Cubed Circle Newsletter
It was a very busy news week this week and with a busy news week comes a busy newsletter. This week we cover the outstanding New Japan King of Pro Wrestling iPPV, RAW with the return of Vince McMahon, What it meant for the ratings, Punk’s assault on a fan, Delirious as the new head booker of ROH, The best match of the year by far, The chances of Punk versus Ryback, The Go-Home show for Bound for Glory, Volk Han versus Funaki in a dream match this December and Ben Carass covers NXT and SmackDown – a huge issue.
– Ryan Clingman
New Japan Puts on One of the Best Shows of the Past Few Years
New Japan Pro Wrestling put on one of the best shows of the past few years from Tokyo on October 8th. Not only did the show feature four great matches, but one of those matches, the mainevent with Tanahashi defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Minoru Suzuki was the best match of the year and most likely the last several years.
The show featured Kota Ibushi defending the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title against Low Ki in what was a very good match, where Ki regained the title starting his second run. Davey Boy Smith Jr. (Harry Smith) and Lance Archer became the new IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team champions, in what will probably be a good change of pace within the tag team division. Kazuchika Okada, a man who is quickly becoming one of the best wrestlers in the world beat Karl Anderson to retain his shot at the IWGP Heavyweight title at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th. Shinsuke Nakamura retained his IWGP Intercontinental championship against Hirooki Goto in a stellar semi-mainevent and Tanahashi retained the IWGP Heavyweight championship in a classic – what more could you want out of a wrestling show?
The mainevent obviously put the show over the edge as a great show and was a true marvel of in-ring work. I don’t think that I have ever seen a match of that calibre performed without a single nearfall. Not only that, but the selling was through the roof. Especially from Suzuki, a man that isn’t known for his selling, in fact he is known for quite the opposite.
The best comparison that I can make to this match and any other Tanahashi match that I have seen in the past was the Togi Makabe match from earlier this year at the All Japan/New Japan joint show. The comparison really doesn’t do the match justice, but highlights one of the main things that made the match great and that was Tanahashi’s very effective,
New Japan King of Pro Wrestling
albeit subtle heel mannerisms when working over a body part. After all the match really broke out a few minutes after the bell rang when Tanahashi played the air guitar across the chest of Makabe.
This act infuriated Makabe and so he became fired up and this led to the amazing work of both men. The one thing that put this match over Richards/Elgin from WrestleMania weekend, which was a great match in its own right, was the lack of nearfalls. You see Richards and Elgin was a great match, but they needed many, many nearfalls to do it. Some of those nearfalls were downright insane, like the top rope dragon suplex, which didn’t have any equivalent in this match. However, Tanahashi and Suzuki were able to reach an even higher level with zero nearfalls. What does that say about both men?
The funny thing about the last three truly great five-star level matches that I have seen over the past couple of years is the fact that they were all so unexpected. Sure, I was expecting CM Punk and John Cena in Chicago to be a good match and I expected the crowd heat to be great, but I never expected a classic out of either man. In fact the ironic part is that in my predictions on the site I noted that I wasn’t expecting a five-star match in jest.
The next match, Davey Richards versus Michael Elgin from earlier this year was another match that I really didn’t expect greatness out of. Sure Richards is a great worker, but he tends to go too long and at the time, even though I liked Elgin, I never really thought of him as a world beater or anything close when it came to workrate. Yes, once again on the night of the show I was proven wrong.
Fast forward to October 2012 and who would have thought that we would have witnessed such a match? Frankly, I enjoyed their match from the Tokyo Dome this year, but I expected Kazuchika Okada and Karl Anderson to steal the show and put on the best performance; and they put on a really great match, it just so happened that Suzuki and Tanahashi went out and had a classic.
There were times when you expect classics, sometimes they deliver and other times they don’t. Undertaker’s annual matches at WrestleMania being the most notable examples of matches that I expect to be great and they have been for the past five years. In actual fact, from 2007 up until 2010 the matches were steadily increasing in quality. They are still at the same extraordinary level though and whether his 2010 match or 2012 match was better is up for debate.
Regardless of expectation and hype surrounding the match Suzuki and Tanahashi were able to put on that performance; a performance that really has cemented Tanahashi in my eyes. Not that he wasn’t pretty much the best wrestler in the world before, but when I look back at Tanahashi’s career one day this will probably be looked upon as his best performance. Unless of course something truly spectacular comes along at some point, which could, but he and Suzuki were working at such an elite level for thirty minutes that I can’t see anything beating it in the near future.
NJPW 40th Anniversary King of Pro Wrestling October 8th 2012
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan, Japan
Just like how Minoru Suzuki and Hiroshi Tanahashi stole the match of the year on this October 8th night, so too did the show as a whole. Not only did we get three ****+ star matches on the show, but we also got a five star classic out of Tanahashi and Suzuki to cap the show off. There has simply been no show this year and frankly in the past several years that was able to provide wrestling of this quality and volume. The show ran three and a half hours taking out intermission and the post show, but didn’t drag one bit. It was an absolute joy to watch and a show that any and all fans of professional wrestling should watch – from start to finish.
1. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Strong Man vs. Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii
Yano and Iizuka went straight after Nakanishi together with Ishii. He landed a couple of elbows knocking Yano to the ground, but was cut off by Iizuka. They attempted a double suplex, but Nakanishi landed a double suplex on both men. Strong Man was tagged in and he landed some big man offense on Ishii. He chopped Ishii in the corner, but Ishii fought back with elbows. Strong Man cut him off with a powerslam and then landed a gorilla press slam. Nakanishi was tagged back in and he landed some headbutts. Ishii landed some of his own and they soon engaged in a chop exchange. He went for something, but Yano landed a chair shot to the back of Nakanishi and threw him to the outside. Iizuka landed some chair shots on the outside and soon went after Nagata. Iizuka landed a chair shot to the side of the head of Nakanishi on the outside and he sold the ear. They continued to wear Nakanishi down with the chair. Nakanishi finally made it back in, but Iizuka wore him down with some shots. The fans got behind Nakanishi who was stuck in a neck hold. Ishii was tagged in and he continued to work on the neck of Nakanishi. Nakanishi responded with some elbows and this led to an elbow and then a lariat exchange. Nakanishi got the better of it landed a double sledge and tagged in Nagata. Nagata and Ishii of course had an awesome little series of spots. Nagata landed his exploder for two and they went back to the elbow exchange for what must be the fourth or fifth time. Ishii threw in some slaps and Nagata responded with some of his own. Ishii landed a headbutt, but Nagata responded with a leg lariat. Nagata then landed an exploder and both men were down. Yano was tagged in and Nagata landed a leaping high kick. Nakanishi was tagged back in and he threw some lariats. Nakanishi landed a lariat, but Yano kicked out. Nagata landed a boot in the corner and strong man landed a big splash on he and Ishii in the corner. Nakanishi and Strong Man wound up and both landed lariats on Yano and Ishii. They locked in double torture racks and Nagata locked the crucifix armbar in on Iizuka. They broke and left Nakanishi in the ring with Yano however he was sent into the exposed ringpost for two. Nakanishi landed a big release German suplex and went for another, but Iizuka and Yano used the referee as a distraction for Iizuka’s glove shot, which allowed Yano to get the pin in 11:29.
It was nice to see Nakanishi back although he was very stiff and I am not referring to his wrestling style – he moved like a robot. Still the crowd were into the match and although I still think Yano and Iizuka’s act has gotten stale, it obviously still works. As always Nagata and Ishii had an awesome exchange and there was still a photo opportunity after the match for all three men.
2. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. Time Splitters (KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley)
KUSHIDA and Shelley came out with matching mohawks. Shelley locked in a wrist lock and took Koslov to the mat. They wrestled in and out of a few holds and worked back to the feet following an athletic exchange. However, Koslov landed a cheap shot on Shelley. Still, Shelley made the tag to KUSHIDA, which allowed for them to land a double team on Koslov. Romero was tagged in and he and KUSHIDA went at it. Shelley and KUSHIDA tagged in and out on Romero. KUSHIDA knocked both Romero and Koslov to the outside, and this allowed for double pescados from both men. Shelley landed a splash on Romero for two and landed a couple of big shots. Shelley chased Koslov around the ring, which allowed for Romero and Koslov to take control. The tag was made to Koslov and he worked over Shelley. Romero landed running neckbreaker, but the pin was broken up by KUSHIDA. Koslov then placed the hat on his head and landed the Kazatzka kicks and double knee for two. Romero was tagged in and he landed his lariats in the corner cutting Koslov off. This led to a shoving contest and Romero yelling “I’m gonna kill you” at Koslov. Both men resolved their conflict with a hug – the origins of this spot are still unknown. Koslov locked in a front facelock, Shelley almost made the tag to KUSHIDA, but he was knocked off the apron. Shelley landed a big enzuigiri and made the tag to KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA ran wild landing shots on both Koslov and Romero. Koslov ducked a highkick and he was perched on the top rope. KUSHIDA went for a top rope DDT, but Romero was able to place KUSHIDA on the shoulders of Romero for a frankensteiner and splash from Koslov. This was a really creative spot and great nearfall. Romero landed a set of assisted knees and Koslov landed a superkick for the count of two. Shelley took Romero to the outside and this allowed for a Shelley/ KUSHIDA double team. They landed a topé suicida/topé con giro combo to the outside. Shelley landed an assisted clothesline on Romero and KUSHIDA landed a moonsault for two. Koslov landed an enzuigiri and he removed the elbow pad for the lariat. KUSHIDA ducked and they landed a Koji clutch dropkick combo. KUSHIDA and Shelley landed dual dropkicks in the corner and went for the sliced bread doomsday; however Romero countered and grabbed a rollup on KUSHIDA for the win in 14:55. This was a very fun creative Junior tag match, both Shelly/KUSHIDA and Romero/Koslov make great teams.
3. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Kota Ibushi vs. Low Ki
Ibushi and Ki felt each other out early with some RINGS style strikes. Ki locked in an armbar, but Ibushi quickly made it to the ropes. Ki pushed Ibushi and this resulted in Ibushi landing some fiery strikes. Ki landed a kick to the chest of Ibushi and followed it up with a European uppercut. Ibushi landed a hurricanrana sending Ki to the outside. He went for the moonsault springing from the top rope, but Ki made it up onto the apron and pushed him off to the outside. Ibushi sold the arm. Ibushi made it in at 14 and he was worn down by Ki in the ring, both with kicks and uppercuts. Ki locked in a body scissors and Ibushi writhed in agony. Ibushi made it out with one foot on the ropes and Ki stomped the shoulder of Ibushi. Ibushi and Ki exchanged strikes to the chest area. Ki however got the better of the exchange with a stiff chop to the chest. Ibushi landed an elbow and this led to a big elbow exchange, but once again Ibushi was cut off, this time with a kick to the back of the head. Ki landed a European uppercut and Ibushi responded with a kick to the chest. Ibushi landed a couple of kicks and Ki responded with chops – this time Ki submitted briefly in the corner. However, he quickly fought back with a couple of headbutts and went back to the body scissors. Ki locked in an abdominal stretch, but Ibushi made his way out of it with a hip toss. Ki was sent to the apron; he landed a chop, but was taken out with a back elbow and a top rope moonsault to the outside. Ibushi landed some kicks to the chest and the standing shooting star press for two. Ibushi went for a powerbomb, Ki countered, but Ibushi landed a bridging German suplex for two. Ibushi went for a moonsault, Ki moved, he went for another, but Ki moved again and killed him with a running dropkick for two. Ibushi went for a German, but was caught with a standing double foot stomp for two. Ki landed a few shots and whipped Ibushi into the corner where he landed the standing shooting star press for two. Ibushi landed a bucklebomb last ride style for two, in another great nearfall. Ibushi went to the top, Ki held onto the leg, Ibushi eventually fought off, but Ki kicked the leg leaving Ibushi vulnerable on the top for the top rope Ki Krush. However, Ibushi and Ki both lost there balance for the finish, but Ki landed it even though he looked like he took far more damage landing on his upper back/neck area. Ki won in 17:05.
After the match Devitt walked into the ring and challenged Ki saying he was home in New Japan. Ki told him to not bite off more than he could chew. He said he was the number one man in the world and then said some words in Japanese, which always gets a big reaction
This was a great Junior Heavyweight title match, but I really think that Ibushi should have held onto the belt for longer as they really are changing this title too often. Also it looks like they are going with Devitt and Ki as a title program and if that’s the case it would have worked better if they had Ki as the unbeatable champion. Still, apart from the botched finish this was a great match.
4. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Hiroshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
As the bell rang Archer and Smith jumped Tenzan and Kojima, Archer landed a big delayed vertical suplex and Smith was tagged in. Both men wore Kojima down. Kojima landed the ace crusher and made the tag to Tenzan. He landed some Mongolian chops and Kojima came in with the elbow for the headbutt combo. Tenzan landed the bulldog from the top for the count of one and knocked Smith off the apron. Tenzan landed a vertical suplex and followed it with some kicks and a few strikes for two. Taka Michinoku was knocked off of the apron by Tenzan as he tried to interfere, but the distraction allowed for Smith and Archer to land their double team for two. Smith locked in a Boston crab, but Tenzan made it to the ropes. Tenzan landed a leg lariat and almost made the tag to Kojima, but Kojima was torn off of the apron by Archer. Archer landed an old school and knocked Kojima off of the apron again. Archer went for something in the corner, but Tenzan got the boot up and landed some Mongolian chops. However, he was quickly cut off again with a spine buster. Tenzan landed a shot and exploder on Archer and then finally made the tag to Kojima who ran wild. He landed the machine gun chops on Smith in the corner. He landed the top rope elbow for two and the fans got behind him. He landed an elbow, but was cut off with a boot. Smith landed a back suplex, but Tenzan broke the pin up. Smith went after both of them, but they landed the 3D. Archer ran in, but he suffered the same result. Kojima landed a lariat on Smith and on Michinoku who ran in again. He removed the elbow pad, but was caught with a boot to the elbow and a powerbomb for two. Archer caught Tenzan with a chokeslam and he went for a lariat on Kojima, but Kojima blocked it. Smith interfered and Archer landed his finisher on Kojima and they landed the Killer bomb on Tenzan. They then landed it on Kojima for the win in 12:47.
This was one of the weaker matches on the card, but it was still very entertaining and the monster gaijin team of Archer and Smith really are a great fit in New Japan. It is also good to get the titles off Tenzan/Kojima and Yano/Iizuka, because that was getting pretty stale.
5. Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi
Takahashi attacked Naito during his entrance, but Naito fired back with armdrags and a dropkick. Takahashi was sent to the outside and Naito called for him to get back in. Takahashi landed a top rope arm drag and Naito sold the injured leg. This led to Takahashi working over the leg of Naito eventually leading to the injury angle. He landed splashes, kicks and stomps on the leg followed by a big boot in the corner for two. Naito gained a quick rollup and went for another, but was able to grab the leg and was caught with a front suplex and lariat for two. He landed Tokyo Pimps, but didn’t make the cover and rather locked in a modified Indian deathlock. This finally led to the match being stopped and Takahashi breaking the hold. After the match Takahashi grabbed a couple of chairs. He wrapped the one around Naito’s leg and land shots to the leg with the other. Takahashi then cut a promo and Naito was taken out on a stretcher.
This was a really limited match and the weakest match on the card and that was to be expected – Naito is injured and should have gone in for surgery ages ago. I hope that he returns back at his full capacity, because he really was together with Okada, Tanahashi and Nagata one of the top workers in the promotion. Still they are trying to get Yujiro over and hopefully this leads to a program between the two down the line.
6. Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Togi Makabe & Wataru Inoue
Shibata and Inoue went at it. Inoue landed some shoulderblocks and stomped Shibata in the corner. Shibata responded with a big slap and hip toss, he then sent Inoue to the outside, where he rammed him into the post. This led to a brawl on the outside between the two teams. Inoue landed a shot in the corner, but Shibata responded with uppercuts and stomps. Shibata landed a big boot and the tag was made to Sakuraba who unloaded with strikes and locked in a front facelock. Even though he is so beat up, Sakuraba is still one of the best at making a match look real. He locked in an armbar and Inoue made it to the ropes. He landed some open palm strikes and tagged in Shibata. Shibata landed some slaps, but Inoue wouldn’t take it and fought back with some strong elbows. Makabe was tagged in and he landed some big headbutts and a clothesline in the corner. He was taken down by Sakuraba who locked in a kimura and was forced to break the hold. They landed dual kick and Makabe caught a kick and landed a big lariat. He tagged in Inoue who landed a bunch of elbows. Shibata locked in a sleeper, but was taken down with a knee. Sakuraba was knocked of the apron and they landed a double suplex. Makabe went for the King Kong knee, but was knocked off by Sakuraba. Inoue took Shibata down with a spear and went for a German, but Sakuraba locked in a sleeper. Shibata then landed a big kick to the chest for the win in 07:10.
For what this was it was great. Sakuraba and Shibata looked so great and Sakuraba’s flaws were hidden so well. Sakuraba is still one of the best in the business at making his matches look real and this was no different – he still exudes the aura of a badass. I am always a huge fan of the quick, fast passed matches that involve guys like Shibata and Sakuraba – very good match.
Match for the IWGP Heavyweight Title Number One Contenders G1 Contract
7. Kazuchika Okada vs. Karl Anderson
The crowd was behind Okada. Okada slapped Anderson, Anderson responded with a push and this led to the lockup. Anderson landed an elbow and chop, and took Okada down to the mat with a headlock. Okada landed a hip toss, but Anderson went back to the headlock. Okada missed a splash in the corner and Anderson landed a big boot to the chest of Okada. He went after Okada’s arm, but Okada moved out of the way of an exposed knee drop. Okada landed a flapjack and Anderson rolled to the outside. Anderson was whipped into the guardrail, where he was taken over with a boot. Okada then landed a draping DDT onto the floor. Anderson made it back in at 18. Okada landed a flying dropkick to a grounded Anderson and followed it with a neckbreaker for two. Okada locked in a nerve hold, Anderson fought out, but Okada landed a DDT for two. Okada locked in a hold on the arm, Anderson made it back up and landed a chop and flying dropkick. Anderson landed a scoop slam and back senton for two. Anderson then landed a dropkick and Okada rolled to the outside. Okada landed a kick and whipped Anderson into the guardrail, he however missed a boot and Anderson landed a highkick and big boot. Anderson landed an uppercut to the back of the head and a neckbreaker to the floor. Okada landed a couple of elbows and went to the top where he was caught with a dropkick and superplex for two. Anderson took him up for the powerbomb, but Okada countered and landed the over the shoulder belly to back over the knee neckbreaker and “Heavy Rain” both for two. Okada landed a top rope elbow and signalled for the Rainmaker. Anderson blocked it, he was perched on the top, but he fought off and landed the top rope gunstun for two. Anderson landed the spinout crusher also for two. He went for another gunstun, but Okada landed a beautiful dropkick for two. Both men exchanged elbows, Anderson unloaded with a flurry and went for the gunstun, but Okada landed a dropkick to the back. He went for the tombstone, but Anderson countered and landed the Bernard driver for two! Anderson went for the gunstun, but Okada blocked and he went for the gunstun, Anderson countered into his own, but Okada landed the tombstone and rainmaker for the win in 16:26.
On any other card this would have probably been the best match, but this card was just too damn great. Okada and Anderson were both so great in this match and the build to the Tokyo Dome on January 4th has been so stupendous. Okada has just improved so much in the past six months – it is unbelievable.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
8. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Hirooki Goto
Nakamura and Goto had a quick mat wrestling exchange working back up to their feet. Nakamura landed an elbow, Goto no sold, but Nakamura landed a boot to the gut. He was taken down with a shoulderblock and sent to the outside with a hip toss. Nakamura was thrown into the guardrail and sent over with a lariat. Goto pushed Nakamura into the ringpost and landed an elbow drop for two. Goto locked in a chinlock and transitioned into a grounded headlock. Goto attempted a suplex, but Nakamura blocked, Goto however locked in an armbar and Koji clutch. Nakamura made it out with one foot on the ropes and landed a knee drop the outside followed by a guillotine knee drop to the back of the head of Goto. Nakamura landed a couple of kicks and an enzuigiri. Goto attempted to block a kick, but Nakamura caught him with the other foot. Nakamura landed some knees in the corner and strangled Goto with the boot. He missed the running knee and was caught with a backdrop driver from Goto. Goto landed some kicks to the chest of Nakamura and went for a suplex. Nakamura countered and ducked a clothesline landing a flying knee. Nakamura and Goto exchanged elbows; Goto got the better of the exchange and unloaded in the corner with forearms and a flurry of shots. He went to the top, but was caught with a highkick and knee to the gut for two. Nakamura locked in a sleeper and then landed a backcracker and release dragon suplex. Nakamura then landed the fireman’s carry into the neckbreaker, Goto’s own move and went for the Boma Ye, but Goto countered and landed his fireman’s carry into the over the knee neckbreaker. Both men collided with lariats, but Goto landed a huge lariat for two. Nakamura was caught with a lariat in the corner and was perched on the top rope where Goto landed the fireman’s carry neckbreaker from the top for two! Goto ducked a highkick and landed a spinning side walk slam for two. Goto locked in front facelock, Nakamura went for a strike, but Goto landed a headbutt. Goto landed another, Nakamura went for another strike, but it was blocked with a headbutt, however Nakamura landed a knee followed by the Boma Ye for the win in 15:12.
Once again on most other shows this could have been the match of the night, but it was not. Still this was a very good match, maybe not as good as Okada/Anderson, but definitely close to that level.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
9. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki
Tanahashi missed a back senton, which allowed Suzuki to land a kick to the back of Tanahashi. They worked in and out of a wrist lock and Tanahashi went after the leg of Suzuki. Suzuki landed some knees to the gut of Tanahashi, they engaged in a test of strength, but Suzuki took Tanahashi down. Tanahashi grabbed a headlock and locked in an abdominal stretch. Tanahashi proceeded to play the air guitar across the chest of Suzuki. This infuriated Suzuki and he landed some strikes on Tanahashi, before engaging in a rough tie-up. Tanahashi landed some elbows, but Suzuki locked an arm bar in the ropes – a move that would tie-in to the entire match. Tanahashi was thrown into the barricade where Suzuki locked in a kimura through the guardrail. He was then thrown back and arm first into the guardrail. Suzuki locked another kimura in this time around the post and was reprimanded for it. Suzuki landed some kicks to the injured arm and some to the back. He followed this with an uppercut to the arm and an arm wrench. Suzuki took Tanahashi to the mat and proceeded to lock a head scissors/arm lock combo in. Suzuki landed a knee to the gut and followed it with an elbow, Tanahashi fought back with some of his own, but Suzuki landed a hair assisted headbutt. He went back to the kimura and Tanahashi broke the hold with one foot on the ropes. Suzuki stood on the arm and landed a stomp. Suzuki then began to un-tape the injured elbow of Tanahashi and lock in a crucifix armbar. He landed some more kicks to the arm and chest area of Tanahashi. Tanahashi landed some one armed punches, but Suzuki fought back with kicks. Tanahashi went back with the punches again, Suzuki went for a knee, but Tanahashi landed a one-armed dragon screw! Tanahashi slapped Suzuki and landed some forearm smashes to the face. He followed it with another dragon screw and dropkicked the leg. He landed a dropkick to the knee, stomped away at the knee and landed a flying forearm. Suzuki kicked the arm of Tanahashi and went back to the kimura. He pulled at the tape with his mouth, but Tanahashi made it out with a foot on the ropes. Suzuki slapped the chest of Tanahashi. Suzuki landed a boot and went after the arm once again. This time Suzuki went for the sleeper and locked it in, Tanahashi threw him off, but locked in an armbar. Suzuki continued to pull at the arm, but Tanahashi again made it to the ropes. Tanahashi locked in a sleeper of his own, but transitioned into a final cut. He went for a suplex, Suzuki went after the arm, but Tanahashi clipped the leg and landed a high fly flow to the leg of Suzuki. Tanahashi locked in a clover leaf, Suzuki kicked his way out, but Tanahashi locked in a figure four. He only had one leg; Suzuki fought him off, but eventually succumb to the will of Tanahashi. Suzuki screamed at Tanahashi in the leg lock and he reached for the ropes. Suzuki screamed at Tanahashi again, but leaned to the side and screamed in agony. He almost made it to the ropes, but he was pulled back to the centre of the ring. Finally he made it to the ropes. Tanahashi landed another dragon screw and went for a sling blade, but Suzuki hobbled and then landed a huge dropkick. He slapped his leg waking it up and fired himself up again. Tanahashi and Suzuki engaged in a slapping contest. Suzuki kicked the injured arm and landed more slaps and then locked in a sleeper. Tanahashi was taken to the ground with the sleeper, Tanahashi began to fade and the referee could not wake him back up, but he launched back up and made it to the ropes. Suzuki called for Tanahashi to get back up and he started slapping Tanahashi. Tanahashi wouldn’t give in and he locked in a front facelock. Tanahashi landed a dragon screw but Suzuki got the sleeper. Suzuki went for the piledriver, Tanahashi countered, but Suzuki got him back up. Tanahashi got out again however, the fans got behind Tanahashi once again. Suzuki landed some kicks, limping. Tanahashi dropkicked the knee and landed a sling blade. He then went to the top rope, but Suzuki countered the highfly flow, getting the knees up! Suzuki continued to limp, he landed some slaps, Tanahashi dropped down to his knees and Suzuki slapped him while he stood on the apron. Tanahashi pulled him in with a dragon screw and went to the top rope, and caught Suzuki with a huge fly flow, he then went back up again and landed another for the win! Tanahashi was bleeding from the mouth as both men lay beaten.
This is by far my match of the year. I wasn’t quite sure where I held the match in terms of the top three matches of the year after watching it and so I went back and watched it a second time – it was unreal. The level that both men reached was something that I have rarely seen. It was made even more impressive and unique by the fact that there simply were no nearfalls. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow once and Suzuki never got the Gotch piledriver. The level that both men reached exceeded pretty much all of their previous matches that I can recall and was a true marvel of professional wrestling.
After the match Takahashi came out to challenge Tanahashi.
WWE Monday Night RAW October 8th 2012
This was the best edition of Monday Night RAW in weeks. The crowd was hot and the addition of Vince was extremely welcome. The mainevent worked well and Punk was once again the star of the show with incredible mic work. JBL, Ross and Cole were on commentary this week and although JBL can be extremely overbearing at points, the three man booth was fun tonight. The opening segment wasn’t the greatest, but they still continued to build to Hell in a Cell. Ryback came off looking good; however I don’t know how good it could be, putting him in this position now. This was a three hour RAW and with it came the drag, but it was nothing like week’s prior.
Cena came out with his elbow wrapped up in black tape. Cena said he missed everyone, the cheers and the boos. He now realized what was happening in the WWE after a week off. Cena did some terrible comedy, including commenting on the size of Cesaro’s nipples. Cena said he wanted to take AJ out on a date. He stated that CM Punk stole the WWE’s voice and he was now the voice of the selfish. This resulted in CM Punk chants. Cena said if Punk was the best in the world it didn’t matter if people didn’t want to watch (the ratings are at an all time high anyway, so they don’t have to worry). He believed that people would remember Hell in a Cell. He would compete at Hell in a Cell, because it is what he loves to do and what he wants to do. He said that some times Punk was not a man and he screamed for Punk to be a man and told him to accept his challenge at Hell in a Cell. Cena closed off, but this led to Ryback coming down to the ring teasing a conflict.
This was a quick opening segment compared to the past couple of weeks. Cena has gone back to his comedy shtick, which is fine, but some of those jokes were just so bad. The problem was that it was also a very drawn out segment and we all know why that happened.
1. Ryback vs. Primo & Epico
Epico avoided some moves and landed a shot to the back of Ryback, Ryback fought back, but Primo & Epico were able to take control of Ryback. JBL talked about how Carlos Colon still owed him and many other people money, which was funny. The fans chanted feed me more and Epico slapped Ryback. This led to Ryback making his comeback and landing the double marching Samoan drop for the win.
A graphic aired for Vince McMahon’s appearance for later on in the night. Truth was set to face Brodus Clay, but he interrupted the start of the match saying that they could have a match any time, but Jimmy was going through puberty. He then said that Little Jimmy wanted to dance that night. This led to Vince appearing on the tron. He told them to dance up the ramp, because he was going to make his “state of the WWE address” after the break.
This was a really strange way to bring Vince out. He was supposed to come out later on in the show, but he called an audible and went out there because the baseball game was delayed due to bad weather. I think that it would have been more impactful if they just had Vince walk out and interrupt the segment; instead of having him appear on the tron first, but that was really a small issue.
Vince came out after the break. He talked about how they were dancing with an imaginary child and that was the state of the WWE. However, he said there is room for imaginary children, leprechauns, goat-faced vegans (Bryan is no longer vegan so that was an incorrect statement), masked luchadors and others. He said you had everything in the WWE action, drama and comedy. However, the most important part was the action. People wanted to see top athletes, the best of the best. This led to Punk coming out in a new yellow t-shirt – I liked the old one better. His head was also almost completely bald, which really isn’t the greatest look.
Vince commented on the t-shirt. Punk said that he was being disrespected by Vince, because he didn’t mention Punk’s name talking about fighting champions. He said it was a shot against him, because he wouldn’t have a match with Cena at Hell in a Cell. He said it was his choice, given to him by a manger that Vince had appointed. He talked about how the people disrespected him by booing. He then went off on the people that cheered too. He asked Vince if he respected him. He respected the length of his title reign, but he didn’t respect the fact that he said he was a Paul Heyman guy. He wasn’t a CM Punk guy. Punk was glad that Vince could say it to his face, but said Vince should be a CM Punk guy. He was no longer a spoke on the wheel he was the wheel, he was the best thing Vince had. Heyman urged Punk to calm down and he said everyone should show him the respect he deserves. He said if he didn’t start getting the respect he deserved he would hop the rail, except he wouldn’t come back this time. He said he was indispensible. Punk asked who made the company what it was if it wasn’t him. Vince said it was the fans that made it a success. Vince said he always listened to them and asked Punk if they knew what he was saying. They wanted Punk to shut his mouth. Vince said he wasn’t close to Andre the Giant, Michaels or Steve Austin. He wasn’t like Steve Austin in anyway. He made it to the top through his own accord, but Austin only made it to the top by beating up a “clueless, inept millionaire”. He said it was a good thing he did it then because he was even more clueless and inept now – he was a senior citizen. He said it was a slap in the face that the people treated him like that. He said Vince had been slapping him in the face for years. This led to Punk slapping Vince, Vince taking a back bump and Punk walking off smiling. Vince said firing was too good for him, but he would fire him if he wouldn’t fight him that night. By the time the night was over he would learn something about respect. Heyman looked extremely worried, but Punk was happy and accepted. Punk, once again came off looking like a star in this segment.
2. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. The Prime Time Players (Darren Yung & Titus ‘O Neal)
Sin Cara and Young started off. Cara landed a head scissors and Mysterio landed a seated senton to the outside. ‘O Neil went after Mysterio, but Cara landed a topé on ‘O Neil. After the break ‘O Neil landed a big backbreaker on Cara. Young locked in a bear hug and landed some chops in the corner. Cara landed a tornado DDT and made the tag to Mysterio. He landed a seated senton and ran wild on Young. However, ‘O Neal ran in. Cara cut him off with a leaping high kick and missile dropkick. He landed the double knee gut buster on Cara, but he wasn’t the legal man and Mysterio landed the 619 and splash for the win.
Heyman was talking to Punk. He said that it wasn’t a must win situation it was a must lose situation. Punk said that Austin could beat McMahon so he could too. Heyman said that if Punk beat him they would have a crazed billionaire after them trying to make both of their lives a living hell. Punk said he would find a way to win. A graphic aired for Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett.
3. Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
As both men tied up Big Show’s music hit and he made his way down to the ring. This led to Big Show walking towards the announce table and Barrett gaining a brief advantage. Sheamus was back in control with a headlock, Barrett fought out, but he was knocked down with a shoulderblock. JBL was really on during this match. JBL talked about how Barrett grew up in the coal mines (I doubt this). Barrett and Sheamus went back and forth. Sheamus went for the over the shoulder piledriver, Barrett countered, but Barrett was kneed to the outside. Sheamus missed a kick on the apron and Barrett clipped the knee. After the break Sheamus began to make his comeback and clotheslined Barrett the outside. Sheamus sent Barrett towards the steps, but Barrett countered and pushed the steps into Sheamus. Sheamus landed a couple of shots to the gut, but he was cut off with a shot to the stomach from Barrett. Barrett landed some knees to the gut of Sheamus in the ropes and followed it with a big boot. Barrett missed a top rope elbow and Sheamus followed it with a clothesline. Sheamus started fighting back with some shoulderblocks and a running knee. Barrett went for the pump handle slam, but he was sent to the outside and Sheamus landed the clubbing blows to the chest. However Tensai ran into the ring and this led to a beat down in the ring. Tensai went after Sheamus, but he landed a brogue kick. Barrett was sent to the outside and Sheamus went for the brogue kick on Big Show. However Show caught it and pushed Sheamus to the outside, where Sheamus landed really badly, smashing his head.
After the match Jim Ross left to go have a talk with Vince. A graphic aired for the Larry King and Miz segment. Punk approached AJ. Punk said he would break Vince’s legs, arms, hands and put him in a wheelchair. Punk said they would blame her for Vince’s problems. AJ said he was too scared to fight Cena and said he was scared of Vince. He said he wasn’t scared, but it was out of AJ’s hands. Clips aired of Cena on the Kelly and Michael show.
4. Antonio Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd
A skit with Cesaro talking about chilli cheese fries and the growing level of obesity in America aired. Cesaro locked in a wrist lock and Kidd grabbed a rollup. Cesaro landed a big boot and a bunch of shots in the corner. He hit the release pump handle slam and locked in a cravat. Cesaro landed a code breaker knocking Kidd to the outside. However Cesaro missed a clothesline and Kidd was able to land a kick to Cesaro on the outside. Kidd rolled Cesaro up and kicked the legs out from under Cesaro. Kidd missed a springboard elbow and Cesaro landed the pop up European uppercut and neutralizer for the win.
5. Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Dolf Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio
Bryan and Ziggler started off. Bryan gained the advantage and taunted a tag to Kane, but then refused. Del Rio was tagged in and Kane tagged himself in. Kane taunted the tag to Bryan, but then of course did not. JBL went off on Mil Mascaras again, only this time Cole defended Mascaras. Ziggler was sent to the outside and Bryan tagged himself in. Bryan landed a flying knee off the apron. After the break Kane made a comeback landing a big boot and tagging in Bryan. Bryan did his no shtick and the crowd went crazy. Bryan landed a frankensteiner, but Ziggler rolled through with a sunset flip. Del Rio was tagged in. Bryan landed a sunset flip of his own and Del Rio landed a big kick and tagged in Ziggler. Ziggler landed a neckbreaker and tagged Del Rio back in and he landed a flurry of kicks in the corner. Bryan then pulled Del Rio in, with some kicks, but he missed the flying dropkick and Ziggler was tagged in. Ziggler missed a splash in corner, Ziggler held onto the leg and Del Rio was tagged in. Del Rio landed a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker, but Kane broke up the pin. Ziggler and Bryan exchanged shots. However, Ziggler made the tag to Del Rio once again. Del Rio was thrown into the post shoulder first and he made the tag to Kane. Kane ran wild with shots on Del Rio, he went for the double chokeslam, but of course failed. Ziggler landed a fameasser, but Kane kicked out. Kane landed a sidewalk slam. Kane went to the top, but Bryan tagged himself in and landed a missile dropkick. Del Rio broke it up, but he was sent to the outside. Vickie distracted Bryan Ziggler rolled him up, but he kicked out and landed a buzzsaw kick. Kane then tagged himself in landing a chokeslam for the win. This was a very fun tag team match and the crowd was really into it.
Yet another recap was show of the Vince/Punk segment. Ross was backstage with Vince. He talked about how Vince called him an American icon and friend during the actual appreciation night. He said that Vince had no reason to have the confrontation with Punk. He remembered what happened to Lawler after Punk beat him. Vince remembered when Ross called Austin’s matches. Ross said he would call Vince’s match giving him all he had. Vince demanded that Ross give it to him right then and there. This led to Ross going crazy with all his catch phrase. They went back to serious talk and Vince said it didn’t matter what Ross thought. This could have been a really great segment, but sadly it was not.
Larry King was out there with his wife. Miz interrupted his introduction. Miz said if it went well he would be on Larry’s new show. He said it was his birthday, the greatest day. Miz told King to lead the audience in singing happy birthday. King said that nobody cared that it was his birthday. King said he was replacing Miz with a better guest and he brought out Kofi Kingston. Kingston said he had been putting out the good word that RAW was live in Sacramento that night. Miz was enraged by the cheap pop. Miz said he had held more championships than King had wives. He told that King to go or he would go through another divorce, between his head and body. King’s wife then threw water in the face of Miz and Kingston went after him throwing him off the stage and landed a flying shot. King left as they brawled to the back. This was an unbelievably wacky segment that served no purpose whatsoever.
6. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder & Santino Marella
Rhodes and Ryder started off. Sandow was tagged in and he stomped Ryder in the corner. JBL buried Christopher Columbus of all people. Rhodes locked in a front facelock. Ryder landed a flapjack and tagged in Santino who ran wild. He chased Sandow out with the cobra, but Rhodes landed the disaster kick for the win. After the match Slater, Mahal and McIntyre beat Santino down.
Vince was approached by Heyman backstage. He apologized for CM Punk’s actions. He said he never knew that Punk was going to challenge Vince to a fight (he never did) and he never knew that he was going to slap Vince. He said he was the youngest person able to remember Vince Sr., he knew Vince since he was fourteen. He wanted to make a deal between he and Punk, and Vince asked if Heyman even knew when he was lying or telling the truth. Vince said he had been poisoning Punk’s mind for years and Vince said he was doing the match for his own sake. Heyman told Vince to not let Punk do to him what Lesnar did to Triple H. Vince just looked on.
7. Diva’s Title Match
Eve vs. Kaitlyn
Layla was on commentary, because twice wasn’t enough. Kaitlyn went straight after Eve landing some shoulderblocks. She locked in a torture rack, but Eve got off and swept the leg. Kaitlyn landed a backbreaker, but sold the leg. Eve landed some shots to the leg and then locked in a heel hook type submission for the win. Eve wouldn’t let go and this led to Layla storming by and forcing Eve to break the hold. After the match Eve went back to her good citizen gimmick. Layla then pushed Eve.
Del Rio was backstage with Ricardo. Matthews came by and read a tweet, but Del Rio said he didn’t care about a tweet. Matthews said that it was from Orton and he would be on SmackDown Friday. This led to Del Rio walking off. There was a breast cancer awareness video. King was approached by Bryan. Bryan asked if King remembered when Lettermen said that he looked like an owl. He said he needed help, because people said he looked like a goat. Bryan said King looked like an owl, but he was handsome. Bryan asked if King’s wife was more interested in him, but she said she doesn’t go out with trolls from under bridges. He said you just have to deal with it. Kane came by, they argued and King walked off. Kane said he thought King was Skeletor.
Punk was backstage and Heyman was worrying saying that Vince would make sure that they would spend the rest of their lives in hell. Unless he beat him so badly that he was rendered a senile old bastard and he could no longer make any decisions. He told Heyman that he would enjoy every second of it and Heyman would too.
Yet another Punk/Vince recap!
8. CM Punk vs. Vince McMahon
Vince walked down to the ring (wearing MMA gloves), but he was attacked from behind by Punk who landed some big shots. Punk removed his shirt, but Vince took him down and landed some shots. They traded strikes, but Punk landed a big highkick. Punk walked over the back of Vince and threw him to the outside. Punk slammed Vince into the announce table and removed the headset of Cole. He yelled gibberish into the mic and continued to wear McMahon down. He hoisted Vince onto his shoulders and waited around a while, but Vince threw him into the post. Vince then threw Punk over the table and Punk basically did a topé over the table. Vince said he would teach Punk something about respect and he dove over the desk beating Punk over the head. A chair was shoved into the gut of Punk and he was thrown back into the ring. Vince grabbed a kendo stick and swung at Punk, but Punk slid out of the ring. Punk called for Heyman to bring him the title, but Heyman was stopped by Vince who slapped him. Vince grabbed the title and placed it in the middle of the ring. Punk prepared to get into the ring, but Vince continued to swing. Punk grabbed a cane of his own and was able to get into the ring. This led to both men going at each other with wild and stiff cane shots. Vince got the better of Punk and went for one last strike, but Punk landed a low blow and landed dual shots. He went for the GTS, but Ryback came out to a really big pop. This led to Punk fleeing the ring, but Cena threw Punk into the ring and Ryback went for the marching Samoan drop, but Punk got off of the shoulders and ran threw the crowd.
Vince got on the mic and said he hoped Punk learned something about respect and it was decision time. He called Punk a creep (this was right around the time where Punk hit a fan), which was great, and said he could either face Ryback or Cena and if Punk couldn’t make his mind up by next week, Vince would for him.
This was an insane match. Say what you want about Vince McMahon, but for a man in his sixties getting caned and doing crazy dives over tables is pretty impressive. However, it was pretty scary at one point where Vince was gasping for air. Still this was a very fun one time match, it can’t be done often, but when it’s done right it can be great and it was here.
Punk Strikes Fan During RAW
On the October 9th edition of Monday Night RAW the WWE and unfortunately the face of an innocent fan, experienced some unexpected turmoil. As apart of the closing segment CM Punk fled through the crowd and was set to listen and react to a Vince McMahon in-ring promo from the crowd. Everything would have worked out as planned, however the security personnel weren’t able to keep up with Punk and this resulted in an incident.
Punk was being heckled by as far as I could see one fan; although it was reportedly two or more. He was being punched in the kidneys and slapped on the back of the head. He understandably looked nervous and shaken. Things got worse when a fan in a grey shirt began pushing a bald headed man standing behind Punk. He bumped into Punk once, but on the second or third time Punk retaliated – hitting the wrong man.
He responded with, of all things, a spinning backfist followed by a straight punch to the face. He struck the man that was attempting to adjust his glasses instead of the man in the grey. By the time security arrived it was too late and the damage had been done.
Vince apparently blew a gasket backstage and threw a fit. There were threats of a lawsuit being filed on behalf of the man with the glasses. However, a make good is probably imminent. On top of all that the man in the grey, the actual perpetrator, went on twitter to brag about how he had caused the incident and how he wasn’t the one who got hit.
The effects of Punk’s actions could have potentially far reaching consequences. I know that at one point and probably under different circumstances the WWE would have suspended or even released CM Punk. However, this situation is different. Punk, as far as he was concerned was acting in self defence and of course he is the WWE champion and tenth longest reigning champion at that.
As for what will happen with Punk, the WWE has admitted that it is the party at fault due to the lack of security, but they may take the belt off of Punk at Hell in a Cell – I have no sources to support this claim, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they change the belt.
A fan attacking wrestlers and wrestlers attacking fans certainly isn’t anything new. It happened all of the time since the inception of professional wrestling. Bill Watts even had a room during the heyday of Mid South, where security would bring him a fan who laid their hands on a wrestler and he, officials and fellow wrestlers would beat the perpetrator – sending a message to everybody else that attacking wrestlers was not good.
It was always a rule of thumb that if a fan happened to hop the guardrail or attack a heel that had a lot of heat, the heel would send a message, because if the message was not sent then the heel would not only look like less of a tough guy, but would run the risk of being attacked again; it was a matter of safety.
However it’s a different era now, heels don’t run the risk of getting lynched at events and don’t need to defend themselves. Gone are the days that Superstar Billy Graham lived through, fleeing Madison Square Guardian covered in saliva and bruised from coins and foreign objects thrown at him by the fans.
Did Punk do the wrong thing? Maybe, but looking at it in the spare of the moment, Punk could have been scared for his wellbeing after being assaulted multiple times. The answer to whether or not he should have swung a spinning backfist of all things is more apparent. If you are going to strike someone in a crowd of people you really shouldn’t fire blindly, still it was in the spare of the moment.
I don’t really think that Punk should be disciplined in terms of a suspension or creatively. It wasn’t like Punk went out looking for trouble in the first place; it was a part of the angle and things went bad. It happens. It was the WWE’s fault after all.
RAW Rating Improves But Only Just
This week’s edition of RAW did a 2.80 rating or 4.11 million viewers. This was up from last week’s awful, 15 year non-holiday low of 2.54 or 3.5 million viewers. Still, the show featured the return of Vince, granted it went unadvertised, but it should have done better.
They were going up against decent competition this week, going up against the New York Jets versus Houston Texans football game, which did 10.47 rating or 14.05 million viewers. They also went up against the New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles baseball game, which did a 3.21 rating or 4.22 million viewers.
The first Vince segment gained just under a half a million viewers, but that followed a loss from the R-Truth/Brodus Clay dancing segment, so it only did a 3.06 quarter. The Tyson Kidd/Antonio Cesaro match coupled with the AJ/Punk backstage segment and the Cena on Kelly and Michael Show clip did the worst quarter of the show, a 2.59, but that was still up from last week’s average.
The only other big news ratings wise was that the closing segment with Vince McMahon and CM Punk gained a massive 1.23 million viewers and did a 3.46 overrun, which was huge. Once again the Punk segments held up very well, although this was the in-ring return of Vince McMahon. Still he went up against a strong heel in CM Punk and they popped a big quarter.
Punk has been partnered with the likes of Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Vince McMahon and Jim Ross over the past month or so and has held up very well in all of them. How much of that was due to returning stars? Probably a lot, but it does show that Punk is at least strong in the ratings and that is a good sign that they will keep him on as champion until Royal Rumble; something that will probably be the best thing creatively.
In other ratings news, Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio gained 210,000 viewers in a segment that traditionally gains – the 10pm slot. The Larry King segment with Miz, together with Zack Ryder & Santino Marella versus Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow lost 27,000 viewers.
As a whole the rating this week wasn’t bad; although like we have been saying for months, the move to three hours is hurting the rating. In all likelihood if this show was just a regular two hour show it would have popped a very good rating. In fact if the show was still two hours Vince wouldn’t have been on the show in all likelihood.
October 10th 2012 – Full Sail University, Florida.
The show began this week with a video promo from CM Punk; the WWE champion defined the word “respect” and said he should be “revered” for holding the title for so long, not treated with contempt. Punk claimed he was in the arena to watch Seth Rollins defend his belt, “the way a champion should” then declared he hoped everyone realised what a special night it was to have the WWE Champion present as an “observer”. The promo ended with the statement: “the best in the world invades NXT tonight; get ready for a lesson in respect”.
Bryon Saxton greeted the viewers after the intro package and a graphic of Seth Rollins vs. Michael McGillicutty for the NXT belt rolled. A second graphic hyping CM Punk’s appearance on the show aired.
Bo Dallas came out for the first match and Johnny Curtis appeared as his opponent.
Bo Dallas vs. Johnny Curtis
After the obligatory tie-up, Dallas executed a double wristlock takeover on Curtis. Bo connected with a clothesline before being shut down by the heel; Curtis landed a suplex for a two count and began to get the heat.
Dallas fought up from a rear chinlock, only to be cut off with a backdrop; Curtis missed a kneedrop from the second turnbuckle, which gave Bo the opening to begin his comeback. The fans did not seem too enthused with the face’s offense and Dallas gave them every reason not to invest in the match by neglecting to cover his opponent following a belly-to-belly suplex. Instead, Bo got to his feet and delivered a spear for the three count.
Bo Dallas defeated Johnny Curtis via pinfall, at 4:04.
Another Bo Dallas match hindered by a lack of basic psychology. Dallas virtually landed in a lateral press after he hit the belly-to-belly; when he got straight up as the referee went for the count, the illusion of an athletic completion was completely eradicated. Bo might as well have announced to everyone, he had to get one more spot in before he could go for the cover. If the people can’t believe a babyface is trying to win; what incentive do they have to care about the match at all?
A graphic of the Rollins vs. McGillicutty main event aired; Saxton said CM Punk would be on commentary for the match. Another graphic hyping Paige and Audrey Marie vs. Kaitlyn and Alicia Fox rolled.
All four Diva’s were in the ring following the break.
Paige & Audrey Marie vs. Kaitlyn & Alicia Fox
The ever popular Paige and Kaitlyn started out; the women traded takedowns and escapes until Audrey Marie got the tag in. Audrey committed an indy-geek psychology error; Marie applied a side headlock, transitioned into a hammerlock then went right back to a side headlock.
I guess nobody told her, the idea is to advance your position on your opponent, not go backwards after taking control of the arm.
Kaitlyn countered into an armbar then took Marie over with an armdrag. Alicia tagged in and rolled up Audrey for a one count; the two traded pinfall attempts until Marie executed a Winwick throw. William Regal marked out and explained the move was popularised by English grappler Steve Wright; “I’m as giddy as a kipper, I am”, remarked Regal. Saxton seemed amused by his partner’s enthusiasm.
Kaitlyn and Alicia gained the advantage; the team made frequent tags and tried to get the heat. Audrey countered Kaitlyn’s body scissors into a pinning combination for a two count; Kaitlyn attempted to prevent a tag to Paige but Marie scored with a jawbreaker and made the tag.
A fired up Paige hit a Thesz-press on Fox then went for her cradle DDT finish; Alicia countered into an inside cradle for a two count. Paige landed a dropkick and went for a cover, however Kaitlyn came in to break up the fall; Audrey entered and was sent over the top rope to the floor. Kaitlyn pursued Marie to the floor and Paige got the three count on Alicia with an O’Connor roll.
Paige & Audrey Marie defeated Kaitlyn & Alicia Fox, at 6:12; via pinfall.
This match was mediocre at best. As I mentioned, Audrey displayed how green she is by failing to advance her position and as in the previous match, this came across like she had no interest in defeating her opponent. On a positive note, Paige continues to be the most over Diva on the roster; hopefully someone in Titan Tower will take notice and stop hiring bikini girls and fitness models that have never stepped foot in a ring before.
Jake Carter was backstage talking to an unidentified blonde haired woman, the woman quickly scoffed then walked away. Trent Baretta appeared and mocked Carter for striking out; Jake said he was not embarrassed because he had a “team of girls” and didn’t need the mystery woman. Carter then told Trent it would be embarrassing if he stood over him in victory; Baretta replied by announcing he would compete next week against, “this dude and his dumb face”.
Confused? Yeah, me too; why is Carter now a slimy womanising heel? Why does Trent have the power to book a match with him? Why would Jake care what Trent said if he really did have a “team of girls”? Who was the mysterious blonde haired woman?
Briley Pierce was with Seth Rollins; Briley asked the NXT champ if he was nervous about his first title defence. Seth said he was excited and stated McGillicutty was the one who should be nervous; Rollins began to explain how he was disrespected last week by McGillicutty, when CM Punk interrupted the interview. Punk informed Rollins, “just because you are the champion; it’s not going to get you what you want”, then explained how he had proved time and time again that he is the best in the world, yet still had no respect. Finally the WWE champion advised Seth not to try earn McGillicutty’s respect, but to “beat it out of him”.
Leo Kruger was entering the ring after the break; his opponent was Dante Dash, whom was not introduced to the television audience. Regal said Leo was the son of the most infamous mercenary in South Africa’s history then claimed Kruger had been thrown out of the country for excessive poaching crimes.
Leo Kruger vs. Dante Dash
Kruger remained in a squat position, in the corner after the bell and eventually charged at Dash with a big forearm. Leo stomped Dante before locking in a reverse chinlock; Dash attempted to submit, however Kruger released the hold before the tap-out, only to lock it in once again.
Leo delivered a short-arm clothesline, followed by a snapsuplex then began to pull his own hair out. Kruger scored with his hangman’s facebuster for the three count.
Leo Kruger defeated Dante Dash via pinfall, at 2:22.
After the match, Leo got on the mic; with just a single spotlight on him Kruger began to talk in an unfamiliar language, before speaking in English. Leo said his “prey” do not have to worry about a long suffering because he will “extinguish their lives quickly” then asked who would be his next trophy. Regal explained that Kruger was speaking in “Afrikaans”.
I’m not sure about the new gimmick for Leo; I think I preferred the old wealthy, narcissist gimmick he had. Kruger also developed a thick accent, which wasn’t present before the gimmick switch; the Mankind hair pulling deal seemed a little contrived for me and I don’t quite understand how it fits with the new character.
A graphic of Rollins vs. McGillicutty rolled; Saxton said the match was next. Another graphic hyping CM Punk’s appearance aired.
Briley Pierce was backstage with Michael McGillicutty; Pierce asked if the match was about the title or about respect. McGillicutty replied, “Who cares about respect?” then claimed he would defeated Rollins for the NXT title and go on to beat CM Punk for the WWE title.
Jim Ross welcomed us back to the show after the break; Michael McGillicutty made his way out for the main event. Seth Rollins music hit and the NXT Champion did his slam dance deal on the ramp, before heading to the ring. CM Punk appeared to join J.R and Regal; J.R said, “He is the best in the world and the proof is over his shoulder, the WWE title”.
Considering the J.R/Punk segment from Raw a couple of weeks ago, this amused me greatly.
NXT Championship Match: Seth Rollins (Champion) vs. Michael McGillicutty
The crowd got behind Rollins at the bell and Seth executed a hammerlock takedown; McGillicutty broke the hold by reaching the ropes. Regal asked Punk if he could touch the WWE title, saying “it’s the closest I’ll ever get”; the champion graciously obliged. Rollins scored a quick roll up after a collar and elbow that received a two count, before going for the blackout; McGillicutty rolled to the apron and avoided the move.
McGillicutty was in control after the break, however Rollins landed a hiplock, followed by a side headlock takeover. Regal said Seth had followed in the footsteps of Punk’s career path and mentioned they both worked for the same companies; Punk stated, “He needs to concentrate on being the first Seth Rollins, not the second CM Punk”.
McGillicutty took Rollins over with a side headlock; the NXT champ fought up to land a pair of dropkicks and looked to go for a bulldog, but was dumped over the top rope to the floor. McGillicutty dropped Seth face first onto the apron before rolling his foe back in the ring; Rollins fought from underneath and was shut down by the heel. After a transition, Seth was cut off on the top rope and got caught in the tree of woe; McGillicutty stomped the champion and began to get the heat.
Rollins landed some shots and landed a big boot after the break; Seth sent McGillicutty over the top with a clothesline then hit a topé before rolling his opponent back in the ring. Rollins went for a springboard manoeuvre, but was caught with a dropkick in mid-air by the challenger; another transition later and Rollins nailed an enzuigiri. McGillicutty avoided the blackout for a second time and hit a Saito suplex for a two count, before going for the Perfectplex; Seth countered into an inside cradle for a two and McGillicutty hit a big clothesline for another near fall. Rollins reversed a running neckbreaker, which led the NXT champion to deliver sliced bread number two for the victory.
Seth Rollins defeated Michael McGillicutty via pinfall, at 11:20.
Rollins celebrated on the turnbuckle after the match and CM Punk gave the NXT Champion a standing ovation from behind the announce table.
The match was good, however I was expecting a great match from these two. I don’t know if it was due to the commercial breaks cutting into the story or down to portions being edited out, but I wasn’t as enthralled as I hoped to be. As the show went off the air all I could think about was the fact we don’t get to see Punk & Rollins vs. The Kings of Wrestling; who knows if Cesaro and Ohno will ever team on WWE TV, or if this match will ever take place again. Here’s hoping the gatekeepers of the WWE library vault come to their senses and give us what we want.
TNA Impact October 11th 2012
Impact Zone, Orlando, Florida
In a vacuum this was a good show for the most part; the Aces & Eights were kept to a minimum and there was some good wrestling on the show. However, the positioning of the matches was really stupid. Why was the match featuring the World Heavyweight Champion on first? Secondly, why was the Bully Ray/Sting tag before the Knockout’s match? Also this really didn’t feel like the go-home show to TNA’s biggest show of the year and although Austin Aries was good in his delivery in the mainevent segment, but the shoot concept was simply awful. It was a stupid way to try and make all the mistakes that went with the build to Bound for Glory go away and guess what? It didn’t it made the problem worse and made the entire company look second rate – this show is not going to draw a very large buyrate.
1. Austin Aries vs. James Storm
Regardless of the finish, surely the match with the World Heavyweight champion going into the biggest show of the year should have gone on last. Aries and Storm had an athletic exchange and Storm landed an armdrag sending Aries to the outside. Aries landed a shoulder block, but he was knocked down by Storm. Aries sent Storm over the top, he skinned the cat, but missed a pescado allowing for Aries to land a topé suicida. Storm landed a jaw breaker and followed it with a flurry of shots in the corner. Aries landed a boot and started to wear Storm down with chops and shots to the gut. Storm responded with chops of his own, but was caught with a dropkick to the back for the count of two. Storm landed a couple of shots in the corner and started the counting shots. Aries countered and began to land some of his own, but Storm got off and landed a leg sweep. This led to an exchange and Storm went for Eye of the Storm. Aries countered and hung Storm up throat first. Storm avoided the dropkick and went for a code breaker. Aries countered and went for the brainbuster. Storm countered and went for a German, but couldn’t get it and both men collided head to head. This led to Roode throwing Storm into the post. Aries didn’t know what to make of the situation, but landed the brainbuster for the win.
This was a good TV match and the finish did a decent job of building to Bound for Glory. However, I have absolutely no idea why this went on first. After all this is the heavyweight champion of the world, but that is another story.
Wes Briscoe wanted to tag along with Angle and Angle said he would make it happen. Styles approached Angel and screamed about him wanting to team with Sting. This led to Angle screaming that Daniels and Kazarian were playing him, but he stormed off. Angle and Styles might break up at the PPV. A Sting video package aired, he talked about last year and asked if it was the end for him. He said they would see at Bound for Glory.
Sting and Hogan came out. Hogan said to “Sting mon” that they had a situation since last week. Hogan talked about Sting wrestling against the Aces & Eights. Sting talked about how angry he was and put Ray over and the crowd still booed. Hogan said they had to make a deal with the devil and this led to Daniels and Kazarian coming out.
Daniels said they wanted to save the day. Daniels said they picked the most untrustworthy guy in the locker room. He wanted to know why he didn’t pick them. Kazarian called them “Heath and Thunderlips”. Kazarian asked them to cancel their match and told them thanks, but no thanks and recommended that they call upon Kurt Angle. Ray stormed out.
Ray told them to not talk about his brother. He said Angle would have been a great choice, but it was going to be a fight, not a match. If you want a match pick the best wrestler in the business, but if you want a fight choose him. He said it was the wrestling business and they shared common business – they were trying to get rid of the Aces & Eights. Ray called for himself and Sting to face Daniels and Kazarian. The crowd went crazy and Daniels screamed. The mainevent was then made.
2. AJ Styles vs. Hernandez
Styles landed a few shots to the head and took Hernandez down with a leg kick. He went for a sunset flip, Hernandez of course countered. Styles landed a leaping highkick and missed a splash in the corner. Styles was thrown into the turnbuckle and Hernandez locked in a bearhug. Hernandez landed a clothesline and Styles landed a big dropkick. Styles dropkicked Hernandez to the outside and followed it with a pescado. Styles was slightly distracted with Chavo and this allowed Hernandez to win with a big shoulder block! Yes, a shoulder block.
The leader of the Aces & Eights appeared on screen. They showed Parks eating and shaking. He talked about how former enemies were now friends. He talked about the locking of doors, of course and said he would see that night if they were locked in or out. He said they would see on Sunday regardless. I can’t see this angle mattering anymore.
Zema Ion came out. He said being humble gets you nowhere and he talked about how he had injured people. He said it was bitter sweet and he said he didn’t have a match, because he had injured everyone. He gave his catch phrase and out came Rob Van Dam.
He said talking trash was “f’n dangerous” when he was in earshot. He said Hogan said he could wrestle anyone he chose and he delivered a spinkick into the title belt on Ion. They really left that to the last minute didn’t they?
Hogan and Sting were backstage. They said they had no other choice. Ray came in and said they were up next. Hogan said he didn’t trust Ray. Ray said he didn’t do anything that Hogan didn’t do. He asked Hogan if he knew who he was. Sting screamed and said they had a big bad bully and they needed Hogan’s endorsement. Sting told Ray to not let him down.
Brooke Hogan was backstage talking to Terrell saying she would keep everything fair. Tara came by and gave her a media list given from her boyfriend. She said her boyfriend would be there on Sunday. She said the list was only for when she became champion. She then said that Kim and Khlos were right about Brooke and walked off.
3. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Bully Ray & Sting
Believe it or not this went on third; right in the middle of the show. Ray landed a big slap to the chest of Daniels in the corner. He landed some elbows to the arm of Ray and screamed “do you want Sting?” the crowd was really into it and Sting was tagged in. Kazarian was tagged in and he and Ray landed double hip tosses. Ray landed a back suplex for two and landed a slap to the chest. Ray made the tag to Sting and he landed a suplex. Ray came in and he landed a big vertical suplex. Sting landed the Stinger splash in the corner and went for another, but Daniels pulled Kazarian out of the way. Daniels then pulled Sting groin first into the turnbuckle. Daniels landed some shots on the outside and Ray came chasing after them with a chair. Ray helped the crowd cheer Sting on. Daniels landed an elbow and Kazarian a legdrop. Sting landed some elbow shots, but was taken down once again and Daniels landed a shot to the side. Daniels went to the top rope, but Sting sprung up and threw Daniels off. Daniels cut Sting off with a clothesline and Sting finally made the tag to Ray. Ray ran wild with some backdrops and a double splash in the corner. He landed a Samoan drop on Kazarian, for two (he wasn’t the legal man). Kazarian was thrown to the outside and Daniels was big booted with title in hand. Sting landed a shot to gut of Kazarian. Sting then did Devon’s old “get the tables!” gimmick after Ray shook his hand. Ray grabbed a table and Sting landed a Stinger death drop. Ray then landed a top rope powerbomb through the table for the DQ.
The crowd was really into Ray and Sting as a team and although I was against putting this match together to start with, I did turn a corner during the match; simply because the fans really reacted well to it. I know that it was the only way to really end it, but the finish was just really stupid. They could have rather had Daniels and Kazarian get the DQ and then get powerbombed through the table. If you can’t come up with a finish that works, don’t do the match.
There was a video package for Hardy/Aries. It was pretty great making the match seem like a very big deal. Hardy was shown talking about the match from earlier in the night. A graphic aired for Roode vs. Hardy that night. There was a video package for Snow versus Ryan, suffice to say it was not as great as the one that came before it.
Joe was backstage talking about how he used to trust Magnus. Magnus came by and talked about how he wasn’t jealous. He said the belt would belong to him on Sunday. Joe said he wanted to do it that night and Magnus said he wasn’t scared of Joe. Magnus said he was a business man and wanted to wait until Bound for Glory.
3. Brooke vs. Gail Kim
Gail Kim landed an uppercut and Tessmacher landed a flying head scissors. She did a dance. Tessmacher was hung up and Kim landed a dropkick to the side of Tessmacher. Kim landed a bodyslam and clothesline in the ropes. Kim grabbed a two count and landed a backbreaker. Kim landed a spear in the corner and Tessmacher landed a couple of elbows. Kim cut her off and went for a codebreaker, but she was catapulted into the corner by Tessmacher. Tessmacher landed some terrible strikes and a flying forearm. She then landed the final cut, but didn’t make the cover and went to the top rope. This led to Tessmacher being hung up and Kim got a fireman’s carry, but Tessmacher got a crucifix pin for two. Kim landed a sitout powerbomb and went to the top rope where she was forced to jump off. She then landed a faceplant where Kim landed on her shoulder for the win. Tara came out to attack Tessmacher after the match and went for the Widow’s peak, but Tessmacher now landed the actual facebuster for the win.
Bobby Roode was talking about how he knew how Hardy felt, because he won the BFG series. Storm ran by and interrupted his promo. Roode wanted to walk off and a brawl ensued. All of a sudden King Mo appeared out of the ether and told Storm to save it for Sunday. Jeff Hardy talked about his favourite moment being the swanton onto Abyss through a table. There was a Sting Hall of Fame video.
4. Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy
Roode attacked Hardy before the match and rammed his head into the guardrail. The fans got behind Hardy as Roode continued the beat down. The bell finally rang and Roode landed some shots in the corner. Hardy fired back with some shots of his own and landed the atomic drop followed by the legdrop to the groin and a basement dropkick. The fans got behind Hardy as he landed a few boots and a back bodydrop. Roode was sent to the outside with a clothesline. Roode pulled Hardy’s leg, but he was sent into the barricade, which allowed Hardy to land a pescado. Roode was thrown into the turnbuckle and his head was slammed against the apron. Hardy unloaded with some more shots and landed a shoulderblock; however he was quickly cut off with a big clothesline by Roode. Roode landed some forearms and choked Hardy with his boot. Hardy was thrown back to the outside and Tenay called King Mo a “Bellator Fighting champ”, which was wrong. Hardy landed a suplex on the outside. They returned from the quick first break and they showed Hardy whipping Roode into the post. The fans chanted for Hardy. Roode locked in a front facelock as the fans got behind Hardy. Roode landed a back elbow cutting Hardy off and went to the middle rope. He landed a neckbreaker for the count of two. Roode rolled to the outside and slammed Hardy’s head into the steal steps. Roode landed another neckbreaker for two and locked in a sleeper hold. Hardy made his comeback before the third arm dropped, but Roode held onto the choke. Hardy finally rammed Roode into the post and landed a whisper in the wind. Hardy landed an enzuigiri just after Roode said “not tonight”. Hardy landed a splash for two and Roode landed a spine buster also for the count of two. Hardy was perched on the top rope and he knocked Roode to the mat. He went for the swanton, but Roode moved and landed a spear for two. Roode went for the fisherman’s buster, but Hardy landed the stunner style twist of fate. He went for the regular one, but Roode landed a low blow and rolled out to the outside.
After the match he grabbed a chair. However, referee Bryan Hebner pulled the chair out of his hands and Hardy landed the twist of fate. Aries came out and said that he didn’t want the night to end with Hardy’s music. He had the script in his hands and crumbled up saying he wasn’t going to read it. He said everyone in the company had been telling him what to do and how to think. He said all of it was finished. He said that he was not jealous of Hardy. Not his wrap sheet and that he was half crippled and couldn’t play with his little girl (way to get both of you over). He was sick of the special treatment Hardy gets. He wanted a new music and entrance, but they were making Hardy videos. He wanted them to cater to him and he always worked best when it was him against the world. At Bound for Glory he wouldn’t be the failure, because the only failure is” the silly man that paints on his face”. Hardy said his “nuts” and face hurt, but at BFG he was going to end Aries’ “cocky ass”. Aries gave him one last chance to cheer, Hardy did and then he asked for Hardy to leave and he landed a brain buster. He asked if that was what the people wanted and the show ended.
The mainevent match was a really good TV match. However, the Austin Aries segment, which was intended to feel like a “shoot” made the entire build to the mainevent match seem bush-league. It made the company look bad, it made the wrestlers look bad and was something that WCW used to do when it was dying. This was jus making a mistake that has been done so many times in the past. If you wanted to have Aries go out and do a CM Punk style interview, go for it, but don’t make a mockery out of the entire build, show and company in the process.
WWE SmackDown – October 12th 2012.
HP Pavilion – San Jose, CA.
After the intro package, Josh Matthews hyped the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in two weeks. Footage of Big Show hitting the WMD on several people aired, followed by Sheamus landing the Brogue kick on different guys. Josh said we’d find out which move was the most devastating.
A graphic of the WMD vs. The Brogue kick aired.
Booker T came out onto the stage; the GM hyped the first ever meeting between Show and Sheamus at the PPV and said the WWE Universe was buzzing about which move was more powerful. Book then stated we’d find out right now, before introducing the Big Show.
Footage of Show blocking an attempted Brogue kick from Sheamus on Raw aired.
Sheamus came out next and Booker told both men they would have one shot at a Snatcher bag that was hooked up to a monitor; the monitor would display the power of each man’s move. Book claimed that a world Heavyweight boxing champion’s punch measured in at 776 psi (pound-force per square inch); the GM then asked Big Show to go first. Show refused and ranted about how John Cena and The Undertaker can attest to how strong his WMD was; Sheamus offered to “take a crack at it” and the World Champion delivered a Brogue kick to the gimmicked bag. The kick measured in at a ludicrous 1322 psi; JBL protested, “a kick is always more powerful than a punch”. Show again refused to take part in the demonstration; Sheamus encouraged The Big Show to take part, because nothing could be more embarrassing than his 45 second world title reign. Show finally hit the Snatcher bag and the WMD produced a preposterous 1809 psi. Booker T declared Show the winner, before The Big Show told Sheamus, “I’ll see you at Hell in a Cell, fella”. The Great White admitted the WMD was impressive, but noted Show was hitting a machine that was stationary; before the World champ could finish his sentence, Tensai jumped him from behind. Booker yelled, “you about to get fired” and ejected Tensai.
Call me crazy, but I enjoyed this opening segment; both guy’s move got over even more with the absurd psi measurements. I may be clutching at straws here, but any type of carny reference on WWE is always satisfying to me and the gimmick machine they had set up was straight out of a carnival. This was a pretty creative way to further the angle, without having any contact.
Sheamus was in the ring after the commercials; JBL and Josh talked about Booker T being angry at what happened before the break and explained he booked a match between the two.
Tensai made his official entrance, however Sheamus charged up the ramp to face his opponent; the two brawled on the outside before the bell and Tensai was sent into the ring post. With both men inside the ring, the referee backed up the fired up Sheamus then checked on the wounded Tensai before calling for the bell.
Non-Title Match: Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) vs. Tensai
Sheamus displayed his aggression with some shots to his foe and delivered a chop block to the big man. Tensai cut off the offense with a back elbow then attempted a suplex; Sheamus countered with a suplex of his own. JBL proved his knowledge of wrestling outside of North America is far from stellar by saying Tensai was the first foreigner to win the IWGP and the GHC heavyweight belts.
Not only has Matt Bloom never held either of these titles, but Vader, Scott Norton and Brock Lesnar all held the IWGP title. To make JBL’s statement even more ridiculous, Vader held the IWGP belt three times.
Sheamus avoided a splash in the corner and scored with some axe-handles blows before landing a powerslam for two; Tensai countered the Irish curse but missed with a back splash. Sheamus hit white noise and followed up with the Brogue kick for the victory.
Sheamus defeated Tensai via pinfall, at 3:35.
The match was nothing special and not a patch on their hard-hitting match a couple of months ago from Raw, where both guys stiffed each other like crazy. Sheamus was able to hit the Brogue on a big man, so I suppose the match served a purpose.
A graphic of Big Show vs. Sheamus at Hell in a Cell rolled.
Footage of Alberto Del Rio attacking Randy Orton after SmackDown went off-air two weeks ago aired; JBL said Orton would be in the building tonight.
Del Rio was backstage with Ricardo Rodriguez; Alberto told his ring announcer he didn’t care what Orton said on twitter and instructed Ricardo to go find The Viper.
Ricardo was searching for Orton in the back and heard some snake-like noises, which freaked out the ring announcer. Santino entered with The Cobra; Marella told Ricardo the cobra is one of the world’s most deadly snakes. Santino informed Rodriguez, “the Viper is just as deadly”, before striking Ricardo with his puppet.
Heath Slater’s music hit; Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre made their way to the ring. Footage of the three attacking Santino on Raw rolled. In the ring, McIntyre remarked, “that was more than a beatdown, it was more like beautiful music”. Jinder claimed the trio’s career’s had been “out of tune” but now they have untied to form a “super-group”; Slater ended by screaming, “Now we’re a band, baby!” The triumvirate of geeks then played synchronised air-guitar, which was absolutely priceless. Santino and Zack Ryder came out to face Slater and Jinder Mahal.
Santino Marella & Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal
Ryder and Mahal started out; Zack landed a dropkick and quickly made the tag to Marella. Santino came off the bottom rope with an axe-handle then delivered a hip toss; Jinder avoided the goofy diving headbutt and hit a clothesline, before tagging in Slater. Heath executed a basement lariat for a two count then began to get some heat on Santino; the heels made frequent tags, stomping Marella in their corner. Santino managed to roll under a clothesline from Slater but was unable to reach Ryder for the tag and Heath locked in a rear chinlock. Marella fought up to hit a modified stunner then made the tag to his partner.
Ryder came in and connected with a dropkick off the second rope, before nailing Slater with the Broski-boot; Mahal broke up the pin attempt then sent Santino over the top to the floor. Zack took Jinder over the top rope with a clothesline, but McIntyre jumped on the apron to distract the babyface. Slater took advantage and hit a modified facebuster for the victory.
Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal defeated Santino Marella & Zack Ryder via pinfall, at 3:51.
After the match, “The Band” celebrated with some more air-guitar then took the cliché, pretentious rock star bow.
At first I had no idea why Mahal, Slater & McIntyre had been thrown together and to be honest, I still don’t. However, having seen an incalculable number of horrendous air-guitar routines in clubs and bars; the joy I get from seeing these three rock-out is almost indescribable. Drew seems to have no rhythm whatsoever and Jinder was playing an air-shovel, not air-guitar. The last thing we need is more comedy geeks, but I couldn’t stop myself from loving this.
Footage of Team Hell No defeating Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio from Raw rolled, followed by a Tout from Ziggler, in which Dolph challenged Kane to a match tonight.
Kane’s pyro hit and the Big Red Machine headed to the ring.
Vickie Guerrero introduced her client and Ziggler came out to face Kane.
Kane (Tag Team Champion) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph utilised his speed early to grab a waistlock; Kane used his power to break and hit Ziggler with a big uppercut. Ziggler again showed his pace by delivering rapid shots to his opponent then went for a crossbody; Kane displayed his strength once more by catching Dolph and set up for a powerslam. Ziggler escaped only to be sent over the top rope to the floor by a big boot to the face.
Ziggler hung Kane’s throat over the top rope then went up top for an axe-handle smash; Kane countered and went for the chokeslam, however Dolph escaped and hit the Rocker-dropper for a one count. Kane fought back with some shots, but telegraphed a backdrop and took a swinging neckbreaker for another one count. Ziggler delivered repeated elbow drops to his opponent then scored with some shots in the corner; Kane avoided a splash in the corner and hit a big clothesline for a two count. Following a sidewalk slam, The Big Red Machine went up top; Dolph cut off his opponent by landing some shots on the second rope. Ziggler was sent to the canvas by a headbutt and Vickie got up on the apron to distract the official; Dolph nailed Kane with his briefcase, however the referee saw and called for the bell.
Kane defeated Dolph Ziggler via disqualification, at 7:03.
The match started out great, Kane was the big, powerful monster and Ziggler used his speed to try out manoeuvre him. Sadly things became less and less enjoyable as it deteriorated into just another Kane match.
Ziggler tried for another briefcase shot, only to eat a big uppercut from Kane. Daniel Bryan hit the ring as Dolph rolled to the floor; Bryan claimed to have saved his partner, which caused the tag team champions to argue with each other again.
Matt Striker was suddenly in the ring; he asked if the bickering would cost Team Hell No the tag Titles at Hell in a Cell; after receiving no reply, Striker asked Bryan what his response was to being labelled, “the weak link of the team”. Bryan slapped the right-wing announcer in the “No” lock, however Kane saved Striker by pulling his partner off the fourth-string commentator. Thankfully, Kane did not hug Matt, instead he delivered a chokeslam; JBL loved seeing Striker take the move, stating: “I never liked Matt Striker”.
Ricardo Rodriguez was still looking for Randy Orton backstage; Ricardo heard voices through a locker room door and burst in, only to find Hornswoggle with a talking Randy Orton toy. Rodriguez proceeded to beat up the toy and left the leprechaun looking miserable without anything to play with.
Footage the Larry King/Miz/Kofi Kingston segment from Raw aired.
The Miz was on commentary with JBL and Josh; the IC Champion claimed he made average people look like stars.
Much like the way Vince McMahon does with Miz.
Kofi Kingston came out and Josh said Kofi would challenge Miz for the Intercontinental title on Main Event this Wednesday. The Big Show appeared as Kofi’s opponent for the evening. Footage of Show blocking the Brogue kick from Raw rolled again.
Kofi Kingston vs. The Big Show
Big Show scored with a tackle, after a quick start from Kingston and Kofi rolled to the floor. Show reached over the ropes to grab Kofi but was hung across the top rope. Kingston went for a springboard crossbody and simply bounced of the giant. Show landed a big overhand chop and set Kingston up in the corner; Kofi caught his foe with a boot to the face then came off the top with a dropkick. Kingston hit the boom drop before going for trouble in paradise. The Big Show easily blocked the kick and knocked out Kofi with the WMD for the win.
Big Show defeated Kofi Kingston via pinfall, at 2:13.
Show thwarting Kofi’s kick works tremendously after Sheamus hit Tensai with the Brogue; it keeps the intrigue alive regarding the possibility of either man landing their move during the match at Hell in a Cell.
The Miz said he had to interview Kofi and left the announce booth; Miz told Kingston he is where he deserved to be, flat on his back. The IC Champion then stated he was going to leave with the belt, just like he will on Main Event when he beats Kofi.
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo were in their locker room; a shadow on the wall sacred Rodriguez. Daniel Bryan entered and Del Rio said he was, “expecting a little snake, not a smelly goat” then told Bryan the only reason he has a title is because of Kane. Bryan replied, “the only reason you are talking to me, is because Randy Orton hasn’t found you yet”; the tag team champion then informed Alberto he just spoke to Booker T and the two would be facing each other later on in the show.
Layla and Kaitlyn were in Booker T’s office; they were ranting and displaying their atrocious acting skills, Layla in particular. Apparently Teddy Long is fluent in incoherent nonsense and translated for Booker; Teddy explained how Aksana found a blonde wig in Eve’s bag. Eve walked in and claimed she had been through Teddy’s bag and found a blonde wig; she then placed the wig on Teddy’s head. he women squabbled until Booker invited Layla and Kaitlyn to “go have some coffee and work this out”; Teddy told Eve he had nothing to do with any of this. Eve claimed she didn’t either.
What does Aksana have to do with anything? Why couldn’t one of the other two women have found a wig in Eve’s bag? Layla reached an all time new low in terms of acting during this skit; it was one of those, embarrassed to be a wrestling fan moments.
After the break, Sin Cara was in the ring; a graphic of the Tag Team tournament final aired and Damien Sandow came out with Cody Rhodes. Josh said the final would take place on Raw.
Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow w/ Cody Rhodes
Sin Cara controlled the early portion of the match with a series of kicks and a springboard corkscrew armdrag; Sandow broke the babyface’s momentum by rolling to the safety of the floor. Back inside and Sandow scored a knee to the gut and started to get the head; Damien delivered a side Russian legsweep then followed up with the Cubito Aequet for a two count.
The masked man started his comeback with a jawbreaker then a handspring elbow; Sandow escaped to the apron, yet still ate a springboard dropkick that sent him to the floor. Sin Cara came off the top with a crossbody to the outside, however Sandow moved and Rhodes took the dive; with Damien back in the ring, Cara landed an enzuigiri from the apron. Cody yanked the hoodie to the floor, but referee Brad Maddox saw the interference and ejected Rhodes from ringside; Sin Cara then executed a springboard hurricanrana for the three count.
Sin Cara defeated Damien Sandow via pinfall, at 3:16.
This was fine; it was kept short and therefore Sin Cara’s weaknesses were not exposed. Also the victory for Cara sets up the Tag Tournament final nicely; of course with the babyface going over here, I expect the heels to get the nod on Raw.
Daniel Bryan was walking towards the ring; he came across Kane and told his partner not to come help him, even if it appeared like he was in trouble. Kane said he would not help his fellow Tag Team Champion.
Ricardo Rodriguez was in the middle of announcing Alberto Del Rio when we joined the show again; Daniel Bryan made his entrance and as always received a big reaction. JBL put him over for stretching Matt Striker earlier.
Daniel Bryan (Tag Team Champion) vs. Alberto Del Rio
The two locked up and Del Rio tried for an armbar; Bryan countered with a forearm then a European uppercut. Bryan took his opponent over with a snapmare and delivered a kick to the spine for a one count; Del Rio took control after a kick to the gut. JBL said Bryan was trained by Randy Couture then claimed Del Rio wrestled Couture numerous times.
I know Bryan trained at the Xtreme Couture gym, however I am unaware if Del Rio really did wrestler The Natural. As Dos Caras Jr. he competed in several MMA bouts, most notably against Mirko Cro Cop in Pride; this could just be a case of JBL’s revisionist history.
Del Rio took his foe over with a snap suplex, however missed a running splash in the corner; Bryan scored with some kicks, before pulling out his old surfboard-tease spot and drove both of Alberto’s knees into the mat. Following a transition that saw Bryan’s turnbuckle back flip; Daniel scored with a clothesline and hit a series of kicks to Del Rio’s torso. Alberto avoided a running dropkick in the corner then scored with an enzuigiri to the arm.
With Bryan on the apron, Del Rio went for a dropkick but missed and ended up hanging from the top rope; the Tag Team Champion nailed a kick that sent Alberto to the floor. Bryan tried for a flying knee off the apron; however Del Rio moved and sent Daniel into the barricade.
Alberto hit a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker for a two count then went to work on the arm; Bryan fought out of a top wristlock and countered another tilt-o-whirl attempt. Del Rio tried for the cross armbreaker, but Daniel reversed into the “No” lock; Alberto made it to the bottom rope and locked in the cross armbreaker over the top rope. Del Rio broke the hold on four then sent Bryan’s shoulder into the ring post, before locking in the cross armbreaker again for the victory.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Daniel Bryan via submission, at 6:51.
This was a good match and the finish was excellent; I could make a point about the Tag Champion losing, but Bryan is so over it really doesn’t matter.
After the match, Del Rio got on the mic and claimed Randy Orton would not show up tonight. Footage of Alberto’s attack two weeks ago rolled again and footage of Big Show pinning Orton on Main Event followed. Del Rio stated Randy was not The Viper anymore and proclaimed himself as the new Apex Predator of the WWE, then said Randy had no “cojones” for not showing his face.
Alberto imitated Orton’s signature pose and began to perform Randy’s pre-RKO taunt; as Del Rio hit the canvas he came face to face with Orton, who had slid under the bottom rope undetected. Randy commenced with a beatdown on Alberto and sent him into the ring post then the steel steps; Orton set up the heel on the announce table, however Ricardo saved the aristocrat by jumping on Randy’s back. Del Rio escaped up the ramp, leaving Ricardo to take an RKO onto the announce table; Orton starred down Alberto as the show went off the air.
I thought the Big Show and Sheamus angle was handled excellently; the deal with the psi machine was creative and both guys had a match that related to the overall story of their programme. I just hope with two episodes of Raw and SmackDown before the PPV, they are able to keep the heat going without any physicality.
Del Rio and Orton’s programme has also been handled particularly well; if you go back to the clean tap-out a month or so ago, Alberto has actually looked strong. Unlike his feud with Sheamus where he just appeared incompetent.
Ziggler was booked like a complete moron again, which is not great. Dolph is over with work-rate fans so he might stand a chance, however WWE are running the risk of another Jack Swagger World Title reign if they are not careful.
Overall the show was enjoyable; there was nothing horrendously bad (apart from Layla’s acting skills) and the matches were fine, with the main event being the best by far.
Bits & Pieces
Delirious New Head Booker of ROH
ROH has announced that its new head booker is now longer Jim Cornette, but rather Hunter Johnston (Delirious). Johnston was the head booker of ROH before Cornette and while he didn’t produce the best ROH product during his tenure on top, he was probably the booker that I would put behind Gabe Sapolsky in terms of booking of the product.
Fans of ROH were originally extremely hopeful that Cornette would help bring ROH to the next level during the Sinclair run. However, it was not to be for ROH’s core audience and although Cornette had some good ideas, his booking philosophy seemed dated in the context of ROH.
Cornette will remain on with ROH as Executive Producer and this seems to have been a mutual decision as Johnston has worked under Cornette for some time now. Hopefully both men are more effective in their respective roles now, because Jim Cornette certainly is a good booker; but for whatever reason he didn’t click with this run.
Cornette has been written off TV in an angle with Jay Lethal. Jay Lethal lost it and attacked Cornette backstage and they seem to be grooming Lethal as a possible new top star, instead of a man that was perpetual feuding with Ciampa for the TV title.
Unfortunately, this change will not help with ROH’s technical woes and although we say this every time, their Glory by Honor XI show is crucial this weekend. If they aren’t able to get that stream perfect this time around it is going to take an incredibly long time, or something very hot to get that aspect of the business back.
The show features a strong mainevent, one of the strongest that ROH has right now, with Michael Elgin challenging Kevin Steen for the ROH title. If this match was done months ago it could have been much bigger as Elgin was really hot coming off of his match with Richards. They had to go with Steen at that point as champion and so had to layoff of Elgin for a few months, but that gave him time to cool off.
He has been pretty much stuck in an extremely slow burn face turn with the House of Truth and Roderick Strong. The angle went on way too long and probably would have been more effective if they just turned him after his Mania weekend match, since he was already a face in the eyes of the fans. Still it should be a good match and there is a possibility of a change; although they seem fit on Lethal and Steen at Final Battle.
Chances of CM Punk versus Ryback at Hell in a Cell Have Increased
Going by the state of John Cena’s injured elbow and the rate at which he is recovering, together with the uncertainty over whether he will be able to compete from both him and people within the company suggests that the WWE might be going with Ryback and Punk at Hell in a Cell.
They have been pushing Ryback stronger each week with teases of him and Punk facing off. The peak of these teases came this week when Vince gave Punk the choice to choose between Cena and Ryback. Presumably this was the only thing left for them to do, given the fact that they don’t know if Cena will be fit to compete and they probably needed to buy some time.
Luckily for them they had a guy like Ryback ready to face Punk in that spot and it gets even better, because the crowd is starting to react to Ryback. However, he is still very green and from all house show accounts he can barley go ten minutes let alone the fifteen to twenty plus minutes seen in your standard WWE PPV mainevent.
They apparently were even considering putting the championship on Ryback, which would be a very bad idea. However, if they have Ryback lose at Hell in a Cell then they would have basically killed off a chance at making a new star. They will either have to go with something convoluted or make some sort of plan, because either way the company will lose something in that situation.
If I had to choose between the two I would obviosully keep the championship on Punk given the fact that he has been the champion for so long and the logical thing to do would be for Punk to face Rock at the Royal Rumble. Ryback as champion would have been improvised a month or so ago at best and that isn’t the kind of thought you want to put into changing the title.
Volk Han to Face Masakatsu Funaki in December
Volk Han the 51 year old sambo fighter, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler for the RINGS promotion in the 1990s is set to face current All Japan Triple Crown Champion Masakatsu Funaki on December 16th at the Yokohama Bunka Gym in a one night revival of the RINGS promotion.
The match would have been a dream match if it happened a decade and a half ago, but I am not really sure what shape Volk Han is in today, although judging from his Facebook page he seems to be in decent shape. He and Funaki are both former shoot fighters and were great professional wrestlers and in Volk Han’s case one of if not the best wrestlers in the last 50 years when it came to making matches look real.
Volk Han made his name in the RINGS promotion, founded by 1980s New Japan star Akira Maeda. He wrestled against Maeda on some of the first RINGS show and had some great matches with the likes of Kiyoshi Tamura and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka among others.
The RINGS promotion went through two eras; the first being the professional wrestling era comprised of completely worked matches from 1992-1995 and the second being the Mixed Martial Arts era from 1995-2002. Volk Han was successful in both, staying on to do MMA up until 2001.
At his peak he was able to make all of his matches look incredibly real. I have never seen anyone before or since that was able to do so with such ease and with such a degree of realism. His matches were never boring and still hold up to this day as some of the best matches in the genre.
I even feel that Volk Han should be in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame and while I don’t think that he was the biggest draw in the world, like Dynamite Kid he was such a great worker and had such influence that it would seem appropriate that he be inducted. I didn’t do anything to argue for his case this year, but if he doesn’t make it in this year I will certainly try make a case for him next year.
I don’t really know if the show will be much of a success. The business has changed since the early to mid-1990s and I don’t even know if people in Japan are still interested in seeing shoot-style pro wrestling matches. The fans of RINGS from what I imagine have moved on; although there will undoubtedly be some nostalgic fans in attendance on the 16th.
The match certainly isn’t as big of a deal as it would have been in the 1990s, but I am still excited for it. I know that although Takada is broken in many aspects, he can still perform at a mainevent level. I would imagine that Volk Han is still in decent shape and he didn’t take the abuse that Takada did during his career. We will have more on the December 16th show as it draws closer.
Next Week’s Issue
Next week we have another big issue coming your way with TNA’s biggest show of the year Bound for Glory, ROH’s Glory by Honor XI, The current situation in regard to the WWE creative reshuffle, RAW, The rating, Impact with the follow up to Bound for Glory, Any New Japan that surfaces, Greg Klein’s Junk Yard Dog Book, SmackDown, NXT, the news from the week and more!
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