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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Well, it’s been all of two days since last I wrote, and a lot has happened since then.  We’ve got a new General Manager of Raw (and if you didn’t see Raw, you wouldn’t believe me who it is), a new United States Champion, and another new tag team to challenge the Hart Dynasty.  All in the span of two hours.  This was actually one of the best episodes of Raw I’ve ever seen.  Let’s go through the whole show.  I’ll attempt to be brief since I want to talk about tag teams coming out of the woodwork recently.

We begin with an injured Batista hobbling down to the ring, arm in a sling, bandages everywhere.  He actually has to sit in a wheelchair while in the ring.  Why he wasn’t wheeled down to the ring in the first place is a mystery.  Anyway, he gives a whiny promo before getting cut off by the ring announcer, who introduces the new Raw GM.  And I, as well as everybody else, was absolutely stunned to hear that the new Raw GM is Bret Hart!  I wonder what Vince promised Bret in order to keep Bret with WWE for the foreseeable future…Bret was supposed to leave after Wrestlemania.  It’s been nearly two months since then, and now Bret is the GM of Raw?  Man, Vince must have dangled an awful lot of money in front of Bret to keep him around.  Anyway, Bret informs Dave that there will be qualifying matches to determine the contenders for the WWE Title at Fatal Four Way (a show I’m looking very much forward to).  Batista is put in a match with Randy Orton.  If you saw Over the Limit, you know that Orton is in no condition to compete seeing as how he suffered a dislocated shoulder on Sunday.  Lucky for him, Batista decided for forfeit, putting Orton in the title match.  Hart leaves Batista fuming in the ring.  Dave gets so angry, he starts yelling at the fans, telling them that he’ll quit the company.  People don’t seem to mind, so guess what?  Dave Batista quit!  I threw my arms up in the air in celebration of this joyous and momentous occasion.  Batista is finally gone!  No more half-assed matches with a sub-par worker.  No more bland, meaningless promos!  We’re free!  Yaaaay!

Okay, enough gloating.  The next major event was the crowning of a new United States Champion.  As the Hitman became the GM, he vacated the title and made a match between The Miz and R-Truth.  I guess giving Ted Dibiase a concussion gets you title matches?  Anyway, these two had a pretty good match, but in the end, in a surprise, Truth won the match and because the NEW United States Champion!  I’m very happy for Truth, as this is his first major WWE singles title (if you don’t count the two Hardcore Title reigns he had a decade ago).  Yet while I’m happy for Truth, his win has a backlash effect.  For one, this puts Bryan Danielson’s WWE future in jeopardy, as I had figured that his first major feud would be with The Miz over the US Title.  Since Miz has no gold anymore, it makes me wonder what, if anything, Danielson will be used for in the future.  Second, it feels like this pretty well guarantees David Otunga to win NXT.  We know that he and Truth don’t really get along, so what better title match to give to him than a US Title match against Truth?  While Creative seems intent on pushing Wade Barrett as well, Otunga is going to win NXT, much to my chagrin, and he’ll probably win the US Title.  And he becomes yet another undeserving champion in this company.  Let’s hope Truth can hold on to the title for a while.

And while some people would consider the WWE Title match at Fatal Four Way to be big news, to me, the last important moment of the night was the introduction of a new tag team on Raw.  After a short match with Regal and Kozlov, the Hart Dynasty was attacked by a trio of crazy-looking Samoans, who decimated the Canadian-born champs.  Now, if you don’t read various wrestling websites to keep up-to-date on all the latest news, I’ll tell you now that the two men are the current FCW Tag Team Champions, Jimmy and Jules Uso.  In real life, they are the twin sons of former WWE wrestler Rikishi Fatu.  And the woman is Tamina, who in real life is Jimmy Snuka’s daughter.  You have no idea how incredibly happy this makes me.  After Umaga’s tragic death, we’ve finally got some new Samoan talent back in a WWE ring.  I still think that Afa Anoa’i, Jr’s release was a mistake, but as long as we’ve got the Uso’s, I’m happy as a clam.

That transitions nicely into my next topic.  It looks like, with the Hart Dynasty being the tag team of the future, WWE Creative is setting up a laundry list of challengers for these young and talented champs.  In the past couple of months, we’ve seen some teams reunite (only to be torn apart thanks to one man’s refusal to get help for a problem that ended up costing him his job) and some men return after months away from television.  As well, we’re getting established teams moving higher up the ladder, and new teams forming from singles competitors left and right.  Is WWE actually giving tag team wrestling its fair share for the first time ever?  I honestly can’t predict that, but I certainly hope that they are.  I’d like to take a look now at all of the tag teams currently formed and competing, just to get a taste for what’s to come, and maybe make one or two new ones just to keep the competition fresh.

The Hart Dynasty – the current WWE Unified Tag Team Champions.  These two have all the talent and chemistry in the world.  Tyson Kidd can work with literally everyone, and David Hart Smith fills the power guy of a tag team about as well as anyone can while not being bogged down by excess weight that most power guys have (his billed weight is 250 pounds, much lower than most power guys’ billed weights).  With Natalya at their side, they’ve got the potential to hold the titles for a very long time.  Can they hold the titles longer than Demolition did, or London and Kendrick?  Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still champions when 2011 rolls around.

Jimmy and Jules Uso w/Tamina – While I’ve already discussed them briefly just a few lines ago, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this trio could be the foil for the Dynasty.  I’m betting that these two teams could feud for a year or more and I’d never get tired of it.  I’m going to have to watch some of their FCW matches.  If anyone’s seen their matches and would recommend any, I’m open to suggestions.

Chris Jericho and The Miz – If these two stick together after Over the Limit, we could have the next Two Man Power Trip, only I guess we’d call these guys the Two Man Ego Trip.  Both Jericho and Miz know how to work a crowd, and both can draw heat second only to Vickie Guerrero.  I’d love to see them take on the Dynasty a few more times.

William Regal and Vladimir Kozlov – God help me, I love this team.  Regal is one of my all-time favorites, and Kozlov is very underrated in my humble opinion.  With Regal’s guidance, Kozlov could turn out to be a great competitor.  These two will probably stay together until Ezekiel Jackson returns from injury.  Maybe a reformation is in the works?

John Morrison and R-Truth – I think this team may be done since Truth won the United States Championship and I believe Morrison is on the injured list (again).  But if they do reform at some point, they’ll provide a good challenge for the Dynasty.  Both Morrison and Truth are accomplished in-ring competitors, and while I’ve soured on Morrison’s current face run, he’s still entertaining.  Maybe once Truth drops the US Title these two can team together again.

The Dudebusters – First off: best tag team name EVER.  Second, Caylen Croft and Trent Barreta are two young, talented up-and-comers who could pose a threat to the Hart Dynasty in a few months.  Right now, nobody takes them really seriously, but I think that these two have some real potential to be great competition.  All they need is a push from Creative and they’ll be on their way.

Curt Hawkins and Vance Archer – Wow, I never thought I’d see Hawkins in a WWE ring again.  While they have yet to really have any sort of challenge, at least they’re back on TV.  Archer was progressing decently well when ECW was shut down a few months back, and now that he’s back with Hawkins on his side, I think he’s got a real chance.  They both do.  They’re one of the few tag teams with a finisher that requires both men, so at least they’ve got that going.  Here’s hoping that Creative keeps them on Smackdown longer than the 30 days that the story says they’ve got.

The Straight Edge Society – Well, we don’t really know what’s going to happen with CM Punk now that he’s mostly bald.  Will the S.E.S. dissolve?  Or will he wear a baseball cap like Vince McMahon did after he got his head shaved?  It doesn’t really matter that much to me.  I don’t really want to see this faction dissolve after such a short amount of time.  It’s gaining momentum.  And besides, without the S.E.S., Luke Gallows’ time is probably up.  He’s gone through three gimmicks in the past couple of years.  This one needs to last him a while.

And now, I’m going to make a few teams.  Some have teamed before once or twice, and some just seem like good ideas.  The important thing is that each team could provide competition for the Hart Dynasty.

Evan Bourne and Yoshi Tatsu – These two were in a six-man tag match with Kofi Kingston a few weeks back.  With Kingston now on Smackdown, what better way to keep the high-flyer-loving fans entertained than with this pairing?  Both of these guys are immensely talented and have a similar style that combines high-octane flippy-do maneuvers with Japanese strong style.  I think it would give most IWC smarks multiple orgasms if Bourne and Tatsu faced the Hart Dynasty.  I’d love to see it, for sure.

Primo and Tito Colon – With Carlito’s departure thanks to a refusal to enter rehab, Primo was basically left to the wolves.  So what better way to keep the Colons a staple of WWE programming than to bring his brother up to the main roster?  It might be a bit soon for him, as he’s still in FCW, but without Tito, Primo’s career will be circling the drain in no time at all.

Christian and Kofi Kingston – Who wouldn’t want to see these two team up?  They had a fantastic match a few weeks back, and if they pooled their resources, there’d be no stopping them.  Though with Kofi being the Intercontinental Champion and all, it may be difficult for Kofi to pull double duty.  It’s more of a dream than a reality.

The Big Show and Santino Marella – We’ve had The World’s Greatest Tag Team and The World’s Strongest Tag Team.  Why not have The World’s Funniest Tag Team?  You know you’d love to watch a promo with these two.

Bryan Danielson and Low Ki – This is more of a pipe dream, but I’m sure that if these two ever teamed up, ROH fans would need to change their pants afterward.  Unfortunately, Low Ki is injured, so if this ever happens, it won’t be for a while.

Brett Dibiase and Joe Hennig – These two were FCW Tag Team Champions for a while.  Unfortunately, Dibiase is injured.  But when he’s healthy, why not bring them both up?  Hell, have them team with Cody Rhodes, and they’ll form a triumvirate of doom!

What I would really love to see is a huge faction of all these second- and third-generation wrestlers, led by Randy Orton.  We’d have Cody Rhodes, Ted and Brett Dibiase, Joe Hennig, Jimmy and Jules Uso, Tamina, Afa Anoa’i, Jr. (hey, it’s my fantasy, damn it), Primo and Tito Colon, and Richie Steamboat.  When was the last time there was a WWE faction that had more than three permanent members?  Legacy had five for about a month.  That isn’t permanent.  It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a really big, dominant faction, and I think it’s high time we see one put together again.  I’d love to see this faction created.  Nearly all of them are heels already, and changing those that aren’t won’t be difficult.

And you know what would be the icing on the cake?  Make Michael Cole the mouthpiece.  Make him their manager!  He’s basically already a heel now.  And if you do this, you take him away from the announcer’s desk.  It’s a win-win!  Damn, this would be an epic faction.

Okay, I think that’s enough for today.  I’ll return again soon with a post about revising the current TNA roster.  Maybe I’ll save that for next week so I’ll actually have something to talk about between PPV shows.  That is, unless every week is as productive as Raw was this week.  So, until next time, stay awesome everyone.

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Does anyone remember about a month back when I stated that it’s the PPV shows I expect the least out of that end up entertaining me the most?  Well, unfortunately, that isn’t true every time.  I forget that nothing is certain to occur 100% of the time, and Over the Limit is proof of this.  Extreme Rules was a blast.  Over the Limit was underwhelming at best.  I did some calculations while watching the show last night and today.  These are rough estimates, so don’t fault me for not being exact in my calculations.  I discovered that during an approximately 2 hour 45 minute show, there was around 72 minutes of actual in-ring action.  That’s less than half of the time spent in actual matches.  It wouldn’t be so bad except there were eight matches on the card, and an average of 9 minutes per match is pathetic.  What WWE Creative needs to get through their thick skulls is that matches need time to develop.  If you’re trying to cram an entire match into five minutes, unless one of the competitors is William Regal, there is almost no way that the match is going to have enough time to develop a story, and it will end up very unimpressive in many peoples’ eyes.  That’s essentially what happened at Over the Limit.  Let’s take a look at the results and see how badly I did in picks.

Kofi Kingston defeated Drew McIntyre to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion

$5 says this decision gets reversed AGAIN on Smackdown.  We get typical McIntyre fare.  The guy just has no grasp of basic psychology.  And the match just kind of ended abruptly at the 6 1/2 minute mark.  Now, I’m all for Kofi to have a title around his waist, but I’d much prefer it be in an interesting match.  Of course, with Drew McIntyre involved, a fun match is impossible to attain.  On another note, I’ve been advocating for a while (though apparently not here, just out loud while watching Raw and Smackdown) that Kofi should use the S.O.S. as his finisher instead of Trouble in Paradise.  TiP is an incredibly weak-looking finisher, while the S.O.S. at least looks awesome.  Kind of like a side-to-side Canadian Destroyer of sorts.  I like that move a lot, and I was glad to see Kofi finally win a match using it instead of Trouble in Paradise.  I hope he continues to win matches with the S.O.S.  Here’s hoping that happens.  Here’s also hoping that Drew gets sent back to FCW again to learn some basic ring psychology.

There is some scuttlebutt that McIntyre has been labeled “high-maintenance” by WWE Management and has fallen out of favor with the brass.  Of course, this is just scuttlebutt, and there’s likely no way to confirm or deny this.  Still, it doesn’t surprise me if it is true.

R-Truth defeated Ted Dibiase w/Virgil

I still laugh every time they show the clip of Truth saying, “You want yourself a Virgil!” to Dibiase.  Seeing as how Dibiase got the original Virgil, there’s no need to find a replacement.  This match began the string of problems for various wrestlers possibly suffering injuries.  After about a couple of minutes, Dibiase was noticeably shaken and did not seem to know where he was.  It felt like the whole match was improvised and taken very safely in case Dibiase was injured.  In a way, this was sort of a theme for the evening.  There were a lot of problems throughout the night with people getting hurt.  There was a trainer involved in, I believe, four matches, doing something, either checking on a cut or helping someone to the back.  Anyway, another unimpressive match that just sort of ended, though this was more because Dibiase was not looking well.  Truth wins and I’m 0 for 2 in picks so far.

Ah, there is new information regarding Dibiase.  Apparently he suffered a concussion from a hard slap that Truth gave him very early on, and that’s why he seemed out of it the whole match.  Kind of like what happened to Goldust in his match with William Regal on Superstars this past Thursday night.

Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk; Punk gets his head shaved

Punk got busted open somehow during the early part of this match, somewhere above his hairline, and even though a trainer was out there for what felt like forever (it was about 2-3 minutes in reality), the cut never stopped bleeding, even after the match was over and the head-shaving theatrics had finished.  That’s about 17 minutes that a cut kept bleeding.  I think Punk should get that checked out.  Probably one of the funnier moments of this PPV was Rey getting tossed into the barber’s chair outside.  My thoughts when this happened were: “Oh my god, he just got tossed head-first into a…plush chair…that just broke his fall to the floor…why is he acting like he’s injured now?”  It was ridiculous.  Of course, it facilitated the trainer going in to do nothing about Punk’s cut (side note: I HATE when Matt Striker says someone is “wearing the wounds of war.”  Just say he’s busted open.  Yes, you’re TV-PG now, but “busted open” has more of an effect).  After that, it was a pretty good match.  Not as good as their match at Extreme Rules, but good nonetheless.  And Punk did something I would not have expected him to be able to do after the match: he got me to feel sorry for him while his head was being shaved.  Hey, I sure wouldn’t want my head forcibly shaved in front of 15,000 people and a few hundred thousand watching on TV.  I wonder what this holds for the straight-edge cult leader…

There are five little things that I must mention that are, in some way, related to this match.  First, I’ve been wondering why referee Charles Robinson has been counting right-handed over the past few weeks.  He’s been a lefty for how many years now?  But during this match, he counted using both hands at some point.  It was strange.  Second, I wanted to point out how much Jake Gyllenhaal, in the Prince of Persia movie, looks EXACTLY like CM Punk.  Or, rather, like Punk did before he got his head shaved.  It’s rather uncanny.  Third, does anyone else think that the Straight Edge Society’s little arm gesture looks an awful lot like the Nazi salute?  I wonder if WWE management has gotten letters from Jewish people about this.  Fourth, I think the bump of the night was Mysterio hitting an epic Canadian Destroyer on Punk.  Screw the end of the show, the Canadian Destroyer LOOKED awesome.  And finally, what in the blue hell was Kane doing helping Mysterio out?  Am I just forgetting something that happened on Smackdown where the S.E.S. did something to Kane?  Or was this a completely random occurrence that was necessary to get Punk’s head shaved?  Either way, it was completely random to me.

Update: CM Punk required 13 staples in his head to close the cut he suffered.  Yikes.  I had staples put in my ankle after I broke it many years ago, and they were unpleasant to have removed.

Okay, enough about this match.  Let’s move on.

The Hart Dynasty defeated Chris Jericho and The Miz to retain the Unified Tag Team Championships

Again, a decent but not great match.  I think the ending might have been a touch off, but other than that, I really don’t have much to say about it.  I do, however, think that the Dynasty should be able to abide by the Freebird rule and let Nattie Neidhart compete with Smith and Kidd.  She’s the toughest woman on WWE programming, and with Beth Phoenix gone with a torn ACL, she’s also currently the strongest.  As far as I’m concerned, she’s equal with the guys.  So let’s see her in some tag team matches!

Edge vs. Randy Orton ended in a double count-out

I think we all know that this is not how the match was supposed to end.  Orton seemingly injured himself while pounding his fists on the canvas waiting for Edge to stand up.  Though, there is also video out there where it seems like Orton hurt his arm the night before at a house show.  Whether he had to work with an injury or if his exuberance caused further damage is unknown, but it definitely put a halt to this match.  Though I doubt it would have gone on much longer anyway even if he hadn’t injured himself.  Apparently Mr. Kennedy…I mean Mr. Anderson wrote something on his Twitter page to the effect of “Karma is a bitch, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”  Bitter much?  That was incredibly crass and crude on Anderson’s part.  He needs to let the past go and focus on his career in a dying company.

There’s an update on Orton: his injury is being described as a dislocated shoulder, which would explain why his arm looked to be in an awkward dangling position for the last couple of minutes of their match.  I had thought he might have broken his hand or his forearm, but the shoulder makes a little more sense.

The Big Show defeated Jack Swagger by Disqualification; Jack Swagger retains the World Heavyweight Championship

I am not at all surprised at the outcome of this match.  I am, however, surprised that this match barely lasted five minutes.  Were it not for the women’s match that followed, this would have been the shortest match on the card.  And it’s too bad, too, because I was starting to get into the match when it just kind of stopped.  Swagger dove outside and grabbed the title and cracked Show in the head with it to stop the match way before it should have ended.  Look, I realize that when you’re facing a guy like Show, oftentimes you’re going to cut your losses and just lose by DQ.  But Swagger had hardly exhausted his options.  Five minutes is hardly enough time to try everything.  I would have expected the match to go at least twice as long before Swagger went and got himself disqualified.  But Show got his revenge, sort of, by beating the shit out of Swagger after the match was called off.  I expect that this will continue on, and that the only way Swagger is going to keep the World Heavyweight Championship is through a match with a stipulation.  Or, likely, during a Fatal Four Way match, as per the next PPV.

Eve Torres defeated Maryse to retain the Diva’s Championship

Meh.  At least Eve’s finisher was pretty sexy.

John Cena defeated Batista in an “I Quit” Match to retain the WWE Championship

What a surprise.  Cena didn’t quit.  But I’m okay with it.  Because Batista did quit.  And he’s leaving the company.  Which makes me happy.  It was a decent “I Quit” match, but it felt like they were playing it safe overall.  Nothing was really crazy or out-of-the-ordinary.  Batista apparently injured both his back and his tailbone during the final two spots of the night.  I guess he hurt his back when he got FU’ed on the car, and messed up his tailbone landing on the breakaway floor.  Might as well cap of the night with yet another person getting injured.  Anyway, at least we can finally say goodbye to Dave Batista, and say hello to someone who actually deserves the spotlight.  That’s the hope, anyway.

So, overall, this was a lackluster show with a disproportionately large number of injuries and no real surprises besides Kofi winning the Intercontinental Championship again.  I went…let’s see…5-2-1 in picks (if you count the Edge/Orton draw as a tie, which I am).  Not bad, but then again, the show wasn’t great.  With that being said, I’m off for now.  I’ll be back later on, either this week or next, with more rants, raves, and insanity for all.  So, until then, stay awesome everyone.

Two posts in under a week?  WHAAA?  Yes, I know, I’m being silly.  I promised I’d get at least one post per week, and lucky for you, there’s a Pay-Per-View show tomorrow.  But before I get down to picking this new PPV, there are some other topics that must be discussed.

Firstly, let’s go back to NXT this past Tuesday night.  It was mostly uneventful with another bullshit Pro’s Poll.  Darren Young was eliminated, to absolutely nobody’s surprise.  But the main highlight of the night was Bryan Danielson’s (likely) final NXT promo.  If you didn’t see it, here is the video.  If you thought his promo two weeks ago was good, prepare to be amazed.  I know that it’s likely not the case, but I’d still like to think that this segment was a worked shoot.  Danielson says what most of the IWC has been saying for years about the practices of Vince McMahon to “create” wrestlers out of bodybuilders and not care about their in-ring talent.  He discusses how he is a self-made man, and that he (and many of the pros) know that he is as good as he says he is.  I especially love the part around 2:20 or so when The Miz says, “You’re better than me?” and William Regal is nodding his head and laughing a little alongside CM Punk.  They know the truth.  But if you want to get to the best part, skip to 3:10, where he turns his attention to the greatest play-by-play man to ever graduate from the Michael Cole School for Shitty Play-By-Play Announcers (and the founder as well), one Michael Cole.  Danielson calls Cole a cheap replacement for JR (something I’m betting every person watching any WWE show is in total agreement with) and ends up slapping him and kicking Cole in the face.  While not as epic as Stone Cold’s total destruction of Cole a decade ago, this was wholly satisfying for everyone watching NXT, I’m sure.  I dare anyone else on that show to make as big of an impact as Danielson has the past two weeks.  I realize now that Creative was basically keeping him locked down for the first three months of the show so that when he got booted off, he could show his true colors.  And I’m sure that in the coming weeks, Danielson will begin a feud with The Miz, potentially over the United States Championship that I’m sure Bret Hart (oh, yeah, he won it on Raw if you didn’t know) won’t be keeping much longer.  I’d love to see Danielson on Raw as the US Champion.  He has the potential to light a fire under the collective ass of the WWE roster, and when it happens, they’d better prepare for a revolution.

I’d also very briefly like to discuss the release of Carlito.  He was future endeavored because he failed a Wellness Policy test and refused to go to rehab.  When that’s the case, it’s probably marijuana that he was busted for.  And speaking of busted, Scott Hall was arrested for disorderly intoxication last week.  Good job, TNA.  Anyway, Carlito’s release is actually a bigger deal than you might think it is.  For one, it takes away an established tag team from the tag division, which needs as much talent as it can get since The Hart Dynasty won the tag belts.  Second, it destroys any chance Primo has of any semblance of success in WWE.  And third, it shows us that it doesn’t really matter whether or not WWE has a Wellness Policy in place, because guys are still going to be smoking joints when they want to, and trying to convince a pothead to enter rehab is like trying to keep Scott Hall away from a bar (okay, that was harsh, but he can’t seem to control himself!).  I would thank Carlito for his years of work in WWE, but he never really amounted to anything.

Last thing, and this will probably turn into a full-fledged post sometime soon: there are rumblings that TNA wants to cut its wrestling staff by 20.  Yikes.  Why not just cut Hogan and Bischoff and call it a day?  They’re probably paid as much as 20 of the other wrestlers, and they’re driving TNA into the ground, so why not cut the fat off?  Anyway, I’ll probably write more about which 20 wrestlers I think TNA should get rid of.  So look for that soon.

Okay, now that we’re 750 words further along, let’s do picks for Over the Limit.

Over the Limit was promoted as a brand new Pay-Per-View concept.  Yet there’s no concept to it at all.  It’s just a newly named Pay-Per-View.  Great job, Creative.  Anyway, the card is…decent, but nothing eye-poppingly awesome.  Let’s take a look at the matches, shall we?

R-Truth vs. Ted DiBiase – I marked the hell out on Raw when Dibiase came to the ring with Virgil.  I wondered where they found him…Anyway, this has been a halfway decent feud of sorts.  Truth was offered the Virgil/Tony Atlas job of carrying someone else’s bags, but Truth would have none of it.  So here we are.  Should be a decent match.  Dibiase’s still progressing slowly, but Truth should be able to make him look good.  If Virgil will indeed by ringside for this match, he’s definitely a wild card.  Will he support Dibiase, or will he give us a swerve?  Truth be told (no pun intended), I don’t know.  Either way, it should be a decent match.  As to the matter of a winner, Dibiase seems to be getting pushed whether we want him to be or not.  So with that in mind, I’m thinking Ted Dibiase picks up the victory.

Diva’s Championship – Eve Torres (c) vs. Maryse – Simply put, Maryse does not deserve anything she’s been given in her WWE career.  She’s just another one of those overly spray-tanned, orange-skinned, bleach-blonde bimbos that Vince McMahon seems to think is the ideal woman.  Blech.  Eve, on the other hand, at least appears to be a real person.  And she’s not half bad in the ring.  At least Eve has made significant progress with her in-ring skills since winning the Diva Search a couple of years ago.  And she was rewarded with a title run, even if it is a meaningless title.  Anyway, I’m betting that this will be standard WWE women’s wrestling fare, nothing out of the ordinary.  But I doubt that Creative is going to yank the carpet out from under Eve so soon into her title reign.  Maryse has already had two very long title runs, and it’s time for someone with actual talent to take the top spot in the women’s division, seeing as how Smackdown’s women’s division is nonexistent.  Eve Torres retains her title.

Unified Tag Team Championship – The Hart Dynasty (c’s) vs. Chris Jericho and The Miz – The two most recent former partners of the current #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship have found common ground, and are looking to dethrone the still-early-in-their-title-reign champions.  Don’t worry if you didn’t quite follow along with that last sentence, I barely did myself.  Anyway, Jericho and Miz have enough common interests (themselves, their hair, their giant egos) that they went and formed a tag team.  It isn’t a bad team, either.  I’m actually interested to see how they interact.  On paper, Jericho and Miz seem like a perfect fit.  They’re both arrogant assholes who are hated by the entire world.  Whether that transitions into a tag team title run is another story entirely.  I think that with the sudden influx of tag teams over the past month or so, it seems like WWE is trying to set up a very strong tag team division in order to provide plenty of challengers for the Hart Dynasty over the coming months.  And I, for one (but I’m sure there are more than just myself who believe this), am happy about this change.  WWE’s tag team division has always been sorely lacking.  They can’t compare to companies like ROH, who have had some of their greatest matches be tag matches.  Hopefully, with these new and young teams forming and climbing the ladder, we’ll have an entertaining and unpredictable tag team division for many months.  With all that being said, I think that the Hart Dynasty is the tag team of the future, and nobody is going to derail this train for a long time.  The Hart Dynasty retains their Unified Tag Team Championships in what should be a very good match.

Randy Orton vs. Edge – For having had only three weeks of build, this is still looking to be a pretty good feud in the making.  Orton and Edge have history, and that always helps in building any program.  I am thoroughly glad that Edge turned heel again after a very brief stint as a face that, let’s be honest, wasn’t all that great.  Edge is a natural heel, and no matter what he tries, he’ll never be as good a face as he is a heel.  Orton, on the other hand, is a strange breed of face, one we rarely, if ever, see: the dangerous face.  He basically acts almost like he did when he was a heel, but people cheer for him for some reason, and he now fights heels instead of faces.  I’d consider him a tweener, but that just doesn’t seem to be the case nowadays.  The fans are thoroughly behind Orton, and when he faces an uber-heel like Edge, the crowd will be supporting Orton 100%.  As to the match itself, I feel like Edge is nearing the end of his career.  His latest injury was probably more damaging to his career than initially thought.  He’s a bit slower than he was pre-injury, and he seems more cautious than he was a year or two ago.  He is closer to his forties than his thirties, and this is the time when we see a lot of guys either retire or stay in the business until they’re dried-out husks of their former selves *COUGH*ricflair*COUGH*.  Does he have another title run in him?  Possibly.  But it looks like he may be retiring in the next few years.  When injuries pile up like they have with him, it’s difficult to convince yourself that he’ll be around forever.  I’m betting this will be a good match, but not a great match.  Who wins?  It’s actually a difficult decision for me.  Actually, it really doesn’t matter that much, since this feud is only just starting.  So let’s just say Randy Orton wins this round.

S.E.S. Pledge vs. Hair Match – Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk – One feud begins, another ends.  This has to be the end of this feud, which has seen its highs (their match at Extreme Rules) and its lows (bringing Rey’s actual family into the feud).  And it all comes down to this.  If Mysterio loses, he is forced to join the Straight Edge Society.  If Punk loses, he loses the one symbol that makes him different from every other member of his cult: his hair.  I don’t think this is a difficult pick for me.  Forcing Mysterio into a situation that will likely make him act as a heel will only diminish sales of his merchandise, and since that’s mostly what Vince cares about (the MON-EY), I doubt they’ll go with that.  Punk is losing his hair.  Whether it’s just the hair on his scalp or they include his beard and chest hair, Punk will be bald come Sunday night.  This should be the match of the night for sure.  Rey Mysterio wins, and Punk gets a haircut.

Intercontinental Championship – Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Kofi Kingston – I mentioned this in my last post: adding Christian to this match makes it infinitely more entertaining.  Seeing as how Drew McIntyre is the most boring person on the planet, having someone capable of keeping the crowd entertained (such as Christian) would help this match from a dud to an epic encounter.  It also takes a wholly predictable match and tosses a wrench into every picker’s plans.  As such, however, we know that McIntyre has the ear of one HHH, and, by proxy, has the ear of one Vincent Kennedy McMahon.  Don’t expect McIntyre to lose the title anytime soon.  Drew McIntyre retains and continues the least entertaining Intercontinental Championship reign in history.

World Heavyweight Championship – Jack Swagger (c) vs. The Big Show – Man, it’s definitely a nice change of pact to have a face Show.  He’s got this air of cheer when he’s cutting a promo that we haven’t seen in a long time, and as a result, it’s making his segments more entertaining.  Watching him destroy Swagger’s “life’s work” last week was the best segment of the night, and seeing him parody Swagger’s little accomplishment bumpers was just as fun.  But make no mistake: when Show gets angry, you’d best run the other way.  I actually think this feud has some legs, and if they work things right, it could go for a while.  As for this match, I’m not expecting much, but what I AM expecting to happen is a DQ or count-out victory.  Either Swagger disqualifies himself or gets himself intentionally counted out.  Either way, The Big Show wins, but Swagger keeps the title.

“I Quit” Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena (c) vs. Batista – I’ll say it now: “Na na naa naa, na na naa naa, hey hey hey, goodbye!”  I am looking forward to Batista leaving more than just about everything in the WWE today (the only other thing being Bryan Danielson’s eventual debut on Raw and subsequent feud with The Miz).  I don’t believe there has been a man who deserves so little yet receives so much in quite some time (in the wrestling world, that is).  Let’s face it: Dave Batista gave Vince McMahon a hard-on with his physique, and Vince needed his ego stroked, so he pushed Batista to the top and never let him down despite a complete lack of in-ring skill or providing entertainment to the fans.  Batista was expecting to get this kind of push, I’m sure, and I don’t think he gives two shits about anything besides himself (in real life, not just on TV).  So I’m glad he’s leaving.  Cena’s ninth world title reign has been decent, but I’m hoping that once Batista is out of the picture, we’ll get more deserving challengers.  Plain and simple, John Cena has never quit a match, and there is no way in hell he’s going to quit this time.  John Cena retains the WWE Championship, and we send Dave Batista packing.

Well, that’s about all I can stand to write for now.  I’ll be back in a few days with Over the Limit results, and coming soon, my dissolution of the TNA roster and a more in-depth look at WWE’s influx of tag teams.  So until then, stay awesome.

As per normal, I apologize for a lack of updates.  It isn’t as though nothing’s going on.  It’s more that I sometimes have little motivation to write.  So I vow that from here on out, I will commit myself to at least one column per week.  Even if it’s recaps of the week’s shows, I’ll write.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about the giant shitstorm known as Smackdown.  And, probably, the smaller yet still quite noticeable shitstorm known as NXT.  Let’s start with SD, shall we?

One week ago, Drew McIntyre was fired for continued assaults on Matt Hardy.  People were speculating if this was a Wellness Policy violation or something worse.  Turns out it was just another way to grab some cheap heat for the most boring Intercontinental Champion of all time (I’m pretty sure).  After Kofi Kingston and Christian have a fantastic back-and-forth match that ends with Kofi winning and starting his second Intercontinental Championship reign, we get Drew sauntering down to the ring, handing Teddy Long a note, and taking his title back.  Yes, as I’m sure everyone had expected, Vince McMahon (kayfabe) bailed out McIntyre once again.  So Drew’s not fired and, I suppose, technically never lose the IC Title.  And as a result, we’re getting Kingston vs. McIntyre at Over the Limit.  What I’d like to know is this: why in the hell is Christian not involved in this match?  Yes, he lost to Kofi, but inserting Christian into this match will take it from another McIntyre snooze-fest into a legitimately entertaining match.  With Christian in the match, it’s unpredictable as to the outcome, but if it’s just Drew and Kofi, McIntyre has no chance of losing the title.  As long as he has HHH’s endorsement, he’ll basically be pushed to the top faster than you can say “He doesn’t deserve a World Championship!”  Which kind of begs the question, what is Creative going to do with Jack Swagger when they decide that it’s McIntyre’s turn atop the Smackdown roster?  Cluster-bomb.

Now, let’s look at the complete dissolution of the women’s division, or what was left of it.  Beth Phoenix gets injured last week in a match with Rosa Botch-des, and drops the title this week.  She managed to wrestle a halfway decent mach despite a torn ACL, which I have to give her nothing but props for doing.  And since there are all of six women wrestling on Smackdown, the list of potential challengers is pathetically small.  This is why there should be one women’s championship and not two, but I’m getting off topic.  You have three heels Beth can drop the title to.  Rosa is a lost cause, and all that’s left are Michelle McCool and Layla.  So what does Creative do?  Give Layla the title!  Oh, dear lord no!  I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this is the worst title change since I started watching wrestling again in 2006.  Worse than Jack Swagger’s two championship reigns, worse than Sheamus’ reign, and yes, worse than Khali’s reign back in…what was it…2007 or 2008?  It doesn’t matter.  The women’s division is dead.  There’s no way to bring it back.  We might as well just unify the two championships and then retire them and never have women wrestle on WWE programming again.  Cluster-bomb.

And I’d prefer not to get started on the commentating team, but I have to, since this is the cluster-bomb issue of Rantables.  Todd Grisham is almost as bad as Mike Adamle was.  I cannot stand how idiotic he sounds all the time.  It’s like he went to the Michael Cole School for Shitty Play-By-Play Announcers.  And Matt Striker is intolerable.  We get it, you’re a heel color commentator, stop yelling at us about it.  Back when WWE had good color commentators like Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenan, and, hell, I’ll put JBL in that category, they were true masters of their craft.  They were also obviously heel color men, but at least they were entertaining about it.  Striker’s just bland.  And his relentless pop-culture and “vintage” wrestling statements remind me of Seth McFarlane.  I cannot stand Seth McFarlane for those of you who do not know.  It’s painful to listen to.  I’ve resorted to eating large quantities of very loud, crunchy foodstuffs while watching Smackdown because I hate the commentating team so very much.

The one redeeming quality that we’ve received over the past while has been the reemergence of a face Big Show.  Say what you will about his in-ring skill (or lack thereof), but as a face, Show is one of the funniest guys in the company.  He also made a Jack Swagger segment entertaining, which is something we all know Swagger cannot accomplish to save his life.  Watching Show destroy ever trophy Swagger has allegedly won in his lifetime was probably the most enjoyable segment on Smackdown I’ve seen in quite some time.  And even though Swagger was corpsing throughout the segment (that’s when someone is smiling during a scene where they should be sad/angry), I loved watching Show break every single thing in the ring.  It was glorious.  I honestly believe that when (not if) Teddy Long gets fired from Smackdown for his treatment of the new Mr. Perfect, Drew McIntyre, that Show could step in as the new GM and be just as fun as Teddy was.  And nobody would question Show’s decisions because he’s a goddamned GIANT.  I would enjoy it.

Okay, let’s discuss NXT for a very brief moment or two.  I know that a lot of people are mad about Daniel Bryan Danielson being eliminated from NXT, but I’m looking at this in a positive light.  If you didn’t see his exit promo from NXT last week, here it is.  It was one of the best promos I’ve ever seen, and I’m betting that with his elimination from NXT, Bryan Danielson will be appearing on Raw or Smackdown in the very, very near future.  I think Creative didn’t want to wait another five weeks to have him challenging Miz for the US Title, since that’s what everyone in the IWC was predicting would happen anyway.  I think that they’re going to push him into this feud right away.  And he goddamn well deserves it, too.  I cannot wait to see the American Dragon on Raw, kicking people’s heads in.

As for the other two eliminations, I am not one bit surprised.  It’s like WWE is trying to kill NXT off already.  Before Danielson’s promo last week, I would have said that Michael Tarver had had the most character development during the show.  He went from a complete non-entity to a vicious, ravenous competitor who isn’t afraid to beat the shit out of everyone just to get what he wants.  And he wasn’t going to play games and compete in any silly reality show challenges to get what he wanted.  I like that.  He evolved over the course of the show, unlike most of the rest of the competition.  I am unsure if this will translate into a spot on Raw or Smackdown, but at least he showed that he had a personality.  And as for Skip Sheffield’s elimination, I was also not surprised.  Sheffield has had almost no time to show his in-ring skills, but he’s damn good on the mic.  Judging from his physique, I’ll bet he lands a spot on one of the other shows thanks to Vince’s fetish for bodybuilders.

So who’s leaving NXT next?  I would bet that the eliminations will go thusly: next week will be Darren Young, then Heath Slater, then Wade Barrett, and Justin Gabriel is the last elimination, giving David Otunga the win he so rightrully doesn’t deserve.  Or maybe Otunga and Barrett will swap places and Barrett will win.  I honestly have no idea.  But it’s fun to speculate.

Well, that about does it for me for now.  I’m planning to write a piece about the (hopeful) resurgence of the tag team division in WWE, as well as provide picks for Over the Limit.  I’ll really try to keep this updated once a week at least, so keep your eyes peeled for new episodes of Rantables.  Until next time, stay awesome.

Before I get the main topic of today’s post started, I’d like to announce the end of the Monday Night Massacres, effective yesterday.  TNA is moving Impact back to Thursdays, “by fan request” as Mike Tenay puts it.  I’d prefer to believe it’s because that the management realized that there was no way they could compete with Raw on Monday nights.  And since they were rebroadcasting Impact on Thursday nights anyway, there was no reason for anyone to watch Impact on Mondays.  Couple that with dismal at best ratings (which are suspect in my book anyway) and they had really no choice but to move back to Thursday, where they compete against Thursday Night Heat…I mean Superstars.  This will keep TNA on life support for a little longer, but I promise you the minute we see Hogan and Flair in the same ring and a referee ready to start a match, TNA is doomed.

Okay, let’s move on to less pleasant subjects.  Over the past five weeks, NXT has gone from an incredibly entertaining showcase for new WWE talent to a pathetic excuse for a reality show.  I know that that is exactly what WWE had promoted NXT to be: a hybrid wrestling/reality show.  But I was holding out hope that the reality portion wouldn’t kick in at all.  Sadly, I was mistaken.  The first week of these “competitions” was understandable.  A keg carry makes a small semblance of sense in regards to showing off the strength that these guys have.  But it all went downhill from there.  The 30-second promo competition seemed totally rigged (yes, I know wrestling is planned, but still…), and it made for an unbearable ten minutes of television.  Then came the jousting competition.  What does this have to do with wrestling again?  Oh, right.  NOTHING.  Then came the “sell programs” competition, which, again, appeared to be heavily favored towards one man (more on that later).  And this week, the biggest time-waster of all: the obligatory obstacle course.  These competitions should have something to do with what these eight men are competing for: a chance to wrestle on Raw or Smackdown.  But these just seem like entirely pointless efforts on the part of these eight “rookies.”

Another glaring issue with NXT is the bias that Creative is showing and has been for some time now.  The first couple of weeks, it seemed like just about anyone could win.  Well, almost anyone.  Michael Tarver had no hope from the start.  But I digress.  As the weeks continued on, it became more and more apparent who was going to be leaving and who would be staying.  And it’s rather painfully obvious who I think Creative is going to choose as the winner.  He’s the only guy whose crappy nickname gets announced before his matches.  David Otunga is, by far and away, the least qualified guy to be wrestling on any program.  He has no in-ring skill to speak of, and his charisma is nonexistent.  He claims to have the “it” factor, but I don’t see it.  He just seems like the next Dave Batista.  Hmmm…I didn’t even think about it until just now, but they have the same first name.  Coincidence?  Probably, but I’d like to think that it’s all a big conspiracy.  The point is this: Otunga is Vince McMahon’s prototypical WWE Superstar.  He is not a wrestler that the Internet Wrestling Community can get behind, simply because he is Vince’s ideal superstar.  Now, I’m not going to lump myself in with most of the crazy people out there in the IWC who hate John Cena because “he can’t wrestle” and love every major indy fed out there.  But I can honestly say that this is a horrible decision.  If David Otunga does end up winning NXT, I do hope it doesn’t get renewed.

While I’m at it (and since I ended up not having as much to say as I thought I did), let’s look at the seven remaining rookies and see how they’ve progressed over the past three months or so.

Daniel Bryan Danielson – The greatest wrestler in the world has been reduced to a pathetic, broken down man.  I blame Creative for this.  Unless what Danielson has done in the competitions these past few weeks was unscripted and entirely of his volition, in which case I’m puzzled.  I thought that his 30 second promo a month ago was utterly terrible.  I know that Danielson can cut a promo better than just about anyone out there.  Was this a decision by Creative to reign him in?  I wonder.  Also, putting him first for every competition guarantees he’ll lose.  While I believed that at the start he was the obvious choice to win, now I’m finding it difficult to believe so with Otunga stroking Vince’s ego seemingly 24 hours a day.  I’d still love to see him win NXT without gaining a victory, but then I’d have to endure Michael Cole’s hate speech about Danielson the whole time.  Actually, I just turn the volume down during matches so I don’t have to listen to the idiocy that is WWE commentary.  But I’m going off on another tangent here.  If Danielson wins, you can put money down that he’ll face Miz for the US Title and win it, too.  But with Otunga clearly Vince’s favorite, I’m having doubts that Danielson will be able to pull it off.  I don’t think he’ll be eliminated, but I don’t think he’ll win.

Wade Barrett – I became a Wade fan when he made his 30 second speeches.  He took a ridiculous subject in “the wind” and turned it into a rather fantastic 30 second promo about the winds of change and how he would be the next big thing.  I’m still on the fence about his in-ring skill set.  He is a large dude, and large dudes have a long and storied past of being subpar in-ring workers.  So I’m torn right now.  I think he may make the final four (if my understanding of the elimination structure is correct), but I don’t think he’ll win.  He may join Chris Jericho on Raw once NXT is through, though.  So watch for Barrett on Raw in about two months.

Justin Gabriel – Gabriel has all the talent necessary to succeed in this business.  The only thing that’s keeping him from winning is his mentor, Matt Hardy.  Of all the people Creative could have chosen, they picked one of the worst role models.  Hardy can’t keep his mouth shut, and he doesn’t know when to shut it.  I’ve never been a big fan of Matt Hardy (I was always partial to Jeff), and I hope that he doesn’t have Gabriel’s ear.  Gabriel does seemingly need to work on his promos, but if he takes the Evan Bourne approach and lets his in-ring work do the talking for him, he could be a star.  Probably not a world champion (unless Vince gets off his bodybuilding fetish), but definitely an entertaining talent for years to come.  I’d really love to see a Cruiserweight Division return and see guys like Gabriel do crazy shit every week for a shot at that title.

Heath Slater – Slater, in my eyes, has all the tools.  He’s got a unique look, he’s good on the mic, and he’s a strong in-ring worker.  He has a great mentor in Christian.  The sky is the limit for this guy.  My only fear is that he may end up getting lost in the shuffle once NXT is over.  I can see him moving to Smackdown once NXT is over, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to do more than work tag matches and maybe get an Intercontinental title run or two.  I like Slater, don’t get me wrong.  I just think that if Creative actually wants these guys to succeed, they have to push them accordingly.  Not like they’ve done with Sheamus or Drew McIntyre, but properly.  Build them up slowly, so they get accustomed to the way things work, and once they reach the top of the mountain, they’ve earned their spot.  Okay, that was a major digression, but I’m back.

Skip Sheffield – Normally, I’m not a fan of the big musclehead characters that populate the WWE locker room.  But Sheffield is so goddamned fun to watch and listen to I can’t help myself.  Sheffield is great on the mic.  He’s probably the most charismatic big man in a very long time, and while he’s never really gotten a chance to show his in-ring skills, I think he may have more talent then he’s letting on.  I also am enjoying his character evolution from a country bumpkin to a rough-and-tumble redneck.  I like it when these guys show character, because it makes me think that these guys aren’t just one-dimensional boring character cut-outs.  I doubt Sheffield will make it into the final four, but I’d expect him to show up on one of the other shows in a few months.

Michael Tarver – I actually am really enjoying Tarver’s transition from bland MMA-style fighter to angry psycho.  He’s shown the most character development over the last few months, and that gives me hope that he’ll end up on one of the main shows sooner or later.  Sure, he’ll be the first one eliminated from NXT, but that’s more because he has a terrible mentor in Carlito and he refuses to play by the rules of this idiotic game/reality show.  I like that about him.  If he continues his character development, we could see a pretty good career out of Tarver.

Darren Young – I have yet to see anything unique out of Young besides his hair.  He’s still a pretty bland character, and he hasn’t shown anything interesting in the ring besides a finisher he ripped off of Johnny Gargano (go watch Dragon Gate USA).  Despite his strong win-loss record, I don’t think he’ll be staying on NXT for much longer.  And I don’t mind that at all.  He hasn’t shown me anything I haven’t already seen before.

Okay, so that will do it for now.  It’s probably too late to discuss the WWE releases, so I’ll just let that one float off into the ether.  Also, enough people have talked about it that if I wrote about it, nobody would care.  So, I’ll be looking for more topics of discussion, and I hope you’ll tune in to read them.  So until then, stay awesome.