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WrestleMania XXIX Preview and Predictions

Anticipation is at a fevered pitch as fans are only a few days away from the biggest sports entertainment spectacle of the year!  WrestleMania XXIX is practically here, and we’re all anxious to take part in the majesty of this weekend surrounding the “grandest stage of them all!”

The build for this year’s event has been characterized by some fans as “lacking,” not having that humph that makes the event worth spending so much money for.  That is a fair and accurate criticism to make of the event, which questions the rationale for shelling out tons of money just to attend it live or ordering it on pay per view.

If you’ve followed the L.E.W.D. site from its very humble beginnings, you can easily recall that WrestleMania is the anniversary of our first official gathering; this weekend (if not the entire week) represents the first time many of us witnessed the event live and in person.  Having paid the money, helped with organizing damn near 20 people from around the country, and visited the many different events surrounding WrestleMania, I can honestly say that the magic of the weekend lies not within the actual event, but just experiencing everything that comes with it.

This year’s WrestleMania, outside of anything WWE is promoting or pandering, appears to be the largest gathering of pro wrestling related events fans have ever seen.  Wrestlecon is happening this weekend; our great friends at DragonGate USA/EVOLVE will be doing stuff, as well as Chikara, Shimmer and CZW.  Hell, even TNA is cashing in on this opportunity and hosting an event in New York on April 5!

This all goes to say that there is no reason for any fan that prides himself/herself on being a pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan to intentionally pout in the corner because this WrestleMania has somehow failed to live up to the hype and grandeur of WrestleMania X7.  There are so many different events going on and ways to see them that WWE’s premier pay per view will literally be the bookend to one hell of a weekend.  In that regard, the show cannot fail to meet expectations if you limit your expectations to simply experiencing WrestleMania by itself.

Given the pomp and circumstance of the event it isn’t unreasonable to expect WWE and its superstars to deliver come Sunday.  My point is that at this point in the game we have to begin to appreciate what the event symbolizes and not just the event itself.  This particular WrestleMania may seem like trash to some, but having experienced WrestleMania XXVII live here in Atlanta…I’ll just say this one is a big step up from that in more ways than one.

I also realize in these economic times we’re all strapped for cash and our finances won’t allow us to indulge in everything offered by the weekend; but if I had a choice, I’d honestly encourage you to purchase one of the iPPVs and locate your nearest Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings to catch WrestleMania.  If push comes to shove, you could also consider rounding up your closest friends and chipping in to order the event together.

Having said that let’s look at the card as it stands now and attempt to make some good ol’ fashioned predictions:

Pre-show - The Miz vs.Wade Barrett (c) for the Intercontinental Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Pre-show – The Miz vs.Wade Barrett (c) for the Intercontinental Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved

For some time now The Miz has been involved in a series of matches battling against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett.  Ironically enough their placement on the WrestleMania card appears to be a metaphor for their current rivalry: easily forgettable.

I believe their rivalry began with a spat over who was the bigger movie star, with Miz and Barrett speaking highly of their films The Marine 3: Homefront and Dead Man Down, respectively.  Once again in a strange twist of fate, I’m not in a particular rush to see either movie or their match.

This match feels as if the men were placed together because in the grand scheme of things both were aimlessly floating around with very little to do.  I haven’t been all that thrilled about their matches, which isn’t a slight at either individual’s work rate or abilities.  The bottom line for me is that the feud and rivalry is rather dull and the Intercontinental Championship feels like an unnecessary accessory altogether, not even speaking about Barrett’s ho-hum reign.

I expect Barrett to retain in what’s going to ultimately be an over exaggerated exhibition match.

Prediction: Wade Barrett retains.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s face facts: the average wrestling fan believes this match is a waste of time and space on the jam packed WrestleMania card.  The average fan would also believe that there are tons of wrestlers (Ted DiBiase and Kofi Kingston maybe…) who deserve this coveted spot more so than Fandango.  Those opinions, while valid, also miss the mark when it comes to the whole of Jericho’s burgeoning feud with Fandango.

For starters, Fandango (formerly Johnny Curtis from the fourth season of NXT) is a “debuting” wrestler in the company.  That word “debut” can be used loosely here, but he’s new talent relatively speaking.  It’s hilarious to see some fans dump on new talent, only to turn around and complain when the company fails to make “new stars.”

Secondly, Fandango is making his “debut” at WrestleMania against Chris Jericho, a soon-to-be-legend that works extremely well with getting over…you guessed it…new talent.  The man should be honored twice as much to have Jericho as his in-ring coach and to face him at the company’s biggest pay per view of the year.

This brings us to our third point: the higher ups in the company must think he’s worth his salt if they’ve chosen to (a) not release him, (b) have him wrestle against Chris Jericho at his (c) debut at WrestleMania.  This isn’t taking into consideration the tons of money placed into his character with the garishly elaborate sets.

Fourthly despite whatever the fans may feel the need to chant, the man can actually wrestle; there is a HUGE difference between chanting “you can’t wrestle” and “you don’t wrestle.”

All things considered Fandango’s presence at WrestleMania is enough of a big deal for Curtis Jonathan Hussey.  He doesn’t need a win here to legitimize himself, so expect Chris Jericho to humble the star Sunday night.

Prediction: Chris Jericho wins, feud with Fandango continues.

Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The feud between Del Rio and Swagger started off as a red hot rivalry rooted in the controversial subject of immigration.  Since Swagger’s return to WWE he, along with his manager Zeb Coulter, have crusaded against the individuals they believe are causing America to decay in the sort of moral turpitude that only “immigrants” can apparently cause.  Unfortunately that angle lasted about as long as a Hot Pocket in a college student’s refrigerator; as it stands now the main reason fans are invested in this match is because Jack Swagger beat up Ricardo Rodriguez.

Del Rio’s run as a face has been much better than the latter part of his run as a heel; the sad part of it all is that even with Rodriguez by his side, Del Rio consistently struggles to get the fans to rally behind him.  This nagging reality haunts Del Rio to this day, and thus creates a situation similar to that of The Miz and Wade Barrett; yeah he’s going to wrestle Jack Swagger, yeah there’s a title on the line, but do you really care?

I’m hoping that the match will be a clinic between two exceptionally gifted wrestlers, but other than that it probably won’t be anything worth writing home about.  Del Rio retains much to Yosemite Sam’s Zeb Coulter’s chagrin, and Swagger survives only to spend another day frustrated with change.

Prediction: Del Rio retains

Ryback vs. Mark Henry | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ryback vs. Mark Henry | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The bout between Ryback and Mark Henry is one of those fights that force you to ask yourself, “What took them so long?”  Actually, wrestling logic dictates that these two will feud for another month or so, realize that they’re not so different after all, and unite in a formidable team that will rise up the ranks and win the WWE Tag Team Championships.  Alas, they’ve already got a Black Guy/White Guy powerhouse team, so that dog won’t hunt anytime soon.

WrestleMania XXIX will also be a huge night for Ryback as well, serving as the star’s coming out party against another WWE legend in the making.  Say what you will about Mark Henry, but it cannot be denied that he’s one of the most tenured WWE stars still wrestling today (he debuted in 1996, while Triple H debuted in WWE one year before him in 1995).  Despite having gaps in his career due to injuries, Mark Henry has remained a fixture in the company and the man has to be worth something if they haven’t released him yet.

“Two bulls in a china shop” is the best way to describe this match; Ryback will walk away with the rub from Henry, which will bring him one step closer to his eventual run as a main event star in the company.  If Ryback is able to lift Henry up for his patented Shell Shock finisher, then WrestleMania XXIX will officially be worth the $55 you’re planning on spending on it.

Prediction: Ryback with the pinfall victory.

Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston vs. Team Hell No (c) for the WWE Tag Team Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston (w/AJ Lee) vs. Team Hell No (c) for the WWE Tag Team Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It’s amazing how quickly the members of Dolph Ziggler’s stable have managed to fall from grace in such a short time.  There was a point where the AJ Lee character was the focus of Monday Night RAW and involved heavily with multiple main event superstars at once.  There was also a point where Lee’s heat was translating nicely over to Dolph Ziggler.  Things really began to look awesome when the very large and intimidating Big E Langston joined the crew as the silent and brooding enforcer.

Then it all went to hell.

Ziggler is still in possession of his Money In the Bank championship contract and with three months left until its expiration we can only hope he cashes it before becoming the third person (after John Cena and Mr. Anderson) unable to successfully cash in their MITB contract.  AJ Lee and Big E have no purpose or direction whatsoever right now because they’re too busy living in Ziggler’s shadow, which in and of itself is a shadow of the spectacle of WrestleMania.

Whatever the case may be these two men are being fed to the WWE Tag Team Champions as neither team really has much going for them at this exact moment.  Team Hell No will retain and high-falootin’ hijinks will ensue.

Prediction: Team Hell No retains.

Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show vs. The Shield | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show vs. The Shield | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It truly is hard to believe that two years ago we had the extreme pleasure of watching Jon Moxley wrestle right before our eyes; we knew then that Moxley had a try-out match with WWE that weekend, but we never imagined that it’d be two short years later when we’d see him in a marquee WrestleMania match.

Jon Moxley vs. Arik Cannon at Mercury Rising 2011 here in Atlanta. | Photo © Mr. Ashley Morris.

Jon Moxley vs. Arik Cannon at Mercury Rising 2011 here in Atlanta. | Photo © Mr. Ashley Morris. All Rights Reserved.

The same can be said for Tyler Black, who was scooped up from ROH by WWE seven months before Moxley.  Most fans immediately assumed that Black would be “misused” by WWE…but three years later, he’s got a WrestleMania match.

Roman Reigns debuted in FCW Wrestling in September 2010, the same month and year as Tyler Black.  As a member of the legendary Anoa’i, the superstar first known as Leakee had massive shoes and expectations to fill.  Fast forward three years…well you get the picture.

Collectively speaking The Shield is beginning to show signs of monotony as their justice-leveling antics appear to lack substance and value.  They’ve amassed two straight pay per view victories and have proven themselves to be formidable contenders against numerous superstars, including John Cena.  At WrestleMania XXIX they face their biggest challenge to date against the team of Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show, but their presence still lacks a solid direction that could make the difference between their match being good and great.

The consensus among some fans is that Orton will turn heel and align himself with The Shield; this would solve a few of the company’s problems: refreshing the Randy Orton character, breathing some new life into The Shield and adding some star-power to their mix.  Think of this as WWE’s “Bully Ray-slash-Aces and 8s” swerve.

I have two problems with that rationale: there are already tons of heels in WWE at the moment and I also never saw the trail of breadcrumbs leading to such a drastic shift in Orton’s character.  With or without a heel turn from a member of the opposite team, expect The Shield to pull off the victory against Team Non-Compatible.

Prediction: The Shield wins.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The WWE took advantage of Paul Bearer’s unexpected death to concoct a convenient storyline for Taker/Punk match at WrestleMania.  Some fans have even gone as far as to question the build to the match prior to Bearer’s death; whatever the case may be, Punk has one hell of an opportunity to steal the show with the Deadman this Sunday.

Ever since Punk’s near mythic year long reign as WWE Champion, the Straight Edge Superstar has fought for the respect he feels he rightfully deserves.  If you’ve followed Punk’s WWE career (or watched his 3-disc DVD set), you would realize that he fought tooth and nail just to stay in the company and has amassed quite a bit of stock by now.  If Punk manages to give a good show with Taker, he would undoubtedly receive the credit he deserves just by hanging with him in the ring.

The build for this match leaves a lot to the imagination, but do you really care about the build more than you do the actual psychology and athleticism of the match?  Here are solid facts: Taker can still go in the ring and Punk can get a five star match from anybody (remember the bout with John Cena from RAW?).  Two exceptionally gifted wrestlers, athletes and entertainers going at it for at least twenty minutes…and some folks are stuck on the build for the match?  Please.

The safe (and accurate) assumption is that Taker will go 21-0 by defeating Punk.  I hope and pray in my heart of hearts that this is the case, but I’m not convinced the “build” was solid enough to give us reasonable doubt about Taker’s chances of losing this year.  At the very least, however, I’ve got a feeling Punk will  finally gain the “respect” he’s been searching for.

Prediction: The Undertaker defeats CM Punk

Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Bathroom break.

Prediction: Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls

Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/ Shawn Michaels | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/ Shawn Michaels | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I’m hoping you didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and let the smooth taste fool you…

While a solid and consistent number of fans were up in arms about “Twice In a Lifetime,” I failed to see anyone question the necessity of yet another Triple H “Your Career Is Officially Over…Again…” match at WrestleMania.  I swear the last time Trips showed his body at this pay per view the match was billed as the “End of an Era;” but I guess a new era can start when you cut your hair even though you still wear your leather jackets and enter the arena with a Motörhead song blaring through the sound system.

The most recognizable Attitude Era wrestlers that are still going at it are Triple H, The Undertaker, and Mark Henry.  Oddly enough each of them have matches at WrestleMania, and even more sinister is the fact that only two of those individuals are in matches where they are in a position to put over other younger superstars.  Guess which individual gets the spotlight all on his own…

It was once commented that Triple H has yet to have that “WrestleMania moment,” the one pivotal career-defining WrestleMania moment that serves as the magnum opus of his 18 year WWE career.  I’m not so sure his match with Brock Lesnar will be it.

The last match between Lesnar and Triple H wasn’t as enthralling as Lesnar’s match with Cena, which makes getting excited about this one a very daunting task.  I expect brutality and a certain level of “legit” from Lesnar (two times the average level of legit, in case you were wondering), and that’s enough to get fans interested in the match.  Who wouldn’t want to see Brock Lesnar beat someone senseless?

But again, the focus is on Triple H…the focus is on Trips settling a score with Brock and showing the WWE Universe that The Game still has it.  It’s also a way for Trips to try once again to get that WrestleMania moment he’s thirsting for.  Even with the tantalizing possibility of Lesnar ripping off Trips’ arm and beating him with it, the reality of seeing Trips’ puppy dog face as he grieves another loss to Heyman’s boy is enough to cause fans to yawn themselves silly until the main main event.

To borrow a quote from our L.E.W.D. brother Corbin Macklin, “I sweafogawd if I see this man lose onemotime…”

I call Trips beating Lesnar, enabling him to keep his wrestling career and perhaps setting up a rubber match sometime in the future.

Prediction: Triple H defeats Brock Lesnar

John Cena vs. The Rock (c) for the WWE Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

John Cena vs. The Rock (c) for the WWE Championship | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What more can be said about WrestleMania XXIX’s main event that hasn’t already been said?

There are a ton of possibilities that could come from the finish of the match.  At this moment I’m not sure of what future projects The Rock has lined up; I think he’s  supposed to be Hercules or start filming the another movie with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker or whatever.  All signs point to John Cena regaining the WWE Championship, placing a big thumbs up emblem on the sides where the Brahma Bull logos are at, and mediocrity on RAW ensues for another millennium.

I would actually enjoy seeing John Cena lose again to The Rock; it’s tragic to see any fan yearn to see a character’s downfall, but that’s what makes for compelling television.  It’s sickening that John Cena can manage to escape clean losses time after time; everyone has a weakness and dammit someone’s got to know how to keep Cena on the sidelines.  For me, seeing a different personality trait in Cena’s character would be gold.  He doesn’t have to be a full blown heel, but just something different than the life coach we get each week right now.

The problem with changing something that isn’t broken is that it begins to wear thin on some, particularly those of us that wish for some type of depth to be shown in the character.  Depth among shallow-end pool swimmers (i.e. kids and young women) isn’t something valued or sought after, and because of such we’re going to get another Cena WrestleMania victory and everyone for the most part goes home with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside of their stomachs.  I’ve been told that ulcers and abdominal pains have that same effect…

There have been reports that seeds have been planted for a Ryback/Cena post-WrestleMania feud (remember the Triple Threat match for CM Punk’s WWE Title and Cena’s elimination of Ryback at the Royal Rumble pay per view?), and that’s something I even hinted at in a previous post.  That type of feud will suffice, but it’s the same wash-rinse-repeat cycle Cena’s been placed in before.  Hell, I’d like it if they brought back Alex Riley as some young, upstart collegiate so-and-so attempting to assume the throne when Cena’s Jersey City All Pro character get’s ready to “go off to college.”  But alas, I’m on the internet writing for you and not the WWE for a reason…I guess.

Cena wins and we’ll get to pout about it in a post-WrestleMania blog post.

Prediction: John Cena redeems himself to himself and wins the WWE Championship for the 800th time

All things considered this action-packed WrestleMania will keep us enthralled all Sunday night.  I hope you enjoyed reading the predictions, and stay posted to the L.E.W.D. site all weekend as we indulge in the cavalcade of pro wrestling going on as we speak!

State of Pro Wrestling Address

State of the Union address

We are back again with another Podcast covering the state of the industry.

Topics came from the following:

Vitality of the Pro Wrestling Industry for both WWE & TNA

Champions of the Industry

And various current events.

State of Wrestling Address Part 1

State of Wrestling Address Part 2

Da Infamous DiZ talks about Summerslam 2012

*All moving gifs courtesy of ilovewrestlinggifs*

Hello again, dear friends and enemies. Welcome back to the site. If you’re like me (and you’re not, because I’m the incarnation of perfection) then you come here for pro wrestling and/or sports entertainment commentary, insight, witty banter and, of course, the occasional bit of hardcore animal porn. But since the nation of Kickassia has passed the Protection of Oriental Pigeons Act (aka the P.O.O.P. Act) we’ve had to fall back on pure analysis.

But not me, true believers! Never a fan of the status quo or hot bird-on-bear action, I, the Infamous One himself, is proud to bring you ranting! Yes, ranting, pure unadulterated ranting on something we all love to hate: the WWE! As we all know, last night was Summerslam 2012, one of the big four PPVs the company puts out, and the question is simple: “DiZ, you clandestine paragon of forthrightness, what did YOU, in all your greatness and humility that I can never hope to achieve, think of the PPV?”

Since you are so kind to acknowledge my greatness, I’ll tell you. I’ve picked up a bad habit, I’m sorry to say, one that compels me to actually buy the PPVs, fry up some chicken wings, drink Yuengling and Sam Adams and occasionally endure a random appearance by a long-lost friend. The last element within that circle did not occur last night, but just as well. Those long-lost friends are usually casual fans and at a certain point last night they would have felt cheated out of the $0.00 they paid to watch it.

Not that they matter. What did I think? Well we start with the pre-show match between Antonio Cesaro, the man of five languages (and six words) versus the United States Champion (and I use that term loosely) Santino Marella. Just for you, reader, I’ll treat you to highlights from the match via moving gifs which highlight the best parts of the matches. So let us begin.

The Book of Man Logic says: applying teeth to clothing that may touch another man’s crotch is ill advised.

We all know the reign of Santino Marella as the United States Champion has been stupidly underwhelming.  His high point came in the Elimination Chamber match when he was literally the cock of the walk.  His inclusion into the PPV, even in the pre-show, is fulfillment of the role of the champion who puts others over.  Enter Antonio Cesaro, master of one-word phrases and questionably attractive European women.  He’s quickly risen from being Teddy Long’s pseudo-adversary to PPV pre-show talent, and why not?  He’s a big Swede who beats people up, kind of like this guy here (only he’s Spanish).

Besides that, with patriotism very high right now (election years will do that to you) a good international heel is needed, and Cesaro fits that bill to a Rocky IV kind of perfection.  The match was entertaining, far more than Marella has been in a long time, and his loss came as a sigh of relief to us, the masses.  Frankly I think Cesaro can enact a respectable and entertaining run as the United States Champion, and maybe he’ll even bring a little validity back to the title.  The big question now is who he feuds with next.  I’m hoping for a low-to-mid carder who hasn’t exactly had a chance to shine or, hypothetically, gets thrown into walls by giants.

Aksana, when we return to hotel, I must break you…

Match one (two if you want to speak in technicalities) was between the Show Off Dolph Ziggler and Y2J Chris Jericho.  I don’t know who said it, but a very wise person said that this match had the potential to be the best PPV opener in the history of the WWE.

I agreed.  Jericho versus Ziggler, old versus new, unofficial mentor versus unofficial mentee, Yomi versus Shura (Yu Yu Hakusho fans might get that one), and sure enough it was all that and more.  The in-ring psychology of the match suggested to me that Ziggler was like a younger brother to Jericho, desperately trying to earn his elder sibling’s respect through ability, skill and imitation.  That, as well as the fact that Jericho’s role in the WWE right now is to put over the next generation of stars, fueled this great match.

You got a degree and you know sign language, but do you have a heavy metal band? HUH!?!

We were treated to just over 13 minutes of smooth ring work and flashy bravado that ended, surprisingly, with a Jericho win.  The crowd was enthused and, even better, we were treated to the Lion Tamer.  Not the Walls of Jericho as many figured, but the Lion Tamer.  I explained to one person, “The Walls of Jericho is a renamed Boston Crab.  The Lion Tamer is there to crush your skill and snap your back in two.”  Big brother wasn’t amused.

But I’m looking past that and to what this match might mean for this feud between Jericho and Ziggler.  It seems like many a Superstar right now are playing the shadow game to a wrestler they emulate or idolize, and this is the first time I’m seeing how blatantly this is being shown.  I don’t see Jericho doing anything big for a bit and Ziggler may not cash in that briefcase in the near future (or maybe he will; get the belt of Sheamus; oops, spoiler) but we may finally see that almost Rule of Two Sith thing I was hinting at so long enough back when Cena was supposed to join the dark side.

Maybe.  I hope so.

It’s “No! No! No!” because typing “Yes! Yes! Yes!” into Google is X rated.

Match three was between Daniel Bryan and Kane, more in-ring story for the long (and compelling) arc between AJ, Punk, Bryan and Kane.  While the “anger management” angle has seemed to fade a little bit, the sun that is Bryan’s career hasn’t subsided in the least.  Easily one of the finest workers in the WWE in a long time, he makes the ring work look good and he plays the crowd to perfection, whether friendly or jerky, aggressive or downright psychotic.  Pair him with Kane, another of the great workers in the WWE, and we have a great match.

It is interesting, I think, that this angle has lasted as long as it has, and it all revolves around a Diva, the most powerful Diva on the program, the Diva that did what Eve couldn’t do and did it without any sexual innuendo (the mantra is “I will resist Eve breast, mouth or sex jokes.  I will resist…”) and now it seems like she punishing every man that had any relation with her along the way.  Look at Punk and his triple threat.  Look at Bryan and his psychological evaluations.  Look at Kane and his relative third wheel status.  Look at Josh Matthews and…

The moral of the story, kids, is that just doing your job is hazardous to your health.

Well to be fair, he was just doing his job.  But really, when’s the last time that paid off?  That’s not very “Be A Star”-ish, WWE.  What does it say when a man who is just trying to do his job gets manhandled and may just suffer from some anal bleeding?

But Bryan won the match via a Small Package (ironic, I know) and AJ has promised retribution and consequences for Kane’s attack.  A great match, great work from both Superstars, great tolerance for Josh Matthews.  I don’t know WHO he pissed off to get thrown around and beat up as of late but he’s taking it all in stride.

Our fourth match was for the Intercontinental Championship, a real barn burner between token talking Mexican good guy Rey Mysterio and (not a) movie star Mike Mizanin, aka the Miz.  I didn’t know what to expect or think of this match but I have to admit: I hate Batman and Bruce Wayne just a little bit more now that we have this image:

Insert generic Adam West Batman quote here.

Personally I think he’d have been better off coming out as the Riddler, being “Mysterio” and all, or even Bane, because of the similar Mexican heritage, but hey, when you need to impersonate a hero, you impersonate everyone’s favorite psychologically damaged, sexually repressed/confused, forever lonely billionaire!  Trust me, I know Batman lore, I’m being VERY nice just saying that.

Like I said, I didn’t have much of an opinion for this match because my only thought was that I wanted the Miz to win.  I’m in the minority here but I’m not big on Rey Mysterio for the same reason I’m not big on Sin Cara: I don’t see their styles soar because they rarely face other luchas.  When the eventual (and inevitable) battle between him and Sin Cara becomes a reality (not that tag team mess where they look like Double Dragon) I’ll probably enjoy it more.  After all, what is Sin Cara in the WWE but in the shadow… of… Rey… Mysterio… do I hear the sweet bells of validation?!

The actual match was surprisingly good.  The back-and-forth was clever and enjoyable, and the end of the match actually did feature some serious edge-of-your-seat(-with-a-beer-in-hand) moments.  The Miz’s victory pleased me even more because it looked like a hard fought victory, which is the best kind of victory.

Match five was the rather noteworthy Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio 463 (I don’t think the number is that high, but it might as well be).  We’ve seen this match plenty of times but despite Del Rio’s in-ring skill he’s just not that fun to watch overall.  He’s rather dull on the mic and he’s grown stale.  Someone’s left the cap off of the bottle of Senzao if you catch my drift.

Therein lies the issue: the actual match was solid.  It was clean.  But like the Primetime Players vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth 353 (again, not that many, but might as well be) back when A.W. was their manager, the crowd wasn’t into it.  A.W. brought energy to that match, and Ricardo Rodriguez couldn’t do the same for this match.

There was a certain time when the crowd popped though that caught my attention, as shown here:

The crowd popped at the armlock. Otherwise, they said, “We are not amused!”

But that pop actually came BEFORE Sheamus displayed his strength, when Del Rio locked in his finisher.  That was curious, but even when Ricardo threw his shoe (you’re missed, A.W.) the crowd just wasn’t into this otherwise solid match.  Sheamus retained, but it’s about time we had something new.  Sheamus vs. Del Rio has long since overstayed its welcome, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Orton in the WHC title hunt again.  Speaking of Orton… no, nothing.  I just wanted to get your hopes up.  Like I said to Quinn before: he dismantles with arguments and logic.  I just hurt people’s feelings.  Deal with it!

The next match was the Primetime Players against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, who seemed to be dressed in Superman attire for some reason or the other.  You’ll notice the lack of moving gifs for this one.  That’s because there are none (or at least I don’t feel like looking).  It was a standard match, and the consistent chant of “Kobe” throughout (or maybe “Kofi”, it was hard to tell) was the highlight.

My biggest thing was finally acknowledging that one of the biggest African-American wrestlers in the WWE right now is a Que.  That’s gotta be an interesting article in the Oracle I reckon.  Kofi and R-Truth (I call them “Good Times” because I think of this song when they come out) retain their titles, but honestly I don’t feel too strongly either way about them right now.

The WWE Championship match followed this tag team encounter, and the first thing that caught my attention was the order of appearance.  John Cena was first, then the Big Show, and finally the CHAMPION CM Punk.  That’s good.  It’s progress.  Punk wasn’t in the main event but that’s a gripe for another post.

There’s no more animal porn, but this… is our loophole.

I’ll say this: that match was as good as it could have possibly been.  There was a consistent attempt to keep it a one-on-one bout and the double tap out was, predictably I’ll admit, interesting if not a little cliché.  Punk’s victory was the icing on the cake because it was both so like him and so unlike him at the same time, which only makes his tweener status (HE’S NOT A HEEL!) all the better.

But you have to wonder: is this part of a grand months long arc like that of Daniel Bryan?  We know the Rock is waiting at the Royal Rumble for his match (with no reasonable explanation as to why this match CAN even go down) but what until then?  Minor sidestories within?  Gaiden?  Cheese?  The Tahj Mahal?  Hammer?  I’m actually voting for Hammer.  Otherwise, CM Punk is a terrific tweener, in the same vein of Stone Cold himself (SHADOWS!  SHADOWS!  SHADOWS!) and I like that.

He’s walking around in this dress that she wore, she is gone, but the joke’s the same… pretty in pink… isn’t she? (I had to do it)

What the people (i.e. – many of thee) don’t understand is that there’s a lot more to the characters you love and hate in the ring.  There’s more than just black and white; there is gray, several shades of it, about fifty to be exact.  That’s where CM Punk is.  That’s actually where a LOT of wrestlers are, but people don’t like to think.  There’s black and white, but no gray.  Gray SUCKS!  So people just think, “Oh, he hit the Rock so he’s a heel!”  Shut up, fool, he’s a tweener, between face and heel, adept in both, master of none!

I’m sorry, I got angry because I envisioned your (ADRIAN!) face and just screamed at the computer screen.  Let me sum up my feelings on those that feel like CM Punk is a heel with this:

The fine for this little infraction gonna be rollin, rollin, rollin, rollin, rollin…

Next we had our Cash Money performance, and being an ardent hater of anything post-2003 from the Cash Money camp that was NOT Teena Marie let’s just apply the above moving gif to my feelings for the performance.  There wasn’t enough dancing Layla but there was enough trying to sing Spanish announcers.  That made the overall performance about a C+.  It would have been a B-, but like I said: not enough dancing Layla.

Finally, my legion of followers, we come to the main event.  Brock Lesnar versus Triple H.  I’ll offer this disclaimer now: if you’re a casual fan of pro wrestling/sports entertainment, this match sucked.  If you’re a deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan, this match was intriguing.

Lesnar: Hey Trips! Jimmie John’s profits are up! This ass-whuppin is on me!

It was like a game of chess, that’s the only way I can describe it.  And chess, while interesting, isn’t always something that has your eyes shifting like a game of ping pong.  It was like a ballet almost, a psychological struggle between a man with no morals and a man who still thinks he has something to prove after losing a record third time to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

Lesnar: Oh yeah, I’m a major cinephile. Check this out! JUDOOOOO CHOP!

No tables were destroyed, no weapons utilized, just some retrospectively brutal attacks by both combatants.  Looking at what this match is truly here to symbolize, you have to wonder if this is all part of the long road (or an extended storyline) leading to the end of Triple H’s in-ring work.  He’s been around for a while, staked his claim, and now he’s been emasculated and defeated, both as an athlete (Lesnar’s repeatedly beat him senseless) and professionally (Lesnar didn’t get his way, but he left the scars).  Is it time to see the end of Triple H, the wrestler?

Lesnar: I love John Briley too! CRY FREEDOM!

Maybe.  I have a scenario in mind actually that would be a perfect way for Triple H to leave the ring, but it would need to happen at Wrestlemania.  In any case, it was a gentleman’s match, not full of spotfest excitement or bloody indulgence but true, technical, specified brutality.  Watching from both a casual and deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment state of mind, I was equally bored/angered and amazed/melancholy, because with the abundance of shadows I’ve spoken of earlier, who exactly is the shadow for Triple H?  Stone Cold’s legacy is in the spirit of CM Punk right now.  Hogan’s is in Cena.  Rey Mysterio’s is in Sin Cara.  Jericho’s is in Ziggler, maybe even a few others.  Could perhaps Sheamus…

Well, it was a deep match, with Triple H tapping out to Lesnar.  He left the ring like a king who had finally taken too many wounds.  Classy.  Very cool, very classy.

That sums up the PPV for me.  Because I’m in the weird habit of paying for these and essentially hosting little private parties for them now, I hold the PPVs, especially the big four, in a higher regard now, and I can say that Summerslam didn’t disappoint.  The crowd wasn’t as enthused at all times as they could have been, and the main event is going to be a polarizing thing for many, but by and by I liked it, money well spent, a nice compliment to my many, many beers.

The DiZ gives this PPV a B for a grade.  That’s about all I have to say today.  You stay classy, San Diego.  I’m Ron Burgandy…?

SummerSlam 2012 Preview and Predictions

SummerSLAAAAAAAM!!! Yeah b****es!

Tonight’s the night!  Fans all across the world are geared up for the biggest blockbuster party of the summer.  Hailing from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, this year’s SummerSlam Pay Per View looks chocked-filled with sports entertainment goodness that’s sure to leave fans lingering on the edge of their seats…for what, we’ll have to wait until the show starts to see.

One look at the card shows us a bevy of matches that pit up-and-coming stars against veterans of the sport.  With the exception of the Triple H/Lesnar match, the card looks like a springboard for the next generation of superstars.  What better than a place like Los Angeles to attempt such an important feat for the WWE?  In that sense the show should be perfect for those who are tired of the same old matches and stars dominating the product.  If you don’t buy into this show and your favorite star gets pushed back down the card, who can you really blame for that?

That’s another point for another time.  Until then, let’s join in on the speculative goodness and provide some good ol’ fashioned previews and predictions, L.E.W.D. style!

Pre-show – Antonio Cesaro (w/Aksana) vs. Santino Marella (c) for the United States Championship

I’m sure the average fan can agree that Santino’s reign as United States Champion has been lacking…well…a lot of stuff.  Relevance, significance, prestige, importance, focus, meaning…we could go on all day about it but that’s not really the point here.  Marella is gold when it comes to bringing attention to his opponents, and it’s that ability that will make or break his pre-show match against Antonio Cesaro.

Cesaro is still in the infancy stages of his WWE career and it is very noteworthy that he’s advanced far enough in so little time to the point where he has a Pay Per View match for a championship title.  Yes it’s for a “meaningless” title, but it’s a title nevertheless.  Eric Escobar never got that far…

At any rate I expect this match to be one where Cesaro can easily dominate and physically embarrass Santino.  The irony of this international fracas is that an Italian and Swede are vying for the U.S. Championship; take that, Arizona.

Cesaro’s Pay Per View outing tonight should be one were fans get a chance to buy into the character.  By being in a high profile match against the WWE’s top babyface underdog, Cesaro can gain tons of heat and further his character without even winning the match.

Prediction – Santino Marella retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – Antonio Cesaro wins, moves on to feud with Alex Riley…b/c story line wise* no right-minded “American” would agree with it.

“The Prime Time Players” Titus O’Neil and Darren Young vs. “High Times” Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (c)
for the Tag Team Championships

Despite what fans may gripe about, tag team wrestling in the WWE has slowly made a return to some level of prominence within the company.  Any one that’s followed the progress of Titus O’Neil and Darren Young can easily agree with that aforementioned statement.  If you haven’t followed their progress, then that’s your fault and not the WWE’s.

Not much has been seen collectively from Kingston and Truth other than furthering the feud between them and the PTPs.  So far their reign has been lackluster, but that is largely due to the WWE’s insistence on putting over the story more so than the athletic competition.  While not necessarily a good thing it isn’t all that bad either; we get that the PTPs are the new jack tag team stars on the rise and that High Times feels it necessary to humble the young, brass duo.

Having been involuntarily relieved of A.W.’s managerial services, the PTPs will have to utilize their own abilities (athleticism and charisma) to put over their team as a legitimate threat to High Times.  Other than that, the group isn’t as polished as they could be and a clean win tonight would not do them justice in the long run.

Prediction - High Times retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – High Times retains. #BillionsandBillionsandBillionsofReasonsWhyTheyShould

Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz (c) for the Intercontinental Championship

According to Mr. Quinn Gammon, Rey Mysterio has a pinfall victory over The Miz which entitles him to a match of this caliber.  I honestly missed that victory and care very little to visit YouTube to see it.

This does not take away the potential for this match to be an exhibition of solid ring work from two superstars capable of getting a rise out of the fans.  My fear is that the prestige of the IC Title that was built up during the magnificent reign of Cody Rhodes has been lost by now.  With no offense to The Miz, the title has returned to its inglorious days of being an accessory; it’s like a Yves Saint Laurent purse or a celebrity’s 3-month old baby.

Since his departure from the WWE to film The Marine 2: Homefront, The Miz has yet to stand out dramatically in the midst of everything else going on in the WWE right now.  Rey Mysterio is the perfect WWE vet to bring some attention back to the man who has a pinfall victory over John Cena at WrestleMania.  Not too many people can say that now can they?

Prediction – Miz retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – Rey Mysterio wins, begins feud with Sin Cara b/c they’re going to have to do it anyway.

Kane vs. Daniel Bryan

All one has to do is take a look at Daniel Bryan’s rise to WWE superstardom to see just how far the “indy darling’s” stock has skyrocketed in such a short time.  Bryan was once the man that fans knew wouldn’t receive a fair shake in the WWE due to his size and abilities.  A few years later the man literally has fans eating out of the palms of his hands; it’d be awesome to look at his transition from professional wrestler to sports entertainer.

Bryan will go one on one against “The Big Red Machine/Monster” tonight in what could be an interesting match-up of skill versus brute strength and power.  I expect Bryan to amp up his intensity in this match to compensate for the monstrous brutality he lacks and Kane will provide.  I believe I heard somewhere that Bryan does not hold a singles victory over Kane, which means he will probably work for not only the victory but also to do so in a way that will weaken Kane’s stoic persona.

I’m not sure if RAW’s General Manager AJ Lee will get involved, but I’m hoping she doesn’t as it could take away from the athletic story telling in the ring while adding to the drama that exists between herself and Daniel Bryan.

Prediction – Kane wins via AJ Lee distraction;

Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero)

This will perhaps be the best wrestling match of the night.  Combine a renaissance man like Chris Jericho with a super-solid in ring worker like Dolph Ziggler and fans are guaranteed one hell of a display of athleticism and ring psychology.

We’re looking at two stars who are brilliant in their own right and bring something unique to the table of professional wrestling and sports entertainment.  Jericho is an entertainer at heart who excels at pro wrestling all around the world, is a NY Times bestselling author, is the lead singer of the popular rock band Fozzy, and has a degree in communications.

Dolph Ziggler is a decorated amateur and collegiate wrestler, has a political science/pre-law degree, and is fluent in American Sigh Language.

What in the blue fluke are we in for tonight?

Jericho’s band Fozzy has already began touring a hectic schedule that will pick up dates in September.  Needless to say Jericho’s run in the WWE at this point will probably come to an end with this match.  However look for the vet to put over Ziggler in spectacular form, perhaps in preparation for his cashing in of his Money In the Bank briefcase.

Prediction – Dolph Ziggler wins; Mr. Morris Hopes – Dolph Ziggler wins.

Big Show vs. John Cena vs. CM Punk (c), Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship

For starters, CM Punk is not the heel in this match.

In fact, CM Punk has pretty much spouted everything that IWC pundits have spewed venomously against the WWE since the beginning of the PG Era.  His nine month reign has received far less fanfare and fan attention than what it should have (in comparison to Robert Roode’s nine month TNA World Heavyweight Championship reign) and the focus of RAW has been on everything except the champion.  So why then would anyone boo CM Punk for stating his beef with this especially when we all agree with him?

This match is important as it will allow Punk to put to rest all the chatter that does not have to do with his reign as WWE Champion.  Between the Big Show’s “I’m a giant and I can bully everybody because I’m big and mean and surly and frightening and blah blah blah,” and John Cena’s “I can take up TV time for a major announcement that’s not really an announcement and I’m also made of adamantine,” Punk’s “Joe 6-Pack” reign will carry most of the work in this match.

To be honest Big Show is just a prop in the match, the real beef taking place between the face and the champion of the company.  At this point in his career Cena really doesn’t have to be anywhere near the title in order to be significant, which is one of the reasons why Punk’s pissed off in the first place.  I imagine a feud between the two sometime in the future, but I’m also aware that Punk’s character will be featured prominently to coincide with the release of the WWE ’13 video game.  That notion makes the match all the more interesting.

Prediction – Punk Retains.  Mr. Morris Hopes – Punk retains.

Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Sheamus  (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship

That goofy smiling doof just doesn’t get it.  Del Rio is going to lose, flat out.

This match makes me angry because of Del Rio’s character being stuck in development hell.  After returning from an injury/suspension or whatever it was, Del Rio fell casually back into the same safe schtick that has not worked to get him over with the fans.  The man even changed the color of his tights and scarf to represent how “sinister” he had grown in his quest to win the WHC, and it hasn’t worked.  I won’t go in on Sheamus because he’s a pretty straight-forward character: “My name is Finlay Sheamus, and I lov’ ta foite!”

I’ll keep this one short: Del Rio has to gain some viciousness (like The Rock did in his I Quit Match against Mick Foley) in order to be taken seriously.  He should make someone bleed, put someone out of action indefinitely, and probably punt an eight year old’s soda to the other side of the area. Then and only then will someone take him seriously.

That ain’t finna happen tonight, so get ready for another month of mediocrity.

Prediction – Sheamus retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – Sheamus retains…for the love of all that is sacred please let Sheamus retain.

“The Perfect Storm” Match – Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)

Tonight’s “big business” match will see Brock Lesnar attempt to decimate Triple H.  To quote WWE Legend Jim Ross, “this one ought to be a barn burner!”

Over on a few fans complained about the event taking place in Los Angeles for the fourth time in a row.  For those of you that missed Captain Obvious’ groundbreaking appearance, here’s a recap for the logic behind this:

The WWE has established itself as a major player in the Los Angeles market.  Without even considering the tons of networking opportunities and shoulder rubbing events that accompany an appearance in Los Angeles, the area has been good for the WWE fans for at least three years running.  It would be illogical and stupid for the WWE to not capitalize off of booking in a city that has been and will be gracious to their presence.

Excuse them for not considering Tumbleweed, South Dakota, population: YOU as the most lucrative host for one of their major Pay Per Views.

So while some sit and stream the show for free as they complain about the location, think about the potential money that could be raked in from this Lesnar/Triple H fight in L.A.  Lesnar’s credibility as a fighter against Triple H’s reputation as a technician and brute will make this fight even more chilling than Lesnar’s destruction of John Cena at this year’s Extreme Rules Pay Per View.

Cena was a pancake compared to Lesnar; this fight with Trips won’t be as sugary sweet or easy.  I’m not sure how many more dates Lesnar has with the company, but I’ve heard at least one person remark that a missing Triple H (due to getting his ass handed to him by Lesnar) could equal a return for John Laurinaitis.  One could only dream…

Expect this one to be ugly in a good way, satiating the blood thirsty appetite of those fans longing for an un-PG product.  I’m not predicting blood, but wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up during the course of the match.

Prediction – Triple H prevails at a great cost; Mr. Morris Hopes – Lesnar beats the crap out of Triple H, who wins but disappears from TV for awhile.

Well there you have it; hope you enjoyed the preview and here’s to a good SummerSlam that’s worthy enough to be purchased on DVD in a month or so.

The Return of Quinn Pt. 6

The conversation has moved on to the SummerSlam Main Event of CM Punk defending his WWE Championship against The Big Show & John Cena in a Triple Threat Match.

The Return of Quinn 2012-08-06 Pt. 6

The Scholar’s Adventure to Her First WWE Event: WWE RAW World Tour: Birmingham, Alabama.

wwe raw world tour-2012-image

After roughly a year of being introduced to the WWE Universe, learning the characters’ personas, story lines, skills, and athletic abilities, The Right Reverend Showtime presented me with tickets to WWE RAW World Tour in Birmingham.

After a couple of months of anxious waiting, the night finally arrived. Mr. Banks and I arrived in our fan wear; he in CM Punk’s merchandise, and me clad with Alberto Del Rio’s t-shirt and necklace. The Rt. Rev. refused to tell me where our seats were. I was so excited to actually go see a live event that I honestly didn’t care if we were sitting in the nosebleeds.

Arriving at the BJCC was a spectacle. A line had already begun to form at the doors, and we filed in toward the front. As the fellow fans arrived the audience itself was a major spectacle to me. I understand L.E.W.D’s mission to strive to present wrestling fans in a…better, thoughtful light, rather than the heard of rednecks hooting and hollering outside. But, I have to admit I enjoyed the display of Alabama’s varying walks of life . . .and the four-year old with a sign that read “ Somebody call my Mommy.”

In line in front of us was a little boy with his dad, who was very excited and bouncing around, and realistically, I was just as anxious!

In such a natural setting at a live WWE event, the wrestling fan, upon seeing someone wearing their favorite wrestler’s fan wear, automatically exchange looks, handshakes, or other civil demonstrations of approval.

The doors opened.

The crowd applauded.

I still haven’t been allowed to see where we are sitting. When we went inside, I learned that we are sitting on the floor. I was so excited. So we’re sitting there four rows back from the ring. The building gradually floods with people. There weren’t that many good signs like on Monday night RAW, but the crowd was intense. I’m not sure what The Rt. Rev. expected of my experience, but I was quickly submerged into the crowd’s excitement and hysteria.

As the stars came out, though I can’t wait to experience a live Monday Night RAW, I was just as enticed as when watching the show. These characters come out dripping with their personas and gimmicks.  My attention was captivated, and it was even better in person.

The matches were an interesting concept in person. I was afraid that when the stars came out, the magic was going to be disrupted by fake, choppy realism versus the deception of camera. I was not disappointed. I could see the athleticism and skill it took to make sure no one dies during a match. I also entirely doubt the rest of the world’s comments about how “fake” wrestling is after watching in person. You can’t fake a huge man plopping down off of the top rope onto another, smaller man.

I’m a little hesitant to admit this next segment of my first live wrestling adventure: I joined in with the women and children chanting for John Cena during his handicap match with Big Show & Tensai.

Mainly, I just don’t like Big Show right now because I feel like every week for the past month has been him either 1) Crying/Whining about something or 2) Kicking everyone in the ass like a beast.

There’s no in between for him [ at least during my viewership] .

But, my point is that live wrestling crowds are wonderful. Being a part of that crowd that I’ve seen on T.V. was so much fun. The mass hysteria about these characters spreads like wildfire. Watching at home and deciding I don’t like a character is one thing, but to be in a crowd of people who don’t like that star either and will boo or cheer was empowering. In this audience, our opinions of them mattered. WE were the fans for which they perform.

My favorite match was a tie between the John Cena vs. Big Show & Tensai and the No Disqualification match between C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan. I hate Daniel Bryan because he looks like a leprechaun. I do not care how “great” of a wrestler he is, I don’t like his character.

The C.M. Punk match really got me riled up; because I love the matches where anything goes. Watching someone get hit with a chair in person is terrible. I had to close my eyes a couple of times.

I didn’t realize how much the crowd influences who wins these matches. Maybe the World Tour is a little different because they are swaying results based on what the people want, but I wonder about that theory in relation to actual live filming/pay per views/ WrestleMania.

How involved of a fan was I? Well, I was hoarse after the show and the next day. The experience was to die for. I can’t wait to go again, and have a chance to see a pay-per-view or Live Monday Night RAW or SmackDown. (Maybe I’ll actually get to see Alberto Del Rio one day).

Backlash: The Rock Already Proved That Cena Doesn’t Know How To Properly Use A Phone!

I am writing this Backlash in response to the writing of Mr. Quinn Gammon and Asherology101′s reply to the article Let The L.E.W.D. Crew Speak: Does John Cena Phone In His Performances?

Let's see if I can do this in a fair manor

Phoning it in… That might be a little harsh.

Complacent… I think that is more like it.

PROTECTED!!!… I think that is what is happening.

Cena is the treasured possession of the WWE. The best thing that the WWE can do is preserve him so he doesn’t get injured where he can’t make it out to a show. Therefore, the WWE will do everything to keep him from getting hurt.

I believe it was stated in an episode of the WWE’s Legends of Wrestling series that some of the headliners (Brock Lesnar) are told not to do as much because they can’t risk being injured. They would be told such things as, “Stop going to the top rope, stop jumping to the floor, stop taking chair shots and start giving them, etc…”

I believe that is what is going on with Cena; he is protected and being protective.

Is this an excuse…HELL NO!!!

Shawn Michaels had a history of back issues and until the day he retired, he still performed the high-flying, high-risk moves that his body would allow him to do with excellence and precision.  If anybody was a cash-cow, it was definitely Michaels.

Am I asking that Cena add a Springboard Shooting-Star Press to his rep… NO!  Am I asking that he take bigger bumps from time to time… YES!!!

I re-watched a couple of the mentioned (by Mr. Gammon & Asherology) matches, but I muted the sound so that I could get a full grasp on the in-ring actions and psychology of John Cena, and possibly compare him to someone else.

Bret Hart was known for getting the holy hell beaten out of him during a match and somehow finding a way to win in the end. Cena does this from time to time in his matches, especially his ‘I Quit’ Matches. Cena will get beaten to what seems within an inch of his life.

What separates him from Hart? Ring psychology and the ability to sell damage from others.

If Hart had a match with Ric Flair, he knew that his left leg was going to be worked on, and if it was, Hart would favor that leg until he made his way to the back after the match. John Cena doesn’t favor any part of him within seconds of receiving a devastating blow from an opponent.

Which leads me to another point of why many fans dislike Cena, because he isn’t real. He can’t be hurt. That same logic is the reason why fans of Bret Hart are insane fans about Bret Hart. Hart can take a beating, and make you feel bad for him, I have never felt bad for the “My Time Is Now” Cena; to me, he is unapproachable.

I do think it is funny, however, that Cena is seen as a great influence on children, when all he does is get mad, yell, and fight people for no other reason besides he’s mad. That’s rather juvenalian in nature if you ask me.

Anyways, I will close with these final thoughts.

Mr. Quinn Gammon, I don’t think that Cena is phoning it in, I just think he is complacent, and can’t produce like he used to.  If he were to…I don’t know, EVOLVE HIS CHARACTER, he might be able to tap into that bank and provide us with some better entertainment in both the ring, and on the mic.

Don’t forget that 2003 was 9 years ago, so to expect the exact same physically is a little much. You must approach it with the idea that Cena being the cash-cow means that he must do what the suits say, and they are equally as much of the problem as Cena is. They have watered him down, and now that he needs to turn up the heat, he can’t!  What you don’t use, you lose.

Asherology101, the examples you provided were decent matches, but the problem is that Cena only provides good matches when the drama is behind the person that he is going up against. He shouldn’t have been able to beat either The Undertaker or Big Show, CM Punk was in his home town trying to win the title so he would leave the company with it and stick it to the McMahon. Orton was the young champion that put Cena out with the only major injury in Cena’s career.

What about when Cena was on top? That would cover 2008 to today.

What gives the Undertaker vs. Triple H match its drama? The fact that Taker sold the beating he took from Triple H at WM 27 (Wish you were there!!!) and had to be carried out. As well as the fact that his character has evolved once again from being the hunted to the Hunter (pun intended) for his WM opponent.

Evolution (other than just color changes) is the key to Cena getting over with the Universe.  By evolution, I don’t mean to imply that he HAS TO HAVE A HEEL TURN! I just think that his character needs to move in one way or another.

Speaking of Taker and Cena, if the WWE really wanted to leave us with uncertainty, They should have had Taker vs. Cena at WrestleMania in an ‘I Quit’ Match… Who wins that one?

WWE RAW 02/13/12: Review From Ringside

In case you missed me gushing on Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, via text, etc…

Last night I reached fangirl nirvana.  Okay, it wasn’t Wrestlemania (I was reminded more than once! Shane Howard!) but I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning!  I even went so far as having a dance I did periodically throughout the day that I dubbed my “I’m going to RAW tonight dance.”

I felt like a kid again.  Every time I go to one of these shows as an adult, it feels a bit strange.  Even more so attending without my dad.  I had to call him up and ask him how to get to the arena because for so many years and so many shows he drove me in his truck.

The Valley View Casino Center...yeah it's pretty sketchy looking!

It was hard to tell who was more excited in the line outside, me or the little kid in all the Cena swag.  The kid’s mom conceded I was more excited and she probably thought I was a tad nuts.  Oh well.

I get inside, buy some swag, and take my seat.  My seat that was second row, dead center, behind an obnoxiously tall Broncos fan.  Nevertheless, I practically fainted when I got there.  Normally, I am about 50+ rows back and still jumping for joy.

Superstars starts and it is Jack Swagger versus Mason Ryan.

The WWE Superstars match between Mason Ryan and Jack Swagger was so-so and pretty quick.  The entertainment for me was the guy behind me yelling “you’re not Batista” to Mason Ryan and “you’re no Angle” to Swagger.

The next match was between Primo/Epico and Alex Riley/Santino.  The pop Santino got was ridiculous! I didn’t get any photos of this match as I was talking to the guy next to me.

Finally RAW starts.  The RAW Elimination Chamber participants make their way out to the ring for a debate.

I was behind the dude in the Tebow jersey but you only see me like once, he was really tall!

Fangirl moment#1: It was really hard to hear in the arena and I was looking for my chapstick when all of this started.  I looked up and Kofi Kingston walked by, then I saw Jericho, and Punk, and lost it :)

I am sure the debate part felt like it went on forever.  It did.

First match: Kofi v.s. Jericho

Most of the matches went fairly quick and were fast paced.  This one was no exception.  It didn’t really translate to television but Kofi was getting a huge crowd reaction and seemed to be having a good time.  He also seems to enjoy what he does, so I don’t understand why he catches so much grief.

Kofi appeared to have the upper hand for a good part of the match but eventually fell victim to a thumb to the eye, costing him the match.

We see Otunga and Laurinaitis back stage, and Otunga reveals he has a plan to make Laurinaitis GM of both RAW and Smackdown.  Meanwhile the crowd starting chanting Jennifer Hudson.

Next up, everyone’s favorite Vicious Vegan (my dad actually owns that domain name BTW) Daniel Bryan came out to sit ringside for the Orton/Show match.

The crowd was more or less indifferent to this match.  It felt like Orton was carrying it.  He got off a mean drop kick.

That was impressive!

What was notable about this match was the botched RKO.  It was awkward to watch and I was behind the guy that started the “You F*cked Up!” chant.  One of the reviews I have read so far said Orton looked pissed, but when the chant started, he smiled before they went again and he actually hit the RKO.

Daniel Bryan slunk in and whacked both men with his belt, further cementing his sneaky heel status.

H B Motherf*cking K!

Fangirl Moment#2: No surprise, I marked out big time! I have only had the pleasure of seeing HBK a handful of times in my career as .  However, I didn’t go as nuts as the lady down the aisle.  She had a sign, glittery HBK cowboy hat, and a glazed over look in her eyes.

I actually had an HBK cowboy hat I could have brought that I got at an Extreme Rules PPV but chose to leave it at home.

Shawn Michaels calls HHH out to the ring to accept the Undertaker’s challenge.  HHH comes out, we get a DX hand gesture, and HHH informs Michaels and the crowd that he will not be facing the Undertaker and Wrestlemania.

Shawn doesn’t believe HHH doesn’t want to end the streak, calls him a sell out and a coward.

I enjoyed the bit between HHH and HBK.  They have really good chemistry together.  I also enjoyed the fact that HHH gave a nod to what a lot of us as fans are always thinking.  HBK, HHH, Taker… it is an end of an era.  They don’t make them like that anymore.  Also, it was interesting hearing HHH refer to the company as his, the pressure, etc.  Good fuel for future storylines, in my opinion.

HHH is left in the ring and the lights go out.  We see an odd video featuring the Undertaker as some HHH obssessed serial killer.  Also, he chops off his hair.  This got a pop from me for two reasons.

1.  No more god awful wig.

2.  Possible return of the American Bad Ass? I think myself and the dude behind me are the only ones excited for that possibility.

Ziggler versus Truth

Unfortunately, none of my pictures of this match came out very well.  It was a really quick match and I kind of got caught up in watching it and missed prime photo opportunities.

What made me chuckle was the kid behind me.  When Ziggler was doing his sit-ups, and counted 1, 2, and almost 3 before Truth got the win, the kid yelled “the sit-ups you’re doing, that’s how many times you suck Ziggler.”  Oh to be a kid again.  I bet that kid thought that would sting.

Two things going on here: 1) Beth Phoenix is at ringside for the Divas' match, and 2) see HBK lady I referenced earlier.

Phoenix got a decent pop from the crowd but not as big a pop as the Bellas.  Tamina Snuka hardly got a pop at all. The match was ridiculously short and some of the things the crowd was saying further proved that these matches are a waste of time.

Guys were yelling “get back in the kitchen”, “Brie has herpes”, “Tamina has HIV”, etc.  When the match finally ended with a Tamina victory, a guy a few seats down yelled “that’s how long a Divas’ match should be.”

So much for progress.

Next up we had the Miz versus CM Punk.  Notably, Miz’s entrance was cut short for the Eve/Kane bit.  Anyone else notice that they came in too early? It seemed like Eve just casually got into the ambulance and Kane happened to be standing around.

Cena saves Eve, Eve kisses Cena, and poor Zack Ryder gets his heart broken.  Damn, Cena.  That was cold!

This match was pretty decent.  We didn’t see the GTS but did see Punk lock in the Anaconda Vice, to which Miz tapped.  However, more exciting, was the match after the show between Punk and Ziggler.  That match was brilliant and actually has sold me a little more on Ziggler.

Okay, I got a little crazy when Cena came out.  I won’t apologize for it.  Also worth mentioning, the guy two seats down from me caught Cena’s shirt.  I had my hand on it but didn’t think it was worth losing my arm for.  Two girls asked the guy if they could smell it…oi.

Cena goes into his speech about Kane wanting this all along.  People try to keep him down, etc.  In some of the reviews there seems to be a discrepancy about what the crowd was chanting.  I can say that the crowd was chanting “We don’t hate you” and after a few of those, “yes we do” was added after the first part of the chant.  The “We All Hate You” was wishful thinking by the viewers at home.

Ryder comes out looking like a sad teddy bear.  Anyone else think that his walking with crutches was atrocious?

He gets into the ring, slaps the mic from Cena’s hand.  A guy behind me yells “slap him” and he does.  Cena embraces the hate by picking on a crippled guy.  Wonder what Make A Wish thinks about that…kidding…not really…okay I am.

Cena gets distracted by Kane’s video and Kane comes out and wheels Zack off the side of the stage.  I thought he sold that pretty well.  Eve comes out to Ryder’s side, the crowd yells “slut.”

There was a brief back and forth between Kane and Cena that followed.  It didn’t air on the West Coast.

After the show and the Punk/Ziggler match.  CM Punk went around a bunch of different parts of the audience hugging and throwing out high fives to a bunch of fans which I thought was pretty cool.  He probably did that for a good 7-10 minutes.  He then got on the mic and said what happened to Ryder was despicable and asked the crowd to yell “woo woo woo, you know it” and then said “I’ll miss you Zack”

I bought my son a bootleg WWE kids shirt from a random parking lot guy, gotta support the community, and called it a night.

I thought it was a pretty decent RAW, the first hour being way better than the second.  I had an amazing time, totally geeked out, and loved every minute of it.  I didn’t really worry about storylines.  I didn’t have any witty things to yell at the wrestlers.  I was just a girl, second row, in utter awe.  The same awe that captivated me at shows when I was 4-years-old.  When it comes to being a fan, I will never grow up and I don’t want to.

02/03/12 Smackdown: 7 Point Review

Anyone else doing the “Funkasaurus Dance” to celebrate the arrival of the weekend? Just me? Awesome.

Hot off the heels of a stellar RAW, WWE’s B-show held its own and delivered a decent night of television.

As fans we got what was expected; an Elimination Chamber line-up, Orton/Barrett match, and another video courtesy of WWE Productions but we also got unexpected farting, veganism, and a new tag-team. 

Without further ado, my 7 points of the night:

1.  Smackdown’s Elimination Chamber Line-Up.

Smackdown kicked off the show with Teddy Long in the center of the ring, explaining the Elimination Chamber. 

He announces Daniel Bryan will defend against Wade Barrett, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes and Big Show. 

This match piqued my interest mostly because it is Bryan’s/Rhode’s first Elimination Chamber and Wade Barrett’s second.  Big Show and Orton are tied with 3 chamber appearances each, so should be interesting to see if that gives either veterans an “edge.”

2. Mark Henry’s “Suspension.”

After injuring himself last week on Smackdown and powering through the Rumble, it was no secret Henry would be taking time off.  The only mystery would be how WWE would choose to write him out of Smackdown for the time being. 

After hearing Teddy Long run through the EC line-up, a frustrated Mark Henry makes his way to the ring and tries to swap his Chamber entry for an instant title match. 

Long decides to take a stand and removes Henry from the match but won’t give him a title shot either.

Henry responds by flipping Teddy’s tie…and he’s suspended…

We all knew it was coming but that was a little weak in my opinion.

Before Henry could actually do some damage to Long, the Great White (here’s hoping his push gets him a better nickname) comes to save the GM. 

We see a nice Brogue Kick take Henry out of the ring and learn that Sheamus isn’t deciding which champion to face until after the Elimination Chamber.

3.  Sheamus v.s. Rhodes

Sheamus’s mic time draws out Cody Rhodes, who announces he is going to win the title at the upcoming PPV.

Long seized the opportunity and left the two to put on a pretty great match.  I feel like both Rhodes and Sheamus have come a long way, and I enjoy Rhodes as Intercontinental Champion. 

I would not mind seeing something develop between these two.

4.  A new tag-team added to the “tag-team” division.

Apparently Santino was disatisfied with his current partner, Yoshi Tatsu and decided to replace him with….Hacksaw Jim Duggan?

The two made a funny pair and the tag-division is a bit of a joke anyway…. so I guess it works.

In their non-title match against Primo and Epico, Rosa came through with yet another distraction and the P&E got the win. 

5. Heel heat brought to you courtesy of Veganism.

How do you get the crowd in Omaha, Nebraska to turn against you? Tell them not to eat meat.

::sigh::, I get where they are going with this and it is nice to see Veganism get some play.  My dad has been vegan for the last 36 years and I have eaten vegan off and on for most of my 26 years.

More and more people are becoming Vegan and there are a lot more options out there for Vegans in 2012.  In case you did not know, Vegan does not just limit one to no meat.  It means no diary, honey, eggs, seafood, poultry, etc.

After my grandma battled stomach cancer, which her doctor attributed to too much red meat, my dad became Vegan as a sign of support and actually did find it giving him many health benefits.  My dad tried to force the diet on me from birth but my mother, who loves all things fried and meaty, had other plans.  Nevertheless, I always eat vegan when I go to my dad’s for PPV’s.  Spicy fried tofu…yum!

My problem with this Bryan-Vegan business is that A.  We saw this angle with Punk/Hardy already… “I’m better than all of you, you shouldn’t eat meat” and he gets booed while an oversized giant wrestler gets cheered for eating a steak.  Granted, it’s not as bad as booing the guy preaching “no drugs” but still, we have seen it before which leads me to B.  Bryan isn’t Punk. 

Because they both have similar backgrounds and were Indy Darlings, there has been constant comparisons between the two and now we have similar angles.  Some commentors and writers on various other sites have gone as far to say that Bryan rivals Punk on the mic…

That claim is so ridiculous to me, I will just keep moving…

Bryan continued his descent into sneaky heel status by claiming he shouldn’t have to be in the Elimination Chamber, he already proved his worth as champ, womp womp.

He and Show have it out via mic/chokeslam and Bryan narrowly escapes a punch to the face thanks to an injured AJ.

6.  People are talking about the Divas.

Too bad it has nothing to do with their skills, great matches, or even looks this time…

In a backstage segment we were given Natalya farting and Santino throwing up into a trash-can because of it.

While I did not cry injustice like a lot of people, I don’t really see this helping anything…

Natalya and Beth squared off against Tamina and Aksana, with Beth ordering Natalya “out of her ring” and gaining the victory.  Natalya is left behind and takes it out on Aksana only to be attacked by Tamina.

Look at that, my blurb about the Divas is about as long as one of their matches and probably about as interesting…moving on.

6.5 Khali replaces Henry in the Elimination Chamber.

My friends and I really enjoyed the movie “Despicable Me.”  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It is fun for all ages. 

Whenever we are in disbelief or surprised by something, we quote the minions from the movie and deliver a high-pitched “Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaa?”

Yeah, we are really cool…Anyways, that’s what Khali’s involvement in this PPV received from me. 

Big Show and Khali in the same Chamber match seems risky to me.  How many big, awkward moving superstars do we need in an already cramped space?

7.  Orton and Barrett Git R’ Done.

These two beat the hell out of each other and I was happy to be along for the ride.

Both men looked great but Orton came out victorious via RKO to Barrett on a steel chair.

Backstage, Bryan finally gets a match up with someone other than Big Show… yep, Randy Orton.  Already looking forward to next weeks main event.

***An honorable mention goes out to IMPACT this week.  The London crowd really added some much-needed energy and the matches were pretty good.  Usually I equate watching IMPACT to watching paint dry but not this week.***

Until next time, Too-da-loo :)


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