Smackdown! Review for June 27th, 2014

smackdown

by: Mitch Nickelson

Live from Pittsburgh! I don’t normally review Smackdown, but I have time and thought about giving it a go. Maybe this could be a permanent thing? I’ll try it and see if I like it. I’m only hitting the highlights, so I’ll write about the matches and any promos that I deem significant. No play-by-play either, just a quick summary and my thoughts. Let’s go.

SD_775_Photo_009

Triple H, Randy Orton, and Seth Rollins Promo

So Triple H hypes up Money In The Bank. He says that Randy Orton will win the championship ladder match and Seth Rollins will win the contract ladder match. Rollins and Orton start to pick at each other, but Triple H calms that squabble down. I’m looking forward to the event this Sunday. Triple H sets up the first match of the night between BNB and Dean Ambrose.

SD_775_Photo_018

Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose

I think Dean Ambrose is benefiting the most since The Shield broke up. (Reigns is the biggest star, but he’s not necessarily being elevated because of The Shield breakup.) Dean’s loose cannon personality is really shining and he has such a great buzz around him. He’s my pick to win the contract ladder match on Sunday. Him and BNB both have great chemistry together. Barrett is another guy who is really hot right now. His Bad News gimmick is great. Dean gets a big win over Barrett via Dirty Deeds.

Winner via pinfall: Dean Ambrose

The big story of this match happens afterward. Jack Swagger comes out to fight and he legit injures Barrett. He went to throw Barrett into the barricade and it caused real harm to him. It didn’t look like Swagger did anything wrong, Barrett just hit the barricade funny. But will Barrett compete Sunday? That’s the big question.

SD_775_Photo_051

Paige vs. Cameron

This was a short match. Paige seems to be an actually good wrestler. The post match nonsense with Naomi and Cameron getting feisty seems to overshadow the actual in-ring action. Paige won via PTO. Please give her a solid ten minute match this Sunday.

Winner via pinfall: Paige

SD_775_Photo_075

Sheamus vs. Bray Wyatt

Sheamus is a tough guy and Bray is really creepy. His minions Luke and Rowan stayed on the side, making Sheamus outnumbered. During the commercial break, the Usos came out to even the odds as the match went on.

There was a big melee at the end. Sheamus and Bray furthered their feud. Also, the Usos and Harper and Rowan got to scuffle.

Winner by DQ: Sheamus

SD_775_Photo_084

RVD and Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro and Alberto Del Rio

So the summary of this match is Del Rio and Cesaro, the heels, beat up on Ziggler for a while.  Ziggler sells like a champ, like always. He gets a hot tag to RVD which wasn’t all that hot because Rob’s kind of stale in his old age. There’s back and forth that involves all the participants. RVD goes for the 5 Star Frog Splash that Del Rio counters into his arm hold, which RVD taps out to.

Winner by submission: Del Rio (and Cesaro)

Post match, Cesaro turns on Del Rio and takes him out. The point is that it’ll be every man for himself this Sunday.

Heyman was on commentary during this match, which I always find hilarious. Good match and segment here.

SD_775_Photo_122

Rusev (w/Lana) vs. Sin Cara

During the Lana promo, some guy in the audience held up a sign that said “Obama Fears Putin.” Haha, truth. This match was quick. Rusev used the Accolade to win.

Winner by submission: Rusev

Big E came out after the match and did his best attempt to sound patriotic. He’s got a black preacher vibe going on, but he’s not that good at it. I liked the good hoss stare down in the ring. Rusev tried to charge Big E, but got knocked out of the ring. If Rusev didn’t already beat Big E in four minutes at last month’s pay-per-view, I might be excited about their match this Sunday.

SD_775_Photo_139

Kane vs. Roman Reigns

This was a decent match between two big dudes. They battled out of the ring and teased putting each other through the table, but they didn’t. Roman got the blessing of an amazing camera angle on his Superman Punch as it looked stellar. Randy Orton interfered at that point, causing the match to get stopped short.

Winner by DQ: Roman Reigns

Roman eventually got himself chokeslammed and knocked out by Kane. Kane went to get a ladder and set it up in the middle of the ring. Instead of climbing it, he stepped back and allowed Randy Orton to climb it. I guess Kane has Orton’s back on Sunday.

After a long lull, Orton and Kane clear the ladder out of the ring. Orton charges at Reigns, who’s getting to his feet, and gets met with a spear. As Kane goes after him, he also receives a spear. The show closes with Reigns holding up the belts like he thinks he’s going to win on Sunday. Poor Roman, he must have forgotten that John Cena is in his match.

Mitch’s Final Thoughts:

The show was kind of bland. It’s the last show before Money In The Bank and it feels like everything is just on autopilot. But Money In The Bank still has me excited. Even though the build for most of it is kind of weak, the ladder matches are a spectacle that sell the event just for being there. It’s like the Royal Rumble in terms of excitement.

I’m not going to give awards like I do on Raw because I don’t feel like much stood out to me on this show. The tag match with Ziggler was decent, but not the greatest thing ever. Heyman was funny on commentary, but I’m not sure it counts as a promo. If you miss this show, you’re not really missing out. I could’ve written that at the beginning of my article, but I don’t want people to not read me or anything. That’d be bad for business.

Lastly, check out my article at my local paper, The Herald Dispatch. I write a book review on a Bobby Heenan autobiography. Bobby “The Brain” is the man, so you know you want to. Also, the talented Al N. Jaxson and the lovely Rosie Piper joined me this week to preview this Sunday’s Money In The Bank. Read our preview and see who we picked to win. Until next time, take a bath.

Advertisements

Money In The Bank PREVIEW

MITB 14

Live this Sunday, from Boston, Massachusetts, it’s WWE Money In The Bank! If you have the WWE Network, and you should because it’s a great deal, then join the party and watch as John Cena most likely crushes the hopes and dreams of anyone rooting for some young go-getter who could really use the bump. But this is a fun show just for the gimmick of the ladder match alone, so on with the show!

This is one of the big shows of the month, so both Mitch and Al (and also Rosie?) will give a full preview along with their predictions of each match. Expect us to be right, because we’re freaking brilliant over here.

MITB 14 Bryan Kickoff

Kickoff Show – Daniel Bryan Interview

Mitch: It’s good that Daniel will get some face time. He’ll address his feelings about being stripped of the title, I assume. My take on this is that if he doesn’t announce when he’s coming back then it’s kind of a useless segment. It will be good for him to get the crowd doing the Yes chant, though.

Al: You know what? I’ve actually missed Daniel Bryan. Wrestling is definitely better with him involved. I, Al N. Jaxson, will be looking forward to this interview.

Payback_Match_Rusev_BigE_LIGHT_HP.0_standard_730.0

Big E vs. Rusev (w/Lana)

Mitch: Didn’t this just happen last month? I like both of these guys well enough, but this is just a match for these guys to have until the writers can find a way to move Rusev up the company ladder. Big E used to move up the company ladder. He seemed to have promise, too. Giving him an American flag is an awkward fit for him. Hopefully the find something better. Rusev will win and hopefully Lana gives us a funny promo about how awesome Putin is.

Mitch’s pick: Putin’s main man, Rusev

Layla vs. Summer Rae (Fandango as Special Guest Referee)

Mitch: This is a pretty weak feud for this event. I don’t watch Total Divas because I don’t care about who’s dating the female wrestlers and it is slightly annoying that I have to see this on a pay-per-view. Can’t this type of thing stay on the E! network? Fandango can actually wrestle, why not let him? I’ll pick Summer Rae because she’s a lot taller than Layla and I think she’d win in a real fight between these two. Please keep this short.

Mitch’s pick: Summer Rae

Goldust and Stardust vs. Rybaxel

Mitch: The Rhodes brothers lost the tag titles shortly before Wrestlemania. I would’ve put money on them having a brother vs. brother match at Wrestlemania, but that never happened. Then, they kind of became irrelevant in the tag scene. They went through a period of Cody not feeling good enough and looking for a replacement to tag with his brother. He found that replacement and it is himself…sort of.

Cody is now in Goldust-style attire and paint. Is this a new chapter in their tag careers? My guess is yes. Hopefully they find new life in the tag division. Maybe that brother vs. brother tag match will happen at Wrestlemania 31, but it doesn’t look to be soon. The Rhodes brothers should win as this is their first real match with the Stardust gimmick and Rybaxel are kind of losers anyway.

Mitch’s pick: Goldust and Stardust

Al: Sleep would not be lost for me if I missed this one. I have to agree with Mitch. I was hoping for a brother vs brother feud. But that was not the case. Cody has found a new road to travel as Stardust. I do give him credit for trying something new. Not mentioning any names (KOFI KINGSTON) but it would be nice if other superstars would do the same. I’m going out on a limb and going with Rybaxel in this one. They need a push and this would give Goldust and Stardust a chance to feud.

Als pick: Rybaxel

MITB 14 Tag Championship

The Usos (c) vs. Harper and Rowan (Tag Team Championship)

Mitch: This rivalry has actually warmed me over on The Usos. I really like how they keep bringing it to the bigger, stronger, and way creepier Wyatt boys. They’re pretty fearless and I buy into the classic David and Goliath matchup that’s going on. In the grand scheme of things, I see the Usos winning this war. But for this Sunday’s battle, I’d like to see Harper and Rowan taking the belts and holding them until Summerslam. The Usos can regroup after a loss and people will rally behind them on their path to retake the gold.

Mitch’s pick: Harper and Rowan

Al: I’ll admit at first I liked the Usos. They are fun to watch and they can put on a good match, but I’ve found myself bored, quite frankly, with them. Harper and Rowan deserve to win this match. They have been standing behind Brays shadow for too long and it’s time they taste championship gold.

Al’s pick: Harper and Rowan

MITB 14 Divas

Paige (c) vs. Naomi (Diva’s Championship Match)

Mitch: Ever since Paige won the title, I feel like she hasn’t really gotten a chance to show off her skills in the ring. Most of her matches are short. Her submission finisher, the scorpion crosslock that she calls the PTO (Paige Tap Out), is absolutely brutal looking. It’s a better submission that most of the men’s moves. This match is set up from a recent non-title match between these two where Naomi got a win over Paige. It was the only match of Paige’s that I feel like I’ve caught a glimpse of her potential and I hope they get a sufficient amount of time this Sunday. The two can go. Paige is still early into her title reign and I don’t see this rivalry continuing, so she’s my pick.

Mitch’s pick: Paige

Al: This will actually be a match I’m looking forward too. I say “actually” because we all know women’s wrestling is always going to be secondary to men’s. But before I get chastised by all you ladies out there, I want to say how impressed I’ve been with the women’s division. Women’s wrestling has done nothing but improve and Paige and Naomi, as Mitch said, can go. I don’t see it as fair that Paige would be stripped of the title already so Paige’o is my pick ‘o.

Al’s pick: Paige

MITB 14 Contract Match

Money In The Bank Contract Match

Mitch: This is the traditional ladder match where the winner will get a contract guaranteeing them a title shot. They can redeem it in the ring at any time or place of their choosing. It used to be a sure thing that the winner would go on to grab the title, but no so much recently. (Don’t get me started on Damien Sandow.)

Bad News Barrett might be injured due to a shoulder injury on Smackdown, which is taped on Tuesday. It’ll be a few days until we find out if he’ll be cleared to compete on Sunday or not. He’s a favorite if he does.

Ambrose, Rollins, BNB, and Ziggler are the only real choices for a winner. Ziggler is long shot and we already went over that BNB might not even get to compete at this point. That leaves Ambrose and Rollins. I think you could flip a coin with them. I’ll go with Ambrose because I think he gives Bray Wyatt a run for his money as the best promo guy today.

Mitch’s pick: Dean Ambrose

Al: Now were getting to the meat of the ppv. The ladder match where the winner gets the golden ticket, the guarantee for a title shot . I’m not sure who’s idea this was. It’s said to have been Chris Jericho’s,  I’m not sure, but I love this. We’ve got some big names in this one. My favorite guy right now, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, BNB, Dolph Ziggler, RVD, Kofi , and Swagger. I’m hoping for some good ol fashioned wrestling action. My pick for this one is Seth Rollins

Al’s pick: Seth Rollins

MITB 14 Championship Match

Money In The Bank Championship Match

Mitch: This is a hard one to call. Daniel Bryan was stripped of his title due to a legitimate neck injury and that led to the first ever Money In The Bank ladder match that will actually crown the winner as champion on the spot. You don’t get any more money in the bank than that.

I feel like Sheamus and Del Rio are pure filler in this. Cesaro still has some steps to go until he’s championship-ready. While I do expect him to have memorable moments in this event I do not expect him to win. Roman Reigns is a future champion, but it just doesn’t seem like they’re pulling the trigger on him just yet.

Cena, Orton, and Wyatt are more likely choices as I see it. I feel like Cena is always a potential champion in the company, so he very likely could win. Management always loves Orton which I don’t get. His recent title run was very lackluster. Don’t do that to us again. Bray Wyatt, in reality, should win it. He really is a young guy that is truly in a position to lead the company. I don’t see him winning but I hope I’m wrong.

Honestly, and I don’t like writing this, I see Kane winning. My logic is that if Daniel Bryan wasn’t hurt right now, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship would be fought over by those two guys. That was the feud we were getting before Bryan got sidelined, whether we wanted it or not. If in the pre-show Daniel Bryan says that he’s cleared to compete by next month’s pay-per-view, then Kane will win this match and the feud will continue on with the champion/challenger roles reversed. Maybe Bryan will win it back on a Raw beforehand, but he will get it back and be in the championship match at Summerslam.

Mitch’s pick: Kane

Al: Like Mitch said, hard one to call here. This should be a fun match to watch though. I agree that Del Rio is purely in this match as a filler, which is sad because he’s still one of the best in the company, in my opinion. Del Rio was my favorite for a while and still is one of my favorite wrestlers in the business. Will he win this match? Of course not. Neither will Sheamus. I see these two guys and Orton losing. I can’t remember the last time I have seen Randy Orton on screen and went “Hey! Look, it’s Randy Orton! I’m so happy!!! He bores me to tears. Heck, Batista has been more entertaining to me. So that leaves Wyatt, Cesaro , Cena, Kane, and Reigns. Out of these five guys, I see Cesaro having the least chance of winning. He just isn’t ready. He will be. But not now.

John Cena is always a safe bet. I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again. It doesn’t matter if he has the belt or not, John Cena is the face you’ll see on cereal boxes; he’s the wrestler all the kids know and want to be like. He’s the face of the WWE. But I don’t see him winning this match. But I would not be surprised if he did. He’s not my pick though. My pick is Mr. Bray Wyatt. He’s earned this victory. Roman reigns just doesn’t deserve this more than Wyatt does.

Al’s pick: bray Wyatt

In Closing, by Mitch:

So what do you think? Are we way off base in our predictions? Or are we spot on because we’re trained professionals at this whole pro-wrestling analysis thing? (I’m going with the latter.)

Check back on this blog next week for a full review by our panel of experts. In the meantime, check out all the current articles already posted up, like Rosie Piper’s excellent take on the Seth Rollins situation. Also, Mitch Nickelson published a book review in his local newspaper of an autobiography of the great Bobby Heenan. Read up, peoples.

What’s Up With Seth?

Rollins leaves shield

What’s Up With Seth?

by Rosie Piper

The stunned look on Dean Ambrose’s face as he watches Roman Reigns drop heavily to the mat while Seth Rollins grips the cold, hard, metal chair. The brutal beatdown Rollins unleashes on his former teammates, men he called brothers. The victorious look on Triple H’s face as he watches the implosion of the Shield.

dean-ambrose-shield-break-up-shock

Rollins has long been touted as the glue that held the Shield together. When it seemed like the tension between Reigns and Ambrose was about to break the team apart, Rollins worked his magic and weaved the trio back together. His walk-out during the Raw rematch between the Shield and the Wyatt Family served the purpose of re-solidifying the bond between the brothers. After all of that, his apparent betrayal of the group is particularly heartbreaking.

Rollins

But is Rollins really a Judas? Was he planning all along to bring the Shield to utter ruin?

I think we’re in for a real treat when Rollins’ true intentions become known. I think he’s playing both sides, and neither side has the faintest idea that he’s working them over. Seth has always been known as the architect, and make no mistake, he’s crafted a devilishly complex scheme that’s sure to make heads roll when it’s finally come to completion.

Seth-Rollins-Evolution

So how will the Authority handle being made fools? How will Ambrose and Reigns react when they realize the destruction of their group served a greater purpose? Will they welcome Seth back with open arms, or will he remain their adversary? Will Seth’s plan backfire, leaving him on the outs with everyone?

I’m looking foward to seeing how things pan out. I know one thing: no matter what, it’s sure to be explosive.

Thoughts on Raw for June 23rd, 2014

raw

Live from our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C., it’s Monday Night Raw! I’m your party captain as we go through this week’s event. Once again, I watch the Hulu version of Raw and it’s only 90 minutes. Stuff gets cut and I don’t always look up what I missed. So my review will cover the important stuff and maybe not all of the minor stuff. Let’s get to it.

RAW_1100_Photo_010

Vicki and Stephanie Open The Show

Due to Roman Reigns spiking Stephanie’s coffee last week, Vicki almost gets fired. She begs for her job back and that leads to Stephanie setting up a match between her and Vicki later in the show.  If Vicki loses then she gets fired.

There was a lot of Eddie Guerrero nostalgia in this promo and the crowd properly gave their respect. Stephanie is a good heel and when she told Vicki that she was riding her late husband’s coattails, she got a ton of heat because of it.

RAW_1100_Photo_014

Luke Harper (w/Erick Rowan) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso)
AND!!!!
Erick Rowan w/Luke Harper vs. Jey Uso w/Jimmy Uso

Luke Harper won the first match and Jey Uso won the second match. Both matches were short and the second match was impromptu. Lots of hard-hitting spots but this was just to get everyone excited about the Tag Team Championship match this Sunday. This feud is sort-of winning me over on the Usos, which I didn’t think was possible. I really like seeing those guys stand up to the crazy Wyatts. Also, I love the simple harmonica tune that Rowan and Harper are now using for themselves.

I won’t comment much on the Bray promo afterward other than that Bray is amazing. He talked about being proud of Rowan and Harper. He’s good at talking.

Alicia Fox vs. Naomi

I missed this one. Naomi won and goes on to face Paige this Sunday. There’s a meme going around of Jerry Lawler checking out Paige. Lawler always did love the ladies.

Sheamus and Reigns Promo

They’re both in the Money In The Bank Championship match as well as the main event for tonight. Just a little banter that served its purpose.

RAW_1100_Photo_066

Bo Dallas vs. Titus O’Neil

Bo Dallas defeats Titus with his Running Bodog. Afterwards, he calls Titus “buddy” and gets his mic slapped out of his hand. Bo picks it up and says that he had butterfingers. It’s really funny. Bo Dallas is the funniest thing on WWE right now. Hopefully he transitions his goofy character into a legitimate contender before he gets stale.

Triple H Reveals Who’s In The Second MITB

Hunter reveals that the traditional MITB match will include Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Bad News Barrett, along with the already announced Seth Rollins. Ambrose gets added later in the night. I don’t have an official pick in this one yet, but I’m pretty solid that it’ll be either Rollins, Ambrose, or Barrett. Ziggler is a long shot, even though I would love that. At least RVD and Kofi are in this match to do some sort of jumping bean maneuvers.

Rollins comes out to join HHH and then he’s interrupted by RVD. They do some surprisingly good insults on each other and a match is set up between the two. That match will happen…RIGHT NOW!

RAW_1100_Photo_087

Seth Rollins vs. RVD

This was a decent matchup. I’m normally bored by RVD these days, but he was doing good tonight. He hit a tornado DDT at one point that was impressive and he sold Rollin’s curb stomp like he got his head steamrolled. Rollins was looking like he had the match won, but Mr. Ambrose interfered at the end. Ambrose was able to grab a microphone after the brawl and talked about how he wanted in the lesser MITB match. He got to be his crazy self, of course. Dean should have a rivalry with Bray Wyatt in the next year just so the fans can be blessed with the promos that they’d deliver.

Triple H and Seth Rollins Talk Backstage

Seth Rollins wants Dean Ambrose in his MITB ladder match and Triple H agrees. Awesome. They should add a good dynamic to the match.

RAW_1100_Photo_121

Bad News Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler (IC Title Match)

BNB told the Washington crowd that their team was racist and always lost. It was hilarious. The match was also great. The two had really good chemistry. The crowd was incredibly into it. Barrett’s Bull Hammer at the end to win it was sick. Ziggler can sell better than about anybody.

Stephanie McMahon vs. Vicki Guerrero

Stephanie had three of the girl fighters help her out in this. Stephanie ended up winning and Vicki got fired. In reality, Vicki has been looking to exit this company for a while. From what I’ve heard she’s been taking some sort of classes on the side in the medical field to prepare her for life after wrestling. This was the scripted end to her WWE-run.

Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter

Swagger won via submission. This was cut from Hulu and while I like both guys well enough, I’m behind on some stuff and won’t look this up. Neither guy will win their MITB match, I’ll bet money on it.

RAW_1100_Photo_170

Big E vs. Damien Sandow

Sandow was dressed as Abe Lincoln when this started out and just kind of rambled on. What a shame to his character devolve to this nonsense. Big E beat him no time at all. There was a Big E promo opposite Lana and Rusev after the match. I guess they’ll fight at the upcoming pay-per-view. Didn’t they fight last month? I really don’t care about Big E at this point.

RAW_1100_Photo_205

Randy Orton, Cesaro (w/Paul Heyman), Bray Wyatt & Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena, Sheamus & Roman Reigns

This is the type of match you can expect before a pay-per-view like MITB, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a preview of the main event on Sunday. Lots of big moves at the end that kept the crowd energized. Sheamus won with a Brogue Kick and a pin on Cesaro.

Triple came out after the match was over and told everyone that he was adding another wrestler the championship match on Sunday…Kane. Kane then came out and chokeslammed anything that moved. Reigns finally stopped him with a spear. That’s the end of the show.

Mitch’s Final Thoughts:

I liked the show well enough this week. I’m really excited for the Pay-Per-View this Sunday and this show kept my interest in it. Both ladder matches should be a blast and I’m looking forward to that tag match as well. They did a nice job of laying the groundwork. They also did a nice job of giving Vicki a nice final appearance on WWE television. While the happening with her and Stephanie were pretty corny, there was enough Guerrero pride to give us wrestling fans a nice mushy feeling inside. Now for the awards that I feel like giving out…

Match of the Night: Barrett vs. Ziggler. Easy pic. This was a great match between two guys who should be farther up the company ladder.

Superstar of the Night: Vicki Guerrero. Have a good life, Vicki. We’ll miss you.

Promo of the Night: Bo Dallas. There were a few good ones, including Ambrose and his crazy self. But Bo Dallas continues to make me laugh and his “butterfingers” comment won me over.

Over grade: B+ There was some quality wrestler. Barrett/Ziggler was outstanding. The Usos/Wyatt Family stuff was short but sweet and the main event was loaded. The Vicki stuff was nice, too.

This is a little briefer than normal, but it’ll have to do. I’ll do a preview of Money in the Bank later in the week and my weekly Main Event review will be up on TJRWrestling.com by Wednesday. Keep on  keeping on, friends.

Money In The Bank Catchup Part 1

by: Mitch Nickelson

I have a confession to make. I quit watching wrestling in 2005 and did not start watching again until Royal Rumble 2013. After watching pro-wrestling throughout my entire childhood and into my college years, I was pretty burned out on the product. After returning to the wonderful world of people pretending to beat each other up, I realized that there’s been a lot of good stuff that I’ve missed out on. Namely, the Money in the Bank matches.

While I did watch the original MITB match in 2005 and have caught the two from 2013, I’ve missed every single one in between. That’s quite a lot of ladder matches. Thirteen to be exact. So what is a pro-wrestling columnist to do? I’m going to go back and watch every single one. I’ll highlight some of the big moments as I go along and throw in my thoughts on it all.

Care to make this journey with me? This is an ambitious task that I’m going to break up into three parts. So without further rambling, let’s start back at the beginning.

MITB wm 21

1. Wrestlemania 21
Los Angeles. CA
April 3, 2005
Chris Benoit, Edge, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, and Christian

This gimmick got off to a hot start. This was a great match with several high spots. It did a very good job of letting each competitor get a chance to shine at some point. While I wasn’t so impressed with the Shelton Benjamin spot where he ran up the leaning ladder for the clothesline during this viewing, I remember at the time it was a defining moment in Benjamin’s singles career. It was such an innovative moment that really helped him stand out.

Shelton-Benjamin ladder GIF

I forget who he did this to, but there was a point a when Benjamin did a running splash into an opponent who was leaning against a ladder in the corner. J.R. rightly called the move a “Stinger Splash.” That was a moment that made my day.

Edge got a ton of boos as he starting climbing the ladder for the win. He was cheered as well when he won, but I really don’t remember the booking of the match. I assume he was a heel at this time.

edge wins MITB

Winner: Edge

280 days after this match, Edge would cash in his title shot against WWE Champion John Cena after Cena successfully completed a title defense inside the brutal Elimination Chamber. Smart move, because Edge won. Good choice of picking your spot.

mitb wm 22

2. Wrestlemania 22
Chicago, Illinois
April 2, 2006
Rob Van Dam, Matt Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Ric Flair, Finlay, and Bobby Lashley

Looking up the match times on Wikipedia, this is the shortest MITB match ever. While match time is only officially 12:14, they sure do pack a lot of action in such a short amount of time. Shelton Benjamin was staking his claim that this was his match, delivering many of the more memorable spots in the match. He ran up the ladder again this year, but this time he did it in a diving board fashion as he performed a diving senton over the ropes and out of the ring. I also liked the sunset flip over the top of the ladder onto Bobby Lashley. Needing help from Hardy and Finlay to finish the move onto Lashley made for a nice effect.

MITV 2 Shelton Dive

What I like about this gimmick, and in particular this match, is how so many people that really have no right to be in a ladder match can come in and it works. I would have never imagined Ric Flair in a ladder match, but he does a great job in this. He takes a huge bump via suplex by Matt Hardy off of the top of the ladder and has to exit the match due to his injuries. But what a reaction he got when he came back to the arena to finish the match! His presence alone added to this match, but he went above and beyond and took some big spills as well. Finlay was a kind of a waste, but whatever.

Ric-Flair-Superplex

The finish was really fun. RVD could have climbed the ladder after he Frog Splashed Finlay and that would have been a good ending. But just to make it more exciting, Benjamin randomly lands on the other side of RVD’s ladder to try to make a stop. Seriously, was he just hanging out on a helicopter nearby or something? Matt Hardy set up a ladder as well to join in on the fun. RVD pushed them both over when they were battling on the ladder adjacent to him and secured the briefcase to a huge ovation.

MITB RVD win

Winner: RVD

RVD would hold on to his contract for 70 days. He would announce that he would cash in his title shot at ECW One Night Stand against WWE Champion John Cena. While it might seem unwise to telegraph this opportunity like he did, RVD won the title due to interference by Edge.

mitb wm 23

3. Wrestlemania 23
April 7, 2007
Detroit, Michigan
Edge, Jeff Hardy, CM Punk, Mr. Kennedy, King Booker, Finlay, Matt Hardy, and Randy Orton

The first two MITBs were the second match on the card. This one went first. The brand extension was in full effect and that meant that we got a bloated announce team for this match. I really like JBL, but the other five announcers were too cluttered for me.

I always wondered why nobody would run up the ladder really fast at the beginning of these matches. It’s chaos, they might go unnoticed. The opening sequence for this match had a series just like that. Everyone tried to sprint up the ladder for the quick win. Nobody was successful, obviously.

mitb wm 23 jeff hardy

The big bump of the match came with Jeff Hardy leg-dropping Edge through a ladder. Hardy was on a big ladder inside the ring and Edge was laying on a ladder that was laying under the bottom rope out to the barricade. Edge took the brunt of the big fall. He was put on a stretcher and carted backstage. I kind of hoped he’d come back a few minutes later like Flair did in the MITB last year. He didn’t. Wuss.

I was surprised how much people cheered for Hornswoggle. I didn’t mind it now and thought it was a little funny, but I probably would have been annoyed at his involvement if I’d been watching live. He got a big pop from the crowd when he punched Kennedy on the top of the ladder.

KennedyMITB_display_image

Kennedy would win the match, but after holding the contract for 36 days he would put it on the line in a match with Edge and lose. I think there was a legit injury that happened to cause this contract transfer. Edge would cash in against the Undertaker and win the World Heavyweight Championship immediately after the Undertaker finished a steel cage match with Batista and Mark Henry. Edge sure knows how to pick his spots.

MITB wm 24

4. Wrestlemania 24
March 30, 2008
Orlando, Florida
Mr. Kennedy, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, and Montel Vontavious Porter

This ladder match feels like it’s getting crazier and more death-defying every year. The seven guys in this year’s battle do everything they can to make the claim that this is the best MITB so far in the series.

I haven’t seen much of anything of the career of MVP. Even though I think his ring gear is a little goofy, he was good in this match. He was the guy holding the fort in the middle of the ring while everyone went for the ladders. They would have to go through him first. Matt Hardy got a thunderous ovation when he emerged later into the match to rob MVP of the win. I didn’t know much of the back-story with them, but they got a great reaction in that moment.

Shelton Benjamin always makes a good showing and this year he pulled off some spots that were flat-out insane. The sunset flip onto Mr. Kennedy, who was already superplexing John Morrison off of the ladder,  was one of the highlights of the night. Benjamin also put his life on the line when he made that big fall from the top of the ladder in the middle of the ring through the ladder on the outside. The guy really went out of his way to make this gimmick of a match spectacular.

mitb shelton falls

John Morrison also took some big dives. He did a backflip from the top rope to the outside while holding a ladder. That spot looked like he didn’t quite get the distance he had hoped for, but it was still insane. Chris Jericho put him into a brutal looking Walls of Jericho on the top of the ladder as well. That move always looks painful.

mitb wm 24 walls of jericho

Jericho and CM Punk were in the final sequence, battling at the top of the later. They brawled and slammed each other with the briefcase. Punk tripped up Jericho, who was dangling off of his side of the ladder. He was helpless as Punk secured the briefcase for the victory.

mitb wm 24 punk

Winner: CM Punk.

This was the second year in a row that they had two announcers from each brand during this match. It’s just too much. Just pick a team and let them announce the whole match by themselves.

CM Punk held the contract for 92 days before cashing it it. He successfully defeated Edge with the GTS on an episode of Monday Night Raw. Apparently Batista had just beat up Edge, so that was a wise move by the Straight Edge Superstar.

Part 1 Final Thoughts

These were four fantastic ladder matches. It’s no wonder that this gimmick match has become such a huge part of the current landscape of WWE. I don’t know if Chris Jericho gets residuals for this idea or not, but this is a big money draw of a match that could be a staple for years to come just like the Royal Rumble.

I’ll mention a few things that particularly stood out so far. Obviously, Shelton Benjamin has branded himself with this match. So many great spots by that guy. Ric Flair also was a standout. Taking that superplex in the second MITB match was so impressive by the aging legend. Finlay seemed like the most off entrant into these matches, but the moment when Hornswoggle came out with him got a surprisingly big reaction that was amusing. Mr. Kennedy and MVP seemed like two characters that had a ton of potential. I missed their WWE runs and it feels like a shame that they never got a real chance in the top tier.

The gimmick is great and with the world title shot contract, it gives a real reason for all of the competitors to want to be in this match. Fighters risk their lives for the greatest prize in this business and I’m stoked to watch the next few matches in this series.

Thoughts on Raw for June 16th, 2014

raw

Live from Cleveland, Ohio. Like normal, I’m watching the Hulu version, so I might not cover some of the minor stuff because I won’t know it exists. I’ll try to look stuff up though and throw my thoughts in. This is more of my opinions than actual play-by-play commentary. It looks like the entire locker room is standing at the top of the ramp. Triple H and Stephanie make their way to the ring, which sets up our first segment.

RAW_1099_Photo_011

Triple H and Stephanie Opening Promo

Lots of hype about the upcoming championship ladder match. A big battle royal will happen later in the night, which should be fun. Winner gets a spot in the big match at Money In The Bank. Reigns, Ambrose, and Cena don’t get to be in the match. Cena will be in a stretcher match tonight against Kane. Good, maybe Bryan won’t have to do it when he gets back.

RAW_1099_Photo_028

Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler

They’ve done this match several times this past week, but this was the best encounter. Apparently Ziggler is from Cleveland and the crowd was majorly behind him. Lots of good nearfalls. Definitely one to look up if you missed it. The match ends in DQ when Ambrose interferes to attack Rollins. Rollins wants a match with Seth now, but Triple H comes over the Titan Tron to say that’s not going to happen now. Instead, Ambrose will immediately fight Bad News Barrett. I assume Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose will happen at the Pay-Per-View. Also, Dean Ambrose might be the best promo guy in wrestling right now. Or at least a near second behind Bray Wyatt. Every time he has the mic it’s gold.

RAW_1099_Photo_047

Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose

Dean hurt his shoulder on Smackdown last Friday.  Barrett clotheslined Ambrose off the corner turnbuckle to the outside and he favored his shoulder for the rest of the match. Rollins tried to distract Ambrose during his match, which led to the two of them battling into the crowd. Ambrose got himself counted  out. They announced BNB to be the winner and Ambrose came back in to take him out.

Roman Reigns and Vicki “The Barista” Guerrero

Roman asks Vicki when she’s going to tell The Authority to take this job and shove it. She’s carrying their coffee and accidentally sneezes on them, but shrugs it off and proceeds to take it to them anyway. This segment isn’t all that funny, but it’s not as bad as many of the WWE’s poor attempts at comedy.

RAW_1099_Photo_073

Bray and Family Talk About Power

Bray points to the belts hanging above the ring and says that they represent all the power he’d ever need. He also says that Harper and Rowan will destroy the Usos and take their power as well. I would love it if all of the Wyatts walk away with belts at Money In The Bank. Sheamus interrupts him to tell him that it’s bad luck to walk to under the ladder.

RAW_1099_Photo_094

Bray Wyatt vs. Sheamus

The match doesn’t seem like it really ever picks up. Instead of giving it a good shot, the Usos come out to save Sheamus when he’s on the outside from a 3 on 1 situation. The match still continues for a bit until there’s mass interference. We get a cool spot where the Usos run up a ladder that’s leaning on the ropes. They dive out of the ring onto Harper and Rowan. Sheamus then throws the ladder out towards Harper and Rowan and it looks like it destroys their faces. Good way to further the tag title feud. Is Sheamus now in the mix? Will there be more face-offs between him and Bray? I sure hope so.

Vicki Delivers Coffee

Triple H bumbles into Vicki and the coffee spills all over her. He makes her go get more for him. She might tell him to take the job and shove it, but as this drags on I really don’t care. At least the matches have gotten a good amount of time so far, so I’ll keep my complaining on this to a minimum.

Renee Young Interviews Kevin Hart

I’ve liked the Adam Rose character, but his interruption of this segment was kind of dumb. Give the guy a real match or two and he might get over. Good luck to Kevin Hart and his movie. I won’t watch it, though.

Stephanie Pukes Like A Demon

More Vicki stuff. I guess Roman spiked the coffee and Stephanie is sick now. She explosively pukes over Vicki. Seriously, that was gross. I’m surprised at how much they dumped onto poor Vicki. The Authority go home because Steph is sick. They tell Vicki she’s in charge now.

Roman Gets Into The Battle Royal

Roman says that Vicki will most likely be fired next week. So she should put him in the battle royal tonight. Seems like he planned this all. If I was Vicki I wouldn’t put him in. It was his fault that Stephanie got sick from the coffee.

RAW_1099_Photo_147

Fandango and Layla vs. Adam Rose and Summer Rae

Kevin Hart was on commentary. The crowd really likes chanting Adam Rose’s theme. The girls brawled and stormed backstage, but Adam Rose hit his finisher, the Party Foul, onto Fandango for the win. Kevin Hart joined him in the ring and officially became a Rosebud.

RAW_1099_Photo_181

Battle Royal for a Money In The Bank Championship Spot

Sandow is wearing a Lebron James Heat jersey, haha. I bet Cleveland loved that. Roman Reigns got his own special entrance because he’s going to win. Sandow got thrown out immediately because the WWE doesn’t care that he’s one of my favorites.  Bo Dallas lasted a while and made a good impression  near the end. I hope his elimination of RVD leads to a big match down the road.

Okay, the showdown between Rusev and Reigns at the end was FANTASTIC. The crowd got so electric and it was great to see Rusev in this role and looking like he belonged. Reigns won, but those two made an awesome final minute or two out of it. It’s nice to see two of the younger guys in such a prominent position and really shining in it. My wife took a nap while I watched Raw. I’ll make her watch the end of this later.

20140616_CenaKane_PHOTO_LARGE_L

John Cena vs. Kane (Stretcher Match)

The crowd was hot for this. They were actually hot all night. Kudos, Cleveland, for being a great wrestling crowd. Cena hit Kane with an Attitude Adjustment through the table — that was pretty good. He also threw the steel steps out of the ring into Kane’s face on the outside. I always love that spot.

Rollins and Orton came in to interfere. Ambrose came out to help Cena out, but Orton gets an RKO in on Cena in the process. Doesn’t matter, though. Cena is Superman and won the match anyway. Cena earned his spot into the title ladder match at Money In The Bank.

Mitch’s Final Thoughts:

Great night of wrestling. Lots of good matches that got plenty of time. The crowd was hot through it all. The Rusev/Reigns ending was my favorite moment of the night. The ladder match at Money In The Banks looks to be filled out and it should be a good show. I’ll write a preview next week for it. Let’s run through the awards of the night…

Superstar of the Night: I’ll give this to Roman Reigns. That big battle royal win was exciting and a great step for his character.

Promo of the Night: Dean Ambrose. Right before his match versus Wade Barrett. He’s so good. Bray deserves an honorable mention. These two and Paul Heyman are probably always going to win this award.

Match of the Night: Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler. There were a lot of contenders for this. But the crowd was really behind Dolph and I like that The Shield is in all of my awards. Those three really are the future of this company.

Overall Grade: A- This was a great night of wrestling. A hot crowd and solid matchups equal a good show.

Apparently I missed out on Stardust, which is Cody Rhodes in Goldust paint. I looked it up on Youtube and it looks cool. I’m excited to see what they do with it. I missed a Paige match, but apparently it was really short and not worth my time. I missed a Rusev match against the only guy left in 3MB, too. Another squash match. Other than the Rhodes thing, good job Hulu for cutting the stuff that wastes my time.

Expect my usual Main Event Review in the coming days. It should be posted to TJRwrestling.com by tomorrow and here in the days after. Also, I’m going through all of the old Money In The Bank matches. It’s a big three-part series that I’ll slowly release over the next week and a half. It’s a lot of fun going through them all because I haven’t seen most of them.

I’m also on Twitter now. Check me out and add me. Or follow me. I don’t really get Twitter yet.  But here I am – @MitchNickelson.

WWE Main Event Review for June 10, 2014

by: Mitch Nickelson

(Note from Mitch: This is the second week I’ve reviewed Main Event for TJRWrestling.com. It’s a lot of fun and I get a lot of traffic from over there. Al hasn’t reviewed the show this week, but if he does I’ll edit this and add his part in.)

Welcome back to Mitch Nickelson’s review of WWE Main Event. I was watching this live until mid-way through Seth Rollin’s opening promo last night. Lots of storms rolled through West Virginia Tuesday night. It’s Wednesday morning and power and internet are both finally restored, so it’s time to get to it.

Main Event is live from Green Bay, Wisconsin this week. Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips are our announcers.

Triple H/Seth Rollins Talk, Get Interrupted by Dolph Ziggler

Triple H’s music begins the show. Announcer Tom Phillips says that this is the first time ever that Triple H is live on Main Event. The Game walks out to the ring and is looking all dapper in a suit. He talks about all of the controversy in the WWE as of late. He shows the video of Dr. Maroon explaining that Daniel Bryan is not cleared to compete for this month. Triple H says that the fans are the reason why Daniel Bryan is being stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Hunter talks about the upcoming ladder match at Money In The Bank and the camera shows the two titles hanging above the ring. Sheamus, Del Rio, Cesaro, and Orton have already been announced for this match. He guarantees magic, because at Money In The Bank a new champion will be crowned.

Triple H talks about other controversies and they recap the breakup of The Shield from Raw two weeks ago. The fans boo that segment as Hunter introduces Seth Rollins as well. He’s wearing a grey suit but has refused to wear a tie. He’s cool like that.

Fans chant loudly “You Sold Out” as Rollins explained how his betrayal of his brothers felt. While he’s not the greatest promo guy ever, but he’s doing well in this role and the fans seem to take his recent actions personally. They really resent him. Good for him because he’s been getting a pretty good response. He says that Reigns and Ambrose are destined only for mediocrity. He tells the fans that they don’t have the guts to do what he did. Triple H understands what it is to create and seize opportunities, according to Seth.

Rollins says his goal is to be the greatest. He adapted and he evolved. He calls Reigns and Ambrose dead weight, so he cut them loose. The fans are chanting “Boring” as he tries to thank Triple H for helping him to create this opportunity. The chant is more to irritate Rollins; they do seem entertained. Fans are liars sometimes.

Cue Dolph Ziggler. He’s wearing a black coat. Everyone’s looking nice tonight. He calls Seth a self-centered scumbag traitor. Ziggler says that he steps into the ring with a chip on his shoulder to show the world how good he is at what he does. He gets cheered for it. Ziggler says he’ll cram that arrogance down Rollin’s tiny giraffe neck (nice line) because tonight he’s going to show the world what it means to be a WWE superstar. He’s going to do so without having a maniacal ego-maniac boss holding his hand everyone step of the way.

Good set up to the show so far. Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins face each other later in the show. Jimmy Uso fights Luke Harper up next.

Jimmy Uso vs. Luke Harper

The Usos do their normal tribal intro that ends with their hip hop chant thing. Their entrance is annoying to me. I realize I’m alone in my Usos disapproval, so feel free to tell me how I’m wrong and why I should love them. The Wyatt intro is short and sweet. The screen cuts for a second to their creepy images and then it cuts back to Harper and Rowan in the ring opposite the Usos.

Tom Phillips points out that the Wyatts defeated the Usos at a recent Raw. It was a non-title match, so give them their title shot. Early on, Harper is laying against the second rope like he’s in position for a 619. Jimmy does a dive on his back. Harper gets up slowly and gives him his creepy-eyed death stare. They have good chemistry.

Harper has control for a bit and keeps it at a slow pace. He makes sure to do his death-moan before a suplex. Jimmy tries to battle back and finally gets in some quality offense when do does a spinning attack off the top rope. This grounds Harper. Jey gets the crowd clapping in support of his brother. Jimmy charges toward Luke in the corner and just about gets his head taken off by a boot to the face.

Jimmy is able to do a back body drop on Luke to the outside. He runs off the ropes, hoping for a dive but Harper instead gets a punch in at the ropes to stop him. Harper misses a clothesline and Jimmy hits a superkick. He rolls up Harper and that’s enough for the win.

Winner by pinfall: Jimmy Uso

The announcers call this match an important psychological win for the Usos. I like this rivalry, but I’m still rooting for the Wyatt family to win the tag titles in the end.

Rollins and Ziggler still face each other later. Apparently Kofi Kingston takes on Rusev next. Poor Kofi, hopefully he gets more than a minute.

There’s a good ad that has Roman Reigns singing “I’m a Little Teapot” with who I assume is his daughter. It’s nice. Since he’s a babyface now, that’s a good way to get people to like him more.

Kofi Kingston vs. Rusev (w/Lana)

Three matches and an opening segment? Pretty full show tonight. A pre-taped segment shows Kofi saying that Rusev can pack up his fancy medal and go home. Lana comes out before Rusev and talks about how bad American women are. Fans chant “U.S.A.” loudly and she tells them to stop. American men don’t desire American women, they desire Lana. Russian men are strong, like Vladimir Putin. An image of him is shown on screen, of course. Rusev comes out waving his flag proudly. That star on his neck his sharp, he should use it as a foreign object.

The match is really quick early on. Kofi gets in a decent amount of offense and does a crossbody off the top ropes for a two count. The action spills outside as Rusev really takes over. He slams Kofi around a bit into the barricade. Back in the ring, Kofi tries to drop kick Rusev but he’s returned with a stiff kick from the big guy who now resides in Moscow. Rusev stomps hard onto Kofi’s back and put him into his submission finisher, which he is calling the Accolade.

Winner by submission: Rusev

The match went 3:32 according to my stopwatch, so it wasn’t a complete squash. No one expected Kofi to win, but they let him look athletic at least. Lana puts the star back on Rusev’s neck. The flag drops behind them as they stand victorious.

A graphic comes on again letting us know that Dolph Ziggler still faces off against Seth Rollins later, in case anyone forgot. I’m looking forward to it.

Did You Know? Raw and Smackdown were #1 on each of their nights. Too bad they couldn’t monetize that better for Wall Street. Oh well, their stock will go back up. Remember kids, buy low and sell high.

Sheamus and Cesaro face off this Friday night. Summer Rae talks about Fandango with Renee Young backstage. They replay her dumping milk on Layla backstage on Raw. Renee asks if that was done because of jealousy. Summer Rae starts to explain herself and then gets slammed into the back of the head by Layla using a box of kitty litter. She then pours milk over Summer Rae’s head and rubs her face in it.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins

Dolph comes out first. The crowd is pretty hyped to see him as they go to a break. Back from the break and Seth now comes out. He’s still wearing his Shield outfit. I kind of thought that he’d change his ring gear up since leaving The Shield. Maybe he will in the coming weeks.

This is a rematch from last week on Smackdown. Seth gets an early advantage with a headlock. They exchange a little off the ropes and it ends with Dolph hip-tossing Seth. Dolph now has Seth in a headlock. More Irish Whip action. Dropkick from Ziggler. Rollins sends Ziggler into the top rope, which he sells all the way to the outside. It’s now time for a break.

Back from the break and Dolph is battling out of a headlock, but unsuccessfully. Seth does a series of suplexes like Eddie Guerrero used to do. A small “Eddie” chant is heard in the crowd.

“Let’s Go Ziggler” chant from the audience, but Rollins stays in control. He repeatedly sends Ziggler hard into the corner turnbuckles. On third trip to the ropes, Dolph counters up and over Ziggler and lands on his back for a headlock. Ziggler keeps the momentum going. He gets a big back body drop on Seth and does a few elbow drops, but not his usual ten in a row.

Ziggler sets up a neckbreaker that gets countered. Seth does an impressive spin move onto a running Dolph that ends with him being slammed onto the mat. Seth climbs the the top rope. Ziggler runs up for the counter, but gets punched back to the ground. Still on the top, he goes for a  dive but gets caught with a drop kick. Ziggler tries to pin but only gets a two count.

Dolph jumps high onto Seth and looks like he’s going to DDT him, but Seth just throws him off as he lands flat on his stomach. Seth gets thrown onto the apron and kicks Dolph into the middle of the ring. He jumps off of the ropes, attempting to kick Dolph but misses. Dolph then goes for the Famouser and hits it. Pinfall for only 2! Good nearfall attempt.

Dolph jumps onto Seth’s back but gets thrown off. He jumps onto Seth again and starts doing a ten-count punch in the corner, but gets thrown off again. He jumps onto Seth for a third times and makes it to about four punches before Seth starts carrying him to the opposite side of the ring. Powerbomb into the corner, followed by the Curb Stomp. This finishes off Ziggler as Rollins pins him for the win.

Winner by pinfall: Seth Rollins

I tried to keep up with the play-by-play but it stayed at a pretty quick pace. I missed stuff, for sure. Seth celebrates his win in the ring as the show comes to a close.

Mitch’s Final Thoughts:

This was a solid hour of wrestling. The opening promo was good and having Triple H on helps this show feel like it’s kind of important. I like the Usos/Wyatt story that’s going on and look forward to seeing the eventual tag title match at Money In The Bank or whenever they decide to do it. I actually find myself interested in what the Usos are doing, so good job WWE.

Rusev got his win, which is nothing new. He needs an actual rivalry, though his match with Kofi was entertaining for what it was. The main event with Rollins and Ziggler was good, but not great. I wish Dolph had more value in this company but I’m not the first or last person to feel that way.

Overall, enjoyable show. There was less recap than last week and more original programming. I felt that this hour of WWE was good enough to be the first hour of Smackdown. That’s either a kudos to Main Event or a burn on Smackdown; take your pick.

That’s all I’ve got this week. Thanks for reading. Agree or Disagree with anything? Have any thoughts with how to make this column better? Comment below and I’ll get back to you.

Many Released by WWE Today

vince youre fired

According to WWE.com, several “superstars” have been released form the company today. Here is the complete list of individuals who have found themselves on the wrong side of the pink slip…

Theodore Long
Camacho
Brodus Clay
Evan Bourne
Yoshi Tatsu
Curt Hawkins
Aksana
Jinder Mahal
Drew McIntyre
Marc Harris (referee)
JTG

What do Mitch and Al think of these unfortunate releases? We’ll break down all of the individuals and reveal if we think WWE made a smart move.
                                                                                                                                                       

Theodore-Long
Theodore Long

Mitch: This guy has been around the block for a while. I just saw footage the other day of when he managed Mean Marc (Mark Calloway before he was the Undertaker) in the early WCW days. He’s spent a lot of time as a ref and had some stints on WWE programming in the GM role. It’s a shame to think that the WWE couldn’t find some position for Teddy as he surely brought a ton of wrestling expertise to the table.

Al: This one hurts me the most. Like Mitch said, Long has been around a while. I enjoyed him the most when he was Rodney Mack’s manager about 10 years ago. He was a great manager and a great mouthpiece. He will be missed.

camacho
Camacho

Mitch: Wasn’t watching when this guy was ever on screen. I think he was an NXT guy. So I won’t miss him.

Al: I hate to admit it but I know nothing about this guy so I’ll just fill this up with a catchy rap lyric by MC Hammer:

Sweat running all over my chest
I don’t quit, no!
I just press harder

Than I ever did before, going for
The dreams that I have in store
In my mind and I know
That I’m makin’ it, I gotta
Get mine and nobody’s takin’ it away

You’re welcome.

brodus-clay
Brodus Clay

Mitch: I HATED the Tons of Funk gimmick he did with the former Prince Albert. Way worse than 3MB. It was stupid. Also, his wrestling gear made him look like an idiot. He looked like a cartoon dinosaur. That being said, I actually liked Brodus Clay when he was just being himself. Whenever he would speak on documentaries and such on the WWE Network, he seemed really likable. It’s a shame that his former partner hailing from Planet Funk is transitioning to the broadcast side of things and he’s left out in the cold. I think that not having him as a commentator might end up being a missed opportunity for the WWE.

Al: Poor Brodus. Looks like somebody called his mama and told him he’s unemployed! He never impressed me. Big guy and I’m sure he could’ve been a lot more successful had he been given a better character but hey, let’s not beat a dead horse. Big Brodus will always be remembered for his unique style and his awesome dancing skills with A-Train. Hey, maybe dancing with the former WWE “superstars” would be a good idea for a new show!

evanbourne_milestone_01_crop_north
Evan Bourne

Mitch: He used to wrestle in the indies as Matt Sydal and I vaguely remember him from when I used to watch Ring of Honor regularly. He’s a talented wrestler and the WWE is missing out for not finding him a spot on their roster. Expect to see this guy in TNA, back in ROH, or maybe he’ll join Jeff Jarrett’s new promotion next year.  He’s not done wrestling.

Al: This guy could’ve been a lot more than what he was with WWE. He enjoyed some success with Kofi Kingston as a tag team called “Air Boom” but never much success at a solo career. He had some bad luck for sure . In November 2011, he violated the company’s wellness policy and in March of 2012 he was involved in a car accident where he broke his foot in four places. Good luck in the future, Evan!

Mitch: I did not know about the drug use or the car crash. That’s what Al’s here for, folks. He brings the knowledge. And the Hammer lyrics.

yoshitatsu
Yoshi Tatsu

Mitch: I’ve only seen tiny bits of this guys work. He seems like he’s got potential, but that’s all I can say. His look was a little underwhelming for me.

Al: Not much to say here for me considering the fact I don’t know the guy’s work at all. I never got to see him in action and if I did, I must have forgotten . Sorry, y’all. Mitch, post a picture below this of Buff Bagwell. That’ll make everything okay.

bagwell

Mitch: Don’t worry, Al. I’ve got you covered on the Buff Bagwell pic. Please, nobody Google what kind of work Mr. Bagwell does these days.

Curt-Hawkins-in-the-Ring1
Curt Hawkins

Mitch: Another guy I’ve never seen before. Was he any good? After these releases were announced, Mark Henry went to Twitter to say something about how he’s been in the company 18 years and he’s still here. Hawkins responded by saying it was insensitive or something. I think he called Mark Henry an idiot as well. Curt Hawkins shouldn’t take it personally, that’s just what Mark Henry do(es).

Al: I sort of remember this guy but then again, not really.

aksana_bio_20131021
Aksana

Mitch: This girl was just on Raw on Monday. Alicia Fox dumped popcorn on her after losing a match and freaking out like the crazy person she’s been lately. They could’ve at least given her a happy last moment on TV.

Al: I liked this girl. They should’ve kept her. I definitely think she could’ve seen some success if they would’ve gave her more of a chance.

jinder
Jinder Mahal

Mitch: 2/3 of 3MB got the axe today. Good riddance to the terrible gimmick, but sorry to the real guys who lost their jobs. But seriously, the Three Man Band gimmick has been one of the worst booked groups in history. I don’t recall any of the guys ever winning a match since I restarted watching wrestling in early 2013.

Al: Well, Jinder, you knew it was coming. I mean, you were in 3MB. I’m sure these guys knew their roles in the company. Go out and get a few laughs then get beat. I’m sure Heath Slater is wiping the sweat off his brow today. I wish Jinder the best of luck. Look for TNA to pick up this guy.

drew mcintyre
Drew McIntyre

Mitch: The other member of 3MB to be jobless. Out of the three guys in this group, I like that they kept Heath Slater. I don’t have any real reason to like the guy other than he’s from West Virginia, where both Mitch and Al were born and raised. Surely the WWE can repackage Slater in a way that’s even slightly more meaningful than what he’s been doing, right?

Al: I agree with what Mitch said. Hopefully this will give Heath Slater a chance to develop some sort of a character but it’s a shame his success will be at the expense of two unemployed wrestlers . Good luck to you too, Drew. I hear BCW is hiring! That’s a local wrestling company in Barboursville that I happen to participate in. Hey, no use in sitting on the sidelines when you can be in the game, right?!!!

marc harris
Marc Harris (referee)

Mitch: I read somewhere that he’s currently the only black referee in WWE. Well, he WAS the only black referee in the WWE. Controversy?

Al: Just another unemployed referee. Sorry, Marc. Wonder what referees get paid in the WWE? Hmmm…

jtg
JTG

Mitch: I’ve never seen this guy wrestle, but he was rumored to have gotten heat from management a while back after complaining about what he believed to be a sub-par Wrestlemania payout. That’s literally the only thing I know about the guy.

Al: Never caught much of this guy.

Final Thoughts by Al:

Good luck to all the released Superstars. No one wants to lose their job, right? Til next time guys!

Thoughts on Raw for June 9th, 2014


raw
by: Mitch Nickelson and Al N. Jaxson

Al: Its Monday Night Raw babyyy!!!! Come on, you know it’s your favorite part of Monday too.

Mitch: Al watches the full version of Raw, live and in color. I watch the Hulu Plus version online on Tuesday morning. Several of the segments will have Al’s thoughts only simply because of this. Lets get to it.

RAW_1098_Photo_008

Triple H/Stephanie Opening Promo

Al: Good start to the show with the Authority stripping the title from Daniel Bryan making the Heavyweight Championship vacant. Money in the Bank should be a great PPV this year and I’m pumped for it.

Mitch: Great opening segment. It’s unfortunate that Daniel Byran got injured but I’m glad they’re giving him the time he needs to recover properly. Triple H and Stephanie did a wonderful job acting giddy about having to strip Bryan of his title. They’re doing a great job at being the evil bosses.

Stephanie rightfully pointed out that since Bryan was stripped of the title because he failed to be medically cleared, then Brie Bella quit for nothing. Poor girl. Her sister’s man would’ve been back in action by now.

RAW_1098_Photo_032

Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
(Money In The Bank Qualifying Match)

Al: First match of the night was Shaemus against my boy Bad News Barrett. I had high hopes for this match and I wasn’t disappointed. Fantastic match. These two guys work well together. Shaemus wins.

Mitch: I LOVE both of these guys and this was a great matchup. Sheamus almost always has great, smash-mouth battles. The crowd was really into this. There was a great near-fall when Sheamus countered the Bull Hammer and hit his White Noise maneuver. The crowd exploded for that. When he finally delivered his Brogue Kick, there was a huge reaction as well. Raw is a three hour show, there’s no excuse to not have a match this good every week.

RAW_1098_Photo_044

Rusev w/Lana vs. Zack Ryder

Al: Rusev makes quick work of Zach Ryder. Remember him? Yeah me neither! Anywho, I’m loving Rusev right now. His character can’t help but remind me of good ol Ivan Drago in Rocky VI. His matches are super fast but he’s fun to watch. I hope they keep pushing this guy cuz I’m a fan!

RAW_1098_Photo_060

Ryback & Curtis Axel vs. Goldust & R-Truth

Al: Goldust and his tag team partner this week, R-Truth lose to Rybaxel . Yawn. I’m still waiting for a Goldust/ Booker T reunion . That’s the only way I’ll peek any interest in this angle folks.

Wyatt Family Promo

Mitch: Bray and his pals hype up the upcoming match later in the show, talking about urges and whatnot. I love these guys. My only beef is that they don’t get booked strongly enough. Yet someone, they still find a way to connect with the fans and elevate themselves.

RAW_1098_Photo_073

3MB Call Out The Shield For No Reason At All

Al: Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns kick 3MB’s butt. Then Ambrose gets on the mic. This guy is second to Bray Wyatt right now as far as being incredibly entertaining on the microphone. I still remember the Pipers Pit Hot Rod had with The Shield and I really was wishing so bad that night that Piper would’ve been in his prime so him and Ambrose could’ve really went toe to toe cuz that night Dean owned him. I am a die hard Dean Ambrose fan and so hope he is in the WWE for years to come. Ambrose and Reigns go OFF on Seth Rollins as he watches on tv backstage with a smirk on his face. Great segment.

Mitch: I feel bad for 3MB. Heath Slater is from West Virginia and seems like he could be entertaining if he wasn’t stuck with such a loser gimmick. Dean Ambrose is emerging as one of the best promo guys in the business. I love how the crowd reacted when he mentioned Seth Rollins’ name; such loud boos. Rollins just might find himself to be the top heel in WWE as this fleshes out.

Layla/Summer Rae Segment

Mitch: I hope Layla isn’t lactose intolerant. Zing!

RAW_1098_Photo_087

Usos vs. Fandando (w/Layla) and Damien Sandow

Al: The Usos take on Fandaaaaannngggoooooo and Damien Sandow? Yes Damien Sandow. Wearing some stupid leotard and twirling a yellow streamer. I didn’t laugh but I’m sure a lot of people did. He’s definitely selling it. I’m sure my buddy Mitch will think it’s hillarious. It’s a matter of taste I guess. JBL’s commentating is superb as always. If JBL stays in the announcing booth I’ll be a happy guy! He’s the best since Bobby the Brain Heenan. I’m serious.

Mitch: I didn’t really laugh, Al. This depresses me. DAMIEN SANDOW WON MONEY IN THE BANK LAST YEAR. Not only did he not get elevated to anywhere near the main event because of it, he’s now reduced to a comedy character for Fandango to use whenever Santino isn’t available. At least the crowd liked him and appreciated his efforts, but he’s WAY better than this.

RAW_1098_Photo_131

Cesaro vs. RVD
(Money In The Bank Qualifier)

Al: These guys are always wrestling each other!!! Decent match. Of course Cesaro wins .

Mitch: Awesome promo by Heyman before this match, but that’s expected of him. Man, that uppercut that Cesaro did to RVD off the forward roll was great. The match really started picking up at that point. It wasn’t as good as the Sheamus/BNB one from earlier, but still good. I’m very happy that Cesaro gets a spot in the championship ladder match at Money In The Bank. I’ll be rooting for him.

RAW_1098_Photo_114

Bo Dallas vs. Xavier Woods

Al: Next was Bo Dallas vs Xavier Woods. I’m still on the fence on Bo Dallas . I like his finisher the Bo-Dog. But I’m still not a Bo-Liever just yet. Dallas gets the win over Woods.

RAW_1098_Photo_145

Seth Rollins Explains Himself

Al: Seth Rollins gives a good interview with Michael Cole on why he left the Shield. Rollins is doing a great job right now. I see nothing but potential from this guy. He’s no Ambrose though haha. Come on, you know you agree.

Mitch: Seth didn’t sell out, he bought in…to the evolution of Seth Rollins. This lead to the inevitable brawl that that brought in the Wyatt’s and John Cena. Cena will be joining the 2 Shield members later in the night against the Wyatts. Cena had a eye injury over the weekend that was swollen shut, but I couldn’t notice any swelling in this segment. There was also a sign in the crow that said “Push Cena,” which might be the funniest sign I’ve seen in a while.

RAW_1098_Photo_167

Alicia Fox vs. Paige

Al: I’ll be honest guys. I missed most of this one and I know …I’m supposed to give a review of everything! But hey a guys gotta get a bathroom break every once in a while right? Although I have been enjoying the Women’s matches as of recent. I miss AJ.

Cody Rhodes Finds His Brother A New Tag Partner

Mitch: Next week we find out who’s the next fill-in partner to team with Goldust. Make it Goldberg, simply because they both have gold in their name. No other reason. I don’t care too much about this story, they just need to fight already.

RAW_1098_Photo_194

Santino vs. Jack Swagger

Al: Swagger wins . Is there anything else to say here?!

Mitch: This was cut from Hulu, but I’ll comment on it anyway. Jack Swagger is a good wrestler. Zeb Colter is a fantastic mouthpiece for him. Can’t he be in the mix for the U.S./Intercontinental title? Or recruit a new Real American and put him in the tag division. There’s too much talent with these guys that is currently being wasted.

Triple H and Stephanie Hate on Vickie Guerrero

Mitch: I get the usefulness of hyping up who’s in the ladder match at Money In The Bank, but what’s up with slapping at Vickie simply because she sneezed?

RAW_1098_Photo_226

John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns vs. The Wyatts

Al: Finally the Main Event! The Wyatt Family vs The Shield and…..John Cena!!!! Cena would fit perfectly with the Shield. But this is just a fill in. I’m not gonna go into full detail of the match but this was a great match. I still give the best match of the night to Bad News Barrett and Sheamus. The Shield and John Cena take the win. Triple H and Seth Rollins look on as The Shield gloat in their victory. You’ve gotta be thinking if you’re Seth Rollins, I’m standing next to Triple H. I need to learn from this guy. The knowledge that Triple H has about the wrestling business is astounding and If I were Seth Rollins, I’d feel pretty happy with my career at this point.

Mitch: This was a solid main event that had plenty of time. It seems like everyone had plenty of time to show that they could go. There was lots of back and forth and the crowd was really hot for it all. Ambrose and Reigns get the win and still look strong as their feud with Evolution and now Rollins continues. Cena wins as well because he always does. The Wyatts lose, which they seem to do a lot in big match situations. They stay hot though, so oh well.

Final Thoughts:

Al: Great Raw. I just wish the matches weren’t rushed. I remember back in the attitude era, the matches lasted. They took their time. I mean for Pete’s sake you’ve got three hours!!!! But overall I’d give this raw 8 out of 10 on the Al N. Jaxson scale!!!! See ya next week you Pencil Neck Geeks!!!!

Mitch: This was one of the better Raws I’ve seen in a while and it was because there was plenty of good wrestling matches. Sheamus/BNB, Cesaro/RVD, and the main event were all good to above average matchups. There were several good promos including Heyman’s, Ambrose’s, and that opening segment with Hunter and Stephanie. I feel like the WWE is planting the seeds for the next Pay-Per-View. Money In The Bank is already looking to be good.

Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett. The main event was a close second, but I’m such a huge fan of Sheamus’ style. He’s hard-hitting and this was a pay-per-view quality matchup.

Promo of the Night: I’m tempted to give this to Ambrose, but I really loved Triple H and Stephanie in the opening segment. They were so tickled and happy to strip Bryan of the title and they made the crowd hate them so much for it.

Superstar of the Night: Dean Ambrose. Amazing promo by him and he was part of the great main event. Roman Reigns is lucky to have him around and he should help carry Reigns on his path to the top tier of this company.

Overall Grade: I’ll give this show a B+. It really approached the A status, but it I felt like even though it was a good show it could still have been better. The wrestling was great, but there were no match of the year contenders or anything. I also had to mourn over the current state of Damien Sandow, which I’m trying to forget.The crowd was into everything and that was a huge plus.

Join me, Mitch Nickelson, by Wednesday at TJRWrestling.com on Wednesday and you’ll be able to read my weekly review of WWE Main Event. Apparently Dolph Ziggler will face off against Seth Rollins this week. That should be one heck of a match. Al will join by a day or two later and we’ll add our combined, full review right here at Mitch and Al’s blog. Thanks for joining us for this weeks Raw Review.

Who Should Undertaker Face At WM31?

21 and1
by: Al N. Jaxson

Brock Lesnar conquered the streak at Wrestlemania!!!! I’m sure you’ve heard that at least a million times already by Paul Heyman. Shocked doesn’t do my reaction justice when Brock pinned the Deadman–1,2,3–and ended the streak that Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Jake the Snake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, or Edge couldn’t. Not mention many others. So where does the Undertaker go from here? Who does he face now that the streak is over? Does anyone care anymore ? Well, I do! And there’s a couple guys I would definitely enjoy seeing go against the Phenom.

Bray-Wyatt-2
Bray Wyatt

Yep, you guessed it. Bray Wyatt. No one in the WWE is more perfect to go against the Undertaker than this guy. A big part of me wishes they would have let Bray end the streak instead of Lesnar. That would have made more sense to me and it would’ve helped his career a lot more than Brock Lesnar. Brock’s a part-time wrestler. He didn’t need that win. Bray did. But anyways, enough ranting from me. Bray Wyatt and the Undertaker could still put on a show. Give them a Hell in a Cell match. Build it up good. Let the Undertaker go evil like he was in the Ministry of Darkness. Evil vs Evil. Just a thought, y’all.

sting250
Sting

My other choice would be, of course, Sting. We’ve heard it over and over again that this needs to happen but it still hasn’t and now that the streak is broken it may never. But what a match that would’ve been! Would I still wanna see these two old legends past their prime go at it? Abso-freakin-lutely!!!! Sting coming to the WWE would’ve been awesome about 14 years ago right around when WWE was in their Invasion era, but it would still be awesome if Sting would come now. And a feud with the Undertaker would still be very entertaining. Probably not for the younger crowd but for that older crowd who remembers the good ol’ days; it would be something special.

Leave a comment below if you know someone else who should face Taker! Thanks for reading ,you pencil-necked geeks!!!