Wrestling’s 4R’s 1.07.12: WWE Smackdown & TNA IMPACT Wrestling Reviewed
How the 4R’s of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. The column will run TWO times a week. THREE if there is a PPV. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
By: Larry Csonka
– James Storm defeated Kaz @ 4:00 via pin [**½]
– X-Division Tournament Match: Christian York defeated Kid Kash @ 4:00 via pin [*½]
– Hernandez defeated Joey Ryan @ 1:00 via DQ [NR]
– Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher defeated Tara and Gail Kim @ 13:00 via pin [**¾]
– Steel Cage Match: Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe defeated Devon and Mike Knox’s Beard @ 12:00 via pin [**½]
Setting up Hardy vs. Aries vs. Roode: The show kicked off with Jeremy Borash in the ring for the TNA Wrestler of the Year presentation. The finalists were Bully Ray, James Storm, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy. Austin Aries and Bobby Roode, dressed in their suits, started walking to the ring to accept the award, which perfectly fit their egotistical personalities. Unfortunately for them, Jeff Hardy was announced as the winner, crushing their fragile egos. Hardy accepted the award, which was voted on by the fans, which he thanked. Hardy stated that the award meant as much to him as the world title, which set off Roode, and also led to Aries getting involved. Hardy, having enough of this, challenged both of them to a world title match at Genesis. It will be a three way dance, under elimination rules, and judging by the year all three had overall on PPV, we may be in for a very good match. I liked the overall set up, I liked the work from all three men, and it just clicked for me.
Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher defeated Tara and Gail Kim: Mickie James and Miss Tessmacher defeated Tara and Gail Kim in what turned out to be a very nice tag team match for the ladies. One thing I have been down on in the last year is the booking of the ladies in both WWE and TNA; they tend not to get time in or out of the ring, and then the people don’t care. Last week they had a match with Tessmacher and Kim, there was a reason for the match (Kim wanted revenge for losing the title to Tessmacher), and she ended up getting it. This week they did the tag match. Mickie James was close to winning the title twice, but was screwed by Tara and Jesse. Tessmacher and Kim already had the heat going in, and the tag makes sense. So they had a reason for the match, they got the time they needed, they worked hard and overall they delivered. This was a good week for the knockouts, and I was very happy to see it. I figure we’ll get a four-way for the title at the PPV.
James Storm defeated Kaz: Following the show’s opening segment, Daniels and Kaz mocked James Storm for being a loser; which included a mock interview with Daniels playing the role of Storm. This pissed off Storm, and he challenged them to a match. Kaz accepted, after some shenanigans by Daniels, and they had a short, but fun opening match. My problem here is that A) we just saw this as a thrown together match on PPV, and B) what does this do for any of these guys? Storm continues to live in TNA booking limbo, while Daniels and Kazarian continue to lose, despite being two of the most over and entertaining guys on the whole roster. They need to do something with these guys and stat. I appreciate the good wrestling, but with there being a PPV coming, and not much set for it, there is no reason why these guys cannot be booked better.
X-Division Tournament Match: Christian York defeated Kid Kash: Christian York defeated Kid Kash in another short match. This was not nearly as good as the Storm vs. Kaz match, due to them looking to fit too much in, and York appearing a step slow and having issues with a few moves. York got the win, which He needed after “good performances against stars,” but of course that only gets you so far. The problem here, besides the match just being passable, was the fact that it reflects the extremely poor booking of the X-Division. It seems that every month that as the PPV gets closer, that they remember that they have an X-Division title, and that they need to book a match for it. This time they set up a “mini-tournament,” which they announced ON TWITTER, proving that it was a last minute deal, otherwise you would have thought it would have been promoted last week. York won, and he will face the winner of Kenny King vs. Zema Ion n the PPV. I guess something is better than nothing, but TNA’s continued poor booking of the X-Division is very depressing. Lets hope it gets better.
Hernandez defeated Joey Ryan: This is the kind of thing that I feel would have worked better as a backstage segment rather than what they did here. I guess I can appreciate that they were trying to build the continued feud for the tag titles, but with the backstage promo, ring entrances, Morgan’s promo and then the “match,” it was a lot of in arena time for very little pay off. Morgan works the fake injury for all of 45 seconds, leading to a beat down of the champions; it felt way too cute for what it needed to be. Keep it simple stupid: Chavo and Hernandez backstage, they say they will defend against anyone Morgan and Ryan attack and leave them laying, baby faces vow vengeance, and we get the PPV rematch. There is no need to be overly elaborate or complex on such a minor feud; stick with what works.
Hulk, Brooke, and Bully: I personally do not like the angle at all. It is what many of us feared, Brooke Hogan being in a major angle, and in a major angle with a star that was burning hot, and is now cooled off. Bully Ray has been an awesome performer, and with the angle I have gone from wanting to watch everything the guy does to having no interest in what he is involved in. I feel it is a poor angle, and pulling the suspension angle is even more of a waste of Ray. I also feel that it hurts the baby face turn, because it went well, he defended TNA, earned Sting’s trust, and then Hogan comes off as a dick, discussing the “code” and all that. This is simply an avenue I wish they hadn’t gone down, and I feel that it is one of the weaker parts of the show these days. Maybe it will go somewhere good, but for now, I am simply not a fan of it at all.
Mr. Anderson With Aces and 8s?: This is one of those things that do not make any sense to me. Maybe I am remembering things wrong, but if I recall, Hulk Hogan selected Anderson to be Sting’s partner to battle Aces and 8s. But then they beat Anderson down, which led to Bully Ray being the partner. So after that, they call him up and say, “Hey Ken, sorry about that gang beat down and such; but um, we have some cash and chicks, and would like you to join out clubhouse party.” it just doesn’t jive with me. I know that he hasn’t “officially joined” because he didn’t participate in the beat down in the cage, and everyone will say “He’s an asshole, so it fits,” but where I come from, if 9 dudes in masks kick your ass, you don’t hang out with them and play cards at the clubhouse.
Steel Cage Match: Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe defeated Devon and Mike Knox’s Beard & Sting’s Return: The main event of the show ended up just making me mad, because it all makes no sense. First of all, the general flow of the feud with Aces and 8s leads you to believe that it will either climax or end at Lockdown. So why are we giving away (part) of a cage match that could possibly draw on PPV, on free TV? That absolutely makes no sense. It is also another example of TNA hurting the Lockdown PPV by giving away a free cage match close to the ALL CAGE MATCH PPV. But that is just one thing wrong here.
Secondly, the Aces and 8s look like complete goofs once again. They lock Angle out of the cage and beat his ass. They have the advantage on Joe for a long time, but cannot take him out. Angle eventually comes back and makes Doc look like an idiot and gets into the cage. He then does his Superman routine, and he and Joe beat the odds, and win the match. Aces and 8s are the biggest group of jobbers at this point. Some people will say that it isn’t all about wins and losses to them, then why have them follow the rules. Have them rush the cage, four guys enter and attack Joe and Sting, while the others hit the floor and try and defend the cage. Then the TNA roster rushes the ring, the bell sounds because there is no real match, Sting can then make the save with the rest of the guys helping him and then HE can unmask the guy.
Oh yes, and then there is Sting’s return. They do the video deal again, they tease he is coming after Doc, and then, then I have no clue what the hell happened. The entrance was either missed, mistimed or simply poorly done as the Aces and 8s are doing the big beat down. Sting, all by himself, makes his way to the ring and takes out the dreaded gang that cannot win a match to save their life, and made them look like shit. Some want to discuss the Mike Knox reveal, that doesn’t mean anything honestly. Yeah, a bit disappointing since no one of substance has been revealed yet, but the fact is that they keep losing, they fail at capturing the “threatening gang” feel, and they gave away a cage match for no reason. The closing of Impact left me not interested in the angle at all.
Overall I wasn’t feeling the show all that much this week. The build to the PPV feels forced and too late, due to them slacking off during the holiday season. They really should have had something confirmed before this show, and now it all feels rushed. There was some good wrestling, but late build and also some head scratching stuff just hurt the show. The suspension of Bully Ray, when he is featured on the PPV advertising is mind boggling, and the Aces and 8s angle continues to make little to no sense to me. They have a lot of work to do next week with the go home show for Genesis…
Show Rating: 4.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 – 0.9: Torture
By: Larry Csonka
– The Miz defeated Heath Slater @ 12:00 via pin [**]
– The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya defeated Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendez @ 4:00 via pin [DUD]
– IC Title Match: Wade Barrett © defeated Kofi Kingston @ 14:00 via pin [***½]
– Tamina defeated Layla @ 2:00 via pin [NR]
– Randy Orton and Sheamus defeated Big Show and Antonio Cesaro @ 13:00 via pin [**½]
RANDY AND SHEAMUS: RUMBLE BOUND: While I really do hate the usual opening show talking bit, which is exactly what we got this week, I will give this week’s a pass because they did more than the usual promo, argue and make a match. This week they have Sheamus and Randy Orton declare that they are going to be in the royal Rumble. I really liked this, because last year’s rumble was mocked for the thin roster and lack of star power, but this year Sheamus, Orton and Cena have already declared to be in the match. That is an important thing, and something they need to do to help build to the Rumble. As for the rest, Orton and Sheamus bantering was fine, and likely setting them up for the feud later down the line, and Show and Cesaro’s part was also well done. Although Booker T should be ashamed of himself, doesn’t he realize that Smackdown is where Teddy Long makes tag team matches? Seriously man, not cool..
IC Title Match: Wade Barrett defeated Kofi Kingston: I felt that the pre-match promos from both guys added to the match we got on the show, and also played perfectly into the feud that they’ve had. It set the stage and explained the motivations, and also gave more attention to the IC Title, which has had a much improved focus as of late. As far as the ring work goes, great work by both en as always. They have a very good chemistry, they work well together, and more importantly use their past encounters to build the structure of their next match. I really enjoyed this match, easily the best thing on the show, not only keeping my interest, but a few times I forgot that Barrett was retaining; that’s good work by these guys. The last2-3 minutes were well put together, with the near falls and then the great finish where Barrett killed Kofi as he flew off the ropes. Bull Hammer son, ballgame as JBL would say.
Randy Orton and Sheamus defeated Big Show and Antonio Cesaro: The main event of the show saw Randy Orton and Sheamus defeat Big Show and Antonio Cesaro. This match was set up by the show’s opening interview, and I liked the involvement of Cesaro. It not only feels fresh to see him in there with Show, Sheamus and Orton; but also adds to the reports that WWE is high on him. I thought that the match was a solid one, nothing spectacular or anything, just a good tag team match. But the real story here was the fact that they played off the opening interview with the Sheamus vs. Orton feud starting to brew. They had the verbal clash in the interview, and they decided to try and one up each other in the tag match. Sheamus tagging himself in, only for Orton to land the RKO and “allow” Sheamus to get the win was well done. Orton’s hand motions and smirk were great, while Sheamus had to reluctantly cover for the win I felt was a good way to kick off the feud between the two. I am curious to watch it develop and felt that this was good work as far as that was concerned.
The Miz defeated Heath Slater: If you ask me what personal hell would include, The Miz and Heath Slater on a loop would likely be included. This wasn’t a bad match, I will say that, but personally I was completely bored with it. Miz as a face just isn’t clicking for me at all, and to me it doesn’t feel that the crowd cares about him at all as a face. They respond a it, they cheer, but they aren’t emotionally invested. Also, while the 3MB has given Slater, Mahal and McIntyre something to do besides being alone, what the hell are they doing with these guys? They are three losers that have a unified gimmick now, but they are essentially the same as they were; just with some more TV time. This was an ok match, but with guys that seem to have zero direction and quite honestly, don’t give me anything to care about. But hey, at least it wasn’t another god awful edition of Miz TV.
Tamina defeated Layla: For the time given, Layla vs. Tamina was a solid wrestling match. Tamina’s new look she has been sporting since her return to TV is much better than the old one; as it makes her look better and more bad ass, but the body suit also fits her figure better than what she used to wear. Good stuff for the time given, and Tamina got to look good vs. a former champion. Unfortunately it came off as complete filler. What was their beef? Eve is the champion right now, so I do not see them pushing Tamina towards the title. I know that Tamina defeating a former champion is nice, but I do not feel that they really told that story as they could have. Also, once again it was another extremely short window for the ladies to work in. If you’d dump the useless shit (The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya vs. Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendez), give them a few more minutes to work and actually have commentary tell the story of what is going on here, it comes off much better. Simple passing mentions of Snuka’s background and Layla holding the title tossed in around whatever random bullshit they are discussing at the time doesn’t qualify as telling the story either.
The Great Khali, Hornswoggle and Natalya defeated Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendez: Why? Why is this shit on my TV? This stuff does not entertain me, it isn’t any good and it is a waste of TV time. Natalya should be a focus in the divas division, Epico and Primo should be a valuable part of the tag team division; but no, instead we have to have COMEDY. And its not even GOOD comedy! Mismatched friends like Khali and the Leprechaun; Natalya who gave up farting in public for her new hand fetish as well as being used to make Rosa look like she my have a modicum of talent in the ring and Epico and Primo out there to move fast and bump to make the useless giant look good. Please get this shit off of my TV.
Outside of the silly six person tag, there wasn’t a lot “wrong” with the show, but it also didn’t feel all that important. While we had the announcement of the Rumble participants, the stellar IC Title match and the good main event, the show once again had that feeling that if I missed it, I really didn’t miss anything. I say again that while Smackdown is pretty good most weeks that the shift to three hour Raws have hurt the product, as it becomes the overflow dish; whatever didn’t get covered on Raw gets tossed here someway. But that’s just my opinion. Again, not a bad show at all, but at this point it feels like you can skip it, or watch on DVR n about 20-minutes to get anything important or good that you missed.
SHOW RATING: 6.5
0 – 0.9: Torture
Yes, that is Low Ki wrestling a full match dressed as Agent 47.
PS: The show was awesome
Looking at EVOVLE-DGUSA on iPPV in 2012
Looking at TNA on PPV in 2012
Looking at WWE on PPV in 2012
Looking at ROH on iPPV in 2012
The Top 10 Things I Enjoyed About 2012
The 752nd edition is over…