Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue #91: Money in the Bank 2013 Go-Home Show, G1 2013 Preview, KIZUNA ROAD iPPV + More!

Cubed Circle Newsletter – Smell of Money in the Bank & G1 in the Air


This week we look at WWE’s upcoming Money in the Bank PPV, the Money in the Bank go-home shows both RAW and SmackDown, we look in depth at New Japan’s G1 Climax and possible scenarios coming in and going out, New Japan’s Kizuna Road iPPV, Ben Carass covers NXT, iMPACT, the news and more! Now that everything is out of the way, I hope that you enjoy the newsletter and the week treats you well.


– Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Newsletter Editor


For a full colour PDF with Pictures click here!




WWE Money in the Bank this Sunday – RVD Returns


One of my favourite showcases of WrestleMania from WrestleMania 21 in 2005 onwards was the Money in the Bank ladder match. I really felt as though it added something special, meaningful and important to the WrestleMania undercard, as it became a tradition of sorts. It was then in 2010, that the format was changed, and instead of being one of the most thrilling undercard matches at WrestleMania, the stipulation was given its own pay-per-view. Originally I wasn’t too high on the idea, after all we were losing a great WrestleMania showcase, in place of what at the time felt like a forced pay-per-view concept. However, now in 2013 it has become one of my favourite regular pay-per-view events of the year.


I wasn’t terribly overwhelmed by the 2010 show, in fact I barely even remember much of it other than that Kane and Miz won the titles, but that all changed in 2011. The 2011 Money in the Bank show from the Allstate arena wasn’t only the best show of the year, but one of the best in company history, and some of that success was due to the Money in the Bank concept. Granted, it is safe to say that pretty much all of the interest for the show was directed from the Cena/Punk match, and Punk’s star making Las Vegas promo weeks earlier, but the unpredictability that the Money in the Bank concept was able to bring to that PPV and the angle as a whole indirectly added to its appeal.


Fast forward to the following year, and suffice to say it was a show unable to live up to the previous year’s standards. However, no one expected it to reach those heights, and in the end it was still a very good show with two ladder matches, and a great WWE title match between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Of course, the Bryan/Punk match never grasped its full potential due to an on-going story at the time involving AJ as the center of a love triangle. Regardless, it was still a match that contributed to a memorable, but ultimately flawed series.


This year the WWE looks to top last year’s Money in the Bank show, with a great card from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It is an obscure card from a couple of angles, namely the heel/face dynamic of both ladder matches, and the fact that the Shield, or at least Rollins and Reigns, are only set to appear on the pre-show. Still, even with its drawbacks it is looking to be one of the better WWE shows of the entire year.


The show is being headlined by Mark Henry challenging John Cena for the WWE championship, which was set up by one of the most believable and well performed retirement angles in recent memory from Mark Henry a few weeks back. From that point the angle has cooled off a bit. After all, Henry constantly gets the “what” treatment during his promos, and Cena hasn’t done much to light the world on fire, apart from the most serious promo that he has cut in a while a couple of weeks ago.


Everyone pretty much knows what to expect from Henry and Cena. It won’t be a great or even good match, but with the Philadelphia crowd, who will probably be their usual, heel loving and Cena hating selves, it should hopefully be a fun outing. I know that there has been a shift in betting odds (yes, you can bet on pro-wrestling, and yes, that does open room up for creative staff members to get in on the action) in favour of Henry, but I see Cena winning this one, as they hopefully will be going to Bryan and Cena next, and I doubt that you could pull something similar off with Henry.


In the World Heavyweight title match, former champion Dolf Ziggler, challenges Alberto Del Rio for the title in a rematch from last month’s show where Del Rio won the title. The last match was a far better match than expected, but that was mostly due to a unique dynamic and double turn during the match, all in front of a hot Chicago crowd. They could get something similar here, as Ziggler is the actual face, and will be cheered vociferously. The opposite will probably true for Del Rio, which means that in terms of heel/face dynamics everyone will be where they should be.


It would make sense to put the title on Ziggler, as the title switch on the last show really was only a way to get the title onto Del Rio while performing a very effective double turn. Del Rio doesn’t do much for me as a world champion, and while I don’t think that they should play hot potato with the title, I don’t think that it should be kept on the wrong person for the sake of it either. I would personally have Ziggler win here, but knowing how the WWE works they will probably do a weaker finish here before doing the switch at Summerslam.


The SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match, the weaker of the two that will probably be going on first, is believe it or not comprised of all heels. The participants are Dean Ambrose, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, Fandango, Jack Swagger and Wade Barrett. This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal due to the fact that they will be in Philadelphia, and it will be a smart crowd who will cheer who they want to cheer and boo who they want to boo. However, it still creates a weaker dynamic than a match with even one babyface in the mix. Still, the match should be an interesting one, as they could either put the title on Ambrose, Cesaro or Barrett. At first glance Ambrose would make the most sense, but then again the Shield are hot in their current position and it may not be the time to move them up the card. There is also Cesaro, and Barrett as possible candidates, but you don’t want to have them win and then get beaten like a drum regardless, which is what will probably end up happening if one of those two win.


Chris Jericho goes up against Ryback, in a match that was originally intended for WrestleMania, but was later changed to Jericho/Fandango and Ryback/Henry. For some reason over the past few weeks the Ryback character has gone through quite the transition going from a killing machine, to whining crybaby in the span of a few weeks. I am not so sure what the current direction is for Ryback, given that they have even had him lose matches due to verbal submission, but I would guess that Ryback will be winning this match as Jericho has to go on tour anyway.


Miz faces Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental title match, which is far and away the most pre-show worthy match on the entire show, as it is a match that I am sure most fans could care less about given that they haven’t really built Miz up all that well, and Axel hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire. It should be a fine match, but I would much rather see the Shield on my show.


Speaking of things that you would and wouldn’t want to see on the show, the tag team title match of Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns versus the Usos was banished to the pre-show this week. When I heard this I was very upset for quite a few different reasons. The first reason is that by placing Reigns & Rollins on the pre-show you ultimately lower their stature as a mainevent act, as they are no longer viewed as something that is worth paying for. At the same time you also bring the titles down, as they aren’t viewed as important enough for the main show. Above all else the Usos and Shield would be a more than welcome edition to the show, in fact if they were given the chance they could easily have the best match on this entire show. They aren’t going to have that opportunity on the pre-show, where most matches are drowned out by video packages and are only given a few minutes. I can’t see them changing the titles on the pre-show, but then again I couldn’t have seen the Shield on the pre-show before this either.


Kaitlyn gets her rematch against AJ for the Diva’s title, in another match that I have far less interest in than I do the Shield match. It should be fine, and if we are lucky we may even get a performance on the level of the previous show, but they won’t be given the opportunity to do anything special here.


Finally, in the match that I am sure the majority of fans view as the true top match of the night, in the RAW Money in the Bank ladder match, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Christian, Rob Van Dam, Randy Orton, Kane and Sheamus face off in a match that should easily reach the level of match of the night night, and exceed the great level. Apart from Kane and an aging Rob Van Dam (who probably got himself in shape for this show, and will be prepped up by this Philadelphia crowd), the match is comprised of good to great workers, all of whom have been in Money in the Bank ladder matches in the past. Making the match even more appealing is the fact that they have built Van Dam up so well, and the Van Dam video packages have been getting such great reactions, that I can’t see his return being anything less than phenomenal.


There is always the chance that they could have Kane “unable to compete” or have him laid out by the Wyatt Family, in which case the Christian return really could have come in handy. However, I would suspect that they will just be going with the advertised line-up. The obvious pick would be Bryan, but given that they made him look good on RAW, and they normally like to swerve everyone in that way – I would say that the chances of Bryan winning the briefcase are 50/50. I think that either Christian, Van Dam or CM Punk are good bets amongst the remaining entrants.


Regardless of the pre-show match, and swerves in the mainevent, this should be one of the WWE’s better nights of the entire year, and possibly even more than that. So as always this Money in the Bank show will be worth a watch.


G1 Climax 2013 Set To Go All the Way


New Japan’s annual G1 Climax is certainly the biggest and most prestigious annual wrestling tournament in Japan, and it has been that way for some time now. Not only that, but the G1 is probably the most relevant and important tournament throughout the entire business in 2013, which means that a large number of eyes waited anxiously for the participants to be announced at last week’s Kizuna Road iPPV from Korakuen Hall . The G1 Climax is one of the clearest ways to gauge exactly how hot the New Japan product is year in and year out, given that it is a tournament almost solely made up of main roster talent. Plus, tickets go on sale before the participants are even announced, which means that the initial rate of sale is a great indicator of the stability and general perception of the product.


To give you an accurate idea of how great the New Japan roster is in 2013, and more importantly a verification that Japanese fans concur with that viewpoint, all of the tickets that went on sale were gone weeks ago, and that was before last week’s lineup hit. So, New Japan proved that they have the interest of the fans in their general product, but what about the depth of the roster? Well, if it wasn’t clear enough already, the G1 line-up that was released on last week’s show, exhibited what many fans of New Japan have been saying for a long time – New Japan Pro-Wrestling has one of, if not the best roster in the business right now.


The reveal itself was actually quite interesting, because I expected it to stop at a certain point, but the reveals kept on coming. The A Block is comprised of Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Satoshi Kojima, Togi Makabe Lance Archer, Prince Devitt, Katsuyori Shibata and two wrestlers new to the G1, Davey Boy Smith Junior and cult favourite Tomohiro Ishii.


If this was any normal roster this block may have exhausted the majority of the star power stored within the company, but while the A Block is the stronger of the two, the B Block still has some of the best talent in the company: Shinsuke Nakamura, Tetsuya Naito, Yuji Nagata, Minoru Suzuki, Karl Anderson, Shelton Benjamin, Yujiro Takahashi, Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and DDT outsider Kota Ibushi. That means that after stuffing the A Block full of top tier talent they were still able to adequately fill a second ten man block, making for one incredible G1 tournament.


Some have said that while the A Block is steller, there is a worry that too much will be given away throughout the tournament, namely new matchups involving the likes of Okada and Shibata that have never been done before, and could draw money. While I understand this argument, and feel that it holds a certain amount of validity, I don’t believe that it really applies here. The thing with the G1 as a tournament is that it is used to set up big matches, both through actually having a big winner, and by having some of the strongest talent in the promotion lose matches through parity booking – setting up matches and stories for later on. The G1 doesn’t work in a way that gives matches away either, as the majority of these shows will be ten match shows, meaning that the majority of the matches in the early stages will not go all too long, and won’t give much away.


Even though this entire tournament, with the exception of Kota Ibushi, is made up of New Japan talent there was still one reveal amongst all 20 men that made me, and I am sure many other people incredibly excited, and that one man was Tomohiro Ishii, who is perhaps the most underrated talent in the business; and that is no hyperbole. He is one of those guys who the fans respect, and can clearly tell that he is great, but he has never received a push to correspond with his talent or popularity amongst fans of the product. He is quite stout, and that may be apart of it, but New Japan really has been letting him go out there and shine as of late with matches against Goto, Tanaka, Kojima and hopefully in an upcoming match against Suzuki. It is because of his tremendous working ability, as well as his stiff style and ability to work with just about anyone that so many have wanted to see him in the G1, and suffice to say I was more than ecstatic when that day came last weekend.


Out of all the cards released for the G1, a total of nine, the two that stand out the most are the August 4th iPPV from the Osaka Bodymaker Colosseum and the final night on August 11th, which may be announced as an iPPV at a later stage. However, while these two shows look to be the strongest, every card out of the nine looks very strong, and some of the best shows may be the least expected to deliver big.


The August 4th show has a particularly strong advantage, as it is being held at what is perhaps one of the most reliable wrestling venues in the world for great shows, the Osaka Body Maker Colosseum. Likewise, the final is being held at the traditional Sumo Hall, which can get unreal heat for G1 finals, and big matches in general. The crowd may be the deciding factor between say the August 4th show, and August 6th show from Ishikawa.


The August 4th show will be headlined by an incredibly unique matchup in Shinsuke Nakamura versus Kota Ibushi, which may in all likelihood deliver one of the more unique matches that Kota Ibushi has had in a long time. Moving down the card Togi Makabe will face Okada in a rematch of their seminal June 22nd match from the same building. Hiroshi Tanahashi faces Prince Devitt in a matchup that is always good. Naito faces Suzuki in a match that I would pay a lot of money for to see as a big Osaka pay-per-view mainevent. Goto faces Archer in a match that could surprise some people. Ishii goes up against Shibata (see Suzuki/Naito). Kojima faces Davey Boy Smith, which could be fun, and the same goes for the rest of the undercard in Nagata/Benjamin, Tenzan/Anderson and Yano/Takahashi, which will probably be the weakest match on the card. What will most assuredly happen here is that the majority of the matches will be short changed, but regardless of that it should still be a great show.


When you talk about being shortchanged, that will be an even bigger issue for the final night, which will have a grand total of twelve matches on the show. The mainevent will obviously be the finals of the entire G1, but what I would expect to be the A Block deciding match Tanahashi/Shibata will be the equivalent of a semi-main. Tanahashi/Shibata is another one of those matches that probably won’t get a lot of time, especially when one of them will be going on to wrestle a twenty plus minute final match, but it is a match that hopefully will set up something between the two down the line – maybe for the briefcase if one of them wins the tournament. I have a feeling that the B Block will be more open-ended by the time the final night rolls around, although realistically the entire tournament will be left pretty open leading into the August 11th show. With that said, I think that the Naito/Anderson match on that show will have a large role to play into the finals of the tournament, as well.


Other matches on that show include a rematch of one of the best matches of the year, Ishii/Goto, an interesting Makabe/Devitt match (seeing Makabe lay the Bullet Club out could be very fun), Kojima/Okada, Archer/Smith in a partner versus partner match, Tenzan/Ibushi, which could be pretty surreal, Nagata/Takahashi, and two more rematches Benjamin/Nakamura and Yano/Suzuki – two matches that are remembered for very different reasons. Hopefully, this show is placed on iPPV although nothing have been announced yet. The feeling is however that it will be announced pretty soon.


As far as the finals of the tournament go, my initial reaction would be either Naito or Anderson from Block B, or Shibata or Tanahashi from Block A, but looking back at previous G1s it isn’t that simple. The first thing that you have to look at is that the G1 is rarely clear cut at any point until the final night, at least over the last few years, and the second is that Jado & Gedo as bookers like to go with a favourite and surprise in the finals. It is for that reason that I don’t think that we will be getting a clean cut combination of Naito, Anderson, Shibata and Tanahashi in the finals.


Last year the relative surprise for the finals was Karl Anderson, who went up against the favorite in Okada. This year I would think that most people would suspect that Naito, Shibata or Nakamura will be winning the tournament, and I tend to concur with that opinion. Naito would be a good choice if they are going for Okada/Naito at the Dome, or another big show, but I don’t know how well that will draw. Okada has been drawing well as champion, so it could draw well with a good undercard at the Dome, but I don’t know if I would take the risk. Shibata and Okada certainly would have an interesting dynamic, and both are interesting enough that I could see them drawing on the same if not better level than the Tanahashi/Okada match last year, so that is a possibility. Finally, there is Nakamura, who would have the strongest dynamic with Okada at the Dome given how they are tag partners and all. It is for that reason that I would think that Nakamura would be the favourite for the entire tournament – although I could see them going with the other two.


As far as final opponents go there is a great selection. The thing with the G1 is that the tickets are already sold out, and the finals match isn’t going to make or break anything, especially when it is a tournament when you only know the finalists half way through the night. They could go the obvious route and have generational rivals in Nakamura and Tanahashi go at it in the finals, which certainly would create an interesting dynamic given the history that both men have with Okada. Plus, having Okada accompany Nakamura, only for Nakamura to win and then face off with Okada would be a great scene.


Sticking with opponents for Nakamura, they could also go with Shibata, which would have a very strong dynamic. I also think that there could be a chance in any of these scenarios where Ishii makes it to the finals to deliver a star making performance. I would say that Ishii and Nakamura would have a good dynamic considering that they are stablemates, but having another partner on partner battle right before the start of the Okada/Nakamura program seems like too much too soon – unless of course they could work that heavily into the angle. Prince Devitt is also another distinct possibility for the entire tournament, although having him blaze through the Best of the Super Juniors, headline two pay-per-views, and then win the G1 feels like overkill to me.


When looking at Naito and potential final opponents for him, they could go with Shibata or Tanahashi, which would be the most obvious choice given that their match together on the final night will probably be the deciding match when it comes to choosing a challenger for the finals. Naito/Tanahashi and Shibata/Naito both seem to have a very strong dynamic from my perspective, and given that it will probably be Naito or Nakamura winning the entire tournament it feels like the best path for Naito if he were to make it this far.


I would say that there is probably a one in ten chance or there about that they will have Okada in the finals, but having the champion in the finals doesn’t seem like the best booking philosophy, especially when the finals can serve to get two people over while setting up a fresh match. So it doesn’t seem like a strong possibility for me at all.


When it comes to what will actually happen following the August 11th show. I predict that the Money in the Bank briefcase, as well as the Tokyo Dome challenge will become somewhat of an unwritten tradition at this point — it just makes the most sense for the health of the tournament. If they carry the tournament out in that way, then you know that you are watching pro-wrestling’s number one tournament for a shot at New Japan’s biggest show, against the champion, it makes complete sense. And given the fact that Okada established the concept they can really play it up if Nakamura or Naito win.


If I were booking this tournament, I would focus next year on building Naito up really strong for a 2014 G1 victory, and I would have Nakamura win this year’s G1. In that way you could have a very big match for the Dome in Nakamura/Okada partner against partner, and then next year you could build to a match that hopefully at that time would be against the two biggest stars in the promotion. Of course you would have to keep Okada and Naito separate, but that wouldn’t be all that difficult to do if they have Naito win the intercontinental championship, and go on a long run with the title.


I originally thought that Nakamura/Okada for the Dome would be too early, but the fact of the matter is that they should do the big match when they have it, and right now that feels like the big match. Plus, moving into 2014’s G1 they could have Naito win, and then they would have another big mainevent for 2015, and who knows what would happen beyond that point — maybe they could have Naito and Hiromu Takahashi in the mainevent.


In all seriousness, this year’s G1 is stacking up to be one of the best pro-wrestling tournaments in recent memory. It will be the best roster in the world, at its best, and as a wrestling fan it should be a grand old time.


G1 Climax 2013 Line-Up


Below is the complete line-up for the 2013 G1 Climax – courtesy of and


NJPW, 8/1/13 (Samurai! TV)

Act City Hamamatsu in Shizuoka


1. G1 Climax – Block B: Kota Ibushi vs. Toru Yano

2. G1 Climax – Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Lance Archer

3. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shelton Benjamin

4. G1 Climax – Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

5. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi

6. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki

7. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto

8. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Karl Anderson

9. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Prince Devitt


NJPW, 8/2/13 (TV Asahi ch1 & ch2)

Tokyo Korakuen Hall


1. G1 Climax – Block B: Karl Anderson vs. Shelton Benjamin

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yujiro Takahashi

3. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano

4. G1 Climax – Block A: Prince Devitt vs. Lance Archer

5. G1 Climax – Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Satoshi Kojima

6. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

7. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi

8. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Minoru Suzuki

9. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Kazuchika Okada

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii


NJPW, 8/3/13 (Samurai! TV)

Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium


1. G1 Climax – Block B: Kota Ibushi vs. Karl Anderson

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shelton Benjamin

3. G1 Climax – Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Prince Devitt

4. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Minoru Suzuki

5. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito

6. G1 Climax – Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Lance Archer

7. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Toru Yano

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Satoshi Kojima

9. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.


NJPW, 8/4/13 (WPW) – iPPV

Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium


1. G1 Climax – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Yujiro Takahashi

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Karl Anderson

3. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Shelton Benjamin

4. G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

5. G1 Climax – Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katsuyori Shibata

6. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Lance Archer

7. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Prince Devitt

9. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Kazuchika Okada

10. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi


NJPW, 8/6/13 (Samurai! TV)

Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall #3


1. G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomohiro Ishii

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Toru Yano

3. G1 Climax – Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Lance Archer

4. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Shelton Benjamin

5. G1 Climax – Block B: Karl Anderson vs. Minoru Suzuki

6. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Kota Ibushi

7. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yujiro Takahashi

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

9. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Prince Devitt

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe


NJPW, 8/7/13 (Samurai! TV)

Sendai Sun Plaza Hall


1. G1 Climax – Block B: Kota Ibushi vs. Shelton Benjamin

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Karl Anderson

3. G1 Climax – Block A: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

4. G1 Climax – Block B: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki

5. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Lance Archer

6. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tetsuya Naito

7. G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Prince Devitt

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata

9. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto


NJPW, 8/8/13 (Samurai! TV)

Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium


1. G1 Climax – Block B: Kota Ibushi vs. Yujiro Takahashi

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Karl Anderson

3. G1 Climax – Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Prince Devitt

4. G1 Climax – Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii

5. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

6. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Lance Archer

7. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

9. G1 Climax – Block B: Minoru Suzuki vs. Shelton Benjamin

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Satoshi Kojima


NJPW, 8/10/13 (TV Asahi ch1 & ch2)

Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan


1. G1 Climax – Block A: Prince Devitt vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Karl Anderson vs. Yujiro Takahashi

3. G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Lance Archer

4. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yuji Nagata

5. G1 Climax – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Shelton Benjamin

6. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii

7. G1 Climax – Block B: Kota Ibushi vs. Minoru Suzuki

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata

9. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada


NJPW, 8/11/13 (WPW)

Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan


1. Special Tag Match: Kazushi Sakuraba & Akebono vs. Takashi Iizuka & YOSHI-HASHI

2. G1 Climax – Block B: Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki

3. G1 Climax – Block B: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin

4. G1 Climax – Block B: Tetsuya Naito vs. Karl Anderson

5. G1 Climax – Block B: Yuji Nagata vs. Yujiro Takahashi

6. G1 Climax – Block B: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Kota Ibushi

7. G1 Climax – Block A: Lance Archer vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.

8. G1 Climax – Block A: Satoshi Kojima vs. Kazuchika Okada

9. G1 Climax – Block A: Hirooki Goto vs. Tomohiro Ishii

10. G1 Climax – Block A: Togi Makabe vs. Prince Devitt

11. G1 Climax – Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata

12. G1 Climax – Final: Block A Winner vs. Block B Winner




New Japan Kizuna Road July 5th 2013

Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan


Overall Thoughts:


Kizuna Road was a very much an average Korakuen Hall show that had some fun matches, none of which I was upset watching, and a very good mainevent match between Prince Devitt and Gedo. However, despite these facts I don’t feel that it was worth the cut $20 price tag. That isn’t a knock on the show itself, but more on the fact that they put it on iPPV. It isn’t the first time that they have put a show that was of this quality up as an iPPV either, as they put on what was most likely their weakest iPPV to date on last year, in the Tag League Final. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they were devaluing their iPPV business by putting this show on iPPV, because I don’t feel that one, or even a couple of shows like this could do that. However, they do need to be careful when it comes to what they do and do not put on iPPV, as they really should keep that aspect of their business strong. All in all this was a very fun show , just not one worth twenty dollars – you wouldn’t lose out on much if you miss it, but you won’t be disappointed if you get a chance to see it either.


There was an awesome pre-show with Nakanishi drawing Super Strong Machine to classical music, and getting a mask of his own made.


1, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Super Strong Machine vs. Jado, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka


The match started off in the exact manner that you would expect. The heels neutralized Kojima and removed the turnbuckle pad following some brawling out on the floor together with the usual Jado gimmick infringement. The tag was made from Kojima following a cutter, and he ran wild before tagging Tenzan in. Tenzan and Kojima landed the 3D on Jado for two. Eventually Yano came in with a chair, which wasn’t a DQ, but Iizuka rushed in with a steel claw shot, which was a DQ – and one that was really unneeded given that it wouldn’t have hurt anyone if they had beaten Jado or Strong Machine here.

* ¾


2. Yuji Nagata, Takaaki Watanabe, Hirooki Goto & Captain New Japan vs. Togi Makabe, KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask & Manabu Nakanishi


Makabe & Goto went to a big forearm exchange to start things off. Nagata and Nakanishi went at it next, and Nagata went on to have a very fun exchange with Tiger Mask. The match that followed was a very fun tag team match with Goto and Makabe going at it in a battle, which the crowd was really into. Nagata also had his shot at Makabe before being put in a Nakanishi torture rack and being knocked to the mat. KUSHIDA and Watanabe had their shot, in an exchange that culminated in a big strike war, and buzzsaw kick followed by armbar for the win.

*** ½


3. Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov


Michinoku has shaved his hair off, and looks rather strange because of it. Suzuki and Ishii were pushing each other before the bell even rang. They went at it with forearms for what must have been a good two minutes. Ishii & Suzuki went at it out on the floor allowing the four juniors to go at it. Suzuki bullied Romero until Ishii was tagged back in and had another great exchange with Suzuki involving headbutts and stiff slaps. Koslov came in and landed the kazatzka kicks on Taichi. Taichi went for a brace shot, but Koslov countered and he landed the contract killer with Romero. Suzuki ran in to break it up and landed the piledriver, before throwing Taichi onto Koslov with the low-fly flow for the win. Ishii and Suzuki went at it after the match. Suzuki attempted to cut a promo, but Ishii was having none of it and slapped Suzuki before going at it again. Suzuki eventually gave up and left. However, Ishii said something on the mic, Suzuki grabbed a chair allowing Ishii to dive out to the floor onto him. Every time you thought it was over they went back at it before Suzuki and company left through the back. Oh, and Suzuki drank from a juice bottle. The insane post-match with Ishii and Suzuki is something that you need to seek out; a great way to build to their singles match.

*** ¼


3. Tetsuya Naito, Tomoaki Honma & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Masato Tanaka, Yujiro Takahashi & La Sombra


Sombra and Nakamura started off before Naito and Tanaka were tagged in. Nakamura landed some hard kicks on Naito for two. Everyone slapped everyone else really hard; that is simply what the situation was. Tanaka killed Honma with an elbow in the corner, all three heels teed off until Naito came in for the save. However, Takahashi landed Tokyo Pimps for the win on Honma. After the match Sombra held up the belts in the face of Nakamura.

*** ½


They revealed theG1 participants in another highlight of the show. We already went through this earlier on, so there is no need to really get into it again. Kota Ibushi came out for a very Kota Ibushish promo.


4. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Bad Luck Fale & Karl Anderson


The crowd were really into Okada at the start of the match. Anderson and Okada had a fun exchange, but once Fale and HASHI were in things went downhill, and that was very much the story of the match. Anderson and Okada had their fun sequences, but Fale and HASHI dragged the match down to a point where they didn’t really get up to a level where you could call this anything other than mediocre. HASHI was pinned by Fale with the chokeslam spike relatively clean to set up the Devitt/Okada match in a few weeks.

** 1/4


5. CMLL Tag Team Championship Match

Tama Tonga & El Terrible vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger


Tonga made his way out in a Shield vest of all things. Tanahashi landed a high fly flow out to the floor on Terrible leaving Tonga open to land a splash and neckbreaker on Liger. That was basically the extent of Tanahashi’s big spots, as he is still recovering from some nagging injuries. Terrible landed a dropkick on Tanahashi and let out the most awesome evil cackle. Tanahashi came off with the high fly flow off the top onto a standing Terrible and then landed a high fly flow, meaning that Tanahashi & Liger are your new tag team champions, which I was not expecting, although it makes sense in the context of the ever progressing CMLL/New Japan relationship. After the match Terrible congratulated Liger and Tanahashi and raised their hands.

*** ¼


6. Junior Heavyweight Championship Match

Prince Devitt w/ Bad Luck Fale & Karl Anderson vs. Gedo w/ Kazuchika Okada & Jado


Gedo made it out with Okada and Jado. Sadly, Devitt did not have his light up jacket on at this Korakuen show. The crowd was really behind Gedo from the onset as they went to the collar and elbow tie-up. Gedo slapped Devitt off of a break and the crowd erupted. Anderson distracted Gedo out on the floor and Gedo dared Anderson to hit him, but the referee got in his face and he was unable to. Devitt went after the leg of Devitt. Devitt dropped Gedo onto Anderson on the floor, which only opened Devitt up for more work. Devitt got the advantage following a kick to Gedo positioned on a chair out on the floor, and he was sent into an exposed turnbuckle. Devitt missed a footstomp and was taken down with a superkick for a double down. Gedo distracted Anderson out on the floor, allowing for Okada to throw him a chair and go after the ankle of Devitt. Devitt got the knees up off of an attempted splash, which allowed Devitt to land a footstomp for two. Gedo the proceeded to kick out of a Bloody Sunday, and landed a low blow behind the referee’s back followed by a Gedo clutch for two.The ref took another bump, which really shows how often they do that spot. This led to Okada clearing house and the crowd went crazy. Gedo landed his superfly frogsplash for two. Jado gave Devitt a chair shot for two and Anderson delivered one to Gedo also for two. Devitt then made the rainmaker pose and landed the Bloody Sunday for the win.

**** 1/4


Devitt cut a promo saying that he didn’t want the trophy, and said that he would be the next champion. Okada responded and got a big pop


WWE Monday Night RAW July 8th 2013

1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, Maryland


Overall Thoughts:


This week’s edition of RAW was a major step up from the last couple of shows. The crowd was pretty much into all of the major angles, apart from a couple that were rather sub-par such as the Ziggler/Del Rio interference spot with Sin Cara. I also thought that the culmination to the Wyatt series of vignettes really was tremendous, apart from the fact that they went after Kane and it came on the go-home show for the PPV, when they probably could have done it next week to much greater effect, possibly with someone who will be able to perform with Rowan on decent level. It is for that reason that I think that they are going to interfere in one of the PPV matches in some capacity. I also enjoyed the Bryan/Sheamus as a pure pro-wrestling match, although the WWE’s lack of true definition when it comes to heels and faces is really bringing the crowd reactions and overall feel of the product down. The McMahon angle is doing a similar job, in fat by the end of their contract evaluation it literally felt like I had been watching the show for three and a half hours – if not longer. They have also had Vickie come off as a babyface for months now, and they did it again tonight, which actually made Vince look like anything but the heel that she is supposed to be tonight. All in all this was a good go-home show for Money in the Bank, but certainly not a show that is going to sell many more people on the show.


There was a Bray Wyatt vignette before the opening video. Vickie, Maddox and a ladder were in the ring. Vickie spoke of all the people that the ladder was associated with including Triple H, which I found pretty baffling since the only ladder match that he is remembered for is the one with the Rock, and even that is a stretch. She said that the ladder represented her ascension during her career. She climbed the ladder and spoke of how she had to learn everything herself, and she had done it all for the fans. Just then Lawler piped up, and revealed a WWE app poll to decide if Vickie had passed or failed as GM. Vickie equated the fans to a family, and announced a Mark Henry/Cena face to face segment as well as Money in the Bank related matches, such as Christian/Kane, Punk/Orton and Sheamus/Bryan for the night…she seems pretty competent to me. There was a Van Dam recap of his 2006 Money in the Bank win. There was a big spot where Bryan went for his flying knee off of the apron, but was caught and thrown into the barricade before the break. Bryan landed his tope off of a failed brogue kick. This north eastern crowd was very much the opposite of the lackluster crowds over the past few weeks and helped make this match. There were tons of great exchanges and nearfalls towards the end with Bryan grabbing a small package out of a cloverleaf for the win in a great TV match. After the match Bryan and Sheamus shook hands as Bryan chanted “yes” – so he is a babyface then, right?


There was a crazy video with a WWE reporter searching for the Wyatt compound. Basically a faceless reporter asked two weird fellows for directions. AJ was talking to Langston backstage. Ziggler came by and Langston left. He brought up that she wasn’t with him on SmackDown, but they quite literally kissed and made up. There was another great Mark Henry video package, similar to the one that we saw last week. The pre-show kings of Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns made it out for a match with Sweet T & Clay who now have matching ring gear. There was another RVD ladder match video package, this time from his awesome 2002 match with Guerrero. Reigns and Clay attempted some surprisingly athletic spots, Clay even came down for a rollup off of the back of Reigns. Rollins landed a big spiral style tope con giro onto Clay and Reigns hit the spear on Tensai for the win – I’m sure this convinced a dozen or so people to watch the free pre-show. There was another ‘Hunt for the Wyatt Family’ video. This time with Rowan chopping wood in front of a fire in the rain, and Harper telling the reporter to come with him. This was incredibly produced.


John Cena made it down and called Henry out. Henry was attempting to be serious, talking about his hunger, when Cena made some jokes about Snickers bars. Henry talked about how he would win the title, and how doing so would validate his career making him a first ballot hall of famer. Unfortunately he got the ‘what’ treatment. Cena said Henry would lose the respect of everyone if he failed, and Henry said that he didn’t care. The crowd chanted that Cena sucked, and he put the crowd over like he normally does; a gimmick that is really getting old. Cena disrobed and dared Henry to cross the line, but Henry made the old “no fighting for free” speech. He also said that he had taken a 50% pay-cut and would make no sacrifices for the company and wouldn’t do soagain. He teased going after Cena, looked like he was going to walk away, but then went after Cena. Cena went for the AA, but Henry came down on him with the splash and picked Cena straight up into the world’s strongest slam. Orton was shown watching the monitor before being approached by Josh Matthews. Josh asked Orton his thoughts on Punk. Orton replied by saying that he didn’t believe that Punk was the best in the world, and he wouldn’t hesitate to cash in if Cena is in an injured state again.


Miz was being obnoxious on commentary for a match between Jericho and Curtis Axel. Paul Heyman was wearing sunglasses to cover up a black eye. He passed the mic over to Axel who said that he spent a lifetime to get to where he was and no one would stand in his way. For some reason when I close my eyes and listen to Axel speak I see Carlos Condit. They did some very cool spots much like Jericho’s match with Del Rio last week. Jericho landed a lionsault from far across the ring, was caught half way in the code breaker, and even kicked out of the perfectplex. Axel was distracted by Miz out on the floor allowing for Jericho to land a one legged code breaker for the win in a rather anti-climactic first time loss. There was a recap of the 2003 RAW ladder match between RVD and Christian. The Rhodes’ Scholars were standing by with Josh Matthews backstage. They talked about how they wouldn’t let the Money in the Bank ladder match break them up – Cody was hesitant to make any promises. Swagger, Cesaro and Colter came by, Barrett interrupted, Fandango came by, but he was elbowed before he could say his catch phrase, which made him look like a complete geek.


There was another ‘Hunting for the Wyatt Family’ video this time in a poorly lit house with the lights flickering on and off, and cult like half naked men in every room. Wyatt welcomed the reporter before they cut to Del Rio and Sin Cara…suffice to say a tough transition. Ziggler made it out music and all in the middle of the match, and started cutting a promo. He then began to make crude humor and made Del Rio’s ring announcement, all of this while the match was going on and no one cared about it as a result. Eventually Ziggler and Del Rio brawled out on the floor. Cara landed a splash and the segment just ended – no statement, no announcement…nothing. Vickie was in the ring for her evaluation with Vince, Hunter and Vince – a spoof of Gut Check apparently. Vickie made some blatant fallacies such as Undertaker’s Mania matches and Rock’s return, which didn’t even happen under her. Stephanie asked her about Lesnar. Vickie apologized, but Vince said that there was no need, and called her entertaining. Hunter played the voice of the fans. Hunter and Vince gave conflicting opinions. Hunter basically said that Vince would do whatever he wanted anyway. Vince and Hunter both agreed that Stephanie should make the final decision. She sent it on to the app, which gave her a failing vote with exactly %75. Vickie threw a fit, but in the end Stephanie announced that she was fired. Se proceeded to throw a temper tantrum. This show felt a million years old with this segment. Vince then proclaimed that the fans failed. Vince in spite made Brad Maddox the GM. Wait, if Vince has all the power couldn’t he just change the decision? I wasnt a big fan of this segment.


There was a recap of the legendary October 7th 2002 RAW ladder match. Vickie was crying on Vince’s shoulder backstage with him telling her that he would make it right. Maddox came by, told Vickie that he was sorry, but he was so happy to be RAW GM. He wanted a handshake and never got one. Vickie then physically attacked Maddox and he ran off. Christian and Kane were out for their match. Kane pinned Christian clean in a decent TV match – so much for momentum. Just then and there the tron showed Wyatt rocking in a chair next to a lantern. He said that he created war, it was not the was the end. He lit the lantern to show the goat man and harper behind him, which was uber creepy. Just then and there, the lights went off and Wyatt came out with his lantern, which got a big reaction. The music stopped. The lights went off and Rowan and Harper attacked Kane and laid him out while Wyatt rocked in his chair and the crowd chanted for Bryan. They laid him out by the steps, there was no Bryan, and they posed over his fallen body to Husky Harris chants. Vickie was walking backstage with her box of stuff, acting in the most horrendous manner until she bumped into Ryback and he gave her a hug…what is this new gimmick? What is this man supposed to be? Ryback told her that she deserved better and that it would all be okay. I determined that Ryback is the only sensible human being on that roster.


AJ was out on the floor with the Bellas on commentary while Kaitlyn was out there with Layla for a match against Fox and AJ. Kaitlyn laid AJ out on the floor with a huge spear and had to be pulled off of her. Josh Matthews was backstage with CM Punk and he said that he would beat Orton and win Money in the Bank making him the best in the world. There was a recap of RVD’s 2006 WWE title win at One Night Stand. Surprisingly enough after putting on a relatively long match, they had Punk win clean – so all clean finishes here. Bryan stormed the ring and laid Punk out…so he is a heel then? Bryan then took Orton out with a ladder and set up in the ring before climbing it and grabbing the briefcase, to yes chants. It is clear that the fans want to cheer this man, and that he is over as a face – what is so hard to grasp?


RAW Ratings for July 8th


Unfortunately due to 4th of July delays in the television industry there are no quarterly hours for the Money in the Bank go-home show. However, next week we will have the ratings for that show and the RAW after Money in the Bank. The following sums up the majority of what we know about this week’s ratings, it is the ratings report from the site:


“This week’s edition of RAW improved heavily over the last few weeks pulling a 3.1 rating and an average 4.17 million viewers over three hours. They also showed a very healthy ratings pattern with the top hours in both overall and 18-49 viewership being in the third and final hour, which showed a distinct build from beginning to middle and then a peak at the end. The first hour drew 3.79 million viewers (1.4 in the 18-49 demo, fourth for the night on cable), the second drew 4.31 million viewers (1.6 rating in the 18-49 demo, third for the night on cable) and the third and final hour drew 4.4 million viewers (a 1.6 in the 18-49 demo, second for the night on cable, only behind Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, which was number one with a 1.9).”


WWE – NXT. July 10th 2013.

Full Sail University, Florida.

Ben Carass.



After the titles, Summer Rae made her entrance; Tom Phillips and the new General Manager of Raw, Brad Maddox checked in on commentary. Since this episode was taped on June 20th, there was no mention of Maddox’s new role at all during the show. As bubbles were pumped into the arena, Emma danced her way out.


NXT Women’s Championship Tournament – Semi Final: Emma vs. Summer Rae


Summer tried to go into aggressive heel mode early and started to get the heat almost immediately. The crowd got behind Emma, but Summer landed a suplex then worked a modified armbar; Emma eventually fought up to get a near-fall off a schoolboy, however Summer shut her down with a dropkick. Emma hit her low running splash in the corner after a transitional near-fall, but Summer slowed her down by a boot to the gut. The finish saw Emma counter a sunset-flip by sitting down on the shoulders and doing her goofy dance; Summer used her long legs to hook the flailing arms of her opponent, however Emma reversed the momentum of the pinning combination to get the win.


Emma defeated Summer Rae via pinfall, at 4:25.


Phillips and Maddox put over the victory as a huge upset and the tournament brackets showed Paige vs. Emma for the final. Much to the crowd’s dismay, Summer jumped Emma from behind during her post-match dance; Paige came down to run off Summer then she helped Emma to her feet. The two most popular babyface Divas in NXT had a brief stare-down then Emma began to dance again.


Match was fine. For some reason, Summer pretty much took the whole thing and the finish was somewhat of a fluke. As they have established many times, Emma was trained by Lance Storm, therefore I find it hard to believe that she would be the underdog in a wrestling match with Summer Rae. But hey, they needed a story to tell in the match and to be fair both women were perfectly adequate in the execution of said story. The post-match stuff was also pretty decent; they clearly want to protect Summer and allowed her to get some heat back (which was somewhat unnecessary) and the face-off between Emma & Paige was a nice way to build some excitement. Let’s hope they hype the final some more with promos and video packages next week.


Bayley was with Dusty Rhodes in the Commissioner’s office; her new gimmick seems to be that of a mentally challenged person. However here she came across to me like a spaced out MDMA freak, complete with a somewhat out of breath, warm, mellow tone of voice and a tendency to be mesmerised by Dusty’s “shiny” HOF ring. Matters weren’t helped much when the Dream noticed Bayley was “full of energy” and wanted to know what made her want to hug Alicia Fox before their match a few weeks ago. Bayley’s disco biscuits went into overdrive when Ric Flair walked in with his daughter Charlotte. Dusty engaged in some small talk with the Flairs then said he was thinking of an opponent for Charlotte in her debut next week; Bayley chimed in and offered to take the match and Charlotte accepted. Dusty made it official and the two women shook hands then Flair and Dusty agreed to meet after the show. Bayley wanted to ask Ric to do just one thing, however was too overcome to get the words out. Charlotte and Naitch awkwardly walked off, but Ric immediately came back into the shot and treated Bayley to a huge, “Woooooo!” Bayley continued to “Woo” even after Flair had gone and Dusty held his head in lamentation.


This was totally bizarre. I assume that Bayley is trying to portray a handicapped person, but like I said, it came across (to me at least) as something completely different here. I hated the idea of this gimmick with Eugene and recall an uncomfortable moment when I was forced to try and explain Nick Dinsmore’s character to a non-wrestling fan. I know WWE would come out with some garbage like they are “real television” and depicting characters from all walks of life is a part of their business. The problem is, nobody feels outrage by the lack of a mentally handicapped wrestler on a wrestling show, nor do people applaud WWE for the diverse nature of their characters. In fact, most of the time quite the opposite occurs and viewers see it as an unnecessary, sleazy wrestling gimmick.


Sami Zayn hit the ring for a singles match; Leo Kruger appeared as his opponent and for some reason he didn’t get the spotlight gimmick, which is a key ingredient to his great entrance.


Sami Zayn vs. Leo Kruger


Sami shone early with multiple armdrags then landed the ten punch deal in the corner; Leo landed an inverted atomic-drop, however Sami came back to hit a dropkick. Kruger rolled to the floor and Sami went for a tope only to be cut off by a big forearm smash from Leo on the outside. After the break, Leo had the heat; Sami fought from underneath, but Kruger delivered a snap-suplex then worked on Zayn’s arm with a grounded hammerlock. Following an over-under in the corner and some more transitions, Leo planted Sami with a big Arn Anderson spinebuster to get a two count. Sami avoided an elbow from the second rope for the double-down then Zayn struggled to his feet and started his comeback before he got a near-fall with a cross-body off the top. Leo caught Sami charging into the corner with a knee to the face then Zayn took the ring post spot and Kruger slapped on a Fujiwara-armbar. Sami got to the ropes then after some nice transitions scored with a spinning blue thunder-bomb for a near-fall. The finish came when Leo cut Sami off on the top and landed a superplex for a second double-down then Kruger scored with the divorce court and applied the GC3 to get the clean tap-out.


Leo Kruger defeated Sami Zayn via submission, at 9:32 (TV time).


I was looking forward to this match ever since the results of the June 20th tapings came out and I can honestly say it didn’t disappoint. This was great; from the story they told from the start to the heat spot which led to Leo working on the arm and ultimately the finish, plus everything was smooth, the transitions were great and both guys looked the better for working this match. Sami was the valiant babyface and Leo the merciless heel, which should help both guys going forward, even though Leo is heading for a programme with the least over babyface this side of the Miz in Bo Dallas.


Renee Young was in the back with Adrian Neville, Corey Graves and William Regal. Neville said the three faces were ready to take out the Wyatt Family then claimed he and Graves would win the Tag Titles next week. Graves stated Bray Wyatt did a lot of talking, however Corey would let his fists talk for him tonight then Regal took the promo home. He said when he was born and the doctor slapped his behind, he broke the doc’s fingers and headbutted him. Regal then declared the Wyatt Family would take the “bloody good hiding” they deserved and would “stay down”.


Regal was tremendous here.


Mason Ryan showed up for a handicap match; Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady were his opponents. Enzo said he and “Big Cass” were the “realist guys in the room” then claimed Ryan hit him with a cheap shot least week, which “S-uuu-cked”. He told Ryan he was in trouble and said, “1 + 1, meathead, equals 3.14: time to eat your pi”.


Two-on-One Handicap Match: Mason Ryan vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady


Ryan took care of the geeks for a while with some clotheslines; Enzo tried for a crossbody, Mason caught him, but Cassady landed a boot to the face to get a near-fall. Enzo and Cass double-teamed Ryan in the corner; the finish saw Ryan go for a slam on Cassady and Enzo delivered a chopblock. Big Cass fell on top of Ryan and the ref counted the pin. Ryan kicked out instantly after the three.


Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady defeated Mason Ryan via pinfall, at 1:29.


Dusty Rhodes was in the back; he said things had gotten out of control in recent weeks with Antonio Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Leo Kruger. The Dream booked the three in a number one contender’s triple threat match for next week.


The Wyatt Family came through the curtain; Bray ranted about their opponents fighting for a lost cause and said tonight would be their ending and that “time itself belongs to Bray Wyatt”. Neville, Graves and Regal were all out for the main event.


Adrian Neville, Corey Graves & William Regal vs. The Wyatt Family


Neville used his speed to out manoeuvre Rowan then Regal came in to land some strikes; Graves tied up Harper in the ropes with the Candylicious and the faces worked over Harper in their corner. The heels regrouped on the floor and both teams faced off before the break. After commercial, Wyatt hit Neville with a cheap shot from the apron then he tagged in to start the heat; the Family made frequent tags and isolated Neville in their half of the ring. Rowan got a pair of two counts off a big body slam and a pump-handle backbreaker then Wyatt kept the heat on Neville, who fought from underneath to almost hook a crucifix, however Bray countered with a modified Samoan-drop. Harper got the tag and Neville caught him with a jawbreaker for a hope spot only to be shut down again by a spinebuster. Neville countered a suplex with a knee strike and got a two count off a schoolboy then finally got the hot tag to Regal after a lengthy tease. Regal ran wild on Harper with aggressive strikes and an exploder then threw a few shots at Wyatt and Rowan. Harper ate the knee trembler and Rowan broke up the pin; Graves took him out with a crossbody over the top then Neville flew over the top with a corkscrew plancha onto Rowan and Graves. The finish saw Bray Wyatt tag in and put Regal away with his swinging reverse STO.


The Wyatt Family defeated Adrian Neville, Corey Graves & William Regal via pinfall, at 10:22 (TV time)


This was a solid main event. The Family looked like monsters as usual and the bulk of the match was built around them getting heat on Neville. If it were up to me, I’d have each new crop of guys that show up to the Performance Centre spend at least an hour a week watching William Regal matches to learn the art of believability. Everything he did looked tight, snug and barring a brief timing issue with Harper, his fiery comeback was great. Given that Neville steps in for Ohno next week and wins the Tag belts with Graves, you could have had Adrian pin Harper or Rowan, but I’m not opposed to keeping the Family strong, especially since they have made their debut on Raw.


On the whole this was a better than average show and the 4 match format made for much better television than last week’s sporadic episode. We got a perfectly fine opener and a tease for the final of the women’s tourney, two good matches, one of which (Zayn/Kruger), was very good, plus a cameo from Ric Flair setting up his daughter’s debut. When the positives outweigh the negatives, you can’t really complain too much. Next week should be interesting, with new Tags Champs crowned and Cesaro vs. Kruger vs. Zayn should be fun to see. Speaking of upcoming shows, another 4 weeks of TV was taped on July 11th which, believe it or not, will take us all the way through to the end of August.


In case you missed it, here are the results from the two remaining shows from the June 20th tapings:


Taped for July 17th: Leo Kruger defeats Sami Zayn & Antonio Cesaro in a three-way, which has the possibility to be a burner. Sylvester LeFort cuts a promo putting over Scott Dawson, Bo Dallas shows up and gets taken out by Kruger. Charlotte (Ashley Fliehr ) makes her debut and downs Bayley. Ric Flair was in his daughter’s corner; he cut a promo before the match and strutted with his daughter after her victory. Surprisingly, Adrian Neville and Corey Graves take the NXT Tag belts from the Wyatt Family in the final match of a solid looking show.

Taped for July 24th: Paige becomes the first NXT Women’s Champ, defeating Emma in the final; Triple H pulls a Hulk Hogan and shows up during Paige’s celebration to “put her over”. Mike Dalton debuts the new gimmick, Tyler Breeze, who is apparently a narcissistic guy that takes pictures of himself with a cell-phone. Rick Victor & Conor O’Brian pay off the two stare downs they had with each other by teaming to beat Mickey Keegan & Aiden English and Sheamus beats Luke Harper in the main event.

Please note, I have no idea what the story is with the July 31st episode. The correspondence from the July tapings notes the first episode was taped for August 5th, which is in fact a Monday. Clearly something has gone awry somewhere, either with the actual tapings or the communication sent from the people providing the results. So, in effect there could be missing week of TV somewhere, but it is also possible that the information is simply incorrect. To avoid confusion, the results from July 11th will not contain air-dates. If I can find out what is happening before the 31st, the dates will be published in that week’s reports. Otherwise, we’ll just have to wait and see what the deal is.


Episode 1: Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy have a confrontation with Tons of Funk & Mason Ryan. Ryan takes them both out then dances with the fatties. Charlotte beats Sasha Banks. The Wyatt Familly Wyatt squash Mickey Keegan & Aiden English. Wyatt cuts a promo and says tonight, they say goodbye to NXT. Corey Graves w/ Adrian Neville downs Scott Dawson w/ Sylvester Lefort. The Shield show up; Ambrose tells Neville he stole Kassius Ohno’s spot & calls it an injustice. This sets up a US Title match for the following week. Leo Kruger & Antonio Cesaro go over Bo Dallas & Sami Zayn.

Episode 2: Adrian Neville over Dean Ambrose via DQ in the US Title match when Rollins & Reigns interfere. Corey Graves & Xavier Woods show up to make the save. In what seems like a completely idiotic angle, Emma beats Summer Rae in a dance-off to become the number one contender for the Women’s Title. Summer jumps her after the fans vote Emma the winner. Tyler Breeze defeats Danny Burch. Bo Dallas retains the NXT Title over Leo Kruger.

Episode 3: Paul Heyman comes out and claims he’s looking for new Heyman guys. This leads to Curtis Axel vs. Big E. Langston for the IC Title, which ends in a DQ when Heyman gets involved. Mason Ryan defeats Scott Dawson. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassidy try to jump Ryan, but he gets rid of them because they are geeks. Paige downs Summer Rae to retain the Women’s Title. Emma comes out after the match and beats down Summer, but no reason is given why Summer got the title shot. In the main event, The Shield go over Adrian Neville, Xavier Woods & Corey Graves which should be fantastic.

Episode 4: AJ Lee retains the Diva’s Title over Bayley. So Kaitlyn has no shot at Money in the Bank, I guess. The New Ascension kills Ron Hicks & Michael Zaki. CJ Parker debuts a new hippie gimmick and squashes Baron Corbin. Tyler Breeze comes out and they have a brawl. Main Event sees Antonio Cesaro beat Sami Zayn in a 2 of 3 Falls Match. Apparently, this is “one of the best WWE matches in years.” The people chanted “match of the year” and gave both guys a standing ovation. I’m interested to see if this is as good as Regal vs. Ohno, which is still on my short list for match of the year, but given the quality of both guys, I expect that they could easily have the best match NXT has ever seen.


TNA iMPACT July 11th 2013

Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada


Overall Thoughts:


I enjoyed this week’s edition of iMPACT more than most over the past few weeks, even though it came with the usual annoyances. The one glaring issue with the show was that the rules of the Joker’s Wild tournament really weren’t explained all that well at the start of the show, which led to a ton of confusion going into the mainevent. Also, by having Magnus win a 25 point bonus they aren’t doing anyone any favors. They can either go the James Storm route where Magnus ends up losing even with the huge lead, which is incredibly counterproductive, or they could simply have him win, in which case the tournament lacks drama. The other major issue was the crowd, who was your usual taped iMPACT crowd on the road, not even fully reacting Rampage and the mainevent reveal, which granted is in many ways TNA’s fault. I really liked the Daniels/Aries versus Kazarian/Roode match, even though it didn’t get all that much time, and I also thought that Kim and Terrell did a good job with what they were given for their ladder match. I enjoyed Chris Sabin in the mainevent, and it will be interesting to see exactly where they go with him and this angle, but regardless he and Ray should have a great match given that there will be no interference.


Ray pulled a camera man up to him backstage, and addressed Brooke Hogan’s engagement; suffice to say he was not happy. I would assume that plans changed once news of Hogan’s engagement surfaced, but at least they addressed it here with this taped spot, as things would have been pretty strange if they hadn’t. Ray and the entire Aces & Eights gang made it out. Ray basically told Sabin that he wanted no part of the and the Aces & Eights. Unfortunately he was getting the “what” treatment. He also revealed that they would be revealing a new vice president later on. Ray addressed the Main Event Mafia’s challenge denying, which queued the Mafia. Angle said that they would pick the Aces & Eights apart next week, so that Ray would be all alone during his World Title match. Sting said that there next member was a heavy hitter, and they would find out later on.


Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemming were standing by to draw the participants for the Joker’s Wild tournament, the winning teams would move on to a gauntlet where the winner would be awarded 25 points – and they couldn’t have made this simpler? Jeff Hardy & Joe Park were made a team, set to face Styles & Samoa Joe. Joe submitted Park following a standard TV affair. The next tag match was Jay Bradley & Hernandez versus Mr. Anderson & Magnus. Of course the odd couple of Magnus and Anderson got the win when Magnus basically got the sole pin on Bradley. Austin Aries was complaining to Bobby Roode backstage when Daniels & Kazarian came by saying that the final two teams would be made up of a combination of them. Of Course the third tag team match was made up of Austin Aries & Daniels versus Bobby Roode & Kazarian. The basic story of the match was that each team would make a tag so that the partners wouldn’t face each other, that was until Roode and Aries were in there, and went after each other two dueling chants. Later a competitive rivalry between Kazarian and Daniels formed, ultimately culminating in a Kazarian rollup on Daniels for the win. After the match Daniels raised Kazarian’s hand, so luckily everything is still fine with Bad Influence. The Aces & Eights went off to a meeting.


There was spy footage of Hogan and Brooke talking in the back, with Brooke saying that she wanted to focus on business. Ray was speaking backstage and said that they would vote for their president. DOC and Anderson voted for themselves, Wes for Anderson, Devon for DOC, Bischoff for Anderson, Taz for DOC, and finally Knux for Anderson. Knux then said that he would pray for DOC. Mickie James made it out to watch the ladder match from ringside. Taz was back from the vote and questioned the origin of ladders in pro-wrestling – not from an historical standpoint, but from a hardware one. While there probably weren’t as many hard bumps as their previous match, it was still physical with some hard bumps, and a very stiff ladder shot to Kim’s face. They teased a crazy ladder bench spot, Kim made it out, the fans booed, but Kim locked a figure four in around the ladder. Kim was hung from the top of the ladder and dropped face first before a spot where Terrell landed a splash on Kim from the top. Terrell went for her bulldog off of the ladder bench, but was thrown off of the ladder. Kim went for eat defeat, Terrell locked in a dragon sleeper, but while that was going on Kim tied a knot in Terrell’s hair around the rope for the win. This was a fun match, but nothing close to their previous match, which is what was expected. Ultimately Kim/James would be a better match, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of the finish, if nothing else it was creative. Sting and Angle were talking backstage when the mystery member phoned Sting.


Sting was still on the phone when they got back from the break, and they said that he would be there in a few minutes. Styles and Magnus were first in the gauntlet. They described it as a gauntlet, but Kazarian was brought out next before anyone was eliminated. Joe was out next and he and Magnus ran wild. During the break Kazarian was eliminated and Anderson was out, which really was stupid considering that this was a taped show and they could have include that elimination. AJ Styles was thrown to the floor, and only then it was explained that this was a battle royal – it isn’t that hard. Both Joe and Anderson were eliminated, which left Roode and Magnus in the ring. Wait, Magnus locked in a clover leaf…what were the rules of this match? Following a roll-up exchange Magnus garnered 25 points effectively placing him in the James Storm position. Hulk Hogan made it out for the Chris Sabin X title cash in segment. He put Sabin over hard saying that he was the greatest. Before Sabin could make his decision, which was clearly to hand the belt over, Ray made his way out. He said that a “little boy” like Sabin could never beat a man like him. Sabin showed more fire than he has shown in a very long time and proclaimed that he was the first and only man to kick out of the 3D (false), and he pinned Ray in the Team 3D break up match. Ray told him not to do it, but he handed it over anyway. Ray said that he wouldn’t just be fighting him he would be fighting his whole family, the Aces & Eights made it out, but the Mafia made it out in response. Sting of course revealed Rampage Jackson and said that the match would be one on one. Ray was tremendous in this segment, but the Rampage deal felt rushed, and I really don’t know if he should be affiliated with any group at this point, as he felt like a far bigger star when he had that first altercation with angle, from that point on it has been down hill.


WWE SmackDown – July 12th 2013.

Hampton Coliseum, Hampton: VA.

Ben Carass.


Another week with no recap and the generic theme song played over the wacky titles. Daniel Bryan came out to kick-off the show; they hyped Orton vs. Sheamus as the main event then showed finish of Raw with babyface Bryan laying out babyfaces Orton and CM Punk. Christian appeared for the opening contest; Cole and JBL checked in and they hyped the all-star Money in the Bank match. Cole said there was “huge news” to come regarding Kane’s spot in the ladder match after his whoopin’ at the hands of the Wyatt Family.


Daniel Bryan vs. Christian


Christian got a quick one count off a dropkick from the second rope, but Bryan came back and gained control with some kicks. Christian landed a spinebuster to get a two count and got another following a diving European uppercut off the second rope. Bryan was dumped over the top, however he avoided a baseball slide and threw a big clothesline, after which he came off the apron with a flying knee. When we joined the action after the break Christian took a ride through the ropes to the floor; Bryan went for a topé only to eat a right hand, yet fired back with a shot then dropkicked Christian’s arm into the steps. Bryan worked on the arm with kicks, however Christian got a two count off a sunset flip off the second then the two spiritedly traded shots. Christian landed his strange slingshot right hand, although he missed a high cross from the top and Bryan went for a diving headbutt. Christian moved out of the way then after a double-down Bryan countered a tornado DDT to land a series of kicks, however he missed a head kick and took an inverted DDT. Christian tried for the spear, but Bryan caught him with a boot then took his head off with a kick which earned a near-fall. A nice false-finish followed: Bryan hit his running dropkick in the corner then set up for a second; Christian cut him off with a spear and most of the crowd believed the match was over. The actual finish saw Christian fight out of the Yes-lock then he came off the second rope with a crossbody, however Bryan caught him in mid-air with the Yes-lock to get the tap-out.


Daniel Bryan defeated Christian via submission, at 8:45 (TV time).


This was a very good match to start the show. It was a typical face vs. face affair, with both guys taking it in turns to get some offence in, but never really keeping the advantage for a prolonged period of time. The finish was nice, although Christian does seem to like the finish where he comes off the ropes with a crossbody then gets caught with an RKO, Brogue kick or in this instance, Yes-lock. Still both guys looked great, obviously Bryan more so and the fans even started a “this is awesome chant” towards the end. As far as Money in the Bank goes, when the match was announced my money was on Bryan, however after how he’s been booked lately and the end of Raw on Monday made me suspect Randy Orton might be a better candidate if you are a gambling man.


Dolph Ziggler was in the GM’s office; Teddy said he had given Ziggler the night off, but Dolph told him he wanted to be out there competing. Teddy claimed Del Rio was booked against Sin Cara later and he didn’t want Zigger to get involved, because after Vickie Guerrero was fired on Raw, he didn’t want to be the next one to get the axe, so he decreed there would be no interference in any matches. Dolph accused Teddy of being pals with Alberto, so Teddy replied: “adios amigo”, then began to translate the Spanish, which even a child could understand, to Ziggler. Dolph said he understood and stated it meant he would become the new World Champion.


I get this was setting something up later, but I could have done without the goofiness. This should have ended after Teddy said there would be no interference in any matches.


Seth Rollins came through the fans with Roman Reigns for a match with Jey Uso, who was already in the ring with his brother. They hyped the pre-show Tag Title match.


Jey Uso w/Jimmy Uso vs. Seth Rollins (Tag Team Champion) w/Roman Reigns


Jey shone briefly and hit a basement lariat, but Rollins yanked him off the second turnbuckle to deliver a belly-to-back. Seth landed a splash in the corner then got some heat on Uso; Jey fought up from a chinlock to no-sell his head being sent into the turnbuckle then started a fiery comeback. Jey scored with a running hip attack in the corner and went for a cover. Reigns tried to cause a distraction, so Jimmy took him out with a superkick, which somehow connected with Roman’s abdomen and in the ring Jey got a near-fall off a big Samoan-drop. The finish came when Reigns dropped Jimmy with a clothesline, which distracted Jey then Seth cut him off on the top rope. Rollins followed up with a running curb-stomp.

Seth Rollins defeated Jey Uso via pinfall, at 3:50.

Rollins and Reigns stood on the announce table with their straps, however Cole thought it was more important to talk about Vickie’s job evaluation then they showed us poor Vickie getting canned on live TV.


The match was average. I guess Teddy didn’t see Reigns trying to interfere, because he said right before the match started that nobody would get away with any shenanigans tonight. In another example of the recent perplexing booking from WWE:, the Usos & Christian beat the Shield in a six-man only to be defeated on the next show, this led to Christian going on a losing streak and the Uso’s getting a title shot on the pre-show. So what do they do here? Give the Usos some momentum? Of course not, why would they do a thing like that? Which leads to the unanswerable question: why on earth were the Shield booked to lose the six-man in the first place?


Chris Jericho made his entrance and they showed Y2J pinning Curtis Axel on Raw. Axel came down with Paul Heyman for a non-title rematch, even though the Champion was pinned by Jericho.


Non-Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. Curtis Axel (IC Champion) w/Paul Heyman


Axel started aggressively however Jericho came off the second rope with a dropkick then after an over-under in the corner, Axel took the ring post spot. Jericho went for the code breaker and Axel countered with a hotshot type move into the buckle. After the break Axel got the heat; Jericho showed some fight and got a northern lights in then tried for the walls, but Axel countered then landed a snap belly-to-back. Jericho avoided a splash in the corner and came off the top with a crossbody for a two count then scored with a bulldog. Jericho went for the lionsault and landed on his feet after Axel moved, although Curtis planted him with a hangman’s neckbreaker. Some transitions and a near-fall later, Jericho delivered an enzuigiri to get a two count then he dumped Axel over the top. Curtis side-stepped a baseball slide to land a clothesline, however Jericho caught him with a code breaker as he tried to climb back in the ring and the ref counted him out.


Chris Jericho defeated Curtis Axel via count-out, at 7:25 (TV time).


Axel flipped out at ringside; he threw some chairs and TV monitors then Heyman tried to calm him down.


This wasn’t bad, yet it was not good either. A small thing that has bothered me for years is the overuse of the ring post spot. I can remember as a child, on the rare occasion you would see said spot, thinking anyone that was sent shoulder first into the steel ring post was legitimately hurt and unlikely to come back from such a devastating move. Over the years, wrestlers have started using it as an early transitional spot or even worse, just another move to use as and when you please. I bring this up because in the match, Axel took the spot for no reason whatsoever and immediately came back with a move of his own then didn’t even bother to sell his shoulder at all during the rest of the match. I guess it’s not a big deal, it’s just one of my pet peeves.


Miz was out and Cole said he would take on Ryback. They showed Ryback quitting in his match with Miz two weeks ago on Raw then he marched down the ramp for the rematch.


The Miz vs. Ryback


Ryback was low-bridged over the top early and he sold his knee briefly; Miz came off the apron with an axe-handle. Back inside, Ryback landed a front powerslam and got some heat; Miz fought from underneath to land a shot to the knee, but Ryback cut him off with a body check and went back to the heat. Miz got his knees up to counter a splash then he hit a dropkick to the knee and started his comeback. Ryback powered out of the figure-four, but Miz kicked him in the leg and went to work on the knee. Ryback writhed in agony and called for the ref, whom he told, “I felt something pop”; Charles Robinson asked if he wanted to stop the match and Ryback said no; the former (storyline) President of WCW helped Ryback to his feet while Miz watched gormlessly. Suddenly, Ryback exploded with a clothesline, however strangely sold his knee again then hit the shellshock for the finish.


Ryback defeated The Miz via pinfall, at 6:01.


This finish was puzzling to say the least. If Lil Naitch wasn’t going to stop the match then Miz should have been all over Ryback and gone back to the knee; instead he stood there like a complete doofus and fell for the heel’s tricks. Having Ryback keep selling his knee was also weird, unless his new gimmick consists of pretending to be hurt 24/7, which wouldn’t surprise me at this point. Also, both participants in the IC Title match at the PPV were made to look like goofs and lost to guys higher on the card in consecutive segments.


Sheamus joined Renee Young in the back; she asked for his thoughts on facing Orton in the main event. He said St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland and he would do the same tonight then joked about what he would keep in the briefcase if he won the ladder match: a couple of pints, corned beef and cabbage were some of the things he came up with. Sheamus said the pints would be on him after he cashed in to become a 3 time WWE Champ. Unfortunately the promo didn’t end there, as Sheamus came back to tell Renee, and I am not joking: “I think you are pretty cute”.


I literally almost lost it here. That last line was so egregious it bothered me for quite some time. There I was just watching Sheamus do his usual Sheamus promo with poorly written jokes and Irish references, thinking it was going along as I had expected. Then the big, tough, stiff-shot-throwing brawler reverted to a 14 year old dweeb and awkwardly told the pretty blonde girl that he thought she was cute, which I can assure you is the last thing I want to hear a top guy say during a promo intended to get over an important match.


Teddy Long was in the ring for the first ever Diva’s Championship contact signing angle; all the women were present for some reason: Alicia Fox, the Funkadactyls, Natalya, Aksana and Layla. Seeing everyone out there showed just how horrible the diva’s division is at the moment. Kaitlyn and AJ were seated opposite each other behind a table; as well as the women, Big E. was watching on in the ring. Teddy asked both women to sign the contract; AJ went first, but first she ranted about how all the divas didn’t like Kaitlyn and claimed nobody cared about the division until she became champion. Teddy told her to hurry up, so AJ signed her name on the dotted line then told Kaitlyn not to sign because she would embarrass her worse than ever. Layla handed Kaitlyn another pen and she also signed the contact; Teddy said the match was official then AJ began to read some texts that Kaitlyn sent to her secret admirer. The texts basically consisted of Kaitlyn badmouthing all the other divas; Kaitlyn grabbed AJ’s phone, but Big E. pointed to the screen and another text was shown on there. To make a needlessly long and poorly acted story short, AJ slapped Kaitlyn for calling her crazy, so Kaitlyn shoved the table back towards the turnbuckle, tapping AJ in the corner and began to beat up the Diva’s champ. Big E. pulled Kaitlyn off and he ate a stiff slap then AJ took a spear.


I said last week, I think WWE has forgotten how to book their babyfaces and this was more evidence to that accusation. It would have been fine if AJ were lying about the texts, but Kaitlyn didn’t even deny anything, so how are we supposed to get behind such a catty, two-faced person? To be fair, AJ was quite good here and I think she has started to improve a little on her mic skills as a heel, although this segment was completely unsalvageable and a total chore to sit through.


Wade Barrett was in the ring and Zeb Colter was on commentary; Swagger and Cesaro were stood behind Zeb and Cole stated the two were now known as the, “Real Americans”. Fandango danced his way out with Summer Rae then they showed Wade laying him out on Raw. Zeb said the Real Americans would rule Money in the Bank and it didn’t matter which one left with the briefcase.


Wade Barrett vs. Fandango w/Summer Rae


Barrett hit a big boot then unloaded some stomps in the corner and landed a backbreaker. Wade threw some more strikes then Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow came down to ringside and argued with the Real Americans. Fandango caught Wade with a kick then schoolboyed him to get the pin.


Fandango defeated Wade Barrett via pinfall, at 2:33.


The Scholars and the Americans bickered some more then Cole quickly moved on to talk about the Wyatt Family.


Boy has the SmackDown ladder match received a lacklustre build. They haven’t even tried to elevate any of the guys involved and this match did absolutely nothing to help. Thankfully, Dean Ambrose has been kept separate from all the goofy heel nonsense and is the clear logical winner of the briefcase, which of course means he is not going to win and any one of the other six geeks will be given the case. Then WWE will wonder why he isn’t getting over as a World Title contender.


Cole said Kane was out of the all-star ladder match due to the beating from the Wyatt Family then they showed the footage from the Wyatt compound and their debut on Raw, which I thought was pretty well done considering the hype for them was almost impossible to deliver on. And let’s not even mention the few idiots thinking they were smart by chanting “Husky Harris”.

Alberto Del Rio showed up all on his lonesome again then a suspiciously taller and Caucasian looking Sin Cara came out. Sin Cara, who for whatever reason had Dolph Ziggler’s boots on, began to beat up Del Rio before the bell. JBL said, “that’s not Sin Cara; Sin Cara isn’t built like that” and Cole replied, “what are you talking about? He’s got a mask on.” Sin Cara dropped Del Rio with a ZigZag then shook his hips in celebration. Vickie Guerrero appeared at ringside and said Teddy made her buy a ticket to get in the arena then claimed Teddy should be fired. She shirked some more and Teddy came out on the stage; he brought out security, one of whom looked suspiciously like Rhett Titus, and they escorted Vickie out of the arena.


This was a decent little go-home angle to set up the World Title match and at least Teddy didn’t come out with an unmasked Luis Alvirde. TNA jokes aside, WWE has done angles like this in the past: Edge & Christian were the 1980’s tag team Los Conquistadores, for reasons that escape me Jericho dressed up as Doink and the Undertaker appeared in the full Kane suit on numerous occasions. Obviously this didn’t have the impact of Kane unmasking to reveal the Deadman, but it was a lot better than the stuff they have been doing with Ziggler recently.


The real Sin Cara was in the back and Teddy tried to get his attention by shouting out, “Dolph!” Sin Cara confusedly asked, “Dolph?” and Ziggler appeared in his street clothes. Dolph told Teddy he just came back to get his cell phone from the locker room then told Sin Cara he never looked better out there. Teddy looked confused and Ziggler coolly walked away.


This still wasn’t as stupid as what TNA did with TJ Perkins.


Sheamus hit the ring; Cole and JBL hyped the all-star match again then Randy Orton strolled out for the main event.


Sheamus vs. Randy Orton


Things started off even, with both guys trading shots. Sheamus landed a suplex then got a two count off a front powerslam; Orton sent Sheamus to the floor, however he was sent into the announce table. Randy came back to flatten Sheamus with a clothesline on the outside as the lead in spot for the break. After commercial Sheamus fought up from a chinlock, however Orton caught him with a dropkick and went back to the vaunted Orton chinlock. Sheamus fought up again to land a clothesline then went into his comeback routine; Orton cut him off and started his own comeback sequence and hit a powerslam for a two count. Sheamus came back to score with the Irish curse for a two then set up for white noise only to take Randy’s inverted headlock backbreaker. Sheamus countered the hangman and landed his clubbing forearms then went for the Brogue kick. Orton ducked then delivered the hangman DDT out of the corner and called for the RKO; Sheamus countered then went up top. Randy cut him off, however both guys spilled to the outside. Daniel Bryan ran out to pull a ladder from under the ring then he drilled Sheamus and Orton with it.


Sheamus and Randy Orton fought to a no-contest, at 9:43 (TV time).


He began to climb the ladder, but Sheamus dragged him down then tried to toss him over the top, although Bryan’s face awkwardly bounced off the rope. Sheamus went after the briefcase and Christian showed up to stop the Irishman; the two exchanged shots at the top of the ladder and Sheamus slid down. Bryan returned to tip the ladder over and Christian bumped off the top rope and spilled to the floor. Randy Orton hit Bryan with an RKO before he could climb the ladder again then Orton unhooked the briefcase and held it in the air.


The main event followed the early formula of Bryan/Christian, in that both guys took turns at getting their stuff in during a back-and-forth affair. It was decent, but nothing we haven’t seen before; Teddy Long must have not been pay attention again, because Bryan disobeyed his decree and interrupted the main event. The post-match deal was good; the people got into these four guys trying to get their hands on a meaningless briefcase and it was a good advertisement for the ladder matches coming up on Sunday.


This was a decent go-home show, as 4 of the guys in the all-star match were involved in solid outings, with Bryan & Christian putting on a really good TV match, and getting involved in some ladder wackiness at the end helped sell the big all-star match. Although, they have had weeks of 3 hour Raws to build this match and instead of trying to get some attention on the SmackDown ladder match, the guys in that match have been treated like an unimportant afterthought. The stuff with Ryback/Miz & Jericho/Axel was not the best way to get these guys over for their PPV outings either and let’s not even start on the horrendous divas segment. I did like the Ziggler angle, although it came off with a tinge of typical WWE goofiness. While this was an acceptable lead-in for Money in the Bank, WWE has failed to get me excited about any of the matches on Sunday. Cena/Henry kicked off with an awesome angle and has been OK, however the conflicting booking of the babyfaces in the Raw ladder match, the lack of booking of any of the guys in the SmackDown match, Dolph Ziggler’s cocky heel persona and Ryback being portrayed as a wimp certainly has led to some strange PPV build. Taking the last few weeks of TV into account, I certainly hope WWE corrects their topsy-turvy booking in time for SummerSlam.


Bits & Pieces


It was announced this week that Keiji Mutoh’s new promotion will be entitled Wrestle-1, after a series of shows that K1, Pride and All Japan put on in the early 2000s. Along with the wealth of talent that Mutoh is taking with him, he is also taking the ‘Pro-Wrestling Love’ title with him. It seems that most people are putting their money behind Mutoh at this point.


As a part of one of DDT’s big Sumo Hall shows that will be taking place on the 18th of August, they are bringing in the big guns. How big you ask? Well, they are bringing in the IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada, so pretty big. Since the announcement that Okada will be facing Ibushi on that show tickets have been selling well. The feeling is that it will be a championship match, but it hasn’t been announced yet as Okada still needs to get past Devitt on the 20th of July in Akita.


At press time the following entrants have been announced for the ROH title tournament: Michael Elgin, Brian Kendrick, Karl Anderson, Kevin Steen, Paul London, Roderick Strong, Adam Cole, Sonjay Dutt, BJ Whitmer, Tommaso Ciampa, Jay Lethal, Mike Bennett, Adam Page & Silas Young. The big surprise was Anderson, although it does make sense given that he beat Roderick Strong a few months back, which everyone was perplexed about. On an ROH side-note Rhett Titus was seen backstage during a Vince McMahon segment on RAW, presumably following a tryout. The Young Bucks will be returning to ROH on August 3rd in Toronto.


Matt Morgan was granted a release from his TNA contract this week after asking for the initial release a month ago. It is unclear where he will go at this point, but apparently he was unhappy, and to be honest he wasn’t contributing anything to the product anyway.


A match between Bobby Roode and Austin Aries in the BFG series has been added to the Destination X iMPACT. Also on the card is a TNA World title match between Bully Ray and Chris Sabin and an expected Aces & Eights/Mainevent Mafia match.


Next Week’s Issue


We have a big newsletter coming up next week, as we look at WWE’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view, the aftermath, two weeks of RAW ratings, the Destination X edition of iMPACT, Ben Carass covers NXT and SmackDown, Mark Robinson takes a look at the 2013 G1, plus the news and so much more!




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