Wrestling’s 4R’s 2.04.13: WWE Smackdown, TNA IMPACT Wrestling & The Royal Rumble 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. 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
– Non-Title Match: Magnus beat Devon © via DQ in a non-title match @ 5:12 [**]
– Joseph Park beat Robbie E @ 3:10 via pin [*]
– Austin Aries beat Chavo Guerrero @ 10:30 via pin [**¾]
– James Storm & Velvet Sky beat Tara & Jessie @ 3:30 via pin [*¾]
– Steel Cage Match: Kurt Angle beat Mr. Anderson via submission @ 15:10 [***½]
Christopher Daniels and François Kazarian are Great Men: Christopher Daniels and François Kazarian kicked off the show this week, dressed in kilts and painted up like William Wallace in Braveheart. They claimed that the Scotts were the only real warriors around, and that the only reason Daniels was not champion was because Hardy wears toxic face paint. Thankfully François had his trusty EpiPen along with him and saved the day. Daniels and Kazarian are such great men, and are constantly entertaining. They need to team forever and also need to be given mic time each and every week.
Magnus is Back: Magnus, who was instantly treated like a superstar, interrupted The greatness of Daniels and Kazarian. While I do hate when they decide to change someone from heel to face or whatever following time off, this one did make sense since they did lay the groundwork for a face turn by having Aces and 8s be the ones to take him out. So he comes back in front of his home crowd, they loved him, they treated him like a big time star, and it all worked out well. He dispatched with Daniels and Kazarian, which I am fine with because it isn’t like he beat them in a match to beat them within an inch of their life. He tossed them, they left, and he laid out his challenge. He had a fine outing with Devon, which led to Aces and 8s goofs running out and being tossed, allowing Magnus to pick up the DQ victory. This worked because Magnus got the big return, he looked for revenge, and he got some; but at the same time Devon didn’t have to lose.
Austin Aries defeated Chavo Guerrero: Almost as great as Christopher Daniels and François Kazarian are Austin Aries and Bobby Roode. Aries and Roode have now decided to work together as the It Factor and the Common Denominator of Greatness, with the goal to take what is theirs and win all of the titles in TNA. Crazy goal, wanting to win matches and titles, crazy I tell you. This led to Los Sterotypicos heading to the ring, and Aries battling Chavo. They got time, had a good match and now Aries and Roode will get a title shot next week. Some have stated that it makes no sense, but with Roode and Aries scoring back-to-back victories over Hernandez and Chavo, I am perfectly fine with it.
Bully Ray: Reinstated and Teaming With Sting: While I think that it should have happened last week, Bully Ray was reinstated by Hulk Hogan on Impact. Ray and Brooke are married, and while Hulk wouldn’t answer them, Ray begged the one man he knew would get to Hulk to ask on his behalf, Sting. Sting came out, asked for the old Hulkster to come out and do the right thing, and Hulk appeared. Hulk said he did the right thing at the wedding and would do so again here, and not only reinstated Bully, but gave he and Sting a match against Aces and 8s, a tables match next week on Impact. Taz was pissed about this on commentary, which added to the segment; so overall this was good stuff. It keeps the angle going, it promotes a match for next week and it made sense.
Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson: The steel cage match between Kurt Angle and Mr. Anderson was a good main event for the show. While they had worked well together in the past, Anderson has appeared very unmotivated and like he was just going through the motions. In this match he looked as if he gave a shit and worked hard. Angle, while falling apart physically, still manages to deliver in important matches, and did so again here. This was a good match with great crowd heat thanks to the red hot UK crowd.
James Storm & Velvet Sky beat Tara & Jessie: James Storm & Velvet Sky beat Tara & Jessie in a perfectly acceptable mixed tag team match. Jessie continues to improve, and Sky getting the win allows her to try and claim a Knockouts Title shot. The bad news is that they have no idea what to do with James Storm. Sure the crowd enjoyed the little match and all, but this guy was supposed to be THE GUY BROTHER, but instead, they continue to throw him out there with no rhyme or reason. Quite honestly, it would be better to keep him off the show than to involve him in this low card bullshit that only make him look small time instead of a main event guy they wanted him to be.
Joseph Park: I am just not into the Joseph park thing. Once again, and for the record, I like wacky in wrestling, and some will say that it is not fair tat I bash this because I love CHIKARA, but in CHIKARA, that is the gimmick and it is self contained. I just feel that it is out of place, and I am not a fan. I won’t do what others do and bash this for paragraphs on end, I appreciate that a lot of people like the gimmick, but I am just not a fan at all. But once again I will add, I appreciate the work the man has done character wise and I commend him for it. We’ll just move on…
Mr. Anderson Loses – Wes Briscoe and Garett Bischoff Join Aces and Eights: While the match between Anderson and Angle was great, the finish and turn didn’t work for me. First of all, you have Wes Briscoe stand out there the whole time, with his dick in his hand, and allow Anderson to get beat on. Secondly, Anderson LOSES like Aces and 8s always have to in important matches, because they suck and are jobbers. Then, you have Garett arrive and he willingly UNMASKS. What happened to the masks being their power or some ridiculous shit? Some will point to Taz on commentary saying that “it is part of the plan,” but after months of hearing that they can’t be losing the masks, it makes no sense to just give up the mask. After that, why did they turn here? They didn’t even really build things up all that much to make people care all that much. The build to the turn could have been way stronger. So, after Wes and Garett let Anderson get his ass handed to him, they do the turn on Kurt. Joe’s absence is explained by the previous beat down, I WILL SAY THIS, if they have a better explanation for the turn, something like “Joe was onto us” or some shit, then this will make a bit more sense. Finally, they beat down Angle, and it is like, the most go through the motions beat down I have ever seen. These guys needed to be DESTROYING Angle, tossing him into the cage, busting him open, the gang surrounding the cage to make sure that their mission is completed. I wanted a Horsemen beatdown, and got a cheap knock off. I wanted Transformers, and I got GoBots.
Overall I really liked this past week’s show. The atmosphere in the UK is always great for TNA and makes them feel major league. At times, the impact Zone takes away from a solid show and makes it feel way worse than it actually is. Here we had a good show, but the reactions simply made things feel as if they were clicking big time. Overall a fun show, great crowd and hopefully the next three weeks come off as well as this show did.
Show Rating: 8.0
As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…
0 – 0.9: Torture
By: Tony Acero
– Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara Defeated Team Hell No [***]
– The Great Khali Defeated Jinder Mahal [NR]
– Sheamus Defeated Damien Sandow [*1/2]
– Randy Orton Defeated Wade Barrett [**]
– Jack Swagger Defeated Kofi Kingston [**1/2]
– Alberto Del Rio Defeated Dolph Ziggler [***]
TAG TEAM TURMOIL: Oooooh, dissension! Kane and Bryan continue the slow burn of their team breaking up (we can all assume that’s where they’re going, right?) and it’s interesting to watch. Aside from the storyline perspective, this match was great to watch and made me crave a Bryan vs. Mysterio one-on-one match. Sure, Rey has lost a step or two, but he seems motivated with Bryan (and who doesn’t), and I’d be interested in seeing what they can do. They gave the match some time and gave us a lot of false finishes before shocking us with a win for Mysterio in his hometown (when the fuck does that happen?). This was a solid way to start the show.
SANDOW/SHEAMUS: I didn’t hate this match, but they had something to live up to after RAW and their previous interactions. That was all forgiven, though, the moment The Shield came down to continue whatever it is that they’re doing. I read a comment or two that claimed The Shield lost their power once Heyman became the known backer of them, and I disagree. I think, if anything, it will allow them more freedom and with Mania looming over, I feel it’s only a matter of time before this story like takes the next big step.
SWAG-DADDY: Although the return of Swagger left much to be desired, the match he had on his return was beautiful. He and Kofi had a lot of action that never let up. There was that sick over the head into the arm bar that Swagger did, lookin all sorts of vicious. Plenty of reversals, and a lot of psychology, and of course – the return of the Ankle Lock. It’s great to have Swagger back, I just wish the execution was slightly altered.
DOLPH AND BERTY: Of course, what is there to expect from these two? This was a solid match that had a lot of back and forth action. Dolph looked like a true player, and Del Rio’s face dynamic added something fresh to the match. Everything was very simple here; from Big E’s inclusion and expulsion, to AJ’s….-sigh- wonderful face, it all added to the match. We also got to see some German Suplexes, which are always welcomed. I don’t know where they are going with these two quite yet, but it was a solid main event for a pretty solid show.
BOOKER OPENS: I maybe jumping the gun here, but wasn’t this pretty pointless considering the dudes in the ring are going to be in the Chamber already? Essentially, they needn’t impress anyone, because they were already in the ring. Similar to Cena telegraphing the impact of Punk/Rock’s rematch, this made the rest of the show seem unimportant as it was all but set in stone that the 6 you see are the 6 you’re getting. Although this set the show up, it seemed a bit lacking.
ORTON VS BARRETT: A few weeks ago we saw Orton lose cleanly to Wade Barrett, and it came off really well. This match didn’t completely negate that win, but I do think that it was far too short to mean anything significant. What they did give us was great, and looked good but I couldn’t help but think that without Khali, perhaps this could have lasted a bit longer.
PARKIN LOT GIMPIN: The first scene of Smackdown, we had Del Rio looking like the older dudes I sometimes see at clubs, only with a pipe in his hand. We continued to see him in the background, seething, and waiting for Show to come to the show. A few things bugged me here; first, I’m not sure I’d wait that long for some dude imma bust open with a pipe – at least not, in such a pacing and continuously exaggerated manner. Second: he just sent the cops away like they were his bitches. Next: The car that Show ended up bumping on was just sort of….there, the entire time – not to mention the second car, which Show stole, had its keys in the ignition. Finally, all the excitement about the pipe only for Del Rio to bust a window or two then drop it.
Although I know where they were going and there were certain moments of impact and excitement, this thing just seemed a bit too fraudulent for me to like.
EXPULSION: It appears that best friends Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow will be heading in opposite directions, and they felt the need to do so officially. Although I think both men are destined for big things, I can’t help but be a little sad that they’re breaking up as a team. I’m interested to see if they do anything with this “best friend” bit they got going on, but for the moment, what say we just leave the memories alone:
SWAGGER JACKED: Another thing that seemed lacking was the return of one Jack Swagger. Now look, I wasn’t expecting a grandeur return with bells, whistles, and strippers but this was just lackluster. So after months away, the return of Jack Swagger saw longer hair and some scruff on his chin. THAT is what I was waiting for? I think they screwed the pooch here, as they really could have made Swagger a bigger deal than this. It’s only week 1 of his return, but starting with a bang, they did not do.
FAMILY ISSUES: Remember when Jinder was all like, “Khali, I banged your sister and now imma steal all your rubies?” No? Apparently the WWE doesn’t either. Anyways, this was a Khali match, and I seriously cringe everytime that man falls forward. I don’t know why, but it looks so scary – as if I should reach through the television and try to catch him.
RAW REBOUNDS: They haven’t done this in a while, but the RAW Rebounds were just a bit much…
Tonight’s episode was a good one; impressive throughout with only minor setbacks. Small would kill me if he read this, but Khali just isn’t cutting it anymore, as a character or as a wrestler. Show and Del Rio are doing some interesting stuff, and getting people to care. Dolph is being Dolph, and with the return of Rey, we may be getting some exciting shit to come.
SHOW RATING: 8.0
RUMBLE THOUGHTS… By Larry Csonka
But, then there is the business side of things, which I do take into account. The goal of the show was to set the stage for WM, which is Rock vs. Cena II for the title and likely Punk vs. Taker. While it may not exactly light my fire, they did exactly as planned for the biggest show of the year, which will likely do as well if not better than last year. The Rock as champion, doing a ton of promotions for his movies, is what they wanted for maximum exposure.
At the end of the day what maybe best for their business didn’t exactly deliver a great PPV in my eyes, but I cannot completely hate on it just because it was predictable. I have always said two things, the keep it simple and that the best way to get to where you want to go is a straight line. WWE did that, so for them, mission accomplished.
What the numbers mean…
0 – 0.9: Torture
As a reminder, this is not a basic “how good was the show” number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.
YEAR IN REVIEW (PPV) by Csonka:
* NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV – 9.9
* WWE Royal Rumble – 7.0
* TNA Genesis – 5.0
TOP PPV MATCHES:
* From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: IWGP Heavyweight Title Bout – Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs. Kazuchika [****¾]
* From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Bout – Prince Devitt © vs. Low Ki vs. Kota Ibushi [****½]
* From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: IWGP Intercontinental Title – Shinsuke Nakamura © vs. Kazushi Sakuraba [****½]
* From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata [****]
* From The NJPW WrestleKingdom 7 iPPV: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki [****]
* From TNA Genesis – Elimination Match for the TNA World Title: Jeff Hardy © vs. Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries[****]
* From The WWE Royal Rumble – The Royal Rumble Match [***¾]
* From The WWE Royal Rumble – WWE Title Match: The Rock vs. CM Punk [***¾]
Well trained dog…
Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.