Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 6.20.10: ROH, Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!
In HD where available…
By: Aaron Hubbard
ROH on HDNet 07.05.10:
The Kings of Wrestling def. The Dark City Fight Club via DQ [**3/4]
Daizee Haze def. Jamilla Craft [**]
The American Wolves def. Christopher Daniels & Roderick Strong [***1/2]
WOLVES VS. DANIELS/STRONG: This was a match that I liked on paper but ended up being disappointed with. Richards and Daniels seemed to be having a bit of an off night, which is bizarre, because I can probably count the number of outright botches I’ve seen them do on my fingers (okay, maybe I’d have to include my toes, but it’s not a big number). They seemed to be trying to have a great match, so it wasn’t a lack of effort, it just didn’t turn out that way this time. Still, I’d rather watch this much talent on an off-night than the current WWE Champion on a good night. It was still a good match, just not quite what it should have been. This obviously sets up a singles match between Christopher Daniels and Roderick Strong, which I am all for.
KOW VS. DCFC: Our opening tag was another match I was looking forward to, and for the most part it delivered. Claudio Castagnoli is one of the few guys on the ROH roster who can match power with the Dark City Fight Club, and vice-versa, so that was fun to watch. The Fight Club stepped up their game a bit to try and match pace with the Kings, which is virtually impossible to do, but I appreciate the effort. The match was fine, up to and including the finish. The Briscoes running in and causing the DQ here probably worked a LOT better than the interference in the match with Motor City Machine Guns at Supercard of Honor V. I honestly want the DCFC to be pissed that the Briscoes cost them a win and get the Briscoes away from the Kings. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the Briscoes-Kings feud, I just want to see the Kings face some other deserving teams, like The Wolves or maybe the Super Smash Bros.
HAZE VS. CRAFT: I’ve said before that having women’s matches on ROH without actually having a true women’s division is a complete waste of time, which is keeping this out of the right. However, I liked this match, for a couple of reasons. One, it gave Dave Prazak a chance to plug SHIMMER, which is something I very much support. Second, if Jamilla Craft is really a rookie, she’s good. Not a blow-away wrestler or anything, but she has good timing and execution of the basics. You have to know the fundamentals or your big stuff doesn’t mean anything, and Craft has great fundamentals.
NECRO BUTCHER JOINS EMBASSY RECAP: ROH decided to air a video package detailing the storied rivalry that eventually resulted in The Necro Butcher joining forces with Prince Nana and The Embassy. I assume ROH was hoping this would explain the bizarre heel turn, and if that was the point, this failed big time. The reason it failed is that the heel turn makes no sense, and if you show people the history, it is just reminding them that it makes no sense. Sometimes it is better to embrace the present and move on.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
This episode was low on story and high on wrestling, which is always the winning formula for me and for ROH. I’ve been pretty burned out on modern wrestling as of late, because very little is happening that peaks my interest. However, it’s good to know that ROH will always provide a wrestling show where the wrestlers actually wrestle. This didn’t blow me away, but I couldn’t find anything to really complain about.
SHOW RATING: 6.5
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By: Chad Nevett
– AJ Styles (#4) and Kazarian wrestled to a double countout [**1/4]
– Angelina Love defeated Daffney [*]
– Rob Van Dam defeated Samoa Joe (#6) [***1/2]
– Jeremy Buck defeated Douglas Williams in a Ladder Match [**]
– Beer Money, Inc. & Matt Morgan defeated the Motor City Machine Guns & Hernandez [**1/2]
– Jeff Hardy (#1) defeated Mr. Anderson (#1) [*3/4]
AJ STYLES (#4) vs. KAZARIAN: The grudge match of the night! Who will be Ric Flair’s protégé? It began with both men trading armdrags and using similar moves against one another. AJ Styles was more dominant throughout the match, but Kazarian did some good counters and showed that he can hang with the big boys well. There was a lot of energy and passion here with both men selling the personal animosity, leading to the double countout that allows for the problems between the two to still be there. Partway through the match, Ric Flair came out to watch and, after the match, he got on the mic and said that both men are special and should be working together, not fighting. So, at Victory Road, they’re in a tag match against mystery opponents and, if they lose, they’re not going to be in Fortune. Good, high energy match that satisfied on that level and advanced the story.
ROB VAN DAM vs. SAMOA JOE (#6): Now this was a match. With Joe on a seemingly unstoppable rampage, this was a great chance for Rob Van Dam to look good. The two men worked well together, Joe relying on power but not afraid to do a little bit of his more aerobatic moves, while RVD was kicks and counters, using his speed to his advantage. Either man could have won this match with a few good chances for both. If Joe hit the Musclebuster, it was his, but RVD countered it a couple of times before Joe put him in the Coquina Clutch. RVD, though, squirmed free enough to get to his feet (while Joe still applied the hold), moved to the corner, ran up the turnbuckle and flipped over Joe, pinning his shoulders to the mat despite Joe maintaining the submission hold. A really good match and the first where RVD walked away looking like he deserved to be world champ rather than just the guy who was booked to win the match. After, Joe argued with the ref before doing a Musclebuster on him.
LADDER MATCH – DOUGLAS WILLIAMS vs. JEREMY BUCK: This match had a somewhat odd story in it with Douglass Williams apparently afraid of heights now. This smells like a ruse to throw Brian Kendrick off prior to their Ultimate X match at Victory Road because Williams has no problems going to the top rope to hit the Tornado DDT and, as a guy who’s afraid of heights, he wouldn’t be able to do that so easily and have such a problem with the second step of a ladder. Despite that, this was a good match with Jeremy Buck personifying all of the things about the X-Division style that Williams hates with lots of speed, flips, and jumps. Williams tried to beat him at his own game a few times, but couldn’t. Mostly, he stuck with more traditional hits and holds with both men using the ladder as a weapon at times. I expected a run-in by Kendrick, but that thankfully didn’t happen. In the end, Buck was able to pick up the win because of Williams’s hesitation in climbing the ladder. I definitely think this is a fake-out, but this was a fun match.
BEER MONEY, INC. & MATT MORGAN vs. THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS & HERNANDEZ: Gotta love the six-man tag matches where two feuds are advanced. This match began with the Guns working over Robert Roode fairly well until things turned for Chris Sabin and be became the whipping boy for a good chunk of the match. While most of the match’s focus was on the two tag teams, when Matt Morgan got involved, he looked dominant, as did Hernandez. Eventually, Morgan decided to just walk away from the match and Hernandez followed, leaving just the Guns and Beer Money. Storm tried to spit beer, but missed, and it looked like the Guns would win when Shelley went for a cross body off the top, but Roode rolled with it and got the pin. Morgan and Hernandez seemed to be there only to hit a few power moves and take off, but I’m not going to complain about a Beer Money/Motor City Machine Guns match.
JAY LETHAL GETS DRESSED DOWN BY THE WRESTLING GOD: Jay Lethal talked about his match on Sunday against Ric Flair and what Flair did to his brother a couple of weeks ago on Impact. Then, he talked about his mom who is sick and promised her that she will be proud come Sunday because of his match with Flair. Then, Flair came down and just laid into Lethal verbally. This was a masterpiece of psychological warfare as Flair trashed Lethal’s clothes, talked himself up, and made it very clear that Lethal is just some kid trying to take on The Wrestling God, a feat that he just isn’t up to. Flair just kept going and going until, by the end, you could see how shaken and worried Lethal was. You hear a lot of talk in wrestling about psyching out your opponent, but this was definitely a case where it looked effective.
JEFF HARDY (#1) vs. MR. ANDERSON (#1): Would Anderson use the chair? No. No, this was just a fairly short match that was pretty good with both men getting in some decent offense until Anderson inexplicably went for the Swanton Bomb (which he’s done before to be fair), missed, and got pinned after eating a Twist of Fate. It was fine for what it was, but, after the match, Abyss came down with his two-by-four full of nails and got into it with Anderson and Hardy, first not holding his own, but, then, taking control by chokeslamming Hardy and knocking Anderson down. He tried to use the two-by-four, but missed, hitting the turnbuckle, which got stuck by the nails. Then, RVD came down and wasn’t too effective. By that time, Hardy was up and Anderson had a chair… but he told Hardy to move and nailed Abyss, leading to RVD grabbing the chair, tossing it to Abyss and hitting the Rob Van Daminator. That left the three faces standing tall heading into Victory Road. A solid build to that match and I liked how, over the last three weeks, we got the three number one contenders all fighting one another in one-on-one matches.
ANGELINA LOVE vs. DAFFNEY: This wasn’t much of a match, but it sold Angelina Love as a dominant Knockout against someone who isn’t a member of the Beautiful People. Though, it did make Daffney look completely harmless. After the match, Love called out Madison Rayne who obliged and they exchanged insults before Rayne asked that Love put her career up against the title at Victory Road. Love accepted and, then, said that a new stipulation had been added beyond that: if either Velvet Sky or Lacey Von Erich tries to interfere at any time, Rayne will be disqualified immediately, and Love will be awarded the title. Rayne didn’t seem to care.
DEVON CALLS OUT BROTHER RAY: Devon, with Ink, Inc., called out Ray to confront him about his feud with Jesse Neal. Devon gave a solid enough promo that didn’t do much besides recap Neal’s pre-wrestling life without actually making a point about the current story, while Ray continued his ‘That punk kid is disrespectful!’ talk without any actual examples. It ended with Ray calling Devon disloyal and telling us that the match at Victory Road between Ray and Neal is now a three way dance with Devon. This was kind of pointless besides announcing the new match, but it wasn’t bad.
THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS ON THE EVILS OF BEER MONEY: I enjoyed this quite a bit. Funny, well-written, and executed, but it lands in puRgatoRy for the simple reason that it’s not new and a lot of people have seen it already. Is it so hard to write a new sketch featuring the Guns mocking Beer Money? Anyway, enjoy:
FRIENDS TILL THE END?: The episode began with speculation about whether or not Mr. Anderson meant to hit Jeff Hardy with a chair at the end of Impact last week when he swung at Abyss who ducked, causing him to hit Hardy. I hate these stories. I hate them with a passion, because they suppose that wrestlers are morons who have never actually watched a day of wrestling in their lives. Can we please put an end to all stories where Wrestler A tries to hit Wrestler B, but accidentally hits Wrestler C when Wrestler B ducks, causing Wrestler C to get pissed off at/stop trusting Wrestler A? They’re stupid and I never buy into them. This one went nowhere with Anderson calling out Hardy, saying it was an accident, and that he would bring a chair down to the ring before their match later and, if he uses it, Hardy will know he can’t trust Anderson. A pointless segment for a moronic story that doesn’t provide any actual drama or tension to the episode or actually lead anywhere.
KEVIN NASH WAITS FOR ERIC BISCHOFF: Nash was waiting in a conference room for Bischoff for some reason when Hogan came in and lectured him about things that happened months ago that, in a real business, would have been addressed months ago. Nash facing the consequences of swerving to get Hall and Waltman contracts? Why now? Can’t we just move on and pretend the Band never happened?
Man, what happened at TNA? Did someone finally realize that the way to put on a good wrestling show was with good wrestling? Because this show has been strong the past few weeks, this episode being the strongest of all with five good to great matches and a minimal amount of stupid stories/promos. I really hope TNA can keep this up.
SHOW RATING: 8.0
By: Steve Cook
Gail Kim & Yoshi Tatsu d. Jillian & Primo (**)
Zack Ryder d. Goldust (**½)
Team LayCool d. Kelly Kelly & Tiffany (**½)
BELLA TWINS AS REFEREES: Oh yes! That’s quality entertainment right there. Michael Cole mentioned that they’d had their way with Jillian over the past couple weeks…and I had no idea what was going on for the next few minutes.
GAIL KIM & YOSHI TATSU vs. JILLIAN & PRIMO: When you get Yoshi going against Primo, you get two of the better cruiserweight type guys in WWE going against each other. When you get Gail going against Jillian, you get two of the better Diva workers going against each other. The only thing I didn’t like about this match was towards the end, when Yoshi needed to make a tag…Jillian tagged Primo before Yoshi could make the tag, and with the rules of the match being that the guys faced the guys and the ladies faced the ladies…that was kind of pointless. The Bellas were great in their role and reminded me of the awesome lucha referees with the fast count at the end. Good times.
ZACK RYDER vs. GOLDUST: It took me a long time to get with the notion that Goldust was really good again. I’d seen his stint in TNA as Black Reign, where he was one of the worst workers on television, and I figured that he was pretty much done as an actual wrestler type person. Turns out that he wasn’t, and now he’s one of my favorite people to watch in WWE. How the hell did that happen? I’d guess steroids, but Wellness wouldn’t approve of that. Anyway, this was a pretty solid match that was really good when Goldust was on offense, and decent enough when Ryder was doing his thing. I’m glad that Ryder got the duke though, because he needs to be put over somewhere.
TEAM LAYCOOL vs. KELLY KELLY & TIFFANY: I was impressed with Tiffany’s efforts in this match as the face in peril. We don’t get to see her in anything longer than three minutes very often, so it was nice to see that she can sell for copious amounts of time and show some fire when she got some offense in. Pretty standard tag team match here for the Divas, which will get more credit from me than from 95% of you. But what the hell.
MASTER LOCK CHALLENGE: This featured Caylen Croft being unable to break Chris Masters’ Master Lock, and then the Dudebusters attacking Chris Masters. I have no idea if this is actually leading anywhere, so it goes into Purgatory.
Nothing of note.
Nothing of note.
I liked pretty much everything I saw this week, but other than the Bellas refereeing there isn’t really anything I’d go out of my way to see. Unless you’re a big Tiffany fan and want to see what might be her best performance to date. I saw some hate online for this show, and I can only assume that’s because of the online hate for LayCool, which people who read my SmackDown recaps know that I don’t buy into.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
By: Jeremy Thomas
WWE SmackDown 07.09.10
Dolph Ziggler d. MVP & Chavo Guerrero [** ¼]
The Gatecrashers d. Matt Hardy
& Christian [¾*]
Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston [***]
Cody Rhodes d. JTG [* ½]
REY REY GETS FUCKED UP: Josh Matthews was backstage with Rey Rey and Dr. Michael Samson. Sampson clearly didn’t rehearse his lines as he stumbled through them, but he’s not a trained actor so he gets a pass. They did a good job of setting up Rey’s injury and the seriousness out of it, then Rey started to speak before Swagger came in, yelled at everyone to leave and then destroyed Rey’s ankle some more with the ankle lock. He actually dragged him down the freaking backstage area by his ankle. That was pretty damned awesome. I love how they’re giving Swagger such a dangerous edge and he really looked vicious and like a monster here. And of course Show showing up to make the save was solid, and set up the main event. The crowd loved this and frankly, so did I.
KOFI KINGSTON vs. DREW McINTYRE: This was Drew’s chance to go to Money in the Bank. I was surprised by this match because while Kofi and Drew have done okay work against each other, they’ve never done really good work and this was really good. Between this and his match with Matt Hardy just before he got the boot by INS, Drew’s put on two consecutive very good TV matches in a row and that’s a good sign. I have to believe that he’s feeling a serious boost motivation because he hasn’t worked this hard since he came to the ‘E and it’s paying off. Kofi did a great job of making Drew look like a star, but he didn’t just get squashed and he put out some good offense himself. This wasn’t a thrill-ride but it was a very technically competent match and I’m glad to see Drew’s really trying to earn his push, even if it is somewhat after the fact.
SERENA PAYS THE PIPER: We got a recap of last week when Serena revealed that she’d been drinking in a bar to save Punk from Kane and the reaction that caused in the Straight Edge Superstar, before we cut backstage where CM and Luke were watching Triple K work out in befuddlement. I’d have the same reaction. Finally, we got them in the ring and Gallows talked about how they’d seen a side of the SES that we weren’t supposed to see, so he called Serena out. She walked out sans music and got in the mic to talk about how it’s been the hardest week of her life because of how much Punk means to her. She said she’d made a mistake by getting drunk and then defying Punk. Serena was merely okay on the mic here; she had the emotion but not quite the mic skills. Luke was about the same way; they were just a bit down from where we’ve been seeing them lately. Punk then took the mic and turned on Gallows to say it’s not Gallows’s decision. CM forgave Serena, which pissed off Luke and he left. This makes for some interesting developments, and once again I’m interested to see where they’re going with this. It wasn’t the usual SES quality segment, but it still had far more positives than shortcomings.
DASHING CODY RHODES vs. JTG: Cody has new theme music, and he paused for a long moment to stare at himself in the digital mirror. Again, I give Cody credit for doing what he can to get the gimmick over. Obviously Rhodes was going to win this, as he’s got the new gimmick and he’s the MITB competitor in the match. On the way there they had a serviceable match. I wouldn’t watch it again and it was really short, but it gave Cody the win he needed and let him look strong. That’s good enough for me. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a squash match.
BIG SHOW vs. JACK SWAGGER: This was Show’s chance for revenge, both for himself and for Rey Rey. Show gave a good short promo before the match about how he was going to put fear in Jack’s mind and make him suffer. Works for me. This was not as good of a match as last week’s was, but it still had its positive moments. I enjoyed the interplay between them and Show had his chance to flatten Jack a little bit before Swagger stopped Show for about ten seconds. The match turned into a double-countout because Show was just more interested in hurting the man. The match was far from great but the story of it was solid.
Now, one thing I didn’t like was Kane showing up. It makes some degree of sense, but I don’t think they need to have Kane muddying up the Swagger/Rey feud. Swagger claimed he had an alibi, and I’m sure that he will, but I would rather see Swagger focus on Rey next week because the build to their match hasn’t really focused on…well, them. We’ll see how it goes.
TABLES TURNED: SmackDown began with Drew McIntyre making his return from Scotland and standing in the middle of the ring. The crowd gave him his just boos and he looked ready to speak, but before he could Teddy Long came out all smiles. Long asked him why he was here, and Drew said his citizenship issues have been resolved but their issues hadn’t been. Drew was being all conciliatory and apologized—funny how peeps will do that when their jobs are on the line. Teddy gloated about how Drew was no longer able to call on Vince for help and said the free ride was over. Drew agreed and sucked up nicely by saying he was nominating Long as a candidate for WWE Hall of Fame, 2001. Wait, so they get nominated now? It’s not just Vince’s whim and who they can sell merchandise for? Oh, okay, it’s because they’re in Atlanta and they want to push ‘Mania 27 already. That makes sense, and it played off alright. Teddy teased Drew with a chance at Money in the Bank, then said he had to beg for it. This would have been too much and added some rough shades of grey to the feud, except they showed us what Teddy had to go through. I’m not big on Drew being humiliated on his return, but this was about the only way it could play out and I have to give Drew a lot of credit for playing this off wonderfully with the facial reactions. Then he got a chance at Money in the Bank by facing Kofi. Well, this was a way to bring him back. Again, I don’t like the humiliation angle after he definitively lost a feud he generally looked weak in throughout, but they were limited by how they could play this out. Short of bringing him back on Raw, this was how it had to work.
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. CHAVO GUERRERO vs. MVP: Vickie joined us on commentary for this match, and oh good Christ. She’s improved her in-ring work over the past several months, but when she doesn’t have a script she’s terminally bad. The story here was that Chavo and Dolph were united in order to beat down MVP so Dolph could get a shot. As a match it was decent, and basically amounted into a handicap match before Chavo tried to go into business for himself, at which Chavo and Dolph started to battle and the match got better. I’m always happy to see Chavo show that he can in fact wrestle, and Dolph and MVP worked together well. The finish of this match was not my favorite as it really made all involved look weak, but I’ll never complain too much about the goofiness of them trying to get the Sleeper over. Damn if they haven’t nearly pulled it off for the time being. This match was not at all my favorite, but it worked well enough I suppose.
CHRISTIAN & MATT HARDY vs. THE GATECRASHERS: So, the idea here was that these two had their differences after their little argument last week. Also, Hawkins and Archer need a way to get a win over some big names. Yeah, it wasn’t hard to guess how this was turning out. This wasn’t much of a match but had a lot of potential angle development as Christian either just screwed his opponent at Money in the Bank, or full-on turned heel. I wouldn’t complain about a Christian heel turn, it may prove interesting. My prediction though is for a Shawn Michaels-esque “turn” a la when he was feuding with Taker at the last two ‘Manias. Either way this gets few points for the match but makes up for it with interesting storyline and character developments.
KELLY DOWN! KELLY DOWN!: Kelly was backstage with Josh Matthews, about ready to talk about how she was going to face Layla at Money in the Bank before Layla herself showed up and started mocking her. Kelly got physical, Michelle McCool showed up and attacked and Kelly was left down. Not much of a build for the match, but it did what it needed to I suppose. I was underwhelmed but didn’t feel dumber for having watched it or anything.
ALBERTO DEL RIO IS INSPIRATIONAL AND INTELLIGENT: So the format seems to be running a repeat vignette early in the show and a new one later on. That I don’t mind. I also, once again, do not mind Alberto’s promo skills that he’s displaying here, or that he’s been given a different gimmick. But for god’s sake, why should I care about him? I really want to know if anyone can give me one reason why someone who isn’t already knowledgeable of the fact that he’s Dos Caras should care about this guy? I can’t figure it out. So I’m just not down with these. Kudos to Alberto for doing his damnedest, though.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
If you just look at the Rights, puRgs and wRongs, this is a pretty skippable SmackDown. Frankly I think it was far from essential but I also think this is one where the sum was more than its parts. It flowed well and nothing was abominable. Could it have been better? Certainly, and I don’t think you missed much of anything if you didn’t watch this outside of the Drew developments and the SES segment. But I don’t regret having seen it, and that counts for something. It wasn’t actively bad, just mediocre.
SHOW RATING: 6.0