Friday, September 29, 2006

Random Thoughts In and Around The Ring

Couple of interesting things news wise out today as we get set for tonights airing of SmackDown and the big six-man tag on the new CW:

* I am looking forward to getting and reading Eric Bishoffs new book. I think if he had a chance to really share some of the inside stuff, it should make for a good read. Bishoff is one of the more interesting guys in the history of the business considering his background and what he ended up doing in the business. I hope that the stories are not too far off from the truth like some other wrestling books tend to be.

* There were plenty of rumors last week that John Bradshaw Layfield was done with the WWE and stepping away from his role in the company and on SmackDown. Well, now that is clearly not the case. JBL signed a new long-term deal, and came out on the company's website and blasted the internet reports about his leaving the company. "There was truth to [the rumors]. Doing commentary but not being able to wrestle bothered me; being close to something that I love and not being involved. It really ate me up," he said to "I talked to WWE officials and [Executive Vice President of Television Production} Kevin Dunn about leaving commentary because I was heartbroken that I couldn't wrestle not because I wanted to quit the business." JBL's commentary is one good reason to watch SmackDown, so I for one am glad he's sticking around.

* Couple of wrestlers coming and going - Kid Kash has been released, this of course means that there will be no more PitBulls tag team with Jamie Noble. Kash had a bad attitude according to sources and this was coming in just a matter of time. Justin Credible, who had gotten praise just a while back from Vince McMahon, has also been let go. Word his he got his release via fax this past week. Too Cold Scorpio, who is tight with King Booker, is on his way in. No word yet as to if he'll be on ECW or SmackDown. MVP has been "signed" to SmackDown, and CrymeTime will be making their debut on RAW within the next two weeks. Still awaiting the TV debut of the late Davy Boy Smith's son - Harry Smith. He was supposed to be on TV by early June, and was winning some impressive house show matches in the spring against guys like Shelton Benjamin. Don't exactly know what happened there.

* Speaking of which, there were some rumors of Benjamin and Charlie Hass getting back together and forming a reprise of Team Angle, which was big back around WrestleMania 19. The word is that Benjamin still does not impress the company with interviews, which is interesting since he has spoken more recently about the whole race angle and he is doing on RAW with the Coach.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ECW 9/26

For the first time since the show went on the air, I can honestly say that ECW on Tuesday night was indeed, extreme. That statement can be made thanks to one barn burning match that opened the show and went well past when it probably should have between RVD and Hardcore Holly. The match, while getting off to a somewhat slow start, easily ended up being the best and most hardcore match that ECW has been able to produce since its return.

The match got way over after Holly suplexed RVD onto a table from the ring apron. In doing so, Holly received one of the most truly sickest cuts we have seen in some time, a 24-stich gasher on his back that had no problem looking like it could have been a lot worse. Tazz and Joey Styles pointed out numerous times the moment it happened when he hit the table, but it was kind of hard to tell on TV since the table came up when it broke and you couldn't see the actual back get cut. But trust me, if you saw the gash, you had to cringe.

The other sick shot in the match was when Holly dropped RVD on a chair, and it looked like he really took the shot hard on his neck. Overall, the matches ending came with, after numerous high chair shots, RVD finally got the frog splash and eventually the pin. Both men had their music play after the match, and as Holly was quickly getting bandaged up, he got a solid ovation from the crowd, leading me to believe that once he returns he will get cheered.

I realize that unless you want guys injured and possibly maimed all over the place, you simply cannot pull out matches like this each week, but to me, this was what ECW was supposed to be about when it came back. This match had all the feel of a PPV match, and it was for sure one that you felt that you could watch again from beginning to end once it was over. Again, I know you can't do it every week, but once in a great while it is good to see that the show can still pull out a match like this.

Other than that, the show was not all that much. Ariel and Francine went at it for about 30 seconds before Kevin Thorn and then eventually Balls Mahoney interfered, leading I guess to either a draw or a win for Francine via DQ. And is it me or is Ariel downright fat? There was a shot of her outside the ring after the match when she was kneeling to check on Thorn, and it looked like she totally had a beer gut. Maybe its me, not sure, but I thought it was interesting to point out with week after week of "Divas" that you roll out a chick that could be female equivalent of Umaga.

The "main event" and I say that loosely after the Holly-RVD match, was Sandman getting a title shot vs Big Show. It was a decent match that you knew in the end would have interference from Matt Striker costing Sandman the match, and of course that is exactly what happened. The match was okay, with Show bleeding from a couple of cane shots, and Sandman bleeding because he's Sandman and can bleed from simply scratching his head for 2 seconds.

The show also had a quick back and forth between C.M. Punk, Kelly Kelly (who continues to point out she's not even legal to drink or enter a casino) and Mike Knox. The story is that Kelly likes Punk, and that Knox is, of course, jealous. The line of the night had to be Knox asking Punk if he "had a woman." I wonder how Kelly Kelly's parents feel about her being involved with two 28-year-old men?

I hope they take a look at this weeks show and try to copy the formula for future shows. I know you can't have each match be RVD-Holly, but the product would greatly improve if the guys and gals cared as much about the product as those guys did on Tuesday night.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

RAW 9/25

There are many directions that the WWE's latest edition of RAW could have went on Monday night, but for once I think that the company is realizing that by using different wrestlers on different shows, it may bring some energy that we have not seen in some time. Of course I am referring to the use of King Booker, Finley and William Regal to do a beat down on champion John Cena to end the show and further their setup for Friday Nights 6-man main event tag on SmackDown. To some using those guys may seem like a desperate attempt to continue a dead storyline, but I like that they are not afraid to realize that SmackDown needs help, and having Cena on their show is a positive, while the three heels on the end of RAW was a positive as well.

The rest of the show was pretty average, with most of the storylines either one night deals, or ones that have been going on for some time. The DX gauntlet deal has been done for the last three months at house shows, and appeared to be a build up for a "Cyber Sunday" tag with Cade and Murdoch. The Kane-Nitro match was just a build up for a Cyber PPV match with a stip for Umaga and Kane. I have no idea what they are doing with Ric Flair in reference to his last two matches with members of the Spirit Squad. Both have not been good matches, and the angle does not really appear to have any sort of long term planning. Flair is reaching the point of Hulk Hogan, where they should have him only on PPV matches here and there with real detailed angles with guys that will work hard and get a push from wrestling him.

I figured after last week they were going to unveil some sort of decision on what to do with the womens title, so now I guess we have to sit through a drawn out tourney just to end up with Mickie James and Lita in a match at Cyber Sunday for the belt. I know that they are looking for content within the womens division, but I would have had no problem with just an announced match between James and Lita at the PPV. Lita is the former champ, and James was the champ before her. How hard could this have been to set up?

I'm not a big fan of the race card angle that Shelton Benjamin is using. Talk about an overused angle. A wrestler can't get over either as a face or heel, so let's use the race card and see where that gets us. The funny thing is its almost as if they are setting up some sort of confrontation between Benjamin and Coachman, meaning that Shelton would likely go face, which I don't understand. The match between he and Jeff Hardy was the best actual wrestling match on the show.

The tag with Masters and Orton vs Carlito and Crazy was just filler, and two matches upcoming will be a rematch with Orton and Carlito and another go around with Masters and Crazy, with this time Masters finally getting out of his funk with a win. And just a note on what was not shown on TV, Cryme Tyme defeated the Spirit Squad, and reports say the new team was WAY over with the crowd, meaning I guess they will come in as faces and probably within a few weeks will get the belts. Interesting that a team that is supposed to be thugs that beat up white people are going to get cheered by - what else - white people.

So with this show we end with a few things upcoming - one is next weeks main event with Edge getting his rematch with Cena in a cage, and the other the build up for the next PPV - Cyber Sunday. The CS card looks a little vague right now, with the only for sures being Lita vs James for the womens strap, Orton vs Carlito, Kane vs Umaga, and DX vs Cade & Murdoch. Other than that, a lot can be shifted around from now till then, and we'll see what direction they go in with a lot of these current angles.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Angle Makes it Official - Jumps Ship To TNA

The news that Kurt Angle pulled a quickie on the wrestling world and instead of running to MMA has instead joined TNA could not be worse news for the former WWE Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist. The signing, while huge for TNA, is not a good one for Angle, who was released by the WWE when his physical condition as well as his bitter attitude got the better of him. Things were getting so bad that Angle not only kept getting hurt, but he continued to want his matches changed to his benefit as well as giving the bookers ideas to keep him in each big match week after week on ECW.

I was not a fan of the idea to have him go from the RAW brand to ECW, but I understood why it was done. The WWE management felt that with Angle in ECW, it would bring a lot of the WWE fans to watching the brand, and with Angle's wrestling style, it would allow him to be more of a mat wrestler, and would be easier on him from a physical standpoint as well as from having to wrestle as much. Needless to say it clearly never worked out, and within 3 months of being in the upstart promotion he was suspended and now released.

Of course for TNA they are looking at this as a move that will finally cement them on the wrestling map. They feel that by getting a wrestler with Angle's track record and skill, that he could be the guy that leads them into finally being taken seriously as a threat to the WWE. I don't know if I agree with that, knowing the circumstances that lead up to his departure from the WWE, that included a divorce from his wife, as well as all the physical problems that he has had. One has to wonder if he gets in TNA, and within a few months of not getting main event after main event, and even if he does not get the title right away, if he will again become bitter and start problems with TNA's management.

For now, it's all good for Kurt, and even this portion of what he wrote about his signing with the company is nothing bit happy, albeit a bit perplexing:
"Being with TNA feels like I have finally found my home. I had fun in WWE at certain times, but I was never really happy. Now being part of TNA, I know I have a purpose. I feel like I am part of history, part of a company that is now only on the rise--not only going to be the number one watched wrestling show in the world within a short period of time--but TNA gives me an opportunity to spread my wings. The company has no limits to where it can go. The sky is the limit and the main reason is because they brought the 'real' back into wrestling and that is a perfect fit for the greatest wrestler in USA Olympic history. I have room to grow here and to help TNA grow. Working for these caring and very giving employers of TNA makes me feel like I have a purpose and that the sky is the limit. I don't feel trapped or held back like I did the first six years in my tenure with the other company. They held me back. Now, our wonderful audience will see the real Kurt Angle doing what I love to do--real wreslting--and that's what puts a smile on my face each time I come to work. I even smile when I think about it. TNA will be the most watched television show on cable television. It's only a matter of time. Now, I get the opportunity and privilege of being part of it. Thank you TNA for saving my career, my life and my desire to do what I love. I will be here in some capacity for the rest of my life. That's real...that's damn real."

Isn't it always that way when a wrestler leaves the WWE, only to come back to the organization later on saying that they can't believe they left in the first place? I'm not saying that the WWE does not make mistakes and do wrestlers wrong at times, but going from the WWE to TNA is right now like going from the Yankees to the Devil Rays. The playing field right now is simply not close to being even, and a Kurt Angle signing is not going to bring that margin all that much closer. Don't get me wrong, Angle is still a star, and I am still a fan. But at this point, I still think he would have been MUCH better off taking some time off, getting his life at home and physically back together, and then making a WWE return in mid to late 2007.

I guess for now that is not going to happen, but why do I sense that the TNA signing is another desperate attempt by Kurt to run away from his problems and try to recapture the glory that he really did have winning WWE titles and wrestling in main events at big PPV's and even at WrestleMania.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Smackdown 9/22

The WWE, as expected, pulled out all the stops to deliver a good show on SmackDown this past week with its premiere on the new CW network. The show was pretty good, with a lot of hard work from the major stars, and some matches that had some pretty decent setups and endings. Interesting that they are bringing John Cena for the show next week in a six-man tag. I wonder how guys like King Booker, Batista and others feel about Cena being on the show. Maybe it is becoming apparent to the company that like ECW, which always seems to have 1-2 WWE stars a week, the show needs help and is going to use RAW guys and possibly ECW guys, to make it a more watchable show.

The opening tag with Regal and Finaly vs Batista and Lashley was well done, and did a good setup for the upcoming match with Batista vs Finely for the PPV. Not that many will buy the PPV due to that match, or any match they currently have on the show to date. The diva thing with Layla was nothing more than 5 minutes of a waste of time. My heart be still that it looks like Jillian turned on Layla. Whatever will the sport be in for if Jillian turns back into a heel?! I for one am truly hoping that she comes to her senes before a full turn to the dark side.

The Helms-Hardy match was pretty good, and I still think that we are going to see a rematch for the PPV, and this time Hardy will win the strap, ending the longest title regin in the company for sometime. The tag three-way was also pretty good, but it gets a bit annoying week after week hearing JBL say that London and Kendrick are a disaster waiting to happen and are going to be headed for a major fall before too long. We get it JBL, they will lose the belts in the next 1-2 months, and then by the end of 06, early 07, they will feud with each other. You don't have to point out that obvious set up week after week.

The Miz over Funaki was about the worst thing on the show, and at least JBL does not hide his hatred for the Miz, which is pretty funny. Same goes for the ongoing boring feud with Sylvan and Tatanka. I know that they wanted to have Sylvan on the show to get a pop in Montreal, as well as further continue the eventual heel turn for Tatanka, but these two back and forth is getting old. Move on and start something new if you insist on having these guys on the show each week.

The main event with Undertaker vs Booker was pretty good. I think the end is near for Taker, as it seems like month after month when he is forced in the ring, his skills seems to get less and less. The worst part about the match was the ridiclous commentary from Kennedy and JBL about Taker and how unbeatable he is. Kennedy, while great on the mic in his ring intro, was awful here, and I hope that he doesn't ever get behind the desk calling matches again. Of course Lashley interefered after Booker was DQ'ed, and the show ended on a happy note with Taker getting a choke slam and tombstone on Booker.

Overall, not a bad show, as stated above. They need shows like this week after week if they are going to hold any sort of audience and make strides in making this show better.

Friday, September 22, 2006

WWE News, Notes & Thoughts

Some recent news and notes this week from around the WWE and the world of wrestling:

* A recent post on Kurt Angle's website states that he has retired from pro wrestling. Word is Angle is training to fight in the MMA in early 2007. While I know that Angle is bitter about the way things ended with the WWE, I don't believe for a second that he has wrestled his last match for the company. I wouldn't doubt a try at MMA, and then for him to be back in a WWE ring before the end of 07.

* I'm not much of a ratings guy, I personally think they are overrated, but this weeks 1.6 rating for ECW has to draw some concern. I know that the overall tone of the company is still hot and cold on the entire ECW product, but for sure some things are going to have to change for the company to make it seem worthwhile to lose money on this project forever. I think that bringing in WWE guys week after week doesn't help, and even my wife pointed out Tuesday that all ECW seems to be is another WWE show with different guys. If as a moderate fan she can pick up on that, then the product is clearly not any different from your usual RAW or SmackDown, which I thought was going to be the point of a new show with new guys.

* One guy that has benefited the most from ECW has to be the Big Show. Show is currently the champion, but has gotten to be on big parts of PPV's for both RAW and SmackDown over the last three months. Currently the plan for him is to be the champ and headline the ECW PPV in December vs RVD. The latest news is that Hulk Hogan is pitching an idea for Hogan vs Big Show in Detroit for WM 23. Gee, I only said that one months ago when we first started this site. It makes perfect sense, and the current roll that Show is on would make him a strong opponent for Hogan. Of course if that plan is a go, you can bet Hogan is at the ECW PPV show in December to start the feud to try and bring in some interested viewers.

* I know that I wrote on it yesterday, but can anyone be excited about the upcoming "No Mercy" SmackDown PPV on October 8th? With a current main of Lashley vs King Booker, you can bet on this being the least watched PPV of the year for the WWE. At this point they really have no point other than to go with it, as with it being just over two weeks away they clearly do not have enough time to get anything else ready.

* SmackDown is pulling out all the stops for its "season" premiere on the new CW Network tonight. Vit has "stepped aside" according to to allow the Undertaker (remember him) to go up against King Booker. Of course this means that Kennedy will interfere and then Lashley as well. Also they are bringing in John Cena as he will "thank" Teddy Long for a contract offer, and it states that Long has "something special" in store for Cena. Actually sounds like a SmackDown that I might be able to sit through without yawning.

* Tickets for WrestleMania 23 in Detroit go on sale November 11th. Wonder where those hot $30 seats will be located? Look for WM 23 to be the highest grossing show in the companys history. Reports say that WWE officials are looking at Las Vegas for being the site of WrestleMania 24 in 2008.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Mercy Shaping Up To Be No Good

In taking a quick glance at what is ahead PPV wise for the WWE, the next thing on the docket is a SmackDown PPV - No Mercy, that will take place on October 8th. SmackDown is still a far cry from where RAW is, and week after week the show tries to establish new stars, and most of the time those new stars either never come to form, or they simply give up on them and go in another direction. This PPV is shaping up to be one of the weaker ones of the year, and a quick look at the top four matches that will take place will show you how bad this card very well may be.

Bobby Lashley vs King Booker for the World Heavyweight Title - To actually look back at Sunday and see a RAW PPV main of Edge vs John Cena, you see how far down this match is compared to that. If Lashley was on RAW, he would be so far down the list he would be in about the same position as Chris Masters is right now. No way does he get the strap in this one, and on paper it does not really even look like that good of a match based on Lashlay's in-ring skills. Should be nothing but an easy win for Booker.

Rey Mystero vs Chavo Guerrero Steel Cage Match - The end of what has been a rather surreal feud with Vicki Guerrero getting involved and what not. The storyline of Chavo turning because he felt that Rey was using Eddie's name to get over is not all that far fetched, and you can sense in the crowd's reactions that they feel the same way. While Rey is still a very popular star, it seems that in the long run, due to Eddie, that no one really wants to boo all that much for Chavo. This should be a strong match with plenty of high spots. Rey should also be gone after this match for awhile to have surgery.

Finley vs Batista - It has been well noted that Batista has not been the same since his comeback on the show about two months ago. While his character seems over, his wrestling skills have gone downhill, and his matches with wrestlers like Kennedy and Booker T have really lacked in energy and intensity. Finley should give him a pretty solid match, but again, this is a match I would not pay to see.

Undertaker vs Kennedy - No idea where the premise of this match came from other than Teddy Long decided it should take place. As usual, a chance for Taker to come on and earn a paycheck at a PPV, and likely get the win against a guy that should get the push, but will probably not. In due time I can see Kennedy going to RAW, but not before he takes a loss in this one.

Boogeyman Told Good-Bye By WWE

Just to show you that a bizarre gimmick can only go so far, on Wednesday the WWE announced that Marty "Boogeyman" Wright had been released. The release was not exactly planned as the WWE had been showing clips of him as they prepared for his return on SmackDown in the coming few weeks. Reports say that Wright was let go because the company was not happy with his rehab for leg injuries, and WWE officials felt that Wright was only doing just enough to be able to get back in the ring instead of going all out. Amazing that in this day and age of pro wrestling that someone like Wright, who had never showed a real knack for in-ring wrestling, would waste a great opportunity with the WWE by not simply doing what was needed to do to insure that he would be 100 percent when he got back in the ring.

Wright never impressed me much when it came to wrestling. His whole act was about eating the worms and grossing out his opponents and the fans. His one claim to fame match, a 1-on-2 match with Booker T and Booker's wife Sharmell was the second worst match on the biggest PPV of the year - WrestleMania in Chicago. That match would have been the worst if it were not for the Playboy Pillow Fight between Candice and Torrie that ended up being so bad that people were chanting 'Hogan-Austin" in the middle of it.

Insiders say that Wright has had other troubles with the WWE, including being way too in to his character, refusing to go out of character at hotels and around town when he wrestled. It also was known that he lied about his age, telling officials he was 30, (he turns 42 on Halloween) in order to try and get a tryout with the company, something he ended up getting and then eventually being trained in OVW. In other words, in the end, Wright was more trouble then he was worth, and the company decided that instead of putting up with his antics it was time to cut ties with him.

I would not be surprised, that despite his age that Wright tries to use the gimmick to try and find work elsewhere. TNA would not be prone to using a guy like him, and I am sure with his short but memorable WWE run that he would be able to easily score independent dates. Again though, any promotion that would want to use Wright would have to do a little research about his troubles with the WWE and why he is no longer with them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ECW 9/19

Four matches and a pretty funny appearance from King Booker highlighted the ECW show on Sci-Fi on Tuesday night. Booker was the "guest" of ECW commish Paul Heyman, and his character being so over the top made for some pretty funny backstage stuff. The shows four matches were okay, with the best being the main event between old friends as Booker went at it with Rob Van Dam. The match had a decent feel to it, but of course since it was "Extreme Rules," you had outside interference from Bob Holly, who beat down RVD and eventually allowed Booker to get the cheap pin. I am a fan of the "Extreme Rules," but it seems all it opens the door for is outside interference, which is cheap and usually does nothing more than get the fans ticked off.

The opener six-man was weak, with Sandman getting pushed off the apron by Matt Striker, and then having to be helped to the back. I'm sorry, but this version of the "nice" Sandman is a total joke. And what was with him lying there saying "I'm sorry" over and over to Tommy Dreamer after the cheap DQ finish? Sandman either needs to turn heel, or at least get some backbone back and do a major beatdown on Striker in the next two weeks to get some props back. As far as I'm concerned, he might as well come out next in Vito's dress.

Talk about no build up - how about at least a hint, or maybe a run-in for Francine, instead of her just for no reason coming to ringside for Balls Mahoney as he again lost to Kevin Thorn. I get why she was out there, to help against Ariel, but they could have made it a little more special. I wonder if you had not heard Styles and Tazz make mention of her, if you would have known who she was - as she now looks totally different than back in the old ECW days.

CM Punk teased a future showdown with Booker backstage, which as I have stated I can see him moving up to Smackdown within the next few months. That would be an interesting feud for the World Heavyweight Title, and it would be a good show for the fans, as both Booker and Punk are good workers. Punk of course went on again to beat Shannon Moore after the little backstage run in with the King.

Then the main with Booker and RVD, this coming after RVD challenged the King backstage, and he accepting. As stated above, a solid match that ended with a lame run in from Holly. The match was good, the ending was bad. It seems like right now with ECW, you never know what you are going to get. They of course kept Big Show off the show to sell Sunday's Hell in a Cell match with DX. Expect him back with a possible title defense or at least a match next week.

RAW 9/18

I had the sense going into Monday Night's edition of RAW that the show would probably underachieve based on the recent strong shows, and also the over the top PPV on Sunday that was highlighted by lots of blood and weapons. This show would be used to try and establish some new feuds (DX vs Cade&Murdoch) as well as continue the ongoing title feud between John Cena and Edge. The crowd in Montreal made the night passable, and their reactions against had to be something to see live. As for Cena, he continues week after week to not get rattled by the fans that despise him, and his character is truly one of kind in that regard. What other main event star can you remember in the same chant being told to "Let's go" and "F**k you"? With that said, Cena is at least inciting a reaction, which is better than some of the wrestlers on the roster.

Interesting decision as well to suddenly give this major push to Cade and Murdoch. Where exactly have these guys been over the last few months (and don't tell me HEAT, because if your still waiting week after week for HEAT, you have some problems), and why now are they getting this major push with DX? The only thing I can think of is - default. I mean, who else is there on the roster to give DX a match that currently are either a tag team, or a pair of guys that it would make sense to pair to go up against HHH and Michaels? I can't think of anyone, and the only other true heel team on the roster are the Spirit Squad, and the company pretty much laid waste to them when they went against DX.

Some other highlights of the show included the six-pack IC challenge, that had both its funny parts as well as some pretty good wrestling as well. It gave an opportunity for six of the wrestlers on the roster to be in the ring at once, but you knew pretty much from the moment that J.R. said that Nitro's title was in serious doubt - that he would win the match. And that he did, with a pin over Chirs Masters, who if I am counting right has been pinned 3 times over the past 4 weeks. Not a good return from the roids suspension for the "Masterpiece."

Lita and Mickie James was another highlight, as I think the two are going to have a pretty good female feud leading up to who will eventually become the woman's champ again. Interesting with no Vince McMahon that they made really no advancement in trying to set up something for the women's title. The rest of the night had a forgettable bout between Ric Flair and Johnny of the SS, Kane losing to Umaga via DQ, Candice over Lita with a James distraction, and another humerous side bar with Cryme Tyme.

As stated above, a transition show that was not going to have the type of heat or build up as the previous three weeks did leading up to the PPV in Toronto. The build up coming in the next few weeks will now be for the Cyber Sunday PPV that will take place in Cincinnati in four weeks. I would think next week we are going to hear the options that fans will have to choose from for another Cena-Edge showdown, and some sort of match that will highlight DX vs Cade and Murdoch.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cena-Edge Deliver In Main Event

The superstar that deserves the most credit for his performance on Sunday night at Unforgiven has to be the Rated R Superstar - Edge. The now former WWE champ stepped up and had an outstanding match with rival John Cena, and while two had what was likely their best match to date, Edge was the star of the match and the night. He took two crazy bumps, including the double table bump that ended the match and allowed Cena to easily grab the title belt and take home the victory. Edge also had to play the role of good guy, even though you could see it was not easy for him, in his hometown of Toronto. He did a good job at the role reversal, and played it off well.

The TLC concept worked well for these two, and while the match is supposed to be built on taking a ladder and grabbing the belt, the real story of the match was the tables, that were used at will, and broken many times throughout the night. Give Cena his due as well, as he took a crazy bump from a ladder onto a table late in the match when Lita pushed him off into a waiting table on the floor. Cena also gets a ton of props for not folding when having to play the heel in the match, a role that he does extremely well considering that he is supposed to be over with the fans.

One thing they should have done is show Teddy Long after Cena won the match. He was in the building in a vacant suite, and showed him early in the show. With the stip that Cena would have to go to SmackDown if he lost, they could have at least shown Long's displeasure when Cena won. Oh well. With the belt going back to Cena, look for this feud to continue, and yet another match should be coming down the pike at either Survivor Series, or possibly at the Cyber Sunday PPV or December PPV. Or how about all three? It's been a solid back and forth feud that is sure to see more highlights before it concludes.

Unforgiven Hell In A Cell Lives Up To Hype

In the history of Hell in a Cell matches, the matches themselves are usually not that good, but what happens in terms of blood and weapons usually takes to the forefront of the matches, and makes them what they are. In that respect, the match between Big Show and McMahons vs DX at the PPV on Sunday night delivered. The match in terms of any sort of wrestling was weak and void of much, but the weapons, the blood, and the crazy ending was enough to make the match a solid one for a second main event.

Unlike many HOC matches, there was no crazy bump, which I thought we would see Shane McMahon take in this one. The logic was that Show was too big to take that type of bump, and at 61 years old, Vince McMahon shouldn't have to. Instead, the match had enough other things so one didn't have to take that type of bump, and each man other than Show shead enough blood that the bump was not needed. As for Vince, again, give the chairman credit for allowing himself to get shoved into Show's behind, and then the sick looking ending with the sledgehammer.

I was a little shocked to see the match not make its way to the outside, but with the new bigger, stronger HOC that they spoke of many times, I don't think that there was much of a chance to get out of the cage. It was a solid match that delivered I think what the fans wanted to see. Now the question is what happens to DX? Is there a chance of a breakup? Word continues to go around that HHH is headed for a showdown with Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels needs time off for injuries and possible surgery. Has the team run its course? That remains to be seen.

Perfect Sendoff For Stratus

This was the way it should have gone down, and for the WWE and Trish Stratus - it was the perfect sendoff to the most successful women's wrester the company has seen since the glory days of Fabulous Moolah. For Trish Stratus, her final match in a WWE ring on Sunday night had it all, a solid opponent, enough time to work with, some great brawling, a few solid near finishes, and I think the best part of it all was the surprise ending with the use of the sharpshooter to get the win. While we are at though, give credit to Lita for a very solid match as well. It takes two to tango, and Lita did everything she was supposed to do exactly the way it should have been done to get her future Hall of Fame opponent over.

Maybe WWE will learn that when it comes to women's wrestling, if you have two established stars and give them enough time - they can turn in a solid performance. You also have to give props to the fans of Toronto, who made Trish seem like a mega-star in the match, and after the win gave her the sendoff that she deserved. There were various parts during the card that I thought the crowd was sort of dead, even in the Hell in a Cell match, but for this particular match I thought the crowd was with it, and they did everything to show their support for Trish.

So now, following the win, Stratus takes her leave. I guess Monday night we are due to hear what will happen next with the womens title. As I said Friday, I could see a mini-tourney with Mickie James and Lita in the finals, or just a battle royale with the winner getting the belt outright. I am likely to go with the latter based on the fact you may not want RAW with the prospect of running 3-5 womens matches in one night. For Stratus, it was a classy, almost perfect way to go out, and here is hoping that someday she decides to make a return.

Kane-Umaga Feud Will Continue

A little surprised at where they are going, at least it seems on paper, with the whole Kane-Umaga feud based on the ending of the pairs match on the PPV Sunday. One would think that with where Umaga is in his development as a soon to be major star, that he would be able to score the clean win over Kane, a wrestlers whose career seems to just go from feud to feud with really no talk of a singles title or any real push into another main event role. Kane is the perfect guy for Umaga to over against, a guy who is established, yet it is not so far fetched that he would get the win against him.

That is what made the ending of the match somewhat surprising. Kane had tons of offense throughout the match, and never appeared to be in any serious danger of taking the loss. The match ended with the men brawling to the back and the official declaring a double count-out. One would think that this thing will continue for the next few weeks, probably with a final blow-off at a RAW, as I don't think the feud has that much steam to be able to carry itself into the next PPV, which for the RAW brand would not be until the combined PPV with Smackdown in November - Survivor Series.

A decent brawl between two big men that had sort of a head scratching ending. Then again, with two title changes that most saw coming that did not take place, the PPV seemed to be headed into that bewildering type of thought process all night long.

Tag Belts Going Nowhere For Now

As stated here on Friday during the preview, I felt that if the Highlanders did not win the titles on Sunday night against the Spirit Squad, that they were not going to win them. Sunday night at the PPV, they did not, and I will stand by what I said. This face team that reminds many of the old Bushwackers has already had enough title shots, and despite the constant rumors that the Spirit Squad will be no more, the team continues to stick around to the point where maybe keeping the belts on them a little longer is not such a bad thing.

I'm not sure of the WWE's thinking on this one. It looked as if going in the Highlanders were the easy choice to hand the belts off to. The members of the SS could go their separate ways, and maybe 1-2 stay on RAW (Kenny would be an easy choice based on his real-life relationship with Mickie James) and then you could put 1-2 on Smackdown and 1-2 on ECW. The Highlanders would protect the titles for a month of two and then the new gangsta tag team of CrymeTime would eventually come in and get the belts.

For some reason, it was not to be for the Scotts, as the SS took the clean win on Sunday, and seemed destined to again keep the belts for another few weeks at least until Cryme Time or maybe in a shock the Hardy's reassemble and get a shot. The match itself was your usual SS match, full of the boys taking their share of bumps and then interference getting the best of the Highlanders. A decent match in the tag ranks, just still a little bewildered at the outcome and where they go from here with the two teams.

Solid Unforgiven Opener with Hardy-Nitro

The opener of Unforgiven was given to the IC title matchup between Johnny Nitro and Jeff Hardy. The two men worked hard in this match, and the WWE does deserve some credit for not hotshotting the title change to Hardy right away and making the fans wait awhile before doing so. Nitro has risen his game to another level over the last month or so, and I think a lot of the credit goes to the three-way feud he had with Shelton Benjamin and Carlito. It was in those series of matches on both TV and at house shows where Nitro really came into his. While he is not ready for a main event type of feud with Cena or anyone of that nature, he looks like a younger version of Edge from about 3-4 years ago, and looks like a guy that will someday be ready to be a real star.

As for Hardy, his energy back on RAW has been a welcome sign, and I will be the first to admit that right when they brought him in I thought his signing would be wasted. It still may in the long run, but his backstage trade off with Matt Hardy and Lita really makes it look as if the Hardy Boyz (yes, they had the Z in their name, not an S) will have a reunion before too long. I could almost see them getting back together just in time to take the tag titles away from the Spirit Squad. This is of course if the plans go that way, instead of keeping the two single and continuing the Hardy-Nitro feud. Overall, a good opener that should continue to take Nitro to the next level in his development, and we'll see if this is a cross roads for Jeff Hardy or not back from single wrestler to a tag team with Matt.

Friday, September 15, 2006

SmackDown 9/15

The mess that continues to be WWE SmackDown continued on Friday night, this time with a #1 contender match for the World Heavyweight Title, and a bunch of nothing as the brand tries to build something out of nothing as they get set for their next PPV which will be on October 8th in Raleigh. The show was highlighted by Bobby Lashley winning the title of Number one contender as he will now take on King Booker for the title at the No Mercy PPV.

There are so many things wrong with this match, and I cannot see myself, or many people paying $40 to watch these two go at it for the title. I cannot believe that the WWE would even think about putting the strap on Lashley, meaning that going in you pretty much know that either Lashley will get a cheap DQ win, or Booker goes over clean. Either way, its a lame duck match that is not going to draw any numbers whatsoever for the company. How about Chris Benoit? You could have rushed him back and he and Booker would ahve had a much better match. At least if it was Benoit and Booker you know that you are going to get a solid match.

Other junk on the show included Kennedy defeding the US Title over Rey Mystero. This match was lowlighted by Mystero's kid, who was in the back watching the match and then was bombarded with Vicki and Chavo Guerrero. The whole distraction was too much, and of course Mystero ended up losing. Again, this feud is going nowhere, and the sooner that it ends, the better. I for one, simply cannot stand Vicki each and every time she shows up on TV. Get her off, and get this feud over with. It will happen at the PPV.

Vito had a big presence on the show, which is awful as well. He beat Regal, got into it with Booker, and now for the debut on the CW Network next week, Vito will take on the champ. Just get away from me with this already. I think the line of the night was Vito saying - "I'm all man." Excuse me? All man? If I remember right, most men that walk around in dresses want to be women. If you want to be a man, how about putting on some pants. Ugh.

The Miz beat Scotty 2 Hotty, it was not much of a match, and anytime I see Scotty coming to the ring, I know that someone else is going to get a win. Brian Kendrick beat Kid Kash and Idol Stevens in a three-way. Does nothing put set up the three-way for the PPV.

I am really frustrated with this product right now. I cannot stand the fact they have very little direction, and with the lack of talent on the roster, they are just throwing matches and fueds together on a whim and hoping they stick. And then when they don't they quick yank the feuds and go in another direction. As much as I have enjoyed RAW the last few weeks, I have disliked this show just as much. It had better go the other way in a hurry, espically with the new network starting in seven days.

Thoughts and Predictions for Unforgiven

Sunday night the WWE will take to Toronto for what is shaping up to be a very interesting "B" Pay-Per-View; Unforgiven. Below are thoughts on the matches and some of the sidebars on what to look for.

Edge vs John Cena TLC Match - Once again the role reversal in this match as Edge will likely turn into the face with Cena the heel with the match in Edge's hometown. Interesting stip if Cena loses he goes to SmackDown. With that, I like Cena to walk out with the belt in what should be a very physical match. Look for some high spots and for both men to pull out all the stops. This has been a solid feud and should keep going with Cena getting the belt back for at least a few weeks.

DX vs McMahons & Big Show Hell in a Cell - HIAC matches are either really good, or really bad. I think this one, knowing how Vince and Shane go balls to the wall, should be a good one. I still find the using of Big Show interesting, but he fits the role of a wrestler that can help the McMahons out when it comes to having to do moves and not just major bumps. Expect to see Shane take a big bump in this one, as at 61 years old, I think Vince's days of coming off of cages into tables is over. This one should finally end this feud.

IC Title Match Johnny Nitro vs Jeff Hardy - These two have had some good interaction leading up to this IC title match. Hardy seems to have gained momentum after a slow start, while Nitro is starting to show some star qualities as well. Of course Melina will get involved, but I think we see a win here for Hardy and the two to continue to have a promising feud.

Women's Championship Lita vs Trish - The farewell (at least for now) match for Trish, I think that the crowd will either make or break this match. If they are behind it, the match could actually be a show stealer. If not, it could be your typical womens filler that ends the Hall of Fame career for Stratus. Lita should win since she's stickin around, but something tells me that Trish wins and the belt goes up in a mini-tourny Monday or battle royale.

Tag Titles Spirit Squad vs Highlanders - If the Highlanders don't win the belts here, I don't think they ever will. Jim Ross teased the breakup of the SS in his latest blog, and its been talked about for the last two months. I am already calling for three title changes, so why not a fourth? Major interference by the SS, but somehow Highlanders will overcome it and get the straps.

Carlito vs Randy Orton - Carlito has not been happy with his role as a mid-card guy with no real push into the main event status. A good match here with Orton could push him more towards that top face status, but where he goes from here is anyones guess. Orton will get a push after this match, likely into a feud with Cena, so you can mark that this match will be the conclusion of this feud. I don't see Stratus getting involved despite her make out sessions with Cool.

Kane vs Umaga - Expect a 5-minute punch and kick festival for these two that ends with outside distraction costing Kane the win. Umaga is also due for a push, and his interaction and match on RAW recently with Cena shows that he has what it takes for the role. They have done a solid job in protecting him for the push, and a win here will only help him.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

WWE News, Notes & Thoughts

A lot is going on as we get set for Sunday's RAW PPV in Toronto, and here are some recent news and notes and some thoughts to go along with them:

* The WWE has removed Greg Gagne from the booker of OVW, and then released him from the company. Word is that Gagne was never with the modern times of wrestling, and from the moment he was brought in he was like a fish out of water. Sounds like a deal of trying to make a former star into something he was not - someone with a grasp on the current state of the sport.

* With the loss on Friday Night's SmackDown to King Booker, Batista seems headed for a mid-card feud with Finley. The former World Heavyweight Champ has not been faring all that well since his return. First his feud was Mark Henry went down the toilet when Henry was hurt at Saturday Night's Main Event. Then he actually lost a few matches to Ken Kennedy. Then the lame DQ at SummerSlam, and now the clean loss on TV. Word also is he is going through a divorce from his wife who was suffering from cancer, and is now dating 27-year-old former Diva Search contestant Rebecca DiPietro. Seems like the Animal has lost his edge.

* SmackDown is taking a huge hit right now with many markets not showing the program due to its move to the new CW Network. A lot of cities have yet to debut the network, and some still do not have a station yet for the channel. SmackDown is one show that cannot afford to lose any more viewers.

* Chris Masters time as a possible main event superstar has seemed to pass. At one time he was being groomed to be a main event heel, and now it appears that with two losses to Super Crazy that his one time push is over. While he looks smaller and more lean, his wrestling is not any better than when he left, and its going to take a lot to get him back to the heel level he was at when he was suspended.

* Let's hope Sunday's Hell in a Cell is the end of the feud between DX and the McMahon's. As usual when a McMahon is involved, it seems like they have dominated the airwaves way too much on RAW over the last two months, and the feud has really run its course. The finale on Sunday between the two teams should end it, at least it had better.

* Randy Orton has reportedly failed a WWE given drug test, but with a new loophole in the policy, has not been suspended. The policy now calls for wrestlers to be docked pay and bonuses for thirty days after the failed test. They will continue working television and pay per view events but will only receive travel expenses. Orton has already had enough trouble, and has already gone through one suspension. Advice to the third generation start - shape up, or be ready to face the actions taken against you.

* "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson's new movie - Gridiron Gang, opens tomorrow. Word is that with new movies in the works, that Johnson is ready to drop the name - "The Rock" and just go by his real name. I can't blame him for that, as with the dropping of the nickname of "The Rock," it looks as if Johnson is only going to be a distant memory when it comes to being in a WWE ring.

ECW 9/12

The first ever ECW event from Madison Square Garden could have very easily had a special feel with the crowd that was hot for the show, but instead, failed to deliver and was nothing more than an hour of blah wrestling with very little else to speak of. The main event was another title bout, which now if I am thinking right is the third, between Sabu and Big Show. While both men worked hard during the main event, I think that anyone who has followed the product for any length of time knows that Sabu is not getting the title, and match after match with Show is getting somewhat stale.

Of course they have to continue to have Show win since he is part of the second main on the PPV on Sunday. If nothing else, ECW has sort of re-established Show as a player in the world of wrestling. It also has done the job of making him a pretty effective heel. For Sabu, the three losses may still be punishment for the drug bust with him and RVD back two months ago. The backstage word is that while Vince likes Sabu, he was not exactly happy with the incident with he, RVD and the law.

The RVD- Bob Holly opener was okay, the crowd made it bigger than it was. Holly and RVD really need to be allowed to have a few Hardcore rules matches to allow them to show their talents. Predictable ending with the interference, and it was a easy way to allow Sandman and Dreamer onto the show without them having a match. I'm sure a six-man is to follow in the next 1-2 weeks.

I can't believe they finally let Shannon Moore wrestle!? What gives on that one?! C.M. Punk of course did an effective job and the match went pretty much as planned. Moore took most of Punk's offense, and even took longer than usual to tap out to his finish, which I thought was an interesting move. I guess we can expect to see these two a few more times with the same type of outcome.
Then it was the highlight, or actually low light of the night - Kelly Kelly. Yes, once again we as fans had to cringe in fear as Kelly tried to, with "try" being stretched on this one, seduce Punk backstage. There was just something not right when she informed him that she wants to go to clubs, but she's only 19. I mean - what's next - a 16-year-old diva? Maybe they can roll out some 11, 12 year olds? I'm well aware of 19 being legal, but give me a serious break. Maybe the reason she can't act and sucks so bad is because she is still a CHILD! Get a clue, and get her off of

Rene Dupree made his in-ring debut, and looked totally out of place and will be gone within 3 months - mark that down. Then the main with Show and Sabu closed out the show. Again, the crowd from watching seemed to be into the matches and talent, it just seems that the talent, all besides Show and RVD and maybe Holly, were out of place and not in their element. Then again, this brand has had a tendency to be like that on more than one occasion.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

RAW 9/11

The 9/11 RAW from Madison Square Garden had more of a PPV feel then that of a normal Monday night two hour show that mostly gets brought down with bad skits and short matches. The appearance of Roddy Piper was a nice surprise, and the 6-man tag was so hot that there were times that the King and JR had to tell you what the crowd was chanting. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes a WWE event feel more special than when the crowd is into it. And Monday night in New York, the crowd was hot from the singing of "America the Beautiful" the moment the show went off the air with the McMahons and Big Show taking down DX.

Flair vs Umaga started the show, and it was a pretty solid little match that ended with Flair hitting Umaga with a chair for the DQ. At least they didn't do the 3 minute squash of Flair that they did at the PPV a few months back. Of course Kane came out and he and Umaga went at it for a few minutes. The match between these two Sunday is shaping up to be a 5 minute punch and kick feast.

Then it was Piper and the Highlanders vs the Spirit Squad. Just having Piper back in a WWE ring made the night take on a more special feel. The match wasn't much, and you can bet that the Highlanders will walk out of Toronto with the belts, but this was a nice match with a Hall of Fame presence that set up the bout on Sunday that will likely open the PPV.

The 6-man tag was by far the hottest thing on the show. The crowd was screaming pro and anti Cena chants throughout the whole thing, and I couldn't help but remember being at WrestleMania this past year when the crowd was so into the HHH vs Cena match, and how it really made that match feel bigger than it was. That is exactly how a crowd can impact a match, and it did so here. Jeff Hardy's slip off of Carlito's back was a moment that had to be re seen on the TiVo. Unreal that he didn't kill himself on that one. The match was okay, but again, it was all about the crowd and the ending did a nice job setting up Sunday between the 6 wrestlers who will all battle in single matches.

I thought the send off of Trish was well done. I don't think that until now the company or fans really appreciated all that she has done, and her final RAW match with Mickie James was well done and it did was it was supposed to do for both Trish and James, and that is set up James as the next female face, and give Trish the going out that she deserved.

As for the main, it was pretty predictable that DX would get the beat down on the show that way Sunday when they win the Hell in a Cell match it will not come as that much of a shock. HHH really sold the beating well, and it was tough to tell if the bleeding from the ear was real or not. It was well done. You do get tired of the constant outside interference, but again, this match had a direct purpose, and it did its job. I wouldn't be surprised if DX gets beat up again Sunday before their match in the cell to do a better job of the storyline of the McMahon's using their influence to try and break them down. Again though, DX should get their revenge in the end and get the win in the match.

The PPV is setting up as a pretty solid card for a minor PPV. Compare last years card which included a main of Cena vs Angle with Angle winning by DQ, Michaels vs Masters, a cage with Matt Hardy and Edge, Big Show vs Snitsky (ugh), and Flair vs Carlito, this year looks a lot stronger. I give them credit for throwing out two major stips matches with a TLC and a Hell in a Cell. Now we'll see if each one delivers.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Oh No - DX vs NWO?!

I know that in this day and age just about every wrestling angle and feud has been done, but one that reportedly could be in the works is....gulp...DX vs NWO. Yes, the same NWO of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall fame that couldn't make it one year in the WWE back during the run around WrestleMania 18 in Toronto. Of course Hall found his way out of WWE by hitting the bottle, and Nash did the same after a run as a face after he blew out his quad, came back, and had a series of forgettable matches for the World Heavyweight Title with HHH when HHH was a heel.

This possible feud could really scrape the bottom of the barrel when it comes to backstage politics and all that. It's no secret that HHH and Shawn Michaels are tight with Nash and Hall, and more intrigue was thrown into the mix by this weekends in-ring appearance by Sean "X-Pac" Waltman at the WWE house show in Tampa, Florida. What could add even more to the whole NWO storyline is if Hogan gets a shot to get involved, but I think his huge popularity as a face would almost confuse the fans as to who they are supposed to be for and against.

I would see the angle going down with Hall and Nash coming in as monster heels, and then getting the best on DX in a series of attacks leading up to a match at a major PPV, possibly either Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble. One other interesting aspect of this type of feud is who would join each side. I can't see it just being a four-man feud, and even if you add Waltman to the mix with DX, you would need another 1-2 wrestlers to join the NWO. This feud is a longshot to happen, but as usual in wrestling, anything can happen. I for one hope it does not.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Waltman Makes His Way Into Ring at House Show

Please, whatever you do, tell me that this isn't going to happen. Sean Waltman, of the late - not so great X-Pac fame was at the WWE DX Reunion Tour house show over the weekend, and even made his sorry way into the ring after DX won its match and did the crotch chop with HHH and Michaels. Word is as of this moment, that he was there as a guest of HHH, and he is not signed in anyway to a contract. HOWEVER, it has been stated that with the WWE brigning back 90's stars that they would not be shocked that he gets another deal to come back and work with DX in some fashion.

I never thought Waltman was that great of a worker, and with his whining mentality in the locker room, I think that bringing him back would be nothing more than a short term solution to a long term problem, which of course is trying to create new stars instead of bringing back old ones. The DX with Waltman was successful, but again, that was 7-8 years ago, and now is not the time to try and relive those moments. The current DX regime has already run its course, and that was shown with the feedback after the RAW a few weeks back with them defacing all of McMahons stuff with green paint.

So sit back and wait, because it seems like when there is smoke, theres fire, and with Waltman at the show and in the ring on Friday night, I would not doubt that he somehow gets another shot in the not so distant future.

Smackdown 9/8

The latest WWE SmackDown had some pretty weak moments, and the shows big build up for the main event between Batista and Booker T for the World Heavyweight Title was a complete letdown. I guess it takes awhile, but I am officially on the bandwagon of getting rid of each and every heel needing either outside help or a weapon in order to beat a superstar face. It never ceases to amaze me that as a champion, Booker T will likely never get a clean win, unless they throw him on TV to face a guy like Vito or Tatanka. If you go back and check the history books as of late, even champions like JBL were able to get a few wins without interference or a weapon. Let Booker get a clean win, and if they are going to let him keep the belt, they had better do a better job then week after week of disputed win.

The rest of the show was built on trying to build up what is sure to be a very lackluster PPV in No Mercy in about a month. Ken Kennedy, fresh off the heels of winning the US Title, stated he wants to go to RAW, but instead will now have a match with the "where have you been lately" Undertaker at the PPV. Its interesting that evey Taker appearence has to be this super match with with a stip on TV or on PPV. Sure it makes it feel special when he fights, but it sometimes gets a bit old, as you know each and every time he's out there he will win.

Now they are playing the "woe is me" thing with Mysterio, as he lost to Finley, and then was disgraced by JBL about the whole Chavo situation. Chavo and Vicki Guerrero make a weird combo, and talk about someone who honestly does not look right in a ring - how about Vicki Guerrero? Ugh. Of course we know that all of the back and forth with the two is going to lead to another match at the PPV, which should end the feud and probably end the TV appeareances of Vicki Guerrero. Thank goodness for that.

The Miz - Matt Hardy match was what you'd expect, while Miz gets a push, Matt gets buried more and more each week. With that said, I still think he and Gregory Helms can have a heck of a match at the PPV if they give them enough time. The 6-person tag match was bad, and the Lashley vs Regal was really nothing more than a blow off type match for Lashley to get over.

Back to the main, it looks like now we are going to see Finley vs Batista at the PPV, which is odd considering all along it was supposed to be Booker vs Batista. The only thing I can think is if they are going to go the route of the really goofy main event of Finley & Booker vs Batista in a handicapped match, or maybe some wacky three-way, which would be nothing more than a glorified handicapped match. We shall see. All in all, a pretty lackluster show that is going to have to get some major overhaul before the debut on the CW Network.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No Doubt Stratus Will Be Missed

The WWE will soon lose one of its best when former women's champ Trish Stratus steps away from the sport on September 17th in Toronto at Unforgiven. Stratus will wrap up her WWE career in a blowout match with long time rival Lita, in what should be a memorable showdown. Stratus' departure has been talked about not only on TV, but written about on, which is a far cry from the past, even the recent past when wrestlers like Brock Lesner, Goldberg, Mick Foley and Chris Jerhico have walked away without the WWE actually stating that this would be their last match. They hinted around it in Wrestlemania 20 as Lesner battled Goldberg, but that match was all about the special guest ref - Steve Austin. Add to that the match was horrific, and you had plenty of reason to be glad that both wrestlers were leaving after that match.

As for Stratus, her leaving will leave a huge hole in the face portion of the RAW roster. She is by far the best face women's wrestler on the roster. Who will fill that role of Stratus? The best guess is Mickie James, who has gotten over more since her "psycho" turn on Trish before WrestleMania, then when she was actually trying to get cheers about a year ago at this time. James is also a solid wrestler, so the transition from Stratus to her seems somewhat clear. Add to the fact that she can have a immediate feud with Lita since that is who she lost the belt to, it makes perfect sense. Beth Phoenix is another face who is set to return shortly who can try and take Stratus' role. When she left, she was in a storyline with James, which will have to be scrapped if James goes face.

They may try and bring Ashley Massaro back from the SmackDown roster to fill the void. She has been a face from the word go, but she still lacks big time in the wrestling department, and would have to work hard to get about even half as good as Stratus is right now. A darkhorse to be brought over from SmackDown is Jillian Hall, who went face after the split with JBL. She has been going at it with Krystal for about two months now, and is the best actual women's wrestler on the SmackDown roster. Only thing is other than the typical big chested-blonde look, she really does not have much of a character, which is something that would have to be developed.

So what does the WWE do in the final duel between Trish and Lita? The outcome really should not matter, as Lita as champion staying on the roster for now should get the win. But in the end, Stratus should show more offense and the two should have a very solid back and forth match, provided they give it the time it deserves. As for losing Stratus, she will be missed, but as is always said in wrestling, never say never. She may be gone for now, but I wouldn't doubt a return in 2-3 years.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

ECW 9/5

The latest edition of ECW on Sci-Fi saw an overhyped main event of a handicapped match as DX took on the champion Big Show. The match was done all right, and ended with its normal DQ as Bob Holly and Paul Heyman's cop enforcers of the Bashman Brothers interfered, causing the quick ending.

The show came across okay, keeping most of the stuff pretty much tell-tale most of the night. The opener with RVD and Sabu vs Knox and Test was okay, and it was an Extreme Rules Match, meaning it was able to make Sabu look strong in showing him using the weapons in all his normal spots. Knox and Test are really just big jobbers when things break down, and with Sabu and RVD getting over with a pin over Knox, you sort of get that they are jobbers type impression. I think of the 4 guys in this match, Test will eventually get the biggest push. Kelly Kelly has also become an afterthought. Maybe the booking figured that out as each week they would roll her out to dance, and she would get the most yawns in the crowd each week.

The other stuff on the show included Balls Mahoney vs Stevie Richards, with Stevie getting a rare win due to interference from Kevin Thorn on Mahoney, thus putting their feud back in motion. Can't understand that since Thorn already had a clean win over Mahoney a few weeks back.

I loved C.M. Punk basically punking out that freak Shannon Moore and slapping him. I still think that Punk will be on at least Smackdown by late 06 or early 07.

Again, not a bad main event, continues the set up for the Unforgiven PPV in two weeks. The ECW brand continues to be a lacking third behind the other two, but at least the effort is there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

RAW 9/4

The latest edition of WWE Raw, on Labor Day, spent pretty much the entire two hours buliding towards the next PPV on 9/17 - Unforgiven. It was a pretty good show, with solid matches and some good lead ins for the PPV. The IC match between Jeff Hardy and Johnny Nitro was the wrestling highlight of the evening. After a slow start, Hardy has had a few good matches, and you can bet the PPV match between he and Nitro will have a pinfall ending, and likely it will be with Hardy walking out with the belt.

The Higlanders are now the #1 contenders for the tag titles, and that comes as no surprise considering the two stiff teams they went up against. The one thing I don't understand is if they want the belts on the Highlanders so bad, why didn't they do it a month ago at the RAW in Cleveland? The word for the last two months is that they want to break up the Spirit Squad, and again, why they have not, is beyond me. Maybe this match at the PPV, and possible title change, will mark the end of the squad once and for all.

The DX-McMahon stuff was pretty well done, and keeps things in line for an interesting handicapped match at the PPV. They have done an interesting job with the Big Show, using him in just about every way they can leading up to this next PPV match. I guess they want to justify his huge salary. Next weeks Vince vs HHH match at the Garden will be nothing more than a blow off and probable beat down on HHH by the threesome as they get set for September 17th.

The main with the inter-gender tag was pretty solid, and it got very solid heat all the way around. The thing that stood out was J.R. trying to sell the match as the biggest main on RAW ever. I mean, how quickly did we forget the title match where Edge won the title just two months ago? Wasn't that a huge RAW match? Whatever, I know that J.R. is just taking orders, and they are trying their best to build up ratings.

Good show, enjoyed just about the whole thing, and ECW with Show vs DX should be pretty interesting as well.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

SmackDown 9/1

Smackdown this past week had a few surprises, the biggest of which was a new US Champion in Ken Kennedy. It is about time that Kennedy gets a chance with a belt, and now you can look for an upcoming feud with he and Bobby Lashley that looks as if it will lead to a 1-on-1 match at the October PPV. I thought that was pretty much the biggest highlight of the show.

Batista and Booker are going to go at it for the title next week on SmackDown. Interesting booking here, and I think its still a given that Booker keeps the title, only to then have a third match at the PPV with some sort of special stipualtion involed. Some sort of stip may be what this so far lackluster feud needs to give it some spice. Or maybe they just want to end it and get it over with becuase they know that the overall feud has no chance to succeed.

The Mystero-Vicki go around in the open was sick. Again, what this woman is doing in a ring, and why its being done is beyond me. Backstage, Vince McMahon is the man who is calling the shots in this saga, and he ought to be ashamed that he is using Vicki to try and get this thing over. No one wants to see it, no one cares, and the sooner they get it done, the better. Let Eddie rest in peace, and let Rey get out of this feud asap so he can get surgery and get back to a real wrestling feud.

Other than that, they threw more fire on the Vito-MVP back and forth, which appears headed for the PPV match, and the three-way that seems set in the tag ranks looks better in the ring then it does on paper. Next weeks show with what they do with Booker-Batista should be interesting.

About me

  • I'm Matt Loede
  • From Cleveland OH
  • Matt has been involved in sports media for over ten years, with experience covering the NFL, NBA, and MLB for the past 13+ years.
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