Friday, August 14, 2009

[Wrestling] TNA Hard Justice 2009

Well, it's certainly been an interesting month for Total Non-Stop Action. Turmoil behind the scenes, as well as a rumored power-shift, could be the perfect recipe for exciting wrestling television. This month's offering is Hard Justice. Initially, it was announced/rumored that all of the matches will be contested under "No-DQ" ruling, much like WWE's Extreme Rules and WCW's Un-Censored... I'm not entirely sure if this stipulation remains. I would bag on TNA for taking this page out of the WWE playbook, however, it's a perfectly decent idea for a gimmick pay-per-view.

Now, onto the matches:

TNA World Heavyweight Title Match
Kurt Angle (C) v Sting v Matt Morgan

It's nice to see TNA elevating new talent to the Main Event level. I'm not much of a fan of Matt Morgan, but it's still very nice to see nonetheless. Other the past several weeks, The Blueprint was put in a "Best of 3" series with AJ Styles. With AJ, Morgan put on some great matches, potentially the best of his career thus far. Kurt Angle and Sting continue their rivalry that has been going on for the past few months. I don't see TNA taking the title off of Angle this close to Bound For Glory (October), as I feel that should be saved for the bigger show. I can see Morgan having a rather impressive showing for his first pay-per-view main event match.

TNA Legends Title Match
Kevin Nash v Mick Foley (C)

Kevin Nash further proves to be one of the most entertaining guys on the roster (probably any roster, right now). I gushed over his "Businessman" gimmick in my last TNA-PPV post, and those feelings remain. As far as Foley is concerned... I'm not sure why I should care. He's a heel, he's a babyface, he's a heel, he's a babyface. He's been in TNA less than a year, and has turned so often, I need to be reminded each week which entrance way he should be coming out of. I'm guessing at this point in time, he's playing face... possibly shifted into a conjoined Foley-Jarrett role, had Jarrett not taken a leave of absence a month or so back. Regardless of all that, this should be a fun match. Foley will still push his limits, and it will be fun watching businessman, Kevin Nash pick and choose what's "worth" doing for him and his paycheck. I'd like to see a Nash victory.

X-Division Title Match
Samoa Joe v Homicide (C)

I almost feel bad for Samoa Joe. I wouldn't go so far as to say the X-Division title is below him, however, it seemed as though they were building a head of steam for him to leave a lasting impression in the main event scene. Taz's arrival last month didn't really do much for either man. Homicide is always impressive, as is Joe. This should be a great match, possibly match of the night. I would like to see Homicide retain.

Steel Asylum Match
Suicide v Chris Sabin v The Amazing Red v Alex Shelley v Jay Lethal v Christopher Daniels v Consequences Creed

TNA announced that D'Angelo Dinero would be debuting at Hard Justice (who is heavily rumored to be former WWE/ECW Superstar, Elijah Burke). Not sure if his debut will be as an entrant in this match or not. It's also interesting just how quickly Christopher Daniels dropped out of the upper mid-card. He certainly deserves better. Both Suicide (as Kaz) and Jay Lethal have won Steel Asylum's in the past. I'd like to see Daniel's take this one, and hopefully gain a decent foothold in the upper mid-card once and for all. That is, of course, unless Dinero DOES debut for this match... in that case, I pick him.

$50,000 Bounty Match
Jethro Holliday v Abyss

Abyss's old "counselor" Dr. Stevie Richards has placed a $50,000 bounty on his head. This is a great old school set-up, leading to several interesting opportunities. I don't see Holliday (the former Trevor Murdoch) winning this one. It should be fun watching to see who else tries to cash-in and take Abyss out.

Rob Terry v Hernandez

Rob Terry is physically impressive. In the ring, however, is a different story. Hernandez has been on a tear since returning from injury (as well as before he was injured). This match is predicated on the Feast or Fired Briefcase that Hernandez won at Sacrifice earlier this year. The British Invasion took possession of it (as well as Homicide's case) before taking Hernandez out. They seem to be building Hernandez as the next big thing (and rightfully so). That said, he should take this one.

IWGP Tag Team Title Match
Beer Money, Inc. v The British Invasion (C)

Up until last week there was a bit of confusion over whether or not New Japan would let The British Invasion's title victory stand. Ultimately, the title switch stands, and honestly, that's for the best. The British Invasion, Magnus & Williams are a couple of great wrestlers. This match, if not for the X-Division Title match would be my pick for Match of the Night. I'd like to see The British Invasion retain here, and scoot Beer Money over to chasing the TNA Tag titles.

TNA Women's Knockout's Title Match
ODB v Angelina Love (C)

Another breath of fresh air. A title match without Tara or Awesome Kong in it. Opening up the field for a new challenger in ODB. Great decision in my humble opinion. ODB, with sidekick/love-interest, Cody Deaner have been incredibly entertaining both in and out of the ring. At this point, I don't see Love dropping the title, however, I wouldn't mind seeing an ODB run with the belt.

TNA Tag Team Title Match
Team 3D v Scott Steiner & Booker T (C)

Well, it's certainly nice to see Team 3D in a feud that doesn't have anything to do with "respect" or "beating respect into anybody". How they became the #1 contenders to the Titles, I don't know. Not that it matters, they're clearly TNA's marquee tag team (especially with Beer Money, Inc. otherwise engaged for the evening). This match is probably the hardest one to call... or even care about. Personally, I'm tired of all four men. I'd reckon The Main Event Mafia retains, and builds towards Bound For Glory with Beer Money, Inc. chasing for the belts.

Well, there ya have it. All in all, a decently stacked show. If I had the money, I'd consider making the purchase. TNA has really picked up their game over the past few months... and if some of the backstage rumors are true, they'll continue to raise the bar in the near future.

By the way, next week we've got WWE's SummerSlam... Enjoy the show!

Friday, July 24, 2009

[Wrestling] WWE Night of Champions 2009

Another week, another Wrestling pay-per-view. This time it's WWE's Night of Champions. The event where every WWE Title is on the line. A very fun concept, and a nice way to add something special to the show. I mentioned in my last WWE PPV article that Cyber Sunday was going to be changed to Annihilation. The title has been changed again... this time to the even lamer "WWE Bragging Rights"... and how I was looking forward to seeing the Superstars bust out "Fatalities" at the end of their matches.

This show had the great advantage of being placed several weeks after the last PPV event, giving feuds time to percolate a bit more than usual. In a nice touch, the WWE stopped having ANY title matches over the past few weeks to ensure who the champions would be going in and to make this show feel a bit more special.

Onto the matches:

WWE Title Match:
Randy orton (c) v Triple H v John Cena

Okay, before I go into this one, I'd like to say that I hope the Triple H/John Cena comedy tour doesn't come to my town any time soon. This past Monday on Raw, we were treated to about five minutes of shtick between HHH and Cena... all the while poor (WWE Champion) Randy Orton had to stand outside the ring and seethe. This match was put together thru a mini tournament that came down to John Cena and Triple H. Their match went to a No-Contest, so the natural result is a triple threat match. I'd like to see Orton pull this one out, however, his character and effectiveness has been neutered, seemingly at every turn. I can't remember the last time he was made to look credible. I guess an argument can be made that he's playing the classic chickens*** heel, but that kind of clashes with his current heartless, remorseless "viper" gimmick. I have a sneaking suspicion that Triple H will take the title here, and we'll be seeing this same match again at SummerSlam (possibly with a stipulation).

World Heavyweight Title Match:
CM Punk (c) v Jeff Hardy

CM Punk's heel turn doesn't seem complete just yet. He's still playing a (little) bit in the middle here. This match has been built very well, and has featured great work by both men. We're currently in July, which is when Jeff Hardy's contract was rumored to expire. There hasn't been any news on his contractual status as of yet, so with that niggling thought in the back of my mind, I almost have to give the win to Punk. Unless this is a rare occasion where the news hasn't been leaked yet, I can't see Hardy going over when he could just take off on the next week or two. I expect a great match regardless.

ECW Title Match:
Tommy Dreamer (c) v Christian

This match is kind of dependent on the Unified Tag Title Match. I've picked Christian as Jericho's mystery partner. I think it could be telegraphed here if Dreamer gets the win, and is immediately swooped into a Vladimir Koslov confrontation/feud. It would be interesting if Christian were to win here, and also be the mystery partner. I'm not sure how big the WWE is at the moment on having a double champion. Either way, Christian and Dreamer have worked together surprisingly well over the past several weeks/months. This should be a decent match. If I had to pick a winner... I'll go with Dreamer, if only to further push my outlandish hope that Christian is Jericho's pick.

Intercontinental Title Match:
Rey Mysterio (c) v Dolph Ziggler

One of the most improved superstars on the roster versus one of the most consistently awesome superstars on the roster. This match has no downside. Ziggler, goofy name aside, has really stepped up his game since moving to the blue show. Mysterio has been great for as long as I can remember, at this point. Since there are no strange stipulations attached to this one, I'm going to pick Dolph here.

United States Title Match:
Kofi Kingston (c) v The Miz v Jack Swagger v MVP v The Big Show v Carlito Colon

The omission of Primo Colon here is mind boggling. Primo had an awesome showing this past Raw in a six-man-tag, where he pinned his brother Carlito for the win. Putting the, not so awesome Carlito in this match in his stead seems kind of strange. No Evan Bourne here either, which is also odd. Anyhoo, I'd like to see Jack Swagger walk out with the US strap, and move on to a singles feud with MVP. It's only fitting for the "All-American American" to be the United States Champion. The Big Show inclusion is a bit annoying here as well, he should really be in WWE Title contention (which is a terribly stale program at the moment). It seems as though his pushes are sporadic enough to where he looks like a contender, but too sporadic in that he doesn't look like a credible champion.

Unified Tag Team Title Match:
Chris Jericho & ??? (C) v Priceless/Legacy (Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes)

Chris Jericho and Edge won the Unified Tag Team Titles last month at The Bash, when SmackDown! General Manager, Teddy Long added them to the Colons v DiBiase/Rhodes match in the interest of "shaking things up" and appeasing Mr. McMahon (who had just put Teddy on "probation"). In the weeks that followed, Edge had suffered a torn Achilles tendon which may keep him out of action for up to a year. Rather than strip Jericho/Edge of the titles, they've gone another route. Chris Jericho claims to have written special stipulations into his Championship agreement. Knowing that Edge is "injury prone", he had these stips written in to protect his investment in the team... now, Jericho is sole owner of the Unified Tag Team titles and reserves the right to choose his next tag team partner.
Got all that?
DiBiase and Rhodes are still in the same position they've been in since forming Legacy. They're Randy Orton's back-up, and are the guys that generally take the beatings that are meant for Orton. Last month, I picked Priceless to take the titles, so that all members of the Legacy would have gold. This time, I'm going the other direction. Jericho and his new partner will win, and the loss will further sow dissension into the Legacy stable, which is already incredibly weak as it currently stands. I'm still convinced that Ted DiBiase Jr. is being groomed for a babyface run, especially with his movie coming out sometime soon. As far as the mystery partner is concerned... Jericho has claimed that this new partner and he shared a lot of like traits. Right now, the (possible red-herring?) best guess would be Dolph Ziggler, who is currently feuding with Jericho-foe and Intercontinental champion Rey Mysterio. Another rumor is Matt Hardy, who's not doing anything besides healing from injury himself at this point. I, however, would really like for it to be Christian. It would allow Christian to remain on the ECW roster, and be able to float as 1/2 of the Unified Tag Champs. Christian's face run so far has been fun, however, I think he's always worked better as a heel, and has history with Jericho to boot. Ought to be a good match.

WWE Divas Title Match:
Maryse (c) v Mickie James

Mickie James and Maryse have been feuding since the draft. Mickie's always been fun, while Maryse... is kind of a poor-man's Angelina Love from TNA. She's okay to watch, and as long as she's holding the Diva's title, she'll be relevant... but, I really don't know how the WWE will make us care about her once she loses the title. There's really not a whole lot more to her than the belt. Her character only has an upside as a winner. If she's made to lose, her character changes. I think for this reason (or not, I may be in the minority here), that Maryse will retain here, and possibly move into a program with Gail Kim... while they waste Mickie in multi-diva tags for the next several months until it's her turn for a title program again.

WWE Women's Title Match:
Michelle McCool (c) v Melina

Hadn't seen this one advertised anywhere besides Jim Ross's Blog (haven't watched the go-home episode of SmackDown! yet) and almost thought they decided to leave this one off the show. Last month at the Bash, Michelle McCool became the first lady wrestler to have won both the Women's and Diva's Titles, respectively. Since then, there was a little roster shake-up explained away as (former Raw-owner) Donald Trump having arranged a 15-Superstar inter brand trade. In that trade, McCool lost her sidekick, Alisha Fox to Raw (I try not to read the rumor-mill... okokok, I try to take everything I read in the rumor mill with a grain of salt), because they feared that Fox was taking away some of McCool's heat. Also, in that trade... Gail Kim headed to the Red Show. While both lady's divisions are pretty shallow (no pun intended), SmackDown!'s is, in my own uneducated opinion, especially so. Beside the women involved in this match, I can only think of Natalya Neidhart (a heel) as a credible threat to the title. Eve and Layla, may, in time become contenders (Eve especially has shown much passion of late). All that said, I think McCool will retain, and Melina will chase the title until SD! can build another credible contender to McCool.

There you have it. Notable Superstars NOT involved in this show: Mark Henry, John Morrison & Evan Bourne (and to a lesser extent, Primo Colon). I would assume that Kane and Khali are being held off until SummerSlam (and by the fact that neither of them currently hold any gold. Seems like a fun card that may just be worth a purchase. Personally, I'm waiting for SummerSlam, where I'll probably hit up R.T. O'Sullivans with the guys... but, if I had money to blow, I wouldn't feel all that bad about blowing it on this show. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

[Wrestling] TNA Victory Road 2009

I figure it's been awhile since I'd done any wrestling round these part (TNA especially)... so today I'll discuss TNA's Victory Road 2009.

Victory Road has the makings of a really good show... I must admit that my fandom of Total Nonstop Action has grown significantly since I'd last posted about them on the blog. The wrestling is always solid, however, the story lines and in-between wrestling bits do leave me a bit flat.

On with the show:

TNA World Heavyweight Title Match:
Kurt Angle (c) v Mick Foley

This was a match I was really looking forward to about three years back when Angle was "drafted" to the newly restarted ECW brand, and immediately Olympic Slammed (an at-the-time anti-ECW) Foley. I thought they'd have a fun match then, and I think they'll have a fun match now. Growing up, I was a huge Mick Foley fan... of late, my opinion of him has lowered a great bit, but his TNA run has shown that he can still bring it when necessary. Kurt Angle is probably the greatest wrestler in the United States at the moment. I think Kurt will win this one, and move into a feud with Sting that will culminate in another Sting World title victory at this year's Bound For Glory. Various wrestling news sites are stating that Angle has recently suffered a groin tear, which may slow him down a bit. Keeping in mind that Angle once tore his groin completely off the bone at a WWE HOUSE SHOW against Rob Van Dam and continued the match to completion leads me to believe he won't show too much of an injury here.

TNA Legends Title Match:
A.J. Styles (c) v Kevin Nash

If you told me a few years ago that Kevin Nash would be at his better than he'd ever been right now, I'd have told you you were insane. Nash is one of the best characters that TNA has right now. The story goes that Nash wants to win the Legends title in order to be able to charge more at autograph signings. It's just about the most simple storyline, however, I can't think of anybody doing anything like it before. A.J. is always awesome, so I expect a nice outing here. I'd like to see Nash take the title here, and A.J. moved into World title contention. It's almost hard to believe that it's been about a decade since Kevin Nash held any kind of gold.

TNA World Tag Team Title Match:
Beer-Money, Inc. (c) v Booker T/Scott Steiner

Beer-Money is one of the finest tag teams going at the moment, and this title reign is a deserved one. It's been the first vehicle that has me actually caring about Robert Roode... he's come a long way from having Eric Young as an "employee" and feuding with him on and off for nearly a year. In a perfect world, BMI wins this one convincingly and further solidifies themselves as a tag team to be reckoned with... however, a Booker T/Scott Steiner victory could move the Main Even Mafia into a "they have ALL the gold" position that bookers seem to enjoy. I was wrong about this with Legacy at the last WWE pay-per-view I discussed... but, I have a feeling they're going to do this here. The Mafia are inching closer and closer to their one-year anniversary. This could be a way of celebrating it.

Sharmell v Jenna Morasca

I can't believe they're making people PAY to see this one. No idea who will win, now do I really care. This may be a way to sow some dissension into the Main Event Mafia ranks... but, really... I'd rather see this match mysteriously fall off the booking sheets. It'll probably end in a No-contest or a schmozz of some sort.

Sting v Samoa Joe

Or, the match where Taz shows up. Samoa Joe swerved TNA at Slammiversary by handing Kurt Angle the World Heavyweight Title and joining the Main Event Mafia. He's been working with a shadowy "advisor", wearing a black towel over his head when he approaches the ring, and just this past week on iMPACT! he busted out the Tazmission. With TNA all but telling us that Taz is going to show up during this match, it's hard to believe that Samoa Joe won't win this one. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of shape Taz is in, I'm not sure if he's going to try and make a return to the ring. Either way, Taz's appearance here will more than likely overshadow the match itself. I only hope this doesn't lead to an anti-WWE diatribe when it's all said and done. TNA's grown so much that I'd hate to see them fall back to their old bush-league ways.

Christopher Daniels v Matt Morgan

I *almost* left it as just "Daniels", but I couldn't do it. Matt Morgan has been working with the Main Event Mafia of late... almost like a pledge to a fraternity. He's been doing the odd-jobs to prove he's worthy of membership. I've never really been a fan of his, though, I will admit his agility is definitely impressive. Chris Daniels has always been great. If I had to hazard a guess for this one, I'd begrudgingly give the duke to Morgan to continue his monster push.

TNA Women's Knockout Title Match:
Tara (c) v Angelina Love

Tara/Victoria's come a long way since retirement, hasn't she? I wish they hadn't blown her first TNA title victory within her first month with the company. It's similar to the mistake that the WWE made with her back in the day. There's only ONE women's title in TNA, so there's really nowhere else for her to go now. She won the title... now what? You can put the Knockouts in angles left and right, but the title is what it's all about. Her victory should have been built instead of just handed to her. She's far too talented to be treated as a "flavor of the month". It's way too often that TNA is booked as though it's a child's action figure federation the day after Christmas. So much new talent at once... interrupting ongoing feud and being handed titles instead of being built as contenders. I think Tara (which is short for Tarantula... and not "Killer" backwards, thanks Mike Tenay!) will retain here.

IWGP Tag Team Title Match:
Team 3D (c) v The British Invasion (Williams/Magnus)

The British Invasion is a talented tag team, that has unfortunately been thrown together as an "anti-American" troupe with the likes of Kiyoshi and Sheik Abdul Bashir. That can only mean one thing... a feud with, er, America's team... the Dudleys. Haven't been a fan of the Duds in a very long time. I do see them retaining here, as I'm unsure whether or not the IWGP titles would ever change hands on a TNA show/non-New Japan Show. I could be wrong, but it's just a feeling I've got.

Dr. Stevie Richards v Abyss

Stevie Richards recently surfaced in TNA as an abusive Behavioral Therapist for Abyss. Not sure which way this will go... Richards is great in his character, but it just feels like "another Abyss feud that will cause him to fall into something (fire/thumbtacks/a landmine)" that they'll use in their highlight reel. Sadly I see them stretching this feud out a bit longer (as they do with ALL Abyss feuds) so I see Stevie winning due to some shenanigans to further the brutality.

Like I'd mentioned above, it reads like a fun show. It seems as though Bobby Lashley will be on hand, as well. It's worth mentioning, that Pro-Wrestling Torch is reporting that this will be the first TNA Monthly Pay-Per-View without an X-Division style match on the card, which is interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if a Homicide vs. Suicide match was added last minute. I'd consider buying it, if I were in the position to buy anything at the moment. I do look forward to checking out the results throughout the evening. Hopefully my predictions are a little bit more on target than they have been recently... Enjoy the show!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

[Wrestling] WWE The Bash 2009 Thoughts

Well, this weekend will WWE will hold it's Not-So Great, No-Longer American BASH! Pay-per-view. This is just one of the three or four PPVs that are getting name changes this year. It was recently announced that "No Mercy" will now go by the name "Hell in the Cell" and "Cyber Sunday" will be "WWE Annihilation"... a week or so ago, "Unforgiven" (I think it was Unforgiven) was changed to "Breaking Point". I'm not a big fan of name-changes for the sake of it... and I really hope these name changes aren't indicative that the WWE will hold an ENTIRE show full of stipulation matches... I figure Breaking Point will be all submission... Hell in the Cell will feature (at least a few) Cell matches... Annihilation, um... perhaps the matches will end with "fatalities"?

Enough of all that, this time, we've got THE (great american) BASH! Let's get started.

Randy Orton (c) v Triple H

Randy Orton just can't seem to catch a break. He's clearly head and shoulders above any heel as a performer and character than anybody on the roster now (and probably for some time), however, he just can't seem to shake Triple H. Every time Orton does something to further establish his heel character, it doesn't take all that long for HHH to put him back in his place. For instance, this week's episode of "Trump" Raw ended with a homoerotic HHH promo on Orton... while he was literally ON (a beaten down) Orton.

Anyhoo, this is a "Three Stages of Hell" match. A stip that hasn't been used in several years. It's best out of three falls. First fall being straight wrestling match, second being a Falls-count-anywhere affair, and the third (if necessary... which we know it will) is a stretcher match. I'd have rather they end it with a cage, but with a "Hell in the Cell" PPV forthcoming, I can see why they didn't.

Despite being paired in matches for quite a while now, I've never liked the in-ring chemistry between these two. I think Randy will win this one, in the third fall. Full predictions, HHH wins 1st fall. Orton cheats to win 2nd fall. The Legacy assists Randy in winning the 3rd fall. This way it'll make it seem that the feud isn't fully "blown off", and can continue into the next 73 weeks of Raw.

CM Punk (c) v Jeff Hardy

This will be a fun match. They've been slow-burning a CM Punk heel turn over the past month or so, that's been a blast to watch. It isn't so often in the WWE where they use subtle nuances to move a story forward.

CM Punk "cashed in" the Money-in-the-Bank contract at the end of the last PPV on newly crowned champ, Jeff Hardy. This was met with a decidedly mixed reaction. From there Punk and Hardy have had several subtle interactions. I think they'll pull the trigger on a full blown Punk heel-turn at this show, and he will retain his title.

Chris Jericho (c) v Rey Misterio

Another fun match from the SmackDown! side. Jericho and Rey have had several great matches since they were both drafted over to the blue show. This time, after teasing it for so long, the mask is finally added as a match stip. There are rumors of Misterio putting in his notice, which seems to be a trend of late... I'm not sure if it's to "work" the Internet, or if it holds any validity. Either way, I'd like to see Rey win here. If he ever WAS to lose his mask, I'd rather it be at a MAJOR show (SummerSlam, WrestleMania) than just a one-off PPV.

Tommy Dreamer (c) v Fit Finlay v Jack Swagger v Christian v Mark Henry

Last month Tommy Dreamer was finally able to pull out an ECW title victory (besides the 15 or so minute reign he had in the original ECW). This time it's being put up in a "Scramble Match". This type of match is fun and unpredictable, for the fact that for 15 minutes these five will wrestle. If a Superstar gains a victory in that 15 minutes they become an "Interim Champion", and the match continues. Whoever is the "Interim Champion" when the time limit expires becomes the ECW Champion. This is a truly stacked match up, and I can actually see any of the five walking out with the strap. If I *had* to pick, I'd go with Swagger.

Melina (c) v Michelle McCool

The deal here is, if McCool wins this match, she'll be the first lady wrestler to have won both the Women's Title, and the... urm, Diva's title. I'd like to see Melina hold on to the title, as I'd rather see Mickie James or Beth Phoenix be the first woman to get the "Both Championships" nod.

Dolph Ziggler v The Great Khali

Ziggler has been making great strides since making the move to SmackDown! I had written him off (literally and figuratively... if you'd read my Supplemental Draft Thoughts) and I'm glad to be wrong. I think Ziggler will somehow pull this one out. The loss won't hurt Khali, as I'm sure it won't be a decisive one.

The Colons (c/c) v Priceless/Legacy/Cody and Ted

The Colons had unified the WWE and World tag team titles at WrestleMania 25... err, well... *before* WM25. Since then, they've had a few defences here and there, but, overall... haven't really done anything special. Priceless, on the other hand, spends most episodes of Raw taking beatings by people trying to get at their boss, Randy Orton. So, we've got a really un-special match here, folks. Ted and Cody will take it, just so we can get the image of all three members of [The] Legacy holding championship gold.

John Cena v The Miz

The Miz has been "calling out" John Cena for nearly 2 months now. It's actually been the one angle on Monday Night Raw that I've enjoyed since the draft. The Miz has been claiming "victories" over Cena for just about anything. I've never been a Mizanin fan... but, this angle is a winner. Miz is oddly reminiscent of a 2003 era John Cena himself, when he spent some time calling out Brock Lesnar. The Miz could really use a victory here to further push him into the main event full-time.

Worth buying? I lean towards a No here. I'm sure the HHH/Orton affair will take up 45 mins at least... and that's not something I'd pay to see. I'll definitely be keeping up with the results tho.

Friday, April 24, 2009

[Wrestling] WWE Backlash 2009

Even though it feels like WrestleMania just happened, it's time for another WWE PPV.  This time it's BACKLASH.  One of the more redundant events of the WWE calendar year... primarily used for WrestleMania rematches and rehashes.  This is a show I'd like to see fall off the schedule to be honest.  Over the past couple of weeks since WrestleMania, we've been treated to not a whole lot besides fallout.  WrestleMania, from how I understood it... was supposed to be the "blow-off" event.  Where long building feuds reach their climax and give the fans the pay-off they'd been waiting so long to receive.  Instead, we're given a paid-show full of rematches and rehashes three-weeks later.

Before moving to the current "monthly pay-per-view" format, over a decade ago... there was something the WWF/E ran after WrestleMania called the "WrestleMania Revenge Tour", a (untelevised) house show circuit featuring the rematches, and TV would move forward into the "new" WWF/E year.  Since adopting the monthly PPV format, it's near impossible to book (and advertise) BACKLASH as anything but rematches, or else they'd run the risk of giving away the results of their biggest show of the year.

Anyhoo, that all being said... I'll get it out of the way, and say I won't be watching this one.  It's not even worth the $10 they charge to watch it at O'Sullivans.  I'll probably read the results as it's ongoing, but that's about it.  Let's get on to the matches...

WWE Title Match:
Triple H (c) & Batista & Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton & Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase

(WrestleMania Match - HHH v Orton)
This one's a bit of an oddity.  It's as though the WWE took a page out of the TNA playbook.  The rules of this match are - If ANY member of Orton's team pins ANY member of HHH's team, Randy will then become the WWE Champion.  With this in place, I can only see Triple H losing the belt without dropping the fall.  This bout has discension written all over it, as a member of Legacy could gain the pinfall, but not be awarded the title.  With Ted DiBiase's movie (The Marine 2) due to come out in the near future, I see him picking up the pin on either Shane or Batista... which will mean he "won" the WWE title FOR Orton.

World Heavyweight Title:
Last Man Standing Match
John Cena (C) vs. Edge

(WrestleMania Match - Edge v Cena v Big Show)
I really don't see how Edge could lose this match... being as though the recent draft made it so SmackDown! was left without a World title (which is getting really old... for the past 3 drafts one of the shows has been left w/o their title).  Cena and Edge generally have great chemistry together, and with the Last Man Standing stipulation added, it should be great fun.

Chris Jericho vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat

(WrestleMania Match - Jericho v Steamboat/Piper/Snuka)
Ricky Steamboat showed the world that he's still better than 75% of the active wrestling world at WrestleMania 25.  The next night on Raw, Steamer was part of an incredibly fun 10-Man tag, where again, he stole the show.  If I *were* to buy this show, THIS would be the match I'd buy it for.  I couldn't hazard a guess for this one, as both endings could work.  I'd like to see Steamboat win, just because.

"I Quit" Match
Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

(WrestleMania Match - Hardy v Hardy)
This match may play out a bit oddly.  Recent Internet rumors are claiming that Jeff Hardy has given his notice that he will not be re-upping with the WWE when his contract expires this July.  If that IS the case, I figure Matt will win thi match, and pretty much put Jeff out of the picture.  Of course, this bit of news could have been released with this timing to swerve the Internet community.  I'm really not sure.  They've pulled several work-shoot angles with the Hardy's of late... so it wouldn't terribly surprise me if this were another case of that.  Rumors aside, I still pick Matt for the win, as it appears as though he's being groomed to be a top heel on Raw.

CM Punk vs. Kane

(WrestleMania Match - Both were in Money in the Bank, though it's not terribly relevant...)
Not even too sure why this match is happening on PPV.  Both CM Punk and Kane were recently drafted to SmackDown! from Raw.  They had a match on Raw a week later... and somehow that brings us here.  CM Punk is currently holding the Money in the Bank briefcase, though I don't think that it's on the line in this match.  I expect Punk to win, as he works his way back up the card to be in position to cash in the briefcase at Judgment Day (which I believe is in his hometown of Chicago).

ECW Title Match:
Jack Swagger (c) v Christian

(WrestleMania Match - Whoa!  This one's NEW!)
Both of these men have had some excellent offerings in losing efforts of late, Christian in the Money-in-the-Bank Match at WrestleMania, and Swagger in a match against John Cena on Draft Night.  The ECW title, as a result has been somewhat elevated to a place of at least modest prestige.  I think Christian will win this one in a very hard-fought matchup.  This match will be great for both men, as well as the title.

Well, that's all they've announced for this show as of this writing.  With SmackDown! still to air tonight, there may be more.  There's also a "Khali Kiss-cam" bit set to happen between the Great Khali and Santina Marella.  This bit is one I'd usually deride, though with Khali and Santino being on top of their comedic game, it could be rather humorous.

All in all, a skippable show, in my opinion.  Nothing we won't be able to see elsewhere, save Jericho/Steamboat.  I guess we'll see how it pans out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

[Wrestling] WWE Supplemental Draft 2009 Thoughts (4 of 4)

19 - From RAW to SD! - JTG:  Ugh.  This guy seems to be able to go in the ring... which is why I was hoping they'd keep Shad and JTG apart during this draft.  I just hope SmackDown! ring announcer, Justin Roberts doesn't try to talk street when introducing them.

20 - From RAW to SD! - Dolph Ziggler:  Can't seem to get behind this guy.  Don't like the gimmick... it's based on some stupid "locker room law" where new guys have to go up to all the veterans and introduce themselves... therefore, Ziggler is constantly extending his hand and introducing himself.  That's it.  That's his entire character.  No depth, no personality... just that.  Hopefully something good will come out of this move, I'd like to be proven wrong on this one.

21 - From SD! to RAW - The Brian Kendrick:  I don't like this move.  TBK started out fairly strong on SmackDown! last year... he was even an "Interim" WWE Champion.  He's petered out a bit since then... I felt with the change of SmackDown! roster, he would have done well remaining there.  I think he'll find himself lost in the shuffle on the already over-crowded Raw.

22 - From RAW to SD! - Charlie Haas:  Charlie's latest gimmick is that of a gimmick-homage... he impersonates other wrestlers.  It seemed to get him over pretty well when the folks in charge were behind it.  He hasn't been used on Raw in months... but he's far too talented to simply let go.  Hopefully the not as top heavy SmackDown! locker room will be a good place for him... as he would probably continue not to be showcased if he remained on Raw.

23 - From SD! to ECW - Hurricane Helms:  Great move.  Helms recently returned from injury with little fanfare.  Moving over to ECW and putting him near the top of that card should help him in the long run.

24 - From ECW or SD! to RAW - Brie Bella:  The other Bella twin... you can pretty much read the entry for Nikki, and just write Brie's name in her place.

So, there you have it... the 2009 WWE Supplemental Draft.  It wasn't terribly exciting, but the Supp-Drafts very rarely are.  It will be interesting to see which of these 24 actually make something of the change in scenery... and which won't even be given the opportunity before being let go.  I hope with WWE SuperStars on WGN starting, they'll limit the inter-branded matches to that show.  It wasn't too long ago, where the brand split was enforced, and rather rigidly at that.  When I actually get excited to see a SmackDown! wrestler show up on Raw, you're doing something right.  Now, it seems as though wrestlers float to whichever show they wanna stick him/her on.

Anyhoo, thanks for reading... lemme know if you want me to continue doing wrestling entries with any sort of regularity... or if I should save it for WrestleMania.

Thanks again!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

[Wrestling] WWE Supplemental Draft 2009 Thoughts (3 of 4)

We're past the halfway point... let's continue.

13 - From ECW to RAW - Hornswaggle:  This one's a bit bizarre to say the least.  I'm not really sure what they can do with this guy without having his storyline-father, Fit Finlay involved.  I can't remember ever being entertained by this character on it's own.  Hell, I don't like him much even as part of an act.  The silver lining is not lost on me though... maybe Finlay can re-find his more heelish side losing the comedy portion of his bit.  The fact that we'll be subjected to Hornswaggle-Hijinks every Monday Night makes me a bit queasy.

14 - From SD! to ECW - DH Smith:  The son of the late British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith has been shuffled from brand to brand over the past couple of years, without making much of an impact (I actually had to be reminded that he was *technically* part of the SmackDown! roster, as he'd never made an actual TV appearance for the brand).  Hopefully this means he'll be teaming up with fellow-Hart/Stampede-type Tyson Kidd in ECW.

15 - From ECW to SD! - John Morrison:  Great move!  Morrison's pretty much done everything he can in the ECW, and moving him to SmackDown! instead of Raw is the right way to go, in my opinion.  The Morrison character has been (technically) an ECW original (Morrison originally went as Johnny Nitro... and is a multi-time former Intercontinental Champion), working his way from the C-Show to the B-Show instead of straight to Raw will assist him tremendously in establishing himself.  A slow build to the main event is refreshing in these days of 24 year old green World Champions.

16 - From SD! to RAW - Carlito Colon:  Okay, so I guess they're not splitting up the Unified tag champions... however, I'm still concerned with whether or not the champions are going to float between shows and defend against the top teams throughout the WWE.  Maybe they'll be relegated to the new tri-branded show, WWE Superstars on WGN.

17 - From SD! to ECW - Nayalya Neidhart:  The daughter of Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, and girlfriend of Tyson Kidd, Natalya should do just fine for herself in ECW... she has appeared there almost weekly since Kidd's debut as his valet.  Putting her with Tyson Kidd and DH Smith seems a natural choice.

18 - From SD! to RAW - Festus:  At first, I'll admit, I didn't dig the gimmick.  It's since grown on me.  It's silly, of course... but not enough things in wrestling these days are.  Not sure how they'll work Festus as a solo act.  I figured if they'd split this team up, they would have brought Jesse over to Raw, to play off of The Legacy faction, as Jesse is the son of the late Fabulous Freebird, Terry Gordy.  This move could be interesting, though, I for whatever reason, see Festus moving over to another tag team situation... probably with Jamie Noble, who will be taking advantage of Festus's size and bell-ring induced fury.

One more to go, I'll try to have it up by morning...

[Wrestling] WWE Supplemental Draft 2009 Thoughts (2 of 4)

Carrying on with picks 7 thru 12.

7 - From ECW or SD! to RAW - Nikki Bella:  One of the Bella twins who I'm actually not entirely sure WHICH show she's coming from... she has been prominently featured on both ECW and SD! for the past several months alongside her sister, the Colons and the team of Mike Mizanin and John Morrison.  Regardless, she'll be more fodder for multi-woman tag matches each week on RAW.

8 - From RAW to SD! - Candice Michelle:  Another female wrestler being moved.  About a year or so back, Candice was showing incredible amounts of improvement in the ring, unfortunately she was sidelined with an injury.  Upon her return, she seemed a lot more self-aware in the ring, leading to a sloppier style.  The taped, SmackDown! broadcast should be a welcome change for her rather than the live Monday Night Raw.  She should do well there.

9 - From SD! to ECW - Zack Ryder:  One of the indistinguishable Edgeheads leaving behind the other indistinguishable Edgehead should be a great boon to both of their careers.  I honestly couldn't tell you which one this is.  Hopefully this change will fix that.

10 - From SD! to RAW - Chavo Guerrero:  Well *somebody* has to push new Raw General Manager, Vicki Guerrero's wheelchair... may as well be Chavo.  I see him playing a similar role as Jamie Noble... a lower-midcard heel hurdle for an up and coming babyface.

11 - From ECW to SD! - Ricky Ortiz:  This new face should help freshen up the SD! midcard a decent amount.  Hopefully this time around the announce team will know who he is.  I think he could be over pretty well as a fan-pandering heel.  He has a "towel waving" fan-gimmick at the moment (like the Pittsburgh Steelers, kinda) which doesn't look like it's doing all that well... I'd like to see him acting heelish and still thinking the fans are behind him.

12 - From RAW to SD! - Layla:  Well, she wasn't doing too much for William Regal, who she had been seconding on Raw.  I think she'll have a better chance to flourish on SmackDown! rather than being stuck in the multi-woman tag matches that seem to occupy the Raw women's division.

More to come...

[Wrestling] WWE Supplemental Draft 2009 Thoughts (1 of 4)

Here's another Wrestling Related entry... I was going to wait, however, it's pretty topical as the Supplemental portion of the 2009 Draft was held earlier today/yesterday (Noon, est. - Wednesday).

I'm not sure if they're kayfabing the respective General Managers "choosing" the draftees, or if it's straight "lottery" much like the televised portion from this past Monday Night Raw.

Anyhoo... on to the picks... there are 24 in total.  This post will tackle the first 6.

1 - From SmackDown! (SD!) to RAW - Mr. Kennedy:  Last I'd heard, he was contemplating retirement.  He seems to be a guy who gets drafted every year... gets injured early into his push, and remains on the sidelines until the next draft.  I would have rather seen him go to ECW, to maybe take on a "Franchise" type character, like Shane Douglas in the original.

2 - From RAW to SD! - Shad Gaspard:  I think this guy could be big on his own.  He has an impressive and imposing size... plus he doesn't make the ridiculous faces his Cryme Tyme partner does.  Best of all, I won't have to hear (Raw ring announcer) Lillian Garcia introduce "Crahhhhm Tahhhm" in her faux "street".

3 - From ECW to SD! - Alicia Fox:  No real thoughts on this one... it's too bad they're seperating her from her act's male counterpart, DJ Gabriel (a dancing gimmick, oddly reminiscent of WCW's Alex Wright).

4 - From SD! to RAW - Primo Colon:  This one's confusing, as Primo (along with his brother Carlito) just recently (WM25) unified the World Tag Team titles... which I assumed meant they would float from show to show, much like the "Undisputed World Champion" did in the early days of the brand-split.  I'll have to wait a bit before making any judgment on this one.

5 - From RAW to SD! - Mike Knox:  With the Big Show moving over to Raw, it makes sense to move the smaller "monster" character to the other show.  The change should do him some good... his last several showings on Raw have been jobs to Rey Misterio.

6 - From SD! to ECW - Ezekial Jackson:  I don't really like this one.  As the bodyguard for The Brian Kendrick, Jackson served a purpose.  In ECW, I really can't see him reaping any benefits.  His appeal is that he's a large bodyguard type character... in ECW he'll be sharing TV time with Mark Henry and the recently drafted Vladimir Koslov.  I don't see him measuring up, no pun intended.

Will continue tomorrow.