Our No Way Out predictions have nothing to do with the Kevin Costner film

Sidekick Andrew - Well, here’s one that the internet will no doubt be *very* excited about. Two “comic relief” wrestlers in a comedy gimmick match – this has five star classic written all over it. Of course, sarcasm aside, this could be at least fun – assuming you can sit back and not take wrestling too seriously. It’s not been put on to impress with hold and counter hold, insane lucha flips or hardcore bumps – it’s put on for the “entertainment” part of sports entertainment and will hopefully fulfill that role adequately.

That said, the obvious choice for this is Santino to win and embarrass Rodriguez again. It’s not often that heels will win a match with this kind of stipulation.

Boss Lady Rae:  “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun aaaaand SNAP! The job’s a game!” Words of wisdom from that great philosopher Mary Poppins there. One of the things we noticed while we took a little break is just how seriously we had started to take wrestling. That’s not to say we don’t stand by all our more serious points from the past, or that we won’t be making serious points again in the near future. But we definitely forgot some of the fun.

This “match” is pure fun and I’m kind of looking forward to it. The crowd love Santino’s foolin’ and Ricardo’s antics over the past few weeks have rivalled his opponent’s for laffs. It seems obvious that Santino will win, and I believe he’ll win the war. But because I think they’ll string this out a little longer, I’ll say that Ricardo’s got this battle won. If only to reward his wicked Sheamus impression.

Sidekick Andrew - Given more than five minutes, this could be a pretty enjoyable match. Both wrestlers are more than capable of impressing, and we’re fans of both here in the Bunker. In fact *ahem* you could say I’m torn between the two…

 Gratuitous links? We got ‘em!

Anyway, now that unpleasantness is over with, my prediction. Pretty sure Layla is going to keep the title tonight. She’s not had it long and there’s still mileage in pushing her as champion. If Kharma is on her way back (as indicated on twitter this week) then Beth doesn’t need the title just yet as there’s (hopefully) a feud on it’s way for her.

Boss Lady Rae: I won’t lie, the girl crush I developed on Layla before injury sent her packing for a year is back with a vengeance.  Chances of me betting against her at the moment are pretty slim, so I won’t. Layla will win. I’m definitely not torn between them. *ahem* Having said that, I agree with my colleague. Given more than a couple of minutes this could be a great match. We can but hope.

Sidekick Andrew - I still can’t bring myself to get excited about a Christian match. I know people love him, but he just bores me so much. On the other hand, Cody is always great to watch so there’s a chance the match should be watchable at least. Honestly, I can’t think of much else to say about this one. So I hope you’ll accept this photo of Cody eating chicken with a lady as recompense.


 Christian’s probably going to win this by the way…

Boss Lady Rae: Cody Rhodes has been kind of a revelation lately. I spent years passing him off as dull mid-card fodder. Then the Wrestlemania run-up kicked in and I started warming to him. I lost a lot of the enjoyment I got out of Christian’s stories after the hullaballoo following his lost title last year. Hopefully Cody can inject some interest into this one and swipe the belt back. 

Sidekick Andrew -
Punk vs Bryan?
Well, we all know how good that can be.

Punk vs Bryan vs Kane?
Hmm… suddenly I’m not so sure about this match.

Punk vs Bryan vs Kane (with added crazy AJ)?
Yep, that’ll do!

Is it strange that in a match containing two of the best wrestlers in the world, and one of the best “monsters” in the world, the deciding factor in this one for me is AJ? Rae and myself have spent the last week gushing over how well AJ is playing her character at the moment, questionable “I Dig Crazy Chicks” shirts aside. It really does seem like the role she was born to play, with small details like the way she reacted to the crowd’s chants on Monday showing that she’s the skill to improvise rather than just being well written.

I’m a big fan of Punk and Bryan, and I’ll always have a soft spot for Kane. Adding AJ into the mix is just the stupidly cute cherry on the top. As for a winner? Oh, let’s say Punk wins and retains the belt (and hopefully changes it for something more tasteful soon.)

Boss Lady Rae: I’ve observed some chatter about how sexist AJ’s current character apparently is. Trust me. I’m usually the first to jump on this shit. And yeah, it would be lovely if there were more big female characters unconnected to men. (I have an updated Eve piece in the works. Shhh.) But AJ’s done such a brilliant job of playing the lunatic ex-girlfriend, it’s lovely to see a well developed female character, regardless of the situation.

The 4-way banter between Punk, Bryan, Kane and AJ on this week’s Raw was brilliant and long may it continue. I’m not sure why Kane has become involved with this story beyond adding an extra string to its creative bow, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t winning any titles tonight. Keep the title on Punk’s waist and keep this thing going. I flippin’ love it.

Sidekick Andrew - It shouldn’t be any surprise which of these two wrestlers is my favourite. Sheamus is (kind of) local, talented, surprisingly huge and with a charisma and look that stand him apart from the rest of the roster. But he’s no Dolph Ziggler…

Straight as I am, no man can make me swoon like Dolph comes out to the ring. I Am Perfection? Yes you are sir, yes you are. We’ve been singing his praises for what seems like years now at Wrestlegasm, and he hasn’t lost any of his appeal, even if he did lose some momentum along the way. Back in the title picture due to Del Rio’s unfortunate concussion, I’m going to predict that Ziggler will be the (perhaps unlikely) winner tonight. There is precedent for last minutes replacements to win titles on PPV with Johnny Nitro taking the title in a match with Punk after Benoit did, well… you know. Plus Ziggler deserves a second title run, and one that lasts slightly longer than 11 minutes and 23 seconds.

Boss Lady Rae: This is by far the most tantalising match on the card, and this is a show where Punk and Bryan are going at it again. Sheamus is absolutely on fire at the moment, which is nice to see considering he spent the best part of a year in the doldrums. We’re also delirious that Dolph Ziggler, our top bloke of 2011, is getting a title shot. He’s more than paid his dues in the mid-card and he’s long overdue another jump to the top. I suppose he has Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton to thank for this one, but it’s not how opportunities arise, it’s what you do with them when you get them. I think Sheamus is keeping the title for now, but the idea these two might get a long title run out of someone else’s misfortune is absolutely delicious.  YUM!

Sidekick Andrew - This is unfortunately another match that I’m struggling to get excited about. I’m not a Cena hater like a lot of people, but he needs someone great to go against, and Big Show just isn’t that great.

Oh grow up…

The added stipulations would seem to suggest that Cena is winning this. Certainly Laurinitis getting fired makes more sense that Cena getting fired. Except for the fact that Cena getting fired is about as permanent as Superman dying or me deciding to stop eating bacon sandwiches for breakfast. Add in the fact that Cena is going through a divorce at the moment and this could end up being a chance for him to take some much deserved time off.

What I’m positive we will see is one of Cenas patented feats of strength. I wouldn’t be surprised if Laurinitis or Otunga gets involved at some point, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if Cena manages to get Big Show and Otunga/Laurinitis up for a double Attitude Adjustment. I’m going to go with Big Show winning this one, although I’m conscious that betting against Cena is always a bad idea.

Boss Lady Rae: It’s no secret that John Cena’s been having a tough time lately. A little light relief was in order and, honestly, there’s nothing to be taken less seriously than a run with Big Show. If you like Big Show as a face, hang on a few months and he’ll turn into a happy chappy. Like him as a heel? Hold out a little while and he’ll be the black-bearded bad guy again. It’s all veh silly.

The stipulation that would leave Laurinaitis out of a job is the basis of this whole story and, with Vince back on the scene this week and HHH showing up tomorrow, it would seem pretty likely that John Cena’s got this one in the kitbag. Dude, you never bet against Cena.

Elimination Chamber Predictions: now with 33.333% extra terrible wrestlers!

Due to a number of factors (illness, real life work, school holidays and at least one unexpected trek through the Amazon in search of the fabled golden skull of Mezzakin the Unwise) these predictions will be a more compact and bijou affair than usual. Compact and bijou – can you tell I’ve been dealing with estate agents recently? Anyway, with that preemptive disclaimer out of the way and my cocktail cabinet fully stocked, let’s do the whole “predicting predetermined pretend pugilism” thing!

Well.. I *say* cocktail cabinet...

Beth Phoenix vs Tamina Snuka

A Diva’s PPV match featuring two women who can wrestle! Not only that, but Tamina has now progressed to the upper echelon of the WWE Women’s Division – a distinction shown by the fact she now has a surname. This could be a really enjoyable match, assuming they are given the time to tell a proper story, and they keep the interference (and hilarious fart jokes) to a minimum. It’s no secret that we love Beth here in the Bunker, but we’re both agreed that it’s time for a change in the run up to Wrestlemania, and that Tamina will take the belt tonight.

Rae’s Prediction: Tamina Snuka
Andrew’s Prediction: Tamina Snuka

John Cena vs Kane

This is apparently an Ambulance Match, so promises to be pretty brutal at least. Kane has experience in this type of match, in fact I’ve still fond memories of his Ambulance Match with Shane McMahon from Survivor Series 2003.

As for who’s going to win, Cena is always the obvious choice for winning a PPV match, and I have to agree that he’s probably going to win here. Unless they want Kane to interfere in the Rock-Cena match at Wrestlemania they have to bring this feud to an end soon.

Rae’s Prediction: John Cena
Andrew’s Prediction: John Cena

Raw Elimination Chamber

Definitely the better of the two Chamber matches on paper, the only wrestler in this match that I’m not a fan of is R-Truth. The idea of Jericho wrestling in the match and overtaking HHH as having the highest number of entries is pretty cool, and Kofi is bound to replicate RVD and Morrison’s spidermonkey antics from previous years. Add to that great wrestlers like Punk and Ziggler and this has the chance to be the best match on the card. As for winners, Rae has decided that Jericho will win, which is very possible. I personally think that Punk will retain here though, just because I think they’ll have him as champion at Wrestlemania. Having said that, if Rae is right that does open up the chance for Punk to get his rematch at ‘Mania, so I’ll be happy either way.

Rae’s Prediction: Chris Jericho
Andrew’s Prediction: CM Punk

Smackdown Elimination Chamber

Well, talk about extremes (and no, I don’t mean XTREME! because the match takes part inside “Satan’s Prison”) You have three really talented wrestlers in this match, people I’d be happy to watch wrestle any day of the week, in Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. You have Big Show who has a role to fit and plays it well – the giant who punches people in the face will always be worth a look. And then… well… yeah, you’ve got the other two. Santino isn’t the worse wrestler in the world, and he’s ridiculously over with the crowd, so I’ve no real objection to him being in there for a while. Khali on the other hand, is a frankly bizarre choice for the match, and I can only hope that he’ll be the last to enter, only for everyone to hit their finishers and eliminate him within an minute.

As for the winner, Rae says Barrett will win (which would be amazing) but I think Bryan will retain. He needs a decisive title victory/defence and this is the ideal time. Let him go into Mania as champion to wrestle Sheamus and make everyone happy. Please?

Rae’s Prediction: Wade Barrett
Andrew’s Prediction: Daniel Bryan

A Song for Whoever: Smashing Pumpkins and Bryan Danielson edition

SIDEKICK ANDREW: Just a quick one this week, although the video is longer than usual. I was tempted to write about Superstars and how amazing this week’s episode was. There was a great match between Beth Phoenix and Gail Kim, a surprisingly good match between Alicia Fox and Kaitlyn, and an amazing six-man tag involving the Usos and Trent Baretta against Tyson Kidd, Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel. Wondering what was so great about that match? Well, when was the last time you saw a move like this on Raw?

also, never headbutt a Samoan

Anyway, I was going to write about Superstars, but I’ve already pleaded with you guys to watch the show. Something else you should definitely watch if you get chance (neat segue!) is the Wrestling Road Diaries documentary put out by Colt “Scotty Goldman” Cabana, Bryan “Daniel Bryan” Danielson and Sal “the other one” Rinauro. We had a screening in the Bunker this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’ve got a spare couple of quid knocking about, support indie wrestlers and buy it at WrestlingRoadDiaries.com, you won’t regret it.

And in a slightly less smooth segue than before, the behind the scenes footage in that documentary leads to my Song For Whoever this week (bear with me, we’ll get there.) When I was nineteen I lived, for a while, in the back of a van parked for the most part in the car park of Morrison’s supermarket in Blackpool with a friend called Wayne Squire. His name isn’t relevant to the story, but just in case he ever does one of those self-indulgent Google searches we all do from time to time… hi Wayne!

no Google, I did not mean "southern"

When we lived in the van we had a number of cassettes that were played pretty incessantly. Black Sunday by Cypress Hill, Automatic for the People by REM, In Utero by Nirvana… and the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums – Gish and Siamese Dream. These were the soundtrack to my life at a pretty weird time, and as such I’ve still a soft spot for all these bands. So I was pretty excited to hear that the Smashing Pumpkins were recording their new video at an indie wrestling show and involving Raven, Cheerleader Melissa and Shelly Martinez in the shoot.

Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins is a massive (if somewhat unlikely) wrestling fan, having shown up in the original ECW as well as allowing his songs to be used for at least two TNA PPV hype videos.


How to explain the logic behind releasing a video this week for a single that was released back in 2009? Well, here’s an paragraph I’m stealing from Consequence of Sound to explain it for me.

Let’s start with the facts: Billy Corgan’s Smashing Pumpkins have a new video for their past single, “Owata”, off the still evolving 44-track effort, Teargarden By Kaleidyscope. (The same album which will contain the previously released two EPs and the forthcoming album-within-an-album, Oceania, which is currently being endorsed by one Kareem Abdul-Jabar.) Instead of issuing a quick three to four minute video, which is apparently in the pipeline too, Corgan’s attached his song to director Robby Starbuck’s 12 minute short film about female underground wrestling.

All clear? Cool…

Obligatory Simpsons Reference

So, I started off saying this would be a short one, and it hasn’t been really. Sorry about that. I suppose I could scroll back up and delete that line, but meh… Enjoy the video.

BOSS LADY RAY: I’m afraid I don’t like Smashing Pumpkins or that song or the video (sorry, Andrew) so I’m going to take you down a slightly jazzier road this week. As Andrew mentioned, this past weekend we watched Colt Cabana, Bryan Danielson and Sal Rinauro take a ten-day road trip to shows and training workshops in the Wrestling Road Diaries documentary. It’s rather brilliant and worth any spare pennies you’ve got floating around.

The ten days it covers are Bryan Danielson’s last week and a half before he heads off to the WWE to morph into Daniel Bryan on NXT. There are two things that come across strongly throughout – the wonderful friendship between the three of them, and the fact that they love their jobs. I mean they really love their jobs. They travel all over the world for very little money, in a car with a cracked windscreen, sleeping on friends’ couches and buying clothes in charity shops. Admittedly that last one was just for fun. But still, it becomes apparent that to be on the indie wrestling circuit you have to truly love it and they clearly do. They regularly mention that they think they have the best job in the world. How many people can honestly say they feel that way about their job? Even when some health issues put Bryan Danielson’s WWE contract in jeopardy, he’s reasonably calm about it, because he can still do what he loves to do elsewhere.

I watched Bryan wrestle Ted DiBiase on Smackdown this morning, and it occurred to me that he’s one of the few who gets to just go out and completely be himself on TV. (Albeit with a slight name change.) Despite the fact that his style of wrestling isn’t Flavour of the Month in the mainstream at the moment, he’s still the same guy he is in the documentary, at least for as long as that character allows him to be. This one’s dedicated to you, Bryan Da>ielson, for reminding me that if you don’t love your job, you need a new one.

PS—> Previous mild crush on Colt Cabana is now a giant one. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a boy who makes me laugh!

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Sidekick Andrew

Regardless of the rather baffling (and much less important than certain internet critics might have you believe) decision to drop the word “wrestling” from any description of the WWE, tonight is WRESTLEMANIA – undoubtedly the biggest event in the pro-wrestling calendar. An evening (or stupidly early morning for some of us) of celebrity endorsement, epic showdowns between legends and fast paced action between some of the exciting new stars of this ancient artform.

Ahh wrestling… wikipedia describes “Professional Wrestling” as “a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.” With a history dating back over 15,000 years, wrestling can be found in the ancient cave drawings of France. All of which leaves me with a slight dilemma: how best to convey the excitement and thrills of Wrestlemania? The grappling acumen harking back to Babylonian and Egyptian reliefs? The roar of the approximately 75,000 fans in attendance? The blood, sweat and tears shed by these men and women for the briefest moment of reward, a reward which (if were honest) isn’t that important? Quite frankly, I can only think of one possible way to correctly pay the respect due to this most masculine of endeavours – PIE CHARTS!

As Boss Lady Ray explained yesterday, we’re not the best at predicting the results of these things – so we pulled in some people who should, in theory, know even less that us. Our families…

First up, Cole vs Lawler. Now, my family were relatively split on this one with Lawler just edging it despite Alice deciding that “the one on the left […] looks stronger” (although there’s always a chance she might have mixed up her left and right.) Very happy with their choices here. Let’s face it, nobody want’s Cole to win tonight, and logic dicates that he probably won’t. However, I should point out that I’m not basing this on Rebecca’s slightly strange reasoning that Lawler should win “cos he looks cheesy!” or her fiance Kris’ logic that “his comments are amazing” being that Lawler is just ahead of Booker T in the “Wrestlegasm Commentators we’d like to see relegated to regional news somewhere in Alaska”

Next up, Edge vs Del Rio, and almost a clean sweep for Del Rio, with only one person voting for Edge. Del Rio’s reasons ranged from the quite logical fact that “he has a very muscley body” and is “bigger built” to the slightly more worrying “the one with the nice panties..Del Rio?” Not sure anyone has described Alberto Del Rio, a man descended from Mexican aristocracy, as having “nice panties” before mother, but you might want to check out Ray’s old Crotch Watch posts.

Also nice to see that we’re a family that doesn’t forgive and forget easily, with Kris’ insistence that Del Rio should win “because of what Edge did to Christian” – admittedly Edge & Christian are BFFs again, but we’ll always know what you did that summer…

You might have noticed by now that these matches are probably not in the order they’ll be broadcast, but that’s how we do it on the Fylde coast baby! As such, here’s Miz vs Cena. Cena was the overwhelming favourite here, with only my mother voting for the current champion on the grounds that he is “named after (my sister) Alice” (For those of you grasping with the logic here, I’m assuming Miz being short for miserable is a slight on the cheery disposition of my teenage sister, but I couldn’t possibly say.

As for Cena… well, the fact that he looked “like a wrestler” and “angry,” as well as being “simply […] amazing” were all perfectly valid reasons that I struggled to argue against.

Celebrity random team time, and the only unanimous decision of both sets of predictions. It would appear that everyone I’m related to is a massive fan of the Jersey Shore for some reason. Admittedly Kris did vote for Team Morrison because Rebecca would “kill him” if he went with the other team, but Alice and Rebecca both seem to be fans. Alice in particular seemed quite taken with Morrison, and the fact that “he has Snooki as one of his bitches which just proves he is awesome”

Obviously I can’t be seen to support this kind of language, but after the Trish/Snooki/LayCool segment on Raw this week, it would appear that “bitch” is relatively acceptable.

Strangely, I expected the girls in my family to vote for Cody because he’s easy on the eye. Turns out nobody mentioned his looks, they instead were frightened of Mysterio. That’s right, the children’s favourite Mysterio, the merchandising machine, the shortest wrestler on the roster – my family were scared of him because he wears a mask.

Having said that, Mysterio did win this one. Kris rightly pointed out his speed, whereas Alice said that “he looks more serious” – presumably a reference to his Joker get-up from Wrestlemania 25…

See? I can do outdated jokes as well

Unfortunately for my predictions, Orton won this one with only Alice focusing on Punk’s “muscly legs” and the advantage that they might give him. As for Orton, the reasons once again ranged from the suprisingly knowledgable (“his old man was a brilliant wrestler”) to the purely aesthetic (“he has a nice tan” and “he looks evil”.)

On a personal note, while I’ve tried not to give my own predictions this year, I really *really* hope Punk wins this one. My fondness for his muscly legs notwithstanding, Punk is miles ahead of Orton in popularity here in the Bunker and the idea of Orton crowing about his victory in… incredibly… slow… phrasing… with… unnecessarily… long… pauses… between… each… word… yawn

Last but not least, Undertaker vs HHH – a match that I wasn’t looking forward to until this week’s Raw and Undertaker’s John Marston impression. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: SWOOOON. For John Marston. Not ‘Taker. Eww. Forget I mentioned it.]

"ma'am"

So, this battle of the giants pitting the Undertaker’s unrivalled Wrestlemania streak of victories against HHH’s legacy as one the most successful wrestler’s in WWE history – how would the results come in for this one?

“Undertaker: my reason is it’s the Undertaker and HHH has a big nose… and that big nose muppet retired Mankind. Bastard, I hate you HHH”

“Undertaker because he has no eyes!”

“HHH as the other one won’t be able to see what he’s doing.”

Now obviously Undertaker has got the regulation number of eyes (that’s two in case you’re from some of the more remote areas of the United States and unsure) but I thought that it was interesting that his supposed lack of ocular equipment could be seen as both a detriment and an advantage. Still, I never claimed to be from a family blessed with an abundance of logic or common sense – hence the reason I like wrestling enough to write about it on here every week I suppose. Also, HHH is even less forgiven than Edge was earlier – so it’s probably best not to cross us…

Assuming you can count, you might have noticed that there are a couple of matches missing. That’s because, despite my usual love of procrastination I decided to ask my family to predict last week – something which would have worked well had the WWE not decided to add a couple of matches afterwards. So… how to predict these last two matches? I could use my knowledge of the storylines so far and wrestling logic to make an educated guess as to who the winners might be, orrrrrr….

In case you don’t know, www.googlefight.com is a site which allows you to compare the search results for two terms and come up with a “winner.” So let’s see what Google has to say…

There we go, that was pretty decisive wasn’t it? Now, roll on bloody midnight.

nxt series 4: late to the party

Last week I asked you to pray for me in case I had to watch NXT for a Striker-fix. On Tuesday morning when I was informed that Jerry Lawler was still firmly lodged in his commentary chair, I prepared myself for the yellow brand. You see, Andrew and I couldn’t quite face another series of NXT. We watched adoringly through series one. Then absorbed every episode of series two without missing a beat. We were totally on board with this Wild and Young lifestyle they were peddling, even if the majority of it was a combination of Total Wipeout and Wheel of Fortune with a bit of bonus wrestling chucked in.

Then series three came. How wonderful – a whole series of NXT dedicated to the Divas. It seemed so….progressive. We had always wanted there to be a Divas-only show of some sorts. It was a marvellous idea, until it all went wrong. They didn’t just fill it with the usual NXT silliness, they made it so embarrassing we didn’t even watch the final few episodes. And it wasn’t just that they didn’t care. They cared so little they made their indifference part of the storyline. Michael Cole reached a new level of aggravating hobgoblin and the show was cancelled on US TV. It was still available on some channels, but with the US audience forced to watch online (if at all) and the catch-up videos region-locked, series three of NXT just fell off the radar for us.

When series four started and I realised Mason Ryan wasn’t going to be a rookie, we decided to give it a miss. That changed this week. With my Matt Striker quota knocked down to one Superstars match, I decided to watch an episode of NXT. Andrew very kindly decided to take the televisual bullet too and watch with me. How very ‘you jump, I jump’. Anyway, a strange thing happened…..we enjoyed it! Maybe it was the absence of Michael Cole, maybe it was the fact that everything else went misty when Mr. Striker appeared on my screen (still wearing his special NXT shoes) but we didn’t have to watch through our fingers as expected.

It’s strange joining a show in the middle of a series. I’ve seen a few episodes of FCW over the past year in an attempt to catch some of Mason Ryan’s developmental matches. So the faces were vaguely familiar. I can’t say I was paying attention to much of the detail while impatiently skipping through FCW though.  We’re very late to the party on this series. In fact, we’re so late to the party, all that’s left are some dodgy prawn quiches and some flat Coca-Cola. Still, I thought it might be fun to run through this episode and record some first impressions of the remaining contestants…..

It’s nice to see that nothing’s changed on NXT. They’re still playing silly, rigged party games and pretending they’re important. On many levels, it’s quite comforting. This week it was everyone’s favourite fake punch-up – Rock ‘em-Sock ‘em Rookie Challenge. Classic!

Okay, so Johnny Curtis is invited to climb onto a podium first. We’ll call him The Looker. He’s the one where you scan the opening credits for the one boy you might favour because he was blessed with more handsome genes than the others. This involves cocking an eyebrow, doing a sideways smile and greeting him with an almost purred hellooooooooo. Also, he has R-Truth as a mentor, so he needs some kind of advantage.

The Looker has to face Derrick Bateman in the rocky socky fighty thing. We’ll call Bateman ‘Thinks-He’s-Funny’.

Between ourselves, he is actually quite funny. In preparation for this episode of NXT we watched some Bateman YouTubes and laughed. He’s in! Thinks-He’s-Funny endeared himself to the crowd by wearing a piece of cheese on his head and it seemed to work wonderfully. I’ll give it a try myself:

Double cheese

They bash each other a bit and Thinks-He’s-Funny wins. Then Byron Saxton steps up.

Byron was always enjoyable on commentary but as a wrestler he seems a little wet. He also appears to be the whitest black guy I’ve ever seen. Even more so than the fella on Antiques Roadshow.

We’ll call Byron ‘Antiques’.  His opponent is Brodus Clay. We’ll call him Bowser.

NUFF SAID!

Bowser refuses to play, mainly because he thinks the spikes on his tail will pierce the inflatable cushion or something. Antiques wins by default and goes on to beat Thinks-He’s-Funny. He looks happier than that time someone brought 300 year-old walnut sideboard to the Roadshow and it was worth £20,000. They watch the replay and Matt Striker announces they’ll have rematch. Antiques wins again.

Apparently the big NXT meme this series is to call Dolph Ziggler ‘turd’. The story goes that he changed his name to Dolph from Turd Ferguson. Riiiiiiight.  It’s amazing how little wrestling shows make sense when you haven’t been watching from the start of the series. How anyone ever gets into this nonsense is a mystery to me. At least chanting ‘turd’ at someone is slightly offensive. Better than Mr. Ziggles, right?

So Antiques and Thinks-He’s-Funny have a match. I won’t pretend I remember much about it. Daniel Bryan was in one corner dressed in a jumper and slacks, and Dolph Ziggler was being awesome in the other corner while wearing a Zack Ryder t-shirt. That’s all I need for a good time. Antiques tapped out, Dolph was angry. Bryan was ecstatic.

Then they played a game of The Price is Right. Bowser looked like he just wanted to get it over with, Antiques seemed to think it was beneath him to appraise anything that wasn’t over a hundred years old, Thinks-He’s-Funny went for the laffs and The Looker took it extremely seriously. Striker, Mathews, Grisham and Chimel were in their element. Matt Striker seemed particularly enamoured with his role as gameshow host. This made me happy. I have something of a penchant for trashy gameshows. Andrew pointed out at this point that should Striker ever get the gig hosting Million Pound Drop, I might explode. I would like to suggest that someone gets Davina McCall pregnant so we can make this happen while she’s on maternity leave.

Explosion imminent. (The answer is JLS, by the way.)

The Looker and R-Truth had an angry man-hug:

Then Looker had a match against Bowser. It was difficult to follow what was going on. Dolph was being still being awesome elbow-dropping cheese on the stage while Chris Masters encouraged the crowd to shout ‘turd’ again. Daniel Bryan was still happy.

Bowser wins the match. They both then find themselves tied for immunity. Not sure what happened after that. Matt Striker was being all cute, and officious, and over-sized cuffs, and………

Sorry. I was drifting. Antiques was eliminated. I’m told.

Maybe it is the lack of Michael Cole and maybe it is because Booker T is still sitting in Striker’s chair on Smackdown, but we think we might watch again next week. My enthusiasm for recapping it, however, ends here. I hadn’t realised how tricky writing about NXT is. I should give Andrew a retrospective pay rise for making such a beautiful job of the first three series. Well I would, if I actually paid him!


-

As per the new Wrestlegasm tradition, whichever of us loses the PPV prediction competitions has to write up the results. So guess who lost again? The Boss! I’m very grumpy and have spent the week skulking around the Wrestle Bunker with a permanent frown on my face while the Sidekick does his smuggiest  smug-face every time I walk past his desk. It also took me a good three days to get over the live PPV-watching jetlag, which didn’t help with the tetchiness. For the rest of this post, assume I have reverted to being the sullen teenager I was in the 90s, sucking on my baggy sleeves and rolling my eyes when it’s suggested that listening to a personal CD player in a restaurant is rude. This may or may not have actually happened. Aren’t teenagers absolute twats?

Dolph and Edge were up first and this was by far the best individual match of the night. To be honest, it was probably always going to be, but not only was the in-ring action brilliant, the interplay between Vickie on the sidelines and the boys on the other side of the ropes was magic. When Vickie tried to interfere with the match Kelly-Kelly, of all people, ran out to make sure that didn’t happen. It seemed random at the time, but it lead to a fantastic main event on Smackdown. I should learn to trust wrestling more. (N.B. Never trust wrestling. It will break your heart.)

Long story short, everyone was having a punch-induced nap apart from Edge & Dolph. With nobody to tell him off, Edge decided to initiate the Spear. Thrilling, of course. But more thrilling was the fact that we could now spear onion rings with crunchy sticks, as discussed in the predictions post.

Everyone woke from their slumber and Edge took the match with the Killswitch. All was buoyant in the Bunker.

Ah the Royal Rumble. The only show that can be opened with two title matches. Which leads me neatly towards Randy Orton vs Mizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzz-zzz-zzzz-zzz. Everything we said about this match turned out to be true. Miz was great, as always, but Orton was dull and managed to knocked the air out of every Miz move. We used this time to chat about nonsense, spear more onion rings and debate whether we should turn the fire on or not.

Not gonna lie, towards the end there I genuinely thought Orton was going to take it. But I was even more thrilled than usual to see the New Nexus bods trot out to distract Randy. He didn’t know where to look. What he should have done is kept an eye out for CM Punk, who was waiting to knee him in the chops with a GTS. From there is was a simple case of dragging Miz’s broken carcass on top of Randy and letting the ref do his job. The happiness continued in the Bunker.

To unleash a Kong or not to unleash a Kong? That is the question. The Divas handicap match was about to get going when the lights flickered and the anonymous GM did his/her bleeping email sound thing. YESSSSSSS! This is it! This isn’t going to be a handicap match. It’s a Fatal 4-Way. YESSSSSSSS! She’s here! I’ve wanted to see this for so long. Heeeeeere’s Ko….EVE? The entire world groaned all at once. It was like being told you were having an amazing dessert after your dinner and it turns out to be a rice-cake. It’s a shame, because I really like Eve , but if ever someone was used as a pawn for Vince McMahon to flip his middle finger to the internet, Eve was she.

With Eve in the mix, Bunker disappointment turned to quickly deciding how we were going to work the predictions. We settled on me sticking with LayCool and Andrew taking Natalya and Eve. The match itself was great and those little hints that cracks may form within LayCool at any time are always a tantalising reminder of what will be a brilliant story when Layla and Michelle finally go their separate ways.

So, who won this pre-Rumble tussle? Eve. Yes, EVE! After the collective global groan came the collective global ‘WTF-Just-Happened-Face’. I’m not sure Eve was ready for the heat she was thrown from the crowd, just for not being Kong. Still, this turned out to be a very important result in our predictions competition. Just a second, I need to put my teenage angst face back on.

Rumble tiiiiiiiime! Woo! Time to head to the kitchen and break out the WWE themed ice cream bars I made for the Sidekick and myself.

Ah-ha. When I tweeted about them on Sunday you thought I was joking, didn’t you? Wrong. They were delicious. If you’ve ever wondered what Mason Ryan and Beth Phoenix taste like (and we definitely have) they taste like……printer ink.

Where to start with the Rumble? CM Punk came in at no.1 and Andrew was already expecting to lose. Then when Daniel Bryan came in at no. 2, we both figured we were screwed. And to make me even more miserable, when the New Nexus and The Corre stormed the start of the match, I was waiting for them all to be disqualified, culling the quota of entrants and depriving me of Mason Ryan screen-time. Luckily, they were all sent backstage and the match began. PHEW!

Daniel Bryan was eliminated after about 20 minutes by Punk while I was out of the room feeding the cat. At least I didn’t have to watch Andrew begin his gloating fiesta. Much the same as last year, where Punk held a sermon in the middle of the ring and attempted to save every entrants from themselves, he managed to sweep the decks with his Nexus ship-mates at his side. Waiting for Mason to appear was absolute agony. And then….

Of course, their work was all for nothing. Super-Cena showed up and got rid of every single one. And not just the sidekicks, but Punk too. Then there was a whole thing where Hornswoggle came out and they practically tag-teamed everyone out of the ring. This didn’t do much to keep us awake at 3:00am. Wait, I’m forgetting something…….

I’d tell you how exciting this was, but knowing what happened on Smackdown this week, I’m on a Booker T embargo. I’ll discuss this more in our new feature, to be posted later tonight.

We were at the business end of the Rumble. It all becomes a little hazy from this point. There were so many possible winners and still no Trips or Kong. My fixation with the HHH comeback clouded my thoughts and, you know, it was creeping towards 4:00am. There’s only so much you can take in at this ungodly hour. It was safe to say that, once Sheamus was eliminated, Triple H was not coming back. It then became about Wade Barrett and Del Rio for us. Either one would have had us leaping in the air in our new pyjamas.

So this is it. It’s Del Rio. YAY! Amazing! He so des…..oh no. This can’t be. Santino? SANTINO is going to win the Rumble? FUUUUUUCK!

I suggest you take a moment to scan to faces of people in the crowd. This is wrestling.

Ah. It was just a joke. Oh WWE, you silly little sausage. You had us going there.

Jumping in the air in our new pyjamas commenced right about nnnnnnnow:

This is not an accurate depiction of myself and Andrew. We look much older.

After the ticker-tape had fallen we went to our respective wings of the Bunker and stared at the ceiling for a few hours. Europeans: how on earth does anyone sleep after a live PPV? If you figure it out, let me know. In 12 years I’m yet to solve the mystery. Luckily, I didn’t have to work in the morning. Being a hard taskmaster though, I put the Sidekick to work and saw to it that he didn’t fall asleep by poking his arm with a newly sharpened pencil every time he did the nod at his desk. MWAHAHAHA!

As a whole we thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Rumble. Sure, it has its dull moments, but it was miles away from being a bad PPV. Was 40 too many for one match? Maybe. But then, they needed the New Nexus to be in there and they wanted The Corre involved. That gives you most of the extras. Booker and Nash were nice surprises (assuming you hadn’t had them spoilt for you). The biggest surprise was the lack of HHH and Kong. Maybe the internet (including ourselves) should learn to shut up a little more. The more we want something, the less McMahon is likely to give it to us. We never learn.

The one thing I forgot to mention was John Morrison’s velcro-feet move. He jumped from the ring to the audience barrier, shuffled about, jumped over to the steps and made it back into the ring without his feet touching the ground. It was fab. Such a shame he can’t string a decent promo together. He’s some vocal training away from being a mega-star.

Okay, that’s another Rumble and another results post in me the bag. If you’ll excuse me I need to pull my fringe down in front of my face, turn my mouth downwards and do some more eye-rolling. God, teenage life was hard work.

Head Lock Go! Go! Professional Wrestling: Royal Rumble Predictions

It’s here already! Our favourite WWE PPV of the year is upon us and it’s time for us to blindly fumble our way towards a vague prediction of who might win. We’re both really looking forward to the show this year, especially as the Rumble itself is generally one of our favourite matches. Given that there’s only 4 matches listed for this year we were expecting more to be announced on Smackdown, selfishly hampering our practically paranormal predicting as usual. In retrospect though, last year only had 6 matches (one of which only lasted 20 seconds!) and the Rumble match was (presumably) shorter so 4 matches is probably all we’re getting. Still, with only 4 matches to predict we should be able to get a 100% hit rate right? Maybe…

Sidekick Andrew: First up, the Divas Title handicap match: Natalya vs LayCool. Now there’s a lot of rumours that Awesome Kong might debut during this match. Or rather Amazing/Astounding/Astonishing/Alarming Kong as TNA have kept the rights to Awesome, and the whole Miz thing might get confusing…

Anyway, assuming Discombobulating Kong does debut I would assume she’ll be a heel supporting LayCool so they can lead to a feud against Beth or Natalya (God I wish!) But I don’t think this means LayCool will win, I’m going with Natalya to get the win and retain the belt, although there’s a good chance she’ll get beaten down after the match. I can’t see them taking the belt off her just yet, but then that could be more wishful thinking on my part that the WWE actual care about having a great wrestler holding the title for a while. Much as I like Layla, she’s no Natalya.

Boss Lady Ray: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think Kong will debut during the Divas match. I think it’ll be during the Rumble. My only hope is that there’s at least one other Divas there for her to begin a feud with. I’d hate for them to make it OK for Kong to fight boys just because she’s bigger than the other girls. But anyway, this is all speculation. The match itself is what we’re predicting here.

Boring as it would be to go back to where we were, at least without some interference, I think LayCool will get the title back. I have this feeling that WWE are bored of Natalya being champ and they’ll take the title back to Smackdown where they can do more with Beth. Of course, this entire prediction could be based on the fact that, ultimately, I just want Beth to have the belt again. This girl-crush thing is getting hardcore. Maybe it was because Beth publicly thanked us for making her Wrestlegasm Female Wrestler of the Year on Twitter. See? Didn’t we say she was lovely?

Sidekick Andrew: Next up, Miz vs Orton. Awesome vs yawnsome. Genius vs tedious. The Money in the Banker against the arrogant wan… well you get the point. Like many people I was a fan of Orton once upon a time, but now? I really struggle to muster any interest in him, either in or out of the ring. His promos are dreary and his in ring action is nowhere near as interesting as it used to be.

So, despite Randall’s shameless baby-kissing and giant puppy action I’m going to go with my fervent hope that Miz wins and keeps the title until Wrestlemania at least. There’s no mileage in another Orton title run, and if the rumours are true that he’s working injured it would make even less sense. Miz, on the other hand, is the WWE’s new media darling: taking on the promotional duties that would normally fall to Cena and doing a great job of them. Miz deserves a Wrestlemania title defence after the work he’s put in, even if it’s only to lose.

Boss Lady Ray: I’m right in saying that Orton is still injured, right? And I’m right in saying that he’s become pretty boring to watch, yeah? And I’m correct in saying that Miz lights the place up the minute his toothy face arrives on screen, yah? Yah? I agree with Andrew, Miz really deserves to take the title to Wrestlemania, so I think he’ll win this one. I just can’t see him losing to Orton at this stage. He has too much to offer the biggest show of the year. Besides, if he loses that totally screws my Rumble pick, so don’t lose or I’ll stop wearing your t-shirt, Miz. (I won’t.)

Even if Randy isn’t that seriously injured, I think he should go away for a while. I feel a little bit like he’s blending into the background and going through the motions. Randy, take some time off, have a break, put your feet up, watch Cash in the Attic, eat brunch, drink some full-fat lattes and come back refreshed and ready to punt someone in the head. It’s like poetry, isn’t it?

Sidekick Andrew: Spear! Spear! Spear! Actually, we’re more likely to hear “Edgecution! Edgecution! Edgecution!” after Vickie banned the Spear on Friday’s Smackdown. Now, this would usually be deemed slightly unfair but let’s be honest, she has done this before when she banned the Undertaker’s Hell’s Gate move while he was feuding with… erm… Edge! As Derren Brown sung: What Goes Around… Comes Around

Now, it’s no secret we’re huge Dolph fans (or Dolphans as he insists on calling them on twitter) and I definitely want him to take the title at some point this year, but I can’t see it happening before Wrestlemania. I think Edge will win this time, but I’d be very surprised if there was no shenanigans. I suspect Edge will use the Spear behind the ref’s back, maybe while Vickie is distracting him – giving them an excuse to have a rematch at Elimination Chamber.

Having said that, I would be over the moon if I was wrong and Dolph won the title. Sometimes being wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Something which Boss Lady Ray and her slightly askew prediction are very glad of. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: Set some time aside next week, young man. You’re writing the results show this month.]

Boss Lady Ray: Did Andrew just reference Justin Timberlake? Wow. This is what happens when you spend your time hauled up in a WWII Bunker with me. Anyway, I’m very annoyed with Vickie Guerrero. By banning the Spear she has effectively ruined our Bunker Rumble party. Our plan was to spear an onion ring with a salt & vinegar crunchy stick and scoff it every time Edge hit the Spear or someone hit a Spear-like move. Now, it’s spoilt and we’ll have to eat them separately.

On a more serious note, there’s way too much mileage in this feud between Dolph and Edge. Ex-husband is feuding with ex-wife’s younger, more ripped boyfriend? Come on, there’s months of material in there. It’s soap opera gold! I know it’s all been done before, but I’ve a feeling this squabble will carry through to Wrestlemania where Vickie will be seduced by Edge again and turn on Dolph.  She falls for him every. single. time. Dolph will retain this time, but his days are numbered.

Sidekick Andrew: Yay! The Rumble! And this year it’s a biggie – 40 men (or rather, 40 wrestlers *wink wink*) Last year’s was great, with Punk preaching, Beth battling and Edge entering from nowhere. I’m hoping for good things this year too. There’s a lot of feuds that will collide in the ring: Corre vs Nexus, Punk vs Cena, Barrett vs Cena, Big Show vs Nexus, Sheamus vs HHH (probably) all of which should lead to an interesting match.

There’s a few people I think could win this year. Other than the usual big names that always have a chance, there are a few newer guys that seem to have a good chance. If I was allowed to pick a few then Del Rio, Barrett or Bryan might get a look in…

I can’t believe I spent so long on a crappy photoshop of a magazine none of you will be old enough to remember. On a Saturday night no less… the things we do here in the Bunker for you lot. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: I remember it. But then, I’m old too. Ah, the good old days. When magazines were 20p] Anyway, happy as I would be to see any of those guys win, I going to go with Punk to win the Rumble. They need someone who can ostensibly main event Wrestlemania and Punk vs Miz could be a great match. Punk also has Nexus behind him, and Bunker favourite Mason Ryan on his side so he’s my pick. The predictable finish would involve Cena, Barret and Punk as the final three, with Barrett and Punk teaming to take out Cena before Punk eliminates Wade.

Of course, there’s always a chance I’m wrong: the Big Show might win. After all he’s the biggest man in the Rumble, and surely someone that big must have an advantage?

fiiiiiine...

Boss Lady Ray: We spent a long time pondering the winner of the Rumble. Like a whole 20 minutes. I know, right? Ages. It’s the most fun match to predict because there are so many variables. My original prediction during this conversation was for Mason Ryan to be around towards the end. Batista comes out as number 30. They eyeball each other, Barri Mason eliminates Dave and that begins a feud leading up to Wrestlemania. Young Buck vs Ageing Legend. Everyone loves that. They eventually become mates and start a tag team, which leads to Batista’s proper farewell. Whaddaya think? OK, before you send me out the room with my tail between my legs, consider the fact that Dave never really had a proper send off. He announced he was retiring, walked out and was never seen again. He’ll be back to beat up Barri at the Rumble. (Sorry, the alliteration was just too good to ignore there.)

GRATUITOUS MASON RYAN IMAGE

My real prediction is Daniel Bryan. I haven’t seen many people predicting him as a winner, which makes me think I’ve either come up with a genius prediction or I’m on totally the wrong track. Here’s my reasoning….. If Edge and Dolph are going to feud through Wrestlemania, they don’t need the Rumble winner challenging for the Heavyweight title and interfering with their fight on Smackdown. With this in mind the Rumble winner needs to come from Raw. If Miz is going to keep the title and Randy’s going to slip away to fix his injured whatever, Miz needs someone new to scrap with at ‘Mania. Daniel Bryan and Miz have beef going back to season one of NXT. Bryan came back after his “firing” and took Miz’s US title, so it makes sense that he would now want to take his WWE Championship. See? It works. Of course, my Rumble prediction relies on my other predictions being correct too. If Randy Orton get the belt back this whole thing is shot to bits.

Have fun watching the Rumble, kids. This is the first PPV we’ve watched live in the Wrestle Bunker for some time, so we’re very excited. I’m off to make a Mason Ryan ice-cream bar now. I’m not even joking.

Sidekick Andrew: Right, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I ask you to put your predictions in the comments and you either don’t bother or you do and your predictions are much better than ours. Either way, thanks for that. Seriously though, I’d genuinely like to know at least who people think will win the Rumble, so if you’ve a spare few seconds please let us know. You know you want to…

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)