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This Week in Wrestling

February 20, 2010   ·   0 Comments

This Week in Wrestling
Week Commencing Monday 15th Feb 2010

OK so its been a while since I posted an article like this. I have done a couple of Classic Corners and have lately been enjoying the perks of reviewing triple DVDs from SilverVision but its been a long time since I have wrote about current wrestling events. Why now? Stupid question I suppose, the Monday Night War 2 should be starting in a couple of weeks. It seems like at least one company is organising its fleet for an attack. Whether the other sees them as a genuine threat or not is unknown but I really hope we look back at 2010 as being the beginning of the first wrestling boom since the closure of WCW and ECW almost a decade ago.

I stopped writing about wrestling because I stopped watching wrestling. I wasnt excited by the product, I wasnt surprised by the product, I wasnt even mildly entertained most of the time. A Hogan fan I have never been but I must admit news of his involvement with TNA was hard to ignore, even for someone like me who had his hands over his ears a lot as far as wrestling was concerned last year. It wasnt so much the Hogan announcement that got me, it was more the going live opposite Raw in January announcement that spiked my interest. The excitement I felt was cut short when I realised this wasnt going to be every week so this Mondays announcement that TNA are airing Impact directly opposite Raw from March 8th really appealed to me.

Im not siding with TNA over WWE nor am I shunning the upstarts for challenging the big dog, I am lucky that in the UK we can easily watch the product of both companies without any clashes. The only drawback is we currently have to wait until Saturday nights to see Thursdays Impact. I doubt this will change when Impact moves to Mondays as Bravo, who carry TNA Impact in the UK recently stopped showing their pay per views despite good ratings over here. We have been spoilt with WWE programming on Sky Sports over here for too long that we take it for granted. Nowadays we get Raw live (2am in the morning) then repeated on Thursday at 9pm. We get Smackdown before the country it airs from as we see it from 10pm GMT on Friday and we probably get 8 pay per views per year for free as part of our existing Sky Sports subscription. Ideally though I want to be able to Sky+ (digitally record) Raw and Impact at 2am every Monday and watch them back the following night after work. I think that will only happen if a channel that cares about the TNA product take it off Bravos hands. That all being said, this column will be a weekly piece but you will have to forgive me if it is posted at the end of each week, reviewing and discussing what some of you may have witnessed up to 6 days earlier. Hopefully youll care enough about what I have to say that you wont care – it doesnt matter that it doesnt make sense, I know what I mean!

In the future I will include any pay per views in my weekly articles but as I see Monday afternoons announcement of TNA going live as the start of the Monday Night Wars second instalment I am going to ignore Popes tournament win until I get to Impact and start from Raw, hours after the announcement.

RAW

So Raw aired this week knowing that TNA had just announced they were going head to head with them within a few weeks. Their responsea very strange and unimpressive show if you ask me. I know you didnt but if youve read this far then youre going to get my opinion. It was so unimpressive that Im logging onto wwe.com as I type this to recall what happened on the show. Before I look on there I will make the point that sticks out for me. When a Jerry Springer show segment – which I genuinely found hilarious even if it was ludicrous – is the best thing on the show by a country mile then you need to take a look at your product.

As a show this would have done nothing to make me purchase the Elimination Chamber pay per view. As it happens I would buy it anyway and as its one I have to pay for I will but only because the card looks quite strong anyway, not because Raws booking give me any reason to. The Bret Hart segments made no sense to me although Ill overlook that if WWE pull something out of their sleeve to clear this storyline up in the coming weeks. A friend of mine compared the Bret angle to the Invasion angle last week saying its something we all wanted to see but now its here it just seems pointless and badly handled. The point, I feel, is hitting the nail right on the head and the comparisons when looking at things from that point of view seem uncanny. Commenting that it could be the worst night in Brets life and a tragedy just seemed so misplaced given the well documents events in Brets prior to hurting his leg, which is effectively all that happened.

The Sheamus build up has been good, even though Im not a fan of the guy, but it all seems pointless as I can see all his momentum being undone after Mania. Saying that, if they keep him looking strong going into Mania then whoever he drops the strap to (Im making loads of assumptions about Mania booking here) will look strong too so fair play to them on that point. Im already contradicting myself and its only my first column of this run. Not a good sign but Im sure it will take me a few weeks to hit my stride anyway so please bare with me. To get back to the point I wanted to make, at least they have built him well, even if Orton got one over on him with an RKO this week. The WWE have made Sheamus seem like a big deal since his surprise title win last year and I admire their courage for trying something different. It was one of those surprises that I said I wasnt seeing enough of so I cant complain.

The matches on the show were OK and I like the way theyre building young Dibiase at the moment. The Cena and Batista segment didnt appeal to me but neither of those guys do so I should have expected no more. In contrast, watching Jericho and Edge open Smackdown was a joy as they are two of the greatest promo guys of their generation and working together brings out the best in each other.

SMACKDOWN

On a personal note, Drew Galloway – he will always be Galloway to me – is doing great as the young Intercontinental Champion, now of course known as Drew McIntyre. I have had the privilege of calling some of Drews matches when he wrestled in England and I can say with confidence that the guy in person is a class act and deserves all the success he gets. His match with Kane on Sunday should be a good learning curve for him as WWE cement the youngsters role in the new decade. Although his push has been less high profile than the young WWE Champions, it has been done well and seeing him get ring time with DX at the Royal Rumble pleased me greatly. I have always been a fan of Drews promo style and once this gets over with WWE fans his stock could be limitless and as good as he is, he will improve for a long time yet.

CM Punk is in the form of his life with his Straight Edge Society and I love watching this guy at the moment whether he is on the stick or in the ring. I dont know what is planned for Punk in the run up to Mania but a rumoured Mask vs. Hair match with Rey Mysterio seems more likely given what has gone down in the last couple of weeks on the blue brand. Along with Edge and Jericho, this is another athletic guy who can talk and for the first time in a long time the Smackdown brand doesnt seem inferior to the Raw brand in terms of top end talent.

Again, as a show Smackdown showed me nothing that would make me race to purchase this weeks pay per view. The chamber match line ups is enough for me to buy it but that was all settled weeks ago. I dont want to second guess or fantasy book too much in these articles so please dont be put off that I have done it a fair bit in this first piece, I just felt the shows are planting seeds for Mania and making the Chamber PPV seem unimportant. By comparison it probably is but WWE should wait until after this Sunday to help us come to that conclusion.

IMPACT

Now I turn my attention to the first TNA Impact since the announcement that the show will move to Monday nights permanently. Having approximately 55 wrestlers on a roster for 2 hours of TV is a total clusterf**k so it will be interesting to see who appears this week. Can you tell Im typing this bit 15 minutes before Impact airs over here? Recent absentees range from Chris Daniels and Beer Money to new signings Brian Kendrick and Sean Morley. The booking still seems erratic but that is probably the reason why and I cant see it changing until there are releases. I just hope its the right calls that are made at that point.

On a side note, a quick look at the TNA roster page on their website to make sure I was accurate with my last point has shown me that Big Rob Terry has been the Global Champion since January 27th. I may be wrong but I dont recall TNA highlighting this fact. I assume it happened on the UK tour but it shows how much the belt now means if they dont even acknowledge a title change, even if it wasnt filmed.

The Pope opened Impact and everyone seems to love this guy at the moment. I just dont get the guy personally. He seems unoriginal and just doesnt do it for me but I have only seen him a handful of times so there is plenty of time for me to change my mind, not that it matters what I think as TNA will either push him or misuse him regardless of what I think.

AJ came out to Flairs music which suggests the Nature Boy AJ Styles moniker could be one step closer. Pushing AJ as the next Naitch doesnt bother me at all. Making him a parody or cheap carbon copy of Flair is annoying though. Flair wasnt a blatant rip off of Buddy Rogers and Styles could become the next Naitch without being a rip off of Slick Ric. Im sure there are better next Naitchs out there but Hogan said he was going to make AJ a broader character and a mainstream star and this seems to be the way to go in his mind.

Time for my random rant of the week. As a fellow commentator, albeit little league compared to Mike Tenay, The Professor really annoys me when hes on camera. Unlike some, I really like Tenays commentary but whenever he appears on camera I want to punt him in the face Randy Orton style. He just always looks smug and obnoxious. Anyway, moving onman, I love Daffney! Hopefully after seeing her maniacal antics with Tara, we will see a feud between the two which can only mean more TV time for the scream queen. When Stevie Richards has to calm you down its time to check your meds.

The returning Kaz, Red and the Bucks taking on the Guns, Kendrick and Doug Williams was a treat. Surely the only thing that was wrong with this match was that it was never going to be long enough. Im very quickly falling in love with the tag team of Generation Me (The Young Bucks in Ring of Honor). I dont see much ROH stuff in the UK so the little I have seen of these guys in TNA is all I have to go off but early signs suggest they will be huge stars in the company. It was an entertaining but criminally short eight man bout anyway.

Over the years Abyss has gradually lost all credibility as a legitimate monster and the unmasking would have been the final nail in the coffin. Hogans interruption was unexpected for me but Im enjoying the subtle power struggle between Bischoff and Hogan. They seem like uneasy allies, Hogan the calming influence, Easy E the power hungry right hand man. If theyre slowly teasing a parting of the two then Im all for it. They seem to be slowly planting seeds and if thats the goal then I hope it continues to trickle towards hostility rather than be another rushed, botched angle. Back to Abyss, the Hogan pep talk was inspirational and if everything that has been done to strip Abyss of his credibility is undone by a return to form then all will be forgiven but at this stage Im not convinced hes going to be anything other than a comedy parody of Hulkamania era Hogan.

Here I go slagging off TNA for not mentioning Big Robs big win and then Taz & Tenay go and address it an hour later. I also say Daniels and Beer Money have been off TV too much and they show up. In Robert Roode I see a future World Champion, he reminds me a little of a young Triple H with his in ring style and presence. Beer Money could well be the top team in the world right now and they need to be on TV as much as possible to cement that claim.

When Angle and Daniels came out with 25 minutes of TV time left I thought we were being treated to a long main event. Two minutes later I realised that Daniels is fast becoming an afterthought with TNAs new regime. When the first cull is made, expect to see Daniels name on the list. Maybe he could go to NXT and be mentored by Cody Rhodes or something

Angle turning the entire country on Ken Anderson seemed a bit harsh but its a feud I think I will enjoy, as long as Anderson doesnt come across as a childish goon again like he did on this weeks Impact.

The Joe abduction seemed strange to say the least but I enjoyed the Nash segment at the end. The emotion felt real and part of me wondered how much of Nashs promo was legit, even if he dare not admit it himself.

Next week I will look back at the Elimination Chamber pay per view, Raw, Smackdown and TNA but Ill try not to drag it all out as much as I have this week. I hope you have enjoyed this although it is far from my best work. When I set out to write this first piece I had no idea what would come out. It will take me a few weeks to find the voice I want to be heard with this column so please bare with me. I hope this weeks edition wasnt too long (I fear it was) and I hope you come back for more next week. Same bat-time, same bat-channel. Ok, well it will be about the same time and on the same website. Close enough? No? Sorry, Ill shut up now. Thanks for reading, Paul.

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