Monday, April 30, 2012

4/29/12 Extreme Rules

Randy Orton vs. Kane (Falls Count Anywhere): ***1/2

Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler: *3/4

Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show (Tables; IC Title): *1/2

Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (2 out of 3 Falls; World Heavyweight Title): ****

Ryback vs. Aaron Relic & Jay Hatton: N/A (squash)

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (Chicago Street Fight; WWE Title): ****1/2

Beth Phoenix Layla vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Title): *1/4

John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules): ***3/4

We're in Chicago for Extreme Rules! Expect an awesome crowd!

We start off with Kane/Orton. Not surprising anymore that family members get involved (whether real or storyline), but it's at least a way to extend the feud. Doesn't take long for the action to spill to the outside. Lead pipe early on, which Orton uses. Into the stands! Huge shots from both guys, heavy barricade use. Several minutes in the stands...even going UP into the crowd even more. They make it to the stage and more physicality there. Pin attempts all over the place; glad they're really making use of the stipulation. Now to the backstage area! HA, unused talent watching Extreme Rules! Ryder gets involved! Hey, what was the last smart move Ryder made? Looks like the cameraman got too close...went flying! OK, back to the ring, I guess. A "Colt" sign in the stands...Colt Cabana, me thinks. Orton with a chair. Several shots to Kane! Announce table time? Hangman's DDT from the announce table (the American table, BTW)! Only two there. Already a great match. RKO countered, Orton into post, Kane gets two. Orton superplex from the top...only two! RKO...countered! Kane chokeslam...TWO! Crowd loves that one. Chair placed in the center. Tombstone? Countered...RKO on the chair! That gets three. Awesome opener.

Teddy's pouring champagne for Eve and Laurinaitis. Vintage cartoon-y ring! Laurinaitis talking with HHH? Nice ringtone for that one, Johnny.

Brodus has a PPV match! And Hornswoggle is there again. Guess it's something to do. Brodus faces Dolph tonight. Swagger in a nice suit. Any stipulation in this one? Not sure. Crowd is fired up for this one. This is Brodus' first non-squash match since his new gimmick started. Swagger runs over Brodus for heel heat. Brodus powers out of the Ziggler sleeper to start a comeback. Swagger knocked off the apron. Ziggler runs into a headbutt. Brodus splash gets three.

Show and Cody find out what the stipulation is.Teddy spins the wheel. Tables! Cody and Eve basically blame Teddy.

Show starts off a house of fire. HUGE back body drop from Show, but that's natural coming from a 7-footer. Lots of huge Show chest slaps to Cody. Table is set up on the outside, and a table now in the ring. Show props that second table in the corner. Cody springs off the table with the disaster kick! Very nice. Show runs over Cody after that. Cody mentions something about his hip. Show on the apron, Cody with a dropkick. Show's foot goes through a table. Show with one of those "oh shit" looks. Ref sees it and Cody's the champ. Again, Show doesn't need the title, so this was a good title change, and a nice way to at least make it look like a fluke. Match really wasn't anything special, though. Show will probably get his rematch, but would be unsuccessful if so. Cody needs new challengers. End this feud.

Post-match, Show spears Cody. Chokeslam through a table. And then Cody's picked up...and thrown through the table on the outside. Crowd loves this stuff. Cody walks off under his own power, and he gets a few pops for that.

DB confident for his 2 out of 3 falls match and does his YES YES YES spiel. AJ shown in the background. DB gets a huge pop. Those "YES!" chants are awesome. Sheamus with an "18 Seconds" T-shirt. Main event intros from Lilian. At least DB will last longer than 18 seconds here.

DB avoided a Brogue Kick early on. That close to one fall. Nice touch. "Daniel Bryan" chants. Very nice chain wrestling. Rolling senton from Sheamus got two. Sheamus with a TEXAS CLOVERLEAF, WHOA. That was a bit unexpected. DB with a small comeback, but Sheamus caught him off the apron and planted him into the barricade. DB caught Sheamus on the top. Nice job by DB to work on Sheamus' left shoulder. Pace slowed now. DB stays on offense with knees and kicks. Euro uppercuts from DB. Yeah ref, DB's got 'til FIVE! Sheamus mounts a spirited comeback. Sheamus counters a DB top-rope hurricanrana and scores the battering ram for a close two. 12 minutes in and no fall yet. YES Lock countered a couple of times. Sheamus' left shoulder goes into the post, and DB attacks that. Relentless assault on Sheamus, and DB ends up getting DQ'd. Fall #1 to Sheamus about 15 minutes in.

DB then gets the YES Lock in. Sheamus refuses to tap! He keeps fighting! Sheamus then passes out, so fall #2 quickly to DB. Ringside doc comes in, then two docs. Nice real-life touch. DB panders to the crowd. Cole somehow is amazed at DB's strategy. Like we've never seen something similar before....

Sheamus says he can go. DB charges...BROGUE KICK! Well, at least it was called that way. Slow crawl! Only two! Crowd is going nuts. DB on the comeback...HUGE kick to the head for two! DB to top, but Sheamus catches him. Superplex blocked by DB headbutts! Diving headbutt missed! DB misses the dropkick in the corner. Sheamus back with hammer blows. Irish Curse backbreaker! Brogue Kick for three! Just an outstanding match. Brilliant!

Santino and Khali watching Ryback squash. How the hell can those two communicate with each other?! It's a handicap match this time, but it won't matter. Why the hell do these jobbers even get on the damn mic? They are annoying. Ryback squashes them in little time. Oh a nice jawbreaker move on one of those guys! OK, next!

Time for the WWE Title match! Chicago Street Fight! Jericho out first so Punk can get the HUGE pop. New shirt for Punk! Punk's sister and mother in the front row. Main event intros.

Crowd is BONKERS before the match. It's street clothes for both. Punk grew his beard out a bit more for this. It'll just be a fight here. Punches and kicks to start. Punk has a chair, then a kendo stick. Punk tees off on Jericho. Punk swings for the fence but Jericho gets out of the ring. Chasing around the ring doesn't work for Jericho. ROFL, Jericho holds onto the ref's leg and takes a cheap thumb to the eye. Wouldn't matter if the ref saw it anyway. Jericho on the attack with the kendo stick. Fighting in the timekeeper's area. Huge chops from Punk. Running knee missed and Punk to the outside. Jericho beats Punk in front of sis and mom. SISTER SLAPS JERICHO! Jericho charges and Punk cuts him off. Punk has gone bonkers. Jericho thrown through one of those announce table covers...cover splits in half! There goes Punk's shirt. Punk piledriver countered by Jericho. Jericho hits Punk in the back with a TV monitor. Wooden announce table cover shattered over Punk's back. OK, so we now know it's wood. Back in the ring, Jericho gets two. Punk tries a slingshot top-rope move but slips. Jericho looks like he woulda caught him with the kendo stick anyway. Jericho with lots of taunting to Punk.

Jericho looks under the ring...and gets a can of beer? Nice. He opens it Sandman-style and pours it on Punk. He gets another can of beer, but Punk gets to him this time. More kendo stick shots. Swinging neckbreaker. Running high knee in the corner, then bulldog! Vintage Punk there. Kendo stick goes south on Jericho. GTS countered. Walls countered. Snap powerslam on Jericho gets two. Punk to the top, but Jericho gets to Punk. Superplex blocked. Mongolian chop knocks Jericho off. Savage elbow for two! Randy Savage chants. GTS countered, bulldog by Jericho. Lionsault...Punk got to him! GTS attempt, Jericho out of that! Punk into the propped-up chair in the corner, rollup for two! Both guys are exhausted. Codebreaker out of nowhere! Jericho with an evil grin. Wall of Jericho, Lion Tamer style! Then into Boston Crab style. Punk crawling to ropes, crowd is going nuts. Punk to ropes, but no rope breaks here in a street fight. Punk with a FIRE EXTINGUISHER?! YES! That was awesome. Jericho wipes his eyes with the ref shirt. Back to the announce table. Big kick and Jericho's on the table. Punk on the top, nearly falls off (oops), ELBOW THROUGH THE TABLE! YES! I'm loving this. They get back in the ring. Punk covers...TWO! Anaconda Vice! Remember, no rope breaks! Jericho grabs the kendo stick and hits Punk to get out. The crowd is standing.

Jericho with the stick. Punk with the chair. Chair shot from Punk. Codebreaker to Punk using the chair! TWO! WTF. Jericho furious. Oh snap! Jericho tries for the GTS! Countered! Jerichointo the exposed turnbuckle! Punk with a GTS for THREE! What a match. Wow. Punk with a nice leap into the stands after the match to celebrate.

We see the highlights from the U.S. Title match on the pre-show. Santino retained against Miz. I didn't rate that one, as a note.

So we get word that Beth isn't medically cleared. Still selling that injury well, love it. Bellas think they are free for the night, but Eve says the title's on the line anyway against a mystery opponent. I bet a ton of people thought it could be just one person.

Bellas out to the ring. And it's...LAYLA?! WTF. Crowd unfortunately doesn't know what to think right now. Layla's looking great, knee brace on the right knee. Fast-paced stuff, but crowd wants Kharma. Brie on the outside takes Layla's right knee out. Nice crossbody from Layla for two. Brie on the apron and gets knocked off. Weird rollups get maybe one or two. Big spin kick knocks Nikki out. Ref holds Layla back. Twin magic time. Brie goes for the facebuster, Layla counters with the Layout for three! Nikki in shock, and frankly, so am I. Definitely didn't expect Layla to win the title her first night back.

Video package for Cena and Lesnar shown. Extreme Rules is that different from a street fight?

Lesnar out first. He's in MMA-style gear with all his sponsor logos. He does look a little doughy, but still a lot of muscle. Cena has his usual mixed reaction, and he has his chain on.

Bell rings. Cena charges and Lesnar takes him down. It'll be a brawl all night. Lesnar with HUGE elbows on Cena. Huge clothesline. The match is barely 10 seconds in, and Cena's ALREADY busted open! That third elbow DECKED Cena. Cena takedown. Lesnar fights out and pummels Cena. It's more MMA style here, fellas. Brock with about a dozen shots to Cena's head. If this was MMA, Lesnar would have won by TKO already.

Ref stops it for a bit so the doc can stop that bleeding. Oh no, not Cena! Cena's up -- and Lesnar takes him down again. Total domination by Brock early on. Lesnar with MORE punches and knees. OW. Cena to the floor. Normal guys would be unconscious by now. Cena struggles to pull himself back in the ring. He's got a good cut on the left side.

Cena gets an elbow and tries for the AA. Brock gets out and hits a couple of German suplexes. Cena throws big elbows. Shoulderblock into Lesnar -- and ref Charles Robinson gets taken out as well. Ref bump NOW?! Lesnar with a shoulder tackle of his own. Brock with more shots to the open wound. Brock then attacks Cena's left arm. Huge armbar, then tossed into the barricade. Brock now with Cena's chain. Oh snap. Brock throws it down...he doesn't need any more weapons. Lesnar wraps the chain around Cena's legs. Cena struggles to get up, and gets clotheslined back down. Cena put on the top to get beat up some more. He ends up upside down around the ringpost. Brock is completely dominating. Not sure if I've ever seen Cena get whipped like this. Oh, and the ref's still down.

Cena's trying to get shots in, and Brock just tosses him into the steps. Brock just tossed the ref back in the ring. Cena with the chain, Brock says no and chucks the chain to the outside. Cena tries the AA, Lesnar counters! F-5! And the ref got KO'd when Lesnar completed his finisher. Oops. New ref! And naturally, Lesnar only gets two. Poor ref #2 gets destroyed. Brock's getting more money!

Brock gets the bottom (heavier) portion of the steps in the ring. Two more refs are at ringside now. Brock on the steps as Cole says Lesnar's like the King of the WWE right now. Cena "you can't see me" and he fights back again. Lesnar gets the upper hand AGAIN and now the Kimura lock on the steps -- with a leg scissors. Cena's screaming in pain. The crowd is LOUD. I mean LOUD. SuperCena arrives. He picks Lesnar up and slams him on the steps to break the hold. Cena to the top rope for the legdrop, but he misses and rolls to the outside. Lesnar momentarily doesn't know where Cena is but then spots him. Back on the steps as the king, eyeing his prey. Cena on the apron. Lesnar off the ropes, off the steps, and flies over the top into Cena! Brock holds his knee, but Cena is completely nuked. Brock's smiling that he's hurt. Taunts Cena. Gonna do it again! Lesnar off the ropes -- and Cena DECKS him with a chained-right hand!

Holy crap, the crowd is VERY LOUD. Going BONKERS. Brock's busted open from that chain shot! AA on the steps... and that got THREE?!?! WTF.

Trainers attend to Cena in the ring. Brock is woozy but refuses any help. He struggles to even stand and walk.

Cena on the mic after the show to thank the fans. He says he's probably taking a vacation. Whether the vacation was already planned or he legitimately got injured, it was a nice way to end the show.

I'm honestly unsure what to think of Cena/Lesnar. On the one hand, there's a lot of good because Lesnar absolutely pummeled Cena. I honestly have never seen John legitimately beat down in such a way. Lesnar even walked out without medical help, which shows his unbelievable toughness. Finally, the crowd was JACKED. People wanted extreme, and they got it. Blood in the PG era is very rare, and they let it happen here.

However, I totally despised Cena winning with basically just two moves: a hard chained right hand and an Attitude Adjustment. After a beating that could have killed a normal man, SuperCena rose again and felled the former UFC heavyweight champ. While Lesnar can still say he probably knocked Cena out of action, it likely would have been better had Brock won. It's just unrealistic to think two big moves could keep Lesnar down like that.

People may say Lesnar and Cena shouldn't get a huge rating since it really was a fight...not a wrestling match. It was never advertised as a wrestling match. Brock is a fighter out to destroy people. He nuked Cena. That Kimura he had Cena in more than once was just deadly. Do I think it was four stars? Not at this time, but it's VERY close.

The PPV, as a whole, was a huge success. It'll be up there as one of the best of the year, even when taking other promotions into account. ****

Friday, April 27, 2012

4/27/12 Smackdown

Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio: *1/4

Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox: 1/4*

Titus O'Neil & Darren Young vs. Yoshi Tatsu & Ezekiel Jackson: *

Antonio Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd: N/A (squash)

Cody Rhodes vs. Great Khali: 1/2*

Ryback vs. Jacob Kaye: N/A (squash)

Sheamus vs. Mark Henry: **

48 hours from Extreme Rules in Chicago. In Grand Rapids for Smackdown! Josh Mathews not on Smackdown, either. See, this is how you sell injuries.

Daniel Bryan time! Cue #yesyesyes on Twitter! He cut the umbilical cord! 18-second losses don't count! Yup, he called Henry/Sheamus match on RAW down the middle, all right. Sure. Nice heel move to have the three-count in slow motion. Hey, did DB say SI? SI! SI! SI! Q&A time! YES YES YES!

Hey, it's Alberto Del Rio! Will they switch to SI SI SI?! ROFL! They do! Thank you, Ricardo!

Oh snap, now Big Show? Is it "yes" or "si"? And poor Ricardo is now all alone with Big Show. Ricardo...NO!!!!! That was awesome. Chokeslam time, and Ricardo is nuked.

Goes right into Show/ADR. Oh, Show and Cody have their match determined by a wheel (similar to RAW Roulette, I guess) at Extreme Rules. That Big Show spear must hurt like hell. Cody-ference ends that. Kendo stick and chair for Cody. Doesn't work. Belt shot no-sold. Show angered and whips Cody with the leather belt twice. Wondering if Show retains now. Could be a Cody fluke win. Show doesn't need the IC title, in my opinion.

Laurinaitis tells Eve to make any changes she sees fit to improve Smackdown. Name tags? Pbbft. Teddy Long reports to Eve now. Yeah, go get a name tag. Lame.

Booker's right, now we can tell the two Bellas apart! Maybe. As for Beth, best selling of an injury from anyone in a long time. Had me fooled. I just don't understand why they'd give her a rematch at Extreme Rules. Let Nikki beat some other person. Bellas gloat the next night on RAW, Kharma nukes both Bellas. Easy, right?

Nikki faces Alicia tonight. Alicia has one-legged dropkicks. Twin magic, and it's pretty much over. Yeah, we all expected that, right? Probably will happen at Extreme Rules as well. Match was what, less than two minutes? Sounds about right.

Ohhh...exclusive interview with Orton by Michael Cole. Really, now?

Titus and D-Young with Yoshi in the back. See, they bowed to Yoshi! Oops, Zeke is Yoshi's tag partner.

Nice maid outfit, Teddy. YES! Antonio Cesaro gets a tryout match! Woohoo! Teddy gets to do commentary...only if Laurinatis allows it. People Power T-shirt!

Yoshi was basically fed to the wolves tonight. Nice tag finisher from Titus and Darren. Was Zeke even legally in the match? Didn't see it....

Time for the Orton exclusive interview. Cole had to throw in the Laurinaitis edict: no wrestler-on-announcer contact, or face suspension. Time for controversial questions. Nice video package for Orton and Kane. Crowd wants Randy to RKO Cole anyway.

WTF, Jinder Mahal interrupts? Prepare to die. And sure enough, Jinder eats an RKO.

Hey, Aksana gets to be ring announcer for the Antonio debut match! Good opponent with Tyson Kidd. Cesaro's story: former rugby player kicked out of the league for excessive aggression. Not ruthless aggression? Virtually a total squash here. I love Cesaro's finisher. Impressive.

Teddy in the ring to raise Antonio's hand.Antonio and Aksana make out in the ring in front of Teddy. Teddy face is priceless.

Video package hyping Lesnar and Cena. With that Edge pep talk and Cena breaking out his old lock chain, I'm pretty interested here.

Cody and Khali have a short match. No, not even Cody can make me watch most of a Khali match. Sorry.

AW wants an answer from Primo/Epico/Rosa by Monday. You'd think they'd accept. Vintage Ryback sighting!

Now the Usos are playing the fanboy roles as Ryback squashes another hometown hero. Lots of confidence, but he gets nuked. And holy hell, was Kaye nuked. JBL would be proud of that Ryback lariat.

Footage of AJ snapping on Natalya last week. AJ now in the back with Kaitlyn. AJ with a huge bitchslap to Kaitlyn. YES YES YES. I love it. This could be AJ's new gimmick. Release a dark side of her during matches.

You remember when Festus would go nuts when the bell rings? OK, not exactly like that, but WWE's playing it like AJ doesn't know what she's really doing to the other divas. Could be a slow build to transition her to a heel. Again, I reiterate: YES YES YES (if that comes true).

Time for the main event. Sheamus controls things early. Back-and-forth stuff after that. Henry threw Sheamus into the barricade, ouch. Good comeback from Sheamus. Nice roll-through from the top rope from the Great White, into a Brogue Kick for three.

DB appears on the stage to "applaud" Sheamus. "18 seconds." Sheamus even uses "YES YES YES..." to close the show.

I've read Sheamus may retain on Sunday so they can get Sheamus fresh people to feud with. DB will eventually get back to the title picture in that scenario, just not immediately. Whatever works, and as long as WWE continues to capitalize on the "YES YES YES" popularity.

4/26/12 Impact

Devon vs. Bully Ray (TV Title): **

Eric Bischoff vs. Jeremy Borash: N/A

Kurt Angle vs. Anarquia: N/A (squash)

Robbie E vs. Alex Silva (Gut Check): *

Brooke Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim: *1/4

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Jeff Hardy & Mr. Anderson (Tag Team Titles): **

It's the first Open Fight Night and Gut Check time on Impact Wrestling! I'll give it a shot for now, but Hogan better come out, all systems go.

All the champs (sans Devon, who defends his TV title each week anyway) are with Hogan. HH praises all the champs, and it's the tag champs -- Joe and Magnus -- who are up tonight. We'll know their opponents when they arrive.

Devon's out to defend his title. He calls out Bully Ray tonight! And Bully's gotta accept. Bully still refuses, but Devon attacks anyway. Vintage water bottle shot! Bully got cut open early, possibly on the steps. Bully extends the olive branch and Devon basically rejects it. Bully gets control for a bit, then Devon with the comeback. Nice back-and-forth stuff. Bully runs right into that big Devon spinebuster for three.

Daniels and Kaz gloat about all the stuff they have on Styles. Angle tells them off and doesn't want their help anymore. Nice cowardly stuff from Daniels to Angle.

Borash comes out? WTF. All the talent shown in the back. He calls out another employee. Whoa, are we supposed to even refer to the man as "Eric Bischoff" anymore?! Fans LOVE it. You know, I love it too. And sure enough, Eric comes out. I laughed when the editing team blurred the "Bischoff" part from his entrance video.

"Na na na hey goodbye" chants for Eric. It's an iPhone, you idiot! Bully Ray with a low blow from behind to Borash. And that pretty much ends things. No rating. Nice sendoff for Eric, I guess.

Mr. Anderson with his thoughts on Eric Bischoff. Meanwhile, Mexican America in the ring. Anarquia talks trash, so Angle comes down to fight. Anarquia is now scared crapless and says Hernandez will fight instead. Of course, that's a ruse, and Anarquia accepts with a cheap attack. Angle quickly nukes Anarquia in less than a minute. Squash!

Video package introducing Alex Silva for the Gut Check. Al Snow is the lead judge for all this. Robbie E is Alex's opponent. Must be adrenaline in the early going, going 100 mph. Pretty basic, but Silva looked too sloppy for me. He also didn't get much of a chance to really show me something special. Based off one performance, I vote no on Silva getting a contract at this time.

Hogan gets a few tag teams in his office. Daniels awesome when he speaks. ROFL, nice stuff with EY and Hogan about having ODB for a night -- and Hulk unable to afford her. Hogan eliminates MCMG for now, citing concern for Sabin's knee. Decision to come later in the show.

Tessmacher comes out all serious -- without Tara. Well, it's Open Fight Night! She calls out Gail to prove last week was no fluke. No need for the title, just come for a fight. Gail cheap shot to start. Trash talk from Gail, as she takes control of most of the match. Nice finisher from Tessmacher. Pretty good here.

Didn't realize Impact was doing shows in Washington state this week. They're in California next week. What, no Oregon? Fail.

Kaz and Daniels telling AJ to show up next week. They may still reveal the secret anyway -- or at least tease it more.

Roode, being the top heel in the company, gets a cheap shot in on Alex Silva. I don't think it will mean much in the overall picture.

Hogan eliminates EY and ODB, like that's a surprise. Laughed when Hogan told them not to reproduce. Thanks for the mental image.

And here we go, Joseph Park and Bully Ray. Not surprisingly, Bully tells Joseph to shove it.

Tag title time. Champs out first. Kaz/Daniels and Anderson/Hardy also go to the ring. Hogan comes out. Kaz and Daniels are out. Anderson and Hardy get the title shot tonight. Might as well, since they got nothing better to do and Kaz/Daniels have the storyline with Styles.

Good match that you'd expect from four very good talents. Hot tag to Anderson who does work. Joe then tries to pin Hardy and the ref allowed it? Really? Hardy Twist of Fate on Joe. Magnus takes out Anderson on the, sure. Hardy takes out Magnus. Anderson climbs back in. Mic Check countered. Rollup for two, but right into a Joe choke. Magnus holds onto Hardy to prevent the save. Anderson taps. Good finish. Kaz and Daniels get in cheap shots on the champs post-match.

Flair comes out to host Eric Bischoff Appreciation Night. Guys like Kaz, Daniels, Gunner, and Bully all come out with Flair. A nice throne for EB and a good portrait shot. Crowd VERY vocal to get rid of Eric. Is Eric crying from Flair's words?!

Each Immortal guy with a short speech. ROLEX!

Here comes Garett! With JB, the Guns, Aries, and RVD. HA, JB said Ring of Honor (for the Dallas Cowboys). For Eric, it's the TNA Shed of Shame! Port-a-Potty!

We got a fight! Garett grabs Eric! Eric tossed in the port-a-potty! Locked and loaded, I guess! JB and Garett tip that sucker over. Wow, that really was loaded with crap! Nice sendoff, I guess...?

4/26/12 Superstars

Hunico & Camacho vs. Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso: **

Kelly Kelly vs. Maxine: 3/4*

The Miz vs. Alex Riley: ***3/4

Josh Mathews still selling injuries from Lesnar. So we got Michael Cole on the show with Striker.

Usos and their Siva Tau start it off. Camacho FINALLY in an actual match on TV. Usos mock Hunico and Camacho before the match. Weird spot when one Uso (didn't catch who) went through the middle and top ropes (almost supposed to be a low bridge), but Hunico really didn't do anything. Camacho had some good moments in the ring, but still looks very green to me. A bunch of restholds slowed things down, but things picked up when Jimmy got the hot tag. Crowd got into it late. Not a bad start for Hunico and Camacho as a possible tag team. I would like to see some type of tag finisher from them eventually, if they went this route.

Well, Maxine is off NXT for now! She gets to face Kelly Kelly on Superstars. Maxine has come a long way since her NXT rookie diva days. Yeah Scott, of course Striker is OK from that kidnapping that he basically no-sold by appearing on other shows like nothing was wrong.

Maxine with basic moves to keep KK from flying around. Nice guillotine choke from Maxine. KK with the usual comeback offense. K2 legdrop gets the win.

We pretty much go right into A-Ry and Miz. Honestly, A-Ry apparently is supposed to be a face, but tried to squeal and tell Jericho about Punk drinking alcohol in the locker room -- a heel tactic? Now I'm confused again.

Tremendous main event, way better than I thought it would be. A lengthy match with working injured body parts and flowing action. Signature moves galore. Many near falls.

A-Ry's got huge potential, and he showed it in this one. We've already seen how Miz has improved over the years. If anything, a great move by WWE to have two guys familiar with each other square off.

This was quite possibly A-Ry's best match of his WWE career. Nice to see Miz, a former WWE champ, make A-Ry look...awesome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

4/25/12 NXT

Derrick Bateman vs. JTG: **

Tamina Snuka & Kaitlyn vs. Natalya & Maxine: *1/4

Tyson Kidd vs. Johnny Curtis: ***3/4

Striker is back starting the show. Josh is selling the injuries from getting taken out by Lesnar on RAW. Striker announces Hawkins and Reks are "fired" from NXT. D-Young and Titus now on Smackdown. Regal scouting new talent. Nice....

Hornswoggle is the match coordinator?!?! Oh hell no. And he still has the Brodus outfit!

Hey, JTG is still employed and cheap shots Bateman. Where the hell has JTG been? He wants a match, so it's JTG and Bateman on the spot. JTG has some very good moves on this one, but the crowd is lukewarm at best. Hownswoggle is Tinydactyl. JTG gets planted with Bateman's finisher. Pretty solid.

Scott Armstrong tries to put the cuffs back on Maxine and Curtis. Maxine sweettalks Scott, but Curtis joins in on it. Oops. And the cuffs go on! Well, at least they come off during the matches.

Tyson Kidd asks the WWE Universe to name his new finisher. Whatever it is, I love the move. Natalya plays the jealous one as Kaitlyn complements Tyson on that move. Hey, at least the whole farting gimmick appears to be gone now.

Divas tag match now. Curtis on commentary. Holy crap, double dropkick to start! That was unexpected. A lot of screaming in that ring. Tamina gets the hot tag here. Didn't take long for Tamina to get the win after that one.

Maxine now must join Striker at the announce table, because Curtis is in action next.

Percy gets mysteriously taken out. Bad left knee. Percy says it may be McGillicutty. Hornswoggle makes it one-on-one between Kidd and Curtis. So now MM joins Striker and Maxine at the announce table.

Tyson just on a huge roll early, with big move after big move. MM praises Lesnar during the match. Kidd can make Curtis look real good. Big props there. Top-rope blockbuster from Kidd gets only two! Wheelbarrow into back suplex gets two for Curtis. Damn. Curtis misses a top-rope legdrop. There's Kidd's new submission! Kicks to the head for added effect! Curtis taps.

Excellent main event. Kidd may be a midcard guy and Curtis just a lower midcard upstart, but they looked like seasoned veterans in their prime. Gotta give a little increase in the rating just for that. This was a match where Tyson Kidd really showed he's the next huge star in this company.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

4/23/12 RAW (3 hours)

Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston: ***

Lord Tensai vs. R-Truth: N/A (squash)

Big Show & Great Khali vs. Alberto Del Rio & Cody Rhodes: *1/2

Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix (Lumberjill; Divas Title): *

Mark Henry vs. Sheamus: N/A

Santino Marella & Zack Ryder vs. Primo & Epico: *1/4

Brodus Clay & Hornswoggle vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger: DUD

Long starts off with the contract signing. He mixes up Cena's title credentials. Crowd loves Cena. Long then introduces Lesnar, but Laurinaitis comes out. More scolding to Long. Possibly Cena's last night on RAW? I guess we'll get more about that later.

"You think you know me..." WTF?! EDGE?! Huge ovation for the 2012 Hall of Famer. He acknowledges that his contract's legitimately expiring in a few days. Edge talks to Cena to basically pump him up. WAKE UP, CENA. Edge tells Cena to beat Lesnar.

Jericho out for a match against Kofi. Kofi is a house of fire early on. Huge somersault plancha over the top from Kingston. That guy has major leaping ability, no question about it. Fairly fast-paced stuff. Very competitive match and a lively crowd. Signature moves all over the place. Crossbody to a hunched-over Jericho, then a Boomdrop? That's new combo. Springboard from Kofi...into a Codebreaker. Sweet. VINTAGE LION TAMER! Now this was great stuff that warrants three stars. Not much downtime and several big spots.

Jericho on the mic post-match, vowing to become the new WWE champ. More Punk bashing. Jericho with a gift for Punk later tonight.

Video package showing Lesnar's debut match against Jeff Hardy. Dominance.

Eve and Laurinaitis. Eve is the new executive administrator. Johnny wants a hug. Not for you! But here's a handshake!

So Jericho's gift to Punk was a liquor basket. Josh Mathews is the big winner in all of this!

Lord Tensai video from last week. Vintage green mist to Cena in that one. This week, R-Truth looks like he's the newest victim.

Extreme Rules this coming Sunday in Chicago. I'd think Punk and Jericho will deliver another four-star match. Something tells me Jericho could be winning, since hometown heroes generally don't fare well. Not sure what to expect from Lesnar and Cena. ROFL, "YES!" chants when Tensai headbutts Truth. "LORD TENSAI...ICHIBAN!" Even I know that one. Green mist into hands, claw hold, Truth out. Squash match here.

Kane promo on Orton, basically saying Orton is scared of the nightmare that Kane has become. It's a Falls Count Anywhere match at Extreme Rules. ORTON HAS PAUL BEARER! That got a nice pop. Orton locks Bearer in what appears to be a walk-in freezer. Kane isn't saving Paul tonight.

Here comes Orton! Fight! Woohoo! Orton uses the lead pipe from last week on Kane. The monster retreats through the crowd.

A-Ry tells Jericho he saw Punk drinking out of the liquor basket. They sneak to the locker room. Punk's on the phone and drinking out of a red cup, the bottle of Jack (which he kept) right beside it. Nice segment.

Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes are a tag team tonight against Khali and Big Show. Khali's knees still suck. He takes out Cody's leg with basic stuff. Alberto doesn't have much luck, either. Cody with a low bridge takes Big Show over the top. Cody attacks Show on the outside, but the big man gets back in at nine. Cody and ADR make quick tags and isolate Show. Cody with the figure four to Big Show! Show gets out and starts a comeback. ADR gets slapped. Cody wants a tag, but ADR refuses. Cody is left to be thrown to the wolves. Show chokeslam ends things. Khali actually gets a win for a change!

Wow, Stone Cold must be glad he wasn't a part of this new Wellness Policy. No drinking within a 12-hour period of a WWE event? Ouch. I assume that only applies to the 12 hours before the show. Laurinaitis wants credible proof. Field sobriety test later tonight, and Teddy Long is conducting it. Vintage JR reference from Johnny!

Josh Mathews wants comments from Lesnar. Brock looks out of it. Has he been drinking? Lesnar takes out Josh. If it meant getting a fat paycheck, I'd go on camera in a heartbeat and take my three-second beating. Vintage stretcher spot for an announcer! Hey, Cole's defending the announcers for a change!

Nikki Bella set for action. Divas Title match against Beth. Eve comes out and makes it a Lumberjill match. Can't complain about that.

Unreal, "Josh Mathews" is trending worldwide.

Beth shows her power against Nikki. Pretty decent match involving divas. Nikki to the outside. Beth jumps down off the apron and looks like her left leg buckled. WTF, why are the other divas NOT doing anything? I guess they really don't want to piss Beth off. Beth's in real pain, folks. Brie initiates an all-out assault, probably to inform the other divas what really happened. They get Beth and Nikki in the ring. Beth still in enormous pain, fighting back the tears. Quick rollup for three ends it. Such a shame for Beth to lose the title that way. No telling how long Glamazon could be out. Beth tells the trainer that she just jumped down and her leg twisted.

I don't think a title change was supposed to occur. If so, Nikki could be a transitional champ. This, of course, assumes the Bellas didn't re-sign with the company. The last I checked, they were still on their way out at the end of the month.

EDIT: Beth injury was a work. Certainly fooled me. Outstanding selling.

Punk goes on a "drunken" rampage in front of Teddy Long. Awesome.

Time for the field sobreity test. Jericho also in the ring for this one. Long says if Punk fails the test, he is stripped of the title and subject to further discipline. Punk comes down to the ring rather gingerly.

First, let's recite the alphabet backwards! Hell, I can't even do that without thinking, even when sober. Punk agrees with me! Stupid stupid stupid! OK, now let's walk that red line. The line's never there! Punk rules. Fails to walk the line properly. Officer said Punk's intoxicated. Long requests the title. Punk hesitates, but hands it over. Punk then wants another shot to pass the test. Punk still mixed the "S" and "T" up, but he walks the line as well. VINTAGE Flair! Attack! This was outstanding.

Another Lesnar video of him beating Hulk Hogan in August 2002.

Sheamus and Henry next. YES YES YES! DANIEL BRYAN IS THE REF! Remember, if Sheamus touches an official, he gets fired. Nice work. Is this one of the only times the fans have cheered a ref more then the two guys wrestling in the match? DB keeps taunting Sheamus. Henry runs Sheamus over. DB with the fast three count. Not rating it.

DB throws the ref shirt at Sheamus. Um, Daniel, the match is over. Sheamus wants to kick your ass. And he gets some. Brogue Kick to Henry but DB gets Sheamus down and it's YES Lock time. Note, Sheamus didn't tap the whole time, but passed out.

Epico and Primo face Ryder and Santino. Oh, Sanitno faces Miz in a U.S. title match BEFORE Extreme Rules. Way to devalue the title, fellas. Ryder in control early, then cousins get advantage through distractions. Santino gets in. He no-sells a dropkick and cobra strikes for three. I guess they get a tag title shot? Maybe?

Kane goes to that walk-in freezer. Saving Paul Bearer? Yup...from Kane. Back to the freezer! Got a good kick out of that one.

AW possibly recruiting Primo and Epico. I like where this is going. Perhaps a new stable?

Apparently Taco Bell sponsors this match that has Brodus and Hornswoggle. What the heck was Vickie wearing?! Looks like she went through the tye-dye machine.

Hornswoggle should NEVER wear a singlet again. Dammit. Brodus gets a tag and goes to town. Vickie in the ring and slaps Brodus for a DQ. Cameron and Naomi in the ring. Uh oh. Vickie wants a timeout. No timeout for you! Hornswoggle bites Vickie's rear. I too can't believe we sat through that.

Hey, it's Lesnar and Angle from WM 19! Note they left out when Brock landed on his head from that shooting star.

Now it's time for the contract signing. Laurinaitis out first and introduces Lesnar. Cena music, but no Cena. Mixed Cena chants again. Oh, Cena is now "Little Johnny." Brock's got some business to discuss with Laurinaitis. Lesnar's got a few "small" requests before he signs the contract.

Brock is not a naive little farmboy anymore, that's for sure:

(1) Anything about Lesnar must be OK'd by Lesnar
(2) Vince's private jet to get him to RAW!
(3) No stupid people
(4) Brock does what he wants, when he wants
(5) No huge fines for beating up refs! Brock gets more money instead!

Last one is the best of all: "Monday Night RAW...starring Brock Lesnar!" YES! YES! YES!

Brock's got Laurinaitis on a string. Awesome heel heat. I probably missed stuff. But I love it. Brock signs the contract.

Oh, here comes Cena! OH SNAP HE'S GOT THE CHAIN! He wraps it around his right hand. Crowd's going nuts. Since Cena writes left handed, he can sign with the chain still in his right hand. Cena hesitates. Brock says Cena's scared. Cena signs quickly. Nice staredown and fight tease before Brock leaves. Maybe now WWE will get more PPV buys.

Brock must have gotten some major clout over his contract. His own sponsored stuff, lots of attitude on the promos, etc. Anything really to get back some "attitude" feel to the WWE. It may be PG, but when Lesnar's around, it can encroach on TV-14. Great job.

Friday, April 20, 2012

4/20/12 Smackdown

AJ vs. Natalya: N/A

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

Darren Young & Titus O'Neil vs. Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso: *1/4

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show: *1/2

Ryback vs. Danny Lerman: N/A (squash)

Sheamus, Randy Orton, & Great Khali Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, & Cody Rhodes: ***

Daniel Bryan again out to a mega pop, even though the announcers still making it like he's a heel. Screw all that guys, jump on the DB bandwagon! Nice promo. 2 out of 3 falls at Extreme Rules? Eh, that's fine, I guess. Love how DB incorporates "YES" into his promo.

Uh oh. AJ comes out, wanting to work things out. DB with harsh words for AJ, even wishing she was never born. AJ looks inconsolable. Oh, what timing, she's gonna be in a divas match next against Natalya!

OK, so it's not really a match. AJ snaps. Maybe we can get a snapping AJ each week and I'll pay more attention to all this.

Damien Sandow with another one of those monologues. Something about ignorance. Shut up, Cole. Who the hell would learn anything from that?

Brodus faces Hunico. He has a little brother? Oh crap, no. No. Hornswoggle! Dammit, I knew it. It was entertaining for all of 1.8 seconds, thanks. Hornswoggle with a mini-quake on Hunico. Shoot me. Squash match with a Brodus win. Why not, a Tadpole Splash from Hornswoggle.

Teddy Long looking for Aksana,but finds Titus and Darren Young. Titus is the Big Deal now. Johnny with a hat for Teddy. Don't say anything or move. Fun job.

Speaking of Darren and Titus, they face the Usos tonight. Crowd real active in this one. One of the Usos took a major spill at the end to the outside. Nice double-team finisher from Darren and Titus to win.

Have I mentioned that I love how Lilian says Ricardo Rodriguez's name? Alberto faces Big Show tonight. Nice that Cole mentions their feud from last year. ADR focuses on Show's left arm. Show looking for the win, but Cody interferes with the Disaster kick. ADR gets the three.

Ryback nukes another hometown hero. Impressive showing. Looked like McIntyre and Slater were watching in the back. They betting money back there? Wonder who lost.... Interested to see how this apparent push for Ryback works out. He wants to be fed more.

Brock Lesnar interview = awesome. He's got a great negotiating team so that he can wear non-WWE sponsored gear.

Teddy Long standing in uniform. REGAL! YES! OH SNAP IT'S CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI! WOOOOO! Oh right, he's Antonio Cesaro in WWE. Grr. Oh, and yay Aksana.

Six-man tag match now. Was Cole saying "YES YES YES"?! Whoa, Khali comes out last. Cody takes out Khali's left knee. The big man can't even sell a knee injury extremely well. But at least he sells it longer than Cena.

Oops. Big Show will replace Khali. Why didn't they just start with that?! Grr.

Sheamus really showed good agility in the match. Heels then work over Sheamus. Orton with the hot tag, but Henry snuffs all that out. Aw, DB missed the diving headbutt. Show gets in, but Cody and Henry ultimately get Big Show down. Cody with a Figure Four to Big Show! Really liked the tag Cody made to Henry so Mark could nail Show with that splash while Show was still in the Figure Four.

DB comes in, but Show gets the tag to Sheamus! Cody breaks up Sheamus' pin attempt, but he slid out of the ring next to Show. WMD and Cody's KO'd. DB tags Henry and scampers away. Henry gets nuked with all the finishers. Very good match.

4/19/12 Impact

Bully Ray & Crimson vs. Austin Aries & Matt Morgan: *3/4

Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles: *1/4

Velvet Sky, Mickie James, Tara, & Miss Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Sarita, & Rosita: *1/2

Devon vs. Gunner (TV Title): *1/2

Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Anderson: *1/2

Lockdown highlights of the World Title match. I still like Roode's fluke win. It provides even bigger buildup for Roode to finally lose the belt. Hopefully it will be Storm to knock RR off the perch.

RR out to celebrate his win, but he's limping to the ring. Roode has a short haircut now, and I like it. No security this time? Crowd all over Roode: "shut the hell up!" Mr. Anderson steps up to the plate to be Roode's next challenger. Then Jeff Hardy comes out. Amusing arguments between Anderson and Hardy, with Roode encouraging the fighting. Hogan on the screen. He wants all the champs to convene later tonight. Hardy and Anderson in the main event to be #1 contender.

Crimson and Bully team up tonight; opposing them are Aries and Morgan. Crimson now officially billed as "The Undefeated Crimson." No wasted time here. Morgan and Crimson go at it immediately. Bully and Crimson work on Morgan's leg. Crowd is standing and supporting MM. Nice legbar from Crimson. Aries gets the hot tag, and the crowd loves it. Quickness and kicks from Aries. Crimson accidentally takes out Bully. Morgan takes Crimson out. Suicide dive from Aries to Crimson. Aries tries for the brainbuster, but Bully with a rollup plus a handful of tights for three. Typical heel finish.

Garett Bischoff comes out to a nice pop. His Lockdown team (minus Aries, who just wrestled) is in the ring to help celebrate. Flair's music hits. Did the censors accidentally bleep "Bischoff"? Good job. I guess Flair says it like "Bitch-off" too much. Anyway, there's some celebration Flair's throwing for Eric next week, and Garett isn't invited. WTF, even Tenay got censored. Maybe it's intentionally done to comply with storyline that he can't be officially known as "Eric Bischoff" anymore.

Kaz (with new buzzed hair from Lockdown) and Daniels. The whole deal with Kaz and Daniels was never about Kaz, it was about AJ. They have some evidence. Cool. This is one of the storylines I actually care about anyway.

Joe, Magnus, and Devon briefly meet and will see each other in the ring later because Hogan wants all champs in the ring for an announcement.

Angle and Styles next. Too bad about Angle having to pull out of Olympic trials. Fun match. These two know how to work. Kaz and Daniels are at ringside. Angle Slam countered, but Daniels and Kaz get involved. AJ snatches whatever that evidence is from Daniels. Angle rolls AJ up for three. Daniels and Kaz say they've got copies of whatever AJ just took. Meanwhile, Angle's still in the ring and looks dumbfounded. Awkward.

Gunner and Joseph Park again? Park's getting more physical now. Next up, Bully Ray. Just spill it. Joseph Park is Abyss, dammit.

All the champs come out. First, Joe and Magnus. Next up is Gail. Then Devon and Aries. Roode is last.

RVD and Hogan in the back? RVD gets in the main event tonight. It'll be a 3-way main event to be #1 contender.

Hogan's announcement is "open fight night." A person off the TNA roster will come on the show and wrestle. Some person comes in with their story and then gets a tryout match. If Hogan and three judges like what they see, that prospect gets an Impact wrestling contract. Anyone on the TNA roster is fair game to get picked, and must fight if chosen. Roode's opposing that, of course. Now Gail voices her opinion. Devon wants to be a fighting champ, and Hogan agrees. TV Title now defended every week!

It's an 8-Knockout tag match. Taz finally gets to say "let the pigeons loose." Everyone got their time to shine, which was nice to see for a change. Vintage everyone-gets-involved spot at the end. Wow, they let Tessmacher get the pin (with Velvet-ference) on Gail.

EY and ODB, the honeymoon. EY just has to strip down to his underwear. I lost brain cells on this one.

Devon and Gunner in what is now a weekly TV Title match. Gunner attacks from behind and we're off. Gunner tries for the quick pins, to no avail. Devon spinebuster wins it after a few minutes.

Devon's sons are nowhere to be found these days. Then again, Pope isn't on TV, either. I guess that's supposed to explain it all.

Storm promo. He's sorry to his fans didn't win the title. Very passionate promo. Storm confirms he beat himself at Lockdown. Storm teases maybe his luck has run out and abruptly leaves. Good cliffhanger.

Triple threat main event time. Love these three-ways because there's more action. RVD with a good run at the end. Five-star on Anderson and a backslide pin on Hardy to win it. Pretty short match, but it accomplishes its purpose. All of a sudden, RVD emerges as the #1 contender. Yay? I guess so. RVD deserves the shot, but I'm just higher up on a guy like James Storm winning the title. He's paid his TNA dues a lot more, and it would encourage other long-time TNA guys to stay loyal and not jump ship to places like WWE.

4/19/12 Superstars

Jinder Mahal vs. Yoshi Tatsu: *1/2

Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly: *1/4

R-Truth vs. Jack Swagger: **3/4

More "YES" signs! #yesyesyes

Yoshi and Jinder start things off. Good physicality from Mahal. Leave it to the UK to have good crowds. Big chops from Yoshi on his comeback. Yoshi misses his huge kick. Jinder with a high knee and a camel clutch for the win. Jinder's gotten several wins over the last few months. When is he actually getting a storyline and push that means something?

Divas are next with Kelly and Eve. Striker mentions Ryder on Nice plug for the online dating site. KK with her usual acrobatic moves and yelling. Oh, even a half-decent crossbody attempt. New moves from Eve, including a variation of Anderson's Mic Check. "Hoeski" chants again. Good Kelly comeback, but an abrupt rollup using the ropes nets Eve the win. Crap finish, but otherwise not bad.

R-Truth (with Little Jimmy) comes out to face Swagger. "Little Jimmy" chants at the beginning of the match. Swagger's good at the showboating. Vintage Truth legdrop with theatrics. Truth even with a resthold on Swagger? Didn't expect that. Swagger may be growing his hair out; a more pronounced side part on the blond hair now. Good lengthy match with a nice Truth comeback. Crowd definitely into this one. Solid finish.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4/18/12 NXT

Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis: *1/2

Maxine vs. Kaitlyn: 3/4*

Tyler Reks vs. Curt Hawkins: *3/4

Oh good grief. They started the show with a synopsis of the Striker kidnapping storyline. Why?!

We're in London, so Regal must feel at home.

Percy still gets very little reaction, even in rowdy England. Not good. Even Maxine gets a bigger reaction than Percy when coming out. What will Maxine do on commentary this week? Percy looks good in the ring. Curtis isn't bad, either. But both guys need something to get a crowd reaction going when coming out for their matches. The match, in general, was decent. Percy with the win. Maxine not as flirtatious with Regal this week.

Post-match, Regal wants a word with Curtis and Maxine. Curtis will sit next to Regal while Maxine competes next against Kaitlyn. Interesting. They play AJ's old music (which I really like) and go to commercial. Curtis blames Maxine for all the Striker kidnapping here.

Kaitlyn looks great. Oh yeah, her music is fine. Bateman is one lucky dude to work a storyline with her. His "beloved" Kaitlyn? OK, they're together. You lucky ass. Maxine impressive with that dragon sleeper + body scissors combo. Otherwise, a pretty standard match with the crowd not caring.

Regal is keeping Curtis and Maxine together as long as they're both on NXT, much to the "couple's" disgust. "There we go." How many times does Regal have to say those three words? Maxine becomes Curtis' manager in order for both to stay employed. Why the crowd wants Maxine to sign, I have no clue. Cool, Maxine is left-handed. VINTAGE HANDCUFFS! From the last time Regal was arrested. Good one.

Darren Young still pissed about Titus' actions on Tamina last week. Titus pulls out paperwork from Johnny Laurinaitis. They're going to Smackdown. "Tamina who?" They dance and celebrate. Could be another Titus prank, but I think they've both legitimately earned a shot for Friday nights.

Striker has Hawkins' cane and looks pissed. Oops.

Reks is panicking about being fired. Hawkins is calmer. Curtis and Maxine come in still cuffed and arguing. Percy, Bateman, and Kaitlyn walk by. Nice line from Kaitlyn to Maxine..."are you used to these (handcuffs) by now?"

Three-hour RAW next Monday. Woohoo. But Wrestling Observer says it's not the WWE Draft.

Hawkins and Reks come out. Oops, here's Striker. How the hell Striker lasted seven years so far, I don't know. But he's damn good on the mic, so I guess that's good enough to keep your job. Striker out for revenge and comes out swinging. Regal stops everything.

Reks and Hawkins face each other. The loser is fired. Oh, and Striker is the ref! Conveniently has a ref's shirt on under the jacket. They go to break, and they hype WM 29 next year. April 7, 2013, fellas.

Back from commercial, bell rings. Another decent match. Reks impressed me with some aerial moves; not used to seeing that from him. Nice counters into a rollup from Reks for the win, so Hawkins is fired. Hawkins argues with Striker, so Matt decks him.

Regal has words for Reks. Regal's changed his mind, so Reks is also fired. Well, that was a waste of the last ten minutes of my life. Thanks a lot!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

3/31/12 Richards v. Elgin (ROH)

On March 31, 2012, Ring of Honor held the second day of their PPV, named "Showdown in the Sun." While there were some stellar matches, none created a bigger buzz than the World Title match between "American Wolf" Davey Richards and "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin. Elgin came into the match still deemed a midcarder or upper midcard at best, part of the House of Truth (managed by Truth Martini).

Here's the entire match: (as of this post, the link still works)

Why am I devoting an entire article to just this one match? Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez both gave it FIVE stars, an extremely rare occurrence. What would I rate it? Check out my recap below:

4/16/12 RAW

CM Punk vs. Mark Henry (No DQ/Countout; WWE Title): **1/4

Santino Marella vs. David Otunga (U.S. Title): *

Kane vs. Zack Ryder: N/A

Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston: **1/4

Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler: N/A

Big Show & Great Khali vs. Primo & Epico: N/A (I lost brain cells on this one...)

Lord Tensai vs. John Cena (Extreme Rules): **

In London for RAW!

WWE Title match starts the show. Punk gets a warm welcome, while Mark Henry is already in the ring. Main event intros. Punk using his quickness to get on offense. Nice physicality on the outside. More "YES" chants. That Daniel Bryan dude is pretty over with the crowd, I'd say. Mark was booked strong in this one. Good use of the steel chair here. Some slow spots with Henry's restholds, of course. Nice chair shot from the top to put Mark away.

Jericho on the Titantron. Punk and Jericho again at Extreme Rules in a Chicago Street Fight. Great mind games again from Jericho. Can't expect anything less from him. He's been in some outstanding storylines, don't you think?

R-Truth and...Little Jimmy Watson!

Santino with a bazillion football (soccer) jerseys. Otunga with vintage excess body oil. Short match here. Otunga looked like he had it but Santino had a foot on the ropes. Nearly botched a hiptoss. Cobra for three. Watch Otunga get a rematch very soon.

Lord Tensai and Sakamoto backstage. Sakamoto speaks Japanese, while Tensai has a mixture of Japanese and English. Short and cryptic.

Lesnar taped interview. Had to censor some of his words, woohoo. Extreme Rules match between him and Cena. Brock is an asskicker, plain and simple.

Zack Ryder again faces Kane. Well, the bell didn't even sound. No match here. Who the hell did Zack piss off? Seriously? Post-Ryder beatdown promo from Kane addressing Orton.

Kofi talking with AJ in the back. Daniel Bryan doesn't like it. They have a match coming up.

Oh, and that LeBell Lock? Say hello to the YES LOCK! YES YES YES!

Here comes Cena. Video shown of last week. Cena was popped last week...bloody Cena! More YES chants. Good Johnny Laurinaitis impersonation. Cena wants to fight, so enter Laurinaitis. Extreme Rules match tonight against opponent to be named later.

Next week's RAW is a 3-hour RAW. Complete with Lesnar/Cena contract signing.

Hornswoggle, oh God. R-Truth. Double oh God.

Kofi comes out to little fanfare. And then here comes Daniel "YES YES YES" Bryan! For once, Cole backs a person that actually gets cheered by the fans. Pretty good pace throughout.Lots of Kofi jumping and DB striking. AJ watches from the back. Trouble in Paradise countered, YES lock countered, SOS from Kofi gets two. YES lock again wins it for DB. Solid stuff. YES lock again applied to Kofi. Sheamus down for the save. Brogue Kick missed. "That close," says Sheamus.

Brodus Clay comes out, but he's facing Ziggler tonight. It's no squash, but it's not really even a match. Swagger gets involved no more than 15 seconds in. Vickie kicks Cameron to the ground, but Naomi finally gets a bit physical. Vintage Vickie time on her behind! Storyline heating up.

Eve again with Johnny Laurinaitis. Wonder what's up with this one...manipulating others into their new future endeavors? Nah...

Oh no. Khali's wrestling. And his tag partner is BIG SHOW. Time to fast forward. AW the agent is scouting people during this one. Chop, chop, chokeslam, Punjabi Plunge, end. Yeah, that was not worth rating.

Extreme Rules match. Cena out first. Now we find out his opponent from Laurinaitis. LORD TENSAI! YES. I like it.

Tensai basically on offense most of the match. Steps come into play. Cena backdrops Tensai on the outside, nice show of strength yet again. Sakamoto gets involved with the martial arts moves. Otunga throws Cena back to Tensai. Cena on the comeback again with the usual moves. Armbar by Tensai, but holy crap, Cena floats over into an STF! Who woulda thunk that one?! Otunga gets in the ring and eats an AA. GREEN MIST from Tensai! Big sitdown powerbomb and it's over. Good win for Tensai. Add yet another element to his heel run.

Lesnar not live this week, just the taped segment from earlier. I like it. Lesnar doesn't get burned out from too much travel, and WWE can keep capitalizing on Lesnar's name/reputation.

4/15/12 Lockdown

Garett Bischoff, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Mr. Anderson, & Rob Van Dam vs. Eric Bischoff, Bully Ray, Gunner, Christopher Daniels, & Kazarian (Lethal Lockdown): **1/2

Samoa Joe & Magnus vs. Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley (Cage; Tag Team Titles): **

Devon vs. Robbie E (Cage; TV Title): *

Gail Kim vs. Velvet Sky (Cage; Knockouts Title): *3/4

Crimson vs. Matt Morgan (Cage): *1/2

Jeff Hardy vs. Kurt Angle (Cage): ***3/4

Eric Young & ODB vs. Sarita & Rosita (Cage; Knockouts Tag Team Titles): 1/2*

Bobby Roode vs. James Storm (Cage; World Title): ***1/4

Usually, you can win any of these cage matches by pinfall, submission, or escape cage unless otherwise specified. An exception is Lethal Lockdown (described a bit below).

Storm segment from earlier in the day, packing up to head to Lockdown. They're in Storm country tonight.

And whoa, we start with the Bischoff Lethal Lockdown match! Team Garett huddles together. Garett wants to start. He wants to earn respect. Nice. I laughed when Aries wanted to go last. A-double is awesome.

Remember, if Team Garett wins, Eric Bischoff is gone and can no longer use the Bischoff name. If Eric's team wins, Garett is off the roster permanently. I guess we know who's winning now, but let's see how it pans out, yes?

Predictably, Gunner is out first. Again, Team Eric gets the advantage, so another Team Eric member enters after three minutes, then both teams alternate one extra member into the match until all ten guys are in the cage. Only after all ten guys in the ring (with weapons) do pins or submissions matter. Gunner beats Garett down for three minutes, and then Bully Ray enters. Ouch. Team Eric really frontloading with brawn in this one. Very methodical beatdown, and quite boring. Glad it's only five total minutes. Crowd wants Aries. WOOHOO, they get Aries! House of fire for A-double. Team Eric sends out Kaz -- new shaved head look -- as the third guy. Garett still getting nuked for eons now. Third guy for Team Garett is AJ Styles. He tags Kaz with the fist and the cage. Big stuff from Styles until Bully bowls him over. Again, heels mostly back on the offensive. Daniels is the fourth man out for Team Eric. Pretty clear Eric himself would have been last anyway. Gunner throws Garett like a dart into the cage. Pretty sure GB has gotten maybe 15 seconds of offense and gotten an asskicking the rest of the time.

Anderson is the fourth guy for Team Garett and comes out swinging. AJ showing major power by slamming Bully down. Kaz and Daniels take it out on AJ. Eric Bischoff comes out last for his team. Eric holds up his son as Bully tees off with those lethal chest slaps. Kaz kicks Garett square in the face. Reading the Riot Act to Garett. RVD out last for Team Garett, so all ten guys are in the ring. House of fire for RVD while Eric cowers in the corner. Anderson with his trademark pose, but no mic. The roof of weapons lowers instead! Goalie hockey stick, garbage can lids, guitars, etc. Garett is all busted up. AJ and Aries bring Eric in the hard way. RVD wants a five-star frog splash, but Gunner cuts it off. Aries thrown into the cage.

Kaz and AJ hang from the top of the cage. I think Kaz wanted to get to the top of the cage, but fell. AJ with the elbow drop and then RVD five-star frog splash. Bodies everywhere. Bully with a boot to AJ, Van Daminator to Bully. Angel's Wings to RVD. Daniels grabs Garett. Eric comes in the ring. Nice counter, perhaps a cutter (couldn't quite see) from Garett. Eric with kendo stick shots to his son. Garett rallies and hits a guitar shot on his dad to score the pin. It was fine, but just too scattered. Crowd reaction could have been way better.

Tag title match next. Feels weird to have a traditional tag match inside the cage. Not bad action, but crowd is pretty listless right now. Sabin got beat down good, but got the hot tag to Shelley. Magnus counters Sliced Bread #2. Sabin with a power bomb on Joe, wow. Magnus eats the steel. Shelley with a double foot stomp from the top, but Joe saves it. Joe eats the steel now. Guns with great double-team moves, but no dice. Joe with the choke on Sabin. Sliced Bread to Magnus, so Joe has to break that up. Why is the crowd NOT caring?!?! Oh right, it's TNA. Shelley nearly got three on a rollup. Sliced Bread countered. Joe takes out both Sabin and Shelley. Snapmare and flying elbow for three. Good, but crowd killed things.

TV Title match next. I actually forgot Devon won the title. Shows how much TNA cares about that belt. Title looks awesome, at least. Rob Terry refuses to get out of the cage, so Devon helps him. Nice to see Devon had cut all that weight from 1-2 years ago. Devon gets beat down early. Even Devon's comeback doesn't fire the crowd up. Spinebuster gets three for Devon. Rob Terry beats Devon down after the match.

Morgan doesn't care about the steak, he just wants revenge. The cage is a prison cell tonight. Great promo.

Knockouts title bout between Velvet and Gail. No releasing pigeons again from Velvet, and Taz is again disappointed. Madison accompanies Gail to the ring. Gail attacks from behind and we're underway. Velvet tries quick pins, to no avail. Gail missile dropkick from the top impresses Taz, but tough crowd tonight. Good submissions from Gail, working on the leg. Gail is doing what she can, although too many restholds for me. Gail is confident, then goes for that flying body attack in the corner, but meets the cage. The crowd sorta cared there. Velvet with the comeback. Nice sunset flip powerbomb from Velvet but only  two. Damn. Madison runs interference. Gail caught trying to escape, Velvet rolls up for two, then Gail gets her own rollup for three. Deflating, to say the least.

Flair in the ring. Hogan's music hits and Hulk arrives. Flair blames Hogan for ending Eric Bischoff's career. Flair is pissed and Hogan decks him. Well, that filler time was the most vocal the crowd's been all night. Flair snaps even more.

Time for Morgan and Crimson. Crimson tries to leave the cage but eats the steel. Morgan could walk out and win, but remember, MM wants revenge. Morgan chokeslam is countered and Crimson chop blocks Morgan's left leg. More basic, yet effective offense. Nice back suplex from Morgan. Crimson sandwiched between a flying Morgan and the cage. Morgan misses the carbon footprint. Crimson tries to escape over the top, but Morgan gets to him in time. Morgan crotched on the top. Morgan shifts his feet to get his foot caught in the ropes, so Crimson can just escape over the top. This could have been booked so much better. Good grief.

Finally, a match that should be a show-stealer. Angle and Hardy. Angle's right leg heavily taped, but he could deliver a killer match with two bad legs. Hardy thrown into the cage and Angle takes over. Hardy either hits big or crashes big. Crowd is the loudest it's been for any wrestling match so far. Hardy sends Angle into the cage and fights back. Whisper in the Wind gets two. How nice of Taz to finally realize Hardy's Twist of Fate now looks like a stunner. Hardy to the top, Angle catches him with an Angle Slam from the top! Sweet. Very close near fall. Front few rows on the camera side are standing. Angle wants to escape over the top, but Jeff gets to him. Hardy now escaping. Angle gets the leg, but Hardy tosses him off. Hardy jumps back into a variation of a frog splash for two. Never saw that before. Crowd FINALLY is into it. This is indeed awesome. Hardy almost out the door, but ankle lock. Jeff counters into an ankle lock of his own! Countered out. Twist of Fate again! Swanton from the top rope! A second one! WTF ONLY TWO?!?! Unreal. Angle lured Hardy in and sent Jeff into the cage. Angle Slam, but only two! Angle pissed. Angle Slam countered...and HARDY hits an Angle Slam! Shirt's off. Super Swanton from the top of the cage for three!

Knockouts tag titles now on the line. Sarita and Rosita tried to tempt EY during the wedding on Impact, not it didn't work. ODB and EY wearing Predators NHL jerseys for a cheap pop. EY is still nutso. ODB bowls both Sarita and Rosita over to start. EY wants to be the ref! ODB gets beaten down and the temptresses try to woo EY. ODB's not happy and fights back. Don't think EY was ever legally in the match. Just a flat match...again.

World title match finishes the show. Storm out first, and he comes out in his truck. He takes a six pack of beer bottles to the ring. Crowd is happy, but they're not going completely nuts. Roode out next. The belt is super lengthy....

Storm doesn't wait. They fight outside the cage. RR into the steps. Still not officially underway as Storm continues the assault. Storm misses with the chair and RR fights back. Still outside the cage. Storm's busted open, and they finally get inside the ring. Storm's wife is in the crowd.

Storm doesn't stop the intensity, wanting RR to hit him. RR gets the better of the deal and extends the beatdown. Insulting slap to Storm in the corner. Storm enraged now. Here we go! Eye of the Storm countered. Storm still gets a back sweep, catapulting RR into the cage. RR meets the steel again. Storm gets the Eye of the Storm this time, but only two. RR out of nowhere with the RR spinebuster for two. Crowd still too quiet for me. This is a damn world title match, fellas!

RR meets the turnbuckle. Codebreaker and backstabber-like moves for two. Desperate move by RR, elevating Storm into the cage. RR wants to escape through the door, but Storm has the foot. RR great job with the crossface! They roll into the ropes. Both guys on the top rope. Storm's head goes into the cage. RR tries to go over the top but Storm gets him. More trading punches on the top, then they ram each other's heads into the cage. One more cage shot and RR is down. Storm going over the top, but he changes his mind. Tenay and Taz say RR may have flipped him off or something. Super Codebreaker move from the top!

Storm warms the leg up for Last Call. Brian Hebner eats the kick instead. RR at the door, telling Earl Hebner to give him a beer bottle. Earl obliges. RR nukes Storm with it. RR yells at Earl to get in the ring to count the slow three. One, two...NO! WHAT?! Thought it was over. RR is stunned. Crowd was somewhat surprised, but I swear they're all hibernating except for Storm's cheering section.

Last Call superkick! But note that RR rolls closer to the cage door. Another Last Call sends Roode out the door. Unfortunately, that means Roode retains because he "escaped" the cage.

Roode continues to win by controversial means. I like that he's still champ, since he's got amazing heel momentum, but come on. At a certain point, he has to win clean or lose by some means. Hopefully, this means another rematch down the road somehow.

I do NOT want Sting to be the one dethroning Roode for the title. I think it's acceptable that Sting ultimately plays a hand in costing Roode the gold, but I would like Storm to come out on top in the end. Perhaps that'll be at Slammiversary -- their version of WrestleMania.

The PPV overall was not that great. The crowd was mostly dead. The two best matches were predictable to pick. Lethal Lockdown was fine, but again could have been better. Then again, a lot could have been better here. *3/4

4/12/12 Impact

Gunner vs. Mr. Anderson: *3/4

Austin Aries vs. Christopher Daniels: **1/2

Bully Ray vs. AJ Styles: **3/4

Velvet Sky & Mickie James vs. Gail Kim & Madison Rayne: *1/2

Crowd actually looks legitimately interested tonight!

Eric Bischoff starts the show. Apparently the crowd says they don't care. Eric introduces his team: Bully, Gunner, Daniels, and Kaz. Bully again great on the mic.

So who does Garett have? Crowd looks jacked to see him. Mr. Anderson is his first pick. They just go straight into Anderson and Gunner, so we'll probably see the rest of the picks later in the show. Anderson basically snaps at the end and refuses to stop the assault when Gunner's in the ropes. DQ win for Gunner, but Anderson doesn't care.

Later in the show, ODB and Eric wed in a steel cage, then Roode/Storm showdown.

Enough of this Joseph Park crap. Speed it up. Unleash Abyss. Thank you, Eric Young, for helping speed the process up.

"Motor City!" chants for the MCMG, who get no formal on-screen entrance. Why?! They want Joe and Magnus for the tag titles. Vintage showdown in the ring! Why wait until Lockdown, go now! Mexican-America protests. Joe/Magnus take out Hernandez, while Guns take out Anarquia. So yes, tag titles apparently on the line at Lockdown.

Daniels faces the second member of Team Garett...Austin Aries?! Yes, please! Loved the balancing of theatrics/ego and wrestling. Vintage Aries suicide dive onto Daniels. Handstand springboard splash from Aries?! Wow. "This is wrestling!" chants. Both guys try using the tights on pin attempts but each get caught. No BME, but Aries hits a brainbuster for three. Wish it had more time. Loved what I saw.

The cage is now up. Jeff Hardy segment about Angle. Angle is legit injured, so I'm assuming Jeff wins at Lockdown.

Eric Young still nervous. Sarita and Rosita wear lingerie and flirt with EY. Good luck, EY.

Wedding time. Nice blue tux, EY. ODB in a nice camouflage-colored gown that probably could still work in the Victorian era. No best man or maid of honor. Knockouts tag titles are also there. Locking them inside the cage with the priest! Vintage video...and it's actually amusing. They read vows touching! EY's vows are awesome. ODB takes EY's ring music and gives EY a buffet of bam anytime! Yes yes yes!

If anyone protests, speak now. Oop, here we go. Sarita and Rosita -- temptresses -- enter. Aw, ODB is crying. Hey EY! I'll take both chicas, thanks. ODB strips down as well! EY's torn, but picks ODB. EY strips down as well! Hell, why not, right? Matching underwear!

OH CRAP NO. Not the priest!

ROFL! YES YES YES CHANTS! Both EY and ODB say yes, and they are married.

Third member of Team Garett is AJ Styles. Woohoo. He faces Bully Ray. All team members surround the ring. AJ's wearing gloves tonight. AJ can't clothesline Bully over the top, but Bully with a huge kick on AJ. Bearhug to AJ. Bully continues to focus on the back with that huge back body drop. AJ's still quick, though. Tornado DDT countered, Bully hits Samoan drop for two. Hurricanrana from the top by AJ gets two. All hell breaks loose on the outside. Pele kick, but ref distracted enough, so only two. Bully gets the chain in all this madness. AJ springboards into a chained fist, and Team Eric has the advantage at Lockdown.

WAIT! Hulk Hogan comes out! Match is now five on five. Eric has...THREE MINUTES (just had to do that) to make a decision. Ric wants to go at it, but Eric wants to be the fifth guy, assuming Hogan is the fifth guy for Team Garett. With Hogan's back, we know better. Hogan is NOT the fifth guy. Guess who's the fifth guy now? ROB...VAN...DAM! Oh damn. Didn't think it would be RVD. I woulda been content with Garett just being the fifth guy just for kicks.

So I guess Team Eric keeps the advantage, but two more guys are involved now.

Knockouts get the last match of the night. Taz wants to turn the pigeons loose, but Velvet won't do it. Ha, sucks to be Taz. I love it when Mickie kips up to her feet. Velvet wants Gail, but Gail tags Madison in. Mickie gets beat down for a bit, hot tag to Velvet. Eat Defeat countered into In Yo Face for three. Velvet gets the better of Gail again. Actually wondering now if TNA pulls the trigger and lets Velvet win at Lockdown.

Roode and Storm showdown ends the show. RR has his security again. Both talk about Beer Money's success, then take jabs at each other. Very passionate stuff. Good buildup for Lockdown in three days. Will they finally give Storm the win in Nashville over Roode? We'll see....

4/12/12 Superstars

Kofi Kingston vs. Curt Hawkins: **1/2

Kelly Kelly vs.Brie Bella: *1/4

Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson: *1/2

After a mini-vacation, I'm back with more ratings and thoughts.

Kofi and Hawkins start the show. Usual format with Kofi controlling early. Reks distraction gives Curt the upper hand. Kofi with a lively comeback with flashy moves. Good counters at the end. Solid.

New Edge DVD is out now. Looks awesome.

Kelly Kelly -- the All-American girl next door -- gets a win over Brie Bella. KK getting even more physical and animated each week. Amusing moment with Brie pleading, KK grabbing Brie's hand -- and stomping on it. Really just a way to phase the Bellas out, if anything. Is KK back at the front of the line now for the Divas title?

Oh, Jinder Mahal is back on Superstars to face Zeke. Why the hell is the crowd chanting "USA!" when both guys are billed from foreign countries? Zeke submits to the...I guess it's called a Punjabi Clutch? Zeke jobs again. He may be on the chopping block, n my book.

Lesnar and Cena segments from RAW. Cena bloodied from that Lesnar punch. Yup, that was good. Still concerned over how Lesnar will fare at Extreme Rules, though.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11/12 NXT

Johnny Curtis vs. Percy Watson: 1/4*

Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty: ***1/4

Percy Wastson starts the show off. He wants to get the crowd all fired up, but crowd doesn't really care. Sucks. Johnny Curtis finally has a damn match. Regal bans Maxine from the ring, but still gets to stay at ringside. Curtis is creepy to say the least. Maxine distracts Regal very well. Curtis takes advantage here. Boring when Curtis is on offense, but Percy livens things up on a comeback. Regal leaves with Maxine this time. Percy, for whatever reason, allows himself to get distracted AGAIN, leading to a lame Curtis rollup for three. Crowd was mostly dead, and I felt like I wasted about 7 minutes of my life here.

Maxine gets backstage. Hawkins and Reks, the kidnappers. I've completely forgotten what this whole deal with Striker is about. Yeah, that's how crappy this storyline is -- and how much I don't care. A few lame jokes later, Maxine fake cries to Bateman. Bateman buys it and is willing to help. Ugh.

Titus goes to Tamina. Oh look, it's the pot with the alleged coconut tree that D-Young once had. Guess it had to show up sometime. Good going, Titus. You got a kiss, and now D-Young will want to kick your ass! I'll actually think of watching this one...maybe. But geez, Titus is weird.

Bateman and Kaitlyn hear Striker's cries for help and rescue him. Guess it's probably Hawkins and Reks who really did it. Sure enough, that's confirmed in the next segment. So now the tables have turned. Ugh, just end it! My head is spinning from all this. And Curtis doing a high-pitched voice like he got kicked in the nuts doesn't help matters.

Kidd and McGillicutty in the main event. Not much of a show, only two matches tonight. Heck, this feud actually has a video package! How many of those have we had on NXT? Not many. By default, the best match on the card. They really have good chemistry in the ring. Kidd uses the apron just like MM did to get an advantage. Blockbuster from the top rope by Kidd for two. Very sweet. Slingshot crossbody from Kidd countered with a MM dropkick. Kidd caught in mid-air...only two! MM with a snap Saito suplex. Wow, MM with a sharpshooter on Kidd. Very well done. Kidd to the ropes. MM tries for a Perfect-Plex, but Kidd counters. Sharpshooter...NO, NEW MOVE! Almost a legbar/armbar hybrid of sorts to contort MM. MM taps! Excellent finish. Didn't expect that. Wish the crowd was more jacked for it. This was very good stuff.

4/10/12 Super Smackdown

Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry: *1/2

Ryback vs. Benny Camer: N/A (squash)

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Tyson Kidd & Heath Slater: *

Great Khali, Natalya, & Alicia Fox vs. Drew McIntyre, Brie Bella, & Nikki Bella: N/A (WHY?!?!)

Hunico vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan: N/A

Sheamus & Gene Okerlund vs. Daniel Bryan & Alberto Del Rio: DUD

It's a "Blast from the Past " LIVE edition of Smackdown tonight. Various WWE legends will be on the show in certain segments, including "Piper's Pit" with Roddy Piper. His guest? Daniel Bryan! YES! YES! YES! Just amazing how that phrase has taken off with the fans. "YES" has become the new "WHAT" in WWE.

Video from last week showing DB breaking up with AJ.

Mean Gene starts the show. He's damn good at introducing Sheamus. Good grief, "Daniel Bryan" chants throughout Sheamus' promo. Sheamus is out to publicly apologize. Sheamus tends to learn the hard way. Enter Johnny People Power Laurinaitis! Johnny wields Johnny power on Sheamus to make him apologize over and over again. $500K fine (purportedly the biggest in WWE history), permanent probation (even touching a ref on accident is grounds for termination), and having Mean Gene as a tag partner. Vintage Johnny torture! Wasting no time getting good heel heat. Makes me want to kick his ass. Johnny's doing his job very well.

Randy Orton and his dad Cowboy Bob Orton in the back. Randy faces Mark Henry as Cowboy Bob watches  backstage. Mark with the rest holds and basic offense. Cole says he's a rose between two thorns -- or something to that extent. Randy with the comeback. Randy hangman's DDT countered. Finishers countered. Henry into the post three times. KANE PYROS! Kane and Randy have one win apiece. Camera pulls back to show Kane with a laid-out Cowboy Bob. Randy pissed off and seeks Kane out. Randy finds his dad, and Kane takes Randy out with a steel pipe. Might as well book Randy and Kane for Extreme Rules. Street fight or last man standing, I'd guess.

Another jobber, Benny Camer, is in the ring for a squashing. WWE legends gather around the TV to watch Ryback. I wanted Tony Atlas to break out into a laugh, but he put his money on the "young kid." Does that mean Camer or Ryback? I mean, both are young. Ryback with a HUGE lariat to start. Made me legit cringe. Then some move that looked like a Samoan drop. Match is over. Impressive, and I like the booking. Legends are impressed. Oh, there's the Tony laugh.

Tyson Kidd and Heath Slater backstage. They're teaming up tonight. Honky Tonk Man reference. Jimmy Hart! Kidd is dumbfounded.

Here's Mick Foley! I watched his 1998 HIAC match with Taker a couple times lately. Just sick stuff. Foley's on commentary, never thought I'd see that much again after he mentioned that he hated Vince screaming in his ear all the time many moons ago. Vintage Jimmy Hart megaphone! Uh oh, Foley utters, "Enough is enough and it's time for a change!" Thank you, Owen Hart. Jimmy crawls across the ring. That distracted Slater. Usos got the win. Mr. Socko Mandible Claw to Jimmy!

Piper's Pit next. Daniel Bryan is wearing his "YES YES YES" shirt! Woohoo, look at all the YES signs and listen to all those YES chants! Why does DB have to get granted a rematch? Shouldn't it have already been automatic as the former champ? "Kick his head in!" Was that the chant? Love it! 2 out of 3 falls at Extreme Rules. Uh oh. Piper invites AJ down.

AJ says DB is a nice guy deep down, and Piper tries to stir up the controversy as usual. AJ's basically begging to DB to take her back. DB tells AJ if he loves her, leave the ring now. Piper tries to get her to stay, but AJ leaves and DB's loving it. Piper isn't done with DB. Three nos for DB. DB slaps Piper. YES YES YES!

So this is how they incorporate divas now? They have them work matches with Khali? Just claw my eyeballs out. Bellas are apparently out of the company after April. McIntyre bolts out of there after maybe 10 seconds. Alicia comes in and takes out one of the Bellas for three. This was just stupid filler time. Why?! Just horrid.

OH GOOD GRIEF IT'S MAE YOUNG. WHAT DA HAYELL?!?! Mae slips the tongue to Khali. Shoot me. Please.

Damien Sandow monologue again. I guess the gimmick is fine. I just hope his in-ring ability is also solid.

Video from RAW highlighting Lesnar and Cena. Yup, they face off at Extreme Rules. Woohoo.

Hacksaw! I guess he jobs to Hunico tonight. Hacksaw's got backup...straight from World War I! I wonder if Bobby Heenan fed Cole that line. Sgt. Slaughter is out! Hacksaw with the 2x4. Cobra clutch! So no jobbing. Just another damn filler segment. No match here.

Cody Rhodes promo. He's in his ring gear. Nice shirt, Cody. Says this show is a waste of time and to focus on the future. Fittingly, it's also time for Dusty Rhodes to come out. Plaid shirt and jeans. Typical common man stuff, I guess. High praise for Cody. Most naturally gifted athlete since HBK? What a compliment, seriously. Cody wants to talk in the back. Nope! Big Show comes out. Did Show say Copenhagen-dipping? Hell I dunno what the hell he said anyway.

YES! Clips from how to be dashing like Cody Rhodes! Loved that one. Lip gloss. The thing is, I'm sure that's not the funniest one out there that they can put together. Dusty dances in the ring at the end.

Lilian introduces DB. Ricardo introduces Alberto. Damn, I love how Lilian says "Ricardo Rodriguez." And I'm sure she's one of the only ones in the building who can actually understand him. Fink introduces Mean Gene and Sheamus.

Mean Gene won't be much of a factor in this one. Sheamus does virtually all the work for his team. Kicks from DB and Alberto knock Sheamus out on the outside. Okerlund is forced in the ring. Vintage gang-style surrounding! Even Ricardo gets in on it.

And Piper leads the WWE legends! Alberto bails, and it looks like Ricardo plays dead in the corner. DB is pissed and jawjacks with Piper. Sheamus is back up. Brogue Kick gets three.

Legend tee off on Ricardo. Hell, even Fink "ran" to the ring. I don't think he's moved faster in his life! Brogue Kick from Sheamus.

Oh come on. Now Cole gets in the ring with his big mouth. He gets taken out. Crowd didn't care. If they had done this many months ago, then it would have been cheered big time. Not to mention it was the end and people were already filing out of the building.

Happy ending to the show, but not the night for wrestling. Piper's Pit was the best segment of the night.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

4/9/12 RAW (More Lesnar/Cena)

Brodus Clay & Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger: *1/4

R-Truth vs. Cody Rhodes: N/A (not really much of a match...)

Lord Tensai vs. Yoshi Tatsu: N/A (squash)

CM Punk vs. Mark Henry (WWE Title): N/A

Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder: 1/4*

John Cena vs. David Otunga: *

Three Stooges tonight. Of course, I mean the actors in the upcoming movie, not the original guys who have long since passed away. In my book, can't replace the original here.

Look at all the "YES" signs in the crowd. Heard some guy (likely working for WWE) handed out about 30 such signs.

Johnny Laurinaitis comes out to his royal-sounding music. I love it. Even a better fit that David Otunga and his excess body oil/bodybuilding physique accompanies him. Naturally, he is billed as the reason why Lesnar got re-signed. Video shown from end of RAW last week. And Johnny immediately says Lesnar faces Cena at Extreme Rules. Cole directly references Lesnar's UFC championship reign. This may be one of the few times the crowd actually loves Laurinaitis -- although Johnny still gets booed anyway when Lesnar thanks him. Oops! Cena comes out. Crowd going bonkers. Cena wants to thank Lesnar -- BITCHSLAP! Everyone in the back has to separate the two. Whoa! Cena with a bloody mouth! Crowd still going apeshit as the two still find ways to get at each other. Lesnar's dragged out of the ring. Awesome opening segment.

On the replay, it looks like Lesnar's first punch connected square with Cena's face. That's probably what caused the bloody mouth. Laurinaitis blames Teddy Long, duh.

Brodus Clay time. I'm actually getting annoyed with the Brodus intro from Naomi and Cameron. Let them dance, though. Santino amuses me when he dances. Santino is a Stegosaurus. They face Ziggler and Swagger. More dinosaur jokes along the way and this is a boring match so far. Brodus gets to the hot tag eventually. Big splash for three wins it. More dancing post-match. I was looking at the "SI!" signs in the crowd, thanks.

Cena faces Otunga with Laurinaitis at ringside. Teddy Long now a man of few words as JL's lackey. Nice way to speak loud and carry a big stick all at once.

Santino looks for the Three Stooges. Uh oh. He ran into Kane. Power walk out of there!

R-Truth in action against Cody Rhodes. Not really much of a match here. Big Show distraction with video leads to Little Jimmy for three. Show and Cody at Extreme Rules, I guess. IC title rematch with some extreme stipulation.

Santino found the Stooges. Good segment with vintage Stooge material and sound effects. The Mobra! Awesome.

Shanon and Marc Parker of SyFy's "Dream Machines" in the crowd. Debuts tomorrow right after Super Smackdown.

Lord Tensai squash time! Sakamoto accompanies him. Nice move to have Yoshi Tatsu be the squash victim. Yoshi says Tensai isn't Japanese...and he's right. But Lawler said it best: Tensai had a great career in Japan. "Albert" chants during the match, woohoo! I love the mist spit into the hand followed by the claw. Another ref stoppage.

Punk and Jericho videos. Punk faces Mark Henry tonight with the title on the line. Super serious CM Punk tonight. Great stuff as usual. Jericho interrupts and again plays a masterful heel. CM Drunk! It's now about Punk channeling all that darkness to kick Jericho's ass.

Now Henry comes out for his title match. No main event intros this time. Punk with a monitor shot a minute in and Henry gets the DQ win. Jericho comes out with two cases of beer in hand. Henry nukes Punk outside, then inside the ring. Punk fights Jericho off but Codebreaker ends that. Stone Cold won't be pleased. That's good beer going on the canvas! Wonder if they somehow got non-alcoholic stuff. Second Codebreaker. And the refs are all scared to even touch Jericho. Good grief, he isn't an electric fence!

Ryder faces Alberto Del Rio. Looks like WWE is also headed to Russia for the first time. Cross armbreaker ends this one pretty quickly.

Three Stooges time. Let's see what they got. Oops, booed. Hulk Hogan Real American theme?!?! Curly dressed as Hogan. Cole with a possible rib at Hogan..."lost some weight." Did Vince feed you that one? Curly with a vintage Hogan-like promo to promote the Three Stooges movie out on April 13. This blows. KANE! WOOHOO! Moe and Larry split. Curly gets chokeslammed. So much for that.

Henry says Laurinaitis granted him another title shot next week. No DQ, no countout.

Brock with sort of a tweener promo with Josh Mathews. He's getting cheered, especially for his UFC accolades and nuking Cena, but still has that heel aspect by mentioning Laurinaitis' "wisdom." No friends for Brock. Reports are surfacing that he's still "doughy." If so, I hope he can get more conditioned before the 29th.

Superstars are raving about Taker/HHH HIAC at Mania. Just incredible storytelling in that match.

"Mr. Excess Body Oil" David Otunga comes out first for the main event. Last year, I never woulda thought Otunga would have a singles match in the main event of RAW anytime soon. Laurinaitis needs to stop tweeting Michael Cole and just say stuff to his face. Cena's all cleaned up now.

Basic wrestling moves and Otunga posing. Otunga does a flying shoulder tackle?! Cena's opened up again. Vintage Cena comeback. Boring. AA and STF ends it. Laurinaitis not liking it.

Well, JL will love this one. Lesnar with a nut shot to Cena. F-5 again! Good start for Lesnar. He doesn't have to do much. Just show up, do a couple promos, and destroy Cena for now. Crowd certainly likes this.

Lesnar has a Jimmy John's sandwiches logo on the back of his shirt. I'm sure they appreciate the advertising.

Super Smackdown tomorrow. A "Blast From the Past" episode with some WWE legends on hand!

This was clearly not a show to see wrestling matches. Ugh.

Friday, April 6, 2012

4/6/12 Smackdown

Mark Henry & David Otunga vs. R-Truth: 1/2*

Randy Orton vs. Kane (No DQ): ***1/4

Ryback vs. Barry Stevens: N/A (squash)

Big Show vs. Heath Slater: 1/4*

Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix: DUD

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio: *3/4

We're in Orlando for Smackdown. I hope the Orlando fans are just as awesome as the Miami fans. Heck, the "YES YES YES" chants even broke out at a Miami Heat game!

Otunga introduces Laurinaitis as the new Smackdown GM. Such noble music playing for Johnny! I actually like it. Johnny calls out Teddy. Nice "farewell speech" from Long. Even better that Long told Johnny to go to hell. Nice low blow of sorts from Johnny to bring up Teddy's grandkids' college fund and to get good heel heat.

Handicap match with Henry and Otunga vs. R-Truth. Good job from Johnny to bring up the handicap match stipulation. At least Otunga and Henry must tag in and out. Abraham Washington is now "AW" for TV purposes. Henry does the damage, Otunga picks up the scraps and poses. Makes sense. Henry getting Otunga's attention while David posed made me laugh a bit.

Wow, Kane pyros go off out of nowhere! Kane and Orton already? Nice. I like back-to-back matches. WM rematch here, no DQ. Brawling on the stage. Fighting near the edge ends in a Kane DDT to Orton. Loved the physicality here. Fairly lengthy TV match as well. Kane rips the pad off the turnbuckle. It's raining chairs in the ring! Four, to be exact. Kane brings a fifth in, but Orton uses that one to fight back. Hangman's DDT on the chair! Very nice. Kane with several chair shots gets two. Orton pushes Kane into the exposed turnbuckle, and RKO gets three. Very nice. Each with a victory over the other now. Rubber match at Extreme Rules?

Some jobber (Barry Stevens) cuts a nervous heel promo as people in the back are doing their "who the hell is this guy?!" act. Yeah, they'll love this coming up. And they all break character to do so.

OOPS! It's the returning Skip Sheffield! Oh, I mean Ryback! They mention he was from NXT season 1 (as Skip), and an injury sidelined him (at a Honolulu house show in summer 2010). They don't even bring up the Skip Sheffield name. Glad they finally used the Ryback gimmick. It's not a Terminator spoof anymore, but it should be fine to get him a push. Good power finisher. Starts as a fisherman's suplex, into a fireman's carry, into a Samoan drop-like move.

Daniel Bryan promo with AJ. Crowd still going "YES YES YES" for DB, although it's muted a bunch. Thanks a lot, WWE. AJ grabs the mic and compliments DB -- and gets booed. Ha! Well, until she starts encouraging the "YES!" chants. There we go. Much better. Let the chants go!

But alas, seems they are keeping DB as a heel for now. To DB, it's all mocking. DB blames AJ for his title loss. Makes perfect sense. VINTAGE DB explosion! DB as a heel was the best move WWE made for Bryan Danielson. Look at those mic skills. Outstanding.

Amazing how some people in the crowd were still doing the "na na na hey goodbye" to AJ, backing Daniel. WWE seriously needs to book more shows in Florida.

Cody on commentary while Show nukes Slater. Show recognized as one of the few guys to hold all the active titles in WWE. One more time, Cody shown getting KTFO by Show. Whoa, a huge pounce-like move by Show! Show chokeslam gets the win. Squash.

Punk and Jericho segment from RAW. Good storyline here, fellas.

Brie loves Johnny's the new GM, much to Nikki's chagrin. Nikki's facing Beth Phoenix while Brie has the night off. Oops. Kelly Kelly comes out to watch. Vintage Kelly-ference leads to a Bella win.

Sheamus has really embraced his role as a lovable character. I just may like the increased tension between him and Johnny.

A video tribute to Chief Jay Strongbow, who passed away earlier in the week. Never got to see him perform, but may he rest in peace.

We see Damien Sandow's first vignette. He cuts a heel promo, seemingly with a scholarly, philosopher, and preaching gimmick.

(NOTE: Damien Sandow had a previous run in WWE as Idol Stevens, one of Michelle McCool's "Teachers Pets" from several years ago)

Finally, Cole and I agree on something. Miami crowd was incredible.

"Three Stooges" are guest stars next week. Yup, there's apparently a movie coming out soon. I loved the original Three Stooges. Can never replace them.

Alberto and Sheamus in the main event. First TV match for Alberto in a long time. Pretty typical match here. Nice counter into an Irish Curse backbreaker near the end of the match. ADR with the classic Eddie Guerrero lie, cheat, and steal method of winning. You know, the ol' bring the chair in the ring, see the ref is turning around, fake getting hit with a chair, and get opponent DQ'd.

ROFL at Ricardo grabbing the mic from Lilian and going "ALBERTO DEL RIO!" over and over.

OH, Brogue Kick to the ref! Yup, that'll cost Sheamus some money. I guess Laurinaitis will have more to talk about next week!

I'll be out of town for a few days starting next Friday. Ratings and reviews on those shows (which will include the TNA Lockdown PPV) will be delayed.