Class Is In Session: #NXT Review – Takeover

From artfire.com

From artfire.com

The show began with an excellent pre-show hype special hosted by Renee Young, Paul Heyman, and Christian. Christian was just kind of there but the chemistry between Renee and Paul was just off the page. These two have the potential to be the next Heenan/Okerlund if not the next Heenan/Monsoon (the highest level imaginable). Paul was definitely the star of the show as his analysis was spot on especially when establishing the stakes for Tyson Kidd in the main event. The pre-show in general was a hit and the pure sports feel was a welcome change to the clown show that is the Raw pre-show. If you a planning on watching Takeover on demand this week, do not skip over the pre-show as it is required viewing. (Kevin’s Edit: We might be known for publishing material late. This review is no different. We’ll be gunning for a more on time report, hopefully free of computer problems.)

As the pre-show was ending, viewers were treated to the arrival of Adam Rose and his entourage on the Experience bus. They danced their way into the building as the pre-show faded to black.

NXT Takeover began with an excellent historical video package and then went to Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and William Regal on commentary as Adam Rose and his entourage danced all the way into the arena for our opening match…

Adam Rose vs. Camacho

Rose was back at home at Full Sail University so he was mega over. Camacho has improved but considering how low he began, he still has a long way to go before even being slightly above average in the ring. The match was average at best but the crowd was totally into Rose as their returning cult hero so it was never boring. Rose won a short match with a cravat DDT he calls the Party Foul.

A video feature on Sami Zayn then aired where he spoke of his journey and the importance of his match. Good stuff again.

The Ascension vs. Kalisto (Samuray Del Sol) and El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez) (NXT Tag Team Championship)

This was a short match completely designed to show off the Ascension’s power moves and they were in there with the perfect opponents to do so. Kalisto and Local got very little so I do not know if they have a future together as a team after this. Local still has a bit of a gut on him so his moves were not as fluid as they should have been but the match was not about his team. The Ascension won with the Fall of Man high-low maneuver on Local.

Another very good video feature aired, this time on Tyler Breeze, who tried to get himself over as more than just a pretty face.

Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze

Best match on the show to this point by far. Sami was his usual great self and Breeze kept right up with him to create an exciting back-and-forth match with a lot of moves. There was argument from some pundits (cough Jeremy Maes cough) over whether they did too much in fact. I don’t agree as I believe a lot of leeway should be given to a spotlight match that is designed to get over the next top contender to the Heavyweight Championship. The only spot that was borderline too much was a suplex into a powerbomb from Zayn that got only a 2 count. If they had traded big spots for another 5 minutes then it would have been too much but from there they went right to the finishing sequence which was Zayn attempting his running boot in the corner and Breeze putting his arm up in such a manor that he “accidentally” crotched Zayn. While Zayn was doubled over, Breeze hit him with The Beauty Shot which is a spin kick that I can see the argument for being weak finish to a high impact match. Great match.

Next, Lana and Alexander Rusev came to the ring carrying a Russian flag. After Lana got the obligatory Putin reference out of the way, they were then interrupted by a flag waving Mojo Rawley. He charged at Rusev and was immediately overwhelmed and destroyed him ending the beating with 2 Accolade camel clutches, one in the ring and one on the floor at Lana’s command.

A great piece then aired on the Women’s Championship match focusing on family pride.

Paige arrived to that the Full Sail crown and wish the best of luck to both competitors in the Women’s Championship final.

Charlotte w/ Ric Flair vs. Natalya w/ Bret Hart ( NXT Women’s Championship)

Best match on the show and maybe one of the five greatest North American womens matches of all time. They did a perfect job building the drama of this match both in the ring and outside. This match was a labor of love for those involved and that is always a pleasure to see and that does absolutely translate to the audience in the arena and at home. The match finish came when the ladies were exchanging submission finishers. They did possibly the longest figure-4 reversal spot in history as they rolled from one end of the ring to the other rolling outside with with Charlotte still holding on as the referee counted to 5 for a break. Once back in the Charlotte put Nattie in the Sharpshooter right in Bret’s face. Nattie was able to use her last bit of strength to escape but that was all she had left as she fell prey to Charlotte’s Bow Down To The Queen for the win. After the match everyone exchanged hugs in an emotional scene as both Ric and Charlotte were in tears. The whole thing was phenomenal and worth $9.99 on its own.

Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd (NXT Championship)

Good match but it was not able to come close to the match that preceded it or reach the Zayn/Breeze match either. Following such exciting matches and the loser stigma attached to Kidd probably led to a less excited crown to close the show. To their credit, they used the stigma attached to Kidd as the story of the match and it built well. They got the crowd going again with a hot finishing sequence that saw Neville get the win with the Red Arrow corkscrew splash. After the match, a frustrated Kidd refused to shake Neville’s hand and stormed off.

Grades

Camacho – Improving steadily but still ways to go. Having a gimmick thats a copy of a copy, of copy, of a copy, etc. doesn’t help matters either. Grade: C

Adam Rose – He was in all his glory back at Full Sail but unfortunately they do not film Raw at Full Sail every week. The jury is still out as to whether his niche cult following can translate to big arenas across the world. That is also an issue with other cult NXT acts (see Emma). His in-ring was nothing special either which might be concerning for someone who spent so long in developmental. Grade: C+

The Ascension – Still a couple of green muscleheads without a lot of upside in my opinion. They were at their best tossing about smaller wrestlers here but they won’t always be in situations so specifically designed for them. Grade: C

Kalisto and Local – They didn’t get the opportunity to show much here and Local showed that he still hasn’t gotten the message about his physique. If this is the lowest weight he can naturally cut down to then all involved really need to think about his in-ring future. Grade: D-

Sami Zayn – What more can be said? He is a tremendously gifted performer who I’ve never seen in a bad match. Tonight his job was to get another man over while still keeping himself just as over as he came in and he did that in spades. Grade: A

Tyler Breeze – Breeze had a lot to prove here and I believe he succeeded in surpassing even the most optimistic expectations. He proved that he can go with the best and he is ready to challenge for the NXT Championship. Grade: A

Rusev/Lana – Basic stuff from them but I noticed an intensity from Rusev that has been missing on Raw and I am interested in seeing more that from him. Grade: B-

Mojo Rawley – I don’t get the Hype Man. He does nothing for me and him doing a low rent Jim Duggan impersonation was especially horrible. Grade: F

Natalya – I’m going to preface this by saying that I am not a Nattie fan at all. There is something about the way she carries herself, both in the ring and on Total Divas, that just makes her unlikeable to me. I won’t say much more than that because I’m not looking to take over the mantle as Stunt Granny’s resident “angry white man” (cough Jeremy Maes cough). That all out of the way; what a brilliant performance by Natalya here. She was the glue that held this match together and I don’t know if there is any other WWE Diva who could have lead Charlotte to that amazing of a match so early in her career. Grade: A+

Charlotte – She will be the most athletic diva of all time and in 5 years she will be the one leading the next great female athlete through her first great match. This show was much about her as anyone and she delivered a great performance beyond her years pro. Grade: A

Adrian Neville – He had a lot to follow so this was not a showcase night for him. He still put on a very good performance and was able to get an exhausted crowd back up one more time with his big moves in the homestretch. That is an accomplishment in its own right. Grade: B+

Tyson Kidd – This was a big night for him and, while I can’t say he blew me away, he performed well. The Tyson Kidd persona, as it stands, is damaged goods. But the guy is a talented performer and there may be potential for him as a heel if he can channel his legitimate professional frustrations into a new persona. A run as a Paul Heyman Guy could work for him (watch the post-show for more on this featuring a masterful performance from Heyman stirring things up between husband and wife). Grade: B

Overall Show – A fantastic show on all fronts. A show with 2 great matches, one very good match, great production, good announcing, and nothing offensive  gets a very high recommendation. Watch this show! Overall Grade: A – Chris

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Definitely Live & Half Assed Review of #WWE #Payback

payback grandmaSheamus comes out first even though he is defending the US Title. Paul Heyman comes out and quells the CM Punk chants. He then introduces Cesaro. JBL has it right that the WWE is happy about the early slugfest between the two. We get 10 Beats early in the match. Sheamus goes in for seconds. Cesaro nails an European Uppercut when Sheamus goes for a sling shot shoulder block. CEsaro only gets a two count when he suplexes Sheamus back into the ring. Double stomp from the ground by Cesaro. Irish Curse back breaker only gets Sheamus a two count. Sheamus drops a knee from the middle rope. He hits it three times. An uppercut turns things around for Cesaro. He hits the Super Uppercut. Tilt-a-whirl slam by Sheamus continues the back and forth. White Noise only gets a two count. Blackhawks score early. Chicago could be rocking tonight. Sheamus locks in the Cloverleaf as Pedro Alvarez drives two in for the Pirates. Cesaro Swing for the first time in a while. Cesaro takes time after the swing. Sheamus rolls him up for the win. It protects Cesaro a little bit but I still feel like they should have given him a win. I would have been really happy with both of them having easy wins at Payback then start a feud. It doesn’t help that roll ups are always weak especially after a smash mouth match.

For some reason, we have a Rybaxel vs Cody Rhodes & Goldust. They only had three matches planned for Payback so it’s going to be a guessing game the whole time. Axel gives Goldust a running knee that gets a two count early. Ryback comes in and out with him to continue the beating. Axel tries to keep Goldust from tagging but can’t do it. Rhodes gets Ryback reeling. Rhodes with a pair of drop kicks on Rybaxel. Cody goes for the Disaster Kick but gets tossed into Goldust. Cross Rhodes is nailed on Ryback but Axel makes the save. Rhodes goes for another Disaster Kick. Ryback catches him in Shellshock for the win. Cody tells Goldust that he needs a better tag team partner than himself. I wasn’t expecting anything that simple.

Lana comes out to introduce Alexander Rusev. Just in case you didn’t know who to root for, Big E Langston has gone to wearing red, white & blue tights. I wonder if these two had a lengthy feud in NXT and the WWE is hoping moving the feud to the main roster will spark both of them. Langston spears Rusev off the apron. A leg lariat slows down Big E. The Accolade for the win. Or maybe we’re going to see the demise of Big E.

It looked like Kofi Kingston was going to Bo-Lieve but Kane comes down to the ring. Kane attacks Kofi. He ends proceedings with a Tomb Stone. Nice of them to get us to the nine o’clock hour. All Kofi has to do to come back is Bo-Lieve. What a douche. Ha. No one cares that Hornswoggle got his hair cut.

RVD comes out to challenge for the Intercontinental Title against Bad News Barrett. I don’t care about this match. RVD should do the job in this match. A slow moving swinging neck breaker for Barrett only gets a one count. RVD drop kicked Barrett who was on the outside. RVD tossed Barrett into the barricade. RVD nails the cork screw leg drop from the apron. Barrett kicks RVD in the stomach after tossing him into the air. RVD turns it back around with the round house heel kick to the face. RVD misses the Frog Splash. Winds of Change side slam only gets Barrett two. Barrett hits the post with the elbow. RVD takes advantage with a DDT but still can’t get the three. Barrett nails the Bull Hammer Elbow for the win.

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#Smackdown Recap & Total Nonsense Analysis

zionbuffalo.org

zionbuffalo.org

I just wanted to mention before starting the Smackdown review that Impact Wrestling was not that terrible, until the very end when MVP turned on Eric Young. You have just spent the last several months saying the management won’t take advantage of the situation and MVP does just that. Ugh. You ruined a good ladder between the Wolves & the Bromans and generally other decent work.

– Sheamus defended his US Title against Dean Ambrose. Mitchell Cool embarrassed himself with his opinion. Ambrose may have lost the title under shady circumstances but as soon as he gets a singles match, that complaint is out the window. Dean Ambrose has done himself quite a bit of good to gain in ring credibility the last couple of weeks. He’s cranked up the “loose canon” movements which isn’t my favorite but I like what I’ve seen in the ring. Sheamus got the win, which is only right if the Shield is going to be tied up with Evolution.

– Rob Van Dam & Big E Langston took on Bad News Barrett & Cesaro. Big E got to lose to Cesaro in a hurry. I would not have expected that short of a match. I was thinking it’d get a commercial break.

– Alexander Rusev took on Kofi Kingston. I’m not disappointed I skipped Lana’s promo. The whole Eastern European gimmick isn’t working, let’s double down on it with the promos. The Accolade is applied in short order.

– Bray Wyatt implies he’s going to try and make Cena dark again. So we’re back to this part of the angle, huh? I’m still enjoying these promos. I  just don’t think the thought process for this feud is there.

– Fandango was off two weeks and I didn’t know. All I thought to myself when his mixed tag match with Layla El against Santino & Emma was announced was “How many straight weeks has this been on TV?” Layla got a distraction roll up pin for the win. She ends up kissing Fandango on the stage. According to Mitchell Cool, Summer Rae is supposed to be upset. Who would she come back with to extract revenge? She’s a heel still, right?

– Roman Reigns got to play tired against Mark Henry. A gigantic Samoan Drop by Reigns led to a spear which got him the win. That match wasn’t much longer than the others tonight.

– Another Los Matadores & El Torito vs 3MB (Drew McIntyre & Heath Slater) & Hornswoggle allows me to mention the weeLC match announcer getting in trouble for having John Cena talking to the Wyatt’s in his Instagram picture. I looked at that picture several times and didn’t notice them. I’m the observant type because they weren’t exactly hidden. El Torito pinned Heath Slater.

– Batista took on Seth Rollins. I love Batista bringing back the apron as a weapon. I have enjoyed it’s ridiculousness for a while now. I liked the match. Rollins went for broke and ate the announcers table for a Batista count out win. Now if only Randy Orton had gotten one of the two wins tonight, it would have been a better night for Evolution. I’m not sure you could pull that off though as soon as you tossed Sheamus into the equation. The Shield couldn’t go 0-3 so Orton can’t take on Reigns.

– The main event of John Cena & The Usos vs The Wyatt Family started with 10 minutes left in the show. This show was the worst night of wrestling in a while for the WWE. I don’t think anything was overly offensive but they haven’t featured on long match. The show opener (I haven’t been timing them) felt like the longest and it still didn’t feel that long. Jimmy was going for an unnecessary dive on an already fallen pile when Luke Harper catches him with the Discus Clothesline. Cool looking move but really dumb on his part.

 

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live’ Definitely Half Assed Review of #WWE #Raw

From Street Fighter the movie.

From Street Fighter the movie.

So I had to laugh that the first pay per view I could have watched on the WWE Network, last night’s Extreme Rules, ended up being a side show that I couldn’t do a post on because the Pittsburgh Penguins were playing the New York Rangers. Of course I’d have something else to watch when this PPV was on. I did keep an eye on the final four matches while watching the game but that didn’t give me a good feel for them. Since the Network has the ability to watch said PPV as soon as it is over, I did just that last night, this morning and at lunch to play catch up. Now I’ve got to play catch up on Raw with another game on tap tonight. Let’s see how far I can get before the 3rd period starts.

Dean Ambrose has to win a 20 Man Battle Royal to retain his US Title. Of course, JBL agrees (Next Day Note: I had ends in there. Wow. Brutal error.) this dumb decision. Jerry Lawler makes it worse by agreeing with JBL on battle royals being exciting. They’re not until there are 4 people left which is essentially a tag team match. Mitchell Cool is busying driving home the point that The Authority set up this match to weigh in. Three times in the opening three minutes isn’t quite enough because our attention spans are a maximum of sixty seconds. Big Show spanked Heath Slater who acted like Show got some taint. A segment. No surprise. Back after the game goes to overtime or is over. My boy Dolph Ziggler gets eliminated by Cobra. Yuck. Ryback, Curtis Axel, Sheamus, Jack Swagger & Dean Ambrose are alive. Axel gets back dropped out of the ring by Ambrose. It was silly that Ambrose won the slugfest with Ryback (on the ring apron). Good low drop kick to eliminate him though. Ambrose wiggles out of being tossed to eliminate Swagger. Sheamus nails Ambrose with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus tosses him to win the US Title. Not even Sheamus can bring prestige back to that belt without consistent defenses and being featured. HHH comes out after Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns try to calm Ambrose down. He announces a match between the Shield vs the Wyatt Family. How many times can we go to this well? I’m sure I’ll enjoy the match though.

Renee Young gets to interview Sheamus. He admitted that things haven’t gone as he’d have liked since returning from injury. He tells Dean Ambrose to have no hard feelings. (Next Day Note: Not exactly getting a warm & fuzzy feeling about the US Title from that short promo.) Brie & Daniel Bryan are interrupted by Stephanie McMahon. She warns them to stay put until their matches tonight. A Kane mask is on the back side of the door. Ominous!

RVD comes out for a singles match with Cesaro. The later is preceded by Paul Heyman. Rolling Thunder connects early so that Cesaro can get advice from Heyman. Good ploy on their part. Finishing off my Seventh Son Lost Sparrow Black IPA as a victory Sippy Time Beer. Pens 2-0. RVD keeps the offense going. A sling shot leg drop only gets a two count. I really hope this CM Punk chants stops. (Next Day Note: I heard it at least 2 more times last night. Chicago will not be any better next week.) Cesaro takes over by clothes lining RVD over the top rope. RVD leaped into an upper cut. Running, jumping upper cut in the corner by Cesaro. His triple gut wrench suplexes only get a two count. RVD  gets caught trying to monkey flip. RVD gets caught in the turn buckles. RVD got his foot out then put it back in. Cesaro gets DQed by going over board on RVD. Van Dam looks “clueless” as the medical staff tries to help him. (Next Day Note: I was thinking this feud had more potential for Cesaro than Jack Swagger. You can’t take back that triple threat match especially since it was elimination style. They could have planted the seeds last week then started on this feud. The problem with my idea is that RVD doesn’t get PPV money then.)

The Wyatt Family is in Albany. I will take this time right now to address anyone who thought that child last night with the voice alteration machine was creepy as fuck, I will be sure not to seek your opinion on scary movies. I would imagine that you never read our Walking Dead reviews because that be too much for you. (Next Day Note: Here is such an article. He claims to like slasher flicks. I call Bravo Sierra and revoke your man card.) John Cena should have kicked that kid right in the mush and walked out of the cage. Wyatt looks to be continuing this feud with Cena. Wyatt says that he is doing this for the children, a bunch or random groups and then the crowd. They boo which still makes me wonder why people sing along with him. Bray Wyatt is a god. Of course they sing. Why? I just heard you boo him. Boo him singing. He does it poorly enough to be booed. Though I think that’s part of the act so I don’t have a problem with it. (Next Day Note: Cena beat three men and lost to a little child. What else is there to explore in this feud?)

Cody Rhodes comes down with Goldust. Ryback was already in the ring with Curtis Axel. Cody is taking on Ryback in singles action. Ryback uses his power early. The announcers talk about the Rhodes Family slump. Ryback with a delayed suplex. JBL makes a good joke about Wyatt calling himself a god. (Next Day Note: I believe it was after Cool acted indignant that Bray Wyatt would do that. JBL’s response was “I don’t know anyone else who’d do that.” Why neither Cool or Lawler laughed is beyond me.) A Disaster Kick by Cody gets me into the match. Cody goes to the top rope. Goldust tries to stop Curtis Axel from interfering. Goldust gets pushed into the post which wobbles Rhodes. Ryback Shell Shocks Rhodes for the win. Daniel Bryan and Brie are in the room when the lights go out. They flee and run into Stephanie, who will bring their car around. How about firing Kane and not allowing him in the building if you can’t control him? Wouldn’t that be best for business?

Los Matadores & El Torito get to throw a Cinco De Mayo. They toss candy into the crowd. 3MB save us? They offer peace so that they don’t wreck their party. Everyone fights. No one is entertained. (Next Day Note: There’s a reason I didn’t highlight anyone in this segment.)

From Dailiywrestlingnews.com

From Dailiywrestlingnews.com

Alexander Rusev gets to beat Kofi Kingston. The amount of pictures Lana took before coming the WWE reminds me of the good old days when you could find soft porn pictures of almost all of the Divas. Kofi gets the feet up to stay in it. A cross body barely gets a one count. Kingston nails the fulcrum kick. Rusev “crushes” Kofi. Rusev gets Kofi to tap out to the Accolade. Daniel Bryan is paranoid as they get into a car. Stephanie has a heavy hand. (Next Day Note: I swear one of the writers watches Archer because they make fun of Lana Kane for having man hands all of the time.) She then tells them to wrestle their matches. Um, why did you offer to get their car then? (Next Day Edit: Why not have Stephanie tell them she’d get the car pulled around then not have it where it was supposed to be? Steph could say the valet screwed up and deny the trouble Kane has caused again.)

Alberto Del Rio gets to job to Daniel Bryan even though he’s sure to get distracted this match. Del Rio gets the early push. Bryan turns up the heat. A back cracker gets things turned around for Del Rio. He tosses Bryan against the barricade. As I watch this match, I can’t get a tweet from Mick Foley out of my head about this angle. He compared the angle with Kane & Bryan to the Kane & Zack Ryder skits. Del Rio softens up the arm with a four count arm pull. Bryan works over the knee. Del Rio drops Bryan on the barricade. Bryan with a  drop toe hold that lands Del Rio’s face into a turn buckle. Del Rio shoulders Bryan in the corner. He lays into Bryan with a clothes line. Bryan fights Del Rio off the top rope. Flying Goat head butt only gets two. Drop kicks in the corner by Bryan. Suicide dive by Bryan. Del Rio enziguris Bryan off the top rope. Del Rio takes too long going for the cross arm breaker. Bryan puts on the Yes Lock for the tap out win. Bryan & Brie run back stage. They get into the car but it won’t start. So you pop the hood first? Kane is in the back seat. Kane ends up on the hood of the car. Bryan drives a short distance away then checks on Kane who entirely too straight to fool anyone except Bryan. Bryan & Brie still drive away unharmed. I have no idea what Mick Foley is talking about. (Next Day Note: It also drove me nuts that Bryan has been shown as an environmentalist on Total Divas but they decided to give him a Lincoln Continental for some reason.)

Big E Langston is taking on Bad News Barrett again. The Intercontinental Title is somehow being defended on Raw. Big E is on the offense early. After Big E beats him up outside the ring, he tosses him back in. Big E shoulder blocks a steel post when Barrett dodges. Big E barely beats a ten count. The crowd is sitting on their hands. They finally break after I anticipate it during the count. Barrett misses a high kick. Big E turns it around. Barrett gets the knees up on the splash. Big E gets kneed trying for a running shoulder block. Big E runs into Barrett. Big E spears Barrett through the ropes. A pair of over head suplexes by Big E. Barrett rakes the eyes. Barrett nails the Bull Hammer Elbow for the win. I still have some hope for Big E after that match. Not a complete burial. (Next Day Edit: I can’t wait for Barrett to get the same de-push Big E got after winning the title.)

From crazy-einstein.com Exotic roses didn't look as cool.

From crazy-einstein.com Exotic roses didn’t look as cool.

Zeb Colter comes out with Jack Swagger who is wearing a Bigg Hoss zip up sweater. He debuts the deportation list. Adam Rose shows up with his Exotic Express. He stages falls into them. They carry him around the ring. Rose dances around them. He wants Zeb to be a Rose Bud. Does this ridiculousness happen every time this guy comes out? It’ll get obnoxious but it’s a good introduction.

The Shield taking on the Wyatt Family is the main event. All three fight to start but Erick Rowan & Dean Ambrose end up starting the match. Luke Harper ended up pairing off with Seth Rollins. Roman Reigns comes in to share in the beat down. Rollins ends up back in the ring to sell for the Wyatts. It would make sense for the Shield to favor Rollins & Reigns. They try to push Main Event for John Cena’s response to the Wyatts. I won’t watch. Ambrose gets the hot tag against Rowan. Ambrose nails the middle rope sling shot clothes line. The teams face off three on three. Ambrose & Harper are in the ring. Ambrose ends up taking more of a beating because we can’t have Reigns sell yet. Rollins nails the senton over the top rope. Rollins hits a combo in the corner. Standing shooting star press. Rollins gets pushed off the top ropes. What a ballsy move. Looked pretty safe. Harper nails a suicide dive. Bray Wyatt charges into Rollins in a corner. Ambrose gets tossed into the announce table. Rollins gets Harper off the top ropes. Rollins gets to hot tag Reigns. He gets to take out Wyatt first. Reigns shouldn’t jump to clothes line. It looks better than Kofi’s but it’s still stupid and unnecessary. Everyone brawls in the ring. Ambrose & Rollins take out Harper & Rowan. Superman Punch by Reigns. Evolution comes out. Ambrose & Rollins nail another pair of suicide dives. Superman punch on HHH. Wyatt takes advantage and cross bodies Reigns in the stomach. Sister Abigail’s Kiss for the win. Evolution attacks the Shield. Lawler busts out the battle/war analogy. (Next Day Note: So why didn’t Evolution win with some under handed tactics at Extreme Rules if this feud is going to continue?). – Kevin

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

hanging-tents-for-rock-climbers-1I’m hoping to get some extra sleep tonight. I’m not feeling the best. Hopefully I’ll get the illness bug out of my system so I don’t have to worry about it at Wrestlemania. When checking for images related to sleeping, it caught my eye when I saw “Sleeping while rock climbing.” That’s where the image above comes from. That’d be fun to do once. I slept in a tree house for my honeymoon so this isn’t that far from the pail.

Hulk Hogan comes down and shills for the WWE Network. We get the first annual 30 Man Andre the Giant Battle for a trophy. Memphonites? John Cena saves us. He shills for Hogan and the match. Cena then joins it. The Wyatts are here. Maybe they’ll save the segment. I dig his promo. Calling himself a god is pretty ironic considering the pride talk. Cena comes back with the jokes about the same subject. Better than normal for his jokes. Cena challenges him to a match at Wrestlemania. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan step onto the apron. Commercial.

Cena is in a match with Rowan. Hogan is a Cena cheerleader. Rowan is using his size to his advantage. Cena wins with a roll up out of the blue. What a weak win. Harper & Rowan pretend like they’re going to go after Cena & Hogan but the Wyatts back away.

Stephanie & HHH come out to the stage. She is really doing well with the smug quality. They are being kind and not firing Daniel Bryan. They want an apology from him though. Short and sweet. The New Age Outlaws come out to do commentary. Very choppy start to the show.

Curtis Axel & Curtis Axel are in the ring. The Usos hit the ring. Then replays of last week. Road Dogg claims that the NAO were under the weather during their loss. U-SO! It’s kind of cool that they’re finisher is the flying tag and Samoan splash combo. Kane talks to the Shield. He wants to know if they’re disposable. Reigns & Rollins are going to take on Cody Rhodes & Goldust. Rollins gives Kane some guff about his losses. The chop continues.

Jack Swagger is taking on Big E Langston again. Zeb Colter & Cesaro are at ring side. Big E wants in on the Battle Royal at Wrestlemania. I’m glad that is over shadowing the match. Belly to Belly suplex gets my attention. Swagger takes out Big E’s knee. Swagger distracts the ref and asks for Cesaro‘s help which doesn’t help. Swagger had said at the start the match that “I’ve got this.” Big E rolls up Swagger for the win. Zeb Colter watches them bicker like school girls. Zeb blows his stack. Swagger & Cesaro shake but Cesaro puts in an extra squeeze.

The Undertaker allows me to catch up a little bit. Paul Heyman shows up before he can say anything. Heyman gives us a break down of winning streaks at Wrestlemania. He asks Taker not to wrestle Brock at Wrestlemania so that everyone can worship the streak and Taker longer. “The fear of the unknown is the greatest of all.” Sure Taker, sounds great in that voice. Rest In Peace. At some point tonight, I’ll have a long paragraph. (Next Day Note: It’s kind of funny how I can complain about the usual 15 minute segment then complain when they change it up. It would have helped if I would have cared about any of these segments. I like a lot of people in these segments but everything was too short.)

Seth Rollins starts against Cody Rhodes. Cody face plants Rollins. Goldust takes over. Downward Spiral by Rollins into the middle turn buckle. Roman Reigns gets his start in the match. Goldust showing off the twisting cross body block. Cody does him one better by doing a spring board cross body. Commercial. Lawler tried to put over a power Samoan Drop by Reigns. I’m not buying it. Samoan Leap drop kick. Reigns starts playing with Goldust. Power slam by Goldust doesn’t quite get the hot tag. Rollins is in to fight a hot tagged Cody. Moonsault gets a two count. Cody with a Muscle Buster.  He stole that from Samoa Joe! (Next Day Note: I can’t believe this isn’t a Twitter beef yet.) Goldust gets speared. Rollins reverses out of the Cross Rhodes. Rollins finishes him off with the buckle bomb & Curb Stomp combo. A good match breaks up the chop even with a commercial.

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Random NXT: The Arrival Thoughts

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The opening match of NXT Arrival made absolute sense. There was no way this match was going to disappoint and really it was bound to upstage anything else on the card. Placing it first with plenty of buffer matches in between allowed the Women’s Title match as well as the NXT Title match to still make an impact.

Wow, that was just great stuff. Cesaro winning never seemed like a forgone conclusion even though he has been heavily featured on WWE programming. Sami Zayn is going to do big things when he gets the call up and after that match it seems like a forgone conclusion he will be up sometime after WrestleMania.

Thus starts the “Not ready for the big show” part of the event.

Mojo Rawley has the look of Nikoli Volkoff. That works for the 80’s but now it makes him bland. His gimmick of the over excited, hyped, frat brother isn’t going to work in the big show but it does make him standout in the smaller NXT.

CJ Parker’s promos crack me up but the overall gimmick will get lost like Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. Yeah I used Reks because they both have dreads.

William Regal is awesome.

The Ascension; yuck name. What does The Ascension even mean as a tag team name? Their gimmick is right out of that awkward transition period between the early 90’s and late 90’s. Pairing them with Too Cool though made both men look huge and absolutely intimidating. Despite the criticism this was a solid, formula tag team that did its job in showcasing The Ascension. With the right tweaking they could be up on the main stage soon enough.

There was something totally different about Stephanie McMahon. Her character was totally different and dare I say she looked like she was totally enjoying herself? Oh and maybe basking in a tad bit of pride over her husband’s baby.

William Regal is awesome.
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Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

frozen-beerSo I didn’t end up getting a new refrigerator until Saturday. I tried to get the old fridge repaired but when that failed, I had to go for the new one. After checking out the appropriate outlet stores, I made a purchase. The delivery came two hours late. Oh The humanity! Ha ha ha. The fridge has been restocked. I’m just glad my beers have finally unfrozen. Luckily none of them got to the state of the beer above. Time to watch some wrestling. Let’s roll.

Betty White and Big Show lead off the show. She’s going to kick ass tonight. (Next Day Note: No one is shocked she didn’t.) HHH then big foots her. How dare he! Doesn’t he know who she is? (Please note the heavy dose of sarcasm.) Before Steph can say anything, Randy Orton comes down. She gets to bring the condescension. Orton apologizes to them. It’s coming from his heart. Ha. Orton wants more TV time on other shows. Daniel Bryan comes out. Steph lays down the law. Bryan wants a match with Kane. He insults Steph & HHH. Randy Orton gives their rebuttal. HHH gives Bryan a rest. He’s getting a well deserved day off. Ha. I agree with JBL. It’s good to give your stars a rest.

Rey Mysterio is teaming with Cody Rhodes & Goldust against the Wyatt Family. Good win for Bray Wyatt on Smackdown. That’s the kind of credibility that would have helped me believe his win against Daniel Bryan. Erick Rowan starts against Rhodes. Goldust gets a quick tag. Luke Harper takes over. I love that Rey Mysterio sliding spot. It’s ridiculous. Goldust is still being beat down after the break. Bray Wyatt comes to continue the offense. Goldust power slams Harper to get Rey into the match. 619 to Harper. Wyatt pulls Rey from a spring board attempt. Rey goes for a 2nd 619 when Bray Wyatt makes a blind tag, I guess? Wyatt turns the run into a Sister Abigail. Kind of cool. Follow the buzzards.

The Shield gets the recap video. Renee Young gets to interview them. She starts with questioning Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins gets a short talk. Dean Ambrose gets questioned about defending the US title. After Reigns questions his manhood, Ambrose makes an open challenge. Vickie Guerrero, The Bellas and Natalya get their time with Betty White get their time until the Road Dogg & Billy Gunn take her away.

Fandango is in the ring with Summer Rae to start us off. He’s taking on Santino Marella with Emma. It seems like a good way to introduce her character which seemed weird to start with. Keeps Santino fresh with someone new to play off. The Miz complains on the head sets again. He’s like Bad News Barrett except slightly different. The circus surrounding the match made me forget one was going on. Fandango with the top rope leg drop for the win. Byron Saxton is back? Why? More faces for the WWE Network? Sheamus points out the obvious that he can still main event Wrestlemania if he wins the Elimination Chamber. Fair enough promo.

Christian is Sheamus’s partner against the Real Americans. They snuck back into the WWE. Antonio Cesaro finally gets some mic time. He’s going to be the WWE Champion. Not much of a promo. Zeb Colter makes Jack Swagger wait on the apron to start the match. Swagger gets an early tag anyway. Christian gets in enough offense to get Sheamus in. I dig the fighting between Cesaro & Sheamus. Cesaro tosses Sheamus outside. Swagger drags down Sheamus. Cesaro takes advantage. We get a break. They’re still going at it. Christian gets the hot tag. Cesaro ends the streak with a super upper cut. Swagger gator rolls him. Swagger bomb followed by the double stomp. Big Swing tosses Christian outside the ring. Christian barely beats the count. Quick pin doesn’t work. Sheamus gets the real hot tag. Swagger is on the end of the ass kicking. No surprise given the present story line. Cesaro makes the save for Swagger. Jack turns the distraction into a Patriot Lock. Christian makes the save. Brogue Kick. Sheamus brings Christian back in to celebrate. John Cena gets Renee Young’s second interview. He’s going to beat Randy Orton in the middle of the ring. Everyone needs to go through him to get to the WWE Championship.

My Avery Brewing Company Karma is quite cold. And tasty. #SippyTimeBeer. I buzz through the Batista bomb Youtube clips and the entrances of both Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. Ziggler gets to show off early in the match. Fame Asser only gets a two count. Thrust kick to the head ends the match in short order. Wow Dolph, you are out. Cross arm breaker on Ziggler after the match brings out Batista in ring gear. Spear. The Animal tosses Del Rio into the barricade. Batista Bomb thru the announce table.

HHH runs into Batista. HHH wants Batista to keep it in the ring. HHH gives him a match against Del Rio at Elimination Chamber. The third Hall of Fame entrant is Lita. Cool. The New Age Outlaws are still hanging out with Betty White. They’re having tea. She does the cup switch-a-roo. I’m in stitches. (Sarcasm alert.)

The New Age Outlaws are now at ring side. The Usos come out. They are taking on Curtis Axel & Ryback. The Usos are on the attack early. Billy Gunn still gets to play dumb. Woof. The Goldberg chant makes no sense at this point. I’ve been paying more attention to the ramblings of Road Dogg. Jimmy flies over the top ropes and takes out Ryback so that Jey can splash Curtis Axel for the win. Slick finish. Gunn pretends he has to poop. Oh, she put something in it. Even funnier. (You get it by now, right?)

Dean Ambrose is in the ring when Mark Henry answers his challenge. Rollins & Reigns get out of the ring for formal introductions. Ambrose acts defiant. He has to deal with Henry’s power to start. He tries to take advantage of the elbow injury but it doesn’t work. Ambrose got tossed into a ring post. Ambrose takes off his brace. Henry tosses Ambrose outside with his good arm. Break. Ambrose is still working over Henry’s elbow. Ambrose goes for his finisher. Henry pushes him off and gives him a World’s Strongest Slam on the rebound. Seth Rollins interferes to get a DQ. Reigns spears Henry to put him out of the picture. The Wyatts are here. The Shield comes back over the barrier. The Wyatts come closer. The Shield step up to the apron. The Wyatts reply. Then they back out like the heels should do. Bray is saying “Make your move” as he holds his arms out.

My ring time will be "Girl Bye" when Naomi gets back. From zimbio.com

My ring time will be “Girl Bye” when Naomi gets back. From zimbio.com

Bobo Brazil gets the tribute for Black History Month. Ernie Ladd inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame. Brie & Nikki Bella are teaming with Cameron. Nikki starts against AJ Lee. Mitchell Cool acknowledges Naomi’s eye socket injury. I remember the initial reports but never remembered seeing a recovery time frame. Middle rope drop kick gets two for Brie. Aksana is kneeing Brie’s back. She didn’t mess up her spine. Alicia Fox gets her time in the ring. Mitchell Cool says “She’s improved, hasn’t she?” as Cameron botches a move. JBL seconds the point. Woof. DDT on Aksana for the Cameron win. Wow. She’s a complete train wreck that deserves to be a reality show like Total Divas. She’s awful in the ring.

Alexander Rusev is impressive. At least they’ve thrown things off by making him from Bulgaria instead of Russia. Kane comes down to the ring. Kane starts to apologize when Daniel Bryan hits the ring. Bryan drop kicks him over the barrier.

They get Betty White on TV one last time to say she was on. John Cena takes on Randy Orton start with 25 minutes left on my DVR. They start off slow, tipping off to me that they’ll use most of that time. Cena starts a slugging come back shortly after the break. He misses a flying shoulder tackle. Orton lets Cena get back up to the apron. Suplex on the way into the ring. Vicious looking DDT by Orton only gets a  two count. Garvin Stomp. Cena makes the full come back. Five Knuckle Shuffle. Orton back breaker out of the AA. Cena back drops Orton out of the ring. Orton power slam but Orton show boats long enough to cost himself. Tower DDT from the top rope. Orton yells at the crowd. Cena turns an RKO into an STF.  Orton gets to the ropes. Orton backs up to go for the punt. Cena  goes for the AA. RKO by Orton. Cena kicks out. AA but Orton kicks out. I’m thinking this is better than their match at the Rumble. Orton fights out of a Top Rope AA. Cena leg drop to the back of the head. Another AA for the win. Fun stuff. Nothing after it either. Cool. – Kevin

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