Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 7.05.10: ROH, Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!
In HD where available…
By: Aaron Hubbard
ROH on HDNet 06.28.10:
Kevin Steen def. Bobby Shields [1/4*]
Grizzly Redwood def. Erick Stevens [**1/2]
Christian Able & Josh Raymond def. Cheech & Cloudy [**1/2]
El Generico def. Tyler Black via DQ [***1/2]
GENERICO vs. BLACK: So after Black’s performance at Death Before Dishonor, I’m thoroughly convinced that Black is going to be a great ROH World Champion before all is said and done, and this match was more proof of that. Black continues to change up his moveset so that he isn’t doing the same spots in the same order all the time, and he’s not letting the other talent carry him. Generico was on defense for most of the match, but got to do his coast-to-coast dropkick before Steen interfered. Steen’s interference is fine because it furthers his rivalry with Generico while setting up his match with Black. In addition, it made me want to see a nice, long rematch between Black and Generico, which has the potential to be a top ten match of the year.
HOUSE OF TRUTH vs. UP IN SMOKE: This isn’t a huge right, as the match actually disappointed me based on the talent involved. However, I’m very high on the House of Truth. Raymond and Able remind me of the Young Bucks, only more heelish, and I think they can be a very solid addition to the ROH Tag Team Scene, so anything that helps move them up the card is a right by me.
GRIZZLY vs. STEVENS/NECRO JOINS EMBASSY: This was scheduled to be Necro Butcher vs. Erick Stevens, but Necro said that he can’t afford to wrestle tonight, so he got a replacement in Grizzly Redwood. When I was watching the match, I felt that it went too long for what should have been a squash, but then Grizzly ended up winning due to Erick refusing to pin him and getting cocky. I like Grizzly, but I’m only willing to accept him beating so many people, and beating Stevens is too out there for me. Remember when Erick was a hot prospect? Man, I long for those days. Dude should seriously go to Dragon Gate where the booker likes him. Anyway, the Embassy predictable beat Grizzly down after the match, which brought out Rasche Brown. The Embassy fight off Rasche and tied him up, which I wasn’t too fond of, because now Rasche’s just “generic big guy #4” instead of the monster. Prince Nana introduced the new crown jewel of the Embassy, Necro Butcher. I have mixed feelings about this; Butcher is better as a heel and the sight of him in a suit is just awesome, but the Embassy doesn’t amount to much these days and this really negates Erick Stevens’ role. I’ll wait and see how this turns out before casting judgment.
MR. WRESTLING = MR. ANNOUNCING: The show kicked off with Kevin Steen out to destroy poor Bobby Shields, along with Steve Corino. The most notable thing about this was that Steen and Corino gave Hogewood and Prazak this match off so they could do commentary. The match and commentary was pretty brutal, but a few things redeemed this. I liked Shields almost getting a win because Steen was too distracted doing commentary. The highlight was Corino screaming out “SLAP THE PORCUPINE!” and Hogewood indignantly saying “It’s ‘Slap the porpoise’..” like the kid who had to give his favorite toy to the kid brother. That was enough for to bring this out of the wrong.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
The main event really helped what I felt was a middling show. Necro joining the Embassy is a story that’s a few weeks old, so the shock value for fans who regularly follow ROH (read: the entire ROH on HDNet Audience) was gone. Most of the stuff was entertaining, but nothing that made me go “wow, this was a good show”. I can recommend Black vs. Generico for viewers, but other than that, I wasn’t too thrilled about this one.
SHOW RATING: 6.0
By: Chad Nevett
– The Motor City Machine Guns defeated Ink, Inc. [**]
– Samoa Joe (#6) defeated AJ Styles (#4) [**1/2]
– Brian Kendrick defeated Desmond Wolfe (#9) in a submission match [*1/2]
– Jay Lethal (#7) defeated Matt Morgan [*1/2]
– Madison Rayne defeated Taylor Wild [*]
– Jeff Hardy (#1) defeated Abyss (#1) [**]
MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS vs. INK, INC.: The first match of the night finally had the Guns in action and it was the first match where Ink, Inc. made me think that they could be a tag team worth watching. Jesse Neal and Shannon Moore worked well together, tagging frequently, and actually controlling a good part of the match, which is something that hasn’t really happened before. The Guns, meanwhile, used their experience working together to get on top. Devon joined Taz and Tenay on commentary, discussing the situation with Ray and Neal, even intervening when Ray came out to get involved in the match. That distraction, though, allowed the Guns to gain the upper hand and absolutely destroy Neal with Made in Detroit. Ink, Inc. looked like a threat, the Guns won heading towards Victory Road, and the match was decent.
THE POPE HAS RETURNED: Finally, the Pope is off the injured list and has returned. He came out and thanked the congregation for their support. He addressed his place in the top ten and said that even at 80% he will continue to fight his way up them. He came off hungry and charismatic. Kurt Angle came out and said that he likes the Pope and knows that he has a bright future in TNA, but Angle is working his way up the rankings, too, and their paths are going to cross at Victory Road. The two men shook hands with Angle saying “May the best man win.” Great mic work from the Pope and a good way to set up the match at Victory Road.
AJ STYLES (#4) vs. SAMOA JOE (#6): Wow, this one came out of nowhere, but had me excited. After all, it’s AJ and Joe… what could go wrong? The match itself was somewhat disappointing, much in the same way that last week’s Angle/Wolfe because it just didn’t seem like it was given enough time to deliver. When the match ended, it seemed like the guys were just hitting their stride. But, the dynamic of this match was interesting with Joe dominating most of it. I don’t think I’ve seen AJ Styles in such a one-sided match in quite some time, which was good since he’s currently in a story where he’s losing, while Joe needs to look unstoppable. There were some nice counters with both men playing off their experience in the ring against one another. The finish was a little weak with Styles going for the Figure Four at a time when he probably wouldn’t have normally done, but it allowed Joe to put on the Coquina Clutch for the win after AJ tapped. After the match, there was an argument between Styles and Flair in the ring with Kazarian standing there looking very pleased. After those two left the ring, Styles grabbed a mic and challenged Kazarian to a match on Impact next week. I hope that’s just a set-up for a match at Victory Road since a confrontation between the two of them has been coming for a couple of months and deserves something a little bigger than a four-minute Impact match. Overall, this was a solid segment that did everything it needed to.
JAY LETHAL (#7) vs. MATT MORGAN: Lethal came out and demanded that Flair and Styles come out to answer for what they did to his brother last week, but, instead, Morgan’s music hit for their scheduled match. Morgan had a mic and apologized for coming out — oh wait, he’s not sorry, actually! He then said that he was the first person Flair asked to join Fortune and, while he hasn’t made up his mind yet, he and Flair do have one thing in common, at which point he nailed Lethal in the head with the mic and began kicking the crap out of him, including his awesome corner elbows. Morgan dominated Lethal until he went for the Carbon Footprint and Lethal dodged, causing Morgan to land on the ropes. He regained the advantage, but, when Lethal was knocked out of the ring, Hernandez came out and nailed Morgan in the balls behind the ref’s back. Lethal hit a Springboard dropkick for the pin. Morgan looked dominant, while Lethal got to continue his winning streak, which is fine.
MADISON RAYNE vs. TAYLOR WILD: A random match where Wild is fed to Rayne so she can look a little dominant heading into Victory Road. Nothing really stood out as too good or bad, it was just very, very typical. After the match, Angelina Love came out and nailed Rayne with a chair, setting up the DDT onto the chair, but Rayne got away.
SARITA ATTACKS TAYLOR WILD: During the Rayne/Wild match, Taz and Tenay mentioned problems between the former Knockouts Tag champs, but we got to see Sarita attacking Taylor Wild backstage after he loss. This would have been a whole lot better if we’d actually seen them having some friction instead of it just happening on Xplosion, a show that a large chunk of TNA’s audience doesn’t even have access to. Everything was well done here, it just didn’t have any meaning or impact.
ABYSS (#1) vs. JEFF HARDY (#1): Jeff Hardy wanted this match and Hogan and Bischoff added Rob Van Dam as the referee to give him some back-up. Prior to the match, we saw Abyss in the back making a two-by-four full of nails, which he brought with him out to the ring and tried to use initially only for Hardy to knock it away from him. The match was decent with Abyss trying to use weapons from time to time only for Hardy to dodge or RVD to take them away. Of course, he allowed Hardy to use them in his way (setting up a chair so it could stand in for a crouching Matt Hardy). In the end, Hardy won, but, after the match, Abyss attacked both Hardy and RVD, laying them out. Mr. Anderson came down to help, but accidentally hit Hardy with a chair and Abyss hit him with the Shock Treatment, ending the show with him standing over his Victory Road opponents.
ABYSS ON THE RAMPAGE: The show began with Abyss tossing chairs into the ring… because he likes chairs? To get more chairs, he scared a bunch of kids sitting in the front row and then he went after So Cal Val, eventually pointing at her and shouting “YOU!” (it’s his new catchphrase). Hogan came out and was going to get involved until Eric Bischoff stopped him and, then, hit Abyss himself, leading to Abyss turning his attention to Easy E. Hogan didn’t like that and hit Abyss with a chair, but chairs are Abyss’s friends, so they can’t hurt him or something. Jeff Hardy came out because things didn’t look too good for Hogan and Bischoff, but Abyss tried to crush puny Enigmatic Enigma only puny Enigmatic Enigma is too quick for Abyss and managed to hit his floppy flip finisher off the top rope before leaving with Hogan and Bischoff. But, Abyss got up seemingly unharmed and, on the way out, stopped by the commentary desk so he could point at Taz and shout “YOU!” And the string of lame Abyss stories continues…
SUBMISSION MATCH – DESMOND WOLFE (#9) vs. BRIAN KENDRICK: Now here was a cool match idea that was killed by a lack of time and stupid outside stories. Throughout the match, Desmond Wolfe was distracted by Chelsea problems until she just walked away. I haven’t minded that as much in past matches, but the flow here was severely broken up. Now, my biggest complaint is that, for a submission match, we saw very few attempts at submissions, so when Kendrick won, it came out of nowhere. The match itself was good, but this was pure angle: Wolfe and Chelsea’s problems cost Wolfe yet another match, while Kendrick gets to make a seemingly superior opponent tap to his submission move. Douglas Williams was on commentary and that was the only part of the match that worked as it sold the submission aspect, but the match itself should do that with the commentary simply adding to it. This could have been great, but was just kind of bad.
DIXIE CARTER HANDLES STING: First, we had a meeting where Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff convince Dixie Carter to do something about Sting, because they apparently have no power. Seriously, who has the power in TNA on screen? Bischoff can’t make matches without Hogan’s okay, but he does sometimes and, now, Hogan and Bischoff need Dixie to deal with Sting, because they can’t? Inexplicably, Kevin Nash walks in and is told to wait outside, and isn’t seen for the rest of the episode. Dixie finally agrees to suspend Sting. Later in the show, she heads up to the rafters to confront Sting, who is bemused by the whole thing, convinced that Dixie is being played by Hogan and Bischoff. She seems responsive to his ideas, but Bischoff interferes before Sting can say anything else. What really makes this whole thing stand out as stupid is that half of TNA’s angles (and I’m being generous by saying just half) involve outside interference or guys attacking one another outside of the ring. Why wasn’t Samoa Joe disciplined for his random attacks? Why isn’t Abyss suspended? Why Sting? It just seems arbitrary and stupid. Nothing about these segments was entertaining.
Not much of a drop in quality from last week. This show still focused primarily on in-ring action, but there wasn’t any stand-out match like Wolfe/Angle last week. As well, the Abyss story continues to become more cartoonish and goofy. Not a bad episode, but there were some problems. Still, if TNA can keep up this level of quality, they’ll be in good shape.
SHOW RATING: 6.5
By: Steve Cook
Zack Ryder & Primo d. Goldust & Yoshi Tatsu
Nikki Bella d. Jillian Hall
Christian d. Curt Hawkins
ZACK RYDER & PRIMO vs. GOLDUST & YOSHI TATSU: I liked that Ryder & Primo actually had a reason for teaming, being that Alicia Fox had rejected both of them over the past few weeks and they wanted to show her what she was missing. I don’t know if she’s missing being on Superstars, and I’d take Maryse as a tag team partner over either of them any day of the week…but at least we found this out, and that Michael Cole has also been shot down by Miss Fox. Ryder’s theme music still rules the universe, and he was good at selling Taste’s offense. He’s also decided to go to the traditional ring tights instead of the old school Jimmy Jacobs look, which I’m torn on because that helped him stand out from every short-haired heel in the company. Good match here, with Goldust doing good work as the face in peril, some entertaining teased tags, and a nice finish with Ryder taking advantage of a mistake by Tatsu & Goldust taking himself out earlier. Woo Woo Woo!
NIKKI BELLA vs. JILLIAN HALL: OK, here are some ways to tell the Bella Twins apart:
-One of them has a tattoo in an interesting place
-Brie is a better dancer
-Nikki wore a Kentucky jersey once, which still breaks my heart just a little bit
OK, that’s all I’ve got. Anyway, I liked this match. Jillian was taking it to Nikki pretty well with some good offense, and I have a natural sympathy for a Bella in pain, even if she did wear a silly blue jersey once. I wish I would make them feel better, sooth their pain, if you will. Now, Nikki’s offense isn’t all that spectacular, so it’s better if Jillian beats her down and I feel sorry for her. It’s even better when she beats Brie down too, and I can feel sorry for both of them at the same time. They’ll get the win anyway, so it’s all good in the hood. Well, not for Jillian, but she can come back next week and beat them up some more.
CHRISIAN vs. CURT HAWKINS: I gotta say, I like Hawkins’ cockiness. His gesturing after landing a simple move like a shoulder block was entertaining to me. Of course, I am a fan of the rudos, so this shouldn’t be surprising. This was a pretty formulaic TV match for Christian, which is a good thing because he’s one of the better workers in WWE these days.
Nothing of note.
Nothing of note.
Pretty good episode of Superstars this week. The vaunted three match formula gave the matches longer to develop and tell the story they intended. Nothing was absolutely spectacular and a MOTYC, but there was nothing worth complaining about. Well, I could have lived without Todd Grisham saying he mounted Matt Striker once, but it is what it is.
SHOW RATING: 7.0
By: Jeremy Thomas
WWE SmackDown 07.02.10
Kofi Kingston d. Dolph Ziggler [**]
Kane d. Luke Gallows by DQ [*]
MVP d. Chavo Guerrero [* ¼]
Kelly Kelly d. Michelle McCool [½ *]
Rey Mysterio and Big Show d. Jack Swagger and Cody Rhodes by DQ [** ¼]
WAAHMBULANCE ALERT: Friday Night kicked off with the All-American America making his way down to ringside with a serious look on his face, lamenting his lack of a World Title around his waist. He climbed into the ring and reminded us that since last week he told us he was going to make people suffer like he is, and had done so to the Big Show. We saw clips of last week’s finish and Swagger taking the ankle lock to Show and making him hurt. Apparently that’s what we should be talking about instead of Money in the Bank. He then waxed reminiscent about winning Money in the Bank and how it changed his life by becoming a first-time World Heavyweight Champion and looking like a chump. Oh wait, that last part wasn’t spoken…my bad. Swagger thought it wasn’t fair and said his dad was devastated.
That brought out Show, still selling the ankle lock from last week, and he made some jokes about the WAAHmbulance and how there were more things to be upset about like being stuck in an elevator with him when he’s got gas. You know, I don’t know why; maybe it’s the delivery. But Show is able to deliver jokes in such a way that he doesn’t sound as bad as Cena when he decides to get serious. Show dared Swagger to put the ankle lock on him again, and Swagger was all, “Ehh, not feelin’ it.” They had some more decent back and forth until Show started walking down, which brought out Cody Rhodes to go after the knee. Team Sylvester then took it to Show until Rey came out to make the save, which of course led to the inevitable tag match for the main event. This was decent stuff here and I didn’t see anything that really bothered me. Maybe Show should be a little more upset about the attack last week, he did seem fairly mild, but otherwise this was just fine and I didn’t mind it one bit as an opening promo segment.
CODY RHODES INTERVIEWS HIMSELF: Okay, so I have to admit I chuckled at this. I still haven’t bought totally into this “Dashing” gimmick, and I don’t think it’s going to get over, but I will give Cody all the credit in the world for doing what he can for the last couple of weeks to make it work. I have a feeling this one will end up on WrestleCrap in a couple years, but for now it’s not a complete failure so there is that.
SERENA TAKES THE FALL: Early in the show, Serena, Luke Gallows and CM Punk where backstage and Serena was all over them for the Kane situation. Apparently Punk’s arm surgery is related to Kane’s attack. Serena said that they had to “admit it.” Nice little tease there. Serena did a pretty damn good job here as she talked about how she felt helpless seeing Punk in that situation. Punk asked her if she trusted him, and she said yes. Apparently we were getting a Luke/Kane match, and Serena said that if they didn’t then she would.
After the match between Kane and Gallows, Serena came down to ringside to save her idol. She said she could prove he was innocent. One thing I love about Serena is how well she is at the little things. She’s a decent actress (in terms of wrestlers, anyway) and made us believe how scared and nervous she was, both of Kane and making her admission. Punk yelled at her to stop, but she continued on and showed them video of them at a bar, where Serena was having a drink. A few drinks, actually. And then Punk came in—awesomely, in a baseball hat to hide his baldness—and yelled at her. I love how the Masked SES member remained masked. I’m interested to see how this plays out, and I thought everyone involved did well here.
REY REY & BIG SHOW vs. TEAM SYLVESTER: This was our main event, and I have to say while I don’t agree with the gimmick I give them credit for pushing Cody into the main event here. This match seemed to follow a simple formula: Rey Rey is in the ring and gets some offense then gets in trouble, Show tags in and takes control back. Nothing wrong with that, but it did make the whole thing a big monotonous. On the plus side I enjoyed the in-ring work rate from all involved; I thought that Rey worked well with both Swagger and Cody, and Show’s wonky selling of the ankle aside, this was a good match. It also ended on a strong note for Swagger and Cody wasn’t there to take the pinfall like I figured. Works for me.
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. KOFI KINGSTON: This was Dolph’s chance to earn an Intercontinental Title shot after Dolph had been letting Vickie ogle him for a few weeks. So let me get this straight…I have to be Vickie’s sex object in order to have a match in order to earn a shot at the title? Why not just wrestle the match anyway? We got a little over four minutes from these guys and that’s not a huge amount of time to build something good, but the two guys did what they could with it. Both guys kept the wrestling fairly low-key but worked a decently sound match. I understand where they were going with this, but I certainly have to question the need to book Dolph in a loss here. Kofi could certainly use the win in order to gain momentum for Money in the Bank, but this makes Dolph look like he can’t even win a match to get a shot at the belt. Nice to see that Vickie’s giving another guy the rub. How’s that working out for Escobar again?
MATTITUDE INVADES THE PEEP SHOW: We came back from commercial with a host of ladders in the ring along with Matt Hardy and Christian. Apparently this was a Peep Show segment. Nice to see they remembered Christian has personality. Both men were contestants in Money in the Bank, and Christian took a moment to recap Matt’s last few months. They had a few jokes back and forth and Matt talked his usual “never say die” stuff. Christian cut him off though to say he wouldn’t win Money in the Bank. There was some back and forth complimenting and then Matt talked about how neither had won a World Title. Seriously, they said it RIGHT after Matt mentioned the ECW Title. No, for the record I’m not upset, I’m more amused. They bought it, they can call it what they want. Then things turned very interesting as Christian talked about how unlike Drew, “they” never liked them. They didn’t get opportunity after opportunity handed to them. Christian and Matt vs. McMahonagement? Apparently not, as they argued that each of them would be winning, then they decided to fight which Matt got the advantage quickly on. This was…okay. Christian is clearly the better man on the mic here, though I don’t hate Matt’s promo skills; I don’t think they meshed well in the promo though. I liked the “THEM vs. us” bit, but otherwise this was just not as good as I hoped.
REY REY’s CHAMPIONSHIP PROMO: So we didn’t have Rey last week, which as I said I was fine with. This week we got a promo from his as champion, and he talked about how great he felt and how he was living the dream as World Champion. Rey talked about being ready for new obstacles and how he wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from him. You know, this was okay. But it was also exceedingly generic and there was nothing that really stood out to me. Will anyone remember this promo in a month? Nope. And that’s the sign of mediocrity: not bad, but not at all memorable.
KANE vs. LUKE GALLOWS: Okay, so this is strictly about the match; the angle itself is elsewhere. Kane was hell-bent on continuing to destroy the Society and Luke Gallows was next on his list. Gallows is more or less what Kane was ten years ago in terms of ability—and frankly, I hope Gallows gets the success Kane never really found. These guys gave us the good start of a match, but that was all it was because it didn’t even pass a minute and a half. I’m vaguely okay with that because I think it helps Kane get over and it gives Gallows a chance to not lose anything by the loss, but there wasn’t much to appreciate here.
MVP vs. CHAVO GUERRERO: So you know it’s a bad sign when the promo for the action figure signing was almost as long as the match. Chavo came out and talked about how he was going to beat MVP and earn an Intercontinental Title shot. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I will say this; I’m happy to see that Chavo is getting an opportunity to wrestle real people and even look competitive against them. You know, even if it is someone with almost zero credibility like MVP. It’s still a step up from Hornswoggle. This match basically consisted of Chavo wailing on MVP until missing a frog splash, after which MVP took over, hit his trademarks and got the pin. Yeah, nothing to speak of here, move along.
TRIPLE K vs. MICHELLE McCOOL: Kelly Kelly Kelly beat Layla last week, so this week she was set to take on Michelle. Michelle, incidentally, just sealed her Women’s push by marrying the Undertaker. I kid, I kid. As a matter of fact, she even took the loss here since Kelly seems to be the next push for a Women’s Title feud. I think the Fabulous Moolah is rolling over in her grave. Before the match Lay-Cool attacked Tiffany, then Michelle stalled a bit before coming in. This was not a great match, but it wasn’t horrible by Diva standards or even Kelly standards. It was just way too damn short. Michelle beat on Kelly, got distracted, got pinned. Hey, whatever they need to push the next feud, right?
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
ALEBERTO DEL RIO IS INSPIRING AND STILL HONEST: Okay, this was the exact same vignette that we got last week. The SAME ONE. Why couldn’t we get something different? Was it that stunningly fantastic to the Creative team that they had to air this again? And yes, we got another one about inspiration later, I know. I still say that these vignettes are not going to get him over, nor have they gotten others over. CM Punk’s were specifically wrestling-related, I don’t remember Kofi’s and Carlito’s didn’t get him over, an Intercontinental Title win in his first WWE non-vignette appearance did. I need to point out, I’m not against vignettes. I’m against them when they have nothing to do with wrestling. So, what does his being honest have to do with him? Why does that help us dislike him? Because he claims to be honest and a dick about it? Yeah, every heel in the world thinks they’re the only ones who are being honest and we’re all lying to ourselves and each other; what makes Del Rio stand out? I’ve seen nothing yet besides a villa that looks like it was taken from the backlot of Bedazzled. Poor Alberto.
This was a really lackluster SmackDown and while nothing truly made me want to scream, not much stood out either. As much as I dislike the Del Rio skits they were short and ignorable, just leaving a bunch of half-assed work and a good Straight Edge Society angle twist. This one was completely skippable.
SHOW RATING: 6.5