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Kyle’s News: Ric Flair has to mention TNA in his HOF speech?

According to sources, one thing TNA wanted when negotiating with WWE for Ric Flair’s Hall of Fame participation was that they wanted it to be said in some way during the show that Flair worked for TNA or was there due to TNA.

We’re not sure if WWE agreed to that particular stipulation, but it was one of the key things that was being discussed over the past few weeks.

Source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter 

I appreciate TNA allowing Ric Flair to attend the Four Horsemen’s introduction into the Hall of Fame, even though if they said no, it might’ve caused a tirade. But, Flair should thank TNA for allowing him to attend this event on his own. TNA’s Upper Management shouldn’t be telling him he has to. 

TNA  is trying to get a cheap plug on a WWE show. Little does TNA know, president Obama could plug TNA on national TV and it wouldn’t help. Face the facts TNA: you’re more known now than 2006 and yet your shows gets almost the exact ratings it did then and  the buyrates have FALLEN a significant margin. Most people know what TNA is but decide not to watch it for a laundry list of reasons why and  I can’t blame them.  Flair saying I work for TNA isn’t going all of a sudden have a swarm of WWE fans google TNA and then become avid watchers of the product. Instead, try listening to your audience and see how that much helps than forcing 20 years out of their prime talent down their throats every second of air time you have, TNA. At the very least, you won’t have to can your TV shows anymore. 

The SmarKdown Rant–03.30.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.30.12 Taped from the same place as RAW. Your hosts are Josh Matthews & Matt Striker (because Michael Cole is at Axxxxess, you see) Zack Ryder v. Drew McIntyre Drew might hold the record for biggest disparity between quality of theme music and level of push, because he’s basically a jobber with an awesome entrance. Actually, Gangrel was right up there too with that ratio. Zack gets a rollup for two as even the idiot announcers are questioning if Ryder can really be such a moron that he believes Eve. They exchange leapfrogs to the delight of the canned crowd heat, and Zack pounds away in the corner before landing on Drew’s knee. Drew takes over with a suplex for two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Drew controls with an armbar and dodges a blind charge, but he goes up and lands on Zack’s boot. Zack’s all fired up for the comeback, and he gets a forearm in the corner to set up the Broski Boot for two. Drew catches him with a big boot out of nowhere for two. That’s the kind of stuff he should be doing. Zack escapes a gutwrench bomb and finishes with the Rough Rider at 5:59, however. A fine match between two guys going nowhere. **1/4 Lord Tensai is still coming, and he’s still got a badass name. Meanwhile, in Miami, Cole & Lawler talk about the Undertaker-HHH match. And then I skip through HALF AN HOUR of RAW recaps and video packages. Big Show comes out to talk about how he hates Cody Rhodes and he’s going to win the IC title and have his Wrestlemania moment. And then, another 20 minutes of video packages. Chris Jericho v. Kofi Kingston Jericho gets a cheapshot and grabs a headlock, but Kofi comes back with an elbow and corner splash that sends Jericho out of the ring. Kofi follows with a baseball slide and goes up for a springboard, but Jericho brings him down and we take a break. Back with Jericho putting Kofi on the floor with a baseball slide of his own, and sends Kofi into the railing. Back in, Kofi reverses a kneelift into a rollup for two, but Jericho puts him down with a clothesline for two. Jericho chokes him out on the ropes, but misses a charge and he’s selling a leg injury. Kofi comes back with his goofy DDT thing (the SOS I think it’s called), and the Boomdrop. Wacky kick misses and Jericho tries the Walls, but Kofi reverses out of it. Kofi with a high cross for two, but he runs into an elbow. Jericho’s Lionsault misses, but Jericho catches the kick attempt and counters into the Walls at 9:19. And it was the real one because Kofi is flexible enough to take it. Good stuff and good to see Jericho going over clean to set up the title match. *** And we finish with the Rock/Cena interview from RAW. That whole show literally took me 20 minutes to watch. Wish they were all that fast. See you on Sunday here for WRESTLEMANIA 28!

Kyle’s News: Chris Jericho talks about WWE and Wrestlemania 28

Chris Jericho was featured in an interviewed by BetweenTheRopes.com today. Here
are some of the highlights.

On how this WrestleMania feels
different than previous WrestleManias:
“I figured this out earlier;
this is my tenth WrestleMania and there’s only been two (matches) that I’ve been
involved with that I felt had the potential to be the show-stealer. One was with
Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIV and this is the next one. So, you can never
say for sure what’s going to happen and there’s a lot of big matches on this
show. I just think — with the story line and the chemistry and the work style
that we have and the anticipation from the fans — that are match has the
potential to be a very special one.

“So, I’m excited about this
WrestleMania. Not that I’m not excited about every WrestleMania, but this has a
little bit of a special twist to it.”

On what fueled his
return:
“[The] time and going against C.M. Punk. I was fine. I was
doing a lot of touring with Fozzy and we were doing a lot of work. We were
getting ready to do a break and start working on a new record. So, I knew the
window of opportunity was there but for me, I have to have a mindset of
something that I think I can really make a difference with.

“When Punk
started going on the rise and calling himself the best in the world, I thought,
‘Well, there’s your natural story line right there.’ I actually flew to Stanford
last August to pitch this whole idea and story line to Vince.”

It doesn’t surprise me the best in the world idea was Jericho’s (and not the writer’s)idea, though it’s too bad Punk and him weren’t able to write their own angle because it would’ve been better than what the WWE writers did with this angle. The entire angle should’ve been about two wrestlers who proclaim themselves to be the best in the world fighting to see who the best in the world is for the richest prize in all of wrestling: the WWE championship. It also would’ve made more sense for Jericho to win the Royal Rumble or the Elimination Chamber match because it’s hard to believe someone proclaim their the best in the world even though they lost two important matches.
The family/personal stuff was unnecessary and I believe the WWE should learn how they can keep a feud hot without having both wrestlers on TV every week. I think the WWE ran out of things for them to do so decided to make this into a Raven-Punk rehash angle to try and keep the iron hot and, as a result, have overshadowed the best in the world theme of this match.  I’m not the only one who feels this way because it was reported that Jericho and Punk weren’t happy with where their angle went either.
If Jericho is staying around until at least the next PPV, they should’ve just had him do a job here and then made the feud more personal by talking about Punk’s family to set up a gimmick match (possibly no holds barred ) at Extreme Rules in Punk’s hometown. That way you kill two birds with one stone instead of one bird with two stones.

Smackdown – March 30, 2012 (Wrestlemania Axxess Show)

Smackdown
Date: March 30, 2012
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Matt Striker

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

This is going to be a different kind of show. There were only a few matches taped on Monday and if this show is like last year’s, the majority of this show will be partially taped from Miami and Axxess. It’ll mostly be a big commercial for Wrestlemania with some wrestling thrown in on the side. That’s the same thing the shows all week have done and it’s really all they can do this week. Let’s get to it.

Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine is the Louisville Cardinals. They’re evil and need to be destroyed.

As some of you probably know, usually I watch this show online on Friday afternoon so I can save time in the reviews. Well I did that today, and the show had no new matches and was a collection of old Mania matches. Apparently that’s totally different than what the US broadcast had so this is the second Smackdown I’ve done tonight.

Zack Ryder vs. Drew McIntyre

Drew starts off with a slam but Zack comes back with some speed and a dropkick. They go to the corner where Drew gets punched in the face. He manages to throw Zack up in the air and brings up a knee to take over. Off to an armbar now and Ryder is in trouble. A gutbuster puts Ryder down and Drew hooks a combination camel clutch/armbar. Ryder escapes but charges into a boot to put him right back down.

McIntyre does the go to the middle rope and jump off with the clear intention of jumping into the other guy’s raised boot spot. Ryder makes his comeback and hits the Broski Boot but walks into ANOTHER big boot for two. Zack escapes a powerbomb and Drew chases him into the corner but runs into a pair of knees. The Rough Ryder gets the pin at 5:38.

Rating: C. This was all you needed it to be. It covered both teams and hyped up the match a little bit. Not a great match or anything but it’s good to see Ryder getting clean wins, even over someone like McIntyre. I’m thinking Eve is going to play a role in the Mania match though, which isn’t a good thing.

We go to Miami where Lawler and Cole are on a set at Axxess. We see some of the stuff there, such as Undertaker’s Graveyard and the entrance you could walk down.

Video on Taker vs. HHH for the End of an Era.

Video on the Divas tag. I have no issue with looking at Maria Menunos. We’re never going to talk about Beth and Eve’s teased feud over Ryder again are we?

We see some of the art auction which goes to a children’s cancer center. Nothing wrong with that.

Recap of Punk vs. Jericho, I believe the same one from NXT.

Cole and King get in a flag waving contest.

We go back to Raw for the segment on Teddy vs. Johnny with the end of Otunga vs. Santino (they can’t show a full 90 second match?) which resulted in Miz joining Team Ace. We also get the Christian beatdown where he was put out of the match, and finally the Henry vs. Khali bit where Booker made the save for Teddy and joined the team.

Here’s Big Show in the ring to talk about his match on Sunday. He’s had some good success in this business. He won the world title in his first match and he’s won more since, but he doesn’t have a Wrestlemania moment. Wrestling in the main event for the world title isn’t a Wrestlemania moment? He says this is a bit different than most times he’s been at Mania. He can feel it in his mind, his gut and his heart. Cody is going to lose. Cody’s career isn’t going to get made. It’s going to get broken.

Video on Bryan vs. Sheamus.

Some legends weigh in on the Cell match.

Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho grabs the arm to start and works a hammerlock. Kofi speeds things up and hits a jumping back elbow followed by a clothesline to send Jericho to the outside. Back inside Kofi tries a springboard but Jericho takes out the ropes to knock him down and we go to a break. Back with Jericho in control but Kofi grabs a rollup for two.

A knee to the head gets two for Jericho. Jericho misses the crotch to the back of Kofi’s head while Kofi is in 619 position (that really needs a name) and Kofi hits the SOS for two. Boom Drop hits but Chris avoids Trouble in Paradise. The top rope cross body gets two. Lionsault eats knees but Kofi’s kick is countered into the Liontamer for the tap at 11:12.

Rating: B. Pretty solid TV match here but the ending was never in doubt. There was no way Jericho was going to lose two days before a world title match at Wrestlemania. I wish Kofi didn’t have to do the job, especially when he’s in a big match on Sunday but when you have 12 people in one match, that’s hard to avoid. Good match though.

We get the Rock vs. Cena segment from Raw to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. This was a very good final push for Wrestlemania. I get that a lot of people aren’t going to be fans of this and that’s ok. The wrestling we got was limited but fine, as there was no way they were going to run the risk of a bunch of injuries. I’m really surprised Jericho performed at all. Good final push for the show, as this was more about getting us fired up for Mania than a regular show.

Results
Zack Ryder b. Drew McIntyre – Rough Ryder
Chris Jericho b. Kofi Kingston – Walls of Jericho

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Kyle’s News: Cena Turning Heel at Wrestlemania 28?

Bret Hart had an interview with Rob McNichol for The Sun‘s podcast One Sided Ring. He gave his predictions on the top four matches of Wrestlemania and had some interesting thoughts on Cena vs Rock, including him saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Cena turned heel.

We’ve talked about Cena turning heel since 2007.  If Cena was going to turn heel, this would be the best place to do so. The Rock being screwed in his hometown would start a possible riot. It would be nearly as crazy as when Hulk Hogan turned heel.

 The WWE has been foreshadowing his heel turn a bit with his more edgy character and him sounding like Stone Cold Steve Austin’s when he was telling the Rock “I will do ANYTHING to win” Lastly, it would explain why they’re trying to make the match 50-50 and that is so Cena has fans to turn on. 

If Cena turned heel, the product would become  more interesting. The most complained about thing about the  WWE is its by-the-book shows, and since Cena has been the top-dog of the company, he takes a good brunt of the frustration because of it. In other words, Cena as heel would make the product seem to the fans less cookie-cutter and more fresh.

On the other hand, a John Cena heel turn chances are would hurt WWE’s merchandising sales. John Cena has been the cash cow of the WWE for about 7 years. They’ve had wrestlers that came close, but nobody has surpassed him.  Plus, with the new “Cena sucks shirts”, it’s almost like he’s heel already. 

And with all due respect to CM Punk, he’s not ready to be the cash cow of the WWE because he’s not yet over enough and neither is Randy Orton. Thus, there’s nobody right now who I could think of that could become the cash cow of the WWE, but that doesn’t mean Cena cannot elevate a babyface to cash cow status After all, a great heel can always make a babyface more popular.  

Whether it will work or not, mostly comes down to how well or poorly the turn’s executed and then booked, though he’s somewhat tweener  right now so I personally don’t see them turning him because they’re getting money from the people who like him and dislike him. .

Thoughts?

Wrestlemania Predictions and Plug!

Hey Scott,
Thanks again for participating.  I just posted the feature on my blog.  Hope you enjoy it.  Thanks again!
http://acaseoftheblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/true-or-false-4-with-scott-keith.html 

No worries.  Hopefully I can destroy your blog as well.

Since we’re on the topic of the big show, let’s do some predictions!

Rock v. Cena

It’s been a year of Rock getting the upper hand on Cena, and now he’s gonna lay down.  In his hometown.  This might seem like a bad idea to anyone who doesn’t want a riot in Miami, but they just don’t understand the genius of Vince McMahon.  I think that later when cooler heads have prevailed and Steve Lombardi is doing the talking head portion of the documentary DVD featuring this match, they’ll be like “Perhaps we shouldn’t have done that finish” like they speak about putting Jericho v. HHH on last at WM18.  I don’t think it’ll be clean, I think ADR (who has said “I’m not at Wrestlemania” way too publicly) will run in and do the Rhonda Rousey gimmick and try to break Rock’s arm while Cena and the ref are out, and Rock will gut it out and hit the People’s Elbow anyway, but the pain will then be SO SEVERE from ramming his injured elbow into Cena’s superhuman pecs that the ref will stop the match and award it to Cena, perhaps throwing up the X sign.  Then Cena will be all “Yo, Del Rio, your cars suck and you ruined my match with Rock, let’s fight for the next 5 PPVs in an escalating series of stipulation matches.”  MARK THAT SHIT DOWN.

HHH v. Undertaker


Really, the major question here is will there be blood?  And yeah, they’re gonna go all Daniel Plainview.  Shawn Michaels can carry a match even when refereeing, he’ll tease screwing Undertaker over so that we get the insane near-fall where everyone thinks the streak is over, and in the end Shawn will count HHH down and out to continue the streak.

CM Punk v. Chris Jericho


I feel like the storyline possibilities of Jericho winning the title and sending Punk to rock bottom, only to regain it in Chicago, are much better than Punk winning here and Jericho being all “I’m invoking my mandatory Wrestlemania rematch lazy writer’s clause, beeyotch!” so they can fight again.  Plus Jericho has never won the World title at Wrestlemania, so that would be good for him.

Daniel Bryan v. Sheamus


You’d think Sheamus would have to win, but boy are they seemingly in love with heel champion Daniel Bryan, so the temptation might be too great for them here.  If they do, they MUST pull the trigger on Divas champion AJ so they can celebrate together.  NO WAIT.  Scratch that, Sheamus wins here, AJ wins the Divas title the week after, and Bryan starts THAT belt around like it’s his accomplishment and never lets AJ actually acknowledge her own success.  THAT’S the winner winner chicken dinner, so I’m changing my prediction to Sheamus kills him clean by powering out of  the Lebell Lock into the White Noise for the win.

Team Teddy v. Team Johnny


Team Johnny wins somehow.

Big Show v. Cody Rhodes


I don’t see why Big Show would care about the IC title or why they’d want to put it on him, but Cody really has a beating coming to him and they booked it as a title match, so the only really logical payoff is Show winning the belt.  Unless they go with “Cody gets himself DQ’d to retain so that Show wins, and then Show beats the holy hell out of him and does something really embarrassing to Cody to give Cody his own Wrestlemania Moment” type of deal, I dunno.  OR!  The match never happens.  Show gets attacked backstage by, whatever, Christian or Del Rio or whoever he’s programmed with next.  Cody is like “ha ha, you BIG SHOW’D your shot at me, so I guess there’s no title match”, bam, FUNKASAURUS, and Cody gets destroyed and humiliated so that Show can replay THAT Wrestlemania moment and mock him.

Divas Match


I don’t care.  Unless Tamina is involved somewhere, and then you know I’ll be all over it.

Kane v. Randy Orton


Hopefully he punts the stupid mask right off.  RKO and Kane EMBRACES THE JOB.

I think that’s everything.  How good will this show be?  Should be pretty damn good.  Cena-Rock will obviously be awesome, HHH-Undertaker should be good-great, Jericho and Punk are both giant wrestling nerds wrestling for the World wrestling title at Wrestlemania so you know they’re gonna try to steal the show, and Bryan is in an insane zone of greatness right now so that should be good.  I will definitely get my $65 Canadian out of this one, I’m sure.

Buyrate prediction:  Just under one million.  If they did the wrist notes angle on last week’s RAW, then 1.3 million buys, but they did a lot of harm in the two weeks leading up to the PPV because they had nothing further to say with the characters.

Volleyball and Wrestling Are About the Same, Right?

As previously reported, Triple H hired Canyon Ceman to be the new Senior Director of Talent Relations. Ceman replaces Ty Bailey and will be heading up the developmental system. Ceman is an All American volleyball player as well as a volleyball executive. Some have questioned how he can be the right guy to scout and develop talent, but WWE officials are said to be high on him and are touting his sports management knowledge.

Source: Figure4Online

I was all for Triple H taking over for Vince McMahon, but due to this decision I am starting to second guess it. The problem people have with Johhny Ace because of his lack of knowledge, but at least Ace knows something about wrestling. I’m unsure about what a guy who played volleyball and is a volleyball excessive knows about wrestling. If he’s going to have a major role in scouting the talent, I’m not saying WWE is going to go out of business, but if this guy knows nothing, they’re making the same business decisions that were detrimental to WCW. What are they going to do next hire a pizza guy to run the creative department? 

The point is: people who know little to nothing about the wrestling business shouldn’t be in it when it comes to handling with the talent, and there’s a sizable track record that makes statement have truth and merit. Maybe I’m wrong and this will work out because this guy’s been secretly a passionate wrestling fan for all his life, but most likely they hired this guy to find sex-symbols and guys who have the best looking abs and muscles. This doesn’t look very promising for the revolution of the developmental system and creating new stars. If they don’t want to hire people in the business, why don’t they hire an ex-amateur wrestler? I mean look at how many wrestlers became success that were once amateurs and they’re somewhat similar.

Sympathy For Cole?

Hey Scott,     I appreciate you indulging the questions I and others pose to you.  I have a question for you, which I’m sure will cause some good debate amongst the Keithminers.  Is Michael Cole a sympathetic figure?  Hear me out: His debut was at SummerSlam ’97 when he tried to interview Stone Cold on his way to his infamous match with Owen Hart.  Austin called him a piece of trash, and threatened to make the new guy kiss his ass.  After middling around as an interview guy/merchandise stand for The Rock, he suddenly gets thrown in as lead announcer when Jim Ross is struck with Bells Palsy.  It was very clear he was not ready for the job, as you pointed out many times in your brutal but hilarious rants.  My favorites are “Michael Cole the Goatee Wearing Little Bitch”, your recap of the Rock/Mankind I quit match at the ’99 Rumble, calling him out for saying the most dangerous part of Hell in a Cell is getting your fingers caught in the cage, and my all-time favorite SK match, the Rock Bottom Buried Alive match, with your running gag based on Cole’s assertion that the tombstone above the grave  “weighs in excess of 3000 pounds.” When Ross mercifully came back, he went right back to being humiliated weekly backstage.  He finally catches a break when he is paired with Taz on Smackdown! doing a much better, if unremarkable, job as the lead commentator on the B show.  Then Vince decides, without telling them, that JR and Cole will be switching brands in the 2008 draft.  Clearly Vince wants Cole to be his new lead, since he has been groomed in the “WWE Style” commentary that Vince loves.  Naturally the fans rebel and Vince, since he knows better, just has Cole turn heel, because what better way to make someone hated by the fans popular than by making him a jerk.  His running down of Daniel Bryan wasn’t too bad, but then he is forced to repeatedly mock JR’s weight and Bells Palsy, comment on Jerry Lawler’s mom dying and bringing his son out to call his father neglectful, act like a chauvinist pig, stuff his paunchy announcer body into a skin tight unitard, “wrestle” a match that would have been ranked worst of the year if not for Jeff Hardy and basically put down every face in the company not named John Cena.  Add to that, he is now the embodiment of everything the fans hate about the WWE.  His relentless Twitter chatter, not to mention confusing trending with most talked about, ignoring the action in the ring, calling belts championships, using the term sports entertainment and calling wrestlers superstars.  There was an incident on Raw a few months back where he called CM Punk a superstar on commentary, and Punk insisted he was a wrestler. My point is, it seems like he was a guy who was treated like a joke for so long, got some credibility, was thrust into a spot the fans hated, and then became the most hated heel in the company for the wrong reasons. While I have heard he has a bit of an ego since he is friends with Cena, I can’t imagine this heel crap was all his idea.  Vince loves to make his employees due what he wants no matter how much the hate it.  Michelle McCool admitted in an interview she and Layla hated the Piggie James storyline, but Vince wouldn’t relent. Mark Henry was forced to be felt up by a cross dresser, get in a sexual relationship with an 80 year old woman AND admit to being in an incestuous relationship with his sister, all allegedly to get him to quit so Vince could reneg on that infamous contract.  While I’m sure Cole enjoys his salary, and the luxury of being considered an employee and getting benefits, he just seems like a guy who was doomed from the start and never saw the signs coming. Thoughts?

  You lost me at “Sympathy for Michael Cole.”  Although there did used to be a point where he would appear to have a mind of his own without Vince yelling in his ear all the time, but a couple of years ago he appeared to buy into the Michael Cole Character 100% and would act that way even when it was known that Vince was in another country at the time.  No, I’m afraid the Michael Cole who had potential to grow and change is long dead. 

Cole v. Lawler

Dear Scott,While reading your review of last year’s Wrestlemania, I was reminded of an idea I had that seemed like it was just RIPE for the picking to use in the Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole match. Why didn’t anyone just lift a carbon copy of Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman for that bout? It seems like it would have fit perfectly. Cole runs like a pansy for the first five minutes, Lawler finally says enough of that crap and allows him a freebie, suplex, piledriver, pinfall, everyone goes home happy. Total match time about 5-7 minutes.
Think such an idea would have gone over well with the fans? 

You misremember the original match, though.  It wasn’t suplex, piledriver, pinfall, everyone goes home happy.  It was suplex, piledriver, ref calls for the DQ, everyone goes home pissed off and they do rematches for months afterwards.  That was the irony of the whole thing, because Kaufman literally did nothing and Lawler cost himself the match.  Plus Kaufman never pretended to be a tough guy character, he fought women and played up his Hollywood softness.  Michael Cole (the character) imagines himself to be a fighter and would attempt to get some offense in.  The basic plot of the match was fine:  Lawler beats him up, Cole only gains the advantage with the help of Swagger, Lawler makes the comeback and wins but the decision is reversed by the corrupt GM due to a technicality.  The only major problem was that it was WAY too long and killed the match.  However, they should have gone with the Lawler v. Bret template from Summerslam 93, where the decision is reversed because Lawler beats Cole into a pulp after his win, and he’s so pissed off and fired up that the referee has to disqualify him.  That makes Cole look like an even bigger pussy by claiming victory that way when clearly he was beaten senseless, plus fans get the satisfaction of watching Cole getting beaten into a pulp.

Wrestlemania Countdown: 26

(Someone had requested a repost of this, and since I can’t retrieve the 2012 Scott sez version from the other server at the moment, you’ll have to settle for the boring unadorned version.)  The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania 26 – Live from Phoenix, AZ – Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler & Matt Striker Unified tag team titles: Big Show & The Miz v. R-Truth & John Morrison Morrison dropkicks Miz to start and the faces hit legdrops for two. Truth hits Show with a leg lariat, but walks into a fallaway slam. Show pounds Truth down and goes up for a pump splash, but Morrison kicks him down and Truth gets two. Morrison comes in and runs wild on Miz, but misses Starship Pain, giving MIz two. Morrison counters the Stroke for two, but Show tags himself in with the KO punch to finish at 3:22. Really, that was it? *1/2 Ted Dibiase v. Cody Rhodes v. Randy Orton Not sure how this is a triple threat match when it seems to be more clearly a handicap match. Orton dumps Rhodes , but gets dropkicked by Dibiase to set up the Legacy beatdown. They take turns pounding away on him, but Orton tosses Dibiase for a comeback. Rhodes with an Alabama Slam for two, but Legacy erupts for some reason and brawls to the floor. They look like such geeks here. Orton comes back with clotheslines and powerslams, but Dibiase stops the RKO. Rhodes accidentally nails Dibiase with a pescado, and Orton brings both geeks back in with the DDT. Orton sets up to finish Rhodes, but then changes his mind and punts him instead. RKO kills Dibiase dead at 8:58. Holy cow did Legacy ever look like the jobbiest pair of jobbers who ever jobbed there. This didn’t work at all, but the crowd was very into Orton so there was that. ** Meanwhile, Santino Marella bites into a magic Slim Jim that turns Jillian Hall into a series of wacky people. Yeah. Money In The Bank: Kofi Kingston v. MVP v. Evan Bourne v. Jack Swagger v. Shelton Benjamin v. Matt Hardy v. Dolph Ziggler v. Kane v. Drew McIntyre v. Christian Kane is sporting an impressive shiner before we even start. Big trainwreck to start and everyone climbs the ladder until Swagger and Hardy are left. Kofi knocks them off, but Christian monkey-flips him into a ladder in the corner. Christian climbs, but gets zig-zagged to the mat. Ziggler goes up and MVP brings him down. Kane brings MVP down, but all the black guys gang up on him in the corner. Shelton clears the ring and climbs, but Swagger knocks him off, then Bourne comes off the top onto him. Bourne looks eerily like Eddie Guerrero in standard definition. Weird spot with Christian and Matt sandwiching Swagger between two ladders while he stands under the main ladder. That leads to Christian fighting it out with Bourne on a ladder ramp. Evan wins that and climbs, but Hardy takes him down, then takes a sick backdrop bump onto the horizontal ladder. Everyone gets car crashed to the floor and Kane beats on Dolph in the ring. A couple of poor ladders get murdered, so Kofi takes a broken one and uses it as stilts in the most innovative spot I’ve seen in years. Sadly, Drew comes in after doing nothing, gets rid of Kofi, and climbs. Matt Hardy thankfully gets rid of him and makes his attempt, but Christian makes the save. They fight it out and Christian brings him down with the inverted DDT. Christian and Swagger fight for it next, and that gives Swagger the case at 13:39, after he takes forever to unhook it. Well that’s a waste of a briefcase as it stands. This was the same as it always is, a bunch of cool spots and sick bumps. ***1/4 Next month: Extreme Rules! Presented by KFC! EXTREME CHICKEN! HHH v. Sheamus HHH being this far down the card worries me. They trade shots in the corner and HHH goes for the Pedigree, but Sheamus backs off quickly. Sheamus pounds away, but HHH hits him with a suplex and kneedrop for one. Sheamus bails, and HHH clips him on the way back in and follows with the figure-four. Sheamus makes the ropes quickly to break, and sends HHH into the stairs as Matt Striker tries to get “Ace of Spades” over as a new nickname for HHH. Really? Is this a thing now? He’s already the King of Kings, does he need the whole damn deck of cards? Sheamus takes over with a pair of backbreaker variations and stomps a mudhole in the corner. Axehandle gets two. Sheamus slugs away for two and goes to a chinlock, but HHH makes the comeback. He goes up and Sheamus tries to bring him down with the Razor’s Edge, but HHH slips out. Sheamus gets a pump kick for two. HHH gets the spinebuster for two. Sheamus bails to the apron and gets a pump kick there, but KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes him at 12:05. I’d say Lawler’s “70000 people just witnessed a classic!” was a bit much, but this was fine. **1/2 CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio Rey is paying tribute to the Na’vi tonight instead of his usual superhero garb. I was looking forward to an Iron Man outfit, too. Oh well. Punk attacks, but gets taken into the corner. Rey hangs himself in the Tree of Woe and gets abused by Serena, and Punk drops him onto the stairs for good measure. Back in, Rey comes back with a bodypress, but Punk turns it into a powerslam for two. Punk ducks a low kick and rolls him up for two. Punk with the high kick for two. Rey comes back with a somersault DDT off the top, which looked pretty cool. Punk blocks the 619 and Rey escapes the GTS. Rey makes it to the apron and goes up with a frog splash, but that misses and Punk gets two. High knee in the corner sets up a powerbomb attempt, but Rey reverses into the 619. Serena throws herself on Punk to stop it, but Rey hits it on the other side instead and finishes with the big splash at 6:30. Kind of surprised they’d blow it off so fast without even going down the “Rey goes straight edge” road. It was also pretty short, like everything else tonight thus far. I did enjoy the “big stadium match” feel they gave it. **3/4 No Holds Barred: Bret Hart v. Vince McMahon Really there’s only one possible finish here. So Vince decides to stack the deck beforehand, bringing out the entire Hart family as his enforcers. Well I’d expect that from Diana and Bruce and especially Smith, no doubt, but I though Natalya was made of sterner stuff. And Bruce is the special referee, still wearing his stupid sunglasses. But Bret reveals that they were already onto him and now the Harts will screw Vince over. So Bret attacks and chokes Vince down, and the Hart Dynasty immediately drags Vince out and kicks his ass. They add a Hart Attack from the top rope to the floor, and back in Bret drops elbows on him. Vince bails again and the Harts drag him back out from under the ring, but now he’s got a crowbar. Bret gets it away from him without much trouble and beats him down (“That’s an international object!” declares Striker), and he teases a Sharpshooter before going back to the crowbar for a bit. And then he stomps on Vince’s nuts a few times, which always adds an extra star to the rating. Bret grabs a chair and takes a seat while Vince recovers, then lays waste to Vince with the chair. Like, Rock-Austin from WM 17 tribute time. Never let it be said that when it comes time for Vince to get his ass kicked, he doesn’t go out and give it his all. And finally the only thing left is to make him tap to the Sharpshooter at 11:09. Everyone said all they wanted as Bret kicking Vince’s ass for 10 minutes and then making him tap, and that is what was delivered to the letter. If this was in Canada the heat would have been off the charts the whole time. But it wasn’t. Wasn’t really a match and it’s not fair to rate it as such, but it was about *1/2 given the physical conditions of both guys. Smackdown World title: Chris Jericho v. Edge Edge puts him down with a pair of shoulderblocks as Cole notes Jericho is a six-time World champion. That can’t be right, can it? Edge gets a flapjack and goes for the spear early, but Jericho bails to escape and heads back in for a baseball slide. Back in with a Jericho backdrop suplex for two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho pounds away in the corner, but misses a blind charge. He comes back with a suplex onto the top rope, but misses a dive and gets sent into the announce table. Back in, they fight on the top and Edge faceplants him for two. He goes up with a flying bodypress, rolled through for two. Jericho tries the Walls, but Edge powers out and gets a sunset flip for two. Jericho tries the Codebreaker and gets sent into the corner to block, but Edge tries a spear and Jericho turns it into the Walls. Edge reverses into a small package for two. Lionsault misses and Edge gets the Edge-O-Matic for two (am I the only one in the world who still calls it that?), but Jericho with an enzuigiri for two. Edge hits the Impaler for two. Jericho gets a forearm off the top and sets up for his own spear, but walks into Edge’s boot. Edge tries his own, but walks into the Codebreaker. Well really, he waited for the crowd to chant “spear”, what did he expect? That gets two. So now we get to the meat of the match, as Jericho starts stomping on the Achilles tendon and then gets the Walls again (wouldn’t an anklelock be more apropos?), then turns it into a half-crab on the injured ankle. Edge channels his inner Dan Hardy and makes the ropes, then rolls up Jericho for two. Cactus clothesline puts them both on the floor, and the ref is bumped. Jericho nails Edge with the “championship” and gets two. IT’S A FUCKING BELT, MICHAEL COLE! A championship is an abstract concept, that is a BELT. Codebreaker finishes clean at 15:43. Really? That was actually looking it was going to be a good 20-25 minutes once Jericho started working the ankle. Oh well, Edge is boring as a babyface anyway. They really need to have the Royal Rumble winner actually win one of these years, though. This wasn’t “close the show” great, but it was never boring and the finish totally made sense. I’m also glad to see Jericho get his first Wrestlemania win since, what, 2001? ***3/4 Edge snaps afterwards and spears Jericho off the announce table, showing that he’s a sore loser as well as a choker. Layla, Vickie Guerrero, Maryse, Michelle McCool & Alicia Fox v. Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Mickie James, Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly Man, Vickie is the like best sport ever. All the good girls beat on Vickie in the corner (triggering an impressive screech from Vickie) and then all the women get to do their finishers. This leaves Beth with Vickie, as Vickie has a panic attack in the corner before getting rescued by McCool. The heels actually send Vickie to the top for a “hog splash” that gets the pin on Kelly at 3:20. I’m sure Eddie was flattered to have that tribute paid to him. DUD – Quick question: Why are they using an Audioslave song from 6 years ago as an “official theme”? Did they overpay usage rights and need to burn off some airplay or something? The band doesn’t even exist anymore! RAW World title: Batista v. John Cena Cena’s ridiculous entrance this year: A military honor guard. Because he once played a former Marine in a movie. Batista looks trimmed down and it works well on him. They do the lockup battle and Batista gets a headlock, but Cena reverses to his own. Batista clotheslines him out of the corner and pounds away, then adds a boot from the floor. Cena fights back with a suplex and a bulldog for two. He goes for the FU early, but Batista reverses into a sloppy DDT for two. Big boot gets two. We hit the chinlock and they slug it out until Cena backdrops out of a facelock. Cena makes the comeback (7 minutes in?) with his usual run of stuff, but it turns out that Batista CAN see him, and hits him with a spinebuster. Cena reverses into the STF, but Batista makes the ropes without too much trouble. Batista spears him for two. They fight on the top and Batista goes down, allowing Cena to hit the five knuckle shuffle off the top. Batista comes back with the powerbomb for two. Cena tries the FU, reversed by Batista, reversed again by Cena to the FU for two. The crowd is going apeshit for this stuff. They’re really doing the big superhero v. supervillain match well. Cena goes up and tries the legdrop, but he lands in a spinebuster. Batista goes for the bomb, but Cena rolls through into the STF. Batista taps at 13:29 to give the title back to Cena. These guys have mad chemistry together, especially in a big match situation like this one. **** – The two title matches would make this a thumbs up show on their own, so anything that the main event delivers will just be gravy. Streak v. Career: Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels Shawn fires away with chops in the corner, but eats Snake Eyes and a big boot. Corner clothesline and Taker tries to go Old School, but Shawn pulls him down. A second try hits, however. Taker pounds away in the corner and sets up for the tombstone, but Shawn slips out and fights for a crossface. Taker fights that off, but nearly takes the superkick before slipping away. Shawn decides to work on the leg in the corner, but Taker slugs him down and clotheslines him to the floor. That sets up a tope attempt, but Shawn slides in and clips the knee to stop him. Taker tosses him and runs his back into the post, then drops the guillotine legdrop on the apron. Back in, Shawn takes him down with a figure-four, but that only seems to make Undertaker really, really mad. He reverses the move and Shawn releases, and they slug it out. Shawn puts him down and kips up, but it’s a chokeslam for two. Tombstone is reversed into an anklelock by Shawn, so I guess that’s why Jericho couldn’t have it. Taker kicks him in the head a few times to break, but Shawn clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a moonsault. Taker catches that and tombstones him on the floor, and you have to figure that’s not good for Shawn’s career. An EMT runs down to check on Shawn, but Taker beats him up and rolls Shawn back in for two. Last Ride, but Taker’s knee gives out and Shawn gets two. Looked bad. Shawn goes up and drops the elbow, but Taker gets his knee up to block and Shawn takes the bump on his ribs. Ouch. Taker tries Hell’s Gate and Shawn rolls it over for two. They both struggle up and Shawn superkicks him for two. Shawn cues up another one, but Taker catches it and counters to the Last Ride for two. That was a giant near-fall. A frustrated UT tosses Shawn and preps the announce table, but Shawn escapes a powerbomb and superkicks him onto it instead. And given that it’s Wrestlemania, Shawn can’t resist a moonsault from the top, which puts Taker through the table. He even hits the knee, which is either a great bit of psychology or a lucky miss. Back in, Shawn adds one more superkick…for two. This match needs Jim Ross so badly. Shawn wants another one, but Taker chokeslams him. No cover, as he opts for the tombstone instead, and that only gets two. The crowd is just going insane now. Taker’s had it and he pulls the straps down, but he stops because he doesn’t want to end Shawn’s career. Just awesome facials from Shawn, as he gives Taker’s throat-cutting gesture right back to him, and then slaps Taker. And that’s it, as Taker tombstones him extra-super-duper hard for the pin at 23:57 to end it. If this was Shawn’s last match (which it’s not), he went out with another Wrestlemania classic. However, I just don’t think it was as good as last year, because expectations were so ridiculously high. ****1/2 Now hopefully he doesn’t go to TNA and job to Hogan again. The Pulse: Everything that was supposed to deliver, delivered, and the main event was suitably epic and had the clean finish we needed. Huge thumbs up this year!

NXT – March 28, 2012

NXT
Date: March 28, 2012
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Josh Matthews, William Regal

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Who would have thought that when we started this season that it would run through Wrestlemania 28? That’s the point we’re going to reach unless there’s some divine intervention and this season ends after today. Now the good thing is they have an angle that has a mystery to it after last week with Striker disappearing. Let’s get to it.

Hunico vs. Derrick Bateman

Bateman controls to start but gets backdropped into the corner as Hunico takes over. Elbow drop gets two. Oh make that one. Regal explains why Camacho hangs out with Hunico, which is apparently due to a gang attack that Hunico bailed him out of, resulting in a stab wound which is why Hunico wears a shirt in the ring. See how easy a story that was to explain?

Bateman gets beaten down for awhile until he comes back with a cross body. Hunico hits one at the same time though and both guys are down as we take a break. Back with Hunico chopping and pounding on Bateman. His shirt is torn now too. Hunico goes up but jumps into a dropkick as Bateman gets a breather. He launches Hunico over his head and into the buckle chest first.

Hunico pounds down on him again as Regal is talking about WCW. He seems to think it was funny and I can’t say I argue. Bateman tries to suplex Hunico in from the apron but Hunico falls on top. Bateman rolls through for two but stops to go after Camacho. The distraction allows Hunico to hit his modified Angle Slam (it’s the Angle Slam but he hooks the other guy’s head, almost like a torture rack) for the pin at 7:00.

Rating: C-. I wasn’t really all that into this. I’ve been liking Hunico more lately but this was a miss for him. Granted that could be because Bateman is a waste of time and space but maybe that’s just me. Nothing that great here as they went back and forth, but there wasn’t much selling in between.

Video on Rock vs. Cena from Once In A Lifetime, which wasn’t bad.

Video on HHH vs. Taker, which I think is the same one from Raw.

Video on Punk vs. Jericho, which I don’t think has aired before. It’s about Punk’s rise to the top of WWE over the years and then shows Jericho exposing Punk’s family history.

Maxine is on a phone and wants a list next week. Curtis comes up and apparently the list is about Regal, who is into some freaky stuff. This is news? Maxine gets off the phone and Curtis says that the company has been trying to keep Striker’s whereabouts on the DL. It happened on NXT. How much more DL can you get?

Maxine yells at him because Curtis hasn’t found out anything about Striker. Watson and Riley pop up and Watson yells at her for taking the spotlight during his match by rubbing Regal’s feet. Maxine asks how mad Watson is at her in a strange bit. They go down the hall and run into Natalya and Kidd. They’re talking about the economy. Ok then. The walk continues and they run into Gabriel. I think they’re looking for who stole Striker.

Now they run into Titus and leave, but the camera stays on Titus. Young comes in with a flower pot which Young says is for Tamina. O’Neil says take her to McDonalds. Young says he lies, cheats and steals in the ring but he can’t do that with Tamina. I’m not the biggest Eddie fan ever, but NO WAY does Young deserve to be able to say that.

Curtis and Maxine pop up again and accuse Titus of the kidnapping (they haven’t actually said those words yet, but rather “it was you” every time). Titus tries to kiss her for some reason but Curtis pulls her away. Young and O’Neil leave and Maxine gets a text. The kidnappers say that after Mania, she’ll give them what they want and they’ll get Striker back. LONG backstage segment here but it covered a few things which is good.

Video on the Divas tag, I think from Extra. I have no issue looking at Maria Menunos.

Titus O’Neil vs. Jey Uso

Young and Jimmy Uso are on commentary. So I’m assuming we’re not going to talk about the Striker stuff on commentary are we? Josh points out that the Usos aren’t that successful when they’re in singles action. Jimmy says that’s true, because they’re a team. Simple yet true. This is your usual power vs. speed match with Titus controlling early but Jey taking him down. He goes up but Titus rolls to the floor before the jump and we go to a break.

Back with Titus hammering on him, using the clubbing forearms. Jey gets in a shot and comes off the top with a cross body for two. Titus runs him over with another clothesline for two. Off to a chinlock to eat up some time as Jey comes up with exactly the same kind of offense you would expect from him. The Umaga attack hits in the corner as does the Samoan Drop. The Superfly Splash hits knees though and the Clash of the Titus ends this at 6:22.

Rating: C-. I wish I could care about this feud, but it’s just not happening. The problem in modern WWE for guys like the Usos is that the tag titles are never defended and the champions are basically jobbers when you need to get bigger names over as singles guys. Titus is a heel now but he’s the same guy he’s always been, just with a sneer now. Nothing match but technically it was fine.

Tamina comes out to check on Jey and glares at Young for some reason.

Overall Rating: D. The problem here is that this show was a commercial for Mania with a backstage segment and about 15 minutes of wrestling to fill in some gaps. That’s totally understandable as well as no one is going to care about anything with four days before the biggest show of the year. Not a good show or anything, but this had zero expectations coming in so it’s fine.

Results
Hunico b. Derrick Bateman – Spinning Torture Rack Slam
Titus O’Neil b. Jey Uso – Clash of the Titus

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Nightmare Matches

Okay I’d love to hear your answer to this My friend was asking me:  Worst possible dream match of all time? My answer:  Giant Gonzales circa 1993 VS Scott Steiner 2003 Can you top that?  I have a feeling you’ll blow me away

Steiner in 2003 was at least still capable of working a match.  How about Heidenreich v. Snitsky, a dream match we damn near almost got? 

Once In A Lifetime, Except For The Rematch

Hi Scott,
In my most recent pop culture article for Collective Publishing, I look at the “once in a lifetime” main event of John Cena vs. The Rock. The hype for this match has been attracting fans that left years ago and has created some buzz for WWE.  I am sure the event will rake in tons of money.  My article looks at what the prospects are for this match kickstarting yet another “wrestling boom period.”  The article is written for people who don’t watch wrestling, and so it does a lot of explaining that your readers may find excessive.  I still think it is an article they’ll enjoy and find worth checking out.

I honestly don’t think it’s created that much buzz or brought back lapsed fans or anything.  Speaking as a lapsed fan with friends who are lapsed fans, the Summer of Punk did way more to generate interest in that group, to the point where I actually talked people into buying Money in the Bank.  This year I’m into Wrestlemania, but none of this would have made me start watching RAW again if I wasn’t already.