-Congratulations to CCB’s honcho Eric Gargiulo and his wife Jessica, who are now anticipating the birth of their first child. Best of luck to them, and don’t let the struggles of fatherhood fall behind on compensating your best writer there, boss.
-Live from Ottawa, the Albany to Toronto’s New York City, albeit with less pizzazz.
In Ring: Alberto Del Rio
I hope the recent downturn in interest and ratings don’t result in ADR abdicating the belt so soon. Anywho, he rants against the fans for booing him, but this brings out Bret Hart, accompanied by ten pounds of Just For Men, to try and shore up interest. Bret’s already said “belt” and “wrestler” which means he’s going to be putting over Curt Hawkins on Superstars this week. Hart goes on the whole “you’re not a real champion” spiel, Del Rio mocks Hart’s 1994 jacket (but lays off the 2011 hair color), and before we can have a fight involving a concussed legend, John Cena’s out, and Michael Cole goes into the “bizzaro land” excuse to explain the boos for Cena. Wouldn’t that be every city in North America then? Cena makes me laugh for once by calling Ricardo Rodriguez “Tattoo from Fantasy Island”, which the Canadian crowd gets. Of course they do. Del Rio offers up Ricardo for a one on one match tonight, much to Ricardo’s consternation, and Cena milks the gullible fans into cheering him. Cena instead offers Alberto a title defense against Bret Hart. I’m waiting for Alberto to say “But he can’t pass a concussion test!” and thus be Mexico’s Buzz Killington. Then Johnny Ace is out to be the real Buzz Killington, and make a tag team match: Alberto and Ricardo vs. Bret and Cena. I’ll bet Cena pins Alberto, or Bret makes someone submit. I love Bret, but I’d kinda laugh if Alberto just straight mauled him to kill the crowd.
SEGMENT RATING: 6/10. Simple enough. It’s a nice change from the “shooty” segments though.
Wow, virtually no intros for anyone. Has that ever been a good omen? Cole just used “expand” in regards to Vickie. I think he was trying to bait Lawler. Anywho, the match goes about two minutes, if that, and a miscue between Jack Dolph (say it out loud, it’s better than Zig Swag) leads to Riley hitting a TKO on Swagger, for which Ziggler refuses to save.
WINNERS: John Morrison and Alex Riley via TKO
RATING: 3/10. All angle advancement and nothing more.
Match 2: The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
Between Air Boom, Zig Swag (Jack Dolph) and Awesome Truth, we need more dual-trait team names. The two all time best are Jim Neidhart and Rikishi (Who Farted) and Matt Hardy and Shark Boy (Jail Bait). Sure enough, unlike the previous match, we get an extended formula match complete with commercial break (“The tape machines are rolling!” – Tony Schiavone). I still love Kofi’s springboard twisting cross body, and so does the crowd. Maybe I need to stop being so hard on Canadian fans. After all, this isn’t a Leafs game. Kofi misses a charge, balances the top rope, gets crotched, and then takes a sick elevated neckbreaker. That’s enough to win, but Miz adds the Skull Crushing Finale for good measure.
WINNER: The Miz via Skull Crushing Finale
RATING: 6/10. Would have liked a longer match, but the tag title match Sunday can absolve the sin of shortness.
Match 3: David Otunga/Michael McGillicutty vs. Jerry Lawler/Sheamus
McGillicutty and Lawler dancing around the concept of McGillicutty’s father without saying his name is a hoot. Say, didn’t Sheamus to try kill Lawler before? It’s like when Piper and Snuka teamed up at the 1989 Survivor Series. So the two kids get mauled unceremoniously, and the Celtic Cross (yep, lifted Finlay’s move) finishes Semi-Perfect.
WINNERS: Jerry Lawler and Sheamus via Celtic Cross
RATING: 2/10. WWE Did You Know: that there’s a PPV next week?
Match 4: John Cena/Bret Hart vs. Alberto Del Rio/Ricardo Rodriguez
Just for fun, they should have Bret dress in Cena’s gear, just to see how the Canadian fans react. We get some overt stereotyping with Cena using his shirt as a matador’s cape for Ricardo to charge at. Next week, he’s going to download tentacle-based hentai with Yoshi Tatsu and mock the size of genitals. As expected, ADR ditches Ricardo, Cena feeds Ricardo the AA, and Bret puts Ricardo in the Sharpshooter for the easy submission.
WINNERS: John Cena and Bret Hart
RATING: 3/10. I suddenly want to rewatch No Surrender. Eric, if you’re reading this, can I just review football until it’s Royal Rumble time?
Editor’s Note: You aren’t missing much. Another Patriots blow out in Miami.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention WWE’s 9/11 tribute, which brings up WWE’s live Smackdown from that week. Thankfully, the re-air excluded JBL and Stephanie McMahon’s comments. John Cena voices over an inspirational message. Whether you agree or disagree with WWE running the show, Vince McMahon’s “we will not live our lives in fear” is an amazing message, for as simple as it is.
Match 5: Kelly Kelly vs. Vickie Guerrero (Non Title Match)
Wes Welker just took a reception 99 yards for the touchdown, so I’m more into that right now. I hope you understand. They couldn’t play “Lie, Cheat, and Steal” for Vickie? Swagger comes out to argue with Dolph, to take the focus off the match. Kelly pins Vickie with a roll-up. Yeah. Jack Dolph and Vickie argue. Beth Phoenix makes a cameo just to be the Wile E Coyote to Kelly’s Road Runner.
WINNER: Kelly Kelly via roll up
RATING: 0/10. I’d rather perform a self-inflicted tracheotomy right now.
Match 6: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes (Non Title Match)
Give them at least eight minutes and all is forgiven. You don’t wanna mess with me, WWE, I’ll criticize you in a way that the other internet writers can only DREAM of. Cody Rhodes just gave me a paper bag, and it looks GREAT over the TV that’s airing Raw right now. Mark Henry comes out to at least sell the story of the PPV match, but Orton chases him off with a chair. Henry returns with his own chair as Orton slowly dissects the WWE Intercontinental Champion. Cody manages a nice springboard roundhouse, which would be epic if his dad did it. Match is building nicely with Cody in control, but the crowd’s dead from the pointless short matches. Nice spot where Cody tries his brother’s bulldog, but Orton throws him high for a counter. Henry gets closer and takes a seat, just to try and intimidate Orton. Cross Rhodes is countered into the rope assist DDT. The distractions prove too much, as Rhodes uses his face guard and the Cross Rhodes to win. Afterward, Henry mauls Orton to continue the story building to Sunday.
WINNER: Cody Rhodes via Cross Rhodes
RATING: 7/10. Hey, I liked it! Builds to Sunday, gives Cody a win, and makes Orton look vulnerable. It’s okay with me.
I sincerely hope HHH enters all board of director meetings to Motorhead. Punk plays the “I respect you, but I don’t like you” card to begin, and immediately wins the favor of the once-dying crowd. Punk begins making not-so-veiled steroid references, and Hunter, of course, interrupts. HHH brings up Michaels, Hart, and Mysterio, one that admitted to taking roids, one that failed a test in 1993, and the other….well, yeah. Triple H tries to say that the fans’ opinion means more than his, which is a bit iffy. Punk brings up the ice cream bars, just to provide continuity (and make me hungry). Punk brings up Survivor Series 2006 when the crowd cheered him over DX, and the crowd seems to remember. Hunter tries to say that Punk’s had a lot of opportunities, and maybe it’s himself, not management, that’s held Punk back. HHH cites Cena as an example of a success story, which won’t endear himself to the crowd any. HHH admits admiration for Punk for busting his ass, but Hunter goes on to say that this is personal, and turns into “wrestler” Triple H with threats. Punk begins to fire back, but the mic dies out of nowhere. Hunter takes the mic, and it works, but Punk takes it back and it dies again inexplicably. Hunter tries to give him a fresh mic, but Punk stares a hole through him. Punk takes the mic and blasts Hunter right in the face with it. The ending shot is Punk walking off with a smirk, leaving a stunned and angry Hunter in the ring.
SEGMENT RATING: 9/10. Punk, I thank you for coming through.
OVERALL: That last half hour saved this show from total suckitude. Orton/Henry and Punk/HHH are intriguing match-ups for Sunday, while Cena-ADR and Air Boom-Awesome Truth should both be good, in spite of the lack of good build tonight. Rest of the show was throwaway, but I’ll take the good stuff if I can get it.
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.