit’s name would not be mentioned again. He meant it. WWE began systematically erasing Benoit from their history. Old shows were chopped up to remove him. Needless to say, his merchandise never appeared again. Recently, however, with the advent of WWE’s own network and the need for streamed content, WWE has begun showing old Benoit footage with a disclaimer. Benoit will never go in the Hall of Fame.

Speaking for myself, I’m satisfied with that. Chris Benoit was one of my favorite wrestlers at the time of his death. I was hit pretty hard. But it seemed unfair to wipe him off the map. Especially when medical experts have speculated that post-concussion syndrome brought about by Benoit’s wrestling career (in WWE, World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling) could have caused his actions. Benoit himself claimed he had lost track of the number of concussions he had suffered. I’ve heard at least one wrestler (Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP) claim Benoit had shown strange symptoms, like losing track of where he was while in the ring. Wrestling may have been what caused this tragedy and, to their credit, WWE have gone to great lengths to reduce the risk of concussion in their matches and non-match segments (aka angles) since. I still own a Chris Benoit shirt. I would never wear it, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. I try to hold on to the good memories, even with the dark cloud over them. Perhaps WWE is trying to do the same thing.

Posted on February 16th, 2017 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

While The Slammy awards have the potential to be fun this is too soon to have a three-hour RAW on the heels of King of the Ring. Especially since I saw Survivor Series recently as well. Oh dear lord, David Arquette is here tonight. Let’s expose the business by bringing up the worst champion of all time. Now he’s trying to plug Ready to Rumble? He’s here to present Shocker of the Year.

Nominees:

  • Miz wins the title
  • Nexus debut
  • Paul Bearer turns on The Undertaker
  • Randy Orton punts Chris Jericho out of action

Winner:

  • Nexus debut

Only Barrett comes out to accept. He claims credit for Nexus even existing. He has not made up his mind yet about rehiring Cena. But he’ll be shocking. The anonymous electronic General Manager pipes up books Barrett into an immediate match against… The Big Show! Where has he been lately? Show steals Barrett’s Slammy to get him in the ring. Barrett hides in the ropes and outside for a long while before we actually see some action. We don’t see much of that before Wade grabs his award and walks off for a countout loss.

Next award is the Despicable Me moment presented by Kelly Kelly and Tyson Kidd with the new Diesel, aka Jackson Andrews.

Nominees:

  • CM Punk sings “Happy Birthday” to Rey Mysterio’s daughter
  • Drew McIntyre faces and humiliates Teddy Long
  • Kane buries The Undertaker alive
  • Mr. McMahon makes truce with Bret Hart, then kicks him in the groin

Winner:

  • CM Punk

Kind of an odd winner but I guess they want to honor Punk one last time in case his career is over. Punk uses his speech to vow revenge against an unnamed backstage adversary. Up next is a tag match. Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan form one team. I would have liked to see Kingston and R-Truth team up to put an end to the rumors they are the same person. Or is it just Vince who sees them that way? On the other side, Dolph Ziggler and Ted Dibiase. Bryan gets beaten up for most of the match, when he finally makes a tag to Kingston he comes in on fire. Kingston really looks great in brief action before picking up a quick win over Ziggler.

The Tag Champs are out to present the award for Guest Star Shining Moment of the year. Their banter is sub-par.

Nominees:

  • Wayne Brady gets RKO’d by Randy Orton
  • Pee-wee Herman vs. The Miz
  • Mike Tyson punches out Chris Jericho
  • William Shatner sings WWE Entrances

Shatner just has to win here. Nope, they gave it to Pee Wee Herman. Probably because he was the only one willing to record a promo. Punk and King agree Shatner should have won. Otunga tries to get Barrett’s decision but we’ll just have to wait.

Mark “How has my career lasted this long?” Henry heads to the ring to face Cody Rhodes. Rhodes just lost a Masterlock Challenge so he is in dire need of a win here. Rhodses’ gimmick of not wanting to be hit in the face should be more interesting than it is for some reason. But Cody actually looks decent here as he picks up the win over the world’s (long ago) strongest man.

Lawler presents the Holy @$%* moment of the year. Sadly, it’s with Vickie Guererro.

Nominees:

  • Kofi Kingston hits Drew McIntyre with a leg drop off ladder through announce table
  • John Cena sends Batista onto a car and through the stage with two Attitude Adjustments
  • Randy Orton delivers RKO to a flying Evan Bourne
  • John Morrison dives off set onto Daniel Bryan and The Miz

Winner:

  • John Cena

Orton looked better. Barrett is out again to steal Cena’s Slammy instead. Time for his decision. But he wants Cena there So here comes the banished hero. Here comes Nexus too. And Cena is rehired… on two conditions. Cena and Barrett in a Chair Match Sunday And tonight Cena faces Otunga. But Nexus is now on the same page to beat down Cena for no good reason. This is making less and less sense. What ever happened to the “much bigger picture” anyway? Cena now being rehired means we’ve basically gone in circles and made the entire idea of being fired over a match less meaningful than ever.

My cable feed goes for a bit and I miss some David Arquette as a result. So sad. He’s presenting fan reaction of the year which is too lame to even recap. Some little girl wins for being angry when Miz wins. They actually bring her out to accept only to have Miz interrupt her. Mean only Mr. Miz steals her Slammy. Miz says the moment of the year is yet to come. It will be when he beats Randy Orton. But E-GM pipes up and says both Miz and Orton will face former champions tonight. Miz is first, facing Rey Mysterio, right now.

We see little of this match as a commercial covers it. Rey looks great in what we do see but, just back from commercial, Alberto Del Rio comes out to distract Rey. But the match continues. Miz does collide with Del Rio at one point but manages a kick out. Then, with Reilly distracting the ref, Del Rio strikes Rey from behind and that lets Miz roll him up. The leads the E-GM to unveil Orton’s two opponents: Alex Reilly and former WCW champion, David Arquette.

Presenting the Oh Snap! Meltdown of the year is one of the nominees, Edge. That’s not customary. Kane is not here to co-present since he’s off having a meltdown of his own. Cue a new co-producer, Christian! His arm is in a sling but it’s great to see him.

  • Big Show destroys Jack Swagger’s trophies
  • Edge destroys the Raw GM’s computer
  • Alberto Del Rio injures Rey Mysterio’s arm with a steel chair
  • Batista quits WWE

So Edge wins this one when he’s already right there. Edge’s acceptance speech gets a little John Belushi but that’s kind of fun. Edge slags Cole who gets to flip out a little too.

Then King Leprechaun Sheamus comes to the ring for his match with John Morrison. The two roll around on the mat punching each other and shoving the ref back and giving us a double DQ after about 30 seconds. That let’s E-GM book them in a #1 contenders match at TLC in the PPV’s first Ladder Match. Morrison in a Ladder Match is something I actually want to see. But it’s Sheamus who uses a ladder to beat down Morrison here tonight.

The strange pairing of JTG and William Regal (both of whom could be gone from the roster at any moment) present Knucklehead Moment of the Year.

  • Big Show unmasks a bald CM Punk
  • Santino Marella gets out-danced by Vladimir Kozlov
  • Beth Phoenix eliminates The Great Khali from the Royal Rumble
  • Lay-Cool gets beaten by Mae Young

JTG screws up and says the winner is “Lay-Cool beating Mae Young”. Lay-Cool seem awfully happy to win this considering the category. This leads into the Battle Royal to determine Diva of the Year. Why are these awards given out in such different ways? A Battle Royal for Diva of the Year. Fan voting for Superstar of the Year. And the rest we have no freaking clue. Is this the Olympics, the Oscars or The People’s Choice Awards?

Wisely, everyone gangs up on Lay-Cool at first. But that doesn’t last long and neither do some of the lesser Divas like Rosa Mendes and Kaitlyn. The final six are Lay-Cool, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Gail Kim and Alicia Fox. Layla goes but helps Michelle take out Phoenix. Natalya eliminates Kim and Fox in one move but Michelle kicks her in the face and knocks her out to win her second Diva of the year. I guess if you stroke The Undertaker you benefit from The Undertaker’s stroke. E-GM pipes up to book Lay-Cool versus Natalya and Beth Phoenix at TLC in the first ever Diva’s Tag Team Tables Match. That is actually interesting, pity I won’t get to see it.

Edge is here so we have to be reminded of the stupidity of last week’s Smackdown ending. Seriously, Teddy Long has done nothing to Edge over this? Edge faces Jack Swagger. That means two Smackdown stars have been imported to wrestle each other on RAW. How is this special? Another weakness of the three-hour show. It’s a pretty good match, but the Spear to end it looks a little weak.

Time for WWE Moment of the Year, presented by Big Show.

  • Sheamus attacks Triple H from behind with a lead pipe
  • Edge Spears Chris Jericho through the barricade
  • The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels in Michaels’ final match
  • John Cena counts 1-2-3 as Orton defeats Barrett and Cena is fired from WWE

Rumors were that HBK is here. If true we know what’s going to win. It does win but HBK is only on tape. I want to just ignore the fact I’m being forced to watch David Arquette in a wrestling match. He’s not actually doing anything of course but I do not see the point of this. Half your fanbase are too young to remember when Arquette was champion anyway. Randy wins, natch, but Miz uses the briefcase he has no good reason to still have to take Orton down. Miz and Arquette set up a table Orton recovers, but Miz escapes again and it’s Arquette who goes through the table. Well, that’s something at least. This whole “Miz tries to put Orton through a table but Orton escapes and puts a Miz ally through the table” would have been more effective if they could have started it a week or two earlier and ran with it the whole time. Miz is going to win Sunday, I’m confident in that, but I expect it to be some kind of fluke or tainted win.

Cole is presenting the “And I quote” Moment slammy. There’s no official list of nominees. Just a long string of decent quotes. See if you can find this on YouTube it’s decent. And it ends on Ron Simmons, which is always fun. Cole gives himself the award. Yeah, Cole as a heel is annoying. Teddy Long is the last presenter of the evening, Superstar of the year, as voted on by the fans.

  • Edge
  • Kane
  • Rey Mysterio
  • John Cena
  • Randy Orton
  • The Miz

I guess they couldn’t risk putting The Undertaker up since he’s in no shape to accept. I would have thought Orton was still more over than Cena, but Cena takes the prize. This assumes WWE didn’t just rig the poll, which you never know. Cena’s speech is so white bread it’s not interesting. Cena claims he has taken out every member of Nexus, but Otunga and Barrett. They all seem to be still standing to me. The show is already supposed to be over by the time Otunga finally makes his way to the ring. Barrett turns the tables on Otunga and has Nexus walk out on Otunga. Otunga gets ZERO offense in the short match before tapping to the STF. This was the definition of a squash. Then Cena adds injury to injury by beating Otunga with a chair. At least Otunga can sell.

The Slammys themselves were kind of fun but the rest of the night was nothing special. And selling the PPV wasn’t as much of the focus as it should be on the go home RAW. David Arquette was a dark time in pro wrestling history that should not have been dredged back up in 2010. Three hour shows need to be really special. This didn’t achieve that.

While it seems awfully soon for another three-hour RAW this is King of the Ring, so I am excited. Welcome to the Era of Awesome as the opening recap reminds us how our new champ became just that. Alex Reilly comes out first. He’s in a suit so maybe he came straight from court? Reilly is here to party, and he’s not afraid to party. Wow. Punk went all in and actually said DUI. Reilly hypes up The Miz but we don’t actually see the champ.

Instead its’ King of the Ring match #1. Alberto Del Rio and his black-eyed personal ring announcer to face Daniel Bryan. I’m going to predict Del Rio wins. The rest of the brackets are John Morrison versus Cody Rhodes (I bet on John), Ezekial Jackson versus Drew McIntyre (Big Zeke to go over) and Kofi Kingston versus Sheamus so I have to think Sheamus. I see an Ezekial Jackson versus Alberto Del Rio final here. Good match and the announce team is actually acknowledging that both these are the future of WWE. Bryan picks up a shoulder injury late in the match doing his usual dive to the outside, and that opens the door for the Cross-Armreaker. Bryan taps awfully fast but I guess the injury protects him.

The announce team’s recap of past winners included Brock Lesnar. They even half-acknowledge his UFC success. R-Truth raps his old theme song for a long time before finally entering the ring. R-Truth is here to say he misses Cena and challenge any member of Nexus to a one-on-one match. He gets Michael McGuillicuddy and I would rather see more KotR. But the camera guy goes down so we can’t quite see the attacker (who is clearly John Cena) takes Mr. Not-So-Perfect down. Good, no match.

Now we move on to Cody Rhodes versus John Morrison. Morrsion finishes with the kick then knee to the temple finish he’s been using lately. The kick is called the Flying Chuck according to CM Punk. Morrison can job to Del Rio next. Something went wrong because Morrison’s lower lip is bloody.

One commercial break later and we go straight into the third match of the tournament. So it’s Vince McMahon’s chosen one against the last ECW champion. Jackson dominates but the action spills out of the ring and this is a double countout. Which means neither man advances. So much for my pool. Whoever wins the next match gets a bye to the final. Which also means they only have to squeeze six matches in tonight, not seven.

Orton is not here tonight. He was actually injured but its minor enough he won’t need more time off. But here’s The Miz. Let’s see if this promo is gold. His suit jacket is actually worse than Cole’s. No flashy celebration just images of a cute kid really P.O.ed at The Miz’s win. I love how Miz can be himself and the crowd hates him. Miz plugs the WWE Championship book and starts running down Legends who never won the title. And that get Jerry Lawler’s ire up. Lawler isn’t impressed with The Miz’s win. So Cole comes to his favorite’s defense. In the end Lawler asks for a title shot. Miz isn’t interested but the General Manager is. And… dear lord, this is going to be the main event?! On King of the Ring night the final is not going to be the main event?! E-GM decides to make it a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. Jerry Lawler gets his first shot at the title in TLC at this stage in his career? Apparently it’s his birthday.

At least that reduces the announce team to two men as Sheamus takes on Kofi Kingston. In two weeks we have the Slammys, WWE’s self-congratulatory awards show, which may be three hours as well. Punk is making mistakes like calling guys “Wrestlers” instead of “Superstars” but he’s generally entertaining. Far too short a match. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise but Sheamus rolls under the ropes and avoids a pin. That lets the Irishman hit his Brogue Kick for the pin and a bye to the finals. That makes Morrison more likely to advance than Del Rio, which is a pity.

Now we get a tag match with Yoshi Tatsu and Mark Henry facing the tag champs, non-title. Justin Gabriel’s beard is longer but that doesn’t make it suit him any better. This is just a set-up for Cena to show up, holding a ticket. Slater pays too much attention to Cena and Henry slams him for the win. Then Cena races in and puts Slater though the announce table before high-tailing it away from the rest of Nexus. The remaining members of Nexus decide to call him out later.

So we only have one semi-final match to look forward to and it’s up now. John Morrison and Albert Del Rio are starting to look good when Rey Mysterio distracts Del Rio and gives John Morrison the win way too soon. Wade calls Cena out. Cena replies via TitanTron from the parking lot. Wade sends the other three Nexus to get him then about eight angry RAW faces beat them down. Cena ends up AAing Justin Gabriel into a car windshield and vowing to be back next week. I had no idea who Darren Young was at first because he’s cut the wacky hair and replaced with a hair helmet that may actually be worse.

A six-diva match? Really? When we had to skip a KotR match? It’s not much of a match as Tamita gets serenaded by Santino Marello allegedly playing a Tiffany song on an acoustic guitar. Natalya gets the win since she’s the new champ and no one else in the match is married to The Undertaker.

There’s nothing wrong with the finals of King of the Ring. But it’s not as good as the match we just saw between these two at Survivor Series. And yes, the results are different, as Sheamus goes over here. But this entire tournament has been relegated to second or third most important storyline on this show so all my enthusiasm for it faded away well before the final.

Now we have a main event that’s not going to be a real match. Why is Alex Reilly still carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase? Miz cashed in why carry it any more? It doesn’t take a lot of skill to have a roughhouse match and that’s what this is. Lawler actually manages to put both Alex Reilly and The Mix through tables so Michael Cole ends up interfering to stop Lawler from getting the title. Lawler gets to punch out Cole but, when he and Miz end up fighting on top of the ladder, Miz actually swings the belt into the King’s face. Lawler takes a very careful fall from the ladder and Miz retains. No surprise, there.

So Jerry Lawler’s birthday present is more important than King of the Ring? And really, Sheamus? He’s a two-time world champion, what good does adding King of the Ring do for him? And John Cena hasn’t even paid lip service to being fired. You could see he was wearing a microphone pack in at least one scene. Yes Orton was out and yes, on his 61st birthday Jerry Lawler acquitted himself well, but I was disappointed with the show overall.

Posted on December 2nd, 2010 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 12/4/10
Filed Under Entertainment

Wrestling Recap WWE

On RAW we can expect the fallout from last week’s beatdown on Mr. McMahon by the new Nexus faction. Apparently, Wade Barrett has been called to HQ to defend himself. You beat up your boss and you get a chance to defend yourself? Only in the WWE. The rest of Nexus are there but if they touch a WWE superstar they are fired. Yet, if a WWE Superstar touches them they are suspended.

Sheamus is carving an interesting niche where he acts remorseful or responsible than pulls a “just kidding”. Cena and Sheamus will fight again at Money in the Bank inside a steel cage. Michael Cole is still acting as the mouthpiece for the new GM and he’s acting so full of himself about it you could think it might actually be him.

Santino gets a match against Koslov and if he wins Koslov becomes his tag partner. But he loses, making me wonder how long they are going to draw this out. When William Regal tries to beat down Santino, Koslov lays him out and carries Santino to the back.

The Great Khali’s little brother seems to be mad at him. Guest host Rob Zombie comes out to announce the eight men in the RAW Money in the Bank ladder match: Randy Orton, The Miz, R-Truth, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted Dibiase, John Morrison and Edge. Zombie and Edge are still mad at each other over Edge dropping Zombie’s music as his entrance theme. Both claim to have dumped the other when Edge appears on video screen. And Zombie leaves and that’s all he was here for. I’m all for downplaying the guest hosts but that just felt like a waste. A nice nostalgia video from Edge’s first MitB ladder win reminds us of Lita, Shelton Benjamin and pre-TNA Christian. And the main event is an 8-man tag between these guys.

Sheamus faces Mark Henry. Why do people still care about Mark Henry? He long ago proved he wasn’t worth it. Did you think Henry had a chance? Then you don’t know how this works.

The Nexus guys beat up a sound guy to show they can exploit loopholes. That leads to plugging Ricky Steamboat’s new DVD; they haul out Lawler, Michael “Freebird” Hayes, IRS (who comes out in normal clothes and is introduced as Mike Rotunda but still makes a tax joke), Arn Anderson and Dean Malenko. This all leads into Nexus beating them all down since they are technically WWE Legends not WWE Superstars and thus fair game.

Now word is Wade Barrett, as well as Drew McIntyre, are having real life Visa problems. Which leaves Nexus in a real mess. There’s nobody left in the group who can wrestle a decent match. That’s why Daniel Bryan was so important and why we need to keep fighting to get him back.

On NXT they have the keg carry challenge again. It’s even worse than first season. Kaval ends up in first place, Titus O’Neil goes home. He was the best choice to go so I’m fine with this.

Smackdown has Jack Swagger seeming more and more like Kurt Angle every day, join forces with Cody Rhodes to take out Big Show only to be driven off by Rey Mysterio. CM Punk is injured, out of action for a month or two, but they’re using him on camera for now. They have to resolve this Kane issue. And it looks like the Straight Edge Society were really behind the Undertaker beating. But it’s all a swerve and Kane must now find a new person to blame.

Kane, Matt Hardy, “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, Christian, Kofi Kingston and Big Show (!) are named as the first six competitors in Smackdown’s Money in the Bank match. I’m sure Dolph Ziggler will find his way into the match and perhaps Drew McIntyre if his Visa is sorted out by then. Speaking of Dolph he has a non-title match against Kofi Kingston but if he wins Vickie promises him a title shot. The problem is he loses.

Christian holds a MitB themed Peep show with Matt Hardy as his guest. I like Matt Hardy and I wish he was better on the microphone, or had a better look, or a more naturally athletic physique. He doesn’t and he’s never going to the top of the card in WWE.

The main event is Mysterio and Big Show (or Biggie Smallz) versus Jack Swagger and “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. The end is boring as Swagger again refuses to break the ankle lock, this time on Mysterio, and gets disqualified but manages to inflict some damage anyway.

A few TNA notes this week. The Abyss heel turn is progressing all right but this whole “they are coming” thing needs to pay off big and soon. I can live with the ex-ECW contingent being them but I suspect there’s more to it than that. Jeff Hardy is a more than credible main eventer in TNA. But will he stick around if he manages to avoid jail time or will he high tail it back up north to WWE? I’m not as sold on “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero. Hopefully he and Kurt Angle can have a decent match at Victory Road. But TNA remains an also ran and an afterthought in professional wrestling no matter how hard Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff wish they were making a difference.

Overall, nothing really special this week. With both Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan out of the Nexus storyline we’re left with a bunch of sup-par wrestling talent getting way too much TV time. And why has Kane never suspected Nexus of attacking The Undertaker? Kane has a history with them having once faced all eight of them in a handicap match. Why should their antics be restricted to RAW?