Shahid’s Blog: Cracked Glasses of Nostalgia – An Adult’s Walk Down ECW’s Memory Lane

ecw I remembered being depressed after moving from Philadelphia to Atlantic City during my high school years.  Separated from my family, friend and comfortable surroundings for a dump of a coastal city was a jarring experience.  WWF wasn’t helping either – Friar Ferguson and Beverly Bros/Money Inc main event matches would turn any smile upside down.  On a random Thursday evening, I stumbled upon a new wrestling promotion.  Gritty, small, loud and realistic, it instantly drew me in.  Regardless of the fact that I was watching a plodding match featuring Tully Blanchard, I was enchanted by the promos, violence and music of what was known as Eastern Championship Wrestling.  I can vividly recall talking to like minded individuals about how ECW was actually real, instead of that scripted crap of the WWF.  Seeing Sandman, a fat drunkard with a cigarette with Woman or Missy Hyatt on his arm just seemed authentic on some visceral level.  Hearing adult promos from Cactus Jack, Steve Austin and Shane Douglas made WCW and WWF seem quaint and childish.  State of the art matches from Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho,  Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit…..violent brawls from the Public Enemy, the Pitbulls, Terry Funk….Sabu vs Taz…Raven terrorizing Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman… females with scant clothing and even less decorum.  ECW was a teenager’s dream.  Hearing the Gangstas come out to Natural Born Killers to engage in a blood bath made a Bret Hart match seem boring as can be.  I can remember waking up at 1 am to watch an ECW episode consisting of a pissed off Steve Austin just spitting venom at Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes and WCW.  In a pre screw job, pipe bomb, real name era, it was as if someone had a peephole behind the magic rasslin curtain.  By the time they invaded Monday Night Raw to promote their first PPV, I was a full-fledged ECW acolyte.

Now, I’m sure there are many individuals in my age group that share similar joyous memories of ECW.  Even with One Night Stand and a brief resurgence led by Paul Heyman, it still felt hollow and empty, missing that rebellious fire of the 90s.  So when the WWE Network arrived, ECW was the first area delved into, due to an adolescent fondness. Even though it lacked the music and didn’t have the weekly shows, I was excited to see how well it held up.  So I watched a few ppvs and weekly shows and then watched a few more.  I tried jumping around during various time periods, hoping to shake this nagging sensation.  After a week of watching, I had to admit to myself that ECW, like many teenage passions, didn’t age well.

I won’t use revisionist history and proclaim ECW an overrated vanity project and minor league system.  It was enjoyable and revolutionary, and I will always cherish those teenage memories.  But watching it now is borderline painful.  Seeing the Sandman no longer brings feelings of awe and admiration. Now, I witness a slovenly bum who was a perfect example of smoke and mirrors.  Instead of rooting for the underdog story of Mikey Whipreck, I scoffed at the notion that he could ever beat Steve Austin in a match (side note – him pinning Austin killed any notion that ECW wasn’t predetermined).  I can understand the reasoning and logic behind pushing individuals like Tommy Dreamer and Justin Credible, instead of superior talent such as Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam.  But as a fan today, I have little tolerance of watching Eddie Guerrero in the midcard, for fear of being snatched away by WCW and WWF.  For all of the wonderful long term angles pulled off by ECW, there were too many instances of inconsistent referees, match stipulations, and haphazard PPV’s.  If WWE tried to pull the ol “Let’s announce two matches, and we’ll work out the rest of the details later” style of booking, they would get crucified. I almost forget, they did try that…it was called December to Dismember, and it was universally panned.

The biggest issue with ECW is the same factor which added to its popularity – the extreme violence.  Seeing someone kick out from a power bomb through a flaming table with thumbtacks, only to get rolled up due to seeing the 34DD’s of Francine seems asinine today.  The constant one-upping of finishing moves led to many negative habits, not only by ECW, but by WCW and WWF. WCW was rightfully mocked for taking the piss out of ECW concepts, featuring hardcore matches with cotton candy used as a weapon.  But as an adult, I prefer that approach more so than WWF, which raised the bar to an extremely dangerous level i.e. Hell in a Cell with Undertaker-Mankind, and the myriad TLC matches.  Classic events, but considering the mark left on many of the individuals, something that is watched with trepidation.  But nothing makes me cringe more than the chair shots to the head.  When I first saw Tommy Dreamer plaster Raven square in his hipster face, I remember screaming like a girl at a Bobby Brown concert.  But after current knowledge of concussions and long term damage, I can’t help but cringe. I won’t even touch upon the menace known as New Jack (that’s a column for another day.)

As far as the adult content, what seemed risqué as a teenager comes off as misogynistic and trashy today.  Shane Douglas cussing every 3rd word makes him come off as an uncouth doofus. For every great promo from Raven or Cactus jack, there was some nonsense from the Pitbulls, or some foul mouthed diatribe from Rhino. And it wasn’t restricted to the wrestlers – hearing an arena full of angry men chanting crack whore or she has herpes doesn’t seem cool anymore.  I’m definitely not a prude, and I specifically remember the eye candy of ECW very fondly.  Between Beulah, Missy Hyatt, Woman, Francine and Dawn Marie, ECW definitely upped the sex appeal factor from the almost quaint days of Missy Hyatt and Sunny.  Today – well, seeing a skinny broad with some silicone enhancements taking a pile driver just seems unclean.  Any doubts to ECW being a mainstream entertainment vehicle vanished with my wife’s utter look of disgust after hearing a Dudley Boys promo.  My “it was a different era, baby”  didn’t hold much weight.

Regardless of my experience, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to traverse down memory lane with a more mature point of view.  ECW will always have a fond place in my heart, and I am grateful and cognizant of its effect on professional wrestling.  However, next time someone complains about Vince’s asinine booking and longs for the halcyon days of Paul Heyman, gently remind them that Steve Corino and Justin Credible were ECW World Champions, but Rob Van Dam and Stunning Steve Austin weren’t. And then tape their expressions for YouTube. -Shahid


Stunt Granny Audio Show #247

US-olympic-mens-hockey-team-rosterJeremy & Kevin are back for another week. They start off talking about why Kevin likes the Winter Olympics. I mean, other than the fact that hockey is the main event of this half of the Olympics. Jeremy brings the show to a screeching halt minutes in by talking about “My 600 Pound Life”. As usual, they finally get around to talking about wrestling. This week’s main topic is the athleticism being shown in the WWE. Being agile isn’t just for the little guys any more. Luke Harper is Jeremy’s main example but doesn’t forget to include Bray Wyatt. Does Erick Rowan get into this grouping or is he being protected too much? The Wyatts took on Cody Rhodes, Goldust & Rey Mysterio? We know that Cody can go in the ring but are the two old guys fitting into this new mold? Were they a look into the WWE’s future during their heyday? Did Cody really need to do the moonsault off the top of the cage? The Wyatts are also ready to take on the Shield at the Elimination Chamber. Roman Reigns is showing off some serious in ring skills that are being highlighted by the Superman Punch and the Spear. Is it more incumbent on the victim than the hitter to make that move look good? These moves look good but what is Kevin’s favorite move that Reigns does? How good is Seth Rollins? Good enough to not talk about his in ring skills? And where does Dean Ambrose fill in with this theme? And how do Jeremy & Kevin squeeze John Cena into this conversation? Find out when you click the link below!

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

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

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


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

iowa final cover


Jeremy and Eric were dreaming of doing the above tonight in Cedar Falls, Iowa tonight. Alas, my partners in crime are now star crossed and hoping to hook up a day later. Let’s roll.

The lovers and guardians of the WWE in the form of HHH & Stephanie McMahon greet us. Trips has a decent collection of suits. They’re not too loud or overly slick. Just nice. Randy Orton interrupts their joyous announcement. Sorry Steph, people aren’t tuning in in record numbers. Steph giving the brow beating to Orton before she gives us a video package. Her line of anger is perfect but it’s making their characters really weird. Why are they waffling between baby faces and heels? HHH is playing it right too. I hate when I love the material but not the logic. HHH gives Orton another match against Kofi Kingston. He’s also making him apologize to John Cena. Batista makes his entrance. He soaks up the cheers. HHH & Steph leave to leave Big Dave with Orton. The skinny jeans are not a good look. He’s back for the title. And to headline Wrestlemania. I’m starting to like the looks of the card they’re laying out.

The Shield are taking on Goldust, Cody Rhodes & Big E Langston. Big E starts against Dean Ambrose. Goldust dukes it out with Seth Rollins. Cody gets back in to work over Rollins. I do like that JBL is playing it right since he has invoked lawyers against baby face attacks that he’s mentioning Cena’s father not pressing charges. Roman Reigns is in control after the break. Rhodes gets out of it with a Disaster Kick. Big E takes the hot tag. Turning Big E baby face seems to have been a great idea. Reigns breaks up a pin. Then takes out Cody Rhodes & Goldust. Seth Rollins super curb stomps Big E for the win. Awesome looking move. I love Rollins. The Superman punch by Reigns on Cody is getting top billing though.

Daniel Bryan is in the ring getting the Yes! chants already. Bryan had a plan all along. He became the buzzard to chew on Bray’s carcass. Weird. What did you expose? He wants Wyatt one on one at the Rumble. Bray Wyatt shows up on the Titantron. I really loved his promo on Smackdown. Good come back material. He insinuates he may do something to Brie Bella.

Fandango is going against Xavier Woods with R Truth on the head set. Truth is calling Mitchell Cool, Mike Snow. As far as I can tell, everyone who has been on TV is in the Rumble match. Falcon Arrow leads to the top rope leg drop for the Fandango win. Emmataining is in the crowd again. Brad Maddox is talking to Kane. Stephanie is mad at Kane for attacking CM Punk. The baby face angle of the Authority continues. He has to apologize to Punk.

Kane hits the ring after the break. Punk’s insult was pretty weak for it to get under Kane’s skin. He requests Punk’s presence. CM Punk comes out after just enough hesitation. Kane offers an apology. Punk doesn’t accept. Brad Maddox cools off the situation. Punk gets a match against Billy Gunn. The Road Dogg gets on the head set. The NAO being heels is all the weirder in the baby face Authority move. Road Dogg tries to make sense of it, speaks well but doesn’t make a lick of sense. JBL saying Gunn is better than ever is hilarious since he wasn’t very good ever. Mitchell Cool pursuing the conspiracy angle is weird to because real evidence exists that the NAO should get a title bout. It’s a good one off, short lived feud for Goldust & Rhodes. Gunn does the missed splash routine. Road Dogg pulls Gunn out of the ring. Punk suicide dives onto Road Dogg. Punk nails the GTS. Kane comes out and tells Punk he’s the first entrance. Interesting.

I buzz thru the yearly numbers break down and the Mae Young tribute. I saw the later on Smackdown. Very nice video package. Rey Mysterio takes on Alberto Del Rio for the third time in seven days. Mysterio wipes both of them out withe a spring board moonsault onto the floor. Del Rio takes over. A rough looking kick to the head makes it a target.  Tilt-a-whirl back breaker only gets a two count. Enziguri to the ribs. The toss bounce Rey takes to the outside looks so rough.Del Rio is still beating up Rey. Why is Del Rio having so much trouble with an injured Rey? The announcers brought up his obsession with Batista. We have no reason to believe this clown can beat a gentleman more than twice Rey’s size. Rey nails a senton off the top rope but can’t capitalize. Mysterio turns a power bomb into a huracanrana.  Del Rio kicks Rey in the head. Rey back to the 619. Drop of the Dime but Del Rio grabs the rope. Del Rio counter Rey’s next move into the cross arm breaker for the win. How is that a statement for the Rumble, Mitchell? A cross arm breaker will do you no good in that match. Batista confronts Del Rio. Batista spine buster and Bomb. He looks good. A bit slimmer than before which isn’t a bad thing since he’s still massive.

Big Show comes out first. Paul Heyman comes out alone. I love the look on his face. Brock Lesnar‘s music hits. Lesnar walks to the ring and waves his hand and walks away from Show. Brock comes back out. He takes his sweet time getting into the ring. Brock fakes him out. Lesnar goes for take down. Show tosses him. Lesnar goes for another take down. Show tosses him out of the ring. Much smoother exit than Rey’s. I like the confrontation. Just enough action to not give anything away.

I missed Bad News Barrett congratulating AJ Lee on the longest reign by a Divas Champion ever.  Josh Matthews returns. AJ puts the the cake in Tamina Snuka‘s face. It has been the longest and maybe one of the dullest. Maryse was the former holder of that distinction. I’ll have to look up if Trish Stratus’s reigns were longer than 218. They are taking on the Funkadactyls. Why is Cameron starting the match again? She is getting her ass handed to her like last week. They give Naomi a hot tag this week. She can get the crowd into it but she hasn’t been pushed smoothly. AJ Lee skips around Naomi. Small package by Naomi. See that’s uneven too. Why not have her hit a real move before making the pin?

I buzz thru another video package break. I may not get done too late now. Thanks for letting me skip two segments WWE. The Usos are taking on Erick Rowan & Luke Harper. The Usos aren’t wearing their wraps they had on Smackdown. Jey Uso gets a tag and does a flying shoulder block. Jey & Harper trade blows.That arena sounds really empty right now. Rowan interferes to turn things into their favor. Rowan later tags in to work over Jimmy. He ends up taking a header into the barricade for the break. Jimmy is still getting worked over. Bray starts to talk to the crowd. I always thought that should be used more. Jimmy has got the serious moves. He’s the one that does Whisper in the Wind. Nailed a slick high flying move earlier. Jimmy takes out Rowan. Jey gets caught by Harper. Scoop slam for a two count. Daniel Bryan attacks Wyatt. Jey rolls up Harper for the win. They’re really making the Wyatts look dumb in all of this. Do they not really like them? I’m so confused.

Kofi Kingston gets to say he main evented a Raw against Randy Orton. Congrats on the achievement Kofi. There the very good chance that I missed the end of this show with how late this match is starting combined with John Cena not “arriving” yet makes me think it’s running long. Orton gives the You Can’t See Me wave. Kofi’s tights looks like they were designed by a child. Kofi doesn’t win with the SOS. John Cena hits the arena in his ring gear. Why did everyone walk into the arena tonight? No one rented a nice car? Cena attacks Orton. They start fighting through the crowd. Well, JBL describes it correctly that the fight is one sided on Cena’s behalf. Randy Orton had a get away car. Weird. Mitchell Cool was right to point out that it wasn’t a car jacking since the car drove when Orton got into the passenger side. He should be the one spouting the conspiracy theories though. They did end on time. Congratulations WWE! – Kevin


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

mistakeI’m fully ready for a mistake ridden post since I’m starting to watch Raw at 10:05 PM EST. I made several mistakes just typing the title. Oh boy. I went to the Columbus Blue Jackets games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. More on those shenanigans when I do clean up duty tomorrow. Let’s roll. (Next Day Note: I did some pictures of my WWE Rumblers to give updates on the game and notice that I wasn’t going to start the review even “on time” for me. Go to @StuntGranny on the Twitter for viewing. More work to come from those little bundles of joy.)

Bray Wyatt gets an opening vignette. The Usos are waiting for Daniel Bryan and Wyatt to come to ringside. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan are with them. Bryan & Wyatt are on the offensive early against Jey. JBL mystifies Mitchell Cool & Jerry Lawler by asking them to define why Bryan is worse off now. Just too easy of a question for both to not answer. Jimmy gets a hot tag. Flying Usos connects. I was expecting a break. Harper & Rowan attack. The Usos do the smart thing and leave after getting in a couple of shots. I was expecting an eight man match to come from the interference. Bryan still giving submission to Wyatt. I like it. Establish the new character. Not exactly a barn burner of an opener though.

Damien Sandow is waiting in the ring for John Cena. Really? Cena doesn’t need this. Randy Orton is in action later. If he gets an equivalent match up, he’ll be taking on Kofi Kingston. Jerry Lawler makes it sound like Cena is in fear of losing as they come back from break. None of us are buying King. Sandow locks in the Royal Arch, a modified Sharpshooter. Cena is trying to sell Sandow too. You’re not even going to sell me on it. Cena pulls out a tornado DDT but only gets two. Sandow gives Cena a face plant move but only gets two. Cena locks in the STF. Sandow gets the break. Crossface by Sandow. Cena turns it into an AA. Ugh. Sandow slips out of the move twice earlier in the match. He should have seen this one coming and slipped out of it too. (Next Day Edit: I always want this spot to go to a pure jobber but that makes even less sense than having a down on his luck Sandow lose. At least they can try and build a threat instead of say, Heath Slater.)

Kane & Brad Maddox get to talk. They trade barbs on who’s doing a worse job. Maddox makes a cage match for the Usos vs Bryan & Wyatt. Kane is going to hold the key to get in. Big Show comes down to ringside.

Jack Swagger is accompanied by Zeb Colter & Antonio Cesaro. Choke slam. Squash match. Any other information needed? I didn’t think so. Big Show stalks Zeb. Cesaro gets tossed out of the ring trying to make the save. Big Show threatens him then knocks out Zeb. What a bully. Cesaro’s reaction is priceless. (Next Day Note: I like Antonio Cesaro a lot but it makes more sense for him to be the person who gets knocked out far more than Colter. I suppose this can build up a handicapped match for Show next week for the Real Americans to get “revenge” which we all know they won’t.)

“Road Dogg” Jesse James & Billy Gunn come out first. The kids know this chant. CM Punk gets the intro again. The Shield come out through the crowd. Dean Ambrose starts against Billy Gunn. Seth Rollins going with long sleeves this week for some reason. Gunn goes for the twilt a whirl slam. The kids don’t know the Road Dogg shimmy knee drop as much. Punk makes his first appearance. Ambrose goes after him. Roman Reigns gets the tag. I like Punk getting in the first shot. Punk is pretty young for getting the willy veteran name hung on him by Mitchell.

Punk gets a small opening on Rollins but continues to take the offense of the Shield. I did miss the drop kick on the outside by Reigns earlier. Thanks for a useful replay. Rollins has been called both an architect and a mechanic by Cool within this break. Which one is he? Ambrose gets tossed into the steps. Punk leg lariats Rollins. Reigns plays to NOA. Punk high kicks Reigns. The NOA walk away from the tag. Punk deals with Ambrose & Rollins but gets speared by Reigns for the loss. I’d say this is confirmation that Punk takes on HHH at Wrestlemania? Triple power bomb after the match. I like it. Bray Wyatt gets to do some preaching. I’m really liking this development in his promos. He could have used more of this in the build up vignettes. The speeches weren’t coming through as clearly in my opinion. They’re going to get redemption in the cage tonight. Cool.



The Funkadactyls are taking on Tamina Snuka & AJ Lee. Cameron starts off against Tamina. Naomi is a bad friend. Cameron is not a good wrestler. She botched running the ropes. AJ knocks Naomi off the apron. Shining Wizard by AJ for the win. Basically a squash match. Naomi comes in and makes the save. Rear View to bounce AJ out of the ring. You should have started the match dummy. Randy Orton is looking for HHH & Stephanie McMahon.

Orton instead gets Kane. The only thing Kane can control is his match tonight. Orton gets Kofi Kingston. Ha. I was right. The Ultimate Warrior is the first inductee for the Hall of Fame. Oh boy, that might be an added expense to the trip to New Orleans. Renee Young gets more camera time with Paul Heyman. He gets a video review of the Lesnar happenings. Heyman runs her down for just being pretty. Outstanding. (Next Day Edit: I like that he didn’t go blunt with her on the air head comment.) Heyman points out the obvious Zeb Colter does not equal Brock Lesnar. Heyman is not intimidated or impressed. I see Lesnar winning. Cena wins the title. We got ourselves a very serious main event at Wrestlemania even if it’s happened before.

Randy Orton is taking on Kofi Kingston. Mitchell Cool (informs us that Kofi) gets to be a spot monkey in the Royal Rumble again. Orton liked the idea of this match because he kicked Kingston down the spiral of his career. Evidently I missed Orton almost walking out of the match. Kofi kicks out of a superplex. Kofi gets to fight back. Kofi tries to get a count out win. What a pansy move. Orton is back in control. Chin lock of doom. Kofi gets tossed into the steps. Mitchell Cool tries to sell this as “Not a walk in the park”  as far as Orton’s control of this match. No wonder judges in the UFC can’t see obvious stuff. Neither can Mitchell. It’s been domination by Orton. Mitchell just said “Every rally is thwarted by Orton.” That makes his match a walk in the park! JBL calls it like it is and points out the domination. Thank you. Kingston nails the SOS for the win. I didn’t see that one coming. They were playing out how Orton was playing with Kofi. So I guess I need to say Mitchell was doing his job, huh? Orton flips out at ringside. Okay, so he’s gone from face of the company to weird flipping out guy? He attacks John Cena’s dad.

They end up loading Mr. Cena into an ambulance. JBL evens gives it the low voice treatment. Cody Rhodes & Goldust are taking on Curtis Axel & Ryback. If the WWE didn’t like Ryback’s weekend Twitter outburst, they’re not winning this match. They could lose it just because they haven’t won much as a team. No reason for them to be at the top of heap. They acknowledge the tweets. Good cover. Axel gets to beat on Goldust. Powerslam on Goldust. That looked like it could hurt. Goldust gets in a bulldog on Ryback to be able to make the tag. Cody kicks Axel in the “stomach”. Disaster Kick on Ryback. Axel rolls up Cody for two. Cross Rhodes. (Next Day Edit: The WWE is in Wrestlemania mode, aka our writers give a shit from January until the beginning of April, but the tag champs don’t have anyone in their sites except other baby face teams. The Real Americans and Rybaxel lose all the time.)

Rey Mysterio is taking on Alberto Del Rio. They use this time to talk even more about the returning Batista. Mysterio nails the 619 but Del Rio catches him trying to Drop the Dime. Del Rio locks on the cross arm breaker for the win. I may not agree with Del Rio chance #475, but if you’re going to go with it, have him beat someone who is respected like Rey Mysterio. Del Rio calls out Batista. I still think he doesn’t deserve to lose to Batista. (Next Day Note: You already said you don’t like him getting chances. No need to pound the point home a sentence later.)

CM Punk tells Kane that HHH doesn’t need to hide from (him). Punk has the chance to headline Wrestlemania by winning the Royal Rumble match. Oh my lord, what a terrible lead in. I was expecting an interview. Not a pre-recorded video that looked kind of silly in a wrestling context. (Next Day Note: Yep, things were going down hill as the night wore on. The Usos promo was a nice try at something different but didn’t come off well.)

Daniel Bryan & Bray Wyatt came down before the break. The Usos come out second. Kane comes out and locks the door. How about these cookies? I didn’t see this main event coming. (Next Day Note: The WWE is putting it’s new talent out there for main events. Congrats to the Usos for making it.) Jimmy Uso took a rough looking spill into the cage on a back drop. Jimmy tries to get out but his brother is down. Terrible strategy. Russian Leg sweep off the ropes. They should be tired early with the action at the top of the show. An Uso did a Whisper in the Wind. Tree of Woe drop kick by Bryan. This is not yet awesome (Crowd chant). Double belly to back suplex on Daniel Bryan from the ropes. Super kick by Jey on Wyatt saves Jimmy from Sister Abigail. The Usos take too long trying to get out. Bryan falls into Wyatt who goes crotch first on the ropes. The Usos drop to the outside to win. Jimmy & Jey get out of ring side after being attacked. Wyatt is saying something to Bryan. He whispers to him again. Bryan looks like he’s going to take Sister Abigail again but pushes off. Wyatt asks him to attack. He doesn’t. Bryan dodges a charge and attacks Wyatt. The crowd goes ape. Daniel Bryan is back? Was he really gone? Running knee to finish of Wyatt. Interesting turn of events. Did the WWE actually cave or was this always a planned short stint? I’m guessing we may never know. – Kevin


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

It was fantastic having a weekend in before the storm that is Thankmas. (They spell it wrong in the otherwise fantastic piece of art.) I killed a growler of Zauber’s Poltergeist, which is quite tasty. The lady & I are headed to Dayton for Thanksgiving. On Friday, it’s time to go watch the Pitt Panthers match it up with the Miami Hurricanes. We’re then moving on to Altoona for Thankmas on Saturday. We’ll be back in the ‘Bus on Sunday.

Randy Orton saunters down to the ring like normal. He takes so long that the announcers introduce matches during it. He barely cuts a promo before inviting down HHH & Stephanie. Randy Orton is not impressed with Steph’s reasoning. Orton can take care of himself. He wipes like a big boy. Randy proclaims to be the best Superstar ever. That brings out John Cena. Steph thinks John will have a potty mouth. Cena is thinking there needs to only be one title. John, this match was not eleven years in the making. HHH makes the match at TLC.

Roman Reigns gets his time in the spotlight for his four spears. Cody Rhodes & Goldust come out. Rey Mysterio wants some revenge too. Goldust gets roughed up by Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins early. Goldust made a leaping Rollins pay with a reverse atomic drop. Goldie couldn’t tag still though.  Rey looks better than ever according to JBL. No surprise it was a fun exchange with Rollins. Reigns saves Ambrose from a pin. Rey gets speared going for a 619. He gets Goldust too. Cody drop kicks Reigns outside. Ambrose with the head plant for the win. Fun stuff again. Glad Ambrose got the pin. He seems to have been lagging. Michael Strahan gets his first air time 30 minutes into the show.

The Miz is in the ring. He was explaining on the After Opie & Anthony Live that he’s fine with being a utility player in the WWE. He is saving his body doing segments like this one. Titus O’Neil comes out as Strahan. He starts answering questions. It’s supposed to be funny. The Miz makes fun of the gap in the teeth. The Miz taking shots at the Giants while his Browns absolutely sucked yesterday. Michael Strahan comes out. I zone out of the match up he makes. John Cena & Big Show are taking on Alberto Del Rio & Randy Orton. (Next Day Note: I had only really zoned out of the heels announcement. I did the backwards day after a PPV math and figured their old opponents would be in there.) The Miz challenges Strahan to a match. We get a wrestling clinic. The Miz gets the hip toss reversed. Titus does the Millions of Dollars dance then gets hip tossed. The announcers loved it. If they weren’t getting paid, they’d disagree.

Ryback is teaming with Curtis Axel against Big E Langston & Mark Henry. The WWE is making it really easy to make jokes. Xavier Woods & R Truth last week. Just saying. Ouch. Ryback looked like he dumped Big E on his shoulder. Mark Henry gets to beat up on Curtis Axel. World’s Strongest Slam. World’s Strongest Team postulates Lawler.

The Divas get a rematch of the Survivor Series match. Brie starts off against Aksana. Facebuster eliminates Aksana. Rosa Mendes doesn’t look good in white with blonde hair. Nikki pins Rosa. Super kick by Tamina on Naomi for an elimination. Cameron comes in because she’s an idiot. Samoan Drop for another elimination. Natalya matches up better with Tamina. Jojo pins Tamina after Natalya does the work. Alicia Fox eliminates Jojo. Eva Marie gets booed so naturally she’s on the face team. She pins Fox very poorly. Natalya locks in the Sharpshooter on Kaitlyn. I can’t keep up with the pins. Pathetic that there’s so little time. AJ rolls up Natalya. Facebuster by Brie eliminates AJ Lee. Summer Rae is the last one on the other team. Summer dances for us. Nikki can do the Worm. Nikki with the Torture Rack drop down for the last elimination. What a train wreck. I shouldn’t have to pay for that slop.

From because a hand holding a pencil needs to be watermarked.

From because a hand holding a pencil needs to be watermarked.

There’s so much red in the paragraph above that I feel like I was correcting work from Idiot Intern. Damien Sandow isn’t happy with the stipulation. Dolph Ziggler is his opponent again. People voting knew the matches all meant the same thing so the voting was pretty even. John Tavares is a stud for the Islanders but I wish Ziggler didn’t have to resort to that. They have a bunch of goofy shit in the ring again. Sandow recovers with a mic shot to Ziggler. Mitchell Cool references the Mean Street Posse which shows you the importance level of this match despite it’s commercial break. Sandow dumps out the cleanest garbage can ever. Sandow drops the Elbow of Disdain. Fire extinguisher to the face by Ziggler. I’ve been hit with one before, it isn’t disorienting. It does taste like real garbage though. Rob Zombie, I will get you back. Sandow belts Ziggler with a garbage can. The crowd is paying more attention to the crowd. DDT on a chair by Ziggler. Sandow broke an oar against Ziggler’s back. Full Nelson slam on a garbage can gets Sandow a three count. I skipped through the Miz’s new movie. Michael Strahan is talking to Santino Marella when Erick Rowan offers him a sheep’s mask. Interesting. Santino checks back in after Rowan leaves. I have no idea why he babbled so long. Which wasn’t really that long.

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Weekend Rewind – Survivor Series Predictions

future-crystal-ballJeremy and I attempted to predict the results of Survivor Series. I don’t remember Jeremy’s picks although they were generally the opposite of mine. I didn’t order the pay per view itself because as we discussed, the WWE didn’t give us much incentive to put down money on it. So let’s run through the results and see how I did.

Survivor Series Pre-Show

Kofi Kingston vs The Miz – We both agreed on this one. The newly minted heel would get the win. No one was surprised that the Miz won this one. We’re off to a good start.

Survivor Series

Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, Goldust & The Usos vs The Shield & The Real Americans – My prediction was that Roman Reigns & Antonio Cesaro would be the sole survivors. I was half right since Reigns was the only survivor. One of the bigger surprises to me reading the results was the fact that Dean Ambrose got eliminated first, at the 2:15 mark. Jack Swagger got his just desserts next and got pinned second. The third elimination was another surprise to me because Antonio Cesaro was half of my prediction. The WWE has been pushing him pretty heavily but I will now assume him and Swagger will hold the Tag Team championships. If Cesaro had been a survivor, I would have expected him to get a singles push. For now, only Roman Reigns gets it.

Big E Langston vs Curtis Axel – Big E defended the Intercontinental Title successfully. This was not a surprise either. What was a surprise was Cody Rhodes admitting on (by way of that he paid for the white title strapped I.C. Title. He got refunded which is good because no one popped for it unless they were backstage.

Natalya, Eva Marie, Jojo, The Bella Twins & The Funkadctyls vs A.J. Lee, Tamina Snuka, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Aksana, Kaitlyn &  Rosa Mendes – Jeremy & I were wrong that it’d be a pin fall match up. We did however speculate that if they did go elimination style match that the pin falls would be rapid fire and that is exactly what happened. Natalya & Nikki ended up winning because they’re on Total Divas, which will be watched tonight by the woman & I.

Mark Henry vs Ryback – We had no prediction for this match because it wasn’t on the card. To no one’s surprise, the guy making the big return got the victory. Have fun with the de-push Ryback because it’s in full motion.

John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio – Cena is starting to become like the Undertaker during Wrestlemania season. I think there are only so many ways to build up a credible opponent for Taker at WM. Well, there’s only so many credible ways to build up opponents for Cena during the entire year now. His arm has been assaulted over and over again by Damien Sandow & Alberto Del Rio but it still didn’t lead to me thinking of Del Rio as a credible opponent. You do know Cena won, right?

CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs Luke Harper & Erick Rowan – I got this one wrong and Jeremy was right since Harper took the pin fall against Punk. I thought Bray Wyatt would interfere and cost the baby faces the match. That did not happen. The WWE was smart enough to have the Shield run rough shod over the WWE to look good. They are not giving the Wyatt Family as much love. They deserved to win in a cheating manner to keep their heat going. Instead the Wyatts are been following the buzzards in circles which keeps leading them back to where they started, nowhere.

Randy Orton vs Big Show – The Authority did as promised and no one physically got involved in this match. But they got us by using the classic music tease level of interference. It will continue to confound me as to why any wrestlers, baby face or heel, reacts to the music. You’ve seen it played out on TV at least once a month. It costs you matches! Watch some game film and be prepared for it. Jeremy & I agreed on this finish and were correct. The big take away from this Randy Orton win though is John Cena coming out and holding up his title as The Authority clapped for the Orton victory. Are we getting a unification match for the WWE & World Championships? It sure looks like it. Are Big E Langston & Dean Ambrose going to get a bump since they have the secondary titles? Looks of speculation to keep you hooked for Monday Night Raw. – Kevin

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