Eric’s blog: My own WWE Power 25 on the Road to WrestleMania

"Well, mon, at leest dis gurl likes me, yah."

As a ticket-holding ticket-holder for WrestleMania XXVII (well, as soon as I pay Jeremy, anyway), I’m concerned with the somewhat-thin WWE roster leading up to the company’s biggest annual event. Do I think I’ll see an entertaining show? Absolutely. Do I think it’ll be one of the most star-studded WrestleManias of all time? God, no. With the threat of injuries that might not completely heal and potential special guests who might not be able to appear, I’m left wondering who’ll show up, what those people will do, and who WWE will try to dig out of the woodwork to make this year’s WrestleMania feel as special as the rest (except WMXI).

With that, I want to take a look at the top 20 WWE wrestlers who will make the most impact at WrestleMania (in part to show how sad the lower half of this list is), and suggest five acts that would help boost the perception of 2011’s showcase of the “immortals.”

Babyfaces:

1) John Cena. WrestleMania tickets would sell out without Cena on the card, but that’s because tickets go on sale so far in advance of the show. However, a modern-day WrestleMania without John Cena wouldn’t draw more than 600,000 pay-per-view buys. Watch that hip, Cena!

2) Randy Orton. He’s the second-most wildly over babyface on the roster, and he’s in the title mix. Having Orton at WrestleMania is an absolute necessity.

3) Undertaker. Over the past 4-5 years, Undertaker’s win streak has arguably been WrestleMania’s biggest draw. Without the threat of that streak ending, WrestleMania loses a major, major point of interest.

4) Triple H. He’s been gone long enough where his return will feel special. And he’s such a respected veteran that his presence is practically required at this show, given the lack of grizzled old-timers on WWE’s roster. Pardon the strange analogy, but Hunter is to WrestleMania now what Andre the Giant was 20 years ago: a special attraction.

5) Edge. The World Heavyweight Champion is No. 5 on my list, but that shows the lack of importance of that belt on this year’s show. We’re all so worried about Miz entering WrestleMania with the WWE Title that anyone could hold Smackdown’s big belt and no red flags would rise. But Edge is another veteran (is it just me, or does he still not really feel like one?) who must be counted on to put on a fine match at WM27.

6) Big Show. You’d think Big Show-to-Andre the Giant would be the more appropriate analogy here, but I like the idea of Triple H-as-spectacle (and let him fade away) and Big Show in a real feud here. That said, his mini-feud with Floyd Mayweather was a big draw for WM24, and I could see WWE digging up someone special for Show to face this year.

7) Rey Mysterio. WWE will already have burned through Rey’s feud with Alberto del Rio by this point, and without the proper build of a potentially awesome opponent like Tyson Kidd or the recently released Kaval, I don’t know who he’d wrestle that would set the world en fuego.

8 ) John Morrison. Obviously WWE is behind this guy, and the crowd reaction for him continues to grow. I think his station in life is perennial Money in the Bank challenger, especially this year, but we’ll see if he’s ready for a singles match come WM28.

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So this is Christmas?

Happier times.

And what has WWE done:

World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms on the release of WWE SmackDown Superstar Kaval (Brandon Silvestry) as of today, December 23, 2010. We wish Kaval the best in all future endeavors.

Fuck the heck?

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

Even I have been bored by my site. We have been shit recently.

Let’s get this thing started. I’m starting to drink after a good work out. I was tired of not having something new on the site so even though I’m starting my viewing at 10:20 PM EST, I’m posting a running review. Hopefully this will be funny. And if you our great fans are lucky, I’ll even get to infect your ear waves too.

Jeremy and I were talking about this earlier today, Husky Harris would be an awesome addition to Nexus. He played a great dick. Barrett introduces John Cena. Jer and I also agree that it’d be great if Cena doesn’t pull the whole “Enemy Within” shenanigans. I want him beating people down. Tarver is awesome on the mic. Too bad his in ring skills are questionable. Another Jeremy & Kevin topic today. We gab like school girls sometimes. Maybe we should just post those. We tend to cover stuff we don’t get to in audio form. I like Barrett’s offer to Cena about tag partners. I guess we’ll get to see Tarver’s skills. Bourne could make him look silly. Henry will just squash him. Justin Gabriel’s hair dye looks bad but does get him around the boy band look. Why didn’t Bourne attack Taver while he yapped?

Henry doing what I expected after the commercial break. I guess Cena can’t turn right away. I’ll forgive the the short arm. Bourne’s standing moonsault is awesome. Still remember seeing that from the 3rd row or something in Detroit. Cole pulling for Cena is bizarre with his new character. Aww crap. Fucking assholes. That is lazier than our site. You get paid to write this stuff. Make it interesting.  Where is the rest of Nexus? Is Barrett letting Cena thin the herd? The crowd is going pretty solid. The GM saves the day for the first time ever. Wow, not only did the GM stop a boring beat down, he/she just made the angle interesting again. The GM must have something in for Tarver though. He got his ass beat before they intervened.

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Stunt Granny Audio #112

Dusty and Eric join forces this week to talk about all of the things you didn’t even know you wanted to hear about! How have Eric’s first couple of weeks in Des Moines gone? Does the city resemble the Des Moines episode of “COPS” Dusty just watched? How about Monday Night Raw? Hear what the boys thought about the “supershow” featuring Raw and Smackdown wrestlers. Find out who was a breath of fresh air and who was a stinky pile of horseshit. And what swerves and conspiracies do the guys think WWE might be dreaming up? Plus, listen to their analysis of the season finale of NXT, and who they’re excited to see in season three!

Stunt Granny Audio #112

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

I could only find a picture with 1000 televisions.

As usual, I’m starting my viewing a little bit late. I had to go get beer and walk my dogs. The box of beer I got has a quote from Hunter S. Thompson on it – “Good people drink good beer.” Amen. I’m sucking down Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen. Check for my review later in our forum, which is free.

I must admit that I’m surprised that the 900th episode didn’t warrant three hours of television. It’d suck if it were that long. Just like three hours of TNA is too long on Thursday nights. Check our Audio from last week to hear more about that subject.

We start off with Bret Hart yapping. Now Kane is running down Undertaker and Hart. He’s been doing a solid job on the mic recently. Glad to know the Hart Dynasty is still alive.  Of course Kane is going to give us no satisfaction in the match department. Wait, Bret isn’t fit to wrestle Nexus but he can wrestle the Undertaker? Huh? What a shitty main event.

Highlights of Episode #1 which I in no way watched. Seeing Yokozuna made me remember that The Pensblog showed the Penguins old defenseman Peter Taglianetti tried to slam him before Lex Luger did.

Highlights of the immortal Steve Austin driving the Zamboni from episode #279. Wow, I’ve caught more of this 900 than I thought. Austin could have highlights all night long but I figure they’ll spread out the star power.

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Eric’s Blog: Ranking the Season 2 WWE NXT Rookies (Week 10)

charlie murphy

Just to reiterate, me. This was all me. My idea. He's not Eddie, he's Charlie. That was my call. Weeks ago. Thanks.

Praise Jesus, we’re finally rid of Lucky Cannon! That dopey fuck couldn’t work or act his way out of a wet paper GNC bag, and his show-ending promo where he sounded like he was about to start bawling did him no favors as the door hit him on the ass. The meathead-at-the-bar punching game was quick and painless (and allowed Michael Cole and Josh Mathews to show more personality throughout the show), the six-man tag was decent and gave my new No. 1 a chance to shine, the Miz got another quality victory, and the rookies seem to enjoy each other and have a certain chemistry together. Do I smell another Nexus? Not exactly, but I could see the remaining five all being called up to one of the main rosters in due time.

1) Kaval. After weeks of seeing Low Ki’s offense look strange in a WWE ring, something finally clicked with me this week, and Kaval showed he could be an excellent fit in the former three-ring circus. He’s definitely the most over with the live crowd, not just overcoming the LayCool “handicap” but turning into a real positive with his facials and reactions toward them (ambivalence would have been a bad choice; sometimes he looks weirded out by their valley-girl gimmick, but overall, he seems to enjoy their company). And he didn’t fall over after his double stomp! Awesome!

2) Alex Riley. Numbers 1 and 2 might as well be a tie, 1a and 1b, only because Riley is such a shoe-in. He continued this week down the path of “a little too hammy” for my liking, but that’s because he has a great character and over-the-top delivery but nothing to sink his teeth into in the way of feuds or angles. If Miz weren’t feuding (in a way) with Sheamus, holding the Money in the Bank contract and holding his Summerslam contribution over the heads of Bret Hart and John Cena, I might be saying the same for him. To summarize, Miz is over the top, but it works, because he gets to both act and react. Alex Riley is over the top, but all he’s done thus far is act; as soon as he has something to react to, he’ll be money. (And even though I’m in the minority in thinking Matt Striker is the best thing to happen to pro wrestling commentary in years, I loved Riley calling him a nerd.)

3) Husky Harris. Despite only scoring in the 300s on the punching game, Husky Harris has portrayed himself as enough of a tough guy that we can’t hold his love tap against him. And in a slightly strange turn of events, it looked like he was chumming around with his fellow rookies… that is until dopey Lucky Cannon went for a handshake and Harris only gave him the Wolfpac signal. Good stuff from the aloof high school bully.

4) Michael McGillicutty. Oh, he was here this week?

5) Percy Watson. I still like “Showtime” and I still think he’s worth a roster spot, but I put him last because a) he continues to do nothing special outside of a dropkick (he didn’t even leapfrog his opponent between dropping down and giving him a hiptoss, and Percy’s vertical leap is one of his best attributes) and b) because I want to make sure people read this blurb and know I’m the first person who likened Watson to Charlie Murphy. Me. I did it first. Not Eddie, because that’s not correct. Charlie. Darkness. The guy from the Player Haters skits on “Chappelle’s Show.” That was me. You’re welcome.

Eric’s Blog: Ranking the Season 2 WWE NXT Rookies (Week 9)

fat woman

Vince is saving this one for the finals. Ugh.

What the fuck was that? At least there were a few wrestling matches, short as they were. And surprisingly, even through the opaque lens of Vince McMahon’s bathroom humor, I still saw glimpses of character during that stupid make-out segment (the best part of which was Michael Cole saying something about “Margaritaville” and Josh Mathews responding with a gutteral “Oh, GOD!”).

1) Alex Riley. Still on top but slipping a little. He took a bump off the kiss with the fat woman, which was funny but also overdone. You could tell he was ready to clown it up in this segment, which I’m sure endeared him to the boss, but it totally didn’t fit his high-school-jock character. He should have just shook her hand and moved on. And as usual, his wrestling was good. I know you’re supposed to grab every minute you’re given by the throat and squeeze every ounce of life out of it, but Riley was just a little too hammy this week.

2) Kaval. The East Coast Audio guys were right: Kaval looked good in his loss this week, better than he has in other weeks. His comebacks were more believable, his selling was better, and his offense was the typical crisp Low Ki work. I liked his various interactions in the make-out contest; he *was* out of place, but he didn’t entirely *look* out of place.

3) Husky Harris. I want this kid to have a job as soon as NXT is over. (Is it weird that I already think of him as a roster member? Like, I wanna know what he’s going to do on Smackdown this week. He’s a natural fit.) His facials during the kissing contest were priceless, and only a couple of weeks after ragging on him for blowing up in his singles match, he’s already come quite a ways in the ring stamina-wise (as best I can tell from a three-minute match). And he’s only going to get better

4) Michael McGillicutty. I agree with the Miz: Michael McGillicutty is still mediocre. But I see the ability for him to break out if given the chance to show what appears to be his real asshole personality. (Apparently it’s that potential that helped him creep up my list.)

5) Percy Watson. Oh, how they mighty are falling. Was I imagining things, or was Percy wrestling in slow motion this week? And I thought he was going to cry during his pre-taped promo about Alex Riley; I don’t know if I like that because it’s part of the character he’s so dedicated to or if I hate it because there’s no room for that type of stuff in WWE.

6) Lucky Cannon. The best part about Cannon this week was LayCool alluding to his possible homosexuality and Cole and Mathews saying he’d never kissed a girl before. His backstage promo about “wanting the Miz tonight” sucked, and he was properly squashed by the head McGillibuddy. Please cut him next week.

Eric’s Blog: Ranking the Season 2 WWE NXT Rookies (Week 8)

Percy Watson

OH YEAH!

Once again, WWE has made my job easy for me, not just because they cut one of the remaining seven rookies, but because after last night’s promos and wrestling matches, I found myself scratching my head, wondering exactly where I’d rank the guy who inevitably was cut. Based on their performances, my top four guys shifted, one nose-dove compared to his high NXT ranking, and one has entrenched himself at the bottom. So with one more down, here are my 1-through-6 rankings, with the designated NXT jobber firmly in place.

1) Kaval. I’m not saying this in a markish, “a pro said it so it must be true” sort of way, but the facts that Kaval got Cody Rhodes’ stamp of approval during a pre-taped promo and that WWE was willing to air that commendation by such an arrogant character show WWE’s willingness to portray the indy darling as a legitimate future main-roster member. He again shone in the ring, and his promo this week didn’t suck as bad as last week’s, despite Michael Cole’s protesting.

2) Alex Riley. Yep, Riley was overtaken this week. The shoe-in, the sure thing and the next breakout star… tried jumping on Eli Cottonwood’s back like a little kid at recess. Three times. His mic work was still superb, and he’s pretty much shown us exactly what we need to see in the ring by week 8 to know how well he can wrestle. But he needs to watch out for missteps like diving onto a 7-foot-1 giant who was apparently told to no-sell everyone else. It made Riley look weak, and the show-ending brawl with Michael McGillicutty didn’t help him regain much heat.

3) Percy Watson. Percy’s promo at the start of the show once again proved his talents on the mic and his ability to get the crowd behind him, you know what I’m sayin’? His pre-tape with the pros helped get over how athletic and charismatic he is, OH YEAH! And his match highlighted some of the little things he does well (even just slapping his opponent in the stomach while in a side headlock), even if his finisher is a little sloppy by WWE standards.

4) Husky Harris. Hey, Husky had a singles match where he looked good! His promo at the top of the show was funny and well-delivered, his sneer still gives him a facial expression that makes him stand out (as do the general expressions of the guys above Husky in this list, but definitely not the ones below him), and his T-shirt is bad-ass. Whether or not Husky Harris wins, I’d like to see him on Smackdown or possibly Raw when this competition is over; I may have found my new, albeit a little smaller, Vader!

5) Michael McGillicutty. Another cocky promo at the end of the show from the babyface McGillicutty. Maybe WWE has bigger things planned for McGillicutty after this, like a dastardly heel turn and a scathing promo on the fans. Otherwise, I don’t see how the arrogance of “I’m number one, I’m awesome, etc.” parlays into a successful babyface character at this stage in his young, still-being-exposed career. At least his finisher is cool, he didn’t look terrible against Eli Cottonwood (whose newfound promo ability will be sorely missed by this viewer), and he’s willing to take hard bumps.

6) Lucky Cannon. That promo he cut to kick off the show really zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….. At least Eli Cottonwood amazingly, surprisingly and miraculously showed me two things that would make me want to tune in to see him again: His funny backstage promo with John “Hippopotamus Ziggles” Morrison, and his “MUSTACHE” T-shirt. Lucky Cannon shows me literally nothing, except what a pre-op looks like.

Eric’s Blog: Ranking the Season 2 WWE NXT Rookies (Week 7)

eli cottonwood

L to R: A skank, Abraham Washington, Eli Cottonwood. This is what an unemployment line should look like.

After last night’s WWE NXT, I guess the question is, would I rather have an episode that focuses more on the Nexus angle than the objective of this series, or an edition capped off with another lame obstacle course? Actually, the answer is obvious: the latter, because it gives Husky Harris the chance to shine (and Eli Cottonwood to f’ up and need to improvise). However, when a few rookies are left out of the ring and kept to the microphone only, opinions and perceptions change, and not necessarily for the better.

1) Alex Riley. God, this guy is amazing. As usual, his wrestling was good, his mic work was excellent, and him yelling at the referees during the obstacle course was classic. By the way, he’s super jacked up for not being a “big guy” by typical WWE standards, so for that reason alone, the 6-foot-1 blond kid is basically guaranteed a job. His god-given abundance of talent is just the icing on the cake.

2) Percy Watson. I cannot get over how great his mic skills are — sure, he’s a little rough around the edges, but only compared to the polished and waxed scripted WWE promo delivery, but he’d have been an amazing territory promo — and the way the crowd reacts to something as simple as, “You know what I’m sayin’?” He showed glimpses of another dimension last week with his bowing up and this week with his sorrow, and that’s good when all we’ve really seen up to this point is Johnny B. Badd Version Two. Watson’s also athletic as heck, even evidenced during the obstacle course; did you see the ease with which he shoved that cart up the ramp?!

3) Kaval. We’ve seen six weeks of his in-ring work, which keeps him high on this list. But last night’s promo? Pee-yew! I’ve never agreed with Michael Cole the way I agreed with him last night when he said of Kaval’s promo: “That was horrible!” Sorry, Kaval, but it was.

4) Michael McGillicutty. His pre-taped promo with jibber jabber from the pros summed up McGillicutty well: He’s a great hand with a hint of a character behind that generic-ass look. His hair is stupid, his tights are trash, and his entrance through the curtain is cheesy. And he’s totally miscast as a babyface, but the good thing about that is that it’s as plain as the nose on my face that McGillicutty will make an amazing cocky heel.

5) Husky Harris. Harris tripped over his first promo a little bit (and laughed it off, which isn’t a good idea on live WWE TV, where everything should be taken 100 percent seriously lest Kevin Dunn chew you out with his big buck teeth), but he wrestled another good tag match (a situation that plays to his strengths) and came across as the bad-ass high school bully we’ve come to love when demolishing the obstacle course. I’m sorry, seeing him get down in the three-point stance and then barreling over that hurdle had me in stitches.

6) Eli Cottonwood. Whoa, did I just do this?? Yes, only because when he flubbed during the obstacle course, it forced him to improvise, and his reaction was memorable and even a little funny (see: John Morrison’s face). I actually want to see him stick around one more week to watch him clutz around just a little longer.

7) Lucky Cannon. The pros in Cannon’s pre-taped segment summed it up well: He’s athletic but super generic. And his pandering promo didn’t do him any favors. Yawn.

Eric’s Blog: Ranking the Season 2 WWE NXT Rookies (Week 6)

garbage can

No, this isn't in reference to an hour-long Nexus infomercial; it took Miz, Mark Henry, Alex Riley and a garbage can just to make Lucky Cannon look passable.

This’ll be a short one, as this week’s edition of WWE NXT was focused way more (way too much?) on Nexus and not as much (not enough?) on the rookies.

1) Alex Riley. The pros on his pre-tape had to reeeeeally stretch to come up with negative things to say about him. They, like I and like most others, realize Riley is destined for stardom.

2) Kaval. Yeah, Kaval shined even in a battle royal. Maybe I still have him ranked this high because he’s Low Ki, or because he’s done such a great job in weeks past, but since this week’s show gave me hardly anything to go by, Kaval stays at No. 2.

3) Percy Watson. How hilarious is this guy? He just makes you feel good! The crowd was in the palm of his hand with the “OH YEAH!” catchphrase, and his interaction with MVP was 95 percent polished and professional. Then when he hinted at a rookie attack on the pro, I kinda got goosebumps. Good work!

4) Michael McGillicutty. Here’s another guy who couldn’t do much this week given the context of the episode, but I believed him when he stood at the front line, begging Nexus to get in the ring.

5) Husky Harris. He did a good job going over the top rope in the battle royal. Moving on…

6) Lucky Cannon. Eh, more indy work from the below-average superstar. He did a fine job bringing Mark Henry’s garbage can into the ring, though.

7) Eli Cottonwood. Yuck.

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