Independent pro wrestling fans are rejoicing in the streets this morning as two of their biggest heroes are sharing WWE gold…at least for today. Daniel Bryan joined CM Punk in the WWE champions club after cashing in his Money in the Bank at WWE TLC 2011.
Bryan is the big story coming out of last night’s pay per view. Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank to the surprise and delight of the Baltimore crowd and defeated The Big Show to win his first WWE world heavyweight championship just a few weeks after snapping a lengthy losing streak.
Bryan was not the first man to win the WWE world heavyweight title at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. The Big Show knocked out Mark Henry with a punch to win the gold in their Chairs Match. Henry brutalized Show with chair shots following their match, including a DDT on the chair. One Daniel Bryan chant later, and the American Dragon arrived to cash in!
Bryan came into the match and immediately went for a cover. Bryan got the 1-2-3 and became the new champion. Bryan got in Michael Cole’s face following the match and thanked the fans for supporting him. SmackDown has a new champion!
I am all for Bryan getting the title but the booking for Bryan will make it extremely difficult for him to be a successful champion. For one thing, the man had been recently booked on a lengthy losing streak. I couldn’t ever imagine 30, 20, even 5 years ago a guy being booked on a losing streak a month or two before winning the world championship. As exciting as this is for Bryan die-hards, the average WWE fan wearing a John Cena t-shirt will have a tough time seeing Bryan as anything but lucky.
Speaking of fans, if he is being booked to turn heel this is great, but it appears that he will remain a babyface after watching him thank the fans. Here is a guy that not only capitalized on an injured babyface, but also broke his promise to cash in Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 28. If he is going heel this is great, if not than the WWE is going to have a tough haul in getting him over as a heroic champion. I am sure the Camel Clutch Blog will have more on this over the next couple of weeks.
WWE posted a “fan cam” version of the win on their You Tube channel. Check out the embedded video below of Bryan celebrating his victory at Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2011.
In the headliner, CM Punk retained the WWE championship defeating former champions Alberto Del Rio and The Miz in a Triple Threat Ladder Match. Punk climbed the ladder to retrieve the title in a fun main-event. This wasn’t the open-ended loss here I expected that would result in an upcoming feud between The Miz vs. Punk. I think it was decisive and strong for the WWE champion.
In the “special attraction” match of the night, Triple H defeated Kevin Nash in a Ladder Match with a sledgehammer up for grabs. Unfortunately a decent match will likely be remembered for the botched Pedigree at the end of the match thanks to Big Lazy. The match was a bit long for my taste but in the end it was a lot better than I ever expected it to be.
Full WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders, & Chairs 2011 results & winners…
Daniel Bryan defeated The Big Show to win the WWE world heavyweight championship
Big Show defeated Mark Henry in a Chairs match to win the World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk defeated The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match to retain the WWE Championship
Triple H defeated Kevin Nash in a Ladder match
Zack Ryder defeated Dolph Ziggler to win the U.S. Title
Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett in a Tables match
Cody Rhodes defeated Booker T to retain the WWE IC title
Beth Phoenix pinned Kelly Kelly for the WWE Diva Championship
Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston defeated Primo and Epico to retain the WWE Tag Titles
Sheamus defeated Jack Swagger
-With Smackdown being live tomorrow night, I am on standby in case Dustin Nichols forgets, and commits to his usual Tuesday routine of flexing in front of the mirror naked while muttering “Dustin’s the greatest” on loop. Have no fear, CCB world: unlike Triple H, I DO work Tuesdays*
* For my standard fee….
-Quick personal plug: wrote quite the essay on Vince McMahon’s downward spiral into self-parody, which you can find here (http://bit.ly/sxBaTz) and feedback is always welcome. Especially from Vince. He’ll read it if enough people tell him that I’m trending.
-Live from Columbia, SC
Opening Segment: John Cena in Piper’s Pit
Gotta say, Piper looks pretty good tonight, in comparison to some rough outings he’s had in recent years. Piper asks how a man that has never been a World champion, nor was the biggest, strongest man there was, become a WWE icon. The answer is simple: energy. Whether the crowd cheered or booed Piper, he fed off of that energy and made a hell of a career out of it. And with that, he calls out a Cena, a man who is fed plenty of energy, positive and negative. See, writing staff, THAT’S how you use metaphors. I learned that in seventh grade English. Cena isn’t sure where Piper’s going with this, and it turns into a game of “Cheer Association”. Piper says the names Stone Cold, Bret Hart, and The Rock to mostly favorable reaction, and then says Cena’s name, to a huge chorus of boos. Cena downplays those boos, saying he respects those who boo him. Piper declares Cena the face of WWE, and says that the boos are getting louder, and Cena is ‘losing it’. Piper tells Cena that if he doesn’t start speaking his mind, he’s going to be the biggest loser in WrestleMania history. Cena brings up past instances where he was booed out of the building, and Piper is getting frustrated. Cena hands a note to Piper that expresses the apparent reason as to why he will never let the boos bother him. Piper then goes on about how Cena did run with the ball when it was given to him, but Piper continues to prod Cena to speak his mind. Cena tries to decline, but Piper smacks him. “FEEL THE ENERGY! DO YOU FEEL THE ENERGY!” bellows Piper. Cena, instead of fighting back, merely shakes Piper’s hands and leaves, albeit flustered. SEGMENT RATING: 8/10. Better than the usual opening segments, as Piper adds a shade of something different. Cena’s heel turn looming? We shall see.
Match 1: John Morrison vs. The Miz (Falls Count Anywhere)
Miz attacks Morrison out of the entrance way by bashing his knee with a pipe. We just heard the last eight seconds we’ll ever hear of “Ain’t No Make Believe”. Miz goes to the ring with an uncaring glare, and Morrison, despite the referees trying to keep him back, hobbles to the ring. Bell sounds and Morrison manages to get some shots in before Miz strikes the leg. Morrison gets posted, and Miz grabs a Singapore cane. Knee, meet cane, cane, knee. Morrison tries to fight back, getting some cane shots himself in a surprisingly even match. Did Morrison re-sign? Miz crawls away and Morrison uses the cane as a cane to give chase up the ramp. Morrison goes headfirst into the WWE logo set piece (Miz’s designated weapon). Skull Crushing Finale on the stage, and Miz pauses and draws out the pin attempt. The referee simply stops the match without allowing Miz the pin, which is weird, because Miz was going for the pin anyway. As they get the stretcher for Morrison, Miz takes the mic and returns to the ring. In a nice touch, Johnny Ace comes out, looks at the body, and leaves. Miz said last week was R-Truth, this week Morrison, and next week…..we’ll see. Miz opines in a monotone his awesomeness. WINNER: The Miz via Skull Crushing Finale (stoppage) RATING: 7/10. Effective use of TV. Cole referring to Morrison as “dead weight” is a veiled insult that isn’t so veiled. See you in TNA, Johnny. As far as Miz’s psycho gimmick, betcha he’s back to being an obnoxious social climber in four weeks when Vince and the writers forget.
Match 2: Kelly Kelly/Alicia Fox vs. The Bella Twins
No entrances for anyone. For some reason, Beth and Natalya run out to do a jog around ringside. If Candice Michelle tried that, she’d tear both shoulders and both knees. Anyway, Alicia pins one of the Bellas with a flip legdrop. WINNERS: The Fox and The Hound via flipping legdrop RATING: 1/10. Yeah.
Match 3: Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (Non Title Match)
Well, so much for Ryder’s title shot. Ryder gets depushed for a haircut, and Orton gets pushed when he gets a million hideous tattoos. I’m at a loss. Anywho, Wade Barrett is here for commentary, so the screwjob ending is a given. Gotta admit, the hooker boots and big ass on Vickie are sizzling. Quick sequence of counters to open, so there’s hope we can get fifteen minutes out of this. Orton plants Ziggler with a devastating clothesline. Ziggler needs to be careful that his good bumping doesn’t turn him into Curt Hennig Part 2.0, in terms of his spine. Orton goes into the Garvin Stomp, and follows up with a knee drop, and then a VERY nice vertical suplex. I like when wrestlers make the basics look good. Orton takes a moment to jaw at Barrett, and Ziggler takes control. Ziggler gets 2 off of a roll-up, and then Dolph dropkicks Orton off the apron in a nice spot. Barrett eyes Orton sinisterly as Ziggler continues the onslaught outside and controls for a spell, but Orton manages to eventually crotch Dolph up top. Superplex, Cowboy Bob style, follows, but it only gets 2 as we head to commercial. Back from break, and Orton gets the snap powerslam, followed by the the contorted grin. Rope-assist DDT follows, and Orton gets into Predator position, but Dolph rolls to the floor. Ziggler swears off the match, and Barrett takes to the apron. Orton dropkicks him off, but Ziggler runs back and gets the Zig Zag for the semi-clean win. Vickie makes the irritating announcement. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zig Zag RATING: 8/10. Not as good as Punk/Ziggler last week, but a very enjoyable TV match. If Punk-Dolph was ****1/4 last week, call this ***1/4-***1/2. Dolph and Orton have tremendous chemistry.
In-Ring Segment: Michael Cole Interviews Daniel Bryan
Cole starts by calling Bryan a hypocrite. Mean Gene would never do that, would he? Bryan plays to the crowd by declaring Cole the worst announcer in the history of WWE, and then says he thinks Cole should respect him. Cole calls Henry a defenseless man, and asks what happened to Bryan’s vow to cash in at WrestleMania XXVIII. Cole replays the footage of Bryan winning the belt, and then being forced to abdicate it. Cole laughs up Bryan having his moment ruined, and says if he was Teddy Long, he’d have suspended Bryan for his actions. Cole then admits he’s pulling for Mark Henry tomorrow night. Bryan says he changed his plans when Mark Henry tried to induct him into the Hall of Pain, and says that nothing is guaranteed, so he tried to make the most of an opportunity. Bryan says the title is more important than WrestleMania, and Mark Henry makes his way out. He says he’s somewhat defenseless, but that’s okay, because he’s going to beat Bryan anyway in the steel cage. Bryan makes his way up the ramp for a confrontation, and simply strikes Henry’s bad leg, before leaving Henry hobbling by his lonesome. RATING: 7/10. It served a purpose of hyping tomorrow night’s Smackdown, and it gave Bryan and Henry some important talk time. I understand having Cole be the antagonist to allow Bryan someone to bounce off of, and believe Cole would really be better served as the new Bobby Heenan or Jimmy Hart.
Match 4: Zack Ryder vs. Jack Swagger
I hope they pull the trigger on Ryder and the US Title soon, just to see how long the ‘net stops the perpetual whining. Besides, Zack deserves it for all of his dedication. Swagger dominates in the early going, getting a Sid Vicious-style leg drop for 2. Crowd rallies behind Ryder as he’s trapped in a submission hold, but Ryder works his way into control, getting a neckbreaker for 2. Ryder escapes the Swagger Bomb, but Jack catches the cross body with a front backbreaker. Swagger muffs the running Swagger Bomb, and a second attempt lands on feet. Ruff Ryder finishes. WINNER: Zack Ryder via Ruff Ryder RATING: 5/10. Short and effective, blown spot aside. There does seem to be a committal toward making the most of Ryder’s popularity.
Talk Segment: Mick Foley
Foley, bedecked as Santa, provides a hard sell for tomorrow’s live holiday Smackdown, and hits the cheap pop while insulting Michael Cole. Alrighty then. SEGMENT RATING: 5/10. Meh, it was all in good fun. Gotta have some holiday spirit, right?
Main Event: CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio (WWE Championship)
At least fifteen minutes, please. I love how Alberto Del Rio steps on the driver’s side door of a $140,000 car with his dirty boots, instead of opening the door. Both men work the other’s arm early, in tune with both the Survivor Series psychology, and their respective submission finishers. Punk clotheslines Del Rio out and follows up with a suicide dive as we hit the final commercial. Back live to Del Rio in control, working the arm some more. During the break, ADR gained control by crotching Punk up top, and kicking the arm. Del Rio, however, despite all the arm-related offense, can’t put Punk away. Punk misses a cross body and lands on the arm, allowing ADR to take over with his MMA style offense. Punk tries to mount a comeback, but falls into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Match is a bit slow, so the fans chant for ice cream. Just when Punk takes over with an arm drag, Del Rio fires back with a Yakuza kick for 2. Punk catches Del Rio off the top with a high kick for 2 as the momentum starts to shift. Punk goes into comeback mode with a flurry of clotheslines and strikes, including the corner knee, but Del Rio counters the bulldog with a double knee armbreaker for 2. Del Rio gets a German suplex for 2 after an ensuing exchange. Dual finisher counters leads to a DDT by Del Rio for 2. Ricardo slides Alberto a chair, who throws it to Punk, who throws it back and feigns an attack by Del Rio. Charles Robinson considers DQing ADR, but Punk rolls Del Rio up for 2. ADR follows with a backcracker for 2. Punk manages a GTS onto a turnbuckle that Alberto exposed for the win. Will there be controversy? Ricardo claims that Punk cheated, so Punk GTS’s him as well. Looks like if there’s controversy, it’ll have to wait a week. Or maybe tomorrow. WINNER: CM Punk via Go To Sleep (Still WWE Champion) RATING: 9/10. A notch below Punk/Dolph from last week (say ***3/4), but still a great main event. There were several spots where it appeared Punk might get screwed over, thus making it dramatic, and the crowd pleasing ending made the drama worth it.
OVERALL: Two great matches in Punk-Alberto and Dolph-Orton, meaningful wins for Miz and Ryder, a good hard sell for Bryan/Henry, and an important “turning point” segment for Cena. If you didn’t like tonight’s show, then I have no idea what to tell you.
The WWE is very sensitive when it comes to criticism of their Wellness Policy. Yet their actions regarding the suspension of R-Truth will do them no favors in defending their policy. Getting a false test back the day after Survivor Series was incredible luck or a big sign of company inconsistency.
In case you haven’t heard, Ron Killings aka: R-Truth is suspended for 30 days due to a Wellness Policy violation by the WWE. The suspension was announced Tuesday morning, two days after the WWE Survivor Series, and a day after RAW. The timing of this announcement has raised a lot of eye brows to say the least.
The biggest irony here is that the WWE suspended tag team champion Evan Bourne a few weeks ago for a Wellness Policy violation. While the WWE does not announce the specific drug that tested positive, it is believed that Bourne tested positive for synthetic marijuana. The hit to Bourne was huge as he missed a very lucrative European tour and a huge payday at Survivor Series. Maybe that is why Bourne didn’t go away for 30 days quietly.
Dave Meltzer reported that the controversy arose when it was discovered that Bourne was at a party with other WWE wrestlers using this particular drug. According to Meltzer, some of these wrestlers were guys higher on the card (who isn’t these days) of the tag team champion. Take a wild guess at who that guy was?
It would appear that Ron Killings would be that guy. Dave had speculated on his podcast before this suspension even took place that another guy from the Survivor Series main event was with Bourne that night, smoking the same stuff. Jeff Peck and I even had a fun time with that news on our podcast, “guessing” as to who that guy could be. It appears it was Killings.
The WWE can play with this all that they want, but this stinks to the highest levels of WWE conspiracies. By all rights, the WWE can book a guy before he starts his suspension in order to write him out of television. However, Bourne was suspended three weeks ago. That means that the WWE continued to book Killings on TV, the European tour, and the pay per view, probably giving him his highest payday of his career, all because he was in the main-event. That is hardly what I’d call a consistent Wellness Policy.
Here is the deal. Either suspend guys or don’t suspend them. I personally could care less whether someone gets popped for synthetic marijuana or not. However, it is not fair to take a guy off the shows for it, while continuing to promote your headliners for the same infraction. I can’t imagine the WWE locker room feeling that happy with this latest turn of events.
The other thing I don’t get it here, is why was Ron Killings that important? Couldn’t they have taken someone else and put him in his spot? Nobody cared about who The Rock was wrestling, they just wanted to see him wrestle. It just seems like a pointless consolation by Vince McMahon, especially with the can of worms it will and likely has opened up. Believe me, I don’t think one person who was buying the Survivor Series would have changed their plans because R-Truth wasn’t on the show.
The kicker in all of this is that not only did Truth stick around to collect those paydays while the WWE continued cashing in on him as a main-eventer, but he’ll come back an even bigger star! The injury angle will make him a bigger star and a top babyface.
-If I may have the freedom to rant here, back when someone like Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock won the WWE Title, it was something that you and your buddies talked about at work or school the next day. Last night, CM Punk, the current WWE Merchandise Champion, was given a healthy win over Alberto Del Rio in Survivor Series’ semi-main, and became WWE Champion for the second time. Of course, the moment was forgotten within minutes, as all of the focus was now on The Rock and John Cena, the former in a cameo role, the latter as a good talent whose interminable push has jaded more than half of the fanbase, despite being marketed as the Hogan/Austin/Rock archetype. While the fans assiduously spent the summer clamoring for Punk to get Vince McMahon’s eye, the boss seems content to try and shatter buyrate records with Cena/Rock, which it might possibly. But while Vince is focused on one event, he’s ignoring the buttress of talent and booking underneath that are needed to sustain longterm growth. If he’s wondering why Raw can’t do ratings over a 4.0 anymore, maybe he should take a gander at something other than the main event scene, and Twitter, and work to build a stronger total brand. Relegating Punk’s big moment at MSG as an afterthought, one that lacked the chatter of an Austin or Rock moment from over a decade ago, just isn’t smart business. Maybe tonight they can make the win mean more, but based on recent patterns, I won’t hold my breath.
-Live from Hershey, PA, the land of chocolate.
Opening Segment: CM Punk – New WWE Champion
Punk regales us with the story of “first grader” Phil Brooks, who proclaimed he wanted to be a professional wrestler when he grew up. He notes that he didn’t say “sports entertainer”, so that insider ship hasn’t sailed yet, apparently. Punk has also promised that the game of “Hot Potato” for the WWE title is over with, and that the championship is his to keep. Punk declares himself the “New Face of WWE”, whether or not the office likes it. Punk also promises to be an ‘agent of change’ for WWE as Champion, demanding his ice cream bars, but more important: he wants Johnny Ace fired. This brings Ace out, not understanding what the champ’s issue is with him. Punk compares Ace to Lumberg from Office Space, making me smile. Ace books Del Rio-Punk for next week, which Punk shrugs off, asking if he can have it now. Ace says tonight, instead, Punk will face Dolph Ziggler, champ vs. champ. Punk lambasts Ace for that call, saying the fans don’t want to see that. Fans chant “WE WANT RYDER”, so Punk demands that Ziggler defend his US Title against Ryder. Ace says Ryder is facing Del Rio instead. Punk nonchalantly declares that he’s going to beat Ziggler, then beat Del Rio then, one day….someone is going to beat Ace. I wonder who? SEGMENT RATING: 8/10. I like it. My earlier rant may come in handy if they drop the ball, but for now, it makes Punk look like the undisputed face of the show, and it gives him room to work with it.
Match 1: Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder
Nice touch with Ryder decking Ricardo during the introductions just to get a WWWYKI in. Ryder plays plucky underdog early on, with Del Rio working the arm. Booker takes up for “Z-Ryde” by bringing up his US Title petition being one of the most signed in “internet history”. How could they know that? Ryder misses a Ruff Ryder, and takes an enzuigiri and cross armbreaker for the quick loss. WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via Cross Armbreaker RATING: 4/10. I realize Del Rio had to look strong, but it too short to reward fan interest in Ryder.
Match 2: Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
Their match was fun last week, and they had an issue from last night (Sheamus DQed for ignoring a count, so he took Swagger out with the Brogue Kick out of anger), so hey….CONTINUITY! Sheamus dominates with strikes in the early going, and the camera work makes me think Sheamus is going to attempt a plancha. Perish the thought. Match slows down unexpectedly, and Swagger works submissions while Vickie shrieks a lot. I can only imagine her screams when she saw just how much Botox her daughter put into her forehead. Match drags a bit in Swagger’s double tiger armlock, but Sheamus powers out and mounts the standard big man comeback. Crowd is sadly dying after such a hot opening. Bust out the plancha, Sheamus! Counter of moves leads to an ankle lock for Swagger, bringing the crowd to life. Sheamus escapes, and the Brogue Kick kills Swagger dead. Crowd loved it. WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick RATING: 5/10. Picked up near the end. Down from last week’s effort, but it served the purpose of keeping the Sheamus train rolling.
NOTE: WWE ’12 has “predator technology”. I can’t wait to shapeshift in the jungle in kill Jesse Ventura.
Talk Segment: Kevin Nash
Nash admits he watched Survivor Series, after much stumbling over his words. Seriously, just ditch the scripts and let the talent talk naturally. Nash reminisces about his history at MSG (Beating Backlund, Curtain Call), and talks about how Triple H changed. Nash is now yelling, which is putting his patella tendons at risk. Nash ends the short speech by saying he was the real survivor of the Kliq. Okay. SEGMENT RATING: 2/10. Nash gets two puts for not having a spinal stroke and blowing out both knees trying to steady the mic. Sometimes it’s good to reward small things.
Match 3: Cody Rhodes vs. Santino Marella (non title match)
Rhodes begins with a speech about how losing the mask has unbound his confidence, and he adds that wonderful devilish laugh to punctuate it. If any of you could get me that Santino gi-shirt for Christmas, I’d greatly appreciate it. Cross Rhodes finishes quick. WINNER: Cody Rhodes via Cross Rhodes RATING: 2/10. A noble squash, but the show’s beginning to lose steam.
Afterward, Rhodes tells off Booker T at ringside and attacks him with a beverage, before Rhodes leaves without further incident. Rhodes and Booker? I’m down. Especially if it reunites Book-Dust.
Match 4: CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (non title)
If this match goes twenty-five minutes, the show gets an automatic thumbs up. Ziggler now has a remixed version of his Downstait theme, which still sounds awesome. It’s like Saliva without a disgusting fat guy singing. Match begins with a mat sequence and feeling out process while the crowd chants for Punk. Sequence ends with something resembling a stand-off as Ziggler bails. Different from a typical World Title match on Raw, at least. Ziggler takes control and the crowd chants for Punk some more. Ziggler works a chinlock, and Punk escapes, but takes a shot to the gut for 2. Punk countered a neckbreaker with a backslide for 2. Ziggler then applies a Crippler Crossface, but Punk manages to escape. Vickie blows a kiss at Punk to try and distract him. Punk has none of it, but ends up going knee first into the corner. Ziggler does a headstand to show off as we go to commercial. Back from break, Ziggler works another chinlock, and the crowd buzzes for Punk. Punk escapes, and deals a wicked back kick to the gut (“AWWWWWWW” says the crowd). Ziggler counters a GTS into a sleeperhold. Punk escapes, but Ziggler gets a sunset roll for 2 when the ref sees him using the ropes. Punk adds a cradle for 2. Zig Zag blocked, and Punk gets the knee/bulldog combo for 2. Ziggler rolls away before Punk can attempt the Savage elbow, and catches a pursuant Punk with a SICK dropkick for a close 2. To the top rope, where Ziggler looks for a superplex, but Punk resists with punches and knocks Dolph off. Savage elbow follows for 2, and the crowd was BUYING that as the pin. Ziggler manages an inverter powerslam for 2, and the crowd is hanging on every big move. Ziggler gets frustrated and angrily stomps away, but a mistake leads to the GTS and the pin. WINNER: CM Punk via Go to Sleep RATING: 10/10. A damn good match, about ****-****1/4 if you ask the nerdtastic side of me. Punk and Ziggler are to 2011 what Bret and Perfect are to 1991. They are the heart and soul of WWE.
Talk Segment: Big Show
Unless Show sings “Cara Mia” out of his rectum, he’s not topping Punk and Ziggler. Unless he reenacts the top rope elbow, of course. Show brags about Henry being carted out with the busted ankle, but says that Henry may not have a broken ankle after all. If that’s the case, Show has the WMD waiting for him. SEGMENT RATING: 5/10. Enjoyable and to the point. You know, I approve of this new method of cutting promos. It’s like the old style of “stand-up studio promos” from WWF Challenge, but on the stage in front of the crowd. They’re effective.
Match 5: Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston
I also love the insert promos, as well as the way Barrett says “Berritt Barr-odge”. Barrett and Kingston have an early exchange and Wade gets the upper hand, attempting Wasteland before Randy Orton makes his way out as a distraction. Barrett becomes apprehensive as we hit the commercial. Back to action and Barrett’s wearing Kingston down, despite Orton’s looming presence. Barrett manages to hit a beautiful twisting sidewalk slam, similar the Black Hole Slam, for 2. Kingston’s taking a lengthy beating, so it’d be kind of cheap if he won, especially if Barrett winds up just being fodder for Orton to pummel. Match slows to a near crawl, as the crowd is merely waiting for Orton to somehow screw Barrett over. Barrett is floored by a low bridge, and Kofi compounds it with a head first suicide dive, sparking things a bit. Back inside, Barrett attempts a top rope Wasteland, but gets shoved off and Kofi lands a cross body for 2. Boom Drop connects. Barrett lands Wasteland after Kofi awkwardly falls off the ropes and….gets the win? Hey, color me surprised. Barrett and Orton share a staredown, which is better than the usual “50/50” booking I was anticipating. Barrett rubs his victory in Orton’s face afterward, and the crowd chants for Orton to get in there and attack. Instead, Orton glares at him and makes a small lunge, but nothing more, before leaving. WINNER: Wade Barrett via Wasteland RATING: 6/10. A good TV match despite the slow spots. I think the Orton/Barrett payoff will be better than their matches from a year ago.
Main Event Interview: John Cena
Cena gets a nice smattering of cheers with the usual boos tonight. Cena puts over Punk and Ryder, which seems a tad bit condescending, or even like he’s trolling for love. But with that said, Cena gets to the main topic: he and The Rock. Yada yada yada Survivor Series ends with a Rock Bottom. Cena goes to hype WrestleMania, and The Awesome Truth interrupt. Miz and Truth waste no time mocking Cena for the fans rallying behind Rock over him. “You say you can’t see me; last night: NOBODY wanted to see you” – Miz. Cena seems to be taking more exception than usual to Miz and Truth’s mockery of him, and comes back with some rather catty insults. Cena then says that nobody cares about Miz and Truth, and goes to shoot each man’s ego into the toilet with a reality check. In a weird ending, Cena serves them both and “reveals” what Miz and Truth REALLY think of each other before leaving, allowing Miz and Truth to argue it out in the ring. Miz shoves Truth, and Truth shoves Miz down. Miz tries to reason with Truth that Cena’s playing them against each other, and they rush backstage to get Cena, but on the way up the ramp, Miz spikes Truth with the Skull Crushing Finale.
SEGMENT RATING: 6/10. Enjoyable, but would mean more if Miz and Truth hadn’t been partners for a scant three months. Also, there’s no payoff for the angle where Ace kept letting them back into the building. It feels like a few months worth of TV has been flushed away.
OVERALL: Almost no dull spots tonight, and a hell of a Punk-Ziggler match to boot. I’m looking forward to the two title matches next week, as well as the Orton/Barrett feud, and seeing where they take the Awesome Truth split from here. It’s wrestling, not rocket science, and WWE has delivered for two straight nights. Let’s try and keep it this way.
-Apologies for skipping out last week. Eric didn’t want to accept my hybrid Eagles game/Raw rant review, so I just missed Raw entirely and got to watch my Eagles blow another fourth quarter lead. Lesson learned: spurning Eric Gargiulo has dire consequences. Ask Jimmy Hoffa. Oh yeah, I went there.
-Also, with Raw in Boston tonight, there is an “Occupy WWE” movement taking place outside the TD Garden, and I’m speaking with the ringleader via Twitter. It may seem a bit silly, but it’s certainly more topical and less stare than some of the hackneyed bile that Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn have been regurgitating. The movement can be found here (http://occupywwe.tumblr.com/) and their Twitter here (http://twitter.com/OccupyWWE). If anything timely happens in tonight’s demonstration, I’ll insert it in the rant. Until then, give the folks a follow. They seem earnest enough.
-Live from Boston, former home of Jonathan Papelbon.
Opening Segment: Michael Cole Challenge
Finally, we get the payoff for this inanity. Hopefully, this ends Vince McMahon’s raging hard-on for embarrassing Jim Ross, but I won’t count my chickens. The first challenge is arm wrestling, which should be for Jesse Ventura’s trophy. After mucho stalling by Cole, Ross firmly slams his hand down in a millisecond. The next contest is a dance competition, and Cole….well, he dances better than Vince. Then again, comatose homing pigeons can dance better than Vince. Jim Ross decides to get low to amusement of no one (well, maybe it was KINDA humorous….) and the crowd easily votes him the winner. The last contest is a “Who Weighs Less” contest, since Cole is the heel, stacking the contest and all. Cole weighs in at 200 lbs, whereas JR weighs 239. Cole declares himself the winner, but CM Punk (the new Stone Cold, I called it) makes his way out. Punk says that Cole was just going to stack the contest and waste everyone’s time, because everyone knows that JR is a better announcer than Cole. Punk says he wants Cole gone, because Raw is getting unbearable. As Punk continues the dress-down, Johnny Ace makes his way out to chastise Punk, and Punk offers a hearty “screw you”. Ace makes Punk and Big Show vs. Del Rio and Mark Henry for tonight. I wonder if they remember that Punk and Show were enemies last year. Cole wants an apology from Punk, and gets an Anaconda Vice instead. I guess this means we get JR. SEGMENT RATING: 7/10. Hey, it showcased Cole at his snarky finest, and it was better than the usual Cena talk segments. Different can be good.
Oh, and Mick Foley is back. So much for those interviews he did in 2008 saying he didn’t need WWE, the Hall of Fame, etc.
Match 1: Sin Cara/Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes/Hunico
It’s like Survivor Series Showdown from 1990, except not. I dig Hunico’s “Konnan in 1997” look, but hopefully he has an actual work ethic. Dual planchas from “Sinful Paradise” takes us into commercial. Back from break and Cody is in control on Cara. We learn that “MICK FOLEY” is trending on Twitter. Then again, so is “GOT AIDS”. What can I infer from this? Cara finally manages the hot tag, and Kingston and Rhodes go at it, with Kofi hitting the sky high cross body. Give these two a few months to feud over the IC title and you can REALLY resurrect the belt. Rhodes steals the match with the Cross Rhodes. WINNERS: Cody Rhodes and Hunico via Cross Rhodes RATING: 5/10. Just hype for Survivor Series and nothing more.
Match 2: Dolph Ziggler vs. Mason Ryan (non title match)
In a perfect world, Ziggler beats Ryan in 14 seconds when Mason tears both quads while sneezing. Also, Johnny Ace throws JR out and allows Cole his seat back, just so the fans have less to enjoy. Ryan overpowers Ziggler to Vince McMahon’s faptastic joy, but certainly not the crowd’s. Vickie slaps Ryan and draws the cheap DQ. At least Ziggler wasn’t pinned. John Morrison heaves Dolph Ziggler back into the ring, and Ryan nearly blows a full nelson slam, almost breaking Ziggler’s neck. Send that clown back for more training. WINNER: Mason Ryan via DQ RATING: 1/10. Mason Ryan is as useless as an umbrella in a fiery apocalypse.
In Ring Segment: Mick Foley’s Return
Hey, that guy who swore off WWE in 2008 and promised to help TNA reach the promised land came back without an ounce of reprisal from people calling him out on his hypocrisy! That NEVER happens! Foley hypes up The Rock and John Cena (who gets booed in his hometown), and basically panders to try and get the crowd to cheer for Cena. Wonder if he misses hanging around Curry Man and Shark Boy yet. Anywho, Cena makes his way out. Cena says that Rock isn’t his friend, but Foley seems hellbent on trying to get them to mend fences. Foley goes as far as to list off Cena’s backstage acumen of respect, and the crowd is still lukewarm on cheering him. Foley: “I think you’re one of the very best to ever step inside this ring”. Crowd: “BOOOOOOOOO!” Anyway, it turns into John Cena’s “This Is Your Life” and I don’t forsee the 8.1 rating that the Rock one from 1999 got being matched. This montage of Cena childhood footage is making me sleepy. Voice #1 comes from Cena’s old little league coach, and I have no patience right now. The punchline: Cena struck out in a crucial situation. Can we call him C-Rod? Voice #2: BULL “BLING BLING” BUCHANAN! I TAKE IT BACK! SEGMENT OF THE YEAR! Bull calls Cena his best partner ever. I don’t know, you also teamed with Stevie Richards AND Sniper. Anyway, Bull’s life apparently went down the hopper, and it ended when his dog gave him rabies. Man, that’s tough luck! Voice #3 is John Cena Sr, who sounds eerily just like him. Cena Sr chastises the fans for chanting “Cena Sucks” and points out his boy’s work ethic. Cena Jr, however, downplays the crowd hate, as he usually does in his typical “aw shucks” fashion. Finally, The Rock comes out, drops Foley, and simply leaves. Uhh…..that’s the payoff? SEGMENT RATING: 5/10. Had some comedy value until the pointless ending. That was twenty five minutes of wasted time, except for Bull’s funny downfall and Cena Sr’s spirited speech.
Match 3: Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
Now THIS could be fun if they give it time. Even if it’s short, give me “spirited”. Power match to begin, with Sheamus getting the upper hand. After the throwback fun of Crimson and Matt Morgan at Turning Point last night, I wouldn’t mind some more “hoss brawls” to spice things up, as long as the talent is there. Swagger comes back after the commercial with some vicious shoulderblocks, and then tries to wear down Sheamus with submissions. Sheamus comes back and mauls Swagger with a corner attack and powerslam for 2. Swagger escapes the Celtic Cross and gets the pump splash, followed by the ankle lock, but Sheamus kicks his way out. Irish Curse backbreaker, followed by the Brogue Kick for the decisive win. WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick RATING: 7/10. Give these two a longer match. As I said, a power brawl with the right people is usually fun to watch. This was a nice teaser.
Match 4: Natalya vs. Kelly Kelly
Kelly Kelly is so over with the crowd, which is why she has to wear a Tom Brady cutoff jersey. Because she’s so over, you know. Natalya tries the Sharpshooter, Kelly cradles her and pins her in under a minute. Yeah. WINNER: Kelly Kelly via cradle RATING: 0/10. At least I have Velvet Sky, Gail Kim, Winter, and Mickie James on Thursdays
Match 5: Alberto Del Rio & Mark Henry vs. CM Punk & Big Show
Del Rio attacked Punk in the locker room before the match to try and derail him before Survivor Series. If they’re serious about pushing Punk, he’ll just shake it off like Cena does with every beatdown he’s received since 2006. Punk comes out holding the arm, but no else worse for wear. Fair enough. Huge CM Punk chant, the most the crowd has been alive in an hour. Show and Del Rio kick it off, and Show simply dominates. Punk comes in and maims Del Rio. Kinda question having this match for free so early. Double tags bring in the other World Title participants. Slower hoss fight ensues. Show throws Henry down to a sizeable cheer. Match slows down as Show becomes monster-in-peril. Show manages to fight Henry off and tries for the WMD, but Henry tags Del Rio, who refuses to enter as we hit a commercial. Back from break and Henry is tagged in to stomp Punk, who obviously was beaten down during the adverts. Punk ends up taking a nasty tilt a whirl backbreaker from Del Rio. Punk and Show go all Gumblel to Gumbel on the heels, but Henry catches Punk with the WSS. Show fights Henry away, and Del Rio steals the pin. Guess Punk’s winning Sunday then? *sigh* another quick change? Del Rio adds the Cross Armbreaker afterward to further injure the shoulder. WINNERS: Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry via World’s Strongest Slam RATING: 6/10. Formula, but decent.
In Ring Segment: Santino Marella
Great, MORE talking. I do dig Marella’s modified gi t-shirt, though. Marella talks about how close he was to winning the Royal Rumble in this city earlier in the year. As he vows to avenge his Rumble loss, Kevin Nash makes his way out. Great. Nash requests a trombone and punks Marella out as he attempts one. Great, the crowd’s cheering Nash. When he’s holding the title, you can blame Boston. He complains about not getting hired, despite the crowd loving him in Boston, and he Jackknifes Marella. Well worth the time! SEGMENT RATING: 2/10. I think my watch is broken, like both of Nash’s kneecaps.
Main Event (I Guess): Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton.
Barrett brings out Rhodes, Swagger, Ziggler, and Hunico, while Orton has Sheamus, Sin Cara, Kingston, and Ryan. I wish we could go back to the all Survivor format one year, but this match has potential. 3 to 1 odds Ryan and/or Sheamus get DQed. Glad to see Orton, Kingston, and Sheamus are all friends now. Barrett dominates early, but we’re just stalling until we get to Rock’s segment at the end, so look for a schmozz. Sure enough, Orton takes over and gets the elevated DDT, followed by his spastic viper taunt. Everyone hits the ring for the schmozz DQ, clearly. Faces clean house, just to build to Survivor Series. WINNER: No contest RATING: 4/10. Sheer build and nothing more.
Actual Main Event: The Rock Talks
Justin Roberts gives The Rock the worst possible intro ever. We get it, Kevin Dunn likes Roberts’ cheekbones and peppiness. Rock smiles, because he knows he’s catching a flight back to Inglewood in forty-five minutes. Rock highlights his day for everyone interested, and panders more than he usually does. Rock hits the Cena insults while the fans chant “THANK YOU ROCK”, and then he coerces a “BOOTS TO ASSES” chant. I’m noticing a difference in eras here, in terms of how much freedom performers had thirteen years ago to work the crowds. Rock calls out Awesome Truth, and Miz immediately hits him with the “Reallys”. Truth calls tonight’s Raw a joke, thus making him my temporary hero. Miz threatens Rock with a beating, but balks on doing it now, preferring to do it at Survivor Series. Cena arrives for the High Noon moment, finally putting all four in the ring together. Cena trashes Rock for his ‘via satellite’ messages, and Rock fires back by mocking Cena’s young fanbase, then threatens an ass-whooping. Cena brings it around to them having to team up, and if Rock gets out of line, Cena promises to bitch slap. Miz interjects, having enough of Rock and Cena hogging the limelight. A fight ensues, and R-Truth eats a Rock Bottom, as does Miz, which totally makes me want to order Survivor Series. Rock and Cena have a staredown to end it.
SEGMENT RATING: 6/10. Some lines were funny, but it’s quite counterproductive. We get it, more people will order to see Rock wrestle than to see a competitive match, but can’t WWE just lie a little and give the heels the benefit of the doubt?
OVERALL: These three hour shows need to stop. You could have fit most of the better stuff into two hours just fine, without the This is Your Life segment, or some of the matches involving those in the elimination match. For something hyped as a special Raw, it sure didn’t feel special.
RAW kicked off with the face of the WWE, John Cena, out to a surprisingly negative reaction. I guess the Liverpool fans are anti Cena unlike the fans back home in the states. Unsurprisingly, Cena discusses the WrestleMania 28 ticket sales and the absence of Survivor Series tag team partner, The Rock. Cena states that Rock will be on RAW live next week in Boston, Massachusetts.
We’re promoting next week’s RAW at the start of this show?
Cena discusses the “importance” of the first RAW in Liverpool and intends on creating some magic. Cena then mentions Awesome Truth and his mystery partner he penned as a future hall of famer. Awesome Truth interrupts with Miz cutting his typical promo. Mizanin mentions Awesome Truth’s recent attacks on Cena and their matchup at WrestleMania 27. Man, was this guy stumbling in this promo.
Miz wants to leave a lasting impression while Truth discusses the Little Jimmies while informing Cena that he’s going to get got at Survivor Series.
They argue with Cena putting over his mystery partner like a million bucks. As Awesome Truth is preparing to attack Cena, Zack Ryder intervenes. A short brawl ensued with Truth getting a Rough Ryder.
Yeah, who’s surprised that it was Ryder? However, it makes sense considering Awesome Truth destroyed Ryder two weeks ago.
Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero make their way towards the squared circle in what would undoubtedly be the match of the night. To my surprise, John Morrison is introduced as Ziggler’s opponent.
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison
Initially, Ziggler and Morrison chain, with both competitors using a string of submissions. Ziggler dominates Morrison for the majority of the match while JoMo is showing signs of his ECW wrestling style. Morrison, who has been labeled a spot monkey on occasion, was grounded through its entirety. Ziggler came off as a star as usual but I’m surprised that the crowd was split.
The commentators spent most of this match discussing twitter, Zack Ryder, and Morrison’s losing streak.
Shockingly, Morrison picks up the win after a crucifix.
Winner: John Morrison
I’m surprised Morrison picked up the win with the numerous stories of his departure making waves on the dirt sheets. It’s great that the WWE is digging this guy of the hole they put him in. On the other hand, Dolph came off as a star yet again but I don’t think we can classify his loss as a losing streak yet. I expect Morrison to be inserted into the Ryder/Ziggler match at Survivor Series for the U.S. Championship.
They formally announce Team Barrett vs. Team Orton for Survivor Series. I’m confused as to why it’s Team Barrett instead of Rhodes or Christian. Wasn’t Orton feuding with Rhodes?
Mason Ryan vs. JTG
This was a typical squash match with Mason Ryan decimating JTG with a string of power moves before finishing him off with a full nelson slam.
Winner: Mason Ryan
There isn’t much to say about this matchup. I guess the WWE wanted to make Mason Ryan look strong by defeating someone who hasn’t appeared on RAW since being drafted there earlier this year.
We get a random Zack Ryder/Bella’s segment backstage with Ryder mentioning his main event tag team match with John Cena. The Bella’s join Ryder in a “woo woo woo” before we cut to commercial.
Michael Cole informs the audience that Jim Ross wasn’t allowed to travel with his BBQ sauce and the Michael Cole Challenge will take place next week. Yeah, I’m pretty sure fans care about that.
Alberto Del Rio makes his entrance and is facing Kofi Kingston for the tenth time this year.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi administers a small amount of offense but is eventually weakened by a missed suicide dive. Kofi is selling an arm injury with Del Rio focusing on it throughout the remainder of the matchup. Kofi battles back, utilizing his signature top rope cross body but misses a TIP attempt. Del Rio targets Kofi’s arm again before submitting Kingston with a botched cross arm breaker.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
I can’t say I’m surprised Del Rio squashed Kingston. For one, Kingston is probably in hot water because of Evan Bourne’s wellness violation. Besides that, WWE is doing its best to draw heel heat for Del Rio but its not working.
Unsurprisingly, Del Rio commences his post match beat down, applying the cross arm breaker to Kingston again.
The Voice of the Voiceless, CM Punk, makes his way to the squared circle to a huge pop from the live audience.
Punk gives Del Rio a verbal thrashing with Del Rio complaining about the events of last week. Del Rio asks Punk to cancel the WWE Title match because Johnny Ace and David Otunga said he could. Punk reminds Del Rio that it was Kevin Nash’s actions that cost him the WWE Championship in the first place.
Del Rio commands respect because he’s the WWE Champion before Punk commends Del Rio as a great competitor but tells him that he’s one dimensional on the mic. He mentions Del Rio’s destinies while informing the WWE Champion that no one cares about him or what he says.
Del Rio says he doesn’t care before asking Punk to cancel the match. Berto attacks Punk after he declines but Punk fights him off before he can apply the cross arm breaker. Ricardo Rodriguez intervenes but taste another Go 2 Sleep.
This was a pretty good segment with Punk doing Del Rio on the microphone. You know, Del Rio tries so hard to pass himself off as the WWE Champion but I still feel he’s a glorified mid carder who should’ve spent more time in the mid card before rushed to the main event.
After a commercial break, WWE airs some footage of last week’s RAW. Swagger still has sour grapes due to his loss to lifetime jobber, Santino Marella.
Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella
This was a joke match with both men administering a decent amount of offense. I guess JoMo wasn’t the only one watching ECW tape as Swagger pulled out his first finisher, the Blue Thunder Bomb. Santino fights back with his signature jabs and split before Swagger sends him flying into the ring post shoulder first.
Swagger applies the Ankle lock and Marella taps.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Why was this match on RAW? Couldn’t Swagger have taken on someone from the opposing Survivor Series team?
Anyway, Kelly Kelly is apparently on her way to the ring as we cut to a commercial.
Jerry Lawler introduces Kelly as the cover girl for the next issue of Maxim. Kelly discusses her time in the WWE and her determination to become a better WWE Diva. The Divas of Doom interrupt Kelly, referring to her as a Barbie doll. Kelly fires back, stating that she wouldn’t interrupt the DOD if they were on the cover on National Geographic.
Beth says that Kelly gives fans a false impression of what a WWE Diva is and informs Kelly that is crying time. The DOD evacuate as Alicia Fox (who apparently has gone through a Mr. Anderson turn) and Eve Torres intervene.
Alicia questions the DOD’s decision to leave as they’ll miss the unveiling. Eve and Alicia unveil the cover as we cut to a commercial.
This segment was unneeded and I felt I could’ve gone without it. This constant bullying of Kelly Kelly is forcing me to question the WWE’s decision to sponsor the Be A Star campaign.
John Laurinaitis introduces his latest signee in Kevin Nash as Big Daddy Cool thanks Funkman for bringing him back. Nash says that he doesn’t own anyone but Triple H an explanation for his actions. He discusses his history with Triple H and felt that he should’ve buried him back then. He says that HBK changed his opinion of Triple H and they allowed him to join the Kliq.
He talks about Hunter’s wedding, his return at the Rumble, and his proposition to bring back the Kliq to Triple H. Nash claims that Triple H ignored and betrayed him before claiming that the Game would be nothing without him.
If the promo wasn’t already a complete disaster, Nash continues his confused tirade. Big Daddy Cool mentions his contract, the attack on Triple H, and the fact that he could be Champion on any given night.
Kevin Nash apparently showed Triple H how to play the game.
I can’t speak for others but I felt this promo was absolutely dreadful. Nash seemed confused and discombobulated for the most part while failing to remain on one clearly subject. I often criticize the WWE for scripted promos but incidents like this call for them.
Finally, it’s time for the debut of Brodus Clay as another vignette airs.
David Otunga and John Laurinaitis are discussing Clay’s debut before Ace informs him that Brodus is special and he refuses to waste him in Liverpool.
CM Punk insults Ace, claiming he was ignorant to what the crowd wants. Punk mentions John’s plan with Alberto to cancel the WWE Title match before turning his attention to Otunga. Otunga tells Punk that the WWE Champion shouldn’t look like a guy that works at a gas station. Punk attacks Otunga but is quickly thwarted by Del Rio.
A brawl ensues with Punk being sent through the catering table. Del Rio hammers Punk until officials pull the Mexican Aristocrat away from the Chicago native.
I don’t have a problem with this segment. It explains the absence of Brodus Clay and gives Alberto a little momentum going in Survivor Series. I’d be lying if I said he didn’t need it as Punk has been dominating him physically and verbally since this feud started. David Otunga appearing backstage and not in the ring, he’s okay in my book.
Honestly, I would’ve rather watched Brodus destroy some random jobber instead of listening to Nash’s promo.
Awesome Truth vs. John Cena and Zack Ryder
This was a typical tag team matchup. Awesome Truth controlled a major portion of this match with Ryder and Cena getting in a significant amount of offense. The finish saw Cena hoist Miz up for the Attitude Adjustment only to have Miz counter it while Truth held Cena’s legs down for the win.
If Awesome Truth can’t beat Cena and Zack Ryder cleanly, what is the point of Survivor Series? The show does revolve around this one match.
Overall/Random thoughts: Though better than last week’s RAW, this episode was mediocre. Most of the matches featured were randomly thrown together while only two were produced to further storylines. I know the SD crew was touring elsewhere but the WWE could’ve swapped superstars for this edition. John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler was undoubtedly the match of the night. If you’re looking for something positive in terms of match quality, I recommend it (especially Morrison fans). I still feel Jack Swagger could’ve been used better tonight to further the impending 5 on 5 traditional Survivor Series matchup. Kofi Kingston shouldn’t be punished for the actions of his partner. The WWE should also address the tag team title situation as it would be foolish to ignore the division for thirty days. Zack Ryder in the main event is great considering he put himself in the position.
Since next week’s RAW is three hours and the go home show for Survivor Series, they should pull out every asset they have. Remember, this is one of the big four pay per views.
Be sure to check out my person blog here for articles on John Morrison, John Cena, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler etc. You can also follow me on Twitter @HEELRiZE
-If I never say it in any other medium, I’ll say it here: Halloween 4, in which Michael Myers chases his niece and her adoptive family, is better than any of the Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween movies. The soundtrack is eerier, the kills are realistic yet disturbing, and the tension is top notch. There will be no debating this.
-Live from Atlanta, home of Sherman’s triumphant footprints.
Opening Segment: The Rock is…..Taped!
Rock discusses John Cena’s offer for partnership, and turns him down flat. Rock makes it clear that he’d rather slap Cena’s face than slap his hand. I have to admit, I never thought I’d hear the phrase, “The Rock’s Twitter”. But then Rock goes back on his words, and admits that he hates The Miz and R-Truth. So with that said, Rock comes around to accepting Cena’s challenge, strictly for “The People”. Crowd is rather silent for this momentous accepting, but Rock starts to win them over with jokes about Cena’s younger fanbase. But above all, Rock wants Cena to “witness” what he brings to the table, as an intimidation move. Then we hit the catchphrase, with a rather silent recitation from the Atlanta crowd. Maybe they remember how Rock got Sheamus and Daniel Bryan bumped from WrestleMania. Segment Rating: 5/10. Did what it was supposed to do, but geez, couldn’t he have filmed it at night to give the illusion that it was live? You’re better off just having a cardboard standup of Rock with piped in soundbytes.
Match 1: CM Punk vs. Mark Henry (non title match)
This seems like it’d be a marquee match, and now it’s a throwaway opener. Ahh, but here comes James Laurinaitis’ uncle, fresh after James and his cohorts dismantled the Saints for their first win. He says if Punk beats Henry, he gets his shot against Alberto Del Rio at Survivor Series. SCREWJOB FORTHCOMING. Crowd rallies behind Punk as he cuts Henry down with kicks and an aerial assault, complete with Savage elbow for two. Alberto and Ricardo make their way to ringside, and Ricardo slides in to attack Henry, thus getting Punk DQed. Well, at least they went a different route with the screwjob. Punk hits an angry tope onto Del Rio to vent his Pepsi-fueled frustration. Punk sends Ricardo into the ring, and Henry flattens Ricardo with the World’s Strongest Slam. Oh jeez, PLEASE don’t turn Henry face. Punk chases Del Rio off. Rating: 5/10. Was going alright until the screwy finish. I never thought I’d say this, but save us Kermit!
Segment: Kermit and Miss Piggy.
I never thought I would EVER type that in my life. Vickie Guerrero interrupts, along with Jack Swagger. Swagger threatens to eat both Muppets, Kermit refers to Vickie as Jack’s mother, she argues with Piggy, and then Santino comes out. My head hurts. Swagger assaulting Kermit while arguing with Santino is kinda funny. Santino announces that Dolph Ziggler is facing Zack Ryder, while Swagger will get him. Kermit and Piggy hitting the “WWWYKI” phrase will surely appease the hipster quotient. Segment Rating: 6/10. I have a feeling it’ll get old fast, though. Let the record show that Kermit sells better than Mason Ryan, and Miss Piggy has better verbal cadence than Eve Torres.
Match 2: WWE Divas Costume Battle Royal
Because being a woman in WWE is DIGNIFIED! AJ as Kitana = hawt. Bellas as Mario and Luigi is a nice touch, as is the fact that more than 3 woman are going for the title. Various divas get eliminated in succession. Beth Phoenix on commentary talking about diva match strategy = trying to find spiritual meaning in an episode of Real Housewives of NJ. Final four are Alicia, Kelly, Eve, and Natalya. And Alicia goes, then Kelly, then Natalya, making Eve the winner. Beth and Natalya tease dissension. WINNER: Eve Torres RATING: 2/10. Errr….I liked AJ’s costume.
Meanwhile, Beaker runs into Christian. I feel compelled to review this for some reason. Christian pouring out Bunsen’s concoction probably saved somebody from failing a Wellness Test. Yay Christian! Sheamus and Beaker have a family moment. Awwww.
Match 3: Air Boom vs. Cody Rhodes/Wade Barrett (non title)
Alright, I dig this. Cole: “It’s High Energy time!” Does that mean Kofi’s going to sing Piledriver while Evan’s wife holds a grudge? Kingston gets some early acrobatics on both opponents, but Rhodes floors him out of a double team. Barrett lands a sweet Black Hole Slam on Kingston for 2. Kingston plays the unlikely face in peril while Rhodes works him over in the corner. I have to say, they at least seem committed to presenting the tag team champions as much as possible. Heat segment extends, but Bourne is tagged in, which is largely ignored while Cole makes Muppet jokes. Bourne gets a sweet DDT out of Barrett’s Wasteland for 2. Barrett manages a second Wasteland after a Rhodes distraction to win. Christian runs in for some reason, and Sheamus runs in as well. Rhodes eats a Brogue Kick. WINNERS: Abbey Rhodes via Wasteland RATING: 6/10. No frills wrestling. Alrighty then.
Statler and Waldorf give us their usual antics in the skybox.
Match 4: Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show (non title match)
Ricardo being injured and thus unable to introduce ADR only compounds a rough night thus far. I haven’t seen an Atlanta crowd this dead since the fingerpoke. Or have I? Who knows. Slow, plodding match is a hell of a way to start hour two. Crowd cares not for Show’s clotheslines and chokes. Del Rio forces Show to his knees with a sleeper, and the crowd FINALLY comes to life to chant for Show. Show somehow survives two minutes being strangled. Wrestling and physics have never been friends of any kind. The brawl goes to the floor, where Del Rio gains the edge. Back inside, kicks to the head can’t keep Show down. Del Rio works another lengthy sleeper, but Show escapes with a Samoan drop type break. Match is still slowing down, and we go to commercial. Just what we needed. We’re back in time to see Del Rio with a kneebar on Show. Kill me. Eric, just kill me. Show escapes and the match starts to pick up a smidge. Show finally ends with the Big Punch. CM Punk comes out, and he can’t even get the crowd to rejuvenate by merely showing up. Bad sign. He revives Del Rio with water, and then threatens him with the Anaconda Vise until he agrees to the Survivor Series match. Del Rio agrees under duress, and Punk finally pops the crowd. The mic is dead, so Punk takes another and reveals ADR’s concession. WINNER: Big Show via Big Punch RATING: 3/10. One point was for Punk saving the day.
Fozzy and Gonzo are backstage, and are commiserating with Vickie and Jack Dolph. Gonzo gets stretched for insinuating that he could be a champion. There’d have been more crying if Stu Hart was involved.
Match 5: Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella
Animal is special timekeeper. There needs to be an “ANIMAL SCREWED BRET” meme. Swagger does some push-ups on Santino that I’d mock, but instead, I’m going to “be a star”. Crowd chants for Ryder. Take your fingers out of your ears, Vince. Marella escapes an ankle lock, takes Beaker’s concoction, spits it in Swagger’s eyes, and rolls him up for the pin. WINNER: Santino Marella via roll-up RATING: 2/10. Santino Marella (Anthony Carelli) has been suspended ninety days for failure of WWE’s Wellness Policy
Match 6: Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler (non title match)
I posted the Santino Wellness violation on a Facebook wrestling forum, and you wouldn’t believe how many fans bought it as fact. Ehh, ignorance is bliss. Ryder mounts a comeback after Ziggler’s early flurry and lands a nice missle dropkick, followed by a plancha as we go to commercial. We return with Ziggler trying to make Ryder submit. “LET’S GO RYDER / WOO WOO WOO” chant ensues. Fist pump olay kick by Ryder gets the crowd into it. PUSH HIM HARDER, VINCE! Ziggler’s attempt at a Stinger splash and Ryder double kicks him on the leap for 3, but Ziggler’s foot on the rope. Crowd BOOS the ref’s revelation. Ryder’s over, ya’ll. Zig Zag fails after Vickie’s interference, and Ryder gets the Ruff Ryder to win. WINNER: Zack Ryder via Ruff Ryder RATING: 7/10. Match of the night. I’m serious. Ziggler is the best overall wrestler in the company next to Punk and Christian, and Ryder is way over. Make this a centerpiece feud.
Michael Cole/Jim Ross challenge is postponed until next week, likely until time constraints. Damn it, that’s the ONE thing that could have saved the show! *sarcasm*. Statler and Waldorf yawning is unintentionally funny. Miss Piggy flirts with John Morrison, and he pawns her off onto Hornswoggle. Cody Rhodes bags Kermit, just because.
Main Event: The Miz vs. John Cena
I don’t foresee a twenty minute classic to save the show. Cena getting booed is never old, thankfully. Stall to start, and it’s 10:59. I’m just waiting for the R-Truth DQ run-in. Miz with the early beatdown as Cena gets the standard dual-chant. Miz a chinlock three minutes in, so yeah, we’re certainly pressed for time. Cena gets the spinout bomb and 5KS. AA countered into a reverse DDT for two. Miz then counters an STF with a kickoff, and signals for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cena counters, nearly breaking Miz’s neck with a clothesline (well, Miz took a bad bump). Cena gets a flying slice leg drop for 2. Cena and Miz go to the floor, but soon spill back into the ring after a man in a Scream outfit hit Cena, and Cena wins clean with the STF anyway. It was R-Truth in the disguise, in case you couldn’t figure it out. WINNER: John Cena via STF RATING: 5/10. Cena beats one guy clean, shakes off the interference of the other and takes him out, and I’m supposed to want to order Survivor Series when Cena has additional help? Really?
Welcome to the 10/28/11 edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown! The show starts off with highlights from the Big Show/Mark Henry match at Vengeance that saw the ring collapse of a superplex by Henry. If you missed the PPV but saw the match where Brock Lesnar and Big Show did the exact same spot a few years ago, you know exactly what this looks like.
In the arena, SmackDown! GM Teddy Long is in the ring. He tells us that the states of Mark Henry, The Big Show and the World Championship itself are all in doubt. Despite injuries, both Henry and Show are here tonight, and Long promises that the future of the title will be addressed tonight.
Christian’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. Christian says the future of the title will be addressed right now. There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that what happened at Vengeance was historic, and by history, Christian means that it is now history. As far as he’s concerned, Show had his opportunity and blew it, which leaves a huge void in the championship situation. That void will be filled by the man that has dominated the brand for the past five months, and that man is…before Christian can finish, Long says that Christian, who has supposedly been dominant, is the same man who had his head kicked in by Sheamus last Sunday. Christian calls himself resilient, and that’s what a champion is. He begs Long to find someone who deserves the belt more than him.
All of a sudden, CM Punk’s music hits. Punk comes out to a major pop, and rightfully so. Have I mentioned that Punk is the best all-around performer in the WWE right now? Christian says that he deserves one more match, and with that being said, why is Punk here and why he’s interrupting Christian. Long says that, since SmackDown! wrestlers have been working RAW lately, RAW stars will be here tonight for a “Super SmackDown!”
Punk thanks Long for having him, and it’s nice to be on a show with competent leadership for once. Christian laughs at this and says Punk obviously has never met Teddy Long before. Can’t argue there. Punk says Christian obviously hasn’t spent any time with Johnny Laurinaitis, and Johnny makes Long look like FDR. He tells Christian, “I’m a huge fan of yours, Rusty Bird”. He points to a sign in the crowd that says ‘1 more match’. Punk says he wants to see it. Christian asks if Punk is going to lecture him and throw stones. Punk simply says “yes”. Christian asks him if he’s the same man that hijacked the WWE title this past summer and basically held the company hostage. Christian says it was a complete joke and it’s an even bigger joke Johnny Ace is considering Punk for a title match with Alberto Del Rio. Punk says that maybe that’s why Johnny’s so bad at his job. Maybe Johnny is trying to set Punk up, maybe he’s considering the title match, because unlike Christian, he doesn’t waste time bitching and moaning and bitching and bitching and bitching, etc. Christian doesn’t care if Punk was invited here or not. As the leader of SmackDown! and the most respected man on the brand, he’s not going to tolerate Punk. He tells Punk to take his pipe bomb and go back to RAW because nobody wants him here. Punk agrees to do so with a sad face. Oh, wait, 10,000 people in Houston want Punk here. He’d bet money the people of Houston would like to see him in a match tonight with Christian. He asks if that can get done, playa. Long agrees to the match. As Punk leaves, Christian gets in Long’s face and begins berating him.
Up next, Air Boom will take on Awesome Truth in a tag team match.
MATCH 1: Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) (non-title)
Awesome Truth’s entrance pose is really awful. Miz and Kingston start off. Miz with some punches and knees. Miz with a running knee lift. Truth tags in and gets a kick to the gut. More punches as Truth beats Kingston down to the mat. Uppercut in the corner by Truth. Kingston gets his feet up on a corner charge and tags in Bourne. They hit a double kick to the legs and a double bulldog for 2. Bourne with a running hurricanrana and a corner dropkick. Truth back drops off a corner charge. Bourne lands on his feet and hits a kick. He goes up for Airbourne, but Miz distracts him. Truth knocks Bourne to the floor and Miz hits a clothesline. Truth goes to the floor and hits an uppercut as we go to commercial.
“Ghost Hunters” is one of the stupidest shows on telelvision, I don’t care what anyone says.
Back from the break, Bourne elbows and kicks out of a headlock by Miz, but Miz side steps a jumping knee. Truth tags back in and Awesome Truth hit a pair of boots for 2. Truth with a front chancery on Bourne. Bourne knees and kicks his way out of it and hits an enziguri. Miz and Kingston tag in. Kingston hits a jumping clothesline, a back chop, a clothesline and another jumping clothesline. Kingston goes for the Boom Drop, but Miz rolls out of the way. Kingston comes back with a high cross body from the middle rope for 2. Bourne knocks an interfering Truth to the floor, but Truth side steps a cross body, sending Bourne to the floor. Truth tags in Miz behind Kingston’s back. Awesome Truth hits the Little Jimmy Finale (worst name for a finisher EVER) and Truth gets the 3.
WINNERS: Awesome Truth. I’m expecting them to be the tag team champions in short order.
After the match, Truth tells the crowd they should be booing themselves. For those keeping count, they just beat the Tag Team Champions. This past Sunday at Vengeance, they beat CM Punk and Triple H, and on RAW, they beat the hell out of Zack Ryder and knocked the wheels off of John Cena. Miz grabs the mic and reminds us that Cena will be teaming up with The Rock to face them at Survivor Series. Truth says he thinks Cena must have suffered some brain damage because Cena picked the only man on Earth who likes him less than they do. Miz says that’s fine and dandy because if the Rock accepts Cena’s offer and they don’t destroy each other beforehand, Awesome Truth will finish the job at Survivor Series.
Back from the commercial, we see Daniel Bryan, Santino Marella, Justin Gabriel, Alex Riley, Johnny Curtis, Curt Hawkins and the Usos watching a TV monitor. Gabriel asks Bryan about training with Shawn Michaels. Bryan says he trained with Michaels for a year in San Antonio. As Bryan is talking about HBK, Tyson Kidd walks in and talks about Shawn Michaels crying on the new Bret/Shawn DVD. Bryan says Bret Hart did his share of crying on the DVD, too. They trade some more barbs. Kidd says Bret was better than Shawn. Bryan says the opposite. They do this a few times until Marella steps in. He says they should fight like mens in the ring. Kidd says that’s a great idea, and hopes Bryan doesn’t cry from the Sharpshooter.
We see Hornswoggle dressed up as Zack Ryder, with Teddy Long standing next to him. I hate Hornswoggle so very, very much. Long says Zack would appreciate that. Vickie Guerrero, Jack Swagger and US Champion Dolph Ziggler walk in. Vicki says Long’s assistant (Ryder) deserved what he got after Long made Ziggler compete twice at Vengeance. Ziggler says that, despite Long’s best efforts, he’s still champion, so the next time Long wants to mess with him, he’ll need to step up his game. Long says he didn’t put Ziggler in that match to mess with him, nor is the match tonight. Ziggler takes on Randy Orton tonight. Swagger says “We got this”. Long says “No, we don’t”, because Jack is banned from ringside. Aksana’s dumb ass walks and her stupid porn music plays. Long says he missed her. She says the same thing, then says something intelligible about groups. Long excuses Hornswoggle and says why doesn’t he and Aksana walk to his office and talk about this.
We get highlights of the Nash/Triple H feud from this past Monday night. Michael Cole says Triple H suffered a fractured vertebrae, and will be out of action for at least six weeks.
MATCH 2: Wade Barrett vs. Trent Barreta
Before the match starts, we get another promo video that Barrett shot earlier today. Barrett says last week was just the beginning. When he steps in the ring, it becomes his trench, the arena becomes his battlefield, and opponent becomes a casualty of war. The devastation of the “Barrett Barrage” continues tonight. Barrett kicks Barreta a couple times in the leg. Barreta comes back with a hurricanrana, but runs right into a scrapbuster for 2. Barrett with a modified surfboard stretch. Barreta gets to his feet and fights out, but runs into a kitchen sink. Barrett ties Barreta up in the ropes, knees him in the face and hits a running boot that sends Barreta to the floor. Barrett goes outside and nails a clothesline. Back in the ring, Barrett gets another 2. Barreta with a chop, a forearm and another chop, but Barrett lands a mule kick to the gut. Barrett with a knee in the corner and a corner whip. Barreta gets his feet up on a charge and goes for another hurricanrana, but Barrett turns it into Wasteland in one fluid motion, and this match is over.
WINNER: Wade Barrett. It’s about damn time Barrett got booked as a wrecking machine.
Up next, Orton needlessly defeats Ziggler.
MATCH 3: Randy Orton vs. WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler (w/Vicki Guerrero) (non-title)
I love how Rhodes and Orton both basically have the same finisher, yet no one save Cena can kick out of the RKO while Orton can kick out of Cross Rhodes effortlessly and totally no-sells it a minute or so later. Speaking of Rhodes, before the match starts, here comes the IC Champion with his teabaggers. Apparently, he’s coming down for color dysentery (RIP Hawk). Match starts with a tie-up. A long tie-up. Orton pushes Ziggler off. Another tie-up, and Orton gets a side headlock and a shoulder block off the ropes before going into a chinlock. Ziggler with an arm wringer. They crisscross, with Ziggler eventually coming up with a hip throw into a side headlock. Orton with a pair of shoulder blocks for 2. Ziggler with a boot to the gut and the left knee before going back to the hip throw/side headlock combo. Orton reverses into an armbar. He goes for the 3.0, but Ziggler reverses into a schoolboy for 2. Ziggler goes for a neckbreaker, but Orton reverses into a schoolboy for 2 of his own. Orton with the Garvin Stomp and the jumping knee drop for 2. Orton goes back to the armbar. Ziggler is being made to look like a complete tool in this match. Ziggler boots off a corner charge for 2. Ziggler goes into an armbar/chinlock combo. Orton punches out, but Ziggler comes back with a punch. Orton no-sells, chases Ziggler out of the ring, leapfrogs over Vicki and hits Ziggler with a clothesline on the floor. Commercial.
Back from the break, Orton whips Ziggler into the corner. Ziggler elbows out and hits a dropkick for 2. Ziggler with stomps in the corner. Orton comes back with punches, but runs into a knee lift from Ziggler for 2. Ziggler locks on a modified Rings of Saturn. Orton gets up to his feet and carries Ziggler over his shoulders, but Ziggler slides out and hits a DDT for 2. Ziggler goes for a modified camel clutch, but Orton headbutts his way out. Ziggler comes back with a neckbreaker for 2. Ziggler goes up to the top rope, but of course Orton knocks him down. Orton with a punch and a superplex from the top. This gets 2 for Orton. They trade some punches. Orton with a kick, European uppercut, another kick and a clothesline. Another clothesline and a powerslam. God, Orton matches are formulaic. Orton with the suspended DDT. Orton sets up for the RKO. Ziggler pushes him off and hits the superkick for 2. Ziggler goes for the Zig Zag, but Orton holds onto the top rope. RKO and the 3.
WINNER: Randy Orton. You know, for Ziggler supposedly being a favorite among the creative team lately, Orton completely dominated this match. Oh, wait. It’s Orton. That’s every one of his matches.
We see video from last week when Sin Cara Negro was unmasked. Cue to the back, Matt Striker is standing with the former Sin Cara Negro. Striker says some are saying Negro was disrespected and embarrassed, and wants to know how he feels. Negro asks Striker how he thinks it makes him feel. Sin Cara Azul stole his identiy. The only one with a face (?). Azul took something away from him, and it’s payback time. There was Spanish interspersed in here, but I don’t speak the language, so I don’t really know what was said.
We get another video for Brodus Clay’s impending debut on either RAW or SmackDown! (it’ll be RAW). I’m looking forward to this, as Clay is a really decent big man, and can actually cut a solid promo.
MATCH 4: Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd
Kidd’s entrance wasn’t aired. Guess who’s winning here? They start by arguing. Kidd shoves Bryan. Bryan shoves back. Bryan with a waistlock. Kidd reverses. Series of reversals with Bryan ending up with an arm drag. Kidd gets into the ropes and Irish whips Bryan. Kidd goes for a leapfrog, but Bryan catches him and turns it into an armbar. Kidd shoves Bryan off into the corner and boots him in the gut before coming off the ropes with a seated dropkick for 2. Kidd locks in a dragon sleeper. Bryan backflips out of a corner whip and comes back with a running clothesline. Bryan with a corner dropkick for 2. Bryan hoists Kidd onto the top rope and connects with a super hurricanrana, but Kidd holds on for a sunset flip for 2. Bryan turns this into a LeBell Lock attempt, but Kidd rolls through into a jackknife for 2. Bryan reverses into a sunset flip for another 2. Kidd rolls through and goes for the Sharpshooter. Bryan breaks free and goes into the LeBell lock. After holding of for about 30 seconds, Kidd finally taps.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan. The losing streak is over. Well, at least this one. Great match, despite being far too short. If Kidd and Bryan wrestled each other every week, I’d be happy. These two are so good, it makes me sick nothing is being done with either. I really hope Bryan successfully cashes in MITB at Wrestlemania next year. I know someone will eventually cash in unsuccessfully, but I really, REALLY hope it’s not him.
RAW Rebound time.
Back from the break, and Michael Cole is on top of the announce desk. He says it’s time to end the silliness with Jim Ross. He’s issued a challenge to Ross, and Ross has reportedly accepted. Ross has apparently been tweeting about how he’s training for this “event”. Cole says he’s actually tanning, which leads to a photoshop job of Jim Ross posing with a dog a la the old Coppertone ads. More stupid photoshops. I’m not recapping each one. Cole says he will explain the rules for this challenge on Monday night, and if Ross can beat him in the challenge, Ross gets his seat back on Monday Night RAW, and Michael Cole will quit.
Big Show makes his way to the ring in a suit. For being so injured from Sunday, he’s walking just fine here. Commercial.
Back from the break. Big Show says “Oops. I did it again.” He’s been in wrestling for 16 years and has fought everyone. Right now, he’s hurting in places he didn’t even know he had places. Mark Henry was an out-of-control monster at Vengeance. He doesn’t think he’s ever had a fight like that with someone that powerful ever. Mark Henry gave him a good fight. Surprisingly, this gets some cheers. After going through all that carnage, you’d think he’d stop, but we know he’s not right in the head, so Show says they should reinforce the ring and do it again. He knows he can defeated Mark Henry for the World title. He spent most of today in conference with Teddy Long, and Long has assured him there will be a rematch between Show and Henry in the near future. Cue Mark Henry.
Henry comes out with the World Championship, so I’m going to assume that the status of the title is that it’s still Henry’s, as it should be. Henry says he doesn’t care who Show talked to; he’s not going to get a rematch. He went into Vengeance as champion, and left that way. He’s handled his business, and now he’s done with Show. Henry says he’s sore and beaten from the ring caving in. Show’s sore because Henry made him that. Obviously, Henry didn’t do a good enough job because Show is out here still running his mouth. Maybe if Henry puts his foot in it, Show will shut up. Show is ready for a fight. Henry starts to climb in the ring, but decides against it and walks back down the ring steps and up the ramp. That certainly accomplished nothing.
Punk/Christian is up next.
MATCH 5: CM Punk vs. Christian
If anyone was wondering what Punk yells on the stage during his entrance, he yells “It’s clobberin’ time!”, which is the catchphrase of Thing from ‘Fantastic Four’ (the comic books, not the sucktacular movies). Tie-up to start. Punk turns it into an arm wringer, then a hammerlock. Christian reverses into a side headlock and a shoulder block off the ropes. Punk with a side headlock. Crisscross leads to Punk knocking down Christian with a shoulder block before doing a Lex Luger-esque double biceps pose. Christian with a gut kick and an uppercut, but runs right into a jumping side kick from Punk. Punk grabs Christian’s arm and hits a series of shoulder blocks. Punk puts Christian in a hammerlock, throws him shoulder-first into the turnbuckle, snapmares him and hits a basement dropkick for 2. Back to the hammerlock. Christian elbows out. Punk reverses a corner whip, but Christian gets his feet up on the charge before hitting a middle rope European uppercut. Haven’t seen him do that in a while. Christian goes up top but misses the headbutt. Punk goes for the GTS as Alberto Del Rio’s music hits. As WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez make their way down to the ring, Christian slides out off the distraction and hits an implant DDT for 2. Commercial.
Back from the break, Christian’s got Punk in a modified sleeper. Punk manages to throw him off, but misses a running legdrop. Christian comes back with a kick, some stomps and some mounted punches. Christian picks Punk up and drops him back down with a falling inverted DDT for 2. Christian goes after the eyes, but breaks before the 5-count. Christian throws Punk to the floor by the announcer’s table. Christian goes to the floor and slams Punk’s head into the table. Back in the ring for a 2-count. Christian turns the kick out into a cobra clutch. Punk fights out with some slaps, a backhand and a roundhouse kick. Punk with a punch and a roundhouse mule kick before giving Christian a back body drop, a clothesline and a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Punk misse the running knee in the corner, but fights out of a Killswitch attempt. Punk goes for the GTS, but Christian fights out and catches the twisting sunset flip off the middle rope. Punk rolls through and just kicks Christian in the face for another 2. Punk misses a roundhouse kick, which allows Christian to do his uppercut from the floor. Christian goes for a top rope cross body, but Punk catches him and rolls through for 2. Punk goes for the springboard clothesline, but Christian catches him with a powerslam for a 2. Christian looks for the Killswitch, but Punk mule kicks him and goes for the GTS. Christian slides out and goes for the Killswitch again, but Punk pushes him off into the corner, hits the knee strike/bulldog combo, and is now calling for the GTS once again. He starts to go for it, but Rodriguez jumps on the apron. Punk chases him off and gets back in the ring, where he shoulders Christian in the gut and hits a springboard clothesline for 2. Punk goes up top again, looking for the Macho Man elbow, but Rodriguez jumps on the apron again to distract the referee. This allows ADR to trip Punk up, sending him to the mat. Christian sets up for the spear, but gets distracted as Sheamus’ music hits. Sheamus scares Rodriguez off, and the momentary distraction allows Punk to pick Christian up, connect with GTS and get the 3.
WINNER: CM Punk. I guess ADR was also chased off by Sheamus, as I don’t see him anywhere. Anyway, this was easily the best match of the night.
End of show.
We got at least 2 good matches tonight. Despite the outside interference, Christian/Punk stole the show. Tons of counters, false finishes and finisher reversals. Punk and Christian work well together. I’d love to see them feud down the road.
-If WWE doesn’t have Hornswoggle walking around in a neck brace tonight, then they officially have no sense of humor. Sometimes you can do something absurd enough to distract the usual detractors from ripping on the show, status quo style.
-Live from Austin, TX
-So who’s gonna end up replacing John Morrison in the “signature” before each show when his deal eventually expires? My money’s on Mason Ryan.
Opening Segment: Triple H, Miraculous Jackknife Survivor
You know HHH is mad, because he’s not wearing his suit any more. HEAVY METAL ROADIE ATTIRE MEANS SOMEBODY’S GETTING FACIAL PENETRATION WITH THE APPENDAGE OF HIS CHOOSING! Triple H says you can either make friends or make money, which is a lesson Killer Kowalski taught him. Wonder if Killer taught Hunter, “Boinking McMahon’s daughter means permanent wealth and prestige.” HHH names his Kliq friends, and leaves out Scott Hall. I guess after the revelation that Hall killed a guy, HHH decided to “Benoit” him. So much for being BFFs. Hunter meanders into complaining about Nash trying to break his neck last night, but is more upset that Big Kev broke his heart, so HHH calls him out. But as Hunter tries to goad Nash, we get Johnny Ace instead. HHH tells him to shut up repeatedly, which makes me wish for an Ace Crusher. HHH tells Ace that he still reports to him…..wait, what? How does THAT work? Didn’t….Ace replace him a few weeks ago? HHH promises that he’s going to jail tonight and goes to look for Nash, but is distracted at the top of the ramp, and Nash runs out and butts him with the sledgehammer. As Nash is escorted away, HHH collapses backstage in his first ever “Miller Lite Unmanliest Thing You’ve Done Today” segment. It was bound to happen. Segment Rating: 4/10. Because, you know, I was looking forward to this match in 2003, back when Nash was only semi-immobile.
-KFC has added bacon to their Famous Bowls. Attempts to kill Peter King have now reached Code Red: Rasputin Level.
-Then, back from break, Nash pulls HHH off the gurney (the medics just….gave HHH up), drags the backboard vertically against the wall, and continues the assault before security runs him off. And to think, Nash left TNA because the storylines reached new levels of improbably and stupidly violent. THE JOKE’S ON YOU, SUPER SHREDDER! WELCOME TO OVERBOOKED HELL!
Match 1: Randy Orton/Sheamus vs. Christian/Cody Rhodes
Boy do I feel dumb for having watched Vengeance last night: I’m getting 25% of the event in just ONE SINGLE MATCH. Oh, and Sheamus and Orton teaming up? I guess there was no point in getting invested in any angles from 2010. Christian shows fear of Sheamus, which would mean more if Sheamus hadn’t already beaten him clean twice. Lawler and Cole spend much of the match rebuilding Sheamus’ Irish heritage with anecdotes of Celtic folklore, so that big re-push is coming. Fine with me. Cody works a chinlock as we hit the commercial. Back to action and Christian is choking Sheamus with the boot while Cole tells us what’s trending on Twitter. Yeah, because every fan is a sheep that has to like what every other fan likes. If we can get “#RawisOverbookedTrash” to trend, do you think Michael Cole would say it? The match has a second heat segment, as Orton is now being double teamed. Crap, looks like the Usos vs. Hawkins/Reks match is getting bumped. RKO lays out Christian, Orton gets dumped, and Sheamus lays out Cody with the Celtic Cross to win. WINNERS: Sheamus and Randy Orton via Celtic Cross Rating: 6/10. Crowd being dead from that horrid (read: Vince liked it) opening segment didn’t help, but the action was solid. Can’t really fault the usual good effort from all four.
Match 2: Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler (non title match)
Santino + no intro = death. Ziggler’s rapidly becoming the most interesting heel in WWE next to Mark Henry, so I’m wondering why he’s taking comedy moves from Santino. Jack Swagger distracts Santino during the Cobra, so Ziggler gets the Zig Zag. Heel beatdown after leads to Blandtista making the save. Yay. If he beats Ziggler, I hope Congress reinvestigates WWE. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zig Zag Rating: 3/10. I could be watching the Jaguars, Eric.
In Ring Segment: Alberto Del Rio’s Celebration
I pray this is the CM Punk rejuvenation we’ve been begging for. Del Rio says he’s going to move on to new challengers. Well, there’s about 58 people on the roster that haven’t had a shot these last five or six years. This brings out Punk who, while not new, is acceptable. Punk points out that he’s beaten Alberto a number of times, and that he never got his 1 on 1 rematch for the title after Summerslam, so he demands a shot. ADR’s response is that Punk is a loser, since he didn’t win at Vengeance, and tells him to come back when he’s earned a shot. I wonder how many times Punk’s heard this exact speech from road agents with non-Spanish accents. Punk threatens to beat up Del Rio anyway, and this brings Ace back out, to some easy heel heat. Punk correcting Ace on how to hold the mic is funny stuff. Ace promises to make Punk vs. Del Rio at Survivor Series, on the condition that Punk tells Ace that he respects him. Punk refuses, and says that WWE hasn’t changed with Ace in charge, but Ace reiterates the threat. Punk responds with “I RESPECT YOU, FUNKMAN” in Ace’s voice, but Ace isn’t buying it. Punk finally admits respect, but addends his statement with bold statements about Ace’s rise through the ranks, and Ace refuses to give him the shot based on the insubordination. So Punk beats up Del Rio anyway, and gives Ricardo the GTS. Segment Rating: 8/10. Punk’s spot-onness made it worthwhile.
Match 3: Natalya vs. Alicia Fox
More than four women in the division? WE HAVE A DIVISION! PROGRESS! Natalya works a modified Indian deathlock while Beth Phoenix, on commentary, discusses how fun women in pain can be. This isn’t very PG. Oh, and Alicia pins Natalya with a sunset flip. Errr…..ok, someone new. WINNER: Alicia Fox via sunset flip Rating: 3/10. Alicia’s sure come a long way from being Edge and Vickie’s wedding planner. She’s a real versatile threat.
Match 4: John Morrison vs. Wade Barrett
I’m writing Barrett as the winner now. Morrison gets to look quasi-athletic, and even lands a head first tope, just to prolong the inevitable. Seems like forever ago that these two main evented Summerslam 2010. Wow, a Morrison match with a commercial! It’s like a stay of execution! I kinda thought Morrison would job during the break like Rick Martel in 1993, but surprisingly, no. Morrison takes a tumble to the floor from a stiff flurry of strikes. Cole’s too busy bitching about JR to care about the young talent on display, and they wonder why the fans don’t either. Morrison manages the charging knee for 2 in a close spot, and then gets a creative cradle for another 2. Good little match developing here. Morrison aborts the Starship and Barrett tries to catch the Flying Chuck, but botches. Second attempt at the Wasteland hits for the win. WINNER: Wade Barrett via Wasteland Rating: 6/10. Good match till the botched finish. I enjoy the basics.
Match 5: John Cena/Zack Ryder vs. The Awesome Truth
Alright Ryder fans, you want Zack pushed? Get this segment a 4.5 rating. If it does anything less, you can’t complain. Ah, but wait: Miz and Truth jump Ryder backstage. HOW DARE YOU GET OVER ON YOUR OWN, ZACK! WHY CAN’T YOU BE AN UNCLEAN FREAK LIKE MASON RYAN?!? Now how is John Cena going to beat two men on his own? He’s NEVER done that before!
Real Match 5: John Cena vs. The Awesome Truth
Cena, March 2011: “I’m proud of my jorts!” Cena, October 2011: “This camo seems less likely to cast dorky aspersions on me.” Strapped for time, a quick formula of “heel dominates, Cena takes over, heel tags” is in order. I reckon a clean finish is out of the question. Sure enough, a DQ win for Cena and the crowd is annoyed. Cena takes a beating afterward. Miz and Truth grab chairs, and Ace stops them. Ace sort of turns face by ejecting Truth and Miz for some reason (isn’t he a heel?). Miz and Truth will face Cena and a partner of his choosing at Survivor Series, and it ends up being The Rock. Well hey, that poster that was designed 2 months ago makes sense now! Miz and Truth express bewilderment. I guess they don’t have the internet. WINNER: John Cena via DQ Rating: 4/10. Well, at least the show’s over.
OVERALL: That wasn’t just a half a#$ed show; that was a half-assed show from a company that doesn’t have an ass to spare. You bury crowd favorites (Ryder, JR), have a horrid segment where HHH and Nash look like clowns, and kill a crowd despite solid in-ring action throughout.
Please, TNA, build on that 1.4. I’m pleading with you.