Report from the Fort: Best Commentary

After a week of deliberation we have finally decided on who should win our illustrious awards covering the last 12 months. They’re based on our own opinion and on the wrestling we were able to watch during 2011. There is no science or points system. It’s just stuff we liked more than other stuff.

Last year we invited you to join us at the Best in Show Awards. It was a jolly affair taking the form of a country show; complete with baking competitions, large vegetables and home brewed beer. This year we’re just a little too weary for all that. We’re still crawling out of our December hibernation nest. So this year we’ve built a pillow fort in the Bunker and we’re not moving until we’ve handed over every award. Basically, if you won something and actually want the trophy, you’ll have to pop by and pick it up. Just make sure you take your shoes off before you enter the fort.

We’ll be releasing these posts gradually throughout January. Starting with…

If you think about it, wrestling commentary is a curious thing. Unlike sports commentators, wrestling announcers already know the outcome of the matches they illustrate with words. Done badly, it can seem as pointless as the voiceovers on Total Wipeout. But done well, commentary can be as integral to the brilliance of a match as the action in the ring.

We’re all in on the game. We all know the theatre that is professional wrestling means that everything that takes place before us has been predetermined. What we want from the announce table are words and delivery that make the story infinitely more exciting. For that reason, we can only give this award to Bryce Remsburg.

He may consider himself a referee first, but Bryce’s CHIKARA commentary is so exciting, I defy anyone not to feel completely involved in the matches he announces. He already knows how the match will play out, and yet you wouldn’t know it. What comes across more than anything is that he’s a fan loving what he’s watching. That kind of enthusiasm is infectious and we think a lot of the mainstream announcers could learn something about engaging an audience from Bryce. We bloody love you, Mr. Remsburg.

Honourable Mention: goes to Matt Striker. You might be forgiven for wondering if he’s still employed. Especially if you live in a country where WWE Superstars no longer broadcasts on television. But he’s still there, plugging away, begging to be heard, winning our hearts.

We don’t know why Matt was so swiftly relegated to the locker room. It doesn’t seem that long ago he was at the Wrestlemania announce table rocking his tux. Matt was originally sidelined to make way for Booker T’s return after last year’s Rumble. Somehow, he never made it back to a big show. We’re pulling for you in 2012, buddy.

A Song for Whoever: Matt Striker & HHH/Cena Edition

Boss Lady Ray: I often wander around our humble Wrestle Bunker professing about how lucky I am to have (fake) Matt Striker as my mentor. “Aren’t I lucky?” I would say. “Matt Striker and I are just sooooo alike. I see him in my dreams and somehow they come true. It’s like we’re, you know, connected or something.” Then I hold two fingers to my eyes to show Andrew how Matt and I are ‘connected’. At this juncture he usually smiles and nods politely before tutting and rolling his eyes the second my back is turned. He thinks I can’t see him doing this. He has no idea this is why I make him wash all the dishes.

But we really are connected. Oh yes. I’m not just some loony fangirl pretending. Oh no. If you follow our Tumblr, and quite frankly why wouldn’t you be, you might have spotted the post where I explained my recent run of Matt Striker dreams. They were largely interesting to me and me alone, but during the last one he was in a lot of pain. Doubled over in pain, even. This made no sense. Why would Matt Striker be doubled over in pain in my dream? He’s a host and a ‘backstage broadcast colleague’ these days. All was revealed on last week’s NXT.

Titus O’Neil was chatting to Striker about something or other and doing his strange sea lion bark. Derrick Bateman and Darren Young turned up. There was all kinds of “I’m better than you.” “No, I’m better than you.” “Shutup, I’m better…..” You get the idea. By the way, how many weeks has this series been running? Is the end even in sight? Anyway, the bad guys seemed to be ganging up on Titus, so Striker stepped in to reset the balance. Titus O’Neil suggested they have a tag match and Striker encouraged the crowd to get behind this idea with their cheers, always the gameshow host. Bateman and Young were furious with this idea. They agreed, but only if they could choose their opponent’s partner. They chose…….MATT STRIKER! AAAAH!

Striker was all….

And they were all…

And Striker was all….

And I was all….

So other stuff happened. No idea what. I was just waiting for the main event. The bad dudes came out, AJ, Hornswoggle and Titus came out, (get on with it, NXT) “Aaaaaand his partner from Bayvieeeew, New York, weighing in at 230 pouuunds, MATT STRI-KERRRRR!” EEEEEEEEEP!

Look at him there. Long shorts, beaten up boots and with a look of complete fear on his face. Bless. He needed a hug. They could have left this whole thing to Titus. Striker really hasn’t wrestled a match in four years. He looks like he’s in great shape but he’s nowhere near as muscular as he used to be. In William Regal’s words, he’s definitely a little “ring rusty”. But Striker did surprisingly well. No really, he jumped back in and executed the moves with such ease I’d want him back in the ring every week if I didn’t miss his commentary so much and worry about him getting hurt. I realise I’m not exactly impartial. He could flap his hands like a birdie and run around in circles and I’d still think he had a good go. But I was suitably impressed.

Towards the end of the match he started huffing and puffing. He couldn’t quite keep up with the youngsters and at one point he was DOUBLED OVER IN PAIN! Ah-ha! Didn’t I tell you? Didn’t I say that my dream would come true? In your face, doubters. I foresaw this event, I just hope that when he went out to the back afterwards, there wasn’t too much vomiting, as per the dream. Oh, and of course he won:

Striker seemed to be holding his shoulder down and grimacing pretty convincingly at the end. He may have been selling it really well, but it looked genuine to me. Nevertheless, he looked happy(ish), if a little tousled, by the time they sent him back out to call his Superstars matches.

Tousled is good

In honour of my mentor’s short-lived return to the ring, I am dedicating this tune to him because “we tease him a lot, ‘cause we got him on the spot, but welcome back, welcome back, welcome back, wel-come baaaack.”

Sidekick Andrew: This might be the most controversial thing I’ve ever written on this site. More than the time I wrote an article incessantly insulting Matt Hardy until people complained. More than the time that I had a go at Tommy Dreamer’s ingratitude resulting in a number of Direct Messages from him on Twitter. Even more than that time I wrote an NXT recap from the perspective of an imaginary asylum inmate and “THE MAN” decided it wasn’t acceptable. Well, I say “THE MAN”, it was of course the ever fragrant and wise “BOSS LADY RAY”

Anyway, this CM Punk storyline. Great isn’t it? Nobody could deny that Punk has single-handedly made Raw watchable again. Even I, long and staunch opposition to the dreary dreadful dirge that is Raw, now watch every week to see where this show is going. Punk’s mixture of powerful political polemic and quasi-shoot revelations are thrilling internet “smarks” and regular fans alike. Who would have thought that the little blonde guy with a couple of tattoos hurling invective and insults at rednecks down an invisible microphone would become the sole saviour of a multi-million dollar industry giant?

Except of course, Punk isn’t “single-handedly” the “sole saviour” at all. Punk is amazing, I’m never going to deny that. He was a great promo in his indie days (the afore-mentioned invisible microphone in IWA: Mid-South, the WWE contract signing on the ROH belt) and he’s a great promo in WWE. Look at the Jeff Hardy storyline or the SES evangelical sermons he was throwing out week after week for examples. But any storyline involving rebellion needs something or someone to rebel against. Punk has been great in this storyline, but he’s not the only one.

Yep, sorry internet but HHH is right, I do mean them. I know, I know… HHH and John Cena are evil incarnate… everything that is wrong with the WWE and the professional wrestling industry as a whole… one an opportunistic 13 time world champion through backstage politics and nepotism, the other an industry yes-man, constantly being put over despite only knowing five wrestling moves. Everyone hates HHH & Cena…

BOSS LADY RAY: This wasn't me. I swear.

Well OK, maybe this random lady from Facebook likes them a bit but everyone else hates them right? The trouble with that is that we as internet wrestling fans aren’t supposed to like Cena, and we’re not supposed to like HHH. Cena is the company yes-man, this is true. But he’s also the role model for thousands of kids across the world thanks to his Never Give Up attitude, whether we like it or not. The very fact that he is the company’s chosen one (sorry Drew, you should have known Vince would never respect a man who got beaten up by a girl) made him the perfect foil for Punk’s anti-establishment rhetoric. Cena played his role to perfection, being the good guy caught in an awkward position. He (as in his character) never asked to be the company’s go-to champion, the man to right all wrongs; but goddammit he loves this business and goddammit he loves that bloody ugly belt.

Punk needed someone like Cena to work against, in the same way that Punk’s idol Stone Cold Steve Austin needed The Rock or Bret Hart to work against. Punk and Austin have so much in common that the obvious glaring difference doesn’t seem to be important. Both were amazing speakers… both excelled in anti-establishment roles… both got their big breaks thanks to Paul Heyman and ECW… both are not afraid to mix truth and storyline in a promo… There’s a reason that this excellent video from the WWE All Stars video game works so well.

And once Punk had managed to get rid of Cena, who did he move on to? After a brief dalliance with McMahon (Austin’s old nemesis of course) he moved onto the his replacement. From the Rock’s modern day replacement to Vince’s, Punk is now going up against HHH. And I know that “Punk came back too soon” and “HHH is just going to bury Punk” but frankly I don’t believe that. Punk coming back was a surprise, and we’ve said before on this site how much we love it when wrestling surprises us. As for HHH burying Punk, the fact that Punk got to say the things he did last Monday leaves with more hope than fear that this storyline will continue for a while yet.

So, this weeks Song for Whoever is dedicated to two men. Two men I never, ever, thought I would dedicate a song to. Two men that I think should get some credit for helping to sell the most exciting storyline since the Nexus invasion over a year ago. Every great rebel needs an establishment to rail against, a windmill to charge, and in this case Cena and HHH are doing a great job of being that establishment… Cena, HHH & Punk: an unlikely triumvirate but one that goes together like… well… like ham, cheese & pickle. Like pie, chips & gravy. Like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong…

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.

-

Here we are again. Another pay-per-view, another results show. *sigh*  It’s now become a running joke in the Wrestle-Bunker that I will be writing the Results Show every month. So with this in mind, I’ve requested that this month’s results graphics be MasterChef themed. There is no reason for this other than to cheer me up because it’s my favourite show on TV. The Sidekick has not disappointed, which I’m grateful for. Not only am I still sad about predicting Elimination Chamber so badly, but I also botched baking some macaroons this afternoon. If Gregg Wallace and John Torode had been watching they’d have pulled these face:

Woe is me. But enough of my whining. Let’s cook….up a new blog post! See what I did there?

The first match was as expected with both Kofi and Del Rio being excellent. But as the match played itself out I soon realised my prospects weren’t looking good. During the quiet moments of this match, we spent our time either giggling at the fact that Kofi’s knickers looked like this:

……or debating how acceptable it would be to completely hate how Booker T growls into the microphone. We decided we just didn’t enjoy his commentary and kindly asked for him to disappear from our television screen. He didn’t. He sat there through the whole show talking nonsense. I mean, fine, they all talk nonsense. But we at least want nonsense we understand.

Del Rio won the match and while I boo-hoo’d, Andrew had one of those BOOYAH-IN-YOUR-FACE moments. It was not becoming and my soufflé had well and truly sunk.

Time for the Smackdown Elimination Chamber and this match has already been written down in our little notebook for next year’s Wrestlegasm Best Match of the Year Awards. It was truly outstanding and I haven’t gasped and held my breath at so many nearfalls since the first time I watched a CHIKARA sampler.

Ever the logical thinker, Andrew had very sensibly picked Edge to win this match. I, on the other hand, had come up with a convoluted story involving CM Punk , Nexus and The Corre that would allow Wade Barrett to win and take the title to Wrestlmania. Even as the match began I kind of knew this was a mistake, but I still stood by my man and repeated my favourite Wade Barrett chant “WADE! WADE! WADE! Oh yes indade!” I made it up myself. It made The Sidekick smile while he mourned the empty pod that had been set aside for Dolph Ziggler. And who replaced the Zig in that final empty space? HHH? Kong? Evan Bourne?

UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGG! Just like that moment in Masterchef where the contestant promises gourmet and delivers a pile of gruel.

As I said, this match was spectacular and despite the fact that Wade was eliminated and Edge went on to win, to paraphrase my esteemed colleague – we all won during that match because it was so brilliant.

And to make it even better, this happened.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Christian in civilian clothes is a real treat. Also…..Christian’s back! Hoorah! It’s now 2-0 to Andrew I need something to cheer me up.

That'll do it.

Sadly, this moment of extreme pleasure was followed by a pitiful segment intended to promote Tough Enough. Booker T bounded up to the ring to introduce his fellow Tough Enough trainer:

After a brief moment of swooning the rest of the segment died on its arse. We watched tentatively through our facepalms and shouted MAKE IT STOP in tandem. Things didn’t get much better. Not only did we have to suffer the tedium of the tag titles match, but we also lost the prediction. Even the match I turned over entirely to chance by flipping a coin failed me.

There was another diversion in the form of an impossibly sad Vickie Guererro, who begged the world to stand up and demand that Dolph Ziggler got his job back. We rose to our feet, punched the air and gave Vickie a round of applause for her perseverance. This had no effect on Teddy Long, who brought Kelly Kelly back instead. Kelly beat up Vickie, then LayCool beat up Kelly then Trish ran out in ridiculous boots and beat up LayCool.

On to Lawler and the Miz. I had to get this one right. Right? Wrongggggg. As wrong as poaching an egg in cling-film. Poor old Jerry Lawler. He finds himself in a match against the Miz, then his Mum dies and he has to take a week off, then he loses said match against the Miz.

Sad times indeed. But who’s sadder? Jerry Lawler or moi? I think it’s me. I have not predicted a single match correctly. If this were a MasterChef audition, I’d have been sent home already with my chef’s hat drooping.

Andrew had already won the competition but I still had one more opportunity to claw back a crumb of dignity. If ever there was a match I was going to get right it was the Raw Elimination Chamber fisticuffs. We spent the majority of this match cooing equally over CM Punk, declaring how much we love him and smiling uncontrollably as he squeezed himself through his broken pod door, then bashing on it like an asylum patient until he was released to the ring for the second time.

And quite frankly, anyone who can suffer this and can continue without even a wince is captain of our hearts forever.

Was this match better than the Smackdown match? Definitely not. Remove Punk and it would have been considerably less entertaining. But it did deliver a result which saved me from turning in my wrestling blogger membership card for good.

Oh thank god!

While we watched this show I felt it was pretty good. Running through it again I’m not sure it was as good as I originally thought. There were some incredible individual moments, but as a whole it was a little flat. Still, it’s a tough gig being sandwiched between the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania, so we’ll let it off with a warning.

I’ll have to up my predicting game for Wrestlemania, especially as I wont be predicting by cupcake this year. I can’t blame baked good when it all goes wrong. Speaking of which, I should go and rescue my macaroons before I’m asked to return my chef’s whites for good.

a song for whoever: matt striker & kelly kelly edition

We figured it had been a while since we started a new regular feature at Wrestlegasm.com, and this one popped into our minds by way of serendipity. Every week we’ll each be scanning through the wrestling happenings and dedicating a song to someone who’s had a particularly eventful one. Imagine we’re giving them apt entrance music just for one week.

BOSS LADY RAY:

I’ve got the blues. Not because I lost the Royal Rumble predictions. That was expected. And not because this week’s depressing episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding was the most tragic yet. I’m sat on a bar stool and blowing into a harmonica on a dark, empty stage because my beloved Matt Striker has been removed from Smackdown commentary. He’s been removed from commentary for BOOKER bloody T, who growled his way through Smackdown with the finesse of a bulldozer this week.


I’m crushed. Thank god I remembered to watch Superstars this morning or I’d have been Striker-less for the whole weekend. When someone sent me a mid-week tweet that I wouldn’t like the latest episode of Smackdown, I figured it would just be some storyline I’d be unhappy about and requested no spoilers. Then the Sidekick started hinting that he was worried about watching SD with me. I was perplexed and asked to know what had happened. He told me. I repeat… crushed.

In a normal week I’d just assume he’s having a holiday or working on another project for a couple of weeks. But you see, this is not a normal week. The night of the Rumble, after I finally stopped staring at the ceiling at 6:00am, I fell asleep and had a dream. I dreamt that Matt Striker was leaving wrestling because nobody took him seriously. We spoke about it and I tried to talk him out of it because, you know, he’s my mentor. Then he invited me to his leaving party, which happened to be a black-tie event. I got all dolled up, arrived at the party and got upset when I saw him. So he danced with me to talk to me about why he had to leave. The rest is a little more….romantic, so I’ll leave it there. But it’s rather spooky that I dreamt he was leaving, then he gets taken off Smackdown. I definitely can’t tell you about the second Striker dream I had a couple of nights ago. It makes excellent TV in my mind though.

The only thing keeping me going at the moment is the assumption that they’re moving Matt to Raw to take Lawler’s place while he has his title run against the Miz. Pray for me, because if that’s not the case I’ll have to start watching NXT again. Now that’s love and devotion. My song for Striker is one that I’m sure he will approve of. It also sums up my mood after watching a Striker-free Smackdown. :(

SIDEKICK ANDREW:

I almost feel bad for this, as Kelly has come on leaps and bounds recently. This weeks Smackdown main event was a really fun match and she really showed just how well she and the other divas can do given half a chance. Unfortunately however, there’s more to Sports Entertainment than just the “Sports” bit, and that’s where Kelly falls down. From her backstage segments with Drew McIntyre to her crying after being sacked on Friday: there is only one song that helps describe this situation

After watching her “outstanding” acting before the match, and witnessing her incessant, and frankly unnerving, screaming during it, myself and the Boss Lady were struck by the though of how horrific a Kelly Kelly sex scene would be. Imagine for a second that the WWE started making more risque movies, and she had to pretend to be in the throes of passion? A Kelly Kelly sex scene would surely put the infamous pool scene in Showgirls to shame.

Anyway, there you are Kelly, the somewhat dubious honour of being my first “Song For Whoever” recipient. Hope you enjoy the song, I saw Terrorvision on their “last ever gigs” in 2007 and they were amazing, but they’re filthy liars and are still going strong. If you take anything away from all this though, I would hope that it is the realisation that if I keep mentioning a “Kelly Kelly sex scene” we’ll get a few more hits for the blog.

On a similar note, I like to call this image

Wrestlegasm Best in Show Awards: Part Two

Welcome back to the Wrestlegasm Best in Show Awards. Now you’ve tasted the best preserves and chutneys the region has to offer and managed to pull yourself away from the display of amusingly shaped vegetables we can get on with my part of the ceremony. I’m assuming that you have all enjoyed Boss Lady Ray’s post at the weekend? You did? Excellent. On we go then…

Tempting as it was to give this award to Curt Hawkins, the sudden realisation that nobody actually watches Superstars and won’t have seen any of his fun matches against Trent Baretta meant otherwise. Instead, this award goes to the man who has inspired underwear choices throughout the land…

No… not those, although obviously that is now de rigeur for any self-respecting DIY enthusiast (and please feel free to add your own euphemism if you must.) Dolph Ziggler, resplendent in what I am reliably informed is “snow-leopard”, has been one of the highlights of this year. Consistently putting on great matches through 2010, Ziggler went from being one of the two starting entrants in the Rumble in January (lasting less than three minutes), to winning the Intercontinental Title in July and holding it for the rest of the year, appearing at every PPV for the rest of the year.

He has been compared to Mr Perfect on here before, and he certainly has the confidence, the look and the ability to be a main eventer in 2011. He’s made a start with his World Title shot against Edge at the Rumble this year, and if that’s not a sign of improvement since last year I don’t know what is. Of course, a lot of his heat can be attributed to his relationship with Vickie Guerrero. On paper going from Maria to Vickie last year might have looked like “trading down” but in retrospect it was a genius move.

Nobody can get boos like Vickie, and she has definitely helped Dolph’s cause. But more importantly, and as we have been saying here for a while now, he has the ability to put on great matches every time. Surely 2011 will be the year that Dolph Ziggler puts behind his slightly embarrassing past (from Kerwin White’s caddy, through the Spirit Squad, up to his weird fetish for introducing himself backstage) and become one of the major stars of WWE?

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION go to Cody Rhodes, Layla and Frightmare. Cody has come on leaps and bounds this year. His “Dashing” gimmick is deliberately annoying and works perfectly, and he seems to be a much better wrestler suddenly. Whether that is because he’s no longer being dragged down by Ted DiBiase and Randy Orton (or worse, Hardcore bloody Holly) or because he’s just trying harder I don’t know. But I now look forward to Cody Rhodes matches, which I couldn’t say this time last year.

eww

Layla also gets a nod, not just because she’s rather fetching in those skin-tight dresses, and not just because she said she liked my photostory that time. She has got better and better this year, and let’s be honest: anyone that can make Michelle McCool watchable is deserving of some kind of reward. The last nod though goes to Frightmare. I know… I know… you’ve never heard of him. Trust me, he’s ace. Frightmare primarily wrestles for CHIKARA and this year won their only singles title, the Young Lions Cup. A relatively short wrestler, who only speaks in gibberish, Frightmare is one of the most exciting young wrestlers at the moment, to the point where he was named Rookie of the Year by Pro-Wrestling Illustrated last year. He’s basically Mysterio, back when Mysterio was exciting:

We were tied on this one, so channelling the indecisive spirits of Masterchef judges John Torrode and Greg Wallace we have decided… dramatic pause… mood-setting strings… dramatic pause… camera focussing on each in turn… dramatic pause… to put you both through! Matt Striker and Ultramantis Black share this award, due to their sterling work on commentary through the year.

Striker was an obvious choice for the Boss Lady, given that she’s obviously completely smitten with him. Oh, and he works here of course, so there’s a touch of nepotism involved. Hey, it’s not what you know… it’s who you know. Having said that, Striker is pretty awesome on commentary. His constant pop culture references (especially in his Smiths period) as well as his innumerable, and frankly nonsensical, nicknames for wrestlers have made him a favourite here in The Bunker. Well, I suppose those pictures of him posing with an ironing board might have helped as well…

As for Ultramantis Black, he was my choice. Again, a member of the CHIKARA roster, Ultramantis Black is possibly the funniest commentator of all time. He happens to be a pretty nifty wrestler too, but as a commentator alongside Bryce Remsburg or Larry Sweeney he makes every match more enjoyable. Hell, the bloke would get the award simply for the fact he managed to throw a Simpsons reference in there…

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION goes to Punk (again!) partly for his excellent work on Raw, but mainly for his work on NXT and especially Superstars alongside Scott Stanford. Again, I know you probably don’t watch Superstars but you’re really missing out – in fact Scott Stanford may be in the running for this award next year

Here he is imagining throttling Jerry Lawler and usurping his crown

This was definitely the year that wrestlers embraced the unknown pleasures of micro-blogging. From the first, tentative steps of early adopters such as @IAmJericho and @mikethemiz, the WWE in particular really got behind twitter, to the point of advertising the Rookies’ twitter accounts on NXT. While both myself and Boss Lady Ray follow far too many wrestlers on twitter, none gave us as much entertainment this year as Matt Hardy.

Ha! No capitals! In your face Hardy!

From his inane ramblings about grapes to his constant YouTube videos berating the WWE and boasting of his wealth, Matt Hardy used twitter to help end his WWE career and to alienate a number of fans. Not only was his self-belief delusional at best, but Hardy made a point of lying to the very fans he claims to love.

After being sent home from a European tour, Hardy stringently denied he had been – going so far as to post a bewildering video proving that he was still in the UK. It’s nice to know that Matt thinks so little of his fans that he is prepared to believe that they will not appreciate the difference in being sent “home” (ie. being asked to leave the arena and go back to your hotel) and being sent home (ie. get back to your house and up to your room without any supper Matthew!).

Now, I won’t deny that I dislike Matt Hardy, and that I disliked him before all this started happening. Let’s face it, you only have to look back through my posts on here to see that. But for him to act so unprofessionally with petty jibes at the company that made him the star he unfortunately is (and his brother, despite numerous wellness violations) seems bad even for him. The only thing I can assume is that’s what comes from a life of never having a real job, and having thousands of people chant your name.

Of course, the story did have a happy ending: Hardy is out of my life and is now on TNA where I don’t have to see him.

VERY BRITISH NODS OF APPRECIATION go to Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler) for never breaking character and seemingly only tweeting about Spongebob Squarepants and Porn Stars. Also, and I’m aware we sound like squealing fangirls here, but ZOMG IT’S @CMPUNK!!!!!! Anyone who wages a war on incorrect spelling and grammar on Twitter has my undying love and appreciation.

Ahhh, the bit of the post where I have to attempt to not sound creepy while discussing my crush on somebody I have never met. You know, if Beth hadn’t returned from injury last year, this award would definitely have gone to Kaitlyn. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, both Ray and myself have written about how we’ve fallen for her.

Still, sorry about this Kaitlyn. I’m sure you’ll be devastated by the news that Beth has returned to reclaim her place in my affections. I’ll try not to get too weird about this, but Beth is stunning. I’ve never found muscular arms so attractive before. Fortunately for me, she also comes across as a genuinely nice person out of character. Seriously, nobody ever seems to have a bad word to say about her. Whether it’s CM Punk in an interview claiming “As far as wrestling, the one person i’ve seen work as hard if not harder than me….and come from nothing is Beth Phoenix. I’ve got much unconditional love for the glamazon. She’s been through hell and back. Twice. Nobodys better.” Or co-runner of women’s wrestling promotion SHIMMER, Allison Danger (she of the John Cena reference a bit higher up the article) who had this to say:

Best of all, and the thing that helps me justify my crush beyond simply “she’s so dreamy”? She’s a great wrestler. Not a great female wrestler, just a great wrestler. Full stop. When she came out in the Royal Rumble this year, other than the Khali kiss, she didn’t look out of place at all. When she wrestled against Santino Marella on Raw back in 2008 it didn’t seem strange at all.

SWOON

Before I end up with a restraining order I should move onto the second part of the Crush Award: MAN CRUSH OF THE YEAR which could go to quite a few people if I’m honest. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality to accept that the likes of Claudio Castagnoli and Dolph Ziggler are pretty attractive men. But for me, my Man Crush is Ultramantis Black

This might seem a strange one. For a start he’s an evil insect overlord, not the classic traits you look for in a boyfriend. Also he’s vegan, and I love Cornish Pasties, so that wouldn’t work. But he seems so effortlessly cool. His Xmas tattoos are amazing, his taste in music is pretty impeccable, his t-shirt designs are always great (to the point where I own enough to wear one every day of the working week.)

He'll even dress up to meet your parents

Well, that’s that for now. We’ll be back with a joint post next week to list the remaining winners, and then it’s Rumble prediction time where I’ll go 3-1 up!

What?

You’re not getting a song off me…

No, seriously…

Just go…

GO!

oh how we laughed…

….that night after the Wrestlegasm staff Christmas party. Sidekick Andrew hadn’t converted to the Straight Edge lifestyle at the time, so he was nursing a monster hangover. Myself and (fake) Matt Striker were impressively sober though, so we indulged in an evening of team bonding.
Before the fun, I had to have one of Strikey’s infamous grammar lessons. This one involved learning the difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom'; a tricky little grammatical gem which trips up many a writer. I remember it well because every time I had to use ‘whom’ I said it in a posh English accent. He didn’t laugh. But I did keep the Post-It close at hand should I need it at a future date.
Anyway, it was a marvellous evening. I made a pot of tea, split a 400g bar of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut and stuck on some Blackadder DVDs. During a later, spirited game of Truth or Dare, I had been asked what the first record I ever bought was. I told him it was Especially for You by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan and it was on 7″ vinyl. Strikey had never heard of this, so I showed him the video on YouTube and he agreed to recreate their 1988 Top of the Pops appearance with me. He’s quite the mover. Skip ahead to 2m:13s for the greatest dance routine you will ever see two people plod through.
It was my turn to ask Matthew a Truth, so I asked him what his favourite book of all time was. Shutup! We were sober, remember? He informed me that it was Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. At which point I bahahahahaha! But we did pinky-swearzies and promised to keep those secrets between ourselves. It was our thing.
So, imagine my horror when I trotted over the MSNBC.com and found that Strikey had been sharing this particular secret with the whole world? Outrageous! Yes, Matthew Striker, you are going to get a lot of flack for this. And if you didn’t see the interview, which was actually Striker and MVP plugging the WWE programme inspiring kids to read, you can watch it here.
PS—> Nice recovery with the whole calling in sick at school to go and wrestle thing, Mr. Striker. Following your dreams. We ♥ you.

summerslam: pictures speak louder than words

Before we hand over to (fake)Matt Striker for the Summerslam recap, a quick apology for the lack of Summerslam build-up on the blog. We had a couple of comments about it and while we’re flattered that you missed our commentary, please try to keep in mind that we run this blog for fun in our spare time. Sometimes real life just doesn’t allow for blogging time, which I guarantee you frustrates us as much as it does you. Once we’ve finished redesigning the layout, we’re also making a couple of changes to the way we recap events, so that should make it much easier to manage. We’ll tell you more about that once we’ve finished giving the site its makeover. For now, we’ll pass the laptop over to the Honourary Dean of Wrestlegasm to cover all the incredible twists and turns which took place in LA on Sunday night. Enjoy!

===============================

Hellooooooo! Matt Striker here once again to bring you all the news from the biggest and best party of the summer, Summerslam 2010. The WWE took over the City of Angels for the whole weekend and oh baby did we have a great time. Thank you, Los Angeles. Now, without further ado….LET’S RIP IT UP!

Wow. LA really agrees with my complexion.

The greatest love story of the year, the enviable romance between Dolph Ziggler and the beautiful Vickie Guerrero, was what greeted us on our first trip to the ring. I have to say, LA, you were a little rude to Smackdown’s official consultant. As the sweet sound of her voice filled the arena, you did nothing but boo. Not cool, guys. Not cool. Anyway, I’ll move on now. I know how my swooning over Vickie agitates my commentary colleagues. I just can’t help myself. Like I said during the show, she’s so hot and on her best days Vickie resembles Joan Jett stung by bees. Actually, that’s not as kind as I thought it was. We should move on quickly before she has me fired!  Vickie’s man, Dolph Ziggler, was defending his Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston.

Dolph dominated the beginning of the match, but he was soon under the cosh of Kofi, who we’ve seen displaying a new kind of aggression on Smackdown these past few weeks. But sadly this match was cut short before it even got going. The power-hungry brood that is the Nexus invaded the ring and attacked our Smackdown guys, just for the sake of flexing their muscles in the faces of Team WWE.

All I can tell you is that this is most definitely not over for Kofi. The plot will undoubtedly thicken on this week’s Smackdown when he will surely demand another rematch. Keep watching, folks.

Next we had our sole Divas match; the champion Alica Fox vs the newly returned beauty Melina. Oh wow, did Melina make a spectacular entrance or what? Aye-aye-aye, if that’s not an outfit to rival any carnival queen from Rio De Janeiro, I don’t know what is.

As per usual, the crowd became a little silent during this match. But what can ya do, eh? For a moment during the match I held my breath as it looked like our feathered friend had injured the knee which kept our out of action for almost a year. Thankfully, she was able to evade Alicia’s attack with some clever Matrix moves, sliding her way back to being the Divas champion.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Just as my broadcast colleague Josh Matthews stepped into the ring to interview the emotional Melina, those feisty young Smackdown phillies LayCool showed up to congratulate the new champ. So nice of them. Michelle McCool and my Little English Crumpet Layla just wanted to take some pictures with Melina and twitter them for everyone to see. That’s correct, right? Ray? [BOSS LADY RAY'S EDIT: It's 'tweet', Matthew. They wanted to tweet a picture.] Sadly for all those not watching the PPV, they didn’t get to see any snapshots as Melina kicked the phone out of Michelle’s hand quicker than they could say FLAAAAAAWLESSSS! A brawl ensued and LayCool left both Melina and the semi-conscious Alicia Fox on their backs and in trouble. If I were Jerry Lawler I’d make a lewd comment about that. But thankfully I’m not, so I won’t.

On we go and he’s baaaa-aaack! Yes, after weeks in a sling, CM Punk finally returned to Pay Per View action. More importantly, Ray can stop emailing me asking if he’s feeling better yet. This time around, it was about strength in numbers with all three male members of the SES taking on the Big Show.

The bad news for Punk was that Big Show eliminated both Luke Gallows and Joseph Mercury within just a few minutes, so he found himself the victim of several audible chests slaps. And they must have hurt even more than usual, what with the fact that he’d shaved his chest and had some awesome new tattoos penned across it. Hey, it’s my job to notice these things. The stricken disciples found their feet and helped their leader with the attack, but Punk soon decided he’d had enough and ran off with Serena, leaving Gallows and Mercury to fend for themselves.

Oh man. This might make things a little awkward on this week’s Smackdown.

Looking at my schedule for the matches, I was preparing myself for the Sheamus vs Randy Orton match when The Miz’s music started playing. All through the weekend I’d witnessed Team WWE sucking up and pandering to Miz, begging him to join the crew. It was sickening at times, but I understand their urgency to get him on board. After an excellent promo, which you should try watching if you weren’t lucky enough to see the show, Miz announced that he would join Team WWE for the main event, to mixed reactions from the crowd.

Lady to the left isn't happy, guy to the right is ecstatic.

As far as I was concerned, anyone who was willing to step up and defend the company which pays me and keeps me in nice jeans and spray-tans is OK by me. Now, let’s get to that WWE title match. I’m a huge fan of Sheamus, as I mentioned during the last PPV, so I was looking forward to seeing what the aggressive, fearless, combative Irishman had in store for us this time. Looking at the statistics, the odds were in Randy’s favour, so the match was an exciting prospect.

The last time I attempted to commentate on a Sheamus match, Jerry Lawler and myself got into a little tete-a-tete, shall we say. So, I decided to stay pretty quiet during this match and just do a Sudoku puzzle while occasionally glancing up and passing comment. It seemed to work. After many a broken 3-count and several failed attempts at applying their finishers, an exasperated Sheamus left the ring and returned promptly with a steel chair in hand. Randy won by disqualification, but as you know guys, the title cannot change hands on a DQ. After his initial annoyance at the match ending quickly, the red-head soon realised he was going home the champion.

But Randy wasn’t at all happy at losing the opportunity to win the title, so he ushered Sheamus over to our announce table and RKO’d him into the middle of next week. My main priority was saving my Sudoku puzzle from the gallons of sweat and baby oil it was about to be slathered with. Call me a perfectionist, but I cannot bear to leave them unfinished. The announce table survived, Randy left and Sheamus was left wondering which decade he was in.

Back to Smackdown with Kane vs Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight title. Rey Mysterio, ever the physical underdog, was determined to prove that he had nothing to do with the assault on the Undertaker over Memorial weekend. The eerie and macabre Kane wheeled a casket out to ringside, at which point my cell phone started burning up in my pocket with a stream of text messages from the Bunker, asking if I had any ‘insider info’ on whether the Undertaker was in the casket or not. I’m a little annoyed with Ray for repeating my response on Twitter:

At various points, both competitors had the upper hand, Rey in particular was desperate to end the match quickly, going in for covers at every possible opportunity. Things looked bleak for Rey when he found himself lying the casket, but he called upon that legendary tenacity and managed to get himself back in the ring before Kane could take advantage of his vulnerable position. The comeback wasn’t to last. A couple of minutes later and Kane had slammed Rey into the mat and had claimed the match. Kane had vowed to dump Rey in the casket, so he marched over to it in preparation. It’s not often I say this, but sometimes pictures speak louder than words:

Wowwwwwwww! The Deadman is indeed BACK! But Kane saw to it that he’d have no further part to play in the show. I don’t know about you, but I cannot WAIT to see what happens next.

Finally we reached our main event. A whole hour had been set aside to allow all 14 men to play their part, but Team WWE had one more surprise up their sleeve. You see, John Cena didn’t feel comfortable waiting for Miz to accept the invitation to join the team so late. They needed a definite yes from someone they could rely on. But who?

THE AMERICAN DRAGON ARRIVED AT SUMMERSLAM!!! What an incredible moment. Of course, if all you computer nerds had been logged on to WWE.COM an hour earlier you would have seen the unforgivable technological faux pas committed by one of the techie guys. Bryan’s profile and the story of his return had been posted before he even appeared on the ramp. Uh-oh. Someone in online services is in deeeeeep trouble. Hey, we all make mistakes. Let’s see how this epic and much-anticipated match ended up.

Team WWE got off to a great start, with Bryan and Morrison eliminating Darren Young and Michael Tarver respectively. Skip Sheffield narrowed the gap for Nexus when he got rid of both Morrison and R-Truth in quick succession. Bret Hart was disqualified for daring to use a chair, Edge speared Skip Sheffield out of the match and, well, things are kind of a blur after that. People were being eliminated all over the place and Michael Cole started acting like a complete ass. His personal vendetta against Daniel Bryan totally coloured his view of the match. As I yelled at him on Sunday, you root for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. It doesn’t matter which guys make it happen, as long as the team wins.

By this point of the match it was two-on-two, with Wade Barrett and Justin Gabriel against Daniel Bryan and John Cena. But Bryan was the victim of a vicious sneak attack by a bitter Miz and he was soon dispensed of by Wade Barrett. From here it was all down to John Cena. I’ll be honest, I thought it was all over when Barrett splattered the face of the WWE all over the ground. But no. Cena managed to roll away from Justin Gabriel’s 450 Splash and pin him before he had time to catch his breath, leaving just John Cena and Wade Barrett to finish the match. I’ll cut this very long story short and, well, if you want to know who won, just look at how excited I am here:

TEAM WWE WINSSSSS!

So there goes another Summerslam in the can. What a weekend. I’ll see you in a few more weeks for Night of Champions. Oh and by the way, I don’t know who this guy thinks he is, but we need to talk!

Later, kids.