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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Jeez, what a disappointing night.  I went 2-3 in official picks.  I guess there’s a reason why Michael Cole repeated 18,000 times that the champion has only a 25% chance of retaining his or her title.  Though, with those odds, you would think that at least one of the four fatal four way matches that have occurred in the past week would have had a champion retain the title.  But apparently, after this past week, the odds of a champion retaining the title in a fatal four way match are 0%.  Let’s look at the show, shall we?

We start with the Chairman, Vince McMahon, making an appearance to let us know that Raw’s GM, Bret Hart, will not be in attendance thanks to the NXT invasion destroying him last Monday.  So we won’t be getting a decision on whether or not the invasion will get their contracts.  Great idea, guys.  Knock out the guy you want to give you contracts so he can’t give you contracts.  Anyway, let’s move on.

Kofi Kingston defeats Drew McIntyre to retain the Intercontinental Championship

As expected, there was outside interference from Matt Hardy.  What wasn’t expected was the ref bump and McIntyre ordering Teddy Long, who was sitting at ringside, to make the pinfall count.  For those of you who don’t remember, Teddy Long is a former referee.  Anyway, Teddy put on the ref shirt that McIntyre tore off Charles Robinson (showing us Robinson’s rather pasty upper body) and counted the 1-2-STOP.  Teddy refused to count the pinfall for McIntyre.  I marked out like crazy when this happened.  Teddy still has some dignity left after that embarassing display on Smackdown.  We then get the 3,249th Matt Hardy run-in of this feud, Hardy hits a Twist of Fate, and Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise for the win, which Teddy enthusiastically counts.  All the fans go home happy.  Except this is the first match, so the crowd is worn out already.  As for the match itself, the McIntyre control segments were typical dull McIntyre fare, but the back-and-forth part was actually quite good.  The spike DDT that Kofi hit on Drew was particularly sick-looking.  I’ll give Drew credit for taking a DDT like Rob Van Dam, who i always thought took the best DDT bumps.  But I’m heading way off topic.  It was a decent match with as close to a Dusty finish as we’re ever going to see in this day and age.

Alicia Fox defeats Eve Torres, Gail Kim, and Maryse in a Fatal Four Way match to become the NEW Divas Champion

I had an odd feeling this might happen.  Even though I picked Eve to retain, I had an inkling that Alicia might win simply because she’s gotten a push in recent weeks.  It was a decent WWE women’s match, but nothing special.  Eve’s moonsault at the end was very well-done, I thought.  But in the end, Alicia pulls the same trick that Miz did last Monday night and wins the Divas Championship.  Also, during this match, the “Daniel Bryan” chants were very prominent.  I believe that those chants popped up no less than a half dozen times, and I’ll save my thoughts on that until the end.

Evan Bourne defeats Chris Jericho

No offense to WWE Creative (okay, a little offense), but when a bonus match is the best match of the night, you’re obviously doing something wrong in the creativity department.  At least, I think it was a bonus match.  I didn’t see it being advertised at all.  Anyway, I think this is the beginning of two major turns for these two men: first, this is the push for Bourne that people have been screaming for since his debut in ECW, and second, it seems to be the beginning of Jericho manning the gatekeeper post on Raw.  Raw has not had a gatekeeper in a while, and there isn’t a better choice for that role than Jericho.  I’ll put it out there now: I think Evan Bourne will be the next United States Champion.  When that happens, I do not know, but I’m sure it will happen.  As far as the match goes, it was definitely the best match of the night, long enough for both men to give a great showing and with enough spots and moves to keep us entertained the whole way through.  Hats off to Bourne, who took a beating from Jericho and still managed to win, and hats off to Jericho for putting over a guy who, I hope, will be one of the future main eventers in the company.

Rey Mysterio defeats Jack Swagger, The Big Show, and CM Punk in a Fatal Four Way match to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion

At first, I found this to be a shocking decision.  Creative is giving Rey a title run based on his own merit?  Impossible!  Then, I realized that Rey took The Undertaker’s place in the match, and it all clicked.  Of course, had Taker not gotten injured, he would have won the title.  Dur.  So, once again, Rey’s world title victory is a sham.  His first was Vince capitalizing on Eddie Guerrero’s death, and this was capitalizing on Taker’s injury.  I suppose that, if nothing else, this sets up a Mask vs. Title match between Mysterio and Punk in the near future.  There are reports floating around that WWE is giving Rey the title because he was going to take a month off but had to postpone those plans when Taker got hurt.  So they’re giving him the title to keep him happy.  Which probably isn’t the best reason to give someone a title.  Also, word is that management was unhappy with Swagger’s title reign.  Of course you’re going to be unhappy with a Jack Swagger title reign!  There is a reason that you build someone up through the ranks and don’t give him a world championship as quickly as you do someone like Sheamus or even Swagger: it’s because they’re untested, and people don’t give a crap about this random new guy who wins a title in what feels like a fluke every single time.  What we want to see is somebody work his or her way up from the bottom of the barrel and earn his or her title shots, AFTER he or she has paid his or her dues.  Guys like Sheamus and Swagger haven’t paid their dues yet.  They’ve been in the business long enough to earn some secondary title opportunities, not world title opportunities.  That’s why, when Evan Bourne wins the United States Championship, it’s going to MEAN something.  He started in ECW, worked his way up there, then was moved to Raw, where he clawed his way from curtain-jerker to legitimate singles competitor.  Though I would think that anyone who saw him work in ROH or WSX would believe he’s been a main event-level talent for a while now.  Anyway, this is why WWE shouldn’t give these younger guys world title runs: because they’re unproven.  You have to establish whether someone can draw a crowd before putting your top title on him.  You can’t put a world title on someone and HOPE that they draw a crowd.  It doesn’t work that way.  It ends up failing miserably.  We saw it with Sheamus’ unimpressive WWE Title reign, and we saw it with Swagger’s title reign.  The match was okay, but again, it didn’t have much of a chance after following the Bourne/Jericho match.

The Miz defeats R-Truth to retain the United States Championship

You could tell, if you were watching the event on PPV (or through other, less legal ways as well) that the crowd was completely blown after the Mysterio title win.  There was dead silence for most of this match.  It was a decent match overall, but not having the crowd into it at all kind of deflated any impact the match could have had.  Still, I’ll give props to Miz and Truth for working a near 15 minute title match with a dead crowd.

Completely tangential sidenote: does anyone else find it hypocritical that WWE is steering so far away from the word “death” when in reference to Taker’s current absence from Smackdown, but a week before his injury/storyline “vegetative state,” they released a DVD package entitled “The Undertaker’s Deadliest Matches?”  I think it’s hypocritical (and a little bit ironic).

Anyway, Miz retain the title, which will help elevate the title for when Bourne wins it.  Having a title change hands multiple times in a short span (as I discussed in the last post) is a sure-fire way to degrade any prestige the title may have.  Miz needs to hold onto this title for a couple more months, to establish himself as the champion again.  I look forward to Miz vs. Bourne.

The Hart Dynasty defeats The Usos and Tamina in a six-person mixed tag match

It’s bad enough that the best match on the card was a bonus match, but it’s REALLY bad when the second-best match was also a bonus match.  This match is how a majority of matches should go: fast-paced, few rest holds, and lots of entertaining spots.  The Usos, after a humdrum in-ring debut on Superstars, showed why they were brought up to the Raw roster instead of having to go through NXT.  Jimmy and Jey are damned good.  They’re a fantastic blend of power, speed, agility, and strength.  And they’re pretty good heels too.  And I couldn’t tell from previous shows, but Tamina is a big girl.  She’s buff like crazy, and she’ll provide a great opponent for Nattie Neidhart.  I think these two teams can have an old-school, long-ass feud that goes for a year or more.  I’ve acquired several of the WWE Legend of Wrestling episodes from WWE Classics on Demand (which I would have were there not a monthly fee attached), and one of the episodes talks about tag teams.  And the panel of legends consists of Nick Bockwinkel, Michael Hayes, J.J. Dillon, and Pat Patterson, four of the foremost tag team wrestlers in history.  And they talk about how tag teams aren’t nearly as prevalent now as they were in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  I think that these two teams can bring back a true tag team resurgence for Vince and Co.  If you just let the Hart Dynasty and the Usos go at it tooth and nail, week in and week out, people will not get tired of it.  Especially if you build each week on the previous week.  I think these teams could have the best tag team feud since The Hardys, The Dudley Boys, and Edge & Christian in the early part of this century.  And once they’re done feuding, there are plenty more young teams champing at the bit for a shot at the Unified Tag Team Titles.

Sheamus defeats John Cena, Edge, and Randy Orton in a Fatal Four Way match to become the NEW WWE Champion

If you want a controversial finish, you got one.  As expected, the NXT invasion hit the arena, first taking out the four Raw superstars who were apparently acting as guardsmen, but ended up just watching the match until they were ambushed by the invasion.  Seven on four is never good for the four.  And after the invasion destroyed the backstage area, they stormed out to ringside (where horrible camera work prevailed) and they beat Cena to a pulp before heading outside to take out Edge and Orton.  Amidst all the chaos, Sheamus quietly slid into the ring and pinned Cena to win the WWE Title.  So now both of his title wins come under dubious circumstances.  But he could not have made a bigger mistake, because as the WWE Champion, he now has the target on his back.  Seeing as how after the NXT invasion chased Sheamus down after finishing their assault on Cena once the match was over, it seems that Sheamus will be the invasion’s next project.  Unless he turns out to be the leader of the faction, which would just be strange.

So, all in all, an okay PPV with the best matches not announced beforehand.  The number of “Daniel Bryan” chants was rather astounding.  I counted at least a half dozen.  Also, the crowd in Long Island reminded me a lot of the crowds in Canada and the United Kingdom: they cheer the heels and boo the faces.  People were booing Kofi Kingston and Rey Mysterio, which I found rather surprising.  I guess Long Island is closer to Canada than I realize.  And the Daniel Bryan chants make me hope even more that this whole angle is a work.  Because if it isn’t, there are going to be a lot of pissed-off fans.

Before I go, I’d like to talk just a little bit more about tag team wrestling.  A couple of months ago, indy fed CHIKARA held their annual King of Trios tournament.  Now, I’ve never seen CHIKARA before, but an entire tournament dedicated to three-man tag teams sounded great.  And after watching Night 1, I have to say that if CHIKARA’s other shows are anything like King of Trios, I’ll be watching a lot more of them.  Night 1 had the first round of the tournament: 16 teams faced off, and only 8 moved on.  And the variety of teams was amazing.  You had everything from CHIKARA regulars to Japanese teams to Mexican teams to completely random teams like The Throwbacks, which considted of an old-school basketball player gimmick, an old-school baseball player gimmick, and an old-school wrestler gimmick  (incidentally, Matt Classic is now my favorite wrestler ever).  And every match was fantastic to watch.  Some were more comedy-based, like the Throwbacks’ match, while others were more serious.  It was also nice seeing Colin Delaney both in the ring and at the announce table.  If WWE hadn’t future endeavored him, Delaney could have been a pretty good color announcer.  I have not yet watched the second or third nights of this show, but if the first night was any indication, I’ll definitely be enjoying myself.  And if you want to watch some excellent tag team matches, I’d recommend finding this show and acquiring it, whether by purchasing it legally or by other means.  But I would recommend supporting indy feds like CHIKARA, as they provide some of the most entertaining wrestling you will see.  And they’re coming out with a video game later this year.  Should be awesome.

So, with all that said and done, I’m finished for now.  I’ll be back later on in the week, though what my topics will be I am unsure yet.  Stay tuned, and until next time, stay awesome.

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This is going to be a really long post, so sit back and enjoy.  If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, I’d recommend downloading a speech program, copying this entire post into it, and having it read the whole thing for you.

So another week has come and gone.  Well, almost a whole week.  We still have a WWE Pay-Per-View event tomorrow.  But that’s just one topic I’d like to talk about today.  The first topic is the elephant in the room: WWE’s firing of Bryan Danielson.  Or, at least to me (and quite a few other bloggers), the alleged firing of Bryan Danielson.

A little over a week ago, WWE had reported that it had released Danielson.  While nothing is confirmed, widespread belief is that he was fired for choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with Roberts’ own tie two weeks ago on Raw.  Since WWE is now (and has been for some months) TV-PG, people think that choking a man with his own tie to be too vulgar and disturbing for a PG audience.  And this past Monday night, Danielson was seemingly written out of WWE programming, with Wade Barrett claiming that Danielson “felt remorse for his actions and was dealt with appropriately.”  Meaning that the seven other guys beat the shit out of him and eliminated him from television.  Now, were it not for the various other circumstances swirling around this whole angle, I would have believed that this firing was legitimate.  But there has been a series of events that call into question the validity of this firing.  Anthony Valvo has an excellent summary of these events in his latest column for Wrestleview.com, which I will link to right here.  I hope he doesn’t mind me using his column to help summarize the events leading to today.

The first real indication that this could very well be a work of epic proportions is a Twitter post sent by one John Cena.  He states that he was upset to hear about Danielson’s firing (calling Bryan by his real name instead of his silly WWE Creative name), and that he is willing to sign any petitions out there to have WWE bring Danielson back, if only so Cena could have a match with Danielson.  Now, if you’ve seen this post from Cena, it just doesn’t sound like Cena’s mannerisms.  Also, WWE is fervent in making sure that their talents stay in character on social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter.  And, as I’m sure any WWE fan knows, when someone gets fired, they are never, EVER mentioned again unless they return sometime in the future.  Yet here is the WWE’s top money-maker talking about Danielson’s departure from the company.  This is about as unprecedented as you can get with WWE.  Vince is so paranoid about his company that it seems like even mentioning that there is a world outside of his promotion is grounds for hiding away in a glass dome for a week or six.  You saw how careful everyone was when they had Rampage Jackson on: nobody even came close to mentioning UFC.  Anyway, this post is the first crack in the legitimacy of this firing.

One day later, WWEshop.com is advertising a free tie with a promotional code on any $65 or more order.  This is a Father’s Day promotion, but doesn’t it seem just a little TOO coincidental that they’re offering ties?  Now I could be the paranoid consipiracy theorist here, but it just seems a touch too ironic that WWEshop.com is promoting an item that got Danielson fired in the first place.  The legitimacy of the firing crumbles away a little more.

The next week on Raw (this past Monday night), Wade Barrett mentions Bryan by name (his WWE Creative name, but by name nontheless), which, as I discussed earlier, is something that they NEVER do.  When was the last time somebody mentioned a former WWE star by name?  Well, CM Punk did it once in regards to Jeff Hardy’s arrest last year, but besides that, is there one instance anyone can think of when this has happened?  I certainly can’t think of one.  So it begs the question: why is it okay to mention a former WWE star this time?  It just seems a little too outside-the-box for WWE.  They have their formulas and they stick with them.  This further questions the legitimacy of Danielson’s firing.

And just yesterday, a full week after Danielson’s “firing,” the WWE Universe Facebook page has a post up asking iif WWE should bring Daniel Bryan back.  Again, talking about someone who’s been “future endeavored” is something Creative never does.  So far, over 8,500 people have said that they want Danielson back.  Also, there is a petition making the rounds asking WWE to reinstate Danielson, and currently has over 24,000 signatures.  That’s over 32,000 people who want Danielson back.  And those are just the people who have seen the Facebook post or the petition.  I am quite sure that the number of people who want to see Danielson back on WWE programming is at least an order of magnitude nigher.  I’m curious if John Cena signed this petition…

As if that wasn’t enough, yesterday, there was a report that Shawn Michaels, Danielson’s original trainer, was apparently very upset about Danielson’s firing.  And, as I’m sure most people know, when Shawn Michaels is upset about something, he usually gets his way.

So, with all of that information being put in front of me, I’m having an awfully difficult time believing that this is a legitimate firing.  Apparently, in Danielson’s 90-day no-compete clause, WWE stated that the 90 days only applies to TNA.  Meaning that Danielson can (and will be) taking indy bookings, including PWG and some matches overseas.  Someone on Sunday Night Showdown last week (I apologize that I do not remember who said this…if they’re reading it, which I would find rather surprising in all honesty) said that this could also be part of the work, since WWE did a similar thing with Matt Hardy back in 2005 or so.  After Hardy attacked Edge in what seemed to be an unplanned event, Hardy still took independent bookings, despite very likely having resigned with WWE.  Yet WWE let him work his indy bookings in order to further the illusion that Hardy’s attack on Edge was unplanned.  Now, I do not know if this is at all true, but if it is the case, then the Danielson saga seems awfully similar to the Hardy situation five years ago.  Whether WWE is working with the promotions that have booked Danielson or not is unknown, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they were, if only to further the illusion of Danielson’s firing.

If this is indeed an angle and Danielson hasn’t truly been fired, then I applaud WWE for the work that they have done.  I think they know how good Danielson is, and that he can bring in indy smarks who think that they’re too good for WWE.  Danielson has all the talent necessary to become a top star in any company, even WWE.  Now, the only thing that remains is to ride this whole thing out and see where we are in September, when Danielson’s no-compete clause expires.  If he shows up on TNA, then I (as well as many people, I’m sure) will be sorely disappointed on several levels (that is, if TNA is still around in three months).  First, with Danielson, for heading to a company that needs a ventilator to breathe.  Second, with WWE, for actually firing the best wrestler in the world over a stupid choking incident that they could have edited out of the broadcast if they wanted.  There’s an eight-second delay for a reason.  And third, I think we’d all be disappointed in ourselves for believing that this whole thing was a work, that all these strange factors surrounding Danielson ended up leading to nothing at all.  I know that I’ll be disappointed if that is the case.

And now that I’ve spent 1,300 words on that topic, let’s move on.  A few days ago, it was reported that Davey Richards will be retiring from wrestling at the end of the year to pursue a career as a firefighter.  Richards is 27 and has been a mainstay on the indy scene for a few years now, probably most well-known for his time in Ring of Honor.  I’ve only seen a couple of his matches, but the guy is as intense as anyone out there and has a lot of talent.  That being said, it’s very noble of him to pursue a career as a firefighter.  While I’m sure the wrestling world will miss him, I wish him the best of luck in his future career.

And on a sad note, yesterday, indy wrestler Trent Acid passed away at the age of 29.  I never saw any of his matches, but I know he worked for promotions like CZW and ROH.  I’ve seen him featured on a few Botchamania videos as well.  It’s sad to hear about anyone passing away before the age of 30, but it’s so prevalent in wrestling.  My thoughts go out to his friends and family.

On that note, I suppose it’s time to give picks for Fatal 4 Way.  For being a brand-new PPV, it’s got an awfully sparse card.  There are only five matches booked so far.  I’m betting we’ll get at least one bonus match.  If we’re making predictions for the bonus match, I’ll say we get a tag match between The Hart Dynasty and the Usos.  That feud kind of lost focus with the NXT Invasion angle and, as a result, neither team has had any screen time besides the Usos’ debut match last Thursday.  If WWE wants this feud to work, they need to give these teams ample screen time, and there’s no better way to do that than to put them in a match at a PPV.  As for the rest of the card, we’ve got a mini-Night of Champions, with all five matches being championship matches.  And since I posted a winning record for the Slammiversary card (I went 5-4), let’s hope I do decently well at Fatal 4 Way.

Fatal 4 Way Match for the Diva’s Championship – Eve Torres (c) vs. Gail Kim vs. Alicia Fox vs. Maryse

While I believe Gail should have had a title since returning to WWE, that seems like it’s never going to happen.  Eve is in the midst of a pretty good title run, and is, by far, the most improved woman on WWE programming.  Alicia Fox is moving up the ranks as well, and though she still has a ways to go, she’s improving steadily.  Maryse is stuck in neutral and hasn’t improved in-ring in a long time.  This should be a pretty fun women’s match if given more than five minutes.  As for a winner, I think we can count Gail and Maryse out.  I don’t think Creative likes Gail despite her popularity and in-ring skill set, and Maryse is stale.  She needs something new or she’ll end up as the next Jillian Hall.  So that brings us to Eve and Alicia.  Alicia has gotten a lot of face time on Raw in recent weeks, even taking out Zack Ryder with a scissors kick.  But I think that Eve could be one of a small group of women who carry this division into the next generation, along with Natalya, Tamina, and Serena, whenever those three start working in the ring.  So, I’m picking Eve Torres to win and retain the Divas Championship.

United States Championship – The Miz (c) vs. R-Truth

So Truth defeats Miz almost a month ago after Bret Hart vacates the title after beating Miz.  Three weeks later, Miz wins the title back.  So my question to you is this: why did Miz lose the title in the first place if he’s going to win it back three weeks later?  Yes, I realize that he lost it simply to put Bret Hart over in Canada, but still, why have him win it back so soon?  Truth was going strong as the champ, only to have his reign derailed.  If it was me, I might have put Miz over Hart in Toronto because it gets the fans riled up and would make them flock to the next show they have there, hoping to see Miz get his comeuppance.  Vince does love to have his top guys lose in their hometowns an awful lot.  Anyway, bickering aside, this should be a pretty good match.  I just hope that Creative doesn’t decide to pull another switcheroo on us and give Truth the title back.  Every time a title changes hands after a short period of time, the title loses a little more prestige.  Does anyone remember when MVP held the title for just under a year?  Or when Shelton Benjamin held it for nearly eight months?  Where have those days gone?  I miss those days.  Hell, Miz’s first title reign lasted over seven months, and then he just drops the belt to Bret because they’re in Canada?  As Gregory Helms would say, “What’s up with that?”  Sometimes I don’t understand the decisions Creative makes.  Anyway, The Miz wins and keeps the US Championship for at least a little while longer.

Intercontinental Championship – Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Drew McIntyre

This is the same case as the US Title match, in that Kofi has just won the title, and I’m really hoping that Creative doesn’t think that short title reigns are in vogue.  McIntyre held the title for six months and did nothing while he was champion.  Kofi’s held the title for less than a month and he’s already done far more in his short run than McIntyre did in six months.  Though Creative is really trying to get a ton of heat on McIntyre with his feud with Teddy Long.  It reached a boiling point on Smackdown this past Friday when McIntyre forced Long to lay in the middle of the ring and pin Long for a victory, then attempting to hit the Future Shock DDT before Kofi rescued Teddy and Matt Hardy saved Kofi, only for both of them to wind up laying prone in the middle of the ring thanks to McIntyre and a dozen security guards.  Anyway, this feud was forced upon us when Kofi won the vacant title, then was stripped of the title when McIntyre went crying to Vince and got the title back.  Not the greatest of starts to a feud, but I guess we’re going to have to live with it.  So who’s going to win?  I can’t see Drew winning the title back after WWE had apparently labeled him “high-maintenance.”  I’m guessing that’s why he dropped the title in the first place.  Kofi is a rising young star and has limitless potential.  What he needs is a strong title run of at least six months before moving up to the main event.  And being on Smackdown will allow Kofi to make the move more easily than the top-heavy Raw.  So I’m going to say Kofi Kingston wins and retains the Intercontinental Championship.

Man, am I going to predict any title changes?

Fatal 4 Way Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Jack Swagger (c) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. The Big Show vs. CM Punk

I’m expecting outside interference from Kane in this match.  Also, expect some shenanigans from the S.E.S.  I’m quite sure we can toss Mysterio out as a potential winner, as I don’t think Vince will push Rey to the top unless another Guerrero dies.  I’m pretty sure we can count out Show as well, since his career is winding down.  Show is 38, and I’m quite amazed that he’s still able to perform as well as he has been, all things considered.  But I don’t think he’ll win another World Title.  He’s a great pursuer, but not the greatest champion.  So that leaves us with the two heels of the match: Swagger and Punk.  Swagger’s reign has been mostly unimpressive, with only three title defenses in nearly three months as champion.  He survived against Jericho and Edge near the start of his run, then defeated Randy Orton at Extreme Rules, and got himself intentionally disqualified at Over the Limit against Show.  So now that he has three opponents and no disqualifications, Swagger’s title reign is in serious jeopardy.  Still, I think the only person to have a chance at winning the title is CM Punk, and I’m betting that his and Mysterio’s feud is not complete.  There’s going to be a Mask vs. Mask match in our future, and I don’t think that Punk will be the champ when that goes down.  But he could win on Sunday and then drop the title to someone else shortly after.  We all know my thoughts on that.  Anyway, this is going to be chaotic and ugly as sin, but I actually think that Jack Swagger will win and retain the World Heavyweight Championship.  But as I said earlier, expect a lot of outside interference and some confusion.  Maybe we’ll get a Dusty finish, or as close to one as we can get in a Fatal 4 Way match.

Fatal 4 Way Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge vs. Sheamus

We can immediately count Orton out of the running, as I doubt his shoulder is fully healed.  I feel it was a bad decision on Creative’s part to continue to put Orton in matches over the past month while he should have been resting and rehabbing his shoulder.  They allowed Ted Dibiase to rest and rehab after suffering a concussion at the same show, so why make Orton wrestle with one good arm?  It doesn’t make any sense to me.  I’m also pretty sure we can count Edge out of the running.  He hasn’t been the same since returning from his Achilles tendon injury.  He’s noticeably slower in the ring, and seems to take fewer risks.  He probably doesn’t have too much longer as an active in-ring competitor.  Sure, a tenth title reign would be great, but I don’t think Edge has what it takes to hold a World Title anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy his work.  But I think he’s on a downhill slide, and it would probably be best to limit his in-ring action as much as possible.  That leaves us with The Champ and the Irish Porcelain Doll.  Sheamus still has yet to give me any inkling that he deserves to be a main eventer, and I question his spot in this match.  I would have loved to see a guy like Evan Bourne in the match, if only to further a possible feud with Edge and an eventual main event push.  But that probably won’t happen for a while.  And besides all that, Cena’s been on a pretty strong roll since he won the title back from Batista at Wrestlemania 26.  In fact, I believe this is the best I’ve seen Cena since his yearlong title reign back in 2006-2007.  All signs point to Cena continuing his dominance of Raw, and I don’t believe I’ll be changing my mind anytime soon.  John Cena wins and retains the WWE Championship.

Wow…five title matches, five title retentions.  I don’t know when I’ve done that before.  Also, if it counts as a pick, I’m predicting that Bret Hart does give the former NXT guys contracts, if only to allow the rest of the Raw locker room to beat the shit out of them on Raw the next night.  Maybe send a few of them back to FCW, even.

So, when all is said and done, I’ve written 3,300 words, and I’d like to think I’ve entertained a few people with my ramblings.  Check back in on Monday for Fatal 4 Way results, and maybe I’ll have something prepared that’s more than a “week in review” post.  Maybe.  So, until next time, stay awesome.

Looks like I’m never going to get around to doing that “trim the fat of TNA” post, now.  I could do it during the week, before too much has happened in the crazy, mixed up world that Vince McMahon has created.  In fact, I should do that next week.  So, unless something goes horribly wrong or a metric buttload of stuff happens on Raw, I’ll do my annual TNA post.

Speaking of TNA, I was lucky enough to be one of the people chosen by Mr. V himself, Anthony Valvo, for his PPV predictions column on Wrestleview this week thanks to my “stellar” picks record for Over the Limit.  I, along with four other people, will be giving our picks for TNA’s Slammiversary.  What’s funny about this is that I barely keep up with TNA’s product, so my picks will likely be wildly off, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I got the worst record among all those making predictions.  But I fulfilled my duty, and in case you’re interested (or don’t read the predictions column, which I was going to link to but it hasn’t been uploaded yet), I’ll put my picks here for fun before I get to the real down and dirty stuff.  And this is verbatim from the message I sent Mr. V.

Jesse Neal vs. Brother Ray

WINNER: Brother Ray

Desmond Wolfe vs. Abyss (w/Chelsea)

WINNER: Let’s see…Abyss won the last one, right? So Desmond Wolfe will win this round.

AJ Styles vs. Jay Lethal

WINNER: I’ll go with AJ Styles here.

Jeff Hardy and Mr. Anderson vs. Beer Money, Inc. (Robert Roode and James Storm)

WINNNERS: Wait, is Anderson a face now? I must have missed that. I’ll pick Beer Money to win.

**FOR the #10 spot in the World Heavyweight Champion Rankings**

Kurt Angle vs. Kazarian

WINNER: Eh, I’ll go with Kurt Angle to win.

TITLE MATCHES

**For the TNA Knockout’s Championship**

Madison Rayne (c) vs. Roxxi

WINNER: I don’t see the BP losing any gold anytime soon. Madison Rayne retains.

Matt Morgan vs. Hernandez

WINNER: I’ll pick Matt Morgan to win since Hernandez ruined his tag title shot last night. Glad to see Super Mex back.

**For the TNA X Division Championship**

Douglas Williams (c) vs. Brian Kendrick

WINNER: Douglas Williams via “technical wrestling.”

**For the TNA World Heavyweight Championship**

Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Sting

WINNER: Sting turned 51 this year. No world champion should be that old. RVD retains.

Now that that’s been said and done, let’s talk about this week.  We had a rather lackluster three-hour Cyber Sunday ripoff show that was entirely lame until the last 10-15 minutes, a strange end to the first episode of the second season of NXT, and Kane dishing out vengeance on Friday.  Let’s start with Raw.  Thanks to the “Viewer’s Choice” stipulation that ran through the night, we got a bunch of seemingly improvised matches and strange segments.  Now, I have my doubts about the voting results for these segments, but even if they’re legitimate results, the fans are very easily sway-able.  Putting the Hart Dynasty in a match against The Great Khali and Hornswoggle was idiotic at best, especially when you had The Dudebusters and the Usos as the other competition.  But I’m sure the Usos will get their shot soon enough while the feud is still hot.  Then, we get a dance-off between Santino and Vlad Kozlov.  The other choices were a match and an arm-wrestling contest.  I think it’s safe to say that the results were probably for the best, as we got to watch Kozlov pull off some pretty sweet dance moves and further destroy his Russian MMA champion image that he worked so hard to achieve over the past couple of years.  Eh.  If he’s going to team with Santino in the future, he’s going to have to get silly.  We then get a not-terrible divas battle royal, which I think had an improvised finish with Maryse winning.

On a side-note: has anyone else noticed the vast improvement in some of the womens’ work ethic over the past couple of months?  Even Layla is showing some skill.  My question is why didn’t she show this type of skill before she became Women’s Champion?  On the plus side, we’ve got Eve as Diva’s Champion, and she’s about as good as we’re going to get since Natalya isn’t working in the women’s division, Beth Phoenix is out, Melina is out, and Serena and Tamina have yet to debut inside the ring.  And Tiffany has been doing pretty well for herself in the ring.She’s continuing to mature and gain skill as time goes on, which is more than I can say for a few of the ladies still in the employ of WWE.

Okay, tangent done.  We get a scene between Kane and Sheamus, which leads to the voting going heavily in favor of a Kane vs. Sheamus match (instead of Sheamus vs. Mark Henry or Evan Bourne).  It was okay, but nothing special.  Afterward, we get a tag match with R-Truth teaming up with John Morrison again (the other choices were…ah, hell, I don’t remember) against The Miz and Zack Ryder.  Well, at least Miz and Ryder seem like they could team together.  Now I’m just going to rush through the rest to get to the end.  Orton vs. Edge in a one-armed match ends with Edge trying to break Orton’s shoulder with a chair, Drew McIntyre gets the shit beat out of him by a “mystery opponent” that turns out to be Matt Hardy (to nobody’s surprise), and we get a ridiculous segment between the stars of the new A-Team movie (…okay, vomit averted) and Roddy Piper, who apparently thought that Rampage Jackson was Mr. T.  Okay, that was kind of funny, but it was pretty well pointless.  Though we did get a great little segment beforehand with Gene Okerlund and Josh Matthews. Here is a video. Skip to around 57 seconds in to get to the part I’m talking about. I’m still laughing.

Anyway, after that mess, we get to the main event: John Cena vs. CM Punk (the other choices for Cena’s opponent were Rey Mysterio and Jack Swagger).  After a while, we get to the only redeeming quality of the evening: the NXT Season 1 rookies surrounded the ring, ambushed Gallows, Punk, and Cena, and then proceeded to completely destroy the entire ring area, including knocking out Matt Striker and Jerry Lawler and tipping the announce table on top of Lawler.  Bryan Danielson even choked Justin Roberts (the ring announcer) with his own tie (I’ve got something to say about the results of this, but I’m going to finish this first).  They then proceed to tear up the padding, dismantle the ring, and beat the crap out of Cena for what feels like forever.  It was a truly epic encounter, and a great intro to what may end up being another Invasion angle.  I don’t honestly know.  But Wade Barrett promised that something interesting would go down on Raw next week, so I’ll at least look forward to that.

Now, let’s talk somewhat briefly about NXT (though I may end up talking a lot anyway, so sit back and relax).  I’d like to give my first impressions on some of the new guys and pro/rookie pairings now that we’ve seen them interact for the first time.

The Miz and Alex Riley: it’s like they’re looking into a mirror.  These guys are basically the same person.  This worries me, because it may mean that one of them will become redundant unless they’re placed on different brands after NXT is over.  Riley is a great talker, and the current FCW Champion.  But we haven’t seen him in the ring, so I can’t give a full opinion of him yet.  But this pairing is a match made in heaven for Miz.

John Morrison and Eli Cottonwood: Cottonwood reminds me of a slightly younger, slightly smaller Great Khali.  He’s slow to react and seems to have a fairly limited moveset.  I don’t hold any hope for him moving very far in this competition.  The pairing with Morrison is also questionable at best, as Morrison seems like he’d be a better pro for someone like Low Ki.  But I’ll get to him in a minute.

Cody Rhodes and Windham Rotunda: I love Rhodes’ complete lack of enthusiasm at being a mentor to Rotunda.  Rotunda, on the other hand, looks like he isn’t quite ready for the spotlight.  He’s only 23, after all.  Yes, I know that some current wrestlers have been on the roster since they were that young, but Rotunda just looks scared all the time.  He’s got talent, that’s for sure, but he’s probably not ready to be a singles competitor just yet.  That, and his tattoos are quite distracting.

Lay-Cool and Low Ki: Oh, god.  This is the funniest pairing I’ve seen yet.  I feel bad for Ki, having to basically be the bitch-boy of the Co-Women’s Champions.  He always looks sad.  But he’s the only rookie who’s carrying gold around most of the time, so that’s something.  I’m just hoping that he snaps one day and kicks both of their heads in.  I’m looking forward to his first match on NXT.

Mark Henry and Lucky Cannon: nothing happened with these two, so I can’t say anything about them.

Kofi Kingston and Joe Hennig: same as the last guys, though Hennig was on Smackdown, so he’s already getting more TV exposure than most of the Season 1 rookies.

MVP and “Showtime” Percy Watson: Watson reminds me of a young Eddie Murphy in his mannerisms and facial expressions.  He’s hilarious, too.  I’d like to see more of Watson in singles action so I can see if he’s got the in-ring acumen to back up that great persona.

Zack Ryder and Titus O’Neal: If you thought Cottonwood was bad, hoo boy.  O’Neal is your typical football player-turned wrestler.  Thing Mongo, only black.  And worse at cutting promos.  Dear god.

So we got two matches last night, and a segment that defies explanation.  I can’t quite reason out why it happened, but I’ll try: the season 2 pros, in order to make up for the beating the season 1 rookies gave Cena on Raw the night before, decided to teach the season 1 rookies a lesson by…beating the shit out of the season 2 rookies?  Huh?  Was this revenge for the pros?  I don’t get it.  If they wanted revenge, they should have taken it out on the season 1 rookies.  If they’re trying to teach the season 2 rookies a lesson not to mess with the pros, then I guess that they made a point.  But it’s a weak point at best.  I didn’t really like it at all, and I feel like it’s going to set up a “Pros vs. Rookies” angle that will plague the entire season.

Even if this whole Invasion 2.0 angle happens, it won’t really matter much to me, because on Friday, WWE announced that they had “future endeavored” Bryan Danielson.  They say it’s because he choked Justin Roberts with Roberts’ tie, but I would believe that if this is indeed true, they fired him because he spat in Cena’s face and yelled, “YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN ME!”  I say “if” this is true because there is speculation across the entire IWC that this is another work perpetuated by Creative to keep us interested in the product.  If that’s the case, then I think they’re going too far.  They don’t need this kind of crap to keep us entertained.  Do you know what keeps us entertained?  Men and women who can work a match and work a microphone, telling stories in and out of the ring in a coherent plot that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Not this shock jock bullshit that seems to be rampant throughout wrestling nowadays.  It’s juvenile and stupid, and I’d prefer to watch two hours of wrestling than 25 minutes of wrestling and an hour and a half of bullshit.  Most of me believes that this is a real firing, but about 10% of me still thinks this is a work, and I kind of hope it is, because Danielson can do so much good for the product it isn’t even funny.  If he’s seriously gone from WWE, they’ve lost a huge reason I watch.  I really hope he doesn’t jump ship to TNA, because they probably won’t treat him any better.  If Hogan wasn’t running the show, I might say he’d have a chance, but with Hogan in charge, Danielson wouldn’t get his fair share.

Okay, I do believe that that’s enough from me for now.  Be sure to check Wrestleview.com for the Predictions column to see my picks, even though I already listed them here, and tune in this week for my “trim the TNA fat” post and probably a rant about what happened on Raw and/or NXT.  So until then, stay awesome.

Okay, I promised I’d do one post per week, and I’ve been delaying this for about four days now.  I’ll also promise to stop with the NXT puns, mostly because they aren’t funny.

So season 1 of NXT is over.  To my surprise, Wade Barrett pulled off the victory and now has a title shot against any champion at a future PPV show.  I honestly thought that with R-Truth winning the US Title that it was all but guaranteed that David Otunga would win NXT and go on to win the US Title at Fatal Four Way.  I guess WWE management is finding out that Otunga is just like Drew McIntyre: high-maintenance.  Still, based solely on his physique, I’m sure Otunga will secure a spot on Raw or Smackdown in the near future, as will Bryan Danielson.  With Barrett’s win, I’m betting he’s off to Raw to take on John Cena at the next PPV after Fatal Four Way, whatever that may be.

One thing I’m curious about, that has nothing to do with the rookies, is whether William Regal’s tirade at the end of the season finale was a work or a shoot.  Given Regal’s tendency to tell it like it is, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was mostly a shoot.  I can’t imagine that Matt Hardy would have said it was okay for Regal to call him Eugene.  But maybe Hardy has no self-respect.  And usually when something unexpected happens, Matt Striker tries to cover it up by yelling at us, “Well, ANYTHING can happen in the WWE!”  Yes, Matt, you keep saying it, but we all know it’s planned out beforehand.  If something that isn’t planned happens, just go with the flow.  Call Regal’s tirade a “modified promo” or something silly like that.  It isn’t like you can get much worse as a commentator.

Now that I’m done with MY tirade, it’s time to look forward to season 2 of NXT, which begins this Tuesday.  I guess WWE is trying to cram in as many seasons of NXT as they can before Smackdown heads to SyFy in October.  So, with season 2 bearing down on us, let’s take a look at the new rookies and pros.  I was planning to take a look at all the rookies before giving my first impressions, but I got lazy and ended up only watching a couple of matches.  With that being said, without further ado, let’s take a look at the new NXT participants!

Husky Harris (Pro: Cody Rhodes) – The first of many ridiculous name changes.  For those of you who didn’t catch the promo for Harris, he is, in fact, Windham Rotunda, one of the sons of Mike Rotunda, whom most people will remember as IRS, the bodyguard of The Million Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase.  Have you absorbed that all?  Good.  Rotunda had been competing in FCW with his brother, Taylor, with the first names Duke (Windham) and Bo (Taylor).  They are former FCW Tag Team Champions, so that’s got to mean something.  I haven’t yet seen a match with Rotunda (I refuse to call him by his ridiculous WWE “Creative” name), but people who have seen him say that his size belies the fact that he’s surprisingly athletic and quick for a guy who looks more like me than a Vince McMahon-approved WWE superstar.  I’ll try to catch a few FCW matches of his before Tuesday.  Anyway, I kind of like this pairing.  Cody Rhodes is also a second-generation wrestler, and though I’m betting their personalities will clash like whoa, putting these two together will only be beneficial for Rotunda.  Rhodes is very talented for his age, and his experience will likely help Rotunda go far in this competition.

Eli Cottonwood (Pro: John Morrison) – Hoo, boy.  Talk about your clash of styles.  Morrison is a flashy, glitzy, throwback to the free-love 1960’s, and Cottonwood is a recently released former mental patient.  At least, that’s what their characters are.  Cottonwood is the first real monster that NXT has seen.  He’s 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds (billed).  He’s one of the two men of whom I’ve seen one or two FCW matches.  Unfortunately, one was a squash match and the other was a six-man tag match, so there was not very much in-ring time I was able to watch.  I don’t hold much hope for Cottonwood, as he’s 35, and even if he does secure a roster spot, he’ll have at most 5-7 years before he’ll have to retire.  That’s if he’s lucky and doesn’t suffer any major injuries.  I’m not expecting much from him in this competition, but he’ll probably get a couple of squash matches.

Percy Watson (Pro: MVP) – I know nothing about Watson, so I can’t really give much of an analysis of him.  MVP would have been an excellent mentor two or three years ago, but nowadays he just seems burnt out.  I feel like his career has passed its peak and is on the decline already.  It’s too bad, because at the height of his heel persona, he was a believable world title contender.  Now he’s just another guy who probably won’t matter in the end.  I’d like to see a return to the old MVP (just like I’d love to see a return to the heel John Morrison, but we all know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon), because at least he was fun then.  Now, he’s just meh.  Huh.  Looks like I spent the entire time talking about the pro instead of the rookie.  I’ll have to check Youtube for some matches with Watson.

Titus O’Neal (Pro: Zack Ryder) – This is the first of two “Huh?” pro choices for rookies.  Ryder is barely a pro himself, and at times, I’d think he’d benefit from being on NXT rather than Raw.  But I digress.  I know nothing about O’Neal except that he’s a former football player, and we all know how well former football players have worked out as wrestlers (“Never mind that shit, here comes MONGO!”).  According to his Wikipedia page, his first televised match was in January of this year.  I’m hoping that WWE Management isn’t jumping the gun with this guy.  Just because he’s a big dude doesn’t mean he’s got what it takes.  I think his Pro will be his downfall.

Low-Ki (Pros: Michelle McCool and Layla) – This is the second “Huh?” pro choice, though that “Huh?” is followed by a brain hemorrhage.  You’re sticking the first ever Ring of Honor Champion with the only reasons I actually change the channel when they appear on TV?  Great job, Creative.  And no, I refuse to call him by his WWE name.  He’ll always be Low-Ki to me.  Ki has been one of my favorite indy wrestlers ever since I started watching non-WWE shows.  It’s how he seems so dedicated to his character and his craft that really makes me respect his work.  And Ki is damn good in the ring.  I have a bad feeling that this may be the Danielson/Miz pairing of this season.  Still, I’m hoping that Ki goes really far, and maybe, just maybe, wins this season.  I’d love to see Ki face off against pretty much anyone on the WWE roster.  If you get Ki and Danielson in the same ring, indy fans will cream in their pants.  I’m going to be conflicted every time Ki is on screen with his pros.  On the one hand, I want to watch Ki because he’s Low-Ki, but on the other hand, I want to tune out because of the worst thing in pro wrestling today, LayCool.  Ugh.  I can stomach Vickie Guerrero better than I can stomach those two.  Here’s hoping Low-Ki can overcome his terrible pro choice.

Lucky Cannon (Pro: Mark Henry) – Again, I know nothing about Mr. Cannon (which would be a great name for a superhero), but he’s been working in FCW for over two years, unlike most of the other rookies, who have been in FCW for a year or so.  At least with Henry as his pro, he’ll have a good chance of winning tag team matches.  I fear he may be one of those filler guys that Creative tosses in so they can have a roster of eight.  But I suppose we’ll have to wait and see, now, won’t we?

Michael McGillicutty (Pro: Kofi Kingston) – Do you want to know how bad of a name change this is?  It is worse than Daniel Bryan.  Dear god, Creative, when will you ever learn to let someone like Joe Hennig use his real name?  When you say to the world that he is Mr. Perfect’s son, don’t you think people are going to rush to their computers to find out more about Mr. Perfect, then find themselves confused when they find out that his last name isn’t McGillicutty?  Hennig tried to explain away the name change, saying something to the effect of, “I didn’t want to be stuck under my father’s shadow.  I wanted to make a name for myself, which is why I didn’t use my real name.”  Bullshit, sir.  It doesn’t matter how much you want to live outside of your father’s shadow, because ALL second- and third-generation wrestlers live under their parents’ shadows.  There have been very few who have managed to build a true name for themselves without relying on their legacy.  The Rock and Randy Orton come to mind, even though Orton did use his father in a few feuds.  But for the most part, you’re going to be known as Mr. Perfect’s son no matter how hard you try, just like Cody Rhodes will always be Dusty Rhodes’ son or Ted Dibiase will essentially become his father.  Let’s just stop with the incredibly bad name changes and let these guys use their real names, okay?

Alex Riley (Pro: The Miz) – The only returning Pro gets a rookie a lot more similar to him than The American Dragon.  Alex Riley is the current FCW Heavyweight Champion, for your information.  I watched that title match between him, Justin Gabriel, and Wade Barrett, and unfortunately, I didn’t really see anything special from him.  Of course, the match wasn’t that great overall, so I haven’t really gotten a good view of his skills overall.  Anyway, he’s definitely similar to Miz in many aspects, including but not limited to hairstyles.  I don’t really know anything about him, but I think it’s safe to say that he and Miz will work quite well together.

As to who might win Season 2 of NXT, I don’t think I can put a finger on who will win, but I can sure as hell tell you that I want Low-Ki to win.  I’d love to see him take on the entire WWE roster.  Hell, I wouldn’t mind a Low-Ki/Khali match, though it sure wouldn’t be pretty.  Anyway, I’ll be rooting for Low-Ki the entire competition, and I’ll be voting for him, as you all should do, seeing as how WWE is having fan voting count for once.  Here’s hoping the ROH fans vote in droves for Low-Ki.  With that being said, I’m spent.  I’ll be back next week with that TNA roster-cutting post, unless WWE decides to cram another huge assortment of stuff onto our plates.  Until next time, stay awesome.