A Song For Whoever: UK Indie Wrestling Edition

Sidekick Andrew: I’ve a confession to make. I’m not the lithe and effortlessly cool 21 year old you might suppose from my internet persona. In fact, despite the fact that I am rapidly approaching 40, I only passed my driving test a few weeks ago. There were a few reasons why I only just passed, but one of the main reasons I finally got round to taking lessons was to get myself to indie wrestling shows.

As such, this weekend was the inaugural Andrew Southern WONDERFUL WACKY WEEKEND O’ WRESTLING. On Friday I travelled to Preston to watch a show put on by NBW Southside Featuring a bunch of wrestlers you’ve never heard of, as well as ex-WWE star Dave Taylor and TNA-star Doug Williams, this was a pretty fun show culminating with the frakly amazing sight of Nigel McGuinness (fiiiiiine, Desmond Wolfe) hosting a raffle and pulling tickets from an old vase. You don’t get this kind of thing at WWE shows kids!

Next up on Saturday was XWA Wrestling in Morecambe. Unlike the Preston show, XWA didn’t pull in any major names, but they did put on a more professional looking show and they did happen to have the best match of the weekend.

I might well be biased, having a small stake of interest when it comes to Pro-Wrestling EVE and the title, but Britani Knight and Jenny Sjodin put on one of the best womens matches I’ve seen for a long time, and probably the best one I’ve seen this year. Any match involving an Orton-like draping DDT, but to the floor from the apron, is going to be a winner – but, mysoginistic as this might sound, it wasn’t a move I was expecting from these two. The show as a whole was pretty enjoyable (Joel Redman and El Ligero in particular are worth checking out) but the EVE match was definitely the highlight for me.

As for Sunday…

So, this week’s Song For Whoever is dedicated to all the men and women traipsing up and down the UK to entertain small crowds of pretty rabid fans in sports halls and nightclubs. If you get chance to visit a local indie promotion, I’d highly recommend you do so. If you’re in the UK and you don’t know of any local shows, feel free to post in the comments and I’ll see what I can find out for you. In the meantime, here’s this weeks song (and before you ask, none of them – although Nadine could whisper things in my ear if she really wanted to) [Boss Lady Ray's Edit: If you'd choose Nadine over Cheryl, I may have to disown you.] [Sidekick Adrew's Edit: I would choose Cheryl, but I wouldn't be able to understand a word she was saying. See? I can be topical!]

Tea for Two Very European Europeans

This weekend Chris Hero and Wrestlegasm’s 2010 man of the year Claudio Castagnoli had matches at shows in the UK. Wolverhampton is only a few hours north of my humble abode in South Wales, but long car journeys are not my friend at the moment. There is something I can do though. A few days ago Claudio tweeted this:

If there’s one thing I know, it’s tea and cake. If you cut me in half you’d probably find my insides are made of nothing but tea and cake. (Don’t do that.) So, from a very European lady to a very European gentleman…….

I’m not sure what Claudio means by ‘English tea’. There are really two routes I could take him down. (Minds out the gutter, children, we’re talking about very refined things here.) I could explain how to have ‘High Tea’, but that’s not generally something you’d do at home. You would probably go to a swanky hotel, maybe the Savoy or the Langham, dress up a little bit and be served very fancy tea, sandwiches and desserts in a palatial setting. I’m talking the kind of cakes that look more like a work of art than something you might eat.

Oh The Langham. How I love thee.

This is not something I’m able to do for Claudio myself. My pastry skills are limited at best and I tend to be more of a vintagey, casual kind of girl anyway. I can, however, teach him how to have an old-fashioned Cream Tea. You can either call it a Cornish Cream Tea or a Devonshire Cream Tea. Both counties claim to have invented it. Being a man of the people, I think Claudio might enjoy this more informal option.

What Claudio will need:

Pretty Crockery

He’ll need some super pretty cups, saucers and plates and they need to be dainty. We know Claudio loves his coffee but he’ll need something a little more delicate than his usual Starbucks thermal mug. Pinkies in the air, people! This is one from my growing collection of vintage teacups:

He’s welcome to pop round and borrow them any time!

Teapot

I don’t own many teapots. I’m resisting buying too many in an attempt to avoid starting a new collection of things I don’t have room for, but Claudio will be needing a teapot. The nice thing about a Cream Tea is that your crockery doesn’t have to match. I’d suggest something like this (mainly because I really want it!)

Tea (obvs!)

Your choice of tea is crucial and also a minefield. Choose a tea you don’t like and the whole experience is spoilt. I’m an Earl Grey connoisseur myself, but being a beginner and a coffee drinker, I’d suggest Claudio goes for a more accessible Breakfast or Afternoon Tea. I’m not going to be a Tea-Nazi about it, if you prefer tea bags to loose tea, go for it. But if Claudio wants an authentic experience he’ll be needing some loose-leaf tea and a strainer.

Scones, Cream & Jam

I’m fully aware that if you want a physique like this…..

……..butter baked scones aren’t going to be on your menu that often. I could almost guarantee that if I read Claudio’s tea leaves they’d predict a future full of extra work in the gym. But this is a treat, so I hope he’d indulge. The scone needs to be split and spread with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Clotted cream is cream that’s been steamed for a length of time so that the fats rise to the top. This makes it taste incredible and makes it easy to spread. There is an age-old debate in Britain concerning whether the jam or the clotted cream should go on first. I say jam then cream as seen below.

All that’s left is to sit at the table with a lovely tablecloth and doilies, drink your tea (ideally with a dash of milk) and devour your scone. If Claudio needs any more guidance he can drop me a line or, better yet, give me a shout when he’s next in the country. I’ll even bake the scones myself. Well, you know, ‘the way to a man’s heart’ and all that.

Rainbows, Lasagne and Goldfish: The Miz on Blue Peter

You can’t have failed to notice that the WWE are on tour in Europe at the moment. The WWE promotion wagons never stop rolling, especially when cruising around a foreign market. When you’re sending someone to appear on children’s television you want someone kids will engage with. You need a figure to wind them up and get them excited about the WWE. There’s only one man for the job:

The last time Miz was on Blue Peter he royally cheesed off Helen Skelton by messing up her craft project. In fact, he didn’t just mess up her instructional video on how to make a small wrestling ring out of a pizza box and string, he berated her for making a bad job of it. The loathing between them was palpable. It was also one of the funniest things I saw on TV all last year.

This time, Miz and Helen seemed to have settled their differences. She actually seemed quite excited to see him.

Kind of.

This segment of the show was carried out while standing in a wrestling ring with only two sides, with a group of stage-school kids primed to look like real fans and a barking dog. I bloody love you, Blue Peter.

Before Miz appeared, the kids were asked to name their favourite moves. One selected the 619, but Helen found that to be far too aggressive. She much preferred the sound of the Starship Pain for its “balletic” properties. She then interviewed a young boy who came along because he thinks his dad looks like The Rock.

I bet his mum picked that picture.

Let us leave these pipsqueaks and get to the main event. Allow me to ask you a question. If the Miz was coming round to your gaff for the afternoon and you were waiting to present him to the world, where would you ask him to wait until you were ready for the big reveal?

In the greenhouse with the tomato plants. Of course.

There was whooping. There was hollering. There was all manner of Miz-like posturing. Barney, who is new to Blue Peter and wasn’t around for our champion’s previous visit, got an education in how to talk yourself up from the ego-master himself.

This narcissistic oratory went on for some time before Helen had to step in to move the show along, only succeeding to shut Miz’s mouth by holding his hand.

Ah-ha. So she does like him. I knew it! Me thinks the lady hath been protesting too much.  Helen’s sudden change of heart made Miz blush.

He actually said "BLUSH" while stroking his face. <3

The whole premise of this segment had been to give an explanation of trash talk. Miz basically explained to the kiddywinks that trash talking isn’t necessary about talking your opponent down, it’s more about talking yourself up. So he’s not such a bad role model after all. With this in mind the little ‘uns were asked to present Miz with something he could talk-up in a section we’ll call ‘collect three random pictures from the prop room’. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure this segment worked out the way the children expected. I got the feeling they wanted him to really trash the hell out of the items they’d chosen. What he went on to do was prove that his theory positive trash talking was cool. So instead of telling them how much they sucked, he delivered:

The dog looks impressed, but the kids not so much. My favourite thing about this whole piece though, was the cutest geek child I have ever seen. He even brought his own belt to carry over his shoulder. Aww. Bless.

He wanted Miz to say lovely things about his pet goldfish, Jangles. This was Miz’s last chance to win the hearts of the crowd.

Nice save! And that, my friends, was it. The Miz was done at Blue Peter for another tour. But before he could go on his merry way, Helen needed him to help her segue into her video on the lion cubs she met at Bristol Zoo. So, dear boy, what do you think of lion cubs?

GASP! Mizzzzzz! There’s no advertising allowed on the BBC. Naughty boy. Our TV licence cash pays for this show. Be off with you! (But please don’t stay away too long.) See you next tour, kiddo. Stay awesome.

If you’re in the UK you can watch this episode of Blue Peter on the BBC iPlayer for a limited time. If you’re not on this fair isle, thems the breaks.

A Song For Whoever: Shimmer & WWE Superstars Edition

BOSS LADY RAY: Just a quick one this week, as we’ve got a lot of posts to share with you during this Wrestlemania/blog birthday week. As you know, we’re active champions of our fellow countrymen and women on this blog. Our cooing over Mason Ryan, Wade Barrett and Layla, for example, is unflinching. With this in mind, this week’s song is dedicated to the UK-born ladies who made their Shimmer debuts this past weekend; namely Rhia O’Reilly, Britani Knight and Saraya Knight. We love seeing Brits do well, but we especially love seeing the ladies prosper. Lord knows it’s difficult enough for girls to get ahead in wrestling. Well done, ladies. We’re proud of ya!

SIDEKICK ANDREW: It’s not all good news though. This week also saw the confirmation that WWE Superstars has been cancelled by WGN America, leaving it no TV home. Now I realise that most people don’t watch Superstars, but it has become a very close second behind Smackdown in my WWE TV of choice recently.

People don’t seem to watch Superstars because you don’t get the big names on there each week. But what you do get in place of your John Cenas, HHHs and Undertakers is a group of mid and lower card wrestlers making the most of their limited TV exposure by putting on really fun matches. Over the last few months we’ve had a really fun feud with Curt Hawkins (yes, that Curt Hawkins!) and Trent Baretta, a short series of great William Regal and Darren Young matches (yes, that Darren Young!) and the rennaisance of Chris Masters and Tyler Reks – two guys I couldn’t have cared less for until recently. That’s not to mention current Wrestlegasm favourite Zack Ryder (or, as my favourite commentator Scott Stanford calls his team with Primo, Long Island Iced Z and Primo Colada.)

See? That’s something else you’re missing out on! Rather than having to sit through the interminably dull meanderings of Jerry Lawler and Booker T, or the confusingly genius annoyance that is Micheal Cole, Superstars has commentary from the amazing Scott Stanford and Jack Korpela (the man who “has your back” in the “Please buy our PPV on Sky Box Office” videos) as well as Matt Striker (and you know what we think of Striker here in The Bunker)

If you listen carefully, you can hear Boss Lady Ray swoon at the wink

Anyway, the long and short of it is Superstars was great and you didn’t watch it. Because you didn’t watch it, it’s been cancelled. Cause and effect people… you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

PS. The main event from Superstars last week was a really fun Mixed Tag match that you should probably watch. Click here and see what you were missing out on. You can thank me later.

the welsh are coming: an update

In the post I wrote on Sunday I suggested that if BarrrrmmmMason Ryan was allowed to speak Welsh in his promos I might cry. On last night’s Raw he was allowed to use his mother tongue. OK, so it was very brief, but I wasn’t expecting it so early on. Did I cry? Not exactly. But that’s about as happy as wrestling can make me and it started my day off with a massive, happy contraction in my chest. And if you missed it…….

If you’re wondering, he was just saying that CM Punk WON’T be eliminated. So shutup, Husky Harris! (I added the shutup bit for effect. But that’s what his eyes were saying.)

It has come to my attention that world geography is escaping some people across the pond. No, Wales is not in Ireland or Scotland and DEFINITELY not in England. Here is a diagram to help you.

To be a little more specific, Barri Mason is billed as being from Cardiff, as am I. Or as CM Punk pronounces it “Carr-duff, Wayls.” Not technically true though. It wasn’t even true when they billed him as from Rhyl for a brief time when he joined FCW. He’s actually from a tiny little town in the North West corner of Wales called Tramadog. It’s so Welsh nobody speaks English unless they really have to. So now you know.

Mae’r arholiad yn cychwyn mewn un munud.

the welsh are coming! – mason ryan arrives

I said it would happen. Didn’t I say it would happen?  Almost a year to the day I wrote this post about Barri Griffiths, he appears on Raw. And if you’re not sure who that is, he’s now going by the name ‘Mason Ryan’. Still none the wiser? Fine. It’s this guy.

He made it. My Welsh-speaking Welshman from Wales made it to the big-time and I’m so unbelievably proud that I felt a little bit sick with excitement when I heard the news on Tuesday morning. I logged into my Twitter account and saw this:

I ran across the Wrestle-Bunker hallway and ordered Sidekick Andrew to tell what had happened. He showed me this:

I cried. No, not really. But I was absolutely thrilled. After a year of trawling the internet looking for FCW downloads so I could watch him wrestle in his new guise, he’s moved up to Raw. After a year of tweeting Steve Keirns to get FCW on YouTube, I can leave the poor guy alone. After a year of crossing my fingers, toes and other unmentionables hoping Barri would be in the next series of NXT only to be disappointed every time, he’s done it!

Sidekick Andrew continuously said “Don’t worry, I’ve a feeling he doesn’t need NXT. They’ll move him straight up. They made him FCW champion really early and he’s been on overseas tours already.” I wanted to believe it, but I worried that he’d be future endeavoured before he’d even had chance to grace my television screen. Actually, do cut FCW guys even get future endeavoured? That doesn’t matter any more. If you’ve been living under a rock this week, here’s how it went down……

CM Punk, now the leader of New Nexus, had a match against John Cena. John was back for the first time since Christmas and the crowd bellowed and hollered liked children just given a bag of Haribos after a fortnight without a sugar-hit. Nexus were banned from ringside for the match and Punk’s posse were worried. He, on the other hand, was not.  Let’s be honest, CM Punk can take Cena any day of the week.  Flexibility and speed beat slow and chunky every time.

Proof!

This goes on for a while and despite a brief comeback from Cena, he never really made a dent. Had I not known how this ended I would assumed that after Punk dominating the match, Super-Cena would dust off his hands and take the win. No. Both boys were splayed on the canvas  when a large gentleman in a vest, jeans and fetching tan slip-ons jumped up on the apron to point and shout at Cena.  Some random member of staff made a futile attempt at dragging him down by the leg, but this was never going to work. Barri was on a mission.

With Cena duly distracted, Punk was able to crawl up to his feet and kick him in the head. Nice. Delirious that his plan had come together, Punk held his arms out and invited  a celebratory kick to the gut. Barri obliged.

Barri was now FURIOUS and channelled his rage into slamming Cena into the mat. This is what all Welsh people look like when you spill their pint. Take note if you’re planning a weekend away.

The rest of the Nexus fellas ran in, unsure of who this person was and if his strange, foreign ways should be trusted. But Punk liked him. He liked him a lot. In fact, they way they eyed each other up I wondered if a man-snog might be in the offing.

Then Barri dropped to his knees, lowered his head and…..(behave yourselves)…..raised his arm so Punk could induct him into the New Nexus with an elastic armband.

Then it ended with Barri’s face as the final shot. That’s huge! That’s like getting the drums at the end of Eastenders.

Mae hen wlad fy Nghadau yn annwyl i miiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

So anyway, he may be some random stranger who genuflected in front of CM Punk at the end of Raw to you, but this was seriously significant news in my homeland. Well, kind of. They did a piece about him on BBC Wales Today, Wales’ nightly news programme. I didn’t think much of the report. It all seemed rather generic and strung-together at the last minute. I would suggest that the BBC hire me to run a weekly segment called Barri Watch. It could be sandwiched between the sport and the weather report. Lucy Owen could hand over to me:

This is Lucy Owen.

Then I could hand over to local legend Derek ‘the weather’ Brockway.

This is Derek 'the weather' Brockway

The report they put together was quite humorous actually. The sports dude referenced Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin as he lead into the report:

Then during the report they spoke with Barri’s super-proud mam and dad:

Ah yes. Now I see where he got that tropical tan and raven hair from.

Who were apparently watching:

Yep! Wrestlemania! Not Raw. Which their son was on. Silly BBC Wales Today.

But my favourite bit was after the report where the sports dude and Derek discussed their favourite wrestlers. Sports dude liked Big Daddy, Derek Weather liked Giant Haystacks. What they were trying to say was……

Oh how we all laughed.

I’m poking fun, but I actually love Wales Today and they were thoroughly proud of our Barri. Not nearly as proud as I am, but still, they glowed.

So what happens next? Tricky. My expectations have already gone through the roof. In my mind, and maybe his parents’ too judging by that news report, he’s already headlined Wrestlemania and won every belt possible. I’m guessing he’ll hang around in the Nexus for a while and, realistically, as long as he appears in the Rumble that’ll already make my wrestling year. Oh and he hasn’t spoken yet. Assuming they’ll let him at least take part in a few promos, there’s a good chance I’ll cry when I hear his accent. If they let him speak in Welsh, I’ll definitely sob.

Three final points:

  • Yes, he looks a lot like Batista. You’ll need to get over that.
  • In case I haven’t already laboured the point enough, he’s not American or Canadian. He’s not even English. You may refer to him as Welsh or British. Anything else is inaccurate.
  • I will try really hard to retrain my brain to knowing Barri Griffiths as Mason Ryan. I can’t promise I’ll succeed.

This post is dedicated to Sarah.

Happy New Year!


Hello! How the devil is 2011 treating you so far? Excellent? Awful? Meh? Here at Wrestlegasm.com we’re refusing to answer that question. We’re just not quite ready to embrace a new year yet. So we’re easing ourselves in by looking back at 2010 and giving our much-coveted awards to our favourite wrestle people. OK so it’s the first year we’ve handed them out so they’re not that sought after, but they’re important to us.

We pondered holding a glittering awards ceremony full of fake grins, dazzling ladies dressed in vintage couture, gentlemen in black-tie attire, champers on tap and the kind of canapés that look like they should be behind glass at Tate Modern, but that’s just not our style.  To be truthful, we’d have been more than happy to lie around in our Christmas pyjamas and chink our mugs of tea together when we decided who was best at wrestling in 2010. But that’s no fun for anyone but us, so we’ve settled on a happy, homely medium.

The Wrestlegasm Best in Show Awards will take the form of a very British country show. There’ll be livestock parades, we’ll be judging the produce of regional vegetable growers, there will be family events in the crafts tent and an opportunity to sample locally made cheeses, cakes and ales.

Between me and you, I've got my eye on that purple cauliflower. Phwoar!

Oh yeah, and we’ll be handing out rosettes to our favourite wrestlers too. Yep, rosettes. No two-pound statue made of solid gold for us. So jump in your wellies, pull up a haystack and I’ll grab my megaphone. Incidentally, there’s only one award we disagreed on, so even though I’ll announce these first four awards, you can be sure that we discussed each category thoroughly and agreed on each winner unanimously. Let us begin……

The first foals to pass through our paddock are the newcomers; the young whippersnappers who just want you to remember their name. There was a fine crop of youngsters on the scene this year. We swayed back and forth over the thorny issue of what ‘Newcomer’ truly means, but we eventually settled on Wade Barrett.

Yes, he’s British and yes we’re very proud of him, but we genuinely couldn’t think of anyone who’d come so far or had made such a massive impact in such a short space of time in 2010. This time last year he was puttering about in FCW with nobody but the diehards able to pick him out of a police line-up.

That's him, officer. The one with freckled chest, ravishing curls and a curved nose.

But that all changed when Wade got called up to NXT and was mentored by Chris Jericho. Admittedly, his first sartorial attempts dampened our spirits, but it soon became apparent that with superb mic skills and solid wrestling ability, he was a sure-thing to win series one of NXT, which he did. Fast forward just a few months and he’s headlined Pay Per Views with John Cena, he’s lead a brood of reprobates to world (WWE) domination and has everyone watching knowing exactly what his name is. You’ve come a long way, kiddo. Enjoy that rosette. Wear it with pride.

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION also go to Kaitlyn and Alberto Del Rio. OK, yeah, we know that Kaitlyn isn’t the most fabulous wrestler in the Divas locker room. She needs a lot of ring time before she’ll even get close to being great. But we recognise ace comedy timing when we see it and that’s enough to get us through for the time being. And the thighs. Oh the thighs.

We really wanted to give Alberto Del Rio a rosette. He’s one of the best things to happen to Smackdown in ages, especially since CM Punk departed for pastures red. But he’s not technically a newcomer. He’s something of a legend south of the US border, so he might be a newbie in the WWE, but he’s certainly not just learning his craft . We needed to mention him though, just to say how much we love him and how much we enjoy pretending to honk our horns on our plastic steering wheel every time he drives to the ring.

JUSTLIKETHAT

Our second rosette goes to……..

This award didn’t really need much debate. CM Punk’s ability to hide the fact that he has a heart, berate his friends in public, run a dictatorship in several guises and stand in the centre of a packed arena without flinching while a 16,000-strong angry mob boo and jeer all makes him top-dog in the villain stakes.

We particularly enjoy when he breaks the hearts of the innocent and unassuming, like when he gate-crashed Miss Mysterio’s birthday party several months ago and delivered a menacing rendition of a happy birthday to the poor child. It was the stuff nightmares are made of.

But all is well. No need to hide behind your sofas and be afraid, kiddies. Dastardly as Punk is, we know that as soon as he steps out of character he’s a thoroughly lovely guy.

PROOF! By the way, that Make-a-Wish video makes me weep every time. Damn you, wrestling. Stop being nice. It makes me love you more.

And that’s what makes a great wrestling villain. You want them to be horrible people on your TV, then glorious human beings in real life. We salute you, CM Punk. Enjoy your hand-made rosette and treasure it the way Miz treasures his Blue Peter badge. I made it with own fair hands with floristry ribbon, PVA glue and glitter.

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION go to Wade Barrett and Claudio Castagnoli. Both displayed a significant amount of menace this year, but they didn’t quite get us to believe they would genuinely kick us in the head and smirk while they left us bleeding the way Punk would.  Maybe next year fellas.

Our third award goes to…….

We spent quite some time reminiscing over this year in wrestling, considering which storylines stood out in our memories and trying to decide whether we should choose a WWE story or something from an indie promotion. Then we had one of those Oprah lightbulb moments. There was one story which started in the WWE, seeped out into the indies, then found its way back to WWE again – the Nexus invasion story.

The first series of NXT had drawn to a close. Interspersed with half-decent matches and a handful of boys who looked like they could be real stars, they’d had to take part in silly beer-barrel carrying contests and obstacle courses which involved a pop-drinking section. They were made fools of, but hey, they were rookies. What did they expect? Then on Raw everything changed. The downtrodden newcomers invaded Raw and attacked everyone in sight. It was authentic enough to be truly shocking. How often does WWE genuinely surprise you to that jaw-dropping level?

The real story came when Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson was fired for choking Justin Roberts with his own tie. Nobody knew whether it was genuine or a work and it was the first time in a long time that everyone seemed to have an opinion. Andrew and I are never normally ones to jump on the rumours and lies bandwagon, but even we felt like it was big enough that we needed to comment on it.

Bryan Danielson returned to the indies a conquering hero, where he was revered for being the boy who broke the WWE. He made countless appearances in smaller promotions, including a CHIKARA show where he was showered in neck ties. We Must Eat Michigan’s Brain was actually one of the most enjoyable shows of the year for me.

Anyway, he resisted the urge to sign with TNA and as if by magic, Bryan Danielson morphed into Daniel Bryan again and made an even more triumphant return to the big-time at SummerSlam to damage the now dominant Nexus faction. Was the whole thing one very clever story? There are various opinions and one day we’ll get all the details, but either way it was certainly the most defining story of the year. If you manage to mix script and reality to the point where nobody’s sure where one ends and the other begins, that’s dynamite.

I’m going to ask Bryan to accept the rosette on behalf of everyone involved. Round of applause everyone.

The final rosette to be awarded during the first installment of this three-post event is……

I tried hard to think of someone else to take his place this year. I tried not to make it predictable and obvious. But it’s still CM Punk. We’ve had a tough ole year, me and Punk. His ever-changing appearance, particularly during those dark ‘long-beard and lucha mask’ days, really shook my faith. The whole Straight Edge Society, megalomania, shaving the heads of his followers stuff was a challenge. And when he disappeared to Raw and got injured I did a big, sad face, the likes of which I hadn’t done since the end of MasterChef.

But we got through it. He lost the hobo-beard. He got himself a lovely little haircut. (I am of the opinion that there isn’t a man alive who can’t be improved by a short-back-n-sides. Take note HHH.) Even though he was injured he did some brilliant commentary on Raw and actually made Raw cool. Then just as he started slipping into face territory, he took over the Nexus. Genius child. Never change again.

GIRL CRUSH OF THE YEAR: Layla. I do truly love Beth Phoenix and if she told me to switch teams with her, I’d be too afraid to say no. But I also love a girl who knows how to make people laugh. Layla was tasked with making Michelle McCool likeable and she succeeded. She’s the girl I’d most like to swap bodies with, she’s improved significantly in the ring and she has that kind of comic timing you just can’t learn. You either got it or you ain’t. One of my favourite things of 2010 is still when she planted a big snog on Kaval and “Took one for the teeeeeam.” Big kisses to you, dear heart.

Now, my section of this awards event is over. That’s a good thing because speaking through this megaphone for some 1500 words has been quite tiring. The next four awards will be presented by Andrew within the next week and the final ceremony will be a joint effort after that.  Before I go though, don’t think that because our awards ceremony is quaint and small-fry that we don’t have celebrity guests to provide a musical interlude like all the fancy award ceremonies. I’ve invited an old friend to sing a song I’m dedicating CM Punk. Sing along if you know the words. It’s a classic! Don’t forget to stick around after she’s done for the junior gymkhana and the pig parade. Jars of my home-pickled ginger are also available for purchase in the food tent.

(Click above for awesome tunes)

cool britannia week: part four

….. otherwise know as raw(lite): four davids and a funeral

This week’s Raw came from the glorious setting of the O² Arena in London. You know what that means, right? British stage set time! I was quite impressed that it was a little understated this time around. The enormous flag and double-decker bus remained, but this time the phone-box was replaced with a Mini-Cooper, complete with a Union Jack painted on the roof. What could be more British? Should we tell the Americans that the Mini is owned by the Germans now? Best not.

This may have been a very British show, but it had a very American guest host. David Hasselhoff was in charge and he throughly enjoyed himself. We are quite fond of The Hoff in the UK. Not only because he kind of lives here now, but also because we like people who are able to poke fun at themselves. The Hoff is most definitely in on the joke that is himself.

Despite the nausea inducing promise of Baywatch inspired Divas match later on in the show, the first match of the night was Maryse vs Eve for the Divas Championship. As is the norm on Raw, it was painfully short, but it ended with Eve pulling off a brilliant bridge pin, finally swiping the title from Maryse.

Clever.

It’s about time Eve got some recognition for being one of the few proper athletes in the company. Hoorah!

So, the ladies vacated the ring and were followed by ShowMiz.They started bleating about how they’re the greatest tag team that ever was.  A bold claim indeed, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t just be the London crowd who disagreed.

Bret begged to differ and ran through several tag teams who he believed were higher up the pecking order. Being the big-mouth he is, Miz refused just to roll over and take it, so he went on to suggest that he would quite happily smack The British Bulldogs in their stupid faces if he’d had the chance. All of this was done in the phoniest English accent I’ve heard in some time. It was worse than Matt Striker’s when referring to Layla. Even Dick Van Dyke would be ashamed. Miz’s awful accent was punished with an appearance from the Hart Dynasty. Many options were put out on the table regarding how they might solve this disagreement and much discussion took place…….

…. but it was eventually agreed that Miz and DH Smith would have a match that night. If Mr. Smith won, the Hart Dynasty would get a tag titles match at Extreme Rules. If Miz won, Bret Hart would have to come out and declare ShowMiz the greatest tag team of all time the following week. And all that was before the match even started.

Unfortunately, despite a solid match and a sincere hope from myself that the Hart Dynasty would get a PPV match, Miz pinned David for the win. It seems having such chunky thighs means you can’t move out of the way too quickly.

Well, for me anyway.

I wasn’t well enough to recap last week’s Raw, so I wasn’t able to tell you anything about David Otunga’s guest host spot. I’ll just say MEH and be done with it. This week, it appeared that Otunga and his fellow David (Batista) were the best of pals. Batista was back in his favourite Ralph Lauren tank top and seemed to have acquired a pair of RayBan Wayfarers. A little ‘summer 2009′ but whatever. This apparent buddydom soon turned sour though. Batista suggested that Otunga get him a cup of coffee. LIKE A BITCH!!! Ok, he didn’t say ‘like a bitch’ but it was implied with an icy stare.

On his way to grab the java, Otunga ran into The Hoff, who was flanked by The Bellas. After some banter between the two where, again, initial congeniality was mistaken for friendship, The Hoff set Otunga up with a match against John Cena. He even asked KITT to confirm how long it might take for John Cena to win.

Next we had Evan Bourne vs Carlito, which was solid and pleasing because Evan Bourne actually got to win a match. I read some rumours earlier that WWE are thinking of bringing the Cruiserweight Belt back soon. It would certainly jazz up some of these mid-card matches, but they’re probably just rumours. I’ll take them with a pinch of salt.

John Cena against David Otunga was up next and, as that clever black car from the 1980’s had suggested, John made very light work of the rookie. Batista was furious that John was showing off his prowess so successfully, so he ran out with the intention of  bringing Cena down a peg or two. Turns out he just wanted to take his clothes off and get his weekly quota of bare chest in before the show ended.

After flexing about a bit, Dave just turned around and left. LIKE A BITCH!!!

You may have heard that HHH has a minor neck injury, so he’s sitting these few weeks out to be ready for his match against Sheamus at Extreme Rules. No Game action to mention this week. Sheamus, however, was given a few minutes to talk himself up without interruption. Of course, he hadn’t anticipated that The Hoff would send Kofi Kingston out to do some damage in Triple H’s place. They had a match. It was alright. Kofi won by DQ when Sheamus punched him in the stomach with a TV monitor.

Randy Orton had a match against Batista later that night and Josh interviewed him about what we could expect from the match. It was a standard answer from Orton, but my main concern was why Josh felt the need to use so much bronzer while on British soil. We’re all painfully pale. Just blend in with the locals, Josh.

Speaking of over-tanning, this was followed by the inevitable  Divas Baywatch Babe match, with David Hasselhoff watching from his lifeguard station and Santino as guest referee. I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you all about it. The picture covers everything.

Batista and Orton had their match, which was decent, if a little lumbering. Randy was about to tie up the loose ends when Jack Swagger ran out to attack Randy. The match was deemed over and as Swagger triumphantly left the arena, Cena whacked him from behind and made an attempt at suffocating Dave. Not even a bevy of refs could prise them apart.

Once John was satisfied that Dave was dead, he counted him out for ten.

Tomorrow’s Raw is guest hosted by the cast of the new MacGruber movie. Thanks to airspace over most of Europe being closed due to the Icelandic volcano eruption and a large number of the Raw roster being stranded in Belfast, next week’s Raw could be the longest movie trailer ever seen on television. Triple H better get over this neck injury. QUICKLY!