Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monday Night RAW: Wrestling, Recaps, and Idiots

Last night’s episode of RAW wasn’t bad, it was just long. It felt even longer because of all the recaps that kept on getting replayed throughout the show. Hey guess what WWE, most of your fans are watching the whole three hours and last week, so they don’t need 45 minutes of their time wasted by recaps. How about putting on more wrestling, new characters, or developing your Summer Slam main event? That means creative was my first idiot of the night.
My second idiot of the night was AJ Lee. She’s now the GM and has gone heelish vanilla. What I mean by that is she lost her personality now that she has power and acts like somebody who is just being fed lines instead of being a unique character. The heelish part is that she seems to be doing half of her actions out of vengeance. She is acting like a scorned girl version of Johnny Ace. Is it because she’s a chick that it makes her a face?  She screws over Daniel Bryan and then she screws over CM Punk; yet does little else during the show. For her first show as GM I give AJ an incomplete because that’s what her performance felt like.
The third, and biggest, idiot of the night was AW. I said a few weeks back that having a live mic on this guy was going to be a bad idea. He doesn’t seem to do well thinking on his feet. He showed I was right last night when he used a Kobe Bryant rape joke. Not even popular comedian Daniel Tosh can pull off a rape joke, so why does AW think he has a chance of doing it? The only good that comes from this might be that AW gets removed from TV. He is new enough that if he was pulled from TV fans wouldn’t even know. Hell by Summer Slam they would probably forget who he even was.
The Prime Time Players have a lot of promise as a tag team. It would seem that they are headed toward a tag title run. Cut the dead weight that is their manager before his lack of talent brings them crashing down. If the WWE thinks they need a manager so bad then why not give them to Vickie Guerrero? She is a heat magnet, she knows how to handle herself, and two young party boys play into her cougar gimmick. It’s not rocket science, its wrestling.
One thing about going three hours that was great was the extended length of the main matches. The Albery Del Rio match was great. He has really hit his stride as of late. I know Sheamus is being booked as this monster World champion, but ADR could do so much more with the strap around his waist. Having Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Dolph Ziggler coming at him from all angles is months of ticket selling storylines. I hope at Summer Slam that is what is in store for my new favorite Smackdown heel. Plus doing the arm breaker on the Cobra was a great little move.
Daniel Bryan is the man. He made Sheamus look like a million bucks in that street fight. They had some cool moments, and the flying knee off the stage made me pop. I knew Sheamus was going to win because he doesn’t put anybody over clean as of late, but Bryan made me doubt myself a couple of times.
The segments with the doctor and Bryan were good. The first one was ok, but the Charlie Sheen one had me laughing. The goat face segment was original, and I like the creativity in it. Bryan has really developed his personality. The end with Kane attacking him was good. They should have a decent match up with Sheen somehow involved at Summer Slam. It also makes sense since Kane is one of AJ’s exes. He still pines for her a bit, and so he’ll beat up Bryan for her. It adds another quality match to the PPV, which is a good thing.
The tag match was great. Give me Jericho, Christian, Ziggler, and Miz in the ring any day of the week. They told a great story. Each had their own interactions with their respective feud. They had some cool spots, and the end was what it should have been with Jericho getting the advantage over the Miz. The aftermath with Ziggler smashing Jericho was spot on too. This build to their feud has been well crafted, and adds yet another good match to the PPV.
The middle matches like Tyson Kidd vs. Tensai, Orton vs. Slater, and O’Neil vs. Kingston were nothing special. Orton debuting was cool, but that’s all it was. Tensai just doesn’t do it for me. He gives tons of effort and seems like a guy who really puts in his all. It just isn’t my cup of tea. I think Kidd could be valuable, but not in this feud. These three matches were more filler to me than anything else.
The new direction of CM Punk has begun. He’s now feeling disrespected because he’s the WWE Champion and he should be the main attraction. I like it, but the WWE better be careful of burning him out. He appeared a lot last night in non-wrestling roles. He was opening the show, and closing it, with a promo segment in the middle with Cena. Too much of a good thing can make the audience go sour on him.
Also why didn’t he wrestling Jerry Lawler last night? He had issues with Lawler. The creative team wants to turn Punk heel. Everybody loves the King. It’s a no brainer, plus Punk can protect Lawler in the ring. They started out like they were going to have a match, but instead they got into war of words on commentary. Unless this has a payoff next week of Punk vs. Lawler, then it is a lot of wasted energy when more focus should be on Punk’s true opponents, Big Show and John Cena.
Speaking of Superman and Doomsday, they had a sloppy match. It wasn’t a bad match but there were moments where things didn’t click. Like when Show goes to toss Cena off during a pin attempt and Cena stands up then flings himself to the ropes. It just looks bad.
The end of the match with Cena being missile tossed into Punk was cool. The whole laid out until the 9 count only to gain the strength to dead sprint to the ring in less than a second looks stupid. I hate that spot because why doesn’t Cena have the energy to move after that? It insults our intelligence.
The very end after Punk laid out Show and Cena felt very flat. Again this comes from AJ, who gives little to the moment by announcing the Summer Slam match. Punk is screaming at her and she acts like nothing is going on. Give me some emotion in the face of his anger. What about putting Punk in a match next week? Like against Jerry Lawler. It’s something they could have promoted all week.
Maybe even make it for the title to add some spice. Have AJ say if Punk doesn’t want to be in the triple threat then he won’t be if he loses the title to Lawler next week. It is a small story arc that plays off what happened most of the show plus gives the WWE something to promote for a week. Maybe even have the match lead off the show. Again it’s not rocket science, its wrestling.
Overall the show was good. I liked the longer wrestling matches. I even liked some of the segments with Daniel Bryan, and the promo with Punk & Cena. It also had a lot of downfalls. I hope next week that there is no AW and a whole lot less recaps. It wouldn’t hurt to have somebody from the Summer Slam main event on the show. Three weeks from the PPV, yet HHH, Brock, and Heyman are nowhere to be seen. If that kind of booking continues then the same could be said about viewers.

Monday, July 30, 2012

On The Road Again

I've been on the road doing standup comedy all weekend long. It feels good to be home, but I am way behind on all things wrestling. I jotted down some ideas for a couple blogs later this week but, unless you own a flux capacitor, that doesn't help you today. I'm excited to unpack, do some laundry, and watch Monday Night RAW tonight.

Here is what is on tap for RAW 1001:

AJ Lee will have her first day on the job as the RAW General Manager. Will the Queen of Crazy shake things up, or will it be a slow downfall of another promising talent being pushed too hard too soon? She can't be worse than the anonymous general manager, right? I hope not, or her star will come crashing down.

CM Punk will be opening the show talking about why he laid the smackdown on The Rock last week. If you saw JR's tweets from the weekend it looks like Punk might not be a true heel, but I have a feeling a few pipe bombs will be dropped, and the eventual turn to the dark side is on the Horizon. Also looking for John Cena to make a challenge for Summer Slam.

HHH and Brock will start their three week build to their main event match at Summer Slam. HHH got the advantage on Brock last week, so that should spell out a bad night for HHH tonight as Brock will be out for revenge. Then again it is HHH and he rarely jobs out, but Lesnar will always be an exception. No matter what it will be good.

Is tonight the night that Randy Orton comes back? Any day now the viper will be back. I think tonight would be the night. Also I wouldn't be surprised to see him come back as a heel. Who will he come back against? I think Rey Mysterio has an open dance card coming into Summer Slam. May be even a Wade Barrett sighting too. A Barret/Orton team could be interesting.

Finally Daniel Bryan will continue his torture as the the guy who got the short straw. He will be paired with Charlie Sheen, which might be worse than getting jobbed out in 18 seconds at WrestleMania. Hopefully after all this Daniel Bryan has some big plans in the future.

That's the RAW preview for tonight.

On a side note there is a story coming out of the indies that former Ring Of Honor world champion pulled a fast one on a promoter over the weekend. I don't have all the details, but from all the tweets, blogs, and stories going around the net it looks that Richards and his crew came late to an event, threatened the promoter until they got paid up front, and then dashed out before wrestling. If this is true then I hope Davey Richards never gets booked anywhere again. Pro Wrestling doesn't need these types of stories because it hurts the business as a whole. Again that is "if" this is true. I'll keep you updated on the situation.

Enjoy RAW tonight, and look for my review in tomorrow. Now where is my beer?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Royal Rumble Conundrum

RAW 1000 is in the books. Everyone has had a few days to let the events that unfolded soak in. There were some cool moments that won’t do much going forward like the DX reunion or the Brothers of Destruction reunion. There were some immediate impacts like Brock Lesnar accepting HHH’s challenge for Summer Slam and AJ Lee being named the new RAW GM, which starts next week. Then there was a big bomb dropped that the first PPV of 2013 will be The Rock challenging whoever is holding the thirty pounds of gold known as the WWE title at the Royal Rumble.
This revelation got a lot of people excited as it looks that the WWE will be building to a CM Punk vs. Rock title match at one of the WWE’s premiere pay per views. Those of us eagerly awaiting this match up got to wet our appetites with an amazing ending to RAW 1000 when Punk attacked Rock leaving him laid out in the middle of the ring as the show closed. Now for the next few months the build will begin, and it will be epic. Yet there is one important question that I keep asking myself:
Will CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE title push the Royal Rumble from the main event slot?
As long as I can remember the Rumble has always closed the show, but this is The Rock challenging for the belt against what will be one of the longest reigning champions in WWE history. It has to be the main event. What if Rock loses? What if Rock wins? These are both big moments that will almost be impossible to follow. These moments are finales, not lead ins.
The same can be said for the Royal Rumble itself. It is the name of the show after all. It traditionally crowns the challenger for the WWE title at the WrestleMania. In this case the person who will face possibly The Rock for the title at WrestleMania. That’s another huge moment. That is a definite show closing event.
A case can be made for both, but I still believe the actual Rumble has to close the show. To bump it for a part time talent, even one as big as The Rock, would dwarf its importance. Plus knowing who the champ is going into the Rumble adds excitement, especially if that champ is The Rock.
Just imagine at the end of the PPV if Cena and The Undertaker are in the ring and The Rock is the champ. How hyped will that crowd be as Cena and Taker battle for a shot at the biggest WrestleMania main event in the past decade? Cena fans would want their hero to get a shot at redemption for last year’s Mania. And what would be bigger than Rock putting the title on the line against the Undertaker’s streak? Either would be a HUGE draw for an event that is always stacked. I’m getting goose bumps thinking about it.
If any match can follow CM Punk vs. The Rock, it is the Royal Rumble. The way the match is built is perfect to follow such a big time title match. The rumble is long with a variety of twists and turns. The rumble can take the first twenty minutes to let fans catch their breath and reset before kicking into high gear. The multiple entrances and mystery of each entrant adds suspense to keep a crowd locked in, something a normal match would struggle with following Punk/Rock.
This is why when January rolls around it should be the WWE title match kicking off the 9PM hour and the Rumble closing the show. This layout creates the perfect two hour rollercoaster of a huge high followed by a low, and finished with an even bigger high. It should make this year’s Royal Rumble one of the best pure wrestling events in recent memory because the 8PM hour will still have a good World title match, and some kind of placeholder match like a six Diva tag. All in all it should be a great ride, which is all you can ask for in a PPV.
The rumors have it that Punk will drop the title to The Rock, and then Rock will face Cena at Mania. That’s the rumors, and those rumors have to survive six more months. A lot can change between now and then, but one thing that shouldn’t change is the Royal Rumble lineup. It should be the WWE title match leading into the Rumble, and not the other way around. It just makes more sense. Then again this is the WWE, and making sense has never been at the top of the priority list.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday Night RAW: More Means Less

A friend of mine lives his life by this motto, “Low expectations leads to higher returns”. That is how I should have gone into the 1000th episode of WWE Monday Night RAW. I couldn’t help myself because in my brain this was a can’t miss show. It was stacked with talent new and old. There were already hyped segments in a WrestleMania size Main Event, the reunion of DX, and Brock Lesnar answering HHH. As far as big nights go, this had all the ingredients and more. Then I looked at my watch at 8:51 and noticed there had been about 8 minutes of wrestling. That’s when I knew this was going to be more of a talk show than a wrestling show. That’s when my expectations came crashing down to earth.
The show wasn’t horrible; it was a walk down memory lane. Now looking back at the show I can see this is exactly what episode 1000 should be. The older talent isn’t going to light things up in the ring, and this wasn’t the show to highlight the new guys. It was like going to a Huey Lewis concert where you want to hear the old stuff so you can sing along. The new stuff is just back burner material. Add in some storylines being advanced, and it wasn’t a horrible show for what is was. It just wasn’t the WrestleMania caliber event that most of us had hoped for.
Kicking it off with Vince McMahon was the right choice. This is his baby, and he should be the one to welcome us all to his major milestone. I liked that he kept it short and sweet.
DX is a fun time, but being a fan who watched every moment from 1997 on, I can see how watered down they have become. Seeing Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and X-Pac was cool. Besides being there, only Road Dogg really added to show. They did their shtick and looked to be having fun, which always makes a segment more enjoyable for the viewers.
If Damian Sandow is supposed to be a smart guy, he sure does some stupid stuff. I liked him the first time when he was Lanny Poffo calling himself, The Genius. He walks into a ring with the five originators of WWE rule bending faces, and doesn’t expect to have his teeth kicked in. He’s lucky he didn’t eat a fame-asser, a pump handle slam, and an X-factor for his stupidity. Somebody was going to get screwed with but a small part of me wishes it was Sgt. Slaughter or Michael Cole for old times’ sake. Also a Rick Rude reference wouldn’t have killed anyone either. He was a DX original, and he wasn’t bat shit crazy like Chyna.
Last week I called 5 of the six men who would be in the World title six man tag. The WWE has a script they follow when place holding a title that doesn’t have a defined challenger. The six man tag is that. I can’t stand having Ziggler and Jericho on the same team, but I guess having him be on team Sheamus wouldn’t make sense either if he isn’t fully a face. He did get screwed by Ziggs, so that made some sense. I’m thinking Sheamus vs. ADR vs. Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam with Ziggler and Jericho going at it, so Y2J can make Ziggler before he goes back on tour.
Having Jim Ross come out to call the six man was cool because he is the best announcer in the RAW era. Wasting him in the 8 o’clock hour was a mistake. He should have been saved to add more importance to the main event. Especially with all the storytelling that happened between Punk and Cena. Congrats on the payday JR, but shame on the WWE for not doing the right thing, and having him stay there all night. Calling the main event was the bare minimum they could have done, and the WWE screwed that up.
I’ll get into Charlie Sheen later. Also the product placement through the night reminds me we aren’t in Kansas anymore. They need to make money somehow. I guess trying hard with compelling storylines and larger than life stars to get ratings back to attitude era heights so you can charge more for ad buys is out of the question. Instead we get a sonic waitress that has more camera time than Trish Stratus. There was also Mae Young’s son. Creative can remember that, but they can’t remember that the Big Show shouldn’t have a job because of a board of director’s order to fire talent who interfere in a match between Cena and Johnny Ace. Good job guys.
Brodus Clay and Dude Love have a dance segment. Yes there was match in between, but does it really count. I like Dude Love. His theme song, just like Brodus’ song, makes me smile. I don’t think Swagger needed to be abused like this. He is a former World champion. A former champion who took two moves before starring up at the lights. Even Barry Horowitz could take more than that.
Slick was a great surprise to lead the wedding. He’s an old pro and showed it in his role. The wedding was just a bait and switch. AJ is the new GM, and Daniel Bryan gets screwed. Actually I think we all got screwed on this one. I love the AJ character. I just don’t love it as the all-powerful GM. Johnny Ace got fired for being incompetent, but the solution was to give all that power to a nut job with zero experience. Why not just elect a fan to be the GM of the week? Then they can tout it.
It looked like Daniel Bryan was going to be moving up in the world with The Rock and CM Punk. They had a great duel on the mic. I am geeked for Punk vs. Rock at the Royal Rumble. When he named that PPV, I knew it was Punk because it will take place right after Punk passes the one year mark as champion. Then Bryan got Rock Bottomed, which is symbolic of his situation as he went from being in the WWE title picture & marrying AJ to fighting Charlie Sheen at Summer Slam.
I’m never one to root for a celebrity to be in a ring with a wrestler. In reality Sheen should last 20 seconds before Bryan stretches him into a pretzel. Then again it’s great for publicity. Sheen always draws media attention, and Bryan is best suited for protecting Sheen in the ring to make him not look like a total fool. I hope Daniel gets something out of this once Summer Slam is said and done.
If the IC title changes hands and nobody cares, does it count? Last night Miz beat Christian and the reaction by the crowd told the story. He filmed a crappy straight to DVD movie and was rewarded with the IC title. Santino hosts a bad internet show on WWE.com and he’s the US champ. I’m starting to see the qualifications to be a champion in the WWE. Hopefully with Miz as champ the IC title can get a boost because of Miz’s ability in and out of the ring. Then again somebody might make Chaperone 2, and they’ll get the title.
Paul Heyman is great in his role as Brock’s slime ball spokesman. He and HHH have had some great back and forth exchanges. When Stephanie came out I noticed she left her boobs in the attitude era. She looks good still though. Having her jump Heyman was great too, but I would have loved to see Brock get her cornered. The fight between HHH and Lesnar was fun, but I still have trouble believing Lesnar can’t just rip through HHH. He tore Cena a new ass on PPV, yet he can’t manhandle a semi-retired COO of WWE? It’s a thin ice. I’m still sold on seeing this match at Summer Slam. It’s gonna be brutal in a good way.
The Heath Slater angle comes to an end and the big payoff is … LITA? Another example of expectations being too high. It’s great to see Lita as she is a true pioneer of women’s wrestling in the modern era. She looked great in the ring. The addition of the APA was a cool sight, and the old legends coming out got the crowd going. Lita’s moonsault is still better than most. Ron Simmons gets in a DAMN, and we all go home happy.
At this point I knew Stone Cold Steve Austin wasn’t coming out for the night. It just can’t be a real celebration of RAW without him. I get that he had another commitment with Grown Ups 2, but the WWE could pull some strings. Maybe offer up some free advertising in exchange for getting him for the night. He’s bigger than Hogan when it comes to RAW, and he needed to be on this show. This was a BIG drop the ball moment.
Watching Undertaker’s entrance might be the coolest thing in wrestling. His whole character is a once and a life time thing. There won’t be another like him. The New Age Job Squad got laid out by the Brothers of Destruction. I get that Taker can’t wrestle as much as he used to, but what about a run with his brother as tag champs. He could work a reduced schedule, and it would make the tag belts mean something again. Plus Kane can take all the heat in the matches, and Taker can handle the comebacks. It would be something nice to bridge him over until WrestleMania time.
The Main Event didn’t get going until 10:59, what the fuck!?! This is a top tier match, and you don’t get it going until there is a few minutes left on a three hour show. Even in the seven minutes they wrestled, CM Punk and John Cena put on a good match. It never got into high gear, because it never had the time. I look forward to seeing them lock up at Summer Slam without time constraints.
The whole CM Punk turn began when Cena tossed him into the ref. He got hit with the AA, and he was beat. His title run should have ended. It was that moment of reality that hit Punk. He sold his fight with his decision to pick the bones perfectly. Cena gets him again with the STFU, and Punk knows his title is slipping away. That’s when Big Show comes in again, and Punk slithers to the corner. That’s when he goes dark side.
The title is more important to CM Punk than doing the right thing. Cena had him beat twice, and he knows it. He walks away from Show killing Cena, because now he is concerned with only staying champion. This was a perfect twist that will set Punk up for his eventual meeting at the Royal Rumble with The Rock, who came down to save Cena.
The crowd popped huge for The Rock as he flew down the ramp and passed CM Punk. Everyone thought it was going to be a few Rock moves to send everyone home happy. Then Punk lays out The Rock, and the Royal Rumble gets sold out & buy rates jump through the roof. We’ve seen Cena vs. Rock, now we get Rock vs. Punk, which should be a better overall match up.
Punk can play the heel better than most, and he can do it by justifying his actions. If you’re the champ then why not let Big Show beat up Cena. Punk never made Cena smack Show in the head last week with the brief case. He’s only reaping what he sowed. He’ll also be able to talk with the Rock, who better be on his toes because Punk will pipe bomb him back to Hollywood.
So for the next few months Punk will lay the ground work for Royal Rumble as he cements his dynasty as one of the greatest WWE champions in the history of the WWE. He’ll get booed out of every building in the country, and the WWE will smile all the way to the bank. Also at the Royal Rumble, it’s going to be a big toss up on who wins because Punk going over on the Rock could set him up to be a Stone Cold type star. Who coincidently is waiting in the wings for a matchup at WrestleMania. Cha-Ching!
The WWE made some bad decision last night, but like any offering, it’s the end that really influences the final verdict. The WWE gave us a great twist ending that will have people tuning in. Cena is kind of aligned with Rock. Daniel Bryan kind of hates the Rock. The Rock really hates Punk. What about Cena & Rock vs. Bryan & Punk at Survivor Series? It’ll take some work, but it’s a possibility.
It’s these kinds of possibilities that make last night’s show more than the stinker it probably came off as to the average fan. If you’re looking at only last night’s show then it was below average, but if you’re looking at the next few months, it’s better than average. After last night, I’ll take that … for now.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Here

It’s a big day here at G.R.o.W. as not only is WWE celebrating the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW, but I just found out my wife & I are expecting our first child. To say my brain is focused elsewhere is an understatement. Yeah, I’m going to be somebody’s father. The same guy who once got busted open the hard way by a clown with coconut in a Warren, MI YMCA. God save us all. The wife and I are very excited to say the least.
I have been sitting here trying to focus on writing something for tonight, but my mind keeps wandering. As Ice Cube would say, “Today was a good day”. Even better, tonight is going to be a good night.
It’s hard not to get expectations high when you keep hearing all the rumors coming out of St. Louis going into tonight’s big show. At 8PM is the reunion of DX, and not just HBK & HHH, but pretty much all of DX. Even if they just strut around the ring, dropping catch phrases for twenty minutes, it will be a great sight to see.
Then on top of that is the reunion of Brock and Heyman as Lesnar returns to RAW to answer HHH’s challenge for Summer Slam. Spoiler alert: He’s gonna eventually say yes, but the build-up is half the fun. Just seeing the monster with his Dr. Frankenstein in the ring is going to be enough to sell me on ordering Summer Slam. Which I would have done anyway.
Moving down the list is the conclusion to the Heath Slater angle that has actually helped Slater become more than just another sheep in the herd. He has shown some charisma, and could be valuable as a lower card heel that believes he is a main eventer. The biggest rumor of the weekend is that tonight Slater will come face to face with the biggest RAW superstar in the history of the program, Stone Cold Steve Austin. I for one will still hold out hope for Nature Boy Ric Flair, but a few stunners never hurt anyone. Plus when Heath hears the glass, he’ll know it’s his ass.
What you mean there is more? You betcha as we get a brand new GM for RAW and Smackdown. This gets lost in the shuffle, but it really does a lot to establish the direction of the WWE going forward. This is a character that has multiple storylines going on over two different shows. It is a person who can feud with the lowest of the card, and also get into it with the champions. That kind of versatility can’t be ignored. Fingers are crossed for Paul Heyman; if it’s William Regal I’ll also be pleased. Don’t sleep on this segment as it could do more leading up to WrestleMania than anything else we see tonight.
Holy crap there is even more! Did you know the Rock is going to be on tonight? Yeah, the great one is gonna be talking about Pie, plus I bet he has something more to do. He has sure been talking about challenging for the WWE title on twitter a lot. Hint Hint. Even if all he does is come down and talk for 5 minutes that is going to be another can’t miss moment. Notice a theme with tonight.
There can’t be any more can there? I don’t know, what about the Undetaker? Yeah the greatest character in pro wrestling history is going to be there tonight. He hasn’t been seen since he survived HHH at Mania. Tonight should point towards the next step in the streak as Taker isn’t a fulltime talent, but a guy rolled out for only the big moments. He’s not showing up for a photo opportunity, he’s in St. Louis to handle business.

And the hits keep on coming as Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee will tie the knot. Well maybe tie the knot. Nothing is ever certain in wrestling and weddings. They have been an up and down couple since Bryan dumped AJ after WrestleMania. Will AJ or Daniel get cold feet? Will another superstar have something to say about these two getting hitched? Or will they walk the aisle into happiness? No matter what it's going to be a major event. Plus who doesn't want to see what kind of dress the queen of crazy is going to wear. And will Bryan have a vegan cake? That's just wrong.
The list of other attractions is almost never ending, but on top of everything already listed is the WWE title match between CM Punk and John Cena. Not only is this the two biggest names in the business hooking up on free TV, but there is something at stake for both men’s reputations. Punk is putting his title on the line with 240+ days as champion. Cena is cashing in the Money in the Bank contract, and could be the first to ever do so unsuccessfully, because he took the honorable route by doing it against a fresh opponent. This looks to be the crowning jewel of a very exciting night. At the end we could have a new champion, or we could have the beginning of a modern dynasty as Punk has laid waste to almost every major star on the fulltime roster.
Does the Rock lay in wait for either man? Undertaker? Brock? It seems that RAW 1000 is going to celebrate the past while lighting the way for the future. If you’re a pro wrestling fan then tonight is your Superbowl, World Series, and Quidditch cup all rolled into one. Tonight don’t DVR RAW, watch it live. You’ll want to ride this rollercoaster with the rest of us. Only a few more hours until the whole wrestling world is thrown for a loop or two. And if you’re not down with that we got two words for you … TUNE IN!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Original Wedding

We're only a day away from WWE Monday Night RAW's 1000th episode. The Rock is going to show up. DX is going to kick it off. CM Punk is going to face John Cena for the WWE title. Plus Brock Lesnar will answer HHH. With all of this going on there is also the wedding of Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee.

There have been MANY weddings in professional wrestling. HHH to Stephanie in a drive thru. Stephanie to Test, kinda. Even Billy to Chuck. Yet none will ever top the original, because it had the true emotion of something special that drew the fans in. Of course I am talking about when Macho Man Randy Savage got on one knee and asked Miss Elizabeth this:

Then at SummerSlam '91 the two tied the knot in a ceremony that was exactly as advertised, a wedding. No run ins, no crazy moments, just two people that the crowd had spent years falling in love with getting hitched, and becoming part of pro wrestling history. The opposite will happen on Monday night.

When Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee are in the ring it will be a wedding a week in the making. The emotional ties to the whole situation by the crowd will be minimal. Plus it probably will look more like a GWAR concert than an actual wedding.

Like most things in life, pro wrestling weddings, as my Grand Pa would say, "Ain't made like they used to be". Here's a look at the original wedding for those who want to take a trip down memory lane to see how it should be done:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DX Kicks Off The Party

When 8 o'clock rolls around on Monday night, and RAW officially turns 1000, the renegades known as Degeneration X will be lighting the candle. To most of the new WWE fans, they only know DX as the merchandise shills that appear every couple of years that your dad or uncle gets really excited to see.

To me DX is the definition of the attitude era in the WWE. Yes the Rock, Stone Cold, and Mick Foley did a lot to mold the attitude era, but it was Degeneration X that not only pushed the limits, but destroyed them. They were great for a laugh, and even better in the ring. The times they made fun of Sgt. Slaughter, or harrassed Michael Cole, were always a must see moment. In the end they even crossed the line & tried to invade WCW before it became an actual WWE storyline years later.

HBK, HHH, Chyna, and Rick Rude created the modern smart ass tweener that acted like a heel, but was cheered like a face. The second coming of DX with the New Age Outlaws, X-Pac, and even Tori kept raising the bar. Now on Monday night they'll probably shill some new merch and they'll crack old jokes, yet I'll be tuning in because when DX hits the screen something special is bound to happen.

Here's a little video for the younger fans to look back at the classic moments of the greatest group in WWE history, and if it wasn't for the Horsemen, maybe Professional Wrestling history.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Future Is Now

Before I begin writing this I want to send my thoughts and prayers out to those affected by the barbaric shooting in Colorado. It is a tragedy that can’t be imagined. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured, and my condolences to those who lost somebody. Know that today Aurora is on every American’s mind.
This week has been focused on RAW 1000 because, well, it’s the biggest thing in wrestling since WrestleMania. It also highlights the largest problem in the WWE right now, lack of future stars. Only when those from the attitude era are brought in do shows tend to draw back in the old audiences. This Monday there will be DX, The Rock, Possibly Stone Cold, Jim Ross, A Raw Legend, and a dump truck of other former talent.
Yet when RAW hits 2000 episodes, what talent from today will have the same impact? John Cena, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, but are they the talent of today? Outside of CM Punk & Daniel Bryan, are there any established stars with longevity created since 2010? That answer is foggy at best.
Some could argue that Albert Del Rio, Sheamus, and Dolph Ziggler are on the path to being these type of long standing stars, yet currently their yoyo handling by creative has them looking more like Ahmed Johnson than Rocky Johnson. For every John Cena there is a boatload of Christians. Talent that is very popular, but when they’re gone they might as well be forgotten. Sure when Christian appears on RAW in a decade he’ll get a pop like Vader, and probably a few “You still got it” chants, but his appearance won’t drive the needle into the 4+ range like a Rock or possibly a Cena in 2020.
This is why the future is now in the WWE. With Monday Night RAW going to three hours there is more than enough time to develop the future so that at RAW 2000 there will be a show as packed with ratings driving talent as RAW 1000. The beginning of this has to come from established stars like Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and John Cena. It is time for them to put this company on their backs in the way that a Terry Funk established ECW.
John Cena is fully developed. He has his fans and he has his detractors. He sells tickets as the main eventer, and he sells the same amount of tickets as the curtain jerker. He also has the eyes of the young WWE fans, who by the time RAW 2000 rolls around will be tip toeing around their late twenties. Their eyes are also watching the people John Cena interacts with. It is time for these young fans to build familiarity with Brodus Clay the wrestler, not Brodus Clay the sideshow attraction. It is time for John Cena to take up a tag partner and play the Yoda to his Luke. It is time for John Cena to leave a true legacy in the WWE, and that is not the amount of titles held, but the number of stars created.
It’s no secret here that I am a huge fan of the WWE development system right now. There is some true talent hanging out waiting in the wing down in Florida. In the sunshine state sits a vault of future mega attractions for the WWE.
Seth Rollins is as gifted in the ring as any performer in the past decade. He has the looks and athleticism to warrant a comparison to HBK. The girls will want to be with him, and the guys will want to be him. On the mic he lacks some, but with the right handling he is a future WWE champion. There is such a thing in this business as talent made to print money. Seth Rollins is that kind of talent. Put his face on a poster, a T-shirt, or a television show, and you’ll sell tickets. At the end of the day it’s why the WWE gets out of bed in the morning.
If Rollins is the next HBK then meet his Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dean Ambrose. Dean might be the most complete package to come to the WWE since Roddy Piper. He can wrestle, he can talk, and he is just enough off his rocker to draw people in. No storyline is out of bounds. Earlier this year he made waves for starting a twitter war with Mick Foley that might have been more entertaining and enthralling than anything on WWE Superstars. If any star will drive ratings for RAW 2000, it will be Dean Ambrose. He’s that damn good.
Kassius Ohno is a ring general. He is a Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Bret Hart rolled into a nasty package. He has forgotten more about different wrestling styles than half the current RAW roster knows as a whole. He can be part of a tag team. He can go 90 minutes with any talent. He can make others look better for just being in the ring with him. He is the blue collar talent needed to establish a strong roster of talents because he can work with anyone at any spot on the card. All in all, he’s the glue that keeps the show together.
That is just three members of a long line of talent that will make up the roster for WWE Monday Night RAW for the next decade and beyond. It is time for the established stars that have been recycled over and over again in rehashed feuds to begin building this future so there is a RAW 2000 for a John Cena to come back to. For the stars that got RAW to episode 1000, it is time to finish their legacy by putting over the next generation of superstars.
This doesn’t mean going Brooklyn Brawler and spending the next few years looking at the lights. It means it is time to pass the torch in the way that Magic Johnson passed the torch to Michael Jordan. You go out there, give it your all, and in the end your all isn’t enough. Give the same effort going down the ladder that you gave coming up it. That is unless you want RAW 2000 to take place at a VFW hall in Scranton.

The WWE can’t survive another decade of paranoid talent too insecure to drop politics in favor of longevity. When John Cena returns for a WrestleMania match in 15 years with a talent not even in the business yet, doesn’t he want a pay day from a thriving company?  What he does today, will impact his wallet in a decade. It is pro wrestling’s version of a 401K, put in some today, reap the rewards tomorrow.  That is because on RAW 1000, the present is the past, and the future is now.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arm Chair Booker: RAW 1000

(courtesy of WWE)

If you didn’t know that I’m excited for the 1000th episode of WWE Monday Night RAW, then you better ask somebody! To me this episode maybe a bigger show than the past two Wrestlemanias. It feels like a restart for the company. As if next week all the mistakes they have made over the past few years will be washed away and this new reality era, akin to the attitude era or the Hogan era, will mature into something special. It was only a year ago that this all began with CM Punk dropping pipe bombs all over the WWE Universe. Now this era has grown up and is ready to launch the WWE into a new dynasty of fresh gifted talent.
Today I want to look into the future a few days and make my suggestions for what should happen on this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW. Now you can be certain of this, 98.9% of this will probably not happen. It just is fun to get your hopes up like a kid the day before your birthday, and wonder what gifts will await you. Sure you can hope for a copy of “Wrestling Road Diaries”, but in reality you’re probably getting socks & an ice cream cake.
The DX Reunion
This is going to kick off the show. On the graphic they have HBK and HHH, yet it looks to be a full blown reunion as the New Age Outlaws, X-Pac, and even Chyna have been rumored to be in the building. It will be great to see all of them in the ring at the same time, cutting the old catch phrases, and crotch chopping until Chyna’s penis falls off. Yet this should also be when Brock Lesnar makes his first appearance.
Monday Night RAW is going to be starting at 8 from now on. People need to be trained to learn to not miss the first hour. That means for the next few weeks, and probably months, big things need to happen during the 8 PM hour. Having Brock destroy the Outlaws, X-Pac, and even Chyna before getting run out by HBK and HHH, will sure heat things up.
It also plays into the rumor that later in the show Brock will face off with HBK in a match. That would be something really special for RAW 1000. Especially if it goes longer than 5 minutes, which it won’t as they will use it to injure HBK and establish HHH/Lesnar as a blood feud.
Heath Slater vs. The Legends
This is the big payoff for Heath Slater. He has lost to almost every legend that has walked down the ramp. This week, when he loses, he needs to lose to somebody BIG. I have read on the internets that the money pick here is the Ultimate Warrior as a reenactment of Warrior’s IC title win at SummerSlam ’88. That would be cool, but there is somebody even bigger who can walk that aisle and pop the crowd for a minute or two.
The Nature Boy Ric Flair!
He isn’t under contract with TNA anymore and he is tailor made for this kind of payoff. The WWE audience only remembers old Flair, not bleed buckets TNA Flair. When his old school music hits and he struts that aisle in a blinged out robe, the building will lose their minds. Then he’ll do a series of chops, a bad back body drop, a cheap shot, and a figure four. Slater will tap like a fool, and Flair will walk back up the aisle. It’s the payoff this angle deserves.
Piper’s Pit
On Twitter this week, the Rowdy one said he wants to give CM Punk some advice backstage at RAW 1000. Why not also come on out and do a Piper’s Pit with, oh I don’t know, THE ROCK! Two of the best talkers in the business kicking off the 9PM hour will drive home that this is a big show. Most feel that Rock will be involved in the main event between Cena and Punk, yet he also needs to cut a promo to let the fans play sing-a-long with The Rock. This would be a great segment to build up the suspense of Rock wanting to challenge the winner for the title at SummerSlam. If done right it can benefit Punk and Cena without having either come out until their match, building the anticipation for the match to a fevered pitch, while also allowing Piper & Rock to give fans a special moment.
The Wedding
I want to start this off by saying the wedding angle is overplayed and only slightly less worse than the pregnancy angle. The fact that this has come out of nowhere and has really only been simmering for two weeks, makes me cringe more. I think Daniel Bryan and AJ could have something special as a long term tandem. That being said, this shotgun wedding is gonna happen, which is why it should go off without a hitch. It won’t, but it should. They should have a bunch of special appearances, but no raining day heel or funny shenanigans like AJ getting cold feet.  
Have Bryan and AJ tie the knot and walk out a happy couple. Then have your nasty heel moment post wedding. Imagine Kane driving their limo as they leave for the honeymoon? The big red machine becomes the green monster of jealousy. It’s a stretch as the Miz or somebody else will probably do something to ruin it. These things tend to follow a retreaded plan.
The Undertaker
It’s rumored that he’ll return for at least the night. I don’t know exactly what he’ll do as the WWE tends to save his wrestling for once or twice a year. There also isn’t anyone who has raised the ire of the dead man lately.
I guess maybe a cool moment with Taker would be him coming out after Ryback destroys Jack Swagger with the two starring each other down as Ryback screams “Feed Me More”. It could plant the seeds for Ryback to possibly beat Taker at SummerSlam, which would be the origin for their streak vs. streak match at WrestleMania. The role of Taker will be an interesting one if he does show up.
The GM
Two words ... Paul Heyman. He & Brock have lawsuits against the WWE in storyline. He settles out of court for control of the shows. It gives him a role outside of Brock. It also gives Brock a power figure to help explain why he is off TV as much as he will be. This should be a no brainer, bit this could also be the role Ric Flair takes on if he isn't the legend pay off. Fingers crossed for Heyman. He's so good as a slime ball.
The IC Title
The fans voted and Christian will be defending his title on RAW. He should defend it against a returning Randy Orton. The two could have an amazing match, plus the Apex Predator’s return will be a big pop moment. Having Orton lose to Christian can only help elevate the IC title. It also can help begin the heel turn that Orton desires. Nothing turns the crowd against a guy like a sore loser. Christian is good at selling a beating, and having a mini-feud with Orton going into SummerSlam could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Christian gets a big win under his belt and Orton gets to be a bad guy, which fits him better. If it’s not Orton, then Wade Barrett would be a good choice too.
The World Title Picture
There are a lot of people who want to challenge Sheamus for the World title. There is Albert Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio Jr, and probably Chris Jericho. Last week we saw Jericho face off with Ziggler, putting him as the defacto good guy in their confrontation. It looks like this might be the mix of talents that ends up being the trademark six man tag for RAW. Needing a sixth person for the match, I would look for the WWE to add Tensai to the mix since he is flirting with becoming Vickie Guerrero’s new boy toy. Yeah I just typed that.
On one side you have Sheamus, Mysterio, and Jericho. On the other you have ADR, Ziggler, and Tensai. They can do the fun six man stuff and Tensai can take a brogue kick, a code breaker, and 619 protecting ADR & Zigs. I would expect Guerrero to start using Tensai as way to soften up Sheamus so that Ziggler can cash in the MITB contract.
The WWE Title
If the intros for this match start any later than 10:30, somebody in the WWE creative team needs to have their head put on a pike like its Game of Thrones. This match needs tons of time because it will have a lot involved in it. If Cena does win, then Punk deserves twenty plus minutes to put him over as a testament to his 240+ day reign as champion. If Punk does win, then Cena deserves twenty plus minutes to put him over as a testament to Cena being the first MITB winner not to cash in successfully. Plus there will be appearances during this match. I am guessing Big Show, The Rock, and a few others.
Also Good Ole’ JR needs to be at the mic telling this story. Sorry Michael Cole and King, but even together they don’t come close to being in Jim Ross’s league. He does more to elevate a match than any announcer since Bobby Heenan. This should be a no brainer on the WWE’s part, especially if they are doing the whole RAW past, present, future gimmick all night.
I said it yesterday that the WWE needs Punk to win this match. It plays better for the company, and Cena just being on the show will bring in the same sales & fans as him being champ. Punk being champ allows for better matches, more diverse stories, and elevated talent. Call him Hollywood because CM Punk makes stars.
I just hope they don’t puss out and do a no decision because of interference only to have this match conclude at SummerSlam. Yet that is probably exactly how it will go with The Rock involved somehow.
The Ending Angle
RAW 1000 will have an ending angle. It might be tied in to the WWE title, or it might be free floating. It is being said that Vince wants something on par with the Summer of Punk or NXT. I say combine the two. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and many other developmental talents are ready to revolutionize RAW. Having them close the show with some kind of angle will really catapult them into the spotlight. Maybe they start a feud with Cena, maybe they start a feud with Punk, or maybe they start a feud with both. New blood with tons of talent is exactly what this company needs.
Ambrose can talk and Rollins can wrestle. Together they can do a lot of damage. Imagine if the two ended up costing Cena the title and making him the first MITB winner to screw up cashing in the contract. Yeah that is some instant heat. Imagine Rollins and Ambrose vs. Punk & Cena, A.k.a. The Mega Powers 2012, as the undercard for SummerSlam, where the main event will be HHH vs. Brock. Yeah I’m getting goose bumps thinking about it.
No matter how you slice it, RAW 1000 is going to be a really fun show. It might be one we watch a few times to relive a lot of moments. 8 PM can’t get here fast enough, and that feeling alone is worth the price of admission in my book. Good God it feels great to be a wrestling fan this week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who Needs To Win At RAW 1000?

(Courtesy of the WWE)

When Monday Night RAW went off the air this week, the main event for the 1000th episode was set. It is going to be CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Title as Cena cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. As RAW goes to three hours this match will usher in the new era of WWE raising the question, who’s going to walk out of St. Louis with the thirty pounds of gold around their waist? A case can be made for both men winning, but the WWE needs only one man to win, CM Punk.
John Cena has done pretty much everything in the WWE, aside from selling hot dogs & sodas at live events. He is a decorated champion. He has main evented every major pay per view. He has wrestled the biggest matches against a slew of dream opponents. He has made movies. He has released music albums. He even got to hit his boss with a chair for a national television commercial. John Cena is a made-man in professional wrestling. He truly never has to worry about returning to the Indies unless he wants to, much like Hulk Hogan, Sting, or Shawn Michaels. Yet with all his talents he doesn’t possess the rare talent that CM Punk has, he doesn’t make stars.
With all of John Cena’s accomplishments how many stars has he made in and out of the ring? If you’re going to say Randy Orton or Edge, then I will respond with this: Did he make them, or did they make John Cena? Randy Orton found his legs with HHH and evolution. Edge was a star before John Cena walked in the building. It would appear that Cena’s star was only made brighter by these two men. For as charismatic and talented as John Cena is, he is more Hogan than Flair in that after a feud only one man comes out the better, and that man is John Cena. In that same vein, CM Punk is more Flair than Hogan.
In the 1980’s when the territories where still alive and well, Ric Flair was the NWA champion. One of the key parts to being the NWA champion was coming to a town once a year and wrestling the area’s top guy. That guy wasn’t going to beat Flair, but the nature boy made everybody believe that their local hero was a hair away from walking out of the building with the strap. When Ric Flair walked out he didn’t leave a beaten opponent, but a guy who was elevated in the eyes of the local fans. The same fans who would pay money to see their hero each and every week, even without Ric Flair at the events. Ric Flair as NWA champion helped sell tickets for all the smaller promotions by making stars that would be there when he wasn’t. That is the same rare talent that CM Punk brings to the table that John Cena doesn’t, and Hulk Hogan never had.
This talent has been on display for the past few months as CM Punk has consistently delivered top quality matches for the WWE at every spot on the card against each and every opponent. He has stolen the show as the first match, and sent fans home in a tizzy when he is the main event. He has righted the ship at the 10 PM hour, and kept fans glued when RAW runs over at 11 PM. It doesn’t matter when he wrestles, it will always be a must see match. It doesn’t even matter who the opponent is.
His recent matches with Kane have restarted the career of the Big Red Machine. The fan reaction to Kane has tempered over the past few years, but in one month of being inserted in a program with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan the monster Kane has catapulted back to the popularity of the attitude era. In Daniel Bryan, CM Punk has found his Ricky Steamboat. That being the one man that on any given night in any given match he can have a true classic showing at the drop of a hat.  
The two have wrestled off and on for the better part of three months and yet the fans salivate to see them hook up each and every time. In the ring they provide something that the WWE audience hasn’t seen in decades: Two men with the ability to make their opponent better than they ought to be. When put together against each other that means the ability to create matches and moments that have no limits.
As the WWE prepares to reign in a new era with a slew of gifted young talents waiting in the wings such as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and the new breed of FCW, the WWE needs a man like CM Punk to be champion to help make the stars of the future. They need a champion who can beat Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose, yet still make them bigger stars in the process. They need a Daniel Bryan to be the man who works with CM Punk to prepare the talents for the next 15 years in the WWE. Bryan elevates Rollins and Ambrose to face Punk, and Punk sends them to the heavens to join the stars that the WWE Universe idolize.
Aside from building new talent and reestablishing former stars, CM Punk brings another advantage to being the WWE champion: Dream Matches. John Cena faced The Rock at Wrestlemania in a match it took a year to build. He backed that up with a dream match against Brock Lesnar. He has faced HHH, Jericho, and almost every legend aside from Stone Cold Steve Austin. In CM Punk there is a slew of dream matches including the Rock and Brock, plus HBK & Stone Cold. In between building the future, Punk as champion can elevate the title with defenses against the stars of the past without tarnishing their legacy because of his ability to have a good match with a broom. That includes the Undertaker at Wrestlemania where a title vs. streak match could be bigger than Rock vs. Cena.
When RAW 1000 is over there will be one thing for sure, a good match between CM Punk and John Cena. Yet the WWE needs one man to walk out as champion. No matter what happens John Cena will sell the same amount of shirts, tickets, and bring in the same viewers. It is CM Punk who will build the next John Cena, or even better, the next CM Punk. The WWE needs that more than squeezing the last drops of blood from the stone known as Cenation. That well is almost dry, while Punk’s is endless.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monday Night Raw: Next Week Will Be Great

Nothing in the world feels better than walking in your door at the end of a long travel weekend. Every once and awhile things go sideways when you’re traveling. This was one of those weekends. It was great to go to the wedding & hang with some of my favorite people. The three hour drive into the woods, not so much. The 5 hour flight there and the 5 hours back, even worse. Then Travelocity screwing up the tickets so that my wife had to be on a separate flight that got delayed at her connection, horrible. Realizing my wife had the ticket for our car to get out of parking, icing on the cake. Luckily I got to watch Monday Night Raw when it all was said and done.
Last night was leaps and bounds better from the absolute abomination that the WWE presented last week. There was tons of great moments during the show, and you can tell the WWE is prepping for next week’s 1000th episode to be as big as Wrestlemania. Now don’t get me wrong, this show was far from perfect. It had its bumps, but it was a good show to lead into the big three hour mega show next week, which is exactly what show 999 should be.
The start of the show with Big Show & CM Punk was fun, but nothing ground breaking. It was a good example to indie promoters on how to build a main event on a show. They traded remarks and popped the crowd. Then Show reminds Punk that only one man matters in the WWE, and it isn’t either of them. The tease of Cena coming down to pick the bones after Show knocks Punk’s teeth out was enough to add interest to the main event, especially with their bout being non-title & the feeling that the WWE would put the belt on Superman going into show 1000. Only one flaw in that logic, and I’ll touch on that later.
The tag team division seems to be booked by the WWE interns. It changes from week to week. The Prime Time Players are the #1 contenders, but haven’t won a match since No Way Out. They are a good team. I like their in-ring abilities and they have good chemistry. Yet, they haven’t been presented to the audience as a team to be feared. They lost on PPV the night before to Epico & Primo, who haven’t had a serious match on RAW in months. Then there is AW.
AW is a horrible manager. He can barely talk and they give him a live mic during the matches. Maybe it is because I used to do a similar gimmick as a sports agent who wears all black & talks about owning his own promotions business, but he is not pulling this off. Having him talk over the PA system during the match is distracting & he says nothing of value. He also insults his team while Kofi & Truth are getting their shine. I would rework his character ASAP & take the mic away from him. Also get the PTPs a few wins over some lower tier tag teams to build them up to the audience. If they do a title switch anytime soon, it won’t matter one bit.
Albert Del Rio continues to be a guy that is really catching fire. He and Ryder had a good match to keep building his character. He is ruthless as a heel. Even when Ryder was getting in shots, it never lasted long enough to become anything of note. This was a great way to build a character without destroying Ryder in the process. ADR is becoming primed to be the guy to take the title off Sheamus. It makes a lot of sense. The final push will be with Rey Mysterio.
The WWE production team jumped the gun on Mysterio coming back by cutting to the far camera too early, but who cares. When Rey popped out to save Ryder, the night finally kicked into high gear & the build for RAW 1000 was on. Even in small doses Mysterio is fun to watch. I have a feeling this will be his last run with the company. Starting off with Del Rio will benefit both men before ADR goes for the title, and Mysterio moves into his role as upper card fan favorite.
It was nice to see Rikishi. My wife jokes that my butt is a Rikishi butt. It’s called bumpers butt honey, Mick Foley has one too. Heath Slater is getting close to the big pay off with his legends world tour. The video seems to be showing where his character will go after this, as a delusional heel that distorts the facts. I like it. Who doesn’t hate the guy who thinks he is better than he is? Having Rikishi dance with his sons at the end was great, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him come back to manage his boys. Then again, I bet the contract situation and his money demands are the reason his big butt hasn’t been in the WWE in years.
Now Daniel Bryan is a baby face, it only took a week to happen. This whole Bryan & AJ storyline is a perfect example of a hotshot angle. Why not draw this out? Why not have Bryan try to prove himself to AJ? Why not take a few weeks, or god forbid months, to build to the payoff? Instead he proposes, she accepts, and we have a wedding next week. You want to know why the crowd reacted the way they did, because they didn’t have time to learn to care.
AJ and Bryan could be the next Macho & Liz, but not if you’re trying to do months of storylines in a week. I’m already putting dibs on Miz screwing things up next week. Did you see the look between him & AJ during the match? Yeah, 50/50 says he and Bryan at Summerslam with AJ involved somehow.
Poor Jack Swagger can’t catch a break. He now is the next victim on the Ryback pain train. I am not a fan of the both men getting in the ring, but the match not starting, so it gets tossed out angle. I get that it builds to adding heat to their rematch next week on episode 1000, but maybe have Swagger jump Ryback on the outside before the match instead of having them wrestle a mini-match in the ring. Also why didn’t the ref try to separate them to get the match started? Isn’t that his job? Ryback continues his build. Anyone else thinking he won’t lose until Wrestlemania, when he faces the Undertaker in a streak vs. streak match? Oh guess what a streak DVD is coming out, Shocker! If the WWE gives Ryback the first win over Taker at WM, then he is the next Cena. I would have him with the Royal Rumble, and cash it in for a shot at the Undertaker. Title shots come and go, but ending the streak is once in a lifetime. That’s the way to sell it.
For weeks I have said Dolph Ziggler is the man. Chris Jericho is also the man. Together they are amazing. Without speaking a word Jericho did more to help Ziggler than the WWE creative team has done for the past few months. His facial reaction to Ziggler's comments, and his ability to switch to a good guy on a dime, makes Jericho a valuable asset. Vickie Guerrero is being wasted with these two. They don’t need her to help build this up. You know who does need her? Tensai. They teased it last week, and need to get on that ASAP. Zigs & Vickie need to drift apart so Ziggler can ascend to the main event where he belongs, and Chris Jericho will be the one to get him there.
Speaking of drifting, Brodus Clay is just floating around in WWE limbo. He comes out to dance, he wrestles the same match, and then he dances with the kids. JTG was simply the “Insert Wrestler Here” on this week’s booking sheet. It’s a shame as Clay can really wrestle. I hope they get him a program soon, because as Rikishi will tell you, dancing doesn’t keep you employed forever. Good storylines and feuds do. In fact they could have saved this match for Smackdown or WWE Superstars, and gave the main event the time instead.
When a bunch of different things have the same result you say it is because of a common denominator. It is the only connector between a variety of factors. CM Punk is the WWE common denominator. He just has good matches. He wrestles Kane, and the big red machine looks like a star again. He wrestles Daniel Bryan, and the two have the best matches in the WWE since Bret Hart wrestled Shawn Michaels. Now he wrestles the Big Show, and they blow the roof off. He might be the best all-around wrestler in the WWE since Shawn Michaels was forming DX. He truly is the best in the world.
I wouldn’t mind seeing more Big Show and CM Punk matches. Show is one of the smartest guys in the business, and when given an opponent who can work with his limitations, great things happen. Andre had Hogan, and Show has Punk. The end of the match played into the story for the evening that Show would do the dirty work then Cena would do what all MITB winners do, and cash in for the title.
That works, except that it doesn’t play into the Cena character. As much as people hate Cena, he does stick true to his Superman persona in all facets. Superman would never kick a man while he was down. Superman would never take the easy way out. Superman stands for truth, justice, and the American way. Having Cena come out & let Punk know at RAW 1000 they will lock horns almost a year after Punk took the title off him in Chicago is what Superman would do. It makes sense with the characters involved, and as noted above Punk has good matches with anyone, especially John Cena.
This was a great way to end RAW. These are the two big guns in the WWE right now, and last year they had amazing matches. Add in the return of DX, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and a rushed wedding to RAW 1000, and you have one hell of a show. I would say next week should be better than this year’s Wrestlemania. If you’re not geeked for three hours next week, then I don’t know what will get you excited.
I also like the very end of the show where Cena lays out the Big Show. This leaves the door open for Show to screw over Cena, extending their feud & helping keep the title on Punk. Punk having the belt looks to be building to a title match between The Rock & Punk that will be a BIG BIG ticket match. How big would Summerslam or Survivor Series be with that match on the card? Plus if Punk beats the Rock, it plants the seeds for Stone Cold Steve Austin to face Punk at Wrestlemania as the man who can do what the Rock couldn’t. Yeah, I’m an optimist. That’s why I truly believe, against my better judgment, that next week will be great … until Superman wins the title, then I’ll pray for Doomsday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Check This Out!

(Courtesy of the Internet ... You Can Find Anything There)

It's no secret that Colt Cabana is a favorite of Grass Roots of Wrestling. As I sit with some decent WiFi, I figured I could share this nugget of awesome. On the recent Art of Wrestling podcast, CM Punk interviewed Colt. They talked about Cabana being in the crowd at Wrestlemania 13. Well here is the proof. When you see the footage, am I the only one who thinks younger Colt tosses fists like a girl in a cat fight? Enjoy!

If you wanted to see the whole match from Wrestlemania 13 then you're in luck. Like it says under the picture, you can find anything on the internet. Enjoy, again!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Iowa's Most Wanted

I’m getting ready to fly out to Seattle, and then drive a couple hours into the woods for a wedding this weekend. It’s going to be a lot of fun with family and friends, but I believe flint & steel maybe the most technology I see. That being said, I figured I would leave everyone with a nice road story before coming back Sunday. When I return I’ll do a Quazi’s Crystal Ball for Money in the Bank.
Around 2005, I was on the road with CJ Otis and Josh Raymond as I tried to get a spot working for Ian Rotten’s IWA Mid-South. At the time Ian was working with NWA: No Limits in Iowa, so I hitched a ride to a show in hopes of getting my face seen. We made our way out to Muscatine, IA for a No Limits show, which was always a fun time. I have a handful of stories from Iowa, and they all are good memories. This time wasn’t any different.
My dad grew up in Iowa, and I spent almost every summer there. It’s like a second home to me. Yet I had never been to Muscatine before NWA: No Limits. It started out as a great night with a ton of people in the locker room being old friends that I had worked with in the past. I hadn’t talked to some of the guys in years, so just catching up made the trip worth it.
Then Jimmy Jacobs cut a rehash of the famous Ultimate Warrior Airplane promo. It was awesome to watch Jimmy put his own spin on the cult classic promo. Later Matt Sydal wrestled through a nasty knee injury.
Matt took the match outside the ring and popped his knee out in the boxing ring set up in the back of the armory. Knowing Sydal’s knee was out, and watching him wrestle almost ten more minutes was a sight to see. He’s as tough as he is talent. Yet neither of these moments were the strangest from the night.
Near the end of the show Chris Hero led a brawl into the parking lot of the Muscatine Armory. The fans followed the brawl outside, and it felt more like a scene from “No Holds Barred” than a wrestling match. Hero and his foe traded fists until out of nowhere bright lights shined in on the crowd.
Soon four police cars, a mix of local and state, swarmed the crowd. Chris Hero pulled away from the fight as one of the officers strolled out of his car. It turns out that when the brawl started the officer had been driving by. He quickly radioed in the incident, and in small town Iowa, this meant calling all cars.
The officer began questioning everyone, and Chris Hero took up the role as spokesman. Hero walked over to the cop and tried to explain everything. He told the cop that they were pro wrestlers and that this was a wrestling show. The cop then responded in true cop fashion, “Aren’t you a little small to be a Pro Wrestler?”
Without missing a beat Hero fired back, “Aren’t you too fat to be a cop?” It got the pop of the night.
The officer puffed his chest up, but soon realized even with back up that he wasn’t in the best place to swing his dick around. The promoters got between Hero and the cop. Things got cooled and Hero returned inside the venue, not without receiving a few empty threats from the police. Once the cops left the match continued, and I believe Chris Hero picked up the win.
At the end of the night driving home from Iowa to Michigan, the whole car deemed ourselves Iowa’s Most Wanted. It’s not the sexiest story. It’s not full of behind the scenes juice. To me it is a story that encapsulates what is indie wrestling, that on any night at any show, you’ll see something you’ve never seen. To me it was watching a cop gets his own dick swinging knocked down his throat by a guy who truly cared what Barney Fife had to say about the sport he & the fans around him loved. To me that was the night I really became a Chris Hero fan.
Now I'm off to Seattle, where I hope this road trip produces the same kind of memories as my treks out to Iowa, but without the cops. Unless Chris Hero is there, then all bets are off.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday Night RAW: At Least It Wasn’t 3 Hours

I’ve never been waterboarded, but after watching last night’s episode of WWE’s Monday Night Raw I believe I have a round-about understanding of it. From what I gather it makes you believe you’re drowning as you struggle against a water soaked towel that forces liquid down your throat. It is said to be a very traumatic experience. That is what watching RAW was like last night. Every minute I just felt like I was drowning as they shoved a bunch of crap down my throat, and when it was done I knew I had gone through a traumatic experience. In short, people in Gitmo have it better than wrestling fans this week.
Even the CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and AJ storyline that has been so good felt a little off the tracks. The opening was a ten minute segment stretched to 20. The over dramatic pauses and facial expressions from Punk & AJ were almost too much. I found myself yelling at the TV, “Just say it”. I don’t mind the AJ proposal. It fits her crazy chick character. I even liked the Daniel Bryan proposal, because it fits his do anything to become champ character. I didn’t like that CM Punk, Mr. Pipe bombs on the mic, couldn’t tell AJ no for two hours. The man who verbally ripped apart the company a year ago starting the summer of punk gets tongue tied by a wedding proposal from the nut job. It was a good idea for the night, but was poorly executed.
Besides the tag match in the middle of the show, each match was quick. It felt like the old 80’s WWF when you would watch wrestling on Saturday mornings and each match was a star versus a jobber. Unless my memory is faulty I believe Jack Swagger is a former ECW and World champion but now he is a door mat for anyone. For a guy who can bring it in the ring, he really has pissed off the wrong people backstage.
The same goes for Drew McIntyre. He was once Vince McMahon’s golden boy. Then shit hit the fan and he is fodder for the dancing funkasaurus. I knocked Ring of Honor yesterday for looking like a small time carnival act, but when the kids get in the ring to dance with Brodus Clay it looks like an indie moment. I am surprised more fans don’t jump the rail after watching all the kids get in the ring. I guess it sells more T-shirts, or makes kids drag their parents to the events. You know what else does that? Good storylines & great wrestling. I guess taking the easy way is the WWE way.
I get that Heath Slater is living a dream working with all these legends. He is getting tons of TV time each week. People are starting to take notice of his character. He also did just get beat by a man who held the title in the 70’s; that’s four decades ago. He literally got his ass handed to him by his grandpa. Don’t get me wrong. I have tons of respect for Bob Backlund, but was I the only one who saw him coming to the ring in his blue trunks and thought about an old man in his tighty whities screaming for kids to get off his lawn?
Also what does it say about Sin Cara, who just beat Heath Slater, that Grandpa Backlund can beat Slater in twenty seconds, while Sin Cara takes 4-5 minutes. Unless this leads to some kind of resurrection storyline of Slater getting humbled and then building himself back up over a couple of months, then what is the payoff? He is getting noticed, but only as the guy getting beat by people who won’t be back on RAW at any point. Jack Swagger & Drew McIntyre have room on their jobber cycle built for three when you’re done Slater.
You know one thing I did enjoy; the new spark between Vickie Guerrero and Tensai. The tag match was just a showcase to remind people there is a second ladder match this weekend at the PPV. It also helped Tensai get his heat back by crushing both Christian & Kidd. After, when Guerrero was staring down Tensai like a new piece of meat, it clicked. Vickie needs Tensai to freshen her up, and Tensai needs Vickie to get him over. How great of a feud will Tensai and Dolph Ziggler be? They both can go in the ring, and it is the perfect storm to turn Dolph face. This must have been the part where they took the drenched towel off my mouth to let me breathe.
It didn’t last long as the unwritten tag team rules got thrown out the window. I get you want Big Show to be a beast and destroy everyone. I get that John Cena is Superman and he will always come out on top. I get you want the tag match to be a no contest. I don’t get how Big Show pulling John Cena off of Jericho is a DQ. When does breaking up a pin attempt ever lead to a DQ? Now whenever it happens in a tag match I’ll wonder, why isn’t that a DQ? Again it’s logic. It might not get under most people’s skin, but come on creative, stop being lazy. Write a decent finish. Hell, just have Show grab a ladder and destroy everyone during the match. It’s sloppy booking, but it’s at least logical.
Speaking of tag team matches, why don’t the Prime Time Players get a tag title shot at the PPV? Why are Hunico and Camacho getting a shot, even if on the pre-show? I guess being #1 contenders isn’t what it used to be. Does nobody care about being champs anymore? Last week Gail Kim used her lawyers to get out of a title match on TNA, and now AW is letting another tag team wrestle for the gold before his clients. Why even have the belts if they mean so little?

The end of the show tag match, damn there were a lot of hodgepodge tag matches. Like I said last week, it has become the WWE creative crutch. This match was all angle driven. I enjoyed the tip of the cap by Punk and Bryan to Sonnen & Silva. The missed spinning back fist followed up by a Bryan knee to Punk’s chest made me pop. The end was a retread of this storyline. She kisses both men last week, she slaps both men this week.
I for one would have rather seen a double kick to the balls. It would have popped the crowd, and the visual of AJ “yessing” standing over both men as they squirm on the mat grabbing their jewels would have been another strong closing visual. This feud is in cruise control going into the PPV, which should be looked at as a good thing, because this week creative was shooting themselves in the foot left & right. Staying course through choppy booking might be a blessing in disguise.
Finally, and I almost blocked this out, was the whole RAW Anonymous General Manager. Not only did we have to be victims of another show of Michael Cole being more character than announcer, but then the payoff was the drizzling shits. Yes it did put closure on a storyline, but was it needed? It was one of the worst stories in WWE history, and just when we forgot about it, we had to relive it. Then on top of that it ends up being Hornswaggle.
There is nothing redeeming about this at all. It wasted time that could have been put toward the matches that got cut short. It could have been another former RAW GM that people wanted to see. It could have been left in the deep dark forgotten realms of the WWE where things like ICP & Katie Vick live. Jerry Lawler should be ashamed he let himself get involved in this crap. Andy Kaufman is spinning in his grave knowing he is six degrees of separation from this abortion.
If this is what we have in store for us when Monday Night RAW goes to 3 hours then God have mercy on us all. I’ll tune in every week because I still believe that good wrestling will return. I’ll crawl through the miles of crap in hopes that a few moments will shine bright. Yet after shows like this, I struggle to not put the towel over my head & drown myself, because RAW isn’t WAR, its torture.