Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Latest WWE News and Notes

Things have sure picked up over the last week in the WWE with the Rumble, and now with WrestleMania in our sights, there is plenty of news and notes to talk about.

* Tonight's ECW main event (if you want to call it that) is Bobby Lashley AGAIN defending his title against Test. As if the first two matches with these two were not bad enough, here we go with a third edition of the same match we've seen twice already in the last seven days. The only thing I can think is that there is an angle being set up where either the match never takes place, or someone interferes which will start to put in motion the angle for Lashely and his opponent for WM 23. My gut reaction is somehow Hardcore Holly gets involved, but that's just a guess. I just hope that another Test- Lashley match doesn't happen and something happens to halt that match.

* Speaking of ECW, internet rumors are swirling that Vince McMahon was upset after the 1/16 tapings and has quietly made it known that the brand as a whole is on life support. This is not much of a surprise, as the brand is a far third behind RAW and SmackDown, and never really puts out good TV week in and week out. That could be the reason they quickly moved Kahli to RAW, and I would not be surprised to see some of the other talent moved and the whole brand shut down shortly after Mania in the spring.

* With the Hall of Fame talk heating up, there is word that Vince is also upset about a radio interview in which the names of those being considered were openly discussed by Hulk Hogan. Story has it that the names were brought up by someone at WWE (Ann Russo, Johnny Ace's secretary) when Hogan was on the Bubba the Love Sponge show. Hogan's HOF picks were Bossman, Curtis Iaukea, Dusty Rhodes, Randy Savage, Samoans, Von Erichs, Rick Rude, Bushwhackers and Howard Finkel. Word is that Russo almost quit when she found out how bad she messed up.

* According to reports, the push that C.M. Punk was getting is all but done. His backstage attitude has landed him in the doghouse, and any sort of move to SmackDown or even RAW is now out of the question.

RAW 1/29

It seems you can already tell that WrestleMania is closing in, as the WWE had a hot show last night on RAW to start building some pretty interesting angles for the upcoming super card that will take place on April 1st in Detroit. Rumors started Monday that the card for Mania, which had the main events reportedly set over the weekend, were getting an overhaul, and that new things would happen on RAW to make that happen. If that is the case, and I believe it is, you could tell that the angles they are setting up are directly due to the huge push that Shawn Michaels is getting since HHH's injury, as well as the indecision as to who should fight John Cena at Mania.

The main event was a solid tag match built off an earlier angle that saw Michaels and Cena team up to take on and defeat Rated RKO for the WWE tag belts. The match was built after Michaels declared that he wanted a shot at Cena at Mania, then both Edge and Randy Orton stated the same thing. This led Vince McMahon, who I am afraid is going to be on TV WAY too much in the next two months, making the tag title match for the main event. The show ended with the Rumble winner - the Undertaker, showing up and standing on the ramp staring down Cena, as if he is going to declare he wants Cena at Mania instead of Batista. Before that they teased Michaels giving Cena sweet chin music, but backed off and went face to face with Cena before Taker appeared.

I personally love the angles they started last night, and despite it looking like the two main events are set for Mania, I think its good to keep options open and have the option in going a few different directions. It reminds me of two years ago when Batista won the Rumble, then went back and forth between taking on JBL and HHH before finally going face and taking on Hunter for the belt. The main events for Mania now look as follows - Undertaker vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship (I'm already leaning towards Taker), and on the RAW side - a fatal four way between Michaels, Edge, Orton and Cena for the WWE title (Cena I would pick today to win this one).

The other angle they started was the Trump vs McMahon feud, as Donald showed up on the Titan tron to berate Vince when he was in the ring doing an ego filled interview about how great he is. Then, in a wild turn of events, real money started falling from the rafters. How crazy that must have been to be there as bills of all different amounts fell into peoples hands. I would love to know the exact amount that the company spent for what I thought was a very strong angle. You can expect that angle to of course turn into a match with Trump in someones corner (Hogan?) and McMahon also in someones corner (Shane O-Mac?).

Most of the rest of the show was okay, with matches including the Worlds Greatest Tag Team over Cryme Tyme (I think their first loss), Melina beating Maria, setting up the Women's title match at Mania, Umaga over Val Venis (a rare RAW shot for Val), Carlito and Super Crazy over Chris Masters and Kenny, and finally Khali over Jeff Hardy by countout. The nice thing about this show was they have now 8 TV's before Mania, and I thought that they did a strong job of starting a bunch of things that should lead to some great matches at that event.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Royal Rumble Post Thoughts and Commentary

Sunday night in San Antonio the WWE presented its 20th Royal Rumble, and with it I thought was one of the stronger cards the company has put on in sometime. They had a total of five matches, three of which were title matches, and a tag match and then the Rumble itself. You did have one match that was out and out brutal, which was of course the ECW title match between Test and Bobby Lashley. Then you had the okay, which was Batista vs Ken Kennedy, and then you had possibly John Cena's best match of his career, as he beat Umaga in a Last Man Standing match.

The Rumble itself was very good, as it came down to the two guys I thought it should have come down to - the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. I am reading that a lot of people were upset thinking that Michaels should have won, and therefore gotten the shot at Mania vs Cena. That was not to be, as I predicted about a month ago that Taker would win the Rumble and move to Mania to take on Batista, and that is the plan they went with and will go with for the big show in Detroit.

The match came down to Edge, Orton, and then Taker and Michaels, and they saved Taker and HBK for last, which I thought was a good move on their part. If it would have come down to Taker and Rated RKO, or Michaels and Rated RKO, the outcome would have been sort of lame duck. But, Taker and Shawn did a tremendous job of back and forth for about 6 mintues before Taker finally was able to throw out Shawn for the win. The aftermatch reaction from Michaels was great as well, and all in all it came across as a good job with a good outcome. It also leaves that mystery about what is now going to happen with Cena and who he takes on at Mania. My guess is a triple threat with he, and Rated RKO. They could also do a fatal-four way with Michaels thrown in there as well.

The Cena-Umaga match may have been my favorite match of the last six months. I thought they did it very well, and both men really stepped up to the plate for this one. Forget about Cena for a minute, but how about props to Umaga for what he pulled off? Despite the loss for him, he still I thought was protected well, and I think that he still has a strong match coming for Mania, possibly against Hulk Hogan. I think that the story about how he just kept getting up and fighting back really came across well. Plus Cena did a great job with the match too, and I liked that they didn't stress too much time on the injury angle that was dumb from the word go. Both men deserve major credit for this one, and this match and the Rumble for sure made the card.

The other two title matches were lackluster, as the Batista-Kennedy match was kind of tough to watch. I just can't get over how bad Batista has become since the injury last year. It's tough to watch him anymore, and you can see how Kennedy had to totally carry him again in this match. You can bet that Taker will have to do the same at Mania in Detroit. The ending of the match was good though, as Batista came back and got Kennedy in a bomb to end the match and retain the title. I hope that Taker and Batista do a lot of work on their match for Mania, and that we finally see Batista let go and have a good match for once. It's been too long since that has taken place.

As for the Lashley vs Test nightmare, that is exactly what it was - a nightmare. Please don't ever put these two in a ring together again. It was just awful from the word go, and neither guy really had much to give here. I don't gather what the point was of Test getting counted out after a simple clothesline? Test is supposed to be this big, hulking guy that can beat up anyone, and then he takes a count out in a title match? I have yet to understand the booking of that, as well as why he and Lashely went at it on ECW on Teusday night. I guess for now they will likely put Lashley with Hardcore Holly, who isn't much better but should give a better match to Lashley then Test.

As for the tag match, well done, typical stuff that got the show off to a good start. I really thought they would let MNM go over here to tease a WM showdown with TLC or just ladders. We still may see that, but for that to happen they have to get the belt of Jeff in my opinion so it can be defended at Mania.

It was a good night for WWE, and I thought they got a good start on Mania and the Smackdown PPV - No Way Out, later in Feburary. RAW should be interesting tonight as to what route they take with Mania and the WWE title, as well as what Micahels has to do with it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Royal Rumble Thoughts and Predictions

One of the biggest WWE PPV's of the year takes place Sunday in San Antonio as the Royal Rumble kicks off the true "Road to Wrestlemania." The event is always one of the top for the company, and the event has been sold out for some time. They have four matches to be set around the Rumble, and three of those four are title matches. Below is a preview of the event along with predicted outcomes.

Hardy's vs MNM - These four have been going at it for awhile, and the ladder match at the December PPV in which Joey Mercury broke his nose was one of the best in a long time. Now they will have a chance to go at it alone without the other two teams, and this should also be a solid match. Mercury will still be somewhat limited, and I look for a basic, but solid, match as these two head for a ladder or TLC showdown for Mania. I'll take MNM to win to build up the WM stip rematch.

Bobby Lashley vs Test for the ECW Title - I have no idea what these two are going to show us that won't be different from their match on free TV Tuesday night. Test is a kick-punch guy with limited ability, as is Lashley. Look for a lot of brawling in this one, and unless they want to really throw a swerve in there, Lashley should go over clean again. There is always a shot that Bob Holly gets involved, but even if he does, Lashley wins it anyway. Take Lashley to retain.
Ken Kennedy vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Title - Batista is headed for a WM showdown with the Undertaker, and this is just a warmup for that match. Kennedy is a good opponent for Batista, as he can take a bump and make the champ look strong for the WM showdown. Down the road Kennedy deserves a shot to be a champion, but as for this one, he's is a tough spot that will simply have him be nothing more than a stepping stone for the Champ. Batista wins clean.

Umaga vs John Cena in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Title - The biggest question here really isn't about this match, but it's who Cena will move on to face at Mania. Last year his match with HHH was a shoe-in once he beat Edge to regain the belt at the Rumble, but this year is a lot more up in the air. Umaga has lost a ton of steam as a major heel, and his challenge has been taken down a notch with the PPV loss and a few Cena beat downs. Of course they are playing this as Cena being hurt big time after the attack Monday night, but whatever, Cena wins clean, goes over big, and moves on to a big question mark for Mania.

Royal Rumble for a Title shot at Mania - Despite there being 30 men in this event, everyone knows that there truly is only about 5-6 wrestlers that can walk out of this thing with the win and the WM title shot. Those men include Undertaker, Shawn Michales, Randy Orton, Edge, Chris Benoit and the Great Kahli. The only reason I throw Kahli in there is due to size and the unreal push that he has had recently on RAW. As for Benoit, he's still one of the best, and while there is no way he will win, he would have a great match with Batista if ever given the chance. There are really three ways they can go with this, with the obvious winner being the Undertaker, to directly set up a match with he and Batista at WM.

The next choice would be Michaels, who suddenly is a huge singles star again with HHH out. The Rumble is in his hometown, and would set up a very interesting match with he and Cena at Mania. Once again, a win for him would be a direct setup for Mania, and you could still have an angle getting Batista and Taker together, an angle that has already started.

Third would be Orton, who after Michaels is the next logical choice for Cena at Mania. Not sure if they want double face title matches on the biggest card of the year, but if not, Orton is the guy to get the shot, despite what is more and more looking like he and Edge will find a way to battle at Mania.

In the end, I will stick with my original choice, and that is the Undertaker. Michaels has won two Rumbles, Taker none, and I am not convinced that Michales-Cena is the overall plan for Mania. Taker is the safe choice, with Michales gaining momentum fast as the possible winner.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mania Rumors Picking Up on the Web

Rumors, sometimes true and most of the time false, are always hot and heavy in the world of Pro Wrestling, and the internet is full of information, and most of the time - misinformation as to what is going to happen in the ring. With WrestleMania 23 about 2+ months away, the rumors out of numerous websites will be many, but the facts few. So take below for what it is worth about the biggest event of the year, as I have searched and grabbed a few rumors that seem to be making the rounds about the event:

The one rumor that does appear to be closer than ever to being true is a match between Undertaker and Batista. SmackDown programming over the past few weeks seems to be gearing up towards a match with those two, and a Taker win at the Rumble Sunday sets it up perfectly. They will sell this match with Taker putting his undefeated WM streak on the line vs Batista's title. I think this rumor will become fact after the Rumble Sunday night.

Another rumor is that they may actually pass over the Taker winning Sunday and give the Rumble win to Shawn Michaels. The last two weeks Michaels has been on fire on RAW, and with HHH out for at least 5-6 months, it looks more and more as if Michaels is going to go it alone without a partner. The Rumble is in Michales' hometown of San Antonio, and a win sets up a classic face vs face match between he and John Cena at Mania. Of course having two face vs face main events might be a bit much, but it can happen. I just don't see it. The rumor mill has either Edge or Randy Orton vs Cena, and with Edge and Cena having fought about 1,000 times over the last year, I go with Orton vs Cena as the RAW main event for the WWE Title. I think right now if that is the case, you will see Batista vs Taker as the last match on the show as the REAL main event.

On to Hulk Hogan. There is no doubt that Hogan will be part of the show as long as money can be worked out, and trust me, with the dough they are going to make off this show, that should not be an issue. As far as who Hogan fights, there are three names that have popped up on various sites: The Great Kahli, Umaga, or Shane McMahon. The McMahon named popped up out of the blue the other day, and the rumor stated that Shane would be managed by Vince, while Hogan would have Donald Trump in his corner. Wow. I still think in the end it will be Kahli vs Hogan, as that would be the closet remake to Hogan vs Andre that they have now that it looks as if there is no way Big Show will be back for the show.

I have stated more than once the MNM vs Hardy's match, with some sort of stip like TLC or ladders. Numerous wrestling sites now have that as well, so where there is smoke there's fire. Count on that match happening.

The other rumor I had that will happen is something with Steve Austin. As stated here before, Austin's WWE movie is out at the end of April, and they need to have his face on TV and on the biggest show of the year to give it a push.

ECW 1/23

ECW on Tuesday night from Mobile, Alabama was chock full of some of the oddest booking we have seen in sometime from the WWE. The main event was scheduled to be Bob Holly vs Bobby Lashley for the ECW Title, but for some unknown reason was swapped with Test for Holly. The odd booking means that with the clean win last night, Lashley is still slated to step into the ring with Test at the Royal Rumble for the belt on Sunday.

I am not sure what direction they are going with what happened last night, other than the next oddest thing that DIDN'T happen was that Holly didn't somehow interfere in the match. Being in Holly's hometown, maybe they got a sense that he would get cheered and Lashley booed? I am not sure on that one, but it would sort of make sense. But then to put a guy that Lashely is supposed to fight in five days in the match? That really didn't make sense. There has to be some sort of storyline that will play out by Sunday that will change that match, that's the only theory I can think of there.

They had a 5-man Battle Royal if you will, basically just getting people pumped for Sunday's Royal Rumble. The five in the ring were RVD, Sabu, Kevin Thorn, Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. Another set of odd booking with four faces and one heel in this one. As you would expect to play out, it came down to the one heel in Thorn and the final remaining face - RVD. After nearly being thrown out a few occassions, RVD rallied to eliminate Thorn and win the match. Not bad, but again, odd booking made it look a little like 4-on-1.

The Alpha Male Marquis Cor Von was back in action, taking on another scrub in Wes Adams. Not much of a match, but Tazz and Joey Styles talk up Cor Von a ton and make him out to be the biggest thing since sliced bread. Needless to say, until I see him in there with some real wrestler I'll hold back my opinion on how this guy is going is going to pan out. Cor Von won easily with a Fujiwara armbar.

Kelly's Expose was back, and it looked like a bad NBA dancer routine with Layla, new ECW Diva Brooke Adams, and Kelly, who still is the most annoying person in my opinion in wrestling today. Every time she opens her mouth it reminds me of nails on a chalkboard. That's how much I cannot stand anything that has to do with her. The three danced and wiggled for about 2-3 minutes to an Ice Cube song, and thankfully were shutdown with an odd Test video, promoting his match with Lashley.

Next was C.M. Punk vs Elijah Burke, which saw Matt Striker doing commentary at ringside. Striker didn't add much to this, and Burke and Punk went back and forth before Punk won with a reversal of a rollup. They never made mention that Burke was on his own without Sylvester Terkay, who was released last week. I think that you will see Burke simply drift back to a Chris Masters type guy at this point, and Punk will continue to feud with Striker.

That was it for this one hour of confusion. I am not sure what direction they will take with Sunday now that Test was beaten cleanly by Lashley, about the only thing I can think is a 3-way with Test, Lashley and Holly. Whatever the case maybe, this was one show that made me scratch my head when it was over.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

RAW 1/22

WWE started its week with a solid RAW last night that I thought did mostly the right things building towards this weekends Royal Rumble in San Antonio. The main event was a street fight highlighted by Shawn Michaels and Edge. The last two weeks they have featured Michaels more and more solo, and it seems that all early indications that someone would join him to take the place of HHH while he is out is now out the window. The match ended with Edge getting the win with help from Randy Orton, but then Orton, in a prelude to the Rumble, threw Edge out of the ring. Ric Flair as well as Kenny and Carlito also showed up, but Michaels stepped it up and ended the show standing after some sweet chin music.

Overall they have done a solid job with DX and Shawn over the last two weeks, and despite the interesting booking to have Michaels go over last week, this week he was strong as well. He seems to be relishing the role again as a singles guy, not having to play off HHH. We'll see where they go from here with DX when Hunter is back in the picture in the early Summer.

As they have the last two weeks, they did scare me with having John Cena more or less lose to the Great Kahli, who as I predicted is one of the last three that will be in the Rumble on Sunday. After an impromptu Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge, Cena was left in with Kahli, who ended the segment throwing him over the top. Umaga came in shortly thereafter, and beat on Cena, furthering their setup for Sunday's Last Man Standing match at the PPV. Cena should win this one Sunday, and if they are thinking he and Kahli for WM 23, the setup will be shortly thereafter.

Most of the other stuff was filler - Chris Masters losing to Super Crazy with a flip into a pin off the Masterlock. Jeff Hardy beat Joey Mercury even with Nitro and Melina involved, setting up their tag match with the Hardys and MNM on Sunday. I still contend we will then see that feud continue into a TLC or Ladders match at Mania on April 1st.

There also was a womens tag match that was okay, and Kenny beat Carlito as the match going into the main event with Michaels and Edge. The highlight of the night was the strong street fight that ended the show, and the put over of Michaels again. He stated he wants to again be champion, but I can't see he and Cena in any sort of program at this time unless they really throw a curveball into the booking for about the next three months.

Monday, January 22, 2007

More Rumble Notes and a Venue Update for Survivor Series

With less than a week to go before the Royal Rumble, the WWE really needs to pick it up this week with their five hours of television. That starts tonight with RAW from New Orleans, and then tomorrow they will have the ECW/SmackDown tapings in Mobile Alabama. The WWE website is chock full of history on the Royal Rumble, and you can tell that the company holds the event in very high regard. With that said, I hope they don't drop the ball on this important week of TV. From the looks of it, we will have a few matches and then the Rumble itself, just like years past. The matches we have lined up are as follows:

John Cena vs Umaga (Last Man Standing) for the WWE Title
Batista vs Ken Kennedy for the World Heavyweight Title
Bobby Lashley vs Test for the ECW Title
Hardys vs MNM

They may add a women's match, but that has yet to be decided. Basically every other big star is in the Rumble, so those four matches plus the Rumble match itself, which usually is about an hour 10 to an hour 20 should be the entire card.

Interesting note is that on the Rumble poster you have Rey Mystero, who has been out since losing to Chavo Guerrero in an "I Quit" match on a SmackDown a while back. He had some knee surgery, and his return to the ring is pending. They have about 27 guys in the match, so you know that the other three guys will stay a mystery until bell time. Another wrestler that would add a TON of interest to the match would be Hulk Hogan. With a match at Mania in Detroit pending, it would be cool to see the Hulkster make an appearance at the event. Of course he couldn't win, but maybe a couple of eliminations and then him getting thrown out would be great nostalgia for the fans. In checking the roster, the other guy I don't see that is a for sure to be in the match is Kahli. Vince McMahon loves his size, and I can see a Kahli-Undertaker final two with the Taker winning the match.

In one last note, there seems to be a change of venues for the 2007 Survivor Series, which from day one was supposed to take place in Montreal. The venue change now has the event taking place in Miami at the American Airlines Arena. Why is this such a big deal? Well, the SS in Montreal would have been the 10th anniversary of the mega-famous Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels "screwjob" finish. With 2nd generation wrestlers like Harry Smith (the son of the late British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith, who was married to Bret Hart's sister) and Natllie Neidhart (daughter of Hart Foundation member Jim Neidhart, former partner of Bret Hart) in the fold, there was talk of having some sort of storyline with them involved somehow with Michaels and finally a sense of revenge for the Hart Family. Evidently, those plans have been scrapped with the change of the event from Montreal to Miami.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

SmackDown 1/19

Friday nights SmackDown was mostly just filler material for the upcoming Royal Rumble on January 28th in San Antonio. The main event of the show was a match between Kennedy and Undertaker. The stip was if Taker won, the SD main event of RR between Kennedy and Batista for the title would turn into a 3-way between Batista, Kennedy and the Undertaker. The match saw Batista at ringside doing commentary, and in the end, he caused a DQ of Taker when he went after Kennedy after Ken gave him a cheap shot. It was an effective way to continue to build the storyline between Taker and Batista, as well as keep next Sunday's title match at the Rumble a 1-on-1 between Kennedy and Batista.

Other highlights of the show was a match between Matt Hardy and Joey Mercury, where Hardy won, but in the end he got beat down by both members of MNM. That beatdown will set up a tag match at the Rumble between the Hardys and MNM, and eventually that will lead to a match at Mania April 1st with a TLC or just a ladder stip added to it. There was a six-man tag with MVP, William Regal & Dave Taylor taking on Vito, Paul London & Brian Kendrick. Not much of a match, and for some reason they are pushing an MVP and Vito feud, which I don't get, but oh well. In the end, it was the heels getting over with MVP getting the pin.

Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero in a no-DQ match for the US title was the best match of the night, and as has been the case for the past few months, Benoit got a win with a submission. Time to let these two face others, as we have now seen this match about 7-8 times over PPV and TV. Benoit has a lot to give, and having him fight one guy over and over and over is getting a bit old. It will be interesting to see what they do with Guerrero from here as well.

They introduced a new tag team - Deuce and Domino. They have a 50's greaser gimmick, and it reminds me basically of two Honkey Tonk Man's instead of one. They also have a girl named Cherry in their corner, and she comes complete with roller skates. Ugh.

That was about it for this show, an okay show that continues to build up the SmackDown side of the Royal Rumble. They are keeping it pretty generic as far as feuds and what not is concerned, and they need to start to push some things first for the Rumble, and then for Mania in a few months.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow Dead at 45

It is always unfortunate when a wrestler goes before his time, and today yet another has met his end at a young ago. It is being reported on numerous websites and former WWE star Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow was found dead this morning by his girlfriend in their home in Hudson, Florida.

No other information has yet to be realeased about the death of the 45-year old. The biggest two memories of Bigelow that I have were his outings in the first ever Survivor Series which I attended in Richfield, Ohio when he battled three guys and lost out to Andre the Giant at the end of the main event. The other would have to be the main event at WrestleMania 11 when he took on former All-Pro linebacker and Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.

I will always remember Bigelow as one of those big men (he went about 350-360) that was able to move around with as much agility as a guy about 225. He adds on to a ever growing list of wrestlers that have gone at such a young age. Thoughts and prayers go out to his girlfriend and his family.

WWE Bids Farewell to Nine Performers

The firing line was out at the WWE headquarters on Thursday, as reports have up to 9 wrestlers being let go by the company. Many of the names are third and fourth tier wrestlers and all were either on the SmackDown or ECW brands, which is of note that no RAW talent was released. Below are the wrestlers that were let go:

Sylvester Terkay - A big man that never really got over on SmackDown, then was moved to ECW where he only wrestled I believe once or twice on TV. The one thing I will recall about Terkay is how JBL spoke him up week after week about his college wrestling record.

Christopher W. Anderson - I think had one TV shot with ECW, and old ECW talent that you could see the company never really had any long-term plans for.

Jazz - At one point was one of the most prominent female wrestlers on the WWE roster, she was involved in numerous womens matches on PPV's including WrestleMania 18 where she beat Trish and Lita to keep the womens title.

Rodney Mack - Husband to Jazz, a guy who has had few go arounds with the company with little to no success.

Tony Mamaluke - A member of the FBI on ECW, was a bigger name in the past with ECW. Involved in a few squash matches with the ECW brand on TV over the past few months.

Danny and Doug Bashams - Two talented guys that were two-time tag champs, they also were on WrestleMania XX at Madison Square Garden. They were serving as Paul Heymans security recently on ECW.

Gymini - Two guys that were alomst identical to the Bashams, they never really got off the ground, even with Simon Dean as their manager.

Al Snow - Snow was let go from his in-ring contract, and will stay with the company as a trainer. He is another guy that has been hired and fired about five times in his career with the company.

Gangrel - Where had/has he been? I don't think we've seen him on TV for about two years, and him being fired doesn't really make an impact whatsoever.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Rumble, Mania and Other Notes and Thoughts

In a somewhat expected move, Bobby Lashley will defend the ECW Title at the Royal Rumble vs Test. These two have been working together at house shows over the past two months or so, and based on the match they had here in Cleveland in late December, I would not get my hopes too high for this one. Lashley's offense is still nothing more than punches, kicks, and a few power moves, and Test's offense is not all that much better. Expect a stall-punch-kick fest between these two that will go about 7-8 minutes and end with a Lashley win.

To date, 27 wrestlers have been slated for the Rumble match, and upon looking at the field, there are not many wrestlers that I would consider first-tier that would even have a shot to make it in the top five. Your A-list wrestlers that even have a remote shot would be as follows: Undertaker, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Edge, Chris Benoit, and King Booker. After that you have mostly filler guys, with wrestlers like Finlay, Hardcore Holly, Kevin Thorn, Viscera, Tommy Dreamer, Carlito and others. I think that based on the program they want for WrestleMania with Batista and Undertaker, the clear choice this year is Taker. It's the easy way to get him a title match at Mania, and after the screwjob on last weeks SmackDown and the weak field for the Rumble, this result seems somewhat easy to predict.

With WrestleMania now being pushed on TV weekly, you can expect there to start being more things announced for the event. As we get closer, the next thing that will come about is the start of wrestlers that will go into the WWE Hall of Fame. As stated here last week, I still think two wrestlers that should get serious consideration this year is Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage. What a perfect spot for them based on their historic match 20 years ago at WrestleMania III at the Silverdome. Tickets and venue info for the HOF should also be close to coming out as well.

Also with Mania upcoming, there is always talk about wrestlers that have not been around for awhile coming back to either actually wrestle, or make an appearance on the show. One name that is sure to be on the show in a wrestling capacity is Hulk Hogan. I don't think with the nostalgia around the event that they are going to not be able to get the Hulkster in the fold. Another recent rumor has the WWE trying to talk to Chirs Jerhico about coming in for an appearance. Y2J has been out of the fold for about a year and a half. Steve Austin, with a WWE produced movie coming out shortly after Mania, should have his face on the show somewhere. Mick Foley usually gets some consideration for either an actual wrestling spot or at least a chance to have his face on the show. One guy that I would love to see and would add instant star power to the show is The Rock. The Great One has not been in a WWE ring for quite sometime, and just a 4-5 minute promo for the now movie star would be a great addition to the show.

RAW got a 4.1 rating on Monday night, which is solid. That number should pick up some now that the NFL Monday Night season is officially over, and there is really no strong competition from sports other than the occasional NBA or NHL game, which is nowhere near as big ratings wise as the NFL. It was good to see the company get totally away from the crap of last week with the garbage skit and get back to wrestling as well as setting up some storylines with the Rumble upcoming and WM just a few months away.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ECW 1/16

All that hype for nothing. That was the feeling after viewing the ECW brand of TV on Tuesday night. While the show for sure was not the worst that the brand has turned out, the main event really had a lot of people feeling empty. The triple-threat was Bobby Lashley putting his ECW Title on the line vs Test and RVD. While we all know that for some strange reason RVD is totally in the doghouse, the match I thought lacked, and in the end it was Lashley going over with a clean pin of RVD after a powerslam. The show ended with Test laying out Lashley with the belt, meaning that no matter if we like it or not, that program is going to continue. I wish they would just give into what the crowd wants, and give RVD a run with the title again.

The show began with the "return" of academy award winning actress Kelly Kelly, who proceeded to come out and bore fans with teases of skin next week with another diva. That interview was cut short by Matt Striker, who looked great in a blue sweater. After he yelled for a few minutes, we had Striker and C.M. Punk, who was a decent match concluding with Punk winning with a backslide after Kelly "exposed" herself to Striker. While Punk is a star in the making, Kelly bores me to death.

The show will be marked with the debut of Monty Brown, or actually "The Alpha Male" Marquis Cor Van, who took on Cassidy Reilly. Brown, who comes from TNA with a lot of backstage fanfare, is a solid addition to the roster, and should be around for some time in a major role. If he does things right, he could have a major impact before its all said and done. He of course got the win over Cassidy with an armbar.

The Sandman vs. Elijah Burke was a pretty bad bout, and they had Burke go over with a roll up of the tights for a cheap win. The match was typical, as it was more about Sandman's entrance than it was about actual wrestling. Then it was on to the main event, wrapping up a show that could have been a lot more than what it was. I had high hopes for the show, and as usual with the ECW brand, I was let down with the end result.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

RAW 1/15

WWE Raw on Monday night really had no place to go other than up based on some of the awful things that were thrown at wrestling fans a week ago. The Rosie-Trump skit that was one of the worst in WWE history was openly mocked by Vince McMahon, Carlito, and the crowd this week, and it was nice to see that they took a bad thing and basically put it to bed. Hopefully for the future, Vince will think twice before trying to run out stupid skits like that, and instead just stick to wrestling and things in the ring.

The show was built on a 2-1 match featuring Rated RKO vs Shawn Michaels. It was done as a match that was supposed to be the death of DX, but instead was a great showing from Michaels, and a beatdown of Rated RKO that ended with him winning by DQ, then using the sledgehammer to pound both men before wrapping up the show using a double chair shot on Orton.

Many, including myself, has wondered about the direction of this feud with HHH gone, and wonder if someone would come in to help DX. I still think in the long run someone will, but right now the writers are even unsure of who to use, and instead of forcing the wrong person, decided just to use Michaels in a spirited effort to beat off Edge and Orton, at least for one week. I am sure that the beat down of Michaels will happen soon, and when it does, you can bet that the rumor mill will be hot and heavy with who will be on his side for round two.

I also am more and more impressed with what they have turned Rated RKO into. I love the fact that they have gone from just normal old heels to now the level of "super" heels, and guys that week after week use totally sinister tactics to get over. I think that while we all knew that Orton and Edge were bad, in the long run, these two guys are going to stay at the top level of being bad guys for a long time to come. I can even see an eventual feud with Orton and Cena in 2007 for the WWE title.

They also pushed, as expected, a rematch with Umaga and Cena for the belt at the Royal Rumble in two weeks, and made it a "Last Man Standing" match. An interesting call on this one, as it seems that with the most likely thing happening with Umaga losing he is going to lose a lot of steam with the loss here, since it will be a total beatdown that gets him to lose. The only other thing I can think of is some sort of shady finish where Umaga can't answer the count of 10 after he gets "pinned" with some sort of object. I think they did this in the forgettable Chris Jerhico-Kane feud a few years back in a Last Man Standing match at a PPV, where Y2J won with that finish.

Jeff Hardy and Maria beat Nitro and Melina in a mixed tag, Ric Flair used the tights to beat Kenny Dykstra in another of their series of what seems like 100 matches. Mickie James beat Victoria in a womens title match rematch from the PPV clean, all but ending that feud. In the oddball segment of the night, Chris Masters pulled a "Masterlock Challenge" and Ron Simmons came out. As it appeared that Simmons may actually break the hold, Super Crazy jumped in and attacked Masters. Crazy was trying to get the crowd to cheer for him, but it was just a bad segment from the start.

As for the Carlito, McMahon segment, it was good to see that they mocked their own disaster from a week ago, and stated that the crowd didn't want to see such garbage again in a WWE ring. Of course just to run it in how bad last weeks skit was, they replayed it about 3 times, before finally pulling the plug on it. As Carlito and McMahon were about to get it on, Kahli came in, beat up Carlito and laid him out with a chokeslam. I still have this uneasy feeling about Kahli and Cena at Mania, don't ask me why.

The show though overall was much better than last week, and we'll see what else gets built around Cena-Umaga for the Rumble on the RAW side next week. I am assuming we'll see another round of Michaels vs Orton and Edge in some fashion, and I think in the next 2-3 weeks we'll see a beat down of Jeff Hardy as they get set to set up the match at Mania with the Hardy's and MNM.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

SmackDown 1/12

The week of TV for WWE has concluded, and with it we have one official match now ready for the Royal Rumble which will be two weeks from tomorrow in San Antonio. Based on the results from last night's SmackDown, the World Heavyweight Title will be on the line as Ken Kennedy will take on Batista. Now I now that Kennedy is an up and comer and a guy that will have a long future in the WWE if he stays healthy, but based on what it looks like they are planning for Mania, he can't and won't get the win here. At least not for the belt.

You got that sense big time last night that the SmackDown side for Mania is building their main event towards Undertaker vs Batista for the title. If that match goes down, it will be intersting to see if this is finally the first time Taker takes a loss at Mania, or if they save that mark with some sort of no contest or double DQ. Taker is at a stage in his career where having the World Title means nothing, and it needs to stay on someone that is going to be around for a long time and will grow as a character with it. In the hands of the Taker, the belt is just...the belt.

There were plenty of matches on the show, and overall I thought the show was a huge
improvement over the RAW showing on Monday night, and it was better than the ECW show that was taped along with this SmackDown show. In total there were six matches, and we even had three time-limit draws for the first time on TV in what seems like 100 years between Finley and Matt Hardy, MVP and Vito, and then Taker and Miz. Time limit draws of 20 minutes were things we use to see all the time back in the 80's when TV shows like "Prime Time Wrestling" use to rule the airwaves. Now, they are almost always a thing of the past, but for this show, it was cool to see.

Tatanka beat Jimmy Wang Yang, whose stock has just about hit bottom after this loss. Kenndy beat Chris Benoit when Chavo jumped into the action, forcing a No-DQ match next week that could see the return of Rey Mystero. London and Kendrick continue to hold the belts after they beat the team of Regal and Taylor. The finale of the night was Taker and the Miz, and Kennedy came out a few times to make sure that Taker would not be able to get the win to take his title shot away.

Things should shape up like this if I am thinking about this right. Kennedy loses to Batista at the Rumble. Taker wins the Rumble to earn the shot at Batista. Kennedy and Taker fight, yet again, at No Way Out with some stip about Taker's title shot being on the line, and in that, Taker gets the clean win to set up Mania 23 in Detroit with Batista and Taker going at it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Random Thoughts In and Around The Ring

It has been quite the week for the WWE, as they get set to conclude the last TV show of the week with SmackDown tonight, which was taped Tuesday in Peoria, IL. The show will wrap up the "SmackDown Sprint," which will decide the challenger for Batista for the Royal Rumble. It's a different concept, which is cool, and opens up a door for a new challenger for the belt. So far Ken Kennedy has the "lead" in the competition, and tonight we will find out if another wrestler is able to better his time. On the RAW side, expect Monday night to have an official announcement for Cena-Umaga II with some sort of stip thrown in.

I guess for some strange reason the WWE actually is a bit upset this week with the notion that no one really picked up on the Rosie vs Trump garbage that they ran on Monday night. From what is being said, Vince McMahon for some reason really felt that the national media, even in a joking manner, would run some sort of footage of it on some national news or news magazine shows. That was not the case. Howard Stern was the only one that talked about it, and that was brief and he bashed it up and down, and for good reason, because it was awful and had no business taking up 20 minutes of the biggest TV of the week for the company.

There has been some internal talk this week about a WrestleMania match pitting Kahli vs Hogan. I recall writing about this sometime ago that I thought if done right, Kahli would be the perfect guy to go up against Hogan in the 20th anniversary of Hogan beating Andre at WrestleMania III at the Silverdome. I think at that time though I was a bit unaware of just how bad Kahli was, but I still contend if they build Kahli up right with this monster push on RAW, then have something short and sweet at Mania, it can work. The talk from day one was that Hogan would face Big Show, but with Show taking a long break, they may have to shift plans and get another huge wrestler in there to recreate the match from 1987.

Jim Ross wrote in his latest blog that with Steve Austin's movie coming out in late April, you can expect him to make an appearance at WrestleMania in some form. Last year at Mania all Austin did was show up at the Hall of Fame show the evening before Mania and intro Bret Hart for the Hall of Fame. It would be nice in some way, shape of form if he actually makes an appearance this year in the ring, not wrestling of course, but at least comes out and gives the fans a beer bath.

Speaking of Mania, the night before the WWE will have its annual Hall of Fame induction. There are a lot of wrestlers that are deserving, as usual, but here are a few that I could see getting big time consideration for 2007: Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage & Elizabeth, Dusty Rhodes, Jake Roberts, The Road Warriors, The British Bulldogs, Austin, The Rock, King Kong Bundy, Hillbilly Jim, Honkey Tonk Man, Rick Martel. Those are just some of the names that I think you could make a case for. With the Mania III anniversary being pushed this year, it would be perfect for Steamboat and Savage to go in after what may have been the greatest Mania match ever 20 years ago. Roberts would be perfect as well, and with that you can have Alice Cooper, who was in is corner at Mania, go in as the celeb. Of course Rock and Austin would be the headline name(s) if they were picked this year, but I think they will wait on those. They always do a solid job with this, but I think there are some can't miss names out there this year.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

ECW 1/9

Tuesday night ECW was another bland effort from the "C" team of the WWE, and once again, they shortchanged the fans with a bad finish to a main event that could have been good. The second week in a row of Bobby Lashley vs RVD for the ECW title ended with another non-finish as this time Test came out, hit both guys with a chair, and the match was basically called at that point. Lashley appeared to get the better of the match overall, but in the end, it was just another waste of time, which has been the case on ECW for some time. With Test being a heel that they have wanted to push for awhile, it looks as if they may be setting up some sort of three-way between Test, Lashely and RVD. This could lead to Test winning the belt, which was given some consideration before they gave it to Lashley at the PPV in December. From there, you could have a Test-RVD title match at Mania, with RVD finally getting the belt back, which is what the fans really want to see long term.

The rest of the show was for the most part a waste. They blew a great run by C.M. Punk and allowed him to lose, middle of the ring, to Bob Holly. What a way to end that run with a clunker. Punk has been beating Holly all over the country at house shows, so having him lose to him on TV with Holly's finishing move makes no sense to me whatsoever. Of course now we are going to see rematch after rematch, which seems to be the way things are booked on ECW. You see two guys go at it, and then for the next 2-3 weeks the same two guys fight, no matter the outcome. Remember Punk's first program with Shannon Moore? It seeemed like they fought like 4 weeks in a row.

Speaking of Moore, he finally made it back on TV, only to lose in a squash match to Kevin Thorn, who for some reason has won two weeks in a row. Kahli made his last ECW TV appearance, beating Tommy Dreamer one last time in a Hardcore Rules match. Of course they protected Kahli a lot in this match, and had him take just a few shots from Dreamer, who was basically laid out at the end. Davari was with Kahli in this final ECW match for him, but its not certain that he will make the move with his man over the RAW. He was not with him on Monday nights show, but could either stay with ECW as a full-time wrestler, or make the move with Kahli next week.

They had a promo with the "return" of Kelly Kelly for next week. Excuse me for saying this but, was she ever gone? Again, no earthly idea of what that was supposed to represent. Sandman and Burke had a minor exchange that was basically supposed to set up an upcoming program, but of course it was just a five minute way to get Sandman on to do his entrance and have Burke involved in something. Sorry to say that after some decent stuff in the late summer, this show is getting more and more painful to watch every week.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

RAW 1/8

The Monday Night RAW from St.Louis was one of the weaker shows that WWE has produced in sometime, and part of me thinks that with the National Championship Game in College Football being played at the same time that the company almost decided to tank the show since they knew they would not get ratings anyway. If that was the case, they did a good job, as just the decision to spend 10 plus minutes on the "match" between a fake Rosie O'Donnell and fake Donald Trump showed that the company was not going to give viewers much.

I have no idea with the Royal Rumble less than three weeks away, and Mania less than three months away, why they just throw away TV shows like they did Monday night. There have been many comments by the fans that went to the show that said it was one of the worst that they ever attended, and just the fact alone that during the O'Donnell/Trump match that you could clearly hear "TNA" chants coming from the crowd should show that things need to change, and in a hurry. I can't imagine what was going through Vince McMahon's mind when he was hearing that chant while sitting at ringside for the satire match.

They also took a twist with having Kahli come on to RAW. They just seem to have this desire to keep pushing him, despite the fact that it is clear after having him wrestling some of the top stars over the last 8 months that he just can't compete in a ring. He has no skills whatsoever, and I even thought for a time that eventually he would get better. That is clearly not the case, and if they are toying with the idea of making him a unbeatable monster and have him and Cena do a program that may even end up at Mania, they had better think again. The buyrate for a Kahli-Cena main event at Mania would be a joke. Fans would turn on that so fast, and you have quite a few empty seats at Ford Field for that one if that is the main event they try to sell to the fans.

Right now from the bit of wrestling that did take place on Monday they are going to have a Umaga-Cena rematch for the Rumble, and again Cena will get the win heading towards a match at Mania. I would expect there to be some sort of stip to the match, like a possible no-DQ or maybe even a cage, but likely something like a no-DQ or street fight. The Rumble itself I still say a favorite should be Undertaker if they are heading for a Taker-Batista match at Mania, and now with the Kahli thing, as unreal as this may seem, I can see him being a favorite as well.

Lessons have to be learned after this past Monday night, and I hope that the crowds and internet reaction and backlash that the company is getting will show them to get back to wrestling and start spending some time building for the Rumble. They only have two TV's left for the Rumble, so next week you'll have the Cena-Umaga RAW main event announced, as well as some sort of Rumble qualifying matches as well.

HHH Injury Leaves DX, WWE in Tough Spot

With WrestleMania 23 in Detroit just three short months away, the major injury to HHH could not have come at a worse time for the company. In the short term, it puts a death blow to the DX storyline that has carried the company since the early part of the summer. Long term it kills any story that the company had for DX at Mania, and also puts the WWE in a position to change a lot of future plans. HHH had surgery on Tuesday afternoon in Alabama to repair one ligament that tore from the knee to the quad in his right leg. The early time frame that is being thrown around for rehab and then his return in 4-6 months, meaning that he will not be in a WWE ring again until likely May or June.

Scramble mode is now taking place within, and while you can never predict injuries to any star, other than John Cena, and Shawn Michaels himself, this injury is one that has really put the company behind the eight ball as to what to do next. Monday night on RAW they did a promo with Edge and Randy Orton stating that DX was dead with the injury to HHH, and next week in a handicapped match between Rated RKO and Shawn Michaels they would finish the job. Michaels did come out, cutting an excellent promo stating he did not know if DX was going to last with HHH on the DL, and that he would deal with Edge and Orton next week.

The truth of the matter is, the company has spent so much time and money into the DX storyline again, that when you look around arenas during RAW events, easily DX is the most popular thing out there. That leads one to believe that they will somehow find a way to keep the story going, but then there is the problem of what they are going to do short term to bring in someone to help out Michaels and make him his partner for the next few months.

There is a chance here that in order to stall to figure out what they going to do they could have Rated RKO beat down Michaels next week, have him off TV for about a month, and then have a game plan in mind for him to have a surprise partner ready to go for a match at Mania. Who that partner is at this point is anyones guess, and even the company's writers have little clue about what route they are going to take with the storyline.

The early thought is prior DX members like Billy Gunn and Road Dogg, but both of those guys are in TNA, and both totally hate both HHH and Michaels and have come out in various shoot interviews and said so. Sure money would do an awful lot to lessen the hate, but the bottom line is they have deals and contracts with another company, so having them as a part of WWE and DX is very unlikely. The other member that is out there is X-Pac, but again, he has a tainted history with the company, and while he would fit the situation, he was the most hated member of the group by fans and having him comeback might not even work with the fan base.

As far as current superstars on the rosters of RAW, SmackDown, and ECW, one guy that might fit the situation is C.M. Punk. Punk and DX were partners at Survivor Series, and he seemed to fit well with the group. While it would totally take Punk to the next level with the amount of attention he would get, I don't know long term if he fits with the situation. He is a guy that I have been saying for sometime deserves a shot at the higher level, and this situation would put him there in a heartbeat. Of course anytime you talk about Michaels and HHH, you always have to think about long time friends Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, but once again, they don't fit here at all.

So my guess is you'll have a Michaels beat down on Monday night, have him off TV for sometime, while the crowds wait and wait for his and DX's return, which would make it a great build for Mania. It also means that by Mania, you may have HHH in good enough shape to make a TV appearance to keep him on the fans minds so come May or June when he's back for good, they won't have forgotten about him. Whatever they do, this situation is one that is going to be interesting to see how in the end it plays out.

Monday, January 08, 2007

New Years Revolution Marred With Major Injury to Superstar

The latest WWE RAW PPV took place Sunday night from Kemper Arena in Kansas City as the company presented New Years Revolution. The night will not be remembered for much else other than a major superstar going down with an injury that looks as if it will keep him out of action for at least 8-9 months. The matches were okay, with the highlight being the tag match that turned into a nightmare with the injury to HHH that we will have more on in a moment. The main event between Umaga and John Cena for the WWE Title was okay at best, clearly not a main event that should be repeated for a PPV, and the clean pin win for Cena really means that the program could come to a standstill if they want it to.

There was a lot of build, as to be expected, for the title match, but to me it really didn't live up to what it could or should have been. It was somewhat lackluster, and I'm not sure if each guy was off, but I was expecting a better match than what I and others got. With that, I was surprised at the clean finish, and was expecting some sort of double DQ or something along those lines to have the program continue with a rematch with a stip at the Royal Rumble in three weeks. Now, they can go in a lot of directions with Cena, but even with a clean win last night, they are likely to still have him fight Umaga at RR again just to finish the program once and for all.

On to DX vs Rated RKO. A brutal match with lots of high spots and solid wresting between four foes turned into a disaster as HHH suffered what may be a second quad tear in five years. The spot took place after he came in after a long beating to Shawn Michaels, and was beating on both Randy Orton and Edge. He went for a spinebuster on Orton, and right away you could see his leg get pinned and then give out under him. The rest of the match was really odd looking, since they really had to protect HHH's leg, and you could see from the moment that it happened that it was not a work, as Orton and Edge did not go after the leg.

The end came with tons of chair shots from DX on Edge and Orton, and Orton took a sick blade job with blood everywhere. Thinking about the situation, it was just amazing that HHH was able to continue this match at all, and as he tried, with no success, to put Edge through a table with a pedgriee, I for one was starting to think that he may be okay. That was not the case, as right when the match ended there were doctors and trainers out there helping him to the back. The official WWE website says that right now they are expecting it to be another quad tear, and that he is headed to see Dr.Andrews in Alabama today to see 100 percent if that is the case.

The injury again puts a major dent in the storylines as well as the entire landscape of now what they are going to do with DX. The first thought is a long injury break for HHH means that Michaels will either do one of two things, dissolve DX as a whole, which I think with the money that is being pushed their way with merchandise is not going to happen, or they are going to have to try and scramble and get someone to join the group. Right now, there is no one on the WWE roster that I can think of that would have the character to join Michaels, so unless they bring someone from the outside in, what they are going to do from here is anyones guess. A very unfortunate injury to HHH to say the least, and one that if severe enough is going to hinder and possibly end his career.

The other match of note on the card was Nitro vs Hardy for the IC belt in a cage, which was a solid effort from both men, and the ending was good with Nitro being crotched on top of the cage with Hardy getting out the door. Looks to me like with Nitro telling Melina to call Joey so they can wrestle the Hardy's that we may be heading for a MNM vs Hardy's TLC match or ladder match at Mania. That would be something to see for sure, epically after the hit that Joey took the last time a ladder was in the ring.

The other matches on the card were Cryme Tyme winning a tag-team turmoil match for a future title shot, which was sloppy at best. Chris Masters in a bit of a shock beat Carlito and then laid him out after the match. Mickie James beat Victoria with a DDT to keep the womens belt. All in all, as stated above, the night will be remembered with some disdain for the injury that HHH suffered, and what twist the storylines take after the injury remain to be seen.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Look at the 2007 New Years Revolution

WWE will present a RAW PPV Sunday from Kansas City called "New Years Revolution." The past two years the PPV has been highlighted by a main event championship match that has been in an elimination chamber, but the undercard has been somewhat weak, and the card was totally built around the main event. This year, the main event is a simple, yet strong looking WWE title bout between challenger Umaga and champion John Cena. The remainder of the undercard is okay, with the big match being a tag between DX and Rated RKO. Below are some thoughts on some of the matches going in:

Umaga vs Cena for the WWE Title: Last year at this event, they pulled the belt off Cena for the first time since he won it and gave it to Edge in a sort of screwjob finish where he cashed in his "Money in the Bank" match win from WrestleMania of the year before. This year, Cena seems pretty strong going in, and with plans of him having the belt in a title defense of some kind at Mania in April, I can't see him losing to Umaga here. With that, Umaga has the look of a solid challenger, and I can see a no-contest ending resulting in a rematch with a stip at the Royal Rumble.

DX vs Rated RKO - These two teams have been going at it for about the past three-four months, and this one should be the finale, despite the fact that they can take this match and make the feud longer with more matches with stips on them down the road. These four work well together, and I can see either team going over, but recently DX has been beaten up time after time by RKO, so I think DX will get the win here. There are also rumors of Daniel Rodimer coming in to join RKO, so he may show up here to cause DX to lose.

Jeff Hardy vs Johnny Nitro (cage match) for the IC Belt: Another pair that have been wrestling each other since the summer, and this one should for sure end this feud, and with it should come an outstanding match in a cage. Nitro's game has been lifted big time with his matches with Hardy, and it reminds me of a few years back when Edge became a star after his long series of matches with Kurt Angle. I look for a great, high flying match with Hardy walking out with the belt.

Mickie James vs Victoria for the Womens Title: They have built Victoria up to be a solid contender for the belt, which is a nice change than just a non-descript woman wrestling the champ for no reason. James hasen't been on TV much wrestling since winning the belt two months ago, so we'll see if she has any rust going in. Victoria is the favorite and better wrestler going in, but James should win here.

Ric Flair vs Kenny Dykstra: Kenny should win, but I think Flair cheats to win, then gets beat up after the match by the younger Dysktra. It will be interesting to see what they do with Dykstra, as they need to change the character other than the whinning, young guy that plays the arrogant heel that uses his age as a reason to be where he is at.

Carlito vs Chris Matsters: A throw away match between two guys that were once parteners. Carlito needs some new direction, and I think an IC title challenge may be in the works after he gets done with Masters. For Masters, he will likely stay in role of lower card heel here with a loss.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

ECW 1/2

The usual high hopes went yet again down the drain on Tuesday night for ECW, as they took a prime opportunity to come up with a solid main event, and basically turned it into a farce of a match that left the fans as well as the viewers at home short changed yet again. The main was a face vs face title match between RVD and Bobby Lashley for the title, and you could tell right from the start that the difference in styles was going to make this match a train wreck. That is exactly what it was, all the way to the end, when they went with the "double injury" finish as RVD flew off the ring apron onto Lashley, who was on the announcer table.

The move looked weak on TV, and appeared to be botched with Lashley getting to his feet, and then RVD made what looked like a disgusted look on his face, almost telling the crowd that Lashley had already messed up the move. I think the move called for Lashley to stay down on the table, but who knows. The entire thing was a disaster, and it took the ECW belt, which wasn't exactly strong to begin with, and made it look like a total joke. In hindsight, Lashley is not the right man for the belt anyway, and if ECW has even close to a chance to succeed, I think they need to move it over to RVD, or some other ECW original.

What made the night even worse is it looks as if they are going to end up going with a TV feud between Lashley and Test, who totally buried Sabu, and before the match cut a promo about winning the three-way last week and how he should have been tapped to fight Lashley. Ugh. Their house show matches have been weak at best, and now it looks as if this might be the ECW feud they push all the way to Mania. If nothing else, they should continue to build on the RVD and Lashley bout, even with it being a disaster, and push that for Mania, with RVD finally getting the belt back, which is what the fans want.

Two other matches were boredom at best, with Elijah Burke and Syl Terkay beating the FBI, and Kevin Thorn beating Balls Mahoney. Of course a match like Thorn and Mahoney shows just how weak the ECW roster is, as they have had that match on TV at least 3 times, and even tried to have some sort of program between the two. This time there was no program, it was just a boring match that they let Thorn go over in.

The main event was really the only thing worth talking about, and even with that, it was bad. Hopefully the two (RVD and Lashley) can continue to work together and get some sort of chemistry, that way if we are forced to see a program between the two leading into Mania the match on Tuesday night truly will be a springborad for better to come.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

RAW 1/1

The first 2007 Monday Night RAW took place in Miami last evening, with a main event that has been hyped for weeks with Kevin Federline taking on WWE Champion John Cena. The match was held first on the show, and ended up being one with what I thought was a very hot crowd reaction with Federline getting a pin on Cena after it was declared as a no-DQ match and Umaga coming in and laying out Cena. I have already read comments on how having Federline go over was the wrong thing to do as they say it cheapens the WWE Title.

I could not disagree more. It's not like they put the belt on Federline, all it was was a way for the company to use a guy like him for one night, he had awesome heel heat, and in my opinion the match totally got over. Cena got his revenge at the end of the night in a 4-1 match where he went up against Umaga, Nitro, Coach and Federline, and the night ended as it should with K-Fed getting FU'ed. How could you argue with the effect of the storyline, and it also cemented Cena more as a superstar face for a guy that will still get boo's in many arenas across the country?

Too much is made of the "status" of the WWE Championship. I mean, its a belt that is given to the guy that should represent the company. If that guy is John Cena, than great. He carries the company. If John Cena loses, but keeps the belt in an ongoing storyline, than so be it. He's still the face of the company, and within a span of two hours he then get his revenge and all was well with the world. Quit looking too deep into the whole storyline and giving us this "the WWE title is compromised" if Cena loses to a guy like Federline. Give me a break.

As for the rest of the show, I thought it was a solid build for the Sunday PPV. We have a couple of matches announced, including Umaga vs Cena, Rated RKO vs DX, Mickie James vs Victoria, Hardy vs Nitro in a cage for the IC belt and a tag between the Worlds Greatest Tag team vs Cryme Tyme. The card looks as good as any NYR that thay have had, and I will be interested to see what they do with the belt and Cena on this one. They could have Umaga win it and regin for a month like last year, when Edge won it, only to then lose it at the Rumble, or they could just keep it on Cena and head into Mania with him carrying it.

One thing I didn't like was Ric Flair again getting laid out by RKO. I mean, isn't Flair getting laid out week after week getting old? He gets smashed one week, and within two weeks is back for revenge. Let him lay out for at least a month to 6 weeks, and then get some revenge. The beating and then return in two weeks is getting a bit old.

Other than that, I didn't have a problem with much on the show, and thought the overall Federline-Cena thing was well done. As stated above, I also like the build up to 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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