Monday, April 8, 2013

4/7/13 WrestleMania XXIX

Hey all, it's been a while. For those wondering, I've tried to keep up on the WWE storylines as much as possible. It might be a day late, but here are my WM 29 ratings:

Miz vs. Wade Barrett (IC Title): Just saw the highlights of this from the main show. Miz got Barrett to submit to the Figure Four and become IC champ once again. Ric Flair must be proud of Miz as the Hall of Famer grieves over his son's tragic passing. N/A

Big Show, Sheamus, & Randy Orton vs. The Shield: Good match here. Shield booked strong as one would hope. Notable spot near the end of the match with Rollins doing the suicide dive to Orton and basically smashing his own face into the barricade. Triple spear from Show got a nice pop. Orton tagging himself in and Show not liking it will probably lead to a feud later. **3/4

Mark Henry vs. Ryback: Booker T issued a no-contact rule and that led to some bench press stuff on Smackdown. No one expected a wrestling clinic here anyway. Cole now references Bruno Sammartino when Henry goes for the bearhug. Ryback goes for Shellshocked, can't hold Henry up. Henry falls on Ryback and that's good enough for three. Huh?! Crowd reaction was fine. Ryback hits a spinebuster and Shellshocked after the match. *1/2

Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston (Tag Team Titles): Yup, I miss watching AJ Lee each week. WWE replayed the end to last week's RAW, where Langston got involved and Ziggler scored the pin on Daniel Bryan using the tights. Crowd going NUTS for DB. Nice start to the match with the AJ Lee "Kiss of Death" reference. JBL helps put Langston over as a strong dude. Ziggler hits the Zigzag on Kane but only two. Chokeslam to Ziggler and Flying Goat for three, champs retain. **

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho: Fandango's WM debut. Lilian Garcia introduces Fandango, who probably tried to compete with Undertaker for the longest ring entrance in WM history. Nice dancing intro, though. Jericho wasn't billed as being born in Manhasset, NY, although I guess he's more known for being from Winnipeg anyway. Fandango had gotten the upper hand on Jericho the past few weeks. Codebreaker to Fandango early, but Fandango knocked out of the ring. Jericho the clear ring general here. Fandango can springboard leap to the top like RVD. Impressive top-rope legdrop gets two. A second one misses. Jericho lionsault hits. He goes for the Walls but has some type of "tweaked knee" moment. Fandango rolls Jericho up for three. Y2J puts over another young guy on the roster, nothing new there. **1/4

Diddy performs "Comin' Home." Seriously a great song.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger (World Heavyweight Title): Main event intros here. Poor Jack Swagger. If not for his arrest, he probably would have been world champ. Think I caught a remix of ADR's original theme; not sure how long that's been around. Ricardo's on crutches to sell the ankle injury Swagger gave him. Swagger gets ADR in the Patriot Lock but ADR counters into a cross armbreaker -- then Swagger counters back to the Patriot Lock. Great segment. Colter of course gets involved. Swagger nearly forgets to get back in the ring (at 9) and ADR slaps on the cross armbreaker for the submission win. Another decent match, but could have been a lot better. **3/4

Undertaker vs. CM Punk: Another outstanding video package to get me up to speed on the storyline. One of the best segments: Taker beating Punk up with the urn tumbling to the floor like a fumble, and Paul Heyman picking up the urn and running with it like a defensive lineman going for a touchdown. Living Colour performs "Cult of Personality" as Punk walks to the ring. Love it. Taker looks in much better shape than he did at that house show several weeks ago; that portly gut is all but gone.

Punk with the mind games before the match; he teased ways to win via countout or DQ if he had to. Punk delivered Old School to Taker and a side Russian leg sweep for two. Flying Savage elbow gets two for Punk. GTS countered, Taker chokeslam for two. Snake eyes from Taker, but Punk hits the back heel kick for two. Taker wants Last Ride to Punk on the Spanish table, but Punk gets out and kicks Taker in the head. Punk with the elbow drop to Taker while the deadman is lying on the Spanish table. Taker gets in at nine and Punk looks distraught. Still maintain the Taker/HBK countout segment at WM 25 was the best one, given how Taker all but spiked his own head on the floor while doing the big dive.

Punk goes for the Vice, but Taker gets that "you are screwed" look. Punk's looking like he just crapped his pants. Taker delivers the Tombstone and Punk kicks out. Fans are going nuts. Ref bump spot. Punk with another running knee in the corner. Taker no-sells and goes for the Last Ride. Punk gets the urn and clocks Taker. Punk with the signature Taker pin and still just gets two. Crowd real loud now. Heyman gives a constipated look on the arena floor. Punk mocks Taker's throat slash. GTS countered. Taker Tombstone countered. GTS countered one more time. Taker hits the Tombstone and gets three. Another outstanding Undertaker WM match. Not on par with the HBK and HHH matches, but still awesome. ****

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred): HBK is in HHH's corner tonight. As one would expect, not a complete wrestling clinic, more a physical massacre. Still, we had the nice wrestling moves from both guys. Lesnar loves the suplexes. Spanish table finally met its demise here. Crowd got a bit dead when Lesnar stayed on offense in the ring. Lesnar knocks HBK off the apron, then HHH hits a spinebuster. Pedigree countered. Lesnar goes for an F-5. HBK comes in for Sweet Chin Music but that's blocked. F-5 to HBK. Lesnar went to his knees prematurely on the first Pedigree, so it looked like he "blocked" the first attempt. HHH gets it the second time and gets two. Crowd's not impressed. HHH into the steel steps. Lesnar brings the bigger of the two steel steps into the ring and nukes HHH's shoulder again. Lesnar goes for the Kimura several times, no rope break in this match. HHH with a spinebuster to break that third Kimura attempt. Lesnar's left shoulder into the ringpost and HHH attacks that arm. Chair shot on the post and the steps.

KIMURA TO LESNAR! Lesnar screams for help. Heyman into the ring with a chair, but HBK with Sweet Chin Music to Heyman! Lesnar's in trouble. Lesnar picks HHH up and spinebuster on the steps. HHH re-locks the Kimura, so Lesnar slams him on the steps again. Kimura again! HHH counters Brock's counter and DDTs Lesnar on the steps. HHH with a sledgehammer shot to Lesnar and a Pedigree on the steps for three. Real nice, might have benefited if they added some blood to this one. ***3/4

Hall of Fame ceremony highlights. Probably the best HOF class in recent memory. Glad Bruno Sammartino's finally in. Whoa, Trish is pregnant with child! Howard Finkel does the formal announcement at WM 29.

Attendance announced as 80,676. Wonder how much that got inflated.

John Cena vs. The Rock (WWE Title): Twice in a lifetime! Main event intros. Pace is slow at the start; two guys just trying to set the tempo. Crowd is fairly quiet for a match that's supposed to have a heavyweight-type feel.

Rock sharpshooter countered. Cena misses the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and Rock plants him with a DDT. Rock Bottom countered and Cena locks in the STF. Looked like Cena was guiding Rock to counter while in the hold. Rock uses leverage to get a rollup for two. Rock catapulted, then a slam and Five Knuckle Shuffle from Cena. AA countered into a Rock spinebuster. Rock caught in the STF. Rock powers out!

Rock Bottom to Cena, but only two. AA to Rock for two. Crowd's not impressed. Cena misses the top-rope legdrop. Rock spinebuster and People's Elbow, and that gets two. More counters. Cena catches Rock, but Rock counters into a Rock Bottom for another two. Crowd perked up there. Rock for another People's Elbow. Cena pops up and hits the AA...TWO! Crowd starts to love it. But seriously, is this all the people will liven up for?!

Cena with a sloppy rollup for two. Rock tries the Rock Bottom but Cena hits a Rock Bottom?!?! That gets two and Cena has a look of disbelief. Yeah yeah.

Cena does the People's Elbow mocking, which got him caught last year. Rock pops up but Cena was ready. Cena goes for the AA but Rock counters again. Rock Bottom for ANOTHER TWO. This is getting old, dammit! Crowd still loves it, though.

Rock plants Cena with another DDT. Rock lies in wait. Cena gets up. Cena counters a Rock Bottom and hit sthe AA for three. And after all those false finishes, an AA wins it for Cena. Really?! Really?! ***1/2

Cena and Rock shake hands in the ring. Cena leaves to allow Rock to get one more salute from the fans. Rock meets a saluting Cena on the stage and they take one more curtain call. A nice, classy way to end the show.

Final Thoughts: WWE will probably keep preferring to hold PPVs in large stadiums and domes to up that attendance count. I saw a couple pics on Twitter where people were complaining about those barriers around the ring obstructing their view.

Not a PPV for the ages by any means. But it's still good enough to watch thanks to Taker/Punk and HHH/Lesnar. Cena and Rock was good, but that's why someone like Ziggler should have been in the main event. I agree it's great for business to have part-timers like Rock, HHH, and Lesnar wrestle. But it doesn't do the guys like Ziggler or Kofi Kingston any good.

You'll notice no MITB cash-in and Kofi was off the card completely. Heck, I heard Tonz of Funk (Brodus and Tensai) got taken off the card. I'd probably give the overall show about a ***1/4

Will Taker be at WM 30? Possibly, but unsure. Not sure who he'd face, but it could be someone like Lesnar or Cena. Assuming it's Taker's last match, have a damn farewell tour. Have it be for the WWE Title and make Taker retire as champ. Do something great for a guy who's stayed loyal to the company for that long.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Week in Review (TNA Lockdown 2013)

TNA Lockdown 2013 (3/10/13):

Kenny King took a nasty bump after botching what I think would be a moonsault onto Christian York. King wanted to use Zema Ion as a springboard (I assume) and just looked bad from the start. Kenny finished the match just fine, so just a scare there. Zema Ion with a hurricanrana to King -- and Ion basically does a moonsault-to-pin attempt on Christian York at the same time. Now that's awesome. Tower of Doom spot. York powerbomb to King, who did a fallaway slam on Ion. Multiple great spots. A kickass X-Division triple threat. I'd say another 3-4 minutes of this and it's easily over four stars. ***3/4

Joseph Park's gimmick is over with the crowd, but putting him in a match with Joey Ryan isn't what I had in mind. A comedic filler match.

Another reason why the Knockouts Division is a zillion times better than WWE's Divas. Gail Kim is a part of another great match. Listen to that crowd when Taryn Terrell speared Gail. Yup. I'd give that Knockouts match at least **1/2.

To me, the match between the Robbies was a snoozer. Just couldn't get into it.

Triple threat tag title match = win. Fun spot early with Chavo's multiple suplexes (a zillion amigos, I guess). Impressive double backbreaker by Hernandez. I loved the finish with Roode tagging himself in at the last second as Chavo hits the frog splash. Roode gets the pin to retain the titles. I hope the contract dispute has been taken care of, because Roode is gonna remain a huge factor in TNA. Another tremendous match. ***3/4

Predictable screwjob finish to get Wes Brisco his win over Kurt Angle. Gotta credit Angle for helping the new guys.

Good Lethal Lockdown match. Sting was the last guy in, and he brought the weapons. From there, it was basically Team TNA getting redemption. Nice big spot from Eric Young, doing the elbow drop from the top of the cage. Giving that around ***. At the time, it seemed like a big A&E loss for their momentum. But it turns out that didn't hurt the stable's momentum at all...

...because then the World Title match happened. Once the Hogans came down to ringside, that all but sealed the Bully Ray heel turn. I'm still not agreeing with doing that turn so quickly. Yes, a ton of people could see it coming a million miles away. Yes, Bully is way better as a heel. But why not hold off on it some more and gain even more guys in the A&E stable in the meantime? I for one would have loved to see someone like Brooke Hogan or Joseph Park in A&E before Bully joined. ***1/4 for the title match.

It felt like WCW and the nWo all over again when the beer bottles came flying into the ring. For the wrestler's safety, I wouldn't condone that.

As one saw from the PPV, not all matches were contested inside a steel cage. Excellent move. I thought the PPV was great overall, probably around ***1/2. Quality over quantity in PPVs is a damn good thing for TNA.

RAW (3/11/13):
Another awesome match from Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. Not surprised there. ***3/4 for it.

Lesnar takes out the New Age Outlaws because of their ties to HHH. Great promo by Heyman to further the storyline. HHH now has to agree to accept a match with Lesnar and sign a contract, and only then will Lesnar announce his stipulations. Of course, HHH is accepting no matter what. Whatever the stipulation really is, it promises to be a war.

Nice to see the Bella Twins back on RAW. An interesting twist in the Cody Rhodes-Kaitlyn storyline that I didn't see coming. And Kaitlyn snorts on her laughing. Wonderful.

WWE's committed to a storyline between Mark Henry and Ryback. I'm not sure of this one. Matches between two non-agile big men generally haven't fared well.

Wade Barrett and Miz continue their feud over being movie stars. Yay...

Brad Maddox is one of the frontrunners for for worst promo of the year. Scripted like that or not, that was brutal. Just say Miz and Jericho have a match, winner faces Barrett for the IC Title next week. Moron.

And of course, Miz and Jericho didn't have a winner because of Barrett's interference. I like the triple threat match possibilities.

Awesome stuff between Halle Berry and Kane to promote The Call (movie comes out on Friday).

The match between Punk and Taker is really on now. I'm sure WWE would have brought Paul Bearer into the mix anyway, but Bearer's passing has made it even more of a big deal. Talk about real life and storyline meshing together. Great heel stuff from Punk as usual.

With my busy schedule this week, I didn't get to watch NXT, Main Event, Impact, Superstars, and Smackdown. I heard Impact had a good match between Sting and Austin Aries.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week in Review (3/4 to 3/10; RIP Paul Bearer)

NOTE: TNA Lockdown takes place on March 10, but I'll try to recap that at another time. I'll be out of town for St. Patrick's Day weekend, so I probably won't get to watch everything anyway.

OK, trying out a week in review thing that I'll post on weekends, if possible. I still watch the shows briefly, so the recaps may be lengthy. Let's see how this one goes.

The big news this week was the passing of Paul Bearer, probably best known for being affiliated with the Undertaker. It made headlines on various news websites, and a lot of past and present WWE stars paid their respects. He'll be sorely missed.

Old School RAW (3/4/13):
Nice start with Undertaker's cameo and a "sign" that he'll be competing at WM 29. CM Punk went off on his vow to break the Streak, with Randy Orton, Big Show, and Sheamus all stating their claim to take on the Dead Man.

Funny how Cole and Lawler were mentioning how Ryback is one of the strongest guys in WWE when Cesaro is probably the strongest pound-for-pound guy in the company. Not to mention he made Ryback look real good. I loved the finish with Cesaro unable to get the Neutralizer on Ryback and Ryback counters into Shellshocked for three.

Interesting staredown between Ryback and Mark Henry. Probably will be a WM 29 match? Henry squashed poor Zack Ryder.

Ric Flair was at RAW, of course. Fittingly, Miz gets Dolph Ziggler to tap to the Figure Four. I think it's a match worth watching.

Rock was at RAW. Of course, John Cena has to get in his words, and he just wants redemption. Cena vowed to beat Rock last year and failed. Yeah, Cena will win this time. I get it. And who woulda thunk Cena would quote Mike Tyson? But hey, isn't Tyson in the WWE Hall of Fame? Has to mean something now!

Jack Swagger gets to beat up three WWE Legends that stand for what America seems to be: a common man, a military guy, and a guy with a 2x4 saying "HOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Nice to see the Million Dollar Man at RAW. Fitting pairing with the Primetime Players. Millions of Dollars! D-Young ate the pinfall again and DiBiase stuffed a $100 bill in his mouth. So much for that managerial idea. Not like it was gonna happen at this time anyway.

Tensai now completely matches Brodus Clay's dancing gear. Transformation complete for Sweet T? The match was a joke. Really. And vintage Honky Tonk Man guitar shot to Heath Slater.

What a surprise: Fandango won't wrestle until someone says his name properly.

No surprise again: HHH calls out Lesnar and they'll have another fight at WM 29. I love bloody wars!

Alberto Del Rio defeats Wade Barrett while Swagger looks on. Both guys in the World Title match are getting booked strongly, as they should be.

Nice to see the New Age Outlaws can still wrestle. But seriously, Primo and Epico deserve better than to lose to these guys. Did they do something to get buried like this?

Fatal Four Way was awesome. Loved seeing Punk try to steal the pin several times. Show KOs Punk but Sheamus goes after Show because first fall wins. Excellent finish. Sheamus Brogue Kicks Show, Orton RKOs Sheamus, then Punk with the GTS to Orton for three. ***

Undertaker comes out for the epic staredown spot with Punk. Like it would have been any other way. Will Punk break the Streak? Nah. Taker should win that and go to 21-0.

Main Event (3/6/13)
Was torn on watching much of this one, but I did enjoy the match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. Orton was over huge with the fans this week. Great crowd and Orton wins with an RKO. Solid finish. ***1/4

Zack Ryder lost again. Might as well turn him heel eventually.

Awesome spot in the match between Sin Cara and Antonio Cesaro. Cara flipped onto Cesaro's shoulders and into a sunset flip powerbomb for two. To me, it's more Cesaro being a huge asset to WWE for being able to work with a lot of people and help bring something new to each match he has. Amazing finish.

NXT (3/6/13):
From what I understand, Oliver Grey has a legit injury. They had the Wyatt Family "injure" him for storyline purposes. Good showing by Adrian Neville in a handicap match.

When was the last time Yoshi Tatsu won a match? I have no idea anymore.

Six-diva tag action on NXT?! Well, at least they'll get more time here than on the two "main shows" (RAW and Smackdown). Naomi with the hot tag again and she gets the win for her team. They actually got somewhere around 4 minutes! Whoa!

Summer Rae is relishing her role as "The First Lady of NXT." She's doing her job well because it makes me want to see Paige's eventual return.

Very good triple threat match to determine the #1 contender for the NXT Title (Conor O'Brian vs. Bo Dallas vs. Corey Graves). Bo and Graves teamed up at times to take down Conor, showing the "strange bedfellows" spots that can occur in these matches. Bray Wyatt slowly makes his way to the ring in the last couple minutes of the match. Graves locks in the 13th Step on Bo, then Conor with an awesome armbar submission on Graves. Bo and Graves had some sloppy work in the last few seconds of the match. Conor steals the win. I thought the lack of crowd reaction hurt this one a bunch; it truly deserved better. Otherwise, not much to complain about.

More seeds planted for Bo's storyline with Bray Wyatt. Conor gets his shot at Big E Langston. Graves gets to wait again, I guess.

TNA Impact (3/7/13):
A nice start to the show with Austin Aries calling out Jeff Hardy and having a match immediately. Aries booked strong here to try and set himself up for a future World Title shot. Aries jawjacks with the ref and we get a full moon shot. Vivid image there. Matt Morgan with the Carbon Footprint to end all that because he wants in the title picture.

Having D'Lo Brown join Aces & Eights as VP works because he is basically "at the core" of TNA management. Really helps drive the point home that anyone could be a part of the group.

So now that Taz is an A&E guy, Danny Davis is a Gut Check judge. Bruce Prichard and Al Snow remain the other two judges. The judges pick Lei'D Tapa over Ivelisse to face Gut Check judging, mainly for the different presence she brings to the ring and potential (second-generation star). Personally woulda picked Ivelisse.

Gail Kim pins Velvet Sky in the six-person mixed tag, so that probably means Velvet Sky retains at Lockdown. Bad Influence probably retains at Lockdown as well.

More drama in the AJ Styles storyline, this time a more physical assault on both his childhood friend and the cameraman for showing up to his house uninvited. Styles will be in Chicago to further this transformation. The new attitude is refreshing, and I like it so far.

Lei'D Tapa comes down to face the judges and the fans already don't like her. That alone makes me want to vote "yes" because I'd rather have a hot crowd than a person with talent who the fans don't give a crap about. Al Snow casts the deciding vote and says "yes," so Tapa gets her contract.

At the same time, this Gut Check process actually makes me question the voting a bit. If the judges had rejected Tapa, neither would get the contract, and that to me just feels like a waste of time overall. A double rejection may eventually happen only because if they plan to keep doing this once a month, TNA would have too many people on the roster for the amount of TV time allotted. Heck, it's already at that point and been so for years.

I'd propose Gut Check be limited to a few times a year, promising just a temporary 3-month developmental contract. The successful candidate would then train in OVW and, if there's improvement and promise after that time, they get the contract renewed for another set period. The ultimate goal basically would be to get to the main roster. This way, we can simply keep getting updates from OVW, give OVW that much more exposure, and we don't lose track of where these people have gone.

Remember all those other Gut Check participants that received their contracts? Yeah, I figured you would need to use Google to remember all of them. Christian York has easily benefited the most, and Joey Ryan (an unsuccessful candidate for a bigger storyline) even has gotten a bunch of screen time. Not lately, though.

Three matches between Team TNA and A&E to see who gets the man advantage for Lethal Lockdown. Devon beats Sting to give A&E a 1-0 lead. Later, Magnus and Samoa Joe defeat DOC and Garett Bischoff to tie things up, 1-1. Finally, Anderson defeats James Storm to give A&E the man advantage. So after things start 1-on-1, A&E will be able to keep sending in guys first to get a one-man advantage for a few minutes.

Show ends with Bully and Hardy in the ring, basically saying "may the best man win." A&E and Team TNA come out, and we get a lovely brawl as the show goes off the air.

Superstars (3/8/13):
Matches were taped at the venue of Old School RAW. Yes, more of Team Rhodes Scholars. Solid tag match between Rhodes Scholars and Usos. Cody with the Disaster Kick for three. I'd consider giving that kick a new name. It worked when Cody had his mask and calling the move "Beautiful Disaster."

Brock Lesnar answers HHH's challenge next week on RAW. He'll accept the challenge at some point. Might not be now just to fool some people.

Layla and Tamina Snuka got about four and a half minutes, which is above average for divas matches. Tamina rolls through and preps Layla for a Samoan drop but Layla counters into a rollup for three. Good stuff here.

Smackdown (3/8/13):
Dolph Ziggler won the fan poll with 51% of the vote to face Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown. Because Ziggler rules. Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro got 26% and 23%, respectively.

Ricardo Rodriguez and ADR mock Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. You know, ADR really looks a lot like Seth Rollins with the wig and facial hair.

Team Hell No gets along this week and defeats 3MB. Slater taps to the NO lock.

If the point of Brad Maddox's character is to be annoying and obnoxious, then he's done very well. JBL, get back from mountain climbing ASAP.

Video footage on Old School  RAW where Shield attacks Big Show and takes him out. Yeah, that'll haunt Shield later.

Match between ADR and Ziggler takes place around the middle of the show. Ricardo tosses water on AJ. YES! Ref ejects AJ. NO! Langston's also ejected but that's fine with me. Add another awesome match to the recommended-watch list. Ziggler and Del Rio are both on a major roll this year. ***3/4

Another winning segment between Daniel Bryan and AJ. OK, so AJ is used to things lasting 18 seconds. ZING!

Yoshi Tatsu loses again! Well, at least he has a job, right?

Kaitlyn and Tamina get a match. Bonus points to Kaitlyn for flying into the second rope and hitting that with her face. Layla tries to get in the ring so the ref has to detain her. Tamina gets the win in a short match. Layla's likely turning heel down the road. I liked the heel Layla (i.e. being part of LayCool). Good stuff between Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow to further the Cody/Kaitlyn courtship.

Real physical match in the main event between Sheamus and Big Show. Brogue Kick to Show, then Shield comes out. Orton arrives to help Sheamus. Shield dominates. Big Show comes back in and nukes the Shield. Show reminds people he's not a face by KOing Sheamus, but then eats an RKO.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Semi-Retirement for Wrestling Blog

Hey everyone, I have recently accepted a full-time job, which means this wrestling blog will finally get sent to the backburner. I know I've said it several times before, but at least for now, I really mean it, especially as my food blog and YouTube channel would otherwise take up my remaining free time.

People might call this a semi-retirement, but I still plan to at least watch pro wrestling when I can. If a good match comes up, I'll try to blog about it here on the weekends, perhaps attempt to do some type of a "Week in Review" thing. I'm not sure how many people even read this dang blog anyway, but it's been awesome doing wrestling ratings for nearly five years (plus a couple of personal posts in 2007).

If you like food or seeing a guy doing crazy stuff, I'll be a bit more active there. Hope to see you around in the future!

3/1/13 Smackdown

Smackdown is in Oklahoma City. Lawler's joining Cole and Josh Mathews for Smackdown. JBL's busy climbing another mountain.

Alberto Del Rio comes out for his match. Sandow criticizes people with bad English. Ricardo has an outdated tuxedo and a spit bucket, eh? ADR says Sandow's mouth stinks. Oh, that's lovely. Now let's have a match.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Damien Sandow: A bit of mat wrestling and basic stuff to start. Competitive match here. I enjoy watching Sandow's aggression in the ring. ADR with the usual comeback because WWE loves to have wrestlers superstars use a specific sequence of moves on that type of spot. Sandow kicks out of that superkick. Swagger and "founding father" Zeb Colter watch in the back. Sandow counters the armbreaker and gets a two-count. ADR kidney punches and backstabber for two. Sandow with a neckbreaker for two. Terminus countered into the cross armbreaker. Sandow taps. Awesome back-and-forth stuff. **3/4

Jim Ross interviews Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter later.

Video package of the epic Cena/Punk match from RAW. Yeah, we know. Rock and Cena again at WM 29.

Team Hell No backstage segment. Rematch against Primetime Players coming up. Daniel Bryan gets to have his arm tied behind his back this time, while Kane is blindfolded. Kane still says he'll be beating PTPs and he doesn't have to look at DB's ugly goat face. Kane wins!

Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz (2 Out of 3 Falls; U.S. Title): So Miz gets ANOTHER crack at the title for whatever reason. Couldn't have elevated some random midcarder? Miz goes for some quick pins on the first fall. Cesaro with good counters and mat wrestling. Miz targets Cesaro's leg. "Miz is awesome" chants from the crowd. Good back-and-forth stuff on the first fall. Cesaro with a unique fireman's carry front slam for two. Miz cradle gets two, then Cesaro hits the Neutralizer out of nowhere for three and the first fall. During the commercial, Miz tied things up. Cesaro tried a dropkick or something from the second rope, and Miz caught him in the figure four for the submission win. Cesaro's knee continues to big him. Again, the third fall is where the two go even more all out to get the win. Miz gets another burst of adrenaline. Double neckbreaker countered and Cesaro hits the alley-oop Euro uppercut for two. Cesaro taunts Miz, then Miz hits the DDT for two. Miz with a ton of punches in the corner and the ref literally pulls Miz away. Running clothesline from Miz, then double axe handle. Figure four from Miz in the center of the ring. Crowd going nuts. Cesaro drags himself to the ropes. Miz figure four attempt again, Cesaro pushes him off. Miz nearly collides with the ref. Cesaro rollup, but Miz counters for two. Cesaro counters that and holds the tights to get three and retain. Excellent match here. ***1/2

Seems like Orton, in his own Viper manner, is thinking about teaming with Sheamus.

Jim Ross to the ring to interview Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Jim Ross notes that he recruited Swagger when Jack was still wrestling and playing football at Oklahoma. Way to diss your alma mater in your home state, Jack! Ross mentions the Swagger losing streak and the leave of absence and wants to know what began this resurgence. Colter goes on his preaching again of real Americans and not liking undocumented workers. "We the people!" Colter then with a metaphor of a fruit basket that begins to rot. Smell it or throw it out? ADR is stinky? Um, OK. Ross accuses Colter of brainwashing Swagger, and let the sparks fly! Swagger knocks JR's hat off and calls him a sympathizer. Del Rio comes out and basically calls Swagger a "Real Jack Ass." Oh, that's mature. Good stuff, but weak ending.

I love the heel "Real American" gimmick, and Swagger has probably kept his world title shot mainly because it's WM season. Midcarders would have probably gotten suspended or released by now.

Primetime Players vs. Team Hell No: Kane's blindfolded and gets to wear a hood with a goat face on it. WIN. DB then tells Kane to start the match. The ol' schoolboy trip thing doesn't work, so Titus has to use his whistle instead. DB with kicks and chops. DB pulls off an awesome crucifix with one arm to get two. DB tags Kane back in, so Kane uses the crowd to help find his opponent. Genius! D-Young tags in and Kane catches him with a chokeslam! Woohoo! D-Young moves out of the way so Kane can't find him. Kane ends up grabbing both DB and the ref. OOPS. Kane lets the ref go and finally realizes he also has DB by the beard. Titus rolls DB up for three. Probably the most entertaining match I've seen with one guy wearing a blindfold. *1/2

Kane realizes the goat face hood after the match. No hugging it out tonight! Kane puts the hood on DB and slaps him. Tough love.

Matt Striker interviews Big Show. Show wants to make a huge impact by chokeslamming Randy Orton.

Fandango (a.k.a. Johnny Curtis) finally gets a live interview with Striker. Good, passionate promo. Fandango debuts when Striker gets the name right. So we'll never see the debut happen. Way to go, Striker. But you probably saved Zack Ryder from jobbing again. Frankly, if all Lawler wanted to see tonight was Fandango's debut, that's pretty sad.

RAW segment again with Vince/Heyman "fight" -- that really paved the way for HHH/Lesnar.

Big Show vs. Randy Orton: Show dominant early with those big slaps. Orton catches Show with a dropkick but Show gets right back on offense. Show targets Orton's shoulder. Pace is super slow because Show's dominant. Show misses a second-rope elbow and the ring didn't break! Orton with a zillion punches then counters a chokeslam into a DDT for two. Show into the ring post, then the hangman's DDT with Show on the top rope. And here comes the Shield. Ha, a big, older black security guy accompanies Reigns just so Roman can get to the ring safely. Sheamus comes down to help Orton. Shield in the ring and they're brawling. Ref throws the match out, of course. *3/4

Reigns backs into Show, so Show KOs Reigns. OOPS. Ambrose and Rollins are stunned, so they retreat and help Reigns out of there. Show chokeslams Orton and Sheamus with the Brogue Kick to Show. Again, WWE books Sheamus like the next John Cena. Super Sheamus! Ugh.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

3/1/13 Superstars

Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Primo & Epico: Tensai comes out in a black singlet to match Brodus. New wrestling gear! Nice double suplex from Primo and Epico, but that does nothing to stop momentum early on. "Sweet T" from the fans, which Tensai will eventually grow to accept. Tensai takes too long on the ropes and finally the cousins can take over. Tensai suplexes both opponents and hot tag to Brodus. Tensai with the blind tag and it leads to a Primo sandwich. Double splash and it's over. *1/2

RAW recap of Vince/Heyman leading to Lesnar and HHH brawl. Then Shield promo on RAW where Sheamus then comes out and Orton gets to RKO Seth Rollins.

Kofi Kingston vs. David Otunga: I have to agree with Striker this time. I wish Kofi Kingston would actually get a fresh, angry heel makeover and perhaps get on the road to becoming a main eventer, but alas, he's the fun, high-flying dude that stays in midcard. Kofi uses his quickness to his advantage and mocks Otunga's posing. Otunga crowds Kofi for a bit and works on the left arm. Otrunga misses an elbow drop and Kofi on the comeback. Otunga tries to escape the ring to avoid Trouble in Paradise but Kofi flies onto Otunga, tosses him back in, then hits Trouble in Paradise for three. *3/4

Of course, the show ends with the amazing Cena/Punk match from RAW. Match of the year candidate for sure.

Friday, March 1, 2013

2/28/13 Impact

They're finally back in the Impact Zone after several weeks of tapings in the UK.

Taz isn't at the announcing booth because Bully is pissed at Aces & Eights. Bully Ray to the ring. Bully especially wants to get his hands on Devon. He introduces Jeff Hardy, who didn't make the UK trip to sell the A&E attack (but I'm assuming he couldn't leave the country due to possible ongoing legal issues). Bully wants his shot at the title and calls the TNA Title the most prestigious singles title in pro wrestling today (really?!). Bully plays the humble man and says he doesn't just want the title shot because of nepotism. Kaz and Daniels to the ring to protest. Thunderlips Hulk Hogan reference! Bully Raymond and Jefferson! Daniels' excuse: allergic reaction to Hardy's face paint. Appletini back in Daniels' face. Bully and Hardy send Bad Influence scurrying to the back. Tag match later tonight.

Magnus said Sting's been there to mentor him and now wants to give back. How nice of him.

Gail Kim on commentary. She faces the winner of the upcoming Knockouts Title match.

Velvet Sky vs. Tara (Knockouts Title): Gail accuses Taryn Terrell of being part of a conspiracy to help Velvet Sky. It's a blonde thing? Oh, and also the jealousy card again. Jesse gets involved right in front of the ref and Taryn ejects him from ringside. You know, she coulda called for the bell right there too. Velvet hits In Yo Face for three. Gail protests that there's a fast count, but Tara looks like she woulda been down for 30. *

Aries on the phone more worried about photo shoots. He says he can beat anyone, so Chavo says Aries will face Hernandez tonight.

Rob Van Dam gives Kenny King yet another shot at the X-Division Title even though Kenny's failed twice in title matches in the past. That simple? Can I get a title shot next? Stipulation is if Kenny loses, no more X-Division, no more title shots against RVD. So Kenny's finally winning so we can move on from all this.

Austin Aries vs. Hernandez: Taz is back on commentary after having business to take care of. Hernandez controls things early, then Aries pulls Hernandez to the outside. Suicide dive from AA. Always impressive to see Hernandez skin the cat and do that slingshot shoulder tackle. Aries tries to leave with his tag title Hernandez grabs Aries and tosses him back in the ring. Hernandez takes the title away. Ref tries to get the title out of the ring. Aries looks like he uses a chain to KO Hernandez and get three. *3/4

Joseph Park eats some delicious ribs in Sting's office. Yup, Park knows what a rib is now. Park wants to be part of Sting's team. Sting says he'll think about it.

Sting gives Matt Morgan a shot to be on Team TNA. Morgan basically says no because Sting and Hulk Hogan are friends. Guilty by association. In other words, Matt Morgan's gonna be stuck in midcard for a while -- if he's even on TV.

Kenny King vs. Rob Van Dam (X-Division Title): Taz likes Kenny King's persistence on going after the title. I at least can understand that take on the situation, but I otherwise call it unoriginal, crappy booking because the talent pool should be a lot deeper. Where's Christian York and Zema Ion in all this? Sucks that Kid Kash left the company. RVD schools KK early on. Kenny misses the slingshot corkscrew to the outside and RVD hits a back kick. RVD twisting legdrop on the barricade. KK gets physical on offense. RVD with the monkey flip but KK lands on his feet -- then gets nuked with an RVD spin kick. Rolling Thunder hits. RVD calls an audible but misses the 450 splash. KK rolls RVD up for an awkward two count. Hebner stopped because RVD's shoulders rolled off the mat, but looked weird since there was no actual kickout. They stagger back to their feet and King hits probably the worst-looking Royal Flush ever for three and the title. Just a horrible-looking last few seconds to an otherwise-decent match. **

Sting shows Kurt Angle the list of participants for Team TNA in Lethal Lockdown. Angle's surprised in particular at one of the picks not mentioned by name. Sting seems to imply that he's picking Joseph Park, but we'll see.

Hulk Hogan has another surgery. Twitter photo of Hulk's knee post-surgery.

A&E to the ring. Devon introduces Team A&E for Lethal Lockdown: Devon, Anderson, Knox, DOC, and Garett Bischoff. Good lineup. I also like that Angle's facing Wes Brisco in a singles match; a chance for the new guy to get over.

Sting to the entrance ramp. He introduces his team: Sting, Samoa Joe, James Storm, Magnus, and...Showtime? ERIC YOUNG'S BACK! Ten guys brawl in the ring and A&E gets sent packing. You know, I love the pick. There may still be a shot that Joseph Park gets involved.

Gut Check this week! TNA is sticking with the format of two contestants compete against each other in a match, then three judges make their decision the following week and decide whether that chosen contestant gets a TNA contract. Here are the participants:

Ivelisse Velez (TNA spells it "Ivelise Felez"). She now has brown-reddish hair. Velez goes into her strained relationship with her mother that's only now starting to get patched back up. Yeah, that's the former Sofia Cortez in WWE. Velez got released from WWE in August 2012 and then competed in Mexico for the AAA promotion. Might be a blessing for her should she get a TNA contract.

Facing Ivelisse tonight is Lei'D Tapa (first name pronounced "lady"). As you can imagine, she's Polynesian (Tongan). Second-generation star. Her uncle used to wrestle in WWE as the Barbarian. I remember him!

Ivelisse Velez vs. Lei'D Tapa: Todd Keneley notes Tapa's size advantage. Velez counters with several submissions, first a guillotine choke and then a sleeper. Tapa gets out of both with her strength and hits a nice kick. velez uses her quickness to avoid Tapa and hit a tornado DDT. Nice hurricanrana from Velez, but Tapa comes right back with a Samoan Drop for two. Or is it a Tongan Drop? Velez gets the guillotine choke on again, with body scissors. Tapa struggles for a bit, then taps. Very nice Gut Check match here, both with impressive debut showings. *3/4

Aries is pulling for Jeff Hardy tonight because Aries believes Bully is now the golden child after "marrying into" the Hogan family.

AJ Styles update starts with wife Wendy and friend Jay Oliver. AJ Styles comes in, and he's grown facial hair. He tells the camera "you just don't get it" and speeds off on a motorcycle. Looks like a heel makeover for AJ's character.

Video package showing the tension that's developed between Robbie E and Rob Terry. All started with that Open Bro Night and really took off from there. He says he's come to the realization that there's a bigger bro out there and calls Rob Terry to the ring. Robbie E wants one more Bro-Off but Terry doesn't want to do it. Robbie E goes and dances like a weirdo. Terry eventually relents and starts his dance, but Robbie comes back in and hits Terry with that VIP sign. Duh. Robbie celebrates like an idiot and Terry has the best pissed-off face ever. I think Robbie pissed his pants on that one.

Austin Aries tries to butter up to Bully Ray but Bully has none of it. Bully win.

Angle's still on the hunt for A&E.

Jeff Hardy & Bully Ray vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian: Bad Influence still loves Gangnam Style dancing, so Bully busts it out as well. Hardy also likes to dance. Good grief. Yeah, there was actually wrestling here too. Good teamwork from Bully and Hardy. Hardy isolated. Bully with the hot tag and he goes nuts on both Bad Influence members. Hardy gets the tag; he goes for the Swanton but Kaz prevents that. STO to Hardy gets two. Bully with a boot to Kaz and a loud slap to Daniels' back. Bully with the electric chair drop and Hardy hits the Swanton for three. **1/4

Back to Kurt Angle. He raids the clubhouse and takes Anderson and Devon out. He then goes after the masked VP of the club. Glass to the face. Angle unmasks the VP and is stunned who it is. We don't see who the VP really is. In that sense of Angle being pissed, it's a take on the whole "higher power" storyline between Vince and Austin many years ago (although it was Vince who revealed himself to Austin). The other A&E guys attack Angle to end the show.

It seems clear to me -- at least initially -- that the VP is Joseph Park. Big dude, deep voice to disguise. I absolutely love the cliffhanger. It will be interesting to see if the VP identity is revealed before the PPV. With two Sundays to go before the PPV, TNA can hold off the identity until the Lethal Lockdown match. Given that the VP is Joseph Park (I don't know right now), it's a perfect way for Park to screw Team TNA at Lethal Lockdown.

Think about this scenario: No mention of the VP identity next week on Impact. Angle can be held off the show to sell A&E beatdown injuries. A guy like Eric Young gets taken out again before the Lethal Lockdown match. Park offers his services to Sting. Sting allows it. With LL basically being War Games rules, Park ends up being the absolute last guy to enter the match. Sting could be one guy standing while Park gets all riled up. A&E acts scared as hell. Then Park levels Sting and the gang beatdown begins. A&E ends up pinning Sting and it's over. Would be an excellent finish, in my opinion. Keeps Aces & Eights momentum going.

And again, I don't read spoilers, so if it's someone different, it'll probably be fine with me.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

2/27/13 NXT

Dusty Rhodes is with Bo Dallas. Yeah, remember when we thought Bo was gonna be on the main roster full-time against Wade Barrett? What happened with that? Corey Graves comes in. He hands back the NXT Title he took from Langston last week. Dusty makes a triple threat main event tonight: Bo vs. Graves vs. Conor O'Brian.

Justin Gabriel vs. Leo Kruger: Battle of South Africans tonight! Tyson Kidd also at ringside in Gabriel's corner. A bunch of chain wrestling and rest holds to start. Kruger targets JG's left arm. JG with some comeback moves. Kruger again thwarts that. Big lariat from Kruger gets two. Sunset flip powerbomb and then the 450 from JG win it. Slow start, nice finish. Kruger takes Kidd's crutches away and jabs JG with it after the match. **

Emma vs. Aksana: I still don't get this disoriented Australian dancing Emma does to the ring. Am I supposed to think it's gonna catch on like the Bushwhackers march? Emma struggles to get in the ring. OK, did she have six beers before her match? Emma somehow gets some offense in, then stumbles and hits her face on the bottom turnbuckle. She's still able to get a couple of near falls. Emma again goes all disoriented and Aksana hits an impressive spinebuster for three. This went five minutes and probably was about four minutes too long. No. I do not want to see this again. DUD

Bo Dallas has been "knocked out" in the back. This another way of saying he's not really gonna be much of a factor in NXT anymore? It's down to two guys tonight in the #1 contenders match.

Conor O'Brian vs. Corey Graves: #1 contenders match and no Bo Dallas. Conor moves decent for a guy his size and controls things early. Graves attacks Conor's left leg to set up for that 13th Step. Graves with an ankle scissors and a few shots to the knee. Conor breaks that with a body scissors and seated full nelson bombs. More rest holds from Graves. This one is a flat out snoozer right now. Conor starts the comeback again and the lights go out. SHIELD'S HERE! Ref throws the match out. *

Shield promo about how things will get better, but before that, it must get worse. No Tony, that was NOT an unbelievable match. Go watch Cena and Punk on RAW.

2/27/13 Main Event

Kaitlyn's walking through the backstage halls and runs into Cody Rhodes again. The love-stache strikes again! Kaitlyn is uncomfortable and doesn't appear interested. Sheamus comes in for more love-stache jokes. We got a match for Main Event!

We're in Oklahoma City for Main Event. Jerry Lawler joins Michael Cole this week.

Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes: Sheamus in control early, then Cody takes over. Sheamus catches Cody with the Irish Curse to start that comeback. Cody skins the cat on the ropes but then Sheamus with the clubbing blows. Battering Ram for two. Sheamus' shoulder into the ring post. Cody moonsault for two. Crowd gets behind Sheamus now. Cody counters the Cloverleaf and hits a running knee for two. Cross Rhodes countered. Sheamus White Noise countered. Brogue Kick avoided. Cody misses a Disaster Kick. Sheamus Brogue Kick gets three. Nice end sequence. **3/4

We see some footage from RAW where Mark Henry beat Great Khali. Luckily that was short.

Mark Henry vs. Justin Gabriel: OK, who really thinks Gabriel's winning this? Thought so. Just a methodical beatdown of JG tonight. Squash! N/A

The show basically ends with the Vince/Heyman "fight" from RAW (a.k.a. setup for Lesnar and HHH storyline for WM 29), then the epic match between John Cena and CM Punk.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2/25/13 RAW (Cena vs. Punk)

Gotta love the crowd in Dallas, TX! King and Cole on commentary.

Vince McMahon starts the show and he's still on crutches. He calls Paul Heyman out. Heyman comes out in workout gear and gets the cheap heat with a Cowboys/Romo joke. Heyman abruptly tackles Vince and targets the hip. Vince takes the crutch away and gets two crutch shots on Heyman.

And here comes Brock Lesnar. He stares Vince down. And then HHH arrives sporting a new shirt. Was there really any doubt that these two would show up? HHH and Lesnar brawl around ringside. Lesnar shoved into the ringpost and he's really cut badly. Lesnar battles back and F-5s HHH on the announce table. Now that was awesome. Been a long time since I've seen a guy in WWE have a wound that bad on TV. Might as well be Lesnar who takes it. you can see Lesnar's blood on the silver ringpost. HHH tossed into the ring, and Lesnar takes a chair with him. HHH with a spinebuster to Lesnar and a loud chair shot. Lesnar retreats but still smiles. Lesnar and HHH set in stone for WM 29. Yeah, I'd pay to see them beat each other up for 20+ minutes.

Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler: Looks like Ryback's back on his own, and that's the way it should be. Ryback dominant early on, as expected. Langston runs over Ryback on the outside so Ziggler can get on offense. Ryback runs into the ringpost and Ziggler with a spike DDT for two. Ryback in the sleeper but breaks that with a stunner-like jawjacker. AJ and Langston try to interfere, to no avail. Ziggler gets Shellshocked and Ryback wins. At least Ziggler bumps like a champ. This felt more like a glorified squash. Ziggler got in his moves, but Ryback was just booked overwhelmingly strong. *3/4

CM Punk promo. He says tonight is not about Cena, Rock, the people, or even WM 29. Tonight isn't even about the WWE Title. Tonight is about CM Punk. "CM Punk is God." Yes, he is, and that sentence even trended on Twitter. Take that, JBL!

Add Donald Trump to the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Hey, I think he's at least more deserving than Drew Carey. I mean, Trump literally let it rain real money on RAW. Still won't forget Trump shaving Vince's head at WM 23. RIP Umaga.

Mark Henry vs. Great Khali: DAMMIT, not again! Overhand chop to Henry but that doesn't do too much damage. World's Strongest Slam ends things rather quickly. N/A

The Marine 3 (starring Miz) is going straight to DVD. Sounds normal to me when WWE stars (at least other than Rock) are involved.

Fitting that this leads to Miz TV. Guests are Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter, Alberto Del Rio, and Ricardo Rodriguez. Miz gives Colter the chance to say what's on his mind, and Zeb goes into a rant on illegal immigrants (a.k.a. undocumented workers). Colter with the quick jab to Glenn Beck rejecting WWE's offer to appear on the show. WWE is educational! 10 years to become a citizen of Mexico, and foreigners can't own property there. Colter says ADR represents the American dream. Colter calls those illegal immigrants "criminals." ADR says America is for everyone and that anything is possible if you work hard enough. ADR challenges Swagger to bring it on. Swagger says he'll see ADR at WM. Yup. Another solid advancement of storyline. So it looks like Swagger's push wasn't affected too much, although I'm not too sure WWE will put the title on him now. Before the DUI and weed arrest, Swagger was penciled to win the title at WM.

During the break, Swagger attacks Miz from behind, so I assume there will be a match later on between these two.

Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro: Cesaro in control early, then the usual comeback moves from Orton. Cesaro to the second rope for what I believe would be a flying Euro uppercut, and Orton hits the RKO out of nowhere for three. *1/2

Daniel Bryan and Kane arguing again. Match against the Primetime Players. DB says he can beat PTPs blindfolded. Kane says he can do it with one arm behind his back. Enter Team Brickie to actually make that happen. Brad Maddox already assuming the role of power-hungry, ego-driven assistant.

We see the WM 21 military courtroom promo between John Cena and JBL. Cena won the title from JBL that year and that pretty much started Cena's dominant ride at the top of the company.

Sheamus in a tux?! Well, that's a new one on me. No, I didn't bother to watch the Oscars. He says the greatest actor of the 21st century is...Wade Barrett! I guess we know where this is going. We again see the movie trailer for Dead Man Down (where Barrett has a supporting role) and Sheamus with more quips that really fall flat. Barrett comes to the ring and he basks in his movie-star glory. Ooh, attending a worldwide premiere! That'll be cool. Barrett misses a clothesline and avoids the Brogue Kick. Gotta look good for the cameras, no broken nose needed. Didn't like this segment at all, frankly.

R-Truth vs. Cody Rhodes: Damien Sandow on commentary. Can we keep him there permanently? Cody tries to ground Truth during the match. Cody bounces off the ropes and Truth hits Little Jimmy for three. Short match, nothing real special. Sandow unsuccessful on the post-match assault.

More Swagger/Colter YouTube videos. Swagger had to work at age 14 to support his family because his dad got laid off. That sucks, but it happens in life.

Team Hell No vs. Primetime Players: I've read that Darren Young has a knee injury, but he looked OK to me. DB gets to wear the black hood and Kane's left arm is tied behind his back. DB still tells Kane to get out. We get the "blindfolded guy goes after the ref" spot. Kane tags himself in and does the dirty work. Chokeslam to D-Young and it's over. Another comedy match. Can we have fewer of these? 1/2*

Shield promo. They dare WWE to make another All-Star team to defeat. Sheamus appears on the stage and dares Shield to get him. Ambrose and Reigns do so. Randy Orton comes through the crowd, slithers in the ring, and an RKO to Rollins. Hit and run! Guess there's your next team.

Jack Swagger vs. Miz: As expected, here's that singles match. Miz no longer has the tape on the left shoulder. Miz runs on adrenaline but Swagger catches Miz with a belly-to-belly suplex on the outside. ADR and Ricardo watching in the back locker room. Hmm, no more expensive cars and luxury boxes, eh? Swagger keeps Miz from mounting the comeback. Miz hits his signature moves in spurts, then gets his left leg caught in the ropes as planned. Opening for Swagger to target the leg and slap on the Patriot Lock. Miz taps. Safe to say for now that WWE is still going with Swagger and ADR for WM 29. *3/4

Lawler and Cole doing some promoting for Sonic. Hey Lawler, too much fried food is bad for you. I don't want you to have another heart attack.

Cena backstage promo. Cena wanted his match with Punk to prove Punk wrong. The better man goes to WM 29. No excuses, no second place. Step up, or step aside. Solid, serious promo.

WWE shares via Tout that Undertaker made a surprise return at the live event in Waco this past weekend. Taker now has a noticeable belly. Too banged up to exercise, I suppose. Food must be awesome in Texas.

John Cena vs. CM Punk: A hyped match (one week) for WWE standards. Winner faces Rock at WM 29. Justin Roberts with the main event intros. Chain wrestling to start, which generally signals a long match. Back and forth from the start. Punk keeps countering each of Cena's "five moves of doom." Roll-through on Cena's slam into the Anaconda Vice. Great counter from the STF to the Vice -- then back to the STF so Punk rolls Cena on his shoulders for another two-count. Any wrestling fan has gotta appreciate that. Even MORE counters on Cena's moves of doom. A simple kick on the "You Can't See Me" taunt. GTS countered into a sunset flip but Punk drops down and hooks Cena up for two. AA countered. GTS countered. Cena with a POWER BOMB?! That gets two. Cena to the top and he gets caught. Cena headbutts?! Cena top-rope legdrop for two! If that match ended right there, it still would get at least three and a half stars. Roundhouse kick from Punk. Punk running knee. Cena ducks short clothesline and hits AA for two! Wow. Rarely see this type of match on free TV. Punk to the outside. Cena shoved into the same post that made Lesnar all bloody earlier. Cena with the miracle dive back into the ring to beat the countout. The crowd's been on their feet for the last several minutes. Punk with the GTS, and ONLY TWO! Punk picks Cena back up. GTS blocked! Cena grabs the knee and STF! Punk milks the hold for all its worth and with one final push gets to the ropes. Punk kicks Cena's knee. PILEDRIVER TO CENA WTF ONLY TWO. Talk about going to the unofficial "banned" move list. Punk misses the top-rope elbow. CENA WITH A HURRICANRANA! Who the hell is this guy?! AA for three. Incredible. Best free TV match I've seen in a LONG time, probably ever. I'd probably have to go back to the 4/23/07 RAW main event (Cena and HBK) for another such memorable match. Kudos for the clean finish. ****3/4

Yes, I went that high on a free TV match, and I honestly can't . Amazing chemistry that Punk and Cena have in a rivalry that's spanned about two years. The numerous Punk counters on each of Cena's signature moves were excellent and made this match that much better. Extremely smart to have each counter have its own separate spot. Counters ranged from simple to more complex, but all were effective. Still got goosebumps on all those false finishes. A lot of tweets from current and former WWE talent giving high praise. Love it.

I marked HUGE for the Punk piledriver and the Cena hurricanrana. The piledriver is again on the "banned" list in WWE for safety reasons; note that even Jerry Lawler stopped using it in the matches before his heart attack. (NOTE: Vince was reportedly furious after Punk did the piledriver, but took no disciplinary action because it involved Punk and Cena) No interference at all. Just two guys at the top of their respective games, doing whatever it takes to win.

No Jericho this week because he's with Fozzy. No Rock because he's probably promoting his movies. No Taker because WWE probably doesn't want to show a pot-bellied Deadman. Show still amazing thanks to Cena and Punk epic main event. Greatness vs. Redemption at WM 29.

Next week's RAW is an "Old School RAW." Should be fun.

Oh, and Tensai debuts new ring gear when teaming with Brodus Clay in his Superstars tag match against Primo and Epico.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2/22/13 Smackdown

Alberto Del Rio starts the show with a promo. JBL still needs to get someone like Ricardo Rodriguez. ADR goes into a promo about how getting the title is a culmination of an immigrant achieving the American dream. And now Swagger gets slapped with the jackass monicker. As we'd find out after the Smackdown tapings, he'd be a jackass in more ways than one. Randy Orton to the ring. He wants Swagger tonight. Booker to the ring to confirm that, plus Del Rio faces IC champ Wade Barrett in a champion vs. champion match.

Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow: Sandow calls Sheamus a false idol. You're welcome. Sheamus with a couple of vicious clotheslines early. Sandow into the barricade. Sandow in trouble early but retreats to break the momentum. Sandow gets his offense. Competitive match in the last couple minutes with some near falls and a bunch of counters. Sheamus manages to finally hit White Noise and the Brogue Kick for three. Good effort from Sandow as well. **1/2

WM 30 to be held in New Orleans next year. Probably yet another badly kept secret.

Video package of Shield's two wins in a 24-hour span: first over Cena/Sheamus/Ryback, then Jericho/Sheamus/Ryback.

Kaitlyn & Layla vs. Tamina Snuka & Aksana: Layla's offense has turned more and more into joke moves, and I personally despise it. I think the crowd reaction's getting piped in during this match because the crowd doesn't seem to be caring -- plus a huge reliance on non-hard camera angles. Tamina's not impressed with any of this stuff, either. Blind tag to Kaitlyn and she spears Tamina for the win. Probably the best part of the match right there. 1/2*

WWE Active segment shown just before the divas tag match featured an awkward conversation of sorts between Cody Rhodes and Kaitlyn. Vintage "love-stache!"New on-screen couple forming? Kinda makes me want Cody to do his "Dashing" thing again just for fun.

A big chunk of time to show the entire Rock championship celebration from RAW again. Really? Coulda easily had one more good match in there. Tell people to go watch RAW to see the entire damn thing. Or make it a 2-minute video package.

Interesting exchange between Wade Barrett and Zeb Colter. Barrett was praising Colter and Swagger, but Colter wants none of it, declaring Barrett (from England) part of the problem because he's "stealing a job from an American." I'm not ready to turn Barrett face just yet, but I could easily see him in that role down the line. A very intriguing future storyline, in my opinion.

Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton: Swagger even has a new Titantron with "We the People" on it. Seriously, Jack?! You had to get a damn DUI and get caught with marijuana? At least from the mugshot, we can now confirm Swagger's a legit 6'6" (well, not sure if he was taking that mugshot barefoot). Anyway, this was a great match; these two were given a solid amount of time. Very competitive match as both guys attacked the other's legs. Orton's shoulder into the steel steps and I'm sure people wondered if he coulda separated that thing again. Orton comes back and back suplexes Swagger on the guardrail. Back in the ring, Swagger pops up and takes Orton's knee out again. Orton still gets his signature moves in. Swagger Bomb avoided and Orton kicks Jack in the gut. Leads to Orton backbreaker and hangman's DDT. Colter finally gets involved slightly, pulling Swagger to the apron. Swagger hangs Orton on the top and gets the rollup for three. Loved this for the prized-heavyweight fight feel, even though there weren't a lot of the close near falls. Unfortunately, I fear the subsequent arrest Swagger got will crush his new push. **3/4

Heard that Darren Young is out for about eight months with a knee injury. Really feel bad for him because he had a solid tag team role with Titus O'Neil. I also feel bad for Tyson Kidd. I personally know that knee injuries of any type just plain suck.

I saw at least one guy online mentioning JTG should pair up with Titus for the "Cryme Tyme Players." HA. Yes, JTG's still employed with WWE as of this blog post.

More video packages of Brock Lesnar taking Vince out a few weeks back. Vickie then announces Brad Maddox as her new assistant on RAW. Vince then challenges Heyman to a fight next week Monday. Might be safe to say that Brock Lesnar and/or HHH will be in the building.

Cody Rhodes vs. Miz: Miz still bandaged up because of the Cesaro attack. Yeah, continuing to wrestle doesn't help treat that. Meanwhile, seems like Cody's channeling a bit of Ravishing Rick Rude each day with the love-stache. Doesn't take a genius to figure out that Cody goes after Miz's injured shoulder. Cody goes for the Alabama Slam but Miz counters and locks in the Figure Four for the submission win. *1/4

Alberto Del Rio vs. Wade Barrett: Swagger and Colter watch the match from the stage. Ricardo mocks Barrett getting hurt in the first minute, so Barrett chases after him. ADR stops that with the dropkick. Barrett takes control by tossing ADR from the second rope to the floor. Barrett continues the onslaught with a few more impactful moves. ADR comeback: clotheslines, backbreaker, superkick for two. Barrett catches ADR with Winds of Change for two. ADR kidney punches and backstabber for two. Swagger distracts ADR. Barrett rollup with tights only two. Barrett misses the Bullhammer and ADR locks in the cross armbreaker for the submission win. ***

Solid episode of Smackdown this week. I love this time of year because it generally tends to give us the best free TV matches.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2/22/13 Superstars

Sin Cara vs. Drew McIntyre: Sin Cara's been banged up a lot, and then on the other side, we got three guys who love playing air guitar. Still don't understand the Sin Cara lights these days. Wheelbarrow roll-through looked botched. Heel tactics allow Drew to gain the upper hand. McIntyre honestly deserves better than this permanent midcard gimmick; you can see the talent this guy really has when he needs to pull off a counter or a big move. Sin Cara did his job to electrify the crowd with the lucha stuff. Slater and McIntyre catch Sin Cara and the ref lets the match continue. Yay for that! Jinder and Slater then have a beef with the ref, so the ref ejects both guys. Sin Cara with air guitar! So he does have a personality. Sin Cara dropkicks Drew to his knees. WTF, looks like a headscissors version of a DDT. Great whiplash effect, Drew's head slammed on the canvas! That's a kickass finisher. Sin Cara picks up the win. **3/4

Cena and Punk promo from RAW. Yeah, Cena and Punk square off next week and Cena's probably winning. Still no official word on Taker's status for WM 29, at least from what I've seen.

Then, we see a replay of the RAW segment introducing Brad Maddox as Vickie Guerrero's assistant and Vince challenging Paul Heyman to a fight on next week's show. Geez, coulda easily had two more matches in there, but nope, we gotta see this crap all over again just for people who might have missed RAW!

Naomi & Cameron vs. Natalya & Alicia Fox: WWE is finally letting Naomi shine by giving her more matches. Brodus still loves the Gangnam Style dance moves. Love the chain wrestling between Cameron and Natalya to start. Brodus with pompoms is just...weird. Natalya and Alicia isolate Cameron well, but that's so Naomi can get the hot tag. I'd consider paying to see a five or six-minute match between Naomi and Alicia Fox after seeing the 30 or so seconds they got at the end. Naomi with the springboard crossbody for the win. Agility FTW. Great stuff, especially for a divas match. **

Show ends with Rock's Championship Celebration (new WWE Title). Cena comes out to the stage and Punk KOs Cena from behind.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2/21/13 Impact

We're in the UK again, and no surprise, Hulk Hogan starts the show. He names Bully Ray the #1 contender after seeing Bully's actions at the end of Impact last week. HH says Bully is the toughest guy in the company. Bully plays the humble guy here. Bully proposes a six-man tag: three guys of Aces & Eights against Bully, Sting, and Hulk. Hulk accepts and the fans go nuts. Don't hold your breath on Hulk doing much of anything.

Daniels, Kaz, Aries, and Roode are partners in an 8-man tag. Major ego trip!

Chavo Guerrero, Hernandez, James Storm, & Joseph Park vs. Christopher Daniels, Kazarian, Austin Aries, & Bobby Roode: Loaded with superstar power here. Park somehow got his politicking to work. Lots of action from the start. A bit of comedy mixed in doesn't hurt (i.e. Kaz crossbody backfiring and having no effect on Park). Aries and Roode bicker again during the Park beatdown, so Daniels and Kaz try to do the work themselves. All the heels try to tag themselves in, vintage ego war! Aries and Roode leave their partners high and dry. Kaz eats three different finishers, capped with a Park second-rope splash. **

Tenay announced during the 8-man tag that Bully Ray faces Jeff Hardy for the World Title in a steel cage at Lockdown. A&E probably still a lock to get involved (no pun intended).

TNA keeps mentioning a bunch about King Mo being the two-sport star between MMA and pro wrestling. Remember when they hyped Bobby Lashley that way? Wonder whatever became of him....

Rockstar Spud vs. Robbie E: Spud's first match in TNA, and it's in front of his home country. Robbie of course has the "experience" factor and works on Spud early on. Spud misses a top-rope legdrop. Robbie wants the clipboard but Rob Terry won't give it to him. Spud rolls Robbie up for three. Yup. Good showing from Spud, hope to see more of this guy. *1/2

Robbie's pissed at Terry. OH THERE'S THE SLAP! Terry's pissed and scares Robbie away. Robbie probably made the list for "top things to not do in real life."

Velvet Sky vs. Tara vs. Gail Kim vs. Miss Tessmacher (Elimination; Knockouts Title): Been a tough last few weeks for Tara. It's a Fatal Four Way Elimination, so lots of action throughout. Jesse gets ejected from ringside before the match starts. Brooke Hogan acts as the special enforcer. Several quick pin attempts early. I never understood why people break pins up in elimination matches. Velvet hits her finisher on Tara. Gail steals the pin for the glory. Tara's eliminated so we'll have a new Knockouts champ. Tower of Doom spot! YES! Velvet reverses a rollup and pins Tessmacher, so we're down to two. Gail holds onto the ropes to prevent the sunset flip and Taryn Terrell won't have any of that. In Yo Face again from Velvet and we have a new champ. See what happens when you give the ladies time to do stuff? **1/4

Update on AJ Styles next week. If there was anyone in the company that deserved time off, I'd pick Styles.

Video package on Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco joining A&E and backstabbing Kurt Angle.

Samoa Joe vs. Garett Bischoff: Bischoff plays keepaway early on, then tries to take out Joe's legs. Joe with the comeback. Muscle Buster attempt thwarted as Wes Brisco interferes. Ref tosses the match out. Numbers game on Joe, then Angle makes the save. *3/4

Angle issues the challenge for Lockdown: Angle vs. Wes Brisco in a steel cage. Ouch.

Lethal Lockdown this year will pit members of Aces & Eights against people on the TNA roster. Much like a WCW War Games setup, and I love the concept.

Rob Van Dam vs. Kenny King (X-Division Title): Another title shot for Kenny King. KK with the upper hand early. Good offense from Kenny to wear RVD down, then the usual RVD comeback. KK with the double knees and a semi-botched Royal Flush only gets two. Can say bye to KK's chances now. RVD with the rolling thunder and frog splash to retain. **

Devon, DOC, & Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray, Sting, & Hulk Hogan: And in what was probably the most predictable segment of the night, no Hulk Hogan for the match! Bully's quad is also still bothering him. Bully gets worn down as A&E keeps the fresh guy in. Sting gets the tag and unleashes a few moves. Bully set to headbutt Anderson's nuts. Garett and the A&E masked VP come out holding Brooke Hogan. Hulk Hogan shown with a torn shirt and complaining about a knee injury. Sting left alone in the ring as Bully chases the other A&E guys. DOC with a big boot to Sting's face and that gets three. *3/4

Bully tends to Hulk as A&E continue the attack on Sting after the match to end the show. Good booking of A&E again this week.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2/20/13 Main Event

Must be a slow week when this show is advertised to have Big Show air his grievances. Yeah, I went there with Show. Well, it's the big slow! But faster than several years ago, though. Cole and Miz on commentary.
 How's the shoulder, Miz?

And right off the bat, Show's going off on a rant. Show blames Booker for making him look like a joke. It's the ol' jealousy excuse. Show threatens to decimate the entire locker room because there isn't a single guy back there that can lace his boots. So the Usos come out and it's a handicap match.

Big Show vs. Usos: Well, I think we all know where this one is going. Usos won't have to tag in and out, so it's a true handicap match. Still doesn't matter. Usos double-team Show and get the giant down. Show's too much. Double chokeslam to the Usos and a double pin. *

Big Show vs. Brodus Clay: Might as well have another match. Here comes Brodus! No Tensai? Ah, the ol' "test of strength but I'll punch you in the gut instead" move. Brodus uses Show as a heavy bag for sparring practice. Brodus is tossed out of the ring and Show then works on Brodus' left arm. Brodus with two splashes in the corner but Show then kicks him in the face. Brodus splash only gets two so we really know he's doomed. Show decks Brodus with the KO punch and it's over. *

Big Show vs. Great Khali: DAMMIT. Not another Khali match. Yeah, Khali can also chop. I get it. They went to commercial, so the fans probably had more time to go to the bathroom. Khali tries the Punjabi Plunge. Show blocks it, but that big chop from Khali hits. Show rolls out of the ring again and walks around. Yup, barely sold all that. Show tossed into the steps, but then Show decks Khali with a KO punch. Khali's counted out. And that's 5+ minutes of my life I won't get back. DUD

Miz takes off his jacket and unbuttons the dress shirt. He uses his quickness to avoid Show and gets him down with a dropkick to the knee. A few more kicks later, Show bails. Much respect to Show's endurance.

Video recap from RAW where Rock unveils the new WWE Title. I still think it looks great, an improvement over the spinner bling title Cena gave us for the past few years.

We then see Vickie's "surprise" of Brad Maddox being her new assistant. Heyman might not have cared, but he faces Vince McMahon next week on RAW. Expect Brock Lesnar and HHH to return to TV.

Matt Striker interviews Brad Maddox, and again it's the technicalities on what the official job title is. Whatever. Maddox has plans for the company. Nice McMahon-Helmsley and Attitude Era references. It's the Brickie Era! Mega facepalm!!!!

Jack Swagger is WM bound. Or is he? If you haven't heard, TMZ ran a story where Swagger got arrested for DUI and marijuana possession after the Smackdown tapings on Tuesday. Really couldn't have come at a worse time for him. He has a new push, a new manager, and a new fighting spirit. Then the arrest came. But hey, now #WeedThePeople is gonna be trending worldwide on Twitter for a while!

Justin Gabriel vs. Titus O'Neil: For those wondering, Darren Young is sidelined with an injury, so Titus will be getting a few more singles matches under his belt. Titus' first two sacks in college were on Peyton Manning. Hope they weren't his only collegiate sacks. Typical match here. JG has to use the high-flying and his feet to get Titus down. Titus slows things down as a bigger man would. Titus misses the three-point stance shoulderblock in the corner. JG eventually gets the win with the 450 splash. No millions of dollars tonight. Sad face. *3/4

2/20/13 NXT

Ha, saw a sign before the first match; one person came to see Alex Riley. Well, he has at least one big fan. Yoshi Tatsu is in the opening match and that's probably the biggest reaction he's gotten in a long time.

Bray Wyatt vs. Yoshi Tatsu: Finally seeing Bray Wyatt back in action, but I'm hearing he'll be on the "main roster" soon enough. Might as well update the WWE Universe what he has to offer in the meantime. Wyatt no-sells the chops. Wyatt with a modified flatliner and it's over in a minute. Squash! N/A

Wyatt brings his "family" in the ring (Rowan and Harper). Wyatt believes the two let him down when they lost in the tag finals last week. So Bray basically tells the two to go and beat each other up. Brotherly fighting!

So we find out the "secret admirer" for Sasha Banks. As long as it's not Khali, I probably will be cool with it. Oh, Audrey Marie comes in and knocks Sasha down. Meanie! Guess these two will have a match later. BTW, yeah, the whole "secret admirer" thing was a ruse.

Xavier Woods vs. El Local: For those that are wondering, El Local is really Ricardo Rodriguez in lucha attire. Woods really belongs in the 1970s. PBP announcing guy doesn't think Local can really fly, damn portly stereotype! Local moves well in the ring and slowed Woods down. Oh, and PBP guy, there really isn't much to the translation of "El Local." It's not like "Sin Cara." Woods with the up-tempo comeback and he wins with the tornado DDT. Decent five-minute match. *3/4

Some doc gives an update on Paige. Biceps tendinitis or AC separation. Yeah, neither sounds good.

Audrey Marie vs. Sasha Banks: At least these divas know what they're doing in the ring. Audrey Marie counters into a wheelbarrow facebuster for three. Sorta similar to a Glam Slam without the double chicken-wing part. Heck, Audrey even used Beth Phoenix's same pinning style. *

I'd just keep almost all the divas on NXT at this rate because they'll get way more time here than on any of the "main roster" shows. A feud that starts over the all-too-often-used "I'm jealous of all the attention you're getting and it should have been my time" diva-esque crap. I mean, Summer Rae just used a version of that the other week.

Speaking of Summer Rae, another backstage promo. Summer's now dubbing herself "The First Lady of NXT." Well, at least there's a nickname to work off of. Good work on the diva attitude, gonna like where this feud is going with Paige.

WM 30 will be in New Orleans next year. YES!

Tyson Kidd comes out to address the NXT Universe. He'll be sidelined until probably the end of the year with a knee injury. Huge praise for suffering that horrible knee injury and then still wrestling the next night. He will be back. Punk promo mentioned where Punk called Kidd one of the underappreciated workhorses in the company. FACT, a million times fact. Leo Kruger interrupts and threatens to further injure Tyson. Justin Gabriel with the save. Shouldn't take a genius to figure out we'll see Gabriel and Kruger face off on a future show.

Big E Langston vs. Conor O'Brian: Non-title match tonight. Conor has new music but still a neat entrance. I dunno if I would have described this match as a car crash before it starts, but that's pretty much what we got here. The comment didn't make me want to watch, and I probably shouldn't have. Langston gets the "FIVE" chant going. We get the whole "I'm more powerful than you" type of start. Langston on fire early, then he charges into the ringpost. Oops. Steel still wins that. Conor with a few restholds and a good full nelson slam. Otherwise, it was a lame match. Even I can trade blows with someone if I needed to do that spot. Ref gets in the middle and gets knocked down. Ref rings the bell and it's a double DQ. Ugh. 3/4*

Corey Graves through the crowd. He knocks Langston down from behind and takes the NXT Title. Oh lovely. What is it about stealing titles the last couple weeks? There was Punk taking Rock's title, and now Graves on Langston?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2/18/13 RAW (Rock Celebration)

John Cena starts this week's RAW in Lafayette, LA. More WM sign pointing and he mentions the big title matches. CM Punk interrupts as usual and in a pissed-off mood. Punk admits Rock beat him at Elimination Chamber but still wants in the WWE Title match. Punk thinks Cena's taking the easy way out by facing Rock because Cena's never beaten Punk. It all leads to Punk and Cena facing off next week, winner faces Rock at WM 29. Could easily see this being another controversial finish. If anyone's winning, it's Cena.

Smart move to have that match next week. I'm thinking they'll really give that one a lot of time. Plus, the Dallas crowd is awesome. Very lively.

Chris Jericho now takes Cena's place on this all-star tandem to face the Shield. Nice nWo reference, Chris.

Mark Henry vs. Sin Cara: No Rey Mysterio again. Another squash win for Mark Henry in about 90 seconds. Wouldn't want to be facing the big man right now. N/A

Great Khali walks to the ring on his two horrible knees. Henry feigns like he's gonna fight, but then rolls out of the ring at the last minute. Still can't understand why Khali even wrestles anymore.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz (No DQ): Rematch here after the DQ finish at the PPV last night. Non-title match. Cesaro continues to target Miz's taped-up left shoulder. Doesn't take long for chairs and kendo sticks to appear in the match. Cesaro with unique ways of using those weapons to inflict more punishment to the shoulder. Miz moves and Cesaro's knee hits the chair. Drop toe hold on the chair. Figure-four by Miz and Cesaro taps quickly. Match didn't take very long. *1/4

Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger with another "We the people" promo. Yay, they have a YouTube account!

More Kane and Daniel Bryan arguing like sibling children. DB faces Swagger tonight. Kane doesn't like snakes. HI RANDY ORTON! So this means Kane faces Orton tonight, I suppose. Oh, and DB and Kane tell each other to stay away from the ring during their respective singles matches. Will that happen? Of course not.

Vickie Guerrero on the phone. Paul Heyman comes in. Vickie has a surprise for Heyman to share in the ring later. Heyman doesn't like surprises and Vickie loves it.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler: ADR with the big enzuigiri early to Ziggler. Langston gets a cheap shot in to help Ziggler regain control. Swagger and Colter are watching in the back. Nice reverse superplex from ADR. ADR with the clothesline, shoulderblock, and backbreaker. Loud superkick to Ziggler for two. Ziggler counters the cross armbreaker with a neckbreaker for two. Kidney punches and backstabber to Ziggler. Langston on the apron and ADR with a dropkick to his knees. Ziggler gets trapped in the cross armbreaker and has to tap. Crowd was dead for ADR's entrance but at least perked up for the match. **1/4

Langston gets in the ring and nukes ADR. Ziggler looks on. CASH IN THE BRIEFCASE! Ricardo grabs the briefcase and runs for his life. He drops the briefcase as Langston gives chase. Dude, Big E is fast for a big man. AJ Lee retrieves the briefcase but ADR nukes Ziggler to stop everything. Good tease for the MITB stuff. Was funny just to watch Ricardo run.

Wade Barrett is now a movie star! He filmed scenes for "Dead Man Down," in theaters March 8. Some movie trailers are shown. Sheamus on the Titantron and he correctly points out Barrett isn't really the star of the film anyway. Oh, they're out of time for the segment! Gotta keep moving and plug those action figures!

Brodus Clay, Tensai, & Naomi vs. Primo, Epico, & Rosa Mendes: Six-person mixed tag. Brodus and Tensai are going on a safari and I guess they're hunting Puerto Ricans. Naomi was the obvious choice to represent Funkadactyls. Don't see a diva perform a springboard clothesline every day! YES! Blind tag to Brodus. Primo gets nuked with the double splash and it's over in 90 seconds. More Naomi, I say! Brodus and Tensai dance Gangnam Style in the ring. N/A

Another Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger promo in the ring. We, the People! I love the "Don't Tread on Me" slogan. Swagger says Colter will give a State of the Union-like speech. ADR and Ricardo watch in the back. I'm loving this heel pro-American style. First Amendment, baby! Colter says Swagger's gonna win the World Title and reclaim America. Of course, since ADR is Mexican. Makes perfect sense. Colter is gold on the mic. Daniel Bryan comes out and we got a match.

Jack Swagger vs. Daniel Bryan: Match joined in progress. Gotta love DB's ability to work with everyone on the roster. Swagger shows the power game against the smaller DB. DB's ribs are taped up, so again bullseye for Swagger to attack.DB with the comeback. Suicide dive from DB even with the bad ribs. Logic! DB with the NO lock on but Swagger's tall and can get to the ropes. DB misses the dropkick in the corner and favors the ankle. You know what that means. Swagger with vile shots on the ankle. He locks the Patriot lock in and it's over. No Kane in this match. **

Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman in the ring next. Vickie's hired a new assistant. Gee, I wonder who it could be. Brad Maddox! And exactly NO ONE in the arena cares! Heyman doesn't care, either. HI VINCE! Vince doesn't have a heart, and if he does, it's cold and black. Much like my coffee this morning. Oh right, Heyman said he would do anything if he got the stipulation he was granted. Well, time to pay the piper. Vince could fire Heyman right now but won't do that. Instead, Vince and Heyman will fight next week. And the crowd doesn't care. Fail.

Shield vs. Chris Jericho, Sheamus, & Ryback: Well, here we go again with the six-man tags. Lawler called Ambrose "Seth Rollins." Time to get glasses, King. Rollins pulls Roman Reigns out of the way of the Brogue Kick, so Ambrose eats it instead. Sheamus with the hot tag to Ryback and the crowd finally can go crazy. Ryback gets Rollins up for Shellshocked but again, Reigns spears Ryback to thwart that. Love how Shield is being booked, even getting good offense on Ryback. Jericho gets the tag and the fans sorta respond. Reigns takes Ryback out on the outside. Sheamus and Reigns duel. Rollins is still free and delivers a dropkick to Jericho. Ambrose covers Jericho for three. Great booking. **3/4

Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow: Kofi's already in the ring, but Sandow at least gets to do his monologue. Hey, Sandow's family was full of personal advisers to former U.S. presidents. Lovely. No match here, just Sandow beating up Kofi. R-TRUTH IS BACK! He had been out with that deep gash on his knee. Truth unloads on Sandow. So is Kofi back to tag action? Maybe Rhodes Scholars will just reunite full-time. It's best for all parties involved right now. You're welcome. N/A

Josh Mathews interviews DJ Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki. Both star with Rock in the upcoming film "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." The movie will come out on March 29, a little over a week before WM 29.

Randy Orton vs. Kane: Fairly competitive match, but again, the crowd mostly dead. Last few minutes of the match were good. Kane sets up for the chokeslam. DB comes down, as expected, to distract Kane. DB didn't say anything. RKO to Kane and it's over. *3/4

Rock's Championship Celebration starts with the Louisiana-Lafayette marching band. Hey, the crowd came alive again -- sorta. They all line up down the aisle and Rock enters to a nice ovation. Only the drummers are playing as Rock's music blares over the sound system.

In the ring, there's a pedestal with a velvet red cloth covering something. Rock with his usual promo, now counting down the days to WM 29. Note that the WWE Title he holds is the SPINNER WWE Title belt that Cena used to wear; that same title in the past few years has NOT had the spinning logo. But that spinner belt at least gets to go to the Hall of Fame. One that doesn't have a physical place -- yet.

Rock basically unveils the NEW WWE Title belt under the cloth. A large WWE logo, front and center, with "CHAMPION" underneath. The platelets on the side are Brahma Bulls. To me, it doesn't look bad at all. Rock says this belt is worthy of the great champions the WWE has had in the past. Again, a nice Bruno Sammartino reference.

Who's Rock facing at WM 29? Before Rock can say who he's facing, Cena comes out. Punk nails Cena from behind with that spinner WWE Title. Punk points at the sign. Staredown between Rock and Punk. Punk then walks away.

Good setup for next week. Punk and Cena should be given some good time, I'm hoping.

Monday, February 18, 2013

2/17/13 Elimination Chamber (Rock/Punk II)

This PPV is in New Orleans! The usual three-man team of Cole, JBL, and Lawler.

Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Team Rhodes Scholars: The pre-show match of the PPV. I probably was one of those people clamoring for a RS reunion, mainly because I think it'll give both guys a more prominent role. Fans actually respond and cheer for these guys. I would, too. Tensai's wearing a hat to the ring now! Slowly making the transition, I see. RS with great double-team stuff to get Tensai down. Disaster Kick struck early. Brodus and Tensai with a double splash on Cody for the win after 4 minutes. *1/4

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show (World Heavyweight Title): Good way to start the PPV because it's again a card filled with quality matches. First two ADR wins required help from announce tables or duct tape, which won't be the case tonight. Show as usual is dominant from the start. Crowd really loves the "SI" chants. Show with a spear early to get two. Show stays with the slow pace, then a huge Vader Bomb for two again. Cross armbreaker out of nowhere but Show gets to the ropes. ADR hits a hurricanrana and then the suicide dive. I like the babyface ADR moveset, don't you? ADR getting more of Mysterio's moveset, now hitting the seated senton from the top to get two again. Show catches ADR and hits a chokeslam...only two! Show counters ADR sunset flip, but ADR hits a DDT for two. Running enzuigiri in the corner also for two. Cross armbreaker again, but Show with his strength lifts ADR and hits a powerbomb-like move to get out of it. Show sets up for the KO punch. Ricardo runs interference again. Show holds the bucket to his head. ADR slips on the ropes and misses the running enzuigiri the first time, but does it properly on the second try. Another kick in the corner. Cross armbreaker to Show and Show taps. Match was about 11 minutes. ADR's still never pinned Show, but a great opener with several counters and favorable crowd reaction. ***

Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz (U.S. Title): So Miz basically got another title shot even though he failed the first time. WWE logic! Miz still has the taped left shoulder to sell those injuries Cesaro gave him. Cesaro, as predicted, works on that shoulder with an array of moves. Miz with a short comeback, but then Cesaro counters with an armbar. Action spills to the outside. Cesaro catches Miz, but Miz sends Cesaro into the steps. No kneepads for Cesaro so it hurts a lot more. Still jealous of Cesaro's strength. Miz focuses on the knee to set up for the figure four. Cesaro trips Miz up and makes it appear Miz caught Cesaro with a low blow. Ref believes it and Cesaro wins by DQ. Miz then decks Cesaro with a real kick to the jewels. **

Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry (Elimination Chamber): As usual, two superstars start, and pods will open every four minutes. Swagger comes out first to a new remixed Patriotic-like theme. Swagger, Kane, Henry, and Orton all start in the pods. Love that DB and Jericho are starting things off. Good chain wrestling to start. Each counters the other's submission finisher. Cole erroneously says the first EC match was when HBK came back; Shawn had returned three months prior at SummerSlam after probably 4+ years away. More counters on the steel portion of the chamber. Swagger comes out of the pod next and works on Jericho. Swagger Bomb for two. Swagger runs DB into the steel chain structure. Cole notes the multiple-time winners of EC matches (HHH with four, Cena three, and Edge two). Swagger continues to dominate until DB hits a flying knee on the outside and Swagger falls on the steel. DB misses headbutt on Jericho, Y2J covers for two. Next out of the chamber is Kane. Team Hell No reunites and it's virtual tag team action here. DB  then tries to roll Kane up for a pin! Vintage backstabbing! DB backs off but Kane knows better. No hugging it out in the chamber! Jericho back in, DB on his shoulders. Kane with Doomsday Device to DB. Swagger sneaks in but only gets two on DB. Orton is next out of the pod, so Henry comes in last as expected. Orton comes in with the usual "I'm the fresh guy so I get to nuke everyone" offense. Orton with the hangman's DDT to Kane on the STEEL. OW. Double superplexes from Orton and Jericho, probably can't do that in other rings because WWE's is larger. Everyone's laid out and Henry enters, licking his chops.

Henry with WSS to DB and Daniel's eliminated quickly. Henry tosses Orton through the plexiglass pod. Henry catches Kane coming off the top, WSS to Kane and Kane's gone. Henry's booked extremely strong here. Swagger and Jericho team up on Henry. Double suplex on the steel lays out Henry! Swagger and Y2J battle in the ring for a few near falls. Henry catches Y2J on the lionsault attempt and launches him into the chain links of the chamber. Henry eats a Swagger boot, Y2J codebreaker, and Orton RKO and gets eliminated. Henry's pissed and delivers WSS to the three remaining guys. Booker T and Teddy Long come out, and all of a sudden, Teddy's merely an assistant and not the "Senior Adviser" he once was. Y2J and Orton team on Swagger. Swagger into the post and the chamber pod. Jericho and Orton hit signature moves for near falls. Ankle lock to Orton, but Jericho breaks that up for who knows what reason. Ankle lock now to Jericho. Jericho counters into the Walls and Orton now for some reason decides to break that up. ELIMINATION MATCH, DAMMIT! Jericho counters RKO, Orton knees up on Lionsault, RKO to eliminate Jericho. Swagger sneaks in and rolls Orton up for three! Swagger's going to WM 29! Huge win for Swagger. Didn't think he'd win this one, but since ADR held onto the title, it seems fitting that a heel win it. I'm still expecting Ziggler to hold true to his word and cash in MITB by WM 29 -- or at the event to make it a triple threat. ***3/4

Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus, & Ryback: The babyface superheros of course dominate the start with triple delayed vertical suplexes. Just don't drop anyone like Miz did with Punk. Sheamus on fire, and then Roman Reigns stops that. Sheamus explodes with a Brogue Kick to Ambrose and tags Cena. Cena moves of doom to Reigns. STF locked in but Ambrose breaks that up. Rollins with a springboard knee to Cena. Cena gets beaten down for a change; you don't see that every day. Crowd chanting for Ryback to get in the match. Cena with the ugliest back suplex known to mankind. Cena still can't get to Ryback. Shield doing a great job working on Cena. Cena backdrops Ambrose out of the ring. Crowd is going nuts for Ryback as he dismantles Ambrose and Rollins. Sheamus takes Ambose to the outside. Reigns spears Sheamus through the barricade! 3-on-1 assault on Ryback again! Cena pulls Reigns to the outside to thwart the triple powerbomb. AA to Ambrose! Ryback gets Rollins up for Shellshocked. Reigns comes back in and spears Ryback. Reigns fends Cena off and Rollins scores the pin on Ryback! WAIT, THE SHIELD PINNED RYBACK?! Well, I'll be damned. ***1/4

Frankly, I woulda hoped Cena or Sheamus would take the pinfall, but they had to feed Ryback to the Shield this time. Ryback looks at Cena and then storms off. I wouldn't necessarily call that a heel turn, but it could be the planting of one. Could set up something with Cena and Ryback for post-WM 29? I know Vince wants to keep the momentum going with Big Hungry.

Dolph Ziggler comes out and he pretty much complains that he's not booked for a match on the show. Booker T comes out and gives him a match with Kofi Kingston.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston: Kofi with a monkey flip to Ziggler; Ziggler rotates an extra 180 degrees and lands front-first on his left wrist. Ziggler favored the wrist for the rest of the match. Kofi went into the ring post and sold the right shoulder. Ziggler with a sleeper to Kofi. Kofi battles out. Suicide dive to the outside nails Big E Langston. Trouble in Paradise to Ziggler,but Langston looked like he pulled Ziggler out of the ring. Kofi high springboard dive onto Langston again! Kofi with a springboard crossbody onto Ziggler back in the ring for two. Ziggler with an innovative-looking "Super Snake Eyes" from the second rope anda Zigzag to Kofi to get three. Match was maybe four minutes. Langston storms in after the match and nukes Kofi with an avalanche and that modified cutter finisher. *1/2

Brodus and the Funkadactyls are playing with those new WWE Power Slammer action figures. Basically they roll around...yippee. Tensai is now nicknamed "Sweet T," I guess? Brodus asks what all the kanji on Tensai's face means and Tensai doesn't even know. Cameron slaps Tensai's ass and they randomly all dance in the back with the dance lights. Facepalm.

Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka (Divas Title): Match made last Monday after some backstage altercation. So basically zero buildup. Kaitlyn taped promo references an AJ Lee spider monkey and Tonya Harding. Ugh. Kaitlyn on offense and the crowd doesn't care. A few divas watch on the monitor; hoping Natalya actually gets a title reign soon. Tamina with a Samoan drop -- or should it be a Fijian drop? Superfly splash misses and Kaitlyn hits the spear to retain the title at the 3:30 mark. *

WWE Title match closes the show. As a reminder, if Rock gets counted out or DQ'd, he loses the WWE Title.

The Rock vs. CM Punk (WWE Title): Punk still has Rock's title and comes out first. Punk makes Justin Roberts say Punk is the people's champion. Main event intros, and Roberts places more emphasis on Rock's name like he has with people like Cena. Punk with the upper hand to start, then it looked like he flipped off Rock. Rock storms back, so Punk backs off and slows things down. Heel logic! Punk keeps trying to push Rock's buttons to get a DQ. Punk spits in Rock's face! Keep on pushing the buttons! Rock pummels Punk on the outside. Punk rakes the eyes while Heyman distracts the ref. Crowd is split. Kids love Rock. Punk with a bunch of rest holds to Rock, and that bores the heck outta me. A couple of running knees to Rock. Action back to the outside and Punk readies the Spanish table. It's always gotta be the Spanish guys first! Rock fights back. Rock Bottom in the ring countered and a Punk roundhouse kick gets two. Back to the Spanish table. Punk with a Rock Bottom to Rock on the Spanish table! Table really reinforced this time and didn't collapse. Punk tries for the countout win. Rock milks the count and gets in at the last possible moment. Rock with a desperation Samoan drop. Double KO spot and they get up at nine again. Trading haymakers. Rock with the boot and DDT to Punk. Where's the burst of energy coming from, Lawler asks. DUDE, Rock didn't do much for the previous few minutes other than that Rock Bottom on the table! He shouldn't be winded! Punk counters Rock Bottom again with a ton of elbow strikes. Punk with the springboard -- into a Rock Bottom! Only two as Heyman probably avoided another heart attack. Heyman distracts the official. REF BUMP! Rock shoved into Mike Chioda. GTS from Punk but no ref. And again, Punk will argue on RAW how he gets screwed out of the title. Heyman is beside himself. Second ref comes down but tends to Chioda. Punk goes for another GTS but Rock counters with spinebuster and People's Elbow. Ref #2 in the ring...TWO as Punk kicks out. Punk appears to roll up on Ref #2's ankle so now he's down. Another kick to Rock. Punk motions for Heyman to give him the WWE Title. Heyman holds Rock on the ropes. Punk decks Heyman instead. Rock Bottom to Punk! Chioda back in the ring to count three. Rock retains at about 21 minutes. It wasn't gonna be a pretty and clean main event, but it delivered on crowd reaction at the end. It's clear Rock's in-ring conditioning is not gonna be at a level you saw from a Jericho or a Daniel Bryan in the chamber. ***3/4

Rock and Cena is now official for WM 29. Bet the farm that it'll be the last match on the card, and just about everyone is expecting Cena to triumph this time. I'd guess Rock and Cena shake hands to end WM 29 and you'll get the big fireworks and stuff.

WWE seems committed to having Punk wrestle Taker, and we'll likely see Lesnar and HHH part infinity.

Elimination Chamber PPV had seven matches on the main card, plus the pre-show match. Very good PPV overall. Loved the chamber match because the right people got booked solid, such as Mark Henry. Didn't expect Swagger to win, but that's a huge boost for his career. I thought Ziggler would cash MITB in here, but he'll probably save it for WM 29.

I would think Ziggler could cash it in on free TV as well to keep his promise intact, but since he's a heel and heels usually lie, I wouldn't hold my breath. ***1/2