The Eve and John Conundrum

There came a point where I stopped bickering on a regular basis about how disheartened I was with the WWE Divas division. The wound on my forehead, acquired from banging it against a brick wall, would never heal unless I gave it time to scab. Reacting was always tempting. It stuck its middle finger up at me like smoking, sniggering, backpack-wearing teenagers on a school trip to London; beckoning one of the statuesque Queen’s Guards to buckle under the weight of their immature insult. This week, I snatched at that middle finger.

How did we get here? Why was it okay for the WWE’s top babyface to use derogatory language towards a woman, in front of children? We need to backtrack. The WWE is sitting on a goldmine in its Divas division. And yet, they refuse to plumb the depths of that mine to get to the good stuff. For a company so driven by profit, continually looking for the next big thing to keep fans interested, it’s just lazy economics. Why have a portion of your roster largely idle? The merchandising opportunities alone could be worth a fortune. I never understood why there were no LayCool t-shirts, for example.

There is a cycle of indifference at the heart of this problem. When it comes to long storytelling, indie wrestling matches can largely stand alone, and they’re no less enjoyable as a result. In the WWE, we need a sturdy narrative. We need verbal and physical dialogue that lead into the next week. We need peaks and troughs and, more than anything, we need to care about the characters. During the part of a show you care about least, you empty your bladder, or get something to eat, or chat to your mates. Enter the one-minute Divas match.

Give people a reason to care and they’ll stay in their seats. Come up with clever, forward thinking stories and the crowd will engage with the action. Trust that your female roster can perform as well as their male counterparts. Challenge them, and they’ll rise to it. If you work in a professional kitchen as a pot washer and stay a pot washer, you’ll never learn how to cook. But if the head chef gives you the opportunity to step up and be a part of service, you’ll acquire the skills you need to progress. It’s hardly rocket science.

Let the more experienced women bring the others up to their standard. Give them longer matches so they can learn from each other. The Divas aren’t all useless models, as so many like to suggest. The female roster is a mixture of indie graduates and athletes learning-on-the-job, just like the male roster. Beth Phoenix paid her dues in the indies, as did CM Punk. Eve Torres is a jiu jitsu expert learning the craft of pro wrestling as she goes. Dolph Ziggler was an amateur collegiate athlete who didn’t learn how to be a professional wrestler until he went to OVW. Nobody ever refers to Dolph as a model.

The WWE are like those people who buy expensive perfume and only use it on very special occasions. The rest of the time they just leave the bottle sat on their dressing table because it looks pretty. The Beth Phoenix vs Tamina Snuka match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was like a gentle mist of CHANEL No. 5. Why not use it every week? Let’s have the best all the time. Nobody will ever  compliment you on the glass bottle you keep hidden away in your bedroom. Use it! Nobody ever compliments the Divas on staying out of sight. Use them!

At first glance, Eve Torres’s involvement with Zack Ryder and John Cena appears to be a small step forward. It’s a Diva taking centre stage in a big story. But the execution was less a dab of CHANEL parfum and more swamped in Britney Spears’ Midnight Fantasy eau de toilette. Its lack of class reeked to high heaven.

It is great that they wanted to give Eve a personality. It is great that they turned her heel. It’s great that she mixed with main eventers. It’s bad that they rushed the entire heel turn through in a matter of hours. It’s bad that, yet again, a woman is rarely made a villain in the WWE without her being linked to a man or without being involved in a superficial image issue. It’s so unbelievably boring, lazy and outdated. I wonder why Stephanie McMahon doesn’t make her team come up with something better. The answer I keep avoiding is that she may be her father’s daughter in the worst ways, as well as the best. It stings when your heroine doesn’t seem to represent the things you want her to.

Comparisons have been made between Edge and Eve. Edge did indeed use Vickie Guerrero’s position of power to serve himself. But the big difference there was that they were both the villains. The dramatic entertainment came in them slowly destroying each other. They deserved each other. Which leads us uncomfortably to John Cena.

Super Cena! Our hero. Children’s charity worker. Fighting the good fight, day and night. The role model. Setting the moral compass for kids everywhere. All this is what makes Monday night so upsetting. They made John Cena ‘that guy’. A lad. The most insufferable kind of man. Baseball cap on backwards, swigging cheap beer from a plastic cup, double-fist-bumping their buddies, bromancing about town and engaging in ‘the banter’. The kind of nauseating, testosterone charged chatter that some men partake in when they’re in the company of other men. The kind of banter where rape jokes are hilarious. The banter that allowed the offensive and now defunct UniLad website to operate. The lad culture that makes young rugby teams write lists of tour rules that allow cheating on girlfriends to go unreported.

With the language John Cena used towards Eve on Monday night, with his ‘skank juice’ and disease slurs, he aligned himself with ‘those guys’. The vocabulary made him sound about as eloquent as a Jersey Shore cast member. Yes, Eve was the villain, and yes, she revealed herself to be self-serving. But Cena’s reaction, while grinning, popping his Rise Above Hate t-shirt at the camera, and encouraging ‘hoeski’ chants, was hypocritical and confusingly out of character.

Much has been made this week of John Cena’s association with the Be a Star anti-bullying campaign. The initiative is a tricky concept to negotiate for a product based on people bullying each other. But it’s always seemed similar to the ‘don’t try this at home’ videos to me. They tell kids that any bullying they see on TV just isn’t cool in real life and explain that the bullies are mean characters.

The problem with John Cena is not only that he’s the number one good guy. There’s also such an extremely fine line between John Cena the character and John Cena the person, that any lapse of grace in either incarnation damages him somewhere. It’s not an easy place to be, but it’s the price paid for never being the bad guy, on-screen and in life. His choice of insults can’t just be put down to the script. WWE and its performers have to start accepting that they offer a unique, hybrid form of entertainment. It’s neither fiction nor reality and if John Cena is to set the example, he has to do it all the time.  They can’t ignore the impact his words might have on one sector of the audience to briefly win favour with ‘the lads’. Usually he thrives on not being over with that crowd.

In 15 minutes of television, all this succeeded in doing was making me wonder if by simply watching WWE programming, I’m trying to push a square peg through a round hole. Maybe this stuff just isn’t made for me. But I don’t want to give up on it. It’s easy to say ‘just leave it behind and concentrate on the indies.’ And I do watch and love a lot of indie wrestling. But they’re two very different entities. Both WWE and the indies offer things the other can’t, and when it comes down to it, I want to be around when the WWE’s penny finally drops.

-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And to make it even better, this happened.

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

That'll do it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh thank god!

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

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

an equal opportunities crush

You may have noticed, following the first episode of the all-Diva series of NXT, that my Sidekick had something of crush on Kaitlyn. Ok, not ‘something of a crush’, it’s a giant, pulsating hubba-hubba of a crush. At that point I was still to be convinced. In fact, I did an eye-roll every time she was mentioned. Now? Cue the new Wrestlegasm-family crush. I am now fully on board the Kaitlyn Express.
Considering Kaitlyn was the understudy of NXT, waiting in the wings should serious injury, family tragedy or a sudden sacking (kerching) occur, she is having the biggest impact of any of the girls, all thanks to the fact that she’s hitched her wagon to Vickie Guerrero. That’s a metaphorical wagon, by the way. Vickie’s been compared to enough farmyard animals to last a lifetime.
Being at Vickie’s side has afforded our favourite newbie a major Pay Per View appearance, something none of the other ladies were able to secure, and some key dalliances with LayCool and Dolph Ziggler.
Assuming the NXT brand is slowly ebbing away never to be seen again, it must be quite the ego boost to be placed in the lifeboat and sailed to the safety of storylines away from the sinking HMS NXT.
If you’re not watching NXT  (I’m assuming most people aren’t) the drip-feed story that will likely end in Kaitlyn snaring Dolph and stealing him away from his sugar-mummy means that if you’re watching Smackdown, or even if you just decided to watch Night of Champions, you know who she is. And it doesn’t matter how obvious it is that the story will play out the way I expect it to. Being able to predict the end of a storyline never stopped me watching Eastenders. Although, I won’t be fully satisfied unless Vickie gives a Princess Diana-esque ‘there were three people in this relationship’ interview to Josh Matthews. What do you mean Vickie can’t do coy and unassuming?
Demure and regal. To be fair, HHH had just revealed that Edge and Alicia had been smooching during a wedding planning rendezvous in front of the viewing public.
It started during episode two of NXT when a mixed tag win with Dolph prompted this:
Followed by this:
Then at Night of Champions Kaitlyn failed to contain her concern when Dolph was flung from the ring at the hands of Kofi Kingston and was swiftly shooed away by her boss:
Although I was slightly disappointed that Dolph’s new neckwear wasn’t a fashion-related rouse to hide some of Kaitlyn’s love-bruises.
Don’t dress like that. You look like a knob. Sorry….even more of a knob than usual.
But things really started gaining momentum on this week’s Smackdown, when Kaitlyn innocently (ahem) helped Dolph back to his feet after another fall outside the ring.
As you can imagine, Vickie took umbrage with such physicality and made it known in no uncertain terms that her rookie’s heavy lifting services were not required. Kaitlyn, understandably frustrated with her older mentor’s unnecessary insecurities, pushed Vickie to the ground, turned on her strappy heels and left the arena.
Oh…
…no…
…she…
…di’ent!    (Don’t pretend you didn’t say that and wave your finger in a sassy manner.)
I genuinely want to see what Kaitlyn does next, which is a triumph considering the panning that this series of NXT has received.
Much to Andrew’s relief after swooning over her mic work and her feminine form, Ms. K does show some wrestling promise. Is she incredible? No. But then none of them are. They’re still learning. At least she appears to have some genuine athleticism. You don’t get quads like that just prancing about in pretty dresses and without a punishing squats regime. And if you can hold your own while sharing a turnbuckle with LayCool, you must be doing something right, even if that love-in did end on a sour note.
With the exception of Aksana, who is awesome because she’s in on the joke that is ‘herself’, the rest of the NXT ladies are pretty bland and forgettable. Seriously, if A.J. does one more Mickie James jump I’ll throw my slippers at the telly. If I want to see what Sarah Silverman looks like on a sugar rush, I’ve got YouTube. Oh and we’re not perturbed in the slightest by the fact that our favourite gal was first to be eliminated from the game of Musical Chairs on this week’s NXT. If we were her, we’d lose to deliberately to get the hell out of there too.

-

It was only when I started going back through all the shows from the past few months that I realised just how long it’s been since the last fashion post. And yes, I do go back through everything for these posts. Ded-i-ca-tion! Think about it…there’s been a major draft, some amazing PPVs, some of the roster were deported, and then they were allowed back in the country again. Some of the roster married each other, some big names have parted ways with the WWE (some voluntary, some by force), new stars have been made, new champions have been crowned (kind of), the first series of NXT finished, a new one began and the Nexus became part of the wrestling furniture. It would be impossible to run through every clothing related happening since Wrestlemania, but I’ll try to pick out some of the most memorable. You might need to go and get some tea and biscuits before you get stuck into this one. ‘Tis a long’un.

You better take a good look at that banner above the first paragraph, folks. Not only because we’re redesigning the site at the moment, but also because since I last did a fashion post, our favourite oiled fashion disaster has retired. Dave Batista, I miss you and your double-deni. Although, when I saw Big Dave covering up in a high-necked top and a cat-burglar hat a few weeks before he departed, I figured his time left with us was short.

The beginning of the end.

So, there’ll be no more near-naked Batista, sitting in the middle of the ring, sulking because things didn’t go his way. Let’s take a moment to remember…..

So what now for Dave? Rumour has it that he’s opened up an exclusive cocktail bar for select members of the community in Manhattan. I wish him all the very best.

Thanks, Adam.

As one veteran says goodbye, a new breed of superstars comes to the fore. Such is the circle of life. The Nexus may not have been around for long, but they feel like part of the family already. Look at them there in their cheapo t-shirts:

Their transformation from FCW wannabes to PPV hijackers was quite astonishing. Let’s take Justin Gabriel, for example. He was so cute before he turned bad. There he was with his dimply smile, ironed black hair and Matt Hardy inspired shirts.

Aww. Bless.

A couple of months, an evil streak later and……

Please note, as a face he wore white trunks and as a heel they’re black. Apparently, encasing your junk in white PVC means you’re angelic and wrapping it in black plastic makes you eeevil. Also the highlights and asymmetrical haircut. They’re eeevil too. Wade Barrett has only improved since winning NXT. He’s ditched the oversized winter coats and looks ever the illustrious leader:

It’s no wonder he beat David Otunga to the NXT trophy. Especially when Otunga decided to cover his head in stick-on plastic diamantes for the final show:

Dude! NO!

Otunga’s look hasn’t changed much since his rookie-hood, but Darren Young has had a major make-over. Personally, I’m not sure which is worse, so I’ll leave you to decide:

As for Heath Slater, he looked like a cock before he was on NXT, during and after.

Mmm. Ginger beard and girlie shades. Yum.

Our next batch of rookies don’t seem to display such extreme fashion guises. In fact, they’re fairly normal looking. Well, normal for wrestlers anyway. I mean, check out how miserable Kaval looks at having to wear his mentors’ home-made merchandise:

But don’t let grumpy-chops fool you. In his spare time, the man with the deepest voice I ever did hear likes to do a spot of catalogue modelling;

Look at all that smizing! Tyra would be so proud.

I’m sure his mentors would wholeheartedly approve. While we’re on the topic of LayCool, let’s have some REAL TALK.

Despite the fact that they appear dressed in increasingly elaborate self-branded outfits every week, not a single piece has appeared on WWEShop.com. Although, there is a youth Divas t-shirt available, so at least little girls have something to wear to cheer on the Divas now.

If WWE want to release some LayCool Flawless merchandise, I will most definitely buy it. Ms. McCool is now Mrs. Calaway, courtesy of her marriage to a certain Dead Man. And speaking of the Undertaker, you know you’re a wrestling fan when you watch the Eurovision Song Contest and assign wrestlers to the countries competing, based on their performance outfits. Clearly Taker’s a big hit in Eastern Europe.

Sing your hearts out, Ukraine and Albania!

Let’s move on. I just admitted to watching the Eurovision Song Contest. Quick! We need a more pleasant subject. Ah yes. CM Punk. Punk has gone through quite the transformation over the past few months. His once flowing locks were shorn in the name of defending the Straight Edge Society and I spent several weeks mourning the loss of his face.

Thankfully, just a couple of weeks ago the Big Show de-masked Mr. Punk and his face (plus shaven head) were visible again. Hooray!

It was rough, but we made it through and came out the other side stronger.

Going back to the ladies, my Maryse envy has been hitting new heights lately. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be her or anything, but let’s be honest, the girl fills her clothes rather beautifully. I’m not sure a halter-neck string bikini and a cropped lace top are quite suitable clothing for jiu-jitsu training. Eve has the edge in the practical clothing stakes.

But Maryse’s in-ring attire is always ace and this dress almost made me give up on life. I can’t compete with that.

But you never know, maybe I’ll go through some sort of image evolution one day and end up looking that glamorous. Bahahahaha! I couldn’t even keep a straight face typing that. Someone who did go through an image evolution though was Shad Gaspard. He ditched JTG and his urban streetwear to forge a solo career. All was looking trendy:

Until…….

Yawch! Matt Striker should have a word in his ear. That's not right.

You know, when Dave disappeared I worried that I’d have nobody to follow regarding hit-n-miss fashions. But I had not anticipated the wonder that is the cougar herself, Vickie Guerrero.

She started off in her blouse and ‘mum-jeans’, but her efforts to impress and keep up with the youthful Dolph Ziggler have been nothing if not brave. Check ‘em out:

Eeeeek! Wait. That last one was a bit dodgy. Tight dresses with zips right up the middle scream ‘street-walker’. Not even Kelly Kelly can pull that one off.

OK. Maybe Kelly.

But it’s OK, kids. In recent weeks Mrs. G’s cracked open the summer wardrobe and thrown on some rather flattering sundresses.

So all’s well that ends well. Even if she doesn’t look very happy about it. I love you, Vickie.

Sunshine seems to either bring out the best in our sense of dress or the worst. Just think of all those outfits you wear on your summer holiday that you wouldn’t dream of wearing back home. Drew McIntyre, I’m talking to you:

But I'll forgive you because you were just back from your honeymoon with Tiffany and you've had a rough time of things lately.

Sheamus could teach Drew a few things about dressing for an occasion. While stranded in Belfast as a result of the Icelandic volcanic ash, Sheamus strutted around in a mighty fine ensemble of muted colours and handpicked items. Ok, so the tie probably should be on top of the shirt, but still, he looks good, oui?

I should move on before that underlying Sheamus crush rears its ugly head. I fear that I’m a change of hair-do away from swooning for Sheamus. As Sidekick Andrew points out every time I mention it “It’s the voice, isn’t it?” Errrr, yah! Show me a girl who doesn’t love a boy with an Irish accent and I’ll show thee a liar! And while we’re on the subject of crushes I’d rather not admit to:

Yep! Zack Ryder. While he’s in his ring gear… nothing. Not even a tingle. But in his civilian clothing (as above)…. WOO WOO WOO! Although, my real reason for mentioning he of the glorious tan is to report that he’s FINALLY dropped the half-tighs/half trunks hybrid and gone for more standard trunks:

While the Long Island Iced-Z reveals a favourable increase in flesh, Cody Rhodes seems to be becoming even more naked, and it turns my stomach slightly. I mean, look….

eww

The lack of knee-pads doesn’t help and when he opts for his light-coloured boots, the boy looks practically naked. Enough. Get him some tights and a vest.

So there you have it. That’s your latest instalment of WWE clothing triumphs and disasters. I’ve learnt a few things from this trip down memory lane. I’ve learnt that I miss Beth Phoenix, Triple H and Mickie James a lot more than I thought I did, and I’ve discovered a few universal truths that will never change. I shall impart this wisdom forthwith. Never forget these important wrestling fashion rules:

  • Mark Henry in speedos is like a car-crash. You don’t want to look, but you just can’t stop yourself. You probably should look away though:
  • Jerry Lawler will always wear horrendous t-shirts:
  • Use somebody’s clothing as a weapon against them and you will be fired:

I figured it might be time for a new fashion post. There’s been lots of activity it the attire department recently, so let’s get cracking. And before anyone tries telling me that fashion isn’t important, Chris Jericho says otherwise:

See? Everyone care about style.

Let’s start with our NXT rookies. Last time, Justin Gabriel was sporting a Cheryl Cole inspired dress. The following week he decided to wear a lady’s stocking garter. I’m pleased to report that he has now learnt a few lessons in how to be  boy and has taken to going for the tried and tested hacked-up t-shirt & trunks combo:

But we are to expect a few more very special fashion moments from our favourite South African rookie. In a former life he was a model and entered himself into several fitness-model competitions. Here her is competing in the Mr. Fitness contest:

You can leeeeave your hat onnnnn! Bah-bah-bam.

Not all of the NXT rookies are quite as fashion-conscious as Mr. Gabriel though. Wrestlegasm’s newest crush, Daniel Bryan, could do with a little help. He was seen strolling down the ramp behind The Miz at Smackdown with half his shirt tucked in and half hanging out.

He looks like a teenage boy just stepped off the bus in his messy school uniform. Now, Daniel Bryan is one of the coolest people I have ever set eyes on. So cool, in fact, that if he called this look a fashion statement, people would want to copy it. Daniel Bryan’s not that bothered about fashion though, so maybe he just needs an enthusiastic lady in his life. A lady who enjoys fashion, maybe. Someone just to hang around backstage and help him decide whether his shirt looks better tucked in or left out, rather than choosing both at the same time. Just send me a Twitter DM, Daniel, and I’ll be there on Tuesday for week six of NXT.

From rookies to legends; Shawn Michaels has been worrying me lately. Since deciding he needed to leave DX behind and go it alone in the run-up to Wrestlemania, he’s had to make his own fashion choices in the absence of all that DX merchandise. It started with this monstrosity of a shirt:

Then, after wearing a grey blouse with some seemingly irrelevant pencil-drawn arrows on it ….

….HBK returned to the hunting theme in a half-camouflage half-fleece waistcoat and jeans. Nothing says “I’m going to kick you’re arse, Undertaker” more than sleeveless fleece. Yum.

But by the time this week’s Raw appeared on our screens, the expert salespeople at WWEShop had marched down to the arena to force Shawn into one of his own t-shirts.

Phew!

However tragic HBK’s shirts are though, they can’t possibly be as bad as the Ed Hardy Special that R-Truth modeled on this week’s Raw.

Enough of all this negativity. Anyone would think that wrestlers don’t know how to dress. Look at one of our favourite ladies, Beth Phoenix, getting all glammed up to request a match from Vickie Guerrero.

Looking rather sexy there, young lady. We in The Bunker wholeheartedly approve.

Staying with the well-dressed, I’ve been quite taken with Christian’s clobber lately. Sure, The Miz usually gets my fashion pulse racing (JUST my fashion pulse) but I dig Christian’s smart-casual style. Here he is in my favourite recent outfit:

He’s even been seen in a most fashionable plaid shirt this week, and plaid shirts are usually reserved for Edge only.

We love a good plaid shirt in the Cardiff Wrestle Bunker. Our staff uniform is especially casual. Sidekick Andrew is wearing one in his current Twitter profile pic and I’m wearing one today. Useless fact: I wore this particular shirt three times before I realised it said….

…..in tiny letters in a small corner on the right side. My clothes give great life advice!  The Dean of Wrestlegasm, Matt Striker, isn’t too keen on this new element to the staff uniform. I’ve told him that if he can’t bring himself to wear a plaid shirt he can just wear jeans and a t-shirt. This isn’t quite what I had in mind.

TOO CRISP! TOO CRISP!

Speaking of sharp dressers, there have been a couple of snappy suits on display this week, and on boys who don’t usually go in for the formal look too. Jack Swagger was eyeing up the Money in the Bank competition on Raw:

While John Cena was being a total pro and earning the boss a few more PPV buys on Jimmy Fallon:

We’ll switch to the ladies and, more specifically, Team LayCool. Their efforts to appear Simply Flawless have not gone unnoticed. They’ve even gone so far as to have custom tan pleather tops made to match their boots:

Vickie Guerrero’s efforts, however, weren’t so well received:

There does seem to be an obvious merchandise opportunity staring WWEShop in the face here. Alright, so most of us aren’t going to buy pleather tops. But the vests and t-shirts would go down a storm.

I’m not sure why they haven’t been made available for purchase yet. Maybe it’s because Team LayCool are a heel team and they think their merchandise won’t sell. But I know for a fact that women would buy them. One of the first things I wrote about on this blog was the lack of Diva merchandise and the lack of merchandise for women in general. Come on, WWEShop! You like making money and we have money to spend. Make this  happen!

So as not to finish on a serious note, I’ll end with one of my other favourite NXT rookies – Skip Sheffield. I had no idea I’d like the Cornfed Meatheat this much, but his pairing with William Regal has been a comedy match made in heaven. His finest fashion moment so far came on this week’s NXT when he used his arse to dub himself:

Ahhhh! There’s nothing like a confident backside to brighten one’s day.

more adventures in audio

Yep, a week has passed already and despite not thinking I’d be doing another audio post for some time, I’ve done it already. Thanks to my brother, Cezza, not only for helping me figure out this technology stuff but also for being an awesome guitarist and allowing me to use one of his very own tracks at the beginning and the end of the post. You can follow him on Twitter right here.

I actually picked a topic this week that wasn’t, well, me! I was afraid I was turning in to Ron Burgundy. It would be great to know what you think about what I discuss in this post, so please get in touch once you’ve listened.

This was kind of a serious topic so I’ll make the next one more fun.  Feel free to email me with suggestions.

Here goes part two of my adventures in audio……….

raw(lite): dare i even dream?

So, yeah, the first Raw after Extreme Rules which, yeah, I know, I haven’t told you anything about. Soz. But I’ll work it in to the post where I can.

We got cracking with Dave Batista, the new World Champion. Yep, he managed to survive the steel cage and rip the belt from Randy Orton’s clutches. But anyone who ventured on to the internet during the 20 hours between the end of Extreme Rules and the start of Raw knew he was only keeping the title for one night owing to some bicep surgery needed on Tuesday morning.

vlcsnap-1957823 copy

Apparently he did it for Flair, himself and for everyone who’s sick and tired of Randy Orton.  Errrrrm, I suppose that counts me out then. And just as Dave was discussing how he plans on taking Orton’s pride……………..

vlcsnap-1961001 copy

Doesn't work every time. I've tried.

Dave opened his shirt buttons, because you can’t fight with your buttons done up, fool. Randy did a strange, hypnotic, side-step dance to the ring and at the perfect moment he, Cody and Ted all pounced on Dave and beat him within an inch of his life. A venomous attack indeed, Mr. Lawler, sir.

mcolehwwd

Randy twisted Dave’s arm up inside a steel chair like a pretzel (yes, the arm he’s having surgery on) and stamped on it. He then went on to pull his weary arm until it snapped.

vlcsnap-1971966 copy

Randy stole the belt, the crowd booed, the medics came to Dave’s aide and he was carted off in an ambulance screaming for his title belt back. Sad times for Batista. For real.

Well, after all that drama we need something cheerful. Ahhhhh, Kofi Kingston. The smiliest Jamaican in all the land. That’s better. Oh, yeah, he kept his title at Extreme Rules by the way. On this week’s Raw he was taking William Regal on in a non-title match. According to Regal, HE should be United States champion because he can bring the class and style it deserves. Umm, not to disagree with my fellow countryman or anything but……

bpjcjs

Kingston pretty much creamed Regal, but hey, kind of expected. He’s a good heel though. Love you, Billy.

Over in the locker room the pack of hyenas, wild dogs, wolves, snakes, whatever they are were pawing at the WWE title belt, pleased that their job to take Dave out had been done. But the bravest little boy in the company, Josh Matthews, popped up out of nowhere and asked Randy to explain his  deplorable actions. None to pleased to see Mr. Matthews, Randy explained that all we need to know is that he planned on using his automatic rematch clause that night and if Dave failed to show up, he’d take the title back by forfeit. EEEEVIL!

vlcsnap-1981871 copy

Alright, it’s lady time. Kelly-Kelly v Maryse with Mickie James joining Jerry and M. Cole on commentary. I was gonna make a comment about Mickie’s strange choice of dress (not from Maria’s collection, I hope) but she’s got such a lovely voice I decided not to put my fashion head on and rip it to pieces. Lawler wanted to rip it to pieces too but for a whole different reason. Oh, Jerry. Bring your voice down an octave and breathe.  Is it just me or is Kelly-Kelly getting better in the ring? Me thinks the lady’s been practicing. Unfortunately, she lost. Maryse flicked her hair several times and Mickie gave her dagger-eyes.

vlcsnap-1901803 copy

After a reminder of the Hog Pen match between Vickie and Santina at Extreme Rules (did we HAVE to have a reminder? My eyes are burning.) Josh Matthews had jumped over to Vickie’s door to ask her if it was really true that Randy was getting his rematch that night. True story. And she informed us that she had a big announcement that would change the face of Raw forever.  Ooooh, what could it be? Ok I already knew but I like to play along. Then we jumped over to The Miz and Maryse having another ‘moment’. Not sure what’s happening here but I’m actually starting to enjoy their little banter together. What’s happening to me?

vlcsnap-1990692 copy

Goldust, Santino and Festus (accompanied by Hornswoggle) took on Chavo, Jamie Noble and The Brian Kendrick in a three-man tag.Yep, that happened. Santino pinned Noble for the win.

vlcsnap-1993579

Back to The Miz, who rudely interrupted Lillian’s intro with this guitar riff. I hate to admit this, but maybe, just maybe, I’m starting to get The Miz. At first he was just annoying, but maybe, just maybe, I get the joke now. God, help me.  He went on another rant, calling every John Cena fan a ‘Cena Apologists’. Whaaa? Anyway, John came out,  you know, smiling, looking cute, the usual……

vlcsnap-1995300 copy

…and prepared to take The Miz on. But just as we were about to get going “Weeeeeell, it’s the Big Shooooow!” URGH! Big Show. Please. LET. IT. GO.  Go and find another feud so I can care about John Cena matches again. Thanks. The Miz disappeared after one kick and Show put a sleeper hold on John. AGAIN. But wait, The Miz made his way back in to the ring, and whacked Big Show across the back with a chair. What? Miz turning face? Oh. No, it’s ok. False alarm. He just wanted John to himself. Well, he IS on a promise from Maryse now, know what I’m sayin’?

vlcsnap-1997062 copy

Big Show scared The Miz off for the second time, leaving John and Show in the ring. End this please.

M.V.P fought Matt Hardy in kind of  nothing match. M.V.P won.

Now Vickie has an announcement to make. The crowd booed her down the ramp and Lawler and Cole made their own pig-jokes. Aren’t you grown men? So, big announcement. After being humiliated in the Hog Pen match, she had decided to quit the company. Her real reason for quitting is that the travelling schedule is forcing her to spend too much time away from her daughters. Fair enough. I mean, she’s a single mother, her kids need her, she’s taking a break. I really think that’s all it’ll be though. She’ll be back at some point.

But then the whole thing took a slightly sinister twist. It looked as if Edge had come out to apologise for asking her for a divorce during the Extreme Rules show. But he went on to say that having quit, she now had no power and was ultimately worthless. It really should have stopped there. I know Vickie’s a big girl and all, and I’m sure he gave her a big hug once she got backstage, but…. She-Beast? Dry-heaving after kissing her? Harsh! The jury’s out on that one.

vlcsnap-1999863 copy

Backstage Josh Matthews, who is certainly earning his money this week, interviewed John Cena about his match. I hadn’t really noticed it up against Randy and Vickie, but stood next to pinky-skinned Cena, Josh…..

Just get a clean tissue and gently take if off in a circular motion. Works for me.

Just get a clean tissue and gently take if off in a circular motion. Works for me.

Carlito and Primo took on the Priceless boys, Ted pinned Primo and Randy joined his victorious children in the ring. They waited patiently for Batista to arrive for the title rematch but, obviously, he wasn’t coming back with a broken ulna, right? Or was he? Lillian announced Dave but he didn’t show. His music played, but he didn’t show. Randy called for the 10-count and bristled with excitement. But on the count of eight, the ambulance that took Dave away started reversing towards the arena door. What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen?

vlcsnap-2006413 copy

Did his nose get bigger or did his hair get smaller?

AAAAAAH! He’s back. Ok, when Triple H disappeared several weeks ago I was glad to see him go.  I was getting sick of him. So it shocked me how excited I was to see him come back. Maybe it was because it was unexpected, maybe it was because I now tend to avoid rumour mills and I didn’t know he had plans to return so soon. I actually thought he’d be away a little longer and return with Shawn as DX for a while. But Dave’s much needed bicep surgery must have forced him back sooner, I assume. When ‘Time to play the game’ started playing, I got a fluttery little feeling in the pit of my stomach. I believe that’s called WRESTLEGASMMMMMM! I think I’m done being mad at him now. I might even get my Triple H trading card back out of my desk drawer at work and allow him to sit next to the other fellas.

Cody ran at Triple H with a chair, but chair vs sledgehammer kind of has an obvious winner. Hunter ripped his shirt off (sweet) and slammed Randy around the arena. He left him on his face in the ring……

vlcsnap-2008836 copy

….but the crowd still wanted more and began chanting for a pedigree. He obliged. Oh my god, does this mean Raw is about to get good again? Dare I even dream?

raw(lite): hubcaps for frisbees

It’s 2am on a Tuesday morning. What was I doing? Pretending to sleep. What was Birmingham, Alabama doing? Cheering at Monday Night Raw. Randy Orton is in the ring, his foot-soldiers are firmly by his side and the steel cage has been lowered around the ring. Let’s get cracking.

The tormentor of Mexican reporters everywhere explained once again how he planned on dealing with big Dave Batista at Extreme Rules. Tactics will include grinding Dave’s face against the metal (ouch), slamming the cage door in to his face (yaaawch) and running him face first, no, HEAD first in to every side of the cage over, and over and over again. Say over-and-over again for me, Randy.

DSCF0237 copy

Randy went on to inform us, and Dave, that he’d arranged with Vickie Guerrero that there would be  a steel cage match that night. He flipped a coin to decide whether Batista had to face Cody or Ted. Cody’s up. Despite looking terrified at first, he remembered he had to live up to his daddy’s cage match reputation and sucked up his angst.  Randy verbally patted him on the head and told him everything was going to be ok. Then he gave us a demonstration on how to walk through a door. Where has this man BEEN all my life?  He began wrapping up the promo but just as he raised the belt in to the air, someone decided they had something to say.

DSCF0259 copy

Yes, there were 13 WOOOOOs and 15 PUNKs in Ric Flair’s response to Randy’s promo. I counted. Randy reminded Ric that he was retired and was not legally permitted to take part in any in-ring fight or his pension fund may be jeopardised. But Ric didn’t want any old in-ring wrestling match. Oh noes, he wanted a car park brawl. (That’s a ‘Parking Lot Brawl’ for any Americans reading). Randy accepted and warned Ric that his days were numbered.  Cody, you’re up, buddy!

The personnel dispersed and Dave Batista joined little Cody in the ring. Cody clung to the turnbuckle as The (caged) Animal smirked right in his face. Being half Dave’s size, Cody Rhodes was struggling. Randy came out cage-side to see if he could put a little pep in Cody’s step, but even his posturing, grimacing and general clawing at the steel couldn’t save his little puppy. Naaaw! Bless.

ortoncgequd

Time for something really silly over in Vickie’s office. Big Show was bleating to Chavo and Vickie about the fact that he’d been paired up with chief prick, The Miz, against John Cena and a currently unnamed partner. They convinced him that all would be well and decided it would be a good time to draw a name from a pair of velvet wrestle trunks to see who John’s partner would be. By some amazing fluke, the name drawn was Chavo Guerrero. Wow! Whodda thunk it?

DSCF0281copy

By the way, has anyone noticed Vickie’s fabulous taste in aesthetics? There’s nothing like a Van Gogh street scene and black leather seating to give that sophisticated air of….oh, I dunno….. dentist’s waiting room.

DSCF0279 copy

From one lady to another, Kelly-Kelly bounced her way to the ring and this dude made a proposal with his fan-sign.

DSCF0284 copy

Thank God he chose to paint an engagement ring and not a different kind of ring, or Linda McMahon might have had to explain away another awkward mess.  By the way, man, nice penmanship and all, but I don’t fancy your chances. I mean, LOOK at her!!! Mickie James joined Kelly in the ring and she was closely followed by their opponents, Beth Phoenix and Maryse. Rosa Mendes floated around in some leather trousers so she could distract the ref at an opportune moment. It was all over disappointingly quickly and ended with Maryse sticking a DDT on Kelly, pinning her for the win. Look at Rosa. Remember when you were in high school and there was always a pipsqueak girl who wanted to be in your group of friends, despite the fact that everyone left her out of everything in the hope she’d just go away? Rosa is that girl.

rmbpmotdlr

Next up, Carlito and Primo were taking on Matt Hardy and William Regal for the tag-team belts. YAAAAWN. Matt used his arm cast to try and take out Carlito but slipped and whacked his own partner instead. Own-goal, I believe. Regal dropped and Carlito capitalised with a pin to keep hold of the belts.

This was spotted…………….

DSCF0301 copy

and the camera moved back to the ring post haste. Ssshhh, if we don’t about him everyone will just forget.

For the third week running Ric Flair, who was pacing up and down the car park looking for hubcaps to frisbee at Orton’s head, had a verbal altercation with his fave beefcake, Batista. Ric explained how much he missed being the Nature Boy (I’ll be taking about that all serious-like in a near future post) and told Dave if he called him ‘The Man’ once more he’d vomit. Now THAT would be a show. Go on, Dave. Say it! After an emotive speech, Ric managed to convince Dave that brawling with a man half his age was totally do-able and asked him not to be a hero and rescue him from the evil clutches of Randy Orton. Gotta be honest, I wouldn’t want anyone to rescue me from the grope grip of Randy Orton either.

1rograrr

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Man-Hug moment. The boys have been reather un-huggy of late, so huge thanks to Dave and Ric for enabling  me to resurrect this bit.

1mhmotwdbrf

Back over in Vickie’s sophisticated office Regal and Matt Hardy informed her that they have arranged a match between her and SantinO Marella for that night. Vickie went all mentalist and started yelling in Spanish, which she only does when she’s REALLY freakin’ out. But it was ok, the guys had a plan to make it work, which Matt whispered in Vickie’s ear. She seemed whole-heartedly on board.

Finally back in the ring and it’s time for The Miz to do his annoying pre-match gamble about how he’s what, like, 347-0 against John Cena or something? He informed us that John’s supposed penchant for corporate selling-out put him in the same category as Spongebob, The Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana. Ok, so Spongebob is silly and The Jonas Brothers are far too miserable looking to be pop stars, but what’s wrong with Miley? To quote Britney, and God knows I never thought I’d say THAT, she’s NOT.THAT. INN-O-CE-ENT! Do a Google image search for Miley Cyrus. You’ll see what I mean.

And look, she’s a wrestling fan too…….

mcyrusvis

I have no words.

Let’s try and forget that image and talk about the match….. It was fine. You know. Not blow your brains out brilliant, not absolutely awful either. John was not looking too healthy and The Miz wanted him, not LITERALLY, I mean he wanted the pinfall himself. But Big Show wanted in too and tried to persuade The Miz to tag him back in. But it was no dice, and when The Miz turned to go and throw himself at JC, Big Show swung his ginormous fist at The Miz to clear the way.

DSCF0325 copy

With The Miz out cold Chavo leaped in to the ring and pinned him for the win. The crowd went nuts for Chavo who, in his role as Vickie’s sycophantic nephew, doesn’t get much of a chance at big-time matches these days.

John was none too pleased that Chavo had stolen his pin and slammed him in to the mat. There was a further tussle between John and BS which left John unconscious too. When does this Big Show/John Cena storyline end again? Whenever it is, make it snappy! PLEASE!

Fresh from the senior prom, MVP was preparing to face Kofi Kingston to hold on to the United States Championship. It began with a polite meeting of the mutual appreciation society, but soon dissolved in to a slanging match and then an AWESOME wrestling match.

DSCF0349 copy

I wasn’t sure where it was all going at first. I was wondering why everyone on the interwebz were so excited by it when I got up on Tuesday morning. The crowd were seated and silent. But as it progressed it really did turn out to be fantastic.

USBKKMVP

Yep, we have a new United States champion.  Congratulations, sir. I feel like I want to reward Kofi with something. Because, you know, winning the match, the belt and the title just isn’t enough. He doesn’t fall in to my swoon worthy gentlemen category, but what the hell…………….

Play it and do some chair dancing for the remainder of this post. Wind ya waaaist, people.

From a great match to a great mess. William Regal and Matt Hardy’s evil plan to take out Santino Marella was about to come to fruition. I won’t bore you with the details. It was physically and emotionally painful to watch. Who knows what complete and utter tripe they’ll churn out at the PPV tomorrow night. Just know that the match ended like this.

DSCF0426

Looks like Batista defied Flair one more time and called him ‘The Man’ again. Well, Ric DID promise he’d vomit if he did it again. Speaking of Flair, his Fight to the Finish was about to kick off in the car park. (See what I did there?)

Ok, so it started with a game of Hide & Seek. Off screen, Randy had already stood in the corner with his eyes covered and counted to 100.  Ric had scuttled off to hide.

DSCF0434 copy

Anyway, let’s be honest, the fight didn’t set me on fire. We all know Ric Flair isn’t supposed to be doing this stuff. But I would like to thank him for ripping the chest area of Randy’s shirt open. It made up for the nonsense. Wait, is that one of the $45 Top Rope t-shirts? It seemed to rip open awfully easily. I won’t be wasting my money buying one THOSE then . Shoddy products or set-up to rip when Flair touched it? The decision is yours.

And then, because people paid good money to see a main event, they shuffled their way in to the arena. By the time they made it to the ramp, the oldest player in the game was not looking too clever. Randy had full command. The King said “Right now, this is especially difficult to watch.” Not really, Jerry. It’s actually hilarious to watch. Randy finally ripped off the scraps of fabric hanging from his arms and got back to work. But as Flair looked like he was finished for all time, he did a bit of a mule kick and caught Randy in the knackers. Obviously, being a girl, I have no idea how painful this is, but I did grab at my crotch in sympathy. And I have it on good authority that it’s the most painful thing a man can experience. So you have that and we have childbirth.

DSCF0459 copy

Back to the match and Randy’s manhood was still causing him some trouble, giving Ric the opportunity to capitalise.  There seemed to be a lot of blood, but it could have been jam or ketchup or hot chili sauce from when they collapsed in to the refreshments table in the car park.

vlcsnap-7401635 copy

Flair put Randy in a figure-4 and the rest of Legacy came to the rescue. They dragged him in to the steel cage which, by some coincidence, had been lowered back over the ring. They were meant to have some fisticuffs in the car park, right?  This was not an official match, right? Ha. It ended up with Ric and Randy locked in the cage with Dave watching on in despair.  Even if he could get in, he made a promise not to be a hero and save him. Poor Dave. He was just trying to protect his pal from some serious geriatric abuse.

DSCF0495 copy

Randy did his “My IED is kicking in now” face and Batista shouted through the barricade that he was going to break Randy in half. If he did break him in half, which half would I want to keep? Tricky. Both are impressive. Oh well, it’s not going to happen anyway.

DSCF0487

Shall we have some Smackdown next, folks?