So - just a few quick thoughts as it's late and I've had a busy couple days -
Smackdown was pretty pedestrian tonight. Now, that's NOT to say it was terrible - in fact, it didn't suck at all and even had some strong moments; in particular I'm glad to see MVP's wins accumulating (he's up to a tainted victory over Big Show, and a clean victory over Chavo Guerrero), and Matt Hardy delivered a WAY better promo than he did upon his return to the WWE against Edge, on his brother (and a very believable one, given that he's always been the responsible organizer to his scattered baby brother).
On the other hand - wrestling action was basically short and weak (Brian Kendrick vs. R-Truth? - I mean these are good wrestlers and way to push the midcard, but 2 minutes? and not as good as they could have been). Also, results were reasonably predictable - no shocker that Undertaker and Triple H won their respective matches to end up in the Elimination Chamber to be featured at No Way Out next month. Or that Big Show got a berth in the match, given that he and the champ (Edge - who also delivered a decent promo by the way) are both in Vicki Guerrero's camp, and have been teasing tension for awhile now. Again - OK matches, and I'm not complaining, those are worthwhile names, just ... not hard to see coming.
Anyway, bottom line: if you recorded this show or can catch a replay, you won't be terribly disappointed. But it's nothing major if you didn't, and nothing to REALLY go out of your way for. Bottom line a disappointing week on WWE television between Raw and Smackdown (even ECW - Teddy Long letting Matt Hardy go to Smackdown uncontested, without asking for anyone in return? FINLAY as Jack Swagger's next challenger for the ECW title); and a definite speedbump on the road to Wrestlemania (listen to ITVR this week for our thoughts on Raw). Hopefully this is an aberration, and the basically-strong programming WWE has provided leading up to Royal Rumble will pick up again next week - I'd hate to see the wheels come off at such an important time.
Friday, January 30, 2009
So - just a few quick thoughts as it's late and I've had a busy couple days -
Posted by SARcasm at 10:15 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
So I didn't get a chance to catch Smackdown, nor did Ari get a chance to make his RR predictions - it was a busy weekend for both of us, but what else is new? But the rest of this week should go more smoothly now that a play I've been directing (which has been taking up much of my time) is in production and so my job as director has lightened up a bit.
Thoughts on the Royal Rumble though -
First the matches were all decent and I think there was sufficient drama attached to all of them where the wrestling maybe wouldn't add up. Matt Hardy-Jack Swagger was a sufficiently strong match wrestling-wise where Matt's frustration at losing to Swagger at the end foretold some of the events of later in the evening. Likewise I was disappointed at the lack of Rosa Mendez's involvement in the women's match after all the buildup of her, but the wrestling between Melina and Beth made up for it.
The promo with JBL and Shawn Michaels - in which JBL offered Shawn a chance to enter the Royal Rumble if he helped him beat Cena, and the Undertaker confronted Shawn with the observation that "Sometimes getting into Heaven can be Hell" teased a whole bunch of possible scenarios - Michaels vs. JBL for the title next month, or Taker-Michaels at Wrestlemania as the two men most associated with the WM event, etc. etc. etc. It went the way one would predict, with Shawn attempting to help JBL win the title, though Cena ended up with the duke, but it made it a bit less predictable, and how Shawn went about it - superkicking both wrestlers - was gold. I enjoyed it.
Jeff Hardy vs. Edge was great. I wish I'd been more vocal at thinking Matt Hardy was the perpetrator with the Jeff Hardy incidents of recent weeks - I'd thought that at the start, since after months of really doing their own thing, all of a sudden you see the Hardys together all over the place. But the rumours of Christian's return made him as the perp make sense, since Matt still did have his own stuff going on while Christian would need a logical entry point back into the WWE. So I bought into that hype with Matt as a darkhorse possibility for Jeff's attacker. That's what came to fruition last night as Edge beat Jeff Hardy for the WWE title with Matt's help - figure that out Jeff, you're so low in your brother's esteem that he'd rather see the man who stole his girlfriend of 5 years as world champ than you. Anyway, good stuff.
The Rumble match, minus the one-off return of RVD, was what I expected in terms of the final four, and Randy Orton as the eventual winner at the expense of Triple H as the last man eliminated. They obviously ignored the stipulation from Trips' Smackdown match that he'd have to enter #1 in the Rumble if he lost on Friday, but he was in there a good long time and it was a decent Rumble. Lots of guys stayed in the ring a long time - there were still 15 men wrestling when #30 came out, which was a switch as they don't usually let the ring get that full. The Rumble doesn't need a whole lot of twists and surprises though as the match creates its own drama. I'm satisfied with the winner, and I'm amused at the Warlord's dubious 'shortest amount of time in the Rumble match' record being broken by Santino Marella, who was eliminated I'd say within a second of hitting the ring.
A good match which left several questions for the coming week - will the McMahons' actions to retaliate against Randy Orton for punting Vince McMahon last week involve revoking his WM title spot? What's Matt Hardy's reason for costing his brother his world title (I assume jealousy)? It should be a good week. Stay tuned for all the coverage - as well as later today or tomorrow, on top of my comments on Raw, my thoughts on an interview Julie Hart gave regarding her ex-husband Bret's recent autobiography, and his revelation of several marital affairs. As soon as I get to listen to it, as it was apparently quite a good interview - be sure and check it out yourself at http://www.unholymatrimonyshow.com. Talk atcha later!
Posted by SARcasm at 10:45 AM
Friday, January 23, 2009
I meant to post this yesterday, my compy rebooted in the midst of it and I totally forgot to get back to it. Please enjoy my solo run at ITVR today. And please tune in later this weekend for my thoughts on tonight's SD (once I catch it), a possible article from Ari with HIS Rumble predictions, as well as any other news and info that may develop.
Posted by SARcasm at 10:03 PM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Hi guys - sorry for the abysmal out-of-touchness, it's been a busy weekend and a busy start to the week. Please tune in tomorrow for In This Very Ring where we'll discuss Smackdown, Raw and the Royal Rumble coming up, and please continue to tune in the rest of the week as I get back on my game. Thanks all! :D
Posted by SARcasm at 9:52 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
So only saw bits & pieces of Smackdown on Youtube etc. as last night I had a rehearsal for a play I'm directing which is going up in a couple of weeks - but there was some interesting stuff going on.
- First, goodbye to the retiring Victoria - you have had an awesome career, and with you goes the last of the Divas who made the North American women's wrestling scene credible again. Yourself, along with such names as Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly and so on will be sadly, sadly missed.
- Secondly, congrats to MVP for his win over Big Show! Sure this was not clean - in fact, heavily assisted by Triple H - but a win was a win and breaking his slump, as well as that key moment being buffered by two perennial main eventers such as Trips and Show, *I* believe means a key push on its way for MVP. My only question is whether or not it will be as a face - his war of words with Ken Kennedy seems to indicate not, but the sympathy gained by his run of bad luck, and being helped by one of the biggest faces on the SD roster, would suggest so. It will be interesting to see just what role MVP gets shaped into.
- Jack Swagger, new ECW champ, takes the pin for his team - boo! This isn't as bad as losing a non-title singles match, but still; it was his first match as champ, even if they weren't going to give him a victory, he shouldn't have had to eat the loss.
- Jeff Hardy's pyro backfiring and singing him was an interesting twist - new, sabotaging things seem to happen to Jeff every week, and it seems more than certain that the returning Christian, along with crony Edge, is responsible since TNA owner Dixie Carter has finally gotten around to confirming Christian's parting of ways with her company. Now if WWE were really smart, they'd tie these in to the accidents that began with the set falling on Vince McMahon and the chaos that continued on Raw until the appointment of Mike Adamle as GM which Stephanie and Shane McMahon so wanted to avoid, and reveal that Christian, as a 'competition operative' had been terrorizing the WWE for months. Too smart and complex, however? Yeeeaaaaah .... probably.
Posted by SARcasm at 1:49 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
So Raw was pretty sweet last night - some parts were more or less predictable than others, but it was a solid show which I enjoyed immensely.
I was surprised at Chris Jericho's firing, especially how seriously it was treated in the follow up - now I'm assuming this is a kayfabe firing unless there's something mega-serious going on that we don't know, but it was handled well and it will be interesting to see how it is gotten around. Will Jericho get shipped to Smackdown? Will (more likely) Vince overrule his daughter's edict? It's just one more thing that we know will be followed up upon, presumably next week when Vince is on the air.
Also surprising was Ted Dibiase's return; although once he did, I saw his turning on Manu and Sim Snuka coming a mile away. Orton-Rhodes-Dibiase is a much stronger faction than anything that would have involved Manu and Snuka, so I'm glad this is how it shook out. Personally I wish they could get another really mayjah name or two involved - would that The Rock were still around - so that it didn't still look like Randy Orton and his two stooges, but if they take this the route they did Evolution 5 years ago, it won't be long for Rhodes and Dibiase to come off as strong and worthy members of the Legacy.
Not surprised at the sneak attacks of the show - Rosa Mendez attacking Melina and Mike Knox attacking Rey Mysterio has been par for the course for weeks. Excited again about next week, that they're finally going to have a Knox-Mysterio match. Also hoping Mendez's being barred from ringside is a ban of Steph's that VKM will lift upon his return next Monday - along the lines of Matt Hardy when he was doing a similar schtick, 'if you can't beat 'em, and there's money to be made, join 'em'.
Match wise, I think I'll forgive the Punk-Regal bungle #2 because it will lead to a definitive match next week with no DQ. My guess is Punk will go over here, as the IC belt is one they're willing to bat around on TV a bit. Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena was also spectacular, and Shawn going over clean ... usually I would disapprove of this even as a Shawn fan (1 - he's older and Cena should get the rub, 2 - it should be a very rare thing for your champ to be beaten clean), but it made sense here. Shawn has a real case for entry into the Rumble, or perhaps even to interject himself into the contract signing on Monday between his boss JBL and John Cena. He has a pinfall win over the world champ at 'his Wrestlemania' - this, to me, is the beginning of his writing his own ticket out of servitude.
Add all this to the newsworthy announcement of Steve Austin's induction into the Hall of Fame in his home state of Texas this year, and it was a great show, and next week is shaping up to be strong and newsworthy as well. Ooooh if only they'd book this well year round, instead of when they have weeks to go between PPVs to keep interesting, and the road to Wrestlemania to start down. EXCELLENT Raw.
Posted by SARcasm at 7:12 AM
Monday, January 12, 2009
Hi guys - sorry this weekend was crazy busy, though I think I've been keeping up here pretty well of late so no major apologies. ;) Just wanted to let you know to watch for my thoughts on Raw later tonight/first thing tomorrow, and to extend my congrats to Mickey Rourke for winning the Best Actor Golden Globe last night for "The Wrestler". I suppose some true movie snobs must be eating their hats that a movie about wrestling was such an awards show contender this year, but *I* think it's great - provided it was well done and intelligently-handled, which I get the sense it was; I'll let you know when I actually watch it myself. ;)
Posted by SARcasm at 10:59 AM
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
ITVR as promised - click entry heading to access.
Posted by SARcasm at 10:50 PM
Click the title of this entry to read a really good blog by "Wrestling God" JBL over at the WWE Universe. :) And be sure and check back later tonight (or first thing in the a.m. depending how things go) for In This Very Ring, complete with our thoughts on Raw, how the Royal Rumble in two weeks is shaping up, and much more. See you then! :)
Posted by SARcasm at 10:26 AM
Monday, January 5, 2009
So the findings of the Congressional committee investigating the impact of performance-enhancing drugs in pro wrestling in light of the deaths of Chris Benoit and his family a year and a half ago, were released over the weekend - in particular interviews with the McMahon family - and let's just say that as per usual, they do not come off in the most flattering light. And as we are well-removed from arguable the best and most important work the McMahons do every year - the tribute to the troops show in Iraq - I feel relatively little compunction about bringing them to task on this.
First, and on a less offensive note, was Stephanie McMahon talking about how wrestling was an art form, claiming that Steve Austin - unarguably a gifted wrestler who became a huge star - was a bigger draw in his time than the much less talented Hulk Hogan. An arguable point - although she backpedalled later when she realized she was on the record (can't burn those bridges can we?). However a few things to keep in mind: firstly, let's not undersell Hogan's success, and he was fairly little more than a 'roid monster. His selling poing was his size. Secondly, Austin spent most of the peak of his career plagued by injuries and unable to perform at the level he became known for as a midcarder. While I won't speak to whether or not his recovery times were aided by steroids, painkillers, or anything else, it is also known that he at least had an alcohol problem, if not worse, which manifested itself in abusing his third wife, Debra Williams. Steve Austin is not exactly the person I'd hold up as a shining example of the drug-free environment of the WWE.
But more offensive is Vince McMahon. Upon responding to being asked whether or not he'd used Human Growth Hormone since his steroid trial in 1996, his answer was an unequivocal no. When asked if he'd used any other performance enhancers in that time, he refused to answer - his right, given it was a voluntary interview, but very bad PR. He also went on to explain that he was not subject to the "Wellness Policy" drug tests, as he was not a regular performer on WWE television (his 'injury' which got him off screen basically to this day being timed around those interviews notwithstanding). Again, possibly so - but the culture towards drugs in this industry starts at the top, and Vince's is unacceptable. Hopefully he'll realize eventually his anti-authoritarian, arrogant, 'I don't have to answer to you' attitude doesn't work in the real world, or at LEAST makes himself and the company he represents look bad; somehow though, I doubt it. Major disappointment in the McMahons, although I can't honestly cop to surprise.
Posted by SARcasm at 6:58 AM
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Smackdown was pretty entertaining last night. Now don't get me wrong - not terribly interested in seeing naked Vicki Guerrero pictures, but her interactions with Triple H and nephew Chavo were hilarious.
I also enjoyed Kizarny's debut. The gimmick is either epic lame or epic genius, but the guy can wrestle! I think they need to start thinking about wrapping up MVP's losing streak before it comes off as more than bad luck, but I didn't mind one more loss to a debuting wrestler they've been pushing with vignettes and promos.
Edge is an awesome character when stressed - decent match between himself, Big Show and the Hardy brothers. Enjoyed that too.
Announced Royal Rumble participants thus far were really no surprise: Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov, Big Show, and Shelton Benjamin. Mark my words with the mini-push they gave Shelton last night that he will make a decent run in the Rumble.
Other stuff going on too - Michelle McCool cementing her heel turn, Festus and Jesse vs. Ryder and Hawkins, etc. But that was really the newsworthy portion. Not to put down the rest though; while it was filler it was entertaining filler. Which basically sums up this Smackdown. It was still a holiday show so they weren't offering us their biggest and best ever - but some Triple H amusement, a decent main event, and solid action with some newsworthiness (Rumble participants announced) along the way makes those of us who tuned in glad we did, and will keep us coming back next week.
Final verdict: A solid show - 7.5 or 8 out of 10 on the scale depending on what you might think of the more controversial aspects (Triple H-heavy, Kizarny, I'm sure there are some who don't like the new Vicki angle ...)
Posted by SARcasm at 7:19 AM