Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott? Can’t help but notice that at most, Sheamus’ match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can’t help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the “Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania” deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand’s title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge’s match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton’s main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner’s match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much. I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What’s your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it.  Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing. 

Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott? Can’t help but notice that at most, Sheamus’ match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can’t help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the “Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania” deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand’s title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge’s match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton’s main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner’s match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much. I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What’s your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it.  Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing. 

Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott? Can’t help but notice that at most, Sheamus’ match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can’t help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the “Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania” deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand’s title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge’s match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton’s main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner’s match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much. I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What’s your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it.  Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing. 

Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott? Can’t help but notice that at most, Sheamus’ match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can’t help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the “Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania” deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand’s title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge’s match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton’s main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner’s match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much. I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What’s your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it.  Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing. 

Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott? Can’t help but notice that at most, Sheamus’ match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can’t help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the “Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania” deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand’s title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge’s match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton’s main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner’s match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much. I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What’s your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it.  Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing. 

Decline of the Rumble

How you doing, Scott? Can’t help but notice that at most, Sheamus’ match against Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania will be the fourth in importance after Rock vs. Cena, Undertaker vs. Triple H, and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Also can’t help but notice that there has been a decline in the way the Royal Rumble winner is positioned at Wrestlemania. When they started having the “Royal Rumble winner gets a title shot Wrestlemania” deal, the winner of the Royal Rumble would main event Wrestlemania. His match would be the most important one on the card, if not the one that actually closed it. Things like LT vs. Bam Bam in 1995, Undertaker vs. Sid in 1997, and Austin getting into the main event despite losing the Rumble in 1999 were exceptions to the rule that the Royal Rumble winner would main event Wrestlemania. But increasingly, the Royal Rumble winner not main eventing Wrestlemania or even having his match established as the most important one on the card. Rey Mysterio and Undertaker had their title matches play second fiddle to the other brand’s title matches in 2006 and 2007, Cena used his title shot at No Way Out in 2008, Edge’s match was third in line after Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn II in 2010, and Del Rio jerked the curtain last year. Orton’s main event against Triple H was the exception rather than the rule in 2009. I can see the Royal Rumble winner’s match dropping to second fiddle at most, but sliding to third in line, curtain jerker, and fourth in importance is a bit much. I guess my question to you and the folks at the blog of doom is what do you all make of this? What’s your explanation of it? Is it a positive/negative trend?

Definitely a negative trend.  Like really, has there been a Rumble winner in recent years who wasn’t even BOOKED on the February PPV?  Luckily for them, people still believe in the Rumble concept enough to keep the show from bombing ala Hell in the Cell, but really winning the Rumble has become a lot of work for little reward.  Especially when there’s title shots available so many other ways.  Del Rio’s win basically did nothing for him, as they had to waste MITB on him as well to get him the belt, and as noted John Cena didn’t even bother to cash in his shot at Wrestlemania the year he won it!  And don’t forget that Mysterio actually lost his shot to Orton in 2006 and only got back into the match via booking twist.  Plus it kind of detracts from the drama of the Rumble when you know there’s only certain people who can win it.  Plus I wouldn’t hold your breath at the prospect of Sheamus winning the belt this year.  Seems pretty clearly set up to stick Orton in there as a three-way and have him win it instead.  Frankly the Sheamus win makes less and less sense with every show where he does nothing. 

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Booker TWWE World title: CM Punk v. Kofi Kingston v. The Miz v. R-Truth v. Dolph Ziggler v. Chris Jericho Weird that they’re starting with this one. Kofi and Punk are your first entrants, and I bet you don’t even remember when they were tag champions. Obviously Punk has gotten the better of that one since then. Nice opening sequence with a bunch of pinfall reversals, but Punk takes over on the grating outside with some good bumping by Kofi. Dolph Ziggler is the next guy in. He gets a fameasser off the cage in a nice idea for a spot with a camera angle where you could a foot of space between them. Another cool spot sees Kofi and Punk both trying springboards, which leads to a mid-air collision ala Looney Tunes cartoons. I’m kind of shocked that no one has thought of that sequence before. R-Truth is next into the match and Punk quickly cleans house on him and eliminates him with the flying elbow, after a little “fuck you” to Jericho. A PG one, of course. More tremendous bumping from Kingston and Ziggler, as Kofi does a Spider-Man dive off the cage and DDTs Dolph on the steel. Miz is the fifth guy and he destroys everyone as Ziggler keeps bumping like Mr. Perfect on even more drugs. Miz and Punk mistime thestart of their big sequence but then pull it off OK. Jericho saves Miz from the Anaconda Vice and the crowd treats Punk v. Jericho like a bigtime feud. Great bunch of near-falls ends with Jericho hitting the Codebreaker on Ziggler to get rid of him. Then he hides from Punk in his pod like a champion coward. He uses that to sucker Punk in for a beatdown while Miz and Kofi just lay around like corpses. Thankfully they recover so that Jericho and Punk can lay around. Kofi earns his pay with a high cross from the pod and then walks into the Walls of Jericho to end his night. And it was the awesome old school Walls too, not the lame WWE boston crab version. Jericho beats on Kofi all the way out of the cage, but turns around and eats a high kick from Punk to exit, so the referees declare him unable to continue. So the match screeches to a halt, and we’re left with the most anticlimactic final two with Punk and Miz. So Punk finishes Miz off after a perfunctory near-fall by Miz, and retains with the GTS at 32:39. Some cool spots, but way too much inaction between them. I will say that Punk was really booked and treated like a true tippy top guy here. ***1/4 Speaking of tippy top guys, it’s yet another goddamned John Cena video package on PPV. He likes to lift weights and lets the developmental guys use his gym. Because he’s just a regular guy, you know. I should note that Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins and Xavier “Consequences Creed” Woods pop up as talking heads here, which is a pretty inauspicious way to make your WWE debut. Divas title: Beth Phoenix v. Tamina Snuka, Daughter of Jimmy Snuka Despite the announcers saying about 10 times that TAMINA IS THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA before the match even starts, she still gets no reaction. Tamina makes an early attempt at the flying splash and gets dumped as a result. Someone should edit together all the mentions of Tamina being THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA and put it on Youtube. Beth puts Tamina in a dragon sleeper, giving us an unflattering view of her love handles. After another 14 mentions of Tamina’s father, Beth blocks the flying splash with a superplex. And yet Tamina KEEPS TRYING IT because she’s literally got one move she can do. So she hits it on the third attempt and only gets two, then goes up and tries it a FOURTH time, before coming down and walking into the Glam Slam. Way, way, WAY longer than it should have been. Tamina’s got nothing to offer and got completely exposed by going longer than the minute she has been. * Big Johnny comes out for his big announcement, but before he can stumble over his words and deliver it, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. For some reason he really dislikes Teddy Long and thinks Johnny should be GM for both shows. This also brings out Mark Henry and where’s the fucking wrestling? Christian also returns, now with beard, and he’s also on Team Ace. And that’s the segment. I’m paying $55 for this bullshit? And that’s their big idea for the returns of ADR and Christian? World title: Daniel Bryan v. Big Show v. Santino v. Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes v. Wade Barrett Astonishingly, no one jumps Santino and takes his spot. Hopefully all the comedy segments with him tonight will motivate him to have a good match. It’s Show and Barrett to start and that’s as boring as you’d expect. Maybe moreso. The crowd is even meaner than me, shitting on the match with “boring” chants as they just do a normal Big Show match in what’s supposed to be this brutal cage. Cody Rhodes is next as the announcers talk about what a loser Show is when it comes to Wrestlemania. Boy, that’s a hell of a way to get someone over. So Barrett takes out Show’s leg and now we get the thrill of Big Show selling a leg hold in SATAN’S PRISON. Barrett dominates both guys and Santino is up next. He does his usual sequence of stuff on Barrett and then gets destroyed by Big Show. This thing is just going nowhere. The heels manage a suplex on Show outside. More announcing annoyance as they wonder if he can be rolled back in and pinned, but you don’t HAVE to pin someone in the ring. The crowd starts chanting for “boring” again, the only person in the match getting any heat. Khali is next one in and beats up on everyone, but Show spears and pins him. Why even book Khali in the match? And then the match grinds even more to a halt as Show stares down Bryan while everyone else obliges by doing nothing. Show is so ANGRY that he breaks the chains on top of the pod, when really this takes so long that he could just wait for Bryan to enter the match legally. Show beating up on Bryan FINALLY gets a reaction from the crowd, and D-Bry gets tossed through the pod. Like, everyone else was literally just lying there for FIVE MINUTES while they did that spot. Show kills Bryan and chokeslams him, but Barrett saves. Finally it picks up with Rhodes getting a pair of disasters and a DDT on Show to eliminate him. The crowd really, REALLY hates that one. Santino rolls up Cody to get rid of him. Barrett beats on Santino on the cage and leaves him for dead, then powerbombs Bryan into the cage for an awesome visual. He slams the pod door on Bryan’s head for two, and Santino stupidly keeps fighting. Barrett destroys him again, but walks into a flying knee from Bryan. They head up and Santino saves Bryan, but can’t get his own superplex. Wade misses a flying elbow and Bryan gets a flying headbutt to allow Santino to eliminate Barrett. Well this is a pretty obvious finish coming up. Bryan literally kicks the hell out of him for two, but misses the diving headbutt. Santino unleashes the Cobra, but only gets two, and the Lebell Lock finishes to give Bryan the win. The heat for Santino was off the charts at the end, which is the real miracle considering how crappy the match started. ***1/2 Really, only the last 10 minutes or so were any good, but it was a hell of a finish. Sheamus comes out and lays out Bryan with an Emerald Frozen, but sadly does not point at the Wrestlemania sign. And then FARTING NATALYA makes the PPV, as Hornswoggle triggers a confrontation between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. Over cheese. US title: Jack Swagger v. Justin Gabriel Hey, finally Swagger defends the title, only a month after winning it. Swagger dominates and gets a powerbomb and pump splash, but Gabriel comes back with some high flying stuff. Swagger clips him and finishes clean with the anklelock to retain. This was fine as time filler. *1/2 Ambulance match: John Cena v. Kane They do some brawling to the ambulance before it turns into the usual Cena v. Kane match in the ring, which leads to Kane getting the SMOTHER CLAW OF DEATH to put Cena out. He actually pulls a wheelchair from under the ring and wheels Cena up the aisle, and back to the ambulance they go. Cena actually puts Kane into the wheelchair and rolls him into a table in the most absurd spot thus far, as Kane actually has to hold up his feet to allow it to happen. The long silly brawl continues through the crowd and back to ringside, and Cena arranges the furniture. Sadly, he doesn’t embrace the hate fast enough, and Kane chokeslams him through the Spanish announce table. Kane has to then retrieve a gurney and roll Cena all the way back to the ambulance, but after all that Cena comes back again and escapes. He goes on top of the ambulance and Kane follows like a moron, allowing Cena to hit the FU off the roof and onto a crash pad below. That’s weak sauce. I would have gone with the gimmicked roof and had him put Kane right through for the win. Like you don’t even SEE THE BUMP! Plus Cena doesn’t even drive the ambulance off, someone else does. Cena is so happy that he gives us a CELEBRATORY POINT to the sign. So no Eve or Ryder, just an ending. Sometimes that’s enough, I guess. **1/4 I’d call it a decent show that I didn’t feel ripped off for buying, but man was the filler and lack of depth evident tonight. Thumbs in the middle, total placeholder show that you’re fine not going out of your way to see.

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Booker TWWE World title: CM Punk v. Kofi Kingston v. The Miz v. R-Truth v. Dolph Ziggler v. Chris Jericho Weird that they’re starting with this one. Kofi and Punk are your first entrants, and I bet you don’t even remember when they were tag champions. Obviously Punk has gotten the better of that one since then. Nice opening sequence with a bunch of pinfall reversals, but Punk takes over on the grating outside with some good bumping by Kofi. Dolph Ziggler is the next guy in. He gets a fameasser off the cage in a nice idea for a spot with a camera angle where you could a foot of space between them. Another cool spot sees Kofi and Punk both trying springboards, which leads to a mid-air collision ala Looney Tunes cartoons. I’m kind of shocked that no one has thought of that sequence before. R-Truth is next into the match and Punk quickly cleans house on him and eliminates him with the flying elbow, after a little “fuck you” to Jericho. A PG one, of course. More tremendous bumping from Kingston and Ziggler, as Kofi does a Spider-Man dive off the cage and DDTs Dolph on the steel. Miz is the fifth guy and he destroys everyone as Ziggler keeps bumping like Mr. Perfect on even more drugs. Miz and Punk mistime thestart of their big sequence but then pull it off OK. Jericho saves Miz from the Anaconda Vice and the crowd treats Punk v. Jericho like a bigtime feud. Great bunch of near-falls ends with Jericho hitting the Codebreaker on Ziggler to get rid of him. Then he hides from Punk in his pod like a champion coward. He uses that to sucker Punk in for a beatdown while Miz and Kofi just lay around like corpses. Thankfully they recover so that Jericho and Punk can lay around. Kofi earns his pay with a high cross from the pod and then walks into the Walls of Jericho to end his night. And it was the awesome old school Walls too, not the lame WWE boston crab version. Jericho beats on Kofi all the way out of the cage, but turns around and eats a high kick from Punk to exit, so the referees declare him unable to continue. So the match screeches to a halt, and we’re left with the most anticlimactic final two with Punk and Miz. So Punk finishes Miz off after a perfunctory near-fall by Miz, and retains with the GTS at 32:39. Some cool spots, but way too much inaction between them. I will say that Punk was really booked and treated like a true tippy top guy here. ***1/4 Speaking of tippy top guys, it’s yet another goddamned John Cena video package on PPV. He likes to lift weights and lets the developmental guys use his gym. Because he’s just a regular guy, you know. I should note that Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins and Xavier “Consequences Creed” Woods pop up as talking heads here, which is a pretty inauspicious way to make your WWE debut. Divas title: Beth Phoenix v. Tamina Snuka, Daughter of Jimmy Snuka Despite the announcers saying about 10 times that TAMINA IS THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA before the match even starts, she still gets no reaction. Tamina makes an early attempt at the flying splash and gets dumped as a result. Someone should edit together all the mentions of Tamina being THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA and put it on Youtube. Beth puts Tamina in a dragon sleeper, giving us an unflattering view of her love handles. After another 14 mentions of Tamina’s father, Beth blocks the flying splash with a superplex. And yet Tamina KEEPS TRYING IT because she’s literally got one move she can do. So she hits it on the third attempt and only gets two, then goes up and tries it a FOURTH time, before coming down and walking into the Glam Slam. Way, way, WAY longer than it should have been. Tamina’s got nothing to offer and got completely exposed by going longer than the minute she has been. * Big Johnny comes out for his big announcement, but before he can stumble over his words and deliver it, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. For some reason he really dislikes Teddy Long and thinks Johnny should be GM for both shows. This also brings out Mark Henry and where’s the fucking wrestling? Christian also returns, now with beard, and he’s also on Team Ace. And that’s the segment. I’m paying $55 for this bullshit? And that’s their big idea for the returns of ADR and Christian? World title: Daniel Bryan v. Big Show v. Santino v. Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes v. Wade Barrett Astonishingly, no one jumps Santino and takes his spot. Hopefully all the comedy segments with him tonight will motivate him to have a good match. It’s Show and Barrett to start and that’s as boring as you’d expect. Maybe moreso. The crowd is even meaner than me, shitting on the match with “boring” chants as they just do a normal Big Show match in what’s supposed to be this brutal cage. Cody Rhodes is next as the announcers talk about what a loser Show is when it comes to Wrestlemania. Boy, that’s a hell of a way to get someone over. So Barrett takes out Show’s leg and now we get the thrill of Big Show selling a leg hold in SATAN’S PRISON. Barrett dominates both guys and Santino is up next. He does his usual sequence of stuff on Barrett and then gets destroyed by Big Show. This thing is just going nowhere. The heels manage a suplex on Show outside. More announcing annoyance as they wonder if he can be rolled back in and pinned, but you don’t HAVE to pin someone in the ring. The crowd starts chanting for “boring” again, the only person in the match getting any heat. Khali is next one in and beats up on everyone, but Show spears and pins him. Why even book Khali in the match? And then the match grinds even more to a halt as Show stares down Bryan while everyone else obliges by doing nothing. Show is so ANGRY that he breaks the chains on top of the pod, when really this takes so long that he could just wait for Bryan to enter the match legally. Show beating up on Bryan FINALLY gets a reaction from the crowd, and D-Bry gets tossed through the pod. Like, everyone else was literally just lying there for FIVE MINUTES while they did that spot. Show kills Bryan and chokeslams him, but Barrett saves. Finally it picks up with Rhodes getting a pair of disasters and a DDT on Show to eliminate him. The crowd really, REALLY hates that one. Santino rolls up Cody to get rid of him. Barrett beats on Santino on the cage and leaves him for dead, then powerbombs Bryan into the cage for an awesome visual. He slams the pod door on Bryan’s head for two, and Santino stupidly keeps fighting. Barrett destroys him again, but walks into a flying knee from Bryan. They head up and Santino saves Bryan, but can’t get his own superplex. Wade misses a flying elbow and Bryan gets a flying headbutt to allow Santino to eliminate Barrett. Well this is a pretty obvious finish coming up. Bryan literally kicks the hell out of him for two, but misses the diving headbutt. Santino unleashes the Cobra, but only gets two, and the Lebell Lock finishes to give Bryan the win. The heat for Santino was off the charts at the end, which is the real miracle considering how crappy the match started. ***1/2 Really, only the last 10 minutes or so were any good, but it was a hell of a finish. Sheamus comes out and lays out Bryan with an Emerald Frozen, but sadly does not point at the Wrestlemania sign. And then FARTING NATALYA makes the PPV, as Hornswoggle triggers a confrontation between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. Over cheese. US title: Jack Swagger v. Justin Gabriel Hey, finally Swagger defends the title, only a month after winning it. Swagger dominates and gets a powerbomb and pump splash, but Gabriel comes back with some high flying stuff. Swagger clips him and finishes clean with the anklelock to retain. This was fine as time filler. *1/2 Ambulance match: John Cena v. Kane They do some brawling to the ambulance before it turns into the usual Cena v. Kane match in the ring, which leads to Kane getting the SMOTHER CLAW OF DEATH to put Cena out. He actually pulls a wheelchair from under the ring and wheels Cena up the aisle, and back to the ambulance they go. Cena actually puts Kane into the wheelchair and rolls him into a table in the most absurd spot thus far, as Kane actually has to hold up his feet to allow it to happen. The long silly brawl continues through the crowd and back to ringside, and Cena arranges the furniture. Sadly, he doesn’t embrace the hate fast enough, and Kane chokeslams him through the Spanish announce table. Kane has to then retrieve a gurney and roll Cena all the way back to the ambulance, but after all that Cena comes back again and escapes. He goes on top of the ambulance and Kane follows like a moron, allowing Cena to hit the FU off the roof and onto a crash pad below. That’s weak sauce. I would have gone with the gimmicked roof and had him put Kane right through for the win. Like you don’t even SEE THE BUMP! Plus Cena doesn’t even drive the ambulance off, someone else does. Cena is so happy that he gives us a CELEBRATORY POINT to the sign. So no Eve or Ryder, just an ending. Sometimes that’s enough, I guess. **1/4 I’d call it a decent show that I didn’t feel ripped off for buying, but man was the filler and lack of depth evident tonight. Thumbs in the middle, total placeholder show that you’re fine not going out of your way to see.

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Booker TWWE World title: CM Punk v. Kofi Kingston v. The Miz v. R-Truth v. Dolph Ziggler v. Chris Jericho Weird that they’re starting with this one. Kofi and Punk are your first entrants, and I bet you don’t even remember when they were tag champions. Obviously Punk has gotten the better of that one since then. Nice opening sequence with a bunch of pinfall reversals, but Punk takes over on the grating outside with some good bumping by Kofi. Dolph Ziggler is the next guy in. He gets a fameasser off the cage in a nice idea for a spot with a camera angle where you could a foot of space between them. Another cool spot sees Kofi and Punk both trying springboards, which leads to a mid-air collision ala Looney Tunes cartoons. I’m kind of shocked that no one has thought of that sequence before. R-Truth is next into the match and Punk quickly cleans house on him and eliminates him with the flying elbow, after a little “fuck you” to Jericho. A PG one, of course. More tremendous bumping from Kingston and Ziggler, as Kofi does a Spider-Man dive off the cage and DDTs Dolph on the steel. Miz is the fifth guy and he destroys everyone as Ziggler keeps bumping like Mr. Perfect on even more drugs. Miz and Punk mistime thestart of their big sequence but then pull it off OK. Jericho saves Miz from the Anaconda Vice and the crowd treats Punk v. Jericho like a bigtime feud. Great bunch of near-falls ends with Jericho hitting the Codebreaker on Ziggler to get rid of him. Then he hides from Punk in his pod like a champion coward. He uses that to sucker Punk in for a beatdown while Miz and Kofi just lay around like corpses. Thankfully they recover so that Jericho and Punk can lay around. Kofi earns his pay with a high cross from the pod and then walks into the Walls of Jericho to end his night. And it was the awesome old school Walls too, not the lame WWE boston crab version. Jericho beats on Kofi all the way out of the cage, but turns around and eats a high kick from Punk to exit, so the referees declare him unable to continue. So the match screeches to a halt, and we’re left with the most anticlimactic final two with Punk and Miz. So Punk finishes Miz off after a perfunctory near-fall by Miz, and retains with the GTS at 32:39. Some cool spots, but way too much inaction between them. I will say that Punk was really booked and treated like a true tippy top guy here. ***1/4 Speaking of tippy top guys, it’s yet another goddamned John Cena video package on PPV. He likes to lift weights and lets the developmental guys use his gym. Because he’s just a regular guy, you know. I should note that Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins and Xavier “Consequences Creed” Woods pop up as talking heads here, which is a pretty inauspicious way to make your WWE debut. Divas title: Beth Phoenix v. Tamina Snuka, Daughter of Jimmy Snuka Despite the announcers saying about 10 times that TAMINA IS THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA before the match even starts, she still gets no reaction. Tamina makes an early attempt at the flying splash and gets dumped as a result. Someone should edit together all the mentions of Tamina being THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA and put it on Youtube. Beth puts Tamina in a dragon sleeper, giving us an unflattering view of her love handles. After another 14 mentions of Tamina’s father, Beth blocks the flying splash with a superplex. And yet Tamina KEEPS TRYING IT because she’s literally got one move she can do. So she hits it on the third attempt and only gets two, then goes up and tries it a FOURTH time, before coming down and walking into the Glam Slam. Way, way, WAY longer than it should have been. Tamina’s got nothing to offer and got completely exposed by going longer than the minute she has been. * Big Johnny comes out for his big announcement, but before he can stumble over his words and deliver it, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. For some reason he really dislikes Teddy Long and thinks Johnny should be GM for both shows. This also brings out Mark Henry and where’s the fucking wrestling? Christian also returns, now with beard, and he’s also on Team Ace. And that’s the segment. I’m paying $55 for this bullshit? And that’s their big idea for the returns of ADR and Christian? World title: Daniel Bryan v. Big Show v. Santino v. Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes v. Wade Barrett Astonishingly, no one jumps Santino and takes his spot. Hopefully all the comedy segments with him tonight will motivate him to have a good match. It’s Show and Barrett to start and that’s as boring as you’d expect. Maybe moreso. The crowd is even meaner than me, shitting on the match with “boring” chants as they just do a normal Big Show match in what’s supposed to be this brutal cage. Cody Rhodes is next as the announcers talk about what a loser Show is when it comes to Wrestlemania. Boy, that’s a hell of a way to get someone over. So Barrett takes out Show’s leg and now we get the thrill of Big Show selling a leg hold in SATAN’S PRISON. Barrett dominates both guys and Santino is up next. He does his usual sequence of stuff on Barrett and then gets destroyed by Big Show. This thing is just going nowhere. The heels manage a suplex on Show outside. More announcing annoyance as they wonder if he can be rolled back in and pinned, but you don’t HAVE to pin someone in the ring. The crowd starts chanting for “boring” again, the only person in the match getting any heat. Khali is next one in and beats up on everyone, but Show spears and pins him. Why even book Khali in the match? And then the match grinds even more to a halt as Show stares down Bryan while everyone else obliges by doing nothing. Show is so ANGRY that he breaks the chains on top of the pod, when really this takes so long that he could just wait for Bryan to enter the match legally. Show beating up on Bryan FINALLY gets a reaction from the crowd, and D-Bry gets tossed through the pod. Like, everyone else was literally just lying there for FIVE MINUTES while they did that spot. Show kills Bryan and chokeslams him, but Barrett saves. Finally it picks up with Rhodes getting a pair of disasters and a DDT on Show to eliminate him. The crowd really, REALLY hates that one. Santino rolls up Cody to get rid of him. Barrett beats on Santino on the cage and leaves him for dead, then powerbombs Bryan into the cage for an awesome visual. He slams the pod door on Bryan’s head for two, and Santino stupidly keeps fighting. Barrett destroys him again, but walks into a flying knee from Bryan. They head up and Santino saves Bryan, but can’t get his own superplex. Wade misses a flying elbow and Bryan gets a flying headbutt to allow Santino to eliminate Barrett. Well this is a pretty obvious finish coming up. Bryan literally kicks the hell out of him for two, but misses the diving headbutt. Santino unleashes the Cobra, but only gets two, and the Lebell Lock finishes to give Bryan the win. The heat for Santino was off the charts at the end, which is the real miracle considering how crappy the match started. ***1/2 Really, only the last 10 minutes or so were any good, but it was a hell of a finish. Sheamus comes out and lays out Bryan with an Emerald Frozen, but sadly does not point at the Wrestlemania sign. And then FARTING NATALYA makes the PPV, as Hornswoggle triggers a confrontation between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. Over cheese. US title: Jack Swagger v. Justin Gabriel Hey, finally Swagger defends the title, only a month after winning it. Swagger dominates and gets a powerbomb and pump splash, but Gabriel comes back with some high flying stuff. Swagger clips him and finishes clean with the anklelock to retain. This was fine as time filler. *1/2 Ambulance match: John Cena v. Kane They do some brawling to the ambulance before it turns into the usual Cena v. Kane match in the ring, which leads to Kane getting the SMOTHER CLAW OF DEATH to put Cena out. He actually pulls a wheelchair from under the ring and wheels Cena up the aisle, and back to the ambulance they go. Cena actually puts Kane into the wheelchair and rolls him into a table in the most absurd spot thus far, as Kane actually has to hold up his feet to allow it to happen. The long silly brawl continues through the crowd and back to ringside, and Cena arranges the furniture. Sadly, he doesn’t embrace the hate fast enough, and Kane chokeslams him through the Spanish announce table. Kane has to then retrieve a gurney and roll Cena all the way back to the ambulance, but after all that Cena comes back again and escapes. He goes on top of the ambulance and Kane follows like a moron, allowing Cena to hit the FU off the roof and onto a crash pad below. That’s weak sauce. I would have gone with the gimmicked roof and had him put Kane right through for the win. Like you don’t even SEE THE BUMP! Plus Cena doesn’t even drive the ambulance off, someone else does. Cena is so happy that he gives us a CELEBRATORY POINT to the sign. So no Eve or Ryder, just an ending. Sometimes that’s enough, I guess. **1/4 I’d call it a decent show that I didn’t feel ripped off for buying, but man was the filler and lack of depth evident tonight. Thumbs in the middle, total placeholder show that you’re fine not going out of your way to see.

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Booker TWWE World title: CM Punk v. Kofi Kingston v. The Miz v. R-Truth v. Dolph Ziggler v. Chris Jericho Weird that they’re starting with this one. Kofi and Punk are your first entrants, and I bet you don’t even remember when they were tag champions. Obviously Punk has gotten the better of that one since then. Nice opening sequence with a bunch of pinfall reversals, but Punk takes over on the grating outside with some good bumping by Kofi. Dolph Ziggler is the next guy in. He gets a fameasser off the cage in a nice idea for a spot with a camera angle where you could a foot of space between them. Another cool spot sees Kofi and Punk both trying springboards, which leads to a mid-air collision ala Looney Tunes cartoons. I’m kind of shocked that no one has thought of that sequence before. R-Truth is next into the match and Punk quickly cleans house on him and eliminates him with the flying elbow, after a little “fuck you” to Jericho. A PG one, of course. More tremendous bumping from Kingston and Ziggler, as Kofi does a Spider-Man dive off the cage and DDTs Dolph on the steel. Miz is the fifth guy and he destroys everyone as Ziggler keeps bumping like Mr. Perfect on even more drugs. Miz and Punk mistime thestart of their big sequence but then pull it off OK. Jericho saves Miz from the Anaconda Vice and the crowd treats Punk v. Jericho like a bigtime feud. Great bunch of near-falls ends with Jericho hitting the Codebreaker on Ziggler to get rid of him. Then he hides from Punk in his pod like a champion coward. He uses that to sucker Punk in for a beatdown while Miz and Kofi just lay around like corpses. Thankfully they recover so that Jericho and Punk can lay around. Kofi earns his pay with a high cross from the pod and then walks into the Walls of Jericho to end his night. And it was the awesome old school Walls too, not the lame WWE boston crab version. Jericho beats on Kofi all the way out of the cage, but turns around and eats a high kick from Punk to exit, so the referees declare him unable to continue. So the match screeches to a halt, and we’re left with the most anticlimactic final two with Punk and Miz. So Punk finishes Miz off after a perfunctory near-fall by Miz, and retains with the GTS at 32:39. Some cool spots, but way too much inaction between them. I will say that Punk was really booked and treated like a true tippy top guy here. ***1/4 Speaking of tippy top guys, it’s yet another goddamned John Cena video package on PPV. He likes to lift weights and lets the developmental guys use his gym. Because he’s just a regular guy, you know. I should note that Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins and Xavier “Consequences Creed” Woods pop up as talking heads here, which is a pretty inauspicious way to make your WWE debut. Divas title: Beth Phoenix v. Tamina Snuka, Daughter of Jimmy Snuka Despite the announcers saying about 10 times that TAMINA IS THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA before the match even starts, she still gets no reaction. Tamina makes an early attempt at the flying splash and gets dumped as a result. Someone should edit together all the mentions of Tamina being THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA and put it on Youtube. Beth puts Tamina in a dragon sleeper, giving us an unflattering view of her love handles. After another 14 mentions of Tamina’s father, Beth blocks the flying splash with a superplex. And yet Tamina KEEPS TRYING IT because she’s literally got one move she can do. So she hits it on the third attempt and only gets two, then goes up and tries it a FOURTH time, before coming down and walking into the Glam Slam. Way, way, WAY longer than it should have been. Tamina’s got nothing to offer and got completely exposed by going longer than the minute she has been. * Big Johnny comes out for his big announcement, but before he can stumble over his words and deliver it, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. For some reason he really dislikes Teddy Long and thinks Johnny should be GM for both shows. This also brings out Mark Henry and where’s the fucking wrestling? Christian also returns, now with beard, and he’s also on Team Ace. And that’s the segment. I’m paying $55 for this bullshit? And that’s their big idea for the returns of ADR and Christian? World title: Daniel Bryan v. Big Show v. Santino v. Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes v. Wade Barrett Astonishingly, no one jumps Santino and takes his spot. Hopefully all the comedy segments with him tonight will motivate him to have a good match. It’s Show and Barrett to start and that’s as boring as you’d expect. Maybe moreso. The crowd is even meaner than me, shitting on the match with “boring” chants as they just do a normal Big Show match in what’s supposed to be this brutal cage. Cody Rhodes is next as the announcers talk about what a loser Show is when it comes to Wrestlemania. Boy, that’s a hell of a way to get someone over. So Barrett takes out Show’s leg and now we get the thrill of Big Show selling a leg hold in SATAN’S PRISON. Barrett dominates both guys and Santino is up next. He does his usual sequence of stuff on Barrett and then gets destroyed by Big Show. This thing is just going nowhere. The heels manage a suplex on Show outside. More announcing annoyance as they wonder if he can be rolled back in and pinned, but you don’t HAVE to pin someone in the ring. The crowd starts chanting for “boring” again, the only person in the match getting any heat. Khali is next one in and beats up on everyone, but Show spears and pins him. Why even book Khali in the match? And then the match grinds even more to a halt as Show stares down Bryan while everyone else obliges by doing nothing. Show is so ANGRY that he breaks the chains on top of the pod, when really this takes so long that he could just wait for Bryan to enter the match legally. Show beating up on Bryan FINALLY gets a reaction from the crowd, and D-Bry gets tossed through the pod. Like, everyone else was literally just lying there for FIVE MINUTES while they did that spot. Show kills Bryan and chokeslams him, but Barrett saves. Finally it picks up with Rhodes getting a pair of disasters and a DDT on Show to eliminate him. The crowd really, REALLY hates that one. Santino rolls up Cody to get rid of him. Barrett beats on Santino on the cage and leaves him for dead, then powerbombs Bryan into the cage for an awesome visual. He slams the pod door on Bryan’s head for two, and Santino stupidly keeps fighting. Barrett destroys him again, but walks into a flying knee from Bryan. They head up and Santino saves Bryan, but can’t get his own superplex. Wade misses a flying elbow and Bryan gets a flying headbutt to allow Santino to eliminate Barrett. Well this is a pretty obvious finish coming up. Bryan literally kicks the hell out of him for two, but misses the diving headbutt. Santino unleashes the Cobra, but only gets two, and the Lebell Lock finishes to give Bryan the win. The heat for Santino was off the charts at the end, which is the real miracle considering how crappy the match started. ***1/2 Really, only the last 10 minutes or so were any good, but it was a hell of a finish. Sheamus comes out and lays out Bryan with an Emerald Frozen, but sadly does not point at the Wrestlemania sign. And then FARTING NATALYA makes the PPV, as Hornswoggle triggers a confrontation between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. Over cheese. US title: Jack Swagger v. Justin Gabriel Hey, finally Swagger defends the title, only a month after winning it. Swagger dominates and gets a powerbomb and pump splash, but Gabriel comes back with some high flying stuff. Swagger clips him and finishes clean with the anklelock to retain. This was fine as time filler. *1/2 Ambulance match: John Cena v. Kane They do some brawling to the ambulance before it turns into the usual Cena v. Kane match in the ring, which leads to Kane getting the SMOTHER CLAW OF DEATH to put Cena out. He actually pulls a wheelchair from under the ring and wheels Cena up the aisle, and back to the ambulance they go. Cena actually puts Kane into the wheelchair and rolls him into a table in the most absurd spot thus far, as Kane actually has to hold up his feet to allow it to happen. The long silly brawl continues through the crowd and back to ringside, and Cena arranges the furniture. Sadly, he doesn’t embrace the hate fast enough, and Kane chokeslams him through the Spanish announce table. Kane has to then retrieve a gurney and roll Cena all the way back to the ambulance, but after all that Cena comes back again and escapes. He goes on top of the ambulance and Kane follows like a moron, allowing Cena to hit the FU off the roof and onto a crash pad below. That’s weak sauce. I would have gone with the gimmicked roof and had him put Kane right through for the win. Like you don’t even SEE THE BUMP! Plus Cena doesn’t even drive the ambulance off, someone else does. Cena is so happy that he gives us a CELEBRATORY POINT to the sign. So no Eve or Ryder, just an ending. Sometimes that’s enough, I guess. **1/4 I’d call it a decent show that I didn’t feel ripped off for buying, but man was the filler and lack of depth evident tonight. Thumbs in the middle, total placeholder show that you’re fine not going out of your way to see.

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012

The SmarK Rant for WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Booker TWWE World title: CM Punk v. Kofi Kingston v. The Miz v. R-Truth v. Dolph Ziggler v. Chris Jericho Weird that they’re starting with this one. Kofi and Punk are your first entrants, and I bet you don’t even remember when they were tag champions. Obviously Punk has gotten the better of that one since then. Nice opening sequence with a bunch of pinfall reversals, but Punk takes over on the grating outside with some good bumping by Kofi. Dolph Ziggler is the next guy in. He gets a fameasser off the cage in a nice idea for a spot with a camera angle where you could a foot of space between them. Another cool spot sees Kofi and Punk both trying springboards, which leads to a mid-air collision ala Looney Tunes cartoons. I’m kind of shocked that no one has thought of that sequence before. R-Truth is next into the match and Punk quickly cleans house on him and eliminates him with the flying elbow, after a little “fuck you” to Jericho. A PG one, of course. More tremendous bumping from Kingston and Ziggler, as Kofi does a Spider-Man dive off the cage and DDTs Dolph on the steel. Miz is the fifth guy and he destroys everyone as Ziggler keeps bumping like Mr. Perfect on even more drugs. Miz and Punk mistime thestart of their big sequence but then pull it off OK. Jericho saves Miz from the Anaconda Vice and the crowd treats Punk v. Jericho like a bigtime feud. Great bunch of near-falls ends with Jericho hitting the Codebreaker on Ziggler to get rid of him. Then he hides from Punk in his pod like a champion coward. He uses that to sucker Punk in for a beatdown while Miz and Kofi just lay around like corpses. Thankfully they recover so that Jericho and Punk can lay around. Kofi earns his pay with a high cross from the pod and then walks into the Walls of Jericho to end his night. And it was the awesome old school Walls too, not the lame WWE boston crab version. Jericho beats on Kofi all the way out of the cage, but turns around and eats a high kick from Punk to exit, so the referees declare him unable to continue. So the match screeches to a halt, and we’re left with the most anticlimactic final two with Punk and Miz. So Punk finishes Miz off after a perfunctory near-fall by Miz, and retains with the GTS at 32:39. Some cool spots, but way too much inaction between them. I will say that Punk was really booked and treated like a true tippy top guy here. ***1/4 Speaking of tippy top guys, it’s yet another goddamned John Cena video package on PPV. He likes to lift weights and lets the developmental guys use his gym. Because he’s just a regular guy, you know. I should note that Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins and Xavier “Consequences Creed” Woods pop up as talking heads here, which is a pretty inauspicious way to make your WWE debut. Divas title: Beth Phoenix v. Tamina Snuka, Daughter of Jimmy Snuka Despite the announcers saying about 10 times that TAMINA IS THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA before the match even starts, she still gets no reaction. Tamina makes an early attempt at the flying splash and gets dumped as a result. Someone should edit together all the mentions of Tamina being THE DAUGHTER OF JIMMY SNUKA and put it on Youtube. Beth puts Tamina in a dragon sleeper, giving us an unflattering view of her love handles. After another 14 mentions of Tamina’s father, Beth blocks the flying splash with a superplex. And yet Tamina KEEPS TRYING IT because she’s literally got one move she can do. So she hits it on the third attempt and only gets two, then goes up and tries it a FOURTH time, before coming down and walking into the Glam Slam. Way, way, WAY longer than it should have been. Tamina’s got nothing to offer and got completely exposed by going longer than the minute she has been. * Big Johnny comes out for his big announcement, but before he can stumble over his words and deliver it, Alberto Del Rio interrupts. For some reason he really dislikes Teddy Long and thinks Johnny should be GM for both shows. This also brings out Mark Henry and where’s the fucking wrestling? Christian also returns, now with beard, and he’s also on Team Ace. And that’s the segment. I’m paying $55 for this bullshit? And that’s their big idea for the returns of ADR and Christian? World title: Daniel Bryan v. Big Show v. Santino v. Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes v. Wade Barrett Astonishingly, no one jumps Santino and takes his spot. Hopefully all the comedy segments with him tonight will motivate him to have a good match. It’s Show and Barrett to start and that’s as boring as you’d expect. Maybe moreso. The crowd is even meaner than me, shitting on the match with “boring” chants as they just do a normal Big Show match in what’s supposed to be this brutal cage. Cody Rhodes is next as the announcers talk about what a loser Show is when it comes to Wrestlemania. Boy, that’s a hell of a way to get someone over. So Barrett takes out Show’s leg and now we get the thrill of Big Show selling a leg hold in SATAN’S PRISON. Barrett dominates both guys and Santino is up next. He does his usual sequence of stuff on Barrett and then gets destroyed by Big Show. This thing is just going nowhere. The heels manage a suplex on Show outside. More announcing annoyance as they wonder if he can be rolled back in and pinned, but you don’t HAVE to pin someone in the ring. The crowd starts chanting for “boring” again, the only person in the match getting any heat. Khali is next one in and beats up on everyone, but Show spears and pins him. Why even book Khali in the match? And then the match grinds even more to a halt as Show stares down Bryan while everyone else obliges by doing nothing. Show is so ANGRY that he breaks the chains on top of the pod, when really this takes so long that he could just wait for Bryan to enter the match legally. Show beating up on Bryan FINALLY gets a reaction from the crowd, and D-Bry gets tossed through the pod. Like, everyone else was literally just lying there for FIVE MINUTES while they did that spot. Show kills Bryan and chokeslams him, but Barrett saves. Finally it picks up with Rhodes getting a pair of disasters and a DDT on Show to eliminate him. The crowd really, REALLY hates that one. Santino rolls up Cody to get rid of him. Barrett beats on Santino on the cage and leaves him for dead, then powerbombs Bryan into the cage for an awesome visual. He slams the pod door on Bryan’s head for two, and Santino stupidly keeps fighting. Barrett destroys him again, but walks into a flying knee from Bryan. They head up and Santino saves Bryan, but can’t get his own superplex. Wade misses a flying elbow and Bryan gets a flying headbutt to allow Santino to eliminate Barrett. Well this is a pretty obvious finish coming up. Bryan literally kicks the hell out of him for two, but misses the diving headbutt. Santino unleashes the Cobra, but only gets two, and the Lebell Lock finishes to give Bryan the win. The heat for Santino was off the charts at the end, which is the real miracle considering how crappy the match started. ***1/2 Really, only the last 10 minutes or so were any good, but it was a hell of a finish. Sheamus comes out and lays out Bryan with an Emerald Frozen, but sadly does not point at the Wrestlemania sign. And then FARTING NATALYA makes the PPV, as Hornswoggle triggers a confrontation between Jack Swagger and Justin Gabriel. Over cheese. US title: Jack Swagger v. Justin Gabriel Hey, finally Swagger defends the title, only a month after winning it. Swagger dominates and gets a powerbomb and pump splash, but Gabriel comes back with some high flying stuff. Swagger clips him and finishes clean with the anklelock to retain. This was fine as time filler. *1/2 Ambulance match: John Cena v. Kane They do some brawling to the ambulance before it turns into the usual Cena v. Kane match in the ring, which leads to Kane getting the SMOTHER CLAW OF DEATH to put Cena out. He actually pulls a wheelchair from under the ring and wheels Cena up the aisle, and back to the ambulance they go. Cena actually puts Kane into the wheelchair and rolls him into a table in the most absurd spot thus far, as Kane actually has to hold up his feet to allow it to happen. The long silly brawl continues through the crowd and back to ringside, and Cena arranges the furniture. Sadly, he doesn’t embrace the hate fast enough, and Kane chokeslams him through the Spanish announce table. Kane has to then retrieve a gurney and roll Cena all the way back to the ambulance, but after all that Cena comes back again and escapes. He goes on top of the ambulance and Kane follows like a moron, allowing Cena to hit the FU off the roof and onto a crash pad below. That’s weak sauce. I would have gone with the gimmicked roof and had him put Kane right through for the win. Like you don’t even SEE THE BUMP! Plus Cena doesn’t even drive the ambulance off, someone else does. Cena is so happy that he gives us a CELEBRATORY POINT to the sign. So no Eve or Ryder, just an ending. Sometimes that’s enough, I guess. **1/4 I’d call it a decent show that I didn’t feel ripped off for buying, but man was the filler and lack of depth evident tonight. Thumbs in the middle, total placeholder show that you’re fine not going out of your way to see.