Archive for the Editorials Category

Friday Night Smackdown- September 10, 2010 Hits and Misses

Posted in Editorials, WWE News and Notes with tags , , on September 11, 2010 by Erik Beaston

HITS

Undertaker vs. CM Punk– This week’s show featured a main event that would be considered pay-per-view worthy as the Straight Edge Savior CM Punk took on the Phenom, the Undertaker. What was truly impressive was how well the Undertaker played his part as the deteriorating veteran. By the end of the match, despite his victory, it wouldn’t be unlikely for some to question whether Kane’s attack on his brother really did weaken him to the point that he cannot return to his once powerful and nearly undefeatable ways. On the other hand, it was good to see CM Punk involved in a long, hard-fought, back-and-forth contest. It’s been a while, due to his arm injury over the summer. Punk came out of the contest, even in a loss, looking even better than he did going in. Remember, Punk laid the Dead Man out with the Go To Sleep, only for ‘Taker to catch him with what could be argued as a fluke Hell’s Gate for the win. Very good match, very good ending to a very good Smackdown.

Alberto Del Rio— I won’t include the whole match with Matt Hardy because, as much as I was and, to an extent still am, a Matt Hardy fan, it’s become almost painful to watch him in the ring. It’s almost as if he doesn’t care anymore. But we’re not here to question Hardy’s heart. We’re here to look at a superstar who has taken the opportunity given to him and run with it. Del Rio is a star in the making, an old-school heel in the mold of a Million Dollar Man or JBL. The character is naturally unlikable and, if reports are accurate, Del Rio the man isn’t too far removed from Del Rio the character. Either way, between the ring announcer, the expensive cars, the sissy rainfall pyro, or the obnoxious wink and smile, Del Rio is hitting on all cylinders and is regularly one of the guys I anticipate seeing every Friday night.

Drew McIntyre vs. Kaval— Kaval made his in-ring debut on Smackdown, against the Sinister Scot, Drew McIntyre. First things first: Kaval debuting on Smackdown is the right move. Sticking him on Raw would result in little more than him becoming the next Evan Bourne. On Smackdown, he gets to work with superstars like McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Christian, and Rey Mysterio. In his first match on Friday nights, Kaval had a highly-competitive match with Drew McIntyre. Kaval was able to showcase many of his signature moves against one of the well-established stars on the blue brand. McIntyre, in turn, looked just as strong, as he was able to withstand the onslaught of his ‘rookie’ opponent and still pick up a clean victory. A very good match that helped a new star in Kaval and an established star in McIntyre who hasn’t looked a strong as he probably should have as of late.

Kofi Kingston & Chris Masters vs. Dolph Ziggler & Chavo Guerrero— Okay, Kaitlyn is still hot. Onto the match. While the tag match wasn’t the longest, nor was it near the best, it accomplished three things: it continued the feud between Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler over the Intercontinental Championship. It also allowed two criminally underrated stars who have been relegated to Superstars on Thursday nights, Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters, to get some exposure on Smackdown. Finally, it allowed Kaitlyn to gain some exposure with the Friday night crowd and as a result, advertise NXT. While the match was nothing special, the segment accomplished three goals so it’s a hit in this writer’s opinion.

MISSES

MVP vs. Jack Swagger– Both of these guys deserve better than another endless feud with one another. MVP needs a heel turn, ASAP! Swagger needs to get himself back in the main event picture. Other than that, the match was fine but it wasn’t anything different from what we have seen in the past between these two.

Big Show, Kelly Kelly, and Josh Matthews backstage– I’m not really sure what this was all about. Part of it seemed to be time filler, part of it seemed to be getting Big Show over as an ‘entertainer’ and part of it seemed like it was aimed at getting over Kelly Kelly and Big Show’s on-screen chemistry. I’m not sure what was going on but it definitely isn’t something that can be considered a hit.

Overall: A very good edition of Smackdown that furthered the Undertaker-Kane story, provided a spectacular main event, continued the ascention of Alberto Del Rio, Drew McIntyre, and the newly debuted Kaval. Thumbs way up for Friday night’s episode.

NXT: Season 3, Episode One Thoughts

Posted in Editorials, NXT News and Notes, WWE News and Notes with tags , , on September 8, 2010 by Erik Beaston

NXT Season 3, Episode One

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Alright, here’s the deal: I’m not big on providing segment-by-segment, play-by-play recap coverage. It’s just something I don’t do. I’ll let those much better than me, such as Scott Keith (www.rspwfaq.com) do that. Instead, I’ll give my opinions in a more ‘hit and miss’ format that lays everything out there pretty cut and dry. So, without further ado, here is the recap for NXT, Season 3, Episode One.

HITS

Vickie Guerrero and Kaitlyn: Okay, first things first: Kaitlyn is HOT. It may not be the least sexist thing to say but I’m still a guy and she’s still hot. Now, back to the show. A lot of people were disappointed when Aloisia was taken off of the show because she was something a little different than the other Divas. While no one is arguing that, I think the decision to replace her with Kaitlyn (real name: Celeste Bonin) was a fantastic one based last night’s show. For someone who was signed just SIX weeks ago, she seemed very comfortable on camera, displayed very good facial expressions, and a funny side (the Elaine ‘Seinfeld’ reference during the dance-off was awesome). The dynamic of her playing Vickie’s little lap dog should be fun in the coming weeks.

Naomi: This young woman may have won the entire competition in one night. Whether she was positioned as the favorite from the minute she was teamed with Kelly Kelly or not, the Baltimore crowd was very into her, giving her a very good reaction several times throughout the show. She showcased her athleticism several times and seemed very comfortable both in front of the camera and inside the ring. While the ending of the tag match, in which she teamed with Kelly Kelly to face Alicia Fox and Maxine, may have been botched, the blame on that can go to several more experienced people both involved in the match and around ringside. If she can repeat her performance from tonight for the next eleven weeks, she will have the competiton wrapped up rather easily.

MISSES

Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox,  and Aaron Mahoney: A lot of the negativity surrounding the show was based on botches during the two matches. The botched ending to the Kelly/Naomi vs. Maxine/Alicia match could have been prevented had the more established, veteran performers involved played their part. Alicia Fox and Kelly missed their cues with Alicia’s rather miserable attempt to break up the pin failing miserably. Then, rather than stopping Naomi and Maxine from continuing after the three count, referee Aaron Mahoney allowed them to continue. The whole ordeal looked bad and made the rookie divas look bad when, in reality, they were in the right.

AJ Lee & Primo vs. Aksana & Goldust: There was nothing WRONG with the match. Aksana may not be the most skilled, and she most certainly has a unique style of offense. The botch at the end came on a move that any wrestler not named Rey Mysterio could have screwed up. The reason this is in the MISSES side of the list has to do with the disappointing time given to it: 1:55. AJ looked solid and the fans were behind her but little can be showcased in the short amount of time provided. Which leads me to…

Time Management/Challenge Segments: In the first two seasons of NXT, the male performers had a generous amount of training before being put on TV. The Divas involved in this season do not have the privilege. Instead, they were thrust onto TV and left to string together matches for fans to enjoy. How they can string those matches together without botches and with a fluidity to them in the 1-3 minutes allowed, I will never know. Having to rush to get every  spot in in the span of 180 seconds is only asking for embarassing botches and mistakes that make WWE’s third most important show appear minior league. As for the challenges, the less said the better. Although, as I said before, Naomi impressed, as did AJ and Kaitlyn’s use of the ‘Elaine Dance’ was hilarious. And Michael Cole, please go fishing with Shawn Michaels more often. Please stay out of the ring and out of the leg warmers. While we’re at it, stay out of the arena and off my TV, too.

Top 10 WWE Pay-Per-View Matches of 2010…so far

Posted in Editorials, WWE News and Notes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by Erik Beaston

With 2010 three-quarters of the way complete, I wanted to take this time to look back at the best the WWE has had to offer on pay-per-view this year. With matches spanning from January’s Royal Rumble event to August’s SummerSlam show, here is my list:

X.

C

Wrestlemania XXVI

World Heavyweight Championship Match

Edge challenges Chris Jericho

Smackdown’s main event offering for the biggest show of the year didn’t have the same name value that Raw’s John Cena vs. Batista showdown did, nor was it as anticipated as Undertaker vs. Michaels II but Jericho and Edge proved why they are two of the very best at what they do, providing the WWE Universe with a very solid, techincally-based contest that saw Jericho target Edge’s previously injured ankle. In the end, despite a flurry of offense from the “Rated R Superstar,” Jericho was able to successfully retain his title, joining only Triple H, Steve Austin, and Randy Orton as heels who left Wrestlemania as Champion.

IX.

WWE Fatal Four Way

Evan Bourne vs. Chris Jericho

Y2J makes his second, and far from last, appearance on this list, this time doing battle with one of WWE’s top young talents, the dynamic Evan Bourne. Prior to this contest, Bourne stunned Jericho by defeating him via disqualification after kicking out of the Code Breaker. Before this pay-per-view gem, Jericho stated he believed he was being shuffled to the back burner in favor of Raw’s other stars. He promised he would prove his worth to Raw in his match with Bourne. A spectacular contest ensued, one that showed exactly why many consider Jericho the best wrestler in the world. A main event star for nearly a decade, Jericho did not shy away from putting Bourne and his high-flying offense over as a major threat, eventually doing the job for the youngster following a Shooting Star Press. Easily one of the most hard-fought, non-main event matches of the year.

VIII.

WWE Elimination Chamber

Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship

John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Sheamus

Heading into Wrestlemania 26, three of WWE’s go-to performers proved their worth to the billion dollar sports-entertainment company. John Cena, Triple H, and Randy Orton did all they could to introduce Kofi Kingston, Ted DiBiase, and Sheamus to the main event scene and the hellish Elimination Chamber. In the process, seeds were planted for upcoming storylines, including the dissolution of Legacy and Triple H’s rivalry with Sheamus. The ring generals carried their younger opponents through a brutal opener and set the bar at a level no match the rest of the evening was able to reach. John Cena would be victorious, a sign of things to come throughout the course of the year.

VII.

WWE Money in the Bank

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Randy Orton vs. Evan Bourne vs. John Morrison vs. Mark Henry vs. Edge vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Ted DiBiase

Money in the Bank matches, by nature, are giant clusterf***s that rely on spots to pop the crowd. At the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, many fans were curious as to how the performers would be able to string together two wholly different ladder matches with the concept burning out by the time the second match went on later in the evening. While Smackdown opted for the more visual, spotty style of the contest, Raw opted for a more story-based match that involved EVERYONE at ringside and the precise timing that indicates the level of professionalism of everyone involved. Towards the end of the match, as Randy Orton climbs the ladder, about to win the match, the fans are on their feet cheering the loudest it had all night. When the Miz entered the ring and shoved Orton from the ladder, the hopes of the fans were extinguished. Spectacular performances by all, including Maryse, who was ringside with DiBiase.

VI.

Over the Limit

Mask vs. Hair Match

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

If someone came up to me tomorrow and wanted an explanation as to what professional wrestling is, I would show them the Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk match from Over the Limit. For months, Punk tried to humiliate Rey Mysterio, egging him on in front of his family, intimidating his family, and threatening to remove his cherished mask. When Mysterio defeated Punk at Wrestlemania, and Punk returned the favor at Extreme Rules, fans everywhere recognized a third match was imminent. With the added stipulations involving Mysterio’s mask and Punk’s hair, the expectations for the match were high. Early in the match, when Punk was split open and the match was stopped while doctors attended to his wound, many feared the match was ruined. When Punk blew past the doctors and attacked Rey, the match kicked into second gear something truly special developed. What resulted was the age-old story of good guy vs. bad guy, good guy beats bad guy, and bad guy gets his comeuppance. It’s booking 101 and something that, as a fan of wrestling as long as I’ve been alive, was a welcome change of pace from the convoluted storylines that sometimes pollute the sports-entertainment landscape.

V.

WWE Royal Rumble

World Heavyweight Championship Match

The Undertaker vs. Rey Mysterio

If, at the beginning of the year I told you the hardest hitting match of the year would feature Rey Mysterio taking on the Undertaker, you would have told me I was crazy. Yet, at Royal Rumble, they engaged in one of the hardest-hitting, most brutal big man vs. little man matches seen since the heyday of Sting vs. Vader. A kick from Mysterio broke Undertaker’s nose early in the contest. Perhaps to prove he belonged in the ring with the Dead Man, Mysterio used his speed and delivered kick after kick and forearm after forearm to the Dead Man while the much larger Undertaker countered with power. In the end, Taker was able to counter a West Coast Pop attempt with the Last Ride, ending Rey’s valiant fight.

IV.

Money in the Bank

Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Kane vs. Christian vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Big Show

Remember what I said about the Money in the Bank often being a spotfest? Smackdown proved me right as two of the most dynamic young stars in all of WWE, Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler, as well as two ladder match vets in Christian and Matt Hardy, and you have the ingredients for an exciting, historic ladder match. Factor in Big Show and Kane, two giants who typically belong nowhere near ladder matches, and you have added intrigue. All eight men, realizing they are on first with a Raw match featuring several main event stars coming up later in the night, threw everything on the table in an attempt to steal the show. Opinions vary on which brand’s match is better. In my opinion, the Smackdown match gave the fans the showstopping, HOLY S*IT moments we have become accustomed to from the Money in the Bank match.

III.

SummerSlam

Team Raw vs. Nexus

Throughout the course of the summer, a new group of renegade rookies–the product of a Tuesday night television show built to gain them TV exposure–ruthlessly attacked John Cena and other members of the Raw roster. They claimed they were sick of being treated like animals and as a result, they were going to act like animals. They also claimed to be acting as one dominant entity while the members of Team Raw could barely co-exist long enough to discuss the match. Leading into SummerSlam, many questioned whether the Raw stars would be able to vanqish the invading rookies. At SummerSlam, the two teams entertained with a spectacular, 35:00 tag match that held the attention of the entire audience. The return of Daniel Bryan injected the contest with an energy that may not have been there without him. The ending, with John Cena once again victorious, was disappointing and one of the reasons this isn’t higher on the list.

II.

Wrestlemania XXVI

Career vs. Streak Match

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker

In the hardest decision I’ve made regarding wrestling in a long time, the rematch from Wrestlemania 25 falls in the runner-up spot. At Wrestlemania 25, the bar was set so high between two of the greatest in-ring performers of all-time that expecting an equal encore would be ridiculous. Luckily for the fans, they didn’t try to duplicate the match. Instead, Undertaker and Michaels delivered a completely original match with HBK targeting Undertaker’s knee and the two icons exchanging finishers in hopes of keeping the other down. In the end, Shawn Michaels ended his career on the highest note possible, the recipient of a Tombstone from the Undertaker. While Taker’s streak continued on, the WWE Universe celebrated the career of the man many consider the greatest of all-time, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. In a rare show of respect, Undertaker would appear on Raw the following night and tip his hat to Shawn, an act that made this match and the story leading to the match, that much more epic.

I.

Royal Rumble 2010

The 30-Man Royal Rumble Match

Rarely does a match come along that is so good, it can take place in January and be remembered by September, October, November, and December for its high level of awesome. This year’s Royal Rumble is the exception to that rule. Heading into this year’s match, several storylines were running rampant. There was Shawn Michaels’ determination to win the Rumble and challenge Undertaker for the World Championship at Wrestlemania. There was Batista and John Cena’s determination to reach their previous championship level. CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society was at its peak. Triple H looked to main event Wrestlemania for the second year in a row despite his tag team–albeit a deteriorating one–with Michaels. During the Rumble match, all of these storylines would either play out or add new layers. Punk dominated the match early, stopping to preach his message of sobriety in between each of his eliminations, only to be met with unexpected competiton from “The Glamazon,” Beth Phoenix. Triple H would eliminate Punk and put in a dominant run before HBK made his entrance. A three-way would erupt between DX and John Cena, which ended when Michaels eliminated Triple H. Michaels’ personal race towards Wrestlemania and a date with Undertaker came to an end when Batista eliminated the defiant Michaels, who snapped and attacked referees and wrestlers alike. Finally, the shocking return of Edge proved too much for Cena, Batista, and others as “the Rated R Superstar” was the last man standing. Rarely does a match intertwine as many running stories as this year’s Rumble and pull it off successfully. Nine months later, I haven’t seen a match on WWE pay-per-view better.

Open Letter to WWE: PLEASE send Edge back to Smackdown

Posted in Editorials, WWE News and Notes with tags , , , on September 6, 2010 by Erik Beaston

He’s one the most biggest professional wrestling superstars in the world today. He is one of the most decorated stars of this generation. His name is associated with matches many consider to be modern classics. One of the most controversial and edgy (pun most definitely intended) characters of the last ten years, he once performed a Live Sex Celebration with equally controversial Diva Lita on Monday Night Raw for the entire world to see. A tag team specialist, he has broken free of those reigns and established himself as one of the greatest singles stars of ANY generation. His name is Edge and…he’s become boring.

In April, when it was announced that Edge had been drafted to Raw, many assumed his arrival would usher in the controversial nature, the ‘edginess’ of Raw that had been noticeably missing since the days of guest hosts and Hornswoggle. Optimism was high. Unfortunately for fans such as myself, that optimism was for naught. With John Cena, Sheamus, and the newly-minted babyface push for Randy Orton enveloping the Raw brand, Edge quickly found himself on the outside looking in. He was lost in the shuffle. His promos degenerated into the normal, boring spiels other heels less talented than him were notorious for. The emotion-filled promos reminiscent of his Smackdown days were gone. Instead, he insulted the fans and threatened to defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship. Sorry to say but, I’ve been there, done that, and bought the Umaga/Orton/Triple H/Great Khali/Kurt Angle/JBL t-shirt. I expect more out of Edge and that is something the Raw script writers aren’t willing to give. So I implore you, Raw brand creative team, please…PLEASE ship Edge back to Smackdown so that those of us who appreciate his abilities in the ring and on the microphone can relish in the opportunity to enjoy his work before it deteriorates. Besides, you have a whole group of heels you can feed to Cena.