Friday, December 29, 2006

Rumble, Miami RAW, Summerslam & A conversation with An ECW Star

Lots of big things happening right now in the WWE with the Royal Rumble in less than a month. Some things on the SmackDown side will be moving forward tonight on the Best of SmackDown 2006 show as GM Teddy Long will announce a "SmackDown Sprint" that will involve wrestlers winning their matches in the shortest time getting the Rumble title shot at Batista. The SmackDown roster is pretty weak as far as major heels are concerned, so who will win it is anyones guess. The obvious rumor mill guess is that the Undertaker may win it, and thus you have he and Batista for the Rumble, but personally I think they are going to save that in some form for Mania in April, but you never know.

The Monday Night RAW this Monday in Miami is a very hot ticket right now. The WWE is really hoping that they get some mainstream attention with bringing in a celeb (if you want to call him that) like Kevin Federline. I can't see he and John Cena having much of a match, and frankly I have been a little underwhelmed with the hype for the event, but I guess in hindsight they can't do too much physical interaction with Federline since he probably is not much inside the ring, and would likely get whipped and hurt with some sort of pre-Monday night alteraction.

SummerSlam tickets for 2007 in New Jersey go on sale tomorrow already. Hard to believe that just five days after Christmas that many people have wads of cash sitting around to shell out for the event, but the WWE seems to think that people are going to up for buying the show, which will take place at the Meadowlands. Top ticket price is $400, which is higher than some of the floor seats for Mainia this year. Of course they can always sell the event on the fact that Hogan has done the past two, but of course that means nothing for August of 2007.

If you ever want to meet wrestlers without having to wait in line for hours for autographs, I suggest that you hang out at the local gyms the day of and day after events in your town. Wednesday when the SmackDown and ECW brand was in town and again on Thursday there were a few different wrestlers hanging out at the Bally's about 10 minutes away from my house. Wednesday morning Bobby Lashey was working out along with Tommy Dreamer. On Thursday Dreamer, Test, and Kelly Kelly all were in the gym doing a workout. I spoke for about 5 minutes or so with Dreamer, who you could tell was legit sore from the match he and Sandman had with Davari and Kahli on Wednesday night. Nothing much came of the conversation other than the whole Paul Heyman sent home thing was not a work, and that Heyman is still under contract with the WWE and is sitting home getting paid, which Dreamer said was a great gig. Dreamer was a super nice guy, and over the past two years I have now had a chance to speak to him, Edge, and have seen the three Thursday along with Edge and Coachman all working out at local gyms.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thought on Wednesday's SuperShow in Cleveland

Last night the WWE had a "SuperShow" at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, highlighted by both the SmackDown brand and the ECW brand. It was the first house show that I have attended in about 7 years, and despite it being the two lower brands in town, I was impressed with the close to three hour show that the wrestlers and the company put on.

So many times over the years I have read house show reports that said the wrestlers were either not into it, or the matches were too short, or the dead crowd that was use to seeing tons of pyro and stuff killed the event. That was not the case here, as despite the arena only having about 7-10,000 fans, I thought they were into it all night, as were the wrestlers.

I am not going to sit and write about each match, but I will give you the lineup as they ran them out:
Chris Benoit pins Chavo Guerrero
Scotty 2 Hotty pins G. Rilla
C.M. Punk makes Hardcore Holly submit
Matt Hardy pins Gregory Helms in non-title match
The Great Khali/Davairi pins Tommy Dreamer/Sandman
Rob Van Dam pins Sabu in Extreme rules match
Kane in lame finish of the night wins Last Man Standing match vs MVP
Bobby Lashley pins Test
Diva Winter Bikini Contest was more of a comedy skit with Sylvan, Big Dick Johnson, and then at the end the Boogeyman
Batista pins King Booker in a cage match

Overall it was a solid close to 3 hour show, with the only break being the Diva thing and then the setup for the cage. The one thing I was impressed with was the fact that just about every face really interacted with the crowd, and really did a lot of thumbs up, picture taking, and shaking of hands around the ring. I even got a chance to slap hands with Batista after the main event.
House shows are generally meant more for the fans, as the workers don't really have to be at their top, and can at some points halfway it, which was clear in a few spots last night. It's hard to believe that this is how the sport use to be years ago, with limited TV and tons and tons of house shows to really keep the income flowing in. Now most of that has changed with TV and PPV's, but the house shows still do some brisk business, and have really picked up for the company in the past 1-2 years.

Overall, the highlight of the night was the ECW match with RVD and Sabu, which had some sick spots which make you really miss the way ECW use to be back in the late 90's. Matt Hardy was another guy that was over, and his match with Helms was also pretty good. The main with Booker and Batista was okay, as these two never seem to really have good matches for some reason.

A solid night of wrestling all the way around, and the next time the company comes to Cleveland it will be back on TV as they will tape ECW and SmackDown on March 20th to air on March 23rd.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Live Show Tonight and Rumble Thoughts

Tonight is the final WWE show of the year here in Cleveland, and its a combined "Supershow" with the SmackDown and ECW brand. As of a few weeks back, the card was supposed to be Booker vs Batista in a cage, (which is still a go), Chavo vs Benoit, Kane and Taker vs MVP and Kennedy, and a four-way ECW match with Sabu, Test, Lashley and RVD. Now, with the card tonight, the only two booked matches are Booker vs Batista, and Test vs Lashley. What they are doing from there is anyones guess.

These cards have been lukewarm from the reports on the internet. Of course I still think that they are testing the waters for a full-time deal with the SmackDown and ECW guys together. They have been doing the TV tapings as one from the word go with ECW, but now with these house shows I'll be able to get an up close and personal look at what type of reaction the crowd gives tonight. Of course there are plenty of tickets still available, as I tried for best available yesterday and could come up with section 110 row 5, which is very good for where the seats are. By comparison, the last time the WWE was here was back in July with a live RAW, which had Hogan appear with Randy Orton to build up SummerSlam, and it will be remembered as the night that HHH and the McMahons were gone due to the delivery of Steph's and HHH's baby.
I recall a really hot crowd that night, and tickets were not easy to come by. I was four rows from the ring, and tickets were sold out all the way into the upper bowl. I think you could snag upper level seats, but again, good duckets were on the street and through brokers, but nowhere on ticketmaster.

Now that the year end shows are wrapping up, we are set to get things rolling again with the RAW PPV on 1/7 and the Royal Rumble on 1/28. After reading the latest rumor of a fatal four way at Maina with Cena, Batista, HHH and Undertaker, I am starting to think that it would be Takers turn to win the Rumble. Think about it - he's never won it, and it would be an easy way for him to get himself into the WM main event. Of course I could also see a lame finish with HHH and Taker hitting the floor at the same time and then the two having to do some wacky thing and both ending up declared the winners, like they have done in the past.
None of that is 100 percent for sure though about Mania, but in thinking about the Taker and his career, and the fact that it is truly winding down, it may be time for him to get one more shot, and for him to win the Rumble and then have his winning streak at Mania snapped. All a wild guess, but we'll see. I'll have more tomorrow on tonights show at Quicken Loans Arena with the SmackDown and ECW crew.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

SmackDown 12/22

WWE SmackDown on Friday night wrapped up the year with a few decent matches and not much else. The finale of the year was a tag match between Undertaker and Kane vs King Booker and Finley. It was a pretty non-descript show that other than a few matches there was not much to talk about. The SmackDown brand I still think should just link up full-time with ECW. They won't do that, but at the same time, I think that would be the best thing for both brands. They would have some solid matches and the infusion of talent from the ECW side would make for some great PPV's and cards. Wednesday I will be at the SmackDown/ECW Supershow here in Cleveland, and I am looking forward to what cats they pull out of the hat.

As for the rest of the show, the Chavo-Benoit match on the show was the best wrestling show, and I guess that as far as whole Chavo-Vicki realtionship is concerned, they are going to go in another direction with that. I still think they are going to do what took place last night with Chavo pushing Vicki down as a setup for another turn against Benoit. The thing is, they have yet to put the belt on Chavo and had plenty of chances to do so, so I don't think if they have done it yet they are going to do it.

One other big highlight on the show was the way that Joey Mercury looked after Sunday's PPV. Wow, talk about bad. If anyone does not think that what happens in that ring has a sense of reality, than take a look at Mercury. His face looked like he had just went through a war, and it looked really puffed up. The match between Nitro and Matt Hardy, which took place after Mercury came out, was pretty good as well.

JBL calling out Teddy Long was interesting, and I am not quite sure as to where they are going with that angle. I think they are heading towards some sort of angle down the road where JBL is going to be the new GM of the show. Just a guess, but I don't know what other angle they could take with it.

Overall, again, a so-so show, with nothing more than a few matches. I didn't like that we didn't see London and Kendrick, but oh well. I think they really need to evulate what they are going to do with SmackDown in 2007, and as stated before, I think that ECW could have something to do with that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

RAW 12/18

Monday Night RAW from Washington DC was another solid show in my opinion, and with three hours to fill, I thought they did a nice job not getting too out of control with backstage stuff and too much comedy. There was a lot of wrestling, including a 30-man battle royale to start it off, a WWE title match, a womens match featuring champion Mickie James, and a six-man tag to end it that set up two very big matches for the January PPV.

I thought this show was also good from the standpoint that we saw the big acts quite a few times. I know they can overdo it with guys getting too much TV time, but with three hours to fill and a PPV in three weeks, I think it was good for the "big six" of Cena, Edge, Orton, DX, and Umaga to be on a lot. The main event with those six guys was well done, with DX getting beat down in a big way, and Cena throwing Umaga through glass to set up their title match at the PPV.

The battle royale to start the show was okay. Too many guys, and being used to the Royal Rumble format it was strange to see that many guys in there just sort of going at it halfway it seemed. The ending was somewhat interesting, as I thought it would come down to Michales getting thrown out by Orton, and then he and Edge would be forced to go at it. That's not how it happened, but it was an effective ending. I think after the match with Edge telling Orton that he wanted the world title and the look on Orton's face, you can see the two already looking ahead to what could likely be Edge going back to face and then feuding with Orton at WM 23.

The Kenny-Ric Flair match was okay, and it gave Kenny some push as a singles guy, though I don't get why they would change his last name, which is really Doane, to Dykstra. Doesn't make much sense, but then again, that's why they are the writers and I sit here writing about it. The post-match handshake that never was I thought was well done and was a good way to build up Kenny.

The Edge-Cena title match seemed like a PPV match more than a RAW match. Lots of great stuff, great crowd interaction with half for Edge and half for Cena, and lots of great false finishes. These two still have a strong chemistry after going at it all over the country and beyond over the summer, and highlighting a few PPV's. The ending with Orton coming in, then DX, was good as well.

A rather lame Cryme Tyme segment with "President Bush" was followed by a really good womens non-title match with Mickie James losing to Victoria, setting up their title match at the PPV. I think that there is a real chance we may see a title change at the PPV, as Victoria is really getting over with this character again, and these two are right now by far the best actual womens wrestlers on the entire roster. Their matches will be good, but will get old after awhile, and they are going to need to get some more women actual wrestling talent in there before too long.

Even the K-Fed promo was strong. It seemed like everything worked this night, and him coming out and telling the crowd that he would beat Cena on January 1st was pretty good for what it was. I think that match is going to get some major legit pub before its all said and done, and I just hope that they don't do a total lame finish and that Federline is actually ready to do something in the ring.

The main event again was good for what they needed to do. It was time again that DX got beat down, and it pushes their PPV match to another level. I am starting to wonder if we will see a stip to that match, possibly no-DQ, or maybe add chairs and sledgehammers to it or something bizarre like that. Again, I was real happy with this three-hour show. The longer shows tend to drag, but overall I think they really stepped it up here and had a strong night.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Armageddon Post Show Thoughts

WWE Armageddon from Richmond, VA had its share of memorable moments, and being one quick to discredit something bad or give credit for a job well done, I would have to say that the WWE got it right for the most part on this one. Coming off the worst PPV that I have seen in quite a few years with ECW, this PPV had its share of very good matches, great work rate by all the wrestlers, and the gimmick matches made it seem like one of the better PPV's we have seen in awhile.

The Inferno Match with Kane and MVP started things off, and despite the fact you could plainly see that MVP was scared to death working this match, I thought it came across well considering that you knew there was not a heck of a lot either guy could do in this match. This type of match is made for a character like Kane, so it is not shocking to see him win whatsoever. Of course one thing that started with this match, continued all night, and really got annoying at times was the over the top announcing of Michael Cole and JBL. I am a big fan of JBL behind a mic, but on this night in plenty of spots both he and Cole were just way too fake, and I thought it really started with this match and continued all night.

What more could you say about the ladder match than WOW! For sure a 5-star match and one that is going to have plenty of votes for match of the year. Great call adding the Hardy's and MNM to the mix, and it made what looked like a bland tag match that we have seen before to one that I think we will all remember for some time. Of course the real slam of the night was the shot that Mercury took with the ladder on the teeter totter spot. His face looked like he just went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime. No doubt that was about the sickest spot I have seen this year. After all was said and done, I was a little surprised to see London and Kendrick hold the belts, but man, they deserved it after this one.

Miz vs Boggeyman was about as bad as I thought it would be, and the only thing to come out of the match was that it was nice for the first time ever to see Boogeyman actually sell an offensive move. Maybe he will have a good match in his career before he gets fired again by WWE, but I wouldn't hold my breath on it.

Benoit and Guerrero was another solid match, and I don't know where they are going to take this feud now that Benoit has beaten him a few times on PPV. Unless they do a switch on SmackDown this week or something like that, I don't know how much longer they can drag this thing out. I really felt that Guerrero would win it here, and the interference from Vicki would have been the perfect spot to do it, but I guess not.

Helms vs Yang was also pretty strong, but the crowd was totally dead and it took away from anything this match had to offer. I wish that the crowd would have given this one a chance, because if you watch it without any sound, you would be entertained and realize that it was a pretty solid match. No surprise at all to see that Helms won, and I am beginning to think he's going to have this belt for quite some time.

The Last Ride match was okay, but I thought it under delivered just a little. I am a big Kennedy and Taker fan, and have enjoyed their previous matches, but I think either they were too concerned about the crowd here, or just didn't have it to click on this one night. They had good previous matches, but this one dragged and I thought the high spot that Taker took was pretty lame considering that from the moment that it took place you could tell that the crowd didn't buy it. I just didn't get that big match vibe from this one, and even the blood and near finishes were a bit dragged on. This was not a good way to end this feud.

I won't even really comment on the women's contest, since it was pretty lame. The main event with Batista-Cena vs Finley and Booker was okay, but while the crowd was into it, the match itself was kind of a snoozer, and the ending was sort of under whelming. I think and hope we have seen the last of Batista and Booker working together, as I don't know if I have ever really seen those two have a good match. Even the big match at Survivor Series with the belt change with those two was not very good. I think the match overall did what it was supposed to, but again, for the hype the last two matches didn't deliver like I thought they should.

Again though, this was heads and tails better than that crap they threw on us at the start of the month from ECW, and the ladder match made this thing a must see in my opinion. A solid effort from the SmackDown brand, despite the fact they needed a little help from the RAW side to get it done.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Look at Sunday's WWE Armageddon

WWE Armageddon will take place Sunday evening from Richmond, VA. The card is made up of a main event which features two champs - John Cena and Batista, taking on King Booker and Finley. I am holding firm that I think this will be the start of interaction with Cena and Batista that will lead to a match at WrestleMania in Detroit.

The rest of the card appears as follows:
Undertaker vs Kennedy in a "Last Ride" match
Kane vs MVP in an "Inferno Match"
Miz vs Boogeyman
London and Kendrick vs Dave Taylor and William Regal for the WWE Tag Titles
Jimmy Wang vs Gregory Helms for the Cruiserweight Title
Chris Benoit vs Chavo Guerrero for the US Title

For a SmackDown show, this is actually a pretty decent card. You have a main event with the RAW champ, two major stip matches with Taker and Kane involved, and then three title matches to go along with a bad match with Miz and Boogeyman. Overall - not too bad of an effort from the booking department, now we just have to see how it all plays out.

I like the main event, even though it will likely get thrown in the middle of the card. I can't see Cena and Batista going at it after the match for any reason, but something is bound to happen to continue their interaction that I again think will lead to some match at WM with the two.

The two stip matches with Kane and Taker I can see going a few ways. They really need to protect Kennedy here, so I think they will somehow again find a way for him to win. Probably tons of interference, mostly from MVP will help that happen. Kane should go over on MVP, as I think we're gonna see MVP slip to being a mid-card type of guy that can win some weeks and lose some weeks.

Look for the Taker vs Kennedy match to be pushed last, as I think that it's the singles match with the most star power. Reminds me of last years WWE Armageddon when Taker took on Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell. That match was last of the night, with a meaningless tag with Batista and Mystero vs RAW's Kane and Big Show middle of the card.

I think we'll see the demise of London and Kendrick on this show, as those two are going to start a program of matches in the dead of winter months coming up. They lose the tag belts here, and then within a week or two are going at it for the love of Ashley. Looks very much like Kendrick is the heel of these two, and I think that a title switch is in the works on this one.

Don't know what direction they are going with the Chavo vs Benoit angle. The match at the last PPV was very good, and many had Chavo winning the strap. Same here, if he doesn't win, what good does it do for this feud to continue? They are scheduled for a series of house show matches for the next month or so, which means that a title switch would keep the feud hot.

The Miz - Boogeyman is a squash, as Boogeyman will come out with his same old tatics and eventually win the match with his limited offense. I thought the WWE was doing the right thing with firing this guy, but for some reason they felt that bringing him back was a good move. Think again.

Wang and Helms should be solid as well, but no reason to think that Helms would lose the belt here. Wang's "girlfriend" Amy was given the boot by the WWE earlier this week, so now I guess he'll go it alone.

Overall, should be a decent outing from the "B" brand. Look for Friday nights taping to be nothing more than a series of interviews and short matches to build up this card. One thing to remember, this show can't possibly be as bad as the ECW outing earlier this month.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

RAW 12/11

Monday Night RAW I felt was one of the better shows that the company has put on TV for some time. It had the drama of three solid matches, storylines that continued to progress things towards the next PPV, and not a lot of wasted time with comedy skits and matches that really didn't mean anything. The three matches of note that I thought did an excellent job for future matches included Cena vs Nitro, Umaga vs Hardy and DX & Flair vs Kenny and Edge & Orton. Again, a very straight forward show that didn't waste much time.

Even the womens match had some meaning, with Torrie taking a beating from Victoria, setting up what will be a womens title match at the PPV between champion Mickie and challenger Victoria. I am glad for once that they didn't just rush Victoria into a match with Mickie after she won the womens battle royale a few weeks back.

The opener with Cena vs Armando was well done, and did its job. It furthers the feud with Umaga and Cena, which I think is going to be a solid series of matches, and it didn't have some hookey finish with Armando somehow coming out on top. It was a squash, and it should have been. On the other hand, I enjoyed the Umaga vs Hardy match, and despite it more or less being a squash, it didn't hurt Hardy in the least, and pushed Umaga even more for the title match at the PPV. I also am really in favor of Cena and Umaga not being able to "touch" until the PPV match, as it gets old each week leading up to a PPV where one guy gets over, and then the next week the other guy gets over. This is the way it really should be done all the time.

It's also a good thing to have Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin back as a tag team. You knew after the match last week they would be back together, but you never really had a reason why, which I think they should have talked about a bit. Nevertheless, it was cool to see them together again, and I look forward to more of them in the weeks and months to come.

The HHH vs Edge and then the six-man tag with DX and Flair vs Edge, Orton and Kenny was also well done, and had a solid finish. Looks like we'll have a Kenny vs Flair match at the PPV, and if all is right then to get Kenny over he should win the match. DX vs Orton and Edge is also set for the PPV, but I did think they should take this to the next level with a stip. They very well may have this be a two-month thing and have them in a match at the Rumble with a stip, since it looks as if none of these men are going to be in any sort of main event at Mania.

The storyline with K-Fed vs Cena also got a push with the Nitro vs Cena match, and the phone call with Nitro, Melina and K-Fed. I am wondering what they are going to do with that match on the 1st, and think that it could either be a total Cena squash, or some sort of outside interference may cost Cena the match and K-Fed goes over, as unreal as that may seem. The best part about all this - they are keeping the fans guessing, which is a good thing.

With all that went on, it was a very good show that will continue the push for the next PPV in about 3 weeks. I like all they are going forward with, and it seems that Cena is the main storyline for three plots upcoming - his WM match that seems bound to happen with Batista, his next PPV match with Umaga, and his New Years Night match with Kevin Federline. While it all may seem to get lost in the shuffle, they are doing a good job not losing focus on any of those matches that will be upcoming.

Monday, December 11, 2006

SmackDown and Upcoming PPV Thoughts

Six days away from the next PPV, and with the two matches with special stips, this PPV cannot possibly be as bad as last Sunday's ECW performance. I think that the tag main with Cena and Batista vs Booker and Finley is clearly the setup for what is looking more and more like the main for WrestleMania, with that being Batista and Cena.

The thought of that match has me thinking of the last two face vs face main events for Mania is years past, which was Hogan and Warrior at WM 6 in Toronto, and Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart at WM 12 in Anaheim. Both matches were memorable and made for good main events. WWE has pushed for years the Michaels-Hart Ironman match at WM 12 as the best WM match of all-time, but many fans actually call the Hart-Steve Austin match at WM 13 as the best WM match ever.

I don't know if I have a favorite WM match. I can say that the atmosphere and energy that I was a part of for WM 19 in Toronto when Rock took on Hogan was by far the most energy I have ever felt for a match, but many do not reference that match as one of their favorites in WM history. So, I guess the debate will go on as to the best WM match ever. As for Cena and Batista, if this indeed is the main for this year in Detroit, it should be a good one. Both men are over, and both have been cheered and booed as both faces and heels. I don't see either turning heel for the match, but if the crowd is like it was last year in Chicago, I can see Batista getting the majority of cheers from the crowd.

As for SmackDown on Friday night, a decent show which again was a solid build up for the Sunday PPV in Richmond. The two stip matches are being pushed heavily, and it will clearly show us what type of long term talent the WWE will have with Kennedy and MVP. The two matches simply have to highlight them, and despite the fact that I think both of them will lose, the two matches really should make them in the long run.

Kennedy is going to be a star, and I think he has shown already that he can be one of the brightest guys out there. At 31 years old, he has a long enough time to make a name for himself in this business, and I think that he and Taker will be pushed as the main for the card. MVP may be a short term star for the company. He's 36, and has already had pretty storied past as he served 9 and a half years in prison for robbery. Interesting that WWE has never used that real life incident in any way. They also play him off as being much younger, and as a guy that can last long term. We shall see.

The other storylines from the show was the continued soon-to-be breakup of London and Kendrick, as soon they will feud over the services of Ashley. You can see already that Kendrick is going to be the one turning heel. Chris Benoit and Chavo Guerrero will continue their feud as Benoit had a squash win over Sylvan. Jimmy Wang, who I think has won about 2 matches on TV, for some reason is now the #1 contender and will get a shot at Gregory Helms on Sunday's PPV.

Other than that, all eyes turn to RAW tonight, as the build up for the January 7th PPV is in effect, with HHH vs Edge, Cena vs Armando and other matches getting set to be announced.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ECW 12/5

ECW on Sci-Fi Tuesday night was highlighted by a title match between new champion Bobby Lashley and Big Show that will be the last match we see out of Show for awhile. It also is the last show for the at least near future for Paul Heyman, as the angle of where he was told to leave at RAW on Monday was actually true, and for the time being, he is gone.

I feel with this brand that they are in the fourth quarter and they are down two touchdowns and about to make a quarterback change. It basically now is up to the teams head coach, in this case Vince McMahon, to finally right a lot of the wrongs with this brand and make it watchable again. Reports say it was McMahon that made a lot of the last minute changes and decisions for Sunday's PPV, which scares me based on how bad the PPV was. Yet after it was all said and done, Heyman was the guy taking the fall.

As far as Lashley goes, I don't have a problem with him winning the title or being the champion, but as stated here last week, I would have loved to see some up and comer like C.M. Punk get a shot with the strap. Lashley has your typical size and look of a world champion, but let's remember that the highest rated champion on any TV this year was Rey Mystero, and I thought Punk could have sort of played that role of the underdog champion who TV viewers turn on each week to see overcome the odds.

Instead they went with the safe choice of Lashley, who it was obvious they brought in just for the sake of bringing in an outsider to win the belt. He really needs to work on his overall character and get working on his mic skills in order to become a champion that anyone cares about. His feat of strength last night in slamming Show was impressive, but no more impressive than when John Cena gave Show the FU at the Survivor Series two weeks ago. He's not Andre, and even he (Andre) was slammed quite a bit his last 2-3 years as a pro.

RVD and Punk beat Test and Hardcore Holly via DQ in an okay opener. Tommy Dreamer, selling a shoulder injury from Sunday, overcame Davari, but then was squashed on a chair by Kahli, and Kelly Kelly rolled up and beat Ariel in a weak match. The post match saw Mike Knox try to get back with Kelly, only to throw roses in her face and then laid her out with his finishing move.

Again, a lot of work has to be done with this show if its going to be even close to the level of SmackDown or RAW. I think that a combined PPV with SmackDown and ECW would do both good, as it would give a fresh look to two brands that tend to struggle on their own. ECW will not return to TV till next Saturday due to an overseas tour. Let's hope a lot happens between now and then to make this train wreck better.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

RAW 12/4 & Heyman Goes Home

Monday nights RAW from Charleston SC was an okay show with some pretty decent building of upcoming storylines, but some pretty bad wrestling that took some of the advancement of storylines down a notch. The highlight of the night was the brawl that took place between Umaga and John Cena to further their storyline going into the main event for the New Years PPV on January 7th in Kansas City.

Umaga and Cena has the makings of being a very solid program, and I do like the direction they are taking those two in. Of course what you will see over the next 3 weeks of live RAW (there will not be a live show on Christmas) is the two of them going back and forth a lot. Monday Coach announced that the two, Umaga and Cena, cannot touch each other prior to the PPV, but why do I think a loophole will be coming to make that null and void?

Five matches on the show, the best being the main event which was a 8-man tag with MNM and Orton and Edge vs DX and the Hardys. Of course Matt Hardy, as usual, was made the scapegoat and lost with a spear from Edge. Overall though, it was a good match, and they even threw in the use of Kenny, who I guess will be the only Spirit Squad character to still be around after last week. Kenny spoke to Edge and Orton on camera at one point about wanting to be out there vs DX, and by the end of the night, he was getting a beat down by DX. It will be interesting to see what they do with him in the long run.

A bad tag match with the Highlanders vs Cade and Murdoch, a weak womans match with Maria and Victoria, Carlito and Vis, and Shelton Benjamin and Super Crazy were the other four matches. Those four matches all were pretty bad, with the Benjamin - Crazy match being the only one I would rate as okay. Charlie Hass came out at the end of that match to celebrate with a confused Benjamin, meaning that within two weeks the two will be a tag team again, which is a great move for two wasted guys.

Another attempt at the heel turn was also on the show, as Eugene beat up Val Venis during a weak "kiss me" segment. Another segment that has to be pointed out is the open, which had Cena and Melina going back and forth, promoting the New Year's Day match with he and K-Fed. Chris Masters came out and tried to attack Cena at the end, which lead to the "Masterlock Challenge" match the two had that saw Cena reverse the hold and come out on top. Masters' stock has really dropped since coming back a few months ago.

That was it for the show, again, I decent show in which the storyline advancement was solid, but the matches were all pretty weak minus the main event. The other big story on Monday was reported on WWE.Com with Paul Heyman being "sent home" after showing up at the tapings in Charleston. WWE is taking it like fact, and even had wrestlers commenting on it. It could very well be an angle that will eventually lead to his return. After Sunday night though, the ECW brand needs a major overhaul, and if Heyman is the problem, then get him out of there and get someone else in there that can do the job - fast.

Monday, December 04, 2006

ECW PPV a Total Bust

Sunday nights ECW "December to Dismember" will go down as the beginning of the end of the ECW brand. The show, a total of about two hours and 16 minutes, was filled with nothing but squash matches with lower rated talent, and the main event, which ended up being a showcase for Bobby Lashley to overcome the odds at the end and win the title. This came with a hostile crowd waiting for blood, some major bumps, and then at various points chanting "boring" and "TNA."

First off, they took Sabu out of the main event, as it seems that rumors have it that he is on his way out of the ECW brand. He wants out, and must have done something pretty bad to earn the "backstage beating" to take him out of the main event. The crowd was mad about this, and the fact that it wasn't a surprise wrestler coming in to replace Sabu but Hardcore Holly made it even worse.

The elimination of both RVD and C.M. Punk left the crowd with just one fan favorite, and you could tell it was the least like fan favorite in Lashley. It's not that Lashley is a bad guy, or a bad worker, but its just that on this nite you could tell that the crowd really wanted it to go to either RVD or Punk, and since they didn't get that, they sort of turned on the whole match.

The rest of the night was snooze-fest, with the opening of Hardys vs MNM being the only other highlight. The match was well worked, and got the night off to a promising start. It went downhill from there. With the Hardys getting the win, things quickly turned ugly, as we had to put up with a Matt Striker vs Balls Mahoney match, a Elijah Burke & Sylvester Terkay vs. FBI match, Daivari vs. Tommy Dreamer, and then the worst bout of the night, a Mike Knox & Kelly Kelly vs. Kevin Thorn & Ariel. All the matches were pretty bad, and it seems like they really did nothing to advance any programs, nor was there any build to these matches, so the crowd didn't care.

This show really killed this brand, and I really thought that they would pull out some stops for this one - surprises, major use of weapons, some blood. You get the point. Instead, it was boring, never had any point, and I feel bad for anyone that spent $40 on what turned out to be a total waste of time.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Look at the Upcoming ECW PPV

The ECW brand of WWE is going to have to come up with a supreme showing on Sunday night as the company presents ECW's first PPV - "December to Dismember." The event, which will be show live from Atlanta, has all the looks of being a total bomb, and could mark the beginning of the end for the short-lived ECW brand of WWE. As of Thursday, reports were that only about 1,700 tickets had been sold for the event, and that they are going to have to paper the house beyond belief to make this thing look like a WWE type PPV crowd.

The main event, one of just two matches that have been officially announced, is going to try and highlight the good for ECW - six men in an "extreme" elimination chamber match for the ECW title, held by Big Show. Give Show credit, as since getting the strap back in July, I have felt that he may be one of the bright spots of the ECW brand, and his title reign has seemed to have given him renewed focus and made him a better performer.

The night is sure to end with a new champion, as it is widely known that Show needs to take time off for injuries and a break. Out of the other five men in the match - RVD, Sabu, Test, C.M. Punk, and Bobby Lashley, the favorite going in has to be Lashley. I am not a huge supporter of Lashley, as his mic skills are awful, and his in-ring skills are marginal at best. Of course he does have the look and the size that Vince McMahon likes, and maybe they think with the belt he will shine.

I would love to see a total change up thrown at the fans Sunday and have the most up and coming wrestler win the belt - C.M. Punk. It's not the type of move that McMahon and WWE would make, but if you look at the crowd reaction that Punk gets week in and week out, it rivals the strongest for the brand, and some weeks is the strongest. The company has to have some big long-term plans for Punk, and giving him the belt here would be a solid way to jump start his career, and possibly energize the brand as a whole.

Of course in the end, I think you'll see either Lashley or RVD get the strap, and with Show out of the picture for awhile, the likely guy to step up and be the top heel seems to be Test. I have always felt that Test had the look, talent, and ability to be a solid heel, and this will be the shot for him to show that.

I am severely concerned with the rest of the card, as it looks to be a total bomb, and even as I write this they are scrambling to get some star power from RAW and SmackDown on the show. They have already thrown together a match with the Hardy's and the old MNM tag team of Nitro and Mercury. That will be a solid match, but as the second biggest match on the card? Give me a break.

They also have yet to release it, but you've got Tommy Dreamer and Daivari, which is just another way to see Khali have someone to destroy at the end of the match, and Sandman vs Hardcore Holly, which could be a solid match with the way both men are stiff workers and don't have a problem with punishment.

I can see some surprises coming as well for this event, as they only have one more TV tonight along with the WWE website and word of mouth over the next 48+ hours to get people to buy this event. There is a thought that as with this possibly being the last ECW only PPV, maybe the thought of doing what they are doing with house shows should translate to PPV's - which is combine the ECW brand with the SmackDown brand. Let's face it, no one really is that into either brand, so let's throw them together for PPV's and see the results. It can't be any worse that what we are going to see on Sunday.

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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