So for the first time since TLC 2010, I skipped a WWE PPV entirely. I foresee this being a regular development until the Royal Rumble, since I’m pretty well immersed in the football season. Given a choice between the Lions-49ers game and a Punk/Cena match where my favorite wrestler is having his character altered in spite of a committed fanbase, I chose a Schwartz-Harbaugh handshake over a potentially great match (which I heard Punk/Cena was). That’s the thing about football: you can predict winners, but you can’t predict circumstances and action. WWE on the other hand….
-On a less aggravated note, here’s to a continued recovery for Jerry Lawler after last week’s scare. Although The King’s health is certainly more important than the comfort of myself and the rest of the TV audience, I sincerely I hope we never have to see anything like that ever again. Surreality and fear of that magnitude are quite the blood-churner.
-Live from Bridgeport, CT, where “Gostkowski” is now a swear-word.
[adinserter block=”2″]Opening Segment: Paul Heyman
More cheers than boos when Punk’s music kicks up. That WWE, they sure know their pulse of their “Universe.” Heyman calls out referee Chad Patton. I think Heyman’s sticking up for the working man by actually referring to the referees by name. THAT’S A NO-NO SAYS VINCE. Heyman lauds Patton for declaring it a double-pin, which was the right call. They even show camera-phone footage taken by a fan, which seems to encourage piracy. But yes, for the 303rd day, Punk is YOUR WWE Champion. Cena makes his way out, with attire that’ll make fans root for breast cancer. Only Cena has that capability. Cena admits the right call was made, but wanted the match to continue. Cena dares to ask if Punk deserves respect after retaining the title in a tie. Crowd chants yes, which Cena ignores and twists. Cena asks for a rematch tonight, but before any kind of answer can be given by Punk, Alberto Del Rio makes his way out. He makes a case for a rematch with Sheamus, and out comes AJ Lee in a skirt, which wins my approval. She makes a “super main event” with CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena and Sheamus.
Segment Rating: 4/10. Paint by numbers opening.
Cheap plug: my NFC East review for week 2. Cowboy and Redskin haters will enjoy! http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/michael-vick-eli-manning-both-strong-comeback-victories/17158/
-Michael Cole is shown sitting ringside in a Lawler shirt, and he shows the only Tout I’ve ever cared to see of Lawler thanking the fans 3 days after the heart attack. JBL makes his way out to join the booth, as well as Jim Ross (to a thunderous ovation). Ross is keeping the BBQ-saving goatee, I see.
Match 1: Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara vs. Colon Blow
Kinda wish these guys had ten minutes to go crazy. Cara gets a springboard arm drag, and the Mexicans land some nifty double teams on Primo for a pair of two counts as we head to commercial. We return to the heels (I think?) cutting the ring in half on Cara. Cara is prevented from tagging, but he comes back with a tornado DDT on Primo. Tags are made to Rey and Epico, and Rey almost gets three on a series of kicks, finishing with one to the head. Rey lands a 619 on the cousins, and Cara lands a senton bomb on Epico to win.
WINNERS: The LWO via senton bomb
Rating: 4/10. Commercial hurt the flow, but it was fun for the short amount we got to see.
-The Prime Time Players jump the LWO afterward. A TAG TEAM FEUD?!?! Oh glorious day!
-Preview of MizTV. I’ll bet it’s EDGY.
Match 2: Beth Phoenix vs. Eve Torres (non title)
When (forgotten) WrestleMania partners collide. Six people chanting ‘Hoeski’ are the creative team’s mortal enemies. Eve avoids the Glam Slam, and reverses a snake eyes to roll Beth up and pin her. Layla, on commentary, is a hoot talking about Eve’s manipulation after spending 2 years as a snotty bitch next to Michelle McCool.
WINNER: Eve Torres via roll-up
Rating: 2/10. Slow and disjointed, but it gets a point for Layla wearing daisy dukes.
Match 3: Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater
I see somebody gave Cameron a ride tonight. Antonio Cesaro’s at ringside to provide insight. Slater gets more offense than he’s used to getting, as Cesaro declares Clay an embarrassment in five different languages. Cesaro provides a temporary distraction, but Slater can’t finish. He flies off into a Clay headbutt, and gets splashed and pinned.
WINNER: Brodus Clay via Funk It
Rating: 2/10. Heatless squash. Crowd’s fading already, so I’ve got a bad feeling.
Talk Segment: MizTV
So it’s Cutting Edge, but with Miz. It lacks a window for Primo to chuck Epico through one day. Booker T makes his way out, which makes me sad that Stevie Ray can’t have an interview segment called “Sucks Gosta Know” Miz tries to instigate answers out of Booker in regards to his banning of The Brogue Kick, because Booker misses the spotlight. I miss Booker on commentary, frankly. Why can’t Raw be Gus Johnson, Booker T, and Stevie Ray in the booth? Crowd is so enthralled that they chant “BORING.” Ryback comes out to liven things up. Ryback destroys the set as Miz leaves in fear.
Segment Rating: 2/10. The crowd needs 5 Hour Energy. Or coffee. To hell with that cowboy.
-Punk chats with Paul Heyman, and he’s not happy about his tag team match tonight. Well, me either, actually.
Match 4: Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler
I hope Vickie’s not saying anything of substance, since I muted the TV. Marella’s goofy power walk gets booed by the less-than-enthused audience, and Ziggler nails him with a forearm to end the goofiness. Crowd chants for Dolph, because Vince knows his audience. Ziggler berates the Cobra, which certainly doesn’t draw boos. They botch a clothesline for 2, and Santino’s comeback gets a mixed reaction. Santino can’t find the Cobra, so Dolph hits the Zig Zag, followed by another and wins.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zig Zag
Rating: 3/10. This crowd has become the best part of the show.
Match 5: Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel
Barrett must be dining in hell with that beard. Song is WAY better than that crowd he had at the Rumble. Gabriel gets a rana for 2, and a rollup for 2. Barrett brutalizes him to establish his underground fighter persona, which sadly doesn’t electrify this dead crowd. Barrett slugs him down and applies a seated abdominal stretch. Crowd chants that they want something, but I can’t make it out. Gabriel avoids a pumphandle and hits a reverse DDT, and hits a top rope lionsault for 2. Barrett creams Gabriel with a short-arm forearm strike, which looks nice and gets the win.
WINNER: Wade Barrett via Barrett Barrage (?)
Rating: 4/10. Liked the match, but the crowd did it no favors.
-R-Truth and Little Jimmy shill Subway with the help of Jared Fogle. The only redeeming quality is Truth wearing a party hat over his doo-rag. Damien Sandow suggests his own unique sandwich, but is satisfied with a meatball marinara. Zack Ryder shows up….oh, screw this. It’s a friggin commercial.
-Sheamus and Cena talk shop, and Cena NEEDS to win to get a rematch. Maybe this will lead to Cena heel tur—bwahahahahaha! I make myself laugh.
Match 6: Team Friendship vs. Ghana Get Got (WWE Tag Team Championship)
Kane and Bryan have finally woken the crowd up. Kingston gets the better of Bryan early before tagging Truth. Bryan twists Truth’s arm and fakes a tag to Kane before yelling NO!!!! Kofi tags in and lands a crossbody on Bryan for 2. Kane tags in and mauls Kofi in the corner as the crowd dies off again. Kofi lowbridges Kane to the floor, and then backdrops Bryan on top of him. The champions argue as we hit the break. We return with Kane bear-hugging R-Truth. Truth escapes, hits a missle dropkick, and Kofi’s tagged in. Kofi gets the teabag punches in the corner, and a pendulum kick. Crossbody takes Kane down for 2. Kofi drops the Boom, and signals for Trouble, but flies into a goozle. Kofi avoids the chokeslam, and leaps off the top into a throat thrust. Bryan tags himself in and an argument ensues. Truth jumps in, and detects Bryan’s lie with the forearm. Hat Rack Crack lands for 2. Kofi and Truth cut the ring in half as we hit the 10 o’clock hour. Kofi lands a dropkick for 2. Bryan gets dominated for a bit as Truth hooks the chinlock, and JBL goes on a humorous tangent about how Cole states the obvious. Ahh, those human moments. Truth misses a corner charge, and Bryan hot(?) tags Kane. Diving clothesline lays out Truth, as does a dropkick for 2. Side suplex lays out Truth, and Kane and Bryan have a skirmish. Truth lands the Moment of Truth on Kane for 2, broken up by Bryan. Kane chokeslams Truth, Bryan tags himself in, and hooks the Lebell Lock to win.
WINNERS: Team Friendship via Lebell Lock
Rating: 5/10. They were game, but what’s with this crowd? At least Bryan’s celebration was fun.
-The two argue over who the champions “is”, and the fans demand a hug-out. Bryan’s down with it, and Kane hesitates, but gives in. JBL: “You never saw Faarooq and I hugging.”
Hug rating: 8/10. Non-committal, but progress is being made.
Match 7: Randy Orton vs. Tensai
It’s a shame that Randy Orton did something inappropriate on live TV, apologized for it, and was fired anyway like AW was and…..oh. Crowd is less than enamored with this match, but that’s no surprise. Shoulder block takes Orton down, and Orton swears loudly (muted) after Tensai headbutts him in the corner. Orton tries to come back, but Tensai slams him for 2. Tensai applies a bear hug as JBL spouts some NJPW factoids. Orton breaks free, but Tensai drops him and continues to work him over. Tensai applies a nervehold as JR says “create separation” 24 straight times. Orton hits an impressive snap slam and, after some hard kicks, gets the hanging DDT. Tensai avoids one RKO, but misses a charge, and Orton lands a second one to win.
WINNER: Randy Orton via RKO
Rating: 5/10. Slow beginning, fun remainder with a hotter crowd than we’ve seen all night. Progress, I suppose.
Match 8: Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
We return from break to Ryder dropping Sandow with a flapjack. Sandow gets clotheslined over, and immediately planchaed. Ryder covers back inside for 2. Sandow comes back with stomps and a kneedrop. Sandow hits Ryder in the head, so this match won’t air on Saturday morning. JBL and Cole’s debate about education is keeping me entertained, not that the match sucks or anything. Sandow lands a Russian legsweep and curls into an elbowdrop for 2. Ryder gets a roll-up out of nowhere for 2, and they fight over an inside cradle. Broski Boot is evaded by Sandow, but Ryder brings him back into the ring. Ryder gets the Boot after dropping Sandow in the corner again for 2. Sandow comes back with the Finis neckbreaker and wins clean.
WINNER: Damien Sandow via Finis
Rating: 6/10. Hey, match of the night and a fun one at that.
[adinserter block=”1″]Main Event: CM Punk/Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena/Sheamus
Wow, it’s like Punk’s a heel, because he’s teaming with Del Rio. Isn’t he a face because he tells the truth? I wonder if WWE will force his heel turn on us further by having him put a breast cancer survivor in the Anaconda Vise. Dueling chants praising and hating Cena (the second ones are louder, just saying). Punk stands there holding the belt for what seems like years, but is preferable to watching Sheamus cut a promo these days. Del Rio starts after Punk balks, and ADR beats Cena down in the corner. Cena gets a nice leaping monkey flip, followed by a backdrop for 2. Sheamus gets the tag, and he’s immediately booed. This makes me smile. Punk finally gets in, and Cena returns to attack. Punk avoids the AA and asks for a time out. HE’S SUCH A HEEL. Punk stomps Cena down and tags Del Rio, who chokes Cena on the bottom rope. Punk tags back in and kicks Cena hard in the gut. Cena tries to back, but Punk gets a single leg takedown. Cena avoids a submission and tags Sheamus, who beats Punk down in the corner. Del Rio gets in and BLASTS Sheamus with a savate kick. Sheamus fights back with the Dublin Clubs on the apron, with the crowd more vociferous with the boos. Sheamus gets White Noise and calls for the Brogue. Punk distracts and ADR gets a Backstabber for 2. Punk tags in and locks Sheamus in a bow and arrow. Sheamus becomes face in peril and Del Rio drops him with the leaping stomp for 2. Sheamus comes back with the Irish Curse. Tags are made to Cena and Punk, and Cena, predictably, dominates. Cena lacks on the STF, but Del Rio saves. Brogue Kick takes ADR out, Punk takes out Sheamus, and Cena AA’s Punk for the win, with the ref missing Punk’s foot on the ropes.
WINNERS: John Cena/Sheamus via AA
Rating: 7/10. Excitable main event at least, with classic SNME pacing. I approve.
-Punk and Heyman complain to the ref afterward, and that’s how the show ends.
OVERALL: Odd show with the disinterested crowd, and three hours certainly doesn’t help. For once, the third hour was the strongest, but still, it doesn’t exactly make me wanna keep watching.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.
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