Wrestling’s 4R’s Monday Edition 8.2.10: ROH, Superstars, Impact & SmackDown Reviewed!
In HD where available…
By: Aaron Hubbard
ROH on HDNet 07.26.10:
The Kings of Wrestling def. Josh Emmanuel & Ice Jackson[1/2*]
The Kings of Wrestling def. Adam Cole & Nick Westgate[3/4*]
The Briscoe Brothers def. The Kings of Wrestling [*]
The American Wolves vs. Dark City Fight Club went to a No Contest [**1/2]
Roderick Strong def. Christopher Daniels [***1/2]
STRONG VS. DANIELS: Not much to say here other than that it was a good match between two great in-ring wrestlers. It was a bit of an underperformance given the talent involved, but the last several minutes were top notch. Daniels continues to bust out new tricks along with all of his signature stuff, which makes him a joy to watch. Roderick winning due to interference from Truth Martini is a solid booking decision, helping get Roddy’s new direction over without really hurting Daniels. A slightly above average TV Main Event. Could have been better and really put this show over the top, but as part of the package it is a perfectly acceptable main event.
NINJAS > KINGS: This episode started out with an open challenge by the Kings of Wrestling, where they faced two teams of ROH students and utterly destroyed them. I love Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero, so watching them obliterate these poor scrubs was pure entertainment. Shane Hagadorn then brought out the third team, the masked ninjas. The only ones fooled were the announcers and the Kings, but that didn’t make it any less awesome when the Briscoes took the masks off and got some retribution on the Kings. I could have done without Claudio being pinned, but that’s a minor quibble on a well executed opening. And I agree with Dave Prazak. You should be able to trust ninjas in this day and age!
WOLVES VS. DCFC/EMBASSY SCHMOZZ: We got another outing between The Dark City Fight Club and the American Wolves, which is an odd match. The Fight Club is a pair of faces that act like heels, and the Wolves are heels that act like faces. But it’s all about the wrestling in Ring of Honor, and these guys were able to put on an entertaining match while it lasted. HOWEVER, the Embassy interference at the end ruined this for me. It’s fine to push the Embassy against Rasche Brown & DCFC feud (Not that anyone really cares), but a perfectly good match was denied an ending.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
NOTHING OF NOTE.
ROH let the wrestling do the talking this week. The main event was good wrestling and the Kings of Wrestling gauntlet was good entertainment. The Dark City Fight Club vs. The American Wolves was good while it lasted, so everything was fine. Most of all, ROH gave time to each segment to make it worthwhile, as opposed to a typical TNA program and the ADD booking. This is what I want in a wrestling show!
SHOW RATING: 8.0
By: Chad Nevett
– Angelina Love defeated Sarita in a #1 Contender for the TNA Knockouts Championship Match [3/4*]
– Ink, Inc. defeated Orlando Jordan & Eric Young [*]
– The Motor City Machine Guns (C) defeated Beer Money, Inc. in a Steel Cage Match to make it 2-1 (Beer Money leading) in the Best of Five Series for the TNA World Tag Team Championship [****]
– Rob Terry (#10) defeated Kazarian [DUD]
– Jeff Hardy (#2) & Mr. Anderson (#3) defeated Matt Morgan, Murphy & Gunner in a 3-on-2 Handicap Match [*3/4]
– Abyss (#1) defeated Tommy Dreamer in a Hardcore Match [**1/2]
MATCH #3 OF THE BEST OF FIVE SERIES FOR THE TNA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP – STEEL CAGE MATCH – THE MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (C) vs. BEER MONEY, INC. (BEER MONEY LEADS 2-0): Goddamn am I loving this series of matches. One victory away from being four time TNA World Tag Team Champions, Beer Money chose a steel cage to limit the Guns somewhat, but the Guns came out fighting by scaling the cage behind Beer Money and taking them by surprise. The Guns moved smoothly and fluidly until Beer Money used their brawling skills to take control and work their tag team magic by making frequent tags, doing double-team offense, and cutting the ring in half. Eventually, Alex Shelley made the tag and a hot Chris Sabin came in to turn the tide. Being the Guns and Beer Money, it didn’t end there and descended into a final few minutes of chaos with the team on top changing at a whim as Beer Money tried to climb the cage only for Shelley to bring them both down and Sabin to do a cross-body off the top of the cage. The Guns set up the win and James Storm tried to use the beer bottle, but nailed Roode instead, and the Guns nailed Made in Detroit to stay alive and keep the titles for at least another week. Not as great as the Ladder Match, but a step up from the Street Fight. These teams are on fire.
MATT MORGAN IMPERSONATES MR. ANDERSON: Mr. Anderson’s music hit, but it was Matt Morgan that came out. He went down to the ring and tried to call down the mic, but it wouldn’t come. After screaming at the rafters, it eventually came down and Morgan did his own version of Anderson’s typical promo, exaggerating his height and weight, and doing an over-the-top pause between repeating his last name. Anderson came out, mocked him a little, and Morgan offered him a free shot, sticking out his chin, shutting his eyes… and getting a punch to the balls. Anderson wailed on him some more, but, when he gloated too much, Morgan took command. Jeff Hardy came down to help Anderson and the two double-teamed Morgan until security came down and actually got them off Morgan by applying some force. Morgan took a cheap shot here and there, but security handled Anderson and Hardy well until Al Snow, D’Lo Brown, and Pat Kenny came down and yelled at the security guards. Me, I was just happy to finally see security look somewhat effective at their job. A really good segment overall.
ERIC BISCHOFF ANNOUNCES A PPV-ESQUE EPISODE OF IMPACT: Eric Bischoff came out after a lot of hype and said that Dixie Carter inspired him to do better, so he’s making the August 12 Impact a pay-per-view quality show. That makes sense with Hard Justice now Hardcore Justice and TNA has some big feuds to pay off then, I imagine, like Beer Money/Guns, Kurt Angle/AJ Styles, and Rob Van Dam/Abyss… who actually came out and threatened Bischoff. Abyss demanded that the main event be him and Rob Van Dam in a match where Janice is hanging above the ring. Bischoff said he’s book it and Abyss went on to try to attack him more, but Rob Van Dam came out and the two fought with Abyss eventually gaining the upper hand, leading right into…
HARDCORE MATCH – ABYSS (#1) vs. TOMMY DREAMER: This match began rather mundanely with some random weapons used for the purpose of using random weapons. I didn’t buy the passion of either man since they really have no strong reason to fight right now besides Abyss’s vague talk about ‘Them.’ But, I did like the back-and-forth after Dreamer brought in the barb wire board. They had some nice back and forth, teased the use of Janice, teased the barb wire, and created some strong tension and storytelling with Dreamer looking like the smart veteran and Abyss the unstoppable monster. Abyss picked up the win by choke-slamming Dreamer onto the barb wire and, after the match, looked like he was going to use Janice on him until Raven came out with a chair, nailed Dreamer with it, hit the Even Flow DDT, and we faded out on Raven taunting the laid out Dreamer. Abyss looks like a threat still and there may be an actual story to go along with Hardcore Justice besides ‘let’s have another reunion show!’
THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE MAKE UP… KIND OF: Backstage, Lacey Von Erich tried to play peacemaker, but Velvet Sky was having none of it until Madison Rayne showed up. The two women had words and eventually, made a half-hearted attempt at keeping the group together. Not really good, not really bad, just kind of there.
FLAIR ADDS TWO NEW MEMBERS TO FORTUNE: Flair introduced the two newest members of Fortune: Beer Money! Honestly, this would have gone in the Right if it happened, oh, three months ago when anyone cared. I still think it’s the right move and the promo work done here by everyone was good, but TNA really let this story slide to the point of apathy from everyone. The other thing of note was that AJ Styles renamed the Global Championship the TNA Television Championship and said that he will defend it every week, both on Impact and pay-per-view, beginning next week with Rob Terry’s rematch. Just as they were about to leave, Kurt Angle came out and reminded AJ that he’s next on Angle’s quest to reach the top of the TNA title rankings. Oh hell yes.
3-on-2 HANDICAP MATCH – MATT MORGAN, MURPHY & GUNNER vs. JEFF HARDY (#2) & MR. ANDERSON (#3): After the commercial following the Morgan/Anderson segment, Anderson and Hardy were pissed off at Murphy and Gunner, the security guards, assuming that the two were trying to get noticed by taking things too far in the ring (how dare security guards actually restrain those they’re… supposed to restrain!?!), so they challenged them and Matt Morgan to a match. It began comically with no one from Morgan’s team wanting to get into the ring. From there, it was mostly Anderson and Hardy taking the security guards to school with the odd bit of offense by the guards. In the end, Morgan walked away and the Enigmatic Assholes won. Solid and entertaining.
AIN’T NOTHING BUT A FAMILY THING: The show began with Tommy Dreamer and company, plus Devon, in the ring. Dreamer talked about how great Hardcore Justice will be and how they’ve dubbed themselves Extreme Version 2.0 to avoid legal problems. He also thanked Devon for standing with them and Devon called out Bubba. Thus began five minutes of them trying to talk Bubba into participating in Hardcore Justice until he finally relented. I wouldn’t have minded this, except that, last week, when Devon went to Bubba and asked him to put aside their recent problems and go stand with their former ECW brothers, Bubba said no. All they had to do was have him say yes and I wouldn’t have had to sit through this pointless crap. It accomplished in five or so minutes what would have taken two seconds last week. Then, Hogan came out and Hogan basically said that he never watched ECW back in the day, I assume because he has Vince McMahon Syndrome and only actually likes watching wrestling when there’s money to be made. Abyss came out and discussed ‘Them’ some more and how They’re very upset by what’s happened, how Hardcore Justice wasn’t part of Their plans, but They’ve made some new plans and They want Abyss to fight Tommy Dreamer that night. Hogan tried to tell Abyss to go away, but Dreamer accepted. An overly long and mostly pointless segment that could have been done in five minutes.
#1 CONTENDER FOR THE TNA KNOCKOUTS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH – ANGELINA LOVE vs. SARITA: I do love matches where you have two wrestlers and one is clearly working below her level, moving much slower than she can just so her opponent can keep up. You see it all of the time with Natalya in the WWE, and it happened with Sarita here. The match began awkwardly as Sarita clearly moved at a pace that Angelina Love could keep up with. It got a little better as the match progressed, but, in the end, much like most of Natalya’s matches, the better wrestler lost and we get more Angelina Love/Madison Rayne feuding. I should be used to that, but it’s just annoying to see it happen.
INK, INC. vs. ORLANDO JORDAN & ERIC YOUNG: And so Eric Young once again becomes a cartoon character… Teaming up with Orlando Jordan, he acted goofy and not very funny in the back, speaking of someone who would have their backs (I assumed he meant Kevin Nash, but I guess they’re not hanging out anymore for whatever reason). Turns out it’s a mannequin in a feather boa. The match that we got wasn’t anything special with Ink, Inc. working against Jordan until Jordan went for a tag, hit the mannequin hand, knocking the arm off, and Young refused to enter the ring, because he wasn’t the legal man, tossing the mannequin in. Jordan got hit with the Mooregasm. After the match, Young kept throwing up the injury X hand sign, which, I’ll admit, made me chuckle, but the rest was just awful. Young is doing his best to sell this, but, no. No.
ROB TERRY (#10) vs. KAZARIAN: The match lasted all of 30 seconds. Yes, Rob Terry is the Freak, but could you at least sell Kazarian as a skilled wrestler a little? Maybe? He is in Fortune and is meant to be near the same level as AJ Styles, while Big Rob needs to be dragged to half-decent matches. This didn’t put over Terry, it buried Kazarian.
A solid show with some good matches. The EV2 guys started the show poorly, but Dreamer brought it at the end. As has been Impact’s standard the past month or so, there were some really strong matches with Beer Money and the Motor City Machine Guns stealing the show. Again. And, even some of the promo segments were strong. That hasn’t happened in a while.
SHOW RATING: 6.5
By: Steve Cook
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov d. Primo & William Regal (**)
Caylen Croft d. Chris Masters (*)
MVP d. Chavo Guerrero (**½)
SANTINO MARELLA & VLADIMIR KOZLOV vs. PRIMO & WILLIAM REGAL: Santino’s comedy during this match was top-notch, and Regal’s reactions to it made it even better. The Cobra actually struck, and Regal put it over like he got electrocuted or something. Good times. Primo & Kozlov also had good contributions to the match…Vlad’s offense is kinda weird sometimes, but Primo did a great job of putting it over and making it look great. Unfortunately, Primo’s effort wasn’t enough to keep Regal from begging off at the end of the match, sacrificing his partner due to fear of the Cobra. This was a good, fun tag team match that was great for the young and the young at heart.
MVP vs. CHAVO GUERRERO: The two WWE veterans put on a really solid Superstars main event in Corpus Christi this week. Percy Watson got to watch at ringside, and hopefully he was paying attention because for some reason the Internet is turning on him and WWE seems more interested in other people on the NXT show right now. I, for one, am a huge Percy fan and don’t get the beef. Anywho, Chavo has been bringing it lately, and now he has enough self-confidence that he can wrestle in box trunks. Considering he’s been wearing long tights for the past decade, this is going to take some getting used to. He’s also going to have to work on tanning his legs.
Nothing of note.
CAYLEN CROFT vs. CHRIS MASTERS: When my boy jobs to a Dudebuster, you know it’s going to end up in the Wrong section. It’s not that I have anything against the Dudebusters…they’re decent peeps and they do have the potential to be a pretty good tag team someday. Jobbing the Masterpiece out to Caylen Croft only serves to irritate the millions and millions of Mastermaniacs out in TV Land. On the bright side, Chris had some pretty swank neon green trunks this week.
A CRYME TYME COMMERCIAL, WGN?: Really?
There’s really no reason that a Cryme Tyme promo for Superstars should be airing a Superstars commercial featuring a tag team that split up four months ago. I know some of you will think I’m complaining for the sake of complaining here, but stuff like this really grinds my gears.
Pretty decent edition of Superstars this week, though I wouldn’t rank it with some of my favorite episodes…most of which featured the Bellas. What about it?
SHOW RATING: 6.5
By: Jeremy Thomas
WWE SmackDown 07.30.10
Christian def. Drew McIntyre [*** ¼]
The Big Show def. Luke Gallows by DQ [* ¼]
Dolph Ziggler def. Kofi Kingston by DQ [** ¾]
Michelle McCool def. Tiffany [* ½]
The Gulf of Mexico def. Jack Swagger and Rey Mysterio [**]
CHRISTIAN vs. DREW McINTYRE: As Christian made his way down to the ring, Matt and T-Grish mentioned Christian’s “new aggressiveness.” I guess it makes sense because Christian will make the better heel that Matt. These guys had one of those memorable SmackDown opening matchups that we all know and love. Drew is continuing to show us that all that worry about wasted potential can be brushed aside, although to be fair he was once again in there with a solid ring general. The two of them had a nice, quality back-and-forth match that the crowd was very into and had a pretty decent amount of story and psychology to it. Drew did a lot of working on the shoulder, and that had the crowd popping nicely when Christian made his comeback. Both of them sold for each other well and generally put on a great match, and with a flash roll-up out of nowhere that puts Christian over without hurting Drew one bit. Works for me.
CODY RHODES GETS A FACIAL: Guys, I have to tell you…sometimes those segment titles write themselves. Anyway, this was another example of Cody being generally awesome in order to get his gimmick over. I know not everyone is into these silly little grooming vignettes, but you can’t deny that the dude is stellar in them whether you see the point of them or not. This week it was about having bad skin, and we saw a guy with bad acne. Then, we saw this:
I guess someone told him they were still casting for the villain of the Spider-Man reboot. His delivery was fantastic here and it did some wonderful things in terms of making me love Cody. Great work, bar none.
LUKE GALLOWS vs. THE BIG SHOW: Before the match that was to be, CM Punk was backstage reading the three Society members the riot act. Serena had to prove she was sober, Joey was berated for not stopping the ripping off of Punk’s mask and Luke was accused of incompetence for letting him be shaved in the first place and letting Kane put his arm in a sling. Joey, who is apparently still not appropriately broken, complained that he got his masked ripped off too, which threw Punk into an awesome mocking crybaby routine. Punk said that without him, none of them would survive out there. He repeated that they were nothing, and told them to do something or they could pack their bags. It was awesome segment for Punk to get some heel heat back and to motivate the troops.
Immediately afterward we got the Big Show coming out to ringside for a match against Luke Gallows. Show was in a good mood; Gallows was STILL being yelled at by Punk as he came out to the ring. Gallows tried being aggressive, but that didn’t last so well. He fought back but was outmatched; at one point Show held Luke in the corner and waited for Tony Chimel to come up so the mic could catch the sound of the overhand chop. That’s pretty damned cool. I do definitely think that these two have chemistry in the ring, even if we don’t see them in the ring for long, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a full-length match between them. But instead Punk interfered and then the Society beat Show down and brutalized him. This was a segment that needed to happen in order to make the Society look like a threat. Sure, it took four of them to beat down one of him, but it was a convincing beatdown and it worked. And if nothing else, Punk’s awesome pre-match promo keeps this Right.
KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER: This was apparently a qualifier for Dolph to get a shot at the Intercontinental Title next week. Dolph of course came down with his sugar mommy Vicki at his side. You kind of knew Dolph had to win here, unless the ‘E had truly given up on him and his pairing with Vicki indicates that wasn’t likely. Before the finish though we had a pretty damned decent match between these two. Kofi kept the crowd happy and Dolph had plenty of moments of his own, and these guys again showed that they work together well. This wasn’t as good as I was hoping; there was a bit of sloppiness in the match and there wasn’t a huge amount of psychology—but it played nicely and it pushed this feud to its next logical conclusion. I didn’t like the ending much, because it didn’t make a huge amount of sense and Kofi went psychotic out of nowhere because of the Vicki slap; I also don’t think that it helped Dolph and considering they’re putting in an IC Title match next week I think it would have been nicer to put him over strong. But the match made up for the shortcomings so I’m okay with it.
BROTHER KANE TELLS ALL: SmackDown opened with Kane sitting right in the ring, with his red lighting showing and the orchestral score running loud. Kane talked about how he had been sitting next to his brother for the last sixty days and sixty nights. Hey, he’s like Moses times one and a half! And what do you know? Thursday (or possibly Monday), the Dead man moved, then opened his eyes and then spoke. Taker said two words: Rey Mysterio. Everyone who asked if I would admit that I was wrong when it turned out to be someone other than Kane? Yeah, I was right. The crowd wasn’t buying it for a moment, and of course neither were we. This was the official Kane turns heel promo, and I have to say that Kane pulled it off nicely. However, it still irritates me that they had to Hollywoodize it. The music, the video clips, and all that stuff just pushed this a little too far over the top. I know that’s what they’re going for and I have no problem if anyone liked this, but it’s just not my thing. I do have to admit that Kane’s promo was a nice little set of explanations that fit a solid frame job. Anyway, the gist of it was that Kane was going to destroy Rey, put him in the casket and damn him to eternal pain. I really wanted to give this a Right, but they went too over the top for my tastes and so this sits at the top of puRgatoRy.
LAYLA MICHELLE McCOOL vs. TIFFANY: You know, I was actually kind of looking forward to this. Tiffany and Layla have surprised me before in the ring together, and I wanted to see if they’d do so again. Unfortunately Vicki came out and changed the match to be Michelle McCool taking on Tiffany. You knew this match was done with right off the bat. But you know what? These girls didn’t do too badly in there. Michelle may be heatless (or she may not), but she’s got the ring skills that many of the Divas don’t and she even put Tiffany over a bit before she took over and dominated her way to victory. Afterward, we found out that Teddy Long was going to make them decide who was going to be Women’s Champion. Works for me.
ALBERTO DEL RIO: Yeah, I tried this week. Sorry Alberto, I still don’t care. Not until you give me a reason to care about you. And that’s all I got to say about that.
REY REY vs. SWAGGER PART 96: Okay, I know I’m being overdramatic there, but I do think these guys have faced off too much. It’s not as much as some others over the full length of a feud, but when you have several one-on-one matchups week after week, it seems like overkill and this was one of those times. But before this match we had Josh Matthews trying to interview Jack Swagger. Jack was having none of it though and basically interviewed himself. He told us that his dad was still in the hospital and told Josh to ask him what he was going to do to Rey Rey. The answer: break his legs, break his arms, throw him into everything, throw him into the Gulf of Mexico and watch him drown. Well, that’s a plan I suppose. I liked Jack’s intensity at least, though I couldn’t help but figure it was going to be wasted to put Rey over.
Of course, the match was good enough in terms of an in-ring perspective. It could have been, anyway. Jack and Rey Rey work well together as I’ve said before and we had the beginning of a good match here. But then it went to the outside area and it took too long getting to the side of the water. It picked up a bit from there until Rey tossed Jack into the Gulf, after which he turned around to get thrown into the Gulf by Kane. So for those keeping track: Kane > Gulf > Rey > Swagger. I liked the idea of this, but the execution played out poorly. Just not my thing at all, and I expected more of these guys.
DID YOU KNOW?: Nope. And, as always, I don’t care.
The iffy main event hurt this show overall, but most everything leading up to that moment was decent to very good. SmackDown and Raw have both been very focused as of late and I appreciate that; it makes me want to be more forgiving about things like orchestral scores and half a main event match being a drag out into traffic and to the Gulf coast. Those aside it was a good show and one I rather enjoyed. Good show, Blue Brand.
SHOW RATING: 7.5
…and remember to stay grounded!