RAW: Damage Limitation

Alright. Let’s stop dancing around the inevitable. Punk is gone. He hasn’t been officially future endeavoured and there is a part of me holding on to the fact that this might be the most ballsy, elaborate work in history. But as he’s been pulled from pre-paid AXXESS meet & greets and assessing the bizarre atmosphere on RAW this week, we can assume that at the very least he’s having an extended holiday.

There was a definite air of damage limitation on this week’s RAW. Fan-made signs enquiring as to Punk’s whereabouts were confiscated by security. In the same way that Rey Mysterio was booed at the Royal Rumble simply for not being Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton’s words made no impact on the crowd, who were otherwise engaged in repeatedly chanting for CM Punk. Being a bit of a tough-nut, their disinterest in his moaning about his lack of…(umm, what was it again?) made no impression on him either.

Needing to pacify an already volatile crowd Steph and HHH appeared on the ramp to instruct Randy to stop whining. To curry favour with the audience even further, they warned him that they had the power to strip him of his ‘face of the company’ moniker. If he didn’t cool his boots they might be forced to make someone else their favourite. Daniel Bryan, maybe. HHH even joined the Yes Movement. Turncoat!

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Daniel Bryan, who in the space of a week has gone from their whipping boy to potential poster boy. You can’t help but feel that even what would have been Bryan’s eventual triumph over ‘the man’ has been ditched in favour of keeping people from turning off.

The Shield won a three-man tag against Big E. Langston, Kofi and Rey Mysterio, but the crucial part of the story came when Dean Ambrose (unf) and Roman Reigns squabbled over who should have taken the pin. Poor Seth Rollins. As if his comedic tumbling the previous week hadn’t been upsetting enough. Now mummy and daddy are fighting again. I wonder which of them plays mum and which takes on the role of dad. Let’s think about that for a moment. Anyway, the bickering soon ended and their broken pieces were glued back together when the Wyatts appeared on screen hoping to capitalise on their moment of collective weakness. They didn’t.

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It also seems there’s dissent at Camp Real Americans. After losing a place in the Elimination Chamber to Christian on SmackDown, Jack Swagger was given a rematch, only to lose a second time. You can always tell when Swagger’s in a panic. His bottom lip bursts open, like that kid in school who always got stress-related nosebleeds on class trips.  Zeb Colter made his disgruntlement known in no uncertain terms and even Antonio Cesaro dropped and shook his head in shame. Time to disband these guys and start hyping Cesaro, lest he go the same way as Hero. At least, let’s not allow that to happen before I can successfully attend any British shows he might be booked on. Selfish? Me? Absolutely. It already sticks in my craw that I don’t get to clap eyes on Chris Hero’s colour-of-a-cornfield mane when he’s in the UK at the end of this month.

In further attempts to placate the ready-to-riot crowd, the New Age Outlaws were forced to put the tag titles on the line against Goldust and Cody Rhodes. Oh and they were forced to do it *MOVIE TRAILER VOICE* inside a steel caaaaage. New Age Outlaws retained in a match that went on for far too long, never really got going and made little-to-no use of the cage. Hey, Hunter? Where’s Punk?

Thankfully this was followed by Batista’s arrival. Now, hold on. I know this doesn’t sound all that exciting. But the small detail I deliberately omitted in the name of building tension is that our Dave’s back in the double denim. Yes!

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And not just top and bottom denim, but a matching burnout tee. Cor! But beyond my predictable giddiness at Dave-denim, the real star of this segment was Alberto Del Rio. Dressed in less impressive single denim, the promo he ripped on Dave was so convincingly impassioned you might believe there was some truth behind it. I mean, why would the guy who’s been consistently great but never truly trusted to carry the company along with the big boys feel cheesed off that Dave’s waltzed back in to steal a Wrestlemania headline slot? It was the first time in many months I’ve really sat up and taken notice of Del Rio. Their scrap was fierce and Del Rio was so pumped he returned to the ring to retrieve his rather fetching black blazer, before catching glimpse of Dave’s face and thinking better of it.

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Speaking of those flying uncomfortably under the radar, Dolph Ziggler was teamed up with R-Truth and Xavier Woods to go up against the Wyatts. The match had all the bumps and jumps you’d expect, with Bray Wyatt pinning Dolph for the win. To match their video interruption earlier in the evening, The Shield made their own video based gift, with Dean Ambrose (unf) mocking the Wyatts’ scare tactics and his fellow warriors warning of retribution. This was met with the usual psychotic laughter in the ring. Standard but still pleasing fare.

This took us to a long main event between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, the winner of which would become the McMahon-Helmsley’s favourite boy. It was a long and involved match where both gave a lot, but it was flat. It was missing something. Despite some interference from Kane, Bryan still won the match, but it didn’t have the shine it should have. It’s not enough just to give us what we want. We need the backstory to make it mean something. That’s where promoters get wrestling fans all wrong. It’s about the journey. I wonder if that’s the line they’d be following if Punk was still around. And the fact that Orton and Kane continued to pummel Bryan after the bell means it’ll all probably flip-flop back the other way quicker than a Westminster sex scandal come next week. It just didn’t make sense. Unless Kane interfered to make sure Bryan didn’t win, what was the point?

Can you say ‘state of flux’?

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N.B. This week, in an attempt to skip what I thought were just the ads, I watched RAW via the Sky Sports On Demand service. Unfortunately, I only realised after writing this that they’d cut out several mid-card matches, linking segments etc. I’ll have seen all the missing pieces before next week, but just a warning to those in the UK. It gives a skewed view of the show and I’m going to be complaining to Sky about it.   

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RAW: Something’s Amiss

I feel there’s something else I should be musing over today. But I can’t quite put my finger on what it might be. Hmm. Maybe it’ll come to me as we go along.

The Royal Rumble officially kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania. We should be frothing at the mere thought that the biggest party of the year is on its way. And yet…

Grinning like the cats who got the cream, Stephanie and HHH over-egged their excitement at great mate Dave Batista winning the Rumble to such an extent you have to wonder if they realised soon after that they were lactose intolerant and vomited up what turned out to be a flop after all.

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The patronising tone they cloaked their jubilation in served only to rile the crowd further and… do you ever get the feeling you’ve been sneakily trolled? Baited into reacting by someone who knows how to push your buttons? Do you wonder if this is exactly what they wanted? To leave Daniel Bryan out so that we’d riot for the international press?

In sharp contrast to the acute hatred spat at the McMahon-Helmsleys, Daniel Bryan’s arrival mustered something akin to the second coming of Christ.

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It’s rare that I lash out at these two, but their incessant giggling and claim that Bryan’s match of the night against Bray Wyatt “was a good little effort” had me wanting to sock them both in the chops. Stephanie’s now modelled so much in her father’s image I’m convinced that any second she’s going to peel off her face to reveal she was Vince all along. There are no lengths my imagination won’t run to in the name of believing Steph’s a good lass.

Bryan’s impassioned demands that he be compensated for his lack of Rumble action with an automatic Elimination Chamber slot were met with a nose in the face and the arrival of The Shield, with Seth Rollins’ serendipitous tumble over the barrier cutting through the hostility in the crowd for a few seconds. The boy is the epitome of “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” What a pro!

The Shield proceeded to maul Bryan but, as you might expect, a few mates came in his hour of need. Sheamus (yes, he’s back) and John Cena ran to the rescue before chasing the nasty bad guys away. There’s still something comforting about the fact that after all these years Michael Cole has never understood the difference between ‘cavalry’ and ‘Calvary’.

There was something else I needed to talk about. What was it? Maybe I was supposed to talk about how much I want to have Dean Ambrose bend my…mind. No, that’s not it. I already talk about that enough. It can’t have been the match between The Real Americans and Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara. That was as expected. Could it be Wade Barrett? Barrett, who now appears to spend his time being thrust toward the rafters on a mechanical penis while telling us that everything’s shit. I had a dream like that once except the cherrypicker penis belonged to….never mind. He’s like Eva Peron, but from Preston, and peddling terrible wisecracks. “Don’t cry for me, WWE Universe.” I do, Wade. I really do.

What was it, guys? Obviously not Fandango vs R-Truth. I definitely wouldn’t have been rushing to talk about Brock Lesnar interrupting Randy Orton and Brad Maddox’s discussion with a docker just off the night shift.

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I cannot recall a wrestler I’ve wanted to boot in their big, slimy, maroon face more than Lesnar. Loathing is too mild a word. I’d like to take some clippers to his stupid haircut that’s too small for his puffed up head and…yeah, it’s not him.

It couldn’t have been The Battle of Cleveland match between Miz and Dolph. Unless we’re talking hockey my knowledge of American sports is currently on hiatus. Maybe it was how depressing, if amusing, it was that the crowd were chanting for each individual member of the windbag commentary team during  Kofi and Del Rio’s match. We really should talk about the New Age Outlaw shaped pin that burst the tag-team bubble. Champions? Really? *cough* Nepotism *cough*. And a Selina Gomez quote? Okay, Dad. Why don’t you just get Snapchat and tell us how you can send your rude bits to your main squeeze like all the kids do. Ach, who am I to judge?  I’m the old lady who just typed ‘main squeeze’ and who’s already lost the Snapchat novelty.

There’s something bigger though. Something shocking. Something that might make me cry. The Divas getting better with their ring work but needing some stories is less red hot news and more a gospel chanted since the dawn of time. It does make me want to cry though. Jake Roberts being inducted into the Hall of Fame would not leave me dying to discuss it.

We’re back where we started now, with Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and John Cena trying to beat up on The Shield. Whichever team won would get the first three spots in the Elimination Chamber. It was a pretty good match, as it goes. Even better when The Wyatts turned up to interfere with The Shield’s game plan, costing them the match and setting up more scrapping between them going forward. If Randy Orton has to defend in the EC, that leaves just two spots left to fight over. Could this be what instigates the Shield break-up they’ve been teasing? All good fun, but not the ‘big thing’ of the week. Hmm.

Wait! Hold the phone. Why wasn’t Punk on Raw this week?!

That Was The Week That Was: 27th May – 2nd June 2013

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Seven days is a long time in wrestling. Each week Rachel will cast her eye over the landscape and handpick the stuff that stands out. Sometimes they’ll be the most obvious events, but often more subtle shifts in the business. They’ll always be written from her own unique point of view. Unlike the original That Was The Week That Was, she won’t be singing the news. 

The Death of CHIKARA?

Last week I was playing the Related Artists Game on Spotify. You pick a song, then your next tune must be by one of the listed related artists. I found myself faced with Noah and the Whale. I’m not a particularly big fan of theirs, but there is one song that will forever justify their existence – Tonight’s the Kind of Night. I was rushed with a flood of heart thumping nostalgia.

This song happened to find my ears during the week leading up to CM Punk’s immortal will-he-won’t-he story at Money in the Bank 2011. Through sheer coincidence, the lyrics were so close to summarising Punk’s journey, it gave me shivers. It really was the kind of night where absolutely everything could change. To date, I have never been more invested in how a wrestling tale was going to work out. I have certainly never had such an explosively emotional reaction to a show.

The thing about those few months of change was that the events were rooted in reality. That’s what made the difference. How much of it was written and how much was Punk just not giving a damn will only ever be known by a handful of people. If you watch his DVD, it was all legit. He was off. In actuality, it doesn’t matter. The fact that we didn’t know where the boundary was made it all the more compelling. It made it categorically wrestling.

Last night the CHIKARA: Never Compromise iPPV reminded me of Money in the Bank. For all that the matches were brilliant, there was a strange, electrically charged cloud hanging over it; the cloud that had the potential to rain on CHIKARA’s parade and put it out of action for good. Rumour’s had it for some time that real life, highly personal matters threatened the company with extinction. At least, under the branding as it stands. It was an unsettling discussion. If there’s one thing CHIKARA fans love it’s that it’s a complete break from the everyday. Unlike with Punk, though, I wasn’t torn between someone doing what was right for them and doing the thing that made me most happy.

The show was running later than we expected and it was getting late in the UK. We debated whether to stay up for the main event or not, but decided that the big announcement promised for the end of the show had to be worth losing a little sleep over. The announcement never came. Icarus and Eddie Kingston’s main event match was interrupted by a team of men in dark suits. They trashed the stage. They shut the show down. They turned off the feed. They threw all the fans out of the building and locked the doors. It didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel very CHIKARA. It felt kind of real.

There were reports that someone had thrown something through a door in anger and smashed it, before being dragged back into the Trocadero. According to Twitter this was the start of a riot. Those at the scene quickly closed that idea down. Even the legitimacy of the furious protestor has been called into question today, because of the way he was swiftly pulled back into the building. A real fan? A plant? Who knows? One thing I do know is that I don’t want to hear about Bryce Remsburg – happiest man on the planet – leaving in tears. It messes with my head.

The manner in which the show was halted was, of course, staged. But the reality behind it is yet to come to light. CHIKARA may very well have huffed out its last breath, ready to morph into something new. But one thing I’ve always placed in CHIKARA is trust. There is no cleverer promotion in operation. I’ve lost count of how many AH-HA! moments there’ve been, where various easter eggs dotted around the internet suddenly make sense. Was this a story they took too far and made too dark? Possibly. But they haven’t steered me wrong yet and you don’t build the best pound-for-pound wrestling promotion in the world only to let it disperse for the sake of paperwork.

Just like when Punk  (temporarily) kissed his tenure goodbye, I have never been more eager to know what happens next, while at the same time never more unsure about which parts of wrestling are fooling me. But isn’t that the point?

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crotch watch: it’s back….and bigger

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While I was touring America, I received a request. Ha. ‘Touring America’ sounds like I’m a rock star. Only in my head, kids. Only in my head. Anyway, yes, the request went like this:

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…and because I’m all about giving the people what they want, Crotch Watch is now a feature all on its own. Hard-hitting journalism at its best, I’m sure you’ll agree. It may not be a weekly feature, but you can be assured that I’ll have my binoculars and night-vision goggles to hand at all times, and I’ll be making a note of all the important trunk, tights and trouser selection developments.

Now, I realise that dedicating a whole feature to CM Punk’s shorts smacks a little of overkill, so I’m quite prepared to monitor the trunkular choices of the entire roster, with a view to bringing you the highlights. And, because I’m an equal opportunities pervert, I’ll chuck some of the girls in there too. They will have to be general fashion observations though. I can’t feign interest in lady bits that aren’t my own any more than Kofi Kingston can fake melancholy.

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So, on to the actual watching of crotches and it was a dark, dark week in the world of CM Punk. Everyone said…. Is he a heel? Is he a face? Is he kind of wishy-washy and falling somewhere in between the two? It was time for a statement of intent. An EEEEVILLL statement. Yep, Punk went full on bad dude on Jeff Hardy’s ass on Smackdown and only a black pair of trunks would do.

Admittedly, I would like to have seen the lavender trunks, if only to prove one can be a tough mofo in gentle shades of purple without feeling that one’s masculinity is under threat. Still, at both Night of Champions and this week’s Smackdown he plumped for the black shorts with green Chicagoan stars. These short are ‘I mean business and have got no time for pleasuring the ladies with pastel shaded spandex this week’ attire.

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This is just a rumour, but I hear Punk wore the shorts from Sunday to Tuesday just so they’d be extra gross and have some additional nasal punch when he destroyed Jeff Hardy at the end of Smackdown. I am legally bound not to reveal my sources on that one though, so…..

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I’m going to hope he calms down by the time they tape Smackdown tomorrow and will have changed in to some slightly more peaceful knickers. I’ll have a word. Leave it with me.

An honourable mention also goes to Dolph Ziggler this week. I’m sure he’s thrilled that he’s made his way in to the Crotch Watch Hall of Fame so early on. And I mean, who doesn’t love a pair of metallic boxer-briefs, right? I know I do. AMAZING!

The jacket needs to go. It has no fashionable function or practical purpose.

The jacket needs to go. It has no fashionable function or practical purpose.

Next time I’ll include some girls. I don’t want to alienate the blokes who visit this site. I love you too. Mwah!

PS> A second hug of gratitude to Randy who, despite having no matches on last week’s Raw, still refused to cover his crotch.  What a hero!

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Wrestling fans are passionate people. We get involved in storylines, feel an overwhelming sense of pride when we get our guys to the numero uno spot on the Twitter trending topics, feel duped when our heroes lose matches and rejoice as if it was US in the ring when they win.  This past week, two people stood out from the crowds.  They are…..

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This guy, who was absolutely FURIOUS that Evan Bourne beat Jack Swagger on Raw, taking him out of the Beat the Clock challenge. His angry cries of NO NO NO and his definite arm movements made me smile. He’s obviously a huge Jack Swagger fan. Either that or he really hates Evan Bourne. Either way, the fact that you care so deeply about a match between two young guns is admirable, sir. Bravo!

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We were all pretty stunned when CM Punk finally went full-on heel on Smackdown this week and unexpectedly beat the shit out of Jeff Hardy. But this lady seemed especially disturbed and upset. If you’re reading this, don’t worry, I can almost 100% guarantee that as soon as Jeff was fake-stretchered out of the main arena, he and Punk shared a man hug and a strawberries and cream frappuccino. No more sleepless night, ok? Good.

Smackdown(lite): Hamlet, Hair, Hobos and Hugs

Same arena, same crappy set, different day. Yep, Smackdown too was from the London O2 arena this week. Well, why spend 24 hours moving to a new city when you can stay where you are and drink the hotel bar dry. I’m talking to YOU, Miz. Twitter is so much fun.

I think I have an apology to make. I TOTALLY missed the fact that the set had a red phone box on it. I only noticed it when I watched Smackdown. That really tops it off. Because I don’t think those things even exist any more…apart from as novelties. WWE set designers: when you return to these shores in November you must try harder or I’ll pound ya!

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So we begin with Edge. If I hadn’t enjoyed Smackdown so much this week, I’d quite happily have ditched the rest of it and just recapped Edge’s soliloquy. Seriously, it was like an Ontario Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet. It was a thing of beauty. But Smackdown was worthy of a full run-down so this will have to be a long one.

You know, if all this were real, I’d be wrapping a patchwork quilt around Edge, making him some tea, and calling Social Services. In fact, he was so convincingly deranged on SD that I was inches away from being sucked in.  But then I realised that no man who is so up-to-date with his blonde highlights roots could be losing the plot, and I came back down to earth.

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By  the way, if anyone knows what brand of sunnies he’s wearing there, let me know. I WANT! Actually, maybe I’ll just ask him myself on Twitter.

It started well. Edge was calm, collected, cool, cucumber-esque.  But then he started recalling John’s resolve and  began descending in to desperation. He reminded us of the whooping he gave John on Raw and suddenly realised how alone he really is. GOD, I eat this stuff up. The spotlight in the ring, all those long camera shots followed by extreme close-ups. Oooh yeah! He told us once again that he feels worthless without the title, ran his fingers through his beautifully coiffed tresses and…..

“My wife Vickie can’t help…….I have no friends……in your own words John, I’m a desperate man!”

At this point I was so involved I felt like putting my hand on his shoulder and saying I, will be your friend.” Yes, you are correct, I AM a loser.  Nevertheless, he went on to prematurely declare himself the Last Man Standing. Fabulous. (Copeland….let me know who does your highlights too, please.)

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Now that I’m emotionally spent I could do with some light relief. Unfortunately, Todd Grisham’s crack about the Queen’s crib and BBQ ham didn’t satisfy. Must be one of those American jokes I don’t understand. Like Sarah Silverman.

First match of the night is Matt Hardy & Kane Vs Jeff Hardy & CM Yum.  The whole Matt/Jeff ‘I quit’ thing is kind of redundant now, being that we all know Jeff won’t be resigning his current contract. Apparently he’s tired and just wants to do something else for a while.  I kind of admire him for having the courage to do that when he’s so popular at the moment. Ooh, serious mo there. Back to the match. It wasn’t bad actually. Some nice little shimmies. And surprisingly long for a Smackdown match. Matt pinned Jeff FTW.  I notice you’re having some make-up slippage issues there, Jeffrey. Try Revlon Colour-Stay Foundation. It can be a bit cakey if you don’t put it on with a light touch, but it does last. Even on oily skin. And it’s reasonably priced too.

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Big Show/Undertaker was kind of slow and tedious. I felt like I wanted to find their wind-up key and make things go faster. So, to continue the hair and beauty theme (which I swear was totally unplanned) I found myself thinking about how I’d change Undertaker’s fake-tan to a less vibrant shade of tangerine and teach him how to use eyeliner so he doesn’t end up with a harsh line. Smudge, babe. Smudge.

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After a huge punch from the ginormous fist of the Big Show, Undertaker was deemed unfit to continue. Taker stumbled to his feet looking like a wasted hobo, and countered to regain his dignity. Buh-bye Big Show. Enjoy Raw!

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Time for some lady action – Gail Kim v Maryse. I don’t know what it is about Maryse, but I’m not liking her. Something doesn’t sit right with me. And it’s not that “Bitch is more beautiful than me so I hate her guts” stuff either. Todd Grisham dared to say “that this French-Canadian is less popular over here in the United Kingdom than she is in North America.” Ohhh that’s what it is. The British have an involuntary hate of all Frenchness. (Apart from the cheap wine we like to sneak over on the ferry from Callais). And I thought it was just the irritating hair-flicking and the evil-claw-hand. Now I understand. On the flip side, I kind of like Gail Kim. But every time I see her I think of the ‘Cool Asians’ in the cafeteria scene in Mean Girls.  Observe…….

Say what you want about Li-Lo’s debauched lesbian lifestyle, Mean Girls is one of the greatest films ever created. End of. Back to the business of grappling.  Maryse won and flicked her hair so hard she did her back in. Whooda thunk it? Weighty hair weave really is bad for your health.

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Jeff Hardy did a strange, swirly promo for Backlash, which I can only think was shot by some guy thinking “I spent four years at film school to work on this shit, I’m at least gonna be creative and maybe then I’ll get a movie gig.” Yah. Ok. Well….moving on. I can’t be bothered to talk about M.V.P and Chavo…..you just need to know that Montel won the match. Another one disappearing to Raw. His exit from the ring was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler. Umm. WHOOOOO? I’m so not into this guy. Firstly he has the hideous hair of Billy Gunn, then I can’t hear his name without thinking of Dolph Lundgren (remember him in Rocky IV) and apart from that he just seems like a complete tosser. Not a partial tosser, a complete one. I hope he doesn’t get any undeserved pushes. I will be pushing him straight back the way he came.

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We’re not getting the new WWE Superstars show over here yet (correct me if I’m wrong). I downloaded it last week but haven’t bothered yet this week. Thankfully, the John Cena interview from Superstars was repeated on SD. Lovely. But poor John was not feeling himself. He seemed a little blue. Awww. What’s up, sweetheart? He took a microphone, told Grisham he didn’t want to talk to him, looked straight in to the camera and said “For once, I’d like to talk to YOU.” That’s it. I was gone. Whatever words came out of his mouth, in my head, all I heard was this……..

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I gave myself a wrestlegasm with my own thoughts. Errrrrm, yeah. So….back in the realms of reality, the show ended with Shane and Batista Vs Rhodes and DiBiase. Kind of predictable, but fair play to Shane, he had a good go. He looked absolutely knackered by the end of it. Maybe if he wore less clothing he wouldn’t get so warm. Just sayin’. Shane made the pin, by the way. Oh and he even overcame his fear of boy juice and gave Dave a squeeze at the end. Nice.

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FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER(S) OF THE SHOW

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These three who, despite possessing 0% dancability, rocked it out to M.V.P’s entrance music. You shake those tail feathers, fellas!

RAW(lite) – the wrestling N.Y.D

So, this post is kind of late in the week, but what with the mammoth Wrestlemania post and setting up the new site and, you know, normal life, this is the first chance I’ve had to write it.  The first Raw after Wrestlemania is always a strange affair.  It’s like the WWE New Year’s Day. The day after the biggest party of the year. Some are full of regret about what went down the night before, and others are brimming with excitement about the future.

We begin with Randy Orton. Awwww. His face hurts. Yeah, well, you know what? My brain hurts from that rubbish ending to Wrestlemania. But that’s not your fault, honey.  Christ, I’m calling Randy Orton HONEY now. I’ve changed.

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But let’s move on.    Randy Orton is one of the best heels around. Seriously, he reeks of creepy badness.  I love it…. and a week ago I never would have said that.  Vince came out in a shade of blazer no man should ever wear, shouting the odds in that unhealthy gravel he calls a voice and punching his finger at Orton with such force I’m surprised he couldn’t feel it up there on the ramp.

Orton spouted a tirade of abuse and challenged Mr. M to fight him, alone, on Raw, without Shane or Triple H to prop him up.  NEVER has the word SIR seemed like such an insult. AMAZING! After much lip-trembling and eye-popping we got a big fat “YOU’RE OOOOOON!” Loverly.

One of the things I miss  during PPVs are the backstage conversations that are ‘just for us to see’. That’s the theatrical shit that makes it work for me.  So, back in the office a 60-something multi-millionaire is taking his clothes off to take on a man young enough to be his son. His actual son is none too chuffed at what his old man has set himself up for. Can I just take a moment to say how much I LOOOOVE Shane’s grey temples?  When I first started watching wrestling he was this irritating, uncool kid. Now he’s quite the distinguished gentleman. Me happy girl. Shane couldn’t persuade daddy he was making a bad move…..’cause Vince, just…just….WANTS ‘IM. hehe. A silly scene, but it made me laugh.

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On to the Divas.  Smackdown Vs Raw, to be precise.  With the Draft coming up tomorrow, a big wrestlegasm in itself, it’s important that anyone who might be in the frame for a change of office cubicle gets an airing the week beforehand. Just so you know who they are. They pulled off some pretty nice moves in this match.  And how cool is Mickey James? She’s wicked! I kind of want to BE her. And I kind of have a girl-crush on Kelly-Kelly. But you don’t wanna know about that, do ya? Well, maybe another day.  In the meantime,  enjoy his picture of my heroine. Luv yaaaaaa!

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Shane is still stressing behind the scenes, so he turns to his brother-in-law for assistance. God, I love watching them talk to each other. I know this is ‘for TV’ and they obviously have a lighter convo style in real life, but I like to imagine them talking to each other on Christmas Day like that. By the way, best man-hug-moment I’ve seen in AGES.

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On to the All Star Tag Team Match – Raw Vs Smackdown. Good Lord, I think I might combust. Chris Jericho, John Cena, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Edge, Big Show, Kane, Rey Mysterio and Ricky Steamboat all in one match. Shit. What a combo. My pants thank you.  By the way, I am TOTALLY falling in love with Punk. It’s the Chicago thing, I think. It tipped me over the edge. Also, one of my favourite moments of the night – Rey Mysterio giving his mask fringe to a random kid in the crowd. Awww. Bless. I predict that kid will be on Raw 15 years from now telling the story of how Rey inspired him to be a wrestler. I guarantee it.

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Only the day after Wrestlemania would we see this many main eventers in one match. That doesn’t normally happen. We don’t even see these boys all on one SHOW, let alone in one match. They usually spread the top talent out.  What a TREAT! Every time a new hand slapped that of someone in the ring, I got a lovely little buzz of eeeeeeeeee-xcitement. I gotta say, how freakin’ awesome is Ricky Steamboat? This man is older than my dad! He’s 56 years old, for god’s sake. I agree with the chanting crowd. “You still goooot it!!!!”. And I love how much everyone hates Jericho at the moment. I laughed out loud when Chris came in to do some damage to Steamboat and Michael Cole blasted “Here comes Jericho like a VULTURE! Chris Jericho’s a VULTURE.” But a really hot vulture, yah?

I can’t tell you much more about the match, other than it left me feeling very fulfilled. To be honest, they could have ended Raw right there and I would have given it a glowing report.

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On we go….Triple H, in a battle of the noses,  was unable to persuade daddy-dearest that scrapping with Orton was just silliness, and we were joined in the arena by Vicky Guerrero. I know it’s her job to be annoying, but bloody hell, that voice. Urgh! And the way she pronounces ‘Orton’ winds me up. Vicky, it’s OR-TON. OOOOR-TTTTTON. So, she has opted to be Raw general manager in preparation for next week’s draft. Curious.Veeery curious.  I kind of skipped the Santina thing. I watched it but tried to block it out.  It makes me want to punch my fist through a wall.

In no time at all (wow, that was a quick Raw) we’re at the main event of the evening. Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon against Randy Orton….or Randy Orrrun as Vicky calls him. I wasn’t expecting much of the match.  I figured Legacy would be back on the scene, having been so rudely left out of Wrestlemania. And I supposed that Triple H and Shane would retaliate. But what actually happened was totally unexpected…at least to me. I HATE spoilers with a passion. Maybe others knew it was going to happen, but I like to see things as they play out. Otherwise, where’s the excitement?  Oh, yeah, I haven’t told you what happened. Duh! Ok…….

As predicted, it was a complete mis-match. Shane couldn’t take it any more, flew in to the ring and started pummelling Orton. I love watching Shane fight. He still seems like a little boy to me. Cute little thing that he is. Rhodes and DiBiase joined in to save their leader from a further ShaneOMac-attack, Orton joined in and then The Game put his oar in. Of course. Everything’s going just as I had anticipated. With all the McMahon brood under the cosh, they needed some assistance. But who’s gonna be their hero?

Some VERY loud guitar chords blast in to the arena.  Only regular wrestling viewers will understand this, but you know when someone hasn’t been around for a while….maybe because they’ve been injured…… then they return unexpectedly. The music hits and you know the music, and the cogs in your brain start revolving to figure out who it is. It only takes a second. Maybe two. But I love that moment where you realise who it is. THEY are wrestlegasm moments.

So, who was it………..

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OH MY GOD! It was so amazing.  Even though I’m kind of in Orton’s camp since WM, Dave looked so bloody cool. He picked Legacy off one at a time and got all three to scamper off up the ramp. I repeat, SO. BLOODY. COOL. And a TOTAL wrestlegasm moment. Seeing him with his old pal and Shane up there in the ring made my week.

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But the best moment of all was when Vince, lying outside the ring in his black smock, said……………………………………………

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Randy Orton was beside himself. Devastated. So now we have a brand new feud on the go. Just like that. That’s why I love this nonsense.

FAVOURITE CROWD MEMBER OF THE SHOW

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This lady, who seemed absolutely MORTIFIED that Primo and Carlito had taken the Tag-Team belts. I cannot imagine how involved she got with the more interesting stuff. Now THAT’S DEDICATION!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am super-excited about tomorrow’s draft. I loooooove the draft. A spot of Spring cleaning is always refreshing. And a few surprises are always very welcome.

I’ll do a quick Smackdown recap tomorrow morning (BST) to bring everything nicely up to do date. This long Easter weekend is proving to be very handy.

BLEARY EYED AND SATISFIED: DIARY OF A WRESTLEMANIA HANGOVER

[This post was originally posted on http://buymyown.wordpress.com and has been imported in to wrestlegasm.com by the author]

Ahhh Wrestlemania.  The highlight of the wrestling calendar. Trying to strike the balance between expectation and delivery is like walking a 50ft tightrope. It could swing either way with the tiniest slip of the heel. But from tightropes and heels to turnbuckles and, well, heels. But I’m not talking about the round bit at the back of your foot this time.  The hype surrounding the Triple H v Randy Orton match had reached fever pitch and promised to be the explosive culmination of not only their saga, but also the entire WM25 weekend. Did it deliver all that was expected? Well, you’ll just have to read on won’t you.

Sunday. Wrestlemania day. AAAAAAAAAARGH! The excitement was beginning to build and I set about baking my WM25 cupcakes. Yep. That’s right. I baked Wrestlemania cupcakes and spent almost the entire afternoon icing them in a suitable fashion. Ah what fun. Whaddaya think? Want one? Just don’t take the John Cena ones. I want to eat John all by myself. Aight? 😉

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Before anyone emails or comments to let me know that Hulk Hogan has nothing to do with this year’s event…. yes, I AM aware.  But my buddy Emma Monkey has love for just one wrestler. Hogan. Don’t even ask. I had to make her a Hogan cupcake or she would have beaten me up. Also take note of my Ric Flair WOOOOO! cake. I added some icing tears for him. Doesn’t Flair always look like he’s just finished watching The Notebook or something?

Anyway, let’s crack on. I took a one hour nap to get me through the long night ahead. I dragged myself toward the TV  in my new PJs  just as it was starting. Oooh the excitement.  WHOA! All those people. All those fireworks. All those MILLIONS of dollars in Vince McMahon’s bank account.

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Speaking of money in the bank (b0om-boom)……

The MITB match was brill. I was convinced that Kofi Kingston would win.  At some point, if he doesn’t eff his chance up, he will get a big push, you mark my words.  I love ladder matches.  They’ve got that sinister “anyone could break a bone at any moment” allure. My brother, who only watches wrestling sporadically these days, called it that CM Punk would do the double.  Good for him. Punk, not my flukey brother. Punk has potential as a  future crush if any of the others bid the ring farewell. And I do have a thing for boys from his part of the world.

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Time for a musical interlude. Kid Rock. Kid Rock? Really? Well. Ok, then. I don’t really get the choice of crooner and I’m not a fan, but whatever. It’s the early hours of Monday morning and I’ll take anything I can get to keep me awake.  What the hell was wrong with that crowd? Did I miss something? They reacted as if he had just announced himself as a serial killer or something. Did he? I was  a bit sleepy.  There is a possibility I could have dozed off. I’m don’t like his music but I would at least show some respect, fools. Maybe it was the NYC hipster glasses.  They say “I think (I’m cool), therefore I am.” No.

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His set neatly left the ladies of the WWE in the ring. Oh God. I want so much to respect this, but I’m struggling. I admire the women in the WWE. No, really. Let me explain. The majority are displayed as nothing greater than Playboy mansion rejects and yet to keep their bodies in that kind of shape they have to work bloody hard. They rarely get a decent storyline that isn’t based entirely on sex and often they only get a really mainstream push if they’re written on to the arm of one of the big boys. Oh dear. I’ve gone a little off topic I’ll have to come back to this in a future post, I think.

So, the match. I wasn’t paying that much attention until I realised there was a strange looking “Lady” in a Victoria Beckham wig in the corner. Urggggggh, no. Santino. I know he’s a comedy character and it’s all meant to be taken in jest, but I’m over this Santina thing before it even gets going. I thought it would end up with Beth and “Santina” in the ring with Beth winning. Nope. A MAN was Miss Wrestlemania.  I give up. *smacks forehead*

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On to a proper(ish) match. Lover numero uno, Chris Jericho, was in action against the legends and the prospect of a probable appearance from Mickey Rourke hung in the air. Incidentally, I know he made an awesome film about this industry that I love, but I can’t get over how awful he looks. The best advertisement for living a clean life if ever I saw one.  He looked about as uncomfortable as a Hollywood comeback kid could look sitting in the front row with all the rowdy wrestling meatheads.  NOTE TO SELF: Remember that actors are not the characters they play.

Jericho’s music hit and I got a funny feeling in my tummy. The first of many that night. Out he came  (cue gratuitous pants shot)……………..

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Mmm. Nice. He was closely followed by the legends. Piper is holding up well, despite his personal troubles, although, he’s the most American Scot I’ve ever  heard. Apart from maybe John Barrowman. Jimmy Snuka, bless him. Even pulling on his tribal threads can’t hide the fact that he’s rolling down the other side of the hill. Fair play to him for having a go though. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat is in surprisingly remarkable shape.  If I were 30 years older……..no. That’s just wrong.  Then there’s the tearful pack-leader, Ric Flair. I hear that Flair was the life and soul of the party at the hotel, entertaining fans and colleagues alike. Good on ya, fella.  Naming no names, but maybe you could teach some of the more junior boys that skill. (I’ll name names later on…..don’t disappear before the end, k?)

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Jericho won the match, which surprised me. I was sure the old timers would bring it on home. But then, where could it have gone from there? Mickey Rourke was goaded in to joining my man in the ring, despite the reservations of the faux cronies, who he was flanked by in the crowd.  He smooshed Jericho in the chops and Flair encouraged the crowd to heap praise upon Hollywood. Bastards!

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I’d like to tell you all about the Hardy brothers match, but between making some tea, gathering my snacks and rescuing one of my cats from a mishap, I missed a lot of it. Sad but true. But I did end up with a happy cat and sustenance for the rest of the night.

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Then on to Rey Mysterio v JBL, which was so short it’s not even worth a picture. Oh yeah, and JBL quit. A week before the draft? Hmmm. Interesting. Not really.  Who cares? I was starting to feel a little disappointed with WM25. It was all………..fine, but I wasn’t feeling blown away.  My hypothetical tightrope walker was looking wobbly. Very wobbly. But that was all about to change.

Last week I was feeling fairly uninspired by the Undertaker/Shawn Michaels match.  In fact, I believe I said that Michaels was….kind of…MEH! Ouch! I’m sorry. Sometimes I get caught up the in matches that involve the boys I fancy the pants off and forget the others.  This match was not just the best match at Wrestlemania this year, it was one of the best freakin’ matches I’ve EVER seen. That’s in ten years of wrestling. I am in TOTAL AWE. Move after move, after move, after move……. it was a beautifully choreographed dance between partners who seemed to know each other so well it flowed without so much as a second thought. Oh yeah, after many a count-out saved by a last second raise of the arm, Undertaker scooped up the win. Urgh! My cupcake lied. But how could it lie to me when it was so delicious?  Kind of reminds me of this……

  • hmMindy: What’s wrong?
  • Homer: Oh, yeah, like you don’t know.  [weeping] We’re gonna have sex!
  • Mindy: Oh…well, we don’t have to.
  • Homer: [sad] Yes we do! The cookie told me so.
  • Mindy: Well…desserts aren’t always right.
  • Homer: But they’re so sweet.

I don’t think I’ll be using the ‘predictions by cupcake’ method again. Last week I said it wasn’t really about what happens in the ring. That’s not entirely true. The dramaz can’t live without quality wrestling and the top-notch ring action can’t function without a context.   A truly, truly fantastic match.  My tightrope walker just got his balance back. Now, someone please pass me the humble pie…..and a fork.

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I kind of feel sorry for anyone who has to follow that. I mean, seriously, TOUGH BREAK!  But if you can’t compete with the moves you might as well go with a soap opera storyline.  Infidelity, passion, revenge…yep, it can only be  Edge, Big Show and the light of my life….John Cena. BE STILL MY BEATING PANTS! With Edge and Big Show already in the ring I was curious to know if John Cena would use some kind of special gimmick to get himself in the ring.  My fave was Wrestlemania 22. Remember? The 1920s gangster thing?  Oooorgh. I loved it.  Click here if you need a reminder. This time, I thought all my Christmases had come at once. What appeared to be hundreds of  cloned John Cenas made their way down the ramp. There are  a million dirty jokes I could tell in relation to this, really, I’ve got a lot, but I’ll save you from them for now. Just look at the picture and make up your own.jce

The match itself wasn’t mindblowing, but following Undertaker/Michaels, anything would have looked a little bland.  I watched it back a couple of times. It was good and I’m super-chuffed that John Cena managed to impress my brother when he lifted both Big Show and Edge on his back. Wow! That kind of strength is……SUPER-WOW! If he can pick them up he could TOTALLY hold me up. Errrr, moving on. Swiftly. Before I combust.

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I was tired, but I was holding my own and staying awake.  Here’s proof ………….

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John won the match, which made me a smiley-kylie, but it also made it far less likely that Randy Orton would win the final match of the night. You can’t have two belts on RAW. Don’t get me wrong….I love Triple H, but that hold he has over backstage proceedings can be slightly nauseating at times. Anyway, before the headliner, time for a a little Hall of Fame styleee interlude. They all came on out, waved to the adoring crowd and we waited for the GOD that is Stone Cold Steve Austin to appear in an ill-fitting suit.

There he was. What a hero. What a legend. What a…..hey…..WHERE’S HE GOING? Why is he walking off the stage when everyone else is still on the stage? Maybe it was because it was somewhere between 3am and 4am and I was not quite feeling human, but I totally bought it.  I found myself wondering what contentious backstage spat had made everyone’s favourite beer-drinker walk off-stage. Then this happened….

sssaIt. Was. Amazing. I didn’t just smile, I beamed. BEAMED. God, I wish he was still around. Damn his severe neck injury that forced early retirement. I’ll love you forever Stone Cold. FOR-EH-VAH!

On to the main event of the night – Triple H v Randy Orton for the WWE Championship belt. The day before Wrestlemania I proclaimed to my boyfriend that I hated Randy Orton (he’s a huge fan) and that Triple H would be my victorious hunny-bunny. Then on Sunday morning the boyf told me some stories about Triple H that broke my heart.  Apparently, he had been snippy with fans attending Wrestlemania, refusing to sign autographs, have pictures taken and speak with fans. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I mean, it’s the interwebz, they could just be spreading nasty rumours. But it took some of the shine off for me. Maybe I need to promote CM Punk to lover number 3 and put Hunter or probation. Yeah, I’m sure he’s devastated about that. As a result of the rumour mill, I went in to the match a little subdued – still not thinking much of Randy Orton. But that was about to turn on its head, thanks to one line from Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

I watched as Randy Orton slithered his way down the ramp like some kind of big cat, hoping that the excitement I feel when I hear “Time to Play the Gaaaaaame!” would still feel the same. I watched Randy Orton. I watched and admired his physique. “Whether I like him or not, his body is AMAZING. PERFECT, even.” I thought. Then The King gave me a Wrestlegasm moment. Well, his words did anyway. The camera zoomed in on Orton, and after a long pause, out of nowhere, came:

“Somehow, evil isn’t supposed to look that good.  He looks like he was chiseled from stone.”

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WRESTLEGASSSSMMMMM! They were the perfect words at the perfect moment.  I bloody love you, Lawler. And you Orton. How the hell did that happen? Fastest U-turn ever. I should go in to politics. All of a sudden I found myself in Randy Orton’s corner. My boyfriend predicted that, somehow, I would eventually fall under Orton’s spell. I thought he was crazy. He’s obviously a very sane young man after all. Triple H’s entrance was pretty impressive, throwing a sledge hammer through a mirrored wall and all, but he had already lost my heart to Orton. At the very least I hoped for an explosive match. Errrrm…..didn’t quite happen.

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The match didn’t have the in-ring WHOA-Factor of Taker/Michaels, and didn’t deliver the intense, bitter, family-fueled drama it promised. CHEATEEEEED! Where were Legacy? I only commented the day before on how great of an opportunity it was Rhodes and DiBiase to be part of such a huge story. Yeah, well, there was no place for them at Wrestlemania. No Stephanie, no Linda, bearly a glimpse of Vince and Shane. What a crock of shit!.  It’s not that the wrestling was terrible, it’s just that, after such an enormous build-up, it all went a bit flat. Like the air slowing seeping out of a bicycle tyre.  Triple H took home the belt and we were left with him on the ropes being all victorious like, and the crowd leaving. The crowd were leaving the Wrestlemania stadium BEFORE IT WAS EVEN OFF THE AIR. Oh dear. That can’t be good.

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All in all I enjoyed my (very) early morning romp with my wrestle-boys-n-girl……or was it a really late night? I dunno. I took myself off to bed just after 4am, slept til 8:30am and spent most of this week trying to recover the hours I lost and the skin under my eyes. I’ve got some MAJOR luggage under my eyeballs. But it was sooooooo worth it.

Final shout out of the night goes to this couple, who managed to get a full shot of the Welsh flag on screen. Well done, darlings. Proud of ya.

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