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I apologize for the lack of writing over the past couple of weeks. I had an epiphany in regards to my 100th post/column/what have you, and as a result, it’s going to be about a thousand times more awesome than originally planned. However, it’s going to take a while to put together, so I’ll likely not be updating at all except to make Summerslam picks next week sometime. But believe you me, Rantables #100 is going to be a great read. At least, that’s my hope. In the meantime, why not stop by Smart Mark Video’s website and purchase some Chikara DVDs? I highly recommend King of Trios 2010 if you’re unfamiliar with the product.

See you all next week with Summerslam picks!

Two days. Two days is all it’s taken to make me want to switch to watching nothing but indy promotions. I already don’t give a rat’s ass about TNA, and with what’s transpired from Sunday to today, I feel like giving up on Raw as well. The whole Nexus angle started off with a bang, but it’s fallen to a whimper. And with Raw in the books and the Summerslam main events already planned, I almost feel like it wouldn’t be worth watching Summerslam. Let’s go back to Sunday and review Money in the Bank first, then I’ll get to the ugliness known as Raw.

Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Kane defeats Kofi Kingston, Christian, “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Matt Hardy, and The Big Show to win Money in the Bank

Best match on the card was the opener. Not a good sign. This was, by far, the longest match on the card at nearly 30 minutes, and there was no shortage of great spots. I do believe the spot of the match, however, was Kofi’s Boom Drop from the top of a ladder onto Drew McIntyre, who was laying prone on the Spanish announcer’s table. Vaguely reminiscent of Jeff Hardy’s antics when he was still with WWE. Also memorable was the seeming homage to the old ECW when everybody tossed a pile of ladders on Big Show when he was out on the floor. It reminded me of that infamous scene where the fans tossed probably a hundred chairs into the ring, covering…I think it was The Public Enemy. Yep. That was pretty cool. That, and the copious spots involving Show’s custom-built “Ladder for Giants.” Unfortunately, no ladders were broken during this match (except the one rung Show broke, but later in the night, actions raised my doubts about the legitimacy of this event). I suppose that was intentional, to keep everyone as healthy as possible for Summerslam. And as usual, I should have known better than to go with someone who logically should have won the briefcase and gone with who WWE Creative thinks is a good choice for winning. So, the next time a picks post comes around, I’ll smash myself in the head with a crowbar for about an hour and a half, spin around in a circle a thousand times, then stagger around and toss darts at a dartboard with random names on it. That should be similar to how a WWE Creative meeting goes. Or a TNA Creative meeting goes, for that matter. Look, I’m okay with Kane finally getting a World Title shot. But truthfully, there are other guys who deserve that shot just as much as he does. I’m looking at Christian in particular, and Kofi as well. Christian is one of the most over guys on Smackdown, and winning a World Title would finally solidify his place in WWE history. His two ECW Title reigns apparently mean nothing, as nobody cares to mention that ECW even existed from 2006 to 2010. Same goes for his two NWA World Title runs. But those were for a different company, and we all know how Vince views other companies. He doesn’t. And Kofi should have been main eventing eight months ago. But Randy Orton took care of that. Now Kofi’s again stuck in the mid-card, and I fear he’ll never escape it as long as there’s someone there who Vince thinks is better thank him. Whatever. What’s done is done. Maybe someday Christian and Kofi will get their main event runs. I certainly hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Alicia Fox defeats Eve Torres to retain the Diva’s Championship

I make a bold decision, and I get another wrong answer. I should have expected as much. I think the crowd was completely spent after the first match, so the rest of the show was almost utterly silent. Yeah, I’m not talking about this match specifically because there was nothing of note except Eve’s pretty sweet somersault senton off the second rope. She’s really getting better every week. Too bad she isn’t the champ anymore.

The Hart Dynasty defeats The Usos to retain the Unified Tag Team Championships

Second-best match of the night, for sure. Every time I say it, and every time I pray that Creative follows through: these teams can feud for years and I will never get tired of it. They have such fantastic chemistry together, and they’re both very accomplished teams. I hope we get a couple of intergender matches, too, as both Tamina and Nattie Neidhart can definitely mix it up with the guys. They are not meek little women like the rest of the women on WWE programming. WWE needs to put some actual competition into their women’s division. It’s so pathetic right now. I’d love to see Amazing Kong or Sara Del Ray or, hell, even Victoria in the ring to bust up some heads and make women’s wrestling entertaining instead of eye candy. Nattie and Tamina would fit in just fine, as would Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, and maybe Eve. But the rest would have to go. Funny how I’m talking about the women’s division while I should be talking about the tag team match. Suffice to say that it was a fun match and that these teams should continue their feud for the next year or three.

Rey Mysterio defeats Jack Swagger to retain the World Heavyweight Championship, Kane cashes in Money in the Bank and defeats Rey Mysterio to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion!

Phew, that was a mouthful. This match was decent, but only from Mysterio’s side. The man can work with literally anyone and make them look at worst halfway decent. Unfortunately, his latest World Title run was about three months less than his first run. Also, here’s an interesting factoid: from the creation of the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002 until 2006, there were ten World Champions. From 2006 until today, there have been twenty-eight World Champions. Isn’t that horrifying? That means that over the last four and a half years, the average World Title reign is just around two months in length. I guess I was right when I said that the era of the long title reign is over. There will probably never be another yearlong title run, and that makes me sad. Oh, there was a match? Right. Mysterio won despite a “torn ankle ligament,” only to lose to Kane, who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase he’d won about an hour prior. Let’s see someone top that. And so, Kane takes away the World Title from both Swagger and Mysterio. Can you say “Triple Threat Match at Summerslam?” Well, I certainly can. I was only expecting Kane to interfere in their match, not win Money in the Bank and cash it in. So in a very roundabout way I was right in that Kane got involved in the match, but beyond that, my picking skills were downright awful for this show.

Layla defeats Kelly Kelly to retain the WWE Women’s Championship

I don’t even care anymore.

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match – The Miz defeats Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Edge, John Morrison, Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, and Ted DiBiase to win Money in the Bank

Sigh. With all the hype surrounding the Money in the Bank briefcase, I’m getting the sneaking suspicion that Miz will be the first guy to NOT win a World Title upon cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase. It almost happened last night on Raw, but I’m still recapping the PPV, so wait a few minutes for my opinion on that. This match didn’t really feature as many high-flying antics as the Smackdown match, though it did have a Samson-esque spot where two ladders were (very obviously) set up to the right and left of the briefcase, and four or five guys all fighting on said ladders while reaching for the briefcase, only for Mark Henry to appear between the ladders and push them both away. That was a pretty cool spot that I called about three minutes prior to it actually happening. Also, if you’ll remember, earlier I mentioned the doubts raised about the supposed strength of the regular ladders during The Big Show’s ladder spot earlier in the night. Well, this match proved those doubts when Mark Henry climbed up the ladder with Evan Bourne clinging to his back and having no trouble with rungs breaking. For those of you who would like mathular proof: Big Show is billed at 485 pounds. Mark Henry is billed at 418, and Bourne at 183. So Henry and Bourne have a combined billed weight of 601 pounds, nearly 20% heavier than Show. Yet they had no trouble climbing a ladder, whereas Show broke the very first rung he stepped on. I know it’s all for show (no pun intended), but still, there needs to be some continuity between matches! If a ladder rung breaks when you put 485 pounds of pressure on it, then there’s no way it should hold when 600 pounds are placed on it. Nice job, Creative. It was an awesome spot, but the continuity issues ruined it for me. Anyway, there were moments were I actually believed Evan Bourne was going to win. Then he gets knocked off and Miz takes the briefcase for himself. I believe a while ago I made a comparison of getting built up and having your…ahem…pleasure…taken away at the last minute to that of getting a blowjob from a hooker who turns out to be a man, who then does unspeakable acts to you and leaves you bleeding from various orifices and broke. That’s kind of what this match felt like. We get the build up of Bourne being on the top of a ladder for what felt like forever, while getting multiple opportunities to take the briefcase down, only to have him fail and instead The Miz takes the briefcase down. Disappointing.

On a side note: this is addressed specifically to one Michael Cole, so anyone who isn’t Michael Cole doesn’t necessarily have to read this, but I would not be remiss if you did. Ahem…Dear Michael Cole, would you PLEASE STOP BEING MIZ’S BUTT-BOY. I am SICK and TIRED of you praising this man from pillar to post with seemingly NO actual reasons as to WHY you support him. The only reason I can think of as to why you are praising him so highly is because you allow him to put his penis into your anus on a nightly basis, and apparently, you find this incredibly enjoyable. As such, you tend to over-praise him despite his general lack of in-ring skill and overall lack of reasons for praise. If you would please go back to being the “impartial play-by-play announcer” that Raw so desperately needs since Vince decided that Jim Ross was to be a sacrificial lamb after being spotted at a UFC event, I would appreciate it. What I would appreciate more, however, is for you go leave this company and go die in a fire. Thank you. Sincerely, Rantables.

Wow, I think that was a touch scathing. NAH.

Sheamus defeats John Cena in a Steel Cage Nexus Interference Match to retain the WWE Championship

If you thought the Nexus was NOT going to interfere in this match, then you must have been lobotomized a little early. Seriously, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Nexus would interfere and cost John Cena the title. It was a decent cage match, but it was marred by Sheamus’ utter inability to sell anything for more than five seconds and his general ineptitude within the ring. Nexus interference, blah blah, Sheamus wins.

And so ends a fairly uninteresting PPV. I went a disappointing 3-4 in picks, which guarantees that I am absolutely awful at picking gimmick matches.

But wait, there’s more!

If I was as good making my Money in the Bank picks as I was at predicting exactly what was going to happen on Raw, I probably would have gone 7-0. Seriously. As soon as the Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match for the WWE Title was announced, I immediately said, “Orton, Edge, and Jericho.” And by golly if it wasn’t exactly that. See, this is where my problems for Raw started. I said not three days ago that none of these guys needed to be in Money in the Bank because they’re already in the main event and can get championship opportunities anytime they wanted. So why even bother putting them in the match when they’re guaranteed another shot the next night on Raw? Either put new faces in the Money in the Bank match or in the #1 Contenders’ match. You know what I would have liked to see for the #1 Contender’s Match? Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. John Morrison. That would put two new faces in the main event picture and get Raw out of the stagnant swamp it’s currently stuck in. But no, “Creative” thinks it a great idea to just go ahead and put Edge and Jericho in the match, because they’re Edge and Jericho. And yes, I realize that Morrison and DiBiase were also in the MITB match the night before, but they honestly had no chance of winning. Why I picked Morrison to win, I still don’t know. Anyway, the laws of probability were correct yet again, and Randy Orton is ONCE AGAIN facing Sheamus for the WWE Title. Good god, how boring. We got that same match six months ago. Is WWE on repeats and not telling us? Because it certainly feels that way. It wasn’t a bad match, but it was predictable and uninspired. And afterward we get Edge and Jericho stating that “IT ALL ENDS TONIGHT,” that their eleven-year-feud is coming to an end, only to have Nexus show up and beat both of them down for no reason at all.

After an uneventful women’s match, we get Sheamus and Miz out talking about stuff, then the GM sends an email and states that Sheamus will take on “this man” right now! And once again, I correctly predicted that the mystery opponent would be Evan Bourne. It appeared as though this match was actually entirely unplanned, even for the wrestlers, as Bourne took a very long time to enter the arena and didn’t sem fully prepared for in-ring action, as he was taping up his wrists as he was walking down the entrance ramp. Either it was entirely unplanned, or Bourne is again showing his brilliance by acting unprepared for a match. Of course he lost, but Miz was at ringside, stroking his Money in the Bank briefcase like a Bond villain strokes a cat (which looked absolutely idiotic, by the way). And after the match, Miz cracked Sheamus over the head with the briefcase and hit the Skull-Crushing Filane on the briefcase. Miz was going to cash in Money in the Bank right then and there, but just before the bell rung, we get R-Truth’s music and a hobbled Truth sprinting down to the ring to foil Miz’s plans. So Miz pulls a Swagger and calls off the title shot. Now, what Truth SHOULD have done was wait until the match started and THEN interfered, so Miz couldn’t call off the match and lose the briefcase.

Also, before I go on, I would again like to address one Michael Cole. Dear “Mr.” Cole: would you PLEASE STOP saying, “And I quote” every time you “read” an “email” from the “anonymous GM.” We already know that you’re “reading” the “email,” so you don’t have to “tell” us that this is a “direct quote” from the “GM.” We know you aren’t going to “make stuff up,” as we know you’re too much of a “colossal dolt” to come up with “ideas” of your own. So please, “stop” “saying” “And I quote” when “conferring” the “GM’s” “decisions.” “Thank you.”

Jesus, he is annoying as all hells. Bring back JR and JBL! Where are those petitions? I’ll sign them a thousand times over.

After that, we get a pointless tag match whose only highlight was Santino using the Salute Headbutt made famous by Soldier Ant of Chikara, who is probably one of my favorite Chikara wrestlers. You want to talk about a guy who loves to salute…look no further than Soldier Ant! Speaking of Chikara, I’m seriously considering purchasing their most recent shows on DVD, as they both have Bryan Danielson working matches. I may do so soon, and give a review of those as well.

And, finally (thankfully), we get a pointless main event with Wade Barrett taking on…Mark Henry? Wha? It doesn’t matter. The whole match was a set-up for John Cena showing up with his “superteam” designed to take out Nexus for good. And who is on that team? We start with Edge. Everyone goes “BWAH?” Then, John Morrison, and people go, “Yeah, okay, that makes sense, I guess.” Then R-Truth, and people go, “Um…o…kay?” Then The Great Khali, and we go, “Ow, ow ow OW MY BRAIN WHY?” Then, Chris Jericho, and we go, “Wait, wasn’t he JUST feuding with Edge like two hours ago?” Then Bret Hart walks out and I cry and start throwing heavy items at my television. THIS is the superteam you’ve concocted to take out what Cole idiotically called “The Most Feared Group In WWE History!” Jesus Christ on a stick, guys. I may have to stop watching Raw. Cena’s superteam is just awful. After Edge and Jericho, you’ve got practically nothing. Morrison is a waste of time, Truth honestly has no business with Nexus that I remember, Khali is just ugh, and Bret Hart? Really? You actually want a 50+ year-old man on your team? Now, I don’t consider myself a head booker or anything, but if I was in charge, I’d do things a little differently. I’d take Truth and Khali out immediately and put Mark Henry and Evan Bourne in their place, and instead of Edge and Jericho, I’d put The Hart Dynasty. Then, at least, you’d have an all-face vs. all-heel battle. I get that Edge and Jericho were “betrayed” by Nexus earlier in the evening, but these two supposedly hate each other so much that they can’t be near one another without trying to beat each other to a pulp. At least, that’s what I thought. And wasn’t Bret Hart done with WWE a couple of months ago? Did Vince wave a giant pile of money under his nose to get him to come back for a couple more weeks? It’s like WWE is turning into TNA. And, to end the show, Cena’s team storms the ring and Nexus flees like the little girls they apparently are. Calling them “The Most Powerful and Feared Group in WWE History” sure makes you sound like a complete moron, now, Cole. You never cease to amaze me with your utter stupidity. Please die under a large pile of heavy boulders.

At least Smackdown has stayed relatively free of this cancerous storyline. Of course, if the “rookies” from season 2 of NXT decide to do the same thing on Smackdown as Nexus is doing on Raw, I might just stop watching WWE programming altogether. It’s just so awful right now.

And so ends another angry rant about the idiocy contained within WWE Creative and their horrendous storylines. I have a fantastic idea for my 100th post, so stay tuned for that. And I’ll probably start doing more “What-if?” posts and fantasy-style posts than angry weekly recap posts. Even though I’m sure the angry posts could probably garner more attention, I’m getting tired of just writing angry rants all the time. So stay tuned for my epic 100th post and maybe some more positive entries. Until next time, stay awesome.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kofi Kingston defeated Drew McIntyre to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion

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

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

R-Truth defeated Ted Dibiase w/Virgil

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

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

Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk; Punk gets his head shaved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eve Torres defeated Maryse to retain the Diva’s Championship

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

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

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

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