Cubed Circle Newsletter #48: Huge Issue: Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Part III, No Surrender 2012, New Japan Last Rebellion, NoC Go-Home + Tons More!

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Cubed Circle Newsletter

 

We have a huge issue in store for you this week covering: New Japan’s Last Rebellion show, the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Part III, The go-home show for Night of Champions, Jerry Lawler, TNA No Surrender, Impact and Ben Carass covers NXT and SmackDown! This is the biggest issue since WrestleMania and there is another big one coming next week. As always you can subscribe to the newsletter by emailing subscriptions@cubedcirclewrestling.com with your name and email address or by visiting http://www.cubedcirclewrestling.com/blog/siteannouncements/subscribe-via-email-now-available/

 

Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Part III: The Sharpe Brothers, Sting and Yuji Nagata

 

The Sharpe Brothers

 

To understand the Sharpe brothers’ case as hall of fame candidates, I feel that it is first important to understand the Japanese social climate at the time. It was post World War II and at the time the Japanese people as a whole felt the pain of their defeat in the war. The atomic bombs dropped inNagasakiandHiroshimadealt a huge blow to the countries moral and this was mimicked in their art – including pro wrestling.

 

Another art form at the time also gaining a major foot hold was anime and although I don’t want to go into grave detail, anime and manga series like Astro Boy and Tetsujin 28-go stemmed from the Second World War. These shows would focus on giant robots defendingJapanand in the case of Astro Boy, dealt in themes of nuclear power and morality.

 

This theme of Japanese triumphing over their villainous foreign enemies continued and was the catalyst for the success of pro wrestling in the country. From some of the very first big Japanese pro wrestling matches like Rikidozan, the father of puroresu, taking on Lou Thesz this was a common theme. These themes continued for decades to come throughoutJapanand monsters from other countries, became large drawing cards inJapan.

 

This is where the Sharpe brothers come in, as they were probably one of the first true representations of this archetype and in many ways were the ones to innovate the idea. They were big, well built, imposing Americans that fit the role of American monsters for Rikidozan to overcome. However, the question of whether on not the Sharpe brothers were in the right at the right time needs to be asked.

 

If you look at the other examples in Japanese culture that were listed above, I don’t know if putting another big American tag team from that era would have made a difference to its success. Since Rikidozan was the one that was drawing crowds and was a countrywide icon and still is to this day.

 

From what I have seen the Sharpe Brothers were good in the ring, although I don’t really know if that would be a prime consideration given the time period in question. They were probably as good as most tag teams of the era, but I can’t say if they were above the standard or not.

 

Another point to take into consideration is the fact that they only really ran one tour inJapan, which doesn’t necessarily speak for longevity in that area and I don’t really know if gaijin could really have long multi-tour runs inJapanat the time, given the way matches worked out.

 

I don’t know enough to say that top level gaijin wouldn’t have been around without the Sharpe Brothers. I would guess that they laid the ground work for a particular archetype at the time, but I don’t know if another team would have been able to do the same.

 

From my view point the Sharpe Brothers look like strong candidates, maybe for the simple reason that they could have helped shape Japanese wrestling at the time. But, I do not have a sufficient amount of knowledge to say whether they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame or not – although if they were inducted this year it really wouldn’t bother me.

 

Sting

 

Sting has to be one of the most polarizing figures on the ballot, maybe not as polarizing as Brock Lesnar, but certainly close to that level. Some people say that he should make it into the Hall of Fame strictly due to his longevity, ring work and success in the business, while others say that his career simply hasn’t been at the Hall of Fame level.

 

I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. I believe that Sting in many ways is a Hall of Fame calibre wrestler. He has had a very long career where he has drawn on a decent basis and over time has become a good worker. On the other hand he has never really been “the guy” for a very long time in a large promotion. Sure, he was on top at times in WCW, but it never really felt like he was the biggest star in the company for an extended period of time.

 

With that being said, he did draw the second biggest buyrate in the history of WCW and has been a draw of some sort in TNA for over six years. I think that in the back of a lot of people’s minds the fact that Sting did not have a WWE run really hurts him, even if it is unfair.

 

If you think about it, if Sting had a very similar career as he had in WCW in the WWE people would view him as a stronger candidate. Even if he had a brief run during the TNA years, like it or not, many people would see him on that level.

 

However, Sting has been that consistent guy. Maybe not the biggest in his promotion, but close to that level or on that level for a very long time and has probably been close to that level since 1988, which was twenty four years ago. He has had his fair share of great matches too as his 1988 match against Ric Flair at the first Clash of the Champions demonstrates.

 

He was good on the mic for a lot of that time and most certainly had longevity looking at the length of his career and how many times he has been reinvented. So if you look at it in that way there isn’t a big reason for Sting not to be in the Hall of Fame.

 

Even though TNA is viewed by many people as a worthless entity when it comes to Hall of Fame voting, Sting did make a difference in the company at one point and probably was only one of a few men to do so. And when Sting eventually retires from TNA, I think he will gain a stronger vote.

 

Last year I argued against Sting as a Hall of Fame candidate, but this year I feel differently and that will probably be the view of most people as the years go by. Sting garnered 44% of the vote last year, which means that he will need another 16% to get in this year and that probably won’t happen. However I do predict an increase of at least some amount.

 

By the time Sting’s career is over at least in TNA, I expect a spike in votes for him and he will probably be inducted at some point down the road.

 

Yuji Nagata

 

There has been a decent amount of debate for Yuji Nagata, a man that isn’t even on the ballot, as Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame candidate this week. I tend to fall into the “Yuji Nagata is one of the most underrated men in pro wrestling” camp, which doesn’t necessarily mean I am advocating him as a Hall of Famer, but he does deserve a spot on the ballot.

 

Nagata, now 44 has experienced some what of a career renaissance over the past few years and has retained his spot in probably the top fifteen workers in the world throughout that time. He was the IWGP Heavyweight champion at a time where New Japan was at its lowest and that will probably used as a strike against him, but that downslide was out of Nagata’s control.

 

He also lost a shoot fight to Mirko Cro Cop during that time, which really damaged his reputation, during a time where it was vital to keep that kind of disaster from happening. Still, Nagata was able to carry the company, which has to count for something.

 

Not only that, but Nagata has been able to perform at a consistently high level throughout his time in the company and despite being at the top during a horrific down swing in the company, Nagata was able to perform well.

 

He had the shoot fight failures, but those can’t really be held against him. Plus there’s the fact that at the age of 44 the man can still go and put on a (****+) if he has to. He is not consistently in mainevents and spends the majority of his time in the midcard, but if they need a good challenger he can rise to the occasion.

 

At the very least Nagata should be a guy that is on the ballot for work rate and work rate within unique parameters as well. He ticks the box for being a top star in the company and as a worker. Honestly if Nagata was to make it into the Hall of Fame I wouldn’t have that much of an issue with it.

 

If Kensuke Sasaki is able to garner 45% as a candidate, I don’t see why Yuji Nagata who is clearly on or even above Sasaki’s level isn’t able to garner enough votes to be on the ballot. Nagata was on the ballot at one point, but it was before he hit a lot of key points in his career.

 

Nagata, until he is on the ballot and possibly even until he gains a large percentage of votes will always remain as one of the biggest oversights of the Hall of Fame for me, because he is a man that has been able to perform at a level in the top of his class for so long that he deserves more attention than he has at present.

 

NJPW Last Rebellion July 29th 2012 

Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Overall Show Thoughts

 

This wasn’t a blow away show by any means, but it was a very fun B or even C-level show. The Junior Heavyweight match between Low Ki and Ibushi was by far the best thing on the show and if you are going to watch one thing on the show I would go for that. The eight man tag was also good, although we saw better between the majority of the men involved at the Best of the Super Juniors this year. The mainevent was good, but it wasn’t spectacular, mainly due to time constraints and communication issues. Although both men put on a good match, in terms of crowd heat and match quality as well as importance the Ibushi/Low Ki match should have gone on last. Still the show is worth checking out for a good two hours of wrestling.

1. Gedo & Jado vs. Captain New Japan & KUSHIDA

 

KUSHIDA and Gedo started off. They had an exchange on the mat and worked up to the feet where Gedo landed a knee and tagged in Jado. Jado landed a big chop and wooed in one of his many imitations, KUSHIDA landed a chop and Jado teased a Flair flop, but stood back upright. New Japanlanded some shots from the apron and was tagged in which resulted in Jado bumping for no apparent reason. New Japanknocked Gedo off of the apron and went for the diving headbutt, but Jado moved and knocked KUSHIDA off of the apron. Gedo was tagged back in as the fans got behind New Japan. Jado and Gedo tagged in and out stomping on the arm of New Japan and landing the occasional boot to the head. New Japancountered an attempted double team and landed a double clothesline allowing for the tag to be made to KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA landed a kick on Gedo and a standing moonsault onto both men. The fans chanted for KUSHIDA. Gedo poked the eye of New Japan who was attempting a double team and he accidentally struck KUSHIDA. This led to New Japanrolling to the outside and Gedo landing a superkick to a grounded KUSHIDA for two. KUSHIDA fired back with a double handspring back elbow and New Japan made his way back into the ring. KUSHIDA landed an enzuigiri on Gedo and New Japan locked in the Tongan Death Grip. KUSHIDA then finished Gedo off with a buzzsaw kick in 07:22. This was a fun opening match.

** ¾

 

2. Jushin Thunder Liger, Wataru Inoue, & Tiger Mask vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, BUSHI & TamaTonga

 

Tongawrestled Liger to the ground where both men fought for control eventually landing up on the feet. They had another brief exchange and the tags were made to BUSHI and Tiger Mask respectively. BUSHI and Liger had an exchange. BUSHI came off of the legs of Tiger Mask awkwardly and landed on his neck. Tiger Mask was pretty slow during the exchange and it felt a bit clunky. Inoue was tagged in with Taguchi. They exchanged elbows, Taguchi got the better of the exchange and landed a big flying forearm in the corner. Inoue however caught Taguchi with a spinning backfist knocking him to the mat and allowing Liger to be tagged in. Taguchi was thrown to the outside where Tiger Mask held him in preparation for Liger’s baseball slide. Back in the ring Liger locked in a surfboard dragon sleeper combination. Tiger Mask was tagged back in and he pulled back on the shoulders of Taguchi and landed a couple of stomps to the back. Taguchi attempted a foot stomp, Tiger Mask ducked, but Taguchi clipped the leg of Tiger Mask beautifully and landed an enzuigiri and inverted DDT. He made the tag toTongawho landed a dropkick on Liger and shots to the gut of Tiger Mask. Liger attacked him from behind doing his own howls in the same manner asTonga.Tongawas able to land a dropkick forcing Liger and Tiger Mask to the outside. He landed a big splash on Tiger Mask followed by another splash for the count of two. Tiger Mask landed some kicks to the gut ofTongaand tagged in Inoue. Inoue called in BUSHI. He landed some chops, but BUSHI caught him with a kick and missile dropkick. The fans were really behind BUSHI. He followed this with a dropkick to a downed Inoue. He went to the top rope, but was caught and thrown off by Inoue. Inoue missed a splash and Taguchi landed a big dropkick on Inoue followed by a splash fromTonga. BUSHI attempted a brainbuster, but only managed to grab a DDT. Taguchi landed a plancha onto Liger as everyone else battled on the outside. This left Inoue and BUSHI in the ring. Inoue landed the leg hook brainbuster for two. He attempted to land another, but BUSHI countered and grabbed a roll up for two. However Inoue landed a bridging German suplex for the win in 09:09. This was your usual fun formulaic junior six man tag.

***

 

3. Karl Anderson, MVP,SheltonBenjamin & Rush vs. Taka Michinoku, Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Taichi

 

Rush and Taichi started the match off with a posing contest. Michinoku came in and he tried his hands at posing too, he landed some chest slaps to Rush firing both men up, but Michinoku just cut the whole exchange off with an eye poke. Rush landed a big release belly to belly suplex and dropkick on Michinoku and then superkicked Taichi off the apron. He teased a topé, but posed instead. Archer and MVP went at it exchanging “f*** yous” and other expletives. They engaged in a battle of strength with MVP being forced to his knees, but then coming back to force Archer down. Archer landed some big headbutts and MVP caught him with a lariat, which Archer no sold. Archer landed a lariat of his own, but MVP didn’t budge either. Suzuki and Anderson were tagged in and Suzuki ran atAndersonwith a full head of steam only to land a slap. This firedAndersonup.  He landed a scoop slam, but missed the back senton which resulted in an assault from the heel team. They knocked the face team off the apron and landed some shots on the outside. Archer woreAndersondown with clubbing blows on the outside and landed a big legdrop in the ring. The fans got behindAnderson, but he was cut off and the tag was made to Taichi asAndersonwas picked apart in the corner. Michinoku and Taichi landed a series of lariats in the corner as brief chaos broke out. The bell rang, but the match continued.Andersonmade the tag to Benjamin who ran wild. But, Suzuki quickly ran in with a sleeper, as Benjamin was picked apart as the only man in the ring among the four heels. He kicked out at two as Archer, Taichi and Michinoku called for him to get up. They landed a double superkick, but he kicked out. Everyone was in the ring.Andersonwent for the gunstun on Suzuki, but Suzuki dropped him down into a sleeper.Andersongot out of it, but he was sent tumbling to the outside. Rush landed a big missile dropkick on Michinoku and shot over the top with a topé con giro on Michinoku, Archer and Suzuki. Taichi pulled the trunks off, but he was caught with Pay Dirt from Benjamin for the win in 10:15. The crowd was almost completely silent for the finish.

** ¾

4. Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii

 

Tenzan, Kojima and Nagata were attacked before the match by Yano, Iizuka and Ishii. Ishii and Nagata went straight to the awesome elbow exchange that we saw at Dominion. They went at it forever. Nagata finally broke it up with some kicks, but he was whipped into the ropes by Ishii and Yano got a cheap shot to the back. The tag was made to Yano, but Nagata caught him with a jumping high kick. Tenzan and Iizuka exchanged rough strikes. Iizuka got the better of the exchange, but he was caught with a lariat from Tenzan who landed the top rope bulldog for two. He landed some headbutts and the Mongolian chops knocking Iizuka to the mat. Yano pulled Tenzan to the mat however and a brawl broke out on the outside. One of the turnbuckle pads was removed and Iizuka landed a shot to the back of Tenzan with the chair. Iizuka also went at Kojima landing some really hard shots. Tenzan was whipped into the exposed turnbuckle and sold the back. Iizuka landed some stomps and made the tag to Yano who whipped him into the post again. Ishii landed some chops, but Tenzan fought back with a headbutt. However, Yano caught him with a cheap shot once again allowing for Ishii to gain the advantage. Iizuka strangled Tenzan with a piece of rope behind the referee’s back and threw it to the outside. Iizuka raked the eyes of Tenzan, Tenzan landed some slaps, but he was forced back into the heel corner. Yano landed the Mongolian chops, standard fare for all of the TenKoji/Yano and Iizuka matches. Tenzan of course caught him with a leg lariat, but he was cut off by Iizuka. Tenzan landed a double clothesline on Yano and Iizuka and finally made the tag to Kojima who fired off on Yano with machine gun chops. Iizuka was also pulled in to the same result. He shot off with a flying forearm on Yano and landed a big elbow for two. Yano and Kojima exchanged strikes. Kojima landed a roaring elbow, but he was pulled down by the hair by Yano. Yano went for the lariat, but Kojima blocked it and tagged in Nagata. Nagata landed some leg kicks, but missed the jumping highkick. Ishii was tagged in and all three men landed lariats on Nagata in the turnbuckle. Ishii landed a superplex for the count of two, it was broken up by Kojima, but he was thrown out by Yano. TenKoji landed the 3D on Yano who rolled out. They proceeded to land one on Ishii leaving him with Nagata in the ring. Nagata landed a high knee and bridging back drop driver for the win in 10:09. We have seen this match countless times between Yano and Iizuka and TenKoji and it really has become the stalest thing in New Japan. The Nagata/Ishii dynamic has added something fresh and new, but the majority of the match felt recycled and stale.

***

5. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Togi Makabe & Hirooki Goto vs. Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Yujiro Takahashi & YOSHI-HASHI

 

Makabe and Okada started off. They exchanged some mat holds and worked their way back up to their feet. Makabe landed a shoulder block, Okada never went down and he ducked a lariat landing a big boot. He was quickly knocked down with another shoulder block and the tags were made Takahashi and Tanahashi. They had a similar sequence to Okada and Makabe. Takahashi pulled the hair of Tanahashi and caught him in mid-leapfrog with a powerslam. Tanahashi landed a crossbody, but the pin was broken up by HASHI. Tanahashi grabbed a headlock, but it was once again broken up. Tanahashi locked in a leg lock, HASHI broke it up, but Naito intervened and he and Tanahashi landed double dropkicks. Goto was tagged in, but Takahashi dragged him by the hair and tagged in HASHI. Goto fired back with a double lariat and landed some kicks in the turnbuckle followed by a leg lariat. He grabbed a backdrop for two and stomped HASHI. Goto was caught with a cheap shot from Okada and he was brought to the outside where he was thrown into a post. Nakamura landed some knees to the gut of Goto and followed them with a knee drop for two. Takahashi was tagged back in and he landed a lariat and snap suplex. Goto kicked out with fire and landed some chops, but Takahashi raked the eyes and tagged Okada in. He knocked Naito, Makabe and Tanahashi off the apron and took Goto the mat. HASHI was tagged back in and he landed some chops, Goto threw Takahashi to the outside, but the heels choked him in the corner. HASHI landed a shot to the chest, but the pin was broken up by Tanahashi. Nakamura kicked the chest of Goto and called for him to get up with a couple of kicks, but this just served to fire Goto up. He landed some elbows, but was cut off with a flying kick by Nakamura. Goto caught Nakamura with a lariat in the corner, he went to the top, but was held by HASHI and caught with a running knee to the gut for two. Nakamura singled for the Boma Ye, but Goto landed the fireman’s carry over the knee neckbreaker and made the tag to Makabe. Makabe knocked Takahashi and HASHI off the apron. He destroyed Yujiro in the ring landing shots to the head and some big lariats. He managed to hit the northern lights suplex for two, but Takahashi landed a leg trap brainbuster. Okada was tagged in and he landed a lariat for two. Okada kicked the head of Makabe who land a snap powerslam for his trouble. Tanahashi was tagged in and the rivals went at it once again. Tanahashi landed a big forearm and a dragon screw, he called for Okada to get up, but Okada landed a flapjack and planted him with the DDT. Okada locked in the three quarter facelock, but a rampaging Goto broke it up. Okada went for the tombstone, but Tanahashi fought out and Okada landed a kick followed by a dropkick to the knee. Naito was tagged in and he ran wild on his generational rival. He landed a standing swan dive for two and ducked a boot landing a jumping highkick and German suplex for two. Goto sent HASHI to the outside and Okada plucked Naito out of the air and landed the belly to back over the shoulder over the knee neckbreaker. Okada scoop slammed Naito and went to the top where he landed an elbow drop and taunted for the rainmaker. Naito ducked, but was caught with one of Okada’s huge dropkicks. HASHI was back in and he landed a neckbreaker, Naito went for a running move of some sort, but was cut off with a lariat and powerbomb for two. Goto broke it up, but he was taken to the outside by Takahashi. HASHI landed a suplex followed by a neckbreaker for the count of two. He went to the top rope, but was caught with a big leg lariat from Goto. Goto was in turn caught with a Boma Ye from Nakamura, who was caught with a big lariat from Makabe. However, Makabe was caught with a high kick from Okada, Okada was caught with a sling blade from Tanahashi, but he was caught with an Olympic slam from Takahashi. Naito landed a missile dropkick on Takahashi and leg lariat on HASHI. He fired off with a flying elbow as the fans chanted his name. Naito then landed the star dust splash on HASHI for the win in17:12.

 

This was a very good eight man tag. It wasn’t as good as the matches of a similar sort from the Best of the Super Juniors. But, that was probably because the rivalry element between Tanahashi and Naito simply wasn’t there and that makes sense, since they are building to Okada and Tanahashi at the Dome. Naito, Tanahashi and Okada were on as always and that isn’t taking anything away from the other five men, but those three are just so good and so smooth.

*** ½

6. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match

Low Ki vs.KotaIbushi

 

Ibushi and Ki exchanged quick kicks. Ibushi landed a flurry of kicks, which led to Low Ki smiling and then bombarding Ibushi with a flurry of kicks and palm strikes like some sort of ninja warrior. Ki landed a chop to the chest of Ibushi and locked in a headlock forcing Ibushi to the mat. Ibushi fought out and an athletic exchange followed culminating in a big shoulder block from Ibushi. Ki landed a big boot, but he was shot out to the outside where Ibushi sprung off with a moonsault, but there was nobody home. Ki came running and caught Ibushi with a lariat laying him out on the outside. Back in the ring Ki landed some stomps to the once injured shoulder of Ibushi. Ki landed a suplex into a hold on the arm, but Ibushi made his way to the ropes. Ki and Ibushi exchanged strikes and Ibushi landed a big kick to the side of Ki. Ibushi went to the top; he was caught with shots by Ki who locked in a dragon sleeper from the top. He was forced to relinquish the hold, but he continued to stomp on the arm of Ibushi. Ibushi slapped Ki and they exchanged strikes once again, but Ki got the better of the exchange with a kick to the gut and back of the head. Ki landed a standing double stomp on Ibushi followed by more kicks to the arm. Ibushi attempted to fight back with one arm again and both men landed up face to face. Ki was caught with an elbow and big kick, but Ibushi was knocked down by Ki once again. Ki landed some chops in the corner. Ki missed a kick in the corner, Ibushi attempted to take advantage, but he was caught with another kick. However, Ki missed a splash and Ibushi sent Ki to the outside. He landed a dropkick knocking Ki off the apron and followed it with a springboard moonsault to the outside. Ibushi followed it up with a springboard dropkick in the ring and an absolute flurry of strikes followed by a standing shooting star press for two. Ibushi got a bridging German suplex for two and he went for the powerbomb, but Ki caught him with a rolling kick. Ki caught Ibushi with the big running dropkick into the turnbuckle. He went to the top rope, but Ibushi followed suite and landed a frankensteiner, but Ki rolled through with a standing double foot stomp for two. Ki went for the Ki Krush, but Ibushi blocked and landed a brutal German suplex for two. Ibushi went for the powerbomb, but wasn’t able to keep Ki up with his bad shoulder. Ki went for the tumbling kick in the corner, but he was caught with a lariat in midair and a standing star dust press for two. Ibushi went for a moonsault, Ki moved, Ibushi followed through with another, but Ki got the knees up. Ki landed the tumbling kick in the corner and rolled Ibushi up for two. Ki went to the top for the phoenix splash, but he missed it and Ibushi caught him with a tumbling kick of his own. Ibushi went to the top, Ki held onto his boot, but he was kicked off and Ibushi landed the phoenix splash for the win in 19:30. After the match KUSHIDA challenged Ibushi, Ibushi accepted and did a moonsault out of the ring which was completely unnecessary. A whole crowd of people mobbed Ibushi before he could make it to the back.

 

This was a great Junior Heavyweight championship match. The match made sense from start to finish with Ki working on the shoulder. I wasn’t too big of a fan of some of the dives with the shoulder, but for almost the entire match Ibushi sold the shoulder really well. There were also some really memorable spots like when Ibushi landed the moonsault and Ki got the knees up. All in all this was probably Low Ki’s best or  second best match from his run as champion.

****

7. NWA World Historic Middleweight Title Match

Prince Devitt vs. Volador Jr.

 

This match really had an interesting dynamic as it was a CMLL title being defended by a New Japan wrestler in New Japan Pro Wrestling against a CMLL wrestler. Volador landed a flying head scissors sending Devitt to the outside, but Devitt cut the dive off, landing a dropkick that never connected knocking Volador to the outside. Devitt went for his topé, but he was superkicked to the outside where Volador landed a topé suicida knocking Devitt into the chairs. Volador locked in a surfboard. Volador locked in an armbar and transitioned into a crossface, but Devitt made it to the ropes. The fans were behind Devitt. They exchanged slaps and elbows. Volador went for a handspring back elbow, but he was forced to the outside with a dropkick and Devitt landed a topé con giro.  Volador made it in at eighteen and was caught with a double foot stomp to the back for his trouble. Volador landed a superkick and got fired up, but he was cut off with a dropkick. Devitt went to the top, but he was cut off with a kick from Volador. Volador was forced off and Devitt landed a double foot stomp for two. Volador landed another superkick and front kick. Devitt went for a flying highkick from the apron, but was elbowed off and Volador landed a second rope moonsault to the outside for two. Volador landed a dropkick to the back of Devitt followed by a powerbomb for two. Volador missed a buzzsaw kick and was caught with a highkick from Devitt who landed Bloody Sunday for the count of two. Volador was perched on the top rope, but he landed a Spanish fly on Devitt for two. Devitt caught Volador with a kick, he attempted a head scissors, but Devitt got a rollup for two. Devitt landed a really soft lariat, but he was forced into the corner and to the top by Volador. He attempted another Spanish Fly, but Devitt countered it into a huge top rope DDT for the win in 13:05.

 

The match was a fun mainevent, but wasn’t close to Ibushi/Ki or any of the Fantastica Mania mainevents. There seemed to be some communication issues between Devitt and Volador at points and that resulted in some sloppy spots. They also only got thirteen minutes, but from what they had they did a good job.

*** ¼

 

TNA No Surrender September 9th 2012

Orlando, Florida

 

Overall Thoughts

 

This was an incredibly lacklustre show that didn’t even deliver on the poorly built promises from Impact. There was no Aces & Eights reveal and the fact that they played such a large part in the finals of the BFG series really ruined it for me. Not only that, but for a tournament that had such a legitimate feel to it – it crumbled under bad booking. The second semi-final had an ungodly amount of ref bumps and the finals became comical with its amount of nearfalls, so comical in fact that it was almost indicative of a bad indy. The match quality throughout the show wasn’t all that great, although we did get one great match in the World Tag title match. Although the match was great and Angle was impressive with his injury it wasn’t enough to make the show worthwhile.

 

It was a shame, since TNA really was on a roll with their pay-per-views over the past view months. The fans were absolutely awful on the show and were probably on the level of a bad ROH crowd. They just continued to try get themselves over throughout the night and it just took away from the majority of the card. Overall this was the first truly missable TNA show in the past few months.

 

Before the show started Hardy, Joe, Storm and Ray were shown arriving at the Impact Zone followed by one of the great Bound for Glory series video packages. It made the series feel like a big deal – it’s to bad that it didn’t last.

 

1.SamoaJoe vs. Jeff Hardy

 

Joe knocked Hardy to the ground following a short arm clothesline – this led to Hardy rolling out and Joe clutching the injured arm. Hardy landed some strikes in the corner and landed a hurricanrana which resulted in Joe pausing slightly and then throwing himself to the outside. Joe rammed Hardy’s head against the apron, but Hardy responded by ramming Joe’s head into the steps and landing a dive off the steps onto Joe. Joe fired back with strikes out of the corner and landed a drop on the leg followed by a big boot and back senton for two. Joe caught Hardy with a big kick in the corner and locked in a nervehold. Hardy made it to his feet, but he was cut off with a back elbow to dual chants from the crowd. Joe proceeded to lock in a chinlock, Hardy fought out, but Joe landed the snap powerslam for two. Hardy landed a couple of shots, but he was thrown to the outside by Joe who landed a topé suicida. Joe landed a headbutt, but Hardy fought back with a kick and went for the leg drop to the groin. Joe kicked Hardy back, but Hardy landed a clothesline knocking both men to the mat. Hardy landed a few more shots, Joe got the advantage, but missed a back senton along for Hardy to land the leg drop to the groin for two. Hardy landed whisper in the wind for two. Joe landed a uranage and hoisted Hardy up onto the top rope. Hardy fought back and went for a tornado DDT, but in mid movement landed the twist of fate. Hardy went to the top, but he was hung up by Joe who went for the muscle buster. However Hardy got a count of two and locked in his headlock that he used on Impact. Joe countered with a roll over, but Hardy managed to cradle Joe for the win. After the match Joe gave Hardy the thumbs up. This was a week way to start off the show.

** ½

 

Storm was backstage with Jeremy Borash. Storm said he chose Bully Ray for a reason, because it came down to the two of them last year. He said it was his time and he would beat Bully Ray and move onto Hardy. He had gotten better since the last time he faced Hardy and he told him “sorry about your damn luck” and left. They showed an updated graphic, which was pretty funny since explanation was completely unnecessary at this point, but was a few weeks ago.

 

2. James Storm vs. Bully Ray

 

The fans chanted for Flair once again, which was really strange. Ray screamed at Storm, but Storm responded by spitting in Ray’s face. Ray complained to the referee, dropped to the outside, destroyed a sign and threw some stuff around. Ray slapped Storm and Storm fired back with a slap of his own, which led to the fans chanting “you got b*tch slapped”. Ray told the referee that Storm was not allowed to slap his face, which was humorous. Storm slapped Ray again and unloaded on him in the corner. Ray rolled out of the ring and complained about a miniscule trickle of blood on his forehead. Ray took advantage, but Storm poked the eye of Ray which resulted in a ref bump tease. Ray was ripped into the corner and Storm stomped on his fingers. Ray was back bodydropped and caught with a clothesline for two. Ray rolled out once again. Ray was thrown face first into the steel steps, but when Storm entered into the ring once again Ray caught him with a kick to the leg halting the super kick. Ray locked in a bearhug, Storm landed multiple shots to the ears forcing Ray to relinquish the hold. Ray caught Storm with a big boot and landed a vertical suplex. Ray landed some more shots in the corner and faced a very stern warning from Hebner. Ray landed a couple more mounted shots in the corner, but was caught with a headbutt to the groin and big powerbomb for two. Both men exchanged strikes on their knees. Ray screamed “screw you Storm”, which allowed Storm to land a kick and crossbody. Ray landed a sideslam for two. More chants for Flair. Storm got a crucifix pin and caught Ray with an enzuigiri. He went for a splash, but caught Hebner in the process. This resulted in a Bubba Bomb from Ray, there was no referee, but another referee slid in for the count of two. Ray went for the back senton from the middle rope, but of course missed. Storm went for a forearm, but the second referee was knocked down. Storm barely missed Hebner again, Hebner moved and Storm went for the monkey flip, but Ray backed off into Hebner which resulted in the third ref bump. Storm landed the super kick for the visual pin and Roode ran down. This resulted in Roode landing a bottle shot to the back of Storm’s head for the win.

 

There were way too many ref bumps in this match, so much so that it almost became comedic. I am fine with Roode and Storm having a program that isn’t for the title, in fact I think it would be better for everyone that Aries holds onto the championship at this point. But, to do it like this just made the whole competition look stupid – something that hasn’t been done throughout the entire BFG Series. If they were to have a ref bump they could have had one, why have three? I don’t understand what was going through whoever came up with the finish’s head.

**

 

Borash was standing by with Tessmacher. She said it was probably one of her most important matches. She said thatTarawas her mentor and that she taught her everything she needed to know in the ring. She wouldn’t be champion if it wasn’t for her. She said losing was hard for her, but she needed to prove that the student could beat the teacher.

 

3. Knockout’s Championship Match

Brooke Tessmacher vs.Tara

 

Of course Terrell was refereeing the match. Tessmacher and Tara worked in and out of a wrist lock landing face to face in the ring. Tessmacher grabbed a headlock for a similar result.Taragot a backslide for two and went for another pinning predicament, but Tessmacher rolled out of the ring.Taracordially opened the ropes for Tessmacher, but got a schoolgirl from behind for two. Tessmacher and Tara bickered back and forth. Tessmacher said that she shouldn’t have gone for a pin from behind, butTaracaught her with a slap. Tessmacher unloaded onTaraand landed some clotheslines. She landed a springboard clothesline, but was caught with a back splash and fireman’s carry into a sideslam fromTara. Tessmacher was perched on the top rope andTaracaught her with a superplex and she rolled through into a pin for two.Tarawent for multiple pins. She went for the Widow’s Peak, but Tessmacher rolled through and got a rollup for the win.

** ¼

 

Hogan and Roode argued backstage. Hogan said that Roode was going to jail when Storm ran by and attacked Roode. A pull-apart ensued. A video package for Austin Aries vs. the Arm Breaker was shown next.

 

It was never said on Impact, which doesn’t really surprise me since it was left to the last minute, but this is a non-title match – which is fine and makes sense, but was left extremely unclear on Impact. Aries was in street clothes and grabbed a mic saying that he normally comes out in style and with the world title. But it wasn’t about that “bulls**t” that night. So is that what the world title means? He said there was no referee, rules, officials, pinfalls or submissions, it was just about payback and punishment. It was war and that was fine because he was the God of War. He said the only thing about war was that there are no rules. Of course it took forever for them to come out.

 

He came out and Aries went for a kick but he remained on the outside. Each time he attempted to slide into the ring Aries landed a stomp to the back. Aries lay on the ropes calling him in, but he caught him with a dropkick to the knee and a topé suicida. This led to a beat down from Aries on the outside of the ring. Aries landed some shots in the corner and attempted to unmask him, but Aries was caught with a low blow and thrown to the floor. Aries attempted to slide into the ring, but he was caught with a boot and was forced to the outside. Aries was thrown into the steps and the Arm Breaker landed some kicks. He landed some shots in the corner, followed by a splash. Aries was caught with a big clothesline and he went for a powerbomb, but Aries dropped a bag full of powder into his eyes. This allowed Aries to land some forearms and a dropkick. Aries followed this with a crossbody to the outside and they brawled up the ramp. Aries climbed the top rope again, but he was knocked to the outside where he hit his face on the apron. The Arm Breaker brought a chair into the ring, but Aries ducked it and landed a shot with a roll full of coins followed by a huge brainbuster. Aries almost removed the mask, but the rest of the Aces & Eights stormed the ring. The locker room emptied and the crowd chanted “TNA”. Hardy was lawn darted into the post, but it wasn’t really clear until a replay was shown. They left the ring and Hogan came out with a baseball bat in hand. Hogan called for the entire building to be locked down, but Hogan was alerted that Hardy was injured. Medics were brought out and Hogan ordered for the building to be locked down again and for the police to be called. Ray then gave Aries a fist bump.

 

A video package was shown for the X Division title match.

 

4. X Division Championship Match

Zema Ion vs. Sonjay Dutt

 

Ion and Dutt had an athletic exchange. Ion landed a knee to the gut, but Ion was knocked to the outside with a clothesline by Dutt. Dutt was hung up by Ion, but Dutt caught Ion with a springboard armdrag and flying head scissors. Dutt hit a baseball slide and rolled off of the apron into a flying head scissors which was pretty amazing. Dutt when for a springboard of some sort, but he was caught with a knee to the gut. Ion landed a slap and whipped Dutt into the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “get a hair net”. Ion had Dutt in a chinlock when they cut to the arrival of the police at the building. They cut back to the match and Ion landed a knee. Dutt landed a hurricanrana followed by an attempted dive, but he was cut off by a shoulder from Ion. Dutt landed a series of shoulderblocks. Ion landed a shot in the corner, but he was caught with a yakuza kick and a frankensteiner. Ion rolled through the frankensteiner, but Dutt caught him with a standing shooting star press for two – the same move that injured his shoulder. The fans exchanged obnoxious chants. Ion went for a move from the top, but was dropped down straight from the very top rope. He was then caught with an Asai moonsault from the second turnbuckle. Dutt landed a springboard splash. Back in the ring, both men exchanged forearms. Dutt went for a springboard moonsault, but he was caught with an electric chair into a huge powerbomb from Ion. Dutt locked in a hold on the shoulder, but Dutt made it to the ropes. Dutt went for a backslide, Ion countered, but Dutt landed an inverted DDT. He went for the double foot stomp from the moonsault, but Ion countered and both men exchanged nearfalls. Dutt got a backslide for two, they worked in and out of nearfalls, but Ion landed the Gory Bomb out of nowhere for the win. I felt bad for both men.

 

They worked really hard, but between the Aces & Eights stuff and the fans just not caring about anything and trying to amuse themselves the match didn’t go as well as it should have. The finish also came out of absolutely nowhere in not a very good way. Still the match was fun.

*** ¼

 

There was a trailer for Bound for Glory. Hogan was talking to the police about how he didn’t want anyone leaving the building. He said that if anyone left or tried to make it into the building he wanted them to be cuffed, beaten and then removed. I have decided that Hulk Hogan is one of the most militant human beings on this planet. They were attending to Hardy in the back, Borash was giving commentary on the situation He was approached by Magnus. Magnus said that he risked the finals in the biggest tournament in the business for a dive. He said it was just another stupid decision in Hardy’s career and he paid the price. He said that Van Dam let him get into his head and now he was going to pay the price.

 

5. Rob Van Dam vs. Magnus

 

Magnus took Van Dam to the mat, they worked back to their feet and Magnus continued to point to his head playing mind games. Van Dam landed a kick on Magnus followed by a front kick and another knocking Magnus to the outside. Van Dam landed a baseball slide and threw Magnus into the guardrail. He landed the front suplex onto the guardrail, he went for the guillotine legdrop, but Magnus moved and Van Dam was hung up. Magnus cut Van Dam off with a clothesline, Van Dam went for a spinkick, but Magnus took him to the ground and landed some kicks on the leg. Van Dam was whipped into the turnbuckle. Magnus got the better of an exchange once again locking in a cloverleaf. Magnus landed an elbow for the count of two and locked in a headlock. Van Dam landed a spinkick followed by a couple of clotheslines. He landed some kicks on the leg of Magnus and rolling thunder for two. Van Dam went for a springboard kick, but Magnus cut him off in midair. He went for a dive of his own, but he did the Van Dam taunt and was taken down by Van Dam. Van Dam went for the monkey flip, but he was caught with a lariat in midair. He went for the cloverleaf again, but he was kicked off by Van Dam who knocked Magnus down with a kick. Van Dam then landed the five star frogsplash selling the leg for the win.

***

 

Borash was backstage with Daniels and Kazarian. Kazarian said that Hogan’s actions were deplorable. He mixed a few words together and Daniels told him to stop it, which was funny. Daniels said if anyone had to be arrested it should be Styles, because they have had multiple crimes committed against them. Daniels listed the points, while Kazarian played off of him fantastically. Daniels told everyone to take solace in their longevity.

 

6. TNA World Tag Team Championship Match

Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Kurt Angle & AJ Styles

 

Angle had the advantage on Daniels. He landed a suplex for two and he and Styles exchanged shots on Daniels. Styles was tagged in. Styles landed a dropkick on the fresh Kazarian and dropkicked Daniels off the apron. Styles landed a suplex and tagged Angle in. Kazarian was sent high into the air with a double team big back bodydrop. Angle punched Daniels off the apron and tagged Styles back in. Kazarian landed a monkey flip on Styles and unloaded with some shots on the ground. Daniels was tagged back in and he and Kazarian landed some double teams, tagging in and out. Daniels grabbed a two count after sending Styles to the outside. Kazarian was back in and he locked in a straightjacket hold. The tag was almost made to Angle, but Styles was pulled back and Kazarian landed a neckbreaker. Daniels was tagged back in and he locked in a headlock. The fans got behind Styles, but the tag was made to Kazarian. Styles fought out of a double team attempt and tagged in Angle who ran wild. He landed a release German suplex on Kazarian turning him inside out, Kazarian went for a shot on Angle, but hit his own partner instead. Angle landed two of the three rolling Germans, but Daniels helped to break the hold. Angle delivered a belly to belly suplex on Daniels, but Kazarian landed a big DDT on Angle. Daniels and Kazarian double teamed Angle, tagging in and out. They landed double elbow drops for two and Kazarian locked in a headlock. Kazarian went to the top, but he was caught with the big release German suplex from Angle. The tag was made to Styles who ran wild landing a boot and fireman’s carry over the knee backbreaker on Daniels. He was caught with a kick from Daniels, but landed the springboard inverted DDT for two. Kazarian then landed a huge dropkick sending Styles across the ring. Daniels and Kazarian were taken out with a double clothesline and Angle landed a splash on Daniels for two. Angle pulled the straps down and landed Olympic slams on both men. Daniels got a foot on the rope, but Angle locked in an ankle lock. However, Kazarian caught him with a kick to the back of the head breaking the hold. The tags were made to Styles and Kazarian. Styles was shot into Daniels, but he caught Daniels with a hurricanrana in midair. Styles then landed the pelé on Kazarian for two and Angle had the ankle lock locked in on the apron. Styles landed a springboard 450 splash for two on Kazarian in an amazing nearfall. Styles went to the top, Daniels attempted to halt him, but he was thrown to the floor. Kazarian caught AJ with a kick and followed it up with the Spanish fly for two. TNA chants ensued. Kazarian went for a Styles Clash of his own, but was caught with a German suplex from Angle and both he and Daniels went tumbling to the outside. Angle looked like he was in some pain. Styles went for the Styles clash back in the ring, but it was blocked and Daniels threw the appletini in Styles’ eyes for the win.

 

This was once again a very good match and was far and away the best match of the night. It had great nearfalls and a perfectly acceptable finish. What was even more amazing was that Angle worked a very large portion of the match hurt, which just speaks for his drive, which no one is really surprised about. We had ref bumps and powder on the show before, we didn’t need the appletini finish more. Still this was a great match.

****

 

They recapped everything that took place in regard to the BFG Series that night. They cut to Hogan talking to the police. They said the Aces & Eights would interfere in this match if they were to interfere that night, but they would be at ringside ready to halt any interference. Borash was backstage with Ray. He said the crap with the Aces & Eights had to stop, but he said that he was going to beat Hardy regardless. He said whether you love or hate him you have to respect what he has done in the wrestling business after the past year and a half. He was one match away from going to Bound for Glory. He was the locomotive and Hardy was on the tracks. He said that against anyone else he would make it to Bound for Glory, but he is Bully Ray and he is destined for greatness. This was a really great promo on the part of Bully Ray. In fact I would say it was too great, because it really made him out to be a fighting babyface. The police came out and surrounded the arena.

 

Ray came out for the mainevent. Hardy never came out. Hogan came out to Hardy’s music instead. Hogan said they had a problem. It was a problem between Ray and Hogan. He said they had to forget about the chalk board at the back and it turned into a problem between the two of them. Ray said that the Aces & Eights became a big problem and he agreed to call the cops, but he said that the tournament meant the world to him. He said the title meant the same amount to Hardy as it did to him. However, Hardy was not coming out and asked Hogan what they were going to do. He said the ball was now in their court and if Ray felt how he said he felt he would win via count out and he would rather give Hogan four more days and they could have a match on Impact. Hogan said that Ray would either be known as a good man or a bad man. This led to Hardy’s music hitting and him coming out. This led to the bell ringing and Hardy preparing to wrestle with one arm.

 

7. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy

 

Ray offered Hardy a fist bump and Hardy accepted. Ray landed a shot to the injured arm and tugged on it. Hardy rolled to the outside of the ring in pain. Ray stomped on the arm of Hardy, Hardy rolled to the outside and Ray told Hebner to count Hardy out. Hardy rolled back in and Ray landed some more stomps, followed by a splash on the arm. Ray pulled on the arm of Hardy and allowed him to roll to the ropes. Ray wailed on the arm in the corner and landed some downward strikes on the arm. Ray pulled at the bandage and dropped an elbow for the count of two. Ray landed a splash and went for another, but Hardy rolled out of the way. Hardy landed some strikes and the enzuigiri he then landed the twist of fate and went to the top rope. But, Ray kicked out at two. Ray forced Hardy into the turnbuckle shoulder first and landed the Bubba Bomb for two. Hardy was able to catch Ray with the whisper in the win fro two. He went for it again, but Ray moved out of the way. Ray then landed the Bubba Cutter, but Hardy kicked out. Hardy then landed the twist of fate and missed swanton bomb. Ray landed the Bubba Cutter for two. These nearfall were such a stupid idea. There was a brief Hardy chant and the fans got behind Hardy, but there really wasn’t serious hear for the match. Ray missed a splash in the corner and Hardy landed two twist of fates and went to the top rope for the swanton again. However, Ray made it to his feet and landed a chop on the top rope, both men exchanged strikes and Hardy landed the swanton bomb for the win.

** ¼

 

Jerry The King Lawler Suffers A Heart Attack Live on RAW

 

On the September 10th edition of Monday Night RAWMontreal,QuebecCanada, a city known for big news stories inside the wrestling business experienced another when Jerry Lawler suffered a heart attack on live television during the Prime Time Players vs. Kane & DanielBryan match at the start of the third hour.

 

From a TV perspective you could hear Lawler breathing heavily into the mic at a few points and then towards the end of the match commentary went silent. If you looked out for it you could see Lawler bending down at the announce table, but that was only if you were looking for it.

 

At the time no one really knew what was going on as the live crowd shifted their gaze completely from the match to the direction of the announce table. Initially from what I’ve heard about live viewership most people who noticed at home thought it was a fight, but once people in the building began to chant Lawler things changed drastically.

 

Cole was obviosully extremely distressed and managed to a call a few moves while the event was taking place, but even after Lawler had been taken to the back for emergency treatment including CPR Cole wasn’t really able to function. The live audience was alerted after the next match, Alberto Del Rio vs. Tyson Kidd, that the situation was not part of the that night’s entertainment by Cole and that there would be no commentary due to the situation. At the time no one was sure about Lawler’s status.

 

The emergency personnel took Lawler to the back and probably within seconds were administering CPR. Some reports from backstage claim that Lawler was deprived of oxygen for twenty minutes, but in actuality it was probably closer to two. However, it is likely that his heart stopped beating on its own for close to that period of time.

 

Lawler wrestled a match early that night, where he looked and moved completely fine, however that is the case with a lot of heart attacks. Quite a few people have said that if Lawler was not in the ring that night the crisis would have been averted, but in actuality something far worse could have happened. For arguments sake let’s say that the match brought Lawler’s heart attack on earlier. All that means was that he was able to get the best available care, because if this happened in a hotel room or at Lawler’s home something far worse could have happened.

 

The EMTS and medical personnel were extremely efficient and have to be commended for their outstanding performance. Three other men need to be commended for their performance as well and those three men are Cena, Punk and Hart. Three men that had to come out for the longest post incident live talking spot of the show and they were actually able to perform at a functional level and probably even over that, which is much must have been incredibly difficult.

 

Luckily there were two hospitals in a very close proximity to the arena that specialized in cardiac conditions. It was at one of those hospitals that Lawler was admitted and underwent a CAT scan on his head and chest. It was determined that Lawler had suffered a heart attack, but not a stroke.

 

Then we got more good news a day or two later when Lawler was able to respond by squeezing people’s hands and writing down messages on pieces of paper. Fast forward another few days and Lawler was able to speak and no brain damage was. Lawler also had a stint placed in his heart after a balloon was used to clear the blockage.

 

Lawler has maintained an alcohol and drug free career, but didn’t watch his eating habits as closely, although he was in good shape for his age. From what I’ve heard it was probably due to genetics, because it does run in his family as his father passed away from heart related illness while Lawler was just a teenager.

 

Obviosully this kind of situation doesn’t occur often and everyone was in a panic, but still some people criticized the WWE for not taking the show off the air, which for me is not a valid accusation. For one everyone was working under extreme pressure and as a second point the show was being used for Lawler updates. They left the show running with no commentary out of respect and that was probably all they could have done.

 

Taking the show off the air would have just led to a worse situation, because people would have just known that Lawler had been carted off to hospital and that’s it. Sometimes under trying circumstances there is no right answer and this was one of those times. The WWE did the best they could have done and quite honestly, under the circumstances, they did a good job.

 

It has been said by quite a few people that Lawler shouldn’t have been wrestling at his age, but up until this incident he was fit to compete in an industry that he loves. And unlike so many other people in a similar situation, he was actually able to perform at reasonable level as compared to his peak. In actual fact in terms of ring psychology and timing he was better than more than half of the WWE roster.

 

It was a huge relief to know that Lawler had suffered no brain damage during the incident and the fact that he was able to send out a Tout (make of it what you will), was very good news for Lawler’s future. He has become an integral part of the product and it would be terrible to see him retire by nothing less than his own accord. However, the prognosis looks good at this point and far better than it looked on Monday.

 

I don’t know where we will go from here, but it is evident that this was probably one of the biggest pro wrestling news stories of the past few years.

 

WWE Monday Night RAW September 9th 2012

Montreal Quebec, Canada

 

Overall Thoughts

 

I find it difficult to give an overall perspective of the show. Creatively there were some good some on the show like the mainevent segment and for the most part there was nothing terrible in the creative department. However, everything was overshadowed by the Lawler situation and for a person like me who watched RAW after the fact it was a very surreal show. In a way I was lucky to watch it after the event and when there was news that at least Lawler was stable, because watching the show live must have been very unsettling. TheMontrealcrowd was very hot for the show, but once again it was the site of a huge news story – one that will be remembered for a long time. I don’t really think that the show should have been cancelled, but I wouldn’t have been insulted either way and having no commentary was probably the best choice.

 

Bret Hart was brought out for the first time since theMontrealincident. Hart thanked the crowd, but they continued their applaud. He said it took him a long time to get there, but he was interrupted by “ole” chants. Hart said the last time he was there turned out to be one of the darkest and proudest days of his life. He said the people ofMontrealhad been in his heart for fifteen years. The fans got him through those dark days and he stood proud for what he did that day. He said “god bless everyone inMontreal” when he was interrupted by CM Punk.

 

The camera focused on a fan wearing a Bret Hart shirt screaming that Hart was the best in the world. They quickly cut away when the fan gave Punk the middle finger. Punk said thatMontrealhad been documented in the encyclopaedia that Hart called a book. He said he wouldn’t be arrogant enough to right a book about himself, but if he did he would call it “what if”. As in what if Hart wrestled Punk instead of Michaels. Hart said it wouldn’t have mattered, because it would have taken less than five minutes for Hart to lock the sharpshooter in. Punk said Hart didn’t even believe what he was saying. He put it simply that the WWE as everyone knows it wouldn’t exist. CM Punk wouldn’t have needed Vince McMahon, because he is the best in the world and when he would have beaten Hart it would have triggered a chain reaction resulting in everyone not being there that day, Punk said. Punk said the Attitude era would have never started and Punk would have left for WCW and the WWE would be dead. Hart said as far as he was concerned he was the best in the world. Punk said it still killed him that Hart still referred to himself as the “best there is the best there was and best there ever will be”. Hart could have called himself the King of England, just like Lawler calls himself the King of Memphis, but it wouldn’t have made it true. Punk proceeded to ask Lawler how he was feeling, which I just found unbelievably eerie, even though it was a very generic line. Hart said he had his own history with Lawler, but he said Lawler always showed up and he never left like a coward. Hart recapped how Punk left and then landed a cheap shot on Cena airing a clip. Punk said he was in his own town, one that treats their champion respectfully and he was in a hurry to enjoy his day off. He left some things in the locker room and saw Cena in front of him. He wanted to know where Cena was. He wanted to know if Cena had Hart’s back. Punk wanted to know if Cena was going to run out if it became too hot. Hart said with all due respect, but was cut off by Punk saying that he didn’t know anything about respect. He is the WWE champion and he said he was champion longer than Hart ever was and at Night of Champions he would cement his legacy as the greatest WWE champion of all time. He said he deserved the ovation that Hart got earlier in the night. He said Hart was like Cena, overstated, overrated and overhyped. He said he would put Cena to sleep and Hart responded by saying he was putting the people to sleep.  The fans chanted boring at Punk. Punk said at Night of Champions he would turn Cena into a broken down empty shell of a man just like Hart. He then left the ring. The fans chanted “asshole” at Punk as he left.

 

I really enjoyed this opening segment. Punk was really on and the crowd was really into the segment. Hart was also great serving a similar role to Lawler a few weeks back. If you look at the layout of the segment it was in many ways your formulaic opening segment to both RAW and SmackDown, but Punk and Hart made it much more than that.

 

They went to a graphic asking who Punk should wrestle that night. The options were Lawler, Orton or Brodus Clay. God knows why Clay was included in that group.

 

1. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Antonio Cesaro & The Miz

 

Cesaro translated prestige into French, Swiss, German and Italian. It was announced that there would be a battle royal on the Night of Champions pre-show to determine Cesaro’s opponent for later on in the night. Truth andKingstonlanded some double teams forcing Cesaro and Miz to the outside and allowing forKingstonto land a topé suicida onto both men. After the break Cesaro was in control of Truth. Miz was tagged in and he continued to work on Truth. He landed the big clothesline in the corner and landed an axehandle from the top. He locked in the camel clutch, but Truth fought out and landed a big leg lariat. The tags were made to Cesaro andKingston.Kingstonran wild and landed a big right hand followed by the boom drop. He signalled for the trouble in paradise, Miz jumped up onto the apron, he was knocked off, butKingston’s Trouble inParadisewas halted.Kingstonlanded a crossbody and Miz and Truth were thrown to the outside. Cesaro got a rollup for two, but was caught with Trouble inParadisefor the win. I have come to the conclusion that holding theUStitle is the mark of death, because I cannot fathom a reason for pinning Cesaro in this match.

 

A recap was shown of the Brogue Kick situation and Sheamus was shown talking to Bret Hart backstage. After the break there was a lawsuit skit. Sheamus was about to callDel Rioa “d*ck”, but his lawyer told him that he wasn’t allowed to swear. To which Sheamus replied that he wasn’t used to “this”. Yes, because he can just swear willy nilly on RAW. More comedy followed with Shamus proclaiming that his surname was Lipschitz. Sheamus talked about how he was half Jewish half Irish. He made some stupid chokes involving the name Lipschitz and said that it actually wasn’t his name. He admitted that he used the brogue kick. He said if he had to do it again he would. Otunga wanted to know how long he had been using it. They showed a photo of Sheamus brogue kicking Chad Patten. He was asked if he knew Daniel Bryan and Sheamus chanted yes. They showed Sheamus attackingBryanlanding a brogue kick and Sheamus said that it was during a match. Otunga continued to interrogate Sheamus about the physical and psychological issues caused by the brogue kick – a lethal weapon apparently. Sheamus said the kick didn’t discriminate and he kicked the camera and started singing Hava Nagila. This was a really stupid segment.

 

2. Beth Phoenix, Natalya & Alicia Fox vs. Eve, Layla and Kaitlyn

 

Phoenixand Kaitlyn started off. Kaitlyn landed some sloppy offense, but was double teamed by Natalya andPhoenix. Fox landed a kick from behind and was tagged in landing a northern lights suplex. Layla elbowed the heel team off the apron and landed a springboard crossbody on Fox. Eve tagged herself in and landed a neckbreaker for the win.

 

Punk was backstage with AJ. He said that he didn’t know who his opponent was and she let the fans choose his opponent. He wanted to know if she still had a grudge against him for leaving her and if she was taking her meltdown from last week out on him. She said she agreed that a champion vs. champion match would need more build and that’s why a champion vs. champion match would need more spotlight. Punk bumped into Clay and walked off. This all took place while Punk had a big black belt across his stomach with wires sticking out. The results were shown after the break. Orton won with 75% of the vote.

 

3. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton

 

The fans dual chanted. Punk landed a backbreaker and followed it up with a sleeper hold. Orton made it to his feet, but he was taken to the ground once again. Orton finally made it out of the hold with elbows to the gut and a quick headbutt. He landed some shots in the corner, Orton went for the RKO, but Punk rolled out of the ring. Punk proceeded to walk off, but Orton followed him up the ramp and sent him into the barricade. After the break Orton fought out of an abdominal stretch, he went for a knee drop, but Punk moved and Orton sold the knee. Punk went to the top and he landed a front elbow to the gut. Punk went to the top again, but he was hung up by Orton who landed some shots and a superplex. Punk and Orton exchanged strikes from the knees, Orton got the advantage, Punk caught him with a kick to the gut, but Orton fired back with some clotheslines. Orton went for the draping DDT, but was caught with a highkick and springboard clothesline for two. Punk taunted for the GTS, but Orton fought out. He went for the RKO, Punk countered, but Orton landed a neckbreaker. Orton landed the draping DDT and taunted for the RKO. However, Dolf Ziggler ran in for the DQ. Orton responded by knocking Ziggler to the mat and landing a powerslam on Punk, but Ziggler caught him with a shot from behind and Punk held Orton’s leg. The fans got behind Orton and Lawler ran in. He and Orton then cleared house. They continued to land some shots on the outside and went to the commercial break.

 

4. CM Punk & Dolf Ziggler vs. Randy Orton & Jerry Lawler

 

A match was made during the break. After the break Ziggler had control of Orton landing a neckbreaker and shots on the ground. Orton fought back with some shots and landed a ricochet vertical suplex for two. The tag was made to Lawler who landed a dropkick and not one but to fistdrops for two. Lawler seemed fine at this point in the match. Ziggler landed an elbow on a downed Lawler and locked on a headlock. King made his way back to his feet and the fans chanted for Punk. Lawler was knocked back down to the mat and was dragged close to Orton on the brink of a tag, but Ziggler forced him back down to the mat. Ziggler locked in a headlock, but Lawler landed a back suplex and finally made the tag to Orton. Orton ran wild on Ziggler landing the powerslam. He went for the draping DDT, but was sent to the outside by Ziggler. This led to Paul Heyman coming down to ringside. He talked to Punk as the crowd chanted for ECW. Vicky screamed at him. Heyman grabbed the belt after some conversation while Ziggler landed some shots on Orton in the ring. Punk and Heyman continued to have a cordial conversation while Orton made his comeback and landed the RKO for the win. Punk and Heyman didn’t react and walked off to the back.

 

After the break Punk and Heyman were talking backstage. Striker asked them the nature of their relationship. Heyman teased saying something, but Punk just said “I am a Paul Heyman guy” and walked off. This was a great line. There was an overly dramatic recap of the hug it out segment from last week.Bryanapproached Kane backstage. They said they were both told that the other man had to say something to the other. Someone approached them you couldn’t tell who it was. Kane said this person was the most evil person he ever met. It was the therapist. AJ said she called him and said he had a radical plan. He said it would either solve their issues or send them into the abyss where they would never return from again.

 

Heath Slater said that Ryder got lucky last week and Slater said he wanted his rematch right there. Ryder appeared on the tron. He said he wasn’t facing him that night he said it wasn’t Ryder, but it was close enough.

 

5. Heath Slater vs. Ryback

 

Slater was thrown to the outside. He landed a shoulder block but Slater was able to land a neckbreaker for two. He landed some kicks to the back that Ryback no sold, Slater taunted and was killed with a clothesline. Ryback then landed a spinebuster into a powerbomb. He shouted “finish it” and landed the marching Samoan drop for the win.

 

The Prime Time Players approached AJ. ‘O Neil was whistling and it was great. They wanted to know if the meeting was regarding bonus money. She said she called them there because there was a mistake and they weren’t the number one contenders. They protested. She said they hadn’t beaten every team so they would face Kane and Daniel Bryan that night. I am quite impressed with how the Prime Time Players have come into their own withoutWashington.

 

6. Number One Contenders Match

Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. The Prime Time Players (Titus ‘O Neil & Darren Young)

 

Kane and Bryan bickered at the start of the match. The crowd chanted wee. Kane and ‘O Neil went at it.Bryanlanded some kicks, but Young made a tag and landed a clothesline onBryan. ‘O Neil landed a scoopslam and kicks onBryan. They continued to work onBryan. Young was front suplexed ontoBryanby ‘O Neil.Bryanmade a brief comeback, but was cut off by ‘O Neil. ‘O Neil landed kicks onBryanchanting “yes”. It was at this point that everyone’s attention moved to the announce table and Lawler was carried off. I short time before you could see Lawler looking very red bent over and Cole checking to see if he was okay. The crowd chanted for Lawler and there were some long bouts of silence from Cole. Apparently Cole was muting the mic to call for medics, but Cole was obviously and understandably shaken.Bryanlanded the “no” kicks and this resulted in the crowd chanting “yes”. Kane caught Young with a clothesline and landed a chokeslam. He threw ‘O Neil to the outside andBryantagged himself in. This led to Kane chokeslammingBryanonto Young, Kane started to walk off, butBryanwas lying on Young for the win.

 

7. AlbertoDel Riovs. Tyson Kidd

 

Obviosully it had just happened and no one knew what to do, but it just felt so strange to have a match straight after the Lawler incident. Still there was no information at the time so I guess this is the only thing they could do. Tyson Kidd landed a kick running off the apron.Del Rioresponded with a kick of his own in the ring and teased the sharpshooter, but Kidd locked it in.Del Riomade it to the ropes and locked in the cross armbreaker for the win.

 

After the matchDel Riocut a promo saying he tapped out the Canadian peasant Kidd and it was time for Sheamus to lose the World Heavyweight Championship. After that they cut to Cole who was really shaken up and apparently repeating everything Vince said word for word. He said it was not a part of the programming for that night and explained the events. He said they were performing CPR on Lawler in the back and he repeated that “happened”. He said they would have more information as the night went on.

 

8. Sheamus vs. David Otunga

 

After the announcement and no commentary everything had a very surreal feel to it. You couldn’t say anything, but everyone was probably shaken up, but still had to take part in their angles. That is kind of the way it should be and I can’t see it working any other way, but it doesn’t change just how strange it actually felt.

 

Otunga landed some shots on Sheamus slapping him and grabbing him by the jaw and this resulted in Sheamus landing stomps and clubbing blows on Otunga. Sheamus landed a backbreaker and locked in the cloverleaf for the win. I know it is a big nitpick, but the more I think about it the more sense it would have made for Sheamus to debut the cloverleaf after the kick was banned. After the match Sheamus went back to the ring and landed the brogue kick of no apparent reason.

 

AJ came out and said she had no authority, but she was interrupted by Booker T. Booker T said it was World Heavyweight Championship business. He said that Sheamus knew he couldn’t use the brogue kick in light of his investigation and it wouldn’t look good for Sheamus. Booker said that if Sheamus used the move before the investigation was completed he would be stripped of the World Heavyweight championship. Hart was talking to Mysterio backstage.

 

After a commercial break they came back with no commentary and aired a recap of the Bryan/Kane match. A Tout was then shown of R-Truth andKingstonthey said it was time to go to war with a smile on their faces. Kane and Bryan were backstage bickering. They said it was triumph because they came together and worked as a team.Bryansaid he could start to like their team. They bickered over the name Kane & Bryan or Bryan & Kane.Shelbyinterrupted them and said they could call it team friendship but they said no. It would be great ifShelbycame out as their manager. Graphics aired of all the Night of Championship matches with no commentary.

 

Cole was back with an update. Cole reminded everyone that it wasn’t apart of the entertainment that night. He said that Lawler received CPR and was taken to a hospital and was receiving oxygen but was breathing on his own. Cole said his prayers were with him and there would be no more commentary that night out of respect and they hoped to deliver an update before RAW was over.

 

9. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes

 

Rhodeslanded some knees to the gut of Mysterio and a knee to the face.Rhodeslanded a kick to the face of Mysterio and followed up with a front facelock. Mysterio got a kick to the knee and dropped Rhodes to the outside where he landed a hurricanrana off the apron ontoRhodes.Rhodescame off with a springboard kick for two and landed some stomps.Rhodespaused and shifted his guise to the commentary table. He went after Mysterio with a shoulder, but ran into the post. Mysterio and Rhodes landed some kind of wacky hurricanrana and Rey hit the bulldog for two. Mysterio followed it up with a kick to the face and went to the top rope where he landed a seated senton.Rhodeswent for a powerbomb, but Mysterio landed a couple of kicks to the face. He went for the 619, but Miz appeared out of nowhere. Mysterio kicked him to the floor, but this allowedRhodesto land Cross Rhodes for the win. Miz was going to go after Mysterio, butRhodeslanded the Cross Rhodes on him and lifted the IC Title over his head in an interesting spot.

 

Cole was back with another Lawler update. He said it was a real life situation and recapped the situation. Cole said that they received an update that was hopefully more positive. Cole said Lawler was reacting to lights and he was in isolated ER awaiting a CAT scan. Cole said in typical King fashion he was fighting hard and said “come on King get through this”.

 

Hart came out for the Cena interview. He brought Cena out and the crowd booed. He came out smiling, but not doing his normal comment and salute into the camera. Cena thanked Hart for the interview opportunity and he said that his feud with Punk reminded him of Hart’s feud with Michaels. He said it started off with a friendship, but turned into something that nearly destroyed their lives. Hart said Cena reminded him of himself and said Punk reminded him of the old Shawn Michaels. Cena thanked Hart for mentioning him in the same sentence as Hart and Michaels. Cena said that the differences between the old Michaels and Punk were obvious. The crowd responded by chanting “you can’t wrestle”. Cena said that was what he loved most aboutMontreal, they recognized a hall of famer. Cena said Michaels owned up to being a jerk, but Punk didn’t do that and Michaels was like that because he stood for something. He called Punk a delusional young man that thought that leather and gold equalled respect. Hart asked what Cena was going to do to shut the “phoney” Punk up. Punk asked “phoney”.

 

Punk said he couldn’t hear Hart. Hart called Punk a “phoney little Punk”. Cena said he did and asked if Punk wanted to know if Punk wanted to come down and do something. Cena also called him a phoney and said there was forty feet and three ropes between the worst decision of his life. Punk said Cena was the most phoney superstar in history and he didn’t need his judgment, because he did what he wanted. Punk said that he came to defend himself against such ridiculous disrespect. He said it broke his heart to see them standing in the ring, they were so alike, but it wasn’t a complement. He said they were both surpassed by people superior to themselves. Himself and Michaels. Punk said he couldn’t compare Punk to Michaels, because he was better than Michaels. He reminded him of the “little hilly billy” that Hart made pass out at WrestleMania 13 – Steve Austin. Punk said he was better than him too. He said he was better than the Rock as well. He said that he did in one night what Cena couldn’t do in a year. He was the best wrestler, talker, technician and brawler. It wasn’t from a place of insecurity he said it because he “is it”. Cena said that the statement made him a liar, hypocrite and conceited scumbag. Cena saidMontrealwas an honest city. He said they always referred to the building as bizzaro world, but he said they just told the truth. Cena said he was going to hit Punk with truth, whether he liked it or not. He reminded Punk that he held the championship for over three hundred days, but said that throughout the time that Punk held the belt it had been irrelevant. He said the mainevents passed Punk by, but there was no conspiracy and was no CM Punk. He said the night Punk made the most noise was the night his mic went silent. Cena said it was the time of change, but the fans were fooled into change, because CM Punk was the only one to become a star. He said Punk didn’t even know who CM Punk was. Cena said that he didn’t become what he despised. He went from an underdog to favourite but he did it as himself. His whole career he had to stand on his own two feet and do it as himself. Punk however changed his colours numerous times, copied Hall of Famers and copied the Savage elbow, because he couldn’t find himself. He said that Punk was tough, but Punk held the championship through any means necessary and that wasn’t a champion to him. He was vocal because his title was in jeopardy. Cena proceeded to speak some French. The crowd popped big for one of the lines. Punk said Cena lowered himself to speak the language of the locals, which got a lot of heat. Cena said enough and he hadn’t lowered himself. He then called Punk an “ignorant son of a b*tch”, which got another pop and they went face to face. He said in English he said that Punk said he was going to win at Night of Champions, but Cena was just going to kick his ass. Punk went for a shot on Hart, but Cena stopped him and Cena threw his shirt into the crowd. Punk went for a shot on Hart again, but Hart landed a shot of his own which forced Punk to the outside.

 

This was a really great closing segment with a ton of heat. I wasn’t a big fan of the shot from Hart, but other than that the segment had fantastic heat. Cena’s delivery was great and so was Punk. The whole premise of the match also shows some promise with Punk trying to “find his identity”. They have done that kind of angle before with Cena and Punk, but this time it could be different. The silence and crowd heat on its own did make a difference to the segment. I don’t want to say that it was better, but it was different and made the segment really stand out. The fact that all three men were able to perform on such a high level after such a terrible thing just took place is a testament to them.

 

TheMontrealcrowd was very hot and even though we had the Lawler situation, which was terribly sad they still stayed hot and that was probably due to the fact that most of them didn’t know what happened really. The French line although it sounded bad on paper made perfect sense. It got the local crowd to pop really big for the line, but it also led to an English line reveal for the rest of the audience which was good.

 

The show closed off with Cole delivering one final update. He said that they hoped to close with some good news. He said King’s condition had stabilized and his heart was beating on its own. A recap followed. A CAT scan was being prepared at the time. Cole said on a personal note he wanted Cole to beat it and said goodbye fromMontreal.

 

The show ended on two very different notes. On one hand you had Cena and Hart getting the better of Punk, which probably sent theMontrealcrowd happy, but then for the home audience you had a very sombre segment from Cole. It was a strange situation throughout the night with the majority of the crowd not being aware of the Lawler situation.

 

WWE NXT –September 12th 2012

Full Sail University – Florida.

Ben Carass.

 

 

Before we get into the show, I would like to apologise for the lack of commentary analysis in this report. I realise this episode of NXT was recorded before Monday’s Raw, however after watching that show live I cannot bring myself to dissect any announcing this week.

 

After the intro package, The Ascension made their gimmick entrance and Kenneth Cameron was introduced for a singles match. The Usos appeared on the stage to perform the Siva Tau, then Jey was announced as Cameron’s opponent.

 

Kenneth Cameron w/ Conor O’Brian vs. Jey Uso w/ Jimmy Uso

 

The bout started out fairly even; both men traded holds and exchanged shots until Cameron was sent over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Cameron cut off Jey’s offense with a boot to the face; the heel gained the advantage when O’Brian landed a cheap shot behind the referee’s back.

          Cameron delivered a hiptoss into the turnbuckles for a two count then proceeded to get some heat on Jey, as the crowd got behind the babyface. Uso avoided a splash but curiously took a bodyslam, then evaded an elbow drop from his foe. Jey started a comeback and scored with a corkscrew forearm; Uso set up for a splash in the corner, but O’Brian tripped the face from the outside. Cameron took Jey over with a modified suplex, while Jimmy Uso caught O’Brian with a superkick on the floor; this caused enough of a distraction for Jey to connect with a jumping superkick for the three count. The brothers celebrated in the crowd after the victory.

 

Jey Uso defeated Kenneth Cameron via pinfall, at 5:26

 

These two had a match, it was ok; there is not much more to be said about the in-ring. Having Jey go over in a single is a good move, as Jimmy could go over O’Brian and the faces would retain some credibility; The Ascension would be able to get their heat back by laying out The Uso’s again or even slide over in a tag. Or O’Brian could beat Jimmy to set up the tag as a decider; there are many ways to further this feud.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Rick Victor walked into Dusty Rhodes’ office and informed the Dream he was more than capable of beating NXT Champion Seth Rollins. Dusty replied with, ” being a contender is one thing; showing what you can do is another”, then told Victor to prove himself. Rick said he would.

 

Inside the arena, Big E. Langston’s music began; he came out to face Chad Baxter, who was waiting in the ring for the contest.

 

Big E. Langston vs. Chad Baxter

 

Langston showed his power early with some strong shots; Baxter attempted a sunset flip but Big E. blocked and threw Baxter into the turnbuckle. Big E. executed three backbreakers, before he ran over Baxter in a manner similar to Big Van Vader. Langston hit his inverted front powerslam for the victory.

Big E. Langston defeated Chad Baxter, at 1:58; via pinfall. 

 

Following the match, Big E. delivered another inverted front powerslam, covered Baxter and took it upon himself to count to five; the audience chanted, “one more time” as Langston grabbed the mic. Big E. said a three count is normal, but now his opponent’s would feel the pain of not getting up from the five count. Baxter took another inverted front powerslam, as the fans went crazy for Big E.’s destruction of the helpless geek; Langston coveredChadagain and counted to five once more. The people loved it.

 

Just another squash match to get Big E. over, however I am impressed with the old school gimmick he debuted here. King Kong Bundy was “the master of the five count” in Memphis during the early 80’s, however the way Big E. got this over with the people is evidence to suggest that there is no substitute for classic pro wrestling booking.

 

Kassius Ohno cut a promo backstage and claimed he warned everybody he was a dangerous man. Ohno said Richie Steamboat found out the hard way but for some reason nobody else gets it, which is why next week will be the first ever “Kassius Ohno” sparring session. Kassius ended with, “if you don’t know how dangerous I am now, you will then”.

 

Commercial Break.

 

An amazing vignette aired, hyping Trent Barretta’s return. Many Superstars, including Jerry Lawler were shown asking, “where’sTrent?” Apart from Dolph Ziggler who asked “who’sTrent?” The package showed Trent’s face on a milk carton then stated Barretta had been out for six months and in that time he found a new focus and dedication. After an epic build up, the pay off came when Briley Pierce walked into a storage room and asked Trent – who was eating and sat in a steel chair – if he wanted to wrestle on NXT next week. Barretta answered with a nonchalant, “yeah”.

 

Funny, may not draw money, but this was tremendous. 

 

Garrett Dylan came out for a match following the vignette; the familiar refrain of “hallelujah” from Händel’s Messiah, signified Damien Sandow as Dylan’s opponent for the evening. Prior to the bout, Sandow said he was on NXT to further his crusade for the fans’ enlightenment and gave Garrett the option of sitting at ringside, while he delivered a lecture to the audience. Dylan decided he would rather wrestler than listen to a lecture.

 

Damien Sandow vs. Garrett Dylan

 

After a lock up, Sandow backed Dylan into the corner and failed to oblige with a clean break. The Intellectual Saviour of the masses took his foe over with a snapmare and dropped a knee; Dylan managed to roll up Sandow, however Damien scored with a headbutt and shoulder blocks in the corner. With a side-Russian-leg-sweep, Sandow cut off Dylan’s short lived offense and followed up with a straightjacket neckbreaker for the three count.

 

Damien Sandow defeated Garrett Dylan via pinfall, at 2:29.    

 

I probably would have preferred to hear a two and a half-minute lecture. The match was not good; the two had no chemistry and Sandow is not polished enough to carry green guys for even a short period of time. A guy like Tyson Kidd would be a perfect opponent for Sandow to gain some in ring experience from; of course poor Tyson has been buried enough without doing jobs for the next up and coming heel.

 

Briley Pierce was backstage with NXT Champion Seth Rollins; he asked the champion what his thoughts were on possibly facing the winner of the Michael McGillicutty/Tyson Kidd main event. Rollins said it didn’t matter who wins and he will fight anyone for the NXT title; Rick Victor entered and told Rollins: “it’s easy to say you’ll fight anyone when you are protected”. Victor then asked Seth if he even knew his name; Rollins sarcastically replied, “you’re right, I don’t”, which caused Victor to slap the champion across the face and walk off. Rollins looked angry then stated he knew exactly who Rick Victor is and he just jumped to the top of his list.

 

A Raw Rebound aired; it focused on the stellar final segment between, Bret Hart, John Cena and CM Punk.

 

A furious Seth Rollins entered Dusty Rhodes’ office; Dusty said he saw the slap and told Seth to relax. Rollins said if he didn’t get a match with Victor next week, he won’t be held responsible for his actions; The Dream stated he knows what it’s like being a champion and booked Rollins vs. Victor for next week. The two shook hands then Rollins claimed Dusty will not regret booking the match, but Rick Victor will; Big Dust proceeded to pull some cartoon-style facial expressions.

 

A graphic hyping Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd aired.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Tyson Kidd was first out for the main event and was soon followed by McGillicutty.

 

Michael McGillicutty vs. Tyson Kidd

 

The pair started out with some nice counters and some mat wrestling exchanges; Kidd appeared to get the better of McGillicutty then utilised an Owen Hart style escape after a side headlock takedown. Perturbed by being out manoeuvred by Kidd, McGillicutty rolled out to the floor; the heel took his time getting back in the ring and subsequently gained the advantage by breaking Kidd’s momentum.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Back to the main event and McGillicutty was getting some heat on the babyface; Kidd took an extraordinarily hard turnbuckle bump that lead to a two count. However, Tyson blocked an attempted suplex from the apron then hit a kick to the heel’s head and followed up with a basement dropkick to the temple for a count of two.

          McGillicutty escaped to the outside once again, although he could not avoid a dropkick between the bottom and middle rope from Kidd. Tyson faked a slingshot plancha and delivered a big kick from the apron, before rolling his foe back in the ring. Kidd went for a springboard elbow drop, but the heel managed to get both knees up to block the move; McGillicutty then delivered a Perfect-plex for two. The third generation grappler went to the top rope, only to be crotched by Tyson, who then attempted a hurricanrana but caught the move around McGillicutty’s torso. Kidd missed an enzuigiri, yet escaped an attempted belly-to-back suplex, however McGillicutty landed a running swinging neckbreaker for the win.

 

Michael McGillicutty defeated Tyson Kidd; at 9:31, via pinfall.   

 

The match was a decent effort from both guys, however a peculiarly timed commercial break was a detriment to the story of the match. These two have had plenty of encounters better than this one; the match from the first episode of the new NXT comes to mind, but at least this time the match had a purpose. Although it was never officially established the winner would be the number one contender for the NXT title, McGillicutty came across as a threat to Rollins. With a little more time and the right build, a Rollins/McGillicutty title feud could be an entertaining programme.

         Although the show was good, not great; it was still a considerable amount more enjoyable than watching SmackDown. NXT will remain the most enjoyable pro wrestling show produced by WWE, until: angles are dropped out of nowhere, characters and gimmicks are undermined, wins and losses become irrelevant and pointless skits take precedent over match time; basically until NXT becomes just another WWE show. Hopefully Triple H will keep his pet project a traditional wrestling show for a little while longer.        

 

TNA Impact September 13th 2012

Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida

 

Overall Show Thoughts

 

This was a much better show than last week. The wrestling was good and the mainevent settled the Bound for Glory Series far better than the match at No Surrender. Still it’s sad that the BFG Series couldn’t come to a once off, final conclusion. Kazarian and Daniels were really great for the entire show, whether it was promos or matches. Sill there were some stupid things on the show, mainly the Hogan segments involving the Aces & Eights. However the main segment with Hogan was fine. All in all this was a show that didn’t attempt to focus on doing too much and only focused on the necessary items and it paid off.

 

The show opened with a video package that put No Surrender over as the show that changed TNA forever – suffice to say it was not.

 

Aries came out to start the show off. The crowd chanted for Aries. He said that he held the World’s Heavyweight Championship in his hand and it was the reason that every man laced up their boots and got up in the morning. But, it was also the reason that the Aces & Eights came after him. He didn’t unmask any of them, but he took a “piece out of their ass”. He was going to face a man that defied the odds, one that defeated eleven other men and would be his opponent at Bound for Glory – Jeff Hardy.

 

Hardy came out and Aries congratulated him. He said he knew what it took to beat Ray and Joe, but it was an even more difficult feat to do it in the same night and with an injury. Aries said Hardy was a man of few words, but they cheered Hardy and he was a man of many words and he had to tell them to be quite. Aries said people think that Hardy wants something that Aries has, but in actuality Aries said Hardy has something he wants. They were interrupted by an infuriated Bully Ray who asked for his music to be turned off.

 

He said that Hardy and Aries were lucky. Aries was lucky because he would have beaten him in the middle of the ring and Hardy was lucky because Ray felt bad for him. Ray said he took his eye off the ball for a few seconds and Hardy beat him. He had been beating him for fifteen years all over the world and he asked Hardy if he wanted to fight. Aries interjected saying that he beat Ray the last time they were in the ring and so did Hardy. Aries said that Ray should face Hrady again and Hardy agreed shouting “let’s go boy”. Ray screamed for him not to take the shirt off, but he did. Ray then slid out of the ring and the match was made. Storm was shown walking into the Impact Zone. Mike Tenay and Taz wished Lawler well, saying that he was pulling the strap down for a comeback.

 

I enjoyed the opening segment. Aries and Hardy both came across as big deals and Ray got all of his heat back.

 

1. X Division Championship Match

Zema Ion vs. Sonjay Dutt

 

Dutt went straight after Ion and landed a hurricanrana to the outside and then one off of the apron. He followed it with an Asai moonsault in the span of a few seconds. Dutt came into the ring with a flying head scissors, but he was hung up throat first by Ion. Dutt landed a huge hurricanrana into a pin. Ion missed a splash in the corner and Dutt landed a leaping high kick into another head scissors. Dutt went for a standing moonsault, but he was caught with a submission on the healthy arm. Dutt landed a DDT and that brutal looking double foot stomp moonsault, but Ion had his foot on the rope.  Dutt went back to the top, but was hung up and rolled up for the win. After the match Ion attacked Dutt from behind and locked in an armbar.

 

I guess this was compensation for the match at the pay-per-view and how much attention it received. The match was extremely fast paced and really short. For some reason it was mostly compiled of head scissors and hurricanranas from Dutt which was pretty odd. I assume that this will lead to another rematch at some time in the future.

 

Daniels and Kazarian were backstage mimicking Hulk Hogan. They were awesome as usual. Daniels was sitting in Hogan’s chair when Hogan entered the office, but implored Daniels to stay. They sucked up to Hogan saying that they were the good guys. Hogan said he would put the fate of the rematch in their hands and they could choose from two teams. He said there would be no tag match, but single matches. Daniels and Kazarian protested, but Daniels would either face Chavo or Hernandez and Kazarian would either face Styles or Angle. He said that if both of them happened to win there would be no rematch, but if one of them lost their respective match they would have to defend the championship against their team. This was legitimate comedy, although what would happen if both men were defeated was never explained.

 

Roode was shown entering the building and Styles and Angle were talking backstage. Styles said he wanted Kazarian and Angle said Styles got emotional. However, Angle said that if Styles could guarantee him a win he wouldn’t mind. He was approached by Wes Briscoe who he told to follow to ringside for Styles’ match, because of how good Styles is. Neither man was at ringside. A video package was shown off Storm’s BFG Series story.

 

Roode came out. He said that he was back and he gave everyone a recap saying he was screwed in his match with Aries. He said he left because he couldn’t get a shot at Aries as champion. The fans chanted “go back home”. He said he saw James Storm pour his blood into the BFG series. He saw him inching closer to the championship so he thought to himself “why Storm should get the championship” if he rode Roode’s coattails. That’s why he smashed a bear bottle over Storm’s head and left him eliminated from the BFG series. James Storm came down to the ring and a brawl ensued. Roode was sent to the outside and Storm destroyed him on the outside strangling him with his tie. Roode was thrown all over the place and in typical Impact fashion once they brawled to the back they cut to something else.

 

2. AJ Styles vs. Kazarian

 

Styles was in control and pulled Kazarian from the outside into the Styles Clash, but Kazarian got out. Styles then landed a dropkick knocking Kazarian to the outside. After the break Kazarian was landing some shots on Styles in the corner. Kazarian landed a boot to the face of Styles, but Styles responded with a backbreaker. Styles went for a springboard, but Kazarian landed an elbow to the gut of Styles. Styles blocked a suplex into the ring and landed a huge DDT onto the apron. The only problem was that they missed the apron and landed right on the ring mat, which looked like it hurt. Kazarian was sent into the guardrail, but he moved out of the way of a splash and landed a monkey flip on the outside. Kazarian got a couple of covers. Styles landed a flying forearm into the corner and went for the Styles clash, Kazarian went for a shot, but Styles landed the springboard strike and did a kip up. Kazarian got a cover with his feet on the ropes, but Styles kicked out and landed the pelé and Styles Clash for the win. This was a good TV match.

 

Hulk Hogan said that he didn’t want Brooke going home any more and just wanted her to bounce betweenLos AngelesandNew York. He said he would get her two body guards. Joe Park interrupted and talked about the evidence that he had gathered. He said that he would get a piece of evidence that would blow the case wide open. Hogan said he would “blow them up”. Hogan then said that Park could guard Brooke Hogan. He asked if she had representation. Hogan has retained his status as the most militant general manager of all time.

 

Ray approached Ray and said that he punked Hardy out and it wasn’t the other way around. He said that he wanted the Bound for Flory shot on the line to make the match mean something. Hardy stood there with his eyes closed. He said that Hardy was nothing more than a coward. Hardy said if he wanted it he would have a shot at his spot at Bound for Glory. He said that he would see Ray in the ring. This idea was a much better way to cap off the series than the match at No Surrender.

 

Hogan came out. The crowd chanted for Hogan. He said that the Bound for Glor series put TNA into high gear. He said that when he thought about it, the series’ intensity blew his mind. But, he said the “creatures of the night” came out on top and he said that Hardy was from a whole different universe – he wasn’t from Earth. He said that Hardy was willing to sacrifice anything, but he wouldn’t stand in his way. This meant that he made the match official for that night with the mentioned stipulations. He said that the Aces & Eights couldn’t get back into the building and that meant that the Impact Zone belongs to the fans and guys in the back. He said it would be locked down forever. The Aces & Eights appeared on screen. The leader said that Hogan was better at chess than he thought. He wanted to know if they were locked out or in. He said he trusted the other men with his life and wanted to know if Hogan could do the same. He said anyone could be with them and he wouldn’t know it until it was too late. He finished by saying “check mate Hogan”.

 

Guerrero was complaining to Hernandez backstage and said that he was angry with himself for what happened last week, but he said that he would win the match not just for him and Hernandez, but for “La Raza” too.

 

3. Christopher Daniels vs. Chavo Guerrero

 

Guerrero landed an uppercut in the corner followed by some more strikes. Guerrero then locked in a headlock and a gutbuster. Guerrero landed a monkey flip and went back into the headlock after a quick cover. After a brief exchange Daniels slid to the outside where Guerrero landed a giro off the apron. Guerrero landed some more shots on the outside, but was sent off the apron into the barricade. Daniels landed some knees to the gut of Guerrero back in the ring and locked in a bearhug. The fans got behind Guerrero, but Daniels landed a shot to the gut. Guerrero slapped Daniels and landed a backbreaker followed by some shoulderblocks. Guerrero landed a dropkick for two, Daniels landed a front kick, but he was dropped to the outside. Daniels grabbed his belt and went for a shot behind the referee’s back. This allowed Guerrero to land the three amigos and go to the top rope where he landed the frogsplash for the win. I enjoyed both the Kazarian and Daniels match, but I couldn’t help thinking that having the tag team champions both beaten in relatively short matches made them look weak. Then again the story that was told was that they couldn’t cheat during the single’s matches, so it wasn’t that bad.

 

They had a video package for the new Gut Check contestant. They showed him training and said that he had been wrestling since he was thirteen. He trained at Killer Kowalski’s school. He is only eighteen years old, which means he has probably been working for four years at best. But, he seemed like a passionate kid so we will see next week.

 

Storm said that he hoped that Roode slept well in jail, because he was going to make his life a living hell. He said that he would challenge him as an opponent in Open Fight Night next week. He said it was good for him and bad for Roode. Gail Kim shared her Bound for Glory moment when she won the first Knockout’s Championship.

 

Taracame out. She congratulated Miss Tessmacher who came out.Tarasaid she beat the teacher, part of her was upset and part of her was proud and happy. It meant that she was a good teacher and she would always be her best friend. She wanted to properly present her the championship and asked if she could. She took the championship, lifted it above her head and strapped it around Brooke’s waste. She then announced Tessmacher as the Knockout’s champion. Tessmacher celebrated in the ring, but was attacked from behind byTaraand she landed the Widow’s peak. Everyone saw this turn coming from the way that the segment was handled, but it would have been far more effective ifTaraturned while she was lifting the belt.

 

A video package was shown of the finals of the BFG series from No Surrender. It was pretty great.Dixiecarter was talking to all the staff in the back. D-Lo Brown, Al Snow,Prichard, Brooke Hogan and Hulk Hogan. They debated the Aces & Eights. Hogan talked about how he had to let his brother that joined a gang go. Brown recommended that they let them in. Carter said that she had to protect herself and Brooke. All of them looked at each other with extremely cheesy sound effects. Carter said they had to trust each other. Brown said it could be anybody and it was better to look them in the eye and the segment ended.

 

4. Singles Match for the TNA Heavyweight Championship Shot at Bound for Glory

Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray

 

Hardy unloaded on Ray in the corner and landed a head scissors followed by a dropkick. He then landed a pescado to the outside. After the break Ray and Hardy collided in the middle of the ring with a clothesline. They went to another break. Ray was in control of Hardy, but Hardy landed a splash from the top rope for two. Ray dropped an elbow for the count of two and followed it up with a chinlock. Ray then landed a back bodydrop and splash for two. Ray landed a clothesline out of the corner and did the spit spot. Hardy ducked a big boot from Ray and was thrown into the ring post shoulder first and he dropped to the outside. Ray dropped a forearm from the apron, but Hardy fought back in the ring. Ray responded with a big chop to the shoulder, but Hardy was able to land whisper in the wind. Ray and Hardy exchanged shots on their knees. Ray called for harder shots and Hardy landed an atomic drop, legdrop to the groin and dropkick for two. Hardy went for a twist of fate, but Ray got the Bubba Bomb for two. Ray went for another, but Hardy landed a DDT for two. Hardy went to the top rope, but he was hung up and Ray landed a superplex for two. Ray missed a splash from the second rope, Hardy went for the Swanton, but he missed and Ray landed the Bubba Bomb again for the count of two. Hardy landed the twist of fate, Ray remained on his feet, Hardy landed another one and a swanton bomb for the win. This was great TV mainevent around the (*** 1/4) level, so it was far better than their match on PPV.

 

WWE SmackDown, September 14 2012

Ottawa, Ontario: Canada – Scotiabank Place.

Ben Carass.

 

 

The go-home edition of SmackDown kicked off with a video package of Sheamus hitting the Brogue kick on a bunch of people and Alberto Del Rio’s crusade to ban the move. The package also showed, the legal deposition from Raw; Sheamus applying theTexascloverleaf to David Otunga then hitting a Brogue kick and Booker T threatening to strip Sheamus of the World title if he uses the Brogue kick at anytime.

 

Inside the arena, Alberto Del Rio’s music played as Josh Matthews welcomed everyone to the show.Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez and David Otunga were standing in the ring; Ricardo and Otunga were both sporting neck braces. Alberto began a promo by giving credit to Booker T for banning the Brogue kick and said he can’t begin to explain how his “good friend” Ricardo was feeling. Rodriguez got on the mic to deliver a riotously hammy “thank you” to all his fans for their support. Ricardo also thanked his mother and his “little chiwawa”, then with a broken voice said, “I’ll soon be able to walk him again”. Otunga could see Rodriguez was too overcome to continue and took the mic from the sobbing ring announcer; he buried AJ for booking him against Sheamus on Raw then claimed to have ruptured his C4 and C5 vertebrae. Otunga said he and Ricardo would recover “handsomely” before handing the mic back toDel Rio. Alberto claimed his ring announcer and attorney weren’t the only people suffering from the Brogue kick and asked the fans to look at the tron.

 

Footage of Sheamus hitting Christian with the Brogue kick from last year’s Night of Champions rolled.

 

Del Riosaid that is exactly what he was talking about; Alberto then introduced Christian “via satellite”. Captain Charisma appeared on the Titan-tron with his arm in a sling; he looked less than thrilled to be helping out the heels and said, “let’s get this over with”. Otunga mentioned Christian had just undergone shoulder surgery then stated the former two time World Heavyweight Champion had not been 100% for a while. Christian interrupted the attorney and toldDel Riohe didn’t like him, then called Alberto a “pompous, snivelling weasel”, before declaring he hoped Sheamus beatDel Rioon Sunday. Christian continued by saying he wasn’t doing this to helpDel Rio, or for himself, but he was doing it for, “the other Superstars who are too afraid to take a stand for what is right”. Captain Charisma revealed he hadn’t been the same since Sheamus hit him with the Brogue kick and blamed the move for “losing a year” of his career. Christian then begrudgingly stated: “I respect Sheamus and all he has accomplished, but if we’re being 100% truthful; should the Brogue kick stay banned? – My answer is yes”. This lead to some amusing sweetened boos, courtesy of the production room.

            Otunga called for the “satellite” feed to be cut, saying, “no more questions”.Del Riocalled the Brogue kick “dangerous, with serious ramifications” and said Booker T made the right decision by banning it, before claiming he would take the World Heavyweight Championship from “that peasant” at Night of Champions.

             Daniel Bryan’s music hit, he got in the ring and told the fans, “stop chanting yes, I just came out to say thank you”.Bryanthanked the three heels for “brining the case to light”, because just like them, he too was a victim; this was followed up byBryanclaiming he had a goat face due to being kicked so many times by Sheamus.Bryanalso thanked Booker T for granting him a WrestleMania rematch with Sheamus and said it was the most embarrassing moment of his life losing to an illegal manoeuvre in 18 seconds.Del Rio, Otunga and Ricardo all consoledBryanwith a pat on the shoulder, which was pretty funny.Bryanthen stated he asked for the rematch not because the Brogue kick had been banned, but to prove he was caught by surprise at Mania and that would not happen again.

          Sheamus came out onto the stage, only to make a bad joke about his Aunt really being his Uncle; he said that was a surprise. The Great White then said toBryan: “you didn’t lose at WrestleMania because of the Brogue kick; you lost because of me”. The World Champion made his way onto the ring apron and said he would beatBryantonight, beat “Bertie” on Sunday, he then told the four men in the ring: “those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. At this point, Otunga got in the face of Sheamus but The Great White grabbed the lawyer by the neck and hung him across the top rope; The Champion held the attorney’s neck brace above his head, before he headed up the ramp.

 

This was a long, convoluted opening segment; at least Booker T didn’t make an appearance this week.Bryaninteracting with the other heels was nice to see; I’m always a big fan of heel’s coming together for a common cause and this made perfect sense. Although, the Christian cameo came out of nowhere; he has not been mentioned on TV for weeks and suddenly he is a pawn in the heel’s scheme? By the time he returns I imagine nobody will remember this anyway. The Brogue kick as a lethal weapon is a decent angle, however it would have been much more effective if Dolph Ziggler didn’t take the move on every show for about a month straight.

 

Sin Cara was loosening up backstage for a match.

 

Commercial Break.

 

After the break, Sin Cara made his entrance and was followed by The Miz.

 

Sin Cara vs. The Miz (intercontinental Champion)

 

The Miz looked perplexed at Sin Cara’s gimmick lighting as the bell rang and quickly beat down the babyface after bluffing a Greco-Roman knucklelock spot. Miz landed a suplex, but was taken over with a hurricanrana; the Intercontinental Champion rolled to the floor and cut off an attempted topé from Sin Cara.

 

Commercial Break.

 

As we rejoined the match, The Miz received a near fall on his opponent then began to get the heat. Sin Cara fought from underneath but was cut off; Miz connected with his clothesline in the corner spot and came off the top rope with an axe-handle for a two count. The IC Champion got some more heat with a rear chinlock, until Sin Cara got in a hope spot with a roll up for two; Miz hit a reverse DDT backbreaker/neckbreaker combination and got some cheap heat from the fans.

        Sin Cara avoided a second flying clothesline in the corner and started his comeback with some less-than-fiery kicks. The masked man went for a handspring elbow but Miz avoided any contact and went for a big boot, however Sin Cara took his foe over with a springboard hurricanrana. Miz dumped the hooded wrestler on the apron, only to eat a big kick to the face; after a shot of the crowd, suddenly both men were back in the ring.

 

It’s pretty safe to assume a portion of the match was edited out here; Sin Cara normally goes for a cross body after hitting the apron kick, however after appearing to set up for the move, a cut away was used and both guys were in the ring.

 

Miz went for the skull crushing finale but Sin Cara fought out and looked to deliver La Mistica; the Intercontinental Champion blocked the Fujiwara armbar portion of the move, however Sin Cara turned it into La Magistral cradle for the three.

 

Sin Cara defeated The Miz via pinfall, at 5:23.

 

Other than the suspicion of one edited spot, this match was better than I thought it would be. Miz was able to produce a fairly competent performance from Sin Cara and we got a slight variation with the hoodie’s signature spots, instead of the same formulaic match we normally see. The IC Champion was pinned again…does this mean anything at all anymore?

 

A graphic of Randy Orton vs. Tensai aired, followed by another hyping Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan.

 

Commercial Break.

 

The Miz joined Matt Striker when the show resumed; Striker asked if he was embarrassed at all the jobs he’s been doing recently and said he has an unknown opponent for Sunday. The Intercontinental Champion didn’t have time to reply, as Cody Rhodes crashed the interview; Miz asked Striker to question Cody about the attack from behind on Raw. Cody said: “In all that chaos stood an opportunity to let you know, I want my Intercontinental title back”. The two bickered like whining heels until Rey Mysterio walked in; Rey said he pinned Miz last week in a tag match and wanted the shot. The Miz gave Sin Cara his cue to enter by asking, “what do you want?” The hoodie pointed at the title belt, which was over the shoulder of the champion and Cody yelled: “you don’t get anything by pointing”. Miz told the three men he would beat them if the title were on the line, this caused Teddy Long to show up and book a fatal four way for Sunday.

 

It appears WWE have stolen TNA’s gimmick of booking the card as late as possible. If the buyrate is up for Night of Champions, expect more of this short-term nonsense.

 

The history of Kane and Daniel Bryan’s anger management therapy played out in a video package and footage of the two becoming the number one contenders from Raw aired.

 

Kane was sat with Dr. Shelby backstage; The Big Red Monster had a stress ball in his hand.Bryanentered with his own stress ball and told Kane he was squeezing the ball incorrectly. After being questioned about the way the two gained the victory on Raw, Kane said he wants to be the next tag team champion; to whichBryanreplied: “I want to be the next tag team champion”. Dr Shelby stopped the two from arguing and said, “you both have balls, when you squeeze them, it makes you feel better”. Dr Shelby put over balls some more, which made Kane and Bryan each squeeze their respective ball; they seemed to enjoy the squeezing. Kane looked at his partner’s ball and remarked, “mine is bigger”;Bryansaid, “I don’t think so”.

 

I can just imagine Vince dying with laughter at this skit. The concept of one man wanting to be “the tag team champion” is hard for me to fathom.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Kofi Kingston’s music signalled his entrance and a graphic hyping Kane and Bryan vs. Kofi and R-Truth at Night of Champions rolled. Kane’s pyro hit and The Big Red Machine made his way to the ring.

 

Kane vs. Kofi Kingston (Tag Team Champion)

 

Kofi utilised his speed early to land some shots and a dropkick; Kane scored with a big uppercut then delivered a snapmare, followed up with a basement dropkick. Kane executed an Irish-whip and a clothesline in the corner, however Kofi countered an attempted powerslam with a DDT.Kingstonwent for trouble in paradise but got caught by Kane, who went for a chokeslam. Kofi escaped, went to the top turnbuckle and was caught again by Kane. The Big Red Monster hit the chokeslam and covered his opponent for the three count.

 

Kane defeated Kofi Kingston, at 2:13; via pinfall.

 

After the match Dr Shelby appeared on the stage and stared ponderously at Kane. The Devil’s favourite Demon grabbed Kofi by the throat, but after numerous tenuous cuts between the Doc and his patient, Kane hugged Kofi and left the ring; Dr Shelby applauded the act of kindness.

 

So Kane put his mask back on to hug people?! After his original push in 1997, Kane has constantly been afflicted with horrendous angles and nonsensical booking, at least withBryanthis time he has a chance of salvaging a half-decent programme.

 

Randy Orton joined Matt Striker for an interview. Orton said he wanted to face Tensai so they could have a “good old fashioned brawl”. Striker asked Randy how much he was looking forward to his match with Dolph Ziggler on Sunday; The Viper said, “you probably think I’m looking forward to it because Sheamus’ Brogue kick is banned, therefore Alberto Del Rio has a small chance to become World Heavyweight Champion. In which case, Dolph Ziggler would run in and cash in his Money in the Bank contract”. Randy then said it would be Orton vs. Ziggler for the World title and followed up by stating he just doesn’t like that “self righteous punk”.

 

Orton gave himself higher billing than the World title match; I know it was just to serve the promo, but still it’s a little amusing.

 

 Commercial Break.

 

The Viper came out for his match after the commercials; his opponent, Tensai was out next.

 

Randy Orton vs. Tensai w/ Sakamoto

 

The pair traded blows early in the bout; Tensai gained the advantage after an uppercut and delivered some shots in the corner. Orton showed some fight, but was cut off with a series of headbutts. The Viper took a shoulder tackle and rolled to the outside; Tensai followed and threw Orton back in the ring. The Apex Predator cut his foe off on the apron then delivered some European uppercuts to Tensai’s back. The big man was sent crashing off the apron, into the barricade after a dropkick from Randy.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Tensai landed a Vader bomb after a running splash into the turnbuckle; footage of Orton’s spine being driven into the ring post during the break was shown. Tensai got the heat with his nerve hold of doom and Orton fought out with European uppercuts then hit a powerslam. The Viper managed to land the hangman’s DDT for a two count, but Sakamoto jumped on the apron to distract Randy; Orton drilled Tensai’s henchman and set up for an RKO. Tensai countered with a tree slam, however he missed a back splash and Orton scored with an RKO for the victory.

 

Randy Orton defeated Tensai via pinfall, at 12:05.

 

The match was fine; Randy picked up a big win before Sunday to make him appear even more superior to Ziggler.

 

Vickie Guerrero interrupted Orton’s post match celebration and told Orton, Dolph Ziggler didn’t appreciate the comments he made earlier. Vickie said she gave Dolph the night off then claimed Ziggler would win at the PPV, before she stated Orton would never be World Heavyweight Champion again. Randy said she was wrong and then foiled a sneak attack from behind by Ziggler; Dolph ran up the ramp and left with Vickie.

 

A graphic hyping Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan aired.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Antonio Cesaro was in the ring with Aksana; he cut a promo and said he was appalled at the YouTube Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for hisUStitle on Sunday. Cesaro spoke in five different languages, this week the word was “outraged”, because that’s how he was feeling. Tyson Kidd interrupted the US Champion and told him he would speak to him in Canadian. Kidd said: “after Sunday, you will be the formerUSchampion, eh?” Antonio hit Tyson with a European uppercut and disposed of him over the top rope, at which point Brodus Clay’s music hit. The Funkasaurus got in the ring, as Cesaro backed off from the big guy. Kidd caught Antonio with a kick from the apron then Brodus landed a big headbutt and a splash. Tyson and Brodus proceeded to dance after Cesaro and Aksana had left.

 

A graphic of Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan rolled.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Wade Barrett came out to cut a promo after the break; he said, last week he declared that “Wade Barrett is officially open for business”, but everybody was either too scared or too stupid to know what that meant. Barrett announced next week “one lucky person will get to sample the product; after that, business will be booming”.

 

Kaitlyn made her way out for a match and Beth Phoenix appeared as her opponent.

 

Kaitlyn vs. Beth Phoenix

 

Beth did her best to make Kaitlyn look good throughout the early stage of the contest; Kaitlyn escaped Beth’s offense and rolled upPhoenixfor a near fall. Beth applied a rear chinlock and Kaitlyn fought out then went to the second turnbuckle, but was cut off by The Glamazon. Beth went for the Glamslam; Kaitlyn countered into a reverse DDT for the three count.

 

Kaitlyn defeated Beth Phoenix; at 2:49, via pinfall.

 

Beth carried Kaitlyn like an infectious virus in this match. If the WWE seriously think Layla has a chance of doing what Beth did here, they are in for a big surprise come Sunday night. Beth losing in under three minutes is infuriating; Beth losing in under three minutes to Kaitlyn is unforgivable.

 

Commercial Break.

 

A graphic of Jerry the King Lawler with, #GetWellJerry aired.

 

Get ‘Em King.

 

The Raw Rebound aired, followed by graphics of CM Punk vs. John Cena and Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for Night of Champions.

Eve was backstage in Booker T’s office; she told the GM he made an excellent decision by banning the Brogue kick and he had 100% of her support. Book thanked Eve for being a sycophant then Teddy Long entered; Teddy also told Booker he made the right call. The Booker man and Teddy attempted a handshake, but the two weren’t on the same page and couldn’t decide if they wanted to fist bump or shake hands. Eve sniggered at this miscommunication and left with Booker T; Teddy was left looking confused.

 

Sheamus music hit and the Heavyweight Champion of the World made his way out for the main event.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Daniel Bryan came out after the break; he calmly said “No” to the fans on his way down the ramp. Footage of the entire World title match from WrestleMania 28 rolled.

 

 Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) vs. Daniel Bryan

 

Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez were shown watching the match on a monitor in the back.

 

The two circled each other;Bryantook some deep breaths to calm down then after a lock up and a tackle, Sheamus hit a Finlay roll for an early two count. The Great White telegraphed a backdrop andBryanscored with a kick, however the World Champion caught a back elbow, followed by a clothesline that sentBryanover the top rope to the floor.

           Sheamus went after his opponent, butBryanswept his leg on the apron and the Champion hit the floor. Before rolling The Great White back in the ring,Bryannailed a running dropkick on the outside; inside the ring,Bryanscored with another running dropkick for a two count. Sheamus fought from underneath, while his arm was being worked over, but a headbutt shutdown the Champion’s offense. After escaping a hammerlock, Sheamus avoided a second running dropkick in the corner and came off the top rope with a shoulder tackle to create some distance.

             The babyface Champion of the World began his comeback with axe-handles, a knee lift and the Irish curse for a count of two;Bryanfought out of an attemptedTexascloverleaf and escaped to the apron. Sheamus went for his signature clubbing forearm spot, butBryancaught a roll up for two.Bryanfollowed up with a drop toehold into the second buckle and some kicks to the upper body of his foe; The Great White blocked the final strike and set up for the Irish curse again.Bryanturned the move into a guillotine with body scissors; Sheamus broke the hold, however the Champion was caught with another roll up for a near fall.Bryantried to apply the “No” lock, but Sheamus was too strong and he hit the Irish curse. He then applied theTexascloverleaf to gain the submission victory.

 

Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan via submission, at 9:07.

 

The match was solid, not quite at the level of their Extreme Rules 2 out of 3 falls match; I also recall a very good match these two had on SmackDown last year. Still, Bryan and Sheamus have great chemistry and more often than not produce great in-ring work. Anybody that is aware of the Sheamus/Yoshi Tatsu story from FCW will have the same problem as I, seeing Bryan tapping to Sheamus.

 

After the match,Del Rio, Otunga and Ricardo were shown backstage; the trio looked concerned at seeing Sheamus tapBryan. The show went off the air with the World Heavyweight Champion in the middle of the ring, holding the belt victoriously over his head.

 

Any show with Bryan vs. Sheamus is going to be at least half-decent; my problem is the lack of jeopardy Sheamus faces going into Sunday. Del Rio managed to get his big finish banned, so the Champion adopted a submission hold; this in itself could have been saved for the PPV match, but since Sheamus is getting the Triple H push it wasn’t. As Bryan is a “submission specialist”, surely he should have escaped or countered the cloverleaf; Del Rio also uses a submission as his finish, so it would have been an easy segue to the idea that good submission guys can’t get caught with the hold. They spent all this time trying to ban the kick and it means nothing if Sheamus can still beat anyone without it; where is the vulnerability? Why does anybody need to see this match if Sheamus can overcome everything so easily?   

         The rest of the show was fine for a regular Friday, but for a go-home show this episode did nothing to make me want to buy Night of Champions. Booking a four way for the IC title this late, screams desperation; Sin Cara and Rey had no problem being booked in a match against each other because they can’t wait to get the IC belt and get pinned every week. Just once I would have like to see Dolph Ziggler not to appear totally incompetent, although I suppose when he finally does get the belt, Orton and Sheamus will have a legitimate claim for a title shot.

        

Apologies again for no mention of the commentary, hopefully next week I’ll be back to criticising the announcing left and right.

 

Next Week’s Issue

 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to fit EVOLVE 17 in this week, but next week we cover EVOLVE 17, History & Tradition: the Story of the National Wrestling Alliance, Part IV of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame coverage, the latest on Jerry Lawler, WWE Night of Champions, the ROH pay-per-view from Saturday, New Japan Road to Destruction, RAW, SmackDown, NXT and Impact! For any updates stay tuned to cubedcirclewrestling.com

 

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Ben Carass’s Twitter Account: @BenDosCarass

 

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