Uh Oh, It Is @WWE Release Day.

game-of-thrones

Spoiler alert!

It is axe day for WWE as six World Wrestling Entertainment competitors found out.  Apparently once you are released you are no longer classified as a superstar, you are now a competitor; interesting. (UPDATE: This has been changed to Superstars on wwe.com) Using updates from WWE.com and Prowrestling.net, WWE has parted ways with Brodus Clay, Teddy Long, Camacho, Evan Bourne, Curt Hawkins, Aksana and Yoshi Tatsu.  Without reading the headline I hit up Kevin and made a guess. I named Yoshi, Aksana and Curt Hawkins the rest couldn’t have been more wrong. The fact I was having a hard time remembering most of the lower tier talent goes along with the non-surprise involved in these releases.

When you name the title of your post “Six notable talent cuts” shouldn’t at least one of the names be considered notable? Teddy Long hasn’t been on TV in quite a while and I believe Shahid and I discussed his whereabouts not too long ago. Teddy isn’t what you would be considered a young man so this could be a mutual decision. Regardless it is in WWE’s best interest ad they have a glut of authoritative characters on their programming despite the recent on air firings and changes.

Brodus Clay is a stumper, not for the fact he has been released but the very fact he made the most of a dumb gimmick and made money out of it. Wouldn’t WWE be interested in keeping someone with that sort of talent? The Funkasaurus gimmick was perfect for the kids. It was goofy enough that the usually sullen and angry internet audiences eventually came around due to his catch phrases and Naomi’s ass.

Naomi

pop-break.com

The more the character got over the less he appeared on television. He then went through a terrible heel turn and disappeared. He made a final appearance in NXT and that was it. Poof, gone. The argument can be made that he should have been used as a bad ass monster and it will be valid. A confusing career in WWE though is over for now with potential still remaining.

Here is the mean part of this all; Camacho, Evan Bourne, Curt Hawkins and Yoshi Tatsu; farewell. As a fan they never connected. As a business none of them fit above the jobber position outside of Evan Bourne. They were all bland outside of Evan Bourne who wouldn’t stop smoking pot and then repeatedly was injured. He had profitable look and gimmick and it was all for nothing.  Yoshi Tatsu may have been good in the ring but as history dictates, without a mouthpiece a foreign wrestler does not go far. Fair or not that is how WWE conducts business.

Poor, poor Aksana she deserved much better.  After her Monday night it seemed like there was something up. She seemed genuinely surprised by what happened. Maybe she is that good of an actress or maybe it was a rib on her. Regardless she was a barely utilized talent as well. I will miss her even if she was but a whisper on WWE programming. She had a different look than the other Divas. She had a feminine if muscular look and those eyes. Oh those eyes.

Apparently more cuts are coming. Sheesh, this hasn’t happened in a while.   -Jeremy

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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

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Review of @WWE #Raw1000

As Jeremy so eloquently put it, tonight starts my descent into madness. No, not the Aurora variety madness but the kind that makes me want to throw my lap top against a wall kind of madness. Tonight will likely be a very good, packed show. The writing will fall apart after tonight though. As for the poll below, I voted for “It doesn’t matter, the title was rendered meaningless long ago.” I’m not sure it was a long time ago but I had been long harping on the meaninglessness of the IC, US, Tag Team & Women’s Title. For some reason, since main event level guys held the belt, I didn’t think about it being meaningless. It is though. Mostly because as another choice point out “It doesn’t matter, John Cena is basically “the champ” anyway.” So, CM Punk may be merch champ and putting on spectacular matches, but you can tell the WWE doesn’t really favor him. Or even Sheamus. Enough editorial, time to do it during the review.

And just so you know, this is our 1850 post. Beat that WWE! We get a retrospective of Raw. It was a nice enough video package. Vince McMahon comes out first. I didn’t listen to his special email message that he sent out. Why is the chairman introducing Degeneration X? I’m guessing everyone else on the internet asked this question. They’re rebels who don’t, aw, you get it right? Even the video package accompanying their entrance seems lame. Shawn Michaels acts out of breath and really stupid. HHH checks for his underwear too. They introduce Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X Pac. Gunn & Michaels get cutesy with another line. Damien Sandow interrupts the proceedings. You aren’t going to save us. We’re going to get this dreck for the rest of the three hours tonight and in the future. What did I type earlier? This episode would be fine? I’m taking that back already. They still have two words for us. Yuck. Time to get drunk.

I miss Jim Ross coming out because I wanted to get cake for my girl. Wink, wink. Rey Mysterio comes out before he can say a word. He’s teaming with the botch machine Sin Cara. Sheamus is on the team too. We can’t have too many matches tonight so let’s have huge tag team matches! Chris Jericho is still a heel by being on their team. Dolph Ziggler is out the chute next then Alberto Del Rio. Then a commercial.

Ziggler starts off against Sin Cara. Oh, by the way, no animosity between Mitchell Cool and Ross. Stupidity central. My vote is Jericho costing Ziggler and his team the match. Looks like Ziggler is going to cost Jericho the match. Sheamus wins with the Brogue Kick. Not much of a match. What? JR is only calling one match? Fuck off WWE.

Why an I watching these dumb videos? I still don’t care about Tout. Charlie Sheen is hosting from Las Vegas. I’m glad he can Skype so we can plug something else. I buzzed through the replay of AJ & Daniel Bryan from last week. AJ then gets to talk to Layla. Of course dumb shit is happening outside of their locker room door. Kill me. The hand is grown up. Shouldn’t it be half black? Mark Henry was the father.

Sonic gets pimped. Why would wrestling be important during the 1000 Raw? Jack Swagger gets to lose to the Funkasaurus. Another match that doesn’t matter. Shazam app. Clay gets to introduce Dude Love. Splat was an accurate description from Cool. Swagger gets the Mandible Claw with the mandatory gullet use. Trish Stratus gets to talk yoga to HHH. We’re supposed to laugh again. We don’t.

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WWE #Smackdown Spoilers – Cbus Edition

Smackdown spoilers. It's gross to show spoiled food.

So not to be a complete ass with spoilers, I will put Smackdown information below the Read More button. I do think that spoilers for NXT and Superstars is fair game in my estimation. I’ll post my Tweet (if you happen to not follow us @Stuntgranny) then any additional information that I can provide.

Tweet #1. – The parking lot isn’t much more crowded than last year’s #Smackdown I parked in spot 71 #GenoforHart (Post Show: So Geno is Evgeni “Geno” Malkin from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The guy was already my favorite Penguin. Then he decided to hoist the team on his surgically repaired knee and be the top scorer in the NHL. The Hart Trophy is for the best player in the league during the regular season. He’s the man.)

Tweet #2. – I go to my seat just for the beginning #NXT It’s a tag team special. (Post Show: the parking being more crowded did lead to extra people in the audience. Definitely not close to the 18,000+ in Cleveland for Raw.)

Tweet #3 & #4. – The Usos are taking on Darren Young & Titus O’Neil. The Usos won. They looked pretty sloppy themselves. Hm, wonder why they aren’t getting TV time? (Post show: I still dig the haka dance from the Usos but they were worse in the ring than Young & O’Neil. No surprise Tamina broke away from these losers.)

Tweet #5 & #6. – Percy Watson & Alex Riley are taking on Curt Hawkins & Tyler Rex. Who’s the coach in the 2nd group? Reks & Hawkins win after a top rope elbow by Curt. (Post Show: Not sure what to add to this match. Nothing happening for people who have been on the pay roll for a while.)

Tweet #7 & #9 – Derrick Bateman & hot blonde whose name I should remember because she hung with AJ will take on Johnny Curtis & some English chick. Maxine is Curtis’s woman. (Post Show: Thanks to @lecroy24fan who has a better memory, Kaitlyn is the blonde. Maxine was with Johnny Curtis. I should have noticed her too since I watched the Diva’s season of NXT before they went strictly online.)

Tweet #8 – McGillicuty & Tyson Kidd are feuding. Promos break down into a brawl. (Post show: No surprise these guys aren’t on either of the big shows either. I love Kidd’s in ring work but his promos still stink.)

Tweet #10 – I’m just to the camera left of the announcers in the 4th row. We’ll see if I get some TV time. (Post Show: They only taped two segments in my area. I tried to get on. I even pointed at my phone with the Stuntgranny.com home page up. I doubt I’ll be seen despite the proximity to the ring.)

Tweet #11 – Dude beside me thinks Maxine is a man’s name. He’s got to be brain power deficient. (Post Show: His buddy was on of those “Title Belt Guys”. Yikes. Plus, the dude wanted to blow and/or have sex with Santino. He also loved screwing with the five year old in front of us. His mom was pretty hot. anyway, it takes a lot for a twenty something year old to mess with a five year old’s mind.)

Tweet #12 & #13 – Bateman & Kaitlyn pick up a quick victory. Let’s just say Kaitlyn is mildly attractive live. @DustyGiebink I’ll pass along your new number (Post Show: The only person I saw tonight that was hotter than Kaitlyn was one of the waitress’s at Gallo’s. Smoking. The both of them. Sorry Dusty, I didn’t get a chance to pass along your number, or even my own.)

Tweet #14, 15 & 16 – Justin Gabriel is taking on for Hunico with his man servant Camacho. My Kashi Go Lean is wreaking havoc on my intestinal track. Maybe I should let a few rip to clear out my section. Hunico put a thumping on Gabriel. (Post Show: I wreaked havoc on my section later. No one seemed to care despite the fact that I grossed myself out a little bit. I didn;t think Hunico would win. I think both guys have the whole package. they just need someone to get behind them.)

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Master thief steals only $50,000 from WWE.

Master thief

Look it is a slow news day. How can you tell? Well this inane story is getting a mention. Some thing, supposedly a man, stole $50,000 from WWE. From Newstimes.com, James Dewayne Bass (Not Nicole Bass), who also goes by Kelly Monique is the culprit.

James Dewayne Bass, also known as Kelly Monique, 34, of Prospect, Tenn., was charged with first-degree larceny and four counts of second-degree forgery.

The suspect is being held in lieu of $35,000 bond and was to be arraigned at state Superior Court in Stamford on Thursday.

The bail on this seems rather small considering it stole $50,000. Shouldn’t it just be able to say, “I got this.” Toss down a wad of cash and trounce on out? The article says it bought a bunch of goods over the Internet and phone but there is no way it spent all $50,000. At least I would hope not.

The real story here is the fact WWE found that they were missing $50,000. A company that rakes in millions a year and some book nerd discovered such a small amount was missing? This person deserves a raise immediately. They saved WWE what amounts to a downside guarantee for Camacho and that frugal work should not go unnoticed. -Jeremy

Kevin’s Blog: A Review of #Smackdown & De Facto #EliminationChamber Preview

This is more of a preview than a review.

They started with Daniel Bryan/Big Show/Randy Orton recap. Orton starts out in Teddy Long‘s office. Teddy can’t let Orton wrestle because of his concussion. He tells him it’s tonight or the Elimination Chamber. Injuries happen so may as well use it. The Big Show & the Great Khali are taking on Cody Rhodes & Wade Barrett. Good way to get all of the Chamber participants on TV even if Bryan was only in the preview.  Wade Barrett’s push against Orton is officially dead. Big Show destroys Barrett & Khali. Teddy Long says that Orton’s out of the Elimination Chamber. Mark Henry wants to be put in it. Big Show comes in and asks for Daniel Bryan tonight. Henry tells him to take his turn. Big Show drops him. Big Show destroys his office. They are really selling Show. He’s doing good work. Before I get to far, be sure to check out Dusty & Matt’s audio about TNA below. I doubt I’m getting to that review. I will watch it before Elimination Chamber, I hope.

Teddy Long wants security to politely take Big Show out of the building because of Big Show’s threats. Ted DiBiase takes on Hunico again. Ted has a soft cast now. Hunico gets a cheap win with Camacho’s help. Nice little undercard stuff. It’s got squat to do with the PPV though.

They did the usual replay of HHH/UT/Shawn Michaels. That has nothing to do with the PPV. Unless HHH makes it official there. The tag team match with the Usos versus Rosa Mendes with I suppose Primo & Epico may get repeated on the Elimination Chamber if they think they don’t have enough filler for the show. Back Stabber for the win. Daniel Bryan comes to the ring smiling after it is announced Big Show has voluntarily left.

Daniel Bryan has the stick. We get replay of Monday again. Bryan brags about continuing to win. He tells the crowd he proved them wrong by winning the title. I just hope he doesn’t sink when he loses the title belt. Bryan has a strong run going here. Bryan should note that he’ll be champion at Wrestlemania like he claimed so many months ago. Bryan wants Lilian to announce him as the winner of the match. What a dick move. OK, there’s the missing Teddy. Sheamus is the happy volunteer replacement for Orton. Good way to get him involved in this mix since he’s been on standby for and through the Elimination Chamber. Cena versus Kane preview video package. Plus for a go home show.

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Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of #Smackdown

Second review of the night.

Let’s keep rolling after a small break to watch Minnesota at Denver on the NBC Sports Network. Yep, I even watch college hockey.

Sheamus starts me off for the second part of the double header. History tells us one of the titles will change hands. Sheamus has always fought against the bullies whether it was in school or in the WWE. Wade Barrett comes out before we get a dumb Irish story. Barrett is going to win the Elimination Chamber. So, when does everyone else come down? Cody Rhodes is the next one out. Then the Big Show. I mean, what can you really say about spots like this? It does the trick but no one gets enough mic time to do much. Rhodes ripping on Show was pretty funny. Show & Sheamus toss the heels from the ring. I smell a tag team match.

For some reason, as Jinder Mahal gets worse, he gets more bullshit. We don’t care about the headdress or the plexiglass box it’s in. He takes on Khali for his spot in the EC. I hope Jeremy liked this squash match. We got replay of Mark Henry’s suspension. Aksana is hitting on Teddy when we go “live”. Daniel Bryan interrupts. Bryan goes vegan on Teddy for his barbeque party. Teddy uses JR’s sauce. Teddy does a great job. Not sure why he isn’t on Raw. He’s a babyface guy that for the most part calls it down the middle.

Beth Phoenix takes on Alicia Fox. Booker is calling Beth peerless. Did they suddenly forget about Tamina? She hits the ring to save Alicia. They have a nice little face off. The announcers are even selling a respect angle. Best Diva’s story since the original break of Kharma.

If you don’t think I FF thru the Rock review, you haven’t read this review before. Such a time saver to watch Smackdown afterwards. Natalya is getting nervous. What, they’re going with her farts really stink angle? Really, pretty much after a good Diva’s angle?

Another dumb entrance sequence. Big Show before the commercial break then Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett & finish with Sheamus. I get it as far as popping the crowd before & after the break though. Still think it’s weird. Mitchell Cool makes a good point saying you need to believe in yourself. Booker was trying to say Cody couldn’t be dual champion. If he’s entrant #5 or #6, why wouldn’t he? Booker then says you need to believe how good you are between the ropes. Sheamus doing a roll up on Barrett was very uncharacteristic of his offense. Commercial break.

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