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Last stop before the Royal Rumble by recapping The Corre’s debut and the injury of Teddy Long. Because Teddy Long sells Pay Per Views. Here’s Vickie Guererro and I’m going to have to admit her heat is real, not X-Pac heat. Dolph still needs to turn on her after he loses at the Rumble. Smackdown needs faces and Ziggler needs to get some experience playing that side of the fence too. Vickie is in charge but gets interrupted by Randy Orton. Thank you Matt  Striker for telling Michael Cole he doesn’t count. Randy Orton is actually being polite and thanking Vickie for inviting him to Smackdown. Then he steals her catchphrase to threaten Ziggler and The Miz. Dolph comes out to save his squeeze and demand respect for them both. He needs to earn his respect and taking an RKO is one tiny step closer.

Lay-Cool take on Kaitlyn and Kelly Kelly. They turn the tables on the heels by attacking pre-match but still lose in short order. Drew McIntyre is up after the commercial. Kelly is still at ringside as Drew faces walking stereotype JTG. Drew wins, of course, but walks off before KK can enter the ring to talk to him. Cody Rhodes, facing away from the camera, cuts the promo of his career. His face is destroyed and he’s out of the Royal Rumble but what a hate he has on for Rey Mysterio. Suddenly I want to see these guys fight on a Pay Per View. Wow. Rhodes just shot way up in my esteem.

Michael Tarver is still here. Sidenote: Vince McMahon thinks Skip Sheffield can be the #2 babyface in the company. Alberto Del Rio is here too… but you already know that. Del Rio promises an exhibition Royal Rumble with 39 competitors entering at thirty second intervals. Are they really going to waste 20 minutes on this? No. Del Rio eliminates two ham and eggers then Kane enters third. Del Rio survives until Kofi Kingston shows up fourth and eliminates them both! Kane and Del Rio look to even the score until Rey Mysterio enters fifth. Vickie Guererro steps in to put a stop to this madness and replace it with a tag match with the logical pairings. It’s a good, long, match and the faces win on cohesiveness when Kane walks out on the match.

We need to see the Big Show before the rumble so here he is. Show is used to being the guy people pick to make a name for themselves and The Corre has made him angry. And that draws The Corre out to face him. Show asks them to face him one-on-one. Heath Slater is stupid enough to enter the ring alone and a ref decides to call it a match. Slater is little more than a sacrificial lamb as Show defeats him easily.But Show can’t fight off the other three so the locker room once again starts to empty. Big Zeke holds off challenger after challenger before The Corre is forced to retreat.

So, after what seems like a short time, we come to the main event. The Miz must join Dolph Ziggler to face the reunited team of Rated RKO. It’s a very good match with annoying commentary. Miz is no longer looking like a useless sneak. Edge takes Ziggler down with a Spear and wins the match. So Vickie Guererro bans the Spear by declaring it an illegal move. If Edge uses it at the Rumble he loses the title. Is that really such a big deal? Edge has other finishers from the past he can bust out. Edge Spears Ziggler thrice to be contrary.

A solid go home show before the Royal Rumble. I’ll be live blogging the show but not live updating it. You may not get as detailed a recap as normal but my new laptop should allow me to take down some thoughts as we go. I always love the Rumble. Let’s see if I love the Super-Sized version.

Posted on January 29th, 2011 by admin | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 1/29/11
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It’s less than a week until the Royal Rumble and it seems like we need a few more matches on the card still. A FORTY-MAN Royal Rumble could be long but what’s happening with the secondary titles? Melina vs. Natalya is tonight so there are only three matches on the card I can think of. Also tonight, Miz vs. Edge! And here’s Edge now to start the show. Edge want The Miz now but the anonymous General Manager still holds a grudge so he sends out three guys to try to throw Edge over the top rope and earn #40. Tyson Kidd, Drew McIntyre and Jack Swagger all have a shot but Edge takes them all out quickly. I didn’t buy any of those three earning #40 that easily. Edge decides to smash the laptop again but Cole stalls him until New Nexus (it’s like New Coke) decide to show up. The new guy is Mason Gray. Not sure where Edge went but now The Corre is interrupting the New Nexus. This is a bit silly. And just when we set up a rivalry between the two groups E-GM books Punk vs. Barrett and the loser’s stable is out of the Rumble. Did we mention the special guest referee? It’s John Cena.

John Morrison teams with Mark Henry to face Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. If you have to spit your gum out during the match, John, don’t chew it in the first place. Michael Tarver is back (sigh) and watching this match on the monitor. The best superstar in the match beats the worst. Can you guess who I mean? I’ll give you a hint, the loser taps out to a Cross-Armbreaker.

The Diva’s Championship is next and we better get a rematch Sunday or this is just a waste. You can do a Diva match in ten minutes from intro to finish; they can’t squeeze that on Sunday’s card? Melina’s constant shrieking lost its charm a loooooooong time ago. Melina does do a neat submission move that’s almost like sitting on someone while you are both on the mat. Of course the obvious counter is to stand up and that’s just what Natalya does, lifting Melina off the ground. Natalya locks on a Sharpshooter then keeps going back and rolls onto her shoulders. Melina folds in half in one of the craziest spots I’ve seen in any wrestling, male or female. It gets a submission of course but Lay-Cool arrives to announce they are claiming their rematch on Sunday. Ok, I can live with that. There’s a Diva’s title match on the Rumble card and, though it’s getting stale, it will be better than the match with Melina was. To be fair that match was better than expected and Melina was clearly giving it her all. It’s getting to the point the Divas wrestling isn’t embarrassing any more. Plus, Awesome Kong still to come!

CM Punk is once again shining in the cult leader role and the New Nexus may just start working because of it. The problem is most of these guys show very little charisma. Cena mocks the extra r in Corre until Miz interrupts him. They can get away with rectum on a PG show? And saying someone smells of raw sewage? Are they actually starting to get clever with insults in the PG era? That would be awesome.

Let me get this straight, not only are they giving away a Champion Versus Champion Match on free TV it’s at the 10:00 hour? This should be a much bigger deal than they are making of it. Dolph Ziggler and his cougar join commentary. The problem with the match is Miz still needs to be carried and Edge isn’t great at carrying the other guy. Edge’s ribs are supposed to be injured so I guess that will matter for the rest of the week. Since we don’t really want a conclusive finish Ziggler attacks Edge to end the match in a DQ. But Orton shows up and cleans house. Orton dominates until Miz hits his leg with the briefcase to allow him to grab his title and run.

Josh Matthews interviews Wade Barrett who reminds us he used to talk about a much bigger picture but apparently it just meant Nexus as a whole. He lost sight of that. No longer. Poor Daniel Bryan is bogged down in a six-member tage match with the Bellas as his partners. Of course, Ted Dibiase is stuck with Maryse and Alyssa Fox so he’s no better off. It’s stupid, awful and short. Maryse wins and we get more of her downgrading Dibiase. The Bellas catch Bryan kissing Gail Kim and they’ve been dating for six months. Some good insults among the women and Gail reminds me we don’t seem to be having guest stars any more.

Harris and Maguillicuddy get the tag champs in a non-title match. The entire match is Santino and Harris with the New Nexus picking up a fairly clean win. Santino actually acted like a serious wrestler for most of the match. Somehow I suspect the main event will end in a tie. We shall see. Cena starts out by ejecting the New Nexus. He lets Punk stew for a bit before ejecting The Corre too. When the bell finally rings Cenaa shoves Punk then decks Barrett and threatens to disqualify them if they fight back. They try to fight each other but Cena interferes, signs autographs during covers the disqualifies both men for profanity and rules neither team goes to the Rumble. The GM is not pleased so he lets everyone into the Rumble. Then he demands John Cena apologize. Cena says sorry to both men then attacks them. Saying sorry and not really meaning it? Is Cena Canadian? The stablemates return and are set to go after Cena nine-on-one until Show’s music plays and a score of Rumble entrants fill the ring. Daniel Bryan is in there so I guess he’s in the Rumble not defending his title.

I called the non-finish to the main event. There was also a non-finish to the Champion Versus Champion match. The best finish of the night was the Divas match. So the whole show really didn’t matter. The Rumble is so huge we’re running short on other storyline to fill the show with. So Smackdown stars are imported to face RAW ones and it all feels like filler. And Friday it continues as Ziggler and The Miz will team to face Edge and Orton. I’m excited for Sunday but the journey there is not going all that well.

Posted on January 27th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Eding 1/30/11
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A work week is over and I return to the wacky, wacky WWE universe. After a video recap reminding us who they are, Wade Barrett and his “new” crew come out to introduce themselves. They call themselves “The Corre” and that’s not terrible. Heath Slater speaking is. Gabriel is weak on the mic but at least he shows hope. And Jackson has been around long enough in the same gimmick he can cut a promo without any real trouble. Teddy Long interrupts them to assert his authority. The Corre are in the Rumble. You need to find 40 guys somewhere. The Corre has no leader. As long as Barrett is the mouthpiece that’s fine. Long will not put up with gang tactics. They can like Smackdown or leave it.

No sooner does Long leave then Alberto Del Rio shows up. He’s here to welcome them, but it’s his show and he’s going to win the Royal Rumble. It’s his destiny. Very short promo as we go to commercial. When we return Del Rio is set to face R-Truth. Breaking news, Teddy Long is out cold backstage. It preserves the atmosphere of reality to interrupt the show with this news but it’s a kick in the teeth to the wrestlers in ring, especially since the announce team spends too much time on Long. Del Rio continues to need his ring announcer to win. Cheating to win helps keep heels from accidentally getting face heat. Unless you are Eddie Guererro (RIP).

With Vickie Guererro now in charge The Corre comes to tell her they had nothing to do with it. They also offer any help they can so Vickie says one of them can face Edge tonight. Divas fight as Layla El faces Beth Phoenix. Lay-Cool is working an increasingly technical style to face the larger women. It’s not a bad match and the Glam Slam picks up the win for Beth.

Monday we get Edge versus The Miz! Right now Rey Mysterio faces Cody Rhodes. It would be a big win for Rhodes but don’t bet on it. It’s not a bad match and it carries us just past the mid-point of the show but Mysterio win with a 619. Cole is annoyed Rey hit Cody with his knee brace, and in the face to boot. The nose is “broken”.

Miz and Reilly are here. We’re actually seeing an amateur wrestling competition on a WWE program. Jack Swagger challenged Kofi Kingston and the IC champion accepted. Swagger toys with Kofi so Kingston gets some points for escapes but Swagger takes lead on takedowns. Kofi makes a last minute rally but Swagger just edges him out for the win. But Kofi takes Swagger down with a kick to look strong in defeat.

The WWE must see something in Trent Barretta because here he is facing Drew McIntyre on Smackdown yet again. But Drew picks up a pretty easy win so I guess he has more upside. McIntyre tries a handshake, gets a slap, then goes nuts on Barretta. That draws Kelly Kelly who is not pleased. McIntyre is right when he points out he was hit first.

Let’s see what Miz has to say. He wants to remind people what he did to Randy Orton on Monday and how that makes him awesome. Edge is out to defend Smackdown from RAW rejects. Miz is willing to let things go but Reilly tries to get uppity and eats a Spear for his trouble. Edge later has to face Justin Gabriel and Dolph Ziggler becomes the fourth amigo on the commentary desk. Dolph needs to lose at the Rumble due to Vickie, then turn on her and become a face. He should be standing on his own now and he needs new opponents.

Gabriel was the best choice to give away facing Edge free but what shocks me is that, thanks to a sneak attack by Ezekial Jackson, Gabriel actually picks up the upset. Just like Nexus earned its cred by taking down John Cena, The Corre takes down Edge to look strong here. Dolph Ziggler waits for them to move on before entering the ring to plant a foot on edge’s chest like an explorer planting a flag.

So, we have two smaller stables where Nexus once was. Plus, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young and maybe Skip Sheffield will come back. All this from a show, NXT, most people have written off. But this Smackdown was a bit of a write off. Nothing really great happened, the two stables seem repetitive and a lot of the matches were rehashes. I hope next week is better.

Posted on January 23rd, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 1/22/11
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It’s Martin Luther King Day. Let’s see if Vince and co. demean and African-Americans this week. If JTG is here it’s a gimme. John Cena opens the show after the obligatory tribute to MLK. Cena still claims he’s entering the Royal Rumble but I don’t see it. He calls out CM Punk but it’s The Miz with Alex Reilly both in fine suits. The Miz claims to be a far better champion than Cena. I’m not sure he’s wrong.

Ok huge announcement. The Royal Rumble will have FORTY entrants. I’m stunned. The Rumble was something you don’t mess with but now it stands to be a far longer match unless they really slash entry times. Still, more entrants means more eliminations and I’m all for that. Cena picks up a Rocky cue and does a bad impression. Why is that supposed to make me think he’s tough? Cena calls out Miz for surviving on his lackeys and ducking fights. Miz claims he can outbrawl and outwrestle anyone ever. Cena figures he can win the Rumble then face Orton at Wrestlemania since Miz won’t make it past the Rumble.

Now Punk and “The New Nexus” which contains one member of the original Nexus show up. Punk looks like he’s been punched in the eye. So I was wrong, Cena, Punk and all of Nexus are in the new 40-man Rumble. Nexus will be determined to make Punk win. And Punk send the juniors to attack Cena. Weirdly, it’s the tag team champions who come to the rescue. Nexus regroups and Punk decides to join them. But the anonymous RAW General Manager e-pipes up to book Punk versus Cena tonight with the rest of Nexus barred from ringside. If they interfere they are out of the Rumble. We announce a match tonight between Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton, number one contender versus number one contender, before we finally go to commercial after a seventeen minute promo.

The tag team championships are now on the line. But not against members of Nexus like would make sense. No, the match is against the Usos. Given the competitors I don’t expect much from this match and I don’t get it. The Cobra gets the win yet again. But now we should get a great match as Daniel Bryan takes on John Morrison! A fast-paced start leads into a commercial. Really? A commercial during this match? Am I that far out of their target audience? We return with Morrison using a submission hold on Bryan. There’s a nice bump where they both go for Crossbody Blocks at the same time and collide in mid-air in an X. It turns out to be quite a good match for TV and it’s actually Morrison who picks up the win. They shake hands after the match but Sheamus suddenly interrupts to claim Morrison only stepped up his game to face him. He made Morrison and he can break him. Here’s someone else who is going to win the Rumble. How are they going to arrange for 40-men to go over the rope at exactly the same time? Not sure where we go from here but I’m glad I saw the match. Why do the Bellas hang out with Daniel Bryan? They want to be his first. And they are betting who can do it. This is PG?

We’re halfway through the show and the only African American who has appeared is David Otunga, and he didn’t get to speak.

Here’s Vickie to introduce Dolph. I cannot say this enough: Jim Johnston is the most underrated man on the WWE staff. Just listen to “Voices” and compare it to any random TNA theme song and you’ll see who the advantage goes to. “Voices” is on my MP3 player and when it came on today I listened to it twice. These two put on a good back and forth match, getting the crowd hyped up. There’s a long Sleeper Hold segment that makes both these guys look like dynamite. But Orton escapes and hits an RKO right after for the win. Ziggler winning here would have been a big boost to his career and interference from Vickie or The Miz could have protected Orton. Instead, Miz and Reilly attack Orton right after the match and appear to injure his knee. Miz looks to put Orton through the announce desk but Jerry Lawler interferes enough to prevent it. But Miz and Reilly end up overcoming both of them and it’s the dapper champion who stands tall at the end.

Natalya faces Maryse with Eve on commentary. Yeah, who cares? Ted Dibiase issues a top rope challenge. Mark Henry answers. Here’s our token African American winner of the night. William Regal, Yoshi Tatus and Tyson Kidd and a host of other guys usually seen on Superstars (Zack Ryder!) show up to have an unofficial Battle Royal. There’s Darren Young and R-Truth (who deserves better) so add some more black guys. Sheamus shows up late to clear the ring. But Mark Henry is able to eliminate Sheamus. Happy MLK Day pal. Now here comes Alberto Del Rio. Cars are bad for the environment. But the expensive ones are really cool. He cuts a good promo, it’s his destiny to win the biggest Rumble ever and he is the greatest of the great.

Why is Derrick Bateman on RAW? Doing a fake ad for a Mark Henry cologne? That was the worst sketch in a long time. I love the Royal Rumble promos where they throw out cool stats about the Rumble. The best one is that 92 tons of people have competed in the Rumble. The question is, are they counting people only once or each time they enter? With 40 men in Kane’s record of 11 eliminations could fall. Kane, entering his 13th consecutive Rumble, could do it himself.

Main event time. Punk hits a number of nice move, Cena does a sweet reversal of the Go To Sleep into an STF but Punk makes the ropes to keep the match going. AA escaped, Anaconda Vice leads to great selling but it’s Cena’s turn to make the ropes. Some new wrestler with a build like Batista shows up and distracts Cena to allow Punk to kick him in the head. Punk just offers himself up as a sacrifice and the new guy kicks Punk in the head. This means Punk wins by DQ. Nexus shows up to defend Punk but Punk stares the new guy down with a Manson like look and the new guy kneels before him. Punk puts the armband on him and why are we even calling it Nexus anymore? The Smackdown faction is far more Nexus than this one. Cena doesn’t even get up as the Not-us raise their arms in the ring.

The main event was a good match with a bad finish. The Orton/Ziggler match was a good match with the wrong finish. The Derrick Bateman sketch was awful; the Bella stuff is awful. But we get a 40-man Rumble so I’m going to give this show the thumbs up. Enjoy NXT and TNA if you watch them. See you Friday for Smackdown.

Posted on January 18th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 1/22/11
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It’s time to test if my new laptop makes recapping Smackdown any easier. I start my new job Monday so I splurged for new hardware. A reminder, I am no longer covering NXT or TNA. But congratulations to Ken Anderson on a world championship. Tonight Show v Wade. Expect the supreme court to be paying close attention. Also, Dolph Ziggler on The Cutting Edge, Edge’s personal talk show.

We are opening with Alberto Del Rio, but you already know that. He mocks the south. Since he has been on RAW so much here’s R-Truth under the equal time provision. Yes you can call Roberto Rodriguez creepy looking but that’s pedestrian. Call him Weirdly Gruesome and you’ll earn some props from me. Cody Rhodes is third to join the fun. He’s in the Rumble too. Is this really Rhodes’ fourth Rumble? Wrestling ignores the comedy rule of three so here comes Rey Mysterio. Rey is a former Rumble winner so at least he knows what he’s talking about. The heels are getting along, as are the faces, so don’t expect a Fatal Fourway. Cody steals R-Truth’s catchphrase which leads to a brawl. Smackdown has a GM with a face and he’s out to book a tag match. And it’s after the commercial!

How long is it going to be a big deal that Cody Rhodes doesn’t wear knee pads? This match takes us well into the show and is up to Smackdown’s usual high standards. R-Truth looks bad when he makes it obvious he’s watching Rhodes so he can time his tag properly. The faces need a win here and they get it when Mysterio prevails over Rhodes. Cross-branding doesn’t feel special any more so neither did this match.

Why is JTG still employed? Wade Barrett thinks he’s Julius Caesar. I would not order Little Barrett’s pizza. Would Ezekial Jackson show up live already? The promos are fine but we need more. Trent Baretta is set to lose to Drew McIntyre. Trent’s another guy I don’t see a future for. And, just like when I wrote off John Morrison, Trent actually picks up the win by countering a Press Slam of Death into a simple rollup. It wasn’t an impressive win but a win at all is cause for this guy to celebrate. Drew is beating down Trent but gets caught by Kelly Kelly.

Show v Wade is at the mid-point of the show so I guess our “main event” will be The Cutting Edge. Before we get very far Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel show up and attack show for the DQ. Then I get my wish as Ezekial Jackson shows up too but just stands on the apron. Show disposes of all three of the Ex-us but then Jackson attacks him. Jackson bodyslams Show in a solid fashion. So it’s like a Nexus spinoff with another new member? I can’t say I’m keen on turning Nexus into franchises. And SD is in real need of a decent face yet they make Jackson a heel?

Beth Phoenix has a match with Michelle McCool. McCool works the leg through most of the match so the booking is logical. Beth goes for the Glam Slam but McCool reverses into a rollup. It looks like McCool will win until Beth reverses the rollup into one of her own and picks up the win. More interesting than TNA women’s wrestling lately. And Awesome Kong is under contract now.

I do not want to see Vickie Guererro act. Or rub noses with Dolph Ziggler. The crowd loves Kofi Kingston despite his less than stellar promo skills. Jack Sssswagger interrupts his celebration. It’s always tough to make a former world champion seem legit interested in a secondary title. But Jack comes out to trade insults and it leads to a non-title match. These guys make up for a merely ok promo with a fine match. Despite it being non-title it’s too soon for Kofi to lose so he wins here. Swagger kicks out just after three so expect this feud to continue.

The fact this Cutting Edge is even happening tells us Ziggler won’t face Edge until the Royal Rumble. Didn’t the Cutting Edge used to have as set? We get some footage of Edge cheating on Vickie in the distant past and Dolph cheating on Vickie in less distant times. Still, not much of a segment Even Vickie trying to attack Edge isn’t special but the tease of a Spear on Vickie gets us somewhere. When Vickie finally takes a real bump the crowd is going to explode.

Any show would be a letdown after last week. But this wasn’t bad. The final segment was not worth ending on. I always prefer to end on a match but this was sub-par. Nexus 2 is worrying, JTG needs to go and, overall, the promo work wasn’t up to snuff so this comes off as a weak episode.

Posted on January 16th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 1/15/11
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It’s RAW. We’re in Nashville. I have no idea the status of John Cena. The tag champs (with Tamita) are out to open the show. We’re expecting a title match but, instead, we get yet another Nexus beat down complete with new leader CM Punk. Punk thinks each and every member of Nexus can be the greatest in history. No, not Heath Slater. Punk expects Cena to be here tonight, to give another farewell speech. Initiations all around tonight, Punk as well as all of Nexus. They have new shirts yet again. McGuillicuddy is first and he has to face… being beaten down by Nexus. It’s no fun watching heels reluctantly beat down other heels.

Wassap? R-Truth versus Alberto Del Rio, again, is what’s up. It’s a non-match where R-Truth gets counted out after a Ricardo distraction. The follow-up promo is one of the weakest I’ve seen from Del Rio and Ricardo singing La Cucharacha doesn’t help. The less said about Michael Cole praising himself on behalf of the anonymous GM is a total waste of time. And Miz/Alex Reilly versus Orton/Jerry Lawler is not much better.

Husky Harris gets whipped for his initiation. Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry from a weird tag team to take on Ted Dibiase and Tyson Kidd. I thought Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu were a regular team now. Tyson’s bodyguard isn’t here tonight and we’re reminded Mark Henry beat him last week. Truly odd is that Mark Henry slams Tyson Kidd and picks up a win. When does Mark Henry win two matches in a row?

Big Show is here. Show will face Wade Barrett Friday and plans to win the Royal Rumble. The few healthy remaining members of Nexus interrupt him. It seems Otunga’s initiation is to go after Show. Otunga hits one slap then just waits for the retaliation. And the retaliation makes Show look stronger than he has since Knucklehead.

Do we need another John Morrison versus Sheamus match? Maybe not but when the master of Harcore and the King of the Ring match you can expect a decent showing. There’s nothing wrong with the match but nothing special about it either and Morrison winning again is starting to make Sheamus look bad. Back with nexus Pun orders Gabriel and Slater to beat each other with kendo sticks. They can’t seem to so they consider turning on Punk. Punk cult leaders them into backing off. So they avoid any initiation? That seems off. The other three might want to kick the crap out of them now.

Who is going into the Hall of Fame? Why Shawn Michaels. It’s awfully quick but not undeserved obviously. And here is the man himself. He doesn’t even get to speak before Alberto Del Rio is out to interrupt him. Del Rio is the best now, HBK is old news, blah blah blah Sweet Chin Music. And nothing but dancing and hand slapping from Michaels. Not one word spoken.

Miz is unhappy people are assuming Orton will beat him. But catchphrases are for closers. CM Punk is on top of the TitanTron They are actually teasing that he’s going to jump. But of course, it’s a swerve. Punk is in a freaking harness for crying out loud. SO now only Harris, Macguillicuddy and Otunga are out. What happened to the two rebels? Cena shows up on the same video screen to insult Punk. Cena wants Punk next week. Punk is happy with that. Cena vows he will deal with Punk. Seriously, are Slater and Gabriel out of Nexus? Slater could disappear forever for all I care. But Gabriel was a good wrestler.

How does Jerry Lawler keep winding up in the main event? There’s not much to say about the match. Orton hits RKOs on Miz and Reilly both before the end but lets Lawler do the Flying Fist on Reilly for the win. Miz looks worried as he grabs his title and bails.

Maybe Smackdown was so good this would have been a let down no matter what. But having Nexus shrink even more doesn’t seem like a smart plan. And, honestly, John Cena being out for a while would have actually forced them to improvise which could have led to something great. CM Punk is great, Albert Del Rio is great even being taken down. So there were moments of greatness but, overall, I felt this show was off the mark.

Posted on January 13th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 1/15/11
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Faithful readers I have some news. I have received actual employment, a six-month contract. It’s good news for me but it means I have a lot less free time. So, effective now, I will no longer be covering NXT or TNA. For those who missed NXT, Jacob Novak went home and I totally agree. I’ll still be covering RAW, possibly later than normal, and Smackdown. I hope you’ll stick around as I recap and comment on the two biggest shows in pro wrestling.

We’re opening with the title match? Kane challenges Edge in a Last Man Standing Match. What I like about the match is how much of the arena they range over. There’s really little reason to keep a Last Man Standing Match inside the ring. Another interesting twist is if both men are counted out the match will restart. So no ties here. It’s also the type of match that suits Kane. He can hit a few big moves without having to chain anything together or go at a fast pace. Kane even looks like he can win. He hits a Chokeslam, he puts Edge through the announce desk, but when he brings chairs into play it backfires on him. A solo Con-chair-to to the knee is enough to keep Kane from standing and Edge retains.

We have a commercial, we come back and the Intercontinental Title is about to be defended. Wow, what a packed show it is tonight. It feels like all the ongoing feuds are being blown off tonight as Kofi Kingston gets another shot at Ziggler’s title. This is another good match between these two but the surprise is Kofi wins with a Crossbody. Not much of an aerial move but a title change on free TV is always something to write home about. Ziggler beats down Kofi and we may have a Dusty finish as Vickie orders an immediate rematch. Ziggler looks to regain the title easily… until Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere and Kofi retains. We’re 45 minutes into this show and there have been three title matches. A tease of Vickie and Dolph breaking out ends in ridiculous histrionics from Guerrero.

We’re going to have a #1 Contender’s match too?! And it’s Big Show versus Cody Rhodes versus Drew McIntyre. That’s disappointing actually, as there is no good winner there. Why is Vickie out here again? To add Dolph Ziggler to the match. This guy is working hard tonight. The Big Show gets to dominate like mad in the early going. The other three have to gang up to drive Show through a barrier to even have a chance. When Show gets back into it he’s suddenly assaulted by Wade Barrett. Is Wade moving to Smackdown? It would make sense. But even after the assault Show kicks out of two more finishers. But Ziggler realizes taking Show down will be too hard so he proposes an alliance with Rhodes only to backstab him with a Zig Zag to win the match and become #1 contender. Totally predictable as soon as Ziggler was added to the match.

There’s more Kelly Kelly/Drew McIntyre interactions as Michelle McCool beats Kelly but Drew drives off Lay-Cool during the post-match beatdown. I’m not feeling this storyline is helping Drew beyond keeping him on camera. He’s not a bad actor but what is the potential payoff here?

Ricardo Rodriguez doesn’t look dizzy after suffering the longest Helicopter Spin I have ever seen courtesy of Daniel Bryan on NXT. Del Rio vows to win the Royal Rumble and I would be very happy to see that. Up ‘til now the prevailing opinion was that Randy Orton would win the Royal Rumble but now that he’s set to face The Miz the field is wide open. HHH is a possibility.

The match has barely begun when Del Rio traps Mysterio in the Cross Armbreaker and forces him to submit, winning the first fall. Some more good wrestling and Del Rio goes for the Armbreaker again, but Rey is able to counter. It’s not long before Mysterio scores a pinfall and evens things up. Considering I’ve only ever seen one 2/3 falls match end in two falls (Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley during their WWE feud) I’m not at all surprised. But I’m actually rooting for Del Rio to score the last fall.

I don’t remember seeing Mysterio hit a Flying Headbutt before, in fact I’ve never seen a Flying Headbutt to a standing opponent before. Rey is going hard here. He may not be what he once was yet he remains one of the best fliers in WWE simply because he has free reign to do the moves he please. Mysterio tries for another top turnbuckle move but Del Rio shakes the ropes and Rey ends up in a Tree of Woe where Del Rio promptly Dropkicks him. More great back and forth, Mysterio hits a 619 in the corner and takes out both Del Rio and Rodriguez with a Plancha. But when Rey rolls Del Rio into the ring Roderiguez grabs Mysterio’s leg while hidden by the apron and Rey gets counted out. I’m glad Del Rio got the win but it wasn’t decisive enough that I feel this feud should be over. Cole seems to think it is and Rey at least gets some revenge against Rodriguez. We’ll see.

This was an amazing episode. Almost entirely wrestling with little fluff in between. 3 title matches, a 2/3 falls match and a good Fatal Fourway make this an episode you should try to see if you have any chance at all. It feels like we’ve cleared some dead weight by ending old feuds and we set up some new ones as well. I hope thay save Ziggler/Edge for the Royal Rumble. I bet those two can put on a decent match and the Rumble has always been a good place to give rising stars a title shot. The Rumble is the main event and Miz/Orton and Cena/Punk will both outshadow the Smackdown title match. So, with the pressure off, let Dolph get his shot. Plus Vickie and Edge have history so we could see that play a part in the build. I’m excited for where Smackdown is headed and very pleased with this show.

See you next week!

Posted on January 8th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 1/8/11
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