Cubed Circle Newsletter #51: Terrible RAW Rating (Again), Impact (More Aces & Eights Stupidity), NXT, SmackDown and More!

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Cubed Circle Newsletter


This week we cover: RAW, another dreadful rating, Impact with (yet again) Aces & Eights wackiness and Ben Carass covers SmackDown and NXT.

 

I am pleased to announce that there are going to be some big changes coming up for the site and newsletter within the next few months. The surveys have already started to come in and there definitely seems to be a trend in regard to what people want. If you want to contribute to the site you can still fill the survey in at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VKHCNMQ or simply http://tiny.cc/ccw50surv.

 

More Bad News for RAW Rating

 

The October 1st edition of Monday Night RAW, this Monday, did the lowest non-holiday rating for RAW in the last 15 years. It did a 2.54 rating or 3.5 million viewers. This was a decline of over a half a million values from last week’s 4.05 million viewers. It went up against a really strong football game in the Chicago Bears versus the Dallas Cowboys which did an 11.95 or 16.17 million viewers, up from last week’s game which did an 11.58 or 15.52 million viewers.

 

While it is true that the NFL game greatly affected the RAW rating over the past few weeks, RAW has been up against very strong football games before and that was at a time when RAW had to go up against Nitro and Monday Night Football (granted, there were more wrestling fans at that time).This indicates that it is more than the NFL that is the problem – three hours is just too long.

 

 It is obvious and most people will agree that the three hour show is too long and that I bringing down ratings. The segments that used to gain a huge amount of viewers such as the overrun and 10PM segment aren’t as reliable. This is because we are getting a three hour show, but at the same time we are not.

 

What I mean by this is in length we are getting a three hour long show, but there isn’t enough interesting content to fill up that amount of time. Your average fan is perfectly content with their two hours or one and a half hours of wrestling a week and for the ones that were not there was always SmackDown. Now we are just overloaded with content, the large majority of which is heavily diluted.

 

Cena was also not on the show, which almost certainly detracted from the rating in one way or another; however there is no possible way that just taking Cena off of the show would have resulted in this rating. In modern times once a rating dropped with Cena not on the show or as a general decline, the WWE would change the title. Luckily for Punk and everyone else Hell in a Cell is still a few weeks away and Punk is doing relatively well in his segments.

 

There were a few surprises on the show, the biggest being the Slater and Marella match gaining just under a quarter of a million viewers, which was certainly surprising. However, it was probably just one of those unexplainable things were the rating rises for a certain segment or certain person, but it can’t be repeated – an anomaly.

 

The opening segment, which was the Paul Heyman/CM Punk/Ziggler/Vickie Guerrero/AJ confrontation opened with a 2.74 down from last week’s opening segment which did a 2.99. The second quarter this week was also down by a very large margin from last week’s 2.59 (which, really wasn’t the greatest to begin with) to a 2.37 this week.

 

Things got even worse when the segment that in theory is supposed to draw the highest, the closing segment, did the lowest non-holiday quarter in 15 years – a 2.29 rating. This compared to last week’s rating of 2.74 in the closing segment was absolutely abysmal. At least last week there were the same amount of viewers present for the opening and closing segments, compared to this week’s show.

Whilst no Cena, football and the move to three probably all contributed to the rating in some way, another reason for the decline over the past few weeks would almost certainly be the lack of announced matches or segments before the show.

 

It really isn’t much of a surprise that nothing was really announced before hand, given the fact that they get the script out so late. That is one of the biggest problems when it comes to week to week booking. You don’t know where you are going and if you don’t know there is no way that you can let the audience know where they are supposed to go.

 

The one faint silver lining to come out of this show was that Punk has proven that he can, at least to some extent; hold up his segments even with a lack of Cena on the show. Last week his segment with Foley gained 877,000 viewers and this week his segment with Ross also gained a large amount for the highest rated quarter on the show – it gained 461,000 viewers to a 2.89 rating.

 

WWE are going to have to make a change of some sort if they want to improve the rating over the coming months. They still have some ways to go before their contract is up with the USA Network, with their contract only coming to an end in late 2014.

 

It isn’t like WWE are in any real danger at all, but falling ratings aren’t a positive for the company and once ratings begin to fall over a long period of time it is difficult to bring them back up again. That is why they will probably make the move back to two hours in a year or so. It is in the best interest for them and the network, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

 

It was the USA Network after all that wanted the WWE to make the move in the first place and has been pressuring them for some time now, because the WWE always performs at or above the network average for their time slot.

 

Who knows, maybe in three years time the WWE will have such a great collection of hot young stars that it will be in their best interest to move back. However, as of right now, in a climate where wrestling isn’t at its hottest and they only have a few top guys – three hours is just too long.

 

WWE Monday Night RAW October 1st 2012

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 

Overall Thoughts

 

RAW was fine this week, it really wasn’t as good as last Monday’s RAW, but that really isn’t much of a surprise. Apart from the Punk segment and a small amount of Ryback progression it was a nothing show. Punk came off as a big star, as he has been doing over the past couple of weeks. However, this did not reflect in the ratings, but then again three hours really is just too long. Speaking of going too long the Sandow/Sheamus match did go too long and started to drag after a while. It helped establish Sandow to a certain extent, but that could have been done in a shorter amount of time. The AJ story throughout the show was immensely stupid and nonsensical. The same could be said for the debate, which wasn’t awfully bad, but just long and drawn out, and that is bad for a segment that didn’t really accomplish anything.

 

As a whole this was a mediocre show and that was probably due to RAW just being too long and it isn’t like that is just a creative conclusion either – the ratings are dwindling too. If they want to make the three hour show viable something is going to have to change and I just don’t see that happening – a revert back to two hours is necessary at this point

 

CM Punk and Paul Heyman came out to kick the show off. Punk recapped on Cena attacking him from behind with his back turned. His said it was the actions of a cowardly man. He said he was walking backstage looking for a doctor when Foley gave him a disrespectful look. Foley was not man enough to tell him what he thought so he “kicked him like the dog he [was]” and showed him that Punk was the WWE champion. He said that Foley wouldn’t be able to say anything derogatory to Rock, Cena or Steve Austin, but he showed Punk disrespect by saying something to him. He told the people that they were showing him disrespect. However, he did listen to a bit of what Foley said. He thought about his stance on his match with Cena over the past week and discussed what Foley said about his legacy. That is why he announced that at Hell in a Cell he would not face Cena.

 

The mic was passed to Heyman. He said they wanted to move on to another relevant piece of business and they played the clip of AJ slapping Heyman. AJ’s music started to play, but it stopped, once again another cue error in the opening segment. He said she violated an agreement with the WWE Board of Directors. He quoted it saying that AJ was not able to put her hands on a superstar, manager or any other person ever again. Heyman then said that she should be removed as GM right then and there. Heyman said that he wanted to lead RAW, because he had the experience.

 

This led to Vickie coming out. She said that if anyone had been a victim of AJ it was her and Ziggler. Ziggler almost lost his briefcase and she still didn’t have full range of movement in her neck. She aired a clip of AJ slapping her from a couple of months ago. Heyman said it was about Punk, but she interrupted. She said she was Vickie Guerrero and Ziggler was the future champion. Heyman wanted Vickie to follow Heyman’s lead. Ziggler said it was all AJ’s fault and suggested that Heyman and Vickie team up as the GMs of RAW. AJ’s actual music hit and she came down to the ring, skipping and happy.

 

She said that she was on probation. She slapped Heyman, but thought that they would make an exception for a “worm like excuse for a man” like Heyman. She was appointed a coach to help with her issues and Bryan’s music hit. He came out in all his glory. It was only until about halfway through the show that I realized he was not her coach.

 

He screamed saying he just wanted to apologize. Bryan said that AJ’s issues were compounded by the fact that he dumped her after Mania. He said that he was “one hell of a catch”. He screamed that he was handsome and that he had a great beard and that he was a former world champion. However, now he was the tag team champions. Kane’s music hit and he came down to the ring.

 

Kane said that everyone forgot to mention an important fact about AJ, she was a great kisser. He said that everything Bryan said was true except he was the tag team champions. Their argument caused an argument between Punk and Ziggler too. AJ screamed “stop it!” which led to silence. She said it was her show and what she said went. She said that CM Punk and Ziggler would face Kane and Bryan (later on in the night, but she neglected to mention that fact).

 

I didn’t really care for the opening segment. It started off fine and when Bryan came out I thought the segment worked to a certain extent. However, all of the screaming and wackiness after that simply didn’t cut it. At some point there are just too many interruptions, in the case of this segment they all had one common tie, which was AJ, however it got really redundant after a while.

 

1. Number One Contender’s Tournament Round One

Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Primo & Epico

 

Mysterio and Sin Cara were wearing matching red, white and blue masks with matching attire. Epico went after Cara, but Cara was able to land a head scissors and springboard armdrag. Mysterio was thrown in and he landed a head scissors sending Epico to the outside. Cara was thrown into Epico with a hurricanrana, Cara landed it perfectly, but Epico got stuck in the ropes. The Prime Time Players music hit, albeit to late to look decent stopping dual pescados from Mysterio and Cara. They sat on the entrance ramp. After the break Primo landed a dropkick to the gut of Sin Cara.  Cara landed a sunset flip, but Epico tagged himself in. Cara landed a tilt-o-whirl DDT on Epico and was able to make the tag to Mysterio who ran wild on Primo. He landed a seated senton from the top followed by a tilt-o-whirl inverted DDT, but Epico ran in to break it up. Cara was able to land a springboard highkick setting up the double 619. This led to Cara landing a splash to the outside and Mysterio landing his splash from the top rope for the win.

 

A graphic was brought up for the Big Show/Sheamus debate and how people could send in their questions.

 

2. Antonio Cesaro vs. Brodus Clay

 

Clay landed an exploder out of the corner, but he was hung up on the top rope by Cesaro. He landed a headbutt, Cesaro landed some elbows and Clay landed a splash in the corner. Cesaro then landed springboard uppercut and neutralizer on Clay for the win! Just like that Clay was beaten and nobody reacted. I suppose they have Ryback now so they don’t need to giants that don’t lose. Still, Cesaro looked more impressive than he ever has in the WWE coming out of this match.

 

Kaitlyn was approached by AJ backstage. She introduced a man that was following her to evaluate her performance. AJ wanted to talk about their relationship. She said their relationship went sour and she was sorry that she judged Kaitlyn’s judgment. She asked for Kaitlyn to forgive her and then burst out laughing. Number one, isn’t AJ supposed to be a babyface? And number two is why would AJ possibly act like that in front of the evaluator?

 

3. The Miz vs. Zack Ryder

 

Ryder landed a flapjack and a dropkick. Miz responded with a boot out of the corner and some stomps to a grounded Ryder. Miz landed a couple of knees to the gut, but Ryder responded with a missile dropkick. He landed a running forearm and landed the Broski boot in the corner for the count of two. Miz landed a bucklebomb and the skull crushing finale for the win.

 

Booker T came out for the debate. Big Show came out in a big suit, the same could not be said for Sheamus, who came out in plain ring gear. Booker T said it was traditional to open with an opening statement. They started with Big Show. Big Show said the debate was ridiculous, so he went through the scenario at Hell in a Cell and said that he would be the next world heavyweight champion. Sheamus got a cheap pop and asked Big Show not to rip his leg off, because he would need it to kick his teeth in.

 

Booker T started reading tweets. He wanted to know what the most challenging aspect of their opponent was. Sheamus looked forward to the fight and he had never seen anyone as impressive as the Big Show. His concern was that the match wouldn’t last 45 seconds. He made some BO jokes. Big Show said he was a hygienic giant and he told Sheamus to stop being a funny guy. The next question asked which move was more dangerous. Each man obviously chose his own. Sheamus talked about Big Show and how it took 45 seconds for Bryan to beat him. Big Show broke his podium accidentally and amazingly said that it was because he was overweight. Sheamus said they needed to get serious with a tout.  He showed a tout from “Rey Mysterio Sullivan”, which was Sheamus under a mask. Big Show freaked out again. Sheamus wanted to know how it felt to lose the title in 45 seconds. This led to a stern face-off and both men removing their jackets. Big Show then rolled out of the ring.

 

This segment was just so dragged out and although it would have been every debate segment ever they really could have just had Big Show wreck the set. That would be better than just having both men go back and forth in such a drawn out and uninteresting segment.

 

4. Ryback vs. Tensai

 

Tensai knocked Ryback down, but he sprung back up smiling. They had a New Japan style elbow exchange. Tensai grabbed Ryback and went for a clothesline, but Ryback landed a snap powerslam. Tensai blocked a belly to belly suplex and Ryback responded with a big lariat. He attempted to get Tensai up, but couldn’t. He got him up, but dropped him back down again. This led to Ryback yelling “Stupid!”. Ryback then landed a clothesline for the win. After the match Ryback yelled “stupid” at Tensai once again. I guess everyone wanted to see the Tensai finish again, because it really was impressive the first time – it’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out that way on Monday.

 

Rhodes and Sandow were backstage. Sandow talked about Sheamus’ attire and that is why Sandow and Rhodes wanted to demonstrate the correct attire for champions when they won the tag titles. They then called Sheamus a Neanderthal. They showed a graphic for Jim Ross appreciation night and said that people should stick around to see who would show up, which was probably a result of last week’s rating.

 

5. Eve vs. Beth Phoenix

 

Eve apologized to Phoenix, Phoenix accepted the hand, but then pulled Eve in with a takedown. Phoenix went after Eve in the post, but went shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Phoenix was thrown against the barricade on the outside and slid back in. Phoenix landed an atomic drop and clothesline for two. Phoenix landed an elbow and Eve sold the eye, but then landed a neckbreaker for the win.

 

AJ greeted Barrett backstage. She introduced her “executive coach”, Barrett said he was glad that someone was teaching her to do her job, because he wasn’t on the show. He said she was a terrible boss, because she blew hot and cold and he never knew what she was thinking. He then gave her a piece of advice saying that she shouldn’t let her relationships get in the way of her job. Ross then said that someone should call an audible. They showed JBL climbing mount Kilimanjaro.

 

6. Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater

 

Slater was with his parade of geeks. They did some comedy and Slater knocked Marella down with an elbow. Slater landed a leg lariat for two and went to the top, but Marella landed a boot. Marella messed up a kip up landing on the back of his head. He ran wild landing some armdrags and landed the cobra. However McIntyre and Mahal stormed the ring for a beat down.  McIntyre then landed his double underhook DDT. Slater grabbed a mic. McIntyre said he was still the chosen one, Mahal said he was the maharaja and Slater said he was the one man band.

 

7. Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow

 

Rhodes was on commentary. Sandow went after the arm of Sheamus, but Sheamus quickly went after the arm of Sandow. Sheamus landed a shoulderblock and knee to the gut. He grabbed Sandow by the beard, but Sandow left the ring. After the break Sandow was in the ring, but ran into the crowd. Sheamus was distracted by Rhodes and Sandow landed a clothesline over the barricade. Sandow locked in a headlock, but he was caught with a knee to the gut and clothesline for two. Sandow landed some shoulders in the corner and a snapmare. He took Sheamus back to the mat. Sheamus fought back with some knees, but Sheamus landed a leg sweep and elbow. He landed a shot to the face of Sheamus and went straight back to the headlock. Sheamus was caught with a drop-toe-hold and knee to the back for two followed by a head scissors. Sheamus fought back with some shots and went to the top, but he was cut off by Sheamus who landed a knee. Sandow went back to the crossface. Sheamus was dropped out to the floor and went straight back to the headlock. Sheamus fought out with a back suplex and landed a big knee followed by a rolling senton. Sheamus was hung up again however and Sandow landed a neckbreaker for two. Sheamus fought back with a boot and diving shoulder block for two. Sheamus went for the over the shoulder belly to back piledriver, but Sandow reversed and attempted to flee the ring. However, he was caught by Sheamus with the clubbing blows to the chest of Sandow. Sandow however dropped to the outside and Sheamus threw Rhodes into the ring and landed a double brogue kick for the win.

 

The match did a great job of building Sandow and went around 14 minutes which is ten minutes more than I would have expected. I don’t think that having Rhodes getting kicked too was the best idea, it just didn’t make him look all that great. Still this was a productive match with Sandow looking good.

 

Michael Cole brought Jim Ross out. He said he had been the voice of the company for three decades – a lie. Ross was about to start speaking when he was interrupted by Punk and Heyman, which was fine since there was an actual legitimate Ross appreciation night after the show.

 

Punk told Cole to get out of the ring while Heyman lifted the belt about Punk’s head. Punk asked for the crowd to chant JR, they did. Punk said Ross was the best announcer they had and he respected Ross and so did the people. However, he told the people they didn’t know anything about respect. He told the fans that it was them who turned their back on him. He wanted JR to help him teach everyone about respect, by telling everyone that he was the best in the world.

 

Ross was happy that Punk never came out to embarrass him, because he said that Punk had embarrassed himself over the past few weeks on TV. Punk said he couldn’t say that he wasn’t disappointed in JR. He said JR treated him like the people do. Punk asked what would happen if he treated him the same way that he treated Foley. He wanted to know who would come to his rescue. He mimicked Foley’s Stone Cold line. Punk said Lawler and Austin weren’t there to help him and 3:16 now belonged to him, because that was the amount of days he held the championship for. It belonged to him just like JR did. He said JR had to tell them that he was the best, he demanded that Ross say it. Ross said that he wouldn’t. JR said he was able to call some of the best matches with the best in the world with people like Michaels, Triple H and Undertaker. He said that Austin and all of those men didn’t ask to be called the best in the world, but if they did they could because they earned it. Ross told Punk to kick Cena’s ass, because then Ross would say that Punk was the best in the world, but until then they had nothing to talk about.

 

Punk removed his jacket and removed JR’s hat and stomped on it. Punk said he wouldn’t run away from him and he made a sport reference for some cheap heat. He said that inside the squared circle men fight and don’t run and he never will, but if one man was to run it should be Ross. He said that he would hurt Ross and make sure that he never commentates ever again. He said that he would fight Punk or leave. Ross started to leave, but was grabbed by Punk. He wouldn’t let him go back to the desk and spew his lies on commentary, because he should have asked which way Punk wanted him to go. Punk said that Ross couldn’t commentate again for the rest of the night, because he wanted to see him walk away. He wanted to see him turn his back on him, but he had to be walking. Ross started walking and Punk called him a joke. Ross started walking and Ryback came down, which got a big pop.

 

Ryback and Punk faced off as the crowd chanted “feed me more”. This led to Punk leaving the world. Heyman shouted “show him you are the best in the world” and he lifted the belt above his head. Once again, the Punk segment was far and away the best thing on the show this week.

 

8. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston

 

Del Rio landed a kick and Ricardo was on commentary. Del Rio was sent to the floor and Kingston landed a springboard splash. After the break Ricardo was babbling in Spanish. He said that it was three against one. Kingston landed some big slaps and a dropkick followed by the boom drop. Del Rio ducked trouble in paradise, Kingston missed a springboard splash, which allowed Del Rio to land some kicks in the corner. He locked in a sloppy cross armbreaker for the win.

 

AJ’s evaluator was talking to her backstage. He said that she had to learn to be a leader by putting away her personal decisions to make the best show possible. She said they should have something special that night, because she wanted a special  guest referee and it would be her evaluator. She said she didn’t need a coach and told him to get out of her arena.

 

Before the match started AJ came out in a referee uniform as special guest referee.

 

9. CM Punk & Dolf Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane

 

Kane landed a couple of shots in the corner followed by a legdrop for two. Kane missed a splash in the corner, but was able to knock Ziggler to the outside. After the break Ziggler had a headlock on Kane. Ziggler landed a dropkick for two and pushed Bryan. This allowed Kane to tag in Bryan. He whipped Bran into the running dropkick and Bryan tagged Kane back in who came in with a flying dropkick. Ziggler landed a leaping dropkick. Punk was tagged in and he landed the knee in the corner, but Kane pushed Punk into the turnbuckle and landed a sideslam. Kane landed the clothesline from the top, but Bryan tagged himself in and went for the diving headbutt, but he was caught with a dropkick from Punk. Bryan landed a big clothesline and unloaded with the no kicks. He knocked Ziggler off the turnbuckle, but Punk landed a superkick for two. Ziggler landed a kick to the gut and sent Bryan to the outside. Bryan was thrown into the barricade by Ziggler on the outside and he was thrown back into the ring. Bryan landed a jawbreaker, but the tag was made to Punk who went to the top. He was however cut off by Bryan who landed a super release double underhook DDT into the no lock. Heyman pointed out the Punk’s foot on the rope this led to AJ sending Heyman to the back. Vickie was also sent out. This led to Ziggler chasing after Vickie. Punk was then caught with a flying dropkick and the tag was made to Kane who landed the chokeslam for the win. Bryan and Kane of course bickered after the match.

 

WWE NXT – October 3rd 2012.

Full Sail University, Florida.

Ben Carass.

 

A video recap of last week’s Kassius Ohno/Richie Steamboat match began the show; the footage showed Steamboat hooking an inside cradle for a three count and Ohno’s attack from behind on the babyface.

 

Kassius was shown entering the building, when Briley Pierce approached the heel to question him about the assault after the match last week.  Ohno said, “All I did was teach Junior a lesson that his father would have taught him, if he were actually home”. Kassius claimed to have done Richie a “favour”, at which point Steamboat jumped Ohno from behind and commenced with a beatdown. Steamboat remarked, “My father taught me enough” then walked away.

 

 Byron Saxton gave his usual welcome to the show after the intro package and stated tensions were, “at an all time high between Richie Steamboat and Kassius Ohno”.

 

Drew McIntyre’s Titan-tron video indicated The Chosen One was about to enter the arena; Drew came out to a mild face pop, as Saxton put over the cast on McIntyre’s arm. Byron alleged a “fractured wrist”, which was caused during a match in the Gold Rush Tournament. Richie Steamboat appeared to face the Scotsman; the babyface engaged the ringside audience with high-fives before entering the ring.

 

Richie Steamboat vs. Drew McIntyre

 

Steamboat scored a quick rollup following a collar and elbow that garnered a one count; Drew created some distance by rolling to the apron but upon returning to the ring, was swiftly caught in an armbar from Richie. McIntyre caused a rope-break and took advantage of the referee’s position to nail Steamboat with a cheap shot then followed up with a shoulder tackle. Following an under/over transition and a second messy transition, Richie connected with a dropkick before going for the old ten punch deal in the corner. McIntyre countered, but ate a chop and was set up for the spot again; Drew shut down the crowd pleasing spot once more then shot Steamboat to the opposite turnbuckle. Richie attempted a reverse leapfrog out of the corner, however McIntyre drilled him with a boot to the stomach for a two count.

               Drew began to get the heat on the babyface; the Scot landed a snap suplex then applied an abdominal stretch from a grounded position. Steamboat fought up only to be sent through the ropes, to the apron by a forearm; Richie executed a sunset flip for the hope and got a two count.  McIntyre quickly shut down his foe and delivered the Brummagem bump for a count of two. William Regal mentioned the move’s originator, English grappling hero Pat Roach.  Drew attempted the manoeuvre for a second time and it appeared Steamboat tried to counter into a hurricanrana; unfortunately Richie was unable to hook his legs in the correct position and consequently ended up taking an awkward bump. As this was supposed to be start of his comeback Steamboat attempted to cover the botch with some shots to the heel; another sloppy transition later and Richie hit a superkick.

               The pair seemed to lose the crowd at this point, luckily Kassius Ohno ran down to ringside, which got the people back.  As the referee implored Ohno to return to the locker room, McIntyre took advantage and smashed Steamboat in the back of the head with his cast; Drew then finished off Richie with the futureshock DDT for the three count.

 

After the fall, Regal said Drew, “utilised the power of the punch” and Ohno mocked the defeated Steamboat on the ramp.

 

Drew McIntyre defeated Richie Steamboat via pinfall, at 4:26.

 

These two guys didn’t work well together on this given night. Their transitions were far from crisp and blowing the comeback is always going to lead to disaster. I wonder if Saxton got Regal’s reference to his old brass knux knockout.

 

 A graphic hyping Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. The Ascension as the main event rolled.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Big E. Langston came out after the break; he added a new dimension to his entrance with the help of some weightlifter’s chalk. Fans chanted, “Five count” as Saxton put over the gimmick; Regal also mentioned King Kong Bundy as the original master of the five count.  Aiden English was already in the ring, waiting for the match.

 

Big E. Langston vs. Aiden English

 

 Big E. no sold three shots from English at the bell then scored with some knee strikes; Langston delivered a backdrop, followed up by a Vader-style tackle. Big E. took his straps down and hit his inverted front powerslam for the three count.

 

Big E. Langston defeated Aiden English via pinfall, at 1:14.

 

Langston demanded the referee counted twice more to make up the five count; the fans chanted, “one more time” and Big E. performed another inverted front powerslam then counted to five himself. Langston hit his finish one more time and repeated the five count gimmick.

 

As a fan of old school wrestling gimmicks and angles, I was pleasantly surprised to see Bundy’s old gimmick used in 2012. However after giving it some thought, I can see some issues going forward for Big E.; the five count is great for Langston’s squashes and makes him appear like a beast. But when the time comes for longer matches with guys higher up on the card, I don’t envisage Leo Kruger or Jinder Mahal looking at the lights for a five count. 

 

A graphic of Kassius Ohno vs. Percy Watson aired.

 

Backstage, Richie Steamboat was looking for Ohno; Richie came across Michael McGillicutty and asked him if he had seen Kassius. McGillicutty replied with an emphatic “no” and the two went in opposite directions down the corridor.

 

A video package hyping WWE Champion CM Punk’s appearance next week rolled.

 

Sadly we will not get to see the much publicised tag match between Punk & Rollins vs. Ohno & Cesaro, which is an horrendous injustice if you ask me.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Michael McGillicutty made his way to the ring after the break; Saxton announced that earlier in the night, McGillicutty was named the number one contender for the NXT championship and will face Seth Rollins next week.

 

This was the first time, we as viewers were told about the title match.

 

McGillicutty got in the ring for a promo; he said Rollins’ first title defence would be his last then called out Seth, whom he called a “paper champion”.  Rollins came down to the ring and told the number one contender, “no one can deny how talented you are, but you make it very easy for us to forget because you run your mouth nonstop”.

 

I don’t recall McGillicutty running his mouth once.

 

McGillicutty informed Seth that he didn’t respect him and he never would; after being labelled a “paper champion” again, Rollins held his belt in the air and stated, “There’s nothing phony about this”.  The NXT Champion then claimed he earned everything he had and, “never had any footsteps to beatdown a path” like McGillicutty. Seth then offered to defend his belt tonight; however the heel left the ring and said, “We’re going to do this when I’m ready, goodbye”.

 

Every WWE show should be an hour, if it means all in-ring promos are this long. Short and to the point:  the babyface was a fighting champion, the heel was arrogant – simple. McGillicutty did come across a little wooden but for a four minutes segment it was tolerable.

 

A graphic hyping Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. The Ascension aired.

 

Footage of Briley Pierce with Kidd and Gabriel in an empty NXT arena aired; Briley asked for the team’s thoughts about the “huge main event”. Tyson explained they were aware how good The Ascension are in the ring then stated, “The main thing that makes a tag team is trust”.  Kidd claimed he and Gabriel trusted each other and that is why they were former WWE Tag Team Champions.

 

Kidd conveniently omitted the fact they have never been champions together.

 

Tyson then stated, “Tonight we will bring the fight to them”; Gabriel described the heel team as “dark” and “mysterious” then said he and Kidd were the “exact opposite”. At this point the Ascension’s music hit and their gimmick lighting was deployed; Kidd, Gabriel and Pierce scanned the empty arena but saw nothing. Suddenly the camera zoomed in on The Ascension, who stood high above on a balcony, starring down the babyfaces.

 

Commercial Break.

 

 Percy Watson appeared for his match with Kassius Ohno following the commercials. During Ohno’s entrance, Richie Steamboat jumped the heel from behind; Richie had to be restrained by several referees at ringside. Regal called the assault, “uncalled for”, “dastardly” and “unsportsmanlike”. Ohno got back to his feet then stumbled into the ring, selling the attack.

 

Percy Watson vs. Kassius Ohno

 

Kassius jumped Watson at the bell, but Percy hit back with a back heel kick after a drop down/leapfrog transition.  Percy fired some shots then delivered a slam; after a series of stomps, Watson connected with a leg drop for a two count. Ohno cut off the babyface shine with a modified neckbreaker and began getting the heat; Percy showed some fight but was cut off by a forearm.

           Watson landed an inverted atomic drop, proceeded by a couple of dropkicks and the Showtime splash for a two count; Percy whipped Kassius to the buckle, but was caught coming in with a big knee. Ohno scored with his roaring elbow to the back of the head for the victory.

Kassius Ohno defeated Percy Watson; at 3:19, via pinfall.

 

A basic match, not much else to say; Kassius was solid, but he is every week. The Ohno/Steamboat feud looks to be continuing for a while, which is great; their match last week was very good.

 

 A graphic of Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. The Ascension rolled.

 

Commercial Break.

 

The Ascension hit the arena after the break; Saxton noted they had the “most ominous and awe-inspiring entrance in NXT”. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel were out next; Jim Ross joined the announce team for the main event.

 

Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. The Ascension

 

The babyface team controlled the early stage of the match; they executed a double hip toss on Cameron. Gabriel went for a hurricanrana but was unsuccessful; Justin then attempted an O’Connor roll, however Cameron countered with a back elbow and delivered a release overhead German suplex.

 

Commercial Break.

 

O’Brian worked over Gabriel for the false heat then went for another German; Justin rolled under a clothesline to reach his corner for the tag. Tyson came in with fire and landed a dropkick to the side of the head; Kidd went to the apron, where he drilled Cameron then scored with a springboard dropkick to O’Brian. Conor rolled to the outside, where he blocked a baseball slide and dumped Tyson on the floor; Kidd took a hard flat back bump after a forearm, before being tossed back in the ring.

         The heels worked over Kidd in their half of the ring and made frequent tags. Cameron applied a reverse chinlock with a body scissors; Tyson tried to fight out, but was dragged to the heel’s corner. O’Brian tagged in and locked in his own body scissors; Cameron made another quick tag back in to continue the heat.  Kidd took a European uppercut then showed some fight, however the babyface was trapped in the heels’ corner and O’Brian made the tag in. The Ascension went for a double team backdrop; Tyson countered then sent Cameron through the ropes after avoiding a splash in the corner from O’Brian.

            Kidd finally made the hot tag and Gabriel came in with a springboard crossbody on Cameron; Justin hit some kicks followed by a big shoulder block, as Tyson and O’Brian brawled on the floor. Gabriel went for the 450 splash but ate the canvas and Kidd was thrown into the steps on the floor; The Ascension then delivered total elimination for the victory.

 

 

The Ascension defeated Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel via pinfall, at 8:20.

 

The match was decent enough. The heat portion dragged a little for me but everyone worked hard and performed well.

           A peculiar booking decision was made while taping this block of episodes; this show was the first of three to be recorded and Kidd & Gabriel actually went over. All four guys were sent back out during the second episode and re-shot the finish, with The Ascension going over. The crowd were noticeably dead when Gabriel took total elimination; apparently security was told to silence the audience after chants of, “re-shoot” became a problem.

           The show overall was generally good and did a nice job of furthering angles; Steamboat/Ohno will continue and I’ve been looking forward to Rollins/McGillicutty for a while. Some of the in-ring wasn’t great but considering this is a farm system, that is to be expected sometimes.

 

TNA Impact October 4th 2012

Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida

 

Overall Thoughts

 

Considering the fact that TNA only has one more show left before Bound for Glory, this show was not good at all. Both champion and challenger aren’t looking incredibly strong heading into Bound for Glory, which is really inexcusable since they could have even had Bully Ray win the match, but still have both men coming out looking good. The Aces & Eights angle has completely run its course by this point and preparing to electrocute a man on live TV just goes beyond words. The Chavo/Angle match was good as to be expected and Roode cut a really good promo. I liked King Mo and I am glad that he didn’t have a large speaking role yet. He seems like a really determined guy and obviously has a really strong passion for the business – and I respect him for that. Compared to last year and its build I am just not as high on Bound for Glory and unless they pull something really great off on the go-home show; I don’t think they are going to be looking at a very strong buyrate.

 

The show opened up with a talk between Sting and Hogan. Hogan said Sting was leading the battle. He said that TNA would come to an end if they made it into the building! Sting said he would watch every single match that night and see who had enough fire. Hogan said they needed someone with a killer instinct and Hogan said he had Sting’s back.

 

Anderson came out, but instead of doing his normal entrance he said that Sting and Hogan should gather around the monitor for his match. He then proceeded to do his normal entrance. Instead of yelling “Anderson!” a very enthusiastic fan screamed “Anderson!”, so he left it at that.

 

1. Mr. Anderson vs. Gunner

 

Gunner went straight after Anderson. Anderson fought back with a couple of clotheslines and a neckbreaker. He landed an armdrag and dropkick on Gunner, who rolled out to the outside and landed a shot to the back of Anderson on the floor. They cut to a shot of Sting watching the monitor. Gunner landed an elbow for two. He missed a clothesline in the corner, Anderson went for the rolling senton; Gunner got off of his shoulders, but he landed the mic check for the win.

 

After the match Kash attacked Anderson. He beat Anderson down and went for a clothesline, but Anderson cut him off with a mic check. Tara was talking on the phone to her supposed boyfriend. She was approached by Gail Kim and Tara suggested that they and their boyfriends have a dinner. Kim said the only thing she had to worry about was Kim taking the title from her.

 

2. Gail Kim & Tara vs. Miss Tessmacher & ODB

 

ODB landed a splash on Kim in the corner and took her down with a shoulder block. Tessmacher was tagged in and she landed a dropkick and stinkface in the corner. The tag was made to Tara and ODB went after her landing a broncobuster in the corner. ODB landed an elbow on Kim on the apron allowing for Tara and Kim to gain the advantage. Kim landed a running shoulderblock in the corner followed by a clothesline for two. Tara went for a standing moonsault, but ODB got the legs up and made the tag to Tessmacher. Tessmacher ran wild and landed a head scissors and faceplant in the corner. ODB was sent to the outside and landed badly. Tara then shoved Kim into Tessmacher allowing for the widow’s peak for the win. This was a bad match.

 

Pritchard was talking to Snow backstage. They talked vaguely about something or other and then a graphic saying “up next” aired. A video package of the Sow and Ryan situation was shown.

 

Snow came out and brought Joey Ryan out to music. The crowd booed Ryan. Snow said he lost his cool and put himself and TNA in a bad position and that is why he issued an apology to Joey Ryan. Ryan asked for Snow to say that he was sorry. Snow said that he did, but Ryan said that he wanted to hear Snow said that he was sorry. Snow said that he was sorry and offered Ryan a handshake. Ryan told him to get his hands away from him; because he manipulated Snow and the fans. Ryan said that the night was all about him and asked Snow to reveal the other agreement. It was a TNA contract for Ryan. Ryan told Snow to turn around, Snow didn’t want to, but finally he did and Ryan signed the contract on his back. Ryan said that he wanted everyone to welcome him as a wrestler, but Snow said Ryan should have read it. Snow said that it was a one night contract and it was for Bound for Glory. Snow said that his opponent was Snow and he was going to beat his ass in Phoenix, which got a big pop.

 

Angle was talking to Sting. He said he didn’t mind wrestling two matches in one night. Daniels and Kazarian were both spying from behind a door. Sting said that he would think about it. Angle walked off and bumped into Ray. Ray said that he should have been in the Bound for Glory world title match, but he wasn’t because of the Aces & Eights. He wanted them more than anyone and Sting said that if he wanted it he would have to prove it that night. Sting said he should jump someone and prove that he is a Bully. This led to Sting screaming “I need a Bully! I am pissed!”

 

3. TNA Television Title Match

Samoa Joe vs. Rob Van Dam

 

Van Dam locked in some kind of wacky hold that I think was supposed to be a crucifix pin. Joe made it out and landed a leaping highkick following an exchange. Van Dam went for the leg scissors pin, but Joe countered into a crossface. Van Dam made it to the ropes and landed some shots on the outside. However, Joe was able to gain control and throw Van Dam into the steps. Van Dam landed a front kick following by a leaping springboard kick off the ropes and rolling thunder to the back. Van Dam landed a shot to the gut and went for the monkey flip, but Joe countered and perched Van Dam up awkwardly for a splash. Van Dam laid Joe out and went up top for the five star frog splash, but Joe landed the muscle buster for the win. This was a perfectly fine match, although there were quite a few communication issues.

 

Styles was talking to Chavo and Hernandez. They argued about whether Kaz or Styles interfered. Daniels and Kazarian walked by and they attempted to turn Styles on Angle, because he wanted to wrestle twice and didn’t care about their match. Obviously, no one on the roster has a DVR or internet connection. Dixie Carter talked about her favourite Bound for Glory moments and it was Sting winning the TNA title. King Mo was shown walking backstage.

 

Aries was talking to Jeff Hardy backstage. Aries said Hardy stole his victory, but they were fine with each other. Ray came by and said he wouldn’t punch one of them in the face then, but would punch one of them later on. He said he wanted to prove to Sting that he could face the Aces & Eights by beating Hardy. Aries intervened and said he was the TNA world champion. He said he already beat Aries, but Aries wanted the match, because he never beat Aries clean. Hardy then suggested a three-way for later on in the night and told Aries to get ready.

 

4. Kurt Angle vs. Chavo Guerrero

 

Guerrero locked in a headlock, Angle landed a back suplex, but Guerrero held on. Angle stomped Guerrero in the corner, but Guerrero fired back with a couple of uppercuts. Angle landed a backdrop and wore Guerrero down. Angle landed a suplex and locked in a reverse bearhug. Angle landed a great tilt-o-whirl backbreaker and stomped on the shoulder of Guerrero. Guerrero landed a sloppy head scissors followed by a dropkick and senton for two. Angle caught Guerrero with a belly to belly suplex and Guerrero grabbed a rollup for two. Guerrero landed two of the three amigos, before Angle began to land the rolling Germans. He landed all three and locked in the ankle lock, but Guerrero quickly broke free and began to land the three amigos. Guerrero went to the top rope, but Angle moved out of the way of the frog splash and landed the Angle slam. Hernandez then distracted Angle allowing for Guerrero to get the rollup for the win. After the match Angle pushed Guerrero and this led to a conflict between the two babyface teams. Daniels and Kazarian appeared on the entrance ramp, which led to both teams shifting their focus to Daniels and Kazarian. This was a really fun TV match with a finish that really helped build to Bound for Glory.

 

5. X Division Championship Match

Zema Ion vs. Douglas Williams

 

Williams went straight after Ion killing him with some big uppercuts and knocking him to the outside. Williams landed some shots on the outside, but Williams was thrown into the post shoulder first. Williams landed a couple of forearms, but sold the arm. This led to Ion locking in an armbar for the submission, however he would not let go of the hold and therefore Williams was declared the winner. I understand that they wanted to get Ion over as a heel, but having him beat Williams so quickly was such a shame since Williams is a tremendous talent.

 

After the match Ion said he was Sting and Hogan’s first choice to face the Aces & Eights, but he said that he didn’t want to tag with Sting. He didn’t want to put his looks on the line and he said “I am not just f’n pretty, but I’m also f’n dangerous.”

 

They aired a package for King Mo since he signed the whole deal with TNA/Bellator. It was built as though no one had ever wrestled and did MMA at the same time, but that obviously isn’t true.

 

Prichard was talking to D’lo Brown backstage. They showed a clip of Matt Morgan kicking a referee. He shouted at Brown for letting Morgan into the building. He said that Morgan couldn’t be let into the building and it was all D’lo’s fault. This made no sense. Number one why would D-lo have to be the one to throw Morgan out and secondly why would they reveal Morgan when they could have used him as a member of the Aces & Eights – because God knows we need another outsider angle in this company.

 

Storm came out. He said it would be one year since their conflict started at Bound for Glory. At Bound for Glory he didn’t want to prove that he was the better fighter or better wrestler, he wanted to prove that he was the better man. Storm was busy putting over King Mo when Roode came out. Roode said he didn’t care about Mo and neither should Storm. This was because he had to get in the ring with Roode, a man that he had never beaten – a man he had been jealous of for his entire career. He said it was going to explode at Bound for Glory and it wouldn’t be a match it would be a fight. Roode wouldn’t be happy before he ended Storm’s career, leaving him bloody and beaten. He said it would be a blood bath and no one would stop him. He said that Mo wouldn’t be able to get in his way, because it was his world and he was the “it factor” of pro wrestling. He said that if Mo was there right then and there he would say it to his face.

 

Mo came out. Roode pushed Mo, which resulted in Mo pushing Roode down. He continued his way to the ring and Storm lifted his arm. Storm then gave Mo a beer, which he proceeded to spray everywhere.

 

Hogan picked his guy and he wrote down his name. However, Storm wanted to wait until Ray’s match was over, because he saw something in Ray that night. The leader of the Aces & Eights appeared on screen. He prepared to electrocute Park and he said that he was prepared to face anyone that Hogan had and they were all ready to die for the brotherhood. They then presumably electrocuted Park. This angle is ungodly stupid.

 

6. Austin Aries vs. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy

 

After the break Hardy landed a suplex on Ray. Hardy and Aries prepared to go at it, but Ray threw him into the guardrail. Aries landed a crossbody and screamed an expletive that was cut out. Hardy landed a flying leg lariat in the corer and followed it with the leg drop to the groin. He then landed the stunner twist of fate and went to the top rope. He landed the swanton, but was thrown out by Aries who locked in the last chancery. They both faced off and the fans were vehemently behind Hardy. Hardy was sent to outside by Ray who then dropped Aries onto him. Aries hung Ray up on the top rope and landed a dropkick for two. He landed a flying dropkick in the corner and went for the brainbuster. However, Ray clawed at the eyes of Aries. Ray looked for his chain and shouted “b*tch” when he couldn’t find it. He then laid Aries out with the belt and landed a Bubba bomb on Hardy for the win. After the match Aries and Hardy faced off. They traded poses, but Hardy got the better of it and this caused Aries to roll out.

 

I know that they were trying to have Ray come out strong and build up the tension between the two, but this really wasn’t the way to do it. Both men just really aren’t looking all that great going into Bound for Glory and it is really important that Aries and Hardy look good going in, which doesn’t seem like it is going to happen based on this being the penultimate Impact before Bound for Glory.

 

Hogan talked about how personal the feud had gotten between himself and the Aces & Eights. He said they really had to worry about the “Sting mon”. He talked about everyone that wanted a shot, but he said they needed someone that could get the job done. This is why they chose Mr. Anderson.

 

However, he was attacked outside of the Impact Zone by the Aced & Eights. Bully Ray ran in and told them that Anderson was the wrong choice. He said he was more of a warrior than anyone else and it wanted them more than anyone else. He said that the fans, Sting and Hogan needed him. This resulted in the crowd chanting “we want Devon!”. He wanted Sting to convince Hogan and Sting agreed. He asked for Hogan to shake his hand and Hogan accepted the hand shake, which resulted in boos.

 

I really don’t understand the point of having Ray basically beat your number one contender and world heavyweight champion and then be the second choice. Surely that would counteract defeating a Gunner and giving a mic check to Kid Kash – just a thought. Also Ray didn’t even receive a strong reaction towards the end in either direction as the fans were too busy chanting for Devon. Overall, this was just a bad closing segment.

 

WWE SmackDown, October 5th 2012.

Bank of OklahomaCentre – Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ben Carass.

After the tiresome intro package, Lilian Garcia introduced the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship; The Big Show came out as Josh Matthews made his customary welcome to the viewers. Show got in the ring for a promo and said he had a chance to be the World Champion in four weeks at Hell in a Cell; the giant stated Sheamus showed his confidence on Raw by joking around during the horrendous debate segment. Big Show assumed Sheamus had a plan and remarked, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” then mentioned it was the first one-on-one match between the two. Show claimed the World Champion would join a very elite group of victims.

A video package of Big Show hitting WMDs and chokeslams on lots of different guys aired.

Show noted the package included: a hall of famer, the first undisputed champion, a nine-time World champion, the best in the world and the franchise, then claimed the one thing they had in common was being punched right in the mouth.

        Sheamus interrupted his challenger at Hell in a Cell and entered the ring; he informed Big Show, the title match at the PPV was the “biggest fight” of his life. Sheamus then told Show he came out to look him right in the eye and to say “may the best man win”; the World Heavyweight Champion then stuck out his hand, but The Big Show shook his head and left the ring. The Great White brought up Daniel Bryan cashing in Money in the Bank last year at TLC.

 

Footage of Show beating Mark Henry, then Bryan cashing in rolled.

 

Conveniently, the video was all set up and ready to roll; Sheamus must have known Show wasn’t in a hand shaking mood.

 

Footage of Sheamus winning the title at WrestleMania XXVIII aired.

 

Six months on and it still infuriates me.

 

Big Show made his way back into the ring then stuck out his hand to Sheamus; the World champ blew off the handshake and walked right past Show, whom was left appearing livid in the ring.

 

If you compare the opening segment with the first segment of Raw, this was great. The champion and challenger interaction wasn’t diluted by a bunch of other people coming out; the entire thing was less than ten minutes, which prevented it from dragging and Sheamus wasn’t forced to regurgitate poorly written jokes.

 

A graphic of Big Show vs. Tensai aired, followed by a second hyping Sheamus vs. The Miz in a Champion vs. Champion match.

 

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth made their entrance; Josh said they would face The Prime Time Players in the final first round match of the tag team tournament, after the break.

 

Commercial Break.

 

The brackets indicated the winner of the match would face Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara; Cole said the first semi-final would take place on Raw.

         Darren Young and Titus O’Neil appeared for the contest; Cole noted the winners of the tournament would face Kane and Bryan at Hell in a Cell.

 

Number One Contenders, Tag Team Tournament First Round Match: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. The Prime Time Players

 

The babyfaces took the early advantage; after a dropkick from Kingston; Kofi and Truth delivered a double hip toss and Truth hit his wacky leg drop for a two count.

       Young made Truth look like a complete geek by overpowering him with a high single-leg into the heels’ corner, before tagging in Titus. O’Neil connected with a gutbuster and proceeded to get some heat on Truth; the face fought from underneath but was cut off and The Prime Time Players made the tag. Titus executed a standing gourdbuster to his partner, who came down on Truth for a two count. Young continued with the heat until R-Truth scored a back heel kick and got the tag to Kingston; Kofi came in with a springboard chop to Darren, knocked Titus off the apron then hit the boom drop on Young.

       O’Neil jumped back up on the apron, which distracted Kofi; Truth drilled Titus from behind and the referee admonished the babyface for leaving his corner. Kingston missed the trouble in paradise; as the ref was preoccupied with Truth, Titus grabbed Kofi’s leg, which caused Young to hit a double-knee gutbuster for the three count.

 

The Prime Time Players defeated Kofi Kingston & R-Truth via pinfall, at 4:19

 

The match was basic but fine; I had an issue with Young overpowering Truth after the faces had just worked him over, there was no transition, no heel spot, just Young making Kofi & Truth’s offense appear meaningless. I expect Rhodes & Sandow vs. Santino & Zack Ryder to be on Raw and Rey & Sin Cara vs. PTP at a later time, of course that is a complete assumption.

 

A video graphic hyping Ryback aired; Josh said “it’s feeding time next”.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Primo was in the ring with Epico and Rosa; Ryback’s music hit and out he came.

 

Ryback vs. Primo w/ Epico & Rosa Mendes

 

 Initially Ryback showed his strength and landed a big boot; Primo escaped a tilt-o-whirl manoeuvre to deliver a chop block. Ryback sold for a brief moment only to power out of a front facelock and hit a clothesline; Primo rolled to the outside and Epico tried to help his cousin to his feet while Rosa shrieked.

Ryback nailed Epico with a clothesline then gave Primo a press slam back in the ring; the ravenous big man drilled Primo with a big clothesline that Josh dubbed, “the meat hook”. Ryback then hit his running Samoan drop for the victory.

 

Ryback defeated Primo via pinfall, at 2:52

 

Typical Ryback match that became stale weeks ago; this guy cannot be the next Intercontinental champion. If he is, what is he going to do, squash everyone that challenges him? I know he’s been doing 12-15 minutes on the road, but he clearly needs more time before getting any belt, as his selling leaves a lot to be desired.

 

Backstage, CM Punk and Paul Heyman entered the building; Heyman asked some flunky where Dolph Ziggler’s locker room was. The stage hand told Paul E. it was just around the corner; Punk and Heyman walked away in search of Ziggler.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Layla appeared after the break and Alicia Fox came out as her opponent. Cole noted that Layla has a return match for the Diva’s title, but didn’t say when that would take place.

 

Hopefully not on PPV again. 

 

Layla vs. Alicia Fox

 

Layla scored a quick roll up for a one count at the bell; Alicia attempted a sunset flip but Layla rolled through and slapped Fox’s backside. Alicia drilled Layla with a kick to the knee and went to work on the leg; Fox then returned the favour by slapping Layla on the rear.

 

A tremendous advertisement for women’s wrestling and not at all patronising to the woman or us as viewers.

 

Alicia delivered a Northern-lights suplex for a count of two then applied a peculiar vertical version of a figure-four leglock. Layla fought out and landed a springboard crossbody, followed up by a Trish Stratus-style chick-kick for the three.

 

Layla defeated Alicia Fox via pinfall, at 3:32

 

After Beth vs. Nattie last week, we’re right back to standard WWE women’s wrestling. If you are a fan of sloppy execution and backside slapping then you are in for a treat, because other than Natalya, the Diva’s we’ll be seeing each week couldn’t grapple their way out of a kindergarten. That also goes for Eve, who is engaged to Rener Gracie and has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

 

Matt Striker got in the ring and asked Layla about regaining the Diva’s title; Layla bumbled her way through her lines and accused Eve of attacking Kaitlyn then said, the way Eve won the belt will make it that much better when she loses it.

 

Cole demonstrated his war correspondence experience and proved he could preside as a judge in Russia with ridiculous line, “Eve had nothing to do with the attack, because she is a brunette.”

 

Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler were confronted backstage by CM Punk and Paul Heyman; Punk was angry about Ziggler walking out of the tag match on Monday, he said, “you left me high and dry because your old lady screwed up and got ejected”. Vickie took exception to the word “old” then Ziggler told Punk, he and “that worm” did the same thing in a match, a couple of weeks ago and it was only a problem when it happened to him. Paul E. took exception to the “worm” comment and Punk stated, “It is a problem because it happened to the WWE Champion”.

          The four bickered until Booker T entered and put a stop to the yelling; the GM thanked Punk for showing up on his show, but informed him he cannot come in and raise hell because, “we don’t roll like that on SmackDown”. Booker said he could see there was “beef”, so he booked Punk vs. Ziggler in the main event.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Wade Barrett entered the arena after the commercials and an inset promo aired. Wade said he had “crushed everybody” the WWE had put in front of him then claimed to amuse himself by seeing how much punishment his opponent could suffer at the hands of the Barrett barrage. An unnamed geek was in the ring, waiting to be destroyed.

 

Wade Barrett vs. An Unnamed Jobber

 

Wade beat up the geek with some strikes then landed a pump-handle slam; the geek landed four punches before Barrett shot a big double-leg and positioned his opponent on the top rope. Wade unceremoniously shoved the poor jobber all the way to the floor before rolling him back inside, where Barrett hit his souvenir elbow for the win.

 

Wade Barrett defeated an unnamed jobber via pinfall, at 1:45

 

There’s nothing much I can say about the match; what I can say is Wade Barrett needs to be in a major programme. When Barrett said he was “open for business” a few weeks ago I expected some kind of hired goon type angle; Wade would be a perfect hitman for hapless heels like Ziggler and Del Rio who keep being out smarted/beaten by the top babyfaces; Alberto as a wealthy aristocrat, in particular could buy Wade’s services.

 

A graphic for Sheamus vs. The Miz rolled; it said the match would take place next.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Sheamus was already in the ring after the break; The Miz came out and Josh tried to hype the match by recapping the abominable Miz TV segment from last week.

 

Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) vs. The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)

 

The Miz delivered some shots in the corner after a collar and elbow; Sheamus turned the tables to land some shots of his own and locked in an armbar, followed by a knee drop for a one count. Sheamus went for the Finlay roll but Miz escaped then sent Sheamus through the ropes to the floor; Cole and Josh no sold everything and talked about Sheamus being bullied as a child, amongst other stuff that nobody cared about.

         Miz sent the World champion in to the ring post before taking the match back in the ring; the Intercontinental champ scored a reverse DDT backbreaker/neckbreaker combo for a two count then applied a rear chinlock. The crowd were dead for Miz’s heat and only a diminutive portion got behind Sheamus as he fought out of the hold.

         The Great White scored with some axe-handles and a knee-lift before landing the Finlay roll; Miz countered an attempted Irish curse then planted Sheamus with a DDT. The Miz set up for his clothesline in the corner, only to be caught with the Irish curse backbreaker; the IC champion rolled to the apron, where Sheamus delivered his clubbing forearm spot. Sheamus connected with white noise and set up for the Brogue kick; The Big Show’s music hit and he made his way onto the apron, Show knocked out The Miz with the WMD, causing the DQ.

 

The Miz defeated Sheamus via disqualification, at 6:24

 

When the match was announced, I fully expected Miz to be pinned clean. I’m not a fan of DQ’s, but it made sense for Show to cost Sheamus the victory, as he is trying to make the World champ take him more seriously. Sheamus must have followed Big Show’s WWE run closely, because he realised Show is about as threatening as a box of fluffy kittens. The match itself was average, but at least the IC champion wasn’t pinned for no reason.

 

A graphic of Big Show vs. Tensai aired.

 

You don’t need to be a pro wrestling historian to see where this is going…

 

Another graphic, hyping the Punk vs. Ziggler main event rolled.

 

Commercial Break.

 

David Otunga was in the ring after the ads; he claimed to be speaking on behalf of the entire locker room and wanted to address what happened off the air last week.

 

Footage of Alberto Del Rio attacking Randy Orton after the show went off the air last week rolled.

 

Otunga thanked Alberto on behalf of all the other superstars, because Orton had been, “a menace to the WWE for the better part of a decade”. Randy Orton’s music hit, however Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez appeared on the stage; Alberto imitated Orton’s creeping walk down the ramp and got in the ring, where he mimicked Orton’s trademark pose on the turnbuckle.

          Del Rio got on the mic and stated, “Gringos estupido, Randy Orton would not want to be in the same building as me, because he would end up on the floor crying like a snake”. Alberto boasted he cut the snake’s head off then affirmed, “I am the new Apex Predator in the WWE”.

         Booker T interrupted the heel’s charade and came out on the stage; Booker told Del Rio, since he took out Orton, he must have a free schedule tonight.  The GM then booked Del Rio and Otunga vs. Daniel Bryan and Kane.

 

Bryan came out first and was over as ever; Kane followed his partner before the break.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Team Hell No vs. Alberto Del Rio & David Otunga

 

Bryan and Otunga started out; the attorney displayed his strength with a bodyslam but Bryan countered a second slam and scored with some kicks before hitting a clothesline. Bryan nailed his running dropkick in the corner then proceeded to do some bodybuilder poses. Otunga blocked an attempted “no” lock by hanging Bryan’s arm over the second rope and delivered a neckbreaker before tagging out.

        Del Rio took his foe over with a snapsuplex then applied a rear chinlock; Kane yelled “come on goat face” from the apron and Bryan fought out to land a sunset flip for a two count. Alberto took a drop-toehold into the second buckle before Bryan made the tag. Kane caught Del Rio with a big boot then executed a sidewalk slam for two; the Big Red Machine came off the top rope with a clothesline and set up for the chokeslam.

          Bryan attempted to make a blind tag, but Kane was ready and grabbed his partner’s wrist; Alberto shoved Kane into Bryan, who fell off the apron to the floor. Del Rio connected with an enzuigiri for a near fall then called for the cross armbreaker; Otunga made the blind tag and took Kane down with a spinebuster for another two count. Kane snatched Otunga by the throat from a horizontal position to deliver a chokeslam; Bryan made the blind tag and came off the top rope with a diving headbutt for the three count.

 

Team Hell No defeated Alberto Del Rio & David Otunga via pinfall, at 5:00

 

Bryan celebrated with both belts after the match; Kane took one of the titles and the pair went into their, “I am the Tag Team champions” shtick.

 

A fun match from the tag champions, which is becoming a pattern. Hopefully creative remember both Kane & Bryan are capable of killing people in the ring, Kane as the monster & Bryan as the legit grappler/shooter; there has got to be life after the comedy for Kane & Bryan, either separately or as a team. I am concerned for Del Rio as he is most certainly putting Orton over at some point; the guy has potential to be a top heel that means something, not a top heel that is fodder for the top faces.

 

 

 Eve and Teddy Long were in the GM’s office; Teddy told her to “stop the act” and he didn’t tell her to suspend Beth Phoenix last week. Eve insisted that he did then accused him of being old and forgetful; Teddy said he could see right through Eve and knew she had something to do with Kaitlyn’s attack at Night of Champions, but he couldn’t prove it. Long then stated Booker T is an inexperienced GM and if he were still in charge, Eve would be out the door; Booker heard this and entered the shot. Book dismissed his assistant then told Teddy he cannot have his two staff members “bickering like cats and dogs”; the GM asked his adviser is he could dig that. Teddy said he dug it.

 

A graphic of Big Show vs. Tensai aired.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Big Show was in the ring following the break, Lilian introduced him and Tensai made his way to the ring without Sakamoto; Josh said it had been a “tough week” for Tensai.

 

Being called “stupid” in the middle of a match on live TV, by a guy with seven years less experience than him is more than tough. It wasn’t quite Shawn Michaels & Vader at SummerSlam 96, but it was still pretty disrespectful in my opinion.

 

Big Show vs. Tensai

 

Inexplicably, Tensai got the better of the strikes early; Show shut down his opponent with a big overhand chop then dumped him through the ropes to the floor. Big Show hit a clothesline on the outside before rolling Tensai back in the ring; Show missed an elbow drop and Tensai scored with a backsplash for a two. The Big Show avoided a splash in the corner then connected with a spear; Sheamus made a run in before Show could hit the WMD and delivered the Brogue kick to Tensai for the DQ.

 

Tensai defeated Big Show via disqualification, at 2:08

 

Even Fast Eddie could see that finish coming. At least it made sense and played into the angle; if only losing a match meant something in this day and age, then next week Show and Sheamus would sound legitimate when they each cut a promo about the other costing them a match.

 

A needlessly long Raw Rebound aired.

 

A graphic hyping Punk vs. Ziggler rolled; it said the main event was next.

 

Commercial Break.

 

CM Punk’s music hit and out he came with Paul Heyman; since this is a taped show, the production team took advantage and inserted some comical sweetened boos. Apparently Punk’s invisible watch had malfunctioned, luckily Paul E. was on hand to show the WWE Champion it was indeed, clobberin’ time. Ziggler made his entrance without the usual introduction from Vickie; Cole mentioned Dolph guaranteed to cash in his title shot at Hell in a Cell.

 

Non title Match: CM Punk (WWE Champion) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero

 

The two men trash talked each other and engaged in a shoving contest at the bell; after a side headlock trade off, Dolph connected with a tackle then followed up with a dropkick. Ziggler went for the Zigzag but was unsuccessful; Punk tried for the GTS, however Dolph also countered, which led to a stare down. Cole and Josh, again no sold everything.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Ziggler fought out of a waistlock and took Punk over with a side headlock; the pair traded holds and escapes, until Punk landed a belly-to-back suplex. The WWE Champion went to the second turnbuckle, however Dolph cut him off; both men traded shots on the second rope, which caused each man to take a bump to the floor. Vickie and Paul E. checked on their respective clients and the opponents beat the referee’s count at nine.

         Ziggler scored with some shots, but was rolled up by Punk for a two count; Dolph retaliated with a roll up of his own and used the tights for extra leverage. Punk kicked out at two then berated the referee for not seeing the handful of tights; this caused Ziggler to hit a jumping DDT for a two count. Dolph missed an attempted Rocker-dropper and Punk failed to connect with a roundhouse kick; Ziggler then nailed the Rocker-dropper at the second attempt for a two.

         After the kick out, Punk caught Dolph with the roundhouse and delivered his knee strike in the corner, followed by a clothesline for another two count. Punk went up top for the big elbow; Ziggler again cut him off then gave his opponent the old Ric Flair bodyslam bump off the top rope. Punk avoided a splash in the corner and drilled Dolph with the GTS for the three count.

 

CM Punk defeated Dolph Ziggler via pinfall, at 7:10

 

I don’t want to sound negative, because the match was fine. However it felt like Punk & Ziggler never got out of second gear; it wasn’t quite a house show match but it defiantly seemed as if the two were working economically. Of course this was a Dolph Ziggler match, so there was a needless bump off the turnbuckle to the floor. The booking of Ziggler is typical WWE, but I still can’t see what the advantage is of having the next World Champion lose every week. Surely booking him strong and then have him lose to a couple of guys to set up title angles would be more productive; but who am I to disagree with the almighty creative.

 

After the match, CM Punk grabbed a mic and stood on the announce table; the WWE Champion said he had heard it from, Bret Hart, Jim Ross and all the people and he knew what he had to do. Punk teased accepting the Hell in a Cell match with Cena, but ended by stating, “CM Punk will not step foot in the ring with John Cena”. The Champion held his belt in the air, as the show came to an end.

 

There were a couple of major positives about this week’s show; the first was we got eight wrestling matches…Eight! Granted two were squashes, one was a terrible Diva’s match and two were just a set up for the World title feud. Still, I can’t recall the last time we got eight matches on this show.

        The second positive was the lack of long segments; the in ring promos didn’t feel like torture to sit through and the backstage stuff was kept short too. Maybe the 1.83 the show drew last week forced a change in the format. I would love to see the structure of the show remain like this; it was so much easier and enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately we could get a 15 minute Miz TV next week, in which Miz talks about beating the World Heavyweight Champion.

      Angle wise, I enjoyed Del Rio’s imitation of Randy Orton; if Alberto is going to lose at Hell in a Cell, he might as well get as much heat as possible. The tag team tournament is not that thrilling, but the tag division has not had this much spotlight in years so it’s hard to complain about that. I like the idea of Show and Sheamus not touching until the PPV; the selling point of the match is: can Sheamus avoid the WMD and is he able to Brogue kick the 7ft giant. If either happens before the showdown then the intrigue is lost.   

 

Next Week’s Issue

 

Next week we cover Bound for Glory, the Bound for Glory go-home show, RAW, we see if the rating improved, the New Japan internet-pay-per-view, SmackDown, NXT and more.

 

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Ben Carass’s Twitter Account: @BenDosCarass

 

 

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