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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Okay, it’s finally time.  I’m going to weigh in on the first episode of NXT.

I’m sure a few of you will remember my scathing rant last week after the final episode of ECW ended.  I was pretty unhappy with what it seemed was going to happen.  The show sounded like Tough Enough with mentors.  To me, it sounded like another crappy reality show that had some wrestling thrown in to appease the WWE fans.  I am completely glad that I was wrong.  While I still feel like many former ECW wrestlers are getting the shaft, at least a few new talents are being brought up, and maybe this whole “youth movement” deal that was brought up a year or so ago may take hold.  Maybe.

Let’s get right to the heart of the show.  It’s blatantly obvious that the main story of this first “season” will be the tension and budding rivalry between Miz and Daniel Bryan Danielson (the name still makes me laugh; thanks, Mike).  Danielson cut a great promo at the beginning of the show, and had a great rapport with Miz.  I think these two are going to work surprisingly well together.  When I first heard about their pairing, I was admittedly pretty pissed.  I (like I’m sure many other IWC smarks complained) thought that Danielson was the last person on the planet to need a mentor, let alone someone like Miz.  But after the build that was made over the week leading up to the first episode of NXT, it’s obvious that this whole situation is nowhere near the teacher/student mentality we were expecting.  And I have to finally give credit to Vince and Creative: after decades of denying that any other wrestling companies exist, they FINALLY acknowledge that the indies are, in fact, real.  They brought up this subject while divulging Danielson’s background, how he’d been wrestling in the indies all around the world for the past decade.  I’m glad they finally decided to show the non-hardcore wrestling fans that there are more wrestling promotions out there.  Maybe it will broaden their horizons a little bit.  Maybe they’ll search for matches featuring Daniel Bryan Danielson.

Anyway, I thought that the angle was built well, and it really hit home during the first episode of NXT.  I’ll give Creative some credit: they’re building this feud well, and when Danielson wins this competition and gets his contract on Raw, he’ll be the next challenger for the United States Championship, and I’ll call it right now: Daniel Bryan Danielson will be the next US Champ.  Mark your calendars, because when it happens, you’ll look back and see that I called it back in February.

Oh, and Danielson had a really fun little match with Chris Jericho as the main event.  Danielson’s suicide dive into the announce table was eerily reminiscent of Chris Benoit’s similar dive a few years back.  Only Danielson didn’t land so awkwardly, and he ended up nearly causing Jericho to submit, which I thought would have been an epic first match for Danielson.  He’ll be a WWE World Champion soon, no doubt about it.

Now, let’s look at the rest of the new talent featured on television.  We had Christian and his rookie, Heath Slater, take on Carlito and Michael Tarver.  I think Slater’s got some serious potential.  He’s already established a very strong persona, which clashes a bit with Christian, but should be fun to see how they develop as the weeks go on.  He’s a pretty good athlete, as shown by some of the crazy leaps he did in the ring during his tag match.  He reminds me a little of Brian Kendrick, only taller.  He’ll probably get brought up to the main roster after this show is done.  Michael Tarver…meh.  He keeps talking about how he can knock someone out in 1.9 seconds.  Well, how come he didn’t do it to either Slater or Christian on Tuesday night?  He’s building himself up, but he’s not showing me anything I haven’t seen before.  And we know how well these MMA-style fighters go over in any pro wrestling ring.  They crash and burn.  If we want to see MMA, we’ll watch UFC.

Let’s see…we also had David Otunga and Darren Young in a squash match that had a pretty badly botched finish by Otunga.  Otunga reminds me a lot of Batista: a brash, arrogant musclehead who thinks he can go really far in the business simply because he’s built like a truck.  I think his finisher is similar to the spinebuster that Ron Simmons used to use, but I couldn’t tell very well since he botched it pretty badly.  Young, I think, can have great interactions with his mentor, CM Punk, if he actually gets more than 20 seconds of screen time.  A South Beach party boy being mentored by the king of straight edge?  It’s actually a pretty good pairing, I think.

Lastly, we got a glimpse of Wade Barrett, Chris Jericho’s mentee.  Besides wrestling, Barrett is the color commentator for FCW.  And I’m not completely sure why.  He’s actually got kind of an irritating voice.  I suppose they were just looking for someone to work with Byron Saxton.  Anyway, I kind of like his character so far: he kind of has a thing for Jericho, it would seem.  Always showering him with praise, almost swooning when describing Jericho.  It’s pretty hilarious, especially since Jericho seems to hate it (though Jericho does love doing it himself).  The jury’s still out on Barrett.  We’ll let his in-ring work do the talking for him.

Next week, we’re apparently going to see Justin Gabriel in action.  Gabriel is the current FCW Champion, so he can’t be all that bad.  We have yet to see the eighth participant, Skip Sheffield, in any manner besides standing backstage watching the matches on TV.  But his pairing with William Regal should prove to be pretty hilarious.  A Southern country boy meathead being mentored by the snobbish, blueblood will likely have some memorable moments.

Now, there’s one last thing I’d like to bring up about NXT before I head off to my own little life, and that’s the commentating.  I had figured that Josh Matthews and Byron Saxton would continue their roles as play-by-play and color commentator, respectively.  It appears as though Vince wants Michael Cole on as many shows as possible, though.  But I do have to admit one thing: listening to Cole’s commentary, it was actually a nice change to hear him have some personality for once.  He played the heel commentator, and it was actually not that bad.  Kind of makes you wonder if people would like him more if he had been doing this from the start.  I wonder if he’ll keep it up during the show’s duration.  I hope he does, because if he falls back into the “VINTAGE” gimmick, people are going to tune out in droves.

One final quick note before I go.  It’s been reported that WWE has future endeavored Paul Burchill, Gregory Helms, and Maria as of today.  The only release I’m a little surprised about is Maria.  Two months ago, she was voted Diva of the Year.  Now she’s gone.  Makes you wonder what, if anything, happened to cause this sudden departure.  Burchill and Helms I’m not surprised about at all.  There was talk of Burchill joining Raw shortly after his departure from ECW, but apparently, that was not to be.  Katie Lea, however, is a part of Raw, so we at least get her.  And Helms has not been the same since returning from neck surgery that kept him out of the ring for well over a year.  He seemed a lot slower than he had before his injury, and I don’t think he was going to be wrestling much longer, anyway.  Now, if WWE releases Matt Hardy, TNA can have the whole OMEGA squad all together again.  Won’t that just be great?

Okay, that’s it for me.  I’ve decided that it’s probably too late to review WWE The Music: Volume 10.  If you really want to hear my opinion on it, leave a comment.  If enough people comment, I’ll consider doing it, because I want to keep every one of you entertained.  I’ll be back next week with more random and crazy rants about the wacky world of wrestling.  So, until then, stay awesome!

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So the Chamber has come and gone.  It wasn’t a bad show, thanks mostly in part to the main event, but it wasn’t spectacular, either.  Let’s go through this clusterfuck of a PPV.

Raw Elimination Chamber – John Cena defeats Sheamus, HHH, Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase, and Kofi Kingston to become the WWE Champion, Batista defeats John Cena to become the WWE Champion minutes later

While I am pleased that they took the title off Sheamus, I am somewhat disappointed in how they went about it.  And I’m certainly disappointed that Batista is the WWE Champion.  He’s such a dull personality, even more so in his “me first” gimmick.  And thanks to what transpired on Raw last night, we’re apparently getting Cena vs. Batista at Wrestlemania 26.  Vince, you’re a year too late.  This would have been a great match last year, but now that we’re a year later, Batista’s likely on the way out, and Cena’s hurting, it isn’t as intriguing of a matchup as it would have been had you given us this a year ago.  It’s just kind of “meh” now.  Anyway, back to the Chamber match.  We FINALLY get Dibiase turning on Orton, smacking him in the face with a steel pipe that Rhodes tossed into the chamber, supposedly intending to get it to Orton.  Kingston does some crazy shit all around the chamber and gets eliminated, much to no one’s surprise.  Sheamus laid on the sidelines for about ten minutes straight while everyone else beat the crap out of each other, much like he normally does.  It was okay, but not terribly entertaining.  I’m certainly glad that they led off with this match instead of making it the main event.

Drew McIntyre defeats Kane to retain the Intercontinental Championship

If you didn’t see this coming, you’re blinder than I am.  Though I must admit that Kane’s control segments were the best part of this match by far, and were actually pretty fun to watch.  McIntyre continues to be unimpressive except when he’s getting the tar kicked out of him.  Still, a very predictable outcome.  Also, a note for Mr. McIntyre: you’re a one-trick pony.  Sticking your thumb into your opponent’s eye while the ref isn’t looking at the end of a lot of your matches makes your matches terribly predictable and uninteresting.  I know you’re playing Sheamus Lite, the cowardly heel who markets himself as this tough badass, but at least try different tactics.  Maybe if you do that, you’ll be less of a dullard to watch.  Anyway, okay match, but nothing special.

And as far as my picks went, I’m 1 for 2.

Michelle McCool and Layla defeats Gail Kim and Maryse in a Women’s Tag Team Match

Vince is a devilish bastard.  He knows we all ahte Vickie Guerrero.  But he also knows that a lot of wrestling fans have short memories.  So he only uses her once in a while, so that when she does appear, it’s all the more aggravating.  Not only does she show up and nearly pop everyone’s ear drums with her screeching, but she deprives us of a title match.  That witch.  Anyway, we get the most predictable match in history as Michelle McLame and Layla defeat Gail Kim in what basically amounted to a handicap match.  I have no idea why they postponed the Diva’s Title match until Raw the next night.  Probably to waste extra time because they only had five matches on the card.  And speaking of the title match, I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed in the result: Maryse wins the Diva’s Championship again.  I should have seen it coming, but my heart led me astray in picking that match.  On the plus side, finding out Gail Kim knew exactly what Maryse was saying in French these past weeks was a very nice touch and made me respect Kim all the more for putting up with the constant bullshit that goes on in the WWE.  I hope Gail continues to chase for the title, because one and done would be a travesty.

The Miz defeats MVP to retain the United States Championship

While I don’t hate how this feud has gone on, I do wish they’d advertise all of the matches on the card instead of tossing extra sutff in there seemingly at the last minute.  Anyway, this was actually a pretty good match between the two, better than their match at the Royal Rumble for sure.  But probably the most memorable moment of the match didn’t even involve the competitors, but their tag team partners.  Watching Mark Henry crash through the retaining wall in front of the timekeeper and the announcers was pretty epic.  The last time someone did that, it was Umaga.  Doing crazy shit like that is worth it, because people remember it.  And, on yet another tangential note, it looks like this whole Miz angel on NXT is going to be the main storyline of the first “season” of the show.  More on that later.

Smackdown Elimination Chamber – Chris Jericho defeats The Undertaker, CM Punk, John Morrison, Rey Mysterio, and R-Truth to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion

As just about everyone predicted, Jericho won the match, though not without a little help from Shawn Michaels.  I honestly thought that HBK was going to ambush someone and take his place.  I figured he was going to knock Morrison out of the match, much like Edge did last year to Kofi Kingston, but it was not to be.  It’s okay, because Shawn got the final word and cost Taker the World Heavyweight Championship.  I must give credit where credit is due: Rey Mysterio made this match entertaining.  He got pummeled and beaten worse than anyone I’ve seen in Chamber history.  It was actually a little painful to watch at times.  But he was great in this match, and I have to give him major props.  Also, during this match, I had what I thought was a definite epiphany: Taker should fight Punk at Wrestlemania 26.  It could have been a great match with tons of implications towards the future.  Alas, it was not to be, as we found out on Raw the following night.  The Smackdown Chamber match was definitely the match of the night, and I’d recommend watching it if you can find it somewhere.

So, if I include the Diva’s Title match from Raw, I went 2 for 4 in picks.  Not great, but for what happened, not bad, either.

Okay, speaking of Raw, let’s discuss the three Wrestlemania matches that were set up last night.  First, we got Chris Jericho appearing with his World Championship held high.  One Spear by Edge later and we have our main event: Edge vs. Jericho.  Then, later on, we find out that we will, indeed, be getting Taker/HBK II, only this time, it’s The Streak vs. Shawn’s Career.  I hope they build this really well, because I have no interest in the match whatsoever.  They already had their epic encounter last year.  What’s going to change this year?  I just don’t think it’s going to provide enough of a change to be as entertaining as it could be.  And finally, we apparently get Cena vs. Batista for the WWE Championship, though it’s a little difficult to really tell if it’s going to happen, since Cena won by DQ after Batista kicked him square in the junk.  On the bonus side, Batista actually made Cena look almost human with the beatdown that occurred after the match was over.  It was a nice change of pace after so many years of Super Cena.  I doubt it will last very long, but it was different enough to keep me vaguely interested.

Now, let’s quickly go over the ECW free agent scene real quick.  So far (unless I missed something), we know that Christian and Yoshi Tatsu have signed with Raw, William Regal’s contemplating signing with Raw, and Caylen Croft, Trent Baretta, and Ezekiel Jackson have signed with Smackdown.  No news on the rest of the names, but I’m sure that we’ll find out as the weeks progress.  The only reason I’m bringing this up is that I bet that quite a few former ECW guys will be competing in the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania.  Christian has already qualified, and unless someone eve nmore logical also qualifies, he’s my pick to win it.

The last thing I’d like to talk about today is the apparent major storyline for NXT featuring The Miz and Daniel Bryan, or, as The King of All Italy, Mike Siciliano has decreed he be named, Daniel Bryan Danielson (I still crack up every time I hear, say, or write it down).  I just love the name.  Anyway, it appears that there will be a lot of tension between Miz and Danielson during the course of NXT.  Miz is arguing that, while Danielson may have a decade of experience in, as he called it, the “minor leagues,” that Danielson has no idea what it takes to be a WWE superstar, so he’s going to try to teach Danielson how to have a personality or some such nonsense.  It actually makes me want to tune in tonight, just to see how this whole thing evolves.  I don’t even care about anyone else on the show, because this is going to be fun.  Danielson is, to me, the only person I’d actually like to see fight pretty much anyone and everyone on the WWE roster.  There are so many intriguing matchups for Danielson that the possibilities with him are pretty much infinite.  I can’t wait to watch him school Miz inside the ring.  I suppose that my initial feelings towards NXT were, indeed, a little premature.  I’m still very skeptical about the rest of the show, but seeing Daniel Bryan Danielson will be worth it.  I hope.

Okay, that’s all for me for now.  Tune in later this week where I review the first episode of NXT and maybe, just maybe, actually get around to reviewing that damn music album.  Until then, stay awesome, and for the love of all that is holy, don’t dress up like a mechanical bull and taunt Big Show, because he’ll punch your head off.  See you next time!

I thought I might not be able to do picks this weekend, as I had plans for both today and tomorrow, but I was given a little bit of time tonight, so I’m seizing it and doing picks now.

Looking at the card, this show seems awfully threadbare.  There are all of four matches announced.  Which begs the question: are the chamber matches going to be an hour long each, or are there going to be one or two “special bonus matches” crammed in at the last minute?  I don’t particularly like the idea of either happening, but if I were to pick one, I’d have to pick the extra match (or matches).  An hour long chamber match would get really tedious to watch, and it would increase the probability of injury quite a bit.  I especially don’t want to see guys like The Undertaker in there for an hour.  If he’s going to have a match at Wrestlemania 26, he’ll need to get as much rest between now and then as possible, so it would be best to have him exit quickly in his match.  Anyway, if there are bonus matches added, obviously they won’t count towards my picks.  I could always guess as to what type of bonus match we’d get.  If anything, it’ll either be a United States Title match or a Unified Tag Team Title match.  Either way, we get The Miz.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we got Show Miz vs. MVP and Mark Henry or Miz Show vs. Matt Hardy and the Great Khali (weirdest tag team in a long time).  Or if it’s a US Title match, Miz vs…I have no idea.  There is no mid-card on Raw, so trying to find a viable contender is next to impossible.  I’d guess Mark Henry, MVP, Evan Bourne, or maybe, just maybe, Yoshi Tatsu.  I doubt the last name will come up, but there’s always a possibility.

So, with that said and done, let’s go ahead and go through what little of a card there is.

Diva’s Championship – Maryse vs. Gail Kim

I’m betting that a lot of people are picking Maryse to win the Diva’s Title for the second time.  I don’t actually know this, but let’s just call it a hunch.  I, however, feel in my gut that Gail Kim will FINALLY win her first title since coming back to WWE after a lengthy time as basically the founder of TNA’s women’s division.  Lord knows she deserves it a hell of a lot more than Maryse.  I find Maryse dull, both in the ring and on the mic.  Not irritating as all hells like the two grade schoolers on Smackdown, but not entirely interesting in any way.  My heart and my gut are in agreement for once.  Gail Kim wins and becomes the Diva’s Champion.

Intercontinental Championship – Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Kane

McIntyre’s Intercontinental Title reign has been even more of a disaster than Sheamus’ WWE Title reign.  McIntyre has proven absolutely nothing to me since redebuting last year.  His in-ring work is very dull and plodding, and his mic work is pretty uninspired.  He and Sheamus are actually sort of mirroring each other on the two brands.  The only difference is that one has the major title around his extremely pale waist, while the other carries the secondary title around like a pansy.  Having the exact same character on two different shows, both holding titles, is very damaging to the product as a whole.  It just makes for less entertaining television.  Anyway, this match is a joke.  Kane’s slowing down and probably will hand up his boots soon, and McIntyre can’t seem to work well with anybody.  This is a lose-lose situation.  In the end, we know that McIntyre isn’t going to lose his precious title to the likes of Kane.  Maybe a DQ or count-out victory for Kane, but Drew McIntyre retains the IC Title.  I’ll say McIntyre wins, though, because Vince loves to put over his favorites.

World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match – The Undertaker (c) vs. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth vs. John Morrison

Even though this list has more “veterans” than the Raw Chamber match, this one intrigues me more.  Yes, it’s also the more predictable one, but at least you’ve got some real high-flyers.  Well, unless Morrison’s ankle injury thing will prevent him from even entering the chamber, which might just allow Shawn Michaels to enter the Chamber anyway.  Wouldn’t that be a twist?  Anyway, I don’t think it matters anyway.  You can cut the list in half immediately, since Morrison, Truth, and Mysterio have no chance at winning this.  Punk is likely not going to hold another world championship for a while, as he’s stuck with this Straight Edge Society gimmick (which, if it ever wants to be taken seriously, needs to add about a half dozen more people to it very soon).  That leaves Taker and Jericho.  I’ve already outlined (as I believe many other columnists have done) that Jericho vs. Edge at Wrestlemania 26 will likely be THE main event.  And that would require one of them to hold the World Heavyweight Championship.  And since Edge isn’t getting a title shot until Wrestlemania, it looks like Chris Jericho wins his sixth World Title.

Sidebar: I’m not really feeling Edge’s face turn.  It feels like he’s been a heel for too long a stretch, and he’s kind of forgotten how to be a face.  Now, I don’t know what he was like for quite a few years before I started watching wrestling again in 2006, but what I do remember of Edge as a face (back when he was with Christian) was that he was a goofy face.  And when he tries to be a serious face, he ends up more heelish than he probably should.  I don’t know.  Maybe he was never a great face to begin with.  He’s getting the same reaction as Randy Orton, even though Orton’s still blatantly a heel.  I hope Edge can figure out how to be a face soon, because he’s definitely sending mixed messages, and it’s making for some strange TV.

Okay, back to the main topic.

WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match – Sheamus (c) vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. HHH vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Kofi Kingston

On paper, this match looks a hell of a lot less interesting than the Smackdown Chamber match.  You’ve got Cena, Orton, and HHH in ANOTHER main event, along with Sheamus, the worst World Champion since The Great Khali, and two guys who don’t stand a chance.  Kofi’s still got unresolved issues with Orton, so they’ll probably end up getting eliminated.  Dibiase’s program with Orton and Rhodes is very awkward, so they’ll also probably have issues.  So we’re down to three.  The last thing I want to see right now is Sheamus defending the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania, but the way things are going right now, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see it happen.  I don’t think either Cena or HHH need another title run, unless we get HHH vs. HBK in a Title vs. Career match at Wrestlemania, which wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.  If I didn’t feel so strongly in my gut that Sheamus is going to retain, I’d actually pick HHH to win.  But he’s won enough of these matches.  And Cena’s going to be involved in the whole McMahon/Hart situation anyway, so it looks like Sheamus retains the WWE Championship and goes on to Wrestlemania to face…let’s say…damn, I can’t think of a single person.  Raw’s Wrestlemania main event is going to suck this year.

So there you have it.  I’m going to head off to bed, since I have to be up early tomorrow.  So I’ll be back in a couple of days with Elimination Chamber results and thoughts, and soon after, a scathing rant about NXT (maybe).  Until then, stay awesome!

Okay, I’m probably writing way, way too early about this subject, but after watching the final episode of ECW, some things have to be said.  I repeat, they HAVE TO BE SAID.

First off, I am appalled but sadly not completely surprised that Christian dropped the title to Ahmed Johnson the Second.  Any faith that Vince McMahon might have built up by giving Christian a long title reign was completely dashed when Jackson won the title.  To me, this shows that old habits never die, especially when you’re Vince McMahon.  I’m sure he doesn’t read this, but if you do, sir, just know that you have disappointed me yet again.  I honestly don’t know why I continue watching a product that disappoints me much more often than it appeases me.  The whole facade is wearing very thin right now.  I should expect by now that Vince will rarely, if ever, give his world championships to men who deserve it rather than these over-roided freaks who can’t put two words or two moves together.  Over 25 years of this crap and people still expect him to change because the fans say he should.  I’m this close to giving up.

Christian should have been the final ECW Champion, no questions asked.  Christian has worked for 15 years i nthis business, honing his craft and building a fan base that enjoyed him for his talents, not his looks.  I don’t care if you think that it’s better to end up putting someone over rather than keep your title.  A guy like Ezekiel Jackson does not deserve to be the last ECW Champion, nor does he deserve to be a champion of any type.  He’s just another one of Vince McMahon’s fetish dolls, there to give Vince’s ego a nice, long stroke.  I am so very angry right now at this whole pile of bullshit that I probably shouldn’t be writing.  But damnit, I’m going to write, because my emotions have gotten the better of me, and these things need to be said.

And now, with that embarassment of an ending to a show over, we get to look forward to the new WWE television show, NXT.  Or, at least, we got to look forward to it before we found out it’s basically going to be Tough Enough 2.0.  Instead of having another wrestling show with the newer WWE talent working their way up the ladder and eventually moving on to the bigger shows, we’re getting a “hybrid live event/reality show, where eight WWE Pros will mentor eight WWE Rookies, who will be fighting for a WWE contract.”  Oh my science, no.  No, no no no no no NO!  This is unnecessary!  You’re taking eight guys who are ALREADY working for you, and you’re making them go through a process where the “winner” gets a WWE contract?  You know what?  No.  Fuck no.  I’m sorry, but this is just stupid as hell.  There are several problems with this show right off the bat.

1) Instead of having another medium for your current roster to compete on television, you’re cramming every now former ECW wrestler onto Raw or Smackdown.  This is going to give everyone less TV time, and a lot of people are going to get lost in the shuffle as a result.  Guys who are already near the bottom may very well get pushed out, and I can’t honestly believe that more than a couple of the ECW guys are going to make any sort of splash on Raw or Smackdown.  Guys like Vlad Kozlov, Yoshi Tatsu, Caylen Croft, Trent Barretta, and probably Lance “Don’t call me Vance Archer” Hoyt are going to turn into curtain-jerkers.  Both Raw and Smackdown are already over-saturated with guys, so adding seven or eight more people is going to screw with the delicate balance that’s barely functioning right now.  And if we get more stunts like Batista’s complete waste of time on Smackdown last week, you’re giving everyone even LESS time on TV.  You’re hurting every wrestler in the company by doing this.

2) Some of the names and pairings for this new show are painful.  While I’ll admit I don’t know most of the new guys coming up, I do know two of the names, and one of them makes me want to break stuff.  Bryan Danielson, the American Dragon, the man who’s actually the best in the world at what he does, will be a part of this.  And the worst part?  His new name is Daniel Bryan.  Dear sweet merciful crap, WHY?  There is NO reason to change his name at all!  His name alone would bring more people to watch your show.  Anyone who’s watched the indy scene even sparingly over the last seven or eight years knows the name Bryan Danielson.  If they don’t watch WWE programming, but hear that Bryan Danielson is going to be wrestling, THEY’LL TUNE IN!  But you tell them that Daniel Bryan is going to start wrestling, the first word out of their mouths will be, “Who?”  Followed by, “Don’t they mean Bryan Danielson?”  Followed by choruses of laughter and sobbing simultaneously, because they just realized that WWE is going to completely bastardize the one man we all hoped they wouldn’t.  It’s a crying shame.  And you know the worst worst part?  His “mentor?”  The Miz.  It actually hurts my brain to think about this.  Knowing where Dragon has come from, it’s painful to think that he’s going to have to play the part of a rookie and have The Miz as his mentor.  The only positive from this is that we now know that Danielson will be competing as a heel, at least for now.  The only other name on that list I recognized was Heath Slater, but I haven’t seen any of his work, so I can’t comment on his pairing with Christian.

I just…I don’t see the point of having a reality show as part of your programming.  ECW was the breeding ground for new talent to rise to the surface and COMPETE, not be mentored by random current employees.  This…this has the makings of a waste of our time.  I don’t want to see FCW guys being “mentored” by WWE guys.  I want to see FCW guys start out beating the ever-loving crap out of each other from the very first minute of the show.  I want to see guys who are being mistreated on Raw and Smackdown get a second chance on this new show, maybe gaining back some of the reputation they lost because of Creative’s complete incompetence at pushing anyone who isn’t 300 pounds of steroid-induced muscle.  Some people say change is a good thing.  Well, in this case, change is not what we need.  What we need is a place for people to compete on television in front of audiences, not do all this reality TV bullshit.  It’s unnecessary.  I don’t really even care that much about the whole WWE contract part of the deal.  I would just prefer to see them wrestle for it, not compete on a reality TV show for it.  And in the end, what happens to the seven guys who don’t win the contract?  Do they stay on NXT?  Do they head to Raw or Smackdown, or do they go back to FCW and another eight guys come up and get their shot?  It bothers me that there are so many unanswered questions.  It bothers me more that Bryan Danielson went through a name change.  But it bothers me most that Vince McMahon thought it was necessary to bring reality television back to his product, and I, for one, am afraid of what’s ahead.

This is the part where I tell you to stay awesome, so I’ll do that, and leave, discontent at what’s going to happen next week.  I’ll still watch it, but if it’s just another stupid reality show, I won’t be watching it for long.

In the wake of the death of the luger from Georgia, this may seem in poor taste, but things must be discussed, and discussed they will be.

Tomorrow night is the final episode of ECW.  While a lot of fans, mostly old ECW fans, have been critical of the new show, I’ve really been enjoying it over the past year.  The show really was taken to a new level with the redebut of Christian, who proceeded to carry the brand on his back for the past year and change.  I know it’s silly to think that Vince McMahon actually listens to the fans, but I really like to think that he finally listened to us about Christian and gave him a title to hold for an extended period of time.  Yes, it was the recreated ECW Championship, but Christian held it with more pride and poise than anyone else to have held it since ECW was resurrected back in 2006.  You could argue that guys like Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer were prouder to hold it, but I doubt it.  RVD’s title reign was cut short because of drug charges, and Dreamer’s title reign came too late in his career.  But Christian has been the main focus of the brand since he arrived in February of last year.  Unless I’m mistaken, the major champion of your brand should be the main focus.  Raw is dropping the ball with Sheamus on that front, but I gave up all hope on him months ago.

Anyway, ECW has had quite a run the last year or so.  With Christian, as well as bringing up many younger talents, it has been a breeding ground for future champions.  Guys like Yoshi Tatsu, The Hart Dynasty, and the like are all future champions.  Tatsu has a very good chance of becoming one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions with Goldust tomorrow when they face off against ShowMiz, who managed to lose to the World’s Strongest Tag Team on Raw tonight.  I have my own conspiracy theory about that whole situation, but I’ll save it for later since I want to focus on the topic at hand.  ECW has also been the rebirth of some veterans whose careers we all thought were over.  Guys like William Regal and Goldust found new like on Tuesday nights.  Goldust enjoyed a surprising cult following, and is actually working well with Tatsu.  They’ve formed a strangely entertaining tag team that will give ShowMiz a run for their money tomorrow.  And Regal has done everything on ECW except win the ECW Championship, which I’m still honestly a little sad he never ended up winning.  But he did raise the game of Ezekiel Jackson, who had a great match with Christian at the Royal Rumble and, I’m hoping, will have a great Extreme Rules Match tomorrow night.  I’m looking forward to their match.  It should be a great final episode.

A lot of people out there in the Internet Wrestling Community believed that the name ECW should never have been brought back.  Many people thought that the name had been bastardized, ruined by Vince McMahon.  I would agree that, for a while, it was actually a pretty unimpressive show.  But with the shift in focus to younger talent, it really grew into a great little show.  I’m going to miss it, but at the same time, I’m really looking forward to NXT, which debuts next week.

Now, I can’t just leave NXT there.  Speculation must commence!  I wonder what exactly is going to happen with all of the ECW guys.  I’m sure a few of them will move on to Raw or Smackdown.  Christian, in particular, could find a place on either brand and be a major player.  Regal has the chops to be a GM, and I think that Raw will need one soon.  Ezekiel Jackson is obviously going to get a push, probably on Smackdown.  If he can pull off matches of the caliber of his match with Christian at the Rumble, there’s hope for him yet.  Young guys like Tatsu, Caylen Croft, Trent Baretta, and Zack Ryder could either move on or stay at NXT, where they’ll likely thrive.  Maybe some of the guys floundering at the bottom of Raw or Smackdown can move to NXT and get the recognition they deserve.  Guys like Evan Bourne, Primo, and Jimmy Yang could definitely provide a lot of entertainment on a show that will need as much talent as possible getting off the ground.  And, of course, there will probably be a few names moving up from FCW.  Guys like Bryan Danielson, Low Ki, Joe Hennig, and Brett Dibiase.  Danielson can carry a company on his back, and if he’s put on NXT, he should reign supreme.  He can have epic matches with anyone, and I’d love to see him in matches with Ki, Bourne, and maybe even a match or two with CM Punk.  I can honestly say that I’m pretty psyched to see what’s next for NXT.  I had to do it, I’m sorry.

But there is not all good news in the crazy-go-nuts world of professional wrestling.  Earlier today, it was announced that, starting in March, TNA would be moving Impact to Monday nights to directly compete with Monday Night Raw.  I will say one thing to this: TNA, it was nice knowing ya.  I cannot possibly fathom TNA taking viewers away from WWE at this point.  There is so much bull taking place in Orlando that it’s laughable.  Reading the results for their PPV yesterday (I’ve forgotten its name, but it isn’t like I watched it or anything), and reading that the Nasty Boys won a match at all is just sad.  They beat Team 3D, which is even sadder.  Look, we all know that Hulk Hogan honestly doesn’t give a shit about any of the TNA originals.  We all know that all he wants to do is create WCW 2010, and he’s doing just that.  There are so many WWE rejects and geezers on that show that it’s looking exactly like WCW circa 2000.  And we all know that the only guys who are going to get pushed are the guys Hogan wants to push.  Which means that nobody who deserves a push is going to get it.  I was actually quite surprised to find out that Elijah “Don’t call me The Pope” Burke is the new #1 Contender for the TNA World Championship, but the way things are going with AJ Styles and Ric Flair, I don’t see Burke winning any titles anytime soon.  Same goes for Nigel McGuinness, who I think jumped the gun when he signed with TNA a few months back.  I would have paid good money to watch McGuinness and Danielson beat the crap out of each other on WWE television, but that’s just never going to happen now.  Unless Nigel quits TNA, which I suggest he does right away.  Hogan is only going to push former WWE talent or his old buddies from the 80’s.  With this newest announcement, it spells doom for TNA.  Their ratings are going to drop, they’re going to lose money, and they’re going to fold, because they hired on the biggest money vacuum on the planet in one Hulk Hogan.  I feel bad for the talented guys in TNA, guys like Styles, Sabin, Shelley, Lethal, Daniels, and the like, because they’re going to be out of a job soon, and they’re probably not going to want to go back to the indy circuit after having a cushy gig with TNA.

I’ll give you guys a protip: NXT will be looking for talented guys just like you.  I think it’s time to get what you deserve: a big fat paycheck from Vince McMahon.  These guys deserve the big bucks, and if Vince doesn’t destroy them in the process, all the better.  Who wouldn’t want to watch a three-way dance between Bryan Danielson, AJ Styles, and Nigel McGuinness?  I would pay money to see that.  So remember, TNA originals: when TNA goes bankrupt, and it will, I’m betting you that NXT will be the place to go.

Before I go for now, there are three issues I must address, and I probably should save them for another column, but they must be discussed now.  First off, how convoluted has this whole Legacy angle gotten?  It’s starting to look like TNA out there.  Will you guys just pick sides already and be done with it?

Second, the whole Bret Hart injury angle is weird.  I’m quite sure that the build to Wrestlemania will go thusly: the woman who crashed into the limo was hired by Vince, and Vince will then challenge Bret to a match at Wrestlemania, even though Hart has a (kayfabe) broken leg.  We’ll then either get Cena/Batista at WM 26, or Hart will make a miraculous recovery and we’ll get a street fight or some such.  I think there were better ways to continue this story, but I suppose I’ll have to wait and see how it develops.  Hopefully it won’t get ugly.

Third, I have to praise WWE for inducting Antonio Inoki into the Hall of Fame this year.  If anyone deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame, it’s Inoki.  I’m far too young to remember anything he did in the ring, but I know that he was a pioneer and a master at his craft, and I’m going to go watch some of his matches on Youtube to get a better appreciation for how great he was.  This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are shaping up very well so far.

Okay, there is one more thing I have to address, and then I’ll go.  I know I shouldn’t speculate on what happened, but the way things look, the consequences were extremely unfortunate.  Last Monday, Mike Siciliano (of Pros from the Palace and the Pro Wrestling Rewind fame) made a short audio blog talking about how, when he listens to a wrestling podcast, he listens to hear about wrestling, and that the guys behind Wrestleview Radio apparently got off on a major political tangent during their show last week.  I didn’t listen to the WV Radio show, so I don’t know the specifics of what happened, but I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with Mike in this regard.  If you produce a show called Wrestleview Radio, you should talk about wrestling, not politics.  Anyway, apparently during the week, there was talk of disciplinary action in regards to Mr. Siciliano because of his audio blog criticizing the WV Radio show for their political tangent, and he brought it up on this past week’s episode of the Rewind.  Now, again, I hate speculation, but it looks like this whole situation spiraled out of control, because yesterday, Mike officially resigned as a columnist for Wrestleview, and today, we found out that the Rewind is no longer a part of the Wrestleview Radio Network.  Now, if this all stems from the audio blog Mike put on his personal Facebook page, then there’s a serious problem with the way Wrestleview handled this situation.  The same sort of thing is happening at many other places of employment.  An employer will have an interview with a prospective employee, all the while doing research on the same person on the internet, checking these social networking sites for any sign that they might be an unfit employee.  And I’m betting you that a fair share of people have not been hired (or current employees getting fired) because of stuff they post on their Facebook or Myspace page.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a travesty and an invasion of our personal lives.  And, as I stated earlier, if this whole situation has stemmed from this audio blog Mike posted on his Facebook page, then there are some serious problems.  Now, I’m not going to go digging, because I respect their privacy.  But I think that if there is even a shred of truth to the situation I just presented to you, I may very well end up no longer visiting Wrestleview.com.  And if this is the case, then I suggest that if you visit the site, that you, too, no longer visit Wrestleview.  I support Mike and Andy fully in their endeavors, and I hope that they find a new outlet for their work, because it’s some of the best out there on the internet.  Good luck, guys!

So that’s it for me.  Be sure to stay tuned for Elimination Chamber picks and maybe, just maybe, that review of WWE The Music Volume 10 I’ve been promising for weeks now.  As for me, I’ll be celebrating my birthday this Wednesday, then ACTUALLY celebrating it on Saturday.  Until next time, stay awesome everyone!

I said a couple of weeks ago that I was going to review the new album put out by WWE, but things have been moving so fast in their crazy mixed-up world that it’s difficult to find time to write a music review.  I’ll get to it soon.

So last Friday we got the names for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match.  We’re getting The Undertaker (duh), Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, and R-Truth.  I honestly believe that this will be the more entertaining of the two chamber matches.  The Raw match is old news, with Orton, Cena, and HHH involved, along with Sheamus, who’s already worn out his welcome, Dibiase, and Kofi Kingston, neither of whom have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning this match.  I’d love to see Kofi steal the title away, but the way he’s been treated, getting stomped by Orton so many times, it makes me doubt that he’ll ever get a shot at a main event push.  And, I fear, with the men participating in the Raw chamber, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Sheamus retain the title.  Unless, of course, HHH wins it and has a match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 26.  But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

The Smackdown chamber match has a ton of intrigue.  You’ve got two guys in Morrison and R-Truth who, by some force or other, are actual contenders.  Well, Truth not so much.  But he deserves it, being a former NWA Heavyweight Champion and all.  Morrison’s on the cusp of main event-level stardom.  Punk is a wild card, but I doubt he’ll get the dupe in two weeks.  I highly suspect that this will be a transitional championship title reign for Chris Jericho, as Creative has been setting up an Edge/Jericho feud since July of last year.  Taker’s been looking worse, and needs the time off so he can rehabilitate whatever’s ailing him so he can have one last match at Wrestlemania.  Against whom, I do not know.  But that’s what this column is really about.

I figure that with all the prognosticators out there making wild and insane predictions about events happening months in the future, I might as well toss my own opinions out there and give my predictions as to what the Wrestlemania 26 card will be.  Some things already seem set in stone, and I’m okay with that, because they provide a lot of interesting matches, certainly far better than last year’s offering.  So let’s get right down to it and give you some Wrestlemania 26 card predictions!

First off, I’m sure there will be some sort of Divas match.  Whether it’s on the Raw or Smackdown side of things is unknown.  Hell, maybe we’ll get a title unification, seeing as how two women’s titles seems all but pointless.  But I doubt that’ll happen anytime soon.  The womens’ rosters on both shows is decent right now, so maybe two titles is okay for now.  Anyway, I’d look for either a Mickie James/Beth Phoenix match or possibly a Maryse/Gail Kim match.  I’m really hoping Gail wins the Divas Title at the Elimination Chamber, seeing as how she is also quite deserving of a title run.  I pray that we don’t get another debacle like we did last year, and we get just a good old-fashioned women’s match.  Well, not quite Fabulous Moolah old-fashioned, but a good women’s match nonetheless.  You know what I’d love to see?  Beth Phoenix vs. Nattie Neidhart.  Now THAT’s an attraction.

Since it’s Wrestlemania, there should be a Tag Team Title match.  Those of us who were looking forward to the match between MizMo and the Colons were sadly deprived of it, and if we wanted to watch the match, we had to purchase the DVD.  I, for one, was not amused by this bait-and-switch tactic that would have meant spending some $80+ for the PPV and the DVD.  Not worth it.  Anyway, with NEW Tag Team Champions crowned on Raw this evening (congratulations to ShowMiz, as they dubbed themselves), it would make sense to have some kind of tag title match.  If they hold on that long (which I think they will), then their competition isn’t that great.  They could face Cryme Tyme, but I doubt that Vince would give Cryme Tyme a match at Wrestlemania.  Don’t get me wrong, I like JTG and Shad, but Vince probably won’t give them a chance.  Then there’s the Hart Dynasty.  I’d love to see ShowMiz take on the Harts and finally give Kidd and Smith the titles they deserve.  But that’s also difficult to predict.  So, for the sake of giving a prediction, let’s say that we’ll get ShowMiz vs. The Hart Dynasty for the Unified Tag Team Championships.

Now, a staple of Wrestlemania the last five years has been the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, and I’d expect this year to be a hell of a fun one.  With NXT arriving in a couple of weeks, there are sure to be a lot of up-and-comers who will do just about anything to get into this match.  But I’m betting that we’ll see several former ECW talents vying for the briefcase.  Let’s see…I’ll give you eight names for the match, since that’s been the custom the last few years.  Shelton Benjamin’s a lock, as this is his signature match.  I’d bet Yoshi Tatsu will get a shot as well.  The match needs some more veterans, so I’ll bet that CM Punk and Matt Hardy get in.  And as for the rest, let’s see…I’ll say Christian, Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne, and Kofi Kingston.  If Kofi doesn’t win the WWE Championship at the Elimination Chamber (which I highly doubt), then I’ll say he wins this match and FINALLY gets his main event push.

Next, I’m hoping that we get a tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, and the final match is at Wrestlemania.  When I think of the next generation of WWE wrestlers, I think of two names: Low Ki and Bryan Danielson.  And, what the hell, I bet these two are going to be going at it for the NXT Championship.  Who better to carry a brand on his back then the American Dragon?  I’ve already seen that he can adapt to the WWE style of wrestling, while still being Dragon, so why not?  We all know he’s completely deserving of it.

Now, we get to the Grudge Matches.  First off, with what happened on Raw tonight, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to get some form of a Bret Hart/Vince McMahon/John Cena/Batista match, be it a street fight, a tag match, or one of those matches akin to the McMahon/Trump fiasco a few years back.  While I don’t think it’s in Bret’s best interest to get back in the ring one last time (he is 52, after all), I can’t help but hope that, at some point during Wrestlemania, he locks the Sharpshooter in on Vince and gets that revenge that the fans have been wanting for over twelve years.  If anything, I’d bet it’s a tag team street fight of some sort, with Hart and Cena facing McMahon and Batista.  And with this much crap that Bret’s had to put up with on TV (akin to Mickie James’ dealing with the worst storyline in years), he’d better win.

Next is the WWE Championship.  Now, this is a clouded field right now.  I think one of two things can happen: either Sheamus retains his title at the Elimination Chamber and goes on to face…someone, or HHH wins and faces Shawn Michaels.  Well, to be fair, I think that HHH vs. HBK is going to happen anyway.  Whether it’s for the WWE Championship or not doesn’t make a huge difference.  These two are set to implode, and it’s only a matter of time before they face each other one-on-one.  Let’s drop the HBK/Taker angle and focus on this developing story on Raw.  I’d actually like to see these two tear each other apart on the biggest stage of them all.  I’d definitely prefer this match to HBK vs. Taker II.

Now that I think about it, if Sheamus escapes the Chamber with the WWE Title, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get Sheamus vs. Taker at Wrestlemania.  The logistics would be kind of weird, but hey, it’s a possibility.  But don’t expect the ghostly Irishman to pull off a victory against the Dead Man.  If he wins clean over Taker, I swear I’ll stop watching WWE programming.

I almost forgot about the whole Legacy situation.  The Elimination Chamber will only be the beginning of the feud between Rhodes, Dibiase, and Orton.  If Rhodes and Sheamus are indeed working together, then we might even get a Fatal Four Way match for the WWE Championship between Sheamus, Rhodes, Dibiase, and Orton.  In fact, I’m rescinding my idea of Sheamus vs. Taker.  That’s a horrible idea.  Now, as to who will face Taker, the possibilities are not that great.  I’ve used up most of the big names already.  The one match I wouldn’t mind seeing is Taker vs. Rey Mysterio.  These two had a really good match at the Royal Rumble, and I’d love to see them face off after Taker gets five or six weeks of rest.  I bet it would be an epic encounter.  Of course, Taker would win.

And now, we come to our main event, the match nine months in the making: Edge vs. Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship.  When Jericho qualified for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match, the plan was solidified.  We all knew that Edge and Jericho were going to have to have it out once Edge returned.  And what better way to cap off this feud than with a main event match on the grandest stage of them all?  All the verbal abuse Edge has taken (and will continue to take over the next month and a half) will all come to a head at Wrestlemania.  And you’d better bet that he wins the match and becomes a 10-time World Champion.  I’m very interested to see how Edge works as a face champion.  Will he finally get that long title run he’s deserved for years?  I hope he does.

So there you have it.  My predicted Wrestlemania 26 card.  Keep in mind that this is in no way my Wrestlemania Dream Card.  About the only similarity that would have with my predicted card is Edge vs. Jericho.  I’d consider doing a Wrestlemania Dream Card as well, if anyone would be interested in reading that.  But for now, I think it’s time for me to stop.

But before I go, I’d like to toss out an idea for expanding this column.  I’m thinking about starting up a podcast wherein I discuss the topics I don’t cover in this written column.  I have some experience with creating a podcast, so I don’t think it would be terribly difficult to start another one up.  And you’d all get to hear my *HACK COUGH* wonderful voice.  So, if I get around to it (which hopefully I will), then look for a Rantables podcast coming soon.  I can’t host it on WordPress, unfortunately, but there are some free sites that can host the podcast.  So we’ll see how that goes.  Until then, stay awesome, and I swear I’ll do the review of WWE The Music: Volume 10 someday soon.

Okay…okay…okay…

Nope.  I can’t do it.  I can not stay calm after what went down at the Rumble yesterday.  There was too much bullshit going on throughout the night that I can’t give you an objective point of view for this show.  But you don’t come here to read objective points of view, do you?  You come here to listen to me rant and rave about the utter stupidities that plagues WWE Creative, and you love it that I, along with so many other IWC idiots out there love to bash a product that we supposedly enjoy watching.  Well, you’re getting an extra dose of subjectivity tonight, as we get not only a weak PPV, but we get one of the most predictable episodes of Raw in some time.

Let’s start with the Rumble.  You kind of had to figure that they were going to toss an extra match in there somewhere, with only five matches on the card.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start with the ECW Championship match, which I have to admit was surprisingly decent.  I believe it went about 12 minutes, and despite Ahmed Johnson, Jr.’s seemingly complete lack of in-ring talent, Christian made it entertaining.  He’s the first person to ever make Ezekiel look truly clumsy and slow in the ring, dodging many of Zeke’s big power strikes.  But Christian sold his ass off when he did get hit.  But it was the dodging and avoidance of Zeke’s actions that made this match entertaining.  We finally saw how someone SHOULD take a guy like Zeke on: stick and move, hit and run, and for the love of god, don’t get caught with a LARIATO (thanks for yelling that, Striker; you nearly blew out my speakers).  I do think my favorite moment in the match was when Christian ducked a clothesline, only to get hit with one from behind and taking it like he got hit in the back of the head with a fire extinguisher.  It was just a fantastic spot.  However, the match, much like the Intercontinental Title match last Friday, just kind of ended.  Zeke was in control, then Christian hit the Unprettier out of nowhere, and that was it.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of the Unprettier.  I think it has one of the worst deliveries of any finishing maneuver: it has to be the easiest move to counter, since it ends up with Christian facing away from his opponent.  If he could just spin his opponent around more quickly like he did in the early days, it would seem more realistic.  But when you’ve got a guy like Ezekiel Jackson trying to block your finishing maneuver, and you turn away from him to try to connect with said finisher, it seems like a recipe for failure.  It’s the only thing that really bothered me about this match.  That, and the botched inverted DDT that Zeke fell too early for.  Other than that, a very decent way to start the show.

Next was our impromptu United States Title match, with Miz taking on MVP.  Unfortunately, as this was likely crammed in at the last minute, these guys didn’t have much time to plan out any neat spots, so the match was very standard for both guys.  It was essentially a television match on a PPV show.  Not a great showing for either man.  Miz, unsurprisingly, wins and retains his title.  Since this wasn’t a match that was announced beforehand, I’m not counting it in my picks, for which I’m one for one so far.

Next, we had the WWE Championship Match between Randy Orton and Sheamus.  I don’t know why people are starting to cheer for Randy Orton.  It’s as though all of those past indiscretions, like kicking every member of the McMahon family sans Linda in the head never happened.  I don’t get it.  Yes, I get the concept of a face turn.  But it just seems out of place for Orton, who just can’t seem to not look like a pedophile at all times.  Seriously, it creeps me out.  Anyway, this match was the brick of the night.  Good lord, it was boring.  It was like HHH/Orton at Wrestlemania 25 all over again.  Huh…I think I just realized something: Sheamus is the new HHH.  Wow.  I just blew my mind.  Also, heel vs. heel matches just don’t do it for me.  Nobody wants to root for either man, and both have the same agenda: of picking out a body part and wailing on it until the other guy gives up.  It was awkward at best, and it wasn’t at its best.  Definitely the match that could have not taken place and nobody would have noticed.

Oh, and a note for referee Scott Armstrong: when you see a guy who isn’t involved in the match blatantly cause outside interference, YOU RING THE GODDAMNED BELL!  You don’t stare at him and yell at him for having just interfered in the match; you ring the goddamned bell and call for the disqualification!  You don’t wait until Randy Orton has hit his finisher and is covering Sheamus, waiting for you to count the pinfall and THEN ring the bell for the DQ.  It made you look remarkably incompetent, even for you.  You’re a terrible referee and you should retire.

Okay.  Next was the Women’s Title match.  I’ll be completely honest here: I was skipping past Michelle McCool’s whatever she was doing, and apparently somewhere in between skips, Mickie James ran out and won the Women’s Title.  So you replaced this with the subpar US Title match, apparently.  Smooth move, guys.  Why couldn’t we have gotten Mickie to just go insane and crush Michelle like she used to do?  We just get Mickie’s finisher and that’s it.  After this long of a buildup of the worst angle since Vince McMahon’s “death,” you could have given the fans some more than a 10 second match followed by McCool and Layla getting a sheet cake tossed into their faces.  Not worth it at all.  Thanks for trying, but you lose.

If you’re keeping track at home, I’m one out of three in picks so far.

The Undertaker/Mysterio World Heavyweight Championship match was, in my humblest of opinions, the best match of the night.  Taker can work with pretty much anyone, and Mysterio makes anyone he faces look like a million bucks.  These two did a lot without doing too much.  There were some truly innovative counters that you simply could not do with anyone other than Rey Mysterio.  Things like kneeing Taker in the face to block a Tombstone attempt.  Who else would think to do that?  It was brilliant.  The two consecutive 619’s was also a great spot that had me cheering.  Overall, it was very entertaining without either of them really doing too much, seeing as how both are battling various injuries.  And with Taker’s win, it brings me to two correct picks and two incorrect picks.

Now, we get to the Royal Rumble match.  First thing’s first: I was utterly disturbed at the number of people who were eliminated in less than 90 seconds.  Seven competitors were tossed out in less time than it took for the next person to run down to the ring.  Here, I’ll even list them, in chronological order: JTG (By CM Punk), Zack Ryder (by Punk), The Miz (by MVP), Matt Hardy (by Kane), Shelton Benjamin (by John Cena), Yoshi Tatsu (by Cena), and Chris Masters (by Big Show).  Now, to be fair, I wasn’t expecting any of these guys to really win the match, but getting tossed out in under 90 seconds is kind of sad.  Also getting tossed out within a short period of time were Dolph Ziggler, Evan Bourne (the first two victims of CM Punk), The Great Khali, Beth Phoenix (who I absolutely marked out for and was cheering for her to win the whole thing after eliminating Khali), MVP (getting taken out by Miz on the entrance ramp and then sacrificing yourself to knock him out was truly a low point for him), Mark Henry and Big Show (who were both somehow eliminated by R-Truth), Jack Swagger, and Kofi Kingston (which was a huge disappointment for me, since I picked him to win).  So, with all of those taken out, we’re left with all the usual names: CM Punk (who was eliminated before entrant #10 arrived), HHH, Rhodes and Dibiase, Kane, Cena, HBK, Chris Jericho, Batista, and the surprise entrant, and the eventual winner: EDGE.  Unfortunately, WWE blew its load about 90 seconds too soon when they put him at the #29 slot instead of the #30 slot.  I guess they didn’t want the #30 slot to be associated with guys who are coming back from injury way, WAY too soon.  I was utterly disappointed that the final four participants were Cena, HBK, Batista, and Edge.  What happened to this so-called “youth movement” that the IWC smarks were touting when Sheamus won the WWE Title?

Get ready, everyone!  It’s Tangent Time!

I’ll tell you what happened to it.  IT NEVER EXISTED!  The only reasons Vince picked Sheamus out of all the other potential guys to become WWE Champion were: (1) he’s Irish, and (2) he looks like all the other muscleheads that Vince seems to have a hard-on for.  The internet fans showered Vince iwth praise for finally deviating from the usual pattern of Cena/Orton/HHH/Edge, but what they didn’t realize was that Sheamus is EXACTLY THE SAME.  Only with less talent and a chip on his shoulder the size of Antarctica.  The announcers keep shouting at us about how Sheamus winning was the most shocking moment in years, but it wasn’t, because Sheamus is being built to be the next HHH.  If they’d given the WWE Title to Evan Bourne, or Primo, or MV-goddamned-P, THEN we’d have a real shock, because it would mean that the fans were being heard.  This whole “youth movement” that was discussed a few months ago was probably just a planted story to get us, the Internet jerks, to gossip and question and wonder who would be the Next Big Star, and if Vince would actually follow through with it.  And when he did, we praised him.  Well, not me personally, because I thought it was a horrible decision and it’s only gotten worse, but many people said it was about time.  But nothing’s changed.  We’ve still gut a lunkhead for a WWE Champion, and he’s more boring than a Johnny Nitro promo.  So think about that, IWC, because you were played from Day One, and you’ll never be listened to, because until you start your own wrestling company, a sixty-four year old man with a hard-on for bodybuilders isn’t going to listen to you about who should be HIS world champion.  OKAY?

Okay.

Now that that’s over with, we can move on to the Elimination Chamber PPV in just three weeks.  Seeing as how the Raw Chamber match was set tonight, let’s look at the participants, shall we?  We’ve got Sheamus (duh), John Cena, Randy Orton, HHH, Ted Dibiase, and Kofi Kingston.

I’ll refer you back to the large tangential rant I just wrote.  NOTHING’S CHANGED!  You’ve got four guys who will seemingly never leave the main event scene, and two guys who probably never will see the main event since the other four will never leave!  Until Randy Orton moves out of the spotlight (which, judging from his new contract, is never going to happen), both Kofi AND Ted are never going to truly reach main event status, because Orton is cock-blocking their rise to fame.  And until he takes a seat in the Chair of Humility, we’re going to continue to see young talents getting held back by the guys who just don’t want to give up that cozy seat at the top of the mountain.  So we’re either going to have to stop watching since we know that nothing will ever change, or we can continue watching in the hope that something will change, even though it won’t.

I’m getting sick of these games WWE has been pulling.  I’m thinking about not watching WWE programming anymore, because it just causes more frustration than it causes enjoyment.  But if I did that, then this blog would most certainly end, and then I’d disappoint the three or four people who actually read this.  So, do you want me to suffer through more of this abhorrent programming, or do you care if I stop writing?  It’s really the only writing outlet I use on a semi-regular basis, and I think that if I stop, I might go insane.  But if I continue watching this dreck on television, I might go insane.  It’s a dilemma.  So, I guess until I make my decision, stay awesome, and maybe you’ll hear from me again.