Friday, December 30, 2011

12/30/11 Smackdown

Jinder Mahal vs. Ted DiBiase: *

Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn vs. Natalya & Tamina: DUD

Hunico vs. Justin Gabriel: *1/4

Big Show vs. David Otunga: 1/2*

Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre: *

Sheamus vs. Heath Slater: *1/4

Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton (Falls Count Anywhere): *3/4

Booker and Cody look like they will feud into the new year. Cody's really grown over the last year as an in-ring performer. I'd put him up there as Breakout Star of the Year for 2011. Interesting how Goldust came out as his real self (Dustin). It's basically planting the seeds for Cody and Goldust to square off into the new year. Goldust really impressed me with his conditioning and fast-paced action before getting injured. Looking forward to this feud.

I'm pretty certain Cody will win the rubber match next week (IC Title match against Booker). Of course, Goldust could cost his brother the gold, leading to their feud. After all, Cody's attack on Goldust post-promo gave that situation a strong chance of occurring.

What the...Jinder and DiBiase again?!?! Why? This has gotten nowhere. No direction. Oh lovely, Jinder's growing facial hair. That's not gonna change anything for me until he actually gets in a relevant storyline. At least Jinder won for a change.

Drew McIntyre had left Smackdown? I didn't even realize it; he had basically fallen off the map lately.

No Beth accompanying Natalya and Tamina. Guess she's taking the week off to rest the nasty black eye she got from Alicia. Not surprisingly, a short match. Kaitlyn goes in for like a minute, then Alicia really does what...two moves and it's over? Oh fun. I'm glad Alicia's getting this apparent push.

Whoa, WTF? Tamina?! Didn't see that superkick and splash coming. I loved the "Warrior Princess" moniker Booker T used for Tamina. 2012 could be a real good year for Snuka's daughter.

Relatively short match between Hunico and Gabriel, but a rather fun one. Impressive double team move afterward from Hunico and Camacho.

Big Show nukes Otunga while Daniel Bryan drew Mark Henry away from the ring. Likely Big Show's turning heel in the future. Expect a slow heel turn.

McIntyre and Zeke had a methodical match here. Pretty slow and basic. McIntyre continues a losing streak. I'm wondering if this may be similar to the MVP losing streak from a few years ago -- done to show loyalty to the company. For all I know, McIntyre really could be in the doghouse. But hopefully he has a push lined up for 2012.

Oh man. Sheamus "singing" in this one. Don't stop believin'! I believe I can fly! That was good for a laugh. Average match between him and Slater.

Looking forward to Daniel Bryan and Big Show for the title next week. Should be a good Smackdown. Obviously DB's winning this one.

Good physical Falls Count Anywhere match between Barrett and Orton. Ref took a collision bump there with Barrett, and the two wrestlers fought into the stands and backstage area. They fought in the elevator! Awesome! Vintage security camera! They get to the stairs. Barrett presumably throws Orton down the stairs as the camera guy comes in late to see what happened. Orton's legit hurt (back), so this angle should at least give Orton some rest for a few weeks.

Finally, a couple more random thoughts:

First, regarding the ratings. You want to know why ratings fall? It's likely because they can't stand Cole's overwhelming commentary. It's not Punk's fault. It's not Del Rio's fault. It's no wrestler's fault. I still watch WWE because I like the in-ring action (and certain promos here and there). If I could just mute Michael Cole, I would. Not sure why his heel character has to be so unbearable. There's a fine line between heat and X-Pac heat. Cole's clearly got the latter.

Who's gonna break out in 2012?

(1) I see some promising signs for the divas. Yes, I said it. Alicia Fox ended the year on a roll. Tamina looked like she's primed for a singles push. Don't forget Kharma when she returns from maternity leave. Now if they only sign the likes of Cheerleader Melissa, I'd be one happy guy. Now if only they had more meaningful storylines, then we'd be set here.

(2) Watch out for Cody Rhodes. He will likely be in the main event slot by the end of the year, but he's a great selection to win the Rumble as well.

(3) Dolph Ziggler should all but be back main eventing and having a longer title reign -- with the WWE title this time.

As for guys like Cena, Orton, Mark Henry, Punk, etc., they will still be at the top. But I'd be very happy if they took a bit of a backseat while others vie for the top prize in the company.

And that does it for 2011...Happy New Year everyone! Can't wait for the first RAW of 2012, it's shaped up to be a great one!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29/11 Impact

AJ Styles & Kazarian vs. Abyss & Scott Steiner: **

Zema Ion vs. Anthony Nese (Contract on a Pole): *1/2

Douglas Williams vs. Gunner: 1/2*

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Eric Young & ODB: *1/2

Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam: **

Gail Kim vs. Mickie James (Knockouts Title): **3/4

Knockouts getting a more prominent spot on TV...liking this. Rayne fired Tessmacher and Tara, but Sting said no. Sting's impersonation of Madison...priceless. I was laughing real good there! And Gail faces Mickie for the title? Win!

Keep Sting in his on-camera role. It's perfect for him.

I have to admit, this whole tag tournament with all these weird tag teams...yeah it's pretty interesting. Intriguing match here...two big guys that are uneasy working with one another against two great technical wrestlers. Actually a better match than I thought. Quick pace, considering who was involved. Post-match deal between Bully and Abyss was great. Monster's Ball sounds good.

Good X-Division match. Pretty evident Ion was winning because he's been getting the more promo time out of the two guys.

Gunner takes on Douglas Williams. Kinda glad the veterans like Flair have taken a bit more of a backseat lately. So basically Gunner and Flair don't care and like getting DQ'd. Thanks for wasting my time.

Good segment with Roode, his friend, and Jeff Hardy. Liking Roode's push as the top heel.

ODB and Eric Young are actually entertaining me...can't believe it. Best part of the match...Samoa Joe just throwing his hands up and giving the "I can't believe I'm in this match" look while ODB is going at it with Magnus. In the end, glad the Joe and Magnus won this one.

Angle and RVD are next. Good stuff between two grizzled veterans. Main focus was for Storm to get some revenge. Beautiful superkick. He imitates Shawn Michaels pretty good with that one.

I'm thrilled the Knockouts -- especially when it's Gail and Mickie -- got the main event slot. Extremely physical stuff, even a bit of brawling on the outside. Great use of submissions and targeting injured body parts. Ending came, some lady in a mask -- Madison Rayne, duh -- interferes and takes Mickie out, botching the finisher a bit. Tenay and Taz play dumb until five seconds before they go off the air. Lovely.

12/29/11 Superstars

Yoshi Tatsu vs. Tyson Kidd: **

Darren Young vs. Trent Barreta: **1/2

JTG vs .Alex Riley: *1/2

Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks: ***

Looks like Tyson Kidd is growing a faux-hawk like Miz. What is it with these faux-hawks nowadays? At this rate, he'll look like Miz in the next month or two. I'm glad he and Yoshi fought each other again. They seem to gel in the ring.

Hey, Darren Young finally gets a non-NXT match (again)! Young dropped Barreta suplex-style on the ring apron. Ouch. I'm liking what Young has shown me. He looks more comfortable in the ring and really embraces his heel character. Real impressive moves shown here. Young hit his finisher (a.k.a. what Roderick Strong would use) from the second rope. Didn't think I'd like this one, but I did. Just wish the crowd was more into it.

They finally gave a name to Riley's finisher: "The Final Score." Good name. Oh, and at least the announcing team explained Tamina's relationship with JTG a bit more. Not caring for Scott Stanford's announcing, although he has gotten better since he first debuted.

Main event was also a great one. Reks had a real impressive gutwrench suplex slam move in that match. Fluid match, especially at the end. A nice way to end Superstars in 2011!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12/28/11 NXT

Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater: ***1/4

Tyson Kidd vs. Percy Watson: *1/2

Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis: *

Wait, NXT is about to get to 100 episodes? Cool, I guess. Vintage Daniel Bryan reference!

Justin Gabriel gets a homecoming for NXT, although he really got no pop. Slater, yeah, he also got no reaction. At least the fans like wrestling matches. Two Season 1 guys to kick things off. Striker with an Eli Cottonwood reference! Tremendous match here, especially for NXT standards. I'd welcome this match on any WWE show. Gabriel pulls an AJ Styles and does the 450 that way. Love it.

Again, Percy Watson with no crowd reaction. Damn, even Tyson Kidd really got nothing. Darren Young is getting comfortable in his heel role, and frankly, that's where he belongs.

I'm getting nauseated with this love triangle thing. And Aksana doesn't really help matters. "Johnny King Curtis Iaukea?" Really, Striker? Maxine came out mid-match during Bateman/Curtis. Average match here. Now Maxine sides with Curtis after that text she saw Bateman apparently send to Teddy Long. All this means is the storyline probably continues. Meh.

Monday, December 26, 2011

12/26/11 RAW

Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes: **1/2

Zack Ryder & Eve Torres vs. Tyson Kidd & Natalya: *1/4

John Cena vs. The Miz: N/A

Big Show vs. David Otunga: N/A

CM Punk vs. Jack Swagger: *1/4

Dolph Ziggler vs. CM Punk: **

Two major goofs for Laurinaitis right at the start. First, he attempted to impersonate Punk. Second, he messed his lines up. Executive Vice President of Monday Night RAW? Must be a new title. Punk gets a HUGE pop in his surprise. Yes, yes, I would love to see Punk wrestle three times. I'd like to see Punk wrestle Daniel Bryan for three hours as well.

I'm real intrigued to see what becomes of this cryptic black and white video with the boy and the girl. Many people still say it's Punk and Jericho for a feud. Obviously, I'm not so sure. The thing is...who is it for?

Very good match between Cody and Booker. Slow to start, but then a lot of near falls and counters. Booker's still got it!

Punk's three opponents: Swagger, Ziggler, and Henry. Not bad.

ROFL. "A giant with one arm is still better than a smug lawyer with no testicles." Love it. Thank you, Big Show.

Mixed tag match is next. Tyson and Natalya had been apart on camera for quite some time, glad to see them back together for the last RAW of 2011. July 23, 2012, will be the 1000th episode of RAW...damn, has it really been that many already?! Vintage double Broski boot! Nice crowd reaction for this one.

Time for Cena to call Kane out. Wait, impromptu match between Cena and Miz instead. Crowd showing their divided reactions to Cena. Well, Miz gets on the mic and that's that. R-Truth's back as a face, going right after Miz. Guess that will be a feud for 2012. I loved Truth's mic work. Entertaining stuff man.

Big Show goes against Otunga...and Show's got one arm tied behind his back. Well, that match wasn't really a match. Mark Henry came out so the ref stopped things. Daniel Bryan continues to be a thorn in Henry's side, which if anything, hopefully keeps guys like Henry and Bryan in main event status for 2012.

Apparently Del Rio tore his groin, and he's in a custom wheelchair. Not sure if it's a work or what not, but I guess we'll see over time.

The gauntlet ends the wrestling portion of the show. Fairly short match between Punk and Swagger, as predicted. Ziggler is next for Punk. This one went longer, and seemingly, Ziggler's getting more and more screen time to show his stuff. I love the push Ziggler's getting. I can't wait to see the title match next week. Generally, the first RAW of the year produces epic matches (see 2011 opening RAW) and hopefully, Punk and Ziggler will get at least four stars and a lot of time. Will Ziggler get the belt? You know, I wouldn't rule it out. Management hasn't been liking the low ratings while Punk is champ. Just think what happens if Punk goes to Smackdown and feuds with Daniel Bryan. The IWC would go ballistic.

Kane ends the show. Hey, no vibrating thing to make him talk! Oops, here comes Cena! Vintage flames keep Cena on the stage! Storyline revolving around hate. Who better to basically write and give a powerful sermon than Kane? Kane's promo work is excellent, isn't it?

I'm guessing all these promos Cena's been involved in have set the stage for the slowest, most methodical planned heel turn WWE's likely ever pulled on camera. Weaving multiple storylines into a heel turn for 2012? Will it happen? "Cena Sucks" shirts have sold out like mad.

A thought came to my mind...what if the all those black and white videos with the boy and girl turn out to be Cena's heel turn? A lovely cliffhanger for 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

12/23/11 Smackdown

Zack Ryder vs. Cody Rhodes: *3/4

Big Show vs. Mark Henry: N/A

Sheamus vs. The Miz: *

Kofi Kingston vs. Primo: *1/4

Daniel Bryan & Big Show vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger: ***

The best part about watching the show later (instead of live on TV): I can fast-forward through the Cole crap.

World Title picture situation gets sorted out at the start of the show. Long says Henry and Show face off tonight to see who faces DB. DB pulls a Ric Flair on Henry, retracting the handshake!

Champ vs. champ here! Ryder and Rhodes. Rhodes starting to use that Goldust-like uppercut and the Alabama slam more. Booker sings and Ryder wins!

Santino is amusing. We get DB vs. Dolph tonight, and I'm totally cool with that. I'm glad Vickie doesn't say "Bah humbug" all the time...just doesn't work for me.

Show and Henry didn't take place tonight, but the real reason is Henry's groin injury. Loved the WMD to Otunga.

During the backstage segment between Miz and Teddy, Miz slightly messed up with "superhead" and not superstar." Yes, he quickly corrected himself, but I was just amused. But hey, it still doesn't beat summerfest! Miz out in the ring, and WWE shows the attacks on R-Truth and Morrison from the last couple months. Sheamus time! Sheamus wins and Cole's trying to make excuses for Miz. Whoopee....

Barrett with a promo to showcase his dominance over Orton. Oops...Orton wants to fight! Ends with an RKO on the car!

That "prophetless" promo with the boy and girl is shown again. People still thinking it could be the return of Chris Jericho for a feud with CM Punk. Would be cool to see.

Kofi gets a little payback on Primo in their match. Planted seeds in this title match are sprouting. Should be a decent match if it gets sufficient time.

Finally, I'm getting one of my wishes. DB and Ziggler going at it! Swagger came out in the middle of the match. Big Show is out now...he in DB's corner? Oh NICE rollup from DB into a German suplex. Reminds me of Douglas Williams' Chaos Theory. What a kick to the head Ziggler took. Lots of counters and high-impact moves. See folks, this is the type of match we need to see more of.

Teddy Long added Swagger and Show to the mix and made it a tag match. Basically, that shows the conditioning DB and Ziggler have. Yes, they stayed on the apron for a bit to catch their breaths as Swagger ans Show went at it, but still, they still are human beings...right? These guys are workhorses. Whoa, Big Show with the pounce move! Damn! Great finish to an otherwise-average show.

12/22/11 Impact

AJ Styles & Kazarian vs. Rob Van Dam & Christopher Daniels: *1/2

Anthony Nese vs. Zema Ion: *3/4

Tara vs. Miss Tessmacher: DUD

Eric Young & ODB vs. Shannon Moore & Anarquia: *1/4

Sting & Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode & Bully Ray (Street Fight): **1/4

Bully Ray has a Santa hat on...Ray's got a big head -- literally. In the meantime, I like Roode's entrance music. Roode wants to be suspended so he can take some time off and enjoy the holidays. Cue Jeff Hardy. Genesis is January 8, and Hardy's going after the title. Tag match tonight between Bully/Roode and Hardy/partner of his choosing. Joker Sting is out! There's your partner tonight....

Wild card tag match with four guys who can really wrestle. Nice. Figure on paper, Kaz and Styles have the advantage since they get along. Crowd was into this one. Daniels not willing to tag in, so RVD getting snubbed a bit. Blind tag from Daniels as RVD looked for Rolling Thunder. It even knocked a camera guy off the ring apron...not sure if that last part was planned. Daniels tries to tag RVD, but got tagged with a foot to the head. Fade to Black from Kaz ended it.

Nese and Ion in the second match of their Best of Three series. Ion got the first one, so figure going in that Nese takes this match. Winner of this, by the way, faces Aries, Kash, and Sorensen in a four way match. Nie fast start here. They got to fly around the ring, which finally kept my interest. Nese with an impressive springboard to the top into a hurricanrana on Ion. Ion with that flip powerbomb which is just so cool to see (Nese really does the work there). Nese got the abrupt rollup win, which I'm fine with, but I still wanted a cool finish after all the nice moves we saw.

Madison Rayne takes Karen Jarrett's position as VP of the Knockouts. Like the move.

ODB is a kickass date. Eric Young and ODB together...just amusing.

Tara and Tessmacher (TNT) are on the show. So Rayne makes them face one another while she refs. Of course, Queen Bee stirs up trouble. Too basic a match for me. The whole point was just to keep them wrestling. WTF, now they're Tebowing in the ring? Oh God....

The whole deal with Storm and Angle was off the mark this week, in my book. Maybe I'm just not a big fan of bars. Storm's promo was the same ol' thing again..."I stood up to you like a man!" Boring. When they came back for the second segment, just came off as way too fake. If you were really in a bar and tried to stir up trouble, you may have 8-10 guys on you in about 30 seconds.

The most amusing match had to be Young/ODB vs. Moore/Anarquia. Shannon Moore not happy Anarquia slammed ODB, so he walks out. ODB with a nice slam on Anarquia...punt to the family jewels! I have to admit, this was pretty entertaining.

Main event time. Glad it was a street fight...not much has kept my attention on this show. Vintage split screen camera use! Weapons were used, all right. Not bad here. Hardy went with the frog splash off the top, probably because the Swanton would be too risky (might not flip over in time to hit it). Hardy with nice momentum to end the year.

12/22/11 Superstars

Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater: *1/2

Hunico vs.Ezekiel Jackson: *

Alex Riley vs. Michael McGillicutty: *

Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. Tyler Reks & Curt Hawkins: **

Eden Stiles' final show as ring announcer, I believe. Not bad, just not memorable.

I'm really wondering if Slater and Gabriel will get back together in 2012. They're floundering as midcard talent (if that) as singles stars. Look what happened with Primo...when he started teaming with Epico, Primo became relevant again. This match really didn't get much reaction early on (and even during the ring entrances). At least Gabriel got to fly in this one. The match went longer than I thought it would not by much.

Whoa, Big Zeke got a little hair on his head now! Meng's son (Donny Marlow) again with Hunico this week...and his WWE name is Camacho. Not bad...they gave Hunico a relatively clean win over Zeke (the only time Camacho interfered was to swing momentum).

McGillicutty, when he came out for his ring entrance, almost did a Randy Orton-like "greatness" pose. I wish creative actually had a gimmick and a feud for this guy. A-Ry has been in the doghouse, just from what I've read. It's either not totally accurate, or A-Ry is bouncing back. Average match here.

Good main event. Match had a nice flow and the crowd liked what they saw. Figure WWE also has to let Air Boom win matches as well. It would make a Primo/Epico tag title win a bit more impressive.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12/21/11 NXT

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Johnny Curtis & Derrick Bateman: *

Curt Hawkins vs. Trent Barreta: *

Kaitlyn vs. Maxine: DUD

Tyson Kidd vs. Percy Watson: *1/4

Titus O'Neil vs. JTG: *

This season is 42 weeks old already? Good grief man. This week should be the last time we hear Eden Stiles announcing in the ring...she got her release from WWE earlier this week. She promptly stated she's dating Cody Rhodes. Good for them.

Bateman briefly talked about Maxine, but Johnny Curtis then came out to his generic-sounding porn music. Oh, they were made tag partners. Usos entered to their Siva Tau. Bateman walked out on Curtis, basically sealing the Usos victory. Didn't really keep my interest much.

Reks and Hawkins jumped Yoshi Tatsu and locked him in a broom closet or something. Match was fairly slow in the early going...even the announcers didn't seem to really be into it. I dunno why, but I like Barreta's twitter handle (@trentylocks). Hawkins finisher just looked horrible this time. It can look good, though.

Kaitlyn comes out to basically no reaction. WWE scrapped the heel turn for Kaitlyn (which wasto air on Smackdown a couple weeks ago), yet there's no AJ to accompany Kaitlyn this week. Maxine still getting no reaction. This match just brings back horrid memories of their NXT abomination in Season 3. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as bad this time. They've gotten more comfortable performing, I can tell. Maxine did a decent job with that guillotine submission -- but it seems like only Daniel Bryan would get a reaction from that. Yeah, good timing, Derrick. But we all knew that was coming. Good guilty face from Bateman.

What is it with divas and first name-only ring names? Of course, not all of them go by just one name, but for whatever reason, it's irked me for some time. I wouldn't mind it if it was some obvious stage name ("Kharma" comes to mind), but other than that, I'm not a huge fan of the one-word name thing.

That was the worst serenade ever from Bateman. Curtis jumped Bateman from behind. Maxine walked away from both of them. Crowd really didn't care about that, either.

Poor Tyson Kidd. Even though he won this week, he's firmly entrenched in the midcard, with no foreseeable way out. Earlier in 2011, he was having good matches with the likes of Yoshi Tatsu and Trent Barreta. For some reason, I liked Tyson with that little "crown" strip of hair on his head (and otherwise a chrome dome). It made him stand out a little more. But hey, at least he's getting screen time.

Wait, since when does Matt Striker have his own office? And a guitar in there, no less. Anyway, no clue why they only just scheduled Bateman vs. Curtis for next week. That shoulda been done weeks ago.

Darren Young has his left arm in a sling from Titus' actions last week. This crowd is just one cares for anything. Another short match that lacked a real flow. Crowd again didn't care. Of course, there was nothing wrong with Young's arm to begin with, so he and JTG attacked Titus.

There were many problems with this show -- and many flaws in this whole NXT concept. While I've liked that they did away with those stupid challenges (which mean ZERO to me), the storylines are too generic or cheesy, and the matches aren't that great. I'd rather see a couple of good storylines and two killer matches than fit four meager matches on the show with a couple of bad storylines. The deal with Darren Young and Titus O'Neil has potential to be decent if they can elicit even more rage out of Titus AND if WWE allows some type of extreme rules match to take place. I don't want Titus to become another form of John Cena (being the goody-two-shoes guy).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12/19/11 RAW

Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett: *1/2

Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix: DUD

Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal: N/A

Primo & Epico vs. Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso: *

Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella: 3/4*

CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, & Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, & Dolph Ziggler: **3/4

First of all, last week, when Kane came back with a form of his old mask and a remixed version of his original theme, the first thing I did was to go on YouTube and listen to his debut theme some more -- followed by his debut at Badd Blood 1997. Then I marked out again when Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Title last night. Two markouts in the last week...are you serious, bro? Actually, maybe make that three. Can't forget about Ryder's U.S. Title win as well.

And we're in Philly for RAW! Oh yeah!

Killer opening. Punk starts, introduces Ryder, and Daniel Bryan. Wow, a few years ago, I never woulda thunk these guys would be getting these pushes. I'm so happy they got the opportunity. E-C-Dub chants! Here comes Miz, Ziggler, and Del Rio. Laurinaitis sorts this all out with a six-man tag, which I'm all for. Ha, Laurinaitis being creative? That made me laugh.

Barrett and Orton again in a rematch from last night. Nice use of the ringside area. Wait, WTF? Since when does a thumb to the eye cause a DQ? That was extremely lame. At least we had a broken table post-match.

They mentioned Nash's "injury" from the PPV. From what I've read, it was meant to be Nash's final hurrah in the company as a performer. I'm not even calling it full-time because he wasn't really on TV that much the last few weeks. In any event, I'm glad this could at least give some up-and-coming stars TV time.

Divas match. Wait, Alicia Fox trending on Twitter?! Never woulda thought that would happen. Well, this one was over as I wrote this damn paragraph. Beth got legit hurt in this one, probably from Alicia's front somersault legdrop. Beth had a noticeable lump on her right temple post-match. Alicia is also getting a little mic time. I guess she's getting pushed. But it also makes me wonder...where's Naomi? I woulda liked her to get more in-ring action. Naomi was the most athletic of that divas season of NXT. A shame we haven't seen her since -- but she's apparently touring with the Smackdown crew, so maybe we'll see her in 2012.

Jinder's rockin' the turban tonight. Didn't matter. This was basically a squash, and I refuse to rate it.

Cena promo time to address Kane. Instead, it's Mark Henry, groin injury and all. ROFL, "Sexual Chocolate" chants were hilarious! Oh man. Oops, here comes Kane -- and he has his black mask on over his usual red one like last week. Kane beats down Cena, bloodies Cena's lip, and takes his shirt.

Cousins and brothers in tag action. End sequence was nice. One of the Usos went flying over the top...ouch. Not really a great backstabber, but it works.

Santino's cobra present was predictable, but still amusing. This obviously meant Cody would win. Cody wins with the Alabama Slam. Maybe he's trying to get another signature move over. Note that most main eventers generally have more than one big move. Looks like there are big things on the horizon for Cody.

VINTAGE Hornswoggle and Vickie! Add mistletoe. Enough said.

Oh geez. Big Show's all emotional. At least it's not as bad as when he first won the WWE title many moons ago. Um, Josh, yeah, that didn't help.

It's main event time, but again those cryptic vignettes pop up. One guy online has stated it could be a Punk/Jericho storyline brewing. That would kick so much ass....

Whoa, Ryder, Bryan, and Punk ALL come through the crowd! Yes! Real good stuff here. Best part was the finish and the post-match celebration.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12/18/11 TLC

Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler (U.S. Title): ***1/4

Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. Primo & Epico (Tag Team Titles): *3/4

Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett (Tables): **1/4

Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly (Divas Title): *1/2

Triple H vs. Kevin Nash (Sledgehammer): **3/4

Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger: *1/4

Big Show vs. Mark Henry (Chairs; World Heavyweight Title): 1/2*

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show (World Heavyweight Title): N/A

Cody Rhodes vs. Booker T (IC Title): *1/2

CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. The Miz (TLC; WWE Title): ***3/4

Ziggler transitioning to the blue trunks tonight. Ryder was over as usual with the crowd. Ziggler now using the Angle Slam, huh? Well, it's just an Angle Slam, even for Ziggler, so it only got two. Vickie got caught and got the boot from the ref for more crowd cheers. Exciting, entertaining match here. Very well done. What more can you expect from an opener? Nice touch with Zack's dad in the stands. Even better...Cole shut up for a change.

Standard tag match here with Air Boom and Primo/Epico. I'm not sure if I back this decision. The cousins have been on a major roll, and this really stalled/hurt them more than anything else. I would have given them the titles on the first shot and let them run with it for a while. Mix some "heel cheat" wins with legit ones.

Tables match between Orton and Barrett was also very good. Nice physicality and counter spots, all while keeping aware of the table. Orton caught Barrett coming off the top and sent Barrett through the table with an RKO. Ending was cool.

Teddy Long dressed as Santa. First Hornswoggle, now the Bellas. Ha, Teddy wanted to get with the Bellas after the show. Entertaining. Swagger and Sheamus for later in the show.

They replayed the Slammy Awards segment with Kelly winning the Divalicious award. Again, nice to see Lita on the show. Didn't take long for Beth's headband thing to come off during this one. Kelly's gotten way more physical over the last year. Article online said Beth and Natalya are the two divas who can really work in the WWE. Couldn't agree more.

Booker came out for his IC Title match against Cody, but Cody ambushed Booker for the second time in the evening. So much for that.

It's Sledgehammer time. FYI, the sledgehammer hung just like a title or briefcase does in ladder/MITB matches; first one to get the sledgehammer could legally use it. Nash comes out to his nWo music, which people say is like porn music. HHH and Nash threw  a lot of fists in this one. Fans better watch out for falling ladders. HHH went after Nash's knee as the pace slowed to a crawl. Best part...figure four in the ladder! It woulda been painful to sit through this one if not for the extreme rules-like stipulation. A fairly vicious matchup utilizing the ladders. Nice spot with HHH and Nash on the ladder...HHH used the sledgehammer to send Nash through the table. Botch on the first Pedigree attempt, though. Loved the symbolic finish. Nash flashed thre Kliq sign...DX crotch chop from HHH and a final hammer shot for three. Overall match was fine.

Sheamus/Swagger was OK. Didn't really wow me, but figure it's two more guys that at least get on PPV.

Chairs match time. Main event intros. Show usually has a plain black singlet, but it's all designed this time with camouflage. Show littered the ring with chairs. Chair shots were dished out. Good grief, it was boring and painful. This one barely went five minutes (thankfully). I found out Mark Henry had a legit groin injury, so they had him drop the title to Show. Afterward, Henry still popped up (so much for the WMD really working) and attacked Show. "Daniel Bryan!" chants start up.

Wait! They get their wish! Daniel Bryan came out to cash in MITB! The internet world went bonkers, I guarantee. I'm just laughing because DB rubbed it in Cole's face afterward. The look on Show's face (after winning the title and after losing the belt) made some friends think a DB heel turn is in the works. I would be all for that. DB would really be a good heel. But a Show heel turn makes more sense. Cole was sympathetic to Show after being on his case all this time for "injuring" Henry. Also, DB's over with the crowd...why kill that? I'd like to see what DB can do against Show. It's a feat to work with larger guys. I'm just glad they didn't do the whole deal with the champ needing to get to his feet first.

Booker's still rarin' to go after all that. Cody came out first this time, so no ambush. Cole plays up Booker's accomplishments so it will really make Cody look good if he wins. It took two Beautiful Disasters to keep Booker down. Well, guess that's done with. Let Cody move on now.

Looked like WWE killed time by replaying Ryder's win and DB's win.

And that's why...main event time! Punk gets his huge pop, complete with "CM Punk!" chants. Whoa, ADR not coming out in a car? Hmm. TLC matches are akin to a demolition derby, and, while I've seen more chaotic TLC affairs, this was still packed with painful spots. ACR kicked btoh Miz and Punk while they were perched on the top. Punk went through the table for some "holy shit" chants. Cross armbreaker with the chair on the outside to Punk was a cool spot. ADR got pushed off the ladder and crotched himself...he's a soprano now I think. Ricardo tried to get the briefcase for Punk. Poor Ricardo. He basically got pushed off the ladder backwards through a table...damn.  Genius move by Miz to cuff Punk to the corner. Wow, Punk had to manually unscrew the turnbuckle and did it! That was pretty damn original. Great finish. Match of the night for sure.

An above-average show. The main event TLC match was close to MOTY level, but aside from that and the opener, it was a satisfactory show with no major blips. I personally liked it for the DB mark-out moment. ***1/4

Friday, December 16, 2011

12/16/11 Smackdown

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan: **

Alicia Fox vs. Natalya: DUD

Primo & Epico vs. Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso: *1/4

Big Show vs. Jack Swagger: *1/4

Ted DiBiase vs. Heath Slater: 3/4*

Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal: *1/4

Randy Orton & Zack Ryder vs. Wade Barrett & Dolph Ziggler: **1/4

I don't know if I said this before (I probably did), but I like the Smackdown theme better than RAW's. It's probably Smackdown and Superstars as my top two.

Josh Mathews interviews Booker...he's ready for his IC Title match with Cody at TLC this Sunday. Booker can't interfere in Cody's match with Daniel Bryan on this show. Fair enough there. A fairly competitive match again with Bryan and Rhodes.

I shake my head at how much X-Pac heat I'm giving Michael Cole. I'm giving more X-Pac heat to Cole than I gave to X-Pac. Hell, you know what, I'm calling it Michael Cole heat from now on because he, in my book anyway, has set a new standard for wanting to have a rabid puppy bite him. Oh, the humanity. My ears have been tortured for so long. Oh, and now Cole has THREE Slammy awards. By the time his career is over, he'll have his own damn announce table with Slammys.

Well, at least Alicia Fox has gotten more screen time lately as a face, since Natalya and Beth are firmly planted as heels. Whoa! There go some of Nattie's blonde extensions! Oops. Nattie tries to come back in, but gets taken out. That flip legdrop from Fox connected with Natalya's face...ow.

Smackdown got more watchable with Lilian Garcia. Period.

Primo and Epico are on a major roll, and this also helps Rosa get more airtime. Yes Cole, they are getting a tag title shot in the near future.

Swagger and Show was the next match, and Henry came out to watch. Yeah, I don't want Big Show slapping my chest, thanks. Great stuff by Swagger to take down Show. Nice job to get Show in the ankle lock. Henry with a chair shot to Swagger...and then one for the cameraman?!?! Good job with planting that guy in there.

It's been said for a long time now how DiBiase mingles with the fans and what not. Why not actually show more of this on TV? Why not really push this guy harder? There's potential here. Oh, there's Jinder Mahal! Teddy Long interrupted and said Mahal must face Sheamus. Ouch. A physical match between Jinder and Sheamus. Really liked that.

All those vignettes mention 1/2/12. Some people thought it would be meant for Kane, but obviously that wasn't correct. It's likely Taker's return date, and from what I read, it will be Taker/HHH III at Mania. Really?! I know they did great the previous two times. But I'm not sure they can pull it off and deliver another four-star match again. If I had it my way, I'd have put Taker (in what is likely his last WM match) against Daniel Bryan. But since DB (probably) will wait till WM to cash in his title shot, I really can't complain about that.

Main event tag match...hey Ryder's again in the main event! It got a good amount of time. Real good stuff here. Nice storytelling and awesome crowd reaction.

12/15/11 Impact

Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles (World Title): *1/2

Abyss & Scott Steiner vs. Rob Terry and Hernandez: *

Zema Ion vs. Anthony Neese: *3/4

Gunner vs. Jesse Neal: N/A

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Robbie E & Douglas Williams: *1/2

Madison Rayne vs. Traci Brooks: 1/2*

Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray: *1/4

Five-minute overtime match between Styles and Roode kicked off Impact because they probably ran out of time on the PPV. A nice treat to start this one. Then Tenay and Taz said it's sudden death -- so perhaps it would go longer than five minutes (yup, was right here). Styles basically had control of this one for the first half, then Roode attacked AJ's leg. Roode tried the stalling deal to run out the five minutes, but Pele from the outside! Springboard 450 with about three seconds left was badly off. Sting allowed the match to go on until there was a real winner. Half crab from Roode wins it. Good storytelling and nice win for Roode to build more heat.

So wait, now TNA throws random people together to determine who faces Morgan and Crimson? Huh? Has the tag division really gone down the tube that much? Abyss doesn't want to tag in. I've met Hernandez in person...the guy's not small. Yet Robbie T makes Hernandez look like a small child. Black Hole Slam to Terry, but Abyss looks at Steiner...uh oh. Wait, Abyss tags Steiner in so Scott gets the pin? Now it's all friendly stuff. Yeah, I'm confused.

Angle called out Sting. Really just a continuation of the storyline between Angle and Storm, really. Looks like Roode will deal with Hardy for now, but it appears that Roode/Storm is imminent.

X-Division stuff with Neese and Ion. Yup, don't blink here. Entertaining stuff that woke the crowd up. Ion had Neese beat twice and lifted the shoulders off the mat. Then he hit the 450 and got the pin. Coulda sworn all that arrogance would bite him in the ass. It's best two out of three, so I guess it's two more over the coming weeks? Ion says he's the prettiest wrestler in the company? "Me, myself, and Ion." I like that last part, but the whole "prettiest" thing? I know he coulda picked a better adjective.

Well, I was mistaken. Jesse Neal is on TV this week. Well, this really wasn't much of a match anyway. Really just a beatdown of Neal and a way to take him off TV, I guess.

Typical Karen and Jeff Jarrett. Telling the other not to worry because he/she will step down. Then we see Karen begging to Sting not to get fired. Same with Jarrett (later in the show). It was that way the whole night.

Hardy promo interrupted by Bully Ray. Really? They've known each other for 15 years? Time flies. They'll fight later tonight. Bully Ray still tremendous on the mic.

This wild card tag tournament again mixing up the tag teams. Magnus and Douglas Williams on opposite sides here. I liked this one. Very quick pace here for non-X-Division wrestling.

Eric Young and ODB segment. They're tag partners tonight for the wild card tournament. Had to admit, that was an amusing backstage skit.

Devon and Pope segment confirms Pope's full heel turn. Interesting part to note: when Devon embraced his sons around the neck, that was probably a cue on what to do next. Low blow from Pope came, and the boys aligned with Dinero.

Gee, we need more of these Knockouts matches with the fast start. Traci races up the ramp to deck Madison. For those that don't know, Traci has a condition where she can't raise her right arm above her head, so it's even more impressive that she was involved in physical encounters all these years. Madison hit that finisher of hers (knee to the back of the neck), and that only got two?! Yup, not too big a reaction from the crowd. So really a kick to the head had to end it? Felt like a waste of a few extra seconds.

It's decision time. Oops, Sting's got footage! I really laughed good on this one. Sting fires BOTH Jeff and Karen. Guess Gail's on her own (she didn't need Karen anymore at this point, anyway) and Madison has to find another person to suck up to.

Bully and Hardy got main event intros, while Roode sits and does commentary. Impressive delayed vertical suplex by Bully. Fairly standard match between Ray and Hardy, with nice crowd reaction. Hardy continues to roll on! Roode and Bully attacked Hardy post-match. Powerbomb through the table. Typical stuff there too. Sting came out and also got taken out. More of Roode defying authority...gotta love his heel reign as champ so far.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Wrestlers You Love to Hate"

I saw this column on 411mania where columnists wrote about their top five wrestlers that they "love to hate." Unfortunately, when I read the column, it was clear that several writers misunderstood the meaning of the term "love to hate."

For purposes of this post, I will only focus on current WWE performers (not as much time to do research or expand to include TNA or other promotions). I'm also not ranking these in any order.

My Top Five (in no particular order):
Vickie Guerrero: For someone who kept out of the TV picture until her husband Eddie passed away, Vickie Guerrero has made amazing strides (both in her on-screen character and her physical appearance) over the years. She's slimmed down and has really gotten comfortable in her role as business partner and manager for guys like Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. The "Excuse Me!" catchphrase reportedly started when she legitimately forgot her lines (a stall tactic to remember them), and it transitioned into part of her "annoying" character. Her tantrums are entertaining to the point where you want something to go wrong -- or someone to offend her. At least it's that way for me. Outside the ring, she's well-respected and one of the friendliest people. Can't go wrong with this pick.

The Miz: Mike Mizanin, to me, is a natural heel. His swagger and "I told you so" attitude are...awesome (pun intended) and only when he broke from tagging with Morrison was Miz able to really shine. I was one of the many who thought Morrison would be the big star when those two broke up, but unfortunately, JoMo soured on people backstage, killing off any chance of a sustained push. Miz not only zoomed past Morrison, but also became WWE champion. He's also one of the only people I know who would win Most Improved Wrestler more than once -- and I'd give it to him in each of the last 2-3 years.

John Cena: Again, I really like John Cena as a person. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen and he does countless events for Make-a-Wish. I have issues with how WWE built Cena into the modern-day Hulk Hogan...the goody-two-shoes individual who the kids look up to. Sorry Cena fans, I'm an Attitude Era guy all the way, and it's the edgy faces like today's Randy Orton and CM Punk that make me smile and laugh. I really can't remember the last time the guy lost clean. I woulda fit right at home the night Cena and Punk tore the house down in Chicago (where Punk captured the gold). Cena doesn't have to go back to his rapper gimmick full-time. I just want to see more rage from Cena, a way more aggressive individual. With Randy Orton way over with the crowd and Zack Ryder's big push, this may be a good time to slowly turn Cena heel. We saw glimpses of the pressure Roddy Piper put on John during the Piper's Pit segment. It's clear that Cena would be the "heel" against Rock anyway. Will it lead to a full-time heel turn? Probably not, with all the merchandise sold. But Cena will continue to get that mixed reaction until he changes his character up.

R-Truth: When he came back to WWE and did his jingly rap down to the ring, I liked it at first because it was quite fresh and a way to get the fans more involved. Then, of course, it got old. Finally, when R-Truth turned heel (at JoMo's expense), I actually think Ron Killings improved on the mic. The whole "Little Jimmy" deal, which I thought was completely stupid at first, turned to gold with the fans. R-Truth has had countless hilarious segments, none better in my book than the "Randy! Riley! Jimmy!" skit on RAW. While Truth is currently on suspension, he'll be back and hopefully won't "get got" again.

Christian: During Christian's first run in WWE, it was mainly stuff with the Brood and a very successful tag run with his real-life best friend, Edge. He had a singles career, but it never completely took off. Christian then went to TNA, perhaps the best move of his career. He got his big push and got major experience on the main event scene. He returned to WWE and did the "Christian's peeps" thing all over again. But it took Edge's retirement to give Christian his big WWE break. It opened up a void on the Smackdown roster, so Vince McMahon finally pulled the trigger to get Christian a world title win -- which lasted all of two days. The whole deal with "one more match for the World Heavyweight Championship" against Randy Orton became Captain Charisma's catchphrase, leading to a marvelous slow heel turn. He's a natural on the mic, which is probably why he's still made appearances to end the year despite not being medically cleared to compete. He'll be back to go 100 percent in 2012.

Honorable Mention:
Cody Rhodes: Some of my first memories seeing Cody Rhodes on WWE TV featured an innocent young man standing up for his Hall of Fame father. I liked that Cody kept the Rhodes name because I felt it would help him get started on his WWE career (look what happened to Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris, folks). Of course, I was also skeptical if he could even break out of the huge shadow Dusty Rhodes left behind. It's not easy to follow in your dad's footsteps in the same business, especially when the elder Rhodes had such a legendary career. Cody basically tagged with Ted DiBiase (Jr.) for a while as "Priceless" before venturing on his own (yup, Randy Orton basically took them both out). His narcissist gimmick with the cheesy "Smoke and Mirrors" theme took some time to get used to. I won't lie, I really hated it at the start. In a nice twist of events, it was Rey's 619 to the face busting Rhodes' nose that turned out to be the best thing to happen to Cody. The "disfigured" Cody Rhodes character really took on a life of its own, and he got more comfortable on the mic. Then he ditched the protective mask and brought back the vintage IC title, which I think is one of the coolest belts ever. He has outstanding potential, and his career is still in its infancy. Cody's been praised for getting in amazing shape. Can't wait to see what the future holds for him.

Dolph Ziggler: Echoing what I've said about Cena, Dolph has become a workhorse. He's done double duty for a show on more than one occasion. Dolph also seems to be a natural heel. But oh man, I cringed at those Spirit Squad moments. At that time, it looked like Ken Doane would be the breakout star of that group. Then the squad disbanded and Nick Nemeth ("Nicky") got one of the most random names in WWE history. Seriously...they went with Dolph Ziggler?! I thought the odd name would basically be a career killer, banishing him to lifetime midcard purgatory. When Ziggler first used the sleeper to subdue big men like Kane, I thought..."A sleeper?! Really?!" The sleeper as a submission move sounds so last generation -- and the explosion of UFC has exacerbated how prehistoric the "traditional sleeper hold" really is nowadays. However, Ziggler flourished with the new move and developed an impressive moveset. He's delivered countless main-event caliber matches, developed an even more athletic physique, and is now on the cusp of main event status (yes, he does have a World Heavyweight Title win, but I don't really count it because it was so short). Aligning with Vickie Guerrero really sent Ziggler's stock soaring. I'm thinking 2012 will be the year he breaks through the glass ceiling permanently.

12/15/11 Superstars

Drew McIntyre vs. Justin Gabriel: *1/4

Hunico vs. Trent Barreta: *1/2

Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley: **1/4

Primo & Epico vs. Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne: **1/4

Fairly average match between McIntyre and Gabriel. Wondering if either of these two will get pushed in 2012. Gabriel has upside, Drew's been pretty stagnant.

Hunico comes out on some lowrider bicycle with some other unnamed guy. Barreta and Hunico at least are not afraid to go high-risk. Not bad here considering the time constraints. Hunico wins clean. He does a bilingual promo afterward but doesn't reveal the dude's name. Guess it will be saved for later.

UPDATE (12/16): Just learned that the mysterious individual on the bike is Donny Marlow, son of Haku (Meng). Good for him...excited to see how he fares in the company.

A-Ry is apparently in the doghouse, according to online reports. Ever since Riley's feud with Miz died off, Riley's just been barely treading water. Swagger showing off some football skills with some big shoulder tackles like Cena. Very nice sequence with TKO countered into sunset flip countered into ankle lock. Impaler from Riley got two and really got the crowd buzzing. Swagger takes out the knee and slaps on the ankle lock for the submission. This one really surprised me...thought Swagger would just get a ho-hum win.

Air Boom and Epico/Primo finished the show. Rosa looks stunning. Primo and Epico...yup, they're cousins and naturally work well together. Primo with a nice arm submission on Bourne for a bit. Kofi got the hot tag. Very nice finishing sequence with the blind tag. Hoping the cousins continue to get pushed. They're now very serious contenders for the tag belts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12/14/11 NXT

Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks vs. Trent Barreta & Yoshi Tatsu: *1/4

Jey Uso vs. JTG: *

Johnny Curtis vs. Percy Watson: *1/4

They are at NC State University for this one!

Hawkins and Reks come out to ZERO reaction. Ouch. OK match here against Barreta/Tatsu, nothing real thrilling for me.

Percy back with his talk show and the love triangle. Oh good grief. This was an abomination to me.

Jey Uso going solo Siva Tau entrance. Pretty standard match, but I really liked that superkick at the end.

Watching the video package of RAW, I was excited for Kane's return then, and I still am. I don't care that the hair is fake. I just love that the mask is back, complete with the remixed "original" Kane theme.

Curtis and Percy went at it, but again, it just didn't have that oomph I look for. Such a shame.

Main event was really a face-off between Titus and Darren Young. Could this save this abysmal episode (heck, this series has gone down the tube since season 1)? Actually, it sorta saved a bit of the show. I really like Titus' new "mean streak," courtesy of Young pushing the right buttons. It's showing me that Titus can probably pull off the big bad heel if need be (and trust me, he'll want to, because I don't like that barking stuff). The more aggressive side of Titus O'Neil is something I'm interested in, and I hope WWE really runs with this one.

12/11/11 Final Resolution

Rob Van Dam vs. Christopher Daniels: *1/2

Robbie E vs. Eric Young (TV Title): *1/4

Matt Morgan & Crimson vs. Devon and D'Angelo Dinero (Tag Team Titles): *1/2

Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash (X-Division Title): ***1/4

Gail Kim vs. Mickie James (Knockouts Title): **1/4

James Storm vs. Kurt Angle: **3/4

Jeff Jarrett vs. Jeff Hardy (Cage): **1/4

Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles (30-Minute Ironman; World Title): ***

RVD and Daniels was just OK to me. Crowd wasn't really very much into it, which hurt the rating. Weird ending where it looks like Daniels sorta tried to bridge out but the ref counted three anyway. Guess that's more fodder for Daniels to continue his heel rants.

Eric Young's character is just weird. The guy looks like a hobo (at least one that showers) and he strips down to trunks before his match (or heck, even during the match). No mistaking that the guy has talent in the ring, though. Rob Terry wearing some earpiece...maybe it's linked to the production truck so he knows when to interfere. Impressive attempt by EY to put both Robbies on his shoulders. Wait, Robbie E stole Jericho's codebreaker! Guarantee that Jericho doesn't care.

Couldn't really get much into the tag title match. It seemed too methodical for me and it really made the champs look pretty weak. Crimson and Morgan's music sounds like those Megaman video game tunes.

X-Division title this is good. Both are technically heels, but it's still fun to watch Kash and Aries perform. You can tell they're veterans. Very physical and a consistent pace here. It had a good flow to it as well. Kash tried a powerbomb from the top, but Aries reversed into a hurricanrana...just plain awesome. Aries with some lie/cheat/steal qualities at the end to get the win.

Fourth consecutive match with a title on the line is the Knockouts match. Kim dressed in some red attire tonight, which kinda made her look more Chinese instead of Korean. Mickie was in a country-inspired outfit as usual. Some real impressive stuff in this one. These two are among the top female workers in TNA right now...easy. Gail really made a real good decision to go back to TNA.

Angle/Storm was good. Angle again in top shape -- even more so since he's training for the Olympics. Pace was up and down here. A few too many restholds for my liking in the middle, but I guess that set up a rapid sequence for the second half of the match. Wait, now Storm does BOTH a codebreaker and a backstabber combo? That Eye of the Storm was not really done well, likely due to fatigue. Angle even stumbled a bit when trying to quickly scale the ropes and throw Storm off. Hangman's DDT from Storm planted Angle's head on the apron...pretty sick spot. Yet, it just seemed like an off-night for both guys. Crowd wasn't very loud, either, which didn't help.

When Jarrett came down to the ring for the cage match -- Karen in tow -- the way Karen stood on the ramp (not her demeanor) reminded me of the McMahon-Helmsley era. Hardy comes out in some mask again. Karen was handcuffed to Sting. Vintage Hardy crash from the top of the cage, missing the Swanton. Karen escaped the cuffs and tried to get Jarrett the win, but Hardy kicked out. Even that apparent false finish didn't really excite the crowd. So Sting distracted Jarrett long enough (by detaining Karen) to help Hardy win. Welp, Hardy's roll continues!

Iron Man Match ended the show. Main event intros. Predictably, the first part of this one was slow with restholds. Good mat wrestling showcased. Roode finally went after AJ's "injured" left knee about 8 minutes in. Roode took the first fall about 10 minutes in. Roode continued to work on the knee, getting another submission a few minutes later with the Figure Four. Styles came back and went after Roode's arm. Crossface to Roode?! Styles pulls back within one! After more action, Styles got a rollup to tie it up. Styles with the Springboard 450 to take the lead! Styles continued to sell the knee after that. Roode grabbed the ropes to pin AJ on a sunset flip attempt to tie it at 3. Styles went for the clash with about 90 seconds left and his knee gave out. Roode had a bloody nose. AJ flew over the ropes to get Roode with under a minute left. Roode stalled to get the 3-3 draw and retain the gold. Good for a heel win, but a very flat finish (obviously).

I liked the X-Division match more than the World Title affair. The former just seemed to flow better for me. The crowd really killed this PPV, which goes to show how a mass of people can play such a big role for TV purposes. They need to benefit from a more boisterous crowd (think NY, Philly, Chicago, etc.). Oh well. Not impressed with this one. **1/4

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12/13/11 Tribute to the Troops

Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton: *1/4

Zack Ryder vs. Jack Swagger: *

Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox, & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Brie Bella, & Nikki Bella: 1/2*

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan: *3/4

Primo & Epico vs. Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne: *1/2

Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre: *

CM Punk, John Cena, & Big Show vs. Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio, & The Miz: **1/2

Nine years of this already? Wow. Fort Bragg tonight. Obama with the thank you to the troops via taped message. Nice touch there.

Orton and Barrett start things off. Good physicality, but a double countout. Aw. Otunga gets involved and wants to put Orton through the table, but eats an RKO. Loud "Table!" chants. And Otunga gets nuked.

Nickelback comes out to do the RAW opening theme live (of course changing the lyrics to make it PG). Attended one of their concerts in Portland...actually the only one I've gone to so far. Not really one for the loud concert vibe.

Superstars jumping out of an airplane! Yeah, no thanks.

Swagger in the ring and he's soaring around the ring again. Oh, it's Zack Ryder! And it's Sgt. Slaughter! And Sarge dons the headband! Yes! That was probably the best part of the segment.

Bellas in camouflage, nice segment at West Point with that obstacle course. I'm too out of shape for West Point, unfortunately. Really...Maria Menounos from "Extra" gets in this eight-diva tag match? Where can I get a gig so I can participate in a WWE match? I'll be better than...Jenna Morasca. Yeah, setting the bar high for myself (sarcasm). Kudos to Menounos for starting the match, and she did OK for her 30 seconds of fame. Wait, WTF? Maria got the win?! Dang, that was sweet. Vintage Savage impersonation from Lawler!

George Wallace out for some entertainment. Good stuff. Maybe it's because of my studying, but he was talking pretty damn fast.

Booker T is calling some action tonight -- of course during the Cody Rhodes match with Daniel Bryan. DB weighs 210 now? So he gained over 10 pounds lately, huh? Vintage bow and arrow from Cody! Booker gets involved eventually. KTFO (sorta) to Cody! Why can't Daniel Bryan actually get a clean win over someone nowadays? It's been a while, hasn't it?

Whenever Cole goes postal -- especially on DB -- I'd like to see Booker or King employ some Heenan tactics ("where? didn't see a thing!"...that sorta shtick). I think it would be fresh and a great use of "heel" commentary in a "face" manner to counter Cole's extreme heel outbursts. Yeah, so Cole's being fed lines from Vince or whomever. I'd still want someone to neutralize the guy.

Hey, Air-Boom is back! Bourne's been back from his suspension for about a week now, I think. Miss USA? Yes, please! Air Boom with new music...I think? Can't remember if that was their theme before Bourne's suspension. Primo and Epico helped make this a pretty fun match. I hope they stay together for a while, especially because Rosa will benefit from the screen time.

Nickelback comes back for an encore song. Yay.

Christian's here! Gotta give him a heel promo. Canadian Army! Out comes Sheamus, one of the reasons Christian is on the sidelines. Don't think McIntyre will be getting a push anytime soon. I hope he's not a midcard lifer. Match was over in about three minutes. Ugh.

Mary J. Blige came out for her encore song. I liked that better than Nickelback.

Six-man tag time. I think Punk inadvertently (on instinct) went for the cover with Cena already going to pin Miz. Pretty funny there. Wait, Cena with a slap to the chest? Oh right, Big Show's coming in. OW. I think Miz's heart stopped. And then Alberto's probably did the same. Welp, that leaves Mark Henry. Good staredown. Henry and Show actually took up a good amount of time here. Punk on top of Show...Savage elbow! Cena gets the final hot tag because he's Cena. Fun finishing sequence.

Great way to end the show. All the talent on the ramp, with Cena being the spokesperson. Talent all comes down to mingle and shake hands with the fans. Now that's what being a part of WWE and the WWE Universe is all about.

Monday, December 12, 2011

12/12/11 RAW (Slammy Awards)

Wade Barrett vs. Big Show: 1/2*

Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan: ***1/4

Alberto Del Rio & The Miz vs. CM Punk & Randy Orton: **1/2

Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal: N/A

John Cena vs. Mark Henry: *1/2

First of all, I haven't watched TNA's Final Resolution PPV yet. I'll get to that at some point.

Booker and Eve present the first award...with Hornswoggle! The "Tell Me I Just Didn't See That" award! At least Hornswoggle can talk now so he can actually do something more than just show up on TV and be weird and stuff. Pretty entertaining spot there from Hornswoggle. I wanted J.R. to win because that was one of the few times that year I really laughed out loud. And yup, he did win! Wait, WTF...Cole and J.R. in a rap-off? This'll be amusing. Cole actually did pretty good, to be honest. At least I woulda done way worse. J.R. obviously can't rap for beans, but hey, he's still got the fans' vote all the time. Uh oh...A JRroonie? Not sure if I'll be doing that at J.R.'s age. Still amusing, though.

I'm never gonna get tired of the Million Dollar Man's theme -- or his trademark laugh. The "Holy (bleep) Moment of the Year" being presented by DiBiase and Foley. Yup, Show and Henry won (predictable) for destroying the ring on their superplex. It led to Show and Barrett having a match, which put over Show as a big threat to Henry's title. Will Show win? Doubt it. Henry needs the title more. He's on the biggest run of his career, and frankly, it should continue to lead to Daniel Bryan ultimately scoring the win over Mark at Mania. Think how epic the celebration was when Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Title. This may just eclipse that.

WHAT? Road Dogg?! Of course, he's gained weight since his WWE (and even TNA) days. Oops, that's right, he's gotta keep it PG. Aw...but it's the Pipe Bomb of the Year! Seriously, at least to me, it was really a contest between R-Truth and CM Punk, although Santino's stuff was also pretty good. The "Randy! Riley! Jimmy!" stuff was funny as heck. Vintage Rock stuff was incredible. Good stuff in that video package. Fitting of course that Punk wins this award. ROFL, poking fun at, Johnny Ace and his vintage mullet!

Divalicious Moment of the Year! Woohoo, it's Lita! Love that entrance video and theme. Of course Kelly wins. Right on cue, Beth wants to crash the party but a slap ends things. Aw, that's it? I woulda given quite a bit to see Lita wrestle one more time...couldn't book a tag match, huh?

So are the Bellas supposed to be face or heel? I forget already. "OMG Moment of the Year" presented by Bellas and Santino. Some good nominees this year. HHH wins, which I'm fine with because then he gets to address stuff with Nash. Great promo from HHH.

Tony Atlas and David Otunga present the next award. Atlas just laughs at Otunga. That's nothing new. "Trending Superstar of the Year." Cody, DB, Ryder, and Ziggler in a fatal four way to determine who wins the slammy, really. Crowd real hot for this one, especially for Ryder. Double superplex spot was cool. They got time and they showed their stuff. Great match. Loved the finish, although again it seems like DB jobs quite a bit. Ryder still gets the Slammy and Ziggler is pissed. Of course that would happen, right?

"Game Changer of the Year" and it's Christian! Really miss the guy because he's an amazing worker in the ring. Christian legitimately has a point...I woulda seriously considered him in the running for at least Superstar of the Year. Edge shoulda been the winner to me, especially considering that Christian was presenting the award and his retirement paved the way for Alberto to finally get to main event status. But hey, the fans obviously would pick Cena and Rock. Nice job by Cena to take more shots at Rock.

Good tag match between Orton/Punk and Miz/Alberto. Barrett interfered to take Orton out, indirectly helping Miz get the win on Punk. Nice cross armbreaker in the ladder from Del Rio.

Woohoo Goldust is back! Presenting "A-Lister of the Year" Slammy with Vickie. I must say, at least Snooki showcased more moves than Jenna Morasca. Snooki wins! And she said "frickin'" on her taped promo!

So Jinder Mahal comes out and speaks Hindi or whatever and Sheamus just Brogue Kicks him. So much for that. Mahal has an ideal size for a wrestler (at least to me), but unfortunately he's just jobbing.

Rey Mysterio is here to present the Superstar of the Year! Punk wins! Punk wins! Laurinaitis crashes that party.

Tribute to the Troops airs tomorrow!

Main event is Cena and Henry. One of the few times Cena has to use some quickness due to a more powerful opponent. Henry moving around pretty good for a "busted ankle." Cena went back to the power stuff and his usual moveset later on, though. Cena's ripped...he's not a real small guy. But man he looks so small next to Henry.

Wait...KANE! YES! With the (remixed) old music and mask! I marked out pretty good there, I won't lie. I liked that version of Kane better, with that particular intro. WWE humanized Kane way too much, and I really had missed the true monster Kane. Now he's back. Pretty sure they'll at least let him continue to talk anyway...Kane's very good on the mic. Can't wait to see how this one is handled.

Friday, December 9, 2011

12/9/11 Smackdown

Wade Barrett vs. Ezekiel Jackson: *1/4

Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater: N/A

Ted DiBiase vs. Jinder Mahal: 1/2*

Sheamus vs. David Otunga: *

Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes: *3/4

Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler: **1/4

The deal with Cody Rhodes and Booker T intensifies. Curious to see how much Booker has left in the tank for wrestling. Really liking Cody's promos week in and week out. And he gets to do color commentary!

But hey, Lilian Garcia is BACK! Oh yes! God, how I've missed her on TV. Can Rock come to Smackdown just once so we can have a vintage Rock/Lilian moment?

It's a "Beat the Clock" challenge this week. Winner (who must have won his match) chooses the stipulation for TLC. First up is Barrett, who gets Big Zeke. Not bad here, but at 7:53, Barrett ain't winning this challenge.

Otunga's talk with Teddy Long may remind people why lawyers can have a bad rep. Damn legalese....

The whole deal with Daniel Bryan and Michael Cole is nearing a couple of years now. Cole's rarely ever had anything good to say about DB. At this rate, it seems like I'd have a better shot to score a date with AJ than Cole having any respect for DB (given Daniel stays face). I kinda wish Daniel would go heel sometimes (the beard would do wonders there), just so Cole could shut up.

Oh, and while I typed this, Ryder scored a squash win over Slater. Wait, Ryder gets a squash win?! Holy cow.

So now this whole Jinder and Ted dealie moves to Smackdown. Again, it failed to really keep my attention. Too many short matches. At least the crowd was happy.

Big Show and Mark Henry face off in the ring. Things end badly for Mark. Still can't understand why he'd continue to provoke Big Show. Not smart....

So this is how Hornswoggle moves on from here. The guy can talk! Not bad on announcing here. Sheamus didn't take long in dismantling Otunga.

Can someone mute Michael Cole during a Daniel Bryan match? Please? Yeah, just Cole. I still like the crowd and all. Booker out to go after Rhodes. Hey, was Aksana making a pass at Cody backstage? More fresh meat for her.

Orton and Ziggler may have had less than 8 minutes, but they did very well. Very exciting finish. Nice way of Barrett showing what type of match he'd like (tables). Orton nukes Ziggler on the table...poor Dolph. Tables match it is!

12/8/11 Impact

Abyss vs. Samoa Joe: 1/2*

Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne: *

Garret Bischoff vs. Gunner: 1/2*

Gail Kim vs. Traci Brooks: 1/4*

AJ Styles & Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode & Jeff Jarrett: **

Great promo from Roode. He's a natural heel and really will continue to go far in the company. I think I've seen more Al Snow sightings in the last couple months than in the previous 3-4 years. At least it feels like that.

I wonder how many teeth Abyss will have lost by the end of his wrestling career. Immortal tries to get back in Abyss' good graces but Abyss sees through all that. Pushing the monster back to relevancy, finally?

Devon and Pope promos with Morgan and Crimson. Devon on his game as usual. Pope stirs up trouble, and fists start flying. Devon's sons come in the ring and help Pope at Pope's direction? Interesting....

Average match between Mickie and Madison. Good momentum for Mickie.

Garret continues his fluky victories over Gunner. Eric Bischoff momentarily shows the fatherly figure side -- until he peels back the ringside mats to expose the floor. Piledriver by Gunner, albeit an extra-protective version of it.

Storm's back to confront Angle. Strong stuff from Storm, and he looks ready for Sunday. Sensing an Angle fluky win.

Hey, a second Knockouts match! Who thought Traci would just lay down? *no one raises their hand* Yeah, just as I thought. Just hate the lame-looking finishes, though. Couldn't the belt shot have been to the head instead of the back?

Good main event. Roode continues the heelish antics. Jarrett and Hardy fought to the back. Good finish, which all but confirms what we likely already knew: Roode retains by crook on Sunday. Look for Roode to go after AJ's left knee. Either way, it should be a great 30-Minute Iron Man match.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8/11 Superstars

Justin Gabriel vs. Tyson Kidd: **

Jack Swagger vs. Trent Barreta: 1/2*

Mason Ryan vs. Drew McIntyre: *

Epico vs. Evan Bourne: **1/2

Good opener between Gabriel and Kidd. Lots of agility and good action for the time they had. They should get longer matches all the time....

On the other hand, Barreta jobs to Swagger in a match that didn't keep my attention too well. More of a semi-squash here.

Mason Ryan in action here against McIntyre. It just reminded me that Batista posted recent pictures of himself looking all cut (but still not as jacked as he used to be). Good for Batista, he seems to be in great shape. As for Mason Ryan, I'm still concerned that WWE wants to push this jacked-up dude that will get at least whispers of alleged steroid use (remember how jacked Chris Masters was and he failed those Wellness tests?). Hope this doesn't happen to Mason, but the fact that he uses a full nelson as part of his finisher is hopefully coincidental.

Loved that contract signing that ended RAW. Punk is awesome. He's the superstar of the year in my book.

Hey, Evan Bourne is back from suspension! This is the most screen time Rosa Mendes has gotten in a long time (I really like the jet black hair). These two got time and the crowd really appreciated the effort. Primo interfered late to allow his cousin to get the win.

12/7/11 NXT

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks: *1/2

JTG & Darren Young vs. Percy Watson & Titus O'Neil: *

Derrick Bateman vs. Johnny Curtis: 1/2*

Usos tried hard to get the crowd in it, like that effort. Bateman was basically buzzkill on that one. I hope this thing gets even remotely interesting. Nice to hear about the Usos' football days. Jimmy was a defensive back and Jey was a receiver. Guess athleticism was in their blood all this time. The tag match was painfully slow until the hot tag. Doing that running crushing shot with their ass was a lot more cool when Umaga did it, sorry.

The whole thing with the cougar hitting on Bateman then slapping him when someone's around...yeah, seen that many times before. Oh, so this was Maxine's mother. So the games run in the family....

I'm not sure if Titus is losing a bit of crowd reaction, but he still gets more than the other two guys. Percy has really gotten in even more kickass shape...sportin' the abs! Good for him. I wish Young woulda held onto the tights or something though, just to reinforce how fluky a win it was.

Post-match promo from Titus was the best one he's done to date. He finally snapped and showed a more serious side instead of trying to play to the crowd.

Bateman and Curtis got real winded at the end of the match, making it look pretty ugly. Yup, engagement's off. Curtis with the evil smirk, and Striker wants to be the rebound guy. Unfortunately, the crowd has still not perked up on this one.

Oh, and Tribute to the Troops airs next Tuesday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

12/5/11 RAW

The Miz vs. Randy Orton: 3/4*

Alberto Del Rio vs. Daniel Bryan: *

Kelly Kelly & Eve Torres vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya: 1/4*

John Cena vs. Zack Ryder: **

Mark Henry vs. Zack Ryder (No Countout, No DQ): 1/2*

Kevin Nash vs. Santino Marella: N/A (squash)

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler: *1/2

Cena is again out of the title picture (for now) as Laurinaitis is attempting to elevate guys like Miz, Alberto, and Ziggler. Finally, Ziggler seems to be budging that glass ceiling.

Lame finish to the Orton/Miz match. Of course, Barrett had to come out to cost Miz the match. Barrett's push is sustained, while Miz gets back into the title hunt. Orton obviously doesn't need the win. Good booking here.

WWE Network in 2012, looking forward to that. whoa, Ryder with a Papa Shango reference! ROFL, oh crap, Cena with Ryder hair so he looks circa mid-80s and 90s. Laurinaitis goes with Cena/Ryder and each would get a title match if he wins.

Hey, Daniel Bryan gets to wrestle on RAW! Another short match here -- and another that makes me want to slap Cole in the face.

Divas tag match. Liked the video package for Beth and Nataya...Pin Up Strong! Wait, the match ended already? Oh that's right, it's a divas match, and it's on free TV.

Nice pop for Ryder. Usual mixed reviews for Cena. Good actual chain and mat wrestling at the start. Liked the match here because it actually got time to materialize. Complete with counters and everything. Liked the shots of the crowd getting into the match. Poor Ryder.

Classy move by Cena to get Ryder another shot -- even if it means to sacrifice a title shot of his own.

Nash gets a squash match. Oh goody. Now they're giving guys over 50 years old squash victories. He looks in great shape, I'll say that.

Ryder costing Ziggler his shot at the WWE Title is hopefully a small delay so Ryder can get the U.S. belt. Then Dolph will be free to move to the main event scene.

Laurinaitis is Mr. Excitement! That was a good one. But...vintage Punk promo! Yeah! Oh, and Miz has his own mic with the WWE logo upside down as usual. And ending the show with a brawl...yup, that rules too!

Friday, December 2, 2011

12/1/11 Impact

D'Angelo Dinero & Devon vs. Hernandez & Anarquia vs. Shannon Moore & Jesse Neal: *1/2

Mickie James vs. ODB (Street Fight): *1/2

Robbie E vs. Rob Van Dam (TV Title): *1/4

Bobby Roode vs. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy: **1/2

Roode's got a nice entrance video and theme. Taz is taking on a more impartial color commentator role to counter Tenay's full-on pro-face approach.

Oh wonderful, we get to see Knockouts in bikinis washing cars. Like that hasn't been done before. Thankfully, ODB wasn't in a bikini. Yeah, I'd rather see the street fight with Mickie and ODB instead. Good call, Karen.

Looks like this taping was done before Jesse Neal was reportedly released (heard about that a couple weeks back). Three tag teams, but of course, only two people in at once with tagging. I'd rather have all six in for mass chaos. Good win for Pope and Devon, and of course, Neal jobs. Just wondering if this will lead to more trust between the two, or if we'll continue to see at least light dissension in the ranks.

Aries promo to continue his arrogant character deal. Of course, we all knew Kid Kash would come out (given that you've seen the last few weeks). You know this will lead to an eventual X-Division title shot here. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the young guys like Sorensen to get two veterans to square off.

Gunner takes out some jobbers at a wrestling training school. Musta been fun to kick some ass for a change, instead of getting beat by Bischoff's son.

I'm glad I can fast-forward through Bully Ray's spiel. I don't need to have him say every single promo about how Abyss kept getting back up.

Fast start to the Knockouts street fight is always nice to see. Hmm, since this is a #1 contenders match and since the champ (Gail Kim) is a heel. I wonder who's winning this one. Real nice physicality here as they battled to the back. Cool finish...kick the chair back in ODB's face. Not a Van Daminator, but I guess it works.

I like this Angle/Storm feud. Very intense between the two, should be good.

So now the Roode family is involved to show how Bobby's changed? Well, this is something I don't normally see. Personally, I think it's too cheesy for me.

Nice twist with the Daniels interference while Eric Young had Rob Terry and the ref all distracted. Match was OK.

Oops...knockouts fighting in bikinis! Well, I guess technically they were still washing the cars when the water started flying. Borash plugging Wrangler Jeans. Lovely. Roode wants AJ and Jeff to start, but so much for that strategy. Of course, Hardy and AJ did go at it, which automatically makes for good TV. Cool to see AJ getting chants even when he wasn't the one battling in the ring. Jarrett defies Sting's orders and helps Roode win. Lame finish, but good for storyline purposes.

Only four matches? Blah.

12/1/11 Superstars

Ted DiBiase vs. Heath Slater: *1/4

Santino Marella vs. JTG: *

Primo vs. Kofi Kingston: **

Mathews and Striker say Slater has a tremendous upside. OK, so when are we gonna see this come to fruition? Same with DiBiase, really. At least Ted is winning, though. Not a bad match here, but the crowd was not very vocal.

They showed the cage match between Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan for the world heavyweight title (from the live Smackdown on Tuesday). Good showing here. Only a matter of time before DB gets to hold that belt.

Santino still remains over with the crowd, which is nice. Will it amount to any sort of a singles title run, though? Poor JTG...ever since Shad was released, he's been jobbing a bunch. At least he's got Tamina (for now) on NXT.

Piper's Pit segment from RAW a few days ago. Look to my RAW post for my thoughts there (basically, I liked it).

Hey, Rosa Mendes has a role with Primo and Epico! They shoulda done that from the start. Otherwise, I woulda released Rosa a while back for really doing nothing. I'm sure she's talented, but unfortunately, we have not been able to see anything. Heck, even Kelly Kelly went from exhibitionist to a prominent role on Smackdown battling for the divas title.

Main event between Kofi and Primo at least had time to materialize. Crowd really liked what they saw. Unfortunately, too many dead spots (or stalling) for my liking. These two should be able to go more nonstop than this. Nice backstabber for the finish, but man, Kofi looked like he really hit his head good on the canvas. Ouch.