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Monthly Archives: November 2009

Before I talk about TLC and the way it’s shaping up, I’d like to announce that it is a very sad day, indeed.  Yes, folks, one of the greatest in-ring competitors of all time is retiring from in-ring action.  So let us all bid a fond farewell to Armando Estrada, who will be wrestling his very last match soon.  On a more serious note, Estrada was one of a dying breed: a true manager who actually worked with his managee (in his case, Umaga, who I still believe was one of WWE’s biggest (no pun intended) losses over the past year) and was able to get a crowd hot with just a few words.  There aren’t many people who can do that anymore.  Well, there’s Vickie Guerrero, but that’s mostly because people hate the sound of her voice.  And I’m guessing that with the way Smackdown went, we won’t be seeing her as a manager anymore.  And I’m also betting we won’t be seeing Eric Essssssssssscobar anymore, either.  Good.  WWE finally had some common sense knocked into their tiny brains and took a guy with no entertainment value whatsoever off TV.  That’s the hope, anyway.

I think I’ve been away for too long, because there are a ton of little things that need to be discussed.  And no, I’m not making a joke about the whole DX/Hornswoggle fiasco, which apparently was supposed to have an entire segment on Raw tonight, but that never happened.  Thanks to the IWC for breaking the story a couple of days ago about WWE renting out a Baltimore courthouse and planning to have an entire courtroom filled with midgets.  I’m actually thanking them, because this probably would have been a terrible idea.  Moreso because it would probably cause a huge backlash within the midget and dwarf community.  And I’m not going to refer to them by their “politically correct” term, because it sounds even more demeaning (to me, anyway) than midgets and dwarfs.  Just call them what they are.  Don’t pussyfoot around it.  Anyway, they had Verne Troyer on as the guest host of Raw, so they got their one tiny guy on the show.  And to be honest, Verne looked pretty bad.  He does not appear to be in the best of health.  He was sitting for nearly all of the segments he was involved in, and his head looked huge in relation to the rest of his body.  And seeing him next to Big Show and Mark Henry at different points in the broadcast only accentuated his height.  Nevertheless, he was involved in a hilarious segment where Mark Henry accidentally crushed Jillian Hall while dancing.  Maybe that’ll get her off TV for a while.

Which brings me to Luke Gallows.  You all remember Festus, right?  One half of a hilarious gimmick tag team that, unfortunately, was their downfall?  Jesse became a white rapper for about a month, and subsequently disappeared from television altogether, and Festus, after lingering on Raw for a couple of weeks, disappeared from TV entirely, only to emerge last Friday alongside CM Punk as the repackaged Luke Gallows.  He’s got a goatee and a skull cap and camo shorts, so he MUST be a heel.  Seriously, did Creative just toss darts at the “heel cliche” dart board and come up with that outfit?  Well, at least he’s back on TV.  I really enjoyed his matches with Jesse.  I saw actual potential for Gallows back then, and hopefully, as Punk’s new enforcer, he’ll get more time on TV, helping Punk climb back to the top of Smackdown.  The character is cliche as hell, but I’m hoping that the man behind the persona will rise above it and show that he’s got the talent to run with the big boys.

Still on Smackdown, it’s been reported that Jim Ross has yet to sign a new contract with WWE, and his current one is about to expire.  Ross is still recovering from a Bell’s Palsy attack, which has put him on the sidelines for the past couple of months, and likely will keep him out for a while longer.  I don’t want to sound selfish, but if he were to end up leaving WWE for good, it would be a major blow to the WWE announce teams.  JR has been the voice of WWE for so long, it is difficult to imagine never hearing him call a show again.  I am in full support of Matt Striker, and I believe he is the wave of the future for announcers, but nobody will ever be able to replace JR.  I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.  Every single WWE fan misses you and your voice.  Come back soon.  And if you do decide to retire, I will accept that and say thank you for entertaining millions of people for more than two decades.

I suppose I should go ahead and talk about TLC.  Last week, I railed WWE Creative for their absurd and idiotic decision to make Sheamus the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship.  And I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has such strong opinions on the pasty man.  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to the Pro Wrestling Rewind, which has been broadcasting through Wrestleview.com for many years now.  I used to listen to it every week, but life became too busy to listen to it on a regular basis, so I ended up not listening to it for quite a while.  Then, when I heard that Mike Siciliano had taken over as the new cohost of the show, I had to tune in.  And let me tell you, Mike and Andy Knowles have formed a fantastic team.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m pimping their show out, but it’s definitely more entertaining than it’s ever been.  And (to get back to my original point), I was so glad to hear that The Power himself, Andy Knowles, has the exact same opinion of one Mr. Sheamus as I do.  And what made this past week’s episode all the better was finding out that I’m not the only person with such strong negative opinions of one Jack Swagger, as The King of All Italy has proven that he is the best columnist on Wrestleview by tearing Swagger a new asshole.  I have a new-found respect for both Knowles and Siciliano.  Yes, I respect them more simply because they share my opinions, but what else do you have when you know these people solely through the Internet?  Anyway, these two guys have reinvigorated the Rewind, and if you don’t listen to it, do yourself a favor and go listen to it!

I sure went on a tangent there, huh?  Back to TLC.  We’ve got Cena vs. Shame-us in a Tables match, and I have this sick little thought in the back of my mind that Creative is going to have Cena lose.  I said it last week, and I’ll say it again (though slightly modified): if Cena loses the WWE Title to a guy who hasn’t even been on TV a year, I’m boycotting Raw until someone takes the belt off the porcelain Irishman.  I hope (and I’m echoing Andy Knowles’ sentiments here) that this match is here simply to have somebody smack Sheamus around a bit and make him realize that he isn’t the greatest thing since Sliced Bread #2.  He’s just a big, clumsy oaf who can’t put two moves together.  Like nearly every other rookie who’s come out of FCW this year.  I will say one positive thing about Sheamus though: his entrance music is awesome.

You know, I just realized that this is the first Raw in a while where Swagger was not present during the entire broadcast.  What a relief.

Anyway, we’ve also got Batista vs. Taker in a Steel Chair match.  What exactly this means is beyond me.  Does it mean that JUST chairs are legal?  Or does it mean that everything is legal, but there will be an abundance of chairs laying around the ring for easy access?  Or is it a Steel Chair on a Pole match?  Creative, take this under advisement: when you announce a match with vague implications, it’s best to explain what the hell it means instead of leaving the fans in the dark until the match takes place.  Okay?  Good, I’m glad we had this little talk.  Anyway, it’s Batista vs. Taker yet again.  I was not a fan of their matches back in 2007, and I doubt that they’ll be putting on a good show at TLC.  Taker is hurting badly.  If you can’t see that, you need to get your eyes checked.  He’s been put in multi-man matches over the last few months so the other guys can carry the match and have Taker swoop in at the end and win.  He isn’t going to last past Wrestlemania 26.  I don’t approve of putting the World Heavyweight Championship back on Batista, since his heel turn has proved to be less entertaining than originally hoped.  Mostly, he just stands around and doesn’t speak.  Which usually is a good thing.  But it isn’t good television.  What I’m hoping for is for Jericho to swoop in either sometime between PPV shows or at the Royal Rumble and win the title from Taker, only to have Edge return (as a face) and set up an Edge/Jericho match at Wrestlemania 26.  That would be sweet.

And speaking of Jericho, he and Show are in a TLC match against DX in two weeks.  On paper, it sounds kinda “meh,” but it’ll probably be a good match.  I would bet it’s going to end the show, and we’re going to have new Tag Team Champions.  Creative has been teasing the end of JeriShow for months now, and the end seems so very near for the best tag team of 2009.  Jericho needs to lose the tag straps so he can pursue Taker and win the title soon, so he can establish his championship reign before Edge comes back and takes what’s rightfully his.

Can you believe that, after TLC, we’re getting SEVEN weeks without a WWE PPV event?  They’re finally giving the fans a break.  We don’t have to shell out our money again until the end of January.  Not that I actually purchase their PPVs anyway.  I would be asking for my money back more often than not.  Still, it’s good that they’re taking a break to (hopefully) allow storylines to build and get the fans riled up for the first big show of 2010.  I would imagine that with seven weeks to prepare, there are going to be some damn good matches in store for us at the Rumble.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got to say for now.  Be sure to stay tuned, because next month, I’ll be giving out my First Annual Golden Rantie Awards, as well as my 2010 Predictions, wherein I will attempt to prophesize what happens in WWE over the next calendar year.  Or, at least what I HOPE will happen next year.  I might also try to put up MY Dream Tournament and have you vote on who you think should win.  Until then, stay awesome.  I’ll see you later.

Fair warning: Copious swearing to follow.  You have been warned.

Survivor Series results are going to be quick and dirty tonight, because there is a much bigger issue I must discuss at great length.  Survivor Series was a pretty big disappointment overall.  The only halfway decent match was the World Heavyweight Championship match, which isn’t something I expected to say.  The entire show, despite being the most well-planned out PPV of the year, felt as though the entire show had been written five minutes before they were supposed to go on the air.  The entire show felt very slapdash.  Let’s just go through the results now.

Team Miz defeated Team Morrison (Miz, Sheamus, and McIntyre were the sole survivors)

So much bullshit in this match right from the start.  Ziggler, the ONLY talented guy on Team Miz, is the very first guy eliminated, then Bourne gets knocked off by the incredibly unentertaining Drew McIntyre.  Finlay gets eliminated after OEN MOVE (which is another thing I feel I’m going to have to rant about in the near future).  The most satisfying moment of the match came when Morrison eliminated Swagger.  Shelton and Hardy get kicked off, and goddamned Sheamus wins the match for Team Miz.  During the match, that same Irish ghostman managed to give referee Scott Armstrong a concussion when Sheamus smashed his knee into the back of Armstrong’s head during a brawl.  Now, I’ve been very critical of Armstrong’s work as a ref.  But I don’t feel as though anybody should be injured during a match.  Well, except Swagger.  Anyway, quite a poor way to begin a show.

Batista defeated Rey Mysterio

Word is Mysterio needs knee surgery yet again, so instead of drawing this feud out, they just ended it right here, and made Batista destroy Mysterio just so they could write him off TV as soon as possible.  Still, the match was pretty bad in and of itself.  I’m not going to blame Mysterio’s knee problems for that, but usually he’s able to put people over a lot better than he did with Batista last night.  And to top it off, I start the PPV 0 for 2 in picks.

Team Kingston defeated Team Orton (Kofi Kingston was the sole survivor)

I was expecting this match to come down to Kofi vs. Orton at the end, but I wasn’t expecting their encounter to last four seconds.  All of the men besides Orton, Kofi, and CM Punk were eliminated far too quickly, leaving Punk to work over Kofi for what felt like forever.  And it wasn’t even interesting to watch.  I was expecting Mark Henry to be more important, but he was a non-factor.  Not the greatest of ways to continue the maturation of the Kingston/Orton feud.

Undertaker retains the World Heavyweight Championship over Chris Jericho and Big Show

Sadly, this was the best match on the card, and also the shortest.  These three really clicked last night.  Jericho played his part perfectly, and Taker did a good job of staying with everything despite his ailing body.  Show was Show, but at least he helped make Taker look good.  I’ll hand it to these three: they helped drag this PPV from the worst show of the year to the second-worst (behind Summerslam).

Team Mickie defeated Team Michelle (Mickie James and Melina were the sole survivors)

Much like Mark Henry in the prior elimination match, Beth Phoenix was a non-factor in this match, eliminated very early on so that the chances of Team Mickie were not zero.  Without Beth, team Michelle was pretty pathetic.  On another note, i will never understand why Gail Kim continues to be utterly buried to death (no pun intended) on WWE programming.  She was the top of the Knockouts division.  She’s a punching bag on Raw.  It’s pathetic.  She should have won a title already.  She’s probably the most polished and talented woman in WWE right now (save maybe Natalya), yet she’s at the bottom of the pecking order.  What gives?  Is it just politics that’s keeping her down week after week?  Sure, she’s making more money to lose every week, but when you’re the company’s punching bag, is it worth the cash?  Anyway, 2 for 5 in picks.

John Cena retains the WWE Championship over HHH and Shawn Michaels

Don’t you love that when Michaels superkicked HHH at the very beginning of the match, the crowd went nuts for it, but when HHH puts Shawn through a table, they boo HHH out of the building?  Double standard much, crowd?  Anyway, this was standard fare from all three competitors.  They worked about two and a half standard matches during the course of this triple threat, had the requisite announcer table spot, and a copious amount of submission holds.  Cena retains.  No surprise there.

So I was .500 in picks.  Nothing to cheer about.

Now, on to the elephant turd in the punchbowl.  It angers me to no end how WWE Creative just yanks our (the fans’) chains around and toys with our emotions like the don’t give a shit.  You bring out Jesse “The Body” Ventura for a three-hour Raw and have him be the mouthpiece of the people, proclaiming that the next challenger for the World Championship (note how he purposefully keeps it ambiguous as to WHICH championship he’s referring to) would be someone who’s never had a World Title shot before.  He confronts Randy Orton and tells him that he doesn’t get another shot at Cena.  He tells us that there will be qualifying matches featuring men who have never received a World Title shot, and the winners of those matches would go on to a “Breakthrough Battle Royal” and the winner of that would be the #1 Contender.  Kofi wins, Sheamus wins (more on this idiot later), MVP, Mark Henry, and R-Truth move on in a 6-man tag match, Legacy wins in a tag match, and that’s seven guys.  Then, in what I was expecting to be Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre, we get Bourne vs. Primo.  Only, Orton comes out, tosses Primo off the entrance ramp, and yells at the ref to start the match.  Then Ventura appears on the Titantron and lets Orton be in the match because “He was persistent.”  I’m sorry, Ventura, but you just lost all credibility when you let Orton cheat his way into yet another title reign.  And it made Creative lose nearly all of what little credibility it had left.  I was expecting a new face to FINALLY arrive in the main event scene, and now you’re saying that it was all a tease and Orton’s in the match anyway?  You fucking hypocrites.  You make it seem like, after so many months of the same four names in the main event on Raw, you’re actually listening to the fans and giving us something WE want instead of something Vince wants.  Then you yank the carpet from under our feet by saying, “Oh, we were just kidding.  Orton’s got a chance.”

But instead of having Orton win, we get an even LESS deserving #1 Contender for the WWE Championship.  Kofi eliminated Orton, which was no surprise, but I would have preferred it either to happen at the beginning of the match or be the final elimination.  Instead, we get Kofi eliminating Orton, then turning around and SHEAMUS knock Kofi out and win.  You have got to be fucking kidding me.  This guy is the second-least deserving guy to get a WWE Title shot (behind Swagger.  He hasn’t even been part of the main roster for five months yet, and he’s already getting a WWE Title shot.  What does this say to all the guys who have (A) actual talent and (B) paid their dues?  It says, “It doesn’t matter if you have talent or paid your dues, because all that matters in the WWE is if you have a bodybuilder’s physique.  We don’t care if you’re a clumsy, bulbous, musclebound idiot who seems to hurt people everywhere he goes, including concussing a referee, because you have a great body.  We don’t care if you have the charisma of a block of wood and the in-ring ability of Jackie Gayda, because as long as you look like you were chiseled out of granite, you’ll always win.”  Guys like MVP, Ron Killings, and especially Kof Kingston should be furious that this musclehead who can’t put two moves together without requiring a rest hold in-between is getting a WWE Title shot against John Cena at a PPV event.  Well, if I was one of them I’d be pissed off.  Hell, they even passed up Legacy for this title match, and a lot of IWC bloggers are saying that the next world champion is going to be Ted Dibiase (I respectfully disagree, but to each his own).  This is a travesty of the highest degree, and if I was a WWE writer, I’d be embarassed.  WWE programming has been awful the last couple of months, and I’m getting sick of the same old shit every week.  Ventura is talking so much about the wave of the future, yet DX beats the Hart Dynasty.  Hypocrisy, thy name is WWE.  I’m giving them until the end of the year to get their shit together, and if they don’t, I’m going to stop watching their shows.  I’ll still do my end-of-the-year awards show, but rest assured it’s going to be written with an air of cynicism if any more stupidity occurs (like if Sheamus wins the WWE Title).

I have only enjoyed two things the past few weeks involving WWE.  One was Evan Bourne stopping Hack Swagger’s winning streak a couple of weeks ago.  The other was an exchange between Chris Jericho and a random fan at Survivor Series last night.

Random fan: “Go back to Toronto!”

Jericho: “I’m from Winnipeg, you idiot!”

That cracked me up for a while.  Reminded me of a moment at The Bash (I’m sure this didn’t make it to air) where one random fan yelled at Primo during the tag team title match, “Go back to Mexico!” and someone corrected him that he was from Puerto Rico, so he corrected himself very loudly.  It was hilarious.

You know what I think the problem with all these new guys is?  I think they’re being coddled by the trainers.  I don’t think the training is as rigorous as it used to be.  They probably don’t have to take as many bumps as guys who were trained even five years ago.  It just goes along with the fact that only the big, bulky guys get the big pushes.  They’re trained to just dominate matches, never really learn to sell or take a bump, and stick to a small moveset so that they never screw up a move they’ve never used before.  And when they DO have to do something outside their comfort zone, they stall and end up looking awful.  Like Sheamus in the battle royal on Raw.  He sat in the corner for what seemed like an eternity, almost as though he was counting the seconds down until he was supposed to eliminate R-Truth.  It’s as though they have a plan in their heads, and they have this notion that they can’t deviate from it one bit or there will be dire consequences.  I like to call this “Swagger Tactics,” as Swagger was the first new guy to really have this mindset of never deviating from how a match is supposed to work.  It just ends up for very dull matches.  If you have a heel control the face and never give the face any hope spots until the end of the match, it weakens the heel’s character.  Why doesn’t anybody understand this?

Here is one thing I pray WWE writers do before the year is over and I (likely) boycott WWE programming: I would like to see more character development.  I would especially like to see some character backstory.  I want to know why Kofi impersonated a Jamaican for over a year.  I want to know WHY CM Punk is straight-edge.  I want to know what motivates these guys to act the way they do besides the fact that the’re good or bad.  I’m not asking for much.  This is standard fare in most D&D campaigns, one of which I’m running and I’m asking my players to write backstories for their characters (yes, I’m a huge nerd, get over it).  Coming up with a halfway decent backstory is not a difficult task!  Just make these caricatures into real people and I’ll be interested again.

There.  I’ve written 2,100 more words about why I hate WWE.  I feel like I’ve been doing that for quite a while.  It kind of makes me wonder why I even bother watching their shows anymore.  At least, that was my mindset before I set this ultimatum for WWE Creative.  I’m giving them until the end of the year to get their act together and stop making stupid decisions.  If they can’t, I’m boycotting their product.  Which, sadly, will likely mean the end of this blog, but hey, I’m tired of writing nothing but negativity.

Okay, I’ll end this column on a positive note.  I forgot one other thing I enjoyed.  I really loved the pie segment, mostly because Santino knocked a pie into Vickie Guerrero’s face.  That was immensely satisfying.  I’ll see you all next time.

Before I get to picks for Survivor Series, I would just like to get one gripe off my chest that’s been bothering me for years.  Why can’t the three ring announcers actually agree on billed weights for wrestlers?  I’ll give you a very quick example: this week, on Raw, Jericho and Show were billed at 711 pounds combined.  On Smackdown, taped ONE DAY LATER, their combined weight was 705 pounds.  How on earth can these guys lose so much weight in less than a day?  I really wish that the announcers, when having to announce a wrestler who appears on more than one brand for whatever reason, would write up a list of every performer’s billed weight and just announce it that way.  When you’ve got these insane weight fluctuations, it makes me (for one) think that it’s all just a bunch of bullshit.  Which it is, in reality.  There is no way on earth that Yoshi Tatsu weighs more than Zack Ryder, for example.  Anyway, they should get the billed weights the same across all three brands, so as to not make it sound like somebody mysteriously gained five pounds overnight.

Okay, now that that’s over, let’s do some picks.

Team Mickie (Mickie James, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, and Divas Champion Melina) vs. Team Michelle (Womens Champion Michelle McCool, Jillian Hall, Beth Phoenix, Layla, and Alicia Fox)

Firstly, if you’re going to have a women’s elimination match, at least have the captains both be champions.  Have it be Team Melina vs. Team Michelle.  Yes, I know that Mickie and Michelle are feuding on Smackdown right now, but relegating a champion to being just a part of someone else’s team seems insulting to the title holder (see also: Christian).  I also don’t understand why Michelle’s team doesn’t have Natalya.  She is far, FAR beyond the talent level of Jillian, Layla, and Alicia.  With Natalya and Beth, that team would basically be unstoppable.  As it stands now, Team Michelle is merely dominant, specifically because of Beth Phoenix.  And she’s going to be the difference maker in this match.  I would actually like to see the match boil down to Team Mickie vs. Beth Phoenix, and then watch Beth destroy the opposing team and win the match.  As it stands, she’ll probably just crush the competition anyway.  Team Michelle wins, and we can move on from this silly feud where cutting up clothes and calling someone a pig are the worst things you could possibly think of.

Team Morrison (Intercontinental Champion John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Evan Bourne, and Shelton Benjamin) vs. Team Miz (US Champion The Miz, Shame-us, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntiredofhimalready, and Hack Swagger)

Ah, the “Wave of the Future” elimination match.  Well, sort of, anyway.  I would bet that you noticed that I made a few creative changes to several names on this list.  It’s to signify my opinions on the performers in question.  It’s as though I’m trying to say, “You don’t deserve to be famous.  At all.  Ever.”  Those three guys on Miz’s team are such a waste of space I don’t even want to discuss them anymore.  So I won’t.  I think that what this match will come down to is, as usual, the veterans.  And with Finlay, Hardy, and Benjamin on his team, I would bet that John Morrison’s got the definite advantage.  Sure, Miz’s team is larger and less talented, but Morrison’s got guys who are actually entertaining to watch!  The Miz/Morrison feud has got a long way to go before it’s done, though, so since Miz won last month, Team Morrison wins on Sunday.  Also, I hate 3/5 of Miz’s team.

Team Kofi (Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, R-Truth, and ECW Champion Christian) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase, CM Punk, and William Regal)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  CM Punk is a 3-time World Heavyweight Champion.  Now, he’s getting cigarettes and booze dumped on his face by R-Truth and is relegated to being a part of someone else’s Survivor Series team.  I also don’t approve of Christian, another champion, being on someone else’s team.  Sure, having him in the match with Regal makes perfect sense.  But why not take someone else, like Yoshi Tatsu, and stick him on Kofi’s team?  And then have an ECW Title match on the card?  Whatever.  This will be the best elimination match of the show by far, because it’s going to get Kofi pushed to the next level of competition.  Unlike the other two matches, there is no guarantee that one team will gain a major advantage over the other.  Kofi has Mark Henry, sure, but Orton’s team is crafty and loves to break the rules whenever possible.  But, when everything is said and done, Team Kofi will pick up the victory and push Kingston closer to that main event status.  Meanwhile, Randy Orton will probably continue his downward spiral and let Dibiase and Rhodes take the helm for a while.

Batista vs. Rey Mysterio

Heel Batista is preferable to face Batista, but it’s still just Batista.  He was never a great performer, whether you’re talking about inside the ring or on the mic.  But the one thing that Rey always does is make his opponent look like a million bucks.  I’ve always said that a match they had a couple of years back was, by far, the best match with Batista involved I’ve ever seen, simply because Rey can make Batista actually look like the monster Vince thinks he’s been all this time.  Rey’s work and selling are second to none, and he’ll make Batista look a hell of a lot better than Batista really is.  But what are we going to see in Rey?  Is he going to show us a new side of him?  We saw him embarass Batista two weeks ago at their contract signing, and then again last Friday night when he showed how much of a clumsy oaf Batista really is.  Maybe it’s time for a more aggressive Rey Mysterio to emerge from the child-friendly shell.  He can still be a face, obviously, but not just a pussy face (I know, that sounded dirty as hell, but you get my meaning anyway).  I would hope that WWE Creative is looking towards the future with this feud instead of the present.  Batista chasing after a win over Mysterio will be more entertaining than Dave just getting the win on Sunday and ending the feud prematurely.  So I’m going to say that Rey Mysterio wins, and continues to taunt Batista for months on end.

World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match – The Undertaker (c) vs. The Big Show vs. Chris Jericho

Until the very end of Smackdown last night, I was actually leaning towards Jericho upsetting both men and walking away with the World Title.  But with his strange actions yesterday, those feelings have been put in serious doubt.  Whenever someone steals a title, he usually won’t be winning it anytime soon.  And Show will never be a world champion again, that’s for sure.  His best days are well past him.  Taker’s being coddled right now, as is apparent from the many tag team and multi-man matches he’s been involved in since winning the World Title.  We all know he won’t be around much longer, so Vince is trying to keep him safe until Wrestlemania 26, when he’ll likely face John Cena.  Let’s face it, Taker’s actions on Monday night were just the beginning.  Hell, maybe we’ll even see a Cena heel turn as he aligns himself with the Chairman of the Board, a la Stone Cold back in the day.  It would definitely put asses in seats.  Anyway, with what happened Friday night in the books, I have to believe that The Undertaker wins and retains his title.  It’s just logical.

WWE Championship Triple Threat Match – John Cena (c) vs. HHH vs. Shawn Michaels

Guh…how dull of a main event this is going to be.  I, for one, have seen enough HHH in title matches for my lifetime.  So he’s out.  And HBK ain’t no spring chicken, so he’s out.  So is this match just going to be a vehicle to the break-up of DX?  Is this a vehicle for one of those two to turn heel?  Quite possibly, yes.  I’m just really bored of the WWE product right now.  Smackdown has been pretty bad the last month, and Raw’s not that much better.  I’m not really expecting this to be a great match, or really even a good match.  Im expecting your typical HHH and HBK match with a little Cena sprinkled in, and Cena retaining the title.

There you go.  My picks for Survivor Series.  Now, I’ve got to run, because I’ve got a D&D campaign to prepare for and two new games to unwrap and play like crasy.  Yep, I’m a huge nerd.  See you next time.

Well, I said I’d be back with the second half of my bevy of topicry, so here you go!

The first two items I have to discuss are connected.  First off, the past few WWE PPV shows have had very fre championship matches.  Now, I don’t necessarily want every PPV to be Night of Champions, because some feuds would benefit greatly from a PPV match (Kofi/Orton, for example).  But just two title matches on one of the Big Four?  You’re depriving people who pay their hard-earned cash to buy a ticket.  I know that Survivor Series is unique in its format, and there will always be elimination matches involved, but even if you have three elimination matches (as they have this year), that’s no excuse to have just two title matches.  I’m especially disappointed that the ECW Championship hasn’t been defended at a Pay-Per-View since Breaking Point.  That was two months ago.  Yes, there have been two ECW Title matches in the meantime on their weekly broadcast, but when you exclude the third world championship from a PPV show, it says to me that WWE Creative doesn’t think the ECW Championship is important enough to defend on a PPV.  Most people believe it has the same amount of prestige as the Intercontinental or US Titles, and the way Creative has been treating it, I’d have to agree.  Sure, the two ECW Title matches were very good (including Yoshi Tatsu’s breakout match against Christian and a great match in England that honestly went about four minutes too long), but what does that say about the confidence Creative has in their champion and his challengers?  I would think Tatsu has earned a spot on a PPV with his title match against Christian a few weeks ago, and Regal always deserves a spot.

Here’s how I think the WWE Creative meeting went the night after Summerslam: “Okay, we gave the fans an ECW Title match.  And it was awesome!  Christian catches Regal with his robe over his head and beats him in nine seconds after this huge feud!  It’s hilarious!  But the fans didn’t like it.  So instead of giving them what they want, which would be a real match between the two, we’re just going to stop having ECW Title matches on PPVs.  The fans obviously don’t want to see it if they’re saying how bad the match was.”  Followed by some “Hur dur dur” noises and grunts of approval.  I know I’m being really harsh, but damnit, give Christian some respect!

On a similar note, I also don’t approve of the multitude of title matches that has been going on during the past couple of weeks in order to “make up” for only having two title matches at Survivor Series.  But you know what?  We all already figured out that none of the titles were going to change hands.  It was pathetically obvious that neither Morrison nor Miz would lose their titles, as their feud is (hopefully) far from over.  Having one of them lose and the other retain would make the loser look terrible, and basically forecast who was going to win.  But why bother having title matches if everybody knows it’s pointless?  Jericho and Show aren’t going to lose the tag titles before Survivor Series.  Melina isn’t going to lose her title.  Why not just give us the title matches at the PPV show?  Or just wait until the next show?  You don’t have to have title matches every three weeks!  (I realize I am basically contradicting myself here, but keep in mind that I think that SOME titles should be defended at each PPV.  Just rotate which ones get defended when, and nobody will be dissatisfied)  When you make the decisions this obvious, it takes away from the product as a whole and makes you wonder why you put up with so much crap all the time.

Okay, time for a couple of quick picks.  First off, I will hate the new Raw theme song until they change it.  Papa Roach wasn’t necessarily a good choice for the last theme song, but at least the song was upbeat.  Nickelback is one of the most pretentious bands on the face of the planet, and I have less than zero respect for them.  Having to listen to their shitty “music” every week is torture for me.  They don’t deserve to be famous.  I’ll just have to start fast-forwarding through the intro now.

#2 – White guys with shaved heads look like serial killers, plain and simple.  Randy Orton, Kurt Angle, Dave Batista.  Shaving your head doesn’t make you look manlier.  It makes you look like a goddamn psychopath.  Let your hair grow out.  I don’t care if you’re balding and you want to hide it.  A white man with even a wisp of hair looks more sane than a white man with a shaved head.  Unless you look like this guy. And yes, that IS a dude.  Just barely, it appears.

And now, for the big topic of the day, one I’ve been wanting to rant about for a long time.  I have had it with the absolutely abhorrent camera work of World Wrestling Entertainment.  Their copious quick cuts, their “too close for comfort” shots, and the biggest offense, the “multiple quick pans that attempt to show action but just make you queasy.”  I am so goddamned sick and tired of these “techniques.”  They’re used to obscure what little action is really going on inside and outside a WWE ring.  The cameras never focus on one spot at a time, and they never keep the cameras steady.  I do realize that trying to follow the action of a wrestling match isn’t the easiest job in the world, but at least give us a picture we can focus on instead of jerking the camera up and down when one guy is punching another guy into the ground.  Capture the whole image, not just a tiny piece of the whole.  This is why so many WWE cameramen get hit and we get shitty angles: because they’re too close to the action.  We (the viewers at home) don’t need to feel like we’re RIGHT THERE IN THE THICK OF IT.  I don’t need a close-up of HHH’s back every time he goes outside the ring to pummel some poor, helpess young star just trying to catch a break.  What I want to see if a well-captured picture of the entire frame of action.  Is that so difficult to achieve?  I highly doubt it.  Ring of Honor manages to get all the action without crowding the wrestlers, and all their cameramen are young people using these little hand cams.  They don’t always get the best angle of action, but they don’t crowd the wrestlers and show us half of what happens.  And when somebody’s pummeling someone else outside the ring, they DON’T JERK THE CAMERA AROUND!  That, and the fact that the wrestlers are just better overall, is why I’m starting to watch more ROH.  I finally finished watching Punk: The Final Chapter, and it did cause me to gain a tremendous amount of respect for one Colt Cabana.  I also watched his return match at the 7th Anniversary Show, and he’s probably the most entertaining guy on the roster.  I fully believe that WWE completely screwed him over.  If I had to pick a guy to say he was a wrestling role model, it’d be him.  And I’m not just saying this because he’s a friend on Facebook.  The guy is genuinely entertaining.  I just wish he’d take his stand-up comedy on the road to, oh, I don’t know, say California?

Okay, that’s it for me today.  I’ll be back probably on Saturday for Survivor Series picks.  Until then, keep avoiding any news you hear about Hulk Hogan.  His entire life is just one big publicity stunt.  If you ignore him, eventually he’ll go away.  See you next time.

(Extra note: I’ve been trying to get this column up for several hours.  Thanks to Comcast for an internet connection that’s more unreliable than Joe Biden’s brain.)

It’s been over two weeks since I last wrote here.  My apologies for not keeping up to date with my rantings and ravings.  But now that I find myself with a little extra time tonight, I figure I might as well cover a few topics I’ve been meaning to write about for a while.  I doubt I’ll get through all ten topics, so I’ll just go through half today and do the other half another day, probably before I do Survivor Series picks.

The first bit I’d like to discuss is this whole story about Jamie Noble’s “retirement.”  I would first like to go on record and say that taking that ugly powerbomb from Sheamus on the floor probably would have retired quite a few people.  I don’t think Sheamus tried to put Noble down easy.  It looked like there was a lot of force behind that move.  I actually thought Noble might have broken his back the way he looked afterward.  I thought that it was incredibly irresponsible for WWE to let a guy like Sheamus do such a thing to a guy like Jamie Noble.  Then this whole retirement bullshit comes out and I just shake my head.  Noble is 32 years old.  Why on earth would he retire now?  There are guys 10 years his senior still having great matches.  Look, we all know that this is an angle, and he’s either going to stay “retired” and work backstage, or have a comeback sometime in the future and exact his revenge on the big lug who put him on the shelf.  Noble shouldn’t be treated like this.  He’s a former ROH World Champion.  Yes, he had the shortest title reign of any ROH World Champion, but still!  When you’re one of eleven men to ever hold a promotion’s world championship, and the promotion has been around for nearly eight years, you should definitely take pride in that.

And speaking of the big lug who put Jamie Noble on the shelf, I’d like to discuss the current state of young wrestlers on the main WWE roster.  I’m afraid that the current crop of FCW trainers (Billy Kidman, Norman Smiley, Tom Prichard, and Steve Keirn) are doing a poor job at best of preparing new talents for the main roster, and are, in general, a poor judge of talent in the first place.  At this time, I’d like to refer to a list of all the men who have held the FCW Championship.  Five out of the eight wrestlers who have held the FCW Championship are currently on the main WWE roster somewhere.  Jake Hager (or, to those who don’t know wrestlers’ real names, Hack Swagger), Sheamus, Eric Escobar, Drew McIntyre, and Tyler Reks.  Two on Raw, two on Smackdown, one on ECW, all incredibly poor wrestlers in every sense.  None of them has any knowledge of wrestling psychology, none of them have any real charisma, and none of them have a lick of mic skills.  I don’t know if the trainers are to blame for not training these guys properly, or if the trainers just don’t see that they don’t have the talent, or if it’s Vince, who we all know prefers his wrestlers big and bulky and could care less about actual in-ring and mic talent.  Every one of the five listed wrestlers I know will, one day, become a world champion in WWE specifically because VKM wants those big, burly, muscleheads to be the winners, and the guys who can actually put two moves together and tell a story in the ring will always be the losers.  Which is why so few of the indy wrestlers have succeeded in working their way past the mid-card in WWE.  CM Punk should consider himself incredibly lucky that he’s made it this far.

Anyway, my original point is that the current crop of rookies and young wrestlers is pitifully bad right now.  The only real exceptions to this are Evan Bourne, Tyson Kidd, and Yoshi Tatsu.  But then again, they’re the only “smaller” guys in this group.  I know that a lot of you are going to say, “But these guys are all young!  They haven’t had as much experience on the big stage as everyone else, even the guys who came up to the main roster a year before them!  Give them some time!”  Look, I’m all for giving people time to improve their skills.  But even the previous crop of talent (Kofi, Miz, Rhodes, Kozlov, Ziggler) were worlds ahead of these guys when they made their respective debuts.  I would chalk it up to these guys (mostly) being smaller than the current crop, but that would sound size-ist.  Which is funny considering I’m a big fat guy myself.  But I’d much rather watch a fun, competitive match between guys like John Morrison and Evan Bourne than watch two lumbering giants like Escobar and Swagger muck up the ring every week.

On the plus side, Evan Bourne did break Swagger’s winning streak, proving once again that nothing anybody ever says in WWE should be taken seriously.  Swagger, of course, went ahead and tore Bourne a new hole on Raw yesterday, which made me wonder why (1) Swagger even bothered to proclaim that he’d go undefeated for the rest of the calendar year, (2) why they even bothered to let Bourne win a match for once, and (3) why even have the match on Raw when it was just a two-minute squash.  In fact, it makes me wonder why have any of these 1-2 minute squashes in the first place.  I think the era of needing to build up a new guy isn’t necessary.  Just stick them right into the mix.  Have them work their way up from the bottom.  Put them in actual matches against the lower card guys like Primo and Jimmy Yang, guys who can sell like crazy and can make anybody look great.  But have the matches be competitive, and go AT LEAST 5 minutes.  I never feel like any squash match featuring a jobber from (insert hometown here) actually makes a new guy look strong.  It just shows you his limited moveset.  On the flip-side, I have been enjoying the Beth Phoenix squash matches, if only because the women put in her way actually have more talent then the lower card women on the Smackdown roster.  Girls like Maria and Layla can’t sell worth shit, but at least these female jobbers can.  Still, Beth doesn’t need any building up via squash matches.  Everybody already knows who she is.  And even if you never watched Raw while she was there, she wouldn’t need to prove herself in squash matches.  You just have to take one look at her and you know she’s gonna kick a lot of ass.

Okay, one more topic for today.  As you probably know, WWE did a tour of Europe the past couple of weeks, and the broadcast their shows from England.  All four shows were taped, I believe, in the same building in Sheffield, England.  I just want to mention one thing about all four television shows this past week.  What on earth was wrong with the mic setup in the ring?  Everything was so much quieter inside the ropes.  Every bump taken, every pinfall count, every taunt, scream, and angry rant, sounded muted.  As well, in-ring and backstage promos and entrance themes all sounded as though the sound was being recorded and broadcast from inside the arena instead of through a direct feed into the production truck.  I don’t know why that was the case all last week, but it made the entire production sound half-rate.  I’m a big critic of sound-based problems, and when something sounds off, it sounds REALLY off to me.  So that bothered me through all last week.

Well, I think I’ve given you your daily dose of ranting.  I’ll be back in a couple of days with the remainder of topics I’ve been meaning to rant about for the past two weeks, then later on this week with Survivor Series picks.  And be sure to check in near the end of the year when I give out my First Annual Rantie Awards, wherein I chastize many wrestlers and praise a few who actually deserve it.  And, and, AND!  I was privy to a tournament being held by the staff at Wrestleview about a “dream tournament” they’re trying to set up featuring the staff’s 32 favorite wrestlers, and I thought it would be neat if I did one of those myself.  Mostly because I had a chance to be on the Wrestleview staff as a columnist, but didn’t get the gig (probably because I wrote a scathing article last year on the fall of Chris Jericho, which I should have realized was a big no-no in the IWC).  So once I get my list all figured out, I’ll post the names and the brackets, and, if anybody still reads this, I can set up polls to ask people who they think should win the matches.  But that probably won’t be for a while.  Until next time!

I’ve had enough.  I am completely sick and tired of all these supposed “news stories” flying around the internet about Hulk Hogan.  How he “has more power than Dixie Carter,” that he “has control of TNA,” and that “he might not even show up to the Impact Zone until 2010, at the end of the current football season.” (My emphasis)  And now he has the audacity to talk about how his WWE Hall of Fame ring is a piece of junk, worth maybe $20?  I have four words for you, sir: shut the fuck up!  And some more words: we all know that everything you’re doing in your life now is nothing more than a publicity stunt in order to keep yourself in the spotlight just a little bit longer and so you can make just a little more money so you can pay your lawyers and your alimony.  If you need money so badly, go pawn that Hall of Fame ring you hate so much.  Then take the money you get and shove it in your mouth so we don’t have to hear you talk again.

I mean really, you’re not even going to show up to TNA TV tapings until NEXT YEAR because you want to watch football?  Unless I’m horrifically mistaken, football takes place no more than four days a week.  High school games are on Fridays, college games are on Saturdays, and pro games are Sundays and Mondays.  Now, unless you have a vested interest in all three levels of play (read: gambling on all three), then you STILL don’t actually have to miss any time with TNA.  Worst case scenario: you can’t make the Monday tapings, but you CAN make the Tuesday tapings, so you can at least show up on screen every couple of weeks, and maybe a PPV.  Saying you’re not going to even show up for tapings for the next two months says to me that you’re basically not taking this contract seriously, and that you’re pretty well just doing this to bleed TNA dry.  I’m surprised more people haven’t just up and quit TNA yet.  Kaz almost did, and I hope he does.  He’s tremendously talented, and we all know that he’ll never go anywhere with Hogan running things, if that is, in fact, even close to the truth.  I don’t even know what to believe anymore.  Probably nothing Hogan says is true, anyway, and he’s just saying all this shit just so he can hog the spotlight a little more every day.  I’m sick of it, and I won’t be talking about it anymore until I report that TNA is shutting down thanks to Hogan bungling the whole company up.  I think Hogan needs to go watch The Wrestler a couple of times.

Now, on to more pleasant things.  Raw was pure awesome, if only because we had Ozzy Osbourne as the guest host!  I think that this was the biggest name WWE has gotten so far to host Raw.  You don’t get much bigger than the father of heavy metal.  And yes, I’m completely biased.  Ozzy is one of my favorite performers ever.  And he was hilarious tonight!  From his constant mumbling and his confusion as to who everybody was (constant “Who was that?” or “Who the bloody hell are you?” cracked me up), and his fear of the Big Show was just perfect.  The Raw’s Got Talent segment was stupid and pointless, but we did get Santino biting the head off of a bat…man.  And a Chris Masters pec dance to Crazy Train, which Sharon loved.  We also got a really fun US Title match between Miz and Evan Bourne, a great six-man tag match with Kofi, MVP and WSM beating Legacy.  Kofi is really taking off.  There aren’t many people who will make your first major main event feud better than Randy Orton, I can tell you that for sure.  Mostly because nobody else in the Raw main event scene is any good at putting anybody else over.  Well, except for Cena, of course.  So these two are going to have a hell of a feud.  I’m hoping for a “traditional Survivor Series elimination match” between these two, so they can let the feud blossom and strengthen over the next few weeks and months.  Maybe even a showdown at the Royal Rumble?  And we got a Triple Threat match between Cena, Jericho, and Show, which I couldn’t concentrate on because we had DX on commentary, with HHH pseudo-breaking kayfabe during the entire match and HBK just ranting about physics and probability and his degree from the University of Tanzania or wherever it was.  It seemed to drive a spike between Jericho and Show until DX hit the ring and Show decimated them both.  I actually have to give HHH credit: he took the best Codebreaker bump I’ve seen.  The way he took the move is how everybody should take it: drop to your knees as Jericho’s back hits the mat.  It looks way more devastating that way.

There is one major blemish on the show tonight, and that was the Sheamus vs. Noble rematch from last week.  I’m specifically talking about the powerbomb on the floor at the end of the whole affair.  Now, I don’t know this for sure, as I wasn’t at the show, but the way the cameras showed it, it definitely looked like Sheamus put an awful lot of force behind that powerbomb as he slammed Noble onto the ground.  Usually when you’re outside, you lighten your spots a little since there’s less padding and concrete instead of many layers of canvas and a big spring underneath you.  The way Sheamus slammed Noble, it looked like he thought he was in the ring.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he broke Noble’s back with that.  And you have to wonder (or at least I do) why Sheamus used so much force behind that move.  A very disturbing thought popped into my head after watching the move about three times: what if Vince wants to fire Noble, but wants to get out of it without losing money, so he sends his big Irish poltergeist out to injure Noble, then fire Noble because he’s badly injured and won’t be back in the ring for a year.  And since Noble isn’t a top draw like Edge, VKM won’t have any qualms about letting him go.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if they called his back injury a pre-existing condition before firing him.  It all really makes me wonder if it’s all worth it to one James Gibson.  Is it really worth it to get paid whatever WWE pays you just to get humiliated every week and then probably get severely injured by some noob wrestler who can’t even put two moves together?  It’s actually kind of a question for every wrestler (and even every fan who wants to be a wrestler): would you choose money over prestige?  Would you rather be the top dog of a company but only make a couple thousand dollars a month, or would you want to make a hundred thousand dollars a year to be on national TV for two minutes a week getting beat up by guys who outweigh you by 75 pounds and whose in-ring talen tlevel is 1/20th of your own?  James Gibson is a former ROH World Champion.  Jamie Noble is the laughingstock of the WWE, and his career is probably in jeopardy thanks to the Celtic Ghost Warrior, Sheamus.

I guess what I’m trying to ask is: would you rather be a medium-sized fish in a smallish pool, or would you rather be a krill in the Pacific Ocean?  A krill that makes more money in a year than the medium-sized fish would make in five, or maybe even ten years.  What are your thoughts?

Well, I was going to talk about yet another issue that’s been bothering me for quite some time, but I’ve written 1,300 words, and I don’t want to keep you any longer.  So I’ll save that for another time.  For now, I’ll say goodbye and I’ll see you next time.