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Wrestlemania draws ever closer. Stone Cold Steve Austin is in the house tonight. I’ll try to be nice. A HHH promo video leads off but it’s the gong of The Undertaker that kicks us off live. Taker’s heard the word on the street. Some people think HHH will be the one to beat him. But someone else thought they could do that and we get a promo of Undertaker and HBK’s battles over the past two Wrestlemanias in case we missed it. Undertaker does have a reveal though. The Wrestlemania match will be No Holds Barred.

Backstage Randy Orton tries to fight off Nexus but ends up going to sleep. Nexus drag him to the ring. They continue a mild beat down here and now the referees finally show up to end it. Otunga wants his match now and Orton manages to get to his feet only with the ropes. Otunga isn’t even entertaining fighting a man who isn’t fighting back. But Orton does his trademark RKO out of nowhere and beats Otunga. Mason Ryan tries for a beat down but yet another RKO ends his threat. Orton is able to keep Punk out of the ring. Punk tries to run to the side so Orton punts Otunga in the head.

Lawler is not on commentary tonight. Miz is boycotting the show tonight. But Christian is here. I guess the brand split is just out the window these days, eh? Christian is set to face Alberto Del Rio, who still has Brodus Clay with him. And Del Rio is demanding Christian beat Clay before he will agree to face him personally. Clay looks powerful here but loses to Christian’s Tornado DDT. But Del Rio immediately attacks and, as usual, the Cross Armbreaker does a lot of damage.

Nice Sin Cara promo, very minimalist. Sunny is going into the Hall of Fame? Awesome. Eve faces Nikki Bella tonight. At least it’s not at Mania. Eve has Gail Kim in her corner. Nice to know the best wrestler is just watching. Even Michael Cole doesn’t want to see this match; but only because he wants to introduce his referee. The ref actually catches the twin switch this time. That lets Eve hit some kind of Spinning Neckbreaker and retain her title. There was no good outcome here.

And now we have more Michael Cole. Michael Cole is not cowbell. Cole give hints to his ref and I manage to guess before they reveal it’s… JBL. For new fans, John “Bradshaw” Layfield was a long-term champion on Smackdown at a point when the cupboard was a bit bare. He spent time on color commentary as well. He’s a real life investment advisor and, last I heard, a Fox News commentator. I do not pay attention to Fox News. He is a pretty decent speaker, he has a style that he speaks sincerely and actually espouses decency. But it’s usually BS and delivered with smug superiority. And he runs down Lawler nicely.

But… as Cole put it, whoever signs the contract is the guest referee and here comes the breaking glass. Stone Cold Steve Austin has arrived. Austin hits his finisher, the Stone Cold Stunner, on JBL and steals his hat. Then he guzzles some beers. Cole is back on the announce desk complaining that his night has been ruined. He makes a big show about it but eventually he signs the contracts and takes the ref job at Mania. Man, they are really loading Mania with retired stars, aren’t they? Austin is the ref and that’s the bottom line, cuz Stone Cold said so. To cap it off he gives Cole a beer bath and wishes him luck in his match. JBL recovers enough for Austin to fake sharing a beer with him then hits a second Stunner. The problem with Austin is, to this day, he still has to put himself over everyone else. And I don’t mind Austin going over Cole, or JBL and possibly even Lawler. But if people think Jack Swagger will benefit by being Stunnered by Austin just because he shares the ring with him, I can’t say I share that opinion. Swagger tries to pep up Cole by promising to take out Austin. Yeah, right.

Lawler shows up so we can have a two-person announce team again. Does everyone remember we have a United States Champion? I wouldn’t blame you for forgetting. He’s facing Sheamus and God forbid it be for the title. It’s a non-match. Sheamus gets thrown out of the ring and lands on his ankle badly. He can’t beat the count and this went less than a minute. Here I was hoping we’d see a good match on RAW. Sheamus challenges Bryan for the title, next week, with his career on the line. Is Sheamus about to get the title or wind up back in the minors?

CM Punk has a match. We’ll see how short this is. The opponent is R-Truth who won a shot at the tag titles when his rookie won NXT. It’s short, but not offensively so, and the action is decent. Punk wins with his original finisher, the Anaconda Vice submission hold. I’m sure this will be match of the night; we may not even have another.

HBK speaks more on HHH. The video that goes with us gives us an actual shot of Shelton Benjamin, who is now in Ring of Honor. Just to annoy me more, Vickie Guererro shows up. Why are both TNA and WWE courting Jersey Shore guests? Aside from the fact that Jersey Shore beats them both in the ratings. Vickie is here to announce that Dolph Ziggler figured out there were two brands and got a job on RAW. I foresee a Ziggler/Cena feud in the near future. After Mania of course. Vickie joins color and reveals she and Dolph now have a purely business relationship. John Morrison gets fed to Ziggler in his debut. Vickie herself screws up and forget they are not together any more. This is about as good as the Punk/Truth match and a little longer. The anonymous RAW GM sends the first e-mail of the night and Lawler has to field it. The GM hired Dolph, not Vickie. Vickie has to fight for a job, next week, in a match against Trish Stratus.

We’ve gone into the overrun now and John Cena still has to deliver his “knockout blow” in response to The Rock. Maybe he should drink tiger blood. Cena’s blathering fake profanity is kind of cool. Cena accuses Rock of using a teleprompter. But his ragging on Rock for not showing up is becoming one note. Cena calls Rock a disgrace and says calling Cena out is bringing a knife to a gunfight. It’s been a very vocal crowd all night and they are quite split on Cena. Remember how Miz was boycotting? Well he smashes Cena in the face with his title belt to lay him out. Then he cuts an awesome promo about how the disrespect ends here and how he keeps laying out Cena and will do the same to The Rock if he actually has the guts to show up. He has to interrupt his catchphrase to hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Cena. Then he has the audacity to steal The Rock’s People’s Elbow maneuver before he finally finishes.

A couple of barely half-decent matches does not make for a great show. Cramming in all these legends is making the promos take over the show. After all, they can’t wrestle anymore so the focus has to be on them talking. Could we at least see Taker or HHH face somebody?

Posted on March 9th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 3/12/11
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I want some wrestling. RAW did not deliver on that front. Yet our opening recap is about Vickie Guererro. The fact that Vickie Guererro and Michael Cole are not only in major storylines but in matches says something about the sports entertainment sub-genre of professional wrestling. At least it’s the champion himself who opens the show. That’s Edge, Canada’s own Adam Copeland, for any new readers who know nothing about wrestling. I can throw you a bone once in a while but, honestly, you’re going to be pretty lost here. ?

Tonight: contract signing. That’s a tried and true wrestling segment and busting it out for Wrestlemania makes perfect sense. But Edge quickly stops talking about Del Rio attacking him and starts talking about Vickie. I’ve never been this happy to see Drew McIntyre as he runs in and lays out Edge. General Manager Teddy Long (Bald, African American, middle aged man with a vaguely 70s vibe that include phrases like “Holla!”) interrupts and tells McIntyre it’s his fault Vickie got fired and if he doesn’t face Edge right now: he’s fired too!

I’m so starved for good wrestling Drew McIntyre looks good. It’s back and forth and technical until Edge hits a Spear but breaks his own pin to go for a submission hold instead. I think he’s used this one before but I don’t know what they’re calling it now. It gets a quick win and apparently he’s “sending a message to Del Rio.”

Cody Rhodes in Rey’s mask coming out to Rey’s music is an awesome tease and swerve. The crowd hates him. He takes off the mask to reveal he is still wearing his clear protective mask. Recap of Rhodes and his father, Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, setting up Rey Mysterio and Cody stealing Rey’s mask in the first place. Cody orders the crowd not to look at him. Cody wanted the crowd to share his feeling of disappointment after he missed the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber Pay Per Views thanks to Rey Mysterio. Cody cuts a decent promo and vows to expose Rey’s face at Wrestlemania.

Kane paces in the parking garage. The Corre (a four-man stable, or gang, of wrestlers consisting of Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and Ezekiel Jackson) reminds him they helped him against Undertaker. He didn’t want their help. The Corre just want him to neat Big Show tonight. But now the tag titles are on the line as the former champs, comedy duo Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov, have invoked their rematch clause. Nothing special wrestlers means nothing special match. Santino looks to set up his comedy finishing move The Cobra, but the other members of The Corre interfere and The Cobra ends up striking Wade Barrett instead. That leaves him open to the champs and they retain.

We get recap from RAW of Triple H addressing The Undertaker. That means Taker is about to show up. Yep. The gong sounds as soon as the video ends. They’re using the Johnny Cash music as his entrance theme. Undertaker looks like he’s walking slowly by choice, not out of need. Taker maintains his usual position: the streak is unbreakable. But Taker is happy to agree Triple H is impressive. But when he loses at Wrestlemania he will become nothing more than a statistic. Another name on a long list who have tried and failed.

Divas tag action as Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendez face Lay-Cool aka Layla El and Michelle McCool. McCool is wearing an ankle brace and her ankle gets targeted heavily. She gets Layla in but Beth comes in fresh at the same time. McCool has to break up a pin. Then Beth falls victim to the brace and Layla scores a pin. They constantly tease dissention in the pair then have them make up right away. I actually like that. Someday one of them will actually turn on the other and, if they can pull it off, it could be amazing. I just hope something stupid like an injury derails it.

I’m not excited for Kane versus Big Show and I’m justified. It’s a very short match before The Corre arrive and throw Kane a chair. Kane uses it and gets disqualified. But when The Corre try to beat down Show Kane waffles Justin Gabriel with the chair and sends The Corre running.

Michael Cole takes center stage to introduce Jack Swagger, his trainer for Cole’s match against Jerry Lawler at Wrestlemania. He will reveal the referee on Monday but teases it’s The Miz. The Swagger squashes JTG who seems to be the Zack Ryder of Smackdown. Then a long recap of The Rock and John Cena’s feud. Production has added a few interesting clips and sound effects to make it less repetitive. Kudos. Alberto Del Rio’s personal portrait painter get ambushed by Edge who sabotages the painting.

Time for the contract signing. Del Rio has his ring announcer sing the Mexican national anthem. He gets farther than I’d like before Edge interrupts. Edge’s arm is taped thanks to Del Rio’s Cross-Armbreaker. Teddy Long hints at the elephant in the ring when Long asks if this can be the first contract signing that doesn’t end in chaos? The crowd is chanting “USA!” while a Canadian faces off with a Mexican. Sigh. Del Rio plays the destiny card but Edge tells him destiny can change in the blink of an eye. They sign. The crowd now seems to be chanting “Triple H” What a weird crowd. Violence does break out with Edge starting it and gets the early jump. Then he trashes the set. But when he sets up for a Spear the ring announcer gets involved again and Del Rio make a quick recovery. Del Rio gets to apply his finisher on the injured arm yet again. But he varies the beatdown a bit and somehow Edge ends up bleeding from the nose. Then he tries to use a chair on the arm but Christian makes the save. Edge is marred with crimson as Christian helps him up.

Well, my hopes for good wrestling were pretty much dashed. Is the road to Wrestlemania going to be long on talk and short on action? Couldn’t they trim the recaps and let the Intercontinental Champion defend the title? Do I have to YouTube Superstars to see wrestling?

Posted on March 5th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 3/5/11
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Triple H starts off this edition of RAW. I’m expecting him to speak this week. The announce team is Lawler and Matthews and I like it. Triple H claims to have done everything. He mentions starting DX with Shawn Michaels then he mentions starting Evolution with Ric Flair. He’s been here 16 years and only The Undertaker has outlasted him. The only challenge they have left is each other. If the streak ends Taker will die and Hunter will end it or die trying. I’ve been expecting this. Sheamus coming out to have words with HHH. But as soon as he enters the ring HHH lays him out then proceeds to layeth down the Smackdown. Sheamus ends up going through the announce desk without ever looking like a threat.

Sheamus is being led out when then anonymous GM by e-mail sends a missive. Jerry Lawler gets to read it. The GM wants Sheamus to still have his match, against the returning Evan Bourne! I never thought I’d see Evan Bourne squash Sheamus but that’s what happens. Great to see Air Bourne again. Not as great is Michael Cole coming out next.

In an effort to keep this short Cole will have a match with Lawler, as long as he can have his trainer in his corner and pick the referee. Lawler agrees so Cole brings out his trainer, Jack Swagger. Lawler tries to get past Swagger to Cole, which is dumb since he’d just get fired, but Swagger takes him down and locks on a long Ankle Lock even after Lawler taps out.

Austin will be here next week. Whatever. Cole has returned to the announce desk and the night gets worse right away. It would be nice to see a real match. But Randy Orton is out and it’s to talk not to wrestle. He made a mistake kicking CM Punk in the head. He should have kicked harder. He aims to kick CM Punk into a wheelchair. That draws Punk and the three Nexi left standing. They plan to bury Orton but E-GM has something to say. Punk will face Orton at Mania. And, in the weeks between, Orton must face each member of Nexus with no interference. If Orton wins that member of Nexus is banned from ringside at Wrestlemania. Mr. Not So Perfect gets his shot right now.

When the match starts during the commercial you can tell it’s not top priority. The problem with the new Nexus is the underlings suck,. Mason Ryan has potential but he could get over without Nexus. Not So Perfect and Blow-tunga can just go away for all I care. Orton has to make Not So Perfect appear like a threat and he’s not really capable of it. So when Orton wins nobody is surprised. I predict he beats Otunga but loses to Ryan to allow Punk to have something of an edge at the Mania match. Orton looks for the post-match punt Punk tries to order him to stand down. It doesn’t work. Orton bails before the Nexi can try for revenge. Maybe Nexus is on its last legs.

They announce they have signed Mistico but he’ll go by the name Sin Cara. It’s true, The Miz is being overshadowed by John Cena and The Rock. Let’s see what he can do about that. Miz cuts a fine promo but it’s just more putting himself over Cena and The Rock so the details aren’t important. Cena interrupts. Cena accuses Miz of having OCD, complete with totally fake doctor’s note. Should we be making fun of mental illness? Cena says Alex Reilly is the reason The Miz isn’t taken seriously as champion and exhorts Miz to fire him. But Miz is a dedicated mentor to the next generation, not like Cena. Cena moves from making fun of mental illness to gay jokes. Cena finally settles on challenging Reilly with Reilly’s job with The Miz on the line. Miz has a condition. If Reilly wins Cena has to publically proclaim him the greatest superstar of all time. Cena considers that child’s play compared to what he’s been through lately. Even though Miz vows not to interfere the E-GM decides to make that official and makes it an escape-only cage match. I have a friend who refers to that as “pussy rules.”

Later, HBK will speak out on the HHH/Taker match. Ugh. The announce team got even worse as Eve is out to watch a Diva Battle Royal for a title shot. It’s quickly down to Maryse, Gail Kim and one of the Bellas. Kim eliminates Maryse and not even the announce team know which Bella it is. There’s a twin switch and the Bella wins. Eve tries to explain to the refs and the twins beat her down. That match better not be at Wrestlemania.

Rock on video mocks Cena by pretending to be a rapper. It’s mercifully short. Rock is pretty serious here. Cena questioned his love of the business? The business he was born into? The business his family pioneered? Just because The Rock accomplished his goals and moved on to pave the way for the rest of them, Cena included? Cena wants him to bring it? He’s going to bring it. Rock gets away with “bitch”; no bleeping.

HBK’s comments make it sound like he has mixed feelings. Does he want The Undertaker to go down even if it means Hunter did what he couldn’t. HBK will ref that match. I’m sure of it. I expect this to be Undertaker’s second last Wrestlemania and 18-1 is not impressive. It will be 20-0 or 19-1. That remains to be seen.

Daniel Bryan comes out for a match only to be ambushed by The Miz. The skull Crushing Finale looks pretty soft tonight but when it’s done on the arena floor better safe than sorry. I didn’t think we had time for another match besides the main event. Miz is sick of waiting and wants the cage lowered…

Miz starts doing fine guest commentary then quickly interferes to keep Cena from quickly escaping the cage. The GM would have been better off banning Miz from interfering than making it a cage match. Reilly oversells, that’s a real weakness. Reilly taps to an STF but it doesn’t count. Reilly passes out but Miz uses a steel chair to keep Cena from climbing out of the cage. Reilly and Cena fight on the cage wall, Cena goes down but Reilly can’t seem to climb over the top of the cage. More fighting on the ropes and the cage wall. Cena manages a Bulldog off the top rope and an Attitude Adjustment. Miz tries to hold the door shut but Cena puts on a show of power and pushes through to win. Miz hits the SCF on Cena on the outside but Reilly must be fired. The mats on the floor make it far less impressive. Miz doesn’t seem to care about losing Reilly since he got the jump on Cena. And we are out.

Nice mix of old and new superstars tonight but the wrestling was subpar. The main event was the only half decent match on the whole show. The promos were almost universally awesome but I hope Smackdown brings some decent action. Don’t make me go to TNA for it!

Posted on March 1st, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 3/5/10
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Welcome to Smackdown where the Edge/Alberto Del Rio feud can begin in earnest tonight. Am I the only one who noticed titles “technically” only need to be defended once every 30 days but there’s more than 30 days before Wrestlemania? So why assume there will be no title matches before the event? Teddy Long is making Vickie Guererro wrestle for her job. She and Drew McIntyre take on Edge and Kelly Kelly and if Vickie loses she’s fired. What’s in it for Drew? Seriously why should he want to beat his crush?

Rey Mysterio jerks the curtain tonight and faces Kane. They made Kane look good at the Elimination Chamber and it wasn’t to be fed to The Undertaker. So what’s going on? Is he wrestling at the big show? Against who? In Money In The Bank, if they even have one? Is he finally retiring and they want to give him a send-off? I feel like I’ve seen this match before. I feel like Steven Spielberg could have made this match out of CGI and old footage. Let’s see if it gets better after the commercial.

Nope, still by-the-numbers. To make it worse, it’s long. It’s the same old big man versus little man match they always do. Weak ass 619, Rey goes for the Seated Senton but gets caught in midair. But Mysterio slides off his back and rolls him up for a pin! They waited that long to do something fresh? Rey’s celebration is interrupted by… Dusty Rhodes?

Dusty is making nice, he’s disappointed in his son and he wants to apologize. And he wants Cody to come out and apologize as well. I smell a set-up. A clear mask for Rhodes was an unusual choice. He’s in a fine suit though. He’s still not really dashing. He’s a little cute but that’s it. Cody is not happy. He lost the Rumble and the Chamber. Dusty tells him becoming dashing made him lose focus. Daddy actually gets Cody to apologize. Dusty and Rey hug and it’s time for the swerve! Dusty helps Cody to get the jump on Rey and a royal beat down follows. Cody performs the ultimate insult by tearing Rey’s mask off and holding it up like a trophy before casually walking off.

It’s 8:35 by the way. Mysterio was the focus of a quarter of the show.

A Layla versus Rosa match is cut incredibly short when Michelle McCool flips and hits Rosa for a DQ. Kofi Kingston, with a taped arm, has to face Jack Swagger. Swagger picks on the arm but gets Kofi to tap out with an Ankle Lock. To be fair, his weight was on his arm.

Vickie looks to Chavo for help but Chavo has grown a spine and decides to leave her high and dry for mistreating him all these years. Long Cena responds to Rock recap then Wade Barrett has to face The Big Show with “The Corre” banned from ringside. Show beats Barrett then, when The Corre do show up he grabs a chair, waffles Gabriel and drives the rest off.

Man there is a lot of recap and filler tonight. Now we hear about The Undertaker returning. This brings us to our joke of a tag match and Edge decides to tag Kelly in right away. Vickie takes one very safe bump, some shaking then gets to tag out. Drew seems upset that KK is with Edge. The men take over for a long time. Drew hits a Big Boot that looks good and Edge sells it like PT Barnum. After not that long we get Double Spears and Edge pins McIntyre for the win. Vickie is fired. I can hope. I can hope. Teddy Long is out to gloat. Vickie’s fired and she goes running around begging people for help in a way that is pathetic rather than amusing. She begs refs, cameramen, Booker, Cole then finally… Edge for help. “Na na na na” gets tired if you overuse it. Vickie heads out screaming but Del Rio attacks him out of nowhere. Is Vickie going to be in Del Rio’s corner at Wrestlemania? It would actually make sense for him to hire him to consult against Edge. Vickie knows Edge well and could be a big distraction both building to the match and at ringside during it. As much as I hate Vickie, it makes sense. We’ll see if it happens.

Not enough Del Rio. Too many RAW recaps, which even include recaps from the previous RAW. No good matches. Seriously when The Big Show versus Wade Barrett is the best thing all night it’s a very subpar Smackdown. The Cody Rhodes segment stole the show. Cody continues to impress. Nothing else really did.

Posted on February 26th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 2/25/11
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Hugh has joined me for WWE Elimination Chamber 2011. Scattered thoughts will be shared as the night progresses.

7:35 I watch the tail end of last night’s SNL rerun with Paul Rudd and Paul McCartney. It’s rare I actually listen to the musical guest but classic Beatles songs are irresistible.

7:40 SNL ends so I switch to the WWE recap show where Edge is facing Dolph Ziggler for the championship. I predict Dolph Ziggler will find a way back into the Elimination Chamber tonight. Edge will win though. Cena takes the RAW Chamber match and Miz retains. I’m not sure if Del Rio/Kingston is official but I will pick Del Rio.

7:52 Hugh actually arrives.

7:59 I check WWE.com to find Del Rio versus Kingston is official and the tag champs face Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater. No word if the titles are on the line. Expect Big Show to show up for the tag match.

8:00 Opening promo is nothing special.

8:02 Tonight’s sponsor is the National Guard. Announce team is Michael Cole, Josh Matthews and Booker T. The flat out Smackdown team.

8:03 Robert Rodriguez clues us in that Alberto Del Rio is opening the show.

8:06 Del Rio runs down people from Oakland.

8:13 Match is nothing special so far.

8:14 Kofi starts flying but Del Rio is able to hit key counters.

8:17 Rodriguez keeps Kofi from getting the pin.

8:18 Kofi fights off the Cross Armbreaker for a while but once it’s locked on Kofi is quickly forced to tap. Yeah we all saw that coming. The question is does WWE have enough faith in him to make him a champion?

8:21 Todd “Wasn’t I going to replace JR?” Grisham interviews Edge. Edge thinks the Chamber is a walk in the park compared to Vickie Guererro. Drew McIntyre interrupts to remind him about Kelly Kelly getting fired. Edge took something from Drew, Drew is going to take his most prized possession.

8:24 The Smackdown chamber is up now? I know one has to come early but why not the #1 contender match instead of the actual championship bout?

8:28 Kane enters and gets locked in first.

8:29 Drew McIntyre next.

8:31 Wade Barrett enters this heel heavy match next. My money is on Mysterio next. But Teddy Long comes out instead and we have to sort out the Dolph Ziggler situation. It’s not Ziggler, instead it’s… The Big Show.

8:35 The match is back to three faces  but we’re starting with two in the ring, Edge and Mysterio.

8:41 Wade Barrett is the next to enter.

8:45 Entrant #4 is Kane.

8:50 Second to last is McIntyre. The only other Elimination Chamber match I remember Show in he entered last too.

8:51 McIntyre puts Barrett through the Plexiglas of an empty pod.

8:53 The chaos of five competitors spikes my interest level.

8:54 Show looks like he’s falling asleep before they let him in.

8:55 Show beats on Wade Barrett. Then hits him with Knockout Punch to eliminate him way earlier than Hugh expected.

8:56 Mysterio hits a Senton off the top of a pod but it’s not enough to take out Big Show.

8:57 Beat on Big Show night ends with a Chokeslam by Kane that takes him out. Then Kane takes out McIntyre to leave just three men left. Why is Kane being pushed so hard?

8:59 Kane catches Mysterio dropping the dime but Edge Spears both men and chooses to pin Kane. We’re back down to the first two but Kane doesn’t leave until he Chokeslams both men left.

9:04 Lots of two-counts.

9:06 Not even a Spear is enough to end this.

9:07 Rey hits 619 and tries to drop the dime again only to get Speared in midair. The Spear has very little build up behind it so it’s not as impressive looking as you would hope but it gets Edge the win and, for the first time in five years, a champion retains in an Elimination Chamber. Rey looked great here, Edge was solid, Barrett came off looking the worst, Kane was booked stronger than expected, Show’s time was brief but he looked strong and McIntyre was just there. Del Rio gets in the Chamber to attack Edge post match. The Cross Armbreaker is applied but here’s a surprise. Christian returns to make the save and get a measure of revenge on Del Rio for ripping his pectoral. Christian back is a good thing.

9:15 Matt Striker grabs a moment with Jerry Lawler. Jerry looks pretty torn up still. Can’t blame him.

9:18 Booker plugs Tough Enough by revealing another trainer TRISH STRATUS!!!! Trish reminds us all mic skills were not here biggest strength.

9:23 Tag champs are here. Jackson accompanies them but no Barrett. The titles are on the line.

9:29 Cobra on the illegal Gabriel.

9:30 450 Splash on Kozlov and The Corre now control the tag team titles. I don’t want The Corre appearing on both shows.

9:33 Grisham is with The Miz. Miz at least mention The Rock and promises to get back to him. For now it’s time to end Lawler and go on to beat the Chamber winner at Mania.

9:35 Uggh. Vickie Guererro. She seems sad so there’s a silver lining. She’s pleading for Dolph’s job and could we not have had a quick match instead of this? Teddy Long arrives to try to shut her up. Long decides to hire somebody. But not Dolph. He hired back Kelly Kelly. And Long gave her free reign to “thank” Vickie. We get a taste of violence before Lay-Cool make the save. But that draws Trish Stratus to run them off. But they sucker ambush her and it turns into a real fight. Stratus is not in shape for this and she does not look well. The six-inch heels don’t help. But Trish and Kelly come out on top for a feel good moment.

9:47 Why does Miz come out first? Alex Reilly is  there. I predict Reilly costs King the match and at Wrestlemania we see Jerry Lawler in a Handicap Match against Alex Reilly and Michael Cole.

9:51 Booker T calls Lawler “in shape”.

9:58 Reilly gets ejected so there goes my c all.

10:01 Lawler throws Miz into Cole.

10:02 Flying Fist Drop but Miz gets a foot on the ropes.

10:03 Big kick  to the head, Skull Crushing Finale, foregone conclusion. It wasn’t awful but there was never any real hope Lawler would win.

10:05 The crowd still loves Lawler.

10:07 Cena is eating Fruity Pebbles. Grisham wants to talk Rock but Cena, too, is focused on tonight.

10:08 Throw to Matt Striker and CM Punk. Pun can’t see Cena beating him. Punk can’t see Cena winning. Punk can’t see anyone winning but him.

10:12 Orton is out first.

10:13 Cole thinks Orton has never made excuses for himself in his career. That’s laughable to those of us who remember Evolution, Legacy and Rated RKO.

10:14 R-Truth is #2. Four faces here but will two start?

10:15 Punk also gets to start in a chamber.

10:17 Even Cena gets locked in.

10:19 That leaves Sheamus and Morrison to start. Morrison better impress me.

10:22 Great jumps start already.

10:24 Pod #1 opens to reveal Orton.

10:25 Rope Hung DDT onto the steel grating for Sheamus.

10:28 Randy stalks Punk as the time counts down but Punk gets stuck in the pod door at Orton’s mercy.

10:29 Punk gets RKOed and pinned. Wow, that was unexpected.

10:30 An email from the RAW GM. Due to the pod malfunction the GM allows Punk back in his pod and back into the match.

10:33 Once again we let someone in, but it’s Cena not Punk.  Sheamus attacks Cena in his own pod. This is not illegal I guess. The pod worked after all.

10:36 The crowd is split on Cena.

10:36 Punk now gets to be last as R-Truth comes in. Sheamus tries another ambush but Truth turns the tables.

10:38 R-Truth doesn’t last long as he falls to a Brogue Kick  as the first elimination.

10:39 Too many people have been thrown through  the glass tonight. Why can’t people break out if the glass gives way that easily?

10:40 Punk is coming back. He closes his own door and Cena tries to AA Orton, only to get an RKO on the steel grating.

10:41 Punk is picking the scraps.

10:42 GTS on Orton and the Viper is done. Orton/Punk at Wrestlemania seems certain.

10:44 Tease of a High Cross off the top of a pod but Morrison fights Sheamus off and climbs clean to the top of the dome. He drops into Sheamus in a highly impressive spot that takes Sheamus out of the match.

10:53 Morrison catches himself in mid-air on a pod, leaps to the chains flies into Punk but misses Starship Pain and ends up in a Go To Sleep and we are down to two. But Cena comes in to Attitude Adjust Punk and, as predicted, Cena walks away the winner.

10:54 Miz has been watching and doesn’t look happy.

10:55 We’re rapping up. My picks were pretty spot on though the tag titles changing hands were a surprise. The Chamber matches had some nice stuff but weren’t as spectacular as they were in the pre-PG days. There seemed  to be a lot of filler and I would have liked one more match on the card. But a night with no surprises other than Trish Stratus doesn’t blow me away. 42 days to build to Mania, I think it will go well.

Posted on February 21st, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on WWE Elimination Chamer 2011 Live Recap
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This is Smackdown number 600 and we are being promised Dolph Ziggler’s coronation tonight. Is Teddy Long coming back? Will Vince show up? Edge comes out first and is announced as the World Heavyweight Champion. The big promised twelve-man tag match is opening the show. Edge, Randy Orton, John Morrison, R-Truth (who doesn’t rap), Rey Mysterio (huge pop from the San Diego crowd) and John Cena make up the white hats. CM Punk, King Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre, Kane and Dolph Ziggler are the Really Rottens. Edge starts with Drew. Soon Truth and Ziggler match up but Truth soon tags Orton. Ziggler lasts through several faces but gets the advantage on John Morrison. Ziggler tags in Sheamus and we go to commercial.

When we come back Sheamus is still throwing Morrison around so I doubt they left much out. The face side is heavily RAW and Smackdown dominates the heels. That means most of the match-ups are from different brands. Edge and Ziggler actually get to face off in the match. It all breaks down with everyone running in, one-by-one and hitting a finisher on the last guy. Mysterio managed to 619 both Barrett and Ziggler, the legal man, who is knocked into a Spear to end the match. That went about 25 minutes and was quite decent. But Vickie is out now. She wants the title belt from Edge. We see last week’s footage with Clay Matthews counting the pin despite Vickie seeing the Spear. And she’s again accusing him of taking out Teddy Long. So she fires Edge.

Cody Rhodes, in a plastic mask, has had successful surgery. He’s cleared for travel and will make an announcement next week. Not as good as his last promo but still solid. Beth Phoenix and Eve are going to face Lay-Cool but not before a commercial and some vintage footage. No… Layla is teaming with Maryse? McCool is on commentary. She soon distracts and the heels win. We see most of Rock’s promo form Monday, which was on NXT too, so I make pizza pockets.

The Miz showed up, with Alex Reilly in tow. He faces Kofi Kingston. I predict Del Rio costs Kingston the match and the end in a match Sunday. Well, yeah Del Rio costs him the match but no follow-up yet.

Okay Gabriel and Slater of “The Corre” face the tag champs. They come out alone but, when Santino looks to win, the others attack for the DQ. Big Show makes the save and we get a long tease of a real one-on-one between Jackson and Show but The Corre back off. I feel like we’re still going to add some matches for Sunday before this night is through.

Coronation time, with lots of show to come. And cue Teddy Long. Teddy thinks she was the one who attacked him. She sells out Dolph so Long books Dolph to face Edge. I guess Ziggler’s reign is official he just needs to defend the title. It’s a pretty short match so it’s nothing special but Edge wins with the Spear then Teddy returns to fire Dolph. Shouldn’t a replacement for him in the Chamber match be named? Edge gets on the mic to lead the “Na na, na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” chant.

This may have been nice for a 600th episode but they didn’t sell the Pay Per View very well. It feels really light and I expect some new matches to show up Sunday. They’ve been coasting on the Chamber matches yet the winners seem like foregone conclusions. Lawler is going to lose and I can’t name another booked match. They keep giving away champion versus champion matches with no build. No one has RSVPed for Sunday yet. If no one comes I’m not even sure I’ll get the show. If I do expect a live blog of the event. If not, see you for RAW.

Posted on February 19th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 2/19/11
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Just six days to Elimination Chamber then the long slow build to Wrestlemania. We still have the return of Undertaker and HHH supposedly happening before then and the four-hour show is always packed to the rafters with matches so there is plenty more to reveal. Tonight, Vince is coming back to reveal a guest host for the big show. Tonight we mix and match Elimination Chamber participants as Orton will face Sheamus, Morrison and R-Truth will mix it up and, jerking the curtain, CM Punk and John Cena mix it up again. There must be a winner and everyone you’d expect to interfere has been banned. There’s some meaningless prattle before we get started.

The good thing about CM Punk facing John Cena is both of them are utterly convincing in their clear desire to win the match. The match involves a lot of finisher attempts that get countered. But an unseen Nexus member slides both a chair and wrench out from under the ring. CM Punk slides the chair in to distract the ref then hits Cena with the wrench. That’s enough for the win.

Lawler is not here tonight. His mother passed away the night before. There are no jokes to be made there. I feel bad for anyone losing a mother, even at what must have been an advanced age.

It seems Alberto Del Rio is competing on RAW. Nope, just a promo. Yet they rang the bell before it. Edge interrupts, still holding his title belt, having remembered that Del Rio hit him with a guitar. Del Rio may have a destiny but it’s Edge’s destiny to attack him right now. Ricardo tries to save but, ultimately, Del Rio still eats a Spear, off the apron to boot. And now here’s Vickie Guererro. She’s going to strip the title here on RAW. Kind of makes me less eager to see Smackdown if all the stories are already on RAW. The coronation is Friday it turns out. Vickie is also claiming Edge was the one who took out Teddy Long and he’ll be fired for it.

Next week – Undertaker.

Natalya gets her title rematch in a Lumberjill match. Some decent athleticism early. Natalya gets thrown out and attacked by the heels and Eve confirms she’s still a face by Crossbodying the lot of them. Natalya goes for a pin but ends up with Eve laying across each other and gets pinned, presumably without noticing. So a very indecisive outcome.

Rev Theory in da house.

The Bellas stay heels by attacking Eve and Gail Kim comes to her rescue. Natalya gets involved and there may have even been others. The camera work wasn’t the best. Mark Henry is supposed to compete, but Sheamus takes him down first. Sheamus wants us to remember what he’s capable of and he’ll demonstrate tonight on Randy Orton. We also reveal that it was CM Punk who planted false rumors last week that Mark Henry had been running down Sheamus. It makes a lot more sense if it was all CM Punk’s idea. If you need a stooge to beat someone up Mark Henry is somewhat convincing.

The middle point of the show goes to a champion versus champion match (not that they are hyping it that way) between The Miz and Daniel Bryan. Alex Reilly is on commentary and Cole offers him Josh’s job. Reilly asks “Can I do both? Can I sports entertain and commentate?” Really? Really? Look WWE, like it or not sports entertainment is a sub-genre of professional wrestling. You want to call them superstars instead of wrestlers, that’s fine. But these people wrestle. They do not sports entertain in the ring. They wrestle. Do not try to erase that word. When you can get beyond the commentary running it down it’s actually a pretty good match and lasts more than one segment. A Skull Crushing Finale gives Miz a clean win. Because he needs to be built up so we can buy he’ll beat Jerry Lawler. Miz gets on the mic and gets to be sincere for a moment in offering his condolences to Lawler. But he won’t let Jerry use it as an excuse why he loses.

Otunga and Mr. Not So Perfect face John Morrison and R-Truth. It was supposed to be Morrison vs. R-Truth but the E-GM piped up during the commercial and made a change. Didn’t he, I’d say or she but this is WWE we are talking about they won’t have two female GMs, set the match in the first place? Short match, faces dominate, R-Truth even takes out Mason Ryan with a Plancha dive. They even scare Nexus off from trying a post-match beatdown.

Ariel Winter is in the ring. I like Modern Family, but I don’t plan to buy The Chaperone on DVD. She introduces the Khali Kiss-Cam. It’s even lamer than usual as it’s just the typical kiss cam they do at arenas. Santino and Tamina as well as Dolph and Vickie are also victims. Maryse faces Ted Dibiase then plants one on Yoshi Tatsu. William Regal playfully kisses Zack Ryder on the cheek. And Hornswoggle delivers a heart shaped box of chocolates to Ariel. If this were Popmudo she’d trade health for mood. Instead Hornswoggle gets a peck on the cheek of his own. If this weren’t Valentine’s Day my review of this segment would have been much shorter.

Sheamus versus Orton will be your final match of the night. The main event will be the reveal of the guest host. Normally I don’t like non-match main events but this is going to be worth it. In fact, the match is not memorable for precisely that reason. Orton does win with an RKO and then Nexus attack Orton but Truth, Morrison and Cena all invade to even the odds. Orton RKOs Otunga and Mr. Not So Perfect. He and Cena throw Ryan from the ring and Cena ends up hitting an Attitude Adjustment on Punk. I was expecting Orton to RKO Cena at the end but no such luck.

They tease a woman in heels exiting a limo. Could the guest host be a woman?

Lots of lighting and sound to play with before they actually reveal the host. If you don’t already know it’s impressive. Yep, The Rock will be hosting Wrestlemania XXVII. The crowd reaches enthusiasm levels sufficiently high enough to satisfy me when they realize just how lucky they are. The guy who wrote the “Bring back The Rock” sign gets a lot of camera time. I was in a debate today about if The Rock was the best guy on the mic of all time. Now I, personally, would put Bobby Heenan above The Rock. The one knock against The Rock is his reliance on catchphrases. And we get a lot, but we get some real talk too. E-GM tries to interrupt but Rocky doesn’t even let Michael Cole go to the computer. Given that I’m actually watching a 4 p.m. replay they bleep Rock saying ass. Didn’t Cena get “fined” for that? Rock does it at least five times. Rock apparently has an issue with John Cena and that is enough to turn him heel for the crowd. Oh man Rock runs Cena down but good. This show runs quite long. Repeat “the millions” “and millions” three times then draws out the “is cookin” for ages and yes the crowd is eating out of the palm of his hand. And the announcers have shut up for almost all of this, so all the better.

Getting Wrestlemania was never in dispute. Enjoying it was. The odds of that just dropped.

Posted on February 15th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 2/19/11
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