Monday, January 30, 2012

1/30/12 RAW

Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler: ***1/4

Brodus Clay vs. Tyler Reks: N/A (squash)

Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk: ****

Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz: *3/4

Beth Phoenix vs. Eve Torres (Divas Title): N/A (WTF?!)

John Laurinaitis comes out and slaps fives and shakes hands with people. Why? Because his job's on the line, duh. Johnny sucks up to HHH. RAW Elimination Chamber match for WWE Title announced. Punk, Kofi, Dolph, Miz, R-Truth, and Jericho. Good choices. Will take place on Feb. 19.

Did he just say Punk and Bryan would have a match?! Joygasm!!!! Punk comes out to do the "na na na hey goodbye" dealie. Johnny's apparently found out a way to "suck and blow at the same time." ROFL. Punk rules.

Daniel Bryan time! Woohoo! The IWC all had collective joygams just now. "Punk vs. Bryan" trending on Twitter! Wow, DB has found a way to bring his "vegan" lifestyle in all this. Let them fight! Let them go for three hours! They shook hands at the end of the segment...that would be awesome for a screengrab.

Sheamus now? Will be interesting to see who he'd pick to face for the title. Didn't know Johnny would wear lace-covered undies. Nice one, Sheamus. That was good for a laugh.

What the...Dolph wearing a hoodie almost like what Cody would wear? What is it with hoodies? Barrett is on commentary again, but he's in a skybox with Josh Mathews. Weird. Anyway, Ziggler went about 20 minutes in the Rumble -- and that was after he had a war with Punk. Big time props. Vickie plays her manager role very well. Need more like her. Nice big superplex for two. A lot of counters and near falls. Crowd really loved this, and so did I. Very solid.

Brodus squash time! Someone call his momma! Tyler Reks gets no intro, like it matters. Reks probably got the most offense in of any Brodus opponent to date.

Punk and Bryan next. Loved the backstage talk they had. Simple, civil, and to the point. Match was awesome. Very physical. Wow, huge collision on the double crossbody KO spot. Why did they have to take the commercial dammit?! OW. Punk got contorted on that pin. Whoa, Punk hurricanrana! Nice smart move by Punk to switch the arms when delivering the bulldog. The little things like that really make a match that much better and more believable. Just amazing back-and-forth stuff. Damn. They got time and delivered. Jericho-ference ends this in a DQ win for DB.

I wish Jericho interfered AFTER the match was over, but it made sense for DB to continue getting those cheap wins. And now we finally get Punk and Jericho feuding! Oh man, this was a damn good teaser match for when Punk and DB really go at it in the future. It has to be a guarantee. When exactly, I'm not sure. But come on, that was terrific stuff. One of the few times where a match ending in a DQ will get four stars from me. Well deserved.

Mike Tyson is getting inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame! Woohoo! Genius move from Vince to get Tyson for WM XIV. Should be awesome.

R-Truth for commentary! Kofi comes out for his match. Damn, he stole the Rumble spotlight with his handstand on the floor to avoid elimination. Good stuff again between Kofi and Miz. Solid win for Kofi.

Divas Title contested on RAW as well? They really stacked this show. Eve's more concerned with Ryder and staying away from Kane, though. This didn't even last 30 seconds. A pointless match.

But this isn't! Kane on the Titantron! I'm liking the way WWE's going about getting Cena to be more of the clear heel against Rock. Whoa, Kane appeared behind Eve. Cool. Fight goes all over ringside. Cena's using the steps! Love the aggressive Cena. AA on the announce  table?! Nope, Kane retreats. Cena's snapping and this is a great way to keep him face for the time being.

Laurinaitis comes out to plead his case. Here comes HHH! I have to admit, Johnny's gotten some great heat for this. ROFL, HHH pulls out the "Kiss My Ass" club stuff! I was absolutely on the floor here. "On your knees!" ROFL! HHH fakes everyone out. Classic. He's about to fire Johnny.


O_O WTF?! Undertaker?! Crowd's going bonkers. Remember, his last match was WM 27 last year. Epic staredown. No words spoken. Taker looks at HHH, then the WM 28 logo, then throat slash to HHH. HHH walks away while Taker still looks at the Mania sign. Will they do a third installment of this series? I guess so. If they do, people are saying HBK would be a special ref or something. It would have to be different somehow, the final encounter. In all likelihood, this is Taker's last Mania to get to 20-0 before retiring.

Phenomenal RAW. Obviously the best of this short year, and likely will be the best of 2012. If I put my star rating on this one, it'd easily be ****1/2, perhaps ****3/4.

1/29/12 Royal Rumble

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry (Cage; World Heavyweight Title): *3/4

Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Brie Bella, & Nikki Bella vs. Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox, & Tamina: *

John Cena vs. Kane: *1/2

Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre: N/A (squash)

CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Title): ***1/2

Royal Rumble: **3/4

And the Road to WrestleMania XXVIII begins in St. Louis!

I liked the World Title match at the start. The card for this PPV was pretty stacked (and you need a bunch of time for the Rumble anyway). Wasn't sure how Mark Henry would factor into this one after his injury on Smackdown. DB came out to a mixed crowd as Cole shows how hypocritical his views are about egotistical people. Mark's out second and appeared to be walking OK (still gingerly got in the ring, though). Finally, Show came out. Main event intros. DB at 210 pounds now...he used to be billed under 200 a couple years ago. "Daniel Bryan!" chants start up. We know neither big man is escaping the cage.

This was an OK match for the people involved and the limitations (Henry has bad wheels). DB got tossed all over the ring to show how vulnerable a champ he can be (a stark contrast to the style we've seen from guys like Hogan and Cena). It was an acceptable way for Mark to get taken out of the equation with the Show WMD. In the end, DB's the right person to win here, even if it has to look fluky. I was actually impressed they did a Big Show spot on the top rope. That got extra points, in my book.

Divas tag match, eh? Eight of them! I guess they had to get the women on the show somehow. Basically the eight divas that have gotten the most in-ring (and TV) time lately. At least it wasn't gonna be a 30-second match. A few botched moves in there and the crowd largely didn't care. By the way, when was the last time Cole actually did good research? Seriously? Vince feeds him his lines. Nice spot with KK coming off the top on all the divas. Loved the end. That was the hardest "tag" I've seen in a divas match. That works for me. Shows that Beth's making her own statement.

Ryder's in a wheelchair. Eve said "ass," but come on...say it to Laurinaitis' face!

Cena and Kane didn't wow me at all. Mixed chants for Cena as always. Hopefully Cole one day becomes more of a natural at doing the heel commentary role. Kane's beatdown of Cena was boring. That hand claw suffocation move is...meh. The crowd was really only in this due to Cena's presence. Cena coulda had a match with a nobody like me and the crowd would pop. The match had poor flow to it. Double countout was very lame.

Hey, I saw "The John Report" sign while Kane and Cena fought to the back! Go John Canton and Cantonia!

Kane took out Cena, then got to Ryder. Ryder got wheeled out to the ring, and it was another mauling. Right in front of Eve as well. Cena tries to save the day and gets chokelammed. Eve was spared -- for now. Good continuance of this storyline. Ryder gets stretchered out again. So much for his push now, I guess.

Wait a sec, McIntyre gets a PPV match and he's been on a losing streak?! Why? Because Brodus needs someone to squash! Sorry, I was watching Brodus' dancers. Squash occurred as predicted. What the funk?

WWE Title match time. Will Johnny be impartial? Vintage sleeveless ref shirt! He's on the outside as an enforcer, so we'll definitely have a ref bump. Punk was getting cheered, but not nearly as much as last summer. Main event intros again. One of the few times any fan would like Johnny's decision. Vickie was gone from ringside before the match started.

Basically, the WWE Title match was likely the match of the night by default. Two great workers, a good flow, and a good storyline (albeit it's a story between Punk and Laurinaitis, Ziggler's more of the beneficiary in all this). Nice balance of mat wrestling, impact moves, and high-flying stuff. Very happy for Ziggler getting this main event push. Nice "Randy Savage" chants after Punk hit that top-rope elbow. Not long after, the ref bump happened.

Ziggler was tapping in the Anaconda Vice, but come on, Johnny! At least look a little more concerned to wake the ref up! We know you're not jumping in the ring anytime soon! Punk basically had Ziggler three times while the actual ref plays dead pretty well. The GTS into a Ziggler "rocker dropper" was awesome. Johnny comes in to help deliver the three-count? Guess he's using that as ammo to plead his case to HHH on RAW.

Royal Rumble time. Apparently it's every 90 seconds again this year, so Rey's Iron Man record is safe. For people who watched RAW, they know Miz was forced to be #1 after losing to Truth. Nice, A-Ry was #2...vintage continuity of a former feud! Riley was the first casualty of the Rumble. Ha, Truth was #3. Don't worry, Truth probably didn't care about being so early in the Rumble. Cody at #4. Gabriel at #5. At least the fresh guys get to do their thing, like getting the hot tag in a tag match. Primo at #6. Nice handstand on the top rope from Primo. Truth got taken out by Miz. Truth pulls Miz out under the bottom rope and delivers Little Jimmy. Foley is #7. I wish he came out as Cactus Jack or something, though. Foley takes Primo out! Foley's lumbering around the ring, must be in bad shape.

#8...ROFL! RICARDO IN A BEAT-UP CAR! That's awesome. The action stopped in the ring. The crowd is chanting for Ricardo! Wait...what?! Ricardo and Foley took Gabriel out? Weird.

#9 is Santino. Wedgie to Ricardo! Foley and Santino...Cobra and Socko! That was awesome as well. #10 is Epico. Poor Epico lasted maybe ten seconds. Cody eliminates Santino, then Foley. #11 is Kofi Kingston. Nice double boomdrop.

#12...JERRY LAWLER?! What?! He got his spot in and got taken out in less than a minute. #13 is Ezekiel Jackson. #14 in Jinder Mahal, and he's got new music, I think.

#15...KHALI?!?! Jinder's in major trouble. Jinder and Zeke are gone. Mini game-changer entry! #16 is Hunico...and Camacho comes out as well.

#17...BOOKER?! I dunno why Cole's all surprised. You'd think he woulda noticed Booker in tights instead of dress pants, right? King's always in wrestling gear, so I don't blame Cole for missing that one.

Miz about to eliminate Kofi. Kofi...HANDSTAND! Oh damn. That's one of the best spots in Rumble history. Seriously. Holy crap. That tops Morrison holding onto the barricade!

#18 is Ziggler. Double duty again! The guy's a true workhorse. Vickie's at ringside for this one. Booker's lasting longer than I thought he would.

#19...HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN! Awesome. Big pops for Hacksaw. He looks way better than Foley. Well, Cody took care of him. Cody takes out Khali and Booker as well.

#20 is...Michael Cole. Well crap. Now I've seen everything. Cole's bouncing up and down like a moron.

#21. KHARMA! YES YES YES! I marked out huge for this. Cole's face is priceless, so much so that I HAD to get a screengrab.

(Note added 1/31/12: Kharma had her baby on December 31, 2011, so she at least had some time to recover from the childbirth, spend time with her newborn, and start her way back to ring shape)

Kharma with a clothesline. Cole pulls himself over the top on the apron. King and Booker finish the elimination. Awesome. Implant Buster to Ziggler! Vickie's pissed. Hunico flies and misses...Kharma will get credit for that elimination! Aw, Ziggler eliminated Kharma. But those couple minutes were priceless.

By the way, Miz is still in the thing. He or Cody will be the Iron Man tonight. Booker, not surprisingly, lasted the longest of all the announcers.

Sheamus is #22. Time to clean house! Kofi's out. Clubbing blows to Miz and Cody.

Road Dogg is #23! Vintage moves! "You still got it!" #24 is Jey Uso. Jimmy's not in it, apparently. #25 is Swagger as things have slowed to a crawl. Road Dogg actually lasted longer than Lawler.

#26 is Wade Barrett. Strong chance to be in the final four guys. Barrett takes out Road Dogg.

Who gets the lucky #27 spot? David Otunga. Well, it won't be lucky this year. Hey, Cole mentioned Otunga (legit) winning a case for a guy in NY! Impressive stuff.

#28 is Orton...hometown hero pop! Game-changing entry! Double hangman's DDT on Cody and Dolph! Jey Uso is gone. RKO to Barrett...and Wade's gone!

#29 is Jericho! And he's getting physical! Woohoo! Otunga's gone, so #27 is unlucky this year. #30 is Big Show! No Kane this year, first time in eons he hasn't been in one.

Cody's over 40 minutes, and Miz is over 43 minutes.

Show eliminates Swagger and decks him with WMD. Show eliminates Cody and Miz at the same time. Miz is the Iron Man tonight. Show eliminates Ziggler.

Now Sheamus, Orton, Jericho, and Show. Chokeslam to Jericho. RKO to Big Show! ORTON ELIMINATES BIG SHOW! Jericho takes out Orton! Aw, buzzkill!

We're down to Jericho and Sheamus! Sheamus over the top...lands on the apron. Springboard Jericho dropkick, and he's still on the apron. Brogue Kick misses...Walls of Jericho! Jericho vaulted over the top...hangs on! Superplex? No, double KO spot off the top rope, and both land on the apron. Codebreaker! Jericho instinctively went for the cover, but duh, no pins here. Vintage angry Sheamus! Jericho held on again! Brogue Kick! Sheamus wins!

I honestly didn't expect Sheamus to win this. That was a great one-on-one ending. Will Sheamus main event WM? Honestly, I'm not sure, but I don't think so. I'm still thinking Jericho will somehow get his way into the title picture.

The Rumble was fine, but I felt it suffered a bit with Lawler and Cole entering. I'd allow Booker to enter because he had recently finished a mini-feud with Cody Rhodes. I was against Hacksaw and Road Dogg in the Rumble until they showed they could still bring some credible moves and good pops. Having Foley in there was merely for entertainment. He lumbered around the ring and looked out of shape.

I read online that Jericho didn't win because it was likely WWE wanted to portray the "dark horse" winning the RR and spark unpredictability. Also, it may not have helped that people like myself predicted Jericho would prevail. Other scenarios ultimately not used would have seen Orton or Cena win the Rumble. If Cena had won, he may have needed to choose between the WWE Title or fighting Rock.

Finally, Christian was rumored to participate but officials decided to hold his return off until later.

Friday, January 27, 2012

1/27/12 Smackdown

Justin Gabriel vs. Cody Rhodes: *1/4

Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre: *1/4

Primo and Epico vs. Yoshi Tatsu & Santino Marella: *

Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton: N/A

Hunico vs. Ted DiBiase: 1/2*

Brodus Clay vs. Alex Riley: N/A (squash)

Aksana vs. Natalya: N/A (WTF?!)

Big Show vs. Mark Henry: N/A

Big Show comes out to publicly apologize to AJ. Show says AJ forgave him. Show's pulling the "contemplating retirement" card. Enter DB. Whoa, DB brings up Andre the Giant! How fitting, because in WCW, Big Show was billed as Andre's son (btw, Andre only had one daughter in real life). Loving DB's attitude change. He slaps Show twice in the face! Woohoo! Show's snapping! Welp, here comes Mark Henry. ROFL, did Henry just mention DB and a Napoleon Complex? Yes! DB plays the coward role pretty good. Aw dammit, Teddy Long. Show and Henry AGAIN tonight. DB gets out of it! Well, he may get involved somehow anyway, right?

Gabriel and Rhodes again this week. Cole's all negative on Gabriel, duh. Gabriel is now doing John Morrison's slingshot corkscrew move to the outside. Gabriel didn't hit his springboard moonsault, but Cody nailed his Beautiful Disaster and Cross Rhodes for three. Not liking that...would have preferred Gabriel to win. Cody won't suffer much with a loss there, but it hurts Gabriel a lot.

Santoshi! Yoshitino! Guess Santino and Yoshi Tatsu are teaming up soon. Guess Yoshi dropped the whole face paint and being serious thing. Good. It didn't work for me anyway, especially if Yoshi wanted to keep that video game-like music.

Drew McIntyre gets another chance against Sheamus. I'm not really digging this Drew "slump" thing. It's much like when MVP had his slump a few years ago. I didn't care for that then.

Sheamus pulled a page out of Finlay's and Mr. Anderson's playbook! That rolling fireman's carry slam move. Pretty nice. Sheamus got some good comeback moves. Drew gets a cheap shot in, but Brogue Kick ends it. Drew's that much closer to the pink slip.

Note on the Royal Rumble facts...they're eliminating the year Benoit won. Such a shame. Why the hell can't more wrestling fans separate Benoit's wrestling career (as in pure in-ring accomplishments) from that horrific double murder-suicide? If a person's ONLY significant memory of Benoit was the end of his life, maybe I can see the point. But to just knowingly throw a guy's career out the window and just focus on the horrible stuff? Unfair and typical human nature.

Rosa Mendes is awesome. Can she speak Spanish all the time? Santino having fun at the start. Cousins win again, and they're red hot going into the Rumble!

Nice job by DB to pull the manipulation talk on Henry. Yeah, he's doing it to Show, too (actually he sends Kaitlyn to do it). Point is clear, DB wants both big guys to beat the crap outta each other before Sunday.

Barrett cuts a fairly long promo before Orton is shown backstage. Fast start, here we go! Actually, the bell never rang, so it's not really a match. Woulda kept mum on Orton and make him a surprise entrant, though. Long sends a bunch of the locker room to separate the two guys. Barrett watches on the ramp. RKO to Reks and Hawkins. Barrett walks away. Barreta and the Usos all get RKOs. Good segment.

Royal Rumble 2006. Rey's Rumble win in honor of Eddie Guerrero. 62:12...that's unlikely to be broken. But who knows. Maybe one day.

Wait, DiBiase and Hunico again? DiBiase actually has a legit broken wrist, apparently. It's the left wrist, so it's not as bad (DiBiase is a righty). Still, the match is a short one. Hunico and Camacho take DiBiase out post-match. Stomped on DiBiase's broken wrist.

Aksana moment! Broken up by Natalya. Aksana's wrestling tonight? Vintage awkward fart! Santino's reaction was the best.

A-Ry's jobbing to Brodus tonight. I must admit, Brodus is entertaining. But Regal dancing was just classic. Anyway, it's a squash again. I'm loving Brodus' dancers introducing him. Cameron and Naomi, is it? Lucky Brodus. ROFL, A-Ry's dancing too! Yes!

Wait, Cole says Brodus' finisher is now "What the Funk?" Um...OK. Did they not like "Aw...funk it?" I guess eventually they could shorten it to WTF if it gets real well known....

Well, why the hell did they have to replay Kane and Ryder in its entirety again?!

No Cole, Aksana's theme is not unique. Well, maybe in the PG era. But see Val Venis for another "sexy" theme. This match was literally five seconds. Good grief. Thank you, goodbye. Post-beatdown by Natalya, but Tamina's out again. Why didn't they let Tamina do this gimmick from the start? I can only guess she was too green and not ready for the big time yet.

Main event time. DB comes out to watch. Again, not much of a match. Henry for some reason collapsed to the canvas throwing a punch...huh? Commercial break. As they get back from commercial, Lilian is announcing Show as the winner. Apparently, Henry got back in the ring, but Show knocked him out again, so Henry got counted out. DB takes Show out with a chair. LeBell Lock! Show breaks free and nails a chokeslam. DB avoids the WMD. This match was one of the very rare instances where the match actually ended during the commercial.

I'm still saying DB's retaining this Sunday. Ratings have been great, and DB's character is gaining steam. Again, he's finally able to show what he's made of on the mic. Now if he only starts doing the "I've got till FIVE!" bit, then I'd love it even more.

This show was crappy if you wanted wrestling action.

NOTE: Just read that Mark Henry was likely injured again during the main event, causing for the abrupt end to the match. Henry apparently didn't plant his foot properly and collapsed to the canvas. He rolled out of the ring, causing the abrupt commercial break and match stoppage during that time. The post-match scene called for Henry to take out DB at the very end, standing tall over Daniel, but obviously that had to be taken out. Not sure what Henry's status for the Rumble is now. If he can't go, then it's likely just gonna be DB vs. Show for the title.

1/26/12 Impact

Tara vs. Mickie James vs. Velvet Sky: *

Alex Shelley vs. Zema Ion: *1/2

Eric Young & ODB vs. Winter & Angelina Love: N/A (huh?!)

Matt Morgan vs. Samoa Joe: *3/4

Jeff Hardy & James Storm vs. Bobby Roode & Bully Ray (Tables): **

Knockouts three-way starts the show...interesting. I like Tara coming out on the bike...unique entrance to separate herself from the others. Cool, they all shake hands, like ROH's code of honor. And let the fighting begin! Tara does the matrix move now, cool. Crowd was into it at times, but there were a few too many dead spots. A heck of a move by Tara, one of those fireman's carry moves into a spinning sidewalk slam...with all the weight going on Mickie. Tara pins MJ for three. Solid finish. Tara gets the Knockouts title shot at Against All Odds. And Gail's ready. Looking forward to this match.

Bully Ray and Jeff Hardy fought backstage earlier in the night. Roode helped Bully, then Storm came to even things up. The four brawl in the ring, and Sting has a hard time controlling them. Let them fight! Thus, we got a tag match as the main event. Oh, make that a tag team TABLES match. Yes!

Winter and Angelina trying to get EY's guard down. Angelina tries to knee EY in the nuts, but Eric's wearing a protective cup. Best part? ODB comes in and takes the cup away. I don't think she cares if she knew where it had been. Made me laugh real good there.

X-Division time. Oh, not Zema's face! Cut the cameras! What a lame-o. Nice pace here, crowd into it a bunch. Good back-and-forth action for a short match. Zema woulda missed that 450 even if Shelley didn't move. Sliced Bread #2 wins it for Alex. He'll get the X-Division title shot against Aries at AAO.

Eric Bischoff confronts his son in the gym. Eric wants to know where the trainer is. Garrett points off-camera. Eric shoos the camera away, petrified. Good cliffhanger.

Well, let the chaos begin with EY and ODB. Heh, Taz ribbing Earl that he should know how to lock up with a wrestler after being in the business so long...74 years, eh? Anyway, EY again finds a way to not strike anyone. Oh, EY's strippin' down to the tights! Liquid Courage for ODB! Double airplane spins! Seriously, I have no clue how to rate this. It's just a bunch of controlled madness.

Morgan and Joe in singles action tonight. Crimson and Magnus are out to support their tag partners. Pretty good stuff here. Lots of counters and hard hits (punches and kicks). Discus clotheline wins it for Morgan? Really? Magnus takes Crimson out on the outside. Joe and Magnus then go take Morgan out.

AJ promo again to vent frustrations about Kaz and Daniels. AJ wants an answer on Kaz's behavior again. Daniels comes out with Kaz. AJ takes Daniels out. Kaz and AJ about to shake hands, but Daniels back on the mic. "You know exactly why you're not shaking AJ's hand." And that is pretty much that. No handshake. Kaz back to Daniels' side. Daniels wants a match at AAO between AJ...and Kaz. More manipulation. Good, slow storyline. Here, the mic work is great and, with the cast of characters involved, it makes the eventual blow-off even more appealing.

Main event intros for the main event...thanks JB. Yeah, good luck to Brian Hebner on this tables match. Good use of split screens here. It's really just a lot of fighting and weapon use on the outside. Crowd liked it all because there's tables and Hardy is over with the crowd. Bully misses Hardy in the corner and his own foot goes through the table. Announcers quickly note you must put your opponent through...can't put yourself through a table. More fighting, Hardy hits Twist of Fate on Roode, then puts RR on the table. Storm off the top on RR through table. Faces win. Not bad. Bully and RR take both faces out post-match. Bully powerbombs Hardy from the second rope through a table. Bully getting a great singles run. RR caressing the belt like it's his newborn son.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1/26/12 Superstars

Jinder Mahal vs. Tyson Kidd: *3/4

Beth Phoenix vs. Brie Bella: 1/2*

Kofi Kingston vs. Michael McGillicutty: ***

Kidd is apparently a face, although the way he's been getting lost in the midcard chaos, I haven't really noticed. Jinder, on the other hand, has made several appearances lately, even picking up a few wins and getting the upper hand on the likes of Sheamus. OW, Kidd basically punted Jinder's chest back to India (although I'm told he's actually Canadian), followed by a Liger kick. Kidd really looked good here. Unfortunately, his moonsault missed at the worst time. Jinder hit a flatliner move, then into a Punjabi Clutch for the tapout win.

They replayed Kane nuking Ryder in that falls count anywhere match on RAW. This took up at least a quarter of the show by itself. Eve blamed Cena, and Cena showed that hateful look that a lot of fans probably wanted to see for a while. Liking this possible slow turn from Cena.

They coulda had a match for the time this segment aired. Ugh.

Royal Rumble fun fact of Mysterio lasting 62:12 in the Rumble, which is a record. Miz is #1 in the Rumble this year. I think it would be a good time for him to be the endurance guy. He's not winning (at least from what I'm reading on reports), but I hope he makes it to the final few guys.

The next match is a divas match. Hey, Beth's back on TV! She had been AWOL for a while; the last time she was on, I think it was Alicia Fox giving her that inadvertent black eye and nasty swelling. Alicia's had a few wins since, but I think Tamina's had the momentum lately. Beth pins Brie here, no surprise.

Well, Kofi's back to being a singles star again because his tag partner, Evan Bourne, royally screwed up by failing a second Wellness Policy test in about three months. Is that a record? With Bourne messing up on his second chance, I'm all but certain Bourne's gone from WWE.

I'm waiting for McGillicutty to really show me something. Granted, it's not totally his fault (he really hasn't had much TV time to show what he really could do). Kofi looked great as usual, flying through the air and showing that awesome vertical leap. Finally, McGillicutty in an exciting match that got time! Unfortunately, Kofi was the one scoring the win.

Will this mean Kofi can get his way back to the U.S. title or even the IC belt? Perhaps, but I think Kofi works real well in tag matches. Considering how many people are on this roster, I'd like to see one of the lesser-known guys benefit (one not used very often on TV). It would be a win-win situation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1/25/12 NXT

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks: *3/4

Heath Slater vs. Trent Barreta: **1/2

Titus O'Neil vs. Percy Watson: *1/2

Titus starts the show off with a promo. Better than last week, but not by too much. Percy plays the face in this, although the reaction is mild at best. I've never heard the word "man" used so much in a segment. The exchange felt way too much like the African-American homeboy stereotypes I've seen. Not very many good vibes on this so far. And one more thing...I hate Striker just coming out like that and saying he's the host of this damn show. He doesn't sound like anyone with booming authority. Why doesn't he just go back to being on commentary? I didn't think he was too bad on commentary -- when giving facts/research tidbits, anyway. Other than that, he should just be a backstage announcer.

Tag match between Usos and Reks/Hawkins. No reaction for the latter team. Jimmy got the hot tag and looked real good. Heels try to cheat but Hawkins eats an Uso superkick for three. Decent stuff.

Slater and Barreta match was surprisingly good, mainly because of Trent. Flashy moves, even a cool version of a Northern Lights using a slingshot off the ropes. Whoa, Slater pulls a Kurt Angle and does a super powerslam from the top. I'm dumbfounded that some takedown was Heath's "finisher." Regal says it's a "flying neckbreaker of sorts." It's just a flashy way to cover a relatively common or lame move. Other than that, I liked the match a lot.

NOTE: Slater snapped a 22-match losing streak here. His last win was around...July 2011? Good grief. I don't think he's in the doghouse. It's just that his gimmick -- at least right now -- doesn't help to convince me he's ready to be a top-level talent yet.

They replayed the "wedding" from last week. I'm ready for this whole love triangle thing to end. Please. At least Curtis is clean shaven right now. Wait, this talk doesn't sound PG to me! Gasp! Anyway, Maxine wins for telling Striker to shut up. She double wins for kneeing Curtis in the nuts. Striker basically didn't do a damn thing. The whole segment left me with a WTF look on my face.

Percy and A-Ry in the back. A-Ry certainly knows about fighting "best friends" (see Miz, although that was likely more of a teacher-student relationship or an employer-employee understanding). Percy makes a good face, but Titus got the much-needed win. Wait, so now A-Ry is gonna feud with Titus? Could have promise, who knows.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1/23/12 RAW

Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger vs. CM Punk & John Cena: **

Kane vs. Zack Ryder (Falls Count Anywhere): N/A

Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal: *

R-Truth vs. The Miz: *1/2

CM Punk vs. John Laurinaitis: N/A

Punk starts the show because he's awesome on the mic. He calls out Laurinaitis. Whoa wait, Cena? Oh, a little heel Cena action! At least when talking to Punk. Cena's on full serious mode. Laurinatis lays down the gauntlet. Ryder vs. Kane in a falls count anywhere match and Cena can't interfere (or else Ryder "never" gets another U.S title match).

Tag match time. Uh oh, Cena's "dead meat," according to Swagger! Laurinaitis gets a ringside seat. Punk and Cena control things early while Laurinaitis tweets. Love how Cole is inaccurate on a lot of things he says. Good crowd reaction, although that's not a surprise given the people involved. Hot tag to Punk, and he and Ziggler work at a frenzied pace. Laurinaitis gets on the apron because Punk moved the ref aside (Punk wanted to go to the top for an elbow, I guess). Enough of a distraction to allow Ziggler to get the rollup with tights for three.

So now this makes four wins, in Ziggler's and Laurinaitis' eyes. Is that enough for Punk to retain with the "deck stacked against him" this Sunday? Yeah.

Woohoo, Punk gets Laurinaitis tonight. Awesome.

Well, the Highlight Reel is back for Chris Jericho. First he wants the crowd to quiet down. He goes to the back for the T-shirt bazooka. Fakes firing the shirt into the crowd. Then he points to his Jeritron it still called that? Hmm. Starts from his 1999 debut until now. That's quite a few select highlights for a small video package.

Jericho speaks! "It's gonna be the end of the world, as you know it."

NOTE (added 1/26/12): I was a little surprised Jericho spoke here, but it was probably needed so it wouldn't get too repetitive. I'm not doubting Jericho, because he really is a master at what he does. I've read reports that Jericho's likely winning the Rumble. If so, he'd likely face Punk. However, Orton returned to house shows, so Randy could still win it all and perhaps face Daniel Bryan for the World title (or Dolph if Ziggler wins the WWE title). I've also read that Jericho could be the man to face Taker at WM. I'd love this match just so I don't need to see a third installment of Taker/HHH. Of course, that's assuming Taker's even fit to go at WM.

Royal Rumble by the numbers! Cool useless info. If anything, lots of memories to view.

Kane and Ryder go at it. Zack wants no help. Eve comes out to ringside. Kane's mauling the injured ribs and back. It's basically a destruction of Ryder, likely to send more of a message to Cena...embrace the hate.  Nice, Ryder chokeslammed through the steel stage as Eve looks on horrified. As the medics tend to Ryder, we can see the stage just went down a few feet. Ryder's still on an intact (yet hard) surface. Stretcher time for Ryder. Eve blames Cena.

I can tell this is one of the final straws that could break the proverbial camel's back. Poor Josh Mathews has to step in and get Cena's reaction. The enraged look on Cena's face is great. He's "embracing the hate" slowly but surely. Note the crowd reaction was actually one of cheers, not boos. The majority of the crowd apparently WANTS Cena to turn. I do as well.

Honestly, it's only a matter of time when Cena either turns heel or becomes at least a way more aggressive character. Many people know Cena's act is beyond stale. They want change. It's not the "you can't wrestle!" chants as much anymore. It's the entertainment. These boisterous fans may get their wish very soon. I can't wait for Rock and Cena to collide at WM. Here's hoping both stay healthy. The hype's been built for close to a year. It's hard to pull off because even a freak injury can derail the match.

Jinder and Sheamus for like the 80,000th time. Barrett is on commentary. Basic match here, and Sheamus gets the nod this time.

R-Truth is incredibly funny. I have no clue how Josh Mathews or Miz kept a straight face on that. Heck, I wouldn't have minded had Truth laughed during that segment. Just...awesome.

Ha, Laurinaitis is prepping for his match still in his dress shirt. Miz and Truth tonight, and the loser is #1 in the Rumble. Hey, not bad, because two guys have won from #1...just like #30. The numbers really don't matter anyway!

Regal on commentary! They replay the dancing from Smackdown. I swear, that was classic. Anyway, Funksaurus is on! I guess Brodus' dancers are introducing him now. I'm just waiting for Naomi to get her chance as a wrestler. She impressed the hell outta me when she was on NXT. Just knowing that Kaitlyn, AJ, Maxine, and Aksana have all gotten considerable screen time before her irks me.

Anyway, Slater is laughing his ass off as Brodus. That'll be the last happy memory for Heath. Squash match for Brodus again. Oh, and Brodus wore white this time. Guess we can't call him a Kool-Aid guy now.

Oh, they replayed the last minutes of the 2007 Rumble, the epic end between HBK and Taker. Remains arguably the best finish to a Royal Rumble in history, at least in my opinion.

Miz and Truth go at it. Got decent time, and some good stuff between the two. Truth hits his finisher and gets three, although I don't think the crowd expected it at that point. Were they expecting Miz to win? Anyway, Miz is now #1 in the Rumble, and he's likely posting the longest Rumble time this year.

Laurinaitis looks like he's dressed in a graduation gown. He gets a fax from Otunga and Johnny's not happy.

Punk comes out first for the match. Laurinaitis has a "Future Endeavored" T-shirt! Yes! Otunga gets to read the fax. Johnny's GM status is now under official review and could face termination. Damn. If only Otunga had said "future endeavored." That would have been so appropriate for the situation. HHH will conduct the review next week.

As Punk and Laurinaitis go back and forth on the mic, Otunga is standing there in the middle, just looking like a doofus. Couldn't have he stayed out of the shot? Otunga wears silver-colored dress shoes? He gets to attack Punk, but that's not really gonna do much. GTS to Laurinaitis, but Ziggler comes in for the Zigzag on Punk to close the show. If that doesn't prove Punk's winning at the Rumble, then I don't know what does.

Friday, January 20, 2012

1/20/12 Smackdown

Cody Rhodes vs. Hornswoggle Justin Gabriel: *3/4

Primo & Epico vs. Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso (Tornado Tag): *1/4

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

Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico (Flag): *

Drew McIntyre vs. Santino Marella (Blindfold): N/A (WTF?)

Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry (Lumberjack; World Heavyweight Title): *

Woohoo, DB starts the show off. Good promo, although DB's full promo potential hasn't been unleashed. For once, Cole stays silent when DB speaks.

The roulette wheel is back! Cody gets Player's Choice so he can pick anyone. "I pick him." Camera cuts to Ezekiel Jackson. Cody says not him. Camera to Santino. Santino points to Hornswoggle. Ouch. Justin Gabriel to the rescue! Cole, you must be off your rocker when saying Gabriel hasn't won a match in a year...he just won the other week. Not a bad match here.

DB and Mark Henry will be a Lumberjack match. Mark Henry getting pops! Guess Bryan is doing his job as a heel.

Apparently Rikishi was in attendance to see his sons (the Usos) in action. Wish he coulda been on TV just to make one more appearance. This is a tornado match, which I haven't seen in a long time. All four guys allowed to be in the ring, no tagging. First team to score a pin or submission wins. Double butt smash in the corner! Cole even referenced that Rikishi was around for this show. The Puerto Rican cousins are on a roll.

Sheamus in a tables match later tonight.

Shucky ducky quack quack! It's Brodus! Announcers like it, and I admit it's pretty entertaining. He's in a dance-off with...Vickie Guerrero?! Vickie looks like she's having a seizure as she dances. Oh good grief. Brodus then does his thing. I liked Cameron and Naomi better. This was not even a dance contest. I think I threw my breakfast up watching all the jiggling.

REGAL?! Oh yes! Did Brodus call Regal a funky chicken? Regal's gonna dance! ROFL, Regal's awesome!
Aw Funk It! Regal gets flattened. That last part was good.

Sheamus and Barrett in a tables match. Pretty good agility to avoid the table on some of the spots. Jinder interferes and Barrett gets the win off the distraction. Sheamus is miffed and Jinder pays the price after the match. Jinder through the table much like how Sheamus put Cuban through the table many moons ago.

Hunico and DiBiase in a...flag match?! OK,not expecting much of this one. Just beat down your opponent enough so you can get your flag. Stalling with pre-taped promos! This was OK for what it was. Vintage Hacksaw Jim Duggan reference!

Long says McIntyre is fired, but Santino, of all people, comes to the rescue. Time to double down! Oh crap. A blindfold match. This will not be good at all. Swinging blindly and wildly. Heck, Drew even punched the ringpost. Ow. Even when McIntyre removed the blindfold for a bit, he still missed Santino. Sad. I refuse to rate this one. Guess Drew's getting the pink slip. divas match on the show? Didn't really miss it, but just had to note that.

Main event intros for the world title match. Superstars surround the ring. Daniel Bryan still gets chants from some people. Henry with the upper hand for most of the match. Henry clotheslined DB big time and pounced on DB for the cover. Typical finish with all the lumberjacks beating the hell out of each other. DB walks away from the chaos in pain. It's a no-contest, I guess.

DB complains to Teddy Long. Long says it's a triple threat match at the Rumble for the title...DB vs. Show vs. Henry -- in a STEEL CAGE. Triple ouch.

1/19/12 Impact

Gunner vs. AJ Styles: *1/2

Crimson vs. Magnus: 1/2*

Mickie James vs. Madison Rayne (Cage): **

Eric Young vs. Angelina Love: N/A

Jeff Hardy vs. James Storm: **1/4

Storm starts off the show wanting Roode and a shot at the gold. He's over Angle now. Hardy comes out and says he got screwed twice within a week, and no one else gets a shot until he gets his final shot. Storm says he got screwed before Hardy. And here comes Roode and his logic of neither gets a title shot. Sting says nope. #1 contenders match between Hardy and Storm.

Flair accompanies Gunner to the ring. Flair wants to be at the WWE HOF ceremony when the Horsemen are inducted. I'm guessing it happens, since Flair was there last year. If only Ric had not had so many ex-wives and gotten in so much trouble with the law, he coulda legitimately retired years ago. Typical good Styles match that I wish got a few more minutes. Daniels and Kaz come out. Kaz decks Styles while Flair has the ref distracted. Gunner gets three. Gunner tries to take AJ out on the concrete but escapes.

Really? Bully Ray hasn't lost a singles match since he became a singles star? Uh, that'd be incorrect.

Crimson and Magnus didn't last too long. Of course Crimson was winning. Joe takes out Crimson. Morgan tries to help, but gets taken out as well.

Eric and ODB is amused. EY is weird...we all knew that one.

Garrett Bischoff training! Whoa, what a video package? Can you sense the sarcasm?

Knockouts cage match next. Madison hesitant, as one would expect. Gail says she has Madison's back, but leaves the area. They made it past one commercial break, a rarity for a Knockouts match! Past the 10-minute mark (including time during commercial) and they're still going. Whoa, actually physical here by throwing Madison in the cage! Mickie's DDT gets three. Pretty good.

Mickie's wanting the Knockouts Title. Three-way match next week for the #1 contender spot. Mickie vs. Velvet vs. Tara.

Time for Austin Aries and his gloating. Alex Shelley?! Haven't seen him in ages, and he's got a mohawk (sorta) going. Blonde streak of hair in the middle, almost shaved brown hair on the side. Looks like a punk rocker. Shelley wants a title shot and Aries doesn't like it. Shelley tells Aries to pick his opponent and Aries will give Shelley a title shot if he prevails. Guess that's for next week.

Winter and ODB fight in the back, with Winter prevailing on that one. Angelina Love called out Eric Young?! Oh, this will be interesting. EY locks up with the ref? Yeah, he's nuts. Eric basically stalls here. Angelina kicks Eric low for a DQ. No match. Spike TV has a policy of no men-on-women violence, so this was how to get around that problem. ODB made the save.

#1 contenders match ends the show. Main event intros. Crowd amped up for this one. Tully Blanchard reference from Taz, fitting since the Horsemen will be inducted into the WWE HOF later this year. Good match here, both guys had shots to prevail. Bully Ray interferes, takes out the Brian Hebner, whips both wrestlers with the steel chain, then punches Earl Hebner. Sting comes out with the baseball bat and decks Bully. Roode comes out and takes both wrestlers out as well. Match is a no contest, according to Roode.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1/19/12 Superstars

Tamina vs. Natalya: *1/2

Santino Marella & Mason Ryan vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks: *

Jinder Mahal vs. Alex Riley: *

I'm loving Tamina's push. She now has the Snuka colors on her ring gear. The ref must really love his job physically restraining Tamina like that. Nice of Striker to note Natalya's shoulders were down while delivering her Pinup Strong move on Tamina. A pretty good match here. It actually got time to materialize.

Didn't really care to see the Smackdown stuff from last week again. It was really just replaying the title match between Daniel Bryan and Big Show, with Show and AJ colliding during the match. I get it, and now a bunch of others are up to speed.

Tag match with four midcarders. Sounds about right for WWE. Helps this match that Santino is over with the crowd. Oh, and since it's Royal Rumble season, we get to know (again) that Santino holds the record for shortest time in the Rumble! Not a fan of stalling and building the suspense to get Santino in to deliver the Cobra. Just tag, strike, and pin.

Punk rules. Yes, we all knew that.

Jinder Mahal gets to face someone else's Alex Riley tonight. So does having facial stubble make one more of a badass? Perhaps. Not sure what it's gonna affect Jinder's status in a big way, although he's at least getting screen time and victories. Good version of that Michinoku Driver II and the camel clutch. One good impact move and a submission finisher. Liking that.

Sin City Smackdown tomorrow!

1/18/12 NXT

Titus O'Neil vs. Darren Young (No DQ): *1/4

Percy Watson vs. Heath Slater: *1/4

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

Somehow, we got to 100 episodes on NXT. Vince will have to thank the internet for that one. Anyway, we apparently have a "wedding" tonight for Johnny Curtis and Maxine. Wonder how this one will get crashed....

Finally realized that the opening montage for NXT has changed from highlighting just "rookies" to including the usual midcard talent like Barreta, Kidd, Reks, Hawkins, etc. Not sure how long that's been going on, but yeah, I finally got around to at least observing that.

WTF...why is Cole back invading NXT again? Dammit. He was supposed tohang out with his Wolf Pack tonight? He backing Nevada all of a sudden? Suckup....

Started off with the No DQ match between Young and Titus. Funny how Cole now likes Darren Young after he probably didn't give a crap when DY was in Nexus. A lot of continuity remembered during this match, even the whole Aksana/Goldust relationship/wedding angle from Season 3! Huh? You mean they actually remember this stuff? Titus kicked out of DY's gutbuster...shocking. Clash of the Titus got three. So wait a sec...why was this match no DQ anyway? It really wasn't much different from your average, physical match.

Titus turns heel after the match, but you know what? Again, I must agree with Michael Cole. Titus' promo was mostly horrible. He stuttered and didn't know what to really say most of the time. He was torn between calling Hownswoggle a "midget" and a "leprechaun." Titus came off as the pouting heel than anything else, and with his size, I don't like that. He should be in that position to just wield that domination tactic, tell the audience to "shut up" or whatever. "Losers" doesn't cut it for me, but at least it's consistent with his "make it a win" catchphrase. You can tell he wasn't comfortable with snapping on the WWE Universe. Titus hasn't embraced the heel role yet. I'll give him a pass for now, but I expect him to do better than that. Darren, on the other hand, has done pretty well as a heel.

A battle of NXT alums: Percy vs. Slater. Again, the crowd doesn't give a crap. I really like Percy's vertical leaping ability. Perhaps Percy shoulda teamed with Kofi instead of Evan Bourne. Percy was impressive in this match. He has a good finisher, although he probably won't be able to use it on real large opponents. Slater, on the other hand, mostly jobbed in this one.

Johnny and Maxine talk before the wedding. Nice suit, Curtis. Stay classy, especially when hitting on Kaitlyn.

Tag match again. Wait, Josh Mathews has already been with the company 10 years? Time flies. Heels cheat to win. Reks has a nice new finisher. No more Burning Hammer, but it's still cool.

ROFL. Michael Cole taking credit for Daniel Bryan becoming World Champ? That's the best thing ever. Finally! Cole is trying to hop on the DB bandwagon in some form! Now that's classic, and I'll never let Cole live that down (like he would ever read this blog anyway).

Wedding is being set up. Cole hates it. So do I. "What the hayell" is going on here? I'm agreeing too much with Cole. Complete with Matt Striker as Elvis impersonator! This is sad.

Johnny Curtis is accompanied by some random dude. He supposed to be the witness or best man or something? Yup, best man. Yeah! Where's Cole's gong? I'd like that here. Maxine looks great. Anyway, Striker is being stupid. The crowd is just hating on this. What? Striker broke Elvis character! That's shocking! Can you sense my epic sarcasm?

"WAAAAAAAAIIIIIITTTTTTTT!" says Bateman. Yeah, this was obvious. And he actually is in a nice outfit. Vintage iPad! Oh look, we have a vintage Vegas wedding fight! And Maxine and Derrick are back together! This is horrid. Basically, we're back to square one AGAIN. Seriously, just end that garbage.

I have to admit, Cole and I are sharing the same sarcastic commentary. I think NXT is in a whole alternate time dimension thingy. It's creepy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

1/16/12 RAW

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

Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder (U.S. Title): N/A (squash)

Brie Bella & Nikki Bella vs. Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox: N/A

Sheamus vs. R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett vs. The Miz (Over the Top Rope): *

John Cena vs. Jack Swagger: N/A (no match)

Brodus Clay vs. JTG: N/A (squash)

CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, & Chris Jericho vs. Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, & David Otunga: **3/4

The show (a RAW supershow) takes place on MLK Day, so of course, we open with snippets of King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Without question, one of the most powerful speeches of all time.

Hey, Mick Foley is in the house! It's time for a cheap pop, right Anaheim, CA! Foley's in the Rumble, and he calls them contestants! Vickie and Ziggler come out. Foley's saying you can't predict the Rumble! You know, in a sense, he's right. Never woulda thought Santino would be at the end last year. Whoa, Ziggler called Foley a glorified stuntman! Win! Ziggler cut a great promo there. Now it's Punk's turn. Huge pop for the Straight Edge one. Punk...awesome as usual. 'Nuff said.

Dang, Vickie didn't go there on the anorexia thing, did she? Guess so. Aw, Johnny Laurinaitis won't let Mick in the Rumble. Maybe Teddy Long will? Was the whole laughing Vickie spot necessary?

In case you didn't know, Primo and Epico won the tag titles at a house show in Oakland the previous night. One of the rare times a title changes hands on a non-televised event. Match wasn't even three and a half minutes. Average stuff. Not sure if this was finally Evan Bourne's punishment taking effect. Note Bourne has been the one pinned now on both tag title matches.

Hey, Laurinaitis says Jericho will be in the six-man tag tonight! And of course, Jericho doesn't speak one word.

Ryder's still defending his title against Swagger, even with the taped-up midsection. Swagger basically attacked that area all match. Swagger with three gut-wrench powerbombs. Le ouch. Fitting that Laurinaitis only gets the doctor's note AFTER the match is over.

Perez Hilton? Good grief...why? Divas tag match ring announcer? This will be a waste of my time, I just know it. Oh, at least it was brief. Perez prevents the Twin Magic spot from occurring, so the faces won. But seriously? Perez gets pushed down from the Bellas shove? Wimp. And look, two beauties come to the rescue. Man, that Perez guy is one tough hombre.... #wasteoftime trending on Twitter!

Barrett and R-Truth promos. Vintage Truth promo! Truth's promo was hella funny. Leave it to Miz to spoil the party. Sheamus evens the sides. Long says let's have a mini Royal Rumble...four guys in an over-the-top battle royal. Miz helps eliminate Barrett. Decent match here with Truth dumping Sheamus and Miz over to win.

Cena and Kane at the Rumble. Gee, who didn't see that one coming?

Swagger's pulling double duty tonight. Cena's enraged! Finally, ruthless aggression from Cena again! This wasn't even a match, by the way. Cena'sabout to drop the steps on Swagger's head and Kane's presence is felt. I'm liking the storyline. I want the ruthless aggression of Cena, not some Hulk Hogan wannabe. Freshen up Cena's character. This transformation (whichI hope they completely go through on) looks promising.

Funkasaurus on RAW! I have to admit, I'm entertained. I just wish they let Naomi wrestle instead of be a Funkasaurus dancer. JTG's the man to job tonight. Wonder how long this one will be. About a minute and a half. "Ah, Funk It!" The name of Brodus' finisher, apparently.

Switching to serious on AJ's injury. Seriously, that had to hurt to get run into by a 450-pound guy, I must admit. Daniel Bryan with a pre-match promo. Nice heelish promo from DB. Gonna love this heel turn. I just know it. Just don't screw it up, WWE.

Jericho comes out to the huge pop and does well to stall as they do a commercial break. Dolph and Punk start, which I like. Rare botch from DB trying to hurdle Ziggler, but Dolph covers up very well. "Daniel Bryan" trending worldwide on Twitter! Crowd wants Jericho, though. Jericho is a master at keeping the crowd fired up...he knows they all want to see him in the ring. Jericho gets the tag, he celebrates, then tags a confused DB and leaves. Brilliant! No really, I like it. Jericho leaves the ring, so it's a handicap match now.

DB's leg gets worked on, and he and Henry end up in the back. Hey, Foley's back -- and he's gonna be Punk's new tag partner! Vintage Foley! That was great.

Punk was absolute gold on the mic after the match. But you already knew that. Laurinaitis was the one who surprised me...heck, he impressed me with the end promo. Johnny finally shows some attitude!

Can't wait for next week. It was a lame show for wrestling (except the final match), but a lot of great promos.

Friday, January 13, 2012

1/13/12 Smackdown

Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater: *

Cody Rhodes vs. Ezekiel Jackson: 1/2*

Ted DiBiase vs. Drew McIntyre: 1/2*

Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal: *1/2

David Otunga vs. Santino Marella: 3/4*

Brodus Clay vs. Tyson Kidd: N/A (squash)

Tamina vs. Natalya: N/A (too short)

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show (World Heavyweight Title): *3/4

Daniel Bryan promo at the start. Did DB just say "a load of dung" on TV?! Damn you, PG rating. Mark Henry tells DB that he faces the winner of tonight's world title match next week on Smackdown.

Gabriel and Slater...this is more like it, not some over-the-top-rope "match" between Slater and Hornswoggle. This was OK, but seriously, Hornswoggle shows up to distract Slater? Oy vey.

Hey, Cody's been the IC champ for cinco months! He's bilingual! And he's gonna pull an Ultimate Warrior! Aw, I thought he was gonna don face paint and run to the ring wearing tassels. Another short match to make Cody look good.

Hunico and Camacho come down to the ring before the McIntyre/DiBiase match. The commentary, to me, was distracting and almost pointless. I'm not sure what will become of Drew now. This doesn't look like the MVP "losing streak," I don't believe. Maybe Drew gets written off TV and comes back with a new gimmick.

Sheamus and Jinder have a longer match than I expected. Still a convincing one for the Great White.

I reiterate, I am jealous that Daniel Bryan gets to work an on-screen relationship of sorts with AJ. AJ loves Daniel! Oh man, why can't I be in DB's shoes?! He's slowly incorporating the heel tendencies while retaining the "good guy" approach. Add "overprotecting the girl" to the list.

Otunga with a nice finisher. At least he won for a change.

Oh WTF, Brodus is on Smackdown as well?! Tyson Kidd's reaction is the same as mine. It took longer for Brodus to get to the ring than it did for him to pin Tyson. Good grief. Shortest match in WWE this year, and likely nothing's breaking that mark.

I'm happy for Tamina. She's finally channeling her father's character and she's got some cool music. Could be a great year for this Warrior Princess. But she needs to move faster in these short matches and not play to the crowd too much. Not believable to me that one Samoan drop will keep someone like Natalya down for a zillion seconds before the superfly splash.

AJ is down to accompany DB for the world title match. Main event intros. Yeah, this would be the time to NOT be Daniel Bryan. No, I would not like an asskicking from Big Show. Wow, Big Show with HUGE pops from this crowd as he goes after DB with a chair. That could also be attributed to Bryan playing his character so well. Not every day you see the much larger athlete get cheered and the smaller guy get booed. Oh damn, AJ took a shot there. Match gets stopped. Crowd chants "she's OK!" probably because they want the match to continue. Instead, the episode ends.

Show plays the softy. DB called Show a bastard! Where was that during the opening promo?

I'm thinking it's a triple threat next week for the title instead: DB vs. Henry vs. Show. Fittingly, next week, Smackdown is in Sin City! So I guess it's appropriate that the odds not be in DB's favor, right?

1/12/12 Impact

Matt Morgan & Crimson vs. Robbie E and Robbie T: N/A (squash)

ODB  vs. Winter: *1/4

James Storm vs. Kurt Angle: ***1/4

Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy (World Title): ***1/2

The video package showed Bobby Roode basically caressing and kissing the title. Hell, why don't we have a marriage ceremony to make it official?

Roode comes out to slightly different music (just no lyrics in there now). Roode is convincing me that he's a main eventer. He's embracing his heel role real well. Loved the opening segment with him and Sting. Short, entertaining, and further showcasing the power struggle between boss and world champion.

This whole Jersey Shore knock-off thing is lame. But if it gives something for Rob Terry to do, then sure. Tag champs just took care of these two in a squash. Magnus and Joe jump the champs to make a statement. At least I liked that part.

Immortal still exists? I guess if the whole point is to make Garrett Bischoff relevant, then that's fine. The younger Bischoff is fighting back, and he has a new trainer. Sounds good to me.

Winter and Angelina...haven't seen them in a while. These two are real cool when you meet them in person. I actually had forgotten they were still together for storyline purposes. I don't think I'll ever get tired of ODB's character. She and Eric Young were clearly meant to work together. This stuff was entertaining, and while I'll likely never be able to take EY seriously again (unless he tries the whole World Elite thing), I'm cool with it. I think ODB's TKO finisher is called the "BAMF." Fitting.

AJ wants answers from Kaz. Kaz won't spill the beans. Daniels is excellent in his heel role. Very good stuff coming. I hope they don't drop the ball with this.

Storm calls Angle out. Angle says he has the night off. Sting says nope...Storm and Angle tonight! Angle has to go back, change into wrestling gear, and wrestle Storm. That's pretty impressive, even if actually pre-planned. The winner here faces the winner of the main event World Title match (presumably next week). Angle tried a few ways to win dirty that didn't work. This was a great match that shows just how talented these guys are. Storm won, which means Roode's likely winning (probably by crook) later in the night.

Roode and Bully Ray talk in the back. Yup, Bully's got Roode's back. Important to remember this....

Ha, Madison is calling Sting "Mr. Sting." That was good. Oh, and Madison faces Mickie next week. Ta ta, for now!

Main event title match, and if Roode gets intentionally DQ'd, the title changes hands. Roode's not a dummy, he'll find a loophole. Main event intros -- with Roode still on the entrance ramp. Nice crowd reaction at the start as Hardy goes after Roode. Dixie and her husband in the crowd. The early battle outside was apparently BEFORE the bell even rang. OW, Hardy tried for that Poetry in Motion-like move on the outside but his back went smack into the rail. Ref actually broke the count and started over when Roode got in the ring, so Hardy was able to get in at 9. This was excellent. The last few minutes were great, and the end made sense (Bully Ray taking the ref out).

Roode and Storm next week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1/12/12 Superstars

Wade Barrett vs. Yoshi Tatsu: *1/4

Evan Bourne vs. Michael McGillicutty: **1/2

Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly: 3/4*

Hmm, I think it's been a while since Wade Barrett was on Superstars. Standard match here to help get that Winds of Change (Bossman Slam) move over as a finisher.

I'm not a fan of the rule where you can be in the Royal Rumble match itself, plus another match on the card (for storyline purposes). So basically, Ziggler could be in the WWE Title match and then be in the Rumble later on if need be. It just takes a spot from another person who coulda been on the show. Now, I'd be for Ziggler pulling double duty, but there may be other people that should at least get on the show, if even for a few seconds of fame. There can only be one winner (unless we do that eyeroll-inducing double winner dealie all over again).

They showed the World title match from last week's Smackdown between Daniel Bryan and Big Show. Yup, blood was coming out of Bryan's mouth. It was a good match, considering the size disparity. The one thing I don't get...why did it take the ref so long to realize it was a DQ when Henry shoved Daniel?! He saw the whole thing, didn't he? Again, I'm loving the heel tendencies and characteristics DB is showing. Trust me, Bryan will be very good as a heel.

I've read reports that Bourne is in hot water for reasons unrelated to him smoking that marijuana stuff with R-Truth a few months ago. Still, he had a pretty lengthy match on Superstars with McGillicutty...and Evan won. So how is he in the doghouse? He's still one half of the tag champs and he's still winning.

 A divas match was the main event of Superstars? You don't see that one every week. This was maybe a five-minute match, which is still longer than many divas matches anyway. The whole Twin Magic switch thing has gotten extremely lame. KK didn't help matters here. They did the switch right in front of her face (behind the ref, of course), then decides to walk right into the trap. Really? And just hitting your face on the turnbuckle (with Nikki's feet on the ropes) gets a win? Horrible.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1/11/12 NXT

Alicia Fox vs. Maxine: 3/4*

Trent Barreta vs.Tyler Reks: *3/4

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. JTG & Tyson Kidd: *1/4

Johnny Curtis vs. Alex Riley: 1/2*

So who is coming back this week in Laredo, Texas? Oh, it's Alicia Fox, a current WWE diva who was a pro in the all-rooke divas episode (NXT season 3). Oh, right, she was Maxine's pro. Shows how much of an impression that season had on me. OK, Maxine wins points for snapping at Striker. Woohoo, we got a catfight! And we have a match. Average stuff here, but better than the usual divas match.

Barreta, Reks, Hawkins...these three are just gonna be a part of the same stuff each week for a while, aren't they? I guess if it leads to good matches, I won't have reason to complain. Of course, there's one problem...they may not have the requisite time to put on a good show to begin with. Barreta did his part for sure. Yup, high-flying, agile moves make me want to watch the match. Really? A rollup for the win? Oh well. At least there were entertaining moments. Yoshi saves Barreta from a double-team beatdown.

Tag match with Usos against JTG/Kidd was next. You know, whatever happened to the Tyson Kidd who had the crown of hair and had real good singles matches? I want that Tyson to return. The guy's real talented in the ring. Perhaps not the best mic worker, but whatever. Let the guy do what he does best. Good finish there. JTG ate a good superkick.

Well, at least A-Ry is being used on NXT. Good prototypical look for a wrestler. Maybe something will pan out for him in time. Meanwhile, this whole cheesy love triangle with Bateman, Curtis, and Maxine is just boring me to death. Bateman's acting (heck, everyone's acting) has gotten to the point where I just fast-forward through the skits. Curtis has a cool finisher, one that I could have envisioned myself doing if I had the strength and the size for a pro wrestler. This match didn't last long. Bateman's saying this whole thing ends next week. Oh thank God.

Striker now calls Titus "T.O."? Good grief. Darren Young's music is annoying as heck. D-Young insults Titus and his kids. Isn't this what was done a few weeks ago, when Darren got his ass kicked? Yeah, smart move to do it again. So these two will finally fight in a No-DQ match next week on the 100th NXT episode in Vegas. I seriously hope this season ends soon.

Monday, January 9, 2012

1/9/12 RAW

Sheamus & Santino Marella vs. Wade Barrett & Jinder Mahal: *1/4

Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston: 1/2*

Brodus Clay vs. Curt Hawkins: N/A (squash)

CM Punk vs. Jack Swagger: **1/2

Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena: 1/2*

I love Kane's promos. He embraces his demonic character and makes you feel the hate. Kane will be in the WWE Hall of Fame one day, guaranteed. Cena came out during Kane's promo and the two brawled to the back -- and even outside on the loading dock.

If this is indeed the start of Cena's very slow heel turn, then I'm all for it. Heck, Daniel Bryan is already displaying heel traits. If both of those guys go heel, prepare for some real good stuff -- especially with Bryan.

Tag match with Sheamus and Santino against Barrett and Jinder. Seriously, Lawler, if you really thought Santino was gonna win the Rumble, then you should be in the loony bin. Pretty sure it's just King's on-air character getting behind Santino, though. Brogue Kick and Cobra! Looks like Cole's act has toned down, finally. Maybe?

Vintage "Big Johnny" reference from Laurinaitis! *facepalm*

Who's the first WWE HOF inductee for the Class of 2012? WOOHOO, EDGE! Great video package. Wish he was still wrestling. It makes me want to watch some great Edge matches.

Zack Ryder and Eve! Zack's got the title, but I'm not sure what happens to him now. Instead of going into another major storyline right away, he may get an on-screen relationship with Eve?

Kofi and Daniel Bryan square off. King and Cole go back to the title match on Smackdown with DB and Big Show. Cole's trying to (calmly) show DB intentionally got himself DQ'd because he knew he couldn't beat Show. I'd honestly like to see how Cole reacts when DB makes a heel turn. Cole's never been on the DB bandwagon, yet Cole has more sympathy for the heels.

Oh, we have a ROH-like handshake before the match! DB basically beat Kofi in about two minutes. Man, there should be a rule where all DB matches go at least 15 minutes.

Ruh roh. Big Show. Well, we have a rematch (no DQ and no countout) on Smackdown for the title! Watch Daniel Bryan win again -- and Mark Henry is likely getting involved again.

My first thoughts on Brodus Clay's new gimmick: "Oh my frickin' God. What the HAYELLL! Flash Funk got huge!" I seriously didn't know whether to laugh or shake my head at this. In the end, I did a bit of both. Everyone seemed all taken by surprise...and honestly, this was not what I hoped for Brodus. Oh, and he beat Curt Hawkins in a minute. Lovely. The Funkasaurus lives!

Punk and Swagger about to start, but good ol' Big Johnny comes out! Laurinaitis says if Punk wins this match, Swagger and Vickie are banned from ringside at the PPV. Johnny also makes Ziggler vs. Cena for later in the night. And holy cow, Brodus Clay is trending worldwide on Twitter. WTF. Anyway, finally, we have a meaningful match on the card. Great back-and-forth action. Finish was very weird. Swagger clearly looked like he got the shoulder up before the three-count. Not sure what to make of that.

HOLY YES! The Four Horsemen are in the HOF! Way, way overdue. I love this. Note how the later Horsemen like Mongo and Benoit (hey, it's my blog and I'll name him if I want to) are not in here.

Poor Ricardo. He must go call R-Truth out. That was one amusing scared promo from Ricardo. R-Truth is funny as heck. Ricardo was pretty damn funny himself. Bravo here! Kept my attention and then some.

It's Jericho time! Vintage lighted jacket! He comes out and plays to the crowd again. Great fake crying job to get the crowd all riled up more. Again, no words are spoken. It's brilliant. I keep thinking there's no way he can be better the next time he makes some type of comeback/return. But it's real good stuff. Just wait for the heel turn, folks.

Eve comes out for a match with Beth, but Kane's music hits. Eve's scared, Ryder gets Eve and they get to their rental car -- which conveniently has a flat. Now, is Beth only off-camera so she can heal from that nasty black eye Alicia gave her?

Ziggler and Cena end the show. Not much time for this match, but to their credit, they got a lot of nice moves in. Ziggler shows off, Cena does his five moves of doom. Or so we think. Kane attacks Ryder. Cena goes to help and also gets taken out. End of show.

I just realized WWE comes back to Portland on Feb. 27. Won't be able to make it. Sad panda.

1/8/12 Genesis

Austin Aries vs. Kid Kash vs. Zema Ion vs. Jesse Sorensen (Four Corners Elimination; X-Division Title): ***1/2

Devon vs. D'Angelo Dinero: *1/2

Gunner vs. Rob Van Dam: *1/2

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

Abyss vs. Bully Ray (Monster's Ball): ****

Matt Morgan & Crimson vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus(Tag Team Titles): **1/4

Kurt Angle vs. James Storm: ***1/2

Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode (World Title): ***1/4

As expected, the X-Division match started the night off. The two young guys (Sorensen and Ion) squared off first, with some impressive stuff. Kash and Aries did the sneaky veteran tactics with rollups. Nice tower of doom in the corner. Sorensen with a nice springboard helo on all three guys. Ion pinned Kash with the 450 for the first elimination. Loved it when Aries did a 450 on Sorensen, to Ion's shock. Only two, though, so Ion got a good laugh in. I guess Kash got out first because the other three have a more high-flying moveset to wow the crowd. Interesting spot where Ion kept complaining and distracting the ref while Aries and Sorensen coulda gotten pins on one another. Ion interfered and likely cost Sorensen the win. Awesome super brainbuster to end it. A very fun match here.

Devon's sons are in pimpin' Pope gear now for this storyline. Devon comes out in a rage for this one with Pope.  Have to admit, Devon's lost a bunch of weight since his absolutely jacked look (or was it also a bunch of fat?) from a while back. Pope beat down on Devon as Devon's sons look on in a torn state. Pope got them in the ring. The sons checked on their dad instead, so Pope got some shots in on them. Devon did the vintage Warrior rope's on now! Pope missed the DDE, Devon with a reverse suplex slam for three. So wait, this is how the storyline likely ends? Just a ridiculously short conclusion, if so. They couldn't have drawn this out a bit more? That's TNA booking.

Velvet Sky made her case to Sting to be VP of the Knockouts. The "Velvet Touch" debuts. Hmm.

Looks like RVD's last hurrah in TNA was at Genesis. Not a bad match here, since RVD got to do his high-flying stuff. Flair distracted the ref, and Gunner nailed a DDT on Van Dam. The whole "wheeled out on a stretcher" angle was done. Gunner gets another notch on his victim list, while RVD likely jumps to WWE for one more run.

I'm pleased that Mickie and Gail are going at it for the title. Two of the better female workers in TNA. Mickie with the silver-colored boots tonight. Velvet's Touch was basically a shark cage with colorful bars. Yup, the cage was obviously for Madison. Velvet tossed Madison in the cage and up it went! Good physical match, and the crowd was into it. Unfortunately, the finish was horrible. The crowd wasn't shy with their unfavorable opinion.

Monster's Ball fittingly started with dueling chairs. Oh, we got a cheese grater in there! Predictably, this one went to the back. Oh man, Janice (Abyss' favorite weapon) returned! Beds of barbed wire! Abyss' arm into the barbed wire...and he's bleeding (duh). The mesh bags! Tacks and glass! Oh but first the cheese grater! OW, right to Bully's nether region! The look on his face is absolutely priceless. Chokeslam through the table only got two! WTF, a Rock Bottom from Bully on the bed of barbed wire! OW, senton splash sandwiching Abyss between barbed wire boards! It got two and that was nuts. Chokeslam on the tacks!!!! Holy crap...and it only got TWO. WTF. This is damn good. Abyss arms are lacerated. Kendo stick shots from Bully...many of them. Black Hole Slam on the barbed wire board for three! Wow. That was plain awesome. Finally, Monster's Ball lives up to its name.

During the tag title match, Bully Ray beat Abyss up in the back. Good stuff to the end when Morgan got the hot tag. Hellevator from Morgan...hadn't seen that in a while. Suicide dive from Joe onto Crimson! Nice finish with the signature double chokeslam tag finisher. Pretty good here.

Angle/Storm next. Good buildup on this storyline. Crowd was into this one as well. Lots of back-and-forth action, great flow to this one (would you expect anything else in an Angle match?). Did Storm just use an RKO/Diamond Cutter move?! It only got two, damn. See, this apparently is what happens when Angle doesn't like people stealing moves from active pro wrestlers. Similar moves HBK would use...the top-rope elbow from Storm, then the superkick. Angle with the dirty tactics. Ref pulled in front, low blow, and Angle's version of a superkick for three. Great stuff here, but just misses the four-star mark for me.

World title match was the main event. Roode, of course, slowed things down when he was in control. Roode tried to escape and get counted out, to no avail. Cheating and hitting a fisherman's suplex didn't work. Hardy hit what looked more like a stunner than a Twist of Fate. Whisper in the Wind for two! Again Roode tried to escape. Hardy chucked him back in the ring. Roode missed the belt shot in front of the ref, Hardy went for a Twist of Fate but the ref got involved because he didn't want Roode's face planted on the title. Ref moved the belt away, Roode tried to cheat to win again but the ref caught Bobby. Roode kicks the ref in the nuts to save his title. Good for heel heat, but seriously? Think of the viewers as well, TNA. Who'd want to pay to see the next PPV if we get that type of a finish?

Hardy looked real good in the world title match. Looks like things are going well in his latest comeback. He was flying around, hitting his usual high-risk moves and playing to the crowd. Hoping that brother Matt conquers his own demons so I can see both Hardys on TV again. They were both cool when I took a photo with them last year at a TNA event in Salem.

This was a solid PPV, more so than others I've seen in recent times. ***1/2

Friday, January 6, 2012

1/6/12 Smackdown

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

Hornswoggle vs. Heath Slater (Over the Top Rope Challenge): DUD

Hunico vs. Ted DiBiase: *1/2

Santino Marella vs. Drew McIntyre: *

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

Tamina vs. Natalya: 1/4*

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show (World Heavyweight Title): *3/4

It's the first Smackdown of 2012, with a couple of big matches lined up!

Booker and Cody start things off. Cody skins the cat in this one, a great show of agility. Crowd is really jacked for this match. Nice moonsault from Cody but it looks like he tweaked his knee. Doesn't deter him, though. It's clear from this one that Booker's still got it. Whoa, Cody kicks out of the Scissors Kick! Crowd really thought it was over there. Beautiful Disaster wins it. Very good stuff here. A huge win for Cody, and I do mean huge. He needs this win to make him that much more of a legit threat.

Cody looks like he's moving on to feud with brother Goldust. Good confrontation in the back between the two.

Aw, Zack Ryder is not gonna be Long's assistant anymore. He nominates Santino to take his place. Santino faces Drew McIntyre tonight. Uh oh, Drew's gonna lose again.

I saw a video package for AJ. Maybe they're trying to push AJ real soon? I'd really like that. Speaking of which, AJ's with Alicia in the back. DANGIT, Daniel Bryan in a storyline with AJ? Damn you, DB. I want your job.

An over-the-top-rope challenge with Slater and Hornswoggle? Seriously?! This match was a joke. Bigger picture was Gabriel saving Hornswoggle on the post-match attack. Slater and Gabriel in a feud, I guess?

A few good spots in the match between Hunico and DiBiase. Mathews calls DiBiase a Southern gentleman? So Florida's in the south, but I wouldn't really equate that with the southern culture.... I really dig the low-rider bicycle. Check out the submission-pinning combination from Hunico to end it. That was unique and awesome.

Barrett cuts a promo, all proud that he took Orton out for good. Sheamus comes out, so he'll be feuding with Barrett in the meantime. I'm digging Sheamus' face promos. A good balance of fun and seriousness. Wait, Jinder Mahal? Good sequence here. Nice way to put over the Winds of Change slam. Jinder picks the bones with that Punjabi Clutch.

ROFL, really? They put "Shortest World Title Reign Ever" in the tale of the tape between Show and Bryan? That's sad. They coulda referenced he was the first WWE/World/ECW (WWE version) champ, but nope.

Average match here with Santino and Drew. Come on, you thought Drew was winning? Vintage trombone celebration! I think Drew loses next week as well, gets taken off TV, then comes back with a vengeance. It could even be McIntyre/Long storyline all over again.

Air Boom back in action against Epico/Primo. Again, Bourne is apparently in the doghouse for comments made regarding R-Truth and their suspensions. If this is true, it's not surprising Bourne's the one getting pinned here. At least I will admit Cole has toned down his act lately.

Good face-to-face showdown between Show and Bryan in the back.

Oh, I'm really liking this. A divas showdown between two daughters of legendary WWE superstars! Natalya and Tamina! Tamina's got new music. Good video packages of Neidhart and Snuka. The match didn't even go two minutes. Whole point was to get Tamina some momentum.

World title time. Mark Henry's out for this one, so he's likely interfering. Main event intros. Ha, Henry tells Josh Mathews to shut up...awesome. Big Show dominates early. Like DB trying for the countout win. Pretty good match despite the size difference. Mark Henry pushes DB in front of the ref. DB gets the DQ win and gloats like it means the world to him. I can't help but see this as a heel move from a guy that's supposed to be a face. Blurs the line a bit more between heel and face, huh? People still think Show will go heel, and that may be the case. However, I'd love a DB heel turn. I want to hear "I've got till FIVE!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

1/5/12 Impact

Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James & Traci Brooks (Knockouts Tag Team Titles): *1/2

Gunner vs. Rob Van Dam: *1/2

Zema Ion & Jesse Sorensen vs. Austin Aries & Kid Kash: **1/4

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. AJ Styles & Kazarian: *1/2

Jeff Hardy, James Storm, & Abyss vs. Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle, & Bully Ray: *3/4

It's the first Impact of 2012! The big names start the show with a promo: Sting comes out first. Then Hardy, Storm, Abyss, Roode, Angle, and Bully Ray. Basically, a six-man tag tonight for the main event!

Knockouts Tag Title match kicks off the wrestling portion of the show. Fast start to the match. Decent stuff here. Good physicality, predictable heel ending.

Garret Bischoff is back as a ref after being off camera for a few weeks. Welcome to the TNA roster, Eric Bischoff's son! Now make a name for yourself.

Eric Young is weird. But we already knew that.

RVD and Gunner square off. Sort of a botch from both RVD and Gunner, RVD moonsaulting right on Gunner's head. Coulda had a serious injury there. Anyway, it wasn't about pinfalls. Double countout here. Gunner wants to piledrive RVD on the concrete, but reversal! RVD missed that spin guillotine kick on the guardrail. D'Lo sighting!

X-Division tag match. Actually looking forward to seeing this one. Two vets against two young guys, and neither team really cares to tag with one another. Good showing here, best match on the night so far. Lots of high-flying and good use of tense, awkward tagging moments.

Wild Card tag tournament ends tonight, with the winners becoming #1 contenders for the tag gold. Christopher Daniels sighting before the match, which probably means something's up. Late in the match, Daniels appears as AJ looks for the tag. Kaz gets off the apron, leaving AJ high and dry. Kaz looks like he's being forced to do something he doesn't want to do. AJ gets pinned and Joe/Magnus move on.

This AJ/Daniels angle looks to be a good one, since it now involves Kaz. It freshens up the storyline and you have three main event workers. Pretty stoked to see how this one goes.

Six-man tag finishes the night. Roode is quickly looking like he could have a reign like HHH in 2000 for WWE, just having a killer reign at the top. Main event intros for a six-man tag? That's unusual. OK stuff here. Brian Hebner threw the match out because he couldn't regain control. Don't worry, it was meant to be all chaotic anyway. Heels look like they got the last laugh tonight. At least one of the faces should win on Sunday, but I'm thinking Roode retains. Keep the belt on him for a few more months. Build him up as the baddest heel and throw in some real good matches. Roode's on the best roll of his career. Don't stop that momentum.

1/5/12 Superstars

Evan Bourne vs. Epico: **1/4

Mason Ryan vs. JTG: 1/2*

Yoshi Tatsu vs. Tyson Kidd: *3/4

Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson: *

I just read that Evan Bourne is in hot water with management over revealing details about him and R-Truth with respect to the Wellness Policy violations. Bourne was suspended right away, while Truth was suspended a bit later (likely due to the major storyline the latter was in). HHH is reportedly not a big fan of Evan, while Stephanie McMahon is a big supporter. I'm guessing Kofi Kingston (not wanting to make him an indirect victim of circumstance) is the only reason why Air Boom hasn't lost the tag titles yet.

Real good match between Bourne and Epico. I wouldn't have guessed Bourne's in the doghouse.

No Tamina accompanying JTG this week. Basic match here, JTG didn't have a shot.

Hey, Tyson and Yoshi are going at it again! Nice agile moves here. A fairly straightforward match with cooler spots.

Jinder's turban and non-English promos are sparking "U.S.A." chants. I guess whatever gets a reaction, right? I liked Zeke better with a shaved head. A rare win for Jinder here. Did the announcers say Punjabi Plunge? I'm sure they meant a Punjabi Clutch, right? In any event, I wasn't really a fan of this one. Too slow and basic.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1/4/12 NXT

Alex Riley vs. Michael McGillicutty: **1/4

Maxine vs. Kaitlyn: DUD

Trent Barreta vs. Curt Hawkins: **

Derrick Bateman vs. Darren Young: *

Now WWE's resorted to bringing back NXT alums. Let's start with Michael McGillicutty! Really...the natural? Generic music and not the best gimmick. Now Alex Riley? He's really fallen out of favor to be back on NXT, huh? A-Ry with the cheap pop. Brawl! We got a match! Regal can't say "McGillicutty." Not a bad match here by any means. Actually better than I thought it would be.

I heard AJ's music play, but they advertise Kaitlyn vs. Maxine. Huh?

Speaking of the divas match, it's next. Kaitlyn and Maxine...I still shudder from the Season 3 "memories." Loving Kaitlyn's ring attire. Going with the athletic look, with short shorts. Works for me! Maxine breaks out a standing Dragon Sleeper and it's over. Sounds about right...a quick match.

Hawkins and Barreta wrestle...and Reks is still playing video games on his portable gaming device (didn't really look or care to see what it was). Again, decent here. Seems like this is the place for the lower midcard talent.

Announcers say Titus will not be here this week as he sells last week's beatdown. Young continues his decent heel work.

Main event doesn't last very long. Maxine and Curtis distract Bateman with the "we're getting married in two weeks in Vegas" dealie. Cheap win and a lame finish to what was otherwise a somewhat watchable show -- well, at times.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thoughts on Jericho's Return

Late last night, I had more time to reflect and think about Chris Jericho's return to WWE programming and how all his "1/2/12" return videos tie in with possible storylines. As of this writing, I have read virtually zero reports on the subject matter (since I've really been busy with my other endeavors). So basically, you're getting my own theories to the subject -- and any similarities with other authors is pure coincidence.

Long story short, in my opinion, Jericho looks to be setting up a feud with CM Punk -- and Y2J will ultimately play the role of his awesome heel character from the last time he was with the company.

The return videos all make sense now. Take a look at the fourth return video. The boy represents Chris Jericho, creating his own original claim (think "I am the best in the world at what I do," all his storylines, and his PG-edgy character). After Jericho left, Punk has made similar claims and done similar things ("I'm the best wrestler in the world," his PG-edgy character, etc.). Not surprisingly, the girl in the video represents CM Punk, the seemingly innocent (yet conniving) person that looks to "take the spotlight" for Jericho's "original" work.

Now let's go to the 1/2/12 RAW. The final return video played. The lights went out. After what seemed like an eternity, a jacket lit up in the familiar Jericho pose, then the music and Titantron confirmed it all. The crowd went nuts. Jericho played the enthusiastic face, basking in the glow of the crowd adulation. For a good 10 minutes, Jericho had the crowd in the palm of his hands -- without saying one word on the mic. Everyone was basically waiting for him to speak, but he never did. Instead, he walked to the back, still slapping fives with people. Some of the crowd started to turn on Jericho, yet the majority cheered.

Over the next few weeks, Jericho may continue his (mainly) silent ways, or he could even have a couple backstage run-ins with Punk, wishing him well in his WWE title match with Ziggler at the Royal Rumble. In either event, I would think it's wise to keep Jericho off the mic for a bit here.

Fast forward to the Rumble. Punk and Ziggler are apparently having another nice WWE title match. Finishes may vary, but mine goes like this: we have a ref bump. Ziggler goes for his ZigZag or the sleeper. Punk counters into the GTS. Unfortunately, no ref. I'll assume Vickie got ejected to the back (or equivalent), so Punk won't have to worry about her.

All of a sudden, Jack Swagger comes down and tries to interfere. Swagger beats Punk down for a bit. Jericho comes out and takes Swagger out. Punk is getting to his feet, and the ref is stirring. Ziggler's still out. Jericho and Punk look at each other for a little bit, then "out of nowhere," a Codebreaker to Punk! Crowd and announcers are all shocked. Jericho leaves to a chorus of boos, while Ziggler covers a fallen Punk for three to become the new WWE champ.

This sets up the long-rumored feud between Punk and Jericho, which takes place at WM and likely extends into early summer. Take this for what it's just might occur this way.

Monday, January 2, 2012

1/2/12 RAW

Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes: *

Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella: 1/4*

Sheamus vs. The Miz: N/A

CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Title): **1/4

Nikki Bella & Brie Bella vs. Kelly Kelly & Eve Torres: DUD

John Cena, Big Show, & Zack Ryder vs. Mark Henry, Kane, & Jack Swagger: *1/4

And the first RAW of 2012 is underway in Memphis! It it was anything close to last year's (starting off with Miz/Morrison in an amazing free TV match), then I'm all for it.

Gee, Cena's been in WWE for 10 years? Time flies. Pretty interested to see how this story with Kane materializes.

Hey, Daniel Bryan opens the wrestling portion of the show! Nothing's changed in 2012 so far...Cole's still putting DB down. Not a very long match here, unfortunately. A relatively "fluke" finish (probably what Cole would say) and the crowd wasn't really into it much.

Miz says he will not be a sitting duck for R-Truth. Wow, that was random. R-Truth popping out and quacking like a duck. Maybe he also realized the Ducks won the Rose Bowl tonight against Wisconsin.

Wade Barrett is proud of "injuring" Orton and putting him out for a while (Orton's just out to heal a nagging back injury and still could be back for the Rumble). Ha, Santino is gonna be jobber fodder for Wade tonight. Santino said his resolution was to lose 20 pounds and get down to 213. Yup, five laps around the ring will help with that. Barrett's Bossman slam is now the Winds of Change side slam. Love how that "Winds of Change" dealie came from a kickass promo he did on NXT.

Miz tries to make quick work of Sheamus, but not to be. This really wasn't a match. Truth was in the crowd and got involved. Vintage water bottle smack! Miz has a shoulder bruise from last week, so maybe this was done to make sure he didn't make it worse.

The middle of the show featured the WWE title match. Rarely defended on RAW, eh? Well, not as much as PPVs, yes. Main event intros for this one. Big "CM Punk" chants for this one. Ziggler's win over Punk mentioned at the start, so is that a sign Punk retains? Basic amateur wrestling starts it off, which favors Ziggler.What's the deal with Cole and him using the word "dominating" almost all the time? New verbage, please! The match delivered for storyline purposes...not real great. A few near falls, a variety of moves and counters.Oh, of course, Laurinaitis comes out again, this time to deal with a turnbuckle pad. Thus, ref doesn't see Ziggler tap to the Anaconda Vice. Laurinaitis "low bridges" Punk over the top and the champ's counted out. Ziggler celebrates with the title even though he didn't win it. Why King never mentioned that over Cole right then and there is beyond me (King mentioned it later as the Bellas came out).

Divas get their time in a tag match. This time, KK is the one getting beat down. Eve's offense is quite basic except for the moonsault. Twin magic from the Bellas and a win via a botched rollup. Yawn.

Punk's pissed at Laurinaitis. Oh wait, they let "bitch" on the air! That's not PG! The whole IWC goes bonkers!

We have the final video of that whole "1/2/12" dealie. I must say, these have all been very well done. So who is it? There are a few "Y2J" signs out. Oh, we got a blackout! A lot of "Y2J" chants start up. A familiar outline on what appears to be a jacket.... Woohoo Chris Jericho!

Huge pop for Jericho. Basically, he's the enthusiastic face again, and he slaps fives with ringside fans to extend the return. YSJ trending on Twitter! More playing to the crowd. Jericho's really got everyone in the palm of his hands. Jericho plays to the crowd the entire time and doesn't cut a promo. Hmm. Interesting. Woulda wanted him to say something, though.

Six-man elimination tag ends the show. Funny that Justin Roberts doesn't do the enthusiastic, elongated "John Cena" introduction now. Wait, no Kane coming out? Otunga comes out instead. No Kane, so it's a handicap match. Cena with a dropkick! Still doesn't stop the mixed chants. Show and Henry doesn't last long, since I think Mark's still got the bad groin. Both are eliminated, even though Show used a chair on Mark. Officially a double countout from Cole. Huh? Ending was basic with Cena hitting his usual comeback moves and an AA for Swagger.

Kane music and lights! Kane comes through the ring! Woohoo! He takes out Ryder and Cena. Kane tries to pull Zack back in that "abyss"-like hole in the ring. Cena saves Zack. Explosion from the hole! I liked the ending here. I can see something similar down the line that could lead to Cena's heel turn. Unlikely, but possible.

In the meantime, welcome back, Chris Jericho. Looking forward to this latest return.