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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.

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