Cubed Circle Newsletter #60: Two Weeks Worth of Bad RAW Ratings, World Tag League iPPV, NOAH in Shambles, Punk Injury + More!

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Cubed Circle Newsletter

 

In this week’s newsletter we look at the latest New Japan internet-pay-per-view for the finals of the World Tag League, two weeks worth of RAW ratings, some huge trouble for NOAH, CM Punk’s injury, the Final Resolution go-home show, RAW from Greensboro and Ben Carass covers SmackDown and NXT as always. What I would call a pretty fun issue of the newsletter that I hope you enjoy.

 

Pro-Wrestling NOAH in Shambles

 

Earlier in the week news arose of Pro Wrestling NOAH management deciding to fire a cornerstone of their roster in Kenta Kobashi. Kobashi, who at this time is not active on the roster due to injury, was apparently too highly paid and the company was no longer able to afford him after their dwindling show attendance. This led five other corner stone members of the roster to swear their alliance to Kobashi, threatening to leave if Kobashi did not stay on with the company. These men were fellow veteran Jun Akiyama, mainstay Go Shiozaki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kotaro Suzuki and Atsushi Aoki.

 

Out of all the names on the list Go Shiozaki is the most shocking, because he has been a NOAH star and mainstay for such a long period of time, but then again with Misawa passing on and Akiyama and Kobashi threatening to leave he probably thought that it would best to follow suit.

 

The similarity between this situation and the formation of NOAH in 2000 has to be noted. NOAH was formed in 2000 after Giant Baba’s passing in 1999 and top All Japan star Mitsuharu Misawa together with other stars within the promotion become dissatisfied with its then current direction. Giant Baba’s wife, Motoko Baba, had taken over in his absence, and wasn’t the most popular person when it came to a lot of the wrestlers. With no loyalty left to the company after Baba’s passing Misawa decided to start up his own promotion Pro-Wrestling NOAH.

 

This led to one of the biggest shockwaves in the last 20 plus years of puroresu when most of the company’s biggest stars, like Kobashi, Akiyama and, current top member of NOAH management, Akira Taue swore their allegiance to Misawa and joined the newly formed company. It obviously landed up being a very big success, especially in Tokyo where they had more than a handful of big Tokyo Dome shows. A relative level of success lasted until Misawa’s passing in 2009, and a gradual decline followed from there.

 

Promotions like NOAH have fallen on tough economic times over the past few years, and just earlier this year NOAH faced a scandal with the Yakuza. Now, NOAH faces another big shakeup, which could have dire consequences.

 

NOAH could live on without Kobashi (who hasn’t even been a main fixture for quite some time), Shiozaki and Akiyama, but it will be quite hard. KENTA has already stated that he plans to stay with Pro-Wrestling NOAH, which I found reminiscent of Kawada’s stance, back when he and Fuchi refused to leave All Japan. They will still have guys like KENTA, Morishima, Nakajima who is a big rising star and others – the problem is that with an already unstable company disturbing the balance could cause further damage to the promotion.

 

I don’t see NOAH going out of business, as of right now, although that could change quickly. However, I can see it dropping substantially in size, which is not good considering the fact that it has already shrunk to a point where they are only drawing 800 people to most shows.

 

If Kobashi does leave the promotion it is probably most likely that he will become a free lance talent for the rest of his career, but I could see him moving to All Japan, which would bring his career full circle.

 

I want to see Pro-Wrestling NOAH succeed, it obviously will never again reach the heights of its glory days or anything close, but for the sake of phenomenal workers like Nakajima and KENTA I hope for the best. It looks like KENTA is going to be the next GHC Heavyweight Champion after winning the Global League, so I hope that his championship reign will mean something for the company.

 

If there is one thing that this story shows us, it is how history repeats itself. There have been an astounding amount of splits in Japanese Pro-Wrestling, but this could be a particularly interesting one as it develops over the next couple of weeks.

 

Punk Out With Knee Injury – TLC Mainevent Change

 

On December 4th, the day after RAW Monday, WWE champion CM Punk underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. The objective of the surgery was to remove cartilage from Punk’s knee that was causing it to lock and was obviously causing some pain and discomfort during matches. While some people in the past have come back from surgeries like this one in weeks, much like the Cena surgery, the WWE are erring on the side of caution and have rescheduled the TLC mainevent.

 

The original plan was to have Punk defend the WWE championship against Ryback for what would basically be the third time and second time in a single’s match this time in a TLC match. There was no way that they were going to change the title, and they are going with Rock/Punk at Royal Rumble, and so if they would have gone with the match they would have had to have a dusty finish again, which would hurt Ryback, a man that is starting to catch on.

 

The new scheduled mainevent is a six-man TLC match with pinfalls and submissions instead of hanging a belt above the ring, with Ryback, Daniel Bryan and Kane going up against the Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins ad Roman Reigns). This match once again puts WWE in a unique situation for a number of reasons. The first reason being that it is the first match that the Shield are going to have in the WWE, the second is that you don’t really want to beat either team, and the third is that the go-home show is next week.

 

Hell in a Cell, which was actually a result of a similar situation only with then challenger John Cena being put out of action It did a very good buyrate, surpassing the previous year. It showed one of a few things, either the fact that Ryback is a big time draw, new stars on top draw, or the more probable idea of wins and loses mattering, which is an absolutely revolutionary thought.

 

The main problem that crops up with the current plan for the mainevent is exactly what to do with the finish. Ryback really doesn’t need another loss, and even if you pin Kane or Bryan it is still going to impact on him somehow. On the other hand they might have something with the Shield down the line, and they will probably have more staying power at this point than Ryback.

 

They could always have Ryback put Reigns through the table and send him back to developmental, but even then they would derail the current direction of the Shield. Rumours were that the original plan for the Shield was to have then go up against a team such as Bryan, Kane and Miz/Orton, but I think that even then you would be rushing them in too soon.

 

They may go with a dusty finish like maybe introducing a fourth member of the Shield like an Ohno or Wyatt, which would be fine by me if they hadn’t already done two dusty finishes in a row on pay-per-view.

 

You may be looking at a similar premise to the Hell in a Cell mainevent in the sense that you have two groups that you want to keep strong, but I don’t see the public at large realizing that fact to a large degree. Then there is also the fact that there is no WWE title match on the show, which may hinder the buyrate further. Cena/Ziggler isn’t going to draw any extra buys, especially after Ziggler being beaten so many times on TV and neither is Sheamus/Big Show for the third time.

 

If this show does manage to draw then it could show a definite change in mindset both from fans and for the WWE. It would either mean that people were seriously buying into Ryback, or new stars on top draw, either way it would lead to some discussion. The matter of it drawing under last year isn’t really an issue considering the fact that no one is expecting it to draw all that well.

 

I don’t know how this will affect the Rumble’s buyrate considering that two months would have passed with no championship match by then, but I can’t see it impacting too highly on the buyrate, especially when you consider the fact that the Rock will be on the show.

 

I certainly find the show more intriguing now after the injury, but the real question is if the public will bite or not.

 

New Japan Pro Wrestling World Tag League Final December 2nd 2012

Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, Aichi, Japan

 

Overall Thoughts:

 

This was by far the weakest of the New Japan internet-pay-per-views available outside of Japan, but then again that was to be expected. Once again there was nothing terribly bad on the show and everything was fun to good, but there was nothing outstanding on the show, which was to be expected from what pretty much was a C-level show.

 

The opener was a fresh eight-man tag, which helped set up Nagata/Suzuki for the Tokyo Dome. The Jado/HASHI versus Azul/Rush match wasn’t all that great, but then again that wasn’t expected going in. It wasn’t terribly bad either, but was just “there” like a lot of Jado and HASHI matches.

 

The first and second semi-finals were both good, with the Guns & Swords versus TenKoji match probably being the better of the two. There was an unexpected eight-man match following a DQ finish in the Strong Man/Nakanishi versus Yano/Iizuka match, and that was every Yano/Iizuka match you have every seen.

 

Shibata and Sakuraba versus Nakamura and Ishii was probably the best match of the night along with the Tanahashi/Okada tag match, which was also really good. Both matches served as good vehicles to get the Tokyo Dome matches over, and although the finishes were probably expected both matches really delivered.

 

Then we had the mainevent, which was a good match, but once again nothing spectacular. Goto and Anderson are now set to face Killer Elite Squad at the Tokyo Dome, which should be a good match.

 

As a whole this was not a bad show, but if you didn’t order the iPPV and haven’t seen the show yet; I would just wait for the Tokyo Dome show.

 

Match by Match:

 

1. Yuji Nagata, Masaaki Mochizuki, Ryusuke Taguchi & BUSHI vs. Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Kengo Mashimo

 

Suzuki kicked BUSHI (who was wearing a Santa outfit) before the match, which led to Nagata and Suzuki striking each other with their t-shirts; a pull apart ensued. Mashimo and Mochizuki started off. Mashimo caught Mochizuki with a chest slap this led to a leg kick exchange. Mochizuki was kicked down to the mat. Taguchi and Michinoku were tagged in. Michinoku was caught with a hurricanrana, went for a dive, but was pulled out of the ring by Taichi. This led to a Suzuki-gun beat down on the outside. Suzuki strangled Nagata with a cable out on the floor and Michinoku raked the eyes of Taguchi in the ring. Suzuki-gun continued to pick Taguchi apart. Taichi locked in Nagata’s crucifix armbar, and proceeded to mock Nagata who was hastily kicked off of the apron by Suzuki. Taguchi landed some slaps on Suzuki, but he took no notice and landed a knee to the gut. Taguchi caught Suzuki with a missile dropkick and an enzuigiri and the tag was finally made to an enraged Nagata. He booted Michinoku and Mashimo off of the apron and went after Suzuki. He went for an exploder, but was caught with a knee to the gut. They did their usual spot where Suzuki would kick the chest of Nagata; he would sit up twice and land an exploder. Nagata was caught with a slap off of an exchange, Suzuki attempted a sleeper, but managed to just grab a headbutt. Taichi was tagged in along with BUSHI, who landed a missile dropkick. All Four members of team Nagata went after Taichi in the corner, but Nagata was taken to the floor with a sleeper. Taichi removed the tights, BUSHI ducked a kick and grabbed a bridge for two. Mochizuki landed a springboard kick and BUSHI a bodypress for two. He was pulled off in a sleeper and went for the Gotch piledriver, but was taken to the floor by Nagata. Michinoku distracted the referee for a Taichi chairshot and Taichi clutch on BUSHI for the win in 11:41.

 

After the match Nagata and Suzuki continued to brawl building to their Tokyo Dome match. Suzuki tore a Blue Justice t-shirt and this sent Nagata into a rage again. Nagata was eventually pulled off of Suzuki who was standing their calmly with the torn t-shirt. On his way to the back he elbowed a young lion off of the stage.

 

This was a fun opener; apart from the addition of Mochizuki it was your typical New Japan Suzuki-gun eight man, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I liked the Nagata/Suzuki pull apart and thought that it built well to the Tokyo Dome. Nagata and Suzuki are in many ways generational rivals and are pretty much stuck in a constant state of feuding, but that is okay, because they have a unique dynamic and almost always have good matches in top spots on the card.

***

 

2. Jado & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Rush & Diamante Azul

 

Before the match HASHI and Jado jumped Rush and Azul from behind, but Azul set up a topé con giro from Rush. Jado did his chops, but Rush responded with a flurry of his own. Jado was prepared for a faceoff, but dropped down in a Flair flop. HASHI stomped Rush in the ropes and he and Jado wore Rush down. HASHI was caught with a snap powerslam and the tag was made to Azul who came off the top with a body press. He and HASHI had an athletic exchange, where Azul got the better of HASHI with an armdrag. Azul locked in a torture rack, Jado broke it, but Rush made the save. Rush landed a step up dropkick off of the back of Azul and Azul a cannonball for two. HASHI landed a big neckbreaker, Jado took Rush to the outside and Azul grabbed a La Magistral cradle for two. HASHI then landed his senton bomb for the win in 08:21. This was what you would have expected out of HASHI/Jado tag match; really basic work with some wacky comedy thrown in. It was pretty obvious that they would beat Rush and Azul on their way out.

** ¼

 

3. World Tag League Semi Final

Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Togi Makabe & Wataru Inoue

 

Smith is now wearing gear very similar to that of Archer. Killer Elite squad went after Inoue and Makabe. Inoue was pulled out to the floor by Archer who threw him head first into the guardrail with a giant swing. Archer landed a powerslam on Inoue and tagged in and out with Smith who locked in an abdominal stretch. Smith locked in an armbar and they landed a legdrop/splash combo on Inoue for two. They followed it with their side slam leg drop double team, but Inoue kicked out again. Inoue moved out of the way of a bodypress, landed an enzuigiri and made the tag to Makabe. Makabe ran wild with shots in the corner, Archer landed some strikes, Makabe refused to go down and took Archer to his feet with a lariat. However, Archer landed a big lariat of his own for two. Inoue landed a dropkick to the knee of Smith, but he responded with a powerslam. Smith landed a big backdrop, but Makabe made the save. Archer came in forcing Makabe to the outside, which allowed them to land their bearhug lariat double team for two. Inoue ducked a double lariat and landed a German suplex on Archer in a really cool spot. He landed the spear in the corner and landed another in the middle of the ring, but Archer was there to break it up. Archer landed his inverted crucifix bomb on Makabe, Inoue fought both men off with forearms, but Archer set up for the killer bomb for the win in 12:10.

 

Smith and Archer just work some much better as performers in New Japan. From their look to their in ring work and charisma, everything about them just stands out so much more. I wasn’t expecting all that much going in to this match, but I was pleasantly surprised as the closing stretch was pretty good, and by the end the crowd was buying a lot of the nearfalls.

***

 

4. World Tag League Semi Final

Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima

 

Kojima got the better of a test of strength with Anderson; Tenzan and Goto were tagged in. Goto got the better of a shoulderblock battle and locked in a chinlock. Kojima was tagged in for a double team and Goto was knocked to the mat with some strikes. Tenzan landed a knee to the groin behind the referee’s back in a very subtle heel move. Tenzan landed a vertical suplex for two. Kojima was tagged back in and landed a DDT. Goto went for one of his big lariats, Kojima blocked with a forearm, but Goto caught Kojima with one regardless and made the tag to Anderson. Anderson missed a bicycle kick in the corner and was caught with the machine gun chops for his trouble. Kojima landed an elbow for two. Both men exchanged chops, Anderson landed a boot, but was caught with a gun stun from Kojima. Tenzan was tagged in and knocked Goto off of the apron before unloading with Mongolian chops. Tenzan landed a bulldog. This led to a forearm exchange; Anderson landed a leg lariat and made the tag to Goto. Goto landed a backdrop on Tenzan and this led to another strike exchange. Tenzan locked in the anaconda vice, Anderson broke it. Goto caught Tenzan with a big lariat and landed an over the knee neckbreaker. Anderson caught Kojima with another leg lariat and they landed a backdrop neckbreaker combo. Anderson took Kojima to the floor, Tenzan blocked a Shouten Kai and this led to Kojima running in for the 3D for two. Kojima landed a big lariat on Anderson, but Tenzan missed a moonsault. This led to Goto landing the Shouten Kai on Kojima. Tenzan wouldn’t go down for a big lariat, but was caught with a dropkick to the knee. Goto then grabbed the Goto-shiki (cross-legged cradle) for the win in 14:41.

***

 

5. Manabu Nakanishi & Strong Man vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka

 

Of course the match started with Yano and Iizuka taking Nakanishi and Strong Man to the outside. Yano and Iizuka were disqualified. This led to Tanaka and Takahashi coming down. Benjamin and MVP made the save making this a six man tag match.

N/A

 

6. Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Nakanishi & Strong Man vs. Masato Tanaka, Yujiro Takahashi, Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka

 

Benjamin fired the first shot with a topé con giro onto the opposing team. MVP and Takahashi went at it. MVP was caught with a chair shot through the ropes, which led to your typical brawling. Tanaka was tagged in. Yano landed some shots with a foreign object that looked like a hammer behind the referee’s back, which was funny simply sue to the fact that we see that every week on Impact. MVP was whipped into the exposed buckle and strangled with the buckle string. MVP fought Iizuka off with a lariat and tagged in Nakanishi. Nakanishi landed a very strange looking knee drop, which led to an attempted mauling from Yano and Iizuka, but Strong Man made the save running wild. Nakanishi and Iizuka landed double lariats for two and locked the torture racks, but Tanaka ran in with a kendo stick. Iizuka then landed the glove shot on Nakanishi for the 07:53 DQ. After the match Nakanishi shielded the shirtless commentator from chair shots and was strangled with chairs for his trouble, which was just awesome.

 

This was a bizarre match that obviously didn’t serve much of a purpose other than killing two birds with one stone, in the sense that two midcard matches were taken care of at once. It was as always your standard Iizuka/Yano match, which got old a very long time ago. It’s a shame, because the act is entertaining, but is just incredibly over done. The Strong Man spots were fun, but didn’t really help the quality of the match to any measurable extent.

* ¾

 

7. Kazushi Sakuraba & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii

 

Shibata and Ishii started off. Shibata battled for a takedown, but was pushed into the corner by Ishii who landed a big chop. They had a slap battle, which quickly broke down into a forearm exchange. Ishii refused to give in, but was caught with some strong shots knocking him down into the corner. This led to a headbutt battle and the tag was made to Sakuraba who stared Nakamura down with his hands on his hips. Nakamura was tagged in and Sakuraba took him to the mat briefly. He locked in a guillotine, but Nakamura made it to the ropes. Sakuraba worked for a hold again, but once again Nakamura made it to his feet. Ishii landed some chops in the corner, this led to Sakuraba unloading with strikes and the tag was made to Shibata. Who landed some boots to the face. Shibata landed some big knees and was dropped to the floor. He was caught in a headlock, landed a backdrop, but Shibata no-sold and landed one of his own. Sakuraba was tagged back in and he landed some more strikes. However, Ishii fought back with some really big strikes and a lariat in the corner followed by the Nakamura knee for two. Sakuraba grabbed a triangle choke, but Ishii powered his way out. Nakamura went for the Boma Ye, Shibata cut him off, he was taken out by Ishii, but Sakuraba caught him in a sleeper. Ishii fought out and went for a lariat, but was taken to the mat by Sakuraba who locked in an armbar. Sakuraba then rolled into a Kimura for the 09:20 submission. Sakuraba and Shibata brawled on the outside, but Makabe ran out and had a pull apart with Shibata.

 

This was a very fun match. No matter what people want to say about Sakuraba’s physical state it looks like he can still go in the ring – at least in tag team matches. His spots with Ishii were awesome and the way that he worked into the finish was also really good. I think that Shibata definitely has a place in the company after this angle with Sakuraba dies down. He is really good in the ring, has a lot of a charisma and a great look; I can’t see New Japan not doing something with him. As for Ishii he remains one of the most under utilized people in the company.

*** ½

 

8. Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA vs. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo

 

Both Tanahashi and Okada told their partners to step aside as they started the match off. Okada went for the rainmaker, Tanahashi went for the full nelson suplex, but Okada countered, which led to a counter exchange. The tags were made to KUSHIDA and Gedo. KUSHIDA grabbed an arm lock and went after the arm of Gedo. The tag was made to Tanahashi and he did the same. The tag was made to Okada. Tanahashi landed a dragon screw, rolled to the outside, but was booted over the guardrail by Okada. Okada then landed a draping DDT off of the guardrail. Okada landed a dropkick on Tanahashi and tagged Gedo back in. Gedo pulled the hair of Tanahashi while Okada applied a boot to the face. Okada was tagged back in and landed a DDT for two. Tanahashi landed a crossbody on Gedo and the tag was made to KUSHIDA. He caught Okada with a highkick off the apron and landed a standing moonsault following a handspring back elbow. He missed a moonsault and was caught with a rollup. KUSHIDA fired at Gedo with a flurry of elbows and was caught with a DDT. Okada and Tanahashi were tagged back in. Tanahashi landed a dropkick to the knee following a flying forearm and locked in a cloverleaf. Gedo was thrown to the floor, but was caught with a flapjack. This led to a forearm exchange. Okada landed a boot and over the shoulder belly to back over the shoulder over the knee neckbreaker for two. Okada landed a top rope elbow and signalled for the rainmaker. Tanahashi ducked and landed a sling blade. KUSHIDA took Gedo to the floor. Okada rolled out of the way of a high fly flow and Okada went for the tombstone, but Tanahashi made it out with a kick to the knee. Okada landed one of his awesome dropkicks and KUSHIDA was tagged in. He landed an enzuigiri, he went for the handspring back elbow, but was caught with the rainmaker for the win in 15:22.

 

This was a good tag match, but was obviously limited due to the impending Tokyo Dome show. There were some really good teases between Tanahashi and Okada, which makes me even more excited for the Tokyo Dome at this point. It is always great to see Gedo in a role other than that of Okada’s manager or a midcard act, because he makes a really good teammate for Okada. This was probably the best that they could have done with Okada and Tanahashi on this show and it was perfectly fine by me.

*** ½

 

 

9. World Tag League Final

Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson

 

Smith and Goto started off. Goto was knocked to the mat with a big shoulderblock and made the tag to Anderson who went at it with Archer. Anderson landed some uppercuts, but Archer no sold and landed a release belly to belly suplex. Anderson was booted to the floor, which led to some melee from the Killer Elite Squad on the floor. Anderson attempted another uppercut, but was quickly knocked back to the mat and drilled with a powerslam. Goto broke the pin up, but was booted to the floor. Smith was tagged in and landed a stomp to the gut and was strangled in the ropes. Archer and Smith landed the side walk slam and legdrop combo, and when Anderson kicked out Smith went crazy on poor old referee Red Shoes. Anderson landed some uppercuts on Smith and finally took him down with a dropkick making the tag to Goto. Archer threw Goto into the corner, but Goto landed a leg lariat and backdrop for two. Goto landed a bridging German suplex for two. He went for the Shouten Kai, but Smith ran in for the double chokeslam. Smith blocked a lariat, but was caught with one off of the ropes. Anderson was tagged in and he landed some strikes. Anderson caught Smith with a leg lariat and senton for two. Smith went for a vertical suplex, but was caught with a snap suplex and top rope gun stun for two. Archer was caught with a boot in the corner, and Goto and Anderson landed a backdrop neckbreaker combo. Then Goto landed a plancha of all things onto Smith and Anderson landed a fireman’s carry gunstun for two. He went for another, but Smith landed a backdrop of his own. Smith landed a tiger suplex for two, he called for a top rope powerslam, but Anderson still kicked out. They landed the Killer Bomb, but Goto ran in to make the save. Archer went for a powerbomb, Goto blocked, fought Smith off, but was caught with a full nelson bomb. Archer then went to the top rope for a moonsault, but was dropped to the floor by Goto. Goto blocked a suplex attempt and landed a few headbutts to set up the gun stun for the win in 15:36.

 

I would have expected this match to have gone longer, but it was in fact the longest match on the show at just over fifteen minutes. It was your predictable final, given the fact that they weren’t going to beat the Killer Elite Squad in the semi-finals and weren’t going with TenKoji as challengers again. This obviously sets up the tag championship match at the Dome.

*** ¼

 

WWE Monday Night RAW December 3rd 2012

Greensboro, North Carolina

 

Overall Thoughts:

 

This was a perfectly fine edition of RAW, the crowd was pretty into the first portion of the show, but like everyone else really cooled off towards the end. The opening match with the Shield gradually walking closer to the ring was really good, and the crowd was really into it.

 

Punk’s promo before the interruption from Miz was really good and fiery. Having him say how bad the three hour RAWs are would have been fine if they weren’t doing so badly, but you have to think that when they are doing so badly in the ratings saying that was a bad idea. Miz at the end of the segment and in the mainevent felt like one of the most obnoxious babyfaces of the last few years.

 

The Sheamus/Cena tag was perfectly fine and the crowd was really into the closing stretch and the finish. You have to think that beating Ziggler so many times has caused a problem of some kind. He will probably win the match with Cena, and is really talented so can come back from this, but it is probably killing interest in the match somewhere.

 

The Randy Orton/Brad Maddox match seemed to serve no purpose, but you have to think that they have something in mind for him after having him lose again in the pursuit of a contract. The fatal fourway match was fun, and Cesaro did some really great stuff, specifically the deadlift on Kingston and the uppercut shot on Kingston who was jumping off of the steps.

 

I liked the mainevent segment, I thought that the Shield looked good up until they were destroyed by Ryback, which was probably my main gripe with the segment. As was mentioned above Miz was extremely annoying, but Punk’s reaction to him in the segment was really great; although it did kind of reverse their roles a bit.

 

Overall this was a fun addition of RAW; that did in fact fail dismally in the ratings.

 

Segment by Segment:

 

These opening videos are something else. I find it really strange that the biggest pro wrestling company in the world is copying ideas from Impact and not even the good ideas; they couldn’t copy the BFG series could they?

 

Bryan and Kane came out and pointed to the Shield standing in a skybox. Kane wanted to give them something to fight about and they just stood there.

 

1. Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. The Prime Time Players

 

The Prime Time Players now have new music. Cole mentioned that Vince was in the area. Kane dropped Young and ‘O Neal to the floor. They focused on Ambrose and Cole called him “Daniel Ambrose”. Reigns and Rollins left Ambrose. Kane landed a dropkick on Young following the no kicks. Kane went after the arm of Young. Cole claimed that Kane has had the most matches ever in the WWE (899). Reigns was shown walking through the crowd. The crowd was reacting and Bryan landed a knee on Young off of the apron. They continued to move through the crowd, which shows that they really haven’t changed their policy when it comes to guys in the crowd. After the break ‘O Neal was in control of Kane. The tag was made to Bryan who landed the dropkick in the corner. Young wore Bryan down, Bryan went for the LeBell lock and Reigns and Ambrose nudged their way closer. Kane and Bryan were distracted, Young went for a rollup, but Bryan countered and grabbed a rollup of his own for the win.

 

After the match Ambrose and Reigns jumped the guard rail. Reigns and Ambrose picked the arm of Kane apart. They then went after Bryan and delivered the triple team powerbomb.

 

I really liked the addition of the Shield in this match. The crowd was into them, which shows the rewards of a slow build. I know that it’s a nitpick, but the finish really made the Prime Time Players look bad; losing with a distraction in their favour, but it really doesn’t matter at this point.

 

Cena and Sheamus were talking backstage without a care in the world, because no one cares about Kane and Bryan right? They were talking about sports and were terribly scripted. Sheamus went on about European sports. Cena said it had to be all business and Sheamus said what he would do to Show that night would be understood in any language.

 

2. AJ vs. Tamina Snuka

 

Isn’t it great how they gave us this match with no notice and without any build? The crowd was really behind AJ. Snuka locked in a torture rack and broke it for no apparent reason. She set up the superfly splash, but AJ grabbed a schoolgirl for the win.

 

I was actually dumbfounded by the finish to this match. Not only did they do the match at the very last minute, but AJ won the match clean, which basically kills all interest in this program. I don’t know if it is just the fact that nobody on the booking team understands the fact that you are supposed to build matches, or just pure negligence, but this was really stupid.

 

Punk and Heyman came out. Heyman said that his children were reading the WWE Encyclopaedia. He said that he didn’t like the book, because there wasn’t enough on CM Punk. Punk would overpass Cena as the longest reigning champion of “the modern era” on Wednesday. He was the longest reigning champion of the last 25 years. Punk was now front and centre on WWE’s version of Mount Rushmore. Punk said that if there was a Mount Rushmore his face would go above people like Cena, Hogan, Rock and Undertaker. He defeated Ryback at Hell in a Cell and Cena and Ryback at Survivor Series. He said that he shouldn’t have to defend the title against Ryback at TLC. It was the fault of the people who couldn’t hold a job or a marriage as long as he had held the title. He said that Heyman, Maddox or the Shield weren’t the reason that he was still the champion; if he wasn’t there the fans wouldn’t have bought a ticket. He called the three hours “dismal”. He said that he had nothing to do with the Shield or Maddox, but he had something to do with being the hottest thing today. He told everyone to change the channel or get out of his arena! Miz came out.

 

He did his really shtick. He told the crowd to enjoy themselves. He said that nobody believed Punk. Punk asked who Miz thought he was. Miz said that he was the guy that could admit to cheating. He continued to accuse Punk. Punk called him Mike and said that he would prove himself by putting Miz to sleep. He said that they could fight or wrestle any time. He came to invite him to Miz TV and to take a lie detector test.

 

Heyman said that Miz knew what Punk thought about him behind the scenes and Miz called him a human walrus. The crowd chanted walrus. Miz said “live” a million times and said that he was giving Punk what he wanted; and challenged him to take a lie detector test. Punk accepted his challenge and said that he would prove that he is the “best in the world”.

 

I haven’t been one of those people to hate the Miz as a performer as of late. I haven’t been defending him, but I thought that he was perfectly fine. However, this segment changed everything, because Miz was the most obnoxious, unlikeable and annoying babyface in this segment. The disparity between Punk and Miz was just so clear, and although it sounds like a bad thing to say; it feels like Miz is an actor in the role of a wrestler, where as Punk is a wrestler. Punk was phenomenal in this segment, but boy was Miz bad.

 

2. Big Show & Dolf Ziggler vs. John Cena & Sheamus

 

Ziggler and Sheamus started off. Cena locked in a headlock, but Ziggler fought him off with a right and tagged Big Show in. Show landed a big shoulderblock and wore Cena down. Cena attempted to get Show up for the AA, but Show came down with a splash. Ziggler dropped a flurry of elbows. Sheamus was tagged in and he unloaded on the Big Show. He landed some elbows in the corner followed by a knee. He was knocked down to the mat and went for a shoulderblock, but was caught with a spear. After the break Show was in control landing some shots. Ziggler came back in and locked in a headlock. Sheamus landed a backbreaker and made the tag to Cena. Cena ran wild knocking Show off the apron and landing a flurry of shoulderblocks. Big Show kicked Cena in the knee and went for chokeslam on Sheamus. However, Cena landed the AA and Sheamus the belly to back over the shoulder backbreaker for the win. The crowd popped big for the finish.

 

The fact that they are still going ahead with Ziggler/Cena is pretty surprising given the fact that they have beaten Ziggler so many times in matches with Cena. I would suspect by the way that WWE books that we will probably see Ziggler beating Cena in the ladder match, simply because he has lost so many times.

 

Sandow came out and called everyone handicapped. He would give one of the people in the crowd the opportunity to become his apprentice. He called a plant in a Little Jimmy shirt down to the ring. His first question was what the chemical formula for H2O was. He answered water. He was asked who the first president of the US was from. He answered Washington. He was asked what English poet wrote ‘Much Have I Travelled in the Realms of Gold’. He didn’t know the answer. Sandow lit up and answered ‘John Keats’ and awarded him the idiot of the day award. He said that ignorance was curable, but stupidity is forever. Santino came out.

 

He had a question for Sandow. He asked ‘how many sea shells does she sell by the seashore’. Sandow answered a bivalve, which didn’t make much sense since it was a question of number. Santino set it was actually a conk. This led to Sandow striking Marella.

 

3. Damien Sandow vs. Santino Marella

 

The match was joined in progress. Sandow landed his legsweep and elbow for two. Marella grabbed a small package. He went for the cobra, Sandow fled to the outside and Marella was stomped on his way in. He threw the cobra away; Marella missed a diving headbutt and Sandow landed his neckbreaker for the win. A graphic aired for the chance to stump Sandow with a question.

 

Ziggler was complaining to Vickie backstage. Vickie said she was losing faith in Ziggler. He wanted a rematch against Cena at TLC. Ziggler went for a hug, but Vickie stopped him. She walked into her office and was met by Maddox with a camera man. He was smoking a cigar. After the break they were talking about a contract. Maddox flattered Vickie. She gave Maddox a match for a contract. Vickie wouldn’t reveal his opponent.

 

4. Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara

 

Cara landed some lame looking kicks to the head off of a comeback. Del Rio locked in a headlock, Cara made his way out and landed a flying head scissors off of the apron. After the break Cara worked on the arm of Del Rio. Del Rio kicked Cara to the floor and rammed him into the barricade. Del Rio went after the mask of Cara. Del Rio missed a splash and was caught with a tornado DDT. Del Rio was caught with a handspring back elbow and head scissors. Cara landed a leaping highkick and a crossbody for two. Cara missed his senton, he went for La Mistica, but was caught with a cross armbreaker for the submission.

 

Vince was walking backstage and said to someone backstage that he wanted to talk to Vickie in the ring right then and there. Vickie brought Vince out.

 

Vickie called Vince handsome and Vince failed to reciprocate. Vickie proposed Cena versus Ziggler at TLC. Vince suggested a stipulation. She recommended a No DQ match. Vince said that it wasn’t appropriate for TLC she blurted out ladder match, and said that you need titles for a ladder match. Vince recommended the briefcase hang above the ring and Vickie said that it was unfair to Ziggler. Vince said that the AJ scandal wasn’t fair and that she owed it to the fans to make the match official. Vickie obliged and cut Vince off. Vince asked about what would happen if Punk was made to be a liar. Vince asked what the punishment would be and Vickie said that she would destroy the mastermind behind all of it. Next week there would be a match Paul Heyman versus Ryback if Punk failed.

 

5. Randy Orton vs. Brad Maddox

 

Maddox landed an elbow, which led to Orton sending him to the floor and landing a clothesline. Orton landed a draping DDT and landed the RKO for the win.

 

After the match Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns attacked Orton and landed the triple team powerbomb. Ziggler was freaking out backstage and said that AJ made him defend the contract too. Ziggler said that Vickie was becoming just like [AJ] and walked off. Heyman then walked in and had a stare down with Vickie for a very long time. Vickie said that Heyman better wish that Punk was telling the truth. Ziggler would not fair well in New Japan. Cena walked in and said Vickie made a great decision. Cena said that he would become champion and cash in the briefcase. Vickie brought Cena bowties out and warned Cena about AJ’s obsession. They went on.

 

Kingston and Truth came out for a tag team match with Barrett and Cesaro. Long interrupted and turned it into a fatal fourway championship match out of nowhere. He said that the fans would decide whose champion would be on the line. The US title obviously won with 83% to 17%.

 

6. Fatal Fourway Match for the US Championship

Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett vs. R-Truth

 

Cesaro landed a gutwrench slam and a headbutt on Kingston. Cesaro was dropped to the floor and caught with a baseball slide. Kingston and R-Truth went at it. Kingston landed a topé on Barrett, Truth went for a pescado, but Cesaro moved and rammed him into the barricade. Kingston ran into the steps, but caught Kingston with a huge European uppercut in midair. After the break Cesaro locked in a single leg Boston crab. Truth landed a facebuster, but was bridged to the floor. Cesaro and Barrett exchanged strikes, but Kingston came off of the top with a crossbody. Barrett landed a spinout sideslam for two, Truth broke it up and landed a scissors kick on Barrett, but Barrett kicked out. Barrett perched Truth on the top rope, but was knocked off. Cesaro was caught with a hip toss from the top, Barrett went for the superplex again, but was caught with a powerbomb/suplex tower spot from Kingston. Kingston landed a powerslam reversing the SOS. Truth sent Cesaro to the floor and Kingston went at it with Barrett. Kingston landed the boomdrop, but was pulled out of the ring by Cesaro who went for the neutralizer. Barrett then landed the elbow on Truth, Kingston landed Trouble in Paradise on Barrett, but was pulled straight off into the neutralizer for the win in a fun match that was clunky at times.

 

Miz came out for Miz TV and brought out a detective. He has to be the most annoying babyface in history. Punk came out and Miz began to explain the lie detector test. Punk said that he knew what the test was and Punk urged them to cheer Punk more. Punk said that Miz was trying to bring Punk down to his level. Punk said that he never paid attention in wrestling school and said that Miz sucked. Miz said that Punk’s mom did, which was so lame. He was supposed to ask him everyday questions like his name, but went straight in the length of his title reign, if Mysterio shaved his head bald, and he asked if he lost to Orton on the same year that Miz mainevented Mania. He said that everyone remembered Punk’s match, but they had to suffer through Miz’s match. He was asked if he could beat Ryback by himself and he said yes; there was a huge spike on the detector – completely over exaggerated. He was asked if he teamed with Maddox or the Shield. Just then the shield ran in and destroyed the set and beat Miz down. They landed the triple team powerbomb and out came Team HellNo. This led to a brawl. Just then Ryback ran out and cleared house. He took Ambrose into the crowd and Bryan went after Rollins. They brawled in the crowd. Punk stomped on Miz and dropped him to the floor. However, Ryback came in to the ring and landed a marching Samoan drop. Ryback grabbed a ladder from underneath the ring and landed a big shot with the ladder and then with a chair. He then set up a table and landed a powerbomb through the table

 

I didn’t mind the mainevent segment, but thought that the Shield didn’t look as good going out. Ryback getting the better of them really doesn’t help the build to TLC now that Punk is out, and I think they should have waited a while before having Ryback put one of them through a table. Miz was possibly even more annoying here, but Punk’s burial of him was really entertaining.

 

WWE Raw Ratings November 26th 2012

 

Last week we weren’t able to map out the segment by segment RAW ratings due to Thanksgiving delays. Therefore we will be covering both last week’s and this week’s rating in this issue.

 

Last week’s rating did in the top half of worst rated non-holiday RAWs of the last fifteen years, but definitely not the lowest. It went up against a below average football game, which only drew a 8.14 rating and 10.78 million viewers down from the week before, which did a 9.22 and 12.47 million viewers. In that sense it was a big disappointment, because the blame for the rating fell almost completely on them.

 

The opening segment with Ryback versus Titus ‘O Neal opened with a 2.89, already down from the prior week’s 2.91. Surprisingly the Alberto Del Rio/Great Khali match gained 129,000 viewers, but that could be due to late viewers for the opening segment. This was actually the highest rated quarter of the show with a 2.98,

 

The Michael Cole/Shield interview lost a disappointing 139,000 viewers, but that segment has been losing as of late. The Tamina Snuka/Alicia Fox match gained a surprising 46,000 viewers. Then the collective of the Ziggler/AJ/Cena/Vickie segment and Tensai/Kingston gained a terrible 90,000 viewers in the 21:00 segment, which is really telling considering a similar segment involving the four the week prior only gained 195,000 viewers – people obviously don’t care about this angle.

 

The first hour of the show did a 2.9 rating and a 1.43 (1,807,000 viewers) rating in the 18-49 demo, which had to be disappointing considering that it was the high for the show.

 

The Daniel Bryan/Rey Mysterio match, which was actually pretty good lost 366,000 viewers, which was a big loss even compare to last week’s Del Rio/Orton match, which lost 122,000 viewers in the same segment. Then in what had to be viewed as very disappointing the Cena/Ziggler match just before 22:00 lost 17,000 viewers, which is terrible for a segment which usually shows a gain and considering the fact that Cena is usually a ratings draw this was a big surprise.

 

The second hour of the show did a 2.8 rating and a 1.44 (1,830,000 viewers) in the 18-49 demo.

 

Another pretty good match in Sheamus/Cesaro lost 229,000 viewers, which wasn’t all that surprising considering that it was a match of decent length late into the show. Viewers seem to be dropping off in the segment after 22:00. The Sandow/Ryder match then lost a further 421,000 viewers to a terrible 2.25 quarter.

 

Finally the CM Punk/Kane mainevent gained 592,000 viewers with the first portion of the match doing a 2.28 and the overrun portion a 2.66. The gain was in the vicinity of what they have been doing over the past few weeks. The final hour of the show didn’t fair well at all doing a 2.5 rating and 1.25 (1,580,000 viewers) rating among the 18-49 demo. The overrun faired best with the 18-49 demo, with a rise from a 2.1 to a 2.5 in males and 0.5 to 0.9 in females. The only demo that showed a decline was teenage boys, which saw a drop from a 1.7 to 1.6, which is inconsequential. This definitely shows a show wide burn out, and of course we kind of know what the cause of that is by now.

 

WWE Raw Ratings December 3rd 2012

 

The first RAW in December once again did one of the lowest non-holiday RAW ratings in the last 15 years and the lost viewership of that time period, which would have been news a couple of months back, but is now common place to a certain extent.

 

The show was going up against a very strong football game in the New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins, which did an 11.89 rating and 16.21 million viewers, which was up significantly from last week’s games, which did a 8.14 rating and 10.78 million viewers. The show landed up doing a 2.55, probably due to the game.

 

The opening match with Bryan and Kane up against the Prime Time Players together with the Shield in the crowd opened at a 2.57. The Shield attack and Snuka/AJ gained 126,000 viewers, which was probably a combination of both. The fact that the Snuka match did well and they didn’t build to it and beat Snuka straight away makes the entire thing worse, because Snuka has been drawing somewhat.

 

The Punk/Heyman segment before the inclusion of the Miz gained 24,000 viewers. Once the Miz came out however, they lost 214,000 viewers, which means that Miz as a babyface is annoying to most people. The Cena/Sheamus tag gained 138,000 viewers at 21:00, which is bad, but was up from last week’s gain of just 90,000 viewers.

 

From 20:00 to 21:00 they did 3.58 million viewers (1.2 in the 18-49 demo). The 18-49 demo was down significantly from last week.

 

The Sandow/Santino comedy and match lost a combined 226,000 viewers, which means that it took a lighter hit following the 21:00 segment than Bryan/Mysterio from last week. Alberto Del Rio versus Sin Cara lost 121,000 viewers, which wasn’t much of a surprise. The Vickie Guerrero/Vince McMahon segment that followed actually gained 493,000 viewers, which was the second biggest gain behind the overrun. However, Vince is almost always a good to great ratings draw.

 

The Orton/Maddox match and Shield attack on Orton lost 167,000 viewers, which was probably more indicative of Maddox and how he has been built more than anything else, as Orton and the Shield haven’t shown significant loses over the past few weeks. The loss was okay for this segment though.

 

The second hour did 3.37 million viewers (1.1 in the 18-49 demo), which was awful.

 

The US Title fourway with Antonio Cesaro defending against Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett and R-Truth lost 169,000, which would probably happen to most matches between midcard acts that late in the show.

 

Finally the CM Punk lie-detector together with the Shield beat down and Ryback run-in gained 509,000 viewers to a 2.86 overrun. The gain was decent for overruns over the past few weeks, especially considering how bad Miz has been.

The final hour of RAW did 3.36 million viewers (1.1 in the 18-49 demo), which means it was the middle hour in terms of overall viewership and tied for last in the 18-49 demo. The bad rating this week can probably be attributed to the football game, given that RAW was still third for the night on cable, but the third hour didn’t help to lessen the blow. If RAW was still two hours they probably wouldn’t have taken such a heavy hit.

The show did one of the lowest ratings in a very long time in one of their key demos, Males 18-49 – a 1.9. They were also down substantially in women 18-49 doing a 0.7. They were however up in males and females aged 12-17.

As a rule RAW is going to be down against a strong football game, but due to burn out at a time when the product isn’t that hot they are suffering so much more – suffice to say they need to move back.

 

                                                                                                                                           WWE –NXT

                                                                             December 5th 2012 – Full Sail University, Florida.

                                                                                                        Ben Carass.

 

 

 

Michael McGillicutty came out for the first match after the intro package; Tony Dawson said he would be facing the US Champion and Antonio Cesaro made his way to the ring.

 

Non-Title Match: (US Champion) Antonio Cesaro vs. Michael McGillicutty

 

Cesaro took control after some chain wrestling with a back elbow and a shot to the stomach; McGillicutty fought back with chops, but Cesaro cut him off with another gut shot. Cesaro worked over the stomach with more blows, however McGillicutty scored with a dropkick following a leapfrog transition.

McGillicutty delivered a backbreaker for a two count then landed some shots in the corner; Cesaro countered and dumped his opponent stomach first on the top turnbuckle, before landing a big running knee. Antonio worked over the stomach some more and the fans got behind McGillicutty, who fought from underneath, only to be shut down.

McGillicutty fought up from a waistlock to execute a sunset flip that earned a two count, but Cesaro gained the advantage again with a big clothesline. Antonio hit his gutwrench suplex then applied a waistlock; McGillicutty fought out and showed some fire with a flurry of shots then took Cesaro over with a Saito suplex, before hitting a big basement forearm for the near fall.

Antonio ate some strikes in the ropes, however the US champ pulled out the old thumb to the eye then followed up with the big flapjack/European uppercut and the neutraliser for the victory.

 

Antonio Cesaro defeated Michael McGillicutty via pinfall, at 5:58.

 

This was a decent opener; nothing special. I guess McGillicutty is a babyface now, which is understandable since the NXT crowd have been getting behind him for a while with the Hack Meyers “shaw” chants. I don’t quite see how Hack relates to McGillicutty, but at least he’s got something that is over with this audience.

 

A graphic hyping Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger aired; Dawson said it was the main event.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Axl Keegan was introduced in the ring by Byron Saxton then Bo Dallas appeared to face the NXT debutant.

 

Bo Dallas vs. Axl Keegan

 

Bo landed some back elbows and a short-arm clothesline then dropped a knee for a one count; Keegan used Bo’s tights for leverage and sent Dallas face first into the second turnbuckle. Keegan delivered some blows in the corner, before executing a bodyslam then worked a neck vice. Bo fought up, only to eat a back elbow and some right hands; Dallas smiled with each punch and screamed “hit me again”.

Bo began his comeback then took Keegan over with his funky belly-to-belly suplex; Dallas finished off his foe with a spear and got the three count.

 

Bo Dallas defeated Axl Keegan via pinfall, at 2:36.

 

Bo got on the mic after the match; he said even though he had lost a few “fights” recently, he “still loves to fight” and stated he gives pain “the respect it deserves”. Bo laid down a challenge to “anyone in the WWE from top to bottom” and added he did not want a match, but wanted a fight.

 

The match was a little predictable, but nonetheless served its purpose in building Dallas back up after several losses. Bo seems to improving in the ring and appears to be taking his time more, which is good to see; unfortunately he still neglects to cover his opponents after his belly-to-belly, much to my annoyance.

 

A graphic hyping Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger rolled then a second advertised Corey Graves vs. Yoshi Tatsu after the break.

 

Commercial Break.

 

The Raw Rebound aired.

 

Corey Graves was in the ring after the Raw recap then Yoshi Tatsu made his way out; Graves stood on the apron and disrespectfully threw his jacket at Tatsu. Yoshi tossed the jacket into the crowd, but Graves jumped him from behind and unleashed a beating on the outside. Graves rolled Yoshi inside the ring and the referee checked on Tatsu before calling for the bell.

 

Yoshi Tatsu vs. Corey Graves

 

Yoshi briefly looked to have recovered from the pre-match assault, until Graves scored with a chop block and went after the knee. Yoshi managed to executed a quick inside cradle for a two count, but Graves nailed a dropkick to the knee then worked over the leg some more.

Yoshi got to his feet and landed a few chops then a Japanese armdrag and a backdrop; Tatsu delivered a couple of kicks to the chest, however Graves countered into a kneebuster and applied the Fuller leglock, which Dawson called “the thirteenth step”, for the victory.

 

Corey Graves defeated Yoshi Tatsu via submission, at 2:54.

 

This was enjoyable; I like the way Graves constantly works the leg throughout his matches and he has been booked in a strong manner since debuting, which is good to see, as he is a decent hand. I’m looking forward to the upcoming title match with Rollins in three weeks.

 

A graphic hyping the main event aired; Dawson said J.R would be commentating on the match.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Welshman Gavin Reid was in the ring and Roman Reigns made his entrance.

 

Gavin Reid vs. Roman Reigns

 

Reigns took over immediately with stomps in the corner then applied a cravate; Reid tried to fight out, but ate a back elbow then a jumping clothesline. Roman delivered the Ore ga Taue for the three count.

 

Roman Reigns defeated Gavin Reid via pinfall, at 2:11.

 

After the match, Roman threw Reid through the ropes to the floor then instructed Byron Saxton to enter the ring; Roman cut off Saxton’s announcement of the winner and accused Byron of being jealous of him. Roman got in the announcer’s face and claimed he was doing Saxton a favour by allowing him to be in his ring, before stating he did not want to have this conversation again.

 

This was another standard NXT squash match, with a no-name geek brought in to put over whoever creative is high on. I’m not sure what Roman’s character actually is; he is just a cocky, arrogant heel, which is fine. Since The Shield appeared at the December 6th set of tapings, it will be interesting to see if we get an explanation for their alliance or if they just show up with their new gimmicks.

 

Tom Phillips was backstage with Tyson Kidd; Phillips asked if Tyson was worried after Leo “brutalised” and “injured” Trent Barreta last week. Kidd said his goal was to be NXT Champion and he would go through Leo to get there; at which point Kassius Ohno entered. Ohno facetiously asked if Kidd was joking about being Champion then told Tyson to “watch out”, because he put Richie Steamboat out of action. For some reason Kidd miss-quoted Einstein then walked off.

 

A video package hyping Next Week’s NXT title match between Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal aired.

 

Inside the arena, Leo Kruger came out for the main event. J.R called Leo the “human big game hunter” and speculated about the relationship between Kruger and Ohno. Tyson Kidd appeared to a nice reaction from the crowd then headed down to face Leo.

 

Tyson Kidd vs. Leo Kruger

 

Leo stalled during the early going and Kidd played the role of aggressor; the two traded holds and reversals then we went to an inconveniently timed break.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Leo was in control with a full nelson; Kidd fought up to land a kick then went for a crossbody, however Leo ducked which hung Kidd up in the ropes and sent Tyson to the floor. Leo went to the outside and landed a few shots, before rolling Kidd back inside.

Leo got the heat and scored with a snapsuplex for two; Kidd fought up from another full nelson, only to be shutdown with a belly-to-back suplex. Leo sent Kidd back to the floor with a baseball slide, however Tyson was able to climb back inside. Leo got some more heat with the full nelson and Kidd fought to his feet again then nailed a spinning heel kick for             the separation.

Kidd went into his comeback and unleashed some kicks, before attempting a springboard elbow drop; Leo got his knees up then caught Tyson with a running clothesline for two. Leo went to the top rope, but Kidd exploded and delivered an armdrag off the top; Kruger escaped to the floor, however Kidd scored with a big kick from the apron then rolled his foe back inside.

Kidd went for another springboard manoeuvre and Leo got his boot up; Kidd was able to block the boot and transitioned into the Dungeon lock for the victory.

 

Tyson Kidd defeated Leo Kruger via submission, at 11:50.

 

After the match, Kassius Ohno hit the ring and initiated a double beatdown on Kidd. Leo and Ohno delivered a tandem inverted hangman’s facebuster/roaring elbow and Regal left the announce table. Regal pulled Kidd out of the ring and helped him out of the arena. J.R hyped the Rollins/Mahal title match for next week.

 

The main event was good; not spectacular, but enjoyable all the same. Leo controlled most of the match, so Tyson going over didn’t hurt him much, plus the double beatdown             with Ohno at the end was a great way to get the heat back.

Overall, the show was entertaining and it looks like we have some interesting angles and programmes building; the excitement should really begin in 3 weeks when The Shield make their NXT debut and the first episode of the new year looks to be a must-see edition for regular viewers of this show.

 

TNA Impact December 6th 2012

Impact Zone, Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

 

Overall Thoughts:

 

This was your normal edition of Impact, and a below average go-home show. They made some matches for Final Resolution like King/Van Dam and Aries/Ray, but the build for the former was non-existent and the Hogan debate in the later was really stupid. Way too much time on the show was taken up with Hogan not wanting to make the Aries/Ray match, which made no sense in the first place. Hogan was once again the centre of attention when he should be enhancing the current program.

 

The crowd was hotter than usual for this show, but even then they didn’t react to the TV title change, which was not a surprise considering how dead the Aces & Eights angle is. The opening segment was really fun with a hot crowd, and the trio of Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian really were great while they played off of each other.

 

The Kurt Angle/DOC match was pretty inconsequential, which has been the case with most of DOC’s matches. The Aces & Eights interference at the end of the match was to be expected. The X Division match was probably the most fun match on the show, but had no build apart from the fact that all three men were dropped in favour of Aries last week – something that was never mentioned.

 

The Aries/Ray sit-in segment was entertaining at times, but once again Hogan really killed the segment. It just made no sense for him to not make the match. The mainevent match was fun, but the Styles’ losing gimmick is failing miserably as they are not creating a consistent narrative. The Aces & Eights run-in was kind of pointless considering the fact that they are building to Roode/Hardy at the pay-per-view.

 

Segment by Segment:

 

Bobby Roode came out together with Daniels and Kazarian to open the show. A graphic aired for Hardy, Styles and Storm versus Daniels, Kazarian and Roode later on. Kazarian said that the remaining members of Fortune in the ring would be victorious. Roode said that he guarantees become reality and he would once again be heavyweight champion. They continued to make guarantees with Daniels saying that it would be he and AJ’s last match on Sunday. Daniels called Styles out and the crowd chanted for Styles and they were pretty hot when he came out; you never know how this crowd is going to react.

 

Styles called Daniels jealous of him from day one. On Daniels best day and Styles worst Daniels still couldn’t win. Daniels talked about Styles’ losing streak as Roode laughed in the background. He said that Styles’ nightmare of Daniels beating him would come true on Sunday. Styles tackled Daniels, which led to a three on one beat down. Storm and Hardy ran out, which led to Roode, Daniels and Kazarian fleeing.

 

Aries was backstage following a recap from last week. Aries said he pointed out the Brooke/Ray situation, because he wanted to go after Hogan. He wanted his title back and Ray ruined it for him; it was personal now. He wouldn’t stop pushing the buttons until he got what he wanted.

 

1. TNA Television Championship Match

Samoa Joe vs. Devon

 

Joe unloaded with shots, landed a back splash and leaping highkick, but was bridged to the floor. Joe landed a few more shots, but Devon landed an elbow. Devon landed a splash in the corner and one on the mat for two. Devon missed a splash from the top. They traded strikes; Joe unloaded with shots, and landed a big boot and senton for two. Joe landed an STO. He locked in the rear naked choke, but all of a sudden a woman jumped on the apron, DOC landed a shot with the hammer and Devon made the cover for the win. There were four women prancing around ringside and embraced Devon.

 

This match was fine. It wasn’t awful, but it certainly wasn’t good either. Devon is fine in this role when it comes to promos, but his limited number of matches as a member of the Aces & Eights haven’t been good at all. To make matters worse nobody reacted to the finish, not the fans (who were hotter than usual tonight) or the commentators.

 

Brooke Hogan was backstage talking on a cell phone to who I assume was Velvet Sky. Snow was talking to D-Lo Brown saying that he was mugged when he arrived at the Impact Zone. Once again there was more slow build to the D-Lo reveal.

 

Mickie James came out. She talked about how she went through one of the most humbling moments of her life. She though about what she wanted; she wasn’t satisfied and would become Knockout’s champion. Tara and Jesse came out. Tara talked about how good looking Jesse was and called James “missy”. Just then Velvet Sky made her return upon signing a new contract with TNA. I can’t wait for more of those Velvet Sky matches; couldn’t live without them. Sky said that she would be Knockout’s champion in 2013.

 

Robbie E and T plugged Direct Auto insurance. A vignette aired saying things like “reckoning is at hand” and the date 1.3.2013 popped up on screen.

 

2. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Robbie E & Robbie T

 

Hernandez landed his bearhug belly to belly suplex on E. Guerrero was caught with a shot from T, which led to E & T getting the heat on Guerrero. Guerrero landed a release northern lights suplex and made the tag. Hernandez ran wild. Guerrero landed a dropkick on T and he was dropped to the floor. E was dropped into the top turnbuckle, caught with the shoulderblock and Guerrero was tagged in for the frogsplash for the win.

 

Ryan came out and said that it would be three days until they were champions. Just then Morgan ran in with a double clothesline. Ryan tries so hard with cheap heat tricks like referencing his genitals, but it doesn’t work. Devon and DOC were backstage with strippers and bear. The leader brought out a wad of money – they were having a jolly good time.

 

Angle was backstage with Wes Briscoe. Wes delivered some standard lines terribly; I really hope the bad delivery is part of the gimmick. Chavo and Hernandez said that Ryan and Morgan had their attention; they were going to step on their face while they looked them right in the face.

 

3. Kurt Angle vs. DOC

 

Angle went straight after DOC before the match. Angle went after the leg, but was cut off with a clothesline. DOC clotheslined Angle to the floor and was whipped into the steps. Angle landed a missile dropkick and the rolling German suplexes. Angle went for the Angle slam, but was cut off with a big boot. Angle locked in the ankle lock, but was kicked off. Angle started the rolling Germans again, but DOC blocked the third. He landed a low blow behind the referee’s back and landed a clothesline for two. Angle locked in an ankle lock again, but DOC rolled through and landed a chokeslam for two. Angle landed the Angle slam, pulled down the straps and locked the ankle lock back in. Just then the Aces & Eights came out.

 

Briscoe and Bischoff came out, but Joe ran out behind them. Angle said that he had a pack and the Aces & Eights liked to run in packs. He wanted a four on four match at Final Resolution.

 

Hogan was talking to Joe Park backstage angrily. He recommended that Park contact OVW. Ray came in and told Hogan that he wanted a match with Aries. Hogan laughed and said that the wrestling universe didn’t revolve around him. He had to think about other bigger stars and because of the bigger picture he said no and laughed. Ray said that he would get his match by the end of the night.

 

Hogan just came across as the most annoying, self centred general manager in this segment, so much so that if I didn’t know better I would have thought that he was heel authority figure. The way that Hogan is written in a lot of these segments just makes everybody look foolish, and that isn’t going to help anybody.

 

Storm was talking to Hardy backstage about their match. E then went into Hardy’s head and he talked abut people being fake, he didn’t know if Storm was a cowboy or outlaw and said that it was “the creatures against the world”. This still baffles me.

 

4. Number One Contender’s X Division Triple Threat

Kenny King vs. Kid Kash vs. Zema Ion

 

There is practically no build to any of the X Division matches every month; it feels like forgetfulness at this point. King highkicked Kash off the apron, but Ion landed a big clothesline. King landed a flurry of clotheslines. Ion went for the Gory Special, but King countered with a leg trap belly to belly suplex. Kash broke it up and landed a pescado into a hurricanrana on Ion! King landed a springboard splash. Ion landed a topé con giro onto both men. Ion was hung up and Kash did the usual powerbomb tower spot only with an inverted DDT at the top. Kash took King to the floor with a hurricanrana and landed a springboard clothesline. Kash went to the top, but was dropped to the floor. King ran in and landed the spinout fireman’s carry sideslam for the win. This was a very fun TV match; I hope they put the X Title on King this Sunday.

 

Ray was on the phone backstage and said that he was going to take over the show and get what he wants. I guess he was talking to Brooke. We got another 1.3.2013 vignette (or at least part of it). A Ray/Aries/Hogan video package aired.

 

Ray came down to the ring and threw a chair into the ring. He didn’t understand Hogan’s reasoning (I don’t think anyone does). He said that he wanted to fight Aries, Aries wanted to fight him and the fans wanted to see it. He sat down and said that he was going to sit there until he got what he wanted. Aries came down with a chair of his own. He didn’t believe that Ray wanted to fight him. Ray dared him to get in the ring. Aries said he did what he wanted when he wanted. He then sat down on the ramp and said that he wasn’t moving either. Hogan’s music hit and Aries fled, which was just so stupid. Hogan said he was going to fix everything and he wasn’t making the “stinking match”, because he was the general manager. Hogan told Ray to leave “[his] ring” and Aries wanted them to fight. Out came Brooke Hogan. She called Ray “Mark”. Hogan said they all made it personal and made the match.

 

While Aries and Ray were really good in their roles in this segment, its very premise was stupid. Why wouldn’t Hogan want to grant the match? It made absolutely no sense, and once again made Hogan the centre of what is now their biggest angle.

 

5. Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles & James Storm vs. Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels & Kazarian

 

Daniels and Kazarian came out in Zubaz pants and Tenay said it was a throwback to the Road Warriors. They looked awesome. Hardy was sent into the heel corner, Hardy landed a head scissors and knocked Roode and Kazarian off the apron. Styles was tagged in along with Kazarian and landed a head scissors. Hardy landed the step up leg lariat off of Styles’ back in the corner. After the break Kazarian had a front facelock and they continued to get the heat on Hardy for around seven minutes. Hardy countered a top rope spear from Roode and landed the stunner twist of fate. He made the tag to Styles who ran in with a flurry of strikes. He landed a back suplex on Kazarian, Roode broke it up, Storm ran in with a back cracker on Roode and code breaker on Daniels. Storm was whipped into the steps as Kazarian and Roode went after Styles. Styles landed a combination inverted DDT and DDT on Kazarian and Roode. Styles was hung up when going for a springboard clothesline. Storm threw Daniels to the floor, Hardy tagged himself in and landed a twist of fate on Kazarian for the win.

 

Aces & Eights ran out and beat Hardy down. Storm then ran in with a chair to close the show off.

 

                                                                                                                          WWE SmackDown – December 7th 2012.

                                                                                Coliseum & Performing Arts Centre: North Charleston, SC

                                                                                                                         Ben Carass.

 

 

 

A video recapping the main event segment from Raw began the show then Josh read Vince’s statement concerning CM Punk’s knee surgery; Mr. McMahon’s announcement declared Punk “in no condition to defend the WWE Title at TLC”, however Ryback would receive another opportunity “in the very near future”. The statement also attributed Punk’s injury to Ryback’s actions on Monday. Josh continued to read and said Vince had booked The Shield vs. Team HellNo and Ryback in a Six-Man TLC Tag match; “for the first time ever”, the match will be decided by pinfall or submission.

Inside the arena, Lilian introduced Booker T; the GM was already in the ring, which had been prepared for the old WWE creative favourite: the contract signing. Book said he knew what it was like to be in a “highly contested feud” and referenced his supermarket brawl with Steve Austin from eleven years ago next week.

 

I’m guessing at least 60% of the live audience had no idea what Book was talking about.

 

The Booker Man stated it was his responsibility to provide the fans a great show every week, before claiming things between Sheamus and The Big Show had become “personal”. Book claimed he had to make a “drastic” decision then said he wanted everyone to see why he had to take such “drastic action”.

 

Footage of Sheamus and Show’s parking lot brawl from last month aired; footage of Sheamus wearing Show out with a chair at Survivor Series followed.

 

Book hyped the World Title match at TLC, but explained he was concerned that the match may not take place, because “someone might do something”; Booker announced he added a “no contact clause” in the contract, which was “effective immediately”. The GM then brought out Sheamus and Big Show to make the contract “official”.

With the Champion and Number One Contender in the ring, Book told Sheamus he would lose his title shot if he disobeyed the no contact clause then informed Show he would be stripped of the World Title if he didn’t adhere to the ruling. Sheamus mulled over the contact, before stating waiting to face Show was like waiting for Christmas and at TLC, his Christmas would come early by winning the “ultimate present”; the World Title. Sheamus signed the contract and Booker handed the document to The Big Show; Show stated the contract was the real present, as it would enable Sheamus to make it to TLC in one piece. Big Show said he got up from all the chair shots at Survivor Series then asked: “what’s going to happen when a 7ft, 500lbs giant swings a steel chair and destroys that Irish skin of yours”.

 

Racism?

 

Show told his challenger to ask Booker to call off the match, because it would only take one chair shot to change Sheamus forever and possibly end his career. Sheamus said he made Show “relevant again” by giving him the two best matches of his life then added he would gladly end the Champion’s career at TLC.

Show tipped the table on top of Sheamus and quickly signed the contact; Booker had to restrain the Number One Contender then offered Sheamus a chance to take his frustration out in a match with Alberto Del Rio; the GM then booked Big Show in a match with Daniel Bryan, which Booker said would be next. Bryan made his entrance before the break.

 

Man, was that long; the contact signing deal was played out years ago and the interaction between Show and Sheamus was duller than a Bob Backlund match. I may be late to the party on this one, but the Sheamus/Show feud has run out of gas for me. I liked the Hell in a Cell build up and the match was great; the Survivor Series build was mediocre at best and I’ve been losing interest ever since the D.Q finish. I’m sure these two will be in the Elimination Chamber, so hopefully we’ll get some new guys in the mix for January; I don’t think I could take another month of build to Show vs. Sheamus IV at the Rumble.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Non-Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs. The Big Show (World Heavyweight Champion)

 

Bryan threw some leg kicks early, but the giant took over with a headbutt and some big forearms; Show went for a big overhand chop in the corner, however Bryan moved and landed some strikes. Show shut him down with a body shot then delivered a bodyslam; Bryan took the big chop, but fired back with more strikes, only to be shut down again by a body shot.

                Bryan came back with a dropkick to the knee and Show rolled to the floor; Bryan came over the top rope with a slingshot plancha, however Show did not catch him as planned, so Bryan covered up with some kicks. Show hoisted Bryan onto his shoulder, but Bryan escaped and sent him into the ring post; Bryan went for his flying knee off the apron, only to be caught with a big chop in mid-air.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Big Show dropped an elbow for a two count then went after the arm of Bryan; the crowd got behind Bryan and he showed some babyface fight, until Show cut him off with more offense on the arm.

After catching Show with both boots to the face, Bryan came off the second rope with a knee strike then hit his running dropkick in the corner; Show fell to his knees and Bryan unleashed some kicks. The World Champ blocked a head kick then went for the chokeslam, however Bryan countered into a DDT for a one count; Bryan landed the head kick, before heading to the top rope.

The Shield appeared in the crowd; Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose made their way down the arena steps. In the ring, Show planted Bryan with a chokeslam off the top for the victory.

 

The Big Show defeated Daniel Bryan via pinfall, at 11:53.

 

The members of The Shield jumped the rail and entered the ring as Big Show made his exit; Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose began to assault Bryan then Kane came down to save his partner. The Shield overwhelmed Kane and him beatdown on the outside; the trio then delivered the triple powerbomb through the announcer’s table to The Big Red Machine.

 

The match was decent; they told the small guy vs. big guy story well, until Show began to work over the 5’9, 200lbs Bryan’s arm. One issue I have with Show is he often works in a manner unbefitting of a giant; whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely subjective, but in this instance, Show needed to work like a big man. The Shield stuff was good, I just hope they can keep them strong as individuals and don’t cut their legs off, by destroying them at TLC.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Damien Sandow was in the ring with a microphone; Sandow did his new gimmick and brought a shill out of the audience to try and become his apprentice. The first two questions this week were, “what is 5+5?” and, “who is the current President of the Untied States?” The fan answered both correctly, but was stumped by the third, which was, “what seventeenth century genre of art emanating from The Netherlands, focused on still life paintings, depicting mortality and transience?” Damien said the answer was, “Vanitas” then buried the guy for embarrassing himself and the state.

The Miz came down to the ring and asked Sandow, “what twenty-first century WWE Superstar wears his daddy’s bathrobe and buys his pink trunks from Victoria’s Secret?” Miz left in triumph and Josh said he had left Sandow speechless.

 

Terrible stuff from the babyface Miz once again; why would Damien even care about Miz’s juvenile jokes when he considers the opinions of less intelligent people irrelevant?

 

Josh and JBL were at ringside; they showed footage of Cena & Sheamus vs. Ziggler & Show then footage of Vickie Guerrero booking Ziggler vs. Cena at TLC aired; Josh and JBL hyped the ladder match.

 

Brodus Clay’s music hit and he came out with The Usos; Josh said they would be facing 3MB and JBL insisted on seeing more of the Funkadactyls before they went to commercial.

 

Commercial Break.

 

3MB made their entrance and JBL said he heard a rumour Heath Slater was Michael Hayes’ son.

 

If only Drew could work like Terry Gordy and Jinder could bump around like Buddy Roberts…

 

Brodus Clay & The Usos vs. 3MB

 

Jey and Slater started out; Jey scored with a clothesline then quickly tagged in his brother; Jimmy came off the second rope with a diving headbutt for two, however Slater backed Uso into the heel’s corner and McIntyre tagged in. Drew came in with stomps to Jimmy then drilled Uso with both boots to the face in the corner; Jimmy escaped from an attempted bodyslam and made the tag to Brodus. Clay caught McIntyre with some shots then sent Mahal and Slater off the apron to the floor, before delivering a big splash in the corner to Drew. Brodus hit his T-bone then tagged Jey; Mahal and Slater dragged Clay to the floor then double teamed The Funkasaurus; Jimmy came off the top with a crossbody to Mahal, but Jey was cut off on the top rope by McIntyre. Drew drilled Jey with the futureshock DDT for the victory.

 

3MB defeated Brodus Clay & The Usos via pinfall, at 2:33.

 

The match was a mess and didn’t have enough time to develop; as a result, it came off like some opening card talent just doing spots, which I suppose it was really. I think the novelty of 3MB is starting to wear off on me; I was amused by their antics at first, but unless creative put some time into them (which is ludicrous to suggest, I know) then they will become even bigger geeks than they were before.

 

A graphic of Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett aired then a second hyped Sheamus vs. Del Rio.

 

Matt Striker was with Wade Barrett backstage; Striker talked about Orton being attacked by The Shield then Wade cut him off and said Randy should be concerned with him, not The Shield. Wade claimed he would put the predator out of his misery and told Orton only to be concerned about the bullhammer.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Kofi Kingston was at ringside with JBL and Josh; Randy Orton came down the ramp then footage of The Shield laying out Randy on Raw aired. Wade Barrett appeared for the contest and a graphic hyping Kofi vs. Barrett for the IC Title at TLC rolled.

 

Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett

 

The two started out slow, while Josh and JBL put over Barrett’s two pinfall victories over Kofi; Orton scored with a clothesline, but then ate a big boot from Barrett. Wade missed a knee drop and Orton sent him through the ropes to the outside; Randy introduced Barrett to the steel steps then the barricade, before taking the fight back to the ring. Barrett immediately rolled back to the outside and caught Orton with a shot, before sending him into the steps.

Wade tossed his foe back inside, however Orton cut him off on the apron and went for the hangman’s DDT; Barrett escaped with a backdrop then nailed Randy with a boot to the gut that took him back to the floor.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Orton fought out of a chinlock to land some blows, only to eat a big boot for the shut down spot. Wade got some heat then tied up Randy in the ropes and scored with a big boot; Barrett dropped a knee, however Orton avoided an elbow off the second rope and went into his comeback.

Randy delivered the hangman’s DDT after a powerslam then set up for the RKO; Barrett countered then tried to remove the top turnbuckle but Kofi jumped on the apron to distract the heel and Orton hit the RKO for the three count.

 

Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett via pinfall, at 11:16.

 

An average outing; these two have had better encounters in the past. I’m assuming Wade is taking the belt from Kofi at the PPV, since WWE like to beat guys before they get a title. It’s a shame to say this, but Wade needs to be as far away from the IC title as possible; if the belt meant as much as it did in the late 80’s/early 90’s then I would be the first one to say Barrett should get the strap. Sadly, it’s 2012 and all the IC title means is jobbing to higher up talent and insignificant feuds.

 

A graphic of Ryback standing over CM Punk from Raw aired; Josh reminded us that Punk could not defend the belt at TLC.

 

The Great Khali was backstage with Natalya; they came across Hornswaggle and Josh said it would be Khali and Hornswaggle in tag team action after the break.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Khali and Hornswaggle had made their entrance; Primo and Epico were shown in the ring as their opponents.

 

The Great Khali & Hornswaggle w/ Natalya vs. Primo & Epico w/ Rosa Mendes

 

Primo hit Khali with a dropkick, which was no-sold then Khali landed a big forearm; Khali delivered an over hand chop in the corner, but Rosa jumped on the apron and began to shriek; the referee got Rosa down then she began to jiggle in front of the announce position. Hornswaggle tripped her up, which led to a chase around ringside; Nattie saved Hornswaggle and caught Rosa with a clothesline.

Inside the ring, Khali missed with a big boot and spilled to the floor; Primo brought Hornswaggle in then tagged Epico; the heels taunted the little guy, which made ‘Swaggle mad; he fired up like an 80’s babyface then slid under the heels’ legs and Khali hit a double clothesline. Khali nailed the Colon’s with forearms then Hornswaggle came off the top with a splash for the three count.

 

The Great Khali & Hornswaggle defeated Primo & Epico via pinfall, at 2:51.

 

Khali, Nattie and ‘Swaggle all danced after the match.

 

I don’t know why Nattie has been put with Khali, but I do know that she is far too good to be involved in a ridiculous match like this; at least she is not breaking wind anymore…that really angered me. Typical Khali outing, with talent far superior to him made to look like total geeks for no reason whatsoever.

 

The Raw Rebound aired.

 

Josh recapped Vinnie Mac’s statement regarding TLC then a graphic hyping the Six-man between The Shield vs. HellNo & Ryback rolled.

 

A video from The Shield aired; the triumvirate said they didn’t just know injustice, but have lived it. They offered reasons for their attacks on Miz, Team HellNo, Orton and Ryback then said they did not work for anybody except each other; Ambrose ended by claiming they would bring “the sword” to TLC and the three walked away.

 

I liked the style of this video and Reigns saying very little was a good call.

 

Antonio Cesaro was in the ring; a graphic hyping R-Truth vs. Cesaro for the US title at TLC aired. Antonio cut a promo and claimed he had learned America is weak and the American Dream was a lie; he then said the people who chased the American Dream, now look like the American Dream and an image of a polkadot clad Dusty Rhodes appeared on the TitanTron. Antonio continued to bash America then R-Truth came out to interrupt the US Champ; Truth put over the American public then told Antonio, “when you pick a fight with America; America fights back”. Cesaro said Truth represented everything that was wrong with America and he would fail like all Americans in trying to take the US title from him. Truth got in the ring and took Cesaro down with a double-leg, however Antonio managed to escape; Truth stood in the ring with the US Title and Josh hyped the PPV match.

 

A graphic hyping Sheamus vs. Del Rio aired. JBL said the match would be up next.

 

Commercial Break.

 

Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Alberto Del Rio then Sheamus made his way out for the main event; a graphic hyping the chairs match between Sheamus and Big Show at TLC rolled.

 

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

 

Del Rio went to the outside after taking some heavy shots from Sheamus; Alberto slid back inside and Sheamus took over again; Del Rio landed a kick to the gut then drilled Sheamus with a boot to the face. Del Rio went for his step up enziguri in the corner, but Sheamus got both boots up and delivered a neckbreaker for two; Alberto rolled to the floor again following some blows and Sheamus went after his opponent. Sheamus sent Del Rio into the announce table, before rolling him back inside; Del Rio cut off Sheamus on the apron and hung him up on the top rope then delivered a dropkick to the knee; Sheamus sold on the floor and The Big Show showed up on the stage.

 

Commercial Break

 

Del Rio was in the ascendancy after the break and executed a moonsault off the second rope for a two count then followed up with a snapsuplex for another near fall. Sheamus fought up from an armbar and set Del Rio up on the top rope, however Alberto countered and locked in the cross armbreaker with the assistance of the ropes.

Del Rio came off the top, but Sheamus caught him in mid-air with an axe-handle for the double down spot; the two traded blows, until Sheamus went into his comeback. Alberto ate the forearms spot and a suplex back inside then Sheamus came off the top with a shoulder block for a two count. Del Rio countered the Irish Curse to score with a double-knee backbreaker for two then went for the cross arm breaker; Sheamus countered into the white noise, however Del Rio escaped and avoided the Brogue kick and scored with a big enziguri for a near fall. Alberto tried for a second moonsault, but Sheamus moved; Del Rio rolled through, only to be drilled with the Irish curse. Sheamus locked in the Texas cloverleaf for the tap-out victory.

 

Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio via submission, at 12:58.

 

Big Show headed down to the ring after the bell; he taunted Sheamus and attempted to provoke a violent response. Sheamus pounded his chest then sent Ricardo Rodriguez into the groin Big Show; Show sold on the mat and Sheamus stood over the fallen giant.

 

An adequate main event; Del Rio couldn’t reproduce the magic he had with Cena last week, but this was still an entertaining match. I don’t think I’ve seen Alberto pull out a moonsault since his Dos Caras Jr. days.

In general this show was a little flat; the opening segment was tedious and the build for the other TLC matches was not much better. From Cesaro and Truth’s predictable interaction to Barrett losing when the announcers were putting him over as a genuine threat to Kofi’s title; SmackDown was back to its underwhelming self after a hell of an episode last week.

 

Next Week’s Issue

 

Next week we look to cover TNA Final Resolution, the go-home show for TLC with the change in mainevent, a possible NOAH update, the RAW Rating with an edition of RAW that is going up against another strong football game, we preview the New Japan Tokyo Dome show, look at the Impact after Final Resolution, we finally get around to the Observer Newsletter Awards (I promise), possible New Japan house show updates and as always Ben Carass brings you the SmackDown and NXT reports.

 

Also coming up this week on the site: Pro-Wres Road to 2013 Part II, hoping for a Free Pro Wrestling article at some point, a TLC preview, news, early ratings indicators, videos and more!

 

Contact

 

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