Thursday, January 31, 2013

Real Fan

For those who haven't heard the story of Thomas Dotterer then here is the quick recap of all that has happened over the past few days. It is a crazy timeline of events and proof of why CM Punk is truly the best in the world.

I'm glad he is ok, and it just goes to prove that WWE creative currently is churning out a product that is indeed worse than being shot in the eye. Pretty sure he was glad he didn't have both eyes to watch RAW this week.

Motherf*cking Tensai in lingerie...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Monday Night RAW: WTF

The earlier versions of this review contained a high concentration of the phrase, “What the fuck?”. I decided that I needed a day to let my thoughts clear. Even a day later, I still hold the same sentiment towards this post-Rumble Raw. That 9 PM hour was on par with some of the crap WCW Thunder used to churn out. This week should have been dubbed “The Shit Factory” because that seems to be all that creative could produce.
It wasn’t an all bad RAW. There were some really good moments. That actually made things worse because you’d get crushed, then your hopes would go up, and finally they would get crushed again. I feel that people cheered for Brock Lesnar giving Vince an F5 because they had to sit through three hours of that sludge. Make me watch Tensai in lingerie … take that old man!
Things started on the right track. CM Punk and Paul Heyman did a good job of putting their spin on the events of the night before. He got screwed by Vince, and he sold it. Again Punk delivers another great promo and Vince does the smart thing by doing a short response with a tease for later. This was a really strong opening segment that hooked fans in for later, recapped the events of the night before, and put more steam into Punk & Rock’s feud.
The match between Orton and Cesaro was fun. These two work really well together and Miz as the guest ref helped give Cesaro a purpose in this match aside from putting Randy Orton over. For the most part Miz didn’t try to do too much, which happens with guest refs. Or regular refs on the indy circuit (I.E. Any ref that thinks doing moonsaults during a match is cool). The finish was clunky but it all worked. Orton got to get the win and Miz got his revenge from the night before. The after match finisher might have been too much as Miz is the good guy here. I guess the lines are blurred with him.
Ryback and The Prime Time Players had a joke off. The WWE wasted a promising tag team with this segment. Ryback didn’t need to be here. This was the first big waste of the night. Ryback is a monster and shouldn’t be in stupid SNL skit type segments. He’s Scott Norton, not Buff Bagwell.
I enjoy the story starting between Wade Barrett and Bo Dallas. Bo takes a beating but the cocky Barrett gets caught for the pin. I don’t know about Dallas using the belly-to-belly for the finish, a school boy or small package would have been better than a finisher. It’s nitpicky.
Now here is where the show begins to go off the rails.
Cody Rhodes is part of a tag team. He challenged for the tag titles the night before. He even got a great reaction during the Rumble, especially when his brother entered. This means people kind of care about him. That means his character has something the WWE should be capitalizing on. John Cena just wiped the floor with him. There is a ton of jobbers on this roster. Cody Rhodes shouldn’t be one of them. I guess his tag team with Sandow is done. Poor Cody … that mustache deserves more respect.
Then Cena cuts another promo where he gets lost in the middle. Oh and he gives away a segment for later. He talks about the challenge of facing either CM Punk or The Rock, depending on which is champ. So he knew that an hour later Punk was going to challenge Rock to a singles match at the elimination chamber PPV? Great way to spoil the surprise. There should be people watching these details. I’m guessing the Shield attacked him because the injustice was that Cena couldn’t remember not to talk about the 10 PM hour to begin the 9 PM hour. I like the idea of the chamber being a slimmed downed version of War Games between two 3-man teams. See there is something positive.
Until after 10 PM, Monday Night RAW was unwatchable. Tensai (Matt Bloom) is a helluva worker. The segment with him in lingerie and then dancing with Brodus Clay was on par with Mae Young giving birth to hand or HHH dry humping a mannequin. Tensai did the only thing he could and showed his ass.
There are some times when something is so out there and crazy that the only way to make it entertaining is to stretch it beyond its silliness. That is what Tensai did. Kudos to him on owning that shit sandwich of a segment. Also why does Brodus Clay now act like a bad Saturday morning cartoon character? The guy who comes to the ring with two big booty strippers is geared towards the 6 years and younger audience? Makes sense to me.
I get what they tried to do with Alberto Del Rio and Big Show. It just should have been a lot shorter and with more energy. The whole bit of tying up Del Rio and Show torturing Ricardo took forever. Aside from an entertaining Rumble match, this feud has been a dud. They need to wrap this up and move onto something new for both men. You know it is bad when Shane Helms, who is traditionally positive to a fault, craps on it during his live tweets.
To complete the hat-trick of crap, there is a Divas match. They’re in Las Vegas, so it is a showgirl lumberjills match. Snuka could be a really good wrestler for the WWE. This little segment did nothing for her. Kaitlyn better keep stroking the “ego” of whoever is in charge of the Divas. Her in ring talents aren’t doing her any favors. I feel at this point any words I use to write about the WWE Divas division is waste of my time.
The Rock is back. Things have picked up and he talks about this being the greatest moment of his life. I mean he never was champion when he had three movies out and this will sure be more profitable than those other times, plus he doesn’t have to wrestle on house shows. Yeah I’d be excited for that title run too.
Punk comes out and these two have one of their best exchanges. Punk makes the challenge for their rematch that John Cena talked about an hour ago. The little jabs by Punk were great. The one about swearing was dead-on. Again Rock was good, but CM Punk owned him on the mic.
The team of Sandow and Rhodes is really buried now. Cody got destroyed by Superman in Jorts. Sandow now gets to get manhandled by the Ginger Warrior. Sheamus doing White Noise through a table was kinda cool. I like that and expect it be something that starts to pop on the indies soon. Alas, Poor Team Rhodes Scholars! I knew thee well.
That Zack Ryder, 3MB, and Khali thing happened. None of these guys could have taken Rhodes and Sandow’s place on the jobber train tonight? Just point to the TV and show us where the WWE hurt you.
Ziggler and Jericho is a fun feud. It looks to be something that will be used to get Ziggler jump started going towards Mania as they still try to figure out what to do with his Money In The Bank status. Poor guy has more jump starts this year than an old Ford pinto. In the end we did get a Ziggler/Jericho vs. Team Hell No match. That isn’t a bad thing.
They’re starting the descent on Kane and Bryan. I hope this is a false break up and they come back stronger than ever. I’m not holding my breath. At least we get to see Daniel Bryan in more singles action soon.
Congrats to Trish Stratus on making the WWE Hall of Fame. I remember when she started with the company and couldn’t even wrestle. She was a fitness model with an incredible body that the WWE exploited with some head smacking storylines. Trish put in the time, unlike many of the current Divas, and ended up being one of the most gifted in-ring performers the WWE has ever had. There can be a debate about the greatest female wrestler of all time, but there is no debate that Trish Stratus deserves to be mentioned in that discussion.
Vince McMahon sure loves to strut. He is a great worker and he knows how to wrap a crowd around his finger. The interaction between Vince and Paul Heyman was some of the best work the WWE has done in years. Paul is amazing in his weasel role. Even with video proof, he still denies the truth. He denies it so well, you almost believe him that he wasn’t in the video. That is some classic snake oil salesmanship right there. I would really like to see more Paul vs. Vince segments, they are good times.
Brock Lesnar comes out, and instead of giving the Devil’s grin, Paul Heyman seems to fear Lesnar more than Vince. That sells how dangerous Brock really is. Paul knows what is going to happen and he is telling the man who was about fire him to get out of the ring. It’s the little things. Brock gives Vince an Eskimo kiss and then breaks the old man’s hip. That is some Hannibal Lecter shit right there. I guess Paul keeps his job on a technicality.
Paul Heyman has under his wing CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, and The Shield. That might be the most impressive stable in pro wrestling history. Now they haven’t officially come out together, and Paul seems to keep each separate, but damn that is still impressive. I for one hope that WrestleMania has a War Games match with Punk, Lesnar, Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns vs. DX (HHH, HBK, Gunn, Road Dawg, and X-pac). You could even toss Heyman and Vince on the teams like they used to do with JJ Dillon when the Horsemen had a War Games match. I don’t think this happens, but a guy can dream.
The WWE did some stuff right. They set the stage for their next PPV with Rock vs. Punk in the rematch & Team Cena vs. The Shield in an Elimination Chamber match. Plus they reintroduced Brock Lesnar and restarted his HHH feud. Aside from that this was one of the worst RAWs in history. There was an entire hour that I was ashamed to watch as a wrestling fan. The ratings were up for this show after a strong Rumble, and this is what the WWE had to offer. Shame.
In the end I just keep thinking about all that should be happening and all that is happening. That thought process usually ends with, “What The Fuck?!?”.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Royal Rumble: Good Surprises, Predictable Finishes

The road to WrestleMania has begun. The Royal Rumble is in the books, and from the size of my hangover this morning, it was a good showing. I almost went perfect with my predictions. Had I not kept out hope for a Punk win, and gone with the obvious choice of The Rock winning, then I would have batted a thousand. Oh what could have been.
The show itself was a very entertaining watch with some great surprises during the Rumble match. For three hours I had a blast watching with about fifty other wrestling fans at the sports bar near my house. Tons of "Yes!" chants and reactions to everything. That really is the way to watch a wrestling show.
I didn’t see the internet pre-show match. Cesaro won and Miz screwed up a spot. Pretty much how I thought it would go. It truly was one of those matches you didn’t need to see and could put the result in pen. That belt isn’t going anywhere until Cesaro gets a real feud going.
The start of the pay per view with Alberto Del Rio and Bret Hart was great. They really have done a lot in a short time to make Del Rio into a top baby face on Smackdown. The match with Big Show was an enjoyable watch. The crazy choke slam from the floating beam on the stage was sick. Both men worked their asses off and it showed. In the end the finish was campy, but that is usually how they try to protect a beast like Big Show.
Next time somebody gets duct taped in a last man standing match I hope to see them climb the ropes and stand straight up. It would be a cool false finish spot. I would expect for Big Show to be in the elimination chamber and move onto new territory come WrestleMania. As for Del Rio, he might have a longer reign than I expected.
The new WWE tag team division has stepped up their game. Rhodes Scholars and Team Hell No was a fun match. I’m glad I could barely hear the announcers during the match and got to enjoy the action. This was a text book tag match. Nothing special or ground breaking here.
Bryan and Kane work well as a team and I hope the WWE doesn’t rush to break them up. People still enjoy their antics. The post-match vignette with the Rumble numbers was funny in a sophomoric way. Again another example of how great the two are as a duo. I’m still holding out hope for a match between them and the New Age Outlaws. Yeah, probably not.
I was shocked the Rumble went on before the WWE title match. That was when I knew Rock was walking out champ. He has enough pull to push the namesake of the event to the undercard. He isn’t staring at the lights if that is happening.
The 30-man Royal Rumble match was good times had by all. Chris Jericho shocked everyone. I was in the bathroom when he came out and a whole room of guys stopped mid-pee to high five each. That is how cool that surprise was. Golddust showing up to fight his brother was great. He really has gotten a lot of his popularity back. I hope Goldie gets another run with the company. Even the Godfather and his hoes made for a good cheer. It would be cool if in the future the WWE actually does more old school surprises than some of the lower card talent. Nobody really cared that Tensai, Khali, and Zack Ryder were in the Rumble.
With Bo Dallas from NXT lasting as long as he did I had a small feeling he might make it to the end with John Cena. I like that he did get into it with Wade Barrett. It was a good way to debut a talent most didn’t know. The Kofi jumping on Tensai and Bryan jumping onto Kane spots both were great new twists for the match. Again with Bryan and Kane I hope they don’t end their team too soon.
In the end John Cena wins. Nobody was shocked. They teased us with Ryback and Sheamus. Yet it never felt like anything but Cena’s match. I would say this year had less drama than the year that HHH won it. Very predictable.
That set up the epic dream match between The Rock and CM Punk. The promo from The Rock was the best he has done since he has been back. That intensity and the lack of silly catch phrases made it seem finally like this match wasn’t a joke to him. Would have been nice to see this kind of promo two weeks ago.
The match was hyped up too much. It had an extremely high bar to reach in the eyes of the fans. The Rock had some ring rust and Punk did everything in his power to carry him. After the table broke before the Rock Bottom, it felt like both men kicked it into high gear. That last chunk of the match was some excellent wrasslin.
The finish can be debated. It protected Punk and it gave the crowd a little bit of swerve. Vince is about to strip the title from CM Punk and Rock stops him so he can take the belt off him. It was very action hero like. It took the crowd on a roller coaster and that’s not bad.
Man, I can’t help but feel that the WWE is losing money by not building towards a rematch between Punk and Rock instead of Rock and Cena. This match wasn’t epic but it was really good. The mic work has been top notch. It feels like there is more to tell with these two than with Cena and Rock. The yearlong build for Rock and Cena drained all the juice out of that match up. This feud between Rock and Punk feels like it just got started and now it is over.
The safe money is Rock and Cena. There isn’t much creative has to do. This will deliver a good buy rate just with the two names alone. Punk and Rock could have done more but it would have taken work between now and WrestleMania. It’s not my money, and the WWE seems to always go after the easy money. That and I don’t think their creative staff is really the kind of staff that wants to take on a challenge when the easier work is right there in front of them.
Now the WWE begins the build towards WrestleMania. Rock will build towards Cena. Punk will probably get tapped to carry the Undertaker through a match. Ziggler looks to be gearing up for a shot at Alberto Del Rio. It looks to be another strong WrestleMania card.
Myself, and those who dare to dream bigger, will just have to be stuck with notion of what could have been. Still being the longest reigning champion of the modern era is something pretty impressive. Maybe in the end the most important thing was that CM Punk will be the face of the WWE come WrestleMania 30. What’s Steve Austin doing then?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quazi’s Crystal Ball: The Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble is almost upon us, and I can’t wait. It is easily one of the best pay per views of the year because it always has the mystique of not knowing what is going to happen. Even if you believe you think you know who the winner is going to be, there is usually a surprise entrant or some kind of swerve that keeps the Rumble fresh and exciting. There are some years where this is the best pay per view that the WWE does. That includes WrestleMania.

This year we have the joy of not only the 30-man over the top Royal Rumble but we have a dream match for the ages. Much like when Hogan faced The Rock or Flair hooked up with HBK, The Rock vs. CM Punk is as close to a can’t miss match as wrestling fans get. Those two matches alone make this Sunday a must buy. There are also a couple of other good matches that have been added to the card that make it a really strong showing by the WWE. It truly is WrestleMania season. Here’s a look at each match.

Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz - United States Championship

This match was announced for the online pre-show. Their feud has been going pretty well on WWE Main Event. The show is actually an enjoyable hour of TV on a Wednesday. I have a feeling that the WWE is going to break these two apart with Miz doing his Flair's apprentice angle and Antonio moving on to a new challenger for WrestleMania season. Miz's work has slumped a bit lately. Cesaro is becoming a hot star in the company. With this being on the pre-show, I don't see a title change in the future. This also makes me believe neither has a true shot at winning the 30-man Royal Rumble match, but they did get some rub during the Beat The Clock challenge. So who knows.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro (Your United States Champion!)

Kaitlyn vs. A WWE Diva

This hasn’t been announced. Kaitlyn just got crowned Divas champion. Yet the Divas division is traditionally used as a buffer or bathroom break between big matches. I don’t know if this goes on between Rock/Punk and The Rumble or before Rock/Punk. I do know it won’t be worth the price of admission. I for one would like to see Natalya get the shot. Tonight on Smackdown she gets a win, which might be a sign she'll get a shot at the strap at the PPV. She is probably the best female wrestler left on the WWE roster. As my friend Sign Guy Joe always said, “Low expectations brings higher returns”, so this match should be better than I thought as long as both ladies don’t pull a Jackie Gayda.

Winner: Kaitlyn (Duh)

Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Team Hell No – WWE Tag Team Titles

Daniel Bryan and Kane have become one of the most enjoyable parts of the WWE. They are both good in the ring. Bryan is a certified workhorse between the ropes much like Ricky Steamboat or Chris Benoit. Kane has always been great in his character as it continues to evolve. The two as a comedy duo are pure gold with some of the campiest segments. You don’t change the channel when Team Hell No is on TV. That is saying something.

Team Rhodes Scholars has quickly become another joy to watch in this revitalized tag team division. Cody Rhodes has tried to do the singles action but he finds better success in tag teams. Sandow is a good young talent with an amazing persona. The two have meshed well and play the smarmy high class heels to perfection. Also Cody’s mustache is epic. Super Troopers had a baby with Magnum PI and made a 70’s porno epic.

These two teams should have another good match to continue their feud. Kane and Bryan beat Sandow and Rhodes in squash matches last week on RAW. It doesn’t seem that Kane and Bryan should lose this match at this point in the feud. They have been booked too strong against Rhodes and Sandow. Also fans still go nuts for Team Hell No and their antics. I don’t see them dropping the belts until Mania. Also with the reported rumor of the New Age Outlaws coming to the Rumble, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dream match between the NAO and Team Hell No. The promos alone should be great.

Winner: Team Hell No (YES! YES! YES!)

The Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio – Last Man Standing Match for the World Title

This feud has been thrown together quickly. Albert Del Rio had a surprise win on Smackdown a few weeks ago to capture the title. They are not doing another Last Man Standing match. That is a quick burn on this feud. Not a lot of time to develop the rivalry. It really looks like this was all done to complete the face turn of Del Rio as he prepares to face off with Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and Orton at the Elimination Chamber.

The Big Show is a trooper. The man always seems to do the right thing when it comes to the WWE. He place holds the World title for them as they pass it from Sheamus to Del Rio. Now he is helping turn Del Rio into Smackdown’s biggest star. I don’t know how many years he has left but dude deserves to be a first ballot hall of famer. He might even be a better worker than Andre the Giant, and that is saying something.

This match should be some good plunder, but I don’t see the WWE taking the strap off Alberto after a few weeks. While I do think this will be a short title reign I believe he keeps the title until Elimination Chamber. The Big Show will again do the job here with some kind of cheap ending. Something like Del Rio hits him with a car. I hope not that, but something in that vein of screwy endings. I don’t see Big Show getting legit 10 counted by Del Rio.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio (Until Next Month)

The Rock vs. CM Punk – WWE Championship

This might be the biggest match on the pay per view. These two are both megastars right now. The Rock will always have his fans. He is the Magic Johnson of the Attitude era. He was showtime. Steve Austin might have been the biggest name, but Rock was the kind of wrestler than formed the “sports entertainment” version of the current WWE product with catch phrases and goofy over-the-top characters. I mean he turned an elbow drop into a believable finisher. Hello, Five Knuckle shuffle.

CM Punk is probably the best wrestler to step foot in the WWE ring since HBK. He might even be better. His mic skills are the best of his generation. Between the ropes he is light years ahead of most in the company. He has a persona that blurs the lines of reality as fans don’t know where the on-screen and off-screen CM Punk differ. He can make any talent look better than they are, and that is rare today. He also might be the one person who equals The Rock’s current stardom in the WWE with his own strong base of loyal die-hard fans.

This Sunday is the clash of the two schools of pro wrestling. The Rock represents the “entertainment” faction that has been the last decade of the WWE. CM Punk represents the “wrasslin” faction that once was the corner stone of the sport that Harley Race, Ric Flair, and Macho Man Randy Savage built. This has all the makings of a true wrestling classic. It could be too much pressure, but both men traditionally excel beyond the height of expectation. No matter what happens the wrestling world will be talking about this match for months.

Winner: CM Punk (If the WWE wants to make real money)

30-Man Royal Rumble

It is the crown jewel of the pay per view. It is the most exciting 70+ minute match in the company. The match traditionally has surprise entrants and cool spots. There is talk of former talents like Shelton Benjamin, MVP, and The New Age Outlaws returning to the company in this match. I would also expect The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar to have appearances, but I’m not counting on either.

As far as favorites go, I would say that John Cena and the six men from the Beat The Clock challenge: Antonia Cesaro, Wade Barrett, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler Sheamus, and “Reefer” Randy Orton have the best chance to win it. Then again the WWE can always toss a wrench in the plans. It is the Rumble and nothing is certain. Well accept that one year when everyone knew HHH was gonna win it.

This year looks to be Superman In Jorts. It just seems that Cena and Rock are on a collision course for WrestleMania. The WWE believes their rematch is the true money maker. I for one think the current WWE title feud is the real money maker. I have a feeling I’m going to be wrong, but I think they can still have Cena pull this one out and get their rematch at the next PPV. Just read my Armchair Booker article from a few weeks back.

Winner: John Cena (Only to lose his Main Event Spot to The Rock at Elimination Chamber)

That is my look into the crystal ball for WWE’s Royal Rumble. It should be a good time this Sunday as the WWE has a couple can’t miss match ups. Enjoy and hopefully we get a couple surprises that make you tingle all over. Like when Hogan slammed Giant or Tyson KO’d Michaels. Those were good times, and great memories. The WWE needs to start making more of those again. They’ve been in short supply recently.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Every year the WWE does this video. It breaks down the 30-man Royal Rumble match with the cool by the number facts. Before you tune in this Sunday, you'll want to know all these quick facts to share your friends and sound smart.

If you want to watch a full Royal Rumble match, here is the entire 2002 Royal Rumble. It's kind of cool that the WWE has put this up on YouTube. It's not the best one of all time. I would say 1992 when Flair won would be it. Heenan doing color commentary made that PPV. He was amazing. Enjoy this Rumble from over a decade ago. It has Stone Cold Steve Austin, and that is pretty damn awesome.

Finally here is the interaction between The Rock and CM Punk that got this all going a few weeks back. It is one of the best exchanges in WWE history. The ads that pop up are annoying but it is the only full version I could find. Still an epic encounter.

Tomorrow I'll post my 2013 Royal Rumble Preview and Predictions. Check back early in the morning.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vote Nate Mattson!

TNA Wrestling is doing a Gut Check online poll to determine who will get a shot down the road to be part of the Gut Check segment on Impact. One of my good friends, and one of the best in-ring performers on the indy circuit, "Amazing" Nate Mattson is listed in bracket #2. He is currently in second place behind a guy from Europe. If you believe in America then you'll vote for Nate. If not then it is proof you're a communist.

Nate is one of the truly good guys in pro wrestling. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He is always helping young talent hone their craft. Just having him in a locker room makes a promotion better. He deserves this shot more than anyone I know.

When I was booking MMWA in Northern Michigan, one of the first guys I got on the roster was Nate Mattson. He could have a great match with anyone in any style. He also shoots straight from the hip, so if things weren't being done right he'd tell me. Honesty in this business is rare and valuable.

He used to hang out after shows and go over my match with me, even if it didn't involve him. He'd always find something I did right and almost everything I did wrong. While I was never going to be Jim Cornette or Bobby Heenan, I know I became a better worker because of Nate Mattson.

Now it is time that people took a chance on Amazing N8. He has had a hand in helping talents like Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Jimmy Jacobs, Petey Williams, and so many more. TNA should just skip the Gut Check gimmick and give the man a job. Until then he needs people's help getting into the next round.

Check out his Gut Check Video right here.

Now go vote for Nate Mattson, or the Europeans win! Don't let George Washington down. USA! USA! USA!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Monday Night RAW: It’s A Two Match Pay Per View


Happy Royal Rumble week! It is such a fun pay per view. It symbolizes the official start of the road to WrestleMania. It has such a unique match as its crown jewel that always seems to get a few new wrinkles added in. This year it has the boon of two top tier epic main events. Sorry 40-man Royal Rumble, but this year’s pay per view might be the biggest of all time. Those two matches sure as hell dominated the go home edition of Monday Night RAW.

Overall RAW was a little up and a little down. Some stuff was simply amazing. Some was good to push angles. Some was just blah. I don’t know if this show sold any more buys for the pay per view, but it was an interesting watch.

The start had me cringing. Everyone has commented on it, but why the WWE decided to basically do a RAW recap from last week is a head scratcher. Chad Dukes, from, hit it on the head when he said the WWE has two of the best talkers of all time, just let them talk. The whole “The Rock is banned from the building” angle was stupid. I get they are trying to show Vickie is power hungry and they are going for the cheap pop when Rock finally appears, but how stupid does the WWE believe their fans are. Then again maybe CM Punk is right.

I enjoy the Beat The Clock challenge. It’s a fun little gimmick that helps highlight talent and it puts a spotlight on the Royal Rumble match for multiple segments. Both of those are good things. Now there are at least 7 talents that fans know to watch going into the Royal Rumble: Antonia Cesaro, Randy Orton, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Sheamus, and John Cena. All of those men have to be the favorites to win the match and headline WrestleMania. I have a feeling that Superman In Jorts is the lead dog.

The matches weren’t anything ground breaking. Miz is trying to become the next Flair but hasn’t quite got it down yet. Dolph is the man who pissed off his ex-gf, so now he has to go bell to bell. Antonio and Wade are both mid-card champs with main event potential. I would say Wade is a little more protected at this point because he wasn’t truly beaten. Reefer Randy is still dangerous no matter what. Sheamus is just as good as Dolph, but just a hair off on that night. I’ll get to John Cena and his promo later.

The filler for the show was hit or miss.

I don’t know if I really care about Big Show and Albert Del Rio. They both had squash matches. Their feud just seems like a plane still stuck on the run way. Maybe this Sunday they will take off with a great match to open the show. I also feel that Del Rio isn’t going to be champ for very long. I think that the Elimination Chamber will be his water loo. That doesn’t make me want to invest much time into this jiffy pop feud.

Ryback destroyed three men. Those three men now have no chance of ever being taken serious. Can you believe one of them used to be called Vince McMahon’s chosen one? Ouch. The WWE is trying to rebuild Ryback going towards WrestleMania. I just don’t see who he is going to feud with. I am guessing it will be Antonio Cesaro so that they can put the strap on Ryback. He would be a good US champ. Plus Cesaro can really protect him in the ring and make him look better than he does. Just watch Antonio’s match with Khali from Main Event a few weeks back if you don’t believe me.

After last week’s surprisingly good Divas match, the WWE returned to form. Kaitlyn is Vince’s new poster girl. She’ll probably be champ for a few months until his eye catches somebody else. I have a feeling he puts the title on the girl he thinks about at night when he’s in bed. Explains why Kharma never got a run with the strap. There is nothing much to talk about here.

The Dr. Shelby, Kane, and Daniel Bryan segment started off fun, but then took a huge nose dive. I’ve been going to wrestling events since the mid-90s, and I would never want to hug anyone in those audiences. Bryan is gold and Kane has some great comedy chops. Again the Shelby character is a waste. I just don’t get the appeal but he does well with the younger fans. Then again they think using a computer to change your voice is making music. These might be the fans CM Punk is talking about.

The John Cena promo to close the show wasn’t good. I know he sells tons of merch. He has a loyal fan base of young viewers and parents who like what he stands for. I just think he has gotten old. He is like Adam Sandler. I liked his older stuff but now he is almost unwatchable. The worst part is every once and awhile he is really entertaining, so you get false hope. Then he does a promo like last night and you can’t stop from shaking your head. I have a fear we are about to have him shoved down our throats beginning next week.

After Superman In Jorts put us all to sleep with his mic skills, the locker room unloads with a silly one liner gauntlet. Each one comes out, talks for 20 seconds, and gets in the ring to wait. Gee I wonder what is going to happen? Oh yeah the traditional fake rumble brawl that always happens to close the final RAW before the Royal Rumble. Maybe next year the WWE will mix it up. I’m not betting on it.

The best part of the show, and frankly the past month, was The Rock and CM Punk. Both men are red hot right now. It’s not Rock’s fault he got stuck with a silly “banned from the arena” storyline for the night. Creative needs to, I don’t know, get creative. This retread was weak and they need to do better. Even worse is that all he needed was to buy a ticket to the event. That overrides the ban and he even gets entrance music. Why didn’t the people’s champion come through the people? Guess the champ doesn’t like rubbing elbows with his people. This plot has more holes than John Dillinger.

Rock cut a decent promo but the MLK twist was a stretch. I get he is trying to honor Dr. King, but I am pretty sure “I have a dream” wasn’t about Rock’s want to be WWE champion as his three movies are coming out. There are just some things you leave alone. I think that is one of them. I would say in the three weeks of this feud that CM Punk has owned The Rock on the mic. One comes off like an entertainer just playing his hits like Jimmy Buffett. The other comes off as if this is reality.

Think about it. Jimmy Buffett sells out world-wide. He does his usual hits. His fans, “The Parrot Heads”, get wasted and sing along with him. That sounds a lot like The Rock. He does his catch phrases from a decade ago. His “people” chant along with him. No new ground broken, but everyone goes home happy. I mean twinkie tits isn’t really something that the Rock’s writers spent longer than five minutes on.

CM Punk on the other hand sounds like a wrestler. He doesn’t sound like a guy playing a character. He sounds like the same guy who threatened to kick my ass backstage at a TNA Asylum show in 2004 because I unbooked his girlfriend at the time, Traci Brooks, from a show in Northern Michigan to save the promotion money. He sounds real and that stands out in today’s WWE.

His promos have been amazing the last three weeks. He knows all eyes are on him, and win or lose; he is going to leave his mark. I would have to believe the WWE has to be considering keeping the belt on Punk at this point. He is hitting his stride as a hall of fame heel. The stipulation added by Vince McMahon concerning The Shield has me believing they might weasel their way around taking the strap off him without having him get beat.

Speaking of The Shield. How much does the WWE believe in them? WOW. They got to manhandle The Rock. I know it is three on one, but ask 3MB if that really matters. They beat the living snot out of the great one and even left him bleeding. That is huge. All three men are potential main event talents. It looks like their storyline is about to evolve at the Royal Rumble. I for one am excited about it.

There will be a Smackdown this Friday, but right now it looks like the WWE is heading into the Rumble with these four matches:

The 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

The Rock vs. CM Punk (c) for the WWE Title

The Big Show vs. Albert Del Rio (c) in a Last Man Standing Match for the World Title

The Rhodes Scholars vs. Team Hell No (c) for the WWE Tag Titles.

I also wouldn’t be shocked to see a Divas match tossed in to add a fifth match. It will probably get announced on Smackdown. I have a feeling it will be a lumberjills match to get all the Divas on TV. Also there might be a pre-show battle royal or elimination match with the low-card talent to earn a last minute spot in the rumble.

I’m going to do a Royal Rumble preview and prediction later this week. Next week is a Raw Roulette show. It should be interesting to see the fallout from the Rumble mixed with all the gimmick matches for that show format. With such a short build time before the Elimination Chamber the WWE shouldn’t be wasting much time to get things established.

Just like Zack Ryder’s push, this Monday Night RAW review is done (notice I didn’t say over).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Monday Night RAW: A Tale of Two Shows

I’m a day late in putting up this review because the one I wrote yesterday was a tad harsher than the show deserved. Sometimes you need to read your own writing and let time take the edge off. Monday Night RAW was hard to judge this week because it was two shows at once. What I mean by this is: What kind of grading scale do you use for this week’s episode?

It was the 20th Anniversary show. If you look at it like that then the show was a miserable failure. Especially when compared to the 1000th show from a few months back. It also was the two weeks out from a major PPV show. If you look at it like that, and compare it to the last few months of RAW, then it was an above average show with lots of good action. There were even a couple of great segments that the WWE could hang their hat on. In the last say 15 episodes of RAW, this was in the top three. Then again that is like saying I’m the hottest guy in the room at a Dungeons & Dragons convention. Not a real lofty goal.

As for being the 20th Anniversary show, it sucked. There was so much build up to this show. It had the hype that this was going to be a big event with tons of surprises. It ended up being mostly a past RAW clip show. No Austin, No HBK, No Undertaker, No DX (of any kind), No Nash, and No real presence of the past besides a few drops in the bucket.

Ric Flair showed up, but he was here a few weeks ago on a not so special show. Mick Foley too, but he was Santa less than a month ago. Jim Ross came in to wrap up the show, but that has happened a ton since Lawler had the heart attack. I would have even liked a Ron Simmons, “DAMN”, but nope.

It’s not my checkbook but you would think the WWE would have planned better for such a big event. They did have a lot of the stars around in July for the 1000th episode. They could have locked down commitments then for this show in January. Also they could have brought back some of the mid-card talent from the past 20 years. I don’t think Vader, Dustin Rhodes, Steve Blackman, Dan Severn, or any of those types of guys were doing much on Monday night.

That’s my gripe with the 20th anniversary angle of the show. Now looking at this week’s RAW as an overall show. It was actually a good show. I think one of their better shows. Maybe not as buzz worthy as last week but a nice follow up.

The whole three hours really paced itself well. It didn’t start out setting the bar too high and it ended with another strong closing 45 minutes. It had a few surprises, and even a title change. Then again if the Divas title changes hands, and nobody cares, does it really count. It also had some head scratch moments, and a weird drunken Ric Flair moment.

The start with Vince, Big Show, and Alberto Del Rio was pretty cookie cutter. It set up their match at Royal Rumble. Vince got to strut around for a bit. There was even a Harlem Globetrotters spot. Not too hot, not too cold. Just a nice way to kick off the show.

The first shock of the show came when Reefer Randy lost clean in the middle of the ring to IC champ Wade Barrett. When Wade didn’t even get an entrance I thought for sure he was going to eat an RKO. Maybe the no entrance was a way to make the surprise win even more shocking. Glad to see the WWE putting a quality win under Barrett’s belt. I’m sure Orton will get his revenge.

I make jokes about the Divas division because lately it hasn’t been good. The amount of empty seats during the arena pan before the match proves that. A lot of people took this match as a chance to grab a beer and a bathroom break. In the end it was a really good match. I don’t know if it was because this was Eve’s last WWE match, but both ladies let it hang out. If the WWE had more lady matches like this one then the division wouldn’t be such a joke.

The real joke is 3MB. They are the new job squad. Just when you think they’ll get some respect by beating Sheamus in a handicapped over the top rope elimination match, they come crashing down with a post-match dismantling by the Super Ginger. The WWE does need good enhancement talent. So I guess that is 3MB. The paychecks must be nice.

The Dr. Shelby segment and the two matches involving Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars were middle of the road. Bryan and Kane are great as a duo. They make me chuckle and they can both go in the ring. The same can be said about Rhodes Scholars. The Dr. Shelby gimmick just fell flat for me. Younger fans find him funny. They also think the Kardashians are good role models. I question their judgment of character.

The booking of the two singles matches between the teams made no sense. The #1 contender got crushed in both matches. Why would I believe Rhodes Scholars has a chance of winning in a tag title match when they both got steamrolled by the champs in singles action? Luckily this feud doesn’t have to sell any tickets for the Royal Rumble.

The better booking would have been wins for both Sandow and Rhodes with outside help from their partner. Then the next week do a reverse matchup with Sandow facing Bryan & Rhodes facing Kane. The first match has another partner cheating finish only to have the second match end in a double DQ brawl between the four gentlemen when Rhodes Scholars tries to cheat for a fourth time. That’s my humble booking opinion.

Now onto “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and his appearance. I’m a HUGE Flair fan. Huge. In the history of this business there hasn’t been a better performer to lace up the boots ever. On the mic, in the ring, and everything place else in between he is the gold standard in pro wrestling. This segment was a train wreck. Flair looked like he was on the tail end of bad bender. Miz did nothing to help control the situation. Sometimes just winging it ends in a crash and burn. This was one of those times.

Antonio Cesaro actually brought the segment back up. His mic work was top notch as always. His little jabs at Flair were great. The end was good because it furthered the Miz feud. I don’t know how I feel about Miz becoming the new “Nature Boy”. It looks like from spoilers that he’ll be using the figure four as a finisher. All in all it was a weird segment, and not in a good way.

That reminds me. The Houston crowd was horrible. I don’t know if it was the growing disappointment in the lack of returning stars, or if they just had no energy, but that crowd sucked. They gave no reaction to any part of the show that didn’t involve pandering to the audience. Ric Flair comes through the curtain and they react like it is the Brooklyn Brawler. Then the end of the show they only get lively for calling Vickie a bitch, yet stick their thumbs up their asses when the champ and Rock get into a pull apart brawl. A crowd can enhance a show and they can ruin one. This crowd really brought the feel of the show down.

I enjoyed the part with Mick Foley and the Shield. I remember the mini-feud between Dean Ambrose and Foley. I was hoping for some mic time between the two. Having Ryback, Sheamus, and Orton come down for the save made sense. The shield is getting stuck in a rut as the WWE tries to tread water with them until after the Royal Rumble. It’s about time to move the group forward with whatever the WWE has planned for them. I personally wouldn’t mind a Free Bird style tag team title run. In fact I’ll take anything that gets the three men wrestling more often as all three are really strong in-ring performers.

Watching Brodus Clay’s entrance and then watching CM Punk’s entrance is a prime example of the gap in talent between the champ and the rest of the WWE roster. Clay looks like a guy playing a character. CM Punk just looks like he is that guy walking through the curtain. He has really blurred the lines between reality and wrestling. It’s refreshing.

On twitter I got into a debate with a couple people about Punk’s value as champ. Most went with him being the lowest rated champ in history as their position. Unless he is wrestling or on TV talking for three hours straight then he can’t be fully responsible for the dip. I would even say if it wasn’t for him being champ and doing everything in his power to keep the WWE name fresh, the ratings would be worse. I’m talking below 2.0 and barely hovering above TNA worse. As I said Monday night, “CM Punk is the life boat on this titanic of a WWE roster”. John Cena is the piece of scrap that the rich chick clings to as Leo sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

The match between Punk and Clay was good. Nothing special. Clay got in more offense than I thought he would. The production team missed Punk taunting the dancers after. It’s a small thing but it was a great moment. The promo after was top notch again. He made beating Brodus sound bigger than it was. He also twisted reality again. I can’t wait to see next week just to see what happens between he and Rock.

The cage match between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler was amazing. I loved it. Sure the end was a little weak. I mean Cena took big move after big move and beats Ziggs with one finisher. It’s super Cena at its finest. Besides that I loved the psychology in the match. AJ had great facials. Big E Langston is a monster. He plays the muscle role perfectly for Dolph. I am really digging the Ziggler circus.

Rumor is the WWE wants to split Langston away from the group. That would be a mistake. They need to add more people to Dolph’s entourage. David Otunga as his legal weasel plus two stooges would be great. More is better in this case, especially when Ziggler gets fully into his World title chase.

Again the match was great. It entertained and was easily the best wrestling on the show. It is the second straight week the WWE delivered a PPV quality match as their main event. I’m almost scared to get my hopes up for three weeks in a row. I’m sure this week will be some convoluted six man. It always is.

The Rock concert is what it is. The Rock does his usual shtick. I laughed. Vickie Guerrero is a great character. The crowd gets to get involved so that perks them up. Dwayne was a little weaker on the mic this week. His singing is karaoke worthy and his promo was shaky, but it did its job. The end pull apart brawl was great but the crowd took a crap on that because it didn’t involve letting them play along. I guess if they could have chanted something during it like calling Vickie a bitch or saying “Si, Si, Si” then they would have been more excited.

The WWE is doing a bang up job in prepping this feud between CM Punk and The Rock. Right now it looks like Rock is going to walk out champ. Even the WWE PR department is tipping the hat that way with their press release about Mania as they tout the rematch of Cena and Rock. I hope they swerve us all.

Next week is the go home show. There is a lot of strong segments that could, and should, take place. The focus will be on Rock and Punk. Ziggler & Cena should be good. Plus I’m looking forward to more Team Hell No, Cesaro, Barrett, and Rhodes Scholars. Also interested in the direction of “New Nature Boy” The Miz. That’s a lot to look forward too, which is a good thing.

The lack of pressure or expectation from this not being a 20th anniversary show should help the overall reception of the product. Then again that may be setting the bar too high as three weeks of quality television from the WWE seems to be a rarity these days. Like watching a good Divas match.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Armchair Booker: Rock + Punk = WrestleMania

(Courtesy of

It’s been a week since the Rock and CM Punk began their collision course for an epic match at one of my favorite pay per views, The Royal Rumble. I’m always a fan of the Rumble match. It isn’t an overused match, and it usually has a lot of different aspects playing at once. Next to WrestleMania this is probably the WWE’s most anticipated event. At least it is for me. This year has even more hype with the longest reigning modern era champion putting his title, and streak, on the line against maybe the most iconic member of the attitude era. Sorry Stone Cold but where’s your billions in box office money?

If you’ve been reading the internet, and I assume you do if you’re reading this, then you’ve read that 99% of the fans expect The Rock to win at the Royal Rumble. Most sites will tell you it’s going to be Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania in a rematch of their bout from last year. On paper that sounds good, but right now John Cena has lost some of his luster. He’s still a top guy but the thought of Rock/Cena II doesn’t have the same pull it did last year. It just doesn’t have the same sizzle that will sell a pay per view like the original match did. Even worse is this one doesn’t have a whole year to build on.

After last Monday’s amazing promo duel on RAW, the WWE needs to rethink their plans. I know they do what they want but there is something to be said about leaving money on the table. Will WrestleMania have a good buy rate with Cena vs. Rock 2? Yes. Let’s face it WrestleMania will have a good buy rate with me vs. a hobo in a wing eating contest. Yet is WrestleMania a success if it is a couple hundred thousand buys less than it could have been? No. That is literally leaving millions of dollars on the table. Unless they are trying to buy a senate seat, the McMahons don’t usually enjoy throwing away millions of dollars. 

The real rematch that should headline WrestleMania is The Rock vs. CM Punk 2. After one night there is more buzz on this matchup than after a whole year of John Cena and The Rock. This isn’t a WrestleMania match. It’s a title bout for a PPV where the matchup is probably second fiddle to the Rumble itself. Right now it looks like the Royal Rumble PPV could be more anticipated than WrestleMania because of two matches. That is saying something about how big Punk vs. Rock is building up to be.

And it should continue to build.

There is nothing new about what is going on between The Rock and CM Punk. It might even be the oldest storyline in professional wrestling. It was old school when Abe Lincoln was lacing up his boots. It is called, “The Baby Face Chase”.

The Baby Face Chase is real basic. Take one super villain champion. Make it so the fans hate him so much they’ll pay to see him get his. Then take one super hero contender. Make it so that on any night the fans believe he’ll beat the villain. Then for a few months keep the villain just a step ahead of the hero as fans continue to fork over money to see each showdown. Finally during the blow off have the hero capture the title and strike down the villain all the fans have been salivating to see get beaten. It’s simple and hundreds of years later it still works. It has kept many a territory in business.

If the WWE goes the easy route, and has The Rock beat CM Punk at the Rumble, then they’ll barely take advantage of this gold mine. They could put it off and save the payoff for the biggest show of the year. Plus why wouldn’t The Rock want his triumphant victory to take place at WrestleMania. Everybody wants their WrestleMania moment. Even Hollywood megastars.

The WWE could even have their cake and eat it too. They could still get Rock vs. Cena 2, just not at WrestleMania. In fact all of this might be the best case scenario for the WWE. I’ll explain.

Having the Rock win the WWE title at the Royal Rumble has many flaws. One is that the WWE champion probably won’t appear on any of the house shows. That hurts the product. The second is that The Rock, a man who makes his living with his face, probably doesn’t want to take part in an Elimination Chamber match. It’s an unnecessary risk. Finally, it is too predictable and that takes some of the excitement out of the win. If I know somebody is supposed to win and if he wins then I’m not jumping out of my seat. If I know somebody is supposed to win and they lose, well then my certainty going down the road is a little less. That leads to big, more genuine, shocking moments.

Since this is an armchair booker article, here is how I’d handle the Rock vs. Punk from now until WrestleMania.

First I’d have the Rumble match before the title bout. It’s that big of a match. Plus when John Cena wins the Royal Rumble it sets the table for people to believe The Rock is walking out champ. Cena is the penciled in opponent for Rock at Mania. Having John Cena win the Rumble makes sense to the smart fans believing that Rock vs. Cena 2 is merely a foregone conclusion. It is the feign before the knockout blow.

In the main event match pull out all the stops between Punk and Rock. These two can have a great match. This could easily be a modern day Steamboat vs. Flair. In the end, after false finish after false finish, it is CM Punk who retains his title. It probably shouldn’t be a clean win, but nothing too cheap. Punk’s last few months have all been tainted victories. An exposed turnbuckle into a school boy with the feet on the ropes goes a long way.

The fans are shocked. The Rock lost. The Villain won, and now CM Punk is closing in on 500 days as champion. In fact if he can stay champ just past WrestleMania he’ll hit that milestone. Just more heat on the fire.

The Rock of course will want a rematch. CM Punk won’t give it to him because who wins one match a year ago, then loses at the PPV the night before, and gets a rematch? The Rock will then try to earn his way into the Elimination Chamber in a qualifying match. It’s The Rock wrestling on FREE TV, which has to boost the ratings.

To help add heat to their feud CM Punk should cost him his qualifier match. It keeps Rock out of the cage, and it keeps him away from Punk until WrestleMania. Both will protect Rock and this feud. This is when Rock goes to plan B.

John Cena is the Royal Rumble winner. He also lost to the Rock last year at Mania. He is the Boy Scout who never backs down from a fight and always is looking for redemption. The Rock wants Punk at Mania and John Cena has the key. Rock challenges Cena at the Elimination Chamber for his WrestleMania Main Event spot. The WWE gets to reap the benefits of Cena vs. Rock 2 and have a logical way for Rock to face Punk again. It also help sell buys for your donut hole PPV. That is having your cake and eating it too. (So many food references, hungry yet?)

Rock beats Cena at the Chamber PPV and Punk survives the cage. Now the two are back in each other’s face. Fans can believe Rock will be beat Punk at Mania, but after the Rumble is anything certain? The chase is in full effect. Punk has his eyes on 500 days. The Rock is set on finally getting the WWE championship he came back for months ago.

The two meet at WrestleMania and after a slew of craziness The Rock finally pins CM Punk. Hell if somehow Bruno Sammartino was being inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame and came down to lay out Punk after his comments on RAW, how big would that be? I don’t care how old Bruno is; he can still deliver a helluva right hook. No matter what, Rock winning at Mania would blow the roof off that joint.

Depending on The Rock’s commitments there are two options. If The Rock is truly done after Mania, then have him retire as champion at the following RAW. It vacates the belt and you do a tournament to crown a new champ. If he sticks around for one more PPV, you can do Rock vs. Cena 3 with John finally getting the win against the Rock after two losses. Both ideas will do good business for the Backlash PPV.

That is how the WWE should be booking their biggest feud for the next few months. It protects all the parties involved. It makes the most money at the four upcoming pay per views. It delivers the better matchup for the biggest show of the year. All things that the WWE should be striving to do.

Now we get to tune into the Royal Rumble and see if the WWE does the smart thing. Until then I’ll do the smart thing and not hold my breath.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Monday Night RAW: Bring It!

If you’ve followed this site then you know the past three months have been a roller coaster ride without a safety bar. From the end of October until a few weeks ago I have dealt with the sudden diagnosis of my mom’s lung cancer. After treatments were less than successful, she has been downgraded to Stage 4 Terminal Lung Cancer. In December we decided to check her into hospice to make her transition from this world to the next as comfortable as possible. Nothing makes you grow up faster than helping plan your mom’s end of life details. She decided to donate her body to science. I think that is pretty cool. When my time comes I want a Viking funeral. Flaming floating boat and all.

Life is about balance. Dealing with my mom has been the lowest of the low. On December 24th my son was born five weeks early. That was the proudest moment of my time on this spinning rock. Having him in my life has been the highest of the highs. 2012 has truly been a roller coaster. With 2013 here I’m ready to ride the tea cups for a bit.

This Monday I sat on the couch with the little man and introduced him to pro wrestling. I hadn’t watched RAW in a few weeks. Mostly because holiday shows are wastes of my time. I started watching the BCS title game but Alabama turned that into a squash match early. Notre Dame looked like the Brooklyn Brawler of college football. I was waiting for the Crimson Tide to drop the leg. By 9:30 I flipped over to my DVR.

Monday Night RAW was really good this week. The last hour might have been the best television the WWE has produced in years. I want to really focus on that but here are a few notes from the rest of the show.

John Cena opening the show and not hogging the entire three hours helped the overall product. Not being in the main event picture suits him right now. I’m not saying John boy should never ride high again but he has really burned out the audience at this point. Helping guys like Ziggler get over is the perfect role for 2013 John Cena.

Speaking of Ziggler. I enjoy this new persona for him. Having AJ and Big E in his corner is perfect. He actually needs one or two stooges too. Like a Stevie Richards or Patterson/Briscoe. It would finish off the Ziggler Circus. I think this is Zigs year. AJ not being the focus of a storyline but a role player helps her too. She can’t carry a feud but she can sure spice it up. Big E plays his role to a T… a Mr. T.

I could write an entire article on Antonio Cesaro. He has put the US title back on the map. I actually care about it. He is great in the ring, and if you have a chance find his promo from last week’s WWE Main Event. Great stuff. How amazing was it when he picked up Khali for his finisher? I think a feud between he and Miz will be really good. I hope they keep the strap on him for a while. He is a future main eventer and will sell a lot of tickets for the WWE. Also got my fingers crossed that this Anti-USA thing is leading to a feud with John Cena. It could do wonders for both men.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Team Hell No. Just as Cesaro has resurrected the US title, Kane and Bryan have made the WWE tag titles relevant again. Their shtick makes me laugh. Yeah it’s childish but then again we’re watching grown men in tights grab each other. The crowd loves them and both men can have great matches with any talent on the roster. The tag division is heating up with a number of teams coming into their own.

Also Cody Rhodes has an amazing mustache. It is 70’s porn worthy.

Wade Barrett makes for a good IC champ. He is physical and has a great look. The WWE has to handle his run correctly. I still don’t think he has the tools to have a great match with anyone like an Antonio Cesaro. He’ll have to be paired with some good talents like a returning Christian or Rey Mysterio to help him make this a memorable IC title reign.

The show wasn’t perfect. The Divas division is in shambles. Nothing good can be said about it. Whose cereal did Kofi crap in? Big Show destroyed him and any credibility he had. Same goes for 3MB. I guess the WWE needs good jobbers. These weren’t big chunks of the show and more like breathers between the really good action.

Now onto that last hour … WOW!

I have so much more respect for Ryback. I still don’t like the “Feed Me More” thing but this feud with CM Punk has helped him grow. It is going to be important for the WWE to pair him with good talent beyond this feud. The TLC match between Punk and Ryback was PPV main event quality. It was brutal with new inventive spots. The two ladder bumps and the table bump that Punk took were insane. There is a reason he is the best in the world.

They told a great story and the end was good to keep Ryback strong, move him into a true feud with The Shield, and transition CM Punk into his match up with The Rock. Anyone who thought it was going to be Ryback vs. Rock at the Royal Rumble probably sends money to Nigerian Princes looking to share their fortune. As far as plunder matches like TLC go, this was one that should be studied by workers for years.

The last 40 minutes with CM Punk and The Rock was simply amazing. Jim Ross wrote that people shouldn’t look for a winner and he is right. These two were like Apollo and Rocky. They just kept tossing haymaker after haymaker at each other. Sometimes The Rock comes off a little campy but that is his character. If anyone else said Cookiepuss then I’d shake my head and groan.

CM Punk came out and cut probably the best promo in wrestling I’ve ever seen. He wove truth with twisted reality. He called out the fans and the WWE for being the problem with the product. It’s true that T-shirt sales are more important that actual ability. Fans have lost the want to watch wrestling and instead desire to be part of the show. I think it has gotten so bad that guys like Bret Hart or Chris Benoit wouldn’t have a chance in the current WWE. Not unless they are willing to show their ass on a regular basis. The reason for this … The Rock.

Guys like him with 90 catch phrases, who spend half their time trying to get the audience to chant whatever, are what ruined true wrestling. The Rock is what turned Pro Wrestling into Sports Entertainment. I love The Rock. I think he is a gifted performer. He has amazing charisma. Yet CM Punk is dead on when he points out that because of people like The Rock that true talent is buried unless they get out there and shuck n’ jive for the masses.

When the two finally went face to face I was sold. They didn’t have to say a word and I was ready to plop down $54.95 for the Royal Rumble in HD. Then they spoke and I was ready to order it twice. The Rock did his usual antics and CM Punk stuck to his guns.

Most people when faced with The Rock act over the top at all of his lines. If you could oversell an insult then it usually happens when facing off with The Rock in a promo. CM Punk didn’t do this. He shouldn’t. It doesn’t fit him. He took it all with a smirk on his face. He let the world know that it’s all a bunch of hot air and at the end of the day he is the WWE champ.

CM Punk finally did what a WWE champ or any active WWE superstar should do when faced with a part time talent. He let The Rock know in that ring he’s going to destroy him. Sure it’s a line from a Kid Rock song but when CM Punk said, “You’re arms are too short to box with God”, I leapt out of my chair. This is how pro wrestling is supposed to be.

Later this week I’ll be doing an Arm Chair Booker for this feud. I believe that the WWE needs to scrap any plans for Cena vs. Rock at WrestleMania and get these two into a real storyline for the next three months. The payoff will be huge. I’m talking Hogan vs. Andre huge. I’ll go more into detail in my Arm Chair Booker article. Look for it in a few days.

I’m geeked for more wrestling. Monday can’t come fast enough. The Rumble feels like it is a million days away and I want it to happen now. I haven’t felt this way about a PPV in years. Probably since the first ECW One Night Stand. In honor of that PPV I’m going with this war cry leading into the Royal Rumble, “If Rock Wins We Riot!”.

All I know is that The Rock and CM Punk for an hour on Monday Night did one thing … They Brought It!