Week Commencing Monday 1st March 2010
Paul Fahey is an award winning writer and wrestling commentator from England. His experience ranges from commentating on Drew McIntyre’s pre-WWE matches and writing for websites on three continents to reviewing shows in Germany and holding face to face interviews with Mick Foley and Kurt Angle. Paul is currently in the process of setting up his own promotion in the North East of England. You can find more of Paul’s work at www.wrestle-zone.co.uk
I thought Raw was more consistently strong this week than it has been in a very long time and it really made me feel like we were on the famous Road to WrestleMania. With the exception of the pillow fight I thought it was a strong show. Cheech & Chong were quite entertaining although to be fair that was as much to do with William Regal as it was the doped up duo. As a ‘That 70s Show’ superfan I love Tommy Chong and Cheech has been a great star over the years too (his turn in From Dusk Til Dawn springs to mind) so I quite like these guys anyway.
The Legacy angle continued and I’m really surprised that they are pushing Orton as the wronged one and therefore the baby face. The crowd are getting behind Orton but I always thought Dibiase would come out as the underdog baby face in all of this. I’m still unsure what Mania match this is leading to but with everything else going on at the moment it says a lot about Orton that this story hasn’t fell under the radar at the expense of some marquee matches.
I thought the WWE finally done something with the Bret Hart situation that was worth watching. The will they, won’t they, back and forth angles they have been doing have been way below par for me but finally we know that the match will go ahead. I can now see the broken leg being a good move as it takes some of the expectation away from Bret’s performance. I think a lot of people are still expecting Bret to go at it like it’s him and Austin at WM 13. Bret is a retired wrestler with 10 years away from the business and has suffered a stroke during that time. Bret will not be the athlete we all knew. Thankfully, his genius as a story teller, combined with any gimmicks they throw in, should make this match a drama rather than a classic. One of the most talked about matches of the last decade is Rock versus Hogan at Mania X8 and nobody remembers the match, they all remember the drama and the atmosphere. This match will surely be the same.
I have continued to enjoy Shawn Michael’s obsession with Undertaker and while the show started and ended with the continuation of this angle, I’m hoping we see a heel HBK leading into Mania. I’m not talking about the semi heel we saw in last year’s build up or the one who popped up in the Hogan feud. I want the mid 90s arrogant, cocky, in your face Shawn Michaels to meet Undertaker this year. I know I’m not the only one and they have the opportunity to do it. I just hope they pull the trigger. The only thing bringing this angle down is the constant recaps on every show, the same is to be said about Cena versus Batista. Sheamus ended the show looking strong was a great way to slingshot a match with Hunter. He got a ton of heat for his ambush and with only a few weeks left to make people care about their match, Monday did no harm at all.
I finally caught the first show and enjoyed it. Danielson looked good and Otunga looked like a star in the making. This week Otunga was not made to look as strong but at least he made R-Truth seem a little interesting. I’m sorry but I have never, ever liked Ron Killings and I doubt I ever will. Darren Young looks like an African American John Cena. Surely I’m not the only one seeing this, anyone else? CM Punk continues to be brilliant with anything he does and his contempt for his rookie is hilarious to me.
Jericho’s Wade Barrett is an obnoxious goon but maybe that’s because he is good in his heel role. I don’t know, maybe he’s really an obnoxious goon! He responded well to Daniel Bryan’s slip and looked experience by taking control and not freezing. That’s assuming the slip was unintentional which is how it looked.
The dynamic between William Regal and skip Sheffield should make interesting viewing during NXT and I enjoyed their tag match with Matt Hardy and Justin Gabriel, who seems really impressive. So far after two shows I see Otunga, Bryan and Gabriel as potential breakout stars.
Who caught the Happy Gilmore quote in the Big Show / Edge interaction? After seeing Drew McIntyre’s first loss was wiped I was surprised to see another defeat in a Money In The Bank qualifier. As I said last week, I’ll take surprises every time so I was pleased with this. I like the way they’re getting more heat on Drew and I wonder if he is still going to back door his way into the MITB match. Having Matt Hardy in the Mania ladder match is only a good thing and with the likes of Shelton Benjamin and Christian in the match, it’s looking promising, as always. This year, I would like to see the winner end Mania as the new Champion and as I think Edge will win the main event I would love to see a MITB winning Christian cash in after an epic Edge versus Jericho match. Doubt it will happen but wouldn’t it be a way to bring Edge and Christian back into each other’s worlds as enemies?
Although I thought most of the Truth and Morrison segment backstage was bland I laughed at the “Black Magic and The White Shadow” name. I guess they will be The Rock & Rap Connection by Mania. Then again I would rather see tag teams have names rather than the too frequent “him & him” format that WWE have done too much since the late 90s. At least with JeriShow and ShoMiz they have tried to brand them.
While Ezekiel Jackson looked very impressive squashing Jimmy Wang Yang I have to point out how impressive Serena looked. This girl must be the most smoking skinhead ever. Demi Moore and Natalie Portman made bald look beautiful in the past and Serena is rocking the look at the moment at CM Punk’s side. While watching the Rey versus Gallows match I wondered why Darren Young was in his gear and why WWE almost always show wrestlers in their wrestling attire even when they clearly aren’t wrestling on the card. I’m getting sidetracked but it’s something that bothers me as it lacks logic and insults my intelligence. Rey versus Punk is building nicely anyway following this match. I can’t wait to see them collide as I think it will be an emotional story they tell in the ring in a few weeks.
I was disappointed that The Hart Dynasty didn’t get the Mania push for tag team gold. A baby face turn with the Bret Hart thing going on and the Hart family DVD coming out would have made sense and putting the titles on a proper tag team at WrestleMania wouldn’t have been the worst move ever. Instead we get the ‘Rock & (c)Rap Connection’ going for gold and end the show with Jericho being chumped out again at Edge‘s expense. They really need to give Jericho some credibility and make Edge seem threatened before they clash at Mania.
I’m not going to go into the opening segment because the childish Abyss aspect of the story is crippling an otherwise potentially good angle with the legends and AJ. Wolfe’s promo entertained me as this guy oozes charisma. I’m not sure what gets lost in translation in the States as some things he says and does wouldn’t be allowed on a wrestling TV show in the UK, not that there is any UK based TV shows but you know what I mean. William Regal used to get away with a lot of similar things.
The 4 way tag team match could have been amazing if it wasn’t restricted by a 10 minute time limit but it was still a top match. Generation Me continue to wow and the Morgan and Hernandez angle is building up nicely. I like Morgan when he’s an arrogant heel and he is pushing that way at the moment.
The Hogan segment with Angle seemed like an ego stroke and the Hogan segments got repetitive and stale really quickly but the point was to promote the hell out of the tag match on Monday so I can see why they did it. The Mick Foley skits were funny and I liked what they did with Jarrett and Morley, even though the Jarrett thing is a bit silly at the moment. Pope was up next with an annoying interview. I think this guy is becoming the new Marmite guy and I am currently firmly on the ‘hate him’ side of the fence although most people I know think I’m nuts and not seeing his potential.
Knowing how well respected Doug Williams is in the UK I was disappointed to see him squashed by Rob Terry who looks like his size gets him pushed rather than his talent. I may be wrong about that point but Williams is virtually a UK legend and will be regarded as one in the future and Terry will probably be forgotten about in a year or two.
I liked the way TNA handled the Angle attitude to Anderson’s take on him. Angle coming out to no music made it seem more legit than if his music had hit and he had cut a promo on Anderson. Angle is the most intense guy in the business at times and this is one of his strong points. They are doing well to build this feud and I am enjoying watching them go at it every week. I wonder if the guy whose drink was thrown got a refund or a refill.
The main event was mainly a vehicle to further promote the hyped main event for Monday night and could have been given more time and respect but it was still a good match. Pope is being given a good underdog billing with the injuries he’s suffering from. I still don’t like him but they’re doing well in that respect. Wolfe allying with Flair and Styles got me thinking more about a Horsemen style faction as I discussed this with friends recently and we all said Wolfe would be a perfect fit to something like that. Nobody has ever or probably will ever blade as well as Flair. He always pumps out and it always looks cool against his platinum blonde hair. The show ended with a great final reason to tune in on Monday.
I can’t wait for TNA’s first live offering of the regular slot and Raw has had a couple of good weeks so if they step up we will all be in for a treat. Unfortunately I won’t see Impact until next Saturday due to the delays in it airing in the UK. How will I avoid spoilers all week? I have no idea. Thanks for reading, Paul.