Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 7.26.10: Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!
In HD where available…
By: Steve Cook
Chris Masters & MVP d. The Dude Busters (**)
Chavo Guerrero d. JTG (**¼)
Primo d. Yoshi Tatsu (**½)
The Hart Dynasty d. The Usos (**½)
PRIMO vs. YOSHI TATSU: How about Primo using a backstabber variation to get the win here? Wonder if that means anything for Carlito ever returning to the fold. This was a pretty fun sprint, with Primo doing some cool stuff & Yoshi getting the crowd into it with his selling and comeback towards the end. More please!
HART DYNASTY vs. USOS: I wasn’t expecting much from this match because I haven’t been sold on the Usos merits and why they didn’t have to qualify for the WWE roster by being on NXT. The Harts have struggled with crowds during Bret’s absence, but perhaps his return will have a good effect on their crowd reactions. Pretty decent match here…Natalya got to throw a nice clothesline on Tamina at the end, but I’m not sure Michael Cole should have been talking about the announce table still shaking afterwards. Was that a fat joke? I liked the cool flying armbar thing DH Smith did early on. Actually, I liked most of the stuff the Harts did, and can’t really remember anything the Usos did. I guess you’ll have that some times.
CHAVO GUERRERO vs. JTG: Like to see Chavo winning, but was the rematch really necessary here? On the bright side, JTG continues to look better, and maybe a series of losses to Chavo will help him step his game up.
CHRIS MASTERS & MVP vs. DUDE BUSTERS: This was a pretty unexciting tag team match…Masters tried and MVP did some ok stuff, but the Busters aren’t really up to their level and they need a tag team with experience working with them to make them look good. Nothing to write home about.
Nothing of note.
Nothing of note.
Pretty average edition of Superstars this week. If you missed it you didn’t miss a whole lot…nothing on the show was terrible, but none of it was great either. As you can tell from my output this week, it didn’t exactly inspire a lot of writing, thought or anything else for that matter.
SHOW RATING: 6.0
By: Chad Nevett
AJ Styles defeated Rob Terry (C) for the TNA Global Championship [*]
Taylor Wilde & Angelina Love defeated Sarita & Madison Rayne [*1/4]
Kurt Angle (#8) defeated Hernandez (#7) [**1/4]
Jeff Hardy (#2) and Samoa Joe (#4) wrestled to a time limit draw [***]
Mr. Anderson (#3) defeated Matt Morgan [*1/2]
Beer Money, Inc. defeated the Motor City Machine Guns (C) in a Street Fight to go ahead 2-0 in the Best of Five Series for the TNA World Tag Team Championship [***]
KURT ANGLE (#8) vs. HERNANDEZ (#7): Kurt Angle’s quest to become the number one contender for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship continues against Supermex. The outcome of this match was obvious, but, so far, the Angle/whoever stands in his way matches have been really good shows. This one, while not bad by any means, was a little disappointing. It never hit a good groove that could elevate it from good to great. Angle relied on speed and skill, while Hernandez relied mostly on power. I don’t know, I just find Hernandez to be very boring in the ring and Angle standing opposite him didn’t make him much more exciting. And, this all sounds like I didn’t like the match. I liked the progression between the two with Hernandez often only able to hit a couple of moves before Angle would regain the upper hand. They teased some moves well before finally hitting them (like the Angle Slam). The finish was good. A solidly good TV match. That #6 in the rankings is AJ Styles has me excited, though.
JEFF HARDY (#2) vs. SAMOA JOE (#4): A first-time ever match on free TV and that suits me just fine. Walking that line between doing great TV episodes and doing interesting PPVs is a hard one. And, TNA did the smart thing by building a match that offers no satisfaction or advantage for either man, making you want to see them go at it again without a time limit. Some don’t like the time limit draws, but I think they can be useful — as this match shows. Both men looked evenly matched and each looked like he could have won, but the time limit expired before that could happen. I love the fluidity of Joe’s moves. When he does something, he plans it out four moves in advance, while Hardy showed off his ability to come up with spontaneous counters on the fly. I’m not a big fan of having a guy in a submission hold as long as Hardy was here without him tapping (especially when Joe is called the Samoan Submission Machine), but that’s a small complaint. I also didn’t like how the first part of this match had Taz and Tenay talking to Eric Bischoff on the phone. I hate it when something completely unrelated to the match going on is thrown in randomly. It’s an unnecessary distraction and added nothing to the show. The focus should be on what’s happening in the ring, not what’s going on with Easy E. Otherwise, a good match that should lead to further matches between the two if their post-match brawl is any indication.
MATCH #2 OF THE BEST OF FIVE SERIES FOR THE TNA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP – STREET FIGHT – THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (C) vs. BEER MONEY, INC. (BEER MONEY LEADS 1-0): Here was the match of the night was far as I was concerned going into Impact. Last week’s ladder match was one of the best matches I’ve seen on TV this year and had me hoping that this series goes the full five matches. Because of their stolen victory last week, Beer Money got to choose the Street Fight stipulation, but it seemed to benefit the Guns at first as they came out fighting, dropping the belt at the entrance and rushing the ring. They did some nice double-teams on Beer Money, including a running dropkick that began at the entrance and went all the way down the ramp. It looked like a repeat of last week’s match. Both teams worked well as single units, moving smoothly and fluidly with the Guns setting up lots of combos, while Beer Money used more a brawling approach. Where the match fell apart a little was when referee Brian Hebner was knocked down inside in the ring, followed by Earl Hebner getting hit outside. With both refs down, the teams continued to fight with the Guns eventually hitting Made in Detroit on Roode, but no one was up to do the count. While Sabin tried to get Brian Hebner up, Storm nailed Shelley with a bottle to the back of the head, put Roode on top, knocked down Sabin, pulled Hebner over, and Beer Money went up 2-0 in the series. It was the same finish as last week’s match, basically, right down to the referee getting knocked out. The unimaginative finish kind of killed my enthusiasm for the match by the end, but, overall, it was a strong performance by both teams and I’m looking forward to seeing if the Guns can avoid being swept next week.
TAYLOR WILDE & ANGELINA LOVE vs. SARITA & MADISON RAYNE: This was preceded by a brief bit in the locker room with Madison Rayne and Sarita gearing up for their match, while Rayne talked trash about Velvet Sky… who just happened to walk in at that very moment! The two traded insults before Rayne and Sarita left, while Lacey Von Erich stood there, continuing to want everyone to be friends again. Also before the match, Earl Hebner announced that it was the decision of TNA management that Love relinquish the Knockouts Championship since there was no proof that the helmeted woman at Victory Road was Velvet Sky or Lacey Von Erich. The match wasn’t too bad. Taylor Wilde and Sarita were clearly the in-ring talent of the match with the two of them actually working a halfway decent match with one another and either of the other two. When Love and Rayne were in the ring together, it was comedy as Rayne tried to run away the minute Love was tagged in after charging after Wilde. Love and Wilde picked up the win, while Sarita and Rayne attacked them after the match with Sky and Von Erich coming out to watch. Then, the helmeted woman on the motorcycle came out to help. After, she and Rayne got on the bike, Sarita stood beside them, and Rayne yelled for Sky and Von Erich to come with only Lacey obeying. The four went off, while Angelina Love and Velvet Sky stared at one another. A little busy for my tastes, but it advanced the stories by combining some feuds. Could be an interesting faction in the making perhaps as well.
MR. ANDERSON (#3) vs. MATT MORGAN: Building on Anderson coming to the rescue of the Pope after his match with Morgan last week, this match was good enough in that it will lead to future matches, but I really hated the finish. Morgan dominated this match as he often does, but Anderson won by hitting the Mic Check out of nowhere. I don’t mind surprise finishes, but hate it when the surprise finish involves a finishing move. If finishing moves were so easy to hit and put away someone, they’d be used earlier in matches all of the time. Quick, surprising finishes are what roll-ups and small packages are for. An out-of-nowhere finisher move cheapens it and makes you wonder why it’s not used (or attempted) more often. There’s a reason why the few times where a finisher is tried early, the guy it’s being applied to counters. After the match, though, Morgan hit Anderson with the mic that descends from the ceiling, which was a nice touch, I thought. I didn’t hate this, but it was a quick match intended to simply build the feud and the finish was weak.
BROTHER RAY DON’T OWE NO ONE SH*T: A brief segment where Devon confronted Ray, saying that they owed their former ECW comrades support, while Ray said, no, they don’t. Team 3D has gone on to do more than any of them and the two of them don’t owe anyone anything. This would have gone in the Right if Devon had paused, nodded his head, and turned to the camera to proclaim “Oh my brother… TESTIFY!”
ROB VAN DAM IS EXCITED: Prior to the final segment, Christy Hemme talked to the TNA World Heavyweight Champion about what’s going on with his former ECW colleagues. RVD was decent on the mic, talking about how those were good times, the best times of his life, and he’s excited about the prospect of working with his friends again. He also sold Abyss being a threat. Nothing spectacular, but did a good job of addressing all of the stories Van Dam is involved in, while appearing very likable.
TNA GLOBAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – ROB TERRY (C) vs. AJ STYLES: The show kicked off with AJ Styles challenging Rob Terry for the TNA Global Championship. Styles was accompanied by Kazarian and the two are now BFFs. I actually thought that this would be a halfway decent match, but was thoroughly disappointed, mostly by Styles. His in-ring demeanor just didn’t match up with anything he’s done that I’ve seen. He was constantly distracted by talking to Kazarian outside of the ring and seemed more comedic in his over-exaggerated reactions to Big Rob. This was beyond his heelish grandeur and trying to show off, this was just sloppy. Fighting against someone as limited in the ring as Terry required more, I think. Terry played the power role well, but Styles didn’t carry his end. The finish was a little lame for my taste with Kaz holding Terry’s leg to help AJ pick up the win, but I didn’t take that as a move of desperation, more of convenience. Not sure about sticking the Global belt on AJ either. Not much about this match worked for me.
KEVIN NASH KNOWS WHO LEFT THE LOG IN THE PUNCHBOWL: After the Angle/Hernandez match, Kevin Nash came out, shook Angle’s hand, and got into the ring, calling out good ol’ Double J. After Jarrett came out, Nash delivered a rambling promo about thinking over what Jarrett said last week and deciding that it wasn’t Sting that left a log in the punchbowl, it was Jarrett. Oddly, Jarrett summed up my reaction by proclaiming that he had no idea what Nash was talking about. The two sparred a bit more about who is more selfish and jerky, and Nash walked away. We didn’t learn anything new that built on their confrontation last week and Nash talked with vague references most of the time. Not the sort that make you curious as to what he’s speaking of, the sort that make you roll your eyes and wonder what else is on TV at the moment.
EXTREME INVITATION EXPLAINED: “NOTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH TNA”: I didn’t hate this until towards the end, honestly. Up until then, I found it kind of stupid and pointless, but tolerable. Throughout Impact, Dixie ran into various people like Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett and asked that they trust her, that what’s going on with the former ECW guys is for the best and will help TNA. In the final segment, she came out and said that she loves the fans and loves hearing what the fans want. Apparently, what the fans want is hardcore wrestling, so she brought out Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Rhino, Stevie Richards, and Rhino to explain what’s happening. This was followed by some rather bad promo work by herself and Mick Foley with talk about this being the first time Dixie has done a promo in the ring (hopefully the last…) before turning the mic over to Dreamer. Dreamer was passionate in his talk about ECW and what happened to it. He was very selective in his memory and made it seem like the WWE was the almighty evil that destroyed ECW and that he quit because he could only stand so much. Really, Tommy, you could only stand working for them for nine-and-a-half years, half of which was part of the WWE’s version of ECW? What torture it must have been! Way to bury all of the talented guys who were involved in the WWE’s version of ECW (most of whom, I must add, I would rather see in the ring than this sad collection of poor bastards). But, I could almost tolerate that because I was waiting for the explanation as to how this would be a benefit for TNA and, then, Dixie gave her answer when she told them that they would have complete control over the Hard Justice pay-per-view, saying that they could do what they want, including “Nothing that has to do with TNA.”
“Nothing that has to do with TNA.”
Wow. There you have it folks. From the president of TNA herself. Because this angle isn’t about making TNA better, it’s about trying to cash in on the nostalgia for a company that was at its prime over a decade ago. What Hogan was to the ‘80s and early ‘90s, ECW was to the late ‘90s, and we all saw how well cashing in on Hogan worked. The promo work here was more about taking potshots at the WWE than building up TNA. It was about how Vince McMahon had so tarnished the name of ECW that Dixie Carter must reclaim it despite ECW having run itself into the ground in the first place. Up until this segment, Impact was decent. Lots of matches from their own talent that shows that TNA could be great, but where is the focus? On a bunch of guys who are trying to relive their glory days one last time all over again. And what will be the benefit, Dixie? “Nothing that has to do with TNA.” Then again, I’m a believer in the idea that if the company name fans are chanting at your shows isn’t your company’s name, you’re doing something wrong. It was a joke. And a bad one at that.
Ignoring the final segment, this was a decent episode of Impact. Not as strong with the in-ring work as recent weeks, but very solid. Some interesting feuds are developing and, as has been shown recently, the best stuff is when the stories are kept simple and the guys are allowed to just go out and perform. A solid 6.0 show. Factor in the final segment and well…
SHOW RATING: 4.5
By: Jeremy Thomas
WWE SmackDown 07.23.10
Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes def. Matt Hardy & Christian [***]
Dolph Ziggler def. Kofi Kingston [** ¾]
The Big Show def. Joey Mercury [¾ *]
Rey Mysterio def. Jack Swagger [*** ½]
KANE’S CHAMPIONSHIP PROMO: SmackDown started off with the new World Heavyweight Champion making his way down to the ring amidst red lighting and to a mostly-positive reaction. He got a mic and paused as the crowd popped a bit for him, then proceeded to talk about how he used to torture his fish as a kid, because that’s how he’s felt for the past thirteen years, until he won the Money n the Bank and then made history by cashing in the same night. One thing I have to note here is that I enjoyed the way he was semi-riffing on his big brother with the “laying souls to rest” line. Sort of a subtle way to nod to how he’s trying to take the Dead Man’s glory. He then talked about coming out to save Rey, and then the look of horror on Rey’s face when he cashed in. This was a serious heel promo, but the crowd wasn’t booing. In fact, Kane even noted how the crowd popped for him when he cashed in. But he didn’t just do it for himself—he did it for the Undertaker. And possibly the Ro—no, wait, that was Rikishi. Anyway, Kane delivered this promo in an over-the-top fashion that only works for him and for Taker, and it did in fact work. What bugged me here was how they couldn’t leave well enough alone. They had to go back to that Hollywood-izing with soundtrack and video clips. Now, this didn’t bug me the way it did when they did it with Matt and Jeff Hardy because let’s face it—Kane is a character who is about theatricality, so it was way better here. I just don’t get why they can’t treat it like a standard promo. It’s almost as if they don’t think Kane can have a good promo without a score, which isn’t true. The promo would have been great on its own, and while I’m still putting it in the Right due to the fact that it played well overall, it’s only marginal Right and I would have liked it more without the extra touches.
MATT HARDY & CHRISTIAN vs. DREW McINTYRE & DASHING CODY RHODES: Before this match they showed how Matt and Christian haven’t been seeing eye to eye in recent weeks, which meant you just knew that something problematic was happening here between them. T-Grish noted that Cody had avoided the money shot to the face—err, I mean, the shot to the face at Money in the Bank. Forgive me, it was too easy of a joke. In all seriousness though, these guys came out there and had a very good match between them that reminded me of the kinds of hot opening matches. The story here was of course Christian and Matt’s dissention and that played out well enough…but first we had some in-ring work to see. I enjoy the chemistry that Matt and Christian have, and we know they already have it as opponents so this bodes well. Cody and Drew also worked quite well as a team and both showed continued improvement in their in-ring work, both as wrestlers and as characters. This was an enjoyable back-and-forth match that had the crowd fairly into it and did a lot for all four men. The finish was one we’ve seen before; accidental punch nails feuding tag partner, confusion causes the loss. It played well and that’s all I can ask for. We know this is going somewhere and I’m glad they’re not pulling the trigger too soon, because this is a feud I’m looking forward to.
KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER: Kofi came out for this non-title match with his NXT rookie, and Dolph came out with Vickie Guerrero. I think Kofi wins on that one. These guys have had a feud that’s been not really full-bore to date and this gave us a great example of how good a set of matches between them could be. It started off just fine, though Michael McGillicutty getting booted did unnecessarily slow things down a bit. Dolph was in control from that moment, and he handled the offense quite well. They did a lot here to put Dolph over by letting him look strong throughout the match against Kofi. At the same time, Kofi didn’t just get squashed; he had his comebacks and it kept the crowd interested as well as me. Both of these guys can be sloppy from time to time but they were both very solid and the finish protected Kofi without making it seem like Vickie had to save Dolph. His Zig Zag was impressive and submitting Kofi to the sleeper worked fine. Good stuff all around here.
A DASHING INFORMERCIAL: Dude, I could talk about this, but all I’m going to say is this. If you didn’t love this, you and I have very, VERY different ideas of what’s awesome and whether people should be given credit for getting their gimmicks over no matter what. With that, enjoy.
JACK SWAGGER vs. REY REY: Before this match we got a promo from Jack Swagger, where he took offense to Josh Matthews saying he was fortunate for the opportunity. Swagger went on a rant against Rey Rey and Eddie, and called it unfair. Matthews said it was clever, Swagger said it was cheating. Swagger then said he was happy Rey Rey lost his world title and then said he was going to shatter Rey’s ankle and put Kane in the hospital. You know, this was a solid promo. I didn’t mind them using Eddie’s name here because it wasn’t an offensive use of it. I mean, we’re not talking Ortonesque stuff. It played fine, I don’t think anyone should be too offended and that’s about all I gotta say about that. We then got a promo by Rey Rey which was short and sweet and talked about how he wasn’t happy with how MITB went down but he was moving forward. That wasn’t Swagger-Good, but it was still pretty damn decent.
This was our main event of the evening, and it had every right to be. I may have issues with the way Jack’s been booked in this feud—and believe me, I do—but these guys have turned it on nicely throughout their feud in terms of in-ring work. These guys did some really good work here, topping their Money in the Bank match and raising the stakes to keep the crowd going and finish the show hot. They had Rey playing the underdog card, since—well, y’know. They don’t know any other card for him. And you know what, I’m okay with that. But really, he’s kind of starting to approach Cena levels of Supermanosity. Not that he’s gonna be taking on the roster solo or anything, but he is making people look weak against him. Swagger’s a perfect example; a crippled ankle is more than enough for them to have Rey lose. And I understand they’re doing the slow heel turn with Kane and don’t want to stymie it by having him face Kane, so find someone else. That just bugs me. But by the same token, Rey and Jack had a great match here, one I really enjoyed, and the finish was solid with Rey getting over a wee bit on Kane. I don’t think Rey’s making it out of SummerSlam with the belt, so I’m okay with scenes like this. Besides, it was a strong way to end the show.
TEAM LAY-COOL CELEBRATES: Okay, since I know that this is going to be the most talked-about segment in the comments section guaranteed, I’ll make a brief comment. Are Lay-Cool over with the crowd? I wouldn’t go that far. Is the crowd dead? I wouldn’t go that far either. It’s something in-between people; deal with that. Now, whether you like their gimmick or not, you have to give them one thing. They are trying like gangbusters to get their gimmick over. Yes, they are irritating. They were irritating tonight. Seriously, they’re annoying as hell. And yes, in my mind they project the kind of heat that makes me want to hit the Mute button. But they’re trying and as long as the segments are short like this, I’ll give them a pass. It could be worse…Layla could wrestle Kelly. …oh, wait. Damn.
BIG SHOW 2, STRAIGHT EDGE SOCIETY 0: Okay, so I didn’t hate this as much as most people did. I didn’t think this was the end of Joey Mercury or anything. I think this was just a nothing match that turned into a nothing unmasking. I actually wanted to see Luke look like a threat for a little while before losing. But instead, we had the Mystery Man coming into the right and getting flattened. Sure, he got a couple moments of offense in, but then he got unmasked and it was over. Let’s face it; this unmasking took too long. They should have pulled the trigger on the unmasked of Joey a long time ago, and by the time they did it I no longer cared. But another part of that reason is because they didn’t make us care. This was dumb; not offensive, just stupid.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
A GUEST RANT ON ALBERTO DEL RIO: [Jeremy’s Note: So, I was ready to say the same sort of thing about Alberto Del Rio that I have been doing; you know the drill. But out of nowhere, one of my good comrades in the Wrestling Zone came out of nowhere wanting space to give his own opinion. So now as a special treat for you R’s readers, the one…the only….Lansdellicious, Chris Lansdell!]
I don’t believe in X-Pac heat. Any time someone is getting booed, it’s a good thing in my mind. People are going to pay to see that person getting beaten up. The thing is, I don’t believe Alberto Del Rio will even get that.
The man is drier than a nun’s vaginal regions. I suppose he’s good looking, if you’re into men (and hey, it’s the 21st century. We don’t judge), but he’s been doing these vignettes now for several weeks, and still we don’t have the traditional “Alberto Del Rio is coming…next week.” Which means he will CARRY ON. His delivery reminds me of a cross between Captain James Tiberius Kirk and Cleveland Brown if they overdosed on valium. He strolls around a magnificently appointed Mexican villa, with Generic Mexican Guitar Riff #17 playing softly in the background, talking about being an honest man, a brave man, a pool man…wait, he hasn’t done the last one yet. Give it time, he’s running out of adjectives. What are we meant to gain from this? He’s a rich snob…haven’t we seen that way too many times already? Aren’t we seeing it RIGHT NOW with Ted DiBiase? He’s a good-looking snob…oh hi, DASHING Cody Rhodes! Is he a heel because he speaks Spanish in his promos? Oh yeah, that will work well for Rey Mysterio.
He’s been wrestling in dark matches and on house shows, but not one report I’ve seen has said anything about his ring work, good or bad. Which means he’s probably just OK, like any number of other go-nowhere midcarders. Why then are we wasting all this time building the guy up? Does anyone give a shit about this twat?
Like I said, I don’t believe in X-Pac heat. What I do know is that Alberto Del Rio has a power that nobody, not even Heidenreich or Nathan Jones or the Edgeheads, has had before: he makes me change the channel.
This was a great show by the Blue Brand and probably one of the better we’ve seen in a while. Only a few things were there to be griped at, and they were short. The majority of the show carried off quite well and gave the brand momentum heading toward SummerSlam. Considering it’s their most important show of the summer, that was a must-do and they accomplished it well. Good show, guys.
SHOW RATING: 8.5
…and remember to stay grounded!