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Monthly Archives: July 2009

I wasn’t expecting to write anything until later in the week, as I wasn’t expecting to watch everything today.  But, in fact, I ended up watching the majority of Night of Champions today, then watched Raw, and just about an hour ago I watched ECW.  It was definitely too much WWE for one day, and I was getting rather sick of it by the end of ECW.  But I lowered my head and charged through, so I figured I’d write something to entertain you.

Night of Champions was…well, it’s tough to say, really.  As far as my picks went, I went a very acceptable 6 correct and 2 wrong.  Unfortunately, the two I got wrong were probably the two I felt most strongly about wanting to be correct, and am probably most disappointed in the WWE’s decision department for said decisions.  But let’s start from the top.

I found Jericho’s pick for his partner to be utterly brilliant.  I’ve not enjoyed watching The Big Show as of late, as I’ve thought his in-ring work to be very sluggish and dull.  This will help him out a lot.  Tagging in and out of a match will limit his in-ring time, allowing to hit a big move or two and tag out to Jericho, who taunts the crowd and generally angers everyone around him.  I honestly can’t remember the match much since I watched it Sunday night, but it wasn’t horrible.  At least, I didn’t think so.  Apparently, Vince McMahon was very frustrated and angry with this match.  But who cares what he thinks?  Jericho and Show retain, and I’m 1 for 1.

ECW Title match – I was shocked and pretty disappointed that Christian won.  The way I see it, Dreamer probably should have held the title for an entire year to make up for all the shit he’s gone through in WWE.  But, seeing as how we’re in The Year of the Title Change, a yearlong title reign seems entirely ridiculous now.  One of these days I may just go through every championship reign so far this year and calculate the average title reign’s length.  I bet it’s under two months.  Anyway, Dreamer’s got his rematch next week, he’ll lose, and then Christian will once again lead the pack on ECW and probably end up losing the title to Shelton or Kozlov or Regal (I’m crossing my fingers he loses to Regal).  Kozlov might not be doing much more singles competition, as it looks like he may just form a giant tag team with Ezekiel Jackson.  When was the last time you heard a tag team with a total combined weight of over 600 pounds?  I believe it was Big Show and Kane.  I’d buy into that tag team.  They could call it “Team Green.”  But I’m getting far off my original point.

Kofi Kingston retained his US Title in the Six-Pack Challenge.  I was actually quite disappointed they took Big Show out of this match and replaced him with, of all the people they could have replaced him with, Primo.  Yeesh.  Stick Mark Henry or Evan Bourne in there.  They’ve at least DONE something.  Anyway, the action was fun and fast-paced, just the way a six-pack challenge should be.  And since I picked Kofi to retain, I was 2 for 3 so far.

Michelle McCool retains the Women’s Championship.  No surprises there.  Though I was disappointed that there was not enough showcasing of Melina’s ridiculous flexibility.  I’d bend her into a pretzel any day…oh, what?  I’m still writing the column?  Damn…

I was again quite surprised that the WWE Title match was on this early in the night.  It was a damn good match, mind you.  But it would have upstaged the eventual main event had it gone on any later.  And when you put a world title match in the middle of a card, the champion is almost guaranteed to retain.  Which he did.  Everyone made everyone else look great, and it was a very enjoyable match.  My favorite moment was when Orton had both the sharpshooter and the crippler crossface locked on him simultaneously, and he tapped, but the ref didn’t call for the bell because he didn’t know which submission Orton was tapping out to, so he just let HHH and Cena stretch Orton for a while longer.  I was also quite impressed by Orton’s hangtime on his missed RKO attempt on Cena.  He hung in the air for what felt like minutes, even though it was maybe three seconds.  But that was awesome.  Somewhat predictable finish with Rhodes and Dibiase interfering and Orton getting the quick RKO and pin because of said interference.  Still, a damned good match.  Sadly, not the end of this whole fiasco, but hopefully soon it will be.

Mickie James wins the Diva’s Title.  Yay.

Yet more surprises.  I wouldn’t have thought WWE would have put a PPV newbie like Dolph Ziggler on second-to-last, but they did.  He did okay, but it was Rey’s stellar performance that saved this match from being…well, not very good.  There are reports that, as early as Sunday afternoon, Ziggler was set to win the title.  But minds changed and Rey was then booked to retain.  I wonder what caused that change of heart.  Either way, it puts another mark in my win column, and at this point I’m 6 for 7.  I was thinking how awesome it would be to write that I went 7 for 8 in picks for Night of Champions.

But that was not to be.  WWE goaded Jeff Hardy to stay another month by having CM Punk drop the title to him.  This result probably disappointed me the most.  There was so much effort put into crafting Punk’s heel persona, so much mic time and lots of matches where he grew from being a conflicted tweener to a full-blown heel, and he puts on a wonderful heel show inside the ring only to have his title taken away from him.  Punk as a champion, I bet, is a hell of a lot more entertaining than Punk as the guy chasing the title.  But then again I’ve yet to really see him chase the title, so it all remains to be seen.  Still, I think that Punk deserves a lot for his efforts, both on the mic and in the ring.  He’s transitioned perfectly from full-blown face to sinister heel and the crowd has eaten it up.  He’d better stay in the main event for a long time, since there are no other heels waiting in the wings for a main event run.  Not even close.

So, all told, my picks were damn good, and the show itself was pretty good, but the two picks I got wrong really tainted the experience, since those two matches were probably the two I would have been most disappointed in had the titles changed hands, which they ended up doing.  Now, on to Raw.

I wasn’t expecting a great performance out of Shaquille O’Neal, the world’s tallest Black Irishman, but he put on one hell of a show tonight.  He was entertaining, funny, and downright awesome during that last segment in particular.  He had a halfway decent segment with Hornswoggle which resulted in the leprechaun getting injured, which I found hilarious, and he had a great segment with Santino where they were playing, of all things, Scrabble.  He even had a backstage segment with Michael Cole where Cole humiliated himself.  I think he loves it that the crowd hates him.  I respect him for that.  I also respect him for being the only guy who I got any physical contact from at The Bash.  Everyone else skipped over me.

I’m very conflicted when it comes to the Beat the Clock gimmick.  On the plus side, it adds a sense of pressure to the matches involved in it.  On the minus side, the outcomes are almost too predictable.  The first guy always sets the time to beat, and it’s always the last guy who beats the time and becomes the #1 Contender.  This was no different.  Mark Henry’s match was first, and he set a very unimpressive time of 6 minutes 49 seconds.  But thanks to the return of Chris Masters (who, by the way, looks really strange in the face), some Legacy scheming, and the greatest win in the history of time, John Cena wins the challenge and goes on to face Orton at Summerslam.  I was very disappointed that MVP seemingly got the worst result of all five competitors in the Beat the Clock Challenge.  He gets choked out by Chris Masters outside causing a double count-out just three minutes into their match.  Utterly lame.  At least HHH went the distance against Cody Rhodes while forced to wrestle on one leg thanks to Dibiase cracking a tire iron across the back of HHH’s leg.  And, in what was quite possibly one of the most satisfying moments in WWE history, Evan Bourne got a clean pinfall victory over Jack Swagger.  I was so fucking happy that happened I nearly had to change my pants afterward.  I actually was fearful that Swagger was going to win the challenge and stink up Summerslam with Swagger Tactics.  There would be no winner in that match.  Let’s hope this means an actual push for Bourne and the eventual complete and total burial of Swagger.

Let me do a quick aside.  I want to discuss amateur wrestlers in WWE.  Yes, lots of the guys nowadays have amateur backgrounds, but I want to talk briefly about those whose amateur background is a defining point of their character.  I have a theory that the quality of these wrestlers has declined sharply ever since the first one, Kurt Angle, made his presence known to the WWF back in the day.  Since then, we’ve had quite a few amateur-heavy wrestlers.  I’m not going to name them all, since I don’t think it’s possible to, but I’ll give a list of those I can think of: Brock Lesnar, Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, Bobby Lashley, and now Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler.  In almost every case, each wrestler is progressively less impresive than the man preceding him.  Angle was, admittedly, probably the best of them all.  I wasn’t watching WWE when Brock Lesnar was around, so I can’t honestly comment on his time in WWE.  Shelton and Charlie were good back in, say, 2004, when they were being mentored by Angle, but now they’re both unfortunately very dull competitors, Haas especially.  Lashley was becoming a strong competitor, but got cut before he could truly make an impact.  And now we’ve got Swagger.  By far the worst out of all these wrestlers with actual  amateur backgrounds.  It’s starting to get as though I’m looking forward to actual wrestlers less and less and hoping for awesome gimmicks more and more.  I’m hoping for the high-flyers more than the ground-and-pounders, and I’ll take great mic work over Swagger Tactics any day of the week.  Now, Ziggler’s looking like he’ll break this trend, but he needs to cool off.  I know his character is a hothead, but he personally needs to take a step back and work without looking like he’s flustered all the time.

On another aside, I love how, when Ziggler’s getting ready for his matches, when he sits Maria down, he pats her on the head.  I find that adorable, probably because Maria’s so damned adorable and looks like she actually finds what Dolph does cute.  Anyhow, back to Raw.

The final segment, with Shaq as the special enforcer, was hum-drum until Shaq got in the ring.  I completely marked out when Shaq grabbed Big Show around the throat.  It was beyond awesome.  And then there was the totally “meh” shoulder tackle on Show to end the night.  I would have loved a big roundhouse punch or a clothesline to knock Show off his feet.  But what’s done is done.  Shaq had a great showing on Raw.

Now, for ECW…I can’t honestly remember much, even though I just watched it a couple of hours ago.  Let’s see…okay, for one, I see no bright future for Tyler Reks.  Any and all of his athleticism looks forced, and his gimmick is just generally irritating.  Perhaps it’s because I hate surfers, but I digress…I really do hope that Kozlov and Ezekiel team up, if only a few times, because even though Ezekiel is green as the hills of Scotland, I’ll admit I’d mark out like crazy to watch these two compete against each other, beating the ever-loving shit out of smaller guys to prove that one is stronger than the other.  Let’s see…what else…oh, I know!  Sheamus really needs to start wearing more clothing or put some powder on his body, because he’s blinding the audience with his porcelain skin.  Seriously, his skin is whiter than his teeth.  He makes Kevin Thorn look like Elijah Burke, for chrissakes!  I know he’s a proud Irishman, but for the love of god, when we can’t see what’s happening because your alabaster skin is blinding us, you’re not doing it right.  And finally, I have to admit that Zack Ryder did a darn good job in his match against Christian.  I’m also looking forward very much to Christian vs. Dreamer EXTREME RULES next week, though I think we all know what the outcome of that is going to be.

Okay, that’s it for me for now.  Any night I write 2200 words is a good night in my humble opinion.  I’ve got some ideas for Top 5 Lists to fill the time between now and Summerslam, so I’ll probably get to work on those.  And if you’ve got any suggestions for lists I should make or topics you’d like to see me rant about, you can always leave a comment or send me a message.  I think WordPress allows that.  Anyway, I’ll be back later on, maybe with a list, maybe with something else.  But you can rest assured that I will be back.  I’ll see you then.

It’s that time again.  Let’s jump right into the picks.

Women’s Championship: Michelle McCool (c) vs. Melina – McCool’s win at The Bash was a miscarriage of justice.  It doesn’t help that the women’s division on Smackdown is pathetically thin at the moment.  I still don’t think McCool was ever deserving of a title in the first place.  Melina, on the other hand, has shown so much improvement in the ring the last couple of years it’s stunning.  Is she going to get her title back?  Probably not.  Though I truly would love to watch a few Melina vs. Natalya matches for the title.  But WWE has a tendency to just kind of give their womens’ titles to someone and then forget about it for six months (*COUGH*Maryse*COUGH*), so maybe Michelle’s going to hold the title for a while before getting dethroned by another undeserving lady.  The Smackdown women’s division needs a serious shot in the arm soon if we’re to believe there are any actual contenders for the title if Melina loses on Sunday.  Which she probably will.  Michelle McCool wins, possibly through illegal means.

Diva’s Championship: Maryse (c) vs. Mickie James – I said that Michelle McCool’s win at The Bash was a miscarriage of justice.  Well, Maryse’s title reign is the biggest one in recent memory.  The fact that she’s the longest reigning champion in WWE is actually kind of sad.  I am praying that Mickie wins and once again has a title to hold aloft.  I’d expect this to be the bathroom break match of the night.  I don’t really want to think about it much, so I’ll just say Mickie James wins to become only the third Diva’s champion in WWE history.

Unified Tag Team Championship: Chris Jericho & ? (c) vs. Legacy – Up until last week, you could not have convinced me otherwise that Dolph Ziggler was not going to be Jericho’s partner for this match.  Hell, he still likely will be.  But with an Intercontinental Championship match also on the bill for Ziggy, chances are slim that he’ll be Jericho’s partner.  We saw Jericho talking to Kane on Smackdown, so perhaps we’ll get those two as a team.  Or we could get a turn from either Rhodes or Dibiase.  I could speculate for another thousand words, but I don’t think I need to, since I’m sure plenty of that has already been done by other people making their picks.  As it stands, I figured Legacy was going to win the titles when Edge was still healthy.  But since both Dibiase and Rhodes are battling various injuries, maybe it’d be better for Jericho and his mystery partner to hold the titles for a little longer.  Maybe Jericho’s partner will be someone returning from injury.  Probably not, though.  I’d still think Ziggler’s the top pick, and you know these two would have excellent chemistry together.  Plus, it’ll give Ziggler a huge rub and welcome him into the spotlight.  So for now, I’ll pick Jericho and his partner to win.  Though if he ends up finding no one, the choice is a lot more obvious.

United States Championship Six-Pack Challenge: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. The Big Show vs. MVP vs. Carlito vs. Jack Swagger vs. The Miz – I could argue for days about how half the people in this match don’t deserve to be in the match.  Oh, hell, I’ll do it anyway.  What business do Carlito, Swagger, and The Miz have in this match?  None of them have proved their worth enough to receive any sort of singles championship match.  Carlito just lost the tag team titles, so what gives him the right to immediately be in line for a singles title?  Swagger’s the least entertaining guy on the roster, so why does he get a shot?  And Miz…well, after all those weeks of hype, he had a sub-par match with Cena at The Bash (I should know…I was there after all) and another match with Cena the next night and lost.  What has he done since then?  Failed to go on a date with Maryse?  How does that warrant a United States Title Match?  I’ll tell you who should be in that match: Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, and…um…Santino Marella.  Why?  Because Henry pinned Randy Orton his first night on Raw, Evan Bourne is the fastest-rising young guy in WWE, and Santino provides almost unlimited comedy.  Yes, with that lineup it’s a face-heavy match, but hey, they can all gang up on The Big Show and then see who’s the best.  As far as the match at hand goes, Show’s been built up as the unstoppable force, as usual.  But Kofi’s resilience and fortitude have also been discussed at length by the announcers.  So it pretty much will come down to one of those two.  And when you think about it, Kofi’s got more upside than Show as a champion.  Because Kofi’s going to be a fighting champion, always challenged, always entertaining.  Show won’t have a believable contender ever.  So I’m going to give the win to Kofi Kingston to retain his title.  The rest of these guys are either ready to move on up or slide back down into the lower card.

Intercontinental Championship: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler – This should prove to be a very important match in the career of young Nick Nemeth, alias Dolph Ziggler.  He started out as a cheerleader, and now he’s on the verge of beating one of the most popular wrestlers WWE has ever had.  Rey’s on par with Ricky Steamboat as one of the most universally loved performers ever, and beating him is a huge boost for anyone, especially a young guy who’s never held a major singles’ title before.  Is this Ziggy’s night?  Tough to say.  Rey’s only held the title for a month.  Seeing as how the IC Title has been bounced around more than a pinball, I’d find it much more worthwhile for Ziggler to win the title after Mysterio’s held it for a while.  But maybe it’s time for Dolph to continue moving on up.  It’s tough to say.  I’d bet this feud’s got more life in it, and since Ziggler’s likely to be Jericho’s partner, I’m going to say Rey Mysterio retains his title, at least for now.  I’d bet on a rematch for Summerslam if this one is pulled off well.

ECW Championship: Tommy Dreamer (c) vs. Christian – A Christian heel turn has been building for a while, and who else thinks that they’re going to pull the trigger on Sunday?  I certainly do.  Having multiple challengers for his ECW Title is the best way for Tommy Dreamer to hold onto it longer.  He deserves a long title run after all the shit he’s been put through at the hands of WWE Creative.  Give him a year or so.  With plenty of vets to challenge him now and new faces waiting in the wings to take him on later, Dreamer’s got plenty of time to keep the title.  I can’t wait for some Dreamer/Regal matches.  At least, I hope that we get some.  As for the match itself, you’ve got two workhorses working their craft and representing their brand by themselves, so you bet this is going to be a fun match.  I think Tommy Dreamer will retain, followed by a show of good sportsmanship ruined by Christian’s anger.  Then we get Dreamer vs. Regal, Dreamer vs. Kozlov, Dreamer vs Burchill, Dreamer vs. Ryder, and on and on.

World Heavyweight Championship: CM Punk (c) vs. Jeff Hardy – This match is unfortunately one of the more obvious choices.  Not because Punk’s a better champion than Hardy, but because of the logistics behind the situation at hand.  I’m sure you’ve all heard that Hardy’s contract is up very soon and he hasn’t resigned.  So putting the title on a guy who’s likely to leave soon would be foolish at best.  Of course, we did get a 1-day Batista title reign (which I’m nominating for the worst title reign in recent history, only challenged by Maryse’s Diva’s title reign and The Great Khali’s title reign a couple of years back), so I suppose anything’s possible.  But what I’m looking most forward to is the Punk/Morrison feud that’s on the cusp of happening.  All that needs to be done is for Punk to dispatch Hardy, and that’s about as sure of a bet as you can take.  So CM Punk retains his title and continues on as one of the most elitist wrestlers this side of Chris Jericho.

WWE Championship Triple Threat Match: Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena vs. HHH – This feud has gotten to the point where I honestly could not care at all who wins.  It no longer matters to me who finally comes out on top of the Orton/HHH feud.  I just want it to be over so we can see some new guys get their shots for the WWE Title.  I just hope these three put on a hell of a show and end their respective feuds for the time being.  It’s overstayed its welcome by several months.  Randy Orton retains.

So, if you’re counting, that’s ONE title I’ve picked to change hands.  I wonder if WWE will be as bland as I am…I’ll be back in a couple of days to let you know how badly my picks went, and to plead to WWE for a series of high-profile matches between Mike Knox and The Great Khali.  Because, as you all know, these two had an epic 5-star encounter on Smackdown, and I know that everyone wants to see these two in main event matches around the world, fighting for every championship, fighting for an hour or more, taking each other to the limit night after night!  Who’s with me?  YEAH!

Until next time.

I’m going to deviate from my usual WWE rantings to talk just briefly about TNA, specifically the couple of minutes I watched tonight.  I’ve already read the spoilers for the next couple of weeks (I enjoy seeing a company self-destruct on a weekly basis), so I know what’s happened.  And I do follow the company through the spoilers on the Wrestleview website, as well as PPV results.  So I know what happens.  I just don’t care to watch it happen.  Tonight really reminded me why I don’t watch TNA.  First off, I’d been hearing for months that Samoa Joe has looked awful.  I didn’t realize it until tonight, when I caught the aftermath of his match with Homicide, when Hernandez made the save.  Joe looks terrible.  You would think that after this long he’d get back into the shape he was in before he left for a while.  But he still looks out of shape (and yes, I realize that as a fatass myself it’s like the pot calling the kettle overweight), and I would bet his matches are suffering as a result.  But, like I said, I don’t watch the show, so I don’t know if he’s still working matches like he was a year ago.  I would have considered him kind of a role model in the wrestling world a couple of years ago.  Now…not so much.  And I have to think that whatever Taz says about loving being in TNA is an outright exaggeration.  I can’t honestly believe that anyone who’s worked for the big time and moves down to #2 thinks it’s better.  Sure, the actual wrestling portion is freer, the promos are less restricted thanks to the TV14 rating, and you only have one show a week.  But the booking is god-awful at best, and it’s just not the same company it was a few years back.  We see guys who are past their prime at the top of the heap week in and week out, when they should instead be retired and living at home with their families.  Not putting on sub-par matches and looking like a fucking serial killer.

And speaking of looking like a serial killer…I’d read several peoples’ reports on how Kurt Angle looks like he’s losing his mind.  Well, I can say now that I agree with those people.  For the one minute I could stand watching him, he looked like a textbook madman.  He had this insane look in his eyes I don’t ever remember seeing before, and his unkempt, ungroomed hair and face only add to the image of a sociopath.  I wonder if sometimes he actually believes the words that are coming out of his mouth.  Now add to this a bunch of guys around his age who all look like they were taken from nursing homes and you’ve got a recipe for pure failure.  Nash looks like he was woken up from his afternoon nap to stand around in the ring and watch Kurt look even more like a nutjob.  Same goes for Foley.  Booker and Steiner…well, at least they look a little less…old.  But Steiner still looks like a freak, and Booker’s age shows mostly through his face.  Seriously, these five…no…we really should include Sting in this argument.  These six really just need to retire and give TNA back to the younger guys, the TNA stalwarts, the guys who still have some good matches left in them.  Let Styles, Daniels, LAX, those guys, let them take TNA back over and try to bring it back to what it was years back.

You know what the first step in accomplishing this is, right?  Fire Russo.  The crowds have been chanting this for years.  Why not listen to them for once instead of the suits backstage?  Give the fans what they want.  Simple as that.

Okay, that’s my bit on TNA.  I’ll be back this weekend with picks for Night oF Champions, once the card is complete.  I will say one more thing before I go: is anyone else looking forward to an Edge/Jericho feud as I am?  Get well soon, Edge.

I haven’t written here in a while, and I have yet to complete watching Smackdown, so instead of commenting on that, I’m going to give you wonderful people a random Top 5 List, because I know you’ve all been waiting for me to write something for the past six days.  Here are my Top 5 Oddest Possible Tag Teams With Actual Potential

5. Santino Marella and Festus – two comedy wrestlers put together.  Why not?  Both of their respective careers are circling the drain at the moment.  Why not give them a kick in the pants and bring a little fun to the tag team division?  It’s a little stale as of late.  There hasn’t been a new tag team introduced since The Hart Dynasty, and that was months ago.  And especially with the breakup of Primo and Carlito, a new team needs to step up.  And why not put these two together?  And if it doesn’t work out, at least you could make Santino Festus’ manager.  It’s be great.  Trust me.

4. Finlay and Kane – this would require a Finlay heel turn, which he is in desperate need of.  He really needs to get rid of that Hornswoggle music and go back to his original theme.  Anyway, I think these two would be a true dynamic duo.  Both guys’ singles’ careers are flat at best right now, and since we’re looking for entertainment, why not put two of the savviest vets in the company together?  Finlay and Kane know damn well how to work matches, and both are fairly well established tag team wrestlers, Kane in particular.  So why not stick them in the same boat and have them tear through the Smackdown roster?  It’ll be fun!

3. Vladimir Kozlov and William Regal – Yes, I know these guys teamed together already.  But that was one time, and we haven’t seen Regal on ECW since.  I loved these two together.  Both are vicious, brutal athletes and can take their opponents to the limit any time they want.  Regal works over opponents with brawling and counter holds, and Kozlov brings the pain with strikes and sambo moves.  It’s a great combination.  Plus, they’d be perfect tweeners with Regal saying one thing and Kozlov misinterpreting it, so they get a laugh out of the audience.  I think it’d work well.

2. R-Truth and The Great Khali – Again, these two have teamed before.  And I thought it was hilarious when they did.  But they somehow actually worked as a team, which I loved even more.  Like everyone else on this list so far, these two have dwindling singles careers at the moment.  So why not add to the insanity of this new tag team division by putting one hell of an athlete and R-Truth in a tag team?  All kidding aside, Truth’s got natural charisma, and Khali…well, he sure is big.  I’d love to see these two have some fun both inside and outside the ring, and I bet the audiences would eat it up.

And the #1 Oddest Possible Tag Team With Actual Potential is…

Evan Bourne and Mark Henry! You read it right.  Now, I realize that both of these guys are actually on the rise on Raw right now, but maybe once their singles careers cool off a bit, they’d form a tag team of pure awesome.  Some of you may have noticed that most of these teams have a large size disparity between the two members.  That’s because, for some ungodly reason, that formula works really well.  The smaller guy does his flippy-do stuff, gets caught with a big move, and spends the next 10 minutes getting a royal beatdown until he makes the hot tag to his burly counterpart, who cleans house and sets up the win.  It works wonders even today.  And these two are the biggest contrast of them all.  You’ve got one of the best overall performers in Bourne, who’s just ridiculously over with the crowd, and then you’ve got Henry, probably the best big man in the company today.  Put them together and what do you have?  A recipe for success, that’s what you’ve got.  I could see these two winning titles together.  I actually could.

So that’s my contribution for today.  Like my picks?  Think I’m an idiot?  Leave a comment.  I always respond.  I’ll be back again in a few days with…something…I don’t really know yet.  But you’ll be the first to know once I figure it out!

I hope you enjoyed the Golden Rantie Awards.  Perhaps I’ll do it again in about six months.  But for now, I think it’s high time I give you my Referee Ratings.  We all know them, some of us love them, and we all know that they’re the most important guys in the ring, because only they can count 1-2-3.  They help control the pace of the action, and help wrestlers young and old work matches and make sure that every man and woman who steps through those ropes looks like a million bucks.  Am I overhyping the refs?  Maybe a little.  But you can’t deny that they’re damned important.  Since there are 9 WWE referees (a new guy just worked his first match this evening on Raw, so I can’t really comment on him much), I’ll go through their pros and cons a little more quickly than I did at the Golden Rantie Awards.

Let’s start off with a veteran ref: Charles Robinson.  This guy has been around for about 15 years, and his experience shows nowadays.  Robinson is a former WCW referee, and has been working with WWE for about 8 years.  He’s the only lefty ref, which has got to mean something.  What, I’m not sure.  So, why is he first?  Well, a lot of people actually like Charles.  He’s a very consistent ref, and isn’t afraid to get into the fray like some refs I will be discussing later in this post.  Robinson’s counts are usually very consistent and steady (though he did rush a pin count tonight on Raw) and he’s got a strong voice that can rise over the audience around him.  He’s also great at selling if he ever gets hit by a wrestler by accident.  Definitely one of the best in the business at what he does.

From Charles Robinson, we go to another longtime veteran referee: Mike Chioda.  Mike’s been the man in the striped shirt for over 15 years, and, much like Robinson, is a very keen and consistent ref.  His voice, when counting, is very strong (sometimes even booming), and his counts are extremely consistent.  He’s also willing to pull a wrestler off of another when a rule is being broken, and he’s not afraid to scold a wrestler for breaking the rules.  He does seem to have a tendency to check a wrestler’s shoulders when pinfalls are being made, which slows the eventual count, but that’s a minor issue.  Otherwise, WWE’s got two solid, talented referees in these two.

And since we’re on the subject of vets, I might as well give you the other real WWE vet: Jack Doan.  Doan’s been around, again, for about 15 years, and, much like the two that preceeded him, is a very strong, consistent referee.  He may be better known as “the ref who gets to call all the diva’s matches,” as he did back on Smackdown a few years back.  I think Jerry Lawler once called him “the luckiest ref in the business.”  I may be making things up.  Either way, Doan is a true vet, with consistent counts, a good voice, and doesn’t mind getting into the middle of the action.  Unlike Chioda, however, Doan doesn’t usually check the shoulders before starting a pinfall count.  His counts are a touch fast, but they never vary, so that’s a big bonus for him.  I’d be happy if these guys were the only three refs in the company.  But then I’d be leaving out my favorite ref.

Who is my favorite referee, you ask?  Why, it’s none other than John Cone.  Cone’s WWE career started out shortly after the rebirth of ECW.  He was one of the men in black who had to control the wild and crazy guys like The Sandman and Sabu, all while helping younger guys come up to the big time.  Cone is probably the most fearless referee, always jumping into the action when a rule is being broken and never afraid to reprimand a heel for nearly getting disqualified.  His voice is powerful, so we all know what the count is, whether it be for a pinfall, a count-out, or a potential disqualification.  His pinfall counts are a little inconsistent, but that’s probably because he hasn’t been around as the previous three refs.  Still, I love it when a ref gets involved in a match instead of just staring and counting the pinfalls.

Let’s see…who’s next?  How about Chad Patton.  No relation to Mike Patton as far as I know.  We don’t get to see Chad very often.  Usually just during PPVs when there are a lot of matches on the card.  Patton is somewhat nondescript, fairly average, middle-of-the-road type of ref.  Consistent counts, decent voice, and while he doesn’t get involved with wrestlers as often as, say, John Cone, he’s not afraid to let them know if they’ve broken the rules.  He’s been around for about 10 years, so he knows the craft, and he knows to stay out of the way.  Which is sometimes good, and sometimes bad.  But still, he’s definitely not even close to the worst ref.

Marty Elias…O Ye of the Fabled Faste Counte.  I always wondered if wrestlers working a match with Marty as the ref had to remember that he counted faster than other refs and had to prepare to kick out of a pinfall earlier than usual.  But to be fair, Marty has slowed his count considerably over the past year or so, and is very consistent.  His voice isn’t the loudest, so we don’t always know where we are in a count-out count, but that’s okay since he uses his hands.  He has very good facial expressions as well, expressing disdain when a wrestler breaks the rules and doesn’t break an illegal hold until a count of four.  That much has got to be worth a few extra points.  And, since I’m being completely honest here, I liked Marty back when he had hair.  Kind of like Batista.  Guys who shave their heads are creepy.

Just two left.  Aaron Mahoney (very likely no relation to Balls Mahoney) is the second-newest WWE ref (behind the mysterious new ref we saw during the Big Show/Evan Bourne massacre of a match).  And while his inexperience does show at times, he’s usually very good at keeping wrestlers in line.  Plus, he’s the only ambidextrous ref in the company.  So no matter where a pinfall is taking place, he’s ready with at least one arm for the count.  He’ll only get better with time.

And now, it’s time to discuss the worst referee in WWE: Scott Armstrong.  I haven’t liked this guy since he started working in ECW back during the rebirth.  I’d always thought that if WWE was going to compress the referee staff, that they would have kept Mike Posey from ECW instead of Armstrong.  Posey was younger, more direct, and had a more consistent count.  Armstrong’s pinfall counts vary wildly as far as timing is concerned.  He always counts the final pinfall of the match faster than every other count, and he’s very often out of position when a pinfall occurrs.  He’s also very reluctant to get into the middle of things if a brawl is beginning to break out, and when a DQ count should start, he usually waits about five seconds before beginning the count.  Also, I just don’t like his face.  WWE would be better without him.

So those are my opinions on the WWE referees.  If you’ve got any thoughts, questions, what have you, feel free to leave a comment.  I’m always open to discussion.

One quick note about Raw tonight.  If you don’t want the guest host for tonight ruined, stop reading now.  For those of you who have seen it, didn’t Seth Green look like a child in the ring with the rest of those guys?  I swear, it looked like a bunch of grown men and a nine-year-old trying to wrestle with them.  It was weird.  But at least he was entertaining.  I doubt this “special guest host” thing will last very long, though, as it’s already starting to get stale.  Raw needs stability!  Bring someone back as GM!  Hell, you were promising Ric Flair a job, then pulled it away from him.  Why not give him the GM job?  People’d love it.  Trust me.  I think I’d do pretty darn well as a writer/booker for the company.  I think, anyway.

Yes, folks, it’s that time again for tradition to take over, where we honor those we feel most deserve the coveted Golden Rantie Award for the first half of the calendar year 2009.  Okay, so I know that this isn’t necessarily tradition seeing as how I’ve never done this before.  But hey, tradition has to start somewhere, so I’m starting tonight!  I’ll be giving out some of the more obvious awards (best wrestler (male and female), best finisher, etc.) and some…unorthodox ones (like the Mike Knox Award for “How the fuck do I still have a job?”).  Most of these are going to be made up straight off the top of my head, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the First Ever Semi-Annual Golden Rantie Awards! *insert applause here*

Our first award of the night is one that many young up-and-comers in the world of sports entertainment are gunning for.  But there can only be one.  This half-year’s Rookie of the Year (So Far) goes to…

Tyson Kidd.  The last graduate of the Hart Dungeon truly lives up to his claim that he “broke the Hart Family Dungeon mold” when he graduated.  This kid (no pun intended) is quick, agile, and can mat wrestle with the best of them.  I bet he could beat Jack Swagger in a traditional wrestling match.  Not only is he well-trained at ground wrestling, but he’s a terrific high-flyer, and can pull off some beautiful moves from the top rope.  Mix that all together with a touch of throwback to the mid 1980’s style, and you’ve got a recipe for immense success.  Sure, the Hart Dynasty will help him for now, but there are big, BIG things in the future for this guy.  I look forward to his first world title win.

Our next award is, well…not as prestigious.  The For the Love of God, Just Retire Already! Award goes to…

The Big Show! Yes, this lumbering mass of humanity is definitely over the hill.  His career has dwindled to jobbing to John Cena for months, followed by an unimportant upcoming feud with the cruiserweights of Raw.  His glory days are behind him (were they ever truly there to begin with?), and he just needs to hang up his boots once and for all.  It’s time to pass the Monster on Raw gimmick to Mark Henry, who’s apparently going to take a run at the Monster Face gimmick, a very rare breed indeed.

Okay, we’re 1% done with these awards, so let’s get a move on!  These next four awards all have one thing in common: turns!  Yes, for ages, the turn has caused so much fan reaction that, in some cases, people have threatened wrestlers with death!  I’m really just making that up!  So, the award for Best Face Turn goes to…well…my goodness, ladies and gentlemen.  It appears we have a TIE in this category!  In that case, the WINNERS of this award are:

John Morrison and Mark Henry! Yes, I’m as surprised as you are that I’m giving a positive award to Henry.  But damnit, the man’s worked his ass off for ten years, and with his performance against Randy Orton two weeks ago, he’s leapt into the spotlight.  Which I’ll admit I find hard to believe, seeing as how I can barely envision Henry leaping anywhere in the first place.  But it’s well-deserved.  He’s paid his dues, he’s taken his spots, and it’s time to let him have his moment in the sun.  Morrison, on the other hand, was a face turn made out of necessity, as the Smackdown face roster was heavily depleted by the 2009 Draft and injuries, and damned if Morrison’s not taking full advantage of it.  He’s on track for a World Title shot very soon, perhaps after Summerslam (or even *GASP* AT Summerslam?) with CM Punk.  These two had a sensational feud a couple of years ago, and there’s no argument from me for rehashing the feud.  These two ought to make a real impact in the near future (you see how I used the word “impact” like the WWE announcers do 800 times an episode?  Because they’re probably trying to make fun of TNA?  HUH?).

On the flip side, the award for Worst Face Turn goes to…

Montel Vontavious Porter! Yes, I realize that he was a face last year, but I’m grandfathering in MVP’s turn.  You know why?  Two reasons: first, the way in which he was turned face was one of the most degrading ways in which to turn a major heel into a major face: he lost 5 straight months’ worth of matches.  Not cool.  Second, he’s just not a very good face.  We’ve seen his work for years on Smackdown as a heel, and he was by far one of the best at pissing off a crowd.  Plus, he was great at controlling a match while not engaging in Swagger Tactics (see several of my previous articles for the definition of Swagger Tactics).  He’s just not convincing as a face.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to hear the crowd chant his name, because he’s well deserving of the praise.  But I wish they’d chant his name because they’re impressed by his in-ring skills, not because he’s a happy-go-lucky guy.  Also, his face turn appears to have been stalled completely what with HHH back and chasing Orton again, and Cena now in the mix.  Will MVP ever get his shot at glory?  Maybe, but he’ll have to turn heel again to make it convincing.

The Best Heel Turn award goes to…

CM Punk! I realize that his heel turn isn’t fully complete (but then again, I haven’t watched Smackdown from yesterday yet, so don’t spoil anything for me), but I love that they’re going the slow burn to Heelsville with Punk.  Though they’re not quite going about it how I would have.  Still, having Punk as a heel helps bolster a Smackdown roster that’s desperate for strong talent.  And since there’s going to be a gaping hole in the lineup with Edge gone, it falls to Punk to be the next great elitist, egotistical…well, punk, that he can be.  I look forward to him turning fully heel and poking fun at the audience for not being as good as he is.

And the Worst Heel Turn award goes to…

Matt Hardy! Everyone wanted Christian to be the guy to cost Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship, reunite with Edge, and reign supreme over Smackdown for years to come.  Instead, we get a lame-ass Matt Hardy heel turn and Christian on ECW.  What the hell?  Hardy’s been nothing but a whiny little whine-bag who can’t keep his whine-hole shut.  He’s one of the least convincing heels ever, he’s bad at controlling a match the way a heel should, and his heel character is so bland and dull that I sometimes forget that he was entertaining.  For the love of jeebus, turn him back!

The Mike Knox Award for “How the Fuck Do I Still Have a Job?” award is a very prestigious award.  But not prestigious in a good way.  This year, there were many, MANY nominees…and it appears that they’ve all won!  This year’s winners are (in no particular order):

The Brian Kendrick, Festus, Jamie Noble, Jillian Hall, Maryse, Hornswoggle, Charlie Haas, Curt Hawkins, Jesse, Jimmy Wang Yang, Funaki, Ricky Ortiz, The Great Khali, Layla, DJ Gabriel, Ezekiel Jackson, Tyler Reks, Zack Ryder, and (of course) Mike Knox!

Some of these choices are more obvious than others.  Guys like Knox, Ezekiel, and Ortiz have shown little to no improvement in the ring and shouldn’t be pushed because of their limited movesets and limited charisma.  Some guys, like Gabriel, Jesse & Festus, Kendrick, Noble, and any other cruiserweight on the roster, simply were never given pushes equal to their talent level, which is a crying shame, since guys like Jesse and Jimmy Yang are tremendous talents and deserve more than the pathetic excuse for screen time they get.  And some…well, it’s pretty obvious why people like Khali and Maryse should be gone.  I know it seems a little harsh to put Tyler Reks on the list, since he’s had all of two TV matches.  But his last match with Ryder was a 13 minute suckfest, and he’s not showing me anything impressive in the ring.  Plus, he’s lost his first two matches.  When was the last time you remember a new talent losing his first two matches only to become a multiple-time world champion?  I challenge you to find one.  Because I’m too damn lazy to find out for myself.

The “Holy Shit, What Am I Going To Do Now?” Award goes to those whom I deem should not have been released by the company.  And guess what?  We’ve got ANOTHER TIE!  This year’s award goes to:

Every Samoan wrestler released by WWE! For the purposes of this award, I’ll narrow this list down to four: Afa Sr., Afa Jr., Umaga, and Sim Snuka.  Afa Sr. was a backstage guy, and I think that severing ties with one of the true legends of the sport was a big mistake, especially since his son was also cut.  You probably knew him as Manu for the all of ten minutes he was on TV.  I always thought he had more talent and far more potential in the ring than either Rhodes or Dibiase.  Sure, he wasn’t the best talker, but that’s what having a manager is all about!  Afa Jr. had tons of potential, and he was dropped like a hot cup of coffee.  Snuka…well, I know he wasn’t really Samoan, but he was at least pretty talented in the ring and on the mic.  But when they broke up Deuce & Domino, it was pretty well his career death knell.  I think, had WWE kept Manu and Snuka in Legacy, we’d have a much more entertaining faction ruling Raw right now.  And you all know my thoughts on Umaga.  Sure, his character was ruined when he spoke perfect English to CM Punk.  But he was still one of the most entertaining guys to watch in the ring.  Sure, there was controversy about drugs, but I think that had he agreed to go to rehab, he would have come back and been right at the top for a long time.

Which reminds me, the Chris Jericho Award for Largest Improvement in Vocabulary Award goes to…

My goodness!  We have an upset!  The winner is, in fact, Umaga! We may have to change the name of this award.  Jericho had the lead for quite some time, calling the fans mucilaginous tapeworms and whatnot, but damnit, when you go from grunting and speaking in what I could only guess was some form of Samoan to speaking perfect goddamned English in a heartbeat, you’ve got to win this award.  Sure, WWE tried to cover up the whole incident by glossing over the details of how Umaga challenged CM Punk to a Samoan Strap Match, but the damage had been done (and the award secured).  Congratulations to Umaga, the only man to win two awards and not be employed by WWE!

The Worst Title Reign Award goes to…

Batista! His not-even-one-day title reign was utterly pathetic.  Yes, they needed a way to get him off TV because he got injured YET AGAIN.  Just because he was built up to win the title doesn’t mean he actually HAS to win the title (SEE: every Jeff Hardy build EVER).  Who cares if Dave’s only got a year or so left in him?  Just because a guy says he’s not going to be wrestling much longer doesn’t mean you have to abide by his every request.  Look at what they did to Lita when she retired.  It was horrible.  And this horrendous title reign only ruined what was a promising run by Randy Orton, who had to start over again the week after.  What?  It killed any momentum Orton had, and now I no longer care about his title reign.  Just let MVP win already!

The Most Pointless Title Reign Award goes to…

Maryse! Dear lord, SHE’S the longest reigning champion in the WWE?  Give me a fucking break.  No offense to the ladies of WWE, but a second women’s championship should never have been created.  They should have brought back the Cruiserweight Championship and given guys like Jimmy Yang, Jesse, Jamie Noble, and Chavo Guerrero something to do besides get beat up by midgets every week.  But nooooooooo, you had to create a new title, NOT put it on Natalya, and then give it to the lease qualified woman employed by the company today.  I pray that Mickie James takes the Diva’s Championship away from Maryse, because if she doesn’t I will no longer taken women’s wrestling seriously (and I barely do right now).

The Ken Kennedy “Paper Tiger” Award for Flimsiest Pile of Flesh goes to…

Holy crap!  A Three-Way Tie!  The winners are: Batista, Edge, and Ken Kennedy! Boy, I’d sure love to see these three in a Triple Threat Match and see who doesn’t break a bone or tear a muscle.  I know I’m being a little harsh on Edge, since he was doing fine for about three years (and probably more), but when it rains, it pours, and this guy’s getting so many unfair breaks (no pun intended) it just isn’t fair.  Kennedy wasn’t improving in the ring, but I think he could have been a great color commentator to join JR at the Smackdown desk, but that…well, it never came to fruition, and that disappointed me.  And Batista…well, the less of him we see, the better.  I look forward to his retirement next year.

The Chavo Guerrero “I HAVE NO SHAME!” Award goes to…

What a shock!  Chavo Guerrero! Good lord.  This man has been beaten up by midgets more times in his career than a midget wrestler.  And I’m not even counting his matches against Rey Mysterio!  (OOH, cheap shot!)  But seriously, how can Chavo wake up in the morning and like his job?  He was embroiled in a feud with a cross-dresser who was eventually dismissed by Donald Goddamned Trump (that’s his actual middle name.  Don’t believe me?  Go check Wikipedia, the world’s simultaneously best and worst source of information), and has constantly been in a losing battle with a fucking leprechaun for more months than I’d care to remember.  Doesn’t anyone remember when he was a Cruiserweight Champion?  He was great back then.  Now, he’s the most embarassing excuse for a wrestler in WWE.

The “For the Love of God, Give This Man a World Title!” Award goes to:

William Regal! I’d hoped that when he got the move to ECW, it meant more exposure for the angry vet from Blackpool, England.  I’d hoped it meant title opportunities and massive beatdowns on anyone who stood in his way.  Sure, there’s still plenty of time for that to happen.  But I’d hoped it would have started the minute he stepped foot onto Tuesday nights.  I was hoping he’s go murder Zack Ryder, tear through Goldust, have a great bowling-shoe ugly match with Kozlov, whip Christian, and finally have the brawl of the century against Tommy Dreamer and win the ECW Title.  Sure, most purists don’t recognize this as a major World Title, but it’s about the best that most mid-carders (in Vince’s mind) will ever get.  Do you honestly expect guys like Matt Hardy, Kane, Mark Henry, and Jack Swagger to ever win a WWE Title or a World Heavyweight Championship?  I think not.  And Regal falls under that very unfortunate category, so at least give him an ECW Title run where he can just destroy everyone in his path until some young whippersnapper comes along and beats him in a fluke, then Regal pounds the shit out of him for weeks on end but never wins the title back.  *sigh*

And now, because this show is running long, let’s breeze through the final few categories without explanation:

Best Female Wrestler: (TIE) Mickie James and Melina!

Best ECW Wrestler: Christian

Best Smackdown Wrestler: (TIE) CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, and John Morrison

Best Raw Wrestler: Evan Bourne and John Cena

Yes, I couldn’t leave Cena out of the awards.  And yes, he is the best on Raw.  Any haters out there can kiss my grits, because he does his job better than anyone else in the company, and if you hate him and boo him, then he’s doing his job all the better.  So just cheer for him already, because he’s the most entertaining guy on Raw, damnit, and nobody else will come close any time soon.

So there you have it.  The very first Golden Rantie Awards!  Be sure to tune in in December for the second awards ceremony.  Well, please tune in every day.  Several times a day.  I get a huge ego boost when I see a nice number of hits on this site.  The day it was likned on Wrestleview I had over 200 hits.  Since then, there has been more than 10 views just once.  Let’s keep reading!  Go back and read the archives!  I encourage you to read, comment, argue, link to me, do whatever you want!  Just don’t plagarize.  You wouldn’t like me when I find out you’ve plagarized my work.  I turn into The Incredible Bulk and squash the universe…

I think it’s time for me to stop.  Until next time…

I’m not going to discuss the recent rash of celebrity deaths.  That’s been covered already by plenty of other websites.  I’m here to discuss the current stack of WWE injuries and what on earth WWE might do in order to cover their asses so their product will still look functional until their A-listers return.

In the past six months, there have seemingly more injuries than there have been in any given year that I can remember.  Just going off the top of my head, WWE has lost Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Batista, Matt Hardy, and now Edge, who just recently tore his Achilles tendon during a show in San Diego.  Edge had been out for a good portion of last year, and it looks like he may very well miss the rest of the year.  Which is a shame considering that he has been THE top heel on Smackdown for years.  Add to this the temporary loss of Paul Burchill (death in the family), the possibly permanent loss of Jeff Hardy, and various lingering injuries to the likes of Cody Rhodes and others, and you’ve got a serious reason to worry if you’re WWE.

I know that Creative is trying to cover their losses by making the 15 superstar trade and moving a bunch of new talent from FCW up to ECW, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not going to cover the gaping holes in the lineup.  True, Raw got a hell of a lot stronger, talent-wise with the addition of guys like Evan Bourne, but he’s not yet as big of a draw as a Shawn Michaels.  Yet.  Smackdown’s going to be missing three of its biggest names in Edge, Undertaker, and possibly Jeff Hardy, so who do they get to cover?  Matt Hardy and Finlay.  Sure, Finlay’s one of the best, but the way he’s been built, he’ll never be a main eventer.  He would have been on ECW, but not on Smackdown.  And Matt Hardy’s character has been ruined by the stupid heel turn and subsequent burial of his character since he broke his hand and was never allowed to sit on the shelf and let it heal.  He’s turned into Bob Orton, only less entertaining (I’m guessing this is true since I’ve never honestly seen any Bob Orton matches).  Smackdown is aching for replacement talent, and with the truly big names being gone for a very long time, a lot of the younger guys/mid-carders are going to have to step up their game and show us (and the people in back) why they’re a part of WWE.  We all know that guys like Jericho can step up to the top at any time, but we need to make sure that Creative doesn’t blow it like they’ve done so many times in the past.  Despite these losses to the Smackdown main event scene, it’s giving some mid-carders a golden opportunity to rise to the occasion and present their cases that they should be in the main event.  Guys like John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler, and The Hart Dynasty could profit the most from these injuries, and I hope they take full advantage of the holes at the top of the Smackdown food chain.

The same could be said for Raw.  With such huge holes in the main event scene, it’s going to give guys like Evan Bourne, MVP, and even Mark Henry (GASP!) a chance to show their stuff.  Especially with Henry’s apparent face turn, which probably shocked just about everybody.  I personally was overjoyed when he beat the high holy ever-loving crap out of Randy Orton at the end of Raw this week.  It was about the most satisfying beatdown I’ve witnessed in quite some time.  And once this whole Orton/HHH nonsense is over with, we can get guys like those mentioned worked into the top of the Raw roster.  The only other people I’d like to see pushed, but I know won’t be because of their gimmicks, are Festus and Primo.  Festus has been saddled with an extremely limited gimmick and, unless he is repackaged, will never go anywhere higher than comedy skits.  And Primo’s got tons of talent, but because he’s been built very weakly as the younger brother of Carlito, he probably won’t get a chance as a singles wrestler ever.  And taking the new open spots in the mid-card could be guys like Miz and The Brian Kendrick.  Maybe.

ECW has been ravaged by the trade, but hopefully the new talents that were brought up will be able to showcase their talent and become the newest wave of future WWE superstars.  Sheamus is your newest monster heel, Naofu…I mean Yoshi Tatsu is your new high flyer (I guess, since all we’ve seen him do is kick Shelton Benjamin in the back of the head), Tyler Reks is your silly surfer gimmick dude who got buried in his first match against the probably-doesn’t-deserve-his-spot Zack Ryder, and Abraham Washington…well, the jury’s still completely out on him.  Here’s hoping he gets more and better chances to entertain the audience.  And when you’ve got Regal as the gatekeeper for new talent and Christian and Dreamer as your top contenders, at least the new guys will have something to shoot for.

So what does this all mean?  It means that the mid-card guys who have paid their dues and worked their asses off for months and years should (and hopefully will) get their shots at the main event.  The two most important figures in this being MVP and John Morrison, with Evan Bourne coming in a very close third.  These three could be the future of the company if Creative gives them a chance to shine.  Morrison’s already proven his worth with a win over CM Punk.  It’s only a matter of time before he’s in the World Title hunt.  MVP’s been kind of left by the wayside, but with new tag champs very likely to be crowned soon, he may be able to move back into the spotlight on Raw.  He was the one man who stood up to Randy Orton the day after Backlash.  We need that MVP back, and soon.  Otherwise, he may disappear entirely, and that would be a travesty.  And Bourne is the most entertaining high-flyer on Raw now, and definitely in the top 3 in the entire company, so a US Title should be in his reach very soon.  I’d bet on having a few Bourne/Swagger matches, maybe a couple of Bourne/Kofi matches, and maybe even a Swagger/Henry match or two (which for some reason I would love to see).

The pieces are in place for Creative to fix the fairly broken rosters of the three brands.  All they need to do is listen to me and everything will be fine.

What do you think the chances are that someone from WWE Creative is actually reading this?  I’d like to think there’s even the tiniest of possibilities that it’s happened at least once, since I know that the comparisons between Dolph Ziggler and Mr. Perfect haven’t shown up anywhere else but here, and no one in any of the wrestling columns I’ve seen has been more adamant about a push for John Morrison, and we know his main event push is right on the horizon.  Well, I heard that WWE is looking for new creative writers.  Why not consider a small-time wanna-be from California to help them get a fan’s perspective on things?  I think it would help the product as a whole.

What do you think, ye of the internet?  Do you think it would help WWE to have a fan’s perspective when booking their feuds and programs?

I haven’t done a Top 10 list in a long time, so it’s probably high time for one, but I wanted to discuss the new look and feel of ECW now that its entire main event roster save Tommy Dreamer and Christian have moved to different brands.

I’ve been intrigued about WWE signing a Japanese talent ever since I first heard about it last year.  His real name is Naofumi Yamamoto, but his ECW name is Yoshi Tatsu.  Now, I’ve never actually seen him wrestle anywhere else, since I’m only starting to scratch the surface of both indy and international wrestling, but the guy’s definitely got the look to be a star.  And if it’s true what Matt Striker said, about Yamamoto…I mean Tatsu…being a strong-style wrestler, and WWE allows him to perform strong-style, we could see a very dynamic shift in ECW.  His first match, while short, did make an impact against the apparently now goofy heel Shelton Benjamin.  Tatsu’s kick looked stiff, and Shelton sold his ass off for that one move.  I’d expect Shelton’s moved into the “gatekeeper” role on ECW.  He’ll be the guy who introduces new talent to the audience and puts them over.  I hope these two have a couple of actual matches in the coming weeks, because I’d really like to see what Tatsu’s got to offer.  If he shows good in-ring skills, he won’t need a mic, because he’ll let his athleticism do the talking.  I look forward to seeing what he’s got to show.

Abraham Washington.  Silly name, silly gimmick, not as good of a talker as Striker and Matthews hyped him up to be.  His monologue and dialogue with the Bella Twins felt very forced (but that could also result from the Bellas being pretty awful on the mic), especially his little interjections.  He’s supposedly been mostly filling a manager role in FCW, so it remains to be seen whether or not he ends up managing someone (or someones).  There are times when I miss the old days of one manager having a stable of wrestlers, like Bobby Heenan, or Slick, or Sensational Sherri.  Could Washington be the next heel stable manager?  Probably not, but it would be nice to have one again after so many years without one.

Sheamus (last name O’Shaunessy) reminds me a lot of Jack Swagger.  Which is a bad thing, in my humble opinion.  Swagger’s yet to learn even the basics of psychology, and now he’s on Raw.  So is Sheamus the next big oaf who doesn’t sell well and engages in Swagger Tactics?  I hope not.  I know he’s going to be in quite a few squash matches, like every big burly wrestler goes through.  I at least hope he shows me something new and exciting that other muscleheads are so prone to doing.  At least he has shown me that a frighteningly pale wrestler can make it onto TV.  Seirously, he makes Finlay look like Mark Henry.  It’s ridiculous.  The only other guy I can think of who was that pale was Kevin Thorn, and that was because he was saddled with a vampire gimmick.

Tyler Reks is the current FCW champion, so it’s only logical to put him on two brands.  He’s got a California surfer gimmick, and looks to have been placed into a mini-feud with Zack Ryder over which state has the best surfing.  Silly, I know, but I’ve heard Reks’ name bounded around a bit, and we get to see him in action on Superstars tonight, so I look forward to that.

And as far as the main event talent is concerned, it’s pretty obvious at this point that William Regal and Vladimir Kozlov are taking Jack Swagger and Mark Henry’s places.  A lot of people don’t like Kozlov, but I really enjoy his in-ring work.  He’s a little sloppy at times, but he’s got enough raw talent to mostly overcome it.  And if he’s paired with Regal for any amount of time, he’s going to learn a lot from probably one of my favorite all-time wrestlers.  It’ll do Kozlov a world of good to work with the rest of the main event-level talent.

Now, I think it’s time for a slightly different Top 10 list.  I’ve been thinking about this one for a while, and I’ll be looking at the WWE roster to make my final decisions.  So, without further ado, here is the

Top 10 Entrance Music Tracks (in no particular order)

John Morrison – Being a big Jimi Hendrix fan, I love that WWE got a Hendrix tribute band to perform Morrison’s track.  And it fits perfectly with Morrison’s persona/gimmick.  Seeing as how he’s essentially playing a more buff Jim Morrison, it stands to contention that it’s a perfect fit tow have a 60’s rock icon have another 60’s rock icon play his entrance music.  And with Morrison as a face now, the song fits in even better as it has a more positive sound to it.  This song is so awesome I’ve put it on my MP3 player.  I also have “Biscuits and Gravy” on there, but more for humor purposes than it being a great song.

CM Punk – Who remembers Punk’s song being Randy Orton’s theme for one day?  Then it being a PPV song?  Anyone?  Well, anyway, it didn’t fit with Orton’s personality (obviously), but it fits perfectly with Punk.  Finding a track that works well with the personality/gimmick of the wrestler being introduced is actually a key factor in fan reaction to said wrestler.  Which is why I think Gail Kim and Naofumi…I mean Yoshi Tatsu get such lukewarm reactions.  Because their music sucks hard.  But Punk’s is perfect for him.  Not only is the lead singer of Killswitch Engage, Howard Jones, also straight-edge, but the song’s got that edge that Punk’s got.  And even if you hate Punk now, there’s still that little inherent part of you that automatically cheers when you hear his music.

Christian – I know his current music is kind of a derivative of his last track when he was employed by WWE, but it still fits him very well.  Christian’s got a pretty rockin’ tune to back him up, which is important considering his intensity in the ring.  Simple as that.

Randy Orton – The first time I heard those lyrics, I was afraid they were going to turn Orton into a schitzophrenic.  “I hear voices in my head.  They counsel me, they understand, they talk to me.”  Yeesh…talk about foreboding.  But at least he’s found a song that works well with his personality.  The song itself is fairly slow and quiet-ish, but has moments of anger and volume, much like Orton himself.  It’s also a very intense track, much like Orton can be when provoked.  An excellent fit for the WWE Champion.

Batista – Every time I hear that opening guitar riff, I get excited.  Then I remember who’s music it is.  I’m not a Batista fan at all, but for some reason, that riff gets me excited that Batista’s entering the arena.  It’s also another perfect fit for the Animal, as it’s an incredibly intense opening.  But it also has subdued moments, which Batista has on occasion.  At least it shows some character development.  I don’t expect Batista has much time left to wrestle, so we’re probably not going to get to listen to this track much longer.  So enjoy it while you can.

Evan Bourne – One of only two tracks on this Top 10 list without a singer, but it fits Bourne to a T.  The music is fast-paced and a little frantic, which is exactly like Bourne’s in-ring style.  Oh, of course I forgot the opening, which sounds something like an air-traffic controller, which also plays into his talents as one of the best high-flyers in the company.  Every time you hear that blazing guitar riff, you know you’re in for a treat, because you get Evan Bourne in a match, and any match with him in it is going to be a damn good one.

Dolph Ziggler – Not so much for the song itself, but because it has the line, “I am perfection,” in it.  I do believe I was the first person to notice similarities between Ziggler and the late Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig.  So I find it as no coincidence that, not only is the word “perfection” in the first three words of his music, but JR continually references Hennig during Ziggler’s matches.  I’d like to think I had a little credit in both of those occurrences.  Like Bourne, when you hear those three words, you know you’re going to get a damn good match, even against guys like The Great Khali.

Santino Marella – Where else are you going to get what sounds like an Italian tenor singing a wrestling theme song?  Especially with electric guitars?  This song screams “AWESOME,” and it fits in perfectly with Marella, since both are actually a little silly.  I mean, come on…an Italian opera singer singing over electric guitars?  That’s hilarious AND awesome.  And Marella is one of the funniest men to ever step foot in a WWE ring.  And since Colt Cabana wasn’t allowed to ever show off his comedy skills, Marella’s last few matches have had some pretty good comedy spots.  I hope we get to see more of him as an actual wrestler, so we can witness more miracle victories and escape reality for just a little while longer.

Edge – How could I not put in the frantic song of the Rated R Superstar?  It fits his persona beyond perfectly (yes, it’s possible to do that), and it’s intense and crazy rock.  For a guy like Edge, long blond hair, plenty of tattoos, it’s a great fit.  Edge has had a lot of theme songs over the years, and I think this is the best one he’s had.  His very first one was also a great fit, but that was back when he was a pseudo-vampire and he had that weird techno/nightclub feel.  But now that he’s batshit crazy, this song fits him wonderfully.

The Hart Dynasty – You know when you hear that guitar squeal, something special is about to happen.  And while the rest of the song is kind of boring and derivative, that opening couple of seconds is enough to make me excited that I get to see three of the (possibly) most important young wrestlers in WWE come down to the ring.  If only Teddy Hart hadn’t screwed himself by being an idiot, the Hart Dynasty could have been one of the greatest stables of all time.  As it stands, now, it’s merely the best stable currently in WWE.

And I wanted to put one honorable mention, because I love the irony:

Jack Swagger – I love that a country boy from Oklahoma has his theme song sung by one of the most liberal rock groups of all time in Rage Against the Machine.  I also enjoy Rage Against the Machine, so there’s a personal bias there.

So there you have it.  My Top 10 Entrance Music Tracks.  If you feel the need to comment, by all means do.  I enjoy getting your comments, so don’t be bashful.  And if you’ve got an argument in there, I have no problems arguing back.  Such is the nature of the Internet.  Until next time…