Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ECW 2/27

WWE continued their week of TV with ECW from San Jose on Tuesday night, with a cage match main event with Bobby Lashley vs Bob Holly for the ECW title. Add to that the presence of Vince McMahon making it a 5-minute match or Lashley loses, and you had a lot of things going against Lashley. Of course he did get the win, after Umaga, who was there simply to promote their upcoming WM match, threw in a chair, which Lashley used to pound Holly before pinning him.

The show was okay, with a total of four match, albeit the match of Balls Mahoney vs Matt Striker was barley underway when Snitsky came in and took out Balls and Striker. You also had a very good money in the bank qualifer match with Kennedy beating Sabu. That match was by far the best of the night.

The other two matches included a rare appearance from Stevie Richards, as he lost to C.M. Punk, and a tag with the New Breed's Kevin Thorn and Marcus Cor Von vs Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer. Both matches were short, with Punk winning the first and the New Breed using a little outside help to win the tag match.

The Lashley match was okay, going just 4:30 due to the time stip. Umaga outside the ring builds on their upcoming feud, and the final shot of the show was Lashley jumping through a side of the cage on top of Umaga. That shot was pretty intense, and a solid build as they continue until the big match at Mania. The show overall was good for an ECW product, and thus far the week I feel has been solid for TV with what should be another good SmackDown! on Friday night.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WWE Bids Farewell to Test

A WWE/ECW superstar has bit the dust, as the company announced this afternoon the release of Test (Andrew Martin). Test had recently been suspended by the company for 30 days for some sort of violation of substance. The release of Martin ends (of now), a long career with the company, that included a "wedding" to Stephanie McMahon. That wedding, which is one of the better ones in WWE history, was stopped by future real life husband of Steph, Triple H. The storyline was that HHH got Steph drunk, then took her to a Vegas chapel to get married. It was one of the funnier storylines the company had pulled off in years.

Test was gone for the company for sometime, then returned to be a part of ECW, where he had been wrestling shortly after the rebirth of the brand. His biggest program was with ECW Champ Bobby Lashley, who he at one point fought, and lost to three times in seven days. He was also a mainstay opponent of Lashley at house shows across the country. You can bet that Martin will take a long look at moving to TNA.

RAW 2/26

Never say never in the world of wrestling, and that fact was never more on display than on Monday night in Fresno, as the WWE threw a few curveballs in what was another outstanding RAW. The main event saw Rated RKO take on the tag champs and soon to be WrestleMania opponents - John Cena and Shawn Michaels. All night the show teased Michaels' history of turning on "friends," and the feeling was he would do the same to Cena. In the end, it was Rated RKO that suffered a breakup, as Edge walked out on Orton in the tag title match, leaving Edge as a willing victim to Cena-Michaels as they picked up the win to keep the belts.

I have predicted that they needed to get the belts away from Cena and Michaels for the past few weeks, and last night I was stunned with the outcome of the show, which meant that it was very good. I will hold true to that they need to move the belts, but for now, you walked away from the show wondering what it going to happen next to Rated RKO, as well as is there still a chance that Michales and Cena will turn on each other. That makes for good TV, and last night was that for sure.

The other big announcement on the show was Bobby Lashley, in not a surprise, being named the guy that will represent Donald Trump in the challenge against Umaga, who will be representing Vince McMahon. The two had a rather strong segment, as Lashley came to the ring with tons of "security," and after Vince poked him, Umaga and Lashely went at each other for a few minutes. The call of the brawl by JR and Jerry Lawler was strong as well, and made the brawl even better than what it was. They also stated after the brawl that "the board" wants a guest ref, and we all know already that the guest ref will be Steve Austin.

I felt the other big highlight to the show was a great match as a "Money in the Bank" qualifier between Jeff Hardy and Shelton Benjamin. The bout really showed the strength of the two high-flyers, and in the end, Hardy was able to hit the swanton bomb and get the win. The win puts him in the match for Mania, which now has been extended to eight men instead of the six that it has been the last two years. Hardy's win also screws up what I had been thinking would be a MNM - Hardy match for Mania, possibly with two other teams from SmackDown, one of course being the champs - London and Kendrick. They still can use MNM for Mania together, as with Nitro losing last week, he is out of the event for now.

Speaking of Nitro, they also teased a breakup of he and Melina, as he told her to shut up backstage after she was whining about Ashley once again. Then Nitro came to the ring on his own and gave a beat down to Super Crazy, which was well done. They are playing off that Nitro is all upset about losing to C.M. Punk last week, and that he is now showing this new aggressive attitude. Melina also came out on her own, and beat Maria in a quick match. Next week Melina takes on Mickie James in a falls count anywhere match for the title.

Kane and Great Khali also had another run in, as Chris Masters, who's stock is as low as ever, tried to do a masterlock challenge on Khali, and then Kane came in to beat down the 7+ footer. In the process, Masters took a vicious chair shot from Kane, but it was all done basically to push the two big men for Mania, in a match that could be announced within the next two weeks. That match could be the worst on the card with the way that Khali works.

In the feel good moment of the night, they announced Jerry "The King" Lawler for this years
WWE Hall of Fame. Lawler looked humbled by the announcement, and he is a great choice for this years class. I would think without a doubt that JR will be his presenter, as its a perfect fit. I have had the pleasure of two sit down interviews with Lawler over the past 7 years, and he is always a very down to earth, humble guy to talk to. One interview I did with him at an Indians game back in 2000, he even called me a few days later to thank me for the interview after reading it. Overall the WWE got this one right.

Overall those were the main highlights of the show. Vince said he'd be at ECW tonight to harass Lashley, who is slated to fight Bob Holly in a cage. I can see Umaga being there to give Lashley a beat down after the match, and further that feud. I was again encouraged by the show, as the storylines and effort right now is about a good as its been in a long time. ECW should be a basic, straight forward show tonight with the Lashley-Holly cage match, as well as interaction with the ECW Originals and the New Breed as they continue to build towards a WM match.

Monday, February 26, 2007

More on Mania and Rumored Matches

WrestleMania 23 hype is starting to now shift into full gear. We have less than five weeks left until the event, and after watching SmackDown! on Friday night, things are starting to get a little more clear as far as the overall direction we are heading in. Expect next week to have an Undertaker promo on SmackDown!, which would be his first speaking of the match between he and Batista, and overall his first interview in which he has spoken for some time. That match will continue to get pushed as heavy as the RAW main event of John Cena and Shawn Michales, and currently is still the plan to be the last match on the card as the true main event.

Right now on the WWE website, they have just four matches listed as official, but there are plenty of matches that are in the works, and more than a few that are for sure a go.

The listed matches include:
Batista vs Taker
Cena vs Michaels
The Hair vs Hair match (Lashely vs Umaga) between Donald Trump & Vince McMahon
Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Edge, C.M. Punk, King Booker already in)

Here are some of the rumored matches and things that are likely to take place and be announced soon as Mania gets closer:

* Ashley vs Melina for the Womens Title is a go. The match will be built on the jealousy factor that Melina has for Ashely appearing in Playboy. Speaking of which, that issue releases on 3/12.

* Kane vs The Great Khali is another likely match after this past weeks SmackDown! They had better once and for all decide about Khali, as this weekly switching brands thing is getting old, and he needs to get better in the ring once and for all, or just be kept off of shows all together.

* ECW Originals vs The New Breed is likely to be a go as well. This basically is an 8-man tag of most of the mid-level ECW guys, and look for this to be extreme rules. RVD is the MVP of this one, so look for him to shine and get the win.

* I still think Randy Orton finds himself in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. With Edge already in, they really are lost on what to do with Orton, and for sure he needs a spot somewhere. They scrapped the planned Edge-Orton match to keep them a team, so with nothing else really out there, look for him to be added to this match.

* Ric Flair vs Carlito is also a planned match, as you could see Flair turn heel as early as tonight, but likely in the next two weeks. I think Carlito being back to heel would be a better storyline, but I don't think that is the route they are planning.

* There will be some mega-tag match in there somewhere, with the two top teams, London and Kendrick, and the Hardy's (they are planned to get the belts shortly) being in the match with two other teams. I am thinking a four-way ladder with them, along with Decue and Domonio and MNM could be the plan at this point.

All in all, that would be nine matches, which I think is about what they want to do for this event, the problem is they still have plenty of star power on the sidelines if the card above is all but set. They simply have to find a place though for a few guys - Chris Benoit, Finely, Kenny, Shelton Benjamin, Chavo Guerrero, Gregory Helms, and MVP. There are three spots left in the Money in the Bank match, but that actually will be two after Orton is added. Look for some creative booking to possibly add 1-2 more matches with some of these guys mentioned above involved.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

SmackDown 2/23

SmackDown! on Friday night which was taped on Tuesday was a solid show with some star power from RAW to make a big impact on a returning star. That returning star was Rey Mystero Jr., who was destroyed on the show by Umaga. Mystero was beaten up in his hometown, which anymore they like to do with stars of any quality. The other big news off of the show was King Booker getting a shot at Money in the Bank with a win over Kane, and Batista telling fans why he did what he did at No Way Out last Sunday, which was somewhat odd becuase now it appears that they are going to continue to keep Batista as a face for the Mania match with Taker.

The thing with Mystero was well done, and used the sympathy factor for Rey (a cane) and his usual strong mic work to tell the fans that he would be back better than ever once his rehab is done. Then after a few minutes, Vince McMahon came out to plug his Mania showdown with Donald Trump, and after Rey called McMahon a "loser," Umaga came out and laid waste to Mystero. It was a strong segment that could set up Mystero vs Umaga once Rey comes back if they want to shift one of the wrestlers to another brand.

The best wrestling match of the night was a six-man with Matt Hardy and London & Kendrick vs Duece, Domino and Johnny Nitro. They also highlighted Chavo Guerrero, the new cruiserweight champ, vs Scotty 2 Hotty, the King vs Kane match, and Finley & his midget vs Boogeyman and his midget. The King Booker-Kane match dragged a bit, and concluded with Khali, who has now switched brands three times in the last two months, beating up Kane. This sets up Kane vs Khali for Mania, which will likely be one of the train wrecks of the show.

Monday night RAW is back, this time in Fresno, CA. You can bet more from McMahon, the big tag match with Cena-Michaels vs Orton and Edge, and more build up for Mania.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday News and Notes Leading into SmackDown

SmackDown tonight wraps up the wrestling week on TV, and a lot of things happen tonight that will solve some mysteries involving some WrestleMania matches. I did happen to stumble across some things on the net that lead me to think that tonights show is one that you don't want to miss, so if you have a chance, catch it as it airs or tivo it and watch it before the conclusion of the weekend.

Now for some news:

* Hulk Hogan was on "Bubba's" radio show on Sirus yesterday, and went more in-depth on the problems that led him to not being on the card for this years WrestleMania. He said that Vince told him that there was not just one "it" guy anymore, and that the paydays have to go to the bigger, up top guys (I am assuming he means Cena, Micahels, Batista), and that as a guy making a one-time appearence, he will not get paid "the bulk of the money." Hogan went on to say that he wished he could be on the show, but could not get paid like the other "it" guys on the WWE roster. Needless to say, this is mostly just more back and forth between Vince and Hulk as the two really need to get moving on settling their problems and get to the job of getting a deal done and making the fans happy.

* Amy "Lita" Dumas did a recent interview in the Baltimore Sun, and gave some reasons as to her departure from the WWE: "It felt like it was time to at least see what else was out there. It's a job that you have to give 110 percent to be successful at, and I just felt like I didn't have 110 percent to give anymore. I feel like if I would have stayed longer with WWE I would have started to resent my time there, because you're so inundated with the schedule and everything."

* No Saturday Night's Main Event, as NBC has decided to drop the show, which was set to air on March 10th. The WWE must have not had a lot to put behind the show, as they were going to tape it on March 5th, after a live RAW in Phoenix. The network was going to move SNME to late night, like it use to be, but have instead decided to scrap it as a whole for now, with the show being back on in the summer. Reports say that Vince was quite unhappy with the decision.

* Mark Henry, "The World's Strongest Man" returned to in-ring action Wednesday night in Ohio Valley Wrestling. He wrestled for the first time in seven months after tearing his patella in a Saturday Night's Main Event match in July in Dallas. Early word is he should be back in a WWE ring either right before or right after WrestleMania.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

ECW 2/20

Things in the wrestling world are getting more and more critical as we now head for the biggest mega-show of the year, WrestleMania. Tuesday night in the second WWE TV show of the week, ECW for the first time in as long as I can remember, stepped up and had what I thought was a solid show, finally getting some help from a solid match from C.M. Punk and Johnny Nitro. The match was a qualifier for Mania's Money in the Bank match, and they finally got Punk out of the doghouse with easily his biggest win since being an employee of WWE.

The loss for Nitro continues to make me think we are still going to see a major bout between the Hardy's and MNM at Mania with TLC stip or at least ladders involved. The bout will have added emphasis if the Hardy's do with the tag straps, which I think is in the plans in the next 3-4 weeks. Both Nitro and Punk carried the bout well, and Punk got the clean win with a new knee to the head move that he had not used before.

The main event on the show was a decent 3-way for the ECW title between Bobby Lashley, Ken Kennedy, and Hardcore Holly. Lashley, who stays on this huge roll that has landed him as Donald Trump's "wrestler" for the Hair vs Hair match vs Vince McMahon at WrestleMania, got the clean pin on Kennedy with a power slam. Sort of odd booking with Kennedy getting pinned instead of Holly. I would think that with Holly leaving to nurse an injury that they would just let him get buried instead of Kennedy, but I guess that was not the case.

The other main match on the card included RVD vs Kevin Thorn in a ECW Old vs New Breed match. Both men again worked hard, and in the end they got RVD the win with a five-star frog splash. Again, as stated here before, look for an announcement in the next 2-3 weeks of a ECW Old vs New Breed Extreme Rules match for Mania.

There was one squash on the card, as they are putting La Resistance (Rene Dupree and Sylvan Grenier) back together to be another tag team in ECW, and they beat Los Luchas in 31 seconds. In the ongoing push for Snitsky, he came out and beat up the two 150-pounders some more after the bell.

Again, this was a much better showing for ECW, and now with specific matches lined up for Mania with some of their wrestlers, there seems to be much more focus for the upcoming few weeks of TV.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tons of WrestleMania Rumors; News; Notes

Lot's of stuff to get to as far as WrestleMania and what not is concerned, but I will tell you ahead of time, some of the stuff below is spoiler material, so if you want to be totally shocked going into RAW next Monday in Fresno, I recommend you not read ahead. I am not into totally blowing storylines and where they are headed, but some of the stuff below is going to give you a general idea of where things are going.

* Donald Trump's wrestler will be......Bobby Lashley. Ugh. I can't believe we are going to have to get screwed out of watching Hogan at WrestleMania after all the year build up that he would be on the card. Instead, we get Umaga vs Bobby Lashley in the much hyped Vince vs Donald Hair vs Hair match. Umaga is going to have to carry Lashley, who continues to not impress me with much in the ring. Unless things take a massive 180, which I don't think they will, this will all come to form on Monday night at RAW. As for another shock in this match....

* Steve Austins role at Mania is set, and it is.....Guest ref for the Trump vs McMahon (Lashley vs Umaga) hair vs hair match. Yep, they blew that on E! when they showed a picture for Mania and it had Austin in the pic for the match with a ref shirt on. It will be the first time since the forgettable Brock Lesner vs Goldberg mess in WrestleMania XX that Austin has donned the ref attire. Of course they will probably make him more of a "special enforcer" like they did for that match. I expect they will have that Vinnie Jones at Mania as well, likely to taunt Austin.

* I would expect to see Mick Foley in some fashion at WM as well, as his new book "Hardcore Diaries" will be out and being pushed on WWE TV, as it was this past week. He has already set up quite a few book signings around the country, and I think that with the WWE pushing the book, he will be in Detroit for the big event and will at least have his face on the show. Interesting that the last two wrestling books the WWE has promoted, the Eric Bishoff book and now Foley's, both levy some heavy shots at the company.

* Many people are expressing confusion over the Hulk Hogan "20-year contract" that was the main topic on "Hogan Knows Best" this past week that he signed with WWE. The contract is legit, but it is NOT for wrestling, which they made it out to be. It is more for licensing and for the company to use his name and not have Hogan turn around everytime he's mentioned and suing the WWE. I still think and will continue to say that not having Hogan in Detroit at Mania is a crime. As for "Hogan Knows Best" season 4, reports say that shooting has already begun, despite earlier claims that season 3 would be the last.

* The WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony at the Fox Theatre in Detroit will take place on March 31st, the night before Mania. The show will NOT be on TV, as the last two years they have taken an hour of it and put it on late on Saturday night on USA Network. If interested in going to the event, tickets will go on sale Saturday March 3rd at 10am via Ticketmaster, and the price ranges for the event are $100-$50.

* So as we stand at this moment, here is the confirmed and the unconfirmed but rumors for matches at Mania:

Undertaker vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Title (Top Main event)
Shawn Michaels vs John Cena for WWE Title (2nd Main event)
Umaga vs Bobby Lashley w/ Steve Austin as Ref (McMahon vs Trump Hair vs Hair match)
Money in the Bank Ladder Match w/ six wrestlers (Edge only confirmed name as of 2/20)
Ashley vs Melina for the Women's Title
Ric Flair vs Carlito
Hardy's vs MNM for the Tag Title in TLC Match (Hardy's beat Edge & Orton in 2-3 weeks on RAW for tag belts is heavy rumor)

RAW 2/19

The televised week of wrestling got off to a hot start Monday night as RAW took center stage in Bakersfield, California. The night was highlighted by a long Vince promo about his challenge at WrestleMania vs Donald Trump, and we found out that Umaga is the man that will represent McMahon. Next week we will find out who Trump's wrestler will be, but if you read the update above, you can find out who it is. The main event was actually at one time the planned WrestleMania main event, as John Cena took on Randy Orton. The match ended with a DQ win for Cena when Edge interfered, and then Shawn Michaels came in to help Cena. They teased Cena and Shawn going at it, and ended the solid show from there.

The show was very good from top to bottom, and started it with a title change as Jeff Hardy dropped the IC belt to Umaga in a bit of a squash. Hardy got just a bit of offense, and was basically a beating post for Umaga. I felt that they would put the IC belt on someone like Kenny, but I guess we'll see if they keep the strap on Umaga for Mania, or if he will drop it in the weeks leading up to the huge event. I don't see that happening though since they want to keep him strong for the much pushed Mania match.

Ric Flair and Carlito teamed up to beat Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. You can already see an angle coming where Flair (likely in the next 2-3 weeks) turns on Carlito, making another WM match. The word for the past month or so now is that Flair wants to go heel, and he and Carlito would make a solid undercard WM match.

A very solid match on the show was RVD vs Edge in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. The match had a lot of high spots, and both guys you could tell worked hard to make it look good. In the end, Edge came out the winner after getting some help from Randy Orton. This does change my thoughts that we would see Edge vs Orton at Mania, and now I think they are going to have both men in the Money in the Bank match, and since Edge has already won it once, I can see Orton getting a chance to win the match and have a title shot in 2007.

We had a second title change as Melina took home the women's belt with a win over Mickie James. The match was solid for a women's match, and I don't have a problem with Melina having the belt. They are setting up a womens title match at Mania between Melina and , as they did a bit where they showed Ashley Sunday at the PPV basically nude, and Melina was all peeved about it backstage.

Khali beat the Highlanders in a 1-2 handicapped match, which was a squash. They also announced that Mr.Perfect would be the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, which will come the night before Mania. A great choice, and we already have two solid names announced for the event in Dusty Rhodes and Curt Henning.

That was the show along with the main event, which was a good match and gave us more to feed off of going into next week. They are going to have a tag title rematch between Michaels and Cena vs Edge and Orton, and this will be the match where they get the belts off of Shawn and Cena, and likely it will really start the huge push for Mania. They are doing a mini-type push as if one is going to turn on the other, and they keep pushing it like Shawn is going to take out Cena. I think if they want to do a major swerve, make Cena the heel for this match and have him turn on Shawn, but in the end, I think the two will stay true to face form till the match in Detroit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Sad Death in the Wrestling World

As if the passing of Bam Bam Bigelow was just the first, the world of wrestling has lost another, as today it is being reported on and other wrestling sites that Mike Alfonso, otherwise known to wrestling fans as Mike Awesome, passed away Saturday night at the age of 42. Alfonso had been out of the wrestling business for a few years, but was well known and was a former ECW Champion. His last big show was the WWE's first ECW One Night Stand back in 2005.

Here is the official release on

"WWE is saddened by news of the passing of Mike Alfonso, better known to wrestling fans as Mike Awesome. He was 42.

Mike Awesome's first major exposure came overseas, where he became one of the Japan's top stars. Awesome would eventually become a star and champion in America while wrestling for Extreme Championship Wrestling. Following his successful run in ECW, Awesome spent time working in WCW and later WWE before retiring to his native Tampa, Florida.

While in ECW, Awesome was a two-time World Champion and Tag Team Champion. His matches with Masato Tanaka, including a show-stealer at One Night Stand in 2005 were among the most memorable in ECW history."

Review of Sunday's No Way Out PPV

Sunday nights SmackDown PPV - No Way Out, from Los Angeles was mostly a PPV built on a solid main event, and mostly average undercard bouts with no real surprises to speak of. The one return to action that we saw from a singles standpoint was Chavo Guerrero, who came out last in the Cruiserweight gaunlet match to beat Jimmy Yang last to take home the title. The other shock of the night was the turn by Batista, as it looks as if he is going to play the role of heel in his upcoming program with the Undertaker.

The main event was very good, which was good for a change with a tag match that really didn't have anything to play off of. The four main event wrestlers in a tag the month before Wrestlemaina could have either come off really flat, or red hot, and I think for the most part with the tension that is bound to build between the two teams it did come across as very good. As for the heel turn by Batista, it did come out of left field, but when you think about it, it could have been expected. You know that John Cena and Shawn Michaels are not going heel, and Undertaker never speaks, so if he were to go heel, it would come out lame as he is in this non-speaking mode right now.

So the logical choice would be Batista, who I also thought looked about as strong as he has in months last night. He actually had better offense, moved better, and took some shots that made him look good. I think this move to heel may give him a shot in the arm that he sorely needs, and it also means that we will not have the two sets of face vs face main events for Mania. I think that its a solid move, and it right away tells me that the Taker vs Batista match will now be pushed as the real main event of the card, and it should be. An undefeated streak vs a World Title - that's a solid main event. I know that the trend is almost always for the face to win the main event at Maina, but as we sit here today - I'll take Batista to win and get on a hot streak that makes him bigger than ever in 2007.

The remainder of the card as mentioned above was about average to below average at best. You had the solid start with a six-man of Hardys and Chris Benoit vs MVP and MNM, then the crusierweight match, which was okay since you simply had to get that belt off of Gregory Helms, then the out and out dumb with Finley and Little B***ard vs Boogeyman and little Boogeyman. Kane vs King Booker was actually better than I thought it would be, but really just filler, and then what I thought was an underachieving tag title match with London and Kendrick vs Deuce and Domino. The champs win, which you could see coming the way JBL said time after time they would not, but I really could have gone for a rematch ladder match from the December PPV here as originally planned.

The bout before the main was an ECW title match that basically fell flat between Bobby Lashely vs Ken Kennedy. This was a train wreck, as the sold out crowd was dead and neither guy really showed much here. They continue to give Lashely this huge push, but everytime they throw him into a match where he can show his ability, he tends to fall flat. The finish was a lame DQ where Kennedy used a chair, but that went unseen, then Lashley was DQ'ed returning the favor. After seeing the crowd reaction last night, they really need to rethink using Lashely as Donald Trump's wrestler in this challenge vs Vince McMahon at Mania. He simply will not get over with the crowd, and they had better quickly open up the lines of communication again with Hogan, or else that match will fall flat, just like last night.

The diva contest was - well, a diva contest, so you knew in the end with Ashley getting a Playboy push that she would win, and she did with the same costume that Sable wore about eight years ago when she and Jackie would have these lame contests PPV after PPV. Then was another odd segment, as they showed the first trailer to Steve Austin's new movie - "The Condemned" which will come out in the spring. Then they interviewed some former English soccer player who is in the movie - Vinnie Jones, who says he is the real star of the movie - not Austin. I guess they are going to go with some program with the two, and if it means Austin back in the ring again, then I guess they see dollar signs. It came across about as bad as what eventually became the awful Zeus vs Hulk Hogan feud of 1989. If that is what is to come - look out, and not in a good way.

The crowd was into the main event very much, and again, it did come across very good with the end turn by the Animal. I think that as you walked away you looked forward to what was to come tonight and into SmackDown on Friday, which is a solid change. RAW tonight from Bakersfield, CA should really start our run towards Maina and I expect them to really start the push with Michales and Cena, and I wouldn't doubt if we get the tag title belts in some other teams hands within the next two weeks.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Big Update Heading into No Way Out

Sorry about the lack of updates this week, as the wife and I just returned from Mexico last evening, and I quickly tried to get caught up by watching five hours of WWE from this past week with the PPV looming from Los Angeles tonight.

So lot's to cover, and not a lot of time - so here are some thoughts from the shows this week with a look at tonight:

* First off let's start with the WWE Hall of Fame. Tickets for the event go on sale March 3rd, and the first person to be announced to be inducted this year will be Dusty Rhodes. The likeable Rhodes is a solid first choice, and this one is not much of a shock, considering he is on WWE TV quite a bit, and truly is a superstar in the world of wrestling. The list of more wrestlers should get bigger and bigger as the weeks go, and I can see at least there being 6-8 in their this year. The one name that I am still counting on as the top name this year is Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

* I thought most of the action and wrestling on this past weeks shows were pretty up to par. They continue, while having a PPV tonight, to move wrestlers around and shift guys from show to show, which could get confusing, but adds another element to the brands. I love the RAW guys on SmackDown, and vice-versa. What could get sticky is doing this too much, then the brands will simply meld together and you'll be back to one big federation of wrestlers, which I know the WWE does not want.

* They continue to shift ECW guys onto Smackdown, and that is even more evident with the ECW title being defended by Bobby Lashley tonight on No Way Out against Ken Kennedy. I love them doing this, and if fans are going to pay $50-$60 per ticket for house shows and for TV tapings with SmackDown and ECW wrestlers, why not just do it where the PPV's are combined? Makes perfect sense, and almost too much sense for them to do it.

* One thing you will see is they are going to really shift the focus of WrestleMania on after tonight's PPV, and you will NOT see John Cena and Shawn Michaels in a ring again with Undertaker and Batista. It's almost too corney to have these two teams "pairing" up tonight to go at it, and they really need to start the major programs with Cena vs Michaels, and Taker vs Batista. That also will mean getting the tag title belts off of Cena and Michaels, possibly as early as tomorrow nights RAW.

* Last years No Way Out seems a bit similar to tonights in that it is a rather weak card with mostly build up towards WrestleMania. The main event last year was Kurt Angle beating the Undertaker in a World Heavyeright Title match. A very good match, but overall the rest of the card was so-so at best. The undercard included Chris Benoit beating Booker T for the US Title, and JBL beating Bobby Lashley. The best No Way Out in recent memory was 2004, when Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesner to win the WWE title. A great moment that they tend to show from time to time on WWE television.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday News and Notes

Lots of news and notes in and out of the ring, so let's get to it:

* The WWE has dropped the ball totally on Sunday's "No Way Out" PPV and has scrapped the 4-way ladder match that was to take place. The match was a rematch of the December PPV which saw London and Kendrick take on the Hardy's, MNM and Regal and Taylor. Now the match has been changed to a simple singles tag for the title between Deuce and Domino and London and Kendrick. Snooze. The ladder match was the only reason I was looking forward to the PPV. Word is that Vince McMahon decided that he wanted the Hardys and MNM continuing to wrestle in singles matches on different shows. Stupid decision that will cost them money in the buy rate for Sunday's show.

* Test has been suspended for 30 days for violating the WWE's Wellness Policy. Test had been getting a big push which had included three matches in a week vs Bobby Lashley for the ECW Title. Of course he lost all three matches by pinfall. Not sure as to his future with the company, but Vince has always like Andrew "Test" Martin, and he got a job back after being fired a fwe years back.

* Of course RAW is not on the air in the US tonight since they have to cater on USA to the 15 people that still care about the stupid Dog show. The show tonight is being aired in Canada as well as the U.K., and will be shown in the states on Thursday. The show will be highlighted by an 8-man tag featuring John Cena, HBK, Undertaker and Batista vs M.V.P., Ken Kennedy, Randy Orton, and Edge. The momentum they have had for the last few weeks as they get set for Mania should continue with this big main event.

* The continued word from insiders is that Hulk Hogan is for sure a no-go for Mania. He and the company have "parted ways" once again, and it looks as if they are going to have to go on with the show without him. Seems like a shame they can't work something out with the former champ. Looks now like the Trump-Vince angle will continue with other wrestlers, one of which that may take Hogan's place is Bobby Lashley according to sources.

* Rey Mystero will be back on SmackDown in two weeks, but if he will be ready to do something at Mania is very much up in the air. While there is no doubt he will be at the show, being in the ring is another story.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

SmackDown 2/9

I can say that two of the three WWE brands seemed to get it right after watching Friday Night SmackDown on UPN. It seems like over the last two-three weeks that the energy level on both RAW and SmackDown has really picked up, and while ECW just drudges along, the other two shows really are strong as we have about a month and a half till WrestleMania. SmackDown was highlighted by the two top guys that will battle for the World Heavyweight Title at Mania, as Undertaker started the show making a statement in an easy win over the Miz, and then the final match Batista had a strong title defense and clean win over Mr.Kennedy. The show ended, as many will before Mania, with Taker on the ramp staring down Batista.

One question I have is what ever happened to Taker talking? I always remember him speaking, and it seems like over the last 4-6 months I have not heard him utter a word. Is it supposed to make his character more imposing if he does not speak? I don't quite understand that one. I think as we get closer to Mania, you are going to see him do at least one promo with words, possibly the last one that could really be cool to send a message to Batista.

The other strong angle on the show is actually in the tag ranks, and when is the last time you could say that?! London and Kendrick have had the belts for nine months, which is great in my opinion becuase it actually makes them look legit. They lost a non-title match to Deuce and Domino, which will set up the teams doing battle at Mania. For now you will see them go back and forth in non-title matches, and then the other big news is the ladder match rematch that the Hardy's, MNM, London and Kendrick and Regal and Taylor will have at No Way Out next weekend. That should once again be the show stealer.

The rest of the show was decent filler stuff to get fans ready for the PPV next weekend. They are pushing the Kane-Booker match as the thrid best match on the card, they also had a match with Finely and Boogeyman with Finely going over with use of the sheleighly. They will rematch at No Way Out as well from what I am hearing. How about the SmackDown return of Daivari? Interesting of them putting him with Gregory Helms right off the bat, and it was a solid match and win for Daivari. Another possible filler match for next Sunday's PPV.

Those were the highlights for the show, and again, it was a solid show. You can see most of the guys working hard and knowing that Mania is not too far away. With RAW not till Thursday and having to sit through ECW Tuesday, this is the best wrestling we'll get for close to a week.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hogan a No-Go for Mania? That's what he Says

Maybe there is too much bad blood right now between Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan to get a deal done in time for him to appear at WrestleMania 23. That at least is the indication that has been given following Hogan appearing on Bubba the Love Sponge on Thursday, as he stated that as of right now there has been no communication about him coming in for Mania, and that he is not going to appear or wrestle on the show. This goes beyond what has been the plan from the word go for the mega event, where Hogan was not only supposed to be on the show, but was originally supposed to have a big part in it with a match.

The idea that has been rumored for awhile was that Hogan was to come in as a part of the Trump-McMahon feud, and was to be wrestling "for" Trump vs a wrestler picked by McMahon. Early on it was said that the wrestler was going to be either Khali, Umaga or Vince's son Shane. Where this will now go from here is anyones guess. Trump will be on RAW this upcoming Thursday (show will tape Monday in Portland), and if the angle with Hogan is to go forward, they are going to have to make amends really quick.

Hogan stated, and this could very well be the case, that Vince is mad about Hulk's last appearance on Bubba's show. In that show, a phone call came in and was live over the air from Ann Russo, who works for WWE. She didn't realize she was on the air, and was calling Hogan to get his opinion about which wrestlers should be inducted in this years WWE Hall of Fame, which will take place the night before Mania. Many inside the company, including Vince, were furious about that call, and the fact that the list that the company had worked out was leaked over the air.

Make no mistake about it, there would be a pretty big void if Hogan does not make it on the show. Forget the fact that it's Mania, but how about the fact that its the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania III, the show that many regard as the greatest card that the company has ever had. It was that night in front of over 93,000 that the main event was a WWF Championship match between Hogan and the late Andre the Giant. The event was held just outside Detroit at the Silverdome, another reason why the WWE is doing Mania there this year. Mania III is held is such high regard that they are releasing a two-disc DVD March 6th with special interviews and extras from the event.

They still have plenty of time to mend fences and play nice for the event. Mania is April 1st, which still eight weeks from Sunday. The event can go on without Hogan to say the least, but fans want him there, you know that Hogan wants to be a part, and if McMahon can get over pouting about the whole situation, then something still can be done. If it will be or not is another story.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

No Way Out Shaping Up; Mania News and Notes

The WWE's final PPV before their biggest PPV of the year will take place a week from Sunday in Los Angeles at the Staples Center - No Way Out. This will be a SmackDown PPV, but of course has a lot of RAW star power behind it as both John Cena and Shawn Michaels will be on the card in the main event taking on SmackDown champ Batista and #1 contender Undertaker.
The card currently has the following matches set with one that is pending:

Undertaker & Batista vs. John Cena & Shawn Michaels

Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs. MNM vs. Hardys vs. William Regal & David Taylor in a ladder match for the tag titles

Finlay vs. Boogeyman

Kane vs. King Booker

The pending match that I think will be a go is Chris Benoit vs. Mr. Kennedy for the US Title.

The card really relies on the two huge matches - that being the tag title match, which will likely steal the show again like it did in the December PPV, and the main event, which I think will see mostly stares and tension between the four competitors as they will face each other at Mania.
It's interesting to note that with that PPV on 2/18, they will not have another PPV for six full weeks, by far the longest stretch between PPV's for the year. I like that fact, as it gives them tons of time to build up the storylines for WrestleMania in Detroit. Not that many should care, but you can expect there to be an announcement of the ECW Championship Match for Mania within the next two weeks, and my early pick is that they will go with Elijah Burke as part of the "New Breed" of ECW to take on Bobby Lashley. I know it sounds like a bit of a longshot, but come on, what other contenders are there? They blew their shot this last week at Hardcore Holly vs Lashley, as Holly lost clean, and if you think they are going to throw out Gene Snitsky vs Lashley, I just don't think they are desperate enough to do that - yet.

The other Mania match that will be set in the next few weeks is Edge vs Randy Orton. These two battled many times in the past, including Edge as a face taking the IC belt from Orton a few years back on a PPV. This time the dynamic will be totally different, as the crowd will have to side with someone as they are both going to come into the match as heels. I think long term Edge gets the nod as who the fans will root for, and I can see a change to face for the Rated R Superstar in the near future.

One final note, WWE is releasing a special edition WrestleMania III DVD on March 6th (my B-day!). The two-disc DVD will of course have all the matches along with interviews with a lot of the stars that had something to do with the mega event that had over 93,000 in the Silverdome in March, 1987.'s ShopZone has a special where you can pre-order the DVD along with a WrestleMania 23 T-Shirt for about $35 bucks. I wish they would release on a few DVD's the special WrestleMania recap show they did that was about eight hours back before WrestleMania 16 aired on PPV in April 2000. There were some great insight interviews and highlights of the first 15 Manias. I think they did some of that on a DVD that was included with a WrestleMania book that came out the following year, but I think a complete two-three disc set of that day would be cool to relive.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

ECW 2/6

The weekly hour waste of time otherwise known as ECW took place Tuesday night on Sci-Fi, and as usual, the show was rather bland with little to offer hope that someday this brand is going to even be near the same level as even SmackDown. The angle they are pushing and will push till Mania is the ECW "New Breed" vs the ECW "Originals." The new guys include Matt Striker, Elijah Burke, Marcus Cor Von, and Kevin Thorn. The old guys are Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Balls Mahoney, RVD, and Sabu. The end result is you will have some sort of match at Mania likely with it being 4-on-4 with Extreme Rules. In the meantime, you'll have weekly beat downs of the old guys until Mania.

The other "big" news on the show was the return (did we miss him) of a bald, shaven Val Venis. Just kidding, it was actually Gene Snitsky, who has about as much wrestling ability on some nights as the Great Kahli. Snitsky came into the ring and took out Bobby Lashley after the champion beat Hardcore Holly in a title match that aired halfway through the show for no reason. You have got to be kidding me to think for one minute that Gene Snitsky, who was just a mainstay on Heat not that long ago, is going to find a way to get into a ECW Title match at Mania. That match for sure will be the restroom and food stand match if that's the case.

Matches on this awful show included the following: Kevin Thorn beating Tommy Dreamer with Matt Striker as ref, Lashley pinning Holly, Marcus Cor Von winning in basically a squash over Balls Mahoney, and Elijah Burke pinning RVD with help from the new breed. Nice that they take RVD, a guy that could really carry ECW, and have him pinned two straight weeks by Hardcore Holly and then Burke. The booking on this show just gets worse and worse week after week.
Enough on this show, just fast forward me to Mania and Snitsky and Lashley so I can use the restroom.

RAW 2/5

In what was a big back and forth debate among WWE writers, I think that going into WrestleMania 23 they did exactly what they needed to do, and got the two biggest matches on the show right. They wrapped it up all neat and tidy on Monday night with an explosive RAW from Iowa. The show began with Undertaker giving the slash throat sign to Batista, thus making that match for the World Heavyweight Title. Later on in the show, a three-way between Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Edge took place to decide who would take on John Cena for the WWE title. In an outstanding match, Michaels won, pinning Orton after he accidently was speared by Edge.

The night concluded with Cena and Michaels in the ring together, and on the ramp, Batista and Undertaker staring down the two RAW stars. The four will compete in a tag match on the SmackDown PPV - No Way Out, in two weeks. Overall I state again that this was the way to go with the two main events. I know that the company was worried about face vs face twice on the show, but given the jeers that both Batista and Cena can get, this won't be as bad as it sounds. I think that given the state of the company and the lack of major heels right now, this was the overall right decision to make.

RAW as a whole was a good show, with seven matches that included the decision by Undertaker. Besides the three-way dance, you had Chris Masters and the World's Greatest Tag team going over on Cryme Tyme and Carlito. Umaga destroyed Balls Mahoney (why he was on the show was a bit puzzling). Super Crazy scored what I consider to be an upset on Johnny Nitro, and then in a woman's title match, Melina lost to Mickie James. Jeff Hardy beat Ric Flair in an outstanding match, and Bobby Lashey beat Kenny in a rare ECW title match on RAW.

A couple of angles took place and continued on the show, the biggest after the Mania main event stuff had to be Ric Flair's promo on Carlito just before the main event. The promo took place as they had Carlito and Torrie leaving the arena before the main event, and Flair ripped Cool for not having enough passion to stay and watch how Mania is going to play out with the main event. The story long term I think is that Flair is going heel with this attitude that the younger guys don't respect the business anymore. I know that Flair has wanted to go heel for sometime, and this was just the start. Look for more of the same next week as he will likely take on Cool on RAW.

They also announced that next week Donald Trump will be on RAW, and this will start an angle with Vince that will lead to something at Mania. The storyline from the getgo will be that Trump will manage a wrestler (likely Hogan), and Vince will manage someone (Shane, Kahli, or Umaga) and the two will fight at Mania. I am starting to like the thought of Hulk vs Shane, only because you know that Shane will take some major bumps in the match, and they really should continue to protect Umaga, and as much as they try, Kahli can't wrestle.

Finally, next week RAW will be taped from Portland on Monday, and be shown on USA on Thursday due to the Dog Show, which has preempted RAW for the last 100 years. I will be in Mexico Tuesday till midday Saturday, so when I come back I'll have five full hours of RAW, ECW, and SmackDown to catch up on. Ugh. Despite that, my spirits are raised now that we can officially know the two biggest Mania matches, and they are two matches that I was hoping for since they put this in motion the last few weeks.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

ECW 1/30

On the heels of a solid RAW Monday night, the WWE tried its best to get people interested in Tuesday's ECW show in Houston, only to once again fail to realize that throwing the same feud at fans over and over again is not a way to get people interested in the product. First off, let's see if I have this correct. Vince McMahon owns ECW. It's not a storyline they try to dispute, its just a simple fact. Yet he shows up in an ECW ring and tells the fans that they are losers if they liked the old ECW, and that the original ECW guys still around (Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Balls Mahoney) suck. Vince then proceeds to tell us that ECW needs new blood, only to bring out.....Elijah Burke? It was a truly bizarre segment that ended as one would think, with the four ECW original guys that McMahon declared that "suck" coming to the ring and clearing it out of Vince and Burke.

The only thing I can think of here is they are trying some stupid Old vs New ECW feud, that will have the four guys McMahon berated vs guys like Burke, Marquis Cor Von, and I'll guess Kevin Thorn and Test. You could also throw Hardcore Holly in there as well. This feud is all wrong, as of course it means we'll now see Vinnie Mac on ECW too much, as well as its just a feud that is so old and stale, no one will care, and that will include the 70,000 in Detroit when they try to throw this at us at WrestleMania in some stupid Hardcore four-man tag of the old vs the new.
Speaking of old, what has happened to RVD? A clean loss to Hardcore Holly, who I still think they may push for a title shot at Mania, is not what I would have expected. Did it make an impact? I guess, but I think that Holly could have beaten a number of guys in order to show something other than burying RVD. Same goes for C.M. Punk, who may never get out of the doghouse for his backstage antics. He lost to Striker by pin when Striker used the ropes on a rollup. Another waste of talent that may have to move on to find success in another promotion.

The main event, if you want to call it that, on this show was yet ANOTHER boring match
between Test and Bobby Lashley for the ECW Title. Again, for the third time in a week, Lashley won clean with a powerslam. The show ended with the Undertaker showing up, and making it seem like he cared about the ECW title, since he does have the option of fighting Lashley if he wants at Mania. Yeah, like that is going to happen. Just another way to drag out for a few weeks that Taker will take on Batista, while Lashley is going to end up with likely Holly or possibly Cor Von as his opposition for Mania. That will likely be the match where I go to the restroom. This show is just brutal to watch right now.

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  • From Cleveland OH
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