Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 6.20.10: ROH, Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!
In HD where available…
By: Aaron Hubbard
ROH on HDNet 06.14.10:
Christopher Daniels def. Bobby Shields [**]
Jay & Mark Briscoe def. Sid Reeves & Bob Evans [3/4*]
Steve Corino def. Colt Cabana via DQ [***3/4 for the match and post-match]
RICHARDS-BLACK CONTRACT SIGNING: This show was all about the hard-sell for Death Before Dishonor VIII, focusing on the three top matches, but none is bigger than this. Tyler Black is the ROH World Champion, “The Chosen One” and the top guy. Davey Richards has clawed and scratched and earned his way to being called “The Best Wrestler In The World”. This match is a money match and has a big-time feel to it and my anticipation for it is definitely at a peak. We got opinions from fans and wrestlers on who was going to win (although Jim Cornette, Kevin Steen, and Austin Aries declined to answer in awesome fashion). This all led up to the official contract signing. Davey signed the contract and said he would win and be the best. Black signed the contract, said he would win and be the best. The biggest development was that Davey said that Edwards and Hagadorn would not be at ringside, because it’s just him and Tyler. And that’s all it needs to be.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE FALLEN ANGEL: Christopher Daniels was all over this episode; he made his in-ring debut for ROH Television, defeating Bobby Shields in short order with the Best Moonsault Ever, and giving him enough offense to not completely bury him. I remember now why I love Daniels so match; every single thing the guy does is so graceful and so perfectly executed. That includes his promos; on this show he put himself over, he put over ROH as a company, the entire roster. Then he came out after the contract signing, put over Black and Richards, and challenged them both, because he wants to be ROH Champion and he wants to prove that he is The Best in the World. I love having Daniels on the show.
STEEN-CORINO vs. CABANA-GENERICO REACHES A BOILING POINT: First off, I cannot do justice to the sheer awesomeness of this promo from Kevin Steen, nor the fantastic build-up video that ROH has done, so here’s the video of that:
This led to a match between Cabana and Corino, which was a good brawl before the disqualification and then got awesome after it. Aside from the table refusing to break, things progressed nicely and told a story. They gave almost nothing away but still managed an awesome segment that builds to the one-on-one between Steen and El Generico at Death Before Dishonor VIII. I’m really looking forward to this as well, probably as much as the World Title Match.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
BRISCOES SQUASH/PAPA BRISCOE: The other big match on the DBD VIII card is the tag team championship match between The Briscoe Brothers and The Kings of Wrestling. I’m looking forward to that match, but I felt it wasn’t built very well here. There’s no disputing Papa Briscoe is Papa Briscoe; he looks just like Jay. However, this squash was uninspired at best, the jobbers were basically useless, Hero fumbled over his promo, Papa was overacting way too much, Jay set a record for most bleeped out words in a sixty-second span, and the whole thing fell flat. I’ll give Papa Briscoe one bit of credit; the bump off the KO Elbow from Hero was very good, especially considering he’s not involved in wrestling.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
This show was light on wrestling and heavy on hype, but that’s just what it needed to be. Death Before Dishonor VIII has the potential to be the show of the year based solely on the three marquee matches, and this show hyped the heck out of those three big matches. This was exactly what it needed to be.
SHOW RATING: 8.0
By: Chad Nevett
Ink, Inc. defeated The Band [*1/2]
Samoa Joe defeated Hernandez [*]
Douglas Williams defeated Max Buck [*1/2]
Angelina Love defeated Lacey Von Erich [1/2*]
Beer Money, Inc. defeated Team 3D [*1/2]
Jay Lethal defeated Desmond Wolfe [*]
Abyss, Mr. Anderson, and Jeff Hardy were all counted out in their three-way match, because, apparently, that’s allowed in that sort of match now [*1/2]
MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO’S THE FLAIR-EST OF THEM ALL?: This segment began well enough with Ric Flair coming out with AJ Styles, Desmond Wolfe, Kazarian, and Beer Money, and announcing that he’s reforming the Four Horsemen in TNA as a group called Fortune (or, possibly, Fourtune since they could go for the more obvious pun name). But, none of these guys are guaranteed a spot, because they haven’t earned it. He went through each one, naming off a member of the Horsemen who was better. It was entertaining and, then, it got down right amazing. Jay Lethal came out and did his Flair impression, which devolved into Lethal and Flair yelling at one another with the same voice, same speech patterns, and same WOO!s. I swear to god, this was the most surreal thing I’ve seen on a wrestling show in years. The taped element of Impact helped as the editing gave the whole thing a feeling like a YouTube video where someone strung together every time they both went WOO! into a short little video. I can’t describe it properly. Just watch the video and see for yourself:
Best TNA segment of the year. By far.
DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. MAX BUCK: While my rating of this match isn’t different from others, it was shorter and packed in the quality with a lot of quick-paced action. Prior to the match, Douglas Williams bragged about his win at Slammiversary and how his new move will make him unstoppable. Buck looked really good here, epitomizing the X-Division style that Williams hates, staying ahead of Williams for the first part of the match until Williams could regain the upper hand, eventually hitting the Tornado DDT. After the match, Brian Kendrick came down and choked out Williams. This match was pure quality and advanced the story well.
INK, INC. vs. THE BAND: The show began with Eric Bischoff stripping the Band of the tag titles because of Scott Hall’s conduct and setting up a four-team tournament with the winning team taking on the Motor City Machine Guns at Victory Road for the titles. The first match was the Band versus Ink, Inc. I love how, six months later, we’re back to just Eric Young and Kevin Nash as a duo. Gee, no one could have predicted that neither Waltman nor Hall would have worked out… This match was pretty much Eric Young versus Ink, Inc., and it was fine. He did most of the work with Jesse Neal, both men doing good jobs. Nash was pretty useless and Moore really only came in at the end to help with the win. I really feel bad for Young, because everything he’s stuck with turns to crap. I’m still not 100% clear on why Hall being fired means the Band loses the belts since there are still two of them left. But, whatever, Ink, Inc. advances and we all feel sorry for EY.
HERNANDEZ vs. SAMOA JOE: An odd match to have since neither of these guys looks like they could afford a loss right now. They’re both big guys in positions where they need to dominate a bit. What we got of the match was pretty decent, but didn’t go anywhere because Matt Morgan interfered by nailing Hernandez with a ball shot while the ref’s back was turned, allowing Joe to hit a T-bone suplex for the win. Apparently, that’s enough to defeat Supermex at this point. While leaving, Joe saw what happened on the replay shown on the screen and was pissed off, leading Morgan into a position where there were two very angry, very powerful men on either side of him. But, he weaseled his way out. Three-way at Victory Road, anyone? Not in the Right only because of the finish. I would have liked something more to put away Hernandez like a Musclebuster.
THE NEW TOP TEN RANKINGS: Your new rankings, excluding the top three are: 10. Kurt Angle (new); 9. Desmond Wolfe (-2); 8. The Pope (-2); 7. Jay Lethal (new); 6. Samoa Joe (+3); 5. Sting (-4); 4. AJ Styles (-2). This part of the rankings isn’t too bad. Kurt Angle gets to enter at number ten, setting up a match with Desmond Wolfe. Jay Lethal had some big wins, while Sting and AJ Styles both had some loses. How did Samoa Joe rise so much, though? He didn’t really have any matches this past month of consequence aside from that four way a couple of weeks back and he didn’t win. Nor was his name on the ballot for fan voting, so what’s the deal? I’m all for pushing Samoa Joe, but with the rankings system in place, they should reflect what’s actually happened and Joe’s rising three spots doesn’t do that. Otherwise, the bottom seven mostly make sense.
JEFF JARRETT CALLS STING OUT: Hey, anyone want to see Jeff Jarrett lecture Sting for five minutes? Yeah, me neither. This was all done well with Jarrett showing lots of passion, but I don’t care. I want to see these two guys putting over younger talent. I have zero interest in a feud between these two. It’s a waste of time as far as I’m concerned. It isn’t epic or legendary or even that meaningful. It’s spinning wheels.
ANGELINA LOVE vs. LACEY VON ERICH: Angelina Love apparently has a title shot at Victory Road, because… well, there aren’t any other Knockouts left? So, she’s taking out the Beautiful People one at a time. This was a story that should have happened three months ago, but didn’t. And it’s payoff should have been with Velvet Sky, not Madison Rayne. Oops. And this match was god-awful with a DQ finish that should have happened right away. If all Love wanted to do was hurt Von Erich, she should have did it right at the beginning. Instead, I had to sit through a somewhat talented wrestler trying to lead a zero talented ‘wrestler’ through a match with an obvious finish.
TEAM 3D vs. BEER MONEY, INC.: The second of the tag team matches to determine who will face the Guns at Victory Road was a pretty decent match until the end. Up until the end, it was standard stuff with neither team doing anything too impressive, but neither one doing anything too bad either. The finish is what killed this match: Brother Ray saw that Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore were doing commentary (and there’s a duo you want on the mic) and charged out of the ring to go attack them, leaving Devon to the mercy of Beer Money. This storyline with Ray and Neal just needs to stop. It’s not good and it’s got him so worked up that he just leaves a match? I don’t buy it. It was more comical than anything else.
DESMOND WOLFE vs. JAY LETHAL: Another match that was an angle, not a match. The angle here: Desmond Wolfe needs to beat Lethal in order to be in Fortune. But, he also knows that Chelsea would rather be with Abyss. So, he spends most of the match beating down Lethal before berating his (ex?) girlfriend until, finally, Lethal takes advantage and wins. This wasn’t entertaining. It was a squash match mixed with a slightly uncomfortable domestic dispute. Just when you thought the whole Wolfe/Abyss/Chelsea story couldn’t get worse… ta-da! After the match, Wolfe attacked Lethal, Flair came out to join him and, then, Hogan made the save to eventually announce that it would Flair and Lethal at Victory Road. I don’t mind where things ended, the journey was just uncomfortable and not very good.
THREEWAY MATCH FOR THE NUMBER ONE CONTENDER SPOT – MR. ANDERSON vs. ABYSS vs. JEFF HARDY: First off, how is Mr. Anderson even in contention for the number one spot? He lost every match since the previous rankings except for a tag match at Slammiversary. Abyss and Hardy were at least successful for most of the month, Anderson was just a loser. See, this is something that rankings systems don’t do well: allowing for pushes when you book a guy to lose all of the time. And, while I’m on the subject, the rankings system is a month old and they’re ALREADY doing a three-way number one contenders match? I thought the rankings system was going to avoid a relatively random match-up of guys vying for that spot! But whatever, on to the match. Leading up to it, there was tons of speculation about the relationship between Anderson and Hardy and if it could survive such a match. Turns out it can. Didn’t we see this a couple of months ago with Hardy and RVD? The match began with Hardy and Anderson working together until they had beaten down Abyss so much that they were forced to fight one another. Then, Abyss dominated a little until all three men were counted out. In a three-way match. I kind of thought that three-ways operated under no DQs/no countouts, because… well, they always have. Not this time! After the match, Abyss attacked Hardy and Anderson, beating them up pretty bad until Hogan came out asking why and Abyss pointed at him. The match had potential, but then logic was thrown out the window and we got that steaming pile of horseshit.
WHAT CHAMPION?: Paging Rob Van Dam… has anyone seen Rob Van Dam? Lots of talk about who will be the number one contender at Victory Road, but not a single mention of Rob Van Dam in this episode. Call me old fashioned, but I think it’s smart to actually have your world champion on your weekly show. And, if you don’t, there should be a very good explanation. This isn’t some random guy who can disappear from the show for a few weeks and then pop back up. If he isn’t worth mentioning, why is he worth caring about at all? This is your top guy, the face of your company, and he’s not on your show? Not backstage? Not in a match? Not mentioned at all save a replay of what happened at Slammiversary. I thought RVD as champ was going to mean big time ratings, so him not appearing at all and his lack of appearance not even addressed means what? Oh, yeah, BAD FUCKING BOOKING. The saddest part? Looking around online, I think I’m the only one who even noticed he wasn’t there. If there’s ever a sign that things need to change it’s no one caring whether or not your world champ is even on your show.
Lots of matches, none of them better than mediocre. We finally learned how the rankings system works and it turns out that it doesn’t really work at all. One month in and they’re already resorting to three-way matches… and ending them with countouts. The one saving grace of this episode was the brilliance of Ric Flair and Jay Lethal as Ric Flair. Also, if anyone has seen the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, could they remind him that he should at least make an appearance on Impact?
SHOW RATING: 4.0
By: Steve Cook
Kofi Kingston b. Trent Beretta (**½)
Primo b. Yoshi Tatsu (*¾)
Jimmy & Jey Uso b. Goldust & Mark Henry (**)
KOFI KINGSTON vs. TRENT BARETTA: I see some of the smarkety smark types online complaining about Kofi sometimes, and I don’t really get it. The man has a certain charisma about him that had the public connect with him even before he had an actual feud, and he’s been over like rover for most of his stay in WWE…he started to lose it on Raw after the Randy Orton feud, but since coming to SmackDown he’s been back to doing his thing and having good matches. This was a perfectly acceptable twelve minute match with Kofi and a guy who doesn’t have a whole lot of WWE singles matches under his belt. Beretta’s offense was pretty basic, but it worked. Kofi did his stuff and sold well enough for Beretta to make him look like a threat to the Intercontinental Champion. Good stuff here.
PRIMO vs. YOSHI TATSU: This was a decent sprint with two guys that can be counted on for solid ring work. I don’t think Tatsu is legendary in Japan as Michael Cole says he is, but I haven’t been to Japan lately so maybe he is. This wasn’t long enough to really go anywhere, but there were a couple of nice spots and Primo CHEATED TO WIN~! He’s been pretty much out of luck since Carlito left, but he’s got a two-match winning streak on Superstars, so somebody knows he’s still on the roster and might want to do something with him I do think that Yoshi & Great Khali would make an interesting tag team, so we’ll see if they decide to go with that after Khali punished Primo for cheating after this match.
The Uso Brothers vs. Goldust & Mark Henry: The Usos are going to need some time to develop into solid pro wrestlers, and that’s why they should be wrestling long matches on Superstars with guys like Goldust. For a debut match it wasn’t too bad, but one still wonders why they get bumped straight to the main roster and don’t have to do the NXT thing. The Goldust/Henry team was pretty interesting and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them, especially if Henry’s going to continue having issues with Goldust’s half-brother on NXT. It could make for an interesting dynamic.
Nothing of note.
MICHAEL COLE & JERRY LAWLER PAYING TRIBUTE TO THE WCW ANNOUNCING: Would it kill them to talk about the match they’re watching? Todd Grisham & Matt Striker spend time hyping the Fatal 4-Way show too, but they got their stuff out of the way and had enough time to talk about what was going on in the ring. I’m not sure Cole or Lawler had any clue what was going on in the main event of the show.
Pretty average episode of Superstars here. There isn’t anything I’d say you should go out of your way to watch, unless you really want to see the Usos debut match in WWE. It could be a collector’s item someday…you never know.
SHOW RATING: 6.5
By: Jeremy Thomas
WWE SmackDown 06.18.10
The Gate Crashers d. Christian & MVP [** ¼]
JTG vs. Chavo Guerrero [*]
Kelly Kelly d. Layla [½ *]
Dolph Ziggler d. Chris Masters [* ½]
Big Show and Rey Mysterio d. Jack Swagger & CM Punk [** ½]
PAYBACK: SmackDown kicked off with our Straight-Edge Savior CM Punk making his way down to ringside to the hatred of the crowd. He had his awesome mask and a microphone and as he walked down to the arena he began to talk about how he was going to become a four-time Straight-Edge World Heavyweight Champion, and how he would love to have the Undertaker there to see it. He trashed the crowd for being stupid and druggies and not knowing history, so he reminded us of how he made Taker “tap out.” He wanted to talk about the Dead Man’s vegetative state and how he wasn’t responsible, but that it was hilarious. Thus, he would be the first man to shake Taker’s hand because life’s been better without him. Just then the lights went out and “Taker” appeared in the ring. But wait…it wasn’t Taker, it was Luke Gallows. So now he’s been a fake for both Brothers of Destruction; that’s awesome. But Kane didn’t seem to agree, and he came down to wreak havoc. He didn’t get far before Jack Swagger game out, and that resulted in a four-on-one beatdown on the Big Red Machine. This brought Rey Rey and Big Show out, who cleared the ring and then took out Kane. This was a nice little way for the competitors to get some heat back after Kane ran roughshod on them. I enjoyed this for the most part; I don’t think it played as well as it could have and Kane’s push toward being a dangerous main event-level monster again was temporarily dealt a blow here. But with what played out at the end of the show, I was fine with it.
MVP & CHRISTIAN vs. HAWKINS & ARCHER: This was coming off the Gate Crashers’ attack on MVP from last week and the new teams’ earning a contract after last week. They obviously have some desire to give Hawkins and Archer a chance considering they were booked over two upper midcarders, and I like that they’re at least giving them the opportunity to get over. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess and it could easily go sour, but this is a good start. These four men had a perfectly fine match; it wasn’t the hottest opener we’ve ever seen on SmackDown but the Gate Crashers are showing potential and the faces did what they could to put them over. It does sadden me a bit how Christian and MVP are pretty much aimless, but as we know pushes can happen in an instant in the ‘E so they aren’t totally dead in the water. Yet.
TEAM LAY-COOL ANNOYS (IN THE RIGHT WAY): Backstage early in the show, we say Team Lay-Cool walking along while Kaval was behind them holding their Women’s Titles. Rosa showed up and wanted to get in Team Lay-Cool. Michelle and Layla basically told her to screw off, made fun of her make-up and then said she hadn’t won a match in forever. Oh my god. I will admit, as much as these two irritate me it’s at least turning into appropriate heel heat and not “I suck and I know it” heel heat. And I’ll admit that Kaval’s dour demeanor is a fun contrast to them. I’m not saying this is good, because it does make me want to claw my ears out, but they’re doing what they should be and while I don’t personally enjoy the segments, the fact that they’re doing what they need to is enough to get a VERY marginal Right.
DREW McINTYRE “vs.” TEDDY LONG: The ‘E Creative Team did a good job building this one up throughout the show. They had a lot of help from the Production Crew who put together video packages showing highlights in the feud. We also got Kofi talking before the match about his match against Drew. Kofi did a nice job here talking about his match and then pointing out that the Drew vs. Teddy match wasn’t fair. Again, I say that Kofi needs more mic time, he delivers when he talks.
Now, as much as they did a good job building to it, I wasn’t looking forward to this. I’ve made no secret about how I’ve disliked the Teddy Long Probation angle, and that I don’t think this angle is doing McIntyre any favors. Add to that the factor that we knew this would be a pretty ass-level match. But we had it nonetheless; Drew came down to his awesome entrance and then ordered Teddy to come out, which he did in a suit. Drew then delivered a very solid little promo about how the suit wasn’t going to stop him and how Drew had enlisted his own security force of big tough guys. Drew was taking no chances and had the ref check for foreign objects, and then taunted Teddy to hit him. He then told Drew to get on his knees and say that Drew is the Chosen One. That then turned into Teddy taking a dive and nearly a Double-Arm DDT for him before Kofi and Matt came out to make the save. You know what, I actually enjoyed this. The crowd was totally into it and Drew did just fine on the mic. This more than any of the “protected” status helped get Drew over and got the crowd hating him. This is what they need to do and the crowd will be begging with Kofi and company to shut Drew up. He also got over on Kofi and Matt thanks to the save attempts and the security force. Good stuff.
REY REY & BIG SHOW vs. PUNK & SWAGGER: Earlier in the show we had a promo from Jack Swagger where he talked about his Fatal Four-Way match against his tag partner and opponents tonight. Swagger then talked about how much of a winner he was and how he was going to dedicate his win to his father. Swagger’s attitude is coming across nicely and I can’t complain about that.
This led into their match in the main event and honestly, this was about as good a match as one would expect. All four men can go when they’re motivated and they were fairly motivated here. A tag match is usually a nice way to build to a Fatal Four-Way and while I think they did lazy booking by copying what Raw did, it did work. All four men worked just fine here and I thought it played out in a way that built some optimism for the Pay-Per-View. I know some people were annoyed by the finish because Swagger loses too much, but in a four-way tag team match it’s not that important and Rey Rey is a main eventer, even if he doesn’t have a World Title win in his immediate or distant future. And then Kane coming down to get his heat back after the opening segment was thoroughly solid. This wasn’t the greatest main event ever but it did what it needed to do just fine.
JTG vs. CHAVO GUERRERO: This match was billed as one Chavo wasn’t ready for, and he came out still in the process of taping up. Yeah, let’s pretend that Chavo being ready was going to give him a win. The guy couldn’t pin Moppy successfully at this rate. He started off strong against JTG before the former Cryme Tymer decided that was done with and then wiped the floor with him. This was too short to be worth anything and neither man had an opportunity to do much in the match. It provided a feel-good moment, but that’s about it. Hey, remember when we were looking at a JTG vs. Shad feud? Who would have thought we’d be longing for those days?
LAYLA vs. TRIPLE K: Did anyone expect this to be good? I will say that the Ditzy-wood Blondes were looking very nice. But that’s about all the good I have to say about this. Layla tried and so did Kelly, but once again I state that no Diva’s match will ever be good when they only give the girls two minutes. I’ve said this many times and I believe it; give the girls time and they will improve. They will also be able to show us more of what they’re capable of. No one can show us a great match in two minutes and especially not someone the Divas.
CHRIS MASTERS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER: Earlier in the show, we saw Vickie Guerrero had bought Dolph Ziggler some very short shorts. Like, Katy Perry Daisy-Duke shot. Seriously, let’s compare:
You be the judge. Anyway, it was obviously dorky as hell and goofy, but Vickie was impressed and when Chavo interrupted, he ended up getting an impromptu match. Dolph protested and asked about his tool belt; apparently it was to help hang a picture so Vickie could stare at his ass. Yeah, that’s exactly what I needed to see. Chris Masters then came in, saw what was going on and then walked out.
This, of course, was a precursor to the match between them. Before the match Vickie came out and talked about the virtue of Dolph’s silky hair. Wow. Anyway, I don’t think the outcome here was ever in doubt but I enjoyed the idea of the Masterlock against the sleeper. Remember when people took the Masterlock seriously? Yeah, good times…kinda. This was another short match that really had Masters look strong for most of the match before Dolph locked in the sleeper. Masters then locked in the Masterlock for a couple moments before Dolph hit the ropes, then hit the ZigZag for the pin. Again, no one can put together a good match in three minutes, including these guys. They just didn’t do much for the time they got and it fell flat.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
This needed to sell people’s interest on a Pay-Per-View that’s been lukewarm to most and it did a pretty good job at that. The big problem was the short matches that hurt the flow of the show. But the main event angle and Kane’s rampage worked, as did Drew “versus” Teddy surprisingly. This wasn’t a great show and was a step down from last week, but it was still completely watchable.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
Pay-Per-View tonight, so no comments. Hopefully back on Friday.