Cubed Circle Newsletter
In some ways this week was a slow news week, there were no big puro shows to cover or pay-per-views, on the other hand the RAW rating was telling, but we didn’t get the segment by segment ratings due to Thanksgiving. Still we have a pretty decent sized newsletter for you this week, with a lot of different content including: Jonathan Snowden’s book ‘Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling’, RAW, The hours for the show, Impact, Cornette in brief, a New Japan iPPV preview and Ben Carass covers SmackDown and NXT.
There is also an ongoing series on the front page covering some of the matches that I have overlooked over the past year, which I hope some people will enjoy. For those that haven’t seen it yet, the front page is now updated everyday, so if that is something that interests you check it out at cubedcirclewrestling.com – if you wondering about the 2002 Triple Crown match between Tenryu and Mutoh today is your lucky day. With that being said, I hope you enjoy this week’s newsletter.
– Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Newsletter Editor
Shooters: The Toughest Men in Professional Wrestling By Jonathan Snowden Review
When I first picked up Jonathan Snowden’s Shooters off Amazon I was expecting a fun read, but little else. What I was expecting was some light coverage of early Pioneer and pre-Pioneer era wrestling and then relatively long pieces on recent tough men in professional wrestling like Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar; I was expecting a fun read, but I got something far different.
Instead of getting what I expected, which was a relatively light summary on tough men in professional wrestling; I got what was probably one of my favourite pro wrestling books ever.
What made the book so good was its enormous scope and depth that it covered the history of pro wrestling with. From Joe Stecher to Sakuraba this book covered it all in such great detail, especially the pre-World War I and World War II eras, which got a lot of coverage in the first quarter of the book. And while Shooters may not be labelled as a book covering the entire history of pro wrestling, the first third of the book really does serve as a good overview of what wrestling was during the pre-television days.
I particularly liked the fact that so many overlooked wrestlers, especially from the pre-television era were mentioned, together with the fact that, while they were simply mentioned in passing, stories like the account of how the Turkish wrestlers would down a bottle of olive oil before matches will definitely be something that I remember.
The book for the most part follows a linear progression through history, starting with William Muldoon and ending with Brock Lesnar, and with a lot of the chapters segueing from one wrestler’s story to the next.
While it would be very difficult to put my finger on the single portion of the book that I found most interesting, simply because I was enthralled with most of it, I would have to go with the earlier pioneer section of the book, the Karl Gotch and Wigan sections, and the chapter on Sakuraba – all for very different reasons.
The pre-1930 era of professional wrestling is probably one of the most interesting times in wrestling for me, due to a combination of factors. One of the first is probably that I am simply intrigued with the time as a whole, but another huge reason was the amount that the style has changed from that time period and really how different it was from wrestling only decades later.
It is obvious that today’s pro wrestling is far different from that of the 40s, 50s or 60s, but I always feel that from the late 19th century up until the early 1920’s was one of the largest periods of change ever in pro wrestling; there have been others, but that time really does stick out to me as one of the most intriguing.
The Karl Gotch section of the book, and the tales of Wigan, was another huge highlight. Most wrestling fans have heard of Karl Gotch, his reputation and have maybe seen some of his matches, but his entire story pretty much from his training at Wigan onward was detailed in this book. With Karl Gotch being such an instrumental and intriguing figure it would have been very hard to not walk away with a lot from that section.
Finally the section on Sakuraba grabbed me, not due to the fact that I was unfamiliar with Sakuraba’s career, but more because of the opportunity that I had to relive the story of Sakuraba – probably one of the best stories in professional wrestling or MMA history. There were many quotes from Sakuraba’s creatively titled books ‘Me’ and ‘Me. . .’ as well as interviews conducted throughout his career, which really gave the sense that Snowden was the narrator of an epic tale; a feeling that was prevalent throughout the book.
Another chapter that also deserves mention is that of Kimura, a man that has recently been added to the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame ballot, and at least from reading his chapter should be debated as a candidate to a much greater extent.
There were plenty of excellent quotes throughout the book, with probably none as great as a quote from Yoshiaki Fujiwara who recalls a time during training when Karl Gotch got a tooth ache, and how as a result of which decided to have all of his teeth pulled out. There were some great quotes that I would like to share in this review, but most of them were made even better by the context in which they were placed; and so I wouldn’t like to spoil them.
As a whole if you are a fan of professional wrestling and you want to learn about its history this is probably one of the best books out there. From the start of what we can call American pro wrestling with William Muldoon, to Frank Gotch and Farmer Burns, to Antonio Inoki, Karl Gotch, Danny Hodge Kurt Angle, Sakuraba and more, this is the definitive book when it comes to some of the most important figures in the history of pro wrestling.
Not only that, but Snowden managed to capture the unique story of each era and each wrestler with narrative flare and entertaining insight. If you have ever wondered why so many people link MMA and pro wrestling together, or pondered the history of pro wrestling and how it evolved from a sport almost completely compiled of shoots to a complete work, there is simply no better place to look.
This was not only the best pro wrestling book of the year, but one of my favourite pro wrestling books that I have ever read.
WWE Monday Night RAW November 26th 2012
People say that there was a noticeable difference between this show and previous weeks, because Vince wasn’t present in the building, and while it is true that there were better matches on the show there really wasn’t a noticeable difference from your standard RAW fair.
It was nice to see ‘O Neal get some offense in during the opener, which was probably at least in some part due to his role on commentary last week, but at the end of the day he still got squashed. They scripted Ryback better however, which was a big positive, because although he is really not a great talker, there were no food references, which was a big positive.
The Del Rio/Khali match was what you would expect. Khali is immobile and Del Rio had the best match that he could have had with him, but at the end of the day he was limited.
I liked the Shield interview. It introduced all three of the men quite eloquently and it was probably smart to have them cut the promo away from the crowd, just to give the audience at large a taste of their personalities. Ambrose certainly doesn’t need any help with his mic work, and I see him being great in the psychotic leader role
Bryan and Mysterio had a very fun match. It was nice to see Bryan in a good single’s match, because although his team with Kane is fun, it really just feels like a holding pattern for Bryan. I don’t know if the team should be broken up now, but it is quite obvious that Bryan could be moving on to bigger and better things; he has tons of charisma and is obviously one of if not the best worker in the company. It felt like they were trying to breath life into the tag team division with the addition of Bryan and Kane, but it seems like they have given up on that revival – and let’s face it the division is pretty much beyond hope at this point.
John Cena versus Ziggler baffled me just like the rest of the angle. They basically gave the pay-per-view match away on live TV. It is all fine and good to have a great match on TV, but to give away a finish, and such a strong one with John Cena winning against the odds was a big mistake. Antonio Cesaro and Sheamus had a really good match, and I would definitely like to see a program between them in the future.
The CM Punk versus Kane mainevent was fine, albeit obviously the product of a worked poll. They once again built up the Shield in a mainevent spot, which was a positive and hopefully next week we will get some strong build.
As a whole this wasn’t a bad show at all, but it still very much was a three hour RAW that was very difficult to sit through past the second hour.
Segment by Segment:
The Impact style opening videos are in fact taken from Impact. I really don’t think they are conducive to the product; it really is the kind of thing that makes your entire product seem like a parody.
Ryback came out to open the show and Cole talked about how he had interviewed Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns.
1. Ryback vs. Titus ‘O Neal
‘O Neal actually got some offense in early on. The placing of Titus in the opening segment makes me think that they have some kind of plan for him. I know that they were high on him after his commentary last week. ‘O Neal actually landed a sky high for one. Still for the most part it was your average Ryback squash with Ryback landing his marching Samoan drop for the win.
After the match Ryback cut a promo. He said that he would stand there all night until he got what he wanted. He chanted feed me more along with the fans. They went to a break and they were still chanting “feed me more” when they came back. Just then a bunch of security came down to the ring. Ryback threw the one guy to the floor, which led to Vickie coming out.
She talked about how she was an understanding person. However, Ryback was not allowed to interrupt the show. Ryback interrupted Vickie and said that he wanted Punk at TLC. Vickie said Ryback had his match, and Ryback told her to shut up. He said that he wasn’t finished. He wanted a TLC match – a bad idea. He told her to shut up again. Vickie then asked for him to leave and accepted the terms to the match. Ryback taunted an attack on the security and they fled the ring.
They scripted Ryback far better this week than they have in the past. He is still a bad promo, but having him tell Vickie to shut up really popped the crowd and was a far better move than having him go out with all of those food references. I can’t help but think that a TLC match is a really bad idea. I know that it was an idea at some point for Cena versus Ziggler, but then again what were they going to suspend above the ring? Vickie? AJ? Having Ryback climbing ladders also doesn’t seem like the brightest idea in the world and they have already pushed their luck with having him climb the cell.
They played a recap of the Rosa Mendez/Hornswoggle segment from last week. They cut to a segment that was recorded earlier in the day with Hornswoggle and Mendez. I have never felt like I was at the pantomime more than when I was watching this segment. There lines just felt so stiff and contrived. Del Rio came by and said that no real woman would take him seriously. He touched Hornswoggle and Khali made the save.
2. Alberto Del Rio vs. Great Khali
We joined the match in progress after the break. Khali landed some slaps to the chest of Del Rio. Del Rio went after the arm of Khali. Khali was caught with a highkick and stomp. He was caught with an enzuigiri to the shoulder, but Khali landed a boot and some clotheslines. He landed his chop, Ricardo jumped onto the apron, but Hornswoggle bit him. Del Rio made his way up and landed a double knee armbreaker and locked in the cross armbreaker for the win.
Vickie was approached by Punk and Heyman backstage. Punk of course complained about TLC. He said that he would speak to Vickie however he wanted. Heyman said that she was biased against Cena so she had to be biased again Punk. Punk said that he had nothing to do with Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns. Vickie made a match for Punk against Bryan or Kane, and Heyman took Punk off the set.
They cut to the Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns interview. They were all sitting in a very civil manner. Ambrose wanted Cole to ask them a question directly. Cole asked if they were with Punk. Ambrose replied with a simple “nope”. Cole asked why they were there. Rollins said that everyone eventually had to answer to the ‘WWE Universe’ – it was a popularity contest. They said that they were a shield for injustice. Ambrose said it was about right and wrong, they said that Punk shouldn’t have had to defend the title against two men. Cole asked if Reigns wanted to say something; he said that he would speak when he had something to say. Ambrose said if they were looking for Nexus or the NWO they could by the new NWO DVD. Reigns stood up and said that the interview was over and they walked off.
Having this in a very civil setting probably says something about WWE’s confidence in these three, but it also shows that they are taking the care to try and build them up slowly. Ambrose was obviously good in this segment and I can see that they are already building him up as a psychotic leader, which should be very entertaining. They actually split the talking with Rollins, which surprised me considering that Rollins isn’t really known for his mic work. Reigns has a good look, but from what I have seen he is far from ready. Still, after this and the mainevent segment I am interested to see where this is going.
There was another Fandango vignette.
3. Tamina Snuka vs. Alicia Fox
Fox fired off on Snuka with forearms and boots. She was soon flapjacked in the corner. Fox grabbed a small package but was worn back down. Snuka then landed the superfly splash for the win.
They showed some tweets from the WWE’s visit to the troops at the Persian Gulf; the reason that Vince was not at TV.
Cena came out. He said that he had never been interrogated as much in ten years as he had in the past week. Vickie came out. She wanted to give Cena a gift and bought out a box. She had matching bath robes for him and AJ. She couldn’t wait until they imploded. She talked about AJ being psychotic and how it would lead to their downfall. Out came AJ.
AJ said that she wanted to be a better person and she could say and do whatever she wanted. She flirted with Cena. She called Vickie a “female dog” and out came Ziggler. He said they were losing site of the real story that Cena couldn’t deal with the fact that Ziggler took Cena down in the back and he could do nothing. What Ziggler said was bothering Cena the most was that AJ was thinking of Ziggler when she kissed him. Cena wanted to go after Ziggler – Vickie then made Cena vs. Ziggler for later in the night.
4. Kofi Kingston vs. Tensai
Barrett was on commentary. Tensai landed some chops to the neck and sat down on the arm of Kingston. Kingston landed some big chops and a boomdrop. Tensai blocked Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise with his forearms and landed a neckbreaker for two. Tensai landed on his feet followed the splash out of the corner and was caught with a Trouble in Paradise from the outside followed by a crossbody for the win.
After the match Barrett handed Kingston the title and walked off.
Bryan and Kane were arguing backstage over who was more likeable. Bryan pulled up a map of the United States; it was shaded in dark and light blue. Bryan said all the states in blue were where he was winning. He pulled up a map of the world and he was winning there too. Matthews came by and showed the results with Kane winning 59% to 41%, which was a surprise. Bryan would face Mysterio, who had an incredibly red beard.
5. Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio
Mysterio landed a head scissors to the outside, he went for the seated senton off of the apron, but Bryan moved and landed a massive knee off of the apron. Bryan wore Mysterio down. Mysterio was thrown to the outside, but rolled through. After the break Bryan hung Mysterio up and landed some kicks out of the tree of woe. Mysterio was thrown to the outside and then into the ring post. Bryan went to the top rope, but was knocked to the mat and caught with a seated senton. He landed a flying head scissors and was caught with a highkick. Mysterio missed the 619, Bryan went for the no lock, but Mysterio made it to the ropes. Bryan went for it again, but Mysterio made his way out and landed the 619 off of the post for the win.
Ricardo and Del Rio were taking backstage. Rosa Mendez came by to say thank you, and Del Rio said that she could have whatever she wanted. Matthews was backstage with Dolf Ziggler. He talked about how he wasn’t preoccupied, but Cena was preoccupied with AJ.
6. John Cena vs. Dolf Ziggler
The fans dual chanted, and Ziggler landed a neckbreaker before the break. After the break Ziggler was in control following a whip into the steps. Cena fired back with shoulder tackles and went for the five knuckle shuffle, but was caught with a strike and big DDT for two. Cena went for the STF off of a missed splash in the turnbuckle, but Ziggler caught him in the sleeper hold. Cena grabbed an STF, but Ziggler made it to the ropes. Ziggler landed a big dropkick. Ziggler landed a crossbody, Cena rolled through and went for the AA, but Ziggler grabbed a Zig Zag for two in a great exchange. They exchanged strikes, Ziggler grabbed a rollup on Cena, but Cena landed the spinout powerbomb. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle, but rolled to the outside selling the knee. Ziggler attempted to undo the turnbuckle pad, this led to AJ and Vickie coming out the referee was distracted Ziggler went for a briefcase shot, but Cena landed the AA for the win.
The finish to this match baffled me to a large extent. They were having a pretty good match, when Cena “blew out” his knee and Ziggler had the referee distracted and yet he was still defeated. As far as I can tell they are building up a match for TLC and they even had Cena injure his knee so Ziggler could beat him; so there was really no point in this. Giving away your pay-per-view match is pointless enough, but having Cena beat Ziggler was just idiotic.
AJ confronted Cena after the match and they embraced. Cena kissed like half his face was paralyzed; clearly not wanting to kiss AJ.
7. Antonio Cesaro vs. Sheamus
Sheamus hung Cesaro up by the neck, but was caught with a kick to the face. Sheamus threw Cesaro into the barricade. After the break Cesaro was in control with a bearhug. They exchanged forearms. Sheamus got the advantage with clothesline, but was caught with one of Cesaro’s clotheslines for two. Cesaro landed a gutwrench slam. Cesaro landed a furry of uppercuts, but was caught with a flurry of knee strikes and blows to the chest. Sheamus landed a springboard shoulderblock and an over the knee backbreaker for two. Sheamus went for the belly to back over the shoulder piledriver, but Cesaro countered. Sheamus went for a cloverleaf, but Cesaro countered and landed a torture rack slam for two. Sheamus went for the top rope shoulderblock, but was caught with a huge uppercut. He went for the neutralizer; Sheamus countered and landed a brogue kick, which led to Cesaro landing on the outside. Big Show’s music hit and he came out. Cesaro was counted out. Sheamus grabbed a mic and said that he would make Big Show retire. He said that he would show Big Show exactly what “barbaric” is. Show then wrecked the chair that he carried with him.
This was a really good TV match. The fact that they didn’t just have Sheamus beat Cesaro clean at least shows that they think they have something with him. Big Show coming out was fine, but it always drives me nuts when a guy’s music goes off in the middle of a match.
They showed pictures from WWE in the Persian Gulf. Sandow came out. His purpose was to rescue the fans from their own ignorance.
8. Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
Sandow picked Ryder’s arm apart. Sandow landed a Russian legsweep followed by his elbow for two. Ryder landed a facebuster and a missile dropkick. He then landed a big forearm and went for the Broski Boot. Sandow fled to the outside, but was caught with a boot regardless. Ryder went to the top, but was hung up and caught with Sandow’s neckbreaker for the win.
Heyman was outside Punk’s locker room. He was interviewed by Josh Matthews. Heyman said that Punk had to face injustice, and talked about how Punk had just surpassed Randy Savage.
9. CM Punk vs. Kane
Kane unloaded on Punk. Kane dropped Punk to the outside. After the break Punk went after the leg of Kane. Kane was hung up over the top rope and Punk landed a topé suicida. Punk landed two high knees in the corner and went for a third, but Kane cut him off with a clothesline. He landed the uppercut from the top rope and went for the chokeslam, but Punk landed neckbreaker. Kane caught Punk in a chokeslam, the referee was distracted and Heyman pulled Punk to the ropes. Kane went for the tombstone and Roman Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose appeared in the crowd. Punk then landed the GTS for the win.
Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns hopped the guardrail and Punk looked worried, but they began to beat Kane down. Bryan came out for the save, but he too was beaten down. The crowd chanted ‘feed me more”. Ryback’s music hit and the crowd popped. Ryback ran in and overpowered all three men. He landed a big powerbomb on Rollins clotheslined Ambrose, Punk ran in and Ryback went for a powerbomb o his two, but he was caught with a spear from Reigns and they continued the beat down. They then landed the triple team powerbomb and Punk posed over Ryback to close the show off.
WWE RAW Rating November 26th 2012
Unfortunately due to Thanksgiving delays the segment by segment ratings for RAW were not released by press time. We have the hours, which are telling, but we can’t look over the segment by segment patterns like we usually do. However, next week if the ratings are out we will look at the ratings patterns together with the first RAW of December.
There was a gradual decline in viewership over the three hours. The first hour did a 2.9, followed by a 2.8 and 2.5 for the second and third hours respectively. This led to a pretty much identical rating to last week’s 2.7, which is still in the top couple of percent for the lowest non-holiday RAW ratings in the last fifteen years.
The show was going up against a weaker football game than last week, which was itself an average game. This means that while football is certainly a very large detractor, burn out is definitely a key factor in the ratings decline, which can be seen from the ratings pattern.
The fact that they haven’t changed the title over the past few months and placed it on Cena shows a definite change in mindset over the last couple of years; because in the past they would always go to Cena when they weren’t drawing ratings. However, they obviously have a money idea with Punk and are sticking with him.
Top management in the company has to realize that these bad ratings have been the result of a third hour; it is pretty obvious at this point. Where the gradual pattern used to be one of growth throughout the show, it has now turned to a gradual tune out, which is an amazing fact considering that the big angles almost always run deeper into the show, and specifically in the final segment.
There was a brief time during the week where everyone thought that they were moving back to two hours based on a glitch on Xfinity/Comcast. It looked like they were cutting the last hour, and essentially moving back to the same time slot only one hour earlier, but unfortunately for the sake of the ratings it was just a glitch.
It will however come at some point, because the writing is most certainly on the wall. They cannot sustain this and while the ratings haven’t reached dangerous levels it would be best to move to prevent further atrophy. Three hours is just too long, and by this point I would think that everyone knows that.
November 28th 2012 – Full Sail University, Florida.
A backstage promo from Daniel Bryan opened up NXT this week. Bryan said he had returned to the show where it all started for him and listed all the things he has since accomplished, such as: launching a successful line of t-shirts, becoming the World Heavyweight Champion, growing an immaculate beard and being the Tag Team Champions. Bryan instructed people in the audience not to shout “Yes” then demanded not to be called a “goat face” and told Kane to stay out of his way. Kane entered; he informed his partner he didn’t need any help and instructed Bryan to stay out of his way. The pair argued about who was the Tag Team Champions then the intro package rolled.
Tom Phillips introduced viewers to the show and Trent Barreta came out for the opener; footage of Leo Kruger lurking after last week’s attack on Trent aired. Kruger appeared and J.R offered a return to South Africa as the reason for his gimmick change.
Trent Barreta vs. Leo Kruger
Trent displayed some aggression early and landed strikes then a flying clothesline; Barreta went up to the top rope, but Kruger cut him off and began to work over the taped up ribs of Trent.
Leo executed a belly-to-back suplex and delivered more punishment to the ribs with an abdominal stretch; Kruger continued with the heat, until Trent hit a dropkick for the hope spot. Leo ate a few shots, then shutdown the comeback with a shot to the gut.
Barreta caught Leo with both boots in the corner and followed up with a springboard elbow strike; Kruger recovered to score with a flapjack then his hangman’s facebuster for the three count.
Leo Kruger defeated Trent Barreta via pinfall, at 4:42.
This was a decent enough short match that had a nice little story from the start, with Trent firing up on his alleged assailant and Leo working the ribs. Phillips and J.R speculated about Kassius Ohno’s involvement in the attack last week; hopefully Ohno hired the “big game hunter” to take out Barreta, as Leo’s character could do with some direction.
A graphic hyping a “Face-to-Face” between Jinder Mahal and Seth Rollins aired; Phillips said, “the voice of the WWE, Michael Cole” would be the moderator. A second graphic hyping the Tag title main event of Team HellNo vs. Michael McGillicutty and Johnny Curtis rolled.
Xavier Woods danced his way down to the ring, along to some hideous Euro-pop music; Memo Montenegro was introduced in the ring as his opponent.
Xavier Woods vs. Memo Montenegro
Xavier controlled the much bigger Memo with a side headlock during the early stages then scored with a dropkick; Xavier nailed his rolling clothesline for the three count.
Xavier Woods defeated Memo Montenegro via pinfall, at 2:14.
That was a hell of a squash; Memo looked like a complete geek and was completely out classed by Xavier.
A graphic of the Rollins/Mahal Face-to-Face aired.
Audrey Marie made her entrance after the break; Emma was already in the ring and was introduced to the crowd.
Audrey Marie vs. Emma
Audrey caught Emma with a dropkick then delivered a waistlock into a body scissors; Emma performed a big double leg takedown and floated over into a jacknife pinning combination. Audrey bridged out at two, only to take a crossbody for a two count; Emma went for a backslide, which also earned a two count. Audrey got to her feet and hit a swinging uranage for the victory.
Audrey Marie defeated Emma via pinfall, at 2:37.
This was fine; Audrey looks to have improved a little since her last outing on the show. She acted like a cocky heel and played to the crowd when they got behind Emma (there must have been some World of Hurt fans in attendance). J.R constantly correcting Phillips was only slightly more enjoyable than this match.
Tony Dawson was backstage; he explained Roman Reigns had to take a “Reigns check” on a scheduled interview, as “many companies” were involved in a “bidding war” to use his services for endorsements. Dawson said Roman was meeting with his team and would conduct the interview at a later date.
A graphic hyping the Tag Team Championship main event rolled then a second put over the Face-to-Face.
Byron Saxton was in the ring and he introduced Michael Cole; Cole put over NXT as a “radical new show” and a “proving ground for future WWE Superstars” then brought out Rollins and Mahal for the face-to-face.
Cole began to ask Seth about Jinder’s attack from behind last week, when Mahal grabbed the mic and said it was not an attack, but a message that was sent loud and clear. Rollins stated it was a “cowardly attack” by a “desperate man”, who can’t get the job done one-on-one. Jinder called Seth’s title reign a “fluke” then professed his “birthright” to be a champion and claimed he would “humble” Rollins in the title match in two weeks. Seth told Mahal, he would never be champion, as he did not possess the heart; both guys were so angry they removed their shirts and squared off. Cole called for some “decorum” then asked Jinder why he thinks he can beat Seth, after Rollins already owns a victory over him; Jinder was insulted and accused Cole of being “prejudice” then grabbed the hapless announcer’s sport coat. Rollins stepped in to rescue Cole, however Jinder nailed the champ from behind and commenced with a beatdown; Mahal locked in the Camelclutch, until some referees showed up to break up the brawl. Jinder posed with the NXT Championship then headed to the back.
This segment was ok and at least tried to build towards the match in two weeks; often the downfall of NXT is the lack of explanation or logic given to the wrestlers and their motivation. Of course I would like to see someone other than Jinder in that spot and I assume Seth will be dropping the belt soon now The Shield has emerged on Raw. One quick look at the spoilers and you can see which direction they are going after the Rollins/Mahal match and I have to speculate that it will be more entertaining than this feud.
A graphic hyping the Tag Team Championship match aired.
Michael McGillicutty was out first for the main event and was followed by Johnny Curtis; Curtis played up his dancer gimmick, performing all kinds of gyrations on his way to the ring. J.R riotously explained Curtis had cashed in his Tag Team Championship match he won at the end of NXT season four. Kane appeared first for the Champs then Daniel Bryan made his entrance.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Team HellNo (Champions) vs. Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis
McGillicutty took Bryan over with a quick armdrag then Bryan responded with one of his own; Curtis came in off the tag and took a drop toehold. Kane made the blind tag then went to work on the arm of Curtis; McGillicutty got the tag back in and was swiftly sent over the top with a clothesline. Bryan made the tag then delivered a flying knee strike off the apron to McGillicutty, while Kane took Curtis out with a right hand.
Back inside, Bryan got a two count, but was then sent through the ropes after McGillicutty side-stepped; Bryan tried to climb back in the ring, but ate a dropkick that sent him back to the floor. Curtis went to work on the outside with some stomps then rolled Bryan back in for a two count.
The heels made frequent tags and kept the heat on Bryan; Curtis went for a belly-to-back suplex, however Bryan landed on his feet and both men went for a crossbody, which resulted in the double-down. Curtis made the tag to his partner and Bryan made it to his corner for the hot tag.
Kane scored with a big boot then drilled McGillicutty with a sidewalk slam, before coming off the top rope with a clothesline; Bryan made the blind tag and the Champs argued. McGillicutty executed an O’Connor roll for a two count then Kane grabbed his partner Bryan and McGillicutty by the throat; Curtis caught Kane with a shot from behind, however Kane nailed him with a chokeslam and Bryan slapped the “No” lock on McGillicutty for the victory.
Team HellNo defeated Michael McGillicutty & Johnny Curtis via submission, at 7:08.
After the bell, the Tag Champs bickered some more and the crowd chanted, “hug it out”; Bryan was reluctant, however Kane extended his arms to his partner. Bryan teased a little then accepted the embrace; the crowd popped for the hug and the Tag Team Champions began to argue again.
This was a highly entertaining edition of NXT; the main event was a solid effort and Bryan made the heels look strong by selling like he would for any “main roster” talent.
Sure most of the other matches were glorified squashes, but they are an effective way to get talent over. That being said, there is a slight chance of overkill with so many squashes happening each week, however if they are done for a reason and built around a story like Kruger/Barreta then I have no problem with someone going over strong.
TNA Impact November 29th 2012
Impact Zone, Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida
Overall Show Thoughts:
This was a perfectly mediocre edition of Impact. There were some good matches on the show, which made it enjoyable at times, but the Hogan/Ray storyline really does put a damper on things. One of the main problems with the current product is that some angles just seem to overpower the entire show; whether it be Aces & Eights or Hogan, they kill the show dead for me.
Hogan is in his late fifties and at some point needs to let go. He doesn’t have to leave the business, or even TV, but he has to stop making the show all about him, because it shouldn’t be about him – he isn’t going to draw you money in this role. He could still be kept in the general manager role, but he should be left strictly at that and not as an integral part of the story.
I would keep Hogan in TNA, but either have him as a manager or as a special attraction a few times a year, but nothing more if he is going to stay for a prolonged period of time.
I wasn’t a big fan of the X Division segments with Hogan, because they just felt rushed. Clearly, no thought went into the eliminations and once again the focus was on Hogan, but even if it was it made no sense to have Aries as the challenger.
Roode and York had a pretty good match, and it’s nice to see that TNA is putting some stock in new talent, even if they have him lose week after week. I also liked the Styles tag match, but he and Storm really should have been the ones to lose the match given the fact that they are trying to do a losing streak angle with Styles.
It was nice to see D-Lo Brown back on the show, because I thought that they changed their plans to have him as a part of the Aces & Eights. The fans at least care about Brown to some extent so having him as a part of the reveal will get some reaction.
The mainevent match was probably as good as a Rob Van Dam TV match is going to get, but once again Ray and Hogan were the focus.
All in all this was a fun show, but it did feel like a large portion of the show was overpowered by the Hogan/Ray angle, which just seems like a predictable misunderstood love angle at this point, which really doesn’t need to be seen again. There were some good matches, but you really aren’t missing out on anything if you don’t catch this show.
Segment by Segment:
Hulk Hogan came out to open the show. He talked about how the general manager and father inside of him collided inside of him last week. He told Bully Ray to come out and tell him the truth. Out came Bully Ray. Ray said that Hogan didn’t trust him, but he still wanted to know what was going on. Hulk was fired up. Ray asked Hogan if he wanted to know who the “number one man” was in Brooke’s life. Out came Brooke.
Brooke said that she wasn’t eighteen anymore, but Hogan continued freaking out. Aries appeared on the screen. He said they had wrestlers back there and he wanted to know when Hogan would come out and manage Championship Thursday. Aries lay on Hogan’s desk and asked how Brooke could lay on it with it being so uncomfortable, which really popped the crowd. Hogan walked off in search of Aries
So Hogan couldn’t have spoken to his daughter in private; why did he do this on national television? Aries was still pretty great in this segment oozing charisma, unfortunately I can see it being another Claire Lynch angle and God knows we need another one of those.
1. Gail Kim vs. Mickie James
Kim landed a neckbreaker off a hair pull and began to wear James down. Kim landed another neckbreaker for two and rammed James’ head into the mat. Kim was whipped into the corner and was caught with a flapjack. Kim landed a big dropkick out of the corner and grabbed a cover with her feet on the ropes. Terrell saw it. Kim went for Eat Defeat, but was caught with midkick from James. Kim’s leg was under the rope. James landed a few clotheslines and a dropkick, Kim grabbed her by the hair again, but landed a neckbreaker for two. James then landed her swinging DDT out of the corner for the win.
They cut to a segment with James Storm. He said he had a problem when Roode brought his family into it. Styles walked by and said that he had to stop complaining about not getting a title shot. They bickered back and forth.
Hogan burst into his office with King, Kash, Ion and Aries. Hogan went off on King for laughing with Aries. King said he made an Impact while Hogan was gone. Kash said that he started the X Division. Hogan then said that King wouldn’t be getting a shot and told all of them to get out. There was basically no reason given for King being cut here.
Roode came out for a promo. He made a statement last week with his attack on Hardy. They played a replay while Roode was talking and it was pretty difficult to hear anything. Roode said that Hardy got called out by a rookie, but he laid York out with one move; the same rookie that Hardy almost lost to. Hardy was simply a paper champion and he should have been the one that York called out. Out came York.
York slapped Roode and sent him to the outside. York said that he called Roode out. After the break the bell rang.
2. Bobby Roode vs. Christian York
Roode rammed York into the apron, but York responded with a whip into the steps. Roode pushed the referee into the top rope and hung York up. York got the boot up off of a dive from Roode. They traded shots, York landed a flurry of clotheslines, a dropkick and a bodydrop. York went to the top and landed a double foot stomp to the back of the head followed by a cannonball in the corner. He went for his swinging neckbreaker, Roode went for his fisherman’s suplex, but was caught in a small package for two. Roode locked in his crossface off of a shot to the back of the head for the win.
Roode grabbed a chair after being forced to break the crossface. Hardy ran out and went for the twist of fate, but Hardy slid to the outside. From watching the product over the past few weeks they definitely see something in York. Putting him in the Open Fight Night match with Hardy and now this, definitely shows something; although having him lose every week isn’t going to do anyone any good.
They cut to the Aces & Eights; the camera work was nauseating. They talked about how DOC would face Angle next week. Devon said that he wanted his TV Title match also next week. If he got it no one would be hurt on this week’s show, but if he didn’t all hell would break loose. They showed a recap of the finish of the Briscoe match – double pin! Snow, Pritchard and Taz debated Briscoe. They talked about the mistakes that were made. In kayfabe why should that matter? He won the match. Pritchard was complaining about how everyone wasn’t there backstage and Angle came by. He begged for Briscoe to make it and he called for D-Lo to come by. They couldn’t find Snow.
Kazarian and Daniels made their entrance; Daniels had an awesome new jacket. Kazarian said he would hear the words that would haunt him forever and he proceeded to announce Daniels as the winner of their match.
3. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. AJ Styles & James Storm
Styles missed a back senton after an athletic exchange. Storm was tagged in and he went after Kazarian landing a neckbreaker. Styles missed a double elbow when attempting a double team on Daniels. Storm was tagged in and ran wild on Kazarian. Storm went for a backcracker, but Daniels saved Kazarian allowing for a double team. Kazarian landed a leg lariat for two and they did the double Gangnam style. Taz then said “I can’t wait for this stupid Gangnam style fad to end, because it sucks!”, which was awesome. Styles ran wild after a tag, but he missed a pescado, which led Storm being knocked off of the apron and a big double neckbreaker powerbomb double team for two. Styles landed a boot to the gut. Kazarian was thrown into the stairs. Storm tagged himself in and landed the superkick on Daniels for the win.
I get what they are trying to do with Styles; it is basically supposed to be a losing streak angle. However, surely if you wanted to get over AJ’s incompetence you would have him lose his matches. All you are doing at this point is making everyone look bad by losing to an incompetent fool. Everything would have made far more sense if they had Styles cost Storm the match, because if Styles keeps winning I really don’t see the point.
They revealed the location of Lockdown 2013 – it is going to be held in San Antonio at the Alamodome, which actually seats over 55,000 people for wrestling.
Aries, Kash and Ion walked back into Hogan’s office. Kash said that he had beaten Van Dam and he had already won the title twice. Hogan said that he had nothing in common with Hogan. Hogan then gave Aries the shot, because Van Dam hated him more! What? Joe was backstage and cut a promo on Devon – for some reason he talked like a gangster.
4. Douglas Williams vs. Matt Morgan
Ryan came out to introduce Morgan. Morgan went straight after Williams and landed a sidewalk slam. Morgan caught Williams with a chokeslam and then landed the carbon footprint for the win.
Pritchard was backstage talking to D-Lo and he said that he could stand in for Al Snow. This will obviously play into both Briscoe and Brown being members of the Aces & Eights.
Briscoe came out. Pritchard talked about how Snow was not there. Pritchard talked about how he knew the Briscoe family. Pritchard said that because he knew what Briscoe could do he gave him a “yes”. Taz talked about how he didn’t have a good match even though he won and he gave Briscoe a “no”. Briscoe cut a promo and said that he was doing it for his fans and family and for his uncle Jack Briscoe. He wasn’t all that great with this promo. Brown said that he didn’t know if Briscoe was ready, the fans chanted that he was ready, but he respected Pritchard and gave him a “yes”. Angle and Bischoff came out to congratulate Briscoe.
I understand completely what they were saying about Briscoe’s problems in the ring I get that, but what does that have to do with his win in kayfabe. Isn’t a win supposed to be considered a win in kayfabe, it really isn’t supposed to matter how pretty it was. If someone on Ultimate Fighter wins all of their fights they get a contract, and a person that loses all of their fights but has really good fights probably will not.
Hogan was asked why he made a double elimination and said he wasn’t himself. Ray came by and said that Aries insulted all of them. He said that Hulk was confusing business with “personal” and Hogan pushed him and said that maybe it was he who was confusing business and “personal”.
ODB was backstage talking about how the Aces & Eights sent Eric Young to the hospital and she walked off. Aries was backstage and said that he had Hogan fooled. For some reason they were running a promo over this so it was difficult to hear, which was strange considering that this was taped.
5. X Division Championship Match
Rob Van Dam vs. Austin Aries
Van Dam did his taunt, but was caught with a kick from Aries. Van Dam grabbed a rollup. Aries did Van Dam’s taunt and went for a slingshot senton, but Van Dam got the knees up. Van Dam went for rolling thunder. Aries rolled to the floor, but was caught with a baseball slide and plancha. After the break Van Dam was dropped to the floor and Aries went for his topé, but was caught with a sloppy looking indiscriminate kick. Aries was placed on the guardrail, but Aries moved and Van Dam was hung up. Aries then threw Van Dam onto the concrete from the guardrail. Aries landed a spike DDT for two and Aries landed a rolling thunder splash for two. Aries went for Van Dam’s frogsplash, but Van Dam moved. Van Dam landed a spring kick and a spinkick in the corner, followed by rolling thunder. Van Dam landed the split leg moonsault, but Aries got his foot on the ropes. Aries caught Van Dam with a lariat, he did Van Dam’s taunt, but was lifted into the air and caught with a dropkick. He went for the five star frogsplash, but was dropped face first onto the barricade by Aries. Aries grabbed a mic and said that Van Dam looked like Brooke Hogan, but he would be the X Division champion. Ray then ran out for the DQ, Aries slid out and was foaming at the mouth. Hogan was out on the apron and Aries was stuck between them. This led to a stare down between Hogan and Ray.
WWE SmackDown – November 30th 2012
CenturyLink Centre: Bossier City, LA
The voice-over guy recapped The Shield, CM Punk and Ryback angle from Raw then announced Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler as tonight’s main event and finally hyped John Cena’s appearance on the show.
Inside the arena, Josh Matthews made his traditional welcome and John Cena came out to kick the show off with an in-ring promo; footage of Cena stumbling like a goof when his knee gave out on Raw aired. Cena said he was excited for the main event then buried Ziggler for holding the World Title for “two minutes”, before calling Dolph a “man trapped in a teenage girl’s body”.
That must be one cut-up, athletic teenage girl.
Cena accused Ziggler of hiding behind Vickie Guerrero, even though he claims to be the Show-Off then said he put that to the test on Raw and Ziggler lost; Cena stated the reason he was on SmackDown was to see Ziggler in a fight with Sheamus.
Alberto Del Rio’s music interrupted Cena and he headed down the ramp with Ricardo; Del Rio told Cena he should not be worried about Ziggler, but instead should be worried about himself. Alberto claimed Cena was in “his house” on “his show” then recalled the last time the two were in the ring together, when Del Rio “destroyed and beat” Cena. Del Rio told Cena to leave the ring, however Cena said he was staying for the main event and declared he had a match with Alberto right then and there. Cena drilled Alberto with a right hand and the aristocrat rolled to the outside; Josh said the match would happen after the break.
A quick and painless opener compared to last week’s abomination that was Miz TV; Cena didn’t really get over why he was on the show and I don’t know why he can just book himself in a match, but I can’t complain too much about this segment.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez
The bell rang immediately after the break and Del Rio quickly rolled to the outside after taking a hiptoss; Del Rio hung Cena up on the top rope then went back inside to deliver some stomps. Cena went to the floor, where he was sent into the announce table, before being rolled back in the ring; Del Rio came off the top with an axe-handle for a two count. For some reason there was an inset replay of Cena’s right hand before the break, while Del Rio maintained the advantage; Alberto executed a snapsuplex and Dolph Ziggler was shown watching on a monitor in the back. Cena countered a second suplex attempt with one of his own then went for a shoulder block in the corner; Del Rio moved and Cena’s shoulder collided with the ring post. Alberto nailed a step-up enziguri to the arm then came off the top with another axe-handle smash; Del Rio applied a top wristlock and Cena began to fight up as we headed into the break.
Del Rio missed a senton off the second rope, which allowed Cena to enter comeback mode; Cena connected with the five knuckle shuffle then went for the A.A. Del Rio escaped and nailed a double-knee backbreaker for a two count; Alberto called for the cross armbreaker, but Cena countered into a neckbreaker before heading to the top rope. Del Rio cut Cena off on top with a tremendous step up enziguri that earned a two count; Alberto missed a second step up head kick and Cena went for the STF. Del Rio powered free then caught Cena with a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker for two; JBL comically attributed the move to Alberto’s Greco-Roman background.
Del Rio came off the top rope, however Cena scored with a dropkick in mid-air for the double down; Cena tried for the A.A again, but Del Rio broke free and went for the cross armbreaker. Cena countered into the STF; Del Rio barely managed to reach the ropes and escaped to the apron. Alberto used the ropes to lock in the cross armbreaker and broke the hold at the count of four; Del Rio attempted a slingshot sunset flip, but Cena countered into the A.A position. Del Rio escaped again, to deliver a German suplex with a bridge that gained a two count; Alberto tied Cena up in the tree of woe then went for a shoulder block. Cena sat up, which caused Del Rio’s shoulder to connect with the ring post then Cena came off the top with his big legdrop to the back of the neck for the three count.
John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio via pinfall, at 16:15.
I may be overlooking the fact that Cena is supposed to be injured and he still went over, or Del Rio didn’t go after the knee, but honestly I don’t care and I don’t often say that. We’ve had several excellent TV matches this week and you can put Cena vs. Del Rio right up there with Bryan/Mysterio; this was seriously fantastic and a solid ***¾ in my book. Cena sold forever, Del Rio looked strong and also crafty by evading the A.A three times; the false finishes were tremendous and both guys work level was indefatigable. This is a definite contender for SmackDown match of the year, if not TV match of the year.
As Cena was on the stage, Dolph Ziggler drilled him with the Money in the Bank briefcase from behind.
JBL and Josh talked about The Shield then footage of the CM Punk/Kane finish and the subsequent three-on-two beatdown of Team HellNo from Raw aired.
Kane and Bryan were staring at each other backstage; Kofi Kingston entered and asked if the two would be on the same page for their six-man tag match versus Wade Barrett and the Prime Time Players. Bryan said his partner was “one of the most powerful forces in WWE history” then Kane called Bryan, “one of the most dangerous submission specialists in WWE history”. Kane answered Kofi’s question with an emphatic “Yes” and the Tag Team Champions headed towards the ring, simultaneously shouting, “Yes”.
John Cena was expressing his displeasure to Booker T backstage; he told the Booker man, “I just got jacked!” Booker told Cena to calm down then instructed him to stay out of the main event, however the GM stated Cena could “handle his business” after the match. Cena replied, “you’re lucky we go back a long way” and agreed to Book’s request.
Back in the arena, The Great Khali entered the ring for a match with David Otunga.
The Great Khali w/ Hornswaggle vs. David Otunga
Khali scored with a big forearm then Otunga rolled to the outside and Hornswaggle delivered a senton to the downed Harvard man. Otunga chased Khali’s buddy around ringside but ran into another forearm from the giant; back inside, Khali nailed Otunga with a big overhand chop for three.
The Great Khali defeated David Otunga via pinfall, at 1:15.
Khali and ‘Swaggle began a jaunty jig in the ring and JBL buried them for their horrendous dancing.
Imagine a Khali squash over Otunga and you won’t be too far away from what actually happened. I wonder if Otunga has fallen out of the graces of the WWE brass and is getting the Jack Swagger treatment, or maybe they just needed a geek to lose to Khali.
A graphic hyping Team HellNo and Kofi vs. The Prime Time Players and Barrett aired.
The Prime Time Players were in the ring with Wade Barrett after the break; Team HellNo made their entrance together and Kofi Kingston joined the Tag Champs.
Team HellNo (Tag Team Champions) & Kofi Kingston (Intercontinental Champion) vs. The Prime Time Players & Wade Barrett
Kane took over on Young with some shots in the corner then made the tag to Bryan and assisted his partner with his running dropkick in the corner; Bryan drilled Young with some kicks to the chest then executed a snapmare. Kane tagged back in to score with a basement dropkick then went to work on the arm of Young. Kane telegraphed a backdrop and Young landed a boot then tagged in Titus. O’Neil ate a big boot then was sent over the top by a clothesline; Kane made the tag to Bryan, who came off the apron with a flying knee to Titus.
After the break, Kofi hit Young with a dropkick then Kane tagged back in; The Big Red Machine kept the advantage in the babyface’s corner. Bryan came in and the Tag Champs took Young over with a double hiptoss; Bryan hit Young with European uppercuts, but Titus made the blind tag.
O’Neil drilled Bryan with a boot to the face then unleashed some stomps, before delivering a bodyslam. The Prime Time Players made quick tags and kept Bryan in the heel’s half of the ring then Wade Barrett entered the match.
Barrett planted Bryan with a pumphandle slam that gained a two count then locked in a rear chinlock; Bryan fought up, only to be shut down by a Traylorslam. Titus tagged in and kept the heat on Bryan; Young landed a legdrop on the apron, behind the referee’s back then got the tag. Bryan fought up from another chinlock to hit some forearm strikes, however Young cut him off with a nice northern lights into a bridge for a two count. Titus tagged in again and executed a pair of backbreakers then went for a splash in the corner.
Bryan caught O’Neil with both boots then made the hot tag to Kane at the same time Titus brought in Young. Kane overpowered D-Young and executed a sidewalk slam, before coming off the top rope with a big clothesline; Titus broke up the pinfall attempt and Kofi took him out with a springboard forearm then drilled Barrett with the trouble in paradise. Young sent Kofi over the top with a clothesline then hung Kane up on the top rope, before coming off the top turnbuckle; Kane caught Young and delivered a chokeslam then willingly tagged in his partner. Bryan came off the top with a diving headbutt then applied the “No” lock for the tap out.
Team HellNo & Kofi Kingston defeated The Prime Time Players & Wade Barrett via pinfall, at 14:33.
This was a solid match and had some nice psychology in parts; Kofi and Wade’s interaction was kept to a minimum, which should help with the build to their IC title match at TLC. I wonder if Bryan and Kane’s sudden teamwork and appreciation of each other is the beginning of the end for the Tag Champs; if not then it would be nice to see them continue being a cohesive unit for a while, as their dynamic needs a little rejuvenation.
Matt Striker and his Blackjack Movember moustache were with Sheamus backstage; Sheamus said the good news for Ziggler was John Cena being unable to interfere in the main event; the bad news for Ziggler was he would have to face Sheamus. The Great White explained he would not be facing Dolph Ziggler tonight, because every time he stands across the ring from an opponent he sees the Big Show. Sheamus ended by stating Ziggler would be begging for Cena to come down and finish him off after their match.
A graphic hyping the Sheamus/Ziggler main event rolled then a second graphic of The Shield standing over Ryback from Raw aired.
The Raw Rebound aired then a graphic hyping the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match between CM Punk and Ryback at TLC rolled.
Damien Sandow came out and claimed his attempt to enlighten the WWE Universe had failed, however he would not abandon them and said he was “redirecting his efforts” and would be sharing his knowledge on an “individual basis”. Sandow stated he would select one member of the audience to be his “apprentice”; after some contemplation, Damien picked out a conveniently positioned plant in the crowd and brought him into the ring.
Sandow explained to the shill, he would have to answer three questions correctly to become his apprentice. The first question was, “how many wheels are on a tricycle”, which the stooge got right. The second was, “how often does the United States hold a Presidential election”, which also was answered correctly. The final question was, “what is the orbital velocity of Jupiter’s moon Europa”; the ringer was unable to answer and Sandow said the answer was “13.74 km per second”. Damien belittled the poor fellow as he left the ring, telling him to “leave the ring, the building, the state and the country”. Josh said Sandow would be in action after the break.
I’m no Neil Turok, so a quick Google search showed Sandow’s knowledge of physics to be correct; I wonder if the member of creative that scripted this segment did the same thing.
Tyson Kidd vs. Damien Sandow
Kidd scored with some kicks early, so Sandow escaped to the floor and dropped Tyson face first on the apron. Back inside Damien delivered a Russian legsweep then the Cubito Aequet for a two count; Kidd displayed some fight and connected with a crossbody then landed a spinning heel kick and a basement dropkick to the side of the head.
Sandow went to the floor again, however Kidd took him out with a topé and rolled him back inside the ring. Kidd went for a springboard elbow drop, but Sandow got his knees up then hit his straightjacket neckbreaker, which Josh finally called the “Terminus”, for the victory.
Damien Sandow defeated Tyson Kidd via pinfall, at 2:30.
Not much to say here; a basic match with Tyson used as heel-fodder, which is always depressing as he has talent coming out of his ears. On the plus side, Sandow’s mic work was impeccable as always and he got the win he needed after losing to Cena on Main Event.
John Cena’s 300th Make-A-Wish video package aired.
Matt Striker was backstage with Ziggler; Dolph said his match with Cena on Raw was more like a handicap match with AJ interfering then claimed he would be in another handicap match tonight, because Cena could not be trusted not to run in. Ziggler accused Cena of hiding an affair with AJ for over a month then called him the biggest liar in WWE history. Finally, Dolph informed Sheamus he would not be looking at the Big Show across the ring; he would be looking at the next World Heavyweight Champion.
A graphic hyping the Ziggler/Sheamus main event aired.
The Usos made their entrance following the commercials; 3MB appeared as their opponents, with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal taking part in the match; Bradshaw plugged the JBL show on WWE.com.
The Usos vs. 3MB (Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal w/ Drew McIntyre)
Jey overpowered Slater back to the Uso’s corner then made the tag to his brother; Jimmy came off the second rope with a splash for a two count. Jimmy went back up to the second turnbuckle, however Slater cut him off and delivered some stomps. Jinder got the tag then took Uso over with a butterfly suplex that got a two count; Jimmy fought up from a chinlock to land a double chop and got the tag.
Jey entered and took Mahal down with a Samoan drop then followed up with a running hip attack in the corner. Slater broke up the pinfall, but was dumped on the apron by Jey; Heath caught Jey with an enziguri behind the referee’s back and Jinder nailed Uso with a full nelson slam for the three count.
Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal defeated The Usos via pinfall, at 4:30.
3MB celebrated after the match with some ludicrously overblown air-guitar.
Nobody cared about this match; it wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t bad by any means. I’m not sure where the goofy 3MB gimmick can go at the moment, as I don’t see them challenging for the Tag belts anytime soon; I shudder to think what kind of segments we’d get from 3MB if Jillian Hall was still under contract.
Josh and JBL talked about the TLC PPV then footage of Big Show destroying a chair from Raw aired; a graphic hyping Big Show vs. Sheamus at TLC rolled.
Dolph Ziggler music hit and he headed down the ramp for the main event.
Footage of Ziggler laying out Cena with the briefcase from earlier in the show aired then Sheamus made his entrance.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler escaped to the outside after Sheamus overpowered him early; back inside, Sheamus took Dolph over with a side headlock then scored with a tackle. Ziggler landed a dropkick following a leapfrog transition, however Sheamus recovered and delivered a bodyslam then dropped an elbow for two. Ziggler sent Sheamus through the ropes to the floor after avoiding a short-arm clothesline; Dolph came off the apron with a crossbody, but Sheamus caught his foe and executed a tabletop suplex into the barricade.
Ziggler was tossed back inside and immediately rolled back to the floor; Sheamus set up Dolph for his clubbing forearms spot, only for Ziggler to counter with a dropkick that sent The Great White crashing off the apron to the ground.
Dolph connected with a Stingersplash and locked in a chinlock; Sheamus powered up to break the hold with a belly-to-back suplex. Ziggler cut off the comeback with a drop toehold into the second rope then unloaded some stomps in the corner. Sheamus dumped Ziggler on the apron and hit Dolph with his clubbing forearms, before bringing him back inside with a suplex and heading to the top rope. Ziggler avoided the shoulder block off the top, but Sheamus rolled through and went for the Brogue kick; Dolph evaded the boot then scored with a jumping DDT for a two count.
Sheamus countered the Rocker-dropper with the Irish curse backbreaker, which earned a two count, however Ziggler caught Sheamus with both boots in the corner and gained a near fall following an O’Connor roll. Dolph countered white noise, although Sheamus managed to apply the Texas cloverleaf; The Big Show hit the ring and began to unleash headbutts and strikes to Sheamus.
Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler via disqualification, at 8:46.
Ziggler joined in with the beatdown, until Cena made the run in to save the day; Cena took Ziggler out with the A.A then teamed up with Sheamus to deliver a double suplex to the Big Show; Cena and Sheamus sent Show packing with a double shoulder tackle to the floor. The two babyfaces stood victorious in the ring then shook hands and hugged it out.
The main event was fine; you could tell both guys were working a match with a D.Q finish just by the pace and intensity (or lack of) during the match; of course Ziggler took the tabletop suplex into the barricade spot, because he is Dolph Ziggler…at least he didn’t get pinned twice this week.
This episode was one of the most enjoyable editions of SmackDown I can recall all year (It still might be second to the show that was built entirely around Kane & Bryan a few months back). The opener with Cena and Del Rio was an absolute gem of a match and that alone makes this show a must-see; the 6 man was fun and the main event, while not a patch on Cena/Del Rio, it did at least play into two major programmes for TLC. There were some low points as always, but the show got over so big with me after the first match, I could have sat through Kaitlyn running a Diva’s gauntlet and not complained.
New Japan December 2nd Internet-Pay-Per-View
On December 2nd 2012 New Japan are running their third internet-pay-per-view available to audiences outside of Japan. The card is by no means stacked, in fact we don’t even know any of the matches at this point; it will probably be the weakest of the three internet-pay-per-views so far.
The main problem with this show, and New Japan’s tournaments in general is the over use of parody booking. In the A Block out of the seven teams, six are stuck in first place, while in Block B there is a four-way tie for first and three-way tie for second place. It is a similar style of booking that we saw used in the G1 earlier this year, and while it works in a sense that no one looks bad, no one really looks great either; it also hampers your chance to tell stories within the tournament.
Another thing that made this tournament lacklustre to a certain extent was the absence of star teams. Instead of having Nakamura and Okada team like they have in the past, they were teamed up with Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI respectively. The reason given was that it would be “too easy” for Nakamura and Okada to team up together, but it would have made for a better tournament. Almost every major player in the tournament has been teamed with a fall guy, which is evident from Tanahashi’s pairing with Captain New Japan – losing six matches straight.
The only matches set for the card as of right now are the two semi-final matches and the final, with everything else remaining up in the air. I can see one of the only strong teams in the tournament, Guns & Swords (Karl Anderson & Hirooki Goto), winning the entire tournament simply because there is nothing better for them to do in singles’ competition as of right now.
As for other matches on the card, I doubt there will be any championship match or any other matches of note on the show. However, there could be a six man tag with Okada and Tanahashi on opposing sides, which could be really fun.
In terms of internet-pay-per-view recommendations this really isn’t a must see show by the looks of it. Sure, if you have ordered it should be really fun. However, I wouldn’t expect an A or even B level show out of this tournament final. I could be wrong, but the Dome show, which keeps getting better and better is up next – and that really counts.
Jim Cornette Placed on Sabbatical
As of this week Jim Cornette, who is a pretty big player in ROH creative, is taking a spectacle form pro wrestling. Cornette apparently went nuts at the last set of TV tapings in Pennsylvania, which is pretty typical Cornette. However, the extent of his blow-up seems to have been beyond the usual level, with Cornette apparently suffering extreme burnout over the past months.
Hunter Johnston had taken over the position as head booker a month or two ago, but had apparently been working close with Cornette for the entire time. Due to the extent of the apparent blow-up it seems that this was the best way to go, because Cornette still has so much to offer to the wrestling business.
As of right now there is no time frame for a return to Ring of Honor or pro wrestling in general. I guess we will have to see how it plays out over the next few months, but I definitely wouldn’t expect him to be backstage at Final Battle or even the first set of tapings of the New Year. This is the extent of my knowledge regarding the situation at this point.
Next Week’s Issue
There will probably be a big newsletter coming up next week with TNA’s Final Resolution go-home show, RAW, the Rating, the New Japan iPPV, SmackDown, NXT, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards and so much more!
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