-There’s a PPV in six days? Guess I kinda lost track with the NFL season kicking off, and providing an eventful opening weekend of action. But I know it’s not really a special weekend without references to Tout, Be A Star, and Twitter every five minutes. Although Dick Stockton and Jerry Lawler have the same level of wooden senility, so there’s that.
-Also, is it just me, or is there such little chatter about last week’s ending angle of Punk and Heyman being in cahoots? Thinking fans are tired of being burned. Also, the idea of Bret Hart showing up tonight in Montreal seems to not be as inspiring as it may once have been. There’s just been so many attempts to hotshot a rating in recent years that now nobody cares. It’s all going to end with Cena, and that’s that.
-Live from Montreal. I’m missing the remainder of the Bengals-Ravens game and the start of the Chargers-Raiders game, so I’ve already been screwed.
Bret’s now completely gray, and looks like Stu with long hair and a slimmer frame, but I’m always happy to see him. Of course, there’s always that one moron that spells his name “BRETT” in a sign. Oy. Bret can barely get to talking as the crowd is too consumed cheering and chanting, and Cole mocks them for having the gall to cheer and throw off the format. That’d be Vince talking. Bret gives a heartfelt thanks to the fans, and Punk arrives as he’s wrapping up. My childhood hero and adulthood hero clash. Punk asks what if Bret had faced him in Montreal, and Bret thinks he’d have tapped him in under a minute with the Sharpshooter. Punk, on the contrary, feels that he wouldn’t have needed Vince to beat Bret. Oh, and Punk would have jumped to WCW, and WWE would have been dead. Punk’s giving Bischoff, Hogan, and Nash a lot of credit. Bret takes Punk to task for walking out, as they’re using every possible story device to make us hate Punk. Punk even goes as far as to call Bret overrated, which is surefire heat in Canada, and Bret declares that Punk’s putting the fans to sleep. Please don’t make me hate you, Bret. Punk promises to break Cena at Night of Champions.
Segment Rating: 6/10. No real no ground broken, just the usual tired devices (Mock Bret in Canada for heat, turn the guy who many fans like because Vince loves Cena to death).
Just for fun, here’s my NFC East review for Sunday, looking at both the Eagles and Redskins’ performances. http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/robert-griffin-iii-lives-up-to-hype-redskins-and-eagles-defenses-stout/16826/
Match 1: Ghana Get Got vs. The Miz/Antonio Cesaro
This will be the first non-title match all year that a titleholder actually gets to win. It helps that none of them are facing Cena. Cesaro’s opponent will be determined by a battle royal, which begs the question of why we even have a belt. As R-Truth wrestles here, Pacman Jones faces the Ravens on ESPN, and they won TNA’s Tag Team Titles five years ago yesterday. BRING BACK TEAM PACMAN. GGG dominates with double teams, and Kofi lands a flip dive over the top onto both men as we hit commercial. We return to Cesaro working over Truth while Aksana poses on the apron. Can’t complain about that. Lawler: “R-Truth almost came in our lap!” Pshh, Lawler would’ve done that himself at the sight of Aksana’s legs. Kofi gets the hot tag and goes all frenzyish, hitting a crossbody on Cesaro for 2. Cesaro comes back with a cheating rollup for 2, and then eats Trouble in Paradise to end it.
WINNERS: Ghana Get Got via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: 4/10. Pedestrian match meant to emphasize the titleholders before Sunday. Not a particularly great showcase, but a showcase regardless.
-On SmackDown, Worst Babyface Ever is sad to have lost the Brogue Kick. I’m sad he lost his it factor.
-Speak of the devil, WBE and Otunga match wits in a deposition at Titan Tower. I’m watching Schefter and Mortensen on ESPN, while relying on RD Reynolds of WrestleCrap to tell me when it ends. I’m sure you understand. WWE has ruined Sheamus the same way Bobby Brown ruined Whitney Houston.
Match 2: Layla/Kaitlyn/Eve Torres vs. Beth Phoenix/Natalya/Alicia Fox
This is why women get mad at WWE: the Divas change face/heel without cause week to week, showing what they really think of women. Pin-Up Strong dominate Kaitlyn, but she avoids a Kaitlyn attack. Layla gets the cold-tag and cross bodies Alicia for 2. Eve tags herself in, BECAUSE SHE’S EVIL, and pins Alicia with the neckbreaker.
WINNERS: 3 of the Divas via Neckbreaker
Rating: 1/10. Just for Eve’s insincerity bit.
-Punk tells off AJ for booking him, but she holds her ground. This leads to Punk running into Brodus, who’s got my vote, just to see if WWE would actually book that match.
Match 3: CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
Lawler got more votes than Brodus Clay, which is why sterilization should be forced upon anyone with below a C average in school. Punk passes Superstar Graham’s title reign tomorrow, which makes me happy, given what their lifestyles represent. Match begins with a slow wrestling sequence before Punk takes over with a corner choke and some stomps. Backbreaker connects for 1. Orton nearly gets an RKO, and Punk quickly bails. And then he goes to walk out, but Orton gives chase up the aisle. Yeah, let’s just go all the way with Punk’s heel mannerisms, in case the densest of marks was thinking of cheering for him. Punk manages to knock Orton off the apron as we go to break. Orton escapes an abdominal stretch when we come back, but Punk goes to the knee to counter. Crowd was in the midst of a dueling chant with cheers for Punk, so we must be in BIZARROVILLE. Orton crotches him up top and gets Daddy’s Superplex for 2. Orton gets a flurry of offense and then panders to the crowd (to a mixed reaction), but Punk avoids the hanging DDT. Flying clothesline gets 2. Punk calls for the GTS, but can’t get it. Orton lands the O-Zone for 2. Hanging DDT finally hits, and then it’s into the Viper Pounding, but Ziggler runs in for the DQ. Punk gets snap-slammed, and Orton plans on the RKO anyway, but Dolph attacks again. They double team Randy, because December and January was a long time ago, and Lawler runs in for the save. I know which duo I like more. The Creeps clean house and we go to an unexpected commercial.
WINNER: Randy Orton via DQ
Rating: 6/10. Solid match, but nothing special. Just something to promote Night of Champions, more or less, and provide the “length match” of the night.
Cheap Plug: My Madden/Franchise Mode protest article has done VERY well at Football Nation http://www.footballnation.com/content/madden-football-the-death-franchise-mode/16390/
Match 4: CM Punk/Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton/Jerry Lawler
Well, it gets Lawler off commentary, and we avoid Vickie’s played-out intro. That’s two good things, right? Lawler tags in and slugs Dolph down for 2. Punk’s so excited that he aimlessly plays with his tag rope. The crowd is so inspired by WWE’s booking that they chant for Punk. Ziggler’s mockery of Lawler is all that’s holding my interest. Lawler manages to make the hot tag, and Orton takes it to Ziggler with the snap slam. Ziggler avoids the hanging DDT with a huge backdrop to the floor. Paul Heyman makes his way out, and he confers with Punk. The crowd is so disgusted by what a heel Heyman is that they chant for ECW. Heyman gets Punk his belt and they talk about restaurants. Meanwhile, Orton RKOs and pins Ziggler, but Team Free Speech could care less as they walk out.
WINNERS: The Creeps via RKO
Rating: 2/10. Just because Punk and Heyman are worth cheering for.
-Matt Striker confronts Heyman and Punk, as I’m all giddy with ECW 2006 flashbacks. Punk declares himself a Heyman guy and leaves.
-Bryan/Kane recap. The happy music makes it. They confront each other, and they are confronted by….Dr. Shelby. He looks like Jake Gyllenhaal had a sex with a turtle. There’s apparently something in the works that’ll either cure them, or ruin them. I’m shocked Vince doesn’t push the Doc over Bryan, since he’s taller.
-Slater wants a rematch with Ryder, but gets someone booked far less horribly.
Match 5: Heath Slater vs. Ryback
Heath Slater died on the way back to his home planet.
WINNER: Ryback via the usual
Rating: 2/10. Cole and Lawler are so impressed with Ryback that they become enamored with WWE.com videos.
-The PTPs mack AJ, and Titus is now armed with a whistle. This is bad. Really bad. AJ books them in a match tonight for #1 contendership against Kane and Daniel Bryan. Finally doing the right thing.
Match 6: Prime Time Players vs. Hell No (#1 Contenders Match)
In WWE, partners who hate each other beat partners who get along just fine by a 7 to 2 ratio. Kane manhandles Titus, and tags Bryan, who kicks the crap out of him. Between Slater, Ryback, Bryan, and Young over the past few segments, 4 Nexus guys, no mention of the group. Bryan ends up in the wrong corner and gets worked over, with Young applying a cravate. O’Neil drops Young with a front suplex on Bryan, but Bryan ends up fighting back with kicks, only to take a backbreaker. Young works a long chinlock as the commentary appears to cut out for 45 seconds. Actually, Lawler is escorted out for some unknown reason that got the fans attention, but I missed it completely. Cole’s said nothing. Bryan continues the kicks, and Kane tags himself in. Dominance ensues. Folks on Twitter are saying that Lawler collapsed at the table, so now I’m concerned. Kane chokeslams Bryan onto Young to win.
WINNERS: Hell No via Chokeslam (New #1 Contenders)
Rating: 4/10. Kinda doesn’t matter; just hoping Lawler’s okay. I make fun of the guy a lot, but that doesn’t mean I wish harm on him.
Match 7: Alberto Del Rio vs. Tyson Kidd
Still no word from Cole, or anyone, on Lawler. ADR will annihilate Kidd just to draw heat in Canada, I’ll bet. Kidd misses a springboard elbow, and eats a kick to the face from ADR. Sure enough, Del Rio tries the Sharpshooter, only for Kidd to counter into his own to a huge cheer. Del Rio makes the ropes however. Apologies for continued brevity, checking Twitter for any and all Lawler updates. Cross armbreaker finishes.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via Cross Armbreaker
Rating: 4/10. Spirited little match.
-Cole comes on to confirm the situation and that Lawler is receiving CPR, stressing this isn’t part of the show. Cole’s tone sounds grave; I hope I’m not reading too far into this.
Match 8: Worst Babyface Ever vs. David Otunga (non title match)
Cole is dead silent for Sheamus’ entrance, at a part where he’d be reading off the tweets that were on screen. Cole’s sitting ringside, but isn’t saying a word. Sheamus finishes quickly with the Cloverleaf.
WINNER: Sheamus via Irish Cloverleaf
Rating: 1/10. Just a quick match. Cole still hasn’t said a word.
-Sheamus returns to destroy Otunga, and AJ makes her way out. Then Booker strips Sheamus of the title I think. Not really following this right now.
-Bryan and Kane bitch about their match, but Dr. Shelby encourages them.
-Cole informs us that Lawler is now breathing on his own, however no more commentary tonight. That’s something, at least.
Almost called the rant given the circumstances, but I’ll finish now that Cole’s lifted the mood a bit. Rhodes lands some kneelifts and a charging knee for 2. Front layout suplex lays out Mysterio. Rey avoids the Cross Rhodes, and Cody takes a tumble outside. Mysterio lands a rana off the apron, and tries a headscissors back in, but the sequence leads to him taking a Disaster Kick for 2. Rey ends up with a bulldog for 2, and a hard kick lays Cody out for another 2. Rey goes for the 619, but takes a second to take out an oncoming Miz, and Rhodes uses the opening to land Cross Rhodes. Rhodes hits Miz with the move afterward as well, because he misses his Intercontinental Title. See, titles DO matter!
WINNER: Cody Rhodes via Cross Rhodes
Rating: 4/10. Short, decent match, obviously tempered by the real-life situation. No further updates after the previous one.
–Cole update: Lawler is a bit more responsive to lights, in isolated ER awaiting a CT scan. Cole’s voice is noticeably hoarse.
Closing Segment: Bret Interviews Cena
Heavy on talk with the crowd chanting “You Can’t Wrestle” at Cena. Bret calls Punk a phony, which brings him out. My friend called and I’m giving him the update, so I apologize for not listening to this segment. Come back to hear Punk talking about how he’s the best in each category. Cena says the belt has been irrelevant with Punk as champion. Cena blah blah blah Punk needs a new identity. He even speaks French to pander, which Punk points out. Things get heated, and Cena reiterates the phrase in English (“I’m gonna kick your ass”). Punk then goes to hit Bret, but Cena stops him. Cena wants a fight now, but Punk goes to hit Bret again, only to get beaten to the punch. Punk leaves with his dignity shot.
Segment Rating: 8/10. Cena’s portion had the intensity, I’ll give it that.
Cole’s last update: Lawler is stable, heart beating on its own. Cole’s tone is much more upbeat and positive. He concludes with encouraging words to Lawler himself.
Overall: Not going to rate or berate the show under the circumstances, but I’ll just say I hope Lawler gets through this, and I hope all turns out okay.
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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