Jack Swagger as World Heavyweight Champion

Crapendium: World Champion Jack Swagger

I take a look back and see why exactly Jack Swagger’s 2010 run was crap.

If you don’t want to click, the short answer is ”it was supposed to be.”

TNA Impact, January 4th, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBKUkYYOhE4

Just in the process of re-watching this show for the first time since that very night.

What are your memories of the show? Where were you? What were your expectations going in, and opinions of the show/direction coming out of it?

I had a friend over who used to mainly watch a bit of WCW here and there back from about 1997-1999. I explained the significance of the show to him and he seemed fairly interested, especially given that he hadn’t watched any wrestling since 1999.

It was one of those nights with that buzz you so rarely get as an old, pessimistic fan. Ok, things didn’t end up panning out how they’d anticipated (understatement?), but still, it was a significant night at the time, regardless.

A classic Russo hotshot special!

October Countdown: WWE Hell In A Cell 2010

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Hell In A Cell 2010 (Wrapping it up for another month with this one.  Any suggestions for November, given that I’ve already done the Survivor Series countdown?  WCW’s November shows and November 2 Remember I guess?  Anyway, this was only from last year, so I’ve got nothing to add to it.) Live from Dallas, TX Your hosts are Michael Cole, Matt Striker and Jerry Lawler US title, submissions count anywhere: Daniel Bryan v. The Miz v. John Morrison I don’t get the thinking behind the stip, given that only one guy has a submission finish. The faces wisely double-team Miz and get rid of him, then do some mat wrestling in the ring. Bryan gets a kneebar and Morrison gets to the ropes, but it’s actually the one time I’ve ever seen the ropes not being out of bounds in a falls-count-anywhere match. Generally even if it’s falls-count-anywhere, putting your feet on the ropes magically breaks the count because the ropes transcend the normal laws of physics and rules of wrestling. Witness the awesome power of momentum, forcing whomever is whipped into the ropes to continue running until stopped by a boot to the face. The guys trade some submission moves, including Bryan busting out Cattle Mutilation to the delight of wrestling nerd Striker. “That’s called WHAT?!” declares Jerry Lawler, as apparently he’s given up on being nice to Striker at this point. Morrison breaks up a heel hook attempt by Bryan, then dumps Miz and hits him with a corkscrew plancha. They fight into the crowd, where Miz tries a wristlock (made more devastating by being on the floor), but Morrison punches him in the face to break. They fight up the stairs, with Bryan following, but Miz punts him back down to the floor again. Miz continues to fight off both faces, dropping Morrison on the railing and then whipping Bryan into a barricade. Morrison comes back with a springboard knee off the barricade onto Bryan, but Miz runs an equipment trunk into him. Bryan gets put on the rolling trunk and run into the ramp for a nice bump, and Miz hits Morrison with the Skull Crushing Finale on the floor. That would seem to end Morrison’s night, leaving Bryan and Miz to clothesline each other at the entranceway. Morrison returns from the dead and climbs the lighting wall, however, and comes off the set with a flying bodypress onto both guys. That’s quite the bump for an opening match. Morrison goes with a Texas Cloverleaf on Miz, but Alex Riley comes out to break it up. Bryan gets rid of him in turn, and finishes Miz with the LeBell lock at 13:33. Pretty great little brawl to open the show, although the submission stip ended up meaning not much to the match. ***3/4 Logically you’d go with Morrison v. Riley from there, but I don’t think that ended up happening. RAW World title, HELL IN A CELL: Randy Orton v. Sheamus Now see, this match demonstrates the main problem with these theme PPVs. OK, two main problems. First problem is that the entire concept is a total bait-and-switch in the first place, as the legacy behind the stipulation promises ZOMG BLOOD AND CRAZY BUMPS and the PG WWE isn’t willing to deliver that any longer. Second problem is these guys really don’t have any particular issue that needs to be resolved. Yeah, they did a shitty DQ finish at Summerslam, but then Orton won the title clean at Night of Champions! Sheamus can’t even bitch about losing in a multi-man match, because he was the guy who lost the final fall. The progression is just all mixed up here. You’re supposed to do the crazy multi-man match first where Sheamus steals the final pin, then Orton gets a singles match for revenge but Sheamus loses by DQ, THEN you do Orton finally challenging for the belt in the Cell. Anyway, they slug it out to start, and Orton gets a clothesline out of the corner, but Sheamus gives him the rope burn. What a cad. Orton clotheslines him out of the ring, but that goes nowhere. Back in, we get a Garvin stomp for two, but Sheamus slingshots in with a clothesline for two and pounds away. To the floor and Sheamus tosses the stairs at Orton to no avail, allowing Orton to come back and run Sheamus into the cage a few times. Stairs to the head put Sheamus down, but he fights back in the ring and stomps a mudhole in the corner. He works the ribs and gets two. Sheamus exposes a turnbuckle, but can’t go anywhere with that and puts Orton down with an axehandle instead. Back to the floor, where Sheamus suplexes him onto the stairs and pounds the ribs. Striker is on this weird run about how injuring the mid-section neutralizes the RKO somehow. The real tragedy of this PG era is that they can’t even do a good internal bleeding gimmick any more. No one could bite down on a condom full of fake blood like Ken Shamrock used to. Of course these days it’s real blood coming from his mouth because he’s getting punched in the face at will, but that’s just me rambling a bit because this match is pretty dull. Cole and Striker are having the most inane conversation about nothing, as even the announcers are running out of stuff to highlight here. Orton finally comes back with the powerslam and a belly to belly suplex for two. Backbreaker and Orton goes for the RKO, but Sheamus hits him with a knee to the gut to break. Sheamus gets the stairs, but Orton powerslams him onto them for two. Orton necksnaps him and follows with a DDT off the apron, but now he’s choosing to sell the ribs again. Sheamus sends him into the post and they head back in, where Sheamus gives him his backbreaker on top of the stairs. How does that hurt any more than usual? He’s landing on the knee either way. Brogue kick gets two. He gets a chair and finally we get some real violence, as Sheamus pounds him down for two. Orton won’t stay down, so Sheamus winds up again, misses, and the RKO puts Sheamus on the floor. Orton apparently hears voices, but miss the punt, and Sheamus gets another Brogue kick on the floor. As a reminder, all moves hurt more on the floor. Back in, that gets two. Sheamus has some good emotions here showing his frustration like a heel would. He goes to finish on the stairs, but Orton counters out and finishes with the RKO onto the stairs, at 22:54. The cell gimmick barely factored in here at all and it was very slow and dull overall. Sheamus v. Orton is not exactly a feud for the ages that needed to be settled in the cage. **3/4 Orton as a babyface = NO BUYS. Literally, actually. It’s really the same trap they always fall into, where someone gets really over as a heel and they suddenly feel like they HAVE to turn them so as to not have people daring to cheer for the heel. Because god forbid. Meanwhile, Nexus interrupts an interview with the NXT chicks, and Wade Barrett promises that Cena will join them. Impromptu match: Jack Swagger v. Edge Alberto Del Rio is my new hero. Anyone with their own personal ring announcer is OK in my books. This guy is MONEY. Anyway, he cuts a promo looking for a fight, and Edge answers, then Swagger answers THAT. And the anonymous GM makes the match official while Del Rio retreats. Everything after Del Rio’s promo is weak sauce. So Swagger beats on Edge to start and whips him into the corner, then takes him down with a gutbuster for two. A bodyscissors burns up some time, but Edge fights out, only to clothesline himself on the ropes. He fights back with a bulldog for two, and the Edge-O-Matic for two. Swagger rolls into the anklelock on the kickout, but Edge makes the ropes. Swagger bails and gets the anklelock on the floor, where it hurts more, but Edge reverses him into the stairs. Back in, Edge goes up, but Swagger hits him with a pop-up superplex. Hey, if you’re gonna rip off 90% of someone’s moveset, you could do a lot worse than Kurt Angle. Swagger is big enough to swipe a bunch of Brock Lesnar’s moveset as well, which would give the world a pretty awesome super-wrestler. Edge tries the spear, but Swagger counters into the doctor bomb for two. Edge misses an enzuigiri and Swagger moves in with the anklelock, but Edge makes the ropes. Spear finishes at 11:30. Man, winning the World title was just not a good career move for Swagger, no? Nothing going on here. ** Wade Barrett v. John Cena Barrett goes with the headlock to start, but Cena powers out and gets a takedown for two. They trade wristlocks and Cena gets a hiptoss for two as the crowd finally starts to wake up. Barrett pounds him down, but Cena goes for the FU while Nexus runs out. Cena stops to gawk at them, but Barrett tosses him and yells at his team for disobeying orders. Back in, Barrett gets two. He slugs Cena down for two. Thank god Barrett can at least throw a worked punch convincingly, an artform that 99% of new hires (and many old hires) can’t grasp. Barrett goes up with a nice flying elbow for two. Cena fights back, but misses a charge, and Barrett gets a neckbreaker for two. This prompts a surreal duelling “Let’s go Cena/Let’s go Barrett” chant. Wait, so if you give a new guy a solid push and don’t neuter him with a stupid gimmick, they might GET OVER? Lemme write this down for future reference. Barrett with a surfboard, but Cena comes back with the usual, prompting Nexus to surround the ring. Big Show and the locker room run out and get rid of Nexus (I bet they were all “Oh shit, it’s Chris Masters, now we’re FUCKED!”), and Cena puts Barrett in the STF. Barrett powers out and comes back with a pumphandle slam for two. He goes for the Wasteland, but Cena reverses to a gutwrench suplex for two. Barrett reverses the FU into a butterfly suplex for two. Bossman slam gets two. There’s a move that’s waiting for someone to resurrect it as a finish. Barrett goes up, but misses a second flying elbow. Why this was a good thing: Because he already hit it earlier in the match, so it doesn’t just make him look like a punk. We KNOW he can hit it, and that’s a small but important distinction. They fight to the top and Cena headbutts him back to the mat, then follows with the guillotine legdrop for two. Cena goes for the FU, but Barrett reverses to the Wasteland for two. Barrett is unsure what to do next in a nice touch, but that allows Cena to get the FU for two. Both guys are out and Cena recovers with the STF, but a “fan” runs in to distract the ref, allowing another “fan” to clock Cena and Barrett to get the pin at 17:50, and Cena is Nexus. The shocked crowd reaction is great stuff, the kind of legitimate drama you don’t often get out of WWE’s overplayed stips and silly comedy angles. Lots to like here, although they couldn’t follow this up with anything as good. ***1/2 Divas title: Michelle McUndertaker v. Natalya Natalya tries some mat wrestling, but they head out and Nat gets caught with a clothesline. Back in, McCool gets a bodyscissors, but Natalya fights out with a clothesline for two. She stupidly goes after Layla, however, then gets a rollup on McCool while the ref deals with Layla. McCool comes back with a belly to belly suplex for two. Nat with a sharpshooter, but Michelle reverses to a heel hook. Nat reverses back again, but Layla throws in a shoe for the DQ at 4:45. Yes, shoe-throwing is actually a finish now. * Smackdown World title, HELL IN A CELL: Kane v. Undertaker I have to wonder how the reconciliation conversation between Undertaker and Paul Bearer would have gone. I mean, I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but I have to think that someone trying to bury me alive in concrete would be the breaking point for any relationship. Did they go out for a beer and just kind of dance around the subject of attempted murder? Is there any accepted social norms for bringing up the topic? Taker attacks to start and gets the first chairshot, and they head back in for a corner clothesline and Snake Eyes. Legdrop gets two. Kane gets the chair and puts Taker down while Striker actually makes a serious attempt at relating the backstory of this “family”. Just read the novel, it’s much more entertaining. They slowly fight out of the ring and Kane sends UT into the stairs, working on the leg, then back in for more of that. Striker once again goes on his stupid thing about how working on one body part somehow eliminates every major move that someone does. By that logic, he shouldn’t be able to do even simple moves like bodyslams or clotheslines, and he should just forfeit the match right now. Taker comes back with the guillotine legdrop, but Kane dropkicks the knee (because that’s how high he can get for a dropkick) and we get the epic “laying on the mat in a leg hold” spot, ala Dusty Rhodes. They slug it out from their knees and then stand up for more punches, before Taker goes Old School. Kane brings him down on the top rope to counter and follows with a superplex. The aerial exhibition continues as Kane goes up with the flying clothesline, but Taker catches him with the gogoplata. Kane slides out of the ring to escape, which is good because I think we all need a break from the torrid pace here. Back in, they give each other the big boot, allowing more rest. They both sit up and Taker gets a DDT for two. Chokeslam gets two, thus disproving Striker’s hypothesis. Kane gets his own chokeslam for two. Kane pounds away in the corner, and Taker gets the Last Ride for two. They trade tombstone counters and Kane gets the move for two. Kane is upset about this and takes out the referee, so now the cell is opened for the crack medical team (and Paul Bearer) to enter. Kane goes after him, which prompts a comeback from Undertaker and a chokeslam. He goes to finish, but of course Bearer turns on him by, uh, shining a flashlight in his face. As nefarious plans go, I’ve seen better. Taker is so shocked by how shitty this match is that he just stands there while Kane hits him with the urn and pins him at 22:38 after a chokeslam. Cole declares this “the ultimate act of treason”, but really Kane is his son, so anything other than that would be much more treasonous. This match was of course fucking awful, and I’ve still got Bragging Rights to review next and I’m not looking forward to the finale of the trilogy of suck. 1/2* The Pulse A real mixed bag PPV, with the first few matches being quite good and then a major quality dropoff after the shockingly entertaining Barrett-Cena match. Barrett v. Cena is worth checking out, but the rest is pretty skippable and I would not recommend anyone in their right mind pay money for Kane v Undertaker in 2010, so we’ll go with a mild recommendation to avoid.

SummerFest Countdown: 2010

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Summerslam 2010 Live from Los Angeles, CA Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Matt Striker Intercontinental title: Dolph Ziggler v. Kofi Kingston Man, Kofi has just been going nowhere all year. Meanwhile Ziggler has been jobbed for months and they suddenly put the IC belt on him. And people wonder why no one cares about the titles. Kofi misses a tope suicida, allowing Ziggler to pound away in the ring and get a neckbreaker for two. He goes to a chinlock and then sends Kofi into the corner for two. Mr. Perfect necksnap gets two. He goes to a rear chinlock now as the announcers go on about Kofi’s “new aggression”. Yeah, while he’s laying there in a chinlock, that’s so AGGRESSIVE! Ziggler misses a blind charge and Kofi makes the comeback with his NEW AGGRESSION, which apparently includes screwing up a Thesz Press. Kofi with the Boomdrop and a crossbody, but Ziggler rolls through for two. Kofi reverses for two, but Ziggler gets a Fameasser for two. Yeah, he does remind me of Billy Gunn, come to think of it. Kofi misses the wacky kick, and Ziggler gets the sleeper (really? In 2010?), but Nexus runs in for the nWo finish at 7:11. Really? In 2010? Well that’s a stupid finish, although it’s not like the match was going anywhere. ** I should note, however, that THAT’S aggression. Kofi should take note. Meanwhile, Chris Jericho and Edge try to convince Miz to join Team WWE as the seventh guy. Tramp Stamp title: Alicia Fox v. Melina Melina as the smiling babyface is kind of ridiculous. Although now Cole has upgraded her to “one of the all-time greats” after, like, 5 years in the business, so maybe she’s getting the grizzled veteran edit now. I bet she’s almost THIRTY. That’s so OLD. Melina takes Fox down and then pounds her in the corner, but then backs off and stalls while Fox figures out what her spot is. Melina misses a leapfrog and apparently reinjures her knee, but shakes it off and superkicks Fox to the apron. Alicia pulls her into the ringpost to take over, and then works on the arm. You’d think the knee would be the logical place to go, but I guess that’s why I’m not the Divas champion. Melina comes back with a dropkick and a faceplant for the title at 5:22. That was pretty much a squash. *1/2 Afterwards, Josh Matthews goes to interview Melina, but Layla and Michelle interrupt to set up the unification match at Night of Champions. Those two are pretty funny, actually. Melina fights them off, but the beatdown commences. Rough night for the babyfaces. Big Show v. CM Punk, Luke Gallows & Joseph Mercury Quick question: Why go through the trouble of changing Festus into “Luke Gallows”, but then leave Joey Mercury’s goofy boy band name as-is? People don’t even remember Johnny Nitro, why care about Mercury’s name? Show cleans the ring of the lackeys to start, then pounds Punk in the corner. They head outside and Show accidentally hits the stairs with an open palm, which we’re supposed to buy as a devastating blow, because that allows the SES to take over. Back in the ring, they work over the formerly-broken hand and take turns dropping elbows. Show makes the comeback and takes out the deadwood, but Punk hits him with knees in the corner. He and Mercury get a double bulldog in the corner (or as Michael Cole calls it, a “double DDT”) for two, but Show won’t stay down. Punk has had enough and walks out on the team, leaving Show to chokeslam Mercury for the pin at 6:45. *1/2 This would appear to set up the Punk-Show singles match at the next PPV. Whatever happened to using TV for setting up PPV matches, instead of just doing crappy rematches of the previous crappy PPV? Miz joins us to give his decision on the main event, but first lists all the ways that Team WWE kissed his ass to convince him. So yeah, he’s the seventh member of the team. Michael Cole is delighted. RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton They posture up in the corner to start, but Orton does the beatdown and hits Sheamus with a clothesline out of the corner. He tosses Sheamus and beats on him in the front row, as Cole uses the Sledgehammer of Plot to point out that TITLES DON’T CHANGE HANDS ON A DQ OR COUNTOUT. Good god, just hire Tony Schiavone already. Back in, Orton uses his dad’s bottom-rope catapult (a nice little touch totally missed by the announce team), but Sheamus recovers and sends Orton into the stairs. Back in, Sheamus pounds away for two. Short-arm clothesline and kneedrop gets two. He sends Orton into the railing outside, and back in for two. The Polish Celtic Hammer gets two. Orton fights back, but gets pounded down again, setting up a chinlock from Sheamus. Orton escapes with a backdrop suplex, and the backbreaker gets two. They slug it out and the crowd goes BANANAS for Orton. When did this start happening? Sheamus bails to the apron, so Orton suplexes him back in for two. Sheamus recovers with his own backbreaker for two. Sheamus sets up to finish, but misses the high kick and ends up on the floor. Orton brings him back in with the DDT, and again the crowd is just losing their shit. RKO, but Sheamus blocks it for two. Sheamus sets up for the finish (which finally has a name), but Orton escapes, so Sheamus hits him with the bicycle kick for two. Sheamus gets frustrated and grabs a chair, and that earns him a DQ at 18:54. Who is booking these awful, awful finishes tonight? Much better than their Royal Rumble snoozefest, as Sheamus clearly has improved leaps and bounds in terms of setting the pace and flow of a match. That being said, Orton was crazy over here and if they weren’t such huge pussies they’d have booked an actual finish to do something with it. ***1/2 Orton lays him out with the RKO on the table afterwards, bringing the running total to 2-1 in favor of post-match heel beatdowns. But the babyfaces are catching up! Smackdown World title: Kane v. Rey Mysterio Small gripe: Kane is not 323 pounds. I know it’s a grand wrestling tradition to pump up weights, but in a world where we know the weights of UFC fighters to the ¼ pound, there’s no way to buy that he’d be that heavy. Just another small sign of them not keeping up with the times. Kane pounds Rey down and sends him to the floor after dodging a 619 attempt. Rey suckers him into a baseball slide and then follows with a senton off the apron. Back in, he goes up, and Kane clips him off the top rope and runs him into the post to take over. Whip into the turnbuckles gets two. And now, a bearhug. Rey tries to escape with a sunset flip, but Kane blocks him, so Rey uses a headscissor takedown instead. Rey tries the 619 again, but Kane clotheslines him for two. He tosses Mysterio and then boots him off the apron, but Rey comes back in with a flying headbutt off the top. That gets two. Kane puts him down with a backbreaker for two, however. Backbreaker submission this time, but Rey escapes…and walks into a sideslam for two. Kane goes up and Rey tries a rana to bring him down, but Kane just shrugs him off. Rey keeps coming with a tilt-a-whirl into an inverted DDT, and then goes up with the senton and gets a hurricane DDT for two. Springboard legdrop gets two. Low kick gets two. Rey goes up and gets slugged down by Kane for two. Kane, getting paranoid, checks his coffin to make sure it’s empty, but Rey trips him up for the 619. Kane catches him and throws Rey into the coffin, but Rey comes back in…into a chokeslam attempt. Rey reverses that into the 619 for real this time, and the splash gets two. Kane boots him right back down, chokeslams him, and pins him to retain at 13:32. Very slow start, but Rey somehow got the crowd to buy the near-falls by the end. Still, we’ve seen this match what feels like a million times and it’s never been any good. **1/4 Kane threatens him with eternal suffering and pain, like having to write the goofy skits on RAW until the end of the universe or something, and then gives him another two chokeslams and a tombstone to really drive home his point. So we’re at 3-1 for the heels in post-match beatdowns now. Another trip to the coffin, but this time Undertaker really is there, and looking pretty old too. He stops to have a conversation with Rey in the corner about the goofy “Who attacked the Undertaker” storyline and then goes after Kane. However, apparently his mojo is not up to snuff, however, and Kane is able to beat the crap out of him. I think I saw on Dr. Oz that you’re not supposed to attack your undead brother when emerging from a vegetative coma until at least 3 PPVs after you’ve emerged from your magic coffin. I think it has to do with your pH levels or something. Elimination match: Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Michael Tarver, Skip Sheffield & Darren Young v. John Cena, John Morrison, Edge, R-Truth, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho & Daniel Bryan. Well you certainly can’t say that they’re not trying new people in the main event here. Big brawl to start, which gives Cole a chance to work in his irrational hatred of Bryan. Bryan starts with Darren Young and puts him down with a knee to the gut, then hooks in a guillotine and into a crossface for the tapout at 0:50. That’s quite the return for Bryan. Jericho comes in against Gabriel and Team WWE works him over in the corner, and it’s over to Truth for a stunner that gets two. Again I ask: Why doesn’t someone just bring back the stunner as a finisher? It’s been 7 years since Austin retired, the move is totally fair game. And it’s still awesome. Tarver misses a charge on Truth and Morrison slugs him down, then hits a springboard kick and Starship Pain at 3:39. That move is the anti-stunner in terms of awesomeness. So it’s 7-5 for Team WWE and the Nexus stops to plan things out, deciding to send Skip Sheffield in. He overpowers Morrison and gets a standing powerslam, while the crowd wants Bret. Skip with a pair of suplexes for two, slowing down the pace a lot. Gabriel hits a cheapshot from the apron and Skip pins Morrison after a clothesline at 7:40. And we go to an instant replay, while Sheffield pins and eliminates R-Truth with another clothesline at 8:13. Would have been nice to SEE that. I should note that it can’t be a true Survivor Series style match unless someone gets pinned by a clothesline, and now we’ve had two, so kudos there. Jericho is in next and gets dominated by David Otunga, but he gets the tag to Bret Hart. Bret pounds on Slater for being a ginger and goes through a lower-impact version of the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but Slater tags out while in the Sharpshooter. I don’t think that’s actually legal, but Bret gets pissed and uses a chair for the DQ at 12:23 anyway. Jericho sneaks in with a codebreaker on Sheffield and Edge finishes him with the spear at 13:19. Edge beats on Gabriel and flapjacks him for two, but Gabriel comes back with a spinkick for two. Back to Slater for some choking, and Nexus beats on Edge in the corner. Barrett comes in with a backbreaker for two, and we hit the chinlock. Edge fights out with a leg lariat, but Barrett gets a neckbreaker and brings Otunga in. He sets up for something, but Edge reverses to a DDT and makes the hot tag to Jericho. Lionsault wakes up the crowd and he gets the Walls for the submission at 19:28. Jericho keeps going on Slater with a flying elbow, but he collides with Cena and falls victim to Slater’s finisher at 20:12. Some kind of bulldog thing. This prompts a big argument between Cena and Edge, and Slater rolls up Edge for the pin at 20:46. Edge spears Cena off the apron and we get a beatdown from Jericho and Edge for good measure. I guess that puts the heels at 4-1 for beatdowns now, although this wasn’t technically post-match. So it’s Bryan’s chance to shine with Cena doing his usual momentary selling of the devastating injury, and Nexus tees off on Cena 3-on-1. Cole’s continued abuse of Daniel Bryan would be pretty funny if it made any sense. Barrett cuts off a Cena comeback with a clothesline for two. Justin Gabriel works the arm for some reason, and a single-arm DDT gets two. Barrett in with a sideslam for two. Matt Striker notes that “you root for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back”. That’s exactly the sort of thing a COMMUNIST would say. So yeah, this gets really boring as Cena as takes a beating, and he finally makes the hot tag to Bryan. German suplex for Slater and he throws kicks in the corner to send Slater out, then follows with a tope suicida. Back in, Bryan with a missile dropkick, but Slater rolls him up for two. Bryan reverses to the crossface, and Slater taps at 29:09. Bryan is ready for whoever, but Miz comes in and lays him out with the briefcase, allowing Barrett to pin him at 29:43. So it’s Cena all alone against Barrett and Gabriel, the odds once again impossibly stacked against him. Who can overcome such odds? NO ONE. But wait! Cena impossibly does his usual series of moves against Gabriel, but Barrett tags in to prevent an FU. The Nexus switches off and beats on Cena, and Barrett puts him on the floor with a big boot. They pull up the mats and Barrett DDTs him on the concrete, which would actually be a downer ending that would make sense and probably turn Barrett into a big star. But instead, they head back in after that and Gabriel goes up with the 450 and misses. Cena pins him at 34:58 to even things up. And Cena finishes Barrett with the STFU at 35:22. How in the world you can fuck up the most unfuckupable angle they’ve had in months, I don’t know, but there it was. Match wasn’t that great, either, with long boring passages due to the green-as-grass Nexus guys not really knowing how to work a long match like this. No fault of theirs, though. *** The Bottom Line This felt like a decent B-show, but the finishes were just atrocious. Like really, paying $60 to see a DQ in a World title match in 2010? And they wonder why PPV buyrates are in the crapper? I don’t want to buy a major show and have angles set up for the next three stupid “theme” PPVs instead of getting resolution at the show I paid money to see NOW. But that’s probably why I wait for the DVD these days anyway. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2010

(In the interest of speeding things up, I’ll just repost the 2010 show as-is because there’s not much to say anyway other than I overrated the Rumble match and probably the Mysterio-UT match as well, but it was a fun show regardless.  And no, I don’t have time to do the 2011 rant, sorry.  Maybe some other time.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2010 – Live from Atlanta, GA. – Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.ECW World title: Christian v. Ezekiel Jackson Apparently Jackson won a battle royale to earn a title shot. How original. Really, isn’t it time to put a bullet in this belt and be done with it? Jackson overpowers Christian to start, but he gets dumped and Christian hits him with a springboard dive. Back in, Jackson pounds away as Striker notes that the match screeches to a halt when he’s on offense. I think he was trying to be positive about it, but I dunno. Christian escapes from a press slam and chokes away on the ropes, but goes up and gets yanked down rudely. William Regal tries to get involved and gets sent back to the dressing room, thus robbing us of much of the potential entertainment value here. Zeke throws Christian into the stairs, and back in for two. And we go to the neck vice, which Jackson turns into a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Jackson pounds on the back and blocks a sunset flip with a tree slam for two. And we’re back to the chinlock, but Christian fights out, only to get slugged down for two. Jackson’s Klingon howl of outrage at every two count is a bit annoying. To the top, as Christian fights off a superplex attempt and hits a flying elbow instead. Jackson no-sells it, but misses a blind charge and walks into a missile dropkick. That gets two for Christian. Killswitch is blocked, so Christian goes up again, only to miss a flying splash. Jackson hits a lariat for two off that. Christian escapes a uranage, but Jackson gets a backbreaker for two. Jackson misses another charge and Christian gets the tornado DDT for two. Jackson with another lariat for two. Jackson escapes the Killswitch and runs Christian into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede, but Killswitch finishes him for good at 12:00. Jackson is fucking awful, so they’ll probably bump him to RAW and make him World champion by September. Watchable big v. little match thanks to Christian, albeit about 4 minutes too long. **1/2 Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme bargains with Teddy Long for an extra spot in the Rumble, because only one of them is entered for some reason. They try to talk Great Khali into giving up his spot, but he apparently says “No dice, homeslice.” The Miz thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid (I’m with Miz) so Teddy punishes him by forcing him to defend against MVP. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes just wants Randy Orton to know that he’s got his back. Haven’t they broken up YET? US title: The Miz v. MVP MVP wins a slugfest and puts Miz down with a clothesline for two. Floatover suplex gets two. Backdrop out of the corner and a backdrop suplex gets two, as Striker relates a story about how Miz REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. Oh shit, that’s like first degree murder in wrestling terms. If he ever forgets to wear a suit at the airport he might as well pack his bags and go to TNA. Miz dumps MVP off the apron and into the table, and back in he works on the back and gets a corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top gets two. Miz hits the chinlock as Striker notes that, to him as a child, Wrestlemania meant not having to wear a jacket outside anymore. Obviously he didn’t come from the Canadian Prairies. MVP comes back with a faceplant and facecrusher, which sets up the Ballin Elbow. I’m impressed he got that over. Yakuza kick gets two. Miz fights back with a necksnap on the top rope, but MVP gets a Pounce for two. Whatever happened to Monty Brown, anyway? Running kick misses, but MVP manages a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Jackknife rollup gets two. Miz bails to escape and gets tossed right back in, but he catches MVP with a small package on the way in at 7:30 to retain. Sneaky! The crowd respected that so much that when MVP lays him out afterwards, the crowd BOOS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. I agree with the crowd, Miz won that one fair and square and MVP is a sore loser. Basic RAW match. **1/4 Meanwhile, Big Show and Jericho have an awkward moment backstage. RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton Orton gets a monster babyface pop for his entrance, because he’s the star and Sheamus is not. To fix that you’d put Sheamus over and make him the star, but I sense that’s not how they’ll play it. Orton wins a lockup and puts Sheamus down with a dropkick, but slithers away. He’s obviously been studying his Jake Roberts tapes again. They slug it out on the ropes and Sheamus puts him down, so Orton bails to regroup. Orton’s arm is apparently hurt, so Sheamus goes to work on it. Orton responds with a chop block and starts on the knee to take over. Sheamus goes back to the arm as the crowd totally dies with no one playing babyface. If they have the balls to try Sheamus v. HHH at Wrestlemania as rumored, it’s gonna be DEATH. Epic death. And now Orton works the knee again as this thing has screeched to a halt like a teenaged boy getting cut off at second base. They slug it out with Orton getting the babyface reaction, but Sheamus gets a backbreaker for two. Sheamus tries the unnamed Razor’s Edge, but Orton escapes and dumps Sheamus, for another out-of-proportion babyface pop. He drags Sheamus back in with the DDT for two. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus rolls out to escape, then sends Orton into the post. This allows Cody Rhodes to run in and lay out Sheamus for the DQ at 12:25. Orton gets the RKO in the meantime, so he’s probably upset at Rhodes. Hopefully he’ll do something about it sometime this year. This was a total bore, with Orton showing none of his usual charisma and Sheamus showing nothing, period. *1/2 And FINALLY, Orton turns on Legacy and beats them both down after months of teases. And then Sheamus puts Orton out with a big boot. So is this Orton’s face turn, I’m assuming? Women’s title: Michelle McCool v. Mickie James Michelle cuts a lengthy promo about how Mickie forfeits, before she even gets a chance to make her entrance, and the announcers act all surprised when James shows up after all. James hits the DDT right away and wins the title at 0:20. DUD So there we go, the heels get what they deserve, including their own cake thrown on them. I think that will dissipate the heat over the “Piggy James” crap. Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio They’ve got some time to play with here. You know, looking at the number of kids at ringside wearing Mysterio masks and the coin that Rey now brings in from merchandise makes it all the more astonishing that someone in WCW thought it would be a tremendous idea to unmask the luchadores. You can sell Rey Mysterio masks until the Earth falls into the Sun. It’s like a license to print money. Rey slugs away in the corner, but gets tossed to the floor WITH AUTHORITY. Now there’s one time where the cliché is apt. Rey fights up to the apron and gets soup-boned back to the floor again. Clearly we’re going full monty Sting v. Vader formula here. Rey dodges the guillotine legdrop and Undertaker gets all cranky and pulls him back into place for another one. Back in, Rey reverses the chokeslam into a 619 attempt, but Taker catches him and nearly gets a tombstone. Awesome. Rey kicks out of it, barely, and boots Taker down, but tries a springboard crossbody and hits UT’s boot. Taker beats on him outside, but misses a baseball slide and hits the post. Rey tries to follow with a senton, but Taker catches him with a Last Ride. Rey hops onto the apron to escape and hits Taker with a moonsault to the floor, however. Rey tries a baseball slide and misses, and UT just destroys him with a shot to the railing. Back in, that gets two. Back in, UT’s REALLY pissed now, what with bleeding from the mouth and nose and all, so he beats Rey down in the corner and hits a sideslam for two. Hey, our first blood of 2010! Rey fights back and gets beaten down again for his troubles, but manages to put Taker down with an inverted DDT and Drops the Dime for two. Rey slugs away again and gets clotheslined, and Taker has had ENOUGH of this shit. Last Ride, but Rey escapes and dropkicks Taker into the 619. He’s still standing, so Rey does it again and goes for the West Coast Pop to finish, but it’s Last Ride and good night at 11:08. This? Was AWESOME. I’m a hardcore sucker for guys going out and beating the hell out of each other because they want the belt so much. And yeah, this was Sting v. Vader to the letter, with the plucky babyface throwing everything he has at the monster heel, but just not being good enough that night. LOVED IT. **** Meanwhile, Kane lectures Shawn Michaels about being obsessed with Undertaker. Well, he’d know. HHH and Shawn settle their differences about who should win…but Shawn REALLY feels he’s going to get that shot at Undertaker. They have to do HHH v. Shawn at the end now. Royal Rumble: Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. It’s truly the most star-studded Rumble ever! Bourne snaps off a rana and a leg lariat, but Ziggler pounds away in the corner and nearly dropkicks Bourne out. Bourne comes back with another rana that almost puts Ziggler out, but he hangs on. Dolph with the Zig Zag and he still can’t get Bourne out, and Evan gets the shooting star press as CM Punk is #3, looking more like Billy Jack Haynes every day. Well, in body hair, not in steroid use or paranoid batshit craziness, obviously. He tosses both guys at 2:29 and now it’s PROMO TIME. “Excuse me, it’s clobbering time”. JTG is #4 as this clock is already all over the place. JTG pounds away in the corner and gets dumped like a MORON at 4:04. And he CUTS ANOTHER PROMO. Epic. Great Khali is #5 and Punk can save him, by making him Greater, apparently. Khali chops him down in response and gives him the head vice. Beth Phoenix is #6. Sure, why not. Khali rather politely puts her on the ring apron, but Beth kisses him and pulls him out at 7:08. As comedy spots go, that’s pretty awesome. Beth goes after Punk as well and does pretty good, but she Goes To Sleep at 8:00 as Zack Ryder is #7. Punk barely even gets to cut a promo before laying out Ryder and tossing him at 8:43. HHH is #8 and I’m thinking his promo time is done. HHH slugs Punk down and gets the facecrusher, but Punk comes back with the knee in the corner. HHH hits the spinebuster as we’re already at Drew McIntyre at #9. Seriously, how hard is it to time 90 seconds? HHH lays out Drew and trades finisher attempts with Punk, then tosses him at 12:12. BOOO! I want more Punk! Drew pounds away on HHH in the corner and it’s Ted Dibiase at #10. He’ll likely get a long run. He powerslams HHH and the heels double-team HHH in the corner. John Morrison is #11 and he saves HHH, then attacks McIntyre. Dibiase lays him out before he can get Starship Pain, but really top rope moves are a bad idea anyway. But no, he fights Dibiase off and hits it anyway. Kane is #12 and he immediately cleans house, but doesn’t eliminate anyone yet. Cody Rhodes is #13 and saves Dibiase from Kane, and Legacy goes to work on him. Striker wonders what will happen if one of the “young guns” wins the Rumble. Does he still believe in Santa Claus, too? Legacy tries to get Kane out and HHH saves. Why? MVP is #14, but Miz blasts him with the US title as a receipt for earlier in the night and puts him out of the match. Good bit of booking there. More dullness in the corners as the ring fills up, and Carlito is #15. Truly this is star-studded. He gets his 5 seconds of offense, including the backstabber on everyone, but gets laid out as Miz is #16. And now MVP comes into the match and puts both Miz and himself out at 22:36. Matt Hardy is #17, so expect him to run away if anything gets too dangerous. And indeed the gas station incident must have been on the mind of Vince, because Kane dumps him at 24:03 before his music can even finish, but HHH puts Kane out at 24:10 as well. HHH lays out the field, but Shawn Michaels is #18. Carlito is done at 25:19. Cody is out at 25:28. Dibiase at 25:30. Morrison at 25:59. Can anyone stop the path of Jesus? Drew is alone with DX, and you can guess how that goes. Drew is done at 26:30. DX looks ready to throw down, but John Cena is #19. He takes on both DX members and neither one can see him. HHH saves Shawn from elimination and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE…but Shawn superkicks him out at 28:19! FUCK YEAH! Shelton Benjamin is #20 and he goes wild on Shawn and Cena, hitting the Paydirt on both of them, but Cena dumps him at 29:18. Yoshi Tatsu is #21. I don’t know who he is. And yeah, Cena dumps him at 30:28, giving us Cena v. Shawn again. I dunno, I’m definitely cheering for Shawn to win his first one in 16 years, but the story is better if he loses and has to fight for it next month. Big Show is #22 and he wants to put Shawn out, but Shawn does the Benoit choke to stop him. Cena dumps Shawn, but he skins the cat and Show yanks him back in. They’ve got the crowd by the short hairs here with the Shawn teases, as everyone wants him to win and they know it. Mark Henry is #23 and he slugs it out with Big Show. Cena and Henry combine forces and Henry slams Show, and Chris Masters is #24. STAR STUDDED! He goes after Show and gets dumped at 34:53. Henry and Show lay on the ropes and Shawn tries to help, but he’s got nothing. Truth is #25, and HE puts both of Show and Henry out at 35:41! Wow. He cleans house on Shawn and Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. Pump splashes for everyone and he clotheslines Shawn out…but Shawn hangs on again. Kofi Kingston is #27, and he might have an outside chance. Plus he’s got the best spot. He puts Swagger out at 39:01. He pounds on Truth in the corner and nearly gets dumped as a result, but hangs on and takes Truth out at 39:46. Chris Jericho is #28 and he goes after Cena, but walks into the FU. Shawn goes up with the flying elbow (which is actually a place where “Vintage Michaels” would apply), but Kofi cuts off the superkick. Cena dumps Kofi at 41:26, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Cena. Edge returns at #29 with his beard back again, and he spears everyone to a giant face pop. Jericho is gone at 42:23. Striker says to call your friends, but really it’s late to order the show now. And finally, Batista is #30. Final Four: Batista, Edge, Shawn and Cena. They all trade finishers and everyone is out. Edge and Shawn fight on the apron…and Batista knocks Shawn off at 46:03. The crowd is crushed by that one. So is Shawn, because he superkicks Charles Robinson! Great bump from the ref. So back to the match, as Cena dodges Batista to put him out at 48:48, leaving us Edge v. Cena. Cena dodges the spear, but Edge tosses Cena at 49:24 to win the Royal Rumble! I figured him for returning, but not winning the thing. And this may have been the best Rumble I’ve ever seen, with several great storylines going, no logjam periods, a great pace, and a big surprise entrant and winner. ***** The Pulse: The Rumble is a hard match to screw up, and in fact this time they got it exactly right. Big thumbs up!

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2010

(In the interest of speeding things up, I’ll just repost the 2010 show as-is because there’s not much to say anyway other than I overrated the Rumble match and probably the Mysterio-UT match as well, but it was a fun show regardless.  And no, I don’t have time to do the 2011 rant, sorry.  Maybe some other time.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2010 – Live from Atlanta, GA. – Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.ECW World title: Christian v. Ezekiel Jackson Apparently Jackson won a battle royale to earn a title shot. How original. Really, isn’t it time to put a bullet in this belt and be done with it? Jackson overpowers Christian to start, but he gets dumped and Christian hits him with a springboard dive. Back in, Jackson pounds away as Striker notes that the match screeches to a halt when he’s on offense. I think he was trying to be positive about it, but I dunno. Christian escapes from a press slam and chokes away on the ropes, but goes up and gets yanked down rudely. William Regal tries to get involved and gets sent back to the dressing room, thus robbing us of much of the potential entertainment value here. Zeke throws Christian into the stairs, and back in for two. And we go to the neck vice, which Jackson turns into a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Jackson pounds on the back and blocks a sunset flip with a tree slam for two. And we’re back to the chinlock, but Christian fights out, only to get slugged down for two. Jackson’s Klingon howl of outrage at every two count is a bit annoying. To the top, as Christian fights off a superplex attempt and hits a flying elbow instead. Jackson no-sells it, but misses a blind charge and walks into a missile dropkick. That gets two for Christian. Killswitch is blocked, so Christian goes up again, only to miss a flying splash. Jackson hits a lariat for two off that. Christian escapes a uranage, but Jackson gets a backbreaker for two. Jackson misses another charge and Christian gets the tornado DDT for two. Jackson with another lariat for two. Jackson escapes the Killswitch and runs Christian into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede, but Killswitch finishes him for good at 12:00. Jackson is fucking awful, so they’ll probably bump him to RAW and make him World champion by September. Watchable big v. little match thanks to Christian, albeit about 4 minutes too long. **1/2 Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme bargains with Teddy Long for an extra spot in the Rumble, because only one of them is entered for some reason. They try to talk Great Khali into giving up his spot, but he apparently says “No dice, homeslice.” The Miz thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid (I’m with Miz) so Teddy punishes him by forcing him to defend against MVP. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes just wants Randy Orton to know that he’s got his back. Haven’t they broken up YET? US title: The Miz v. MVP MVP wins a slugfest and puts Miz down with a clothesline for two. Floatover suplex gets two. Backdrop out of the corner and a backdrop suplex gets two, as Striker relates a story about how Miz REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. Oh shit, that’s like first degree murder in wrestling terms. If he ever forgets to wear a suit at the airport he might as well pack his bags and go to TNA. Miz dumps MVP off the apron and into the table, and back in he works on the back and gets a corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top gets two. Miz hits the chinlock as Striker notes that, to him as a child, Wrestlemania meant not having to wear a jacket outside anymore. Obviously he didn’t come from the Canadian Prairies. MVP comes back with a faceplant and facecrusher, which sets up the Ballin Elbow. I’m impressed he got that over. Yakuza kick gets two. Miz fights back with a necksnap on the top rope, but MVP gets a Pounce for two. Whatever happened to Monty Brown, anyway? Running kick misses, but MVP manages a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Jackknife rollup gets two. Miz bails to escape and gets tossed right back in, but he catches MVP with a small package on the way in at 7:30 to retain. Sneaky! The crowd respected that so much that when MVP lays him out afterwards, the crowd BOOS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. I agree with the crowd, Miz won that one fair and square and MVP is a sore loser. Basic RAW match. **1/4 Meanwhile, Big Show and Jericho have an awkward moment backstage. RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton Orton gets a monster babyface pop for his entrance, because he’s the star and Sheamus is not. To fix that you’d put Sheamus over and make him the star, but I sense that’s not how they’ll play it. Orton wins a lockup and puts Sheamus down with a dropkick, but slithers away. He’s obviously been studying his Jake Roberts tapes again. They slug it out on the ropes and Sheamus puts him down, so Orton bails to regroup. Orton’s arm is apparently hurt, so Sheamus goes to work on it. Orton responds with a chop block and starts on the knee to take over. Sheamus goes back to the arm as the crowd totally dies with no one playing babyface. If they have the balls to try Sheamus v. HHH at Wrestlemania as rumored, it’s gonna be DEATH. Epic death. And now Orton works the knee again as this thing has screeched to a halt like a teenaged boy getting cut off at second base. They slug it out with Orton getting the babyface reaction, but Sheamus gets a backbreaker for two. Sheamus tries the unnamed Razor’s Edge, but Orton escapes and dumps Sheamus, for another out-of-proportion babyface pop. He drags Sheamus back in with the DDT for two. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus rolls out to escape, then sends Orton into the post. This allows Cody Rhodes to run in and lay out Sheamus for the DQ at 12:25. Orton gets the RKO in the meantime, so he’s probably upset at Rhodes. Hopefully he’ll do something about it sometime this year. This was a total bore, with Orton showing none of his usual charisma and Sheamus showing nothing, period. *1/2 And FINALLY, Orton turns on Legacy and beats them both down after months of teases. And then Sheamus puts Orton out with a big boot. So is this Orton’s face turn, I’m assuming? Women’s title: Michelle McCool v. Mickie James Michelle cuts a lengthy promo about how Mickie forfeits, before she even gets a chance to make her entrance, and the announcers act all surprised when James shows up after all. James hits the DDT right away and wins the title at 0:20. DUD So there we go, the heels get what they deserve, including their own cake thrown on them. I think that will dissipate the heat over the “Piggy James” crap. Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio They’ve got some time to play with here. You know, looking at the number of kids at ringside wearing Mysterio masks and the coin that Rey now brings in from merchandise makes it all the more astonishing that someone in WCW thought it would be a tremendous idea to unmask the luchadores. You can sell Rey Mysterio masks until the Earth falls into the Sun. It’s like a license to print money. Rey slugs away in the corner, but gets tossed to the floor WITH AUTHORITY. Now there’s one time where the cliché is apt. Rey fights up to the apron and gets soup-boned back to the floor again. Clearly we’re going full monty Sting v. Vader formula here. Rey dodges the guillotine legdrop and Undertaker gets all cranky and pulls him back into place for another one. Back in, Rey reverses the chokeslam into a 619 attempt, but Taker catches him and nearly gets a tombstone. Awesome. Rey kicks out of it, barely, and boots Taker down, but tries a springboard crossbody and hits UT’s boot. Taker beats on him outside, but misses a baseball slide and hits the post. Rey tries to follow with a senton, but Taker catches him with a Last Ride. Rey hops onto the apron to escape and hits Taker with a moonsault to the floor, however. Rey tries a baseball slide and misses, and UT just destroys him with a shot to the railing. Back in, that gets two. Back in, UT’s REALLY pissed now, what with bleeding from the mouth and nose and all, so he beats Rey down in the corner and hits a sideslam for two. Hey, our first blood of 2010! Rey fights back and gets beaten down again for his troubles, but manages to put Taker down with an inverted DDT and Drops the Dime for two. Rey slugs away again and gets clotheslined, and Taker has had ENOUGH of this shit. Last Ride, but Rey escapes and dropkicks Taker into the 619. He’s still standing, so Rey does it again and goes for the West Coast Pop to finish, but it’s Last Ride and good night at 11:08. This? Was AWESOME. I’m a hardcore sucker for guys going out and beating the hell out of each other because they want the belt so much. And yeah, this was Sting v. Vader to the letter, with the plucky babyface throwing everything he has at the monster heel, but just not being good enough that night. LOVED IT. **** Meanwhile, Kane lectures Shawn Michaels about being obsessed with Undertaker. Well, he’d know. HHH and Shawn settle their differences about who should win…but Shawn REALLY feels he’s going to get that shot at Undertaker. They have to do HHH v. Shawn at the end now. Royal Rumble: Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. It’s truly the most star-studded Rumble ever! Bourne snaps off a rana and a leg lariat, but Ziggler pounds away in the corner and nearly dropkicks Bourne out. Bourne comes back with another rana that almost puts Ziggler out, but he hangs on. Dolph with the Zig Zag and he still can’t get Bourne out, and Evan gets the shooting star press as CM Punk is #3, looking more like Billy Jack Haynes every day. Well, in body hair, not in steroid use or paranoid batshit craziness, obviously. He tosses both guys at 2:29 and now it’s PROMO TIME. “Excuse me, it’s clobbering time”. JTG is #4 as this clock is already all over the place. JTG pounds away in the corner and gets dumped like a MORON at 4:04. And he CUTS ANOTHER PROMO. Epic. Great Khali is #5 and Punk can save him, by making him Greater, apparently. Khali chops him down in response and gives him the head vice. Beth Phoenix is #6. Sure, why not. Khali rather politely puts her on the ring apron, but Beth kisses him and pulls him out at 7:08. As comedy spots go, that’s pretty awesome. Beth goes after Punk as well and does pretty good, but she Goes To Sleep at 8:00 as Zack Ryder is #7. Punk barely even gets to cut a promo before laying out Ryder and tossing him at 8:43. HHH is #8 and I’m thinking his promo time is done. HHH slugs Punk down and gets the facecrusher, but Punk comes back with the knee in the corner. HHH hits the spinebuster as we’re already at Drew McIntyre at #9. Seriously, how hard is it to time 90 seconds? HHH lays out Drew and trades finisher attempts with Punk, then tosses him at 12:12. BOOO! I want more Punk! Drew pounds away on HHH in the corner and it’s Ted Dibiase at #10. He’ll likely get a long run. He powerslams HHH and the heels double-team HHH in the corner. John Morrison is #11 and he saves HHH, then attacks McIntyre. Dibiase lays him out before he can get Starship Pain, but really top rope moves are a bad idea anyway. But no, he fights Dibiase off and hits it anyway. Kane is #12 and he immediately cleans house, but doesn’t eliminate anyone yet. Cody Rhodes is #13 and saves Dibiase from Kane, and Legacy goes to work on him. Striker wonders what will happen if one of the “young guns” wins the Rumble. Does he still believe in Santa Claus, too? Legacy tries to get Kane out and HHH saves. Why? MVP is #14, but Miz blasts him with the US title as a receipt for earlier in the night and puts him out of the match. Good bit of booking there. More dullness in the corners as the ring fills up, and Carlito is #15. Truly this is star-studded. He gets his 5 seconds of offense, including the backstabber on everyone, but gets laid out as Miz is #16. And now MVP comes into the match and puts both Miz and himself out at 22:36. Matt Hardy is #17, so expect him to run away if anything gets too dangerous. And indeed the gas station incident must have been on the mind of Vince, because Kane dumps him at 24:03 before his music can even finish, but HHH puts Kane out at 24:10 as well. HHH lays out the field, but Shawn Michaels is #18. Carlito is done at 25:19. Cody is out at 25:28. Dibiase at 25:30. Morrison at 25:59. Can anyone stop the path of Jesus? Drew is alone with DX, and you can guess how that goes. Drew is done at 26:30. DX looks ready to throw down, but John Cena is #19. He takes on both DX members and neither one can see him. HHH saves Shawn from elimination and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE…but Shawn superkicks him out at 28:19! FUCK YEAH! Shelton Benjamin is #20 and he goes wild on Shawn and Cena, hitting the Paydirt on both of them, but Cena dumps him at 29:18. Yoshi Tatsu is #21. I don’t know who he is. And yeah, Cena dumps him at 30:28, giving us Cena v. Shawn again. I dunno, I’m definitely cheering for Shawn to win his first one in 16 years, but the story is better if he loses and has to fight for it next month. Big Show is #22 and he wants to put Shawn out, but Shawn does the Benoit choke to stop him. Cena dumps Shawn, but he skins the cat and Show yanks him back in. They’ve got the crowd by the short hairs here with the Shawn teases, as everyone wants him to win and they know it. Mark Henry is #23 and he slugs it out with Big Show. Cena and Henry combine forces and Henry slams Show, and Chris Masters is #24. STAR STUDDED! He goes after Show and gets dumped at 34:53. Henry and Show lay on the ropes and Shawn tries to help, but he’s got nothing. Truth is #25, and HE puts both of Show and Henry out at 35:41! Wow. He cleans house on Shawn and Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. Pump splashes for everyone and he clotheslines Shawn out…but Shawn hangs on again. Kofi Kingston is #27, and he might have an outside chance. Plus he’s got the best spot. He puts Swagger out at 39:01. He pounds on Truth in the corner and nearly gets dumped as a result, but hangs on and takes Truth out at 39:46. Chris Jericho is #28 and he goes after Cena, but walks into the FU. Shawn goes up with the flying elbow (which is actually a place where “Vintage Michaels” would apply), but Kofi cuts off the superkick. Cena dumps Kofi at 41:26, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Cena. Edge returns at #29 with his beard back again, and he spears everyone to a giant face pop. Jericho is gone at 42:23. Striker says to call your friends, but really it’s late to order the show now. And finally, Batista is #30. Final Four: Batista, Edge, Shawn and Cena. They all trade finishers and everyone is out. Edge and Shawn fight on the apron…and Batista knocks Shawn off at 46:03. The crowd is crushed by that one. So is Shawn, because he superkicks Charles Robinson! Great bump from the ref. So back to the match, as Cena dodges Batista to put him out at 48:48, leaving us Edge v. Cena. Cena dodges the spear, but Edge tosses Cena at 49:24 to win the Royal Rumble! I figured him for returning, but not winning the thing. And this may have been the best Rumble I’ve ever seen, with several great storylines going, no logjam periods, a great pace, and a big surprise entrant and winner. ***** The Pulse: The Rumble is a hard match to screw up, and in fact this time they got it exactly right. Big thumbs up!

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2010

(In the interest of speeding things up, I’ll just repost the 2010 show as-is because there’s not much to say anyway other than I overrated the Rumble match and probably the Mysterio-UT match as well, but it was a fun show regardless.  And no, I don’t have time to do the 2011 rant, sorry.  Maybe some other time.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2010 – Live from Atlanta, GA. – Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.ECW World title: Christian v. Ezekiel Jackson Apparently Jackson won a battle royale to earn a title shot. How original. Really, isn’t it time to put a bullet in this belt and be done with it? Jackson overpowers Christian to start, but he gets dumped and Christian hits him with a springboard dive. Back in, Jackson pounds away as Striker notes that the match screeches to a halt when he’s on offense. I think he was trying to be positive about it, but I dunno. Christian escapes from a press slam and chokes away on the ropes, but goes up and gets yanked down rudely. William Regal tries to get involved and gets sent back to the dressing room, thus robbing us of much of the potential entertainment value here. Zeke throws Christian into the stairs, and back in for two. And we go to the neck vice, which Jackson turns into a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Jackson pounds on the back and blocks a sunset flip with a tree slam for two. And we’re back to the chinlock, but Christian fights out, only to get slugged down for two. Jackson’s Klingon howl of outrage at every two count is a bit annoying. To the top, as Christian fights off a superplex attempt and hits a flying elbow instead. Jackson no-sells it, but misses a blind charge and walks into a missile dropkick. That gets two for Christian. Killswitch is blocked, so Christian goes up again, only to miss a flying splash. Jackson hits a lariat for two off that. Christian escapes a uranage, but Jackson gets a backbreaker for two. Jackson misses another charge and Christian gets the tornado DDT for two. Jackson with another lariat for two. Jackson escapes the Killswitch and runs Christian into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede, but Killswitch finishes him for good at 12:00. Jackson is fucking awful, so they’ll probably bump him to RAW and make him World champion by September. Watchable big v. little match thanks to Christian, albeit about 4 minutes too long. **1/2 Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme bargains with Teddy Long for an extra spot in the Rumble, because only one of them is entered for some reason. They try to talk Great Khali into giving up his spot, but he apparently says “No dice, homeslice.” The Miz thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid (I’m with Miz) so Teddy punishes him by forcing him to defend against MVP. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes just wants Randy Orton to know that he’s got his back. Haven’t they broken up YET? US title: The Miz v. MVP MVP wins a slugfest and puts Miz down with a clothesline for two. Floatover suplex gets two. Backdrop out of the corner and a backdrop suplex gets two, as Striker relates a story about how Miz REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. Oh shit, that’s like first degree murder in wrestling terms. If he ever forgets to wear a suit at the airport he might as well pack his bags and go to TNA. Miz dumps MVP off the apron and into the table, and back in he works on the back and gets a corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top gets two. Miz hits the chinlock as Striker notes that, to him as a child, Wrestlemania meant not having to wear a jacket outside anymore. Obviously he didn’t come from the Canadian Prairies. MVP comes back with a faceplant and facecrusher, which sets up the Ballin Elbow. I’m impressed he got that over. Yakuza kick gets two. Miz fights back with a necksnap on the top rope, but MVP gets a Pounce for two. Whatever happened to Monty Brown, anyway? Running kick misses, but MVP manages a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Jackknife rollup gets two. Miz bails to escape and gets tossed right back in, but he catches MVP with a small package on the way in at 7:30 to retain. Sneaky! The crowd respected that so much that when MVP lays him out afterwards, the crowd BOOS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. I agree with the crowd, Miz won that one fair and square and MVP is a sore loser. Basic RAW match. **1/4 Meanwhile, Big Show and Jericho have an awkward moment backstage. RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton Orton gets a monster babyface pop for his entrance, because he’s the star and Sheamus is not. To fix that you’d put Sheamus over and make him the star, but I sense that’s not how they’ll play it. Orton wins a lockup and puts Sheamus down with a dropkick, but slithers away. He’s obviously been studying his Jake Roberts tapes again. They slug it out on the ropes and Sheamus puts him down, so Orton bails to regroup. Orton’s arm is apparently hurt, so Sheamus goes to work on it. Orton responds with a chop block and starts on the knee to take over. Sheamus goes back to the arm as the crowd totally dies with no one playing babyface. If they have the balls to try Sheamus v. HHH at Wrestlemania as rumored, it’s gonna be DEATH. Epic death. And now Orton works the knee again as this thing has screeched to a halt like a teenaged boy getting cut off at second base. They slug it out with Orton getting the babyface reaction, but Sheamus gets a backbreaker for two. Sheamus tries the unnamed Razor’s Edge, but Orton escapes and dumps Sheamus, for another out-of-proportion babyface pop. He drags Sheamus back in with the DDT for two. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus rolls out to escape, then sends Orton into the post. This allows Cody Rhodes to run in and lay out Sheamus for the DQ at 12:25. Orton gets the RKO in the meantime, so he’s probably upset at Rhodes. Hopefully he’ll do something about it sometime this year. This was a total bore, with Orton showing none of his usual charisma and Sheamus showing nothing, period. *1/2 And FINALLY, Orton turns on Legacy and beats them both down after months of teases. And then Sheamus puts Orton out with a big boot. So is this Orton’s face turn, I’m assuming? Women’s title: Michelle McCool v. Mickie James Michelle cuts a lengthy promo about how Mickie forfeits, before she even gets a chance to make her entrance, and the announcers act all surprised when James shows up after all. James hits the DDT right away and wins the title at 0:20. DUD So there we go, the heels get what they deserve, including their own cake thrown on them. I think that will dissipate the heat over the “Piggy James” crap. Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio They’ve got some time to play with here. You know, looking at the number of kids at ringside wearing Mysterio masks and the coin that Rey now brings in from merchandise makes it all the more astonishing that someone in WCW thought it would be a tremendous idea to unmask the luchadores. You can sell Rey Mysterio masks until the Earth falls into the Sun. It’s like a license to print money. Rey slugs away in the corner, but gets tossed to the floor WITH AUTHORITY. Now there’s one time where the cliché is apt. Rey fights up to the apron and gets soup-boned back to the floor again. Clearly we’re going full monty Sting v. Vader formula here. Rey dodges the guillotine legdrop and Undertaker gets all cranky and pulls him back into place for another one. Back in, Rey reverses the chokeslam into a 619 attempt, but Taker catches him and nearly gets a tombstone. Awesome. Rey kicks out of it, barely, and boots Taker down, but tries a springboard crossbody and hits UT’s boot. Taker beats on him outside, but misses a baseball slide and hits the post. Rey tries to follow with a senton, but Taker catches him with a Last Ride. Rey hops onto the apron to escape and hits Taker with a moonsault to the floor, however. Rey tries a baseball slide and misses, and UT just destroys him with a shot to the railing. Back in, that gets two. Back in, UT’s REALLY pissed now, what with bleeding from the mouth and nose and all, so he beats Rey down in the corner and hits a sideslam for two. Hey, our first blood of 2010! Rey fights back and gets beaten down again for his troubles, but manages to put Taker down with an inverted DDT and Drops the Dime for two. Rey slugs away again and gets clotheslined, and Taker has had ENOUGH of this shit. Last Ride, but Rey escapes and dropkicks Taker into the 619. He’s still standing, so Rey does it again and goes for the West Coast Pop to finish, but it’s Last Ride and good night at 11:08. This? Was AWESOME. I’m a hardcore sucker for guys going out and beating the hell out of each other because they want the belt so much. And yeah, this was Sting v. Vader to the letter, with the plucky babyface throwing everything he has at the monster heel, but just not being good enough that night. LOVED IT. **** Meanwhile, Kane lectures Shawn Michaels about being obsessed with Undertaker. Well, he’d know. HHH and Shawn settle their differences about who should win…but Shawn REALLY feels he’s going to get that shot at Undertaker. They have to do HHH v. Shawn at the end now. Royal Rumble: Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. It’s truly the most star-studded Rumble ever! Bourne snaps off a rana and a leg lariat, but Ziggler pounds away in the corner and nearly dropkicks Bourne out. Bourne comes back with another rana that almost puts Ziggler out, but he hangs on. Dolph with the Zig Zag and he still can’t get Bourne out, and Evan gets the shooting star press as CM Punk is #3, looking more like Billy Jack Haynes every day. Well, in body hair, not in steroid use or paranoid batshit craziness, obviously. He tosses both guys at 2:29 and now it’s PROMO TIME. “Excuse me, it’s clobbering time”. JTG is #4 as this clock is already all over the place. JTG pounds away in the corner and gets dumped like a MORON at 4:04. And he CUTS ANOTHER PROMO. Epic. Great Khali is #5 and Punk can save him, by making him Greater, apparently. Khali chops him down in response and gives him the head vice. Beth Phoenix is #6. Sure, why not. Khali rather politely puts her on the ring apron, but Beth kisses him and pulls him out at 7:08. As comedy spots go, that’s pretty awesome. Beth goes after Punk as well and does pretty good, but she Goes To Sleep at 8:00 as Zack Ryder is #7. Punk barely even gets to cut a promo before laying out Ryder and tossing him at 8:43. HHH is #8 and I’m thinking his promo time is done. HHH slugs Punk down and gets the facecrusher, but Punk comes back with the knee in the corner. HHH hits the spinebuster as we’re already at Drew McIntyre at #9. Seriously, how hard is it to time 90 seconds? HHH lays out Drew and trades finisher attempts with Punk, then tosses him at 12:12. BOOO! I want more Punk! Drew pounds away on HHH in the corner and it’s Ted Dibiase at #10. He’ll likely get a long run. He powerslams HHH and the heels double-team HHH in the corner. John Morrison is #11 and he saves HHH, then attacks McIntyre. Dibiase lays him out before he can get Starship Pain, but really top rope moves are a bad idea anyway. But no, he fights Dibiase off and hits it anyway. Kane is #12 and he immediately cleans house, but doesn’t eliminate anyone yet. Cody Rhodes is #13 and saves Dibiase from Kane, and Legacy goes to work on him. Striker wonders what will happen if one of the “young guns” wins the Rumble. Does he still believe in Santa Claus, too? Legacy tries to get Kane out and HHH saves. Why? MVP is #14, but Miz blasts him with the US title as a receipt for earlier in the night and puts him out of the match. Good bit of booking there. More dullness in the corners as the ring fills up, and Carlito is #15. Truly this is star-studded. He gets his 5 seconds of offense, including the backstabber on everyone, but gets laid out as Miz is #16. And now MVP comes into the match and puts both Miz and himself out at 22:36. Matt Hardy is #17, so expect him to run away if anything gets too dangerous. And indeed the gas station incident must have been on the mind of Vince, because Kane dumps him at 24:03 before his music can even finish, but HHH puts Kane out at 24:10 as well. HHH lays out the field, but Shawn Michaels is #18. Carlito is done at 25:19. Cody is out at 25:28. Dibiase at 25:30. Morrison at 25:59. Can anyone stop the path of Jesus? Drew is alone with DX, and you can guess how that goes. Drew is done at 26:30. DX looks ready to throw down, but John Cena is #19. He takes on both DX members and neither one can see him. HHH saves Shawn from elimination and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE…but Shawn superkicks him out at 28:19! FUCK YEAH! Shelton Benjamin is #20 and he goes wild on Shawn and Cena, hitting the Paydirt on both of them, but Cena dumps him at 29:18. Yoshi Tatsu is #21. I don’t know who he is. And yeah, Cena dumps him at 30:28, giving us Cena v. Shawn again. I dunno, I’m definitely cheering for Shawn to win his first one in 16 years, but the story is better if he loses and has to fight for it next month. Big Show is #22 and he wants to put Shawn out, but Shawn does the Benoit choke to stop him. Cena dumps Shawn, but he skins the cat and Show yanks him back in. They’ve got the crowd by the short hairs here with the Shawn teases, as everyone wants him to win and they know it. Mark Henry is #23 and he slugs it out with Big Show. Cena and Henry combine forces and Henry slams Show, and Chris Masters is #24. STAR STUDDED! He goes after Show and gets dumped at 34:53. Henry and Show lay on the ropes and Shawn tries to help, but he’s got nothing. Truth is #25, and HE puts both of Show and Henry out at 35:41! Wow. He cleans house on Shawn and Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. Pump splashes for everyone and he clotheslines Shawn out…but Shawn hangs on again. Kofi Kingston is #27, and he might have an outside chance. Plus he’s got the best spot. He puts Swagger out at 39:01. He pounds on Truth in the corner and nearly gets dumped as a result, but hangs on and takes Truth out at 39:46. Chris Jericho is #28 and he goes after Cena, but walks into the FU. Shawn goes up with the flying elbow (which is actually a place where “Vintage Michaels” would apply), but Kofi cuts off the superkick. Cena dumps Kofi at 41:26, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Cena. Edge returns at #29 with his beard back again, and he spears everyone to a giant face pop. Jericho is gone at 42:23. Striker says to call your friends, but really it’s late to order the show now. And finally, Batista is #30. Final Four: Batista, Edge, Shawn and Cena. They all trade finishers and everyone is out. Edge and Shawn fight on the apron…and Batista knocks Shawn off at 46:03. The crowd is crushed by that one. So is Shawn, because he superkicks Charles Robinson! Great bump from the ref. So back to the match, as Cena dodges Batista to put him out at 48:48, leaving us Edge v. Cena. Cena dodges the spear, but Edge tosses Cena at 49:24 to win the Royal Rumble! I figured him for returning, but not winning the thing. And this may have been the best Rumble I’ve ever seen, with several great storylines going, no logjam periods, a great pace, and a big surprise entrant and winner. ***** The Pulse: The Rumble is a hard match to screw up, and in fact this time they got it exactly right. Big thumbs up!

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2010

(In the interest of speeding things up, I’ll just repost the 2010 show as-is because there’s not much to say anyway other than I overrated the Rumble match and probably the Mysterio-UT match as well, but it was a fun show regardless.  And no, I don’t have time to do the 2011 rant, sorry.  Maybe some other time.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2010 – Live from Atlanta, GA. – Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.ECW World title: Christian v. Ezekiel Jackson Apparently Jackson won a battle royale to earn a title shot. How original. Really, isn’t it time to put a bullet in this belt and be done with it? Jackson overpowers Christian to start, but he gets dumped and Christian hits him with a springboard dive. Back in, Jackson pounds away as Striker notes that the match screeches to a halt when he’s on offense. I think he was trying to be positive about it, but I dunno. Christian escapes from a press slam and chokes away on the ropes, but goes up and gets yanked down rudely. William Regal tries to get involved and gets sent back to the dressing room, thus robbing us of much of the potential entertainment value here. Zeke throws Christian into the stairs, and back in for two. And we go to the neck vice, which Jackson turns into a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Jackson pounds on the back and blocks a sunset flip with a tree slam for two. And we’re back to the chinlock, but Christian fights out, only to get slugged down for two. Jackson’s Klingon howl of outrage at every two count is a bit annoying. To the top, as Christian fights off a superplex attempt and hits a flying elbow instead. Jackson no-sells it, but misses a blind charge and walks into a missile dropkick. That gets two for Christian. Killswitch is blocked, so Christian goes up again, only to miss a flying splash. Jackson hits a lariat for two off that. Christian escapes a uranage, but Jackson gets a backbreaker for two. Jackson misses another charge and Christian gets the tornado DDT for two. Jackson with another lariat for two. Jackson escapes the Killswitch and runs Christian into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede, but Killswitch finishes him for good at 12:00. Jackson is fucking awful, so they’ll probably bump him to RAW and make him World champion by September. Watchable big v. little match thanks to Christian, albeit about 4 minutes too long. **1/2 Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme bargains with Teddy Long for an extra spot in the Rumble, because only one of them is entered for some reason. They try to talk Great Khali into giving up his spot, but he apparently says “No dice, homeslice.” The Miz thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid (I’m with Miz) so Teddy punishes him by forcing him to defend against MVP. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes just wants Randy Orton to know that he’s got his back. Haven’t they broken up YET? US title: The Miz v. MVP MVP wins a slugfest and puts Miz down with a clothesline for two. Floatover suplex gets two. Backdrop out of the corner and a backdrop suplex gets two, as Striker relates a story about how Miz REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. Oh shit, that’s like first degree murder in wrestling terms. If he ever forgets to wear a suit at the airport he might as well pack his bags and go to TNA. Miz dumps MVP off the apron and into the table, and back in he works on the back and gets a corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top gets two. Miz hits the chinlock as Striker notes that, to him as a child, Wrestlemania meant not having to wear a jacket outside anymore. Obviously he didn’t come from the Canadian Prairies. MVP comes back with a faceplant and facecrusher, which sets up the Ballin Elbow. I’m impressed he got that over. Yakuza kick gets two. Miz fights back with a necksnap on the top rope, but MVP gets a Pounce for two. Whatever happened to Monty Brown, anyway? Running kick misses, but MVP manages a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Jackknife rollup gets two. Miz bails to escape and gets tossed right back in, but he catches MVP with a small package on the way in at 7:30 to retain. Sneaky! The crowd respected that so much that when MVP lays him out afterwards, the crowd BOOS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. I agree with the crowd, Miz won that one fair and square and MVP is a sore loser. Basic RAW match. **1/4 Meanwhile, Big Show and Jericho have an awkward moment backstage. RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton Orton gets a monster babyface pop for his entrance, because he’s the star and Sheamus is not. To fix that you’d put Sheamus over and make him the star, but I sense that’s not how they’ll play it. Orton wins a lockup and puts Sheamus down with a dropkick, but slithers away. He’s obviously been studying his Jake Roberts tapes again. They slug it out on the ropes and Sheamus puts him down, so Orton bails to regroup. Orton’s arm is apparently hurt, so Sheamus goes to work on it. Orton responds with a chop block and starts on the knee to take over. Sheamus goes back to the arm as the crowd totally dies with no one playing babyface. If they have the balls to try Sheamus v. HHH at Wrestlemania as rumored, it’s gonna be DEATH. Epic death. And now Orton works the knee again as this thing has screeched to a halt like a teenaged boy getting cut off at second base. They slug it out with Orton getting the babyface reaction, but Sheamus gets a backbreaker for two. Sheamus tries the unnamed Razor’s Edge, but Orton escapes and dumps Sheamus, for another out-of-proportion babyface pop. He drags Sheamus back in with the DDT for two. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus rolls out to escape, then sends Orton into the post. This allows Cody Rhodes to run in and lay out Sheamus for the DQ at 12:25. Orton gets the RKO in the meantime, so he’s probably upset at Rhodes. Hopefully he’ll do something about it sometime this year. This was a total bore, with Orton showing none of his usual charisma and Sheamus showing nothing, period. *1/2 And FINALLY, Orton turns on Legacy and beats them both down after months of teases. And then Sheamus puts Orton out with a big boot. So is this Orton’s face turn, I’m assuming? Women’s title: Michelle McCool v. Mickie James Michelle cuts a lengthy promo about how Mickie forfeits, before she even gets a chance to make her entrance, and the announcers act all surprised when James shows up after all. James hits the DDT right away and wins the title at 0:20. DUD So there we go, the heels get what they deserve, including their own cake thrown on them. I think that will dissipate the heat over the “Piggy James” crap. Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio They’ve got some time to play with here. You know, looking at the number of kids at ringside wearing Mysterio masks and the coin that Rey now brings in from merchandise makes it all the more astonishing that someone in WCW thought it would be a tremendous idea to unmask the luchadores. You can sell Rey Mysterio masks until the Earth falls into the Sun. It’s like a license to print money. Rey slugs away in the corner, but gets tossed to the floor WITH AUTHORITY. Now there’s one time where the cliché is apt. Rey fights up to the apron and gets soup-boned back to the floor again. Clearly we’re going full monty Sting v. Vader formula here. Rey dodges the guillotine legdrop and Undertaker gets all cranky and pulls him back into place for another one. Back in, Rey reverses the chokeslam into a 619 attempt, but Taker catches him and nearly gets a tombstone. Awesome. Rey kicks out of it, barely, and boots Taker down, but tries a springboard crossbody and hits UT’s boot. Taker beats on him outside, but misses a baseball slide and hits the post. Rey tries to follow with a senton, but Taker catches him with a Last Ride. Rey hops onto the apron to escape and hits Taker with a moonsault to the floor, however. Rey tries a baseball slide and misses, and UT just destroys him with a shot to the railing. Back in, that gets two. Back in, UT’s REALLY pissed now, what with bleeding from the mouth and nose and all, so he beats Rey down in the corner and hits a sideslam for two. Hey, our first blood of 2010! Rey fights back and gets beaten down again for his troubles, but manages to put Taker down with an inverted DDT and Drops the Dime for two. Rey slugs away again and gets clotheslined, and Taker has had ENOUGH of this shit. Last Ride, but Rey escapes and dropkicks Taker into the 619. He’s still standing, so Rey does it again and goes for the West Coast Pop to finish, but it’s Last Ride and good night at 11:08. This? Was AWESOME. I’m a hardcore sucker for guys going out and beating the hell out of each other because they want the belt so much. And yeah, this was Sting v. Vader to the letter, with the plucky babyface throwing everything he has at the monster heel, but just not being good enough that night. LOVED IT. **** Meanwhile, Kane lectures Shawn Michaels about being obsessed with Undertaker. Well, he’d know. HHH and Shawn settle their differences about who should win…but Shawn REALLY feels he’s going to get that shot at Undertaker. They have to do HHH v. Shawn at the end now. Royal Rumble: Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. It’s truly the most star-studded Rumble ever! Bourne snaps off a rana and a leg lariat, but Ziggler pounds away in the corner and nearly dropkicks Bourne out. Bourne comes back with another rana that almost puts Ziggler out, but he hangs on. Dolph with the Zig Zag and he still can’t get Bourne out, and Evan gets the shooting star press as CM Punk is #3, looking more like Billy Jack Haynes every day. Well, in body hair, not in steroid use or paranoid batshit craziness, obviously. He tosses both guys at 2:29 and now it’s PROMO TIME. “Excuse me, it’s clobbering time”. JTG is #4 as this clock is already all over the place. JTG pounds away in the corner and gets dumped like a MORON at 4:04. And he CUTS ANOTHER PROMO. Epic. Great Khali is #5 and Punk can save him, by making him Greater, apparently. Khali chops him down in response and gives him the head vice. Beth Phoenix is #6. Sure, why not. Khali rather politely puts her on the ring apron, but Beth kisses him and pulls him out at 7:08. As comedy spots go, that’s pretty awesome. Beth goes after Punk as well and does pretty good, but she Goes To Sleep at 8:00 as Zack Ryder is #7. Punk barely even gets to cut a promo before laying out Ryder and tossing him at 8:43. HHH is #8 and I’m thinking his promo time is done. HHH slugs Punk down and gets the facecrusher, but Punk comes back with the knee in the corner. HHH hits the spinebuster as we’re already at Drew McIntyre at #9. Seriously, how hard is it to time 90 seconds? HHH lays out Drew and trades finisher attempts with Punk, then tosses him at 12:12. BOOO! I want more Punk! Drew pounds away on HHH in the corner and it’s Ted Dibiase at #10. He’ll likely get a long run. He powerslams HHH and the heels double-team HHH in the corner. John Morrison is #11 and he saves HHH, then attacks McIntyre. Dibiase lays him out before he can get Starship Pain, but really top rope moves are a bad idea anyway. But no, he fights Dibiase off and hits it anyway. Kane is #12 and he immediately cleans house, but doesn’t eliminate anyone yet. Cody Rhodes is #13 and saves Dibiase from Kane, and Legacy goes to work on him. Striker wonders what will happen if one of the “young guns” wins the Rumble. Does he still believe in Santa Claus, too? Legacy tries to get Kane out and HHH saves. Why? MVP is #14, but Miz blasts him with the US title as a receipt for earlier in the night and puts him out of the match. Good bit of booking there. More dullness in the corners as the ring fills up, and Carlito is #15. Truly this is star-studded. He gets his 5 seconds of offense, including the backstabber on everyone, but gets laid out as Miz is #16. And now MVP comes into the match and puts both Miz and himself out at 22:36. Matt Hardy is #17, so expect him to run away if anything gets too dangerous. And indeed the gas station incident must have been on the mind of Vince, because Kane dumps him at 24:03 before his music can even finish, but HHH puts Kane out at 24:10 as well. HHH lays out the field, but Shawn Michaels is #18. Carlito is done at 25:19. Cody is out at 25:28. Dibiase at 25:30. Morrison at 25:59. Can anyone stop the path of Jesus? Drew is alone with DX, and you can guess how that goes. Drew is done at 26:30. DX looks ready to throw down, but John Cena is #19. He takes on both DX members and neither one can see him. HHH saves Shawn from elimination and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE…but Shawn superkicks him out at 28:19! FUCK YEAH! Shelton Benjamin is #20 and he goes wild on Shawn and Cena, hitting the Paydirt on both of them, but Cena dumps him at 29:18. Yoshi Tatsu is #21. I don’t know who he is. And yeah, Cena dumps him at 30:28, giving us Cena v. Shawn again. I dunno, I’m definitely cheering for Shawn to win his first one in 16 years, but the story is better if he loses and has to fight for it next month. Big Show is #22 and he wants to put Shawn out, but Shawn does the Benoit choke to stop him. Cena dumps Shawn, but he skins the cat and Show yanks him back in. They’ve got the crowd by the short hairs here with the Shawn teases, as everyone wants him to win and they know it. Mark Henry is #23 and he slugs it out with Big Show. Cena and Henry combine forces and Henry slams Show, and Chris Masters is #24. STAR STUDDED! He goes after Show and gets dumped at 34:53. Henry and Show lay on the ropes and Shawn tries to help, but he’s got nothing. Truth is #25, and HE puts both of Show and Henry out at 35:41! Wow. He cleans house on Shawn and Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. Pump splashes for everyone and he clotheslines Shawn out…but Shawn hangs on again. Kofi Kingston is #27, and he might have an outside chance. Plus he’s got the best spot. He puts Swagger out at 39:01. He pounds on Truth in the corner and nearly gets dumped as a result, but hangs on and takes Truth out at 39:46. Chris Jericho is #28 and he goes after Cena, but walks into the FU. Shawn goes up with the flying elbow (which is actually a place where “Vintage Michaels” would apply), but Kofi cuts off the superkick. Cena dumps Kofi at 41:26, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Cena. Edge returns at #29 with his beard back again, and he spears everyone to a giant face pop. Jericho is gone at 42:23. Striker says to call your friends, but really it’s late to order the show now. And finally, Batista is #30. Final Four: Batista, Edge, Shawn and Cena. They all trade finishers and everyone is out. Edge and Shawn fight on the apron…and Batista knocks Shawn off at 46:03. The crowd is crushed by that one. So is Shawn, because he superkicks Charles Robinson! Great bump from the ref. So back to the match, as Cena dodges Batista to put him out at 48:48, leaving us Edge v. Cena. Cena dodges the spear, but Edge tosses Cena at 49:24 to win the Royal Rumble! I figured him for returning, but not winning the thing. And this may have been the best Rumble I’ve ever seen, with several great storylines going, no logjam periods, a great pace, and a big surprise entrant and winner. ***** The Pulse: The Rumble is a hard match to screw up, and in fact this time they got it exactly right. Big thumbs up!

The SmarK Royal Rumble Countdown: 2010

(In the interest of speeding things up, I’ll just repost the 2010 show as-is because there’s not much to say anyway other than I overrated the Rumble match and probably the Mysterio-UT match as well, but it was a fun show regardless.  And no, I don’t have time to do the 2011 rant, sorry.  Maybe some other time.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Royal Rumble 2010 – Live from Atlanta, GA. – Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Matt Striker.ECW World title: Christian v. Ezekiel Jackson Apparently Jackson won a battle royale to earn a title shot. How original. Really, isn’t it time to put a bullet in this belt and be done with it? Jackson overpowers Christian to start, but he gets dumped and Christian hits him with a springboard dive. Back in, Jackson pounds away as Striker notes that the match screeches to a halt when he’s on offense. I think he was trying to be positive about it, but I dunno. Christian escapes from a press slam and chokes away on the ropes, but goes up and gets yanked down rudely. William Regal tries to get involved and gets sent back to the dressing room, thus robbing us of much of the potential entertainment value here. Zeke throws Christian into the stairs, and back in for two. And we go to the neck vice, which Jackson turns into a chokeslam for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Jackson pounds on the back and blocks a sunset flip with a tree slam for two. And we’re back to the chinlock, but Christian fights out, only to get slugged down for two. Jackson’s Klingon howl of outrage at every two count is a bit annoying. To the top, as Christian fights off a superplex attempt and hits a flying elbow instead. Jackson no-sells it, but misses a blind charge and walks into a missile dropkick. That gets two for Christian. Killswitch is blocked, so Christian goes up again, only to miss a flying splash. Jackson hits a lariat for two off that. Christian escapes a uranage, but Jackson gets a backbreaker for two. Jackson misses another charge and Christian gets the tornado DDT for two. Jackson with another lariat for two. Jackson escapes the Killswitch and runs Christian into the corner with an Oklahoma Stampede, but Killswitch finishes him for good at 12:00. Jackson is fucking awful, so they’ll probably bump him to RAW and make him World champion by September. Watchable big v. little match thanks to Christian, albeit about 4 minutes too long. **1/2 Meanwhile, Cryme Tyme bargains with Teddy Long for an extra spot in the Rumble, because only one of them is entered for some reason. They try to talk Great Khali into giving up his spot, but he apparently says “No dice, homeslice.” The Miz thinks the whole thing is pretty stupid (I’m with Miz) so Teddy punishes him by forcing him to defend against MVP. Meanwhile, Cody Rhodes just wants Randy Orton to know that he’s got his back. Haven’t they broken up YET? US title: The Miz v. MVP MVP wins a slugfest and puts Miz down with a clothesline for two. Floatover suplex gets two. Backdrop out of the corner and a backdrop suplex gets two, as Striker relates a story about how Miz REFUSED TO SHAKE HANDS with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk. Oh shit, that’s like first degree murder in wrestling terms. If he ever forgets to wear a suit at the airport he might as well pack his bags and go to TNA. Miz dumps MVP off the apron and into the table, and back in he works on the back and gets a corner clothesline. Double axehandle off the top gets two. Miz hits the chinlock as Striker notes that, to him as a child, Wrestlemania meant not having to wear a jacket outside anymore. Obviously he didn’t come from the Canadian Prairies. MVP comes back with a faceplant and facecrusher, which sets up the Ballin Elbow. I’m impressed he got that over. Yakuza kick gets two. Miz fights back with a necksnap on the top rope, but MVP gets a Pounce for two. Whatever happened to Monty Brown, anyway? Running kick misses, but MVP manages a rollup for two. Backslide gets two. Jackknife rollup gets two. Miz bails to escape and gets tossed right back in, but he catches MVP with a small package on the way in at 7:30 to retain. Sneaky! The crowd respected that so much that when MVP lays him out afterwards, the crowd BOOS THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. I agree with the crowd, Miz won that one fair and square and MVP is a sore loser. Basic RAW match. **1/4 Meanwhile, Big Show and Jericho have an awkward moment backstage. RAW World title: Sheamus v. Randy Orton Orton gets a monster babyface pop for his entrance, because he’s the star and Sheamus is not. To fix that you’d put Sheamus over and make him the star, but I sense that’s not how they’ll play it. Orton wins a lockup and puts Sheamus down with a dropkick, but slithers away. He’s obviously been studying his Jake Roberts tapes again. They slug it out on the ropes and Sheamus puts him down, so Orton bails to regroup. Orton’s arm is apparently hurt, so Sheamus goes to work on it. Orton responds with a chop block and starts on the knee to take over. Sheamus goes back to the arm as the crowd totally dies with no one playing babyface. If they have the balls to try Sheamus v. HHH at Wrestlemania as rumored, it’s gonna be DEATH. Epic death. And now Orton works the knee again as this thing has screeched to a halt like a teenaged boy getting cut off at second base. They slug it out with Orton getting the babyface reaction, but Sheamus gets a backbreaker for two. Sheamus tries the unnamed Razor’s Edge, but Orton escapes and dumps Sheamus, for another out-of-proportion babyface pop. He drags Sheamus back in with the DDT for two. Orton sets up for the punt, but Sheamus rolls out to escape, then sends Orton into the post. This allows Cody Rhodes to run in and lay out Sheamus for the DQ at 12:25. Orton gets the RKO in the meantime, so he’s probably upset at Rhodes. Hopefully he’ll do something about it sometime this year. This was a total bore, with Orton showing none of his usual charisma and Sheamus showing nothing, period. *1/2 And FINALLY, Orton turns on Legacy and beats them both down after months of teases. And then Sheamus puts Orton out with a big boot. So is this Orton’s face turn, I’m assuming? Women’s title: Michelle McCool v. Mickie James Michelle cuts a lengthy promo about how Mickie forfeits, before she even gets a chance to make her entrance, and the announcers act all surprised when James shows up after all. James hits the DDT right away and wins the title at 0:20. DUD So there we go, the heels get what they deserve, including their own cake thrown on them. I think that will dissipate the heat over the “Piggy James” crap. Smackdown World title: Undertaker v. Rey Mysterio They’ve got some time to play with here. You know, looking at the number of kids at ringside wearing Mysterio masks and the coin that Rey now brings in from merchandise makes it all the more astonishing that someone in WCW thought it would be a tremendous idea to unmask the luchadores. You can sell Rey Mysterio masks until the Earth falls into the Sun. It’s like a license to print money. Rey slugs away in the corner, but gets tossed to the floor WITH AUTHORITY. Now there’s one time where the cliché is apt. Rey fights up to the apron and gets soup-boned back to the floor again. Clearly we’re going full monty Sting v. Vader formula here. Rey dodges the guillotine legdrop and Undertaker gets all cranky and pulls him back into place for another one. Back in, Rey reverses the chokeslam into a 619 attempt, but Taker catches him and nearly gets a tombstone. Awesome. Rey kicks out of it, barely, and boots Taker down, but tries a springboard crossbody and hits UT’s boot. Taker beats on him outside, but misses a baseball slide and hits the post. Rey tries to follow with a senton, but Taker catches him with a Last Ride. Rey hops onto the apron to escape and hits Taker with a moonsault to the floor, however. Rey tries a baseball slide and misses, and UT just destroys him with a shot to the railing. Back in, that gets two. Back in, UT’s REALLY pissed now, what with bleeding from the mouth and nose and all, so he beats Rey down in the corner and hits a sideslam for two. Hey, our first blood of 2010! Rey fights back and gets beaten down again for his troubles, but manages to put Taker down with an inverted DDT and Drops the Dime for two. Rey slugs away again and gets clotheslined, and Taker has had ENOUGH of this shit. Last Ride, but Rey escapes and dropkicks Taker into the 619. He’s still standing, so Rey does it again and goes for the West Coast Pop to finish, but it’s Last Ride and good night at 11:08. This? Was AWESOME. I’m a hardcore sucker for guys going out and beating the hell out of each other because they want the belt so much. And yeah, this was Sting v. Vader to the letter, with the plucky babyface throwing everything he has at the monster heel, but just not being good enough that night. LOVED IT. **** Meanwhile, Kane lectures Shawn Michaels about being obsessed with Undertaker. Well, he’d know. HHH and Shawn settle their differences about who should win…but Shawn REALLY feels he’s going to get that shot at Undertaker. They have to do HHH v. Shawn at the end now. Royal Rumble: Dolph Ziggler is #1 and Evan Bourne is #2. It’s truly the most star-studded Rumble ever! Bourne snaps off a rana and a leg lariat, but Ziggler pounds away in the corner and nearly dropkicks Bourne out. Bourne comes back with another rana that almost puts Ziggler out, but he hangs on. Dolph with the Zig Zag and he still can’t get Bourne out, and Evan gets the shooting star press as CM Punk is #3, looking more like Billy Jack Haynes every day. Well, in body hair, not in steroid use or paranoid batshit craziness, obviously. He tosses both guys at 2:29 and now it’s PROMO TIME. “Excuse me, it’s clobbering time”. JTG is #4 as this clock is already all over the place. JTG pounds away in the corner and gets dumped like a MORON at 4:04. And he CUTS ANOTHER PROMO. Epic. Great Khali is #5 and Punk can save him, by making him Greater, apparently. Khali chops him down in response and gives him the head vice. Beth Phoenix is #6. Sure, why not. Khali rather politely puts her on the ring apron, but Beth kisses him and pulls him out at 7:08. As comedy spots go, that’s pretty awesome. Beth goes after Punk as well and does pretty good, but she Goes To Sleep at 8:00 as Zack Ryder is #7. Punk barely even gets to cut a promo before laying out Ryder and tossing him at 8:43. HHH is #8 and I’m thinking his promo time is done. HHH slugs Punk down and gets the facecrusher, but Punk comes back with the knee in the corner. HHH hits the spinebuster as we’re already at Drew McIntyre at #9. Seriously, how hard is it to time 90 seconds? HHH lays out Drew and trades finisher attempts with Punk, then tosses him at 12:12. BOOO! I want more Punk! Drew pounds away on HHH in the corner and it’s Ted Dibiase at #10. He’ll likely get a long run. He powerslams HHH and the heels double-team HHH in the corner. John Morrison is #11 and he saves HHH, then attacks McIntyre. Dibiase lays him out before he can get Starship Pain, but really top rope moves are a bad idea anyway. But no, he fights Dibiase off and hits it anyway. Kane is #12 and he immediately cleans house, but doesn’t eliminate anyone yet. Cody Rhodes is #13 and saves Dibiase from Kane, and Legacy goes to work on him. Striker wonders what will happen if one of the “young guns” wins the Rumble. Does he still believe in Santa Claus, too? Legacy tries to get Kane out and HHH saves. Why? MVP is #14, but Miz blasts him with the US title as a receipt for earlier in the night and puts him out of the match. Good bit of booking there. More dullness in the corners as the ring fills up, and Carlito is #15. Truly this is star-studded. He gets his 5 seconds of offense, including the backstabber on everyone, but gets laid out as Miz is #16. And now MVP comes into the match and puts both Miz and himself out at 22:36. Matt Hardy is #17, so expect him to run away if anything gets too dangerous. And indeed the gas station incident must have been on the mind of Vince, because Kane dumps him at 24:03 before his music can even finish, but HHH puts Kane out at 24:10 as well. HHH lays out the field, but Shawn Michaels is #18. Carlito is done at 25:19. Cody is out at 25:28. Dibiase at 25:30. Morrison at 25:59. Can anyone stop the path of Jesus? Drew is alone with DX, and you can guess how that goes. Drew is done at 26:30. DX looks ready to throw down, but John Cena is #19. He takes on both DX members and neither one can see him. HHH saves Shawn from elimination and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE…but Shawn superkicks him out at 28:19! FUCK YEAH! Shelton Benjamin is #20 and he goes wild on Shawn and Cena, hitting the Paydirt on both of them, but Cena dumps him at 29:18. Yoshi Tatsu is #21. I don’t know who he is. And yeah, Cena dumps him at 30:28, giving us Cena v. Shawn again. I dunno, I’m definitely cheering for Shawn to win his first one in 16 years, but the story is better if he loses and has to fight for it next month. Big Show is #22 and he wants to put Shawn out, but Shawn does the Benoit choke to stop him. Cena dumps Shawn, but he skins the cat and Show yanks him back in. They’ve got the crowd by the short hairs here with the Shawn teases, as everyone wants him to win and they know it. Mark Henry is #23 and he slugs it out with Big Show. Cena and Henry combine forces and Henry slams Show, and Chris Masters is #24. STAR STUDDED! He goes after Show and gets dumped at 34:53. Henry and Show lay on the ropes and Shawn tries to help, but he’s got nothing. Truth is #25, and HE puts both of Show and Henry out at 35:41! Wow. He cleans house on Shawn and Cena and Jack Swagger is #26. Pump splashes for everyone and he clotheslines Shawn out…but Shawn hangs on again. Kofi Kingston is #27, and he might have an outside chance. Plus he’s got the best spot. He puts Swagger out at 39:01. He pounds on Truth in the corner and nearly gets dumped as a result, but hangs on and takes Truth out at 39:46. Chris Jericho is #28 and he goes after Cena, but walks into the FU. Shawn goes up with the flying elbow (which is actually a place where “Vintage Michaels” would apply), but Kofi cuts off the superkick. Cena dumps Kofi at 41:26, but Jericho hits the Codebreaker on Cena. Edge returns at #29 with his beard back again, and he spears everyone to a giant face pop. Jericho is gone at 42:23. Striker says to call your friends, but really it’s late to order the show now. And finally, Batista is #30. Final Four: Batista, Edge, Shawn and Cena. They all trade finishers and everyone is out. Edge and Shawn fight on the apron…and Batista knocks Shawn off at 46:03. The crowd is crushed by that one. So is Shawn, because he superkicks Charles Robinson! Great bump from the ref. So back to the match, as Cena dodges Batista to put him out at 48:48, leaving us Edge v. Cena. Cena dodges the spear, but Edge tosses Cena at 49:24 to win the Royal Rumble! I figured him for returning, but not winning the thing. And this may have been the best Rumble I’ve ever seen, with several great storylines going, no logjam periods, a great pace, and a big surprise entrant and winner. ***** The Pulse: The Rumble is a hard match to screw up, and in fact this time they got it exactly right. Big thumbs up!

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2010

 

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2010

Live from Miami, FL.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Matt Striker, and Jerry Lawler

US title: Daniel Bryan v. Ted Dibiase

Why hasn’t someone pitched Dibiase & Husky Harris as Money Inc Version 2, I wonder? Dibiase tries a wristlock, but Bryan reverses out to an armbar and boots Dibiase down. Dibiase comes back with a suplex to the floor and pounds away on the apron, and back in for two. Bryan fires back with kicks, but Dibiase takes him down for two, and we hit the chinlock. Standing dropkick gets two. Cole’s constant flip-flopping between announcer and heel is incredibly distracting, as many have noted. Bryan comes back with the kicks, but gets caught with his head down. He tosses Dibiase and follows with a suicide dive, taking a crazy bump into the railing in the process. Back in, missile dropkick gets two. He kicks the crap out of Dibiase and a small package gets two. Dibiase catches him with a clothesline (with a 1.0 Jannetty sell) for two, however, and goes for the Dream Street. Bryan pushes out of the corner to reverse that ala Bret Hart, but Dibiase gets a spinebuster for two. They fight on top and Bryan escapes that and follows with a top rope backdrop suplex. That gets two. Labell Lock is countered by Dibiase into a catapult for two, but Bryan hangs on with another try to finish at 9:56. Dibiase seemed to be coming along great at this point, not sure why they cut his legs off. Good build here, with Bryan’s comebacks getting over huge. ***1/2

The Miz attacks Bryan on his way back to the dressing room and comes to the ring, promising to cash in on the winner of the main event tonight.

Sheamus v. John Morrison

Sheamus pounds away in the corner to start, but Morrison puts him down with a rana, and out to the floor for a dive. Sheamus puts him down with a clothesline (only a 0.6 Jannetty sell on that one) and back into the ring where Sheamus takes over. Short-arm clothesline gets two. And really, his arms ARE pretty short. We get a couple of chinlocks and a knee to the gut from Sheamus, and that gets two. He pounds away in the corner as the crowd is pretty bored (in other words, your typical Sheamus match), but Morrison comes back with a high cross. Sheamus rolls through and powerslams him for two, however. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but Morrison counters with the enzuigiri and both are out. They slug it out and Morrison makes the comeback with a pair of clotheslines for two, but he walks into the backbreaker and Sheamus gets two. Morrison counters the Razor’s Edge into a legsweep for two, but he misses a charge and hurts his knee. Sheamus goes to work on it with a pretty great overhead legsnap, and into a half crab. JoMo quickly makes the ropes and gets a rollup for two, but Sheamus goes right back to the knee again. Morrison fights him off and goes up, but Sheamus sets up for the Edge. Morrison escapes and gets a shining wizard…for the pin at 11:20? That was different than the usual WWE formula finish. Matt Striker notes that the lesson is “always fight back against bullies”. Note to children of the world: Do not take life advice from the WWE. ***

Meanwhile, R-Truth offers to help out John Cena in the main event.

Intercontinental title: Dolph Ziggler v. Kaval

Ziggler survives the initial flurry from Kaval and hits the Perfect necksnap for two, and a fireman’s carry for two. Kaval rolls him up for two and gets a crossbody for two, but Dolph takes him down with a chinlock and bodyscissors. Neckbreaker gets two as Cole goes completely out of his way to insult Kaval in whatever way possible. Kaval comes back with elbows and a moonsault press for two, and a spin kick gets two. Kaval goes up to finish, but Dolph tries a TOP ROPE SLEEPER, the most devastating move ever devised. Kaval luckily breaks loose and gets a backslide for two. Ziggler with a fameasser for two (called a Zig Zag by Cole) and the sleeper, but Kaval bounces out of the corner with an enzuigiri for two. They trade rollups for two after a long stretch of nothing, and Dolph gets a second rollup and holds the tights for the pin at 9:39. What a trainwreck. *1/2 Kaval cashes in his title shot, for the IC title no less, and loses. He was smart to bail on the promotion after that, because he wasn’t going anywhere given that booking.

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match: Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Chris Masters, Kofi Kingston & MVP v. Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Dashing Cody Rhodes, Tyler Reks & Drew McIntyre

When did Chris Masters turn babyface and why should anyone care? Good thing they haven’t run an elimination tag match on the past few shows, because otherwise this might seem boring. Rey starts with Dashing Cody, and gets caught with a springboard kick for two. Over to Del Rio, but Rey takes him into the turnbuckles and brings MVP in. Low kick gets two. Del Rio misses the enzuigiri and MVP gets two in the corner, and over to Kofi. They work the arm, but Chris Masters comes in and stinks up the babyface side. The heels beat on him in the corner and McIntyre puts him down with a short clothesline. Masters tags MVP back in for a suplex on Drew, and the Ballin’ Elbow, but Del Rio trips him up on a suplex and McIntyre gets the pin at 5:35. I just don’t get the petty booking WWE does. Masters comes in with a jackhammer on Del Rio and into the Masterlock, but Del Rio reverses to the armbar at 6:34. Oh no, what team can survive without talent like MVP and Chris Masters? Big Show comes in against Jack Swagger, and Swagger goes to the knee to put him down. This brings Del Rio back in, but Show was only faking and now the heels won’t let Del Rio tag out. Del Rio forces a tag to Drew, and then gives the most awesome smirking badmouth to Big Show I’ve ever seen. This guy is so great. Show knocks him out in response. Meanwhile, we’ve got Dashing Cody Rhodes against Kofi while Del Rio gets helped out, apparently eliminated somehow. Kofi hits Dashing Cody in the face, prompting Rhodes to leave the ring and check his face. Show knocks him out at 10:47. Reks and Swagger double-team Show in the corner and Swagger works on the leg, getting the anklelock, but Show tags Rey in to break. Rey with a high cross on Swagger for two, but he walks into a big boot for two. Rey comes back with the 619, but Swagger blocks it with the anklelock. Rey with another try, but Reks makes the blind tag, and so does Kofi. Kofi with a crossbody for two, but Reks hangs him up in the corner and stomps him. Kofi rolls him up at 15:05, however, making it 3-on-2 for the faces. Kofi backslides Swagger for two, but Swagger catches the wacky kick and finishes with the anklelock at 15:46. Show and Mysterio double-team Swagger, but McIntyre breaks it up and allows Swagger to hit a pump splash on Rey for two. Rey with a rana into the 619, and a splash off of Show’s shoulders finishes at 17:23. Drew is all alone, but a 619 and chokeslam end his night at 18:02. Very fun match, but nothing particularly memorable. ***1/4

Divas title: LayCool v. Natalya

The heels work Natalya over in the corner, but she reverses a double suplex attempt and they head to the floor. Natalya dumps McCool into the front row and tosses Layla onto her. Back in, LayCool collides and Natalya puts McCool into the Sharpshooter at 3:34 to win the title. That was pretty anticlimactic. * LayCool tries the beatdown, but Beth Phoenix returns from wherever she was and makes the save.

Smackdown World title: Kane v. Edge

Edge slugs away and gets a standing leg lariat for two, then slides out and taunts Kane with Paul Bearer’s empty wheelchair. That’s pretty mean for a supposed babyface. Back in, Edge goes to the knee, but Kane drops him on the top and boots him to the floor. Back in, Kane demands the location of Bearer…while stepping on Edge’s throat. Well that’s just defeating your own purpose. How’s the man supposed to talk if you’re choking him? He continues the interrogation, this time while holding a chinlock. Again, that’s a terrible interrogation technique. Where’s someone like Craig Pittman when you need him? Or Ranger Ross? Edge gets a high cross for two, but Kane gets a corner clothesline to kill the crowd dead again. Edge comes back with a flying body attack of some sort for two, but Kane slugs him down again for two. This, notes Michael Cole, was vintage Kane. Yes, punching a guy is apparently vintage. Edge walks into a sideslam and Kane gets two, then goes up. Edge follows, but Kane brings him down with a clothesline for two. Edge comes back with a sloppy DDT (caught in full-on crappitude by the camera, a rare directing misstep by the production crew) but Kane boots him and chokeslams him for two. Edge escapes the tombstone and gets a spear for the pin and the title at 11:52, but the ref waves it off for some reason and then declares that both shoulders were down and Kane is therefore still the champion. That is the lamest fucking finish humanly possible. 1/2*

World tag titles: Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel v. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov

Santino engages in a martial arts battle with Gabriel to start, and Kozlov comes in and pounds on Gabriel. Gabriel comes back with a neckbreaker and Slater adds a kneedrop for two. Gabriel boots him down for two and goes to a facelock, as Nexus does some old school cutting off the ring stuff. Santino giving motivational speeches from the apron is great. Kozlov with a clothesline out of the corner, and it’s hot tag Santino. Hiptoss and headbutt get two, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Santino chases after Nexus, allowing Slater to lay him out for the pin at 5:08. Another lame finish. *1/2

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett

Cena is of course the special referee, and if Orton wins, he’s fired. You know, if Vince McMahon rented the first season of Oz, he could have stolen half a dozen ideas from Beecher v. Schillinger that would have been a million times better than the crappy way this storyline ended up. They trade headlocks to start and Wade slugs away in the corner, but Orton slugs back, prompting Cena to pull him off. Gorilla Monsoon would be very upset about that. Barrett does his own beatdown, and Cena pulls him off as well. Worst. Referee. Ever. Orton pounds on Barrett and they fight on the floor, then back in where Barrett gets two. Barrett slugs Orton down for two. Big boot gets two. Barrett with a chinlock that Orton reverses into a backdrop suplex, and they slug it out. Orton comes back with the powerslam and clotheslines Barrett to the floor. Back in, the neckbreaker gets two. Barrett comes back with a clothesline and the middle rope elbow for two. The crowd is scary dead, just waiting for the match to end so they can get to the payoff. Barrett with a pumphandle slam for two, and a Bossman slam for two. Barrett takes exception to Cena’s fair counting, and the crowd totally forgets about the match and does duelling chants for the ref. Orton sets up for the RKO and chases Barrett to the floor. Barrett catches him coming back in and gets the Wasteland, but Orton gets the ropes at two. This finally prompts action from Barrett, as he shoves Cena, and walks into the RKO at 15:17. “Cena’s free!” declares Striker, before Cole corrects him and notes that Cena’s fired. That’s this angle in a nutshell: So needlessly complicated that even the ANNOUNCERS can’t keep track of the stipulations. Cena was back by the next PPV as this whole storyline went spiralling into the toilet and Orton’s meaningless title reign was mercifully ended by the Miz the next night. And they wonder why no one buys their PPVs. Orton and Barrett continue to have no chemistry together, especially thanks to Orton’s crappy babyface comebacks. **3/4

Bonus DVD Match!

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett

From RAW the next night, as the Nexus lays out Orton and injures the knee, but Orton wants to proceed anyway. Barrett goes after the knee, of course, pounding it in a variety of ways, but Orton sends him into the corner. Orton comes back with the neckbreaker, but Barrett gets Wasteland for two. John Cena returns from his firing and breaks up the pin, allowing Orton to get the RKO and retain. However, this allows Miz to cash in…

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. The Miz

Miz also goes after the knee, but Orton clotheslines him out of the corner and escapes the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz hits the knee again, but walks into a powerslam. Skull Crushing Finale gives Miz the title, however. This of course gives the world DEMON GIRL, so that’s worth it.

The Pulse

The midcard portion was pretty fun and worth checking out, but the two main events just killed this show. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2010

 

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2010

Live from Miami, FL.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Matt Striker, and Jerry Lawler

US title: Daniel Bryan v. Ted Dibiase

Why hasn’t someone pitched Dibiase & Husky Harris as Money Inc Version 2, I wonder? Dibiase tries a wristlock, but Bryan reverses out to an armbar and boots Dibiase down. Dibiase comes back with a suplex to the floor and pounds away on the apron, and back in for two. Bryan fires back with kicks, but Dibiase takes him down for two, and we hit the chinlock. Standing dropkick gets two. Cole’s constant flip-flopping between announcer and heel is incredibly distracting, as many have noted. Bryan comes back with the kicks, but gets caught with his head down. He tosses Dibiase and follows with a suicide dive, taking a crazy bump into the railing in the process. Back in, missile dropkick gets two. He kicks the crap out of Dibiase and a small package gets two. Dibiase catches him with a clothesline (with a 1.0 Jannetty sell) for two, however, and goes for the Dream Street. Bryan pushes out of the corner to reverse that ala Bret Hart, but Dibiase gets a spinebuster for two. They fight on top and Bryan escapes that and follows with a top rope backdrop suplex. That gets two. Labell Lock is countered by Dibiase into a catapult for two, but Bryan hangs on with another try to finish at 9:56. Dibiase seemed to be coming along great at this point, not sure why they cut his legs off. Good build here, with Bryan’s comebacks getting over huge. ***1/2

The Miz attacks Bryan on his way back to the dressing room and comes to the ring, promising to cash in on the winner of the main event tonight.

Sheamus v. John Morrison

Sheamus pounds away in the corner to start, but Morrison puts him down with a rana, and out to the floor for a dive. Sheamus puts him down with a clothesline (only a 0.6 Jannetty sell on that one) and back into the ring where Sheamus takes over. Short-arm clothesline gets two. And really, his arms ARE pretty short. We get a couple of chinlocks and a knee to the gut from Sheamus, and that gets two. He pounds away in the corner as the crowd is pretty bored (in other words, your typical Sheamus match), but Morrison comes back with a high cross. Sheamus rolls through and powerslams him for two, however. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but Morrison counters with the enzuigiri and both are out. They slug it out and Morrison makes the comeback with a pair of clotheslines for two, but he walks into the backbreaker and Sheamus gets two. Morrison counters the Razor’s Edge into a legsweep for two, but he misses a charge and hurts his knee. Sheamus goes to work on it with a pretty great overhead legsnap, and into a half crab. JoMo quickly makes the ropes and gets a rollup for two, but Sheamus goes right back to the knee again. Morrison fights him off and goes up, but Sheamus sets up for the Edge. Morrison escapes and gets a shining wizard…for the pin at 11:20? That was different than the usual WWE formula finish. Matt Striker notes that the lesson is “always fight back against bullies”. Note to children of the world: Do not take life advice from the WWE. ***

Meanwhile, R-Truth offers to help out John Cena in the main event.

Intercontinental title: Dolph Ziggler v. Kaval

Ziggler survives the initial flurry from Kaval and hits the Perfect necksnap for two, and a fireman’s carry for two. Kaval rolls him up for two and gets a crossbody for two, but Dolph takes him down with a chinlock and bodyscissors. Neckbreaker gets two as Cole goes completely out of his way to insult Kaval in whatever way possible. Kaval comes back with elbows and a moonsault press for two, and a spin kick gets two. Kaval goes up to finish, but Dolph tries a TOP ROPE SLEEPER, the most devastating move ever devised. Kaval luckily breaks loose and gets a backslide for two. Ziggler with a fameasser for two (called a Zig Zag by Cole) and the sleeper, but Kaval bounces out of the corner with an enzuigiri for two. They trade rollups for two after a long stretch of nothing, and Dolph gets a second rollup and holds the tights for the pin at 9:39. What a trainwreck. *1/2 Kaval cashes in his title shot, for the IC title no less, and loses. He was smart to bail on the promotion after that, because he wasn’t going anywhere given that booking.

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match: Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Chris Masters, Kofi Kingston & MVP v. Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Dashing Cody Rhodes, Tyler Reks & Drew McIntyre

When did Chris Masters turn babyface and why should anyone care? Good thing they haven’t run an elimination tag match on the past few shows, because otherwise this might seem boring. Rey starts with Dashing Cody, and gets caught with a springboard kick for two. Over to Del Rio, but Rey takes him into the turnbuckles and brings MVP in. Low kick gets two. Del Rio misses the enzuigiri and MVP gets two in the corner, and over to Kofi. They work the arm, but Chris Masters comes in and stinks up the babyface side. The heels beat on him in the corner and McIntyre puts him down with a short clothesline. Masters tags MVP back in for a suplex on Drew, and the Ballin’ Elbow, but Del Rio trips him up on a suplex and McIntyre gets the pin at 5:35. I just don’t get the petty booking WWE does. Masters comes in with a jackhammer on Del Rio and into the Masterlock, but Del Rio reverses to the armbar at 6:34. Oh no, what team can survive without talent like MVP and Chris Masters? Big Show comes in against Jack Swagger, and Swagger goes to the knee to put him down. This brings Del Rio back in, but Show was only faking and now the heels won’t let Del Rio tag out. Del Rio forces a tag to Drew, and then gives the most awesome smirking badmouth to Big Show I’ve ever seen. This guy is so great. Show knocks him out in response. Meanwhile, we’ve got Dashing Cody Rhodes against Kofi while Del Rio gets helped out, apparently eliminated somehow. Kofi hits Dashing Cody in the face, prompting Rhodes to leave the ring and check his face. Show knocks him out at 10:47. Reks and Swagger double-team Show in the corner and Swagger works on the leg, getting the anklelock, but Show tags Rey in to break. Rey with a high cross on Swagger for two, but he walks into a big boot for two. Rey comes back with the 619, but Swagger blocks it with the anklelock. Rey with another try, but Reks makes the blind tag, and so does Kofi. Kofi with a crossbody for two, but Reks hangs him up in the corner and stomps him. Kofi rolls him up at 15:05, however, making it 3-on-2 for the faces. Kofi backslides Swagger for two, but Swagger catches the wacky kick and finishes with the anklelock at 15:46. Show and Mysterio double-team Swagger, but McIntyre breaks it up and allows Swagger to hit a pump splash on Rey for two. Rey with a rana into the 619, and a splash off of Show’s shoulders finishes at 17:23. Drew is all alone, but a 619 and chokeslam end his night at 18:02. Very fun match, but nothing particularly memorable. ***1/4

Divas title: LayCool v. Natalya

The heels work Natalya over in the corner, but she reverses a double suplex attempt and they head to the floor. Natalya dumps McCool into the front row and tosses Layla onto her. Back in, LayCool collides and Natalya puts McCool into the Sharpshooter at 3:34 to win the title. That was pretty anticlimactic. * LayCool tries the beatdown, but Beth Phoenix returns from wherever she was and makes the save.

Smackdown World title: Kane v. Edge

Edge slugs away and gets a standing leg lariat for two, then slides out and taunts Kane with Paul Bearer’s empty wheelchair. That’s pretty mean for a supposed babyface. Back in, Edge goes to the knee, but Kane drops him on the top and boots him to the floor. Back in, Kane demands the location of Bearer…while stepping on Edge’s throat. Well that’s just defeating your own purpose. How’s the man supposed to talk if you’re choking him? He continues the interrogation, this time while holding a chinlock. Again, that’s a terrible interrogation technique. Where’s someone like Craig Pittman when you need him? Or Ranger Ross? Edge gets a high cross for two, but Kane gets a corner clothesline to kill the crowd dead again. Edge comes back with a flying body attack of some sort for two, but Kane slugs him down again for two. This, notes Michael Cole, was vintage Kane. Yes, punching a guy is apparently vintage. Edge walks into a sideslam and Kane gets two, then goes up. Edge follows, but Kane brings him down with a clothesline for two. Edge comes back with a sloppy DDT (caught in full-on crappitude by the camera, a rare directing misstep by the production crew) but Kane boots him and chokeslams him for two. Edge escapes the tombstone and gets a spear for the pin and the title at 11:52, but the ref waves it off for some reason and then declares that both shoulders were down and Kane is therefore still the champion. That is the lamest fucking finish humanly possible. 1/2*

World tag titles: Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel v. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov

Santino engages in a martial arts battle with Gabriel to start, and Kozlov comes in and pounds on Gabriel. Gabriel comes back with a neckbreaker and Slater adds a kneedrop for two. Gabriel boots him down for two and goes to a facelock, as Nexus does some old school cutting off the ring stuff. Santino giving motivational speeches from the apron is great. Kozlov with a clothesline out of the corner, and it’s hot tag Santino. Hiptoss and headbutt get two, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Santino chases after Nexus, allowing Slater to lay him out for the pin at 5:08. Another lame finish. *1/2

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett

Cena is of course the special referee, and if Orton wins, he’s fired. You know, if Vince McMahon rented the first season of Oz, he could have stolen half a dozen ideas from Beecher v. Schillinger that would have been a million times better than the crappy way this storyline ended up. They trade headlocks to start and Wade slugs away in the corner, but Orton slugs back, prompting Cena to pull him off. Gorilla Monsoon would be very upset about that. Barrett does his own beatdown, and Cena pulls him off as well. Worst. Referee. Ever. Orton pounds on Barrett and they fight on the floor, then back in where Barrett gets two. Barrett slugs Orton down for two. Big boot gets two. Barrett with a chinlock that Orton reverses into a backdrop suplex, and they slug it out. Orton comes back with the powerslam and clotheslines Barrett to the floor. Back in, the neckbreaker gets two. Barrett comes back with a clothesline and the middle rope elbow for two. The crowd is scary dead, just waiting for the match to end so they can get to the payoff. Barrett with a pumphandle slam for two, and a Bossman slam for two. Barrett takes exception to Cena’s fair counting, and the crowd totally forgets about the match and does duelling chants for the ref. Orton sets up for the RKO and chases Barrett to the floor. Barrett catches him coming back in and gets the Wasteland, but Orton gets the ropes at two. This finally prompts action from Barrett, as he shoves Cena, and walks into the RKO at 15:17. “Cena’s free!” declares Striker, before Cole corrects him and notes that Cena’s fired. That’s this angle in a nutshell: So needlessly complicated that even the ANNOUNCERS can’t keep track of the stipulations. Cena was back by the next PPV as this whole storyline went spiralling into the toilet and Orton’s meaningless title reign was mercifully ended by the Miz the next night. And they wonder why no one buys their PPVs. Orton and Barrett continue to have no chemistry together, especially thanks to Orton’s crappy babyface comebacks. **3/4

Bonus DVD Match!

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett

From RAW the next night, as the Nexus lays out Orton and injures the knee, but Orton wants to proceed anyway. Barrett goes after the knee, of course, pounding it in a variety of ways, but Orton sends him into the corner. Orton comes back with the neckbreaker, but Barrett gets Wasteland for two. John Cena returns from his firing and breaks up the pin, allowing Orton to get the RKO and retain. However, this allows Miz to cash in…

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. The Miz

Miz also goes after the knee, but Orton clotheslines him out of the corner and escapes the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz hits the knee again, but walks into a powerslam. Skull Crushing Finale gives Miz the title, however. This of course gives the world DEMON GIRL, so that’s worth it.

The Pulse

The midcard portion was pretty fun and worth checking out, but the two main events just killed this show. Recommendation to avoid.

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2010

 

The SmarK DVD Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2010

Live from Miami, FL.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Matt Striker, and Jerry Lawler

US title: Daniel Bryan v. Ted Dibiase

Why hasn’t someone pitched Dibiase & Husky Harris as Money Inc Version 2, I wonder? Dibiase tries a wristlock, but Bryan reverses out to an armbar and boots Dibiase down. Dibiase comes back with a suplex to the floor and pounds away on the apron, and back in for two. Bryan fires back with kicks, but Dibiase takes him down for two, and we hit the chinlock. Standing dropkick gets two. Cole’s constant flip-flopping between announcer and heel is incredibly distracting, as many have noted. Bryan comes back with the kicks, but gets caught with his head down. He tosses Dibiase and follows with a suicide dive, taking a crazy bump into the railing in the process. Back in, missile dropkick gets two. He kicks the crap out of Dibiase and a small package gets two. Dibiase catches him with a clothesline (with a 1.0 Jannetty sell) for two, however, and goes for the Dream Street. Bryan pushes out of the corner to reverse that ala Bret Hart, but Dibiase gets a spinebuster for two. They fight on top and Bryan escapes that and follows with a top rope backdrop suplex. That gets two. Labell Lock is countered by Dibiase into a catapult for two, but Bryan hangs on with another try to finish at 9:56. Dibiase seemed to be coming along great at this point, not sure why they cut his legs off. Good build here, with Bryan’s comebacks getting over huge. ***1/2

The Miz attacks Bryan on his way back to the dressing room and comes to the ring, promising to cash in on the winner of the main event tonight.

Sheamus v. John Morrison

Sheamus pounds away in the corner to start, but Morrison puts him down with a rana, and out to the floor for a dive. Sheamus puts him down with a clothesline (only a 0.6 Jannetty sell on that one) and back into the ring where Sheamus takes over. Short-arm clothesline gets two. And really, his arms ARE pretty short. We get a couple of chinlocks and a knee to the gut from Sheamus, and that gets two. He pounds away in the corner as the crowd is pretty bored (in other words, your typical Sheamus match), but Morrison comes back with a high cross. Sheamus rolls through and powerslams him for two, however. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick, but Morrison counters with the enzuigiri and both are out. They slug it out and Morrison makes the comeback with a pair of clotheslines for two, but he walks into the backbreaker and Sheamus gets two. Morrison counters the Razor’s Edge into a legsweep for two, but he misses a charge and hurts his knee. Sheamus goes to work on it with a pretty great overhead legsnap, and into a half crab. JoMo quickly makes the ropes and gets a rollup for two, but Sheamus goes right back to the knee again. Morrison fights him off and goes up, but Sheamus sets up for the Edge. Morrison escapes and gets a shining wizard…for the pin at 11:20? That was different than the usual WWE formula finish. Matt Striker notes that the lesson is “always fight back against bullies”. Note to children of the world: Do not take life advice from the WWE. ***

Meanwhile, R-Truth offers to help out John Cena in the main event.

Intercontinental title: Dolph Ziggler v. Kaval

Ziggler survives the initial flurry from Kaval and hits the Perfect necksnap for two, and a fireman’s carry for two. Kaval rolls him up for two and gets a crossbody for two, but Dolph takes him down with a chinlock and bodyscissors. Neckbreaker gets two as Cole goes completely out of his way to insult Kaval in whatever way possible. Kaval comes back with elbows and a moonsault press for two, and a spin kick gets two. Kaval goes up to finish, but Dolph tries a TOP ROPE SLEEPER, the most devastating move ever devised. Kaval luckily breaks loose and gets a backslide for two. Ziggler with a fameasser for two (called a Zig Zag by Cole) and the sleeper, but Kaval bounces out of the corner with an enzuigiri for two. They trade rollups for two after a long stretch of nothing, and Dolph gets a second rollup and holds the tights for the pin at 9:39. What a trainwreck. *1/2 Kaval cashes in his title shot, for the IC title no less, and loses. He was smart to bail on the promotion after that, because he wasn’t going anywhere given that booking.

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match: Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Chris Masters, Kofi Kingston & MVP v. Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Dashing Cody Rhodes, Tyler Reks & Drew McIntyre

When did Chris Masters turn babyface and why should anyone care? Good thing they haven’t run an elimination tag match on the past few shows, because otherwise this might seem boring. Rey starts with Dashing Cody, and gets caught with a springboard kick for two. Over to Del Rio, but Rey takes him into the turnbuckles and brings MVP in. Low kick gets two. Del Rio misses the enzuigiri and MVP gets two in the corner, and over to Kofi. They work the arm, but Chris Masters comes in and stinks up the babyface side. The heels beat on him in the corner and McIntyre puts him down with a short clothesline. Masters tags MVP back in for a suplex on Drew, and the Ballin’ Elbow, but Del Rio trips him up on a suplex and McIntyre gets the pin at 5:35. I just don’t get the petty booking WWE does. Masters comes in with a jackhammer on Del Rio and into the Masterlock, but Del Rio reverses to the armbar at 6:34. Oh no, what team can survive without talent like MVP and Chris Masters? Big Show comes in against Jack Swagger, and Swagger goes to the knee to put him down. This brings Del Rio back in, but Show was only faking and now the heels won’t let Del Rio tag out. Del Rio forces a tag to Drew, and then gives the most awesome smirking badmouth to Big Show I’ve ever seen. This guy is so great. Show knocks him out in response. Meanwhile, we’ve got Dashing Cody Rhodes against Kofi while Del Rio gets helped out, apparently eliminated somehow. Kofi hits Dashing Cody in the face, prompting Rhodes to leave the ring and check his face. Show knocks him out at 10:47. Reks and Swagger double-team Show in the corner and Swagger works on the leg, getting the anklelock, but Show tags Rey in to break. Rey with a high cross on Swagger for two, but he walks into a big boot for two. Rey comes back with the 619, but Swagger blocks it with the anklelock. Rey with another try, but Reks makes the blind tag, and so does Kofi. Kofi with a crossbody for two, but Reks hangs him up in the corner and stomps him. Kofi rolls him up at 15:05, however, making it 3-on-2 for the faces. Kofi backslides Swagger for two, but Swagger catches the wacky kick and finishes with the anklelock at 15:46. Show and Mysterio double-team Swagger, but McIntyre breaks it up and allows Swagger to hit a pump splash on Rey for two. Rey with a rana into the 619, and a splash off of Show’s shoulders finishes at 17:23. Drew is all alone, but a 619 and chokeslam end his night at 18:02. Very fun match, but nothing particularly memorable. ***1/4

Divas title: LayCool v. Natalya

The heels work Natalya over in the corner, but she reverses a double suplex attempt and they head to the floor. Natalya dumps McCool into the front row and tosses Layla onto her. Back in, LayCool collides and Natalya puts McCool into the Sharpshooter at 3:34 to win the title. That was pretty anticlimactic. * LayCool tries the beatdown, but Beth Phoenix returns from wherever she was and makes the save.

Smackdown World title: Kane v. Edge

Edge slugs away and gets a standing leg lariat for two, then slides out and taunts Kane with Paul Bearer’s empty wheelchair. That’s pretty mean for a supposed babyface. Back in, Edge goes to the knee, but Kane drops him on the top and boots him to the floor. Back in, Kane demands the location of Bearer…while stepping on Edge’s throat. Well that’s just defeating your own purpose. How’s the man supposed to talk if you’re choking him? He continues the interrogation, this time while holding a chinlock. Again, that’s a terrible interrogation technique. Where’s someone like Craig Pittman when you need him? Or Ranger Ross? Edge gets a high cross for two, but Kane gets a corner clothesline to kill the crowd dead again. Edge comes back with a flying body attack of some sort for two, but Kane slugs him down again for two. This, notes Michael Cole, was vintage Kane. Yes, punching a guy is apparently vintage. Edge walks into a sideslam and Kane gets two, then goes up. Edge follows, but Kane brings him down with a clothesline for two. Edge comes back with a sloppy DDT (caught in full-on crappitude by the camera, a rare directing misstep by the production crew) but Kane boots him and chokeslams him for two. Edge escapes the tombstone and gets a spear for the pin and the title at 11:52, but the ref waves it off for some reason and then declares that both shoulders were down and Kane is therefore still the champion. That is the lamest fucking finish humanly possible. 1/2*

World tag titles: Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel v. Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov

Santino engages in a martial arts battle with Gabriel to start, and Kozlov comes in and pounds on Gabriel. Gabriel comes back with a neckbreaker and Slater adds a kneedrop for two. Gabriel boots him down for two and goes to a facelock, as Nexus does some old school cutting off the ring stuff. Santino giving motivational speeches from the apron is great. Kozlov with a clothesline out of the corner, and it’s hot tag Santino. Hiptoss and headbutt get two, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Santino chases after Nexus, allowing Slater to lay him out for the pin at 5:08. Another lame finish. *1/2

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett

Cena is of course the special referee, and if Orton wins, he’s fired. You know, if Vince McMahon rented the first season of Oz, he could have stolen half a dozen ideas from Beecher v. Schillinger that would have been a million times better than the crappy way this storyline ended up. They trade headlocks to start and Wade slugs away in the corner, but Orton slugs back, prompting Cena to pull him off. Gorilla Monsoon would be very upset about that. Barrett does his own beatdown, and Cena pulls him off as well. Worst. Referee. Ever. Orton pounds on Barrett and they fight on the floor, then back in where Barrett gets two. Barrett slugs Orton down for two. Big boot gets two. Barrett with a chinlock that Orton reverses into a backdrop suplex, and they slug it out. Orton comes back with the powerslam and clotheslines Barrett to the floor. Back in, the neckbreaker gets two. Barrett comes back with a clothesline and the middle rope elbow for two. The crowd is scary dead, just waiting for the match to end so they can get to the payoff. Barrett with a pumphandle slam for two, and a Bossman slam for two. Barrett takes exception to Cena’s fair counting, and the crowd totally forgets about the match and does duelling chants for the ref. Orton sets up for the RKO and chases Barrett to the floor. Barrett catches him coming back in and gets the Wasteland, but Orton gets the ropes at two. This finally prompts action from Barrett, as he shoves Cena, and walks into the RKO at 15:17. “Cena’s free!” declares Striker, before Cole corrects him and notes that Cena’s fired. That’s this angle in a nutshell: So needlessly complicated that even the ANNOUNCERS can’t keep track of the stipulations. Cena was back by the next PPV as this whole storyline went spiralling into the toilet and Orton’s meaningless title reign was mercifully ended by the Miz the next night. And they wonder why no one buys their PPVs. Orton and Barrett continue to have no chemistry together, especially thanks to Orton’s crappy babyface comebacks. **3/4

Bonus DVD Match!

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. Wade Barrett

From RAW the next night, as the Nexus lays out Orton and injures the knee, but Orton wants to proceed anyway. Barrett goes after the knee, of course, pounding it in a variety of ways, but Orton sends him into the corner. Orton comes back with the neckbreaker, but Barrett gets Wasteland for two. John Cena returns from his firing and breaks up the pin, allowing Orton to get the RKO and retain. However, this allows Miz to cash in…

RAW World title: Randy Orton v. The Miz

Miz also goes after the knee, but Orton clotheslines him out of the corner and escapes the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz hits the knee again, but walks into a powerslam. Skull Crushing Finale gives Miz the title, however. This of course gives the world DEMON GIRL, so that’s worth it.

The Pulse

The midcard portion was pretty fun and worth checking out, but the two main events just killed this show. Recommendation to avoid.