WWE is obviously in a fat-trimming mood this weekend, as we mentioned the release of Maria Kannellis and Gregory Shane Helms on Friday - over the weekend, Charlie Haas (not so surprisingly) and referee Scott Armstrong (surprisingly) were released as well. Wishing both of them, who are good at what they do, the best in their future endeavours. Be sure and check out Raw, featuring Cheech and Chong, tomorrow night. :) Peace.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Not going to get into details at this point - it's late and it's been a busy day, and either way, don't want to take away too much from ITVR tomorrow night! - but WWE has impressed with this week in TV, with only a few low spots. With 4 Wrestlemania matches set on Raw this week, and WWE NXT on Syfy off to a successful start, lots of kudos to be passed around tomorrow night. Be sure and check back around 10/11pm Eastern for the In This Very Ring Podcast. Night all!
Posted by SARcasm at 6:30 PM
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thanks guys for bearing with me this weekend as it was a busy one w/my in-laws visiting; but back now with thoughts on the EC PPV last night. In no particular order necessarily, stream-of-consciousness style ...
- Both Elimination Chambers were strong. The first (Raw) one didn't have as many specific 'cool moments' as the second (although Ted Dibiase's final turn on Randy Orton was definitely well done and very nifty), but it was more consistent and solid bell-to-bell. Conversely, the Smackdown one had highlights - the early eliminations of 2 competitors, and Shawn Michaels' involvement - but a saggy middle. Both titles changed hands, which was great on the SD side as I think the PPV, and the build to Wrestlemania, is stronger because of it; conversely, I'm still in a bit of 'WTF' mode with the Raw side. I don't mind Cena having won the belt as others might have - I think he-Batista or Sheamus-Triple H could be enhanced with the belt - but the quickie turnover to Batista, while it furthers story, also pushed the newsworthiness of this PPV up perhaps just that little bit over the top that the title's been a bit cheapened with two quick changes heading into 'Mania, where it is/should be the centrepiece.
- I wasn't terribly impressed, either, with the turning of the Women's Title match into a tag team match, unless there's a story behind it - eg one of the girls being injured. Otherwise it reeks of 'get all the T&A on the same show', whereas with this wide open a show they could have given the talented Maryse and Gail Kim a great stage to showcase their talents.
- This show was an excellent balance of having some great stuff advertised, while providing some surprises and Easter Eggs for those who spent their money on it. While some might question having Shawn Michaels or Batista go unadvertised on the show, or a US Title defense without a buildup, the Elimination Chambers were built well enough and even the IC title shot and the women's match, that some reward for risking your money could add to the 'Anything can happen' vibe WWE enjoys.
- They did an excellent job with the Miz, MVP, etc. of building up the NXT concept that's debuting on SYFY tomorrow night; I'm assuming Daniel Bryan is Bryan Danielson, 'King of the Indies', and I think it's great he's teaming up with the Miz, as Danielson is talented, but it has been quite rightly pointed out he will be booed out of the building as soon as a mic is put in his face. The Miz is an excellent promo guy who can carry that end of the gig while Danielson/Bryan gets accustomed to his new environment, and the promo-level expectations of the WWE.
- The wrestling quality on this show was good, I just think with a lot of open space for a lot of promos and an extra match or two, they could have given more time to a few of the matches - Kane-Drew McIntyre, for example, or the ladies.
- The newsworthiness of this show - I'll leave this up to you. My initial thinking was 'Great, make this show heavy on importance with some title changes and big matches, because that will get the thinking along the lines of "If this can happen here at the EC, imagine what will happen at WM" ...' - Jason Powell however and some other pundits have put forward that by putting out so many blazing guns here, ie both world titles changing hands etc., it might make WM seem anticlimactic. Thoughts? I'll leave that to you.
- Lastly - Undertaker is one TOUGH MoFo. Couldn't figure out why he cut short his traditional entrance and ran to the ring tearing off his jacket - apparently he got burned by pyro during his entrance; he suffered 1st degree (sunburn-level) burns, according to WWE's press release. On the same day that Ric Flair's 4th wife was arrested for assaulting the 'retired' WWE Hall of Famer, it reinforces the legitimate toughness of the Deadman. Oh, and speaking of ... gee Ric, that marriage is working out great isn't it? How long did this one last, 4 months?
Posted by SARcasm at 5:41 PM
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Whoa - up on Thursday for the first time in about a month!
Click the post heading for the podcast. Enjoy!
Posted by SARcasm at 6:48 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Last night's Raw - we missed the last half-hour or so of it (say from just before the John Cena promo onward), but I caught up on it online - was easily the weakest Raw of the New Year, much more reminiscent of the directionless nonsense that ended 2009. With a 20 minute send-up of the Jerry Springer show in honour of Raw's guest host, that ended up being exposed as a farce and therefore not only was it a lousy 20 mins. but it served no purpose, a clumsily-executed injury angle on Bret Hart, a match that could only hurt one of Kofi Kingston or Ted Dibiase since both needed some momentum coming up, it was a strange night, and not a turn for the better, right down to the minimal hype for the Elimination Chamber PPV, whose undercard, 5 days away from the event, remains incomplete to say the least. The few things I can compliment are:
- The testing the waters on a Randy Orton 'turn'. It would surprise me to see him turn, as he is so inherently unlikeable, but that seems to be where they're trying to go; his tension with the Legacy either way is excellent and I enjoy the teasing out of this story.
- Batista's satellite promo with John Cena; he plays an excellent, scary monster heel, and the recent failures in that category - Kane, Snitsky, Heidenreich, Mike Knox - should take note. Batista and Sheamus are excellent examples of how this role should be played.
- Antonio Inoki's Hall of Fame induction - a Japanese legend who truly deserves to be honoured amongst the sport's greats; vastly underappreciated outside of his native Japan, this man is a hero in his own country and it would be an understatement to call him the Hulk Hogan of puroreso. Congratulations Inoki.
Posted by SARcasm at 8:25 PM
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Better late than never. Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow y'alls!
((oh yeah - click the heading to listen to the podcast))
Posted by SARcasm at 8:02 PM
Friday, February 12, 2010
So - the bad news is Vince McMahon answered yesterday that as of this year the WWE will be removing the Survivor Series PPV from the WWE lineup. The second-oldest PPV, only to Wrestlemania, was instituted to compete directly with the NWA's Starrcade; according to McMahon, the concept has outlived its novelty, which in a way is true. It is sad to lose 23 years of history - but I do understand from a numbers standpoint, as Series buys dropped more than any of the other three 'big four' original PPVs last year.
The good news is, contrary to what it may look like here, lol, ITVR is NOT going the same way. ;) We will be podcasting either slightly later tonight after the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, or else sometime during the day tomorrow. We have had an incredibly busy few weeks as substitute teaching has picked up for me, and I have had several interviews for more permanent working arrangements - having now found some permanent work, my life should settle into a more routine schedule, so going forward we should be able to remain a bit more regular. But in the meantime, thank you for putting up with our busy-ness, combined with a demanding and teething son in recent days - which has taken up lots of time, and led to the need for more sleep when he doesn't need attention. I have tried to remain consistent in blogging, but I know the podcast has slipped. But we'll be up within the next 24 hours, promise, and back to regular next week. Thanks again for the patience from all as these weeks come up.
Posted by SARcasm at 8:50 PM
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Better late than never!
Raw was OK - definitely overcame a weak guest host (although why Jared the Subway Guy got into match-making over the course of this show is beyond me). Christian's introduction near the top of the show was a good way of bringing attention to the final weeks of ECW, and addressing what will become of that roster following the shutdown (they will become free agents). He had a passable match with Sheamus, and while I'm a Christian fan enough it disappoints me he lost clean, I recognize this young champion Sheamus has won many special stip matches and needs some cred. Not a bad starter to the show.
I'm also enjoying personally the Maryse-Gail Kim angle, where Maryse is talking a good game of politeness and class in English, before heading to rude insultsville in French; my only concern/complaint is that I doubt the majority of the wrestling audience gets this (not because you guys are dumb, far from it I know you aren't, but I know most of the WWE audience is in the US or other countries where French is not spoken). But being bilingual myself - I'm enjoying the joke. :D
DX's disintegration, particularly the disintegration of Shawn Michaels' sanity, is interesting to watch. Week by week, more pieces get put together. It will be interesting. Less well-handled is the Legacy breakup. It is highly important Ted Dibiase Jr. is built up in this breakup; getting beaten up in a squash by John Cena? Not conducive to building up. On the other hand - Ted Sr. is getting some long-overdue recognition by being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Also to be inducted (although not official per TV yet) is Antonio Inoki. A good class so far - all two of them.
I also enjoyed John Cena, Vince McMahon and Bret Hart's interactions; I like that they're still teasing Bret-Vince without giving it on a silver platter yet. There's still lots of wiggle room, which concerns me, that this can turn into a tag team match or into them being cornermen for Cena and Batista - but again, per Bret's health, I don't entirely mind that either.
Honourable Mention of the night goes to Santino for his line about next week's Raw guest host epitomizing class ... cut to Jerry Springer! :D "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry ..." hosts next Monday night. And *I* host tomorrow, along with my husband! Please be sure to join our podcast where we'll discuss more in-depth this week's Raw, perhaps tomorrow night's Impact if we catch it before podcasting (if not, our apologies), and how the No Way Out PPV is shaping up, and where Wrestlemania seems to be heading. Dontcha dare miss it! :)
Posted by SARcasm at 5:21 PM
Monday, February 8, 2010
Hi all - it's been an incredibly busy weekend, haven't posted either in this or my personal blog since Fri. (finally getting around to both today). Just finished Raw, and I was definitely impressed - more detailed thoughts tomorrow. I know that's not a particularly compelling entry, but didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about y'all. Check back around this time tomorrow evening @ latest for Raw thoughts. Hope everyone else enjoyed it as much as we did - meanwhile, happy Monday (eyeroll), and to all a goodnight!
Posted by SARcasm at 8:26 PM
Friday, February 5, 2010
So Smackdown tonight gave very much the same vibe as RAW did - following up from the Royal Rumble, they had Edge and Chris Jericho finally confront one another, and Edge antagonize the Undertaker as he did Sheamus last week (and MAN is it good to see Edge back); they also filled us in on John Cena coming in after Raw went off the air to help Bret Hart, and getting himself attacked by Batista. So excellent followup on all the stuff that was happening.
Much like Raw, all the wrestling-based situations had purpose as they were Elimination Chamber qualifiers; and all the 'entertainment'-side performances were good too; I enjoy Beth Phoenix's character as being not a heel because she's 'evil' - she even genuinely gave Mickie James some respect for standing up for herself - but because she thinks/knows she's better than everyone else. A face turn, to create for real the situation contrived tonight of her/Mickie versus bullies Michelle McCool and Leyla could be interesting - also interesting is Vicki Guerrero's siding with the heels, when she herself should be able to sympathize with being made fun of for one's weight. Oh well ...
Cryme Tyme also did well with their Word up segment featuring Jerry Lawler, and as always, again, Jericho and Edge, and CM Punk and his Straight Edge Society are always fabulously entertaining ... heck, Even Batista got in on this action, creating an intriguing question in 'Why did he give up a shot at the World Title?' in terms of giving up his EC qualifying match - just better have a good answer, lest he look like a tool down the road for giving up a title match. A very, very solid show. I enjoyed tonight for sure. As it's the road to Wrestlemania at this point, where the lines between brands become blurred for the next couple months, we will definitely be making a point of watching both shows more regularly here at ITVR, so be sure and stay tuned. Perhaps we'll even slot in some TNA time as well, given their upcoming return trip to Monday nights. Have a good weekend all!
(NOTE: No, no I haven't forgotten about ITVR - unfortunately the last two days have been insane and we have a busy weekend ahead too - ITVR won't be happening this week but at least I've stayed on top of the wrestling news, sharing Jack Brisco's death, the Royal Rumble and Raw results, and now SD - be sure and tune in next week on Thursday night for the next edition of In This Very Ring).
Posted by SARcasm at 7:31 PM
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Said it might happen and it will.
Meanwhile, Fozzy fans in the UK, 3 tourdates were announced from May 13-15, including Glasgow, Nottingham and London - be sure and check out the band's website (google it - too lazy to hyperlink it right now) if you either live there or will be in the UK over those dates - highly recommend Fozzy, a metal band headlined by Chris Jericho.
Posted by SARcasm at 8:04 PM
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
So Raw was very good Monday night. As always, Edge hit all cylinders in his promo, and while fans were unsure whether to receive him as a heel or face (and ultimately I think they will play this as open to interpretation for awhile), clearly WWE was looking for the fans to pop for him Monday night as he took out Sheamus. He put former tag team partner Chris Jericho on notice, and definitely made the smart choice on a variety of levels to put off his decision as to which world championship he'd pursue until after the elimination chambers at No Way Out - why choose to go after a belt that could be held by someone else 3 weeks hence? He did a great job of paying some grudging respect to Undertaker while disparaging Sheamus (and a great recovery from Sheamus' mistake that Edge never beat John Cena for the WWE title - "I made a CAREER out of beating Cena for the title), and it was just great work from both men.
The wrestling on the show was great as well because each match served a purpose in putting the competitors into the Elimination Chamber for the World Title at NWO. Vince Russo should take note in his mouthing off of late, that this is where in-ring work and storytelling come together - good creative guides USE the wrestling format (which yes, sorry, involves some work in the ring) to help tell their story, rather than considering that stupid square incumbrance in the middle of the room nothing more than 'in the way'. While almost all matches were definitely TV matches (although also definitely high quality ones), and some were predictable in their outcome (sorry Jack Swagger), some weren't (hello Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton), and they all played out well - having Orton and Ted Dibiase both in the Elimination Chamber should be interesting, for example - and what of Cody Rhodes, the only member of the (ex?-)Legacy to have not earned a Chamber berth?
I of course admit that I sort of hoped of course that Shawn would end up in the EC, but objectively this is more intriguing, making the Chamber host to some Legacy drama and the world title focus itself, without throwing just one major storyline too many in there in the form of Shawn Michaels. I have no doubt his frustrations and demons re-emerging will lead him to cost the Undertaker his title (perhaps to Chris Jericho, leading to his inevitable match with Edge at WM to be a title match, as Edge has the right to face a champ of his choosing), and leaving Shawn versus UT at Mania. Again, disappointed on a personal level Shawn's not making a championship run, but objectively understand this match doesn't need the title as much as others might - especially since Shawn likely won't win anyway. Where this all will leave DX at the end of the day ...? Who knows. Shawn as a heel while Triple H stays a face is a distinct possibility, and wouldn't that be a shock?!
Good follow up with Bret Hart and Vince McMahon as well, with Vince hitting all the right buttons to provoke Bret - getting back into amped, gelled hair, cool dude all-business mode - into attacking him, and Batista's coming in on Vince's behalf at the end worked OK as well ... although his and Cena's involvement concerns me that Bret vs. Vince has turned into a tag match with Cena and Batista as respective partners - or worse, that Bret and Vince will simply act as cornermen. I suppose neither of the above are bad if Bret is still in truly bad shape; and no question I'd certainly rather see either of those options than a slower and weaker Bret Hart, or - and much more importantly - see Bret risk getting seriously hurt or injured. But I will cop to having hoped - and still hoping - for Bret v. Vince one on one. Let Cena-Batista have their own matchup ... perhaps for a world title.
Oh ... and who could forget William Shatner's guest hosting? It was absolutely deliciously cheesy and self-parodying, right down to his 'The Negotiator' schtick, and his spoken-word rendition of "Sexy Boy" and "My Time is Now" etc. I'd buy that CD if it were real, dudes! His interactions, from Vince to Jerry Lawler to Bret, were great, tongue in cheek Shatner stuff. Thumbs up dude! You took a great show from a B+/A- and took it to a straight-up A. Keep it up Raw - you've been on a roll in the new year. And I HOPE it continues beyond WM season.
A last note, on something we'll be speaking of more in-depth tomorrow on In This Very Ring podcast - Vince McMahon last night announced that ECW would be going off the air in three weeks time, to be replaced by WWE NXT - which sounds like a program designed to do what ECW has ended up doing - promoting the up and coming WWE superstars fresh from Florida Championship Wrestling, highlighting them and giving them an opportunity to shine, before hitting either of the bigger two brands. While it is sad the ECW name will now be retired, it is a reality that the brand has been long gone now, and really has little to do with its origins. I am excited to remember ECW as it was in the 1990s, and even some of the more positive highlights of WWECW. I hope WWE NXT treats the young'uns with respect, and gets some good press and attention, as it is serving one of the more important functions in this business, that of star-making ... something both WWE and TNA have been lacking in one way or another of late.
But again - that's a topic for tomorrow night, along with more in-depth discussion of the Royal Rumble and Raw. We MIGHT put off the show until Friday to include TNA ... I will post tomorrow night if we do. But unless that happens, you can check in around 11pm/midnight for the podcast. We hope to see you then! XO
Posted by SARcasm at 7:05 PM
Monday, February 1, 2010
Tonight's blog entry isn't going to be exceptionally long or anything, as it's been both a busy AND lazy weekend all at once, and definitely a busy day and it's late now; but I wanted to give my thoughts on last night's Royal Rumble. Tonight's Raw thoughts will be up tomorrow sometime.
Before I do though, I just wanted to extend my thoughts to the family of Jack Brisco, former NWA champion and brother of WWE official Jerry Brisco, who passed away at the age of 68 today. The WWE Hall of Famer will be missed.
The Rumble, however, was not to be missed. The WWE's first $45 pay per view (and the first PPV of 2010) started the year off with a bang. Christian and Ezekiel Jackson wrestled a passable opening match for the ECW title; I'm not sure how I felt about MVP and the Miz being added to the show without advertisement and for such a short match to not ultimately change anything, but they did a good job with what they were given as always; I was intrigued by Orton-Sheamus and the fraying of the Legacy, who, after breeding seeds of distrust of one another in Randy Orton, came out to interfere in his match after he told them not to, costing him his title shot and leading to an angry attack on them. Beautiful drama. I was disappointed the women's match was such a short squash, but much like the DQ finish in the Orton-Sheamus match added to the drama and allowed both wrestlers to come out strong, therefore not being as annoying as it otherwise would be, this squash was the only way this humiliating feud for Mickie James could have ended - congrats to the new women's champion. And the Undertaker and Rey Mysterio, despite my concerns that these two opposite styles might not mesh, put on a decent match as well. Kudos.
Of course, the story of the RR is always the Rumble match itself and there was plenty of story to tell. The story of the first half of the Rumble was CM Punk who consistently emptied the ring and had time to proseletyze between competitors. Of course it got rocky when Triple H entered the ring, and ultimately eliminated Punk. Shawn Michaels' drama of being eliminated 3rd last and beating up a few referees in his torment reminds the world of the 'Angry Young Man' Shawn used to be, and was done well (although comes off as a bit staged and petulent, given Shawn's a much cooler customer these days). Beth Phoenix participating in the match was pretty cool too. But of course the story of the night was mah boy Edge coming in at #29 and winning the whole shebang. While I was hoping for my Shawn to win, Edge winning is a definite acceptable option #2: especially if Chris Jericho goes on to win the Undertaker's World Title at No Way Out and the inevitable battle between former teammates at Mania is for the strap. While Shawn-Taker doesn't need the title to sell it (although I hope Shawn gets the belt again at least once more before hanging 'em up), and admittedly Jericho-Edge doesn't either, I still feel the gold would add a bit of incentive for these two bucks in their prime. Make it so! :)
Posted by SARcasm at 8:44 PM