Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ECW Review, 4/14

I'm tired of coming up with alternate names for the new not-so-ECW, so we're just gonna go with little e, CW. eCW.

First up we have John Morrison going against Evan Bourne. Early on the announcers keep talking about how Morrison will adjust to life as a singles wrestler. Um, did we forget the four-month reign as Intercontinental Champ? Or how about the solid run he had as eCW Champ? I mean, that's gotta be one of my biggest pet peeves with wrestling: the lack of long term memory. I'm not saying we need a history lesson every week, but come on.

Good back and forth match, really fast paced. That's what I really love about this newer crop of guys: rarely ever are there slow periods in matches. Morrison gets the win after a Moonlight Drive from the turnbuckle, and oh, hey, yeah he can wrestle by himself. Morons.

Vladimir Kozlov makes his eCW debut next, against some poor local jobber. I give it 45 seconds. Nope, 1:03. Oh, yay, he's gonna speak... something about him dominating eCW (at least until creative finds some storyline for him on one of the big shows).

Man, I want that WWE Encyclopedia.

Triple threat match next, in which the loser gets eliminated from the eCW Championship Chase. I suppose I'd like to see Christian get the push, although I really want him on another brand. Anybody but Finlay, really. Well, there goes Tommy Dreamer, doesn't look like he's accomplishing that goal of winning the eCW Title before his contract runs up in June. Guess WWE is trying to kill off ECW completely.

That's it, short, but two solid matches. I think Kozlov is just wasting away here and taking away screen time from guys like Swagger, Tyson Kidd and DJ Gabriel, but that's just me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Raw review, 4/13

Ah, the WWE Draft: an annual rite of Spring. Or, a desperate attempt by WWE creative to scrap lame storylines and throw together new ones in an effort to boost ratings (provided they do, in fact, know what they're doing... and sometimes I wonder).

Before we get going, some things I'd like to see:
  • A CM Punk heel turn. Why? It'd be unexpected, and different. There's a surplus of faces right now, especially with JBL leaving.
  • Chris Jericho getting a major title push. His heel character is beyond brilliant, and it needs to be rewarded.
  • Take the IC Title off of Rey Mysterio, please. Or, at least quit putting him in programs with guys twice his size.
  • All those things I said in my ECW Review last week (start reading at "Speaking of the draft").
  • Move Edge away from Vickie Guerrero, for the love of all that is holy. And don't just start the same shit with her and Big Show. No more love affairs, no more "La Familia" -- just stop it.
That's all I want, something fresh, something entertaining. I really think the WWE is missing the point, here. I get they're trying to get kids early, so that's why guys like John Cena and Jeff Hardy get huge pushes. But the biggest demographic is young adult male group, people like me, and we grew up with the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era. So push the envelope a little, give us something edgy. Just my opinion.

OK, here we go. We start off with Batista, Shane McMahon and Triple H cutting a promo about who wants to knock Randy Orton's head off the most. He punted my head, no he punted my head harder, well he punted my wife's head, yadda yadda. Then Vickie comes out and announces a handicap match pitting Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase vs. HHH, Shane-o-Mac and Batista. If one of the latter three win, whoever gets the pin/submission gets Orton one-on-one next week. Interesting, I love that Orton is the heel everyone hates.

Our first match is between ECW's Evan Bourne and Raw's Mysterio, winner's brand gets the first draft pick. Fascinating that WWE chose to put ECW in this match, maybe they're actually considering taking it seriously as a brand?

Well, maybe not. Mysterio gets the pin with the 619/splash combo, aka the worst finisher ever. Entertaining match, though, just another strong argument to bring back the Cruiserweight division.

And the first pick is... MVP, the United States Champion. I like it, a lot of possible feuds for him on Raw. Now that we know this, it should mean that Mysterio goes to Smackdown, or loses to belt to someone from Smackdown (please, please, please).

Next match for the next pick is between Raw's Kane and Smackdown's The Brian Kendrick. I really like Kendrick, especially when paired up with Ezekial Jackson. Well, in time it took to write that sentence, Kane decimates Kendrick and Jackson. Raw gets another pick... and it's Big Show.

Of course the announcers go on the "he's so dominating, who's gonna stop him?" kick. You know what, when's the last time they put the strap on one of these "dominating" guys like Show or Kane (and I don't mean the so-called ECW title)? Why not give Kane or Show a decent run with one of the major titles? Really follow through with this unstoppable force thing. Maybe that makes too much sense.

Couple of promos next. First, Randy Orton barges in Vickie's office, punks out Chavo and tells Vickie what's up. See, this is why Orton is the man and should have the WWE Title: he gets on everybody's bad side.

After that, ECW Champ Jack Swagger confronts World Heavyweight Champ John Cena in an entertaining promo about Swagger calling himself the "All-American American." Cena wants to be The Rock soooooooo badly. If I was Bill Gates rich, I would ask Rocky to just name the price for him to come back and put Cena in his place. Please Rocky, no more kids movies, just come back to us.

The next match is a Divas match between Raw's team of Melina, Mickie James and Kelly Kelly vs. Smackdown's Michelle McCool, Maryse and Natalya. McCool gets the win for Smackdown, and the pick is... Melina.

Cena vs. Swagger is up after next, and the winning brand gets two draft picks. I love Swagger's potential. He's got the amateur background, knows his way around the ring, sells his bumps, and is already decent on the mic. The kid could be a STAR in the future. A big "let's go Swagger!" chant starts in the Atlanta crowd, go ATL! But seriously, isn't Cena due for a heel turn? There's a large segment of the fanbase that just doesn't like him, and also a big enough contingent that loves him so it works both as a logical move and a shock.

OK, this is gonna piss me off. Swagger has out-wrestled Cena in every aspect and -- yep, as I type this Cena hits his finisher and submission hold out of nowhere. That always happens, Cena gets his ass whupped but somehow finds the energy to make a big finish. Horrible wrestler, horrible seller. The picks are... Matt Hardy and Triple H. Wow, think the writers are favoring Raw here? Of course, this happened last year and then the show ended with a bang with Trips going to Smackdown.

Edge attacks Cena during the distraction, maybe they'll put the belt on him come Backlash? I don't know, but you know something's gotta happen to move the World Heavyweight Title to Smackdown.

Santino Marella is out next! Uh oh, his opponent is The Great Khali. Khali gets an easy win, earning Smackdown a pick and forcing Santina to go on the Khali Kiss Cam next week (comedy gold is sure to happen). Anywho, the pick is... CM Punk. I like that move, a lot. He's been on ECW/Raw his whole career, so this is a fresh start for him.

Up next is ECW's Miz vs. Raw's Kofi Kingston. OK, the announcers have been saying for WEEKS "what will happen if Miz and Morrison get split up?" So, it's gotta happen here, right? I mean, it's all they talk about during their matches. Hell, they just dropped the word "bromance" on us. Alright, I like Kingston and all, but he needs a much better finisher. That spinning kick twirly thing he does takes waaayyy too long.

Well, Kingston wins via DQ in an awful finish to a superb match. Nice job, writers, really. And, yes, The Miz has in fact been drafted to Raw. The boys look like they're about to cry and, whoa! Miz hits Morrison with a Reality Check in a nice twist. OK, decent job of making up for that horrible match finish.

Of course, Raw is dominating this draft. So Smackdown has to win this tri-branded battle royal hands down, right? Right on cue, Edge eliminates Big Show to win it for Smackdown. And the picks are... Kane and Chris Jericho. Well, maybe this'll give them the pushes I asked for earlier.

Either ECW or Smackdown will get the next pick, as Christian takes on Shelton Benjamin. Christian wins a fairly solid match, and the pick is... Vladimir Kozlov. Ho hum. I'm now convinced that ECW is for young wrestlers, guys Vince doesn't like, and guys creative have no idea what to do with.

Our next tilt is between a couple of tonight's draft picks, Raw's Matt Hardy and Smackdown's CM Punk. Now that Matt is on Raw, I reckon that means his feud with Jeff Hardy is over. Thank you. OK, now Jeff comes down and interrupts the match, getting the win for Matt and Raw via DQ. What the hell, WWE? Really, you're gonna have lame finishes to two good matches in one night? Sheesh. Whatever, the pick is... Maryse, the WWE Divas Champ. Guess that was a foregone conclusion with Melina, the Women's Champ, going to Smackdown earlier. But you would think they could've saved that for the supplemental draft instead.

Smackdown's Jericho squares off against ECW's Tommy Dreamer for the next pick. Jericho gets the win after a Code Breaker, and the pick is... Rey Mysterio (told you so).

So that does it for the draft for tonight, here's the final tally:

Raw: WWE Champ Triple H, Big Show, United States Champ MVP, Divas Champ Maryse, Matt Hardy, Miz
Smackdown: Intercontinental Champ Rey Mysterio, Women's Champ Melina, Kane, Chris Jericho, MITB winner CM Punk
ECW: Vladimir Kozlov

Naturally, it comes down to how creative uses them, but at first glance Raw gets the best deal. And, you gotta think this means they'll put the World Heavyweight Title on Edge at Backlash.

Main event time, remember that if Rhodes and Dibiase win, whomever loses has to go one-on-three vs. Legacy next week. But if HHH, Batista or Shane win, whomever gets the win gets Orton in a match. The match is filled with infighting between Shane, Trips and Batista, and HHH gets the win after a pedigree on DiBiase. Show ends with a stare down between Orton and Triple H.

See, that's what a Raw should be like. A few promos here and there to push storylines, but mostly full of good, solid matches.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

ECW Review, 4/7

Matt Striker as the show opens: "We are capsized in the wake of perhaps the greatest Wrestlemania of all time!" HA! Whoever wrote that should win a friggin' Emmy.

We open the show with everyone's favorite nerdy cool guy, artist formerly known as ECW GM Teddy Long. Theodore announces that he will move to Smackdown to be the GM there, and that Tiffany replaces him as the interim WWECW GM. Who's Tiffany? Another cookie cutter blond diva, but that's not really important because she looks good in a business suit.

WWE Minor League/ECW Champ Jack Swagger interrupts, and he's looking sharp in his pinstripe suit. I like Swagger, he's solid on the mic and in the ring, and has a ton of room to grow. I think he's a future superstar. The two go back and forth about the upcoming draft and Swagger's opponent for Backlash. Tiffany's not horrible on the mic, I'll give her that.

Speaking of the draft, you know who needs to come to not-ECW? The Brian Kendrick. He got a mild push last year, and now he's kind of faded away. Bring him and his bodyguard to faux-ECW, maybe put the strap on him, let him develop more as a singles guy. Orrrr, pair him up with Ezekiel Jackson and actually build a tag team division. Oh wait, I forgot that Vince hates tag teams and therefore we fans should just forget they even exist. Silly me.

But seriously, move Kendrick over, ship out Mark Henry to Smackdown or Raw. Then you have Kendrick up against the likes of Miz, John Morrison, Evan Bourne, DJ Gabriel, Tyson Kidd and Swagger. That's some good, skilled, young guys right there. And while we're at it, move Christian to a big show and bring in Sim Snuka, who's sitting around doing nothing, or Dolph Ziggler.

Six-man tag action up next, Miz, Morrison and Tyson Kidd vs. The Colons and Evan Bourne. It seems as if the WWE is actually trying to build a tag rivalry between The Colons and Miz & Morrison. But where are the other teams? Cryme Tyme, Hawkins & Ryder, Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jesse & Festus, Kendrick & Jackson -- there's plenty of teams out there, but they just don't get used (you can even finally bring in DH Smith, son of British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, and pair him with Kidd and form a new Hart Foundation). It's ridiculous.

Bourne gets the pin and the win with the always incredible to watch shooting star press. Again, a very well fought match between these teams... you know what, I've already ranted on the sad state of the tag division. But, speaking of Bourne, why is there no Cruiserweight Title? Oy.

A couple of vignettes recapping Raw and the Hall of Fame ceremony. By the way, why didn't they show the entire thing? It only got an hour Saturday night, and we only saw the induction of Ricky Steamboat and Steve Austin.

Main event time, with the beginning of the "championship chase" for the eCW title. It starts with this fatal four-way match between Mark Henry, Christian, Finlay and Tommy Dreamer. The wrestler that gets pinned or submits will be eliminated from contention. The last man standing at the end of the chase will face Swagger for his belt. Not sure where they're going here. Christian and Henry should be on bigger shows, Finlay and Dreamer are at the end of their roads.

Finlay wins by cheating once again (does he ever win clean? Worst face ever), pinning Henry after hitting him with the shillelagh. Henry is eliminated, show over, yadda yadda yadda.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Raw review, 4/6

First things first: Wrestlemania 25. I was severely disappointed. If I had to grade it, it'd get a C -- and that is thanks solely to the epic match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. I mean, that was one of the best matches I've seen in a awhile, I couldn't count how many times one of us exclaimed "oh, shit!"

After that, not much else was very impressive. The MITB was solid, but a few missed spots brought it down. Both title matches were average, and it's a damn shame Triple H kept the belt. Maybe they're going somewhere with this, but it seems like Randy Orton was robbed and that they almost abandoned the Legacy storyline. We'll see. By the way, the ending was horrible. No blood? One pedigree? Trips is supposed to have all this rage, and that's all he does? No pedigree through a table? Weak sauce.

The Hardy's match was bleh, but I liked the ending. The Jericho vs. Legends match was alright, although Ricky Steamboat was incredible. Thank god for the comedy gold that is Santino Marella. And don't even get me started on the crap the Intercontinental Title match was, or the fact they made the Tag Title Unification match a dark match.

Anyway, on to Raw.

We begin with Randy Orton cutting a promo -- he keeps getting better every time out. I agree Randy, you got hosed. Vince comes out and announces a six-man tag match for Backlash: Legacy vs. Triple H, Vince and Shane McMahon. And now a match for tonight with Vince vs. Orton. Eh, wait and see I suppose.

Now the match I wanted to see last night, The Colons vs. Miz and Morrison for the unified tag titles. Damn Vince for his hatred of the tag division. Solid match -- as always with both of these teams -- and Carlito and Primo get the win. I feel like Miz and Morrison may be splitting soon.

The annual draft is next week, that's always a fun one to watch. We get one week to see some Wrestlemania storylines either wrap up or continue, then the draft to shake things up.

Big ass tag match between a bunch of folks from last night. Hmm, Edge seems to be getting a pop from the Houston crowd. I've always liked Edge, especially as a heel (although I wish they'd take him away from Vickie). john Cena comes in to his usual mixed reaction. Awesome, the fans are chanting "you still got it" when Steamboat gets in. The face team wins when Mysterio get the pin over Chris Jericho. The Dragon gets a curtain call, one that he deserves. Side note: I smell a heel turn coming for CM Punk, just a hunch.

Oh joy, Vickie Guerrero... and she announces she's becoming the permanent GM for Raw. Yippie. She also announces that Edge will have a rematch with John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash, and it will be a Last Man Standing match. She also says that the Legacy/McMahons six-man tag match will now be a title match. If Legacy gets the win, Orton gets the belt. If Vince, Shane and HHH get the win, Trips keeps his belt. Wonder who they'll get to be Smackdown GM now? We were talking about this last night, and Stone Cold would be perfect. Great mic skills, could come in and stun some folks every now and then, everybody's happy.

Commerical for a new show, WWE Superstars.

And now, Santinoa! This is pure comedy brilliance. Ha, now Beth Phoenix challenges him/her to a match. Michael Cole is doing his best Jimmy Fallon impression, as he can't even contain himself. Santina wins!

Main event time, Orton vs. Vinny Mac. The match ends with the expected run ins from Shane, Triple H and Legacy. But, hats off to WWE for a good twist with Batista making his return to take out Legacy. And, he'll take Vince's place at Backlash. Remember, it was Orton who put Batista out of action in December. Interesting move, now Orton has revenge on his mind against HHH, but Batista wants vengeance on Orton.

Decent post-Mania edition of Raw. The draft special next week should give us a better idea of what storylines are gonna carry out in the coming weeks.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Wrestlemania XXV

Smackdown review, 4/3

It sucked. Too many vignettes, too little wrestling. And why wasn't the US Title match the main event? Gah.

Anywho, live blogging for Wrestlemania later tonight. Be here.