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Wrestling’s 4R’s Tuesday Edition – 11.25.08: TNA Impact, WWE Smackdown and the Survivor Series Reviewed!

November 25, 2008 | Posted by Larry Csonka

How the 4R’s of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. The column will run TWO times a week. On Tuesdays I will discuss TNA Impact and any PPV’s, while my partner in crime Jeremy Thomas discusses WWE Smackdown. The column will run again on Friday’s, covering WWE Raw, with Jeremy Thomas as well as ECW on Sci-Fi by myself. If there is a PPV that weekend, I will also run the RETRO R’s of the show from the year before as well as address some comments when time permits. I will group my feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and need discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles, Diva searches and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come, unless you are TNA. They have a special R all of their own, the 6th R; the Russo-FN-Riffic~! This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, my goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. I will not apologize for my opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.

In HD where available…

By: Larry Csonka

iMpact! 11.20.08:

  • The Right:

    Opening Talky Bit: The show kicked off with the Main Event Mafia and a casket coming to the ring, as they wanted to give the career of Christian Cage a proper BERRIAL~! Last week’s dislike of the overall presentation aside, this week’s angle worked out well. The MEM continues to be a unified force, and they declared that anyone that crosses them will beaten within an inch of their life. When asked if anyone had any last words for Cage, Rhino answered the call. He said what they did was wrong, and that the dirty laundry should have been dealt with backstage and then called them a bunch of bitches. This led to Rhino foolishly charging the ring, getting his ass beat and then placed in the casket. I had no issues with this as I felt it was a strong opening to the show.

    Joe and AJ vs. the Guns: Stemming from Shelley and Sabin not being that thrilled with Joe and AJ always getting the chances that they think they deserve, Joe and AJ wanted to settle shit, in the ring like men. While I think most would agree that it would have been great for this match to get a ton more time, but what we got was excellent stuff, the style of thing that should be featured on Impact more. Clean wrestling, crisp action, good pace and a clean finish. This was good with me.

    RHINO IS A WARMACHINE FUCKERS!: After the beat down in the opening angle, and after the Joe and AJ vs. the Guns match, the Originals were in the locker room sulking like a bunch of pansies. The Guns were then tossed into the room by a PISSED OFF Rhino, I mean they came sliding into the room because a pissed off man threw them into the room, it was great. Rhino then proceeded to give a kick ass promo, seriously, Rhino did. While last week in the Cage beat down was an instance where I hated them discussing another company, this week was an example of how to properly use another promotion’s history to get a point across. Rhino, all bloodied from the opening promo was pissed off and explained that he was where they are, that over 8-years ago he was in their shoes in ECW, a company that was like TNA, and he didn’t care that it sucked now because and knows exactly what they need to do to make the company great. Bottom line is that is was a great quit feeling sorry for yourselves and let’s kick ass speech, and Rhino looked like a bad ass in doing so. Rock on buddy, rock on…

    TEAM 3D IS AWESOME!: I am more of a supported of Team 3D than most on the staff. While most hate them, I feel that they tend to deliver good promos and when they are in the right situation, they still do deliver in the ring. This week they again delivered on the mic. They explained that Beer Money was biting off more than they could chew with 3D by constantly getting involved in their business and said “who is Beer Money, they’ve been around for three-minutes.” While saying that the Main Event Mafia had it right that there was a severe lack of respect around here, they also again pointed out that you cannot have a stable of the greatest champions in wrestling history without the greatest TAG TEAM in wrestling history. Solid promo work that not only plays into the company’s big angle, but also adds heat within the tag division. I liked it a lot.

    ANGLE and NASH vs. ABYSS and MORGAN: The main event I felt was a fine match. Abyss and Morgan both work hard and have been pretty solid as a team, Angle may be insane but he is a machine in the ring and Nash is more motivated than ever it seems these days. I thought that Nash in particular sold very well for Morgan, which is always nice to see. Beer Money would get involved, since Morgan and Abyss are owed a title shot, and bashed Abyss over the head with a beer bottle, just because they could. This allowed the Main Event Mafia to pick up another dick heel victory, and also built for the upcoming tag title match.

  • puRgatoRy:

    Booker T vs. Eric Young: With Eric Young being stripped of the X-Division Title (oh and we WILL discuss that later) Jim Cornette gave him another chance at gold as he was to challenge Booker T for the Legend’s Title. This was actually a fun match while it lasted. You can tell that Young is loving being able to be “Showtime” Eric Young again instead of the goof character, and I feel that Booker was more motivated here than he has been recently. I also had no problem with Sharmell causing the loss, because it plays well and adds some heat to the ODB vs. Sharmell match (we will discuss that later) as she came out after the match to check on Young. My problem here is a common complaint I have, and that is if you are going to do a title match on TV, please give it some time. It was bullshit that Tanahashi and Dutt vs. Lethal and Creed got just over two-minutes, they just should have dropped that match and given the time to this title match.

    Ladies Tag: We had a ladies tag match this week, and overall it wasn’t bad. It was short, but in this case, with Hemme and Sky in there, it was likely for the best to keep things short, although I am not a fan of learning on TV. Josie as back with the company, working under the Sojourner Bolt gimmick, and she did just fine. Sure they could do better bringing in a new lady, but she is a very solid worker, and God knows that they could do way worse. Bolt is a good face, connects with the crowd and works hard. Hemme’s hot tag wasn’t bad, but Sky again slows things down. If she was as skilled in the grappling aspect as she was in the awesome bitch character department, she’d be perfect. Hemme got distracted, and The Beautiful People actually got to win, which they hadn’t been doing for a while. I also liked that Bolt didn’t have to take the loss here. She jobbed in the Kong challenge, was back another tie and jobbed, but this time while he team lost, she got to stay away from the pin. I am curious to see if she will be staying, or if this was just another one and off appearance for her.

  • The wRong:

    22:00: I’d like to think we all know the drill by now. TNA is supposed to be the alternative, they try to be different, and they claim to be the wrestling promotion. So I am their conscience, their wrestling stopwatch. Each and every week I keep track of the time of wrestling on the show, and discuss it here. The in ring time is like a yo-yo here lately. This week we only got 22-Minutes on in ring action, and it was really a joke when you have matches getting LESS than three minutes. I have said it before and I will say it again, TNA really does need to streamline things. They need to cut down on some segments, add a bit more ring time and remain focused on the goal, which is building the PPV and trying to SELL that PPV. Failure. Simple failure.

    ODB’s ANGLE: I like ODB. She’s wacky, she’s intense, she connects with the crowd, and she has charisma. Now I wasn’t exactly excited about the prospect of her getting a little talk show, but hell I was willing to check it out and I was certainly hoping for the best. It was, well, what I expected. ODB was wacky, Sharmell was perfect for her to play off of, they wrapped it into the company’s big angle, and well, it wasn’t horrible, but also not great. Due to ODB’s wackiness I was actually looking to give this a break and place it in Purgatory. That was until the segment ended by making a SHARMELL vs. ODB PPV GRAPPILING BOUT! Really? Seriously, fuck this company.

  • The Ridiculous:

    Stripping Eric Young: As most expected after last week’s “victory,” Eric Young was stripped of the x-division title. This sucks for a few reasons. First of all when you do bullshit finishes and stripping of the title, it devalues it. The TNA X-Division is a shadow of it self as it is, but things like this do NOT help it at all. The only thing worse than the fact that Young was stripped of the title was the fact that they did it in such a way that it just felt as if it didn’t matter. They were backstage, Cornette gave Referee Shane Sewell a slap on the wrist for getting involved, called him a loser that was only over in Puerto Rico and then demanded that the title go back to Bashir. I mean, that was it, it was extremely lackluster and no one looked good coming out of it.

    Tanahashi and Dutt vs. Lethal and Creed: This was a complete joke in my opinion. You have a tag match, basically for NO reason other than to have a tag team match. But then you BARELY give it over 2-minutes. You cannot do JACK FUCKING SHIT in this amount of time. No one is going to get over, whatever they manage to do will not matter, and this is bullshit! And then there is the fact that THIS is how you fucking use Tanahashi. Former IWGP CHAMPION Tanahashi is being used in 2-minute bullshit tag matches. Listen, if he isn’t staying long, fine, I understand not giving him a lot of TV time or wins. BUT, make it worth it please. This was the definition of bullshit.

    PPV HYPE: FOLEY ANNOUNCES DOUBLE MAIN EVENTS/FEAST or FIRED is BACK?: I thought the Turning Point PPV was the best TNA PPV of the year. Light on the stipulations and bullshit, heavy on the good wrestling and they also seemed to have a good direction. It was something to be excited over, but after Thursday’s Impact I have to say that the excitement was not there. Final Resolution, thus far seems to be the exact opposite of what Turning Point was, apparently Vince Russo got out of the cage they locked him in. It is just TOO MUCH. First of all they are bringing back the Feast or Fired match. I hate this match for a few reasons, the first of which is that it is just too many people. TNA is slowly getting back into the habit of putting a giant multi-man match on the show. It is an excuse to get as many people on the show as always. And then there is the fact that the match didn’t result in much of anything good. Petey and Steiner’s interaction was fun, but it never elevated Petey. The James –Doo Kin Boys broke up and we got a feud we never wanted, Steiner’s title shot was fine and we lost Christopher Daniels for Curry Man. I love the Curry Man dance and all, but right about now I would prefer to have Daniels as Daniels.

    The Rhino vs. Angle match-up is a logical match up, but as they made the match and added the stipulation all I could do was shake my head. Jarrett states, “Kurt, I can’t fire you due to your contract, so what I will do is make a match with Rhino. If you win you and I get to fight, but if you lose, your contract is void and you’re fired.” WHO? WHAT? WHERE? HOW? WHEN? WHY? Fucking hell.

    And then, then there is the 8-man tag match. It will be the Main Event Mafia (Sting ©, Booker T, Nash and Steiner) vs. AJ, Joe and two partners of their choosing. Ok, right here, we are totally fine. This makes sense, this is the war, I am down with this. UNTIL they add in the stipulation: If the Main Event Mafia wins, well, everything is the same. But is AJ and Joe’s TEAM wins, AJ STYLES WINS THE WORLD TITLE. WHO? WHAT? WHERE? HOW? WHEN? WHY? Fucking hell. I know they have this team mentality thing going, and that getting the title away from Sting is a goal of the TNA guys, but singles title exchanging in a tag match SUCKS. Makes no sense. It’s ass. I guess TNA just couldn’t help themselves, oh well.

    The 411

    This was one of those episodes that defines TNA as a promotion: It was the best of TNA, it was the worst of TNA, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. Big ups to Dickens for letting me use that.

    SHOW RATING: **½

    By: Jeremy Thomas

    WWE SmackDown 11.21.08

  • The Right:

    MATT HARDY & R-TRUTH vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN & MARK HENRY: This match actually has a chain of history among it, as Mizark’s been feuding with Matt, who lost the United States Title to Shelton in June, who’s been feuding with R. Of course, this was less about that then another tag team preview of a Survivor Series elimination match but you still have to love the continuity. R-Truth did his usual rap down to the ring before Matt came down, both getting a good pop, and then the heels came on down. These guys have all worked together a decent amount, with the exception of R-Truth and Henry, and it worked to their advantage in this match, as Truth and Shelton worked well together in the opening moments as did the ECW champ when he tagged in. One minor annoyance was when Tazz pointed out how at Survivor Series we could see Batista and CM Punk facing all five of the heels. Okay, it’s a nitpick, but way to put over the members of that match who are actually IN the match you’re calling guys. Of course the in-ring work did that well enough, as the faces controlled much of the match. Shelton was doing a good job of selling both men’s offense before Mizark managed to tag in, and I gotta say this wasn’t one of Mark’s better efforts. Henry has really come into his own on his current run, but tonight was just he was just slow and lumbering; he even barely tapped Truth when he came in to break up a pin. On the plus side, Atlas was doing a great job on the outside as a manager; what was JR saying about “no more great managers anymore” or whatever? Yeah, right. This match mostly put R-Truth over, giving him most of the early offense and letting him get the pinfall after his finisher. This is a good thing in my opinion as Truth is definitely over with the crowd and if booked right could easily flourish with a US Title run. This was a damn fine little TV opener which did exactly what it needed to and got plenty of time to do it in.

    PEARL NECKLACES AND RUSSIANS WHO KNOW THINGS: Eve was backstage with ‘H and asked him his thoughts on Jeff Hardy and Vladimir Kozlov. The Game was a bit distracted though, because he wanted to know if they were real…the pearl necklace, that is. Make your own joke here folks. He said there was a big difference between thinking something and knowing it; Vlad and Day-Glo thought they were the best, while H-Man knew he was. Kozlov came in and interrupted, telling ‘H that his days as champion were coming to a close. This was short and funny, and managed to push the main event tonight and at Survivor Series, so I have no real issues here.

    DAY-GLO WARRIOR vs. ‘H This was the semi-main event match, which I will admit was an interesting choice, but one that worked out well. Both men got incredible pops on their way to the ring; Jeff was less crazy pain then last week, with just a raccoon-stripe type thing over his eyes. The Game, sadly, had no make-up. We had some nice touches of Jeff skirting the heel edge again this week, including the kick to the gut out of the handshake to start the match…part of his “Extreme Edge.” ‘H and Jeff work really well together, and tonight was no exception as they delivered one hell of a TV match that did Jeff’s credibility even more favors then his mega-push over the last couple weeks has gotten. Both men looked good throughout the entirety of this match, which was very nicely paced and kept the crowd really hot. Now, of course Kozlov showed up and got his nose involved, which was what allowed Jeff to pick up the win, but much like his win over Taker last week, I can’t complain too much. This is a guy who’s beaten SmackDown’s top two faces in two straight weeks. How many people beat Taker and then ‘H? That’s right, not many. They’ve clearly got big things planned for Day-Glo, and I’m very interested still in what direction they’re taking him in.

    THE COLONS vs. THE BRIAN KENDRICK AND ZEKE: We got a rare Hurrapop that was actually funny as TBK and Zeke went down to the ring, with Helms asking if Koko B. Ware knew he stole his dance. Koko reference for the win! This was building from last week’s match where Kendrick beat Carlito, and seems to be building toward a title match, which I generally approve of. I say “generally” because while I like the idea of working toward a feud for the belts, I’m a bit hesitant on the idea of putting TBK into another tag title reign when his singles career is just taking off, and the Colons are doing okay with the belts. However, as the Shawn Michaels push formula seems to be in full effect I’m giving them some leeway. This was an alright match which, while too short, gave Primo and Carlito some time to shine; they’ve really stepped up their work, to their benefit. TBK and Zeke had their moments and picked up the win, so hopefully there will be a title shot down the line.

  • puRgatoRy:

    JESSE & FESTUS vs. MIZ AND MORRISON: This was preceded by an awesome little segment where Maria was hanging out with Festus, and MnM 2.0 showed up to be complete assholes. Once again, they proved just how great they are at getting themselves over as heels with little touches like how Morrison didn’t take a look at Maria as he talked to her, or Miz messing with Festus the whole time. After the commercial break, we came back to the match itself. The bell rang and Festus got all crazy, with Festus beating the snot out of Morrison for a little bit before tagging in Jesse. These four worked an okay match, nothing special but it wasn’t bad. I will say that I still can’t stand Jesse and Festus’s gimmick, but it’s keeping them employed for now, so I won’t complain too much. This match just seemed to be there, although the nice touch at the end of MnM using the bell after the match to wake Festus back up was another nice touch. For an MnM 2.0 match it was lacking, but it was okay for a Jesse/Festus match, so we split the difference.

  • The wRong:

    BRIE & NIKKI BELLA vs. VICTORIA & NATALYA: Let’s see, Victoria and Natalya…haven’t gotten a win in months. Bella’s…new gimmick of sexy twins. Yeah, this was gonna go well for the heels. This wasn’t a great match by any stretch, no matter how good the Divas looked. The Bella’s are still fairly green and while they’re better than your average Diva, they have a ways to go, and the thing was too damn short to mean much. I could complain about Victoria and Natalya losing yet again, but there’s little point anymore. What I will say is this; how are the Bella twins using their “twin switch” stuff when they’re the faces? Can they get away with it because they look much hotter than Gymini? It’s a silly bit of logic that makes no sense, and it irritates me. There wasn’t anything that made this truly ridiculous, but it sure as hell was wrong.

    TAKER GIVES SHOW HIS LAST RITES: Ahh, the main event segment. While I’m not generally a fan of a non-match ending the show, it’s been a while since they’ve done one of these so I’m not upset they decided to do one here to send the show home and push the Taker/Show Casket Match. Taker came down to the ring, which had a casket in the middle of it, and got his usual crazy pop. He proceeded to extol the beauty of the casket in the ring, and promised that once Show was in the “brass prison,” his dept would be paid in full. This was a typically solid creepy promo from the Dead Man, which was interrupted too soon by Show and Vickie the Chipmunk (pushed by Chavo) coming down to the ring. Show said he wasn’t scared of Taker, and thus he didn’t have any power over him. Taker casually opened the casket, which seemed to give Show some pause, before the lights went out. When they were back on Taker had Vickie in a chokehold, and she got put into the casket. Points to you, Dead Guy. Show them sold Chavo up the river to rescue Vickie, who was suddenly not crippled, and they watched as Taker Tombstoned the poor guy and shoved him in the casket again. Show’s expression was…actually pretty bad. It was clearly supposed to be fear, but it looked more like bad burritos. This segment tried really hard, but it was rushed and just fell flat. I’m also fairly sketchy on Chavo’s use in this segment. Really, another toss into the casket? Didn’t we see this already during a match a few weeks ago? I realize that Chavo’s largely a joke, but they can do a lot better with him. He had the tension between him and Bam going, and now suddenly he’s the casket guy? I hate to say it Chavo, but welcome to the neighborhood…

  • The Ridiculous:

    KIZARNEY SIZUCKS STIZILL: Oh my god. For fuck’s sake, can we get this guy in matches so he can stop tormenting us with stupid segments? Yes, we get it, you’re a Carney. Also, there’s a large former ECW Champion who takes issue with your World’s Strangest Strongman…I think that’s what he said, anyway, I was getting a migraine trying to translate. Please, someone, put an end to this crap.

    MVP vs. JAMES MASON: Oh, Jesus H. Christ. MVP’s trip down Burial Road continues, as he can’t even get a win against the local scrubs anymore. And not even against the uber-generic scrubs. Mr. Porter did get a couple nice heel touches early on, like offering Mason a chance to leave before beating the tar out of the guy. Of course, right when MVP was about to put Mason away, Khali came out to distract him and let Mason pick up the surprise roll-up. This is taking this storyline to new levels of retardation, and I’m getting more and more disgusted with the burial of this guy. I don’t know if this is still punishment for the whole pee-cup incident or if they have some payoff coming, but either way, it needs to end soon. I may not be the biggest MVP fan, but he deserves better than this. At least when TNA did this losing streak shit with Kaz, they made it short before he “left.”

    The 411

    A step down or two from last week’s SmackDown, this one had a really strong and promising first hour before it fell apart post-Hardy/’H. SmackDown continues to be a better show week in and week out then Raw, but this was a stumble in the hard sell of Survivor Series. Hopefully they can rebound in the wake of the events of the Pay-Per-View; I have little doubt that they will.

    SHOW RATING: **¼

    Comment Time With Jeremy!:

    Batista vs. Manu was ok for what it was. not atrocious as you are claiming.

    Posted By: mountain mike (Guest) on November 21, 2008 at 12:07 AM

    Didn’t say it was atrocious, just not great. My main problem wasn’t with the match itself, which was weak but Purgatory on its own, it was with Big Dave’s stumbling, out of breath promo that sucked the life out of the arena.

    My bad if I’m just being over- sensitive, but referring to Kelly Kelly as “Triple K” or, more specifically, “KKK” just makes me think of the Klan… kind of unintentionally offensive, and I think it should stop.

    Posted By: guest (Guest) on November 21, 2008 at 09:18 AM

    With all due respect, you are being oversensitive. Triple K or KKK is meant to refer to her like Triple H, and has nothing with the Klan. Thanks for reading though!

    Mountain Man Mike Knox – is this an Internet name i’ve missed? Because if it is can I suggest Man Mountain Knox?

    Posted By: Pure Dynamite (Guest) on November 21, 2008 at 02:04 PM

    Not an Internet name, just my name for him. With that beard he looks like Grizzly Adams, and thus, Mountain Man. That’s all there is to it. And Man Mountain Knox sends a message that kind of disturbs me about what I might think of him, so naah.

    Santino’s rap was gold, but Steph’s response really pissed me off. Regal and Santino had one televised match, and all of a sudden there’s no rematches because they fought at house shows. So that’s it? No feud, no televised rematch, no nothing? That’s stupid. What’s gonna happen to Santino now? Who’s Regal going to feud with? They had a chance to build a nice feud here and they just killed it in the dumbest possible way. At least give Santino one televised rematch before ending it!

    Also, Regal’s finisher is the worst finisher ever. A running knee lift? Oh please. He’s one of the most technically gifted wrestlers of all time and THAT’S the best he/they could come up with?

    Posted By: Someone (Guest) on November 21, 2008 at 11:02 PM

    Well, Someone, I agree with you that they could have built a nice feud between Santino and Regal, but they’re not ready to turn Santino face yet and Regal’s still staying heel, so it made sense to movie them on. As for the knee lift, “worst finisher ever” is a bit much. Have you forgotten the Worm? At least Regal’s looks like it hurts. I always love comments of “Worst [Insert Topic Here] Ever” because it’s never accurate. There’s ALWAYS something worse, trust me. I could name a dozen moves off the top of my head that were worse than the running knee lift. Thanks for reading!

    By: Larry Csonka

    The Matches:

  • TEAM HBK defeated TEAM JBL @ 18:00 via pin – HBK, Khali and Rey Survived [**]
  • TEAM RAW LADIES defeated TEAM SMACKDOWN LADIES @ 10:00 via pin – Beth Phoenix was the sole survivor [ASS]
  • CASKET MATCH: The Undertaker defeated the Big Show @ 13:00 [*]
  • TEAM ORTON defeated TEAM BATISTA @ 17:00 via pin – Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes Survived [**¾]
  • WWE TITLE MATCH: Edge defeated HHH and Vladimir Kozlov to become the NEW WWE Champion @ 14:00 via pin [*¾]
  • WORLD TITLE MATCH: John Cena defeated Chris Jericho to become the NEW WORLD CHAMPION @ 21:00 via pin [***]

  • The Right:

    TEAM ORTON defeated TEAM BATISTA: William Regal reportedly had the flu, which is why he was eliminated so early by Punk. I HATED it though because once again it makes the IC Champion look like shit. I mean, I don’t know, they couldn’t let him chill on the apron for a bit or something? Sorry I had to get that off of my chest. The good news was Layla throwing a shoe at Punk; this was glorious! As a whole the match was pretty good. Everyone worked hard, it felt like it flowed better than the earlier matches on the show and I liked the lay out. Henry pins Hardy, which will likely lead to another ECW Title match, and if Matt is hurt that may be the way to go for now. Batista beating Henry and Shelton so easily bothered me a bit, I mean he AGAIN beat Henry in one move, yes we get it BIG DAVE IS A BIG STAR! But overall, from the booking point of view, getting down to 4-1 was the way to go. They need to work the tease on Batista vs. Orton, and this was the way to do it. He had to go through everyone, and he was about to finish off Cody, but Orton got the blind tag, RKO and Orton survives once again. This was the right booking and the right finish in my opinion, I liked it. Another good thing is that Cody didn’t lose here. The kid can’t afford to keep losing, and the fact that he survived was great because he needed it.

    WORLD TITLE MATCH: While overall the match wasn’t what it could have been, and I will talk about that later, I thought that the game plan for the match was perfect. The story was of course around Cena’s neck, which I felt was played well. An early bump the floor and Cena grabbing at his neck with caution in his eyes was captured very well. Another thing I loved was he went to go up top, but hesitated and the look in his eyes was perfect, “oh shit, this is how I got hurt last time.” These things allowed Jericho control of the match, and he wasn’t only the general, he made the match. He worked like the dick heel he is, taking full advantage, and Cena not only had to overcome ring rust and hesitation, but he had to overcome everything, take the chance from the top and show the resilience that some love (and other hate) to get the victory and the title. I loved the celebration in the end, because it is the perfect way to cap off what was supposed to be and ended up being a big comeback victory. I will say that this barely got to the *** level. Cena is clearly limited right now and he didn’t go balls to the wall as we are used to seeing on PPV. He took less punishment, and while some was part of the angle, he seemed tentative. This wasn’t nearly as good as past Cena vs. Jericho matches. It was good, but it felt as if it lacked overall. Chris Jericho has this ability to make others look way better then him, which is a gift and a curse.

  • puRgatoRy:

    TEAM HBK defeated TEAM JBL: This was the opening match of the evening, and I have to say I had pretty high hopes for it. You had Rey (who looked better than he had in some time) HBK who is HBK, and Morrison and Miz who had been on a roll. We had components there to make this a very strong opening match, but instead I felt as if we had a go through the motions adventure. It felt very basic and obvious that they wanted to get the faces off to a strong start, which is fine. Cryme Tyme were the only faces eliminated, clearly showing the rank of importance of the face team. As mentioned Rey looked good, the HBK/JBL drama built for a match, the HBK/Morrison interaction was fun and it was a “fine” opener, that as mentioned got the crowd happy, but it wasn’t anything you couldn’t see on TV. Disappointing I think is the key word here.

    WWE TITLE MATCH and OTHER: And then we got the WWE Title match. I will talk about Hardy later, but we got Vladimir Kozlov challenging HHH for the WWE Title. I had been a fan of the booking of Kozlov, but like most wondered how he would do in the big match, hell, even a longer match. For the first, 12-13 minutes this was SHIT. It was bland, slow, and the crowd shit on it. I was getting what they wanted to do, but the fact that Kozlov cannot sell hurt things. HHH tried to overcompensate at times and it looked like shit. And what the hell was with HHH out wrestling the SAMBO champion? So the match is sucking, Vicky comes out and proclaims that “HE’S HERE!” But it wasn’t Hardy, it was the return of Edge and his awesome beard! He looks good for a man that was in hell for months. He cleans house, and then, then Hardy comes out. Hardy, with like a band aid on his neck comes out, looks fresh as a daisy and cleans house. Edge ended up with the win, which saved this from being an abortion. Unfortunately this comes down to more of the same with Edge and Vicky. People are claiming that this is so great, but I guarantee if it was TNA they would be shitting all over it. But I will say that taking the title off of HHH was the best thing to do. HHH’s run here has been boring and they needed a change. Kozlov wasn’t the answer, and we can argue all day long about pulling the trigger on Hardy but I don’t think they are ready to do it. Now if we get rid of Kozlov, we have a title scene built around HHH, Hardy, Taker, Big Show and Edge; and to me that’s pretty damn good.

  • The wRong:

    TEAM RAW LADIES defeated TEAM SMACKDOWN LADIES: The ladies elimination match was an exercise in bad execution. It felt like one of those TV elimination matches/X-Division Clusters/Cruiserweight Battle Royals where everything goes too fast, and it doesn’t work. They did nine finishes in 10-minutes, the ladies were off 90% of the time (which made for hilarity at times) but it was very sloppy outside of a few moments and basically it was poorly laid out. Bottom line is this, it was bad! Beth as the Survivor was the right call, Maryse did well also, but that wasn’t enough to make this worth your time. I am all for giving the ladies a chance to shine on PPV, I am a huge fan of women’s wrestling, but this just did not deliver. While there was poor execution, I feel that the layout of the match and the fact that they had to execute that in such a short period of time was the real problem of this match.

    CASKET MATCH: I will say this to kick this off, this was the worst Taker match in a long, long time. He and Show has done well thus far and I have really enjoyed their matches, but this one, well, in theatre terms, it felt like a dress rehearsal for the opening night. This match was a 13-minute snooze-fest. I felt that both guys were just going through the motions out there, they had a beginning, and end, and well, there wasn’t much substance to the sandwich if you will. While the casket match gimmick can be somewhat limited, I just never got into this match. They had the feud, they had the history but the closure, if this was the closure did nothing for the crowd or me because they shit on it as well. I think part of it was that they killed the beginning of the match. If you look back at the other matches they had, they always had a beginning where they beat the hell out of each other, went to a big spot and then went from there. This time they went right to the big spot, and went on and it killed the drama. Unfortunately this was a trend for the show.

  • The Ridiculous:

    JEFF HARDY SHIT: I don’t want to spend a ton of time on this, but I do want to discuss it because it did have an impact on the PPV. I think that the WWE made a big mistake doing this angle with Hardy and I will tell you why. They took a guy with two strikes, that has well known drug problems and basically tried to write a story where he OD’d. With the knowledge of wrestlers dying in hotel rooms and the fact that Hardy was a likely candidate for this, it was not in good taste. They played it up all day, and when the PPV opened they had JR with his sad voice and Tazz with sunglasses off and sad eyes to sell the angle. They claimed that ABC, CNN, TMZ have all been reporting on this. TMZ didn’t, I didn’t see anything on ABC or CNN, and if I were them I would be having some words with my lawyers. Sure AOL bit on it, so did some place in Miami, but to falsely claim that major media outlets picked this is up is shooting yourself in the foot. WWE bitches and moans that they do not get fair reporting from the mainstream media, but how can they expect to after something like this? WWE.com killed their credibility with the mainstream media, and unfortunately the next time something major and or serious happens the media will likely shy away because WWE has become the boy that cried wolf. Now it wasn’t until the Matt interview that we found out that it was an ATTACK on Jeff. You see, this is the main problem I have. WWE intentionally played off of the fact that people would think it was a drug related incident. That is bullshit. If they wanted to do an angle, they just should have done the old school, “Jeff Hardy was beaten to a bloody pulp in a Boston hotel.” That’s all they had to do. But they didn’t, and they have now alienated the media to a point and some of their fan base. That’s not a good thing.

    The 411

    WWE is feeling the pain of the ratings being stagnant and the economy being bad, and decided to hit the restart button and make two big moves by bringing Edge back for a title win and also putting the title on Cena once again. While these are newsworthy items, they don’t save the show. HHH vs. Kozlov was bad, the ladies match was BAD, the opener was bland, the casket match was bad, Team Orton vs. Team Batista was solid and the main event was just “fine.” This was a big drop off from the last PPV, and basically WWE laid the egg here. Unfortunately for them they delivered what is in my opinion the worst PPV of the year, do NOT buy this show.

    SHOW RATING: 4.0

  • 2008 PPV Rankings:
    ROH DRIVEN {8.4}
    TNA LOCKDOWN {8.2}
    WWE NO WAY OUT {8.1}

    WWE NO MERCY {7.5}
    WWE BACKLASH {7.0}


  • 2008 TOP PPV Match Rankings:
    (WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) CAREER THREATENING MATCH: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels *****

    (WWE UNFORGIVEN) UNSANCTIONED MATCH: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho ****½
    (WWE SUMMERSLAM) HELL IN A CELL: Edge vs. The Undertaker ****½
    (WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) WORLD TITLE MATCH: Edge © vs. The Undertaker ****½
    (ROH NEW HORIZONS) Bryan Danielson vs. Tyler Black ****½
    (ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Tyler Black ****½
    (ROH RISING ABOVE) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Austin Aries ****½
    (ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II) ROH TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Age of the Fall (Jacobs and Black) © vs. Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries ****½
    (ROH DRIVEN) ROH TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Age of the Fall (Jacobs and Black) © vs. STEENERICO ****½
    (TNA LOCKDOWN) TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle © vs. Samoa Joe ****½
    (TNA VICTORY ROAD) (World X Cup Semifinal Elimination Tag Match) Curry Man, Alex Shelly and Chris Sabin vs. Puma, Yoshino and Milano Collection AT vs. Rey Bucanero, Averno and Ultimo Guerrero vs. Williams, Dux and Kozlov ****½

    (ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS) Bryan Danielson vs. Austin Aries ****¼
    (ROH UNDENIABLE) GRUDGE MATCH: Austin Aries vs. Roderick Strong ****¼
    (WWE NO MERCY) WORLD TITLE LADDER MATCH: Chris Jericho © vs. HBK ****¼
    (TNA HARD JUSTICE) LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles ****¼

    (TNA BOUND FOR GLORY) Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett ****
    (TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS) TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle © vs. Christian Cage ****
    (TNA FINAL RESOLUTION) TNA WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kurt Angle © vs. Christian Cage ****
    (WWE ROYAL RUMBLE) The Royal Rumble Match ****
    (WWE NO MERCY) WWE TITLE MATCH: HHH © vs. Jeff Hardy ****
    (WWE CYBER SUNDAY) LAST MAN STANDING: The Undertaker vs. The Big Show ****
    (WWE ONE NIGHT STAND) TLC: The Undertaker vs. Edge ****
    (WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH) Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels ****
    (ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II) FIGHT WITHOUT HONOR: Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong ****
    (ROH DRIVEN) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Roderick Strong ****
    (ROH NEW HORIZONS) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Claudio Castagnoli ****

    (TNA TURNING POINT) TNA TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Beer Money © vs. The Motor City Machine Guns ***¾
    (TNA No Surrender) (Ladder of Love Match) Sonjay Dutt vs. Black Machismo Jay Lethal ***¾
    (TNA VICTORY ROAD) (Full Metal Mayhem – Six-Man War Match) AJ Styles, Christian Cage & Rhino vs. Kurt Angle & Team 3D ***¾
    (TNA LOCKDOWN) LETHAL LOCKDOWN: Team Cage vs. Team Tomko ***¾
    (TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS) HARDCORE STREET FIGHT: Team 3D and Brother Devine vs. Black Machismo and the Motor City Machineguns ***¾
    (ROH UNDENIABLE) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Jay & Mark Briscoe © vs. The No Remorse Corps ***¾
    (ROH RISING ABOVE) ROH WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH – 2 of 3 Falls: Jay & Mark Briscoe © vs. The No Remorse Corps ***¾
    (ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II) ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Nigel McGuinness © vs. Go Shiozaki ***¾
    (WWE CYBER SUNDAY) WWE TITLE MATCH: HHH © vs. Jeff Hardy ***¾
    (WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) WWE TITLE MATCH: Randy Orton © vs. John Cena vs. HHH ***¾
    (WWE BACKLASH) WORLD TITLE MATCH: The Undertaker © vs. Edge ***¾
    (WWE WRESTLEMANIA 24) MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH: Chris Jericho vs. MVP vs. John Morrison vs. Carlito vs. CM Punk vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin ***¾
    (WWE JUDGMENT DAY) HBK vs. Chris Jericho ***¾
    (WWE SUMMERSLAM) John Cena vs. Batista ***¾

  • 2008 PPV MVP AWARDS:
    This is a little added deal I started last year, as I feel that there are some other things that should be mentioned from the PPV’s. Not every PPV will have one, it just depends on who I think steps up and deserves some extra recognition.

    ROH RISING ABOVE: Nigel vs. Aries (Stealing the Show)
    TNA FINAL RESOLUTION: Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong (Making us Care about Women’s Wrestling on the National Stage)
    ROH UNDENIABLE: Strong vs. Aries (The Grudge is Settled)
    WWE ROYAL RUMBLE: John Cena Shocks the World (No One Saw it Coming)
    TNA AGAINST ALL ODDS: Black Machismo Saves the X-Division (He is a Superman)
    WWE NO WAY OUT: Taker Eliminates the Competition (Elimination Chamber MVP)
    TNA DESTINATION X: Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong © vs. ODB (Stepping up Again)
    WWE WRESTLEMANIA XXIV: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels (Thank You Flair)
    TNA LOCKDOWN: Angle vs. Joe (Great Build, Great Delivery)
    TNA SACRIFICE: Roxxi gets a Haircut (And makes the ultimate sacrifice…)
    ROH TAKE NO PRISONERS: Tyler Black (Becoming a Star at 21)
    WWE ONE NIGHT STAND: The Undertaker (You Crazy Fuck)
    TNA SLAMMIVERSARY: Kaz vs. Petey (Stealing the Show)
    WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS: HHH (Silencing the Critics)
    TNA VICTORY ROAD: Alex Shelley and Yoshino (Stealing the Show)
    WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (The Art of the Story)
    ROH RESPECT IS EARNED II: Tyler Black (Stealing the Spotlight …Again)
    TNA HARD JUSTICE: AJ Styles and Kurt Angle (Last Man Standing)
    WWE SUMMERSLAM: Hell in a Cell (Edge and Taker do it again!)
    WWE UNFORGIVEN: Unsanctioned (Jericho and Michaels Deliver Again)
    TNA NO SURRENDER: Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal (Making Chicken Cordon Bleu out of Chicken Shit)
    ROH NEW HORIZONS: Tyler Black and Bryan Danielson (Just Doing What They Do Best)
    WWE NO MERCY: HHH, HBK, Jericho and Hardy (Hey ROH New Horizons, Great Idea, Double Main Event Delivery)
    TNA BOUND FOR GLORY: Angle vs. Jarrett (You Don’t Want Any Part of This Pain…)
    WWE CYBER SUNDAY: The Undertaker and The Big Show (The Big Guys Can Go)
    TNA TURNING POINT: Angle vs. Abyss (They’re Going to be Sore in the Morning…)
    ROH DRIVEN: Steen and Generico (YOU FINALLY DID IT BOYS!)
    WWE SURVIVOR SERIES: Edge’s Beard (It’s all the rage in hell this year…)

    And I’m out of here!

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    Larry Csonka

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