Cubed Circle Newsletter #49: NOC, ROH Fiasco, Big Daddy (I’m sorry), WON HOF Criteria, NJPW Road to Destruction & Blue Justice, NWA Documentary + MORE!

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Cubed Circle Newsletter


We have another really big issue for you this week, I know that this has become the regular size over the last couple of weeks, so if this continues I probably won’t be able to call these issues big anymore. This week’s newsletter is a diverse a newsletter as ever with New Japan Road to Destruction, Blue Justice IV, ROH iPPV Woes, Big Daddy and the Observer Hall of Fame Criteria, A terrible edition of Impact, RAW, Night of Champions, NWA History & Tradition: The Story of the National Wrestling Alliance and SmackDown with Ben Carass!

 

Not only that, but over the next few week’s I am looking to improve a couple of things on the site and implement some more coverage and new features commemorating the 50th issue of the newsletter. Expect a new survey and updates on the site in the next week or so!

 

NWA History & Tradition: The Story of the National Wrestling Alliance Review

 

I had an opportunity this week to watch a documentary that I had my eye on over the last few weeks, Elbow Production’s NWA History & Tradition: The Story of the National Wrestling Alliance. The documentary basically looked to cover the history of the National Wrestling Alliance and more specifically the NWA World Heavyweight championship in the span of two and a bit hours. Did it accomplish this feat? Let’s find out.

 

The documentary was basically a collection of interviews from historians and former NWA World Champions to current NWA promoters. The interviews with historians such as Bill Murdock and writers such a Bruce Mitchell were conducted by Elbow Productions, however interviews with people like Ric Flair and Harley Race were taken from footage curtsey of mostly RF Video and HighSpots.

 

The film progressed in a mostly linear fashion starting with the inception of the NWA and its first champion, Orville Brown and then travelling down through the lineage to the then current champion, Adam Pierce. It wasn’t the most intricate way to go about the film, but it was perfectly adequate, progressing in a logical manner and covering notable events in the promotions history along the way.

 

The first half of the film heavily featured interviews with historians and journalists. The fist portion of the documentary also featured a current NWA promoter Beau James, who was definitely the most honest out of all the promoters in the film.

 

As the film goes through the history of the title they cut back between NWA archival footage, photographs, newspaper clippings and the person being interviewed which was a good choice. Later on in the film when they showed clips of Harley Race and Ric Flair, they were able to splice them in really well.

 

There was also some footage of Jack Briscoe, from what source I don’t know, but it had terrible lighting and the sound was bad at times. Still, that wasn’t the producers fault really and I would have rather had some snippets of information from Briscoe than none at all. Plus, I had never seen any of that footage before, so it was a real bonus to hear Briscoe throughout the film.

 

The film managed to cover a large amount of ground, and although it gave a general overview of the history of the championship it still felt like they were telling an in-depth story and not just a brief summary.

 

As was to be expected as the film etched closer and closer to the present the integrity of the interviews began to wane somewhat. They brought in a slue of current NWA promoters and wrestlers to talk about the current product and at points it felt like I was sitting through an NWA commercial for twenty minutes.

 

Many of the current wrestlers proclaimed the current championship to be the most important prize in pro wrestling, something that it clearly isn’t. Some even went as far as to say that if they were offered a shot at the WWE title they would turn it down, just to be the current NWA champion – which is a romantic statement and all, but couldn’t possibly be true.

 

I didn’t feel like I was taking in any insight at that point, because I was just being inundated with these messages of importance and prestige of the title while I was watching guys wrestle in front of literally thirty people.

 

One man that I felt was exceptionally honest during that portion of the film was Adam Pierce, honestly stating that the title means what you want it to mean. He didn’t try and make out like it was still the NWA title of Jack Briscoe and Dory Funk, but he didn’t bury the title either.

 

Bruce Mitchell was another person that I really enjoyed on the documentary; he was one of the few people along with James and a couple of others that stayed through the films entirety. His conclusion to current day NWA was brutally honest, saying that he didn’t want the NWA to die, but he wanted the NWA and wrestling history to retain its value.

 

I felt at times like I was watching two different documentaries, one following the NWA since its inception until Ric Flair left with the title, and then another from Shane Douglas’ throwing down the belt until the present day. This made sense, given the fact that there really were two completely different things and the title never really meant much after Ric Flair.

 

As a whole the documentary was a very fun and enjoyable two hours. Unfortunately it did start better than it finished, as we had to sit through a very long and at times biased section on the modern day NWA. However, the very fact that the overview of the NWA’s history was covered in this amount of time and there were all those champions and historians in one place made it a worthwhile film.

 

Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Part IV

 

This week we are not going to talk about three candidates like we have been doing for the past three weeks, but rather one candidate and the criteria for the Hall of Fame. Who could this man be, you ask? Well it is Big Daddy. That’s right we are going to be covering what has already been covered all over the internet for the past week in great depth. In fact, this man has been covered in such great depth this week that I almost considered not talking about him this week, but we are going to do just that.

 

Big Daddy, Shirley Crabtree, was a British professional wrestler who had his biggest run from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. To say that he was a large man would be an understatement, weighing in at most likely 370 pounds at his heaviest and possessing the Guinness World Record for the widest chest at the time at 64 inches. Yes, Big Daddy was indeed BIG.

 

However, Big Daddy also became known as a pop culture icon at the time and at least the argument is that he drew in a large amount of business. He never sold out large buildings on a regular basis and it is claimed that he drew in a very large amount of TV viewership; however there are no concrete numbers to back this up.

 

He was most widely regarded among children and the elderly with regular people viewing him as a freak show in many ways, however he still managed to draw at the time, to what extent is debatable.

 

While Big Daddy was at the very least a decent draw, he was atrocious in the ring and was probably at the all time worst level. His matches mostly consisted of no selling and destroying with stomach flops and terrible offense. When he did have to sell for his most notable opponent, Giant Haystacks, their matches were still terrible.

 

Many people are adamant that he should be in the hall of fame, but as of last year Big Daddy only garnered 44% of the vote, falling 16% short of the 60% minimum. However he could make it in this year, simply due to how much of an argument has been put forth for him.

 

I personally don’t believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame, simply due to the fact that I don’t feel that there is enough evidence to put him in. He didn’t draw great houses, although the UK market is different, but they drew bigger houses before Daddy. He might have drawn huge ratings, but there is no evidence as to what extent he drew in that era. Then you get to his work and he was absolutely awful in the ring. So what argument is there for Big Daddy as a Hall of Famer?

 

I very big point that is brought up often and one that is not just exclusive to Big Daddy is that of fame. Big Daddy was really famous and in many ways still is today. He is a recognisable name and recognisable figure within British culture, but does that equate to Hall of Fame status – of course not.

 

While it is nice, in the case of a Rikidozan for example, to say that he was a cultural icon and is still recognizable today (which, is an even bigger feat than that of Big Daddy), notoriety wasn’t the reason for a Rikidozan to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The same is true for Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and so many others. Fame is great, but is certainly not a criterion for the Hall of Fame.

 

If it was, people like Ultimate Warrior, Jesse Ventura etc. would be sure-fire candidates exclusively on their fame, but the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame is not a measure for a wrestling figure in pop culture it is a measure a figure’s importance to the wrestling business.

 

You can be as famous as you want, but if you can’t draw and can’t work than what is the point of your fame? If you were a big draw and a recognizable star like Jerry Lawler, Hulk Hogan, Rock, Austin and others and you became famous from wrestling it is a bonus, but in no way shape or form can it singlehandedly make a non-hall of famer a hall of famer.

 

If Dave Meltzer was to add it as a criterion and everyone agreed that it should be a measure for success in the business, then sure, go ahead and vote Big Daddy in. However, when it isn’t mentioned anywhere on the ballot and yet people continue to bring it up, the argument for Big Daddy falls apart.

 

As a whole Big Daddy isn’t Hall of Fame worthy, he isn’t a bad candidate, but I would put him on a level below Dick Murdoch and certainly below a guy like Yuji Nagata who isn’t even on the ballot. I am going to get into semantics of things that aren’t on the ballot, but just as a Chris Beniot or Dynamite Kid could make it in almost solely on work alone, surely such an awful working standard could count against a certain wrestler.

 

Sure this isn’t blatantly said on the ballot, but because the ballot states that a wrestler should have a combination of good work, drawing power, and mic skills and must have left a positive impact on the business unless a wrestler is so strong in one or both of categories that the other categories don’t count. Because, Big Daddy wasn’t strong in the workrate department then it should detract from his overall argument and therefore he would have needed to draw a large amount to get into the Hall of Fame.

 

Evidently the argument of him drawing at a “best in class” level is debatable and therefore might have to count against him. Then there’s the argument of positive impact on the business, something that many people say Big Daddy did not have. Many people say that Big Daddy killed the British wrestling scene off by constantly winning and not allowing for the creation of new stars, but I think the odds are that the scene would have died anyway.

 

Big Daddy did however, come across as far as my understanding goes, as a joke among the regular population of Britain at the time and I don’t know exactly how positive the impact of such an attitude could have been.

 

I don’t think that if Big Daddy made it in this year that it would be an insult like some people do; however I really don’t think that he deserves to get in either. He did gain a very large amount of votes last year (17%), but I don’t know if that is his ceiling or not.

 

ROH Fails To Deliver on iPPV for The Umpteenth Time

 

I would have really like this section of the newsletter to be about how the ROH iPPV was a good show and there were no technical hiccups. I would like to be writing about and covering the matches on the show and delivering an actual report. Most of all I would like to back ROH in 2012 and enjoy the product to the fullest. Sadly I am unable to do any of those things this week.

 

ROH last Saturday failed to deliver on promises brought forth for their seventh pay-per-view of the year, Death Before Dishonor X. There were multiple technical issues throughout the night, which rendered the fast majority of the audience unable to see a large percentage, if not all of the show. To say that this was a catastrophe for the company would be an understatement.

 

They had to create a string of successful iPPVs for this sector of their business to be viable. They did so with their previous B-level iPPV Boiling Point, but failed completely with this one. To make matters worse on the night distressed fans alerted ROH on Twitter and Facebook about the problems and their complaints were simply blown off.

 

Later on in the week, three days after the pay-per-view, ROH issued a public statement apologizing for the difficulties and offering customers a refund within 24 hours, or if they failed to request a refund, a free DVD of the event. Their refund offer was of course followed with a statement that basically said that the majority of clients experienced no problems.

 

To make matters worse the replay was only up a few days later, which meant that fans waiting for the replay and wanting to take the refund were also let down. The replay also came with its fair share of problems and would have probably driven away more customers.

 

The entire fiasco was handled with such a bitter and accusing tone from ROH, which will simply result in a very large portion of fans not coming back to the product. It amazes me that the number three company in North America can not get their iPPV right when, companies like Dragon Gate and EVOLVE on the WWN network run by Gabe Sapolsky, who does not have the backing of a publicly traded company, are able to succeed.

 

It isn’t only Dragon Gate and EVOLVE that get it right, it is Chikara together with Smart Mark Video, who are able to churn out three DVDs a couple of days after King of Trios. Why are they able to do this when ROH can not? I don’t know.

 

It isn’t even like ROH is all that hot of a product right now, in fact you could argue that they at one of their coldest points since their inception. They aren’t that company that a small group of people cling to as an entity that can take on WWE or TNA in terms of quality anymore. They are no longer that “fighting” number three.

 

ROH always had to rely on its match quality over anything else to sell DVDs and tickets, because that was the one thing that they could do to compete with WWE and TNA. Yes, they had those creative booms in 2005 – 2007, but everything in the company has always revolved around ring work. But now, WWE and TNA often put on pay-per-views with better matches and a less stale product.

 

Historically the number three promotion has always had to rely on something that they could do better than the number two and number three. Whether it was ECW and its cult atmosphere, violent matches and good wrestling or ROH and their great matches, it is always the way that it has been.

 

However, there is always something else that made a number three a number three company. They always had to have something that stopped them from falling behind into a collective mess of indie promotions and ironically that was often times production. Production in companies like ROH was always slightly better than the other indie promotions at the time and they always had the edge of great matches.

 

Now people can order a Dragon Gate iPPV and have the stream work perfectly and be able to watch fresher characters and often times better wrestling than on an ROH show. They could watch a Chikara show, because those are normally fun or order a PWG DVD. They don’t need to sit through technical issues pay-per-view after pay-per-view.

 

It may sound cruel, but the most infuriating part about the situation is the fact that ROH has no one else to blame at this point. They need to improve their servers, they said they did in the past, but why isn’t it working now? They need to deepen their roster, but whose fault is it that guys like Generico are gone and when they were with the company they were relegated to a midcard role? Why don’t they look at the talent in indie promotions to deepen their talent pool?

 

This iPPV mess was a blow to a weakened company at the wrong time. I love ROH and have been a fan of the company for many years, however if they don’t fix the most glaring issues in the company, which extend far past internet pay-per-view – ROH will continue on, at least for the timing being, but if someone doesn’t take a long hard look at the company than they might run into some very big trouble.

 

NJPW 40th Anniversary Tour Road to Destruction September 7th 2012

Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan

 

Overall Thoughts

 

This show was similar to Last Rebellion, but unlike Last Rebellion, Road to Destruction had two really great matches on the show. The Karl Anderson/Hirooki Goto vs. Okada/Nakamura tag would have been a reason to check the show out already, but the mainevent pushed this show over the edge as a really good show. Kota Ibushi and KUSHIDA really delivered in the main event putting on what will probably be one of the best junior matches of the year. There was nothing else that was truly special or of note on the show, apart from the Mashimo run-in. But, the show was solid apart from the two great matches at the later end of the show and is definitely worth a watch if you are in the mood for two hours of good wrestling.

1. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka vs. Wataru Inoue & Hiromu Takahashi

 

Takahashi took the match straight to Yano and Iizuka taking both men to the outside. Takahashi went after Yano landing a big flying dropkick, but Yano and Iizuka soon got the advantage on the outside. Yano landed a chair shot to the back of Takahashi and the match finally started in the ring. Yano threw Takahashi into the turnbuckle and tagged in Iizuka. They both worked on the back of Takahashi. Takahashi was whipped into the turnbuckle, but he fought back with some fiery elbows and made the tag to Inoue. Inoue knocked Yano off the apron and landed a big forearm on Iizuka followed by some lariats. Iizuka landed an atomic drop and made the tag to Yano, but Inoue fended off a double team with a double spear. Takahashi was tagged back in and he landed a missile dropkick on Yano and dropkick on Iizuka. He landed a flying head scissors on Yano, but Yano hoisted him up and landed a delayed vertical suplex after blocking a suplex attempt from Takahashi. A strike exchanged followed, which Takahashi got the better of. Inoue landed a pescado to the outside, but Yano landed a powerbomb on Takahashi for the win in 06:42.

** ½

2. Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Shelley, Máscara Dorada & BUSHI vs. Low Ki, Averno, Rocky Romero, Alex Koslov

 

Dorado and Averno started off with an athletic exchange. Taguchi and Ki were tagged in. Ki landed a big chop to the chest of Taguchi and did Taguchi’s “Funky Weapon” taunt. Both men engaged in an athletic exchange and went back to the lock up. Ki locked in an armbar in the ropes which got a really big reaction. BUSHI and Koslov were tagged in. Koslov did some flips and BUSHI got a Toyota roll for two. Koslov was sent to the outside, BUSHI went for a dive, but he was cut off by Romero and he and Averno stomped BUSHI on the outside. Koslov tagged in Romero and shouted “who’s the f***ing man?” Romero landed the lariat flurry in the corner, Koslov objected, they had a confrontation, but hugged it out instead. BUSHI landed a missile dropkick on Koslov and followed it with a double dropkick on both men in the ring. Shelly was tagged in and he cut Koslov and Romero off with a double clothesline and DDT/faceplant combo. Taguchi took Ki and Koslov to the outside allowing for Shelly to land a splash on Romero for two. Romero landed a tornado DDT on Shelly and the tags were made to the two luchadors. Dorado landed a flying head scissors on Averno knocking him to the outside allowing for a moonsault to the outside. Taguchi and Shelly landed pescados onto Koslov and Romero and BUSHI took Ki to the outside and landed a corkscrew plancha. Taguchi landed a missile dropkick on Averno, but Ki rushed in with his dropkick. Shelly caught him with a superkick, but Koslov caught Shelly with an enzuigiri. BUSHI landed a hurricanrana, but Romero landed an enzuigiri on BUSHI. Dorado landed a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker on Romero and he and Averno went back at it. Dorado landed an amazing hurricanrana pin combo for two and perched Averno up on the top, but Averno countered it into an avalanche devil’s wings for the win in 12:42. This may have been a spotfest, but it was incredibly fun.

***

3. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Captain New Japan vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI

 

Liger and Ishii started the match off. Ishii was sent to the outside and Liger feigned a dive. Ishii landed a couple of elbows back in the ring and made the tag to HASHI. HASHI too was sent to the outside, but this time Liger landed a baseball slide. Tiger Mask was tagged in when HASHI made it back into the ring and Tiger Mask was hung up by HASHI. However Tiger Mask was able to land an arm drag from the top rope and tagged in Captain New Japan. New Japan went to the top, but missed the splash and the heels took the face team off of the apron. New Japan was thrown into the guardrail and post and suffered a very light looking lariat from Takahashi. Takahashi landed some elbows and an exchange followed. However, Takahashi decided to rather beat New Japan to the mat than continue on with the exchange. Takahashi landed a neckbreaker for two and made the tag to Ishii. New Japan landed a flying crossbody and tagged in Tiger Mask. Tiger Mask landed a couple of dropkicks and some kicks to the chest of Ishii. He went for the Tiger Driver, but the heel team ran in. However, Tiger Mask got the better of Ishii and Takahashi. He got a crucifix on Ishii, but HASHI ran in with a dropkick. Tiger Mask was held at the top by Takahashi, which allowed Ishii to land a delayed vertical suplex from the top. Liger broke it up and Takahashi was tagged in, he went for a lariat, but Tiger Mask landed a kick and tagged in New Japan. New Japan landed a clothesline and back splash in the corner, Takahashi went for a lariat, but New Japan landed an exploder. Tiger Mask then landed a plancha onto Takahashi. New Japan landed a forearm, but was cut off with a big lariat and sitout inverted front powerslam for the win in 09:05.

** ¾

 

4. Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Harry Smith & TAKA Michinoku

 

A shoving contest ensued before the match and Suzuki ad Nagata started off. Suzuki slapped Nagata, which resulted in one of Nagata’s awesome forearm exchanges. Nagata went for the exploder, but Suzuki locked in a front facelock. However, Nagata countered into the exploder. Tenzan tagged himself in and managed to fend Suzuki off. Harry Smith was tagged in and he welcomed the challenge from Tenzan. He took some Mongolian chops, but responded with a vertical suplex for two. Tenzan landed some headbutts to the gut of Smith, but Smith landed a superkick on Tenzan and tagged Archer in. Archer knocked Tenzan to the mat with a shoulder block, however when he went for the boot he was caught with a big leg lariat. Kojima was tagged in and he and Kojima exchanged elbows and Mongolian chops on Archer. They landed the headbutt slingshot elbow combo, but Archer landed a knee and lariat on Kojima for two. Archer landed a delayed vertical suplex for two and followed it with some elbows, he went for a lariat, but Kojima countered and landed a DDT. Kojima then fired off on Archer with machine gun chops. Kojima landed the big lariat in the corner, but Suzuki ran in and knocked the faces off the apron as Archer took control once again. Smith was tagged in and he and Archer double teamed Kojima. Smith locked in a headlock and covered Kojima for the count of two. He then made the tag to Michinoku. Michinoku landed some shots, but was caught with some elbows from Kojima who fell to the all powerful eye poke. This allowed Michinoku to land a knee, but he was caught with a cutter from Kojima who tagged in Makabe. He landed a couple of lariats and fired off on Michinoku with some strikes from the top rope. Makabe elbowed Harry Smith and called for him to come in, this led to Kojima and Tenzan going after Archer and Smith on the outside. Meanwhile in the ring Suzuki locked in a sleeper on Makabe, but Nagata broke it up and allowed for Makabe to land the lariat on Michinoku. However, when Makabe made it to the top rope he was pushed off by an interfering Kengo Mashimo. He landed some shots on Makabe and threw the referee out of the ring and landed a brainbuster on Makabe for the DQ. This left Suzuki-gun along with their new member Mashimo victorious.

** ¾

5. Naomichi Marufuji & Mohammed Yone vs. Tetsuya Naito & Tama Tonga

 

Marufuji and Naito started off. Naito slapped the chest of Marufuji as both men engaged in a test of strength. An athletic display and dropkick ensued from Marufuji. Naito locked in a leg hold and Marufuji transitioned into an armbar attempt. Naito fought out and the tag was made to Tonga. Marufuji landed some elbows on Tonga, but he was cut off with a headbutt as both men went face to face for the elbow exchange, which Marufuji got the better of. Yone was tagged in and he landed a leg drop on Tonga followed by some kicks to the chest. The kicks hyped Tonga up and he landed some big headbutts and a scoopslam followed by an elbow drop for two. Yone rolled to the outside and Tonga followed him, but he was whipped into the guardrail. Marufuji jumped to the outside and held Tonga for a huge running shoulder block. Naito was also knocked to the outside during the conflict, which allowed Yone to hold Tonga in the ring allowing for an amazing dropkick from Marufuji. Tonga landed a splash in the corner followed by a whisper in the wind and the tag to Naito. Naito landed a hip toss and a dropkick running wild on Marufuji. He landed a senton for two and engaged in an elbow exchange with Marufuji. Naito landed a leaping highkick, but Marufuji responded with a dropkick. Yone was tagged in and he landed a running lariat in the corner. He slammed Naito and went to the middle rope for a legdrop. Yone was caught with a leg lariat from Naito that almost missed its mark and a flying forearm. Both men were down on the mat and the tags were made to their respective partners. Tonga got the better of an exchange landing a chop to the chest, he did his howl and splash in the corner and went to top and landed a flying bodypress for two. Tonga went for the splash again, but Marufuji landed a couple of superkicks and a spinkick. Yone was also in, but Tonga caught both men with a dropkick and landed a neckbreaker on Marufuji for two. Tonga went for what I assumed was the tiger driver, but he was halted by Yone who perched him on the top rope and he and Marufuji landed a muscle buster doomsday device, but Naito broke the pin up. Marufuji went for sliced bread, but he was caught with an Alabama slam from Tonga. Marufuji landed a superkick for two and went for the Tiger Flowsion, Tonga blocked, but Marufuji landed a knee and the Tiger Flowsion for the win in 17:21.

*** ¼

6. Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Kazuchika Okada

 

Nakamura and Goto started off and both men felt each other out. Goto was wearing new gear, he was no longer wearing the attire that covered his entire legs, but was now wearing something that still felt feudal, but you could see his legs. The tag was made to Anderson and Nakamura made the tag to Okada. Anderson landed a leg lariat and a couple of uppercuts. Okada got the better of Anderson and set up the flying kick in the corner from out of nowhere from Nakamura. Okada rammed Anderson into the barricade on the outside and stomped his head in the rails. Nakamura was tagged back in and he and Okada landed the over the shoulder “brothers of CHAOS” big boot. Nakamura went for the knee in the corner, but Anderson cut him off with an uppercut. Anderson landed a spinebuster and made the tag to Goto. Goto came in with a big lariat on Nakamura and some kicks in the corner. Goto then landed a leg lariat and backdrop driver in the corner. Goto halted Nakamura from landing the running knee and landed a big German suplex. Goto ran at Nakamura in the turnbuckle, but he landed a flying martial arts kick and made the tag to Okada. Okada landed a neckbreaker for two and went to the top rope. He was halted by Goto, but he countered Goto with a boot. Goto caught him with a really big lariat. Anderson was tagged back in and he landed some big shots and a back senton. He went to the top rope, but Okada caught him with a dropkick and the belly to back over the shoulder over the knee backbreaker. Goto was then subdued by Nakamura and Okada locked in the three quarter facelock, but Goto quickly broke free and broke the hold. Nakamura went back to work on Goto on the outside and Okada dropped a tope rope elbow and did the rain maker pose. Anderson blocked the rainmaker and landed a neckbreaker for two. Okada landed a flapjack and made the tag to Nakamura. Nakamura landed some big kicks and locked in a sleeper hold followed by a back cracker. Anderson fought his way out and landed a flying dropkick to Nakamura. Nakamura and Anderson exchanged forearms, but Anderson got the better of the exchange with some uppercuts. Nakamura quickly got his advantage back with a flurry of kicks, however Anderson was able to land a leaping kick and powerbomb for two. Goto sent Okada to the outside and both men landed some lariat and Goto landed the fireman’s carry over the knee backbreaker. Anderson then landed a top rope gun stun for the count of two! Anderson went for another, but it was blocked and Okada landed a huge dropkick. Nakamura went for the Boma Ye, but was cut off with a lariat from Goto who then landed a pescado and Anderson landed a tombstone piledriver for two! Anderson then landed another gun stun for the win in 17:00.

****

7. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match

Kota Ibushi vs. KUSHIDA

 

KUSHIDA and Ibushi had an athletic exchange. KUSHIDA got the better of the exchange and went after the arm of Ibushi landing stomps and wrenching the arm. He bent the arm behind Ibushi’s head and stomped his foot injuring the arm of Ibushi – Ibushi’s selling was great. Ibushi caught KUSHIDA in a drop-toe-hold and kicked the leg of KUSHIDA. This led to an elbow exchange, KUSHIDA got the better of it, but Ibushi brought KUSHIDA to his knees with one violent kick. Ibushi landed a leg drop and proceeded to lock in a figure four. KUSHIDA tried to turn the hold over, but Ibushi responded by grabbing KUSHIDA’s arms forcing him back to his back in a great spot. KUSHIDA managed to roll over, but Ibushi quickly rolled him back onto his back. KUSHIDA made it to the ropes breaking the hold and rolled to the outside selling the knee. Ibushi went for a dive, but KUSHIDA rolled back in and KUSHIDA knocked Ibushi off of the apron with a leaping highkick and then sold the leg. KUSHIDA went to the top rope and landed a senton onto Ibushi. KUSHIDA went back to the top and came off with a springboard axe fist and splash for two. He went for a Kimura, but Ibushi fought out and dropkicked KUSHIDA off the apron. Ibushi then springed to the top rope and landed a moonsault onto KUSHIDA. Ibushi went back to the top and landed a missile dropkick for two. Ibushi landed a couple of kicks and standing shooting star press for two. Ibushi went for the powerbomb, KUSHIDA slid off the shoulders, but was caught with a pelé and German suplex for two. KUSHIDA ducked an enzuigiri and locked in a Kimura. Ibushi rolled over, but KUSHIDA quickly regained control. Ibushi made it out and up to his feet, but KUSHIDA rolled back into the Kimura. Ibushi was soon in the centre of the ring with the Kimura applied on his arm. Ibushi almost made his way out and KUSHIDA went for an armbar, Ibushi blocked, but KUSHIDA locked it in. Ibushi however was able to make it to the ropes. KUSHIDA went for something again, but was caught with a stiff kick to the arm. KUSHIDA was put into position for the phoenix splash, but KUSHIDA moved, Ibushi rolled through, but was caught with a kick to the leg and enzuigiri. KUSHIDA then landed a tornado DDT for two. KUSHIDA went back to the top rope, but was halted by Ibushi who went for a backsuplex. However, he was knocked down. He went back after KUSHIDA again, but he was knocked down for a third time. However, he caught KUSHIDA with the tumbling highkick. Ibushi went to the well again, was knocked to the apron, went for a springboard, but was caught by KUSHIDA with a springboard frankensteiner! KUSHIDA then landed a bridging dragon suplex for two. KUSHIDA landed buzzsaw kick and went to the top, but couldn’t make it up quick enough due to his leg and missed the corkscrew splash. Both men exchanged elbows while kneeling. KUSHIDA was forced to the mat, but fought back with a flurry of elbows and they worked to the feet. Ibushi went for a big lariat, but was caught in the armbar! Ibushi fought out and landed a powerbomb. Ibushi went for a powerbomb, but was caught with a sunset flip for two. He then grabbed a bridging cradle for two. KUSHIDA unloaded with elbows, but was caught with a highkick. Ibushi went for a lariat, but was caught with handspring high kick. However Ibushi landed a big lariat and powerbomb for the win in 25:10.

 

This was just a stellar match in every sense. KUSHIDA and Ibushi pulled out everything and told such a great story. KUSHIDA working over the arm of Ibushi for the whole match made so much sense together with Ibushi working over the leg. Unlike in the Ki/Ibushi match Ibushi’s selling wasn’t thrown to the wayside halfway through the match and instead Ibushi sold masterfully throughout the match. They stopped the match just at its crescendo and had the crowd extremely into it to the very end.

 

There is always a limit to this style for me, as there are just some things that don’t make sense and never will, like selling the arm for the entire match, but being able to do fifty flips and flops. It reminded me a lot of the Ibushi/Taguchi Best of the Super Juniors final from last year, although I thought that match had too many repetitive nearfalls where as this one did not.

 

This in some ways was a star making performance for KUSHIDA. I don’t think that it will impact his position at all, but it certainly proved that he could have a great match – just like he did at Fantastica Mania this year. Ibushi has improved even further as a worker since he came back from his injury, especially in the selling department. That is why I feel that this match will probably be one of those matches that not everyone gets to see, but will remain a great match none the less. This was not flips and flops for the sake of flips and flops, this was an honest to God legitimate great match.

**** ½

 

After the match Ryusuke Taguchi came out saying “Next challenger is me”. He was interrupted by Ki who said some stuff in Japanese that the crowd really reacted to. He said he wanted his rematch so he was the next challenger. He had a big line and smiled with a big grin. They then turned their gaze to Ibushi who lifted his belt and trophy.

 

NJPW Yuji Nagata 20th Anniversary Show Blue Justice IV September 9th 2012

Togane Arena, Chiba, Japan

 

Overall Show Thoughts

 

This wasn’t a stellar show by any means, but it served its purpose well. After all it was the Yuji Nagata twentieth anniversary show and as a Yuji Nagata twentieth anniversary show it was a perfectly acceptable show. The Makabe/Suzuki tag could have gone shorter and did feel like it dragged, but other than that the show was pretty easy to sit through. The mainevent was the only great match on the show and is probably something that you should try and see, but is missable. The final segment was a nice end to the show and Nagata really seemed like he was having a good time. All in all – fun time.

1. Wataru Inoue vs. Hiromu Takahashi

 

Inoue went after the arm of Takahashi, but he was caught with some elbows. Inoue responded by taking Takahashi to the mat and attempting an armbar, but Takahashi blocked it and made it to the ropes. Takahashi landed a knee to the gut and some fiery elbows and a chop and elbow exchange followed. Inoue got the better of the exchange and knocked Takahashi to the mat with some shoulder blocks. Inoue landed some chops in the corner; Takahashi fought back with some elbows, but was simply sent into the other corner where Inoue landed a couple more chops. Inoue landed a few knees and Takahashi missed a dropkick allowing for Inoue to lock in a Boston crab. Takahashi almost made it to the ropes, he was pulled back to the centre again, but he finally crawled his way to the ropes. Inoue landed a few stomps, but Takahashi landed a flying forearm knocking Inoue to the mat. He landed another in the corner and went to the top rope where he landed a missile dropkick for two. Takahashi blocked a suplex from Inoue and landed a dropkick for two. Takahashi then locked in a Boston crab of his own, but Inoue crawled his way to the ropes. Back on the feet and Takahashi landed a few elbows before being brought to the mat with a belly to back piledriver from Inoue. Inoue went back to the Boston crab, but Takahashi once again made it back to the ropes. Inoue attempted the Boston crab again, but Takahashi fought Inoue off with a couple of kicks before being knocked back to the mat with a hard chop. A heated elbow exchanged ensued. Inoue got the better of it, but Takahashi kicked out once again. Inoue then landed a bridging German suplex for the win in 09:24.

***

2. Low Ki, Averno, Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. Alex Shelley, Máscara Dorada, KUSHIDA & BUSHI

 

Shelly and Koslov started off. They worked in and out of an arm lock and Shelly forcefully sent Koslov to the mat, before landing an atomic drop. Shelly went for something, but was caught with a knee to the back from Romero. Shelly was able to push Koslov into Romero and gave Koslov the finger yelling “f*** you” landing a kick. The tags were then made to Averno and Dorada who had an athletic exchange. Averno attempted to start an Averno chant to boos. Dorado arm dragged him to the outside and landed a moonsault down to the floor. BUSHI was tagged in along with Romero. The crowd chanted for BUSHI. BUSHI landed an armdrag on Romero and followed it with an elbow, but when he sent Romero to the outside he was caught with a shot from Ki. Koslov was tagged in and he landed a vertical suplex on BUSHI. He put on the hat and landed the Kazatzka kicks followed by two boots to the face. Averno was tagged back in and he landed a flapjack followed by an elbow. Averno followed this with an over the shoulder belly to back piledriver. The heels knocked the face team off the apron and Ki took a few pictures of a tied up BUSHI. BUSHI was able to land a dropkick, but was caught by Romero who began to land his lariats. However BUSHI landed a boot and hurricanrana and made the tag to KUSHIDA who ran wild. He landed a handspring back elbow on Romero and double standing moonsault on Romero and Koslov. He then landed a double superkick with Shelly. KUSHIDA went for a moonsault, but Romero got the knees up. The tags were made to Ki and BUSHI. BUSHI landed a missile dropkick followed a leaping highkick and then got a head scissors pin combo for two. The heel team broke it up, but Shelly and KUSHIDA were there to make the save and they landed tandem pescados to the outside. Dorada landed a flying head scissors on Averno, but Averno was able to land a facebuster for two. Averno then landed a dropkick to Dorada and a topé con giro to the outside. BUSHI and Ki were back in the ring, BUSHI missed a 450 splash and was caught with a running dropkick and Ki Krush for the win in 10:53.

***

3. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Captain New Japan vs. Jado, Gedo & YOSHI-HASHI

 

Gedo and Tiger Mask started things off. Tiger Mask landed a monkey flip and a couple of armdrags. He went for the tiger kick, Gedo moved, but he was able to land a topé suicida. Tiger Mask went for another dive, but Gedo moved out of the way and tagged in HASHI. Liger was tagged in too and was caught with a kick to the gut and elbow to the head. HASHI landed a kick to the gut of Liger, but Liger was able to land a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker, baseball slide and giro off of the apron. New Japan was tagged in and he and Liger landed tandem shoulder tackles. HASHI landed a snap suplex and made the tag to Jado. He landed some chops, but he was knocked down with a shoulder block from New Japan. New Japan landed a couple of shots on Jado and went for a back splash. Jado moved, but did a Flair flop before making the tag. New Japan called for him to get up; Jado obliged and landed a knee followed by a lariat. HASHI knocked the face team off the apron and New Japan was thrown into the guardrail by Gedo. Jado stepped on the extremities of New Japan and tagged in Gedo. Gedo continued to wear New Japan down. Gedo made the tag to HASHI and he continued from where Gedo left off. Liger ran in and stomped New Japan, for what reason? I have no idea. HASHI missed a back splash, New Japan went for an exploder, Jado ran in, but New Japan landed a double crossbody and made the tag to Tiger Mask who ran wild. HASHI was caught with a top rope armdrag and Tiger driver for the count of two. HASHI backed Tiger Mask into the corner and caught him with a kick; however Jado ran in and landed a swinging neckbreaker. HASHI made the tag to Gedo and New Japan was tagged in. He landed a combination of slams and landed an exploder. New Japan went to the top and missed a headbutt from all the way across the ring. All three heels were in the ring and they landed a few combos on New Japan. Liger and Tiger Mask attempted to make the save, but they were thrown to the outside. Tiger Mask landed an uppercut and STO on Gedo however, and New Japan hyped the crowd up and locked in the Caribbean Death Grip for the win in 11:52.

** ¼

4. Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito & Karl Anderson vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii

 

Iizuka and Yano attacked everyone before the match started while Ishii just stood there. You think they would have learned by now. Anderson fought back with a dropkick and neckbreaker and engaged in an elbow exchange with Yano. The tag was made to Ishii and Goto – round three. They engaged in a test of strength with the shoulder blocks once again, and Goto was able to knock Ishii down this time. They went at it with a lariat battle and Ishii won. He tagged in Iizuka and Goto tagged in Naito. Naito landed a couple of armdrags and a dropkick to a completely horizontal Iizuka. He went for something, but was thrown to the outside by Yano who removed the turnbuckle pad. Iizuka then landed a chair shot on Naito. Naito made it back in the ring at eighteen and was thrown into the exposed turnbuckle back first. Naito landed some big elbows and caught Yano with a leaping highkick. The face team were knocked off the apron and Yano landed a flying forearm. The tag was made to Goto. He landed a lariat on Yano and elbowed Iizuka and Ishii off the apron. Goto landed a leg lariat in the corner followed by a back suplex for two. Yano and Goto engaged in an elbow exchange, but Goto was pulled down by his hair. He went for a big lariat, was kicked by Ishii who was on the apron, but was able to land a lariat and make the tag to Anderson. Anderson ran wild on Ishii, landing a back senton and leg lariat for two. Anderson landed an uppercut, but was caught with a powerslam from Ishii. Ishii landed a lariat in the corner and perched Anderson up on the top rope where he landed a delayed vertical suplex. Goto broke the pin up and he, Yano, Naito and Iizuka brawled on the outside. Ishii was caught with a big boot and fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two. This time Iizuka broke the pin up and they went back to the outside. Anderson went for the gun stun, but was caught with a lariat for two. Ishii went for another, but was caught with a big boot and after a few counters the gun stun for the win in 12:52.

** ¾

5. Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku Lance Archer, Harry Smith

 

Michinoku caught Makabe with some shots to the gut; Makabe no sold them and tagged in Kojima. He landed the machine gun chops. He then landed the big clothesline in the corner and landed an elbow drop for the count of two. Archer and Kojima went at it. Kojima couldn’t make Archer budge and was caught with a big boot for two. He landed a delayed vertical suplex, but Kojima blocked the big boot landing an ace crusher for two. Tenzan and Kojima landed the elbow/headbutt combo and Kojima made the tag to Taguchi. Taguchi obviosully couldn’t budge Archer either. Archer went for a chokeslam, Taguchi fought out and Archer missed a splash in the corner allowing for Taguchi to land a dropkick for two. Suzuki caught Taguchi with a sleeper in the ropes and threw him into the barricade for two. Brief chaos broke out. Makabe and Suzuki, stuck in a perpetual rivalry, went at it. However, Makabe was strangled out with a chair by Suzuki. Archer landed a body slam on Taguchi back in the ring for two and tagged in Smith. Smith landed a double underhook suplex and distracted the referee allowing for Michinoku and Archer to work on the leg of Taguchi. Smith and Archer landed a splash/legdrop combo and Smith landed a few chops and made the tag to Suzuki. Everyone beat on Taguchi in the corner. Suzuki clawed at the mouth of Taguchi and provoked Tenzan on the apron. Taguchi landed some big slaps to the chest of Suzuki and followed it with what looked to be a big running move in the corner, but in what has become Suzuki-gun staple, it was just an anticlimactic slap in the corner. Suzuki landed a kick to the chest, Taguchi fought back with chops, but was knocked back down and Michinoku was tagged in. Taguchi landed a flurry of elbows, but Michinoku caught him with the almighty eye poke – followed by a knee in the corner for two. Taguchi landed a dropkick and caught Michinoku with an enzuigiri finally making the tag to Makabe. Makabe knocked the heel team off the apron and unloaded on Michinoku in the corner. He was throwing expletives left and right. Suzuki interfered, but TenKoji ran in and landed the 3D on Smith. Michinoku and Makabe went back at it and Makabe grumbled “f*** you” and “f*** you man” like he was under the influence. He and Suzuki exchanged shots on the apron and he went to the top rope for the King Kong Knee, but once again Mashimo ran in. He was clotheslined over the top rope and Tenzan ran in knocking the heels off the apron. A brawl ensued between Mashimo and Makabe on the outside. In the ring Tenzan had an anaconda vice locked in on Smith, but Archer broke it up. They cut to the back were Mashimo and Makabe were brawling like two crumbling monsters. They cut away for around two or three minutes and when the cut back Tenzan was landing Mongolian chops on Smith and Archer. They cut him off with double shoulder blocks and perched him up on the top rope. Archer then landed a backbreaker and Smith locked in the sharpshooter for the win in 14:07. After the match Archer and Smith grabbed the IWGP tag titles and lifted them above their heads.

 

I thought that the finish of the match is probably signalling toward a Smith/Archer versus TenKoji program, which will be a refreshing change from their current program with Yano and Iizuka. Makabe and Mashimo will probably also venture into a program in the next few months. As for the match, it really dragged – it went on for way too long.

***

 

6. Yuji Nagata, Jun Akiyama & Masaaki Mochizuki vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada & Yujiro Takahashi

 

Takahashi said something heelish before the match. Okada and Nagata started off. They worked and out of a few holds and Nagata landed a northern lights suplex. This resulted in a test of strength between the two men. Nagata landed a shoulder block and pushed Okada resulting in an elbow exchange. Both men exchanged some great counters and Okada tagged in Nakamura which led to Akiyama being tagged in by Nagata. Nakamura went after the arm of Akiyama, but Akiyama responded by wrenching back on the arm of Nakamura. They fought in and out of holds and made their way back up to their feet. Takahashi was tagged in and he wanted Mochizuki. Mochizuki landed some kicks and Takahashi responded with strikes. Mochizuki landed a kick to the gut and another to the back. He made the tag to Nagata, Yujiro raked both of their eyes, but Nagata and Mochizuki fired back with leg kicks. Nagata landed some big kicks forcing Yujiro to the outside. Nagata went for a suplex into the ring, but he was hung up by Yujiro who shoved him into the guardrail. Back in the ring Nagata was caught with a lariat for the count of two and Yujiro tagged in Nakamura. Nakamura set Nagata up for the knee in the turnbuckle and landed it. He tagged in Okada as the fans got behind Nagata. They landed the over the shoulder tandem dropkick for two and Okada caught Nagata with a big kick. Okada placed his boot on the chest of Nagata, landed some boots in the corner and made the tag to Yujiro. Nagata landed some big strikes, but Takahashi raked the eyes of Nagata forcing him to the mat. He followed this with a snap suplex. Nakamura was tagged in and he landed some knees to the gut of Nagata. Nagata went for a knee in the corner, but Nagata countered with a knee of his own. He made the tag to Mochizuki who landed a springboard dropkick. Okada ran in, but he and Yujiro were taken down with kicks. Nakamura countered Mochizuki’s kicks with some of his own, but was caught with a yakuza kick and kick to the chest for two. Nakamura caught Mochizuki with a roundhouse kick and a few leg kicks followed by a kick to the chest and head for two. Okada broke it up and Akiyama was tagged in. He went for the shining wizard, but was caught with a flapjack. Nakamura missed the Boma Ye and Akiyama landed an exploder. Nakamura landed a big flying kick and tagged in Okada. Okada and Akiyama exchanged elbows. Akiyama landed a piledriver on Okada and made the tag to Nagata. Nagata landed some big kicks and followed them with a yakuza kick. He went for the exploder, Okada blocked, and an elbow exchange followed. Okada landed some uppercuts and a front kick followed by the belly to back over the shoulder over the knee backbreaker. Okada landed an elbow and signalled for the rain maker. He went for it, but Nagata blocked and locked in the crucifix armbar. Akiyama locked in an armbar of his own on Yujiro and Mochizuki had an ankle lock on Nakamura. Nagata rolled his eyes back, but Okada made it to the ropes. Nagata landed a leaping highkick and some knees, but was caught with a dropkick from Okada. Yujiro landed an Olympic slam for two. Yujiro landed a bridging German suplex for two on Nagata and went for a piledriver, but Nagata countered with a backdrop. Nagata landed a boot, he was caught with one from Yujiro, but he landed a release belly to belly suplex and a big knee in the corner. Mochizuki landed a spring kick and Akiyama landed his knee. Yujiro landed some elbows and Nagata caught him with a slap and backdrop driver for the win in 18:56.

*** ¾

 

After the match all three men did the solute and Nagata was congratulated by Fujita, Hase and Nakanishi. Nagata was handed a couple of big bouquets and gave a salute for the photo op together with Mochizuki, Akiyama, Fujita, Nakanishi and Hase. Nagata then made a speech holding a child (as for what ties the child had with Nagata I don’t know). He then counted “ichi, ni, san” and did the salute with the crowd in a sweet moment.

 

WWE Night of Champions September 16th 2012

Boston, Massachusetts

 

Overall Thoughts

 

This was a better show than SummerSlam, with two great matches and a lot of fun stuff on the show. Amazingly, it marked the first time in 2012 that Punk headlined a pay-per-view and his match with Cena did payoff (kind of). Although, I am not a big fan of double pinfall finishes, especially on pay-per-view mainevents. Ziggler and Orton were good especially in the last few minutes. The Bryan and Kane stuff was perfectly adequate for what it was, although I could see this putting a damper on Bryan’s career for the time being. There wasn’t really anything that was bad on the show, although it did feel like it was a bit of a missable show apart from the mainevent – and even the mainevent, although it was well worked, was undermined by the finish. As a whole, Night of Champions was fun and enjoyable, although it was not the most note worthy show in the world.

 

Cole opened the show up with a Lawler update. The crowd chanted for Lawler. He said that Lawler was doing better and he was going home to Memphis. Cole was in the middle of hyping up Lawler’s replacement for the evening when Justin Roberts introduced JBL. The crowd popped.

 

1. Intercontinental Championship Match

The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara

 

Miz got on the mic during his entrance and said that it was supposed to be all about him that night, but he was the only champion that had to defend the championship against three challenges. Miz said that he was filing an official complaint, he was about to do his “I’m the Miz and I’m awesome” line, but was interrupted by Mysterio’s music.

 

Cara landed a springboard body press onto Miz and Rhodes, which set up a hurricanrana from Mysterio. Cara and Mysterio had a face off, but Mysterio was dragged to the outside by Miz. Rhodes and Miz went after Cara, but he landed a head scissors and an armdrag on both men. Miz dropped out and Mysterio sent Rhodes back out to the outside. This led to a faceoff between Cara and Mysterio once again, both men landed leg kicks, they had an athletic exchange. Cara awkwardly held Mysterio up on his shoulders for what must have been twenty seconds, before Mysterio landed a head scissors. Miz and Rhodes engaged in a game of one-upmanship on Mysterio and Cara, Miz went for a kick on Rhodes, but Rhodes landed some offense. Rhodes went for the disaster kick, but it only led to an exchange of reversals. Mysterio got a cover on the Miz, Miz kicked out and Cara got a sunset flip on Mysterio for two. Cara and Mysterio landed dual kicks and Mysterio landed a kick to the leg of Cara. Cara was sent into the middle turnbuckle and Mysterio went to the top rope. However, he was caught with a leaping highkick. Cara went for the Spanish fly, but was halted by Rhodes who landed the disaster kick for two. Cara was sent to the outside and Rhodes followed Mysterio to the top. This of course led to the powerbomb tower spot from Miz. Miz landed a DDT on Mysterio for the count of two. Mysterio slid to the outside allowing Cara to land a missile dropkick on the Miz followed by a topé suicida. Mysterio sent Rhodes into the barricade with a head scissors followed by a seated senton off the apron. Cara came in with a splash on the Miz, Miz missed a clothesline and Mysterio landed a springboard moonsault for two. The pin was broken up by Rhodes and he planted Mysterio face first when Mysterio went for the bulldog. Cara landed a head scissors sending Rhodes into the 619 position, Miz was sent into it too, but Mysterio only caught Miz. Rhodes was sent to the outside, Mysterio got a two count following the splash and Rhodes got a cover of his own for two. Rhodes came into the ring going after the mask of Cara and he sent Cara sliding to the outside. Cara landed a leaping highkick on Rhodes and Cara pulled out another mask. He looked to apply it on Rhodes, but Miz came from behind and landed a backbreaker neckbreaker combo for two. Miz had Cara up for the powerbomb, but Cara placed a mask on him. Rhodes went for Cross Rhodes, but Miz while still masked landed the skull crushing finale for the win. After the match Sin Cara was shaking his head and threw his arms in the air – it was pretty funny.

** ¾

 

The Prime Time Players were complaining to Eve backstage. Eve was brought to the back and Kaitlyn was lying on the ground. She said someone covering their face attacked her from behind. Eve told her that she was in no condition to compete and said she would get another title shot down the line. It was poor. A recap was shown of the entire Bryan/Kane anger management angle.

 

2. WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane

 

It was clearly evident from this match that Cole was told to play a face play-by-play announcer – which I was perfectly fine with. There were loud chants for Bryan early on. Kane and Kingston started off. Kingston landed some leg kicks and a dropkick allowing for the tag to by made to Truth. Kane made a forceful tag to Bryan, Bryan shouted “this is how it’s done!” and landed the no kicks in the corner. The tag was made to Kingston who came off with a crossbody and Kingston landed a big kick on Bryan. Truth landed a legdrop for the count of two. Bryan landed a kick, but Kane tagged himself in. Bryan was tagged back in and he landed a flurry of no kicks on Truth. Bryan and Kane continued to work on Truth. Kane whipped Bryan into Truth, but Truth moved – an argument ensued. Bryan wanted to “hug it out”. After a long delay Kane accepted Bryan’s offer. Kingston ran in and ran wild landing some shots and the boom drop. Kingston attempted Trouble in Paradise, he was pulled out by Kane, they argued, Kingston landed a baseball slide on Kane and a topé con giro on Bryan. Bryan locked in the no lock in the ring, but Truth broke it up. Kingston had to remain distracted by an incapacitated Truth for way too long to set up the flying dropkick in the corner from Bryan. Kingston went for a frankensteiner, but Bryan held onto the leg. This led to Kane landing somewhat of a chokeslam. Bryan then elbowed Kane in the head knocking him onto Kingston for the win. The crowd was extremely happy. After the match Kane and Bryan did the Cena/Punk cheering spot on the turnbuckle. If they were going to work the match like this it really couldn’t have gone better, Kane and Bryan were great.

 

After the match Kane and Bryan argued over who the tag team champions were. Kane got the better of the argument by setting off his pyro, which was pretty hokey.

** ¼

 

After the match Eve said to Booker that Kaitlyn had twisted her ankle. Eve wanted him to give her a rematch at a later date and Booker said that he would make it right. Teddy said that every title had to be defended. Eve said no other Diva had earned a shot on the roster. Booker said it wasn’t true, he said Eve had earned the spot and it would be a partial reward for all the good she had done as his assistant. I can guarantee that Eve/Layla would be far better than Layla/Kaitlyn. Cole and JBL notified everyone of breast cancer awareness month and said it was the reason for the middle rope being pink. Cena’s new shirt is also pink commemorating breast cancer awareness month.

 

3. United States Championship Match

Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder

 

Cesaro said unfair in five different languages due to him only knowing his opponent at the start of the show. Cesaro took Ryder to the mat and locked in a front facelock. Ryder made it to his feet, but was knocked back down with a shoulderblock by Cesaro. Ryder landed a flapjack, but Cesaro responded by hanging Ryder up on the top rope. JBL said that Cesaro was a throwback due to the fact that he used the neutralizer saying it was “Frank Gotch’s move”, which was wrong – the wrong Gotch that is. Cesaro landed a couple of double foot stomps on Ryder followed by a suplex for two. Both men exchanged strikes, but Cesaro caught Ryder with the European uppercut out of midair. Aksana blew Cesaro kisses while he had Ryder in a modified torture rack. Ryder got out and fired back with a clothesline followed by a missile dropkick for two. Ryder landed a neckbreaker for the two count as the fans got behind him. Cesaro went to the top, but he was hung up by Ryder who landed a frankensteiner. Ryder taunted for the boot, but he was pulled out of the ring by Aksana. This allowed Cesaro to land the European uppercut and neutralizer for the win.

** ½

 

Del Rio and Otunga were talking backstage. Ricardo came in and he took his neck brace off. Otunga told him to put it back on, because Otunga had a reputation to uphold in Boston. He called Ricardo a stupido with Del Rio’s assistance and walked off. I hate segments like these, that reveal a secret, but everyone is supposed to remain oblivious.

 

4. Randy Orton vs. Dolf Ziggler

 

JBL made his second historical mistake of the night saying that “Farmer Brown” couched Frank Gotch. In actual fact it was Farmer Burns. I don’t know what was with JBL’s Gotch kick on this show.

 

Ziggler and Orton had a brief athletic exchange. Orton landed some stomps, but Ziggler responded with a dropkick for the count of two. Ziggler landed a front kick and neckbreaker while JBL went off on Cole for being a chauvinist. Cole was being a face play by play and commented on Vicky being “vocal”. Orton landed a ricochet vertical suplex for two followed by a neckbreaker and some clotheslines. Orton landed the snap powerslam and went for the draping DDT, but Ziggler got a rollup for two and a dropkick to the knee. Ziggler went for the fameasser, but Orton countered it into a powerbomb for two. Ziggler was perched on the top rope by Orton, but Ziggler fought Orton off and landed a missile dropkick for two. Orton and Ziggler exchanged strikes, but Ziggler got the advantage hanging Orton up on the top rope. Ziggler proceeded to landed multiple elbows and locked in a headlock. Orton broke the hold after some time with a back suplex, but Ziggler caught him with a big clothesline for two. Ziggler went back to the headlock, but Orton finally got out of the hold with some shots. Orton landed a dropkick and both men dropped to the mat. Ziggler proceeded to catch Orton with a leaping DDT for two. Ziggler went to the top rope, but he was hung up by Orton who landed some shots followed by a superplex for two. A strike exchange followed. Orton got the better of it, but Ziggler did not let up and landed the fameasser for two. Ziggler went for the sleeper, but he was forced off, Orton went for the DDT but Ziggler dropped to the outside. Ziggler landed some shots on the outside, but he was thrown into the barricade by Orton who landed the draping DDT on the floor. Ziggler got his foot on the rope, but Orton signalled for the RKO. However, Ziggler got a rollup for two and locked in the sleeper hold. Orton made it out and landed an RKO out of midair for the win. This was a really good match and both men worked really hard. My only problem was that Ziggler losed again, granted it was in a great match and he will win the world title at some point, but I can’t help but think that this will become damaging to him at some point.

*** ¾

 

5. WWE Diva’s Championship Match

Layla vs. Eve

 

Layla landed a sloppy rollup after an exchange of holds. Layla landed a dropkick to the face of Eve, which led to Eve selling the face and pulling Layla in for a handshake and then landing a cheap shot. Eve hung Layla up in a headlock and then dropped her back down to the mat. Eve locked in a body scissors and Layla made it out landing a DDT. Layla then began to make a sluggish comeback landing some clotheslines and a facebuster, but she missed a crossbody and Eve landed a neckbreaker to become the new Diva’s champion.

* ¾

 

There was a trailer for the new Rock vs. Cena DVD. Lillian Garcia introduced some breast cancer survivors. Bryan was backstage shouting to everyone including AJ that he was the tag team champions. Kane and Bryan met at Dr. Shelby. They fought until AJ and Dr. Shelby freaked out and said they were supposed to be happy for each other. Bryan congratulated Kane, but Kane just walked off. Kane then bathed all three of them in Gatorade and said he was going to Disney land. He must have been watching UFC I.

 

6. World Heavyweight Championship Match

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

 

Before the match got underway Booker T came out to announce his findings. He said the brogue kick was a dangerous manoeuvre, but he said there are risks involved when you become a WWE superstar. He declared that the Brogue kick was once again legal.

 

Del Rio freaked out and Sheamus went for the brogue kick, but Del Rio moved and Sheamus hit Otunga. Sheamus went for it again, but this time Del Rio rolled to the outside. Del Rio was thrown to the outside where Sheamus landed a shoulderblock off the apron. Sheamus went to the top rope, but he was hung up by Del Rio who launched Sheamus into the Spanish announce table. This led to Del Rio landing a kick on the floor. He threw Sheamus back into the ring for the count of two. Sheamus landed a couple of shots, but Del Rio caught Sheamus with a kick to the gut and threw him shoulder first into the post. JBL then called Mil Mascaras the most egomaniacal person he ever met and he was happy that Del Rio didn’t possess any of his traits, which was really funny. Del Rio worked over Sheamus’ arm. Sheamus attempted to fight back, but Del Rio locked in an armbar in the ropes. Del Rio came off the top, but he was caught with a clothesline from Sheamus. Sheamus landed a big shoulder in the turnbuckle followed by a knee and powerslam for two. JBL went crazy calling Sheamus a mutant due to a small gene pool and said that the same was true for Usain Bolt. Sheamus landed the clubbing blows in the ropes. Sheamus went for white noise, but Del Rio landed the backcracker for two. Del Rio went for the cross armbreaker, but Sheamus landed the over the shoulder belly to back piledriver for two. Sheamus went for the brogue kick, but Del Rio ducked and landed an enzuigiri for two. Del Rio grabbed Sheamus’ mouth, Sheamus fought back, but Del Rio landed a big kick. He locked in the cross armbreaker, but Sheamus almost countered into the cloverleaf. Del Rio fought out of it and Sheamus’ arm was caught in the rope. This allowed Del Rio to land some shots to the arm. Sheamus got Del Rio up, but Del Rio locked in the cross armbreaker. However, Sheamus powered out of it and landed a powerbomb. Sheamus taunted for the brogue kick, but Del Rio ducked and locked in the cross armbreaker again. Sheamus fought out and got his feet on under the bottom rope. Del Rio missed the enzuigiri in the corner and Sheamus landed the brogue kick for the win.

 

After defeating Del Rio once again I really don’t see what you do with him. The program has run its course and has spanned quite a few matches, all of which Del Rio has losed. Plus, they really could have done something different in this match, but instead it was more of the same.

*** ¼

 

7. WWE Championship Match

CM Punk vs. John Cena

 

Paul Heyman was in the ring. He said he was there to witness history, to have the best seat in the house to watch CM Punk in his three hundred and whatever day as champion. He was there to pay respect to a man, who was extraordinary that he pontificates himself to be a Paul Heyman guy.

 

John Cena’s father caught the shirt after Punk delayed with his handing over of the title. The fans dual chanted. Cena landed a fisherman’s suplex and transitioned into a bearhug. CM Punk fought his way out of it and landed some strikes followed by a headlock takeover. Cena landed a big back bodydrop, but Punk ducked underneath a clothesline from Cena who went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Punk walked over the back of Cena to taunt on the top rope, Cena picked Punk onto his shoulders, but Punk landed a DDT for the count of two. Punk landed some elbows on the ground followed by a headlock. Cena was brought down with a drop toe-hold and Punk locked in a bridging three quarter facelock. Cena sold the leg [upon further analysis this seemed to be the spot where Cena injured his ankle] and rolled to the outside. This led to Punk landing a topé suicida and Punk smiled at Cena’s father. Punk blew Cena’s father a kiss, but he was caught with a baseball slide and he was dropped over the barricade and brought back over with a fisherman’s suplex. Punk caught Cena with a highkick and locked in a facelock. Cena powered out, but he was knocked back down to the mat with some elbows. Punk landed some straight jabs on Cena and caught him with a big right hand for two. Punk went to the top rope and landed an axe handle. Punk brought Cena up for the GTS, but Cena faught back with some shoulderblocks. However, when Cena went for the spinout powerbomb, Punk countered into a bodypress. Punk landed some clotheslines, but Cena caught Punk with a big clothesline. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle, but Punk caught him with a boot to the face and a neckbreaker for two. Punk called for Cena to get up, he went for the springboard clothesline, but Cena rolled through and caught him in the AA. However Punk dropped down to the outside. This led to John Cena landing a topé suicida! Cena landed the spin out powerbomb and went for the five knuckle shuffle, but Punk locked in the anaconda vice. Cena broke the hold and locked in the STF, but Punk countered it into a crossface. Cena broke the hold landing a side slam. This led to a strike exchange. Punk landed a flurry of elbows, Cena fought back, but Punk landed a leg lariat followed by the high knee and short arm clothesline. Punk then went to the top and landed the Savage elbow for two. Punk went for the GTS, but Cena countered it into the STF. Punk made it to the ropes and landed the GTS for two. Punk landed some kicks to the back of Cena and caught him with a big clothesline for two. Punk slapped Cena and went for the GTS; Cena went for the AA, Punk countered, but Cena landed the five knuckle shuffle and AA for two. Punk rolled to the outside. Cena went to the top, but Punk moved out of the way of the leg drop and landed a highkick for two. Punk slapped Cena again and caught him with a spinning back fist and a knee for two. Punk went back to the top and missed an awkward moonsault. Cena got Punk up, but Punk countered and landed the GTS for two in another great nearfall. Punk called for Cena to make it to his feet and landed the Rock Bottom for two in an awesome, well thought out spot. Cena landed an AA, but Punk kicked out once again. Cena brought Punk up to the top rope, he was elbowed off, but Cena landed a bridging German suplex from the top rope for the three count. However, both men’s shoulders were down and the match was declared a draw. After it was declared a draw Punk caught Cena with a belt shot screaming “respect”.

**** ¼

 

WWE Monday Night RAW September 17th 2012

Bridgeport, Connecticut

 

Overall Thoughts

 

I found this week’s edition of RAW a bit more bearable since the move to three hours. It was probably a combination of good commentary, actual midcard angles and a mainevent program that really has me enticed. The relationship between Punk and Heyman is a welcome one, because both men just play off of each other so well. I also like the fact that they are building towards Hell in a Cell early, even though Cena might be out with an injury, which would be terribly unfortunate if it was the case. The show still dragged at points and probably always will as a three hour show each week, but an improvement is an improvement.

 

Punk’s music hit and Heyman came out instead. Heyman said he felt like everyone else witnessing history the previous night, watching CM Punk successfully defend the title against Cena. Heyman said the match was controversial and that is why he wanted to bring referee Chad Patton to come out and explain the finish to the match from the previous night. Heyman showed everyone a still photo from the night prior with Cena and Punk’s shoulders down. Heyman said everyone wants to be a critic and there was no worse critic than John Cena, he asked Patton if he made the right decision. Patton said yes and Heyman commended him on behalf of himself and Punk. Heyman said there was a video on YouTube that was posted from the finish of the match, but was then taken down. However, it was still shown. Heyman claimed that it was taken down by Cena. Heyman brought out CM Punk and the crowd booed. Heyman said that Punk deserved there respect and they refused to give it to him. This led to John Cena coming out.

 

Cena told Heyman to shut up and said that he actually agreed with Heyman saying that Patton made the right call. The crowd chanted “Cena sucks”. Cena said he had problems turning on his phone let alone taking down a video. He said that Cena had a conversation with Patton questioning the finality of his decision and nothing else. Cena put over the match as an epic battle and he said it was like ending the Super Bowl in a tie and the fans probably wanted to see a finish. Cena said Punk has been always clamouring for respect and asked Heyman if he earned respect by retaining the title in a tie. Heyman answered with one word “yes”. Cena said that their definition of respect was different than his. It wasn’t earned by hitting someone with the belt after the match; it is earned about earned by beating anyone on any given night and not by shouting “best in the world”. It is earned by holding your head high after a definitive decision. Cena said that he along with the fans wanted to see the decision and he wanted it that night. Heyman said that Punk would be happy to tell Cena what he thought of the challenge straight to his face when he got there. But, Heyman said that he was good enough to tell Cena because he was the voice of the voice of the voiceless. Cena was going to respond, but he was interrupted by Del Rio.

 

Del Rio told Cena to stop crying, he had his chance and lost. Del Rio said that the brogue kick was banned and he didn’t have a fair shot because it was reinstated right before the match. Del Rio said he wasn’t ready and if anyone disserved a shot it was “the man that never lies” Alberto Del Rio. AJ came out skipping. AJ said that they both deserved chances; she said she would combine the mainevents from last night and create a “super mainevent”. It would be Punk and Del Rio versus Cena and Sheamus. She said that it would go a great way in determining if there would be a rematch and who earned it.

 

This was an okay opening segment to set up the mainevent. Although it felt pretty formulaic, we have just seen that formula so many time before that it has just gotten so old over the past few weeks. Still it served its purpose.

 

Cole was wearing a Jerry Lawler t-shirt and said that he had very good news. He recapped and showed the Tout that Lawler sent out. They said that Lawler was back home in Memphis and said hello to him on TV. They said they would have footage of him arrival later on in the night and an interview next week. They then brought JBL and Jim Ross out. Ross got a big pop.

 

1. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Primo & Epico

 

JBL butchered Lucha history again when he called Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara former CMLL Heavyweight Champions. He proceeded to do the same to Puerto Rico. After the break Primo worked over Sin Cara, Primo picked Cara up, but Cara landed a DDT. Mysterio and Epico were tagged in. Mysterio landed a highkick for the count of two and landed a hurricanrana into the turnbuckle. Cara was tagged in and he set up the 619 and Mysterio landed a double 619 followed by a seated senton on Primo and Cara landed a senton on Epico for the win.

 

After the match Cara and Mysterio were attacked from behind by the Prime Time Players who laid them out with their finishers. They then grabbed a couple of microphones. ‘O Neil said they were the legitimate number one contenders. It was taken from them, but they were now the takers and they would take what they want because they get what they want. I was completely happy with this, the more actual tag team and midcard angles the better. A graphic was shown for a tag title rematch.

 

There was some more breast cancer and Susan G. Komen foundation content.

 

2. Eve vs. Beth Phoenix

 

Layla was on commentary making for a four man commentary booth. While technically three – Ross wasn’t talking. Phoenix took Eve down and landed some shots on the ground. Phoenix went for the glam slam, but Eve landed some shots to the back of Phoenix. Phoenix landed some shots in the corner, but she was thrown into the turnbuckle by Eve and got a schoolgirl for the win. After the match Eve and Layla had a face off.

 

3. Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater

 

Cesaro was on commentary. Slater landed some shots to the leg of Clay. Cesaro said embarrassment in five different languages, while Clay made his comeback. However, Cesaro jumped up on the apron, which allowed for Slater to pick up a nearfall. Slater came off the top, but he was caught with a headbutt and splash for the win. This was some more decent midcard build up. I rolled my eyes when I thought that Slater was going to pickup the win due to interference, but Clay won the match which was the way it should have been. After the match Clay danced with some kids, which for me took away from the heat. However, JR remarked that the memories and smiles would last a life time for the kids, but JBL responded by saying that “if you want memories win a championship”. It was a really good line.

 

Miz came out and said that he had the worst odds last night, but beat the odds. He said you get that man his own talk show. He welcomed everyone to Miz TV and the WWE logo at the bottom of the screen changed to a Miz TV logo. Miz said that he was better than all of the wrestling talk shows that came before his, because they weren’t as controversial or awesome as his. He proved his greatness by beating three other men and he brought out the man that thought he had him beat – Booker T.

 

Miz asked Booker what it was like to be the first guess on Miz TV. Miz said it was probably better than being the five time WCW champion, and better than his Mania moment, almost as good as when Miz beat three men blindfolded. The fans chanted for Booker T. Miz asked Booker T why he was against him. He asked why he banned the brogue kick only to reinstate it. He said it was because Booker missed the spotlight. He said it was because Booker’s time was over. The fans chanted boring. Miz finally gave Booker a microphone. Booker said Miz liked to talk a lot, but he said it was time for him to get a new guest for his show – a star that was used to defeating more than one man at a time. Ryback came out.

 

Miz rolled out of the ring and Ryback destroyed the set. He picked a couch over his head and threw it at the Miz going crazy. He did the feed me more chant. I wouldn’t mind if this led to a program.

 

They showed the Lawler Tout again. Ross said that it took two of them to replace him and JBL said that he was in the Hall of Fame because he had to put up with Cole and Ross. Punk and Heyman were talking backstage when they were interrupted by Matthews. Punk was asked if he was happy to tag to Del Rio. He said that Josh was an idiot and he walked in and out the night prior as champion. Punk then asked what he had to do to garner respect.

 

4. Dolf Ziggler vs. Santino Marella

 

The fans were really behind Ziggler. Marella threw Ziggler and did some comedy before being dropkick. JBL said that Vicky was the best coach since Farmer Burns and Cole said “well at least you got that right”. Marella did his wacky walk and was caught with a neckbreaker to very loud “let’s go Ziggler chants”. Marella shoved Marella’s cobra into his mouth, but Marella unloaded with a few shots before he was caught with a clothesline that didn’t even make contact. Ziggler landed some jabs, but Marella fired back with some shots. He landed a headbutt, but Vicky pulled the cobra out of the ring allowing for Ziggler to catch him with the Zig Zag. Ziggler pulled Marella back up and landed another one for the win.

 

5. Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel

 

Gabriel got the better of Barrett with a hurricanrana. However, Barrett caught Gabriel with a mule kick and some shots to the outside. Gabriel was bent around the ringpost and landed a backbreaker for two. Barrett proceeded to land some shots to the arm of Gabriel and locked in an abdominal stretch. This led to a huge “we want Nexus!” chant which was really interesting. Granted they formed in the building. Gabriel made a comeback landing an elbow and huge springboard moonsault for two followed by some forearms. Gabriel landed a few big kicks, but was dropped back on his gut. He was pulled back up to his feet and Barrett landed the short-arm forearm for the win.

 

Truth was celebrating with a party hat. He wished Kingston a happy birthday, but it was the birthday of subway in its birthplace. It was a subway commercial. He was approached by Sandow and he suggested a recipe, but he was given a meatball marinara instead. Ryder then suggested a “Woo woo you know it sub”, but he was given another sub. Ryback came by and he said feed me more. He was given a subway, but took another. This was wacky. Sheamus reminisced over his match from the night prior. He said that Cena was the rightful winner and he shouldn’t be down. Cena said they had to win and make a statement, because he needed another shot. Sheamus said they would win and then go to the pub and toast to the brogue kick, Cena’s title shot, the Jewish New Year and Mexican Independence Day. I found Cena’s resolve here really great, simply due to the fact that he normally has a really happy go lucky attitude when it comes to loses. Bryan and Kane were shown screaming to everyone backstage that they were the tag team champions in different hallways. Lawler was shown leaving the hospital and it was really nice to see.

 

6. WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth

 

Kingston and Bryan had an athletic exchange, Kingston got the better of it and made the tag to Truth. Bryan grabbed Truth, Kane offered the tag, but Bryan said no. Kingston came back in and they landed a double team, this led to Bryan landing a really hard tag to Kane. Kane was bridged to the outside and Bryan was thrown onto the outside landing a plancha onto his own partner. After the break Kane had Truth in a bearhug. Truth was backed into the corner, but he landed a dropkick making the tag to Kingston. Kingston sent Kane into the turnbuckle with a dropkick and landed some shots in the corner. Kane ran at Kingston, but he was caught with a leaping highkick and crossbody for two. Kingston then landed another highkick and the boom drop. He went for Trouble in Paradise, Kane went for the chokeslam, Kingston countered and went for a splash, but he was caught with an uppercut. Kane taunted for the chokeslam, but Bryan was tagged in. They argued and Truth was tagged in running wild on Bryan. Truth landed some hard shots and tagged Kingston back in who bodyslammed Kingston onto Bryan. Truth and Kingston landed tandem shoulder drops for two. Truth the locked in a headlock, but Bryan fought out and landed a drop-toe-hold sending Truth into the turnbuckle. Bryan tagged Kane in and he landed a dropkick on Truth for two. Kane then landed a sideslam for two and taunted for the chokeslam again. Bryan teased the tag, but Kane turned around. This led to Kane going for a shot and Bryan hanging Kane up on the apron. Truth landed the Little Jimmy, but Bryan broke the pin up and Kingston sent Bryan back to the outside. This led to Kane landing the chokeslam and Bryan tagging himself in and locking in the no lock for the win. Bryan lifted both belts up after the match saying that he was the tag team champions.

 

He turned around to face Kane. Kane ripped the belts out of Bryan’s hands and said he was the tag team champions. Bryan chanted no, but then calmed down and the crowd chanted hug it out. Bryan wanted to hug it out and Kane embraced Bryan telling him “good job”. This just led to Bryan stealing his belt and another argument ensued.

 

A B.A. Star commercial was shown with Stephanie McMahon. Once again this was pure irony. Some kids that are apart of the program were shown in the crowd.

 

7. Randy Orton vs. Tensai

 

JBL said that Tensai was the first American to ever win the New Japan Cup twice. He won it once. Tensai knocked Orton to the mat with a shoulder block and landed some shots in the corner. Orton swore, it was bleeped out and Tensai clawed at the face of Orton. Orton landed some knees, but Tensai landed a powerslam for two. He locked in a bearhug as the fans dual chanted “let’s go Randy” and “Randy sucks”. This was really one of the first times in a while that I heard those chants. Tensai landed a headbutt and stomped on the chest of Orton. Tensai locked in a nerve hold to “Albert” chants. Orton fought out and landed a snap powerslam for two. Tensai rolled to the outside, but Tensai landed a shot. However when Tensai attempted to make it back into the ring Orton caught him with knees and the draping DDT. Orton went for the RKO, Tensai made it out of it and went for a splash in the corner, but he missed and Orton landed the RKO for the win.

 

Heyman was talking to Punk when they were approached by Otunga and Del Rio. Otunga said on behalf of Del Rio that he expected Punk to follow Del Rio’s lead. Heyman said that on behalf of the champion, Punk had been champion for 303 days and that meant he followed no one’s lead. Del Rio whispered into Otunga’s ear and said that it was irrelevant that by the looks of CM Punk it looked like he slept in a cardboard box. Punk whispered into Heyman’s ear and said on the behalf on Punk that Del Rio should purchase a time machine instead of fancy cars and go back to Survivor Series 2011 where Punk defeated Del Rio for the title. Punk said that he was looking forward to teaming with Del Rio and Del Rio said that it would be an honor. Creative segment.

 

Damien Sandow came out saying that the “season of sloth” or Summer Vacation had come to an end and they stood at the dawn of his favourite season, back to school. He said that he wanted to prepare everyone for that season and told Ross that “slobber knocker” was not a word. He prepared a list of words that would help them in the upcoming years. Number one was temerity. As in “how do you have the temerity to question anything I say?” Number two ignoramus, as in “The WWE has an ignoramus at every corner.” Number three, miscreant, as in “You are all miscreants”. He asked them to remain silent, because they had a lot to get through. Ryder interrupted and said that he had some words of his own. Shut and Up. The third was “now” and the match started right then.

 

8. Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder

 

After the break the match was joined in progress with Ryder landing a plancha to the outside. Sandow landed some stomps and a knee on Ryder. He scraped Ryder’s face across the mat and landed a knee. Sandow locked in a headlock and the fans got behind Ryder. Ryder made it to his feet, but he was caught with a leg sweep and elbow for two. Sandow landed some shoulders in the corner and missed a splash, allowing for Ryder to get a rollup for two. Sandow missed a couple of shots and Ryder landed some clotheslines followed by a facebuster and clothesline. Ryder landed an elbow and taunted for the knee, Sandow rolled to the outside, but Ryder rolled out landing a clothesline. Ryder landed the boot in the corner, but Sandow kicked out and landed the neckbreaker for the win.

 

Lawler was shown going home again.

 

9. CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus & John Cena

 

Del Rio and Cena started off. Del Rio landed some stomps to Cena in the corner, but Cena followed it up with a monkey flip. Cena then tagged Sheamus in who landed some stomps in the corner. Del Rio landed a rolling senton for two and made the tag back to Cena. Del Rio made the tag to Punk and Cena ran wild landing a bulldog. He went for the AA, but Punk rolled to the outside following a thumb to the eye. The tag was made to Del Rio and he and Punk picked Cena apart. Cena tagged in Sheamus who landed some big shots on Punk followed by a clothesline for two. Del Rio caught Sheamus with a big superkick and taunted Cena. Del Rio missed a dropkick, which allowed Sheamus to land the clubbing blows on the apron. Sheamus then landed white noise and signalled for the brogue kick, but Punk came up on the apron for the distraction. He was caught with a clothesline from Sheamus, but Del Rio landed a back cracker for two. Sheamus landed some shots, but Punk, the now legal man, landed a shot to the leg and bent Sheamus over his knees. Sheamus powered his way out, but was dragged back to his corner and the tag was made to Del Rio. Del Rio landed what I assumed was a big kick, since the camera zoomed out to the furthest possible distance. Sheamus attempted to make a comeback, but he was caught with a knee to the back of the head. Sheamus finally landed the over the knee backbreaker and crawled his way to Cena. The tags were made to Punk and Cena. Cena landed the shoulder blocks and the spin out powerbomb. Punk tried to counter the five knuckle shuffle, but his counter was countered into the STF. That was broken up by Del Rio, but Sheamus caught him with a brogue kick. Cena caught Punk with the AA, Punk’s foot was on the rope, but the referee didn’t see it and Heyman and Punk protested.

 

Punk continued to protest to the referee, but the referee walked off. Heyman attempted to calm Punk down, but Punk followed the referee to the back to close the show off.

 

TNA Impact September 20th 2012

Orlando, Florida

 

Overall Thoughts

 

This was a mediocre show that at points bored on complete stupidity. The Aces & Eights segments were just so outlandish that no one can suspend their disbelief for one second and they just come across as embarrassing. Also, why would you have your champion lose on TV to not build to anything, when you are a few weeks out from the biggest show of the year? The tag match that opened the show was fine, but having to go all that way to just make a triple threat match really was not necessary. They could have just made a triple threat match last week. The Tara and Tessmacher segment was fine, although Tara was a bit stiff and mechanical with her delivery. All in all, the best thing on the show was the face off between Aries and Hardy together with the Bound for Glory video packages. Other than that this show was meaningless and at times – very stupid.

 

The show opened up with Hulk Hogan greeting, of all people, Shaquille O’Neal. I don’t know how they got him on the show, but they did. Hogan plugged his new show and ‘O Neil asked about Aces & Eights and said he had Hogan’s back. Hogan told them to not hide and Hogan shouted “game on!” as ‘O Neil posed into the camera.

 

AJ Styles and Kurt Angle came out. Angle said they were the tag team champions a few months prior; however they got screwed by Kaz and Daniels. He said they were screwed again, but Styles gave them some hope by winning a singles match. However, Guerrero won his single’s match too, which meant they got a shot at the titles as well. Angle said that since it was open\ fight night and the fans wanted to know who the real contenders were they called out Guerrero and Hernandez.

 

1. Kurt Angle & AJ Styles vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez

 

Styles and Guerrero started off. Styles locked in a head scissors and Guerrero made it to his feet. Angle and Hernandez were tagged in. Hernandez landed a shoulder block and tagged in Guerrero who came in with a giro. Angle landed a few shots, but Guerrero floated over and locked in a headlock. Angle landed a back suplex of Guerrero and followed it with an uppercut and release belly to belly suplex. Kazarian and Daniels appeared on the ramp and clapped their hands. After the break Styles had a headlock on Chavo. Guerrero was able to land a back bodydrop and Hernandez and Angle were brought in. Hernandez went after Styles however and landed a big shoulder block. He went for the boarder toss, but Angle landed a kick to the gut of Hernandez. Hernandez was able to land a double clothesline and tagged in Guerrero who came flying in with a double dropkick. He landed a head scissors on Styles and went for the three amigos, but it was blocked and Styles landed a spin kick. Styles went to go make the tag to Angle, even though technically he was the legal man. Tenay and Taz talked about MMA Uncensored Live with Ronda Rousey and said that she may even bring Gene LeBell with his stop watch. Angle was tagged in and he ran wild. He locked in the ankle lock, it was broken by Hernandez, but Styles landed a leaping highkick. Chavo caught Styles with an enzuigiri, but Angle locked in the ankle lock. Chavo kicked Angle off and Styles was tagged in. Hernandez landed a gut buster on Styles, but Angle landed an Angle slam on Hernandez. Guerrero landed two of the three amigos on Angle and three on Styles. Guerrero went to the top rope, Angle ran up to catch him and both him and Angle went flying down to the outside. Guerrero missed the splash and Styles landed the pelé. He went for the Styles Clash, but Daniels and Kazarian ran in hitting both men.

 

This led to a beat down, but when Hernandez came in Kazarian and Daniels fled the ring. Hogan of course came out with his baseball bat. He said every picture told a story, he had ninety nine problems and Aces & Eights were his biggest. However, he said that that Daniels and Kazarian made his decision easier, because they picked out their challengers. It would be a triple threat tag match for the titles at Bound for Glory.

 

Al Snow was approached backstage. He was asked when the last time he cut his hair was. To which he replied he replied “ten, twelve years”. He was asked if it was hard and he replied that it was hard for his wife. He then put over Gut Check and said how some people thought he crossed the line with Joey Ryan. He said that he didn’t cross the line. Ryan interfered during matches and slapped him, a man that said yes to Ryan. He then said that he was going to the “principle’s office”.

 

Hogan was speaking to Joe Park. He said that he would get him straight through and he acknowledged that Park had the evidence in his hands. Joe said his best Bound for Glory moment was when he jumped out of the sky box – stupid spot. There was a video package for the Gut Check guy, Evan Markopoulos, again.

 

Carter was talking to Prichard and said that the Aces & Eights were a distraction had them where they wanted. She said they had to find out who they were (agreed!). Prichard said that mentioning them was letting them win. Snow came by and Prichard concluded the conversation.

 

2. Douglas Williams vs. Evan Markopoulos

 

Evan’s father was in the crowd. The fans were really behind Markopoulos. Williams wrestled him to the mat and slapped him. Williams slapped him again and he responded with a slap of his own. Williams responded by kicking Markopoulos’ leg and landing a stomp on the ground. Williams landed some more hard shots and Markopoulos got a sunset flip, however William’s rolled through and landed a knee. Markopoulos landed a dropkick and crossbody, but was caught with a lariat and some stomps. Williams stomped on Markopoulos’ face; he fought back with some strikes, but was caught with a big vertical suplex. Williams ran into the post and Markopoulos fought back with some shots. He looked bewildered and was caught in a headlock for the win. This was a perfectly decent performance from Markopoulos. His selling was a bit formulaic and the last few seconds were a bit awkward, but it honestly was perfectly fine.

 

Storm was shown walking to the ring and they aired a Roode/Storm video package. Storm came out and said he got to talk on the microphone and was good and talking trash, but he said that he backs it up. He said last week he would call out one coward. He said Roode had taken it from a personal issue to “I want to kick the crap out of you” issue. He wanted Roode, Storm wanted his blood on his hands, and it wouldn’t be a wrestling match it would be “a man kicking a coward’s ass match”. Roode came out wearing a suit.

 

Roode asked if Storm wanted to fight him. He said he was overdressed to fight; he was not prepared to fight. He would never be as good as Roode no matter how hard he tried. As long as he was around, Storm would never be world champion. He wanted to know if Storm wanted to fight in front of “all these morons”. He said as far as he was concerned it was done and if he wanted to fight he should have called someone else out. Hogan approached Roode backstage and said that if Roode was called out he had to fight. Roode said that he had the day off, but Hogan said that if he didn’t fight he would give him the year off with no pay. Hogan said he had three minutes.

 

After the break Storm said he didn’t have all night and called Roode back out. Roode came back out in the suit and removed his jacket and tie while walking down the ramp.

 

2. James Storm vs. Bobby Roode

 

Storm went right after Roode and hit him with his shoe and strangled Roode with his own shirt. They fought up to the ramp and Roode was thrown into the side of the stage. They fought down the stares, but Storm was caught with a shot with the shoe and some strikes. The crowd chanted “let’s go Cowboy!” as Roode threw Storm into the guardrail. Finally the match spilt into the ring and the bell rang. Storm unloaded with shots and went back to the outside. Storm came at Roode, but was dropped to the outside by Roode. Roode was thrown into the steps knee first and responded by throwing Storm into the guardrail. More brawling ensued. Roode took a sip of beer, but Storm stole the beer and poured some into the mouth of a fan. Roode missed a shot with the chair against the post and Storm threw Roode into the feet of some fans, now clearly plants. A woman in the crowd yelled and swore at Roode, but it was bleeped. A man also gave Roode the middle finger. Roode landed a suplex on the outside. Finally both men failed to break the count and it was ruled a double count out. Both men continued to brawl regardless. Bryan Hebner took some abuse as they brawled backstage. The door closed and in typical Impact fashion – they cut away.

 

Hogan was talking to a guy that said Park was in the building, but no one could find him. Hogan got a call from the Aces & Eights. They said they had a lawyer. He said that he would think about something that they said and he would get right back to them. Hogan said he knew where Park was.

 

Aries approached Hardy. Aries said everyone thought it was about Hardy coming after him, but he said that Hardy had a ten year head start on him. He said he wanted the money, the endless hordes of sheep following him and the hall of fame career. To do that he would need to beat Hardy and he then said that anything Hardy could do he could do and he would prove it that night. This was a fine segment, but shouldn’t the champion earn more than anyone else theoretically?

 

Tara came out. She said she heard everyone talk about what she did and said that the people disgusted her. Tara said that the guy with the sign used her to get himself on TV. She said that her new boyfriend that lives in California who is a huge star, reminded her that she is the best female wrestler there is and opened her eyes. She said Tessmacher used her to get the title. She then called out her “victim” Christy Hemming. She said she realized that she was an announcer, but she had to show her some respect. She asked her who her favourite knockout was. She said it was Miss Tessmacher. She grabbed Hemming by the hair, but Tessmacher made the save and Tara rolled to the outside.

 

Brooke Hogan asked Tara why she did what she did. She said that she did it because Tessmacher didn’t show her respect. Hogan said that she was disappointed in Tara and said there would be consequences next week. Rob Van Dam said his best matches were at Bound for Glory. Van Dam said people ask him when they are going to see a Van Terminator and he said that you have to watch the big pay-per-view, like Bound for Glory.

 

Hogan said that he was going to get out a bottle of spray paint and spray everyone dead. What? He said the Aces & Eights had Joe Park. Hogan said that he got it, an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Hogan said they wanted him at their “clubhouse” and he would accept the challenge. He said they kept their word even though they were bottom feeders. He wanted Joe Park right then and there and they would in return get him “in their club house”. The leader of the Aces & Eights appeared on the screen. He said it would be clubhouse rules next week and he said that Park was doing his job, but he got to close to their business. They said they were going to play computer technology Aces & Eights style. They smashed Park’s computer with a hammer. Park was in a cage and he freaked out, but said he had all the information in his head. They then wacked him over the head with a hammer!

 

This was the segment that officially killed any and all interest that I had in this angle. It was C-level, low budget action movie kind of storytelling and that really isn’t what I want in my wrestling. There were just so many plot holes in this one segment. How did Hogan know where the club house was? If he did know why weren’t the police called? Did this mean Aces & Eights were somewhere in the building? It just made no sense. To make matters worse they had Park in that goofy cage, and it was really the kind of thing that you would see in a cartoon. And when they knocked him over the head with the hammer they just completely killed it for him. I will never understand why bookers in this company have to come up with this crazy junk all the time to progress serious angles.

 

There was a Jeff Hardy personality profile. Hardy said they could expect him to steal the show and walk out world champion at Bound for Glory.

 

Aries came out. He said it was nice for the producers to put the video package on before he came out. He said everyone focused on Hardy before Bound for Glory, but he was not the hunted he was the hunter. The only thing that Hardy could do was beat a big, bad Bully. That is why he called Ray out, because last time he beat him it wasn’t luck, it was skill.

 

Ray couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He asked five people in the back if his hearing was off and was flabbergasted that Aries called him out. He said that he beat the crap out of him once and he would do it again. Aries said that he may, but he would have to. Ray said that you don’t just simply call out Bully Ray, because he calls people out. A fan touched him and he warned them to not touch him again or he would punch him in his “frickin face”. Ray said he must have been an Austin Aries fan, because he had “no frickin brains”. Aries said that he wasn’t one of his fans, because if he touched Ray again he would come out and punch him in the face right after Ray did. This was an odd little encounter. Ray was about to ask if Ray knew who he was, but he caught him with a corkscrew pescado.

 

3. Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray

 

Aries landed some shots in the ring. Aries was kicked off the apron and after the break he had Aries in a bearhug. After the next break Ray caught Aries with a shot to the chest. Ray clawed at the eye of Aries and once Aries was back in the ring Ray pulled at the arms of Aries. Ray landed a splash for the count of two and asked if Hebner could count any slower. Ray worked on the arm of Aries. Ray trash talked Aries who caught him with a few big shots. Ray called for Aries to get up and fight him and did the spit spot, but caught it in his hands and rubbed it on his face. Ray landed some more shots and an elbow drop. Ray screamed at Hebner “you are frickin old and you suck!” Aries caught him with a shot and landed some shops and a few forearms. Aries landed a discus elbow following some shots by Bully and followed it with a missile dropkick for two. Aries went for a brainbuster; Ray countered, but missed a sit-down splash. Aries was thrown into Hebner and he checked on Hebner like a good face. Aries locked in the last chancery, Ray tapped, but there was no referee. Ray grabbed a steal chain and caught Aries with a shot and got the win. After the match Ray hugged Hebner who was still on the ground. After the match Ray went for a shot with belt, but Hardy came in to make the save. Hardy pulled the belt out of Ray’s hands and stared at the belt as Aries made it to his feet. This led to a face off to close the show off.

 

I really didn’t understand this match. You are not building to Ray and Aries so why have Ray win the match? Sure, it was under heelish circumstances, but so what? Both champion and challenger should be going in strong to Bound fro Glory and having Aries lose to Ray just detracts from the entire angle. With that being said, the build to tension with Aries and Hardy after the match was good, but they could have done that with Aries winning the match. Another thing is that we already had three or more ref bumps at No Surrender and we really didn’t need another.

 

WWE SmackDown – September 21 2012.

Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Centre.

Ben Carass.

 

 

Following the usual tenuous intro package and pyro, Josh Matthews welcomed us to the show; he asked if the controversy surrounding Night of Champions and Raw would have any effect on Friday nights.

 

A graphic hyping Sheamus & Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio aired.

 

In the ring, Lilian Garcia introduced former WWE/World Heavyweight Champion and WWE Hall of Famer, Edge. The Rated R Superstar appeared and received a huge pop from the crowd; he got in the ring and did his old metal horns gimmick on the turnbuckle. Edge began a promo by stating, “that never gets old” then explained in the 18 months he’s been retired, he had become a fan of WWE again. The Hall of Famer said, “I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this…”

 

Footage of Kane and Daniel Bryan hugging it out on Raw rolled.

 

Edge wanted to know, in the time he had been gone, how “the Devil’s favourite Demon” and “Goat Boy” had become “BFFs” and the Tag Team Champions; he said, “I’ve been a twelve time Tag Team Champion and know what it takes…”

 

Daniel Bryan’s music interrupted The Rated R Superstar; Bryan came out and corrected Edge on the usage of pronouns. “They didn’t become the Tag Team Champions”, started Bryan, “I am the Tag Team Champions”; the raving tag champ then repeated his claim to the belts, until the former WWE Champion told him to calm down and asked how he pulled this off. Bryan said he was in control of himself then declared, “I am an anchor, I am a rock, I am one with my emotions”; Edge replied with a familiar, “excuse me?” The proud Tag Team Champion then questioned Edge about his choice of words and offered some psychiatry for beginners he learnt from Dr. Shelby, “our subconscious thoughts emerge in the heat of the moment; who do the words “excuse me”, make me think of?” Bryan then asked if Edge often thinks about his ex-wife and the pain that they caused each other, before telling The Rated R Superstar, “go back to acting” and “go back to retirement”. Bryan then stated he was a “Redwood” and there was nothing Edge or the people could do to make him snap. The Rated R Superstar said his intention wasn’t to make Bryan snap, yet this sounded like a challenge; Bryan replied, “No it doesn’t” and Edge responded, “Yes it does”. The two went back and forth with “Yes” and “No’s” until Kane’s pyro and music interrupted the bickering.

           Kane entered the ring then told the two they were both wrong and that, “I am the Tag Team Champions”; this caused the partners to argue about which of them were the champions. Edge finally stopped the dispute by yelling at the titleholders; Kane accused the Hall of Famer of being angry and offered him some of Dr. Shelby’s relaxation techniques. The idea of relaxation exercises didn’t get over with Edge, as The Rated R Superstar reminded Kane, “you are not Barney the Big Red Dinosaur, you are the Big Red Machine”. Edge then recounted the horrible angle from 2005, in which he stole Lita from Kane and the campy wedding angle, where Kane burst through the canvas to tombstone the priest. The Big Red Monster said he remembered all of that and needed to rectify the situation; Kane then offered an embrace to his former foe, which confounded Edge even more. After a short tease, Kane hugged the Hall of Famer; the crowd popped for the embrace, but Bryan was not pleased with his partner hugging another man and repeatedly yelled, “No!” However, Kane and Edge agreed that a three-way man hug was in order and offered Bryan a place in the cuddle; before the three men could entwine, Damien Sandow came out onto the stage.

          As usual Sandow’s promo was brilliantly crafted: “for the past fortnight, this serial has been plagued by the sophomoric and tasteless operetta of these two miscreants”. The pompous heel continued to compare the fans with a “parched street canine that laps at a faeces infested puddle” and claimed this was proof of how far “this enterprise has fallen”. Edge claimed he would rather watch Kane and Bryan hug it out for the entire show, than listen to 30 seconds of Sandow, then challenged Damien to get in the ring and take on one of the tag champions. Sandow retorted, “I am a thinking man; I do not resort to measures of physical means, thank you”. The Hall of Famer then asked the audience if Sandow should face one of the champions, which drew a big pop; Damien said, “their opinion is of no consequence”. Edge proceeded to ask the crowd if the heel should face Bryan or Kane; again this drew the “Yes/No” chanted from the fans.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Another long opening segment on Friday night; I cannot remember the last time this show opened with a wrestling match. At least this segment was entertaining and didn’t include Booker T, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio or Randy Orton. Hugging a Hall of Famer like Edge – who is still super over with the fans, has got to take the tweener Tag Champs one step closer to babyfaces.

 

Kane (Tag Team Champion) vs. Damien Sandow

 

The bell rang immediately after the commercials; Cole said Booker T appeared on the Tron during the break and booked the match.

          Sandow escaped to the floor early, after taking a shoulder tackle; Kane chased Damien around ringside but the pompous heel rolled back in the ring, only to miss an elbow drop. The Big Red Machine pulled his foe out of the ring and scored with a trademark uppercut; back in the ring, Sandow landed a back elbow and Kane delivered a big boot. The tag champ telegraphed a backdrop; Damien countered with a kick, before he rolled back to the outside where he encountered a seated Daniel Bryan. Bryan told the heel: “I am the Tag Team Champions”, as Kane followed his opponent to the floor. Sandow snapped Kane’s neck across the top rope and controlled the match for a very short period of time, until The Big Red Monster delivered a belly-to-back suplex. After a sidewalk slam, Kane came off the top rope with a clothesline then set up for the chokeslam; Bryan held up both belts and yelled, “I am the Tag Team Champions” before he climbed onto the apron. Kane tried to grab one of the belts from his partner; this caused enough of a distraction for Sandow to hit his straightjacket neckbreaker for the three count.

 

Damien Sandow defeated Kane at 3:06, via pinfall.

 

After the match, Bryan smiled then left with both straps and left a furious Kane in the ring.

 

This was a nothing match and only served to further the Kane/Bryan dysfunction angle, which is fine. Sandow pinned one of the tag champs? I wonder where this could lead…

 

A graphic hyping Sheamus & Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler later in the show aired.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Kane was in the back looking for Bryan; he ran into Dr. Shelby who told The Big Red Machine to calm down. Kane said Bryan had cost him the match, stolen his title and if he didn’t get it back he would, “tear that beard off his goat face strand by strand”. At which point, Bryan hilariously burst out of a storage bin he was hiding in and told his partner he did not have a goat face. The Tag Team Champions then called each other names like, “goat face” and “big red freak”, which made Dr. Shelby lose his cool and scream “stop it”. The Doc then encouraged the two to solve their issue with a trust exercise; he asked Kane to promise not to rip Bryan’s beard off if he gave the belt back and asked Bryan if he would like it if Kane didn’t rip his beard off.

            After he got his belt back, Kane was still unhappy about Bryan costing him the match with Sandow; Dr. Shelby asked The Big Red Monster if it would make him feel better if he spoke to Booker T so Bryan could have a match as well. Kane said, “it might” then told his partner: “I am the Tag Team Champions”, before he walked away and the Doc prevented Bryan from responding.

 

Cole and Josh were at ringside, they talked about Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio from Night of Champions and a video package of the match rolled; the voiceover said, “the Brogue kick controversy continues”.

 

Alberto Del Rio was sat in Booker T’s office; he was holding a copy of Booker’s autobiography, when the GM walked in and asked why he was there. Del Rio wanted to know what Booker was thinking when he reinstated the Brogue kick before his title match and told the GM, “you made me lose”. The Booker man said he was thinking his investigation was complete and although the Brogue is dangerous, it is legal. Book told Del Rio to keep his nose out of Sheamus’ business, if he didn’t want to get hurt; Alberto claimed that making the announcement right before his match was unfair. The GM agreed but did not give the heel another title shot because he needed to earn it. Book informed Del Rio he had that opportunity in the tag match later on; Alberto said “this isn’t over” and Booker told him it was. The heel threw the autobiography on the floor in disgust before he stormed out of the office.

 

Eve came out to join Cole and Josh on commentary.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Layla’s music played as she and Natalya were both shown in the ring.

 

Layla vs. Natalya

 

Layla absolutely killed poor Nattie early on with a basement dropkick to the face; she then pointed at Eve for a stupidly long time until Natalya nailed her with a discuss lariat, which made her look foolish. Natalya applied an abdominal stretch but Layla rolled her up for two; Josh asked Eve if she had anything to do with Kaitlyn’s attack at Night of Champions, Eve said she had nothing to do with it at all. Layla hit Nattie with a neckbreaker for the victory. Eve was being the pretentious heel and said she would welcome a challenge from Layla.

 

Layla defeated Natalya, at 1:31; via pinfall.

 

This was horrible on many levels: Layla going over in one and a half-minute for a start: Nattie got stiffed ten seconds into the match, countless shots of Eve when we could hear everything she was saying, Layla being presented as a babyface when all of her facials scream heel and she’s not even a smart babyface. 

 

A graphic hyping Sheamus & Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler rolled.

Commercial Break.

Lilian Garcia introduced Ricardo Rodriguez, who announced Alberto Del Rio’s entrance. Vickie Guerrero appeared on the stage to introduce Dolph Ziggler; for some reason the graphic with Dolph’s name said “Raw” again.

 

What is that? The guy is the SmackDown Money in the Bank winner; he has a contract to face the World Champion. The brand extension has been so neglected and forgotten about, even the production team are confused

 

Cole said Ziggler picked up a “big win over Santino Marella on Raw”.

 

It’s nice to see Cole’s sense of hyperbole wasn’t lost along with his heel persona.

 

Randy Orton’s music hit and he made his entrance; Cole put over his wins against Tensai and Ziggler, Josh said Orton wanted to be in the World title picture. Sheamus was out last for the match.

 

Commercial Break.

 

We joined the match in progress, with Del Rio and Sheamus in the ring; Alberto got the advantage on the World Champion in the corner. Sheamus fought out and scored with a swinging neckbreaker for a one count, before he tagged in Orton. The Viper delivered a dropkick, followed up by a knee drop and quickly made the tag. After an Irish whip into the corner, Del Rio avoided a shoulder block and hit an enzuigiri to the left arm of Sheamus; The Great White managed to take Alberto down with a Finlay roll.

         Vickie and Ricardo commandeered the apron long enough to distract Sheamus, which caused Ziggler to hit the World Champion with a cheap shot from behind. Del Rio connected with a basement dropkick before he tagged in Ziggler; following an elbow drop, Dolph got the false heat on Sheamus with a rear chinlock. The Great White fought to his feet and attempted to tag Orton; Ziggler prevented the faces from tagging, as he took Sheamus back down to the mat. Dolph manoeuvred the World Heavyweight Champion into the heels’ half of the ring and tagged Alberto; Del Rio applied his own chinlock but Sheamus fought out and delivered a powerslam for the big hope spot.

         The separation led to a tag to The Viper; Orton came in with his trademark comeback routine and hit some clotheslines then a powerslam. Randy connected with the hangman’s DDT on Del Rio and set up for an RKO; Ziggler ran in from behind, but was taken over with a powerslam. The Apex Predator positioned Dolph for the hangman’s, however Alberto hooked the leg of Orton, which caused Ziggler to hang Randy over the top rope and Del Rio to hit a double-knee backbreaker for two.

          Dolph made the tag in and got the heat on The Viper; Orton fought back but was cut off with a jumping clothesline for another two count. Ziggler locked in a chinlock, which Randy fought out of and got in a hope spot with a belly-to-back suplex; the heel team made the tag then prevented Orton from tagging in his partner.

         After a transitional Irish whip, Del Rio climbed to the second turnbuckle and was sent to the floor by a dropkick from Orton. Randy made the hot tag after his big hope spot, while simultaneously Alberto tagged Dolph; Sheamus caught Ziggler with axe-handles but missed a knee-lift. Ziggler went for the sleeper, however The Great White rolled through and went for the Brogue kick; Ziggler ducked then attempted a Rocker-dropper, which the World Champion countered before delivering the Irish curse. Del Rio broke up the pin attempt and went for the cross armbreaker on Sheamus, but Orton nailed Del Rio with an RKO. Vickie handed Dolph his briefcase, although he was unable to utilise it, as Sheamus hit him with the Brogue kick for the victory.

 

Sheamus & Randy Orton defeated Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler, at 8:17; via pinfall. (JIP)

 

 A good, entertaining match with solid performances all around, as you would expect from these four guys. They told a nice story with only eight minutes and kept the top two babyfaces on the show strong. I imagine a political decision was made to have the heels get the heat on the faces for an equal amount of time. Sheamus sold for a while and managed to make the tag and Orton did the same; neither guy looked weak by selling for too long and neither needed to be rescued by the other. It looks like Del Rio will not be getting another title shot after the faces went over, which is good because Alberto will not look anymore incompetent by losing to Sheamus again and we’ll get a new World title PPV match for the first time in four months. Of course Del Rio could claim he was never pinned in the tag match and get one more shot.  

 

A graphic hyping Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan aired. It said the match was coming up next.

 

Commercial Break.

 

After the break we saw a shot of the Wells Fargo Centre; back in the arena Daniel Bryan was in the ring awaiting his opponent. Josh and Cole explained why Booker T had made the match and Cody Rhodes came out to face Bryan.

 

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan

 

Bryan scored with some European uppercuts early, but Cody landed a hotshot for a one count and then hit a standing gourdbuster. Following the transition, Bryan nailed Rhodes with kicks to the torso; Cody cut off the Tag Team Champion, which led to Bryan’s turnbuckle backflip spot and a running clothesline. Bryan nailed a running dropkick in the corner then went for the “No” lock, but Kane’s pyro and music hit. Kane came out on the stage and did his ring post pyro gimmick, which served as a distraction to his tag partner; consequently Rhodes took Bryan down with the Cross Rhodes for the three.

 

Cody Rhodes defeated Daniel Bryan at 2:11, via pinfall.

 

After the bout, Kane laughed at his defeated Tag Team Championship partner.

 

Another match that only served the angle, which is also fine. Cody pinned one of the tag champions? I wonder where this could lead…

 

A graphic of CM Punk with his foot on the rope from Raw aired; Cole put over the controversy even though we’ve seen that finish countless times.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Daniel Bryan was in the back looking for Kane; he found his partner still amused at what just happened in the ring. Bryan asked why Kane set off his pyro at the most important time in the match and claimed The Big Red Machine was bitter because he was an inferior singles competitor. Bryan speculated, “you can’t compete your way out of an arena basement, which is exactly where you belong”. Kane told Bryan he belonged in a “petting zoo”; the two argued until they realised someone was watching them. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow were observing from afar, Bryan asked, “what are you looking at?” Cody said the two as Tag Team Champions was a complete joke, while Sandow pontificated, “it looks like this trivial experiment is about to come to a combustible conclusion”. Kane and Bryan took exception to the heels’ statements; the champions became a cohesive unit and even finished each other’s sentences in challenging the heel duo. As Rhodes and Sandow walked off, the Tag Team Champions argued about which one of them was the scariest.

 

Cole and Josh were at ringside; they talked about CM Punk and John Cena then showed footage of the Dusty finish from Night of Champions.

       The Raw Rebound aired; it contained extra footage of Punk yelling at Brad Maddox. The referees and AJ quickly moved Maddox away from Punk; the WWE Champion turned to Paul Heyman and said, “no respect”. Heyman responded with, “I’ve been telling you this for six years”. The package ended with Punk screaming, “my foot was on the rope!”

 

 Cole put over Cena’s elbow surgery and read out a tweet from Cena.

 

Brodus Clay made his entrance, complete with dancers.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Brodus was still dancing in the ring after the break; Heath Slater came out to face The Funkasaurus.

 

Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater

 

Slater did his comical air-guitar gimmick and Brodus immediately hit a body slam; Clay landed a knee lift, but telegraphed a backdrop. Slater connected with a kick, followed by a few shots, however Brodus delivered a T-bone suplex to Slater. Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre made a run in and beat down The Funkasaurus for the disqualification.

 

Brodus Clay defeated Heath Slater, via disqualification; at 1:11. 

 

After the DQ, McIntyre and Mahal hit a double suplex on Brodus and Slater joined in the beatdown. Drew delivered the futureshock DDT then Jinder applied the camel clutch; the three heels then posed over the fallen Funkasaurus, Slater did his goofy air-guitar gimmick again.

 

Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal? I guess it’s time for the annual McIntyre push, which will inevitably end with Drew looking like a complete geek. The Scotsman already has the Mark Henry stigma; he is constantly pushed for a little while, then creative gives up on him and jobs him out. Maybe in ten years or so he will get the World title.

         Mahal and McIntyre do nothing for me as a heel duo; they have been handled so poorly and booked like total losers for months – years in Drew’s case. A programme with Brodus Clay is only going to lead to short matches; I’ve said it before – beating up a dancing fat man whom nobody takes seriously, is no way to get heat.

 

  A graphic of Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow aired.

 

This is where it was going…

 

Commercial Break.

 

A graphic hyping the Jerry Lawler interview coming up on Raw aired; Cole said he couldn’t wait to talk to The King.

 

Santino Marella’s music played and he power-walked his way to the ring; Antonio Cesaro appeared as his opponent.

 

Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro (US Champion) w/ Aksana

 

Santino went for a drop toehold right after the bell, Cesaro no sold the move and just looked at Marella. Antonio landed a European uppercut then a gutwrench suplex and applied a cravat. In an act of complete idiocy, Santino broke the hold with one punch to the stomach, for the start of his comeback. Marella delivered a hip toss and his goofy falling headbutt spot, before going for The Cobra; Aksana distracted the puppet, which led to a cheap shot from Cesaro. Antonio threw the puppet on the mat then caught Marella with a flapjack/European uppercut combination and made the cover, however Aksana had attempted to grab The Cobra; she fell inside the ring and sold her knee. Cesaro yelled at her to get out of the ring, as she had distracted the referee; Santino rolled up the US Champion for the three count.

 

Santino Marella defeated Antonio Cesaro, via pinfall; at 1:49.

 

After the bout, Josh said Santino maybe next in line for a title shot; Cesaro was furious and grabbed the mic. He said something to Aksana in five different languages, the last being in English; he said, “we’re finished”. As Cesaro walked off, Aksana did her best to appear upset.

 

 This was a strange booking decision; why would they take the pretty girl away from Cesaro so quickly? He is hardly over enough for this to get any sympathy and a heel with a pretty valet has worked for decades. Furthermore, Santino pinning the US Champion is not a good move. Cesaro has beat him numerous times; if the WWE want Antonio to get over then saddling him with comedy geeks is not going to work.

 

A graphic of Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow rolled, it said the match was next.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Cody and Damien were already in the ring; Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel, The Prime Time Players and The Uso’s were around ringside. Cole said they were there to scout the champions. Daniel Bryan’s came out and his partner Kane soon followed. Cole put over the champion’s dysfunctional relationship then said they could lose the belts at anytime.

 

Even in a non-title match? 

 

Non-title match: Kane & Daniel Bryan (Tag Team Champions) vs. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow

 

Kane showed his power early, until Cody tagged Sandow; The Big Red Machine brought Damien in the hardway and delivered a short-arm clothesline for a two count. After a snapmare and a basement dropkick, Bryan made the blind tag then took Cody down with a drop toehold. Following an arm-ringer Bryan faked a tag to his partner, yelled, “No” and hit some kicks to the torso of Rhodes.

           Cody shoved Bryan into his partner, which sent Kane off the apron to the floor; Rhodes landed the disaster kick for a two count, while Sandow sent Kane into the barricade. Damien got the tag and worked over Bryan in the heel’s corner; the referee admonished Sandow but Cody didn’t act like a heel and neglected to attack the Tag Team Champion behind the official’s back.  Rhodes got the tag then applied a hammerlock to his opponent; Bryan fought out of the hold, prior to a double crossbody spot.

            Both men got the tag to their partner; Kane came in with shots to Sandow and drilled Rhodes, who fell from the apron. The Big Red Monster landed a DDT and set up for a chokeslam; Cole called the champions, “a bipolar tag team”. Damien fought out of the chokeslam, but was quickly caught again; Cody came in and nailed Kane with a chairshot to the back for the disqualification.

 

Kane & Daniel Bryan defeated Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow at 4:06, via disqualification.

 

After the bell, Bryan disarmed Rhodes of the weapon and Kane hit him with an uppercut; Bryan set up to deliver a chairshot to Cody, but he paused then smiled at his partner. Kane smiled back and received the chair from Bryan, who went to the outside to get his own chair, while The Big Red Machine drilled Rhodes across the back. The Tag Team Champions took turns with chairshots to Sandow; Bryan seemed to work his shots after a while, unlike Kane who wore out poor Damien.

             Following the destruction of Sandow, Kane went to the outside and began to throw every member of each team into the ring; Bryan drilled all of them with the chair. Kane returned to the ring; the Tag Champions then proceeded to kill everyone with chairshots and the crowd went crazy for the violence. Cole put over the therapy buddies working together without the help of Dr. Shelby; after the decimation of the tag division, Bryan and Kane argued about who was the Tag Team Champions.

 

The match was fine and the DQ finish means we’ll probably get a rematch on Raw or next Friday. WWE often has an angle that runs through the whole show, however I particularly enjoyed this one, because the Tag belts rarely get more than one segment. This whole show was based around the champions, which was truly refreshing. If Kane & Bryan continue to get over as babyfaces, the likelihood of seeing them wrestle Mysterio & Sin Cara diminishes. The champions have a great dynamic and the crowd loves the hug it out gimmick; it got over big when they worked together to kill all the other teams. I fear Rey and the heat-killer Sin Cara would be overshadowed, unless Kane & Bryan went all out heel. .

             Since it appears Del Rio will not be challenging Sheamus again at Hell in a Cell, the WWE only has two real options to run with: a heel Randy Orton or a returning Big Show. Personally I would rather see Del Rio get the shot than Big Show; if they turn Orton then who would be the number two babyface?

          Overall the show went through a range of horrible, to great stuff. Barring the two tag matches and the set up bouts for the mainevent the wrestling was awful. What happened to Wade Barrett? Did creative forget about his promo last week, where he said someone would get to sample his product? I suppose they could be saving it to kill time on Monday.

         Orton & Sheamus vs. Del Rio & Ziggler was by far the best match on the show and as I already mentioned, the Kane & Bryan stuff was really enjoyable. Everything else came across like Night of the comedy geeks and undercarders.

 

Next Week’s Issue


Next week we cover (hopefully) some more New Japan, SmackDown, Impact, RAW, A Cena Update, the final part of Observer Hall of Fame discussion and so much more! Stay tuned to the site for more updates and the 50th issue survey.

 

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Ben Carass’s Twitter Account: @BenDosCarass

 

 

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