Thursday, January 31, 2013

1/30/13 Main Event

The show begins with a video package of Heyman's "Performance Review" on RAW, plus Lesnar's return at the end. Heyman is an outstanding actor and really made that segment pure gold.

Miz TV starts the show, just so that Tony Chimel can do his best "Da Bears" spoof when announcing Miz. Ryback is the guest tonight. Hey, who woulda thought Ryback is a fan of Miz's show? Really? Really. Ryback doing the whole "joking but staying serious" stuff on the mic. Hey, those are comfy couches, you know. Gotta relax and stuff. Clips of last week shown when Miz threw Cesaro in the ring against Ryback. Cesaro interrupts and accuses Miz and Ryback of conspiring against him. We basically get right to the match.

Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro: Rematch from last week, probably because of Miz's interference last week. Ryback in control early on, and he delivers probably the longest delayed vertical suplex in company history. Ryback continues the punishing offense on Cesaro, but then Ryback crashes into the ringpost. Cesaro content with a countout victory but that won't happen. Cesaro doesn't like people who are famous for being famous. Gotta love that reality TV stuff! Meathook to Cesaro. The champ crawls out of the ring and tries to get away. Cesaro keeps playing keepaway and gets a cheap shot to Miz before bailing through the crowd. *3/4

Footage of the "interesting" segment involving Brodus Clay and Tensai. Let's never see Tensai in lingerie ever again. Please. Spare everyone's eyes.

Primetime Players make fun of Tensai in the backstage area. Didn't realize a BMW stood for "Body Made Wrong."

Tensai vs. Titus O'Neil: OK, personally, I can't believe this match lasted as long as it did. A typical big-man match here with basic moves. Slow pace. Numbers game allows Titus to gain control but then Brodus Clay comes down because he now feels bad that Tensai had to wear lingerie. Yeah, it was your fault to begin with, Mr. Funkasaurus. Coulda told Tensai about the dance-off. Never woulda thought a "Let's Go Tensai!" chant would come from the WWE Universe. And now Tensai shows the personality by mocking Titus' dog bark. Tensai does that bizarre shoveling thing he did during the dance-off and hits the senton on Titus for three. Brodus and Funkadactyls get in the ring to dance with Tensai as the show ends. *3/4

Tensai appears groomed for a "comedy-filled" face turn with Brodus, and I put that in quotation marks because it's more cheesy than anything else. Still, I'm all for it because Tensai otherwise is just another large jobber with a ton of tattoos. Give him a personality and make it a face run. It worked for Big Show and Kane on multiple occasions. You can always turn a large man back to a heel monster whenever you want.

1/30/13 NXT

Kassius Ohno & Leo Kruger vs. Alex Riley & Derrick Bateman: The show begins with another first-round match in the NXT Tag Team Tournament. A-Ry and Bateman are back from injury. Bateman/Kruger and A-Ry/Ohno pair off for mat wrestling to begin the match. Poor A-Ry has a good physique and great ring music, but just hasn't been able to break out of midcard. Bateman's knee worked over for several minutes. Ohno and Kruger isolate Bateman very well. A-Ry with the hot tag and he goes to town on Ohno. Ohno cranks on A-Ry's neck in a modified reverse chinlock, twisting the neck hard. A-Ry taps. Lengthy match here. **1/4

Tag tournament brackets shown. Ohno/Kruger face Neville/Grey in the semis. We'll see Bo Dallas and Michael McGillicutty take on Primo and Epico later in the show; winner of that match faces the Wyatt Family in the second semi.

Corey Graves picks the bones and puts his 13th Step submission on A-Ry. Could be a possible feud.

Mason Ryan vs. Sakamoto: Mason Ryan returns to TV and the guy looks even more jacked than before. Taka Michinoku trained Sakamoto, but damn, Sakamoto took a big beating. Takes about two minutes for Mason to get the win. Mason Ryan's finisher is the Jackhammer and some faint "GOLDBERG" chants can be heard. N/A

Paige vs. Aksana: I love that Paige is over with the NXT crowd. Frankly, I can see how getting called up to the "main roster" would hurt her, as divas don't get much time on RAW or Smackdown. Aksana gets good offense in this one, targeting Paige's back. Paige gets a submission win this week, using a modified cloverleaf. Kinda reminds me of Jericho's old Lion Tamer. Match was maybe three minutes. 3/4*

Summer Rae is the female ring announcer we've been hearing all these weeks (generally used if Byron Saxton isn't announcing). She gets in the ring and knocks Paige down from behind. YES! Unexpected. Summer has wrestled several matches in the old Florida Championship Wrestling "minor leagues" of WWE.

Sasha Banks cuts the "it's been my dream to wrestle in WWE" promo. She gets some Valentine's Day card from a secret admirer. How cute.

Bo Dallas & Michael McGillicutty vs. Primo & Epico: Epico has ditched the corn rows, but Primo still has the crew cut. Faces with good tag wrestling here. MM isolated for a bit, then they do the double KO spot to allow Bo to get the hot tag. Primo with some type of hammerlock-leg sweep DDT that looked pretty cool. Unfortunately, only two. Bo gets in that snap modified powerslam for three. Bo has just gotten called up to the main roster, so I'm assuming the Wyatt Family beats Bo and MM in the next round. **1/2

Decent show this week, bookended with two nice tag matches.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1/28/13 RAW (RAW Roulette; Lesnar Returns)

RAW Roulette tonight! Three-man announce team again: JBL, Cole, Lawler.

Vickie Guerrero shows three wheels: Wheel of Superstars, Wheel of Stipulations, and the Vickie Vegas Challenge wheel. First match is Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton. Vickie spins the stipulation wheel and it lands on Special Guest Referee.

But first, Punk has to vent. He still says he's the champ and that he got screwed. Punk calls everyone a cheap swindler, just like Vince and Rock. Punk says he got screwed worse than Bret in Montreal and says it was the Phoenix Screwjob on Sunday night. Punk wants to crash everyone's party. Vince McMahon comes out and Punk's all over him. Vince says he has footage from an anonymous person that undoubtedly says Paul Heyman orchestrated a plot involving Punk and the Shield. Vince is gonna hold a "Personal Performance Review" for Heyman later tonight. Could result in Heyman's termination.

Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro: Miz is the special guest ref. Sounds about right. If Miz actually injured himself at the Rumble, then it makes even more sense to me to continue that storyline. Hard shots from Orton as the action spills to the outside. Cesaro naturally still has a beef with Miz about the count. Miz calls it down the middle until Cesaro starts shoving Miz out of the way. Vintage argument. Cesaro turns around right into an RKO. Orton wins. **

The Vickie Vegas Challenge Wheel is spun. "Make Me Laugh" is what it lands on. RYBACK! Oh crap.

Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi are in attendance! YES!

Ryback faces the Primetime Players in a "Make Me Laugh" challenge. Striker explains the simple rules: jokes are told, most laughs wins. PTPs with a joke about Striker and women. Ryback asks what has four eyes, 20 fingers, and isabout to be unconscious. Yup, he nukes Titus. Since D-Young got away, Ryback nukes Matt Striker. "YES YES YES" from JBL. Win. Poor Striker.

Bob Backlund's WWE HOF video shown again.

Vickie spins the stipulation wheel for Wade Barrett, and it lands on "Player's Choice." Barrett gets to choose his own opponent. Barrett's in the ring and loves it. He wants Bo Dallas because Bo eliminated Barrett in the Rumble match. Impressive showing last night for Bo, lasting over 20 minutes.

Bo Dallas vs. Wade Barrett: Bo surprises Barrett early on. Barrett regains control and gets up for the Bullhammer. Bo catches Barrett in a modified powerslam and gets three. Barrett with the shocked face. Only two minutes in an "upset" win for Bo. WWE loves this NXT guy and is likely pushing him big time now. N/A

Cody spins the Superstar wheel and it lands on John Cena. A Tape of the Tape between Cena and Fred Flintstone because Cena now is on some of those Fruity Pebbles boxes. Facepalm.

John Cena vs. Cody Rhodes: Cody eliminated four guys in the Rumble last night. Cena also eliminated four guys in the RR, including Cody. Cody rwants to leave, but Cena hits his moves of doom. AA ends it. Took about two minutes. Squash match here. N/A

Why the short match? Cena gets mic time. He pretty much just focuses on just the WWE Title when picking who he wants to face. Either it's Punk (who Cena failed to beat the last six times over two years) or Rock (who Cena lost to at WM 28). Cena still challenges whomever the WWE Champion is at WM 29. Duh.

Shield come down from the stands. JBL can't believe Cena's standing his ground. Shield pummel Cena. Sheamus and Ryback come down and are also nuked. Triple powerbomb to Cena.

Wheel stops on "Lingerie Pillow Fight." TENSAI AND BRODUS CLAY! NO NO NO! Tensai storms off. Brodus gets to spin the Vickie Challenge wheel. Stops on "Dance-Off." There we go.

So here we go with Brodus and Tensai. Remember, Tensai didn't see the Brodus spin so he's in a bathrobe. DAMMIT. Lawler didn't get to say that it was now a Dance-Off. Tensai disrobes and he's in lingerie. OH CRAP, MY EYES! And that, my friends, probably shows how much Tensai has fallen in the company. But hey, if he gets screen time, it's not all bad, right? Lawler gets Tensai to dance because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Ron Simmons "DAMN" cameo. Yup. That was easily the most bizarre segment this year. Might just hold up for the rest of 2013.

Alberto Del Rio faces Big Show in a Bodyslam Challenge. Beatdown segment! Show with the KO punch to ADR before the challenge begins. Show duct tapes ADR to the ropes. Show nukes Ricardo all over the ringside area. Show stomps on ADR a few times as well. More duct tape applied to ADR to make sure he can't go anywhere. KO punch to Ricardo right in front of ADR. Hard kicks to ADR and then another KO punch. Longer than needed, but effective nonetheless.

Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka (Las Vegas Showgirls Lumberjills Match): Was originally slated for the PPV but didn't take place probably due to time constraints. I woulda saved it for RAW anyway. Kaitlyn takes Aksana's headdress and throws it at Tamina. Oh, that's thrilling indeed. Showgirls decide to all storm the ring for whatever reason because the crowd's been dead all this time. Match ends in a bizarre no-contest. Yes, thank you to whomever cued AJ Lee's old music. N/A

Rock to the ring. Only one word can describe tonight and the overall journey: FINALLY! Rock says this latest title win is the proudest moment of his WWE career. He thanks all the people. More poking fun at Punk and Heyman. Twinkie Tits! Rock says People's Era begins tonight. Rock says everyone's getting pie! Punk comes out. Punk demands Rock give back his title. Rock dares Punk to come take it. Punk teases the crowd and then reminds people he does things on his own terms to fit his schedule. Let's book that rematch for the Elimination Chamber PPV now. Three weeks away already?! To the person who was supposed to censor the words during the segment, you mostly failed, but hey, more swear words for everyone!

Diddy's "Coming Home" is the tune again as WM 29 is promoted. I love that song. Seriously. Keep it.

Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (Tables): Per the spin of the wheel, a tables match. Doesn't take long for the tables to come out. Sandow works a bunch on Sheamus' injured left arm. Sheamus grabs Sandow's beard. Primitive and effective. "Thank You Sandow" chants?! Woohoo! Sheamus puts Sandow through a table with White Noise and gets the win. *3/4

WWE Karaoke with Zack Ryder and Khali. NO! They're gonna sing a Superstar's theme song. Fans in the arena pick the winner. Khali absolutely butchers HBK's theme song. YOU'RE NOT EVEN READING THE WORDS ON THE TITANTRON! FAIL! Holy cow. If that's not the worst "comedy" segment ever, I dunno what is. But I like watching Natalya dance. YEAH, WHERE'S COLE'S GONG?! 3MB interrupts, and I can't believe it got worse. Khali takes out Drew and Slater with that big hand to the head. Rough Ryder to Jinder. This was brutal. Very bad. Easily negative stars if I gave ratings for skits.

Chris Jericho promo. "Y2J" chants. Simple thanks to the fans, and Jericho loves that he fooled everyone. Ziggler and company crash the party. Langston's singlet looks smaller than normal. Langston spoke again and didn't mess up! Jericho believes the "E" is Langston's bra size. Dammit, I am now blind again.

Vickie says she signed Jericho. YAY! Perhaps we can at least put Vickie in more of a tweener on-camera role now. Stipulation wheel spin. Strange Bedfellows! So Ziggler and Jericho team up against...Team Hell No. YES!

Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Chris Jericho: Strange match indeed, but still predictable. Vintage DB and Kane arguing. Ziggler tags in. Jericho hits Kane from behind and Kane thinks it was Ziggler. Kane chokeslams Ziggler and gets three. Jericho laughs. N/A

Latest WWE Hall of Fame inductee: TRISH STRATUS! YES YES YES! I hope they actually give her some airtime for the induction speech when the ceremony airs. Not just the "here are the other inductees and about five seconds of the speech they made" crap. God, I miss the Attitude Era divas matches.

Booker T will make an announcement for the World Heavyweight Title on Smackdown. Probably Elimination Chamber stuff.

It's time for Paul Heyman's Performance Review. Vince says Punk has been escorted out of the arena already. Heyman said he has nothing to do with the Shield or Brad Maddox. Vince asks Heyman if he's lied. Heyman says he's lied every day, but not this time. Closeup of Heyman's face, and many people are screaming everywhere. Not an honest face, eh?

We get to the anonymous footage, shot a couple weeks ago in Northern California. Heyman had told the camera guy to shut the camera off, but nope it wasn't off. Heyman explicitly says he paid Maddox and Shield to help take Ryback out and otherwise to help Punk keep his title. Shield then beats Maddox up. OOPS! "YOU GOT BUSTED!" chants.

Crowd basically readying Heyman's termination. Heyman says the man in the video wasn't him. HA. So it was Maddox and the Shield, but not Heyman. Got it. Vince ready to fire Heyman.

BROCK LESNAR! Markout time! Crowd goes NUTS. Vince tells Lesnar not to do something Lesnar would regret later on. Heyman pleading with Lesnar to leave. F-5 to the chairman! Heyman horrified because now he feels his job really is over. Of course it isn't. End show.

WWE signed Lesnar to a new 2-year deal. Pretty much the same terms as this current deal that would have expired after WM 29. Very limited schedule, lots of money for Lesnar. Ratings and money for WWE. Win-win. Loved the ending because I didn't think it would be this soon. I'm not sure how many dates Lesnar still has on the current contract, but WWE saved a lot of them to hype WM 29. Logical move could be to have Lesnar face Ryback. Could also be HHH, but if WWE is really going through with a monster Ryback push, might as well have Ryback face a true asskicker.

Monday, January 28, 2013

1/27/13 Royal Rumble

Antonio Cesaro vs. Miz (U.S. Title): Pre-show match that you could see on YouTube. Basic mat wrestling early on. Cesaro again with the impressive strength, catching Miz on a leapfrog and turning it into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Solid competitive match in the last few minutes. Cesaro to the outside, and he suckers Miz in, pulling Miz into the steel ring structure. Neutralizer in the ring and Cesaro retains after almost 8 minutes. **

Del Rio and Ricardo talking strategy in the back. BRET HART CAMEO! Crowd marked for that one. Bret says he thinks ADR is a Mexican Bret Hart. Quite the compliment. Vintage pink shades for Ricardo! Not surprised this match opened the show because it's a stacked card. Guessing Rock and Punk will be the main event.

Three-man announce team: Lawler, Cole, JBL.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing; World Heavyweight Title): Gotta love the WWE logic that ADR all of a sudden has the "change of heart" and is a babyface. Crowd really gets on Show. Show dominant early. ADR incorporating more lucha stuff into his offense, and Cole makes the comparisons to Mysterio. Cross armbreaker countered, but it wouldn't matter if Show tapped anyway. ADR uses a chair on Show, wonder if Sheamus' chair shots felt worse. "SI SI SI" chants for ADR. Show catches ADR with a chokeslam; champ barely up at 9, then collapses to the outside. Punishment continues on the floor. ADR with a low blow and a superkick to Show. Show barely up at 9. Show with one of the big light bulbs to ADR. Show climbs the structure(?!), pulls ADR up with one arm, and a chokeslam through a table. Awesome spot. ADR up at 9! ADR avoids the KO punch. Ricardo gets tossed into the barricade. Show misses the spear on ADR and crashes through the barricade into the ring bell area. Show up at 9. More chair shots to Show. Show's arm smashed between the steps and chair. Fire extinguisher to Show. Cross armbreaker to Show and Ricardo duct tapes Show's legs. Oh, they do THAT spot. Show obviously can't get up now and ADR retains. Not nearly as good as the Smackdown match. **3/4

As expected, Ziggler picks #1 because that is exactly who he is. Langston scares Striker off and becomes the new announcer. Woohoo, Langston didn't mess up his lines! I'd love it if Ziggler unified the titles, but we all know that's not happening. Gee, I wonder who Ziggler's facing to start the Rumble....

We see those simple promos from a few Royal Rumble entrants saying they will win the match. All we needed was the vintage music and the backdrop, and it woulda been perfect. Black backdrop?! Really?!

Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Tag Team Titles): Nice tag action from Team Hell No to start. DB with the usual stuff. Gotta love the vegan flying goat! JBL is money on announcing. Let's sing Kumbaya! Low bridge gives Team Rhodes Scholars the advantage. DB worked over. Kane gets the hot tag. Kane misses the top-rope clothesline on Sandow and Sandow with a weird neckbreaker for two. DB tags in. Kane chokeslam to Cody and DB with the NO lock on Sandow to get the submission win. Champs retain in about 10 minutes. **

Vickie gives Team Hell No their Royal Rumble numbers. DB shows his number to Kane, but Kane doesn't show his number. "Hey, it's the rule! I show you mine, you show me yours!" WIN.

Royal Rumble Match: Wow, Royal Rumble starts in the middle of the show! Ziggler is #1 as stated earlier. Ziggler promo saying he stands alone in the spotlight where he belongs.So who's #2?!

BREAK THE WALLS DOWN! WTF. I admit I marked out for Jericho because I wasn't even caring about if he was making a return. The crowd also went ballistic. An awesome way to start the Rumble. Both Y2J and Ziggler tease eliminations.

Cody Rhodes is #3. Double-team on Jericho. Walls of Jericho to Cody, like that would matter.

Kofi Kingston is #4. Springboard clothesline to Cody. Will Kofi top his handstand act from last year? More eliminations teased.

Santino is #5. He'll last longer than 1.9 seconds, but JBL still tells us not to blink. Santino thought he eliminated both Cody and Jericho, but no to both. Jericho halts the Cobra. Cody tosses Santino out. So much for that.

Drew McIntyre is #6. Not too much in these 90 seconds, except Jericho nearly got eliminated. He hung on to the middle rope before Ziggler "helped" him back on the apron.

Titus O'Neil is #7. Jericho with the springboard dropkick to eliminate McIntyre. Ziggler elimination tease as "Y2J" chants start again.

GOLDUST is #8! YES! Priceless shot of Cody's face, no pun intended. Crowd marked for this. JBL with the "Book-Dust" reference! Good luck to Dr. Shelby with that one. "Goldust" chants throughout the arena. Even though Goldust goes after Cody, they both team up on other guys. Gotta love the Rumble!

David Otunga is #9 and Heath Slater is #10. Jericho and Ziggler have made it 15 minutes.

Sheamus is #11. Could he be the fourth guy to win back-to-back Rumbles? Clubbing blows to Titus. Sheamus knocks Otunga into Titus and Titus is gone. Clubbing blows to Otunga now. Brogue Kick and Otunga's gone.

Tensai is #12 and he goes after Sheamus. Slater and Ziggler tease eliminations.

Brodus Clay is #13. Vintage Gangnam Style before going to the ring. Richard Dawson Family Feud reference from JBL. Cody and Goldust fight on the apron. Cody eliminates his brother. Sad panda.

Rey Mysterio is #14! A couple of 619s delivered to Ziggler and Jericho.

Darren Young is #15. He helps five other guys to eliminate Brodus. Kofi eliminates Tensai! Kofi went over the top to the apron. Kofi knocked onto Tensai. Kofi placed on the announce table. Oh, here we go. Kofi wants a chair.

Bo Dallas is #16. He won his way into the Rumble via an NXT 8-man tournament and should now be part of the main roster going forward. Meanwhile, Kofi gets JBL's chair and uses it as a POGO STICK to get back to the apron. I think Kofi realized he wasn't gonna make it via jumping. Or that it would be too risky. Kofi with the low bridge to eliminate Darren Young. Cody with the Disaster Kick to eliminate Kofi. Aw.

GODFATHER IS #17 WTF. Godfather gets in the ring -- and Ziggler dropkicks him out of the Rumble. Hey, he lasted longer than Santino and the Warlord! Godfather wants to party anyway. Lovely ladies.

Wade Barrett is #18. Jericho and Barrett try to eliminate Sheamus, to no avail.

John Cena is #19. Easily the favorite to win this year. Four guys line up ready for Cena: Barrett, Slater, Ziggler, Cody. Everyone except Sheamus and Rey attack Cena. Cena eliminates Slater and Cody Rhodes quickly. Jericho almost out but Ziggler(?!) saves the day. Love that Bo Dallas and Cena paired off here.

Damien Sandow is #20. Rey and Barrett over the top rope to the apron. Barrett back in and eliminates Rey with that back kick. Ziggler and Jericho now over 30 minutes in. Walls of Jericho attempt to Cena.

Daniel Bryan is #21. DB with kicks to Sandow, Ziggler, and Barrett. YES YES YES. Jericho almost eliminated but holds on. Split chants for Cena.

Antonio Cesaro is #22. White tights for Cesaro now.

Great Khali is #23. He actually got to the ring before #24!

Kane is #24. Record 16th Rumble for Kane (14 consecutive).

Zack Ryder is #25. Kane eliminated Khali to up his elimination total -- and then DB eliminates Kane! OHHHH HERE WE GO! Cesaro knocks DB off the apron onto Kane! ROFL DB IN KANE'S ARMS LIKE AJ LEE! HUG IT OUT! Kane puts half of DB's body on the apron and ends up dropping him to the floor. DB's eliminated. Aw.

Randy Orton is #26. Orton with snap powerslams galore. Bo Dallas really hanging in there. Ziggler and Dallas get hangman's DDTs for their troubles. RKO to Ryder. Orton eliminates Ryder and Zack hit his face hard on the floor.

Jinder Mahal gets "lucky" #27; a record four guys have won from this number. Cena eliminates Cesaro. 40+ minutes for Ziggler and Jericho. How is Jericho in such great shape? DDP Yoga!

Miz is #28. Miz and Cesaro brawl in the aisle for a bit. Miz also reportedly injured his ankle during his U.S. Title match with Cesaro on the pre-show. Sheamus eliminates Jinder, so no more 3MB. JBL with more ribbing of 3MB.

Sin Cara is #29. Too bad Mysterio's already gone. Bo Dallas eliminates Barrett! There's your "Maven" moment of the Rumble, I guess. Huge boost for Bo's WWE career to last this long. Barrett comes back down and eliminates Bo Dallas. Bullhammer to Bo. Might turn into a new feud. Jericho and Ziggler continue to tease eliminations.

And of course, that means Ryback is #30. Let the "GOLDBERG" chants begin! Ryback eliminates Sandow, Sin Cara, and Miz.

Jericho now with more moves! Codebreaker to Ryback! Lionsault to Cena! Springboard dropkick to Sheamus, but Sheamus holds on. Jericho clothesline to Orton. Codebreaker to Ziggler! Crowd jacked up again as Jericho wants to eliminate Ziggler. Jericho over the top to the apron. Ziggler superkick eliminates Jericho. Y2J lasted 47:53. Ziggler, not surprisingly, will be the ironman this year.

Final five is Ryback, Cena, Orton, Ziggler, Sheamus. RKOs for Ziggler, Cena, and Sheamus. Hangman's DDT to Ryback! RKO countered and Ryback eliminates Orton. Down to four! Brogue Kick to Ziggler and Dolph's gone! I really wanted him and Cena in the final two. Ziggler lasted 49:46 in the Rumble.

Down to three!  Sheamus and Cena tee off on Ryback, then go after each other because it's about headlining WM 29. Typical Cena moves of doom, bur Ryback with the meathook clothesline to Cena. Sheamus counters Shellshocked into White Noise. Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick but Ryback dodges and eliminates Sheamus!

Cena and Ryback in the final two, which many people probably had predicted. Crowd with "FEED ME MORE" chants. Spinebuster to Cena. Cena avoids the clothesline and STF to Ryback! Ryback passes out as split chants start. Cena puts Ryback on the top rope. Thesz press to Cena. Cena slips out of a powerslam and eliminates Ryback to win the Rumble. Was there really ever a doubt?

I personally didn't care for this Rumble much. We had the surprises, such as Jericho's kickass return and Godfather cameo, but most of the stuff was predictable like Ziggler's ironman performance and Cena's win. Bo Dallas lasting about 20 minutes was also cool. I wanted Ziggler and Cena in the final two because it would have made for a better Rumble finish. But hey, that's what happens when Ryback gets pushed like he has been the last few months. Cena gets his second career Rumble win, only the fourth to do so. **1/2

Rock's jacked up for his promo. He speaks about adversity, not getting drafted in the NFL Draft and then his mom overcoming cancer. Rock's mom is in the arena tonight, sitting at ringside. Guess if there's any doubt lingering, you'd have to say Rock is winning now.

WWE Title match next. So no divas action tonight. Just five matches overall, four on the actual PPV. Remember, if Shield interferes, Rock becomes champ.

Rock vs. CM Punk (WWE Title): Punk comes out first, his 434th day as WWE champion. Rock gets the electric entrance. Rock wants to take apart the Spanish table early, but Punk has none of it. Hey, Punk even put the top back on the Spanish table! Heyman with a blow to the Rock behind the ref's back, allowing Punk to get control. Rock meets the barricade again. Punk targets Rock's ribs because he knows Shield's triple powerbomb on RAW gave Rock these "internal injuries." Punk clearly the ring general here because he's in "ring shape." JBL nails it when saying there's a difference between being in great shape and in ring shape. Heyman with another cheap shot to Rock. Cole says Punk tweaked his left knee on a springboard dropkick to Rock. Punk then did a top-rope axehandle to Rock and cameras pick up Punk holding his knee. Rock sees the opening and attacks Punk's knee. Punk still does the suicide dive to Rock on the outside anyway. Punk misses a springboard clothesline. Rock back to work on Punk's left knee. Rock Bottom countered. GTS countered. Sharpshooter countered! Anaconda Vice to Rock! Rock counters into a pin for two. DDT to Punk. Rock Bottom countered again. Punk tried for a crucifix, but Rock counters that into a Sharpshooter! Punk gets to the ropes. Action back to the outside. Rock readies the Spanish table again! Punk battles back. Punk tries GTS on the announce table. Rock wants a Rock Bottom, but table collapses. BOO. Similar to when table collapsed on Angle/HHH many years ago. That coulda really sucked for both guys. Rock holds his right knee, but delivers Rock Bottom to Punk on the floor! Nice improvising. Back in the ring now, Rock gets two. Punk with a huge roundhouse kick to Rock for the double KO spot. Trading blows, then Rock hits a flying clothesline and spinebuster. Crowd goes nuts as Rock sets up for the People's Elbow.

LIGHTS GO OUT! Cole says Shield attacked Rock and did a triple powerbomb through the U.S. announce table. We hear the clubbing blows and the table break, but otherwise no clear evidence. I guess we'll have answers on RAW for that. JBL calls Cole a stooge. And frankly, there is no on-camera evidence to show Shield actually interfered. Details and loopholes. Gotta love it.

Punk's laughing in the ring, then feigns the "oh my God, what happened?" stuff. Rock's still laid out from the table spot. Punk rolls Rock in the ring and covers for three. Punk celebrates in the ring.

HOLD THE PHONE! HERE'S VINCE MCMAHON! Vince ready to strip Punk of the title even though we didn't actually see anything. Rock interrupts and says he wants to take the title from Punk. Restart the match!

Punk with the running knee and top-rope elbow. Rock kicks out! GTS countered! Spinebuster! Rock nails the People's Elbow and gets three! New champ! Rock celebrates in the ring, his 8th WWE Title reign as the show ends. ***1/4

I read that people were really praising the WWE Title match, giving it four stars and higher. Personally, I didn't think it delivered nearly as well as those people might think. It's not Rock's or Punk's fault here. The crowd was gonna go nuts anyway because we're talking about Rock here. Punk clearly showed he was the ring general that makes him that main event star. There's no question this match had tremendous crowd reaction. The same goes for the Royal Rumble match.

But Rock/Punk was not filled with the numerous false finishes that I almost require a great match to have. I did like the table spots and numerous counters. Nice work by both guys to attack "injured" body parts, but I felt the match had many drawn-out moments and didn't necessarily gel all the way through. JBL nailed it when saying Rock was not in ring shape. Punk did 10x the work and wasn't breathing nearly as hard. I thought Rock would need two or three Rock Bottoms to finish Punk off. It was basically a People's Elbow that won it.

I also liked the "Shield involvement" in the dark and answers may be given on RAW as to whether Shield will actually respond to any allegations. Punk's definitely gonna get on his soapbox for another rant. Again, I was thinking we'd see a ref bump and a Brad Maddox run-in, but that didn't happen.

As for the Rumble itself, I again marked out for Jericho's return, and he may work a program with Ziggler. I'm all for that. Godfather return was nice, but he clearly wasn't there to wrestle.

Nice to see Bret Hart make a cameo as well. Will never tire of seeing him on TV.

This PPV basically sets up Rock/Cena II. Expect Cena to go over this time to avenge his loss from last year. Punk could very well be inserted into the match to make it a triple threat. With Rock's in-ring conditioning a question mark, it probably will happen. Cena would still pin Rock just so that Punk can keep saying Cena still can't beat him.

Show wasn't bad, but with only four matches on the actual PPV, I expected better. ***

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/25/13 Smackdown

Team Hell No to the ring to start Smackdown. We had a hugfest on RAW for sure. Kane says they'll defeat Team Rhodes Scholars (YES) and retain their tag titles (YES) and then go win the Royal Rumble (YE...what?!) So now Daniel Bryan's also in the Royal Rumble, like that's any surprise. Vintage Team Hell No disagreement. Show breaks it all up and says he's guaranteeing a world title win at the Rumble against Alberto Del Rio. Show claims ADR stole the title from him. Team Hell No's not leaving. Rhodes Scholars to the ring. Don't put the cart before the goat! Sandow proposes an alliance with Big Show, so Del Rio comes down to even the sides up. And it only took Booker T about 10 minutes to get to the ring to "officially" make this six-man tag! Rhodes Scholars bails and ADR avoids an attack from Show. A few kissy faces from ADR to Show. Aw. After all, Valentine's Day is coming soon!

Rock advertised for this show.

Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett: Basically a rematch of the Beat the Clock match on RAW. Can always count on these two getting very physical. Sheamus with that slingshot shoulder tackle to Barrett to start a comeback. Side kick from Barrett countered into a Sheamus rollup for two. Never had an English-born World champ in WWE yet? Interesting. Barrett connects with that thrust kick to Sheamus' face for two. Cloverleaf countered into a rollup for two. White Noise to Barrett. Brogue Kick to Barrett and it's over. **3/4

Renee Young (Renee Paquette) is also doing these WWE World Tour Reports. Yeah, more of her, please.

Natalya vs. Rosa Mendes: Great, now Natalya lost her Hart Foundation music to Great Khali's theme? The world's ending. Khali, Hornswoggle, Primo, and Epico are all at ringside, so we can expect more confrontational stuff. Khali's useless on commentary, and Primo and Epico had to teach Rosa Mendes how to get to the ropes on a submission attempt. Rosa dances in the ring. I don't think she taught her Puerto Rican friends how to do that one. Hornswoggle gives it a go. Facepalm moment! Natalya gets Rosa in the Sharpshooter and it's over. DUD

CM Punk to the ring. Day #432 as WWE champion. He's only afraid of his own potential. Heyman reads a letter stating that if the Shield interferes during the WWE Title match, Punk gets stripped of the championship. Punk says Vince wants to steal the title from him. Punk decides to call the Shield out. Shield comes through the crowd and circles the ring. Punk says if the Shield stands for justice and fights injustice, they would stay out of Sunday's match because it would be the biggest injustice to lose for that reason. Shield leaves. Punk says everyone's inferior to him -- true greatness.

Rock's music hits and the Sacramento crowd goes NUTSO. Serious Rock promo this time saying Punk's reign is gonna be over in two days.

Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre: Air guitar and a bandana won't save McIntyre this week. About a minute in, Jinder enters the ring and the ref, just on that, just calls for the bell. RKO to Jinder. Hangman's DDT to McIntyre. RKO to Slater. RKO to McIntyre. And that's how WWE kills two minutes. Goodbye, hairband. N/A

Miz vs. Darren Young: Cesaro on commentary. Titus really never a factor, but Miz kicked him anyway. SCF countered, but Miz wins with the figure four in front of Cesaro. Probably two minutes again. Boo. N/A

Royal Rumble stats shown again.

Alberto Del Rio & Team Hell No vs. Big Show & Team Rhodes Scholars (Elimination): JBL wants a personal ring announcer as well. I don't blame him. ADR now gets to show more of the lucha stuff as a face, and the fans love it. Faces all get good offense early on. Kane runs into the Show KO punch on the outside and gets counted out. During the commercial, Sandow got eliminated. Show works on DB. KO punch to DB sends him to the floor for another countout. Show clearly making a statement for the Last Man Standing match on Sunday. Chokeslam to ADR and Del Rio to the outside. ADR back in at 9. ADR with a superkick to send Show to the floor. Show gets counted out! Down to Cody and ADR, so it'll be a much faster pace. Cody to his knees, and side thrust kick (like Barrett) gets two. ADR with the running enzuigiri in the corner for three and the win. **1/2

Show spears ADR after the match. Show does some housekeeping around the announce table. KO punch to ADR. Show with the appropriate revenge by rolling the announce table over ADR. Show counts to 10. Massive heat for Show.

Of course I'm picking ADR to retain again at the Rumble. They'll find another way to have Show stay down for 10. It should hopefully lead to Ziggler cashing MITB in on ADR at WM 29. Hoping for the full match, honestly (instead of the usual cashing it in while the guy's down). Might as well steal the show on the grandest stage in a kickass match, right?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

1/25/13 Superstars

Great Khali vs Epico: Khali invades Superstars. Lovely. Rosa can salsa dance all day if she wants. Epico does what everyone does against Khali: go after the legs. Figure he can also look like a madman throwing blows. Khali just shoves Epico away a few times. Punjabi Plunge ends things in less than 3 minutes, but still felt like 30. This was painful to watch. I feel dumber just writing about it. -*

Primo on the mic. He calls Epico practically unbeatable (HAHA) and he wants a match with Khali.

Great Khali vs. Primo: This has to be my worst nightmare: Khali in back-to-back matches. It's the same damn offense from Khali, which a freakin' 10-year-old could pull off. Epico continues to play dead on the outside of the ring. Primo actually gets Khali down, but Khali hits his overhand chop and "quickly" covers for the win. I frankly never saw Khali move that fast from finisher to pin before. Unreal that this was the first 10+ minutes of Superstars. DUD

We see the awesome Punk promo from RAW addressing Rock and Royal Rumble. Then it's John Cena's weird promo from RAW that promoted the PPV, plus the brawl ending Monday's show.

Kofi Kingston vs. JTG: Holy crap, JTG's still employed! I actually can't remember the last time he won a match on TV. Then again, when was the last time JTG won, period? That includes house shows. At least JTG had a couple minutes on offense, but Kofi eventually wins with Trouble in Paradise after about 4:30. *

Show ends with Heyman's RAW promo while Punk watches from the skybox. Rock then did his promo and the Shield beat the Brahma Bull down.

Basically a show filled with video packages to promote Royal Rumble. You know Superstars was not made for watching matches when Khali works two matches on the same show. Holy crap, this made me lose brain cells. If you missed Superstars or want to watch it, don't. Please don't.

Friday, January 25, 2013

1/24/13 Impact

Show starts with the fallout from last week's wedding ceremony. Taz joins Aces & Eights and all hell breaks loose. Brooke Hogan has a wardrobe malfunction and she has to cover up with one of the guy's jackets.

Keneley and Tenay at the announce table. A third empty chair is there where Taz normally would sit. Meanwhile, in the parking lot, it looks like a biker rally for A&E.

A&E to the ring. Anderson in full A&E garb now. Taz leads the way and he wastes no time explaining his actions. Well, if you can call it an explanation. Taz simply can't pass up an opportunity to take direction from a higher power? Are we back to referring to some "cryptic title" that Vince/Austin used many moons ago? At least there won't be guys in hoods, right? Taz then mentions his contract makes him bulletproof. Another way of saying it's ironclad because he gets to do what he wants without anyone touching him. Taz has been strong on the mic for years, and his promos as a wrestler (at least to me) screamed natural heel. Taz basically praised A&E as a force to be reckoned with. Another mouthpiece for the group. "Teflon Taz" just sounds bizarre.

Well, that's a way to get the male demographic to buy from TNA's online store: run a Valentine's Day vignette with the Knockouts in lingerie.

Kaz flashes a "manager's extraordinare" badge so it's safe to say he'll be in Daniels' corner tonight. Yup, managers have badges now! Moving on up! But do they really need those stinkin' badges? Nice apple-tini that just happened to be all pre-prepped in the travel suitcase.

Taz joins the announce team for the wrestling action. The team now has a full heel color guy. Taz's demeanor is more abrasive instead of poking a ton of fun like a JBL or Bobby Heenan. Still nowhere near as annoying as heel Cole was. It's also not as abrupt as that whole Don West heel turn thing was a few years ago.

Tara vs. Velvet Sky (Knockouts Title): No catsuit for Velvet this week. Taz no longer cares if the pigeons are let loose. Sad panda. Taz refuses to mention who this "higher power" is or discuss what made him turn on TNA. All that took away from the match, frankly. Velvet with the comeback. She hits that facebuster on Tara but Jesse occupies Taryn Terrell so no count. Tara runs into Jesse, rollup by Velvet for two. Velvet tries a suplex near the ropes, Jesse grabs Velvet's foot, Tara falls on Velvet. Jesse holds Velvet's leg and Tara gets three to retain. Sounds about right. *1/4

Sting will cut a promo in the ring later. Also, Kenny King and Zema Ion tag up in X-Division action.

Joseph Park to the ring. Somehow, the lawyer gimmick has gotten over, and I still would rather have Abyss. Park still sweats getting to the damn ring. He basically says next week's Impact is in Manchester, England, and he's gonna compete in Open Fight Night. Fun. Nice kayfabe reference. Park will reveal his opponent on the show next week. Park promises a "W" next week.

Rob Van Dam & Christian York vs. Kenny King & Zema Ion: X-Division action here. Nice RVD spot tossing Zema in the air and landing a dropkick. Taz would love to see Christian York in A&E. York gets the hot tag here. Nice finishing sequence. King with the springboard blockbuster, but Zema had tagged himself in a bit before, so he pins York and gets three. King not too pleased with Zema stealing that pin. Gotta love the ego-driven heel acts. Where have we seen this stuff before in the company...? **

While Joe still marches to his own beat, Angle's still the glue that somehow keeps Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco on TV. I'd turn the young duo heel and have them battle Angle/Joe down the line. If there really is that much promise in those two, TNA would pull the trigger.

Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan to the ring. Bully's here again even though he's supposed to still be "suspended." It's the Brooke Hogan influence. Bully wants a piece of Taz first. No Taz at the announce table, something about having to take a phone call. Bully expected something from Devon, but not Taz. Bully calls Taz a coward and won't sleep until he beats up every A&E member. Bully pleads to Hulk (not at the arena to sell injuries) to lift the suspension. Sting to the ring. Sting mentions again that next week's show is in the UK and he wants Hulk to be there to reinstate Bully.

Frankly, I like where the Bully Ray storyline is going. I still don't like the whole wedding segment in pro wrestling, but it was a great shock factor for Taz to reveal he's the new A&E member. What would please me more is to see some of Hogan's closest allies become A&E members. For me, it'd be Sting or even Brooke Hogan. Or both.

Aries and Roode basically want the other person to face Hernandez, praising the other instead of explicitly saying "I'm scared of Super Mex." Sounds like Aries won the argument war this time. Nice job.

Bobby Roode vs. Hernandez : Taz conveniently now back at the announcing desk. Roode hits a move, Hernandez with the power kickout, and Roode splashes Earl Hebner. Woohoo! Roode gets frustrated that he can't put Hernandez away, and Taz still thinking of wanting to recruit both guys. Unlikely to happen, at least for the near future. Hernandez with the comeback. Hernandez looks like he wants to fly, so Aries comes down and shoves Roode out of the way. Roode doesn't like it and a shoving match ensues. Chavo and Aries square off. Roode with a bulldog to Hernandez for three. *3/4

Video footage of what happened to Angle in the cage the other week. Angle to the ring. He's gonna call out Mr. Anderson next week on Open Fight Night, but wants Anderson in the ring now. Anderson to the ring, A&E style. Anderson gets a cheap shot in, but Angle tackles Anderson and gets him running. Angle says their match next week is in a steel cage. Ow...

Jeff Hardy vs. Christopher Daniels (World Title): Main event intros from Borash. Daniels controls the first half of the match. Taz now calls Hardy "selfish" and compares the champ to Ray Lewis. Hardy just happens to be wearing Ravens colors this week, too. Still a great move by TNA to put the title on Hardy because the PPV buys have been going up. Hardy with the eventual comeback and Taz doesn't like it one bit. Splash from the second rope gets Hardy two. DVD from Daniels gets two. Koji Clutch on Hardy, but Hardy gets the foot on the ropes. Hardy with a front suplex but Daniels gets the foot on the ropes this time. Twist of Fate countered and Angel's Wings only gets two?! No BME from Daniels, Hardy misses Whisper in the Wind. Daniels gets another two-count. Hardy counters Angel's Wings. Kaz on the apron. Twist of Fate knocks Daniels into Kaz. Second Twist of Fate. Hardy takes out Kaz one more time. Swanton to Daniels and Hardy retains. ***

Taz goes down to "interview" Hardy, but it's really so one of the masked A&E guys can hit Hardy in the left hamstring and knee with that hammer. Simple hit-and-run attack, nothing more this time. End show.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1/23/13 NXT

Nice surprise to see Shawn Michaels visiting NXT! Crowd finally comes alive. HBK shows one of the new NXT Tag Team Title belts, and again, I think they look horrible and cheap, too much like something you can get at the damn merchandise stand. Yup, announcement is that there will be another tournament to decide the first NXT Tag champs. Seriously? I doubt there's even enough time each week to properly decide who Big E Langston will face next for the NXT Title. Anyway, I woulda pegged Ascension as the favorites, but since Kenneth Cameron got released, who knows.

Wyatt Family vs. Yoshi Tatsu & Percy Watson: I like the Wyatt Family's chances of capturing the titles. Bray Wyatt doesn't need to do much, even though I'm sure he's cleared to wrestle by now. In the meantime, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan can do the damage. Two big guys with thick beards, yay. Yoshi ends his tweets with #nevergiveup, but he's been largely irrelevant the past several months. I'd put him on the chopping block, but he still can be extra advertising money for WWE when the company goes to Japan. I think Yoshi and Percy's best chance to stay on the roster would be to team up, but they're not getting the titles right now. Harper with a lariat to Percy to get three. Not bad. *3/4

Dusty Rhodes with Alex Riley and Derrick Bateman. They're in the tag tournament. Corey Graves comes to complain and Dusty burns him by saying not even Jake Carter wanted to be his tag partner? Who? Oh, that's Vader's son, right? Graves and Carter in singles action tonight. FYI, Carter and Graves tagged before on one of the first NXT episodes.

Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox: Alicia's still waving the fox jacket over her head. I've read that WWE has high hopes for Sasha Banks. I dunno if I want the nickname of "Small Package," though. I guess it's good that she's a woman in that respect. Sasha Banks is also related to Snoop Dogg (actually Snoop Lion now). Good lucha stuff from Sasha, so I can definitely see the promise. Alicia is basically only known for two moves: that Northern Lights bridge suplex and the scissors kick. Sasha counters a slam into a rollup for three. *1/2

Video package on Paige. She looks awesome in that jacket.

WWE signed Canadian TV personality Renee Paquette a while back for a "backstage correspondent" role, but her on-screen name is Renee Young. Seriously?! Let her have her real name. She interviews Aksana. When next to Renee, you can tell which person has really been hitting the heavy weights. Will 2013 be Aksana's year? Well, I think it could at least be better than last year. Aksana faces Paige next week.

Short vignette of Conor O'Brian. As I said, no more Kenneth Cameron, but Conor's still doing the Ascension gimmick as a solo act. Might end up being great for him if it leads to NXT gold.

Corey Graves vs. Jake Carter: Corey has even more generic rock music now. Short match here, Graves tackles Carter's leg and slaps on that 13th Step leglock finisher for the tapout win. Graves on the mic after the match, saying if he can't be in the tag tournament, he'll declare anarchy on NXT. I vote that he declares anarchy. *

Adrian Neville & Oliver Grey vs. 3MB: Slater and McIntyre represent 3MB in this tournament. Neville and Grey are both from Great Britain, so a natural pairing there. Regal wants to punch 3MB right in the face. Lovely. Really liking that WWE has signed "smaller," agile wrestlers like Neville (billed at 5'9" and a "solid" 200 pounds). Grey has a judo background. Neville getting the crowd pumped with his high flying. Not surprising that Neville gets the hot tag. Neville hits the shooting star corkscrew splash on McIntyre for three. Crowd went nuts for it. Win. *3/4

Big E Langston vs. Axl Keegan: Basically another squash for the champ. Langston has the NXT Title graphic on his Titantron video now. Killer Kowalski trained Keegan. Crowd loves to chant "FIVE" when Langston's in the ring. Langston with the avalanche and then his "big ending" cutter move for three. He definitely doesn't work by the hour; match took about a minute. Langston's pissed that he didn't get his five-count. N/A

Conor O'Brian on the Titantron. In two weeks, I'm assuming Conor challenges Langston for the title. Just as I thought. Langston delivers two more Big Endings to Keegan -- and two five-counts.

Five matches on this week's NXT. Yay?

1/23/13 Main Event

Sacramento hosts Main Event this week. Cole and Miz on commentary.

January means we get the usual video montage of Royal Rumble stats. Yay! Now up to 36 WWE Hall of Famers who have competed in Royal Rumbles. WWE notes HBK's eliminated 39 total people in the Rumble, while Kane is second with 35. Still, Kane should have a decent shot at beating the mark either this year or next -- probably next year, if anything. Expect someone like Ryback to be the guy tossing a ton of people out this year. Oh, and the percentage of Rumble winners who have gone on to win the title at WM is only 58%. Not looking so hot there. I'd rather have the MITB briefcase at that rate. You agree, Dolph Ziggler?

Matt Striker interviews Ryback and fails at cutting jokes. Ryback faces Cesaro tonight. Ryback says Swiss Miss will look like Swiss cheese. That was a joke. Haha.

Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro: Cesaro with some jabs at Miz and Ryback before the match. Shame that Cesaro is relegated to defending the title on the Royal Rumble pre-show. Ryback's a caveman? Doesn't look like the Geico guy. Nothing fancy about Ryback's offense again, but Cesaro impressive. Nice Cobra Clutch on Ryback. Cesaro knocked to the outside and Miz tosses him back in. Cesaro tries to fight back but Ryback basically sets up for Shellshocked. Cesaro rolls out of the ring after the Meathook clothesline and scampers away for the countout loss. Sounds about right. *3/4

We see highlights of Shield beating up Rock on this past Monday's RAW, plus Del Rio's World Title win on Smackdown two weeks ago. Show said on RAW that the title match at the Royal Rumble will again be a Last Man Standing match.

Striker interviews Big Show. I don't envy Striker at all.

Usos vs. Rhodes Scholars: Tag match ends Main Event. The Usos are basically floundering in the tag division these days, so to me, that whole Siva Tau stuff isn't nearly as intimidating. Wonder who will be next to make fun of Cody's mustache? Guess it's Miz. Usos in control first, then Rhodes Scholars on offense. You know, the usual stuff. Longer tag match than usual. Jimmy gets the hot tag again this week. Usos setting up for the splash on Sandow, but Cody pulls Jimmy out of the ring and Sandow knocks Jey off the top. Sandow covers for three. **1/2

Next week, six superstars in a tournament to be #1 contender for Wade Barrett's IC Title. Three-week deal, so perhaps one match a week and then a triple threat final to see who faces Barrett?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

1/21/13 RAW

The go-home RAW to the Royal Rumble takes place in San Jose.

Vickie Guerrero comes down with Paul Heyman. All of a sudden, she remembers she is the managing supervisor for RAW and has authority again. How is a managing supervisor different from a GM? (other than apparently not having as much authority and screen time.) WWE Title picture addressed. Rock accused of defaming Vickie and Heyman; crowd erupts at hearing Rock's name. For the record, I enjoyed the Rock Concert. Vickie threatens to have Rock arrested if he shows up at the arena. Titantron shows Rock not being able to enter the arena. Looks like Rock and the officers are already in the arena, but I've never been to this building, so I don't know. Vintage Rock promo poking fun at Vickie. OH SNAP MANTI TE'O REFERENCE! Well, Manti's really made the big time now; he's also been parodied on SNL and gotten poked fun at during a Dallas Stars game. Rock says Punk has an imaginary nutsack. Vickie's not intimidated that Rock's still gonna find a way in. "If ya smell what the Vick is cookin." Something even Michael Vick could use as a catchphrase.

Beat the Clock challenge tonight. Winner posting the fastest time gets to pick when he enters the Rumble. Why not just say the guy gets to be #30? Or whatever number has produced the most winners (I think it was #27 or something). I swear there would be a catch here or something. Cole says #30 has produced two winners (Cena and Undertaker).

Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton: Why does Cesaro own 12 Swiss watches? I guess because he can. Cesaro knocks Orton off the top to gain control. Competitive match here with multiple near falls, so you'll see a faster time from another match. Still enjoyed it, though. Cesaro checks the clock and runs right into an RKO. Orton posts the time to beat at 11:36. **1/2

Mick Foley's HOF video package shown again. Then a Shield video detailing their path of destruction.

Big Show vs. Zack Ryder: Poor Zack Ryder. It's bad enough that Big Show nuked him, but Brad Maddox gets to commandeer the announcing duties again, further confirming the entire match was a mere afterthought. I'm still not sold entirely on the Maddox storyline, but I'd assume the main point is to keep giving him screen time so fans know who he is. KO punch to Ryder and it's over in a minute. N/A

Show says his World Heavyweight Title match with Del Rio at the Royal Rumble will again be a Last Man Standing match.

Paul Heyman appears to have a change of heart and perhaps a partnership with Brad Maddox has been reached. If that holds up, Maddox could be in line for a push.

Ryback vs. Heath Slater: Trio of air guitar playing won't stop Ryback. Another squash. Shellshocked to Slater and it's over after about 90 seconds. Ryback says he's in the Royal Rumble and plans to win it all. N/A

Rock's still trying to get in the building. Yeah, the officers are probably indy wrestlers. Crowd chants the Rock's name. Vickie shows up. The almighty Vickie can now suspend officers if she wanted to? Vickie says she will lift Rock's banishment if he apologizes personally to Vickie. That wasn't happening.

RAW Roulette next week in Vegas!

CM Punk promo. For 428 days, Punk's proven that he is the man. He's worked half his life to get to this point and be the champ. Punk calls the people the most insignificant thing imaginable. Punk says he's a real champion, while Rock is just the People's Champion because he can't be a real champ. Punk says in six days, it won't matter what the Rock's cookin'. Another outstanding promo.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Miz: This is the second of three Beat the Clock matches; time to beat is Orton's 11:36. Clock counts down. Ziggler back to wearing the pink tights again. Good mat wrestling at the start to get in some quick pin attempts. Ziggler with amazing dropkicks, and thankfully he's known for more than that (right Maven?). Ziggler's gotten a great following over the past few months, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn face in the future. Miz tries the figure four but Ziggler chucks him to the outside. Langston gets a cheap shot in. Miz gets a few near falls in after the commercial break. Aggressive Miz with punches and a top-rope double axe handle for two. Cole notes Miz spent over 40 minutes in the Rumble last year. SCF countered. Rollups by both guys and we see a partial Ziggler moonshot (thanks Miz). Jumping spike DDT from Ziggler gets a long two. Figure four locked in, so AJ distracts the ref and Langston pulls Ziggler to the ropes to break the hold. Miz occupied with fending off a Langston cheap shot but that allows Ziggler to hit the Zigzag for three with 40 seconds to spare. Time to beat is now 10:56. Great match. ***

Dr. Shelby in the ring and he's got the academia robe on. We're gonna have a graduation ceremony for anger management! "Pomp and Circumstance" plays and I'm surprised "Randy Savage" chants didn't take place. Team Hell No to the ring in graduation gowns. Daniel Bryan has his hair slicked back. Dr. Shelby remarks about the goat face and DB's beard being a hotel for rats. Dr. Shelby gives DB and Kane grad caps and diplomas. Dr. Shelby turns the tassels from the left side to the right, symbolizing the graduation. Dr. Shelby final exercise: who do you think should be valedictorian and give the graduation speech? DB and Kane say the other should be the valedictorian. "Dr. Shelby" chants?!?! Now I've heard everything. They're gonna hug again! Cole and Lawler hug! The WWE doctor and Justin Roberts hug. Now random people in the stands are hugging. 1-2-3-HUG! What a bizarre segment.

We see highlights of Kaitlyn's Divas Title win from last week and Eve "quitting" the company.

Kaitlyn vs. Alicia Fox: Alicia's still on the roster, waving that fox jacket around. Predicted at the start that this match would last about two minutes. Tamina watches the match from a TV in the back, so it appears she will be next in line for a title shot. Tamina was getting pushed as a face before suffering an injury last year. Crowd dead for this match. Alicia misses a kick in the corner, Kaitlyn comes off the ropes with a weird spear for three. Probably only got half the impact out of it because the angle was a bit off. Match was about two minutes. 1/4*

Heyman's got a message for the Rock, a "Paul-bomb." Punk gets to watch from the skybox. Heyman says Vince is desperate for someone else to be champion, and Rock is the flavor of the month. Rock interrupts and displays a ticket. Cole says now officers can't stop Rock from coming in. Um, last time I checked, a ticket got you a seat to the event, not the privilege to come down the entrance ramp and get in the ring. That's WWE logic! Rock calls Heyman "Twinkie Tits" and gets him out of the ring. Rock  tells Punk to appreciate his last night on RAW as WWE champ. MLK reference from Rock. Rock has a dream to get to the Promised Land one more time. Great promo as usual from Rock

The lights go out. Shield in the ring attacking Rock. Numbers game too much this time. Triple powerbomb to Rock. Punk short statement that you eventually have to wake up from dreams and Rock will realize he just wasn't great enough be champ. Rock spitting up blood.

Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett: This is the last of the three Beat the Clock matches. Time to beat is Ziggler's 10:56. Pretty standard match here. Sheamus starts the comeback with about four minutes to go. Two big back kicks by Barrett, the second one landing square on Sheamus' jaw for two. Elbow from Barrett gets two again. Wasteland countered, White Noise hits. Sheamus stares at the clock, about 75 seconds left. Sheamus signals for the Brogue Kick. AJ, Ziggler, and Langston race to the ring to distract Sheamus. Bossman Slam from Barrett only gets two. Yeah Ziggler, you gotta also watch out for Barrett getting a win. Barrett sets up for Bullhammer, but Sheamus with a Brogue Kick. Unfortunately, not enough time, and Ziggler is the Beat the Clock winner. I love it. Ziggler keeps piling up the accolades, but now let's see them turn into something. **1/4

Yeah, Rock has nearly 4 million Twitter followers as of January 21. Moving on!

Ziggler basically rubs it in Vickie's face that he gets to pick his spot in the Rumble. #27 or #30 sound good to him, but he doesn't need luck. Good, because Vickie says she gets to pick which numbers Ziggler must choose from: #1 or #2. Personally, I love this. Ziggler won't be breaking Mysterio's record, but I fully expect him to be there until the end. If WWE shows any continuity for a change, it would be Cena and Ziggler at the end, with Cena getting the Rumble win. Ziggler has MITB anyway. If I were in charge of booking, Ziggler would have started his title run a long time ago anyway.

Vince makes a cameo! He tells Punk and Heyman the stipulations for the WWE Title match. If Shield interferes in the WWE Title match, Punk will be stripped of the title. (Vince botched his line, so it sounded confusing at first) Now watch Brad Maddox interfere somehow. Still gotta remember the "deal" Heyman and Maddox apparently struck earlier in the show.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Tensai: Not much has changed on Del Rio's ring entrance, except no expensive car and the fans enjoy it. Oh, and Lawler's now loving this stuff. Tensai's still in the virtual doghouse. ADR now gets the crowd to do "SI SI SI" before the running enzuigiri in the corner. ADR practically misses the second-rope moonsault because he positioned Tensai too close to the corner, but still gets three.Match not even two minutes. ADR leads the crowd to count to 10 in Spanish. Fun, especially because everyone initially counts to ten at different speeds. N/A

Second inductee to WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013 is Bob Backlund. Long overdue. Shoulda been in years ago. The amazing thing is he still looks good today. Gotta love staying fit.

Cena to the ring. Gotta love Sundays. Cena's also still at noob status playing Black Ops 2. YES, it's because of that kid at ringside! Cena's username is purportedly "skidmarks187." Oops, what if that's a real username?! Cena charms the ladies with the whole Ladies' Night Out stuff, doing a Downward Dog in yoga class (look that up if you don't get the joke), and stuff about Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj. Cena points out a guy wearing a "I'm a Paul Heyman Guy" T-shirt. Jagerbombs, blow-up dolls, mysterious tattoos, and Brett Favre-ing yourself on the Internet (no TD passes). Finally, Cena addresses the Royal Rumble. Yeah yeah, Cena says he's gonna win this all-out war.

Cue the list of people coming out one at a time to say they will each win the Rumble. Sheamus,  Primetime Players (OK, two people here), Randy Orton, Miz, Team Hell No (OK, two people again), Antonio Cesaro, 3MB (fine, three people now). Let's also play "How many microphones does WWE actually have?"

And then the entire locker room spills out so we have the ol' big brawl to end the show. Because we're supposed to love big brawls at the end of shows. After all, JTG's still employed and Khali took about 20 years to get to the ring! Some superstars get tossed out of the ring as the show ends. Wondering if a woman will enter the Rumble this year. No Beth Phoenix, no Chyna, and no Kharma. Kaitlyn might be defending her title at the PPV anyway.

See, the trick is to just have Khali be #30 and he probably will win the Rumble by default. I'd say he'd have the longest rumble time, but since your time doesn't start until you actually enter the ring, he'd have the shortest (unbeatable) time by a rumble winner. ***Disclaimer: Khali is not winning the Royal Rumble***

Some Royal Rumble notes to end this post:

I'm not sure Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara will be at the PPV. They could very well be "surprise entrants" in the Rumble itself, but latest reports would probably label them as "questionable."

I'm still believing Rock wins the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble. Since Shield can't interfere in the match now, I'd look to Brad Maddox to try and interfere. Best spot for that would be a ref bump and Maddox comes down as a "replacement ref" to try and screw Rock. Rock would end up nuking him anyway. The match is reportedly getting a good 30 minutes, so I'm expecting nothing less than four stars.

Interesting that it's another Last Man Standing match between Show and Del Rio. I'm hoping ADR retains, and if so, another "creative" tactic will probably be used to keep Show down.

It's probably time for Team Rhodes Scholars to take the tag titles off Team Hell No. Cody and Damien need the belts more.

Probably no U.S. Title or IC Title matches because Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett are participating in the Royal Rumble match. And a heel would probably just complain about having to pull double duty anyway. But just think of Mick Foley's triple Rumble appearance, though! That was a win.

(UPDATE: And a few hours after I posted this, WWE promotes a U.S. Title match for the pre-show  between Cesaro and Miz. Not expecting Miz to get the belt.)

There may be a divas title match penciled in at the last minute. Could be Kaitlyn against a random person. Won't be Tamina just yet, I think. Have Tamina attack Kaitlyn from behind on RAW the night after the PPV to start that feud.

Honestly, put Ziggler at #1 to start the Rumble. It's not like it matters from a timing standpoint. It's just cooler to say you went from #1 and lasted until the end. Since Cole said last week that superstars will enter every 90 seconds, Mysterio's 62:12 is safe for another year. Besides, Ziggler could just say he was born to be #1, so it's natural that he pick #1. Again, I'm expecting Ziggler and Cena at the end. Cena can enter whenever he wants, but hell, let's put him at the not-so-random #27 spot because, as Ziggler mentioned, four guys have won after entering at #27.

Will there be divas in this year's Royal Rumble? Signs point to no. Chyna (twice), Beth Phoenix, and Kharma have participated before. But truthfully, I'd mark the hell out if Sara Del Rey showed up in any fashion. Doesn't have to be the Rumble match.

Kane has a great shot to break Shawn Michaels' record for most career Rumble eliminations on Sunday. He has 37 to date and needs four eliminations to break HBK's mark of 40. It's Kane's 16th Rumble, easily a record (HBK's second with 12). While it includes Kane's other personas as the Fake Diesel and Isaac Yankem, it's still very uncommon to have such durability in the WWE world.

FUN FACT: Undertaker and Rikishi have each appeared in 10 Royal Rumbles, tied for third-most Royal Rumbles entered (before the 2013 event takes place). Rikishi also entered as Headshrinker Fatu and the Sultan. (Source: Wikipedia)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1/18/13 Smackdown

This is episode #700 of Smackdown, according to JBL.

The show begins with a little fiesta in the ring. Fiesta Del Rio! Mariachi band and dancing. Ricardo in the ring to introduce Alberto Del Rio. ADR with no car this time, but his titantron has the Mexican flag. Twitter handle is @VivaDelRio so they are really going full-on with the babyface run. And with Smackdown in Texas, ADR gets a huge favorable response.

Ziggler comes down with AJ and Langston. Is Dolph cashing in MITB? Nope, they just want to come to the party anyway. Ziggler reminds ADR of the MITB title shot and ADR has a target on his head. Langston speaks! "Que paso, little man." Dammit, shoulda taken Spanish in school. Before anything physical goes down, Big Show also to the ring. Sheamus arrives to even up the sides, so I guess we got a tag match later tonight. ADR and Sheamus shake hands. Who woulda thought that even a couple months ago? I still remember Sheamus' joyride with ADR's car. Don't let Sheamus eat any burritos! Booker comes down to make the match "official." Booker tells Show, Ziggler, Langston, and AJ to leave. Booker with a spinaroonie for old time's sake. Sheamus dances! JBL says now Sheamus will never get back in Ireland. LOL.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston: Cesaro just with a mention in the ring. Yup, your U.S. champ gets the mention, Kofi gets the big TV entrance. Logical! Short match here, seemed pretty average. Then the finish occurred. Kofi goes for a big hurricanrana, Cesaro catches him and turns it into a Neutralizer for three. Match was about three minutes as Miz watches from a backstage monitor. If that finish doesn't tell you how powerful Cesaro is, I don't know what will. Extremely impressive. Kofi might not be a very large man compared to others on the roster, but he's still over 200 pounds and coming down with a lot of force. *1/2

Primo, Epico, and Rosa apparently still speak English on WWE TV. So does Miz have a match with one of the cousins tonight?

Great Khali vs. Tensai: And this is torture to the WWE Universe. WHY?! No Hornswoggle this week because he's selling injuries of Big E Langston's finisher. Match, even for about 60 seconds, felt like 3 hours. Tensai stayed on Khali in the corner well after the ref told him to stop. Nice job not paying attention. Khali chop ends it quick. I'd also like to know why Natalya is not in a wrestling role right now. Ugh. N/A

Team Hell No in the back. I agree, some people just don't know when their facial hair just gets ridiculous. YES NO war ensues. Orton must be thinking why he's even tagging with these guys. Yup. GROUP HUG AFTER THE MATCH! I love this stuff.

Randy Orton & Team Hell No vs. Wade Barrett & Team Rhodes Scholars: Kane got worked over for a change of pace. Then Cody had to tag in and Kane probably sent the mustache into the third row. A bit of chaos, then Cross Rhodes to Orton. Kane breaks the pin up. RKO to Sandow gets the win. So hey, Orton at least won't be going on a bad losing streak...right? *3/4

OH, IT'S GROUP HUG TIME! Orton refuses, but basically is forced to be a part of it. Now watch Orton refer to this when he turns heel later this year.

We see Rock concert from RAW.

Miz vs. Primo: And as predicted, we got a match between Miz and one of the Puerto Rican cousins. Miz doing a few Flair impersonations. Primo tries for the figure four, but Miz launches Primo into Epico. Miz then with the figure four to Primo, and Primo taps. Match probably went about 6 minutes. Miz gets to celebrate a bit with some of the troops. *1/2

Kaitlyn with Layla and Alicia Fox in the back. Layla gets quite attached to that Divas Title. Could be Kaitlyn's next significant feud?

Kaitlyn vs. Aksana: But tonight, it's two NXT divas who probably should still not work any matches together. And I still don't know what "hybrid" Kaitlyn is supposed to be. Simple offense from Aksana, nothing fancy. Aksana just screams and does some catty attack to Kaitlyn in the corner, then Kaitlyn explodes with a nice spear to get three. Match went a little over three minutes. 1/2*

Nice video package of Mick Foley, who will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Gotta love it.

Shield promo mentioning Ryback, Sheamus, and Orton. You will believe in the Shield!

Sheamus and Orton again mentioning the Royal Rumble. Sheamus probably eliminates Orton during that match to set up the full heel turn for the Viper.

Alberto Del Rio & Sheamus vs. Big Show & Dolph Ziggler: Now as a face, ADR gets to show more of the lucha stuff, which he did against Ziggler in the early stages of the match. Show gets tagged in and looks strong as usual. Langston and AJ get ejected, and I'm a partially sad panda because I can't look at AJ anymore. Ziggler almost gets German suplexed on his head and he's probably on autopilot as Sheamus gets in the match. Show launches Sheamus off the top to the floor. Sheamus then pummeled for a few minutes, hot tag to ADR after Show missed that Vader Bomb. ADR with a big side kick to Ziggler for two. ADR signals for the armbreaker. Ziggler tags Show and ADR didn't see it. Cross armbreaker to Ziggler but Show legdrops ADR. Sheamus delivers White Noise to Show again. Running enzuigiri to Show. Remember the confetti Ricardo tossed on Show on RAW? ADR tosses water tonight! Show looks absolutely pissed, but walks away. Since Show's the legal man, his team gets counted out. Not the finish I personally cared for, but whatever. Mexican-colored balloons fall from the sky as the show ends. **3/4

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1/18/13 Superstars

Kofi Kingston vs. Michael McGillicutty: I can see promise in MM's in-ring work. Unfortunately, there's nothing else about him that makes me really care. He needs some type of gimmick, catchphrase, something. Pair him back up with a tag partner. He deserves better, and I consider MM one of the more underrated wrestlers on the roster. This was a drawn-out, formulaic match until the Kofi comeback that produced several counters and near falls. Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise and gets three. **1/4

We see several RAW 20th Anniversary Show moments, including the Cena/Ziggler cage match and Miz TV stuff with Flair pretty much giving Miz the figure-four to use. I wonder if Miz will end up using the move a lot more than AJ Styles did in TNA. Chances are good on that, considering Styles already has an expansive movesetand is just plain awesome (oops, sorry Miz).

Zack Ryder vs. JTG: This just may be the year that JTG gets future endeavored. How he's hung on for so long in the company after the Cryme Tyme breakup and Shad's release, I have no idea. It might be safe to say Ryder should have a better 2013 than all the crap he got sent through in 2012. The sad thing is I'd take JTG over Great Khali to work a match any day of the week -- and yet it's Khali that gets the gimmicks, the girls, and the screen time. JTG goes for his Mugshot finisher, but Ryder hits the Rough Ryder for three. *1/2

The show ends with more more RAW montage clips from the last 20 years (shown on RAW), the Rock concert, and the Rock/Punk brawl that ended Monday's show.

Friday, January 18, 2013

1/17/13 Impact (Bully/Brooke Wedding)

The Impact Zone is decorated with wedding stuff for the Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan wedding. Bully's in the back with his tux. HEY, IT'S SPIKE DUDLEY! Tommy Dreamer is also there. Brooke has some of the Knockouts as her bridesmaids (Tessmacher, Mickie James, Christy Hemme). Sounds about right.

Jeff Hardy to the ring. He's still the champ after the triple threat at Genesis. Daniels and Kaz interrupt his promo. Daniels stepping up to the plate to challenge Hardy next week for the title. Daniels is the Thursday Night Delight? We've heard similar stuff to describe John Morrison before. 2-on-1 assault on Hardy. Storm with the save and we got a tag match.

Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Jeff Hardy & James Storm: Hardy and Storm on a roll early, but you gotta appreciate Bad Influence's tag team chemistry. Typical heel moves from bad Influence to maintain control. Hardy gets the hot tag, so Daniels acts scared and tags Kaz in. Storm takes care of Daniels. Slingshot splash to the outside from Storm, but he appears to tweak his knee. Kaz tries to steal one with a rollup, but Hardy kicks out and a quick Twist of Fate gets three. Daniels attacks Hardy from behind after the match, and with Storm still out of the picture, Daniels hits Angel's Wings on Hardy on the title belt. **1/4

Spike apparently still reeks of booze and strippers. He must live a great life. Joseph Park also stops by to wish Bully well. An attorney possessing cigars that aren't street-legal. Ha.

It's Gut Check time to see who gets the contract. Brian Cage and Jay Bradley come down from last week. Prichard says it was one of the better Gut Check matches they've had, and I agree. Prichard then praises Cage for his physique and ring performance, but eliminates him. Jay Bradley faces the judges. Taz quickly says no; he was probably on Cage's side for the in-ring performance. Borash gives Bradley the mic to "kick out." Confident promo from Bradley, which I liked. Al Snow says yes because he has the talent and skill, plus Bradley connected with the crowd. The crowd is clearly telling the judges to say no. Prichard milks the suspense and says yes. Jay Bradley gets his contract. I would have said no to Bradley after last week's match, but I now like the decision based on the crowd reaction. Bradley has a good look, a named finisher, and decent mic skills. High hopes for him as a heel.

Christian York vs. Kenny King: A rematch of the X-Division Tournament Finals at Genesis. King attacked York after losing that match, so York wastes no time getting to Kenny this week. York displays a very aggressive side here. Looked like York was gonna use King's finisher. King counters into a rollup and he gets three while holding the tights. *1/2

Bully pleads with Sting to talk to Hulk Hogan. Bully wants Brooke happy, and that means Hulk must walk Brooke down the aisle. Meanwhile, Aries and Roode sound like they're gonna crash the wedding with objections. Hulk Hogan is spotted in the parking lot. No comment from Hulk regarding the wedding. Bully's third groomsman arrives: Taz wearing a tux.

Sting to the ring. He wants Hulk to come to the ring to talk, so HH does. Plain and simple, HH says he will never trust Bully Ray because he calls it like he sees it -- and Hulk doesn't see any good from this. Hulk told that he should walk Brooke down the aisle for himself and his daughter. Crowd telling Hogan to just do it. Hogan says he always does the right thing (brother) and leaves.

As expected, Gail Kim gripes to Taryn Terrell about the controversial finish to the Knockouts match at Genesis. Gail got her rematch from Brooke Hogan anyway. Another #1 contenders match.

Footage of Bully Ray's bachelor party in NYC. Taz probably wishes he was there now.

Velvet Sky vs. Gail Kim: I really like Velvet's catsuit ring attire. Botch when Gail tried to do a neckbreaker to Velvet, looked like Velvet's fault there (they redid the move properly). Gail controls most of the first half of this match. Gail hits Eat Defeat. Velvet gets her foot under the bottom rope and ref Taryn Terrell catches it this time. Gail gets in ref's face about it because of what happened at Genesis. Velvet now with the comeback. In Yo Face facebuster for Velvet gets the win. Knockouts roster may be thin, but these ladies can work. **

Dixie Carter gives her best wishes to Brooke Hogan.

Austin Aries and Bobby Roode to the ring. Both do their usual heel promos to say they are the best and are the ones making the company worth anything. Aries and Roode think the champions of TNA right now are a joke and then object to the wedding. Chavo and Hernandez come out. They object as well -- to Aries and Roode. Aries and Roode are calling them Mexican wedding caterers? Ow. But hey, I want a quesadilla as well! Brawl's on! Aries and Roode bail.

Sting and Hulk talk in the office. Hulk's just been trying to keep Brooke from bad people all her life. Sting again trying to convince Hulk that maybe Brooke just sees something in Bully that Hulk can't. Has the business blinded Hulk? Hulk again just tells Sting he always does the right thing for the business and for his family.

It's time for the wedding. The ropes have been removed and the ring has become the altar. Can I have some of that wedding cake? Bully comes down all smiling in a tux. Bridesmaids and groomsmen next. Tommy Dreamer and Miss Tessmacher, then Spike Dudley and Mickie James, then Taz and Christy Hemme.

Brooke Hogan in a beautiful wedding gown. No Hulk to be seen as Brooke looks behind her a couple times. Crowd cheers as Hulk comes from the side of the stage dressed in a tux. Crowd loudly chanting for Hulk to shake Bully's hand. No handshake, but Hulk does present Brooke to Bully. Preacher talks too much for me. Time for vows, both very heartwarming. No objections, which surprises me because that's usually where trouble begins. Now for the rings and the "I do" stuff. The "YES" chants have invaded TNA for the last few months. That goes as planned.

Taz interrupts. Didn't see that one coming. He takes off the jacket -- ACES & EIGHTS. AWESOME. A&E storms the ring and takes everyone out. Looked like the boobs popped out of Brooke's dress while getting restrained. Show ends.

Personally, I knew A&E would crash the party. I just didn't think they'd go with Taz. This might lead to Keneley and Tenay as just a two-man announcing team, which I'm fine with. Does this make Hulk trust Bully any more than before this episode? Could be argued that it worsens the chance of gaining trust because Bully and Taz have known each other for years, the link placing more distrust in Hulk's brain. I'm still waiting for the Brooke Hogan heel turn, probably a few months down the line. TNA shouldn't ruin Bully's babyface momentum with there being more reason for him to feud with A&E now.

Only three matches on the show tonight because of the wedding. Quality over quantity, I always say.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1/16/13 NXT

Show starts with a video package of the NXT Title match last week. Good for Langston to become the second NXT champion. I just hope he shows better mic skills in the future.

Adrian Neville vs. Sakamoto: Hey, remember Sakamoto, the guy that Tensai used to beat up? He's finally getting his shot in NXT. Neville is from England, so of course, Regal is all stoked. Announcers really hyping Neville. Neville impressive early with the agile moves. Neville has a similar look to when CM Punk first debuted. Neville with an impressive shooting star corkscrew splash from the top rope to get three. Nice way to make a first impression. *1/2

Just after seeing this match, I think Neville has a good upside. Haven't seen him talk yet, but a good debut.

Trent Barreta vs. Leo Kruger: This was probably one of Barreta's last matches (if not his last) before getting released. Kassius Ohno joins on commentary. Announcers keep saying Barreta is at 90%, but I don't care.Kruger controls most of the match. Barreta with great stuff on the comeback, but of course, he has to sell the other injuries so he's not as fast as he usually is. Half crab from Kruger, but Barreta to the ropes. Barreta with an enzuigiri and a senton dive to the outside. Ohno comes down and decks Barreta with the rolling elbow to the back of the head. Kruger hits his facebuster/cutter finisher (Kruger End) for three. **1/4

Regal helps Barreta to the back, and official #2 comes down to explain to official #1 what happened. So after all that, we get a reversed decision and Barreta gets a win by DQ. Gotta love how that logic works. "The backstage refs are blind unless they need to somehow randomly overturn a decision." Then again, if it always went like that, 95% of the matches with interference would get overturned.

We see a bunch of the vintage video packages from the RAW 20th Anniversary show. Woohoo, attitude era stuff is shown.

Big E Langston's gonna cut his first promo as NXT champion. Oh crap. Welcome to the Era of the Five! WTF. Camacho comes out. It was about that bounty money, but now Camacho wants the NXT Title. We got a match because a ref is conveniently in the ring.

Big E Langston vs. Camacho: Squash here. Langston hits his finisher about a minute in and gets three. Oh wait, that's right, we want FIVE! Langston hits his finisher again and counts to five. Sounds about right. Camacho starts getting up, so Langston delivers another one for another five count. N/A

Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Antonio Cesaro & Damien Sandow: Again, this match was taped before Kidd got sidelined with a serious knee injury. Wishing Tyson a speedy recovery. "He who seeks the admiration of idiots is himself an idiot." Nice quote from Sandow. Kidd shows his awesomeness early on against Sandow. Kidd with the hot tag here. Nice finish with the Gabriel springboard moonsault and Kidd springboard elbow drop for three on Sandow. Cesaro a bit too late for the save. Can the crowd wake up a little more, please? *3/4

1/16/13 Main Event

Main Event is in San Antonio. Miz and Cole on commentary, and we get right into the featured match of the night.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton: As Cesaro comes out, we see the Miz TV RAW segment when Cesaro interrupted and Miz got to put the figure four on the U.S. champ. Mat wrestling to start. Fairly even early on, with both guys getting good offense in. Very physical throughout. Cesaro with the top-rope double axe handle and bow to taunt Miz. Cesaro with Michinoku Driver for two. Orton fights back and hits a superplex to Cesaro for two. Cesaro with a "sleeper," but it's really a reverse chinlock. Multiple Euro uppercuts, but then Orton fires back with his usual comeback moves. Crowd going nuts. Cesaro decks Orton with a toss-into-Euro uppercut for two. Awesome match so far. Orton with a dropkick, catching Cesaro coming off the second rope. Hangman's DDT hits. Cesaro out of the ring. Shield arrives! Miz in the ring to help Orton, but numbers game too much. Reigns spears Miz. Triple powerbomb to Orton. No contest for the match. Cesaro later picks the bones and hits a Neutralizer on Miz. ***1/4

Replay of Punk/Rock brawl from this past Monday on RAW.

Brad Maddox replaces Miz on commentary. Lovely.

Primetime Players vs. Usos: Maddox using Jim Ross' catchphrases and basically doing his best to be an obnoxious dude. Titus gets on the whistle to cry foul when Usos double-dropkick D-Young. One Uso with a crossbody to Titus on the outside, the other splashes D-Young in the ring to get three. Match was decent, but the Maddox/Cole crap took away from the experience. *3/4

Maddox bails early and Cole gets to look awkward when closing the show. Fun.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1/14/13 RAW (20th Anniversary RAW)

The opening montage is all the different RAW openings from the past 20 years. Nice nostalgia moment.

Three-man announce team tonight: Cole, Lawler, JBL. Twitter hashtag was #RAW20, and many past and current WWE talent tweeted their favorite RAW moments throughout the show.

Vince McMahon in the ring to start the show. Nice pop from the crowd. Yes, we've seen entertainment throughout the years. Over 4 billion viewers in the U.S. have enjoyed RAW in 20 years. Gotta stroke the ego. Vince says the following are up tonight: Ziggler and Cena in a cage, plus Rock concert. Big Show comes out. Show wants to address the World Title situation and Vince basically doesn't want to hear it. We see the finish to the LMS match on Smackdown. Show reminds us of his ironclad contract and wants Vince to strip Del Rio of the title. ADR's music plays. Ricardo comes out and does his vintage ADR intro. Del Rio comes out in his wrestling gear. Attire has the Mexican colors, so I guess he's gone full babyface now. ADR calls Show the World's Largest Crybaby. ADR offers to give Show a rematch for the title tonight. "SI SI SI!" chants. Show refuses. ADR tells Show to grow a set. Show says he wants his rematch at the Royal Rumble. Predictable, right? ADR with more Spanish, calling Show a "fat jackass." ADR and Ricardo have a present for Big Show -- inside a bucket with the Mexican colors. Ricardo tosses Mexican-colored confetti on Show. Show's pissed. ADR and Ricardo work together to get Show retreating.

First RAW flashback: Bob Barker is the guest host. Many crappy guest hosts during this time, but most agree Barker was one of the best. Classic moment with Jericho.

Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton: Aggressive from the start. Orton back suplexes Barrett on the barricade, uncommon move there. Barrett took control during the commercial break, countering an Orton hangman's DDT. RKO countered, and Barrett tosses Orton into the ringpost. Barrett rolls up the elbow pad. If you see red, it's Bullhammer time. Finisher hits, and Barrett wins. Good clean win for the IC champ. Not often that Orton loses clean. I've read that this will lead to Orton's personal time off and eventual heel turn when he comes back. **

Fun RAW fact: When RAW's first episode aired on 1/11/93, Kofi Kingston was 11 years old, Cody Rhodes was 7, and AJ Lee was 5. And I was 9. Yay. In other words, I couldn't care less.

Booker tells Eve that if she even thinks about getting counted out or DQ'd in her Divas Title match against Kaitlyn tonight, Eve will be stripped of the title and it will belong to Kaitlyn. For those that don't know, Eve really is leaving the company. It's a shame, because Eve was one of the very few bright spots of the damn division. Then again, a lot of people probably hated it when Beth Phoenix left a few months ago. Divas division has been clinically dead for a long time. It's just supposedly alive because there's a title floating around and there are women who get pitiful segments just to satisfy the generally accepted rule of "at least one divas segment per show."

Team Hell No has their Anger Management followup evaluation. Plan is to lie. Group hug with Dr. Shelby! Asking DB what the best part is about Kane? Tall, can set things on fire, and a good dancer. Asking Kane what the best traits are in DB: agile in the ring, great beard...and sometimes he wears women's clothing. LOL. Surprise, Team Rhodes Scholars! Shelby says exposure therapy, but Sandow says it's system desensitization (Pavlov stuff). Rhodes Scholars antagonizes Dr. Shelby instead by mentioning "Dr. Phil." Vintage angry Dr. Shelby! Team Hell No attacks Team Rhodes Scholars. Team Hell No and Dr. Shelby with a lot of "YES" to end it. YES! That was freakin' awesome. Pure awesome.

Kane vs. Damien Sandow: Singles action tonight. Basic match here, Kane wins with the chokeslam in about two minutes. N/A

Mick Foley introduced as the first inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Foley comes out to a big pop. Shield comes down through the crowd and circles the ring. Ryback comes down, then Orton and Sheamus. Shellshocked to Ambrose. Shield retreats. Ryback wants the Shield. Thank you. Now Ryback has a reason to stay out of the WWE Title picture for a while.

Most outrageous gimmicks video package. Goldust and Gillberg FTW. Oh, and Regal's a real man's man. You're welcome.

Kaitlyn vs. Eve Torres (Divas Title): Again, Eve loses the title if she gets counted out or DQ'd. Kaitlyn's got the Texas shirt on in her hometown of Houston. Basically similar feel to when Miss Tessmacher won her first TNA Knockouts Title last year. JBL wins again for calling Teddy Long a "George Jefferson peanut head." Eve gets the head scissors-style choke on Kaitlyn, but Kaitlyn to the ropes. Shoulder tackles from Kaitlyn and reverse DDT for two. Crowd thought it was done because Kaitlyn has used that for a finisher in the past. Eve hits her swinging neckbreaker but only two! Eve rips Kaitlyn's Texas shirt. No wardrobe malfunction. Kaitlyn hits her gutbuster finisher but Eve rolls out of the ring. Kaitlyn goes out after her, a questionable move since Eve can lose the title on a countout. Eve tosses Kaitlyn into the barricade. Kaitlyn manages to get back in the ring and Eve doesn't realize it. Kaitlyn hits the spear on Eve and we have a new champ! I like the spear finisher for Kaitlyn because she's got a more muscular build than most divas. **1/4

Didn't think it was as good as Beth Phoenix's last WWE match, but another good divas match, especially for WWE standards. Kudos to Kaitlyn; she's come a very long way since NXT.

Josh Mathews interviews Brodus Clay about the CM Punk pipebomb last week. Brodus gonna get his hands on Punk tonight.

RAW flashback: 2007 contract signing with Trump and Vince. Trump shoves Vince on his ass. Yay.

CM Punk vs. Brodus Clay: This is Punk's 421st consecutive day as WWE champ. Brodus aggressive early. Straightforward match. Punk hits the Randy Savage elbow and slaps on the Anaconda Vice. Brodus taps. Brodus still didn't impress me, even against a worker like Punk. *1/2

Punk promo afterward. He lists all the facts he's accomplished. He says the people are entitled to their opinion on if Rock's entertaining. Punk vows to defeat Rock at the Rumble to cement his legacy as the best in the world. Another great promo, as always.

More wacky moments from RAW's 20 years involving cars, trucks, ambulances, zambonis, etc. Oh, and swimming in beer. Ah yes, the days of the Cryme Tyme Cenation. Shad got interviewed on that several weeks ago; the CTC reportedly got phased out because of Cena. I guess Cena's had to step on a bunch of people to get to where he is today.

Rock and Foley backstage segment. Rock 'n Sock Connection has come back to Houston! Vickie interrupts and tells Foley and Rock to shut up. Rock has no words for Vickie?! Oh, watch the Rock concert later? Sounds good.

Sheamus vs. 3MB: Handicap match where you have to eliminate people by tossing them over the top with both feet hitting the floor. JBL still with the jabs on 3MB. After a few minutes that people could just skip, Sheamus eliminates Jinder and McIntyre in a 10-second span. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick and ends up over the top rope to the apron. Jinder and McIntyre pull Sheamus to the floor and 3MB wins. Sheamus is pissed and nukes all three guys after the match. So 3MB basically loses even though they won. Sounds about right. *1/4

For the Royal Rumble match, Cole noted that participants will enter every 90 seconds again. 30 participants. So Mysterio's record time (over 62 minutes) is basically safe for another year.

Cena backstage promo. Nice Braden Walker reference.

Miz TV is next. Guest will be a Hall of Famer. Miz gives a hint: "WOOOOOO!" plus the struts. Yay, it's Flair! Only two-time WWE Hall of Famer (as an individual and as part of the Four Horsemen). Miz asks what Flair's favorite RAW moment was. For Flair, it was the sendoff he got on RAW after HBK sent him into retirement. We got a wooo-off! Video package on a bunch of signature catchphrases throughout the years. Hey, Spirit Squad in there! Miz gets Flair to do his "limosuine-ridin', jet-flyin', kiss-stealin'" catchphrase, and Cesaro interrupts. Cesaro wears American tights and holds the U.S. flag. Cesaro probably just came from the gym, because he looks even more ripped than usual. Crowd chants "USA." Insults Miz and Flair. Flair chops and Miz with the SCF to Cesaro. Flair tells Miz to put the figure-four on Cesaro! So now perhaps Miz acquired a new move? Win.

RAW flashback from January 1998. Vince introduces Mike Tyson, Austin interrupts, and we got a fight.

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan: Lawler calls Cody's mustache an "anorexic caterpillar." Ouch. DB catches Rhodes in the NO lock and Cody taps. Or is it the YES lock again? Match took about 75 seconds. Um, OK. N/A

Cole said during the Rhodes/Bryan match that there was huge breaking news concerning Eve. Eve's last promo on the WWE Active app. Yeah, Eve quits. Old news to many people. In all seriousness, though, I wish her well. She was a lot better as a heel act. Eve's engaged to Rener Gracie, so she'll be getting married and then leading the Gracie "Women Empowered" self-defense program. Pretty exciting stuff for Eve.

AJ Lee and Big E Langston next. Oh crap. We get to revisit past WWE weddings! AJ flubs some words but introduces the first two moments. First up, Edge and Lita in 2005 (Kane tombstones a priest). Next, Steph and HHH renew wedding vows in 2002 (HHH Pedigrees Vince and leaves Steph at the altar). Langston speaks and didn't screw up this time. Video of the AJ/Daniel Bryan wedding from RAW #1000 (AJ leaves DB at the altar to become RAW GM). AJ crying because she says Cena cost her the GM job. Ziggler comes in and says he's gonna beat down Cena tonight.

Jim Ross comes down to call Cena/Ziggler cage match. Four-man announce crew for this one.

Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena (Cage): Win by pinfall, submission, or escape cage. Ziggler tries to escape and Cena catches him, so they fight when on the top rope. Cena falls off and Ziggler gets crotched. Double ouch. Never really was a fan of people trying to escape the cage, prefer people to use the cage a lot for a pinfall or submission. Ziggler with another awesome dropkick when both are on the top rope. Langston "holds Cena up" and prevents Cena from winning during the commercial break. Typical Cena comeback moves. Cena goes for AA, Ziggler tries to escape up the cage. We get the partial moon shot. Thanks, WWE. AA countered again, and Ziggler superkick gets two. Ziggler becomes a human tug-of-war rope between Langston and Cena. Ouch again. Cena pulls Ziggler in for the STF, but Ziggler with a sweet counter into the sleeper. Cena climbs to the top with Ziggler on his back, then falls off to break the sleeper. Cena tries to escape through the door and Langston smashes the door in Cena's face. Ziggler covers for two. Cena tries to go over the top and kicks the cage door back in Ziggler's face. Langston wields a chair to get Cena back up the cage and in the ring. Ziggler with a Zigzag for two. OK, this is ridiculous. Cena on the top again. Ziggler hits a super DDT on Cena -- and TWO AGAIN. WTF. Ziggler's hitting everything and Cena just kicks out. Nothing new there, fellas, but still makes me shake my head. AJ goes ballistic and scales the cage. Langston gets in the cage to go after Cena. Ziggler tosses the MITB briefcase but decks Langston. AA to Ziggler and Cena gets three. ***1/2

I'm basically rating that match as such because of Ziggler's performance. I was really hoping Ziggler could be booked to win as clean as possible in a Cena match -- basically meaning it'll still be a screwy finish because Cena almost never loses clean (just stating a fact). A clean win over Cena will probably only happen when the guy is ready to retire. Rock doesn't count because he was already destined for the Hall of Fame before last year's WM match.

Frankly, it's another crushing loss for Ziggler. He remains in a main-event storyline but the proverbial glass ceiling is back in effect. Even in a storyline where no titles are actually at stake, Dolph is seemingly not allowed to get a clean win. Ziggler had to put his MITB briefcase on the line against Cena at TLC last month? Still don't see the additional short-term benefit Ziggler got from that. People realize putting the briefcase on Cena would be stupid because the guy doesn't need it. I'm sorry kids, but your superhero Cena has to lose clean one day. Why can't it be Ziggler that gets the nod? I for one have no clue what else he needs to do.

Last year was a perfect example of how Cena doesn't need to win the big matches to stay relevant. He lost to Rock, lost to Punk multiple times, got injured late in the year, and got stuck in the whole "People Power" crap with Laurinaitis -- yet Cena merchandise still flew off the shelves. Cena's main event spot is forever safe, without need for MITB briefcases or constant title shots. Ziggler's earned his stripes and then some. Give the Show-Off his due.

For the record, I'm really not a Cena hater. Cena deserves his spot because he's had great feuds with other great superstars (i.e., CM Punk). He still cuts good promos that can at times be excellent. I've simply become a fan of Ziggler's work. I still don't care for the atrocious name he got stuck with, but whatever works, I guess.

Sure, it's still January, but this was a big non-PPV match for the storyline. I'd have preferred AJ and Langston get ejected for whatever reason (make one up, who cares) and it leads to a Ziggler cage win. I don't care if it takes 17 Zigzags and 15 superkicks. Give Ziggler the damn win.

Show ends with the Rock concert. He pokes fun at how he looked on his first RAW appearance. Escaped mental patient getting ready to audition for the Backstreet Boys? Sounds about right. OK, now to the concert. Rock's first number is to Paul Heyman. ZZ Top in the house! Next song for Vickie Guerrero! Rock wants Vickie to come on out, so she does. And Rock wins the internet for that song. Look it up online somewhere because it had me rolling.

Finally, Rock calls Punk out. Rock says he promises to beat Punk in 13 days for the WWE Title. Oh, and Heyman's got Twinkie Tits. Punk sprints to the ring and the fight's on. Four refs try to separate the two guys as the show ends.

One final thing: Stone Cold and Shawn Michaels both had prior commitments in Vegas and couldn't be at RAW. Some people apparently didn't like that the two HOFers weren't there because this historic RAW happened to be in Texas. Cue facepalm.

It was a much more "normal" show than the 1000th RAW episode last year. Legends didn't pop up left and right, and any "appearances" were really limited to the video packages.