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Category Archives: Weekly Recaps

As has happened several times in the past, the shows with little intrigue end up surprisingly good. This doesn’t always happen, but having six total matches on the card will only help the performers tell a story in the ring instead of rushing things. And despite starting out perfectly in picks, a perfect 5-0 record was squandered by unforseen circumstances. I’m not going to whine and cry about it, so let’s get right to the results.

Bryan Danielson defeated The Miz and John Morrison in a Triple Threat Submissions Count Anywhere Match to retain the United States Championship

Quite a mouthful for that first match. They definitely picked the right match to start the show. This was a wicked affair, with tons of legitimate submission holds (instead of a dozen rest holds in between a real submission) and constant action between all three competitors. And what was great was that no one held a clear advantage throughout. Danielson even got some Cattle Mutilation in there, and I loved how weirded out Cole got when he heard it’s name. What was also nice was seeing Miz and Morrison expand their repertoires to include some fairly strong submissions. Seeing Morrison lock a Texas Cloverleaf on Miz was pretty awesome. I’ll give the devil his due: Miz was just as good in this match as Danielson and Morrison. He had some help from his carbon copy, Alex Riley, but thanks to some interference from an unassuming cameraman, Danielson put Miz in the LeBell Lock on the entrance ramp and secured the victory. I was very pleased with how this match went from start to finish. Definitely a match to watch if you get the chance. These three could continue their feud for a while longer and I wouldn’t mind at all, so long as we get more Triple Threat matches out of it.

Randy Orton defeated Sheamus in a Hell in a Cell match to retain the WWE Championship

Again, the right decision was made as to which Cell match went first. And I will again give the other devils their due: these two had a really good 20+ minute match. I think it was more me shutting out the commentators and just enjoying the match more than anything, because they tend to ruin matches with their ceaseless banter. I also think that Orton and Sheamus had to pull out all the stops after seeing the Triple Threat match and how awesome it was. The one issue I have with this match is the end. Instead of Orton building up to an RKO like he normally does, the match just kind of ended. Orton hit the RKO on the steel steps Sheamus had pulled into the ring (though it looked more like Orton took all the damage by landing back first on the steps and only a bit of Sheamus’ chest landing on the steps) and it was over. But aside from that, another good match. It was definitely (in my estimation) Sheamus’ best match, and if all of his matches were like this, maybe I wouldn’t be so harsh on his work. Truthfully, if every WWE PPV had the quality of matches that this one did, I’d probably not be so down on the company right now.

Side note: CHIKARA has released their latest shows on DVD, so if you haven’t already purchased them, I’d suggest you do so as soon as you finish reading this entry.

Edge defeated Jack Swagger

In a strange impromptu segment/match that also involved Alberto Del Rio, Edge proved that he is the Eric Young of the WWE. The guy has had more turns than a British roundabout. He was a heel last year, turned face as soon as he got injured, then turned heel shortly after his Wrestlemania match with Chris Jericho, and is now a face again during this ridiculous feud with the Raw GM, who I very cleverly deduced last week is none other than GLaDOS, the insane computer from the game Portal. Trust me, it explains everything. Anyway, a surprisingly fun little match with one very scary botch that appeared to be crossed signals: right near the end of the match, it looked as though Swagger was going for a dragon screw leg whip while holding Edge’s left leg while Edge was attempting an enziguiri. Edge landed awkwardly, and Swagger didn’t release Edge’s leg, causing it to twist in two directions simultaneously. Very scary. But I guess Edge is mostly okay, as there were no reports of a serious injury and he walked out of the arena on his own power. Let’s hope he isn’t hurt.

Wade Barrett defeated John Cena

Ah, the first match with an unexpected ending. When the rest of Nexus was discussing their plan that they’d never run by Barrett, I thought that they might end up causing the disqualification in favor of Barrett so that Cena would lose. But that was not to be, as the rest of the locker room poured out and drove off Nexus, while John Cena merely watched and did nothing to Barrett. I mentioned in my picks entry that I felt Cena was over the hill, ring-wise, but he mostly proved me wrong in this match. Now, if only he worked this well in every match. Barrett also finally showed me why everyone else seems so up on him. These two had a very strong match, but unfortunately, there was outside interference and Barrett won. Now, if you don’t want the identities of the two men who caused Cena to lose, TURN AWAY NOW! SPOILER ALERT! It was Husky Harris and Michael “Don’t Call Me Joe Hennig” McGillicutty. I would imagine that with everyone from season 2 of NXT besides Kaval having had no screen time since their season ended a month or so ago and several of them showing real promise (Harris among them), it may be time for Nexus to expand. Putting Harris on the team would provide the team with a fantastic young talent, and while McGillicutty is, somehow, entirely lacking in the promo department, you cannot discount his in-ring ability. They would make fine additions to Nexus while Darren Young is gone and Skip Sheffield is out with an injury. SPOILER ALERT OVER! So, with all that being said, Cena lost and will join Nexus. Though I would imagine he will not be subservient. Don’t be surprised if he does the same thing CM Punk did with the New Breed back in the old new ECW: tearing it apart from the inside. Cena is a cash cow, a money tree, and Vince would be a complete idiot to turn him heel, if only for monetary purposes.

Natalya defeated Michelle McCool via Disqualification; Michelle McCool retains the Unified Divas Championship

In what was becoming a fairly fun match, Layla had to go toss a shoe at Natalya to cause the DQ rather pathetically early. I was just getting into the match, and suddenly it was over. I should have expected as much from LayCool. Now we are treated to more of the utter revulsion their voices cause on a nightly basis. Joy of joys. Not that I was expecting Nattie to win. She is the best women wrestler on WWE programming, and she’s decent on the mic. But when it comes to women, Vince cares not about wrestling ability and all about physical appearance. It’s okay. When the Hart Dynasty gets future endeavored, they can all come work for my imaginary promotion, where everyone gets equal screen time and no one has to deal with Russo-Rific storylines and horrible workers who can’t string two moves together without requiring a 5 minute rest hold in between. Oh, if only I had the money…and the skills to run a business.

Kane defeated The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

Damned Paul Bearer. He screwed me out of a 4-1 record. I knew that something weird was up when he wanted so badly to be inside the cell at the beginning of the match. But I couldn’t have predicted that to happen beforehand, so I just went with it and got screwed in the end. The whole ending spot was also very strange, with the lights going out and the thunder sound effects. Was that supposed to represent the Undertaker’s powers, or the power of the urn, or what exactly? Then Bearer opens the urn and a weird light shines in Taker’s face, which I initially thought had sapped Taker of his strength but apparently just temporarily blinded him, which allowed Kane to hit a chokeslam even after Taker had seemingly retained his sight, picking up the victory. And at the end, the urn is open and the light is shining directly in Kane’s face, yet he isn’t blinded. What the hell? I imagine that many fans at the show don’t have a clue what happened, and they were significantly further away from the action than anyone who watched the show through other means. I hope they try to explain this clusterfuck on Smackdown, because right now none of it makes any sense. Besides that ugliness, the match was pretty good. The deal with a match between these two is that they tell their story through facial expressions rather than big impactful moves and crazy spots. They set things out very carefully, and it pays off. It was a really good match up until the weird ending (seems to be a theme to this show).

So, all in all, I’d actually say that this was a good show, wrestling-wise. Six (mostly) high quality matches and very little backstage or in-ring promo work, which usually bogs down a match with a small card. I could almost recommend spending money to see this show, on DVD of course. Don’t spend $50 or $60 to see it on PPV. That’s just outrageous. If you want to spend $60 on a wrestling show, get CHIKARA’s King of Trios 2010 shows. Three shows, nearly 9 hours of ridiculously high-quality wrestling, and an appearance of Dragon Dragon. Trust me, it’s worth it. I swear, those guys and gals at CHIKARA need to stop having so many amazing shows, because I’m going to go broke buying their DVDs. Seriously, I feel like trying to get onto their roster just so I can have crappy matches and tell people not to buy the DVDs because I work a crappy match on it. They make the rest of the wrestling world look bad.

Okay, enough CHIKARA praise. I’m starting to sound like Michael Cole when The Miz is within 100 feet of the announcers’ table. Stay tuned for more entries in the never-ending battle between good wrestling and matches involving Drew McIntyre. Until next time, stay chill everyone!

I agree, Mr. Sheik. This show was FAKING BULLSHEHT.

Okay, really just the last hour. But it completely overshadowed the previous hour and forty-five minutes, and ruined what to that point had been a pretty decent PPV. Let’s look at the slow burn to disaster that is Night of Champions.

Dolph Ziggler defeated Kofi Kingston to retain the Intercontinental Championship

They picked a good’un to start the PPV. The only really disappointing part of this match was about two minutes in, when Vickie Guerrero sent Kaitlyn out of the arena. In terms of character, Kaitlyn is my favorite competitor on NXT (which reminds me, I REALLY need to talk about NXT soon, before it gets canceled, which it will). And it doesn’t hurt that she’s ridiculously easy on the eyes. I’ll go ahead and stop being a sexist pig now. Lots of back and forth action, and a great build to the finish, with it seeming like Vickie was going to screw up Dolph’s chances, only for him to apparently be faking his anger and dropping Kofi with the Zig Zag to earn the pinfall victory. This match solidified Ziggler’s Intercontinental Championship reign, and will hopefully tie up any loose ends Kofi has in the mid-card so he can FINALLY move up to the main event in the next couple of months. Good opener.

The Big Show defeated CM Punk

Anyone who watched this match knows that it obviously did not go as planned. Big Show’s ribs were probably injured after Punk hit a slingshot somersault senton from inside the ring to a prone Show on the floor outside the ring. The match went about two minutes after that, and Show hit a Knockout Punch to abruptly end the match. I have no idea if this was the planned finish, but I find it tough to believe it after Punk’s promo and my picking him to win the match. But that’s how it goes with legitimate injuries: a match has to end quickly or you risk further injury. I applaud Show for trying his best to finish the match with a rib injury. Had he not gotten hurt, I bet this would have definitely gone on longer. It’s okay, though. It was still a decent four minute match.

Daniel Bryan Danielson defeated The Miz to become the NEW United States Champion!

This was the one match on the card I was praying I had picked incorrectly, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. I had honestly thought that they would battle again at Hell in a Cell, where Danielson would win the US Title, Miz would become nearly inconsolable, only to wait until the Raw Hell in a Cell match to jump out from nowhere, trip, fall head-first onto his briefcase, and get pinned by the WWE Champion to become the first man to NOT win a title after cashing in the Money in the Bank Briefcase. But it’s okay, because Bryan Danielson is now a Champion in WWE! Man, I did not expect to say that in 2010. It makes me so happy to see Vince finally give the fans (and the internet) something they actually want instead of something he THINKS we want. If I were to grade the matches on this PPV by how much I wanted a specific outcome, this would have been the match of the night. Hell, it was actually the second-best match of the night. Danielson can really work well with anyone, and he brought out the best in The Miz. I just wish Michael Cole would stop rationalizing Miz’s loss by making up idiotic excuses like, “Oh, Miz tripped and that allowed Bryan to slap on the LeBell Lock!” We get it, you’re trying to be a heel. But it doesn’t work when you’re a heel against one guy. It’s just irritating.

Speaking of Cole (I know I’m getting off track), how awesome is it that he’s leaving NXT? Sure, Vince is trying to destroy the show by having Cole constantly make fun of the entire show, but I still am happy that we’ll get a new play-by-play man to complement Josh Matthews. Can we see the return of Byron Saxton?

Also, props to Matt Striker for being in perfect Smark form during the show, informing the public of the origins of the LeBell Lock. Thank you, sir. Your talent is wasted on Smackdown, where you are censored and edited to the nth degree.

Michelle McCool defeated Melina in a Lumberjill Match to become the Unified Women’s Champion

God I hope WWE doesn’t call this the Unified Diva’s Championship, or just the Diva’s Championship. It says that on WWE.com, but I pray they call it the Women’s Championship still. Calling it the Diva’s Championship just shows us once again how Vince McMahon apparently feels about women. You thought I was a misogynist earlier? Vince is about a thousand times worse. Why in the hell would you have the Lumberjills dress up, some in semi-formal attire, for a match? You don’t see men in a Lumberjack match dressed in tuxedos (except the Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon match at WM 26, but that shouldn’t count), so why have the women in high heels and dresses? At least have them dressed like they’re ready to compete. It isn’t like they’re any less lady-like when they have wrestling boots and shorts on instead of high heels and a miniskirt. It just looks silly. Anyway, the match was okay, but nothing special. And apparently the rift we saw on Smackdown between Michelle and Layla dissolved in a matter of seconds, as they were hugging and jumping up and down, celebrating Michelle’s victory, which she should never have had in the first place since Layla was the official Women’s Champion. That storyline still bothers me. Now we’ll probably get even more screen time wasted with LayCool’s utterly pointless promos. Not as pointless as the Teddy Long/Hornswoggle segments (doesn’t Teddy have a show to run?), but pretty pointless nonetheless.

Kane defeated The Undertaker to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

I’ll put it out there right now: Match of the Night for the Feud of the Year. This match wasn’t about doing the coolest moves or going sixteen straight hours, it was about emotion and internal strife. And these two pulled it off as well as anyone could. While it wasn’t quite as emotional as, say, Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair at WM 24, it was still fantastic in terms of character. Plus, Undertaker’s selling was top-notch again. These two didn’t have a wrestling match, they had a knock-down, drag-out fight. A brawl. And I was entertained from bell to bell. However, I do not believe this is the end. You cannot properly end a feud like this without a Hell in a Cell match. So you’d better book your seat on the couch, because in two weeks, be ready for the epic end to an amazing feud. I cannot wait.

“Dashing” Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre won a Tag Team Turmoil Match to become the NEW WWE Tag Team Champions

Here is where the show went to hell. I was okay with Tag Team Turmoil, though I would have been more interested if it was a four-team Tornado-style elimination match without the utterly random and pointless team of Evan Bourne and Mark Henry. Really? How did you come up with that pairing, Creative? You couldn’t, say, use Christian and MVP? Or John Morrison and R-Truth (Morrison had a dark match, so this selection is likely unreasonable)? I was okay with putting The Usos in there. I was not okay with Santino and Vlad Kozlov. They’ve done nothing but beat the Usos a couple of times on Superstars. Why not put the Dudebusters in there? Or Hawkins and Archer? Teams that are actually somewhat established? And also, WHY IN THE BLUE HELL WOULD YOU TAKE THE TAG TITLES OFF OF THE HART DYNASTY? What, did one of them piss you off somehow and you decided to retaliate by putting the titles on an undeserving lout like Drew McIntyre? Cody Rhodes I’m fine with, but he should be working up to an Intercontinental Title run, not be a Tag Team Champion. He’s done that three times already. I am so very angry and disappointed that the Hart Dynasty lost the titles so soon. It really sealed the deal for me that Vince truly does not give a shit about tag teams in his company. “Instead of keeping the titles on an established, well-liked team, let’s put the titles on two completely random names we drew from a hat and decided for no good reason to pair up, even though they’re both working in the singles division and have nothing in common besides being vaguely similar in age.” I’m betting that’s how the meeting went when they chose to put the Tag Team Titles on Rhodes and McIntyre. Thanks, Vince. You’ve ruined tag team wrestling. Now I have to go to CHIKARA exclusively for good tag team action.

Randy Orton defeated Sheamus, John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, and Wade Barrett to become the NEW WWE Champion

As bad as the Tag Team Turmoil match was, it didn’t hold a candle to this atrocity. Chris Jericho gets pinned not two minutes into the match, then the match stops for two more minutes while Jericho makes the slow walk up the ramp for the last time (or at least until he’s tired of touring with Fozzy). That was an abomination unto itself, eliminating Jericho so quickly. After some more time in which nothing of note happens, Edge, Cena, and Barrett are eliminated in succession, leaving Sheamus and Mr. Push-a-Lot. Sheamus hits the Bicycle Kick, Orton kicks out, Orton hits the RKO, new champion. Whoop de freaking do. It is no secret that I do not like Randy Orton. I do not understand why he is so over as a face. And I simply do not enjoy the fact that, no matter what happens, he ALWAYS comes out on top. He’s been in the main event so long, I’ve grown bored with his character. He just is not that interesting. Even Sheamus has a strange appearance, but that’s somewhat interesting. Randy Orton is dull. I could not care less about the WWE Championship when Orton is champion. I am certainly not looking forward to Miz taking the title away from Orton, either. Honestly, I expected Miz to cash in the Money in the Bank Briefcase at the PPV (seeing as how the show went on for five minutes after Orton made the final pinfall), but that was not to happen. We just get Orton celebrating on camera for FIVE GODDAMNED MINUTES. I don’t think The Undertaker got that much celebration time when he defeated Edge at the end of Wrestlemania 24. Yeesh.

So WWE is going to hell yet again, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Our only hope is that Daniel Bryan Danielson rises up the ranks quickly and wrests the WWE Championship from whatever boring persona holds the title. And that Kaval makes his way up the Smackdown roster and gains control of the World Heavyweight Championship. But now I’m delusional.

Okay, that’s enough focused rage for now. I’ll actually be back later this week with some NXT comments, and stay tuned for my ultimate roster’s first show. It’s an epic show, if I do say so myself. So, until then, stay fine and dandy everyone!

I don’t think I’ve been this happy as a results of a WWE decision in a very long time. Two weeks ago, when The Miz was initially approached about being the last member of Team WWE, I knew that something was up. I knew that a certain individual was going to be involved at Summerslam. And last night, my hopes were, indeed, answered. If you haven’t seen Summerslam and don’t want major spoilers, turn away now!

Are they gone? Okay. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Bryan Danielson is back on WWE programming! I’m certain that Vince is giving him a deal where he can work the rest of his indy bookings before coming to Raw full-time. So his last few indy matches should be pretty awesome. But I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Let’s take a look at Summerslam.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship ends in a No Contest

In what was a pretty good opener, Kofi and Dolph battled for some ten minutes before Nexus appeared and assaulted both men, leading to the no contest. I was a little apprehensive that the rest of the night’s matches would be ruined by Nexus, but thankfully that was not the case. If it was the case, then I’m sure all of my predictions would have been tossed out. Anyway, I kind of expected this to be the opener, and it was pretty good. Yes, it had Vickie Guerrero, but aside from her presence, it was an enjoyable match. Ziggler remains the IC Champion, and Kofi gets to move up to the main event…well, probably not just yet, but soon.

Diva’s Title Match – Melina defeated Alicia Fox to become the NEW Diva’s Champion

It was a decent match. Melina hopefully didn’t injure herself yet again. And after her victory, we get LayCool coming down to the ring to spoil the whole thing. Melina shoves both Lay and Cool away, only to get pummeled for her troubles. I hope this is the beginning of a title unification, as having two womens’ titles in WWE is about as pointless as you can get. I don’t really think that any of the three women deserve to hold a title, anyway. Melina is too injury-prone, Layla has little in-ring talent, and McCool is just irritating. I’d prefer to see a Women’s Title match between Nattie Neidhart and Tamina any day of the week before any match involving Layla. Also, how weird was it to have Josh Matthews essentially appear out of nowhere? I guess magically appearing from nowhere was a theme for the evening (OOH FORESHADOWING).

The Big Show defeated The Straight Edge Society in a 1-on-3 Handicap Match

Okay, so I got this pick wrong. I accept it. It honestly could have gone either way. Show…er…showed us that he has a healing factor nearly as powerful as John Cena, coming back from a vicious beatdown only to essentially no-sell the entire match AND getting his hand broken two weeks prior. It isn’t quite as epic as Cena no-selling death, but it’s still pretty ridiculous. Anyway, another decent match, nothing special. I heard in an interview on a podcast hosted by none other than Colt Cabana that Punk actually hand-picked Gallows and Mercury to work with as part of the SES, and I think that’s a great sign for both Gallows and Mercury. Punk is one of the top heels in the company, and getting his seal of approval has got to be a boost to their confidence and it should prove to Creative that both men do, in fact, deserve their spots. Yes, in the end, Punk walked out of the match, leaving Gallows and Mercury to be punished by the giant, but it was probably a learning experience for both. At least, that’s probably how Punk is going to spin the match come Friday.

We then are treated to a fairly lengthy Miz promo where he says he will join Team WWE for the 7-on-7 match later that evening. He did have a hissy fit at the audience, telling them that they should raise their hands if they wish to speak, and immediately, about a thousand people raised their hands. That was a great moment.

Randy Orton defeated Sheamus by DQ; Sheamus retains the WWE Championship

I’m still surprised that the announcers were talking about this match like it had never happened before. Does no one remember the Royal Rumble? These two had a match back then. This match was about as good as a Sheamus match can get. Which isn’t that great, overall. But the end was a little weird. We all know how little it takes for someone to “accidentally” knock out a referee, right? A single punch, an Irish whip into the corner, or sometimes a stiff breeze will KO a ref for minutes at a time. So it was a little odd that Jack Doan, the referee of this match, was not only smacked by Sheamus, but tumbled through the ropes and to the floor, yet remained conscious long enough to call for the disqualification. Most refs would have been out before they hit the ground. What’s up with that? Anyway, we’re probably going to get yet another Orton/Sheamus match at Night of Champions, to which I say SNORE. They’ll probably drag this feud out until HHH can return, and then we get to fall asleep during Raw!

Kane defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

This was a good match, but the best part was the Undertaker’s return. I believe Kane opened the casket four times during the course of the match, including twice after the match had ended, in order to dump Mysterio in there and (presumably) cart him off to the netherworld. But, seemingly by magic, the final time Kane opens the casket, who should be laying there but the Deadman. I know he was there the whole time, but damnit, I marked out like crazy when the revealed Taker laying in the casket. Then, he rose from the ashes, climbed into the ring, and nearly destroyed Rey. But Taker knew better, and proceeded to assault Kane. Unfortunately, Kane got the better of Taker, and hit Taker with a Tombstone piledriver. At first, I was disappointed that they didn’t bring Taker back strong, but then I remembered that, according to the storyline, Taker has been in a coma for the past couple of months, so it makes sense that Kane should be able to overpower him. Still, this will set up a Taker vs. Kane feud, which, if nothing else, should be monumentally epic.

Team WWE (John Cena, Chris Jericho, Edge, John Morrison, R-Truth, Bret Hart, and Bryan Danielson(!)) defeated Nexus in a 7-on-7 Tag Team Elimination Match

I hate to gloat, but two weeks ago, I knew that Danielson would be involved with Summerslam. As soon as Miz got himself involved, all I could think was, “Danielson will be the 7th member of Team WWE.” And, thankfully, I was right. Miz’s night was spoiled by the man he was supposedly a mentor to, and it gave me so much satisfaction to see Danielson not only back in a WWE ring, but to make two members of Nexus tap out to an armbar/crossface combination submission that looked thoroughly painful. The match itself was very back-and-forth, with no team truly gaining a big advantage. The largest advantage was a two-man advantage early on, when Team WWE was up 7 to 5. It was close from then on. And despite the massive face reaction that both Jericho and Edge got, after their consecutive eliminations, they turned on Cena and pummeled him thoroughly. But Cena’s healing factor kicked in, and allowed Danielson to get his second elimination of the night. What followed was the first real salvo in the soon-to-be Miz vs. Danielson feud: Miz smashed Danielson in the back of the head with his Money in the Bank Briefcase, allowing Nexus to pin Danielson. There’s a tangent coming right about now: I believe that Miz will be the first Money in the Bank winner to not end up as a world champion after cashing in the briefcase. The way it’s been built up, it feels like no matter when he cashes it in, he’s going to lose. Either that, or someone’s going to take it away from him. Anyway, after Danielson’s untimely departure, Cena was left in a 2-on-1 situation against Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel. They proceeded to tear up the padding outside the ring and DDT Cena on the concrete, which honestly should have caused a disqualification, but maybe that’s just my opinion. Now, if you thought Big Show’s healing factor was impressive earlier in the evening, it’s nothing compared to Cena’s. Not three minutes after being rammed head-first into concrete, he manages to avoid Gabriel’s 450 Splash and pin him, then lock Barrett in the STFU and win the match. Yes, it’s silly, and it really makes it more difficult to suspend my disbelief in regards to these matches, but it was the only way the match could have reasonably ended. Well, that, or after Cena pinned Gabriel, Barrett charged in, hit his finisher, and ended the night with Nexus winning. But that was not the case, and Team WWE pulled off the win. I have to give Matt Striker for sticking up for Bryan Danielson throughout Michael “Douchebag of the Year” Cole’s relentless Dragon-bashing. I really hope we get a Cole vs. Danielson match at some point so Danielson can kick Cole’s head off. I don’t believe Nexus is done by any means, but a few of them definitely do not deserve a spot on Raw just yet. Or at all *COUGH*Otunga*COUGH*

So Summerslam is over. How was it? Overall, it was decent. Nothing super-special save the return of both The Undertaker and Bryan Danielson. Not a bad show by any means, but it’s probably not worth purchasing. I’d recommend a rental at least.

And with that, I’m ending this post a little early. But don’t despair, because I’ll be back with my epic 100th post of pure awesome. So stay tuned, fans! And remember to stay awesome.

Since I want to make my 100th post special, I’m merging my Summerslam picks and results into a two-part post. I can do that. It’s my site, after all.

It’s been about ten days since last I wrote anything at all here, and even longer since I wrote something of substance. A lot has happened since then. I’d like to address the death of Lance Cade before I move on. Cade’s story is yet another example of the wrestler who was overworked, got addicted to painkillers, and ultimately lost his life far too early. Cade was 29. That’s entering a very uncomfortable age for death. You just don’t expect someone to die at 29 of heart failure. But an addiction to painkillers will do that. It’s a very sad moment, and I wish his family well.

I’d also like to briefly discuss the last couple of weeks of NXT. After Eli Cottonwood was (thankfully) eliminated a couple of weeks ago, we had what I would have to consider the worst segment in the last five years. The “kissing contest” was an utter debacle, and an embarrassing moment for all parties involved. You had the six remaining rookies being forced to kiss an overweight, unattractive woman with what appeared to be herpes right on her mouth (it was probably make-up, but still…). The only person who got even slightly lucky was Low Ki, who got a kiss from Layla before having to kiss the hideous monstrosity known as Marguerite. Also, during this segment, I lost all respect for Joe Hennig thanks to his licking Marguerite all over her face. It was beyond disgusting. And this segment went on for nearly TWENTY MINUTES! Fully a third of the entire episode was dedicated to this nightmare. It drove me to the brink of quitting watching WWE programming altogether (and I very nearly did thanks to a match on Smackdown a few days later). We then had some arbitrary matches that could have used about five minutes extra each, which would have been easily provided had they not done that horrendous kissing contest segment. Then, this week, we have a pretty good six-man tag match, another Miz vs. Morrison match, and Lucky Cannon was thankfully eliminated from the competition. What I don’t understand is this: why can’t we have more good matches like the six-man match we got this past Tuesday? There is no reason whatsoever not to showcase the talent that these men have. How are we supposed to gain any sort of idea as to how well they’ll perform on Raw or Smackdown when all we’re given is a three-minute rush job of a match every week? I would much prefer to see two or three quality matches every week that take up 50 minutes of air time (entrances and exits included), and the last 10 minutes of the show dedicated to the pros talking about the matches. Simple formula, and it would be a hell of a lot more entertaining than the idiotic challenges these guys have to go through every week.

Not that it’s going to matter too much, since it seems like WWE wants to end this season of NXT as quickly as possible, so they can get a third season of NXT out and done before Smackdown moves to SyFy in October. So there will be two eliminations next week. Who’s going home this time? I’m betting it’ll be Alex Riley and Percy Watson. Why? Well, Riley’s a heel, and nobody votes for the heels. Also, I’ve yet to see any sort of good in-ring work out of Riley. He’s basically the same character as The Miz, only with a football flair to him. All talk, no skill to back it up. Watson has been slipping down the ranks ever since the first poll, and I think the fans are growing tired of him. Lucky Cannon was getting tremendous amounts of X-Pac heat, which is why he was voted off, I’m sure. The crowd does not enjoy being pandered to, sir. It makes you seem pathetic. Anyway, I think the last three will be Low Ki, Joe Hennig, and Husky Harris/Duke Rotunda. Rotunda has been gaining tons of momentum, and looks more and more like he could be a great new face for the company. Hennig has all the in-ring tools, but needs to work on his talking. And Low Ki/Kaval is just plain awesome. I think that with the fan voting actually mattering (supposedly), that Low Ki will end up winning this competition, which I’m sure Vince won’t be too thrilled about. But it’s going to happen. If you give the fans a voice, then the IWC smarks will come out of the woodwork and help their favorite guys along to victory. I do every week. I always vote for Kaval.

Now, before I move on to picks, I’d like to talk very briefly about the Intercontinental Championship match on Smackdown eight days ago. More specifically, about how the referees are apparently not bothering the read the rules before calling a match. When someone not involved in the match gets on the ring apron, his first job is to clear said person off the apron. And if someone enters the ring and starts yelling at the ref, he has the ability to toss said person out or even call the match a no-contest. And if said person is still on or in the ring when a pin is made, the first priority is clearning said person off the ring. None of that happened during the Kofi Kingston/Dolph Ziggler match last week. This is what made me seriously consider quitting WWE programming altogether. I had a speech all worked up about how Summerslam would be the last WWE show I watched, simply because I wanted to get that done so I could watch promotions that weren’t run by complete idiots. But I had a change of heart, and I’ll continue watching, if only to keep you, the reader, entertained with my endless ranting about how stupid WWE is and how awesome indy promotions are (Chikara! Woo!). Anyway, it was a foolish move by the referee, and I think that they all need to take a refresher course in the rules. Also, how obvious is it that both the United States and Intercontinental championships have become Television championships? Sure, the IC Title is being defended at Summerslam, but the last six US Title changes have all been on Raw, and the IC Title was basically being passed around with complete disregard on Raw back in 2008. Whatever. The titles have no prestige left.

Okay, now that I’ve spent 1100 words talking about subjects not related to the title of this post, let’s get started with Summerslam picks!

Women’s Championship – Layla (c) vs. Tiffany

I don’t think this match is going to happen, as Tiffany has been suspended because of an incident at a San Jose hotel involving her husband, Drew McIntyre. Yeah, who didn’t see this coming? Anyway, this probably won’t take place, but thanks to the idiotic storyline with the perfectly split-in-half Women’s Championship, I doubt anyone is going to take this away from LayCool for a while.

Diva’s Championship – Alicia Fox (c) vs. Melina

While I am happy to see Melina back, she looks a little worse for wear. I hate to be so crude, but it’s just my opinion. She’s actually starting to look a little like Chyna, at least in the facial area. This is unfortunate. Anyway, Alicia has been a decent placeholder for this pointless title, but Melina is here to take the title back. Melina wins and becomes the NEW Diva’s Champion!

3-on-1 Handicap Match – The Straight Edge Society (CM Punk, Luke Gallows, Joseph Mercury) vs. The Big Show

Apparently, despite a broken hand, Show is perfectly capable of chokeslamming people and punching their heads off. Ah, well. If the SES wants to stay together at all, they need to win this match. We’ve seen the group starting to splinter, and this would be awful for Gallows and Mercury, as they need this group in order to keep their heads above the deadly waters of the WWE. Mercury looks like a weird alien with his head shaved, and I think he needs to grow his hair out in order to be taken seriously by anybody. Gallows is basically on borrowed time, and unless he makes a huge impact in the next few weeks, he may be gone from the company. Punk will be fine, as will Serena. And Show can take a loss right now, as he’s moved from the main event back to the mid-card. With Punk’s arm healed, I think this match is a lock. The Straight Edge Society wins, and destroys the Big Show in the process.

Intercontinental Championship – Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Kofi Kingston

You’ve heard my thoughts on the ugliness that was the title change last week on Smackdown. I honestly don’t think Ziggler needs a heat magnet like Vickie Guerrero by his side. I think he can create enough heat by himself if he was ever given promo time. He got tons of heat as Nicky on the Spirit Squad, but that was mostly because people hated the gimmick. I kind of loved it, but that was just me, I guess. Anyway, Ziggler just won the title, and Kofi is finally showing that rage that he showed last year in his feud with Randy Orton. Oh, I need to address something very quickly: to Todd Grisham, please stop being a complete moron and try to remember things that happened more than six months ago, Love, Rantables. Seriously, he keeps referring to Kofi’s rage as “The first time we’ve ever seen Kofi like this!” Does no one remember Kofi vs. Orton? I do. It’s why I keep picking Kofi to win matches like the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank. He’s shown that he can move up to the main event easily, but thanks to Mr. Push-Stopper himself, Randy Orton, Kingston was prevented from moving up the ladder. Incidentally, the same thing happened to Ziggler last year, when Rey Mysterio apparently refused to drop the Intercontinental Title to Ziggler for some reason. Well, I think this will be Kofi’s graduation from mid-card hell to the main event. Dolph Ziggler wins and retains the Intercontinental Championship, but Kofi ends up looking better and moves to the main event.

World Heavyweight Championship – Kane (c) vs. Rey Mysterio

Kane’s character has been fantastic over the last month. Though it’s tough at times to remember that he’s talking about wrestling. If his character was in, say, a movie, I’d be much more interested. He cuts a very dramatic promo, but the drama is shattered when he starts talking about wrestling. It’s weird. Anyway, Rey had his three week title run, and it’s time to let somebody else move up to the main event (see previous match). Kane has all the momentum, which normally spells disaster for the champion, but in this case, I think it will lead up to an Undertaker vs. Kane match at some point. Should be pretty epic. Anyway, Kane wins and retains the World Heavyweight Championship.

WWE Championship – Sheamus (c) vs. Randy Orton

Snore. We already had this match six months ago at the Royal Rumble. Sheamus is still boring, and I still don’t like Orton. I’ve never liked him. Not his character, and not the person. But I’d rather have Orton as champion than Sheamus. It’s the lesser of two evils right now. Sheamus is a horrendous wrestler, and a travesty of a champion. He needs to go away as soon as possible. But we know that Vince gets an erection around bodybuilders, and Sheamus has that porcelain Irish skin that Vince apparently loves so much, so he’ll be around for a while yet, unfortunately. Still, it would be better for the fans if Orton won, as Sheamus is intolerable. Randy Orton wins to become the NEW WWE Champion. Though I’d much prefer somebody else as the champion…

7-on-7 Tag Team Elimination Match – Team WWE (John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, R-Truth, Bret Hart, and ???) vs. The Nexus (Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, Skip Sheffield, and Darren Young)

We’re getting teased that The Miz is going to be the 7th member of Team WWE, but I’m almost 100% sure that this won’t happen. You know what I think WILL happen, though? Miz refuses to join Team WWE, and John Cena says that it’s fine, because he knew Miz would refuse, so he went out and found a suitable replacement…

Bryan Danielson.

Yes, you heard me right. Danielson will make his return to WWE at Summerslam. I think it’s going to be the same sort of deal that Matt Hardy had back in 2005, where he’ll still get to work his indy dates but show up on Raw every once in a while to wreak havoc on the roster. Danielson will arrive at Summerslam and proceed to destroy the Nexus, as payback for them “destroying” him and putting him out of the company. With this seventh member, I think it’s a complete lock that Team WWE wins, brings some order back to Raw, and sends several of the Nexus back to FCW.

If Danielson is not the seventh member of Team WWE, I have no idea what will happen. It certainly won’t be as entertaining, in my eyes.

So that’s it for me for now. I’ll be back in a couple of days with Summerslam results. And stay tuned for my epic 100th post spectacular! It’s going to be a doozy, so stay tuned! Also, prepare for more DVD reviews. I purchased the two most recent Chikara shows, and I’m nearly finished with the most recent one, Chikarasaurus Rex. So I’ll probably start reviewing those shows as a nice alternative to the constant lambasting of WWE. Give this blog some positivity. So, until next time, stay awesome everyone!

So, as per normal, plenty has been going on the last…TWELVE DAYS?  Jeez, I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t written anything in that long.  I need to let up on the Nintendo DS playing and get to writing more often than I have been.  I’ll do picks for the new PPV last, as there are other things that must be discussed.

Let’s start with this WWE vs. TNA dueling invasion storylines.  TNA, in an effort to try to become WWE, Jr. yet again, is staging its own invasion angle of the company.  Though, instead of a group of young up-and-comers, we’re getting a group of former ECW guys storming the gates of TNA.  The group (so far as I know) consists of Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards, Rhyno, Rob Van Dam, Brother Devon, and maybe Al Snow, Simon Diamond, and Mick Foley.  I really hate saying this, but these guys really do need to just hang up their boots.  They’ve been around the block one too many times, and the chances of them putting on great matches is slim.  ECW basically took their bodies away from them far too soon, and what’s left are broken husks of men who used to be considered the toughest guys in wrestling.  Does this mean that TNA is going to devolve into a clusterfuck of chaos and weapons?  I’m not sure.  It seems like TNA is trying to go the opposite way that WWE and their TV-PG rating is heading, like they’re adopting a much more violent style that ECW fans have, for some reason, been craving since the company went kaput in 2001.  Now, I don’t mind a little violence every once in a while, but when it oversaturates the show, it gets tedious to watch.  I don’t like how WWE is paranoid about blood and that they stop a match if someone has a cut (like they did with the Jericho/Tatsu match on Superstars) either, but I’d prefer that to ALL HARDCOREZ! shows.  I’ve tried to watch CZW, and it’s really not that entertaining to me.  I’m not saying TNA is headed down that path, but they’re definitely closer to that end of the violence spectrum than the sanitized experience WWE brings.  So I suppose this is just another step for TNA towards an eventual grave.  Put a bunch of late 30’s-early 40’s guys in the ring whose best years are long past hitting each other with frying pans and barb-wire baseball bats beating the shit out of the rest of the roster who are (mostly) used to actual wrestling.  Whatever.

Now, speaking of the Nexus, doesn’t it feel just a little bit like the creative minds at WWE have no idea where this storyline is going?  This past Monday, Wade Barrett stated that “The Nexus has a plan, but we’re not going to reveal it to you people just yet.”  Translation: we have no idea what we’re doing, so we’re just going to beat up the roster every week for no reason.  You guys have your contracts, so why are you still attacking the rest of the Raw roster?  And another thing: why in the hell can’t the Raw roster band together for even five minutes to fight back?  There are plenty of faces on Raw.  13, by my count.  Are you honestly saying that half of them can’t band together and fight off these young guys?  Really?  I have a very tough time suspending my disbelief for that one. Similarly, I have a very difficult time believing that a little over a week ago, not ONE person came to help Rey Mysterio as Jack Swagger dragged Mysterio via an ankle lock all the way from the backstage to the arena.  Come on.  Rey is one of the biggest fan favorites, and there should be a cavalcade of guys backstage who would normally rush to his aid if something like this were to happen.  But, for some reason, not even the trainers tried to stop Swagger.  It really felt awkward and a little too staged.  Same with Swagger’s interaction with Kane that same night.  Swagger really has no charisma.  It just feels like he’s reading lines off a cue card or that he’s memorized his lines.  Nothing he says ever feels like it’s coming from him.  It always feels like someone else is speaking for him.  Boy, that was one hell of a tangent.

Speaking of guys who need to head back to FCW, let’s talk about Eli Cottonwood for a minute.  The guy makes The Great Khali look like Bret Hart in the ring.  His promos…well, let’s just let this one speak for itself:

Eli’s hilarious promo.

Ugh.  If that wasn’t the worst promo you’ve seen in a while, then you’re probably lying.  The Soup made fun of him for this promo.  It was that bad. Also, my apologies for not being able to embed the video. WordPress is an idiot sometimes.

Also regarding NXT, I am sure I am not the only one who is completely sick and tired of Michael Cole referring to The Miz as 8,000 different coaches every episode.  We get it, you have a hard-on for Miz.  Give us a break.  To be perfectly honest, Josh Matthews is the only commentator who is even the slightest bit entertaining right now.  Cole is a lost cause, Jerry Lawler hasn’t been entertaining since he turned face, Todd Grisham is incompetent, and Matt Striker is too much of a smark to be fun to listen to.  Matthews is the only sane voice in a sea of ridiculousness.

And speaking of announcers, who else is pissed that WWE removed Jim Ross’ voice from the WWE intro?  Word on the street is that this is punishment for being seen at the latest UFC show alongside Dwayne Johnson, Steve Austin, Bill Goldberg, and Paul Heyman.  If this is true, it shows how petty Vince McMahon really can be.  And yet, we still hear JR’s voice during the vignettes for the Money in the Bank matches.  And I’m sure his voice won’t be erased from any WWE DVDs anytime soon.  And just to complete this tangential roller coaster, in what may be seen as a positive move, in the Elimination Chamber DVD that was just released, the match with Chris Benoit was included.  Maybe Vince is finally accepting that you can’t erase history if everyone else knows what happened.  Whether they show all the blood and gore as well, I do not know.  But let’s hope this is a step in the right direction.  Maybe one day we’ll get a Chris Benoit DVD.

Now, to end this little tirade, I want to look at one specific moment that ruined Smackdown for me last night.  At the end of the Ziggler/Hardy match, when Vickie Guerrero was on the apron distracting the ref, he should have cleared her off the ring apron before doing anything else.  He should have made her get off the apron before he counted the pinfall after the Zig Zag.  That’s just basic refereeing.  Unless it’s a tag team match, nobody is allowed on or in the ring besides the wrestlers and the ref.  That match is invalid.  Ziggler should not have had his arm raised, and Hardy should not be considered the loser of the match.  All this trouble was caused by Jack Doan, one of the most experienced refs in the business.  It was one thing when Goose Mahoney didn’t toss Vickie out of the arena the week prior after she pulled him out of the ring.  But this is just idiotic.  I hope Doan is reprimanded for his error.

Okay, I was wrong.  Another thing that bothered me about Smackdown was Show finally managing to get CM Punk’s mask off, showing the world what Show would look like if he lost 250 pounds.  I think this honor should have been given to Rey Mysterio, as he was the one who initially shaved Punk’s head.  He never got the true satisfaction of showing the world Punk sans hair, and then Show up and does it anyway on free television?  I was really hoping for a Mask vs. Mask match on PPV between Punk and Mysterio sometime in the future after Punk was healed and Mysterio dropped the title.  I guess we’ll never get that now.  How disappointing.

Now, let’s move on to the newest WWE gimmich Pay-Per-View event, Money in the Bank.  I’m okay with a couple of gimmick PPVs a year, but when you supposedly base an entire show around one match gimmick and then only have a couple of the matches on the card actually follow the gimmick, it’s false advertising.  Also, I really don’t think it’s necessary to have more than one Money in the Bank match per year.  If WWE is going to continue having one mat Wrestlemania and two at the MITB PPV, then we’re basically being told that we’re getting three guaranteed new champions a year.  And at a time where every title is in turmoil and nobody can seem to hold a title for more than a few weeks, it feels like the era of the lengthy title reign is all but finished.  And lastly on my list of general complaints, a Money in the Bank match without Shelton Benjamin is going to feel empty and weird.  The true innovator of the MITB is gone from the company, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone will replace him.

With all that being said, let’s go to the card.

Women’s Championship – Layla (c) vs. Kelly Kelly

The first of two utterly pointless matches on the show.  While Layla has certainly stepped her game up since winning the Women’s Championship, she’s still nowhere near the league of, say, a Nattie Neidhart.  Likewise, Kelly had been improving in the ring, but as of late has seemingly stalled.  Perhaps she’s at the top of her game.  If that’s the case, why bother giving her any screen time?  This match boils down to who’s on the outside.  If Michelle McCool is at ringside, it’s basically a guaranteed win for Layla.  If Tiffany is there, the odds aren’t really evened, but they’re closer to even than if she wasn’t there.  Now, if Rosa shows up, then all hell is going to break loose and I’ll just toss myself off a bridge, because that would be the worst thing to happen since Justin Bieber and Twilight COMBINED.  It really doesn’t matter.  Layla wins and keeps her pointless title.

Diva’s Championship – Alicia Fox (c) vs. Eve Torres

Eve is definitely my favorite diva right now who’s actually participating in the women’s division.  She’s hot as hell and actually pretty good in the ring.  And the most important part: she’s improving.  I can’t say that about any other woman in the women’s division on WWE programming.  Alicia is…okay…but I certainly don’t think she deserving of a title run right now.  Maybe in a year or two.  But for now, we’re stuck with her.  I’d prefer to see Eve with the title, in all honesty.  And you know what?  Let’s just go with that.  I’m trusting my preference over my brain right now.  Eve Torres wins and becomes a two-time Diva’s Champion.

I forgot to mention earlier that I’m also disappointed that neither the Intercontinental nor the United States Championship will be defended at this PPV.  Moving on…

Unified Tag Team Championships – The Hart Dynasty (c’s) vs. The Usos

Why not just have one belt?  It seems silly to carry around two sets of bents for one championship.  Unless WWE is planning to split the titles again in the future, I say drop one of the belts or ACTUALLY unify them.  Now, down to business.  This has been a truly old-school feud, and I’m loving every minute of it.  The Hart Dynasty is stepping up their game, and the Usos are constantly on the rise.  As I stated in a previous post, these two could have a year-plus-long feud over the titles and I wouldn’t get the least bit tired of it.  They have so much natural chemistry with each other it’s uncanny.  I’d love to see these two teams battle each other for the next twelve months without a break.  Maybe then another team will rise to join the fray.  I’d like to see the Dynasty vs. the Usos vs. the Dudebusters.  I bet it’s be a fantastic merging of styles.  But for now, I think this is one of the best feuds on WWE TV.  As for the winners, the Dynasty needs to keep the titles in order to establish a…well, a dynasty.  The Usos are too new to Raw to earn a title run.  The Hart Dynasty wins and retains the tag belts.

Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match – The Big Show vs. Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Kofi Kingston vs. “Dashing” Cody Rhodes vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler

Smackdown did have one fantastic segment last night: Big Show’s ladder segment.  That was one of the funniest promos he’s given since coming to Smackdown earlier this year.  This face turn has really rejuvenated his character, and he’s over like crazy with the fans.  I cannot wait to see him lug that giant ladder down to the ring.  He just better make sure it doesn’t put holes in the ring mat.  Now, let’s get down to the odds.  I think we can toss Show and Kane out immediately.  Show, while great, doesn’t really need a briefcase to tell him he’s in the main event.  And Kane will be too distracted trying to find out who took The Undertaker out (my money’s on Kane himself).  Matt Hardy is never going to win a world title in WWE, so he’s out.  Kofi is the Intercontinental Champion, and that should keep him occupied for a while.  Dolph Ziggler still hasn’t won a singles title yet, and I think he needs an IC Title run before he moves up to the main event.  Drew McIntyre bores the crap out of me, so he doesn’t deserve this.  That leaves us with Christian and “Dashing” Cody Rhodes.  Rhodes is gaining more and more experience as the weeks go by, and he’s getting better and better at what he does.  Christian is the most deserving out of these eight men to get the briefcase.  But knowing how much Vince hates Christian (why I will never know), he probably won’t win.  So who does?  Honestly, it’s a tough decision.  I have a history of making bad decisions in multi-man matches like these.  Just for the fun of it, I’m goign with my old stand-by pick: Kofi Kingston wins Money in the Bank.  Hopefully he’ll finally get what he’s deserved for about the past eight months.

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Randy Orton vs. John Morrison vs. Mark Henry vs. Evan Bourne vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. The Miz

Orton, Edge, and Jericho do not need this briefcase.  They’re already in the main event.  They can get a title shot pretty well any time they want one.  That doesn’t mean that one of them isn’t going to win.  I’m just saying they don’t need it.  Also, why replace R-Truth with Mark Henry?  Truth would have been plenty more fun to watch than Henry.  Hell, Henry needs one of those special Big Show reinforced ladders to reach the briefcase.  Whatever.  We can count Henry out, as it seems any chance he might have had to win a world title are long gone.  Evan Bourne is going to take the US Title from The Miz soon, and we all know Vince’s opinions about “smaller” wrestlers.  Morrison is stagnated right now, and desperately needs a heel turn if he wants any sort of heat.  Dibiase’s too involved with Maryse and not actually doing anything else to be deserving of the briefcase.  And Miz?  Well, I’m just not that keen on him.  Yes, he’s good on the mic.  But that doesn’t translate to being a great champion.  You have to deliver inside the ring if you ever want to be considered great, and Miz still hasn’t shown me that much inside the squared circle.  So who takes home the briefcase?  It’s a tough decision.  I suppose I’ll go out on a limb and say John Morrison wins the match.  I’m not exactly sure why.

World Heavyweight Championship – Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Jack Swagger

I thought that this World Title run by Mysterio was going to be short-lived after Swagger’s ridiculous ankle lock drag through the entire backstage area bit a week ago.  But I think that WWE is going to try to keep Mysterio as happy as possible so he’ll stick around as long as they can keep him.  He is the most popular guy among kids (maybe next to John Cena), and he’s also one of the few people who can go out every night and have a good match with just about anybody.  People who can do that are truly a rare breed.  In WWE, at least.  But I digress.  As long as Mysterio’s champ, he’ll likely be happy.  So he’ll probably get a title run similar to his last one, where he fends off insurmountable odds only to lose to a more regular guy.  Or maybe Swagger will prevail and then lose the title when the Smackdown MITB winner cashes in his contract.  Or maybe Kane will run interference and cause a no contest, leading to a big match between these two at Summerslam.  Yeah, that’s probably what will happen.  Kane will interfere, causing a no contest.  As to whom he strikes first, I’ll say he hits Swagger first, giving him the DQ victory.

WWE Championship Steel Cage Match – Sheamus (c) vs. John Cena

The cage is supposedly to keep the Nexus out of the cage.  But we’ve all seen what a wonderful job a cage does of keeping people from interfering.  It would really help if you could see me rolling my eyes when I typed “wonderful.”  But that’s text for you.  So you’ll just have to imagine me rolling my eyes when I type “wonderful” two sentences ago.  Now that I’m thoroughly confused, this match is going to be ugly.  And that’s mostly thanks to Sheamus.  The man has done nothing to deserve one, let alone two, WWE Title reigns outside of being Irish and being large.  He reminds me of a pasty Ultimate Warrior.  He’s bad in the ring, and his promos are laughable.  There is a 99.9% probability that the Nexus will interfere in this match and either cost one man the title or cause another no contest, though I would have to believe that having two no contests for world titles in one PPV is going to cause a lot of fans to leave angry.  So I guess I’ll pick Sheamus to win (I just threw up a little in my mouth) and keep the title for now.  If he does, in fact, win, it’ll be mostly by either luck or Nexus interference.  Maybe a cage wall will collapse when he runs into it and he spills out to the floor, winning the match.  Or they’ll both be at the top of the cage, punching each other, and Cena lands a right hand that knocks Sheamus off the cage and down to the floor.  Maybe through a table or something.  It doesn’t matter how, but Sheamus will win.  Not cleanly, but he’ll win.

And there you have it.  3,300 words cranked out today, and I’m done.  I’ll be back in a few days with a Money in the Bank recap.  If you have any ideas for new posts, I’d love to hear them, as I’m fresh out of ideas for non-recap postings.  So until next time, stay awesome!

My apologies in regards to both the title of this post and my lack of updates the past two weeks.  As I usually say, it isn’t because there hasn’t been anything going on in the world; rather, it’s more due to the fact that I’m a lazy bastard.  So, now that the self-deprecation section of this post is over, let’s look at what’s been going on the last week or two.

MONDAY NIGHT RAW

So the NXT Seven have been renamed the Nexus and they received their WWE contracts to work on Monday nights.  Yet they’re still beating people up.  Last week, they (minus Wade Barrett, who had visa issues) took out six legends of the ring.  Ricky Steamboat (who was there to promote his new DVD set, which I’m seriously considering picking up), Dean Malenko, IRS, Michael Hayes, and Jerry Lawler were all beaten to a pulp by these brash, young jackasses.  I’m just wondering how these six legends didn’t manage to fend for themselves.  Yes, they’re a lot older than the Nexus members, but they’re still a hell of a lot tougher than these young guns.  Ah, well.  If I were a WWE wrestler (full kayfabe mode initiated), I would say screw the suspension and go down and beat the shit out of the Nexus for doing such an audacious act to these men who were true pioneers in the business.  I know that their punishment will be meted out tonight…or, at least, I’m betting that they’ll be punished.  Should be interesting to watch.

Also, the eight Raw Money in the Bank participants were announced by Rob Zombie, who, I think, had the smallest guest host role to date.  I think this guest host thing is on its way out.  But I digress.  The eight participants are: Randy Orton, The Miz, R-Truth, Chris Jericho, Evan Bourne, Ted Dibiase, John Morrison, and Edge.  Snore.  The only person I’m excited to see in this match is Bourne, who has been on a much-deserved roll as of late.  He won’t win this time, as the deck is clearly stacked against him.  As far as the rest of the match goes, none of it interests me.  Orton, Edge, and Jericho don’t need a briefcase to tell them they’re main-event-level stars, and the rest aren’t yet ready for the big time.  If Morrison were to turn heel again, he would definitely be somewhere in the vicinity of infinity times more entertaining than he is now.  He’s stalled and I can’t see him moving up the ranks as a face.  He’s just so…boring.  If he ever wants to ascend to the highest echelon of the WWE, he needs to turn heel.

You know what’s bad?  When the WWE Champion isn’t the most important guy on the show.  When you’ve got multiple storylines that take precedence over the man who supposedly is the biggest draw for the entire company, you’ve got a problem.  It happened the first time Sheamus won the WWE Title, and it’s going to happen again.  It happened when Jack Swagger won the World Heavyweight Championship, and if he wins it again, the same thing will happen.  People don’t really care about these newer guys because they haven’t gotten a chance to build themselves up over time.  Rather, they were thrust into the spotlight in a very short amount of time.  Swagger won the ECW Championship two months into his WWE television career, and that tanked the brand.  Sheamus won the WWE Championship six months into his television career, and nobody cared.  And it isn’t just that these guys still aren’t that good in the ring.  It’s that they don’t have an identity.  They aren’t unique characters.  They’re just generic heels that we’re supposed to hate because they don’t care what we think of them.  Until Creative decides to work on developing character, it’s going to be awfully difficult to get anyone interested in these guys.  And character takes time to build.  Tossing these guys into the main event only screws the company over.  It draws less money and gives the fans less entertainment for their dollar.  So I hope that WWE Creative gets it through their heads that they need to stop pushing guys to the top who haven’t been in the business very long.  I’m not saying that everyone has to wait 5 or more years before earning their first world title.  I’m just saying that they need to pay their dues, and Creative needs to wait at least 1 year to see whether or not these guys deserve a title run.

Okay, I think that’s enough ranting at Creative for now.  Let’s look at NXT.

The first NXT poll was released last Tuesday, and one man was eliminated from the competition.  Let’s look at the standings real quick.

#1. Kaval/Low-Ki
#2. “Showtime” Percy Watson
#3. Joe Hennig
#4. Alex Riley
#5. Lucky Cannon
#6. Eli Cottonwood
#7. Husky Harris
#8. Titus O’Neil (eliminated)

If it is to be believed that the WWE polls actually accounted for half of the votes for this list, then this list probably does reflect the choices of the WWE fans a little better than Creative thinks the fans think they want.  I do, however, disagree with a few of the positions.  First, I think Eli Cottonwood should have been eliminated.  The guy is like a smaller version of The Great Khali, only he has even less charisma.  The guy is 35, and he’s just now breaking into television.  He’s a lost cause.  He should have gone.  While I do think that O’Neil should also have gone soon, at least he showed some mic progress over the last couple of weeks.  Still, he shouldn’t have been brought up at all.  I am disappointed that Harris was so low in the rankings.  The guy is actually creating a character for himself by beating Matt Striker to a pulp (which I thoroughly enjoy watching), and his reward is almost getting cut from NXT?  Sure, he’s still very young, but you can see the potential in him.  I think he should have placed at least 5th.  Which brings me to Lucky Cannon.  This guy is probably the most generic wrestler I’ve ever seen.  He has every trademark of a stereotypical wrestler: shoulder-length hair, tribal tattoos, et cetera.  He’s just bland.  He’s quite lucky (see what I did there?) to have won the idiotic beer keg carrying competition, because I would be kicking him off otherwise.  As for the top four, I would have kept Ki at the top but moved Hennig to #2, Riley to #3, and Watson to #4.  You all know my thoughts on Ki, and Joe Hennig is really proving that he doesn’t need NXT to jump to the big leagues.  Riley is a great talker, but I still have yet to see a good in-ring match from him.  Maybe Chikara has spoiled me.  And “Showtime” Percy Watson is just entertaining as hell.  But I just don’t know if he’ll succeed in a WWE ring.  Put him in any other company and watch the fans love him.  Hell, the WWE fans love him.  But does Creative love him?  I don’t know.  I’d like to see Watson get more in-ring time, as he’s had the least TV time out of all eight (now seven) rookies.  But hey, if he can get the #2 spot with as little screen time as he’s gotten, imagine how well he’ll do once he gets to work singles matches.

I do have one small question in regards to this whole show: why are these guys even bothering with the competition?  They saw what the Nexus did, so why not do the same on Smackdown?  We’ve finally got a faction with more than four members for the first time in a very, VERY long time, and I’m overjoyed.  So why not take six of the season 2 NXT rookies (take out Cottonwood, yecch), have them conglomerate with the Nexus, and have one huge faction spanning both brands?  It could be epic.  If nothing else, it would give Creative a dozen new faces to build characters and fill in spots where injuries have left holes in the rosters.  Plus, we could have Nexus members feuding with their former Pros.  Hell, all Nexus members could be on either show at any time.  Making the group nebulous makes it all the more interesting to me.  And you know what the kicker could be?  In a couple of months, reveal that Wade Barrett isn’t the true leader of the Nexus, but he was merely the mouthpiece for the true leader: Bryan Danielson.  He would get so over as a heel that it will make outrageous money for Vince and Company.  Believe me, if you put a heel Danielson on the mic, you’re going to get more heat than Vickie Guerrero could ever dream of getting.  Then they can get rid of Vickie and we’ll never have to see or hear her again.  Wouldn’t that be great?

Okay, speaking of Smackdown, let’s look at a couple of storylines that Creative seems to be focusing on.  I’m excited that Creative is finally giving a woman a personality and evolving her character at the same time.  Serena has gone from a bald chick to a legitimate character thanks to her performance last Friday night.  And it’s given some depth to the Straight Edge Society, who, up until now, have been a rather one-dimensional faction.  Serena falling off the wagon and inadvertently proving Punk’s innocence in this whole Undertaker fiasco has given us a storyline with tons of potential.  Unfortunately, this could be the beginning of the end for the SES.  Serena may go rogue, and we all know that she’s the glue of that faction.  Punk will move on, the masked man will hopefully unmask at some point, and Gallows will probably just fade away.  He’s gotten three chances with three different characters.  Once you’ve gone through that many characters, your time should be up.  Anyway, I like where this has started and I’m hoping it continues strong over the next few months.

I’m looking very much forward to the debut of Alberto del Rio, the former Dos Caras, Jr.  He’s had two great vignettes so far, and I’m sure that whenever he finally debuts, it will be to a chorus of heat.

And let’s look at the Smackdown Money in the Bank participants while I’m at it.  Only six men have been named so far.  We have Kane, The Big Show, Matt Hardy, Christian, Kofi Kingston, and “Dashing” Cody Rhodes.  Why Kane and Show are in this match is beyond me.  Kane has his own storyline to focus on.  He doesn’t need the MitB to clog up his focus.  And Show…well, I love Show, but he’ll probably cause ladders to fail just by stepping on them.  With Kingston in this match, it once again deprives the fans of both a US and Intercontinental Title match at a PPV.  Christian and Matt Hardy are ladder match staples, and they’ll provide great spots and damage control.  And what do I have to say about “Dashing” Cody Rhodes?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  He can speak for himself.  As far as adding the last two names, may I make a suggestion: MVP and Dolph Ziggler.  Why not?  Ziggler is apparently turning face for no reason, and MVP needs a shot in the arm what with his WWE career circling the drain.  MVP is the other man desperately in need of a heel turn.  When he was a heel US Champion, he was gold.  As a face, he’s as bland as John Morrison.  It would do worlds of good for their characters if they both turned heel.  I’d definitely enjoy their work more if they did.

So, that’s my weekly wrap-up.  Before I go, there are two things I’d like to discuss very briefly (by which I mean 8,000 words).  First, I’d like to applaud WWE for their choice for the Money in the Bank theme song.  While I’d never heard of I Fight Dragons before finding out that they have the official MitB theme song, I am definitely interested in their work now.  For those who don’t know, I am a gigantic nerd, and I’ve been a video game fanatic for going on 20 years, so when I see a band that uses the NES sound chip as a major part of their music, I take notice.  I love the sound of the NES, and hearing it in song only makes me happy.  So I actually am giving WWE credit for introducing me to a new band.  Good for you.

And, because it wouldn’t be a Rantables post without ending on a sour note, there is a report making the rounds that Vince McMahon is telling his talents not to use knife-edge chops anymore because people make the “WOOOO!” sound in the audience, and that conjures up images of Ric Flair, who Vince doesn’t want the audience to think about because he’s working for the competition.  That’s just great.  You’ve got guys with fantastic chops (pun oh-so-deliciously intended) who won’t be able to use them anymore because Vince is paranoid that he’ll not lose any viewers because TNA Impact is on a different day and time than any of his shows.  I can see the future now: next, he’ll ban the leg drop because it reminds people of Hulk Hogan.  Then he’ll ban the DDT because it reminds people of Tommy Dreamer and Raven.  Then he’ll ban the use of weapons and tables and such because it reminds people of the Dudley Boys.  Then he’ll ban going to the top rope because it reminds people of Jeff Hardy.  Then he’ll ban suplexes because it reminds people of Tazz.  Then he’ll ban kicks because it reminds people of Rob Van Dam.  Then he’ll ban microphones and interviews because it reminds people of Mr. Kennedy.  And finally, he’ll ban wrestling because it reminds people of every former WWE wrestler who jumped ship to TNA or any other company, ever.  Then TNA will finally be #1.  Except TNA will have died a horrible death the day before because they had Hogan vs. Flair for the TNA Heavyweight Title at their latest PPV, Geriatrocity!

Bryan Danielson was right.  Chikara is the right way to do TV-PG wrestling.  Holy poop!

Okay, that’s it for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this little peek into my mind.  I’ll be back…sometime…with more news, notes, and craziness.  Until next time, stay awesome.

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.

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.