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This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

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The Raw Review – 08/11/2014

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Start off the night with a mound of presents at the top of the rampway as tonight is Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration – AKA just an excuse to boost ratings on what fans know full well is likely to be a crummy take home show where nothing real happens and the entire point is to plug SummerSlam and the WWE Network as much as possible.  #$9.99, in case you didn’t know.  And if you by any chance didn’t know that, then let me inform you that Paul Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania.  I think HHH and Heyman must have a personal bet backstage over who can say their phrase the most without the audience rioting.

And speaking of Heyman and Lesnar, they started off the show with a very solid promo in which Paul Heyman relives the highlights of Brock Lesnar since his return to the WWE for probably the 10-billionth time in the past 4 months, lest anybody somehow forget that Lesnar is still around because he really only shows up for maybe a dozen shows a year, yet somehow he’s going to win the WWE Championship in 6 days.  First, The Rock comes back for a grand total of two matches before he gets to win the title off of Punk and now Lesnar, who has wrestled seven matches in the past two and a half years, is going to be our next World Heavyweight Champion for a near certainty.  I personally have a problem with the spotlight being taken away from the guys that are there each and every week, night in and night out.  It’s not a big problem, but it’s like that annoying itch you get right in the middle of your back that you have to really stretch to rid yourself of.  Anyways, Heyman caps the promo by announcing that the WWE ring is now Brock’s house and he and the man of the house are going out for dinner, but not to let the party (Hulk Hogan’s birthday party) get too out of hand because after he eats, the man of the house is coming back home (back to the ring).  Pretty solid foreshadowing without boring everybody at the top of the show.  I am however, a little disappointed that Lesnar didn’t destroy the “birthday packages”, but there was still another 2 hours and 40 minutes for that to happen at that point.

In the first match of the night, Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring and then Kane’s music hits, which was good news to me as I feared after last week where he once again relinquished his mask that perhaps Kane was retiring.  Kane announces that since Reigns beat Kane last week, which was almost like beating two men, the authority would like to see how Reigns fairs actually fighting against two men this week and Reigns is placed in a Handicap match against Rybaxle.  It winds up being a typical Reigns match in which he doesn’t do a whole lot other than his usual punch, kick, Spear, Superman Punch set-up (and people give Cena a hard time over his supposed Five Moves of Death).  Reigns ends up winning by DQ, apparently meant to save Rybaxle the embarrassment of losing a handicap match in their favor.  After the match, Reigns cuts one of his best promos to date in which he points out that Randy Orton thinks Reigns stole something from him, but he hasn’t taken anything from Orton yet.  However, he says that at SummerSlam, he’s going to take everything away from Orton.  He also points out that once you punch the teeth out of a Viper, it’s really just a big worm.

Next up was Seth Rollins against Rob Van Dam in the match we were promised last week on Raw before the bait and switch that led to Seth Rollins losing to Heath Slater due to easily one of the most entertaining in-match distraction segments in the history of Monday Night Raw.  But Rollins redeems himself this week after a physical match with RVD and Rollins wins with the Curb Stomp, which for the record, is a pretty crummy finisher in my book because there are so many situations in which it doesn’t make any sense for his opponent to roll over and get into position for it.  After the match, Rollins takes a close look at Hogan’s presents at the top of the rampway, as though expecting Dean Ambrose to be hiding in one.  And predictably, just when he gives up on the idea and starts to leave, Ambrose of course comes bursting out of the biggest present and attacks Seth from him behind, rolling him all the way down the rampway and back to the ring and Seth before Seth manages to escape.  Nothing to complain about with the match, but the bit with Ambrose popping out of the box could have been done better.

Next up is some B.S. segment with Stephanie and Daniel Bryan’s supposed therapist in which Stephanie coaxes the young lady into claiming to have had an affair with Daniel Bryan and it’s obviously just a crummy ploy to pump up the hype for Stephanie and Brie, which for some reason seems to be the second Main Event on SummerSlam.  Really, after TNA did that incredibly shitty AJ Styles fake affair storyline a couple of years ago, WWE decides to do the same thing?  Thankfully, at this point in the storyline, it seems like this won’t be nearly as overly drawn out as that atrocity was and it’ll be quashed by the time Brie and Stephanie have their one and only match at SummerSlam, except for perhaps an eventual mixed tag with Brie & Daniel against Stephanie & HHH sometime in the future.  I pretty much tuned out this whole segment and if you didn’t do the same thing, then I’m sorry for your loss.  Apparently, Stephanie promised that they’re going to get it done and out of the way later on tonight instead of at SummerSlam, but I somehow doubt we could get that lucky.

Jack Swagger takes on Cesaro in our next match, and obviously Swagger has to come out looking strong in this one to promote his match with Rusev at SummerSlam.  It’s a shame that Cesaro apparently isn’t working the show and if he is, it’ll be one of those matches with no build-up where he jobs to somebody that they want to push but couldn’t decide what to do with until the last minute.  Like every Cesaro match, this one delivered plenty of excitement and unique spots before Swagger ultimately made Cesaro tap out to the Ankle Lock.  WWE, you’re pushing the wrong guy here.  However, once Swagger vs. Rusev is done, that will probably be rectified.  After the match, Rusev interrupts and proceeds to kick off another round of what I like to call the worst flag waving competition ever.  Thankfully, this round of flag twirling didn’t last very long.

Next up is pretaped footage between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho talking face-to-face in an interview segment.  This is really not the best setting for Wyatt, whose character is better served sticking to the shadows or working a crowd from a pulpit.  It was kind of like watching Batman walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the day in plain daylight.  I think the segment took away some of Wyatt’s mojo.  Both guys were brilliant, but Wyatt’s character just seemed out of place.

AJ Lee is in action in the next match against Eve Marie.  And you know when you see Eve Marie in the ring, you are about to see a terrible match.  From what I’ve seen from Eve in the past, she has no hustle in the ring.  She lollygags along at less than half speed and does nothing exciting or entertaining.  She only has a job because she has a slim waist and a boob job.  Paige comes out and causes a very boring distracting by skipping around the ring.  As much as I like Paige, that was a snoozer and Eve Marie for some reason gets handed a win over the Diva’s Champion in a match that lasted all of about 30 seconds before the distraction and Eve rolling up AJ for the win.  Paige wraps up with a poem and that part was pretty brilliant.  Diva’s promos usually suck balls, but that one was pretty decent.  Eve for no apparent reason is then down on one knee rubbing her neck outside the ring, so AJ goes out after her and beats the crap out of her while wailing and screeching.

John Cena’s then comes out to respond to Lesnar and Heyman’s comments from the start of the night.  I really like Cena when he gets ready to go into the ring with somebody that he legitimately doesn’t like, like he was with The Rock and now with Lesnar.  The dude is very underrated as a talker.  He almost had me convinced that he was actually going to beat Lesnar at SummerSlam.  Almost, but not quite.  Very solid promo.  Cena can occasionally bring it and when he does, he’s on par with any of the internet darlings out there.

Then it’s back to Brie and Stephanie and it was obvious that this match wasn’t actually going to happen tonight instead of at SummerSlam.  Instead, Stephanie turns the tables on Brie from a few weeks ago and gets Brie arrested for slapping her husband’s physical therapist earlier in that crummy segment.  Another waste of time here.  Stephanie was at least mildly entertaining as she flopped around with her tongue hanging out of her mouth while Brie put her in a horribly executed version of the Yes Lock.  The second time for the night, she was as boring as it gets, sticking hard to her overbearing bitch boss character hardcore.

Next up is Dolph Ziggler against Heath Slater with The Miz once again joining the commentary team.  I don’t know who convinced WWE that The Miz was a good talker, but that person should be shot.  I find it hilarious that even Michael Cole, the guy that was the biggest Miz mark back in 2011, has turned on the Miz and makes fun of him all the time.  Miz is a joke and a bad one at that.  Anyway, he stands on the announce table for the entire match in yet another suit that exhibits his poor taste.  Meanwhile, Ziggler puts in a decent appearance against Slater until it looks like Ziggler is about to get the W, so Miz starts to interfere, only to have Ziggler cut him off at the pass and beat the crap out of him and throw him around outside the ring.  This causes Ziggler to get counted out.  After the match, Ziggler offers to shake Slater’s hand and Slater goes to kick him instead, so Ziggler KOs him and heads into SummerSlam looking strong.  This current edition of Ziggler vs. Miz reminds me a lot of Booker T vs. Christian from 2003 and it should ring some bells for you because it’s pretty much the exact same scenario.  A PPV battle royal for a vacant Intercontinental Championship gets won by the heel who people thought was already eliminated and then the face comes back and beats the crap out of him for a month and beats him for the title at the next PPV.  Here’s hoping that history repeats itself in this instance.

Sheamus made his return after sitting out the last two weeks due to severe flu symptoms, which I believe is the reason why we have another AJ / Paige title match at SummerSlam.  After their Battleground match was so terrible, I thought they would continue building the program between them and skip over SummerSlam to give them time to work together some more at house shows and build some better in-ring chemistry and then have their next title match at Night of Champions next month.  Instead, we are saddled with both AJ vs. Paige and Stephanie vs. Brie at SummerSlam instead of them potentially building a Sheamus US Title defense against somebody like Cesaro or Rusev.  Sheamus has turned into a really solid in-ring performer.  You can’t dispute that the guy gives a max effort every time he’s in the ring and like Cena, he blows other big musclebound wrestlers out of the water in terms of athleticism and willingness to experiment with new maneuvers that you don’t see coming from a big guy, so I support Sheamus and Cena where a lot of people don’t.  I’m not going to mark out for either of them, but I have no problem with either of them carrying championships and I give them a lot of respect.  In tonight’s final match, Sheamus takes on Randy Orton and these two put on a very solid match together as they’ve done many times in the past.  It wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was very solid and for a Main Event on a take home show that didn’t feature anybody from the Main Event of the upcoming Pay Per View, it was more than adequate and it ended with another phenomenal RKO.  Randy Orton is among the best at finding exciting ways to hit his finishing maneuver when we as a viewer aren’t expecting it.  He may be the best at hitting his finishing move as a surprise since Shawn Michaels. 

Finally, we cap the night with Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration, which was the ratings grab they’ve been promoting all week to try to bring in viewers.  I’m kind of surprised that they saved it for the end of the show instead of leading off the second or third hour with it to reach the largest audience as the segments at the top and end of each hour easily get the best ratings of any given wrestling show.  Anyways, typical token appearances by legends and then Brock Lesnar comes back to try to spoil the party, but then Cena comes out and cuts him off and Lesnar disappointingly backs off and exits without the two having any real contact at all in the only show where they both appeared before their title match Main Event at SummerSlam.  This isn’t going to be a match on Sunday, it’s going to be two guys taking turns beating on each other and resting with numerous wear down holds and it’s probably going to suck, but because it doesn’t end with Cena winning and keeping the title, people are going to probably love it anyway.

Overall, not that great of an episode of Raw, but pretty good for a final episode of Raw before a PPV (Aka a take-home show).

 

 

Written by I Am a Real American

August 12, 2014 at 3:29 am

Posted in AJ Lee, AJ Styles, Antonio Cessaro, Battleground, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Christian, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Eve Marie, Heath Slater, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kane, Lesnar vs. Cena, Michael Cole, Monday Night Raw, Paige, Paul Heyman, Pro Wrestling, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Rybaxle, Seth Rollins, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, SummerSlam, The Miz, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE Championship, WWE Network, Yes Lock, Zeb Colter

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Raw Response – 06/11/12 – The End of People Power?

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After nearly being fired by Triple H the night after the Royal Rumble and then having his job dangled over the abyss during the Main Event of Over the Limit, John Laurinaitis faced a job performance review from Vince McMahon himself and I for one have dared to get my hopes up that the bumbling buffoon I call GM Johnny is finally removed from any on-air duties.

To begin the show, Johnny came out to make his case, but was immediately interrupted by Vince McMahon.  The opening segment was full of Fire Johnny chants and Johnny bumbles along through his delivery as always and then Sheamus comes out to sarcastically make a case for Johnny to keep his job.  Johnny then goes to the back to pick out Sheamus’ opponent and Vince informs Johnny that he’d better pick a very good opponent for Sheamus and the entire show had better be impressive or at the end of the night, he would be fired.  Vince then added insult to injury as on top of the stress he put Johnny under, the Chairman drove Johnny’s “People Power” scooter over the edge of the entrance ramp.

After the commercial break, Johnny comes out and announces that Sheamus’ opponent would be Lord Tensai and Tensai stormed out to the ring and knocked his manager Sakamoto flat.  Tensai wasn’t wearing his komono or helmet and he didn’t waddle slowly out to the ring like usual, so that might be a good sign that he’s going to last somehow because the scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing has indicated that Tensai (formerly Prince Albert and A-Train) would once again be repackaged just 2 months after the debut of his Tensai character.  Regardless of what Tensai’s future might hold, this was a match I suggested was one that needed to happen at some point this year (which you can read about in my Real American Top 10 posts).  The two men put on a very physical match, leaving marks all over each other, which shouldn’t really be that hard considering both of them look like they have spent most of the year avoiding sunlight.  I very much enjoyed this first match of the night and Sheamus ultimately won via the Brogue Kick.  After the match, Tensai beat down his own manager, which got zero reaction from the crowd.

After news broke this weekend that Alberto Del Rio would not be able to challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday at No Way Out as was advertised and on the air they explained it as a concussion that Del Rio suffered at the hands of The Great Khali on last week’s Smackdown.  Backstage, Vince asked Johnny what he planned to do to determine a new challenger for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out.  Johnny then asked Teddy for an idea and Teddy suggested Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. The Great Khali in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match and Johnny crappily tried to pass off the idea as his own.  Johnny then tried to fist bump Vince, but Vince would have none of it, responding simply “You’ve got small hands,” which of course implies that Johnny has a small penis.

In other backstage action, one-half of the Tag Team Champions R-Truth commented about being okay after Big Show physically dominated the champions and Brodus Clay two weeks ago on Raw and Big Show interrupted by knocking R-Truth out with the WMD.

For the second match of the night, United States Champion Santino Marella teamed with Diva’s Champion Layla against Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez and I assumed that Santino was obviously going to beat Ricardo with the Cobra and some other sort of hijinks, but Santino ended up juking Ricardo into running head first into the ring post and while the men were outside, Beth beat Layla with the Glam Slam. After the match, Santino tore Ricardo’s dress shirt off, revealing a Justin Bieber T-Shirt that looked like it was a women’s medium crammed over Ricardo’s men’s XL torso.

Kofi Kingston then stormed in on GM Johnny’s office where David Otunga is taking the opportunity to suck up to Mr. McMahon.  GM Johnny then returns from checking on R-Truth, who “isn’t doing well” after being knocked out by Big Show’s WMD.  Kofi then demands a match with Big Show, which Johnny agrees to, but then Johnny gives another horrible delivery of his line (but at least he got the words right) as he makes it a Steel Cage match.  Johnny cannot sell drama worth a damn.  He’s a terrible public speaker and his verbal delivery is as dull and flat as they come and he does not deserve to have an on-screen job.  He never did.  You could go to the Special Olympics and find that 90% of the kids there have better public speaking chops than GM Johnny.  His existence as an on-air talent just goes to show you that WWE fails to recognize the difference between legitimate heat on a character and people booing them simply because they are not good at their job.  GM Johnny wouldn’t be a good enough actor to be cast in the movie Thankskilling (go look it up on Netflix, it’s possibly the worst acted movie of all time).

Daniel Bryan comes out at the top of the second hour and he cuts a promo about his former girlfriend AJ and her flirting with his opponents in the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship at No Way Out.  CM Punk then interrupts as he makes his way to the ring for the match and cuts a promo on Daniel Bryan and tells him that AJ is out of his league, just like Daniel Bryan is nowhere close to being in Punk’s league in the ring.  Punk went on to insult “goat faced moron” Daniel Bryan for another few minutes, prompting chants of “Goat Face” directed at Bryan.  Kane then finally interrupts and gives his take on things and reminds everybody of some of his past antics including lighting Jim Ross on fire, electrocuting Shane McMahon’s testicles and Piledriving a priest and Kane says that his “pipe bombs” unlike Punk’s actually do damage.  AJ then comes out and this love rectangle continues as she claims she saw that Kane has a heart when she looked into his eyes last week.  The bottom line is, AJ says she knows the best man will win at No Way Out, but leaves it hanging as to who she thinks the best man is.  GM Johnny then appears on the Tron to announce that CM Punk will have to team with AJ to take on Kane and Daniel Bryan, but that match won’t be until later.

Next up was the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to determine the challenger for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out this Sunday.  My pick going in was Dolph Ziggler with Jack Swagger as a dark horse pick depending on how they wanted to work around the current growing rift storyline involving Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and their manager Vickie Guerrero.  Going into the match, I in no way saw The Great Khali potentially winning, mostly because his time in the World Title picture was never popular and Khali’s lack of athleticism is always criticized.  All four of these men were former World Heavyweight Champions, including Ziggler even though his World Championship reign lasted for less than an entire episode of Smackdown a year and a half ago.  Khali would be the first one eliminated after a Frog Splash from Christian and all three men pinning him at the same time.  Christian then overcame the numbers disadvantage and hit Swagger with the Killswitch and Ziggler covered Swagger and eliminated him, much to Vickie’s dismay.  Ziggler would go on to survive pretty much everything in Christian’s arsenal save for the Killswitch and then Ziggler hit the ZigZag, but Christian surprisingly kicked out.  Christian then countered a second ZigZag and hit a Reverse DDT, but Ziggler again survived.  Ziggler then avoiding some top rope offense from Christian and finally hit another ZigZag, this time for the win and Ziggler advanced to face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday.

The Goldberg chants came next as Ryback (formerly Skip Sheffield) faced two more jobbers in yet another 2-on-1 Handicap Match, who called themselves the “Commanders in Chief”, named Willard Fillmore and Rutherford “P.S.” Hayes.  Apparently, these dinks didn’t know that President Fillmore’s name was Millard and not Willard.  Either way, Ryback destroyed them as per usual.

John Cena made his first appearance of the night, making a case for GM Johnny to be fired.  Vince responded by bringing up Cena’s loss to The Rock at Wrestlemania.  Cena then brought up Vince’s Wrestlemania losses against Shane McMahon (Wrestlemania XVII), Hulk Hogan (Wrestlamania XIX), Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 22) and Bret Hart (Wrestlemania XXVI) and even joked “and didn’t you lose to Snooki too, or was that somebody else.”  In the end, Vince simply warned John Cena not to go out to save Kofi Kingston in his Steel Cage Match against Big Show.

Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston in a Steel Cage Match was next and of course Big Show was going to dominate this match due to his ginormous monster heel push and the fact that his Steel Cage Match with John Cena is obviously being promoted as the Main Event at No Way Out this Sunday.  Kingston was surprisingly able to land Trouble in Paradise, but Big Show put himself way over by launching Kofi clear across the ring to kick out of the pinfall seconds later.  Big Show then knocked Kofi out and spent a couple of minutes walking around the ring and taunting the crowd before finally leaving the cage and winning the match.

Sin Cara continued his return from injury tour with another victory over the job squad, which this time was represented by Curt Hawkins.  Guys like Sin Cara, Ryback and Brodus Clay are long overdue for some actual plot lines instead of the meaningless put over matches they’ve been having.  Admittedly it has only been two weeks since Sin Cara came back and he has had actual programs in the past before his injury.  Brodus and Ryback do not have that same track record and people are soon going to get bored with them (if they aren’t already) if they don’t start doing something meaningful soon.

Vader returned on special invitation from GM Johnny in honor of Raw’s upcoming 1000th Episode.  This could definitely be a trend that continues leading up to July 23.  Vader looked incredibly out of shape for this match and had to use all fours to climb the ring steps and get into the ring.  The crowd chanted “you’ve still got it,” which doesn’t say much for them because he obviously didn’t still have “it”.  However, he did beat Heath Slater.  Slater, much like GM Johnny should just keep his mouth closed.  When he picks up a mic, it makes me want to stab out my eardrums until I can find the remote control and mute his red-headed squeaky-scratchy-voice having ass.

CM Punk & AJ against Kane and Daniel Bryan would be the Main Event of the night in what basically amounts to a Handicap Match against Punk with a useless partner, who if the match holds true to form will get tagged into that match at some random juncture in which the action will stop and something screwy, silly, stupid or weird will happen leading to the finish.  And indeed, something silly happened when AJ got in the ring and skipped around Kane.  She then jumped onto Kane, wrapped her legs around him and commenced to make out with the Big Red Machine until Punk could regroup.  Kane then tagged out to Daniel Bryan and left and AJ tagged Punk back in and Punk beat Bryan with the Macho Man Elbow Drop while Kane looked on in confusion.

Then it was finally time for the real Main Event of the night – the potential firing of John Laurinaitis to end this three hour edition of Monday Night Raw.  Vince comes out and has security around the ring and when Johnny arrives, Vince informs him that the security is there to escort a certain somebody out of the ring, out of the building and out of the business.  Johnny then stumbles through some kind of dialogue where he asks to be left in charge of the Era of People Power.  Vince then prepares to fire Johnny, but is interrupted by the arrival of Big Show.  Big Show then hypes his “Ironclad contract” and shoots on Vince for all of the embarrassing stuff he had to do over the years like going down against Shaquille O’Neal, Floyd Mayweather and Ben Roethlisberger to get the WWE on SportsCenter.  Cena then came out to the ring to join in on the festivities.  Vince then promises to fire GM Johnny if Big Show loses at No Way Out and Big Show and Cena try to get at each other and security gets involved and Big Show throws them out of the ring.  Cena then jumps on Big Show and Vince tries to break it up and catches a WMD from Big Show by mistake.  Johnny then coaxes Big Show to the back and Cena stands in the ring shocked with Vince laid out to end the show.

Written by I Am a Real American

June 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Posted in A-Train, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Brodus Clay, Cena vs. Laurinaitis, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Dolph Ziggler, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Handicap Match, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Layla El, Lord Tensai, Macho Man, Monday Night Raw, No Way Out, Over the Limit, Pro Wrestling, R-Truth, Raw Response, Real American Top Ten, Sakamoto, Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Steel Cage Match, Tag Team, The Great Khali, United States Championship, Vader, Vader Bomb, Vickie Guerrero, Vince McMahon, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 28, Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE, WWE Tag Team Championship

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The Point of Impact – 05/24/12

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After a stellar episode of TNA Impact Wrestling last week, the stage was set for the second monthly episode of Open Fight Night on Impact.  Last week we saw some great matches between Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Ken Anderson and Rob Van Dam and Bully Ray and as a result of last week’s episode, we knew coming into tonight that Robert Roode would be forced to defend TNA’s top championship against either Bully Ray, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, or Kurt Angle.  On the verge of becoming the longest reigning champion in the ten year history of TNA, all eyes would be on the promised world title match to see if Roode could continue his seven month title reign or if one of his four potential challengers could wrestle the title and the record out of his grasp.

The rules for Open Fight Night are simple.  Either the TNA World Title, Tag Team Titles, Knockout’s Title or X-Division Title is going to be defended at some point in the night and slowly throughout the night, General Manager Hulk Hogan systematically eliminates one of the potential four choices to challenge for the title until he ultimately settles on one of the choices and sends his choice out to compete for the title. On top of that, an up and coming star competes in the TNA Gut Check segment for a chance to win a TNA contract.  And throughout the night, anybody under TNA contract can demand a match with anybody else on the roster and they will be forced to accept.  Not too bad, right?  It’s certainly the most entertaining concept TNA has come up with in several years.  It definitely beats all we and they the “mystery” storylines about the Immortal and Fortune factions that bored the living crap out of us for the past two years.  It took awhile after the “Wrestling Matters” campaign that TNA launched for wrestling to actually matter on their show again, but they’ve finally started living up to it.

Coming into the night, Bully Ray was the only potential challenger for Roode’s title that had not already been a singles World Champion previously.  The other potential contenders included 5-time TNA Champion Kurt Angle (6-time champion in WWE), 2-time TNA Champion Jeff Hardy (3-time champion in WWE) and 4-time TNA Champion AJ Styles.  Of the four potential challengers, only AJ Styles was never previously pushed by the WWE and it would be Styles’ record for longest title reign that Roode looked to eclipse.  Styles is also currently under attacks on his character by Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, who have systematically begun exposing an alleged romance between Styles and TNA President Dixie Carter.

We start off the night with the four potential contenders in a locked room with Hulk Hogan and segments like this have usually been a bit too melodramatic for my taste.  At times, Impact Wrestling tries to be a bit too much like a reality show.  This segment, I don’t think was so bad.  There was some really good back and forth between Bully Ray and Kurt Angle and Angle and Styles with Hardy keeping his mouth shut for the most part.  I think Angle and Ray come out ahead on the verbal game, at least based on this segment and I think Bully Ray has been the most entertaining part of Impact Wrestling in 2012, but unfortunately, Bully Ray was the first name scratched off the list by Hogan, leaving Hardy, Angle and Styles to still potentially challenge Roode for the title.

In the first challenge of the night, the Knockout’s Champion Gail Kim came out with Madison Rayne and put herself over before calling out ODB and Eric Young or as she called them “Mr. and Mrs. ODB” for a tag team match.  Eric Young is a funny guy and his segments are usually pretty entertaining and he’s also a pretty good wrestler, but we know from past experience that the only things he’s going to do in one of these Knockout’s Tag Matches is take his pants off, tie-up with the referee and maybe put the girls in an Airplane Spin or two.  He’s not going to throw any other offensive moves and ODB and the other two girls are going to carry the offense for the match.  This match played pretty much true to form and in the end, Rayne was able to interfere from the outside tripping ODB and holding her feet down, which allowed Gail to pin ODB for the win.

Rob Van Dam would make the second challenge of the night and he would call out Gunner to settle some “unfinished business” between the two of them.  Their unfinished business dates back to Genesis this past January when Gunner put RVD on the shelf with a DDT on the concrete floor.  It’s a good thing they showed the video reminding us of what happened because it certainly wasn’t an important enough even for me to remember.  Goes to show you just how memorable or useful the push Gunner got earlier this year with Ric Flair as his manager really was.  (Not very)  Tonight, Gunner made the mistake of bringing a chair into a match with RVD and so of course he got it kicked into his face.  RVD then flew 80% of the way across the ring to deliver the Five Star Frog Splash and beat Gunner.  It was a pretty short match that didn’t do much to showcase Gunner’s talents.  It really only served to put RVD over some more, but I don’t think RVD could ever go over any more than he already is or lose any of his credibility.

The Television Champion Brother Devon then called out Garrett Bischoff for his weekly Television Championship defense, giving Bischoff props for eliminating him in a Battle Royal last week which was ultimately won by AJ Styles to earn his spot as one of the four potential contender’s for Roode’s title tonight.  I believe this was the first title match in Bischoff’s career.  However, the match was interrupted by Robbie E and Rob Terry or “Big Robbie and Bigger Robbie” as they like to be called.  Devon and Bischoff then dominated the intruders and threw them out of the ring.

From there, it was time for Hogan to make his second elimination from the three remaining potential World Title challengers – Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and AJ Styles.  For me, I’ve already started to lose interest because while Bully Ray probably doesn’t have the wrestling ability of Angle, Hardy or Styles, he’s definitely been the most entertaining and he’s already been eliminated.  Plus, we’ve already seen Roode vs. Hardy and Roode vs. Styles done several times during Roode’s title reign.  Angle or Bully Ray were easily the two best options to me.  Jeff Hardy was the next one eliminated by Hogan, which to me was definitely the right call.  Hardy has squandered too many opportunities and given in to his personal demons too many times and I question whether or not there is anything Jeff Hardy has left to give us that we haven’t already seen before.

Bully Ray, aka “Calfzilla”, then would make his way to the ring for our next challenge of the night.  Bully Ray cuts a promo about how he’s in a bad mood after being eliminated and antagonizes everybody and then starts talking about Joseph Park (Abyss’s brother), who is sitting in the crowd with a bag of popcorn watching the show, and Bully Ray challenges him to a match.  Park very slowly and reluctantly gets over the barricade with some peer pressure from the crowd, but then asks for a mic instead of getting in the ring.  Park then tries to talk Bully out of fighting him and asks the crowd of whether or not Bully Ray is guilty of making Abyss’ disappear, despite the fact that Abyss showed up on Impact two weeks ago.  Bully then punched Park in the gut and whipped him with the chain before leaving.  By the way, for those of you that don’t already know, Abyss and Joseph Park aren’t actually brothers – they’re the same person. And the reason Abyss has not been on Impact for most of the last several months is because he’s been making various appearances for AAA wrestling in Mexico and for TNA’s Ring Ka King promotion over in India.  He’s currently one-half of the AAA tag team champions with Chessman.

We then find out that Joey Ryan, a former Wrestling Society X and Ring of Honor performer, would be competing in the Gut Check segment this week.  Alex Silva competed in this segment last month and despite losing to Robbie E, he was awarded a contract.  Ryan’s opponent was announced as the X-Division Champion Austin Aries.  Throughout Aries entrance, Ryan leaned back against the corner and stuck his pelvis out, immediately showing us all that his character is a real douechebag and a poor imitation of some kind of porn direction and that image is enhanced by the scarf he wears around his neck.  Aries himself wears that ridiculous miniature cape that kind of makes him look like he belongs in a gay wizard porn film.   However, Austin Aries is probably the best wrestler on the TNA roster right now in my opinion and he’s right up there with Ken Anderson and Bully Ray as the most entertaining talkers that TNA has on the roster.  Aries has earned the right to dress however weirdly he wants.  Ryan however, not so much.  Aries and Ryan have actually been in the ring together before and probably more times than we’re aware of because they’ve competed in Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla at the same time.  So, their match was pretty decent and Aries ultimately beat Ryan with his Brainbuster.  If TNA stays true to form, Ric Flair, Al Snow and Bruce Pritchard (formerly Brother Love in WWE) will determine whether or not Ryan gets a contract on next week’s show.  In my opinion, neither Silva or Ryan measure up to what TNA already had on the roster before they showed up.  Neither one was all that impressive to me, but they only had one chance to prove themselves.  Maybe they’ll prove me wrong.  However, the fact that we haven’t seen Silva compete on Impact since he was given his contract last month leads me to think that my first impression was probably right.

Bobby Roode then makes his way to the ring for the Main Event, but there’s still 40 minutes left in the show, so it’s looking like we’re going to get a pretty great Main Event title match.  At this point, with all things considered, it’s looking to me like they’re going to give the title match to AJ.  It’s his record on the line, Angle’s still wrestling a little hurt with his knee taped up every week and giving AJ the title match would give Daniels and Kazarian further ammunition to use against Styles to continue their storyline.  And sure enough, Hogan ultimately awarded the title shot to Styles.  And I like to see AJ wrestle just as much as the next guy.  He’s one of the most talented in-ring performers to ever step into the squared circle.  However, I was hoping for something a little more unique out of the title match tonight and Roode vs. Styles already headlined two Pay Per Views at the end of last year.  I can’t really find any fault in the title match, but it was far from a classic.

The title match wrapped up with 12 minutes left to the end of the show, so you could kind of feel something else was going to happen and maybe even something big.  They’d hinted that Hulk Hogan had a guest arriving at the arena, so I’m thinking that perhaps TNA is going to debut a new signing like King Mo or somebody might be making their return or something.  Roode grabs some champagne and starts his celebration and he orders his confetti to be dropped from the ceiling, but there is still five minutes left to go.  So, what’s actually going to happen?  Hogan finally responds to Roode’s invitation to the ring and takes a glass of champagne and congratulates Roode, but informs him that somebody else wants to join in the celebration.  The lights then go out and Sting returns to the Impact Zone and beats the hell out of Roode and knocks him out of the ring and Roode scoots away to the back and Hogan lets him know that when Impact changes time slots and moves up an hour next week, Roode is going to have to have to face Sting in a Lumberjack Match.  Not the biggest of announcements, but I’m sure everybody is going to be happy to see Sting compete some more and extend his legendary career.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Abyss, AJ Styles, Al Snow, Alex Silva, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brother Devon, Bruce Pritchard, Bully Ray, Christopher Daniels, Eric Young, Gail Kim, Garrett Bischoff, Gunner, Gut Check, Hulk Hogan, Impact Wrestling, Jeff Hardy, Joey Ryan, Joseph Park, Ken Anderson, King Mo, Knockout's Championship, Knockout's Tag Team Championship, Kurt Angle, Madison Rayne, ODB, Open Fight Night, Ric Flair, Rob Terry, Rob Van Dam, Robbie E, Samoa Joe, Sting, The Point of Impact, TNA, TNA Championship, TNA Tag Team Championship, TNA Television Championship, Wrestling Matters, WWE, X-Division Championship

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