My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spoiling the Illusion: Return Edition

Not content with having cut the balls off of Chris Jericho a few weeks back, now they had to put Shane McMahon over Legacy this week, as he single handedly fought off all 3 members of the group and Randy Orton was forced to sell some really bad looking punches that mostly just hit air. Most of the RAW roster were on the rampway when all this went down. Wouldn't it have made more sense for them to run down and help Shane, their boss, and run off the group that was threatening to put all of them out of a job? So many things they could have done with this angle and they just had to screw up on the first chance they get.

Heck, I'll even say it's pretty obvious where things will go from here. Shane faces Orton at No Way Out, Orton wins. Orton goes on to his Wrestlemania title shot where he wins the title after Shane HELPS HIM as revenge to spite Stephanie for running him off RAW a few months back, and like Vince did from Vince Sr., now he wants to take over the company and is an honorary member of Legacy since he's a third generation star himself! You heard it here first! I'm calling it!

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WWE Royal Rumble 2009

Wow. Off the bat they put Vince McMahon over the entire PPV by saying even if he's out of commission due to Orton's attack on RAW, the show must go on.

ECW Championship: Jack Swagger [C] beat Matt Hardy with the gutwrench powerbomb to retain.
- Great match with Hardy mostly in control save for a short bit where Swagger worked over his left shoulder which played a big part in the finish. Hardy hit a moonsault for a 2 count and tried for the Side Effect, but Swagger broke free and rammed Hardy's bad shoulder into the corner post and followed with the powerbomb for the victory.
Match Rating: **1/2

WWE Women's Championship: Melina pinned Beth Phoenix [C] with a modified roll-up to win the title.
- In a spot that has probably never been done before, Beth hammered Melina in the back of her head with Melina's own leg! Melina went all out here against Beth, and things did get sloppy a bit near the end, but Melina managed to pull the victory when she flipped out of a wheel-barrow into a roll-up to surprisingly win the title! Good match!
Match Rating: **

Backstage promo with JBL promising HBK he'll pay HBK everything he owes him tonight AND get him a spot in the Royal Rumble match as long as JBL wins the title tonight.

World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena beat John "Bradshaw" Leyfield with the FU to retain.
- JBL used Misawa's facelock
- There were actually people booing Cena over JBL. Didn't think anyone could actually cheer for JBL. Unless maybe they want to see that JBL/HBK title match at WrestleMania?
- Cena kicked out of the Clothesline From Hell and JBL escaped the FU before accidentally giving the referee a big boot to the face. With the referee down, HBK gets in the ring and gives JBL Sweet Chin Music! He than gives Cena Sweet Chin Music and puts JBL over Cena! HBK walks off and a second referee finally comes down to make the count, but Cena pulls a shoulder up at 2! Both men struggle to their feet and JBL tries for a short clothesline, but Cena picks him up and hits the FU for the pin!
- The match itself wasn't all that good, but it was more about the angle at the end. HBK thought he got the job done, but JBL didn't win the title, so it means he's not going to pay him?
Match Rating: **

WWE Championship: Edge beat Jeff Hardy [C] after Matt Hardy hit Jeff with a chair.

- Why is the champion out first? The fans are awfully quiet for his intro to. Hardy is wearing all black and his face is painted up like he's in a Norwegian black metal band.
- Vickie Guerrero comes out and declares the match now No-DQ before introducing Edge.
- Edge tries to bring 2 chairs into the ring but gets speared off the apron by Jeff! Jeff dives out after Edge than gives him a Twist of Fate on the apron. Jeff sets up Edge on the RAW announce table and brings out a ladder, but Chavo makes the save for Edge. Hardy attacks Chavo and sets him up on the table before diving off the top of the ladder to put him through it!
- Finish sees Hardy counter the spear into the Twist of Fate! Hardy goes up top for the Swanton, but Vickie comes out to try and stop it. Jeff kicks her off and hits the Swanton, but Vickie pulls the referee to stop the count. Matt Hardy comes out and the Hardy Brothers go to Conchairto Edge, but Hardy hits Jeff in the head with the chair instead! Edge makes the cover and wins the title!
- SWERVE! Everyone expected Christian to make his return to cost Jeff the title, but it was his own brother Matt that did the deed!
Match Rating: ***1/2


#1 - Rey Mysterio
#2 - John Morrison
- Morrison almost eliminates Mysterio tossing him over the top to counter a bulldog. Back in the ring Rey hits Deja Vu on Morrison and almost eliminates him as #3 comes out!
#3 - Carlito
- Carlito spits apple in Morrison's face and counters a springboard moonsault by Mysterio into a neckbreaker! He almost gets eliminated by Morrison, but comes back in the ring by hitting a triple jump moonsault on Morrison!
#4 - MVP
- MVP takes out everyone and hits the Ballin' Elbow on Morrison after catching Rey with a suplex. MVP ducks Morrison's springboard kick, which hits Carlito and MVP hits the Drive By on Morrison. MVP tries to eliminate Mysterio, qho gets back in the ring via springboard headscissors as #5 comes out.
#5 - The Great Khali
- Khali dominates as Mysterio tries a springboard dropkick and just bounces off. Carlito tries the Backstabber but can't pull down the giant. Khali gives Carlito the choke-bomb as #6 comes out.
#6 - Vladimir Koslov
- Koslov actually makes short work and eliminates Khali! Morrison off the top but gets caught by the battering ram headbutt! MVP tries a Yakuza kick in the corner, but Koslov ducks and eliminates him! Koslov catches Carlito in mid-air with his spinebuster finisher and eliminates Carlito next!
#7 - Triple H
- The Game goes right after Koslov and after a bit of brawling eliminates the big Russian!
#8 - Randy Orton
- Orton and the Game go right at it and Orton tries for the RKO, but HHH pushes him off and tries for the Pedigree, but Morrison hits the springboard kick on HHH! Mysterio hits a seated senton on Morrison and hits the 619 on Orton!
#9 - JTG
- JTG and Shad flip a coin to see who's going in, and JTG wins the coin toss with a double-sided coin!
#10 - Ted Dibiase
- JTC and Morrison work together for a bit before remembering they are feuding for the tag titles! Dibiase almost eliminates both of them but they skin the cat and get back in. Mysterio hits a LOW baseball slide on Dibiase!
#11 - Chris Jericho
- Jericho goes after Orton and tries to toss him out. Jericho tries for the Lionsault on H who dodges it and tries for the Pedigree, but Jericho counters and tries for the Walls of Jericho, but H flips him off and almost eliminates Jericho!
#12 - Mike Knox
- Knox goes right for Mysterio and turns Morrison inside-out with a clothesline. Triple H goes after Knox, but gets overpowered by the bearded mad man.
#13 - The Miz
- Miz goes after JTG and hits a reverse STO followed by a corner clothesline on HHH. Miz & Morrison hit a double gutbuster on Orton. Mysterio pushes Morrison into an RKO! Miz gets an RKO! JTG gets an RKO! Triple H hits the Pedigree on Orton! HHH eliminates both Miz & Morrison!
#14 - Finlay
- H and Jericho toss out Mysterio, but he lands on Morrison, steps on Orton and gets back in the ring as his feet didn't touch the floor! Finalys lays out everyone he can gett his hands on.
#15 - Cody Rhodes
- Legacy instantly start triple-teaming eveyone. Mysterio tries a springboard on Orton but gets RKO'd as Knox fights off Rhodes & Dibiase.
#16 - The Undertaker
- The Demon of Death Valley goes wild on everyone and eliminates JTG! Snake Eyes on Cody Rhodes followeed by the big boot.
#17 - Goldust
- Cody and Goldust face off, but Goldust doesn't hold back and they go at. Goldie almost eliminates Cody twice, but gets caught by an RKO from Orton, who lets Cody throw out Goldust.
#18 - CM Punk
- Double clothesline on Legacy followed by a pair of corner knees to Rey and Jericho! H tries to Pedigree Punk, but Punk counters into the Go2Sleep! 'Taker ends his momentum with a kick to the head.
#19 - Mark Henry
- Mark Henry easilly overpowers everyone. Triple H gets caught in the World's Strongest Slam! Henry tries to eliminate Punk, but he holds on.
#20 - Shelton Benjamin
- Shelton hits Pay Dirt on Finlay and launches Mysterio high in the sky. Both Jericho and Punk on the top rope and Shelton runs up and brings them both back in the ring with a double-complete shot off the top!
#21 - Regal Regal
- Regal goes right after Punk and gives him an Exploder suplex! Mark Henry eliminated by Rey Mysterio as he charges in and Mysterio ducks!
#22 - Kofi Kingston
- Kofi goes wild and hits a side Russian legsweep on Knox followed by the boom boom leg drop. Shelton tries a Stinger Splash on 'Taker, but gets chokeslammed before the Dead Man tosses him out.
#23 - Kane
- Mysterio hanging on to the corner post to not get eliminates. Kane takes out everyone in his path and faces off with the 'Taker! They double chokeslam Dibiase! Kane chokeslams on Kofi! Regal tries to eliminate Punk, but Punk pulls him over and eliminates him! Rey escapes a chokeslam from 'Taker
#24 - R-Truth
- Kofi, Orton & Mysterio try to put Kane out, but couldn't.
#25 ROB VAN DAM!!!
- RVD hits thr Rider kick on Kane and goes wild on everyone with kicks! RVD tries for the Five Star on Truth, but H interupts. RVD hits Rolling Thunder on both HHH and Truth!
#26 - THE Brian Kendrick
- Kendrick eliminates Kofi, but instantly gets eliminated by HHH! RVD almost eliminates Punk.
#27 - Dolph Ziggler
- Dolph introduces himself to Kane, who immediately throws him out! Cody with an electric chair drop on Punk.
#28 - Santino Marella
- Santino in and immediately gets clotheslinesd out by Kane! He was probably in for just a second! The crowd isn't happy.
#29 - "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan
- Hacksaw actually fights off Legacy, Kane AND The Undertaker!
#30 - The Big Show
- 'Taker faces off with Show, but Kane cheapshots the giant! Hacksaw goes after Show, but gets eliminated. Jericho jumps on Show's back with a sleeper, but Show turns it to a sidewalk slam. Kane almost eliminates Dibiase. Show gorilla presses Truth off the top. Punk avoids being eliminates by Show several times before Show gives him a big punch to knock him off the apron. Big Show eliminates Rey & Knox together! Hornswoggle runs in and Kane chokes him! Finlay makes the save, but almost gets chokeslammed out of the ring by Kane. Hornswoggle stops Kane from chokeslamming his dad, but the Big Red Monster still ends up eliminating the fighting Irishman. Orton hits the hangman's DDT on HHH! Taker & Show face off again and trade punches. RVD hits the Five Star Frogsplash on Orton but gets eliminated by Jericho! Jericho hits the Code Breaker on the Undertaker, but misses a clothesline and is eliminated by the Dead Man! Rhodes & Dibiase eliminate Kane to save Orton! Legacy go after Undertaker as Big Show chokeslams HHH! 'Taker fights off Legacy and chokeslams Orton! Chokeslam on Dibiase! Chokeslam on Rhodes! The two giants face off again and the fists start flying again! 'Taker takes down Show with a monstrous clothesline and kicks him out of the ring, but Show holds on to the ropes amazingly to avoid touching the floor! Orton tries to RKO 'Taker, but the Dead Man pushes him off. Show drags 'Taker over the top and tries to chokeslam him off the apron, but 'Taker fights him off and Orton RKO's Show and he falls off the apron! Show is out! 'Taker still on the apron and tries to double chokeslam Rhodes & Dibiase out of the ring, but Show pulls 'Taker off the apron to eliminate him!
Legacy triple team HHH. H pushes Orton off an RKO and tries to Pedigree Cody, but Orton breaks it up but almost gets eliminated himself. Pedigree on Rhodes! Dibiase gets tossed out! Rhodes gets tossed, but Orton quickly back in and eliminated HHH to win the Rumble!!!
- A GREAT Rumble Match!
Match Rating: ****

Overall: Great show from top to bottom!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ranting on NOAH

It's been in the news about NOAH's recent troubles, losing their NTV deal and having to make cutbacks to save on finances. The fact that their star player in Kenta Kobashi is out due to his health problems and Misawa himself not in best of shape, and that both of them aren't getting any younger doesn't bold too well for the future of the green mat.

They seem to be headed in the right direction now with the push of Go Shiozaki on the current tour, already defeating Takuma Sano, Tamon Honda, and former GHC champion Takeshi Rikioh in singles matches. It's pretty much expected Go will be GHC champion one day, and hopefully NOAH will make a big deal of it when it happens. What I would prefer though is that they properly build up Go to take the title. Here's something I haven't seen yet in NOAH or any other promotion: Remember when Misawa first defeated Jumbo Tsuruta?

That match was a true passing of the torch moment. There was no title on the line, but a statement was made when Misawa pinned Jumbo, and the visual of all the young guys hoisting Misawa up on their shoulders as a hero truly helped mark the moment. The same thing happened when Kobashi defeated Taue for his first Triple Crown. The old guard had been defeated by the younger generation and was again hailed as a hero for all to see. This needs to be done with Go when he beats either Misawa or Kobashi. The celebration has to be epic to leave an impression that this is the man that's going to lead NOAH into the future.

Getting someone to the main event is one thing, but keeping him there is another. It's for this reason I really wish NOAH would put more effort into their booking for coming up with actual storylines for their wrestlers. Don't just build up someone on the spot cause he's being given a title shot, and then drop him back to the midcard when he (expectedly) loses. That applies to former champions as well.

Let the wrestlers cut promos with their intentions of chasing the champions for their titles. Heck, the undercard feuds could use them to help spice things up. They need to have factions that stick together. Kotaro Suzuki is now a full fledged heel working with Kanemaru and Genba Hirayanagi. This trio shouldn't be broken up to fill out the numbers in 6-man tags with no purpose.

SUWA and Minoru Suzuki were something that was really different when they were with NOAH. They knew how to get under the skin of their opponents and get the crowd to boo them. NOAH needs to draw that line now and make heels relevant, like they did when the company first started. Akiyama was the first top heel when he turned on Kobashi, and that was followed by the NO FEAR group, which also got heat by Takao Omori turning on Kobashi. It's OK to have someone on the roster that the fans will boo rather than just cheer as it helps add emotion to the match. It's a tried and true formula. Piss off people enough that they'll pay to want to see you get your ass kicked by the babyface.

With all the economic turmoil currently effecting NOAH and the loss of their TV deal not doing them any favours, hopefully NOAH can change things around and keep their product interesting so that attendances don't diminish since they'll need to entice those fans to come to the live shows now since they won't get to watch it on TV anymore.