requiem for a dreamer

Some of you may remember, back in the dark and mysterious days before NXT, that I used to write recaps on here about ECW. Back then, as now, I wasn’t the most reliable recapper. A real life involving a full time job, 4 year old twins and a crippling Dandelion & Burdock addiction would often conspire to leave me without enough time to do the show justice. Also, with ECW being a shorter show than Raw or Smackdown, there was a higher wrestling to messing about ratio – and let’s face it, this blog is more concerned with the messing about part on the whole.

Towards the end of ECW’s run back in February, I did briefly address this in a blog about the announcement that ECW was being replaced with NXT. At the time, Taz was very dismissive and outspoken about the treatment that ECW had been given by Vince McMahon and the WWE. I was quite taken aback by Taz’s comments, especially since he was quite happy to admit that he defected from ECW to join WWE for the money, yet he was happy to criticise Vince McMahon for making money from the ECW initials.

Fast forward to this week, and Tommy Dreamer’s recent promo on TNA iMPACT! If you haven’t seen it (and quite frankly I hope most of you haven’t, as giving TNA viewing figures is only encouraging them) then you can view it via YouTube here:

Powerful and emotional stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. The incredibly masculine holding back of the tears… the supportive hands of Mick Foley… Dixie Carter offering full control of the PPV to Dreamer and the others… Except of course it isn’t. It’s bloody awful and Dreamer, Rhyno, Raven, Richards and Foley should be ashamed. For all the bluff posturing of the “ECW Originals” decrying Vince McMahon’s bastardisation of ECW – nothing he did once the weekly show started was anywhere near as disheartening and insulting as TNA’s constant toadying to wrestlers who may have been a big name “in the other company”.

It’s been a long list so far: ex-WWE guys who have been dragged out of retirement (or unemployment) by TNA and given top pushes or, even more disturbingly, positions of actual power. Jeff Hardy (twice! the second despite his highly publicised drugs arrest), Shannon Moore, Kevin Nash, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Brian Kendrick, Elijah Burke, Kurt Angle, Ken Anderson and more.

And now, TNA have moved on to pastures new – picking up ex-ECW wrestlers to put on HardCORE Justice (their annoying capitalisation, not mine) “a one-night-only celebration of hardcore wrestling featuring a never before seen reunion of legendary wrestling superstars” that is being billed as “The Last Stand”. OK, so – assuming that none of us have ever seen, or even heard of, the excellent original ECW One Night Stand PPV that the WWE put on, TNA are organising a “never before seen” reunion of ECW guys in a PPV environment, while coincidentally using the words “ONE NIGHT only” and “last STAND” on the official website.

Although of course, ECW One Night Stand wasn’t even the first reunion show for ECW guys. Two days before that there was the first show in a short series known as Hardcore Homecoming, featuring ECW talent in a series of hardcore, no holds barred matches. Still there’s no way TNA could have heard of these relatively obscure shows, not unless they happened to include current TNA talents like Mick Foley, Raven, Rhino and Team 3D. Oh, and of course, they would also need to have been booked and promoted by somebody heavily entrenched in TNA management such as… oh I don’t know… Jeremy Borash say. And while we’re stretching the bounds of possibility, lets be really outlandish and say that Borash would have had to also hypothetically film, edit and produce a documentary about the shows called Hardcore Forever…

Anyway, making fun of TNA and their unfathomable booking decisions is as easy as shooting Hardys in a barrel. The issue I have at the moment is the Tommy Dreamer promo. This is a guy that was first employed by the WWE back during the Invasion angle, was given 14 Hardcore Championship reigns, then a number of office jobs within the company, and eventually was given an ECW Championship run by the WWE that left him in the record books as the only person ever to hold the ECW Title in both “Original” ECW and “WWE” ECW. All this despite, lets be honest, him not being the best wrestler in the world. During the old ECW days that may not have been so important, but once he made the transition to the WWE style his shortcomings really began to show, and it became more and more apparent as a fan that he has was taking up roster space and TV time that could have been better utilised by other wrestlers.

It’s worth noting before we go on, Tommy’s first ECW Championship reign under Paul Heyman lasted a whole 30 minutes; whereas the terrible company that “punished” him and his friends gave him a 7 week Championship run. Oh yeah, the “punished” thing? That comes from TNA’s hardcorejustice.com site, where a quote attributed to Tommy states:

Dixie has allowed us to have a chance to finally thank the fans that have supported us for all of these years [...] In the past, we’ve been lied to and we’ve been punished for being who we were and building what we did. Now we have a chance to get everyone back together for one last night.”

Now I like Tommy Dreamer as a person, he seems like a nice guy for the most part. His twitter feed has been consistently entertaining, and his appearance for independent companies such as Wrestlegasm favourites CHIKARA are good publicity. But I can’t figure out how I’m offended by this. I know I am offended, just not in which way. You see, I can look at the promo in one of two ways:

1. It’s a shoot.

Tommy genuinely believes that he, and all the other ex-ECW wrestlers, were treated badly by Vince. A statement that seem deluded at best, and genuinely ungrateful and petty at worst. As I’ve mentioned, Tommy wasn’t the best wrestler in the world, yet WWE kept him on far longer than they perhaps should, giving him a title reign and constantly referring to him as the “Heart and Soul of ECW” – a title which I am sure he took great delight in hearing each week.

2. It’s a work

Tommy doesn’t believe any of this, he realises how lucky he was to be a part of such a huge entity as the WWE. He knows that the exposure and publicity he received mean he can pick and choose appearances and independent bookings for as long as he wants, and that the WWE actually made more of a success of the ECW brand that people give them credit for. However, despite knowing all this, he is prepared to stand in the ring of the main competitor and run down WWE, and Vince in particular.

Either way, Tommy doesn’t exactly come out of this situation smelling of roses. But, it’s only fair that we look into this a little deeper. Tommy’s main complaint seems to be the way that some of the other guys were used and tossed aside by the WWE for being the same people they were in ECW. I’ve no doubt that there is some truth in this; however, you have to look at the kind of people we are talking about here. Let’s take a couple of the main ECW wrestlers who made the leap to WWE.

Rob Van Dam – Became the first ECW Champion in the new promotion, beat John Cena in a PPV main event match, becoming the first wrestler in history to hold both the WWE Championship and the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, and the only one ever to hold them at the same time. Managed to get himself suspended for a marijuana offence, but then came back to be given numerous title shots and a Wrestlemania payday. Even after leaving the company due to his wife’s illness, Van Dam came back to make a surprise appearance on both the Raw 15th Anniversary show and the 2009 Royal Rumble.

Sabu – Was released by TNA, and was given a World Heavyweight Title shot in his debut match for WWE shortly afterwards, against Rey Mysterio at One Night Stand. Two months later he won a Battle Royal and was given a PPV match against John Cena. Despite then being arrested for possession of drugs, Sabu was still given a title match against Big Show at Summerslam and a Wrestlemania payday.

Hardly being treated terribly, and the same goes for other ECW Originals such as Balls Mahoney and The Sandman – both of whom were given pushes and storylines far outweighing any actual wrestling ability.

On the flip side, WWE’s incarnation of ECW was arguably responsible for bringing up a new crop of Superstars and giving them space to learn to react to much larger crowds than they may have been used to previously; as well as reinvigorating the careers of established wrestlers such as William Regal and Christian.

People like CM Punk and Evan Bourne, both of whom had worked with great success on the independent scene, were given space and time to learn how to adapt their style to fit in with the WWE and it’s larger arenas – most notably with Punk fazing out the use of the Anaconda Vise as a finisher and focussing more on the Go To Sleep (a move which can be appreciated from a greater distance in the crowd.)

Less experienced wrestlers had the opportunity to use ECW as a training facility of sorts – people such as Seamus, Jack Swagger, Yoshi Tatsu and Zack Ryder all came into their own on ECW. After Joey Mercury had his face destroyed by the Hardy Curse, Johnny Nitro was floundering in singles competition until a transfer to ECW and “THE INCIDENT” gave him an unexpected title shot. Cue the transformation to John Morrison and a greater deal of success that anyone could have foreseen.

The trouble seems to be one of perception with ECW. People such as Tommy Dreamer, perhaps understandably, will only focus on the elements of ECW that they were involved in and that made them famous – the hardcore matches, the brawls throughout the ECW arena, the use of weapons… I would argue however, that the thing that made both forms of ECW great was instead the opportunity it gave wrestlers who didn’t necessarily fit the WWF/WCW mould. I’ve mentioned some of the people that the new ECW gave new life to, but the same happened with Heyman’s show.

Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Steve Austin, Lance Storm, Eddie Guerrero, Tajiri – all people that were overlooked or dismissed from the WWE or WCW and were given breaks on ECW. I said it last time and I stand by it now : both forms of ECW were great.

The original ECW wasn’t great because of any perceived anarchic outsider status (after all, they were bankrolled by Vince McMahon for some time)

It wasn’t great because of the weapons and bloodshed (after all, if there was such a demand for that style, CZW would be challenging TNA for viewers)

It was great because, in between the brawls, they showcased some amazing wrestling from some amazing wrestlers. This is what made the original ECW so enjoyable to watch – the variety, and it’s the true legacy of Paul Heyman’s work that was carried on through to the WWE version. Building a show around the hardcore elements of ECW was always a bad move, even when the wrestlers involved where in their heyday.

The original ECW themselves didn’t do this; their PPVs always offered a combination of brawling, weapon based matches and high-flying technical wrestling. WWE didn’t do this; go and look at the line-up for the first One Night Stand. As well as the incredible Masato Tanaka vs Mike Awesome match, and the main event fight between the Dudleys and Dreamer/Sandman – the PPV featured some great wrestling matches with Lance Storm vs Jericho and Mysterio vs Psychosis being the stand outs for me personally.

It remains to be seen just how much of the HardCORE Justice PPV is given over to the hardcore style matches – but it seems a pretty safe bet given TNAs over reliance on older names to push their shows that Dreamer will be in the main event, and that it will be weapon-based. It will also be interesting to see just who they manage to get involved. They’ve already exhausted the “top tier” of ECW wrestlers available to them, and have delved down to the levels of Simon Diamond.

I’m not going to deny Tommy Dreamer has contributed a great deal to the wrestling industry through his passion and commitment, and I would never deny anyone the right to pursue a pay day – but at some point the nostalgic rose-tinted view that some people have of certain elements of a company that once employed them, whether they had a right to be in a wrestling ring or not, had to stop. And the over reliance on washed-up, used-up and burnt out names to sell PPVs in 2010 is starting to verge on the pathetically hilarious.

I’ll leave you with another Dreamer quote from the TNA site. “TNA is the only place that this event could happen , […] There are no politics to worry about and no restrictions in place. The fans know that I have a lot of extremely close friends, so they can expect anything and everything to happen. I have some surprises for everyone. ”

Let’s hope he’s right, and we’re all pleasantly surprised…

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There’s nothing quite like a tender, bromantic moment to warm the cockles of your heart. Especially when it’s a legend squeezing his younger opponent. Man Hugs were a touch thin on the ground this week. But that’s ok, we were treated to a really special one at Night of Champions.

Christian had just recaptured the ECW title and was offered the hand of Tommy Dreamer to close the match. But, oh no, Christian doesn’t do cordial handshakes. He does great, big “I LOVE YOU, MAAAAAAN! hugs.

Feeling chilly? Puts your hands out in front of your monitor and feel the warmth oozing out of this……………………………

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night of champions: swagger of a college kid

Alright, so, before I get in to the matches let me just say…. POOR. PERFORMANCE. PHILADELPHIA. What was with that crowd?  They bearly managed to lift out of their seats until Jeff Hardy started Swantoning all over the place. And that was the last match! I always imagine that cities and states with a particular connection to wrestling will rock harder than other places. Maybe they were distracted by the baseball season or something. Anyway, there’s a lot of bling exchanges to get through so let’s get cracking.

15DHDPretty much every NoC recap I’ve read has said this, but it was kind of telling that Legacy’s much anticipated match with Chris Jericho and a mystery partner was on first.  First matches aren’t generally the best you’re gonna get. They’re there to make sure the people stuck in line waiting to buy an overpriced hotdog and the PPV people at home who can’t get their viewing card number to go through don’t miss the biggest match of the night.

When Jericho announced he’d reveal a new tag partner at Night of Champions, the internet tom-toms started beating and all kinds of wild and wonderful names were thrown about. My personal favourites were the Undertaker, Randy Orton and Christian. How great would it have been for Randy to go up against his helper monkeys and win? Later to lose the WWE title, of course.  And how awesome would Jericho and Christian have been? Team Canada Part Deux? Amazing. Look, I’m even making up my own wrestlegasm moments now.  Anyway, what we actually got was Big Show. Ok, so kind of an anti-climax, but he totally redeemed himself by leaving giant paw-shaped slap mark on Cody Rhodes’ chest.

If it's make-up, don't spoilt it and tell me. I like to think he gave him a really good thump.

If it's make-up, don't spoilt it and tell me. I like to think he gave him a really good thump.

Jericho and Show kept the belts. Game on!

Next up CM Punk, the Maude Flanders of WWE, wanted to confront the audience concerning their debauched, toxic ways and accused the parents (sorry, paRENT) in attendance of damaging their kids.

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It’s strange, part of me thinks “who the hell do you think you ARE, Punk? Telling ME  having a beer is tantamount to shooting heroin in my arm?’ But there’s something a little bit tantalising about a boy THAT square, even if Preachy Punk is just part of a the character. It’s almost like he’s begging to be corrupted. If he ever wants to go the other way and clink pale ale bottle necks together with someone, I’m right here.

Drank a couple of bottles of these on an empty stomach and couldn't feel my feet. True story.

Drank a couple of bottles of this on an empty stomach and couldn't feel my feet. True story.

One question though, a tattoo is ink embedded in the pigment of your skin, right? A foreign chemical under your skin? Just sayin’.

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Moving on, I don’t often give much blog time to ECW. It’s not that I don’t watch or love it, it’s just that I don’t have time to squash everything in here. I can confirm though that I am a total peep and every time Christian’s music kicks I get a funny little tingle in my fingers. We’ll call them Mini-Wrestlegasms. The match was solid and the two shared a lovely, bromantic moment when Christian took the title at the end. But you’ll have to wait til the end of the week before I tell you more about that. Man Hug Moments are now a special feature all of their own.

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Alright, so next we had a Six-Pack Challenge for the US Championship, fought over by Jack Swagger, Carlito, Primo, The Miz, M.V.P and Kofi Kingston.  It went how you might expect a Raw mid-card match to go and wasn’t spectacular, but it was energetic and seemed to turn the key in the backs of the audience for a few minutes. Especially with this ménage à quatre.

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Kofi kept the belt, which was probably a great weight off his mind, what with his dog having hernia surgery this week and all. (I <3 Twitter) I do have a bone to pick with WWE though.  What’s with all the Waffle House hate? First The Miz tells Mickie James he predicts she’ll be reduced to working as a Waffle House waitress within a few years, then Jerry Lawler describes  Jack Swagger as “tougher than a Waffle House steak”? In the interest of fairness, you could have said Denny’s or Shoney’s or IHOP or Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans. Ok, not Bob Evans. Bob Evans is freakin’ awesome.

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From one thing that makes me feel fat to another – Michelle McCool vs Melina. It’s a sad day, people. Like all passing crushes, my girl-crush on Michelle McCool has come to an end. I’m not entirely sure why, but her voice started to grate on me and, ultimately, I tend to shake my pom-poms for faces. I always fall out of love with heels after the initial excitement. (Unless they’re Chris Jericho.)  So, I was fully in Melina’s corner, despite her Smackdown promo involving her chucking foundation powder all over Michelle. Must we ALWAYS use beauty products to fight, ladies? I’m looking at you too, Maryse! My brother informs me that that’s the only way girls know how to fight. I proved him wrong by punching him in the gut………. and sweeping some Jeff Hardy inspired liquid eye-liner across his face.

The match wasn’t bad, but they’ve probably done better on Smackdown. I should know. I actually pay attention to most women’s matches. I would have concentrated a little more closely on this one but the incessant screeching kept distracting me. Kind of like watching women’s tennis. Michelle kept the title, but it’s ok Melina. You’ll get another chance. And, alright, you haven’t got any gold to hang around your waist at the moment, but you boyfriend can hold jewels IN his waist. Hmm? Feel better?

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Ok, time for a big ‘un. Triple H and John Cena try to capture the belt from around Randy Orton’s waist…..or his shoulder depending on what mood he’s in that day.  It started off kind of slow. There was all kinds of slipping under the ropes and posturing. Not that I ever complain about man parades but from a wrestling point of view… slow. But proceedings picked up and it turned in to a pretty good match. Hunter had Randy in a sharp shooter, John joined in with an STF and even the great Randy Orton couldn’t take the pain of the two of them on top of him and started tapping out. I’d be willing to give it a shot, but that’s for another day. Despite the submission, with both guys on top of him, the ref couldn’t decide whether to grant victory to John or Triple H. Tricky! The official scratched his head and consulted his mental rule book on what to do.

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But all this dithering gave the helper monkeys time to scuttle in and remove the boys from Orton’s back.  John tried to put Cody out of action, but before he could adjust his attitude Randy stuck the RKO on John’s neck and took the match. Ok, I need to sit down for a moment to recover. What? You didn’t realise I write these things standing up?

I’m gonna go and sneak backstage to eavesdrop on someone’s conversation. Oh here’s something juicy – The Miz and Maryse. The Miz made his usual advances which, after initially encouraging, Maryse shot down in flames. The line between flirty retreat and outrageous tease is fine and it looks like Maryse travelled too far in the wrong direction.  When even The Miz is turning you down, things ain’t looking too crash hot.

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It was the start of a bad night for Maryse, who went on to lost the Women’s Title to my new number one chickie, Mickie James.  The crowd were AWFUL for this match. AWFUL! And ok, it certainly wasn’t the best match they’ve had together, but apart from the odd wolf whistle and a decent cheer when Mickie took the match, nada.

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It’s funny how things change. Who would have thought a year ago that Smackdown would dominate the final two matches of a PPV and that one of them would involve a former Spirit Squad member.  But Dolph Ziggler has moved up the ladder pretty swiftly over the past few months, and even though I was suspicious of him at first (mainly because of his hair) he was impressive in this match. Ok, so Rey Mysterio is a more than generous performer. But still, I thought Ziggler was kind of special and it makes me excited about the band of college educated athletes floating round the roster at the moment.

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As expected, Mysterio won the match, taking Ziggler out with a 619 once but he’d had his fun. But he gave him a gift of a match. Welcome to the big-time, sir. By far the match I enjoyed most but, oh dear, looks like Maria might be rethinking her choice of beau. She didn’t exactly run to his broken side, did she?

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By the way, if you were as hypnotised by Dolph’s tiny, shiny shorts as I was, keep your eyes peeled at the weekend. I might have a treat for you. Wink-wink. Nudge-nudge. Say-no-more.

Final match of the night belonged to CM Punk and Jeff Hardy. Ok, listen guys. I wanted Punk to win as much as you did. You KNOOOOW how I feel about Mr. Brooks.  But all the marks need to take a Xanax (very un-Punk like, I know) and give Jeff his props.  He’s been working hard for a long time now and if you remember, he only held the belt for a few seconds before Punk cashed in his MITB contract and snatched it away. It’s not Jeff’s fault the powers that be decided to push him. He even asked for a break! It’s not his fault that kids are eating up the promos and feel connected to him.  Embrace! Rant over.

The match itself was pretty solid, as most of their matches have been, and it was awesome to see even more personality then usual from Punk. This strong Straight Edge angle has really brought him out of his shell and I LOVE it. Excuse me for going all-out girly, but there were points when my mind said things like “Oh My God, I don’t think he could look any cuter than he does right there.”

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Punk put the GTS on Jeff but failed to make the pin. And again. And again. Exasperated, Punk took his ball (belt) and went to go home, hoping he’d be counted out, disqualified and remain keeper of the gold. But Jeff was having none of it and dragged Punk back in the ring by the ear.  A few minutes and a Swanton Bomb later – the title had changed hands.

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Ahhhhhhh, it’s awesome to be back on my wrestlegasm throne. I missed ya. More before the end of the week and lots to come over the weekend.

UPDATE: As you will see from the first comment in the comments box, Maude Flanders was supposed to be Helen Lovejoy. Soz. A lapse of concentration on my part. But the dearly departed Mrs. Flanders  would not have been a Jeff Hardy fan anyway. And  you got the idea, right? No harm, no foul.   Huge thanks to my colleague, Adam of LOL Wresslin, for so graciously pointing out my error.

raw(lite): almost as important as my birthday

It’s been a busy week round these parts. The lofty business of higher education and facilitating the graduation of the kiddies under my wing has been hectic beyond any kind of hectic I’ve ever experienced.  An Everest type mountain of paperwork, so many digits my eyes started shivering, and almost impossible deadlines that were so tight they made my heart beat faster (not in a good Jeff Hardy in a falling towel sort of way – Thanks Adam & Matt). On the plus side, the chaos was punctuated by my birthday, which was made even better by the personal birthday card and message from my John. He even recorded a special message for me. Wondering why he didn’t say my name? He did. ‘Champ’ is his cute nickname for me. Listen…..

(click n play)


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I’m coming to get some, John. I’m coming!

Soooo, another event almost as important as my birthday took place this week. Yes, a special 3-hour Raw that wasn’t just Raw, because it had Smackdown and ECW matches on it too.  Like a Pay Per View, but not, ’cause it’s  free. Huh? Let’s give this strange hybrid a whirl, shall we?

It’s Raw, so who’s the first person out? Oh, Chris Jericho. According to Jericho, Raw has gone in to a tumultuous tailspin since he left. Well, I wouldn’t go that far, Chris, but……. Anyway, he couldn’t go on without insulting the crowd in his usual adjective heavy manner. This week’s Jericho Jibe is brought to you by the phrase “All of you [the crowd] are still the same ignorant, insipid, bulbous manatees you’ve always been.”

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Charlotte residents, according to Jericho. Cuter than Ric Flair, anyway.

He went on to diss Rey Mysterio which, of course, was answered but the playing of Booyaka-Booyaka-619! Good lord, I do love when Rey’s all fired up and angry. Raaaaawr! As soon as the bell tolled he tripped Jericho, leaped on to him and began the onslaught.  But Chrissy-boy was not over-n-out. I know people are getting a bit bored with these two together, but seriously, they are awesome rivals in the ring. AWE-SOME! Mysterio jumped from the top rope on to Jericho, but Chris managed to grab him and started pulling his mask off again. Worried about being exposed further, Rey grabbed at the mask and  lost his concentration, giving Jericho the cover.

vlcsnap-848244 copyKnow what I feel like now? A Josh Matthews and Randy Orton interview. Well, whaddaya know, here’s one right now. I love when I get what I want.  I’m not entirely sure what happened in the first part of the interview, because I was Googling ‘How tall is Josh Matthews?’ and was shocked to find out he’s 7″ taller than me. Which means that Randy would be REALLY EFFING HUGE stood up against me. NIIICE! If I ever get one of those “Please welcome my guest at this time…….” jobs, I’m gonna need a little box to stand on. Like when Vickie had to do scenes where she was stood next to Big Show.

Anyway, Randy was kind of mean and Josh being a sweet little thing, John Cena (fresh from recording my birthday message) came to the rescue. He told Josh to run along and took Randy on himself. John suggested that the WWE Universe would like to know why Randy is such a gutless, spineless, disrespectful Grand Wizard of the Baby Oil Boys’ Club. He also went on to suggest that, as Randy seemed to have forgotten there were FOUR people contesting for the WWE Championship now that Batista was out of action, maybe all the oil he rubs on himself was starting to rot his brain.

Ok, first of all, this whole scene =

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Secondly, Grand Wizard? Baby Oil Boys’ Club? Too easy, John. WAY too easy. But that doens’t mean I’m not gonna do this………………..

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Moving on, Mr. McMahon had an announcement to make and, apparently, it wasn’t to announce the new GM in the wake of Vickie G’s resignation. Ok, here’s where my timezone problem chimes in and stops me from getting the full impact of this whole thing. In theory, if I had avoided being on the internet for the whole of Tuesday, I could have watched Raw after work and experienced its dramatic events the same as everyone in North America. But asking me to stay away from the information super highway for  a full 24 hours is like asking Barack Obama to stop being charismatic for 24 hours. Ain’t gonna happen. So I’ll do my best to act surprised, but I can’t promise successful faking. K?

Vince McMahon, looking even more tangerine coloured than usual, appeared on the Titantron and announced that he had sold the Raw brand to a currently unnamed bidder.

Convincing performance? Send my Oscar via FedEx. Thanks.

Convincing performance? Send my Oscar via FedEx. Thanks.

Faced with the trauma of knowing that Raw had been sold to a mystery wealthy person, what else could they do but send out an ECW title match to refocus the mind. Christian (who is the owner of my fave theme music in the whole company BTW) made his way out, closely followed by current champion, Tommy Dreamer. Oh, right, I skipped Extreme Rules. He won the belt and a contract extension at the PPV. All caught up? Good. Christian put up a good fight, but Dreamer capitalised on Christian’s niggly ankle and pinned him, keeping the belt for another week.

Dave Batista successfully underwent major bicep surgery this past week to repair the injury he suffered at the evil hands of Randy Orton and a steel chair. Yah. That was it. Randy did it. He didn’t have the injury already. Honest.

Mmmm. Iodine-y.

Mmmm. Iodine-y.

But all this means the WWE Championship is up for grabs and so important is its capture that we were graced with a countdown clock leading up to the match. Phew! I would have missed it had I not had the clock on the screen. Mr. RKO, John Cena, Big Show and the newly returned Triple H batttled it out to take home the belt. Eight minutes after the bell ding-ding-dinged, Big Show was bearing the brunt of everyone’s attack and it looked as if John was going to pin Show for the title. But he hadn’t counted on Randy Orton slithering his way under the ropes. Randy slammed John in to the turnbuckle, put a beautiful RKO on Big Show and pinned him. He grabbed at the belt like a kid grabbing at his new Tonka Truck on Christmas day and triumphantly made his way up the ramp.

vlcsnap-87837 copyAlright, with the WWE championship in the hands of, well, anyone, it was time for Vince to tell us who he was selling Raw to.  It waaaaaaaaaaas *drumroll*…..

Donald J. Trump. Yep. Him. Billionaire dude. Legendary businessman. Head honcho on the American version of The Apprentice. Had it been Alan Sugar I might have been happy, but I was initially furious. Like I said in my last audio post, I like to see non-wrestling jobs go to people with a connection to the industry. It’s the wrestling tree of life. I was annoyed that someone with no connection other than a much publicised Wrestlemania Battle of the Billionaires which ended with Vince being scalped a few years ago, had been given such a high profile role. But, after listening to the business and marketing pitch on episode 3 of Kick-Out!! Radio this week, I concede that my stance was a little naiive. Must learn to engage my brain before speaking.

Donald Trump, who managed to look even more orange than Mr. M, will just be a figurehead for Raw. It’s not like he’ll be the GM, popping up on every show. He’ll appoint a general manager and things will swiftly move on. And, I wonder how Shane and Stephanie feel about this? Aren’t they heirs to the company? Will they be happy that daddy dearest sold off their inheritance? Doubtful. Actually this could be more interesting than I originally thought.

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This whole segment was followed by Mickie James vs Rosa Mendes. Rosa wrestles? Really? Good for her. If ever you thought WWE doesn’t care that much about the Women’s Division, your fears were confirmed when it created a nothing match and put it right after the biggest announcement in weeks.  It was almost like saying, we’ll put something on nobody will care about so everyone at home can have five minutes to digest and debate D. Trump’s “purchase” of Raw. Sometimes I feel like giving up on this crusade. But I won’t.  Mickie won, Maryse did a hair swirl, Mickie tried to kick her in the face and Maryse ran away laughing.

Feeling like the crowd needed some light relief, we returned to join Goldust and Hornswoggle in the ring, shooting t-shirts in to the audience with one of those mascot machine gun thingies. Aww. Nice guys. But they were rudely interrupted by The Miz, as per usual, so I went out to take a whizz. Which is why I’m not sure what else happened in this part, but it ended up with The Miz knocking Goldust out and shooting Hornswoggle in the knackers with the t-shirt missile launcher. I get the feeling this ain’t over.

imyrimytsAnyone else need a break from Raw? Yeah, me too. Let’s Down some Smack with Edge, Punk and Jeff.  There I was thinking that the two big events this week were my birthday and the Trump topic. But there was something else. Something really special I didn’t think I would be welcoming back so soon. Yes, it’s the majestic return of CROTCH WATCH. If you’re new here and unfamiliar with CROTCH WATCH, it all started when CM Punk started wearing some rather skimpy, lavender tinted trunks. So taken with them was I, that I began monitoring Punk’s choice of trunks on a weekly basis. Purely for fashion purposes of course. But, he soon stopped wearing the light coloured trunks and I took the hint that I was being inappropriate, putting that segment away in the back of my knicker drawer until he decided he missed the attention.

It appeared it only took two weeks for him to miss my perving and he came out this week in WHITE TRUNKS. WHITE! Everyone knows that people who wear white bathing suits (and wrestle trunks) WANT to be noticed in the groinal area. How lovely to know he really did enjoy being the object of my affections after all.

So. Yeah. There was a match too. It was actually the best match of the night. I love you, Smackdown. Despite all the ‘over-egging the pudding’ in the Raw storylines, Smackdown still managed to pull an awesome match out of the bag without a ridiculous fanfare. Beautiful.

Edge ran at Punk to try and take him out with a spear, but Punk did an amazing jump over his head and Edge took Jeff out instead. Punk threw Edge in to the turnbuckle, and was running at him when Edge managed to push him over the ropes, damaging his knee on the steel steps as he fell. The medics came to Punk’s aide while Edge and Jeff continued in the ring. Jeff stuck a Swanton on him and went in for the pin, but Punk managed to get back on his feet, dragged Jeff out and pinned Edge to keep his title. Oh my god. AMAZIIIING!

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Now a return to Raw. Or is it ECW? Oh, it’s both. The Hart Dynasty v Primo and Carlito. And we had the pleasure of listening to Rhodes and DiBiase at the announce table. They rendered the match pointless by interrupting it. What a waste of The Hart Dynasty. Was that the first time we’ve seen them outside ECW? I think so. Shame.

Know what else was a waste of time? The 16-man Battle Royal*. It was like they were saying, we’ve got loads of Raw guys who didn’t get a pop this week, so we’ll put 16* men in the ring and let Triple H win. He’ll only end up taking his revenge on Randy at The Bash anyway. But wait, the new boss-man has something to say. Trump decided that he didn’t want to wait for The Bash. Orton v Triple H would be on the next Raw. That gives me hope of something different for The Bash. My feelings of hope are often way off kilter though.

* I know it was 10. But there were so many faces I couldn’t keep up  with who was there. It was a joke that went over most people’s heads. It’s ok. I know I’m not very funny. Thank you to those who took the time to email me to tell me I got it wrong. I know. It was deliberate.

Raw(Lite): It’s Getting Drafty in hurrr

Soooo, it’s all been happening in the WWE this week.  Let’s start with Raw and the annual WWE draft.  Just like any long-running TV soap, there are a few regular stories that keep things ticking along but, essentially, tonight is all about the draft – management shaking up the snowglobe of superstars and watching those sparkly boys and girls fall in a different spot to where they once settled.

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Last year it was all about shifting things around so that the spread was a little more even and every brand not being treated as Raw’s bitch. I wondered how it would all pan out this time around. I was super-excited. That moment where the screen starts speedily flicking through all those faces makes my fingers tingle. Being that I’m a few hours ahead of the American broadcast, I had to go to sleep while it was going on. Boo! I went to bed singing……………………………

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Lots to get through, so let’s get cut the crooning and cracking. The first draft pick of the night was to be decided by Rey Mysterio (Raw) and Evan Bourne (ECW).  Evan Bourne is cur-ute. I think I need to start paying more attention to ECW. Really. In fact, excuse me while I check my Sky+ planner to see when it’s on……ok, I’m back.  Rey Mysterio pinned Bourne and won the first picky for Raw. This early in the show it’s gonna be someone fairly low-rent. It waaaaas…..

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MVP. Hmm. Ok. I have no real feelings either way regarding MVP, other than he has some of the lamest entrance music in the WWE. Get some cool music and I might kinda like ya. Totally up to you. You either want my love or you don’t. I’m guessing he couldnt care less about my love, but whatever. On we go.

Kane (Raw)  Vs The Brian Kendrick (Smackdown). A mis-match if ever I saw one but, as we know, size doesn’t matter in the WWE. It’s not what you got but what you do with it. And, errr, *whispering*who the writers say will win. Ahem.  Kane won fairly swiftly and scooped another draft pick for Raw.  Is wasssss……

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Yeah. Fine. Whatever. I suppose all that pre-Wrestlemania stuff won him a spot on Raw.Ummm, bravo Big Show?

After Randy Orton had a verbal tustle with Mrs. Guerrero (see my last post for the video) it was time for a little behind-the-curtain fun, and you should know by now it’s my favourite source of humour. So there’s John Cena, you know, just hanging out, chillin’, illin’, chit-chatting with one of the production crew when all of a sudden…………….

Ahhhhhhh. I love when John cracks jokes. THE CHAMP IS HERE. HEEEEERE! *sigh* I also love when he puts together a little combo of hilarity and seriousness. Yes, Jack Swagger, you ARE punk kid who likes to run his mouth. John will give you a lil lesson on respect! Because he said so. And because I said so too. I love when we think the same thoughts. :D

Time for a dollop of Diva action. Michelle McCool/Natalya/Maryse  Vs Kelly-Kelly, Melina and Mickie James for another draft pick. Oooooh check out Todd Grisham being all King-Like. Melina can lick your stamps any time? Reeeeeoooaw! You naughty boy, Todd. Well, as you said yourself young man, you’d better get that vintage stamp collection out from under your bed ’cause the Smackdown ladies kicked some tail and Melina got drafted over. Don’t let your glasses get all steamed up, Toddy.

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Neeeeext! Two draft picks on the line with John Cena (Raw) and Jack Swagger (ECW).  Much as I doubted it, I kind of thought they’d let Swagger win; to give two picks to ECW and to introduce Swagger to those who don’t know who he is. Oh Ray, don’t be foolish. John Cena won. Of course. It was, however, one of the longest matches of the night, so maybe that was their way of saying “Dear all, this is Jack Swagger. Get used to him, he’ll be around for a while.” So, the picks. Which too vagabonds made their way to Raw?

mhardydraftActually, Matthew Hardy, I CAN see you, but I don’t wanna.  Put your hand down before John puts it somewhere the sun don’t shine. Who’s next?

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Oh no! Triple H goes back to Raw. Well, I’m not surprised.  Observe that smug look on his chops. It says “I’m going back to Raw because I can do whatever the hell I wanna do! I married the chairman’s daughter. What are you gonna do about it, bitch?” Ok, I’m starting to feel annoyed for Smackdown and ECW now. Big hugs to everyone on SD and ECW. Yeah, because giving hugs is such a chore for me. Edge attacked John Cena from behind (to remind us of the bigger picture) and on we go. Randy Orton is still feeling anxious backstage and he seeks the comfort of his foot-soldiers – Rhodes and DiBiase. They delight him with their plan. He likes it. He likes it a lot. Time for some more drafty-drafty.

Santino Marella (Raw) Vs Khali (Smackdown) in one of the most ludicrous storylines I’ve witnessed in ages. So, I won’t talk about it, I’ll just say that Khali won, FINALLY getting another pick for weary Smackdown. And let me say, I am VEEERY pleased with this one.

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I know people get a bit miffed when their faves get drafted to (allegedly) lesser brands, but I love seeing top peeps on Smackdown. I’ll be watching it anyway, so having lovely boys to look forward to is a nifty little bonus. CM Punk is a big, juicy bonus. Yuuuuummm.

Onwards and upwards for The Miz (ECW) and Kofi Kingston (Raw).  Kofi won. Raw won. AGAIN. Urgh! And the pick izzzz……The Miz. JUST The Miz. No Mr. Morrison to hold his hand. Uh-oh! Michael Cole said it best “THE BROMANCE IS OVER”. It was so “DUUUUUDE! NOOOO!” Aaaand it produced a man-hug moment, which you know I can’t get enough of.

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But then it all went horribly wrong. The Miz, drunk on success, turned on Morrison and left him writhing in agony in the ring. Oh dear. Miz. You’ve chaaaanged, man.miz

Next a Battle Royal involving all three brands, which left Big Show (in his new Raw colours) and Edge alone. Edge flipped Show over the ropes to win two draft picks for Smackdown. Ok, now things are looking up for SD. Numero uno……..

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Ok. Fine. I don’t care much for Kane. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t care when he gets involved in stuff.  He should never have taken his mask off. I liked him better when I thought there was a hideous creature under there.  Back in the day he gave me the spooks. Now? Nah! And secondly………………

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AAAAAAAARRRGHHHH! YES! MY GUY! CHRIS JERICHO. I know there were LOTS of people unhappy with this one, but really, there’s only so much greatness you can fit in to Raw.  On Smackdown he’ll get a, much deserved, bigger slice of the pie. And just imagine, an All-Canadian alliance between Edge and Jericho. Excuse me while I use the cuff of my hoodie to wipe the sides of my mouth.

On we go. Whew! This draft is looooong! My fingers are getting weary. But I will keep going. For you. Aww. I’m nice. Next we have Christian (ECW) Vs Shelton Benjamin (Smackdown).  Let me just say, I’m loving that Christian is back. He funny boy. The good kind of funny. Take note Marella. Anyway, the match. Christian won and ECW got a draft pick. FINALLY. It was Vladimir Koslov.  THANK GOD. Fellas, listen up. If you’re not REALLY FUCKING HOT, don’t wear white briefs in public. If you do, you run the risk of being drafted to ECW where nobody will see you. Got it? Good.koslov

How many are we up to now? Oh I’ve lost count. Next, CM Punk (now Smackdown) and Matt Hardy (now Raw). Matt took Punk out and Raw drafted……

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Yeah, well, you can’t have two belts on one brand, so fairly predictable. NEEEEEEXT!

My honey, Chris Jericho, is back, now representing Smackdown, and is taking on Tommy Dreamer from ECW. Jericho won (poor ECW) and, in a flip-reverse-thingy from last year’s draft, Smackdown clawed back……

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YEEEEY FOR REEEEEY! I love Rey. 33.3% because we have the same name (with different spelling), 33.3%  because he’s good to the kids when he does his ringwalk, 33.3% because he jumps so bloody high in the atmosphere. Smackdown is Rey’s home. I’m glad he gets to go to back to from whence he came.

The draft is over! Phew!  I need a stiff drink after all that. And a tiny little cushion for my battered finger-tips. I wonder if Chris Jericho’s pecs would make a nice finger cushion. Or how about a lip cushion…..yes. Excuse me, I need a moment to think about that…….

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Oh. Hai. You’re still here. Sorry about that. Triple H, Batista and Shane O’Mac took on Legacy in the final match of the night. No draft picks on the line, just a little thing called the WWE Title.  Triple H made the pin, leaving him to take on Randy Orton next week.  Sorry that part’s so short, but it kind of played second-fiddle to the draft this week.

FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER OF THE SHOW

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This dude, looking like a teenage boy who’s just transfered from an all-boys grammar school to a mixed boys-n-girls school in the city. Yes, boy, those are breasts. All women have them.

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By the way there was a supplemental draft on Wednesday. Make of this what you will, I’m off to pour a nice drink……..

Kennedy to Raw

Shad Gaspard to Smackdown

Alicia Fox to Smackdown

-Primo to Raw

Mike Knox to Smackdown

Ezekiel Jackson to ECW

Nikki Bellato Raw

Candice Michelle to Smackdown

Zach Ryder to ECW

Chavo Guererro to Raw

Ricky Ortiz to Smackdown

Layla to Smackdown

Hornswoggle to Raw

DH Smith to ECW

John Morrison to Smackdown

Carlito to Raw

Natalya to ECW

Festus to Raw

JTG to Smackdown

Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown

Brian Kendrick to Raw

Charlie Haas to Smackdown

Hurricane Helms to ECW

Brie Bella to Raw