Week Commencing Sunday 21st Feb 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
With so much happening this week with a pay per view and four shows I’m sure you will forgive me for getting straight into the pay per view, skipping all the dross and getting right to the key points.
I thought the Chamber was predictably booked going into it and while the night ended that way, it certainly began with a bang. “Sheamus retains, screwing Hunter, Sheamus versus Hunter at Mania.” I kept telling everyone. My other point of “Cena won’t win as they’re going with him versus Batista at Mania.” OK so I’m not as clued up as I thought but I’ll gladly take being wrong and surprised every day of the week. When Sheamus went out I figured Hunter would win the belt and Sheamus would invoke the rematch clause for Mania so seeing Cena win was a pleasant surprise. Not because I’m a fan of him but because I didn’t see it coming.
Nor did I say Vinny Mac coming out with Batista in an almost ‘Money in the Bank’ type moment that saw Big Dave destroy Cena in a minute. I did get a little annoyed with WWE commentators insulting my intelligence claiming Cena had been battling for 50 minutes. He was last in the ring and probably competed for a third of their claimed time, if that. Speaking of commentary, I have heard a lot of criticism of Matt Striker since he formed a three man team at the Royal Rumble. I think Striker is a bit like JBL as an announcer and I mean that as a compliment but he did get me wound up when he said “…comes into play…” for the fifteenth time on the same pay per view.
Anyway, the IC Title match was predictable and the divas match was so badly promoted that they scrapped it. The impromptu US Title match was about the twelfth time I have seen a variation of it since the turn of the year so we get back to the entertainment in the main event.
I’m not going to talk about the Taker burns as everyone else already has and it’s old news. I want to focus on a strong match that was very different to the Raw offering. While Raw had its own stories to tell with Randy and Ted, the match seemed to be purely a vehicle for that angle and the Cena and Batista one. The Smackdown match, while using Taker and Shawn in much the same way, seemed to be much more entertaining, for me at least. I was glad to see the overrated R-Truth dumped out early but thought they could have done more with Rey and Punk – the hottest heel in the business right now, in my opinion. Morrison, who gave an impressive showing in their with two main event veterans in Taker and Jericho, has come on leaps and bounds over the years and he could be a world champ by the end of the year. If it wasn’t for the predictability of the finish I would have genuinely believed Morrison could at least get down to the final two.
I say predictable finish, in fairness I thought the moment had passed as I expected Shawn to enter the chamber as Morrison was rolled out. I couldn’t see how else he would enter but the way he did, and the way he didn’t hit and run showed me the side of Shawn I love to see. Not intimidated by The Deadman, him standing over the new former champ was a great way to go off the air. I can’t wait to see them go at it again at Mania. People say they can’t top last year but who cares, they certainly aren’t going to have a bad match are they?
I know we’re in the build up to Mania but having two predictable segments before a match just bores me. I tune in for the wrestling as much as the stories. The guest hosts were pointless, as usual, and I was wondering when we were going to see something interesting. Bring on Legacy, although it took us 40 minutes to get there. I have been intrigued by this group’s troubles, mainly because the line of heel and baby face seems so blurred. Randy Orton is amazing in his role and has been for some time, The Viper gimmick suits him really well and his unpredictability has carried a couple of programs in the last couple of years. The way he dealt with Rhodes and Dibiase with the DDT from the ropes and RKO outside the ring cemented the break up and both looked sick.
I think giving Randy versus Ted away for free on TV is a mistake but it might be a swerve yet, leading to a triple threat match at the big event. The slow build up to this whole angle has been intriguing and the pay off at Mania should be interesting, whatever match they book.
Shawn is at his best when he is the antagonist or when he feels he has something to prove. If the Career versus Streak stipulation sees Shawn walk away from the business I hope it’s for his usual post Mania rest, I really hope this legend, probably my all time favorite wrestler, isn’t walking away for good. I grew up with The Rockers, I was shocked when Marty Janetty was put through a barber shop window, I watched the Boy Toy grow into arguably the greatest in ring performer of his generation and after overcoming terrible injuries to return and not miss a step shows just how good this guy is. Not was, but is. Long may his run as a wrestling main eventer continue…please!
I’m glad to see the Money in the Bank rumors were wrong and the match is still appearing on the biggest show of the year. Christian’s inclusion can only be a good thing, especially considering the over option was Mr Phone It In, Carlito.
Even the on fire Miz couldn’t save the guest host segment with the rodeo bull and what a shock, MVP versus Miz version 62 was up next. Please stop showing me this match in different forms. The Bret Hart story took another weird turn when he was invited back again. They have absolutely wasted everyone’s time so far with this whole thing, I still have hope for it but I haven’t been given a reason to feel that way. While I’m not a fan of Batista, I was enthralled by his blatant DQ to secure Cena a title shot and I think this could be the surprise leading up to Mania. It suggests to me a strong build up and possibly a surprisingly strong match.
Unfortunately, I didn’t watch this show. I expected it to be a poor attempt at something different so I steered clear of it but the more I hear, the more I’m intrigued by the concept and think WWE may be onto a winner with this. Also, if I knew Jericho versus Danielson would be on the card I wouldn’t have stayed away. I will catch the repeat over here tomorrow and will probably follow this show, based on what I have heard, which is more than I can say for it’s predecessor, ECW. I do think it’s strange mind that WWE are commenting on Danielson’s indy career but still felt the need to change his name. Never mind, it’s probably just so they can copyright it.
Jericho is starting to look very weak at Edge’s expense in their build up and I hope this changes leading into Mania. When I saw Morrison, Ziggler and Truth vying for a Money in the Bank shot I was praying that Morrison would book his place as I have no love for Truth and haven’t seen enough of Ziggler to make up my mind. Ziggler it is though but I’m wondering what Morrison will be doing at WrestleMania.
The Mickie and McCool feud should have ended with the Mickie victory as this just feels dragged out now. The less said the better. Onto a huge shock next. Undefeated Drew McIntyre heading to Money in the Bank, maybe even a potential winner. Kane a glorified jobber to the main eventers, Drew a main eventer in the making, you see where I’m going here? What a huge shock that Kane not only defeated Drew but that he is heading to the ladder match at the youngster’s expense. Benjamin following him at CM Punk’s expense helps build a mask versus hair match between Punk and Mysterio. At least Benjamin, who always delivers at MITB, will get another chance to steal the show, even if we know he won’t steal the case.
Too much of this week’s Smackdown was recaps from Raw or the pay per view and the main event of Edge versus Miz just seemed like an exhibition match that had no real meaning behind it. Miz was on fire and didn’t need a defeat. Edge may have needed ring time and a victory but Miz shouldn’t have been the victim.
I realize I have been quite negative in parts but I am looking forward to Mania. While I don’t agree with the Edge versus Jericho build up I know they will deliver on the night. Shawn versus Taker has me buzzing and Cena versus Batista seems like it could be better than many will expect. Legacy imploding will be great and Money in the Bank will always be a great spot fest. Punk and Rey should be entertaining, both on the night and leading into it although I fear for the Bret Hart storyline and can’t see what Drew McIntyre, John Morrison and Triple H are going to be doing that will have any meaning to it. Let’s see what next week brings in the WWE Universe.
A lot of people are criticizing the new AJ Styles persona but I have to say his promo skills seem stronger than ever, I just wish he would leave the Flair traits behind but I think it’s happening bit by bit. The rest of the segment seemed dreadful and the 3D versus Nasty Boys match was car crash TV just like their first meeting.
I was delighted to see the Daffney push continue. While there will be better women in the Knockout Division, there are few as compelling to watch as Daffney. She has always entertained me and her new vicious streak is great to see.
Morgan and Supermex seemed to be pushing towards a feud which could entertain and if I’m right then that could mean Beer Money take the tag straps soon to push the feud on a step. That can’t be a bad thing as Roode & Storm are probably the best tag team in the business over the last 18 months or so.
I feel TNA are wasting the Bischoff character which is ironic considering the man himself probably has a lot of input into his character. His interactions with Jarrett and Foley seem far too bland and repetitive. His guest host criticism was funny though.
I have a problem with the lack of logic between the X Division number one contender match. Kaz, who hasn’t been around for so long, taking on Brian Kendrick, who has already failed in a title shot since arriving in the company a month ago, seemed to be a slap in the face to all the regular X Division guys. That being said, the X Division has been in the background for too long so hopefully Destination X will remedy that. Criticisms aside, I’m sure Doug Williams taking on Kazarian will be a great match.
Anderson being put down by Angle to cost him a Global Championship match added a little spice to a story that is hotting up. The Band battering Nash and Young didn’t really achieve anything as this is starting to get repetitive too but the show going off air to Hogan’s bloody announcement was a good move. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled about seeing the 56 year old Hulk Hogan in the ring with the recently turned 62 year old Ric Flair but a lot of old school fans will be. If TNA can grab a handful of new viewers as they go live on March 8th, then fair play to them. I just hope the pair of legends restrict their in ring time, both during the tag match and in the future. The story could probably be told better with minimum input from the two to make it seem more meaningful when they do go at it.
A busy week with both companies trying to build towards big events. For WWE it is obviously WrestleMania, while TNA have their Monday night adventure to look forward to. I know I keep complaining about a lot of things but it is because I expect so much from the two wrestling juggernauts from across the pond. Now is the time to deliver, with so much on the line, please get everything right and usher in the next big wrestling boom. Heaven knows I need it, I’m setting up my own promotion so I’m counting on it. Thanks for reading, Paul.