Some Quick Thoughts on Raw 3/29/10

Instead of getting a full recap this week, I am going to just give some of my thoughts on the show.  For a recap, go here.  I think I’m going to go with the like/dislike method I used last week.

  • I liked Shawn Michaels’ farewell speech.  Although the entire thing seemed like it was less important than Flair’s send-off, Michaels’ sounded sincere.  It was nice to hear him thank the production crew, even naming the video package guy, whose name escapes me right now.
  • I disliked Sheamus running out and attacking Triple H while he was trying to talk about Michaels leaving.  I had hoped that this feud would be over at Wrestlemania.
  • I liked Bret Hart finally doing something with the Hart Dynasty.  Hopefully (I have my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath) Bret will hang around long enough to help the Hart Dynasty get the tag belts from ShowMiz.  I would like to see both of them competing as singles, especially since The Miz is the US champion.
  • I dislike seeing Mark Henry in tights getting into a hot tub.  Although, it was a little awkward funny.
  • I like Jack Swagger trying to be opportunistic, and cash in Money in the Bank while Cena was down, then immediately changing his mind after Cena gets the upperhand, but before the ref could officially start the match.
  • I like the strength of the mid-card and upper mid-card.
  • I dislike that it’s being pretty much wasted because the US title is tied up in tag team feuds.

Streak continues, career ends: WrestleMania XXVI

It was the end of an era for Shawn Michaels.  With his career on the line, he failed to end the Undertaker’s legendary WrestleMania undefeated streak and called it a career.

But what a match to go out on.

Early on, Undertaker seemed to tweak his knee while coming off the ropes for his Old School, and Michaels immediately zoomed in on it and started abusing it.  Taker fought back, but Michaels stayed right in the match.  It looked bad when Taker Tombstoned Michaels onto the arena floor, but Michaels stayed in the match.  Taker tried Hell’s Gate, but HBK flipped it over into a pin for a two-count.  The action went outside the ring, and Michaels drove Taker through the announce table with a moonsault.  It was at that point that Taker’s knee seemed to be busted good.  Michaels kicked out of a vicious Last Ride and hit a vicious Sweet Chin Music, but just couldn’t keep Taker down.

At the end, Undertaker removed his straps and went to signal for the end of the match, but uncharacteristically seemed to pity Michaels, who was struggling to his feet.  He told him to ‘Stay down!’, but Michaels responded with a throat cut of his own then slapped Taker in the face.  Clearly enraged, Undertaker pulled him up for a massive Tombstone and ended the match – as well as Shawn Michaels’s storied career.  It was truly a fantastic match, perhaps just as good as last year’s.  Taker helped HBK to his feet and the two embraced, then Taker left and let Michaels have his moment.  As he made his way up the stage, Michaels mentioned that his kids would be sick of him in three weeks.  Awesome.

Farewell, HBK.  And thank you.

As for the rest of the show…

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Some Wrestlemania Facts

Here are a few things I found interesting as I was compiling the records of everyone that has ever competed in the 25 previous Wrestlemanias.  Although I will not be posting the full records, in my calculations, I consider a loss to be whenever a wrestler was not named the winner.  Matches in which there were no winner were recorded as a draw.  For example, anyone that did not win Money in the Bank was given a loss.  The Hogan/Andre match at Wrestlemania 4 was a draw. Read more of this post

Preview: WWE WrestleMania XXVI

Usually, I give the back story to the event we’re about to preview and say how it came about.  But come on, man.  It’s WrestleMania.  ‘Nuff said.  Let’s check out the card.

WWE Championship Match
Batista(c) vs. John Cena
When will they ever learn that it’s just not smart to cross Vince McMahon?  When McMahon disgraced Bret Hart during his WWE return (see below), John Cena confronted him and called him a coward for his actions.  This simmered between Cena and McMahon until last month’s Elimination Chamber PPV.  Cena dethroned Sheamus and recaptured the WWE Championship, but McMahon would have the last laugh.  He granted Batista an immediate title shot and the Animal demolished the exhausted Cena to win the title.

Cena got his chance for a rematch, but only if he could beat Batista in a non-title match.  Batista quickly got himself dq’d with a kick to the groin, and the match was on.  Since then, it’s been non-stop intensity between the two.  The promos from both Cena and (shockingly enough) Batista have been excellent,  and this is really an exciting feud.  Everything seems to be pointing towards a happy ending for Cena, but I’ve learned to never try to guess on the obvious at WrestleMania.  Actually, I’m going to anyway.  My bet is for Cena to win.

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho(c) vs. Edge
This one starts all the way back at The Bash in June.  Jericho and Edge were entered into a tag team title match and captured the titles from Carlito and Primo.  Less than a week later, however, Edge tore an Achilles tendon and was put on the shelf for months.  Jericho took the opportunity to verbally bash Edge before announcing his new partner to be the Big Show.  Edge made a surprise return at the Royal Rumble, eliminating Jericho and capturing the guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania.  Jericho, shockingly enough, captured the World title at Elimination Chamber when Shawn Michaels surprisingly entered the Chamber and hit champion Undertaker with Sweet Chin Music.  It was inevitable that Edge would take his shot against Jericho.

What makes this feud slightly odd is that Edge is the face here.  He first turned heel back in 2004 (abandoning partner Chris Benoit) and has been the top heel of the company nearly ever since.  The fans took to his return, however, and have accepted him in this role.  You have to think that it won’t be long before he’s back on the dark side, but it may not be here.  As for a winner?  I don’t know.  It seems like Edge will have this one in hand, but I could also see Jericho pulling out the shocking upset and this thing going past this match.

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The More You Know

So I was watching Superstars last night and while watching the Rey Mysterio vs. Tyson Kidd match, which was a stellar performance, I started thinking about how knowing too much about wrestling could be a bad thing from a spectators view.

During the match, Kidd went for a rope to rope springboard attack of some sort and slipped slightly altering his intentions. Now whereas this meant very little as he very well may have been going for that same move (just sooner than planned now) and Rey was already moving out of the way before the incident therefore missing nonetheless still made me think if understanding how it all works ruins it for us.

As this sites resident NXT fan, the Daniel Bryan slip up comes to mind. Whereas I’m on the side of it being intentional to work his injured ribs others chastised it as a “botched” move leading to a disappointing finish. Now those people could just be upset that one of their favorite “indie” wrestlers is involved in a losing streak storyline now that he’s in WWE but there again is an example of how knowing how the industry works skews your perception of how good or bad the match actually was.

If it was all still “real” we’d have all simply taken the Matt Striker commentating viewpoint of it being the risk one takes when attempting such feats. Although personally, if it were still “real” I probably wouldn’t be watching it all that regularly as I enjoy the story and figuring out how they pull it off in-ring.

Still the question is why are we so critical of these performers to be perfect. I doubt they’d criticize us if we tripped going up the stairs. They might laugh but I don’t think they’d break down each step we took and tell us of how going up the stairs should be done. Maybe if we weren’t so critical about John Morrison for not getting his full rotation on Starship Pain or when Kofi Kingston slips (yet still recovers) on a high risk manuever they’d have already won major titles by now and be main event superstars.

It’s a double-edged sword though as without constant critiques of the company Jeff Hardy probably wouldn’t have become World Heavyweight Champion, Christian might still be in TNA and he, Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, Chavo Guerrero, Kane and Tommy Dreamer may never have had reigns as ECW Champions.

Should we go back to the old days of “real” wrestling? No, because it’s those die-hard fans who wanted to understand every aspect of the industry that have kept wrestling alive to this day. They’re the core of the industry’s fan base and most likely the only one’s reading this. So to you I say keep expecting the best of these superstars but don’t let what was or seemed to be a mistake ruin what was otherwise an entertaining match.

Tag Team Team-Up: NXT 3/23/10

This week on NXT the 8 rookies took part in two tag team matches. The first match-up was Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel vs. Wade Barrett & Skip Sheffield. The second, Darren Young & David Otunga vs. Daniel Bryan & Michael Tarver.

The criteria of which the rookies will be judged on were announced as we head toward the first Pros Poll. These criteria are: Win/Loss Record, Work Ethic, Strength of Opponents and It Factor.

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Final Hype for Wrestlemania: Raw 3/22/10

Shawn Michaels opens the show talking about how he has a good feeling about Wrestlemania, shamelessly plugs his new DVD, and talks about how he is going to be know as the man that ended The Undertaker’s streak.  A video montage highlighting Michael’s career interrupts him.  It ends with Undertaker pinning Michaels at Wrestlemania 25.  Pete Rose comes out, and puts Michaels in a no-DQ match with Kane.

The match happens later in the show.  A decent match between the two.  Kane controlled early on.  Michaels reversed a couple moves into a crossface and anklelock submission holds.  As Michaels prepares for Sweet Chin Music, The Undertaker’s bell tolls and the lights go off.  Lights come back on to reveal Undertaker standing in front of Michaels.  Undertaker hits Michaels with a chokeslam, and stands over.  The lights go off again, and when they come back on, Kane is standing over Michaels.  Michaels is able to kick out of a pin attempt, and then hits Kane with Sweet Chin Music and gets the pinfall.

Middle of the show, Bret Hart comes out, and rambles on for several minutes about this Wrestlemania and past Wrestlemanias.  After 5 minutes or so, Vince McMahon comes out tells Bret that he’s screwed at Wrestlemania.

Batista and Cena had a face-off to end the show.  Batista came out first, accompanied by many security guards.  He taunts the crowd for a while about being the bad guy, he is only in it for the money, and how he is going to beat Cena.  Cena comes out and points that if Batista was any good at his job, neither of them would be standing there.  They brawl, security holds Cena back, and Batista escapes.

Rest of the show

  • John Morrison def. The Miz by pinfall. A pretty good match between the two former tag partners.  Big Show and R-Truth were providing guest commentary.  They alright, and did a decent job going back and forth, creating animosity between the two.  Early on, Miz hit Morrison with a pretty gruesome neckbreaker that had Morrison neck hitting the edge of the apron.  Morrison picked up the pinfall after hitting Miz with Starship Pain.
  • Money in the Bank Qualifying match:  Kofi Kingston def. Vladimir Koslov by pinfall. Jack Swagger was providing guest commentary.  He didn’t really provide much, other than the occasional statements about how he was going to win Money in the Bank.  Throughout the match, the announcers made certain several times that the viewing audience knew Kofi was still hurting after a getting a beatdown from Batista.  Kozlov controlled most of the match using a small assortment of power moves, until Kofi was able to do a takedown, and then hit Trouble in Paradise.
  • Legacy & Sheamus def. Randy Orton & Triple H by pinfall. Pre-match, DiBiase and Rhodes rant about how they have had to put up with Orton’s antics.  Rhodes claims to be the future of the WWE because he’s younger.  DiBiase says it’s okay to be jealous of him, even Rhodes is sometimes.  Triple H spent most of the match going back and forth with all three of his opponents, until tagging Orton, who takes the hot tag and takes out everyone, except Triple H.  Orton is going to DDT Rhodes when Sheamus hits him with the bicycle kick, and gets the pin.  Sheamus goes to kick Triple H, but Triple H avoids it, and gets the better of Sheamus.
  • Hall of Fame inductee:  Bob Uecker.
  • Backstage, Christian is talking with Pete Rose.  Rose mentions getting revenge on Kane, and that he has more World Series rings than the city of San Fransisco.  A door opens behind to reveal Kane inside the room.  Kane pulls Rose into the room, and crashing noises can be heard as Christian reacts to it.
  • Michelle McCool, Layla & Maryse def. Gail Kim, Eve & Beth Phoenix by pinfall. This was a typically short divas match.  In fact, it was too quick for there to be an tags made.

Closing Thoughts

I am going to say this, even though I know I’ve said it before, and will say it again, I do not like opening and closing the show on long, non-wrestling segments.  I feel that a match does more to catch my interest than an interview type segment does.  Same thing with ending the show on a match.  I think that having the Michaels/Kane match as the last thing on the show would have made for a stronger finish than the Cena/Batista face-off.  Especially since it was preceded by a lackluster Divas match.  And now, likes and dislikes.

  • I like how they’re building the Michaels/Undertaker match this year more than I did last year’s.  Sure, it was neat to see Michaels try to play mind games with The Undertaker, but it’s better to see him be his cocky self when confronting The Undertaker.
  • I dislike Bret Hart monologues.  Hart was never particularly strong on the mic by himself for long stretches.  He is the type of person that needs someone to work off of.  When you give him 5 minutes on his own, that’s probably 3-4 minutes too long.
  • I like Kofi being in Money in the Bank.  Not only does it provide the possibility of some amazing spots, but it also adds another legitimate contender to the match.  Yes, Kofi has been laying low a bit since his feud with Orton ended, but that feud established him as someone the fans will get behind should he win the match and cash in.
  • I dislike tag matches that don’t feature any tags.  What’s the point?  To get everyone into the ring and on television?  Surely there are better ways to get everyone on tv.