For many wrestling fans there is always something to complain about. Whether it is how WWE misuses superstars, the PG era is ruining WWE or Raw moving to three hours was a mistake, there are always people who think WWE can do better in some way.
This brings me to my main question – should wrestling fans blame the writers or the wrestlers for the issues in WWE? The simple answer would be that it depends. Sometimes it is the writers’ fault and sometimes it is the wrestler’s fault.
Each and every wrestler works hard to be successful at their job by training their bodies, working on their speaking skills and learning everything about the wrestling business. However, they should have a look or gimmick that makes them stand out in order to be successful. The writers hired by WWE are experienced television show writers who are trying to put together the best show possible. The keyword there is trying.
Let’s take WWE superstar Zack Ryder as the first example. Although he started out in a tag team with Curt Hawkins, Ryder found his greatest success when he became the Long Island Broski with a self-created YouTube series. At a time when social media is clearly a huge focus in WWE, the writers have seriously misused Zack Ryder. Instead of pushing Ryder to be a top babyface and promote social media in WWE, Ryder has been sporadically used on WWE TV, humiliated by Eve and Kane and has only held one singles title, the United States Championship. This was such a missed opportunity by WWE. What is it about Zack Ryder that stopped him from being a main event star? He has a great look and gimmick and his mic skills are up to par. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Now let’s discuss WWE superstar Tyson Kidd who has spent the majority of his WWE tenure as a tag team specialist. I found Kidd’s situation to be at its best when he was part of the Hart Dynasty. He is the most recent graduate of the famous Hart Family dungeon and WWE was using that to their advantage. He was teaming with fellow Hart family members Natalya Neidhart and David Hart Smith. Then, WWE decided to break the group up. Smith is no longer employed by WWE, while Kidd hung out in limbo until forming a new tag team with Gabriel.
This is a situation that I would put the blame on the wrestler. Kidd has great in ring skills, but his lack of charisma and mic skills made it very difficult for WWE writers to do a lot with him. The Hart Dynasty may have lasted longer or Kidd may have gotten a serious push if he had the charisma and mic skills of WWE main event stars such as John Cena and Shawn Michaels.
Wrestling fans’ negative opinions on the PG era generally come from the older audience who enjoyed the Attitude Era and the way WWE was prior to 2008. This is a situation in which neither the writers nor the wrestlers should be blamed for. The PG era has more to do with sponsors, upper management and the McMahons. The people at the very top of WWE make the decisions. Then, they work with the writers to make sure things go as planned. Finally, the wrestlers are given the scripts and their roles. Therefore, if you are going to blame someone for the PG era, blame the people who sponsor WWE and the McMahons. Not the writers and not the wrestlers.
When WWE decided to extend Raw to three hours, who would be blamed for the success or the failure? It would be difficult to argue that the wrestlers should take any blame. The writers’ job changed more than anyone else’s when WWE made the move to three hour live episodes of Raw. It is up to the writers to find a way to make Raw entertaining, enjoyable and fun to watch for three hours rather than two. The episodes in the summer were not up to par due to tons of squash matches, recaps and some episodes finishing early. However, I will give the writers credit for improving. Over the last few weeks, except the two holiday episodes, Raw has not dragged on as much and WWE writers are using the time more efficiently. So at the end of the day, the WWE TV shows’ success or failure is more on the shoulders of the writers than the wrestlers.
Therefore, when it comes down to it, who is to blame? The writers or the wrestlers? As I have said time and time again, it depends. If a wrestler has the complete package – that is the look, gimmick, mic skills, wrestling skills etc…it is up to the writers to best utilize the talent. On the other hand, if the wrestler lacks in multiple areas, it doesn’t really matter what the writer does. All of those WWE superstars who are terrible on the mic, lack charisma or are just not that interesting can only achieve so much.
So next time you are angry, frustrated or upset about a storyline, how a superstar is being used (or not used) or how WWE is running their show, think long and hard about whose fault it is. It may be the writers. It may be the wrestlers. It all depends.
Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and host of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out guttwrenchpowerblog.com.
When you get past the annoying social media trends, infatuation with past stars, and inconsistent booking, WWE produced a number of classic PPV match-ups on the 2012 calendar. Choosing 20 was hard, ranking them was harder. Here is what I came up with for the creme de la creme, the best of the best for the year 2012.
20. World Heavyweight Championship/Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella vs. Great Khali (Elimination Chamber, February 19)
You wouldn’t think this one would make the classics list, and early on in the match, it didn’t seem to be a likely addition. What made this match special was the dramatic finishing sequence, in which comedy player Marella eliminated Rhodes and Barrett, and came within believable inches of upending Bryan for the title. Despite the crowd cheering him on, the Milan Miracle succumbed to the LeBell/Yes/No Lock, and Bryan retained.
19. WWE Intercontinental: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio (Summerslam, August 19)
One of my favorite dynamics: Mysterio’s plucky air assault against a conniving villain who will bump along with the lucha icon. Really, Miz can be hit-or-miss, and Rey, even broken down, gets the best out of just those kinds of foes. A rapid-fire build to the end, including Miz busting out a Liger Bomb of all moves, ended shockingly cleanly, with Rey eating the turnbuckle after a crash-and-burn, and Miz spiking him with the Skull Crushing Finale.
18. WWE Championship/No Disqualification: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Money in the Bank, July 15)
The only detraction from this one was something I never thought I’d criticize, and that’s too much AJ. Miss Lee was the special referee for this blowoff between two honorable rivals, and it was a chaotic 28-minute affair. When you combine MMA-inspired kicks and strikes with WWE Main Event Style weaponry, it can make for a suitably brutal affair. Bryan’s current run as a main eventer came to an end via Punk hitting a back superplex through a table.
17. Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena (TLC, December 16)
The final PPV match of 2012 hit on all the notes necessary for a satisfying main event: strong booking for both the winner and loser, exciting in-ring action, a hint of controversy, and as a bonus, acknowledgement of the ascension of a young star. Ziggler’s MITB briefcase was at stake against Cena, who had the match won until AJ (she gets around) knocked him off the ladder, allowing for a Ziggler superkick, and contract-retention for the Show Off.
16. Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, January 29)
Some panned this match for being a tad cartoony, what with the commentators, Jim Duggan, and other non-regulars getting involved, but the silly fun was surrounded by some great action otherwise. Miz and Cody Rhodes had great showings during their respective long durations, Kofi Kingston hand-stood his way into our hearts, and Sheamus and Chris Jericho put together a great extended finish, ending with Jericho being Brogue Kicked into the abyss.
15. World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Big Show (Hell in a Cell, October 28)
Even though the Sheamus/Show feud was eventually dragged out like a dead kitten carcass across sun-baked pavement, it at least produced this fun match. In recent years, WWE’s produced a number of epic battles between big men, and this ranks among the best. It’s not often see two devastating moves (WMD Punch, Brogue Kick) kicked out of, but it set the stage for a thrilling finish, in which Show KO’ed Sheamus once and for all to win the gold.
14. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (Royal Rumble, January 29)
This one took relegation to the scrap heap quickly after it happened, and that was due to two reasons. For one, it failed to match the ‘instant classic’ that Punk and Ziggler had on Raw two months prior (Dolph’s “he’s arrived” match), and two, John Laurinaitis’ involvement overshadowed some of the proceedings. Ziggler’s GTS counter into a rocker dropper was sweet, much like the match itself, which Punk won after finally hitting his knee-on-face finish.
13. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (Night of Champions, September 16)
The elevation of Ziggler continued, even in defeat. After Orton cost Ziggler a chance to cash in Money in the Bank on Sheamus (before Cena committed the same act), the two were linked together for a non-championship-related match at a show that’s designed to feature all title matches. Minor quibble aside, Ziggler and Orton battled in a heated 20-minute war, with many near falls, and ending when Orton countered Dolph’s sleeper into an RKO.
12. WWE Championship/Chicago Street Fight: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (Extreme Rules, April 29)
The blowoff to the insipid “Punk’s really a vicing degenerate with a messed up family” angle was this unfettered fight to the death in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Both men even wore street clothes for the occasion, giving old school fans some bunkhouse brawl memories. Punk pulled out all the stops, including hitting the Leap of Faith elbow through Spanish announce table. Jericho nearly won with a chair-assisted Codebreaker, but Punk’s GTS would prevail.
11. WWE Championship/Elimination Chamber: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth (Elimination Chamber, February 19)
This one left many of us wondering just how Jericho and/or Punk would lose, and still set up WrestleMania without either man looking weak. After one of the better Chamber matches in recent years, complete with Jericho resurrecting the Lion Tamer on Kingston, Punk knocked Jericho out with a bump to the floor, eliminating him via TKO. Left with just Miz, Punk polished him off with the GTS, leaving Jericho to have an out leading into WrestleMania.
10. Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (Summerslam, August 19)
Shaking off the disappointment of a pointless, troll-tastic return in January, an uninspired feud with Punk (the writing, not the matches), and the controversy in Brazil, Jericho was able to have one last classic before adjourning from WWE yet again. Opening an average Summerslam, Jericho and Ziggler ping-ponged and bumped for each other to get the party started. After Y2J shook off a ton of false finishes, he tapped Ziggler to his Wal-er, Lion Tamer.
9. Money in the Bank: Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Tensai vs. Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Damien Sandow vs. Sin Cara (Money in the Bank, July 15)
The more discriminating fan was looking forward to this over, say, the Cena/Show/Kane MITB match, since a number of rising stars and internet favorites were involved. Kidd was the unsung hero, making his name on a series of crazy spots (i.e. the mid air twisting sunset powerbomb), while Ziggler continued his subtle suicide with his usual scary landings. Christian had the match won until Ziggler surged in, threw him off the ladder, and claimed the blue briefcase.
8. World Heavyweight Championship/2 Out Of 3 Falls: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (Extreme Rules, April 29)
After infuriating many with the 18-second fiasco at WrestleMania, WWE provided a make-good 4 weeks later by booking Bryan in a role he’s seldom played in WWE: a calculating killer who targets an injury and exploits it. Sacrificing the first fall to a DQ, Bryan forced Sheamus to pass out in the Yes Lock to even it up. Bryan couldn’t get the job done, however, and ate a Brogue Kick in the final act. But at least WWE, to their credit, apologized for Mania in their own way.
7. Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
Though many have heralded this as the hands-down match of the year, I feel there was too much stalling (understandably) to award it the title. It was well built, but just missing that “extra push over the cliff”, to quote Nigel Tufnel. As it was, I dug much of the drama, but felt the parts with Shawn Michaels weren’t needed. Undertaker turning back Hunter’s last-ditch sledgehammer attack before obliterating him made for a fitting culmination of the 20-0 mark.
6. The Rock vs. John Cena (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
Once the pointless concert beforehand came to a merciful end (which included some pretentious purple-haired diva-something or other), Rock and Cena engaged in the big money match, which was equal parts Austin-Rock and Warrior-Hogan. With a more markish crowd, it may have been even more epic, but as it was, it was a great heavyweight battle that will likely lead to a sequel this year. As for round one, The Great One drew first blood.
5. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
After John Laurinaitis affixed a stipulation minutes beforehand, decreeing that Punk could lose the gold via DQ, one’s spidey sense smelled screwjob. Instead, it was a red herring meant to mislead the audience, and hope that Punk wouldn’t get gutted by injustice. An intense battle that slowly worked into third gear, Jericho’s head games only intensified Punk’s resolve, as he finished the former “Best in the World” with an unrelenting Anaconda Vice.
4. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena (Night of Champions, September 16)
Kinda sad that this was Punk’s first “main event” of the 2012 calendar year, and he’d been champion the entire time. This made up for months of Cena navel-gazing, as the two picked up where they left off the previous summer at Money in the Bank and Summerslam, displaying their remarkable chemistry in a seesaw battle. The double-pin finish would have meant more with a one-on-one rematch, but you know WWE will revisit this soon enough.
3. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs: The Shield vs. Kane/Daniel Bryan/Ryback (TLC, December 16)
You wouldn’t think there’d be a lot of positives to come out of Punk tearing his meniscus, but a dangerous spotfest that gave instantly credibility to three newcomers would be one. The Shield has looked strong since their Survivor Series debut, and they were able to notch a huge win over 3 pushed and established players, in a match everyone was talking about for days. Seth Rollins in particular was made after nearly dying via table bump near the entrance way.
2. Extreme Rules: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules, April 29)
With Lesnar’s return the night after WrestleMania came high expectations for the universally-renowned UFC icon. He immediately entered a feud with Cena, and their fight vignettes hyping their forthcoming brawl were great selling points. The match wasn’t even a match, it was a straight-up fight with lots of blood. After Cena took a hellacious beating for the duration of the contest, he used his chain, and an AA on the ring steps, to win, much to the surprise of many.
1. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Over the Limit, May 20)
The two indy darling got to bring their blend of pure wrestling and stiff-shot-laden brawling to the big stage, for the game’s richest prize. Bryan and Punk painted a masterpiece for over 20 minutes, with both men expectedly fighting for the advantage. Bryan worked the arm in a manner similar to Bob Backlund, and ultimately hooked the Yes Lock for a sure win. Punk bridged back into a pinning combo and tapped just after the ref counted 3 on his pin.
This week’s Raw was hyped with the returns of both John Cena and Mr. McMahon, while continuing to try to build towards Hell in a Cell just three weeks away. We saw Mr. McMahon come to give the State of WWE Address, the semifinals of the tag team tournament, Larry King and more. Let’s break down each segment of the night.
John Cena opens Raw to a big mix of cheers and jeers. Cena says he feels good to be back. He acts as though he hasn’t been on Raw in months by discussing the tag team champions, Antonio Cesaro’s nipples, the divas out of control and tells AJ he wants to take her out on a date. Sorry Cena, but you only missed one week and most of the those things were already happening. Cena claims he doesn’t have a voice and neither does the audience because it was voice stolen by CM Punk. Cena ends by saying he will go to Hell in a Cell and tells Punk to fight him at HIAC.
This was not a very interesting opening segment. It did not set anything up for later in the night or even for Hell in a Cell. The way I see it, WWE just wanted John Cena to start the show to get people to watch. I hope it worked.
Ryback vs. Primo and Epico
After a singles match with either Primo or Epico previously (does it really matter which one?), Ryback gets both in a handicap match. Pretty typical squash match for Ryback here. I know they are building him towards an eventual top spot in WWE, but do we really have to see more squash matches? Also, I am pretty sure JBL, who was on commentary with Cole and J.R., called Primo and Epico former Puerto Rican Champions.
Brodus Clay vs R Truth
This match never took place. After Brodus Clay’s entrance, R-Truth explained that Little Jimmy is going through puberty (is that PG?) and he wants to dance. Clay, Funkadactyls, R-Truth and even Little Jimmy dances until Mr. McMahon interrupts. McMahon announces that after the commercial break he will give his State of the WWE Address.
Vince McMahon – State of the WWE Address
Mr. McMahon begins his State of the WWE Address by explaining that we have all kinds of things in WWE. In WWE, we have dancers, imaginary kids, goat faced vegans, leprechauns, big red monsters, luchadors and giants. WWE has comedy, drama, everything in between, but most importantly action. McMahon says WWE has the greatest athletes and the audience wants to see the best against the best. This obviously is a cue for a CM Punk interruption. We get the normal disrespect speech from Punk. Punk says McMahon wants to talk about the best, but doesn’t mention Punk. Punk asks McMahon if he respects Punk, with which McMahon replies, “I am not a CM Punk guy.” Punk tells McMahon he should be a CM Punk guy and everyone should be appreciating him because if they don’t, he will quit and leave. Punk says if the WWE is not about him, then who is it about? McMahon replies that it’s about the WWE Universe and that the WWE Universe is saying somebody needs to shut Punk’s mouth. McMahon tells Punk that he is nowhere near the likes of Andre the Giant, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart or Stone Cold Steve Austin. Punk tells McMahon that Stone Cold achieved success by beating up a clueless millionaire (That being McMahon). Punk tells McMahon that he has been slapping Punk in the face for years and then Punk slaps and knocks down McMahon. As Punk is leaving, McMahon gets up and says he wants to fire Punk, but instead he will fight him tonight on Raw!
Tag Team Tournament Match – Prime Time Players vs Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Good match between PTPs and Rey Cara. I still don’t like the Prime Time Players without a manager though. In the end, Rey Mysterio hits the 619 and the splash for the win. The finals of the tag team tournament will be next Monday on Raw.
Winners: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Backstage – Punk and Heyman talking
We see Punk and Heyman talking. Paul Heyman calls the Punk-McMahon match a lose-lose situation. Heyman says after Punk beats him, McMahon will make their lives miserable.
Sheamus vs Wade Barrett
I was very excited to see this match. Wade Barrett has been discussed as an eventual opponent for Sheamus and the World Heavyweight Championship. Big Show enters after a minute into the match and sits near commentary to watch the match. Great match from both competitors as these are two of the best WWE has today. In the end, Tensai enters and attacks Sheamus, which leads to an assault by both Barrett and Tensai. Sheamus brogue kicks Tensai and throws Barrett out of the ring. Big Show enters the ring, Sheamus misses a brogue kick and Big Show knocks Sheamus out of the ring and exits.
Winner: Sheamus via DQ
I am not sure why Tensai joined Barrett in this assault. Didn’t Tensai face Big Show recently? Maybe because Sheamus interferd and hit Tensai with the brogue kick. That must be it. Still, I am looking forward to Barrett and Sheamus have more matches in the future. For the World Heavyweight Championship. It will probably happen.
Backstage – Punk and AJ
Backstage we see AJ in her locker room with CM Punk joining her. Punk asks AJ if she’s worried about Punk beating up an old man on her show. AJ says Punk is afraid to face Cena and wonders if he’s afraid to fight McMahon too. Punk says he was just trying to help AJ save her job, but now whatever happens will be her fault. Punk exits.
Tyson Kidd vs. Antonio Cesaro
Earlier today segment – Cesaro is at a fast food restaurant where he makes fun of chili cheese fries and the rise of obesity. A solid match by Kidd and Cesaro. It is nice to see Kidd getting some TV time. It seems like this spot to face the Cesaros, Barretts etc… goes to Kidd, Ryder or Santino. Cesaro hits his big upper cut, followed by the neutralizer for the win.
The only question I have is – who is Cesaro feuding with? Who is next in line for a shot at the U.S. title? This could have been a good opportunity to build towards a Hell in a Cell match.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Team Hell No vs Ziggler/Del Rio
Vickie enters first to introduce Dolph Ziggler. The normal back and forth from Team Hell No before the match starts. Bryan even stops Kane from doing his pyro. Another great match from four great workers. In the end, Kane tags himself in and chokeslams Ziggler for the win.
Winner: Team Hell No
I would have preferred to see Del Rio take the pin here. He has less to lose as WWE has been making him look weak for a while. Overall, I like that they are putting Team Hell No in tag matches with interesting pairs as they await their number one contenders. We will find that out next week so hopefully Team Hell No will start building towards their match at Hell in a Cell.
Backstage – Vince McMahon and Jim Ross
In the back, J.R. is talking with Mr. McMahon. Ross brings up how nice McMahon was at the J.R. appreciation night. Ross says as a friend nothing good can come from his matchwith Punk. J.R. reminds McMahon what happened to Lawler when he fought Punk. McMahon tells J.R. that he wants him to call his match tonight. McMahon has Ross do some play-by-play right then and there. J.R. tells McMahon that he is making a mistake.
It’s nice to see these two getting along. I can’t recall the last time they were on the same page on WWE TV.
Larry King interviews the Miz
Larry King and his new wife are out to promote Larry King Now. He is interrupted by his guest – the Miz. Miz says it’s his birthday and the whole crowd should sing happy birthday to him. King says no one cares it’s the Miz’s birthday. King tells Miz he loves WWE because he can do whatever he wants – including change his guest. King introduces Kofi Kingston as his new guest. King asks Kofi about how his day was, chit chat etc…Miz interrupts the conversation with a serious of “REALLY?”s. Miz claims he is surrounded by hasbeens. Great quote by Miz when he says, “I’ve had more championships than you’ve had wives and you’ve had main events!” King’s wife throws water in Miz’s face, but before Miz can attack them, Kofi jumps him. Kofi jumps off the stage onto Miz and they brawl to the back. King and his wife say goodbye to the fans and leave.
For those of you who haven’t seen, WWE.com has an exclusive video with Kofi and R-Truth agreeing to split up and focus on their singles careers. This move makes a lot of sense. I had a feeling that WWE did not want either R-Truth or Kofi to turn heel so this was a good way to have them split up as a tag team without one turning heel. I also love Kofi getting back to singles competition and a championship feud. Perhaps Kofi will be the transitional IC champion in the future to allow a different heel to eventually be Intercontinental Champion.
Tag Team Tournament Match – Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs Rhodes Scholars
Cole and crew announce that Santino and Zack Ryder are collectively known as CoBro. Glad we got that out of the way. A precorded promo by Rhodes Scholars is shown, in which Sandow says he and Rhodes have a combined IQ approaching infinity. This was a fairly quick match. In the end, Rhodes blocks the Cobra and hits a Disaster Kick for the win. It will be Rhodes Scholars vs. Rey and Sin Cara next week.
Post-match – the Encore comes out and attacks Santino and Ryder.
The match was nothing special as I knew Rhodes Scholars would win. I predict that Rhodes Scholars win or we see a triple threat at Hell in a Cell. In terms of the post-match, I am still not a fan of the Encore because Mahal and McIntyre do not come across as band people. You can’t just have Heath Slater share his gimmick with other guys. It needs to be more natural.
Backstage – Heyman and McMahon
In the back we see Paul Heyman talking with Mr. McMahon. Heyman tries to apologize for Punks’ actions. Heyman asks McMahon to let him broker the peace.
McMahon calls Heyman out on not knowing when he is lying or telling the truth. McMahon says Heyman has been poisoning Punk’s mind for years. Heyman says he’s here for McMahon’s sake, not Punk’s sake. Heyman tells McMahon not let Punk do what Lesnar did to his son in law, Triple H. Heyman leaves.
Eve vs. Kaitlyn
Prior to the match, Layla joins commentary. Kailtyn starts out aggressive even putting Eve in a torture rack. Eve breaks out of the torture rack and attacks Kaitlyn’s wrapped, still injured ankle. Eve makes Kaitlyn tap out with a version of the ankle lock. Layla gets in the ring in order to make Eve let go of the hold. Eve appears trying to help Kaitlyn until Layla pushes Eve away. Eve exits with her Divas Championship.
I can’t recall the last time we saw a Divas Championship match on Raw. In any case, this is a step in the right direction as the storyline is moving forward. We should see Eve vs. Layla at HIAC and end this storyline. I do like Eve as champ though.
Backstage – Del Rio and Ricardo
In the back Josh Mathews interrupts Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. He tells them that Orton sent out a tweet that Orton will be at Smackdown. Del Rio doesn’t like the sound of it and walks off.
Backstage – Larry King and Daniel Bryan
In the back, Larry King and his wife are walking and approached by Daniel Bryan. Bryan is looking for advice on how to deal with people calling him a goat face. Bryan asks Larry how he dealt with being called an owl by David Letterman. Bryan hits on King’s wife, but she tells him she doesn’t date trolls who live under bridges. King tells Bryan to just accept the nickname. Kane joins the group as Team Hell No bicker and argue.
Backstage – CM Punk and Paul Heyman
CMPunk is getting ready for his match against Mr. McMahon, while Heyman is still trying to talk him out of the match. Heyman suggests Punk give McMahon such a beating that he can’t make another decision for the rest of his life. Punk says he’s going to victimize McMahon and enjoy every second of it.
CM Punk vs. Mr. McMahon
Mr. McMahon is out first for the match. Punk attacks McMahon during his entrance. Punk beats McMahon down and then throws him into the ring. McMahon spears Punk when they are both in the ring. The match never officially starts. Punk and McMahon go back and forth attacking each other. Punk throws McMahon out of the ring and slams Vince’s head into the announcers table. Punk puts on the headset, yells something at McMahon and slams his face into the table again. Punk puts Vince onto his shoulders, but Vince gets out of it and pushes Punk in the ring post. Vince’s face is all messed up. McMahon throws Punk over the top of the announcers’ table. McMahon gets a mic and tells Punk he is going to teach Punk about respect. McMahon jumps over the table and beats Punk repeatedly with the microphone. McMahon brings Punk back into the ring.
McMahon brings a kendo stick into the ring. Punk crawls out of the ring. McMahon wants Punk back in the ring, but Punk tells Heyman to bring him his belt so they can get out of there. McMahon gets out of the ring to stop Heyman and grabs the belt. McMahon knocks down Heyman and gets back into the ring. McMahon drops the belt, holding a kendo stick and inviting Punk back into the ring. After Punk attempts to get back in the ring without McMahon attacking him, Punk gets his own kendo stick. Punk and McMahon both have kendo sticks, but Punk ends up on his knees begging McMahon. As McMahon comes towards him, Punk delivers a low blow to McMahon.
Punk starts a beat down on McMahon with two kendo sticks. He sets McMahon up for the GTS, but Ryback’s music hits and he comes out. Punk tries to leave, but John Cena comes out and throws Punk back in the ring. Ryback delivers a clothesline as the audience goes crazy. Ryback attempts shellshock to Punk, but Punk slides out and escapes. Punk grabs the WWE title and runs through the crowd with it. McMahon gets on the mic and tells Punk he has a decision to make. McMahon tells Punk at Hell in a Cell, Punk has to face either Ryback or John Cena. Punk has until next Monday to decide or McMahon will decide for him. End of show.
Fantastic ending to the show. The rumors have told us that Cena may or may not be ready for Hell in a Cell and that Ryback is his back up. This was a great way for WWE to give themselves another week to make the decision. McMahon, even at his age, was phenomenal in his match and post-match. Interestingly enough, it seems as though Punk may have attacked a fan when he was in the crowd. Whether or not this was a work it still to be determined. If it was not a work, then WWE and CM Punk are going to be in major trouble.
Overall, a great show to follow last week’s disaster. I guess John Cena’s appearance helped, but I think McMahon’s participation in this episode was the key. The match ended with a cliffhanger, which I think is always the best way to end a show. It will be interesting to see the fallout of the Punk-McMahon-Ryback-Cena situation and the Punk attacking a fan situation.
Seth Guttenplan is a teacher by day, writer by night. In addition to being the Monday Night Raw reviewer for CamelClutchBlog.com, Seth is a Bleacher Report writer and host of Smackdown Rundown, ProWrestlingPowerhouse.com’s weekly radio show reviewing Friday Night Smackdown and previewing all upcoming WWE pay-per-view events. To read more from Seth, follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and visithttp://guttwrenchpowerblog.com
We’re in Green Bay, WI tonight, and the main event for the evening is Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler.
WWE Friday Night SmackDown kicks off with the World Champion, Sheamus, making his way to the ring. Sheamus wants to take the time to acknowledge Triple H before he gets down to business, calling him one of the toughest guys he’s ever faced. His very first WrestleMania match was against Triple H, and he also suffered his first loss at the hands of “The Game”. He doesn’t know Triple H’s future, but Trips has his respect. The conversation then turns to Alberto Del Rio, with Sheamus saying Triple H is everything ADR isn’t.
Before he can continue, Your Intellectual Savior, Damien Sandow, makes his way out. Oh, how I’ve missed this man and his fantastic beard. Sandow wants to beg our indulgence for a moment. He’s here to help all of us, specifically Sheamus. Sheamus needs help because he seems to be as ignorant as he is enormous. He comes out here and lauds Triple H, talking about him with such reverence. Might Sandow remind you that it was Triple H who led DX in an assault against Sandow on RAW 1000. Sheamus says he couldn’t forget it, calling it great. Typical response from an ignorance-spewing hooligan. Each week, this man’s comes out and drags you, the unwashed masses of the WWE Universe, further into the doldrums of your own ignorance, inadequacies and ineptitude. Sheamus calls himself a proud Irishman. Sheamus, you do nothing more than bring disgrace and dishonor, and promote a stereotype…Sheamus cuts him off and says that the reality is he and everyone else here have lives, so please do us all a favor and shut up. If you want to continue to enrich our lives, why don’t you come into the ring right now, and say it to Sheamus’ face? Sandow says that, although there is nothing more than he’d love to do than to walk down there and thrash Sheamus in a debate of philosophies, Sandow has deemed him unworthy of his time. He can’t help that; that’s just the way it is. Therefore, he has now saved Sheamus from the intellectual thrashing he would have received, and will now take his leave. You’re welcome.
Booker T’s music hits, and the GM makes his way onto the stage. He came out here because he actually agrees with Sandow. No one wants to see an intellectual thrashing. But, they do want to see a physical thrashing. Tonight, we may not be in Ireland, but we are here in Green Bay. So, for the first time on SmackDown!, Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus. I’m okay with this match.
MATCH 1: Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
So, we go from a guy I love in Damien Sandow to a guy I can’t stand in Rey Mysterio. Thanks, Booker T. We get a cut-away promo from Rhodes, who talks about how Mexican stars wear their masks due to honor and heritage. In reality, it’s due to panic, fear and ugliness. Rhodes starts with a trip into a front chancery. Mysterio reverses into a hammerlock. Rhodes gets up and backs Rey into a corner, where he lays in some boots. Punch by Rhodes gets 1. Mysterio reverses a suplex into a waistlock, but Rhodes trips him. He follows up with a boot to the gut off the ropes. Mysterio comes back with a dropkick, setting up the 619. Rhodes sees it coming and slides to the floor. Rey slides to the floor, where he’s met with a boot and a slam into the announce desk. Rhodes back in the ring as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Rhodes corner whips Rey, who responds with a boot. Rhodes comes back with a boot off the ropes and follows up with a twisting suplex for 2. Modified surfboard stretch now, which Rhodes breaks for a pin attempt, only getting 2. Stomps by Rhodes, followed by a knee lift and a standing gourdbuster and another stomp for 2. Rhodes stomps the midsection before hitting a snapmare and several knees to the back. Rear chinlock is applied, and Rhodes combines it with an armbar. Back up, Rhodes sends Rey into the corner sternum-first, then begins clawing at his mask, trying to get it off. Mysterio manages to roll through and send Rhodes face-first into the middle turnbuckle, following it up with a seated dropkick to the back that sends Rhodes to the apron. Rhodes rolls back in as Rey goes up top. Rey hits a cannonball off the top rope and follows up with a spinning headscissors, landing on his feet. Rhodes tries for a sunset flip, but Rey rolls through and lands a Buzzsaw for 2. Back up, Rhodes lands a jawbreaker and a shining wizard for 2. Rey backflips off a back suplex, dropkicks Rhodes in the knee and sets up the 619. Rhodes catches the legs this time, going back to the mask. Mysterio manages to turn this into a sunset flip and gets the 3.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio. Rhodes attacks from behind after the bell. He manages to get the mask about halfway off before Sin Cara runs down, nailing Rhodes with several kicks. He drops Rhodes into the ropes, allowing Rey to finally land the 619. Sin Cara pulls one of his masks out and places it over Rhodes’ face.
Assistant to the General Manager, Eve Torres, makes her way out. She will be doing color commentary for the next match.
MATCH 2: Natalya vs. Kaitlyn
Tie-up to start. Nattie pushes Kaitlyn into the ropes, breaking it, before kicking her in the gut. Hip throw into a side headlock. Kaitlyn counters with a headscissors, and Nattie kips out. Kaitlyn with a kick and a side headlock. Nattie shoves her off, and Kaitlyn comes back with a flying shoulderblock, sending Nattie to the floor. Nattie sidesteps a baseball slide, whipping Kaitlyn to the floor by the hair. Back in the ring, Nattie slams Kaitlyn face-first into the mat before kicking her in the ribs. Abdominal stretch is applied, with Kaitlyn eventually breaking the hold with some elbows to the thigh before hiptossing out of the hold. A quick schoolgirl gets 1, and Kaitlyn follows up with an armdrag. Dropkick and a kneelift by Kaitlyn, but she telegraphs a back body drop. Nattie nails the discus clothesline, but only gets 2. She grabs Kaitlyn by the hair, and Kaitlyn snags an inside cradle for the 3.
Matt Striker is interviewing Booker T. He says the GM position is under scrutiny as of late, especially considering what happened on RAW. We then go back to RAW, where Vickie Guerrero demands she get the job that AJ Lee currently has, resulting in AJ slapping her. Book says he had high hopes for AJ, but he thinks the pressure is getting to her, and she overstepped her boundaries with the match between Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho. To be blunt, AJ is off her rocker. Vickie Guerrero walks in and says that all of AJ’s friends have turned their backs on her. Vickie has received a bunch of memos suggesting she take action against AJ. Her reign of terror will come to an end, because Vickie has spoken to the Board of Directors, and they have assured her they will take action. If they don’t, Vickie will.
Sandow/Sheamus is up next.
MATCH 3: World Champion Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (non-title)
Tie-up starts, with Sandow getting a rope break. Another tie-up, and the ref forces it to break out of the corner. Sheamus responds by grabbing Sandow by the beard and dragging him to the middle of the ring. Sandow gets in a side headlock. Sheamus sends him into the ropes and signals for a clothesline, but Sandow slides to the floor. Back in the ring, Sandow lands a boot and another side headlock. Pair of shoulders by Sheamus, and he signals for the clothesline again, with Sandow rolling to the floor once more. Sheamus follows, and Sandow sends him knee-first into the steps, before sending over them to the other side. Sandow gets back in the ring, telling the ref to count. Sheamus gets in at 8, where Sandow meets him with stomps and a knee choke. Elbow drop and some crossface shots before locking in a rear chinlock. Sheamus fights out, but is cut off by a headbutt to the kidneys and a side-Russian leg sweep. He signals for the Elbow of Disdain, but Sheamus stops him with a gut shot. Sheamus misses a shoulder in the corner, allowing Sandow to land a neckbreaker for 2. Some knees to the back and another rear chinlock by Sandow. Sheamus fights out with punches before hitting a back body drop. Sheamus hits a pair of Irish Hammers and a running kneelift, but Sandow slides out of the tilt-a-whirl attempt, rolling to the floor. Sheamus throws him back in and ducks a clothesline on the apron, tying Sandow up for the forearm shots. Sheamus hits the slingshot Battering Ram to the back, but it’s only good for 2. Irish Curse is blocked, and Sandow once again rolls to the floor. Sheamus throws him back in and looks for White Noise, but Sandow escapes. Sheamus tries for the Brogue Kick, but Sandow sees it coming and rolls to the floor once more. Sheamus throws him in again, and Sandow rolls all the way across the ring back to the floor. Sheamus tries again, but this time, Sandow shoves him away and heads to the back, giving Sheamus a count-out win.
WINNER: Sheamus. I’m just glad Sandow wasn’t fed to Sheamus. He lost, but it was only by count-out, so neither guy looks bad in the process. That’s fine with me.
MATCH 4: International Airstrike (Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd) vs. The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young)
Kidd and O’Neil start off, with O’Neil powering Kidd to the mat. Kidd lands a back elbow and a backflip kick before tagging in Gabriel, and the faces hit a double springboard dropkick. Young tags in and runs into an armdrag. Gabriel trips Young before tagging in Kidd, and they hit a combination inverted rolling neck snap and kick to the chest for 2. Young powers Kidd to his corner and O’Neil tags in. Kidd lands a back kick on O’Neil and fires off some punches on Young, but turns around into a big boot by O’Neil. Mounted punches by O’Neil, and he hits a weird spinning throw before tagging in Young, and the heels hit a double-team gourdbuster. Kidd kicks Young away and ducks a corner charge before tagging in Gabriel. Gabriel comes in and hits a chop, a kick and a jumping roundhouse. Rolling forearm and roundhouse by Gabriel, and he sends an incoming O’Neil to the floor with a boot to the head. STO by Gabriel, and he goes up top. O’Neil causes a momentary distraction, but he’s taken out by Kidd. Young crotches Gabriel and lands Forever Young for the 3.
WINNERS: The Prime-Time Players. International Airstrike kind of reminds me of the Can-Am Connection or Strike Force, and that’s a good thing. Fun little match here, but Young needs to tighten up his finisher something fierce.
I don’t like Kane as a wrestler, but listening to him recite his whole career so casually in this anger management skit is hilarious. Scorpio Sky as “Harold” was pretty funny, too.
Up next, Josh Mathews interviews Alberto Del Rio.
After Mathews gives the introduction, Ricardo Rodriguez does his as well. ADR makes his way out in a 1983 Excalibur Roadster, according to Michael Cole. Sorry, I’m not a car guy. ADR says he not only defeated Randy Orton last week, he made one of the toughest men in WWE history tap out. He’s planning to do the same thing to Sheamus at NoC, to become the new World Champion. Josh asks about Sheamus beating him every time in championship matches. ADR reminds Josh of what Kane did to him at Summerslam, saying that’s nothing compared to what ADR will do to him right now.
Kane’s music hits before anything happens, and Josh runs to the timekeeper’s area as ADR and Ricardo leave. Kane grabs a mic and stays in the ring, introducing himself. As part of his anger management program, his therapist has told him to apologize to Josh. Josh, he’s sorry for throwing him over a barrier at Summerslam. Thank you for playing a role in his recovery program.
Teddy Long now heads out and tells ADR he better hope Kane is getting good grades in his class, because he’s going to be in a match with Kane right now.
Back from the break, the match is already underway.
MATCH 5: Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Kane
ADR ducks a clothesline and lands several kicks and punches. Kane throws him to the corner and lands punches before kitchen sinking ADR off the ropes. Low dropkick to the back gets 1. ADR gets in a kick and mounts the middle rope, but Kane lands an uppercut, sending him to the apron. Kane pulls him back up, but ADR headbutts him before whipping his arm into the ring post through the ropes. A kick and several punches to the bad arm connect. Kane catches him by the throat off the ropes, and ADR breaks the hold with a step-up enziguri. Kane shoves off a jujigatame attempt and lands a big boot. Corner whip and clothesline, and a sidewalk slam gets 2. Kane goes up and hits the clothesline. He signals for the clothesline, but Ricardo grabs at Kane’s feet, distracting him. Kane drags him up by the hair and goes for a chokeslam, and the distraction allows ADR to hit the Backstabber for 3.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio. After the match, Kane snaps and assaults Josh Mathews again, all the while screaming, “I’m sorry, Josh! I’m losing my temper!” He caps the assault off with a chokeslam before leaving.
MATCH 6: Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Randy Orton
Tie-up starts, with Orton going into a side headlock. Ziggler shoves him off into the ropes, and Orton comes back with a shoulder. Ziggler pops up and hits a nice dropkick. Another tie-up, and this time, it’s Ziggler with the headlock. Orton reverses, then hits another shoulder. Crisscross ends in an Orton dropkick this time, getting 1. Orton lands the Garvin Stomp before kicking Ziggler in the shoulder and raking the eyelets of his boot across Ziggler’s face. European uppercut drops Ziggler, and Orton follows up with a slingshot suplex that isn’t botched this time, getting 2. Orton telegraphs a back body drop, taking a neckbreaker in the process. Ziggler with some mounted punches and elbow drops. Jumping elbow gets 2. Rear chinlock is applied. Back up, they trade punches, with Orton dominating. Orton hits the 3.0 off the ropes. Kick to the chest and corner whip by Orton, and Ziggler responds with a running clothesline. He misses a second jumping elbow, and a corner splash. Orton goes for the Four Moves of Boredom, but Ziggler lands a hotshot out of the suspended DDT attempt. Orton decides to no-sell, firing off some punches and dragging Ziggler from the apron to the top rope for the superplex for 2. Orton gets back up, where Ziggler surprises him with a leaping DDT for 2. Ziggler goes for the sleeper, but Orton snaps him off by holding onto the ropes, then throws him over for the suspended DDT, which connects for 2. Ziggler slides to the floor, and Orton throws him over the announce desk before throwing him back in the ring. Ziggler misses the Rocker Dropper, and Orton lands the RKO for the 3.
WINNER: Randy Orton. Vickie announces Ziggler as still being the MITB winner for some reason. Okay match, but the ending was really anticlimactic.
When someone says WWE tag teams, who comes to mind? The Legion of Doom aka Road Warriors? Nasty Boys? Money Inc.? Hart Foundation? The Rockers? Dudley Boyz? Hardy Boyz? Demolition? What do all of these teams have in common that make them different from today’s tag teams? The answer is not so simple.
First, they all have tag team names. WWE tried to solve this issue with Air Boom and the Awesome Truth, but all they were doing was combining two names or nicknames. Most of the tag teams in the last few years have just been superstars’ names – Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, Primo and Epico, David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty, Big Show and Kane, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, Santino Marella and Vladmir Kozlov and now I think you see my point. Most of these tag teams also did not possess another issue…
The old tag teams shared one gimmick. All of the tag teams mentioned at the beginning of this blog had matching attire and outfits. While Primo and Epico also had this attribute, they are the first ones to do so since David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd whose outfits matched those of the Hart Foundation! Instead of just shoving two random superstars down our throats as a tag team, how about WWE give us a real tag team? One tag team that comes to mind, who share a gimmick are treated as a jobber tag team – The Usos. Why on WWE Earth, are the Usos not tag team champions? Is it because one of the Usos was arrested? That’s right. On September 29th, 2011 PWTorch.com shared the information:
“One-half of the Uso Brothers, Jimmy Uso (Jonathan Fatu), was arrested on a drunk driving charge early Thursday morning in Florida. Fatu was arrested at 3:14 a.m. in the Tampa area when a police officer “observed the defendant traveling the wrong way on Howard Avenue in a silver Mustang,” according to an arrest report.”
It’s almost the end of 2012; give the Usos the opportunity they deserve. Another tag team that recently began to share a gimmick and attire are the Prime Time Players – they will be discussed later.
The final point I would like to make about the disgrace of the current tag team division in the WWE is the air time that they are given both on television and pay-per-view. The current tag team champions, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (no team name, no shared gimmick) won the championships from Epico and Primo on April 30th, 2012. In May, The team successfully defended the championships at Over the Limit against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, although I preferred to see the latter team win. In June, there were multiple reports that R-Truth had suffered a sprained or broke foot. Instead of having them lose the championships, WWE just chose to not disclose the information and wait until R-Truth was healthy again. REALLY?
There was not another team to give the championships to? REALLY? WWE went so far as to have a #1 contender’s match for the tag team championships at the June pay-per-view No Way Out. What was the point of that match? The winners of that match, the Prime Time Players, have not been successful in claiming the championship so I do not see the point. The most recent pay per view event, Money in the Bank, included the tag team champions in a match during the PRE-SHOW! REALLY? That just tells the audience the titles are not going to change hands so don’t bother watching this match. If WWE would like its fans to have a respectable tag team division, then they need to have REAL tag teams! REALLY!
What do you think of the current WWE tag team division?
Seth Guttenplan is the writer and editor of GuTTWrenchPowerBlog, a brand new WWE blog. When Seth is not writing about wrestling, he is a Special Education teacher in New Jersey. To read more from Seth, follow him on twitter ( @sethgutt ) or visit http://guttwrenchpowerblog.com
-If Waylon Mercy shows up, the remainder of my review will be 100% positive, no matter what happens. All cynicism aside, I’m looking forward not so much to bashing anything with malice, but enjoying a night set aside for nostalgia and celebration. Unless something horrifically stupid happens, I won’t get too worked up. If you wanna see somebody take the fun out of a show, James Caldwell at the Torch has been the gold standard for a loooooong time.
-WWE RAW 1000 is live from St. Louis
Opening Segment: Vince McMahon introduces D-Generation X
SWERVE! DX no-showed! Vince thanks the fans, mostly for putting up with the trending updates and Did You Knows. Well, okay, he didn’t say that, but I would’ve felt better. He introduces DX, the “Sanitation X” years. Shawn and Hunter think something’s missing from this segment, and Hunter asks, “Didn’t there used to be more of us?” Finally, after six years of rewriting history, X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws show up in the DX army jeep. All three of them look good, all things considered. WWE needs teams, why not give the Outlaws one last short run? At least they’ll get the nostalgia pops. Road Dogg runs through the intro (self-censoring “ass”), and Trips does the Buffer-mock intro. Then Gunn and Shawn argue over who gets to do the ending. A ‘lost smile’ joke ensues, and Hunter makes them do it together, but before they can, Damien Sandow makes his way out. They’re degenerates, yada yada, and Shawn promises to go to church for forgiveness. Sandow says if they beat him up, that just makes him a martyr. DX discusses this, and Shawn superkicks him. Then Hunter Pedigrees him. Martyrdom it is, I suppose. Gunn lands the punchline afterall. Segment Rating: 7/10. Nice to see the group reunited, and Sandow get somewhat of a (likely) highly-rated rub with them. Plus Shawn’s self-deprecation is always funny.
-Jim Ross joins the booth for hopefully the rest of the night
Match 1: Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara/Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho/Dolph Ziggler/Alberto Del Rio
It’s like Nitro; they’re getting the luchadors out of the way in the opener (and that includes Corazon de Leon). The match is joined in progress after the break with Cara in peril at the hands of Dolph, who drops the slowed-down elbow. JR calls Ziggler “the hottest man in WWE”, but not in that way. Jericho tags in is working a chinlock when Cara tries to mount the comeback to no avail. ADR tags in and working a chinlock snare. Cara comes back with a nice tornado DDT. Tags are made to Sheamus and Jericho, and the champ overpowers him, culminating with the Irish Curse for 2, broken up by Dolph. Everyone else takes each other out, and Sheamus escapes a Walls. He blocks the Codebreaker and misses the Brogue Kick. Dolph takes Jericho out, and Sheamus lands the kick for the win. WINNERS: Sheamus/Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara via Brogue Kick Rating: 5/10. Woulda been better if we’d seen the whole match, but it was fun.
-And JR’s gone. That was longer than his 1994 run in WWE.
-Things better than Tout: eating rancid spaghetti sauce with a spoon while watching snuff films.
-Charlie Sheen checks in for some reason. It’s great that he barely remembers the names of the bigger stars in the company. Meanwhile, Tyson Kidd gets airtime once in a while.
-Bryan/AJ recap. If they don’t cover Savage and Liz’s “Together” song, this will all be for naught. Layla questions AJ going through with it, and this leads to cameos from Jim Duggan, R-Truth, Roddy Piper, and Mae Young with her son, THE HAND! MUCH better payoff than the Hornswoggle/GM angle! And that’s sad.
-Cheap Sonic plug takes place. I suddenly feel dirty. I need Rob Bartlett’s horrid jokes to cleanse my soul.
Match 2: Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger
My soul is cleansed because Naomi and Campbell are in not-so-PG booty shorts tonight. WHOOOO! And then he brings out Dude Love, who isn’t the same if he isn’t Vince’s corporate champion. Swagger loses in about ten seconds. Then everyone dances, and Swagger gets socked. WINNER: Brodus Clay via Funk It Rating: 4/10. For the booty shorts.
-Triple H and Trish re-enact their infamous stretch session from 2000, and DX walks in on him. Trish seems uncomfortable about being near X-Pac, which may be legitimate.
SLICK IS THE MINISTER! JIVE SOUL BRO! Why isn’t he still managing!?!? Bryan looks splendid in his pure white tux. AJ, of course, is lovely in her dress. Slick even calls her AJ Lee, so it’s good to have him fight the notion that women only have one name. Slick gets all Jive Soul Broish with his speech, and the crowd has the audacity to what him. I hope Sam Bradford contracts gangrene from a faulty whirlpool, you Midwestern jackanapes. They both yes it up, and Slick goes to marry them, but AJ halts him….because she wasn’t saying yes to Daniel, but to someone else. Someone who proposed to her earlier tonight. And it’s……Vince? Vince clarifies that it’s a business proposal……and AJ is the new GM. Segment Rating: ???/10. I’d like to thank David Lynch for directing the segment, and Vince Russo for writing it.
-Back from break and Bryan is still spazzing, so CM Punk is out to twist the knife. Bryan flips out and claims to be the greatest of all time, and this brings out The Rock. I hope he doesn’t tell Bryan to lick a monkey’s nipple, since he’s a vegan and all. He puts Bryan in his place, and polls the crowd on who the greatest is. Er, my vote’s for Austin, but sure, we can go with Rock. Bryan cuts off Rock’s diatribe, and Rock takes offense. Rock announces that the WWE Champion will face him at the Royal Rumble, which eerily gets zero pop. Punk says it’ll be him, because he’s beating John Cena tonight, which gets a mixed reaction. Then he’s going to beat Rock at the Rumble. Works for me. Why can’t Punk point out how Rock works a limited schedule and doesn’t expend a fraction of Punk’s effort? Bryan interjects angrily, and Rock continues with the standard insults, modifying the Oompa Loompa song for him. I think I heard explosions from the DVDVR boards. Rock Bottom for Bryan closes the segment with a stoic Punk surveying the proceedings. Segment Rating: 8/10. Rock working with Punk and Bryan is surreal.
-Bret Hart is brought out to be ring announcer for the next contest. Damn it, can’t they have Fink introduce him? Bret shouts out for Mr. Perfect.
Match 3: Christian vs. The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Christian wins an early wrestling sequence, and comes off with a second rope dropkick. Miz counters a corner charge, but Christian dumps him to the floor, and then dives on him from off the top rope as we go to break. Christian hurts the leg, but is in control, coming off with a cross body for 2. Christian comes back off the top with a diving back elbow for 2. And Christian gets a sunset for 2,but Miz fires back with a low kick to the face for 2. Miz goes back to the knee, making Bret proud I’m sure. Christian lands a tornado DDT for 2, and the crowd is fading. These three hour Raws were a bit risky. Spear is countered into the stump DDT for 2. Picked the crowd up a bit. Miz gets crotched in the corner, but Miz blocks the ensuing Killswitch, and an exchange of finisher attempts sees Christian tweak the knee, and Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to win the gold. WINNER: The Miz via Skull Crushing Finale (New WWE Intercontinental Champion) Rating: 6/10. Solid match, but the dead crowd was a bummer. A Summerslam rematch would be nice.
-Charlie Sheen: “Oh, The Rock, I know him! Daniel Bryan, who the hell’s this guy again?”
-Regis Philbin testimonial, running through the wrestling guests he’s had on his show.
Talk Segment: Triple H calls out Brock Lesnar
So yeah, Hunter calls out Brock, but gets Heyman first. They establish 43 times that Brock is here tonight. Whew, the first 42 explanations didn’t take. But on Brock’s behalf, Heyman declines the match. Hunter threatens to go find Brock, and Heyman suggests he not do that. Heyman taunts HHH, and Hunter gets mad when he brings his kids up. Heyman keeps at it, and this brings Stephanie out. Stephanie rips ECW, which gets some boos, and calls Heyman a failure compared to her father, and she even botches a line about looking in the rear view mirror. Then Steph slaps Heyman, because she can. Heyman is goaded into accepting on Brock’s behalf. Then Steph further assaults Heyman, and Brock finally comes out. Brock and Hunter get into it, and Hunter dominates. I can’t wait for Summerslam now! They play Lesnar’s song as a consolation prize. Segment Rating: 3/10. I feel ill.
-Things better than Tout: listening to your pet whimper for its life while somebody decapitates it
-Austin/Vince history package. There’s an irony of Vince telling Austin to ‘work within the system’, and Austin became the biggest star ever despite that.
-Santino and Hornswoggle toss out Brawlin’ Buddies, just to remind us that we’re in Hell. But Howard Finkel is ring announcing to dampen the blow.
Match 4: Lita vs. Heath Slater (No DQ)
My money’s the mannish looking redhead that can’t cut a promo. Lita brings out the APA to back her up. JBL’s sporting a wicked beer gut. Slater bails, but Animal, Piper, Slaughter, Vader, Sid, Backlund, Doink, DDP, and Rikishi prevent it. Lita hits the Twist of Fate, JBL lands the Clothesline from Wall Street, and Lita saults her way to victory. Simmons damns Slater just because. WINNER: Lita via Litasault Rating: 3/10. Just for seeing the old faces.
-Sean Mooney(!!!!!!) interviews Daniel Bryan, who is rather irate. I don’t know who I was happier to see in that segment.
-Michael Cole wastes time with a social media follower, and Fozzie Bear leads us through a catchphrase montage.
-Zack Ryder claims Mean Gene was behind GTV while chatting with Okerlund and Cena. Rock shows up to stare Cena down. Punk winning would be extra glorious now.
Match 5: Kane vs. ???
Jinder Mahal brings out a jobber brigade of he, Reks, Hawkins, Hunico, Camacho, and McIntyre, and as they surround Kane….*GONG* Undertaker arrives to add a fun moment to the show. “Hey Kane, why’d you kill Paul in that freezer?” “Why’d you encase him in concrete?” “…..well played, Crispy.” Anywho, jobbers die, and the Brothers of Destruction stand tall. Cole: “The Dark Days are back!” Except Taker’s leaving in 5 min, and won’t be back until, oh, February-ish.
WINNER: No match Rating: 10/10. It’s Taker on Raw. Do I need to explain further?
-F–k the anti-bullying campaign.
-Cole interviews Sheen again to a ton of boos. St. Louis has redeemed themselves.
Main Event: CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Championship)
Punk and Cena adhere to the Code of Honor, albeit slightly, before the match. Feel out with dueling chants, and Cena takes him down with a shoulder block, and then he works a headlock. Punk comes back by dodging a clothesline and getting a backslide for 2. Punk works the arm and segues into an abdominal stretch, clubbing the ribs just to be a dick. Cena hiptosses his way out, but Punk avoids the STF. They slow it down and Cena gets the advantage with a headlock takeover, which Punk escapes with a back suplex. Punk crosses the legs and gets a reverse bow-and-arrow, turned into a side chinlock. Cena powers out and a slugfest ensues, with Punk getting more cheers. Cena comes back with the shoulderblocks and tries the spinout, but Punk escapes and gets a leg lariat. Corner knee hits, but the bulldog is countered into the spinout. Cena says you can’t se—oops, kick to the face, and a buzzsaw kick follows. Punk says it’s bedtime, but Cena drops out of the GTS and the ref gets taken out. AA hits, and of course, no count. Cena goes to fetch the ref, and Big Show hits the ring. Cena gets speared, and Show calls for the WMD. Punk observes, a bit conflicted, and Show knocks Cena out. Punk doesn’t know what to do, fighting the urge to take the win. He does wake the ref up, but has reservations. Punk does cover, but only gets 2. Punk goes for the GTS, but Cena counters into the STF, but Show breaks it up for the DQ. PUNK RETAINS! Show continues the assault, with Punk offering no assistance. Then Rock hits the ring, decimates Show, and goes for the People’s Elbow, but Punk NAILS him with a flying clothesline. Rock eats the GTS and Punk stands tall with a nice mixed reaction. Punk takes his championship, sour look on his face, and slowly walks away WINNER: John Cena via DQ (Punk retains WWE Championship) Rating: 10/10. For a good match and a killer angle to close the show. If Punk goes back to his more caustic persona, I’m fine with him being the #1 heel in the company.
OVERALL: Man, that was a lot of garbage to get through just for a hot closing angle. So many times I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle them for self-congratulation or emasculating Lesnar/Heyman or whatever, but the ending, as well as some nice nostalgic moments, make up for the bad quite a bit.
Tonight, we begin WWE Friday Night SmackDown!’s build towards Summerslam next month, with Money in the Bank taking place last weekend. In case you didn’t watch it, you missed a damn good show, and yet another installment in WWE’s trend in 2012 of making enjoyable PPVs. Crazy concept, I know, but it does work. If nothing else, you should at least watch Punk/Bryan, who tore the roof off the place with an unbelievable match. The 8-man ladder match opened the show, and was incredibly good as well. That’s 2 years in a row where the SmackDown! ladder match proves to be the superior. The RAW one wasn’t bad by any means, but it was just far too predictable for my tastes. Still, a very enjoyable PPV overall.
We open with the return of Rey Mysterio, giving me a very disappointing start to the show. I have a feeling he’s going to cut some promo that sounds something like, “Blah, blah, blah, 6-1-9!” He says he it’s been nearly a year since he was injured, in this very arena. But, he never lost hope during that time, and it feels good to be back with all of his friends and family here in is home town, and he is officially back. He couldn’t wait, because there’s someone here he has unfinished business.
That someone interrupts the festivities. It’s Alberto Del Rio, along with Ricardo Rodriguez. ADR calls Mysterio a Chihuahua, and you should never pick a fight with ADR. He is the one who took him out a year ago and nearly ended his career. He could finish the job right now, but he’s going to give Mysterio another chance. Rey, leave the ring right now. While Mysterio was gone, ADR won everything, and he’s had enough of Mysterio. He’d rather talk about Sheamus. Mysterio says Sheamus beats ADR’s face in. ADR accuses him of not learning anything. The good news is, the return will be short, and lucky for him, the man who will end the return will be ADR.
Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero make their way out now. He tells Mysterio he can’t take any comfort in that, because if his career will be ruined by the next World Champion, it will be Ziggler’s doing. However, he’s not out here for Mysterio; he’s out here for ADR. He beat 7 other guys at MITB to earn his briefcase, and he was going to cash in on Sheamus on Sunday. He would be champ right now if it wasn’t for ADR interfering. ADR doesn’t work for Ziggler, and he’s not doing the dirty work so Ziggler can take what is rightfully his. In fact, he wanted, Ziggler and burrow (Vicki) could be working for him right now. Mysterio tells them both to shut up and fight if they’ve got beef. Ziggler agrees with that idea, but just not with each other. Both men then turn their attention to Mysterio, but Sheamus makes his way out before anything further can happen. Sheamus shakes Mysterio’s hand before telling him it’s so good to see him. As for the other two, let him put it this way: you take one more step, he’s going to shove the briefcase up inside them, then throw them off into the Pacific Ocean, or something to that effect. Sheamus says we should do this right now, and ADR sneaks out the back door. Sheamus knocks Ziggler down, but Ziggler manages to escape the ring before the 619 connects.
Later tonight on The Peep Show, AJ and Daniel Bryan will discuss their wedding plans for Monday night.
Did You Know? The Eiffel Tower was built solely to be a part of the 1889 World’s Fair, and was scheduled to be torn down in 1909 when its 20-year contract expired, and was also painted completely orange. However, the tower was saved when the builder, Gustave Eiffel, had the idea that it could be used as an ideal radio tower. 5 years later, during World War I, it was used exactly for that reason, jamming German radio communications in the process.
MATCH 1-8-Man Tag Team Match: Camacho, Hunico and The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young, w/AW) vs. Epico, Primo, and WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (w/Rosa Mendes)
Hunico starts off with Epico, and they trade several moves before Epico lands an armdrag. Hunico gets back up and chops Epico before shouldering him down. Criss-cross ends with a trip by Hunico. Epico comes back with a hurricanrana and another deep armdrag into an armbar. Primo tags in and hits a dropkick for 2. Hunico nails a gut shot before tagging in Camacho, who runs right into a hip toss for 2. Primo holds onto the arm and turns the move into an armbar. Camacho gets back to his feet, backs Primo into the corner and nails some shoulder thrusts and punches. He misses a corner charge, and Primo rolls him up for 2 before going into a side headlock. R-Truth makes the blind tag off the ropes and punches Camacho in the face before hitting a dancing legdrop for 2. Camacho powers Truth into his corner, but Truth rolls away before he can get quadruple teamed. Both teams hit the ring and brawl for a moment before we go to commercials.
Back from the break, the tag champs double-team Camacho with an avalanche whip. Kingston hits the Boom Drop and sets up for Trouble in Paradise, but Hunico trips him up, allowing Camacho to nail a spinebuster for 2. Camacho gets him into the heel corner, where he stomps away. Hunico tags in and hits a tope con hilo for 2. O’Neil tags in, picks Kingston up for a slam, and instead just drops him. Kingston tries to fight back to his feet, but O’Neil cuts him off with a bodyslam for 2. Abdominal stretch time, which O’Neil decides to release after some shots to the chest. Young tags in, but Kingston kicks him away and low bridges O’Neil. Primo tags in, hits a spinning back elbow, a sweep, a legdrop and an elbow drop. Back to his feet, Primo throws Young to the corner for a chop, followed by a somersault plancha from the top. Primo knocks Young down with a boot shot in the corner, but gets distracted by AW. O’Neil pushes Primo off right into Forever Young for the 3.
WINNERS: Camacho, Hunico and The Prime-Time Players. After the match, Big Show hits the ring. He nails Truth, but Kingston hits him with Trouble in Paradise. PTP double-team him on the floor as Show begins taking out everyone else left in the ring. WMD for Truth, and a double chokeslam for Hunico & Camacho. He then stands on Primo’s lower back before knocking him out with the WMD as well. Show calls for a microphone, simply asking the crowd, “And? What?” before leaving.
RAW moment time. Jeremy Piven relives guest-hosting the show and being injured by John Cena.
MATCH 2: Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
Before the match can start, Sandow cuts Ryder’s music, telling the crowd they are embarrassing themselves by supporting this brainless broski. Before he can finish, Ryder tackles him and lays in some punches. The referee pulls them apart and starts the match. Ryder hits a running forearm, but Sandow takes him down with a kick to the knee and a foot chocke. Sandow lays in the stomps, a jumping knee bomb and a knee choke. Sandow drags him to the ring apron then slides to the floor, dropping a pair of elbow across the neck. Back in the ring, Sandow stomps away some more before hitting some vicious knee lifts to the midsection. Sandow hits the straightjacket neckbreaker and gets the 3.
WINNER: Damien Sandow. I see an IC title run in the near future for this man.
Speaking of the Intercontinental Championship, the current champion Christian and The Peep Show are up next.
The Peep Show starts, and Christian says he’s seen a lot of strange things happen in his long WWE career. This past Monday, bizarre was taken to a whole new level, when he saw (AJ accept Daniel Bryan’s wedding proposal). His guests will be getting married on Monday night for RAW 1000, please welcome AJ and Daniel Bryan. The happy couple make their way out. Michael Cole says AJ’s ring cost $20,000. I’d bet it’s one of those $20 ones they show on late night commercials during Married…With Children reruns on TBS. You know the one. Christian starts the interview by asking about the wedding planning. Bryan says it’s going well, and AJ says they have a clip. We see them doing the obligatory wedding planning activities, like picking out flowers and cake, all set to stereotypical wedding music. Christian calls the video “special”. He wants to know if Bryan is sure he’s doing the right thing? Yes. And AJ, you’ve completely forgiven Daniel for everything he’s done? Yes. So, this is true love? (Simultaneously) Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Christian now has some questions for the Peeps. Do they think AJ and Bryan should get married? No. Do you think Bryan really loves AJ? No. Do you think AJ has any idea what she’s really doing? No. Christian then asks AJ herself that same question. She responds by slapping him. The couple start to leave, but Christian stops them. He’s married, so he’ll let the slap go. Bryan’s been so busy prepping for the wedding, he doesn’t realize he has a match tonight. And, before Bryan goes any further with AJ, he should maybe check into her past, maybe for a psychotic ex-boyfriend. A psychotic ex-boyfriend that Bryan will be facing right now. Kane’s music hits, and we have our match after the break. Only problem is Kane and AJ never actually truly dated on TV.
MATCH 3: Daniel Bryan (w/AJ) vs. Kane
Match starts after the break, and Bryan goes right for the Yes! Kicks to the legs. Kane cuts him off with a knee and a punch. Bryan ducks a boot, but gets nailed with it the second time for 2. Kane goes locks him in a bodyscissors with a rear chinlock for good measure. Bryan breaks the hold with elbow strikes to the knee, then stomps Kane in the midsection. Kane catches him off the ropes with a backbreaker, then turns it into a submission hold. Bryan breaks free with knees to the head, but Kane continues the assault with some corner stomps. Bryan boots off a corner charge, but walks right into a boot. He backflips off a second corner whip attempt and dropkicks Kane in the knee. Yes! Kicks to the chest, but Kane ducks a Buzzsaw and goes for the chokeslam. Bryan breaks free, sends Kane to the corner and nails a running dropkick. Buzzsaw connects this time, but it’s only good for 2. Bryan up top now, and he’s met with an uppercut for 2. Kane sends Bryan into the corner again and catches him with a sidewalk slam for 2. Kane’s turn to go up top. Bryan blocks the clothesline attempt with the Yes! Lock, but is having a hard time powering Kane down. Kane manages to throw him off before it’s cinched in, but Bryan low bridges Kane, sending him to the floor. Kane lands a shot on Bryan, who was checking on AJ after she accidentally got knocked down. Kane then throws Bryan into the steps, the barricade and the announce desk before sending him back into the ring. Kane signals for the chokeslam, but AJ jumps off the top rope on his back, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Kane. AJ continues to hold on, raking at his eyes. Kane manages to chokeslam Bryan with her on his back, but she continues to rake at the eyes. He eventually spins her around to face him, and AJ just stares into Kane’s eyes for a minute before letting go. She then gives him her confused, tilted-head look before Bryan drags her to the floor and walks with her to the back, but not before a make-out session on the stage.
Another RAW moment, and it’s Zack Ryder. He talks about the old GTV segment. Fun fact: the man behind these videos was, at one point, supposed to be “Vicious” Vic Grimes. Much like “Who was driving the Hummer?”, the identity of the man or woman behind this one was never revealed.
As Heath Slater waits for his opponent, we get a replay of his RAW moment, which is a collection of him being humiliated by legends. I hear this angle is supposed to have some kind of big payoff this Monday night. Slater says all of this happened to him on RAW, but now he’s on SmackDown!, baby. His luck is about to change, because he says it’s going to. The LOD music hits, and Road Warrior Animal makes his way out.
MATCH 4: Heath Slater vs. Road Warrior Animal
Animal has noticeably added more ink, and he appears to have trimmed down a bit as well. Animal immediately takes Slater down with a clothesline, then begins stomping away at Slater in the corner. Slater fights back with punches, kicks and elbow strikes. Animal counters with a powerslam off the ropes and a jumping elbow drop gets 3.
WINNER: Road Warrior Animal.
In the words of my colleague Justin Henry, f*ck Tout. Seriously.
We see Vickie Guerrero and Ricardo Rodriguez arguing in the back about what happened earlier tonight. Rodriguez calls Vickie jealous. She screams in his face. Then does it again. Then again. Was this really necessary?
MATCH 5: Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler (w/Ricardo Rodriguez and Vickie Guerrero) vs. World Champion Sheamus and Rey Mysterio
Sheamus and Ziggler start things off. Ziggler goes into a waistlock, and Sheamus manages to shrug him off. Sheamus nails a hip throw into a side headlock. Ziggler throws him off, and Sheamus nails a shoulder. Criss-cross ends in a Ziggler dropkick. Sheamus fights back and goes for a fireman’s carry, but Ziggler escapes and kicks him in the knee. Sheamus manages to catch him again, and hits the rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. Mysterio tags in and hits a legdrop for 2. Ziggler throws him to a corner, and Mysterio gets the boot up. Off the ropes, Mysterio runs right into a clothesline for 2. ADR tags in and nails a running kick to the ribs for another 2. Mysterio kicks ADR in the head and tags in Sheamus, but ADR quickly tags out to Ziggler. Sheamus takes Ziggler down before throwing him over the top rope. Ziggler lands on the apron, where Sheamus ties him up for the forearm shots, nailing ten of them. Back in the ring, ADR trash-talks Sheamus. This causes enough distraction for Ziggler to dropkick Sheamus off the apron, where ADR nails him with a kick. Commercials.
Back from the break, Ziggler has Sheamus in a front chancery, which Sheamus throws off. Mysterio tags in and hits a Cannonball from the top rope, followed by a spinning headscissors. He counters a sunset flip with a Buzzsaw for 2. Ziggler goes for a slam, and Mysterio slides out. He kicks Ziggler in the knees, setting up the 619. ADR kicks him in the back off the ropes, allowing Ziggler to nail the Rocker Dropper for 2. Ziggler drags Mysterio to the corner and tags in ADR, who hits a jumping stomp for 2. ADR gets him in a rear chinlock with a knee to the back, and Mysterio breaks out with knee strikes to the head. He bounces off the ropes, and ADR catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Ziggler tags back in and stomps Mysterio before getting in a foot choke. He locks Mysterio in a camel clutch while in the ropes before going into a bow-and-arrow lock. Mysterio manages to kick him off, but Ziggler takes him back down with a quick neckbreaker. ADR tags back in and lands several punches. Mysterio quickly tries to tag in Sheamus, but ADR cuts him off with an elbow drop for 2. ADR whips Mysterio into the corner and hits a kick to the chest. Mysterio back drops him to the floor and crawls to his corner, but ADR tags in Ziggler first, who is able to cut Mysterio off. Ziggler goes for a running powerslam, but Mysterio counters into a spinning DDT. Sheamus and ADR tag in, and ADR is leveled with a pair of Irish Hammers and a clothesline. Sheamus goes for the tilt-a-whirl powerslam, but ADR slides out and kicks him in the shoulder. He goes for the jujigatame, but Sheamus shoves him off into Ziggler before nailing White Noise. He signals for the Brogue Kick, but Rodriguez grabs his foot, causing the DQ.
WINNERS VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Rey Mysterio and Sheamus. ADR kicks Sheamus in the head before locking in the jujigatame. Nearly all the referees in WWE come into the ring to pull ADR off. Ziggler is still at ringside, however, and he looks to be cashing in MITB. He crawls into the ring and hands the briefcase over, but Mysterio nails him from behind before the bell can ring. Ziggler gets nailed with the 619, and Sheamus pops back up to hit the Brogue Kick.
End of show.
Before I end this, I’d like to wish my condolences to those who were killed or injured in the Aurora shooting earlier this morning. Aurora is not that far from where I’m at, and it’s always strange to hear about things like this happening near you. You always think, “That could never happen here”, but it can and does. Fortunately, no one I know was hurt or killed there, but those that did suffer were/are friends or family to someone, and words can’t express how sorry I am for your losses.