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WWE Battleground 2014 Preview

There was only one PPV big enough to get me to come back and write another column. And that PPV is WWE Battleground.
 
I’m just kidding, I’m on summer vacation and really, really bored. Free advice to all my Cena fans out there (people 12 and under), go into the public education field. You get summers off, just do something productive with your time unlike me who has pretty much just been taste testing different brands of salsa. Back to wrestling, I’ve fallen victim to the post Wrestlemania lull. Yes, I’m still watching RAW, but the whole Daniel Bryan situation has gotten me pretty down as a fan. Hopefully Battleground will be a good show and the WWE will have some strong momentum going into Summerslam. On to the preview.… Read more...

2014 WWE Royal Rumble Preview: Whose time is it?

Rumble poster

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
 
I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m back and just in time for the best part of the year…the Road to Wrestlemania. It’s the time of year when the creative team finally gets their ass in gear and we start seeing some long(ish) term planning.  The quality of television the past few weeks has been noticeably better. The Old School episode of RAW was amazing as was the reaction to Daniel Bryan turning on the Wyatt’s in the steel cage two weeks ago (while we’ll choose to ignore John Cena running into the arena and Randy Orton stealing a car this past week). In happier times, the Shield continues to be the best part of the show every Monday and all indications point towards us getting the true CM Punk/HHH feud we were robbed of during the Summer of Punk. The wheels are in motion with one destination in sight, New Orleans, April 6th 2014. But let’s cover my 2nd favorite PPV of the year first.
 

 
Randy Orton vs John Cena in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match
 
Yawn. Next. What’s that? I should probably dedicate at least a paragraph to the World Heavyweight Championship match? Fine.  Let me start off by saying something good. I’ll admit their TLC match wasn’t the worst main event I’ve ever seen. However, this time around, they won’t have tables, ladders, chairs and handcuffs to help make the match more watchable. I am praying that Randy Orton wins this match in a somewhat clean fashion so that John Cena no longer has any claims in the title hunt. Keep these two separated. I could watch Daniel Bryan wrestle CM Punk a thousand times and never get bored. I feel like I HAVE watched Cena/Orton a thousand times. Give me something fresh.… Read more...

WWE Night of Champions Preview: Can Triple H keep on doing the right thing?

 

After an elongated absence that was noticed by literally no one, I’m back baby! And it feels fantastic. Little update regarding the life of your friendly neighborhood librarian. I actually have a real job now, in a library. Not just blowing smoke up your ass with that “RAW Librarian” business. Good news for me, bad news for the 3 people that actually read the column. I’m not able to write at work like I used to (translation: my few and far between columns are about to get even fewer and farther). I’ll still try to get monthly PPV previews in. Reviews’ll cost ya.
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Dolph Ziggler: The Next One? Or the Next Disappointment?

Credit: Bleacher Report


 
Dolph Ziggler’s got it all: six feet tall, 215 lbs. of muscle with a jaw line that could crack granite. He’s the type of freak athlete that you see playing division 1 soccer or track, not wrestling in WWE. He seemingly has the full support of the company behind him, being pushed into upper echelon feuds against the likes of Randy Orton, John Cena and Chris Jericho, each of which have walked in–and out–of Wrestlemania with the championship strap. Dolph Ziggler has beaten all of those men in the previous twelve months.
 
However, everything hasn’t fallen into place: despite the main event certification from his employers, big wins over major stars and nightly placement at the top of the card, there’s something that doesn’t quite feel right–or ready–for Ziggler’s ascent to the top. Even the most fervent of Dolph fans would admit that. In the past three years, he’s seen newcomers like Sheamus, Ryback and Alberto del Rio whiz past him on the ladder of success, leaving Ziggs sucking on the heels of their boots as he self-proclaimed Show-Off mires as a second class citizen. It’s ironic that Dolph’s gimmick the last several months has been that of a Money in the Bank Ladder match winner, in which the victor must ascend a ladder and physically grasp a briefcase, beating all comers to the top in a brutal free-for-all; nothing in his actual career has resembled the type of success he had in that particular bout.… Read more...

"The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE history" Review – Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, so needless to say, I’ve been getting the itch. I’m still far too busy finishing up my last semester of grad school to write consistent RAW reviews, but hopefully this will suffice for the time being. A couple things upfront, I will only be reviewing disc one. Discs two and three are filled with old matches from the likes of Sergeant Slaughter, Bob Backlund and the Wolfpac. I skimmed through that content, even finding an RVD vs Too Cold Scorpio match that I’ve never seen before (and really was not worth watching), but this review will primarily be focused on the 50 best finishers discussed on disc one.

One more thing, I will be listing the finishers in reverse order here and briefly discussing what merits their placement on the list. If you want to be surprised at what is included, stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert: John Cena’s “Attitude Adjustment” makes an appearance. Thankfully this glorified fireman’s carry was not in the top 10. Here we go.

50. JBL’s “Clothesline from Hell” 

A strong start. In my opinion, this may be the most devastating maneuver on the entire list. There’s ways to prepare for a top rope splash or a submission move, but there is no avoiding getting absolutely destroyed by the “Clothesline from Hell.” Listed at number 50, this may be the one finishing move on the entire list that I would least want to take. I mean, it would be an honor to get Stone Cold stunned and sell it like The Rock. Taking Hulk Hogan’s immortal leg drop would be a crowning achievement in my life. However, I would never in a million years volunteer to take JBL’s Clothesline from Hell. Bradshaw already had a reputation for being stiff in the ring, and this finisher did nothing to dissuade that way of thinking. JBL took a routine clothesline every wrestler performed and turned it into one of the most fearsome moves in wrestling history. 
49. Vader “Vader Bomb”

“The Vader Bomb was a pretty unique move because it showed the athleticism of a 400 lb guy” -Jim Ross
I could not agree with JR more. Even though he’s only dropping from the 2nd rope, it’s 400 lbs directly on your chest. I would imagine breathing properly after that one would be a challenge. Unfortunately for me, Vader was at the very beginning of my wrestling watching career. I recognize him more as Frankie’s dad on “Boy Meets World” than as the agile big man for the WWF and WCW. I loved seeing him come out and destroy Heath Slater during his last appearance on television.

As big and tough as Vader was, my money is on Mr. Feeny. His Vader Bomb was a cool move, made even more impressive by Vader’s size.

48. Dusty Rhodes “Bionic Elbow”

Dusty Rhodes is well before my time. The only time I’ve seen the American Dream on screen was well after his in-ring days were over. My only real memory of Dusty was during his brief time in ECW when he feuded with Steve Corino. Rhodes had that ravenous audience’s respect, so I knew he must have been a big deal back in his day. He certainly did not look like the prototypical wrestler, with his physique definitely left something to be desired. As for the finisher itself, not my favorite, but it certainly deserves a place on the top 50. It could look good if sold correctly, and it may have inspired Wade Barrett’s new elbow finish. Properly placed near the bottom of the list.
47. Million Dollar Man “The Mill
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WWE Summerslam Recap



Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Announcers: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole

United States championship
Santino Marella (C) vs Antonio Cesaro w/Aksana 

This match took place on the Youtube pre-show. Odd to see two wrestlers of foreign descent battling over the United States championship, but it’s not like it means anything anyway. We finally saw the Cobra effectively countered as Cesaro knocked it away and then proceeded to rip it up. His valet Aksana provided the distraction on Santino after he pulled out a back up cobra. Front piledriver from Cesaro and we have a new United States champion. I don’t know much about him other than the fact that he can speak five different languages and he doesn’t use a sock puppet as a finisher. Consider me a fan. 


Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler

Great choice for an opening contest. Jericho had his ribs taped up selling his injuries from Smackdown, but he didn’t really sell the injuries too much in the match. I enjoy matches that employ “ring psychology” such as wrestlers targeting the arms or legs to wear down their opponents, but I really just wanted to see these two guys go all out in the ring. For the most part, this is what happened. Great looking Walls of Jericho applied for the victory. It wasn’t quite the Liontamer because Jericho never put his knee in the small of Ziggler’s back, but Y2J really arched it and Zigs sold it well (obviously).

 It was a very good match between the two, but far too short in my opinion. Both wrestlers looked crisp in the ring and the two had great chemistry together. The match reminded me somewhat of the Jericho/Shawn Michaels Wrestlemania match a few years back. However, this time Jericho was the face and Ziggler wasn’t exactly looking for respect from his idol growing up. Both wrestlers had their share of fans in the crowd and at one point there were dueling “Let’s go Ziggler/Y2J” chants. Because this match went first, there was much speculation that Ziggler would cash in his Money in the Bank contract later on. (Spoiler Alert) That never happened. Besides the main event (which we’ll get to later) this was the only disappointing part about the night. 

Kane vs Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan is without a doubt the most over person on the entire roster. The announcers’ attempts to try and convince us that the crowd is against Daniel Bryan is laughable.


Michael Cole: Listen to these fans mock Daniel Bryan by chanting “Yes!” at him.

Thirty seconds later there was a very loud “Daniel Bryan” chant which must have had Cole very flummoxed and confused since the audience was just “mocking” him a moment ago. 

Pretty solid match between the two. Daniel Bryan has shown that he can work with any wrestler, heavyweight to cruiserweight. Kane also has similar adaptability. For a “big man” he is very agile and moves around quite well, even at his age. These guys also worked well together in their feud over AJ, so I was not surprised that this match was good. On a side note, I really like when wrestlers actually wrestle Kane and aren’t scared that mid match he’s going to open up a portal to hell or something. 

Daniel Bryan beat Kane with the roll up Kelly Kelly uses to pin Beth Phoenix. It was a quick ending to a match that never really got any build up. Hopefully DB can use this PPV victory as momentum and get back into the World title picture. He’s earned it.

Backstage Josh Mathews tried to get a word Read more...

Monday Night RAW review: One week til Summerslam


Location: Dallas, Texas
Preface: Last RAW before Summerslam

RAW kicked off with a match for a change.

CM Punk vs The Big Show

I guess I need to get over the disrespect the WWE shows their champions not named John Cena. The champion needs to be introduced LAST. We saw this again in the tag team match later on with Punk coming out before John Cena. They are too set in their ways at this point, their ideology isn’t likely to change. 

As for the match, it was good while it lasted. Well, good for Big Show standards. For some reason Daniel Bryan inserted himself into this match, attacking CM Punk with no provocation. I love Daniel Bryan and want him to be on television at all times, but doesn’t he have a match with Kane at Summerslam? Kane wasn’t even on RAW last night. 

After the match Daniel Bryan attacked CM Punk and put him in the “No lock.” Then our all American boy scout John Cena came down the ring to make the save. AJ Lee gave us her best Teddy Long impression and told us that later on we would be getting a tag team match playa.

Big Show is only one of 3 men to hold all active WWE Titles. He is also the only man to have personally closed 3 Waffle Houses#RAWTonight


JTG vs Ryback


For those of you that do not know, last week JTG took to Twitter to announce his displeasure with the WWE. He talked about talent not getting paid properly amongst other things. I’m not saying he didn’t have a point or he wasn’t right in what he said, but as an employee of a publicly traded company, you simply have to know better than to air your grievances on Twitter. Some of you may mention CM Punk’s “shoot”. Completely different situation. They gave him a microphone, let him air it all out, and as he will tell you, he didn’t say anything he hadn’t already said to Vince McMahon’s face. The JTG situation is different. I’m honestly surprised he wasn’t fired. He’s not really used on television and lets be honest, he’s not that great of an in ring talent anyway. Expect JTG to continue to receive “Miz” treatment…that is if he’s even on tv and not given his walking papers. If I was Vince McMahon, I would have JTG work every house show in a 2 on 1 handicap match against Hardcore Holly and Bradshaw. Dude should be grateful he even has a job. 

As for Ryback, his “Feed me more” catch phrase is pretty over with the crowd. Still some Goldberg chants, but not as loud as they’ve been. Total squash match.
Heath Slater vs R-Truth w/Lil Jimmy

Looks like they ran out of legends to beat up on Heath Slater pretty quickly. R-Truth won a very quick match. I guess Heath Slater will forever be known as “enhancement talent.” 

After the match, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil beat up on R-Truth. I’m pretty sure they said Kofi Kingston was on tour overseas. I really do not know if this is true or not, but I don’t care enough to look it up. Well at least the tag team championship match at Summerslam is receiving a modicum of build up. I’m looking at you: Kane/Bryan, Intercontinental and US title matches. 

Sin Cara vs Tensai

I’m done with Tensai. I gave him a fair chance, I really did. I wanted to like him. He’s clearly a much better wrestler now then when he was known as the guy with the piercings and hairy back….but he’s not over… in any capacity.

I think it’s fair to say that I have some dislike for the Prototype, John Cena. But even his staunchest detractors

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Monday Night RAW recap: HBK appreciation night



Location: San Antonio, Texas
Announcers: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole

Preface:
These three hour RAWs are killing me. I had my television on for the entire 3 hours, but I can’t say I really watched with intensity. Good for the Neilson ratings, bad for writing RAW reviews. You’re slowly going to see these reviews morph more into my RAW thoughts and much less on what actually happened in the ring.

RAW opening segment

I know it’s only been two weeks, but I’m out on AJ as the RAW GM. Bring back Laurinaitis, give it to William Regal or let Vince come back and be the owner of both shows. To me AJ has been nothing more than a Stephanie McMahon clone, a petulant child making decisions to please a whimsical audience. The WWE has bastardized her character in an attempt to capitalize on her mounting popularity. I don’t really watch Smackdown so I could care less that Booker T was announced general manager over there. And I suppose I could go the “anybody but Teddy Long, Vicky Guerrero or Stephanie McMahon route” but I’m not satisfied with AJ as the RAW GM. Give me Lord Steven Regal or give me death.


These were the best options?

To recap the segment CM Punk apologizes in the most condescending way possible. Cena comes out and gets creepy with AJ and the Big Show was in Mike Rupp’s words, irrelevant out there. Being the new queen of RAW interactive AJ gave us the choice of #PunkRey, #PunkMiz, or #PunkKane. Wow. What options. Where was #PunkLesnar, #PunkAustin, or #PunkFunaki? The WWE was obviously baiting the audience to choose Punk/Rey Rey. Here I am talking like the votes were actually calculated.

“You smell great.” John Cena, you creeper



CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio 

Solid match while it lasted. Can we stop pretending that Rey Mysterio is a heavyweight wrestler? Actually with all the weight it looks like he gained while he was away, he probably qualifies now. I’m tired of watching bigger wrestlers have to sell his offense. Does anyone remember his matches against Tajiri? All of them were total classics. Why? Because his offense was believable and smaller wrestlers can properly sell what he does in the ring. 

Rey Mysterio wrestles in a shirt the same way a fat kid wears one to go swimming. #RAWTonight



Wade Barrett promo

I’m going to be patient on this one and give Wade Barrett a second chance. Take my eyes (but not my shirt) before making me ever watch Randy Orton vs Wade Barrett in the ring again. 

Christian vs Alberto Del Rio

So after declaring that he would not wrestle again until his championship match, Del Rio immediately had a match on Smackdown and then again tonight on RAW. That’s a shame because everything he said was true last week. What is the point of having him wrestle annihilate Santino Marella on a regular basis, when he has a title match lined up at Summerslam. When you secure the number one or two seed, you rest your players at the end of the season. You don’t go all out against inferior competition. 

On another note, another RAW without a US title defense or any mention of it’s champion really. You would be better off throwing the belt in the trash at this point, it wouldn’t make a lick of difference. 

Christian deserves better than this. I thought I read somewhere that he is close to retirement. Give him one more title run on Smackdown and then let him retire so he can go hiking and kayaking with Edge in Colorado. Del Rio with the victory aRead more...

Monday Night RAW recap: Episode 1001






Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Announcers: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole


Preface: Tonight was the start of 3 hour RAWs. Last week we saw CM Punk stand by and allow the Big Show to attack John Cena after their championship match. We also saw CM Punk lay out the Rock with a flying clothesline; disrupting the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. Was it a full heel turn for Punk? Is he now a tweener? Answers to come.


Full Disclosure: I didn’t cover any of the backstage stuff that happened during RAW. I normally don’t cover the minor backstage interactions and with RAW moving to three hours, I really don’t have the time to address everything. Obviously the Daniel Bryan stuff was fantastic.


CM Punk promo


Wow, what a promo. What a way to start off RAW. CM Punk sat indian style Native American style on the announcers table while he confronted Jerry Lawler over what he said last week. Native American style = shit is about to get real. Jerry Lawler closed RAW last week telling the fans that CM Punk had “turned his back on the WWE Universe.”


I always find it interesting when wrestlers use knowledge they gained from actually watching the show. We rarely see this. For example, the CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kane triple threat match at No Way Out ended with AJ Lee taking a bump off the apron. Kane got distracted and CM Punk capitalized with the GTS for the victory. After the match Kane carried AJ Lee to the back, but we saw her smiling at Punk in the ring, as if the entire situation had been orchestrated. You’re telling me that Kane didn’t go back to his hotel room that night and order the No Way Out replay?


So we learned that CM Punk watches RAW because he wasn’t happy with Lawler’s comments to close the show. Later on we learned that AJ Lee watched last week as well because she saw the men in white coats and called Daniel Bryan out on it. Going forward I want a precedent established. Either every “superstar” watches RAW and studies the tapes or none of them do. I dislike the ambiguous nature that surrounds this.


Back to RAW. CM Punk’s promo addressed everything we could have hoped for; Jerry Lawler’s stilted and hackneyed commentary, Dwayne showing up for one week and immediately being granted a title shot, and the focus of the show not being on the WWE champion. I was surprised at how quickly the audience turned on CM Punk. The kindergarten crowd let him hear it. He’s been your champion for the past 8 months, I think he at least deserves the opportunity to explain his actions.



I love how @CMPunk turning #HEEL just means he tells the truth!@WWE #Raw #FireJerryLawler




Moments after saying he hates to be interpreted Big Show came down to the ring. Rabble, rabble, rabble, Show vows to become next WWE champion.


John Cena, not happy that other people are getting attention, runs down and clears Big Show out of the ring while CM Punk calmly watched. The WWE missed an opportunity here for the two of them to have some interesting back and forth on the mic. The segment had already gone about 18 minutes, but it’s a 3 hour show now. I guess they needed to reserve enough time in the show for us to see Stephanie McMahon slapping Paul Heyman 3 times.


AJ Lee’s terrible music hit and she gave us our main event for the night. John Cena vs the Big Show with the winner facing CM Punk for his title at Summerslam. It was at this point that the creative team was faced with two clear choices.


1. Have John Cena become number Read more...

Monday Night RAW recap



Location: Las Vegas, Nevada 
Announcers: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole

Welcome to the recap of the 999th episode of RAW.  

CM Punk in-ring segment

Hot crowd tonight. Great opening segment with CM Punk and the Big Show. Another example of CM Punk elevating the talent around him; Big Show actually made sense on the mic. The calmness in which he addressed the heckling Vegas crowd was brilliant.

“That is rude, I have a point I am trying to make.” -Big Show

Big Show alluded to the fact that he will knock out CM Punk in their match up and John Cena will cash in his recently won  Money in the Bank contract. Effective verbal combat between the two, setting up the stakes for the RAW main event quite well. And it only took 11 minutes. Take note HHH.

Tag Team Championship match
Prime Time Players w/AW vs R-Truth and Kofi Kingston

Way to have Darren and Titus challenge for the titles the night after losing a non-title match up vs Epico and Primo. We are really supposed to believe they have any chance of beating the tag team champions? Of course not. I’m not saying the Prime Time Players should have won the tag titles last night. I’m saying it doesn’t make any sense for the WWE to have Kofi and R-Truth wrestle Hunico and Camacho during the Money in the Bank Youtube preshow and have your number 1 contenders, Darren and Titus, wrestle on the actual PPV and lose cleanly.
Kofi and R-Truth winning was logical, but where do Darren and Titus go from here? The WWE seems more adamant on pushing Epico and Primo. Which is fine, I’ll take Rosa Mendes over AW any day of the week. 

Backstage
Eve Torres interrupting AJ and DB backstage was great. Why? Because she actually addressed Daniel Bryan’s actions in their tag match last week on RAW. It’s the small things that make me happy. Story line continuation is one of them.  

Zack Ryder vs Alberto Del Rio
Zack Ryder got in a few moves offensively but not many. Glorified squash. Ryder tapped very quickly once the cross arm breaker was applied. After the match Rey Mysterio returned from injury (suspension) to hit the 619 on Alberto Del Rio. 

Whatever. At least this gives Del Rio something to do now that Dolph Ziggler is the Smackdown Money in the Bank suitcase holder. I would have preferred Mysterio return and set Sin Cara on fire, but there’s still time. It’ll be good to have little Rey Rey back. 

@ZackRyder Finally had a match on #Raw tonight. And I finally pooped. #ItWasAGoodDay.

One man baaaaaaand segment
Rikishi vs Heath Slater 
Rikishi with the win. After the match he danced until the lights went out. When they came back on, Rikishi’s sons, the Usos, were in the ring. I was never a big fan of Rikishi. Aside from running over Stone Cold Steve Austin with his car, he never really accounted for much story line wise. However, it was a genuinely cool moment to see him share the same ring with his flesh and blood. I’m sure growing up they probably dreamed of winning the WWE title and celebrating in the ring with their family, but performing a memorized dance sequence was probably a close second. It was definitely something all of the them will remember for the rest of their lives. 

We’ve come a long way from having heavyset guys dance to get them over. On an unrelated note, stay tuned for Brodus Clay#RAWTonight

Mixed Tag match
Daniel Bryan/AJ Lee vs Miz/Eve

Possible Daniel Bryan face turn alert. Who is the most over person on the WWE roster r
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