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.