This Week in Wrestling by Paul Fahey
Week Commencing Monday 8th 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 always enjoy interaction between Shawn and Taker but I have to say I’m sick of the constant recaps of their angle and the Cena / Batista angle. The No DQ stipulation at Mania is hopefully just going to ensure a straight winner. I wanted to see a one on one match with no gimmicks and I fear there may be run ins and weapons and all sorts now. The crowd are nicely divided again with this rematch, I just hope it’s 17 and 1 as I don’t want to see the back of HBK.
That magician bloke was impressive, not only did he pull string through his mouth and eye, it shortened by several centimeters in the process. Insert rolling eyes here. Seriously, what was the point in him as guest host? Too many seem pointless to me, next week may be different. Arguably the most pivotal performer in WWE history, the instigator of the Attitude era, Stone Cold Steve Austin. His history with Bret and Vince should add another dimension to the contract signing next week. I still have a feeling he is going to announce Stu Hart’s Hall of Fame induction using his guest host power. Surprisingly, nobody was announced this week.
I was also surprised that the Truth and Morrison partnership did something entertaining against the Tag Team Champions. While too many people, myself included, criticize WWE for not pushing people or not pushing tag team wrestling, they did a fine job of establishing this new duo as a credible tag team in the space of about three minutes so fair play on all counts.
Even though I still don’t understand where they are going with the Legacy situation I enjoy it every week. I’m not a Cody Rhodes fan but I think that has nothing to do with something that has been a strong slow burning story between three friends with a lot of friction between them. Maybe if he wore knee pads on those skinny legs I wouldn’t think Rhodes was so obnoxious. It’s a strange thing to get mad about but it drives me crazy.
I was enthralled by the next segment. Regular readers will know I don’t like Sheamus either – I’m full of praise tonight I know – but I was impressed with his subtle work in this exchange with Hunter. The Irishman came out full of himself trying to intimidate The Game and has done well to be a credible top level heel in his few months on Raw, coming across like he believed everything he said. As things went on, he seemed more and more like he was thinking twice about everything as Triple H got inside his head. Credit must go to Sheamus for telling that part of the story in his subtle facial reactions throughout his Mania opponent’s speech. It would be a massive win if Sheamus picked up the victory at Mania but I’m not sure it would be the right thing to do. I’m sure Triple H will go over at Mania, maybe if it was a less high profile pay per view, but surely not Mania…
So Evan Bourne is added to the Money In the Bank. Has there ever been a match and wrestler that fit each other better. This could be the launch pad for Bourne if he has a WrestleMania moment and that doesn’t mean he has to win the match, we all know he won’t. Bourne could become the Jeff Hardy of this decade with his risk taking, high flying style although it is more likely that he will share a similar mantle to Shelton Benjamin and be the go to guy to take risks and put matches over without ever really getting over himself.
Vinny Mac makes me howl with laughter. The power walk, the outlandish behavior, everything about him has unexpectedly (pre-1998) enabled him to become the most hated, most consistent, most entertaining heel in the business over the last decade or so. I know that’s only my opinion but you’re reading this so you’re going to get my opinion, probably more than most people can bare.
Everyone knew Vince had something up his sleeve for Cena but it enhanced the Batista angle and also the Bret angle a little while keeping Cena looking strong. The booking seems to have been much better lately heading into Mania and with TNA breathing down WWE’s neck now things will surely only get better. Roll on Monday, The Rattlesnake will shake things up, I just hope they don’t have him burying guys with stunners because some people need to look strong going into the big one in a couple of weeks.
This show has completely caught me off guard and for me it is the most entertaining wrestling show on TV at the moment. Despite everything going on in the build up to Mania, personally I am enjoying the Bryan and Miz chemistry and story more than any other program in wrestling at the moment. I’m sure many of you think that’s an exaggeration but I am genuinely enjoying this more than anything else and felt they accelerated this beautifully on NXT. They have used Bryan’s supposed black hole of a personality (in storyline terms) and turned it on its head to show the clash of personalities and philosophies brilliantly. I can actually see the long term pay off being Bryan robbing Miz of the US Title at some point. This could almost be called The Miz and Bryan Show at the moment and although the remaining 40 minutes of the show was action packed, I feel it never matched the strong start with the Miz and Bryan tag match. I enjoyed how they continued their story on Smackdown in the Miz and Truth match.
The Rey versus Punk build up (which I will touch on later) then the Miz and Bryan continuation was a good start to the show then we spent far too much time watching recaps of Raw and promoting WrestleMania for my liking. I understand why it is done but it bores me to tears seeing the same things several times per week, every week.
The Drew McIntyre relationship with Vince McMahon continues to add to Drew’s character even though most of their interaction is insinuated rather than witnessed. I know I’m biased towards Drew as I have known him for years but I’m proud of the guy every time I see him in action in the big leagues and I hope he is performing at the highest level for the rest of his career. Although my favorite at the moment is Christian, I really think Drew could win the Money In The Bank match. Oh, and I love his entrance music too.
I didn’t really get the Undertaker interference in the tag team match. He was impressive but I don’t think it did anything to advance his match build up with HBK. The Glamazon impressed me and I can see McCool versus Phoenix for the title at WrestleMania.
The next match got me thinking about how important you gimmick or character is in wrestling. Take Kane versus Gallows, if you’re a long time fan now think of Isaac Yankem versus Festus, is my point made? John Cena would have probably been released within months if it wasn’t for his Marky Mark style character development in late 2003 that got over far more than it probably should have and he has continued to evolve into a legend in the making. Look at Matt Morgan in TNA compared to his WWE tenure, Rocky Maivia becoming The Rock, Hunter Hearst Helmsley evolving into the degenerate Triple H, Steven Regal’s name change – and far more importantly – his gimmick change to William Regal, etc.
Back to the Rey and Punk build up and the intensity was taken to another level here. I think the build ups for the marquee Mania matches this year have been done better than they have for a long time. Considering how many matches have a main event feel to them it would have been easy to give 50% effort to some of the angles deemed less important but the creative team seem to be going all out this year. Is this the TNA factor having some influence? If it is then it shows the Monday Night War version 2 is going to benefit everyone involved in wrestling whether it be as a staff member or a fan.
Following my recent analysis of the Smackdown Mania main event you may know I don’t “fear the spear” but I do fear the negative effect it was having on Jericho’s credibility leading up to WrestleMania. After a long interview segment that surprisingly bored me it looked like they were going to give Jericho all his heat back with his attack on Edge. It then looked like they were going to make him look weak again at Edge’s expense until he drilled the challenger with the title belt. finally Jericho looked in control and they need to follow this up for the next two weeks before WrestleMania. On a side note, and another negative one I’m afraid, the spear chants are really annoying the hell out of me already and they were only coined a week or two ago.
The geriatric tag team match was cleverly booked to hide weaknesses as it was obvious Hogan can barely walk, let alone compete. The Sting turn would have been enjoyable if Dixie Carter hadn’t spoild it for me on Facebook. We don’t see Impact in the UK until Saturday night so we are now 5 days behind the States. Dixie kept talking about RVD and Jeff Hardy and Sting all week and I may need to delete her from my friends list if she keeps spoiling things for me. I’m sure she won’t be too concerned if she finds herself off my list though. It’s funny how they claimed recently that nobody has spoke to Sting in months when he has been sat in the rafters for some segments. He must be really sneaky and unsociable if that is the case. When he manhandled Dixie Carter she was either not intimidated in the slightest or an awful actress; I know what my money is on!
Is it just me or does Hogan’s bimbo look like Jessica Rabbit’s ugly sister with faker breasts than Mrs. Rabbit?
The X Division could be about to take off following Destination X. Eric Bischoff always loved the Cruiserweight Division in WCW so his influence should be good on the X guys. The impromptu three way was good although I don’t understand how Kaz went from being number one contender to having to compete in a three way that limited his chances. I initially thought it was just a warm up match for him and he would still get another shot one on one but then Shannon Moore was announced as Williams’ Destination X opponent. Williams’ Chaos Theory rolling German suplex has always been one of the most impressive finishers in wrestling and I’m glad it is now being showcased on a big stage. Taz commented during the match that none of the competitors expected to be wrestling live, good job they were all completely prepared and dressed for the occasion then. Regular readers will know I hate wrestling companies trying to insult the fans’ intelligence.
I shouldn’t complain too much about Dixie Carter spoiling the RVD debut for me as Taz would have done so anyway by mentioning the obvious 4:20 comment about who Sting’s opponent would be. The stupid thing is we returned from the break and Taz was talking like he had no clue who Sting’s opponent was going to be. What a pop for Van Dam though, he will be so over in this company. Then again, he is everywhere he goes. For me, I am more about the story being told than the spots and RVD has always been more of a spot wrestler in my opinion but as spot wrestlers go he is one of the best and when the back story is good RVD can do a great job. He is a massive coup for TNA and as much as they made a big deal about Ken Anderson and as much as he has hit the ground running with Angle, the capture of RVD, as well as Jeff Hardy, will go a long way to leveling out the big name value between WWE and TNA. I’m not sure about Sting as a heel but he needed freshening up so it is probably good for all concerned in the long run and minimized the negative impact of a ten second defeat.
The Nash, Young, Hall and Waltman thing is OK but would Bischoff really give them an opportunity to earn a contract when he clearly doesn’t want them to? It’s silly story telling and I would move on and get excited about the match but I’m not convinced that either Nash or Hall are in much better shape than Hogan. Young and Waltman will need to carry the match although I see it being a brawl that will go all over the building so that might help it be more viewer friendly.
I have enjoyed the Angle and Anderson program and the troops getting involved was done very cleverly and added to the show and the angle (no pun intended). Kurt’s rush backstage to pounce on Anderson showed him at his most intense and this is when he is at his best.
Moving onto the main event, nobody has ever or probably will ever bleed as dramatically as Ric Flair has over the years. I’m pleased the match ended in a way that should mean there is no need for Flair or Hogan to wrestle again. Wolfe’s involvement still makes me think he may affiliate himself with Naitch and Styles. Jeff Hardy had no reason to be out there other than to jump right into the main event scene. Not sure what happened in the States but the UK broadcast was cut as Hardy was climbing up for the swanton.
All shows had some excellent segments that progressed stories this week and I was pleased with what I saw for the most part. I believe things will only get better over the coming weeks and months, hopefully even years, time will tell. I’m going to end by selfishly using this week’s column to plug my new wrestling company and its Facebook page. The website is under construction so the only place you can find us is by searching for the North East Wrestling Society on Facebook. Feel free to add me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/fyewzuk. Just make sure you tell me you’re a reader so I know you’re not a phony account as there are far more out there than there should be. Thanks for reading, Paul.