Cubed Circle Newsletter
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This is the first newsletter in a couple of weeks where we haven’t covered a pay-per view of some sort, so naturally it is smaller. Unfortunately the only available copy of the OZ academy shows from the June 10th were clipped. However, there is still in-depth coverage of RAW 1000, the rating, Impact, NXT and the documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with my Family.
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RAW 1000 Does a Monster Rating
This week’s RAW, the one-thousandth edition was expected to do a very large number, but few predicted such a large spike in the ratings. The show drew a 3.9 average over three hours (4.0 over two), which is unbelievable since it started early and it had to carry an extra hour. The show did a gargantuan 4.4 overrun segment which was result of growing viewership throughout the show.
The show was good, although it was flawed. A large portion of the number can be ruled out as nostalgia viewers, however if those viewers that were once fans were brought back for this show, then next week’s show will be very important. One of the main reasons for its importance, is due to the fact that they built to content throughout the year – SummerSlam, a long Punk title reign, Rock at the Rumble and probably the Rock vs. someone at WrestleMania.
This puts WWE in a good position. However it is one that could be easily squandered, due to impatient booking and bad ideas, like the ones that were seen last year with the Summer of Punk.
The show did significantly better in both male and female teenage demographics, which is pretty interesting given the fact that it was a nostalgia show. The show also doubled its viewership in women 18-49.
The number was actually the biggest since the Donald Trump RAW, which was commercial free. Ignoring that show you would have to go back to the RAW 15th anniversary show which drew a 4.4 in 2007 to beat it.
This was no doubt a huge victory for the company and I would bet that everyone in the company was ecstatic with the number. I don’t want to say that anything big will come of it, because right now it is a once off occurrence. However if they carry through a substantial amount of viewers over the next few weeks with hot programming, then it could be considered a trend.
I expect next week’s rating to be up by quite a bit (over the average), as for how much I am not sure, but at least some portion will carry over. They need to open with a strong segment, as they did a great job of getting people to tune in early by promoting the DX segment last week. I don’t think there are any major stars set for the show, I could see Heyman or Triple H being there, but that’s pretty much it. So the rating next week will probably be completely dependant on a carry over from this week and the talent at hand on the current roster.
It will probably be difficult to maintain a strong rating throughout three hours without sparking something hot. If they don’t and drop the ball on Punk then I see them going back to two hours, in fact even if they do get something with Punk they will probably revert back over the next year or so. Also for this to succeed they need some new faces desperately. I have a feeling that they might be moving Rollins up soon. The only reason I say this is because they beat him with momentum this week on NXT and for some reason that’s the way they work when moving stars between brands.
Ambrose has been at some house shows over the past couple of months, but I know that they wanted to have a clear cut direction for him from the very start. However when they do bring him in, he will probably bring something meaningful to the table.
The match quality on the show should increase, but if they have a terrible creative direction not backing the matches up, then it won’t mean much.
For the most part that is all I can say. The next couple of weeks will be very interesting both from a ratings and creative standpoint for both WWE and TNA and the results may be pretty surprising.
RAW 1000 July 23rd 2012
St. Louis, Missouri
Overall Show Thoughts
This was a really fun show and a great way to kick off the move to three hours. It did a monster rating and the show ended on a high note carrying momentum to the next show. Granted the show did contain a lot of nostalgia and it could have been streamlined. Apparently there were a lot of legends backstage that weren’t used and they could have been fitted in, even if it was just in the Lita segment.
The wedding shouldn’t have really been on the show and the fact that AJ just left Bryan, because she got the GM role made no sense and I know that her insanity will be used as an excuse when it really shouldn’t (I believe it’s called deus ex machina). Even though I would have felt cheated after watching weeks of build, at least there would have been more time for the rest of the show – plus from everything that I have heard the segments leading up to the wedding on Smackdown were great.
The mainevent Punk heel turn was good, although the fact that Cena failed due to DQ really irked me. It wasn’t like any emphasis was placed on it either; the fact that it was the first failure in seven years was just completely blown off. Still with CM Punk doing almost a slow burn heel turn with a lot of reason I can see it going well next week.
All in all even though the show was flawed in many respects it was a lot of fun. Not only that but it felt like a really big deal. Which really makes me just think of what WWE could do if they put this much focus and interest into their post Mania programming.
The show opened with a retrospective of RAW throughout the years – it was good. There were some really bad moments placed in there like the Cole/Lawler stuff, Triple H in Orton’s house and the like. But, then there were all the great things like Mankind winning the WWF Title, the Eddie Guerrero tribute show and the like.
Vince was welcomed out. He thanked the fans and welcomed them to Monday Night RAW. He brought out DX which was pretty ironic in some ways. They were about to do the crotch chop, but Michaels grabbed a mic and said that he had to catch his breath. He said that he was feeling “this”, but he felt that something was missing. Triple H said they had all the gratuitous merchandise and they checked if they had underwear on. He said that there used to be more of them. Triple H asked the crowd and they wanted to see more and they said yes emphatically. Road Dogg, Billy Gun and X-Pac came out in a military vehicle that was similar to the one used for the WCW DX invasion angle.
They did the crotch chop and Lawler said that they could start another Attitude Era tomorrow which was ridiculous. Road Dogg said that they were going to be taken on aMissouriboat ride down memory lane. Dogg did the New Age Outlaws intro and Triple asked the crowd if they were ready, he said for the thousands in attendance, millions watching at home and because he was the only left with a full head of hair. He said he would see them all when they hit two thousand and he did the “let’s get ready to suck it” deal. Gun said that it was his part, but Michaels said that it was his part and it was his little sunshine. Triple H said that he didn’t want Michaels to lose his smile and everyone laughed. They said that they would do it together. They organized some semantics, but they were interrupted by Damien Sandow.
He introduced himself and referred to the crowd as the unwashed masses. Michaels wanted to hear him out. Sandow said “this” was what society had degraded down to -disgusting, crass conduct. Michaels said that it was true and he was going back to church to ask for forgiveness again. Sandow said they could eviscerate him like common trash, but he would be a martyr for anyone that appreciated a sophisticated mind. DX had a huddle and decided to deliver a sweet chin music and pedigree on Sandow. Gunn then said if they weren’t down with that they had two words for them and they threw Sandow out of the ring.
Jim Ross came out, which was great, but he was called back into the void soon enough.
1. Sheamus, Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Chris Jericho, Dolf Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio
After the break Ziggler was in control and the heel team worked on Sin Cara. Sin Cara got a rollup onJerichofor the count of two, butJerichokicked out and landed a scoop slam.Jerichoplaced one foot on the chest of Cara for two and tagged inDel Rio.Del Riolanded a kick in the corner and placed a knee in the back on Cara – locking in a submission. Sin Cara landed a swinging DDT from the top rope and made the tag to Sheamus who ran wild onJericho. He landed a big knee and two backbreakers across the knee for the count of two. Mysterio tookDel Rioto the outside and landed a seated Senton. Cara took Ziggler out on the apron, but he was clotheslined over byJericho. Sheamus attempted the over the shoulder belly to back piledriver, butJerichocountered it into the Walls of Jericho. He was pushed off by Sheamus, who went for the brogue kick, but was hung up.Jerichowent for the springboard dropkick, but he was hit by Ziggler who was pushed off of the apron by Sheamus. Sheamus then landed the brogue kick onJerichofor the win.
Some tOuts were shown on the wedding of Bryan and AJ. They were slightly more embarrassing than last week. Charlie Sheen appeared via Skype, he said that he was enjoying the show and he said that he would fit in with DX and Sheamus. A recap of last week’s proposal was shown and they cut back to AJ backstage who was doing her hair and saying how romantic it was. She said it would be private and special, which was really strange. Layla was standing there. AJ didn’t understand why people were calling her unstable, because she said everyone was unstable and she opened the door. Duggan was running in the hallway and Truth and Piper were jumping rope with Little Jimmy. Layla said that it was Little Jimmy and she started dancing, there was then a man in a hand suit appearing as Mae Young’s son with Mae Young! His suit was also torn, which made the whole thing stranger.
2. Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger
JR disappeared by this point, which was odd, however he does it all the time on NXT so I wasn’t too surprised. Brodus Clay was in aUSflag singlet and he brought out Dude Love.
Swagger ran into the post and Clay landed an exploder and splash for the win in around twenty seconds. This was pretty much an excuse for Clay and Foley to dance and Swagger to get a tie-dyed Mr. Socko.
Triple H was backstage with Stratus talking about yoga. Triple H did some stretches and was against trying it. They sought of recreated the moment where Stephanie walked in on Triple H and Stratus, but this time it was the other way around. Triple H was bent over and DX walked in. They then showed a poll for whether AJ should acceptBryan’s proposal, which was pretty inconsequential.
Lawler brought out the minister and it was Slick. The results were shown for the poll and 74% said that AJ shouldn’t have accepted.Bryanwas brought out first in a white suit – he looked pretty great. AJ came down on a white carpet. Slick did a wacky, but entertaining speech. The crowd gave him a really loud “what” treatment, but it seemed to just fire him up. Slick went on about the importance of marriage, but he was halted by AJ. No one came out at the “forever hold your piece” portion and Slick said that he never heard that before. The crowd was chanting no.Bryansaid that he loved AJ and that he would always love her. He said that once he slipped the ring on her finger a new chapter would begin for both of them and he would finally have everything he had ever wanted (what about the championship?). They both said yes, but AJ stopped him half way through his kiss the pride portion. AJ said that she wasn’t saying yes toBryan, she was saying yes to somebody else. She said that it was another man who made a proposal to her earlier that night. Vince’s music hit and the crowd popped.
He said it wasn’t that kind of proposal it was a business proposal and in the interest of making all the RAWs after better he introduced the new general manager and it was AJ. This made sense in hindsight given how high they are on her. She gaveBryanflowers skipped around him and walked off. Prepare for another unstable GM – I’m sure that will be great.Bryandestroyed the altar.
After the break CM Punk came out whileBryanwas still in the ring. Apparently during the breakBryansaid that no one would get him to leave the ring. Punk said that he never came out to rub it inBryan’s face, but he saidBryandid just get stood up at the altar. He then said that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. He said that Punk would also through a fit, because AJ became GM and that didn’t bout well for him. He said that he would continue being the best in the world.Bryanstarted repeating best in the world, he said that Punk wasn’t even the best in the ring that night. He said that not only was he better than Punk, but he was the greatest of all time. This led to the Rock coming out.
Rock said thatBryandidn’t get to say who the greatest of all time was, he said the fans get to say who the greatest of all time is. He said that, because they were chanting his name he would do “this” he did the finally the Rock has come back toSt Louisgimmick.Bryaninterrupted Rock and said that he didn’t, but Rock cut him off. Rock said that you can’t cut the Rock off like that. The fans chanted “boots to asses”. He said thatBryandidn’t understand that it was right there inSt Louiswhere he won his first WWE championship. He said that he wasn’t right there to talk toBryanhe was there to talk about the WWE championship and he faced Punk. He said that he got word that at the Royal Rumble the WWE champion at the time would go one on one with the great one and defend against the Rock. Rock said that it was good news for him and it was good news for Punk, because he was looking at the man who would be the champion. Punk said he would beat Cena and he wished that the Rumble was the next day, because he will beat Rock at the Royal Rumble. Rock said that it was where he won his first title, he said it was fitting that Rock would tell him that at the Rumble Rock would be the next champion.Bryanstarted saying no.Bryansaid that it was supposed to be about him – it was supposed to be the greatest night of his life.Bryansaid that someway somehow he would fight Rock. He said that he wouldn’t only be the champion, but the face of the WWE. Rock said that they were looking at what would happen if a “homeless lumberjack banged a oompa loompa”. Rock said thatBryanlooked like a troll from Lord of the Rings through a rime. He said that he came to talk to Punk and he knew that Punk would kick ass. Rock said that he gotBryana wedding gift anyway and he gave him a Rock Bottom.
There was another commercial for the new Undertaker DVD.
Bret Hart was brought out. Hart said that one of the best moments of his career was when he won the IC title against one of the greatest superstars that ever lived Mr. Perfect. He said he was there to introduce the two men that would be in the Intercontinental Championship match that night. He brought out Christian and then followed it by bringing Miz out in the most nonchalant manner.
3. Intercontinental Championship Match
Christian vs. Miz
Christian landed a missile dropkick and threw Miz to the outside. Christian then landed a splash to the outside on Miz. After the break Christian landed a punch to the face of Miz and a crossbody. Christian followed it with a diving elbow and went for the kills switch it was countered. Christian got a sunset flip for two, but Miz landed a boot to the face for two. Miz landed some boots to the knee, but Christian landed a tornado DDT for the count of two. Christian went for the spear, but Miz took him down with a boot and DDT for two. Miz went for a clothesline in the corner, but Christian moved and both men exchanged counters. Miz went for a back suplex, Christian landed on his feet but he sold the injured knee. This allowed Miz to land the Skull Crushing Finally for the win. Cole said that Miz was now a triple crown winner because he won the US Title, IC Title and WWE Title, suffice to say that is incorrect.
Charlie Sheen was back on Skype. He said that it was awesome to see Rock. Sheen said thatBryanhad anger management issues He said that he didn’t know how to treat a women and he should man up. It was fine. A recap was shown of Lesnar’s attack on Triple H.
Triple H came out and asked if they were having a good time. He said that he had his fun, but it was time to pick up the intensity and he called Lesnar out. He said that he wanted to fight Lesnar at Summer Slam and he wanted an answer right there. Heyman came out with no Lesnar. Triple H said that he came out to talk to the horses head not ass. Heyman said that Triple H was right and he said that Lesnar was there. He also said that he would answer Triple H’s question. Heyman said that the answer to Triple H’s question was no. Triple H said that he would go to the back to find Lesnar. Heyman said that he already had two lawsuits, he asked if getting a third was best for business. Triple H said that he didn’t care and asked if Lesnar was such a coward because he wouldn’t ask to his face. He said that Lesnar was actually a bully, a coward. Heyman said that Triple H resorted to name calling and that was what he taught his children not to do. Heyman wanted to know if that was what Triple H taught his children. Triple H slapped the mic out of Heyman’s hand and said that was what he asked Heyman not to do. He said that he couldn’t talk about his family or his kids. Heyman said that he was sorry. He said he stepped over a line, because he felt sorry for his children. He began to talk about the sins of the father when Stephanie came out.
Stephanie said that no one could talk about her children. She said that Heyman had made things personal and she said he had failed in WCW, ECW and WWE. She said that he was no visionary and he was only looking in the review mirror. Heyman asked if they were going to talk about “daddy”. She told him to shut up and she said that at least her dad stepped up and faced Triple H himself. She said that at least her children would be proud of Triple H. However Heyman’s children were ashamed of him she said. She slapped Heyman, which caused him to crack and accept Triple H’s challenge on behalf of Brock Lesnar. He realized what he had done and said that the McMahons always get what they want. He asked if that was what they wanted to teach their children and Stephanie took Heyman to the ground and began to pound on him. This led to Lesnar coming out.
Stephanie exited the ring and Brock Lesnar went straight after Triple H, ramming him into the turnbuckle. Triple H fought back, but Lesnar landed more shots and a knee. Both men exchanged strikes up until, Triple landed some shots and clotheslined Lesnar over the top rope with his tail between his legs. Lesnar was on the entrance ramp and said “f*** off” to Triple H, but the sound was cut.
This segment angered me in many ways, especially in terms of heat and building up a match. Having Heyman get what was coming to him and having Triple H clothesline Lesnar off the top rope was too much too soon. What is their left to anticipate now? Lesnar didn’t look like a monster in this segment and although Stephanie was fine, she was not needed. They could have easily had Lesnar run through DX, but instead they did this and this doesn’t add any intrigue whatsoever.
Some more tOuts were shown. WithKingstonand some fans again nothing special. There were some new clips shown of WWE13 withAustinvs. Cena. They showed a video package ofAustinvs. McMahon. Marella and Hornswoggle came out with new Brawlin Buddies with terrible voice acting. Howard Finkel was brought out as a ring announcer.
3. No Disqualification Match
Heath Slater vs. Lita
Slater said that everything that had happened to him was in the past and everyone was going to remember his match that night. He challenged any legend to a no DQ no count out match and it was Lita. Slater said that he accepted her challenge. After the bell rang Lita said that she hired herself protection and it was the APA. Which means Bradshaw did not die on Everest.
Slater ran away but all the legends that he had faced stopped him and threw him back in for the twist of fate from Lita. He was caught with the clothesline from hell and moonsault for the win. After the match Ron Simmons said “Damn!” and everyone continued with their celebration.
Shawn Mooney interviewed Bryan. He said the entire night had been tainted. He was insulted, humiliated and called an oompa loompa by Sheen. He said that Sheen needed more than anger management, he needed life management. He said if he was standing right there he would slap the yes lock on him before he could say winning. The 100,000,000th social media followed was interviewed, Alex Guerrero Jr. He said that he couldn’t wait for the next 1000th episode – keep waiting. Fozzie Bear was there to talk about the best catch phrases and a montage followed.
Ryder was backstage with Gene Okerlund and Cena, he said that Gene was the one behind GTV. Rock came by and everyone fled expect for Cena. Rock wished Cena luck. Cena said that he would be champion so he could go one on one with the great one. Rock said that he couldn’t tell Cena how much he was looking forward to it.
Kane’s entrance was interrupted by Mahal, Reks, Hawkins, Camacho, Hunico and McIntyre. They said that they weren’t given an opportunity so they would take it for their own, when the bong went off and Undertaker came out. The geeks cleared the ring and Undertaker looked at Kane. Everyone piled into the ring and Undertaker and Kane cleared house. Hawkins and Hunico took the tombstones. The crowd chanted “this is awesome” and they both did their poses.
There was a B.A. Star seminar with Stephanie, Eve, Miz and Sheamus. There was the final Charlie Sheen segment. He was asked about theBryaninterview. He said that he would shakeBryanso hard that his “fake beard” would fall off. He challenged him for next timeBryanwas in LA. Sheen was actually fine, but Cole and Lawler came off as pretty fake.
4. WWE Championship Match
CM Punk vs. John Cena
The fans exchanged duelling chants. Cena knocked Punk down with a shoulder tackle, but they both went back to their feet. Punk landed a backslide for the count of two and he locked in a wrist lock. Cena went for the STF, but he was kicked off. Punk landed a couple of chops and a knee, but Cena landed some strikes and took Punk down to the mat. Punk fought out of a headlock with a back suplex for two and landed a backbreaker for another nearfall. Punk locked in a headlock, but Cena made it to his feet. Lawler completely ignored Van Dam by saying that letting your opponent know when you would cash in had never happened before. Cena and Punk exchanged strikes. Cena got the best of the exchange landing shoulder tackles. He went for the spinout powerbomb, but Punk landed on his feet sloppily. Punk landed the knee in the corner, but Cena countered and landed the spinout powerbomb. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle, but Punk kicked Cena and landed a kick to the head. Punk signalled for the GTS, but Cena got off of the shoulders. Punk was pushed into the referee and Cena landed the AA, but there was no referee present to make the count. Cena went to go check on the referee, but Big Show slid in and landed a spear on Cena. Big Show landed the right hand while Punk sat in the corner. Punk looked around and attempted to wake the referee up. He threw him into the ring, but he was split on whether to make the cover or not. He did, but Cena kicked out. Punk went for the GTS, but Cena locked in the STF. Big Show ran back in and landed some shots on Cena for the DQ. Punk turned his back on Cena and Rock ran out. Punk slid out of the ring and Rock unloaded on Big Show landing a spinebuster. He went for the people’s elbow, but he was cut off by Punk who landed the GTS. Punk walked out slowly with the belt to close the show off.
I can see this going either way as either a slow burn heel turn, or full out, but either way it should be very good. I really like the way that they did it, although I thought that having Cena lose via DQ was pretty lame. Plus having the commentators say virtually nothing about Cena being the first to lose his title match was also pretty lame. Still this had me and I am sure many of the other viewers excited for next week’s show. More importantly it could have gotten some disgruntled fans who tuned in for nostalgia interested for next week.
WWE NXT July 25th 2012 (Taped: July 14th 2012)
Overall Show Thoughts
This was a very fun show, although the mainevent was a big short and the Diva’s match had a very strange finish. Cesaro was good in his match and the Ohno interview was good as well. JR appeared out of the void twice, but when he was on commentary he and Regal were phenomenal. I would have liked to have seen the mainevent go longer, but unfortunately it did not. My one major gripe with the show was the crowd, although this wasn’t that deep into the second set of tapings the crowd was dead for most of the show. Even with the shows flaws I would recommend that you check it out if you haven’t already.
1. Bo Dallas & Derrick Bateman vs. Michael Mcgillicutty & Johnny Curtis
Curtis and Dallas started off, but Curtis cowered out and tagged in Michael Mcgillicutty.Dallastook Curtis to the outside, but he was caught with a baseball slide from Mcgillicutty. Mcgillicutty and Curtis took control ofDallas,Dallasgot a sunset flip, but the tag was made to Curtis andDallaswas cut off from making the tag.Dallascaught Curtis with an elbow, bridged Mcgillicutty to the outside and made the tag to Bateman who ran wild – to no reaction. Bateman landed a flapjack and neckbreaker, but Mcgillicutty broke it up. Curtis landed a modified front suplex off of a minor distraction from Mcgillicutty for the win.
2. Antonio Cesaro vs. Alex Riley
Cesaro rubbed Riley’s face on the canvas and he landed a shoulder block, but he was caught with a dropkick from Riley. Riley landed some sort of strange DDT out of the corner, but he was hung up belly first on the top rope. Cesaro locked in an abdominal stretch and went for a European uppercut, but Riley got a backslide for two. Cesaro responded with some big strikes in the corner. Cesaro locked in a reverse bearhug on the apron and transitioned it into a gut-wrench slam for two. Cesaro got a jaw breaker and locked in another abdominal stretch with a leg over the face of Riley. Riley countered a double arm suplex into a back bodydrop and began to make a comeback. He landed a spinebuster and gut Cesaro in the fireman’s carry, but Cesaro clipped the ear and Cesaro landed a slam due to the distraction form Aksana. This allowed Cesaro to land the Gotch style neutralizer for the win.
A Kassius Ohno interview was shown. Ohno said that there were some athletic guys on the NXT roster, but an element of danger was missing. He said that the things he had done inside the ring paled in comparison to what he was going to do. He listed the ways that he could destroy people and what to be careful of. He said he was the most dangerous man in sports entertainment and he was there to inflict pain. He said that he was Kassius and he hurt people. This was a really well performed interview.
We finally got the Summer Slam commercial initially described as “Brock Lesnar beating up the weather”. Unfortunately it was not that, although it was weather themed. Matt Striker was backstage with Drew McIntyre. Striker wanted to know what McIntyre thought of the people that thought his time had passed. He said that all everyone does is talk and that night the talking would end.
3. Natalya vs. Sofia Cortez
Cortez locked in a head scissors, but Natalya got out with ease. She offered Cortez the handshake, but Natalya pulled her in. However Cortez countered, she was taken down with a clothesline for two. Natalya landed a chop and locked in a surfboard, which led to “yes” chants from people in the front row. Natalya was very aggressive, she landed some boots in the corner, but she was taken down with a dropkick by Cortez. Natalya got a great rollup for two and Cortez followed with one of her own. Natalya got another nearfall and rolled to the outside. Unfortunately Natalya was counted out, which was really unfortunate since the match was really fun. After the match Natalya rolled back in and locked in the sharpshooter, which was pretty strange.
There was a post RAW 1000 recap. The majority of the show was recapped.
4. The Ascension (Conor O’Brian & Kenneth Cameron) vs. Dante Dash & Garrett Dylan
O’Brian walked past Dash and knocked his partner, Garrett Dylan off of the apron. O’Brian tagged in Cameron and they both double teamed Dash in their corner. Cameron took a turnbuckle for no reason and they both caught Dash with a new finisher, which is a leg lariat variant of total elimination for the win.
There was another vignette for Big E Langston which definitely got the job done, although it did repeat many of the conventions seen in another vignettes over the past few weeks.
5. Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre
The show finished on a high note as JR reappeared from his ethereal hiding place to commentate.
McIntyre took Rollins down, but Rollins caught him with a leg sweep and a kick to the chest for the count of two. McIntyre was caught with two dropkicks and a third knocking McIntyre to the outside. Rollins landed a topé suicida to no reaction. There was another commercial for Summer Slam. After the break McIntyre was in control. Rollins landed a back bodydrop and running neckbreaker. Rollins caught McIntyre who just kipped up with an enzuigiri and leg lariat. He landed a splash in the corner and a reverse STO into the turnbuckle. Rollins was caught with a knee to the gut and McIntyre went for the double underhook, but Rollins got a backslide for two. Rollins landed a kick to the face of McIntyre for another nearfall and went to the top rope for the phoenix splash, McIntyre moved, Rollins landed on his feet, but he was caught with a big boot and double underhook spike DDT for the win. Before going off of the air Byron Saxton announced that Dusty Rhodes would have a big announcement next week.
TNA Impact June 26th 2012
Overall Show Thoughts
I enjoyed this week’s Impact far more than last week’s. Yes, a very good match was interrupted by the Aces & Eights, but that got them heat, as for what kind of heat, I don’t know yet. The Aces & Eights stuff was fine, but I just hope that they get to the reveal soon, because it does overpower the show. I don’t know where they are going with the Roode run in, it could just be Roode messing with Aries and if that’s the case and King gets a rematch at some point, I am fine with it. As for the matches on the show, both the mainevent and Styles/James Storm were awesome, they really were the best TV matches I have seen in a while. Although I don’t normally give out star ratings for TV matches, I would probably give both matches *** 1/4 +. It was really goofy how they had the Gut Check match and results on the same show and the fact that everyone gets through also doesn’t help. Still this was a highly enjoyable episode of pro wrestling programming.
The show opened up with Sting coming out. He told the Aces & Eights what they had done to Hogan. He said that he was the GM that night, put in place by Dixie Carter and he called the Aces & Eights out. Austin Aries came out instead.
Aries admired Sting’s courage, but he said it was about a numbers game. They jumped the World Champion and that meant that they were making a statement. He said if any of them showed up he would jump them and make a statement. Kurt Angle came out.
Angle said the Aces and Eights tried to take away his chance of winning the World Title and his health so he wanted to fight those “sons of b*tches” too. This led to Roode joining the fray. He wasn’t there to fight and said he wasn’t there to have their backs. He was there to point out the obvious, because he knew who the man was behind the attacks. Aries and Angle called him into the ring. He proclaimed that the man behind the attacks was in the world title picture and was jealous of him for a long time and was jealous of Aries too. He said that it was the man scheduled to face Angle – James Storm. Roode said he knew Storm for four years and he was manipulative and jealous – he was a “piece of crap”. Storm ran out and they brawled in the ring. They went to the ground and everyone in the ring just looked on. Finally Angle pulled Storm off, the crowd was really into Storm. Roode claimed it as proof.
Tarawas talking about how excited she was to see Guerrero. Kash was also interviewed saying that he wanted their paths to meet again and Angle said he had some great matches with the late Eddy Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero. He said that he thought he was one of the best wrestlers in the world. Roode was freaking out backstage saying how no one would listen to him and he said he knew what made Storm tick. He said if no one wanted to believe him it was fine and he grabbed his bags and walked out of the building.
1. Gail Kim & Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James & Tara
Earl Hebner was the referee. Kim and Tara started off. They worked in and out of a wrist lock, butTaratook Kim down with an armdrag. James was tagged in and she landed a dropkick for two. Kim landed a springboard armdrag, but James landed a Thesz press and unloaded on Kim. Kim took advantage of a cheap shot from Rayne, landed a big kick and made the tag. Rayne courted Hebner in the middle of the match, but she still kept control of James with an STO for two. Rayne went for a splash in the corner, but the tag was made to Tara who ran wild. She landed some clotheslines and the spinning fireman’s carry into the sidewalk slam. Tara and James locked in doubleBostoncrabs. Kim went for a missile dropkick, but she was caught in a double leg lock. James and Rayne got a double roll up, James got her shoulder up, but Hebner proclaimed that Rayne was the winner.
Sting was backstage with Austin Aries. He wanted Sting to give the X division title contenders advice and make some cuts. Aries said that he had trouble with the Aces & Eights too, but he decided to do it anyway. There was a video package on Sam Shaw, he was fine. Hernandez was talking about Chavo and he had one word and it was incredible. Ray didn’t want the interviewer to interrupt his tweeting; he said it was just another Guerrero to beat up.
2. Douglas Williams vs. Sam Shaw
Sam Show took advantage with an athletic sequence. He landed two neckbreakers for the count of two and he landed a bodyslam for two. He went to the top rope, but was distracted by Joey Ryan in the crowd who pushed Al Snow. Williams caught him with a lariat and shot to the face. Williams followed it with an exploder and slap to the face. Williams then landed the chaos theory suplex for the win.
Aries was shown with X division wrestlers Sonjay Dutt, Rashad Cameron, Kenny King and Dakota Darsow. He told them that he could decide who faced Zema Ion. They gave their reasons back and forth. Zema Ion was there for some reason and Ion was taken out, because he never added anything to the conversation. Aries said that everyone except Cameron made compelling arguments and he told Cameron to move out of the door. This was strange since Darsow didn’t contribute anything. There was another Chavo Guerrero vignette.
Chavo Guerrero came out. He started by saying hello to “his Guerrero people”. He said that he felt humbled to be allowed in their ring. There was one thing that the Guerreros have always done and that was to conquer and win championships in every company, country and promotion except TNA. He said he saw hungry people in the back, hungry to be the best, the eyes of the best and that was why he was there – to beat the best. He said timing was everything and so people should remember that date, because it was Guerrero time. It was time for Chavo to be a champion. He closed with Viva La Raza, but he was interrupted by Kid Kash.
Kash asked if Chavo was saying that he was a wrestling legend along with his family. He said if Chavo’s uncle, granny and father were wrestlers. Kash said that the Guerreros thought that they had to be bowed down to. He wanted to know where Chavo’s family was. Chavo said the people were his family. Kash said he wasn’t talking about the government funded “jack-offs”. He wanted to know where his father was and if his knees and back gave out. He finally asked if his dad was too drunk and Chavo struck Kash, but Gunner and Kash used numbers to overpower Chavo. Hernandez came running out and they cleared house. This was a good segment.
Angle was backstage and he wanted to know if there was a connection between Storm and the Aces and Eights. Storm said that he had no connection and he knew nothing about them. Angle just wanted to know if he had their back and Storm said he did.
Snow freaked out with Taz andPrichard. He said that Ryan had his attention.Prichardsaid they were there to talk about Shaw, but Taz said that he was impressed and liked the way he looked.Prichardsaid he was also distracted, but he thought that Shaw never got his chance to shine last week. Taz said that Shaw looked really good period. There was a recap of the Claire Lynch angle.
3. AJ Styles vs. James Storm
Storm knocked Styles down with a shoulder block and Styles got a rollup for two. They kept cutting to Claire Lynch in the crowd who was seething, although it looked like she was making a duck face. Storm landed some chops and rammed Styles’ head into the turnbuckle for two. Storm went back to a headlock, Styles was out, but he was caught with an underhook suplex for two. Storm landed a back bodydrop and locked in a submission. Styles fought out and landed a big dropkick for two. Storm was rammed into the top turnbuckle from a bearhug and he landed a snap suplex for two. Styles locked in a face lock and Storm made it to his feet unloading with shots. Styles fought back with some shots of his own and Storm pushed Styles into the turnbuckle. Storm hung Styles up and landed a running forearm for two. Styles landed a kick to the leg and a backsuplex for another nearfall. Styles went for a splash in the corner, but Storm moved. Styles was perched on the top rope by Storm, but Styles fought Storm off. However Storm managed to land Eye of the Storm for two in a great near fall. Storm landed a clothesline, he went for a tornado DDT from the top, but Styles landed an exploder in the turnbuckle for two. Styles landed a springboard fist to the face from all away across the ring for two. Storm landed anAlabamaslam for two. Both men fought on the apron, but Styles was dropped face first for two. Styles caught Storm with the pelé, but Storm landed a code breaker. He went for the superkick, but Styles caught him with a pelé. Unfortunately that was the last move of the match before the Aces & Eights ran in.
Storm as interviewed backstage. They never attacked Storm. Storm pushed the interviewer up against the wall and screamed at him. Storm asked if he was accusing him and he said that they didn’t know a “damn thing” about him.
This was really strange since it is normally done the next week, but for some reason the result of the Gut Check was decided right then and there. Shaw said that even though he came up short he had the drive, intensity and determination to be one of the best. Al Snow said that he never got to see what Shaw did, but “sticking it up Joey Ryan’s ass” would make him really happy. But, he said that he had to say no.Prichardwas next, he said he saw his match, he said that Shaw did a hell of a job and his answer was yes. Shaw cut a promo. He talked about Taz in 1999 and said that it resonated through him. Taz said that he loved Shaw’s energy and said that he took his head off of the ball during the match, but he said yes. Shaw went crazy and hugged everyone. This was fine, but the fact that all the people from gut check are never seen again and everyone is accepted doesn’t help.
Aries was backstage with King, Dutt and Darsow and he wrote down all of their races in some comedy. They gave their perspectives again. Darsow said that he didn’t bring anything pretty or flashy. This led to Aries saying no, because the X division was about flashy too.
4. X Division Championship Match
Zema Ion vs. Kenny King
Aries made his decision backstage and gave the shot to King, because of Dutt’s shoulder. King went straight after Ion, but he was pulled off and Ion sprayed his hair. King landed a dropkick and some chops, followed by a splash in the corner. Ion was hung up by King who landed a springboard crossbody and snap suplex. King caught Ion with a boot to the face, but King was pushed to the outside and Ion landed a big topé con giro. Ion caught King with a missile dropkick and strangled him in the ropes. Ion was bleeding a bit from the lip. Ion shoved King into the turnbuckle and landed a chop in the corner. King got a rollup for two and missed the spin kick, which allowed Ion to land a gutbuster for two. King landed an elbow and he caught Ion with a windmill kick. King landed an enzuigiri to the back of the head and landed a fisherman’s buster. Ion was caught with an enzuigiri off of the apron and a running corkscrew pescado on the outside. King went for a springboard, but he was pulled down by Roode of all people who landed some cheap shots while the referee was distracted. This allowed Ion to land the moonsault for the win.
After the match Aries ran out and chased Roode off. Ray was interviewed regarding the Aces and Eights. He said that they were schmucks and they wouldn’t get him any points. He had a lot of respect for angle he said, saying that Angle was the best wrestler in the world. But, he said that he was the toughest guy Angle had ever been in the ring with and he would beat him for the ten points. A match for next week was announced with Roode and Ion taking on Aries and King which should be pretty good.
5. Kurt Angle vs. Bully Ray
Angle went for an Angle slam, it was countered and Ray went for a spin kick of all things, but he missed. Ray landed some shots to the back and Angle locked in an ankle lock, but Ray made it to the ropes. Ray landed another shot to the back and landed a big piledriver, but Angle’s arm was under the rope. Ray landed a neckbreaker after the break for two. After a second quick commercial break, Ray did the spit spot and landed some elbows. However Angle landed a big clothesline. Angle landed some shots and a forearm followed by a belly to belly suplex for two. Angle went for the Angle slam, but Ray got the Bully Bomb for two. Angle landed three rolling German suplexes and pulled the straps down. Angle locked in the ankle lock, but Ray rolled out. Ray landed a chop to the chest and a huge yuranagi for two. Ray went for a boot, but he was caught with an Angle slam for two in a great near fall. Angle went to the top for the moonsault and of course missed. Ray went for a bulldog, but he landed a big boot for two. Ray missed the splash in the corner and Angle caught Ray with the Angle slam for the win to finish off a great TV match.
As soon as Angle got the win the Aces & Eights started a beat down. Aries, Sting and Styles came out to make the save, but they were overpowered by the Aces & Eights. Storm’s music hit and they cleared the ring. Angle and Storm started to argue to close of the show. Tenay announced that it would be Storm vs. Angle next week which will be awesome.
Bits & Pieces
The Wrestlers: Fighting with my Family
I had a chance to watch the new Channel 4 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with my Family this week. The documentary centres around the Knight family with the patriarch of the family being Ricky Knight of World of Sport. The documentary’s main premise is the departure of Saraya Knight for the WWE, where she would eventually become known as Paige.
As the title suggests the documentary also features family conflict, which didn’t seem completely scripted, although I do believe that a lot of the conflict between brother Zack Knight and Saraya Knight was taken out of context. The reason I thought this was because, towards the second half of the documentary they built towards the WWE trials of Saraya and Zack in 2009. Saraya happened to succeed on her first try, while Zack was turned down repeatedly and told to get in shape.
The way that the film progressed almost gave me the impression that they were ready for a situation where Saraya and Zack were accepted and where a combination of both of them failed. It turned out that they could build upon Zack’s feelings, because he didn’t get the contract.
The documentary opened with some footage from an event with less than twenty people in attendance, which made me think that it was more of a training session than anything else. It looked like it took place within a living room, with white curtains draping from the corners of the room. The one thing that I found strange was that it was proclaimed that Ricky Knight’s promotion, WAW was the biggest promotion inEngland– I found that hard to believe.
They showed that Saraya was a big merchandise seller and a draw for the promotion, which seemed completely legitimate. It was also made explicitly clear that Ricky Knight wanted his three children to succeed.
Some clips were shown of the best of RAW 2009 with Cena vs. Michaels on the show and the family’s reaction to the show was shown too. Zack said that he started wrestling when he was six years old and they actually showed some promos from his childhood.
Zack was told at the trails that he needed to bulk up and a lot of the program there after centred around his battle to get into good enough shape. Most of the scenes where jealousy factored in were contained in this portion of the film. Small things like jealousy over compliments or birthday money were shown, but it never broke out into something over the top such as the drama seen on a reality show.
Basically a knee injury resulting from intense training halted Zack’s training and therefore he was only able to train his upper body. This resulted in him not getting a contract once again, but he was told to come back. At the end of the documentary it was said that he would try again, so the ending to the documentary was left open ended.
As for Saraya she departed for Florida. According the documentary her gimmick is supposed to be that of a computer nerd who is simply to the girl from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but she has lost short matches on NXT and hasn’t gotten much time so I don’t know if that’s still the case.
I found a few things that Paige said during the documentary pretty funny. She said things like she would bring back the Attitude, but she did come across as a likeable person and so did the rest of the family.
The documentary was a fun hour spent. It wasn’t ground breaking and it wasn’t like it had the greatest production values, but it was an insightful look into one small family in wrestling. The three main themes addressed; Paige going to the WWE, Zack becoming jealous as a result and poor business were all handles well and the documentary didn’t feel choppy at all.
It wasn’t like it had that strange form of pseudo kayfabe that was found in documentaries like Magic, Gangs and Wrestling and it was handled in a far less naive manner. All of the members of the family seemed like nice people and I am sure they are. As it didn’t really feel like they were putting on a huge show.
Next Week’s Issue
Next week we cover: the follow up to RAW 1000, Impact, NXT, hopefully some New Japan, an updated list of the top matches of 2012, an August preview and more!
I just wanted to say thank you to Dave Meltzer of wrestlingobserver.com home of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for the ratings featuring demographics and specific numbers. You will not find two better newsletters than the Wrestling Observer and Figure Four newsletters available at wrestlingobserver.com.
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