Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7/30/12 RAW

Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino Marella: *1/4

Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (Street Fight): ***1/4

Titus O'Neil vs. Kofi Kingston: *

Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater: N/A (squash)

Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Miz & Dolph Ziggler: **1/2

Tyson Kidd vs. Tensai: *

John Cena vs. Big Show: **

How fitting AJ's first official RAW on the job as new permanent GM starts with a pre-show fire to the set. Lovely pyro blast was the cause here. I'm sure Kane jokes ran wild.

I'm assuming WWE played a video package of RAW episode #1000 to kill some time at the start and allow the fans to file in. Frankly, this perfectly played into Punk's opening promo. Heck, he still got some pops coming out even after last week's actions.

Punk really didn't cut a full heel promo, but more of the tweener variety. It had heel tendencies by being partially aimed at Lawler, but he also made it clear that the spotlight should be on the "WWE champion," as opposed to always saying "me." Having Show and Cena come out gives Punk more ammo to show how he's constantly upstaged. Even AJ grabbed a bit of the spotlight to announce a main event that doesn't include Punk.

Santino and Alberto start off the wrestling portion of the show. Cole mentions Santino has held the U.S. Title since March, but is that really a feat anymore? Santino's hasn't defended that title very often. Cobra didn't have a chance to strike, and ADR picks up the win in a fairly average match. Good crowd reaction here. Del Rio basically on protest and not competing again until SummerSlam. He's being built up strong for a possible title run later this year. I honestly would have him take the World Heavyweight Title for now if the plan is for Punk to constantly hold onto the WWE Title.

Brodus dances, but Vickie dancing was even more amusing. It wasn't too bad, certainly better than me. Sandow plays the party pooper in all this. We see the video package where DX took Sandow out on RAW #1000, then Sandow attacks Brodus. No match, just a segment to make Sandow look good.

Thanks to AJ, Daniel Bryan faces Sheamus tonight, and through RAWActive, WWE Universe picks stipulation. No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere, or Street Fight. Wait, aren't these all basically the same thing?!?! The only thing we're missing is Extreme Rules, which really isn't extreme anymore.

Fans pick Street Fight convincingly. Remember when going off the stage actually had more shock value? Now guys like DB are jumping off the stage to deliver moves to people. This match really delivered the physicality. Sheamus and DB work real well together. Brogue Kick ends it. Wish it went longer, but it's far better than most of the matches we normally get on RAW.

DB refuses to leave and wants a doctor. Kofi and Truth come out. DB punts Little Jimmy out of the ring. Guys in white from the loony house come out. AJ tells the guys in white to take DB away. Sounds about right.

Mr. McMahon will reveal the new permanent Smackdown GM this Friday.

Titus faces Kofi in singles action. AW with the Kobe Bryant sexual assault reference in the Colorado hotel room that WWE had to apologize for. Fairly straightforward match here. AW with the shoe distraction leads to a Titus win.

It's Heath Slater time again, this time to challenge any current WWE superstar. RANDY ORTON. Oops. Nice pop for Orton. Slater with a couple shots in, but after that, Orton hits signature moves and ends it quick.

DB answers questions from some doc and it's always "YES." YES YES YES.

Tag match time with Christian/Jericho and Ziggler/Miz. How the HELL did Ziggler completely miss that Rocker Dropper?! Christian with a thumb to Miz's eye leads to Codebreaker for three. Whoa, a face with a heel move? Blasphemy! Ziggler nukes Jericho post-match with the briefcase.

Doc with those ink blot tests. Three pics then placed on the side form either a bunny or, in DB's eyes, a goat face. Now that was clever and awesome. And "Goat Face" trended worldwide! YES YES YES.

Tensai and Tyson Kidd in singles action next. "ALBERT" chants. Kidd with a good effort, but that sitdown powerbomb and senton splash gets three. Post-match attack makes ref reverse decision, so Kidd scores the official win. Yeah, whatever. What the hell did this accomplish?

As expected, DB is deemed 100% sane. But we need an anger management therapist. YAY KANE! Got a great laugh there.

Punk on commentary during Cena/Show. Very hot crowd here. Nice mention of Punk's lengthy title reign, so again, I hope it extends until Royal Rumble so Rock can face Punk. At this point, that seems like the plan to me.. Cena slamming Show woulda been impossible, Lawler? Really? Not like Cena's done that a zillion times before. Not a bad match here; an average match just made better with a few counters. Cena launched into Punk at the announcing booth. Cena just makes it back in before getting counted out. Cena looks for Attitude Adjustment but Punk stops that. Bell rings. Punk kicks Show in the head. Punk says neither man wins. AJ says otherwise and makes a Triple Threat for SummerSlam, much to Punk's dismay.

Not a bad show here. In fact, the crowd really won me over. Hope more shows take place there in the future.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

7/27/12 Smackdown

Miz vs. Christian (IC Title): ***1/4

Ryback vs. Jinder Mahal: 1/4*

Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes: **1/2

Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella: 1/2*

Damien Sandow vs. Yoshi Tatsu: N/A

Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane: ***1/2

We're notified that there will be a #1 contender's fatal Four Way match for the World Heavyweight Title tonight between Kane, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio, and Alberto Del Rio.

Miz starts the show with a promo. I'm really digging the rugged facial hair look Miz now sports. Christian invokes his rematch clause immediately. All of a sudden, Cole's back on the Miz bandwagon hardcore. Duh, the guy's a movie star now and a champion again. I totally hate the overuse of the word "innovative," especially when the particular move has clearly been used by someone before. Christian again makes his opponent look like a million bucks. Pretty lengthy TV match. Awesome match with tons of counters and near falls. Took the shot to the eye and a rollup with trunks to score the win.

Ryback gets new fodder! It's Jinder Mahal this week. Nice job from Jinder to stay focused on trying to get Ryback down. Then Jinder bails when he sees the lariat coming. Countout win for Ryback. Can't say I blame Jinder.

Those Sonic cups are getting decent airtime on WWE programming. Must be nice to be a sponsor.

Nice "wedding gift" from Sheamus to DB. Pic of the Brogue Kick Sheamus gave DB at WM to win the World Title.

Sheamus then faces Cody in singles action. When Sheamus is down, Ziggler makes an appearance at ringside, ready to cash in MITB. Weird when Sheamus basically ran across the ring in line of Cody's moonsault -- when he could have just stayed on one side and avoided the damn move anyway. Disaster kick only got two for Cody, which surprised me only a bit since Sheamus is also being built up like SuperSheamus. Brogue Kick gets Sheamus the win.

Ziggler contemplates cashing in the briefcase and leaves. Jericho comes out in a pink Ziggler shirt and tosses Dolph back in. Brogue Kick to Ziggler. Yeah, Jericho looks a bit like Dolph when wearing that shirt. Looks like a good feud between face Jericho and heel Ziggler gets more fuel added to the fire.

Antonio Cesaro and Santino Marella in a battle of Euro WWE superstars. Short match here, Cesaro ducks the cobra and hits his Neutralizer for three.

Yoshi is back on jobbing duty, this time to Damien Sandow. Another short match, basically a squash win.

Fatal Four Way match got a bunch of time, so you won't see me complaining. Just think of how awesome a match Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio could produce. Very fluid match, great pace that not all Fatal Four Ways have. I really enjoyed the spot where Kane eyed DB when DB had Alberto in the YES lock. Rey double 619, splash to DB. Ricardo pulls Rey out, Alberto scores the pin. Excellent end sequence, especially taking advantage of the No DQ rule in Fatal Four Ways. I could watch this match every damn day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

7/26/12 Impact

Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James & Tara: *

Douglas Williams vs. Sam Shaw: *

James Storm vs. AJ Styles: ***1/4

Zema Ion vs. Kenny King (X-Division Title): **1/4

Kurt Angle vs. Bully Ray: ***3/4

Lots of people with words about Chavo Guerrero. Some in character, others share their legit feelings.

But first, Sting starts the show tocall out Aces and Eights. Aries and Angle join Sting in the ring. Roode then makes his appearance, accusing James Storm of being behind Aces and Eights. Storm and Roode brawl, while the other three guys just look on, not knowing what to do. Not sure what the segment was supposed to really accomplish.

We have Knockouts tag action. Madison Rayne is one of them, and guess who's reffing this one? Our ol' buddy Earl Hebner! Let's see how this whole Madison Rayne crush thing plays out, shall we? Starts out fairly normal. Madison gets in and plays all lovey-dovey with Earl. Good wrestling moves from Mickie and Tara. Mickie with the bridge rollup. Earl, in a questionable position to make the count, counts three. He could see Madison's shoulder get off the canvas, but not Mickie's. I guess if there was ever a way to make a confusing finish a good one, this was it. Even the sound people got confused. Nice.

Gut Check time with Sam Shaw. He was on last week, but Aces and Eights got to him. Douglas Williams is his opponent. Love the pick, a great ring veteran who can make others look good. Shaw has one of those Orton backbreaker-regular neckbreaker combos that looks pretty good. Plus he can kip up easily. See the "87%" signs? Yeah, that's Joey Ryan in the crowd. Al Snow chases Joey out of there. Meanwhile, Williams hits Chaos Theory on Shaw for three. I think Shaw's got a bright future. Personally, I wish these Gut Check matches went a bit longer if the contestant has real talent to show. You only make your first impression once, my friends.

Aries gets the task of picking Zema Ion's opponent tonight for the X-Division title: Sonjay Dutt, Kenny King, Dakota Darsow, or Rashad Cameron. Cameron get the boot first.

Here we go with Chavo's debut. He gets a hero's welcome. Kid Kash and Gunner spoil that party. Hernandez with an awkward entrance into the ring, but he helps Chavo clean house.

Storm and AJ Styles in a BFG Series match. Both now have distractions to worry about (AJ has Claire Lynch at ringside and Storm has the whole Aces and Eights accusation). Claire has a damn good vindictive look. Good match here, several near falls. Only Storm is challenging for the BFG Series lead; Styles is in the bottom half of the standings. Aces and Eights interfere at the end, so the match gets thrown out, even though the group physically didn't go after Storm. Luckily for James, no DQ for him, woulda been costly. If anything, it helps give Roode ammo that Storm could be behind all this.

Sam Shaw doesn't get a week, he learns his Gut Check fate now. Many tweets are posted, mostly saying "yes" for Shaw. Al Snow says no because he was too busy detaining Joey Ryan. Pritchard says yes. Shaw with a nice emotional plea to Taz. Taz does say yes. I agree, mainly because I think Shaw has a good physique. Should be a great addition to the roster.

Aries cuts Dakota Darsow next. ROFL at the Repo Man reference.

Zema Ion goes to the ring, and Aries makes his final cut. Sonjay is cut last due to the bad shoulder, so it's Kenny King's time. King really has some great moves, a good balance of technical and lucha. Roode interferes for who knows why, and Ion takes advantage for three. Guess it was to piss Aries off, because A-double gets some after the match. Good match, wish the crowd got even more into it, though.

As a result, next week, Roode/Ion vs. Aries/King. That's the way to elevate the X-Division!

Outstanding main event between Bully Ray and Kurt Angle. Would you expect anything less from an Angle match? Just great counters, back-and-forth stuff. Hot crowd helped the rating big time. Aces and Eights attack Angle. Sting, Aries, and Styles help Angle. Note Bully Ray went to the outside and didn't factor in any of this. Storm chases Aces and Eights away, but Angle still thinks Storm is part of that group. So why not? Angle vs. Storm next week. BFG Series match. Book it!

Another great Impact. TNA's been doing a heck of a job!

7/26/12 Superstars

Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre: **3/4

Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks: **

Zack Ryder vs. Michael McGillicutty: *1/2

Sin Cara starts the show against McIntyre. Surprisingly, I've loved Drew's matches, even when he loses, because he has the ability to make others look great and work a fluid match. Drew's also strong enough to utilize a power game against the smaller Sin Cara and look great himself with awesome counters. Sure enough, we saw all that here. Crowd appreciated the effort. Cara wins by countering a powerbomb into a victory pin for three. I'd call this one of Sin Cara's best singles matches in WWE, if not the best.

Kidd and Gabriel as a tag team excites me. If WWE won't push either of these two to a U.S. or IC title run, putting them together as a potent tag team is the next best thing, in my book. Of course, Vince doesn't really view tag teams as a priority, so there's only so much benefit here. Good tag wrestling here, and you gotta love the agility Kidd and Gabriel both have. Kidd scores the pin with the blockbuster. Give them another 5-7 minutes and it's gold.

Ryder faces McGillicutty in the main event this week. Pretty short match, Ryder hits the Rough Ryder off the second rope for three, a good twist from the usual. Frankly, I want McGillicutty to change his name to honor the Hennig legacy. Is that too much to ask? Whatever plans are in place to do it...speed it up!

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest storylines -- and the one WWE is basing the rest of summer around -- will be CM Punk's heel turn at the 1000th RAW. I'm glad WWE has seen how valuable Punk is to the company; especially after his incredible pipebomb promo/storyline last summer. A Punk heel turn opens up a lot of doors, including more matches with Daniel Bryan (who has gotten a cult following with his "YES" chant). Punk's heel turn also allows him more ways to escape with the title and turn it into a VERY long title reign (see Bobby Roode's TNA World Heavyweight Title run). I'm actually hoping there's a plan in place to have Punk keep the title longer than a year and have Rock face him at Royal Rumble. People like Cena don't need the title, and it's very refreshing to see WWE have so much faith in another individual to carry the company's most cherished belt.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

7/25/12 NXT

Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis vs. Derrick Bateman & Bo Dallas: *1/4

Antonio Cesaro vs. Alex Riley: *1/4

Sofia Cortez vs. Natalya: 3/4*

Conor O'Brian & Kenneth Cameron vs. Dante Dash & Garrett Dylan: N/A (squash)

Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins: **

Looks like we're finally seeing the old NXT crop and the new stars really co-exist in matches. First tag match has Bo and Bateman going against McGillicutty and Curtis. Fairly straightforward tag match here with very little crowd reaction. Heels capitalize when the ref's back is turned.

Cesaro and A-Ry next. Where the hell is the crowd reaction? Oh right, we're in a small auditorium with a bunch of people that probably have no clue on what the hell is going on. Aksana gets involved and Cesaro hits his Neutralizer for the three.

Riley Pierce, I believe, is actually Dolph Ziggler's brother (looks like him, but with black hair). He interviews Kassius Ohno...not a bad promo there.

Natalya faces Sofia Cortez here. I think the crowd finally awoke from its slumber. Natalya gets herself intentionally counted out and then attacks Sofia after the bell? Why?! Makes zero sense. The match was not too bad up until then.

I love the Ascension's ring entrance. Basically a high-low move wins it for Ascension. Squash here.

Big E Langston debuts next week. Looks like the second coming of Mark Henry.

Nice to see Seth Rollins get the main event slot this week. Good main event here. Rollins didn't hit that superkick as well as he would have liked. Rollins misses his Phoenix Splash and McIntyre hits his finisher for three.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

7/23/12 RAW (Episode #1000!)

Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, & Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio, Chris Jericho, & Dolph Ziggler: *3/4

Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger: N/A (yay Dude Love!)

Miz vs. Christian (IC Title): **

Lita vs. Heath Slater (No DQ, No Countout): N/A

CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Title): **3/4

Tonight marks the start of 3-hour RAWs. It's hard to believe that the show made it to 1,000 episodes. And next January, RAW will have been on for 20 years. Just insane.

The opening graphics were great to remember the past, but also the now. Then. Now. Forever. Even a new Titantron for the occasion.

Vince starts the show to a nice pop. Welcome to Monday Night RAW! And D-X?! YES! Camo pants. Wait, wasn't there more of DX? WOOHOO! Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and X-Pac come out on that infamous tank they used to invade WCW. Loved how Road Dogg self-censored "Ass" out of Bad Ass Billy Gunn. Vintage DX segments, and nice job on the HBK Playgirl reference. Sandow gets Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree. Nice opener.

Nice to have Jim Ross on commentary. Nice goatee.

Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara on the same team for the six-man tag...talk about past and future teaming together. Sin Cara and Dolph worked in the ring together, even after Ziggler was vocal about Sin Cara's work at MITB. Even Jericho brought back the posing arrogant cover for a night. Biggest story here was Ziggler decking Jericho, allowing Sheamus to hit the Brogue Kick and get the win. Storyline there advances and is much clearer now. Jericho should be the face in all this, while Ziggler plays the heel. Relatively short match that I wish had more time.

So Charlie Sheen is on the show -- via Skype. Yay for being a social ambassador?

Onto AJ and Layla backstage. Nice job on showing how mentally unstable the entire locker room is. WTF MAE YOUNG'S HAND-SON LIVES. Easily had me cracking up.

Sonic must be a big sponsor now. Nice airtime. I want to learn to roller skate now. WWE continues to promote Tout and Shazam (one of those phone apps).

Meanwhile, Swagger again gets a mere mention outside of the ring. Brodus Clay gets the big entrance and then beats Jack in about 10 seconds. Oh yeah, DUDE LOVE AND A TYEDYE MR. SOCKO! So when is Swagger getting future endeavored? Not sure if this is one of those MVP-like losing streaks.

HHH and Trish Stratus in the back. HA, nice reference to one very awesome backstage segment. Let's do some yoga! But eh, it's DX crashing the festivities this time. I'm sure everyone wanted Stephanie to step in.

It's AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding time. Slick's back to be the minister of the wedding, and he looks great! Love it. Wow, AJ makes an amazing bride -- who just happens to be wearing her boots. Slick was just awesome. A lot of YES in the ring, and a lot of NO in the crowd. AJ said yes to another man with a proposal.

ROFL IT'S VINCE MCMAHON. Vince quickly says it was a business proposal. AJ is the new RAW GM?! WTF. Welp, any ounce of logic that even remained in WWE has left the building. Now DB has gone nuts. We need more crazy people here.

Punk/Bryan/Rock segment = gold. Rock says he faces the WWE champ at the Royal Rumble. Might be an awesome match if Punk were still champ at that time. Daniel Bryan = homeless lumberjack + oompa loompa. ROFL. Rock Bottom to DB. Rock's still got it.

Nice time to promote the Taker 20-0 DVD set.

Bret's the special guest ring announcer for this next match. Nice shoutout to Mr. Perfect. IC Title match between Christian and Miz. Christian tweaks the knee in the first few minutes of the match, and it ended up costing him. Good for Miz. Getting that re-push to the top after coming back from movie filming.

HHH time to get Lesnar's decision. Heyman came out first; he says no on behalf of Lesnar. HI STEPHANIE! She looks real good with all that gym time. Of course Heyman would tell HHH yes after all those fighting words. WWE was already hyping this match for SummerSlam. Lesnar finally makes an on-screen appearance again and gets knocked out of the ring. Brock looks like he at least went to the gym a bunch.

Austin/McMahon feud remembered. Absolutely epic. Best feud ever, in my opinion.

Santino and Hornswoggle hand out Brawling Buddies to the fans. Similar to the WWF Wrestling Buddies from back in the day, but looks slightly smaller.

Fink introduces the next match. Heath Slater's out first. Uh oh. Another legend coming? It's no DQ and no countout. HI LITA! Damn, Trish and Lita on the same episode again. I can die happy. No thong showing, though, because WWE's all PG now. OH YES, APA! Yet another markout moment for me seeing that. Then all the legends appear again. Twist of Fate from Lita. Clothesline From Hell from JBL. Moonsault from Lita. Done. Nice last hurrah for all the legends.

Sean Mooney is back with a short Daniel Bryan backstage interview. Nice to see he's aged pretty well.

Why is being the 100 millionth social follower a huge thing? I mean, it's great WWE has that many, but is he any different from the next guy?

Kane comes out for his match. Jinder Mahal leads Hunico, Camacho, Reks, Hawkins, and McIntyre. So it's a one-on-six handicap match? OH SNAP IT'S UNDERTAKER. Brothers of Destruction back together! Makes me wonder if he grew his hair back out, or if he's still bald. Oh, nice shaved mohawk look. Kane and Taker just stare at each other in the ring, then take out those six guys. Win.

Main event time with Punk and Cena for the title. Crowd very loud for this one. As I expected, Cena was the first to cash in MITB and NOT win the title. Cena doesn't need the title. Let Punk really have an extremely long reign. And Lawler yet again doesn't remember RVD telling people he'd cash in his MITB briefcase on Cena at One Night Stand many moons ago.

Good main event. Ref bump appears to cost Cena the title. Big Show with the spear and WMD to Cena. Punk all conflicted. He gets the ref back in and hesitates for the cover. Two count. Cena gets Punk in STF. Show back in to cause the DQ. Show nukes Cena and Punk doesn't help. Rock comes out to help. Punk takes out Rock. VINTAGE HEEL TURN!

Punk heel turn was great. I liked the heel Punk a lot. Even when he was doing his pipebomb promos last year, he had this cockiness to him that I wish he had from the start of his WWE career. People cheered back then because he was that rebel against the system, a refreshing feeling against the humdrum Cena promos and trying to break through that glass ceiling. Remember the stuff with the Straight Edge Society? Those were golden promos. This time though, Punk doesn't have to preach straight edge 100 percent. He can preach his gimmick as the best in the world.

It was a very good RAW, filled with memorable stuff. The matches weren't overly breathtaking, though. Only five matches in three hours, and two of them were squashes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

7/20/12 Smackdown

Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Hunico, & Camacho vs. Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Primo, & Epico: *3/4

Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder: N/A (virtual squash)

Kane vs. Daniel Bryan: **

Road Warrior Animal vs. Heath Slater: N/A

Sheamus & Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio: **3/4

In San Diego for this episode. Rey is out first to a hometown hero's welcome, and he wants Alberto Del Rio. ADR comes out and would rather talk about getting the title from Sheamus. Ziggler with briefcase has words for ADR. Rey says Ziggler and ADR should fight, but they turn on Rey. Sheamus sides with Rey so perhaps we have a tag match later tonight. And yup, we do.

Vickie is a burro. Win.

Eight-man tag is the first match tonight. Good flow to this one. AW distracts the ref, Titus holds up Primo long enough so Primo falls into the knees of D-Young. Darren gets the three and the win. Show comes out and basically nukes everyone but the Primetime Players. All in a day's work for Big Show.

Damien Sandow gets a mention in the ring as Ryder comes out. Ha, hearing Sandow say "broski" was awesome. Sandow wins after controlling almost the entire match.

Christian's Peep Show segment is next, and his guests are Daniel Bryan and AJ. Aw, it's matching "YES YES YES" shirts! Well, AJ's is a lot better. $20,000 engagement ring? I'd be happy to make $20,000 in a year right now. Aw, we have a video clip! How incredibly cheesy! A lot of "YES" going on. Vintage AJ slap! Christian says DB may not have realized he has a match -- yet DB has his wrestling trunks on. Awkward. DB faces AJ's "ex," Kane. Double awkward.

Match was pretty good. Unstable AJ jumped off the top onto Kane for the DQ. Kane still chokeslammed DB. Possible kissing segment between AJ and Kane? Nah, nothing happened. DB and AJ make out on the damn stage. Damn you, DB.

Heath Slater video package of him facing all those RAW legends. Now Slater's on Smackdown. So there's no legend right? NOPE. HI ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL! Animal looks in amazing shape. "LOD!" chants. Animal destroys Slater in a minute. Unfortunately, there's no such thing as a solo Doomsday Device. Sad panda.

Ricardo speaks English?! And Vickie screams like a banshee. Still can't beat Steph's screams, though. Yeah, apparently I went there for the double entendre.

Main event tag match got a lot of time. Rey wore a tight shirt the entire time, so maybe he's not totally back in ring shape yet? Both Rey and Sheamus got hot tags here. Ziggler flopped around like a fish out of water. Sheamus looked for the Brogue Kick, but Ricardo interfered for the DQ. ADR with the cross armbreaker on Sheamus. Refs get ADR and Ricardo to the back.

Convenient time for Ziggler to try to cash in MITB! Mysterio breaks that up. 619 from Mysterio. Brogue Kick from Sheamus. That's apparently how you send the San Diego crowd home happy. Ziggler still has the briefcase, anyway.

Yup, from what I saw, no divas matches. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

7/19/12 Impact

Samoa Joe vs. D'Angelo Dinero: *1/4

Robbie E vs. Jeff Hardy: 3/4*

Mr. Anderson vs. AJ Styles: **1/2

Rob Van Dam vs. Christopher Daniels: **1/4

Bully Ray vs. Magnus: **1/4

Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode: ***1/2

It's Open Fight Night again! And there's Gut Check again. Haven't seen either of the winners since they found out their respective fates. Oddly, the guy who lost, Joey Ryan, has had more screen time than the others thanks to it being a respectable storyline effort. In short, Gut Check for the short term has been a bust, in my opinion. Hopefully, long-term prospects look better.

Storm starts off the show and he calls out Angle. That's as tough as it gets, really. Music plays twice, no Angle. Aces and Eights gang got him.

Samoa Joe calls out Pope and wants to make him submit. Joe looks like he busted his jaw early on from that turnbuckle. Pope with submissions of his own (even a Rings of Saturn submission). Pope getting shots in, but cross armbreaker out of nowhere by Joe leads to a tapout win. Joe with 10 more points and back in the BFG Series lead.

Jeff Hardy comes out to a big pop; only one side of his face is painted. He wants to call someone out, but Robbie E takes matters into his own hand and calls Hardy out -- while coming down to the ring. So it's really another BFG Series match. Typical Hardy offense. Rob Terry gets involved. Hardy's pissed, so those two brawl up the ramp long enough for Robbie E to get a countout win. Robbie celebrates like he won the World Series and gets 5 points.

ODB and Eric Young? Oh yeah, I forgot they were still married in that storyline. Something about beer and fried chicken. Sounds real tasty.

Gut Check time. Some guy named Sam Shaw. Real good physique, not overly jacked. Tattooed all over both arms. Seems real enthusiastic and charismatic. And that's the end of it. Aces and Eights nuke this unknown. Gut Check judges tend to Shaw. Shaw will get another shot for his Gut Check next week. Heck, it wasn't promoted for this week anyway. Perhaps that was a cue something would happen.

Anderson basically boos Daniels and calls out AJ Styles for a BFG Series match. Very competitive bout. Anderson counters the Styles Clash and switches into a pin for three. Probably intended to make that look better but it's fine here.

And here comes Claire Lynch, all of a sudden becoming a demanding psychopath. So purportedly they both had drinks. And she's got photos of the two in bed. AJ roofied? Maybe.

RVD calls out Daniels. By the way, Sean Wheelock was on commentary and did a damn good job -- way better than so many wrestlers I've seen try it. Another good match, as Daniels uses the ropes to steal the win. RVD did most of the stuff here to keep me entertained. 7 points for Daniels in the BFG Series.

Brooke Hogan on the phone. Hulk's been heavily sedated. Kinda like Vince back in the day?

Garett Bischoff is relegated to just another person on the roster now while Joseph Park starts the slow transition back to Abyss. Meanwhile, Aries

Magnus comes out for a BFG Series match, but Bully Ray jumps him from behind. Guess these two got a match now. Tenay and Taz ponder if Roode is behind the whole Aces and Eights thing, since he has the most to gain.Good match here, nice chemistry between the two. Bully hits a cutter for the win. Magnus impressed, especially with that Texas Cloverleaf.

BFG Series Leaderboard shows that everyone has points now -- even Robbie E, who still sits in last with 5 points. Samoa Joe leads with 47 after his submission win. James Storm in second with 43. Angle third with 27.

Yes, that's right. Chavo Guerrero debuts next week for TNA. Apparently, he's been doing work in TNA's sister promotion, Ring Ka King. If Chavo's happy, then that's all that really matters.

Roode indeed calls Aries out. Competitive and physical throughout. Tremendous counter spots at the proper moments. Both looked in position to pull out a win. Crowd keeps chanting "YES" or "NO" on the crossface because it looks so much like Daniel Bryan's YES lock (slight difference on trapping the opponent's left arm). Aries sends Roode outside and then the heat seeking missile. Aces and Eights attack Aries and the match is thrown out. Roode is all happy at the attack -- and then gets nuked himself as the show ends.

The intrigue of this "Aces and Eights" gang attack is getting very good, and not too far from stuff that got me interested in the Nexus storyline a couple years ago. No Sting or Hogan at the Impact Zone so they can sell injuries. Attacking Angle and Aries boosted the credibility of this mystery faction. Even Roode wasn't immune to this. By taking out that unknown Sam Shaw, this group gets even more feared because it really makes it look like random hits and not just going after the big fish. Let's see if TNA actually does something WWE dropped the ball on (with Nexus) and turns this into a formidable group.

7/19/12 Superstars

Santino Marella vs. Jinder Mahal: *1/2

Cody Rhodes vs. Alex Riley: **1/2

Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Derrick Bateman & Johnny Curtis: *3/4

Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre: ***

We start quickly with Santino and Jinder in a non-title match. Dammit, when was the last time Santino defended that belt? Josh Mathews calls it a prestigious title, but I beg to differ. Nice mullet, Santino. Slow offense from Jinder, Santino comes back and hits the cobra for three.

WWE is gonna heavily promote Tout because WWE's the largest investor in that. It could work, especially if people like Cena use it a bunch.

Cody Rhodes faces Alex Riley. A-Ry with the powder throw on his entrance, and he gets a pretty good pop from the WWE Universe. Cody can skin the cat, wonder if we'll be seeing that more often. Very good match here with the numerous counters and back-and-forth action. Cross-Rhodes wins it for Cody.

I'm still believing Cena could be the first person to lose when cashing in the MITB briefcase. I really don't want WWE to end Punk's reign just yet, but hey, it's been longer than most of the title reigns we've seen lately.

Usos in tag action tonight against Bateman and Curtis. Thought it was a great moment on RAW when the Usos danced in the ring with their dad, Rikishi. Big top-rope splash wins it for the Usos. That might be an idea for Bateman and Curtis to just become a tag team. While the back story would make it more a "strange bedfellows" case, such teams have had success in the past anyway.

AJ and Daniel Bryan wedding on RAW. Aw, how touching. Now I wonder if there will be a massive swerve like Kane coming back out. Who the heck knows at this point....

Sin Cara with a fine match against Drew McIntyre in the main event. Of note, Josh Mathews pointed out how Drew has the inability to hit the big shot and close matches. Cara showed a few new moves here. Drew with an awesome counter, turning a Sin Cara crossbody into a backbreaker for two. Drew goes to the top but obviously that backfires. Tilt-a-whirl DDT from Sin Cara wins it. Impressive stuff that gets my match of the night.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7/18/12 NXT

Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka: *

Jinder Mahal vs. Percy Watson: *

Leo Kruger vs. Richie Steamboat: *1/2

Raquel Diaz vs. Paige: DUD

Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater: **3/4

Saxton and Regal on commentary to start the show, and we finally see them on camera. Camera work doesn't look as tight as the other WWE shows.

Both Tamina and Kaitlyn squat over 300 pounds, way more than what I could do. Yikes. Kaitlyn playing the cowardly heel at the start...mind games? I like that, especially after I saw more heelish moves using the ropes. Crowd still very quiet and seemingly disinterested. Impressive ending, with Kaitlyn's armbar submission, Tamina's counter into a Samoan drop, and Tamina's superfly splash.

Jericho's debut in 1999 as Y2J was absolutely classic. And then you have Rock to do a promo with. Double win.

Vignette to promote another upcoming debut of "Big E Langston" (Ettore Ewen), a former competitive powerlifter (yeah, he really was a powerlifter). The guy's billed around 6 feet, but he's 285 lbs. of solid muscle. Nice powerlifting gimmick, similar to what Mark Henry had when he debuted. Henry's getting older, so I guess they need another guy to take over on that.

At least Percy should get the home state pops on NXT now, right? Frankly, he gets a larger reaction in this smaller arena than he ever did coming to the ring in past seasons. I've always praised Percy's athletic ability, but the guy seriously needs a good feud with a major heel to get him some type of crowd reaction. Either that, or turn Watson heel and have him play an arrogant prick from South Beach. As for Mahal, I'm not a huge fan of his work, either. All I have to really watch for is a high knee and a camel clutch. We saw that here, and he gets a submission win. Boring.

Time to watch Richie Steamboat and Leo Kruger battle, stemming from their backstage segment last week. This is what I want to see, nice mat wrestling, basic arm drags, really just classic ring psychology at a good pace. It wasn't the best match these two will have, but it got the job done. Kruger gets the heel cheating victory using the ropes.

Here we go with Raquel Diaz. Blatant ripoff of TNA's Beautiful People gimmick, really. And the outfit is vintage loud and overly frilly. All she needs is a paper bag and we're good on that one. Paige is a raven-haired woman who apparently screams when she gets in the ring after her entrance. Paige didn't get much offense as Raquel plays a scared heel. Diaz with the Gory Bomb for the win. Raquel's in-ring stuff needs improvement.

A-Ry and Antonio Cesaro battle next week. Both guys have numerous rules. Whatever happened to having just one...don't trust anybody? And yeah, nice purse, Antonio.

Two NXT alums battle in the main event. Justin Gabriel has really impressed like many thought, while Slater has languished in a really bad one-man band gimmick (Slater has a deceivingly nice moveset, but damn, that gimmick sucks). Jim Ross does PBP for this one, thankfully. Gabriel with a big spill to the floor and he clutches his collarbone. Slater takes advantage of this one. JR shows again why he's the best PBP guy in the business today, stressing how important each NXT match is to these superstars. Gabriel uses that AJ Styles-like backflip off the second rope into a reverse DDT to get the pinfall win here. Finisher wasn't clean, but still impressive. Great match. Wish we had a livelier, larger crowd for this one.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7/16/12 RAW (Show #999)

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young (Tag Team Titles): *3/4

Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder: N/A (squash)

Rikishi vs. Heath Slater: N/A (squash...almost literally)

Daniel Bryan & AJ vs. Miz & Eve Torres: 1/2*

Ryback vs. Jack Swagger: N/A

Brodus Clay vs. JTG: 1/2*

CM Punk vs. Big Show: **

This is the LAST scheduled 2-hour RAW. Next week is RAW's 1000th episode and the show becomes THREE hours. WWE has clearly attempted to stack the 1000th show with huge names, past and present. Notably, stars like The Rock and Brock Lesnar are scheduled to appear.

Tonight, it's Vegas! Punk starts the show to a great pop. Face promo where he brings up the epic "pipebomb" promo last year. Big Show interrupts. Fans say Show still sucks. Show makes great points about how the company revolves around Cena (who Show didn't actually name). Punk could lose the title tonight if Show hits the WMD on Punk and Cena takes advantage. Yeah, Show's been a victim of MITB (see Daniel Bryan). Would Cena cash it in like how Edge started such a trend a few years ago?

WWE on YouTube now has the first RAW episode up. Honestly, I never thought RAW would hit 1000 episodes, especially when it first started out. Then again, I also never expected TNA to last 10 years. The latter seemed much more unlikely.

Where's the RAW Roulette wheel? We're in Vegas, baby!

Tag team title match between Boom Jimmys and Primetime Players. They had a preshow match on MITB, where the champs prevailed. New hashtag for PTP...#moneymakingscholars! AW still with that mic and Titus still barks. Note, no mention anymore of Mason Ryan, who was also seen among AW's stable in the past. AW distraction doesn't work. Trouble in Paradise and Little Jimmy on Titus allow the champs to retain. Big oops for AW. AW goes ballistic on the ref. Again, D-Young has to break things up.

DB apologizes to AJ. Eve wants revenge on DB for abandoning her in the mixed tag match. Eve can't actually say what payback is because it's a PG show. Yet, Rock can still say "ass" and "lady parts." Lovely. DB kisses AJ. Oh no, it's the kiss of death! Maybe.

Why the HELL do we want to see or hear the first Tout that John Cena ever sent out? Good grief.

Alberto and Ryder in a match. Alberto being more aggressive in the ring, so we should see another title reign eventually. Cross armbreaker fairly quick and ADR wins. Just a squash.

HELL YES, IT'S REY MYSTERIO. He doesn't live too far away from Vegas, and Rey was already advertised for the Smackdown taping today in his hometown of San Diego. He's been out about a year due to injuries and a Wellness Policy suspension (that's two violations, by the way). I missed Rey when he initially left, but had started to get used to not seeing him around. I hope the knee's healed up as well as it can be, because Rey at half-speed is still better than at least half of the roster. Rey nails ADR with the 619. Another feud with Alberto? I'm for it.

Heath Slater talks about his whole "feud" with the various legends he's faced lately. I hope his single never sees iTunes. Then again, it could become a cult hit like Jillian Hall's entrance theme. Do it, Heath!

So who does Slater welcome this week? WOOHOO, RIKISHI! My friend from high school loved Rikishi's dancing back in the day. I'm sure the Usos are thrilled to see their dad do his thing again. Rikishi's put on a bit more weight. Nice of Rikishi to use the Samoan Spike (Umaga) and the Banzai Drop (Yokozuna). Squash win for Rikishi...almost literally. Oh, and there's your vintage Stinkface. But woohoo, let's end with some dancing! Loved seeing the Usos dance with their dad. Take notes, Brodus Clay.

Fans still chant "Hoeski" at Eve. Her tag partner tonight is Miz! Woohoo, awesome! DB gets a HUGE ovation and a lot of "YES" chants. Mixed tag was real basic stuff. DB helps AJ score the pin on Eve.

DB on the mic and I guess he finally wants to tell AJ that he loves her. Everyone now..."AWWWWWW!" OH, HE'S GOT A RING. And here we go again with the magic four words! It's a yes! I wonder if this was meant for Brie Bella had the Bellas stuck around. And the wedding is gonna be on the 100th show. Why the hell not?

Rock and Austin feuding back in the day. Just classic. Fighting on the bridge and Austin going over the bridge. Title in the water. Yup. It's gold, Jerry! Gold!

Swagger actually gets an entrance this time! But Ryback is gonna nuke him. Sucks to be Swagger. Ryback in his hometown tonight. Still "GOLD-BERG!" chants. Swagger attacked early and got that gutwrench powerbomb I hadn't seen in a while. Ref didn't even start the match. Swagger got a few shots in, but then that lariat and a few powerbombs from Ryback. Well, at least Ryback now goes to town on established stars, right? If Vince really wants to push Ryback to the moon, Ryback MUST get a feud started, pronto. WWE is likely not too happy with those "GOLDBERG" chants, but it's better than no response.

Vickie introduces Ziggler, who won the MITB contract for a World Heavyweight Title shot in the future. Vickie echoes all those key words. Oh, it's Jericho to interrupt! Ziggler's right, Jericho hasn't won much of anything lately. Jericho's "all hype." Jericho's "lost his touch." One Codebreaker ended that. No words from Jericho, loved that. Great segment to start the feud. This is likely the feud Ziggler needs to vault him to permanent main event status.

Christian defends the IC Title on the 1000th RAW, as determined by the WWE Universe. At least the results were close. And Christian has the Peep Show next week with AJ and DB.

Brodus dances his way to the ring for a match. Fans aren't too into Brodus' thing after seeing Rikishi earlier. Wait, JTG's still employed?! JTG got Brodus down, but Funkasaurus still gets the win eventually.

Donald Trump remembers Vince getting his head shaved at WM after Umaga lost to Bobby Lashley. I remember it because Lashley tore off Lilian Garcia's dress after Vince tried to hide his bald head on RAW.

DX reunion on 1000th RAW. I guess it's HHH and HBK again. From what I hear, X-Pac won't be there. Maybe Road Dogg will make an appearance.

Punk and Show ends the show. Show dominates most of the match, so it's a pretty damn slow bout. Show targets Punk's ribs. Punk with the comeback. Three kicks to Show's head, then three running knees in the corner. Show's head hits the post, and the big man's down. Savage elbow only gets two as the crowd goes nuts. Show chokeslam only two because Punk got the foot on the ropes. Show goes berserk, attacking Punk's ribs more and shoving the ref. DQ win for Punk. Punk's really beaten down here.

Cena comes out and Big Show leaves. Will he cash in the briefcase? Oh, and the briefcase handle is repaired now. Cena on the mic. Oh right, that stupid announcement again from Cena. Show basically tells him to cash in the briefcase.

Cena says no, he's cashing it in next week on the 1000th RAW. You know, maybe Cena will be the first to lose after cashing in the briefcase, but ratings apparently go up when Cena's champion. John doesn't need the title, he really doesn't. Punk's having a great reign and some four-star matches. It's basically another Summer of Punk. It would be great to add another to the list.

Monday, July 16, 2012

7/15/12 Money in the Bank

Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Santino Marella vs. Sin Cara vs. Tensai vs. Damien Sandow (World Heavyweight Title MITB Ladder Match): ***3/4

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio (World Heavyweight Title): **1/4

Primo & Epico vs. Titus O'Neil & Darren Young: *3/4

CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (No DQ; WWE Title): ****1/4

Ryback vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks: *1/4

Layla, Tamina Snuka, & Kaitlyn vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya, & Eve Torres: 1/2*

John Cena vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Big Show vs. Miz (WWE Title MITB Ladder Match): ***1/2

The preshow match saw Kofi and Truth defeat Hunico and Camacho. I didn't watch it, but I've read it was likely the best of these preshow matches that WWE's had.

World Heavyweight Title MITB Ladder Match starts, where basically any WWE superstar could enter. Four guys entering their first MITB match. Kidd has a new shirt and new tights. Sin Cara doesn't have fond memories of any ladder matches, that's for sure. Don't blink, because it'll be a spotfest. Sin Cara botched his top-rope superplex or slam or whatever it was gonna be; luckily no one hurt. Tensai then botches his powerbomb attempt on Santino, but again thankfully, no one hurt. HHH really signed some good wrestlers there, right? How the hell can Santino all of a sudden be afraid of heights when he's all alone trying to scale the ladder? Santino fell on a ladder and the ladder he was climbing fell on him. Ouch. Vickie with distraction. Zigzag to Cody by Ziggler. I have no idea what the hell Kidd did to Ziggler, but it looked cool. Tensai powerbombs Sin Cara through the ladder again...deja vu! Christian again spears Cody from the top of the ladder. Edge's spear of Jeff Hardy at WM 17 is still the best, though. HUGE chants for Dolph. Dolph scampers in to knock Christian off, Ziggler gets the case in a great ladder match. Dolph is likely legitimately emotional and reflecting while sitting on top of that ladder. He's really come a long way from his Spirit Squad days.

Miz makes his surprise return at MITB after being away filming his scenes for one of those marine movies. I mean this as a compliment...he sorta resembles Tom Cruise now. All of a sudden, Cole's like "he's my friend!" again after slowly distancing himself during Miz's jobbing streak. Miz officially says he's in the WWE Title MITB ladder match. Awesome.

World Heavyweight Title match next. Main event intros. A lot of "SI!" chants during the match, but damn was it mostly boring. ADR worked on Sheamus' left arm forever; champ with limited offense. Sheamus didn't duck that running kick in the corner near the end of the match, ADR just plain missed. Brogue Kick wins it for Sheamus.

ADR and Ricardo ambush Sheamus post-match. Fans want Ziggler, and they get him. Huge ovation for Dolph because everyone knows why he's out. He tries to cash in the briefcase but ADR stops him. Ziggler decks ADR and Ricardo. Sheamus Brogue Kick. Ref never called for the bell so no match. Nice tease because it's clear people want Ziggler to win. WWE's probably gonna treat this one like they did with Daniel Bryan last year.

Truth and Kingston come out in suits. Primetime Players and Primo/Epico take place. Logical because that feud really started over the AW betrayal and the tag title situation. Primo was the superstar of the match, no question. From the handstands to the lucha moves, he carried this one. Only fitting he gets the win by rolling D-Young up. Too bad the crowd wasn't more into it.

AW goes and pretty much calls out Kofi and Truth. Truth with the drink to AW's face. Oh hell no! The shoes come off! D-Young can't keep his footing trying to restrain AW.

WWE Title match next. It was made No DQ at the last minute. AJ's already the special ref. More instability! I demand it! Lots of "YES!" chants. DB has a new green jacket. Looks like it could pass for a good "American Dragon" gimmick. Cole has stats on Punk's lengthy title reign, so it sounds like WWE wants him to really break some marks. Main event intros. All three basically eye each other down, not all in the same way. This is gonna be great.

Extremely physical, back and forth, lots of kicks and punches. Physicality on the floor. AJ on the apron, DB shows Punk into AJ. Welp, there's the ref bump. AJ helped to the back, new ref. Crowd with loud split chants. Fans really cheer for the table. Loved the GTS attempt into a DB hurricanrana pin counter for two. DB survived about 15 kendo stick shots in a row, damn. Superplex spot for a brief double KO. AJ comes back out -- we knew that would happen. Lots of skipping and...a chair?! DB pleads for the chair. AJ just puts the chair in the middle. Fight to the death! DB nukes Punk with chairs, but only two. Punk props the chair in the corner, then AJ stands in front of the chair so Punk can't throw DB through it. Then AJ refuses to let DB have the kendo stick. Puppetmaster AJ! Punk misses DB with elbow, elbow hits chair hard. DB with YES lock on Punk...with kendo stick. OUCH. Punk gets out...GTS! Slow crawl, and only two! Table comes into play. Punk back suplex to DB through table nets three. Oh yes. Yes yes yes. AJ looks conflicted and almost heartbroken afterward, although I don't think it's because DB lost.

Ryback defeats both Hawkins and Reks tonight. Cole says Ryback's a human wrecking ball. Real loud "GOLD-BERG" chants. At least they took Ryback off his feet and managed a cover (that didn't even get one). After a time, Ryback ends it on Reks with that Shellshocked finisher. At least the crowd chants "Feed me more!" Average stuff, whatever. Wouldn't have mattered if it was first on the card or right after Punk/Bryan. It's merely meh.

I guess they needed more filler time, so now it's a six-diva tag match. Shows how much they care about the Divas Title. Tamina's ring gear looks even more like her dad's now. Eve's gone from a person who uses people to some executive assistant gimmick who looks amazing in glasses. Doesn't mean it's gonna bolster her WWE career, but hey, she's on TV. At least we know Kaitlyn can slap divas. Tamina with a superkick to Beth, and Layla ends it for three. Match seemed all over the place, no real flow. Crowd minimally cared.

Time for the WWE Title MITB Ladder Match. Five people in the match, thanks to Miz getting in. No one to merely take a sick bump in this one; everyone will have a purpose to be in there. Show dominant in the early going. Cena with a sick AA to Big Show onto the Spanish table, then the "let's pile a zillion ladders on Show" spot. Fans chanted a bunch for Jericho here. Impressive spot with Show breaking ladders in half -- literally. Show cleans house of opponents and ladders. IT'S THE RETURN OF THE REINFORCED LADDER! Damn, if Show was out of breath just getting it out from under the ring and putting it in the ring, that must legit weigh several hundred pounds. Nice battle between Cena and Jericho, then between Jericho and Miz for the briefcase. Show rises up and nukes Jericho and Miz. Cena back up, and he nukes Show with a few briefcase shots. The briefcase actually snapped off in Cena's hands. Not sure if that was really the planned finish, but sure, that works. Nice match, but not as good as Ziggler's win. Basically, Jericho and Miz did enough bumping to make it look good. Show still seems like a partial joke, getting buried under all those ladders. At least WWE eliminated the whole "oops, Show broke the ladder trying to climb it" spot.

This was a good PPV, but TNA won this month with its Destination X show. Punk and Bryan stole the show, with Ziggler a close third. The divas match and the Ryback win were both on the card to fill time. RAW's 1000th show is coming up next week. Meanwhile, I don't know if show #999 will break an average score by many. **3/4

Friday, July 13, 2012

7/13/12 Smackdown

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara: **1/4

Primo vs. Darren Young: *1/2

Christian & Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler & Cody Rhodes: *3/4

Big Show vs. Great Khali: N/A (thankfully short)

Ryback vs. Tyler Reks: N/A (squash)

Damien Sandow vs. Justin Gabriel: N/A (squash)

Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho: **** (hell yes)

Zack Ryder is the GM this week on Smackdown after winning the battle royal last week. It's Zackdown!

Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara start. ADR nuked Sin Cara two weeks ago on RAW, but at least we have a match tonight. Yeah, these two both kick hard. Sin Cara gets to fly this week. Great chemistry between these two. I'm still a bit miffed that WWE touts Sin Cara as one of the most popular superstars in Mexican wrestling history when it's people like El Santo that deserve more praise. ADR takes advantage of Sin Cara's missed senton and gets the cross armbreaker submission win. ADR getting pushed and a bit more aggression shown. ADR supposedly in line for a title reign later this year.

WWE's newest project is Tout, where it seems fans can be heard and seen more in video form. Yay WWE memories!

Show and Khali are gonna have a match. Someone taser me and hit me with a bedpan. Woo woo woo, you know it.

Darren Young and Primo in singles action tonight, more extending of this AW storyline. What time is it? Prime time! Millions of dollars! Yeah, thanks AW. No backstabber tonight, but Primo rolls D-Young up for three. Not bad, the match did its job for the storyline.

RAW moment of Edge's retirement speech last April after WM. That was indeed a shocker for me, but at least he got inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Tons of amazing matches you can watch to see what he did. Look at the stuff with Foley and the TLC matches, for starters. HIAC with Taker was amazing as well.

Christian and Santino face Dolph and Cody. Finally, three guys with talent and one guy with a cobra sock that makes people laugh. Christian takes out Cody and chases him away, but Ziggler nukes Santino with Zigzag for three. Sounds about right.

Big Show and Khali. Thankfully it's short. Dueling slaps, then a Big Show WMD out of nowhere for three.

No entrance for Reks and Hawkins. Nice to see Reks back up his words from last week and actually challenge Ryback this week. Not that means anything. Reks with a couple of shots, and then Ryback goes to town. "T-Reks is extinct again." Bet Vince fed you that one, huh Cole? Anyway, much better than Ryback squashing two unknown guys.

Will Sandow even wrestle tonight? Yup, and no monologue before the match! Sandow has a Latin-phrased elbow that I have no clue how to pronounce. Sandow with a quick win over Gabriel (basically a squash) to get MITB PPV momentum.

Sheamus and Jericho close the show. I'm not totally agreeing that Jericho is one of the all-time greats, but Chris surely deserves more credit for his work and great storylines with the likes of HBK, Mysterio, and Punk. Nice that the World Heavyweight Title nameplate now clearly shows who's the champ.

Jericho looks like he's growing his hair out a little, and he's got "Best in the World" on the seat of his trunks. Sheamus with hard hitting, and Jericho flies into the announce table. Chris does get his offense in as usual after tossing Sheamus into the steps. Great countering on signature moves and finishers. Sheamus with a nice job of selling the Walls of Jericho. White Noise hit for two. Codebreaker hit, but Jericho had to crawl to cover and only got two. Sheamus skins the cat, off the top rope for a shoulderblock -- and into a codebreaker. Sweet spot. Only two?!?! YESYESYES. That pretty much sealed a huge rating. Jericho runs into a Brogue Kick for three. Awesome match that got plenty of time. 20-some minutes on WWE free TV shows is extremely rare. Jericho does it again, putting over a younger star very strong.

ADR ambushes Sheamus on the stage at the end. Ricardo with the distraction by driving the car. ADR looking strong going into Sunday. Will they put the strap on him now? Certainly possible, although Sheamus has been booked to not tap out even during the ambushes.

7/12/12 Impact

Bully Ray vs. Joseph Park (Anything Goes): **3/4

Samoa Joe vs. Rob Van Dam: **

Zema Ion vs. Dakota Darsow: *1/4

Miss Tessmacher vs. Gail Kim (Knockouts Title): *1/2

Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson: ***1/2

Impact has been a million times better in the last few months. It excites me more that Roode had such a long reign and then Aries -- who management knew had a huge backing from the fans -- was the one to topple Roode. I thought it would be Storm coming back to get Bobby, but Aries was the far better choice because it reaffirmed the prestige of the X-Division.

News broke earlier this week that DirecTV no longer carries Spike TV and thus, no Impact Wrestling. Sucks for those people, but at least people put the entire show online...just like a lot of other programs.

We start off quickly with the Anything Goes match between Bully Ray and Joseph Park. Bully holds that hold harmless agreement, I'm assuming. Park out in workout sweats and a towel for all that sweating. Bully tweets during his match. How fun. Doesn't take long for the weapons to come into play. Park playing too much to the crowd, so Bully takes advantage each time. Basic moves from Park, nice flexibility on the big boot from Bully. A black bag! Tacks or glass? Tacks! Nice message to Abyss. Park with a nice low blow with the cheese grater and a kendo stick to Bully's head for two. Park spinebusters Bully on the tacks! TWO?!?! Wow. Chain shot to Park's face ends it and Bully wins. Nice job all around.

Park busted open. Park sees his own blood and goes a little delusional. Bully walks right into a BLACK HOLE SLAM?! Cool. The slow transformation back to Abyss, I'd guess. Park backpedals onto the tacks and doesn't even realize it. The storyline's been a hit with the fans, and it shows. Laughed a bit at the "that was you!" chants. Bully's really been the main reason why the angle's worked so well.

BFG Series match with the new leader, Samoa Joe, and RVD. Joe with a number of nice submission attempts, RVD steals one with an inside cradle. Thought that was pretty well done. It keeps the standings leader from running away from everyone else. RVD now tied for 5th with 14 points.

Claire Lynch is supposed to be pregnant in the storyline. Yet she's smoking. So she's a nicotine addict as well? Way to promote something like that. Bad acting as well.

Daniels and Kaz come out. Great LMS match between AJ and Daniels at Destination X, which I thought was the second-best on an outstanding PPV. Of course it's just the beginning. Daniels calls Claire Lynch out. AJ comes out, and it sounds like his old "Get Ready to Fly" music. Claire admits that AJ's the father, and we have "JERRY!" chants. Daniels' deed is done. The chants were the best part of the entire segment.

Dakota Darsow faces Zema Ion. Dakota basically says he and Jesse are friends, and he's sick of Zema's post-match words about Jesse Sorensen at Destination X. Not bad here, fairly basic match. Zema wins it with the Gory Bomb. Post-match it's a sick-looking armbreaker to Darsow. Zema's pretty f'in dangerous.

Aries promo saying he's gonna lead the next big boom period in TNA and how his win was huge for the industry. Roode interrupts, in a stunned trance. "Loser!" chants at Roode. Takes Roode a good 3-4 minutes to say it was a fluke. Aries doesn't care, he's the new world champ. Translation: rematch coming soon.

I laughed at Madison's reasoning for picking Hebner. Earl in top shape? OK, he's not in poor shape, but there are a bunch of people probably in better shape than Hebner.

Brooke Hogan out for commentary during the Knockouts Title match. She shouldn't do commentary, sorry. Gail works on Tessmacher's left arm throughout the match. Nice top-rope elbow from Tessmacher -- using the bad arm -- to win it.

More Claire Lynch stuff. Now she's basically transformed into a more vindictive, possessive side. She'll be providing "proof" in the future (well, other than this "baby bump"). Wondering if it'll end up being that Claire was in on this with Daniels and Kaz the whole time.

Open Fight Night next week. Magnus has words for James Storm.

Angle and Anderson in a great BFG Series match. Can't really expect anything less in a Kurt Angle match. Counter-heavy match with a bunch of CLOSE near falls. Several times, I thought it'd be over. Mic Check countered into an Angle Slam for three. Angle's mouth bleeding but he doesn't care. Kurt's back into solo third with 27 points, 10 behind Joe. Storm still in second with 36 points.

The whole Open Fight Night slated for next week has worked again. Hogan tells Roode to call Aries out on that show. If Roode does, he's likely cheating to win. Virtually guaranteed.

Sting's back to close the show. He calls Hulk out to the ring, but apparently the masked attackers from last week got him. Dead Man's Hand scattered next to a fallen Hulk and a concerned Brooke Hogan. Sting then gets jumped on the ramp to end the show. Nice cliffhanger.

TNA's been doing several things right. First, they craft main storylines to push new stars. See Austin Aries and Bobby Roode as examples. Second, even the "undercard" storylines are pushed nicely because they are progressed slowly. No need to release a ton of info each week, just a teaser to keep the fans aware and to keep stringing them along until the next bombshell drops. Third, the nice cliffhangers (see Sting and Hogan attackers). But most importantly, the X-Division -- the one piece all these years that made TNA stand out from other promotions -- is back at the forefront with new prestige laid upon it. TNA doesn't need to bring the six-sided ring back, but the main thing is everything seems to be clicking finally for them. Now it's just a matter of consistently pumping out these shows, land a nice TV deal, and gain more viewers.

7/12/12 Superstars

Hunico vs. Justin Gabriel: ***3/4

Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya: *1/2

Jinder Mahal vs. Alex Riley: **3/4

A-Ry faces Jinder again?! This is just one of the things I can't stand about WWE. Why the hell are these two going at it when there's really ZERO progress on this whole thing? Or if there was some type of angle, I plumb forgot already. It's the same damn thing recycled over and over. And you wonder why people piss on WWE these days.

Gabriel and Hunico for what seems like the zillionth time as well. Not sure if I want Matt Striker to put me and Justin Bieber in the same sentence. Announcers seem more on Hunico's side, telling more back story that we haven't really heard before. Loved the hurricanrana into your living room, pretty much. Camera down! Good crowd reaction on the Gabriel comeback. Hunico shows great strength, pretty much deadlifting Gabriel into a powerbomb-like move for two. Gabriel tries the AJ Styles backflip into a DDT and Hunico with a sweet counter for two. Very pleased with this match. Just a ton of near falls; lots of agility; both guys had huge chances to win. Hunico had to grab the tights to win. Now if they actually crafted a storyline....

Oh, we have divas other than AJ on the roster? What do you do with them? Put four in a tag match and see what happens. Beth's had the most screen time of any of these ladies and is vital to the division (not that really means anything to Vince). Natalya hasn't been happy with reduced TV time, but I'm sure she's not alone on that. Alicia probably only has that fox hoodie going for her these days. Kaitlyn's in a tough position as well, since I wouldn't call her RAW or Smackdown-ready, but she's basically booted off NXT for other talent. That leaves Superstars, if anything, but she's not always gonna be on that show. If not wrestling, Kaitlyn and other divas are probably getting 5-30 seconds of backstage segment time.

If Sara Del Rey does come to WWE, I hope: (1) they push her as a huge threat to the Divas title immediately, and (2) they don't hold anything back. They'll likely change her ring name...that's fine as long as it's not some horrible/comical choice.

Beth and Natalya back as Pinup Strong, I guess. Why the hell did WWE halt that? Alicia has immense talent, and thanks to this match, I'm reminded of that. Why Alicia isn't on TV more, I have no clue, either. Even Kaitlyn looks pretty good here, great backbreaker on Natalya. Kaitlyn steals one with an inside cradle on Beth. A better match than I expected. Good amount of action, and the crowd seemed to care.

This whole AJ love triangle is a huge boost to AJ's career. And yes, Daniel Bryan certainly has a goat face with that beard. Great stuff.

A-Ry gets a pretty good reaction, and he throws that powder up like LeBron James. I think he's got a great future, but he needs a good storyline. He sorta had one with Miz, but that fell off quick and didn't help Alex one freakin' bit. Riley has great entrance music to end up main eventing, but will he ever get there?

Striker trying to provide more heel commentary throughout the show, and thankfully, he's nowhere close to annoying Michael Cole. Yet, Matt does give credit to the faces when applicable. Good back-and-forth action between A-Ry and Jinder. At least the benefit of working so many matches with the same person develops chemistry. No clue when they changed the name of A-Ry's finisher to Sudden Death. Good finish into a Jinder Camel Clutch for the win.

Good crowd this week really helped the match ratings. Hunico and Gabriel get a gold star again, in my opinion.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

7/11/12 NXT

Tyson Kidd vs. Camacho: **1/2

Bray Wyatt vs. Alex English: 1/2*

Titus O'Neil & Darren Young vs. Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso: *1/2

Byron Saxton and William Regal are announcing at the start of the show. Heck, even a new (male) ring announcer this week. Not sure if that'll be permanent or if it's just testing new people for the job. Regal just called Titus and D-Young the main event players. Isn't it Primetime Players?

(NOTE: Anyway, just read that these tapings were done on May 17, so it's really the inaugural stuff when they still may have been testing ring announcers.)

Kidd and Camacho start, and Camacho even has his own entrance video. No bike today. Saxton is monotonic in announcing. Meanwhile, Kidd now impressing me with his mat wrestling. Ref ejects Hunico and the announcers didn't even catch it initially. The crowd looks like it had no idea as well. Perhaps a disadvantage of being in a small arena? It's clear that Kidd is the ring general here, even when Camacho is on offense. It's people like Tyson that can make any midcarder a star. McGillicutty is a logical choice to distract Kidd and get Camacho a win. MM and Tyson with more matches coming up? I'm all for that as well.

Justin Gabriel back on NXT. And so is Heath Slater. Really? Yup, Slater's on RAW every week -- jobbing to legends. Gabriel and Slater square off next week on NXT. *facepalm* Can't they put that on Superstars?

Aiden English gets another chance to shine. Bray Wyatt to the ring, because apparently this match was taped before he got seriously hurt. Wyatt is a nutcase, long story short. He dances with English and hits some sort of move that's a hybrid of a Mic Check and Cross Rhodes. Such a loving, endearing pin for three. I think his character's basically been doing too many drugs, and WWE simply doesn't acknowledge that.

Seth Rollins video package. Even promotes his Blackout finisher. Very good, I like this.

Richie Steamboat and Leo Kruger get into a brawl backstage. Guess this sets up a feud.

Exfoliating Ugliness Tour starring Raquel Diaz. Yeah, that's Shaul Guerrero, daughter of Eddie and Vickie. Diaz is dubbed The Alpha Diva. She debuts on NXT next week (and, from what I read, will face Paige in a match that was taped May 17). Doesn't take a genius to figure out that Diaz's character is yet another spoof of The Beautiful People -- albeit a solo act.

More on Raquel Diaz: she's the last reigning "Queen of FCW" champion and the longest-reigning FCW Divas champion (still champ as of this date). She's known for using the Gory Bomb and the Frog Splash. Look for those if she's wrestling.

Main event time with Usos and Primetime Players. No pyros for Usos, probably because the Full Sail University won't allow it safely. ROFL, Jim Ross with a classic line right from the get-go...brothers from the same mothers! Why isn't Ross on ALL the time? Primetime Players don't have AW this week, which may make sense if this too was taped in mid-May.

Usos with nice offense at the start to pump the crowd up. Saxton appears out of place when doing commentary. Jey gets the hot tag, but it only feels like a whimper in this crowd. Ref tends to Jimmy for who knows why, and Titus/D-Young hit their Demolition-like finisher for three. Yup, millions of dollars!

Crowd really was pretty bad. Too quiet, for the most part.

One huge gripe: NXT all of a sudden has become WWE's fourth show AGAIN, instead of being that place to showcase new talent all the time. Why? Kidd, Hunico, Camacho, etc., are already getting a good amount of screen time. OK, I don't mind seeing Tyson Kidd on every show, but give more of the newbies a chance to show their stuff. Otherwise, cut the jobbers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7/9/12 RAW

Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger: N/A (squash)

Dolph Ziggler & Tensai vs. Christian & Tyson Kidd: N/A (virtual squash)

Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre: N/A (squash...this is getting old)

John Cena & Kane vs. Chris Jericho & Big Show: **

Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater: *

Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler: N/A (I lost brain cells)

CM Punk & AJ vs. Daniel Bryan & Eve Torres: 1/2*

Nice to see WWE back in the Pepsi Center. Still remember a year or two ago when they had that whole scheduling snafu between WWE and the NBA playoffs.

NOTE: Read that Bobby Lashley attended both RAW and Smackdown, since he's from nearby Colorado Springs. Probably visiting friends or something.

Video package for AJ, Punk, and Bryan. Yesyesyes?

YES. AJ starts the show. She calls Punk to the ring. Fans say AJ is crazy (woohoo!). AJ's basically all woo-woo for Punk. AJ down to one knee to propose?!?! WTF. Fans say "DON'T SAY NO!, then YES YES YES!" Daniel Bryan sprints down with "NO NO NO!" DB calls Punk's bluff, really. And WTF DB proposes?! Where's your ring, Daniel?! *familiar flights flickering and blinky noises* DAMMIT WHY THE HELL? Anonymous RAW GM so we have to listen to Cole even more. Mixed tag for the main event! Punk/AJ vs. Bryan/Eve. YES YES YES. AJ says she's walking out at the end of the night with her future husband.

OK, that was both great and bad. I'm still confused, I'm pissed the anonymous RAW GM's back for the night (luckily Zack Ryder runs Smackdown this week), and I'm sure DB is walking out of MITB as champion. At least the last part would be a YESYESYES.

Sheamus faces Swagger. Jack gets only a mention in the ring. Cole says it's a "rough patch." It's a freakin' losing streak, dammit. Not sure if it's one of those MVP losing streaks or if Jack's being jobbed out of the company. One minute later, Sheamus wins via Brogue Kick.

Alberto honks the horn in his car for some fighting words, then drives away. Sheamus Brogue Kicks Swagger again. Exclamation point.

Santino searching for the anonymous RAW GM. Seriously?! Lame.

Rock's gonna be live on the 1000th RAW episode. Woohoo, they're stacking the deck here!

Tag match now between four guys in the World Heavyweight Title MITB ladder match. Sakamoto with the interference. Ziggler distracts Christian. Tensai gets his senton splash and the three-count. Another short match. Ugh. Tensai nukes Kidd on the outside. Powerbomb to the ring apron, ouch. At least Tensai looked strong this week.

Cole and Lawler bicker over who will be permanent GM. Cole knocks a drink on Lawler. Anonymous RAW GM chimes in, pretty much literally. Cole refuses to read it, so Lawler does. Why? Because now we have Lawler vs. Cole. WHY?!?! So the crowd loves it. Why the hell would I want two announcers in the ring to wrestle? Really? Just have Lawler punch Cole out and that's it. Please.

Brodus comes out for a match against Drew McIntyre, and Drew only gets a mere mention. Guess we know who's going over. Drew jumps into a headbutt, and a Brodus splash ends it. I think I lost brain cells.

Jericho and Santino make faces. JeriShow memories. Show doesn't care for that stuff.

Steph and HHH memories in 2002. You know, the whole renewing wedding vows, fake pregnancy news, and HHH eventually finding out? Yup, at least it was entertaining! Oh, well I dunno if Linda McMahon wants any of this press, though. But seeing Steph angry was pretty awesome.

It's Cena time. Yay promo time, then tag match. Kane's been in five previous MITB matches? Didn't realize that. Pace slows when Show and/or Kane is in the ring. Cena tries to slam Show and Show "falls" on Cena for two. At least Show protected the poster boy of the company, unlike poor Wade Barrett. Kane with hot tag and he gets shots in on Show. Huge spear by Show for two. Why does Lawler say he couldn't believe anyone could kick out of one of those spears when people have? Cena with the hot tag and his usual five moves of doom. Cena with AA on Jericho. Show pulls Cena off...and the REF CALLS FOR THE BELL?!?! WTF. SHOW'S A PART OF THE MATCH, FOOL. Who the hell booked that finish? Horrible job that made ZERO sense. That stuff happens just about all the time in tag matches.

Show gets two ladders. What, no reinforced huge ladder for Big Show? Cena saves the day. Whoopee. At least this match really got a bunch of time, considering we had four main eventers here.

Eve with some words for Punk. Punk overshadowed by a 90-pound girl? Yeah, I agree. AJ's become the puppetmaster in this whole storyline. Think of it as AJ virtually stealing Maxine's gimmick, but in AJ's own "mentally unstable" way.

No, Khali is not the RAW GM. I had no clue what the hell that was.

MITB PPV pre-show match: tag title match between Boom Jimmys and Hunico/Camacho. Champs will probably retain.

More MITB qualifying for the World Heavyweight Title. So we got more participants coming. Sin Cara was an obvious choice to win over Heath Slater. Typical Sin Cara style. Let's just hope Sin Cara doesn't blow his knee out on this stuff again.

Meanwhile, Slater complains and calls out any former world champ. BOB BACKLUND? Hey, the guy never ages! He's 62, and looks like maybe 40? Unfortunately, only a few pops because the kids have no freakin' clue who he is. Backlund is still mentally unstable himself. Crossface chicken wing applied. Slater taps. It wasn't a match anyway. Thank you, Mr. Backlund.

Poll revealed, and yes, Cole and Lawler have a match. Good grief, I hope it's short. Booker and Josh Mathews on commentary while Cole and Lawler are in the ring. Airplane spin ends it. At least it was sorta quick. Anonymous RAW GM "reverses" the decision because Booker interfered. Who cares.

We find out Hornswoggle's the "anonymous RAW GM." Well that was just crappy again. At least that whole deal's over before we get a new permanent GM.

Hey, I guess Eve may get some hometown cheers because we're in Denver, right? Nope, because Justin Roberts smartly neglected to mention that in her entrance. Ha, note Punk and Bryan re-did the end to the UFC fight between Silva and Sonnen (Punk missed spinning back first and stumbled, and DB knee strike). WWE's interested in Sonnen, as a note.

AJ and Eve in the ring. Eve wants to tag out, but DB refuses. AJ rolls Eve up for three. Well, I guess that was DB's way to win AJ over. Poor Eve. It's that whole thing about being in your hometown or home state.

Punk rejects AJ's earlier marriage proposal. AJ slaps Punk. DB says "come home!" with open arms. AJ slaps Bryan. AJ with a bunch of "YES" chants and leaves on her own. Sounds about right. I think DB should pull it out on Sunday. Punk's had a long reign. But honestly, they could very well hold off and have Punk retain again. I really don't care either way. Feels like a double win.

Monday, July 9, 2012

7/8/12 Destination X

Mason Andrews vs. Rubix vs. Lars Only vs. Dakota Darsow: ***

Mason Andrews vs. Kid Kash: **1/2

Kenny King vs. Douglas Williams: ***1/2

Sonjay Dutt vs. Rashad Cameron: ***1/4

Zema Ion vs. Flip Cassanova: **3/4

Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle: ***3/4

AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels (Last Man Standing): ****

Zema Ion vs. Mason Andrews vs. Kenny King vs. Sonjay Dutt (Ultimate X; X-Division Title): ***1/4

Austin Aries vs. Bobby Roode (World Title): ****1/4

Borash on color tonight. JB mentions Aries got his big break here at Destination X last year, grabbing that contract to launch his X-Division career. My, how it comes full circle tonight.

We start off with a four-way X-Division bout with the losers from those qualifying matches. But the winner here must immediately face Kid Kash. I'd still say it's a pretty good consolation prize if you still make it to the PPV. Basically, don't blink on this one. Insane pace at the start. Even the slower-paced stuff had quickness to it. These guys can all fly, and you knew there would be a few aerial spots. Short spotfest of a match. Crowd really behind Rubix. Lars with a sweet facebuster using his feet. Mason with a TKO on Andrews for three. Very nice opener.

Kash comes right out and here we go with the opening match in the X-Division title tournament. Kash great at getting the heel heat. Mason with some offense, but Kash controls most of the action. Kash can still fly even after all these years. Nice running knee by Mason for two. Mason gets the nice rollup for three to advance to Ultimate X later tonight. Another solid showing.

More X-Division action with Douglas Williams and Kenny King. Willaims now in black tights...remember he wore red or blue pants before? Lots of mat wrestling from Williams, the usual old school stuff. King with the acrobatics to get the crowd riled up. Crowd does get behind KK. Williams looks like he put on weight. Doesn't stop Williams from going airborne. Real good match here, despite the contrasting styles. Just tons of near falls, back-and-forth stuff. Huge win for Kenny to advance to Ultimate X. Ultimate X shaping up to be incredible.

Next X-Division match with Sonjay and Rashad. Very quick start, Rashad still looks like Kofi Kingston -- and has the mad hops to prove it. Crowd seems to favor Sonjay, but they still cheer for Rashad's agility. Yes, Sonjay's still got it. Seamless transition for each Cameron move, rolling into the cross armbreaker was pretty sweet. Crowd now deciding to tell Earl Hebner that he screwed Bret. Sonjay with the backflip double foot stomp from the top for three. Another PPV-worthy match. Why the HELL did TNA move away from this in the first place?!?!

Tenay and Borash talk about Jesse Sorensen and the broken neck (perhaps career-ending) that he suffered at Against All Odds when facing Zema Ion. Ion just happens to be participating in the final qualifying match. Thanks to medical technology and knowledge, Jesse appears headed for a full recovery.

Sorensen comes out to a nice ovation. Certainly one of the more feel-good moments of the show. He wants Zema Ion to win the X-Division Title. Jesse vows to win the X-Division Title next year at Destination X and go on to become world champ. That would undoubtedly be one of the best moments in TNA history.

On cue, Zema Ion comes out for his match. Staredown between Sorensen and Ion. Ion faces Flip Cassanova in the final qualifying match. More great agility from both guys, and of course, Ion has to stop to spray his hair. Springboard corkscrew from Flip for two. 450 shooting star senton misses for Flip. Facebuster and a Gory Bomb wins it for Zema. Solid, felt it wasn't as good as some of the others on the card.

Bobby Roode interrupts the other three X-Division stars going to Ultimate X. Roode says all the X-Division stars will fail and he will walk out still the champ.

Must be nice when the middle of the card features Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle. Crowd is just bonkers for this one. And who am I to argue? BFG Series match here. Joe with a nice mohawk as usual.

Want a wrestling clinic? Watch Angle and Joe go at it. Angle with a missile dropkick from the second rope, not a usual thing for him. Joe with a leg lariat of his own from the second rope, gets two. Counters out of submissions. Suplexes from Angle. Joe with the Muscle Buster...two! Joe rear naked choke, but Angle counters into the ankle lock! Back into the choke for Joe! Angle counters into an Angle Slam for only two! Woohoo, awesome. Angle Slam countered, choke by Joe! Counter doesn't work for Angle. Angle looks like he passes out from the choke. Hebner stops the match, and Joe gets 10 points. Excellent stuff, my friends. Samoa Joe takes the lead in the BFG series.

Did you really think AJ and Daniels could have a bad match if given time? Damn great stuff. Two real-life friends have faced each other so many times, it'd really be impossible to have anything but a good bout. Physical encounter, with tons of wrestling. Chair introduced. AJ slammed on that chair, Rock Bottom style. Action spills to the floor for more punishment. AJ busted open. What a spot with AJ basically sending Daniels headfirst into the steps; that busts Daniels open. Daniels backs up the ramp. Double KO spot on the stage. Sick vintage Styles backflip into reverse DDT on Daniels on the stage. At 8 count, Kaz finally makes his cameo to shove AJ off the stage. Good time for a run-in. AJ gets up at 8. Table! Angel's Wings to table? Nope, countered! AJ runs Daniels into Kaz. Styles with the Clash on Daniels...AND THROUGH TABLE YES! Absolutely sweet. Crowd going nuts. Both try to get up, but AJ barely makes it to win! Match of the night so far.

Not surprisingly, Twitter poll overwhelmingly showing Aries the favorite to win.

Time for Ultimate X. Sonjay hit that running shooting star splash and his head hit the bottom rope. That basically took him out for a bit. (Note: Sonjay suffered a dislocated shoulder and re-set it himself backstage, then returned to the ring.) Everyone is flying for more spotfest fun, albeit on a less consistent basis. King with a great springboardspear catching Mason on the crossing X ropes. Sonjay comes back and scales the scaffolding. King and Mason meet at the title belt and hit neckbreakers on each other. Sonjay AND Zema go to the top of the STRUCTURE. WTF. Sonjay and Zema drop down to the ropes holding the title. Hair spray to Sonjay, and Zema takes the title. Good stuff. Very consistent (and great) matches so far. Good heel promo aimed at Sorensen on the way out.

No Knockouts tonight, we go straight to the World Title match! Roode has been an amazing heel champ. Main event intros from Borash. Brian Hebner is the ref. Main event will be given some serious airtime.

Mind games from Roode. Borash mentions Aries is vegetarian. I guess this whole non-meat thing is the way champs go nowadays? Right, Daniel Bryan the vegan? Roode "scouted" Aries well, dodging or countering several signature moves in the early going. "Let's go Aries" and "Bobby sucks" from the crowd. Action becomes more methodical as Roode gets on the offensive. Huge comeback from Aries, who apparently hasa cut now on his nose. Roode spear countered into Last Chancery! Roode counters out into a crossface. Then back into Chancery! Nice balance on the superplex. Aries counters with knees. 450 misses, Aries lands on his feet, rolls through, into RR spinebuster for two. Aries into ringpost, crossface by Roode. Roll-through multiple times doesn't work. Aries to ropes. You'd think Roode would get himself intentionally DQ'd by holding on tothe crossface past 5, but he doesn't. Roode then grabs title belt. Love the logic! Low blow behind ref's back, but Roode only gets two. Ref bump. Roode grabs title. Roode decks Aries. Groggy Hebner counts slow. TWO! Woohoo! Fisherman's by Roode blocked. Victory roll by Aries for two. Aries kicks Roode in the head. BRAINBUSTER! NEW CHAMP! YES! Big markout there.

Nice way to end the show with confetti and celebrating.

This was a phenomenal show. Every single match delivered in some fashion. Aries provided a huge win not just for the X-Division, but for the entire organization. I have ZERO clue why TNA had moved away so much from the X-Division the last few years -- or at least reduced it to a shell of its former self. It's very clear now that the cornerstone of the company, the very thing that separated TNA from WWE and all other promotions, is back in on center stage. I certainly hope this TNA stays the course on this one, because this was magical stuff. If this wasn't the best PPV of the year, it was definitely close. Easily TNA's best showing of 2012. ****

Friday, July 6, 2012

7/5/12 Impact

Devon vs. Crimson: *

Flip Cassanova vs. Dakota Darsow: **1/4

Miss Tessmacher & Tara vs. Gail Kim & Madison Rayne: *

Kenny King vs. Lars Only: **3/4

Jeff Hardy vs. James Storm: ***1/2

Impact's getting much better now, I have to admit. X-Division's as strong as it's ever been (certainly more prestigious now), there are better storylines, and the BFG series will make for exciting stuff over the next few months.

Not to mention, this whole Park/Bully storyline has been immensely successful. Bully Ray starts the show. Big announcement from him. Oh, Bully is on Twitter now! Didn't know Bully was "bigger" than Park/Abyss, but maybe it's not in a physical manner. Bully accepts Park's fight, so it happens next week. No rules, anything goes again. Oh, and Bully's conveniently got a restraining order against Abyss. Parting cheap shot from Bully ends segment. Bully may have a shot here just so there's a reason for a rubber match.

Video from last week about the latest storyline twist. AJ's the father of Claire's baby. Certainly fit for Springer. Backstage taped segment showing Dixie and the Gut Check people (and D'Lo Brown), probably indirectly talking about new talent coming in. She refuses to comment on Claire.

TV Title match...Devon battles Crimson. So much for that undefeated streak, thanks to Storm. Crimson trying to cheat and steal a quick one early on. Bully Ray's already trending worldwide, must be a pro wrestling record. Devon with a clean win here. My, how Crimson has fallen.

Madison Rayne comes out. Wait, not Devon...right? WTF SHE PLANTS ONE ON EARL HEBNER. DAMMIT HEBNER. Vintage Hebner devilish grin. Get the man some Cialis, stat!

Chris Sabin promo next. Poor guy suffered another torn ACL just when he had returned from a previous ACL tear. He teases the retirement deal. Roode comes out to capitalize for more heel heat. Kicks Sabin in the bad knee. Aries for the save. Segment did its job. It's possible Roode cheats to win again, but frankly, I'd just go ahead and have Aries win it on the first attempt, especially at Destination X.

More X-Division qualifying. Dakota Darsow and Flip Cassanova get their time to shine. Dakota is the son of Barry Darsow (Demolition Smash and Repo Man, among other aliases). Impressive backflip into a seated splash for Cassanova. Guess that's how you get the "Flip" name. Cassanova shows off more aerial moves to get the crowd popping. Dakota got a broken nose there. Cassanova advances via Shooting Star Senton finisher -- basically turning 450 degrees into a senton. Sweet finish. Give it maybe another 3-5 minutes, and it's easily over three stars.

Knockouts title match delayed until next week. Something about Gail Kim getting lawyers involved. Fine, give lawyers more of a bad rep. Tessmacher's still ready for a tag match with her BFF, Tara.

Taeler Hendrix shown again as the first person on Gut Check that was actually supposed to win (the first guy wasn't supposed to win, but Flair screwed everything up, which is why he's probably no longer on the panel and gone from the company). Hendrix has a good back story, hoping to see more of her in the future.

Knockouts tag match. Yeah, pretty clear the face tag team was going over. Nice that Tara basically handed things to Tessmacher for the finish. I liked that suplex-like finisher from Tessmacher better, but her discus clothesline can be done on anyone.

AJ Styles promo, basically saying Claire baby accusation is false. Kaz and Daniels come out. More proof from Daniels? AJ says enough's enough. Last Man Standing match between AJ and Daniels at Destination X. AJ won at the PPV last year and brought that up, so Daniels probably wins this year just to extend the storyline more. Kaz interference is all but guaranteed.

Some guy gives Hogan an envelope. "We're not cowards," the guy says to Hogan. Envelope contains the Dead Man's Hand. Interesting.

X-Division qualifying match. And it's KENNY KING FROM ROH. More on this in the next paragraph. Lars Only looks like he belongs in California. Lars got some moves, I'll say that much. Gotta watch those Kenny King kicks. Damn, Lars with an awesome hurricanrana after going around the ringpost. Really diggin' this match. Awkward-looking Russian leg sweep-stunner hybrid from Lars. Excellent finisher from King, fireman's carry into a uranagi-like slam for three. Not quite his Coronation finisher in ROH (at least from the Wikipedia description), but good enough. Maybe it was meant to go into a DDT, like an F-5, but whatever. Nice promo after the match.

So anyway, Kenny King showed up for that TNA X-Division qualifier, and ROH wasn't very happy with that, to say the least. ROH's take on things was that King's contract had expired, but the two sides had agreed to an extension where King wouldn't wrestle for another company (negotiations with other companies were OK). Yet, Kenny went ahead anyway and wrestled this match for TNA. ROH basically terminated King after that. Honestly, TNA may have better upside for Kenny King because he could be showcased weekly on a channel that reaches more viewers. King could be yet another person to revitalize the X-Division. If you haven't seen his ROH work, track it down. King's immensely talented and has incredible agility.

Aries video to hype his title match with Roode is shown. Very well done.

Time for Hardy and Storm to face off. Hardy tries for Twist of Fate a few times early. Crowd VERY vocal with split chants. Storm tries to slow things down. More big moves from both guys, Hardy providing the aerial stuff. "YES!" chants start. Crowd is going NUTS, especially for Hardy. No Swanton for Hardy. Storm to the top?! Savage diving elbow for two! Great match so far. Setting up Last Call. Hardy ducks, Twist of Fate! Three count for 7 points. Solid match, best of the night.

Huge win for Hardy for BFG Series standings, especially when beating the leader. At the end of the day, Storm's still in the lead with 36 points. Samoa Joe in second with 27. Jeff Hardy now gets to 14 points, tied for third with Magnus. Note that Robbie E, Bully Ray, and AJ Styles have 0 points. Bully and AJ don't need the points (they have other significant storylines). Robbie's just out of luck in this one for whatever reason.

Remember when Angle and Joe squared off many moons ago? With the Angle headbutt to Joe? Yeah, that was awesome. Speaking of which, BFG Series match next week between Angle and Joe.

Bound for Glory is in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 14! Hey, my friend's getting ready to move there tomorrow!

Hogan ends the show, and of course, he gets the biggest pop of the night. It's time for Aries to give up the title. But that's Roode's music playing first. Roode with attitude toward Hogan. Bold proclamations from Roode, very nice heel promo. Bobby's really thriving in the main event role.

Aries comes out. He wants to fight Roode now. Roode backs off, then tries the cheap shot with the World Title again. Aries ducks and decks Roode with the X-Division Title. Crowd goes home happy tonight. Aries holds up both belts as Hogan approves. End show.