Sunday, March 10, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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