Rainbows, Lasagne and Goldfish: The Miz on Blue Peter

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

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

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

Kind of.

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

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

I bet his mum picked that picture.

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

In the greenhouse with the tomato plants. Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

smackdown(lite) under a straight edge spell

I don’t know if it’s because the heat CM Punk generates under my skin is now making him appear in my dreams (true story) or whether it’s my triumphant return to gym training, but the Straight Edge lifestyle is starting to look like a viable option. I mean, it’s not such a massive leap. I don’t do drugs. ( I could still chug 8 ibuprofens a day, right?) I haven’t smoked since I was 17. The only thing left would be alcohol. How hard could that be? I can go without most of the time, and if I need a sneaky tipple I can totally hide bottles of champagne at the back of the toilet without Punk finding them. And, since he appears in favour of poisoning his skin with multi-coloured ink,  I could still get that teacup tattoo I’ve been thinking about getting (Again, true story.) Maybe I need to think about this some more. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the view from the start of this week’s Smackdown, where Punk vowed to ‘end’ Jeff Hardy in the hope of putting a stop to our filthy ways.

I'm in this picture. I'm just out of shot. Like, to the south a little bit ;) Ok, I'll stop now. I'm being far too disgusting already.

I'm in this picture. I'm just out of shot. Like, to the south a little bit ;) Ok, ok. I'll stop now. I'm being too disgusting already.

Teddy Long wasn’t having any of this tripe. Despite Punk’s suggestion that Jeff was unlikely to even show up at Summerslam, Teddy announced that Jeff would not just be there for his match at the PPV, but would also be there in Edmonton to say a few words that night. Punk objected to every word out of Teddy’s mouth, which cued Jeff. Geez, that North Carolina sunshine is STRONG! Looks like Matt Hardy’s tan from last week has rubbed off on his brother.

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A few brief syllables of defiance later, Jeff was retreating from the ring, Punk grinned like the evil, clean living genius he is, and Teddy was back in his office to take a call from Mr. McMahon. Apparently, even though he’s way injured and shit, Mr. M demanded that Jeff fight on Smackdown that night. Still on probation, Teddy had no choice but to agree and put young Hardy in action against The Hart Dynasty in a 2-on-1 tag match. Yawch.

Back in the ring, Finlay was up against Dolph Ziggler. In my experience, it’s probably best to leave a Belfast boy alone when he’s in a bad mood. I mean, Dolph Ziggler did keep Finlay away from reaching the Summerslam Intercontinental match on Smackdown last week. But still, Dolph is back for another helping. All was moving along nicely until Mike Knox, who gets creepier with every inch his beard grows, interfered with the match by thumping Finlay on the back of the thigh with his very own shillelagh. As you do.

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Dolph capitalised on Finlay’s agony and pinned him for the win. Dolph disappeared but Knox stuck around to do some additional damage to Finlay. As you know, usually I dig medical terminology, but spoken from the mouth of Mike Knox the words sound terrifying. I’m sure I had a nightmare where I was being chased by someone with that voice once. *shudder* In times of trouble, thank God we have JR to come up with exactly the right words.

Thanks, Mr. Ross.

Thanks, Mr. Ross.

From something genuinely scary to something that’s supposed to be, but isn’t. A whole week has passed since Kane drug dragged Ranjin Singh out of the arena in *insert last week’s location at your leisure* and it appears he’s still being held hostage in some random boiler room. Urgh.

Over in the ladies’ locker room, Maria and Melina were doing more girl-talk stuff, agreeing that Maria would change her tartan top for a leopard print one ‘because Dolph likes leopards’.  Excellent deduction. But I hear on the grapevine his favourite big cat is the puma. Just a little heads up for ya there Maria. Following a further discussion about romantic hotels on the beach in LA, Layla appeared to rain on their parade. That’s right, there’s nothing like a Brit to bring a couple of perky Americans down with her cynicism. Atta girl! She announced that Michelle McCool would be back on Smackdown next week, but Melina was in the mood for a scrap and challenged Layla to a fight that night.

Reserving the right to be in a bad mood since 1776.

Reserving the right to be in a bad mood since 1776.

Enough silliness, let’s have another match – John Morrison vs CM Punk. Awesome! AWE-SOME! No jokes, no perving, it was brilliant. Punk was totally immersed in being a badass and how John Morrison never cracks a rib doing that core twisting, I have no idea. He must do lots of pilates or yoga in his spare time. This could easily have been a PPV match, so next Sunday has an awful lot to live up to. Punk put the GTS on Morrison and took the win, giving him an extra elbow to the face after the bell had tolled. It’s those little touches that take you from heel to super-heel. I thinks I loves you, CM.

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Following another ridiculous hostage video from the boiler room, where Kane still had Ranjin Singh tied to a chair, it was time for the match Melina made for herself with Layla earlier in the show. With Gail Kim gone and Michelle McCool hurting, they need to start putting Natalya to work on a Friday night. Being cheerleader for her family members is a total waste of her ability. Step it up! The Melina/Layla match was far better than I was expecting. I wasn’t too keen on Layla at first, but only because they stuck in that lame dance off/arm wrestle thing with Eve Torres. She’s actually pretty good.  She took some pretty nice hits. Besides, I should be pulling for my compatriot anyway. Shame on me. Melina did some mighty impressive flexi- stuff and snatched the win.

I bet Melina and John Morrison do some awesome tag team pilates.

I bet Melina and John Morrison do some awesome tag team pilates.

Next, Big Show vs JTG, which wasn’t much of a match but any time I can listen to Jericho do commentary is fine by me. He joined JR and Todd Grisham while Big Show made light work of his opponent. My favourite line was when Jericho alluded to the fact that he’d had a sore throat last week, which was why he lost his match. “Do you know what kind of toll that [a sore throat] takes on a man?” He was feeling tremendous this week. Ah the healing power of the Canadian air. Big Show took the match and various other shenanigans went on around the ring. Things are shaping up beautifully for Summerslam.

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Down in Kane’s red dungeon, we found Ranjin Singh suspended by his ankles (yeah, for real). Khali came to the rescue and released him from the rope, but then Kane appeared and proceeded to beat Khali with a tube fashioned from the inside of a toilet roll and some aluminium foil, leaving both for dead. It’s ok. I’m sure the janitor will inform the authorities when he gets off his cigarette break.

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Jeff Hardy, nursing injuries sustained at the hands of  CM Punk last week , was forced to take D H Smith and Tyson Kidd on. The match itself was ok and it allowed a Canadian crowd to crow for their own, but it was all a nice little set-up for a brilliant ending. The Hart Dynasty took the match, leaving Jeff even more battered and bruised than before. The pin was closely followed by the appearance of CM Punk who, with a determined look in his eye, marched up to Jeff, kneed him in the face and elbowed him repeatedly in the neck.

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Even Natalya's shocked. And she's been in the Hart Dungeon.

You call it ‘repulsive’, JR, I call it divine and dastardly. (Brilliant adjectives borrowed from Toni.) Jeff was in trouble and needed a friend. Thankfully, John Morrison ran in to help him out, clearing Punk out of the way and removing Kidd and Smith. But Punk was not finished and slapped Morrison across the back with a chair. With Punk the only one left standing he was free to do as he wished, so he put Jeff’s head through a chair again. Well, why not? It worked last week, right? Just as he was about to smash little Hardy in to the turnbuckle wearing his chair shaped necklace, big Hardy intervened and took Punk out of the game. IT. WAS. AWESOME”!!!!

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The ring cleared, leaving just Matt and Jeff Hardy to face each other. Boy, that NC sunshine is a curious breed. Matt seems to have totally lost his tan from last week, and yet, Jeff’s has developed three-fold. Amazing. I digress. Matt helped Jeff to his feet. With the crowd’s approval and bearly a word spoken, the previous attempted fratricide was history.

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Teddy Long made a match for next week where the Hardys and John Morrison will face CM Punk and The Hart Dynasty. Team Good Guys look like they need the presence of a lady, what with Natalya on Team Mean Boys and all. I’m quite willing to fill in. But only as long as someone tags me in to roll around with Punk. I want to Go To Sleep with him. But not really SLEEP, I mean, oh whatever. You get it. I’m all a-fluster after that ending. I gotta go.

smackdown(lite): bikini trimmer at the ready

Smackdown was left in the position of having to rescue Raw AGAIN this week! I’m concerned for Smackdown. It’s so perfectly balanced at the moment. Too much pressure to be the only show firing an all cylinders every single week might tip it the other way. Raw, you better start pulling your weight because I don’t want to have to check Smackdown in to The Priory suffering from ‘exhaustion’.  Maternal worry over, let’s get to the show.

It all got going with CM Punk, now a proper heel, back in the ring with another brief vilification of the audience. Much as I enjoyed the nuances of when he fell somewhere between being good guy and bad mofo, I’ve kind of been waiting or REAL HEEL PUNK to emerge. Announcer Justin introduced Jeff Hardy for a match between the two for the Heavyweight Title. Biggest belt of the show on FIRST? This match can’t be going anywhere. It wasn’t. The anger between them was so intense it took every striped official in the building, a couple of dudes in golf shirts and Teddy long to separate them.

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Just as it looked like things were cooling off, Vince McMahon showed up in a delightful shade of duck egg blue. OH MY GOD, has he actually realised Smackdown is the superior brand? No. Apparently, Teddy Long is still on probation and Vince was most upset that he appeared to have lost control of his roster. To ensure that the title match went off without a hitch, Mr. M announced there would be a special guest enforcer, who shall currently remain nameless, and the match would take place later on to allow everyone some time to regroup.

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Once the boss had left, Jeff flew at Punk again and they were prised apart. Again. Sheesh. What a start! Think we need some coolness to take things forward. Ahhhh, John Morrison. He of the well insulated ankles. He’s a trooper for coolness! Morrison was taking Tyson Kidd on again (first one was on Superstars. I missed it). Great match. I even managed not to focus on my overwhelming need to take a bikini trimmer to the confusing strip of pointy fuzz across Kidd’s hairline.

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It was even-stevens to begin with, but Morrison allowed to Kidd to take the lead, before turning things around and sticking the Starship Pain across his face for the win.

Cryme Tyme and Eve explained the word ‘pretenda’ to us in antother edition of ‘Word Up’,  which lead neatly in to a Jesse v Charlie Haas match. Jesse is going by the hip-hop inspired name of Slam Master J. I don’t know what to say about the match, but I do know that……

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Jesse Slam Master J won.

On we go, and it’s time for the fatal-fourway to decides Rey Mysterio’s Intercontinental opponent at Summerslam. Rey brought a booster seat out and joined JR and Todd in the commentary corner and…… hold on…..before we go any further…. what is wrong with this picture?

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First of all, Rey can’t possibly hear anything through those headphones with his mask on, unless he’s cut some sneaky little holes in the sides. Secondly, what’s happened to his chin? Did he ALWAYS have a miniature beard-bun there? Don’t move, I’ll get the bikini trimmer back out the bathroom cabinet.

R-Truth, Mike Knox, Finlay and Dolph Ziggler fought it out and it turned in to another wicked match. Even Knox looked good.  Dolph pinned Finlay for the win and went over to give Rey a slap. Finlay, grumpy that he lost to Ziggler, grabbed Dolph’s dorky hair and tried to pull him back in the ring.

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You must keep your eye on Rey Mysterio at all times. Look away for a second and he’ll be round your neck in a heartbeat, as Dolph found out. The Rey Mysterio shaped scarf will be available from WWE Shop when the Autumn rolls in.

All this testosterone is just lovely, but I could really do with tagging on to some girly chit chat. Ah, here we go. Maria and Melina are talking it up in the corridor.  Melina was all praise for how happy Maria appears to be these days but, as one of her BFFs, she wanted to make sure Maria was 100% certain Dolph was the right guy for her. Well, let’s be honest, he is kind of a prick, right? But Maria made it clear that his in-ring persona is not who he is with her. Hmm.

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Melina ain't convinced. Neither am I.

Oh Maria. It’s ok. We’ll be here when that horrible, sexy boy breaks your heart, k? kiss-kiss.

With Cryme Tyme getting a push to meet Jericho and Big Show at Summerslam, it was time for some PPV promo. See, Raw? That’s how you do it. Cryme Tyme’s match got more promo than Cena/Orton this week. Ridiculous! Anyway, you have to be pretty awful not to pull off a brilliant match with Jericho. JTG did not disappoint.  And I loved the ending.

Jericho stuck the Codebreaker on JTG and left him lying off the apron, under the ropes.  Jericho went in for the pin, but with his opponent still under the ropes, the ref refused to award the win.  Jericho finally agreed to drag him back inside the ring but in a moment of lapsed concentration, JTG flipped Jericho over and snatched the win, racing up the ramp with Shad at his before the enraged Jericho could do anything about it. Jericho’s exaggerated anger made me laugh out loud.

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Next, The Great Khali was up against Ricky Ortiz. This match felt redundant even before Ortiz was errrrm made redundant. It lasted just a few seconds and I guess it’s there to build this feud between Khali and Kane, but I’m struggling to summon up any kind of enthusiasm for it. The best thing about it was that Singh the Sidekick got dragged from the arena by Kane, only to have Todd Grisham recap it by saying……

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JR corrected his grammar by saying…….

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Oh, Todd. Even with all your mistakes, I still kind of love you. They may actually be the reason I love you. Though, not as much as I crush for        Josh Matthews. He’s little, I’m little, it works better. You understand.

I need a main event to refresh me after that last “match”. Jeff and Punk prepare to enter the ring, but we need to introduce the special enforcer first. Who could it be? Who could it be? Actually, if you follow the right people on Twitter you’d have figured it out already. A certain main eventer’s brother who had broken metacarpals, was complaining about the chaos of being in the hustle and bustle of New York this week. He was looking forward to getting back to North Carolina. If you can’t work that one out, you’re either really new to wrestling or I question whether your marbles are all in their bag. The special guest enforcer was…………….

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Matt Hardy, who looked awesome with that bitchin’ face tan, made his way to the ring. But who would he favour? Has he buried the hatchet and let the brother-on-brother violence go or will he be in Punk’s corner? Judging by the number of alcoholic beverages in Matt’s twitpics, I guessed the former, but what really happened?

The match was ok. I’m not entirely in favour of putting matches on weekly shows when we’re about to see them at a PPV, but Teddy Long slapped a Tables, Ladders and Chair stipulation on it for Summerslam, so that juices things up a bit. Punk was all set up for the pin when Matt Hardy dragged the ref out of the ring, forcing Punk to tell Matt off.  Distracted from the job in hand, Punk was pulled to the ground by Jeff, and was 1,2,3’ed out of the match by big brother.

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Punk wasn’t done. Now incensed that his win was scuppered, he returned to the ring with a steel chair to finish Jeff off.  Brutal! Punk smiled his way back up the ramp but was met at the top by Teddy, who announced the aforementioned TLC stip. Punk told Teddy to go and check on his poster boy and the crowd were left chanting TLC TLC TLC.

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I feel like someone just massaged my temples with warm fingers. Thanks, Smackdown. You’re the bestest!

smackdown(lite): sleeping with a punk

It’s fair to say that Smackdown had its fair share of drama at Extreme Rules. I’ll do my best to work in what happened, otherwise it just ain’t gonna make sense.

First person to the ring, CM Punk, with the heavyweight belt around his waist. Yes, you are correct. Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract at Extreme Rules. But not against Edge. Against everyone’s favourite Fonzy…..Jeff Hardy. SHOCKER! IT WAS AMAZING! I LOVED IT! Punk turns heel then. Or does he?  He didn’t seem too mean and menacing standing in the ring.  He even said “That doesn’t make a bad guy.” True heels don’t CARE that you think they’re a bad dude. In fact, they WANT you think they’re a bad dude. I’m confused.

Anyway, Punk went on to say that he plans on bringing some dignity back to the belt. But as he spoke some music hit. Can you guess which music it was? Correct. Go on, you know you want to play it.

I kid. But yes, it was Jeff and uh-oh, he ain’t happy. In fact, he’s so furious he didn’t concentrate when he was getting dressed and pulled on some jeans from the 1986 dress-up box.

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They argued the toss about whose fault it was and Jeff demanded his rematch THAT NIGHT. But someone else had something to say. Edge butted in and was made to feel wholly unwelcome by his two colleagues. Well, at least they agree on SOMETHING. Oh, I should say, Punk had an amazing match with Umaga at Extreme Rules which subsequently left Umaga unemployed. Hence the new feuding.

The tustle went on and Edge tried to claim that CM Punk was trying to emulate him. Errrrr, yah, cause they look sooo alike, right? Nope. He claimed that Punk’s Straight Edge lifestyle was named after him….. yeah, sure, a 30-year old lifestyle movement was named after a wrestling character. Whatever gets you through the night, sweetie.

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Edge thinks Punk is crushing on him, Jeff wants Punk to be crushing on him, Jeff hates Edge but Punk's really crushing on John Morrison. (Not in the triangle.)

Jeff ran out of patience, eliminated Edge but shoving him out of the ring, put the Twist of Fate and then a Swanton Bomb on Punk and hollered at the crowd from the top rope.

But wait, the situation still isn’t resolved. Teddy Long came out to announce that Jeff and Edge would have to fight that night in a number one contender match. Whoever won would face Punk on Raw on Monday. Yes you read right. Raw. Seems they got bored with the brand separation pretty quickly and are mixing things up in a 3-hour Raw tomorrow.  They had a PPV 8 days previous and now they’re having a free PPV style show where Raw should be. *shrugs shoulders*

Having just left the ramp, Teddy Long made his way back to his office to find Chris Jericho looking a little too comfortable in his leather armchair. I swear, he was a cigar, a scotch-on-the-rocks and a fluffy white pussycat away from being a bond villain, just, more naked.

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Jericho was feeling left out so Teddy gave him a match against Punk for that night. Yum!

Dolph Ziggler took Khali on AGAIN. Getting bored with this. Doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere. Although, I’m pleased to report that after last week’s observation that Ziggler spreads too much goose fat over his chest, he seemed considerably less greasy this week. A triumph. Now, if he would just let me take the clippers to his horrible hair and ditch the camp leather waistcoat we may be getting somewhere.

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Ziggler was under the cosh so he grabbed Khali’s interpreter dude by the mutton chops and roughed him up a bit. Khali came to save him and got counted out, giving Ziggler the win.

Next up, a womens match. Michelle McCool and Layla (accompanied by A.Fox) v Melina and Eve. Michelle’s hair looked so cool. Come on, hair. Get BLONDER! Maybe I should try getting out in the sunshine instead of staying hauled up in front of a computer all day. Well, it’s up to you, I can either write stuff to make you happy or have blonde hair. The decision is yours.

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Layla and Eve were fine, but when Melina and Michelle were in the ring together it was AWESOME. Pleaaaaase give them a big  PPV match. They’re so good.

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Best move of all was when Michelle managed to counter a Melina move, dragged her off her back, pull her over the top of her shoulders and shimmied her down the front to put the Faith Breaker on her. I bloody love that Faith Breaker. Every time Michelle does it I swear her victim’s face will have turned concave, and yet they come out just as pretty as they went in. Mwah!

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PS> Please start selling Alicia’s t-shirt in the shopzone. Ta.

From female tag-teams to male couples, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas v John Morrison and R-Truth. I’m just starting to realise that Shelton Benjamin is actually pretty buff. I think maybe the lightbulb on his head was distracting me from what was going on from the neck down. Nice work, m’friend.

Another brilliant match from these guys. R-Truth spinning Benjamin around by his feet and suspended from his neck was amazing. One of the things I love about Smackdown is that even the nothing matches, where nothing is on the line but pride, are a joy to watch. Ok, maybe not Ziggler and Khali….. but the rest. Morrison pinned Haas for the win and gave me my Man-Hug Moment of the week. Interesting that Morrison is often one half of a Man-Hug. I think he misses The Miz. He just wants a new BFF.

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At Extreme Rules Jericho beat Rey Mysterio and unmasked him as promised. Mysterio left the arena before anyone could really see him. On Smackdown he walked out carrying that same mask and held it up like that famous scene from Hamlet, where Hamlet finds the grave of his old pal Yorick, holds up his skull and remembers him fondly.

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But wait,  Jericho kind of despises Mysterio so that analogy doesn’t work. Fugetaboutit! The match was alright. Pretty good, but it didn’t really count for anything. And it was old heel vs new heel. They still cheered for Punk when he stuck the GTS on Jericho and took the match. See? It doesn’t work yet. Make him be really evil. Randy Orton evil. Now THAT would be sweet!

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Final match of the night was Jeff Hardy and Edge for that number one contenders spot. You know, considering they had survived an epic ladders match just 48 hours earlier, they did brilliantly. Seriously, they must have had a few tasty bumps and bruises from that match. CM Punk was at the commentary table and chipped in at regular intervals.

Jeff had Edge all lined up for the cover but he made the school-boy error or standing on the ropes for some crowd adoration and gave Edge the opportunity to sneak out of the ring while he was soaking up the love. Jeff came after him but Edge managed to grab him and chuck him at Punk, who was comfortably swinging from side-to-side in his swivel chair. Furious at having his swivel fun interrupted, Punk ran at Edge in the ring and the bell was tolled for the end of the match. All three punched it out for a couple of minutes but nobody knew who the number one contender actually was. Teddy?

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Tiffany, yes, she of ECW fame, announced Christian vs Dreamer for Monday night, and Teddy announced a triple threat between Edge, Jeff and Punk. I am more excited about this special Raw than I am for most PPVs. I think there’s gonna be a few surprises. Keeeep watchiiing!

Heroines Wanted: Apply Within

Back in the day, when my love affair with wrestling was at its climatic peak, there were three kinds of women in the WWE/F. These were the times when, in my eyes, it could do no wrong. Every twist and turn delighted me and I overlooked even the most ludicrous storylines. Ah, memories. As I said, there were three kinds of ladies back then.

1) Girls Who Look Like Boys (The Chynas)

You remember them, right? Overdeveloped, manly, muscle machines with chins that would put Edge to shame.  They usually got to work with the guys, because physically they were evenly matched. We’ll call them The Chynas.

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2) Pretty-Girl Wrestlers (The Trishes)

The women who seem able to maintain their femininity but still manage to pull off hot-shot, eye popping wrestling moves. Like Trish Stratus. We’ll come back to Trish later.

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3) The Fluff (The Keiblers)

I doubt this category really needs any explanation, but basically the girls who look drop-dead gorgeous but have extremely limited wrestling skills. Stacey Keibler:  Hot pins, bad at pinning.

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Fast forward to today’s bizarre state of WWE affairs and one category, The Chynas, has completely disappeared. Times have changed. Vince McMahon and his production staff’s job is to make money. They seek to pinpoint the most bankable trends in popular culture and apply them to their own product. We live in a celebrity obsessed world. For women, you’re not accepted if you’re not the perfect height, the perfect weight, the perfect amount of pretty, just the right amount of sexy. If you look like this……..

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…..you’re not marketable any more. Not to men or to women. That’s why these women have slipped away from the limelight. I haven’t lost any sleep over it. It always kind of bothered me that they were the only ones who got to hang with the boys anyway. Even back in the late 90s when overdeveloped female wrestlers were the norm, they still had to battle for recognition. I’m still not convinced that Chyna would have been involved in any main eventing had it not been for her dalliance with Triple H.

The Trishes, however, have soared. They fit the current bill. Gorgeous creatures that girls want to be and boys was to do. I’m talking Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim, Natalya, Melina, Mickie James, Michelle McCool, Maryse, Maria etc. (SIDENOTE: If I change my name to something starting with an M, can I join the Trishes?). Their athleticism is awesome and I will argue all the live long day that it is equal to that of the best performing men in the company. I would kill for just an ounce of it. In some cases their fitness is probably superior to some of the male wrestlers. Women are held up to different physical standards to men. It’s alright that some of the guys have a paunch. It’s never perceived as ok for women the lose their training grip.

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The Keiblers are still there.  Occasionally it bothers me, but not that much. It would be great if every woman employed by Vince McMahon had a fantastic, athletic, in-ring presence, but not everyone is made for taking bumps. They play their roles just like everyone else. The trend seems to be to get all women in to this middle ground of beauty and athleticism. Some just excel at being beautiful but can’t pull off top moves. And that’s fine. The fact that they’re out there trying and giving it their best to entertain makes me really happy. And who could possibly hate Kelly-Kelly anyway? She’s so damn cute. She’s like a cupcake with pink frosting and a cherry on top.

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Lacey, your boyfriend's not thinking about you right now.

I don’t even mind that guys drool over them. It would be wholly hypocritical of me to be insulted by that kind of behaviour, being that I have a segment in my Smackdown recaps which charts the weekly colours and contents of CM Punk’s trunks.

So what’s my problem? My problem is that when it comes to storylines, screen time and ring time, the women of the WWE are second class citizens. This is not a feminist rant. I just want to see the ladies getting a fair crack of the whip.  They are skipped over on several Pay Per Views, they have significantly less time in the ring, bearly enough mic time for us even to know what their voices sound like and non-existent storylines. It’s disappointing and an insult to the intelligence of those us interested in more than just the fact that Maryse wants a man who takes regular showers.

I sometimes wonder if the writers don’t give the women any storylines because they don’t believe anyone would care. Nonsense. People don’t care RIGHT NOW because there are NO storylines. Everyone knows that when wrestling/sports entertainment is good, the balance between dramatics and athletics is bang on. At the moment, there are NO female storylines and a tiny blot of athletics.  It doesn’t work.

A short while ago, Trish Stratus threw a cat among the pigeons when she expressed that the WWE Women’s Division is currently disappointing and that there are too many women on the roster all round. She also suggested they should concentrate on developing just a couple of women rather than spreading things too thinly over more talent. She’s got it partially right. I do NOT think, however, that there are too many women in the division. There are just too many women without a public persona or an identity. The matches have no context.  With no context, who cares who wins and loses? They’re just pretty, sexy girls grappling with each other. The pendulum is swinging all out of whack. There’s no balance between context and action, and no balance between the investment in to the men and the women. And by investment, I’m not just refering to financial investment. I mean, time and recognition too. The Women’s Division is not taken seriously at all. That’s a real shame, because the potential for business, sporting and entertainment expansion is huge, and completely untapped.

I’m going to use the Smackdown from 8th May as an example. Teddy Long, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Jeff Hardy spent 14 and a half minutes setting up a match between Jericho and Hardy to take place at the end of Smackdown. Almost 15 minutes of a two hour show, just talking. And it was great. It was entertaining and it began preparing the ground for the PPV matches between Mysterio and Jericho, and Hardy and Edge.  The entire Hardy/Jericho match on that particular Smackdown lasted almost 20 minutes, by the way.

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On the same show Gail Kim and Michelle McCool wrestled extremely well for five minutes. But that was it. No promo, no mic time, and with no purpose.  And that was a good week.

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Later in the same show, Cryme Tyme emceed an arm wrestle between Layla and Eve Torres. Why? It had no meaning. And apparently neither woman seemed allowed to speak. Cryme Tyme spoke on their behalf. It was infuriating and utterly pointless, and it was given just as much time as the McCool/Kim match.

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Wrestlemania. The grandest stage of the them all. The highlight of the wrestling calendar. Millions of people watching around the world. And who won the Miss Wrestlemania contest? A man in a skirt and a wig with a chin strap. I get the joke. Really. I do. But what a waste. Santino Marella is a great comedian. He’s a natural. I’ve laughed with him at certain points through this whole Santina story. But seeing Beth Phoenix chasing him/her around for the past six weeks is a major let-down and a shameful waste of her talent. She is one of the most accomplished female athletes in the company and yet her skills are bearly tapped in to.

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Maybe the WWE believes that female fans wouldn’t support female superstars if they upped their profile and marketed the directly to women. There is this odd myth that all women hate each other and that ladies will only cheer for male wrestlers. That’s incorrect. Those women do exist, but I’d be unpleasantly surprised if they made up the majority. If the female fanbase really is 40% of the entire WWE Universe, give us the same role models and heels the male fans have. Build feuds. Create identities and heroines. Give us characters to look forward to seeing and discussing and supporting. There are some amazing women in the WWE. It would make my day to see little girls wearing Mickie James t-shirts. Those shirts don’t exist.  Little girls wear Jeff Hardy shirts because WWE promotes him to that market. Promote the women to women and young girls and I guarantee it will get a favourable response.  Allow young girls to see the female wrestlers succeeding in the same way and at the same level their male counterparts do and it will give them a work ethic to aspire to.

I can’t speak for any of the female talent. I don’t know them. I haven’t met them. Even if I did I highly doubt they would be so unprofessional as to air any personal grievances in front of fans. But it’s got to be frustrating for them, hasn’t it? As a woman, the lack or interest the WWE shows in its Women’s Division sometimes makes me feel like it doesn’t care about me either.  So, apart from the obvious, why should I keep coming back?

Smackdown(lite): bromancing on a friday night

After all the chit-chat on last week’s Smackdown, this week we went straight in to a match.  It was John Morrison & CM Punk vs Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin.  Apparently, John personally selected Punk to be his partner. I could recap the match in full, because it was pretty excellent, but a far more interesting development has occurred. No, it has nothing to do with CROTCH WATCH (he wore the black with the fuchsia stars again, by the way). It is the dawning of a new Bromance. Man-hugs and bromantic looks to the max. Look, look, look!

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Oh, I wish CM Punk would wrap his hand around MY hair and whisper sweet nothings in to MY ear. (Middle row, far right)

As I said, it was a great match, which was put to bed my Morrison’s acrobatics on to Haas. Oh and one of my favourite moment was JR calling the instant replay like it was a display of figure skating. He might as well had said  “Watch this… tuck axel, triple salco, double lutz. Beautiful swan-like arms. Innovative. Risk-taking.” Ok, that move is actually called the Starship Pain. But my description sounds prettier.

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Moving on, Chris Jericho, in a repeat of his whining from the week before….and the week before…. umm, anyone else getting a bit bored with this? I love Chris from the depths of my heart and he’s great at what he’s doing, but I’m not digging this persona any more. Anyway, he’s taking Rey Mysterio on at Judgement Day tonight, so they had to do a spot of promotion for their Intercontinental Championship match. There I was, waiting for Rey to pop out from behind the curtain, but hold the phone, he’s sent Edge out in his place.

They both bitched about whose show it was and argued over the apparent timetabling clash. Edge called out Jeff, Chris re-called out Rey, but what we actually got was  Teddy Long to shut their yaps. Apparently the show belongs to US, the WWE Universe.  Yey! But I don’t remember being offered stock options. Vince, call me please.

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Filed under things I pretend to understand but really don't.

Anyway,  what REALLY killed the conversation was Teddy’s announcement that Jericho and Edge had to face each other that night.  Next time an opening for a General Manager opens up, I might submit my CV. Seems like a pretty easy job, coming out at opportune moments and telling hot boys to STFU. Piece o’cake.

Next up, Jeff ‘The Fonz’ Hardy against Ricky ‘Tony Robbins’ Ortiz. Yeah, ok. I’ll go along with it.

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Grisham and Ross made me laugh this week.  When Todd suggested that “Ricky Ortiz  has a laid back, West Coast, persona.” JR bit back with ” I don’t see anything ‘laid back’ about this match. I don’t see him sipping on any lattes!” Because everyone knows that’s what people in California do all day, right? Just sit around outside cafes with their miniature poodles, wearing free designer shades, sipping on non-fat-dry-soy-decaf-lattes…right? Well that’s what The Hills would have us believe anyway. It’s real as long as I believe it’s real DAMMIT!

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Ok, back to the action and out of my Hills dreamworld….. Ortiz did surprisingly well against Jeff but you KNOW Jeff’s not gonna lose to some new pipsqueak. Swanton Bomb for the win. Time for a bit of JD promotion. Josh Matthews jumped under the ropes to ask Jeff a few questions about his plans for Sunday night. I see he hasn’t taken my advice to try some long-lasting foundation. Ok, if you don’t like the Revlon, try Estee Lauder Double-Wear Light Foundation. About three times the price of the Revlon but MUCH stronger and less cakey. And it’s got an SPF too.

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The Jeff Hardy Love-In continued. A cry of “YOU’RE THE GREATEST” came from the crowd, Jeff paused, pointed to the adoring dude in the crowd and said “YOU’RE the greatest!” I swear to GOD, Jeff could kick a puppy and people would STILL cheer for him at the moment. I’m such a sucka for a nice guy.  Fudge the bad boys, you’re always in safe hands with a polite and appreciative young man. He went on to state in no uncertain terms that he plans on being the owner of some waist metal by the end of Sunday. *SWOOOON*

Speaking of swooning, I think I may be developing a girl-crush on Michelle McCool. I kind of want to be her. Actually I’d just settle for her stomach and hair, but the rest would be nice too, if anyone with cosmetic surgery qualifications is reading.

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So Michelle and Alicia Fox took on Gail Kim and Melina. Oh. Right. Melina. She was drafted over how many weeks ago? Bout time they put her to work. Another really good women’s match on Smackdown. Things are definitely looking up. Melina ended it all by jumping on Michelle’s back, flipping herself between her legs and holding her down for the 1, 2, 3. Fantastic.  Take note Raw, Smackdown is way ahead of you.

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I’m not normally in the habit of throwing my support behind redneck Asians (JR’s label, not mine), but if Jimmy Wang Yang wants to linedance all over Dolph Ziggler’s head, hey, I’ll give him a round of applause.  RUBBISH MATCH. Really. Just to rub salt in to an open wound of a match, Ziggler won. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, The Great Khali came out and pulled Ziggler out of the ring. Bleurgh all round. NEEEEEXT.

I think I would have preferred staying with Ziggler and Khali than witness what happened next.

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I have no words. At least, no words I can write without WordPress suspending my account. Let’s try this again and hope for a better result…… NEEEEEEXT! R-Truth and Mike Knox. Again? Well, alright then.  It’s significantly better than the last two segments anyway.  R-Truth made his usual way through the crowd and Knox met him in the ring. Not a terrible match but not great either. At least there was a reversal in the result this week. R-Truth took it with a strange corkscrew move to the head  (but not as nice as John Morrison’s Triple Salco).

Rey Mysterio did a little Spanish promo for his match against Jericho and, because Lawler and Cole got to do it on Raw, JR and Todd Grisham got in the ring to run through all their Judgement Day matches. Ready for some main eventing? Nah, me neither. Can’t say I was really looking forward to the Edge/Jericho match.  It just seemed like an excuse to put them both to work without doing the PPV matches a few days too early. It trundled along fairly smoothly. Nothing out of the ordinary or unexpected. But then bedlam broke out and the whole place erupted. Here’s how it went down…….

Edge was about to make Jericho eat some steel chair when Jeff Hardy came to spoil his party.

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Jeff was about throw himself on to Edge from the top rope, but when Jericho interfered he switched angles and humped on to HIM instead.

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After a brief pause CM PUNK came running out with a referee at his side, to try and cash in his Money in the Bank contract for the THIRD week running. AAARGH! I need to catch my breath….. hold on…….mmm ahhhhh mmmm ahhhh mmm ahhhh. Ok I can breathe now.

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Just as Punk got in the ring Umaga appeared and tried to foil his third cash-in, but Punk whacked him over the noggin with the briefcase and sent him flying. Just to make sure he really HAD knocked Umaga out, CM Punk leaped from the ropes and landed on the chunky one. He vented his frustration by shouting loudly.sdjdpr4

Back in the ring, Jeff and just thrown himself at Edge, has knocked him towards the announce table and has pushed him in to the crowd.

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In another part of the crowd, Umaga has found his feet and is pummelling Punk in to a pulp. A small girl touches Umaga and seems shocked that his skin in sweaty.

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Hold up, where’s Jericho? Oh there he is, slinking up the ramp. Rey Mysterio doesn’t let him get off so lightly and attacks him from behind.

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All three matches continue as Smackdown goes off the air, and I make an attempt at recovering from my first decent Wrestlegasm in WEEKS. Bring on the Judgement.

FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER OF THE SHOW

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I know I chose a child in last week’s Smackdown recap, but they generally have the most honest reactions. This one says “Daddy, who the hell is this man and why are his eyeballs so large?” I also like that he’s wearing a John Cena shirt.

Smackdown(lite): Everybody hates chris

Back to the old routine and this week’s Smackdown kicked off with Theodore Long in the ring, celebrating Rey Mysterio’s triumphant return to the Smackdown flock. You know what I love? Genuine smiles. Not faux wrestling smiles, but real ‘I’m so happy to be here’ ones. Jeff Hardy did one at the end of last week’s  Smackdown and Rey did one at the beginning of this week’s show. It makes my heart smile.

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But the love-in was rudely interrupted by (according to Grisham) a buzz-kill. Depends on the kind of buzz you’re into, know what I’m sayin’? Anyway,  jealous Jericho made his way to the ring to complain about the fact that Mysterio was now the new SD poster boy again and HE wasn’t.  Chris and Teddy exchanged PLAYAs and PLAYERs, Chris abused the crowd and Rey told him to SHUT UP. Uh-ohhhh! Then he said something in Spanish which I didn’t quite catch, but he did talky-talky-hands so I figure he was telling him to shut his trap in Español. Rey couldn’t handle any more waffle, so he turned and began exiting the ring. Jericho yapped at him but as he left Rey passed the baton on to Jeff Hardy. Oh dear, it’s a relay. Everybody really does hate Chriseverybody-hates-chris copy

By the way, how cool did Jeff look, swaggering down to the ring in civilian clothes, pushing his thumbs through his belt loops and tipping nods of coolness to the crowd? It was like Fonzy had just arrived. And that Southern accent. *SWOON* It makes me miss Tennessee sooo much. (Yeah, I know he’s from N.C, but it’s the closest thing I’ve got). Jeff pretty much told Jericho it was time to put-up or shut-up and told him he wanted to fight him that night. If Jericho won, the title match at Judgement Day with Edge & Jeff would become a three-way scrap for the belt. Jeff told Chris he would expose him for the loser he really was, Chris swung a punch and missed, Jeff slapped him and took off his coat *wolf-whistle*, Jericho left the ring and Teddy confirmed the match. Sweet!

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Ok, time to move on. After a brief interlude, R-Truth began making his way to the ring via the crowd, encouraging people with no rhythm to get hyped up and do a bouncy hip-hop dance. I almost made the lady in this picture my ‘FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER OF THE SHOW’ (a segment that I totally invented, Adam.) But I found a much better one towards the end of the show.

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R-Truth took on Mike Knox. The bearded one took him to the cleaners. Time for the girls to have a go.  I don’t know if this happens to guys when they watch wrestling (do tell, boys, do tell) but when I see this kind of training effort, I feel kind of ashamed of myself .  As I watched this, I was scarfing down a bacon and fried egg baguette. Thanks for ruining it Michelle McCool. Do you REALLY have to display your amazing stomach like that and make the rest of us feel inferior? Ah who am I kidding? If I looked like that I would just walk around in my underwear with a big cardboard arrow pointing at my abs. Besides, I am of the belief that your body is down to you, so I think I’ll step up the crunches this week.

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It’s been a good week for the ladies. First Mickie and Maryse were given a gimmick-free match on Raw, then Michelle and Gail Kim were given a nice little slot of time on SD. Result! Although, I’m not entirely sure why Michelle took a break during the match to do some push-ups. Show-off! And Alicia could do with ditching the screeching too. But otherwise, it was pretty fantastic.  Even better than Raw. Maybe I don’t need to write my post of complaint about the women after all. (But I will anyway). Michelle McCool set the Faith-Breaker in motion and it was curtains for Gail Kim.

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In the interview area, Jeff Hardy stepped up for a chat with old pal, Josh Matthews, about how he planned on eliminating the distraction that is Chris Jericho. A couple of rooms away and, oh no, my worst fears from last week have been realised. The hideous zebra-print fabric IS part of Maria’s new clothing line. NOOOOOOO!

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It’s ok. I still love you, Maria.  Meanwhile, Edge comes in and Teddy gives him a match that night against CM Punk. Yum! Title match? Non-Title Match? That’s for Punk to decide. Bring it on. Back in the ring, John Morrison is taking on Charlie Haas, who is accompanied by Shelton Benjamin. I feel like I’m supposed to care a lot more than I do about John Morrison. But I kinda don’t. Maybe in a year or so when he’s cut his teeth in the big-leagues. And cuts his hair. Then I might consider him mildly sexy. Shamen? Doubtful. Oh, just in case you DO care, Morrison pinned Haas and spent a couple of minutes daring Shelton Benjamin to take his shirt off.

Now on to something I DO care about – CM Hunk vs Edge (take II).  CROTCH WATCH: Lavender. You know what that means. ………………… whoa, drifted off in to a fantasy there for a moment. Ok, I’m here. They pretty much repeated the same match they had last week, meaning that it was great but I felt like I’d seen it before. Because I had. But rather than have Edge lose and risk the briefcase being cashed in, he walked away from the match, keeping his precious title intact. Punk had just about persuaded Edge to return to the ring when this happened………….

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Only the lavender trunks and some well timed clenching made the whole thing slightly more palatable than the first time around.

This was followed by Cryme Tyme and their two female puppets, Eve Torres (who I like a tiny bit) and Layla (who I should like, but don’t).  I’m  not recapping this tripe. I’m saving it for my serious post. And I can’t be bothered to recap Ziggler and Khali either. I’m nauseated by Ziggler and terrified of Khali. So I’m skipping. Lame, I know, but I’m sick enough this week…..I don’t need any more nausea.

On to the main event, which was fantastic on so many levels. We had Edge on commentary at the announce table, Jericho and Jeff Hardy in the ring and half way through the match, Rey Mysterio joined in and scooted around the ring to keep the crowd firing on all cylinders. Edge donned his headset, kids’ favourite – Jeff Hardy – bounced in and Jericho followed.  The match was rolling along nicely and Jeff was looking dominant. Jericho seemed to be edging towards the ramp when Mysterio came out to make sure he didn’t leg it, allowing Jeff to capitalise.

But by far the best thing about the whole match was Edge’s  commentary and, in particular, his snippy banter with JR. They sounded like a couple on the brink of divorce, failing at being civil in a public place. Poor Todd Grisham had to be piggy in the middle of their lovers’ tiff. It was brilliant. Favourite line from Edge? “Yes, this’ll be the only time you’ll hear me cheering and have the pom-poms on for Jeff Hardy.” I know it’s too obvious, but my photoshop senses were tingling and I couldn’t let it slide without doing this:

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That’s the scariest effing cheerleader I’ve ever seen. I think I just gave MYSELF nightmares with my OWN photoshopping. *shudder* Anyway, they began scrapping outside of the ring and Jericho threw Jeff straight in to Edge’s face, knocking him off his pedestal….literally.

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They made their way back in to the ring, Jeff almost pinning Jericho by grabbing at his crotch and dragging him down while Edge distracted him with a hissy fit at the side of the ring. He kicked out in just enough time and reversed the move, sneakily using the ropes for leverage. Edge had already stormed off and Rey Mysterio did his Justice of the Peace thing, alerting the referee to Jericho’s cheating. Jericho told Rey to keep his cherry out and, while distracted, Jeff finished him off.

Jeff and Edge did a stare-down thing, then just as Jericho regained his composure, Rey Mysterio leapt on to him from the ropes. You know, just for a laugh. Jericho did a strange kick-out AFTER he’d been pounced upon, Rey did more crab-claw-hands and Chris was left hacking his lungs up on the mat.

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FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER OF THE SHOW

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This little girl – who looked bedazzled by her whole WWE experience. Possibly even her first WWE experience. And her little friends were cute too. Cheering along and waving their action figures in the air. Bless their little cotton socks. Ah, youthful innocence. I remember it well. Remember watching wrestling and having that starry-eyed look on your face? Oh, wait, I still do. That’s why I’m still here. Duh!