-If WWE doesn’t have Hornswoggle walking around in a neck brace tonight, then they officially have no sense of humor. Sometimes you can do something absurd enough to distract the usual detractors from ripping on the show, status quo style.
-Live from Austin, TX
-So who’s gonna end up replacing John Morrison in the “signature” before each show when his deal eventually expires? My money’s on Mason Ryan.
Opening Segment: Triple H, Miraculous Jackknife Survivor
You know HHH is mad, because he’s not wearing his suit any more. HEAVY METAL ROADIE ATTIRE MEANS SOMEBODY’S GETTING FACIAL PENETRATION WITH THE APPENDAGE OF HIS CHOOSING! Triple H says you can either make friends or make money, which is a lesson Killer Kowalski taught him. Wonder if Killer taught Hunter, “Boinking McMahon’s daughter means permanent wealth and prestige.” HHH names his Kliq friends, and leaves out Scott Hall. I guess after the revelation that Hall killed a guy, HHH decided to “Benoit” him. So much for being BFFs. Hunter meanders into complaining about Nash trying to break his neck last night, but is more upset that Big Kev broke his heart, so HHH calls him out. But as Hunter tries to goad Nash, we get Johnny Ace instead. HHH tells him to shut up repeatedly, which makes me wish for an Ace Crusher. HHH tells Ace that he still reports to him…..wait, what? How does THAT work? Didn’t….Ace replace him a few weeks ago? HHH promises that he’s going to jail tonight and goes to look for Nash, but is distracted at the top of the ramp, and Nash runs out and butts him with the sledgehammer. As Nash is escorted away, HHH collapses backstage in his first ever “Miller Lite Unmanliest Thing You’ve Done Today” segment. It was bound to happen.
Segment Rating: 4/10. Because, you know, I was looking forward to this match in 2003, back when Nash was only semi-immobile.
-KFC has added bacon to their Famous Bowls. Attempts to kill Peter King have now reached Code Red: Rasputin Level.
Match 1: Randy Orton/Sheamus vs. Christian/Cody Rhodes
Boy do I feel dumb for having watched Vengeance last night: I’m getting 25% of the event in just ONE SINGLE MATCH. Oh, and Sheamus and Orton teaming up? I guess there was no point in getting invested in any angles from 2010. Christian shows fear of Sheamus, which would mean more if Sheamus hadn’t already beaten him clean twice. Lawler and Cole spend much of the match rebuilding Sheamus’ Irish heritage with anecdotes of Celtic folklore, so that big re-push is coming. Fine with me. Cody works a chinlock as we hit the commercial. Back to action and Christian is choking Sheamus with the boot while Cole tells us what’s trending on Twitter. Yeah, because every fan is a sheep that has to like what every other fan likes. If we can get “#RawisOverbookedTrash” to trend, do you think Michael Cole would say it? The match has a second heat segment, as Orton is now being double teamed. Crap, looks like the Usos vs. Hawkins/Reks match is getting bumped. RKO lays out Christian, Orton gets dumped, and Sheamus lays out Cody with the Celtic Cross to win.
WINNERS: Sheamus and Randy Orton via Celtic Cross
Rating: 6/10. Crowd being dead from that horrid (read: Vince liked it) opening segment didn’t help, but the action was solid. Can’t really fault the usual good effort from all four.
Match 2: Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler (non title match)
Santino + no intro = death. Ziggler’s rapidly becoming the most interesting heel in WWE next to Mark Henry, so I’m wondering why he’s taking comedy moves from Santino. Jack Swagger distracts Santino during the Cobra, so Ziggler gets the Zig Zag. Heel beatdown after leads to Blandtista making the save. Yay. If he beats Ziggler, I hope Congress reinvestigates WWE.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zig Zag
Rating: 3/10. I could be watching the Jaguars, Eric.
In Ring Segment: Alberto Del Rio’s Celebration
I pray this is the CM Punk rejuvenation we’ve been begging for. Del Rio says he’s going to move on to new challengers. Well, there’s about 58 people on the roster that haven’t had a shot these last five or six years. This brings out Punk who, while not new, is acceptable. Punk points out that he’s beaten Alberto a number of times, and that he never got his 1 on 1 rematch for the title after Summerslam, so he demands a shot. ADR’s response is that Punk is a loser, since he didn’t win at Vengeance, and tells him to come back when he’s earned a shot. I wonder how many times Punk’s heard this exact speech from road agents with non-Spanish accents. Punk threatens to beat up Del Rio anyway, and this brings Ace back out, to some easy heel heat. Punk correcting Ace on how to hold the mic is funny stuff. Ace promises to make Punk vs. Del Rio at Survivor Series, on the condition that Punk tells Ace that he respects him. Punk refuses, and says that WWE hasn’t changed with Ace in charge, but Ace reiterates the threat. Punk responds with “I RESPECT YOU, FUNKMAN” in Ace’s voice, but Ace isn’t buying it. Punk finally admits respect, but addends his statement with bold statements about Ace’s rise through the ranks, and Ace refuses to give him the shot based on the insubordination. So Punk beats up Del Rio anyway, and gives Ricardo the GTS.
Segment Rating: 8/10. Punk’s spot-onness made it worthwhile.
Match 3: Natalya vs. Alicia Fox
More than four women in the division? WE HAVE A DIVISION! PROGRESS! Natalya works a modified Indian deathlock while Beth Phoenix, on commentary, discusses how fun women in pain can be. This isn’t very PG. Oh, and Alicia pins Natalya with a sunset flip. Errr…..ok, someone new.
WINNER: Alicia Fox via sunset flip
Rating: 3/10. Alicia’s sure come a long way from being Edge and Vickie’s wedding planner. She’s a real versatile threat.
Match 4: John Morrison vs. Wade Barrett
I’m writing Barrett as the winner now. Morrison gets to look quasi-athletic, and even lands a head first tope, just to prolong the inevitable. Seems like forever ago that these two main evented Summerslam 2010. Wow, a Morrison match with a commercial! It’s like a stay of execution! I kinda thought Morrison would job during the break like Rick Martel in 1993, but surprisingly, no. Morrison takes a tumble to the floor from a stiff flurry of strikes. Cole’s too busy bitching about JR to care about the young talent on display, and they wonder why the fans don’t either. Morrison manages the charging knee for 2 in a close spot, and then gets a creative cradle for another 2. Good little match developing here. Morrison aborts the Starship and Barrett tries to catch the Flying Chuck, but botches. Second attempt at the Wasteland hits for the win.
WINNER: Wade Barrett via Wasteland
Rating: 6/10. Good match till the botched finish. I enjoy the basics.
Match 5: John Cena/Zack Ryder vs. The Awesome Truth
Alright Ryder fans, you want Zack pushed? Get this segment a 4.5 rating. If it does anything less, you can’t complain. Ah, but wait: Miz and Truth jump Ryder backstage. HOW DARE YOU GET OVER ON YOUR OWN, ZACK! WHY CAN’T YOU BE AN UNCLEAN FREAK LIKE MASON RYAN?!? Now how is John Cena going to beat two men on his own? He’s NEVER done that before!
Real Match 5: John Cena vs. The Awesome Truth
Cena, March 2011: “I’m proud of my jorts!” Cena, October 2011: “This camo seems less likely to cast dorky aspersions on me.” Strapped for time, a quick formula of “heel dominates, Cena takes over, heel tags” is in order. I reckon a clean finish is out of the question. Sure enough, a DQ win for Cena and the crowd is annoyed. Cena takes a beating afterward. Miz and Truth grab chairs, and Ace stops them. Ace sort of turns face by ejecting Truth and Miz for some reason (isn’t he a heel?). Miz and Truth will face Cena and a partner of his choosing at Survivor Series, and it ends up being The Rock. Well hey, that poster that was designed 2 months ago makes sense now! Miz and Truth express bewilderment. I guess they don’t have the internet.
WINNER: John Cena via DQ
Rating: 4/10. Well, at least the show’s over.
OVERALL: That wasn’t just a half a#$ed show; that was a half-assed show from a company that doesn’t have an ass to spare. You bury crowd favorites (Ryder, JR), have a horrid segment where HHH and Nash look like clowns, and kill a crowd despite solid in-ring action throughout.
Please, TNA, build on that 1.4. I’m pleading with you.
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 WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.