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?!

RAW: The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

Something has gone awry on Planet WWE. In a twist of bizarre proportions, Daniel Bryan has joined the unsavoury and unwashed Wyatt family. Except nobody really believes it. It’s about as unsettling as when a puppy softly growls at you in an attempt to convince you of its wolfy lineage.

He doesn’t even look like a Wyatt; largely because he clearly owns some salon quality shampoo and conditioner (sulphate-free, of course). But also because you know that tucked under those pristinely pressed sleeveless overalls is a Whole Foods carrier bag containing organic quinoa, a new jar of Stevia and a bumper sized tub of chia seeds. DB does not look like a man who resides in a swamp-drenched shack. And all I can think as his and Bray’s tag match against The Usos plays out is that, with it gathering so elegantly at the waist, not since Jennifer Beals has a boiler suit looked quite so glamorous.
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The bellowing Usos won the match as the result of DQ when the two additional Wyatts gatecrashed the party. It seemed this development had to be used to teach Daniel Bryan a lesson in losing, so was followed by an awkward body-dip, the likes of which is generally only seen during the first week of Strictly Come Dancing training. You get the feeling Daniel Bryan’s not in any way prepared for the Wyatt brand of prison romance.
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The match between Damian Sandow and John Cena is standard second fight fodder and seems only to exist to remind us that Sandow cashed in his MITB contract on Cena and lost. The most remarkable thing about this match is that Cena has clashed his fluorescent green laces with the garish red and yellow boxer short elastic he seems intent on showing us throughout. Because asserting your status through your ability to afford expensive underwear is absolutely what a man of the 21st century would do! But then, I’m picking on a guy who’s worn cut-off jeans as wrestling gear for the entirety of his career. I have no doubt that he gives zero fucks that I feel the need to help him clash his neons more gracefully or tuck his knicker band back in. Check Alex Jones schooling John on how to do clashing neons on Wednesday’s One Show.
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WWE Network is the talk of the town and, to be fair, it looks promising. Being able to watch a year’s worth of PPVs for the suspiciously measly $9.99 is a bargain. And that’s before the thousands of hours of archive footage one can sift through to satiate one’s boredom. You also get to watch a reality show where veterans of the ring seemingly sit around arguing with each other over the semantics of matches nobody remembers. It has the potential to be as fist-gnawingly horrendous as Celebrity Big Brother and yet some seem to be vomiting with excitement to see it. Get back to me when you’re ready to roll out worldwide.

Big Show’s TKO on Zeb Colter following a blink-and-it’s-gone match was all you might expect it to be. Far better to hotfoot it to CM Punk and the New Age Outlaws against The Shield. It’s Rumble season, which means WWE like to drag out the old-timers gathering dust in the basement in preparation. I was left mulling over the stark American juxtaposition of a sports arena being named after a doughnut bakery. I then found myself wishing for a box of American doughnuts while I patiently waited for Gunn and Dogg to spew out their croaky patter and introduce their partner.

Ah CM Punk. I cannot quit you and I have no desire to. We’ve come a long way together, kid, and the first riff of Cult of Personality is akin to hearing the sudden jerk of that special ringtone you save for your boyfriend. I am never not fanning myself.  Enough swoonage, let’s move on to their opponents – The Shield. Oh. The improbable yet perfect trifecta of impressive brawn, dastardly brains and adorability. They’re renegades! Kind of. They still storm the ring through the crowd! While kissing babies on the head. Rollins continues to Jack-Bauer-roll over the barrier to announce his arrival! And then winks at the camera. The real story behind this match was that Punk’s degenerative sidekicks left him to be mauled by The Shield, which malfunctioned my cheer-o-meter beyond repair. Someone tell me how to feel.

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AJ and Tamina’s match against the Funkadactyls was as depressing a reminder as it comes that the women’s division is becoming a single cherry tomato in a massive salad bowl. While the announcement that Ultimate Warrior be an inductee to the Hall of Fame is the best case yet for video games spoiling surprises.’Surprises’ makes the fanfare sound quite pleasant, but I think I’d rather save my trumpet blowing for less abominable human beings. Like that woman who threw a cat in the bin.

Ripple monster Randy Orton, now weighed down by two championship belts and therefore traversing the ramp slower than ever, had a match against sprightly Kofi Kingston. While the match had its charms, it was really just a vehicle to hype Orton’s title match against Cena at the Rumble. Frothing and dribbling phlegm like a teen at Harry Styles’ locked dressing room door, Randy Orton lost control in the eye of defeat.

Where would his spinning rage take him? To the ground? Yes. To the announce table? Naturally. To John Cena’s dad who just happened to be in the front row? Yep! A Cena/Orton feud just isn’t legendary until John’s dad gets his squishy face smashed in. It’s alluring in the same way that I cannot look away from Mary Poppins any time it’s scheduled on TV. I know what’s going to happen, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I particularly enjoyed the lone, blood-curdling scream that called out as Orton launched himself over the barrier and Cena Sr. I’ll expect that girl to be the new recruit on Total Divas next season.

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The tag match barely made a dent and Alberto Del Rio vs Rey Mysterio was mainly used to tease Batista’s return next week. Oh yeah. There’s definitely a Rumble coming. Lest we forget my most favourite Batista screencap. That double denim, man.
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On the orders of Brad Maddox and a now besuited Kane, the main event was a repeat of the first event. This time Daniel Bryan – still looking like a fraudulent banker accidentally sent to a maximum security prison – and his new best mate were locked inside a steel cage with the Usos. The real brothers won the match by scaling the chains and making a quick exit. This left Wyatt furious and determined to dance Bryan into submission once more. His sweaty mouth whispered sweet nothings into Bryan’s ear before yet again dipping him into an imaginary baptism pool. Ah. But this wasn’t just a case of deja vu. Our trusted hero found his sword. So that wasn’t just a bag of quinoa in his pocket after all! He overthrew Wyatt.

Bryan shed his starched overalls, unleashed his suppressed fury on his hirsute mentor and left the crowd in absolute raptures. In a borderline terrifying display of support boasting the precision of a North Korean military pageant, the audience punched the air and Yes! Yes! Yes!’d along with Bryan’s every move, at various speeds, entirely dictated by him. You could say it’s a good job he’s such a nice guy. In the hands of those with a less dignified ego, this kind of universal adoration could go straight to their heads. But the thing is, only a genuinely nice guy could garner this type of widespread approval. Because those deserving always get rewarded in the end. Daniel Bryan is proof positive that the nice guy doesn’t always finish first, but he definitely finishes best.
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the welsh are coming: an update

In the post I wrote on Sunday I suggested that if BarrrrmmmMason Ryan was allowed to speak Welsh in his promos I might cry. On last night’s Raw he was allowed to use his mother tongue. OK, so it was very brief, but I wasn’t expecting it so early on. Did I cry? Not exactly. But that’s about as happy as wrestling can make me and it started my day off with a massive, happy contraction in my chest. And if you missed it…….

If you’re wondering, he was just saying that CM Punk WON’T be eliminated. So shutup, Husky Harris! (I added the shutup bit for effect. But that’s what his eyes were saying.)

It has come to my attention that world geography is escaping some people across the pond. No, Wales is not in Ireland or Scotland and DEFINITELY not in England. Here is a diagram to help you.

To be a little more specific, Barri Mason is billed as being from Cardiff, as am I. Or as CM Punk pronounces it “Carr-duff, Wayls.” Not technically true though. It wasn’t even true when they billed him as from Rhyl for a brief time when he joined FCW. He’s actually from a tiny little town in the North West corner of Wales called Tramadog. It’s so Welsh nobody speaks English unless they really have to. So now you know.

Mae’r arholiad yn cychwyn mewn un munud.

survivor series 2010: the predictions

 

 

In a bold and visionary move (and not in any way just vaguely plagiarised from Razor over at Kick-Out) we have decided to start posting our predictions before each PPV. This way you can all see just how incredibly perceptive and intelligent we are when it comes to blindly guessing the results of a pre-scripted event. Of course, chances are we’ll both do really badly and you’ll lose all the respect (hah!) and credibility (hah again!) that we have built up over the last year and a bit.

Anyway, this is a pretty simple post. We’ll waffle on a bit about each match and then make a prediction at the end. Hopefully some of you will be interested enough to leave your predictions in the comments section – we’d love to know how the Wrestlegasm readers think some of the matches will go.

DISCLAIMER: Neither of us have watched Raw in its entirety for a few weeks now, and we are writing this before Smackdown has aired. So if anything really obvious happens on SD that would affect our predictions then, to paraphrase the much missed Snitsky, “it wasn’t our fault”.

No of course we don't. You were just a cheap throwaway joke. Sorry

OK, on with the predictions, starting with…

Andrew: As you may be aware (especially if you read this last week) I don’t watch Raw, so I’m not 100% sure how accurate any of my predictions for their matches will be. Having said that, this Nexus/Cena storyline has been going on long enough that even I have a rough idea what’s going on. I would be surprised if Barrett doesn’t win on Sunday, giving Cena chance to escape Nexus and start on the road to beating Barrett for the title further down the road. Whether Cena will help Barrett to win or not, I’m not sure. But I can definitely see our favourite Preston wrestler looking incredibly smug on Raw with the belt draped over his shoulder.
WINNER: WADE BARRETT

Ray: Picture the scene. Wade Barrett sits alone in a dark, empty room. The shadows from his broken nose switch from one side to another as a solitary light bulb hangs perilously above his head. He wrings his hands together as he tells you you’re too simple to understand the might of the Nexus. Well not me, Wade. I am not too simple to understand that you wouldn’t be the only person in the promo video if they weren’t going to make a star of you at Survivor Series. Also, I feel somewhat obliged to tip Wade. Anything else would feel like going to an international sporting event and singing the other team’s national anthem. Predict from the heart!
WINNER: WADE BARRETT

Andrew: I’ve a feeling this one will also be a title change, with Edge getting the win, the belt and his awesome God-pyro back. I’m expecting some kind of Undertaker/Paul Bearer/Urn-related shenanigans to be involved, with the “Ultimate Opportunist” taking advantage for a cheap win.
WINNER: EDGE

Ray: Let’s face it, Kane was only ever made champion to facilitate the whole ‘who beat my brother into a coma?’ thing. And then the ‘let’s bring Paul Bearer back for old time’s sake’ thing. Followed swiftly by the ‘let’s bury the Undertaker alive in a grave made of polystyrene and resin’ thing. It was never about Kane being a fabulous champion. Time to lay this story to rest (sorry) and move on.
WINNER: EDGE

Andrew: Much as we both love Alberto Del Rio here in The Bunker, I’m sensing a Team Mysterio win after Del Rio walks out on his team (again!) leaving them to take the loss against Rey and Big Show. Plus Mysterio’s name is (kind of) mentioned in the title of our favourite Simpsons episode, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
WINNER: TEAM MYSTERIO

Ray: I feel I may regret this one. Andrew makes a good point. But I’m under the Del Rio spell. Despite logic, every time those trumpets pipe up and he blasts the horn of his Rolls with all the arrogance of aristocracy, I’m won over. I’m even convinced he may be angling for an invite to Will and Kate’s marital toff-fest next year.
WINNER: TEAM DEL RIO

Andrew: While I find it very hard to get excited (or even interested) in this match, I’m going to predict some kind of mass Nexus interference leading to a DQ victory for Santino & Kozlov. Barrett, Slater & Gabriel celebrating on Monday’s Raw with all three belts seems like too good an image to ignore – even if they will then be attacked and chased off by Cena…
WINNER: KOZLOV & SANTINO

Ray: Easily the least interesting match of the night. It seems fitting that if I have Barrett winning, I should make it a clean sweep for the boys in black and yellow. I think Sheamus will interfere somehow, leading me nicely to my prediction for the final match in the list (Sheamus/Morrison). Cor, it’s like it’s all been worked out in advance or something.
WINNER: NEXUS

Andrew: First prediction is that this should be match of the night. Kaval is obviously a great wrestler, and Ziggler has repaid the affection that Ray and myself have paid him by having consistently enjoyable matches including his recent run against Daniel Bryan. Having said that, I’m picking Kaval for this one. Ray mentioned that she always makes her predictions from her heart, and I would love for Kaval to start a title unification feud against Bryan
WINNER: KAVAL

Ray: There I was saying that I always make my predictions from the heart and here I am doing the opposite. Much as I would love to see Kaval win, I’m not sure they’re quite ready to give him that push or move Ziggler in another direction. I think there might be a bit of juice left in that love triangle nonsense yet. But psssst! Kaval! If you prove me wrong, I’ll secretly be quite pleased.
WINNER: ZIGGLER

Andrew: Going from the heart is trickier in this one as we’re both fans of LayCool and Natalya. Having said that, Layla is a surprisingly good wrestler when she’s given chance, and I’d be happy for LayCool to split up now (especially if McCool having to skip the recent European tour to look after her husband are true and she needs take more time off.) I’m hoping for Natalya to win this one, then feud with Layla for a while until Beth Phoenix comes back. Then I can sit and mark out as Natalya and Beth feud for the title… well, a man can dream can’t he?
WINNER: NATALYA

Ray: I just want Beth Phoenix to come back. OK, I don’t just want that, but it’s started to feel like everything in the Smackdown women’s division is waiting with bated breath for the Glamazon to storm in and take everyone out. I do think it might soon be time for Layla and Michelle to part ways, but not before Ms. Phoenix comes back to buddy-up with Natalya. Then again, maybe that will happen at Survivor Series. Queen of wishful thinking.
WINNER: LAYCOOL

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve no idea what this is all about. Hang on a sec, I’ll just check wwe.com… What? They’re fighting over Santino! Why are they… but… Santino has Kozlov on his team! Why would he need John Morrison? Meh…
WINNER: MORRISON

Ray: Sheamus is just hanging around waiting for Triple H to come back and take his revenge for ousting him all those months ago. John Morrison is just, well, hanging around. So why not let them have a little match over a pretend Italian man to keep themselves amused while waiting for something better to come along. A bit like the way firefighters play poker in between fires.
WINNER: MORRISON

Right, that’s what we think. What about you lot? We like to think that Wrestlegasm reader’s are smarter (and smarter) than the normal wrestling fan, so if you get a couple of minutes feel free to let us know your predictions in the comments below and we’ll mention the closest results on the blog.


a sad panda and lots of kisses

Back when Matt Striker was on the ECW roster he used to do a video bit on WWE.com called ‘Best Week, Worst Week’, where he would select public figures who’d had, well, the best and worst week. He also used to write excellent blogs and answer viewers’ questions. Sadly, this all fell by the wayside when he was shifted to commentary. Depending on how you feel about Striker’s commentary, that’s either a good thing of a bad thing.
Two WWE entities who had a startlingly good and bad seven days, so I figured I’d pay homage to Striker (because I don’t do that enough already) and do my own scribbled version of Best Week, Worst Week. And while we’re at it, Jamie Keyes, you weren’t actually due to be eliminated from NXT this week. But “seducing” Striker was a step too far.
You’re not fooling anyone with that flower in your hair, pal.
To steal words from Tina Fey’s notebook (because I don’t do that enough already either):
“I had never felt this feeling before. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. My stomach felt like it was about to fall out my butt. I had this lump in my throat like when you dry-swallow a big pill. I hated [Jamie]. I hated her!”
But that’s quite enough of my worrying and feral need to attack a woman smooching a man who isn’t even my man. We should probably get to the bones of this post.

Worst Week

John Cena. Obvious, I know. But he who fights the good fight at all times has had his foundations rocked this week. It’s been a rollercoaster akin to that new ride at Alton Towers that I can’t remember the name of and might just be making up for the sake of it. Things started going wrong at Hell in a Cell, where our hero had to beat Wade Barrett to force the Nexus into going their separate ways. If Cena lost? He had to jump the fence into bad guy territory and swap his purple clobber for the black & amber. Seems unlikely, right?
And yet, unlikely things do happen. The ring was invaded by two fans, who were clearly Husky Harris and Michael McGillacutty. The officials were distracted and Cena lost the match. Of course, if all the people in the arena had actually taken the time to watch NXT, they might have recognised the assailants and not spent the next 20 minutes pulling expressions like this:
Seriously, unless you’re too young to fully grasp the concept that professional wrestling is predetermined theatre, you should not be pulling these expressions when John Cena is forced to buddy up with the baddies.
This is acceptable.
This is not.
24 hours later, things weren’t improving for our hero. John was forced to join Barrett & Co. in the ring and read out a statement in which he declared himself under Wade’s wing. Don’t worry, kids. He did it in a solemn, monotone manner so as not to indicate that he was enjoying himself in any way.

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Now part of this posse of wrong-doers, Cena had to start playing the part. He was told to choose a tag partner and go at it against Evan Bourne and Mark Henry. Apparently, the proper etiquette for choosing someone to tag with these days is to step right up into their face as if about to plant a passionate kiss on their chops and not say a word.
Good to know for the next team building away day in the Bunker.
The match got under way but Tarver was not happy. Shaking your opponent’s hand before a match is very un-Nexusy. And the good behaviour didn’t end there. Tarver stepped into the ring to show Cena how to be mean but found himself being mauled by an extra-shiny Mark Henry. After a while, John felt he should probably help Michael Tarver by offering him a tag. But as soon as Tarver held his shaking hand out for salvation, John pulled it away, stuck his hand in his denim pedal-pushers and pulled out a pen. What?
Ahhhh. Gotcha.
While Cena pressed the flesh with the audience and made insignificant pieces of craft card suddenly worth mega cash, Tarver was suffocated by Mark Henry’s belly. “The happiest loser ever seen” decided that being part of a group wasn’t quite for him and John announced that, if he had to remain a member of the Nexus, he planned on destroying it from within. The ultimate non-conformist, Michael Cole? Not quite.
Cena went on to make mince-meat of Michael Tarver and absorbed the adoration of the bellowing crowd through every pore of his perfectly smooth skin.
Nice of Hulk Hogan to buy a ticket and cheer John on.
This rabble-rousing was not missed by the still anonymous GM. Michael Cole stepped up to his podium and announced that if John couldn’t fall into line and follow Barrett’s orders, his contract would be terminated. For good. Pretty sure that’s illegal, but still, EEEK!
Cena was a sad panda, so he skulked off to consider his future. You know what everyone needs when everything they’ve ever known is hanging by a thread? Josh Matthews with a microphone on the end of his wrist.
A quick appearance from Harris and McGillacutty and Cena was on his toes chasing them to the locker room. He should have known better. His new boss was waiting with his henchmen to quiz John on his anti-Nexus behaviour.
Later on it was announced that there would be a 20-man Over the Top Rope Battle Royal to determine the NoC for the WWE belt. Basically, Barrett wanted it and if John didn’t act as his personal bodyguard throughout the match, there would be consequences. It’s tough having a boss who doesn’t think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, eh John? Welcome to real life!
The Battle Royal did its work. The professional jobbers fell on their swords and, as if it had been decided beforehand, John and Wade ended up with just each other to eliminate. Cena was in a sticky situation. Eliminate Wade and he’d be the people’s champion, the number one contender and would be safe in the knowledge that he didn’t compromise his principles. Downside? Well, he’d be fired. Kind of a bummer. So what did John do? He did what all of us do when we’re frustrated at work….
1) Get angry and butt heads with the boss…….
2) Consider making a fuss……
3) Then just do what they tell you to do anyway.
Keep smiling, John-boy. You will overcome. Of that I have no doubt.

Best Week

You’d think the person who had the Best Week would be Wade Barrett, right? I mean, in March he was begging for the big-time in FCW and here he is barking orders at arguably the most well-known face in wrestling. Fun times for our compatriot. But ‘Best Week’ goes to a show rather than a single person. That show is……NXT. It was great and…..nah I can’t do it. It’s Smackdown.
Last week it was a big, fat, ugly Raw-fest to celebrate the show’s move to SyFy in America. Dear Raw, do not infect my beloved Smackdown with your Raw germs again. Thankfully, it wasn’t just back to normal this week, it was better than normal.
Edge came back to his spiritual home, the Dudebusters got back on TV, Kaval did lots of clever kicks, the Dolph/Vickie/Kaitlyn lust-triangle took a new turn, and Rey Mysterio and Alberto Del Rio pulled off one of my favourite non-PPV matches of the last few months.
Bravo, Smackdown. With your snazzy new graphics and more favourable theme tune, I think I want to kiss you. Lots.There’s only one thing which makes me want to play hard-to-get and save those kisses for our next date.
Why is Michael Cole commentating on Smackdown?!?!?! Must his insipid, interfering voice be heard on every show now? Cutting Matt Striker off mid-sentence while you’re having a love-in with Jerry Lawler during a PPV is one thing, but cutting him off on his own show is just bad form. GO. AWAY. NOW. Get rid of Cole, Smackdown, and you’re on a promise for next week.

raw(lite): a sunkissed shade of golden

It’s an express recap this week. Enjoy!

The ever dwindling Nexus recapped all their successful activities from the previous week, then Randy Orton turned up to ask why they’d omitted to show the bits where he humiliated them with his badass antics. Wade pulled some of that Saturday night in the pub “come’n ‘ave a go if you fink you’re ‘ard enough” stuff, but it was called to a halt by the digital wet-blanket that is the anonymous GM. Matches were made as follows:

Remember last week when I said only Barrett and Gabriel would survive post Nexus? Ta-daaaa!

John Morrison gave his sunglasses to a grown woman instead of a child, which is against the rules of life. Also against the rules of life, making Chris Jericho so sad when you beat him in a match that he does his ‘maybe it’s time to retire’ face.

Alicia Fox failed at taking the Divas title from Melina and also failed at delivering a simple speak-while-walking-to-the-ring bit. Clearly my plea for her to get some extra mic training has fallen on deaf ears. Apparently Alicia wants to be the “undefined” female champion. The joke writes itself:

Matt Striker kept an eye on proceedings from backstage, even though he didn’t actually appear on screen. How do I know this?

Ted DiBiase made a romantic phonecall to his piles of money to tell it how much he loves it and how much he adores spending time with it.

"Mmm. Yeah, baby. When I get home tonight, make sure you're wearing the green. I love it on you."

Money doesn’t love you back, Teddy. Look at what it did to Scrooge McDuck. Think on.

OK. I know he looks happy, but he's crying on the inside.

Justin Gabriel was humbled by John Cena.

"Ouch.Oh.My.God.Ce-na.That.Is.So.Pain-ful.Please.......DON'T.STOP!"

I jest. Actually, it was a pretty tidy little match.

Miz surmised his career and celebrated his first WWE magazine cover. Then Daniel Bryan came out, I swooned over his super-cool anti-superstar demeanour and he insisted that he could beat Miz in a match for the United States Championship. Meanwhile, I pondered whether I should describe his hair as a sunkissed shade of golden or a golden shade of sunkissed. Before I had chance to decide, Bryan had chased both Miz and Alex Riley away with two bitchin’ cross-faces. They’re having a title match at Night of Champions. YAY! Oh… I’m going with ‘sunkissed shade of golden’. Just so you know.

Edge wanted a match against Zack Ryder, but the GM gave him one against the Great Khali instead. So Edge threatened to eliminate the GM’s existence by punching the living daylights out of the laptop.

Pssst! Edge! The GM inside the laptop. It's just a bundle of wires and plastic, sweetheart.

Edge won the match by DQ, then it was restarted as a no DQ over-the-top-rope challenge thingy. Twas pointless.

Chris Jericho was stripped of his opportunity to appear in the Night of Champs 6-Pack challenge. Both Josh Matthews and John Morrison tried to get a reaction from him, but Jericho was struck by silence.

These are the facial expressions myself and Andrew displayed throughout this week's NXT.

Cena, Sheamus and Edge joined Cole & Lawler on commentary while Wade Barrett and Randy Orton scrapped it out. The now Nexus-less (?) Darren Young came out at a crucial moment to distract Barrett long enough for Orton to RKO his brains out. Randy then went on to RKO Young, Edge and Sheamus for good measure, allowing just one man a reprieve.

Uh-oh. Me thinks a certain Superman is upset with a certain snake for daring to garner louder crowd cheers than him. No more sharing iPhone apps for these two.

This is the first Raw I’ve honestly enjoyed in ages. The balance between actual wrestling, promo and silliness was about as perfect as Raw’s going to get. Thank you for restoring my faith just as it was about to slide out of sight.

SIDENOTE:  I know everyone’s sick of the sight of John Cena this week, what with that little film he’s got coming out. But when he can make a small child look like this, he can’t be all bad:

You have my permission to 'awww'. I won't tell anyone.

raw(lite): “a septic tank of a show”

WARNING: I’ve got a cob on.

I could have recapped Raw in the usual way this week, but as it was two hours of WWE repeatedly patting themselves on the back for broadcasting 900 Raws over the past 17 years, there wasn’t a great deal to catch up with. Between the flashbacks to Monday nights past and novelty matches, there wasn’t any real time left for much of merit with regard to how things will move forward. Also, the thought of going back through the entire thing again listening to Jerry Lawler inform us that they had produced more shows than a whole host of over top programmes was a task I would rather like to avoid, thankyouverymuch. I’m more of a quality over quantity kinda gal myself, but hey, whatever, congratulations WWE.

Before I get to the good/important bits, a further grumble about the current state of play on Raw. I did warn you I’ve got a cob on! I assumed that once Summerslam was out of the way, the Nexus group would gradually ebb away and a return to singles competition would follow. Not so. When the Nexus invasion first happened it was a stroke of storyline genius. It was a total surprise and the whole Daniel Bryan fall-out almost caused the internet to implode. A few months on though, it’s turned into a bit of a damp squib. Raw is cram-packed full of main eventers. Actually, they have too many main eventers to give each of them an equal amount of time every week. Throw a group of (now) six fairly green guys into the mix who all need airtime and matches, and those two hours disperse before anyone beyond Cena, Orton and Sheamus have had a serious look in. And this is without Triple H peacocking about under the umbrella of heir-in-law.

Edge, for example, has practically taken on the guise of wallflower since his draft to Raw. On Smackdown, he quite comfortably held the position of co-Top Dog with the Undertaker. Now I struggle to remember which bits he was involved in every week. I’m going to hope that his appearance in the American SyFy ads promoting their acquisition of Smackdown is a positive sign that he’s returning to the blue brand. After all, nothing in advertising happens by chance.

With regard to the Nexus, it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff and send all bar Wade Barrett and possibly Justin Gabriel to the mid-card, if not back to FCW, to work on either their character delivery, their wrestling ability or in most cases both. They’ve played their part in a memorable storyline, but really, the fairytale needs to take a little detour for the time being. I feel a little sorry for the guys who were already on the Raw mid-card before Nexus muscled in. People like Zack Ryder and Evan Bourne who, while they’ve both had something of a push this year, should be involved in some singles storylines where the veterans can really put them over.  After Night of Champions, where I have a sneaking suspicion that The Game might be back in play, let that be an end to all these multi-man matches and group PPV runs. I want to see some well-planned, professionally promoted, one-on-one feuds as they start on the long road to the next Wrestlemania.

This week’s Raw did, however, have a few moments of interest and excitement. Ironically, they were largely the product of Smackdown superstars. I’ll leave Andrew to the discuss the unification of the Divas Title and the Women’s Title when he gets stuck into the third, all-female series of NXT.

And I’ll set the glorious addition to the SD roster that is Alberto Del Rio aside until I recap this week’s Smackdown.

But the one thing that saved this week’s Raw from being a snooze-fest was CM Punk’s epic promo. A promo for what? Well, just a promo for CM Punk, to be honest. It looks as if the SES spiel might have had its moment. Serena’s been genuinely given her marching orders and Joey Mercury’s torn a pectoral, leaving him on the outside of the ring for a couple of months. It’s not much of a society if there are just two of you, so it may be that Punk will be a one-man-band again fairly soon. If the purpose of his Raw appearance was to remind us of who Punk was before he began babysitting junkies and shaving heads, it was a huge success! On the off-chance that you haven’t seen it, I’ll stick a YouTube video just below.

Yeah, I enjoy a good babyface. ‘Aww, so cute and wholesome’ and all that malarkey. But let’s be honest, villains are so much more tantalising. Somehow, he managed to pull off making himself appear even more awesome than usual. He managed to showcase some of the very best moments from Raw in the past couple of decades while disparaging them at the same time and mentioning that most taboo of storylines past – Katie Vick. He took the loathing for him in the crowd to a new level when he teased and coerced them into believing that The Rock, DX and Stone Cold Steve Austin might march out to shut him up. They didn’t. And he played straight-man to Big Show’s punchlines  beautifully. In summary, the perfect heel promo.

Now, watch the video. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again or I’m sending Punk round to tell you you’re not funny and nobody likes you.